It is difficult to generalise because there are so many different types of event you could organise. Nonetheless there are a few important issues set out below that you should always consider.
Having a regular programme of events is a commitment but it can be crucial to give a local sustainable travel initiative sufficient momentum. You could aim to have monthly events and then increase this during the lighter months when you are more likely to attract people.
Gyms and fitness centres are always at their busiest at the start of the year because of New Year resolutions. So it can be a good time to encourage people to think about changing their travel habits.
In March or April, when it should be becoming warmer as well as lighter, can be a good time to encourage people to get outdoors and walk and cycle again. Bike to School Week tends to be at the end of March - more information is available from Sustrans.
The summer is a great time to get people outside and Bike Week takes place at the end of June when the days are at their longest.
Late summer and autumn are also good times to do events. European Mobility Week, formerly known as ‘In town without my car’, takes place in late September and aims to promote walking, cycling and public transport. World Car Free Day takes place on 22 September and aims to show people how a street or larger area in your locality could be if it wasn’t dominated by motor traffic. Shrewsbury has held a ‘Love your Bike Month’ in October to encourage people to keep cycling until the clocks go back.
If you are planning an outdoor event long in advance, it may be better to go for the warmer months. Given the unpredictability of the great British weather, you should consider a Plan B for outdoor events in case it rains.
More info: www.national-awareness-days.com - Listings of all national awareness days and weeks
It’s good practice to do a risk assessment and you may want to consider having public liability insurance in place although the Government has pointed out this is not required for street parties. Some events, such as Bike Week, already include insurance for any event registered with them. The Health & Safety Executive publishes a guide setting out five steps to risk assessment. For events involving unaccompanied children you may need to ensure that people involved have had criminal record checks carried out.
For events on the carriageway, you may want to consider letting the police know. This is only a legal requirement for public processions intended to publicise a cause or campaign or similar.
So a cycle ride around local places of historical interest would not need to be notified but a march to hand in a petition to the local authority would need to be. For events
Finally don't forget to make sure more than the usual suspects will hear about your event. It’s best to publicise events using a range of methods as well as networks of people. Put yourselves in your target audience’s shoes and think what might grab their attention and what might then persuade them to come.
If you have can get a local celebrity involved you can significantly improve your chances of press coverage. Do take photos or even video of the event. They can be great for use on websites and even if the local media were not able to send anyone along they may consider using one of your photographs after the event. Even some mobile phone cameras have good enough resolution these days to be used for publications, just be careful to make sure the photograph is well composed and sharp.