Without doubt the cycle has been the best transport system invention the World has ever seen, hasn’t it?
Without doubt the car has been the worst transport system invention the World has ever seen, hasn’t it?
The very worst thing done in the United Kingdom (and America) was to remove a hundred years ago the need for motor vehicles to be led by a pedestrian waving a red flag, don’t you think?
In Britain we have allowed the motor car to take over our very existence, haven’t we? There is no excuse for it here though is there? We live on a relatively tiny island where you can actually WALK from the extreme right top of it to the very left bottom corner (only six hundred straight miles John o’Groats to Land’s End and many have done it including a man of ‘seventy-four’).
Yet we have bizarrely fallen in love with the internal (infernal?) combustion engine vehicle that pollutes the very air we need to breath to sustain life, destroys the health of our children, requires us to provide road systems at enormous cost we can’t afford, while destroying our countryside, and driving swaves of unsightly asphalt through our undulating landscape, devastating our meadows, woodlands & wildlife habitat, choking our towns and cities with congestion, resulting in family destruction with twenty-five thousand killed or seriously injured individuals in road traffic accidents (plus another one hundred and seventy thousand casualties), and costing our beleaguered NHS nearly five hundred millions, devastating our populations health because nobody ever exercises or walks anywhere now, and not least prevents our children from playing outside or near their homes.
The loudmouth Mayor of London Boris Johnson has had the temerity to decree recently that there should be a bit of a cycleway in London – taking a tiny little bit of the thousands of miles of road there away from cars & HGV lorries and providing a safer travel way for some of London’s cyclists (a million Barclays hire ones alone). HOW DARE HE! Doesn’t he understand that car drivers (and taxi, lorry or bus drivers) are omnipotent and that just NOTHING should be done that impinges for a second on their God-given right to slaughter any stupid cyclist who gets in their way on THE CARS’ rightful road? ALL car driving organisations are incensed of course, so it won’t be long before a petition goes to the Queen to have Boris locked-up in the Tower for Treason to the car driver.
[This Mayoral action follows-on of course from a spate of cycling deaths in recent years in London and consequential heavy criticism of the transport authorities & followed indeed by public and media protests about cycling facilities and safety].
In Britain, we kill or seriously injure about three thousand cyclists every year and injure another sixteen thousand – and that doesn’t include many ‘non-recorded’ figures that could treble the numbers. Do you care – you might if it is your child or someone in your family perhaps?
We love the car in Britain, don’t we? It is a sixty billion pound industry now and we make one and a half million of them here every year, but guess what? None of them are British! No, all our big car industry is foreign owned because we Brits couldn’t hack it and handed it all over to the Japanese, Germans, Malaysians, Kuwaitis, Chinese, French, American, and Indians.
[To be fair though, we should mention the tiny niche markets served by still British (for now) of Morgan, Caterham and McLaren].
It isn’t like that in all countries of course. Take say Holland where the cycle is the main mode of daily transport of about at least a third of the population – whether in town or cities or rural areas. How the hell have they achieved that then? Could it be because the car hasn’t won there? That cycling gets you there quicker? That cycling is safe? Could it be because their governments have ensured there are inter-linked cycle paths between all villages, that there is an excellent cycle infrastructure and facilities with protected intersections, and not least universal cycle parking services? [Cycling is these days even a major tourist attraction there].
There you have it then don’t you – our Westminster politicians are more concerned about milking their expenses, and looking out for their cronies, than building a future life for their voting constituents?
[Isn’t it then about time we redressed the balance, got out the bicycles from the shed again throughout the land, and put the car back in its box where it belongs? Demand our politicians make it possible?]