The bike will always get through

The Manchester Evening News had one of their commuter races and, as usual, the bike won.

The car wasn’t far behind, but even if it had won it wouldn’t be as good a commuting vehicle as the bike. Add up the costs of commuting by car for a year and you’d have to be buying a carbon fibre or titanium framed cycle brand new every January before two wheels were more expensive than four.

(The cyclist’s name is Wayne Ankers. Must….. Resist…….)

The Government has declared war on pedestrians, cyclists and the environment!

Not really- or at least, not formally- but they have, in the shape of Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark, echoed motorists self-pitying rhetoric as justification for yet more regressive policies. Two parking related policies- one encouraging more sensible use of space in new builds the other attempting to encourage more people onto public transport- have been “relaxed”. So we’ll get more suburban sprawl and more urban jams and the people who’ll suffer because of this aren’t the drivers or the politicians hoping to win their votes.

There is no war on motorists. There have been policies which have attempted to reduce congestion, and many of us would like drivers to take more responsibility for the damage they, collectively and individually, cause, but that’s not a war. If it were a war it would be fair to say that the motorists are winning. They kill thousands of people every year and injure scores more- and quite often get away with it, receiving minor or no punishment. They have newspapers and politicians on their side and a prejudice amongst the public which somehow paints the far less dangerous cyclist as the great evil of the highways.

If the Government really wants to make life easier for “decent, ordinary motorists” then some tough love would be a better prescription than the constant coddling they do at the moment. More actively punish dangerous drivers- such as the idiots who talk on their mobile whilst driving. Enforce parking restrictions more rigorously, particularly around schools at the start and end of the day. Close some roads and reduce the speed limit on others. Make short, inefficient, road clogging car journeys a thing of the past. (I don’t know how to go about that last one, but millions of journeys every year are walking distance and millions more are cycling distance. The pointlessness of these journeys- and the health and wealth benefits of doing them by foot or pedal- needs to be made clearer to drivers.)

We’re not at war with drivers, no matter how much they behave like the enemy. But we should be at war with the sort of selfishness and blindness which gives rise to dumb phrases such as “the war on motorists”.

The return of UK North?

Probably not. The Traffic Commissioner will today announce her decision on whether the owners of deadly but defunct bus company UK North can ever run a similar business. In the unlikely event that she says yes we still have a year or so of safety as they were sentenced to 15 months each for their dangerous business practices.

Fast-track idiots

I realise that this post may attract the ire of any motorists, but I personally feel that these people are complete idiots and thoroughly deserved to lose their case.

Anyone caught on a speed camera doing 47mph in a 30 zone is clearly breaking the law. Given that these days speed cameras are only put up in accident blackspots, they were being reckless too. Finally, given that every camera is well signed beforehand, painted bright yellow, and has little white lines on the road, they were probably too blind to be able to see where they were driving anyway.

I agree that not every speed limit is appropriate for the road its on all the time – for instance, I think faster speed limits could be introduced around schools out of term term, and in the evenings. However, there is a law, and like it or not, people should obey it or at least not be quite so blatant about breaking it.

I reserve the right to change my opinions if I ever get caught speeding.

Roads to Nowhere
What is it about driving that leads to such a breakdown in logic?  Congestion is getting worse- so drivers and drivers’ groups automatically decry any plan or scheme intended to reduce congestion.

The government, as pointed out in the article, is no better- calling for fewer car journeys whilst driving for the centralisation of services and promoting a faulty policy of "choice" in education and health care that destroys local amenities.