"He needs to think less about attention-grabbing policies linked to niche modes of travel like cycling and grasp the bigger problems of transport in the capital, not least congestion in outer London.
With the best will in the world, encouraging a few more people onto their bikes is not going to solve the relentless jams in the suburbs.”
That is what the Director of the Royal Automobile Club Foundation, Stephen Glaister, thinks about cycling as quoted yesterday in the BBC. In short cycling is not the solution. I presume that from an organisation that represents the interest of motorists the solution, according to them, would be to continue building expensive infrastructure to support an unsustainable mode of transport. After reading their report I guessed completely right that is exactly what they want to do. Who would have thought it?
The next part of the report is really startling. Get this, some parts of London may become “no go areas for cars”. Heaven forbid!
“With increasing demand for road space, many areas of central London could become no-go areas for cars because of the proliferation of road works, bus lanes and cycle-ways.”
Wouldn’t that be terrible! Roads open to just cyclists and buses?
What if instead of doing the exact same thing we have been doing since the 1970’s, ignoring cycling and promoting dominance of our society by cars, we instead allowed ourselves to think differently for a moment. What if we just stepped outside that limited sphere of thinking that says the car is the only way to get around and allowed our minds to drift. What if we asked ourselves: what if?
What if John, who is constantly tired of his 2 hour commute into work, cycled to the train station, got on a train and then cycled to his office. Maybe he would feel more energised. I think he would certainly feel better with around £2,500 extra in his pocket if he goes car free*.
What if Alison, who is scared to take up cycling due to the manic traffic, was able to cycle on a path separate to the road. Maybe she would leave the car at home?
What if Jamie and Lisa, were not afraid to let their kids go to school on their bikes so that would be one less car on the road every day, twice a day.
These are just hypothetical people that represent millions of daily commuters. What if everyone started doing this? When would we reach the tipping point?
What if we allowed ourselves to dream? Would London’s transport infrastructure look a bit more like this:
What if London was a bit more like a fellow European country, the Netherlands, where 27% of journeys are made by bike. Would that then still be considered a “niche mode of travel”?
The definition of insanity by Albert Einstein: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. No RAC Foundation, we refuse to be insane.
Image source: Martino’s Doodles’