Category Archives: Opinion

Car centric councils create inequality, poor performing employees, and limit the local labour market

If an employee cycles to work, employers will find that this employee will be more on time, perform better and save employers money. This employee will also have half the number of sick days that other employees do.

Now, an American study, looking at inequality and employer access to potential candidates has found that a council that does not focus on delivering a true multi-modal road network, is directly impacting the earning capacity of minority groups and women while limiting the access employers have to good candidates. Travel choice is key in achieving equity.

Congestion costs the UK £300Billion

On top of this, the car centric road infrastructure approach that is rife, not only at council level, but within the highest echelons of UK Government is costing the country £300 Billion in congestion each year.

But let’s be clear, this is absolutely not about banning the car, but recognising that if we want a healthy, functioning, equal society, then our roads must treat each mode of transport equally and using a set of good design standards for delivering the right infrastructure.

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WECA and LEP are failing us

What surprises me most about this is that neither WECA or LEP seem to have a handle on this. Congestion alone is costing the West of England £300M per year. Cars really are not providing the answer and the lack of action on behalf of the Metro Mayor and Patricia Greer (CEO of both WECA and LEP) should have employers up in arms.

We need to move people

For too long Highways and the DfT model things in terms of vehicle movements. Not people movements. Removing on-street parking and introducing 1 bi-directional car lane wide cycle land is the same as installing a 5 lane motorway in terms of people moved.

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WHATABOUTERY?!

What about the 37.5Million cars on our roads? They VOTE.

Most politicians will fight tooth and nail to prevent enlightened council officers from delivering a balanced road system that gives equal priority to walking, cycling, and driving.

When accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

Ignoring the immense long term costs these politicians are burdening the council with in terms of youth and social services through loss of child independent travel and health impacts from transport related obesity and air pollution, they are doing all those businesses in your area a disservice, while ensuring people from minority groups and women have limited access to employers.

It’s the economy stupid

Transport policy pervades all aspects of our lives, and the travel choices available to you will limit the job roles you can apply for. As an employer, your council’s lack of willingness to deliver good cycling infrastructure is costing you money and you will be missing out on star employees.

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Are cars the new Tobacco?

When I first started on this journey of becoming a Cycle Campaigner, I naively considered it to be a simple evidence based approach to developing a better environment for people to get around. The simple fact, by 2030 the UK will be at 35% obesity, up from 27% today, while the Netherlands would be at 8.5% obesity, down from 10% today, makes it obvious that we have a fundamental problem in the way we prioritise space on our roads, yes?

Apparently this is political dogma and it’s pretty obvious, that over the 4+ years I’ve become deeply involved in transport, that most, if not all councillors put the well being of their voting pool before the well being of society at large.

Continue reading Are cars the new Tobacco?

Meanwhile, back in Bath…..

the magic jug

Earlier this week Bath hosted the end of Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain (cycling).  There was great celebration by our local council, and lots of publicity for the event.

2016-09-08-08-51-51 Emma Leith’s yarn-bombed bike

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2016-09-08-11-10-39 Someone updated the wall art in Walcot Street to mark the moment

Many of us turned out on a lovely late summer afternoon to watch as the cyclists and their support teams arrived in Bath.  It was all very exciting – and very very fast.  In fact, all over and done with in about 15 minutes from the first riders coming past to the last.

2016-09-08-15-43-58 Didn’t see Wiggo, but I saw the car…

2016-09-08-15-43-18 The front runners rushed past…..

2016-09-08-15-43-14 And lots, lots more

There were tents and displays to browse in the park, and the award ceremonies to watch there too.

A shame then that our local council (Bath and NE Somerset) has such a blinkered view…

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Why “sharing the road” has failed

It’s quite interesting how you can end up with strange bedfellows within a Facebook group and have interesting, if unfortunately fruitless conversations. However I do think that the 44 ton truck driver I was in discussion with had some interesting points that needed addressing.

Do I think, that in anyway, I changed his viewpoint? I hope so. Some of what he stated and believed is quite scary, and if we, as a society, want to create better road spaces that provide facilities that enable people to make real choices to move away from the private vehicle, then we need to bring these truck drivers with us.

More importantly this discussion is about councils being honest with the way roads are perceived and how different types of traffic should be using them.

Continue reading Why “sharing the road” has failed

Bath operates within a political void

This is a personal opinion piece and does not reflect the views of CycleBath.

It follows on from what I wrote (rather hastily) for the Bath Newseum “Making Roads Work“. Apologies to Richard as I keep re-reading it and coming up with edits I’d like to make to it. It’s very rough. 😦

I’m part of the Save Bathhampton Meadows Facebook group. There was a post on there about the statement Cllr Alison Millar made to the Scrutiny Panel on the 25th of July. It’s powerful stuff and I post it here.

Continue reading Bath operates within a political void