Thursday, 23 June 2011

Eco Warrior Alert

I love my bike - I guess you may have noticed this. But just because I love my bike it doesn't mean I can't love my car too, I do not have to be in a monogamous relationship with my bike, when it comes to transport I am allowed a mistress! 

Often as I do my daily trawl through the blogs, it seems like you have to be on either side of the fence - the car or the bike.  This maybe because, obviously the blog has to focus on the cycling element, but sometimes I am a little concerned as to the animosity that is directed towards the car.

The truth is both forms of transport have a role to play, it would be blinkered for anyone to suggest otherwise. For example there is no way on earth I could do the weekly supermarket shop on a bike (or even a bus come to that) the only way I am going to be able to get around 30 bags of shopping home is in the car. If I am going to take the family 50 miles to visit friends - the bikes are not going to do this (well yes they could but my 11 year old will never make it alive).

All in all the car has a purpose - that's why supermarkets offer free parking, they know that car bound shoppers equal more business. The same with local town centres, the little shop owners want people who are going to spend and buy a large amount of items - this is their livelihood, no business means no money for them and their families, so who is going to blame them if they push for more parking in town and therefore more cars. This is the economic reality that all cyclist groups must accept.

The bike though also has it's role to play in this scheme of things - commuting, recreational and even small item shopping. But we must all realize that both forms of transport have to work side by side and learn to live together in harmony.Cycling and it's increased used, has an part to play in making car driving a faster and less congested process. I would like to see this argument used more often.

The sum of the two forms of transports working side by side is greater than each individually.

I do about 10 miles on my bike to every 1 mile in my car on a normal week - but there are occasions when I will do some heavy mileage, quite seriously I could not cope without it - I am paying a massive premium for the privilege of owning it, but it is a cost that is worth it for me as otherwise my life would be inconvenienced to much.

I think this needs to be taken into account when we talk about priorities for road transport, if you see the argument through the eyes of the "opposition" then you will be able to construct a far more robust and inclusive argument and consequently make gains. Or maybe I am just an idealist.

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