Sunday, June 15, 2003


This is National Bike Week, in case you haven't noticed. I only found out on Friday and that's because there was publicity for it on our internal communications system.

There's going to be a Parliamentary Bike Run, which should get the cameras out and good for a few sarcastic headline. Remember the Euro Summit (Amsterdam, I think) when all the leaders hopped on bikes (except that fat Kohl bastard).

If I'd known about this, I would have geared myself up to start cycling into work next week. But, too late now to organise a locker and lock up for my bike.

The Government has a cycling strategy. Well, here are a few of my ideas...

1) A proper segregated cycle network for London and other major towns and cities. The current cycle lanes leave cyclists pedalling next to cars and trucks, inhaling fumes, dodging parked cars and car doors opening. Cars and cycles don't mix, just like cars and pedestrians don't. When they meet there is danger and cars always come off better.
It should be easy to carry this out - you could segregate existing arterial roads (the Red Route system) through the use of high curbs where cars are not permitted. it doesn't mean new paths or trails - just modify the existing system and make it bike friendly and car unfriendly.

2) The same enforcement and penalties for cyclists who violate traffic laws. Traffic lights apply equally to cars, cycles, trucks and horses.

3) Compulsory helmet use. I know there are some that say that helmets give a cyclist a false sense of security. But, helmet usage will reduce deaths. If you get hit by a car (or pedestrian) and hit your head on asphalt or concrete then there is a pretty good chance you are going to have a life threatening head injury.

4) Compulsory bike lessons at school (along with swimming lessons, drafting a personal budget, balancing a chequebook, d-i-y skills, and other life skills).

5) Secure bike racks on every high street - charge a nominal fee if you want to make it pay.

6) My employer gives interest free loans for bikes to encourage cycling to work. Extend that to all employers. Tax credits too? (Employers should be required to provide sufficient bike racks and chanign facilities too. A no brainer this: You wind up with a healthier workforce which is good for morale and reduces absenteeism.)

:: Posted by pete @ 13:18