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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Cycle & anti driver lobby write to The Times.

Get Britain Cycling Plan read their nonsense here. 

CTC have joined up with the usual anti driver suspects to write to The Times.

Of course their claims don't stack up anywhere. 

Again the old chestnut of cycling being healthy and motor transport is the main reason for obesity is in the fore to pretend that more cycling would save the country billions from accidents and health costs.

Surely The Times knows that obesity is more about diet, play stations, no playing fields, less playing outdoors and so on. But there are more efficient and safer ways to get exercise than placing oneself in great danger whilst an impediment and liability to vital infrastructure too.

In any case, without motor transport, society would collapse with the consequential death of most of us from lack of basic essentials. So one can argue that motor transport has been very healthy for all of society. 

As UK drivers cover some 300 billion driver miles a year, I doubt that cyclists, including the long distance enthusiasts who are invariably cycling as hobbyists, are covering 2% of that, some 6 billion miles a year as is being claimed. To suggest that by 2050, as this group is doing, that we can increase that to 25%, some 75 billion miles cycled a year is beyond any credibility. Therefore their projected economic savings, even before any examination of their rationale, is bound to be no more than speculative and without sound foundation.

I can well understand why cyclists find it advantageous to associate with walkers. However the main difference of walkers from cyclists is that, without the former, all of us would die but without cyclists we would continue to live quite well. Another difference is that walkers do not generally mix and mingle with mechanised essential infrastructure and already enjoy their own separated facilities that have worked very well for hundreds of years. Walkers have more in common with motor transport as, without it, our society would collapse too; both need each other. 

That only a tiny percentage of our population has any interest in road cycling makes perfect sense. As a transport mode, except around flat towns and cities, it really isn't fit for purpose. It's uncomfortable, hard work, exposed to weather, cannot carry any loads or passengers over a long distance very rapidly, and given that, to date, thirteen cyclists have been killed on our roads this year already (20th Jan), it's clearly a very dangerous yet demonstrably unnecessary activity in the 21st Century. That so many don't cycle, is surely evidence then that there must be something very wrong with it. If it were viable as a transport mode far more people would be doing it already.

The question we must ask of these minority lobbyists is: 'Why should we spend large sums of money on something society can quite happily live without?'


  1. The City of Leicester will be the latest to commit suicide.

    This will go ahead, depite the overwhelmingly negative comments.

  2. People said the very same thing about the "motorised horseless carriage" before it became the norm to fill a tin box with flammable liquid, burn it in a cast iron lump in front of the passengers, and propel these things along a road surface that not only had to be specifically made for them, but required regular maintenance and re building. Cars only make sense because the majority use them, not the other way round. I am afraid you have your cause and effect very much reversed. Cycling cannot solve all the problems in the world, but neither is the continued worship at the alter of the infernal combustion engine a long term solution.

  3. Utter nonsense. The carriage and horseless carriage, as well as carrying bigger loads and more passengers further, had one thing in common. They both needed drivers. Society wasn't built on man power transport so, although cycling enjoyed a heyday as a poor man's mode of extending his work place options in the first half of the last century, we have moved on from there considerably.

    The roads are more than paid for by the punitive motoring taxes as if motoring is some privilege when in fact our society needs and must have all of it. Your comments refuse to acknowledge that basic fact.

    The IC engine has proved to be the best and most efficient type there is for locomotion and there is nothing yet that's viable that can replace it. Electric cars are very costly, are not green in their production and need vast amounts of electricity mostly generated by oil and gas powered power stations. In any case, fossil fuel is a natural form of the Sun's energy stored in trees then into coal and then into oil.

    One thing is for sure. If all we had was pushbikes, most wouldn't be able to survive and those who did would be surviving on very meagre rations and supplies. Only anti people people greens could even wish such a thing.

    I bet you believe in AGW & ACC too don't you?

    1. The internal combustion engine- about 20% efficient, or considered in terms of actually moving its driver around, probably closer to about 2% efficient. Compare with a bicycle that's about 95% efficient. So a car may be time efficient and convenient but pretty woeful in energy efficiency.

      Must society need all driving? Look at my example- my drive to work isn't essential in the slightest given I've demonstrated that I can also bike it. And is my lazy boss's 1 mile drive to work really essential given that he's fit enough to walk it? So no, not all driving is essential. For sure, some of it is. A lot of it's a luxury.

  4. Don't try to reverse history. The IC engine has been able to convert small amounts of fuel to energy sufficient to carry several people and their luggage for about 50 miles in a short space of time. How much would rail or buses charge for that? None of that could be achieved by pushbike.

    You can drive to work at all times but not so cycle. Of course you don't need a car but you certainly do need people with cars directly or indirectly. I don't know what your work is but it's odds on it couldn't run on push bikes alone. So no you are not independent of road transport and cars at all. When you get older and less fit, you will give up cycling, but never worry there's always the car.

    No wonders drivers are having such a hard time if the cycle lobby doesn't acknowledge how we all depend on them.