CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Cycling is for a minority

09 September, 2021

• SUNDAY, the best-weather day in recent weeks, and I joined the crowds heading to Parliament Hill for the free music celebrating 150 years of Hampstead Heath as a public open space, travelling from Swiss Cottage.

Lots of traffic, of course, a dozen or more different buses, most as full as my jam-packed C11 (most with masks), a few hundred cars, but not many trucks and vans, and even fewer cyclists: perhaps half a dozen over the whole couple of miles, and I include those riding in both directions.

This informal observation confirms what I feel, cycling will only ever be the main mode of transport for a tiny minority of the public, with buses and other public transport taking the bulk of people, and cars being a choice for the selfish few; apart from a few disabled people who really do need the help.

So why is supposedly cash-strapped Camden Council spending so much money on creating bike lanes for this tiny minority of the population, and at great inconvenience to the majority of travellers including those of us on buses?

I am, of course, in favour of making cycling safer, I used to be a cyclist when I was younger, but it’s time some realism was applied to the situation. Tax cars more and use the proceeds to cut public transport fares, and train cyclists to ride more safely.

And when I say “more safely”, cyclists should take my dad’s advice when I was learning to ride: “don’t be afraid you might get killed by accident, just imagine they are trying to kill you”!

Start by never going down the inside of any large vehicles. You are a dot in a bus or lorry driver’s mirror and they will not see you.

DAVID REED, NW3

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