‘Road Rage’ these days in the UK a frequent topic in the newspapers means driving here is stressful and involves very high level of concentration because of the state of the roads and the volume of traffic. You combine that with the fast-paced time orientated working life of most people and you have a toxic, boiling mix of anxiety and frustrating that spills over in the uncontrolled environment on the roads.
Pedal Power to the rescue ?
There is one particular flashpoint of anger and that involves other road users such as motorcycles and bikes. There vehicles have the ability to weave (dangerously) in and out of traffic to avoid queues. In addition, cyclists have their own lanes in some places and this is a cause of some resentment because those lanes normally amount to white lines drawn on the road that effectually narrow a road that once was wide and easy to negotiate by car. Cyclists in turn are frustrated that cars often park in these lanes, wide lorries use them and they disappear when the road narrows because the road is too narrow to sustain a cycle path and another road!
Mortality rate for cycling is similar to Sweden’s which appears on the face of it to make the UK safer than even the Netherlands which prosecutes drivers for any fatality involving a cyclist regardless of fault. The truth, however, is that although the death rate per car is low, it does not represent the number of journeys by bicycle that are actually taken or the location of them. Many towns like my own are particularly dangerous for cyclists, having hills, narrow roads, and fast, condescended traffic. Use of bicycles is much lower than in my grandparent’s day and shrinking in everyday even if we produce Olympic stars like Bradley Wiggins. As a leisure activity cycling is thriving (perhaps because weekend cycling is quieter) but most less fit, shoppers like myself stay off road most of the time.
Other problems for myself include the restriction in the number of bikes allowed on trains, you cannot plan a trip out the country or town by bicycle and get to the station to find no space in the racks on the train. In the past, the different arrangement of trains allowed for a good many more bikes in the old fashioned Guard’s carriage. The same carriage also gave space for wheelchairs or pushchairs that are now much more restricted. Trains, have thus, become limited in use. Security is another problem. Once secure parking could be rent off road in towns and now parking is independent and out on the road. However, one hopeful sign is that there are many more cycle racks to park in than twenty years ago.
It would be nice, however, to once again ride free and easy, with a nice picnic, out to a country or town station for a pedal about.
I would invite everyone peruse through the following site.
further reading is on the Guardian .