Thursday, 5 September 2013

Back to School & the school-run nightmare!

Summer has clearly ended as lots of pupils went back to school today. I don't have any children of my own at the moment, but the conditions on local streets this morning was dire. Making it very understandable why people who own cars, choose to drive their children to school.

It also rams home part of the reason why 50% of car trips are 2 miles or less. Combine that with the main reason that parents are afraid of cycling, and understandably might not want their children cycling on the roads, fear of motor traffic and we have the perfect storm.

Download the full report here:

At this point, most people shrug their shoulders, and say well that's just how it is. Fortunately a growing number of us are no longer accepting the status quo as good enough. Frankly it's been horrendous for far too long.

I don't want people to not have a choice to drive locally. However, I don't see why the choice to drive should inhibit or drive everyone else away from being able to choose to cycle locally.

Again, I can hear the siren voices, "You still can choose to cycle, you do don't you?". Yes, I do cycle, but most people don't, and I along with everyone else have to put up with dangerous drivers who frankly shouldn't still be allowed to drive. Those are just the ones that have been caught!

So, what can we do? What can be done? 

Good news is that we can change things for the better. We are changing things for the better. However, the process is taking time and far too long in my opinion.

  • Join London Cycling Campaign

The London Cycling Campaign is doing a fantastic job in lobbying and presenting the massive benefits of creating a people friendly city. They need our support, so if you aren't already a member please do join.

  • Support these local petitions

Locally in Tooting/Wandsworth, with the support of both Wandsworth Cycling Campaign and Wandsworth Living Streets I've been very active in pushing forward proposals for trials to take place which will, I believe create the safer streets, we need and deserve. I've got these petitions live, but I do need more people to sign them so that they can see the light of day. With the help of Joe Dunckley who blogs here, I now have this short video (on Smallwood Road) which tries to explain why I'd like your support.

Tooting Common - Dr Johnson Avenue

Clapham Common petition

Blackshaw Rd - Smallwood Rd - Fountain Road

All of the petitions above are 'just' asking the authorities to conduct trials. Let's give it a go! I presented a similar petition to the council last summer for Fishponds Road, and that has been approved by the committee we are currently waiting for dates as to when the scheme will go ahead. These petitions can and do work!

Let's make Mitcham Lane safe for all

This last one I'm hoping to get formally endorsed by Wandsworth Cycling Campaign. All being well that should happen too. If we don't ask, we definitely won't get. If you like what you see, spread the word. Together we can improve our streets, but we need to ask the powers that be to make it happen.

1 comment:

  1. Great initiatives, well done Jon.

    I have signed the petitions.

    I think we've all accepted the status quo for far too long in Britain, and that is why only 2% of journeys are done by bicycle in our country, despite having the ideal climate (cool, no extremes), ideal topography (flat mainly) and a highly urbanised population, where many journeys can be achieved by bicycle.

    The only reason, IMO, why the average Dutch citizen cycle 15 times more than the average Brit, and treats the cycling as a normal way of getting about, is that the Dutch authorities made the (correct) choice of prioritising active travel modes (walking and cycling) whereas we Brits made the wrong choice of prioriting motorised travel, with all the consequences that we know (congestion, unpleasant streets, health and fitness issues, air pollution to name a few).

    Here are a few extra ideas to all of you who want to get things moving in your local area:

    - petition the local residents in your streets for segregated cycle tracks - politicians will favour projects if they think there is popular support.

    - participate in the forthcoming local consultation meetings for the SW London shortlisted "Mini Holland" bids (in Kingston, Merton and Richmond)

    - Join the LCC and attend the LCC protest rides like this Summer's 3 #SpaceForCycling rides.

    - Draw up plans of proposals of segregated cycle tracks and redesigned junctions and send them to your council

    - Press your local authority for 20mph limits in all residential streets

    - Join your local London Cycling Campaign group in your borough and attend their monthly meetings

    - Write to your local authority whenever you come across dangerous, badly designed, or substandard cycle facilities - as Jon correctly says: "If we don't ask, we won't get".