Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Cycling & The Price of Oil

The prospect of earth's resources running out has not slowed down car travel one whit, neither has it forced people to use public transport more and leave the car at home.  Motorists do seem to have put their heads in the sand regarding this and indeed each year there are more and more cars on the road instead of less.

The price of oil seems to go up virtually on a weekly basis and due the to the troubles in the East it's going to now rise even faster.  Will there come a time when being hit hard in the pocket will eventually make people see sense?

As a child and a young person people walked or cycled everywhere.  My mother, sisters and I regularly walked the 6 miles into the nearest town and thought nothing of it.   Cars were very seldom seen and the workers used cycles or buses to get to work.

It's true that many people travel further out to work now than they used to and owning a car has now become a necessity and not a luxury, but there is still the wastage of cars being brought out onto the road for journeys that could easily be done on foot or cycle. 

In my teens one could hardly cross the road as a pedestrian when the factory workers finished their shift at the end of the evening, for the hundreds of cycles that would come spilling out of the gates.   But of course the motorist then didn't have this attitude that cyclists had no right to be on the road, that cyclists didn't pay towards the up keep of the road ( I Pay Road Tax ).  Cycling then was  far, far safer than it is today.

Will there come a time when our common sense takes over?  Will one day soon petrol become so expensive that those that work a reasonable distance from home will once again get on their bikes, public transport or God forbid actually walk a couple of miles.

Government and local government also need to play their part in encouraging more to cycle for short journeys by creating cycle paths along side all roads and not just a few, and by educating motorists to the right of the cyclist to be on the roads that they also pay for.   Until roads are made safe for cyclists and the fear of cycling is removed, until cyclists are catered for, as are pedestrians and motorists, there will be this continual guzzling by motorised vehicles of the worlds precious oil.


  1. It's like that here to Sandy and I know after having spoken to students, that if the government here made sure the public transport was working as it should, more students would take the bus.

    Not enough cycle paths here either and motorists don't seem to care about those on bikes.

    It takes my younger daughter over an hour to get into work by train and bus and it's only because of the high parking fees that she does this. If she where to take her car she would be at work in 25 minutes!

  2. I think it's the expense of rail travel here that puts people off and the length of time it takes on a bus that makes people jump in the car. Because all this is privatised the government or local governments can't have a hand in what goes on with this.

    Down here far more people do cycle to and fro work than in any other area I have lived in. But this area is far more catered to cyclist as well. Where they haven't been able to put in cycle lanes on the road, they have halved the pavement off. Also because it's country down here, there are many quiet country lanes running parallel with the duel carriage ways or larger roads. So catering for cyclists does work.

    What one does get here is very few children walk to school. They are driven simply because parents are too lazy to walk the younger kids themselves and because the older kids are so used to having a ride that they wont walk.

    Although once again there are far more kids that do cycle to school than other areas. Why? Because the schools do cater for bikes. All the schools down here have locked bike sheds.

    This area could do a lot more to help cyclists, such as have bike lanes on all major roads so that one doesn't have to add journey time onto a rider by nipping around the country lanes to avoid the heavy traffic.

    The other thing here is every mile or so there roundabouts. More bike accidents are caused on roundabouts simmply because neither motorists and cyclists do not seem to know the rules for a cyclist to use a roundabout.

    I believe if a roundabout was marked all the way around with a cycle path all will know that the rule is that a cyclist stays on the outside all the time until time to get off. Cyclists would feel safer and motorists would be aware that they do have a cycle on their left. Whilst those waiting to enter the roundabout would be on the look out for cyclists to pass close to their point of entry.

    So much more could be done.

  3. Not that I cycle at all, but I haven't owned a vehicle for 6 years. I get headaches from exhaust fumes and cannot justify owning or driving that which makes me so ill. It's a blessing to know that life is not so difficult just because I don't drive. I don't worry about insurance or the price of gas, and I'm never tempted to drink and drive! =)
    I think people everywhere who don't pollute should get tax breaks etc.
    In Canada we can get a $1000 rebate for using any alternative fuel. Nice incentive!


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