Cars are anti-democratic…

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  • Cars are anti-democratic…
  • brooess
    Member

    Mayor of Bogata for Mayor of London!

    Some interesting viewpoints and ideas here…

    e.g. not only car drivers have the right to get around without the risk of being hurt

    In America in 1900 nobody was killed by cars in the USA, between 1920 and 1930, almost 200,000 people were killed by cars in the USA…

    Is the private motor car and its dominance throughout the 20th century (instead of putting the money to a properly effective public transpost system) one of the most rubbish ideas we’ve ever had?

    oldnick
    Member

    Public transport would work brilliantly for me, being a self employed handyman with a car full of tools.

    ninfan
    Member

    In America in 1900 nobody was killed by cars in the USA,

    In 2011, New York had 234 people killed in road accidents, 134 were pedestrians

    in 1900, New York had 200 people killed in accidents with Horses and Horse drawn carriages

    Interestingly, Julius Caesar banned horse-drawn carts from ancient Rome between dawn and dusk in an effort to curb gridlock, noise, accidents, and pollution 😆

    Premier Icon wiggles
    Subscriber

    In 2011, New York had 234 people killed in road accidents, 134 were pedestrians

    in 1900, New York had 200 people killed in accidents with Horses and Horse drawn carriages

    and accounting for population increase that probably works out way more were killed in 1900 per person

    ninfan
    Member

    Yup, roughly double 😀

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    oldnick wrote:

    Public transport would work brilliantly for me, being a self employed handyman with a car full of tools.

    I’m sure one of these would work fine for you:

    oldnick
    Member
    CountZero
    Member

    Things were so much better in the olden days…

    Oh, and being faced with maybe a five or six mile walk to get to the nearest railway station, because there were no rural buses, or taxis, or cars, only horseback, if you happened to own a horse, or horse and carriage if really posh.
    Yes, the car was really undemocratic, allowing people to travel further than the next village, when they wanted.

    nikk
    Member

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVQiEJW7RWg[/video]

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    countzero wrote:

    Oh, and being faced with maybe a five or six mile walk to get to the nearest railway station, because there were no rural buses, or taxis, or cars, only horseback, if you happened to own a horse, or horse and carriage if really posh.
    Yes, the car was really undemocratic, allowing people to travel further than the next village, when they wanted.

    Because of course cars were available to all 🙄

    Strangely enough it appears the bicycle actually fulfilled the function you’re attributing to the car.

    samuri
    Member

    The bizarre thing is that on a cycling website, people are still struggling to see the utterly obvious answer.

    No-one is suggesting for a minute that *everyone* suddenly ditches their car and starts making their way around on a bicycle. Even in places that embrace cycle commuting as a way of life don’t do this.

    The point is that the more people who cycle, the more good cycle infrastructure we build, the more we make bikes be the priority, the better things get *for everyone*.
    You need to get around in your van with tools, it’ll way better because there’s less cars and the bikes are over there, out of the way.
    You need to move house, no problem. You can use a lorry to do it (although plenty of people in cycle-orientated cities move house on their bikes).
    Are you disabled? No problem, you can get around by car.
    Lazy? Still no problem, you can get around by car and it will be much better because there’s not so many cars.

    It works. Those places that make these changes can show that very, very clearly it works, and really quickly too. It saves money, it makes things better for PEOPLE and it absolutely is the right thing to do. What’s immensely frustrating is trying to get everyone to see this.

    fingerbike
    Member

    Public transport would work brilliantly for me, being a self employed handyman with a car full of tools.


    😛

    winston_dog
    Member

    The point is that the more people who cycle, the more good cycle infrastructure we build, the more we make bikes be the priority, the better things get *for everyone*.

    Wishful thinking.

    The Netherlands are probably the most cycle friendly country in Europe, an excellent cycling infrastructure which I wish we had.

    However, have you ever driven in Rotterdam? It’s a nightmare and the congestion is really bad. Even with their cycling infrastructure the vast majority still use cars.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I was going to jump on the OP’s extremely dodgy use of statistics, but that was already done by post 4, well done everyone 🙂

    Anyway. Tax rebates for cyclists I reckon.

    5thElefant
    Member

    Strangely enough it appears the bicycle actually fulfilled the function you’re attributing to the car.

    Which was then replaced by the car (motorbike and sidecar in between).

    Bicycles are about as relevant to travel as a horse.

    Premier Icon bails
    Subscriber

    However, have you ever driven in Rotterdam? It’s a nightmare and the congestion is really bad. Even with their cycling infrastructure the vast majority still use cars

    56% apparently, so a majority, but not really that ‘vast’. And 700% of the level of bike use of a typical UK city. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modal_share

    And a big +1 to what Samuri said. So many of these debates become
    A:”We should use single occupancy cars for fewer journeys, especially short ones”
    B: “But my 140 year old Nan has got no legs and she needs to drive 400 miles to the nearest supermarket through a polar bear filled mountain range to buy a wardrobe and 500 housebricks every week. Do you want her to die and be eaten by bears?! DO YOU?! WHY DO YOU HATE MY NAN!!!??”

    When in actual fact it’s just that we’re saying that some of us could change some of our journeys to something other than driving 2 tonnes of metal a mile and half to pick up 300g of newspaper. At the moment our roads are built in such a way that anything other than the motorcar (or motorbike) is excluded, which means that most people drive, and I don’t blame them. Cycling in towns and cities is quite often dangerous and unpleasant and or inconvenient. If we make it easier and (subjectively) safer then more people will do it. If we do that then we end up with less pollution, less inactivity related death and disease, less congestion and quicker journeys for the people who *need* to be in a car.

    Think about how much better traffic is during the school holidays. It only takes a few % drop in car numbers to have a massive effect on traffic flow and congestion.

    5thElefant
    Member

    When in actual fact it’s just that we’re saying that some of us could change some of our journeys to something other than driving 2 tonnes of metal a mile and half to pick up 300g of newspaper.

    There’s an even simpler solution. Get your newspaper delivered. Forget that, read it online.

    You don’t need to go to a shop for anything anymore. I doubt half the population needs to leave the house to work.

    brooess
    Member

    I was going to jump on the OP’s extremely dodgy use of statistics

    ahem, Mayor of Bogata’s actually 😀 which he used to justify massive improvements in the quality of life in his city

    Premier Icon amedias
    Subscriber

    Lazy? Still no problem, you can get around by car and it will be much better because there’s not so many cars.

    And there’s the glaring hole in your otherwise sound argument, most people are lazy, the people who want to do these things already do, making the ones who don’t want to do it do it is the challenge.

    Replace car with ‘teleportation device’ and most people would choose that just because it’s less effort, even if it cost a lot, was smelly, and bad for you, they’d still choose it…

    willard
    Member

    The point is that the more people who cycle, the more good cycle infrastructure we build, the more we make bikes be the priority, the better things get *for everyone*.

    Been to Cambridge recently? It’s a bloody nightmare to got around despite being very much a cycling city. Yes, there are ways I could get into town without a car, but I would still need to use a car to get to the park & ride unless I felt like taking the twice a day bus, or risking my life cycling the 12 miles into town on my bike.

    Gah! I should just stop complaining. I only have to go in to town once in a while when we need something other than food.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Cars have their place in transport infrastructure. Ideally though a lot smaller than their current place…

    gwaelod
    Member

    Excellent essay on this sort of thing by a bloke called John Adams – he calls it Hypermobility

    http://john-adams.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2006/hypermobilityforRSA.pdf

    One thing not covered in previous posts is that cars are only for certain members of society…some sections of society – notably children – are automatically disenfranchised in society that encourages car use.

    Peyote
    Member

    According to this website : http://www.poverty.org.uk/75/index.shtml

    Cars are very democratic, it’s only at the margins where they cease to be so. Therefore if you’re not in the bottom 30% of the population by income (give or take) you’re fine. Lower than that you’re screwed as far as society (public services, retail, leisure, work etc…) is concerned.

    But the top 70% are fine thanks! Democracy = the tyranny of the majority.

    shermer75
    Member

    Bicycles are about as relevant to travel as a horse.

    There are around half a million journeys made by bicycle every day in London. I’m still trying to find the data for commutes by horse…

    London transport info

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    Public transport would work brilliantly for me, being a self employed handyman with a car full of tools.

    Leaving aside the fact that I often see a handyman riding his bike pulling a trailer full of tools, surely anything that reduces the traffic on the road would benefit you getting about in your van?

    A big study done where I live, prior to becoming a cycle demonstration town, found that 1 in 3 car journeys were short enough to do by bike, done by someone healthy enough to ride a bike, didn’t require anything heavy or bulky to be carried, and were carried out by someone who owned a bike.

    The only barrier to getting 1 in 3 cars off the road are cultural and safety issues.

    willard
    Member

    Add “environmental” into that mix and you have why I don’t cycle commute more often.

    When it’s wet or cold or dark, suddenly it becomes a damn sight more dangerous for me to cycle into work, even with more lights on the bike than that house down the road has on it’s front right now. I have life insurance, but don’t fancy having my wife cash it in.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Cycling in towns and cities is quite often dangerous and unpleasant and or inconvenient.

    Hmm. I’m not sure it is, actually. People THINK it is, but since I’ve always done it I’m good at it and completely used to it.

    It’s a question of perception. If it becomes normal to go places by bike and we can get people doing it from a young age (with good training and education for everyone) then we won’t really have to do much to our infrastructure.

    EDIT well.. generally not.. there are still some bad roads I suppose.

    shermer75
    Member

    ‘Cycling in towns and cities is quite often dangerous and unpleasant and or inconvenient.’

    Hmm. I’m not sure it is, actually. People THINK it is, but since I’ve always done it I’m good at it and completely used to it.

    It’s a question of perception. If it becomes normal to go places by bike and we can get people doing it from a young age (with good training and education for everyone) then we won’t really have to do much to our infrastructure.

    This ^^.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    As for it being cold and wet – the more MTFU that can be distributed by the Ministry of Get a Grip, the better off society will be.

    I never get why on a cycling website some people can’t see that cycling has a place as a one of the solutions to easing congestion in towns and cities.

    Currently, the average Briton makes more than 10 times as many journeys of less than a mile than he/she does by bike. Less than a mile for God’s sake! I find that pretty worrying. Making it easier, safer and more pleasant to make those journeys on foot or by bike is a win for everyone

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I never get why on a cycling website some people can’t see that cycling has a place as a one of the solutions to easing congestion in towns and cities.

    Who’s saying that?

    Premier Icon bails
    Subscriber

    I never get why on a cycling website some people can’t see that cycling has a place as a one of the solutions to easing congestion in towns and cities.
    —-
    Who’s saying that?

    5thelefant:

    Bicycles are about as relevant to travel as a horse

    edit: And the ‘I’m alright Jack so we don’t need infrastructure’ approach can’t be the way forward. Roads, as they are curently, are subjectively unpleasant, dangerous places for cyclists. Danger from motor traffic is the major factor consistently cited as the reason not to cycle by non-cyclists. I’m fit, ‘assertive’, trained to bikability level 3 and a competent bike handler, so I’m mostly ok. But Mrs B isn’t. We went to Lanzarote and rode along a segregated path on ‘Dutch’ bikes and she loved it. But she won’t ride a bike on the roads here because it’s a pretty horrible experience for a novice. She’ll happily walk along the pavement though. The statistical risks might be similar but the subjective experience is loads better.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Huh.. better put my bike away then and start driving around for work.

    Beat me to it …

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I dunno what all those hundreds of cyclists on Blackfriars Road are doing every morning either. Get them back in their cars, get some congestion going. No-one likes empty roads.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    No-one likes empty roads.

    We’d not want the roads to be empty after all those hard-working drivers have paid all that road tax, would we? 🙂

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    And the ‘I’m alright Jack so we don’t need infrastructure’ approach can’t be the way forward. Roads, as they are curently, are subjectively unpleasant, dangerous places for cyclists.

    You’re missing the point. I’m no different to any other able bodied healthy 30-something. I’m alright, so there’s no reason millions of other people shouldn’t also be alright.

    The only difference between me and them is that I’m used to it, and I know how to deal with it. If you got someone from the 1900s and brought them to the present they’d think driving was dangerous and unpleasant too I’d imagine.

    You acknowledged my point – roads are subjectively unpleasant and dangerous. With education and a cultural shift (on both sides) this can be changed. I think this is more important than building cycleways, but I’m aware that building cycleways might also help the cultural shift.

    Btw the empty roads comment – my hotel in London is on Blackfriars road and as I walk to the office there are hardly any cars even at 9am but dozens and dozens of cyclists at any moment. If they were all in cars the road would be heavily congested!

    globalti
    Member

    All the people who are taking part in this discussion are making one fundamental mistake:

    You are all cyclists and are assuming that the general public are even capable of getting on a bike then riding it more than half a mile before collapsing exhausted, especially as most of them would go out and buy full-suspension BSOs with underinflated knobbly tyres and a vertical sitting position for extra wind resistance.

    That’s even before you get to the issue of seat comfort, luggage carrying, heaters, radios, weather protection and of course all that protective metal around them.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    shermer75 wrote:

    There are around half a million journeys made by bicycle every day in London. I’m still trying to find the data for commutes by horse…

    Well one mum at my kids school occasionally does the school run by horse. Mind you that still makes it less relevant to transport than a unicycle 😉

    I’m assuming 5thElefant drives to trail centres with his bike on the roof of his Audi.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    You are all cyclists and are assuming that the general public are even capable of getting on a bike then riding it more than half a mile before collapsing exhausted

    Hmm. I know plenty of people who could easily pootle around a flat town, and I also know plenty of people who play football and run but don’t cycle anywhere.

    Then there’s also the fact that if it were normal to cycle around they wouldn’t be fat and unfit in the first place. Most of us aren’t born fat and unfit after all.

    Don’t get me wrong – we can’t get lazy pepole on their bikes overnight. The cultural shift will take a generation or two. Judging by the numbers of young people out on bikes in London it could already be happening. Many of them are even wearing helmets and high viz, which would’ve been too un-cool to contemplate when I was that age.

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