The Lengths I’ll Go…

No frogs this morning – it seems they’re all oop north – so I’ve had to take desperate measures and extend my cycle ride out to Queenstown Road instead of Vauxhall in the hunt for blogging material. Oh, OK then, getting fit may also have had something to do with it – my regular pootle is so undemanding these days that I don’t even bother to change gears. Queenstown Road is the Station That Time Forgot, and promises a rich seam of disgruntlement, as does the ride there and back: from the muttering man on the platform to people who insist on crossing roads trailing dogs on twenty-foot leashes, all this and more on coming soon on a weblog near you.

But one thing the journey did today was remind me of the Tory transport minister* back in the eighties who said it wasn’t government policy to encourage cycling because the statistics in Britain (unlike Holland) showed that it tended to shorten your life, not lengthen it. Since then, we’ve got all sorts of government campaigns urging us out on our bikes more, and all sorts of badly drawn pictures of bicycles stencilled onto our roads, but I wonder if anyone’s ever gone back to re-do the maths. It’s surely no coincidence that the symbol we use for a bike lane is a flattened bike with no rider – that does seem to be the most likely consequence of actually trying to use one. Up to now, I’ve used back roads and parks and it’s been fine, but now I’m out there on the main roads it’s scary stuff. The Tories, God love’em, were wrong about pretty much everything, but at least they were disarmingly honest. The lot we have now is quite capable of sending us out on our bikes with a cheery wave and a grin to fulfil some target they’ve dreamt up, without remembering to mention that we’re about to knock five years off our life expectancy in the process.

Still, I have my yellow jacket, so I should be fine. And if I’m not – oh what a blog that would be.

*I have absolutely no idea. I said I was interested in politics, not obsessed.

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9 responses to “The Lengths I’ll Go…

  1. Almost blogging about politics! You can’t be that desperate surely? As you’ve tagged the entry as Cycling maybe not.

  2. it’s a slippery slope … I’ll try and avoid the topic in future

  3. Research probably shows a connection between the government encouraging cycling and the pensions crisis. Probably.

  4. Ahhh, yes, I never like to use cycle lanes, in fact sometimes I even avoid them when using a road with one, they’re just not safe! Hope to hear extended, none flatness related entries soon 😛

  5. Spirit of the age

    An engineering company that advises local authorities on sustainable transport projects has banned its staff from bicycling because it is too dangerous. Jacobs Babtie – which is supposed to be helping Transport for London meets its target of a fivefold increase in cycling by 2025 – has told staff at its 36 offices that they must drive or use public transport.

    “It is patently obvious that if you are struck by a wayward vehicle when you are on a bicycle you are going to be more severely affected than if you were in a car,” reads a memo from the company’s health and safety manager-though it goes on to concede that this policy “could be construed as being at odds with our environmental policy”.

    (c) THE WEEK 14 July 2007

  6. Mr. Devil – you’re a cynic. No, really
    Pete – especially when they send you straight into the side of a bus stop…
    Jim – yes, I’d heard about that one. It doesn’t seem to be based on any actual evidence though, just ‘it is patently obvious’ – but then that’s H&S for you…

  7. I think they are worried about the pensions crisis when we all get old so are hoping to kill as many off as possible while they’re still too fit and too young to claim…

  8. -laughs-
    an interesting observation you made there…. of course, on signposts cars are represented having no drivers – in fact, it’s only horses and motorbikes that are depicted as having riders (as I recall correctly) even buses are devoid of drivers _and_ passengers…

    So we all need to ride motorbikes or horses. Excellent!

  9. bs – but what will they do with all the otherwise fit and healthy quadriplegics they’re creating? They’ll need to make sure the drivers finish us off properly …
    m – I’d not noticed about the cars, but I suppose you’re right.

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