Getting on my bike...

I discovered a very interesting fact last night, which I have sourced to Transport2000, and the fact is this: only 13% of journeys in Outer London are made on public transport!

Although I have been walking and cycling more, I have to admit that some of those car journeys were me.

So what stops me from getting out of my car*:
· because I know I can park somewhere, generally for free, when I get to the other end
· because I am terrified of sharing a road with cars, when I’m on my bike and only really cycle across the park to go to the shops
· because I’m worried if I leave my bike anywhere for too long, it will get nicked
· because although it’s very easy for me to get into the centre of London by public transport, getting across town usually means about 2 or 3 connections

I’m not personally that worried about safety…my night bus usage has dropped a lot in recent years: although that’s more a function of age and going to bed early than fear! However, I know other people are and I do try not to travel anywhere on buses between say, 3 and 5pm, because I do find being on a bus full of school kids at times intimidating.

I find it frustrating that Ken Livingstone has really focused all his attention on reducing congestion in the centre and inner London boroughs (quite successfully to be fair, I'm not frustrated by that). However, all his transport strategy aims for in outer London is that the rise in traffic slows. So, in effect, he is targeting an increase in car use in outer London!

For me, personally, the biggest thing to get me out of my car would be a larger, more connected network of cycle lanes; ones that separate me from cars and lorries completely. I think a lot has been done in central London around this, but we need more in outer London. Oh, and can we somehow design cycle routes that don’t disappear when we get to the hard bits like one-way systems and roundabouts! That’s the bit when I need them the most!

I also have a suspicion that if we sorted out school transport, made it a more attractive to parents, who think that kids on buses now have a sort of mobile Lord of the Flies thing going on and don’t want theirs part of it, then we might just get the school run cars off the road. That would reduce car use, and does during holidays, by 20% alone!

*I am aware that you can walk and cycle and still not be going on public transport.


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