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Letter: Cyclists Help Unblock Traffic Congestion

Published on: 13 Oct, 2015
Updated on: 13 Oct, 2015

A full bike rack on Guildford High Street shows the increasing popularity of cycling in the borough.From Simon Schultz

I think the response to Chris Ogles’ very good letter, Bikes Are the Answer to Guildford’s Traffic Problems, tells you why Guildford has not solved its logistical problems.

As Terry Duckmanton wrote in his comment, every commuter that switches to cycling for a decent fraction of their journeys is a car off the road.

As happened in Copenhagen, which the UK minister for cycling has been visiting this week, if enough people do this, there is a positive feedback effect whereby more feel comfortable to do so, etc.

The result is good for everyone, including those who need to drive on the roads – despite what they may wrongly feel, cyclists actually speed up their commute. If the same cyclist was in a car, they would be clogging up the road.

A little investment in cycling specific infrastructure, if well designed, with the involvement of people who actually cycle, could go a long way in catalysing this. There is really beginning to be a swing towards cycling in London now, as well as substantial popular support – but Surrey is lagging behind.

Of course, Copenhagen is flat but in the age of electric bikes, that no longer matters. As I told myself the first time I was overtaken by a rather unfit looking tourist up a hill.

There isn’t actually a choice. There are clearly no quick fixes for a road network at capacity, and growth is not going to stop. A substantial switch to cycling is, as far as I can see, the only solution that we have available.

To others who have commented: Frank, Jim, Bernard, Brian – I am afraid you are going to have to take up cycling or get used to going nowhere.

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Responses to Letter: Cyclists Help Unblock Traffic Congestion

  1. Brian Holt Reply

    October 13, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    In reply to Simon Shultz, not everyone is fit and young enough to cycle.

    When you get older and your joints have worn out you will know what it is like, and your sight starts to go.

    Are you suggesting that older people should be cycling. And no one mentions the number of cyclist who have lost their lives in London.

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    October 13, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I would love to take up cycling again being a member of the CTC in the 1950s, but the dangers that exist now on the roads are considerable.

    If the CO2 emissions do not get you the juggernauts will!

  3. Simon Schultz Reply

    October 14, 2015 at 8:14 am

    I agree that problems with eyesight will stop you either cycling or driving, although if your eyesight is good enough to drive, it is good enough to cycle. Probably you should stop driving first, as in that case you would actually be endangering others.

    However electric bicycles do enable people to cycle into old age – reducing the difficulty substantially, while still offering a lot of the health benefits.

    CO2 emissions won’t kill you, they may cause a runaway greenhouse effect and kill the planet if we keep burning petroleum at the current rate, but you know what the answer to that is.

    The “juggernauts”, generally speaking, are driven pretty well, I make an exception for “tipper trucks” – white vans are another matter.

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