‘After flooding and fatberg, motorists face misery again,’ runs the doom-and-gloom headline. But seriously – how much sympathy are we supposed to have?Well, I have a lot. I’d hate to face Oxford traffic, after all. The place is full of embittered Greens who hate any form of motorised progre… Oh. Right.
Way too many people drive into this cramped city day in day out. Traffic edges from queue to queue around the city, stop-start, its polluting cocktail of emissions seeping into the city like cyanide running through veins.But maybe they ha…
Some, presumably, “have to” . But what about the vast majority who don’t? Wedded to their cars, they continue to drive, hopelessly, without apparently ever considering the alternatives. What goes on inside their heads?Probably don’t want to be considered a smug little tosser in lycra. Like you, for instance.
I had a meeting recently with someone who drives in to work in Headington every day on the same route. He arrived 45 minutes late for our 9am appointment with a “Sorry. Dreadful traffic” ‘ I smiled, not unaccustomed myself to occasional tardiness – always my own dilly-dallying fault. However, I thought: “But you ARE the traffic and you make this trip every single day. The park-and-ride bus stops less than 100 metres from your office. And what about cycling?”Why did you just think it? Surely he’d have benefitted enormously from the pearls of wisdom to eager to drop from your lips? It would have made for a much more , err, dynamic meeting, surely?
But it wasn’t that kind of a meeting. Sad though to see a perfectly able commuter fail to grasp the nettle.Yes, it’s because he just doesn’t understand. It’s clearly not because he prefers to drive, enjoying the solitude, safety, comfort and weather-proofing of his vehicle over a bike. That’s just unthinkable!
Back on Cowley Road I was musing on people’s poor decision-making. Now don’t get me wrong – I am not anti-car. Far from it! I love my car and enjoy using it, but not in the city.So basically you hate other motorists? You want to be provided with an open road all to yourself? Well, who doesn’t?
My reverie was broken by a rather beautiful sight: a guy in his 50s with a short grey goatee on a long, low Bullitt cargo bike. He was stuck in traffic the same as all the cars and buses, but he stood apart, a solution, not a part of the problem.Really? So….they weren’t going anywhere, he wasn’t going anywhere. In what sense is he the solution, then?
The day I saw him he was delivering 100 kilos of coffee from Witney to cafes in Oxford. There are some great photos of his laden Bullitt cargo bike on his Facebook page. These beasts can carry a washing machine and even small sofas. In Holland, Germany and Denmark, DHL uses Bullitts to deliver in cities similar to Oxford, using a cargo hub near the edge of the city and cargo bikes to deliver within. Oxford will no doubt need to do the same very soon.Really? So everyone in Oxford will only ever want ‘small sofas’, will they? And won’t mind shelling out extra to pay for this conscience-soothing mode of delivery? And will be happy to hump said sofa up three flights of stairs to their flat, rather than make the delivery drivers a cup of tea while they do it?
I don’t think you’ve really thought this through…