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TOPIC: Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1

Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 08 Jan 2019 22:27 #4337

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Several times I have written to implore car drivers not to pass close to cyclists when overtaking - the Highway Code says leave a car's width, although that may be a little generous in today's times - but yesterday yet another driver passed me almost close enough to brush my arm. One wobble from a pothole, or a stone on the road, or a minor misjudgment and I'd have gone, and bear in mind that I'm long lifetime cyclist. What chance that parents will encourage their children to cycle with selfishness of that order on the streets.

You can explain this behaviour by streets crowded by cars and resultant impatience. By motorists who have been trained at a time when cycling was/still is rare, and perhaps you can explain it by some motorists who seek to intimidate. But cycling on the carriageway is the law, and in most developed nations governments are promoting cycling for many reasons, not least because a driver-only-car takes up such a huge amount of space.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 23 Apr 2019 16:11 #4501

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Below is a piece I wrote a few days ago , but had decided not to dispatch partly because I felt it wasn't appropriate to this website (not a specific local issue), and partly because I suspected that as an issue it was likely to fade away. Now it seems clear that there are people willing to take on the government, not least Greta Thunberg who has traveled by train all the way by train to be here.

This issue matters to everyone, and the younger you are the more that is true

So, there have been lots of people, many on the young side, causing mayhem in UK’s major cities; and, notably for those of us who live in London, campaigning about climate change and other problems under the heading of ‘Extinction Rebellion’. Not an issue particular to Palmers Green and this website, but carbon emissions and their causes are vital to all our futures.

Which of course includes those of us who live in and around Palmers Green. And, according to climate scientists worldwide – including Sir David Attenborough in his documentary “Climate Change: The Facts” on Thursday evening last (18 April 2019) – the time we have to rectify the problem is very short. Indeed, unless we make big changes in the way we live there will be world-wide disaster in the lifetime of most people alive today. Television, radio and the newspapers have been full of the issue; by the end of that day most people in the UK at least would have been brought up-to-date with the latest projections for the liveability of the planet.

The following morning, Good Friday, I biked fairly early north along Green Lanes. The traffic was bowling along as normal, with the usual – in this area at least – high quota of unnecessarily large, driver-only cars. Probably quite a few of those journeys could have been made on public transport or by bike, and perhaps some of them on foot. Which would have been a help because, although cars are very far from being the only cause of climate damage, they are a significant part of it. Wonderfully flexible and adaptable they may be, but the downsides are considerable and not only for their consequences for climate change; lots has been written on this website about their effect on air quality.

Of course the lorries which run along motorways and squirm through our streets outclassing trains in flexibility are also a significant contributor to climate change. Which is especially a pity because trains powered by electricity are so much more fuel and air quality efficient, but of course companies left with a free hand choose the cheapest transport option rather than the best environmental option, in this case diesel lorries with their many drawbacks both for air quality and climate change.

Personally I now feel guilty about having given up on climate change campaigning in recent years, which is why I decided to write this piece. Guilty because I used to campaign on the issue, though perhaps not as rigorously as I should have done, and also because she and me do have a gas boiler, and have flown very occasionally: once to Cyprus because she is a Cypriot, once to Canada/America, and a couple of times coming home from Germany where we have relatives. Otherwise we normally travel by train which is most likely to have the least environmental consequence.

Which begs the question: to have a fulfilled and happy life do we really have to travel as much as many of us do?

With all this in mind I salute the mayhem on London’s streets, and particularly the very young Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, who has done so much to bring the issue of climate change to the fore, and has recently come to London to join our protesters. She and protesters everywhere are putting our Government – past and present – to shame. If the protesters are still campaigning tomorrow we will be with them.

PS. Extinction Rebellion’s website covers far more than climate change, but discussion about other aspects of future problems are not necessarily matters we can affect by personal action.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 03 May 2019 17:42 #4509

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
The details have been published in Enfield Council documents, and apparently on appropriate websites though I haven't followed that up, but just in case you've not come across the figures the new cycle lanes have so far increased cycling journeys along them by 52%. Apparently sensors counting journeys were embedded below the surface.

Personally I was pleasantly surprised by that amount of growth, though from experience of cycling along them myself I would have said that there has been a worthwhile increase.

A few days ago with time to spare mid-morning I watched the traffic on Green Lanes go by for a bit; the proportion of driver-only large cars was staggering. Not at all scientific, but it must indicate that if we could find a way there is still plenty of improvements to be made. Perhaps the recent pressure from climate science will help in making those improvements.

Certainly the need to reduce the number of car journeys is now very clear.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 14 Nov 2019 21:51 #4912

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Really since this website was set up I have on occasion complained that drivers often pass me on my 'bike' far, far too closely - one wobble caused by a pothole or a stone on the carriageway and ................... . The Highway Code says no closer than a cars width, although on today's crowed roads that may be hard to achieve.

On the other hand some drivers should read their Highway Code more closely, and do what they can. Cyclists have every right to be there, and for short driver-only journeys in towns and villages I'd say a cyclist often a has the greater right; they take up little room, cause much less wear to the carriageway, make no emissions and are strengthening there own 'wellbeing'.

When road space is low cars behind cyclists should generally wait for however long road/traffic conditions dictate. Most cyclists would in any case try find a way to make passing possible. On the other hand over the last five years I have twice had a car pass me close enough to brush my clothing. That doesn't feel like a lot of fun.

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