- Bicycles go faster than unicycles and tricycles
- Bicycle riders wear sportswear, where as unicycle and tricycle riders don't
- Unicycle and tricycle riders sit upright where as bicycle riders don't
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Here are some snaps from the day
Activists in skirts
Thursday, November 26, 2009
"Two lung cancer sufferers are waiting for life-saving radiotherapy. One is a smoker and one a non-smoker. Which gets priority for treatment?
The right answer, of course, is 'neither: free health care is universal and non-prioritised (apologies to US readers), though if I was the doctor I'd be tempted to put the non-smoker first'. But what if the smoker claimed priority because the non-smoker 'doesn't pay hospital tax'?
Nonsense, you'd say: there's no such thing as 'hospital tax'. Oh yes there is, the smoker insists: all that tax I pay on cigarettes pays for the NHS, so the non-smoker has less claim to the treatment than me.
A smoker who claimed this would be held up for public ridicule and contempt. Yet it's exactly the same argument as the certain type of motorist who whinges that 'cyclists don't pay road tax so they should leave the roads to us'.
'Cyclists don't pay road tax' is an urban myth of astounding proportions. More widespread even than the notion that 1970s kids' TV programme Captain Pugwash had characters with very rude names (it didn't); that JFK mistakenly said 'I'm a jam doughnut' in Berlin (he didn't); or that Jeremy Clarkson once wrote something witty.
Now a site called ipayroadtax.com offers to sell you various bits of kit branded with a pretend logo saying that cyclists actually DO pay road tax, because most of us have cars. That's their logo on the right.
It was a wheeze that grew thanks to Twitter by the admirable cycling advocate and journo Carlton Reid (see his fine biking sites bikeforall.net and quickrelease.tv, and his Twitter feed).
Now, anything that might counter certain motorists' tedious and flatly untrue opinions about road funding and raise a bit of awareness is a good thing. If this promotes sensible media debate, and helps destroy this particular urban myth, then great.
But it's a wheeze I can't entirely participate in. I don't have a car, hardly earn enough to pay income tax, and get my T-shirts from East St market for a quid each branded 'Tomy Hifliger' and 'Docle & Gabanna'.
And in any case I'm not entirely clear what it's saying. That it's taxpayers who have the right to use the roads (which are paid for out of general taxation, and council tax, of course)? So not non-taxpayers, then? As a Southwark council-tax payer, do I have more right to use Southwark roads than Lambeth ones?
Maybe there's another answer - to charge cyclists a 'road tax' proportional to the wear and tear they produce compared to cars? The standard figure is that damage to roads is proportional to the fourth power of the axle weight. So a rough figure suggests that a car, which weighs about ten times as much as a cyclist (say 1000kg versus 100kg) should pay 10x10x10x10, or 10,000 times as much in 'road tax'. So if a car pays £100 a year, the cyclist pays 1p. I'd happily pay my next 50 years' 'road tax' now if it would shut up those certain motorists.
But we're getting dangerously close to the Smoker's Defence.
I think instead I'll make a T-shirt that says TAXATION IS IRRELEVANT, I'VE AS MUCH RIGHT TO THE ROAD AS YOU. IN FACT MORE, BECAUSE I HAVE RIGHT OF WAY WHEREAS MOTORISTS USE IT UNDER LICENCE.
No, that'd be too big a T-shirt. Maybe, instead, one that says CAPTAIN PUGWASH IS INNOCENT. Or JFK WAS RIGHT. Hmm. A bit oblique, I'll grant you. Ah, got it: how about 'SOD OFF'?"
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
And this is a great video from a fellow blogger in Australia - check out his site at And So To Bike.
(It takes a while to load but it is well worth it - go and have a cuppa while you're waiting!)
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
But sometimes you hear about some really great things happening ...
Positivity is the key, according to Mikael of Copenhagenize.com
"Pointing behavourial fingers at cyclists serves no good purpose if you don't point the fingers at the other traffic users at the same time. Behavourial campaigns aimed at everyone remove this focus on cyclists and also serves to place the bicycle on an equal footing in the public psyche.
If pointing fingers is your thing, then point them at the most dangerous and destructive elements in cities and towns. The automobiles. By recognising that there is a Bull in Society's China Shop and taking measure to tame it, you place focus logically and correctly on the largest problem.
Getting cyclists to behave like cars is harder than forcing cars to behave like cyclists. Lowering speed limits, building traffic calming measures, etc all help cycling as well as public health through reduced pollution, fewer accidents and less severe accidents, creating more liveable cities, and so on."
In Copenhagen "We reached our destination by following some basic unwritten rules. We didn't bang on about the issues of danger or safety. We didn't point fingers at minority groups like the cyclists. We just built the infrastructure and people figured it out.
I'll make a wager. A city that doesn't highlight the positives about urban cycling – and only the positives, constantly and consequently – will never reach 15-20% modal share for bikes and will not succeed in mainstreaming urban cycling like we're seeing in so many cities around the world.
I'd like very much to lose that bet but I'm quite sure I won't."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I happened upon the NZ road casualty statistics for 2008 the other day and had some thoughts …
The statistics for cars are broken down into drivers and passengers – why? Presumably so that the figures don’t look as horrific as they are. So I decided to put all the people who get hurt in cars in one column.
Once I had tried this, I realised why these figures are in two columns – the injuries are so huge for cars, compared to the forms of transport, that the graph is almost unworkable!
I also noted that cycling is incredibly safe! Even Pedestrians are involved in more accidents than cyclists. On the whole the only form of transport that is safer in traffic is ‘other’ - what ever that is!So just looking at deaths, the only conclusion you can come to is that cars are incredibly dangerous. Also bear in mind that the majority of the deaths in the other columns are due to being hit by (yes, you guessed it) cars!