News‎ > ‎

Conversation with councillor David White

posted May 4, 2017, 5:57 AM by Heather Rainbow

"Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questionnaire.

        First, the confession, I am a lapsed cyclist. However you do not have to be a cyclist, to understand it's benefits, especially for young children. And it is not just exercising in the open air, that benefits. For most children, this is their first taste of independence, This leads to increased self confidence and self esteem.

 So we need to encourage more children into cycling. I appreciate what you say about, the need for more training, however there are many demands on taxpayers' money. We must protect what we have, as Hampshire County Council, are always looking to save money.

        The future of cycling? We must be realistic and accept that the majority of people are not going to give up their cars. Electric car technology although improving, is still many years away from replacing all fossil fueled cars. So we are stuck with cars, and the resultant air pollution for some years to come.

        To minimise car pollution, we need to keep car traffic moving, as this is when cars are emitting the least pollution. But we also need to provide safe routes for cyclists. But these cycling lanes need to be properly planned. Look at London, at great expense, they have restricted traffic flow to accommodate cycle lanes. So motorists sit in traffic jams, emitting noxious fumes, while cycle lanes are virtually empty. This just causes resentment.

 An example in Basingstoke, is the entrance to the Fire Station roundabout from the Worting Road. This was always two lanes, even before a busy supermarket opened, yet a cycle lane was introduced, throttling traffic down to one lane. I use this route regularly, I have never seen a cyclist in this lane, they use the pavement.

        One thing, that Hampshire County Council, must do is increase, the proper filling of potholes, these are lethal to cyclists. In conclusion, we must do all we can to increase cycling, however we must realise, that cyclist and motorists, must coexist, and work towards mutual benefit. However, as always, we are restricted by lack of funds. Perhaps Company sponsorship could be the answer."

 Heather:

Thank you for  replying to the questionnaire and being so honest and forthright.

Secondly I respect your opinion on car versus cycle travel and accept most of your logic.  

In London most people do not keep or use a car because public transport is very good.  The average speed of car travel was only 12 mph, this was before there were any super cycle lanes.   Regular cyclists travel at a much higher average speed than 12mph. 

The new cycle lanes which I have followed in London have been heavily used.  They also have the support of large employers such as the major blue chip companies and the hospitals although the media mounted a campaign against them - negative news sells papers.

I totally agree with you that the bike lanes near the fire station are pretty useless, even if cyclists were removed from these lanes you would not get a car into a lane that narrow!  Unless bike lanes are sufficiently wide, of good quality and are continuous rather than short stretches they will remain a waste of money, not used, as neither useful nor usable.  (pavements are wider and pretty universal,  cars do not tend to use them unlike the bike lanes so pretty popular with some cyclists)    In London on the other hand you will find wide, continuous bike lanes which are heavily used and therefore reducing motor traffic congestion and a benefit to both cycle and motor travellers.  There has been a huge shift to cycling which also means less pollution which benefits everybody.  

Only if we have satisfactory infrastructure will a change to bike be possible, have a look at Denmark and Copenhagen as reported in the Guardian on https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/nov/30/cycling-revolution-bikes-outnumber-cars-first-time-copenhagen-denmark.   In Basingstoke it is extremely inconvenient and difficult to travel  by bike so of course people will prefer their cars even if it is less healthy, it will remain that way until we have decent space for cycling.

Here are pictures of some of the rubbish that cyclists are expected to use https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2009/nov/05/readers-worst-cycle-lanes

thank you again for taking the time for sharing your opinions, ….

David White:

 Thanks for your comments. I must admit the picture of the cycle lane is impressive. The only pictures of cycle lanes in London, I have seen are ones that are empty, next to stationary lines of traffic. However, as always these days, most reporting, is selective biased as to the view you are trying to put across.

As for the Fire Station roundabout approach, I can assure you that before, it was 'messed about with', it had a proper two lane approach. And that goes back probably 25 years.

Anyway keep up your campaigning, and as you have reminded me of the joys and freedom of cycling, I might just get a bike.


Comments