Cycle lanes … they worry me


Does anyone think reducing the width of a road increases mobility?

Recently in Malta, many of our main arteries are being choked with cycle lanes cutting into the roads in the name of increasing mobility and reducing pollution.

To be honest, whilst I sort of understand the logic, it is a million miles away from reality. Let’s start with heart attacks. Who is really going to cycle between the months of July and September up and down our hilly rock where heat and humidity would test a Tour de France cyclist? And these are the months the traffic is at it’s height due to tourists.

If these cycle lanes cut into and reduce the pavement width I would be prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt as people promenading during these months along artery roads is rarer than a smile at passport control. But with each car in summer shuffling usually four tourists about in a mini car not much longer than a bicycle but going four times quicker, can it really help movement of traffic by narrowing the lanes? Lorries and buses are now perpetually driving like threading a needle adding to jams and pollution as everyone now grinds to a halt to let them squeeze around corners or roundabouts.

...and another thing

The situation in London is even worse with huge cycle lanes along the Embankment outside Parliament, but the car lanes so narrow trucks can get stuck. And when they do there is no space to pass anymore with resultant queues and much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Instant clogged arteries. I can hear the London transport minister sounding like the pigs at the end of Animal Farm, “Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.”

Of course we should acknowledge the Lycra wearing keep fit fanatic who arrives at the office dripping in sweat or rain, but I took to my bike when I lived in London purely because public transportation was so bad. It took me in my fifties less time to cycle from the end of the King’s Road to Oxford Circus (5.4 miles) than taking public transport! If you want to make a dent in traffic volumes it’s never going to be by getting the population to swap to two wheels. It’s comfortable air conditioned subways and buses that don’t require you to fold yourself up like origami to squeeze into a space.

...and another thing

People bleat on about Holland, Belgium, and Denmark’s cycle success. I reckon if I stood on a stepladder I would be the height of the tallest peak in these countries. They are exceedingly cycle friendly. But Rome was built on seven hills as was Paris. Milan is like a Big Dipper, so is Barcelona and many others.

Obviously electric bikes help in hilly towns and are pollution friendly as are electric cars though not as green as you may believe. You think the BMW diesel scandal was misleading, but so is zero carbon electric cars. They pull their supply from the grid whose electricity is generated by hugely polluting power stations. The only clean energy, nuclear fuel is of course like kryptonite to all these anti polluters.

...and another thing

As I inevitably hurtle towards senility and adult diapers, you will have to pull me kicking and screaming from my car. I look forward to  cycle lanes in my electric mobility chair… and assume I can get a souped up one. Toot toot. Parp parp. Only one problem, in most countries including the U.K. mobility scooters are not allowed in bike lanes. Go figure!

Stay safe.

Go Back

Add a comment:

One Comment

  1. Paola says:

    I agree with you about electric cars, as to nuclear power stations we need to be able to use fusion instead of fission , they are already working on it.

Add a comment: