Amen to decades of motoring damage

For decades the number of cars and commercial vehicles on the roads has increased rapidly. There are far too many. The virus has had a positive effect on miles driven but unless firm action is taken now, chaos and pollution will return.

Banning cars or lorries is ridiculous, greatly reducing their numbers is very sensible. Democratic governments are pusillanimous and afraid of the ‘motoring lobby’. However, the tobacco lobby was once, like the motoring lobby now, extremely powerful. Eventually government determination was triumphant and without prohibiting smoking, drastically reduced it. Repeat that for cars and lorries!

Too many vehicles, whether powered by petrol, diesel, electricity, hydrogen or steam cause traffic jams and will always force huge sums of money to be spent on road upkeep. Driving everywhere in cars does nothing for the obesity which shames Britain. So . . . . .

1) Transport ministers should hang a large notice on their walls which asks a question they could never answer – ‘Just why should railways make a profit?’

Railways should be a service for all, not a source of funding. We gave railways to the world and should cherish them. Beeching was madness. Rail, whether passenger or freight, should be the first choice for medium and long distance transport. Subsidising them where necessary makes sense.

2) One car per household should be enforced within 5 years. Britain and Taiwan (USA too?) should receive government orders for 20 / 30 million or more conventional and electric bikes to be made available to the public at 50% or less of current prices. People could then ride to work or to a railway station and every train would have a dedicated coach / wagon for the free carriage of bicycles at all times and secure sheds at stations for their storage (some progress already on this latter point).

3) Despite some lovely rural areas and attractive towns, Britain has to be one of the worst places in western Europe to ride a bike. Cycle lanes, if they exist at all, may often be nothing more than a faded white line somewhere near the kerb with a surface of drain covers, pot holes, litter and broken glass.

4) Every bike should have a licence and its owner insured. Irresponsible riding should be punished and all bikes kept roadworthy. Until proved otherwise motorists should be deemed at fault if they hit cyclists or pedestrians and cyclists if they hit pedestrians.

5) Ambulances, fire engines and taxis do not threaten us, vast excesses of cars and lorries do.

6) The NHS would gain hugely from the above proposition and so would mental health and overall quality of life in Britain. Is there a single cogent argument against it?

 

 

2033-11

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