TOPIC: ‘The way we travel now is killing us. We’re the fattest people in Western Europe’ The Times
‘The way we travel now is killing us. We’re the fattest people in Western Europe’ The Times 9 months, 4 weeks ago #107705
I feel like screaming. The solution to so many of the problems our country is facing is right in front of us,Cancer drugs fund must be opened to all, regulator says The Times, all wrapped up in the shape of the bicycle.
Until now, it’s been looked at by many with positive indifference — nothing overtly anti is said or done — rather it’s just a lack of overt support and meaningful actions to make it happen that has so far prevented the bicycle from fulfilling its potential in this country. And that makes me angry,Mulberry uk.
It’s why I was so pleased to be invited to give evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group inquiry and why I am so anxious that this opportunity not be wasted.
I want it to be the springboard that marks a real step change in the way we look at transport in this country. Let’s be honest, the way we travel now is killing us. We’re the fattest nation in Western Europe — 30 per cent of our children are overweight or obese and 30,000 people a year are dying from obesity-related illnesses,Mulberry outlet. Treating this is costing the NHS more than ,Mulberry uk?5 billion a year.
If the environment were different, I truly believe almost everyone would like to travel by bike and if lots more of us did, we’d be healthier and our cities, towns and villages would be better places to live.
We’ve spent the past 50 years building unimaginative infrastructure catering for the expanding use of the motor vehicle. We’ve designed physical activity out of our environment and consequently a lot of our roads and junctions are a mess. They don’t encourage people to use bicycles.
In West Kirby, the small town where I live, there is a typical example of how we have subtly, probably unthinkingly, discouraged cycling and walking.
It’s a T-junction, perfectly ordinary, with large, curved corners and a pedestrian island slightly set back from the junction to “help” pedestrians get halfway across the busy intersection. By having those simple curved corners and removing the severity of the bend, traffic does not have to slow down as much, making it much more intimidating for cyclists and pedestrians to navigate.
To compound matters, the set-back pedestrian island makes it more difficult to see traffic coming in advance of crossing, so there are often near-misses. The onus is clearly all on the cyclist and pedestrian to “stay safe by keeping out of the way of the car”.
It’s because of the subtle but systematic thinking that came up with this solution that fewer people routinely cycle and walk. It is innocuous-looking obstacles to cycling and walking like this, hidden in plain sight, that mean I won’t let my kids ride through their own village to get to the park, and it’s tragic,Mulberry outlet.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be like this, our Government can change it. With small, relatively inexpensive modifications, such as a 20mph limit and sharper corners that force traffic to slow, my village could be a more pleasant place for people,cheap ghd. God forbid there could even be signs that say “Cars give way to pedestrians and cyclists”!
We know that lots of people want to cycle. British Cycling membership has doubled in two years and since the excitement of London 2012 we’ve never been busier helping to get people on to bikes.
Competitive events are over-subscribed and more people are riding to work or just to have fun. So the demand is there, but we can only do so much within the current constraints.
Along with our friends at other organisations such as the CTC and the London Cycling Campaign, we’ve been working with The Times on the Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, calling for a complete change in the way the Government looks at cycling.
Political leadership is the key here. Governments in countries such as Holland and Denmark,cheap ghd, who were headed in the same direction as us in the 1970s, said “no” and created transport policies that put people first, making cycling and walking their preferred modes of transport in towns and cities.
And — in less than 40 years — look at the difference. We need our Government to do the same, otherwise what is the alternative? What will the place we live in look like in ten years’ time? Will it be the place you’d want to live in or bring up your kids?
We need to be ambitious, set ourselves tangible, quantifiable, targets — only then will we have a yardstick against which we can measure our every action and policy. This is how we go about winning Olympic Gold medals, as we know it’s the only way,ghd hair straighteners.
I think the overriding target in this case should be to get back to the level of cycling we had in this country when the Olympics were here in 1948: 15 per cent. That’s a long way from where we are today at 2 per cent but with the right political leadership it’s perfectly achievable. In Germany, they’ve grown cycling from 9 per cent to 14 per cent in just the last ten years — more evidence it’s do-able.
To get a significant proportion of us back on our bikes we need to put cycling at the heart of our policy-making,christian louboutin. As the Get Britain Cycling report details, it’s all obvious stuff and certainly a lot easier than winning the Tour de France.
For example, in my own village, with just small modifications such as a 20mph limit and sharper corners that force traffic to slow down, it could be a more pleasant place for people.
And if we fail it won’t be because people don’t like cycling,Swindon held after late penalty drama The Times, it will be because it’s just easier in the short term to do nothing, to pretend we can’t afford it, to say it’s someone else’s responsibility or pretend we’ll do it without making an honest long-term commitment,cheap ghd,Forecasters tell a tale of two climates The Times.
It’s apathy and lack of leadership that will continue to make us fat and our roads unpleasant places. This is the reason for my pent-up anger and frustration, so I wait with bated breath to see just what actually happens as a result of this report. You should too . . ,christian louboutin uk.
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