Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mixed Success in Scotland

The Herald reports "Children in the town of Bishopbriggs, near Glasgow, have brought about something akin to a cycling revolution, with the numbers of pupils riding to and from school approaching levels normally seen in mainland Europe."

Well - the cycle-to-school levels are 8% in primary schools and 4% in secondaries, so don't get too excited.

Meanwhile, the Express reports "Scots igore pleas to get on their bikes as car use rises." They quote a spokesperson from the so-called Association of British Drivers (a right-wing petrolhead lobby group):

“People pay out a lot of money to buy a car and pay for tax, repairs and petrol...as the winter comes in, they’re wasting time trying to get people to give up their cars, as most people would rather brave the cold in the comfort of their vehicles.”

You know what - he's got a point. Asking people nicely is to stand at a bus stop in a Scottish winter doesn't sound like the smartest strategy. You'd have more success selling holidays to Afghanistan. Also, the marginal cost of driving a couple of miles is cheaper than using public transport. Cycling on Scotland's roads is only for the brave. Until the marginal cost of driving a mile is more reflective of its true cost to society, and the consequences of car-dependency are taken account of in transport policy, most people will stay in the comfort of their vehicles, and Scottish hospitals will continue to pick up the tab for their inactive lifestyles.

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