Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
bike to the future
A recent message board post suggested that we should oppose cycleways. This may have been a valid argument 20 years ago, as a reaction to the dinosaur thinking of some of the cycle groups in the 80s, but I really don't think it applies today.
Look ahead 20 years. Cheap oil will have disappeared from the market. Private cars will be the preserve of a few very rich people. Air travel will be the same. Economies will be much more locally and regionally based. Roads will fall into disuse as people refuse to pay taxes to maintain them. Railways will be being feverishly rebuilt across the country. Cities and larger towns will be rushing to build tramways. Rail will be in the ascendant ...
But even rail requires energy. A new nuclear industry may well allow many lines to be electrified, as long as uranium remains available. Many lines will use wood burning steam. But a transport system that requires almost no energy at all should also be allowed to flourish - the bike. There is already a reasonably large cycleway network in the UK, but Sustrans struggles to raise the money to keep it going, let alone expand. Some Sustrans routes use rail trackbeds that will inevitably have to revert to rail in the future. But of course within a decade or two there will be a whole new resource for Sustrans to transform - the dying road network! This should mean that a transformation of our transport from road to rail and bike should be fairly easy to achieve. Railways will be able to take the medium to long distance traffic, plus freight, whilst the cycleways will allow individuals and families to range up to 10 or 20 miles from their homes. The climate will benefit, people's health will benefit, wildlife and the countryside will flourish and we'll still be able to keep a reasonably high standard or living.
So let's not pretend the rail revivalists and cyclists are somehow at odds, we're actually destined to work TOGETHER in the future. Rather than knock Sustrans let's join in droves and invite them to join us ...