Things started to go a bit awry once the Americans started putting catalytic converters on cars, all in the name of reducing emissions, which of course made its way to the UK. They made car engines less powerful so more petrol was used to achieve the same speeds as before. Cars got heavier too, which reduced injuries and deaths, although cars again, required more petrol than before. Efforts were made to improve miles per gallon, especially when we had the fuel shortages in the 70s.
All in all, cars have been a great boon for most people. Traffic jams are pretty tedious and the taxes that have been levied on cars and motorists despicable. It’s a pity that something, which came along and improved people’s lives, has become an enemy to others.
Some people dislike SUV or 4x4s because they pollute more. More than what? A Smart car? You can’t tell by looking at a vehicle how “environmentally damaging” it is. You can never really tell anyway because there are so many different factors involved.
What are the alternatives then?
I saw a chap, who lives locally, coming back from grocery shopping. His backpack was fairly full but he also had re-enforcements in the shape of his dog which had panniers hanging down it’s sides, one of which was full of stuff. He normally cycles everywhere, sometimes with one of his children in a seat on the back of the bike. Nothing wrong with cycling even if a lot of cyclists haven’t enough experience or have taken any training in how to survive as a cyclist.
Cycling is great. It’s even greater if you live somewhere reasonably flat. It’s less great if you live somewhere where it rains a lot. It’s also not so great if where you live can be windy. Then, there are cobbles to consider? Wet or dry? Wet and you slide all over the place. Dry you get shaken to bits if you manage any sort of speed at all.
It is genuinely great for keeping fit though. More cycle paths, not just lines on the road though, real segregation to protect all road users and pedestrians.
The war on cars continues apace but like all of these things, which some people deem to be dangerous or unhealthy, it is a double-edged sword. The government rakes in billions of pounds from motorists. Reducing the number of cars will reduce the amount of tax money received. What then? A tax on bicycles and licenses for people who use them. What about those wee scooters which school children scoot to school on? Tax them too. Walking? Oh yes it’s a must and a tax on shoes and shoe mending. A tax on zimmer frames also.
It’s an ill wind and all that. (Especially if you’re cycling up a steep cobbled wet street into an ill wind and rain and it’s taking up way, way, way, too much of your time.