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Just moved to the city after 36 years in the sticks and came across this article about cars in the city (Edinburgh specifically). Although primarily from a pedestrian's view point, it's still pertinent to cyclists. Couln't agree more with the sentiments. Some interesting comments too.

https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2019/04/17/car-free-futures/

11 comments

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hawkinspeter [3489 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

I grew up in the outskirts of London and didn't get around to learning to drive. Went to Bristol Uni and spare/all money went on booze so still didn't learn to drive.

When I met my wife she knew how to drive but didn't own a car, so we spent quite a few years together in Bristol completely car-less. The biggest problems were getting stuff back from DIY shops and the worst one is using the dump - you are not allowed to use the dump unless you're in a motorised vehicle!

Wife's had a car now for a few years and I still haven't bothered learning to drive - much to her annoyance.

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Rick_Rude [131 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I actually enjoy the process of driving and riding motorbikes so I'll be one of the last to quit. If I had to drop one it would be the car as the sense of freedom is greater on the bike and I always feel limited by my cars as modern cars aren't challenging to drive but I always feel like there's something to learn on a bike. You could probably teach most people to drive fast but bikes require something else.

At lot of people will probably eat up, not car free futures, as they'll still want their little bit of space but driverless futures. My Son has zero interest in cars even though motorsport is on TV at my house and I've had a couple of quickish motors. I'd imagine he'll probably never learn to drive if things keep going the way they are. Maybe that's a good thing as I'll never have to worry about him driving like a twat like I did.

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cycle.london [98 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

A couple of years ago, I was waiting to cross the road on Cheapside, right in front of the Holland & Barrett, where there is one of those dipped kerb bits with bollards in the centre.   I stood there for about three or four minutes, whilst cars, buses, vans and motorcycles whizzed past me.  No one deigned to stop, because after all, I'm just a pedestrian.  I contacted TFL and the Corporation of the City, and asked them if it was normal that the least harmful 'means of transport' should be the one that has to cede to all others.  The City ignored me of course, but TFL wrote back to say that they had to 'balance the rights of everyone who uses the roads' or some other boilerplate claptrap.

So I contacted them again and cited the pelican crossing at the top of Shooter's Hill Road, directly across from the entrance to Greenwich Park.   That's part of my daily commute, and when I get there and press the button to cross, it doesn't matter if someone has just crossed thirty seconds before, or if the motorised traffic has had the green light for an hour uninterrupted - there is still the same delay before the green man/green bicycle appears.  

https://goo.gl/maps/cdG5GtA7wGUYEDH6A

I asked them how that was 'balancing the rights of everyone'. 

Silence.

In Bexleyheath, near to the little mini roundabout at the Asda car park, there is a 'shared space' sign.  You can see it in front of the hi-viz van here:

https://goo.gl/maps/jMPtixKigRZNSSBA7

Everytime we walk past that, we always say, 'Reckon anyone's going to share?'

No one ever does.  'Shared space' in this context means 'wait until motorised traffic is absent'.

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Mungecrundle [1422 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
Rick_Rude wrote:

I actually enjoy the process of driving and riding motorbikes so I'll be one of the last to quit. If I had to drop one it would be the car as the sense of freedom is greater on the bike and I always feel limited by my cars as modern cars aren't challenging to drive but I always feel like there's something to learn on a bike. You could probably teach most people to drive fast but bikes require something else.

At lot of people will probably eat up, not car free futures, as they'll still want their little bit of space but driverless futures. My Son has zero interest in cars even though motorsport is on TV at my house and I've had a couple of quickish motors. I'd imagine he'll probably never learn to drive if things keep going the way they are. Maybe that's a good thing as I'll never have to worry about him driving like a twat like I did.

 

Likewise, cars and motorcycles, but I'll be near the front of the queue for a truly autonomous mainstream car or even membership of an ownership free scheme. If that can do the 90% boring stuff, then an occasional run out on the bike or in an open top classic of some sort will see me happy.

My sons and pretty much most of their friends are extremely underwhelmed at the idea of driving. I believe they view cars as no more exciting than a washing machine or other household appliance. They certainly don't hold the same glamour and sense of freedom as they did when I were a lad. Maybe it's because nowdays all you do is pay the monthly rental and put fuel in, no chance or really any interest in building a relationship with a machine that you need to fettle and care for.

 

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Rick_Rude [131 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Mungecrundle wrote:

 They certainly don't hold the same glamour and sense of freedom as they did when I were a lad. Maybe it's because nowdays all you do is pay the monthly rental and put fuel in, no chance or really any interest in building a relationship with a machine that you need to fettle and care for.

 

I'm still trying to do basic spannering  but as I recently discovered with a Mini, some stuff needs to be calibrated or coded by Mini if you replace the parts yourself. Auto stop start switch from gearbox went but only Mini can code up hardware. 5 minute job apparently but no doubt more expensive than 5 minutes with a high class escort.

I guess in general cars are more reliable and that combined with more complicated general stuff just means people firstly don't need to be as savy and even if they try, they need to be ultra savy. Now your car will seemingly grass you up to the MOT station anyway and leave a xmas tree trail of errors on the dash that will fail you, I can see why people are moving to leasing new stuff.

At least my 90s Honda motorbike was built well with nothing that it didn't need. I'll try and it keep it running as long as possible.

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kil0ran [1410 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Rick_Rude wrote:
Mungecrundle wrote:

 They certainly don't hold the same glamour and sense of freedom as they did when I were a lad. Maybe it's because nowdays all you do is pay the monthly rental and put fuel in, no chance or really any interest in building a relationship with a machine that you need to fettle and care for.

 

I'm still trying to do basic spannering  but as I recently discovered with a Mini, some stuff needs to be calibrated or coded by Mini if you replace the parts yourself. Auto stop start switch from gearbox went but only Mini can code up hardware. 5 minute job apparently but no doubt more expensive than 5 minutes with a high class escort.

I guess in general cars are more reliable and that combined with more complicated general stuff just means people firstly don't need to be as savy and even if they try, they need to be ultra savy. Now your car will seemingly grass you up to the MOT station anyway and leave a xmas tree trail of errors on the dash that will fail you, I can see why people are moving to leasing new stuff.

At least my 90s Honda motorbike was built well with nothing that it didn't need. I'll try and it keep it running as long as possible.

I'm currently spannering my battered Mk3 Mondeo because it's failed the MOT. £400+ for the garage to do it, £120 for parts and tools to DIY. It's good fun and I'm rediscovering skills from my boy racer days. The quality of info is so much better out there now but sadly if your car is less than 10 years old I guess there's pretty much nothing you can DIY. I've been teaching my son whilst fixing it but it's a bit pointless really - when he reaches driving age he'll be buying transport-as-a-service and if something breaks he'll just get a replacement. I certainly have no desire to own anything post-2005 so I've probably got ten years left of driving my own vehicles.

 

 

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Organon [231 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I grew up in the outskirts of London and didn't get around to learning to drive...

A fellow 'Golden' cyclist. I've given up on the idea of learning to drive. I just don't live where it is required. Beside HP, I don't think your little legs would reach the brakes.

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hawkinspeter [3489 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
Organon wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I grew up in the outskirts of London and didn't get around to learning to drive...

A fellow 'Golden' cyclist. I've given up on the idea of learning to drive. I just don't live where it is required. Beside HP, I don't think your little legs would reach the brakes.

It's just a question of finding the right car...

 

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ktache [1497 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

By the time I would have been expected to learn to drive, I had been hit by idiot drivers too many times to ever want to have the possibility of doing this to anyone.  I just didn't want to be that person.  I make mistakes, but the results of doing it at speed and with the mass of a motorised vehicle makes those errors far, far worse.  Nice to know that I can call myself a "Golden" cyclist.  Commuted by bicycle for over 30 years, and utility rider for longer than that.  I have always found a way.

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hawkinspeter [3489 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

To be honest, I don't consider myself a "golden" cyclist as my choice to not drive was probably more influenced by laziness (obviously, I like to brag that it's more environmentally friendly etc).

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janusz0 [344 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Y’know, sometimes you don’t even need a bicycle!

My daughter was moving flat. I didn’t fancy trying to lift her washing machine into a van, or balancing it on a cargo bike. I took it down her stairs on a sack truck with pneumatc tyres, then just pushed it ’round to her new ground floor flat, 1.2 miles away. It was manageable up the 5%ish hill and rolled along nicely on the flat. Now imagine all those delivery vans, parking at designated spaces and using hand carts.