Life with(out) a car

Life with(out) a car

Every time I grab my bike to go anywhere in town, whether it’s work, the shops, a concert, the high street, it feels like second nature. More than walking even! Whenever I have to take the car it feels like a hassle; it’s just not in my mindset. And that’s even without thinking about the challenge to find a parking space, the queueing in traffic, losing the parking space near home and having to cary stuff over the road as the pavement is impractical due to parked cars and vans… So, do I love riding my bike? Yes! I arrive at work awake and energised, I’m flexible, independent, arrive in most places at least as fast as by car and most of all, it’s fun! Does environmental and climate impact play a role? Definitely! I work in renewable energy as I am passionate about it and having a near zero carbon footprint when cycling makes me even happier on the bike. Does weather stop me? Not really… only a severe gale probably, but for every other type of weather, there’s suitable clothing and in the heat you’re fine as long as you move :) Apart from that, the train or bus can provide a good alternative although there is so much to improve on public transport in Southampton. Do I feel safe cycling? Unfortunately not. Cycling in Southampton (and most of England) can be quite dangerous, which I experience almost on a daily basis. I even ended up in hospitable some years ago because a driver didn’t pay attention (ending up with points taken off her license and a compulsory awareness course). If it’s not the shear lack of (safe) cycling infrastructure, it is the aggression from motorists you’re likely to encounter. A message to Southampton City Council: dare to make choices! Make leaps in your public transport system and active travel infrastructure in such a way that taking the car is a silly choice! This doesn’t have to be a far fetched utopia, in the Netherlands this is already the case in many town and cities for years!


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