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If you want to talk to me about cars vs bikes get your facts right

Oh I do love a good discussion about the merits of cycling, compared with, say, cars.

Take the lett..

By admin , in Cambridge , at February 19, 2018

Oh I do love a good discussion about the merits of cycling, compared with, say, cars.

Take the letter the other day in this very newspaper, making all sorts of interesting claims about the benefits of cars, and the disbenefits of metros and bicycles.

I could go though all the points made in this wonderful letter, but that would take a whole column. Better to start now…

Perhaps we can have a debate about how we allow people to use cars, and cycles, and many other forms of transport, but not to the exclusion of all others.

Arguments made using incorrect data, ignoring large proportions of the population, that would destroy everything that is special about this city, are not good arguments.

"One could compare the freight carrying capacity of the proposed metro, zero, with more than 100,000 tons/day on the A14." Well, that is just a choice that the council would make.

In the UK we sends lots of goods by lorry, but in Germany and the US they send lots of goods by train.

Given that damage to the roads is proportional to the fourth power of the weight of the vehicle, nobody can claim that these lorries are paying a fair share for the repair to the roads.

There is nothing stopping the use of these tunnels for freight as well. Not to mention that a metro would free up road space for freight.

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"The car is the best form of personal transport yet devised with 76 per cent of the population having access to one." I wonder what definition of best this is.

It is certainly not the most efficient, as cars are some the least efficient uses of energy to move people around. They take up the most amount of space per person moved too.

Motor vehicles kill millions of people a year, directly, and many more due to the inactive lifestyles.

Oh, that figure of 76 per cent is also slightly wrong. In Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire at the last census, there were 46,714 households, and 31,012 had access to a cars, only 66 per cent of households.

But that ignores that every child under 16 cannot drive a motorised vehicle at all. That's 42,695 children that have been conveniently ignored in the "have access to" statement.

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"Bicycle journeys are about 1 per cent of the total." Yes, in some unproductive places it is. But in Cambridge it is not.

Of those people who work in Cambridge, 49.9 per cent drive to work, 21.7 per cent cycle, 10.1 per cent walk, 8.5 per cent use a bus, 4.4 per cent a train, 4 per cent are passengers in a motor vehicle.

Cycling is the second most popular way to get to work, not an insignificant one per cent.

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"Effort should be made to better accommodate the inevitably increasing car use rather than fighting it." This argument would suggest we need to build dual carriageways along every radial into Cambridge and not bus lanes. And complex multi-level junctions towering over the remaining houses.

Perhaps a flyover over the top of King's College Chapel would tell the world that we are a motoring city to be proud of?

Let's pave over all the green space to build the inevitable car parks that would be required. Oh, and close the bus station, close the railway stations, and all the park and ride sites.

Not sure where all the university student car parking would go? In the courts perhaps? That would increase car use. But is that really what we want?

Perhaps we can have a debate about how we allow people to use cars, and cycles, and many other forms of transport, but not to the exclusion of all others.

Arguments made using incorrect data, ignoring large proportions of the population, that would destroy everything that is special about this city, are not good arguments.

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