So I have been in Syston serving the Leicester North Methodist Circuit for 1 year and 1 month. When I moved here I made a commitment to use only my bike for work within the Circuit (so far I have used a car for work once so I could get between two carol services in Rothley and Syston last Christmas).
Yesterday I had my first puncture that affected my work (I have had one slow picture but got home ok with it). Unfortunately, at the time I was rushing back from a meeting to take someone to a hospital appointment. So Jane came and met me in the car which meant I was not too late and we made the appointment in time.
One puncture in a 13 months does not seem too bad.
Especially when compared to the alternative.
That was made clear again this afternoon when I took someone to an appointment at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. Despite having a wheelchair and a disabled parking badge it was hopeless. Unsurprisingly the few disabled spaces at the main entrance were full with a car hovering waiting for a space to become available. The queue for the main car park was very long (past stories from visitors indicate it was at least 45minutes long). So I went past the queue and dropped my passengers off at the car park exit, leaving a couple in their mid 80’s to get themselves in while I found a space to park (which then cost £4.30).
There are huge costs to us all from this ineffective transport system.
There is the cost in time of all that queuing. The hours lost to work as most of us now need 2 people to get 1 person to a hospital appointment (one for the patient and 1 for the car).
I wonder what the cost to our health and environment 70 odd cars constantly running their engines while queuing for a hospital is? The extra poison they put into the air outside a hospital can hardly be good for the patients and staff.
I wonder why so few in the UK realise how broken our transport system is.
The experiences of the Netherlands and Denmark surely demonstrate that by investing in a high quality cycle infrastructure we could cut road deaths (number 1 cause of death for children!!!), cut obesity, reduce sick days and surely make our hospitals easier places to get to and a safer place to be.
The cost compared to the many boondoggles (aircraft carriers, M25 widening, M1 widening, Trident, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, subsidies of arms sales, …) would not be a problem and the potential benefits are enormous.