Monthly Archives: September 2007

Saving money and lives with Cycling

An interesting short article in the Guardian today Investment in cycling could save £520m, government told of course they have to throw in a "no-sayer" who talks ignorantly about risk of increased accidents if more people cycle (fortunately they also demonstrate that this is false (using the evidence of a 1/3 drop in cyclists killed or seriously injured in London since the late 1990′s).

Anyway I thought I would present my top 10 opinions on how to increase cycling, save money, reduce deaths and injuries and increase health.

  1. Follow the model of the Netherlands. When a motor vehicle and a cyclist collide the operator of the motor vehicle is held legally responsible. This instantly changes the mindset of car drivers to force them to be more careful.
  2. Ensure that the cost of motoring rises in real terms every year through fuel tax, road pricing, vehicle excise duty etc. The rise should be slightly greater than the higher of the retail prices and wages indexes. The greatest increases should always be for the greatest polluters (inefficient vehicles, high speeds, high congestion). This acts as a positive incentive to find alternative means of transport and ensures that we gradually reduce the subsidy given to motorists.
  3. Immediate application of a 20 mph speed limit for a 1/2 a mile radius of every school and enforce it with speed cameras. Breaking this limit should give 4 points on a license and two infringements (no time limit) should require a safety course in order to keep your license.
  4. Every motorist involved in a collision where a cyclist or pedestrian is injured to attend a compulsory safety course in order to keep their license. Two such incidents and they lose their license for two years. Three incidents equals a lifetime ban.
  5. Full funding from the Transport budget of all the Sustrans Connect2 proposals. These are key infrastructure projects that fix critical gaps in the cycling infrastructure "Sustrans’
    Connect2 is a real chance to achieve this in 79 communities across
    the UK.  Connect2 plans to create networks of new walking and cycling
    routes for the local journeys we all make every day.   Bridges and
    new crossings will be built over barriers such as busy roads, rivers
    and railways, making it possible for people to walk and cycle to
    work, to the shops, to school and to green spaces." This should include a commitment to fund more schemes like these every year.

  6. Planning applications for all new housing, retail and business schemes to demonstrate safe cycle routes and secure cycle storage.
  7. All new public transport contacts (bus, train, light rail etc) to require storage of bikes at all stops plus to offer adequate capacity for transport of bikes at all times of the day.
  8. All schools to offer free secure bike parking and publicise safe routes to school for cyclists and pedestrians.
  9. Penalties for driving without a license and/or insurance to be increased dramatically and to include automatic lifetime driving ban. Resources to be put in place to ensure banned drivers cannot own or operate a motor vehicle (eg a flag which prevents fuel purchase on their credit/debit card). Community service penalties for such behaviour to include working on traffic calming schemes and cycle infrastructure development.
  10. Much faster development of and support for home zones to promote safer streets where people live.

[update] The Government report says Cycling is good for us and saves money (see Official: cycling is good for Britain – Cycling Weekly) I just think that as usual they are doing too little and too late. If only things that are good for our country (and the planet) got as much support from Government as the immoral ones see 42: So wrong.

So wrong

This Saudis ‘buy Eurofighters from UK’ is so wrong. if we had an ethical and strong Prime Minister then he would step in despite BAE’s huge political might and stop this sale.

Any good that we can do in the world is far outweighed by the harm that deals such as this can do.

We should not be selling arms to anyone. Even better we should not be producing them in the first place.

Shame on you Gordon Brown.

Weekend summary

Wow that seemed like a busy weekend.

Friday evening.
We all went to Northampton (one Son has band practice), ate at a tapas bar, ok (for using up Tesco vouchers) but not somewhere I’ll rush to go again. To recover I rode home, 21 miles. Very good except picked up a puncture going through Stanwick Lakes (got home with 2 pump up’s rather than fixing the hole or changing the tube).

After a number of failed attempted to buy good and working lights I have bitten the bullet and bought a light from Lumicycle. Very expensive but wow does it make a difference, for the first time I don’t have to slow down dramatically when a car approaches on full beam. I have two halogen lights off one battery and I can ride at daylight speeds on or off road. Fantastic.

Saturday.
We had a working party at the Raunds chapel in the morning. Again a huge amount of work done by all the volunteers who turned up. The number of volunteers keeps increasing and I have to say the results are great. The grounds and exterior of the chapel in particular have been transformed over the last two years.

In the afternoon I went to a thanksgiving service for Doug Cook. Doug had been a local preacher and evangelist within the circuit for many many years. A local preacher for 57 years in total he was so infectiously in love with his Lord it was inspiring. We heard stories of the beech missions he went on from Cliff College in the 50′s (450 mile trips walking with a handcart) as well as his work as a prison officer and in supporting his local church. My own memories of Doug are not of his preaching (as a minister new in the circuit I sadly still have not heard many of our local preachers in the pulpit) but of the welcome, support and encouragement he offered me as a new minister. I love enthusiastic people and Doug was one of the most enthusiastic Christians I have ever met. Oh and a nice touch was that after the service we all had some proper puddings and custard as that was a great favourite of Dougs. Hopefully I will get to Kingsway to preach again before too long as they are lovely people there.

Sunday.
In the morning we had the Harvest Festival at Raunds, busy and exciting service with a number of new faces which was great to see. Raunds is an exciting place to be the minister, it is such a lovely congregation of enthusiastic, flexible, friendly and chaotic people :-) Suits me well as none of us know quite what is going to happen next.  As a preacher it is great to have a team of worship leaders who are established enough that one is always available, sharing the planning and leading of worship with them is always one of the highlights of the week. Plus we often get the band playing and they have grown in numbers & confidence over the years.

After the service we had the AGM, included in that was a very positive discussion on the results of Know and Grow a questionnaire that we had all completed during the summer. Lots of openness to learn from it and to put changes  in place to respond to peoples concerns and hopes.

In the evening I was at Old Weston where we had a lovely quiet communion service, change of plans to fit in with the parish church means I get to lead their harvest festival in a few weeks, one of the few where there are "proper" farmers in the congregation which always gives a different feel to the celebration.

Anyway off for hospital visiting today. Northampton and Huntingdon which don’t fit together very well.

“No Christian has ever prayed for me”

I think "No Christian has ever prayed for me" is possibly David’s best post yet at Methodist Preacher.

I believe it is absolutely critical that Christians use the anniversary of 911 to reflect on how we have shown Christianity to Muslims at home and all over the world in the last 6 years.

Consider the image of God that we portray to them. Do they see the God of love, grace, forgiveness, peace, justice, mercy through our lives?

Far to often Christians use wildly exaggerated opinions (that are never properly presented with  evidence but instead with hyperbole, assumptions and leaps of logic) to blame and attack Muslims rather than engage with them, serve them, love them and indeed as David so rightly calls us to pray with and for them.

In Raunds we will be spending tomorrow (Tuesday) evening in an act of worship: remembering, reflecting, repenting and praying.