Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Published at last

A little heartwarming news is due, I believe.

A few readers that peruse this page will remember a few weeks back I submitted an amusing tale describing inept burglars' antics while breaking and entering a gambling establishment, named "Thick As Thieves", with the desire that it might be published. I am very happy and a little surprised as I write this that it has indeed been selected, and failing any later misunderstanding might in fact be paid a princely sum with the privilege!

Said tale may well appear via paper medium in the fine place called Canada next spring in a Knucklehead capacity.

It's funny that whenever I try writing a piece with great gravity I never seem successful, yet when I merely describe a funny and slightly rude/ titillating concept, that's when things seem incrementally desired by the public.

I must regret the inexcusable writing style in this article but can explain by way that a letter key isn't utilising itself right this instant and must be circumvented using strange language. Perhaps dear reader can deduce the relevant letter key, perhaps they can't. Either way, I really must finish up this article ASAP lest said key's use suddenly appears necessary.

Thanks are due : WLW's Stephen Shirres, the writer that sent me the relevant link way back when; WLW itself - the writing club that gave great feedback as always; the readers that like my stuff; and lastly my wife, the talented Japanese artist, Miyuki, that did the drawing illustrating the amusing scene underneath.

Thick As Thieves illustrated by my wife Miyuki

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

More Cycle Paths in Scotland

On 28th June 2018, Scotland recorded its hottest ever temperature of 33.2 degrees celsius in Motherwell, Lanarkshire. 

One of the good things about the climate changing is that if we can expect warmer sunnier mediterranean weather in Scotland this means better days for cycling.

But according to this article, Scotland only has 1036 km of traffic-free cycle track, compared with 32,187 km in Holland. So Scotland only had 3.2% the amount of cycle paths Holland has.

Cycling, which has been hailed as one of the most efficient forms of transport, seems to be the way forward for this country and the world, if we want to continue living on this planet. These velomobile things look pretty cool too, but who's going to fork out for one of these?

By Bluevelo, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1052954
So, it might seem to make sense that to encourage more people to cycle to destinations under 10 miles away for example, we would need a better traffic-free cycle network, the benefits of which would be many, and not just for cyclists:

  • Less traffic on the roads
  • Less cyclists on the roads for cars to overtake
  • Healthier citizens -> less strain on NHS. According to this article a link has been found between cycling to work and cancer and heart disease. "During the course of the study, regular cycling cut the risk of death from any cause by 41%, the incidence of cancer by 45% and heart disease by 46%."
  • Less risk of car accidents for cyclists -> less strain on NHS. According to this 2017 article, which has a lot of information about cycling death and injury in the UK, about 100 cyclists die each year in the UK and more than 3000 are seriously injured. There are even a few shocking stories of motorists purposefully injuring cyclists.
  • Less hazardous exhaust fumes for cyclists to inhale
  • Better cycling tourism -> Better for the economy.
  • Better local air quality -> Better for childrens' health -> reduction in asthma.
  • Less national CO2 production. According to this report, in 2016 transport became the largest contributor to national CO2 at 26%.
Two American solar cars in Canada

How much could we save?

Let's take a look at the effects of 45% less cancer and heart disease on the NHS.

According to this article, "Last year the costs of cancer diagnosis and treatment across the UK NHS, private and voluntary sector were estimated by the report at £9.4 billion. This is equivalent to an average of £30,000 per person with cancer. "

45% of £9.4 billion is £4.23 billion.  

How much will it cost? 

This blog has some useful information about costs. Sustrans and TFL estimate it to cost anywhere between £100k and £900k per km of proper cycle track. Let's say an average of £500k per km of cycle track.

Scotland has 55,000 km of roads, but not all of these would, could or should be cycle-pathed. According to this report 1% is motorway, leaving 54,450 km. Let's calculate the costs to cycle path the roads up to Holland standards.

This would result in costs on average of £500,000 x 32,000km = £16 billion.

But we could estimate that we save £4.23 billions worth of health care in cancer prevention.

This alone could pay for 4,230,000,000/500,000 = 8,460 km of cycle track.

Imagine what another 8,460km of cycle track in the central belt could achieve in terms of health, cleaner air, less congested traffic, and reduction in CO2 production.

According to this article, "The average distance commuters ride in a single trip within Scotland is 9.4 km." which would take about 6 miles. This would take about 36 minutes by bike.

Source : https://www.transport.gov.scot/media/33814/sct01171871341.pdf
So that's it. In this blog post I've hopefully outlined why more cycle paths in Scotland would be beneficial to our health, our country's finances and our planet's climate change crisis.

What's the next step? Email our MPs, contact our local councils, sign this petition : https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/more-cycle-paths-in-scotland

Thanks for reading.