Active journeys, whatever the weather

Today, Sustrans Cymru launched its Active Journeys to Schools Programme, part of a big drive to get school children travelling to school by bike, scooter or on foot.

Sustrans works with many schools throughout Wales, enabling more children to travel to school by bike, scooter or on foot. We provide information, training and support to pupils, teachers and parents.

Source: Active journeys to schools

Today is also the day we had one of the coldest nights of this winter so far and awoke to ice on the roads and trails. True to form, the councils were out gritting late last night to ensure motorists had an easy drive to the back of whichever queue they were going to sit in this morning.

However, those of us wanting to travel by active means found ourselves navigating frozen paths. We’re aware of a couple of people whom took a tumble on the way into work, fortunately only suffering some minor bumps & bruises –this time.

Sending the wrong message

We know that motoring creates an almighty headache for all of us, whether that be for environmental reasons or the lack of physical activity our society undertakes as a result of getting everywhere by car. Yet, we continue to prioritise the safety of motorists above that of everyone else.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not just talking about cycle paths here, but pavements and the shared-use paths used by cyclists and pedestrians alike. I’m fortunate that I have the confidence to cycle on the main roads and I was lucky enough to enjoy a largely slide-free ride, but on my route I passed a number of people walking in the gutters to avoid the ice on the pavements. We see this every year, particularly when snow falls, or when it freezes after a damp evening. The roads are often the only “safe” places to walk.

An idea…

Obviously, you can’t very well drive a gritting truck on a shared-use path or cycle trail, but you should be able to ride a cargo-bike along most of them.

It would only take a minor modification to a barrow trike for example to turn it into a lean, mean, trail gritting machine. We’d suggest making a couple of small holes in the bottom…

We could then have volunteers (Sustrans volunteers, perhaps) ride the trails & shared paths before a particularly cold night, spreading salt as they go.

£1175 will pay for one barrow bike. A fleet of two or three should be able to cover a few of the most used paths. Perhaps we are over-simplifying things, but if we are serious about changing our culture and re-balancing Cardiff’s transport away from the car, we need to start looking after people other than motorists and allow people to make active journeys safely.

Gavin

Bike commuter, randonneur and cat wrangler

3 thoughts on “Active journeys, whatever the weather

  • 14th January 2016 at 9:33 pm
    Permalink

    As much as I like the idea of a bike and gritting trailer, a quad bike would be able to cover more ground. Or if the Council Highway boys don’t like getting out of a warm cab then tow a trailer behind a mini road sweeper.

    Reply
  • 15th January 2016 at 6:37 am
    Permalink

    Excellent suggestion but it will take a huge change of mindset for Highway Engineers who only think in terms of roads for motor cars!

    Reply
  • Pingback: Something to read: Active Travel - The Start of the Journey - Cardiff By Bike

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: