John Lavender (Manx Independent opinions, June 15) seems to have unlocked the great transport mystery that has plagued cities of the western world for the last 50 years with his suggestion to ban people cycling on our roads during rush hour.

I do hope politicians everywhere can engage with this for the greater good of the island.

I have read transport statistics via the census data but I’m not sure it has anything to do with causing anywhere near the kind of delays drivers like John has experienced.

It can’t be that the number of work journeys made in a car is 75% higher than it was in 1991 (compared to population increase in the same period which has increased by 25%) can it?

To accommodate that kind of vehicle growth we’ve had to build more roundabouts, traffic lights, speed humps and pedestrian crossings (if you’re lucky).

It can’t be all those things reducing my rush hour journey can it?

Only 92% of those 53,000 work journeys have one person in those vehicles so it can’t be that causing the issue can it?

It can’t be the 70,000-plus vehicles now registered on the island and parked on the streets around our towns and restricting public space whilst we drive around are causing issues, can it?

I mean it would be unthinkable to use that public space for something else other than private property that doesn’t move for 95% of the time wouldn’t it?

In my near 20 years in the fire service we had many issues getting to a job under blue lights with traffic at rush-hour stuck behind people cycling.

Strangely though we’ve never had issues with volume of traffic or poorly-parked vehicles.

I’d advocate that instead of a cycle to work day we have a drive to work day.

That way all those who currently walk, cycle or use public transport would drive and we’d get a little glimpse as to what our roads will be like in 10 years’ time, completely free flowing traffic without those people on bikes!

Alternatively we could maybe try and understand that doing nothing to give people alternatives to using their cars doesn’t mean we stay the same, as history tells us otherwise (see historic census data above).

It’s not that cars are necessarily bad but that too many of them, occupied by one person, aren’t the most efficient way to get around for what are, for the overwhelming majority of people on the island, short journeys.

People walking, cycling or using public transport aren’t the problem, the lack of choice to do those things is.

We know accommodating ever increasing volumes of vehicles (as most jurisdictions have done for 50 years) effectively removes those choices like nothing else as it makes streets hostile and intimidating to anyone on the other side of a windscreen.

You don’t have to like the alternatives to driving, just don’t blame people on bikes (or walking) for your slow commute.

Unfortunately for John we don’t live the dream that they sold us in the car adverts.

Rob Holden

Isle of Man Cycling Development Officer


HGV and Motorcycle Licence holder.

18 Years Blue Light Driver Trained

This letter was first published in the Manx Independent of June 21.

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