Thursday, 29 December 2011

Changing The Climate

Jon has asked us to write about the aspirations that we hope will become realities during 2012. My own ambition is to ensure that people can cycle directly and safely between Hethersett, Little Melton and the UEA/Research Park/Hospital. A planning application to build nearly 1200 homes in Hethersett has recently been submitted  and many of the people who will live in the new houses, will work just a few miles away at the UEA/Hospital/NRP.

 Cycling is not just about reducing traffic pollution and oil consumption but also provides both physical and emotional health benefits. Cyclists can easily stop at local shops and can exchange greetings with other cyclists instead of fuming at each other in traffic jams. Making it attractive for people to cycle to work ticks so many boxes that I struggle to understand why so little provision has so far been made for cyclists. Cars are cosseted indoors in multi-storey car parks whilst my bike is lucky to get a rail to lean against, out in the rain. I’m forced to conclude that too few of the people with the power to make things happen ever get on their own bikes and they don’t see cycling as a ‘proper’ mode of transport.

NCC proposed cycle links
Which is where Transition comes in. By getting on our bikes at every opportunity and turning up to in our cycling gear, we change the climate of what is ‘normal’ – and it is surprising how rapidly this can have an effect. If I always cycle to see someone, then they cycle when they come to see me – and all these little actions add up. Since we started our cycle path campaign in Little Melton, mainly in response to the needs of children cycling to school, there has been a noticeable change in people’s attitudes. What once seemed like a cranky idea, now features on developer’s plans and NCC plans. There is still a long way to go but I like to think that all the talking and blogging about the path has changed the climate around it for the better.

Picture of MP Richard Bacon joining children on ride to school in Hethersett

1 comment:

  1. Great post, John. Norwich would seem like the perfect (flat) city for cycling, and as you say, the more people who do it, the more "normal" it becomes. Best of luck with the campaign.