National Park’s view of cycling is deeply flawed

Pretty much everyone who has ever visited the New Forest will have been stuck in a traffic jam. In the summer the place is simply overrun with cars, so you’d think a family-friendly cycle hire scheme predicted to cut 127,000 motorised journeys a year would have been embraced by the locals.

Not a chance; residents would rather endure endless jams than see bike riders enjoying their lanes. An utterly self-defeating act. I despair.

This bonkers anti-cyclist nonsense comes in the same week that new government statistics reveal that the average motor vehicle speed on local A-roads has dropped to 24.4mph, down 0.9mph on this time last year, coupled with a 1.4 per cent increase in traffic in 12 months.

In a busy seven days for bike stories a new study finds that those who travel by car can experience five times higher pollution levels than those who cycle. Predictably riders’ journeys were quicker and they were exposed to much lower pollution levels as the fumes dispersed as they rode, unlike the poor drivers trapped inside their vehicles.

These past days even Top Gear presenters have been bestowing the virtues of cycling and there was a wave of indignation when a bus driver was caught on camera driving onto the pavement to stop a cyclist turning left.

The bus driver was sacked for his ridiculous action but what is to be done about those dim-witted folk in the New Forest? Let them choke on their own soot, I say.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • Butch Spanglewangler

    It seems to only be a small number of residents, who are disproportionately represented in various committees and quangos, presumably because anyone who hasn’t got a bee in their bonnet is busy getting on with their life.

    I would suggest a critical mass, but the motor traffic is already causing so many hold-ups it would probably go unnoticed.