With reference to “Would you do your weekly shop on a bike?” (Courier, June 3); I do and have done so for years.
I have a disability which precludes me from driving motor vehicles (and sometimes cycling too) since having a stroke in 1998. Notwithstanding I shopped for myself and three children and commuted to Burnley, Halifax and Littleborough from Todmorden. Modern, high quality, very effective and reasonably priced clothing and luggage is readily available.
Modern cycles are an extremely effective method of transport and even a fairly expensive one covers its cost quite quickly compared to bus fares, never mind car running costs.
On mine, on a good day, I beat the bus to Burnley by 8 minutes and Halifax by 19 minutes - provided I’m not riding into a headwind - if I leave the house at the same time as I would to walk to the bus stop.
I also use non-food grade vegetable oils for lubrication on the cycle.
My legs attract the occasional wolf whistle (!) and my health benefits all round. I’ve even convinced myself that the occasional fly I swallow has a homeopathically beneficial effect on my immune system.
The only real danger is half-witted car drivers, usually (but not always) youths. Lorry and bus drivers tend to be careful and courteous and acknowledge their thanks if I wave when they’ve passed me. Most car drivers are sane too. Just the odd few should have their licences taken from them and their vehicles sold, the proceeds going to charity or towards road upkeep costs.
Most supermarkets provide cycle parking/locking facilities, many visible to staff at all times. My local Morrisons and, to a lesser extend, Lidl are good examples of this. The Tesco I used to shop at in Burnley had bike racks that were not bolted to the ground, or anything else for that matter, and could be picked up complete with attached cycles. Needless to say I shop more at other stores now.
All of the positive things aside, while I think it is a very good idea to encourage more cyclists and less motorists and more public transport where feasible - 60 people sharing a diesel/veg oil engine is of course better than 1 per car, getting the supermarket to pay for cycleways seems rather unfair to me.
I don’t know the whole story or what proportion of the cots are being paid by the council, if any, but shouldn’t the council be doing this anyway to encourage sustainability in transport? (As in Local Agenda 21 - or am I years out of date?)
Also, how about more active deterrents to car users and ones that don’t just target people with less spending power? Exceptions could be put in place for those who really have no choice but to do so, or community transport schemes set up.
The carefree frivolity of the many should be curtailed to make what is left go further for those who have genuine need and for society’s essentials.