Anne Cooper’s arguments in her excellent letter on 20mph limits are somewhat circular. She says that our infrastructure – roads, housing, work, shops etc. – is not well suited for walking or cycling, so driving is the default.
As a result we are not in the habit of walking or cycling much.
But can we not change this?
The government would certainly like us to – by 2050 they say the default should no longer be the car: it should be public transport and active travel (cycling and walking).
We’ll have to change the infrastructure by then. Do we have to wait thirty years? We can build habits of walking and cycling now.
It’s quite easy for a moderately fit person to walk from Bussage where Anne lives to Stroud, either over the hill to Lypiatt or along the canal, catching the bus back to carry shopping. It’s also a lovely thing to do.
It’s relatively easy to walk and cycle around the Chalford area – although the few hills soon let you know that a cycle path that followed the contours would be much easier and safer than using the road.
So we really can build habits of walking and cycling now. Lower speed limits can help.
They are one factor amongst many that encourage the habit of safer driving. That in turn makes walking and cycling safer and more enjoyable.
In Chalford we are also improving footpaths and working with County on cycle paths.
Perhaps Anne would like to help?