Saturday, 28 March 2009

I love buses but I don't have all day . . .

I'm attending a meeting in Swaffham later this week. It's a Mental Health Trust Governors' gathering, with people coming from all over Norfolk and North Suffolk.

With the papers for the session were travel details for those wishing (or having) to use public transport. The furthest away you could be from Swaffham is Lowestoft - a journey of 57 miles. By car, it's about 75 minutes. By bus it's 3hrs 24minutes. You catch a bus in Lowestoft at 10am, change at Yarmouth and again at Norwich. That's an average speed of just over 16 miles an hour. It'd be faster to come on your bike!

How can people be expected to leave their cars at home and take the bus when it takes so bloody long to get anywhere?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Let's all glow in the dark

Two seemingly contradictory press articles this week paint a bleak picture for the future of our urban landscape.

One suggests that because the Courts are likely to consider injured cyclists in-part culpable if they don't wear a helmet. The commentator asks if the next step is for pedestrians to also be required to wear helmets or be considered contributors to their own fate when mown down by passing traffic. We already see more and more people wearing hi-vis jackets when out walking - helmets are the next logical step in the footpath to political correct behaviour for us all.

The second article described how Boris wants to strip some London streets of signs, white lines and speed bumps - seamlessly blending foot with wheeled traffic, so that people have to think. This is already established practice in parts of the Netherlands, where removing street signs and other clutter encourages drivers and pedestrians to seek eye contact - thus collaborating to create a safe environment.

Put the two together and you can quickly see a situation where the roads are free of confusing signs, but filled with people walking in hard hats and hi-vis waistcoats.

Now that's really confusing!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

How strongly do you support your organisation's cause?

My friend Hanne Stinson, CEO of the British Humanist Association has literally nailed her colours to the charity's mast. She promised her membership that if they raised £20,000 she'd have the humanist logo tattooed on her arm. They did it and so did she!

Hanne is very much a 21st century activist. Her organisation doesn't march, wave banners or pelt people with eggs. Instead it encourages people to consider the notion that life is about people, not about preparing for some vaguely promised post-mortem utopia. It's how you live your life that matters - there is nothing else. You've probably seen or read about their very successful bus advertising campaign.

You might not agree with the humanist philosophy but you have to agree that if more business leaders were as committed to their cause as Hanne is to hers, our economy would be in better shape. We all have to champion what we believe is right - sitting on the fence, or even the sofa, is not an option in today's world.