Imagine an island with stunning coastline and natural beauty. The island is almost entirely flat and you could cycle the whole way around it in just a few hours.
Imagine an island where there are no busy motorways or dual carriageways and there is a speed limit of 35mph.
On this island there is even a network of quiet roads or “Rue tranquilles” (especially made for horse riders, cyclists and walkers) where there is an advisory speed limit of just 15mph.
This island is Guernsey and I was lucky enough to go there last week…
While cycling around the island I saw spectacular cliffs…
saw beautiful countryside…and even a cow in a cape!
It’s a stunning place to explore by bike, but all is not happy on the roads of Guernsey, in fact, the island has BIG transport problems…
I was in Guernsey to give a talk to the Guernsey Bicycle Group about my antics of cycling around the world in a superhero costume. It was also the bike group’s AGM and the problems being discussed there seemed very similar to the problems that I am more used to hearing about in London: too many children being carted to school in cars, as they are too scared to cycle a few hundred metres down the road, heavy rush hour commuter traffic and congested streets…
The island is currently discussing its transport strategy and there are two options on the table. I am not going to pretend to be an expert on each option after only one visit, but I really hope some bold decisions are made and the powers at be err towards revolution rather than evolution. People need to be forced to closely look at how they get from A to B…and make some changes to how they get around. Leaving the environmental issues to one side, a reliance on motorised transport and current low levels of physical activity is creating an ENORMOUS problem with people’s health. Not just for the adult generation, but this general lack of physical activity is setting children up to have lives that are 5 years shorter than their parents! Have a look at this moving video by an organisation called Designed to Move about these 5 years being taken away from the next generation due to a lack of physical activity.
While in Guernsey I was interviewed by a journalist on my thoughts on how to improve Guernsey’s traffic problems. I was flattered they were asking a man in a superhero cape and pants for some serious transport strategy advice! The best I could come up with at the time was I thought more people should “Get on their bikes!”.
It’s a simple statement, but I stand by it, as common sense says the more people there are making journeys on bikes, the less journeys there are being made in cars. Research has also shown that the more people there are on bikes, the more other vehicles get used to dealing with them safely. So, it’s really a case of safety in numbers.
I really hope more people enjoy getting around Guernsey by bike, as it really is a fantastic place to explore on two wheels.
Since returning to London I have decided to sell my car and motorbike. I have decided to get around by bike or public transport as, just like in Guernsey, nearly all the journeys I do are under an hour and easily doable by bike. Thank you Guernsey for changing my life! I will wear my Guernsey Velo Club bike jersey with pride!
P.S If you live in Guernsey and feel strongly about transport issues and the transport strategy being discussed on April 30th email firstname.lastname@example.org letting them know your thoughts. There are 2 strategies being discussed and I am told the Minority Report is the one which is offering real, bold solutions to the transport issues on the island. So, urge them to back the Minority Report if you can!