Have you ever wanted to cycle to the shops but felt too afraid to brave the traffic as a vulnerable road user?
Sometimes environmental goals and economic ones overlap and we can do the right thing and save ourselves money at the same time.
Where: At the King Edward statue, corner of Union Street and Union Terrace.
When: Saturday 3rd February from 11:30am – 12:30pm.
The city council has a masterplan to rejuvenate the city but the current plans include no cycling provision on Union Street, one of the most congested and polluted streets in Aberdeen.
To unlock the many potential benefits of the masterplan, safe cycle facilities must be installed on Union Street. Please join me on Saturday, 3rd February, to tell the council and sign the petition.
We dispensed with the family car three years ago and I’ve never regretted it. We are a family of four: two adults and two primary school children and we found we were able to walk or cycle to most of the places we wanted to go. We are lucky to live in Aberdeen where there’s a fantastic car club, a good bus service, and it’s reasonably flat which makes it good for cycling, although the cycling infrastructure could be better.
The best thing about not owning a car is you’re not tempted to use it for short trips that don’t require a car. It’s too easy to form bad habits and drive 300m up the road when there’s a car sitting in the garage. I know because I used to do that. Now I walk or cycle and get exercise for free. I use the word free in a non-monetary sense: it’s exercise without having to find the time to do it because it happens as a consequence of going from A to B. We’re also producing less pollution which is good for air quality and have lowered our greenhouse gas emissions. Even better, we’re saving money as we no longer have car-related expenses like petrol, depreciation, insurance, maintenance, and MOTs.
One huge cost of car ownership which is often ignored is the space needed to park the millions of privately-owned vehicles. Each parking space is 2m x 5m which is 10m2. Multiply this number by the 31 million cars in the UK and that’s 310 million square metres of land set aside just to park cars. This doesn’t includes all the roads and motorways needed to move them around. It’s an enormous amount of space. Imagine if that space was instead reserved for people, for parks, for trees, or for homes.
Living car-free is liberating. You’ll spend more time outdoors talking to people. You’ll also never have to vacuum the inside of a car ever again. It’s worth it just for that.