Your Councils Do Give You the Hump
Bristol Named as Worst City for Mobility Choice
The Alliance of British Drivers has been running a competition Does Your Council Give You The Hump?
in which people were invited to submit entries nominating the worst (or best) examples of how local councils treat drivers.
It was launched with an online video shot last year in Bristol, a tour of the city demonstrating examples of measures taken to frustrate and curtail car use. 1
The competition has now closed; judging has taken place and the results announced.
ABD director Ian Taylor presented details and named the winners at a members' meeting.
On both quantity and quality of entries Bristol had won the title of Worst Council for Drivers and mobility choice. Submissions had included mention of parking provision and cost, traffic flow deliberately restricted causing additional congestion, blanket 20 mph speed limits, and unreliability and inconvenience of alternative travel by public transport made worse by preferential treatment of cyclists. Ian also noted that although the competition had invited suggestions for Britain's worst and best councils for drivers, not one single entry was received for best
The £200 first prize
was awarded to Carol Quinn
, who now lives in Chepstow — and who moved there from Bristol because driving had been made so difficult and frustrating. She was scathing about Bristol's mayor Ferguson, of whom she said "He hates cars, has always said so and is making life a misery for any car owner in Bristol. He always said he was going to get the car driver and it is incorrect for him to say that there are 45,000 less car journeys now, because companies have moved out. For my job I have to drive all over the UK including London and Bristol is by far the worst."
She also mentioned stupid road planning and narrowing, badly placed bike lanes, bus lanes, bus stops, and street closures.
(£50) went to Jacki Clarke
who nominated Brighton & Hove. She highlighted roadwork, underused bus and cycle lanes, all contributing to congestion. Also excessive parking charges and bus fares - but Park & Ride has been discontinued. She also said that traffic lights are unsynchronised, and life made more difficult by widespread 20 mph speed limits and speed humps, and ended by saying "RIP Brighton".
(also £50) went to Tom McClea
n of Belfast. His bugbear was speed humps everywhere, and he highlighted this with videos on YouTube featuring Lower Braniel Road. He said: "Try driving around some of the roads in the Castlereagh area of Belfast. The roads are akin to assault courses due to the totally unnecessary proliferation of road ramps." Seventeen on a one mile stretch. 2
Ian Taylor went on to mention that the 'war on the motorist' appeared to still well and truly being waged; despite our being promised before the last general election that it would be ended. With another election approaching next year politicians and would-be politicians needed reminding of this, and some reasonable demands made. To that end the Alliance of British Drivers had teamed-up with the National Motorists Action Group (NMAG) to produce a document that we have called (bearing in mind 2015 is also the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta) The Motorists' Charter
"We hope this will be of use as a campaigning tool to persuade political parties that they not only intend to "end the war on the motorist" - but this time around to really mean it."
"Our local authorities are largely sold on the idea that they have a duty to discourage or even curb car use, yet they happily milk drivers as a 'cash cow' through high parking charges and penalties. Instead of facilitating vehicle use they deliberately set out to 'manage', for which read 'ration', road-space - giving it to other transport modes under the Orwellian claim of 'improving choice'. A choice that we say must include driving as well as walking, cycling or public transport, which cannot meet the diversity of travel to work patterns of today's employment. Management becomes coercion, with disparaging references to 'car dependency'. For some the car is an absolute essential, as are many essential services, but we don't liken them to an addiction."