A blog about cars in Aberdeen.

This is a blog about cars in Aberdeen because most people aspire to the convenience of personal motor transport, pay dearly for the privilege, provide much employment, contribute greatly in taxes, and then people expect them to ‘leave the car at home’, while their money is spent creating cycle lanes and the like for freeloading cyclists.

Monday 19 September 2011

In Town - Without My Car!

In Town Without My Car
But with my car and/or White Van

Useful local Aberdeen "City and Shire" greenwash outfit "GetAbout" staged an amazing display of plausible-deniabilty anti-cycling fummery at the weekend on the city's Belmont Street. As part of "Alternative Mobility: European Mobility Week" they put on an "In Town - Without My Car!" event. Elsewhere, the event is know as "European Car-Free Day", which is why our city chose to hold the event on a street which is already part of a pedestrianised area. In other places which value economic growth less than we do, they close normal roads for the day! Imagine! Aren't they funny?!

In order to stage the event, many motor vehicles (which are normally banned from Belmont Street and its feeder lanes) filled the streets and the roadspace was hemmed in by crowd-control barriers to create a couple of circuits for novelty-cycling demonstrations involving pre-teen children on recumbants, a clown bike, tricycles, a hand powered bike and other such useless non-transport stuff. There was even a climbing wall. Officials were on hand to ensure that anyone who wanted to participate on a novelty bike was suitably attired with high-vis tabards and crash helmets, which are of course necessary when riding a bike. So great was the emphasis on safety danger that there was an entire stall set up to hand out high-vis tabards.

All in all, we thought that GetAbout's handling of the event was a great success because:
  • It greatly reduced the amount of space available to pedestrians in the Belmont Street pedestrianised areas, inconveniencing them and making them blame cyclists.
  • It reinforced the impression that cycling is a funny novelty which is mostly just for children. Or clowns on comedy bikes.
  • It reinforced the feeling that cycling is a special activity requiring special planning and permission, and necessitating the use of special safety apparel.
  • It confirmed the fact that cycling is dangerous - like the rock-climbing demonstration which was run in parallel. Indeed, it seems that, according to GetAbout, cycling and rock-climbing require almost identical safety equipment. Cycling is therefore as dangerous and frightening as rock-climbing.
  • Because (as has already been established) cycling is as dangerous and frightening as rock-climbing, it has no place in the city centre. Don't be silly.
  • By refusing to close any roads which were not already pedestrianised, the event confirmed that motor traffic will never, never give way to cycling or make space for it as a useful mode of transport in Aberdeen City and Shire, and nor should it be asked to. Don't be silly.
  • It insulted people who actually do use bikes in Aberdeen City and Shire, reinforcing their status as an out-group to be regarded with suspicion and contempt.
So, all in all, a great day's greenwash from GetAbout, paying lipservice to cycling while actually pointing out that cycling is at best a laughably comedic novelty pastime for children, but is at worst a dangerous inconvenient menace. Yes, GetAbout achieved all this, with great fanfare and hulabaloo, and all the while did nothing, in fact - less than nothing, to reduce the number of cars in the centre of Aberdeen. Genius. We salute their kung-fu skills!

These vehicles are expected to replace cars by 2020. Hahahaha.

Just right for the commute!
Off to the shops - all she needs is a pannier.

On the way to a business meeting.

All future entrepreneurs will be driving one of these.

A Clown
Children only!


  1. These events are meant to provide justification for employing lots of extra useless town hall staff. They have nothing to do with promoting cycling.

  2. Once upon a time, Aberdeen was an outward looking city which freely looked to the cities on the Baltic for ideas, places like Copenhagen. What happened to make it so insular and backward?

  3. I expect Getabout were handing out plastic water bottles. It's inevitable that if you are handed a plastic water bottle, you will ditch the car and start cycling to work.