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.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

We call on the quislings to consolidate progress.

On your behalf; on behalf of the hard-pressed tax-farmed motorists of the car-driven economic powerhouse that is Aberdeen "City and Shire"; on behalf of progress towards more cars on more roads; and on behalf of the quest to deliver ever more wealth and riches into the hands of we Tycoons of Aberdeen, as you probably know we undertake sometimes distasteful work researching the output of the outer lunatic fringe of the so-called "active and sustainable transport" lobby in Scotland. Their newsletters, handouts, nasty little blogs and poorly-designed and coded web-pages are where we must practice our filthy duplicity.

Undertaking this distasteful work, once or twice, we have had to report back from our trips to those outer limits with bad news for the drivers of Aberdeen Cars. So, you can imagine our exultant delight when we notice that vegetarian tree-hugging tax-dogers at Spokes (the Edinburgh and Lothian Cycling Campaign) have got their lycra bib-tight thingiess in a twist at the forthcoming slashing of the budget for "Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets".
 They say:
CYCLING AND WALKING : a Scottish Government 2012-13 disaster
The Scottish Government draft 2012-13 budget, now being consulted on, is a disaster for walking and cycling. Total transport spending rises from £1804m in 11-12 to £1884m in 12-13, thanks to a near £100m boost for trunk roads and motorways from £558m to £655m. In contrast to that huge and growing total, the meagre sums devoted to active travel are being slashed.
Naturally, we are delighted that this is what is coming to pass, what with that big boost in the budget for the trunk roads and motorways which we love.  So far, so good.

But then, Citizen Contributer "Ali" emailed aberdeencars@gmail.com and wrote to us to tell of a potential threat to this enlightented policy of getting shot of this useless contribution of our hard-earned road-and-fuel-tax contributions to freeloading cyclists and pestestrains. "Ali" says:
Dear Mr Skidmark,

It seems budgets are all the rage this week - King Alex and his Merry Men have recently issued the draft one for the Scottish Executive (err sorry I mean Government). Excellent news for the motorist with vastly increased spending on roads and a significant reduction in cycling on "active travel". Yes thats right, less and less for those freeloading walkers and cyclists, AMAZING!

Unfortunately that well known subversive group the "Aberdeen Cycle Forum" seems to be plotting against the government:
If we are not carefull this could lead to an overthrow of the car owning democracy that we are, and indeed of King Alex himself. Please publicise this risk through your most excellent publication.

Firstly, thanks "Ali" for your contribution, we appreciate it. But please don't worry! The subversive group you mention: the self-styled "Aberdeen Cycle Forum" (ACF) are a nest of quisling pro-motorcar activists and are actually on our side!  

You just have to think about it...

Firstly, their website abounds with the word "challenge": Aberdeen Cycle Forum Challenge, Chief Executive Cycle Challenge, Annual Commuter Challenge. Brilliant! The message is clear - cycling is a challenge, something hard, something difficult and unusual - like mountaineering or world-record attempts.

Secondly, we notice a little bit of friction between ACF and CTC Grampian (another "cycling advocacy" group) over the issue of bike lanes at pedestrian refuge pinch points. We do not propose to examine the esoterica of this arcane dispute, it is enough for us to note that the two groups are at each other's throats over this inconsequential piece of nothing. Divide and conquer; as long as these two groups are busy knocking lumps out of each other over this and other issues, they will not impinge upon the activities of the drivers of Aberdeen Cars. Good.

Sling up a sign. That's all that's needed to keep
the cyclists quiet, and more importantly -
out of our goddam way!
Thirdly, and probably the most clever piece of tradecraft exhibited by the ACF double agents, is that they do everything they can to promote the 'shared use' pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure which we see popping up all over the place in Aberdeen "City and Shire" these days. Everywhere we look there are "Dual Use" paths and "Toucan" crossings. Brilliant. These serve our aims in four ways.
  • One - they encourage cyclists to get off our road and out of our way. 
  • Two - they make the authorities appear to be doing something green, something for the cyclists, all the while spending the very minimum and not actually doing very much at all in the way of creating suitable new infrastructure for cycling. 
  • Three - these dual-use facilities do not reduce the amount of roadspace allocated to cars, while in effect reducing the amount of space available for walking (by forcing cyclists onto the pavement) and marginalising cycling (by treating cyclists as equivalent to pedestrians). 
  • And four - they put pedestrians and cyclists into direct conflict, making the cycling experience difficult and making the walking experience unpleasant and dangerous. 
All of this couldn't suit us better! The more the disincentives to walking and cycling which groups like ACF manage to put into place,  the lower the uptake of cycling and walking as transport modes around Aberdeen "City and Shire" and the higher the modal share for cars = good.

Finally, in their newsletter material, ACF are usually keen to picture themselves. In contrast to the trendy aspirational look promoted by successful cycle advocacy groups worldwide (like the infamous Copenhagen Cycle Chic), ACF rock a quite different look.

But which...
...is which?
As everyone in Aberdeen "City and Shire" knows, more cars on more roads is the one and only way to ensure that the necessary economic growth is created to enable Aberdeen to pull the rest of UK plc out of recession. We therefore applaud and thank Aberdeen Cycle Forum for working so hard to put barriers in the way of the uptake of cycling as a mass transportation mode, for their craven kowtowing on behalf of all Aberdeen cyclists to the needs of motor-transport, and for their enviable success in making cyclists look like total out-group arseholes. Thank you very much. The predominance of nice cars on our roads is down to people like you. The abject failure of cycling as a mode of mass transport in Britain is down to people like you. That cycling is marginalised and regarded as, at best, a pastime for children is down to you. That cycling is perceived as a dangerous, difficult, special activity requiring special permission, equipment, planning and a reckless disregard for one's personal safety is down to you. The removal of funds for Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets is down to you. We think you're amazing...

Keep up the good work!

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