Thursday, 14 January 2010
Love your bike... just don't take a tram
Here's a good quote for a dark and frosty winter's day, it's from Arthur Conan Doyle:
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
Lovely... but just don't try and get on a tram when those legs get a little tired, as it looks like Greater Manchester is about to vote to continue its ban on tram-borne bikes.
It pains me to say it, but when it comes to bikes on the metro, London can do it. In fact a host of other cities can manage it. Here's just a snapshot of light rail or tram services around the world that let cyclists on board:
Sydney Light Rail
British Colombia SkyLink
Lille – Transpole
Stuttgart SSB -
Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Miami Dade County Transit
Phoenix Valley Metro
St Louis Metro
So there you go; not impossible; which was actually the conclusion of the Greater Manchester Authorities in 2002 when they “unanimously agreed to the principle of allowing bikes on trams during non-peak hours”.
Understandably, our friends at the Friends of the Earth-run Love Your Bike campaign are not best pleased. They think that allowing bicycles to travel on off-peak trams would encourage more people to combine tram and cycle journeys for commuting, shopping and leisure, and be an effective way to reduce carbon emissions. This argument is given greater power once they point out that Greater Manchester's own transport strategy suggests that between 2 and 5 miles is a perfect cycling distance, and that around 90% of the Greater Manchester population will soon be within a 2.5 mile cycle ride of a tram (when the hugely welcome new Metrolink services are completed).
The vote on this takes place tomorrow and Love Your Bike is calling on anyone who can to urge the GMITA committee members to honour the pledge made in 2002 and vote to allow cycle carriage on off-peak cycle trams. If you fancy adding your voice, click here to send them an email.