Let’s start with something positive. Happy New Year and let’s hope 2012 is not as awful as many people are predicting.
For your part, you could make it a much better year for other people in your neighbourhood by making an easy-to-keep new year’s resolution – be considerate to other road and pavement users.
Now, I have to admit there’s a certain amount of self-interest in this suggestion as someone who regularly cycles and walks around West Heath, Kings Norton and Northfield. Generally, cycling on the roads is not nearly as dangerous as people think and there are also some great off-road routes with the cycle network 5 route along the Rea Valley providing safe and scenic riding. I personally think there should be better signposting of the places to visit along the way to help cyclists and local centres, too.
Back on the roads, certain drivers do not consider the needs of cyclists, unfortunately, and will drive past much too close, so next time you see a cyclist, think of them as like a small car and pass with care – make that a habit this year, because cyclists need to use roads as the council will not find money to put cycle paths everywhere and cycling on the pavement is illegal.
The other consideration should be for pedestrians. Pavements are for them, not for cars and especially where there is a dropped curb, please do not park where they need to walk. As a father with a young son who still needs a pushchair, I spend most walks we go out on cursing people’s awful and inconsiderate parking. It really doesn’t need to be like that, so make an effort to park where it doesn’t impede those who need safe passage on the pavement.
If you don’t ever go out for cycle rides or walks in your local area, try doing it. I know this may be a more difficult resolution to keep, but it’s a much nicer way of keeping fit than going to a sweaty gym and you might even bump into some neighbours if they start doing it too. I can’t believe what a ghost town most of the streets we walk along are, so come on South Birmingham let’s have some people back on the streets, not just cars.