‘After flooding and fatberg, motorists face misery again,’ runs the doom-and-gloom headline.
But seriously – how much sympathy are we supposed to have?
Way too many people drive into this cramped city day in day out. Traffic edges from queue to queue around the city, stop-start, its polluting cocktail of emissions seeping into the city like cyanide running through veins.
Some, presumably, “have to”. But what about the vast majority who don’t? Wedded to their cars, they continue to drive, hopelessly, without apparently ever considering the alternatives. What goes on inside their heads?
I had a meeting recently with someone who drives in to work in Headington every day on the same route. He arrived 45 minutes late for our 9am appointment with a “Sorry. Dreadful traffic” ‘ I smiled, not unaccustomed myself to occasional tardiness – always my own dilly-dallying fault. However, I thought: “But you ARE the traffic and you make this trip every single day. The park-and-ride bus stops less than 100 metres from your office. And what about cycling?”
But it wasn’t that kind of a meeting. Sad though to see a perfectly able commuter fail to grasp the nettle.
Back on Cowley Road I was musing on people’s poor decision-making. Now don’t get me wrong – I am not anti-car. Far from it! I love my car and enjoy using it, but not in the city.
My reverie was broken by a rather beautiful sight: a guy in his 50s with a short grey goatee on a long, low Bullitt cargo bike.
He was stuck in traffic the same as all the cars and buses, but he stood apart, a solution, not a part of the problem. His face grimaced against the fumes, but when I caught up with him making a delivery to BeeLine Bikes, I realised what a happy and lucky man he is.
Steve Reynolds formed mercurycyclemessengers.co.uk after seeing the glut of small vans delivering single-packages to city-centre destinations. Our medieval city wasn’t designed to cope with 1,000+ couriers per day on top of regular traffic – and this is where Mercury Messengers step in. Steve does fast, green deliveries in the city for a fraction of the price of a van courier.
The day I saw him he was delivering 100 kilos of coffee from Witney to cafes in Oxford. There are some great photos of his laden Bullitt cargo bike on his Facebook page. These beasts can carry a washing machine and even small sofas. In Holland, Germany and Denmark, DHL uses Bullitts to deliver in cities similar to Oxford, using a cargo hub near the edge of the city and cargo bikes to deliver within.
Oxford will no doubt need to do the same very soon.
What a great business idea.
Jealous? Not half!
Our top stories:
8:30am Tuesday 13th October 2015
THE county is being “left in the dark” over how to help with the Syrian refugee crisis.
9:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
TRIBUTES have poured in for a “beautiful, brave and determined” teenage cancer sufferer who passed away last week.
8:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
SERIOUSLY injured patients in Oxfordshire will soon be able to be treated by air ambulance crews at night following the launch of the charity’s new £4.5m helicopter.
7:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
A NEW scheme could land young people in the county a career with Oxford United Football Club.
6:30am Tuesday 13th October 2015
A CAMPAIGN to recruit social care workers is to be launched to combat soaring demand for home care.
6:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
THE site of the former Friar pub in Marston could become student flats as a seven-year saga nears its end.
6:00am Monday 12th October 2015
THE NAME expected to be given to the main street in Oxford’s biggest housing estate for 100 years has led to concerns its neighbours will be left behind.
8:30am Monday 12th October 2015
A TEN-year high in cycling accidents has been blamed on the state of Oxfordshire’s roads, with fears growing that cash to repair them could be hit by fresh budget cuts.
10:45pm Sunday 11th October 2015
Two British troops from RAF Benson have been killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
2:02pm Monday 12th October 2015
A mum has apologised to the family of the man she stabbed and killed.
12:34pm Monday 12th October 2015
A new specialist air ambulance will be unveiled in the county today as Thames Valley Air Ambulance launches night-flying operations.
9:20am Monday 12th October 2015
Firefighters tackled a blaze inovling a wood-burning boiler in Ducklington last night.
9:10am Monday 12th October 2015
Passengers are having to endure delays to train services across Oxfordshire this morning.
8:30am Monday 12th October 2015
IF you have walked down Botley Road in the past six months you will know who this man is.