‘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:
7:18pm Sunday 23rd November 2014
THERE are delays of up to half an hour on the M40 after an earlier vehicle fire.
6:21pm Sunday 23rd November 2014
A woman has been sexually assaulted in a pub car park in Kidlington.
2:26pm Sunday 23rd November 2014
A HORSE was killed after it collided with a car near Steeple Aston yesterday.
2:17pm Sunday 23rd November 2014
OXFORDSHIRE is set for a cold snap tonight and tomorrow with temperatures as low as -2C expected in some parts of the county.
11:51am Sunday 23rd November 2014
A WOMAN from Witney has been missing since Friday.
8:00pm Sunday 23rd November 2014
NHS staff including midwives, nurses, radiographers and cleaners are taking strike action today in protest over government cuts and privatisation of the health service.
6:24pm Saturday 22nd November 2014
TWO men were assaulted in Oxford city centre last weekend.
What have our brilliant columnists said this week - choose your favourite in our interactive collage
4:00pm Saturday 22nd November 2014
Just what have our thought-provoking columnists been writing about this week? Catch up with our interactive collage giving you a choice from 9 of the best
3:00pm Saturday 22nd November 2014
We've had some wonderful pictures this week - here's our interactive spread with links to the stories behind the photos
11:19am Saturday 22nd November 2014
Callers to the police's non-emergency 101 number are being urged to stay on the line despite problems.
9:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014
Michael Appleton says Oxford United will need to be intelligent if they are to keep heavyweight striker Adebayo Akinfenwa quiet for AFC Wimbledon today.
11:34am Friday 21st November 2014
Six things you may not have known were happening in Oxfordshire this weekend.
8:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014
A state primary school in Long Hanborough has been included in a list of the top schools in the South East.
8:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014
A 70-year-old former teacher has denied historical sexual abuse offences.