#95. IT’S HUMANE. Not all things were better in the good old days. In Britain we’ve managed to cast off slavery, the death penalty and corporal punishment, and we’ve come a long way when it comes to defeating racism, sexism and homophobia. Crime is lower than ever, on the whole we’re living longer, and each generation keeps getting cleverer.
But we still haven’t worked out a humane way to transport 10 million Londoners to and from work every day. For the majority, there are two realistic options. Drive – or, more accurately, shunt forwards occasionally between long periods of stasis in a queue of traffic. Or take the Tube, rammed into an enclosed space with hundreds of other poor souls hoping the train won’t stop in the tunnel.
Rail and road commuters in London face more stress than a fighter pilot or a riot policeman going into action, according to a BBC report. One day I think Britons will look back with surprise and shame that their world-leading capital city was so stressful to travel in well into the twenty-first century.
But I also think they will be proud of the solution they found. One day millions of commuters will get to work with the help of a London Cycle Map and a vast network of safe, simple, signed cycle routes, making navigation as easy as it is when using the Tube or the major traffic arteries, but peace of mind even easier to come by.
Cruising happily through London’s beautiful streets, morning and night, will become the norm for many commuters. And not only will cyclists’ stress levels plummet, the Tube will get more pleasant and traffic congestion will be eased. London will become a city people love to travel and live in.