The school run mums who don’t do walking

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I find the recent fascination with nitrogen oxide pollution levels intriguing.

I recall cycling into uni every morning in the wind, rain and snow of a Manchester winter in a highly absorbent pneumonia-inducing corduroy jacket. This was long before fancy safety helmets and lycra, exhaust cats and emissions tests. I think some of the lorries were burning coal tar.

In the early Seventies we briefly ran a small shop on Regent Street from which we bought, restored and re-sold second-hand pushbikes in the days when cycling was still very much a minority persuasion. Happy days. I remember Ted James when he was just starting out in his little corner shop on Bramall Lane. We used to buy parts from him. His operation turned out to be rather more successful than ours, I have to say.

Latterly I walked the three miles home from work up the ring road every night for 25 years. Sometimes I even beat the stationary traffic. So I must certainly have had a good lung full. I also smoked (and inhaled) this and that for 40 years so I must be living on borrowed time by now.

Sadly there is a significant hard core of car drivers who would be horrified by the idea of actually getting out of the car, putting their flabby fundament into gear and walking. I recall the story of the “school run mum” who, when challenged for parking her three tonne monster diesel people carrier truck on zigzags outside the school gates, explained: “I don’t do walking”.

If anyone expects to get through to such people well, good luck with that. They would give up just about anything before their car. Until everyone drives electric, with generous financial support from the government, and until the council stops having a laugh with the roads I think we are stuck with it.

In case anyone is wondering I too am a (reluctant) driver, guilty as hell.

Gary Crosby

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