As a London cyclist I am very aware of air quality. So when I set up Nappy Ever After’s nappy laundry service in 2003 I was very keen to find out whether we could do our collections and deliveries without tailpipe emissions. I attached a trailer to the back of my road bike to do the first delivery and collection.
Since then we’ve acquired a bike with a motor. We’ve tried an electric van and a vehicle with a diesel engine. We’re back doing our deliveries by cargo bike with batteries charged on Good Energy – because it’s far more efficient.
It’s great to know our nappy laundry service deliveries are not contributing to air pollution. However London’s air is bad and it’s getting worse. Yes, we now have a mayor who understands the urgency (unlike Boris) and is going to do something immediately – replacing diesel taxis with cleaner taxis and putting less polluting buses on routes with the worst air quality.
But what can we do? Afterall, we are the traffic.
1 When you buy on the internet choose companies that don’t deliver to your door but drop off at collection points within a mile of your home. This reduces diesel emissions in your street and is being considerate to others. (To be honest this is something we have not organised yet – although where possible we deliver by bike.)
2 Support more space for cycling. Segregated cycling lanes are important to increase the number of people cycling. They encourage people who are nervous of cycling in traffic to have a go. This is especially important if you want to carry children on your bike or have your children cycling, with you or independently.
3 Cycle with your kids. Tomorrow, Sunday 5 March sees the launch of the Family Cycling Library. This is a great initiative to help parents experiment and find out which bike is right for them and their children.
4 Ditch your car – if you are one of the few Londoners who still own one. You are wasting money. You will save money and stress by not owning one. Take taxis and join a car club so you can hire the right vehicle for your journey when you need it. If you think that’s more expensive than owning one, do the maths!
Most importantly have fun! Being on two (or three) wheels is one of life’s pleasures! We need to work to make it safer so more parents feel confident to ride with their babies (and kids) on bikes as is the norm in Amsterdam.