My posts over the last few weeks have been very bike-based and this week is no exception. I will remember to be a highway engineer and post something technical next week (maybe).
Today is the local and European elections. For the Euros, my decision was simple (no, I won't say here - ask me in the pub). Locally, it was a little more difficult (not a huge choice), but in the end, I went for a party who fielded 3 candidates who all signed up to the #Space4Cycling campaign at an early stage. Only time will tell if they get elected and if they carry through on their pledge.
By carry through, I mean actually challenge the current thinking locally and actually demand some decent funding and design approaches where we can do some good. My next highways committee will be interesting to say the least (and that is as much as you get about the day job here - the line is too fine!).
In casting my vote, I cycled round the corner to the polling station to stick my crosses down in person which is something I have always done - for a few seconds, I had the full power of democracy behind me. This was a contrast to last night where the power of the people was also being demonstrated.
After being a bit on the fence about attending, I rode across East London (and headed south) to the Elephant & Castle to participate in the #StopKillingCyclists "die-in" following the death of Abdelkhalak Lahyani at the junction.
I was sitting on the fence partly because of time (getting to the protest on time by bike was a challenge, but my new daily bike performed brilliantly) and partly because I am part of the industry and bureaucracy which leads to stuff being built (and I mean things which affect pedestrians too). But, I am just one engineer who is learning as he goes and as I often tell colleagues at work, you need to live the designs you work on and that must include coming to terms with how those designs turn out and who they affect.
The decision on what gets built on the highway network is largely a political one, but it is the job of those designing the schemes and advising the politicians to explain what the consequences are (good and bad) of something being put forward. However, we could and should do more as a profession in explaining how we can improve the transport in our towns and cities and increasingly how important walking and cycling will be. I for one am looking forward to voting in the General Election next year and the London Mayoral and GLA elections in 2016!