You know, I don’t really get why bicycling have become a hip lifestyle choice. Why so much rage is directed towards it and why you are “one of those greenies” if you pedal to work. I mean, come on! It is just another mode of transportation. Not only that but it is still one heck of a way to get around on shorter distances, and a fun experience if you bring the kids as well.
In my mind, riding a bike should be something natural. There is good infrastructure and you can get around quickly and efficiently without driving. It is not something for just environmentalists and poor people. But for some reason you sure can find a lot of that in arguments online.
The real world doesn’t look like that of course. The infrastructure is often lacking and cycling takes more time, something many don’t feel they have in todays society. Poor people often choose to cycle as it is free, thereby adding to that image. And of course the green crowd pick up the bike as it is good for health as well as the environment. Does that mean that you have to bee in one of those two groups to cycle to work? No. Definitely no.
I myself think it is a cultural thing. You don’t see this as much in European blogs, but in the North American blogosphere this kind of reasoning is everywhere, on both “sides”. Drivers who hate cyclists. Cyclists who hate cars and want them out of the picture. And then there are the sensible people who try to reason and see more then their own sides argument. However, cycling is kind of a new phenomena in North America. Cyclists and drivers don’t know how to interact and coexist and the infrastructure is in my understanding often sub par. In Europe it is more established and kind of natural.
As a cyclist I can really understand why drivers dislike cyclists. When driving it can be scary when you have unprotected and unpredictable people on the road. But that doesn’t account for parking in the bike lane, cutting bikers of and shouting obscenities to cyclists. I sadly have read about in several bike related blogs. I am really not sure how widespread this is. But still. I am also sure that cyclists who doesn’t care to follow the same rules as everybody else, and who are totally unpredictable may play a part as well. I sure don’t like when a cyclist start to wiggle over the road or decides to suddenly turn without a warning. On the other hand I don’t like drivers who act as if cyclists doesn’t exist at all or behaves badly either.
Now this is just some musings on my part. I don’t know the root to the problem. But I know something will have to be done to change this. As of now more and more people decide to use personally powered vehicles for the daily commute. We can’t have people afraid of trying out a bike ride when we have a climate which is changing in a horrible pace and diminishing oil reserves around the world. Bicycling is part of the future. It has to become accepted if we are to solve the problem with increasing traffic. You are not a “greenie” or some kind of hippie for picking up the bike. It doesn’t have to become a lifestyle choice either. This is just another way to get from point a to b.
A green commute is for everyone. It is not special to take the bike to work. Or the bus for that matter. Or walking. But it is good for the environment. It is good for the health. It is good for the wallet. But for it to work we need good infrastructure. And for that to happen there have to be political consent. Which doesn’t come before people really want and use the infrastructure. In other words; try a green commute. Behave well and stay safe. Who knows, if cycling become really common, as it is becoming in many pats of the world, it may move beyond a mere lifestyle choice and become a totally integrated part of the infrastructure. Look at the Netherlands, Denmark or Sweden for example. It is possible.