All over the United States and indeed the world, people are riding bicycles. Forget about saving the planet, that is not the reason; it is a satisfying and civilized way to travel. Faster and more efficient than walking, and for not much more energy input; compared to driving a person is burning calories rather than gasoline.
A person riding to work each day on his bicycle is traveling for free; he gets there in only slightly less time that his colleague who drives. In some congested cities the cyclists gets there faster. He has not had to allot time to exercise or pay gym fees. When he gets to his destination he has fewer problems with parking.
Many more people would ride bicycles but they are afraid of being hit by cars. There are still a those who will try to intimidate and bully anyone in their way. The whole “Share the Road” concept is flawed in that it implies that the roads are for cars and cyclists are asking drivers to share space with them.
This is not the case; public roads are just that, “Public.” They are there for people to travel from their home to where ever they need to be. The right is for the person to travel, not according to the persons’ mode of transport.
There is no pleasure in driving anymore; it is the myth and the lie being sold to the public by the auto-makers.
Look at any car ad on TV and what do you see? The obligatory slow motion shot of a car sliding sideways in a controlled skid; cars driving at break neck speed on deserted streets and highways.
This is not reality; on today’s congested roadways, not only is driving fast impractical, it is downright dangerous. And what useful purpose does it serve? There is a legitimate argument for being allowed to maintain high speeds for long journeys on freeways that traverse miles and miles of open countryside.
However, when freeways approach cities and become congested, there is a definite need to slow to the same speed as everyone else. It is the driver trying to maintain his high rate of speed under these conditions that not only cause accidents, but cause people to brake and in turn lead to the stop and go traffic conditions that are all too familiar.
The best thing a person can do is to realize that getting from A to B is a necessity; so if you can’t make it a pleasure then at least make it stress free. Opt out of the culture of speed; slow down and relax.
Speed limits need to be lowered to 20mph in crowded city centers where there are many pedestrians and cyclists. Would such a speed limit have a great impact on peoples’ over all drive time?
In most cases drivers simply accelerate to race from one traffic light to the next. On long stretches of highway, traffic lights can be timed so someone driving the speed limit can have green lights all the way through a town.
The faster cars go the more space is needed between each car. Therefore, people moving slower but continuously in a procession can travel closer to each other. This means traffic is moving slower but on any given stretch of highway it is carrying a larger volume of vehicles. So is the overall flow of vehicles per hour that much less? Bottom line is; people still get to where they need to be.
The world is becoming more and more crowded; populations are exploding everywhere including the US. Every person who rides a bicycle is taking one more car off the road, making more room for those who choose to drive.
Wouldn’t life be a little more pleasant if everyone slowed down a notch? So what if it took you five or ten minutes longer to get to work, at the end of each day would that make a huge difference? Of course wishing for this is wishing for Utopia; but who would argue that it would be better if less people had to die on our roads.
The cities across America that have adopted a “Bicycle Friendly” program, have found that when more people ride bicycles the overall speed of traffic slows. With that comes less fatalities, not just for cyclists, but across the board for pedestrians and motorists too.