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.
Many more people would ride bicycles but they are afraid of being hit by cars. There are still 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. A person has the right to travel, it is not according to that persons’ mode of transport.
There is no pleasure in driving anymore, it is the myth and a 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 city streets.
Ads for alcohol show people having a good time, they don’t show people getting shit-faced. Car ads should show people driving responsibly too. It is false advertising, and it perpetuates the myth that it is okay to drive like the public streets and highways are your own personal race track.
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 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 leads 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 red 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 when traffic is moving slower on any given stretch of highway, it is carrying a larger volume of vehicles. Is the overall flow of vehicles per hour that much less? Bottom line is, people still get to where they need to be. Stop and go, or a steady, continuous slower stream of traffic. which is better? I know which is safer and less stressful.
Driving fast only gives the illusion of getting there faster. How often do we see someone race past us, then a couple of miles down the road they are only one car ahead. Driving fast is nothing more than a habit, and like all habits can be broken with a little effort. And is a habit ever missed once it is broken?
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. We think traffic is bad now, what will it be like in ten years? Something has to change.
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.
Building more highways is not the answer, it only encourages people to drive faster, and there will always be a point where there is congestion, and people get angry and impatient when they have to slow down.
Only when the majority of people view driving fast as anti-social behavior, will this culture of speed end. It was only when public opinion turned against drunk driving, did the police start enforcing laws that were already in place.
It will be the same with speed limits. As it stands now, no one drives the limit, but pushes it to a point where they can expect to get away with it.
Speed kills, pure and simple. Less time to react, more road space needed to stop, greater impact when you hit something. And the crazy thing is, it doesn’t always get you from A to B any faster.