I must have been trying to convince my neighbors that bicycles deserve
more than they are currently allotted in the early 21st century urban
and suburban transportation culture.
So, generally, I don't like to push bikes on people who don't already want or
like them. I'm going to break my own rule here in a moment, and in support of
the creation of additional convenient bicycle parking in collectively
First though, I want to say that I am not strictly anti-car. I own a
car, I use
it, I enjoy driving it (sometimes). I think cars a terrificly useful and fun
Now that I have that out of the way, I'd like to talk about other things:
community, health, economic diversity, environmental degradation (including
global warming), and finally, convenience.
Nothing builds community like personal contact between people. It's
foot, but walking is sometimes too slow, and has a limited range in general.
It's hard to stop and chat with someone going the other way when
a car. Bicycle: just right. Without the glass and steel shell, you
the physical community, rather than watch it go by on the other side of the
No social speech needed here. Exercise is good for you. Walking is good.
According to the CDC, people are healthier in "walkable communities." Biking
is healthy too.
Aside from the cost of the car itself, owning a car costs an average of $7000
each year. Plus, the more you use it, the more you pay in gas and
Walking? Free. Riding a bike? Maybe $1000/yr, maybe less. If you can live
without owning a car, you can save a lot of bread. Conversely, if you don't
have a lot of bread, riding a bike is a good option.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, and many other groups, say that a typical
American's car, compared with all other objects or activities, has the largest
environmental impact by a wide margin. They recommend tuning cars regularly,
keeping tires inflated, and shopping with gas mileage in mind. They also
recommend reducing use. Try using an alternative method once a week. Try to
go car free one or two days a week. The statistics for car trips are
huge majority of auto trips are under one mile.