|Bicycle use is high in China.|
I live in North America - the land of the personal motor vehicle. Here, the car is king. Train travel was never that good, but now it is basically non-existent. No trains, and our inter-provincial bus service, after sucking for decades, is also disappearing.
People don't really ride bicycles either, and public transportation has always been seen as something for people who can't afford a car, or who are too old to drive.
Car ownership is one of our only rites of passage as we enter adulthood. That and drinking. What could go wrong? Lots, it turns out.
It is a total waste. We have put all our efforts into the least efficient, most expensive, and most dangerous mode of transportation. But that shiny, new car sure does look good in the driveway, and you can't really be successful without one, can you?
Just about anywhere I have traveled in the world I have been envious of all the transportation alternatives available to successful people. Trolly cars, frequent affordable train service, buses like I have never seen before, dolmushes, extensive underground metro systems, tuk tuks, scooters, and motorcycles all figure heavily in the transportation mix.
And bicycles. Lots and lots of bicycles.
"Based on our new database, it is estimated that in 2015 bicycles account for about 6 percent of urban trips worldwide. However, more than half of documented cycling trips occur in China, Japan, and a few European countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark.
In the United States and Canada urban cycling is estimated to account for only about1 percent of trips." - source
If you are addicted to cars, you are missing out. Riding a bike, besides being crazy fun, has many advantages. It uses less energy, produces less harmful emissions, and is less expensive than driving.
"Cycling is associated with higher rates of physical activity, reduced air pollution, lower traffic congestion, and calmer urban traffic that can reduce road-crash-related fatalities and injuries.
Cycling can have a substantial positive impact on the world’s future, saving US$24 trillion dollars over the next thirty-five years and dramatically improving quality of life for the world’s rapidly urbanizing population."
It has been shown that when public policy and infrastructure support bicycle use, people will increasingly choose this sustainable, health-enhancing mode of travel. We should be pushing for more bike-friendly conditions to encourage cycling.
Do it for your health. Do it for your bank account. Do it for the environment. Do it for fun. Do it because it is often faster than driving short distances. What ever the reason, park that car and ride a bike today.
Next we can start working on our train and bus networks.