August 8, 2008
The world would be a better place if everyone would just get out of the way. In a letter to the London Free Press, Friday; August 8, 2008, a reader writes:
Perhaps I can shed some light on the subject of bicycles and their contribution to saving the environment.
Clearly, you’ve demonstrated otherwise.
Where there are no bike paths for riders to use, the concept of having them on the roads as a benefit to the environment is not quite as clear-cut as you may think.
Consider that one bicycle on a single lane road can slow down an entire procession of cars. And when approaching a red light, the bike is able to pass even more cars and slow all of them down once the light changes. If one bike can make 10 cars take twice as long to get where they are going, how can you say you’re helping the environment at all?
Your entire argument seems to be that faster is better.
I’d really like to see someone refute that claim using actual science.
If that is your claim then? That faster is better?
“Consider that one bicycle on a single lane road can slow down an entire procession of cars.”
Yes. Bike paths would be good. But then someone will complain about the cost of building them. Oncoming traffic must be very very heavy that you can’t pass safely.
“And when approaching a red light, the bike is able to pass even more cars”
All those idling, slow, stopped cars are bad for the environment because they aren’t going fast, so the bicycle wins here.
“and slow all of them down once the light changes.”
Properly, that bike should wait at the end of the line. But how did that priviledged “entire procession of cars” get in front of the cyclist, if the cyclist is in front slowing them all down. They must have passed safely. I suppose they could do it again.
Oh, I misunderstood. A cyclist in front of 10 cars, slows them down - and oncoming traffic is so dense you can’t pass. The line of now slowed cars lead by the cyclist comes to a red light, The cars can’t slip up beside the line like the bike can, so the bike gets to the front of the stopped line of traffic and is now in front of all the cars, and so on and so on, red light after red light until the whole of trafffic circulation is slowed to idling and vehicular civilization comes to a dead stop.
“If one bike can make 10 cars take twice as long to get where they are going, how can you say you’re helping the environment at all?”
I’d say the cyclist slowed you down enough that you actually had a chance to look at and appreciate the environment. Learn to pass safely.