In this short post, I’m going to react to the New York Times article - Thinking of Buying a Bike? Get Ready for a Very Long Wait
The article is describing of what, I think it’s safe to say, all of us are experiencing lately. And that is, that cycling is gaining momentum.
Is this how post-pandemic new normal is going to look like?
And if so, will public authorities throughout the world going to accommodate this new shift in travel behaviour, or once the hype is over they will start building everything around cars once again?
In Cracow, the public authorities have decided, similarly like in London, Berlin, Bogota and many others, to support the active means of travelling. Even though the plans are not as radical as in other cases, the fact that in some streets there is now less space for cars and more space for cyclists is just driving people crazy. In particular, on the internet, where both the groups are trying to have the last words on who is right.
I recommend you to read this viewpoint The effect of COVID-19 and subsequent social distancing on travel behavior written by Jonas de Vos published in Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives journal
I’m not here writing this to support nor defence one of the group. Sad is that instead of investing our energy to re-create our cities, we are wasting it in a fight to protect our comfort.
Just to make it clear. I’m mobility enthusiast. I love commuting on a bike, but I’m also a big fun of car-sharing and new MaaS alike solutions. Of course, nothing is better than taking a night walk around the neighbourhood.
And my relationship with cars? It’s love or hate. I hate congestions. I hate when traffic is not smooth. But what I love is the freedom they embody. I like to grab a steering wheel, put some good music and go for a longer trip to visit my parents, friends or to get closer to this pretty loop around the lake where is just perfect for running.
Of course, such freedom has its borders and limitations. Especially at the places which are shared with the others. The aim limitations are to show who, what and how means of transport, do or don’t belong. It is thus normal, that cyclist activists or pedestrians are not trying to lobby for having their own line at the highways, which are made for cars but instead, they want to have more space within the city. I think we could all agree it’s more pleasant when pedestrians and cyclist could have their own space as car-drives.
The problem naturally arises when we have to draw the line and say where and which limitations apply to who. Cars belong to the cities and as do the cyclist, public transport, pedestrians or micro-mobility solutions. It’s the cocktail of possibilities which is making our urbanites so attractive for us. However, over the last decades, the one taste prevails in our cocktail in particular, and some people don’t like to change.
Cycling is nowadays getting more and more popular. Why is it thus for certain groups hard to understand its advantages for daily commuting?
We might have hope there would be enough bike lanes and pedestrians one day. But maybe more crucial is to wish our society would learn how to communicate with each other.