Very interesting video (at bottom of post) where a long term driver is challenged to swap his car for a bike and try a week of commuting by bicycle.
It is a very good advert for the advantages of cycling to work. He comes across as a typical motorist who is honest about his experience of travelling to work. (Though, I don’t understand why people get really irritated when they see cyclists not wearing a helmet.)
The interesting thing is that he soon identifies two major advantages to cycling to work.
- It’s much quicker by bike. He gets really frustrated sitting in traffic jams. He loved being able to beat the stationary traffic on his bicycle.
- It made him realise how unfit he was. Cycling to work is at least some exercise.
As well as these benefits, presumably he
- Saves money – less petrol, less parking costs, bike maintenance cheaper than car maintenance
Society Also Gains
- Less air pollution
- Less traffic congestion
- Fitter population less likely to contract heart disease, leading to lower health care costs
Why Don’t People Try Cycling?
The sad thing is that despite the obvious benefits of cycling, he never considered doing it before. People seem very reluctant or don’t even consider cycling as an alternative. 50% of car journeys are less than 4 miles, 25% are less than 2 miles. This kind of distance is within the reach of nearly every adult.
Empathy of Cyclist and Motorists
By cycling he did become aware of some difficulties faced by cyclists – how drivers can pass very close – how pedestrians can step out into road without looking.
Even if he only commutes by bike for this one week – he will be a much better driver in the future. He will have empathy for the cyclists on the road. There will be less feeling of ‘them and us’
Being a cyclist makes you a better motorist. I also believe being a driver can make you a better cyclists. See: Perspective of a motorist)
The Big Cycle to Work Challenge
Now I’m motivated to try and find a friend and challenge them to try cycling to work for a week rather than using the car. This challenge will be difficult, because it involves:
- Finding a friend
- Finding a friend who isn’t a cyclist
- Finding a friend who both drives to work and is willing to give cycling a go for a week.
Is there anyone you could challenge to cycle to work?
Perhaps rather sponsoring people to do all these 50 mile charity cycle rides, we should start sponsoring for charity people to cycle to work.