You know what kills me? We have perfected a transportation technology that could make a huge dent in CO2 emissions and in liquid-fuel consumption — and it’s barely utilized. I know it gets tiresome hearing bike enthusiasts harp about their passion, but if you could eliminate most of the reasons people don’t ride bikes, you would have an awful lot of bike riders.
Safety is the biggest one. The potential of getting hit by a car in Seattle is very real. Compared to a lot of cities, we have a lot of bike lanes and trails, but even so, they are grossly insufficient.
You can rarely go anywhere without having to mix it up with cars part of the way (and the testosterone-pumped fools that drive so many of them). Politicians give lip service to squeaky-wheel bike organizations, feeding them just enough to get them to shut up.
The roads here in Seattle are absolutely terrible. You need to keep your tongue out from between your teeth, shock absorbers, and a keen eye to avoid the cracks and holes. Swerving to avoid the numerous bad spots in the road that would cause a wreck adds to the danger.
There is nothing you could commute to work in, or buy groceries with, that comes anywhere close to the carbon neutrality of a bike with a trailer on the back. Riding bikes isn’t a form of sacrifice for the good of the planet. If I found riding my bike unpleasant, I wouldn’t do it. I love riding my bike. I hate driving my car. It is a win-win situation for me, and for most other riders.
According to numbers gleaned from an EPA site, if an average American could put half of their miles on a bike, they would emit 6,000 pounds less carbon into the air. That is about the same amount a Volvo running on pure soy biodiesel would emit.
I didn’t ride my bike for many years after my children (snot-encrusted virus vacuums) were born. I felt I couldn’t spare the time it took to get my bike from point A to point B. That all changed with my hybrid electric bike (and once my kids got older). It gets me to most destinations in the Seattle area faster than a car and without having to change clothes before or after I get there.
Riding my bike down Capitol Hill at night or along the Burke Gilman trail with a tail wind is exhilarating. When was the last time you used that adjective to describe commuting in your car?