Cycling, the other gasoline alternative
Let’s assume that the price of gasoline has been rising every year for the past 6 years. Let’s say that you live in a major metropolitan city. Let’s say that the number of obese people in your nation has grown almost as much as the waistlines. What do you do?
In America you blame the other political party, offer a tax break or threaten to tax the oil companies (depending on your party affiliation), mandate an alternative fuel source that drives up the price of food and that 98% of the population can’t use, and then sit back as unprecedented numbers of people go out and buy scooters or motorcycles. In America its drive or die you know.
But if you happen to be in England, well then it’s another story completely.
In a nation where gas gulping Hummers never took hold the obvious choice was to ride a bicycle. And that is something they have been doing in droves.
Since 2000 there has been an increase of 90% in the number of cyclists hitting the roads. In fact the government there has just created a ~$250 million incentive package for 12 cities, including Bristol, to become modern cycling cities. Not that does not match up much against the ~$10 billion spent on transportation in London alone (of which approx $110 million will be going to cycling) but it’s an impressive number.
Considering the huge numbers of eco-fanatical people in America concerned about green house gases and global warming, the food police demanding that every meal be an organic mix of veggies and nuts, and the ping pong battle over drilling for domestic oil anywhere I have to admit I’m shocked that not even San Francisco has made similar moves if not to lead the world with cycling.
Cycling is not just the sport of France, or an event in the Olympics. It’s a real solution to rising oil prices, obesity, and global health. No matter how the politicians spin the polispeak the fact is that there is something that can be done, and England is doing it.