Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rivendell Bicycle Blog Entry from Jan 18

...Cars are banned from the streets in the ultra-upscale Ginza shopping district in Tokyo on Sundays. Let's spread that one around.

...Bikes are green transportation and all, but people don't give up their cars because they're green. Unpeel the top layer of green and you'll see the real reasons. They don't own a car. A car's too expensive to park, or spaces are too hard to come by. Their license has been suspended or they don't have one. They want exercise. Pedaling relieves stress and they arrive at their destination invigorated but not sweaty. Commute time is training time. There are lots of reasons to ride instead of drive, but I don't believe greenness is one of them. Maybe avoiding guilt, but that's guit-avoidance, not greenness.

The problem with greenness as an incentive is it's too weak and deferred. No one person's single commute has a measurable impact on the health of the planet. Cumulatively, yes; singly, no---because we're talking about measurable effects. This doesn't mean don't ride and be green. It means if the goal is to get more people riding, the incentives to ride and disincentives to drive have to be in place, and both of those things are more powerful when they're immediate and dramatic, and weak when they're not. Show me a deferred, barely perceptible consequence that's shared by billions that's more influential than an immediate and dramatic personal one, and I'll give you a million of anything, as long as I have it to give. If not, no dice! (This sort of statement, in the old days, would be taken for what it is. In modern times, it feels sort of like sticking my arm down a dark shaft in a jungle in Borneo and wiggling my fingers for an hour or so.)


To read the whole post go here
(this is stolen, err... we mean appropriated from Rivendell Bicycle Works Blog, check it!) 

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