Saturday, August 7, 2010
The benefits of bicycle and pedestrian travel go beyond the commuter’s carbon footprint and physical health. There is a social aspect that the entire society leaves behind once we enter our cars. During my usual commute, I make a turn onto three or so blocks of cobblestone through downtown. There are three stop signs, no lights. There’s rarely traffic crossing, so I typically blow through all three. The past commute, an old guy on a moped stopped me. He reminded-perhaps he harassed me-that I should stop. “You don’t believe in stop signs do you? You know a cop’s gonna get you. You’re stupid.” My girlfriend got a similar “suggestion” to wear a helmet. All right, this isn’t so pleasant, but at least it’s productive. Take this instance. A caller on the most recent episode of Car Talk inquired about installing multiple horns. Why? So he could make it sound like multiple cars were honking at the subjects of his impatience. The Tappet Brothers’ response, “do you push someone over when you’re on the sidewalk and someone is walking slowly?” What I mean to say is that when you commute in the free air, there is no road rage. The people that share the road can clearly communicate to one another, that is something much more human and civilized that simply blaring the horn.