Thank you, Bicycle

Dear Bicycle,

Thank you.

This world, this country, this city has so many problems; it’s the nature of our times, of our society. But through all of the war, disparaged communities, health concerns; through it all you, bicycle, and the people who choose to ride you, do so much for us all.

  • Lessening our dependency on foreign oil. A war is being fought in Iraq, and whether this war is over freedom or oil, one thing is certain: the American motorist is paying for it at the pump. And unlike most products we consume where the more you buy the cheaper it becomes, oil gets more expensive as we exhaust what reserves the world has left. For every bicycle on the road, motorists save money.
  • Reducing pollution. Cars spew exhaust, bicycles don’t. On Friday, September 10th, the city of Pittsburgh’s (which has long shed the vast majority of its industry and is now primarily a technology and white collar based commercial city) air quality was so poor that the very young, the elderly, and those with breathing problems were urged to stay indoors. Think about that, we’ve turned nature, the very Earth itself, into a place that at times in inhospitable. Every car on its way to wherever contributed to this factor. No bicycle ever has.
  • Freeing up real estate. Two or three bikes can easily fit into the parking spot that even the most compact car takes up. You could probably fit ten bikes in the space your average SUV consumes, just sitting there, wasting valuable space that could be used for businesses, parks, whatever. Not to mention the sheer overwhelming number of tons that cars take up in landfills.
  • Reducing congestion. Bikes take up less space on city streets than cars, particularly if they’re given their own lanes or paths. They take up absolutely no space on the freeway. The more people who ride bikes, the faster motorists will be able to get to and from work. 100 bicycles can easily shave 10 minutes off of some commutes. That’s a whole extra “Snooze” session.
  • Lowering the cost of health insurance. Every person who is unhealthy raises the cost of health insurance. The more money the health insurance industry has to pour into the system (ie, pay out to claims), the more expensive they make it for everyone to get coverage. Bicycling is a healthy way to keep your muscles fit, your joints and tendons flexible, and your heart in great shape.

With everything that cyclists do for motorists, you’d think they might get a congratulations, some show of appreciation, rather than being forced to risk their lives and be honked off the road.

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