SEC: Efficiency I

Before I post this, I just have to write more about the recent SF: pedestrian/cyclist collision which resulted in a pedestrian death.

First of all, I do hope that they do pursue this, but the ultimate result of his guilt is up to the courts, so I won’t presume either way. I did not, personally, like the initial tone of his post about the collision, of course.

Also, here’s the voice of reason on this whole thing:

This is supposed to be the final article on this notion.

To recap, when asked what I want for cycling to be improved, I mention SEC: safety, efficiency, and comfort.

Efficiency means many, many things.

First let’s talk about what efficiency is not.

Many people use efficiency to mean faster. If you want to say faster, just say it.

Any time there’s efficiency, there’s a division problem.

When people use efficiency to say faster, they really mean more distance covered per unit of time.

In this sense, motoring is the most efficient way to get around.


In dense cities such as Philadelphia, motoring is sometimes the slowest way to get around.

Of course, they can widen the roads and build more parking. Or they could just gut the whole city and destroy all the things that made it special and relocate the Liberty Bell on top of a drive thru taco shack.

But this would be inefficient in so many other ways such as space and cost.

Thus, to me, to say a mode of transportation is efficient, it’s really a combination of categories that we should consider.

Cycling loses in most of these cases. However, LTRs know that since this site is cycling hagiography, the bike always wins.

Thus, I’d say that cycling hits the sweet spot for all the efficiency categories.

In fact, if you exclude cycling, it almost seems like the system has a conservation of efficiency.

That is, walking is the most efficient in terms of cost and space, but it’s much slower than motoring.

A bicycle seems to defy these categories by being number two.

Cycling is almost as space efficient as walking, but not quite. It’s almost as inexpensive as walking. And its’ almost as fast as motoring.

When you factor in the fun, cool, and health benefits, I think that cycling wins hands down.

Of course, cars are the coolest mode. Who got laid in the back of a bicycle.

On the other hand, bicyclists bodies are the sexiest of the three at least by modern western ideals. So while you might want to lose it in the back of a truck, who wants to do it with a guy who sat behind the wheel, on his ass all days while sucking down Liberty Bell tacos?

But by efficiency for this post, I meant something quite different.

(To be continued.)


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