Utopian Cycling

One of the things that pisses me off, like no other is being accused of wishing for Utopia.

Utopia literally means no place because it was created as a perfect place that can not actually exist.

In the real world, I’m more interested in studying the small changes in the environment which will empower us to act as better humans.

Do we really need a better environment?

I think so, but I am totally confounded on selling this idea to the vast majority of fellow humans.

They believe in the Myth of True Evil which means that there are good people and bad people and the bad people need to be locked up. Nobody admits that they are bad, everyone likes to believe that their motives are good and if they are not, it was due to exceptional circumstances.

I’m here to say that everyone you hate believes that either they did good or there is a really, really, good excuse for their behavior. In the vast majority of motorist’s excuses, this turns out to be the environment even though, they would not recognize it as such.

The environment plays such a subtle role on us that talking about it is like try to explain to fish that they are in water. If they are told that they need water, they won’t believe it. So take a fish out of water and if it dies then blame it for being a “bad” fish. Or you can stop fucking around with its emotions and give it the place it needs to thrive.

Similarly, motorists and cyclists need to be in a healthy place.

I could be wrong. There could be a way to reform all of humanity so that we reach the golden day where all people act sanely and rationally and motorists have visual centers which are far beyond the human norm and reflexes beyond the human norm as well as a knowledge of the law to rival an experienced law professor.

Or we could realize that this is an insane dream, much more costly than a little paint, a little metal, and lot less concrete that traffic calming will cost us.

And if we get really silly, with our experiment, we can take into account the TOTAL COST of any road building project from cradle to the graves of all those that it kills to the businesses and homes that it destroys and take a tiny bit of money to give it to someone who doesn’t really care about AASHTO or even NACTO, but rather they have a very, very realistic view of how real humans in the real world interact with real infrastructure. We might find that his approach saves more lives, costs less, and gives us a result that we are all a bit more proud of.


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