Cycling Elevator Speech

What do cyclist really want, in a nutshell?

First of all, why do I cycle?

“So I don’t have to kill a kid.”

That’s as short as I can get. To unpack, it means that as a careful cyclist, I feel that I want to get around in a way where there’s zero chance that I will kill a child.

I realized this early on after driving, when I got into a minor fender bender. It was such a tiny mistake, but it caused me so much grief. The only thought that kept going through my mind is “what if this had been worse?” How would I have lived with myself.

Having lived in a town which was totally walkable, I realized that motoring was mainly necessary only because other people choose to motor which creates a need for wider streets and huge parking lots which in turn makes walking less practical which in turn creates more motorists which continues to feed itself until there are no walkers left.

So basically, I cycle because I don’t want to kill a kid, and things are too far away to walk to.

So one way of getting rid of cyclists is removing parking and making stuff closer together again so I can walk everywhere. Until then, you have to put up with us.

Secondly, what do cyclists want?

Efficiency (everyone even motorists), safety (everyone), and comfort (peds and cyclists, only).

Efficiency does not mean more parking or driving faster. It means that things are closer to motorists than before. This often means removing parking and narrowing streets which is NOT what most motorists mean by efficiency. Perhaps I should say accessibility.

Safety is self-evident and should come from the built environment, only.

Comfort means that a person is as comfortable walking or cycling as she is in a car. This means the SAME amount of noise as one hears in a car. Also, a mom should feel safe enough to let her child cycle. If you don’t think that you should “take the lane” on a tricycle, then it’s nonsense to say that this is a “cycle route”.

So here’s the nutshell again: “Not to kill a kid, but to have efficiency, comfort and safety.”


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