I love driving my car. On bright, sunny days with the windows down and the wind whipping through my hair, singing along with the radio and switching gears. It’s a great way to let off steam from the day before I get home to my husband and son, who need me to be my regular, bright, cheery self. Driving’s all well and good during the week for me, but on the weekends I’m all about reducing my carbon footprint.
When possible, we park our cars on Friday night and get back in them on Monday mornings for the commute. Not only are we reducing our carbon footprint, but we’re getting great exercise and having fabulous conversations about everything under the sun. My husband has long been a road cyclist, but over the last three years, my son and I can hold our own. We’re pretty comfortable riding with traffic (though we choose routes that keep us on sidewalks and neighborhood streets as long as possible), staying in a pack and letting my husband lead the way.
And although we cyclists are technically vehicles on the road, drivers are often incredibly rude and dangerous … just because they can be. The Town of Cary, our closest town with bike lanes, is easier to ride in than Apex, but we’re doing our best to show that a family can enjoy the great outdoors safely and smartly. We calculate different stops into our day: lunch, the library or bookstore, Target, the park, things like that. For big grocery trips, we hook up the kid trailer to the mister’s bike. For smaller trips, his panniers do the trick.
It was no surprise to read CNN’s story today, Drivers, bicyclists clash on road sharing. It saddens me that civilization, as a general rule, is so harried and so hurried that drivers can’t appreciate the environmental effort, athleticism and enjoyment cyclists take from leaving their cars parked.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood drew cheers from the cycling world in March when he blogged that the administration was “integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects” and advising state departments of transportation to treat biking and walking “as equals with other transportation modes.”
That drew an outcry from industry, which saw the new policy as taking money away from large transportation construction needs.
“Treating bicycles and other non-motorized transportation as equal to motorized transportation would cause an economic catastrophe,” Carter Wood, a senior adviser at the National Association of Manufacturers, told The New York Times. “If put it into effect, the policy would more than undermine any effort the Obama administration has made toward jobs. You can’t have jobs without the efficient movement of freight.”
Hey Carter Wood: integrating bike lanes into federally-funded road projects doesn’t take jobs away from the masses. Of course the efficient movement of freight is necessary; but so is cycling. What a narr0w-minded view of the world you have. Safe options are all we’re asking for.