Ah! These vehicles not suitable for winter

11:45 AM
Ah! These vehicles not suitable for winter

A new anti-cycling opinion was published in Le Devoir on years a go at February 18 2015: "Cycling, a religion?". This type of speech has the potential to affect the safety of cyclists by fueling the rage of some and some motorists, I felt the need to respond. For my part, I consider cars to be urban vehicles that are unsuitable for both winter and summer. In comparison, bicycles are convenient in all circumstances.

In 10 points, here's why I consider bikes more efficient than cars.

1. The temperature

The internal comfort of a car allows you to sit and relax almost like in a sofa in front of a TV. This "activity" does not spend a lot of calories and therefore does not generate heat. In summer and winter, the internal temperature of cars must be adjusted so that drivers can stand the air by turning on the air conditioning or heating. 

More autonomous, summer cyclists refresh themselves thanks to the wind created by their displacement. In the winter, they dress accordingly, and become active, which increases their body temperature.

2. Urban planning

It takes about 10 times more space to travel by car than by bike. Over the last hundred years, the city has been organized around the automobile: streets, highways, interchanges, shopping centers with giant parking lots, parking lots in front of buildings, tunnels and bridges. If there were drastically less, we would gain a non-negligible area that could be positively redeveloped to benefit the entire community (gardens, public spaces in particular).

During my trip to Europe last year, I was amazed by the smallness of the streets, the number of cities with a pedestrian and cycling center and the calm and security that emanate from them. Admittedly, these cities were built well before the advent of cars, but they still managed to say no to the dictatorship of the automobile. This significantly increases the quality of life of their inhabitants.

3. Weather, wear and snow removal

Cars, too bulky to park in the majority of the houses, occupy the streets at the tail-leu-leu, pile up and undergo the bad weather. Cold, water and salt reduce their life. Their size increases all the street surface to clear snow. Snow removal for pedestrian and bicycle areas is a fraction of the current cost. 

Bicycles are small and light. They can be parked out of the weather on a balcony, in a basement, a wardrobe, on a hanging hook. We do not have to shovel or scratch the windshield, push them, booster. This may explain why cyclists generally feel better about winter than motorists.

4. Ice and accidents

The icy grounds cause irremediably accidents. People walking, cycling, driving and using other means of transportation fall and get hurt. When driving a heavy motor vehicle, the inertia is stronger and skidding more dangerous. This regularly causes serious injury and death. 

In comparison, when I inadvertently brake on ice, oops, I fall. Sometimes I hurt my elbows or knees. I can not really hurt myself badly, unless I'm rolled over, or seriously hurt others. Cycling is a safe means of transportation when it does not cross motor vehicles too closely.

5. Speed

Of course, over a long distance, cars far exceed the capabilities of the bike. In town, however, and on any distance less than 5 kilometers , cyclists spend much less time on the road for the same course. Average distances are often more popular when pedaling than driving. If you consider snow removal, the purchase of gas, traffic, search for parking, parking meter, hours of work to pay for it, etc., the car is a waste of time!

6. The fuel

Cars are insatiable in fuel. Bikes, propelled mechanically by the force of the muscles, fuel the energy of the food ingested. Everyone eats and could use this energy to get around at no extra cost. To reduce the environmental impact of our own fuel, the ideal is to adopt a vegetable diet, organic and local (a few facts to better understand its impact) . 

Oil is a non-renewable resource. Do you find it morally defensible to burn that energy when we know we will bite our fingers in a few decades? We can do otherwise.

7. The weight

A car weighs an average of 2 tons. The majority of bikes weigh less than twenty kilos. Carrying tons of material to move one person is not very effective! It's a huge unnecessary energy expenditure.

8. The noise

Listen to the city when pedestrian streets and cyclists. Listen and breathe, and notice when motorized vehicles become masters of space again. The noise they generate is shocking. These vehicles increase the ambient sound level to an uncomfortable decibel number. In comparison, bikes generate soft music for the ears!

9. The smell and the quality of the air

Have you ever breathed fresh air? It's hard to find in the city right now. It is easy to notice that the air is healthier in the middle of the Botanical Garden than in the city center during rush hours. Not only is it unpleasant to breathe the exhaust of cars, but moreover, it is bad for the health. In 2014, Montréal's air quality worsened by 20% compared to the previous year. Not being responsible for this smog, I suffered it though. Like everyone.

I want to believe that sometimes cyclists feel strong when arriving at their destination, but it is not comparable!

10. The costs to society

The systematic use of cars has many environmental and social costs: global warming, smog, heat islands, urban sprawl, loss of neighborhood life and safe play spaces for children, fatal road accidents, runoff of oil, wars for oil control, respiratory problems, poor health of the sedentary population, etc. 

Everyone does not participate equally, but it is also that we suffer the consequences. Everyone pays for maintenance and wear and tear on roads, highways, interchanges, and the health system. Not everyone has the same use.

A bike, once purchased, costs little to maintain. It also uses very, very few roads. Cyclists are also generally in better shape than non-cyclists, and age better, at a lower cost to the health system. Let's not be ridiculous. Let's act accordingly! 

To conclude, using a car is energy consuming, polluting, dangerous, violent, inefficient, noisy, and smells bad. To do so, we must deny current ecological and political news and act a little dogmatic and religious, to use the expression of the author who inspired this article.

On the contrary, using a bike is helpful, responsible, effective, safe, sustainable, ethical, healthy, and enjoyable. I am not religious, I am rather pragmatic. And you?