Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On "Get-there-itis"

An opinion piece published in the Orlando Sentinel asking that we all get along.
One thing I've heard from cyclists and non-cyclists, alike, is: "That road is too dangerous for bikes." Of course, the roads themselves are not dangerous. It's the behavior of impatient and distracted motorists that creates danger. And most of us are guilty of it at one time or another. Isn't it time we all act to change behavior that kills more than 40,000 Americans each year?

"Get-there-itis" is well known to pilots as a cause of preventable aviation crashes. Student pilots are instilled with the understanding that they must detach from a sense of urgency to get there and make sound decisions. Pilots know that irresponsible actions will cost them their hard-earned license. Perhaps if society placed a fraction of that emphasis on motorists, our entire traffic culture would look much different.
Keri Caffrey, a cycling instructor with the League of American Bicyclists, has ridden a bike on the roads in Orlando for 22 years. Read the full story here.

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thePig said...

Thanks for the post. Is very interesting the perception that the 'road is too dangerous for bikes'.

I have previously found some stats on at road deaths but for some reason the link is now down.

- Every day about 3,000 people are killed on the world's roads in traffic crashes (1.1 million per year)
- Every day about 30,000 people are seriously injured on the world's roads in traffic crashes (11 million per yer)
- Motor vehicles are responsible for 1/3 of global oil consumption
- Motor vehiches are responsbile for 1/2 of US oil consumption
- One quarter of all car journeys are less than 2 miles (the other interesting statistics to throw in here is that 63% of Americans are obese)

Not quite sure how we ended up with a society that so easily accepts such massive collateral damage for percieved transportation convenience?

The above seems like good reasons why we should all be promoting more cycle journeys.

SiouxGeonz said...

There's a movement for driving slowly -

(and this post

I think there's a bumper sticker that says something like "25 for life"

I b'lieve automobiles have replaced gods; we certainly treat them as ancient people did their funky shrines. We pour oblations into sacred vessels ... and feel helpless when they turn against us.

Jared said...

It's the journey...not the destination :)

Jennifer said...

Playing devil's advocate... I know I often suffer from a similar affliction, but I think the crucial difference with get-there-by-bike-itis is that the physical symptoms tend to manifest immediately.

Perhaps cars should be installed with some device that won't let it go above, say, 40 mph without some sort of physical effort on the driver's behalf?