How can one paper be so willfully ignorant and rational at the same time?
Recently there have been a few significant sources for cycling controversy, with much ink dedicated to the whole Family Feud debacle, and an article from the Sunday Morning Herald covering the story of Emily Greenwood getting “run down” by a bloodthirsty cyclist, being two of approximately a million stories constantly cropping up in the media reviling cyclists and their wanton disregard for humanity. Lesser rags have been at it for ages, but the more “respectable” papers have recently been giving in to the clickbait material and cashing in on the mud-slinging. Wu-Tang was right. Controversy is good for business, after all, and as long as motorists are in the majority, the papers will write stories and give voice to the popular opinion of frustrated motorists, no matter how much it doesn’t make sense to. Because, dollars.
This article in the SMH by Anthony Burton takes a strange and mysterious tone. Positive? And cycling?
Popular media recommends cycling?
The traffic around Tuggeranong is banking up, trapping people in their well-appointed cages for hours on end, making them late, stressed, and costing businesses time and money.
I wonder if there is another way that a person can travel 6km?
Thankfully, Anthony Burton has come up with a great idea. He’s noticed that some people have taken the drastic measure of leaving their cars at home and hopped on their bikes, and recommends that this could very well be a viable solution for you, too.
As the level of inconvenience increases, people find alternatives to driving. People don’t realize that cycling is often just as quick or quicker than driving, costing the individual less, the country less, and increases your fitness and well-being, bringing with it all the positives that comes with that, too.
Burton highlights just how much slower driving actually is, on average.
The bike can, especially during peak hour, be faster than the car. But it is almost always faster than the car when “effective speed” is taken into account…. In the 1970s, it was calculated that the average American spent 1600 hours a year to travel 12,000km by car – an effective speed of less than 8km/h. That’s the speed of a brisk walk.
Then he points out what our sedentary lives cost us:
Each year in Australia, physical inactivity costs the economy an estimated $13.8 billion, causes 16,000 premature deaths and increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers.
Here’s the important part. Burton doesn’t get all high and mighty about it. He doesn’t throw around blame and although it’s clear that he takes a position, it’s with a reasonably soft-handed approach. Because he doesn’t bear his teeth, he doesn’t stoke the fire of the opposition – mainly because he doesn’t call any opposition out.
This is a cleaver little article that focuses its attention on the physical and temporal benefit of an active commute, not the life-threatening battle between cyclists and motorists. Nevertheless, is a ringing endorsement of cycling.
It’s the kind of approach we need more of. It’s not aggressive, it’s not very controversial, it’s positive, well argued, and well written.
Like many of the most effective fighting styles, rather than responding with a powerful counterstrike, it is often more effective to use your opponents attack against them by absorbing the power of their blow and redirecting it to neutralize them. As we have all witnessed at various times, getting into a shouting match with an agitated opponent is a pretty big waste of energy.
Cheers, Anthony, for recommending cycling, and for doing it with style.
Header image: source (cropped)