In a typical week with favorable weather conditions, how many days do you use bicycle as your primary means of transport between home and work/school?
The Story of Karthik
Karthik is a citizen who prefers to choose any mode of transport which minimizes cost and time investments, yet provide comfort. He assumes to be provided with car-supportive environments all across the metro or cosmopolitan city he dwells in. Unfortunately, it is not true. The inclination towards factors like cost, time and comfort turns him oblivious to environmental hazards and social discomforts.
Just like any other resident, he complaints of traffic congestion, improper driving sense among public, disobeyed traffic rules, polluted air, global warming, depletion of ozone layer and so on. But, he fails to realize that he is a small but mattering part of the whole system he complaints about!
With the increasing awareness of low-carbon economy and low-carbon city, Karthik reflects on the environmental problems in the transportation field, thereby changing for the good. He addresses the issues by finding alternative modes of commute in place of the daily long car drives to and from work, his average trip distance (from point A to point B) being 5 kms a day.
He understands that commuting by bicycle proves double advantageous (self and society) over any other mode of transport. But, the existence of other complications to bicycling and other related factors are already in place.
To achieve a good frequency of bicycle commuting, the following four aspects are in consideration:
– Good bicycle routes beyond the neighborhood
– Proximity to workplace
– Low crime rate within neighborhood
– Low levels of car traffic on neighborhood streets.
Most importantly, close proximity to jobs is an important predictor in how frequently one can make that commute trip by bicycle.
Somehow, Karthik interprets that the above mentioned factors relate to demand of supporting infrastructure and better planning. But that’s not an excuse!
Above all, he sternly believes that it is the ‘travel attitude’ of an individual which encourages him to bicycle. It has also been proved that bicyclists in particular derive great satisfaction from many aspects of their commute, in spite of the fact that they are vulnerable to day-to-day changes in weather or varying travel needs.
This is not just the story of Karthik, but any socially responsible individual who prefers to cycle to work!
Note: Karthik is an imaginary character created to keep the deliberation on cycling in the form of a story.
Levinson, D., Schoner, J., Cao, X., 2014. Catalysts and Magnets Built Environment Effects on Bicycle Commuting. Transport Research Board, 2, pp.1-21.