Friday, September 19, 2008

Bicycles as toys.

Road rage seemed to be on many folks' minds over the summer. The notion certainly got more press coverage than I've ever seen before. One idea that seemed to be repeated is that at the core of the motorist-cyclist conflicts is the notion that bicycles are perceived as "toys" and that their users are out playing around on the roads and hindering the rightful movement of automobiles.

I've touched on the notion before that cars are a childish preoccupation. Anyone with a child will recognize the desire for toys and candy and easy things and making noise and a lack of consideration for others.. Part of growing up, of maturing is learning that worthwhile things take some work and the best way is not always the easy way. Being mindful of others and learning one's place in community.

From this perspective it is easy to see that cars are, in fact, the "toys". Very little about them is practical (although one could point out various types of bikes such as DH or TT bikes as being impractical). Cars are expensive to run, maintain, they are loud, polluting, shiny. In short, very much like a toy, a novelty. Once inside them, many people begin to act like three year-olds: lacking in basic social graces and behavior. Selfish and rude and with a tremendous sense of entitlement.

This seems like such a fundamental realization to me. As a species we desire or cling to cars as both symbols of status, power and wealth. They are our prized possessions, our mostest favoritest toys and the roads are our playgrounds.

As we as a species gow and mature, stop fighting so much, perhaps we can leave the fossil-fueled car behind.

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