Environmental Challenges

The pictures I attached might not make sense because they're pictures of pannier bags, rain gear, and parking lots, but the challenge was to take pictures of things that ruin the environment or deter people from using green methods of transportation.

Most of the time people think weather and practicality prevents people from cycling, but if you have rain gear, panniers, and a trailer, you can carry quite a bit in most weather conditions. I cycle in rain, snow, wind, etc. The thing that makes me question that is the built environment.

We build and destroy everything for cars. The parking lots are never, ever full thanks to mandatory minimum lot requirements that require stores to have enough spaces to fill a Black Friday level of customers every day of the week, but there's no such requirement for bike racks. My entire town only has one bike rack. That's why my bike in one picture is locked to a sign. Not to mention that asphalt doesn't soak up rain water, and so putting down the amount of asphalt it takes to build such massive parking lots creates flood zones. Bicycles use less asphalt because they use less space than cars.

The roads themselves are hostile to anyone not in a car. We encourage people to use green transportation, which bikes are, and we encourage them to get exercise, which bikes help provide, but our roads discourage people from doing the very things we tell them to do. Highways are much too dangerous for anyone not in a car, and cyclists are not allowed on them. Most of the roads here don't have bicycle lanes, and the one pictured is extremely short. We tell cyclists it's safe to ride on the side of the road, but then cleaners brush all the debris off to the side and drivers don't all abide by the 4 foot rule. They also don't always look for cyclists when turning, and I nearly got hit yesterday because somebody did that. I've also nearly been clipped by trucks that didn't abide by the 4 foot rule. People won't want to use bicycles as their mode of transportation if they have to be in the same mix as two ton vehicles that could easily kill them.

The best way to go emissions free, especially in cities, is to go car free, but we can't do that if the only infrastructure we build for cyclists is recreational infrastructure.


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