How Bicyclists are Helping Solve Our Urban Traffic Problem

The picture above is graphic proof of how bicyclists all over the world are actually helping solve our urban traffic problem. Looking at this picture, is it any wonder for you why we are having traffic problems in all major cities in the planet? The Philippines is not exempted and in fact, we have one of the worst traffic problems around the world. The country maybe experiencing a slight rise in bicycle use right now and luckily, if the trend continues in the coming years, we may come to a point where bicyclists’ presence in our roads reach critical mass and become a defining force that can drive our lawmakers to create bicycle friendly laws that are adapted to our local conditions and address bicyclists’ needs such as safety and security while on the road. But the question at this point is what can tip the balance in favor of encouraging more people to ride their bicycles to work rather than drive their cars or even ride public transport?

One sobering thought that comes to mind is that every year, our government is forced to construct more and more roads in order to accommodate the burgeoning number of motorized vehicles being manufactured abroad and sold locally. Even under trying economic times, Filipinos who can afford still continued to buy cars that filled our roads to the brim. Even those people without clear and defined parking space available to them are allowed to buy cars. There seems to be no stopping unscrupulous businesspeople from exploiting some people’s desire to own cars and the government seems to be blind to the fact that we cannot simply go on building roads instead of finding alternative solutions to current traffic problems.

One sobering thought that comes to mind is that every year, our government is forced to construct more and more roads in order to accommodate the burgeoning number of motorized vehicles being manufactured abroad and sold locally.

 

The equation is very simple: more cars mean more demand for roads and other supporting infrastructure. But is building more roads the only solution to having more cars? Or shouldn’t we start with the first part of the equation – do we really need more cars or are we just pandering to a primitive human desire to possess something even though there is no actual need for it? If we can eliminate the assumption that we do need cars, then perhaps we can find actual solutions that work. But this is where the going gets tough – who will say that we don’t need cars as even some avid bicyclists and bicycle advocates, especially the affluent ones, own a car or two. Are we looking towards compromise and tolerance as a way to find a workable solution?

Let's look at this problem now from the bicyclists' point of view and the proposed solution: more bikes means less demand for roads and related infrastructure.  But this proposed solution in itself present other related problems which beg for their own proper solutions.  We cannot just have more bikes on the road without setting up adequate bicycle infrastructure to support its sustainable development.  Using more bicycles will mean a surge of another set of problems not unrelated to the car problem - bicycle lanes.  Are Filipino drivers ready to accept the fact that they will have to share the road with bicyclists today or do we have to wait for another generation of drivers who are aware of the traffic problems and are willing  to help solve them?

Bicycle vs Car Infographics Design by Visual Revolt

There are existing incontrovertible proofs and studies that using the bicycle regularly provides a wide range of benefits not only for bicyclists themselves but also for the environment and the community at large. There is no disputing that bicycling regularly is good for one’s health but what we want more people to realize is that bicycling has more to offer especially when it comes to solving urban traffic problems. First of all, if more people use the bicycle, we will find that we will have less use of motorized transport, which can lead to lessening of traffic congestion and thus less demand for gasoline. Without traffic congestion, it will be easier for goods and services to be moved and availed of, making way to better economic situations in the country. Fewer cars on the road means less pollution and thus healthier citizens. We realize that this is a very simplistic view of a very complex reality. But we can only prove its truth if we allow it to happen and the time is now. If you are the skeptical one and doesn’t see the reason why we should use the bicycle more often, we can only ask you to consider its benefits. Let’s give the task of computing how much we can save to the government bureaucrats who seem to know it all anyway.

For other views on how bicyclists work towards contributing to national development, read Are All Cyclists Eco-Friendly by Default? Or if you want to find out how else can bicycles be of use to you, check out our  5 Ways to Use the Bicycle Other than for Transport.

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