I find Mbendi a valuable source of information. their posts are insightful. The following taken from their newsletter (www.mbendi.com)
“As I weave my way through the traffic on my bicycle to and from work each day with nary another cyclist in sight, I regularly ask myself a very serious question: Am I the idiot or are the idiots the people huddled in their cars listening to banal talk radio while waiting for the traffic to move? You be the judge.
Each month I save the equivalent of two tanks of gasoline, not to be sneezed at in these times of financial constraint. Peddling home up the hill keeps me fit and healthy and saves me more money as I have less need to see the doctor. My actions contribute next to nothing to the city’s traffic jams, pollution levels and road maintenance costs. In fact, for me, traffic jams don’t exist and there’s the added exhilaration of whizzing between stalled cars. Finally, I get to really appreciate the beauty of the city where I live, unimpeded by vehicle roofs or tinted glass. Doesn’t that sound compelling? Meanwhile, if I were to tap on the windows of some of those cars I pass so I can ask the drivers why they’re not biking, I’m sure their surly answers would boil down to security, sweatiness and sheer laziness.
Maybe the dearth of cyclists can also be attributed to the lack of formal cycle paths? So last week I dashed off an E-mail to my city councillor suggesting, half seriously, half in jest, that all the councillors buy, borrow or beg bicycles and cycle to their next meeting. I even listed some of the challenges he would encounter in his area en route. The survivors would be able to pool their experiences and come up with a compelling plan for cycling in the city. Clearly the councillor is a busy man with no sense of humour at all because back came a prompt response berating me for slagging him off. My huge, two volume dictionary doesn’t list the verb slag offbut I assume it means criticising a person or object that warrants criticism but is very sensitive!
He also suggested I go to the city administration’s website and record my complaints and suggestions there. Since I’ve tried that route before without success, I thought I would share my ideas with you now that I’ve sold you on the idea of cycling as you go about your daily business. You might even want to lodge some of these suggestions with your own local councillors.
First put a massive tax on gasoline; this makes it more expensive to drive and increases the amount in your back pocket as you cycle. Use the tax to provide free, efficient public transport (as a keen cyclist you will need this when it rains). Create cycle lanes by blocking off a third of the main roads between the city centre and the suburbs. Don’t undertake any major road upgrades unless they include the provision of a safe, smooth cycle path. Remove the requirement for high rise buildings to provide parking space for cars, just bikes. Give tax breaks to parents who ride to school with their kids each day. Ramp up law enforcement along cycle routes. Lastly, under no circumstances whatsoever should the council erect signposts or place huge flower pots in the middle of a cycle path where they can cause inconvenience and accidents!
You should also remember to remind your children and grandchildren to give you an even bigger present next birthday as a special thank you for making their present and future world a better place – a fancy new bicycle with a comfortable saddle and lots of gears would be a good start!”