There was a story they used to tell us in school. It goes like this:
Once there was a fight between Gods and Devils about who is better group of the two. When there was no conclusion they went to one of the supreme gods and asked him to settle the argument.
To resolve the fight the all mighty puts a competition between the two groups. He told the groups like this:
"You will be given some sweets. Whichever group eats and finishes them will be the winner. But the only condition is that everyone will have his elbows tied. "
With this conditions they were put in two separate rooms. After sometime at first the Devils' room was opened only to find them in a mess. Sweets were littered on the ground and devils were running around in chaos. They tried to eat the sweets by all methods like grabbing sweets with mouth, tossing the sweets etc. They readily complained, that there was no way any one could do better with such conditions.
Then the room of Gods was opened and there was content and happiness in the room. They had happily finished the sweets to everyone's surprise. When asked how did you do it? They told it was simple instead of eating themselves they fed each other and it was a lot fun. The decision was made.
The story was amusing to little me that time, but now when I remember it so much makes sense for many aspects of life. But I will draw parables for road traffic and biking.
If you need your sweet, you need to:
Feed it to the community:
How we wish for the jam free roads, clean air and calm streets and yeah the how about having a easy parking whenever you are in the streets? Heaven I say! Well how to get those? Try moving to bike for your next trip out of home. Do biking to work. We need to feed it to the community and we will get. Sooner or later we have to accept we are the traffic, we create the pollution and we are the ones who are loosing our sweets. Biking is the apt art of contributing to the society, and doing all this while getting benefitted ourselves. And if you think you alone can not make a difference. Add me up. Add so many who already are walking and biking. Ask your friends to feed the sweets you need. There is no better way other than feeding each other. If you want to give up remember us, we need you and we need your good deed of the day.
Feed it to your family:
They need your health and they will cherish the extra money you save, if you think money is not something significant, you might be missing something here. You can calculate and find it out for yourself in a post I wrote about Economics of Biking. More on the important health front later, but I guess you will be knowing it already.
Feed it to your employer:
The study in Netherlands (there are others too) has to add something about it. It seems people who commute using cycles take ~1 sick leaves lesser. Umm... you could use your one healthier day and your employer could be happier too with increased productivity and wont a fitter employee work with more efficiency? And don't forget the free parking cost your emplyoer is bearing and if you are paying for the parking then you already are tasting the sweetnes of your deeds.
Feed it to the local economy:
Well as some wise people claim. Cyclists tend to nurture local economic scenes. They tend to stop and buy from the local markets. And don't forget the bicycle tourism which is on the upswing and has direct and indirect positive economic impact. Means infusing new money. Creating jobs. The green way.
Together we add up:
We do. Lets get back to wise people on this one again. There are studies, there are facts and there are conclusions. All of them do support cycling.
You can check out the links in the references section in the end. I have some facts here. I live in India but sadly I do not have facts from India. (But Hey Indians!) Here are some facts for starting brain-waves:
-The one from Europe: Since cyclists tend to take 1 less sick leave a year. If there is 1% of increase in the number of employees that cycle to work it will save their employers €27M per year from Netherlands.
-Study from bikeleague.org "Investing in bicycle infrastructure and promoting cycling can draw new money to a local economy by attracting visitors who may otherwise spend their vacation dollars elsewhere"
- Another one from the same study: "In urban areas, where cars and bicyclists travel at similar speeds, bike lanes can accommodate 7 to 12 times as many people per meter of lane per hour than car lanes
and bicycles cause less wear on the pavement." Notice the fun-fact: "where cars and bicyclists travel at similar speeds". That is very true atleast for Bangalore.
-This one is a very comprehensive study for State of Wisconsin in USA:
"Increasing non-resident bicycling by 20% has the potential to increase economic activity
by more than $107 million dollars and create 1,528 full-time equivalent jobs."
So much and all I have to say is feed me my share of sweet. Bike Up!!!
Calculate the impact of cycling to your personal wealth: Economics of Biking.
Cyclists take 1 sick leave less: The one from Europe.
How it impacts the local biz: Study from bikeleague.org
The biking state of USA: Economic impact of biking on Wisconsin