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Acylion t1_iuyym1f wrote

First, I want to clarify that I'm personally in favour of not trying to use cars (or for that matter, air conditioning), I'm just trying to explain why it's an unpalatable proposition for people, speaking from my local and regional context.

First, yes, where I live there absolutely is an expectation that many people are commuting in from wherever, to a workplace, entering a climate controlled environment, and then often not leaving until they go home. Is that a healthy or sensible expectation? Hell no. Are we talking first world or rich city folk problems here? Yeah. But I've been snarked at by people in a professional setting for having the sheer audacity to wear short sleeves and breathable shoes rather than long sleeves, a blazer, and faux-leather footwear, so you see what's going on here. Realistically, we should be assuming everyone can dress down for temperature, we should accept some sweating as a daily routine problem. But it's frowned upon in practice. So the problem arises when you're trying to walk for part of your commute, or cycle, and still need to maintain these (admittedly artificial) standards of appearance on the other end. I'm not trying to defend this as right, I'm saying this is fucking stupid, but the point is convincing people you can go car-light, yeah? And at this point your average person is still "shit, gotta take an (uber-equivalent) to the meeting, can't let the clients see us dripping wet", or "can't turn up for work stinking, the customers will complain".

Ideally it should be acceptable to just, you know, accept the realities, but folks don't. Which means that people who do persist in walking part of their commute or biking are taking some kind of sacrifice in practice - not just in discomfort but in what's needed to maintain socially acceptable standards.

Second, yeah, I'm in Asia, not the US - which might help in contextualising some of the above, I realise. Anyway.

Realistically there should be more bike parking in my city (or other nearby ones). There's space. In practice? Bike racks are only common in residential neighbourhoods, and even then it isn't enough if we assume everyone should have a bike, it's only serving current less-than-full utilisation. For the most part you're not going to find a lot of bike parking in commercial areas, for example. Now, that's a solvable problem, absolutely, but it isn't a solved problem yet. Which means that for the short to medium term, it presents an obstacle for someone trying to bike to work. Some of my coworkers have ended up lugging their bikes up the stairs or elevator and into our premises, which, y'know, fine, we're chill and nobody is gonna bat an eye when someone's doing that. But if your boss doesn't approve? We don't have bike racks nearby, and it's technically illegal to chain a bike to something that isn't a rack or designated space. Enforcement is spotty, but you're running a risk if someone decides to be an asshole.


jamanimals t1_iuz58fd wrote

I get that there's an air of appearance that needs to be maintained, and I understand where that's coming from, but that's only for certain industries, right?

If you need to present a certain way to succeed then go for it, but don't hold back those who don't need to do that.

And I'm not suggesting you are holding anyone back, but your arguments here seem to be complaining that we can't change the status quo, and only looking at it through the lens of your personal experience.

I'm not saying that you need to convert your coworkers, what I'm saying is that you should support bike infrastructure for those who need it. Surely not everyone who lives in your city needs to be completely sweat free for work, right?

Also, work commutes are only a part of people's daily movements. Why can't more people bike to get groceries? Or bike to go shopping? It's all a part of reducing our footprint.


Acylion t1_iuz6v7t wrote

I'm not arguing in favour trying to preserve status quo versus change, and apologies if that's the intent. My comment is intended to explain WHY there are barriers to change, and why I have issues with your point on biking not reducing "standard of living".

I'm saying that, rightly or wrongly... hell, let's agree on "wrongly"... biking would indeed be perceived as reducing standard of living in many contexts. By saying that it doesn't, it sort of... sidelines the challenges. Instead of addressing them.

Even if objectively it shouldn't be seen as a lifestyle hit, it is seen that way by a significant number of people. And that's a barrier for change, and I don't think ignoring or trying to explain away that challenge is helpful.

Edit: I mean, basically what you get is policymakers telling the public "use fewer cars", and a sizeable portion of the public staring back and going "fuck you". Unless policy and industry direction addresses the concerns of people, OR if there's broader social changes to our expectations, we're not going to see the takeup that you or I might prefer.


jamanimals t1_iv0j56p wrote

I think we're talking past each other here, because I do agree that there's a public perception that bikes are inferior, but from my perspective, it's generally the policymakers who refuse to build bike infrastructure, even when there's strong support for it.

I think also your perspective coming from a different country is a bit different from mine. In the US and Canada, and to an extent, Mexico, we've destroyed our cities in favor of the car. You literally cannot walk in places in the US because if how dangerous our road design is.

When I say reducing car usage and increasing bike usage won't decrease quality of life, I'm saying that car-dependency has decreased our quality of life and reducing that car dependency will help bring quality of life up.

But I will concede that it's a very North American point of view and might not apply globally, because most of the globe didn't recklessly destroy their cities to build highways.