Riding a bicycle has changed my life.
It hasn’t just changed my physical condition, that’s still a work in progress. It has changed how I feel about a variety of things. It has helped me to realize that I don’t have to be “the out of shape fat guy”. I can ride 60 miles in a day. I realize that when properly prepared, a little weather is not a big deal.
I am working toward being car-free. It will be a few years, but I will get there. However, the way that I drive now has been affected by bicycling. I’m more cautious. I drive under the speed limit most of the time. I’m never in a hurry when behind the wheel anymore. It’s not worth the stress or the risk.
There are a number of ideas thrown around by bicyclists to get laws changed, from the good ideas, to unworkable ideas such as banning cars.
I have an idea. It’s unworkable, but let’s pretend it’s not.
- Maximum speed limit: 35 MPH (other than interstates)
- Residential speed limit: 20 MPH
- Speeding – first offense: large fine
- Speeding – second offense: loss of driving privileges for 5 years
- Reckless driving or driving without a license – jail and loss of driving privileges for life
I would assume that most people reading this think I’m off of my rocker. That’s not true. This idea will not happen. I don’t even think the level of federal government control required to pull it off nationwide would be a good idea, but think of the benefits.
- Fewer traffic deaths
- Better gas mileage
- Less stress while driving
- Less pollution
- Traffic control becomes less about revenue, and more about saving lives
Everyone I’ve talked to about this thinks it’s a bad idea. Most people get angry. Between my house and work, there is a nine-mile stretch of road with a 55 MPH speed limit. If that stretch of road had a 35 MPH speed limit it would take less than five additional minutes to get to work. If I average 25 MPH (including the stops through town) I can go the 16 miles to work in just over 38 minutes.
I do drive slower now. I don’t drive 35 in a 55, that might be a bit extreme. I drive 50 in a 55. People pass me recklessly. This is on a four-lane divided highway where passing is easy. They get angry because I’m not “going the speed limit”. Everyone seems to forget that it’s an upper limit, not a lower limit.
When I’m on a bike, travelling between 12 and 20 MPH they really get angry, even when I get out of the way when it’s safe to do so.