Saturday, April 18, 2015
Top Gear was right, it was graphic.
The photo was of a cyclist, crushed between a tree and one of the symbols of Pinoy-pride: a jeepney. He was still on the saddle of his bicycle, body limp, bent backwards, and hands dangling. It's graphic. And infuriating.
It could have been any one of us. That could have been me.
In a morbid way, it made sense: a cyclist--the most efficient transport vehicle in the world, logical, reasonable--dead at the hands of a jeepney--undisciplined, wasteful, polluting, arrogant, and inefficient. Sounds like that old adage about arguing with the stupid.
So, is cycling in the metro as dangerous as it appears to be?
Tell me, how many people have died as a result of being hit by a bicycle? And how many people have died as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle?
And have you noticed how wonderfully polluted the air is in the metro? It's amusing to see how people are not alarmed by this health hazard. Ever considered taking account of the ever-rising number of pulmonary-related illnesses afflicting our children? Tell me motor vehicles have no part in this.
Not your problem, you say? How could you know, you ask? You don't give a shit, you reason? Tell me about it.
And still so many people want their own cars.
Tell me, what do you think would happen if every Filipino family had at least a single car which they would use to get around? I bet traffic would be so bad, suicide rates would go up. Portable oxygen tanks would sell very well.
Just visualizing it makes my skin crawl with revulsion.
I can already hear the non-stop complaining about how bad the traffic is. And how it's the government's fault. Sure it is. Everything is the government's fault. Not enough space on the road to accommodate all the four-wheeled beasts? It's the government's fault. Not enough parking space? The government's fault. Pollution? The government's fault, of course. Motorists are innocent and blameless.
But, what if more people rode bicycles to get around? Not in this tropical climate? Too concerned about sweating profusely? Afraid of getting tired? I can hear the lame excuses already.
* * *
On my daily elevator rides, I amuse myself by taking account of the physique of those inside. Usually, eight out of ten are fatter than they need to be. It used to be amusing. Now, seeing it every single day everywhere I look, it's quite horrifying. Don't believe me? Take a quick glance around you. Then at your own belly.
Bicycles are not dangerous, motor vehicles are.
We burn no fuel. Produce no emissions. Take up the least amount of space. We are healthy.
Offer us a brand new car for free on the condition that it's what we'll use to get to work every day, and we'll find a way to stuff that car up your ass.
There is no greater glory, no greater thing to take pride in, than getting where you need to go on your own power.
And we will never stop. Padyak All The Way.