A reader argues that bicycles are not adequate to meet our transportation needs.
By Letter to the Editor
Published February 09, 2007
Although I generally agree with you, what about those who can't ride? I don't mean those who don't know how, but those who are physically incapable of doing so?
My father is 83 years old and can hardly walk, but he can still drive. If it wern't for his car, he would be housebound. I'm sure he isn't the only such person.
Also, bicycles may be OK for people living in cities, but what about people living in the country?
The farmer in Iowa, the rancher in Montana or South Dakota; surely you aren't telling them to ride a bike to town on market day, particularly in winter! And surely you aren't telling them to get rid of their tractors, combines, etc., which also run on the internal (infernal?) combustion engine.
Also, what about terrain? I live in West Virginia, which is not called 'the Mountain State' for no reason. There are some streets here in Charleston with a more than 19 degree slope; I'm in pretty good shape, but it is not easy to go up those hills.
Are you suggesting that we abandon dwellings in the hills and all live on the flatlands? WV is not a populous state, but we haven't enough flat lands for that.
I try to ride my bike whenever I can, and I discover that I can do it more than most people think; and I believe that a lot of people could use their bikes more than they do, and that there should be incentives for them to do so.
But to abolish the car would do a great deal of harm to those whose bodily condition makes bikes impossible, or who live in places where bikes are not practical.
The idea that using biofuels will divert food crops falls down as soon as one considers that biofules can be made from ANY vegetable matter, even ones that are not good for food, and from plants that will grow on marginal land.
I mean, if we used kudzu as our ethanol source, Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas would become the new Saudi Arabia. That stuff grows so fast that after a good rain you can actually see it growing!
Bruce Alan Wilson,
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