Roland Dürre
Wednesday October 29th, 2014

Going by Bike/Going by Car – or Of Analysts and Think-Tanks

I am a very serious and practicing biker and whenever it is possible at all, I go places exclusively by bike. This is true for all weathers and up to a radius of about 30 kilometres. If I go anywhere inside this radius, I hardly ever use public transportation.

For longer distances, I usually take the train or a plane, but only if it seems absolutely necessary. Only very special occasions motivate me to use an individually steered and hand-controlled vehicle with a combustion motor. During an entire year, this happens very rarely.

I enjoy my new freedom and I can also give you quite objective reasons and examples of how this change increased my joy in life and inner contentedness.
The more did the following item of news I read in the SZ newspaper supplement “Mobile Living” of October, 25th, 2014 surprise (and a little shock) me:

No End to Car Boom
By Joachim Becker

They say that by the year 2030, the cost of driving your car will be less. The world bank’s prognosis is that the oil price will remain stable over the next few years. This is why the petrol prices in Germany, too, are supposed to climb only from 1.60 Euros in 2013 to 1.81 Euros in 2030. Innovations in the motor drive mechanism will probably minimize the gas consumption while the average income will increase. Consequently, private cars as a means of transportation will become more and more attractive.

One of the downsides of the growing traffic will be the more than 30 per cent additional costs caused by traffic jams. This is the result of a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). The study’s prognosis is that the direct and indirect costs caused by traffic jams will climb from 25 billion (2013) to 33 billion in 2030. This means a growth from 1,647 Euros (2013) to 2,203 Euros in 2030 – which is more than two per cent each year and thus more or less on the same level as the expected inflation rate. Poor consolation: I the USA, they expect the costs caused by traffic jams to increase by 50 per cent.

Going from one place to another under your own power is probably the best you can do for the bio system of the human body. It is probably a good way to slowly glide into a life full of reflection dominated by the simple necessities.
Whenever I go places by bike, I move, win against my “weaker self” (which, incidentally, gets smaller each day), enjoy the fresh air and experience nature around me. I counter rain, hail and heat – also by wearing the right kinds of clothes. I learn to practice patience and leisure.

On top of this, I do not burn oil, do not produce exhausts, make no noise, am a far lower potential risk to other traffic participants and even save money. Using public transport, I win a lot of time when going long distances. Time which I can use for myself. Just remembering how many years I spent hours in my car every day is painful for me.

And then I have to read this kind of study … and ask myself what has been happening:

  • Is it possible that the prognoses in the article are correct?
  • What will people think when they read this kind of thing?
  • Might this really be our future?
  • Or are the analyses completely wrong?
  • Why don’t more people follow my example?

(Translated by EG)


By now, I made further progress: I now work on my “new mobility program”: replacing the bike by hiking short distances. This is quite a challenge.

1 Kommentar zu “Going by Bike/Going by Car – or Of Analysts and Think-Tanks”

  1. Chris (Friday October 31st, 2014)

    Absolutely right!
    I am reading “This Changes Everything“, by Naomi Klein, a USA-Canadian socialist. I hope this will be a very important book, but I suspect its length, style, and commitment to socialism will prevent many people from reading it. I have known for many years that humanity is heading for a climate disaster, and that very little is being done about it. Germany is better than most in Europe, and Europe is better than other developed regions. Yet even here, the media are all uncritically enthusiastic about economic growth, without noticing the dangers. A recent comment was that the spirit of consumers in USA is happily now better than for many years. Do they and we really need all this consumption? Rising share prices are greeted with joy. But this is inflationary, and widens the gap between rich and poor.
    Naomi Klein has opened my eyes to the extent that things have been getting worse in the last 20 years, due to hardly controlled capitalism spreading from USA. Perhaps she has convinced me that recent moves towards free trade are damaging. The climate disaster will surely hit the poor harder, or at least sooner. She almost welcomes the disaster, as giving socialism a chance. But I doubt whether iI will have this effect. And even if it did, I doubt whether socialism would help.
    What we need, is an outbreak of common sense. I remain optimistic, but expect disaster. Can someone add a German translation to this?

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