15 - Stuck in the slow lane of behavior change? A not-so-superhuman perspective on getting out of our cars  pp. 237-250

Stuck in the slow lane of behavior change? A not-so-superhuman perspective on getting out of our cars

By John Tribbia

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Introduction

While riding my bike home from work during rush-hour traffic, I noticed once again that I am able to travel from Boulder's downtown to my home on the southern outskirts faster than a personal automobile. This is not because I am a superhuman on a bicycle, but because I do not have to walk far for parking and sit idly in traffic as drivers do. On this particular day, riding at a leisurely pace down the bike path, I passed the usual scene of standstill traffic and waved to several drivers. I wondered “What compels these folks to sit in traffic, especially those that also appear unhappy about their present situation?” I know my personal motives for riding a bike, including saving money on gas and parking, preservation of the environment, avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, and my physical well-being, to name a few. But why are streets backing up with cars if the highly educated people of the most “bicycle friendly and best commuting” community of Colorado – Boulder – are unhappy waiting at the stop light? And maybe more importantly, what would get them out of their stalled cars and join me on the bike path or get into public transportation?

Clearly, my daily observations are not unusual. Traffic congestion is a rapidly worsening problem in many US urban areas. And many people who already act in environmentally responsible ways wonder why others don't do so.

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