There are some bikes everywhere now.
What is not there, are fully weather protected, stable and comfortable, up-to-date trikes. If vehicles are light enough, human power is relevant, and by using solar/electric assistance, travel can be pleasurable and healthful too. Until all of the relevant technologies evolved to this point, motors, batteries, controllers, etc., this advance was impossible. We have the tools now, to bring our bloated urban transportation systems, down to the Human Scale, to take a giant leap into a survivable future, and a much more beautiful and visually arresting place.
Most public spaces around the world have, historically, been monopolized by dangerous, oversized vehicles. The relevance of minimal transporters is now being acknowledged by City governments everywhere, and most of the public too. Whereas cars are too big, it is also true that hoverboards and scooters, even bikes, maybe too small. They are all used, almost exclusively, only in fair weather. This is understandable, since cold can be magnified when you are moving, and rain is not much fun, and it makes pavements slippery and radically lowers visibility for drivers in dangerous, nearby cars. If every place were Copenhagen or Amsterdam this would matter less. Here and elsewhere, we have accustomed ourselves to a very high level of physical comfort though. We need vehicles that can be enclosed when necessary, and open when not, evolved designs which allow for group riding instead of just solitary, and as much artistry, creativity, and ingenuity put into these protective vessels as humanly possible.
Just as important as making it, is making it to last. There is a challenge, to make these things so they can well withstand the wear and tear of riding on rough roads, and that multi-person use of something is going to inevitably entail. There was a time when it was understood, that you made something to last as long as possible. Following that we had “planned obsolescence”, and trivial design changes to remain the “latest”. Now we need to go back to the original idea. Trolley cars lasted decades, even as they were updated and improved. Durability, especially when you are being punished by imperfect conditions, is crucial. It will also matter to have facilities that are able to provide repairs and improvements to a growing industry.
Safety matters greatly. Nobody should be expected to be harmed by the use of your product. Smooth loading and unloading of passengers must be assured. While in transit, users must be provided with comfort and ways of securing themselves to maximize their pleasure in this passage. No sacrifices are being asked for here. The point is to raise quality, access, and affordability, all at the same time by bringing things down to our “Human Scale”.
The street is also a theater. Sidewalks are full of audience members, and customers as well. Those operating these vehicles are putting on a show in which they are the star. The object is a stage and also a prop, a costume, and a statement. It cries out for lights and bright colors, to be as fantastic as it is practical. If it has been hired for a child’s birthday party it might assume one shape, if they’re for a wedding, something else. Have a Winter guise and a Tropical, a somber mien and a celebratory one.
An organization, www.AMovement.org, is being formed, which is intended to act as an expeditor, to instigate this activity everywhere, and help to expand the influence of this work. This effort is intended, partly, to ratify the good sense of using a kind of International Cooperative, as a model for taking action on urgent matters such as Extreme Weather. It is a way of exploring the energy that can be generated, by identifying one another, according to our interest in, and participation in, a relevant aspect of our common lives. This can be done by breaking down geographic and other nominal and irrelevant barriers to a peaceful, well-fed, and dignified population, able to move about freely and fully acknowledge each others’ humanity.
Along with agriculture, transportation has been scaled up, such that the consequences of the few players’ policies, are invisible to these immensities. Economies of scale can benefit us sometimes, but can also give all of the discretion to the largest factors, who will do anything to secure their status. A successful effort to radically improve the terrible working conditions under which those in this profession ordinarily endure may also help to make it possible for other groups, who are currently at the lowest end of the occupational ladder, to mobilize themselves, to generate the resources needed in order to improve their common lives.