You heard me right. I sometimes feel very confused when people complain about the traffic in their morning commute to work. Then I realize I have been cycling to work at a stretch and I don’t feel traffic. I move through it. It’s the same when I head back home from work. I take a longer route back homefor this and I end up coming back home within 45 minutes. If I took the bus – it would take me 1 hour and 45 minutes. There’s a scary statistic which I would like to share with you.
Let’s say you live in a radius of 20 km away from your work place. And usually it takes you 2 hours to reach your work place by 8.30am. Now remember you have to head back home too, and that would take similar amount of time. So for a day you spend around four hours in traffic. Imagine you continue this lifestyle five days a week, for ten years. If you do the math right – you have spent almost a year in traffic! That’s almost a prison sentence.
I can’t imagine a day going to work without my cycle. I hate those days – waiting for the bus, getting into the bus which is crowded like a tin of sardines and getting stuck in traffic. It would take me an hour and a half to reach my office from Rajagiriya to Wellawatte. And it’s not easy driving your own vehicle – the stress of securing your car from any damages caused by unforgiving tuk tuks, motor bikes and lLorries. I mean the car was an invention that would make you go faster than horse carriage. I guess we were wrong when it comes to traffic.
I can’t imagine, Sri Lanka being a third world country – has the power to buy so many vehicles every year. Our taxes are so high and yet people find a way to buy. My town keeps widening its roads, building flyovers hoping to solve this traffic madness. It has improved things to a certain extent, but I would very much prefer if there were proper cycling lanes.
I once heard a scientist at a conference say that, “A developed country is not where every person has a car. A developed country is when even the rich – use public transport”. I should rephrase that as, “A developed country is where those who have cars – cycle to work”.