Is the day of the car over? Is it time to park the car and ride the bike? It may be coming sooner than you think. And governments might be willing to offer an incentive to bike over using the dinosaur-fueled automobile. From paper-pusher to pedal pusher. Move over T-Rex, here comes Homo Sapiens Bicyclus.
In 2014, commuters from certain companies in France were paid as much as twenty five centimes per mile to bike to work. Other perks include increasing the fines for cars who park in spots reserved for bicycles. While the immediate impact is small, it is hoped to grow over the next few years and become a significant social change.
Also announced in 2014, Hamburg, Germany now plans to remove cars from its city center. Within 20 years, cars will be verboten in the central areas. Instead, you will find bicyclists, pedestrians or public transportation. The city is even creating green spaces that will allow people to hike and swim inside the city.
In Belgium, the unwanted guest is the diesel engine. But, there are so many diesel cars running around, it may be a while before the ban becomes total. Antwerp and Brussels have started the change to their central core area. While her European cities plan to have the ban in effect by 202o, the Belgium cities are expecting to take longer.
In October of 2015, the country of Norway announced it will start banning cars from its capital of Oslo’s city center. The plan is to have all private cars banned from the central part of the city by 2019. That is four years for a population used to getting there by car to find another way. Considered a success for the local Green Party, it is hoped carbon emissions will be reduced by 95 percent in 2030. Plans even call for Oslo to separate its $9 billion dollar pension fund away from fossil fuels. Ouch, that will hurt at the pump.
Milan joined the current trend when it experienced 30 consecutive days of pollution over the standard index. It has temporarily banned cars from its center and is planning on paying those who ride their bikes instead. They are hoping the equivalent of $.30 cents a mile will encourage their commuters to find a healthier solution.
Most of this trend is sparked by the huge amount of diesel engines available all over the world. But, surprisingly, many of the worst polluters are banned from even being sold in the United States. Cars like the 1995 Audi RS2 Avant, 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution III or the 1993 Jaguar XJ220-S were all banned from being sold in the United States. These were just a few of many. Will the ban of the worst offenders mean America will not have to ban the All-American car from its own roads? I’m afraid all it has done is buy time for the American driver. Eventually, pollution will force us to find another way. I’m expecting the car to go the way of the horse. They are still around but very expensive to take care of.