It can be funny how you go through life not questioning the status quo, the what and why of accepted social positions. And then sometimes you read or see or hear someone phrase something with a different perspective and it jolts you out of your seat. “Yes” you think “ why is the world actually like that?”
There is a terrific short TED talk by Derek Sivers “Weird -or just Different
” in which Derek highlights how completely different address between America and Japan are. In each culture they make sense — but if you grew up on the other side of the world, you never would think it could be another way.
Olympic and Tour de France cyclist Chris Boardman writes how his frame about road use changed with an innocent request from his daughter:
She asked: “Can we ride to the park?” It wasn’t her question that altered everything, it was my answer — which was: “No.”
We live in a typical northern seaside town, and the park in question was — I know because I measured it later — 549 metres away, a distance that takes a little over one minute to ride. I, an ex-Olympic cyclist, didn’t feel I could keep my daughter safe on our roads for one minute. And that felt very wrong. It wasn’t what I wanted for her, and it wasn’t the place I wanted to live.
When did roads become the sole domain of cars — to the exclusion of all other users?
Remarkably in the 1920’s there was debate about exactly this question with a strong feeling that cars were taking over the streets and creating too much danger and chaos. Something had to be done! Enter the powerful car lobby who invented a new term “Jaywalking” and with significant political lobbying turned around 180degress the perception of cars being dangerous for people into the perception that it was the people who were the problem.