CleanTechnica focuses much of its news on cutting-edge electric cars and trucks. Yet, there is a whole world out there that is not as car centric as the US.
Beyond that car-centric view, many cultures transport themselves in more diverse forms of e-mobility with an ease some of us wish for and prefer. They create lighter footprints, even lower and truly zero-emission footprints.
On scooters, electric motorcycles, bicycles, three-wheelers, cargo bicycles, and on foot, they move around each other. How different it will be, yes, when electric cars and trucks replace toxic cars. In places like Paris, packs of people flow in harmony reminiscent of groups of fish down the boulevard — on bicycles. Bicyclists and pedestrians, side by side, benefit from fresher air because they create fresher air, thanks to the tiniest of mobility footprints.
In Paris, pedestrians carefully avoid stepping in the way of bicycles, scooters, and the like and wait their turn. To be honest, bicyclists never need the sidewalks (as they do to be safe in much of the US). All the bicycles paths, and they are everywhere, are protected bicycle paths; nothing like the ridiculously tiny lines we call bicycle paths in most of the US — that make one gasp in fright at times.
I enjoyed a month of work in Paris recently, and found the city overflowing with diverse forms of mobility. Like many, I chose to travel by foot. I shared my long walks with scooters, bicyclists (in protected paths alongside), and even the occasional motorcycle cutting across the sidewalk. It is a way of life that means one arrives with balanced muscles and invigorated circulation, a better mood, a balanced brain, and perhaps a quieter mind.
And for the most part, compared to the US, the cars were smaller.
Mikael Colville-Andersen was also in Paris for a week-long exhibit, “Aux vélos, citoyens ! Mikael’s Danish Urban Design exhibition in Paris.” Some of us at CleanTechnnica admire his work immensely. I have read and republished it from time to time, for well over a decade. Everyone needs a good visit to his blogs, immersion in his posters, his photos, his films. I may be the only one who prefers bicycles to electric cars at CleanTechnica, but I suspect not, and I am sure many of our readers do too.
Mikael is coming from Copenhagen, I am coming from the US. My experience of Paris is sublime, poised, and holistic compared to too many experiences in car-centric US. Perhaps it is the demeanor and personality of the city, as well. However, the city lacks EV infrastructure and is filled with pollution like US cities. Mikael wants the cars to disappear more, perhaps be gone. I understand. I could give up driving my EV without loss. I don’t miss my EV at all while walking miles a day. But if there are cars, I want all cars around me to be electric. I want to be out of the carcinogenic fossil fuel exhausts blowing on all of us, especially on the children. This is the main reason I choose to drive electric when I do drive.
Another difference in Paris (to US car culture) is the type of bicyclists. Here, everyone bicycles. One often sees chic women in evening dresses on electric scooters. One sees elegant style, mom & dad style, business dresses, business suits — all on bicycles. I have to say it — there are no bike shorts, simply normal clothes, and even high-heeled, skirted, primped people on bicycles. Normal folks glide from here to there.
I will leave you with another view of Mikael’s work, a favorite, “Arrogance of Space in Urbanism.”
Take a long visit to explore some of Mikael’s other work. Head over to his YouTube channel “The Life-Sized City.”