If I was magic and had the ability to wiggle my nose and make a spell I would give each of the 4.2 million people in Bali an electric bicycle and make their cars and scooters disappear in a puff of non-polluting smoke.
After being there over 20 years ago when there were still dirt roads and virtually no congestion, and then again recently when it could take hours to travel a short distance and the smog obliterated the horizon on 3 sunset opportunities, it bought home to me just how good it would be to have a wand to wave about and make a difference.
Bali is around 2% the size of New Zealand with a similar population. Tourism is their biggest revenue stream, it's important they maintain their environment and the slowness of island life. In the period from January to April this year there were 480 or so traffic accidents. If you're rich and important enough you can get police escorts to ensure you don't have to suffer traffic jams but if you're one of the many that don't own a few hotels then most likely you're spending a good chunk of your day stuck in your car waiting to move.
So as much as we loved our recent trip there, it highlighted just how much traffic impacts on society, environment and life in general, especially tropical island life which should be more cruisey.
So I thought I'd find out more about bicycle usage around the world and although the following information might be a little out of date, it's heartening to know that there are places on the planet who seem to be embracing pedal power...some quick facts from Top 10 Hell
Shanghai is the most populous city in China and 60% of the locals cycle to work each day.
Cycling is also their national sport.
Low crime rate means meany people don't lock their bikes even when they leave them outside railroad stations all day and overnight.
Evidently the love of Fins cyclists to the bicycles can be compared with their love to dogs, or to fishing, or to sauna.
Cycling is ingrained in the German culture which makes drivers and pedestrians understanding and accommodating to bicycle riders.
In Denmark 18% of all trips are made by bike with 37% of all Copenhagen (capital city) citizens riding their bikes on a daily basis.
In the Netherlands 27% of trips to work are made by bike and is one of the most bicycle-friendly large cities in the world with 400km of bike lanes.
Incidentally, looking at the worlds most environmentally friendly countries according to a 2017 survey by The Telegraph; Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and Finland are among the top 20. Mind you, China is one of the worst in terms of environmental impact so no absolutes...at least we know 60% of the population of Shanghai are doing their bit.
So, if anyone knows of a good wand for sale, needs to be a robust one for big spells, let me know.