Bicycle versus helicopter

Now that I no longer have a child under the age of three, I find myself re-engaging with popular culture after a six-year hiatus. So please forgive me for writing about an event from September, 2009. Back then, I was heavily pregnant and deeply buried in dirty nappies.

Back in 2009, a challenge was presented to the city of São Paulo, Brazil: Get from point A to point B, as quickly as possible, during rush hour. The mode of transport was optional.

São Paulo is Brazil’s largest city and like other car-centric cities, it is choked with traffic. Residents spend almost 3 hours a day, motionless in their cars. The rich have taken matters into their own hands and opt to commute by helicopter.

Modes of transport used in the challenge: car, bike, motorbike, helicopter, bus, metro, walking, running and even a wheelchair.

Here are the results:
1. bicycle – 22 minutes
2. helicopter – 33 minutes and 30 seconds
4. runner – 1 hour 6 minutes
3. bus – 1 hour 11 minutes
4. car – 1 hour 22 minutes
5. walking – 1 hour 32 minutes

The bicycle is truly mightier than the chopper! Why anyone would choose to sit and vegetate in a car for 1 hour and 22 minutes, when they could walk the same distance for only an extra 10 minutes, is a mystery to me.

Car-infested cities around the world, such as Auckland, should take a leaf out of Jaime Lerner’s book (former Mayor of Curitiba, Brazil), and prioritise people over cars.