Freedom / by Paul Choy

In Amsterdam, it the bicycle which rules the streets not the motor car. It is pedal power which moves the city, not oil.

Cars have become so entrenched into our daily lives, it is hard to imagine that they really are a very modern invention. Our world has existed for millions of years. Humans have existed for hundreds of thousands of years. The motor car has existed for just a hundred years and yet already it dominates our planet.

Huge road networks now span the globe. Planning where to park all the cars now dominates the thinking behind every new building. And the fumes pumped out by the billions of cars we own have made the air virtually unbreathable in cities all over the world.

And yet, despite all this, we remain totally addicted to our cars.

We have become so obsessed with them, we use them for journeys which make no sense. We will sit in a traffic jams for an hour to make a journey we could walk in 20 minutes. We will sit in them alone, side-by-side with other people all alone in their cars, all travelling to the same destination.

We know it makes no sense, and yet still we do it. Why?

There is no doubt the motor car is a wonderful invention. It has brought us so much convenience, helping bring people together, helping people to explore. But like all technology we have to learn that sometimes is it ok not to use it. That sometimes pedal power makes more sense.

It is a lesson they have certainly learned in Amsterdam and personally, I envy the freedom it has brought them.