Well, it’s about systems. Yea, and not about a system of cycleways this time – that would simply be too predictable, wouldn’t it. It’s about our innate systems of thinking, as according to Kahnemann & Co. Don’t fight it, slow it.
There is System 1 and System 2 thinking. System 1 is the first, fast and automatic response, whereas System 2 comes second… is slow and only kicks in if System 1 does not resolve the question and cannot quickly provide its otherwise snap answer (what is 4,285 plus 843 is a System 2 thing). And add insult to our injury, System 1 might be quick but does sometimes not provide the correct answer! It is not always the rational choice. Ever done the classic calc: if a bottle costs £1 more than the lid, and the bottle and the lid together cost £1.10, how much does the lid cost?
If something triggers the relatively automatic tape in our head, and I propose here that what cyclists would call “bike bashing” may fall into this category, it gets activated. It’s automatic.
So, what to do?
We are getting beyond System 1 by slowing down. In order to stop System 1 from computing we need… some form of disruption. The fast system has to be somehow subverted, undercut, cut off, jolted or tricked into stopping. Interrupt System 1 and you get a chance at a System 2 conversation. I actually realised I do that a lot in my general conversation, as well as cycle-related exchanges. Jolly jolting to set off in a new direction.
This is related to questions, framing and phrasing, I think. How to present cycling, how to present yourself too. Being seen as a person (a subject) and not an object will undoubtedly help. But really, two things must happen. One, you remain inclusive and don’t push the other away. And the other: something also needs to be sufficiently different so System 1 script is stopped and a longer view is enabled. Of course how this is done, depends on the situation and on your position too.
I am not a cyclist, but I use a bike.
How would children cycle here?
What’s your view on a future transport system? (in light of resource scarcity)
Have you been to the Netherlands? It’s amazing!
What’s the price of rice got to do with baking a chocolate cake?
I like coffee too. And cake.
This may do for now.
You get the gist.
The answer is 5p.