Attack on Titan and Bike Advocacy

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Attack on Titan

The Japanese manga and anime “Attack on Titan” gained huge popularity soon after their release, especially in Asian countries. Some critics think of the invading titans as a metaphor of the encroaching China to its neighboring Asian countries.

I liken the titans to a great deal of motorists instead. Many well-mannered people become thoughtless and menacing “titans” once they get into motor vehicles. They pass by cyclists with little room to spare, and often at a speed well-above posted limits. In the manga series, those who possess the mystical power called the “coordinate” can control the titans, so the protagonists turn their efforts from fighting the titans to control the “coordinate” later in the series. Likewise, in order to defeat the “titans” on the street, resorting to violence is counter-productive. Gaining the power to do urban planning – the “coordinate” in this case – is the most effective way to take back the street. The best example is the way New York City has been changed from one the worst cycling cities to the best. Janette Sadik-Khan, who was the transportation commissioner from 2007-2013, got the full support of the former mayor Michael Bloomberg to make many radical changes to improve the cycling infrastructures. But it was the people who voted Michael Bloomberg into office that made all of these happen.

People need to realize that cities that put priorities on pedestrians and cyclists are more live-able, and vote the officials who support this into office. In fact, when Pittsburgh-based high-tech companies try to hire people, the potential recruits say the city needs “more bike paths, cleaner air and better public transit”. If Pittsburgh wants to continue to grow as a technology hub, this is the way to go.


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