Gideon Forman is a transportation policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation.
For 40 years I’ve been reading the literary works of Samuel Beckett. But until recently, I hadn’t noticed his contribution to transportation policy.
This spring I picked up for the first time his novel Molloy, written in French in 1947. The title character is a kind of brilliant homeless philosopher whose quest is to reunite with his elderly mother. The circumstances of the adventure are far from clear. But I was struck by the fact this gentleman, who is disabled, pursues his journey by means of a bicycle.
Perhaps for Mr. Beckett, the bike telegraphs destitution. Too poor to purchase an automobile or even pay train or bus fare, Molloy is forced to cycle. Its creative purpose might be comedic: Here is a man with leg problems so severe he requires crutches managing,