The Stranger: If Safer Streets Mean War, We’re Ready for Combat

Image: James Yamasaki / ##http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/okay-fine-its-war/Content?oid=9937449##The Stranger##

Under the headline, “Okay, Fine, It’s War,” Seattle’s weekly newspaper, The Stranger, this week published a manifesto “of and by the nondrivers themselves.” They’re sick of being called “militants” for caring about pedestrian safety, and they’re tired of the specter of a “war on cars.”

We heartily recommend that you read the whole thing, but here are some of our favorite parts. Like this, from the first plank of the manifesto: “The car-driving class must pay its own way!”

For cars we have paved our forests, spanned our lakes, and burrowed under our cities. Yet drivers throw tantrums at the painting of a mere bicycle lane on the street. They balk at the mere suggestion of hiking a car-tab fee, raising the gas tax, or tolling to help pay for their insatiable demands, even as downtrodden transit riders have seen fares rise 80 percent over four years.

No more! We demand that car drivers pay their own way, bearing the full cost of the automobile-petroleum-industrial complex that has depleted our environment, strangled our cities, and drawn our nation into foreign wars. Reinstate the progressive motor vehicle excise tax, hike the gas tax, and toll every freeway, bridge, and neighborhood street until the true cost of driving lies as heavy and noxious as our smog-laden air. Our present system of hidden subsidies is the opiate of the car-driving masses; only when it is totally withdrawn will our road-building addiction finally be broken.

They go on to demand better, more expansive transit, safer streets and sidewalks, and traffic calming. And this:

This antagonism [between car driver and nondriver] traces directly to the creation of the modern car driver, a privileged individual who, as noted, is the beneficiary of a long course of subsidies, tax incentives, and wars for cheap oil. But the same subsidies that created this creature (who now rages about the roads while simultaneously screaming of being a victim in some war) can—and must, beginning now—be used to build bike lanes, sidewalks, light rail, and other benefits to the nondriving classes.

That’s the kind of manifesto we can get on board with.

After the manifesto, The Stranger goes on to report on the rising numbers of crashes between cars and cyclists, the violent anti-bike rhetoric being spewed by car drivers that are the  “victims” of some imagined war on cars, the massive disparity between funding for car infrastructure and everything else, and the heroes of the non-driver, beloved both for their advocacy and their tight asses. Read it, read it all.

  • RM

    It’s a nice idea, but the writer of this blog is not living in the real world.  The chances of any of this happening are next to zero.

  • I know it’s tempting to create an “us versus them” scenario, but what we want to get to near term is a society like the Netherlands where most people who drive cars also ride bikes.  By transforming our population into dual citizens of both car and biking worlds, the average person driving a car will become more observant and tolerant of bikes, more supportive of bicycle infrastructure, and more likely to use a bike when it is convenient. 

    Longer term, it is car drivers who are not living in the real world. When reality hits, it is going to come as an enormously unpleasant shock. Truly, the best thing we can do for everyone is lay the groundwork (figuratively and literally) so that people are able to adapt to the very significant life changes ahead.

    I will quote Jeffrey Brown, petroleum geologist and developer of the Export Land Model.  Crude oil available for export to the world market (Global Next Exports minus China and India’s Net Imports) on which our way of life presently relies is decreasing at a staggering rate.  By 2015, there will be a full 25% less oil available for the US to buy than there was in 2005. Look at these charts, if nothing else.  For more info see the quote that follows.

    http://i1095.photobucket.com/albums/i475/westexas/Slide1-13.jpg

    http://i1095.photobucket.com/albums/i475/westexas/Slide4.jpg

    “Note that the US is still the world’s largest net oil importer.
    While there is some pretty crazy stuff out there about the US
    export/import situation, the fact remains that the US is dependent on
    imports for two out of every three barrels of crude oil that we run
    through US refineries. US crude + condensate (C+C) production has been
    between 5.4 and 5.6 mbpd since the fourth quarter of 2009, versus a 1970
    peak of 9.6 mbpd, and for the first time since the 2005 hurricanes hit,
    US C+C production in 2010 slightly exceeded the pre-hurricane
    production level that we saw in 2004.

    “On the natural gas side, a good deal of the blogosphere is talking
    about the US becoming a natural gas exporter. The most recent annual
    EIA data show that the US consumed 9% more natural gas than we produced
    in 2009, while we consumed 12% more than we produced in 2010. While we
    had a small increase in production, consumption rebounded, causing net
    natural gas imports to increase year over year.

    “Global annual C+C production has been between 73 and 74 mbpd since
    2005, except for 2009. Global annual total petroleum liquids production
    has been between 81 and 82 mbpd since 2005, except for 2009. In both
    cases, this is in marked contrast to the rapid increases in production
    that we saw from 2002 to 2005.

    “We have seen a measurable decline in Global Net Exports (GNE), with
    21 of the top 33 net oil exporters showing lower net exports in 2010,
    versus 2005. Furthermore, a simple model, and numerous case histories,
    show that net export decline rates tend to accelerate with time.

    “The data show that the developing countries, especially China &
    India, are generally outbidding the developed countries for access to
    GNE. Our work suggests that the US is well on it way to “freedom” from
    our reliance on foreign sources of oil, just not in the way that most
    people hoped.

    “Following is a chart showing Global Net Exports (GNE) and Available
    Net Exports (ANE). I define ANE as GNE less Chindia’s combined net oil
    imports:

    http://i1095.photobucket.com/albums/i475/westexas/Slide1-13.jpg

    The observed GNE 2005 to 2010 net export decline rate was 1.3%/year
    (BP + Minor EIA data, top 33 net oil exporters in 2005). The observed
    rate of increase in Chindia’s net imports was 7.7%/year for 2005 to
    2010. Note that ANE have declined at an average volumetric rate of about
    one mbpd per year for the past five years, from 40 mbpd in 2005 to 35
    mbpd in 2010.

    “2010 to 2015 Projections for ANE:

    For the low case, we assume a GNE net export rate of change of
    -1.3%/year and a Chindia rate of change in net imports of +5.0%/year.

    For the middle case, -2.5%/year (GNE) and +7.7%/year respectively (Chindia).

    For the high case, -5.0%/year (GNE) and +10%/year respectively (Chindia).

    Historical ANE and Projections to 2015:

    http://i1095.photobucket.com/albums/i475/westexas/Slide4.jpg

    “The low case is basically a continuation of the volumetric ANE
    decline rate that we saw from 2005 to 2010, i.e., about one mbpd per
    year, but note that this requires no increase in the GNE decline rate
    and it requires about a one-third decline in Chindia’s rate of increase
    in net imports.”

  • Holly Hudson

    I was just about to post that the author is living in reality.. but it’s the reality of the Netherlands.  Here’s how the Dutch react when a driver hits a cyclist:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeJ-d86pKsw

  • Bikers are not on the side of pedestrians. Period.

  • fj

    Actually, it seems the stuff from cars & drivers seemed to have abated a bit, but still development of low-cost truly practical zero carbon transportation is highly restrained by the

    mobilityMonopolyhttp://www.governing.com/columns/eco-engines/Not-Just-Semantics.html

  • fj

    Actually, it seems the stuff from cars & drivers seemed to have abated a bit, but still development of low-cost truly practical zero carbon transportation is highly restrained by the mobilityMonopoly

    ”  http://www.governing.com/columns/eco-engines/Not-Just-Semantics.html 

  • icarus12

    I agree with all the comments that we need to lay the groundwork for alternatives to private car driving rather than declare war on drivers.  “Dual citizens” —  drivers who also ride bikes and walk — are going to be the best future advocates of a full menu for transit.

    My only quibble would be that cars will eventually be powered by renewables and will also have extensive anti-crash mechanisms that seriously reduce accidents and their severity.  The remaining reasons for limiting car use are the way cars’ highways, parking lots, and roads gobble up land outside cities and create congestion within cities.  We should capitalize in the interim period when gasoline will only be more expensive to create the livable world we prefer.

  • Masonic will be the death…

    Declaring war on all drivers is futile and counter productive. However there are drivers, who due to their actions, have already declared a de facto war on cyclists and peds, and they are if not in the majority than certainly a powerful minority. I think that with a full read of the article one will see that the writer is describing a very specific perpetrator, and focusing on that specific. The writer is not at all calling out every single driver.

    This infamously fragile “dual user” that we are all supposed to spend every moment walking or biking in fear of offending simply isn’t there. Any driver who gives up a car for any stretch realizes what it is like to ride with other drivers, or how scary it is to regularly navigate our crosswalks, and also realizes the need for systematic change. (see C.W. Nevius’ article on his experiences in The Wiggle. Yeah that C.W)These drivers to which the writer refers are those who refuse to yield to peds. in crosswalks, refuse to share a lane with a bike, and when given the opportunity to use their auto as an intimidation device, choose to do so. The writer also specifically describes the auto elitist who while ignoring the subsidized use of our public way that s/he enjoys declares a need for cyclists to be taxed, tagged, insured or other nonsense before the current legal accommodations required for cyclists will be obeyed. Of course either playing oblivious, or disingenuously ignoring the current state of subsidized auto travel. Neither of these examples represent anyone who is likely to become that political holy grail called the “dual user”.I for one seriously question the concept of the “dual user”. If one drives a car they are an auto driver. If one drives a car and occasionally rides a bike, or walks yet still treats peds and cyclists with disregard when back inside an auto, then they are still just an auto driver. If you are a driver who, after regularly walking, or riding a bike, changes ones perceptions of how one should treat cyclists, and peds when driving then one has become a walker or cyclist who drives. This concept of a “dual user” only perpetuates the duality of use empowerment and expectation. For example, as a cyclist one expects autos to yield and give space, yet in a car is not willing to offer up the same space. Or the cyclist who does not yield to pedestrians when riding yet expects to be yielded to when walking. Finally the most obvious of all, and equally frequent, is the auto driver who yields to none, and when walking opts not to obey crosswalks and walks in front of other auto drivers, and cyclists. The reality is we will never have a groundswell of “dual users” if the two entitled users listed above continue to exist and even thrive. As they thrive they fuel justification in cyclists who disobey laws, and likewise in pedestrians who care not about crosswalks or signals. I agree it is indeed time to declare war on these types of users, as it is just a declaration of war on behaviors, not individuals. By attacking these behaviors, verbally and if need be physically the perpetrators of such acts will cease to feel comfortable continuing them, and collectively the offensive behaviors found in each mode of movement become more greatly marginalized.

    I say call that driver out for driving like an ass in their auto. If they pull the stunt again, or put your safety at risk then the bike lock comes out.  When on a bike call out the cyclist who chooses to blow a red, or barge a crosswalk. When walking about call out the jaywalking, or “no walk” light ignoring pedestrian (within reason, the crackhead doesn’t care).

    Does this contribute to a feel good shiny happy world at the moment, no, but it does force a moment of reflection, and accountability which is what all users are expecting out of their fellow citizen.

  • Masonic,

    Today I rode my bike for two trips, I drove my car for two trips, and I walked one trip. What does that make me? 

    Most Americans at present drive a car. There is more than one car in America for every person over the age of 16. This is our reality. We need to turn most of these drivers into bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders. Peak Oil and a really messed up economy are already helping us accomplish this. But very few people drive one day and get rid of their car the next. They will start this transition by being dual users. These people are not mythic. They are nearly everyone I know. Most of them think roads belong to cars and they are being “nice” to allow bicycles any consideration at all. Just like most white people are unconscious of their entitlement due to their race, most car owners are unconscious of their entitlement as drivers. But however justified, screaming about unfairness, getting out the bike lock, calling people out on their bad behavior, or even offering extremely persuasive fact-based arguments creates very slow social change. Making biking appealing, convenient, easily accessible (bike sharing programs), popular, fashionable (the Cycle Chic movement) and safe (bicycle infrastructure) will advance the cause far more quickly. (Again, most car drivers in Holland, the country with the most bicyclists and biking on the planet, also ride bikes. It is this dual use that changes the attitudes and behaviors of motorists, as well, of course, as good infrastructure and laws and enforcement that strictly protect the most vulnerable road users.)

    I am not ready for war, I am not ready for combat. I don’t even like to use these words as metaphors. With conflict resources shrink and with cooperation resources expand. Yes, I’m sick at heart by the injuries and deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists. Yes, the next death could be my own. Yes, the public space and infrastructure we devote to a wasteful, destructive, space-hogging mode of transportation is both unfair and doomed. But you can’t actually force reflection; you are more likely to make people resentful and even vengeful. I can’t make other car drivers/bicyclists/pedestrians accountable for their actions (even though I do shake my finger occasionally at egregious behavior if I think the person might see me and note my disapproval.) The very best I can do is model the behavior I think we all need to exhibit to live peaceably and sanely. That and ride my bike as much as I can so that people start getting the idea that it’s easy, popular, safe and fun and that they might want to try it, too.

    The means we use dictate the ends we attain. I am not sure war is ever the answer.

  • fj

    re: ” cars will eventually be powered by renewables, ”  icarus12

    Recently, the president expressed great pride in the projection that there will be 1 million electric cars by 2015. With 1 billion cars on this planet this is 1/10 of 1 percent of the world’s cars, hardly any substantive achievement; not even equivalent to driving 1000 minutes (16 hours) and stopping at red light for 1 minute, since electric cars are far from totally green.

  • Anonymous

    fj, I know the deployment of the current crop of electric cars is not going to do much toward reducing pollution, but I’m looking fifty years (but probably much less) into the future.  When gasoline is considerably more expensive than renewable fuels, you’ll see an explosion of growth in solar, hydrogen, and things we are not even aware of yet.  The shorter term view is just that, short.

    Reminds me of a newspaper reader looking at that new fangled device, the radio, and saying, “There’s no way radio will replace newspapers.”  He/She was right . . . but only for a century or so.  Further, technological innovation has always accelerated throughout human history as the bank of shared human knowledge accumulates.  It will not take 100+ years to replace the polluting automobile.

  • Masonic will be the death…

    Karen,

    Obviously you didn’t actually read my post, but that is ok. I get that you have a ready made argument that simply putting bikes and locking posts everywhere will solve all of our bike woes. I think that is great that you use three modes of transportation in a day, like the majority of city dwellers who drive and walk, bike and walk, or drive, bike and walk. multi-modal users are a dime a dozen, responsible ones are far too rare.

    When you drive do you act entitled and crowd bikes and intimidate walkers? How about when on your bike? Do you obliviously walk against signals and ignore crosswalks? 

    If you can honestly answer no to those questions than you my friend are exactly what my post tries to present as the ideal user. 

    I get that you think your friends being nice and giving space to bikes is just naivete on their part, but the reality is it puts people at risk and is rooted in a far more pervasive sense of entitlement. Will you continue to play apologist for them after one of them accidentally runs over a cyclist or pedestrian because their “just being nice” has to take a back seat to some other driver priority? In this case your insertion of race is far too appropriate, but also a bit scary. That sense of entitlement is what too many “dual users” carry with them from mode to mode. Which was the whole point of my post. Again I repeat my previous post is backing a declaration of war on behavior not people.

    I get you are uncomfortable with confrontation, and the use of the term war, but it is a reality. My advocacy for riders and walkers to be aggressive in protecting our safety perhaps needs to be put into perspective. In the last 12 months I have put well over 8000 miles on my bike, over around 325 days. I spent 45 days off my bike recovering from being run over from behind by a driver who while traveling in the same direction as me decided to blow a stop sign and while trying to brush me, instead simply ran me over, and then tried to drive off. When I am not riding my bike to and from, I walk, outside of said 45 days where I was relegated to MUNI. I gave up a car in this city three years ago after being T boned by a cab who figured he could just run a red in Potrero. My experiences in this city have obviously heightened my sensitivity to aggressive driving.

    Over the course of these last 12 months, and over all those accumulated hours on my bike  I have had maybe a dozen verbal altercations with drivers, and used my lock twice. The point is, that it takes a lot for me to actually take up an issue with a motorist, but I am willing to do it. Those that I have taken issue with were acting deliberately and with dangerous intent. I am willing to bet by their reactions that after realizing a cyclist can catch up to their car and is willing to call them out, and in two cases leave their car with a visible reminder, they won’t pull the same stunt again. In both of those cases the drivers were quite vocal in their beliefs that as a cyclist I had no place on the road, or right to be concerned about my safe treatment by auto drivers. These type of drivers will, until given a reason to think otherwise, continue to willingly and purposefully put other users of our roads at risk.

    It is kind of along the same vein as when Southern blacks decided in very infrequent cases to take up arms and go after some of the more violent white racists in their respective community. They didn’t go around beating and smashing every white around, but rather focused on the most egregious offender. But by their actions they sent a message to those specific racists, and other would be activist racists that if they acted violently against a black man or family, the same treatment might just come back on them. 

    The most violent auto drivers like those violent racists only know violence or the threat thereof. Like my tactics or not, I could not care less, but the fact is peaceful passive advocacy can only get you so far with certain people.

    If after walking around and biking around in this city your perspective of the responsibility required to safely drive a car here hasn’t changed than you are simply just a “dual user”, and we really do not need any more of those then we already have.

  • fj

    ” It will not take 100+ years to replace the polluting automobile,” voltairesmistress

    Couldn’t agree more.  Cars are an extremely bad design and will likely be replaced overnight when it is broadly understood that vehicles scaled to be easily moved by human power are zero carbon with tremendous practicality and value.

    Bicycles, bikeshare, hybrid human-electric recumbent bikes & trikes, etc., and the shweeb human-powered monorail are all early-stage examples of this type of technology.

  • Joe R.

    @@83b5031778ed3921e47c379daa4b4763:disqus Some of what you say makes sense, provided the justification is high enough.  For example, several weeks ago I was nearly clipped by an SUV turning left right in front of me, as if I wasn’t even there.  He got the finger.  I don’t carry a lock, nor would I have been in a position to use it if I did.  Nevertheless, I sent a message loud and clear that this was unacceptable, dangerous behavoir.  His predictable reaction was to scream at me like a lunatic as he drove away.  I probably accomplished nothing other than getting frustration out of my system.

    Where I do take issue with you is “calling out” others for any behavoir which is less than downright dangerous.  I’m not about to call out pedestrians who jaywalk or cross on red, or cyclists who carefully pass red lights after checking if it’s clear, or for that matter even motorists who go 5 or 10 over the limit when traffic is light.  What might be against the letter of the law frequently isn’t dangerous.  What is legal might often be either dangerous and/or extremely inefficient.  I jaywalk, cross against lights, and pass reds on my bike when it’s safe.  Why?  In all three cases I feel it avoids conflict with motor traffic.  And in the latter two cases waiting out lights can double or triple the time it takes to go anywhere given the sheer number of ill-timed traffic lights in NYC.   Waiting for the green adds absolutely nothing to safety because I’m perfectly capable as a cyclist or pedestrian of ascertaining if the way is clear on my own, without help from a traffic signal.  Point of fact, traffic lights themselves are a dangerous, inefficient, antiquated means of traffic control, along with any laws governing them, but that’s an entirely separate topic.  Bottom line-I’m prepared and do call out people who do stupid, dangerous things, such as biking at full speed through crosswalks full of pedestrians, but I draw the line there.  Nagging people about technical, petty violations of often ill-thought out laws pertaining to obsolete forms of traffic control serves no purpose.  It may even have the opposite effect if it causes them to become militant.  Or put another way, shouting and cursing once in a blue moon is likely to draw attention, perhaps even have a positive effect.  Incessant nagging generally just causes people to tune you out.

    Another relevant thought here is when you constantly have to bang people over the head to get them to behave a certain way, maybe the problem isn’t with them, but with the infrastructure itself.  Nagging or ticketing speeding motorists generally doesn’t get them to slow down on a permanent basis.  Narrowing the streets, and getting rid of traffic lights in favor of roundabouts, accomplishes this task without much enforcement or nagging.  When motorists are forced by infrastructure to drive slower and look at every intersection, suddenly safe coexistence with pedestrians/cyclists becomes a whole lot easier.  And it’s easier for the latter two groups as well, in that they don’t have to play frogger with speeding cars, or play a game of let’s wait for the green light.

  • Masonic will be the death…

    @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus 

    “Some of what you say makes sense, provided the justification is high enough.”

    I guess from my perspective this is already assumed. Like I stated I have had maybe a dozen verbal encounters over the last year, and when considering the hours I log that shoes it takes quite a bit to raise my ire. For instance being clipped by a flagrant jerk in an SUV (well any auto really) will get my attention. With a lost inattentive driver it won’t even register. When on my bike if I see another cyclist blow through a busy full crosswalk to barge a red, yeah, I also would say something. If the intersection is empty of peds and a biker wants to dance with cross traffic that is up to them. I don’t like it, but I’m not going to teach that cyclist anything they don’t already know. With peds it is usually just a quick “Hey!” to the head down, headphones in, texting J walker or maybe a quick point to the no walk signal (provided they are in a crosswalk). 

    I spend enough time every day on the streets that worrying about anything more would be far too exhausting. Besides it is never a fun experience anyways. That being said, as users of public ways collectively we should be actively thinking about how are actions effect others, or at least that would be my hope for an ideal road user.

    And to the question of whether you changed that SUV drivers mind, probably not. It is only when they speed off, and you catch back up with them, that they have a change of tune. At that moment when you roll back up next to them, you pop that little bubble of invincibility they carry around with them. They realize that when they pull that flagrant jerk move next time they might not cleanly get away with it.

  • Masonic will be the death…

    @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus 

    “Some of what you say makes sense, provided the justification is high enough.”

    I guess from my perspective this is already assumed. Like I stated I have had maybe a dozen verbal encounters over the last year, and when considering the hours I log that shoes it takes quite a bit to raise my ire. For instance being clipped by a flagrant jerk in an SUV (well any auto really) will get my attention. With a lost inattentive driver it won’t even register. When on my bike if I see another cyclist blow through a busy full crosswalk to barge a red, yeah, I also would say something. If the intersection is empty of peds and a biker wants to dance with cross traffic that is up to them. I don’t like it, but I’m not going to teach that cyclist anything they don’t already know. With peds it is usually just a quick “Hey!” to the head down, headphones in, texting J walker or maybe a quick point to the no walk signal (provided they are in a crosswalk). 

    I spend enough time every day on the streets that worrying about anything more would be far too exhausting. Besides it is never a fun experience anyways. That being said, as users of public ways collectively we should be actively thinking about how are actions effect others, or at least that would be my hope for an ideal road user.

    And to the question of whether you changed that SUV drivers mind, probably not. It is only when they speed off, and you catch back up with them, that they have a change of tune. At that moment when you roll back up next to them, you pop that little bubble of invincibility they carry around with them. They realize that when they pull that flagrant jerk move next time they might not cleanly get away with it.

  • Joe R.

    “That being said, as users of public ways collectively we should be actively thinking about how are actions effect others, or at least that would be my hope for an ideal road user.”

    This is my general philosophy as well.  I treat others as I want to be treated. That generally means giving anyone right-of-way who is legally entitled to it before proceeding myself.  It also means operating in such a way as to not startle or alarm others.

    I wish I could have caught up to the SUV as I’ve caught up to other errant road users at times but it wasn’t an option.  The left turn he made was on to the entrance ramp to the Cross Island Parkway.  Thankfully jerks like that are few and far between but it does burst their bubble if you’re able to catch them.

    By the way, 8000 miles in the last 12 months is impressive.  My personal best for 12 months was 5001.5 miles in 265 days back in 1991.  Last year I did 3168 miles.  This year I’ll be lucky to do 2000.  Between the bike crackdown early in the year, plus the hot, humid summer, I just didn’t feel like riding as much. 

  • Mark P.

    Barney Frank said: The thing that makes us feel best is often also most counterproductive to our cause.

    We can go toe to toe with drivers on sanctimony–no question. But who is that going to convince? Four or five dollar/gallon gasoline accomplished in a matter on months what XX years of bike advocacy and haranguing of drivers has not. We need to face the fact that the steering wheel is going to be pried from most American’s cold dead hands. The only thing that has caused mode shift is high gas prices.

  • Atonymous

    Minor note – The Stranger is not a blog – “SLOG” is the Stranger’s blog, but this piece appeared in print.

  • Davistrain

    “Combat” between bicyclists and motorists?  There’s an old saying “Never bring a knife to a gunfight.”  Unless the cyclists are planning to carry firearms to get their points across, the car/SUV/pickup has a decided weight advantage.

  • Peeeeceeee

    Well, no. Cars are an extremely good design. Cities and suburbs that force car-dependency are an extremely bad design.

  • fj

    “Cars are an extremely good design,”  Peeeeceee.

    Agreed:  For selling otherwise unneeded insurance, medical care, funeral services, oil, financing.

  • fj

    While anything is possible, cars are such a bad design they literally do not fit in the future:   http://bit.ly/pfdfB

  • fj

    Cars in a failing economic model correct link:  http://bit.ly/pfdfBm

  • Davistrain

    I read the “Cars in a failing economic model” and one can see that the present way of doing things won’t last forever.  The last paragraph, mentioning “political will” to change to a sustainable system hits the nail on the head.  Unfortunately, global warming and rising oil prices don’t have the same “two-by-four upside the head” effect as (for example) the Pearl Harbor attack.

  • nice post.. 

  • Afraz Ahmadzadeh

    To drive a car (in England at least) you will need to pay road tax and have a license. Of course we pay a heavy tax on petrol too, but that’s besides the point (though I bring it up because the quote above does too).

    Cyclist on the other hand do not pay to use the road, and have no license or liability (if they hit a car, the driver is liable). They are not required to have a license, and many (most?) of them do not know the highway code — indeed, many that I have observed run red lights and speed up when a pedestrian is trying to cross a zebra crossing.

    All this is coming from someone who has used public transport for over 30 years, and finally got fed up with it to the point that I got a driving license and now refuse to go anywhere but in my car.

    What we really need is a complete overhaul of how we transport ourselves from place to place. Painting a line on a narrow road does not mean there is magically room for bicycles. I’d be more than happy to get rid of cars (including my own) if there was a sensible alternative, but public transport is a joke, and cycling on roads is dangerous.

  • We’ll never have safe roads but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight to achieve this goal.

    The speed and alcohol are two main reasons for most car accidents and I don’t know how we can stop this danger…I think only a license suspension for life should be the solution to stop drunk drivers….but no one thought about this….

     

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How Cars Destroy the Wilderness of Childhood

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It’s the height of summer, the stretch of endless lazy days when — at least in the American dreamworld — kids hunt for adventure in packs through the shimmering heat. A time when they make their own fun. A time of bicycles and improvised games and ice cream, of luxuriant boredom and the discovery it […]