This blog entry isn’t going to be particularly funny or interesting.  It’s basically written as an outlet for my frustrations with bicycling and riding the bus in Los Angeles.  So before I begin there are a few things I get out of the way: firstly, I’ve never owned a car, secondly, I grew up in Toronto, thirdly, my mom was killed in a car accident and I still have a 13″ scar on my stomach from that accident.  The final caveat, of course, will probably cause some people to think that makes me almost justifiably biased.  I mean, if my mom had been killed by a shark, and I hated sharks, it would be understandable.  But it goes beyond that.

#1 Money

Growing up, the thing I hated most about cars were all of the additional expenses that goes along them.  Being a cheap kid, I hated the idea of paying for a car, then paying for gas, insurance, parking, tuneups, oil changes, batteries, and registration.  I couldn’t believe it! I mean a bike costs what it costs, maybe you need a lock and a helmet, but expenses kind of stop there.  If you buy a subway pass, you don’t have to worry about paying for train insurance, or extra electricity for that streetcar.  So I always hated how much of a money pit these cars were, and the fact that they lost so much value after you bought them.  To me, they only seemed to be a good bargin if you were driving a  long way, in which case it was cheaper than Greyhound, VIA Rail or an airplane.  But I’ve always hated the idea of buying something, and then being FORCED to keep spending money on it.

#2 Environment

Going to grade school in the late 1980s made you painfully aware of the environment.  We were the generation that really got on the green movement, it had something to do wtih Earth Day’s 25th anniverary.  I remember we got those new lightbulbs, our whole class had to start composting, we couldn’t bring ziploc bags to school anymore.  So it’s a bit like being molested; stuff that happens to you when you’re younger really sticks with you.  So while I still eat beef, buy things with disposible packaging, and do some damage to the earth, I still care, which is something.  I mean the carebears showed us all the power of caring.  As such, it’s hard for me to not consider the environmental impact of millions of cars burning gasoline every single day.  Look at all the cars around you and think that every 30 miles (the good ones), they burn a gallon container of gasoline.  

#3 Drivers

Straight up, drivers are assholes.  People who need to run redlights to get where they are going 2 minutes earlier.  People who turn right even when the pedestrian sign is flashing, and they see people waiting to cross.  The population of Los Angeles who drive gigantic SUVs with only one person sitting in the drivers side.  Just for a second, imagine what the same road would look like if everyone was walking or on a bicycle.  Think about the difference in noise, accidents, health, and civic beauty. 

Just look at the design of most of these cars, they are so agressive and angry looking.  They are meant to look like killing machines, out to dominate the road and destroy all tree hugging morons.  And the people who drive them generally look like they have the same attitude as their car.

#4 “I love that city, you don’t have to have a car”

How many times do we hear that?  People always say I love New York, you don’t hav eto drive, or “I love Europe you don’t have to drive,” “I wish I could walk to work.”  People ar always saying this, and yet they are moving to the suburbs, or living 30 miles from their job.  Does anyone think a great city is one comprised of freeways?  The parts of Chicago that everyone wants to live in are not suburban hells, but the inner city neighborhoods with old houses and apartment buildings and a vibrant street life.  The same with New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston.  And prices for these cities and neighborhoods are skyrocketing because peopel want to live in real cities! And yet, the suburbs keep growing, highways keep widening and people keep moving into Master Planned communities, all of which essentially destroy the possibilty of another New York or San Francisco to emerge. 

The solution is that some of the major cities need to make a decision to STOP Urban sprawl, SHRINK highways and roads, start adding bikelanes, make cars more restrictive.  Insteading of operating as Cars first, put pedestrians first.  Once having a car becomes a bigger hassle than NOT having one people will stop using them.

 

#5 Guys put stereos in cars that make the trunk rattle

This is pure garbage.  Straight noise pollution.  And always the worst music.  With bikes, I would hope that Indie dudes would affix sweet boomboxes to the back of their bikes and blare Tapes N Tapes.  

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