Many drivers think that gas tax (or their car-related taxes in general) more than cover the costs of infrastructure of cars. The reality is quite the opposite. People who don’t drive subsidize those who do. In terms of infrastructure itself we have spent more money on roads than on other forms of transit.
This combination of policy and infrastructure has created societies that use cars too much and in dangerous ways. The costs of pollution from cars is shared by everyone and the land used for cars (highways, parking lots, etc.) means that land can’t be used for other purposes. That’s just two ways that society subsidizes car ownership. We all pay for drivers to drive. We should stop.
Driving is a choice, and provided that drivers pay all the costs associated with making that choice, there’s little reason to object to that. After all, very few people think that a zero car world is one that makes a lot of sense. Low-car makes much more sense that non-car as a policy talking point. How do we get people to make these choices. There’s an analogy here to alcohol. We tried prohibition in the twenties. It was moral absolutism, zero tolerance. Alcohol in any amount was evil. That didn’t work.
When we experienced the epidemic of drunk driving, we didn’t go back to prohibition. Instead, we raised penalties to make drivers more responsible, set tougher limits on blood alcohol content, and put more money into enforcement. People still drink—but there’s a different level of understanding of responsibility and consequences, and fewer people drive drunk.
In Toronto, the car rules the road so much so that the city is fine with non-driver (that’s everyone) deaths, and the city won’t do much to stop drivers from killing. Sadly, Toronto isn’t a unique case. In far too many places bicycling infrastructure is an afterthought that plays second fiddle to cars. Despite this lack of support for safety, riding a bike is still the least dangerous way to get around.
Bicycling is so safe that you can actually lengthen your lifetime by riding! Mr Money Moustache ran the numbers and found out that statistically no matter where you live you’ll live longer by riding a bike! So get out there and get on a bike and remember the more people out there commuting via bicycle the safer the streets!
Riding a bike is not more dangerous than driving a car. In fact, it is much, much safer:
Under even the most pessimistic of assumptions:
- Net effect of driving a car at 65mph for one hour: Dying 20 minutes sooner. (18 seconds of life lost per mile)
- Net effect of riding a bike at 12mph for one hour: Living 2 hours and 36 minutes longer (about 13 minutes of life gained per mile)
Stanford University’s Calming Technology Lab has found evidence to support what most commuter cyclists already know: riding a bike to work instead of driving a car lowers one’s stress. Not only are you improving your own mental health you’ll be consuming less gas and save a lot of money while getting physically fit.
There is no better day than today to start riding your bike to work.
“It’s particularly interesting to see that many people don’t transition back into the home after a long day of work very well. By biking to work we know that the physical nature of cycling and physical exertion will engender a more calm and focused state of mind. So while being good for us physically, we also see lots of psychological and emotional benefits.”
Cars kill. Or is it like the gun debate – cars don’t kill people drivers kill people? Regardless of fault the results of car use as a primary means of transportation causes health problems and needless death. Cities around the world are taking steps to try and hold back cars (or is it drivers?) from killing people. One sure-fire way that works is to lower the speed limit.
The City of London lowered their local speed limits and found that it made for safer streets. Other cities are finding the same strategy equally effective, yet here in Toronto will we ever see this? Our local councillors and crack-consuming mayor went out of their way to spend $300,000 to ensure cars can move faster at the expense of cyclists. The mayor himself has stated multiple times that the lives of non-drivers are worth less than taxpaying drivers. Torontotist looks into the issue while sharing the success of smarter cities than Toronto.
The move to reduce driving speeds in cities is based on some convincing statistics. Greater London contains roughly 400 zones with 20 mph speed limits, and these are credited with reducing traffic fatalities by 42 per cent. In London, Barcelona, Brussels, and a handful of other European cities, low-speed zones have resulted in significantly increased bike and foot traffic, according to a 2013 study, as people have begun to feel safer on city streets.
The U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in 2011 found that decreasing average driving speeds by just one mile per hour would reduce the accident rate by about 5 per cent. There has even been academic research on the success of lowered-speed zones in the U.K.
People who aren’t slaves to the 9-5 world (or worse the 8-8 crowd) may not understand the tyranny of the week. Those poor folks who are forced by their managers and bosses to slave away at set hours and times. Sometimes the best time to do something may not be during the working window.
There are many benefits to having varying work schedules. For one, rush hour wouldn’t be so bad for those suffering from commuterism. There are plenty of other reasons too, which are addressed in a recent article from Slate:
But there’s nothing inevitable about the ceaseless repetition of six days of work, one day of rest. As labor has become both more productive and more organized, the week has evolved. The writer Witold Rybczynski traces the emergence of the weekend to 19th century England, when the British agricultural revolution made land and labor more productive. At first, Rybczynski relates, this allowed workers extra leisure, which they enjoyed spontaneously—not according to any ironclad schedule. As the Industrial Revolution became a driving force in trans-Atlantic civilization, the push for greater efficiency demanded standardization of this extra leisure. In 1926, Henry Ford began shutting his factories on Saturdays in a bid to crystallize an American convention of a two-day weekend full of recreation (that he hoped would involve driving). It worked.
Read more here.