January 24, 2013

The War on Cars, A Stupid Thing

A question from the Atlantic: Can we Finally Declare Peace in the War on Cars?.  Well that was a long time coming! Bicycles are mainstream, and we can now sit back and relish our new found transportation utopia.  Peace at last.

Supporting their article, A new poll from the Cascade Bicycle Club finds:

  • 73 percent of the 400 Seattle voters surveyed supported the idea of building protected bike lanes.
  • 59 percent go further and support “replacing roads and some on-street parking to make protected bicycle lanes.”
  • 79 percent have favorable feelings about cyclists.
  • Only 31 percent agree with the idea that Seattle is “waging a war on cars.”

cred James Yamasaki, click to read 'We Fight Because We Must"OK cool.  One city in America with an advocacy group 14,000 strong has shifted the tide.  That will definiately have ripples that the rest of us will be able to enjoy.  The stats are certainly helpful.

BUT that DOES NOT mean that we have come close to accomplishing what is neccessary for more people to start biking.  The truth is that less than 2 percent of trips are made by bicycle.  This despite knowing that over 90% of trips by car are less than 2 miles (AKA BIKABLE).

YES, it is ground breaking that people have started to accept that bikes are not just for kids, hipsters and lycra clad white people. AND I admit it is ground breaking that cyclists have stopped demonizing cars.  (It's hard for us to accept that we are all drivers).

But just because we have begun to understand each other, it doesn't mean we have anything to celebrate.

The reality is that in most places in America, the choice is not either / or.  It's cars only.  I.E. you have only one option.  You don't have a sidewalk, a greenway, a bike lane, a bus route.  The land of the free has become auto-nation, the land of 20% of your income goes to your car.

I'm glad for someone to declare an end to this 'war on cars'.  War is a stupid thing. Especially when it is with an inanimate object. 

We should not destory cars. We should reclaim everything that they have taken away.