Most people can’t imagine living without their car, which is exactly how the auto and oil industries like it. Of course, cars are not inherently bad — they give us the ability to go great distances, they are fast and sexy, they take us on road trips and provide the perfect place for teenage makeout sessions. But they can also be giant money drains, dangerous and detrimental.
My car was the perfect car for Miami: red with a tan drop-top, a fast, sleek sports car. Alas, it was the victim of scam artist mechanics and is now fit for the junkyard — but only after dumping thousands into repairs.
I now have to get around via foot, bike and scooter, and it’s a little challenging, but really not so bad. It’s healthier and a helluva lot more economical. I don’t need to pay for insanely expensive gas or insurance, worry about cops and exorbitant traffic and parking tickets, have panic attacks over insane Miami drivers, feel like I spend most of my life on my ass or contribute to local smog pollution and large-scale global warming.
Cars cost a lot, and they kill a lot — over 30,000 people a year. Not that I’m now immune to death (riding a bike around Miami is no picnic) but somehow, I feel safer being off the road. Ideally I would live in a bike-friendly city, a pedestrian paradise, like the European capitals, or somewhere with a mass transit system.
I wonder if modern cities were deliberately constructed so people NEED cars. I do think the huge amount of commercials and advertising make people think they need new cars, expensive cars, multiple cars.
There is another, better way. If you have a family, you might need one. But you could use it a lot less. It feels good to bike and to walk, especially if you’re nowhere near a road. Feel yourself decompress. Breath some fresh air. No blaring radio or angry honks. The way things used — and maybe should — be.