Welcome to Person versus Automobile, a site dedicated to life, liberty, walking, biking, and running. And the survival of our planet.
(Editor’s selection: Running While Black)
Site Mission: To promote driving less so that we all might live more.
A Problem: Our society (the US and increasingly the world) is in many way structured around automobiles. The auto industry beat the railroads in order to become the transportation of choice for most people at most times in this country. Many people could not survive economically because our cities and jobs assume an hour commute each way by car is standard operating practice. Parents of small children lack any other means of obtaining groceries, child care, medical care, and—tangentially connected to the compulsive reliance on automobiles—mental health care. In short, at the moment, people need cars, howsoever injurious cars are to others, including:
- the drivers
- the passengers
- the pedestrians
- the bicycle riders (aka bikers)
- a host of animals that become road kill
- the air and the earth.
A Solution: Drive less. While some of the posts on this site may advocate getting rid of cars altogether, the official position is to drive less. The most vivid example of this need comes from my friend Tim who worked at a twenty-four hour fitness gym in Boulder, Colorado (a capital of bike riders, hikers, and runners). He was amazed to see some people circle around the parking lot twice in order to find a closer parking space, simply to have a shorter walk to the treadmill.
The underlying habit in that example has been inculcated in us by massive marketing efforts and infrastructure developments over the last century. It has become so easy to drive short distances—to hop in the car to get across a large parking lot, to go three blocks to a neighbor’s house, or to pick up a few groceries—that the thought of walking instead of driving usually doesn’t enter people’s minds.
A friend of mine suggested to his wife, who had been seeing a need for exercise, that she walk to the grocery store. His suggestion was met with disbelief. It was no longer her speaking, it was the culture responding.
Guest writers are more than welcome to provide information, suggestions, and inspiring stories that address our dependence on automobiles. Readers are invited to read, consider, and comment. As long as posts remain readable and on topic, and as long as comments remain respectful and rational—all are welcome.
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