Animal versus Automobile

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

The Clash Between Nature and Technology

This post could be called “Roadkill,” a word firmly established in the tradition of automobiles and pickup trucks triumphing over nature, inadvertently (one hopes). The unnecessary death of animals has a staggering incidence—those creatures being unable to litigate for themselves or their relatives.

Kudos to my friend Anton O., who frequently would pick up fresh roadkill (resulting from other drivers) and take it home for dinner. He had a keen sense of what qualified as “fresh.” Kudos to his wife, Anne, for marrying him.
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Duo Bikes (guest post, Adrienne)

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

[Adrienne, from England, has ties to Holland, where her father lives. Adapted from an email of hers and a link she sent, this short post introduces some of us to the duo bike. These devices, being stabilized with  3 wheels, seem particularly useful for those who want to ride a bike but shouldn’t. They also lend themselves to conversation, in a way that tandem bikes do not.  — Louis]

[as an aside, a true one]: Holland could teach everyone a lot re cycling and not even in a boring, ‘kikkerlandish’ way … 🙂[1]

Have you seen any of these duo bikes over your way?

Well, this is one.

Duo Bike, Holland
“My father is on the left and a volunteer is on the right.”

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Why We Run in the Street (a picture story)

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

This post is a public service announcement. With a web log named “Person versus Automobile,” I owe drivers an explanation of why I still risk running in the street. In this respect, there is no antagonism, only competing risks.

There’s a slight analogy here: as far as I know, my father avoided crosswalks because they provided false security. Whenever I feel I may trip on the sidewalk (if it exists), I shift to the street, assuming it’s empty.

Ok, on with the picture story.

Sometimes the sidewalk ends suddenly...happens a lot where I live.
Sometimes the sidewalk ends suddenly…happens a lot where I live.

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We Almost Drove Over My Real Estate Agent

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

When it was over, I gasped, and said, “We almost drove over my real estate agent!”

Hannah looked at the split-rail fence that had put her Subaru to a final stop. Little damage done.

The wintry day was sunny and the roads were mostly dry. We had just turned onto Marshall Road, outside of Boulder, speed limit 25.  

As we rounded a corner, I saw a woman running on the opposite side of the road, facing traffic, as one should do. She was blond, young and… 

“It’s Sally!” I thought—my real estate agent who had helped me sell my house in Coal Creek Canyon. Suddenly that thought gave way to, “Dang it, we’re sliding toward her!”

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Roads Were Not Built for Cars (Part 4)

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

This follows the third post that draws upon the book Roads Were Not Built for Cars: How Cyclists Were the First to Push for Good Roads & Became the Pioneers of Motoring, by Carlton Reid, 2015.[1] This is the final post dedicated to that worthy book.

To re-cap the main drift of the book and my purpose for drawing upon it: roads were created for animals and pedestrians (think of Roman soldiers), and (skipping ahead a few thousand years), after being ignored as a result of the railroad, were resuscitated by cyclists (bicyclists and tricyclists).
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Roads Were Not Built for Cars (Part 3)

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

This follows the second post that draws upon the book Roads Were Not Built for Cars: How Cyclists Were the First to Push for Good Roads & Became the Pioneers of Motoring, by Carlton Reid, 2015.[1]

When automobiles were introduced in Britain and America, they were by historical fact newcomers and outsiders, unwelcome on many or most roads. They lacked legislative backing and social appreciation. But within about a half of century, they had taken over the roads and the minds of many.
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Hero (person) versus Villain (automobile)

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

The mission of this web log is to minimize driving, not eradicate it. Many people need to drive until they can experience a change-in-life circumstance, including moving or changing jobs.

But most of our commentary about automobiles is critical because of…

  1. the legislative and commercial privilege they experience,
  2. the frequent dangerous, reckless, and selfish decisions many drivers make,
  3. the effect of the internal combustion engine on the environment,
  4. the effect of big, heavy chunks of moving metal and plastic on the natural ambience of the outdoors,
  5. the automobile culture that encourages us to neglect our bodies, our neighbors, and our communities, and
  6. the thinking engendered by being enclosed in the automobile culture where speed and dominance make right (as in whateveridoisjustified).

It is this last point, the thinking, that provides the stage where the hero and the villain meet. While this will seem irrelevant, we are familiar with one defense of handguns: guns don’t kill, people do. What the statement means on a factual level is that a gun alone in a room seldom if ever has spontaneously fired and killed someone.
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Roads Were Not Built for Cars (Part 2)

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

This post follows the first post that draws upon the book Roads Were Not Built for Cars: How Cyclists Were the First to Push for Good Roads & Became the Pioneers of Motoring, by Carlton Reid, 2015.[1]

The beauty of not knowing a particular history is that we can attach our own histories to the present. For example, if we do not know that roads were built first for pedestrians; second for carriage (stagecoaches and, later, carts and “carriages”); third for bicycles; and fourth for automobiles, we can assume that, outside of a few exceptions, roads-as-a-recognized-right-of-way came with the advent and appreciation of the automobile.

In short, ignorance allows accidents of history to acquire the status of natural law: automobiles, it seems, always have owned and always will own the roads.
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On Riding One’s Bike Up a 2,000 Foot Hill in the Heat

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

This guest post (poem and drawings) comes from Louis Anderson, who, years after running the Boston Marathon in roughly 2:37, picked up bike touring. He rode a 700 mile loop from Richmond, VA to Cumberland, MD, a ride that involved ascending about 2,000 (well, 1,903) feet in ninety degree weather to Afton Mountain, Virginia. A few years later he rode his bike from the Pacific to the Atlantic (which map I include at the bottom, since his artwork merits attention). The poem below captures the mental and physical stress of the ride to Afton Mountain, as well as the inability for those who drive to appreciate self-propulsion. — Louis B.
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Roads Were Not Built for Cars (Part 1)

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

Accordingly, this post (continued in Part 2) will recapitulate some key points from the book Roads Were Not Built for Cars: How Cyclists Were the First to Push for Good Roads & Became the Pioneers of Motoring, by Carlton Reid, 2015.[1]

Roads Were Not Built for Cars, Book Cover
Roads Were Not Built for Cars, Book Cover

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