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  1. #1
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    The Battle for Britain's Roads

    Interesting documentary from the BBC.

    On Google Video

    (I got the link from Cycling Edinburgh).

    If you're from a right-hand drive country, you'll have to invert left and right for things to make sense...

    Topics covered:
    • Driving kids to school
    • Red-light running cyclists
    • Left hooks killing cyclists (that's a right hook in the US)
    • Bicycle messengers
    • Pedestrians
    • World Naked Bike Ride (this bit probably NSFW - just past 32 minutes in through 35 minutes in)
    • "Parking Wardens"
    • CCTV enforcement
    • Critical Mass
    Last edited by gazer; 01-12-08 at 03:00 PM.

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    Senior Member Rex G's Avatar
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    Interesting video; thanks for the link!
    Have Colt, will travel...

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    I actually watched the whole thing . I think the mention of Belgium being a cyclist-aware, cyclist-tolerant country cut right to the heart of the issue- that it is a culture that makes vehicular cycling possible infinitely moreso than urban planning or painting bike lanes onto existing roadways. It just drives home the fact that in Britain and definitely in the USA that the culture is a car culture .

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    shameless POWERCRANK plug
    Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
    Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

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    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    "remove all road controls within an urban environment" report on Newsnight. Interesting stuff and seems to work. Not sure how well it'd work in big bad aggressive transient London.

    If you can find the 14 Jan 08 podcast on the BBC website it's worth watching.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programme...ht/7187165.stm
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
    Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
    Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

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    Quote Originally Posted by thirdin77 View Post
    I actually watched the whole thing . I think the mention of Belgium being a cyclist-aware, cyclist-tolerant country cut right to the heart of the issue- that it is a culture that makes vehicular cycling possible infinitely moreso than urban planning or painting bike lanes onto existing roadways. It just drives home the fact that in Britain and definitely in the USA that the culture is a car culture .
    How sad that we share one more close tie with Britain. It is interesting just hwo different Britain is from main land Europe. One thing that is a sad commonality is the crazy lines as schools. Here in the USA there is even less reason for the silly car traffic as most kids have a school bus stop pretty much right on front of their door. Cars made the road super busy. Super busy roads are considered unsafe for use of alternative mode of transportation so more get in their cars to make the roads even busier... what a silly cycle.

    As far as the red light running cyclists. I don't understand. I personally will not go through a red light. There have only been a few occasions in my life I have purposely run a red, but they were all for good reasons. The 1st one I was taking my wife to the hospital because her asthma was acting up, she was breathing, but it was a little labored. Two blocks from the hospital she passed out and stopped responding. At that point I gunned the throttle and got to the ER as fas as I could without causing an accident. The other few times have been because of defective road sensors that prevented the light from turning on my side of the road. Stop signs I use as a yield sign and at the busier intersections I will always come to a full stop. I just can't believe how the cyclist just bomb through the lights and dodge the pedestrians. That is a good way to make lots of enemies... something we cyclists certainly don't need any more of.

    I also don't see the point of the protests that purposely block traffic. That will never help gain any respect and good will between the protesting cyclists and the other road going traffic. I looks a lot like what happens here when Critical Mass gets going. I don't want to get into any serious debate about that as there has been plenty of that on the boards. As far as those that want to go around cycling naked... what ever floats your boat, who knows maybe it is fun, at least in the UK they won't get arrested for the naked part. I guess the message about being more vulnerable might no get accross the spectaters as they maybe a bit distracted by... the lack of clothing.

    Obviously the stories about cyclists and pedestrians being killed are heart breaking. Even sadder is how many people die in cars, but somehow that is now considered somehow "normal." Sad how society comes numb to all the death on our roads.

    Certainly a program that makes brings up lots of issues and makes you think and also hopefully make people aware of the good and the bad things that happen regarding our choice of transportation and how we use it.

    Happy riding,
    André

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    Quote Originally Posted by gazer View Post
    Interesting documentary from the BBC.

    On Google Video

    (I got the link from Cycling Edinburgh).

    If you're from a right-hand drive country, you'll have to invert left and right for things to make sense...

    Topics covered:
    • Driving kids to school
    • Red-light running cyclists
    • Left hooks killing cyclists (that's a right hook in the US)
    • Bicycle messengers
    • Pedestrians
    • World Naked Bike Ride (this bit probably NSFW - just past 32 minutes in through 35 minutes in)
    • "Parking Wardens"
    • CCTV enforcement
    • Critical Mass
    Thanks so much for the post! I ended up watching this whole video. It's a must watch for many of the A&S posters. Especially useful for those who seem to deny that the autocentric urban culture is in for a major change in the next decade. This is the proof. It's not just London, it's Manhattan, Boston, Washington DC... the topics explored (and no ready solutions offered really) are happening in so many cities around the world.

    Interesting commentary towards the end by the racing cyclist who moved to Belgium where a combination of a share the road mentality of automobilists along with bike paths, bike lanes and segregated facilities made for a far more welcoming environment for her to train and ride.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Thanks so much for the post! I ended up watching this whole video. It's a must watch for many of the A&S posters. Especially useful for those who seem to deny that the autocentric urban culture is in for a major change in the next decade. This is the proof. It's not just London, it's Manhattan, Boston, Washington DC... the topics explored (and no ready solutions offered really) are happening in so many cities around the world.
    While I continue my arguments with certain folks that such motoring mentality is not sustainable... I also await the day that the full gridlock situation occurs for all those folks driving, one person to a vehicle, into crowded cities... flat out there won't be any room for more pavement, and the autos will be sitting there locked into place idling away their 8-10+ dollar a gallon fuel while no forward progress is made... only then will stalwart auto proponents realize the folly of their ways... too late. Sort of the automotive "monkey fist" trap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thirdin77 View Post
    I actually watched the whole thing . I think the mention of Belgium being a cyclist-aware, cyclist-tolerant country cut right to the heart of the issue- that it is a culture that makes vehicular cycling possible infinitely moreso than urban planning or painting bike lanes onto existing roadways. It just drives home the fact that in Britain and definitely in the USA that the culture is a car culture .
    I've seen reports from vehicular cyclists all over the USA who maintain that vehicular cycling is not only possible, but quite effective, despite the like of cyclist-aware, cyclist-tolerant attitudes that are typical of countries like Belgium.

    In fact, it is scofflaw cycling (or whatever you want to call the opposite of VC) that requires cyclist-aware, cyclist-tolerant attitudes.

    In San Diego, the frequency with which I encounter unpleasant situations with motorists is measured on the order of 1 per weeks if not months. Vehicular cyclists all over the USA report similar results where they are.

    I will add that lousy experiences riding in a manner that is not VC can lead one to conclude that if he was more assertive with lane position these experiences would be even worse. Again, vehicular cyclists from around the country consistently report the opposite is true: the more clear, assertive and reasonable you are with lane positioning, the better you are treated. Personally, I think this is because they notice you sooner and have more time and space to plan on what to do.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 01-16-08 at 06:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    I've seen reports from vehicular cyclists all over the USA who maintain that vehicular cycling is not only possible, but quite effective, despite the like of cyclist-aware, cyclist-tolerant attitudes that are typical of countries like Belgium.

    In fact, it is scofflaw cycling (or whatever you want to call the opposite of VC) that requires cyclist-aware, cyclist-tolerant attitudes.

    In San Diego, the frequency with which I encounter unpleasant situations with motorists is measured on the order of 1 per weeks if not months. Vehicular cyclists all over the USA report similar results where they are.

    I will add that lousy experiences riding in a manner that is not VC can lead one to conclude that if he was more assertive with lane position these experiences would be even worse. Again, vehicular cyclists from around the country consistently report the opposite is true: the more clear, assertive and reasonable you are with lane positioning, the better you are treated. Personally, I think this is because they notice you sooner and have more time and space to plan on what to do.
    Did you watch the BBC video?- just curious.

  11. #11
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    My favorite bits:
    • Crash test dummies
    • Kids blocking red light "jumpers"
    • Crazy man in the Jeep
    • Cycling "bobbies" - particularly the way they treat those they pull over.
    • The parking enforcer guy (I need to re-play to get the cool British term for him) and his level-headedness
    • The crazy intersection and the guy who just wants to cross the road safely.


    The only cycling performance related stuff is the rejoinder not to run red lights and be careful when cars may turn right over you (right hooks in the US, left hooks there).

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Did you watch the BBC video?- just curious.
    Not yet. But my comments above were not about the video, or in response to a comment about the video. It was in response to the general assertion that "it is a culture that makes vehicular cycling possible infinitely moreso than urban planning or painting bike lanes", coupled with "in the USA that the culture is a car culture", implying that the car culture in the USA make vehicular cycling not possible.

    I agree that urban planning and painting bike lanes are not significant factors in making vc possible, of course. I'm glad to hear they're finally figuring that out in Britain (someone tell the Portlanders, please).

    And, actually, taken literally, I agree with the comment that it is the culture that makes vc possible, though I interpret that differently from how thirdin77 intended it. What makes vc possible is a vehicular culture, and cyclists feeling, thinking and acting like drivers of vehicles. Almost universally, the motorists treat us accordingly, instinctively: if you act like a vehicle driver, then they'll treat you like one.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 01-17-08 at 10:29 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzman
    Did you watch the BBC video?- just curious.
    Not yet. But my comments above were not about the video, or in response to a comment about the video. It was in response to the general assertion that "it is a culture that makes vehicular cycling possible infinitely moreso than urban planning or painting bike lanes", coupled with "in the USA that the culture is a car culture", implying that the car culture in the USA make vehicular cycling not possible.

    I just find it rather telling that you choose not to respond the video, choose not to respond even to a comment about the video, in fact, you don't even take the time to watch the video, in a thread that is about a video. You instead take thirdin77's comments out of context- in other words thirdin77 begins by stating that they watched the whole video, which would have put the comments about Belgium in an entirely different light than you took them.

    Your insistence on stating a point of view without full information or even taking moment to see things from any other perspective other than your own is astounding.

    The BBC video link is a fascinating one that captures in a fairly objective fashion an urban dis-ease. It is something plaguing all of the Earth's cities. It is related to the automobile. Our gross over dependence and capitulation to the auto culture that has made for a stress in our cities that is literally killing people. We are crushing our pedestrians, squeezing bike riders and stalling automobilists in a morass of their own making.

    It's not even about looking at who or even what is to blame but what are the solutions to the problem. It certainly makes sense to look at cities that don't have these issues or have solved them to some degree in order to craft alternatives for cities that need help. Belgium's mix of positive attitudes on the part of motorists and some bike infrastructure is at least working for them and worth looking at for applications that could be made to other cities.

    Oversimplification of the issues and applying the panacea of vehicular cycling is like stopping a leak in the Hoover Dam with a wad of chewing gum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    I just find it rather telling that you choose not to respond the video, choose not to respond even to a comment about the video, in fact, you don't even take the time to watch the video, in a thread that is about a video. You instead take thirdin77's comments out of context- in other words thirdin77 begins by stating that they watched the whole video, which would have put the comments about Belgium in an entirely different light than you took them.

    Your insistence on stating a point of view without full information or even taking moment to see things from any other perspective other than your own is astounding.

    The BBC video link is a fascinating one that captures in a fairly objective fashion an urban dis-ease. It is something plaguing all of the Earth's cities. It is related to the automobile. Our gross over dependence and capitulation to the auto culture that has made for a stress in our cities that is literally killing people. We are crushing our pedestrians, squeezing bike riders and stalling automobilists in a morass of their own making.

    It's not even about looking at who or even what is to blame but what are the solutions to the problem. It certainly makes sense to look at cities that don't have these issues or have solved them to some degree in order to craft alternatives for cities that need help. Belgium's mix of positive attitudes on the part of motorists and some bike infrastructure is at least working for them and worth looking at for applications that could be made to other cities.

    Oversimplification of the issues and applying the panacea of vehicular cycling is like stopping a leak in the Hoover Dam with a wad of chewing gum.
    Regardless of context, if someone is going to make a ridiculous assertion, then I'm likely to challenge it.

    I'm working my way through the video. Be patient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    Regardless of context, if someone is going to make a ridiculous assertion, then I'm likely to challenge it.

    I'm working my way through the video. Be patient.
    since you responded to thirdin77's post- what was his "ridiculous assertion"?

    I hope it wasn't this:

    Quote Originally Posted by thirdin77
    the fact that in Britain and definitely in the USA that the culture is a car culture.
    .

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    Overall, the video is excellent. My comments:
    • So that is what John Franklin looks like! Nice to see him acknowledged as a cycling expert (at 24:17); too bad they did not spend more time with him. He's spot on with the advice he gives at 24:38, of course. But the rest of the video ignores what he says, seemingly dismissing it. They spend much more time on the emotion-ladden stories from non-experts.
    • Nothing much new for regulars of this forum - much of the same old stuff.
    • Nothing on the importance of cyclist vigilance.
    • Love the stuff on the irrationality of the car culture - reminiscent of the opening scene from "The Gods must be Crazy" where the woman gets in her car to drive next door to the mailbox to deliver a letter, and then drives back to her driveway. The Grand Cherokee driver is classic. Totally oblivious.
    • The poor woman who lost her girl who was crushed by a lorrie is very sad. It's hard to argue with her that lorrie drivers should be more careful, but the fact is, that if you follow Franklin's advice and avoid passing trucks on the outside, particularly as you approach a junction, you're almost certainly not going to get hooked. If they pass me and slow down, then I need to slow down even more.
    • The stuff about scofflaw cyclists running red lights was well done.
    • The naked ride to show they are the most vulnerable is silly, and is likely to be counter-productive. Playing the vulnerable card is playing the victim card, and it's not helpful.
    • The guy who lost his wife, Leo, tries to argue that the buffer between where cars/buses stop and the crosswalk stripe is too narrow. I can't begin to imagine how he feels, but does he really expect for cars to stop, what, 20' back from the intersection? At most intersections in San Diego there is no buffer at all. The crosswalk stripe is the stop stripe.
    • The Emma Davie-Jones crash is a classic hook - through cyclist going straight from the turn zone. She says she had been through this intersection thousands of times. But there is no discussion about her road placement being a factor in this crash - only her decision to not ride there at all anymore. It's no wonder she's more comfortable in cyclist-aware Belgium with her riding style that depends on motorists noticing her.
    • The CMers blocking the Range Rover SUV is ridiculous, and definitely counter-productive.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 01-17-08 at 02:42 PM.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    Overall, the video is excellent. My comments:[*] So that is what John Franklin looks like! Nice to see him acknowledged as a cycling expert (at 24:17); too bad they did not spend more time with him. He's spot on with the advice he gives at 24:38, of course. But the rest of the video ignores what he says, seemingly dismissing it. They spend much more time on the emotion-ladden stories from non-experts.
    So what is it with "Brits" and being "cycling experts???" What, we can't grow a few of our own?

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    [*] Nothing on the importance of cyclist vigilance.
    Well there was that tiny bit about the new cyclist totally missing all the police as he gleefully rode through the red light...


    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    [*] Love the stuff on the irrationality of the car culture - reminiscent of the opening scene from "The Gods must be Crazy" where the woman gets in her car to drive next door to the mailbox to deliver a letter, and then drives back to her driveway. The Grand Cherokee driver is classic. Totally oblivious.
    Yup, like so many motorists here... they simply don't realize they are the key part of the problem...

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    [*] The poor woman who lost her girl who was crushed by a lorrie is very sad. It's hard to argue with her that lorrie drivers should be more careful, but the fact is, that if you follow Franklin's advice and avoid passing trucks on the outside, particularly as you approach a junction, you're almost certainly not going to get hooked. If they pass me and slow down, then I need to slow down even more.
    OK this one I am going to debate with you... as the CCTV video showed the truck approaching her... meaning clearly that she was in front of the truck and the driver should be aware of those on the road in front of them...

    While I agree that for a cyclist to attempt to pass a slowing motorist/truck/vehicle on the right is just asking for trouble, on the other hand... when the %^&!@ are the motorists going to start realizing they too are responsible to not turn into those they pass... to me that ignorance is carte blanche for me to always ride center of the lane and to heck with anyone trying to pass!

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    [*] The stuff about scofflaw cyclists running red lights was well done.
    Would love to see ticketing bike cops here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    [*] The CMers blocking the Range Rover SUV is ridiculous, and definitely counter-productive.
    OK but consider what happens when all the Rovers etc finally fill the streets (as in the beginning of the video on the school run) and no one moves... what is it going to take for motorists to realize that in some cases they are their own worst enemy. How long before they all lock themselves into a grid-lock situation and just idle away their 8-10 dollar a gallon gas?

    London has at least invoked congestion charges. And the father driving what the 500-600 yards to school... classic case of denial...

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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    since you responded to thirdin77's post- what was his "ridiculous assertion"?

    I hope it wasn't this:
    Not exactly. But I do think it's misleading to refer to it as the "car culture" rather than something like the "driver culture" or the "vehicular culture". More on that below. Here is the full post; the bolding is mine.:

    Quote Originally Posted by thirdin77 View Post
    I actually watched the whole thing . I think the mention of Belgium being a cyclist-aware, cyclist-tolerant country cut right to the heart of the issue- that it is a culture that makes vehicular cycling possible infinitely moreso than urban planning or painting bike lanes onto existing roadways. It just drives home the fact that in Britain and definitely in the USA that the culture is a car culture .
    I should have said that the implied assertion is ridiculous.

    Now, perhaps I misunderstood, but what I got from this is that he believes it is the Beligium-like culture that is what makes vehicular cycling possible, and the U.S. definitely does not have that type of culture. Therefore, the implied assertion seems to be that vehicular cycling is not possible, or is at least very difficult, in the U.S., because of the "car culture" here..

    I just believe that as long as you, the cyclist, looks at it from an "us vs. them" perspective, and see it as a war, then it's going to be self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, if you see it as a "vehicular culture", rather than a "car culture", with the emphasis on driver behavior rather than the physical characteristics of the vehicle being driven, then you're on equal footing, and it becomes a cooperative situation. And that is what "makes vehicular cycling possible infinitely moreso than" planning, infrastructure or, yes, even culture. That is at least my experience, and it is shared by vehicular cyclists all over the country, and, indeed, all over the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post

    I just believe that as long as you, the cyclist, looks at it from an "us vs. them" perspective, and see it as a war, then it's going to be self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, if you see it as a "vehicular culture", rather than a "car culture", with the emphasis on driver behavior rather than the physical characteristics of the vehicle being driven, then you're on equal footing, and it becomes a cooperative situation. And that is what "makes vehicular cycling possible infinitely moreso than" planning, infrastructure or, yes, even culture. That is at least my experience, and it is shared by vehicular cyclists all over the country, and, indeed, all over the world.
    Sure that level of thinking, works if it is shared by all parties... but if we cyclists are not being treated in a cooperative manner in spite of giving our best, then the reaction will naturally be one of "us verses them."

    Remember the mantra of vehicular cycling includes being treated as a driver of a vehicle... when that latter part is missing, there is a problem.
    Last edited by genec; 01-17-08 at 07:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    The Emma Davie-Jones crash is a classic hook - through cyclist going straight from the turn zone. She says she had been through this intersection thousands of times. But there is no discussion about her road placement being a factor in this crash - only her decision to not ride there at all anymore. It's no wonder she's more comfortable in cyclist-aware Belgium with her riding style that depends on motorists noticing her.
    As a personal note to this... you have no idea how she feels, nor can you hardly relate to it...

    I have been in three crashes. One a classic right hook. It may have been my fault... but who knows, as I wasn't attempting to pass anyone, but they did come up upon me and then chose to turn while still closing on me.

    The other accidents I have been in were indeed the fault of the driver. One of the situations involved the driver being ticketed for failing to yield the ROW.

    What you don't understand is how a person can become "*** shy," so to speak, after doing the right things and you are hit by a motorist anyway. (this no doubt drives my personal campaign for watching for the idiots on the road that do not act in a predictable manner; I am sure you will probably jump on my use of certain language here as an indicator of mindset).

    Now I have not been struck by a motorist in well over 20 years, but I have had my share of close calls, and those bring the bad memories right back.

    It is quite easy to see how someone can make the choice to not ride in a country where one somewhat has to "do battle" (by say being the "Alpha") for space on the road, rather than ride in a cooperative environment. The feeling of truly sharing the road in the latter case, is quite uplifting. (although I can see how some folks may find being "the Alpha" quite empowering... )

    Remember that Jeep owner in the video... bear in mind that some motorists here are quite that way too... clueless.
    Last edited by genec; 01-18-08 at 05:49 AM.

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    Hey,HH, glad you watched the video!!- it's pretty good isn't it?

    It definitely shines a light on some problems.

    But I'm curious about your resistance to the term "car culture".

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    ... I do think it's misleading to refer to it as the "car culture" rather than something like the "driver culture" or the "vehicular culture".
    How is the use of the term any different in how you use it here?-

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Love the stuff on the irrationality of the car culture - reminiscent of the opening scene from "The Gods must be Crazy" where the woman gets in her car to drive next door to the mailbox to deliver a letter, and then drives back to her driveway. The Grand Cherokee driver is classic. Totally oblivious.
    I mean isn't a big part of the problem what is demonstrated by the people piling their kids into SUV's to drive them 1-2 miles to school. I think it's what some of us in A&S are referring to when we say an auto-centric or "car culture". It's a kind of dependency or addiction- and like most addictions not a healthy one.

    And when our cities are designed in such a way that a 90 year old man is literally trapped in place and cannot walk to the temple across the street because the streets are so auto-centric then we are a "car culture" and not people oriented culture.

    You spoke in another thread about the power of "free market forces". I argued that those same free market forces sometimes leave those less well equipped or the marginalized, like the elderly, disenfranchised from the system. The automobile industry has far more economic leverage than the elderly or pedestrians (since they represent no centralized industry or commercial interests) or even cyclists who represent a smaller "market share". In which case some methodology outside of the "free market" must be employed in order to secure some rights and representation on the part of those outside of the mainstream.
    Last edited by buzzman; 01-17-08 at 11:38 PM. Reason: exclamation point

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