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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

View Poll Results: Why are you car-free?
Religious 4 7.02%
Environmental 36 63.16%
Financial 43 75.44%
Political 23 40.35%
Hard to Use (i.e., parking in NYC) 9 15.79%
Health-related 28 49.12%
Form of Protest (either publically or privately) 24 42.11%
Simplicity 39 68.42%
Just Cause 17 29.82%
Other 8 14.04%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-14-06, 02:37 PM   #1
pakole
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Why are you car-free?

I just wanted to know why are other people car-free. (Yes, you can vote if you family has a car and you do not use it.) I hope I have enough choices. If not, please choose other and explain.

Oh for me, I am car-free because it just make sense via finances. All of the places I need to go are close, and I rarely need to go out of my 40 km radius. (Its not that I cannot go further, but its just if I do, I will be extrememly tired or extremely smelly.) Thus, I do it for finances. Could afford, but why would I want to? I can save more, and spend more.

Anyway, why are you car-free?
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Old 01-14-06, 03:06 PM   #2
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I got into a car crash several years ago and that was the last straw for me, but the bike everywhere for everything bug had already hit me at that point.

Ultimately, I did it because it was both simpler and better for the environment. I detested all the rigamarole that went along with cars, between gassing up, getting frustrated on the road, using it for inane purchases that were only a mile away, going to the DMV, getting inspections every year, insurance, occasional parking tickets, shoveling the driveway all the time in winter (when I lived in Buffalo), and simply paying for the stupid thing when I didn't need it. On top of all that, I had been moving to a "greener" lifestyle, and cars just didn't fit my ideal in that regard. I couldn't stand giving all that money to the oil barons and automotive industry and insurance companies and the state, and polluting up a storm to boot. Now, I'm healthier and happier, and I have a clear conscience and a fatter wallet. So far, it's been 99% positive, with deductions just because getting large things moved into my home is now a pain sometimes.
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Old 01-14-06, 03:11 PM   #3
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The only category missing is "It's incredibly fun to bike everywhere!"
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Old 01-14-06, 03:12 PM   #4
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Wow, I checked off most of the replies. The overwhelming reason for me, however, is that I do not feel that as a responsible human being I can use/own a car in an urban centre. That's usually considered to be an environmental reason, but that's not the whole story for me: in addition to the environmental concerns, I feel that using a car in an urban centre is an unacceptable use of resources for one person.

This reminds me, I was supposed to update the car-free rant on my web site...
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Old 01-14-06, 03:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestion. Its too bad you cannot edit polls are you make them.
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Old 01-14-06, 03:34 PM   #6
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I feel the same in many respects.
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Old 01-14-06, 04:22 PM   #7
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I started being car-free because of necessity. When it was time to fly the nest, I had a bike but no car. I was scared, but found it doable.

30 years on, I am car-free once again. The interim has been an oscillating situation of car owning and car free, with the center being the cycling half of a one-car couple. And now with divorce, she got the car, I got the bike.

Having grown up in the golden age of cars, I think I will never get beyond my ambivalance about cars. I love them, but they are also so terrible.

Yet, in times of turmoil, when the chips are down, I always turn to my bicycle first. I know that it will get the job done at the minimal cost. My bike is my friend.

When I am not riding it, I feel so guilty. But I'm glad to have lived to this point. The pre-BMX days seemed so monolithicly racing bikes. I was more of a tourist. I've always been more of a cooperator than competitor.

It seems like bike culture is blossoming. Alt-bikes, flatland BMX, lowrider bikes and other forms are stretching the definition of bicycling, and providing a welcome variety of cycling activities. It's like the hot-rod and cruising scene for cars. You can be proud to be a cyclist these days.

I think the most fun bicycle event this year for me was riding in a parade. What better way to promote cycling. More ways to have fun.
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Old 01-14-06, 04:59 PM   #8
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I checked all but two of the options.
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Old 01-14-06, 05:18 PM   #9
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We have a car that my husband drives to work and we use to drive to LA once a week, so we aren't car-free. I am working on getting the things I need to be car-free (lights for my bikes, something to carry groceries in, etc.) and riding one of my bikes most everywhere I need to go.

In the running shoe store, they have books and I picked up a copy of Divorce Your Car! there last year. It really got me thinking about all the reasons one should consider being car-free. The reasons I chose in the poll were environmental and other, the other being how much fun it is to ride a bike.

I'm hoping over the next year or two that we can wean ourselves further and further off cars.
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Old 01-14-06, 06:57 PM   #10
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I don't have my license yet. I'm not a very good driver, and don't like driving; it frustrates me and makes me anxious. Not that I'm thrilled about cycling on the highway, either, but at least I don't feel like I'm going to kill somebody else.

When I was fifteen, I was frustrated by the need to have a car to get by, because I'd lived in urban areas with good public transportation and a grocery store, convenience store, and craft stores in walking distance. And I've retained that sense of indignation, that I shouldn't need to have a car.

And, of course, I couldn't afford a car even if I wanted one.
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Old 01-15-06, 02:32 AM   #11
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which two?
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Old 01-15-06, 01:44 PM   #12
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I voted for political, financial, environmental, health and simplicity.
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Old 01-15-06, 01:46 PM   #13
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One poll choice that is missing is, "love of beauty." In my travels, I have often found that the most beautiful places are ones where cars are not allowed to dominate.
Conversely, allowing cars to dominate a place can make it ugly very quickly.

In the older neighborhoods of Amsterdam, cars are not allowed to dominate -- and these neighborhoods are so much more beautiful than the ones with the wh*res and the cars that there is no comparison. In Central Park, cars are only allowed on unobtrusive transverse roads which are not allowed to disrupt the park. Compare the pleasant pedestrian feel of much of Manhattan to any major freeway, and there is no comparison. Compare the beauty of an active Amish farm community to 'conventional' farming areas getting bulldozed for sprawl, and there is no comparison.

I am car-free for much the same reason that I go to the Chicago Art Institute and admire the Rembrandt and other great works. Because I appreciate the role that beauty plays in one's life.
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Old 01-15-06, 05:09 PM   #14
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i like not having to deal with the following concepts:

car registration
insurance
gas
auto repairs
traffic tickets
auto dealers
more gas

i may have to plan my tips and schedule my life a little more than most folks, but i do that anyway
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Old 01-15-06, 05:36 PM   #15
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I live downtown. I am not afraid to rent a car or take taxis if I need to get somewhere. I like feeling smug when colleagues gripe about the cost of gas or parking. I have kind friends who take me to out-of-city bike rides. I like not worrying about dinging it, or insuring it, or repairing it. I like getting places by bike or on foot. I don't need a car.

So I checked 5 options -- environmental, financial, simplicity, other and (most important of the lot) JUST BECAUSE.
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Old 01-15-06, 06:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdenver
i like not having to deal with the following concepts:

car registration
insurance
gas
auto repairs
traffic tickets
auto dealers
more gas

i may have to plan my tips and schedule my life a little more than most folks, but i do that anyway
What James said.
Plus I like being in good shape
being able to do anything and go anywhere under my own power
being superfrugal and sitting on a nice nestegg and living off the interest
not up to my eyeballs in debt

A car would take all that away from me, and keep demanding more.
You don't own the car - the car owns you. Think about it.
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Old 01-15-06, 06:23 PM   #17
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Financial
Hard to Use (i.e., parking)
Just Cause

My van got hit, my mother didn't want to fix it. My gas bill was about $40-80 a week. I am in college, parking at Edgewood College is so hard. Also I love biking. I have dropped a lot of money into my bike.

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Old 01-15-06, 07:08 PM   #18
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The motor car nearly put me into bankruptcy and I suspect millions of others are in that place today. It's tough to save 2 to 4 thousand dollars each year but that's what you have to spend on a car! When all of your savings are going to transportation, there's very little to put aside for emergencies like job loss or sickness.

When you live in a city with an abundance of public transportation, there's no reason to own a car. In fact, the reason one would move to an urban district would be to take advantage of being car free. Your taxes are going to fund these costly transit system so why not take advantage of them?

I was in Sears yesterday and watched the owners at the car center stand in line waiting to pay the cashier for the work done on their vehicles. I was in awe at who much these folks were paying for repairs! These poor guys were shelling 2-4 hundred dollars for major work done on their NEW vehicles. None of them even flinched when requested to pay for the damages. Needless to day, I felt relieved that it wasn't me.
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Old 01-15-06, 10:04 PM   #19
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good point - i live downtown and occasionally i rent a car if needed for a weekend getaway, or if i go i must go to the 'burbs or other cities around denver for something or other, or if i have family in town and we're going to the mountains

there's a great little downtown budget near me, and when i pick a car up on an afternoon everyone renting one is miserable, as they're renting a car while their other one is being repaired, because they got in an accident, etc. so for them it's impossible to even go a few days without needing a car!!!

and to be honest i did this myself five years ago. my car died, and i bought one from a family member (who drove it from another state), (and that's the one i sold), so i actually rented a car for a week!! without even looking at the bus schedules, or thinking of biking (which i bike/bus EVERY day to work now).

so renting a car is a fun novelty activity when i go somewhere out of town, not an obligation. in august my mom visited and we went to durango and moab for a few days so i rented an aztec for the space and for bikes in back. each time i filled up the tank i was thinkin HOLY SH__ i can't imagine paying this every two weeks!! and chatting with the budget guy he said that was an EFFICIENT small SUV.
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Old 01-15-06, 10:55 PM   #20
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Effecient...for an SUV. Which still ain't a lot. I have to wonder about the IQ of ppl who buy those things.
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Old 01-15-06, 11:46 PM   #21
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I used to use a car for work. What I'd found was it had become the "convenient" way to get around. Of course! Jump in the car and go.

When I started working from home, I found I was only using the car between 4 and 5 times a month anyway but the car cost $75/month to insure - without even driving or maintaining it.

I'm in the same urban center as PatC and I think he'd agree we have a pretty fantastic bus system here.

Made sense to ditch the car. It just takes a bit of extra thought to plan around the buses which run constantly and I'm not worried about maintenance or fuel prices.

If I got a job that required it, I'd get another car but it'd have to be a pretty plush job or one that let me expense the vehicle. I'd rather take $10,000 less per year and live carless than work more solely to justify owning an automobile. That was the difference between working at home or not in my case - and I like working at home right now.

I liked the point made in another thread about New Yorkers. A lot, perhaps most, in NYC don't own a car but they wouldn't consider themselves "car-free." I guess I kind of feel the same way. It's practical around here to not own one.
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Old 01-16-06, 01:16 AM   #22
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Enviro, health, simplicity. And FUN! Also I enjoy the challenge. Financial is a nice side benefit.

I'm not yet fully carfree, but I'm getting there.
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Old 01-16-06, 02:03 AM   #23
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The same reason I'm bowling-ball-free / gun-free / horse-free: I don't need it. Everything else (most if not all of the things mentioned in the poll) is a bonus.

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Old 01-16-06, 02:08 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juha
The same reason I'm bowling-ball-free / gun-free / horse-free: I don't need it. Everything else (most if not all of the things mentioned in the poll) is a bonus.
Agreed. The less stuff I have to worry about, the happier I am.
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Old 01-16-06, 12:21 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by af895
I'm in the same urban center as PatC and I think he'd agree we have a pretty fantastic bus system here.
Absolutely. Can't wait for the light-rail expansion to be done, the N-S line will run a few block from my place!
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