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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.

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Old 08-31-06, 03:51 PM   #1
day1si
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Car free injury

So we seem to be able to come up with a solution to almost all issues here, from getting a cab when you are sick, to renting a car for out of town...
One thing I have yet to see addressed here is serious injury. What would you do if you are completely car free and go out tomorrow and break your leg, or some other serious injury that would keep you off a bike and in need of constant transportation for 6 weeks to a year?
Renting is not cost effective, relying on others isn't always an option, and the world doesn't stop.

What is your opinion?
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Old 08-31-06, 03:58 PM   #2
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Question here. Is it fairly easy to drive a car with a broken leg?
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Old 08-31-06, 03:59 PM   #3
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Electric velo ala the Twike. Rig the controls so you don't have to use the broken leg. Of course hindsight is always 20/20...
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Old 08-31-06, 04:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Platy
Question here. Is it fairly easy to drive a car with a broken leg?
Actually depends on the leg, the car, the person, but yes I have know plenty of folks who broke a leg and still drove. I also know plenty of people who can use both feet for gas, so they could compensate if need be.
Although let's not get caught up on the broken leg example, but any sort of injury or illness that would keep you from pedaling your bike. From a leg to breathing issues that keep you from physically being able to ride.
I'm just trying to look at carfree from all angles.

The only resource I can come up w/ is a cab service, but that may or may not be cost effective, especially depending on where you live.
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Old 08-31-06, 04:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by day1si
Actually depends on the leg, the car, the person, but yes I have know plenty of folks who broke a leg and still drove. I also know plenty of people who can use both feet for gas, so they could compensate if need be.
Although let's not get caught up on the broken leg example, but any sort of injury or illness that would keep you from pedaling your bike. From a leg to breathing issues that keep you from physically being able to ride.
I'm just trying to look at carfree from all angles.

The only resource I can come up w/ is a cab service, but that may or may not be cost effective, especially depending on where you live.
Public transit systems often have inexpensive door to door services for the disabled, and I believe that might include the temporarily disabled.

You can always go buy a car if that is the best solution for whatever challenges you face.
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Old 08-31-06, 04:48 PM   #6
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The last time I got injured so that I couldn't bike I also couldn't drive. Renting or borrowing a car from a multi car friend wouldn't work. I walked and took the bus. Walking hurt at first but then I figured out how to shuffle along and I felt better after walking. The big problem was that it was winter and I lived at that time in a neighborhood where people don't think it is important to shovel snow from their sidewalks except a path to the car. Not every street had sidewalks. If it had been a broken leg the bus stop was close enough to crutch or wheelchair but I would have missed out on the walking. Two car free neighbors have had legs and feet messed up and they crutched to the bus stop until they could walk/bike again. I suppose they might also have taken cabs like the frail car free people do. It isn't something we agonize over is it? Why should it be an issue? No matter how we travel misfortune can occur and we deal with it right? I feel fortunate for having discovered how easy car free living is. If there is some rare disease that forces me into daily car use I'll be grateful for the years of car free. In that case I hope I would have the spine to accept a fate that I cannot change and not whine about being stuck in a car. With wheel chairs and those seqway things I can't imagine what kind of medical condition would force a car on someone.
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Old 08-31-06, 05:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by day1si
One thing I have yet to see addressed here is serious injury. What would you do if you are completely car free and go out tomorrow and break your leg, or some other serious injury that would keep you off a bike and in need of constant transportation for 6 weeks to a year?
Renting is not cost effective, relying on others isn't always an option, and the world doesn't stop.

What is your opinion?
"Renting is not cost effective" compared to WHAT?

You surely aren't arguing that one should keep a car, annual average cost $7500, purely on the basis that one MIGHT break a leg are you?
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Old 08-31-06, 06:32 PM   #8
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I live out in the country about 10 miles from town. There's an older gentleman who's unable to walk and I'm always seeing him steering his electric wheelchair down the side of the road wherever he needs to go...bundled up in winter, poncho in rain, straw wide-brim hat in summer. He's got a bright orange road hazard triangle zip-tied to the back of his chair. Every time I see this guy, it reminds me that there's always a way to solve whatever problem you face if you just get creative and fearless enough.
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Old 08-31-06, 08:27 PM   #9
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Depends on the injury, could buy a tricycle.

If that doesn't work rent a car.

Chances are if you're really messed up you're on disability and cannot work. In this case you order your groceries online etc. etc.
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Old 08-31-06, 08:29 PM   #10
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Oh yes, you could also depend on family/friends.

This would be a time when there is no need to test your independence.
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Old 08-31-06, 09:00 PM   #11
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Live in a metropolitan area with a good public transit system. Use public transit.

That's not a solution for everybody, but it would my solution.
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Old 09-01-06, 07:45 AM   #12
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I had a case of prolonged respiratory inflammation last spring. Put me off the bike for 6-7 weeks and off the work for nearly 3. During my sick leave I used taxi or bus to get to doctor's appointments and did my grocery shopping during those trips. Many of my friends also called regularly to see if I needed anything. Considering the medication I was taking, I doubt it would have been a good idea to drive even if I had a car.

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Old 09-01-06, 07:47 AM   #13
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I wouldn't be able to drive a car with a broken leg. As it is, I already have to fold my legs in just to fit in the driver's seat. It would be impossible with a cast on. I'd have to get a ride every day from my wife (with me outstretched in the rear seat), or I'd have to take the bus. So, it's not really an issue for me, I guess.
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Old 09-01-06, 08:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slow Train
"Renting is not cost effective" compared to WHAT?

You surely aren't arguing that one should keep a car, annual average cost $7500, purely on the basis that one MIGHT break a leg are you?
I'm not arguing anything, I'm merely looking at all sides of living car free. I'm interested. Also an average car rental is $1260 for 6 weeks. That's at $30 a day, and the last few times I rented a car, it was more than that per day. That is a lot of money for someone who is on a budget and isn't playing to pay such costs.
They are called accidents for a reason, and they happen in all walks of life... Just wanted to get peoples opinions or examples of how they would or have handled such situations.
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Old 09-01-06, 08:58 AM   #15
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Renting is not cost effective, relying on others isn't always an option, and the world doesn't stop.
I agree. I'd definitely advise against owning a car because you might get an injury that makes it possible to drive but not to ride a bike. If you do get injured and after the injury it looks like buying a car is the best way to ensure that you can get around, sure, buy a car then.

I live in a place with pretty good public transportation, so for someone living here I would suggest that instead of buying a car they just buy a transit pass. There are a lot of factors that go in to one's choice of a place to live, but if you get an injury and want to stay car free (or if you want to have the choice to have a car-free household even when/if bicycling is not practical for everyone) then you might want to move to a city with reasonable public transit. For someone who puts their mind to it, I think a large city can be a good place to find jobs, friends, and housing you can afford.
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Old 09-01-06, 09:00 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Slow Train
You surely aren't arguing that one should keep a car, annual average cost $7500,
Average cost $7500? Baloney! It isn't necessary to keep a new car available for C- sakes.
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Old 09-01-06, 09:01 AM   #17
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clipless pedals, one legged riding, you'll have a "withered limb" after 6 months. But heh. I hurt my ankle playing soccer once and had to bike 2.5 miles home one-legged, it was only bad if you tried to go fast.

If you want a safer option, it gives you a good excuse to get that trike you've always wanted, and again with clipless pedals you "could" learn to ride it one legged, and eventually be pretty good at it.
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Old 09-01-06, 09:03 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by day1si
One thing I have yet to see addressed here is serious injury. What would you do if you are completely car free and go out tomorrow and break your leg, or some other serious injury that would keep you off a bike and in need of constant transportation for 6 weeks to a year?
Renting is not cost effective, relying on others isn't always an option, and the world doesn't stop.

What is your opinion?
My opinion is that you should expand the question to the related issue of what if anyone in your family is in need of constant/frequent transportation that can't be practically accomplished by bicycle or public transportation?
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Old 09-01-06, 09:18 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Slow Train
"Renting is not cost effective" compared to WHAT?

You surely aren't arguing that one should keep a car, annual average cost $7500, purely on the basis that one MIGHT break a leg are you?
Why not? Even if my car sits for months without me driving it'll still run, and the only thing it'll cost me is registration every year and what little gas I do use. The backup beater Toyota type car is always an option.
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Old 09-01-06, 02:15 PM   #20
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My opinion is that you should expand the question to the related issue of what if anyone in your family is in need of constant/frequent transportation that can't be practically accomplished by bicycle or public transportation?
I think ILTB's got the right idea. Most injuries/illnesses that make it hard-to-impossible to ride a bike would also make it inadvisable to drive. THEREFORE, you will be depending on friends, family, and public transportation.

But what if your friends and family were also car-free? In that case, I would guess that there is reasonable public transportation in your area. You could also rig up a sidecar or adult-sized trailer to a bike. You won't get anywhere fast, but it's better than being stuck with no transportation.
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Old 09-01-06, 11:20 PM   #21
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Take the bus. As has been said, if you're too disabled to do that, you wouldn't be able to drive anyway. Friends are good, too, at rare intervals, but I wouldn't want to call upon them too often; they have jobs and families and far too little time, too.
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Old 09-02-06, 07:54 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by day1si
They are called accidents for a reason, and they happen in all walks of life... Just wanted to get peoples opinions or examples of how they would or have handled such situations.
Well misfortune does tend to put a kink in the best laid of plans . I think successfully replacing private automobile ownership requires more than just riding a bike because, certainly, there are times when that is not convenient or possible.

That is why I think people contemplating going car-free need to think a little deeper into how their lives are organized. It is practically a requirement that one either live in a large enough burg to be served by frequent and convenient mass transportation alternatives or, perhaps, in a smaller town that still retains a central core of businesses and services. I've called this before the 'Geography of being car-free'.

We are now almost 100 years into the Automobile Age. And here in America since much of our growth has occurred during that time period it is hard for us to comprehend how it could be any different. When queried about my current car-freeness most people are dumfounded. They don't know quite how to respond because, I can see, it is an idea that has never ever entered their heads - so pervasive is car culture.

And it seems a natural part of the human condition that alien ideas are too quickly discarded as not being applicable to ourselves. That leads to a series of "but this but that" and "I never could do that" type of statements. Well duh!!! If I too lived in a suburban cul-de-sac community 30 miles from work and completely blocked from any type of shopping and services except that which could only be obtained by a car ride I'd still own a car too!

Which brings me back to your original question. If I am injured to the extent that I can not ride but not so severely that I am relieved from having to go to work then I would simply use an alternate means of getting there. It maybe bus, subway, car-sharing, etc. But if I am well enough to put in an 8 hour day then I should still be able to hop, wheel, or otherwise drag my bones a few blocks to the bus stop.
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Old 09-02-06, 08:47 AM   #23
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Why not? Even if my car sits for months without me driving it'll still run, and the only thing it'll cost me is registration every year and what little gas I do use. The backup beater Toyota type car is always an option.
I can't argue that what you say isn't a perfectly rational choice for you. If I too lived somewhere where insurance was inexpensive, parking was free, and had a paid off reliable car I would be tempted to keep it as well. Though I'm a little uneasy about how reliable a car could be if it sits for months unused

But eventually, even for Toyota beater type cars, there will come a time when it will no longer make financial sense to keep it running. So then will you replace it? From an environmental point of view probably the worst thing any car owner ever does is to buy a new car. The mining of resources, fabrication of parts, shipment to assembly points, and final shipment for sale imposes a tremendous burden on our environment.

But maybe, you will argue, that you will just go out and purchase another beater Toyota. Again another perfectly rational choice on the individual level and one that I would probably do as well. But , in aggregate, your buying that Toyota means that someone somewhere buys a somewhat newer car instead. And so on until someone else, not finding an adequate used car, takes the plunge and buys the new one.

I read somewhere recently that, in the United States, there are more registered cars then there are licensed drivers. And I think the disparity is still growing (though recent news from Ford on production cutbacks may have an effect). I'd like to see this trend stopped and even reversed. I'd like to start seeing fewer new cars enter our roadways then the number that are junked.

Because then, perhaps, we will have started growing the population of people who are car-free. And at a certain point, though we are miniscule today, we will reach critical mass and will be able to take a seat at the table when planning and development of our communities are decided.

And it is then that we will be able to demand equal access, walkable communities, and rational dense development on existing transportation links. And, I believe, once that is in place people will be begging the junk man to come take their 2 ton rusting metal lawn sculpture from their driveway.

A dream perhaps ...
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Old 09-02-06, 09:06 AM   #24
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With injuries and disability it depends on many factors. IMO the support system and the resources available to the individual will influence how well the person can deal with different aspects of the injury or disability. If one lives with family, in which others can drive, and have the financial resources, they may be able to rely on their family.

If you are single, live 20 miles from work, and canít afford to drive, and there is no family near, you may have to take more drastic actions than a person who lives in a city with good public transit that is available for the injured and disabled.

Where I live I am car free but have to deal with a disability. Fortunately the area I live in is ideal; all amenities of city living are in the surrounding blocks and all within a 5-minute push of a walker. It is easier to be car free where I live. School and work are within a 20-minute walk from home. Aside from that I am
down the street from very close family.

On the other hand when I lived in the country and worked 50Km away I had to rely on my car. I did not like this situation so I decided to move closer to work.
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Old 09-05-06, 11:57 AM   #25
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I broke my wrist and some other stuff in a bike crash 2 years ago. I couldn't ride (or work) for five months. I did well with public transit and a lot of walking. But then, I've set things up for carfree, so it's relatively easy for me to be bikefree as well.

The real issue is: do you have disability insurance OR have you banked five or six months salary? Money is usually a much bigger problem than transit when you're disabled.

Oh--if I had no public transit, and I lived foolishly far from destinations, and I could drive but not ride? I would buy a beater car for $500 and drive it until I recovered, then sell it or donate it. I would also move to a more sensible location ASAP.
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