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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 12-21-06, 03:28 PM   #1
rog
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What should I expect?

Ok, I just got my car insurance bill for the year, and it jumped up 1,000 clams. That's about all I can take. So, I think toward the end of March, I'm going to get rid of my car, and do just the bike thing. I'm going to gear up by getting more in the way of protective gear (of the weather variety, especially rainwear), coercing my employer to let me keep my bike inside (I got photos!), possibly even moving closer to a train station, if I can find a suitable place.

I already commute to work (12.5 miles one way), and have a washer and dryer, so no laundry concerns. I know I can rent a car anytime I need one, even have it brought to my door, and I can handle the grocery needs. In fact, I drive a tractor trailer for a living, and deliver to Path Marks and A&P/Waldbaums, so I can easily pick up a small amount of groceries everyday, and not have to make a separate trip. I'm single, so I'm only buying for me...and my macaw. I even have a vet that makes house calls when my bird needs a doctor, unless it's an emergency. That would be a concern, but I'm sure I could get a taxi, worse comes to worse. I'm assuming I'll probably have to buy a utility trailer for a few things.

Anything else I should take into consideration? My girl lives in NYC, and I can take the train to and from with little difficulty, even less if I end up moving.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-21-06, 03:38 PM   #2
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It sounds like you have it pretty well planned. It's impossible to plan for everything, but you just learn to adapt, and it's not a big deal (I've been car-free for about 5 years now). I've never lived on the east coast, but it is my understanding that being car-free is easier there: Since it's more densely populated than most of the west coast, and mass transit is more efficient (better train service), going car-less should be even easier
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Old 12-21-06, 03:50 PM   #3
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Good luck to you.

Proper choice of housing is always important as you seem to know. Near shops, trains, etc is good. I was lucky in my latest commute in that I had the job before I made the move so I was able to optimize things for distance. Now I live about 2.5 miles from work in a little valley with banks, stores, movie theaters, bike stores, restaurants, big box discount stores, buses to downtown, all within walking distance.
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Old 12-21-06, 04:22 PM   #4
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Good for you, rog. Sounds like you've got it sorted... you mentioned the trailer, I just wanted to say that I find my trailers indispensable, if you have room to keep one I would highly recommend it. You'll wonder how you managed without it.


Don't skimp on quality with your cycling gear, it's your primary meanss of transport so you want reliability, and even with the better quality stuff its still cheaper than running that car. Plus if you're a cycling geek like me its nice to reward yourself with nice cycling things occasionally

Welcome to car-freedom
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Old 12-21-06, 06:48 PM   #5
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Bravo!
Besides trips to NY you should also consider how you will go about getting to other leisure/recreational activities.
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Old 12-22-06, 12:38 PM   #6
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You'll be fine. Enjoy!
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Old 12-22-06, 01:42 PM   #7
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Yea looking good. Since you have till march go car lite or free if not already. That way you can find things you did not think of. If you have room might want to look at your bike selection. I have a commuter for about 300 miles a month. A ghetto bike err snow bike for you that I can replace if stolen. I also have utility bicycle with baskets and what not. Craigslist is great for that.

Good Luck
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Old 12-22-06, 02:30 PM   #8
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Yea looking good. Since you have till march go car lite or free if not already. That way you can find things you did not think of. If you have room might want to look at your bike selection. I have a commuter for about 300 miles a month. A ghetto bike err snow bike for you that I can replace if stolen. I also have utility bicycle with baskets and what not. Craigslist is great for that.

Good Luck
Ya, I only have one bike, but it's a pretty good one, an '02 Jamis Nova, outfitted with fenders and paniers. I would freak out if it got stolen, but I have a whole bunch of locks, for different purposes. And I'm sure another bike or two will find it's way in before too long.
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Old 12-22-06, 03:25 PM   #9
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Rog,
Just a curiosity question, in one of the early posts you said you are a delivery truck driver? In NC (I realize you are in Jersey) you are required to have insurance to maintain your license. I would check that out before totally telling them to go blow. There are a couple of ways around it but they are spastic. I still think going carfree/carlite is the only way to go.

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Old 12-23-06, 07:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
Rog,
Just a curiosity question, in one of the early posts you said you are a delivery truck driver? In NC (I realize you are in Jersey) you are required to have insurance to maintain your license. I would check that out before totally telling them to go blow. There are a couple of ways around it but they are spastic. I still think going carfree/carlite is the only way to go.

Aaron
There's no such law here. And thank god...what a silly law. If you're driving a commercial vehicle that requires a CDL to drive, and said vehicle (presumably) has insurance, why would my car insurance have anything to do with it? It's not like my car insurance carrier would be liable if I hit someone in my truck...what an awful law.
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Old 12-23-06, 07:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by rog
There's no such law here. And thank god...what a silly law. If you're driving a commercial vehicle that requires a CDL to drive, and said vehicle (presumably) has insurance, why would my car insurance have anything to do with it? It's not like my car insurance carrier would be liable if I hit someone in my truck...what an awful law.
Well the law was originally enacted to force people to stop driving without insurance. People would have a license but would be driving a vehicle with no insurance or tags, but like so many laws it is only good if it is properly enforced and of course we don't have the available law enforcement to do so properly. Fully 1/3 of the vehicles on the roads in NC on any given day are either uninsured or being driven by an unlicensed driver, whether because they are illegal aliens with bogus paperwork, suspended license or lapsed insurance and by some counts close to 1/2 are under insured in that they only carry the bare minimum required liability insurance which are ridiculously low. $25,000 total liability which is one of the main reasons my limits are much higher and I carry uninsured/under insured driver insurance so if I do happen to tangle with one of those clowns I will be covered under my limits and not theirs.

Aaron
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Old 12-24-06, 08:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
Well the law was originally enacted to force people to stop driving without insurance. People would have a license but would be driving a vehicle with no insurance or tags, but like so many laws it is only good if it is properly enforced and of course we don't have the available law enforcement to do so properly. Fully 1/3 of the vehicles on the roads in NC on any given day are either uninsured or being driven by an unlicensed driver, whether because they are illegal aliens with bogus paperwork, suspended license or lapsed insurance and by some counts close to 1/2 are under insured in that they only carry the bare minimum required liability insurance which are ridiculously low. $25,000 total liability which is one of the main reasons my limits are much higher and I carry uninsured/under insured driver insurance so if I do happen to tangle with one of those clowns I will be covered under my limits and not theirs.

Aaron

I do understand that, but at the same time...if I get into an accident in my truck, my car insurance company wouldn't have anything to do with it. That, to me, sounds like there's a nudge nudge, wink wink deal between the state and the state automobile insurance association.
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Old 12-26-06, 01:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc
Rog,
Just a curiosity question, in one of the early posts you said you are a delivery truck driver? In NC (I realize you are in Jersey) you are required to have insurance to maintain your license. I would check that out before totally telling them to go blow. There are a couple of ways around it but they are spastic. I still think going carfree/carlite is the only way to go.

Aaron
You mean that you must own an insured car in order to have a driver's license? If this is true, I'm thinking that NC must be the only state to have this law. Here in MI, a "no fault" state, you must carry proof of insurance in your vehicle, but you can have a valid driver's license without having a car or insurance.
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Old 12-26-06, 02:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Roody
You mean that you must own an insured car in order to have a driver's license? If this is true, I'm thinking that NC must be the only state to have this law. Here in MI, a "no fault" state, you must carry proof of insurance in your vehicle, but you can have a valid driver's license without having a car or insurance.
If you don't have proof of insurance regardless whether you own a car or not no license...supposedly, the only exception that I am aware of is if you declare "fleet vehicle" in which case they will issue a license but you are subject to arrest and suspension if it is used for anything other than driving a commercial vehicle. Also as a side note you are no longer allowed to have both a NCDL and a state issued ID card. I had both at one time after getting a ticket on my bike and they assessed points against my driver' license

Can't win for loosing in this screwed up place.

Aaron
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Old 12-26-06, 02:15 PM   #15
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So in other words, the insurance covers the driver rather than the vehicle? How bizarre. Have y'all thought about changing that? It seems very unfair to the carfree, and a big winner for the insurance companies.
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Old 12-26-06, 02:58 PM   #16
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Nope insurance goes with the car...and the driver. Just as an example, my son is a college student, we carry him on our insurance. If he is driving a borrowed car and has an accident that car owner's insurance will kick in, then they will file against our insurance. He is listed as an occasional driver, once he graduates from college he will have to get his own insurance, if he doesn't have a car he can't get insurance that I am aware of so he either has to get a "fleet" license, buy a car and insurance or get rid of the license. It makes no sense to me either...But what has come of it is people have a car, get the cheapest insurance they can on a payment plan make the first payment then no more, the insurance gets canceled but by the time the state catches up to them it can be up to a year later or more, then they can pay a fee/fine reinstate their plates and start all over again, and then they do it again, and again, and again. Eventually it catches up to them they suspend their license but they just drive anyway. IIRC NC has one of the higher incidences of repeat DUI offenders driving with suspended licenses. All I know is that I pay my vehicle insurance religiously and pray I never get in a wreck with the clowns driving around here.

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Old 12-26-06, 03:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
You mean that you must own an insured car in order to have a driver's license? If this is true, I'm thinking that NC must be the only state to have this law. Here in MI, a "no fault" state, you must carry proof of insurance in your vehicle, but you can have a valid driver's license without having a car or insurance.
Insurance company's will offer "Operator Only" policys if pressed. You have to ask them though and you will pay dearly for it. I guess it is considered assigned risk.

My personal answer is that I have a $500.00 car parked in my apartment parking lot that I pay about $300 per year on insurance. I haven't driven it in a year and a half, but it keeps me clean with the authorities relatively cheaply. My credit card keeps the liability insurance paid when I rent a car.
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Old 12-27-06, 05:39 AM   #18
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'you-have-got-to-be-kidding'.....

I have never heard such a load of beauracratic crap in all my life.

I thought the UK was bad when it came to all the paperwork and tax's just to keep a car on the road but it looks like NC takes the cake.

Insurance just about anywhere is now starting to make driving a car just about unaffordable for even middle income earners (that's why I stopped), and that doesn't even include the cost of car payments/gas/maintenence/etc..

Congragate closer to cities & train stations people...the age of the automobile in North America is coming to an end.

The choice is fast becoming:

1. Home?
2. Automobile?

Choose to have a home, you'll be alot happier..

Cheers!
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Old 12-27-06, 05:59 AM   #19
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'you-have-got-to-be-kidding'.....

I have never heard such a load of beauracratic crap in all my life.

I thought the UK was bad when it came to all the paperwork and tax's just to keep a car on the road but it looks like NC takes the cake.

Insurance just about anywhere is now starting to make driving a car just about unaffordable for even middle income earners (that's why I stopped), and that doesn't even include the cost of car payments/gas/maintenence/etc..
Now that is the truth! If my company did not pay for my vehicle expenses, I would not be working for them or driving.

Quote:
Congragate closer to cities & train stations people...the age of the automobile in North America is coming to an end.
they don't exist...the train stations. For an example we have a small retail shop in a small town (pop. 9,000 or so) we are about an hour away from a major city(which doesn't even have light rail yet), no train service, no bus service (closest bus station is a 45 minute drive away, train over an hour) the town had both at one time. But we have an interstate that runs thru the edge of town

Quote:
The choice is fast becoming:

1. Home?
2. Automobile?

Choose to have a home, you'll be alot happier..

Cheers!
Amen! I am planning on being off the road and at home on a full time basis in the next 3-5 years, it will depend in part, what the US economy does. I could probably come in off the road now, but would like to accomplish a couple more financial based goals prior to that happening.

Aaron
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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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