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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 12-30-06, 08:47 PM   #1
Roody
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Can we or can we not agree on a definition?

What does "carfree" mean? For that matter, what does "car" mean?
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Old 12-30-06, 08:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Roody
What does "carfree" mean? For that matter, what does "car" mean?
What does "we" mean?

Note: I'm car free by the definition of the current poll because the family car is in my wife's name and I seldom drive it, but not by my own definition.

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Old 12-30-06, 09:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
What does "we" mean?

Note: I'm car free by the definition of the current poll because the family car is in my wife's name and I seldom drive it, but not by my own definition.
But darling, what is your "own definition"? I mean that's kinda what the thread is about, so give us a clue! We already know the poll's definition--what's your definition?
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Old 12-30-06, 09:21 PM   #4
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Oh, and "we" means "us". That is: those individuals, considered collectively, who are reading the silly thing.

DUH.
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Old 12-30-06, 09:29 PM   #5
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Car-free doesnt have to have an exact meaning. It can have a range of meanings. Still we can try to have a consensus on the scope of the term.

To me it means not owning a car within your nuclear family or household, and being able to manage most of daily life without resorting to using one. If a supposedly car-free person took a cab to work every day, that would partially defeat the purpose of being car free, so I probably would not call her car free. If she took one once a week, and walked, cycled or used public transit the rest of the time, I might still call her car free. If she rented one occasionally for holidays, I would still not see a problem with the definition. We could quibble on the specific details, but in broad terms that is how I would describe it. You don't own a car and most of the time you don't use one.
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Old 12-30-06, 09:51 PM   #6
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Can we agree? Of course not, this is BF.net!

For what its worth, my definition:

car: A personal-use motor vehicle. May or may be extended to include motorcycles, etc., but only implies automobiles.

car-free person: a person who neither owns nor regularly uses a car for personal use
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Old 12-30-06, 09:59 PM   #7
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Car-free doesnt have to have an exact meaning. It can have a range of meanings. Still we can try to have a consensus on the scope of the term.

To me it means not owning a car within your nuclear family or household, and being able to manage most of daily life without resorting to using one. If a supposedly car-free person took a cab to work every day, that would partially defeat the purpose of being car free, so I probably would not call her car free. If she took one once a week, and walked, cycled or used public transit the rest of the time, I might still call her car free. If she rented one occasionally for holidays, I would still not see a problem with the definition. We could quibble on the specific details, but in broad terms that is how I would describe it. You don't own a car and most of the time you don't use one.
Hard to disagree with your definition. But I'm curious as to why we need to precisely define it.

Hopefully in defining it, we are not forming some sort of "club" that excludes the car-lite or even the dude who posted here last week saying, "I'm trying to use my bike as much as possible and leave my SUV in the driveway".
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Old 12-30-06, 10:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by patc
Can we agree? Of course not, this is BF.net!

For what its worth, my definition:

car: A personal-use motor vehicle. May or may be extended to include motorcycles, etc., but only implies automobiles.

car-free person: a person who neither owns nor regularly uses a car for personal use
I'm glad for this comment, because I always liked your definition. It's simple and fairly precise.

I would include motorcycles as cars since, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, they actually are more polluting than automobiles. Of course, pollution is not the only factor. Motorcycles are two-wheeled and small, and like bicycles they convey a sense of independence and adventure, uniquely combined with practicality, which cars don't share.
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Old 12-30-06, 10:54 PM   #9
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I would include motorcycles as cars since, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, they actually are more polluting than automobiles. Of course, pollution is not the only factor. Motorcycles are two-wheeled and small, and like bicycles they convey a sense of independence and adventure, uniquely combined with practicality, which cars don't share.
In addition to the smaller footprint, motorcycles also require a somewhat lesser commitment of materials (metals, plastics, etc.) to one vehicle. One of my objections to cars is the gross amount of "stuff" that is monopolized for this one vehicle.

In practice I would not consider a person "car-free" is he/she commutes to work every day by motorcycle, but there are sufficient grey areas there that I am reluctant to lump motorcycles into the term "car" for my use as a car-free advocate.
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Old 12-30-06, 11:06 PM   #10
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Why have you revived this discussion, Roody?

You made it quite clear in another relatively recent thread that *you*, as the self-appointed controller of this forum, were not going to change the title of the forum from Living Car Free. That indicated to me that you had very fixed ideas on what the title Living Car Free meant, and it suited you to retain the title. Mind you, I don't think you ever did really explain to my satisfaction your reasons for retention of Living Car Free... but rather blamed me for deciding not to follow through with a name change.

It seems to me now that *you* have asked a pointless question, because, based on that previous thread, the only answer we can agree on is: the one *you* define.
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Old 12-31-06, 01:29 AM   #11
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I dont really think its that important to pin down the definition exactly.
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Old 12-31-06, 02:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rowan
Why have you revived this discussion, Roody?

You made it quite clear in another relatively recent thread that *you*, as the self-appointed controller of this forum, were not going to change the title of the forum from Living Car Free. That indicated to me that you had very fixed ideas on what the title Living Car Free meant, and it suited you to retain the title. Mind you, I don't think you ever did really explain to my satisfaction your reasons for retention of Living Car Free... but rather blamed me for deciding not to follow through with a name change.

It seems to me now that *you* have asked a pointless question, because, based on that previous thread, the only answer we can agree on is: the one *you* define
.
Gosh I'm sorry, but I don't recall exactly what you're talking about. But I don't see a discussion about a definition of carfree as being the same as a discussion about the name of the forum. If they are the same, I'm sorry for being redundant.

I decided to start this thread because the issue came up in the Poll thread. Some people indicted that they're not carfree because they own a car, even though they haven't driven it for months or even years. Other people don't own a car, but somebody in their household does, and they may even drive it frequently, and by the Poll definition, they are carfree. This issue was confusing to me, so I wanted to find out what people mean when they say "carfree." I don't know that we can (or even should) come to an agreement on a definition, but I wanted to learn more about what people think on the issue. I generally find discussions of definitions to be interesting and beneficial. Even if no agreement is reached, the participants often learn a lot about the topic.
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Old 12-31-06, 03:25 AM   #13
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Very conveniently, the thread seems to have disappeared in the database meltdown. But you and I both know there was an extensive discussion on whether the title of the forum should be changed, and that part of that extensive discussion related to Utility Cycling versus Living Car Free.

Maybe I'll put up my original and further reasons why Living Car Free is not appropriate... but I suspect discussion on *this* thread and through the poll is already showing that.
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Old 12-31-06, 08:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
But darling, what is your "own definition"? I mean that's kinda what the thread is about, so give us a clue! We already know the poll's definition--what's your definition?
Save the "darling" stuff for your support group. My definition means not owning/keeping a car in the household. Or any routine use of mooching car rides from others. This definition includes the millions of urban people who use public transportation or walk and who would never consider riding a bicycle anywhere.

Of course there is no need for reaching consensus on this definition or any other bicycling subject; except perhaps for those who want to have their own opinion (or intelligence) on the subject validated by affirmation from "us."
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Old 12-31-06, 10:34 AM   #15
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Save the "darling" stuff for your support group. My definition means not owning/keeping a car in the household. Or any routine use of mooching car rides from others. This definition includes the millions of urban people who use public transportation or walk and who would never consider riding a bicycle anywhere.
Thanks sweetie. I think that's a great definition.

Personally, I think occasional mooching is OK, but I hate to do it often. For one thing, it's an imposition on friends to be begging rides frequently. For another, I give up some of my independence and mobility when I rely on others. Also, I hate being late, while the moochee may not mind it.

Unfortunately, I have been mooching lately. I just developed arthritis in my knee. I've been taking the bus to work, but the bus isn't running when my shift ends at 11:30 PM, and I really can't afford a taxi every night, so I've been bumming rides. At this point, my knee is good enough that I can start walking home, but I won't get home until almost 1:00 AM. Oh well, the price of getting old is decrepitude, I guess.

Quote:
Of course there is no need for reaching consensus on this definition or any other bicycling subject; except perhaps for those who want to have their own opinion (or intelligence) on the subject validated by affirmation from "us."
Once again I'm forced to agree with you!

Check the title I gave this thread--I wasn't asking for agreement, but for a range of opinions that might contribute to greater understanding of a confusing topic. IMO, consensus is great when a group is deciding to take some action; but since an internet forum doesn't have to act, it doesn't have to agree.

BTW, when I say "us" I mean "me" and "everybody else" who reads this stuff--even "you." I think "you" sometimes read too much into grammar.
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Old 12-31-06, 11:22 AM   #16
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To me, car-free means living your life without driving a car for transportation. It is a temporary state that I have been in and out of.

I have a car, but it has been parked for over a year and a half. For that time, I have been car-free as I have been in earlier parts of my life.
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Old 12-31-06, 11:47 AM   #17
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To me the motive is the most important part. A lot of people are car free for purely economic reasons.Such as lack of money or they live in a big city with good public transportation.

Other people are car free because of enviromental reasons and the misuse of limited natural resources.

So on that line of reasoning someone who is "car lite" may or may not be better at saving money or more interested in a small ecological footprint.

So what does it mean to be car-free? Is it not a question of intention or motive more than a matter of actual possesion of a car?
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Old 12-31-06, 01:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan
Very conveniently, the thread seems to have disappeared in the database meltdown. But you and I both know there was an extensive discussion on whether the title of the forum should be changed, and that part of that extensive discussion related to Utility Cycling versus Living Car Free.

Maybe I'll put up my original and further reasons why Living Car Free is not appropriate... but I suspect discussion on *this* thread and through the poll is already showing that.
As I recall, a lot of people contributed to that thread, not just you and Roody. And a lot of threads are gone, not just that one.


Utility cycling and car-free living are two separate but related concepts. If you want a new forum on utility cycling why not work towards establishing that?
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Old 12-31-06, 02:05 PM   #19
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I dont really think its that important to pin down the definition exactly.
Pin one down exactly? No. Have a simple working definition to clarify discussion, as in a forum? Yes. If nothing else, it deals with the trolls who pop in only to say, "You're not really car-free if....."
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Old 12-31-06, 02:07 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Roody
Unfortunately, I have been mooching lately. I just developed arthritis in my knee. I've been taking the bus to work, but the bus isn't running when my shift ends at 11:30 PM, and I really can't afford a taxi every night, so I've been bumming rides. At this point, my knee is good enough that I can start walking home, but I won't get home until almost 1:00 AM. Oh well, the price of getting old is decrepitude, I guess.
Sorry to hear about your knee. Think about it this way: if not for cycling, you would likely be much more decrepit by now
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Old 12-31-06, 02:58 PM   #21
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Pin one down exactly? No. Have a simple working definition to clarify discussion, as in a forum? Yes. If nothing else, it deals with the trolls who pop in only to say, "You're not really car-free if....."
Or the characters dominating the chatter on this list, who think riding a bike and living a lifestyle just like themselves is a necessary requirement to be considered "car-free".
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Old 12-31-06, 03:06 PM   #22
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I don't own a car. My significant other, who I live with owns a car. I bike or take bus/train to work. I bike or walk to the grocery stores and do most of my daily life car free. I have grocery panniers and get around town absolutely fine with my bike and love it. But yes I use the car if going out on a snowy night, or picking up 200 pounds of tile at Home Depot, and I chip in for gas and an oil change every now and then.

I may be a poser for the real "car free", but for families who own 2-3 cars I think I'm an excellent example of how you can scale down and save a ton of money with some moderate coordination and planning. I'm not shy about promoting a "one car family" lifestyle to people. Even with a couple kids I think it'd doable with some planning.

I think a trait of car free folks is the adaptation of not RELYING on cars all the time. During our recent snowstorm half the building didn't come to work because their cars were snowed in on side streets. No one even considered other options like walking to the bus stop, calling a cab, studded bike tires, carpooling with a friends snow friendly truck, etc. I see many options of transit, not just cars.
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Old 12-31-06, 03:33 PM   #23
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Utility cycling and car-free living are two separate but related concepts. If you want a new forum on utility cycling why not work towards establishing that?[/QUOTE]


A forum on utility cycling would be great
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Old 12-31-06, 04:09 PM   #24
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A note to ALL forum members, it is not appropriate to use other members real names here on the Forums without their expressed consent.
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Old 12-31-06, 05:25 PM   #25
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Let's define a person as carfree only if they've never ridden in a motor vehicle. Then we could avoid the divisive issue of who is carfree and who is not. To me, the more interesting discussions are about the infrastructure and lifestyle issues relating to transportational cycling.
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