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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 11-04-10, 12:47 PM   #1
crazybikerchick
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Ridiculous uses of cars

Okay we all know North Americans are way too addicted to their cars, and I'm sure its easy to come up with examples of ridiculous uses of cars. Like someone who would drive to their neighbours house or to their end of their own driveway to get the mail and then back up again.

Here's one: one place I worked had two locations about 10 minute walk apart. Parking was in high demand at both locations and despite a 5 storey parking garage there was a long wait list for parking so most people who drove to work had to rent driveway space from nearby residents.

A co-worker insisted we take his car to a meeting at the other location because "it's raining", despite the fact that it took us *at least* 5 minutes to walk to his car in the other direction, then we couldn't park too close to the second location and I think it cost $ to park there too.

What are your examples where people's addiction to using their car boggles your brain? Or if you're brave admit to any frivolous ways you used a car in the past.
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Old 11-04-10, 12:50 PM   #2
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Not sure others will agree that this is ridiculous, but I thought it was. I did the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Walk last week. I rode my bicycle into town. There was a SEA of SUVs (not of the bicycle variety) downtown. The amount of gasoline used to get downtown would have made a sizeable contribution to the cause. But hey, everyone drove into town, walked five miles, and drove home.

I decided on the spot that I won't participate again. Too much hypocrisy.
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Old 11-04-10, 01:10 PM   #3
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I see it every day. People get in a car and drive across a parking lot to get fast food. A mother starts the SUV, gets it warmed up then drives the kids to the end of the apartment driveway and sits there with the engine on for 15 minutes waiting on the bus. FWIW the temps were in the upper 30's. She probably had that engine running for at least 30 minutes and traveled a whole 100 yard total.

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Old 11-04-10, 01:45 PM   #4
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Around here, people will sometimes drive around the block several times to find a parking spot directly in front of the business they want to enter. This is much less common today than a few years ago. However, I have to remember some of these are seniors with limited mobility. For them, this is not so much a convenience as a necessity.
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Old 11-04-10, 01:55 PM   #5
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Yeah that always gets me when there are perfectly good spots a block away (or at the far end of the lot) but people would rather spend 15 minutes cruising waiting for that close one to open up.
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Old 11-04-10, 01:57 PM   #6
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Well I saw a "Ridiculous use" of a car just yesterday. I ordered my dinner from jimmy johns (bum foot) and was shocked when they pulled up in front. It literally takes 3 minutes to walk from where I work to get to jimmy johns (less than half a block). I am willing to bet that thanks to the one way streets he had to circle the block and that alone takes about 5 minutes most days thanks to the timing of the lights and the "No Turn On Red" signs.
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Old 11-04-10, 02:24 PM   #7
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It amazes me too how people use the weather as their excuse for driving a trivial distance. One co-worker at a job in downtown Toronto that identified her area she lived in as the *same intersection* where our office was, said she drove to work in the winter because walking "was not safe". Presumably because if a sidewalk was uncleared she thought she may slip and fall.

However parking downtown is super expensive, so she would park on a residential street in order to get free parking. This is obviously high demand low spots so presumably she was driving around longer to find a place to park than she would have walked. And probably still needing to walk half as far as her own home on the unsafe sidewalks.
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Old 11-04-10, 02:52 PM   #8
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My sister is a 17 year old girl... when she has an hour between school and cheerleading practice, she drives 20 minutes to the mall, window shopped for 10 minutes with her friends, then drives 20 minutes back....... and here I am, only driving as little as possible, and riding everything else.

Once, my family was cooking for dinner guests. My mother realized she forgot onions at the supermarket and told my sister to pick some up. The market is exactly 1.4 miles away. I Said "Don't go, I'll go". a few minutes later I was back with the onions, probably faster than my sister would have been in a car, and they still asked me why I didn't drive.......

And the example I hate the most.... I'm only 20 years old, so lots of my friends are teenagers or in their early 20's. You have NO IDEA how many "joy rides" and unnecessary trips they take. This is also due to the fact that they feel entitled to drive and swipe a credit card at the gas station without even considering how much of their parent's hard work and effort they are absently throwing away.

most people my age are just conceded.
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Old 11-04-10, 03:14 PM   #9
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http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post11730900

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Old 11-04-10, 03:59 PM   #10
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Back in the 80's on a cold (for Southern California) winter's eve, I was enjoying some libations with a buddy of mine in his condo in Ocean Beach when he suggested we have a soak in his jacuzzi. I agreed and headed for the front door. He said, "No, not that way," and headed for the other door that led to the garage.

We drove the 100 meters that separated his digs from the jacuzzi so as to avoid a chilly walk.
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Old 11-04-10, 04:01 PM   #11
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I live in an apartment complex that is caddy-corner to a convenience store, and yes, I have seen people drive the distance.
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Old 11-04-10, 04:19 PM   #12
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I live in a townhouse that is at the front of the neighborhood and right behind a very nice grocery store/sandwich shop/Italian restaurant/bank/dry cleaners/gym, and probably another store or two that I can't think of. I can easily walk to any of the stores in under two minutes yet I see people who live nearby get in their cars and drive. It probably takes them longer to get in their car, start it, drive there, park, and get out to walk in the store. I think it's absurd!
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Old 11-04-10, 04:36 PM   #13
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We live kitty-corner to a Safeway supermarket. It's literally across the street, and across the cross street... and I've had friends walk out of their house, go around the corner to get their car, and drive to the store. This btw, was in the face of everybody else telling them that it was faster to just walk. He didn't believe us until he caught up with us waiting for him at the store entrance.

We also have a Trader Joes 1 mile (.989 miles per the ol' bike computer) from our house, and my son's mother will drive it, despite having two perfectly good bicycles to ride. She doesn't get why I just bike there.
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Old 11-04-10, 04:39 PM   #14
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Okay we all know North Americans are way too addicted to their cars, and I'm sure its easy to come up with examples of ridiculous uses of cars. Like someone who would drive to their neighbours house or to their end of their own driveway to get the mail and then back up again.
I did that one a lot when we had a >1/4mi driveway; walking to the box only to find out that I had a 15lb package and an armload of mail really sucked. OTOH, my neighbor sometimes drives over to our house. I can easily throw a tennis ball into his garage from my front door.

I see students at the local university walk a quarter mile to the parking lot to drive a quarter mile to a parking lot that's maybe 200 feet closer to their next class than their previous one. I see the enviroweenie professor drive her minivan less than a half mile from her house to her faculty parking spot, then walk a quarter mile to her office, when the total walk from home would have been less than half a mile due to the street layout vs. the sidewalks. Apparently everybody else needs to save the earth, as long as it doesn't inconvenience her.
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Old 11-04-10, 04:58 PM   #15
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People drive to the gym, circle around to get the closest parking spot. Then get on the treadmill for 45 minutes.
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Old 11-04-10, 05:15 PM   #16
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I use to live around Phoenix, Arizona and remember people climbing into hot cars to go 20 feet down their driveway to check their mailbox. After high school I worked at McDonalds and a local grocery store around the block from my apartment and people were shocked I walked to work, less then 1/2 mile. I think most Americans are afraid to break a sweat anywhere but in a gym.
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Old 11-04-10, 05:18 PM   #17
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People drive to the gym, circle around to get the closest parking spot. Then get on the treadmill for 45 minutes.
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That one has always baffled me too!
My wife and her girlfriends would get together for walks at a near by park. They would all walk for as long and as far as they could together, usually covering 2-3 miles over an hour or so. BUT THEY ALL DROVE the short distance to the park to meet.
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Old 11-04-10, 05:44 PM   #18
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I have see one of my friends neighbors drive to another neighbors house.... Five houses down the street. As well as people driving up their trash to the front of the condominium where my parents live... No wonder people are fat >.<
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Old 11-04-10, 06:13 PM   #19
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Although my example does not involve an absurdly small distance driven, it is ridiculous anyway. I had a co-worker who would drive to work, put in two hours of effort, and then change into her running clothes and take off for a run. She would always pass by her house ( 3-4 miles away) twice on this morning jog. Since we had lockers and a shower where we worked I suggested she could drive once a week and run to work the other days. She found that idea offensive.
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Old 11-04-10, 06:45 PM   #20
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Although my example does not involve an absurdly small distance driven, it is ridiculous anyway. I had a co-worker who would drive to work, put in two hours of effort, and then change into her running clothes and take off for a run. She would always pass by her house ( 3-4 miles away) twice on this morning jog. Since we had lockers and a shower where we worked I suggested she could drive once a week and run to work the other days. She found that idea offensive.
lol
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Old 11-04-10, 08:13 PM   #21
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My mother told me that her first husband used to drive down their driveway, pull across a narrow street, and up their relative's driveway back in the late 1940s & early 1950s. The thing that really got my attention was: no one at that time gave this odd behavior a second glance or thought!
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Old 11-04-10, 08:20 PM   #22
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When I was in college, I had a 5 minute walk to the dining hall from my dorm. One beautiful Sunday morning, I walked out of the dorm and was followed by two kids. They got into their car and drove to the parking lot that still required a minute walk. I got to the dining hall before them.
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Old 11-04-10, 08:37 PM   #23
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My mother told me that her first husband used to drive down their driveway, pull across a narrow street, and up their relative's driveway back in the late 1940s & early 1950s. The thing that really got my attention was: no one at that time gave this odd behavior a second glance or thought!
During World War II, rationing had taken effect to help the war effort. After the war, there was a wave of prosperity and the rationing was lifted. Some of this behaviour and some of the excesses in the car culture of the 1950s may have been a response to the years of rationing.
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Old 11-04-10, 10:25 PM   #24
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I have an old high school friend who lives across the street from her two nieces' grade school. Her nieces live around the block from her but she insists on driving the minute to her brother's house to drive her nieces to school. Why? Because Auntie has a "sweet ass SUV" and she wants the other kids to envy her nieces. Mind boggling but not unexpected since this is the same person who thinks only kids and losers use public transportation. She has allowed me the description of "quaint and adorable" on my bike. I try not to hang out with her.
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Old 11-05-10, 03:59 AM   #25
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I did that one a lot when we had a >1/4mi driveway; walking to the box only to find out that I had a 15lb package and an armload of mail really sucked. OTOH, my neighbor sometimes drives over to our house. I can easily throw a tennis ball into his garage from my front door.

I see students at the local university walk a quarter mile to the parking lot to drive a quarter mile to a parking lot that's maybe 200 feet closer to their next class than their previous one. I see the enviroweenie professor drive her minivan less than a half mile from her house to her faculty parking spot, then walk a quarter mile to her office, when the total walk from home would have been less than half a mile due to the street layout vs. the sidewalks. Apparently everybody else needs to save the earth, as long as it doesn't inconvenience her.
I ride my bike to the mail box...it is under a 1/4 mile, but the bike baskets are great for hauling the mail and packages back.

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