To Drive or Friday Five?

This week’s Friday Five is all about driving and cars. My answers to the questions would be pretty boring (no, never, none, no and no) so I am responding on a tangent instead.

Neither John nor I drive. That is a choice we both made, independently, at different points of our lives. And I know that you are dying to ask why we lead a carless existence.

Firstly, we live in the inner city. Not only would there be nowhere to park, but having a car would be wasteful. We are within walking distance of most places, or can get there by a short bus or train ride. I would much rather get some fresh air when I walk (and yes, I know I am deluding myself that the air in the city is anywhere near fresh).

Secondly, I believe that there are more than enough cars on the road these days, creating more than enough traffic, noise and pollution and guzzling fuel. Not only are more cars being created and sold due to persuasive advertising that equates driving a car with freedom (How often do you really get to drive your car on a lonely country road?), but there are still many older cars, kept operational through tinkering. I know of some families who have not one, not two, but three cars. And how many of these cars are driven, the majority of the time, with only on person in them? Most. Mum drives her car to work, Dad drives his to work, and 18 year old Junior drives his car to school. Crazy. I, for one, would rather not participate in such waste.

Thirdly, I do not want the costs involved with maintaining a car. Quite simply, I would rather not pay for topping up the fuel, or for registration and insurance and parking and fines.

I am not saying society should be carless. I do acknowledge that cars can be convenient – even necessary. But at the same time, I do believe that we need to look at just how our use of cars – for the sake of ‘convenience’ – is affecting us, our community and the environment.

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