Wednesday, July 30, 2008

City Transport

I have been on a bike since I was a child. My first bike was a BMX that I used to jump off of dirt ramps with. To be on a bike during this time was to be in my youth outside enjoying play. Today I am thirty years old and I still play with my bike as a test of physical fitness as well as a form of leisure. But I also continue to be on my bike so that I may be one less person contributing carbon emissions to the environment by operating a vehicle. In fact, by riding my bike I am making a statement to the world – that you do not need a car for most of the things it is used for!

As responsible human beings we are conscious about the impact we have on the environment and that we must initiate (and follow through on) changes that will have a positive affect on the earth’s present and future. We also know that the combustion of fossil fuels is a major source of pollution and contributes to the global warming epidemic. Furthermore, we know that the world’s oil supply is finite and that prices continually go up. This is not headline news. Yet many of us continue to disregard this information for the sake of ease, comfort, laziness and road status and we fail to implement changes to our lifestyle that minimizes our ecological footprints (and don’t say you don’t care or else there are deeper issues that need to be resolved).

So why on earth do so many of us continue to rely on our cars every time we decide to go mobile? And what makes us think that we deserve to be driving Escalades, Land Rovers and Silverado’s in any situation where it is not needed? For example, slick Steve has a pickup truck that he never uses on a construction site and uses it to put his dog in the back while cruising the strip - wow, Steve looks great wasting gas. And lovely Lisa uses the Escalade to drive 5min from her house to her gym for a workout-great way to get the body warmed up Lisa. We should be ashamed of ourselves for over-consuming gas with these expensive wasteful toys. I would be embarrassed to drive these vehicles in the city. Wouldn’t you?

Yes we need our cars for some things in life but too many of us think that we cannot live our lives without our glass and steel cocoons. At the same time many of us go beyond our financial means support a car that we probably could deal without. How much does having a car cost? Even after your vehicle is bought or leased doesn’t mean you can drive it without spending money. Gas is up, costing anywhere from $100-200 to fill up your car, insurance can be close to $1000 a year, parking fees are $50 a month and then maintenance fees never cease and will set you back even further.

…Everyday I see single drivers in their cars backed up along the causeway. On that same day, there is someone on a bus enjoying a book on their way to work and someone else on a bike becoming more fit as they ride by.

…Everyday people spend money on their cars while some spend what they can’t afford or should be putting into savings. On that same day a bus will escort you for $3.00 without you having to think about traffic and the cyclist puts money into their bank and does not spend 10min looking for a place to park at work.

The bus riders and cyclists save money, experience less road stress and are responsible human beings doing their part for the earth’s environment. If you must have a car for the weekend road trip then rent one. If you must have a car to commute to work then carpool and use it less when you don’t need it – be conscious. Stop being lazy, resorting to the comfortable car that negatively impacts the earth, trade the Land Rover in for a hybrid, support public transit and get on a bike.

Stay tuned for next week - gas powered leaf blowers – the second most laziest machine ever invented.

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