Sunday, 1 July 2012

Motorists: What Do I Make of Them?

Sorry folks, I missed posting during the month of June, as we've been going through the 'Move from Hell' as we moved from our old rental home to our new 'owned' home. To cap it off, the power went down the night before last due to a storm that basically forced much of my area of DC suburbia back, in terms of technology, to the 19th Century. This morning, I found myself back in the 21st Century, and able to blog away, so here I am.

Recently, the subject of motorists has been much on my mind. Lately, on a cycling forum, the question of what people thought of motorists came up. As is often the case with me, my plain-speaking Yorkshire nature came to the fore and I didn't pull any punches.

After all, some folks live within easy cycling distance of work and amenities (sometimes within just a few hundred yards), yet they still drive - they drive everywhere. Sometimes I wonder if they would drive to their home mailbox if it was more than a few feet away. as the above image shows, some of them can't even walk their dogs outside of a car. In fact, enough of them are too damned lazy to ever get out of their cars that they've even convinced the post office to build postboxes that can be used from the comfort of the driver's seat. Ditto drive-through windows at fast food restaurants, banks, etc. To be frank, these people sicken me. They are often so unfit and there are so many of them that they increase all our health insurance costs, they use up our natural resources and pollute unnecessarily, they clog up the roads and create vast parking lots in downtown areas that are essentially mini-deserts - wastelands of asphalt. It's disgusting! At best, I think these folks are a drag on the system; at worst, they are a cancer.

Now don't get me wrong - we all have vices, and we all get lazy sometimes, but I'm talking about a level of lazy that goes well beyond that. And I'm not talking about those who commute 20, 10, or even 5 miles to work or to the grocery store (although I do think these folks should re-think their choice of home location). My point is this: surely commuting less than a couple of miles by car has to be one of the most damaging vices. Such trips make up a large proportion of motorists' journeys, and this at a time when stress, obesity, heart disease, traffic congestion, pollution, peak oil and global climate change are all very apparent problems in our society. If these folks would just choose to make one of these short journeys per week using human power rather than that bestowed by fossil fuels, we'd be in a much healthier place as a society. Sure, we'd still have a long way to go, but at least these motorists would be doing something to show that they weren't merely a bunch of lazy and selfish degenerate jerks.

As a desegregated cyclist, I sometimes get the feeling that I'm supposed to be more accepting of car culture (as if my preference for the road should make me enjoy the noise and the gasoline fumes). But I don't. I hate it! I think cars are abhorrent, a mutilation of the desire to travel, deformed, dysfunctional, monstrous, disgusting, freakish, damaging. And I despise the people who misuse them so casually. I think these people are immoral, unethical, unhealthy, depraved, corrupt, degenerate, perverse, unnatural, degraded, sick, twisted, obscene. I wish they would all leave the roads altogether. But they won't, so I may as well get used to it, because the alternatives (i.e. me surrendering roads and advocating for segregated bike infrastructure, or joining the idle and corrupt masses by buying and learning to drive a car) are far worse - and are not an option - I have too much self-respect.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back to the blogosphere, Ian...I guess (wince!)


    Khal "I bike my five miles to work, but drive to Santa Fe" Spencer