Joanna Moorhead has put the cat among the Guardian pigeons with her article “If you live in a city you don’t need a car.” Even more interesting than the content of the article, which is the kind of stuff that giveupyourcar.com has been banging on about for years, are the responses from the online commentariat, of which there were over 1,000. I chipped in with the following:
“It’s not just about money (although you will probably save a bundle). And it’s undoubtedly easier to go carfree in urban areas – where around 80% of Brits live. You can pay for a lot of public transport, hire cars, car clubs and taxis for the costs of owning a car. Being carfree isn’t a sacrifice – it’s a great way to spend less money, waste less time and endure less hassle. It might even save your life – car travel is a lot more risky than the alternatives. It’s a strange way to think of freedom - sitting in a traffic jam or working an extra two days a week to pay for the car. If you’re carfree you can still be economically active, work, shop, travel and go out. The hardest thing to do is take the plunge and give up your car. It might not work for everyone, but for those who can do it, what’s not to like? Carfree means being richer, fitter, thinner, happier, and more relaxed. And a deeper shade of green: if there were fewer cars on the road we would all be better off, and we’d all get a share of the benefits. More at www.giveupyourcar.com.”
Many of the comments are reasonable and considered, but a surprisingly large number are foam-flecked. Here are some responses to my post:
“never mind giveupyourcar.com.. i think you need to log in to whereismysanity.com and sign up for a free reality check”
“What a load of utter b0ll0x.”
Nobody wants to take away these people’s cars – all we are saying is, why not have a think about it, you might be better off carfree. From the online reactions it’s clear that people would be more willing to sever a body part, or hand their children into slavery. As a friend of mine once said “I love my car.” Given that a car is around a ton of steel, copper, aluminium, lead, platinum, palladium, rhodium, glass, rubber and plastic, I’d really like to know, What’s Love Got To Do With It?