Thursday, November 18, 2010

Living The Car-Free Life...

Living the car-free life is great but it has it's moments. I have been car-free for three months now. Actually, I do use a car on occasion. My wife still has her vehicle and we both use it if we go somewhere together. But for the most part, I get around by bike. This lifestyle is not for everyone. If it rains, I ride. If it snows, I ride. If the wind blows, I ride. And when the sun shines, I ride! This has been my choice and I am happy to live with it.

There have been multiple benefits of living without the dependency of an automobile. It's been good for my health, I have saved a little money and I lower my dependency on fossil fuels. This decision has been liberating. There is something to be said about waking up in the morning and heading out on your bike regardless of the weather. When I am riding through traffic, I am happy not to be closed up in a cage with four wheels. Yesterday afternoon, I read all these Facebook posts about my friends being stuck in traffic. For me, I don't have that problem.

The one issue that gets to me is how motorists treat cyclist. On Monday evening, I was heading home (on a bike) from the Rutherford County Bicycle Planning meeting. During this meeting we discussed safety issues in our community and how we can make our community safer for pedestrians. The ironic thing is, I was intentionally run off the road by a motorist on my way home. I was able to catch up with him and took down his plate number (355DZW).

After this incident, I did call our local police department to report this issue. The police told me there wasn't anything that could be done since no damages or injuries were sustained. I was then berated by the police officer because I was NOT riding on the sidewalk. I informed the officer that I have the same right to ride on the road as motorists. She then informed me that I may have the right to do so but that doesn't make it the right thing to do. This really irritated me that my own police department was not looking out for the safety of its citizens. Cyclists have the same rights but also have the same RULES as motorists. If we are obeying those rules when an incident happens, we should be protected by the authorities, not lectured.

I am not asking the world to give up their cars. However, I ask the public to lookout for those who choose to live lives outside of the automobile. We as a community need to learn to coexist with each other. Set aside differences of opinion with your neighbor and go forward. That cyclist may be your child one day. Be careful out there!

And to further your reading, check out how corrupt our country's justice system can be when money rules over justice: Alleged hit-and-run driver may not face felony

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