Would You Give Up Your Car?
Earlier this year, I noticed rows and rows of bicycles chained to racks throughout London with a kiosk at the head of each rank. These were the first share-time bikes I'd seen. There were racks nearly every other block. The idea is that people rent a bike in one location, ride to their destination and leave the bike at a nearby rack. Done. Transport for London and Barclays bank have created this joint venture to decrease car use and support bicycle use.
I was recently in Barcelona, Spain where a similar program was hugely successful. I saw business people, tourists, repairmen with tool belts, and families using the shared bikes. There are also programs in the States in some of the larger cities like New York and Washington, DC. For those times when one really needs a car, there are similar car-sharing schemes. Europe is actively discouraging car use as evidenced in this recent article in the New York Times.
The potential health benefits are huge! Not just on an individual level, but a societal level as well. Less pollution leads to fewer COPD exacerbations. Less stress leads to fewer cardiac conditions. Increased activity improves general health and well-being, resulting in a decreased drain on resources.
I would use a bike or mass transit to work if I could. I did that for 30 years in NYC so it is not a new concept for me. I hate the fact that I have to drive 12 miles to my office every day. If my office was near the metro, I would ride that to work, but it is another 20-minute bus ride from the metro station and I can't afford three hours out of my day for commuting. Even at the equivalent of $8/gallon of gas, I still drive my 120 miles a week. I pretty much only drive for work though. I walk to the shops and we walk when going out to the films or dinner. We use the train system to get around England.
What would it take to give up your car where you live? How (or should) PTs endorse this idea?