Or is that already true for the present?

On January, 3rd, Franziska Köppe interviewed me for her blog FAHRRADkultur.
Here is the result:

Franziska’s message is “bike-riders will live longer lives”. Consequently, I certainly hope that she is right and that our life will not be terminated ahead of time by some motorized vehicle. And that it will not happen that, to make up for it, one more white bicycle will be sitting on a street or crossroad.

I hold Franziska in very high esteem. Consequently, I was a little cautious during the interview. My worst provocation was perhaps (citation from the interview):

“Car drivers are the coachmen of our times. Coachmen were not very well-liked, because whenever any of the common citizens were in their way as they drove through the narrow streets of the cities, they used their whips to beat them out of the way. In those days, coachmen were considered “scum and riff-raff“?!

I abide by all I said in the interview. Let me add that the more I live (and I mean “live” in the truest sense of the word) without a car, the more I am aware of how stupid and irrational it is to drive a car.

And that is true for many dimensions:

  • For the lie behind the image and reputation you subconsciously want to gain through owning a car.
  • For the challenging work you have to do as you sit behind a steering wheel, although you have grown used to it and thus ignore how strenuous it is. More than this: you actually lie to yourself and claim that you “enjoy the experience of driving” or “relax behind the steering wheel”. Your car is perceived as your “best friend” and a place where you “feel at home”.
  • For the horrendous deprivation of exercise and fresh air you subject yourself to as a car driver. That is also true for the physical damage caused by constantly sitting and the negative consequences, including spinal problems.
  • For senselessly wasting time, especially if you drive a car. Using public transportation, you could take far better advantage of that time.
  • For the physical (considerably more than one million fatalities and far more seriously and not so seriously wounded persons) damage world-wide every year, as well as the psychological risk (double stress for instance when using the telephone while driving a car).
  • For how unfree a car makes you – it is the millstone around your neck – because you always have to go back to where it is parked.
  • For how you depend on the car: whenever there is a problem and it does not work, your personal world is under threat of destruction.
  • For how much of a burden a car is: How often do I hear people say – I have no time because my car needs to be picked up from the service/taken to the service. And the weekend is spent polishing it because you love it so much.
  • For how ruthless car drivers treat their environment and society. Neither pollution nor waste of energy are considered, the external additional costs of mobility are considerably higher if you drive a car than if you go by any other means of transportation. And we all pay the price.
  • For the fact that you accept the risk that you might kill or injure people, doing enormous damage to yourself in the process.…
  • … and for a lot more …

For me, driving a car thus gets more and more synonymous for living your life the wrong way. But:

Life is too short to live it the wrong way!

I know from personal experience that people who consider their car part of their own body like a wheelchair that has become essential to their life will under no circumstances agree with many of the points on this list. I can also relate from personal experience that it was very similar with smoking for me … you only really understand how bad it was when you no longer do it. But you know how hard it was to break with the habit.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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