Tuesday, November 8, 2011

No Car = No Survival?

There's a news story circulating about a couple outside of Denver (in Wheat Ridge) who recently lost both of their cars due to an unknown individual torching both cars via the gas tanks. Here's the actual newscast.

I don't want to sound heartless, because I really do feel for these people, and no one deserves to have anything taken from them that they own. However, I do think this is an interesting example of people claiming that their lives are basically over because they don't have a car any longer. It's amazing to me how completely dependent on these machines we have become. Do we really need a car to find a job when there is a bus system to get around, a bicycle, the light rail, or any number of other possibilities (like walking, asking a neighbor for a ride, etc). To provide some perspective, here is a map of the Wheat Ridge area and its proximity to Denver {scale is 1 inch = 2 miles}.
Full size map and source from Google 
When I listen to the newscast, I get a definite sense from both the owner and the reporter that not having these two cars is going to all but end their lives. It makes me a bit sad that people aren't more resilient and able to see possible alternatives. What if all the cars burned up? Would life suddenly come to a halt?

I think this particularly hit home for me as we have some household discussion in the works that I'll be sharing very soon, but in the mean time, I'm curious what others think. Do you think your life would be over if you lost your automobile(s) and could not afford to replace it, or would you simply find other ways to get around?


  1. We gave up the second car because it wouldn't pass emissions and we couldn't afford to upgrade it or replace it. Before I was married I had a couple of long-term stints being involuntarily carfree (not DUI!), so the decision to go carlite to solve the problem was easy. But I see so many people who think solving car problems with more car is the only thing that makes sense. It IS sad, and it's frustrating that our cultural mentality is such that people who would benefit from losing a car or two can't seem to see past the windshield.

    I've commuted through that area living in both Denver and Arvada to get to work in Golden. You can get just about anywhere in the metro area by bike within an hour from there and the light rail will be finished soon as well.

    Going carlite(free) has really empowered and liberated me and it would take some drastic mental acrobatics to get me to go back to depending on a car for my transportation needs.

  2. Really, the good ol' US of A must be one of the few places where losing your car(s) can be so devastating.

    This reminds me of a conversation I had several years back. I was seeing a therapist, and I had just started dating this really nice guy...who didn't have a car. I didn't read too much into it (he's kinda quirky; maybe he's really "green") but therapist was *very* suspicious about that--does he have a DUI? Is he not with-it enough to afford a car? Etc?! Turns out he had a visual problem & had voluntarily stopped driving so he wouldn't, you know, kill anybody.


    Yesterday I forgot my bike lock key & had to walk home instead of ride. My coworker suggested DH (same guy!) pick me up. I said, you mean on his bike? Then she suggested he ride his bike home, then drive back & get me. So I explained that he doesn't drive.

    It's amazing to me how she perceived my having to walk two miles to be some kind of hardship. People!

  3. It is interesting that our society seems to think that a person is either a loser with no job, or has had DUI's if they don't drive (or have a car). It's a fascinating cultural observation, I think.

  4. Sad but yes, I agree. Denver feels like such a bikeable community too w/ a good public transit system. I've visited twice this year and hope to relocate there for that exact reason.

  5. Denver would be lucky to have you! :O) I don't think public transportation is perfect in Denver, but in the city itself, it's pretty darn good. The outskirts don't get quite the same quality/timeliness, but I think the powers are working to make it better (which is wonderful). I wish they could make it happen faster though (just like an American - always impatient).


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