Patients in any American hospital might be ill as a result of air pollution, suffering from lung issues or asthma. In the orthopedic department, patients are being treated for injuries due to car crashes, or suffering from neck, back, hip and knee issues after a lifetime of inactivity. Diabetes, hypertension, and diseases related to obesity are directly related to sedentary lifestyle as people travel in cars rather than walking or riding bikes. Cars not only make us sick, they also destroy community. The amazing variety of ways in which cars have ruined our lives is striking, and yet we have accepted it – because we’ve been duped by the industry into thinking that we can’t live without cars. “Yes, the car is still useful – for a few people it’s essential. It would make a good servant. But it has become our master, and it spoils everything it touches. It now presents us with a series of emergencies that demand an emergency response.”
Cars are killing us. Within 10 years, we must phase them out
George Monbiot Opinion Transport policy
Driving is ruining our lives, and triggering environmental disasters. Only drastic action will kick our dependency
‘Transport should be planned. This means a wholesale switch to safe and separate bike lanes.’ Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA
Pollution now kills three times as many people worldwide as Aids, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Remember the claims at the start of this century, projected so noisily by the billionaire press: that public money would be better spent on preventing communicable disease than on preventing climate breakdown? It turns out that the health dividend from phasing out fossil fuels is likely to have been much bigger. (Of course, there was nothing stopping us from spending money on both: it was a false dilemma.) Burning fossil fuels, according to a recent paper, is now “the world’s most significant threat to children’s health”.
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This is a familiar characterization of many people who don’t think bikes belong on the street. This person is a driver who believes that roads were designed for cars and should stay that way. “Bicyclists break traffic law!” “Cyclists don’t pay taxes!” “People on bikes act entitled and run stop signs and disobey traffic signals!” Some of these drivers are aggressive, and even try to frighten people on bikes, intimidating them by buzzing, yelling, honking or even throwing things at them. As your writer I can attest that all of this happens to me frequently. I’m close to being injured or killed by a driver almost every time I commute the 12 miles to and again from my work place.
It can change, with better infrastructure, and more people on bikes.
Chris Cox used to despise cyclists, believing they should get off the roads. Then something changed
Not long ago, Chris Cox used to think bikes shouldn’t be allowed on the road and loathed cyclists. Then, something changed.