Since the crash that killed this author’s friend in 1995, approximately 1 million more Americans have been killed in car crashes. This carnage has been normalized in the US, and “governments have prioritized motorists’ convenience over other goals, including the lives of people who aren’t driving”. If you ride a bike have you ever been accused that you don’t belong on the road because drivers pay gas taxes? Speaking of taxes, buyers of expensive new electric or hybrid cars get great tax breaks:
“Those who walk or bike to work receive no commuter tax benefit, while those who drive receive tax-deductible parking. Another provision of the tax code gives car buyers a tax rebate of up to $7,500 when their new vehicles are electric or hybrid; buyers of brand-new Audis, BMWs, and Jaguars can claim the full $7,500 from the American taxpayer. Environmentally, these vehicles offer an improvement over gas-powered cars (but not public or active transit). Even so, 85 to 90 percent of toxic vehicle emissions in traffic come from tire wear and other non-tailpipe sources, which electric and hybrid cars still produce. They also still contribute to traffic, and can still kill or maim the people they hit. Why are we taxing bus riders to pay rich people to buy McMansions and luxury electric SUVs?
The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives.
Gregory H. Shill, Law professor
In America, the freedom of movement comes with an asterisk: the obligation to drive. This truism has been echoed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has pronounced car ownership a “virtual necessity.” The Court’s pronouncement is telling. Yes, in a sense, America is car-dependent by choice—but it is also car-dependent by law.