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Column: Fellow bike lovers, we need to talk about car shaming

Posted by on April 27th, 2015 at 10:05 am

taz 320x320 unsharp mask

Taz Loomans.

Bike elitism can show up in lots of ways. One way is car-shaming.

Do you own a car? If you don’t own a car, do you use car sharing more than once a month? Do you accept rides from people? Do you use a car to travel around the state? Do you use a vehicle when you move to a new home?

If the answer to more than two of these questions is yes, then according to some people, you don’t qualify for the exclusive car-free bike-only club.

Of course, this isn’t a formal club. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t routinely excluded from it.

We can’t start from a place of making car-users wrong. We have to start from a place of making bicycling welcoming, open and appealing to everyone, whether they use cars or not.

Some people will tell you that using cars is immoral and that people who use cars are failing in their duty to a healthier planet. This judgement renders 99 percent of the people in Portland as immoral and failing. Even if those people are living in East Portland, where the bike infrastructure is abysmal and it is simply dangerous to ride your bike. Even if people have to take their kids to a daycare 20 miles away from their work. Even if they are not physically able to ride a bike, or if they don’t even think of it as an option in our car-oriented city.

There are a million reasons why people choose to drive and all of them are legitimate. Yes, all of them. That’s where we have to start as bike advocates. We can’t start from a place of making car-users wrong. We have to start from a place of making bicycling welcoming, open and appealing to everyone, whether they use cars or not.

I’m a red-blooded bike commuter. I don’t own a car. I get around primarily by bike, with the occasional use of bus and car sharing. I myself have been guilty of bike elitism, lording over family and friends who drive a lot how much more sustainable my lifestyle is, how much fitter I am because I bike and how much money I save.

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But I hadn’t been on the receiving end of this moral snobbery until I moved to Portland and encountered folks that are way more bikey than me and whose transportation carbon footprint is a fraction of mine. I finally understood that the sustainabler-than-thou attitude is more damaging to the cause than helpful — simply because like any other elitist ideology, it excludes and elevates a certain group over another.

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
—Brené Brown

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change,” says Brené Brown in her book, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame. Shaming other people who use cars is only going to serve to disempower people and ensure that the bicycle movement remains small.

Car shaming excludes those who use cars in their daily lives yet are interested in biking and want to replace some car trips with bike trips. It excludes people who don’t have the wherewithal or interest in bicycling everywhere all the time.

Aren’t these the people we want to welcome to our club, after all?

BikeStation Long Beach-6.jpg

(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

I share the belief that automobile use has caused a variety of damage on our planet, ranging from greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change to obesity to social isolation. And I love riding my bike and the fact that cycling is a kind of antidote to the damage that cars have done on our planet and humanity over the last seven or eight decades.

But as bicycle advocates, we have to hold ourselves to the ethic that we espouse – the ethic of a better world for all. We aren’t going to achieve this by excluding people from our bicycling community that we judge to be not car-free enough.

The only way forward is inclusivity. This means casting a wider net for invites to bike-fun events, it means hosting more events for beginners who don’t own all of the bells and whistles of cycling, and it means welcoming everyone, even if they drive to an event with their bikes. Inclusivity is going to lead to more people riding bikes, which will lead to more bike infrastructure in places like East Portland, which will lead to fewer car trips for people in the outer reaches of the city, which is good for all of us.

Taz Loomans is BikePortland’s subversiveness columnist. Read her introductory column here.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Dave
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Dave

I drive–and car-shame myself when appropriate. Shaming isn’t always wrong. Elitism isn’t always bad–sometimes it inspires others. Deal with it.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

well stated!

But this will likely go over as well as telling someone to “check their privilege”. Nobody likes to be called out and forced to realize that their ‘moral superiority’ isn’t superior.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Great post. I don’t agree with all of it, but look forward to the discussion.

Habituation is real, but we bipeds are not above recognizing the problems that arise from our having been habituated in certain ways. Some of your phrasing comes close to eliding this:
“There are a million reasons why people choose to drive and all of them are legitimate. Yes, all of them.”

Like most everything else, this default position to drive is not something we’re stuck with. We can all do something about it. We can start anywhere. It is 2015; the Paris talks are only a few months away. I have a hard time agreeing that all driving is legitimate. Much of it is simply rationalized by looking at our peers who also drive, and who look, symmetrically, at us for confirmation. This is not productive, and the carfree alternative is usefully championed as a counterweight to this echo-chamber of rationalization.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

Great points, definitely something that hits home with me. I was once the shaming type, but have worked hard to drop that from my lifestyle. BUT, I still find myself dropping some subtle hints here and there. “Weird, I’ve never had trouble parking exactly in front of my destination!” “There was traffic today, must have missed it completely!” “Gas prices changed? Who knew?”

ricochet
Guest
ricochet

The hard part with cars is that people often take them for granted, which breeds impatience, which breeds agression on the road- and which hijacks road design in favor of the mode to the exclusion of all else.

hotrodder
Guest
hotrodder

Great post.

I’ve always been an avid enthusiast of cars. I’ve also ridden bikes pretty much my whole life, (I’m into my second half-century) and I continue to commute on a bike every day all year long in spite of owning two cars – one, a garage queen that gets driven on nice days or for specific journeys, and the second, an old pickup that I use like an old pickup. I’ve bought and sold and given away so many bikes I couldn’t possibly remember all of them, and I appreciate them all, my cars and my bikes for many of the same reasons, the functionality and the engineering and the way they make me feel.

There are a million reasons why people choose to drive and all of them are legitimate.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

But… But…
We’ve built the entire American environmental movement on the principal of shaming people and organizations until they bury their heads in the sand and pretend science and reality aren’t real; stubbornly refusing to listen to anything we say because we have been Liberally applying moral shame for several decades.

Are you saying we should stop?
That we might be somewhat to blame for planting the seeds of today’s invasive vine of vitriol?

Electric Mayhem
Guest
Electric Mayhem

Well said. Starting the conversation with an attitude of respect is more likely to get people to listen. If you think about the people walking around in Pioneer Courthouse Square with signs emblzened with “SINNERS!” you understand how not to start a conversation.

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

I’m probably a little guilty of car shaming in my heart. Mostly, though, I’m just smug, as SilkySlim said above. Easy parking, daily exercise, low expenses, and kind of a pass on the Sustainability Guilt-o-Meter.

But hey! Remember offspring-shaming? How many people piled on Car Free Emily for having too many kids?

We’re Americans. We virtually all have enormous carbon footprints by social design, and virtually all of us could do better. Not a lot of room for throwing stones.

John Thomas
Guest
John Thomas

How is this even a valid topic for this site? Nice to see bikeportland go the Joseph Rose route for clickbaitingly bad inanity. Maybe you should cross post to KATU to get the page views up even higher. I’m sure the folks in Clark County with nothing to do during the day would be happy to oblige.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

I have a PU truck and rather than calculate miles per gallon, I am more of a gallons per month user. the truck sits unused for much of the time. As a homeowner the truck works. Also I am a motorcyclist. Oregon is too beautiful not to explore. I value the experience of that exploration so much that I would gladly pay more for it in the form of a gas tax. That said, the daily commute is by bike.

The notion of car shaming is amusing. I could easily see a driver dismissing the high minded scolding by a bicyclist as the rant of a zealot. Shaming may work for some, but a proven way to influence people is through their pocket books. Increase the cost of fuel to change behavior.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Good article. I wonder what a lot of holier than thou cyclists will do when they’re past 50? I’m reasonably fit, but age takes it toll in ways exercise and conditioning will not fix. Skeletal problems like arthritis, joint issues, bad backs, etc. There are a myriad of things that can happen to the body that will absolutely preclude them from riding any kind of bike, or if you’re lucky, drop you into the recreational riding zone, like me.

So then what? Electric cars? They’re a toxic nightmare of their own.

As far as a cyclists carbon foot print, we still have one. Creating, and shipping a finished bicycle to you local shop creates a carbon foot print that’s all ours. Think of where many bikes or components are made, in countries that have next to no pollution or fair labor laws. We’re a part of that.

So the holier than thou attitude needs to go. No ones hands are clean.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

You could go on and on. How much of your bike comes from Asia…how much pollution was created making the parts and shipping it all here? Or that MacBook and iPhone that the all cool people must have? Shame all you want, fingers can always be pointed right back at you.

soren
Guest
soren

I’ve never seen nor experienced car-shaming even though I drive. If anything, I have the opposite problem when people learn that I bike commute: the unwanted “I wish I could drive less” apologia.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

One kind of shaming I would have no trouble with is bad-driving shaming. If somebody is going to use their car in an immediately dangerous way around me, they’re going to get any shame I can manage to convey in the moment. It almost worked with drunk driving, but that seems to be making a comeback.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

I would love to see a similar article to this one in local media, but framed from the opposite perspective. “We need to talk about bike hating.”

davemess
Guest
davemess

I’m always a little fascinated by the “shaming” aspect. I know sometimes I feel superior to someone because I biked somewhere, or I rib a friend or coworker about how they could have biked. But do people that feel pretty hardcore about this, just have strong animosity against their friends, coworkers, and family that don’t subsist by bike riding?
To me that is the easiest way to get out of the “shaming” mindset. Just look at your parents or your sibling. Do you dislike them because they don’t exclusively bike to get around?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“…beginners who don’t own all of the bells and whistles of cycling…”

Bells: cool
Whistles: illegal

…just so any beginners aren’t misled.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I feel sorry for people who believe they have to drive 20 miles to daycare or a spa appointment. Yes, you’re expected to burn 2-3 gallons of gasoline per day because everyone else does it, but that is just peer pressure. Electric cars don’t change the driver+cargo/vehicle weight distribution and congestion. Electric bikes eliminate most excuses and the majority of the weight is alive or cargo, which is a much more efficient use of energy. (Maybe we should call it “Living Transportation” instead of “Active Transportation”.)

Wasteful and unsustainable lifestyles may not deserve shame, but we really must stop subsidizing such nonsense. Carbon tax, fuel tax, congestion charge, parking fees, … “If it costs too much, maybe you’re doing it wrong.” — is that shaming?

Champs
Guest
Champs

I’ve never had so much as a driver’s license. This even factored into the breakup of my marriage, which led to craigslist and a driver who would deliver me and a U-Haul to Portland.

Driving is not an ethical or religious matter to me. Tim was no shabbos goy, he is a like minded person who just happened to own a house in the ‘burbs and had a mountain bike that doesn’t get (way out) to the trails by itself. My lifestyle preference is to do all I can with two feet. His is to travel on the cheap. Differences mattered as much as similarities in our relationship.

But so it goes with almost any clique. There are those who judge by their food fetishes, sexual orientation, green bonafides, race, etc., and holier-than-thou combinations thereof. Some of these are innate, but being overbearing is always a choice.

Sometimes that choice is correct. Personally, I love riding pavement, but I hate racers because they’re jockish and competitive. You can’t blame them for that. This is what racing is about, after all.

With biking, not so much. I don’t kid myself into thinking the world would be a whole lot better if every private car were idled and crushed. We’d still have lots of vehicles running farms and ferrying people/goods to and fro. So help me if we put all of those drivers on bikes. That would be enough for me to lease a Hyundai.

kittens
Guest
kittens

slow news day?

Dan
Guest
Dan

I frequently find myself ‘phone shaming’ people when I see them talking on the phone in the car.

And last week I asked the passenger in a Range Rover to shut off the engine, after it had been idling in front of my house for 10 minutes (the driver returned another 10 minutes later). Is that ‘gratuitous fuel burn shaming’?

It came back to bite me on Sunday though, when a car ‘bike shamed’ me for being on their road. I was riding on the shoulder of Helvetia Road, and a driver laid on his horn as he passed me, because I had the nerve to make him move to the left a couple of inches. Shame on you, silly bike person! Go find a bike path!

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

While getting older, I think I might have contracted Self-Righteous Outrage Disfunction (SROD), and am losing the ability to shame people who don’t emulate my ideals. For example, I’ve lost the desire to reproach motorists who dare to drive to work. I no longer tell high-paid IT transplants to check their privilege, and gentrification doesn’t make me as enraged as it used to. I should talk to my doctor about this.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

It happens all the time in the comments section with people calling drivers cagers and making otherwise unflattering and stereotypical comments about people driving cars.

barb
Guest
barb

“Didn’t encounter this moral snobbery until I moved to Portland”….that’s the bigger topic here. We Portlanders excel at shaming each other. People who don’t recycle, people who smoke, people who don’t bring their own bags. I give the stink eye to people in big SUVs or people who idle, Electric vehicles shame me, and when I’m on my bike I like to show off to whoever is not biking. There is a lot of sanctimonious holier than thou around here and I am just as guilty of it as anyone. I will try to ponder my own attitudes towards others. My Dutch relatives would laugh at this discussion. “To each his own, one does what one can” is probably the better attitude to take.

slow malenky lizard
Guest
slow malenky lizard

“There are a million reasons why people choose to drive and all of them are legitimate. Yes, all of them.” What a load of nonsense

Eric
Guest
Eric

You and I would get along great.

Joe
Guest
Joe

nope I don’t own a oregon drivers lic.. yup ppl think I’m crazy.. lol

Dan
Guest
Dan

I think some people should be ashamed not BECAUSE they drive, but because of the WAY they drive. I have nothing against considerate drivers.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Cars were great when hardly anybody had them. Driving was fun when it was just you and a handful of others on the road. Typical for humans, not a lot of looking before leaping on the whole auto-centric society deal.

I used to enjoy the act of driving (manual, not automatic!) a lot. But I do everything within my power to avoid it now–esp. in Portland. In fact, the miserable state of Portland’s traffic was the final goad for my husband and I to get rid of our ancient Honda Civic HX and go entirely w/ legs (walking and biking) and TriMet and the occasional rental. It’s been nearly two years and we haven’t missed our car at all. Lucky for us to be so conveniently situated that I can say that, I know.

I don’t think people are evil for driving cars. But I can’t fathom why anyone who lives close to or in urban centers wants to nowadays. It’s misery. I work for a civil engineering firm that does a lot of roads work and one of the frequent topics of conversation is how we’re going to squeeze a bajillion (I exaggerate. I hope.) more people in here in relatively short order, with everyone bringing their cars along. It’s just not doable. And that’s not even factoring in our pathetically needy infrastructure.

The only answer is that we have to get people to stop driving or at least to drive less. I don’t know how to convince drivers of that if they aren’t already seeing the writing on the wall, miserably inching through and around Portland every hour of the day on endless road-ragey commutes. Our air quality grows worse and worse but no one seems to really notice or care. There’s this myth of Clean Green Portland that doesn’t reflect our abysmal air pollution rankings (esp. as regards diesel emissions). Our city is a parking lot with engines running much of the time, now. But people still drive.

Is that shaming? I have to say, I’ve got nothin’ but shaming for folks who just cruise, no destination, because they like to drive or love their cars, or that’s how they like to listen to music, etc. etc. I think we underestimate how much aimless driving we do. People drive WAY more than they have to or need to. I think that if we had to, we could all manage to get everywhere we needed to go quite well if something like rationing came into play. Some drive on even days, some on odd, i.e. Just that little would make a major difference in traffic and air quality. One of our best and most horrific qualities is our adaptability. We’d do fine.

We no longer live in an age where it’s viable for everyone in a city like Portland to just get in a car and go, no matter the reason. We shouldn’t even be selling cars that aren’t super fuel efficient. It’s a luxury we no longer have the room for, or the air for, given our numbers now. You should have a very good reason indeed to drive nowadays.

Of course, if you car-shame and bike everywhere and then you fly, well…. 😉

Thanks for the column, Taz Loomans.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

It’s all about picking the right tool for the job. 1/2 mile to the park? Use your feet. 3 miles to the grocery store? Ride your bike. Weekend in Seattle? Use Amtrak. Skiing up on Mt. Hood? Drive a car.

The problem is that way too many people choose the car for all of their trips. If everyone were a bit smarter and more thoughtful, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Alexis
Guest
Alexis

In my experience, car shaming (or more frequently, car “snark”) comes from a place of privilege.

I am privileged that I can support myself on one full-time job. I am privileged enough to afford to live within a bikeable distance of my job in a neighborhood that encourages biking through infrastructure. I have able-bodied privilege that allows me to ride without pain. I am privileged enough to afford healthcare that keeps me healthy enough to ride and healthy food to give me energy to ride.

If you share any of these privileges and still feel the need to judge or shame those who, through life experiences you have no knowledge of, feel the need to drive, well, you need to check that privilege.

Mark S
Guest
Mark S

I believe that human overpopulation has been more harmful to our planet than anything else. Fewer people, less need for automobiles, more freeways, sprawling suburbs, cutting down forests, and ultimately, an increase in greenhouse gas emissions & global warming.

If we can substantially cut the current population, not just decrease the growth rate, eventually everything else will take care of itself.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

I shame drivers… not because I want them to bike, but because I want them to stop endangering my life…

I shame them for running stop signs and talking on their cell phones…

usually I shame them when I’m a pedestrian, but also when I’m a driver or cyclist…

Jon Wood
Guest
Jon Wood

If you have ever been on the receiving end of car-shaming, you know the difference between it and a civil discussion about carbon footprint goals and choices. Sharing our decisions and encouraging others to be conscious about their choices is more likely to promote positive change.

Some disorders are invisible. As an older person who has lived a relatively active life, I thought I was exempt from arthritis and extended periods of fatigue. Not so.

Car-shaming may cause car owning cyclists to censure themselves. Some Portland bike commuters own cars, but clam up when car ownership is being ridiculed. As someone who has been active in social change and alternative culture movements for some time, I can tell you shaming and judging people is not a particularly effective way to promote positive change.

I applaud people who are consciously car free. Thank you for this article Taz Loomans and BikePortland.

soren
Guest
soren

Thus far, the only specific examples of “car shaming” are:

1. Ride organizers urging people to not drive.
2. Commenters on BikePortland pointing out that people driving cars injure and kill people.
3. Commenters on BikePortland advocating for reduced low occupancy motorvehicle use.

Meanwhile in PDX:
*The vast majority of people do not cycle for transportation.
*Our local politicians are either anti-cycling or afraid to mention cycling in public.
*98%+ of our transportation funding goes to stuff other than cycling infrastructure.
*Mainstream media coverage of cycling is uniformly negative.
*Existing bike transportation infrastructure is neglected.
*Cycling mode share decreased last year and previously stagnated for many years.
*No major bike infrastructure projects are in the pipeline.

Meh.

Jmak00
Guest
Jmak00

Typical liberal malady. A liberal’s disagreement with you inherently means that you act with malice, that you are evil, that you are a meanie. The self-congratulating most tolerant among us are not at all very tolerant. They cannot tolerate black conservatives, female Republicans, gay Republicans…all of whom are traitors in one way or another.

Black Butte Porter
Guest
Black Butte Porter

I’ve driven cars over 400,000 miles. I have enjoyed many spectacular weekend backpacking trips in the western USA thanks to driving a car. Couldn’t have done a tenth of it on a bicycle. I do bike but not for a weekend backpacking trip 200 miles away. Come to work 4 am Friday, leave at noon, hit the trail head at 4 pm, arrive at an awesome alpine lake 7 pm, just in time to pitch camp before dark. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiice…………

Once I was at Image Lake on Miners Ridge. A guy comes in to set up his camp about 9 or 10 pm – just as it was getting dark so I helped him set up his tent. Said he left Beaverton that morning. Try that on a bike! (That’s a 16 mile hike with 4,000 feet of gain after about 260 miles in the car.)

Bikes are great – rode mine today. Cars are awesome. Will be a sad day when our standard of living has gone so far down that people cannot enjoy the things we old folks have enjoyed. But it’s probably coming.

SW
Guest
SW

>>Even if those people are living in East Portland, where the bike infrastructure is abysmal and it is simply dangerous to ride your bike

I’m a long time EP rider, and while there are a lot of faults out here …. it’s not really THAT bad.

Trikeguy
Guest
Trikeguy

davemess
I don’t think you’re realizing how cheaply you can get a functioning car these days.
That AAA $9K yearly expense is a farce.
Recommended 2

To suggest that a cheap car is inexpensive to own is to lack understanding that the main cost of ownership of a vehicle is *not* the purchase price.

I’ve read some great essays along the lines of “what people don’t understand about being poor” – and one of the recurring themes is “my cheap car broke down and fixing it made me late on my rent/not fixing it caused me to lose my job/other catastrophic results.

It’s not that I’m fortunate enough to live where I don’t need a car – it’s that I *PLAN* to live where I won’t need a car. I grew up on a small farm, over 5 miles outside a tiny town and over 20 or 25 miles to the nearest real grocery store. I made a conscious decision to live where I didn’t need to drive for 20 minutes plus just to go to the library.

When my GF and I moved (very seldom, I hate moving /shudder) we started with the near transit, walking distance to necessary stores, easy to bike out of criteria and went from there.

If you’d ever seen our finances you’d never again suggest that not owning a car wasn’t a large part of the rather huge % of our gross that goes into our 401k’s.

Black Butte Porter
Guest
Black Butte Porter

I forgot 1 car – my total miles driven is closer to 600,000. No, cars aren’t cheap to own. Just a rough back of the envelope calculation:

Say you buy a used 2007 Civic for $8,000 cash (no financing cost), 30/40 mpg city/highway, and keep it 10 years, driving it 10,000 miles per year and it’s half highway, half city miles, and gas costs $4/gallon. Assume the car is in good condition mechanically – no hidden costly problems.

car cost ~ 800/year
city gas ~ 667/year
hwy gas ~500/year
maintenance ~ guesstimate $700/year average, and includes battery once every 8 years, car washes, oil changes, routine maintenance, etc.
insurance ~ guesstimate $1000/year (check with your agent – this may be low)
tires – guesstimate $60/year
parking – guesstimate $25/year assuming you rarely pay to park -best case
license/smog test – $60/year guesstimate
traffic tickets – $40 average – unless you are a bad driver then assume more
Total so far: $3,852/year – some years your total will be quite a bit less but if in one year you have to have major mechanical work (timing belt for example) and replace tires then your cost for that year will be higher.

What costs did I forget? One, is that if you had instead put that $3752 into investments, you would have made money on it – BUT you would have missed out on a lot of fun rides – it’s a trade-off. The conservative view would say it’s best to save and invest the money – the liberal view would say you may not live forever so use your car to have some fun while you are here.

Of course at any time if you have an accident, a major breakdown, get a DUI, etc then your costs are going to go much higher.

Here’s a website that will calculate the cost for you but it assumes 15,000 miles per year driven:
http://www.edmunds.com/tco.html

Black Butte Porter
Guest
Black Butte Porter

Quote: “We currently have 8x the level of car ownership that they do, but guess what’s going to happen to gasoline once China has anywhere near the same level of car ownership as us? With their 1.36 billion people?”

One possible scenario is that oil companies will discover big oil fields in China and they’ll be OK for another 50 years. Another scenario is that oil companies will discover big oil fields in Russia and they’ll sell the oil to China and make a lot of money. Perhaps they will be having this same discussion in 50 or 100 years. Could happen.

Black Butte Porter
Guest
Black Butte Porter
Taz Loomans
Guest

I can smell cliques a mile away because I was a nerdy awkward overweight brown kid in high school and most cliques did not want me as a member. For most of my adult life I’ve managed to avoid cliques. But when I came to Portland and joined the bike community because Im passionate about biking, it felt like one big clique to me! It wasn’t very open and it seemed to skew towards the extreme. It wasn’t a community I felt I could live up to even though I don’t own a car and I bike a lot. Biking is way too important to reduce it to being a clique. Biking is so awesome it can be a tool for bringing people together instead of setting people apart from each other.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Shaming doesn’t work. When people are aware enough of how many problems caused by cars and the car-based infrastructure (and in a position to give up driving) they do. I gave up driving last year and it’s been a great weight off me.

I haven’t missed having a car once.

Regardless, the only legitimate reason for driving in Portland is to go mountain biking!

Jmak00
Guest
Jmak00

I just have to wonder what world the “advocates” in this thread would prefer…this all seems so creepy. It appears that many want others to forego a car altogether and will shame others and seek to abuse the State’s authority to attempt to restrict or ban car ownership. And because they “feel” it would “help” something. Creepy.

Trikeguy
Guest
Trikeguy

davemess
“When my GF and I moved (very seldom, I hate moving /shudder) we started with the near transit, walking distance to necessary stores, easy to bike out of criteria and went from there.”
You do understand that for many in Portland this type of location is outside of their financial means (even if they gave up their “expensive” cars), right?
Recommended 5

You presume to know an awful lot about my financial means in the >28 years since I went car free.

Velowocky
Guest
Velowocky

The single best source of improvements to biking in the next fifty years will come from automobile technology. Specifically driverless technology. The entire transportation structure is going to be completely upended when the actual behaviour of vehicles can be managed. No other measure will come close to making biking safer. But as long as driving is viewed as bad or wrong by bike riders, the group who should be the most vocal advocates for the technology are standing in its way.

carye bye
Guest
carye bye

meant to say: “bike only for 90% of all my trips in town and for fun.. the other way I usually get around is public transportation/bus”

carye bye
Guest
carye bye

I wrote another response earlier which I haven’t seen pop up yet (though my editing comment has..?)

but I have now seen the added comment from Taz with her reasons for feeling car shamed. In my post I asked for some examples of car shaming. I Hope my full other post goes up, but I commented while it was loading maybe, and maybe lost it?

okay….back to this post

Number 3 of examples Taz posted refers to me.

3. Another friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that people who don’t own cars but who use car sharing and accept rides more than 3 times a month should not be using the term car-free but should use the term car-light. This, to me, is an unproductive and elitist distinction. Apparently, there are different levels of car-free and you aren’t good enough until you reach the very pinnacle, which includes not even accepting rides in other people’s vehicles

I posted on my own facebook page ” Who here in Portland is Super Car Free?” This post was from the fall of 2014 after coming home from a trip around the country for two months and ended up having to rent at least three cars to complete the journey. I had also gone on car vacation with my folks and was in a lot of cars in town visiting friends. I was super eager to get back into a Car Free lifestyle here in Portland and find out who was on my same page. I was looking for fellow cyclists like myself who don’t enjoy using cars for getting stuff done. I explained that super car free meant to me not even borrowing cars for everyday stuff even once a week and maybe only using or getting in a car a few times a year. That’s the folks I was looking for….

I was not intentionally car-shaming I was looking for people trying to live like I do. But apparently I struck a chord.

I run a facebook group and I always tell people that not all posts are for you. and to just let it go by without commenting. This is a case where those who weren’t to the level of car free I was looking for should have just passed on by. there was no need for folks to feel shame or bothered, the post just wasn’t geared towards them — just like if I was looking for deep sea divers or super strict vegan… etc. We all start somewhere, and sometimes we get to a new level and are seeking out a new support group.