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The New Class Warfare over Bicycles [View All]

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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-16-10 09:01 AM
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The New Class Warfare over Bicycles
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The car's proponents invoke class even though all other forms of land transportation are eminently more accessible. Shoes, a bike, or a metro pass are all cheaper than a car with its gas, insurance and upkeep needs. According to the American Public Transportation Association, individuals who get around with a bus pass instead of a car can save a whopping $8,368 annually.

...

When the automobile is used as the primary mode of mass transit, the poorest are hardest hit. In 2008, for instance, the poorest fifth of Americans spent 13 per cent of their income on gas. The top fifth spent 3 per cent. In Highway Robbery: Transportation, Racism and New Routes to Equity, Robert Bullard notes: "Those earning less than $14,000 per year, after taxes, spend approximately 40 per cent of their take-home pay on transportation expenditures. This compares to 22 per cent for families earning between $27,177 and $44,461 annually, and 13 per cent per year for families making more than $71,900 per year."

Nearly three-quarters of U.S. households earning less than $15,000 a year own a car, and in an extreme example of auto dependence, tens of thousands of "mobile homeless" live in their vehicles.

The poor purchase cars because there is no other option in a society built to serve the needs of the automobile. If you want to work, you need a car. If you want to visit your friends, you need a car.

Car-dominated transport eats up a disproportionate amount of working-class income. At the same time, the automobile is an important means for the wealthy to assert themselves socially. A luxury vehicle lets the whole world know that you have arrived, both literally and metaphorically. "The automobile's a credit card on wheels," writes Heathcote Williams. "It's pushy to tell people how much you make, so you tell 'em through your automobile.''

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2010/12/13/BikeWars/index.htm...
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