I heard an interesting prayer in a Catholic Mass today, which I
believe is applicable to the discussion on carfree cities. A nearly
direct quote, "Pray the governments of the world protect the human
right to life, from conception to natural death." Now, I suspect
this has more to do with the church position on abortion, war,
euthenasia, and capital punishment, but I see a connection with this
statement and carfree cities.
There is nothing natural about traveling at speed in a motor vehicle,
and there is nothing natural about a pedestrian being run down by a
motorist, therefore automobile deaths are not a natural cause. This
line of reasoning could be extended to shortened life from the toxins
and pollutants produced by cars as well. Being killed by falling off
a bike or while rock climbing is not a natural death either, but
there's a difference between the risk assumed while cycling or rock
climbing and the risk assumed while driving. The difference is
between internal and external risk. All of these activities have
internal risks to the participants, however cycling and rock climbing
do not externalize [significant] risk to others, driving does.
Therefore, shouldn't the government protect citizens from the
externalized risks of driving. If the government has some obligation
to protect our right to life, are they neglecting that duty by
endorsing an auto culture that kills so many non-motorists every day.
Just food for thought, although for some reason I doubt the Catholic
church would be willing to endorse this cause.