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Re: Car-lite and assuaging an octogenarian parent's fears.

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  • Bruce Alan Wilson
    It might help. Thanks. Bruce Alan Wilson The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 7, 2007
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      Re: Car-lite and assuaging an octogenarian parent's fears.

      It might help.  Thanks.

      Bruce Alan Wilson

      "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

    • richardofuller
      Hi all, My first post. ... I don t know what Bruce might say to his dad, but I m really interested in learning how to talk about risks. When I figure out how
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 7, 2007
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        Hi all,
        My first post.
        >
        > My 83-year-old father told me today that he is scared to death when I go out on
        > my bike, apparently because I'm not encased in a steel cocoon. Although I still
        > have a car, I use it only when I must, and for most errands I use my bike. How
        > can I reassure him that I'm safe? (It doesn't help that I've had some minor
        > spills lately; an occasional wipeout is part of biking life, but he doesn't see
        > it that way.)

        I don't know what Bruce might say to his dad, but I'm really interested in
        learning how to talk about risks.
        When I figure out how to do it, I'm sure my rap will have a spiritual
        basis--I'm a believer in nonviolence--that is, that the world is a better
        place when each of us is willing to knowingly put our own selves at risk
        rather than threatening others, or trying to improve our fate by eliminating
        others.
        And it will be environmental: Yes, having a steel cocoon to drive around in
        makes us safer (unless we try to travel faster than bicycles) but the
        environmental consequences of this personal safety are too great. As
        individuals and as a human culture, we need to be willing to accept more
        personal risk--we have over-tipped the balance between personal safety and
        system sustainability.

        I haven't figured out how to say this to my 79 year-old mother-out-law who
        used to stress about this to her daughter, till mother-out-law ran for
        office on the green party ticket. I'm sure she worries just as much, but she
        is more accepting of the risks her daughter and I take.

        How do others of you talk (or think) about this?

        Richard
        St. Paul, MN
      • David Chase
        ... Something in this doesn t work for me, and I think it might not work for a lot of people. I tend to look at it from the point of view of game theory
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 7, 2007
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          On 2007-01-07, at 6:20 PM, richardofuller wrote:
          > And it will be environmental: Yes, having a steel cocoon to drive
          > around in
          > makes us safer (unless we try to travel faster than bicycles) but the
          > environmental consequences of this personal safety are too great. As
          > individuals and as a human culture, we need to be willing to accept
          > more
          > personal risk--we have over-tipped the balance between personal
          > safety and
          > system sustainability.

          Something in this doesn't work for me, and I think it might
          not work for a lot of people. I tend to look at it from the
          point of view of game theory (prisoner's dilemma, stag hunt,
          that sort of thing). At the high level, what game theory
          tells you is not that it is a good thing to take risks
          (because only suckers take risk -- you WILL lose the game)
          but, if a good outcome requires people to take risks, then
          the game is busted, and must be changed.

          [ And it's worth noting, if you're not that experienced,
          bicycling can be pretty risky. I started riding in a
          big way when I was around twelve, and rapidly had quite
          a number of the classic accidents (lots of slides on
          slippery pavement, thrown off my bike by railroad tracks,
          over the handlebars in several stupid ways). It's not
          an easy education, and the people designing the roads
          often haven't got a clue about how to make cycling less
          risky. ]

          In the short run, we don't have much choice -- too many
          people are playing the drive-a-lot-not-too-responsibly
          game, which leads them to buy larger and larger cars, and
          not bicycle riding. I think that there are several things
          that are likely to change the game for us;

          - we'll definitely, unarguably, hit peak oil
          - we'll definitely, unarguably, see the effects of global
          warming In either case, this will change the landscape, in
          terms of investment, etc. Imagine telling people that you
          want to plow their neighborhood under for a new highway,
          when everyone can see that cars are going to very soon be
          much more expensive to drive. If you can solve a traffic
          problem by waitinng five years, why bothering building a
          road?

          - drive-by-wire will get really good
          Automated driving will not happen for a good
          long time, until it happens really well. For
          liability reasons, no way will any company deploy
          it, until it works rock-solid. However the heck
          it works, there will surely be some way to tickle
          it to say "don't you dare run into me", and
          whatever that thing is will spread like wildfire
          through the regular cycling community (much as
          flashing high-intensity LEDs spread -- you see
          one, you want it, now)

          - Health, maybe.
          I'm not too optimistic about this. As a nation,
          our health care SUCKS. We spend tons of money (30%
          more than #2, 40% more than #3, is the general
          pattern) and we die YEARS early after spending a
          greater fraction of our life sick. It's very very
          likely that this is a combined result of our
          boneheaded system for delivering health care, PLUS
          the fact that we're all FAT. (Other effects might
          be that we don't consume enough olive oil, fish,
          red wine, and tea.) I'm on the trailing edge of the
          baby boom, so I would have expected to see other
          people already doing things to fix their weight,
          blood pressure, cholesterol, etc, and one of the
          most time- and cost-effective things to do is to
          ride a bike. It hasn't happened yet, at least not
          in a way that I can see. I do think, if we ended
          up with a national health care system, that it would
          then make sense to the people running it to encourage
          people to get more exercise.

          In terms of explaining to other people why I ride
          my bicycle, I find that it is easier to say "it
          is very good for my health, in ways that can be
          measured with a blood test" (and it is -- its value
          in medication avoid exceeds the cost of the gasoline
          saved by a factor of five to ten), than to say
          "I think cars are inherently antisocial, especially
          the way we use them" or "I'd like to send as little
          money as possible to actual Islamofascists (i.e.,
          Saudi Arabia)", or "I think our foreign policy is
          completely screwed by our dependence on oil", or
          "I'm pretty sure global warming is happening, and
          I'd like to do something about it".

          No, most people understand self-interest, as near
          as I can tell. Talk about that other stuff, they
          think you're a weirdo.

          The neat thing will be when we're running diesels
          on vegetable oil, we can then make head-to-head
          efficiency comparisons. The other other reason to
          ride a bike, is that we get about 1000 miles per
          gallon. It's the most way efficient to move
          people that there is -- how cool is that? (That's
          like 50 people carpooling in a 20mpg car.)

          So, to return to your original point about "taking
          risks" -- no, I hate that part, if I could eliminate
          all the risk in riding my bike, that would be great.
          However, to compensate for that risk, is the risk of
          not getting enough exercise, and all the politcal and
          environmental stuff. I don't like it that I'm contributing
          to global warming, I don't like it that I'm sending money
          to Saudi Arabia and Iran and Russia (Putin gives me
          the creeps).

          David
        • Cara Lin Bridgman
          Amen! Unfortunately, most folks already think I m a weirdo just because I m on a bike when I could be on a motorbike or in a car. At least one person has
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 7, 2007
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            Amen!

            Unfortunately, most folks already think I'm a weirdo just because I'm on
            a bike when I could be on a motorbike or in a car. At least one person
            has asked "Why are you torturing yourself?" Well, most of the time I
            don't quite see it that way...

            Health, planet, politics, oil -- all to the good.

            A member of the Christian Peacemaker Team reported on being asked how to
            help solve the problems in Iraq. The answer was 'Ride your bike.'

            Meanwhile, the former Shah of Iran said 'Oil is too valuable to burn.'
            He's right. We need it more for medicine and fertilizers and water
            bottles (i.e. tools & containers), than we need it for transportation.

            CL

            David Chase wrote:
            > On 2007-01-07, at 6:20 PM, richardofuller wrote:
            >> And it will be environmental: Yes, having a steel cocoon to drive
            >> around in
            >> makes us safer (unless we try to travel faster than bicycles) but the
            >> environmental consequences of this personal safety are too great. As
            >> individuals and as a human culture, we need to be willing to accept
            >> more
            >> personal risk--we have over-tipped the balance between personal
            >> safety and
            >> system sustainability.
            >
            > Something in this doesn't work for me, and I think it might
            > not work for a lot of people. I tend to look at it from the
            > point of view of game theory (prisoner's dilemma, stag hunt,
            > that sort of thing). At the high level, what game theory
            > tells you is not that it is a good thing to take risks
            > (because only suckers take risk -- you WILL lose the game)
            > but, if a good outcome requires people to take risks, then
            > the game is busted, and must be changed.
            >
            > [ And it's worth noting, if you're not that experienced,
            > bicycling can be pretty risky. I started riding in a
            > big way when I was around twelve, and rapidly had quite
            > a number of the classic accidents (lots of slides on
            > slippery pavement, thrown off my bike by railroad tracks,
            > over the handlebars in several stupid ways). It's not
            > an easy education, and the people designing the roads
            > often haven't got a clue about how to make cycling less
            > risky. ]
            >
            > In the short run, we don't have much choice -- too many
            > people are playing the drive-a-lot-not-too-responsibly
            > game, which leads them to buy larger and larger cars, and
            > not bicycle riding. I think that there are several things
            > that are likely to change the game for us;
            >
            > - we'll definitely, unarguably, hit peak oil
            > - we'll definitely, unarguably, see the effects of global
            > warming In either case, this will change the landscape, in
            > terms of investment, etc. Imagine telling people that you
            > want to plow their neighborhood under for a new highway,
            > when everyone can see that cars are going to very soon be
            > much more expensive to drive. If you can solve a traffic
            > problem by waitinng five years, why bothering building a
            > road?
            >
            > - drive-by-wire will get really good
            > Automated driving will not happen for a good
            > long time, until it happens really well. For
            > liability reasons, no way will any company deploy
            > it, until it works rock-solid. However the heck
            > it works, there will surely be some way to tickle
            > it to say "don't you dare run into me", and
            > whatever that thing is will spread like wildfire
            > through the regular cycling community (much as
            > flashing high-intensity LEDs spread -- you see
            > one, you want it, now)
            >
            > - Health, maybe.
            > I'm not too optimistic about this. As a nation,
            > our health care SUCKS. We spend tons of money (30%
            > more than #2, 40% more than #3, is the general
            > pattern) and we die YEARS early after spending a
            > greater fraction of our life sick. It's very very
            > likely that this is a combined result of our
            > boneheaded system for delivering health care, PLUS
            > the fact that we're all FAT. (Other effects might
            > be that we don't consume enough olive oil, fish,
            > red wine, and tea.) I'm on the trailing edge of the
            > baby boom, so I would have expected to see other
            > people already doing things to fix their weight,
            > blood pressure, cholesterol, etc, and one of the
            > most time- and cost-effective things to do is to
            > ride a bike. It hasn't happened yet, at least not
            > in a way that I can see. I do think, if we ended
            > up with a national health care system, that it would
            > then make sense to the people running it to encourage
            > people to get more exercise.
            >
            > In terms of explaining to other people why I ride
            > my bicycle, I find that it is easier to say "it
            > is very good for my health, in ways that can be
            > measured with a blood test" (and it is -- its value
            > in medication avoid exceeds the cost of the gasoline
            > saved by a factor of five to ten), than to say
            > "I think cars are inherently antisocial, especially
            > the way we use them" or "I'd like to send as little
            > money as possible to actual Islamofascists (i.e.,
            > Saudi Arabia)", or "I think our foreign policy is
            > completely screwed by our dependence on oil", or
            > "I'm pretty sure global warming is happening, and
            > I'd like to do something about it".
            >
            > No, most people understand self-interest, as near
            > as I can tell. Talk about that other stuff, they
            > think you're a weirdo.
            >
            > The neat thing will be when we're running diesels
            > on vegetable oil, we can then make head-to-head
            > efficiency comparisons. The other other reason to
            > ride a bike, is that we get about 1000 miles per
            > gallon. It's the most way efficient to move
            > people that there is -- how cool is that? (That's
            > like 50 people carpooling in a 20mpg car.)
            >
            > So, to return to your original point about "taking
            > risks" -- no, I hate that part, if I could eliminate
            > all the risk in riding my bike, that would be great.
            > However, to compensate for that risk, is the risk of
            > not getting enough exercise, and all the politcal and
            > environmental stuff. I don't like it that I'm contributing
            > to global warming, I don't like it that I'm sending money
            > to Saudi Arabia and Iran and Russia (Putin gives me
            > the creeps).
            >
            > David
            >
            >
            >
            > You're getting this message because you signed up to be an Xtracycle roots radical.
            >
            > To Post a message, send it to: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            > ride to believe.
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >

            --

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            Cara Lin Bridgman

            P.O. Box 013 Phone: 886-4-2632-5484
            Longjing Sinjhuang
            Taichung 434
            Taiwan http://web.thu.edu.tw/caralinb/www/
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          • Susan
            About the zillionth time I caught myself actually answering falsely because I knew the person asking really wouldn t identify with my answer, I decided that I
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 16, 2007
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              About the zillionth time I caught myself actually answering falsely
              because I knew the person asking really wouldn't identify with my
              answer, I decided that I was doing a real disservice. Why not
              challenge that idea that it's okay to be self-serving? And if fifty
              people a day do it, maybe they'll start thinking *they're* the weird
              ones.
              I do emphasize that it is not painful and it is not torture, and
              that I started out with just a little bit and figured even a little
              bit was a good thing... and generally people think I'm an insanely
              happy person so they are a little jealous. I know I've made people think.


              --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, Cara Lin Bridgman <caralinb@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Amen!
              >
              > Unfortunately, most folks already think I'm a weirdo just because
              I'm on
              > a bike when I could be on a motorbike or in a car. At least one person
              > has asked "Why are you torturing yourself?" Well, most of the time I
              > don't quite see it that way...
              >
              > Health, planet, politics, oil -- all to the good.
              >
              > A member of the Christian Peacemaker Team reported on being asked
              how to
              > help solve the problems in Iraq. The answer was 'Ride your bike.'
              >
              > Meanwhile, the former Shah of Iran said 'Oil is too valuable to burn.'
              > He's right. We need it more for medicine and fertilizers and water
              > bottles (i.e. tools & containers), than we need it for transportation.
              >
              > CL
              >
              > David Chase wrote:
              > > On 2007-01-07, at 6:20 PM, richardofuller wrote:
              > >> And it will be environmental: Yes, having a steel cocoon to drive
              > >> around in
              > >> makes us safer (unless we try to travel faster than bicycles) but the
              > >> environmental consequences of this personal safety are too great. As
              > >> individuals and as a human culture, we need to be willing to accept
              > >> more
              > >> personal risk--we have over-tipped the balance between personal
              > >> safety and
              > >> system sustainability.
              > >
              > > Something in this doesn't work for me, and I think it might
              > > not work for a lot of people. I tend to look at it from the
              > > point of view of game theory (prisoner's dilemma, stag hunt,
              > > that sort of thing). At the high level, what game theory
              > > tells you is not that it is a good thing to take risks
              > > (because only suckers take risk -- you WILL lose the game)
              > > but, if a good outcome requires people to take risks, then
              > > the game is busted, and must be changed.
              > >
              > > [ And it's worth noting, if you're not that experienced,
              > > bicycling can be pretty risky. I started riding in a
              > > big way when I was around twelve, and rapidly had quite
              > > a number of the classic accidents (lots of slides on
              > > slippery pavement, thrown off my bike by railroad tracks,
              > > over the handlebars in several stupid ways). It's not
              > > an easy education, and the people designing the roads
              > > often haven't got a clue about how to make cycling less
              > > risky. ]
              > >
              > > In the short run, we don't have much choice -- too many
              > > people are playing the drive-a-lot-not-too-responsibly
              > > game, which leads them to buy larger and larger cars, and
              > > not bicycle riding. I think that there are several things
              > > that are likely to change the game for us;
              > >
              > > - we'll definitely, unarguably, hit peak oil
              > > - we'll definitely, unarguably, see the effects of global
              > > warming In either case, this will change the landscape, in
              > > terms of investment, etc. Imagine telling people that you
              > > want to plow their neighborhood under for a new highway,
              > > when everyone can see that cars are going to very soon be
              > > much more expensive to drive. If you can solve a traffic
              > > problem by waitinng five years, why bothering building a
              > > road?
              > >
              > > - drive-by-wire will get really good
              > > Automated driving will not happen for a good
              > > long time, until it happens really well. For
              > > liability reasons, no way will any company deploy
              > > it, until it works rock-solid. However the heck
              > > it works, there will surely be some way to tickle
              > > it to say "don't you dare run into me", and
              > > whatever that thing is will spread like wildfire
              > > through the regular cycling community (much as
              > > flashing high-intensity LEDs spread -- you see
              > > one, you want it, now)
              > >
              > > - Health, maybe.
              > > I'm not too optimistic about this. As a nation,
              > > our health care SUCKS. We spend tons of money (30%
              > > more than #2, 40% more than #3, is the general
              > > pattern) and we die YEARS early after spending a
              > > greater fraction of our life sick. It's very very
              > > likely that this is a combined result of our
              > > boneheaded system for delivering health care, PLUS
              > > the fact that we're all FAT. (Other effects might
              > > be that we don't consume enough olive oil, fish,
              > > red wine, and tea.) I'm on the trailing edge of the
              > > baby boom, so I would have expected to see other
              > > people already doing things to fix their weight,
              > > blood pressure, cholesterol, etc, and one of the
              > > most time- and cost-effective things to do is to
              > > ride a bike. It hasn't happened yet, at least not
              > > in a way that I can see. I do think, if we ended
              > > up with a national health care system, that it would
              > > then make sense to the people running it to encourage
              > > people to get more exercise.
              > >
              > > In terms of explaining to other people why I ride
              > > my bicycle, I find that it is easier to say "it
              > > is very good for my health, in ways that can be
              > > measured with a blood test" (and it is -- its value
              > > in medication avoid exceeds the cost of the gasoline
              > > saved by a factor of five to ten), than to say
              > > "I think cars are inherently antisocial, especially
              > > the way we use them" or "I'd like to send as little
              > > money as possible to actual Islamofascists (i.e.,
              > > Saudi Arabia)", or "I think our foreign policy is
              > > completely screwed by our dependence on oil", or
              > > "I'm pretty sure global warming is happening, and
              > > I'd like to do something about it".
              > >
              > > No, most people understand self-interest, as near
              > > as I can tell. Talk about that other stuff, they
              > > think you're a weirdo.
              > >
              > > The neat thing will be when we're running diesels
              > > on vegetable oil, we can then make head-to-head
              > > efficiency comparisons. The other other reason to
              > > ride a bike, is that we get about 1000 miles per
              > > gallon. It's the most way efficient to move
              > > people that there is -- how cool is that? (That's
              > > like 50 people carpooling in a 20mpg car.)
              > >
              > > So, to return to your original point about "taking
              > > risks" -- no, I hate that part, if I could eliminate
              > > all the risk in riding my bike, that would be great.
              > > However, to compensate for that risk, is the risk of
              > > not getting enough exercise, and all the politcal and
              > > environmental stuff. I don't like it that I'm contributing
              > > to global warming, I don't like it that I'm sending money
              > > to Saudi Arabia and Iran and Russia (Putin gives me
              > > the creeps).
              > >
              > > David
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > You're getting this message because you signed up to be an
              Xtracycle roots radical.
              > >
              > > To Post a message, send it to: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
              > >
              > >
              > > ride to believe.
              > > Yahoo! Groups Links
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              > --
              >
              > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              > Cara Lin Bridgman
              >
              > P.O. Box 013 Phone: 886-4-2632-5484
              > Longjing Sinjhuang
              > Taichung 434
              > Taiwan http://web.thu.edu.tw/caralinb/www/
              > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              >
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