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

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  • 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 1 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 2 of 12 , Jan 7, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        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 3 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 4 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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