aibu to not own a car(43 Posts)
we live just outside a small town in Scotland. I have two ds's of 12 and 14. We don't own a car so we tend to cycle places. We often use public transport. Occasionally we rent a car. It is 2 miles to the shops and the school. We can easily afford a car but my Dh is resolutly against cars. He doesnt like them partly because of environmental concerns.
recently my kids have been voicing their 'displeasure' at our carlessness. They remind me constantly on rainy days that cars are eminently better than cycling. They also say that cars are safer than bikes. They also claim they would get out and about more. Ds1 hates buses because once a person talked to us about how they had drunk lots of lager and then had their stomach pumped.
I am thinking about their arguments because they seem to have basis. So am i being unreasonable?
Well no doubt you will get tons of people along supporting your DH on his environmental non car owning crusade, but personally couldn't do without mine! whether its for work as our public transport is rubbish or family days out life wouldn't be the same without it!
I'm not sure I would let my children's opinions sway me, but personally I would hate to be carless. I do sometimes cycle for health/green reasons but it's lovely to have the car option on a a dark and rainy night. It's a tough one though, because for most people it's a fair chunk of the family budget so is something that ideally you and DH need to decide together.
Would it work to say - Look you've had your way all these years. Now isn't it time I have a turn at having a car?
12 and 14? well in 5 and 3 years they can learn to drive and buy their own cars.
I agree with the kids, although I sympathis with DH's concerns.
If you lived in an apartment in the middle of Edinburgh then being carless is a non-issue. But being on the outskirts of a small Scottish town is different if it means the kids have to cycle on fast rural roads when they miss the one bus that trundles past every other hour!
I have 2 children of nearly 12 and 14. We have no car, as I can't drive.
They don't like not having a car, but they have learned to live with it. It would make our lives slightly easier, however it would be a considerable expense which I'd need to find the money for somehow. We live in the London suburbs, public transport is fairly good, and for the DC it is free on buses til they are 16.
Apparently the risk per mile travelled is roughly 10 times that of either walking or going by car. (Which are similar to each other.)
However, that doesn't allow for all those cyclists who generously take on the risks for the rest of us by not bothering with lights at night, going through red lights and generally ignoring the rules of the road........
Dh is resolutly against cars. He doesnt like them partly because of environmental concerns.
Five people cycling will (potentially) emit more CO2 in total than five people in a small hatchback travelling the same distance.
I understand your kids dislike of being carless, but one of the reasons they are asking is because it's a no lose situation for them. They are asking you and DH to give up on resources (and in DH's case principals) for their gain. The decision wouldn't cost them (from their perspective). One thing to get them to do to think about it in more depth is ask them to add up how much of their pocket money would be required to have and run a car. See if they think that's worth it just for a start.
Also, cycling may be less safe in terms of the journey, but it is probably (depending on a wide number of factors) sufficiently good from a health perspective that overall they are at less risk of death and debilitation than if they took the car instead.
Also WMittens is talking nonsense. Car emits more than 10 times as much CO2 than a cyclist for each km travelled, and if having a car means you travel more distance then that compounds the environmental impact. So 5 people in a car would not be better on that front.
A car greatly enhances what you can do and where you can go and is generally a comfortable, climate controlled experience. I can understand why your children would find that prospect attractive.
What about a compromise like buying one of the most Eco friendly cars available?
i can understand the frustration, especially as they're getting older and want to go out more. it's annoying being reliant on public transport, especially when it's not that reliable, and cycling or even walking in the cold, wind and rain is hardly an enjoyable experience.
i've only just started learning to drive (i'm 24) because i can't get a decent job around here without a car. at the moment, i walk to work, but i rely on lifts home and it's hard to be flexible when you have to rely on other people to get you somewhere.
if you want a car, get one. your DH doesn't have to use it if he doesn't want to, but he can't order you not to get one (unless he'll be paying for it, of course). your DC's have valid points, but in three years, the older one can start driving and ferry the younger one around!
If you choose to have a life without a car, then that is great if it suits you.
The only thing that gets my goat about many non car people is they expect lifts. You don't seem to be like this, so if you can manage without then good for you .
"Ds1 hates buses because once a person talked to us about how they had drunk lots of lager and then had their stomach pumped."
Squeaky, you can picture the scene. The young lad boy stuck in a pointless conversation with someone he has nothing in common with.
What about getting a small car for now which can be passed onto eldest DC when they are of the age to drive with the condition that they ferry the youngest DC about
I can see why they would prefer to be driven around.
But your DH has his beliefs and it's brilliant that he doesn't just lecture on the environment, his lifestyle actually backs it up. Good for him (and for you in supporting him).
Your DSs will soon be able to get jobs, learn to drive and save up for their own cars!
I think QueenBee245's idea is a good one. To be honest, I think it's quite unfair to choose to live somewhere quite rural (especially in a country that's known for quite poor weather) and not make proper provision for teenage children's transport despite having the financial means to do so. Opportunities for them to socialise, go to gigs/movies/plays, make trips to bigger towns, find and keep part-time jobs, and most importantly make it to exams on time and not soaked/exhausted/shaken by a near miss on the bike are important for them to develop at the same rate as their peers. Their access to those things shouldn't rely on inadequate public transport (which stops at what time in the evening?) and cycling if they feel that their safety (and probably personal hygiene, considering their ages) is compromised by it. I know this comment is likely to trigger a derisive response from the "when I was a kid we walked 80 miles over broken glass to go and watch paint drying outside the local cinema, and if we couldn't afford to then we stayed home and read a book and our friends would catch the only bus of the week to join us for a picnic, and what's more it never stopped me getting a part-time job or performing to my potential in an exam" brigade, but everything is relative. If their friends have access to those opportunities and your kids don't because your husband doesn't want to provide it, then IMO they are justified in feeling let down - they will be falling behind their peers in many respects, and they will feel the sting of that as they get older.
Also, don't forget that some people - especially teens - lack the focus, spatial awareness, hazard awareness and control to cycle safely in adverse weather conditions or when unexpected things happen. I cycled to work for 3 years and eventually stopped because a few near misses taught me that I wasn't becoming any better at protecting myself, so I can sympathise with them.
PS - apologies for all the bold, I just got fed up with dismantling straw responses to my posts under a previous name so I'm conducting an experiment to see if this helps...
Oh buggeryfucksticks - "straw man responses", that should be...
Can your DH drive? If he's always "done without" then it might be hard for him to see how a car would improve his quality of life. And easier to discount others' wish to get one with, "we don't need a car".
I'm sure there's plenty of other things the family does which have a negative impact on emissions simply for the convenience factor.
If you want one, get a small 1.0L (of smaller!) engine which is used sparingly and responsibly. But don't make decisions based purely on what your DC or DH want. You have an opinion too.
Your OP gives your children's opinions/preferences and your husband's opinion/preference on owning a car. What is YOUR opinion/preference?
Are your DS' lives being negatively affected by not having a car?
I know that our DCs would not be able to go to their activities without us having a car, even though we live in a village on the outskirts of a large town, the buses don't run after 7pm, so for us a car is important.
We are trying to manage with one car, in a rural village.
my children have got used to being in this area after school. There is a bus every 2hrs that son (14) could get if he wanted to.
With me having to find work( in the not too distance future) we may have to try and go with two!
Financially awful for us I suspect!
I rarely use my car (about once a week) but I wouldn't be without it. I walk or use public transport the vast majority of the time but sometimes it is just handy to have a car. Your son probably needs to man up a bit though. Buses are full of oddballs and he just needs to be able to deal with that!
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