War on cars?

It is not uncommon for us cyclists to think that we, among all of the road users, have a more objective opinion.  This is not necessarily hubris or arrogance, but due to the fact that most cyclists are also occasionally motorists.  Not only do we ride bicycles, but we often drive too.  So, goes the logical argument, we can see both sides.  It is difficult for me to know for sure if this opinion is accurate or objective – as it is my particular perspective as well.

But I’d never considered the possibility that motorists might actually feel that they, themselves, are victims.  Apparently there is a certain segment of the population that sees shared infrastructure and mass transitive alternatives as directly threatening their right to own and operate a motor vehicle.

It is just this concept that an exceptionally objective paper published by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute looks into.

Is there a “war on cars,” that is, a coordinated effort to unjustifiably restrict automobile use? Some critics (called auto advocates in this report) claim there is. They cite various policy reforms intended to encourage use of alternative modes. Critics claim these are coordinated and unfair attacks on motorists’ rights and freedoms. According to this narrative, motorists are victims entitled to defend themselves from a devious enemy.

The paper is packed with information, and I’m going to refrain from comment for the time being.  I will, however, encourage you to read it.  It is a real eye-opener – very though provoking.

You can find the paper online at VTPI, or a local copy archived here.


Thanks to @lutzfernandez, as retweeted by BikingInLa, for bringing this to my attention.