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bikes & transportation

From urban neighborhoods destroyed by freeway projects to pristine wilderness torn up for highways to the tons of pollution spewed into the air, the effect of automania on the earth and life has been deadly over the last century. Over 40,000 people are killed each year in auto accidents in the United States, and wars are fought for control of oil, massacring countless more. Additionally, the car-centered suburban lifestyle is a form of social control in which close community has been replaced by lonely individualism and people are penned into TV-molded alienation where they are brainwashed into what to think and believe. Corporations profit and people lose. Clearly, something needs to change.

Southern Cascadia is a great place to ride your bike instead. Eugene, Oregon, has more miles of bike path per road than any other city in the United States. Portland, too, is a bike friendly town, relative to the rest of the nation. Critical Mass is a monthly celebration of cycling in the City of Roses in which people take the streets under pedal power to show that they are traffic too. Other communities are also picking up this San Francisco-born form of direct action. Bike repair co-ops are common throughout the region, and the choice of two wheels over four is being made by more people all the time.

For those who feel they need to drive cars, less environmentally destructive options are becoming available, like bio-diesel or vegetable oil for fuel. While such steps do not address the social costs of driving, global warming would certainly be slowed if more people went this route.

Public transportation in the United States is abysmal when compared to other industrialized countries, but is better in Southern Cascadia than in other areas. Portland's fareless square (free buses and trains downtown) is a good start, but the trolley has been criticized as a nothing more than a treat for the bourgeois. As is typical across the country, racism and classism have played a part in the set-up and maintenance (or lack thereof) of public transportation infrastructure.