World Carfree Day Imagines Automobile Independence

Have you ever wondered what cities might look, feel, and sound like without cars?

Grassroots organizers around the globe have declared September 22nd as World Carfree Day– a celebration of cities and public life as they can be; free from the noise, stress and pollution of cars.

From the official website:

Carfree days were first organized during the oil crisis of the 1970s, and several occured in European cities during the early 1990s. An international carfree day was organized in Europe in 1999, which was the pilot project for the European Union’s “In Town Without My Car” campaign. This campaign continues today as European Mobility Week.

Human-triggered climate change is accelerating, and this event is designed to draw attention to the world’s addiction the car by turning up the heat on city planners and politicians to give priority to cycling, walking and public transport, instead of to the automobile.

Creative Suggestions For Car-Free Action:

  1. Hand out fake parking tickets. These should be designed to look like the parking tickets of your town or city, but instead explain to drivers how parking lots hog public space, and cars contribute to climate change.
  2. Organize a group bike ride with friends or neighbors that are usually glued to their car.
  3. Drag your sofa out into the street and sit and read a book. reclaim a small patch from the cars – and be prepared to answer questions about what you are doing and invite your neighbours to join in.

Even if the only thing you can do is to cancel that extra trip to the store, or walk to your dinner date instead of taking a taxi, you’ll be helping to demonstrate that life can go on without cars.

Check out these Care2 articles for more carfree inspiration!

Bike to Work, Better Your Life

6 Tips To Go Car Free

Walking Your Way to a Healthier Mind, Body, and Soul

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Geri M.

Let's do this--the oil, gas and tire companies will hate it. Actually I spend several days per week without my car.

Angela Morrison

I don't own a car I work from home and I live by a wonderful little river. Life is fine.

Baruch Yosef S.
Baruch Yosef S.6 years ago

it would be wonderful! I just can't see m father without a car!

Chloe M.
Chloe M6 years ago

I don't have a car so this doesn't count me. It's solely on financial reasons...ugh! Oh wait, I do have one, but my dad is still holding until I get my driver's license, which I have yet to get. Houston is so large you have to have a car, although I know that is an excuse. But when you want 20-40 for a bus and its hot/humid/raining and there is nowhere to sit once you get on (I'm talking about you 163), you'd be pretty damn pissed and wish you had a set of wheels too.

Just thinking about the 163 and the rest of METRO makes me mad. Took me an 1.5 hrs to get home Monday on what was a 20 min drive. WHAT THE ****!?

Public transportation reform! More buses, more routes, and get these things to come on time. Driving 15-20 mph when you're already 10 min late, smh.

Let me stop; my anger is boiling.

Klaus P.
Klaus Peters6 years ago

I did down size my car after retiring to a much more economical VW Golf(Rabbit). From 14l/100km I went down to 8l/100km, but in retirement I also walked a lot more and only have to refuel once in 4 weeks, to the discust of oil companies.

ruth a.
ruth a6 years ago

I live 60 miles from the city and 10 miles from the nearest store, but I can manage using my car only once every two weeks.

Melinda M.
Past Member 6 years ago

I couldn't today because didn't get paid until this afternoon and no lock for the bike.

Michael Kirkby
.6 years ago

A number of years ago we had a black out in Toronto which was caused by a fallen tree branch disrupting power supplied in Ohio. I don't know whether I believe that or not. For those few days without cars people were co-operating with each other; the pollution level dropped significantly and I could actually count the constellations in the sky without a telescope. Lately when I wake up in the early morning I look out at this heavy air that I imagine I could cut with a knife. Yes I could get along without my car living in the city as I do. Out in the country or the suburbs it would become difficult. In the city it would be worth it. I walk to work and some days it just is too much, especially when it's hot and humid. Think about what the city would be like if all cars ran on converted garbage like they did in Back To The Future, or cities powered by garbage like a certain Swedish city: everything there runs on the energy supplied by converted waste. Think how clean our air would be; how much we would reduce in our landfills; how much our infrastructures and job production would provide for local economies; think about decreased hospital time; the drain on the medical professionals. Second hand smoke is certainly bad, but the second hand air from car exhausts and factories is 100 times worse. You haven't smelled anything until you've smelled the sulphur dioxide and other noxious fumes emanating from the street sewers after a heavy rain. Can I get along without a car? You betcha.

Margaret B.
Margaret B6 years ago

I would love to be ENTIRELY car free again one day.... I have been before but hopefully can get there again!

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

Yes I can make it more than a day without using my car. I bet, however some folks are saying: Why did they wait to post this until the day of the event Sept. 22.