America has a long-standing love affair with automobiles. In fact, cars have become so ingrained in the American psyche that it is hardly possible for a person to get by without one. A car is not just a trophy and a status symbol; it is also deeply associated with an American youth’s coming of age. The first car is like a first love. Many people give their cars names. Many milestones in a person’s life are associated with car ownership and countless movies and songs have immortalized the appeal of cars for the American people.
The history of car invention and production is very interesting. Historically and presently, the car industry has come out with designs and innovations to make the automobile a better and safer mode of transport. Commercial production of automobiles in the United States began around the 1900’s and became affordable to operate with the discovery of oil in Texas in 1901. Car industries and companies, like Ford, made car production so cost effective that cars are now very affordable to the general public. Moving assembly lines and automated processes enabled cars to be produced in greater quantity at a lower price.
Cars are associated with mobility and economic growth. People can now travel long distances than they could before, which moved large populations out of the cities and into suburbs, changing how we live and work. Cars have made it possible to transport goods, services, medicines, and other essentials of modern society.
With society’s demands, it is hardly debatable that cars are a necessity for many Americans. Beyond necessity, cars are a symbol of wealth and prosperity. The car must be bigger, flashier, and more equipped than others. More powerful engines have increased the amount of cars on the freeway. To accommodate more cars, road ways have been made wider and wider allowing drivers to travel at faster speeds. Drivers are so used to this mindset that they have a hard time sharing the road with bicycles and a harder time seeing them as a popular alternate method of transportation.
Still, there are two sides to the coin. One side represents people who cling to the idea that the roads belong only to motor vehicles only while the other side represents people who know that it is time to embrace bicycles as part of the lifestyle of a sustainable future. With more people using bicycles every day, society will hopefully slow down the depletion of non-renewable resources and reduce air pollution.
Car culture, in this article, is defined as the deep-rooted preference of people for cars as a mode of transportation. It is a threat to bicyclists’ safety as long as motorists are unwilling to change. Some motorists look at bicyclists as people who should not be on the road at all. This refusal to share the road has resulted in numerous automobile and bicycle accidents.
Unless the majority of motorists come to accept that bicyclists are legal road users too, a negative view of cyclists will continue to pervade in a car-ruled society. But we are on the way to improvement. More and more cities in America are being recognized as bike-friendly cities. More law makers and local leaders are working toward the realization of additional bike facilities and infrastructure in order to promote cycling. These initiatives will hopefully usher in a bike-friendly culture in our major cities.