Thursday, May 14, 2009

A fine spring day in northern Michigan brings me out to the front porch with my laptop. A breeze carries the sweet fragrance of the antique lilac bush on the west end of the porch, and the only improvement I could imagine to this day would be another 5°F and some friends stopping by with coffee and croissants.

It's doubtful that I have any blog readers after a three-year hiatus, not that I ever had many anyway. I don't mind chatting with myself, especially when a topic has me worked up.

The topic isn't knitting, which I think may have been originally a flimsy excuse for me to get on my soapbox online. Knitting content is nonexistent today, because knitting has basically been nonexistent. I may get back to it soon, now that I've kicked the habit of World of Warcraft (brief pause for gasps of shock from millions of readers).

Nothing could send me back to the blog faster than a need to make a rant about cars. I've just spent my spare leisure time for three days reading 18 pages of comments on the topic of "Car Free in America?", an interesting reader discussion in the New York Times.

I admit to skimming some of them, but unless I missed some major text, in 18 pages no one mentioned the endangerment cars bring to our children, except for the comments from parents who said they can't allow their children to walk or bike because it's unsafe. These parents must not be aware that cars are just as much, if not more, of a danger to children who are IN them. Car crashes remain the leading cause of death for persons under the age of 25.

As a parent who was very car-lite when my children were small (thanks to our defunct and greatly missed neighborhood carshare experiment), I appreciate the difficulties of lugging youngsters and their gear about in bike trailers, strollers, or on public transit, especially in Michigan winters. Often, even if a car isn't a necessity, it's an irresistible convenience. But in the interest of safety, we should consider reducing the amount of time our children spend in cars, and whenever possible, advocating for infrastructure changes that will make traveling through our communities more comfortable and safer for all.