I’m planning on making a series of posts about living in Melbourne without owning a car, and getting around mostly by bicycle (or a combination of train and bicycle).
Topics for these posts will include:
This first post is about the benefits I’ve found in not owning a motor vehicle.
Melbourne, for the most part, is a city where it is resonably easy to manage without owning a car, and there are so many positive benefits that I highly recommend trying it if you aren’t already living the good life sans motor vehicle.
Owning a car is pretty expensive. Firstly there is saving up for one or making repayments on one. Then there is the fuel, the registration, maintenance, insurance, and all the things people feel compelled to buy for their car like seat covers and new stereos and the list goes on. Not to mention the worry of it being broken into, hit, stolen… or the risk of you hitting something or someone.
Personally, I don’t see how the benefits outweight the costs.
Even if you feel you need a private car for some times of the year, there is the option of car sharing so you don’t have to pay the costs of owning your own vehicle. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who is willing to lend their car on the odd occassion you need to use it. There are at least three car sharing companies in Melbourne. You can also hire all types of vehicles if you require, for your holiday adventures, for picking up the occassional large item or for moving house.
Some benefits that can be had by ditching the car:
- Save money
- Less stress by losing the baggage a car brings, including traffic jams
- Lose weight and get fitter by more strolling to the shop or bus/train/tram stop or riding your bicycle
- Experiencing more of this great city by slowing down and looking at your surroundings (instead of zipping past in a car)
- More time to read, listen to music or podcasts, talk to friends
Your options for getting around are of course walking, cycling or catching public transport. Taxis and car sharing are also good for those small number of times when none of these options suit. Obviously, what option or combination you pick depends on where you are off to, the distance, the time of day, among other things. My personal preference is to get around on a bicycle for most journeys, and occassionally hop on a train with my bicycle for part of a journey when I’m heading a fair way out.
The next in this series will talk about how to go about getting a bicycle just right for you in Melbourne.
Feel free to share your experiences of living without a car, or reducing your car use, in the comments…