What is World Car Free Day and How We Should Celebrate It?
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What is World Car Free Day and How We Should Celebrate It?

World Car free Day is an annual celebration on September 22, when people around the world organize events of all sizes to showcase alternatives to the automobile. This day is a reminder that we don't have to accept car-dominated societies, cities, or personal lives. It is celebrated with the purpose to reduce or eliminate the use of cars and to lessen road and parking space to clear it for public use. Why we need to celebrate car free day? We all are suffering from pollution caused by cars, not just the fumes but the whole cycle of waste and disruption, the noise, delayed journeys, and traffic congestion. Almost 40% of the transport sectorÂ’s CO2 emissions are produced by the use of private cars in cities.

World Car free Day is an annual celebration on September 22, when people around the world organize events of all sizes to showcase alternatives to the automobile. This day is a reminder that we don't have to accept car-dominated societies, cities, or personal lives. It is celebrated with the purpose to reduce or eliminate the use of cars and to lessen road and parking space to clear it for public use.

Why we need to celebrate car free day?

 We all are suffering from pollution caused by cars, not just the fumes but the whole cycle of waste and disruption, the noise, delayed journeys, and traffic congestion. Almost 40% of the transport sector’s CO2 emissions are produced by the use of private cars in cities.

European surveys have shown that over six people in ten say that automobile traffic in the city is unbearable. Nine out of ten people believe that increasing public transport is a priority in combating air pollution and seven out of ten say they support a ban on car traffic in the centre of cities on certain days.

How it started?                                                                   

World Carfree Day was established in 2000 as a grassroots movement by the World Carfree Network to coincide with the European Mobility Week. It has grown to involve official and unofficial participants in over 1,000 cities in 40 countries.

Every September 22, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don't have to accept our car-dominated society.

How to celebrate it?                                                                         As the climate heats up, World Carfree Day is the perfect time to take the heat off the planet, and put it on city planners and politicians to give priority to cycling, walking and public transport, instead of to the automobile.

So take the time, think about ideas to celebrate the day, and join in on the celebrations.

Ideas to celebrate world car free day:                                                  

  • Put up a giant picture frame beside the highway, looking like a roadside billboard. Except with a hollow center,"framing" the threatened landscape. And a quote - the German activists who used this tactic quoted Goëthe: "Why wander in the vastness; see the Good lies so near."
  • Build yourselves some cardboard cars with wooden frames, shopping cart wheels, and grimacing faces. Then paint them with slogans such as "I pollute, make my driver aggressive and will kill you before the age of 50!" Then ride them around to animate your demonstrations, before spitting fire at them in an act of street theatre, and burning them in a ritual sacrifice to the god of public space.
  • Paint your own bike lanes - put in place the alternative transport options you want in your city. Then demand your city build more bike lanes, or such actions will be repeated every month.
  • Organise a pedestrian-crossing action to contest the fact that cars always get the right-of-way, even if they are outnumbered by pedestrians. Dress in solid black or white outfits, march into the middle of the road and lay down. A traffic guard’s costume and stop sign borrowed from the city council can keep the cars obediently waiting, while you pass out leaflets and pedestrians can miraculously cross the road without waiting for endless traffic.
  • Dress up to make you point - costumes always attract attention. So why not all wear cow outfits and tell those cars to "MOOOOOve out of Town!" Or dress in bandages smeared with tomato ketchup and lie down in the street as accident victims.                                         
  • Car Bouncing - get those illegally parked cars off the pathways/sidewalks, and leave a little note under the windscreen wiper explaining your actions. More info on how in our Skill Sharing pages.
  • Release some stinky diesel fumes or dump an oil spill inside a major international car show.
  • Get hold of an old car, park it in the centre of town somewhere and invite people to take out their frustrations beating it up and destroying it. Simultaneously filling their ears with lots of information about the destructiveness of the car, that is!
  • Create your own traffic calming. Change the entrance of a street from one which is very wide to one which is narrow with sharp corners which will force cars to slow when turning. Add your own speed bumps, or a garden plot with brick walled edges on alternating sides of the road which cars must drive slowly past. They could be planted with fruits and vegetables for the locasl community to eat freely.
  • Organise a Critical Mass. Add extra colour to the event and confront some of the excuses people give for not cycling, or cyclist issues - ride in your underwear and carry banners and plackards with slogans like "its NEVER too cold to ride" or "Sydney Cyclists Feel Exposed"                     

But we do not want just one day of celebration and then a return to "normal" life. When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars.

Related: Suggestions and ideas: www.worldcarfree.net

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Comments (2)

Bicycles are great and cycling a good exercise, great article!

I've never heard of it. Thanks for the info about this great cause, voted up.

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