Car Culture: Fetishizing the Automobile

I came upon this scene while driving my pedicab a few days ago. Some guy brought his bright yellow phallic status symbol (center) to Times Square, where a few dozen people spent many minutes observing and fondling it.

Our car culture is deeply embedded in our society in many subtle ways, from a very young age. Car companies market their products to kids the same way smoking, alcohol, fast food and soda companies do. Even in the densest urban areas where we suffer so greatly from all of the serious problems of a car-dominated society, we've been conditioned to see only the fantasy of smooth driving on roads without traffic or people.

And thus it is no wonder that the owner of this car drove into one of the busiest pedestrian spaces in the world and had dozens of pedestrians marveling at his fancy steel death machine.

Speaking of high-speed death machines, Pedestrian Observations challenges the idea that freeways improve safety by eliminating common conflicts such as left turns and intersections:

drivers compensate for the greater safety of freeways by driving more carelessly, on both the freeways and the connecting local roads. The freeways are still safer, but the presence of any safety-improving technology will translate entirely to higher speed and capacity ... and more careless driving.

That seems to be true in my experience. Drivers will generally go slower and be better prepared to stop or change course in a place where they know hazards exist.