Utah DMV: Drive Less, Bike More

It’s not every day you go to the DMV office and leave with a piece of paper that suggests that you bike more and drive less, but that’s exactly what happened to Jan and I yesterday.   We’re slowly settling into life in Ogden and it was time to register our sole remaining car.  We knew we’d need to get both a safety and emissions test, and somewhere in all that paperwork was this little gem:

Good advice.

Yes!

What’s driving this is dirty air.  Utah’s Wasatch Front has legendary temperature inversions in the winter that lead to some pretty unhealthy levels of air pollution.  The state has a vested interest in getting people out of their cars and onto trains, buses or bicycles.   Still, I lived in Denver back in the brown cloud days and I don’t ever remember the Colorado DMV suggesting to me that I ride a bike.

Heading down Weber Canyon from the Wasatch Back in January. Smog ahead.

Heading down Weber Canyon from the Wasatch Back in January. Smog ahead.

Here's what it looked like on the front side.  There are mountains ahead but you'd never know...

Here’s what it looked like on the front side less than an hour earlier. There are mountains ahead but you’d never know…

I’m not naive enough to believe that a notice or admonition or whatever you want to call it is going to change many hearts or minds, but it just might cause people to stop and think about what we’re doing to the planet.  Replacing your car with a bicycle for short trips is easy to do and it pays benefits.  It makes you healthier.  It makes  your community healthier, too.

The fact that the DMV is now suggesting that we ride bicycles instead of driving cars when the trip is short is an indicator of just how far we’ve come.  This sort of thing would not have happened a few short years ago.  A few years into the future, it will be commonplace.  This is a very good thing.

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