I was thinking about that when I was dropping my 6 year old off at some hobbies earlier - it’s pretty much expected to have learned how to ride a bicycle before starting school, and it massively expands the area you can go to by yourself. When she went to school by bicycle she can easily make a detour via a shop to spend some pocket money before coming home, while by foot that’d be rather time consuming.

Quite a lot of friends from outside of Europe either can’t ride a bicycle, or were learning it as adult after moving here, though.

edit: the high number of replies mentioning “swimming” made me realize that I had that filed as a basic skill pretty much everybody has - probably due to swimming lessons being a mandatory part of school education here.

You’d be surprised how for you can stretch ANY transit infrastructure. I despise the resignation that North America was “built for cars” you’ll find people-centric places all over the country, both in cities and rural areas too. The biggest issue is that a lot of rural areas lack transit service, but fixing that would be relatively inexpensive. Unfortunate anywhere without transit is inaccessible to disabled people such as myself who are incapable of operating their own vehicle, so this is something we need to work on.

Most places were built for people, not cars. But many weee, and even more were demolished for them. But saying that North American cities were designed for cars ignores much of the history of North American urban development.

Either way, if a place isn’t transit accessible, it might as well not exist. Though I must stress that it is NOT difficult to make something transit accessible.


IMHO that’s kind of a simplistic view. Let’s take my town for example. Going down to Montreal on a bus takes 1h45 alone, so that’s not remotely an option. So next best option is bus + train, but closest train station is a 20-25min bus drive. So unless they manage to rezone and displace a bunch of people to lay another handful of kilometers of tracks through agricultural and residential land, new trains in my area won’t happen, therefore my best option will always remain bus+train. And it’s far anyway.

All decent transit around here covers areas I’ll never be able to afford to buy in. Or I could rent forever, I guess. Point is, everything is so freaking far apart around here that land based transit just doesn’t cut it. It takes way too long to get anywhere to get a viable option for anything but short distances. I used to live on one end of Montreal’s island… It took me 1h30 to get downtown by public transit. 3h+ a day sitting my ass on a bus/train/metro. That’s not acceptable. And I lived inside the city. Half the province lives in that Greater Montreal area, and transit doesn’t even cover it all properly. I had similar experiences in Quebec City, Gatineau/Ottawa and Toronto too.

It’s not resignation, it’s realism. By your own definition, 95% of North America basically doesn’t exist for you lol. If I wait for transit to become acceptable, I’ll be 50 by the time I do anything with my life. And I’ll be honest, I have a lot of trouble agreeing with the take that much of NA was built for people, when I see the amount of highway it takes to get from one city to another, or the amount of towns built around a large “stroad”. Intra-city transit might be fine in some areas, you seem to say it is, but it is not enough, with large North American cities getting way too expensive to live in for many.

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