Like big tobacco, auto industry spins lies as it takes lives

“Smokin’ in the Boys Room” — recorded in 1973, decades before the University of Florida banned all smoking from campus in 2010 — is the tune I’m scold-singing to law-breaking drivers as I cycle to work: “Drivin’ in the bike lane!/Blowin’ through the crosswalk!”  

Hey, drivers: Speeding is not a right. It’s illegal.   

To achieve change, it’s going to take more than my energy spent yelling at drivers from the safety of the sidewalk. Just like the smoking cessation advocates who took on big tobacco, I’m up against billions of dollars in advertising for the automotive industry.

In 2019, the automotive industry in the U.S. spent $13.8 billion on digital advertising and $70 million on lobbying in this country. Who is funding that big money? You are, sucker. And you’re dooming our children to climate-changed ruin, not to mention robbing them of a childhood of outdoors mobility. 

More from Emily Hind:

Gainesville roads deserve a medal for scares, not shares

A plea to car people: push for new park-and-ride options at UF

I don’t dare transport my child to most of the places we go on the bike because I’m afraid one of you will murder him by car. Vehicles are more lethal now: The higher off the road they sit (thanks for nothing, SUVs and trucks), the higher the odds that an impact on the human body will be fatal.  

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