Pretty much everyone assumes that Calgary is a car city, and that you need a car to live here. My boyfriend and I actually only have one car between us, and rarely do we encounter any issues. But when in a pickle, I can still drive.
So I wanted to introduce you to three Calgarians who are doing awesome things and doing it all while never getting behind the driver’s wheel…because they never even got their licence. For some, it’s probably hard to imagine living in Calgary without a car, but these three are doing it with ease as they navigate being parents, running busy events, going to schools and popular restaurants.
Name: Lindsay Thomas
Occupation: Psychology Student and peer support facilitator for domestic violence survivors. Also known as Emily Expo from Calgary Expo fame.
Why didn’t you ever get your licence:
A combination of factors. Notably, when I was 15 my best friend and his parents were killed in a car accident which fostered feelings surrounding the safety of driving. I developed anxiety as I contemplated scenarios about how I would move forward with my life if I were to ever accidentally harm someone while driving.
Also, I lived in a small town where everything was walkable, and then for a while I lived in London, England, which has a fantastic transit system, so driving just wasn’t necessary for a lot of years.
I have ADHD and I find focusing to be a challenge. I’m easily distracted and I have tendencies to day dream, which wouldn’t be good qualities in a driver, I would imagine.
How do you get around?
I know it’s a hot button topic for a lot of folks, but Uber has been very freeing for me and allows me a lot more flexibility with my time. My partner is a big help as well.
What’s the best part of being car-free?
I don’t have that burden of responsibility knowing that my mistake on the road could cost someone their life. I’m terrified of hurting someone and being car free relieves me of that fear.
Do you think you’ll ever get your licence?
I have a stepson now, my responsibilities are bigger and exist outside of myself and my partner. I think it’s important I can drive, even if it’s solely for emergency situations. I need to be able to take care of him to the best of my ability and to support his parents however I can, which means being able to drive if necessary.
Name: John Jackson
Occupation: Chef and Restaurant owner of CHARCUT
Why didn’t you ever get your licence: I have never needed one. My wife Carrie and I have always lived in places where a car was not a necessity. From living NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen area only a 5min walk to where I worked to the 5 years in SF in the SOMA area surrounded by amazing restaurants and activity. When we moved back to open CHARCUT we moved back to the Mission area. When we had our two daughters we moved to Lake Bonavista and now I use this as an excuse to even bike more with the girls. From Fish Creek to the Bow River pathways there is so much to see and enjoy. None of which would be the same with a car.
How do you get around? By Bike 12 months a year…. Between 10K and 15K …. Every once and a while I will take a cab or my wife will give me a ride but that is limited compared to the amount I am riding my bike
What’s the best part of being car-free? I cannot even begin to describe the freedom I feel by riding my bike and not have the stresses of owning a vehicle. It is a peaceful, active and enjoyable lifestyle.
Do you think you’ll ever get your licence? No