Car-Free Champions - Join the Network
The Community In Motion program is designed to help people reduce their drive alone trips by by using alternative modes like biking, walking, taking transit, and sharing cars and rides more often. If you are already living the car-free lifestyle, or can't reduce your drive alone trips any further, we'd love to hear your story to share with others to help them see how they too might become a Champion! And, another way to tell your story and become a Community Champion is to tell others about the Community In Motion program. Encourage friends and family to join the 2016 program and you'll earn additional rewards.
Tell us your Car-Free Story
- What is your mode(s) of transportation and travel pattern (school, work, errands)?
- What city or neighborhood do you live in?
- How long have you been car-free?
- Why did you choose to be car-free? (event, circumstance, lifestyle choice)
- How has it impacted your lifestyle? How do you benefit from being car-free?
- Do you have some sort of encouragement for others to try car-free living?
Just send us an email with a photo and tell us your story so we can share it with others in the community.
Car-Free Champions Network
We’d also like to invite you to join our Car-Free Champions network. This is a program exclusively available to those committed to being car-free. When you join the Car-Free Champions Network, you’ll be challenged to refer others to the lifestyle! We’ll also have fun contests and rewards. For example, you’ll compete against other car-free champions for most trips, most multi-modal trip, longest trip, or others – Stay tuned!
To thank you for going Car-Free, you'll have access to a $100 emergency ride home credit to Uber, Lyft or taxi for a ride home from work in the case of an emergency through the Car-Free Champions RideshareOnline.com network.
As a car-free champion, we challenge you to get others involved! Refer a friend today by sending us an email and we'll get in touch with you. You're eligible to receive up to two $25 rewards as a thank you.
A friend forwarded me a link to your site, so I thought I'd share my story.
I sold my car and left Seattle in 2008. When I moved back in 2009 I was looking for work so decided to hold off on getting a new car for financial reasons. After all, a large benefit of living in a city is having transportation options. I bought a bike off of craigslist and have never looked back. Now I bike everywhere I go in the city and love it. It's cheap, healthy, and if you have friends that also bike, social.
I live in Ballard and can get pretty much anywhere in the city in a reasonable amount of time riding at a leisurely pace. I know how long it will take to get there, and I never have to look for parking. Being car free for 7+ years was never something I thought I could do, but it's been one of the best decisions I've made. My life has a lot less stress, I'm more relaxed, and I'm the healthiest I've ever been. It has also had a side benefit of allowing me to take a less stressful job that pays less, since I'm saving so much money.
The best advice I can give is to just try it out, and don't make excuses. It can be easy to come up with one reason or another to get in the car, but if you're intentional about it you can make it work. Heck, give a friend your car keys for a week so you're not tempted. Biking really has changed my life.
A pic from last spring, reading at Fremont Peak Park.
I live in Central District, I work at Harborview, and I am in nursing school. I bike to school, clinicals, and work. I bike for groceries, and if the weather is really bad I take the bus--no car here!
I have been car-free for a year and a half now--I had the option to fix my broken down car and I chose to get a bike instead :) I thought: what could be more PNW than riding my bike everywhere: farmers markets, breweries, grocery stores, work, school--you name it! The exercise is an added bonus to posing as a hipster.
Being a bike commuter has been more interested; now into doing bike races around the PNW--maybe the STP is in my future? Between that and working on a trauma unit, it has also saved me a ton of money and made me more of an advocate for safe bike riding around the city--WHERE YOUR HELMETS PEOPLE.
If you're scared to ride your bike on the road REI offers classes to get you comfortable with your bike. I was scared at first but once you do it a few times it is liberating. Save money, build an exercise routine into your day, and have fun doing it! You will love the results :)
My names is Daiv. I have lived on Capitol Hill for about 8 years now, and I have been car free that entire time.
I ride my bike nearly everywhere, and I walk everywhere else. The choice to be car free was easy, in a lot of ways. Before I moved to Seattle (from California), I decided to let my adult daughter have the car. I thought, once I got here, I would see how well I could get around without a car, and then decide if I needed on. But nearly as soon as I got here, my girlfriend started showing me how easy is is to get where we needed to go, by bus or walking. When I got a job at the airport, I was fortunate that the light rail had just started running. For the entire time I worked there, I took the light rail to and from work and never had to pay for parking or gas.
Now, I am a bike messenger. I ride 20 miles a day, and ride the bus on my days off.
I would encourage others to try being car free by committing to doing it just once a week. It can feel hard to make the change, learning the routes and changing habits. But once you get in the habit, once you learn how to make it work, it gets easier quickly. And the rewards, of extra time, of not having to pay for gas, of a less stressful commute, can be immeasurable.
Try it, and find out how easy it really can be.
I parked my bike (the black one with the rack on the left) in an empty bike rack, to get something from the University Book Store.
When I came back outside, this is what i saw.
I sold my car 45 days ago and became a full time metro traveler. I actually love the free time in the morning and afternoon that my bus commute allows me. I love that I don't have to focus on driving, or get irritated with the rush hour traffic like when I was driving by myself.
Biking to and from work are the perfect bookends for my workday. It's about a 30 minute bike ride between home on Capitol Hill and work on Green Lake. I couldn't imagine choosing to drive that route over biking. I've been car free my entire life!
At first I couldn't afford a car, but now I just choose not have one. The financial benefits are incredible. I've never bought a car, nor do I pay for auto insurance or parking. That hefty amount of money I save goes towards other life expenses, travel, and entertainment!
On top of the financial perks of being car free, biking has positively impacted my life in so many other ways. When I wake up and I'm feeling groggy in the morning, jumping on my bike wakes me right up. No need for coffee! Unlike driving the same commute everyday which can get mindless, biking keeps you mentally engaged. You've got to be extremely alert and aware of your surroundings, it makes for a mindful morning into work. That end of work day drag? Biking home will perk you right up! Then of course there is the built in workout for the day and reducing your carbon foot print as well. The benefits are tenfold and I couldn't recommend more considering biking for your commute more.
Plus, the gorgeous view on my commute doesn't hurt either!
- Anthony D.
On November 30, 2016, I sold my car, cancelled my car insurance, and made the commitment to being car free. For me, it was a health and safety issue. Driving was very stressful for me, and I was super distracted thinking of all the things on the to-do list as a single mom, small business owner, who homeschools my 6th grade son.
My son and I both got ORCA cards and started learning the routes and schedules to get to work, community activities, grocery store, library, and more! We are walking more, too, enjoying the nature in our beautiful areas where we live and where I work. Even just a walk to the bus stop on a frosty morning is so very beautiful and we missed all that beauty when we used to whiz by it in our car.
On the bus, we can talk to one another, or read a book, or use our devices to learn Spanish, or ANYTHING we like while we get to our destination safely. It takes a little more time, but we are productive during that time instead of me stressing out in traffic. Just one month into my commitment, I haven't felt so relaxed, healthy and productive in a very long time. I'm glad I made the switch."
- Kyra S.
I am Peruvian and I moved to the Seattle 4 years ago after finishing my Master degree in Europe, I didn't have a car for a year and I thought I would buy one, as most Americans, to get to places. I did not have any credit history to apply for a car loan when I moved, so I started biking as I did during my years of Grad Student and I figured I could do this longer, and longer.
Four years passed and I ended up never buying a car, I have always lived in Fremont/Ballard area and I can get everywhere I want to be in my bike or Bus. Sometimes I also bike to the Symphony nicely dress with my blazer when it is not raining heavily. Plus I work as sales engineer (home office) and I travel a lot, I see having a car something that only complicates my life more! Insurance, monthly payment, hunting street parking in Cap Hill (what about that one!), paying a garage if I travel long times, get to the mechanic, dealing with traffic, things I never liked back home when I had a car.
I could work from home however I go to a co-working space in the Greenwood area and I ride 2 miles every day. If I have to go to the airport I use sharing apps or taxi if I am in a rush! When I have to travel for vacations I try to save money using the Car2go to Wally Park (if it is too early) or the Link otherwise. That doesn't stop me for doing trips to BC, Oregon or hikes which I usually car pool with friends or a rent a car.
I think using bicycle as my main way of transportation changed my life, I feel healthier than when I was 27 and with more free time. I attach a picture of one of my trips, last 4th of July I went to Bremerton, I ride to Downtown and took the Ferry, very nice ride indeed.
- Gonzalo C.
I lived in Seattle for 24 years. I moved to Kenmore six months ago, and one thing that I did not anticipate about moving to the suburbs was that I would be driving LESS! But that is exactly what has happened.
I work at University of Washington and take the 372 bus from my home in Kenmore to UW campus in Seattle. The 372 whizzes by all the cars stuck in traffic on 522 in the morning and gets me to work on time. On the way home, the bus whizzes by all the cars stuck in afternoon rush hour traffic.
When the weather is good, I ride my bicycle into work on the Burke Gilman trail. It is a 25 mile round trip, and between walking to and from the bus stop and biking, I can tell I am in better physical shape than I was when I lived in Seattle and was driving my car more.
I am not totally car free--I drive on the weekends. But I do feel good about at least being car free during the week. I would like to encourage people to try alternatives to driving. Think about the money saved on parking, gas and wear and tear on your vehicle. Think about the positive effect on the environment and the health benefits for you!
- Christine S.
In 1974 I became old enough to get a driver's learner's permit. I didn't, and still haven't. My reason then remains my reason today: driving kills people and wrecks the planet. Air pollution is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. If a car's exhaust went into the passenger compartment, people wouldn't drive. But since it goes into the air that everyone else breathes, people are happy to drive. It's like firing a gun into the air, and thinking its okay because you aren't pointing the gun straight up.
I ride a bicycle. For cargo, I have panniers. For big loads, I have a cart. I go slower, but I don't have to spend any time earning money to buy gas. In Seattle, I can often beat the traffic. At my last physical exam, the doctor was worried because my pulse was 46 beats per minute. That's normal for athletes in their 20s, but he'd never seen anything close to that in a healthy 58 year old. When I explained how much exercise I get, he assured me that my healthy heart would help add years to my probable lifespan.
I encourage others to ride bikes: every year I give away several bikes to people with low incomes. Being a bicyclist means I can't get a job that's farther than I can ride (about 10 miles). But it also means I don't need to earn as much money, It means I have to ride in the rain (I'm used to it), but it means I can park for free, right where I'm going, without spending time looking for a space.
In a car, I could roll up the windows and turn on the stereo, but on a bike, I can listen to the breeze and the birds. The pollution from people's cars may kill me before my time. It certainly is killing lots of others, and destroying the climate we all need to survive. At least, I'm not part of that, and perhaps my example will help others to end their gas addiction. I'm proof that it can be done, and that life is wonderful once you've stopped.
Instead of a picture of me, here's an Oregon Junco nest in Labateyah Garden, which I started in the front yard of a homeless shelter. Part of the garden is land recovered from a parking area. The Juncos ate thousands of aphids and other insects in the garden.
- Fred M.
I live in North Beacon Hill, and I'm 32 years old. I've never had a car, though I do have a driver's license and am capable of driving. I've always lived in cities, and have always found it really easy to get by without a car. I have a strong dislike for how prevalent and overused cars are in our society. I'm deeply bothered by the fact that every city, almost anywhere is designed to accommodate the automobile first and the human being second.
Can you imagine how amazing it would be to walk around a city that was designed entirely to service people rather than cars? It's so far from where we are that it's difficult to imagine. I typically walk most places if I have the time, but will also take light rail or a bus if I'm going someplace further than 2 or 3 miles away, running late or coming home from work after a long day.
I get a lot of exercise and fresh air from walking all over town, I’ve also found that walking reduces my anxiety and gives me time to reflect. It is really, very easy to live without a car in Seattle. And I think you might even find that you feel more a part of the city while riding a bus through downtown or walking through capitol hill than you ever would from the inside of a car.
Stoked you guys have this program going!
- James S.
My name is Layla and I'm a Car-Free Champion!
I live in Capitol Hill, Seattle, and I have been car-free for 3 years and 6 months. When I moved to Seattle, I had to decide whether or not I wanted to purchase a car to travel around, since that is what I was so used to where I was from. I realized that Washington State had so many other modes of transportation besides personal vehicle that I decided to go car-free, minimize my impact on the environment, and utilize my resources!
Since going car-free, I have seen a lot of money savings. I no longer have to pay for car insurance, gas, or registrations. I feel safer on the once-unfamiliar roads in Seattle and never feel like I'm lost. I've also met the kindest bus drivers here, too. I live a more active lifestyle by walking virtually all the time, which has inspired me to explore my neighborhood. Most importantly, I have minimized my impact on the environment by lowering my carbon footprint.
I recommend going car-free! You can explore Washington in ways that you wouldn't in a car; you can meet great people; lastly, you can do your part to save the world. Each day, I walk to and from school. To get to and from work, I catch the bus or the light rail. To hang out around Washington with my friends, I catch the Link, the bus, or the South Lake Union or First Hill Street Cars.
Here is a picture of me at Green Lake one day. To give you some perspective, on this day, I caught the Link from the Capitol Hill Station to the University of Washington Station. I then walked from University of Washington to Green Lake to Wallingford, back to the University of Washington. I looped my trip home by catching the bus to Capitol Hill!