Rosie Whiting, of the Kendal-based Open Space group, argues that people should consider giving up their cars

"AS I cycled home today, and was waiting to cross a main road, a car hooted loudly and turned left, aggressively speeding through a group of pedestrians who were crossing the side road.

This was no boy racer, it was a woman, and frankly I was shocked at her behaviour. I doubt she would have been so rude had she been on foot.

It made me wonder, why do we give more rights to car drivers, who are cocooned and safe in their metal shells, whereas pedestrians and cyclists, who are more vulnerable, are treated as second class citizens?

It has been like this for as long as anyone can remember, so hardly anyone questions it. What would it be like if it was the opposite?

We have a slight idea of this when we walk or cycle in the pedestrianised parts of Kendal. In Holland, I had the experience of cars having to wait while people on bikes cycled round roundabouts.

Why do cars have priority in the UK? Because they are always in a hurry? Because each car sold supports our economy? Because they are bigger than other road users? Or because this is just the norm?

We become more aware of the damage cars do as time goes on. Accidents, air pollution, congestion, road rage, emissions which cause climate change, and noise. Yet we do nothing to curtail their use. Why is this?

I think it is because they are just there, so we don’t question them. If you cycle or walk though, take a moment to wonder what it would be like without cars.

I tried this the other day, and I realised it would be peaceful, safer, easier to manoeuvre, easier to breathe, and more relaxing.

As time has gone on, cars have become larger, which means even less space on the roads for non-car-users.

I gave up driving ten years ago. I didn’t drive much, but when I was hit by a car which did a lot of damage to me, I knew I wouldn’t drive again. I knew I couldn’t face harming someone in the way I had been harmed.

I can safely say I never miss driving. Kendal is near a main line railway station, has a bus station, and the provision for cyclists is slowly improving.

I sometimes think “If I, who now finds walking difficult, can give up driving, why can’t others?” My conclusion is that it is just too easy to drive, and we are actually encouraged to do so. We are bombarded with car adverts, we are offered deals on new cars which are too good to be true, and taxes are not high enough to dissuade us from driving.

As in other areas of life, no-one seems to be thinking of the consequences of our actions.

I’m sure the car drivers queuing up the right hand side of Highgate every day would love there to be fewer cars. But who is going to give up their car or at least use it less?

The reason I don’t miss driving is that there are many advantages to not having a car. It is less stressful if you never get stuck in traffic jams or have to waste time looking for a parking space; it is healthier as you inevitably get more exercise; you have more human interactions as you are not divided from others by a metal shell; and in spite of the cheap deals available, you save money.

There are also advantages to other people as you don’t occupy parking spaces or cause such a danger to others.

I have rarely read anything which questions car use - I hope this might be the start."