Thursday, February 22, 2018

Speaking at the HUB Bike Awards

Tonight I had the pleasure of speaking at the HUB Bike Awards, wearing my "hat" as a Modo Ambassador. I talked about carsharing & how it works for our family, briefly. It was a lot of fun to speak & to hear about all the schools, businesses & other organizations that won awards for their stellar Bike To Work/School Week teams, as well as the forward-thinking projects of various cities & cycling related businesses.

In case you're curious, here's my speaking notes from the event:

I'm an official ambassador for Modo & an unofficial ambassador for family biking as well. You might see me & my family around the city on one of our cargobikes, or you can catch me on social media--my handle is Spokesmama. 

So, here we are, at the fifth annual BIKE Awards, & I'm going to talk about cars & driving. Well, more accurately, how carsharing & biking work for our family.

I remember a lot of people told us that we'd NEED to own a car once we had kids. But it's been almost eight years & we haven't found this to be true at all. Around 80% of our trips are by bike, nearly 20% are on foot, then around one or two percent are by car. On the rare occasion that a car is needed, like, say getting to hospital to have a baby, we did it with Modo cars. 

My kids are literally born & raised with Modo--for them, carsharing is just normal. I didn't realize how normal until I had a conversation outside our house with my then-preschool-age son, that went something like this:

"Mama, can we take this car today?"
"No, sweetie, that's the neighbour's car."
"What about this one?"
"No, bubs, we can't take that one either."

Then it dawned on me: I needed to explain private car ownership to my child.  We often used different Modo vehicles, & my husband or I would go pick it up then park it in front of the house.  Then we'd buckle the carseats in, load up the kids, & drive away. So he thought that we could just take any car that was parked on the street. I had to explain that most of the people on our block owned a car or two that they used occasionally, but that NOBODY ELSE was allowed to use their car, even when it was sitting around unused all day. 

Though biking is our mode of choice, it's nice to have a backup plan. Modo has been there for late night ER runs with croup, or for the time that I locked myself out of our garage (where all our bikes are) & needed to pick up my son from school 3km away in ten minutes.

Another reason carsharing is great for our family is how much money we save by not owning a vehicle, which is so important in such an expensive city. People save on average $500/month by carsharing & on average Modo members spend only $600/yr on their Modo bills. I've been a member of Modo for 15 years now: if you do the math, that means I've saved about $90,000 

Probably the best thing about being Modo members is that I think it encourages people to bike more. Because we have that backup plan for unexpected trips that are better by car, we don't need to own one. Because we don't own a car that sits there right in front of our house, the easiest choice for most trips is biking. When I'm dropping my son off at school, I get other parents saying how brave or dedicated I am for biking in the rain or the snow, but it's not that I'm hardcore, it's just the easiest option. It's much faster than taking transit, or walking & it's actually a bit faster than driving because I don't have to circle the school looking for parking.

I realize I'm mostly preaching to the converted here, that many of you bike for transportation & use carsharing already, but maybe some of what I've said here tonight might be useful to remember if you're talking to someone about carsharing with kids. (Don't forget that there's a $25 referral credit if you're a Modo member!)

If you want to know even more about the nitty gritty of how carsharing & biking works with a family, you can find more on my site SPOKESMAMA.COM.

Thank you!

Follow Spokesmama here too:

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