Automobiles as we know them today, were never as prevalent as you may think. In some places throughout the world it is much more common to use a bicycles as your main source of transportation rather than a car. One place in particular has separated itself completely from automobiles and is not really experiencing any downsides.
Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron off the shore of Michigan. Beginning in 1898 the City banned what was known as that time as “horseless carriages” in all forms throughout the island. Currently Mackinac Island is a relaxing vacation destination for people of all ages and is a rather quiet place without the use of automobiles.
Automobiles have never been well accepted on Mackinac Island and early on they were often referred to as “mechanical monsters.” Although this perception of cars may be old fashion, the legislation of 1898 has never been repealed and rarely receives any opposition. The island only has 500 full time residents but has 15,000 visitors throughout the peak tourist season.
Mackinac Island has been experiencing countless benefits by not having cars. “The air is cleaner and injuries are fewer,” says Jeff Porter a Mackinac writer, “Island residents are healthier due to the exercise. There’s a cherished egalitarianism: everyone gets around the same way. They also save a tremendous amount of money that would normally go to commuting by cars.”
In a current car-centric society it is refreshing to know that a place is flourishing without the use of “horseless carriages.” Mackinac Island is also able to avoid many problems that a direct result of cars. Not having to deal with people and especially vacationers driving under the influence is a rarity in our current society.
The Island has really adopted its automobile free way of life. Mackinac has America’s only carless highway. The M-185 is an 8.3 road down the coast of the Island and is free of any gas stations or other unsightly commercial locations.
Although many may perceive Mackinac Island as a glance back in time, it could really be looked at as a glimpse into the future. This way of life can be an example to Americans especially, how we do not need to be heavily relied on fuel and our automobiles.