I just heard a caller who’s a student in Los Angeles, wondering whether he should buy a car.
San Diego is almost, though not quite, as autocentric as L.A, and I lived there as a car-free grad student for six years, bicycling to campus and the grocery store and taking a bus to most other things. I never got hit by a car, although I didn’t have an eight-mile commute as your caller does; I did, however, get some funny looks walking around campus wearing a bicycle helmet and a rear view mirror.
My first day in San Diego, I didn’t have a bicycle yet, so I walked to the grocery store, which entailed crossing a bridge over Interstate 5. The bridge had sidewalks, but they had seen no actual pedestrians in so long that they were completely overgrown with waist-high bushes.