I’ve never owned a car. I learned to drive at age 19, several years after most of my friends already had their licenses, solely so that I could drive in the event of an emergency. I’m 47 and I have driven exactly once since that time, at age 23, which was indeed an emergency. (Don’t ask for the details.)
When I changed my name a few years ago I just got a state ID rather than a driver’s license, since I knew I never wanted to drive a car again. The DMV then informed me that my license had been suspended due to a medication-induced seizure I’d suffered a couple of years back. I’d never bothered to get a doctor’s clearance to lift the restriction; I just didn’t care.
I’m fortunate to live in San Francisco, which has reasonably good public transit, though you wouldn’t know it from all of the cars on the road here. My spouse is not averse to driving, so he has Zipcar and City CarShare memberships for occasional use, but mostly gets around on bicycle.
I prefer to walk whenever possible, but I acknowledge that in this hilly city not everyone is able to get around that way easily. I certainly couldn’t when I moved here 14 years ago, but now I’m used to the hills. Not having a day job and working from home also helps, as I rarely have to be on transit at rush hour.
But for the fifteen years that I worked full-time in the SF Bay Area, I always managed to get to work on foot or on public transit, even when it took three hours out of my day. At least I could read or nap during that time rather than having to stay alert behind the wheel of a huge, deadly piece of machinery.
Regardless, shaming non-drivers is unacceptable no matter where they live. Owning or even just operating a motor vehicle shouldn’t be considered a prerequisite for respect.