After two days without my bike commute due to the presence of torrential downpours (as predicted in climate change models for this region), I went for a little run around my neighborhood last night. On the home stretch, about a block from the apartment, I passed a small group of people having a chat on off to one side of the sidewalk. On the other side of the sidewalk, in the street, there was a parked SUV with no one in it, but the engine was running. (Read my feelings about vehicles idling here.)
I ran past, and when I reached my apartment, I decided I could not in good conscience let that go, and, anyway, I needed a little walk as a cool down. So I turned around and walked back up the block. The encounter ensues:
I approach the group and say, “Excuse me, but I’m assuming this vehicle here that’s running belongs to one of you?”
Man says, in a somewhat sheepish voice, “Um, it’s mine.”
I say, “If you’re going to be parked for longer than 30 seconds, you’ll save on gas money and reduce pollution if you turn your vehicle off.”
Man says, “Okay,” walks over to SUV, reaches in through open window, and turns it off.
With a quick “Thanks,” I jog off into the night.
It’s not always that simple, but sometimes it is.