Friday, April 26, 2013

Roadside Assistance for the Urban Advocate

So, for many people, it seems like my last post on AAA's lobbying efforts is news. Better World Club, admittedly a competitor to AAA, keeps a long list of AAA's egregious pro-car lobbying stunts, most of which have extensive third-party citations. But let's say you're convinced-- AAA is a major force for the highway lobby, and you want to give up your membership. But you also don't want to find yourself on the side of a road somewhere, with a broken-down car and no money for a massive tow-truck bill. What's an eco-conscious person to do?

The best alternative would be, of course, to give up your car altogether. Here's how to do that.

For those not ready to take the leap, one alternative is the aforementioned Better World Club. They provide similar services to AAA, including towing, maps, travel planning, and the like. Unlike AAA, they'll also cover either your motorcycle or your bicycle without a corresponding automobile membership. (For whatever reason, they won't cover your motorcycle and your bicycle without an auto membership though, which is why I'm not a member.)

Another likely possibility is your auto insurance provider. I have roadside assistance coverage on my scooter through Progressive, for something like $3 a month. Note that coverage through your auto insurer will likely only cover the insured vehicle, so if your friends give you rides in their clunker a lot, maybe stick with something else.

Finally, there are some unlikely places that might offer you roadside assistance. There are credit card providers that offer the service, as well as cell phone providers. My wife and I had-- and frequently used-- service through our cell phones through the first year of our marriage.

Ask around-- it's more likely than not that you can get roadside assistance without handing your money over to the highway lobby.

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