Is hitch-hiking coming back?

June 2, 2009

They say nostalgia isn’t what it used to be but there’s certainly a lot of it around at the moment.

All sorts of things are coming back as the recession forces us to cut back spending and, in some cases, change our habits quite radically.

Take Spam, for example. This deeply unlovely but cheap pork luncheon meat died a death after World War Two and was thankfully never heard of again apart from in the classic Monty Python song. Now it’s back and flying off the shelves by all accounts.

Allotments are also going great guns, with news this week that there’s a waiting list of 40 years in some parts of London.

And now hitch-hiking seems to be making a tentative return.

After the heady years of the 1960s and 1970s, hitching dropped out of fashion as car ownership took off and the view took hold that anyone standing by the road with their thumb stuck out must, by definition, be a murdering psychopath.

Most of them were, of course, but some were just savouring the joy of the open road and getting from A to B, from home to college or down to the rock festival for free.

A lot of the best hitching spots — like laybys just after roundabouts — have long since disappeared in road improvement schemes but there must still be a few good ones around. Any recommendations? 

Do you think hitching could ever come back? Would you be prepared to offer a ride? 

One comment

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Yes, I think hitch hiking should make a comeback. For one due to gas prices and more people not able to afford a car due to these neoliberal economics at it worst. Also, hitch hiking slows down a bit the fossil fuel dry up abyss. And hitch hiking is conducive to pulling together a fractured society. It should be a norm that when getting into a god samaritan’s car, you turn off your mobile phone and talk with the driver and fellow hitchers. I live in the US. I would like to think that in the UK a resurgence of hitching a ride would come about easier for various reasons.

Back in the mid 1970’s as a teenager I hitch hiked from the east coast to the west coast. It was one of the best and informative trips I have ever taken. One thing to remember is that the front page story of hitch hiker murdered, girl killed by a mentally ill man, bus crash kills 6, train or plane crash with fatalities, etc are rare as a new comet sighting. Your more likely to meet with violence by someone you know than a stranger.

However, take some precautions. Make sure you talk a little bit before you get in. In that time you should be able to a lesser or greater degree, if the driver is drunk, a wreckless driver, etc try to hitch hike with at least another person. It’s probably better to get into a vehicle where the hitchers outnumber the driver. but again i hitched about 4 thousand miles in those two months back in mid 70’s and not one bad incident.

note:this is my opinion. it should not be taken as a scientific study conclusion. do more research about hitching.


Posted by dahszil | Report as abusive