Category Archives: bicycling & politics

What’s Behind the Rise in Cyclist and Pedestrian Deaths? | Streetsblog.net

What’s Behind the Rise in Cyclist and Pedestrian Deaths? | Streetsblog.net.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is out with traffic fatality data for 2011, and the news is not good for cyclists, pedestrians or, for that matter, anyone who uses U.S. roadways.

While motor vehicle deaths declined to a still mind-numbing 32,000, cycling deaths were up 8.7 percent, and 3 percent more pedestrians were killed. The increase represented a break with recent trends, and folks all over the Streetsblog Network and the news media had different theories on the cause.

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Read the full article here: Streetsblog Network

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To Avert Liability, Washington Town Drops Helmet Laws – NYTimes.com

To Avert Liability, Washington Town Drops Helmet Laws – NYTimes.com.

Is it really better not to have laws to make bicyclists wear helmets? I must admit, I’m in two minds about it. There certainly are arguments for and against it. Btw, that’s a controversial discussion in my native Germany, too, with, strangely as it seems, the ADFC [General German Bicyclists’ Club] campaigning against the law. Their argument: fining bicyclists for not wearing a helmet might reduce the number of people who use bicycles, especially for commuting.

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This Is How We Ride – NYTimes.com

This Is How We Ride – NYTimes.com.

THIS summer the city’s Department of Transportation inaugurates a new bike-share program. People who live and work in New York will be able to travel quickly and cheaply between many neighborhoods. This is major. It will make New Yorkers rethink their city and rewrite the mental maps we use to decide what is convenient, what is possible. Parks, restaurants and friends who once seemed beyond plausible commuting distance on public transportation will seem a lot closer. The possibilities aren’t limitless, but the change will be pretty impressive.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Reducing Traffic Fatalities for Cyclists and Pedestrians – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

Reducing Traffic Fatalities for Cyclists and Pedestrians – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

Room for Debate:

Making Cities Safer for Cyclists and Pedestrians

An article in The Atlantic Cities this month lamented the lax enforcement of traffic laws in New York City, even in cases in which a pedestrian or cyclist is killed. The author calls for a crackdown on traffic violations large and small, emulating the “broken windows” approach to suppressing crime in the 1990s.

Would this be effective? Are there other ways to make cities safer for pedestrians and cyclists?

Read the discussion here: The New York Times – Room for Debate

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For Good of San Antonio, Free City’s Pedicabs – San Antonio Express-News

For good of San Antonio, free city’s pedicabs – San Antonio Express-News.

For good of San Antonio, free city’s pedicabs

Updated 11:42 p.m., Wednesday, April 11, 2012

[…]

For years, the city has imposed silly, overly strict regulations on pedicab drivers, who peddle people in carriages to and from downtown locations on bicycles.

The three laws that bug them the most: They can’t work after midnight; they can’t stop peddling unless they’re dropping people off or picking people up; and they can’t peddle at all on Commerce, Market, St. Mary’s or Navarro streets, or on César Chávez Boulevard.

[…]

In November, Julian and others in the pedicab industry began working with the city’s Transportation Advisory Board to craft a more rational ordinance for consideration by City Council.

The concessions they won were significant: The curfew was extended to 3 a.m.; they were allowed to stop in commercial loading zones; and they were allowed to work on all downtown streets.

Then the bike cops caught wind of it, complained and kicked the ordinance back to the TAB.

[…]

Here are a few other candid gems:

“Once traffic gets messed up, and you have situations, then you throw in additional horse carriages or pedicabs, it makes our job a lot harder.”

[…]

Again, the recalcitrant lieutenant: “One reason I know is, after 12, that’s when things start picking up for bike patrol, especially on weekend nights. Things start happening, and we don’t need additional work.”

[…]

Read the full story here: San Antonio Express-News

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Killed While Cycling: Why So Few Fatal Bike Crashes Lead to Arrest in NYC | Transportation Nation

Killed While Cycling: Why So Few Fatal Bike Crashes Lead to Arrest in NYC | Transportation Nation.

We as a society have chosen to drive these  big cars. And we also as a society have chosen not to criminalize every single small mistake that just has a dramatic consequence because your driving a car. […] There are times where the factual situation that is presented to us doesn’t rise to a crime. And it’s important to realize that the reason it doesn’t rise to a crime is that society has made that decision that it doesn’t want it to be a crime.”

Joe McCormack, assistant District Attorney for the Bronx, whose job it is to prosecute traffic crimes

Read the complete story here: “Killed While Cycling: Why So Few Fatal Bike Crashes Lead to Arrest in NYC”

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Streetfilms | From Minnesota to Mississippi, America Tells Congress to Preserve Bike-Ped Funding

Streetfilms | From Minnesota to Mississippi, America Tells Congress to Preserve Bike-Ped Funding.

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The most recent transportation bill, passed in 2005 by a Republican Congress and Republican president, continued to invest in safer biking and walking. As negotiations over a new bill grind on, however, these programs are in jeopardy. The Senate has passed a bill that by and large preserves the status quo, but the House of Representatives has tried to eliminate bike and pedestrian programs.

[…]

Read the full article here: Streetsblog Daily

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Dutch Kids Pedal Their Own Bus To School | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation

Dutch Kids Pedal Their Own Bus To School | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation.

In the Netherlands, bikes abound. And now, they even take kids to school. Behold, the bicycle school bus.

The Dutch are bicycle fanatics. Almost half of daily travel in the Netherlands is by bicycle, while the country’s bike fleet comfortably outnumbers its 16 million people. Devotees of the national obsession have taken the next logical step by launching what is likely the first bicycle school bus.

Built by Tolkamp Metaalspecials, and sold by the De Cafe Racer company, the bicycle school bus (BCO in Dutch) is powered entirely by children and the one adult driver (although there is an electric motor for tough hills). Its simple design has eight sets of pedals for the kids (ages 4 to 12), a driver seat for the adult, and three bench seats for freeloaders. The top speed is about 10 miles per hour, and features a sound system and canvas awning to ward off rainy days.

Read the full story here.

Now that’s something that needs to be copied here in the US!

Thanks to Betty of the Four-Blue-Hills Blog for drawing my attention to this innovation.

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Filed under bicycling, bicycling & politics, education, in the news, Transportation

Multiyear Transportation Bill

This morning I got the following e-mail from the “Rails-to-Trails Conservancy”:

Some are calling the draft multiyear transportation bill being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives “the worst bill ever.”
It’s hard to disagree with this regrettable distinction from a trails, walking and bicycling perspective. We need to stop the bill, now!
The bill as it is currently written would:

  • Eliminate dedicated funding for trails, walking and bicycling;
  • Destroy long-term dedicated funding for transit created by the Reagan Administration;
  • Do away with the rail-trail eligibility category in the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program;
  • Put our children in harm’s way by eliminating the Safe Routes to School program;
  • Fail to maximize its job creation potential, since trail, walking and bicycling projects create substantially more jobs per dollar than do highway projects;
  • Increase America’s dependence on foreign oil; and
  • Contribute to our growing health and obesity crises.

The bill could come to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in the next few days. Since it is beyond possibility of repair, we need to ensure that it does not leave the House floor.
We have no time to lose. Ask your representative right now to vote against the bill.
I’ll be doing everything in my power to ensure this bill is defeated in the House. I truly hope you’ll join me.
Even as we are working feverishly to defeat this House bill, please note that a Senate bill–which also fails to preserve dedicated funding for trails, walking and bicycling–will likely come to the Senate floor for debate and a vote next week as well. (When it rains, it pours!) We’ll be messaging you about that, too. Apologies in advance for so many messages from us in so short a timeframe, but please know that we wouldn’t write you so much if it weren’t absolutely necessary.
Thank you much,
Kevin Mills
Vice President of Policy and Trail Development
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

I urgently ask my readers here to do everything possible to stop that bill and contact their representatives.

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Open Streets Project | Opening Streets to People, Sharing Resources, Transforming Communities

Open Streets Project | Opening Streets to People, Sharing Resources, Transforming Communities.

Opening Streets to People, Sharing Resources, Transforming Communities

Open streets initiatives temporarily close streets to automobile traffic, so that people may use them for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing, and socializing.

With more than 65 documented initiatives in North America, open streets are increasingly common in cities seeking innovative ways to achieve environmental, social, economic, and public health goals.

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Read more about the Open Streets Project here: Open Streets Project

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