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.
Read the full article here: Streetsblog Network
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
“Struggling to control the controversy over one of its signature transportation policies, the Bloomberg administration is embarking on an unusual kind of political campaign: convincing New Yorkers that bicycle lanes are good for them.”
Read more in the New York Times.
The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a resolution designating the month of April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The resolution encourages all Americans to consider the lives of others on the road and put an end to distracted driving.
to read more, click here
” […] the [San Antonio City] council approved the new road rules, which require motorists to change lanes when passing a cyclist, pedestrian or other “vulnerable road user.” If changing lanes isn’t possible, and if conditions allow, drivers must give three feet of clearance when they pass.
The city will launch an education campaign this spring to emphasize to San Antonio drivers they legally have to share the road with users who’ll always lose in a collision with 2,000 pounds of steel.
The council OK’d the same version of the rules passed by the Legislature last year, a measure that took 10 years to craft and garnered widespread bipartisan support.”
quoted from the San Antonio Express-News
read more >>
Even if that’s a long overdue measure, I really doubt if it’s going to help very much. On the one hand, who’s really going to enforce it? As the Express-News reported the other day, drivers disobeying will not be cited unless there is a law-enforcement officers present watching the incident. And then, three feet is certainly not enough in many circumstances. And considering the overwhelming number of irresponsible comments as to the various reports on this matter in the news, I really don’t think passing this ordinance will change an iota in the behaviour of motorists – and of bicyclist, at that. Let’s face it: there are irresponsible people on either side of the spectrum. But, and that’s the up-beat, the irresponsible drivers and bicyclists are an absolute minority. And what I’m actually really afraid of when I’m on my bike is not those drivers who yell and/or honk at me, because that means they have seen me, but those who – for various reasons [maybe they’re texting or on their cell phones, maybe they’re just having a sip of drink, maybe they’re simply alseep at the wheel or as blind as a bat and still driving] – do not see me at all. What we actually need is better education for both drivers and bicyclists. And, starting with bicyclists, those measures being taken up by schools now to get more children on bikes [see my posting on that and cf. here and here] are excellent as these are the future drivers and hopefully they’ll be more bicyclist-friendly then. But then, also, a real working law enforcement would, of course, help to eliminate the few rotten apples in the barrel of good drivers. The opinion expressed by the SAPD, that relieving officers from issuing tickets would free them for more patrol duty is callous, to say the least. Or would anybody say they should not pursue a burglar, e.g., so as to be able to patrol the streets more?
According to the report “Bicycling and Walking in the United States: The 2010 Benchmarking Report“, published in January, bicyclists and pedestrians are at a disproportionate risk of being killed while they receive less than their fair share of the money spent on transportation:
“While 10% of trips in the U.S. are by bike or foot, 13% of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians. Biking and walking receive less than 2% of federal transportation dollars. Seniors are at an even greater risk. While adults over 65 make up 9% of walking trips and 4% of biking trips, they account for 19% of pedestrian fatalities and 9% of bicyclist fatalities.”
cf. the press release on the website of the Alliance for Biking and Walking
for the full report, click here
for a fact sheet, click here