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Tuesday, May 24 2016 @ 09:48 AM UTC

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Careful jaywalking saves lives

Biking Elsewhereby Ben Ross, Greater Greater Washington

To make streets walkable, we need to re-think the basic principles of how people on foot and people in cars share the roadway. This is the first of a multi-part opinion series.
Pedestrians put themselves in danger if they wait for a walk signal instead of crossing the street whenever and wherever it looks safest. There are no definitive studies, but that is what available evidence strongly suggests.
...

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/30411/careful-jaywalking-saves-lives/
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SURVEY IDENTIFIES MAYORS’ BIKING INFRASTRUCTURE PRIORITIES

Biking Elsewhere-> Among the key findings in the recently released "2015 Menino Survey of Mayors" (http://bit.ly/1nxr8Xu), Mayors cited the need to fix crumbling roads, grow mass transit, and repair water infrastructure, as well as a desire to improve pedestrian and bike infrastructure: "Mayors express strong support for improved accessibility for cyclists even if it means sacrificing parking or driving lanes, in addition to naming bike infrastructure as key funding priority. More than 70% of mayors supported the tradeoff favoring improved bike accessibility in their city, even if it comes at the expense of parking and driving lanes. Democratic and Republican mayors differ in their level of support for street designs that favor cyclists over drivers, with 44% of Republican mayors and 81% of Democratic ones endorsing improved bike accessibility. http://bit.ly/1PRXlza

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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A PSA About Biking to Work That Needs No Translation

Biking ElsewhereVia Streets Blog

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2015/10/27/a-psa-about-biking-to-work-that-needs-no-translation/

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Don’t demonize driving—just stop subsidizing it

Biking ElsewhereBy Joe Cortright, City Observatory

At City Observatory, we try to stick to a wonky, data-driven approach to all things urban. But numbers don’t mean much without a framework to explain them, and so today we want to quickly talk about one of those rhetorical frameworks: specifically, how we talk about driving.

Our wonky perspective tells us that there are lots of problems that stem from the way we use cars: We price roads wrong, so people over use them. Cars are a major source of air pollution, including the carbon emissions that are causing climate change. Car crashes kill tens of thousands of Americans every year, injure many more, and cost us billions in medical costs and property damage. And building our cities to accommodate cars leads to sprawl that pushes us further apart from one another.

But the problem is not that cars (or the people who drive them) are evil, but that we use them too much, and in dangerous ways. And that’s because we’ve put in place incentives and infrastructure that encourage, or even require, us to do so. When we subsidize roads, socialize the costs of pollution, crashes and parking, and even legally require that our communities be built in ways that make it impossible to live without a car, we send people strong signals to buy and own cars and to drive—a lot. As a result, we drive too much, and frequently at unsafe speeds given the urban environment.
...

http://cityobservatory.org/dont-demonize-driving-just-stop-subsidizing-it/
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USDOT to shut down nation’s roads, citing safety concerns

Biking ElsewhereBy Daniel Hertz, City Observatory

WASHINGTON, DC – Citing safety concerns, today Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced he was contemplating the closure of roads to all private vehicles in nearly every city in the country until he could assure the nation’s drivers that they would be safe behind the wheel.

The announcement comes on the heels of comments by Secretary Foxx that the Department of Transportation may shut down the Washington Metro heavy rail system because of ongoing safety issues.
...

http://cityobservatory.org/usdot-to-shut-down-nations-roads-citing-safety-concerns/

[B' Spokes: What if our road system was run like Washington's Metro and the loss of life was a concern?]
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5 Strategies for Equitable Active Transportation Planning and Advocacy

Biking Elsewhereby Naomi Doerner, Streets Blog

[B' Spokes: Just the headings]

Acknowledge that bicycle infrastructure is wrapped up in larger development processes spurring gentrification, which has in many cases been done on purpose.

Engage people and communities in a real way.

Be an advocate for communities, not just bikes.

Advocates and planners need cultural competency training and education.

“Stay Woke or Wake Up”

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2016/03/18/5-strategies-for-equitable-active-transportation-planning-and-advocacy/
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Why Isn’t It a Crime To Kill a Cyclist with a Car?

Biking ElsewhereBY Andrew Zaleski, Next City

...
His fear would soon turn to anger when he realized that local police had no interest in pursuing charges against the woman who nearly killed his wife. After the State Highway Patrol’s investigation concluded that there were no grounds for felony charges, the district attorney also demurred from pressing charges.

“As far as the state of Mississippi goes, you could be an armadillo hit on the road, and the state treats you just the same as a… cyclist,” Morgan says.

“When we turned around. Her boyfriend was screaming, ‘Oh my God, she’s run over her!’”
...

“She should not have been found guilty of a crime because she did not commit a crime,” said Norton’s attorney, C. Marty Haug. “Criminal law punishes bad intentions and bad acts, not traffic accidents.”

...
In a country where the national highway system was designed for the automobile, it’s unsurprising that the legal system also prioritizes the car. Still, the number of Americans who commute by bicycle jumped by 64 percent — to 765,703 — between 1990 and 2009, and in many parts of the country cyclists ride on dedicated bike lanes and lock up on publicly subsidized bike racks. But the laws protecting them lag behind. In most states, for instance, the only law explicitly addressing bike safety is a safe passing law requiring drivers to give cyclists a cushion of anywhere from two to four feet. In only three states is it a felony offense to maim or fatally injure a biker or pedestrian if you are behind the wheel of a car. And in nearly every state, getting police or the courts to prosecute a negligent driver for harming a cyclist is a serious challenge, attorneys and cycling advocates say.
...

By all indicators, New York’s low prosecution rate is not an anomaly, but rather a reflection of national patterns. Yet there is no sure way to know. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps track of cyclists killed by motorists — 726 in 2012 — there’s no corollary database of how motorists were charged, if at all. For state governments, there are no guarantees that transportation officials are in touch with law enforcement officials who track court cases.

“Many states do not aggregate citation statistics in a manner that makes it easy to understand how laws protecting cyclists, such as three-foot laws, are being enforced,” says Ken McLeod, a legal specialist with the League of American Bicyclists.

The absence of data, compounded with the patchwork of local laws and varying understandings of cyclist rights across the country, means few solid protections for the Jan Morgans of the world. A fine of $100 is the penalty for a first-time offense of the three-foot rule in Mississippi, even if the offense endangered a life. For a third offense, a $2,500 charge is levied along with seven days in the county lockup if, that is, the police and courts decide the charge is worth the time. Even with the law, however, there is no state database keeping track of three-foot violations and subsequent enforcement.

“What happened to Jan is not an accident,” says Peter Wilborn, a trial lawyer and founder of Bike Law, a South Carolina-based firm that represents cyclists in court. “This is what happens when drivers are lawless.”
...

“Generally, our lawmakers, our judges, our officers tend to just think that car accidents happen — they’re the inevitable product of living in a modern society with cars and trucks,” says Juan Martinez, general counsel at Transportation Alternatives, a New York-based non-profit that advocates for better road safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

Martinez argues that traffic accidents are entirely preventable, if only the causes of them were actively enforced. The New York City Police Department, for example, issued more than 96,000 citations to drivers in 2012 for excessive window tinting, which wasn’t an influence in any fatal or injurious crashes. By comparison, according to a October 2013 Transportation Alternatives report, the NYPD issued fewer than 12 summonses a month in 2012 to drivers who failed to yield, one of the leading causes of injurious crashes in New York.
...

“I can’t walk into a courtroom and expect twelve jurors to be sympathetic to a cyclist. The first thing that goes through their mind is: What did the cyclist do wrong?”
[B' Spokes: Combonded with some think (not artticulated) the law is, where ever a cyclists was if they could have been somewhere else out of the way then the cyclists is at fault.]
...

https://nextcity.org/features/view/how-much-is-a-cyclists-life-worth-anyway
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“Shared Responsibility” messaging ignores our Basic Human Responsibilites – to look out for the more vulnerable among us.

Biking ElsewhereBy MRBIKESABUNCH

...
Lately, there’s been a barrage of messaging from various agencies, whether they be in Ontario or beyond, taking aim at the behaviours of people walking and cycling. From messages about wearing bright, reflective clothing to talking about the (invented) scourge of distracted walking to asking pedestrians to remove their earbuds while walking, much of the focus of these messages are on the behaviours of people walking.

Now let’s be clear – people do have a responsibility to look out for their own safety. I don’t advocate wearing headphones, blaring loud music while playing Candy Crush on your phone and walking out into free-flowing traffic. But to continuously shift the onus onto people walking by demonizing the very things that make walking so enjoyable – listening to music, staring up at the buildings, enjoying conversations and the sights and sounds of your environment, the ability to simply get up and go without needing to strap on lights, reflective safety vests and protective helmets, belies the fact that the vast majority of injuries to people walking occur because the person driving didn’t obey the law. They most often failed to yield the right of way at an intersection, although there are lots of other causes as well.

One of the worst examples of this culture of victim-blaming I’ve seen to date came, unfortunately, from Peel Regional Police. During their “Pedestrian Safety Week“, Peel Police offer such gems of advice like “Don’t rely solely on traffic signals or stop signs. Ensure that it is safe to cross the road before crossing”. At the end of their list of advice, which includes the usual “wear reflective clothing”, “cross at crosswalks” and other helpful tips, they offer one last piece of counsel, just in case there was any remaining doubt that their campaign has little interest in tackling the root cause of injuries to people walking – dangerous behaviours by people driving.

Let that sink in for a second. Rather than running a campaign to encourage people driving to drive more attentively, to be extra careful of people walking and to always, as a default, yield the right of way to a more vulnerable road user, the police emphasize that, as someone who is not encased in a metal box, you need to be extra vigilant to protect yourself against those who would break the law and fail to yield the right of way, potentially endangering your life.
...

https://mrbikesabunch.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/shared-responsibility-messaging-ignores-our-basic-human-responsibilites-to-look-out-for-the-more-vulnerable-among-us/





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Being Too Cautious While Biking On the Road Can Actually Be Dangerous

Biking ElsewhereBy Patrick Allan, Life Hacker

Nervous cyclists who stay closer to the side of the road in hopes they won’t get hit might actually be making their bike commute more unsafe. You’re better off being loud and in the way—even if it might seem a little annoying.
...

http://lifehacker.com/being-too-cautious-while-biking-on-the-road-can-actuall-1774777537

[B' Spokes: Being assertive is the only way to be around aggressive drivers.]
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Traffic Engineers Still Rely on a Flawed 1970s Study to Reject Crosswalks

Biking Elsewhereby Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

"When St. Louis decided not to maintain colorful new crosswalks that residents had painted, the city’s pedestrian coordinator cited federal guidance. A 2011 FHWA memo warns that colorful designs could “create a false sense of security” for pedestrians and motorists."

"That may sound like unremarkable bureaucrat-speak, but the phrase “false sense of security” is actually a cornerstone of American engineering guidance on pedestrian safety."

...

"In 1972, a researcher named Bruce Herms conducted a study of crosswalk safety in San Diego. He found that intersections with marked crosswalks had higher injury rates than ones with unmarked crosswalks. He concluded that marked crosswalks should only be installed where they are “warranted” because they can give pedestrians a “false sense of security,” encouraging risky behavior."

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2016/02/12/traffic-engineers-still-rely-on-a-flawed-1970s-study-to-refuse-crosswalks/
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