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Tuesday, September 30 2014 @ 01:49 PM UTC

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The solution to too many cars.

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http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=too_many_cars
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Just because drivers complain does not make it illegal

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I am Traffic
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Why US Pedestrian Safety Remains Elusive

Biking ElsewhereBy Klaus Philipsen, Community Architect


Even though overall traffic fatalities continue to fall, pedestrian deaths not only stayed stubbornly high, they even increased in some areas. How come?

The first guess may be technology. While improved vehicle safety protects the life of the driver and passenger better and better, those outside the vehicle, primarily bicyclists and pedestrians, are left out. Even worse, the bigger, faster, and quieter that cars and SUVs have become, the more they have mutated into effective killing machines for those who are in their way. The safer the roads are made for driving (curves, straightened, sightlines improved, trees felled etc.) the more drivers are lulled into a false sense of security and the faster cars can safely go – both possibly to the detriment of the pedestrian.

That the pedestrian carnage isn't an immutable price one has to pay for technological progress becomes obvious if one realizes that there are significant differences in pedestrian safety between different countries and states, between rural areas and cities, and between the various "cultures" of how to plan and design villages, towns, cities and suburbs. My home state Maryland has 1.75 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents, a fatality rate almost twice that of Massachusetts (0.88). In fact we are among the most unsafe states: only Florida, New Mexico and Puerto Rico are significantly worse. What are the safer states doing that the others are not? What can be done to make walking safer and what have those states with the low crash rates done right?

Some think that education is the answer. In the Baltimore area, a current billboard campaign advocates "smart walking," with drastic images showing a person lying in the street in front of a car. The flaw of this campaign is obvious – the message seeks to address the problem by placing the blame on "dumb" walking, a clear case of blaming the victim, a strategy well know from campaigns that try to curb violence against women. Ironically, those billboards for "smart walking" are placed along arteries for the benefit of drivers who, peering through their windshields, probably don't identify themselves as the intended target. Thus, the blame is even further shifted from where the real responsibility lies: the drivers. While education is always good, it needs to address the root cause of the problem which is likely not just the wrong behavior.


Maybe it isn't dumb walking as much as dumb street design that lies at the heart of the matter. The low pedestrian fatalities in some areas are likely not caused by brighter pedestrians that just walk smarter; it is equally unlikely that the drivers are just smarter there.
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http://archplanbaltimore.blogspot.com/2014/08/why-us-pedestrian-safety-remains-elusive.htm
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Pushing buttons gets pedestrians nowhere in downtown Dallas

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: Can you imagine as a pedestrian being accommodated automatically at intersections just like a car? (I will note this is similar to my request on the Reisterstown streetscape,) Phase out pedestrian "beg buttons" makes a lot of sense as this article points out.]
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By DANIELLE GROBMEIER, Dallas News

...
Many other cities, including New York and Boston, have gone to pre-timed lights or similar systems that they say ensure a safer and more consistent traffic flow at crosswalks. Doing so means the push buttons become purely decorative or, as described by a New Yorker, “mechanical placebos.”
...


He said busy intersections would have push buttons deteriorate faster. And if they’re mechanical buttons, that could happen in a little over a year.

Majumdar said the city might get complaints about the nonworking buttons [they are not fixed unless someone complains] But he said the pre-timed signals are safer for pedestrians.
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http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20140730-pushing-buttons-gets-pedestrians-nowhere-in-downtown-dallas.ece
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Let's stop calling the killing of cyclists by negligent drivers "accidents"

Biking ElsewhereBy Lloyd Alter, Treehugger

Rising Canadian squash star Adrian Dudzicki was murdered yesterday by Aleksey Aleksev, while riding his bicycle to practice in Toronto. The weapon was a 1992 BMW 325; Aleksev has been charged with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death.

Yet Canada's most respected newspaper, the Globe and Mail, has the headline Star squash player killed in accident while cycling in Toronto and the copy starts:

"One of Canada’s top squash players has died after being hit by a car while cycling in Toronto."

"Squash Canada confirmed in a release that Ottawa’s Adrian Dudzicki died from injuries sustained in an accident on Wednesday when a vehicle struck him as he rode his bicycle to the National Squash Academy."


Interesting language. If a driver is charged with criminal negligence causing death, is it an "accident"? Did the BMW kill Adrian or did Aleksey Aleksev?

"Words are powerful. They shape the way we see the world around us."
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http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/lets-stop-calling-murder-cyclists-people-driving-bmws-accidents.html
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When Road Rage Strikes: Taking Control

Biking ElsewhereGood advice from Bob Mionske

http://blogs.bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/when-road-rage-strikes-taking-control

"And too often, when the aggressive driver’s target is a cyclist, our society’s response to that behavior is insultingly inadequate for the wrong committed."
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Complete Streets Save NYC Taxpayers Money

Biking Elsewhereby Stephen Miller, Streets Blog

Each year, the city comptroller issues a report on claims settled for and against the city, showing how much New York spends on personal injury and property-damage judgments. Every year, there’s a similar story: Damages from crashes involving drivers of city vehicles rank as one of the top money-losers for taxpayers. A report issued this week by Comptroller Scott Stringer [PDF] is no exception, singling out complete streets as a tool to reduce claims.

While claims against the city have held mostly steady since 2003, motor vehicle claims are down 13 percent to $91.2 million during fiscal year 2013. One potential factor: street design. “NYC DOT has been a national leader in working to transform our roads into ‘complete streets’ that serve a variety of users,” the report says. ”This is not only smart transportation policy, it is also an intelligent way to drive down claims costs.”

Stringer cites a 2006 Federal Highway Administration report on risk management: ”With every passing year, the courts become less and less sympathetic to agencies that have not understood the message: bicyclists and pedestrians are intended users of the roadway.”
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http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/07/11/stringer-complete-streets-save-city-money/
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Why isn’t LAPD ticketing drivers in the crosswalk?

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: I wonder if this is our problem as well?]
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Via Los Angeles Walks

Earlier this year, we published a response to the LAPD jaywalking crackdown asking officers to please focus their energy on ticketing drivers who were blocking or in some cases blatantly driving through a crosswalk while pedestrians were present—something we saw and documented as a far bigger safety issue on downtown streets. Two weeks ago, Melanie Freeland was verbally berated and nearly hit by a driver who purposely sped through a crosswalk, then dismissed by a police officer who saw the entire incident. We asked Melanie to share her story, as well as the letter she sent to LAPD.
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He said, “I did. Did you hear me hit my PA?” I said no, at which time he asked if I was okay and why I was “blocking traffic.” To be clear, he specifically asked if I was on any medication.

I explained I was in the crosswalk to cross the street with a clear walk signal—he was at the same red light waiting—and that the car nearly hit me, then threatened me verbally and threatened me with his vehicle. He explained that he had seen the driver lean out the window but couldn’t hear what he said or the events preceeding, that so had assumed I was blocking traffic, thus why he had hit the PA.
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He told me that unless someone was injured then a ticket could not be issued. I requested a follow up and left him with my information and the information of the car and driver.
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http://www.losangeleswalks.org/why-isnt-lapd-ticketing-drivers-in-the-crosswalk/
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"Bicycle Bully" Column Prompts Protest at Post

Biking ElsewhereVia CSN Baltimore

Dozens of bicyclists protested outside The Washington Post Thursday over a Courtland Milloy column that they say incited violence against them.
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"I thought the article was an incitement to violence," said Jim McCarthy, a D.C. cyclist. "I'd like to see Milloy be fired. I thought the article was totally irresponsible."
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Mike Forster, the protest organizer, said that the protesters "don't want to be characterized by lazy opinion writers."
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http://www.csnbaltimore.com/article/bicycle-bully-column-prompts-protest-post
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Four surprising ways a video camera could be your most valuable riding partner

Biking ElsewhereBy Bob Mionske, Bicycling

I call it the SWSS, or Single-Witness Suicide Swerve: A careless driver injures a cyclist, then claims that the rider careened into his or her car. With no witnesses, it's difficult for the cyclist to prove what happened. Sometimes the rider is knocked unconscious and has no recollection of the collision, and the driver's version of the story is the only one that ends up in the police report. Then there's that minority of drivers who use their automobiles to bully and assault cyclists. Unless there are independent observers, calling the police on these motorized criminals likely won't accomplish anything; officers usually will not file charges against a driver if it's a case of the cyclist's word against the motorist's. But if you bring a video camera along for the ride, the balance of power may change. Here are four compelling reasons to hit "record" the next time you hit the road.
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http://blogs.bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/its-playback-time
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