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Wednesday, October 01 2014 @ 10:19 PM UTC

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What should the speed limit be for cars in cities?

Biking Elsewhere
Speed limit vs injuries
© Copenhagenize.com

Via Treehugger
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Motorists are at fault in the majority of cycling fatalities

Biking ElsewhereBy Gregory A. Clark, Standard-Examiner

...
But one contributing factor is inappropriate motorist attitude: Roads are for cars, not bikes. Another is that American motorists typically receive little or no penalty for injuring or killing cyclists -- even when the accident is clearly their fault. A third is the lack of cycling infrastructure.

These need to change.

When it comes to attitude, all too often people are ready to blame the victim.

As one commentator put it after another recent local accident, "Often the blame should be shared. ... Cyclists have to do their part to stay out of the way." (Read)
...

Sure, cyclists sometimes fail to obey the letter of the law. Me too. But that is not the major problem. Motorists are at fault in the majority of cycling fatalities.

Nearly every motorist, on nearly every drive, also breaks the law: Failing to come to a complete stop at stop signs, failing to obey the posted speed limit, failing to signal appropriately, and so on. Me too. If receiving respect required giving respect for the letter of the law, then motorists would deserve no respect, either.

Despite our own routine driving infringements, we don't claim that other drivers should be absolved of blame for hitting our cars. Or that roads and infrastructure shouldn't be built or maintained. Or that cars shouldn't be allowed on roads. Yet that is much the attitude many motorists wrongly convey toward bicyclists.

Pedestrians also often violate the letter of the law, crossing in the middle of the street or against red lights. Me too. But that's no excuse for motorists to run them down, or to deny them infrastructure.
...

Instead, pedestrians are correctly presumed to have the legal right-of-way over motorists. That makes sense, given the discrepancies of size, speed, and injury potential between cars and people.

The same legal principle should apply to cyclists. And where that principle has been put into legislation, it works. Such legislation -- with enforcement -- doesn't "result in rampant injustice to drivers ... it results in far fewer accidents." (Read) Nor does it result in rampant law-breaking by cyclists, who must worry about their physical harm far more than about traffic tickets.

Overall, bicycle use reduces, not increases, traffic and parking problems. Traffic jams and slowdowns are caused by too many cars, not by too many cyclists. (Read) Nor are traffic jams caused by the few extra seconds (if any) it takes for drivers to pass slower cyclists.

Further still, bicycle use saves the taxpayer money. That's a kind of "green" that most anyone can love.
...

http://www.standard.net/stories/2014/03/17/bicyclists-improve-our-quality-life
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FHWA Proposes to Let States Fail Their Own Safety Goals With Impunity

Biking Elsewhereby Tanya Snyder, Streets Blog

Secretary Anthony Foxx has made clear that safety — and specifically, safety for bicyclists and pedestrians — is a priority of his administration. If that’s true, his administration sure has a funny way of showing it.

The Federal Highway Administration’s proposal on safety performance measures allows states to fail to meet half their own safety targets without consequences. And it gives the seal of approval to worsening safety performance as long as people in that state are driving more.
...

First, bike and pedestrian advocates are bitterly disappointed that their demand for a separate performance measure on vulnerable road users was not included. “Once again, bicyclists have been left out,” said Bike League President Andy Clarke in a blog post Tuesday. “We know that without a specific target to focus the attention of state DOTs and USDOT on reducing bicyclist and pedestrian deaths within the overall number — we get lost in the shuffle.”
...

More people dying? No problem — just keep driving!
...

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/03/14/fhwa-proposes-to-let-states-fail-their-own-safety-goals-with-impunity/
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Traffic Safety Trends

Biking ElsewhereBy Anne Teigen and Douglas Shinkle

Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 3 and 34. In 2012, highway deaths increased for the first time since 2005, from 32,479 in 2011 to 33,561 in 2012. While motor vehicle deaths in 2012 remain at the same level of fatalities as in 1950, Americans drove approximately the same about of miles in 2012 as they did in 2011, but with a 3.3 percent increase in fatalities. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia saw reductions in overall traffic fatalities (Table 1); in Mississippi, the number of fatalities decreased by 48, or 7.6 percent.
...


Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety

After a few years of declining traffic deaths among bicyclists and pedestrians, the past few years have witnessed an increase in deaths for these groups. In 2012, pedestrian deaths rose from 4,457 deaths in 2011 to 4,743 deaths in 2012 (an increase of 6.4 percent), while bicyclist deaths increased from 682 to 726 (an increase of 6.5 percent). Injuries increased as well, by 10 percent for pedestrians, to around 76,000, and by 2.1 percent, to about 49,000 for bicyclists. Alcohol use continues to increase the risk of injury or death for pedestrians and cyclists; 37 percent of pedestrians killed in 2011 (the year with the most recent data), had blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal driving limit of .08, although that has declined from 44 percent of pedestrians in the early ‘80s.

Due largely to the success in decreasing vehicle deaths, the proportion of bicyclist and pedestrian traffic deaths has increased significantly; according to the newest data from the NHTSA passenger vehicle deaths now account for 65 percent of traffic deaths, down from 75 percent in 2003, while the proportion of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities increased from 13 percent of deaths to 17 percent [22 percent for Maryland]. Common legislative strategies to enhance traffic safety for pedestrians and bicyclists include vulnerable user laws, complete streets, safe bicycling passing laws, and yield to pedestrian laws.

Vulnerable Users

A number of states [but not Maryland] considered legislation to assess stiffer penalties for traffic incidents that cause harm or death to vulnerable users, but Utah was the only one to enact such legislation in 2013. The Utah law defines a vulnerable user as a pedestrian; a person riding an animal; or a person operating a skateboard, wheelchair, bicycle, moped, motorcycle and other devices. A motorist may not distract, force, or attempt to distract or force a vulnerable user off the roadway with the intent of causing injury. Violating this law can result in fines of up to $750 and up to 90 days in jail; in the case of a violation resulting in injury to a vulnerable user, the penalty can be fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
...

http://www.ncsl.org/documents/transportation/2013Trafficsafetytrends.pdf
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Cycling is good for you part 2,869: vigorous exercise reduces flu risk, study suggests

Biking Elsewhereby John Stevenson , Road.CC

It’s well known that being fit and active reduces your risk of heart problems and a host of other diseases of a sedentary lifestyle. A new study suggests that at least two and a half hours of vigorous exercise a week - including what the authors term ‘fast cycling’ - cuts the risk of catching flu by around 10% too.

But gentle activity has little effect; the activity has to be hard enough that it makes you sweat or breathe hard, according to experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
...

http://road.cc/content/news/114369-cycling-good-you-part-2869-vigorous-exercise-reduces-flu-risk-study-suggests
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An Advocate’s Guide to Elections

Biking ElsewhereB' Spokes: A sample of what I would love to see around here.
***********************************************************************
By Darren Flusche, Policy Director, League of American Bicyclists

...
Bike Delaware

In 2010, Bike Delaware surveyed all candidates running for the state’s General Assembly. The survey included questions related to the appreciation of the benefits of bicycling and ended with direct questions about the candidates’ willingness to dedicate state funds to bicycling and walking. The responses indicated widespread support for dedicated state funding for bicycling and walking.

Encouraged by this, Bike Delaware and their health partners launched the successful “Walkable, Bikeable Delaware” campaign. The governor and the General Assembly have since committed over $20 million dollars of state funds to bicycling and walking projects.

Bike Delaware published the results online:
http://www.bikede.org/2010/10/26/results-of-2010-survey-of-delaware-general-assembly-candidates/

2010 Bike Delaware Survey

On a scale of 1 to 5, rank your support of the following statements, with one being ‘strongly agree’ and five being ‘strongly disagree’:

1. I supported or agreed with the recently passed “Vulnerable Users Bill”:
http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis145.nsf/vwLegislation/SB+269/$file/legis.html

2. I believe that increased use of ‘active’ modes of transportation (i.e. walking and bicycling) improves public health.

3. I believe that investing in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure saves people money by allowing them to spend a smaller percentage of their household budgets on transportation; and makes Delaware’s economy less vulnerable to disruption from oil price shocks.

4. I support greater state transportation spending on walking and bicycling.

5. A minimum percentage of state transportation funding should be dedicated to the development of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and facilities.
...

http://www.advocacyadvance.org/site_images/content/Election_Guide_Final(web2).pdf
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AA uses naked cyclist to launch #thinkbikes wing-mirror campaign

Biking ElsewhereB' Spokes: I laughed at this.

http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/aa-uses-naked-cyclist-to-launch-thinkbikes-wing-mirror-campaign/016117
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‘The Pied Piper for sustainable transportation’ and his radical idea: Put people first

Biking ElsewhereBy CHRISTINE MCLAREN, The Globe and Mail

...
He has also lived his message: Mr. Penalosa, 57, helped to transform Bogota when he served as the Colombian capital’s commissioner of parks and recreation in the late 1990s. He has since become an evangelist for livable cities that put people, not cars, at the centre of planning. As the executive director of Toronto-based non-profit 8-80 Cities, he has worked with more than 150 cities on every continent, convincing them that rapid improvements to mass transit, bike lanes and pedestrian walkways are not as impossible as they may think.
...

Many politicians are also “timid,” he adds. “The minute they’re elected, they’re thinking about how to get re-elected, and the way to get re-elected is to do more of the same. Maybe a little bit better but more of the same. But unfortunately now we not only have to focus on doing things right, but also we need to focus on doing the right things.”
...

“It’s not about walking or cycling or parks or sidewalks,” he says. “Those are the means. The end goal is how to create a vibrant city with healthy communities, where the citizens are going to be happier.”
...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/the-pied-piper-for-sustainable-transportation-and-his-radical-idea-put-people-first/article17496623/
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1 mile of a protected bike lane is 100x cheaper than 1 mile of roadway (Chart)

Biking ElsewhereB' Spokes: Before I share the following article I thought I would share some other absurdisms working against us.

1) Speed of travel is the ultimate priority.
Which would be like saying I know someone with a Ferrari who zips around town, I would like to zip around town too so I need a new Ferrari and my 10 year old car is no longer good enough.
So freeways and freeway like roads are like Ferraris, expensive and really not practical for everyday use.

2) We have a huge backlog of car centric projects that total billions of dollars. So if we don't accommodate bikes and peds over a hundred years we'll saved enough to get one year of car centric projects for free.
This is like trying to afford a Hawaiian vacation by squeezing the last drop out of your toothpaste tube. Sure you are saving money by doing that but the reality is what you can purchase from that kind of savings plan cannot be anywhere near the cost of the toothpaste or the cost of the road project. We are skimping on road projects to appear frugal while buying a Ferrari. Does that make any sense?

3) The greatest need is based on what's the most expensive.
This would be like the government analyzing your food budget and seeing that you spent a lot on steaks saying you need to cut out fruit and vegetables so you can purchase more steaks. Now go ahead and try to refute the argument that most people like steaks so this is fair (like the argument that most people like to drive.)
This is a false argument that we are forced into, the argument is what is the best balance for what we can afford.
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By Zachary Shahan, Tree Hugger

One of the most hilarious (or, hilariously illogical) attacks on expanding bicycle infrastructure that I've seen repeatedly pop up over the years is the idea that "bicycle infrastructure costs too much." It only takes a few moments to reflect and put such costs into perspective.

For one, bikes are clearly much smaller and lighter than cars or trucks. So, the space needed to accommodate bicyclists is obviously much smaller, and the repairs needed from deterioration are also smaller. Furthermore, as you attract more people to bicycling, that pulls people out of their cars, reducing the deterioration and eventual repair costs of the car lanes. Naturally, the benefits improve even further when we think about bridges.
...

**********************************************************************************************************************
See the article for the chart and be prepared to do a lot of scrolling to see where the cost of car projects ends.
http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/1-mile-protected-bike-lane-100x-cheaper-1-mile-roadway-chart.html



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Take Action: Bicyclist Safety MUST Be a Priority

Biking ElsewhereB' Spokes: Why this is important for Maryland:

image
Source: FARS States | Pedestrians

And note that bike/ped fatales make up 22% of Maryland road fatalities. image
Source: FARS States

And our ranking with bicycling and pedestrian fatality rates combined:
StatePedestrians KilledPedacyclists KilledPopulation (Thousands)"Pedestrian Fatality Rate per 100,000 Population""Pedacyclist Fatality Rate per 100,000 Population"Total (Pedestrians + Pedacyclist)Rank
Florida490125190582.570.663.2351
South Carolina1131546792.410.322.7350
Arizona1472364832.270.352.6249
Louisiana881845751.920.392.3148
New Mexico41420821.970.192.1647
Delaware1809071.9801.9846
California625114376921.660.31.9645
North Carolina1602596561.660.261.9244
Nevada46427231.690.151.8443
Maryland102558281.750.091.8442
Source: Car Insurance Comparison

Even the U.S. Transportation Secretary says he won't tolerate 'crisis' in bicyclist deaths

Additional info about your representatives from LAB:
In the House (Chris Van Hollen did a lot better than the others.)
In the Senate (With Ben Cardin standing out a bit better.)
From League of American Wheelmen, Inc.

Once again, bicyclists have been left out.

This morning, the federal government released a traffic safety proposal that turns a blind eye to the rising number of bicyclist and pedestrians deaths.

Last week, 700 participants at the National Bike Summit visited their members of Congress and asked them to sign on to a critical bill that would require the U.S. Department of Transportation establish a specific target to improve the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. Months ago, we mobilized bicyclists behind this bill because we knew DOT was unlikely to do this on their own.

Today, unfortunately, we were proven right.

The DOT just issued a proposed national traffic safety goal that doesn't include a specific target or goal for reducing the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed on our roadways.
 
We know that without a specific target to focus the attention of state DOTs and USDOT on reducing bicyclist and pedestrian deaths within the overall number -- we get lost in the shuffle. At a time when cities like New York and San Francisco are adopting bold targets like Vision Zero, we believe the federal government should be expecting the same thing of themselves and state transportation agencies. 
 
Please ask your members of Congress to sign on to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act: HR 3494 / S 1708. If you just attended the National Bike Summit, it's the perfect excuse to follow up your meeting with a "Thank you" and a reminder of your request. If you weren't at the Summit, it's a great way to make your voice heard on this important issue. 
 
Next week, we'll ask for your help in responding directly to the DOT's proposed safety target. Today, please join us in making sure your member of Congress supports a national goal to reduce the number of bicyclists and pedestrians injured and killed on our roads.
image

Sincerely,

Andy Clarke
President, League of American Bicyclists


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