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Thursday, October 19 2017 @ 01:49 AM UTC

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Media reports on cyclist fatalities shift blame from drivers to riders, says researcher

Biking Elsewhereby Simon MacMichael, Road cc

The way many media outlets report road traffic collisions in which someone riding a bike is the victim can provoke strong emotions in the cycling community – and research by a PhD candidate in Canada has found that typically, the way such incidents are reported often shift responsibility away from the motorist towards the bike rider.
...

http://road.cc/content/news/226710-media-reports-cyclist-fatalities-shift-blame-drivers-riders-says-researcher

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Dumb and Dumber: America's Driver Education is Failing Us All

Biking ElsewhereBY MARK RECHTIN, Motor Trend

Driver’s education is usually taught in high school health class. In those very same underfunded schools that can barely afford math and science textbooks, we are trying to teach adolescents how to pilot two-ton death machines.
...

An eight-year study by the University of Nebraska showed that young drivers who dodged proper driver’s education are 75 percent more likely to get a traffic ticket, 24 percent more likely to be involved in an accident causing death or injury, and 16 percent more likely to have an accident of any kind. And that’s with our bare-bones system in place.

By comparison, a German driver’s license requires a minimum of 25 to 45 hours of professional driving instruction plus 12 hours of theory and eight hours of first aid training. In other words, you know what you are doing when you get your first set of car keys. Comparable German and U.S. federal data shows that young American drivers’ injury-crash rates have declined only slightly since 1990 while young German drivers’ injury-crash rates have dropped by more than half in the same period.

How our DMVs handle failure is appalling, too. When California discovered that only 45 percent of applicants passed its written test, rather than requiring better driver education, its DMV essentially made the test easier.

In America, we treat a driver’s license as a right, not a privilege. We beta-test our children on the open road, and the results are no surprise: The fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16- to 19-year-olds is triple the rate for the rest of the population, according to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

What’s more, newly minted 16- to 17-year-olds are twice as likely to die in crashes as 18- to 19-year-olds are. How many times does a young driver’s first brush with hydroplaning or an icy road result in an accident? Was it because behind-the-wheel instruction never required such training?
,,,

This lack of road knowledge continues as people age. An online test created by an insurance clearinghouse shows that more than half of all Americans of any driving age are still unable to pass a standard rules of the road test.
...

The Cheap Insurance folks broke out the test performance data by age range, and it asserted that pretty much everyone lacks requisite automotive knowledge: Not only do Americans not know what they are doing behind the wheel, but they also don’t know they are doing it wrong.

Given that the DMV basically rubber-stamps driver’s license renewals, is it any wonder that no one bothers to brush up on their knowledge or skills? Perhaps it’s time for America to re-evaluate what is required to be allowed to pilot death machines down our nation’s roads.

http://www.motortrend.com/news/dumb-dumber-americas-driver-education-failing-us-reference-mark/
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Improving Biking Is as Much About Slowing Cars as Building Better Bike Lanes

Biking ElsewhereBy Michael Andersen, PlacesForBikes, via Streets Blog

Since its founding 50 years ago, the top U.S. agency for investigating transportation injuries had been surprisingly quiet about a phenomenon that’s behind 30 percent of U.S. traffic fatalities.

Like much of the country’s transportation safety establishment, the National Transportation Safety Board had frequently avoided the subject of the speed of private cars. It did so even though the issue has been coming up since the very first collision the agency investigated, in Joliet, Illinois, in 1967.

Avoided the subject until this summer, that is.

In its groundbreaking report released in full last week, the federal agency laid the foundations for a major rethinking of transportation safety practices. The big idea in short, as Kathleen Ferrier puts it: “speed kills.”
,,,

“I’ve been a bike/ped advocate for years and we’ve talked more about safe design than about speed,” Ferrier said.

One of the most important parts of bike infrastructure is invisible
,,,

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/08/28/improving-biking-is-as-much-about-slowing-cars-as-building-better-bike-lanes/
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Pedestrian-shaming campaigns have got to stop

Biking ElsewhereBY ALISSA WALKER, Curbed

...
A campaign that launched today is the newest misguided attempt to prevent traffic deaths by shaming pedestrians—not by addressing the root causes of our country’s frightening epidemic: too many drivers using increasingly inadequate infrastructure.
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https://www.curbed.com/platform/amp/2016/10/28/13455962/pedestrian-shaming-streets-safety-campaigns
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EVERYONE KNOWS WE HAVE A TRAFFIC PROBLEM

Biking ElsewhereBY DANIEL HERRIGES, Strong Towns

...
This dynamic should be familiar. If you've waded into local politics around growth and development almost anywhere, "traffic" is a drum that citizen activists love to beat. It makes sense: traffic is one of the most visible aspects of quality of life that local government is in a position to affect for better or worse. It matters.

So let's talk about traffic. It's a truism that people in every city believe they have a traffic problem (just like everyone believes they don't have enough parking). But for all the talk of traffic problems down here, I've heard comparatively few viable solutions, and I suspect part of that is because we so rarely bother to really define the problem.
...

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/3/16/everyone-knows-we-have-a-traffic-problem

[B' Spokes: A lot of good points in here, amazing what can be gleaned from just defining the problem. ]

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MI DOT GATEWAY PEDESTRIAN TREATMENT GUIDE

Biking Elsewhere-> MI DOT released its "User Guide for R1-6 Gateway Treatment for Pedestrian Crossings." The R1-6 Gateway Treatment consists of In-Street Pedestrians signs used across an entire roadway – lane lines, center lines, bike lane lines, medians, etc. to highlight a marked pedestrian crosswalk. The perceived narrowing of the road is one factor influencing the treatments efficacy. Research data show that when appropriately used, the gateway treatment increases driver yielding compliance from 0-10% to 60-100%. Data also show that driving speeds are reduced around these devices, regardless of pedestrian presence. These results have been sustained over time and suggestions are included in the guide to increase survivability for maintenance. http://bit.ly/2oLVjfb

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.

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THE INVENTION OF JAYWALKING

Biking Elsewhere-> A CityLab article presents the forgotten history of how the auto industry won the right of way for cars. Browse through New York Times accounts of pedestrians dying after being struck by automobiles prior to 1930, and you’ll see that in nearly every case, the driver is charged with something like "technical manslaughter." And it wasn’t just New York. Across the country, drivers were held criminally responsible when they killed or injured people with their vehicles. In the automobile’s earliest years, the principles of common law applied to crashes. In the case of a collision, the larger, heavier vehicle was deemed to be at fault. The responsibility for crashes always lay with the driver. The auto industry lobbied to change the law, promoting the adoption of traffic statutes to supplant common law. The statutes were designed to restrict pedestrian use of the street and give primacy to cars. The idea of "jaywalking" – a concept that had not really existed prior to 1920 – was enshrined in law. http://bit.ly/2pz6gUr

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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NTSB: Speed Kills, and We’re Not Doing Enough to Stop It

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: My prominent thought after reading this is why not have have a program that after your second speeding ticket you are required to have a governor on your our car, much like the Ignition Interlock program for DUI, we have the technology but no one is pushing it.]

By Stephen Miller, Streets Blog

More than 112,500 people lost their lives in speed-related crashes from 2005 to 2014, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic deaths in America over that period. In a draft report released earlier this week, the National Transportation Safety Board says excessive speed is a deadly problem in our nation’s transportation system — one that federal and state officials aren’t doing enough to address.
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The NTSB’s 19 recommendations should be a wake-up call, especially to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), state legislatures, and transportation and police departments across the country.
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The way motorists think about speed also needs to change. Using GPS or sign-reading sensors, cars can now alert drivers when they’re speeding, and even prevent motorists from exceeding the limit. The NTSB said the availability of these features should be included in car safety ratings, but didn’t endorse them as mandatory equipment.
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There’s also a need for better speed camera technology, the NTSB says. The United States relies on fixed site cameras, but “point-to-point” enforcement, which tracks vehicle speed over a greater distance, has proven effective in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand and should be used and evaluated here.
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“For too long, proven policies to reduce speeding in our communities have been held hostage by outdated standards, costing more than 10,000 lives lost each year,” said Leah Shahum, director of the Vision Zero Network. “We urge every state and community to adopt NTSB’s recommendations to stem the tide of preventable suffering on our roadways.”
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http://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/07/27/ntsb-speed-kills-and-were-not-doing-enough-to-stop-it/
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How fire chiefs and traffic engineers make places less safe

Biking in BaltimoreBy STEVE MOUZON , CNU

[B' Spokes: Mostly about the fire department's effort in Florida to remove street trees but still he makes a great point:]

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On the divide between traffic safety and fire safety, consider this: if you only count deaths by automobile of people walking and people cycling, that’s 19.4 per million in the US, which is almost 50% more than the egregious 12.4 per million deaths by fire in the US each year. To be really blunt, if every fire department in the US closed up shop and dedicated themselves to reducing deaths of people walking and biking to zero, 2,100 lives would be saved in the US every year. Over my lifetime of 57 years, 119,700 people we’ve buried or cremated would have lived instead, with not a single fire station open in the US. To be clear, I’m not advocating for that. What I am advocating for is for fire chiefs and fire marshals to open their eyes and realize that when they do something in the interest of fire safety that damages walking and biking safety, they’re likely killing people!
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https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2017/03/27/how-fire-chiefs-and-traffic-engineers-make-places-less-safe
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GET READY FOR PARK(ING) DAY SEPTEMBER 15

Health & Environment-> Spaces to Places reminds readers that the third Friday in September is PARK(ing) Day, an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks, sometimes referred to as parklets. (See http://bit.ly/1BY9Jx1 to download the free The PARK(ing) Day Manual.) The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat. Check out the article to see examples of parklets and read the steps to create a PARK(ing) Day parklet. http://bit.ly/2v7jNWv

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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