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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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'Bike theft is not inevitable': Vancouver rolls out a cycle crime revolution

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: I'll acknowledge Baltimore police have a lot worse problems than bicycle theft but that too is a problem. To perpetually let bike thievery go unpunished is not a solution. I will also assert that this issue plays a part in our bike share issues. If people learn that the police are not concerned about bike thefts then the problem expands to all bikes. My idea is to get Baltimore police to focus on this issue at least once a year, that would be a start.]

Bike theft is the scourge of cyclists around the world, with riders, manufacturers and the law struggling to coordinate a response. That was until city cop Rob Brunt and Xbox pioneer J Allard devised Project 529

By Tom Babin, The Guardian

...
The experience rattled him. Not only did he feel victimised, he was bothered by the lacklustre police response. He started to look into why bike theft had come to seem like a problem without a solution, accepted by so many as an unavoidable part of urban life.
...

“I just couldn’t accept the answers to the questions I was asking after my bike was stolen,” he says over a beer at a Vancouver pub. “I reject the notion that getting a bike stolen is just part of riding a bike.”
...

But bike theft is rampant in cities all over the world. In London, about 20,000 bikes are reported stolen every year; 72 went missing from Milton Keyes station alone last year. Theft costs Portland $2m (£1.5m) a year, and that’s just the bikes which are reported stolen. A 2015 report by the Netherlands’ Central Bureau of Statistics stated that the 630,000 thefts reported to police constituted only about 30% of the total that went missing.
...

https://amp.theguardian.com/cities/2017/nov/07/theft-bike-app-vancouver-project-529-j-allard-xbox
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Fire Department’s New ‘Vision Zero’ Truck

Biking ElsewhereEngine is Designed to Navigate Bulb Outs and Protected Bike Lanes

By Roger Rudick, Streets Blog

,,,
“This fire engine is narrower, not as long, and has a better turning radius,” said San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White. “It’s a beautiful piece of equipment.”
...

Rivera may have been referring to tensions between SFMTA and the fire department over building parking-protected bike lanes on Upper Market Street and in the Tenderloin. The department, he said, is also looking to buy more versatile aerial ladder trucks to accommodate parking-protected bike lanes and other street safety improvements. “We’re working on a new spec for an aerial ladder truck … a redesigned outrigger system will go from sixteen feet to fourteen feet.”

“Safety is a value and a priority the SFBC and the SFFD share,” said the Bicycle Coalition’s Brian Wiedenmeier, who also spoke at the event. He added that he hopes the truck will help the city “build the safe streets we need.”

https://sf.streetsblog.org/2017/11/03/fire-departments-new-vision-zero-truck/
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THE MYTH OF A DISTRACTED WALKING CRISIS

Biking ElsewhereBy MIKE BOOS, TriTag

... It’s the latest in a series of so-called “zombie walking” laws intended to crack down on the alleged scourge of “distracted walking.”

In any legislation intended to alter behaviour, three questions should be asked. First and foremost: is the issue actually a problem? Second, will the proposed measures actually work to address the issue? Finally, would the measures have any other consequences that should be weighed against the assumed benefits?

So, is distracted walking a pressing issue? Anecdotally, many drivers will tell you it is. But what do the numbers show? We’ve seen a steady rise in distracted driving collisions as mobile phones become more prevalent, so we might expect a similar trend with walking. We’ve plotted both over the last two decades in Ontario:
...

http://www.tritag.ca/blog/2017/11/02/the-myth-of-a-distracted-walking-crisis/
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How America’s Staggering Traffic Death Rate Became Matter-of-Fact

Biking ElsewhereBy Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

How did more than 30,000 annual motor vehicle deaths become something that most Americans accept as normal? A new paper by Boston University professor Itai Vardi tries to answer that question.
...

His work is in a similar vein to University of Virginia professor Peter Norton, whose book Fighting Traffic recounts how the forces of “motordom” reshaped American streets by changing how people thought about cars in the city. Like Norton, Vardi has identified key conceptual frameworks that eventually led people to adopt the “matter-of-fact” tone we use to discuss today’s staggering rate of traffic deaths.

Vardi’s research encompasses historical accounts from media outlets, auto and insurance industry publications, activist groups, and, eventually, federal safety agencies. Here are three big factors that, according to Vardi, shaped the modern American view of traffic violence.

1. Thinking of traffic deaths in terms of fatalities per mile driven

[B' Spokes: If it interesting that MDOT chooses to advertise Maryland's fatality rate per miles driven which is near average but not our fatality rate per capita, which is rather high. But as the article points out it does seem the main point is to give a smaller number so lots of deaths does not seem so bad.]
...

2. “Saving Lives”
...

Vardi calls “saving lives” — which is actually part of NHTSA’s motto — “a rhetorical device to meet institutional goals.”

Forecasting future deaths, Vardi writes, also sidesteps the tricky question of what is an acceptable number of deaths.
...

3. Seatbelts and Drunk Driving

Finally, once highway safety was placed in the hands of “dispassionate” federal agencies, they framed the problem as one of individual mistakes or mechanical failures, rather than systemic flaws. This paradigm was, ironically, advanced by the Ralph Nader-led reforms of the 1960s aimed at car manufacturers, Vardi says.

For example, the top chart, published in 1933 by the Travelers Insurance Company, omits structural contributions to the high rate of traffic deaths — such as street design and poor non-automotive travel options.
...

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2015/09/14/how-americas-staggering-traffic-death-rate-became-matter-of-fact/
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Cars overwhelmingly cause bike collisions, and the law should reflect that

Biking ElsewhereBy Soufiane Boufous, The Conversation

...
To keep our cyclists safe, it may be time to adopt the approach of many European nations by introducing legislation that, in civil cases, presumes that car drivers caused a collision unless there is evidence to the contrary.

Shifting the burden of proof to drivers – who must prove they didn’t cause a crash – has been highly successful in other nations, along with other measures, in keeping cyclists safer and reducing accidents.

Cars generally cause collisions
...

These results are similar to a Monash University study in which researchers examined camera footage of similar incidents. They found that drivers were responsible for the actions preceding the incident in 87% of cases.
...

https://theconversation.com/cars-overwhelmingly-cause-bike-collisions-and-the-law-should-reflect-that-78922
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Everyone should wear helmets. So why pick on cyclists?

Biking ElsewhereBy Lloyd Alter, Treehugger

[B' Spokes: My favorite points. If the goal is to prevent the most head injuries then car drivers need to wear a helmet. And if cyclists should wear a helmet then pedestrians even more so. Complete with a chart.]

https://www.treehugger.com/bikes/everyone-should-wear-helmets-so-why-pick-cyclists.html
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Transportation Engineers Are Ethically Bound to Protect Public Safety. Too Many Do Not.

Biking ElsewhereBy Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

Licensed transportation engineers are supposed to abide by an ethical code of conduct that places the highest priority on public safety. But if you look outside at the closest street, you’ll probably see the result of engineering decisions that are antithetical to protecting people’s lives.

America has built out a transportation system that places people at much greater risk of death and serious injury than in peer countries around the world. In the last two years, the annual death toll has only escalated. The most vulnerable road users — people getting around without a car — account for a disproportionate share of the carnage.
...

We built a car culture, we built this myth that all the highways are paid by the users and we can’t use that money for anything else. The Highway Trust Fund — that’s a problem. I think in the 1950s when we didn’t have a highway system, I could see the logic. But it’s not the 1950s any more and we still have 1950s arguments and strategies.

We’re one of the only countries that has dedicated highway spending. In other countries, it’s just general funds, and you have public conversations about how that money is spent.

What I hear over and over [from other engineers] is we have no money to fix this. We don’t have money to maintain traffic signals, we don’t have money to build sidewalks. It’s a ridiculous statement on its face because we have billions of dollars but we just don’t spend it on those things.
[B' Spokes: I'll note we do NOT have a system for getting cheap or economical things built, our system is only for the most expensive of the expensive.]
...

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/10/11/transportation-engineers-are-ethically-bound-to-protect-public-safety-too-many-do-not/
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Why you should care about other modes now

Biking ElsewhereBy Maggie Awad, Mobility Lab

...
After I arrived at my destination and the adrenaline cooled, a thought I’ve had for the last few months, came bubbling up to the top:

The vast difference in driver education and biking/pedestrian education is what causes this rift between modes.

And the sad reality of it all is that you’re not likely to care about another mode (especially if you don’t use it yourself), until someone you know is injured or worse.

So What Can We Do?

A lot of things, actually.

1. Equal Education
...
2. Change Safety Messaging
[B' Spokes: MD's Street Smart ad campaign is an example of what NOT to do.]
...
3. On-Demand Education for On-Demand Services
[B' Spokes: Profesional drivers (for Uber to name one) need more professional training than your run of the mill driver who does limited routes for a limited time.]
...

https://mobilitylab.org/2017/08/01/care-modes-now/
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Cars don’t kill people; people kill people.

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: I find it interesting that this heading is very similar to "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." And both those issues have problems with under regulating people that use said objects. It as if people are not the problem so... nothing is the problem?

For cars, it seems the media has been pushing "it was just an accident" over "it was a crash and somebody did something wrong." No teachable moment for drivers, ever. And it seems they launched the next phase "the driver of the car seems to be little more than a witness" with the implied the driver is not at fault for the outcome. Read the article on Treehugger:
https://www.treehugger.com/cars/cars-dont-kill-people-people-kill-people.html ]
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