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Thursday, September 29 2016 @ 06:44 AM UTC
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The decline of play in preschoolers — and the rise in sensory issues

Health & Environment[B' Spokes: Just a reminder to get your kids out walking and biking. Schools are not setup to provide all that is necessary.]
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Best Surprise Bike Lane: Dundalk Bike Lane

Biking in BaltimoreVia City Paper,

Dundalk Avenue to Sollers Point Loop
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Edward Humes on How Transportation Overkill Is Killing Us

Biking ElsewhereVia New York Times

In the transportation world, there’s something called the “first mile/last mile problem.” It’s a euphemism for forms of mass transportation, like the bus or the train, that require riders to go to stations or bus stops. Americans prefer to move door to door. They want to close one door and find themselves in front of another.

This is one of the reasons why we, as a society, are so car-dependent. Only a system built on trucks and automobiles can do this.

In terms of public health, the National Safety Council’s data on car crashes showed that in 2015, 38,300 people died and 4.4 million were seriously injured.

Why are the numbers so high?

Because everything we do is designed to produce them. We have fictitious speed limits, because the roads are designed to allow vehicles to travel much faster than stated. We have vehicles capable of achieving far higher speeds than the posted limits. Given this, people go too fast. And speeding, we know, is one of the major causes of fatal crashes.

A pedestrian struck by a vehicle going 40 miles an hour has a 10 percent chance of surviving, and one struck by a car at 20 m.p.h. has a 90 percent chance. So when we post a 40-mile maximum speed limit on a boulevard where pedestrians walk, we’re saying that in the event of a crash, a 90 percent mortality rate is acceptable.

These decisions matter. Each of us, over a lifetime, has a one-in-113 chance of dying in a car. That’s crazy, isn’t it? So we bolt extra safety devices onto our vehicles, seatbelts and airbags. Those are all great, but they don’t get to the fundamental problem: We drive way too fast to survive collisions. The bottom line is that speeding is one of the major causes of fatal crashes.

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Drivers to other drivers: You’re doing it wrong

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: There are two concepts in this article I would like to enforce. 1) Traffic enforcement makes the roads safer for everyone. Even outside the targeted enforcement area because I believe if you get rid of the driver's ability to always fulfill their need to try and trim a second here, a second there by put others people's lives at risk. 2) Driver's are not just risking there own lives but also some random person along there path. I assert that it is always the other person that will be at more of a risk. If you run a red light and T-bone another car, your air bags are set up well for that type of colision. The other person gets a side colision and most people/cars do not handle that well. In summary: So much about Maryland that rewards unsafe/agresive drivers and creates hazardous road condition for everyone else.]
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Bike Paths-> Headwaters Economics offers its online Trails Benefits Library ( a collection of 120 studies on the positive impacts of trails, especially in small or medium-sized towns and rural areas. The library is searchable by type of benefit (business impacts, property values, public health, trail use estimates, etc.), type of use (cycling, walking, hiking, mountain biking, etc.), year, and region. Related Research and Methods. The library can help local leaders find existing research–conducted in communities similar to theirs—so that they have credible information and answers to questions regarding potential benefits from nearby trails and whether a project meets community priorities. See the other trails-related resources at

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Biking Elsewhere-> Walking is a popular way to commute in Boston, so public wayfinding signs that update in real-time are especially useful. Working with Visionect, E Ink, and Global Display Solutions, the Mayor's office recently revealed the city's first electronic paper outdoor sign. Situated in City Hall Plaza, the 32-inch solar-powered sign is connected to the cloud. City officials update the display information whenever needed. Electronic ink is visible even in bright sunlight, and the e-paper sign is water resistant, making it perfect for a city with thunderstorms and harsh winters. The sign can be updated in real-time, but is eco-friendly and doesn't require access to an energy grid.

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Biking Elsewhere-> By most counts the US has the worst road-safety record in the rich world. Its rate of 10.9 deaths per 100,000 people per year is almost twice as high as Belgium's, the next-worst well-off country, and roughly level with that of Mexico. One of the main reasons is because Americans drive far more often than the rich-world average. When miles travelled are taken into account, America was actually a bit safer than Japan, Slovenia and Belgium. In addition, the United States also has a relatively high share of rural roads, which often have poor lighting, road markings and safety barriers. However, most other countries have made better progress than America has in recent years. Sweden, which in 1997 introduced its Vision Zero plan to reduce fatal crashes to zero, now has the safest roads in the world.

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Biking Elsewhere-> The newly-released USDOT data from the first half of 2016 shows a disturbing increase in traffic deaths. The National Safety Council recently estimated that motor vehicle fatalities rose 9% in the first six months of 2016 compared to 2015, and 18% compared to 2014. At this rate, 2016 is shaping up to be the deadliest year for driving since 2007. The jump in traffic fatalities coincides with sinking gas prices and an uptick in driving. During the first half of 2016, U.S. motorists collectively drove 3.3% more compared to last year, reaching 1.58 trillion miles traveled. The recent upswing in miles driven has been linked to the availability of cheap gas and a sharp increase in traffic deaths. Pedestrians and bicyclists already account for more than one in four traffic deaths in New York and New Jersey, and 15% in Connecticut. In New Jersey alone, traffic deaths surged 12% during the first half of 2016. The number of bicyclists killed in New York City so far in 2016 has already exceeded the total number of fatalities in 2015.

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Biking in BaltimoreBy Aaron Naparstek
Via Strong Towns

Ford, GM, Chrysler
zero-percent financing—
great deal: more traffic”

“Our urban fabric—
the cheap upholstery of
traffic engineers”

“Together again
at the stoplight—was it worth
all of the speeding?”
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Traffic Deaths Are Up, and DOT Asks the Public to Investigate

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: Alternate headline: Only you can prevent traffic fatalities (because no one else understands what's going on.)]

By Jen Kinney, Next city

The U.S. Department of Transportation is asking for big data help after 2015 numbers released this week showed that traffic deaths were up 7.2 percent last year, the largest annual increase in half a century. Reversing a recent historical trend that saw fatalities decreasing every year, 35,092 people died while walking, biking and driving on U.S. streets in 2015. The department released the data three months early, along with a call to action, asking nonprofits, tech companies and citizens to help interpret the data and use it to prevent future deaths.

“Focusing on one year’s count ignores that disproportionately high numbers of people have been dying on U.S. streets every year for decades,” said Executive Director Linda Bailey. “Even comparing against our safest year in recent history, 2010, the U.S. traffic fatality rate was almost double that of our industrialized peers.”

NACTO also published its own call to action of sorts — aimed at state and federal government. “Federal and state standards incentivize building wide streets that allow cars to go fast but create dangerous conditions for everyone,” reads the statement. “Good street design can make sure that a mistake or a distraction does not result in a death. Cities must redesign their streets to save lives, and they need to be supported by their state and federal governments as they do so.”

[B' Spokes: It amazes me how much attention the impatient driver gets in road designs and other aspects of our drive till you die culture. For example it is a known fact that allowing right on red is hazardous for pedestrains. So what do we do? Tell pedestrains that they have to cross using the most dangerous part of the road with the most conflicts and absolutely nothing geared for the impatient drivers. Or look at it this way, how much time are we saving drivers by allowing this? Unless most are traveling in circles (keep doing a right on red) absolutely none.

For every driver who saves time by jumping the red light by turning there are more drivers down stream that can't turn in/out of shopping centers or minor streets because of the traffic diarrhea. What else would you call the dribble of traffic that is the result? And what's the result of all the at time savings? Just to get at the next red light sooner with a longer wait , and that's the best we can say. We've put pedestrains lives at risk, delayed other drivers their proper place in line of traffic, and maybe just maybe if we can create enough traffic diarrhea they be so delayed that they well begin to take chances to get moving.

IMHO this is a major issue now. How do you safely make a left turn? Wait for a break in traffic and then turn. But what if we set things up so there is no break in traffic? People well start to take chances and "shoot the gap". Like this is going to improve safety? :/ And the secondonary reason to be concerned, we are rewarding impatience. It's like saying "Even the government thinks stopping at red lights is a waste of time. So do your part and never wait at a red light unless you absolutely have to." Then let's start adding a lot of high speed turn lanes and we get "The government wants you to do your part and never slow down, never stop to keep that traffic moving." Now let's add pedestrians into the mix and tell them "Look what we created for you to cross the street." It's not even close to being a safe place to cross the street.

My assertion is that more traffic means a increasingly amount of traffic diarrhea so more people are taking chances to make their turns. And adding pedestrians into this mix is naturally going to result in more fatalities. A simple solution is rid of right on red, the benefits are dubious at bestand the hazards are far greater than they are letting on. ]
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