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Tuesday, April 24 2018 @ 08:38 PM UTC
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Undercover operation to catch drivers too close to cyclists praised

Biking Elsewhere...
Since the operation began in 2016:

20% reduction in cyclists killed or seriously injured on the roads.
178 drivers pulled over and given a lesson in safe overtaking.
>350 prosecutions made using footage given to them by the public.
...

We've seen a significant change in driver behaviour across the region as a result of the operation and the campaign...hopefully that's going to have a profound impact on the amount of people we have killed or seriously injured on our roads in the coming years.

– PC MARK HODSON, WEST MIDLANDS POLICE
...

http://www.itv.com/news/central/2017-09-18/undercover-operation-to-catch-drivers-too-close-to-cyclists-praised/
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MDOT Announces $20 Million for 43 Bicycle & Pedestrian Projects

Biking in MarylandNovember 29, 2017

HANOVER, MD -- The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced $20,395,834 in grants to support improvements for bicycle and pedestrian safety and connectivity across the state. Three separate state and federal grant programs will provide funds to transportation agencies, local jurisdictions and non-profit organizations for 43 projects. The announcement includes: $2.1 million in State funds from the Maryland Bikeways Program; $478,000 in federal funding from the Recreational Trails Program, and $17.8 million in federal funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program.
...

http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/News/Releases2017/2017_Nov_29_MDOT_Announces_Bike_%20and_Pedestrian_Grants
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Vision Zero is so 20 years ago. It's time for Moving Beyond Zero.

Biking ElsewhereBy Lloyd Alter, Treehugger

In North America, even when cities talk Vision Zero, they don't really mean it. They don't really want to understand it because it goes against what they really care about, which is making the world safe for cars. So they make up their own version.
...

In true Vision Zero, there is one cardinal rule: “Human life and health are paramount and take priority over mobility and other objectives of the road traffic system.” This differs from North America, where deaths on the road are the cost of doing business.

Vision Zero uses a "safe systems approach" that assumes that people make mistakes on the road, and that if there are crashes, it is a design problem. And one design problem they had in Sweden is that sometimes design solutions that worked with cars made life harder for cyclists.

This is a problem and seeming paradox that should be borne in mind. On the one hand we have the noble goal of zero fatalities, but on the other we have to ensure that a road safety intervention does not act as a barrier to active healthy modes of transport like cycling and walking, even if the road safety intervention is effective.

@TheOnion
Study: 90% Of Bike Accidents Preventable By Buying Car Like A Normal Person https://trib.al/V4XfT9G
...

One thing that has changed since Vision Zero started is bike technology, and in particular the use of what they call Electric Power Assisted Cycles (EPACs).

EPACs are providing users, including the elderly and disabled, with much-needed daily exercise, extending and increasing their quality of life. It is, however, in the field of commuting that the potential for EPACs is being most realised. Longer distance car journeys can now be substituted by active bicycle use in the form of electrically assisted bikes.
...

One in four persons in the EU suffers from a mental health condition during their lifetime. Cycling’s contribution to better cardiovascular health delays dementia. Cycling can improve brain function and mental health. It also helps counter cognitive declines including memory, executive function, visuospatial skills, and processing speed in normally aging adults.

Promotion of cycling also improves cities; it gets people out of cars, making the roads better for everyone.

Studies have shown that initiatives that support active transport in urban areas decrease traffic mishaps while improving people movement and encouraging commerce and employment. But cycling investments don't just benefit cyclists. Bus routes can run 10% faster and with greater punctuality, and traffic mishaps can be cut by 45%, as examples from Copenhagen show.
...

https://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/vision-zero-so-20-years-ago-its-time-moving-beyond-zero.html
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New cars increasingly crammed with distracting technology

Biking ElsewhereWASHINGTON (AP) — The infotainment technology that automakers are cramming into the dashboard of new vehicles is making drivers take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for dangerously long periods of time, an AAA study says.

The study released Thursday is the latest by University of Utah professor David Strayer, who has been examining the impact of infotainment systems on safety for AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety since 2013. Past studies also identified problems, but Strayer said the “explosion of technology” has made things worse.
...

“It’s adding more and more layers of complexity and information at drivers’ fingertips without often considering whether it’s a good idea to put it at their fingertips,” Strayer said. That complexity increases the overall amount of time drivers spend trying to use the systems.
...

https://apnews.com/62ae17477d3a49fa849a42e932e64ae7
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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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