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Sunday, June 25 2017 @ 12:10 AM UTC

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The Way we Talk about Traffic Deaths is All Wrong

Biking in BaltimoreVia Moving Beyond the Automobile

...
Given the significant potential for harm associated with driving and the inequity in deaths, one would expect a high degree of responsibility and accountability to be placed on drivers. The unfortunate reality however is that driving is so pervasive in our culture that when a tragedy occurs on our streets, we as a society are often quick to protect the drivers, rather than the most vulnerable.

To see what I mean, carefully read the following news headline from the Toronto Star on a tragic fatality that occurred last month in Scarborough:

“A 6-year-old boy has died after being struck by a vehicle while walking home from school in Scarborough Friday afternoon, Toronto police said.”

Notice anything peculiar? Probably not, because this is the phrasing that is commonly used by the media when reporting road deaths. If you read carefully though, you’ll notice that the sentence doesn’t actually mention the driver of the vehicle.

Technically speaking, a vehicle did strike and kill the 6-year-old boy, but the vehicle did not act on its own. That vehicle was operated by a human being – a driver – trusted with the responsibility of operating a 2,000-pound potentially-lethal machine in our public streets, which are ripe with hazards and vulnerable users. Was the driver at fault for the boy’s death? That doesn’t matter – the point is that the driver was operating the vehicle which caused the death, making them directly involved in the incident.
...

https://mattpinderblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/the-way-we-talk-about-traffic-deaths-is-all-wrong/
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Bringing Complete Streets to Baltimore City

Biking in Baltimore[B' Spokes: Catching up on some old stuff that still has relevant issues. This is from Ryan Dorsey's web site:]

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Consider the following data on the current state of our streets:

* With 20,035 crashes per year, the City is Maryland's most dangerous jurisdiction. The number of crashes per vehicle mile traveled (VMT) is 3.7 times the state average. Crashes cause traffic delay, property damage, injury, and death.
* The Baltimore MSA is 10th worst for traffic fatalities involving pedestrians, at 20%.
* Our average commute is 31 minutes and average transit commute 50 minutes, among the highest in the U.S.
...


* Transportation poses a barrier to employment for City residents even for jobs located in the City. City residents only hold 34.6% of City jobs.
* In Baltimore, high crash areas include the Greater Penn-North area, Bel-Air Edison, and Southern Park Heights, all majority Black neighborhoods.
* Children, older adults, and persons of color are disproportionately affected by pedestrian crashes. Nationwide, African American and Latino cyclists are 30% and 23% more likely to suffer a biking fatality than White cyclists, and the fatality rate for African American and Latino pedestrians is 60% and 43% higher than for White pedestrians.
* Automobile dependency extracts money out of our local economy and deprives businesses of customers and communities of investment that come with Complete Streets.

In our City, there are 8 Community Statistical Areas (developed by Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance) where more than 50% of the households do not have access to a personal vehicle. In some census tracts within these areas, the rate can climb as high as 80%. These Community Statistical Areas are:

Cherry Hill (51.8% no vehicle access)
Southwest Baltimore (52.8%)
Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park (56.3%)
Madison/East End (56.6%)
Greenmount East (57.8%)
Poppleton/The Terraces/Hollins Market (58.9%)
Upton/Druid Heights (67.5%)
Oldtown/Middle East (71.6%)
...

http://www.electryandorsey.com/single-post/2017/02/15/Bringing-Complete-Streets-to-Baltimore-City
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Why we must ban car advertising and sponsorship as was done with tobacco

Biking in BaltimoreBy Vreadhead, Ban Private Cars in London

‘Powersliding a sports car through a rain-slick city at night might seem like an unrealistic activity that most car owners won’t participate in, but marketers count on the excitement generated by this imagery to influence consumer decisions. These marketers are seeking those consumers most driven by “a need for speed.”

These are called ‘Hedonistic Considerations’.

How often do we see a car that solely occupies space in an advert? It is a fantasy world that deceives not only the driver but demands that we all give way to that fantasy by prioritising traffic flow.

The anger at this disconnect between fantasy and reality materialises on the ground as projected ‘road rage’ onto the perceived or socially constructed ‘weakness’ of pedestrians and cyclists.

Nothing brings a driver crashing down to reality more than a pedestrian who walks faster or a cyclist who weaves ahead.
...

https://banprivatecarsinlondon.com/2017/05/16/why-we-should-ban-car-advertising-as-was-done-with-tobacco/
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Road fatalities are soaring. Here’s how to stop that.

Biking in BaltimoreVia Washington Post

U.S. ROADWAYS in 2016 yielded another bumper crop of carnage as vehicle fatalities soared 6 percent, following a 7 percent jump in 2015 — the biggest two-year spike since the 1960s. The cost of deaths, injuries and property damage resulting from crashes also leaped by 12 percent in just a year, to some $432 billion, an amount on par with the entire annual economic output of a mid-size European country, such as Norway.
...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/road-fatalities-are-soaring-heres-how-to-stop-that/2017/02/26/1b41ca14-f497-11e6-a9b0-ecee7ce475fc_story.html
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BALTIMORE, MD: BIKES & BUSES TO RECONNECT A CAR-LITE CITY

Biking in Baltimore-> In part to support its new frequent-service modified bus grid and a federally funded rapid bus arriving in 2021, Baltimore, MD is hoping to spend the next three years installing a low-stress biking network in six neighborhoods to add to existing bikeways. It’ll open new possibilities for neighborhoods first built as "streetcar suburbs" of downtown Baltimore but now difficult to travel between without a car despite being less than a half mile apart. Streetsblog: http://bit.ly/2mzsOT0

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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EUROPEAN FISCAL INCENTIVES & RECOMMENDATIONS FOR E-CYCLING

Biking in Baltimore-> The European Cyclists’ Federation launched a new report called "Electromobility for All: Fiscal Incentives for E-cycling" (http://bit.ly/2n4s46g). The report provides key policy recommendations and best practice examples, with the goal of promoting e-cycling throughout Europe. In addition to the economic, environmental, health and other benefits that cycling has to offer, e-bikes are the perfect solution for longer distance trips. In studies, they proved to be faster than cars in trips up to 10 km (twice longer than the ones with conventional bikes). Moreover, they make it easier to overcome natural obstacles (like hills or headwinds), thus they are suitable for commuters wanting to arrive at work in their professional attire, less physically trained cyclists, elderly people and other groups that did not cycle before. Besides, e-bikes make it possible to transport heavier goods, thus providing a great solution for individual shoppers and companies relying on fast urban logistics. Therefore, e-bikes are seen as a potential alternative to cars, especially for trips in urban areas. http://bit.ly/2n4GQtt

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

[B' Spokes: I'll take this opportunity to note that Baltimore Bike Share approximately half of their fleet is electric pedal-assist (Pedelec) (a white lightning bolt on the back fender.)
https://www.bmorebikeshare.com/ ]

And another for e-bikes:
STUDY: E-BIKES INCREASE CYCLING
-> TREC reports on a study in Portland, OR that provided 150 Kaiser Permanente employees with electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) to use for ten weeks to see if e-bikes might help overcome some commonly cited barriers to cycling. (Evaluation of Electric Bike Use at Three Kaiser Permanente NW Employment Centers in Portland Metro Region: http://bit.ly/2mAhUfG) Fewer than 10 percent of participants had ever ridden an e-bike as an adult, and 50 percent of them said that they normally never rode a bike at all. Before beginning the program, 38% were categorized as "strong and fearless" or "enthused and confident." After using an e-bike, 52% were categorized as such. The study found people will use a bike more if it is an e-bike. The number of people commuting to work by bicycle at least once a week, and the number of people biking at least once a month for shopping or other errands each more than doubled during the study. http://bit.ly/2mAps1W

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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THE 5 BEST U.S. CITIES FOR BIKING AND BEER

Biking in BaltimoreBy Erin Peters, Vinepair

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HONORABLE MENTION
...

Baltimore, Maryland – Bikes and Beers does a great tour in this city through many famous sites, including Penn Station, City Hall, Inner Harbor, Little Italy and the Maryland Zoo. The city has its own bicycling club, appropriately named the Baltimore Bicycling Club, with routes that range from 35 to 77 miles.

http://vinepair.com/articles/the-5-best-u-s-cities-for-biking-and-beer/
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What if the money we spent on cars went for something else?

Biking in BaltimoreVia BikeMore, Priorities: Southeast Transportation Vision Wrongly Puts County Residents First

[B' Spokes: In BikeMore's post there are some maps that demonstrate what you can get in bike infrastructure improvement if you take the same money for a very small cars only project and then they do the same thing again for bus improvements vs another cars only project. The difference is very striking.]

https://www.bikemore.net/news/priorities-southeast-transportation-vision-puts-county-residents-first
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA TRUCK SIDE GUARD INITIATIVE

Biking in Baltimore-> "Vision Zero San Francisco, CA Truck Side Guard Initiative: Technical Assessment and Recommendations" summarizes Volpe's research and recommendations supporting San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) efforts to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety through side guards, vehicle-based safety devices designed to prevent pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists from being run over by a large truck's rear wheels in a side-impact collision. http://bit.ly/2kLmO90

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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LONDON, ENGLAND: UNDERCOVER BIKE COPS TO ENFORCE SAFE PASSING

Biking in Baltimore-> CityLab reports this spring, London, England's Metropolitan Police are sending undercover officers out on bikes to monitor and enforce more careful driving around bikes, and reprimand drivers' behavior. The main goal is to crack down on so-called close passing—that is, drivers overtaking bikes at a distance of less than 1.5 meters (just under 5 feet). Motorists caught engaging in driving that compromises cyclists' safety will be given the choice between prosecution or a 15-minute roadside safety training session. http://bit.ly/2jyGf3J

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