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Friday, June 23 2017 @ 08:29 AM UTC


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The Absurd Primacy of the Automobile in American Life

Biking ElsewhereConsidering the constant fatalities, rampant pollution, and exorbitant costs of ownership, there is no better word to characterize the car’s dominance than insane.

By EDWARD HUMES, The Atlantic

The car is the star. That’s been true for well over a century—unrivaled staying power for an industrial-age, pistons-and-brute-force machine in an era so dominated by silicon and software. Cars conquered the daily culture of American life back when top hats and child labor were in vogue, and well ahead of such other innovations as radio, plastic, refrigerators, the electrical grid, and women’s suffrage.

A big part of why they’ve stuck around is that they are the epitome of convenience. That’s the allure and the promise that’s kept drivers hooked, dating all the way back to the versatile, do-everything Ford Model T. Convenience (some might call it freedom) is not a selling point to be easily dismissed—this trusty conveyance, always there, always ready, on no schedule but its owner’s. Buses can’t do that. Trains can’t do that. Even Uber makes riders wait.

Accounting for all costs, from fuel to insurance to depreciation, the average car owner in the U.S. pays $12,544 a year for a car that puts in a mere 14-hour workweek. Drive an SUV? Tack on another $1,908.14

[Even more examples on waste and absurdities of the Automobile.]

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Crashes are NOT accidents

Biking ElsewhereBy Chris Bortz, Kansas Department of Transportation

I don’t believe that people get behind the wheel and say, “I think I will injure or kill someone in a car crash today.” Just because it was not intentional, doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been prevented. Most drivers rate themselves as great drivers and will say the problem is the other driver(s). However, driving is a privilege, not a right. You are sharing the road with all drivers and it is important for you to drive as if your life depends on it. Oh wait, it just might.
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Biking Elsewhere-> A Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) study examined the safety and operational effects of posting speed limits lower than engineering recommendations. (Speed Limits Set Lower than Engineering Recommendations: It involved a comprehensive literature review, a survey of other state transportation agencies, the collection of speed and safety data from a variety of Montana roadways, and an analysis of these data. MDT concluded that setting posted speed limits 5 mph lower may result in operating speeds more consistent with the posted speed and have overall safety benefits, while posting limits 15 or 25 mph lower does not appear to produce operating speeds consistent with the posted speed limit or provide safety benefits.

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Biking Elsewhere-> In a new report, the UN Environment Program calls on countries to invest at least 20 percent of their transport budgets in walking and cycling infrastructure to save lives, reverse pollution and reduce carbon emissions, which are rising at over ten per cent a year. (Global Outlook on Walking and Cycling: Policies & realities from Around the World: Lack of investment in safe walking and cycling infrastructure is contributing to the deaths of millions of people and overlooking a great opportunity to contribute to the fight against climate change. The report surveyed the progress towards safer walking and cycling infrastructure in 20 low- to middle-income countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, where compared with high-income countries, twice as many more people die in road traffic accidents. For example, in Malawi, 66 percent of all road fatalities were pedestrians and cyclists.

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Miserable at work? Your commute might be the culprit

Biking ElsewhereBy Tania Kohut, Global News

People who cycle to work or school are likely to have sunnier dispositions than those who drive or take transit, according to a new study out of McGill University.

“We need to start having much stronger programs to encourage people to cycle,” said El-Geneidy.

“In some cases, cycling is not the best — not everybody is going to cycle in the winter — but let’s try for the rest of the year.”

Parents can start by encouraging their children to cycle, said El-Geneidy. Meanwhile, it’s a no-brainer for employers to offer incentives for employees to bike to work.
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10 Things cyclists wish drivers understood

Biking ElsewhereVia Cyclescheme

[Just the headings]
1. We're not meant to ride close to the kerb
2. Bike paths are optional
3. We do pay for the roads
4. Sometimes we wobble or swerve
5. We're not telepathic
6. We're moving faster than you think
7. Anger is often fear
8. Close passes are dangerous
9. That cyclist who annoyed you? We're not them
10. It's other drivers that slow you down
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Biking ElsewhereBike Radar offers examples of ridiculous laws for cyclists from around the world. No gargling while cycling in Peridot, AZ. No "wanton or furious" cycling in the UK. No cycling without a shirt in Thailand. No cycling with a slingshot in your pocket in Bellingham, WA.

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Biking Elsewhere-> To make the case for better neighborhood mobility, a class of middle and high school students in Nashville, TN mapped their movements around North Nashville, tracking the spaces they visited most and the barriers that kept them from getting around, such as the lack of crosswalks and paths. They developed suggestions for connecting North Nashville to the rest of the city, eventually sharing their findings with urban planners. After meeting with the class, city planners incorporated a new bicycle lane along Rosa L. Parks Boulevard. Although the lane stretched only 2 miles, it created a bicycle route across the interstate, connecting North Nashville to downtown.

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Biking Elsewhere-> The Safe Routes to School National Partnership released their most recent quarterly "State of the States" report tracking Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding transfers through September 2016 ( It shows a jump in the amount and number of states that transferred TAP funding away from biking, walking, and Safe Routes to School and into roads and bridges. Plus, 12 states transferred funds for the first time. Congress allows state DOTs to transfer up to half of their TAP funds to other transportation priorities. SRTSNP urges advocates to ask their DOT to reverse these transfers. Check out details of the $109 million state DOTs transferred out of TAP between July and September 2016.

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

[B' Spokes: Maryland is in there at $11 million]
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Biking Elsewhere-> Curbed reports transportation experts agree that poor street design—and the driver behavior it enables—is responsible for many of the U.S.'s astronomically high number of traffic deaths. Now, in a landmark case, the New York State Court of Appeals has found New York City's street design liable for a 2004 crash that left a 12-year old boy riding a bike with multiple skull fractures and reduced mental and physical capacities. The city's leaders had been advised multiple times before the crash that the stretch of street was particularly dangerous. The court ruled, "an unjustifiable delay in implementing a remedial plan constitutes a breach of the municipality's duty to the public." The city was found 40 percent liable, and ordered to pay $19 million of the $20 million settlement to the boy. The city narrowed the street from four lanes to three by repainting the medians. However, from 2007 to 2016, the same street saw a shocking four fatalities, including the death of a 17-year-old cyclist. Late last year—almost 12 years after the 12-year old boy's crash—New York City's Department of Transportation finally announced major design changes to the street.

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

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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The state should support what kind of bicycle facilities?

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