Bonus Post: How My Friends in Cambodia Get Propelled

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

Emission: There are 6 years, 47 weeks, and 5 days until the Climate Clock reaches zero (approximate).[1]

Why Cambodia?

My friends, Chris and Adrienne, taught their kids to give hope to an often-hopeless world. As a result, their daughter, Jenna, helps run a school in Cambodia. The school is called Asian Hope. Meanwhile, the school in Bournemouth, England where Chris (and sometimes Adrienne) taught English as a second language—that school shut down as a result of covid19. As a happy result, Chris and Adrienne are in Cambodia, where, I think, the dad now works for the daughter.

My friends have always been environmentally conscious, at least to my knowledge. When in England, Adrienne would dry their clothes outside on a clothesline that needed frequent moving to keep it in the sun. Now they are biking and moving around in small vehicles in Asia.

Adrienne on bicycle
Adrienne on their preferred mode of propulsion: recently acquired bicycle, with buffalo in the background!
Adrienne getting into Onion
Adrienne getting into the Onion, an electrik tuk-tuk. What’s a tuk-tuk? According to the Internet: “Tuk-tuks, two-wheeled carriages pulled by motorbikes that can fit anywhere from two people to entire families, are a ubiquitous sight throughout Cambodia. While the official name is remorque, or ‘trailer’ in French, they are colloquially known as tuk-tuks, paying homage to their Thai counterparts.”
Chris, ramped up for Onion ride.
Chris is ramped up for his first ride in an Onion! Chris is pretty tall, so he might have maxed out the leg-room in the vehicle.
Family on motorcycle
Here’s a family of three on a motorcycle. I venture that sometimes more than three load onto a motorcycle.
Adrienne on bike; Jenna on scooter
After swimming, the mother likes to jump on a bike, while the daughter-in-law loads up the scooter! (Turns out the Robinson son and his wife also emigrated to Cambodia, a very happening place!)

No Bollard Today

Instead of the usual bollard, we have a video of Chris and Adrienne riding in an Onion (~3 minutes).

Self-propulsion Perks #1: Lending Libraries

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

Emission: There are 7 years, 1 week, 2 hours, 15 minutes and 44 seconds until the Climate Clock reaches zero (approximate).[1]

Hey, I’ve read this post. Let me skip down to the Additional Lending Library Photos!

The Benefits

Many benefits follow the self-propelled person (who isn’t run over).

One benefit is easy access to neighborhood Lending Libraries (also known as Little Free Library, Little Library, Book Exchange Station, and Book Box).

Today I went on a run-walk and documented the lending libraries I frequent, along with some books that I’ve picked up. This post necessarily might be more interesting to those who live in my town (and/or like used books), but it illustrates something one might miss in a car.

Kimbark Street

This one is mostly for kids & I’ve never poked inside the mailbox.

Kimbark Street #1 Library
Kimbark Street #1 Library, near South Bermont Drive.

About three or four blocks west, we have:
Kimbark Street #2 Library
Kimbark Street #2 Library, near Snowberry Court.

Emma Street, West of 287

Emma Street #1 Library
Emma Street #1 Library, near Aegean Drive.

Some books from there:
Programming Books
Programming Books (went to my son)—I love the O’Reilly covers & would pick up those books even without the programming skills.

Waneka Lake Park

Waneka Lake Park Library
Waneka Lake Park Library, replete with bilingual signs.

Picked up this:
Gentlemen of the Road, by Michael Chabon
Gentlemen of the Road, by Michael Chabon—a book I’ve not heard of though I’ve read Chabon.

Near Coal Creek Trail

Coal Creek Feeder Trail Library
Coal Creek Feeder Trail Library—see video below for a little guidance in case Snoopy is luring you. This location is strictly off the road, but conspicuous for the self-propelled.

Two. This:
Bound to Last, ed. Sean Manning
Bound to Last, ed. Sean Manning, subtitled “30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book”—it was the foreword by Ray Bradbury that caught my eye—and its cover makes it look like a J. D. Salinger book. (Yes I judge some books by their covers.)

and this:
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone, by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling—one of my daughters told me to read at least one of the series…and I have yet to.

Back to Emma Street, East of 287 (yes, we are completing the loop)

By The Post (restaurant)

Emma Street #2 Library
Emma Street #2 Library, near South Roosevelt Ave.—near The Post’s bike rack.

And here I found…
Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya—I sat under Rudy Anaya in a creative writing course at UNM in 1975 and only read the book this week!

On the Corner of Emma & South Longmont Ave.
Emma Street #3 Library, near South Longmont Avenue
Emma Street #3 Library, near South Longmont Avenue—for this one you don’t need to read a book, you can just read the quotes on the outside.

Two. This:
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace—I’ve read two pages, which is progress. This copy looks unread. It’s not a simple matter reading this book as the donor apparently concluded.

and this:
Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery—published 77 years before the unforgettable Megan Follows mini series.

And that completes the loop.

Lending Library Loop - 5 Mile Loop
Lending Library Loop – 5 Mile Loop, Counterclockwise.

Addendum: Lending Libraries from Everywhere

People liked the lending libraries. As you will see, we are adding to the collection below. So far, a couple of Boulder-based ones (the first accompanied by its proud builder, the second built of wood and bark) and a unique one from British Columbia—along with a movie library I’ve added. Please, everyone, keep your eyes open and your cameras ready. Email sightings to me, including full-size photos!

Dennis and his book box.
Carol sent this of her husband, Dennis, and the library he built. It’s on the bike path through Noble Park, located in Boulder not far from the Valmont Dog Park. (NPHOA—glad to see an HOA doing this!)
Outside of Gapter Rd. Book Box
The “FREE” is pennies screwed into place, with the tree bark on the side, giving it the natural look. Copper and bark with books inside.
Inside of Gapter Rd. Book Box
On Gaptor Rd. (near Baseline and Cherryvale), fits well into the landscape.
Lending sticks for dogs.
From Jan P., in Sechelt, British Columbia: lending library of sticks for dogs!
Free Blockbuster.org
Free Blockbuster.org
Lending Movie Library in Lafayette
If you love “Stargate,” you might love this box: nearly every (or every) season of the show!

Today’s Bollard

Bollards stop cars, sometimes brutally, offering a kind of payback moment to those who frequently feel threatened by drivers. Likely, those whose cars are stopped by bollards get citations, but probably not in this case.

This video has an optional soundtrack (in case you want to mute it—I would):

Optional Video (9 minutes of narration—very pedestrian by both definitions)

This is a knavish piece of work, which I dignify by quoting Hamlet who is disparaging a play he is producing. More and more, I watch videos at 1.25 speed, which brings this one down to about 7 minutes.

 

____Footnotes____

[1] This is the estimated duration until earth’s temperature rises 1.5ºC above pre-industrial temperatures. When a country makes headway against CO emissions, the times is extended. When industry makes headway against environmentalism, the time is shortened. Somewhere between an increase of 1.5 and 2.0°C, grim things are predicted. The fact that this is purely an estimate that is frequently re-calculated, the smaller increments of time (“seconds”!?!) are for dramatic effect.

The figures in this post are taken from the Wikipedia article “Climate Clock”. Several climate clocks exist. This one provides a more generous estimate (in case you are feeling anxious): https://climateclock.net/. This web log will present the Wikipedia estimate for the particular day for which any given post is published.

Publishing Info

This post was first published on: Jul 15, 2022 at 16:25. I change the publication date when making a substantial revision in order to bring the edited post to the top of my directory.

Free Transportation & Hot Weather and Hot Heads

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

Emission: There are 6 years, 50 weeks, 6 days, 9 hours, and 43 minutes until the Climate Clock reaches zero (approximate).[1]

Free Transportation

My daughter Mindy informed me that for the month of August, the public transportation of Denver-Boulder is free. This includes buses, regional buses, airport buses, and light-rail. Yesterday when I rode the bus a sign confirmed it: “Zero Fare for Cleaner Air.”

Not limited to Denver-Boulder, free public transportation is a global trend, not only for the month of August but for the future. A wonderful article, “Free public transport: the new global initiative clearing the air, roads and helping keep climate targets on track,” concludes:

With a growing pile of evidence to support it, free public transport is going from something that old economic thinking could barely imagine, to being a practical and highly effective way rapidly to change behaviour bringing climate, health, communal and economic benefits. It’s a single initiative that is solving multiple problems.

In addition to chipping away at the air and noise pollution generated by cars, free public transportation “is a social justice policy too that helps lift people out of poverty and fosters a sense of social cohesiveness through greater equality of opportunity and accessibility.” This is one solution to auto-dependency that can help instead of penalize poorer people. Finally, the article stresses that the fear of catching covid19 on public transportation has been greatly exaggerated (not that I wouldn’t vie for an isolated seat on any bus or train).

According to the NY Times, over 100 cities are making their public transportation free. Not just cities but some countries are making their transportation free or nearly free. In Luxembourg, it is free, showing Luxembourg to be a small yet smart country. In Germany for the summer months, a €9-a-month ticket allows travel everywhere in Germany, local and regional.

Making transportation fares free obviously doesn’t imply that the transportation is free: someone’s paying. Public transportation depends on fares, government subsidization, and third-party funding. If you take away fares, then the other two sources must compensate (or exceed) the amount that was provided by fares. Third-party funding includes advertisements inside and outside of buses, as well as renting out retail space in bus and train depots. If public transportation becomes a country’s primary mode of transportation, third-party funding can increase drastically, attracting private investors who may see a profitable return with a green conscience to boot.

What this all means? We humans have dug ourselves into a pit from which we may not escape. But there are some exit routes still available, one of them being public transportation. Making it free for a while or forever cannot hurt and may encourage some people, particularly Americans, to give it a try. I do know people for whom riding a bus is tantamount to what riding an upside-down-and-spinning amusement park ride would be for me. Some people who try public transportation may find out the benefits… far lower stress, keeping the planet alive, and reading a good book, for starters.

With few exceptions in the US, bus routing is so scarce/infrequent that buses remain impracticable. For decades, public transportation in the US has been locked in a vicious cycle: buses won’t improve until they are used by a much greater number of people, and people won’t ride buses until they are improved. Anything that breaks that cycle is a giant step forward. Admittedly, Denver’s one-month-free won’t change much. But then, remember Luxembourg!

Hot Weather

On July 19th, 2022, the temperature in London exceeded 40ºC for the first time in history. That’s 104ºF.[2] In itself, 104ºF is not entirely remarkable. Remember last year in Canada? On June 29, 2021, the temperature in Lytton, BC reached 49.6 °C (121.4 °F)! Canada.

What’s remarkable about the London weather is how the weather forecasters were mistreated. According to an article on the BBC web site, “The BBC’s team received hundreds of abusive tweets or emails questioning their reports and telling them to ‘get a grip’, as temperatures hit 40C.” The majority of the abuse arose from those who disliked the unprecedented hot weather being linked to climate change, a complaint that is sounding more ludicrous as every year and every heat wave rolls by. A BBC news broadcast added that some of the abuse was simply a complaint against the hot weather, as if weather forecasters actually create the weather. Some complained that the role of climate change was under reported. Hot weather and hot heads make a bad mix.

Today’s Bollard

Bollards stop cars, sometimes brutally, offering a kind of payback moment to those who frequently feel threatened by drivers. Likely, those whose cars are stopped by bollards get citations, but probably not in this case.

This video has an optional soundtrack (in case you want to mute it—I would):

 

____Footnotes____

[1] This is the estimated duration until earth’s temperature rises 1.5ºC above pre-industrial temperatures. When a country makes headway against CO emissions, the time is extended. When industry makes headway against environmentalism, the time is shortened. Somewhere between an increase of 1.5 and 2.0°C, grim things are predicted. This is purely an estimate that is frequently.

The figures in this post are taken from the Wikipedia article “Climate Clock”. Several climate clocks exist. This following one provides a more generous estimate (in case you are feeling anxious): https://climateclock.net/. This web log will present the Wikipedia estimate for the particular day for which any given post is published.

[2] Centigrade to Fahrenheit:

  • Multiply by 9/5 because a Centigrade degree is that much bigger:
    40*9=360, 360/5=72º
  • Add 32º since that’s freezing for Fahrenheit:
    72+32=104º

The Cost of Gas and the Price of the Supreme Court

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

On One Hand…

Drivers in the United States are now paying almost as much for gasoline as Europeans have been paying for years (take Germany for example). That’s right, fellow Americans, we’ve been on a Non-renewable Resource Holiday since the day we were born. The party is ending for those living on a limited budget. Right now, depending on where you live and the blend you use, gasoline is about $5 a gallon. If fuel continues to increase in cost—say upwards of $8-$10 per gallon, the following will happen. Many of us will…

  • regret buying jumbo cars and trucks that scare the bejeebers out of pedestrians and bikers, all the while guzzling fuel like water (which we are also going to run short on)
  • plan our errands better—bundling five tasks into one trip instead of parsing out a trip per errand
  • discover public transportation, which, if it actually gets used, will blossom into what it should have always been
  • undertake more self-propulsion (walking, running, biking)
  • buy e-bikes; whatever else they are, they are much less polluting and threatening than cars and trucks

This is a trajectory that I’d bet on. And I’d bet that the real hardship will be on low-income families and individuals who survive by driving. At the other end of the spectrum, toward the wealthy, the costs are negligible. Perhaps inflation is worth complaining about, but is does not change driving habits. In American culture, driving excessively may already be a status symbol, but soon it may be the surest sign of opulence.

On the Other Hand…

The US Supreme Court just handed down a decision that will hamper clean air and accelerate climate disaster.[1] Here’s a thumbnail of what happened: in 2015, the EPA, through its Clean Power Act, set standards for power plants that involved three building blocks. The first building block, which was consistent with the older Clean Air Act, involved cleaning up the way coal burns. The second and third blocks required replacing coal with, first, natural gas, and, ultimately, non-polluting sources such as solar and wind.

On June 30, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA was not empowered to set these standards without specific authorization from Congress. In other words, federal agencies cannot initiate standards they consider necessary. They must depend on Congress to do so.

This might be good Constitutional law at work. Justice Kagan doesn’t think so: “Today, the Court strips the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the power Congress gave it to respond to ‘the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.'”

Good or bad Constitutional law, I’m left wondering what good a body of constitutional law will be if we kill the body politic it was designed to serve.

The Individual or the State?

Raised by a Jeffersonian, I used to believe that the government that governs least, governs best. In another society that might be, but the immense power of corporate greed in this country overwhelms the checks and balances written into the constitution. Lobbyists often wield more influence than voters. The tail truly is wagging the dog.

Perhaps if individuals started on neutral ground, the majority would make prudent lifestyle decisions that promoted healthy, green living. But from the cradle to the grave (yes, I love that phrase), we are bombarded with an infrastructure, legislation, marketing, and advertising that promote the unhealthy use of cars and trucks.

The change will not happen if left to individuals because, by and large, individuals are programmed by corporations. And for that reason, I’m left with only two hopes: (1) the harsher one that gas will go up to an even $10/gal; yes even I will whine at times, but, when I can hear nature instead of the constant drone of tires on the highways, I’ll smile; (2) federal-level imposition of standards and the funding of a green infrastructure, changes that throw the corporations off balance, making the greediest and most wasteful ones wince as the socially-conscious companies take the lead. Will this ever happen? Not today, not this year, not this decade.

Today’s Bollard

Bollards stop cars, sometimes brutally, offering a kind of payback moment to those who frequently feel threatened by drivers. On the topic of the growing global dependence on automobiles, a bollard is one of the few things that make me smile.

This video has an optional soundtrack (in case you want to mute it):

 

____Footnotes____

[1] For a detailed look, see West Virginia v. EPA in Wikipedia. The article includes a link to the Supreme Court decision itself, always a pleasure to read (no joke).

Persons Rescuing a Car

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

A Happy Post?

Definitely this will be a short post, and happy. Yes, the world’s dependence on oil continues to fund Putin’s war and its ruthless destruction of life and property. And, yes, several groups I follow on Twitter still post subtle hints vehemently, such as “Cars Destroy Cities.” There’s an entire culture out there devoted to reclaiming the earth. But this will be a happy post (no sound track).

Today is no more than a couple of nice videos, one of people rescuing a car (and the driver), and one that depicts true happiness on a bollard.

People to the Rescue

This is the kind of situation that might unite pedestrians, bikers, and drivers, at least while the rescue is happening. It’s a lovely sight.

Today’s Bollard

Bollards stop cars, sometimes brutally, offering a kind of payback moment to those who frequently feel threatened by drivers. But today’s bollard is pure entertainment and athleticism.

Zelensky: Hero, Biker

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

“I need ammunition, not a ride”
Volodymyr Zelensky

The Hero

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is probably not riding a bike today. He’s currently dodging Russian tanks. He leads with astonishing courage and composure.
Volodymyr Zelensky Official portrait

When it became clear that 100,000 Russian troops were gathering on the border of Ukraine, the drums of war began to beat in the West.

Zelensky, however, didn’t beat them. Instead, on February 13, 2022, Zelensky urged President Biden to visit Kyiv in order to send a “powerful signal” that will help stabilize “the situation.”[1] That and similar requests were denied or ignored. Nevertheless, to avoid giving Russia a pretense for invading, Zelensky consistently de-escalated the tension, sought to communicate with Putin, and reached out for international support.

Once the invasion was imminent and in progress, Zelensky’s tone changed accordingly.[2]

  • “But if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces. Not our backs, but our faces.”
  • “Who is ready to fight alongside us? I don’t see anyone. Who is ready to give Ukraine a guarantee of NATO membership? Everyone is afraid.”
  • “Our military, our national guard, our national police, our territory defense, special service, nationals of Ukraine, please carry on. We will win.”

Instead of leaving Kyiv, he has remained, broadcasting to several audiences: his people, the Russian people, and governing bodies. Recently, he addressed the EU Parliament and rightly received a standing ovation until he left the live stream.[3]

So rare a leader.

Of course the branches of the government and military are of the same material. Even more striking are the citizens who insist on resisting the invasion. Equally striking are non-citizens from other countries entering Ukraine help fight.

The instruments of warfare are lopsided, as we all know, but that doesn’t stop the Ukrainians. Behold the pedestrian stopping a tank:


If in January someone had told me that Ukrainian women would be making and throwing Molotov cocktails, that several men would be stepping in front of tanks to slow them down, that a president was among the most coherent and fearless…I would have thought it a fiction.

May most of the Ukrainians survive and rebuild their country.

Zelensky the Biker

He did ride when he was pretending to be president; that is, when he starred in Servant of the People:


If cars and trucks are a problem to our environment, tanks fall at one end of the spectrum and bikes at the other.

The Bike and the War

The bike and the war are related the way, say, eating well and sickness are related. Just as eating is not a sufficient cause to stop all illness, so, of course, a lack of dependence on oil will not stop all wars. But a lack of dependence would allow more democratic countries to bow down less frequently to oil-rich countries.[4]

If the West, and especially America, had for the past five decades learned to depend upon bicycling, walking, and public transportation—instead of massive fossil fuel consumption—the invasion of Ukraine would likely be different. Russia would not have made nearly so much money selling crude oil to us, having far less money for tanks and other instruments of war. In 2021 alone, Russia sold about $110,000,000,000 USD to the US.[5] That’s $110 billion, while each tank costs around $4 million.

I am not proposing self-propulsion as means of world peace. I am pointing out that if one looks at both the scale of Russia’s armament and the amount of crude oil sold to the US (not to mention European countries), one cannot avoid seeing two problems whose interests and effects overlap.

In his book, Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped (2014), Garry Kasparov predicted all of this:

The naïve idea was that the free world would use economic and social ties to gradually liberalize authoritarian states. In practice, the authoritarian states have abused this access and economic interdependency to spread their corruption and fuel repression at home.

He also wrote that “We must fight with the vast resources of the free world, beginning with moral values and economic incentives and with military action only as a last resort.” He was ignored, and now the world is addressing the problem in reverse order: military action, economic incentives, and, one would hope, moral values.[6]

Obviously bikes would make a difference. Of course, a few of us leaving our cars at home will not be felt on anything more than a municipal scale. It would take many, nay, a majority to affect national economies.

There are two ways to obtain a majority: (1) massive changes in infrastructure, policy and legislation through governmental power and (2) voluntary participation (which would also lead to a better infrastructure).

Concerning the first, many Americans do not want government involvement. In Hamlet’s words, “examples gross as earth exhort” us.

As for the second, until recently, I had despaired of voluntary participation on a large scale. But if things get bad enough—climate change, gasoline prices, and health problems—and if we are inspired after the fashion of the Ukrainian citizens…well, some day the tide may turn.

Is there anything else I need say in favor of a culture of self-propulsion and public transportation? Isn’t it all obvious? And yet it’s so easy to ignore the far-reaching consequences of ignoring the obvious. Today I was planning to get into my car to run an errand. But these reminders have cured my amnesia…for the moment. It’s a good day for a bike ride.

Today’s Bollard

Bollards stop cars, and this one from who-knows-where stopped a tank. Go bikes, go pedestrians, go Zelenski, go Ukraine!ukraine flag

 

____Footnotes____

[1] From the New York Times, last visited 3/3/22, Ukraine’s President Tries to Avert Panic as Pressure Mounts, Feb. 13, 2022.

[2] These quotes taken from MEA Worldwide, last visited 3/3/22, Top Volodymyr Zelenskyy quotes: How Ukrainian president inspired the world with his bravery, Feb. 26, 2022.

[3] For the eight-minute speech, see YouTube, last visited 3/3/22, Zelensky receives standing ovation after speech to European Parliament, March 1, 2022.

[4] As Garry Kasparov writes: “Meanwhile, Europe draws 80 percent of Russia’s energy exports, so who has the greater leverage in this relationship? And yet during the Ukraine crisis we have heard it repeated constantly that Europe cannot act against Russia because of energy dependency! Eight months after Putin annexed Crimea and three and a half months after evidence mounted that Russian forces had shot down a commercial airliner over Ukraine, Europe was still ‘considering’ looking at ways to substitute Russian gas.” Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped (2014/15), by Garry Kasparov, PublicAffairs. Kindle Edition.

[5] From the site, Statistica, last accessed 3/2/22, Export value of crude oil from Russia from 2000 to 2021.

[6] Both quotes are from the introduction of Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped (2014/15), by Garry Kasparov, PublicAffairs. Kindle Edition.

Traffic Accidents and Deaths on the Rise

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

The Golden Age of the Pandemic

The corona virus pandemic has been wholly bad for public health, and nearly as bad for social media. The one thing it benefited for a while was the environment. Birds could be heard singing. The air cleared in cities that are typically smothered in smog. Roads and highways were happily barren. Bicyclists, runners, and pedestrians enjoyed moving about, free from the anxiety of becoming an accident statistic.

Life for the self-propelled was truly good.

And those who did drive were safer, too. According to a recent article in the New York Times, “By 2019, the annual death rate from crashes was near its lowest level since cars became a mass item in the 1920s” (Vehicle Crashes, Surging [pay-walled]).

Life for the driver was good.

The Traffic Plague

Unfortunately, all that has changed. Not only do cars and trucks dominate public thoroughfares, but they do so recklessly. Yes, traffic accidents and deaths are on the increase.

The pandemic taught drivers bad habits. They …

  • learned that they could get away with speeding more easily… fewer cars to compete with and fewer police pulling drivers over
  • could text more
  • could drive while intoxicated with less chance of being caught (and drinking was surging throughout the pandemic)
  • could run red lights, self-assured that no other cars were in the vicinity
  • could forego the seatbelt—less risk of being hit, less risk of being pulled over for the previous offenses
  • might drive while angry and stressed about the pandemic and its discontents

While the conditions that encouraged these habits have disappeared, the habits remain strong.

Even though people drove less in 2020, “NHTSA’s early estimates show that an estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes—the largest projected number of fatalities since 2007. This represents an increase of about 7.2 percent as compared to the 36,096 fatalities reported in 2019.” (2020 Fatality Data Show Increased Traffic Fatalities During Pandemic)

Things only got worse in 2021. Click on the image to see the percentage of increased traffic fatalities in your state, red being bad, green being good:

increased fatalities 2021
The percentages show the increase in traffic fatalities in 2021, with only one region experiencing a decrease. (source: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813240)

Optional, for your listening pleasure: a 32-minute talk from NPR that reiterates the problem and emphasizes how blacks and native Americans share a greater portion of fatalities. They comprise a greater proportion of essential workers (more time on the road), they are more likely to be on bike or foot, and they often live in areas with neglected infrastructure.

Today’s Bollard

As promised, these posts will customarily conclude with a bollard, now that I know they are such serviceable creatures. A bollard can garner affection, sometimes tragically, sometimes happily.

This particular one deserves to be clicked since it displays better on Twitter (to see the orange blood):

Running While Black

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

This post initially was entitled “Person vs. Two Pickups, a Pistol and a Rifle,” until I saw a Wikipedia page dedicated to “Running while black.” One of its footnotes cites an article, Running while Black: Why we are not all in this together, in which the author, Dewayne R. Stallworth, states something that must haunt many black runners:

As an educated black man who enjoys taking contemplative runs in my neighborhood, I must confess that I leave my home with the thought that I may not return (and this is before Arbery’s killing). I think about my attire — would this shirt cause someone to think I am a burglar.

Jogging as a black person in the US is a thing. For a person of any race, urban running brings with it risks of breathing bad air, a possible sprained ankle, and collision with a car.[1] But for a black person, there’s the added risk of being beaten or killed.

Driving in the US is also a thing. It imposes new risks to the environment, pedestrians, bikers, and animals. When the two meet—running as black and driving as a racist—something terrible occurs. Bad as racism in itself is, the added power of a pickup truck, a pistol, and a rifle make the situation all the worse. Cars and trucks make it extremely easy to track and kill—with almost no effort at all.[2]
Continue reading “Running While Black”

Holy Bollards!

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

I know, Holy Bollards sounds a bit blasphemous and a bit vulgar, but it’s neither.

bollard | ˈbɒlɑːd, ˈbɒləd |
noun
1 British a short post used to prevent traffic from entering an area.
2 a short, thick post on the deck of a ship or a quayside, to which a ship's rope may be secured.

To those of us who travel on bike or foot near cars and trucks, a bollard can become a holy thing. So, yes, “up with bollards”! This might become my new mission statement.

The rest of this post consists of a few Twitter tweets concerning bollards—all interesting to me, and many humorous if you are not the person driving the car.

Originally, this post had many more tweets, but they take too long to load. The leftover tweets will be included, one at a time, at the end of future posts—something to look forward to!

Among various uses, bollards are used to regulate traffic in some countries. Wonderfully effective, except for impatient or inattentive drivers: