News of the Day (Bus Fares Drop for Denver, Bicyclist Hit by Car)

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

News of the Day? What day? It doesn’t matter, because the automobile news varies little for the self-propelled, including those who walk, run, bike, and require wheel chairs.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted on this site, a year of roads overflowing with automobiles, polluting the world with fumes, noise, and a never-ending ledger of injuries and deaths. Oil production continues in the face of climate disaster (which, by the way, has never been my motivation for this site). Electric cars (EVs), a bandage to the problem of over-individualized transportation, become more efficient while engineers, I assume, continue to search for better ways to bury or recycle the massive batteries.

But first, the good news, which, one hopes, is emblematic of changes beyond the Denver-Boulder area. A few days ago, CBS news reported: RTD approves new fare structure, will provide lower cost for adult customers. Currently the buses in the Denver area (Regional Transportation District) are free (July and August). In September, the fares resume, but have decreased from earlier this year!

Among the changes:

  • A new Standard fare ($2.75 for a 3-hour pass; $5.50 for a day pass; $88 for a monthly pass) for full-fare customers to all destinations except Denver International Airport. Airport fare, for SkyRide and A Line trips that begin or end at the airport, is $10
  • A single Discount fare ($1.35 for a 3-hour pass; $2.70 for a day pass; $27 for a monthly pass) that provides access to any RTD destination, including the airport, for seniors 65 and older, individuals with disabilities, Medicare recipients and individuals enrolled in LiVE, RTD’s income-based fare discount program
  • Zero Fare for Youth, a 12-month pilot program allowing youth ages 19 and under to use RTD services at no cost

Take that, you who have lobbied for the automobile industry at the cost of this nation’s health, beauty, and quality of life!

Today’s newsletter from The Daily Camera (a Boulder newspaper) brings the bad news. On July 29, 2023, a competitive bicyclist, Magnus White, was killed while on a training ride.

White was riding his Trek Model Emonda SL 7 bike southbound on Diagonal Highway just south of the 63rd Street intersection when he was hit by a woman driving a Toyota Matrix that had crossed from the righthand lane into the shoulder, according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Gabriel Moltrer.

White was ejected from his bike and transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Toyota driver — identified by Moltrer as a 23-year-old Westminster woman — was the only person in the car. Drugs, alcohol and excessive speed are not suspected to have been factors in the crash, Moltrer said.

The leading factor in the crash was an automobile that was in the same space as a bike. This is, among other things, an infrastructure problem: painted lines are too easy for drivers to ignore, to cross over. Studies have shown that even modest physical barriers deter cars from crossing into vulnerable zones. Massive barriers, all the better.

Update 8/11/23: I’ve been told by a reliable source “in response to his death they are going to create a bike path from Boulder to Longmont”—protecting the self-propelled one infrastructure change at a time!

There’s nothing new about this news, except to those who knew of Magnus, described as a “rising star” in several articles. Being a celebrity of sorts (young local man headed for junior championships in Scotland), his death seems more significant, and is in terms of the attention it gets. But every human run over by a car is equally significant to someone (especially him- or herself!). And for this reason, against all the miserable infrastructure spawned by the automotive culture, I continue to protest the over-use of automobiles while inveighing the under-use and under-availability of good public transportation—another problem against which isolated individuals are powerless.

Scenarios such as the following hint at the difference between use and abuse in the automobile culture. A car makes sense when…

  • going to an off-route destination (and there are unfortunately many of these in most cities)
  • covering multiple destinations in a day, particularly with a truckload of samples, tools, or lawnmowers
  • taking a car full of people somewhere (although a bus might be more enjoyable and safer)

Public transportation, even in the expansive United States, makes incredible sense when…

  • hundreds of people are traveling at the same hour, departing from the approximate area, and arriving at the same approximate destination
  • a person wants to read, text, or sleep en route
  • one is tired of remaining in his or her social stratum and would like to mingle with God’s plenty (as Dryden termed humanity)
  • one has a fear of becoming an accident statistic [1]

Picture almost any urban freeway or highway at eight in the morning or five at night. This redundancy cries out for a transportation reformation. One element of that reformation has to be convenience—otherwise it simply will not happen. Buses and trains should be so frequent that no one need consult a schedule, knowing it will be no more than a 15-minute wait.

And this happens in places. In Germany, for example, owning a car is not common, yet everyone makes it to work in a more timely way than many Americans who drive. Many videos by Americans living in Germany emphasize their new-found love of walking, biking, and taking public transportation. Here’s one from Dana, an American from Florida living in Munich, Germany:



[1] Deaths by automobile dwarf the number of deaths/mile traveled in buses, trains, and scheduled airlines. See the graph on this page (you may have to zoom in or view the PDF of Deaths by Transportation Mode – Injury Facts).

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).

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):



[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.

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:

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):

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 |
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:

Here Come the Bollards!

Opening Streets for People and Closing them for Cars

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

Awful as it is, the pandemic handed a few favors over to mother nature.

For months, cars were mostly parked. One could cross streets before setting up an appointment with a local priest for last rites.

One could see blue sky in big cities, such as Delhi—and one could hear birds singing where before one heard only vehicles:

Dehli Blue Skies
Blue skies in Dehli (NPR, “With Coronavirus Lockdown, India’s Cities See Clear Blue Skies As Air Pollution Drops,” April 10, 2020)

Much of that return-to-nature is passing, alas.

One change, however, that is likely to persist (likely to succeed), are the streets that have been closed to cars in order to gain space for outdoor dining for cafes and restaurants. Welcome, Low Traffic Neighborhoods (LTNs).

Close to my home is the town of Louisville, Colorado:

Main St. Louisville CO
Main St., Louisville, CO (Colorado Hometown Weekly, April 13, 2021)

According to the article on Louisville, Main Street will be open to (un-endangered) pedestrians and outdoor tables “April 26 through Nov. 1” (similar to the summer of 2020). Let’s take what we can get.

Not so close to my home, opening streets in Scotland is going well:

And, a bit south, in England…

Not only streets with eateries, but streets with schools are being blocked off, often to dozens of SUVs that drive less than a mile to get the kids to and from school. Many kids bike on their own, but they can also relax in a trailer (and let the parents do the work):

It’s no surprise that bikes take care of the school transportation in the Netherlands:

Nor should it be (but it is to me) a surprise about Finland:

And, of course, it’s not only people who need un-endangered transit on streets—this street being again in Nederland:

Incidents #2 (Including the New Commuter Frustration)

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

The New Commuter Frustration

In the previous Incidents #1, I led with a biking fatality. This time I’ll mend my ways and start out on a happier note, wrapping up with a pedestrian fatality. I’m sorry, but as a serious pedestrian (a luxury, I know, although I used to run 8 miles to work…so I’m not fully unqualified to speak)…ahem, as a serious pedestrian, I have a privileged point of view on how the tire and engine noise, size, and sheer mass of cars is disproportionate to the tiny beings they transport, insulating the beings from the true external effects of the vehicles. Ok, said that.

During the first covid19 surge last Spring, birds could be heard in cities, nature began to clap her hands, and self-propelled people breathed a sigh of relief. With this current surge, not so, at all. And, yes, the economy needs lots of people to commute to work and shop.

Happily, a new but different problem has arisen that belies a psychological demand, not an economic one. In a recent article in The Washington Post, we discover that,

Even when Shayne Swift works from home, the high school principal ends her day behind the wheel of her forest-green Jeep Liberty, chatting by phone with family and friends.
But Swift isn’t driving. Usually, she said, she sits parked in her driveway in Northwest Washington — the closest she often gets to something she has dearly missed during the pandemic: her commute.[1]

In the case of Shayne Swift, the psychological need for cars would be on my side. After all, cars are great as mini-houses that are probably safer than a huge home during a lightening storm. In addition, a few good speakers and a good stereo can sound better than much more expensive equipment in a big home.

The rest of the article details how some kind of distance (more temporal than spatial) is genuinely helpful to insulate people from feeling like captives either at home or at work. Walking from one’s bedroom to one’s study and back, along with the need to nurture children, just does not provide a break.

If sitting in one’s driveway is too conspicuous (to the family members), drive halfway around the block or to the neighborhood park. Want to use your cell phone in your car? This is the perfect way. Talk or text away. The American love affair with cars can be consummated safely, inexpensively, and with a small carbon footprint.

Another Obituary Item, Sorry to Report

The web site of the Denver television station KDVR reports that on January 19th, 2021, Chris Baker, 36, was crossing Federal near 70th when he was fatally hit by a car that promptly drove away. Fortunately for the wheels of justice, several people reported the driver’s identity to the police and he was later arrested.[2] The article continues, “The crash was the third hit-and-run on Federal Boulevard since the new year, and the second to turn deadly.”

The article goes on to quote Jill Locantore, who is with Denver Streets Partnership:

We know that this street is dangerous by design, and these deaths are going to continue to happen until we make changes to the street. . . . Every single traffic fatality, it’s not just a number, it’s a person, who had friends and family members who mourn that loss, and it just breaks my heart, because I know we can prevent that hurt from happening in our community.

The good news is that Denver Streets Partnership is a coalition looking out for the self-propelled. May they be blessed in their work.

Chris Baker
36-year old, Chris Baker



[1] Katherine Shaver, The Washington Post, PUBLISHED: Dec. 31, 2020: Months of pandemic teleworking have left some missing their commutes

[2] Victim identified in deadly Westminster hit-and-run

“Unsafe at Any Speed”—55th Anniversary

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

In 1965, Ralph Nader published Unsafe at Any Speed, the book that tackled the unsafe practices of the auto industry and launched the modern consumer protection movement. This is a short post that recognizes the merits of Nader’s efforts.

Ralph Nader, 1975

Continue reading ““Unsafe at Any Speed”—55th Anniversary”

Who is Chris Boardman?

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

For those who follow cycling, the answer is no doubt obvious, just as “Who is Frank Shorter?” would be for a runner.[1] But for me, Chris Boardman is a new-found national treasure, albeit one that belongs to Britain.

Chris Boardman
From the current home page of his web log:

Continue reading “Who is Chris Boardman?”