Good News for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

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

Below are some recent events that chip away at the disproportionate role of the automobile in Western society (and, technologically, almost all society is Western).

  • Everywhere: Protected bicycle lanes make even automobile drivers safer
  • Colorado: New legislation increases penalty for drivers who hit vulnerable individuals
  • Spain: People protest automobile pollution in Madrid

Protected Bike Lanes

As reported in “CU Denver Today” an extensive study recently concludes that adding protective bike lanes (i.e. lanes with a physical barrier, not just paint) to city streets not only makes the bicyclists safer but all the drivers safer.[1]

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The Legal Bias Against Pedestrians and Bikes (Part 2 of 2)

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

When I discuss the American (and increasingly global) dependency on automobiles, some people with a politically conservative bend respond by saying that the problem is a result of personal irresponsibility, no more.[1]

I was raised to think this way, to think individualistically. So I get it.

However, over time, I realize that done exclusively, this thinking allows conniving and greedy organizations (or their leaders) to move invisibly through the world, exploiting freedom by limiting the range of choices that occur to individuals. As a result of such organizations, even if one’s moral fabric permitted him or her to resist pernicious trends, the very idea of resisting may never enter one’s mind. The gains of corporate and political greed are usually won upstream, with whispers in back rooms, such as, What they don’t know won’t hurt us, and, I don’t care who they vote for as long as I choose the candidates.

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The Legal Bias Against Pedestrians and Bikes (Part 1 of 2)

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

This is the first of two posts that highlight points made by Gregory H. Shill, University of Iowa College of Law, in his paper, “Should Law Subsidize Driving?”.[1]

Shill’s eminently readable, 76-page paper has already been summarized nicely in the article, “How Driving is Encouraged and Subsidized — By Law,” by Angie Schmitt (March 6, 2019).[2]
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Hit in a Crosswalk (Part 3)

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

The previous post explained how the City of Boulder addressed the flashing crosswalk where Laura was hit by an SUV. In short, they addressed it gloriously:
(1) they upgraded to a light that first flashed, then turned solid yellow, and finally turned solid red (putting the fear of Officer MacDougal in drivers), and
(2) they later made the supreme fix: building an underpass
to completely insulate pedestrians and bikers from those big, heavy chunks of metal and plastic that accelerate more easily than they brake.
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Hit in a Crosswalk (Part 2)

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

The previous post was about Laura’s experience of getting hit by a car while in a flashing-light crosswalk (2007). The crosswalk where the accident occurred was replaced by a high-intensity activated crosswalk (HAWK, which provides a flashing yellow light followed by a solid yellow light followed by a red light). After installing the HAWK, Boulder went a step further, replacing it with a pedestrian underpass (the best and costliest solution).

Pedestrian underpass on Baseline Road
Pedestrian underpass on Baseline Road, east of Broadway, Boulder, CO

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Duo Bikes (guest post, Adrienne)

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

[Adrienne, from England, has ties to Holland, where her father lives. Adapted from an email of hers and a link she sent, this short post introduces some of us to the duo bike. These devices, being stabilized with  3 wheels, seem particularly useful for those who want to ride a bike but shouldn’t. They also lend themselves to conversation, in a way that tandem bikes do not.  — Louis]

[as an aside, a true one]: Holland could teach everyone a lot re cycling and not even in a boring, ‘kikkerlandish’ way … 🙂[1]

Have you seen any of these duo bikes over your way?

Well, this is one.

Duo Bike, Holland
“My father is on the left and a volunteer is on the right.”

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Why We Run in the Street (a picture story)

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

This post is a public service announcement. With a web log named “Person versus Automobile,” I owe drivers an explanation of why I still risk running in the street. In this respect, there is no antagonism, only competing risks.

There’s a slight analogy here: as far as I know, my father avoided crosswalks because they provided false security. Whenever I feel I may trip on the sidewalk (if it exists), I shift to the street, assuming it’s empty.

Ok, on with the picture story.

Sometimes the sidewalk ends suddenly...happens a lot where I live.
Sometimes the sidewalk ends suddenly…happens a lot where I live.

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Hero (person) versus Villain (automobile)

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

The mission of this web log is to minimize driving, not eradicate it. Many people need to drive until they can experience a change-in-life circumstance, including moving or changing jobs.

But most of our commentary about automobiles is critical because of…

  1. the legislative and commercial privilege they experience,
  2. the frequent dangerous, reckless, and selfish decisions many drivers make,
  3. the effect of the internal combustion engine on the environment,
  4. the effect of big, heavy chunks of moving metal and plastic on the natural ambience of the outdoors,
  5. the automobile culture that encourages us to neglect our bodies, our neighbors, and our communities, and
  6. the thinking engendered by being enclosed in the automobile culture where speed and dominance make right (as in whateveridoisjustified).

It is this last point, the thinking, that provides the stage where the hero and the villain meet. While this will seem irrelevant, we are familiar with one defense of handguns: guns don’t kill, people do. What the statement means on a factual level is that a gun alone in a room seldom if ever has spontaneously fired and killed someone.
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Modern Negative Consequences of Autos

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

Accordingly, I present some free verse:

Modern negative consequences of automobiles include …
Vanishing non-renewable fuels,
So long dinos, you’re not coming back,
Nor will your remains remain;
Increase in death by vehicle;
Not knowing your own neighbor,
The one who parks inside the garage,
Let alone not knowing your community
Who mostly are insular, behind the wheel,
Maybe in a Dodge, definitely getting out of Dodge,
Spending money at stores one dare not walk to,
Stores who couldn’t care less about your Main Street;
A rise in obesity and sickly hearts;
A liberal dose of greenhouse gases,
Which sound nice and, well, green,
But turn Earth brown;
Urban sprawl and appalling parking lots;
Marginalization of pedestrians,
And if not marginalizing,
Running them down outright (happens);
A stunted railway network;
Noise pollution (what did you say?)
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