US achieves road death pariah status, carfree streets and the people who love & hate them, and more open streets on tap

Good grief.

Apparently, the United States is now in favor of traffic deaths.

Or at least disagrees with the rest of the world — literally — on the urgent need to keep people from dying on our streets.

Writing in Forbes, British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid points out that the United States was the only one out of more than 140 nations which refused to sign on to the Stockholm Declaration from the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety held in the city last week.

Because of the latest dissent it’s likely that road safety professionals will say the U.S. is a “road-death reduction pariah.” Pedestrian organizations, including the leading American one, have already expressed disappointment at the U.S. decision to dissent…

Among the key conference resolutions was the call to rein back speed on the world’s roads. The Stockholm Declaration wants countries to “focus on speed management,” with increased enforcement of existing speed limits and “mandate a maximum road travel speed of 30 kph (18.6 mph) in areas where vulnerable road users and [motor] vehicles mix.”

The declaration noted that speed reductions would result in improvements in air quality and could therefore help countries tackle climate change.

And that’s where they lost American support.

The U.S. delegation at the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety objected to a declaration that wants to shift “toward safer, cleaner, more energy-efficient and affordable modes of transport and promote higher levels of physical activity such as walking and cycling as well as integrating these modes with the use of public transport to achieve sustainability.”

Also, the U.S. dissociated from a declaration that aims to focus attention on the “safety needs of those road users who are the most vulnerable including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and users of public transport.”

A statement from the U.S. delegation said it “dissociates itself from references [to] climate change, gender equality, reduced inequalities, responsible consumption and production” claiming that these issues are “not directly related to road safety.”

So, in addition to the usual climate change denial from our nation’s leaders, we’re evidently now opposed to energy efficiency, walking, bicycling and public transit. Or gender equality in transportation, for that matter.

Not to mention saving the lives of vulnerable road users.

Something I would have thought no one could possibly oppose.

And yet, here we are.

The world’s only traffic safety deniers and road-death reduction pariahs.

I don’t care whether you’re liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. Or anything else in-between, above, below or beyond.

Some things are just wrong.

Then again, Lego doesn’t seem to love alternative transportation, either.

………

Today’s common theme is carfree streets.

Downtown News considers how we’ll get around on Broadway if cars are banned from the DTLA corridor.

A San Francisco bike shop owner comes out against a proposal to make Valencia Street carfree, apparently preferring the business he gets from motorists to all the additional sales he might get from people who no longer have to worry about getting hit by cars and the people in them.

An Arizona family owns two cars, but prefers to leave them parked for a bike-based, virtually carfree existence.

A Philadelphia bike advocate calls for making the city’s Chestnut Street carfree.

………

Yesterday’s CicLAvia is just the beginning.

https://twitter.com/ActiveSGV/status/1230947573243863041

………

Give your input on plans to improve mobility on the Westside.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. 

A mixed race Indiana couple are accused of harassing two teenage bike riders and running them off the road because they were flying pro-Trump flags on their bikes. I’ve spent the last several months training the foster corgi to ignore dogs he disagrees with; we shouldn’t have to do the same thing for people in cars who don’t like someone else’s politics.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly. 

A pair of bike riders fatally stabbed a man waiting at a bus stop in East LA in what is believed to be a gang attack. Thanks to Orange House for the link.

Talk about keeping dangerous people on the streets until it’s too late. An Irish man got a well-deserved eight years behind bars for crashing a stolen bicycle into an English tourist as he was making his getaway, leaving her with life-changing injuries; he had a whopping 92 previous convictions, including several involving gratuitous violence.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton argues that LA’s plan to widen Magnolia Blvd is straight out of 1999, and ignores more modern standards adopted in the mobility plan adopted just four years ago.

Seriously? An idiot from Metro Metro’s Chief Program Management Officer tries to argue that most of the agency’s highway projects don’t make greenhouse gas emissions worse. Apparently with a straight face.

Letter writers in the LA Times come out strongly in favor of enforcing speed limits. The problem is, there aren’t enough cops in the country to catch every speeding driver. Which is why we need to legalize automated speed cameras in California.

 

State

No bias here. Only a windshield-biased motorist’s organization could find something to love in California’s deadly 85th Percentile Law, which allows drivers to set speed limits with their heavy right feet.

A San Diego letter writer says stop pushing bike lanes as a solution to traffic, insisting the city has failed to convincingly demonstrate demand. Although as someone much smarter than me once said, you don’t demonstrate the need for a bridge by counting the people swimming across a river.

A Rancho Mirage bike rider was lucky to escape with minor injuries when she was struck by a driver Friday morning. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

A state legislator introduced legislation that would keep Bay Area bridges free for bike riders and pedestrians.

Caltrans will shut down the popular new bike and pedestrian lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge for parts of the next three weeks for inspections, even though it just opened a few months ago; the agency will provide a shuttle to ferry riders and walkers across the bridge.

 

National

A writer for Jalopnik buys a 1980s Schwinn, intending to swap it out with modern components. And finds it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Speaking of Schwinn, the newly trendy bike maker is back with a modern take on the classic Stingray Krates that’s designed to grow with your kids.

Streetsblog makes the argument that Vision Zero is missing something big — like getting more cars off the road, which will make everyone safer.

A Portland writer has his bike stolen. And uses a bluetooth tracker and plausible deniability to get it back. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

Longtime Seattle-area guitarist Dave Sims makes a comeback album with his band Archer, 22 years after shattering his spine in a bicycling crash.

Washington became the latest state to require a minimum three-foot distance to pass someone on a bicycle.

Good news, as the Bureau of Land Management, aka BLM, backs off on a uniquely bad idea to lease land for oil and gas drilling that could have threatened Moab, Utah’s famed Slick Rock mountain bike trail.

Chicago’s rapid shift to become bike friendly is largely leaving people of color behind.

A new exhibit in a Boston Museum traces how two women from the same neighborhood broke bicycling barriers in the 1890s — one by riding solo around the world, and the other by competing as a black women.

A Massachusetts paper opines that masses of kids swerving and popping wheelies in traffic — and often against it — is a recipe for disaster.

No bias here, either. The New York Post’s notoriously bike-hating columnist calls out the city’s plans for a bike lane on Sixth Avenue, insisting it “raises the bar for malicious streetscape tampering.” Because evidently, no one who works in those high rise professional buildings would ever want to ride a bike to work.

Brazen bike thieves are targeting ebike delivery riders on New York’s Queensboro Bridge with violent assaults to take their bikes and personal possessions.

A North Carolina columnist performs the mental gymnastics that accompany the switch from bike-hater to one of us.

A year after the drunken Mardi Gras parade crash that killed two people and injured several others, a New Orleans paper questions whether the city is any safer for people on bicycles, as improvements suggested by the mayor continue to exist only on paper.

 

International

That feeling when your road bike just doesn’t have enough high-end bling.

An English city is offering residents the equivalent of up to $3,800 to ditch their cars in favor of bikes or transit.

After a British woman has her bike stolen, her kindhearted co-workers pitch in, raising the equivalent of $580 to buy a new one.

Afghans take to the streets — and onto their bikes — to celebrate a preliminary step towards ending the country’s decades of open warfare.

Dubai now has a 780-bike, 78-station ped-assist bikeshare system.

Kindhearted Aussie cops replace a five-year old girl’s bike after hers was stolen.

A Philippine physician makes the case that bikes are good for the country’s cities. And every other city, too.

A bike-riding American priest and Medal of Honor winner in the Korean War is being investigated for a possible pathway to sainthood.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews examines how the world’s largest women-only mountain bike race, Colorado’s Beti Bike Bash, returned from the brink of financial ruin after a ten-year run.

Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta winner Chris Froome makes his long-delayed comeback from severe injuries suffered in a training ride crash last summer, saying “it feels good to be a bike racer again.”

If you swear you saw Welsh Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas riding the mean streets of Los Angeles last month, you’d be right.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss argues that gravel grinding won’t save bike racing in the US.

 

Finally…

Nothing like celebrating four months of sobriety by getting drunk and stealing a motorcycle. Now you have to start looking for drivers falling from above, too.

And that moment when you suddenly realize you need a change of underwear.

2 comments

  1. Robs Muir says:

    “…which allows drivers to set speed limits with their heavy left feet.”

    One can only wish that some drivers had heavy left feet.

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