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You can always count on the Governors Highway Safety Association to get it wrong.
A new report from the group calls for safety advocates to focus on driver behavior, and not just infrastructure, to improve traffic safety.
To their credit, they start out well.
“Emphasizing one approach does not mean we should discount others,” GHSA executive director Jonathan Adkins wrote in the report. He stressed the need for advocates to use a “safe system” approach, one that includes many different approaches, including enforcing existing laws, educating drivers and engineering streets to minimize crashes. The idea is that the system builds redundancy, to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes.
But it quickly goes south from there.
At the same time, though, GHSA cautioned against advocates going overboard in increasingly popular approaches like Vision Zero that stress the importance of changing infrastructure to make streets safer. Those movements have led to the growing popularity of protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands and narrower vehicle lanes, which protect non-motorists and encourage slower vehicle speeds.
That has sometimes led to a “disconnect,” GHSA said, over whether traditional campaigns about driver behavior belong in those new approaches.
The problem is, as the director of Transportation for America points out, 100% of the effort up to now has been on education and enforcement.
You only have to look at the more than 33,000 people killed on US roadways to realize that approach has failed. And will continue to fail.
Closer to home, you just have to walk or bike on LA streets to realize traffic safety eduction too often falls on deaf ears. And enforcement has little or no impact on daily driver behavior, because drivers have little or no fear of getting caught.
The only rule on our streets seems to be do whatever the hell you want as long as you don’t kill anyone.
And if you do, blame the victim.
So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that traffic deaths have remained high in the City of Angels, despite the city’s negligible Vision Zero program.
Yes, traffic safety education and enforcement matter. But enforcement only works if drivers have an actual expectation they will be held accountable when they break the law.
You can stop laughing now.
That just leaves remaking our streets to prevent speeding and other bad behaviors, which a century of experience tells us in the only way we’re ever going to see any real improvement.
Because what we’ve been doing — and what the GHSA calls for — just hasn’t worked.
Because the traffic safety definition of insanity is to keep focusing on education and enforcement, and somehow expect a different result.
Streets For All needs your vote for a proposal to extend the Ballona Creek bike path to the intersection of Cochran Ave and Venice Blvd in Mid-City Los Angeles, roughly two miles northeast of where it currently stops in Culver City.
Our effort (along with SWA, Culver City Forward, Bike Culver City, and others) to extend the Ballona Creek bike path has been selected as a finalist by Urbanize LA as a top project of 2021. Winning the top spot would increase visibility and momentum to get the project in the ground. They are currently accepting votes from the public – please vote now!
You can cast your vote here (scroll to the bottom of the page).
Streetsblog reports on six new projects in the San Gabriel Valley, which received a total of $20 million in state parks grants.
That includes $3.285 million for the new Big Dalton Wash Trail and new pocket parks in Baldwin Park.
Here’s what Streetsblog’s Kristopher Fortin had to say about the planned project.
The new Big Dalton Wash Trail Greening Project will add a contiguous bike trail with lighting and four pocket parks on Northern Garvey Avenue, Southern Garvey Avenue, Dalewood Street, and Francisquito Avenue along the trail system. The project includes a new pollinator garden, playground with two shade structures, picnic areas throughout each park with shade structures, three exercise stations, public art at each park and along the trail, pathways, signage, landscaping, and ornamental fencing.
Last year, the city was awarded $2.5 million – from the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program funded by Proposition 68 – for the 2.8-mile Big Dalton Wash multi-use path, which is planned to extend from Central Avenue to Baldwin Park Boulevard.
Another satisfied customer.
Speaking of education, count on bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid to know the full story behind one of my favorite bike posters, with a message that can’t be repeated enough.
Full story on that poster is in “Bike Boom.” Here’s Lou with the book. pic.twitter.com/uLLBHzt66t
— Carlton Reid (@carltonreid) December 16, 2021
The book he’s holding is Reid’s Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling, which I highly recommend, along with his first book, Roads Were Not Built for Cars.
An Illinois paper recommends things every bike rider needs, except most them you actually don’t.
Although some things are essential, like a decent bicycle. Then again, who could pass up a fat tire bike and matching chainsaw?
The war on cars may be myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
A British driver was sentenced to five years behind bars for leading police on a high-speed chase, driving four times the posted speed limit and narrowly missing bike riders in the process.
But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
Los Angeles police are on the lookout for the “Two O’Clock Rock” burglar, who got his name by throwing rocks through the front window of businesses to burglarize them between 2 and 4 am, before making his getaway by bicycle or in an early 2000s Nissan.
‘Tis the season. Three hundred third and fourth grade students in Watts got a new bicycle and a basketball, courtesy of longtime community organizer “Sweet” Alice Harris.
Metro is teaming with the LACBC to host a short, family-friendly bike ride to celebrate the Season of Sharing this Sunday; Metro is also hosting a pair of virtual bicycle education classes today and tomorrow.
This is who we share the road with. A West Hollywood driver demonstrated the dangers of converting parking spaces into dining spots, by driving through one on Santa Monica Blvd.
An op-ed from Wesley Reutimann of Active SGV and Topher Mathers of the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition calls out the rising death toll on Pasadena streets, with six people killed and 55 injured while walking in the city in just the last 11 months.
A 17-year old San Marcos boy suffered what’s described as major injuries when he allegedly ran a red light on his ebike, and t-boned an Amazon delivery van in the intersection. As always, the key is whether any independent witnesses saw him blow through the red, other than the driver he crashed into.
San Diego’s Ride1Up is introducing a new ebike built for two — as long as one person just wants to go along for the ride.
Bike-friendly Davis is attempting to combat rampant bike theft by offering free online bike registration through Bike Index. Then again, anyone can do the same thing right here.
Add this one to your bike bucket list. In less than ten years, you should be able to ride a new 600-mile biking and hiking trail through the Eastern Sierra Nevadas; the Lost Sierra Route will connect 15 mountain towns in Northern California and Nevada, from Truckee to Susanville.
And just like that, Peloton was forced to pull their viral ad suggesting Mr. Big didn’t die in the Sex and the City reboot after all, after two women accused actor Chris Noth of sexual assault.
More ebike news, as Rad Power has introduced the second generation of its low-priced RadRunner e-utility bike.
Phoenix bike advocates call for protected bike lanes on what is euphemistically called a bike boulevard, where a popular bike ambassador was killed recently; the only bike infrastructure currently on the bike boulevard are some sharrows and Share the Road signs. Meanwhile, a Phoenix weekly calls it a “posthumous step towards justice for the orange-vested downtown ambassador.”
‘Tis the season. A worker at a Phoenix grocery store says he feels loved, after a brief conversation with a customer about the sad state of his bicycle led to a two-month crowdfunding campaign to buy him a new one.
This is who we share the road with, part two. A Colorado truck driver was sentenced to a whopping 110 years behind bars for the fiery crash that killed four people, despite his claims that his brakes failed; the judge said his hands were tied by a state law that requires the sentences to run consecutively, rather than concurrently.
Heartbreaking news from Pennsylvania, where a 71-year old man suffered an extreme slow-motion death due to complications from a traumatic brain injury he suffered in a bicycle crash 35 years earlier.
A New York writer says the NYPD is cultivating bike lane chaos by refusing to enforce laws keeping Vespas and mo-peds out.
Cross GoTrax products off your holiday shopping list, after the Better Business Bureau of Virginia gave the ebike, scooter and hoverboard maker an F rating, noting that complaints about defective products were usually ignored, and when they weren’t, they were usually replaced with other defective products.
Bike Radar examines the subtle differences between ‘cross and gravel bikes.
Bike Europe looks at the state of Eastern and Central Europe’s efforts to reshore bicycle production from China.
Toronto proves cities can make popup bike lanes permanent, voting to keep seven temporary lanes in place. Los Angeles could do the same thing, except it never built any to begin with.
Speaking of Toronto, a ghost wheelchair now honors a beloved woman who was killed when she was struck by the driver of a cement truck.
Five bike routes to explore Amsterdam on your next trip to bike heaven.
Tibetan refugees living in India held a series of cross-country bike rallies calling for a boycott of the February Beijing Winter Olympics.
If you’re going to get in a wreck, speed up you’re emergency response by getting run down by an ambulance driver. If you can’t find a new ebike, just build one.
And how to sneak out for a bike ride when you’re working the ER.
Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.
Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.