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If you think American roads are getting worse, you’re right.
The US was one of just three major countries to see a rise in traffic deaths last year, tying Switzerland with a five percent jump, while Ireland increased a more modest two percent.
That compares with a whopping 27 percent drop in Italy, followed closely by Hungary, Turkey, Spain, France and Sweden.
And not surprisingly, it’s the people outside of cars paying the brunt of the price, according to the New York Times.
In 2021, nearly 43,000 people died on American roads, the government estimates. And the recent rise in fatalities has been particularly pronounced among those the government classifies as most vulnerable — cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians.
Much of the familiar explanation for America’s road safety record lies with a transportation system primarily designed to move cars quickly, not to move people safely.
“Motor vehicles are first, highways are first, and everything else is an afterthought,” said Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. “Other countries started to take seriously pedestrian and cyclist injuries in the 2000s — and started making that a priority in both vehicle design and street design — in a way that has never been committed to in the United States,” Mr. Freemark said.
In fact, the paper reports that the US and France had similar traffic fatality rates in the 1990s.
But one of those countries made major changes to improve safety. And that country was not the US, where drivers now kill road users at three times the rate of French motorists.
Other developed countries lowered speed limits and built more protected bike lanes. They moved faster in making standard in-vehicle technology like automatic braking systems that detect pedestrians, and vehicle hoods that are less deadly to them. They designed roundabouts that reduce the danger at intersections, where fatalities disproportionately occur.
In the U.S. in the past two decades, by contrast, vehicles have grown significantly bigger and thus deadlier to the people they hit. Many states curb the ability of local governments to set lower speed limits. The five-star federal safety rating that consumers can look for when buying a car today doesn’t take into consideration what that car might do to pedestrians.
Or people on bicycles, for that matter, as we all pay the price for government inaction on our roads.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg promises that’s going to change.
Let’s hope so. Because it has to.
Today’s common theme is Cyber Monday bike deals.
Wired lists the best deals on ebikes and e-scooters.
Electrek offers their picks for the best Cyber Monday ebike deals.
Cycling Weekly recommends the sales on Adidas bikewear and bike shoes.
CNN goes all in on REI’s Cyber Monday deals.
Meanwhile, Road.cc warns that scammers may try to cheat you out of your hard-earned cash by setting up fake websites for companies, including FSA/Vision, SRAM and British mountain bike and dirt jump bikemaker DMR.
We’re not the only ones asking for your hard-earned money over the holidays, with Giving Tuesday just one day away.
CicLAvia wants to give you a chance to win new Brompton in exchange for a donation through tomorrow.
Streets For All is hosting a fundraising party on December 9th.
And a fundraiser for LA’s legendary bike co-op Bicycle Kitchen is hoping to raise $20,000 to celebrate their 20th anniversary; it stands at a little over $5,400 now.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
A driver in New Mexico faces charges for the road rage shooting of a bike rider that began with a punishment pass for the perceived crime of riding in the roadway, and escalated into a shoving match before the man pulled out a gun and shot the 22-year old victim in the cheek.
London’s former bicycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan says forget the fake claims and bad journalism, because the city’s Low Traffic Neighborhoods, aka LTNs, really do reduce traffic — and usually reduce pollution, too.
After a London man explains what led up to a viral road rage incident in which an SUV driver ran over his bike, a self-proclaimed driver and cyclist seems to put much of the blame on the victim, while saying ego seemed to get the best of both of them.
A neighbor shared this with me earlier – very dangerous behaviour by the driver. I know police were called. #RoadRage #suv #cycling #usingcarasclub @LifeInKilburn @MPSQueensPark pic.twitter.com/nM12rVQjEs
— Birgir Magnússon (@BMagnsson) November 13, 2022
Sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
A San Francisco man faces multiple charges for stealing a city bus and going on a nearly two-mile joyride through the city, crashing into ten cars in the process; bizarrely, one of those charges is for operating a bicycle without “breaks.” Which should serve as a reminder to always take breaks during your bike ride if you plan to hijack a bus.
Murder charges have been filed against a bike-riding Las Vegas woman who repeatedly hit 53-year old woman in the head with a rake, for no apparent reason; there was also no explanation for why she even had one on her bike.
A standard poodle was seriously injured when he was run down by a hit-and-run rider on a bikeshare bike while walking on a London pedestrian-only path, leaving the dog’s owner with a $2,400 vet bill.
This is why people keep dying on the streets. An English bike rider was fined a lousy £2,500 — the equivalent of just over $3000 — after being convicted of careless and inconsiderate cycling for the crash that killed a motorcyclist, and left him with life-changing injuries.
Forget doping. A cheating Chinese marathon runner was banned for life after allegedly riding a bikeshare bike for over four and a half miles of the 26-mile course.
Three LA city councilmembers have introduced a motion banning the practice spot road widening, in which private builders are required to widen a small section of roadway in anticipation of widening the entire thing at a later date; LA bike riders were recently blamed for a half-block long “bike lane to nowhere” on Santa Monica Blvd that actually isn’t.
Developer Rick Caruso spent $162.42 for every vote he received in his losing campaign for Los Angeles mayor, while Mayor-elect Karen Bass spent a relatively paltry $10.15; newly elected City Controller Kenneth Mejia spent a frugal $1.30 per vote.
The Port of Long Beach is now accepting concept papers for new bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects that could qualify for grant funding.
A 14-year old San Diego boy suffered serious injuries when police allege he rode his bike through a stop sign, and into the path of an SUV driver.
San Diego City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn is calling for lower speed limits on the city’s most dangerous roads, taking advantage of a recently passed state law allowing cities to set speeds as low as 15 mph in some cases.
Troubling news from Riverside County, where a bike rider was hospitalized in life-threatening condition after being struck by a driver Saturday morning; unfortunately, no details are available.
A Berkeley man in his 30s was critically injured when he was rear-ended by a driver while riding his bike Friday evening.
An “anti-capitalist” Berkeley bike shop is closing after 51 years to make room for a 26-story apartment building. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.
Bad news from Oakdale, where a 67-year old man was killed when police allege he swerved his bike in front of an oncoming driver in what sounds like a Single Witness Suicide Swerve.
Cycling Savvy offers advice on fixing and preventing flats on your ebike.
They get it. The 150-year old Popular Science says ebikes could be the future of transit in urban centers — if cities take steps now to encourage and accommodate them.
VeloNews considers ten ways riding a bike can improve your mental and physical health, from lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease to improving sleep and sex life. Although you may have to sign up for a free account to get past their paywall.
A writer for Outside says he spent $800 fixing up a very mediocre 1990s era Diamondback Topanga, and couldn’t be happier. I want to do the same with my old 1981 Trek if I ever have the money.
A Washington driver was charged with DUI, vehicular assault and child endangerment after she seriously injured a bike rider while driving under the influence, then rear-ended a truck attempting to flee the scene — with her two kids riding in her car, sans seatbelts.
Anchorage, Alaska may not be the first place you think of for progressive urbanism, yet the city just eliminated all off-street parking requirements for new buildings, while adding a requirement to include bike parking.
After his high-end Pinarello bike and a laptop were stolen in a burglary, a Texas man got them both back within hours, thanks to an assist from a local bike shop.
Going over his handlebars after hitting a chunk of pavement may have saved a Texas pastor’s life, after the doctors treating him discovered he had cancer.
A 2022 book from a former adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota details the conversations she and her husband had traveling 14,000 miles in 14 months with two fully loaded bicycles.
A Pittsburgh newspaper takes the state GOP to task for cynically torpedoing a popular bike safety bill by attaching an unrelated bill appointing a special prosecutor in southeast Pennsylvania, in an effort to force out Philadelphia’s popular progressive DA.
Whew. Road.cc readers conclude that it’s okay to stand your bike upside down when you take a break.
Nice gesture from Rapha, who marked Black Friday by donating $150,000 to World Bicycle Relief to provide much-needed bikes in Africa.
More Dutch bicyclists are ending up in the emergency room while drunk or stoned, with a whopping 84% increase since 2012.
A pair of self-employed Frenchmen avoided the World Cup crowds at the Doha airport by riding their bikes three months and roughly 4,350 to see their home team compete, while promoting the benefits of sustainable travel.
In one of the rare stories that’s not hidden behind their paywall, VeloNews reports 23,385 people have now successfully Everested — that is, ridden uphill equal to the 29,032 feet elevation of Mount Everest. But only one man from Austria has done it on a unicycle.
An Indian firm has invented a wheelchair that converts into a road bike.
A South African car finance company would be more than happy to write a loan for a $15,765 Pinarello Dogma F, but no one has taken them up on it yet.
VeloNews questions who will dominate women’s cycling after the great Annemiek van Vlueten retires. But again, you may have to sign up for a free account just to read it.
That feeling when a bike-riding Queen Victoria becomes a squid-faced woman on a bike. Your next EV could be the 3D-printed illegitimate child of a small passenger car and an ebike, complete with hexagonal wheels.
And who needs a kid’s carseat when you can just hook a baby carriage onto your bike?
Pram car from 1951
Credit British Pathé pic.twitter.com/NMBSkg5g0e
— Historygirl (@janeyellene) November 23, 2022
Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.
Oh, and fuck Putin, too.