Tag Archive for carmakers

Calling out carmakers deadly lies, Biking While Black in Los Angeles, and reimagining what Ventura Blvd could be

Let’s start with a couple powerful pieces more than worth a few minutes of your time this morning.

First up is a Gainesville, Florida op-ed comparing the auto industry to big tobacco — and the lies tobacco companies told that kept killing their own customers for decades.

Sort of like carmakers keep building deadly machines designed to protect the people inside, while becoming increasingly lethal for people outside.

Not to mention building flashy distractions into the dash, which can take a driver’s attention off the road for as long as 40 seconds — enough time to drive a half mile at 50 mph, virtually blind.

Here’s just a small taste of what op-ed writer Emily Hind had to say.

To achieve change, it’s going to take more than my energy spent yelling at drivers from the safety of the sidewalk. Just like the smoking cessation advocates who took on big tobacco, I’m up against billions of dollars in advertising for the automotive industry.

In 2019, the automotive industry in the U.S. spent $13.8 billion on digital advertising and $70 million on lobbying in this country. Who is funding that big money? You are, sucker. And you’re dooming our children to climate-changed ruin, not to mention robbing them of a childhood of outdoors mobility.

I don’t dare transport my child to most of the places we go on the bike because I’m afraid one of you will murder him by car. Vehicles are more lethal now: The higher off the road they sit (thanks for nothing, SUVs and trucks), the higher the odds that an impact on the human body will be fatal.

She concludes, in part, with this.

If the fight against big tobacco is any indicator, we’re in for a long slog against the obvious untruths spun by the automotive industry. Like smokers before them, drivers are likely going to defend self-defeating habits by standing up at public meetings and railing about the “right to drive” and “right to park” no matter whom it hurts — or kills.

Seriously, it’s more than worth the click to read the whole piece.

And maybe get a little mad about it.

Artwork by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.com.

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Next up is a short film about the difficulty of Biking While Black in the City of Angels, which comes off as far less than angelic.

A number of Black bike riders talk about things like giving up biking to work after getting stopped repeatedly by the same cops. Or deciding that it just wasn’t worth the hassle to ride through Beverly Hills, day or night.

Yet they somehow continue riding a bike.

It’s a reminder that for far too many of us, distracted drivers aren’t the only dangers we face on the streets. And that everyone deserves to be treated like a human being, regardless of the color of their skin, or how they travel.

Go ahead, watch it. I’ll wait.

The nine minute documentary was sponsored with a grant from SCAG’s Go Human campaign.

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This is what Los Angeles streets could look like.

If — and only if — our elected leaders ever took their own words seriously about reducing traffic, fighting climate change and improving livability.

As the saying went, they’re great at talking the talk, not so much at walking the walk.

Or making it safe and enjoyable for anyone to walk. Or bike.

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A Low Traffic Neighborhood in the UK — the equivalent of a Slow Street in the US — demonstrated benefits throughout the neighborhood.

Results that would probably be replicated here, if anyone bothered to do the studies.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

A road raging Irish driver faces charges for pushing a man off his bicycle and repeatedly kicking him in his head and body, resulting in at least one fracture and significant bruising.

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

Ventura police busted a 28-year old man accused of attacking a woman for no apparent reason as he rode his bike past her on a bike path.

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Local

The LAPD has released video of the vehicle driven by a hit-and-run driver who killed a woman riding circles around a Venice intersection last month; police are looking for a black, large-sized SUV, possibly a Chevrolet Suburban.

This is who we share the road with. It’s bad enough that so many people have to live on our streets. Worse that their lives are at risk from overly aggressive, distracted, drunk, stoned or merely careless drivers who can’t manage to keep their cars from banging together.

Streetsblog looks at Monday’s celebration of Streets4All and the LACBC meeting their $25,000 goal for the city’s first public/private partnership; the money will fund initial engineering and outreach to reimagine dangerous Sunset Blvd as a complete, livable street.

Walk Bike Glendale is hosting their first post-pandemic bike ride this Sunday. Although Delta and Mu might beg to differ with that description.

 

State

San Diego’s KPBS wants to know why the city is still widening roads when they’ve promised to shift away from cars.

The San Francisco Chronicle considers whether lower speed limits would save lives on the city’s most dangerous streets — if you can get past their paywall, that is. Short answer, yes. Longer answer, hell yes.

An 18-year old Chico woman suffered “significant” leg injuries when she was apparently right hooked by a garbage truck driver while riding her bike; her injuries aren’t considered life threatening, so let’s hope she recovers quickly and completely.

 

National

A provision in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that recently passed the US Senate provides $1 billion to restore urban neighborhoods by removing highways or lessening their impact on the community; too many Black and Brown neighborhoods were destroyed building them.

Morgan Stanley says the death of the American city has been highly exaggerated, although Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose are lagging in growth due to the high cost of living.

Interesting idea. A new Kickstarter campaign is selling flat pedals with LED lights to make you more visible from the front, side and rear. Now if they’d just make them for cleats, we’d have a deal.

More on the driver who somehow couldn’t resist zooming along Chicago’s DuSable Lake Shore Drive, dangerously weaving in and out of the bike riders enjoying the ostensibly carfree Bike the Drive on Sunday.

Chicago Streetsblog wants to know why no one has been arrested for the hit-and-run death of a 70-year old entertainment lawyer, despite three witnesses, police camera footage, a license plate number, and the name of the vehicle owner. Good question.

A couple Indiana boys reportedly hopped off their bicycles and stood at attention as a funeral procession for an 89-year old military vet passed by, and remained at attention until the final gun solute before getting back on their bikes and riding off.

Nice. New York will remove parking on one side of the city’s Navy Street and replace it with a two-way protected bike lane, while keeping an unprotected bike lane on the other side of the street.

There’s a special place in hell for the heartless coward who refused to stop after knocking an 83-year old Florida man off his bicycle in the country’s largest retirement community. Never mind that hitting a bike rider with the passenger side mirror is a pretty clear violation of the state’s three-foot passing law.

 

International

A new bikeshare company hopes to undercut London’s famed Boris Bikes and Lime by offering app-based dockless ebikes with no fee to unlock, and the first ten minutes free.

Scotland’s newly-appointed active transport minister — the first anywhere in the UK — is coming under criticism for not wearing a helmet when he rides a bike, saying wearing one makes him feel like he’s competing in an extreme sport. We could use someone like that in an official government capacity here, with or without a skid lid.

Heartbreaking followup to the story of India’s Bicycle Girl, who gained worldwide fame for carrying her injured father 700 miles to their home on the back of her bicycle at the beginning of the country’s pandemic lockdown; her father died of a heart attack a year later, and the funds she received for her feat are exhausted after helping her family weather the pandemic.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling Australia is already looking forward to the world road championships coming to Wollongong, New South Wales next year, even though this year’s worlds in Flanders is still over ten days away.

 

Finally…

How wasted do you have to be to hear a gunshot while sitting on a bike path, and realize you’ve been shot — without realizing you did it yourself?

And nothing like a crustacean bike traffic director.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

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