Vision Zero is now nine years old in California, yet people keep dying on our streets.
The Los Angeles Times looks at why, examining the failure of Vision Zero in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the latter just two years away from the deadline by which it’s supposed to end traffic fatalities once and for all.
Not that anyone in city leadership seems to notice.
But San Francisco, like Los Angeles, has spent the better part of a decade making such changes as part of an ambitious pledge to reduce traffic-related deaths to zero. Neither city is close to achieving that goal…
“It’s been an abject failure,” said John Yi, the executive director of Los Angeles Walks, a nonprofit that works with immigrants and communities of color to build safer pedestrian infrastructure in their neighborhoods.
Last year, 312 people were killed in car crashes and 1,517 were seriously injured, according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Bicyclists and pedestrians represented 57% of deaths and 41% of severe injuries, though most people in Los Angeles travel by car.
The paper correctly points the finger at deadly speeds, noting efforts at the state level to lower speed limits and legalize speed cams.
But lowering speed limits will only do so much good in a state where they are universally ignored, and drivers routinely travel 10 to 15 miles above whatever limit in nominally posted.
And get angry if they’re stopped for doing so, apparently believing it’s their God-given right as Californians to travel above the speed limit.
Meanwhile, so much has been given away to appease the windshield-addled crowd that California’s proposed bill to legalize speed cams will be limited to a limited effect, in a limited number of cities.
Including a built-in 10 mph cushion above the limit, as state lawmakers seem willing to sacrifice human lives rather than force drivers to take their damn feet off the gas.
The simple fact is, our traffic engineers and planners know what it will take to end traffic deaths, but city and state officials are simply unwilling to do it.
Let alone fund it.
They lack the political will to make the wholesale changes necessary to channel and slow motor vehicles, and the heavy-footed, mistake prone people in them.
Let alone reimagine our transportation system for the 21st Century, abandoning the failed model that’s driven deaths, congestion and climate change for the past century, and moving towards a cleaner, healthier and more efficient model focused on transit and active transportation.
Which is not to say private motor vehicles must go away. But they must be deprioritized, no longer the first choice to transport individuals and goods, but the last.
So instead, we’ve found ourselves nibbling at the edges, adding crosswalks and beacons that work until they don’t. And counting on drivers to pay attention and obey the law, rather than reimagining roadways to force them to.
In the end, the problem causing Vision Zero to fail isn’t speed.
It’s money. And political leadership, or the lack thereof.
Neither of which our elected officials have been willing to invest.
Evidently, you can’t get there from here.
Joni Yung comes up with a complicated workaround to get to and through Playa Vista.
Call it a ciclovía with spectacular views.
A portion of Coast Road, aka Old Coast Road, through Big Sur in Monterey County is being closed to cars for repairs through the end of this year, but will remain open to bikes, hikers and equestrians.
The soils in the area of the slip out are not stable and adding to the danger, there is a redwood tree along the cutslope (hill) that is encroaching in the travel lane. From the edge of the tree to the edge of the erosion, there is approx. 8-ft, 10-inches of road width remaining. The downhill side is an approximately 12-ft drop into a creek. This is very narrow for any vehicle, car or truck. This reduced width could potentially be a concern for a motorist unfamiliar with the area.
However, despite the name, this isn’t Highway 1 along the coast, but a smaller inland roadway.
Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.
This is who we share the road with.
Twenty-three people were injured, some seriously, when an SUV driver plowed into a Denny’s restaurant in Rosenberg, Texas, southwest of Houston; fortunately, none of the injuries were expected to be life-threatening.
Police blamed a combination of speed and a wet roadway. Yet amazingly, the driver was not arrested or even ticketed at the scene.
Apparently, you can add bicyclist to director, producer, writer, actor, blogger and political commentator, because Bob Cesca is one us.
Maryland today. ❤️🚴♂️ pic.twitter.com/B23Hjn7iuy
— Bob Cesca (@bobcesca_go) September 1, 2023
Thanks to Erik Griswold for the tip.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
No bias here. After a bike rider was seriously inured when he was left-crossed by a driver who violated his right-of-way, a Kansas City TV station was quick to blame the victim for hitting the back of the driver’s car. Even though they’d be unlikely to blame a driver who hit another car in the same situation.
Um, okay. A road raging West Virginia driver threatened to kill a bike rider with a pickax and poison the victim’s food if he ever ordered from the pizza place where the man works, apparently just for riding his bike on the street. Or maybe merely existing on the planet.
A London bus driver has been metaphorically rapped across the knuckles by his employer for tailgating a bike rider, then getting out of his bus and swearing at the victim, before attempting to call the police because the guy on the bike “got on his nerves.”
But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
Pioneering Chicago drill rapper Lil Reese bought a local hip hop DJ a new bicycle to make up for stealing the man’s bike when they were both kids.
A Michigan man faces charges for threatening cops with a large metal rod after he was stopped for riding his bike on a freeway; police found two concealed butcher knives and a vial of pepper spray after managing to de-escalate the situation.
A group of bicyclists in the UK were stopped by police for riding 40 mph in a 30 mph zone, but allowed to leave with “appropriate words of advice,” since there’s no speed limit for bicyclists.
Hermosa Beach will now require students to complete an ebike safety course before they can ride theirs to school.
There’s a special place in hell for the hit-and-run driver who left a bike-riding 14-year old Corona boy lying seriously injured in the street.
Bakersfield motorists are slowly adjusting to green bike lanes on the streets famously trod by the late, great Buck Owens.
A pair of Bakersfield contractors were credited as heroes after they chased down a thief who stole a bike from the house they were working on, and returned it to its owner.
Federal funding for bicycle safety projects is at risk in the upcoming budget battle, after House Republicans zeroed out funding for RAISE grants, while a Senate budget bill continues them.
A writer for Electrek lists his favorite biking gear so far this year, whether for electric or conventional bikes.
Scottsdale, Arizona is fighting the battle over semantics, attempting to reach the Bike League’s Platinum Level without using the term “road diet.”
A Utah woman was arrested for drunk driving after killing a teenage boy riding a bicycle, telling police she consciously choosie to hit the soft, fragile person ahead of her rather than the hard car coming in the opposite direction.
An Albuquerque, New Mexico man was found guilty of murder for shooting a man he accused of riding his stolen bicycle. One more reminder that no bike is worth a human life.
Life is cheap in Kansas, where a driver was sentenced to just 41 months for killing a woman walking a bicycle, after prosecutors pled down from 2nd degree murder to involuntary manslaughter.
A repeat DUI driver in Iowa was resentenced to a mere 40 years behind bars for the drunken hit-and-run that killed a bike rider, after an appellate court ruled his original 55-year sentence was out of line.
Thousand of bicyclists took to Chicago’s famed DuSable Lake Shore Drive on Sunday to participate in the carfree Bike the Drive, although the the registration-only fundraising ride was the opposite of an open streets event.
After someone posted a video to X, nee Twitter, of bike riders flowing through a plaza supposedly in the Netherlands, while complaining about being unable to build something like that in the US, commenters were quick to point out that the video was several years old, and showed a public plaza in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Few New York delivery riders are taking advantage of a program to trade-in older, fire-prone ebikes for safer new ones, citing complicated logistics and the cost of a trade. Meanwhile, fire investigators are on the lookout for fake UL stickers affixed to older, unapproved batteries.
Life is cheap in Louisville, Kentucky, where a woman failed to stop after killing a 61-year old man riding a bicycle, but apparently that wasn’t enough to merit a traffic ticket, let alone an arrest.
A Louisiana Catholic priest will have his commitment to forgiveness sorely tested after a thief was caught on video stealing his bicycle in broad daylight.
Momentum says research confirms that physical activity can improve brain power in children and youth, so if you want your kids to do well in school, get them to bike there.
An English driver was charged with the equivalent of reckless driving and DUI for the head-on crash that seriously injured a bike rider, after he apparently got tired of waiting at a red light, and went around another car onto the wrong side of the road. The crash was caught on video, but be warned it’s hard to watch.
A “rampaging” British driver is being held on a psych evaluation on suspicion of murder for deliberately running down and killing a pedestrian and a bike-riding man, before crashing into a building and attempting to run away.
A 44-year old woman reached the end of a 3,000-mile bike ride around the circumference of mainland Britain on a bamboo bicycle to raise awareness of the climate crisis.
The pope now has his own personalized bike jersey to go with the bikes he no longer owns or rides.
A vigilante bike patrol in a Finish city has now reclaimed nearly 1,300 stolen bicycles after “cracking the code” to figure out where bikes end up after they’re stolen.
The Philippines is considering amending the law to allow the state to charge road raging drivers on the victim’s behalf, after a bike rider failed to come forward in a road rage case caught on video.
Colorado’s Sepp Kuss took the leaders jersey in the Vuelta on Friday and retained it through the weekend, becoming the first American to lead a Grand Tour in a decade. However, Remco Evenepoel called him an outsider, downplaying Kuss’ chances and saying he “kicked a hornet’s nest full of majestic eagles!” Um, okay.
A reminder to keep your friends close and your pets closer, as a small dog causes chaos when he ran out into the Tour of Britain peloton, causing at least one rider to go over his handlebars.
A Kiwi triathlete was caught on video being taken out by her own teammate as they rode side-by-side in the bicycling portion of a French triathlon; fortunately, she wasn’t seriously injured in the “brutal” “horror” crash.
Twenty-two-year old Danish cyclist Mattias Skjelmose won the second annual Maryland Cycling Classic on Sunday afternoon in a more than two minute breakaway.
And anyone can let their dog hang out of the the car window, why not let your pet bull hang out of the sunroof?
Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.
Oh, and fuck Putin