This article is a related to the issue about the meaning of “Share The Road” signs. Is sharing even possible?
Cars, bicycles and the fatal myth of equal reciprocity
At times as a cyclist among the cars I feel like an insurgent in hostile territory. By now some readers might assume I am advocating cyclist rebellion and lawless riding. I’m not. Cyclists should do their best to be civil and rule-abiding on the road, at least where it doesn’t put us in danger.
At the same time, we can’t expect great or immediate results from this offer of reciprocity to the drivers around us. To suggest that the person at the wrong end of a heavily unequal relationship can gain recognition and equality simply by offering to “respect the space” of the dominant subject is wishful thinking.
When cyclist meets driver on the road, both are notionally equal individuals encountering each other in a democratic, rule-governed and neutral public space. But only if the driver chooses to make it like this. Otherwise, they are in a deeply asymmetrical relation, both physically and culturally.
AP COMPLETE STREETS COALITION WILL ADMINISTERS SATURDAY PANEL ON GROWING JERSEY SHORE NETWORK
The Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition will be participating in the New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit on Saturday, March 24th at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ. The Summit is organized annually by the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition. Details about the Summit can be found at http://njbwc.org/summit-2018/ .
The keynote speaker at this year’s Summit will be Oboi Reed, an urbanist and advocate for equitable streets in minority and traditionally underserved neighborhoods. Mr. Reed’s talk about community equity should be very relevant to Asbury Park.
The Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition will be receiving an award for advocacy and we will be expressing our appreciation to our mayor and council for helping Asbury Park evolve into a statewide leader for safe, inclusive and accessible streets.
We will also be hosting a session about expanding Complete Streets principles in the Jersey Shore area titled “Jersey Shore Complete Streets Workshop.” The goal of our workshop session is to think about improvements to our pedestrian, bike and transit networks beyond our municipal borders is the Jersey shore region.
For too long biking has been viewed skeptically as a white-people thing, a big city thing, an ultra-fit athlete thing, a twenty-something thing, a warm weather thing or an upper-middle class thing. And above all else, it’s seen as a guy thing.
But guess what? The times they are a changing. More than 100 million Americans rode a bike in 2014, and bicycles have out-sold cars most years in the US since 2003. A couple other facts that may surprise you:
Latinos bike more than any other racial group, followed by Asians and Native Americans. African-Americans and Caucasians bike at about the same rate.
Most bicyclists are low-income according to census figures — as many as 49 percent of bike commuters make less than $25,000 a year.
I never learned to ride a bicycle. And yet I am an active member of an organization dominated by bicycle riders, and is often focused on increasing the number of urban bike lanes. Why?
Because I believe that walkers benefit from bike lanes as well. Here’s why: when a traffic lane is devoted to bicycles and taken away from cars, this means that the remaining lanes are either narrower or there are fewer of them. As a matter of common sense, it seems obvious that motorists drive more slowly on narrower streets. And when motorists drive more slowly, they are less dangerous to walkers or to each other.
As cities work to add technologies to improve residents’ lives and mobility, many are putting a renewed focus on inclusivity and equitable innovation distribution. Yet despite this inclusivity push, experts say people with disabilities remain an overlooked group, especially during city planning processes.
How did the protected bike lane suddenly become common in America? Advocates will tell you it was the result of stalwart activism. And trailblazing, politically daring transportation officials did play a part in bringing better bike lanes to the nation. But the spread of bike lanes to so many corners of the country couldn’t have happened without a simple, ordinary technology: a set of street-design standards, written down in a book so that less daring engineers didn’t have to blaze their own trails anew.
When a local government proposes removing or decreasing parking minimums, communities tend to freak out a little bit.
Business owners show up at public meetings concerned that their customers will have nowhere to park. Homeowners write angry letters, worried that their quiet residential streets are going to fill with spillover parking.
Thankfully there is not over enforcement of jaywalking in Asbury Park, but on social media we’ve often heard complaints about jaywalkers on Main Street and elsewhere in the city.
This article is one of many explaining how the term “jaywalking” originated, and the problem that has resulted from our nation’s streets belonging to cars rather than people, and the targeting of people of color (mostly black men) for a trivial infraction that almost everyone has committed numerous times in their lives. These stories are harrowing and all-too familiar.
Asbury Park and APCSC are working on keeping pedestrians safe by developing better infrastructure and by slowing cars with traffic calming methods, not by criminalizing people walking outside painted lines.
Jaywalking laws are enforced disproportionately against black Americans, sometimes with fatal results.
“What sets jaywalking apart is that it never should have been against the law in the first place. City streets were meant for foot traffic and horses from ancient times until the early twentieth century. As a result, early automobiles found themselves alongside all sorts of pedestrians. To make way for cars, literally and figuratively, wealthy drivers and the U.S. auto industry set out to stigmatize lower-class pedestrians who crossed streets at will. Those who wouldn’t step aside for vehicles became known as “jay walkers…”
American cyclists have long been beset by a paradox: Despite wearing bicycle helmets at one of the highest rates in the world, they also have among the highest rates of cycling accidents and fatalities. There’s no doubt that city officials spend a lot of time talking up the safety benefits of helmets. But could the way they communicate that message actually be undermining overall bike safety?
By contrast, other cities depict cyclists of various races and genders in street clothes, some wearing helmets and others not. Culver cites the following promotional image from Minneapolis as a positive example of cyclist representation.