Cars: An Addiction Like Any Other

Cities that prioritize parking and roads for automotive traffic have bought into the hype. It’s the influence of the addiction, and it’s especially hard to break an addiction when the addicts don’t know, or are unwilling to admit that they’re addicted.

The 3 leading causes of death in the US, guns, opioids, and car crash fatalities. The industries are profiting, and they’re killing us in almost equal numbers by keeping us addicted.

The auto and oil and gas industries cleverly, and creatively keep us addicted to cars, even though they’re literally killing us: 2018 was the third consecutive year of at least 40,000 motor vehicle deaths.

Pharma succeeded in getting and keeping people addicted to opiods, which were involved in 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017, just slightly higher than car related deaths, and now drug companies are profiting from the drugs that treat opioid addiction.

Americans are addicted to their guns too, and that’s the way the industry likes it, even though 39,773 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the CDC. just slightly less than deaths by car.

One way that the media has bought into the hype is putting the onus for safety on people riding bikes and scooters, which is focusing entirely on the wrong problem. #toomanycars #slowthecars

Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition works to address the health, economic, and equity of transportation options in our city.

The truly most dangerous activity :
“…separates white from black, rich from poor, healthy from sick…when you cram yourself into a little steel box. The structure is designed to keep you emotionally and financially enslaved to your car…”

THE MOST DANGEROUS ACTIVITY

Another reason it’s popular to talk about the dangers of cycling is that talking about the dangers of cycling discourages people from cycling. American society doesn’t want YOU on a bike. If YOU start riding, you will drive less. If you drive less, you’ll contribute less to the structure we live in, which is built around driving.

Read this blog post by Seth Davidson, a long-time bicycle rider, advocate, and cycling lawyer. He’s often snarkily humorous, but this time he’s deadly serious:

The most dangerous activity

Journalists Warn Scooter Danger But Cars Are The Real Problem

Scooters, (and micro-mobility in general) have become a legitimate part of plans for many cities all over the world to fulfill objectives to reduce car-dependency, thereby mitigating pollution, and saving lives due to vehicular crashes.

Paul Steely White, after 14 years leading Transportation Alternatives, is now taking on a new role as director of safety policy and advocacy at Bird, an electric scooter rental company. He has been New York City’s most vocal champions of pedestrians, cyclists and public transit.

White tweeted: “This is the 2nd time in 2 weeks that someone who should have known better has grossly misreported the UCLA scooter study. “50x more injuries” is not the same as 50 more injuries (vs. bikes).”

We tweeted in reply: “This kind of reporting is obviously focusing on the wrong issue. Can’t help wondering whether they’re funded by the automotive industry.”

Journalists have taken up the issue of scooter dangers. So let’s play a game. Read this article (or any article about the dangers of scooters, where the writer is cautioning about the numbers of injuries, helmet use, etc. and substitute the word “car” for “scooter.”  Let’s keep this number top of mind: 40,000 people were killed last year in vehicular crashes.

E-SCOOTERS PRESENT A GROWING PUBLIC-HEALTH CHALLENGE

This movement may be good for clearing the air, easing automobile congestion and building valuation (Bird and Lime are worth about $2B each), but municipalities, manufacturers and sharing companies need to address pressing safety, health and environmental problems already taking root.

That need becomes urgent as e-scooter popularity skyrockets. In 2018, shared e-scooter and bicycle trips in the U.S. more than doubled over 2017’s baseline to reach 84 million; rentable e- scooters alone accounted for more than 38.5 million trips. 

Growing injuries match the growing popularity. Many emergency rooms have reported leaps in e-scooter injuries, causing several municipalities to ban their use. There’s an increased acknowledgement that safety concerns present a major barrier to mass adoption, as companies face fresh regulatory pushback and litigation risk amid reports of vehicle malfunctions and deaths.

Read about it:

https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/472401-e-scooters-present-a-growing-public-health-challenge

On The Road This Thanksgiving?

Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and we hope your traffic woes are at a minimum in this holiday season!

We’re at critical mass with #toomanycars. Buses, trains, electric ride sharing, bikes, and even scooters will need to become more realistic options for day-to-day travel, whether we’re going home from work or home for the holidays. Thanksgiving is a good time to start trying to promote that message.

The Lessons of Holiday Traffic Congestion

ANDREW SMALL

Automobiles drive in heavy traffic along the Long Island Expressway in the Queens borough of New York, U.S., November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton – RC189962B510

Read about it~

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/11/thanksgiving-traffic-congestion-cars-flights-transit-data/602650/

Can We Break Up With Our Cars?

The automotive industry has co-opted our language, and our brains. 

Cities all over the world are becoming aware of the damage of cars on human health and the environment, and we’re designing infrastructure to stem the horrific numbers of car crash deaths. Asbury Park is on it’s way to becoming a city where residents and visitors will be able to get around without cars. Our lives literally depend upon it.

This is a global issue.

Nordic countries are years ahead of the US.  We have serious work to do, and it starts with advocacy for a people-centered city.  We must all commit to less driving, and we must insist on infrastructure for bikes and walking, plus alternative transportation, mass transit, and micro mobility. The answer isn’t subsidizing low emission or electric cars (even though electric vehicles create less emissions, fossil fuels are required to power EV ), or ride share, or promoting autonomous vehicles. The answer is to globally reduce or eliminate vehicle dependency. #toomanycars

Cities Worldwide Are Re-imagining Their Relationship With Cars

Jimmy Fallon Video: David Byrne’s Main Mode Of Transportation

Last week cyclist and musician David Byrne was on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” . He rode onto the stage on a bike,  and said that he rides his bike as his “main mode of transportation.” When Fallon appeared confused about why anyone would do that, Byrne’s tone clarified that it’s not crazy to want to bicycle in an American city – in fact, it’s crazy that the entire system has been designed to make it easier to drive a car. The problem is that we’ve all been gaslighted by auto makers and anti-transit politicians to see car-choked streets as “normal.” The segment is worth watching.

World Day Of Remembrance: To Honor The Victims Of Traffic Violence

On World Day of Remembrance, we honor the victims of traffic violence. The third Sunday in November is about remembrance, but EVERY day is about action: we need to prioritize #safety over #speed & design our streets to protect the people most vulnerable to crashes.

More than 1.35 million people die on the road each year globally.

 

 

Road traffic injuries

Key facts

  • Approximately 1.35 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes.
  • The2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set an ambitious target of halving the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2020.
  • Road traffic crashes cost most countries 3% of their gross domestic product.
  • More than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
  • 93% of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low- and middle-income countries, even though these countries have approximately 60% of the world’s vehicles.
  • Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years.

 

Creating A Liveable City – Nordic Countries Do It – Can WE?

In Asbury Park we have heard, “Asbury Park is unique” and, “we’re not (fill in name of any liveable, walkable, bikeable city), and “where will the delivery trucks park?”, with the implication that motor vehicles rule, and that walking and biking infrastructure won’t work here. Our Transportation Manager, Mike Manzella recently returned from a visit to Oslo, and other people-centered cities and we can’t wait to learn all about it!

In this BBC The Compass Podcast you can substitute Asbury Park for Oslo. You’ll hear how that city is also expanding, and making a commitment to “reducing carbon use and emissions”, working to  “avoid urban pitfalls that may lead to segregation and inequality.  Some say it might be impossible. Asbury Park is among cities all over the globe working to enable people to be less car-dependent, and to prioritize people in urban planning.

In the article below, you will read that Nordic planners have “prioritised liveability, sustainability, mobility and citizens’ empowerment”, and now there’s an international masters program to teach planners all over the world how to do the same. We have serious work to do in the US.

Oslo is “doing a a rigorous investigation into the city’s plans to grow quickly, but intelligently. They scrutinise the policies aimed at reducing fossil fuel emissions and creating a zero-carbon infrastructure, they look at the plans for preventing segregated neighbourhoods… ” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Let’s get to work.

What the Nordic nations can teach us about liveable cities

By Maddy Savage 12th November 2019

Fuelled by rising international interest in why the Nordic countries are doing so well, three of the region’s top universities recently joined forces to launch the world’s first international master’s programme specialising in Nordic urban planning.

“In the Nordics, there has long been an emphasis on people in urban life, and putting them at the centre,” explains David Pinder, a professor of urban studies at Roskilde University in Denmark. Planners have prioritised liveability, sustainability, mobility and citizens’ empowerment – ideals manifest in green parks, well-lit public spaces, strong transport networks and accessible local facilities for children and the elderly.”

Read about it~

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20191112-what-the-nordic-nations-can-teach-us-about-liveable-cities

Auto Industry Group: Need For Lower Carbon Footprint

Even auto industry groups admit that we’re on a collision course with global environmental impact of emissions. Green Car Reports predicts that almost double the number of cars will be on roads by 2035. “And that would require a major proportion of the global fleet to use some other form of propulsion with a far, far lower well-to-wheels carbon footprint.”  Advocates for the environment know that this is highly unlikely, and that the only solution is driving less and fewer cars on the road. This will require rethinking cities – creating places for people, less car dependency, better micro-mobility options, plus more and better infrastructure for biking and walking.

Cutting carbon: 80 percent needed

A 2.5-billion vehicle “global car parc” would mean that to keep carbon emissions level with today’s total, average fleet fuel efficiency would have to double.

But scientists suggest that it will be necessary to cut average carbon emissions 80 percent if we wish to stabilize the impact of climate change.

Traffic in China

Read about it in Green Car Reports:

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1093560_1-2-billion-vehicles-on-worlds-roads-now-2-billion-by-2035-report

APCSC Advocates No Helmet Law

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently submitted the first report on bicycle safety since 1972. The report recommends important ways to make bicycling safer, including improving infrastructure such as protected lanes, but at the last minute they added a suggestion of a mandatory helmet law.  (Read about the report.) 

Advocacy groups all over the US including The League Of American Bicyclists are against mandating helmets, citing stats that requiring helmets by law could lead to discriminatory enforcement, reduce bike ridership, and possibly increase bicycle fatalities.

And this: More on bike helmets: Very well put by @ianwalker

APCSC believes that the best way to protect people riding bikes is protected bike lanes, slower speed limits, addressing driver distractions, reducing the number of cars on the road, and more people riding bikes.  We agree with The League Of American Bicyclists that requiring helmets may reduce bike ridership, and enforcement may be discriminatory.  Asbury Park is continuing work to make streets safer for people riding bikes (and walking), and providing ways for people to get around without driving. #toomanycars #slowthecars

LEAGUE OF AMERICAN BICYCLISTS STATEMENT ON NTSB DECISION TO ENDORSE MANDATORY HELMET LAWS:

“[W]e are disappointed by the NTSB decision to endorse mandatory helmet laws for all people who bike. The League believes that the safety of people who bike will be best advanced through coordinated improvements to streets and cars, which kill more than 90% of people who die while biking, rather than laws that may be enforced in discretionary and discriminatory ways,” the group said in a statement.

Read more…

https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/ntsb-recommends-mandatory-helmet-laws-protected-bike-lanes/566675/

Design Safe Streets=Save The Planet

The transportation sector is responsible for around 14 percent of emissions.  (Meat production is worse for the environment, but that’s another story!)

“After decades of prioritizing transportation investments in new highways with a focus on speed above all else, we’re stuck with a transportation system that produces more carbon emissions than any other sector in the United States. Spread-out development facilitated by wide fast roads make cars all but essential for daily travel in many U.S. communities.”

More than half of vehicle emissions come from light-duty vehicles, which includes the cars we drive around in for most daily trips. Most car trips are usually less than three miles, and most of these trips are made by car, despite efforts in cities to promote alternative transportation options.

 

People are driving more – By some estimates, the total number of vehicles worldwide could double to 2.5 billion by 2050.  So the uptick in driving more is obliterating any emissions benefits, even with cleaner fuels, the prevalence of electric cars, and more efficient vehicles.  We can all make an effort to drive 10% less to make a difference. And designing “safer roads will increase rates of biking, walking, and transit ridership, and enable fewer and shorter car trips.”

Safety Over Speed: Safe Streets Are Climate-Friendly Streets

8 Nov 2019

Lowering speeds have more benefits besides saving lives: street designs that keep speeds low help reduce carbon emissions, too. In this blog post by our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Ann Shikany and Carter Rubin discuss how safer roads increase rates of biking, walking, and transit ridership, and enable fewer and shorter car trips.

“In communities across the county, our transportation system provides key linkages for commuters to jobs, kids to school and all of us to our social, family and recreational opportunities.

But the flip-side is that after decades of prioritizing transportation investments in new highways with a focus on speed above all else, we’re stuck with a transportation system that produces more carbon emissions than any other sector in the United States. Spread-out development facilitated by wide fast roads make cars all but essential for daily travel in many U.S. communities.

When you dive deeper into those carbon emissions—you’ll find that 59 percent of them come from light-duty vehicles—that includes the cars we drive around in for most daily trips. While the majority of daily trips are less than three miles, most of them are made by car.

Even worse, transportation emissions are rising because people are driving more and making longer trips. Even with cleaner fuels (not to mention electric cars) and more efficient vehicles, the uptick in driving more is obliterating any emissions benefits.”

Read about it~

http://t4america.org/2019/11/08/safety-over-speed-safe-streets-are-climate-friendly-streets/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+transportationforamerica+%28Transportation+For+America+%28All%29%29