Rutgers Report: How Does Crash Reporting Influence The Reader?

Neglecting to name a driver of a vehicle, or to describe an incident with details of negligence on the part of the victim perpetuates car culture, and the increasing numbers  of traffic injuries and deaths of the most vulnerable road users.

Language and Perception matters.  What are crash report articles really saying?

“Inclusion or exclusion of an agent affects perception of
blame. Sentences with agents make the actions of the
perpetrator clear and reduce victim blaming.”

EDITORIAL PATTERNS IN BICYCLIST AND PEDESTRIAN CRASH REPORTING

Kelcie Ralph | Rutgers
Evan Iacobucci | Rutgers
Calvin Thigpen | Lime
Tara Goddard | Texas A&M

“Around one fifth of the 37,000 annual traffic deaths in the United States are
bicyclists or pedestrians. Despite this figure, there is little public outcry about
these vulnerable road user (VRU) deaths. Media coverage has been shown to shape public perceptions in other fields, primarily by signaling which topics merit attention (agenda-setting) and by infuencing how those issues are
interpreted (framing). This study examines how local news outlets report car crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists.”

Read the report:

Editorial Patterns in Bicyclist and Pedestrian Crash Reporting

Copenhagen Wasn’t Always Bike Rider’s Paradise

Copenhagen’s bicycle-friendly streets are often used as a model for other cities around the world.

What most tourists, and even many Copenhageners, don’t realize is that the city wasn’t always this urban-mobility utopia.

Cars were seen as “vigorous symbols that the Depression of the 1930s and the darkness of World War II had lifted,” according to a history by Lotte Ruby on Denmark’s official website.

As more families could afford to buy cars, the city demolished cycling infrastructure it had built in the first half of the 20th century to make room for roads and parking. By the mid-1960s, thanks to a postwar economic boom, the roads were clogged with cars. But then a few things happened to bring about a road revolution: a growing number of people were killed in traffic accidents, there was vigorous opposition and protests against new road projects that would have cut through some of the city’s most beautiful areas and pollution was becoming a problem. Then, the oil crisis hit Denmark hard in 1973, prompting a new policy focus on energy independence and conservation, including car-free Sundays.

Read more…

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/what-bicycle-friendly-copenhagen-can-teach-us-about-commuting/article34233541/

We Let The Automobile Take Over

These amazing news clips from the 20s and 30s tell a story of how the automobile took over, but not without pushback from citizens and lawmakers. The US has a long way to go to become a nation that is willing to change the car culture, but it can happen. Even Copenhagen wasn’t always the bicycling capital of the world.

THEY SAW IT COMING: The Car Was Always The Cause of All the Problems in Our City

As we start the new year, let’s take a look back at how everyone knew the automobile was a menace, yet somehow let it take over anyway.

By Ben Verde 

“The automobile has ruined our cities — choking our streets and making our communities less livable.

But Americans who care about cities saw it coming from the very first days of the Age of the Automobile. Residents wrote to their local newspapers, begging lawmakers to not capitulate to motorists or car makers as they sought to turn public streets into free parking lots. Reporters covered the rise of private ownership of cars as a scourge on our cities. Judges decried what too many people today think is normal: streets clogged by privately owned single-occupancy vehicles in the public right of way.”

See the news clippings:

https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/01/01/they-saw-it-coming-the-car-was-always-the-cause-of-all-the-problems-in-our-city/

America’s Ongoing Problem With Traffic Violence

The opiod epidemic grabs headlines and gun deaths have brought about calls for regulation.

The rate of traffic deaths has continued to rise but little is actually being done in the US to address the problem as a national health crisis.

America’s Car Culture is Literally Shortening Your Life: Study

The U.S. has been falling behind its peer nations on traffic safety and now life expectancy as well. There’s a connection. Graph: WHO

“So while the opioid addiction grabs headlines, cars have quietly remained a leading killer. In 2015, for example, the U.S. traffic fatality rate jumped 9 percent. And in 2016, it jumped again 5.6 percent, wiping out nearly a decade of improvements. It was the biggest two-year jump in 50 years.

Read more:

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/08/24/americas-car-culture-is-literally-shortening-your-life-study/