A History Lesson: The Auto Industry Has Brainwashed Us

Here’s fascinating history on how we’ve been brainwashed, explained in Peter Norton’s book,  Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. “In ad after ad during the Super Bowl, auto companies… have long promised us nirvana. And we’ve blindly shilled out our life savings” to buy, insure, maintain and park cars. The 1920s program at Harvard taught “the first generation of traffic engineers to prioritize traffic lights for faster driving and more difficult walking.”

We need to use language and educate to make sure messages like “biking is normal,” “walkability,” and “good transportation choices” become better understood and more widely accepted over the next decade.

The conversation continues about scooters, “…as a transportation choice – and other micro mobility vehicles are not a novelty, and we should give everything we can to helping them succeed.”

 

To take back our streets, remember how we lost them to cars

Ford Motor’s “Road of Tomorrow” from the 1939 World Fair

Streets are now thoroughly car-centric, and the idea of people-centered streets remains a difficult concept for most people to grasp. These groups recognized they needed to shift the perceived cause of collisions away from drivers and onto pedestrians. Under the name Motordom, the interest groups were quoted in a 1922 edition of Engineering News-Record that they would lead the effort in a “revision of our concept of what a city street is for.”

A 1937 anti-jaywalking ad from the Federal Art Project. Source

Read more…

https://mobilitylab.org/2015/10/09/how-we-lost-streets-to-cars/

Don’t Blame The Scooter Riders

As Mike Manzella, AP transportation manager reported at the Homeowners’ meeting, scooter use has massively surpassed the use of bike share since the September 2019 launch.  This is the case in cities all over the world where scooters have been introduced.  With the huge increase in scooter usage there is a rise in injuries, but not because of the scooters themselves, or the people riding them.  We’re overlooking the real problem, which is too much space for cars.

People have been brainwashed by the auto industry that roads belong to drivers since cars started to become ubiquitous beginning in the 20’s. Roads quickly became the domain of drivers, to the exclusion of all other users, as the industry subtly and not subtly used ad campaigns and articles to influence the populace. Walkers and bike riders were designated to move within narrow painted lines, people walking outside lines are called jaywalkers, and they’re blamed for being hit by drivers.  The number of people killed by drivers is growing. “More pedestrians and cyclists were killed last year in the United States than in any year since 1990.”

Now scooter riders share the narrow painted spaces allocated to bike riders, and as the newcomers to streets, they’re the new focus of culpability and safety concerns.  #toomanycars #slowthecars

“The rise of the e-scooter has been meteoric, eclipsing bike share usage nationally in 2018, just a year after gaining widespread availability, according to a recent report by NACTO, a national association of city officials. But that doesn’t mean the scooters had anywhere to go — except onto roadways where drivers believe they are the sole legitimate user.”

The Real Reasons Scooter Injuries Are Exploding

It’s not time to quash the micromobility revolution. It’s time to build a world where micromobility riders stand a chance on our streets.

By Kea Wilson 

Photo: Nathan Rupert/Flickr

Scooter injuries are up more than 200 percent over the last four years — but everyone is blaming the wrong people.

The Jan. 8 report from JAMA Surgery does not offer much context for the 222-percent increase in scooter fatalities between 2014 and 2018, which has allowed news outlets to fill the gap with alarmist articles decrying the lack of scooter regulation, lack of helmet usage, and more.

Here’s what’s really going on…

Read more…

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/01/09/e-scooter-injuries/

Do you NEED an SUV?

Ads for SUVs are so attractive. Families loading camping gear, young couples off-roading in the snow, kids piling out to soccer practice … and in all of the ads there’s NO traffic anywhere. The automotive industry is banking on sales of big vehicles for the bigger profit margin. GAs is relatively cheap, Americans are eagerly buying into the hype, and killing more people walking, on scooters, and on bikes in greater numbers every day. Young suburban moms are driving these huge vehicles with one or two kids (or alone) so we don’t want to blame men entirely, but hey guys. Honestly do you need a truck to make a statement?

DOT: Men in Big SUVs Are a Menace to Society

By Gersh Kuntzman 

“We have met the enemy and it is men.”

“The popularity of SUVs and light trucks are contributing to the increase in roadway fatalities in New York City and nationally,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “If you’re behind the wheel of one of those vehicles … you need to take extra caution. it has a lot more weight…poor visibility, it takes you longer to brake and it is harder to see around turns. Drivers of those vehicles need drive very carefully to compensate.”

Are you influenced by the ad campaigns for an SUV? Red about it:

https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/12/13/dot-men-in-big-suvs-are-a-menace-to-society/

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

The Scooters Of The Early 20th Century

Who knew? From around 1919 through the 1930s scooters were considered a great alternative to motorcars. As scooters are being re-introduced to cities all over the world, they’re being met with derision, suspicion, and outright anger by drivers. The auto industry has effectively ensured that cars became the dominant means of transportation over any other means of transport- scooters, bikes, and streetcars were phased out of cities from the 20s onward.

1916 SUFFRAGETTE ON A SCOOTER

Lady Florence Norman on her Autoped.

by Chris Wild

Yes, she is a suffragette, and yes, that is her scooter!   And the U.S. postal service tested the Autoped as a means of fast transport for its special delivery service. ABC Motorcycles produced the Skootamota, which had a top speed of 15 mph (24 km/h), and The Gloster Aircraft Company introduced the Reynolds Runabout in 1919, followed by the Unibus in 1920. The Unibus was promoted as the “car on two wheels.”

c. 1916 Lady Norman on her scooter.

c. 1915 Four special delivery postmen for the US Postal Service try out new scooters.

c. 1919 A folded Rouline scooter, Paris.

Read about this fascinating history, and see more amazing photos!

https://mashable.com/2015/06/15/1916-suffragette-scooter/?utm_cid=mash-com-pin-link

Why Do Scooter Riders Ride on Sidewalks?

Since the 1920s we’ve been conditioned to believe that roads are designed for cars (they weren’t). Traffic congestion and vehicular fatalities, plus the effects on health and climate has shown city leaders all over the world the need to modify/eliminate the use of motor vehicles, and build better infrastructure for bikes, walking and other modes of transit.

Enter scooters. We know that there’s a need for alternatives to driving, and scooter share is being introduced successfully as legitimate micro-mobility.  Although the rules in most cities require them to be ridden on the street, why are scooter riders on sidewalks?

Would you let your 10-year-old ride a bike or a scooter on a street with vehicular traffic moving at 25mph, 35mph, 45mph?  We need to design streets that are are safe for an 8-year-old to an 80-year-old. Let’s use that standard. Painted bike lanes are a start, but paint doesn’t protect.  Until we have protected bike/scooter lanes everywhere (and we will!) we need to continue to work on reducing/eliminating the need to drive in our city by providing as many alternative transportation options as possible #toomanycars, and meanwhile seriously slow vehicle speeds! #slowthecars.

Most scooter riders using the sidewalk are afraid of cars, new survey shows

“As Salt Lake City officials threaten to crack down on dockless e-scooter companies that don’t do enough to reduce the number of users riding on sidewalks, new data suggests solutions to the problem go beyond education efforts.

A survey conducted by Lime, one of four e-scooter companies currently operating within the city, found that the primary reason users say they’re not on the streets isn’t because they don’t know the rules but because they fear for their safety riding next to fast-moving cars.”

https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2019/10/15/most-scooter-riders-using/

Is Your City Too Car-Friendly?

Question: Among our readers, who, like me learned to drive at a time when we were taught that pedestrians had the right of way? I was taught when I was behind the wheel that I had the awesome right and responsibility to drive a huge metal engine-powered machine, and I had to look out for those more vulnerable on the road. Things seem to have changed. Right now we can see daily reports from cities everywhere of drivers involved in hit and run, and other fatal crashes with people walking and riding bikes, in which drivers are getting away with “failure to yield”, or “reckless driving”. (Police reports say: “She came out of nowhere.”  “I didn’t see him.” Or even more ridiculous, “He/she wasn’t wearing a helmet.”)

We’re in the midst of a crisis of an health crisis of vaping. There have been 13 fatalities to date, and may be more to come. It’s a serious problem and it’s in the news every day.  But we don’t see a similar response to car crash deaths that occur daily by the hundreds and yearly by tens of thousands! The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that in 2018, 40,000 people died in car crashes (and almost the same number deaths from guns, but that’s another discussion). We have normalized car-related deaths as built-in to our dependence on driving.  The US can do so much better, and things are beginning to change -very gradually. It takes time to change a culture. Cities like Asbury Park are making strides to create streets that are safe for everyone, especially the most vulnerable – walking, riding bikes, pushing strollers, navigating wheelchairs, and yes, scooters too. (Check out scooter education on Sunday 9/29!)  Watch for continued improvements to infrastructure all over Asbury Park with the goal is to increase availability, convenience, and safety of micro mobility, and reduce car dependency, as it becomes less convenient and less desirable to drive.

 

Cyclist Deaths Are Exploding Because U.S. Cities Are Car-Friendly Death Traps

Bike-related fatalities are up 25 percent across the U.S. since 2010.

 

By Jada Butler; illustrated by Hunter French
Sep 6 2019

In 2019, more and more cities across America are encouraging their residents to commute by bicycle. Cycling, of course, is good for the environment in terms of reducing pollution from car-dominant streets, and it’s a healthier way to travel.

But cities gaining new cyclists are quickly, tragically finding that they do not have the proper infrastructure to keep them safe. Cyclist fatalities have gone up 25 percent across the U.S. since 2010, and up 10 percent in 2018 itself, while all other traffic fatalities have decreased.

Read more…

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a35e9p/cyclist-bike-deaths-are-exploding-because-us-cities-are-car-friendly-death-traps?utm_campaign=sharebutton

Bikes Can Save The Planet. (Yes, And Scooters too.)

Copenhagen wasn’t always cycling heaven. It started with citizens making it clear in the 60s and 70s that they were not tolerating injuries and deaths by drivers, or the negative health and environmental impacts.  It took decades. The city made it gradually harder and more costly to park, and more inconvenient to drive. Sound familiar?  Drivers will push back, feeling like their entitlement to streets and roads are threatened. The auto industry is fighting back too.

We’re just at the beginning, but Asbury Park can do this!  And it’s not just with bikes. Scooters and other forms of micro-mobility are taking over streets and displacing cars…

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Could bicycles help save the planet and improve our cities?

In Copenhagen in the 70s after streets had become clogged with cars (just as in the US), and people were being struck and killed by drivers, the city  “began by slowly but steadily increasing the costs of driving — mostly by raising automobile and gasoline taxes, but also by reducing parking availability — and using the revenue to create bike-friendly infrastructure, which includes miles of separate, uninterrupted cycling lanes, as well as dedicated bike tunnels, bridges and traffic lights. These “complete streets” and “cycling superhighways” evolved over time to reduce the space available for cars and the speeds at which they could travel. As driving became more frustrating and cycling became more efficient, the number of daily trips made by bike increased significantly.”

Asbury Pod #4: Diana Pittet Distilled Spirits Expert, Plus Scooters And Bikes

Asbury Pod #4: Diana Pittet

58 MINS JUL 22

Asbury Pod Episode July 22nd featuring Diana Pittet expert in distilled spirits and avid bike rider. Discussion this month about Asbury Park transportation issues including parking, scooters, valet parking and bikes…hear a shout out to Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition at around 23:40.

Listen here:

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/asbury-pod/e/62721418

The Auto Industry Has Co-Opted Our Language

The automotive industry has co-opted our language and we’re just becoming aware of the calculated plan. We’re people driving vehicles, and we’re also people riding bikes, and walking – and yes, riding scooters too. But guess who gets the benefit of language that absolves them of responsibility in injuries and fatalities? It’s NOT an accident.

We don’t say “plane accident.” We shouldn’t say “car accident” either.

In response to the emerging public backlash against cars (which were, at the time, largely owned and driven by the wealthy), automakers and other industry groups pushed for a new set of laws that kept pedestrians off the streets, except at crosswalks.

To get people to follow these laws, they tried to shape news coverage of crashes. The National Automobile Chamber of Commerce, an industry group, established a free wire service for newspapers: Reporters could send in the basic details of a traffic collision, and would get in return a complete article to print the next day. These articles, printed widely, shifted the blame for crashes to pedestrians — and almost always used the word “accident.”

Read how we’ve been brainwashed:

https://www.vox.com/2015/7/20/8995151/crash-not-accident