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.
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.
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…
Could bicycles help save the planet and improve our cities?
Asbury Pod #4: Diana Pittet
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.
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.
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:
Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition says YES to mobility options like scooters, which will get people out of cars, reduce congestion in the city, and provide transportation for people who don’t own cars .
Asbury Park Transportation News!
The City of Asbury Park released its Summer 2019 transportation updates Friday.
“This summer, the City launches an electric scooter program, downtown receives a valet parking service, an additional parking payment app becomes available, and the new Guest Parking Permit program was introduced,” a written news statement said.
Read more: http://asburyparksun.com/electric-scooters-valet-parking-on-the-horizon/
Asbury Pod episode #3, Transportation, starting around 19:00 ’til around 1:02:00. Asbury Park Transportation Manager, Mike Manzella, Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn, and Joe Walsh get down into issues like parking, scooters, how to make a walkable and bikeable city, transit, and the rising numbers of automobile/pedestrian and cyclist fatalities across the US.
Thanks for a great in-depth interview!