With a concern for overcrowding in hospitals, Italy and Spain have, as of March 16th, banned cycling in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Health authorities there are urging cyclists not to ride because of the risk of being injured on the road and putting additional stress on an already over-burdened healthcare system. This is a backward approach. The real danger is speeding motor vehicles. Cars, particularly speeding cars killed over 40,000 people in the US last year. Each year, 1.35 million people are killed on roadways around the world. Driving a motorized vehicle is far more dangerous than riding a bike, so let’s #slowthecars so we can ride safely, now – and always.
Remember The Marlboro Man?
With 40,000 deaths by car last year in the US, “…it may be time to treat automobile companies like cigarette manufactures if they’re going to encourage this kind of reckless aggression.”
This BMW ad in Canada is no different from the multitude of ads in the US depicting cars as aggressive, powerful “beasts” on empty city streets, or zooming on winding, precipitous mountain roads. Ads show vehicles with dark, tinted windows, offering glimpses of a perfectly attired man or woman cocooned in the sound and climate-controlled, luxurious interior. Trucks and SUVs are most often shown off-road, with rugged, sporty owners off loading camping gear or surfboards, living the life. Ads work – they’re aspirational, especially ads for luxury, life-style items, and automobile manufacturers are profiting on knowing that they can continue brainwashing the public as they have been doing since the 1920s. Can we stop the killing by working to break car culture the way we have been trying to break smoking culture (it won’t be easy…now it’s vaping)?
What would an honest car advertisement look like?
Sat., Nov. 2, 2019
“Often violent films and video games are accused of influencing behaviour, but those are fictional portrayals. Advertising is different: it’s aspirational, showing us a lifestyle we should, ostensibly, be striving for with the help of whatever product is being sold…What this ad and others like it are suggesting is that driver aggression is normal and should even be encouraged. In Toronto and other cities we’re familiar with the unleashed beast though, and it’s a killer.”
Does this sound familiar Asbury Park?
Dangerous behavior like failing to yield to pedestrians is almost never enforced. A Wisconsin study showing drivers only yielded to pedestrians 16 percent of the time, indicating that if cops wanted to, they could spend their time doing nothing else but writing failure-to-yield tickets.
A law professor lists a dozen ways that our legal system puts its thumb on the scale for drivers to the detriment of everyone else: transit users, cyclists and pedestrians. We are dominated by car culture and until these laws are repealed we will suffer the consequences.
How Driving is Encouraged and Subsidized — By Law
Driving is so hard-wired into American culture, life and institutions, that it’s hard to account for all the ways it is subsidized, preferenced or otherwise favored.
Read all 12 ways that drivers rule the road- walkers and bike riders are at the mercy of cars:
Encouraging study shows that lowering speed limit helps reduce speeding. Asbury Park will be reducing speed the limit city-wide.
Study: Lowering the Speed Limit … Works To Reduce Speeding
“Here’s some encouraging news for cities trying to reduce speeding: New research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that lowering posted speed limits appears to be effective at reducing driver speeds.
The IIHS study compared speeds before and after Boston lowered its speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph in January, 2017 — and the results were clear: “Vehicles exceeding 25 mph, 30 mph, and 35 mph all declined at sites in Boston, with the largest reduction in proportions of vehicles exceeding 35 mph,” wrote the study authors Wen Hu and Jessica Cicchino.”
The small fishing town of Ísafjörður in the Westfjords unveiled the first ever “3D crosswalk” in Iceland.
The crosswalk, which is painted to look like it is hovering over the street, is intended to slow down traffic and reduce driving speeds in the narrow residential streets of the old town of Ísafjörður.
The environmental commissioner of Ísafjörður, Ralf Trylla, had come across the idea while researching for novel ways to slow down traffic speed.
It only took a couple of weeks from Ralf getting the idea to all necessary permits from the Police and the Transport Authority being in place. In the meantime Gautur Ívar and Ralf practiced 3D painting.