Creating a national bicycling policy

Here is my superstition: When you focus on creating more good things, you get more good things;  When you focus on solving problems, you get more problems.  —Jing Zhang, May ITE Journal, “member to member”

As we develop a national bicycle policy promoting the most sustainable form of transportation imaginable, we’ll do well listening to experienced cyclists and educators.  It is tempting to fit new knowledge around what we think we already know.   With cycling it helps to see things directly from the cycling perspective, and this changes our outlook.

References and Resources:
The video is from CyclingSavvy, founders of the American Bicycling Education Association (ABEA).  Subscribe for free to their newsletter for “empowerment for unlimited travel”.  https://cyclingsavvy.org/cycling-law/
Here is a guide for improving the conditions for walking and cycling, published and recently updated by transportation leaders from our government and private sector:  https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_focus/docs/fhwasa17050.pdf
For more specific measures to improve mobility safety, see https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/
Traffic safety involves complex causality, but speed is a primary factor.  This study by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) includes recommendations for planners, engineers and various government agencies.  https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Pages/SS1701.aspx
May’s ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) Journal is dedicated to “Making Active Transportation Safe” http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G93877_ITE_May2018/

Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous.  That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.  —Paul Hawken quoted in “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron

How we think about transportation

“There is no question that conditions for bicycling and walking need to be improved in every community in the United States; it is no longer acceptable…that two desirable and efficient modes of travel have been made difficult and uncomfortable.”  —FHWA’s recommended approach for designing for cycling & walking

Ian Lockwood’s article in the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) journal this January makes a case for changing the language standards in the transportation professions.  For a long time roadway design was synonymous with serving the automobile, and the language developed around this singular goal was exclusive and limiting.  Lockwood suggests we use a more objective and representative vocabulary.  Language reflects our thoughts, and also shapes how we think.  Changing language is one important step in changing our thinking.  Take a look at Lockwood’s article for a stimulating read.

Resources:

Read Ian Lockwood’s succinct 2-3 page article in the ITE Journal (page 41) or download a PDF file here:
“Making the Case for Transportation Language Reform: Removing Bias” by Ian Lockwood, P.E.

 

placitas-overlook

Bicycling the overlook in Placitas, New Mexico

Vision Zero

“Traffic safety solutions must be addressed holistically.” —Vision Zero, Wikipedia

Creating a movement toward healthier streets requires adjusting our expectations.   Vision Zero is a multinational road safety project that does just that.  It views crashes as preventable and uses a scientific, data-driven approach to identify causes and implement multifaceted solutions that combine education, engineering, planning and enforcement.

Vision Zero sets a goal of safeguarding human life on our streets. Data reveals strategies such as reducing speed limits in areas of high pedestrian activity makes crashes less likely and less severe. Redesigned streets and meaningful behavior change campaigns can create streets that are safe and more vibrant.

vehicle speed and crash data

The Vision Zero movement is creating more political accountability to synch transportation with priorities in health and sustainability.  Los Angeles’s Vision Zero program seeks to design streets that “encourage walking. Research has shown that there is a link between moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, to decrease the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, and other health problems.”  Portland, Oregon’s Vision Zero declares families “deserve safe streets” on which to walk and bike.  The clear focus is protecting human lives.

Vision Zero started in Sweden in the 1990’s but more than a dozen U.S. cities have adopted it, and more are joining.  Denver’s Mayor joined this year with the Director for Transportation saying “our streets are our most public spaces…our home.”  Ask your mayor, city council, and governor to take this measure and increase their commitment to safeguarding the public.

from Vision Zero Network

9-components-of-a-strong-vision-zero-commitment-1-638

Resources
http://www.visionzeroboston.org/
http://www.austintexas.gov/page/about-vision-zero
http://visionzeronetwork.org/