Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Review of Jeff Mapes' new Book

Bike Messenger

Published: May 31, 2009

An argument for commuters to ditch the car in favor of the bicycle, for the sake of cities and health alike.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A New Law in NY

A new law in New York City might increase the penalty for motorists who kill bicyclists. See this from Transportation Alternatives:

The Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez Law

Government Body: NY State Legislature
Bill Status: Introduced

A07917A (Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh)
S5292-A (Senator Daniel Squadron)

View T.A. Support Memo

Bill Overview:

Will create the offense of careless driving and procedures and penalties relating to instances of careless driving which contribute to the serious injury or death of a vulnerable roadway user, e.g., a pedestrian or cyclist.

The Vulnerable User Roadway Act is an attempt to expand the available charging options by creating an enhanced civil penalty to punish careless drivers who seriously injure or kill vulnerable roadway users. In many instances, District Attorneys are unwilling or unable to pursue criminal charges against an individual who has committed a seemingly "minor" traffic violation, e.g., an illegal u-turn, which contributed to the serious injury or death of a vulnerable roadway user.

Penalties associated with this legislation will include: (1) the completion of a traffic safety course; (2) the performance of community service which includes activities related to driver improvement and public education on traffic safety; (3) mandatory court appearance by the defendant; (4) assessment of points on a driver's license; (5) financial penalties up to $10,000; (6)and the possibility of driver license suspension or revocation.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Car Free German City

In German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars

Published: May 12, 2009

A young development in Vauban illustrates a trend of planning communities to thrive without automobiles.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bicycling and the Law

So law can be boring. Fair enough. But the truth is, the law matters.

Even though its important, the law is not easy to understand. Bob Mionske is a cycling lawyer who has a column in Bicycling magazine and wrote a nice little treatise on "Bicycling and the Law."

His website is fantastic, and features a number of helpful insights and articles.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

On Speed

Author Jeff Mapes writes:

Ah, speed. Like in the U. S., "speed kills" is a hoary slogan in the Netherlands. But they really seem to mean it...In urban areas, 30-Kilometer-per-hour zones--about 19MPH--have become commonplace as a part of the government's "sustainable safety program." I've seen people drive in parking lots faster than that in the states. I've probably done it myself. Fred Wegman, who directs Holland's Institute for Road Safety Research, said that Dutch authorities have strong public support for decreasing speeds. "There's a strong political and social interest to save vulnerable road users, to protect road users, to protect children, to protect elderly people" who are bicycle and walking, he said.
I think slowing down is a big piece of the solution. By solution I mean the ways in which we encourage more people to get on a bike or get out and walk. Not only does speed kill, perhaps most importantly speed scares cyclists and walkers.

By the way, Mapes' book "Pedaling Revolution" is the equivalent of "Fast Food Nation" for cycling. It is fantastic.