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Bicycle Culture by Design

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Bicycle Culture by Design

Old 12-13-12, 02:41 AM
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Ekdog
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Bicycle Culture by Design

"1.2 million people die globally... In Europe and the United States every year almost 35,000 people are killed in car accidents on our roads. Do you know what that is? That's a 9/11, collapsing World Trade Center towers almost every single month... This is rather insane..."

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Old 12-13-12, 08:15 PM
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Thanks for posting! Great presentation!

I was most impressed with his mention of "desire lines" -- basically the routing a bicycle or ped will follow to get to where they need to be.

For myself, it's anything but straight... I wander 2 extra miles just to get some peace and quiet.... and also it's safer.

Let's design our cities for ourselves and our needs.... not the automobile's.
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Old 12-13-12, 09:31 PM
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Thinking some more about this, his mention of the number of traffics deaths in the last 60 years being something like a 9/11 tragedy every month.... that was a powerful metaphor.
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Old 12-13-12, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Thinking some more about this, his mention of the number of traffics deaths in the last 60 years being something like a 9/11 tragedy every month.... that was a powerful metaphor.
I found his clapping experiment more affecting. 96 bpm he said. That's about a resting heart rate. Be quiet a moment and realize that every time that your heart beats, someone has just been killed by an automobile. There's a metaphor you can feel.
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Old 12-13-12, 10:03 PM
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With the rate at which Americans are maimed by automobile wrecks, the odds of an American being injured by a motorist in an average lifetime is approximately 50%; most of the injured are motorists. Funny how few people consider this risk.

As an aside, my city of 150.000 people has had three pedestrians killed by motorists in the past three weeks. Two of the victimes were in signalized crosswalks with green pedestrian signals. No wonder everyone motors around in padded cells; we're insane.
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Old 12-13-12, 10:10 PM
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Then you read this study and realize its at least two 9/11s per month:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/244463.php
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Old 12-13-12, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
I found his clapping experiment more affecting. 96 bpm he said. That's about a resting heart rate. Be quiet a moment and realize that every time that your heart beats, someone has just been killed by an automobile. There's a metaphor you can feel.
Not killed, injured. Still, that's an incredible statistic. Why do we put up with this?
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Old 12-14-12, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Not killed, injured. Still, that's an incredible statistic. Why do we put up with this?
I think it's the frog in boiling water phenomenon.

Also, for some reason, pedestrians (often the one who get seriously injured...) are not well organized... or represented...especially in North America. If city street engineers were forced to walk to work, I bet we'd see changes...
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Old 12-14-12, 11:57 PM
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I've been thinking about some of these traffic fatality statistics and the 9/11 comparison and it got me thinking about what it would take to move away from our car-centric culture here in the US.

I like the idea of building a bicycle culture but that will ultimately depend on the government allocating resources to bicycle infrastructure. In the public finance/ public economics literature there is this idea known as the "median voter theorem". Like any theorem, it makes certain assumptions that you may or may not be willing to accept, but the basic idea is that government policy will reflect the preferences of the median voter. That is why politicians will always say that their opponent is too right wing or too left wing. They are appealing to the median voter who will ultimately decide the election. When you look at the distribution of voter transportation preferences, I imagine that in one tail you have the individual who prefers to drive what is essentially a monster truck around the suburbs even though they have no intention of ever really hauling anything in the truck bed or taking it off-road. In the other tail you have the individual who prefers to walk or bike everywhere. I imagine the median voter is someone who is 100% committed to driving a car but prefers something with reasonable gas mileage.

So, the question is, if we want to build a bike culture, how do we change the preferences of the median voter? One option is to focus on the "benefits" of cycling. It seems that this is the approach of many local bicycle coalitions but I am not sure how successful this approach has been. A second option is to focus on the "dangers" of the automobile. Maybe focusing on the negative would be more effective. If you watch some of these documentaries on the cycling "paradises" in Europe they usually mention that their cycling infrastructure has been a long process and it does not exist because "people over there just really like to ride bikes". They will point to the combination of oil prices and traffic fatalities in 70's, particularly traffic fatalities where children were the victims.

Think about the successes of groups like MADD have had over the years in increasing public awareness of the risks associated with drunk driving, increasing enforcement of drunk driving laws, and increasing the penalties imposed on offenders. They have been instrumental in changing government behavior. Their marketing campaigns focus on the negative and often feature graphic images of accident victims. Same can be said for impact that the anti-tobacco campaigns have had. Thanks to the negative marketing, I would guess that the typical voter now has a fairly negative perception of big tobacco.

Maybe a negative marketing campaign on the dangers of automobiles could have a similar impact on the median voter. Maybe it would counteract the influence that the automobile industry and the UAW currently have on our government.

Just thinking out loud. Any thoughts?

Last edited by mtb123; 12-15-12 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 12-15-12, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb123 View Post
I've been thinking about some of these traffic fatality statistics and the 9/11 comparison and it got me thinking about what it would take to move away from our car-centric culture here in the US.

I like the idea of building a bicycle culture but that will ultimately depend on the government allocating resources to bicycle infrastructure. In the public finance/ public economics literature there is this idea known as the "median voter theorem". Like any theorem, it makes certain assumptions that you may or may not be willing to accept, but the basic idea is that government policy will reflect the preferences of the median voter. I imagine the median voter is someone who is 100% committed to driving a car but prefers something with reasonable gas mileage. ...............................
So, the question is, if we want to build a bike culture, how do we change the preferences of the median voter? One option is to focus on the "benefits" of cycling. ................
A second option is to focus on the "dangers" of the automobile. Maybe focusing on the negative would be more effective. They will point to the combination of oil prices and traffic fatalities in 70's, particularly traffic fatalities where children were the victims.

Maybe a negative marketing campaign on the dangers of automobiles could have a similar impact on the median voter. Maybe it would counteract the influence that the automobile industry and the UAW currently have on our government.

Just thinking out loud. Any thoughts?
Good thought, as far as it goes but it also points out how hard it will be to hold back giant tide of personal transportation preferences people have freely chosen over the years. If the Median voter is as you say,"someone who is 100% committed to driving a car but prefers something with reasonable gas mileage." Then the people themselves are far more willing to listen to the ones telling them what they want to hear, like Madison Avenue, wall Street and the Government. If the tail as you called it represents 1 to 8 percent of the median voter population then whoever agrees with and encourages the 90+ percent will have far more impact, see what is happening in China and India with the automotive market, but I digress. So the 90+ percent get marketed a vehicle like the Nissan leaf or the new Computer controled google car and the 90+ percent is helping to fund that same marketing by comsumption is it not more likely they will continue to vote for self interest? The Government is telling them that vehicles are getting safer every year and with technology they cann have their cake and eat it. (Still thinking here)

Not discussing strictly politics here but we have already seen a successful campain waged against one of the tails you mentioned, we see the median is more than willing to see benifits for themselves and the expense of the one tail, the 2 percent if you will. Why would anyone feel they are less likely to see not paying any extra attention to the other end of the tail? If this median sees a benifit from the government to use their taxes for, ,"someone who is 100% committed to driving a car but prefers something with reasonable gas mileage."

The big problem with getting people in this country interested in bicycling infrastructure is the economy, people need a solution to transportation of goods and services from New York to LA and Chicago to Dallas. They need jobs that pay well enough so that they don't mind a 3 percent tax for mass transit and alternative infrastructure. Once a solution to the distances a median voter needs to travel to see grandmother and to receive goods from other states at a price they can afford it will be far easier to turn their eyes to what has been on the back burner for Bicycles and foot infrastructure for as many years as I can remember. JMHO
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Old 12-15-12, 07:08 PM
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Just something to think about. Last year approximately 4 million babies were born in the US. About 32,000 traffic fatalities in the US.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...n_U.S._by_year

https://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005067.html
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Old 12-15-12, 07:54 PM
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I liked this video, thanks for sharing it w/ us.

I had no idea that traffic lights have sensors on them that detect snow/rain/temperature and then prioritize bicycle travel. Amazing. I'd like to see those sensors here in Portland, Oregon.
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Old 12-15-12, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb123 View Post
Maybe a negative marketing campaign on the dangers of automobiles could have a similar impact on the median voter. Maybe it would counteract the influence that the automobile industry and the UAW currently have on our government.

Just thinking out loud. Any thoughts?
Well.. with speed limits in Texas at 85mph, you'd have to question how that statistic would really sink into the imagination.

I'd think the best place to start is in your own community. Get involved in public meetings and talk to lots of people. When certain interests clamor for more freeways and more car infrastructure and higher speed limits, there needs to be a voice on the other side of the issue.
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