…and a few more, for those that don’t understand biking.

http://btaoregon.org/2012/05/bta-calls-for-safety-changes-at-sw-3rd-and-madison/#comment-17013

Jonathan Maus states it really well,

“Hi. I fully support your request for people to have bicycle licenses and take tests. If we could find the funding and the if we could develop a program that would be able to test people about bicycle laws and best riding practices, that’d be great. That being said, I’d fully support a bicycle licensing program only if it meant that our roads and laws would be significantly upgraded in order to treat bicycle traffic with the same level of infrastructural and institutional respect that we currently offer trucks and other motor vehicles. Also, please keep in mind that the reason we must have a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle is due in large part because those vehicles can very easily kill, maim and injure innocent bystanders with even the slightest lapse in judgment or operational error. The same simply cannot be said for bicycles.

The vast majority of people who ride bikes in Oregon also have a driver’s license. And I’d be willing to bet that they know the rules of the road more keenly and more accurately than people who don’t bike at all. Why? Because their life depends on it.

To add to his quote. Keep in mind that EVERY day someone is killed by someone else’s inattention at the wheel. For every person killed 2-3 are maimed and permanently debilitated, often damned to disability for the rest of their lives. Almost always these people are innocent until this happens, then they are innocents that are permanently scarred.

Next blog entry, I promise transit + a more positive note. The people I know that have been killed or maimed by inattentive drivers lately has me on a tear. We need to design better roads, keep drivers under control, and stop giving them a “get out of jail” free card at every turn. The double standard with cars and other dangerous things is ridiculous. If people treated cars like guns, we’d have mass banning campaigns nationwide with millions of people marching against them. But instead the population is generally oblivious and care-less about this fact. Not that I’m saying ban either of these things, but we should work toward a safer and better infrastructure system that isn’t so damnably dependent on automobiles.

In the end, it would be better for ALL of us. It would especially have been better for all those dead. The 19 year old girl that was an art student. The 29 year old girl that was merely riding home from work. The expectant mother who was broadsided by an errant driver. The now dismembered young ladies that were waiting for the walk sign to change on the corner. The young brothers riding together, 9 and 13 respectively.

Let it hit home. Pay attention. Remember what you yield when you’re driving. At least try a little harder everyday to pay attention and not become the next killer.

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More Biking Bits…

I know this is the “transit sleuth” blog and I still do a ton of that, but biking is a major proponent of getting rid of a host of problems the United States has created for itself. No city in this country has accomplished as much in resolving those issues with biking than Portland Oregon. Recently Portland has come out as the #1 biking city in the United States (platinum level). I’ve included some choice quotes,

“Two, the town removed on-street auto parking spaces at the request of adjacent businesses at many highly-visible locations in favor of on-street bicycle parking.”

…and there’s more…

“By several measures, bicycle ridership increased significantly in Portland this year. Their 2008 annual counts, based on 68 locations, demonstrated a 28 percent growth in citywide ridership compared to 2007. The 2008 City Auditor’s Office’s annual survey found that eight percent of Portlanders identified the bicycle as their primary commute vehicle and another ten percent identified it as their secondary commute vehicle. Portland’s most compelling statistics are that Portland experienced zero bicycle fatalities in 2008 for the fourth time since 2000 and bicycle crashes dropped eight percent since 2007.”

Unfortunately there are still some fatalities sometimes, but this is evidence that biking does work, and empowers a city to new levels of livability and healthy lives. All very impressive.