Summer 2000, p.16

Auto-Free World

That's "W." As in "Windshield."
During a Univision Town Hall meeting in February, a Los Angeles resident who takes two buses to get to work every day asked Texas governor and presidential candidate George W. Bush how the Los Angeles public transportation system could be improved. Bush responded, "My hope is that you will be able to find good enough work so you'll be able to afford a car."
- Newscom.com

Bike Outpaces Car in London Rat-Race
Center city London is so congested that the average trip is quicker on a bicycle than in a car, bus or train, a government survey reports. Trips between central London and the inner band that surrounds it-an average distance of 3.9 miles-were completed in 35 minutes by bicycle, 40 minutes by car, 46 minutes by rail and 62 minutes by bus, according to a 1999 survey. Journeys entirely within central London, an average direct distance of 1.7 miles, took a cyclist 18 minutes, compared with 29 minutes by car, 32 minutes by rail and 40 minutes by bus. Earlier studies in 1993 and 1996 produced similar findings. Recently, Ken Livingstone was elected London's mayor on a platform that included the imposition of levies on cars entering the center city and the creation of more dedicated cycle lanes.
- Reuters

Parking to Die For
A Greenbelt, Maryland, man fatally shot his neighbor and wounded two others after an argument erupted between two couples. Neighbors said the couples had fought in the past over a prime parking space.
- The Washington Post

The Breaks in Dublin
Almost half of all road traffic deaths in Dublin last year were pedestrians, and most of the 27 pedestrians killed were under the age of ten or over age 55.15 of those killed were within 100 meters of a controlled crossing, as were a third of the 58 pedestrians seriously injured. In fact, in 1999 Ireland had the third-highest pedestrian fatality rate in Europe in 1999. "There is a particular problem in the city due to the high population and the increasing number of vehicles," said Assistant Garda (Police) Commissioner Jim McHugh. The Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr, admitted that a four-week safety campaign might shock some with slogans like, "Some drivers won't brake. You will," showing a broken limb.
- Pednet

Blaming-the-Victim Dept.
Road rage isn't simply driver against driver -- it's driver against cyclist, too. Witness the fatal shooting in May of a 32-year-old Lakewood, Colorado cyclist by the driver of a pickup truck in what Denver police describe as a case of road rage. But stopping road rage is up to both the driver and the cyclist, according to psychologist Leon James of the University of Hawaii. "Both have traffic emotions that they cannot keep under control because they are not trained to do so," James opines. For the cyclist, this involves not demanding a share of the road when the driver refuses to give it, said James. Once the cyclist shows anger, the situation is out of the cyclist's control, because "the cyclist doesn't know how the driver will respond," he said.
- The Associated Press

Amsterdam Bike Bandit Tells All
A former drug addict claims to have stolen 50,000 bikes in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He tells the world all about his adventures in a book titled 100,000 Bike Valves. In Amsterdam, a city where bikes outnumber cars, police estimate that as many as 180,000 bikes are stolen from the city each year, making bike theft the most common crime. Several of Amsterdam's bike rental companies are suing the book's publisher since it seems reasonable that the author stole more than a few rental bikes in the course of his larcenous career.
- Bicycling Magazine

A 'Toolkit' for More Highways
The new "Quality Growth Coalition," which is made up exclusively of members of the highway lobby, has made its debut with a comprehensive "Toolkit for Quality Growth." The toolkit is designed "to help citizens be effective advocates for road-based mobility." Reading between the euphemisms, the group is hoping that the populace will rise up and demand more pavement [caps "more pavement"]! The Coalition distinguishes between "smart growth"-"aimed at decreasing personal living space and stopping new roads"--and its own road-based approach, dubbed "quality growth." Case studies explain why Los Angeles is a good model for development while Portland's "experiment" is a failure. To check out the toolkit, visit www.qualitygrowth.org
- Car Busters

Earth's First Bicyclist?

This photo was taken at the temple of Maduwe Karang on the north coast of Bali. The temple is noted for its sculptured panels, including this famous one depicting a gentleman riding a bicycle with flower petals for wheels. The cyclist may be Nieuwenkamp, one of the first Dutch explorers of Bali, who actually did get around by bicycle.
-Glen Goldstein, New York City

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