Summer 2003, p.21

Auto-Free World

Car Hits Pedestrian with Safety Flag in California Crosswalk

Forty-eight hours after city officials placed pedestrian safety flags at a corner in Berkeley, California, a driver in a Jeep hit a 53-year-old woman in the crosswalk carrying a flag. After hitting the pedestrian, the driver swerved into the oncoming lane and collided with another vehicle. The driver was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian. While saddened by the news, Berkeley officials saw the accident more as a testament to intersection's danger than the flags' effectiveness. Berkeley City Councilwoman Polly Armstrong, who sponsored the flag measure said, "We hope over time-when drivers are paying a little more attention than that driver was-that [the flags would] be helpful." She added that, "Pedestrians have to be on guard and aggressive with their flags."

Oakland Tribune

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Give Donkey Bray(k) Too, Israelis Told

People for the ethical treatment of Animals has written Israeli President Moshe Katsav praising the government for sticking reflective strips on camels so that the animals do not get hit by cars on darkened roads. The organization asked him to "use your good office to extend this program to the most overworked beast of burden, the donkey. In these rural areas, motorized vehicles knock them both down with some regularity." There was no immediate comment from Katsav's office.

NY Daily News

June 1 Car-Free Champs Elysees

Sunday, June 1 was car-free day on the Champs Elysees in Paris. The entire avenue was filled with pedestrians; the event also featured an exhibition of historic trains as part of the French Railway's celebration of 150 years of rail in France. The mayor made a press announcement stressing how much people were enjoying themselves on the avenue, which the day before had been carrying six lanes of traffic.


Can I get a "whoop whoop?!" Congressman Darrell Issa is making a fortune off of your lost sleep.
Can I get a "whoop whoop?!" Congressman Darrell Issa is making a fortune off of your lost sleep.
Darrell Issa: Car Alarm Congressman

Darrell Issa, a Republican Congressman from Orange County, California, has won April's "Noisy Dozen" award from Noise Free America, a national lobbying group dedicated to opposing noise pollution. The group gave Issa the award for promoting dangerous boom cars, hot rods on public roads, useless and annoying car alarms and the violently loud "Boom and Vroom Car" lifestyle. Issa is the former chairman of the powerful Consumer Electronics Association. He is the founder of the Mobile Enhancement Association, Directed Electronics and VIPER car audio and alarms; the congressman has made $100 million as the owner of VIPER. Issa, a candidate for the United States Senate from California in 2004, is a member of the Congressional Automotive, Performance, and Motorsport Caucus, which advocates legalizing noisy racing equipment on city streets. As head of the Consumer Electronics Association, Issa has traveled around the country lobbying against municipal noise ordinances.


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Cleveland Radio Station Advocates Assaults on Cyclists

On the morning of July 2, local station WMJI-Majic 105 read an e-mail from a listener saying that bicycles should not be on the roads. At least one of the station's DJs told listeners who were in cars to do things like:

  • Speed past the bike, pull back into the lane and slam on their brakes;
  • Speed past the bike, have the passenger open their door and put on the brakes;
  • Yell and/or honk at all cyclists as they pass them in their car;
  • Throw things like cans or rolls of pennies out their window at cyclists.

The next day, the station's DJs continued taking calls from listeners and further encouraged drivers to do whatever it takes to get cyclists off the roads. Callers who agreed with the DJs were awarded a gift certificate at a local restaurant. In response, several organizations contacted the Federal Communications Commission and Clear Channel, the station owner. After a flood of complaints, Clear Channel and WMJI-Majic agreed to rectify the situation by, among other things, broadcasting public apologies from the offending DJs, running public service announcements throughout northern Ohio and donating money to local bicycling causes.