SUVs Fall Out of Fashion in Paris
Paris may become the first
major City to ban SUVs from the city center according to reports in late June.
The Paris City Council is urging the ban as part of an overall plan to improve
traffic flow in the city. The Deputy Mayor noted that while the city does not
have the authority to ban SUVs outright, it wants to restrict the circulation of
these dangerous and polluting vehicles. The Mayor of London has also expressed
interest in reducing the number of SUVs on the roads in that city.
If you have to be struck by a moving vehicle steer clear of SUVs and light
trucks. Pedestrians struck by these vehicles are 3 times more likely to be
severely injured and 3.4 times more likely to be killed compared with
pedestrians struck by passenger vehicles. This according to a new study from the
Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and the Center for Applied
Biomechanics at the University of Virginia. Pedestrian injuries make up 13
percent of traffic fatalities in the United States.
Taking Fresh Air to Heart
The American Heart Association released a scientific statement in June saying
that exposure to air pollution increases risk of cardiovascular disease. This is
on top of the pulmonary problems that air pollution can cause, such as increased
asthma rates. The Heart Association notes that the levels of air pollution may
vary more within a given city than between cities, and therefore risk of heart
troubles may vary throughout a city. For instance, people living near major
roads are more likely to die of a cardiovascular event. While the American Heart
Association suggests that people at high risk for heart or lung diseases stay
inside on days with high pollution, they also note that indoor air pollution,
especially second-hand smoke, also poses a threat. The American Heart
Association had not taken a stand on the connection between air pollution and
heart disease and strokes until now because of flaws in research designs and
methodology of many earlier pollution studies.
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Record Number of Riders Bike
250,000 cyclists took to the streets in Berlin June 6th in what organizers
describe as the world’s largest bicycle ride. One of the organizers, Benno Koch,
said that riders wanted to show “the still underestimated potential of the
bicycle as an everyday means of transportation.” The theme of the ride was
“respect for bicycler riders.” Participants from Germany, the U.S., Russia and
Britain traveled on one of 16 routes along over 300 miles of city streets during
the event. Last year’s ride drew 100,000 participants.
Slow Down and Smile! Speed
Cameras Save 100 Lives per Year
What does it take to save 100 lives a year? Britain has found that it’s 5,200
speed cameras do the trick. An independent audit published by the British
government concluded that the devices encourage drivers to slow down by an
average of 2.4mph. They result in a 71% drop in the number of vehicles speeding
and avert 870 deaths or serious injuries annually. Opponents of speed cameras
continue to claim that drinking or drug use while driving and carelessness are
more important factors in accidents than speeding. The government’s top
transport adviser, Professor David Begg, said anti-camera groups had been proved
wrong. “If critics continue to make dishonest claims about the impact of speed
and speed cameras, they will end up with blood on their hands.”
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City at fault after Toronto
cyclist gets “doored”
A Toronto court has found that the city was partly to blame for a 2002 incident
in which local cycling activist Hannah Evans was struck by a car door on the
city’s Queen Street West.
The groundwork for the lawsuit
was laid by a group called Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists in Toronto.
“Basically,” said Toronto cycling advocate Ben Smith Lea, “cyclists and
pedestrians are subsidizing Toronto’s decaying auto-based transportation network
with their blood, their teeth, and their bones.”
Deputy Judge Morris Winer
awarded Ms Evans $4,500 in damages with 25 percent to come from the city. He
apportioned liability for the incident 25 percent to the city, 50 percent to the
driver of the car and 25 percent to Ms Evans because she was not wearing a
Ms Evan’s lawyers argued that
under common law principles the city had a duty to provide a safe road
environment for cyclists and in this case had failed in that duty. A bike lane
along Queen Street West had been decommissioned in 1993 because the road was not
wide enough to accommodate it, but the city had failed to take down some signs
marking the lane. In addition, a popular bike lane in the area leads to Queen
Street West, effectively dumping riders.
The judge agreed that the city
had been negligent in failing to make the road safe. Ms Evans suffered a mild
concussion and bruises as a result of the crash.
cyclingnews.com and respect.to
China’s New Road Safety Law
Holds Drivers More Responsible
China’s new road safety law came into effect in May. And on Monday, the first
driver in Beijing received probably the most strict punishment under the new
law. The Beijing driver, surnamed Li, ran away after his car hit a passerby on
May 3. After the hit and run, the victim died, and Li was arrested 15 hours
later. According to the new law, drivers who are guilty of hit and run accidents
will be banned from driving permanently. After a lot of debate among experts and
the public, the ruling was delivered.
“He will be banned from driving
all the rest of his life. Before the new road safety law came out, he would only
be deprived off his driving license.”
After hearing the ruling, Li
expressed nothing but his deep regrets.
“I didn’t know what I was doing
at that time. My mind just went blank. But I never expected I would receive such
Nationwide several other
drivers will receive the same punishment for hit and run accidents.