May/June 1996, p.2

Auto-Free World

Natural Selection
ROCHESTER, NY: Drivers with car phones run a 34 percent higher risk of an accident, researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology said recently. Motorists who use car phones more than 50 minutes a month are five times more likely to have an accident than those who don't own a car phone. The risk of an accident increases twofold when a car phone is used while drinking a beverage or lighting up.

-Associated Press

Don't Blame Elsie
LOS ANGELES, CA: A new study shows that urban cars produce more air pollution than suburban cows, contrary to assertions by L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan. The 312,000 cows in the Chino-Riverside-San Bernardino area release 8.5 tons of ammonia per day. By comparison, heavy trucks in the Los Angeles Basin emit 239 tons of nitrogen oxides and particulates a day. "Buffalo were here before cows and we didn't have a problem," one farmer said. "It's not the cows. It's the people. We know we are not pure, but what do you do? Put diapers on a cow?"

-Associated Press

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Roadkill Reincarnated
BERKELEY COUNTY, W V: This rural West Virginia county has found a new use for animals killed by speeding cars and trucks: fertilizer. The state is building a $10,000 corn-poster to handle some of the thousands of animals killed on the Mountain State's roads each year.

-Roads and Bridges

Who's Subsidized?
PORTLAND, OR: Ever been told that cyclists don't have a right to the road because they don't pay their share of taxes? Here's why that's wrong. Although fuel taxes fund most highway expenses, local roads are primarily funded through local taxes that everybody pays. Drivers also impose on society costs like congestion, parking, accidents, and environmental damage. In the end, drivers pay through user fees only about a third of the cost of operating their vehicles, while cyclists and pedestrians overpay for their costs by about 5000%.

-Bicycle Transportation Alliance

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The Enemy
WASHINGTON, DC: "The highway funding landscape is obstructed by non-highway diversions, subsidized and poorly patronized mass transit projects and littered with unaffordable luxuries promoting bicycle riding and historic preservation."

William Fay, President, American Highway Users Alliance

-Bicycle Federation of America

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Save the Frogs
YORKTOWN, NY: Scientist David Fermoile spends most rainy spring evenings on the roads of Westchester County helping frogs cross without being crushed by cars. He says the network of roads has divided the landscape, creating a killing zone. The number of reptile and amphibian species in Westchester has fallen by 30% since the 1960's.

-New York Times

Use a Good Lock
DENVER, CO: A Denver police detective estimates that bike theft is a $100 million industry nationwide. Using Denver figures, detective Mike Zimmer extrapolated to come up with the national number, which he considers a conservative estimate. "Many of the bicycles stolen here end up in Mexico," he says.

-Cycling Times

The Uneven Playing Field
WASHINGTON, DC: The Clinton Administration continues to spend far more on highways than on transit and rail. The 1996 budget numbers:

Transit $4.05 billion
Rail $874 million
Highways $20.19 billion

-Surface Transportation Policy Project

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