Who Really Pays
WASHINGTON, DC: The federal government estimated recently that car crashes cost
Americans $150.5 billion in medical bills and destroyed property in 1994. That
comes out to $580 for each man, woman, and child in the country. According to
the Transportation Department, less then a third of that cost is paid by those
involved, while the rest is picked up by the general population through higher
insurance premiums and payments by governments, charities, and others.
Rollin' With The Danish
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: About one-third of all commuters in the Danish capital
pedal to work on bicycles, but even that's not enough for officials in the
progressive country. The government wants to reduce auto use drastically,
shifting to bicycles two of every three car trips under two miles. To accomplish
their goals, planners are considering lower speed limits for cars, as well as
auto-free city centers.
WASHINGTON, DC: Ron Medford, an official at the Consumer Product Safety
Commission, which is studying the effectiveness of bike headlights: "We
don't want to promote nighttime riding. We don't think people should ride at
night, though we realize people do."
Cars Kill 885,000 A Year
LONDON: Traffic crashes are now up there with malaria, cholera, and TB as the
great killer epidemics of the age. In 1993, according to the World Health
Organization, some 885,000 people died worldwide as a result of car and truck
accidents. Road collisions are now the leading cause of death among young adults
LONDON: A million people have died on the roads of Western Europe over the past
20 years; and three times more are permanently disabled.
A World of Difference
LONDON: In Britain, there are 20 deaths per 100,000 motor vehicles. In Kenya,
there are 580.
- Percentage of annual income
the average American auto owner spends on his or her car: 13.
-Bay Area Air Quality Management District
- Percentage of annual income
the average American bicycle owner spends on his or her bicycle: much less
Rims and Ribs
SOMERVILLE, MA: Redbones, a great barbecue joint in the Davis Square
neighborhood of this city outside Boston, now offers valet bike parking to
diners who arrive on two wheels. For $3, an attendant takes the bike to a locked
and alarmed storage area, and gives the biker a coupon for free parking on the
next visit. Owner Caryn Whitney says, "The response has been great. We
can't believe how many people have shown up."
The Freedom Of The Open Road
SAN DIEGO, CA: In June, the federal government began to install a demonstration
of the nation's first Automated Highway System (AHS) technology along a 7.6 mile
stretch of Interstate 15. By means of some 92,000 magnets implanted in the
pavement, AHS will control the speed and direction of cars on the highway. When
the technology is fully developed, officials believe, it will triple roadway
capacity by locking on to each vehicle as it enters, then guiding it down the
road in a kind of group cruise control to a pre-selected exit, where the AHS
will then release the car to the control of its driver.
-Civil Engineering News