January/February 1997, p.11

Auto-Free World

The Third World's Hidden Killer

Traffic accidents kill proportionately more people in the developing world than in the industrialized world. Yet there are only three motor vehicles per 100 people in developing nations, compared to one vehicle per two people in the West. In New Delhi, 75% of people killed on roads are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
-New Scientist

Let Them Ride Bikes

During his 10 year military rule. General Ershad of Bangladesh ordered government workers to ride bicycles to work to protect the environment. On the other hand, he also ordered a complete replacement of the presidential car entourage with a fleet of expensive, bulletproof limousines.
-Public er Mookh


China has one of the highest rates of bike ownership. But recently, the government has begun discouraging bicycle use. Bicycle traffic has recently been banned on several major highways. Replacing those pesky bikes will be easy-the economic planning ministry has announced that it wants every family in China to have a private car. The private car fleet grew by 172% between 1990-91 and auto sales are projected to reach 1.1 million per year by 2000.

Now That's Traffic Calming!

A Pennsylvania highway road crew repaved state road 895 directly over a dead deer near the town of Andreas. Across the ocean, a city official in Netherlands bought six sheep and put them on a busy road to slow down rush hour traffic.
-Funny Times

Waiting for the Miracle Car

In 1995, Greenpeace asked Swiss engineers to modify a Renault to create the Twingo Smile, a car with half the fuel needs of the original-giving the driver 81 miles per gallon. A year later, Greenpeace paid a deposit at the Paris Auto Show to display a prototype of this "clean car", only to be told at the last minute that their space had been cancelled. Greenpeace's Stefan Krug said, "The auto industry is not interested in environmental cars." Renault replied huffily, "If we knew how to mass produce a car like that, we would have done it long ago."
-Le Monde

Urban Mall Won't Fall

Residents of Kalamazoo, Michigan recently voted down an initiative to replace a downtown pedestrian mall with a traffic-filled street. The 37-year-old mall is reportedly the first site in the nation where a street had been closed off to cars in favor of pedestrian traffic. Despite the media's gloomy forecasts for urban pedestrian malls, Kalamazoo wants to keep this mall in place.
-New York Times

Australian for "Get a Bike"

300 cyclists from Australia-based CRITICAL MASS took over Five lanes of traffic as they went over Harbour Bridge. Police were on hand but did not make much trouble, as they were too busy trying to get out of a traffic jam! When they finally caught up, the police requested a route map for the next ride. Coming next: "Bike in Suits," an event which will send hundreds of bikers into downtown Sydney during the morning peak hour.  The whole world is watching.
-via the Internet

Bumper Crop

AutoWeek magazine recently ran this item: "10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or more. Your bloody front bumper is running up the score...You can record exactly how much roadkill you've caused with little magnetic dead animals that you stick on your car door. Handy Dan's Roadkill Magnets come in dogs, cats, possums, raccoons, turtles, and MULES, all with their eyes X'd out. Very cute."

Cars Ueber Alles No More

Cars have been banned from the inner courtyard of the baroque parliament building in Mainz, Germany, according to Die ZEIT. 'The most beautiful places in the Republic are ruthlessly metaled-over, noised-over and stunk-over," the author writes. "Therefore, banish the autos, out of the old inner courts, away from the historic squares! And a salute to Mainz - for someone must start!"

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