2019 World Day of Remembrance for Victims of Traffic Violence

This somber event first was commemorated in the United Kingdom in 1995, later expanding to other countries. Here in Austin, Texas, USA, those who died in the past year in cars, on bikes, or on foot, are remembered with speeches, flowers, a silent walk and exhortations to stop the epidemic of car-nage. Despite a very sore knee, I made my way downtown to join the 50 or so participants, pay my respects to the 70+ people who died since last November, and hope that I’m not on the list next year. While “only” three bicyclists died, that’s still three too many. Read their stories here: Anothony Diaz, Jessica Saathoff and Anthony Williams.

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The Next Door App Bike Haters Are at It Again

Every so often someone — always a car driver — gets on the neighborhood app called Next Door to bitch about bicyclists or biking infrastructure the City of Austin has installed. The latest is about some plastic bollards that make a semi-protected bike lane, narrower car lanes and additional concrete that is meant to be traffic-calming. It’s in what was designed to be a high-density, pedestrian and bike-friendly neighborhood. Named Mueller, after the former airport upon which it sits, it’s generally a safe area to bike. Except when you read what the aggressively bike-hating people are posting in Next Door. I wrote a previous post on this in January 2018. Now the haters are back, so of course I have a few choice words. (Of love – tough love.)

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2018 World Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Traffic Violence: Texas Vision Zero Vigil

This gathering happened Sunday to commemorate an international day organized by the United Nations.  It was a somber reminder that cars can and do kill.  Not just people in other cars, but also people using bicycles and who are walking.  Sponsored by Vision Zero Texas and a number of local organizations promoting traffic safety, the goal is to eliminate deaths from traffic.  How to do that is the million dollar question.  But the gathering gave a forum and a face to supporters of safer roads, and recieved some media attention as well.  As a cyclist whose life is at risk on a daily basis, I have an enlightened self-interest in seeing this law pass.  Here’s a short review of the second half of the event I attended at the Texas State Capitol.

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Bicyclists & Jews: Both Are Targets (But They Should Not Be)

I AM A JEW.  I’m out of practice, in that I haven’t been to shabbat services in many suns.  It is more accurate to say that I’m Jew-ish. I was also simultaneously brought up in another faith tradition, Unitarian Universalism.  As far as ethnicity and identity go, Judaism, being the parent of Christianity, is much more well known than UU’s.  Jews are 1.5% of the US population; UU’s are far fewer.  I’m also an atheist, or if you can’t handle that, an agnostic (which I wrote about here).  But I’m also a bicyclist.  And we are legion, but still a minority compared to car drivers.

After the heinous hate crime that murdered 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 27, I  realized two things.  First, writing a blog about biking seemed, well, frivolous.  It many ways, it is.  But also, I noticed that there are parallels between Jews and bicyclists.  Both groups are minorities.  Both are hated irrationally.  Both are targetted victims of violence.  Vehicular violence isn’t as “sexy” (newsworthy) as gun violence, but it’s still violence that ruins and destroys lives.  This post explores the intersections (pun intended) of this topic. Continue reading

Vision Zero ATX Wants to Stop Traffic Violence — But How?

Vision Zero ATX (www.VisionZeroATX.org) is based on an idea that came from Sweden:

Vision zero is the simple idea that every death and serious injury in traffic is preventable. People will make mistakes, but those mistakes should not lead to anyone losing their life or being severely hurt.

Simple, but not easy.  So far this year (as of August 1st), 40 people have died on roads in Austin, Texas — the US’s 11th biggest city.  Most are vehicles versus other vehicles.  More than a few involve pedestrians.  Just a few involve bicyclists.  Compared to many cities, that’s not alot, but according to Vision Zero ATX, we can do better.

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The Next Door App: Lost Pets, Stuff for Sale and Hatred of People on Bikes

People on Bikes and Lanes for Them Are Here to Stay

Today I was going to post about a Safe City Cycling Class, but due to cedar fever, my body was devoid of most energy.  So I posted up in my bed to take an extended siesta.  I’m still feeling as if I were run over by a truck, so bear with me.  I hope to attend the next class on Saturday and report on that then.  Looking around for a topic, I realized the Next Door War on Cyclists going on today would be a “fun” one.  Not being sure about permissions and copyrights, I will just quote from there instead of put whole posts.  When someone brings out the word “douche” and they’re not French or talking about a shower or feminine hygiene, let’s just say it gets pretty heated.

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