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.
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 (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.