September 20, 2017
Grand Rapids, Michigan recently unveiled a plan it claims will result in a long-term substantial reduction in car versus bike crashes. Their claim is that the plan has already led to an 81 percent decrease.
I don’t buy it.
First, urging cyclists to be more visible, as the plan calls for, has been tried for 100 years. It has been ineffective for that 100 years and is likely to be even more ineffective in this age of info overload. It is also a form of victim-blaming.
Educating motorists to drive safer or more attentively has also been tried for 100 years. Like urging cyclists to be more visible, more education for motorists has been nearly useless for that 100 years.
I think we need to try something else. Something effective. How about if we design streets to obligate motorists to pay attention and drive slower? There are many effective ways to do that. They are called traffic calming and road diets.
But those tactics are furiously opposed by motorists.
I guess we’ll just get back to the ineffective tactics we’ve tried for the past century.
And then wring our hands when bicyclists and pedestrians keep dying (and more and more people travel by car…).