Safety First!

Transportation for America has released a new report “Dangerous by Design” (PDF, 1.6M) scoring safety for people walking and riding bicycles state by state and metro area by metro area.

Oregon’s rankings are here. Portland ranked as the 7th least dangerious metro, but there are still far too many injuries and deaths and we have to do better.

Accompanying the report, T4America also has an action alert so you can tell your congressional representatives to focus on this issue.

5 Comments

5 Responses to Safety First!

  1. John Reinhold
    May 25, 2011 at 8:48 am Link

    I posted that study to my facebook yesterday and I immediately got a > 1000 word (no exaggeration) tirade from an old friend (who now lives in Fayetteville) about how roads are meant for cars and we can’t protect stupid people who play in streets.

    I am moving from Portland, which scores well – to Memphis which scores really really bad. Perhaps I will be able to be an effective agent for change there in TN.

    (note: I think Portland was 8th least dangerous if I am counting properly)

  2. Chris I
    May 25, 2011 at 9:07 am Link

    Roads were and are still built to do one thing: move people. 2-ton machines moving 200-400lbs of people around is currently the preferred condition, but that doesn’t mean that it always has to be. I’m curious to see how he managed to expand “cars good, people bad” into 1000 words…

  3. al m
    May 25, 2011 at 9:41 am Link

    I am so tired of these “rankings” that I am about ready to throw something!

    “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
    (Oscar Wilde)

  4. John Reinhold
    May 25, 2011 at 10:08 am Link

    When I posted the study I also commented comparing the 47,000 pedestrian deaths to the total deaths caused by terrorism. I pointed out how we have spent trillions and had PATRIOT acts and other types of massive efforts to prevent terrorism while many times the number of people killed by terrorists are killed every year by automobiles – and most of those auto related fatalities are preventable with a little money and some critical thought. My point was that we spend so much money and we change our entire form of government and laws in response to terrorism – while simply making more “complete streets” could save more lives in perpetuity… (Not that need to decide – we should probably make safer roads AND keep an eye on terrorism, right?)

    His tirade went off about how stupid people play in streets and we are dumb if we trust crosswalks to save stupid people and he ranted with anecdotal situation after situation… Then he went into how terrorism is different because those people have evil intent, and he spoke about driving conditions in Iraq and Afhganistan. From there he branched off to insurance requirements and vehicle inspections not making anyone safer. He had points where he stated that if you live in North Carolina for a while you want to run over people in the road. It was quite a disjointed rant, and he had to keep “re-commenting” as the facebook comment length limits hit…

    Now, aside from the oddity and his outspoken nature – it is a completely valuable thing to see because it shows us how many people think. Many many Americans think the same way as him – only wouldn’t say it out loud or take the time to debate it.

    So as activists and policy makers we need to be aware of what we need to do to win people over – rather than belittle them. Real statistics show that as we make roads safer for one demographic (say Pedestrians, or Bicycles) it gets safer for ALL demographics. That is a good thing. So knowing how people think is a key to knowing how to get them on our side.

    The reality is – sure people do a lot of stupid things. People in cars AND on foot do those stupid things. We should do what we can easily and inexpensively to reduce the impact of those stupid things. Just because someone walks into an intersection typing on their phone doesn’t mean they deserve to die or be hurt. If speeds are slower, sight-lines better, crossings shorter, and timings better – we can help prevent the casualties even when people are inattentive.

    I am looking forward to working on these issues in Memphis, although it will be much harder than it has been in Portland.

  5. Bob R.
    May 25, 2011 at 10:55 am Link

    I am so tired of these “rankings” that I am about ready to throw something!

    How would you rank your tiredness and throwing capability compared to other weary commenters? :-)

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