Between 2008 and 2017, US drivers killed 49,340 pedestrians – 13 people per day, about one person every 1 hour and 46 minutes. While the amount of walking and driving hasn’t significantly increased over that time period, and while driving has actually gotten safer, the pedestrian body count has increased by 35 percent.
Massachusetts isn’t much better. Two-hundred thirty-four pedestrians and bicyclists have been killed on Massachusetts’ roads over the three past years. Because of poor record-keeping we have no idea how many more have been injured. Bicyclists suffer repeated close calls – doorings, right hooks and left turns across the cyclists’ paths, and harassment by horn-blasts at close range. And yet, most of the time, no charges were brought against the responsible driver – including the nine bicycle cases in which the death came at the wheels of a truck driven by a professional driver with a Commercial License who, one would have thought, would be held to a higher standard.Read more
Winter is coming. Even in the midst of escalating ocean warming and climate volatility, that means tough weather conditions for New Englanders. Night falls long before we head home from work. The snow gets pushed to the side of the road, narrowing lanes, with the daily melt-freeze cycle turning the remaining slush into an invisible black-ice slickness. Depressingly frequent MBTA breakdowns push people into rise share cars and on to our already over-crowded roads. Wet shoes numb our toes; cold wind hurts our ears. Driving is hard; walking and bicycling even harder. Even year-round cyclists take days off – I simply won’t bike when the temperature goes below 20.
Now, before the climate-changed storms arrive, is the time to prepare. We need to prepare ourselves and our bikes. But we also need to demand that the public agencies in charge of our sidewalks, roads, and paths prepare as well – upgrading both infrastructure and operations to ensure safety and mobility through the winter.
Here are some of my thoughts on winter comfort and safety. I’m sure I’ve missed some good ideas – what would you add?Read more