Changing Attitudes Toward Driving: It’s About the Law

Today’s featured post on the Streetsblog Network comes from WalkBikeCT.
Looking at the European model for encouraging cycling and walking, it
argues that infrastructure can’t do the job alone — to change
attitudes toward driving will require changing the law:

47955256_171c9a2792.jpgIn Copenhagen, protected by bike lanes and the law. Photo by dc_forever via Flickr.

bottom line is that if we are serious about giving people choices in
transportation, if we want to get more people walking and biking, then
we need for government to do more than just build sidewalks and stripe
bike lanes, as helpful as that may be in some cases.

What we
need is for government at all levels to fulfill one of its most basic
responsibilities — to protect its citizens. Our laws need to be
re-written so that driving is a serious privilege that comes with an
accompanying degree of responsibility. Accidentally killing someone
with a car should be treated the same way as any other accidental
killing would be. Northern Europe seems to understand this, it’s about
time we do too.

Meanwhile, the effort to comprehend and
influence the stimulus package continues, as the legislative action
moves to the Senate this week.

takes a look at the numbers from the House bill, breaking down the
proportion of highway spending to transit spending in all 50 states. CTA Tattler
revisits the powerful testimony of the Chicago Transit Authority
chairwoman, Carole Brown, before the U.S. House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee late last month. In Florida, Jacksonville Transit laments the lack of vision there for using the stimulus funds for transit. And the Missouri Bicycle Federation
is calling on its members to contact Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill
to lobby for more pedestrian- and bike-friendly projects in the



Arizonans Driving Like It’s 1994

Here’s more evidence that there’s a shift underway in how Americans get around: The Arizona Public Interest Research Group has released a new report [PDF] showing that residents of this sprawling Sun Belt state are driving less and taking transit more. Between 2005 and 2012, the average number of miles driven by each Arizona resident […]

How Windshield Perspective Shapes the Way We See the World

Via Shane Phillips at Planetizen: A new study published in the Transportation Research Record confirms that windshield perspective is all-too real. Observing the world from behind the wheel, it turns out, has a powerful influence on our judgments about places and even people. Researchers found that people driving a car tend to view unfamiliar, less-affluent neighborhoods more […]
Young girls are as enthusiastic about biking as boys, but many lose interest in biking as they get older. Photo: Cameron Adams/Flickr

Why Do Teenage Girls Lose Interest in Biking?

Jennifer Dill at Portland State University is taking a close look at why girls' attitudes about biking change over time. In a study of 300 Portland-area families, she observed that a gender gap in attitudes toward cycling isn't apparent in younger kids, but when girls reach adolescence, they don't view cycling as positively as boys do.