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


Does a Helmet Law Make Sense in California?

The proposed California-wide bicycle helmet law has stirred up a passionate debate on blogs and bike club lists as well as in the media. Unfortunately, many discussions have degraded quickly into name-calling and personal insults–like the oh-so-droll “hard-headed bicyclists” headline several media outlets thought was so clever. Many people also expressed off-the-point misunderstandings of objections […]

A reckless rider pleads guilty to assault with a deadly weapon. But does that say more about the city that charged him than the cyclists that ride there?

Yes, bike riders are subject to the same laws drivers are. Maybe Santa Monica police and prosecutors wanted to send that message loud and clear. Maybe they wanted to make an example of one reckless cyclist so other bicyclists would straighten up and ride right. But to do it, they slapped a reckless, red light […]

Eyes on the Street: Law Enforcement Takes the Lane

Usually when I’m writing about the questionable behavior of law enforcement, I’m looking at how racial profiling and the harassment of people of color — in either its more traditional or more blatant forms — can negatively impact those folks’ mobility. But sometimes the hampering of mobility comes in more basic forms. Yesterday, it came […]