Let's Catalyze the Vision Zero Conversation for California and Beyond
While we're inspired by the rapid growth of biking and walking and taking public transit in our state and beyond, we're often dismayed by two aspects of both the media and the public commentary:
- The stance that traffic collision deaths and serious injuries are simply accidents with no human culpability - especially for those biking and walking - are just the cost of doing business in a modern fast moving society.
- The media often the very adversarial “car vs. bike” moniker.
Enter the bold vision of the Vision Zero initiative created out of Sweden, catching fire across Europe, and the newly launched Vision Zero Network for North America. Here is a way for California and the U.S. to reset the way we think about the cost of traffic. In a nutshell Vision Zero is about making the commitment to reduce all traffic fatalities and serious injuries to "0" within a focused amount of time.
Let's Use Vision Zero to Change the Way We Talk About What it Means to Be Mobile
Across the country over 30,000 people lose their lives on our roads. If that was an airline's safety record no one would fly it.
Los Angeles County has the heartbreaking title as the "hit and run" capitol of the country. More pedestrians were killed in the first six months of 2015 in Long Beach than all of 2014. In September of 2015 Pedal Love is honored to be collaborating with Bikeable Communities and Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal of Long Beach to welcome Leah Shahum the Executive Director of the Vision Zero Network to Long Beach on 9/18. If you'd like to attend one or all three of our free events please click here for details.
Leah will also be visiting Los Angeles on 9/24. Stay tuned for more details on that visit. We are excited to be collaborating with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition on the media outreach.
Why the need to change our language and approach? Even some of the most seasoned journalists and media outlets have jumped into creating controversy rather than comprehension in their coverage:
- On February 14, 2014 there were 714 listed news stories on Google with "Car vs. Bike" in the title. Those who drive cars and those who ride bikes are not at war. Why couldn't Valentine's Day because a #VisionZeroDay?
- Carl Alviani's excellent piece "Why Bikes Make Smart People Say Dumb Things" on Scott Simon of NPR's bike-negative Twitter outburst.
- The excellent "9 Things Drivers Need to Stop Saying in the Car vs. Bike Debate" by Adam Mann on Wired
- Long Beach's traffic collision statistics 2012 by the California Office of Traffic Safety
More Excellent Articles and Reports on Opportunities + Challenges of Biking, Walking and Taking Public Transit
Jump in U.S. economy leads to worse traffic congestion and our daily delay traffic delay is now 2x as bad as 1982 - U.S. Commuters spend 42 hours a year stuck in traffic jams - Reuters August 26, 2015
In 2013 Reuters reported LA worst on traffic and smog with people driving spending 56 hours a year stuck in traffic.
To recognize how stress long car commutes are on our health take a look at this article in Time Magazine from Feb 2014
To learn about the powerful effectiveness of simply changing our language in our community and media outreach read The Green Lane Project's "How Smart Language Helped Seattle's Paralyzing Bike Lash."
Scientific proof that the more people we have out and about walking and bicycling the safer it is for everyone. Reported on Injury Prevention "Safety in numbers: more walkers and bicyclists, safer walking and bicycling" by PL Jacobsen 2003.
- Cities are starting to put pedestrians and cyclists before motorists. That makes them nicer—and healthier—to live in - The Economist - Sept 5, 2015
Want to know more? We'd love to hear from you!
Contact Melissa Balmer at (562) 612-0197 or email Melissa@pedalove.org.