Sensing a common theme: “can’t we get along?”

Rodney King’s quote might continue to live on. I am sensing a common new theme this spring centered around education and other efforts to encourage bicycles and cars to “get along.” This theme certainly comports with my developing theory of the importance of autos and cars being able to better “co-mingle” in downtown (and other environments). See: (1) the New York bike sharing folks are holding classes to help educate cyclists about riding with cars around and (2) the creative Bikes Belong video of the month, encouraging the modes to “roll together.”

 

Active Communities / Transport (ACT) Research Group Scholarly Workshop

The Active Communities / Transport (ACT) Research Group (co-directed by Kevin J. Krizek) will be hosting its first “Scholarly Workshop;” April 18-19 on the Boulder/Denver campuses. Daniel Rodriguez, PhD, of UNC-Chapel Hill will be the first distinguished scholar. The workshop is intended to provide insights and feedback on research currently being pursued or proposed by student and faculty members. All members of the CU community are welcome to attend with complimentary registration.

Please consult the schedule and book of abstracts.

Current ACT students will present their well-developed research proposals to ACT faculty and student members, as well as to Dr. Rodriguez, and receive feedback from the group. The central purpose of the event is to learn from close interactions with a proven scholar, and to elevate the quality and depth of the group’s work through constructive and critical feedback. In addition, there will be opportunity to reflect on perspectives and experiences about transportation-land use research and scholarship. Please email with questions or further interest. If you would like to attend or for further information, please contact Professor Krizek.

Pedestrians and cyclists can get hurt even on NYC sidewalks, but the heavier ones less so

The NY Times reports on an article re: pedestrian and cyclist safety from the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.

-Gathering data from 1,400 people who have been injured is impressive.

-That pedestrians are most vulnerable in crosswalks is not surprising; it is where the pedestrians are–the whole “exposure” aspect.

-But now, we finally have a partial silver lining to the obesity epidemic in the US: excessive weight may prove a boon for pedestrians in a collision. Victims with an above-normal body mass index were found to have less severe injuries than their counterparts. “It is not implausible that a greater proportion of torso and extremity fat may protect against injury”

Infographics and gamification

The following infographic from Active Living Research recently came across my email. It is nicely presented; it is a fair representation of some of the research.  But……

…while it might satisfy some central purposes of an infographic, we have argued elsewhere, it is best to to consider the balance of the research and not rely on what one study here or there has to offer about a particular factoid.

Illustration of points for completing sustainable activitiesThe larger issue is that based on an article in the recent issue of ensia, knowledge and information have little to do with behavior change. Moral suasion does not work either (my favorite quote from the article: “If educating people about an issue would solve the problem, we would have no obesity and no smokers in our country”).

Two reactions: First, competition (what they call “gamification”) and peer pressure are paramount. We are getting there with the both–in terms of cycling, at least–but these elements take time to engender in society. Second, talk is cheap. Most everyone says they want to save water and the planet; action is less so.

 

Cyclists defensive about the pollution they emit

Cyclists recently came out in hoards to repel the comments from the Washington State politician who claimed, “Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.” Both the Seattle times and Velonews picked it up. And, the politician has since apologized.

It reminds me of the GM ad telling college students to stop pedaling and to start driving–an ad that was met with so much opposition that it was pulled by GM back in the fall of 2011.

** And just fyi, here are two “journalistic reporting stats” that appeared in the Seattle Times report: (1) On average, cars emit about three-quarters of a pound of carbon dioxide per mile, while bicycling releases just over 1 ounce per mile, including manufacturing, according to analysis by the European Cyclists Federation. and (2) food calories burned by a rider may well be equivalent to 650 miles per gallon, figures Todd Litman, of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

Three-hundred and twenty-nine days in NYC

329 days is how much longer the Bloomberg administration will be in office in NYC, including Janette Sadik-Khan. So, this how long they have to finish all of their aggressive cycling projects for which they have received much acclaim and this is how long we have to wait to hear the degree to which the new incumbent might roll back some of the advancements.

Leopold leadership program fellows announced for 2013

The Leopold Leadership Program Based at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, the Leopold Leadership Program provides academic environmental researchers with skills and approaches for communicating and working with partners in NGOs, business, government and communities to integrate science into decision‐making.

The Leopold program just released the list of 20 individuals receiving fellowships in 2013 and I am fortunate to be a part of this crew and the first planner to boot. Read more here and from CU.

Minneapolis bike crash report

Bicyclist-Motorist Crash RateMinneapolis recently released a new report examining bicycle crashes. It is based off of 10+ years of DPS crash data which is pretty limited to begin with. I am pretty sure there is not much new in this report that we did not uncover back in 2006 or 2007 with our analysis of the same data; but, that was not commissioned in-house by Public Works and it was not done by Public Works. So, it is more important for them to be able to listen to themselves.

The Atlantic Cities article covers some popular press elements of the descriptive stats. They claim to see, again, an attribution of or mention of safety in numbers, directionality, and causality. But, as has been pointed out by others, there little to suggest we have anything here other than more people riding and crash rates staying level.

What really is needed is to figure out how to use the count data to uncover more reliable and geographic measures of exposure.