Monday, January 07, 2019

Clueless, distracted pedestrians

In today's NY Times:

To the Editor:

Pedestrians are a danger to themselves. Jaywalkers appear out of nowhere when they dart into the street between cars and trucks. Many will cross against the light if they see no immediate approaching vehicle — or if they just happen to be in a hurry.

Intersections with left-turn signals render many pedestrians clueless that vehicles have the right of way (hint: that’s why the “walk” icon is not lit up). 

The worst offenders are those who cross streets looking at their phones, including mothers pushing strollers. Just as we’re taught to drive defensively, it is equally important to walk defensively.

And let’s not forget the bicycle couriers who move in a state of anarchy unto themselves.

Thomas P. Roberts
New Jersey

Rob's comment:
Pedestrians and motorcyclists are most likely to die in traffic accidents in San Francisco (See pages 26-30 in the last Collisions Report) than motorists or cyclists:

The annual number of collisions resulting in fatalities has also remained relatively stable in the past four years at around 30 (Figure 2). In 2015 20 people were killed while walking, 4 while cycling, 6 while riding a motorcycle, and one while driving a motor vehicle. Motorcycle riders constitute a high percentage of deaths (19 percent in 2015). Like with overall injury collisions, the long-term trends are positive but the short-term trends in the past decade are discouraging as the annual totals appear to have stagnated. It is San Francisco’s goal under Vision Zero to eliminate all fatal collisions by the year 2024 (page 5). 

For historical perspective on traffic fatalities in San Francisco, see New York City’s Pedestrian Safety Study and San Francisco Data of 2010. As recently as 2006, there were 55 traffic fatalities in the city (page 7). 

But the city's Vision Zero chart below shows only 30 traffic deaths that year, which suggests the city's count has to be approached with skepticism: Traffic fatalities/injuries in SF and Vision Zero.

Last year City Hall crowed that Vision Zero was responsible for the low number (20) of traffic fatalities in 2017, but that number was back up over 20 in 2018.

SF Vision Zero

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George Russell

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Are Americans ditching their cars?

The answer to that question in City Lab is "no":

...Research that I summarized in my report “The New Automobility” last summer showed that ride-hailing growth has led to more traffic and less transit use in major American cities—not the reverse that we all hoped for.

Uber, Lyft, and advocates for new shared mobility services have pushed back against this analysis. Declaring that we are still at the “earliest stages” of a major shift in travel habits, they look to the day that people ditch their car in favor of a combination of these services and old-fashioned public transportation. Their vision is that diminished car ownership and fewer miles in privately owned vehicles will more than offset added mileage from ride-hailing vehicles...

Increased car ownership in America’s most walkable and transit-oriented cities is a deeply worrisome reversal from what came before. From mid-2000 to 2012, transit ridership increased while car ownership grew slowly, if at all. But now car ownership is expanding faster than population. Add in ride-hailing services, and the glut of motor vehicles makes it more difficult to give buses, bikes, and now e-scooters the road space they need to be speedy, safe, and comfortable...

...In San Francisco, a study released in June[2018] found that on a typical weekday ride-hailing drivers make more than 170,000 vehicle trips, about 12 times the number of taxi trips, and that the trips are concentrated in the densest and most congested parts of the city.

   And a survey released in October of more than 4,000 adults in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. also concluded that 49 to 61 percent of ride-hailing trips would have not been made at all — or instead by walking, biking or public transit — if the option didn’t exist...

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Betsy DeVos breaks bone in bike accident

Image result for picture betsy devos on bike
Daily Caller

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