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Monday, October 8, 2012

Safety of biking hasn’t changed, only our realization on what it takes to improve safety [GRID Chicago]


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This photo exhibits many risks we take because of our current and unchanging designs, a potential dooring scene similar to that which led to the death of Neill Townsend on Friday. Photo by Mike Travis. 
I hate car-centric design. I equate it with theft. It takes away space for efficient and free modes of travel and reduces the quality of air and aural serenity, not to mention the danger to those within and without a car. Improving bike infrastructure is secondary in making a bike culture: the most important task is to highlight the irresponsibility, risk, damage, inefficiency, and death that Chicago’s car culture brings to the city.
Mary Schmich, a Chicago Tribune columnist, asks in the headline of her column today, “Is biking less safe, or does it just seem so?” Data is missing so we cannot answer this question empirically; there’s data for reported crashes, but no information on how many people are cycling and for how many miles.
Mary describes her experience biking this year (less than years before but she can’t pinpoint why) and then points out why biking is considered unsafe:
A bicyclist is a lone human being, exposed to the elements, undefended except maybe by a helmet, no match for the metal machines that dominate the road.
The freakishness of that mismatch — the big, hard machine vs. the small, soft body — is part of what draws our attention and turns cycling accidents into bigger news than car accidents.

[Keep reading at GRID Chicago] 

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