|Ride Salem in July 2019|
at the downtown Transit Mall, NE corner
The Cherriots' Board meets tomorrow, and there might be a couple of items to note. (Full agenda and packet here.)
|Statewide public bike rental management|
In the TripChoice report there is news on movement with the public bike system, which went on hiatus a year ago after Zagster ceased operation.
Apparently a statewide firm, Cascadia Mobility, is planning to take over the Salem system as well as those in Eugene, Bend, Corvallis, and Ashland. (This would leave Portland's system independent, it appears.)
In a discussion that seems to be related, a Bend area proposal sought to leverage this coverage.
because Bend BikeShare will be interoperable with similar systems in Eugene, Corvallis, Salem and Ashland, it may even boost the usefulness and viability of ODOT’s inter-city transit system. For example, more people may be willing to ride the Eugene - Bend transit route or the Salem-Bend transit route if they know that they can access an interoperable bikeshare system at both ends of their trip.
By itself that is not a huge development, but it is interesting and
something that could help lead to stronger growth for the programs in
There does not seem to be a lot of published, public information out there on this, and it will be something to watch this spring and summer.
We don't follow Cherriots closely, just keep them in our peripheral vision as it were, and back in October of last year the Board adopted a set of priorities for this year that deserves more notice.
|Priorities, adopted Oct 2020|
The priorities highlight walking and biking, environmental justice, maintenance over expansion, and even mention the pernicious effects of costly mandated parking minimums.
The breadth and inclusiveness of this approach to transportation seems new and is nice to see.
Bike Bill Stalled
One of the legislative priorities for Cherriots was to support expansion of the Bike Bill. (The City of Salem should also support!)
Earlier this month BikePortland had a conversation with Senator Prozanski from the Eugene area. He's sponsoring the proposal to expand the Bike Bill, SB 395, and it's stalled in the Joint Transportation Committee.
|Rep. Paul Evans' District|
If you live in South Salem or West Salem in Representative Evans' district, he's the lone Salem-area legislator on the committee.
Tell Rep. Evans you'd like to see more money devoted to low-carbon transportation and biking!
Crash or Accident?
Normally traffic crashes elsewhere are not of interest here specifically. They are a constant drum beat of catastrophe and woe, and it is not possible to look at 30,000 or 40,000 deaths annually, not to mention the larger numbers of those suffering serious injury.
We track fatal local crashes with vulnerable people on foot, on bike, in wheelchair, and sometimes other non-auto users. That is bad enough.
But yesterday the intersection of celebrity and traffic safety in a national story might give us some texts for considering the pervasiveness and depths of our autoism, especially the way we erase or minimize the responsibilities of drivers for the safe operation of a motor vehicle and its lethal capacities.
The news today was on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Washington Post. Not surprisingly, the LA paper gave it more prominent place, and it was below-the-fold on the east coast. Two of the papers called it an "accident." Only the Post called it a "crash." They focus on the zoomed-in spectacle of the ruined car in its final position.
|Only one national paper says|
"crash" rather than "accident"
Here in Salem the story is on the front page of the sports section, and it focuses on the personal injury sustained, the bodily harm potentially impacting future athletic achievement and earnings, and not on the violence of the crash itself.
|The SJ places it in the sports section|
and focuses on injury rather than crash
Even the helicopter TV shots, don't capture the full intensity of the traffic violence. Here's a composite from a single video clip that shows the length of travel after the driver lost control.
|By zooming in on the car,|
we miss the implied speed and length of crash
It is nearly certain that speeding and some degree of inattention or
carelessness is involved. The papers don't want to get out in front of
the facts and to engage in speculation, but at the same time our current
standards go too far in the opposite direction, absolving drivers
To absorb the full violence and destruction into the benign "oopsie" of "accident" is all wrong. That category erases any choice to drive imprudently at excessive speed. It also misses ways roads might be overengineered and overwide to invite speeding.
When we lament the "hit by car" trope and passive voice in crash reporting here, it is because we do so much to see driving and drivers as basically innocent activities, insulated from the actual carnage they cause.
Probably more will come out about this crash, and later reporting may give a better sense of the contributing factors and responsibility. But in the initial frame, there is too much acceptance of "accident."
For more on the rhetoric of crash and accident see:
- "It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak of Car ‘Crashes’ Instead" at the New York Times
- "Is a Crash Ever an Accident?" at Car and Driver