Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Ride Salem Public Bikes, Bike Bill, Cherriots, Celebrity Athlete and Crash Framing - Bits

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 each city.

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 routinely.

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:


Anonymous said...

Road design is already being questioned:

...something also being looked at is the road itself.

"That stretch of road has had quite a few accidents over the years. In fact, from January of last year to Tiger Woods' incident, a total of 13 accidents, four of them with injuries. So, definitely, this stretch of road is challenging and if you're not paying attention, you can see what happens," said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva....

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn has directed a safety review of the stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard following Woods' crash. The area is steep enough that there's a runaway truck ramp.

The speed limit on the stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard between Silver Spur and Palos Verdes Drive North is 45 mph - but every resident Eyewitness News spoke with said it's easy to increase your speed without being aware, and all of them have gotten speeding tickets to prove it.

"You end up accelerating 65,75 in no time and the road is pretty treacherous in that it is steep and it curves. I have been involved in an accident," said Grace Crofton, who lives off Hawthorne Boulevard.

Anonymous said...

Cherriots has an online open house coming up for the Salem to Albany connection project -

Tuesday, March 2, 2021
12:30 –1:30 p.m.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

thanks for the links.

The Street Trust announced that the Bike Bill expansion finally has a hearing, March 4th. They are also calling it "Safe Streets for All."

Anonymous said...

ESPN reports:

"Woods' SUV was traveling from 84 to 87 mph on a downhill stretch of road outside Los Angeles that had a speed limit of 45 mph and was going 75 mph when his car hit a tree, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

No traffic citations were issued, and there were no signs of impairment or distracted driving."