Wordplay: Language a New Focus of Bicycle Advocacy

A few months ago I posted a short piece reflecting on my disassociation with cyclist and instead identifying myself as an urbanite. I was inspired to think intentionally about the cyclist label after a discussion with my classmates in Cascade Bicycle Club’s Advocacy Leadership Institute. Tom Fucoloro, author of the Seattle Bike Blog, sparked our minds by challenging the sensibility of using labels such as driver, cyclist, and pedestrian. Makes sense to me – after all, I am all of these things at various times and it seems foolish to define myself by how I get around.

Now, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is in the spotlight for a blog article it wrote about using better language to break down perceived barriers between people using different modes of transportation. Clearly SNG is finding success; the idea of breaking barriers through more appropriate language not only appeared in my class but also in my neighborhood group. I find my daily language changing and noticed fewer people around me identifying themselves as cyclists. After all, we are all just people, right?

Check out SNG’s quick-guide to positive language:

Language guidelines from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Language guidelines from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

More on this:

Let’s Talk About Safe Streets | Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: http://seattlegreenways.org/blog/2015/01/06/lets-talk-safe-streets/

HOW SMART LANGUAGE HELPED END SEATTLE’S PARALYZING BIKELASH | People For Bikes (with comments by Tom Fucoloro of the Seattle Bike Blog): http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/how-smart-language-helped-end-seattles-paralyzing-bikelash

Seattle Bike Blog: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/02/09/im-not-a-cyclist-supporting-safer-streets-is-obvious-once-you-ditch-vehicle-language/

Language, Vehicle Size, and Bicycle Advocacy | IsolateCyclist: http://www.isolatecyclist.com/2013/12/09/language-vehicle-size-and-bicycle-advocacy/

Accidents Vs. Collisions | Living Streets Alliance: http://www.livingstreetsalliance.org/2013/03/accidents-vs-crashes/

More Traffic Violence: Hit & Run on Rainier Ave

Another instance of drivers running down pedestrians and fleeing the scene in the rainier Valley? This is becoming ridiculous. Can a strong road rechannelization prevent bad driving? Probably not. But smart engineering can slow speeds, increase pedestrian safety, and make it less likely these collisions will continue at such high rate. This is just one more tragic example of why Seattle DOT needs to take Rainier Ave safety seriously – and do a complete overhaul prioritizing Safety over Speeding.

Woman struck while crossing Rainier: ‘I have never been so scared and alone’ | Seattle Bike Blog

 

No charges for person who killed man walking his dog in a Kirkland crosswalk | Seattle Bike Blog

Last week I shared an article about traffic fatalities and the history of traffic rules. It waa clear that rules were cjanged from pedestrian-focused to autocentric. Unfortunately, this has often fatal consequences. Last fall a man was hit in Kirkland. The driver, protected by decades of favorable law, is getting no punishment. Meanwhile, the man walking his dog is dead.

So in this prosecutor’s eyes, breaking the law requiring people to yield to crosswalk users is not itself proof of negligence. This implies that reasonably careful people are allowed to break this vital traffic safety law, which protects the exact “vulnerable users” the Negligent Driving charge is intended to address. This is a disturbing reading of the law, but one we have sadly seen before.

Another case of a innocent pedestrian killed and no action being taken against the driver. Read more on the Seattle Bike Blog.

Pronto: 2014 Data Release

I sit atop a Pronto Bike  at UW's arena with Dubs, their mascot, enjoying the attention.

I sit atop a Pronto Bike at UW’s arena while Dubs, UW’s live mascot, enjoys the attention.

Well, Pronto has been around since October 13th – Tuesday was the three month mark. So how are things going? Pronto recently released some trip and membership data for 2014. The highlights from their Tumblr:

  • 5,485 System Users: We had 1,984 annual members sign on along with 3,501 casual users of the system (those who purchased a 24 hour or 3 day pass).
  • 21,026 Total Trips Taken: Averaged out, we’ve had 262 trips per day.
  • 34,931 lbs. of CO2 Reduced: 1,778 gallons of gasoline would emit that same amount of carbon dioxide.
  • 43,010 Total Miles Clocked: We totally made it around the world in 80 days. In fact, we circled the globe 1.72 times. In 80 days. Bam!
  • 1,677,390 Calories Burned: 11,981 cans of cola have the same amount of calories.

Also, check out Seattle Bike Blog’s commentary and keep an eye out for upcoming events and challenges for Pronto Members. The prize for January’s rider challenger is a $100 gift certificate!

Thanksgiving Reflection: Thankful for Bikes

The irony of using my car to power a pump to inflate my bike's tire is not lost on me. Unfortunately, the drivetrain was not rideable.

The irony of using car power to inflate my bike’s tire is not lost on me. Unfortunately, the drivetrain was not rideable.

I am thankful for bikes. Corny, right? I spent the last two weeks visiting family and friends in a less than bike-friendly part of Pennsylvania. I will not lie – I loved the convenience of having a car. I did not worry about the snow. I did not worry about the cold. I did not worry about planning a safe, flat route. I just hopped in and drove off. What convenience! And I never arrived sweaty, frozen, or soaked. Now that is luxury. But I missed my bike, and so did my body. Continue reading

Car Fail: Lunatic Driver on Beacon Ave

It is times like these I wish I rode with a helmet cam. Maybe when I return after Thanksgiving I will start…

Time: ~2:15pm on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Location: Beacon Ave @ Light Rail Station

What: Lunatic Driver

The

This guy could not wait a minute for the bus to load as the other 3-4 drivers in front of him were doing. Instead he accelerated rapidly, drove into the opposing lane, passed within a foot of me after I swerved to the side, and continued on his way as if nothing happened. Next time I hope I have a camera rolling. If you do something like this and I am filming I WILL follow you. I WILL get as much information as possible. I WILL send it to the police. I WILL post it online. This is not about bikes VS. cars. This is about my life.

Rainier Ave Safety Project – Final Meeting Tomorrow, 11/18

You’ve seen the news: Rainier Ave and MLK Way are dangerous. The entire Rainier Valley is dealing with tragedy and loss in the wake of major “accidents.” Vehicles have gone through shops. 10 people were hospitalized after one collision. A 7-year old girl was sent to the hospital after a September hit-and-run and is still recovering.

People in the Rainier Valley have demanded change for years; plans to apply a road diet to Rainier date back to the 70s. SDOT traffic engineer Dongho Chang is confident it can be implemented successfully, and SDOT is finally moving forward, promising implementation by Spring 2015. Last week they engaged the community to discuss a greenway from Mt. Baker to Rainier Beach. This week SDOT Director Scott Kubly promised a hundred passionate community members that “We’re going to do a safety project. We need to make Rainier Ave safer.”

SDOT’s last feedback session will be 11/18 at the Ethiopian Cultural Center (8323 Rainier Ave S) from 4:30 to 6:30PM. Come tell SDOT we want safer streets. Tell them we want a road diet. No, tell them we need it. Together we must demand change. The lives of our friends, family, and children are at stake. Every day lost in another roll of the dice. Who will be the next victim?

More Coverage from KUOW.

EDIT (2014.11.21): My volunteer group’s letter to the editer, above, was just published in the South Seattle Emerald.