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our 95 Theses, our 14 Points, our Seven Steps?

This topic contains 21 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  StuInMcCandless 1 yr, 4 mos.

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Vannevar

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Jul 22 2013 at 2:01pm #

After the Trayvon Martin trial and the acquittal of George Zimmerman, Pittsburgh activists conducted a protest and published a list of demands. (presented here ). Opinions will vary, but I think they’ve done a good job of developing their list, communicating their concerns, focusing attention on their desired changes and keeping attention on them.

Here’s what I’d like to ask: What would our Pittsburgh-bicycling list be? What would be our demands? I’d like to suggest they could be addressed to local governments, police, DAs, PAT, and also non-gov entities – media, employers, etc.

What would be our 95 Theses, our 14 Points, our Seven Steps?

Put another way: if we were going to have a semi-weekly ride that had a rest stop at an elected official’s house, what would you print on the back side of the route sheet? Just kidding.


Pierce

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Jul 22 2013 at 2:19pm #

Demanding a uptopia does not make it so

If we make a list of demands, I recommend we make them concise, achievable, and with goals that can be measured


Vannevar

Private Message

Jul 22 2013 at 2:44pm #

Of course, they should be specific, objective, achievable, and with a specified time frame. The question is, what do we want? If we had the world’s attention for 15 minutes, are we prepared to answer the question: what do you want?


Mick

Private Message

Jul 22 2013 at 3:07pm #

-Some enforcement of speed limits within the city of Pittsburgh.

-A civilian Police Review Board that has the ability to dismiss bad officers.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/officer-cleared-in-off-duty-assault-on-south-side-345500/


jonawebb

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Jul 22 2013 at 3:13pm #

OK, I’ll give it a try.
1) Some sort of verifiable response system that would allow us to track complaints made against PAT bus drivers and the response to them, including strict enforcement of the four-foot law, and availability of any video recording when an incident is reported.
2) Enforcement of speed limit, DUI, and unlicensed driving laws.
3) Placement of red light cameras according to where they will do the most good in making dangerous intersections safer, not according to where they will generate the most revenue, and availability of video from the cameras when an incident is reported at the intersection.
4) Similarly to (1), a tracking system that will allow us to verify that reports of drivers driving unsafely or violating the four-foot law are taken seriously, investigated, and charged.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Jul 22 2013 at 3:14pm #

I agree with Mick… from a driver’s perspective, I can see where motorists like to take the posted speed limit with a grain of salt (say driving down a commercial/industrial corridor like US22). Within the city itself, and especially in residential areas, speed limits should be enforced with as much authority as possible. There simply isn’t any justifiable reason to be speeding down Penn Ave., let alone a smaller, purely residential, nearby street.


Marko82

Private Message

Jul 22 2013 at 3:34pm #

+1,

Mick wrote:-A civilian Police Review Board that has the ability to dismiss bad officers.

Plus – Less police hassling kids with a joint or two in their pockets (including big kids Mick) & more police enforcing “small” vehicle infractions like speeding and not stopping at red signs. The motor vehicle equivalent of Giuliani’s broken-window policing policy.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Jul 22 2013 at 3:54pm #

What is the current police review policy? Non-civilian, I take it?


Pierce

Private Message

Jul 22 2013 at 4:08pm #

The current policy is that they discipline themselves

We have the OMI, The Office of Municipal Investigations

http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/omi/

and the Citizen’s Police Review Board

http://cprbpgh.org/

and neither has any authority to actually do anything other than investigate, and that ability was curtailed in regards to the G20 and the CPRB


ajbooth

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Jul 22 2013 at 4:55pm #

I would push for a widespread educational effort aimed at letting drivers know the law. Many don’t know about the four foot requirement, or the fact that we can take the lane, or that we can filter on the right of stopped cars.

I had a letter to the editor that ran in the Almanac (South Hills) a few weeks ago, and was surprised to hear from many people who were not aware of the laws I cited in my letter.


Ahlir

Private Message

Jul 22 2013 at 5:44pm #

1. enforce speed limits
2. enforce the other traffic laws
3. define public metrics and track enforcement efforts
4. publicity that increases awareness of bike rights.


Vannevar

Private Message

Jul 22 2013 at 7:10pm #

This was my stab at it:

Law Enforcement
-treat every car-bike collision as a potential crime scene
-whenever a cyclist is hit, ten day enforcement of speed limits on that section of that road, w/public results
-whenever a cyclist is killed, thirty day enforcement of speed limits on that section of that road, w/public results
-support documentation of car-bike collisions in public health program below

Media
-refer to car-bike events as “collisions” not “accidents”
-use Cyclist hit by Driver, or Bike hit by Car; don’t mix categories. Not Person hit by Object, unless the vehicle was unoccupied.
-if you report the cyclists name, report the drivers name. If you don’t report the drivers name, don’t report the cyclist’s name.
-In PA, helmets are required for cyclists below age 12. For cyclists in a collision at age 12 or above, useof a helmet is not required. Reporting on whether an over-11 cyclist wears a helmet when a car runs them down is like reporting whether a woman rape victim was wearing a brassiere; it shows bias and shifts blame and responsibility to the victim. Don’t do it.

Public Education
– implement a “ride RIGHT” public awareness campaign, including media and signage, to inform riders how to ride safely on roads- with traffic, with reflectors, with bells, etc.
– implement a “Share the Road” public awareness campaign, including media and signage, to educate (driving) public on cyclist’s right to the lane, 4-foot rule, “pass-safe-or-wait”, etc.

Public Health
-Hospitals / ambulances support documentation of car/bike collisions
-Allegheny County Health Dept report/track/ transparent web reporting of all car-bike collisions, and hit-run events, as a public health concern.

Integrity
Renounce Pittsburgh’s Bronze Bike Friendly Designation until Car-Bike Fatalities fall below five per calendar year.


salty

Private Message

Jul 22 2013 at 9:07pm #

- Strict liability for drivers, although that’s a state issue
– Citywide 20mph speed limit by default (i.e most 25 zones become 20. Possibly not feasible without state law change to allow setting limits without costly traffic studies)
– Zero-tolerance enforcement of speed limits, with real consequences like loss of license (although this is also a state issue since a 10mph buffer is built into the law for most methods of measuring speed, and the penalties are state laws as well)
– Serious DUI prevention measures. Loss of license, impound the car, etc (same law issues as above).
– Road diets and eliminating parking to make room for separated bike lanes.


erok

Private Message

Jul 23 2013 at 12:22am #

Renounce Pittsburgh’s Bronze Bike Friendly Designation until Car-Bike Fatalities fall below five per calendar year.
Not really understanding this one. Since I’ve been paying attention, 2001 or so, we’ve never reached 5 fatalities in a year. One is far too many, but i dont think we’ve ever gone above 3 in a year . This is within the city limits, which is what the bronze designation is about.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Jul 23 2013 at 5:20am #

The only major new thing I would add to what is said above is yet another state-level thing: More stringent driver licensing requirements.
* Far more comprehensive written test, perhaps 150 questions, at first licensing;
* Require full re-licensing if 10 points or at-fault collision;
* Require taking smaller written test, perhaps 25 questions, at license renewal;
* Random (1 in 100) requirement to re-test drivers with clean licenses with the full, 150-question test;
* Place the entire pool of 1,000 test questions, with answers, in a link on the PennDOT home page so people can brush up on their knowledge skills;
* Place a smaller pool of 100 test questions, with answers, for recently enacted traffic legislation, in a separate link.

In five to 10 years, that would result in a much more educated driver population. If it has the additional effect of getting unqualified people off the road, then so be it, and we will be all the better for it.


jonawebb

Private Message

Jul 23 2013 at 8:55am #

One thing occurred to me on the way home last night: the new mayor will have other things to worry about than cyclist deaths. Do you have any idea how many people have been shot to death in Pittsburgh since the beginning of the year? I’m not saying our issues aren’t important, but we have to frame them so they don’t come across as simply a case of class privilege and requesting resources to address our issues, while people who are suffering far more than us are neglected.


byogman

Private Message

Jul 23 2013 at 9:48am #

I’m not saying our issues aren’t important, but we have to frame them so they don’t come across as simply a case of class privilege and requesting resources to address our issues, while people who are suffering far more than us are neglected.

In spite of the recent deaths it is of course true that our city has more broadly important problems than lack of safe passage for bicycles. And so it’s unrealistic to expect our most likely incoming mayor, in spite of his general bicycle friendliness to spend all, most, or even necessarily a large fraction of his time on this aspect of the urban policy making.

But being an advocate for a cause and being a policy maker are two very, very different things. We are advocates… at least bike pgh staff and most board junkies. We shouldn’t feel like we have to try and balance society’s problems in a global sense and advance a policy suite. Never mind the in-feasibility of trying to figure out what that would be (opinions can and do differ on this board about biking alone, how much more so when you branch out)?

As much as we may wish otherwise, trying to be broad and nuanced, and balance priorities in a global sense is the surest way to be ignored. Nobody is just going to say, oh, here’s a deeply reasonable person or organization I’ll outsource my decision making to.

Now, if you want to be an advocate for other causes you have particular interest in as well, that’s a fine, fine thing, you should do that. And there are a decidedly large number of ways bike/ped friendly streets branch out into other benefits for society and it’s more than valid to bring them up in the bicycle advocacy discussion. But the message coming through bike pittsburgh or coordinated through these boards should start with bicycles and build outward, that’s what this organization, this board, this community is for.


edmonds59

Private Message

Jul 23 2013 at 9:51am #

Outstanding point jonawebb.
However – there is ample evidence in urban planning circles that safe cycling issues ARE safe community issues. If we start making communities safe for cycling, walking, getting people out of cars, geting life on the streets, and getting them connected to each other, making sure lower income communities are as well served with infrastructure as others, these are significant factors in building communities where crime feels unwelcome. This is not a disconnected issue. That should absolutely be a part of the position.


jonawebb

Private Message

Jul 23 2013 at 10:00am #

@ed, I like that approach — tie safe biking to safe communities. I actually see a lot of folks on bikes coming in through Wilkinsburg these days. It’s a low cost way to get to work. If we could connect to the less well-off areas of Pittsburgh in our advocacy I would think that would make it much more powerful.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Jul 23 2013 at 10:24am #

Simply put, safe streets for biking mean safe streets for everything. It isn’t a chicken-and-egg argument.


mpm

Private Message

Jul 23 2013 at 6:49pm #

Can we get a wiki? Seems like we’ve reached a level of activism among members that cries out for collaborative editing.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Jul 24 2013 at 9:03am #

That makes sense. There is a wealth of info buried in old threads about biking, some of which gets asked repeatedly, like dressing for warm weather, suggestions on helmet camera mounts, and the like. The activism part is merely a subset of that need.

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