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Rethinking the Automobile

StreetFilms just published a new film by Mark Gorton: Rethinking the Automobile. I’ve watched it several times over the past few days; it’s loaded with great commentary.

I especially like the quotes from Enrique Penalosa, a former mayor of Bogota. It was Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal who first quoted Penalosa, so to hear this in the video caused me to pay very close attention:

You can have a city that’s friendly to cars, or friendly to people; you cannot have both.

That got me thinking… What else has Penalosa been saying? A quick search of Wikipedia yields this:

We cannot continue to deceive ourselves thinking that to paint a little line on a road is a bike way. A bicycle way that is not safe for an 8-year old is not a bicycle way.

It’s great food for thought as I prepare for the next meeting of the Newport Beach Bike Safety Committee on April 2nd.

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  1. Yes, I agree with Penalosa’s comment “We cannot continue to deceive ourselves thinking that to paint a little line on a road is a bike way. A bicycle way that is not safe for an 8-year old is not a bicycle way.”

    However, we cannot rule out bike lanes as first steps when glamorous solutions cannot get traction.

    It’s not ALL or NOTHING. Personally, I’d rather see 10 miles of new bike lanes or sharrows than 1 mile of a separated bike path. Often, where a separated facility ends there is no bike lane that extends the regard for the cyclist. I’d prefer my 8 year old to have safe access all the way to his destination and I believe bike lanes and sharrows are the best way to initially achieve those goals and teach drivers that the road is for sharing.

    When there’s an adequate bike lane, I feel safe. When there’s no bike lane I take the lane to make sure cars have to move into the other lane to pass otherwise drivers feel as if they can “squeeze” by. Often I’m fearful that a belligerent driver is still going to bump me just to stupidly demonstrate their power . Police officers, passing by, have told me to move over but I ignore them – none have stopped to ticket me, yet, because, I presume, they know I’m within my rights.

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