The Road to Clarity
. Long article in the NY Times
about the orgins of Clearview
, a typeface for improved legibility of roadside signage — particularly when letters are blurred by distance, weather, night, and physical impairment.
In Venezuela, four-legged mobile libraries, bibliomulas
, help distribute books in the foothills of the Andes. (thanks)
Nissan adds feature to protect pedestrians in collisions
. In a crash, the hood “automatically pops upward a few inches to put more distance between it and the hard engine components below, giving the hood more room to flex. The feature is among a growing number being designed to protect pedestrians, especially in low-speed mishaps they might survive. Driving the effort are tougher requirements taking effect in Europe and Japan for cars to be more ‘pedestrian-friendly.’” (via)
Accidents Halved As Street is Stripped of 'Safety' Features
. “Accident levels have almost halved in a London street where ‘safety’ equipment such as guard rails, white lines and signposts were stripped out. The redesign of Kensington High Street has been such a success that the ‘naked road’ concept is set to be rolled out to other cities in Britain and around the world. Engineers removed railings, scores of signposts and combined traffic lights with lamp posts to reduce clutter.” This sounds more like simplification and aggregation of existing signals, though that’s less sensational than the angle that “safety” kills.
. “This magnet was tossed onto your car by a cyclist who felt that you might have been driving in a way that could have endangered their life.” (via)
. “After 19 months of installing ghost bikes
for slain cyclists around New York, this is the first memorial we’ve created for a pedestrian.... We tried to come up a simple visual icon (like the white bikes), but couldn't come up with any one symbol that seemed appropriate. In Bogota, Colombia, a stenciled black star is stenciled onto the sidewalk, but that didn't seem right. Suggestions are welcome. Email us at visual.resistance at gmail.com.”
Our Ailing Communities
. “If that poor woman [on the right shoulder, struggling along] had collapsed from heat stroke, we docs would have written the cause of death as heat stroke and not lack of trees and public transportation, poor urban form, and heat-island effects. If she had been killed by a truck going by, the cause of death would have been ‘motor-vehicle trauma,’ and not lack of sidewalks and transit, poor urban planning, and failed political leadership.” A brief interview with public-health advocate Richard Jackson.
Last week, the New York Times ran a sober photo essay on the ghost bikes that Visual Resistance and Time’s Up! have been installing around New York City since June 2005. The bikes are public interventions, a grassroots action in the spirit of graffiti memorial walls. The bikes are painted white and chained near the site where a cyclist was killed by an automobile, along with a plaque with their name and the date they were killed. Several are plotted on this map.
The bikes were inspired by a similar project in St. Louis, and have since appeared in cities across the U.S. and the U.K.
A 2005 report on bicycle fatalities from the New York City police, parks, health, and transportation departments reports that
between 1996 and 2005, 225 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles. Between 1996 and 2003, 3,462 NYC bicyclists were seriously injured in crashes.While the annual number of serious injuries has decreased, deaths remained steady during the 10-year period.
The statistics show a failure of urban design and policy — 89% of crashes occurred at or near intersections, 92% of bicyclist fatalities resulted from crashes with motor vehicles — as well as the absence of personal equipment: 97% of the bicyclists who died were not wearing a helmet. 74% of the fatal crashes involved a head injury.
While it’s clear that helmets save lives, something else is broken in NYC: of the 3,964 transportation-related deaths in New York City between 1996 and 2005, only 6% were cyclists. Almost half the deaths (49%) were pedestrians.
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