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Re: “Theory and Practice of Integral Sustainable Development: Part 1”

  •  08-11-2006, 10:36 AM

    Re: “Theory and Practice of Integral Sustainable Development: Part 1”

    heikkinen:

    I'm also reminded of the rather grisly analysis I learned in a class on natural disasters I took once: cost per life saved. I imagine bike lanes have a pretty high cost. Could other solutions provide more bang (lives saved) for your buck?



    Bike lanes can be cheap or expensive, depending on the design. The cheap ones are often the ones that are most dangerous, as you can imagine, and also are, not surprisingly, often the ones that end up on the roads. This is another whole discussion that causes arguments in the field, as you can imagine! (Hey, we got a bike lane installed, who cares if it's good!)

    And yes, there have been a few clever folks who have done the work to come up with more wholistic/all quadrant solutions, as well as solutions for some of the quadrants that get missed by the bike lane solution. These ideas include putting more infomation about bicyclists rights and responsibilities in the state's Driver's Manual, and adding a few questions about bicycles to the written test. These inexpensive policies obviously help out the LR, and help bicycles sneak into the LL a bit too, in a way that really does affect the UR physical safety in a positive way. Also, a better kind of road marking, called the "sharrow" or '"shared lane marking" that offers most of the benefits of segregated lanes, while avoiding the potential dangers, has been gaining popularity in several parts of the world recently. These markings have had (generally) unbiased physical safety studies done on them, showing them to be at least reasonably safe (UR), as well as accomplishing the UL goal of helping cyclists feel safer, and bringing respect for cyclists into the LR and LL quadrants, too. Though more studies on all kinds of road design really need to be done to be conclusive.

    I'd also suggested to my organization that it might be useful to start at the beginning and really look to see if we could get a handle on what the specific problems are that most cyclists encounter when they are out on the roadways, i.e., What are the causes of most crashes and near crashes? (I'd hoped to get this information by using personal surveys, as well as police crash data, and even some independent "incident" data collected on the roads.) Unfortunately, I wasn't convincing enough in my explanation of this idea, and didn't really get much support for conducting such an analysis. Most people's response was, "I know there's a problem, and I know the solution! So get outta my way girlie!" (Note: most of the people in the organization are middle aged white guys! While I am not quite 40 yet, and a female... :-) ) But, I figure the longer I am an active part of the organization, the more respected I'll become, and thus I may be able to introuce the project at some future time and have a more enthusiastic response...

    I do think it's true that people who see a UL problem imagine that the only way to solve it is through a UL solution. It seems to fall under "common sense" for most people, especially those in first tier. But in this case, of course, there are UR, LR, and LL elements of the problem, as well, that they weren't able to see, and so they didn't understand why I wanted to look for solutions in so many different directions.

    Anyway, thanks for inspiring me to translate this stuff into AQAL. It really helped me clarify my thoughts about it, which I hadn't been able to do before. I guess I was intuiting (UL) my AQAL plan, and now I can map it out in UR as well! Nifty!

    Peace, Love, and Bicycles,
    Turtle
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