The car-versus-bicycle rhetoric may not be directly responsible for murdering people, but it may be preventing us from saving lives. The Daily Sightline is assailing local media's talking heads at KING, KIRO, and KOMO for their recent coverage of a bill that would allow cities to lower speed limits on non-arterial roads (side streets) from 30 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour. Here's their take:
Between 2000 and 2009, 683 people were killed by cars while walking in Washington. Local control over residential speed limits would not have saved all of those people, but it might have saved some. Yet here’s local loudmouth Dori Monson today:
[Mayor] McGinn’s hatred of cars and drivers is bordering on pathological… I do know that he is doing everything possible to make Seattle one of the most car-unfriendly cities in the country.For the record, there’s nothing partisan—much less “pathological”—about reducing red tape for cities that want to reduce traffic speeds to protect their citizens, especially when it’s children and the elderly who are disproportionately killed by speeding cars.
- Sightline Institute
- A vehicle driving 30 miles per hour is 9 times more likely to kill a pedestrian in a collision than a vehicle traveling 20 miles per hour.
So here’s my own modest proposal: instead of ranting like lunatics about an imaginary “war on cars,” maybe Washington’s commentator class could spend some time with this interactive map of pedestrian fatalities in the state. And then study the city and county statistics. And then read Alan’s thorough and judicious case for why local speed limit-setting is a good idea.
Mayor Mike McGinn's outspoken support may be a liability for this bill, sure, but the bill failed to pass in the state legislature last year even without his kiss of death. If the bill has a chance in 2012—a chance of passing—then media yappers need to drop the divisive braying about the victimhood of being behind the wheel. This isn't about cars being pushed off the road or Seattle being hostile to cars (please, it's not a racetrack). And it's not about all cars going slower everywhere (just in neighborhoods). It's about saving lives.