Maybe they are…

I really like starting a question on google search and seeing what common searches pop up. SO revealing. Look at the second to last one:

Well, are cars alive???

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Cash for Clunkers, Signatures for Better Streets (Wow, that wasn't nearly as catchy as I wanted it to be)

Someone cut the out-of-control bushes at the vacant house on the corner of our street. Clearing the public right-of-way. Sweet!  Fix it, even if you didn’t break it.

I asked probably everyone who’d read this blog to sign this petition but I’ll post it here just in case. I’m not usually a fan of petitions but I’ve realized they’re about spreading awareness more than anything. Michigan needs hellllllllp!  Automobile capital of the world is dyyying. And I want to be able to bike to Meijer.  And my friend Nate wants to bike down a street without getting CHANGE thrown in his FACE. (Wow, thank you road ragers.)

Cash for Clunkers is definitely happening–I mean, HAPPENING. My friend’s dad, who is a mechanic at a dealership, talked about it last night. They completely destroy the engines of perfectly good cars. It’s the law. It’s insane. It’d all be well and good from a global warming perspective…if the cars they’re buying were actually tons better with gas mileage. But a 5 mpg improvement? Really? How is that worth it?  It’s just like the ACES bill…it’s not doing nearly enough.

Bike Vs. Car – It Will Only Get Worse

Incidents like these are not likely to calm down as cities incorporate bike lanes more and more. It reminds me of the transition from horses to cars at the beginning of the 20th century: one road for two extremely different modes of transportation. I now agree with David Lagrand’s efforts here in Grand Rapids to make every cyclist wear a helmet–sharing the road with fast, ignorant, and pissed-off cars is DANGEROUS. 

When I get caught be hind a person on a bike on the city street (with no bike lane), I get very annoyed. I do wish they’d take the sidewalk. They are not going the speed of an automobile, but they are going much faster than a pedestrian, so where are they to go?  I’d still say with the pedestrians–it is safer and easier to pass pedestrians (shouting “on your right!”), especially in a nation where there aren’t that many pedestrians OR bikes on the sidewalks, where sidewalks exist, at least.

It’s simply going to be a difficult transition, no way around it. But bikes are not going anywhere. They’re a cheap, healthy, enjoyable, and sustainable way to get around.

You're Speeding in a Residential Area, but It's Not Entirely Your Fault

I drove to the library in downtown Grand Rapids today. I was going 29 miles per hour and the speed limit was 30 miles per hour. But I kept slamming on the brakes. I felt like I was going so fast!

Then I realized why–thanks to 9th grade Science Class. Downtowns’ buildings are always closer to the street. You can walk right into these buildings from the sidewalks usually. I’m used to buildings being set back 10-50 feet from the road. Frame of reference! Ever notice, on the highway, how things far away pass by you slower than things very close?

I’d always wondered why planners started putting buildings so far back and increasing front yard length. It does make it more comfortable for the cars to go faster. It makes the driver’s perceived risk much lower, so they feel more comfortable driving faster. And the faster a car goes, the more deadly and frequent accidents involving that car will be.

Wide roads, far-away points of reference, many lanes: obeying speed limits has never been so hard for us, when our townships create mini-highways instead of streets.