“How many more people are we going to bury before we act?”

Please join me in signing this petition: Mayor Peduto—Commit Pittsburgh to Zero Traffic Deaths.

I quoted Adam Shuck’s Eat That, Read This in my last post, but I’m going to do so again anyway: “Our lives, rather than an automobile-dominated status quo, are worthy, and that is something that should be fought for on the level of local, state, and federal policy.”

I am sick of watching students forced to scamper across four-lane roads to get to class because we refuse to enforce speed and yield laws. I am tired of seeing paddle signs and protective barriers battered and flattened after repeatedly being run over by dangerous—distracted, drunk, or simply incompetent—drivers. I am disgusted at the levels of harassment, threats, and abuse I and other bike riders endure on a daily basis.

“The aggressive, careless way that people drive on Pittsburgh streets is a constant threat to human lives.” As another friend wrote on Facebook, “This is bigger than cyclist vs car, or ped vs car. This issue affects everyone who tries to leave their house.” Even drivers who have the temerity to follow the law and keep their speed below posted limits or stop for pedestrians at crossings are tailgated, honked at, threatened, and harassed. Even those who never leave their house may be unable to simply enjoy their home and its surroundings without worrying whether an out of control (and often rhetorically driverless) vehicle will come crashing through their life.

“The mass delusion of Car Culture has inured us, paralyzed us, captivated us to understand traffic violence as accidental rather than the result of poor decision-making, careless behavior, and our shamefully misbuilt environment. These are patterns of error that we need to fix.” “We know that road traffic is a deadly and daily threat. Why, then, do we not do more to counter it?…Some might argue this is the price we have to pay for mobility and freedom. We think not. There can be no moral justification for the death of one single person. You should be able to move freely – and feel safe at the same time.…The road system needs to keep us moving. But it must also be designed to protect us at every turn.

As Daniel Klein notes, some of the city’s issues–which are not only cultural but infrastructural–are complex and will take years to fully solve.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t start now. “Let’s hope that no one else has to die before our leaders and communities come together to implement some common-sense safety measures on our most prominent arterial streets.”

Last weekend’s candlelight vigil and memorials for Susan Hicks, killed on Forbes Avenue, is followed by tonight’s vigil for the couple killed on Centre Ave is followed by Saturday’s memorial ride for Taylor Banks, a Beaver County cyclist killed by a hit-and-run driver in Monaca a year ago.

How many more people are we going to bury before we act?

It’s time for Vision Zero in Pittsburgh, in Allegheny County, and throughout Pennsylvania.

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