Reprinted here because your city should have a Right of Way Law 

New York City. Monday, February 16, 2015

Pedestrians With Right of Way Should Always Have Protection of the Law

Jiahuan Xu New York City traffic accident StreetsblogThis article which appeared in edition of our favorite city blog, Streetsblog from New York City, is a gut-wrenching reminder that all cities, all civilized cities, should have a strict, no-exceptions, Right of Way Law. In Europe, this is known as the Street Code (as opposed to the Highway Code that governs traffic on high speed roads).

Jiahuan Xu, 15, had the walk signal when she started across Grand Street in Williamsburg Friday morning. Before she reached the far side of the street, she was struck by a bus driver turning from Union Avenue and “pinned under the left front wheel,” according to the Daily News. After emergency responders rescued Xu, she was taken to Bellevue Hospital and may lose her left leg.

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Twenty Questions to consider to improve cycling In your city. (First guidelines for 2015 WCFD Citizen Cycle Audit )

velib-guyAs original organizers of the World Car Free Days movement, we are always attentive to finding ways to make real use out of these generally festive occasions. We have been working consistently on this task since the first program announcement in Toledo Spain at a major European conference in October 1994 under the title of  “Thursday: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities“.  (See http://wp.me/psKUY-U9)

This year we propose that considering cities may give some thought to the possibility of organizing on a pilot basis a special core Car Free Day event — specifically intended to examine, encourage and support cycling in cities.  This makes sense: a Car Free Day is seen as an occasion to  step back and think together about how your city is doing in the challenging transition from an essentially private car-based to an equitable and efficient mobility-based society.  With this in mind we are proposing at the core of the other planned CFD events this year  the tool of a “Civil Society State of City Cycling Audit” — in order to provide independent  background and perspective on the state of safe and abundant cycling in their city. The following posting sets out the latest proposal for this “collaborative citizen self-audit”.

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Getting away with M U R D E R

In memoriam 2013.

Streetsblog: Doing its job year after year in New York City.

Each year our friends over at STREETSblog in New York City publish a heart-rending testimonial to the mayhem that automobiles have wrought over the year on their city’s streets and the cost in terms of lives lost by innocent pedestrians usa ghost bike photoand cyclists. Putting names, faces and human tragedy to what otherwise takes the form of dry numbers, faceless hence quickly forgettable statistics is an important task. We can only encourage responsible citizens and activists in every city on the planet to do the same thing, holding those public officials (and let’s not forget, “public servants”) responsible for what goes on under their direct control.

Who is doing this job in your city?

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Seize the moment: A “Street Code” for Porto Alegre

Dear Porto Alegre and Brazilian Friends,

With all due respect, I propose that you give some thought to organizing to get strong citizen and multi-party support to exact “appropriate compensation” for Friday’s horrible, dumb and indeed tragic event on the streets of your beautiful city. I would imagine that this is a one-time, not to be repeated opportunity to get something very important and far-sighted out of a shaken city administration. Timing is everything in cases like this. You should thus be able to exact what you need today far better than just one week ago. Or a month or more from now once the heat has dissipated. So go for it!
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Viral: Street Code strikes again

Viral: Our piece on this of 25 March (click here) got picked up by Tree Hugger’s reporter April Streeter and is getting an interesting range of comments, positive and negative, over there. Click here to check out their article and its comments. Thanks April. Thanks Treehugger. Thanks virus.The Editor.

by April Streeter, Gothenburg, Sweden on 04. 3.09

 

Photo Julia Fullerton-Batton via Foxtongue @ flickr.
There is a highway code – a set of expected rules, best practices, and behaviors when manipulating your vehicle on those long ribbons of public road. There isn’t, as of yet, much of a corresponding city street code – a set of guidelines that help walkers, bikers, scooter, truck, and car drivers – maneuver the streets of a city in a safe and (as important) polite way. New mobility consultant and WorldStreets editor Eric Britton is proposing the street code start with a fairly simple rule.

The biggest vehicle bears the burden of responsibility, and in the case of an accident, also the burden of proving innocence. If streets are for cars, as Britton says, than there isn’t much need for this type of street code.

But if streets are multiple use vias (and in the U.K. 12 towns are adopting the ‘shared space concept’ to improve quality of life) where cars are just one player, Britton says:

“The idea is…legal responsibility for any accident on street, sidewalk or public space, is automatically assigned to the heavier faster vehicle. This means the driver that hits the cyclist has to prove his innocence.”

The idea of a street code is not entirely new, but is starting to gain a little more traction as city planners think about designing streets on more of a shared use model.

Lest you think this seems utopian and far-fetched, in Belgium the insurance company automatically pays damages in collisions between cyclists or pedestrians and motor vehicles, no matter who’s at fault, according to a document on street codes on Livable Streets. Via: World StreetsNote: Graphic adapted by John Brooks via Livable Streets.

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About the editor:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Trained as a development economist, Francis Eric Knight Britton is MD of EcoPlan International, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, economics, sustainable development and democracy. His forthcoming book, “Toward a General Theory of Transport in Cities”, is being presented, discussed and critiqued in a series of international conferences, master classes, peer reviews and media events over 2015. - - > More: http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7

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"Street code": A World Streets Campaign for 2009

The Highway Code: a collection of laws, advice and best practice for all road users, which mainly functions as a written basis for learning to drive as well as stipulating the letter of the law (licensing, required safety equipment, default rules, etc.) In Europe this happens at a national level, with room in some places for stricter local ordinances. In the US mainly a state prerogative. In all cases the code itself is the creature of the automotive age and is primarily concerned with defining the role and characteristics of motor vehicle driver and owner behavior.

Many European cities are of late starting to advance on the idea of establishing a far tougher “street codes”, specifically adapted to the special and more demanding conditions of driving in city traffic. This is becoming especially important as we start to see a much greater mix of vehicles, speeds and people on the street. If streets are for cars, well this is probably not a priority. But if they are “public spaces” and open to the full range of uses and users, then perhaps something along these lines is called for.

The idea is works is that legal responsibility for any accident on street, sidewalk or public space, is automatically assigned to the heavier faster vehicle. This means that the driver who hits a cyclist has to prove his innocence, as opposed to today where the cyclist must prove the driver’s guilt (not always very easy to do).

This is not quite as good as John Adams’ magnificent 1995 formulation whereby every steering wheel of every car , truck and bus would be equipped with a large sharp nail aimed directly at the driver’s heart– but it can at least help getting things moving in the right direction.

We propose to make this a major campaign theme of World Streets in 2009 and invite our readers to submit their reports, ideas and comments over the course of the months ahead.

If you look over toward the top of the left menu here, you will see that we have opened up a reader poll in an attempt to get your views as well. We also invite comment here on the results.

The editor

References:

Livable Streets discussions of Street Code
What is Street Code? (Thanks for use of your graphic)
Code de la rue – Belgium (Use Translate here as needed)
Code de la rue – France
Code de la rue – Wikipedia

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Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Trained as a development economist, Francis Eric Knight Britton is MD of EcoPlan International, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, economics, sustainable development and democracy. His forthcoming book, “Toward a General Theory of Transport in Cities”, is being presented, discussed and critiqued in a series of international conferences, master classes, peer reviews and media events over 2015. - - > More: http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7

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Street Code: Collisions Between Asymetrical Parties

Eric,

Your suggestion that, in the case of a collision in a public street, regardless of fault, the larger, faster party bear the responsibility for redress. This is close to my proposal that the party in the larger vehicle (who usually doesn’t get injured) lose their privilege to drive for as long as the smaller (usually also slower) party takes to recover and to resume the mode of travel they were using at the time of the collision.

Your proposal could be a little even-handed if the fault principle (based on the Highway Traffic Act) would apply to that portion of the outcome that _would_ have entailed had the two parties been the same size and moving at the same speed as the more benign party, while the rest of the outcome fall at the feet (as it were) of the larger, faster party, regardless of fault.

BTW, the other posting on the new SeeFlickFix.com site is very important. I used it for a missing set of stairs in a small park near my home a few minutes ago, and it took my material, including a photo, quite well. However, I had to reply to my own post, to correct the software that would not let me reposition the icon to a more accurate location. I also posted a second photo, getting it properly turned upwards (mea culpa).

I see this as the way to create stewardship over public places, and to remove from cities the right of controling the records of complaints (“Oh, you’re the first person to complain.”)

Chris Bradshaw
Ottawa

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About the author:

Chris Bradshaw retired from city & regional planning in 1996, and co-founded Ottawa’s carsharing company, Vrtucar in 2000. He has been an advocate for walking and pedestrian rights for 30 years. In retirement, he is championing a society-wide transition to a second-generation version of carsharing (integrating car-sharing, taxis, ridesharing, car-rental, and delivery). He lives ‘car-lite’ in downtown Ottawa with his wife of 40 years.

 

 

About the editor:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Trained as a development economist, Francis Eric Knight Britton is MD of EcoPlan International, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, economics, sustainable development and democracy. His forthcoming book, “Toward a General Theory of Transport in Cities”, is being presented, discussed and critiqued in a series of international conferences, master classes, peer reviews and media events over 2015. - - > More: http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7

View complete profile

 
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