US DOT brings us some bad news: bike-involved collisions claimed 726 lives nationally in 2012. That’s an increase of 6.5% from 2011and triple the increase of reported injuries during the same time (2.1%). Passenger vehicle deaths rose only 1.6%. Read the research note.
Remember the attempted murder & hit-and-run on a cyclist in Beverly Hills back on April 3rd? You’d think a crime like that would garner significant media attention seeing as it was captured by CCTV video. That it would generate concern among commissioners on the Traffic and Parking Commission. That the body receiving a standing monthly police report on collisions and citations would bother to ask. Today we tuned into the live commission broadcast to learn that commissioners wouldn’t be wrestling with this threat to public safety because they had other pressing business. Like the assault never happened.
The US Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued guidelines concerning electronic devices [pdf] to car manufacturers in order to minimize the use of attention-sapping gadgets and other in-cabin causes of motorist distraction. Backed by a new study (and data helpfully packaged as an inaugural Safety in Numbers newsletter), the guidelines are voluntary but nevertheless mark another step by DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to increase road safety on US roadways.
Incredibly, enthusiasm for the automobile continues to wane across Europe. For the 18th consecutive month, new car sales have declined, according to March new-car registrations. Sure, the macroeconomic picture isn’t pretty: unemployment is up across the Euro zone and renewed political turmoil over Cyprus didn’t help. But even Western Europe marked a first quarter drop of 10% over last year. In Germany, the financial anchor of Europe, new registrations plunged 17%. Has Europe lost its appetite for motoring, or simply that new car smell?
Date released by Traffic solutions firm Inrix draws upon its vast reservoir of traffic data to break the bad news: our Los Angeles area suffers the worst traffic congestion in the nation. Our freeways are the most crowded, our drive times longest, and the time sitting in traffic (59 hours in 2012) is the most egregious waste of productivity. We’re the perennial over-achiever, battling Honolulu year-after-year for worst-city honors. We also place highly across the globe and fall behind only Brussels and Antwerp globally for time spent in traffic.