Lifting the Lid on Mandatory Helmet Laws

australia perth cyclyst with helmetWorld Streets maintains a watching brief and reports from time to time on mandatory helmet laws in different parts of the world. (For more on this: .) Ian Ker reports here from Perth with a case study of mandatory bicycle helmet laws in West Australia , as presented to the 29 May 2014 VeloCity Global Conference in Adelaide.

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Getting away with Murder

 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 and 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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Universal Walking Licenses soon in Toronto (Canada)

Based on the recent article that has just appeared in the Toronto Star under the heading “Get pedestrians off Toronto roads . . .” ( World Streets would like to express our great admiration of  our gentle painting van gogh prison courtyard-smallnorthern brothers and sisters,   Faced with these unnecessary dangers on the road, we have been led to understand  that the government and an alliance of all major political parties of the lovely city of Toronto is giving serious consideration to requiring Universal Walking Licenses for all.  These would be issued only to people who have satisfactorily completed course work and dress classes in the Toronto Walking Academies and  who have passed rigorous  final public tests on the street with Toronto’s Finest.

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Malaysia : Road Traffic Accidents

Malausia road deaths 2013 - smallAccording to the latest WHO data published in April 2011 Road Traffic Accidents Deaths in Malaysia reached 8,031 or 7.85% of total deaths. The age adjusted Death Rate is 34.53 per 100,000 of population, ranking Malaysia #20 in the world. Roughly one third of all traffic accidents  have childen as the victims. Review other causes of death by clicking the links below or choose the full health profile.

Top 20 Causes of Death Malaysia

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Demand Nirbhaya—Fearless—Cities

- Anumita Roychowdhury, Dehli.  6 Mar, 2013

Catalysing safe design for public spaces should be among the top priorities to make cities safe for women, children and elderly

I first let this pass without comment—the Rs 1,000 crore Nirbhaya fund for women’s safety proposed in the Union Bdget.  Many have glossed over this with a reverent salute to quickly move on to the hard numbers of this stark accounting document. Others are angry, outraged, and dismissive of this fund as tokenism and populism with no clarity of mandate. But I read that paragraph in the budget speech once again.

My attention was riveted to this observation: “As more women enter public spaces—for education or work or access to services or leisure—there are more reports of violence against them.” The operative word here is “public spaces”.  Of course, Chidambaram has used this literally to state the obvious. But if we were to join the dots to write the terms of reference for the ministry of women and child development and other ministries to define the scope and structure of the ‘Nirbhaya fund’, then catalysing safe design for “public spaces” would be among the top priorities.

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Designing cycling back in to the urban environment

France-paris-velib-tourTransport in cities is a steep uphill affair. If we ever are to transform the quality of the mobility arrangements in our cities, there are certain basic truths about it that need to be repeated again and again. By different people, in different places and in different ways.

Cycling in most cities:  You and I know it. It is broke. It cannot be “fixed”.  It needs to be reinvented from the street up. All of which is easy enough to say, but what in concrete terms does that mean? This article which appeared in the Guardian a few days back by Peter Walker,  reports on the testimony of Dave Horton a cycling sociologist who pounds the table on five basic truths of cycling in cities.

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Why Walking has Gone for a Long Walk in Indian Cities

india-feet-bit-larger Tarun Sharma reports from New Delhi about safe walking  and quality of life in cities, with the help of two concepts of hierarchies. One is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and the other is the food chain. He looks at these two concepts not so much on scientific as  intuitive grounds. And he offers it not to solve a policy problem, but to state the obvious in an obvious way. His focus is on one of the aspects of city living, namely mobility. Continue reading

The Safe Streets Challenge: 2012 – 2015

After considerable and at times quite contentious discussions over the last months with colleagues around the world through various discussion fora, programs and personal visits, we have decided to make one of the principal themes of our work here at World Streets for the coming year that of Safe Streets.

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Weekend reading: How do the Dutch get out of a car?

No matter how many times I have been to the Netherlands, how many times I have ridden next to parked cars, nor how many times  as a driver have I leapt from my vehicle, in all that time and in all those places I never learned how do the Dutch get out of a car. But I should have and Russell Shorto explains why. Continue reading

Decade of Action for Road Safety: We are all “Steve”?

Today starts the “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, a collaboration between the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners. The “Wear. Believe. Act” website, which is the official page of the campaign, is hosted by the FIA Foundation, which also supports the campaign’s “Road Safety Fund”. The Road Safety Fund – a legally distinct UK charity – is co-chaired by the Director General of the FIA Foundation (FIAf – the reason for the little “f” will become self-evident shortly). Confused? Well, anyway, before I mention the graphic above, I will explain why I have not included a link to FIAf: This is because none of the pages above link to FIAf, or – I really did look around – describe what it is.

 – Posted by Todd Edelman, Green Idea Factory

A “Street Code” for Porto Alegre

[The latest and most compete posting of this aritcle will be found in World Streets, along with extensive comments, at]

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 an ideal opportunity to get something very important and far-sighed out of a shaken city administration. Time counts here. 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.
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Risk: what’s a life worth?

The United States Environmental Protections Agency, EPA, should really be discussing the allocation of risk. A large curb radius for example transfers risk from the speeding driver to the pedestrian. The issue is that speed and convenience embody an energy bill whose consequences are not repatriated on the basis of least harm to public safety. While the consequences are local, an injury on your street corner, the impact under NAFTA, etc., of comparative or qualitative instead of preventive risk assessment is habitat destructive.  Gladwyn d’Souza comments. Continue reading

Road rage in Delhi: where the traffic is murder

When it comes to transportation and mobility, public health is an issue which has not gotten nearly enough consideration as a key decision factor either when it comes to making decisions about  new investments nor concerning how we manage what we have already built.  It is one of those topics that everybody talks about it, but few do much about it once the blood has dried on the street on any given day. And if public health most immediately conjures up images of air pollution and respiratory infections, particulates and disease, obesity and declining physical fitness, noise and stress, there are also of course the very important safety, injuries  and accidents metrics that need to be considered. And then of course there is murder. Read on to get a perspective on this from Delhi. One that has parallels in many other large cities at all levels of economic development anywhere in the world. Continue reading

Promoting active travel to school: Progress and potential paper

Paris, Tuesday, 04 January, 2011

Dear Andrew,

I like this very much and agree that it would make a good piece for World Streets to help move along the active travel/school agenda one more notch. For us, the very idea of children making their way to school safely and under their own steam is something that we have adhered to with vigor for many years now.

Two quick thoughts for you should you wish to go ahead with this: Continue reading

Streetsblog: Doing its job in New York City. In memoriam 2010

Streetsblog: Doing its job in New York City. In memoriam 2010 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 and 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 … Read More

via World Streets 2011