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The Driver Privilege Checklist 51

jennamorrison2

RIP Jenna Morrison – Photo by Aaron Lynett / National Post

On Monday morning, a wife, mother and yoga instructor who was 5-months pregnant was run over by a truck and killed in Toronto in a completely avoidable incident. This senseless death has been on the minds of thousands of people in Toronto because it was so tragic and yet so avoidable.

As a result of this incident, fellow Toronto citizen and cyclist Kristin MH wrote “The Driver Privilege Checklist”, a list of privileges that drivers often take for granted. The list is essentially disadvantages that cyclists have, but presented as privileges of drivers instead of disadvantages of cyclists.

To briefly explain the concept of privilege checklists, “The Male Privilege Checklist” is a good example: In that article the author quotes Peggy McIntosh who in 1990 observed that “whites in the U.S. are taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” McIntosh created a list of privileges that white men enjoy in order to illustrate the invisible institutional racism that many people don’t even realize exists.

Using the same technique, Kristin MH highlights privileges that drivers enjoy in order to help illustrate what might otherwise be invisible. Kristin explains that the intention is not to scold drivers:

“Remember when you read this: If you have privilege in a situation, that doesn’t make you evil. It doesn’t mean that you have no problems and your life is perfect. Hell, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t un-privileged in another way! What it means is that you have a greater chance than a non-privileged person of being an asshole under this specific set of circumstances, and thus you have a greater responsibility to act in such a way as to not be an asshole. That’s really about it.”

Here is Kristin’s list:

The Driver Privilege Checklist

  1. If I am hurt or killed while driving, unless I am intoxicated or grossly negligent, I will not be blamed for my decision to drive.
  2. If I live in North America, my driving is subsidized by my local, regional, and federal government, who provide roads and infrastructure. This subsidy is far beyond that given to any other form of daily transportation.
  3. Learning to drive is a rite of passage, seen as a normal and necessary step towards adulthood, whereas other forms of transport are seen as childish or impractical.
  4. If I choose to transport my children in a car, I will not be called a bad parent or berated for doing so.
  5. If my child is injured or killed while in my car, I will not be blamed for their death unless I was intoxicated or otherwise grossly negligent.
  6. If while driving I injure or kill another person, whether they are another driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, or a cyclist, unless I am intoxicated or otherwise grossly negligent this will be seen nothing more than a regrettable accident.
  7. Large areas of the city, suburb, or rural area I live in are built and laid out with driving in mind to the exclusion of other forms of transportation, and may be totally inaccessible to non-drivers.
  8. While travelling I do not have to experience cold, heat, rain, or snow for more than a few moments unless I choose to.
  9. I can complain to friends, family, and aquaintances about minor accidents and other annoyances without being told that I should stop driving.
  10. It is easier for me than it is for non-drivers to buy many staple goods, such as groceries, as they are often sold in car-centric locations which are difficult to access by other means of transport. I also have the advantage of more easily buying in bulk.
  11. Unless I am very extravagant, the money I spend on purchasing and running my car is not seen as wasted, as a car is seen as a necessity. And the most obvious:
  12. While in transit, I am protected by a 2-tonne metal machine which is faster, stronger, and more durable than anything else I encounter on the road besides larger cars and trucks. If I am in a collision with a pedestrian or a cyclist, even if I am not at fault, I am much more likely to escape without serious injury or death.
  13. If I make a mistake while driving, am in an accident, or cause injury to myself or others, this will not be held against all drivers or considered proof that driving is inherently dangerous or irresponsible.

Read the full article here.

A memorial ride will be held for Jenna Morrison on Monday November 14th at 7:30AM at Bloor and Spadina.

James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

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  • D Web

    My question is….where is our leader??? We need to assemble and shut down the city cores and demand to be taken seriously. These senseless deaths will continue to happen unless we organize and protest. RIP Jenna Morrison you death will not be in vein!

    • D Web

      vain***

    • http://www.fullfat.ca Octavian

      People looking for a leader are just looking for an excuse not to take action. If you want someone to organize a protest, then organize a protest. I’m not criticizing you, I’m just saying that you ‘sound’ like you want change, while passing the responsibility to an unknown ‘leader’.

  • D Web

    My question is….where is our leader??? We need to assemble and shut down the city cores and demand to be taken seriously. These senseless deaths will continue to happen unless we organize and protest. RIP Jenna Morrison you death will not be in vein!

  • D Web

    vain***

  • Montrealize

    This is a stretch.
    While I agree with all of it, I disagree that you can compare a personal choice in transportation (we all choose to cycle) to a structural situation in which you are stuck being of one race or gender. You do not choose your skin colour.
    So, actually, there is something very indecent about this. But hey, if it helps the cause why not.
    Should it fireback thought, they would be absolutely right.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      I don’t think the purpose of the list is to compare the choice of driving to race/gender, and I apologize if my example implied this. Of course driving is a choice rather than something we are born with. But it’s also a privilege that isn’t available to everyone (for various reasons). And this list simply shows the privileges that are afforded to people who drive that they may (or may not) take for granted.

      Privileges are granted to people not just for things that they are born with, but also for life choices they make. Simply put, this list highlights that drivers have more privileges than cyclists. I’ve certainly seen it first hand where a woman is chastised for riding her bicycle pregnant, or for carrying a child on her bike. But how often are pregnant women chastised for driving a car or for bringing children in their car? Not very often.

      • Montrealize

        Your post is perfect, there is nothing wrong in it; you did not say anything offending and everything in it is true.

        The problem comes this new trend in the cycling community to equate the fight for better infrastructures to the fight for Civil rights.
        This is a big mistake and it will backfire if it goes too far. It already did in some projects in Portland.

        The truth is that transportation cycling is a very recent white middle class issue. There are racial and gender issues, much older, that are even ovelapped with pure classic class issues that have not been solved to this day.
        So this whole cycling issue sounds like a spoiled WASPy boys things to a lot of people still struggling with the basics.
        We do not want to aleniate those very people who could be great supports.

        That is what is indecent in this recuperation of a classic racial/gender study template.

        • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

          I agree with you that cycling and racial/gender issues are on completely different proportions and equating them is particularly offensive, given our history of race/gender issues (particularly in the United States).

          But the purpose of this list is not to equate cycling/driving to race/gender. The purpose is to point out privileges that drivers get in our society & in the media due to their choice to drive an automobile.

          I do think cyclists are treated as second-class citizens by our media and society in general, but this should not at all be equated to the civil rights issues that were based on race that you are born with.

          Cycling and driving are both choices. It’s true that not everyone can drive, and not everyone can cycle, but at the end of the day they are still choices that we make and we accept the consequences of those choices.

    • pandablergs

      It’s not just a choice though. I’m too broke to afford a car, and my bike is my only transportation. I’m stuck biking to school unless I want to spend significantly longer on my commute and walk instead. For many people, cycling isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity.

      • Montrealize

        Pandablergs

        “unless I want to spend significantly longer on my commute and walk instead”

        From your own words, you have options. They may be less interesting, but they exist. Racial and gender issues are something else.
        Let’s not confuse apples and oranges.

        • Tallycyclist

          You have a point about these options being…options. But there’s more to it than just that. Cycling is way more efficient and much quicker than walking. Pandablergs has the “option” to walk, but what if the difference between cycling vs. walking was 20-30 minutes vs. 2-2.5 hours? And that’s not even including additional factors like rain, temperature, things to carry, etc. These all factor in to quality of life.

          My bike commute use to be 5.3 miles one way and took 25-30 minutes. I COULD HAVE walked that everyday, spending probably 3 hours on my commute. But then I’d probably have no energy to do anything outside of walking and working; probably wouldn’t be as efficient at my work as well. Not to mention my lunch, water and laptop that I would carry everyday; with my bike I had panniers for those. And the commute itself wouldn’t even be more pleasant, for pedestrians get even less respect than cyclists.

        • Sebastian Rivas

          “You have options.” Yeah, instead of having an extra 40 minutes to study, let my walk to school for an hour, or ride a bike for 20 minutes. Geeze, what’s a poor college student to do? Streeeetch much?

  • Montrealize

    This is a stretch.
    While I agree with all of it, I disagree that you can compare a personal choice in transportation (we all choose to cycle) to a structural situation in which you are stuck being of one race or gender. You do not choose your skin colour.
    So, actually, there is something very indecent about this. But hey, if it helps the cause why not.
    Should it fireback thought, they would be absolutely right.

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    I don’t think the purpose of the list is to compare the choice of driving to race/gender, and I apologize if my example implied this. Of course driving is a choice rather than something we are born with. But it’s also a privilege that isn’t available to everyone (for various reasons). And this list simply shows the privileges that are afforded to people who drive that they may (or may not) take for granted.

    Privileges are granted to people not just for things that they are born with, but also for life choices they make. Simply put, this list highlights that drivers have more privileges than cyclists. I’ve certainly seen it first hand where a woman is chastised for riding her bicycle pregnant, or for carrying a child on her bike. But how often are pregnant women chastised for driving a car or for bringing children in their car? Not very often.

  • pandablergs

    It’s not just a choice though. I’m too broke to afford a car, and my bike is my only transportation. I’m stuck biking to school unless I want to spend significantly longer on my commute and walk instead. For many people, cycling isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity.

  • http://www.fullfat.ca/ Octavian

    People looking for a leader are just looking for an excuse not to take action. If you want someone to organize a protest, then organize a protest. I’m not criticizing you, I’m just saying that you ‘sound’ like you want change, while passing the responsibility to an unknown ‘leader’.

  • Montrealize

    Pandablergs

    “unless I want to spend significantly longer on my commute and walk instead”

    From your own words, you have options. They may be less interesting, but they exist. Racial and gender issues are something else.
    Let’s not confuse apples and oranges.

  • Montrealize

    Your post is perfect, there is nothing wrong in it; you did not say anything offending and everything in it is true.

    The problem comes this new trend in the cycling community to equate the fight for better infrastructures to the fight for Civil rights.
    This is a big mistake and it will backfire if it goes too far. It already did in some projects in Portland.

    The truth is that transportation cycling is a very recent white middle class issue. There are racial and gender issues, much older, that are even ovelapped with pure classic class issues that have not been solved to this day.
    So this whole cycling issue sounds like a spoiled WASPy boys things to a lot of people still struggling with the basics.
    We do not want to aleniate those very people who could be great supports.

    That is what is indecent in this recuperation of a classic racial/gender study template.

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    I agree with you that cycling and racial/gender issues are on completely different proportions and equating them is particularly offensive, given our history of race/gender issues (particularly in the United States).

    But the purpose of this list is not to equate cycling/driving to race/gender. The purpose is to point out privileges that drivers get in our society & in the media due to their choice to drive an automobile.

    I do think cyclists are treated as second-class citizens by our media and society in general, but this should not at all be equated to the civil rights issues that were based on race that you are born with.

    Cycling and driving are both choices. It’s true that not everyone can drive, and not everyone can cycle, but at the end of the day they are still choices that we make and we accept the consequences of those choices.

  • http://parkdalerevolutionaryorchestra.com Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip

    The lists points out a double standard in how our society responds to analogous situations depending on whether you’re cycling or driving. It’s value lies in bringing forward tacitly-accepted anachronisms in normative attitudes. As James has pointed out, the value of doing so has nothing to do with co-opting the other lists cited.

    A better question than “does this list have enough weight to deserve a place in the pantheon of Great Civil Rights Lists” might be “does recognizing the points raised here, discussing them, challenging them, give us all a little better chance to improve our environment and the relationships between people of goodwill who choose to get about in different ways?”

    I think it does. Criticism of the validity of the double standard being described would make sense, but none have been raised.

    • Montrealize

      A better question than “does this list have enough weight to deserve a place in the pantheon of Great Civil Rights Lists”

      ****

      And, as is always the case, this question does not get answered nor does the deeper philosophical issue of the fair treatment of different causes. Well, there are people out there who would like an answer to this question. Why does it get eluded just because someone feels this question is not good enough? What makes your second question better?
      Of course, it is worded in a way that one can only agree. But then what? Once we’ve obtained what we want, i.e. all the lanes and laws we asked for, then what?

      There are people who went to jail, got killed in their fight against established opressive systems that are still in place for most of them. Then come a bunch of caucasian males with a new issue and in a what, 10, 20 years span will get most of what they want while other folks with older and more serious issues do not get any improvements in their demands. Yet questioning that very situation isn’t good. Questioning the validity of cycling as a human right issue is not good. Even questioning the positioning of cycling activism as a civil right fight seems illegitimate.

      “has nothing to do with co-opting the other lists cited.”

      ****
      Well, it is not co-opting them really, it is actually raiding them, quite shamelessly I might add. The very fact that someone felt it ok derives from some sort of privileged entitlement IMHO.

      But again, the lack of sensitivity toward the issue I am raising is not uncommon. It is actually very common among certain cycling activists who are becoming more and more like bicycle ayatollahs.

      That very behaviour is best described with white privilege facts #11 and 32.
      http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html

      - I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

      - My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

      And I might add another one:

      - I have the privilege of being unaware of my white male privilege, even when details of it are being rubbed in my face. Especially when such privilege includes raiding other cultures/races/groups hard earned academic analysis templates.

      Anyways, as a cyclist, I do not really care that much, as long as some results comes out of it. But the insensivity expressed by some white male cycling activists is absolutely disgusting and should I have one day to take sides or influence a decision, I pretty much damn know what I’ll do.
      In the long term, other groups in society will be alienated and even antagonised by this kind of attitude.

      • http://parkdalerevolutionaryorchestra.com Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip

        Can you please explain how this post, my comment, or any comment on this page alienates you?

  • http://parkdalerevolutionaryorchestra.com/ Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip

    The lists points out a double standard in how our society responds to analogous situations depending on whether you’re cycling or driving. It’s value lies in bringing forward tacitly-accepted anachronisms in normative attitudes. As James has pointed out, the value of doing so has nothing to do with co-opting the other lists cited.

    A better question than “does this list have enough weight to deserve a place in the pantheon of Great Civil Rights Lists” might be “does recognizing the points raised here, discussing them, challenging them, give us all a little better chance to improve our environment and the relationships between people of goodwill who choose to get about in different ways?”

    I think it does. Criticism of the validity of the double standard being described would make sense, but none have been raised.

  • Tallycyclist

    You have a point about these options being…options. But there’s more to it than just that. Cycling is way more efficient and much quicker than walking. Pandablergs has the “option” to walk, but what if the difference between cycling vs. walking was 20-30 minutes vs. 2-2.5 hours? And that’s not even including additional factors like rain, temperature, things to carry, etc. These all factor in to quality of life.

    My bike commute use to be 5.3 miles one way and took 25-30 minutes. I COULD HAVE walked that everyday, spending probably 3 hours on my commute. But then I’d probably have no energy to do anything outside of walking and working; probably wouldn’t be as efficient at my work as well. Not to mention my lunch, water and laptop that I would carry everyday; with my bike I had panniers for those. And the commute itself wouldn’t even be more pleasant, for pedestrians get even less respect than cyclists.

  • Montrealize

    A better question than “does this list have enough weight to deserve a place in the pantheon of Great Civil Rights Lists”

    ****

    And, as is always the case, this question does not get answered nor does the deeper philosophical issue of the fair treatment of different causes. Well, there are people out there who would like an answer to this question. Why does it get eluded just because someone feels this question is not good enough? What makes your second question better?
    Of course, it is worded in a way that one can only agree. But then what? Once we’ve obtained what we want, i.e. all the lanes and laws we asked for, then what?

    There are people who went to jail, got killed in their fight against established opressive systems that are still in place for most of them. Then come a bunch of caucasian males with a new issue and in a what, 10, 20 years span will get most of what they want while other folks with older and more serious issues do not get any improvements in their demands. Yet questioning that very situation isn’t good. Questioning the validity of cycling as a human right issue is not good. Even questioning the positioning of cycling activism as a civil right fight seems illegitimate.

    “has nothing to do with co-opting the other lists cited.”

    ****
    Well, it is not co-opting them really, it is actually raiding them, quite shamelessly I might add. The very fact that someone felt it ok derives from some sort of privileged entitlement IMHO.

    But again, the lack of sensitivity toward the issue I am raising is not uncommon. It is actually very common among certain cycling activists who are becoming more and more like bicycle ayatollahs.

    That very behaviour is best described with white privilege facts #11 and 32.
    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html

    - I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

    - My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

    And I might add another one:

    - I have the privilege of being unaware of my white male privilege, even when details of it are being rubbed in my face. Especially when such privilege includes raiding other cultures/races/groups hard earned academic analysis templates.

    Anyways, as a cyclist, I do not really care that much, as long as some results comes out of it. But the insensivity expressed by some white male cycling activists is absolutely disgusting and should I have one day to take sides or influence a decision, I pretty much damn know what I’ll do.
    In the long term, other groups in society will be alienated and even antagonised by this kind of attitude.

  • Sebastian Rivas

    “You have options.” Yeah, instead of having an extra 40 minutes to study, let my walk to school for an hour, or ride a bike for 20 minutes. Geeze, what’s a poor college student to do? Streeeetch much?

  • http://parkdalerevolutionaryorchestra.com/ Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip

    Can you please explain how this post, my comment, or any comment on this page alienates you?

  • fltron

    Kind of lame…. The government raises a ton in taxation to pay for roads. The majority of gas tax doesn’t go to fix up the roads, but rather gets piled into general government revenue.

    And yes, of course no one blames you for choosing to drive if you’re hurt in an accident. Driving is far safer. The only other option is not to drive. If you do everything in your power to stay safe, and still get injured, there’s really no blame to be given.

    I get the point being made, that bikers get blamed when they get into accidents, and I don’t agree that this should be the case.. but these points are poor comparisons where people that agree with them will go “Ya! you told ‘em!” and people that don’t are going to say “This is dumb.”

    And I’m a converted, I wish I could travel more by transit and bike. But lame.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      Driving is the most heavily subsidized form of transportation. I covered that in this article: http://www.theurbancountry.com/2011/08/motorists-prime-beneficiaries-of.html

      The gas tax doesn’t come close to paying for the costs of building and maintaining the roads. Here is a good study you should read to avoid spreading perpetuating common myths: http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf

      Driving is not “far safer”. In fact, you are more likely to perish in a car than on a bicycle in Canada based on number of hours travelled. Cars normally travel at 120km/h+ on the highway. Bicycles normally travel at 20km/h.

      • fltron

        I’m willing to be convinced otherwise, because you’re right, stats are tricky and there are a lot of false statements made by creative “accounting.”

        Saying that, the link you pointed to made a lot of general statements that can be summarized as “OMG, driving causes all these issues, and all these issues cost so much money, therefore driving is super expensive.” The link that got into the actual cost (which was two links off) basically ignored any tax dollars raised from taxing gas. I’m not convinced. Do you have a better argument?

        Re: safety, yeah… based on number of hours travelled. I would say that between driving, flying, taking the bus, bicycling.. they’re all relatively safe. But you can’t compare the two the way you did… you don’t bicycle on highways. The fair comparison would be comparison of deaths on city streets by car vs bicycle, and on city streets you’re traveling 50km/h in a giant car. There are deaths, but usually from gross driver error (i.e. running red lights, or other very extreme examples).

        So yes, I’ll give you the argument isn’t black and white, but I’d argue that you’re doing the same… making assumptions in favour of your argument.

        I really am open to being convinced otherwise, but I need to see some numbers not grand assumptions.

        • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

          The second link talks specifically about the amount of revenue generated from the gas tax. On page 7 there’s a graph that shows the gas tax contributes 34.8% of transportation funding. Here’s the link again: http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf

          Why is comparing safety based on number of hours not a valid comparison? When people drive, they often drive on highways. When people ride a bicycle, they never ride on highways. Your earlier statement was “Driving is far safer”. If we ignore the fact that people do drive on highways to calculate the relative safety of driving, how is that any indication of actual safety?

          If people only drove cars on city streets and never drove on highways, then it would be fair to ignore the danger of highways, but people do drive on highways and that needs to be factored into any analysis of driver safety.

          • fltron

            On safety, I should have better explained my point. I can’t bicycle to work in under an hour, but I can drive there in 20 minutes. When I’m driving, I’m assuming a risk I can’t resolve by cycling. I happen to work in the suburbs (believe me, wish I didn’t) but had I worked downtown closer to where I live, driving would be a safer mode of regular transportation (I assume, though maybe you might have better stats for this).

            Sorry, thought I clicked on both links. That second link is definitely interesting. I don’t necessarily think the 40/60 split is entirely incorrect. Maybe 60/40 would be more fair, but let’s keep in mind that with out roads (in the dramatic case) cities would have no tourism, no food delivery, no merchandize. Everyone benefits from roads. The article does also admit most highway fees are funded by user-fees.

            When it comes to local roads, I think everyone is in agreement that they want a road in front of their house. And they want that road attached to other roads.

            I do stand completely corrected by my original statement. I’m not as far convinced as to say driving is the most subsidized form of transportation, because it’s the roads that are subsidized and those roads are needed.

            As a driver I appreciate that we have bike lanes. I’m glad that cities are putting money toward this, and I understand the need to battle the perception that bikers don’t pay their ‘fair’ share of the roads – Thus calls for higher licensing, etc..

  • fltron

    Kind of lame…. The government raises a ton in taxation to pay for roads. The majority of gas tax doesn’t go to fix up the roads, but rather gets piled into general government revenue.

    And yes, of course no one blames you for choosing to drive if you’re hurt in an accident. Driving is far safer. The only other option is not to drive. If you do everything in your power to stay safe, and still get injured, there’s really no blame to be given.

    I get the point being made, that bikers get blamed when they get into accidents, and I don’t agree that this should be the case.. but these points are poor comparisons where people that agree with them will go “Ya! you told ‘em!” and people that don’t are going to say “This is dumb.”

    And I’m a converted, I wish I could travel more by transit and bike. But lame.

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    Driving is the most heavily subsidized form of transportation. I covered that in this article: http://www.theurbancountry.com/2011/08/motorists-prime-beneficiaries-of.html

    The gas tax doesn’t come close to paying for the costs of building and maintaining the roads. Here is a good study you should read to avoid spreading perpetuating common myths: http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf

    Driving is not “far safer”. In fact, you are more likely to perish in a car than on a bicycle in Canada based on number of hours travelled. Cars normally travel at 120km/h+ on the highway. Bicycles normally travel at 20km/h.

  • fltron

    I’m willing to be convinced otherwise, because you’re right, stats are tricky and there are a lot of false statements made by creative “accounting.”

    Saying that, the link you pointed to made a lot of general statements that can be summarized as “OMG, driving causes all these issues, and all these issues cost so much money, therefore driving is super expensive.” The link that got into the actual cost (which was two links off) basically ignored any tax dollars raised from taxing gas. I’m not convinced. Do you have a better argument?

    Re: safety, yeah… based on number of hours travelled. I would say that between driving, flying, taking the bus, bicycling.. they’re all relatively safe. But you can’t compare the two the way you did… you don’t bicycle on highways. The fair comparison would be comparison of deaths on city streets by car vs bicycle, and on city streets you’re traveling 50km/h in a giant car. There are deaths, but usually from gross driver error (i.e. running red lights, or other very extreme examples).

    So yes, I’ll give you the argument isn’t black and white, but I’d argue that you’re doing the same… making assumptions in favour of your argument.

    I really am open to being convinced otherwise, but I need to see some numbers not grand assumptions.

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    The second link talks specifically about the amount of revenue generated from the gas tax. On page 7 there’s a graph that shows the gas tax contributes 34.8% of transportation funding. Here’s the link again: http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf

    Why is comparing safety based on number of hours not a valid comparison? When people drive, they often drive on highways. When people ride a bicycle, they never ride on highways. Your earlier statement was “Driving is far safer”. If we ignore the fact that people do drive on highways to calculate the relative safety of driving, how is that any indication of actual safety?

    If people only drove cars on city streets and never drove on highways, then it would be fair to ignore the danger of highways, but people do drive on highways and that needs to be factored into any analysis of driver safety.

  • fltron

    On safety, I should have better explained my point. I can’t bicycle to work in under an hour, but I can drive there in 20 minutes. When I’m driving, I’m assuming a risk I can’t resolve by cycling. I happen to work in the suburbs (believe me, wish I didn’t) but had I worked downtown closer to where I live, driving would be a safer mode of regular transportation (I assume, though maybe you might have better stats for this).

    Sorry, thought I clicked on both links. That second link is definitely interesting. I don’t necessarily think the 40/60 split is entirely incorrect. Maybe 60/40 would be more fair, but let’s keep in mind that with out roads (in the dramatic case) cities would have no tourism, no food delivery, no merchandize. Everyone benefits from roads. The article does also admit most highway fees are funded by user-fees.

    When it comes to local roads, I think everyone is in agreement that they want a road in front of their house. And they want that road attached to other roads.

    I do stand completely corrected by my original statement. I’m not as far convinced as to say driving is the most subsidized form of transportation, because it’s the roads that are subsidized and those roads are needed.

    As a driver I appreciate that we have bike lanes. I’m glad that cities are putting money toward this, and I understand the need to battle the perception that bikers don’t pay their ‘fair’ share of the roads – Thus calls for higher licensing, etc..

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