I remember my first car; it was a ’62 Chevy Impala that was handed down by my folks first to my brother and then of course onto me. I was grateful – and, it had air-conditioning! But no collision avoidance control, airbags, seatbelts or any of the other numerous safety features in today’s cars.
I can still see the hard metal dashboard and shiny control knobs just waiting to make almost any accident have injury or fatal consequences. Contemporary safety features were a generation away.
It is simply irresponsible and potentially negligent to not take advantage of proven safety measures.
The American auto industry had to be dragged to the table kicking and screaming all the way when the government slowly forced the industry to include as standard equipment all sorts of safety features commonly found in cars today!
The result of government oversight and regulation was that the approximately 53 fatalities per each 100,000 miles driven in 1950 dropped 11.4 by 2017. That’s just the fatalities – the injuries in 1950 were more numerous and gruesome.
City Governments Can Create Hazards
Boca Raton’s government, both elected and not, have this same responsibility to protect its residents, their children and visitors by enhancing public safety rather than dismantling it. At a time when many cities are creating safer bike lanes Boca Raton has done the opposite and allowed bike lanes to be removed from a dangerous and complex intersections in the City – Camino Real and Dixie.
In contrast, Cambridge, Massachusetts passed a cycling safety ordinance making not just bike lanes, but “protected” bike lanes mandatory. They get it!
Boca’s Bike Safety hasn’t changed in 15 years
The elimination of bike lanes would appear to be negligent and far from a “best practice”. How could this be an acceptable impact of any development?
Palm Beach County, Florida recently completed a comprehensive five-year study of bicycle and pedestrian safety. One of the areas studied was the difference bike lanes make regarding bicyclist crashes with vehicles. It should be noted that in most cases, vehicles are also damaged in the collisions. As shown in the following chart from their study, the number of crashes between vehicles and bicyclists during 2010-2014 was about 1,350 where the bicyclist was NOT in a bike lane. The number of vehicle and bicyclist crashes during the same period where the bicyclist was in a bike lane was about 30.
We must not let developer problems become our problems to the detriment of our safety. Statistics clearly show the public safety benefits of bike lanes. Other cities have surpassed Boca Raton while it’s stagnated for 15 years. They are far ahead of Boca Raton and demonstrate the political courage and leadership with best practices. Removing bike lanes is going backward and potentially negligent.