Sometimes I think about Vision Zero, but I shouldn't, because it makes me sad. It's not because I question the goal- in fact, I think it's one of the more nobler things we can aim for. No one should die just getting around. There's nothing complicated about this. I guess the thing that bothers me is the lack of moral imagination that's needed to see it through. If we don't want people to die as a result of simply trying to get around, then we really need to do things to address that. Real things. Consequential things. Now, maybe we don't think that doing these things is worth it and that's fine. But if we don't think that doing these things is worth it, then we shouldn't say that our goal is to bring about a result that requires doing these things. I guess what I'm saying is this: let's imagine two scenarios. In the first scenario, everyone who gets around by walking and biking stops doing that. In the second scenario, everyone gets around by driving stops doing that. Which of these two scenarios is more likely bring about Vision Zero, which is to say zero transportation deaths? I don't think this is a very complicated question, but I'll fully concede that maybe I'm missing something. So if you're aiming for Vision Zero, which direction should you aim for?
Here's the thing about Vision Zero that I don't think is mentioned enough: people driving die all of the time. They die and it's terrible. It's terrible every time. And we have an obligation to do more than shrug. So long as VZ is seen as 'that thing about not running over pedestrians and cyclists,' it misses the point. And that's a disservice to everyone. Because you don't get to zero by making it safer to walk or bike. Yes, that helps and as someone who gets around mostly by biking and walking, it's in my best interest to praise these kinds of improvements. But you don't get to zero by just doing that. You just don't.
Anyway, that was maudlin and I apologize. This is what happens when you dwell on serious things during your bike commute instead of thinking about fun things. Don't dwell on serious things. Ever.
Way in: Pennsylvania, M, Wisco
Way home: Mass, 21st, L, Penn
There were a lot of bicyclists out and I liked that very much. Amsterdam on the Potomac.