Saturday, February 20, 2010

League National Rally in Albuquerque, 3-6 June, Ride for Gail proclamation on 4 March

Here is the rally site which links to the league site.

And from Gov. Richardson and BCNM:

Governors Proclamation Honors New Mexicos Top Bicycle Advocate on March 4th, 2010

Santa Fe, February 17, 2010 New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has proclaimed March 4, 2010 as Ride Your Bicycle In Honor Of Gail Ryba Day, to pay tribute to New Mexico's foremost bicycle advocate.

For more than a decade, Dr. Gail Ryba has been New Mexico's leading voice in promoting bicycling for transportation, highlighting its many benefits including reduced auto congestion, preservation of the environment and increased physical fitness for those who ride, said the proclamation signed by the Governor.

The Proclamation honors Dr. Ryba for her bicycle advocacy work in New Mexico as well as her encouraging New Mexicans to incorporate bicycles for all transportation needs. In addition, the Proclamation notes that Gail has worked to educate motorists and cyclists alike to promote mutual awareness and safety.

We're both proud and pleased that Gail Ryba's work is honored through this Proclamation and we urge all New Mexicans to ride bicycles on March 4th, added the Board Members of the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico. For those citizens who are unable to ride a bicycle, the Board asked that they choose a mass transportation alternative or carpool on the fourth.

Ryba, who has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from California Institute of Technology, first came to New Mexico to work for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. She co-founded the Sandia Bicycle Commuters Group, then founded Albuquerque's first bicycle advocacy group, the Greater Albuquerque Spokes People (GASP), which is now BikeABQ.

In 2001 after moving to Santa Fe, Dr. Ryba went on to form the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico (BCNM), the statewide bicycle advocacy organization. Additionally, she has served on the New Mexico Department of Transportation's Bicycle, Pedestrian and Equestrian Advisory Committee. Her role as a bike advocate is one part of her complete commitment to sustainability in a broad range of concerns. As Executive Director of the New Mexico Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, she promoted renewable energy and fair practices in energy development for the state, said Elena Kayak, Energy/Environmental Specialist for Rio Rancho Public Schools.

For more information on Ride Your Bicycle in Honor of Gail Ryba Day, contact: Diane Albert at 505.235.2277 or

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Secretary LaHood Issues Recall of the American Motorist

"DoT Secretary Ray La Hood has recalled the entire surface transportation fleet to replace an endemic factory defect: dangerous loose nuts have been installed behind the steering wheels of more than half of our cars..."

Too far out to be true? Much has been said lately about the recall of all those Toyotas due to defects in brake algorithms and sticky accelerators. But from what I have read in multiple sources (here is one), there have been about 19 deaths over a decade cause by Toyota's faulty throttles. Not sure how many have been killed by the brakes, but I suspect similar low numbers.

Meanwhile, what about the real "factory defects" in our vehicle fleet? We have killed roughly 400,000 people in traffic crashes over the last decade and according to the FHWA: "Depending on the source, driver error is cited as the cause of 45 to 75 percent of roadway crashes and as a contributing factor in the majority of crashes (Hankey, et al, 1999)."

Out of all those deaths, the defective gas pedal can explain perhaps %0.005. Driver error? 45-75%. Who are we kidding?

While roads and cars have acquired numerous safety features over the last quarter century, we see two big problems. One, that motorists increasingly take safety for granted and often engage in high-risk behavior such as driver distraction. Secondly, many of these improvements, designed to protect motorists, have done little to protect non-motorists such as bicyclists and pedestrians who are at ever increasing risk of being hit by distracted or safety tone-deaf motorists.

DoT Secretary Ray LaHood has been quoted as calling Toyota "a little safety deaf" over the accelerator issue. But looking at the FHWA report, don't you think its about time that the Secretary of Transportation took stronger action to prevent the lion's share of traffic crashes and immediately demand a recall of that most imperfect of designs, the "safety deaf" American motorist, to repair his or her hearing?