Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on August 21st, 2013 at 2:37 pm
Carnage ruins lives, and coverage of carnage helps fix streets. So we write about it.
Two months ago, after returning from a country that transformed its streets in the 1970s after a mass protest movement about street safety, Jonathan kicked off what he described as a “mini advocacy campaign” by BikePortland to raise awareness of the traffic carnage on our streets.
This is a delicate line for our little news operation to walk. People read posts about crashes because they find them relevant, but they’re the opposite of enjoyable to read. We received emails and comments from people who thought covering collisions too closely was sensationalism and would only scare people away from riding. Also, there’s a widespread misperception among non-bikers that, hour for hour, biking is a generally dangerous way to get around. It isn’t. (See p. 27 of this PDF for Portland’s latest numbers.)
But carnage ruins lives, and coverage of carnage helps fix streets. So we write about it. This month, podcast producer Lillian Karabaic, Jonathan and I devoted the full half-hour of our monthly podcast to discussing this decision and the factors around it.