Mi Ae Lipe is a safe driving advocate who speaks important truths to a crucial audience.
One of the many things I do that annoys my two (teen and pre-teen) daughters is that I drive exceedingly slowly and cautiously. I have this thing where I tell them — not to be braggadocious, but to make a point — that, “Just imagine: If everyone drove like I did, there would be no crashes and no one would ever get hurt or killed on the road.” They of course roll their eyes and say, “Oh boy, here goes dad again.”
But it’s true: If every person behind the wheel was as scared-straight as I’ve become after being a daily bike rider for 30 years and having a job for 13 of them where I consume a daily stream of information about horrific crashes and have met hundreds of people directly impacted by them — our streets would be pretty chill.
In our push for safer streets, we usually talk about infrastructure, enforcement, and educating people about drunk driving, rules of the road, and so on. What gets left out is a more holistic look at how we drive.
That’s why I was so happy to come across the work of Mi Ae Lipe, an advocate who lives near Seattle. Mi Ae is a driving expert who writes a column for a BMW owner’s club magazine and consults with agencies and nonprofits about safety. In 2017 she was a co-recipient of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Award for Public Service. Mi Ae wants to re-educate American drivers. [Read more…]
A great city for biking must have great drivers.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
This post was submitted by BP Subscriber Alex Reed.
We all know driving is a challenging endeavor that carries grave responsibility – lives are on the line. But even driving according to the law dependably is difficult – much less going beyond the law to be truly courteous and helpful to other road users.
Here are some ideas I’ve found useful – starting with how to obey the law. If you don’t drive, please share this with your friends and family that do.
8 Tips To Help Get You to A+, 100% Lawful Driving
1. Take a deep breath – don’t rush.
If you’re reading this for tips, I bet you already obey the speed limit without fail. But don’t forget the Basic Speed Law (layperson’s version: don’t drive too fast for conditions)! There are tons of places and times where the speed limit is way too fast. Don’t be in a rush. Opting for slower and safer is better than just going on autopilot at the speed limit. As we leave the summer, allow more and more extra time for less than ideal conditions.
Another person was killed in a collision involving an automobile user just after midnight this morning. It was the
20th 24th fatality on Portland roads so far this year and the 10th in just the last three weeks.
Portland Police say the latest tragedy occurred on Southeast Powell Blvd east of 50th. In a statement they wrote that,
“Preliminary information learned from the investigation suggests the pedestrian crossed southbound over Southeast Powell Boulevard east of Southeast 50th Avenue and was struck by a vehicle. The pedestrian reportedly made an unexpected movement in front of an oncoming vehicle while crossing… The pedestrian was not in a cross-walk at the time of the collision. The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene, contacted 9-1-1 to report the crash and is cooperating with the investigation. At this time it does not appear the driver of the vehicle was impaired while driving.”
While the PPB includes a boilerplate paragraph about Vision Zero in all their traffic crash statements these days, the statement fails to live up to the spirit of that goal.
A city committed to zero traffic deaths by 2025 should not publish blame-oriented statements about a traffic crash so soon after it happens. Especially when the victim is a vulnerable road user. That type of tone and framing is speculative, unnecessary, and makes the culture change we need much harder to accomplish.
Beyond this death on Powell, it’s clear that Portland isn’t doing enough — fast enough — to achieve Vision Zero.
Traffic safety issues are often framed in a way that makes them seem like it’s all about “bicyclists and pedestrians”. But the reality is that dangerous driving (and driving itself, but that’s another conversation) is a menace to everyone and no person — or thing — is safe as long as our roads and culture normalize this behavior.
Over the course of less than five hours Sunday morning (between 2:30 and 8:30 am) here’s what my inbox looked like (emphases mine):
I often feel that what’s often lost in our debates about transportation projects, policies and funding is a conversation about the staggering toll driving extracts from our city.
In 48 hours starting last Thursday evening, I noticed a stream of police alerts come across my computer. It was a startling spate of incidents that underscored this toll. They involved people using cars dangerously and without respect or consideration for others.
Nearly 3,000 teenagers die every year in motor vehicle crashes in our country — it’s the leading cause of death in the 12-19 year age group and represents nearly half of all teenage fatalities.
As a bicycle rider (and father of a teenager), it’s quite unpleasant to think about sharing the road with these inexperienced and often distracted young people. That’s why I’m happy to share that this weekend Ford is sponsoring a series of free “Driving Skills for Life” clinics that will teach teens from around the region how to drive safely.
The event is part of a national tour that Ford Motor Company has been organizing for 12 years and it’s being promoted by the Oregon Department of Transportation as an element of their Vision Zero plans.