Fantastic NY Times article about new cell phone applications that lock phones from texting, calling, surfing the web, etc. if you are traveling faster than 5-10 mph (hint: it calculates this from GPS). Good for parents or anyone who wants to focus on attentive (not distracted) driving.
American Family Insurance's Teen Safe Driver program is offering teens a tool proven to help improve their attentiveness while driving: video-based feedback. I read about this in Tom Vanderbilt's Traffic last year and its application in company fleets; a tiny camera is mounted on the rearview mirror where it records the driver and the road ahead. When it registers a swerve or sudden braking, it sends 10 seconds of video from before and after the event to a web server for later viewing by a driver and an instructor.
Not only are the videos useful for crash reconstruction, but more importantly (I think) is how they capture the near misses which happen LOTS to every driver, and lots of times unwittingly...until one watches the video. Watching the video, particularly with a driving instructor, is powerful mojo for change.
I don't know if it will work as well for teens watching them with, or being made to watch them by, a parent. Thing is, my daughter already weights my advice/council less than advice from teachers, the woman who cuts her hair, and other 11 year old girls. If, instead of a "Gotcha!" game with me, the camera thing was part of Illinois' "graduated license" requirements where maybe she has to log on and watch any videos once a week until she's 18, then I wouldn't have to wrestle her into the chair or pay her hair stylist to tell her to watch them.
I keep hoping the minimum driving age will get bumped to 18 before my daughter turns 16. But I think, if it's used to teach her by someone besides me, the camera's a brilliant compromise that could help her be a safer driver for life.
Where to Bike Chicago announces a Bicycle Photo Contest and Exhibit for Chicagoland.
The juried competition offers $1,000 in cash prizes and publication, with credit, in the forthcoming guidebook, Where to Bike Chicago.
1 Grand Prize ($300); 2 First Places ($200); 3 Second Places ($100).
No fee to enter.
Deadline: July 15, 2010
Photos should exemplify the joy of bicycling. They must depict at least 1 person (an adult or your own child) with a bike. Subjects riding must be wearing a helmet; subjects sitting on, walking, and standing or sitting next to a bike should not be wearing a helmet so their faces are more visible. Each entry must be a sharp, crisp, high-quality digital jpg - 300 dpi at 4x6 inches, or larger. Photos remain the property of the photographer. For the rules, a list of the rides and more information, see www.WhereToBikeChicago.com (going live soon) or email Greg Borzo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin secured $1.12 million for completing Chicago Southland trails today, including:
Senator Durbin was able to secure more than $2.8 million for trail projects statewide. The source of the money is the 2009 federal Omnibus Appropriations Act. The League of Illinois Bicyclists, with help from Active Trans and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, helped the Senator identify key trails projects with important connections and a big economic impact. Thank you, Senator!
"Everyone in other towns will say, 'God, if they had only built the trail to the Kohl's or some other store.' Well, here, they can do that. They can have this trail transportation system, where most everywhere else, they have to settle for just a trail." Read more here.
Two great chances to race and watch the action within Chicago city limits are coming up soon.
The Monsters of the Midway Criterium, hosted by University of Chicago Velo Club, will be Saturday, May 15. The race, first held in 1997, is so-called for utilizing the picturesque and historic Midway Plaisance on the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus, between 59th and 60th Streets.
Monsters is easily accessible via the Lakefront Trail south to the Museum of Science and Industry, then riding west on 56th street to Stony Island, south.
Next, on June 12th, is the 11th annual Sherman Park Criterium, presented by xXx Racing - AthletiCo. Sherman Park, located in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, was designed by the Olmsted Brothers, of New York’s Central Park fame, with bicycle-racing in mind. The most direct, laned-route to the race is Halsted Street to 53rd Street, then riding west to Racine Avenue.
Online registration is currently open for both races: click here to register for Monsters of the Midway, and here for Sherman Park. Each race is also part of the Illinois Cup points series. Both races are free and open to the public.
I'll remember last week for the rest of my life. The state joined twelve other states and the District of Columbia to enact safety legislation requiring cars to stop at crosswalks and unsignalized intersections. I grew up in California where even in the 1970's cars were expected to stop for pedestrians. I lived in a different world, almost. When I moved to Michigan, it was a true culture shock to get used to the new frontier-like laws. It just didn't make any sense. As time went on, I got used to the system that placed priorities on cars, but I never liked it.
So when our Director of Education and Government Affairs thought it was time to introduce the bill that soon became HB43, I was all on board. This is the kind of legislation and advocacy that we envisioned when the Board expanded our mission in 2007. We built a coalition of supporters among disability rights advocates, police chiefs, pediatricians, community leaders, and regional planners. Two great new champions of active transportation, Rep. Luis Arrroyo and Sen. Heather Steans, stepped forward and sponsored the bill, taking a risk to save lives.
When I recently announced my departure from Chicago, I dreamed that as a final accomplishment, that I could count this bill as part of the legacy. Well, my dreams have come true thanks to great help from key people:
Dan Persky -- our legislative leader who worked the bills and made the calls traveling to Springfield on a minute's notice to get the job done.
Lina Hoffman -- working to gain support in the Northern suburbs as part of her job as Suburban Coordinator and working with the students at Curie High School to bring a bus down to Springfield as part of her other job with us as the Drive with Care coordinator. I'm so proud of what she was able to do and for the role that these high school kids played in this story. They showed that 40 young adults from the Southwest side can make a difference, turning at least 3 votes in our favor.
Steve Buchtel and Pamela Brookstein -- our other two Suburban Coordinators who worked hard to move the suburban votes. Each and every vote was important.
Margo O'Hara -- our Communications Director, who crafted messages, wrote press releases, pitched stories, and engaged our members to make calls.
Our Members -- who worked the phones to let their legislators know that they cared about this legislation.
Our partners including Access Living, Metropolitan Planning Council, and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
Our job is not done. We need to urge Gov. Pat Quinn to sign the legislation. We need to work to educate motorists and pedestrians on the law integrating into drivers' education courses, the driver's exam, and signage. But we will change the driving culture for the better.
Nothing has embodied our essence with our new mission as moving toward responsibile mobility as this bill. It is good for all citizens of Illinois and will bring a saner policy to transportation for all of us whether we bike, walk, take transit, or go by car. I am very proud to be a part of this historic moment.