Also: Why car-free streets will soon be the norm, and don’t alienate the suburbs on climate.
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What We’re Following
Turns of phrase: Road safety advocates often argue that the media tends to blame victims when cars collide with pedestrians and cyclists, and that this has an effect on the way the public thinks about responsibility on the road.
A recent research paper finds that hunch can be backed up by the data. Researchers analyzed the language used in a sample of articles about crashes and found that the stories frequently obscured the driver’s role or shifted blame to the vulnerable road user traveling by bike or on foot. And coverage rarely included broader context about road conditions or public policy, instead treating them as “isolated incidents.” In some cases, it’s the difference between using language like “accident,” which suggests it was unavoidable, versus “crash.” CityLab’s Richard Florida has the details: How Media Coverage of Car Crashes Shifts Blame Away From Drivers
More on CityLab
Oh, What Fun It Is to Ride
Deck the bollards! A holiday vigilante (or a few) has decorated the protective infrastructure of some bike lanes in Chicago, like the one pictured above. Block Club Chicago spotted multiple bike lanes adding some festive visibility to these normally drab pylons with garland, tinsel, ribbon, bows, and even Christmas ornaments. When we asked the folks at Bike Lane Uprising for their thoughts on who might be behind this tactical urbanist cheer, they told CityLab, “Must be Santa!”
From the CityLab archives: How to Bike Home Your Christmas Tree in 11 Simple Steps
What We’re Reading
What cities would look like if they were only lit by stars (Wired)
No more school districts! (Democracy Journal)
Homelessness is not inevitable and can be solved—these cities show us how (The Guardian)