When Bad Things Happen to Bad Drivers
I live just off Blackstone Boulevard (GPS coordinates available for GM Black Ops rotary winged aircraft). It's RI's urban highway: two-lanes in each direction with a large, leafy central island (once a streecar route, now joggers' paradise). The Boulevard is also the Mother of All Speed Traps; I'll pay anyone who can drive down that piece of tarmac at 25mph to wear one of those Mission Impossible masks and sit through my kids' school plays. Well, that's the way it used to be. Suddenly, Renaissance City Planners have added a bike lane to Blackstone Boulevard, restricting traffic in each direction to a single lane. As a two-wheeled boulevardier, I can only say WTF? The new lane places two-wheelers closer to the traffic (there's a lane for parking next to the curb). Why didn't my unelected representatives ban parking and put the bike lane next to the curb? And now I hear these self-same traffic planners [sic] are going to install speed bumps. All I've got to say about that is this article about a Canadian traffic calming strategy gone serious awry. "[Local resident Brenda] White says cars and a motorcycle have spun out of control after hitting or dodging [constricted] curbs. Some cars spin onto lawns, she said. Some shear off trees or dent traffic signs and cable boxes. Curbs are chipped and blackened by the many tires that have struck them. A recent survey found residents are almost as concerned about the curbs as they are about speeding. Their concerns are justified. Between 2004 and 2006, five drivers lost control on Heritage Drive and crashed. Five more vehicles crashed for other reasons. One of these 10 collisions claimed a life."
More by Robert Farago