Murder Machines

Murder Machines: Why Cars Will Kill 30,000 Americans This Year. A good essay-length look at how social norms regarding streets and safety have changed over the last century, and why our current norms and design guidelines lead very predictably to tends of thousands of preventable deaths each year.  Covers a lot of the same territory as Peter D. Norton’s excellent book Fighting Traffic, which gives a detailed historical account of the transition, between about 1915 and 1930, from streets being universally accessible public space to being nearly the sole domain of motorized transportation.  Ralph Nader effectively spearheaded a campaign for safety measures that protect those inside these deadly vehicles.  We need just as powerful a champion for those outside them, who make up about a third of all motor vehicle casualties in the US.  Streets don’t have to be designed to kill people.  Giving up a little bit of convenience for motorists frees up a lot of space and safety for everyone else.

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