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World Carfree Day
Monthly Bulletin issue 48 - July 2003
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Edition no. 48 - July 2003 - English version
BOXERS AND BRIEFS
- CAMPAIGN HEATS UP AGAINST BP'S BAKU-CEYHAN PIPELINE
- BLOCKED ROADS AND PROTEST ACTIONS IN FRANCE
- CLEVELAND RADIO STATION PROMOTES ASSAULT ON CYCLISTS
- SITTING IN TRAFFIC CAUSES SKIN TO AGE PREMATURELY
- THE CARS EPIDEMIC
- ANTI-ROAD CAMP SET UP IN WEST SUSSEX, ENGLAND
- BIKESUMMER 2003 CONVERGES ON NEW YORK CITY
- CRITICAL MASS U.S. BOOK AND VIDEO TOUR
CAR BUSTERS ANNOUNCEMENTS
- CAR BUSTERS ISSUE 17 RELEASED!
- ATLANTA'S PEDESTRIAN AVENGER JOINS CAR BUSTERS TEAM
- CARFREE DAY PLANS IN PRAGUE
- TOWARDS CARFREE CITIES IV, BERLIN 2004
BOXERS & BRIEFS
- Report: Fords now guzzle more petrol than the Model T. The Ford Model T got 25 miles per gallon (10.6 kml) nearly a century ago. Michigan-based Ford's average vehicle now gets 22.6 mpg (9.6 kml), with its popular Explorer sports utility vehicle getting 16 mpg (6.8 kml), according to an advertisement placed by the Sierra Club, a US environmental group.
- Nigeria's traffic authorities confirmed Thursday they had ordered psychiatric tests of traffic offenders blamed for "insane" gridlock in Lagos, sub-Saharan Africa's largest city.
- The UK Royal Mail is to stop transporting post by rail - in a move which will cut costs but end 170 years of history: .
WORLD NEWS >>
CAMPAIGN HEATS UP AGAINST BP'S BAKU-CEYHAN PIPELINE
[from London Rising Tide, CEE Bankwatch and Green Alternative]
London Rising Tide took the struggle to bury BP's planned Baku-Ceyhan pipeline to the heart of the British cultural establishment on July 5 at the British Museum in central London, which is currently hosting the BP-sponsored "Museum of the Mind - Art and Memory in World Cultures" exhibition.
The action was intended to raise awareness among those visiting the BP-sponsored exhibition of the corporation's global activities. Activists converged on the exhibition to unmask the global politics of the oil giant. This is part of a campaign to alert people to the serious issues surrounding oil consumption, transport and extraction. In the ever more bloody "aftermath" of the latest Gulf war, and in the 120-day consultation period for the pipeline, it is essential that "No Blood For Oil" does not fade away with all the other slogans chanted on the marches.
On June 5, over seventy environmental and human rights groups from 29 countries called for an immediate moratorium on a controversial BP oil pipeline, planned to run from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. They wrote to the major public funders of the pipeline project, arguing that the pipeline would worsen human rights problems along the pipeline route, and that a background of lack of freedom of speech in the region made proper consultation and land compensation impossible.
And on June 27, the Georgian District Court granted Green Alternative, a Georgian nonprofit group, the right to commence a legal action in connection with the pipeline. Green Alternative remains deeply concerned about the controversial environmental clearance granted by the Georgian government for the construction of the pipeline's Georgian section. Activists have long maintained that BP, the lead member of the international pipeline consortium, leaned on the Georgian government for a quick and favourable decision.
It will be asserted that the statutory rights of Georgian citizens, which provide for proper access to information and meaningful participation in the decision-making process, have been violated.
BLOCKED ROADS AND PROTEST ACTIONS IN FRANCE
Mountain valleys in France celebrated the anniversary of the reopening of Mont-Blanc tunnel to trucks, with blocked roads and protest actions: four valleys were involved in the action, which took place on June 25.
In the Pyrenees, the road leading to the unpopular Somport Tunnel in Bedous was blocked by 150 people. In the Jura, 100 protesters gathered in a human chain around a roundabout, along the road which goes through the villages of the Valliere Valley. This was the first-ever demonstration against road transport in this valley. In the Alps (Mont-Blanc and Maurienne), over 200 activists blocked the road to Mont-Blanc tunnel in Chamonix for three hours.
CLEVELAND RADIO STATION PROMOTES ASSAULT ON CYCLISTS
[as reported by Lois, a bike shop owner in Cleveland, Ohio, USA]
On July 2 in Cleveland, Ohio, the morning radio show WMJI-Majic 105 read an e-mail from a listener saying that bicycles should not be on the roads. At least one of the DJs told listeners who were in cars to do things like:
- speed past the bike, pull back into the lane and slam on your brakes.
- speed past the bike, have your passenger open their door and put on the brakes.
- yell and/or honk at all cyclists as you pass in your car.
- throw things like cans or rolls of pennies out your window at cyclists.
On July 3, the DJs continued taking calls from listeners and further encouraged drivers to do whatever it takes to get cyclists off the roads. Callers who agreed with the DJs' viewpoints were awarded a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
There are a few exceptions in Freedom of Speech rules including "Personal Attacks" and "Clear and Present Danger" meaning intention to incite dangerous activity and are likely to succeed in producing dangerous activity. It appears there have been violations of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. Several organisations are contacting the FCC, WMJI-Majic 105, and Clear Channel Networks (owner of WMJI-Majic 105) to stand up against this behaviour and to educate the public on rules of the road.
"DO MUCH DRIVING? IT'S WRITTEN ALL OVER YOUR FACE"
[from Andy Singer, as reported in the Sacramento Bee, USA]
When patients come into Dr. Suzanne Kilmer's dermatology office in Sacramento, California, she usually can tell right away whether they've spent their lives primarily as drivers or as passengers. How?
If the left side of the face has more wrinkles, crags and blotches, the patients are drivers. If it's the right side, they're passengers. That's right. Sitting in traffic day in and day out doesn't just put stress on our hearts and fill our lungs with dangerous fumes. Now experts are saying it also causes our skin to age prematurely, and it may even lead to skin cancer.
THE CARS EPIDEMIC:
WE FIND MILLIONS FOR SARS AND WARS BUT OFFER HOT AIR FOR SMOG PLAGUE
[by Tooker Gomberg in NOW Magazine, Toronto, June 19]
Isn't it amazing what resources and attention can be brought to bear on certain problems? SARS sparred with WAR for a while. Then, with Iraq vanquished, SARS commanded and still holds the front pages. Out of nowhere, governments find millions of dollars for SARS and
billions for WAR. The media-fed crisis trumpets the toll: 34 dead and rising in Toronto from SARS. Thirty-four people dead before their time is tragic. But on the eve of this year's Smog Summit, taking place this weekend, we have to ask, what if that many people were dying
every 12 days in Toronto of a known, treatable urban disease?
Why do we rarely hear about Toronto's out-of-control CARS epidemic? Did you know that a thousand Torontonians die annually from toxic air, largely from tailpipes? It's a global crisis when 500 million tailpipes spew poisons into our common atmosphere that later nestle in the deepest recesses of our lungs, where oxygen is absorbed into our bodies via our respiratory systems. That's respiratory, the "R" in SARS.
ANTI-ROAD CAMP SET UP IN WEST SUSSEX, ENGLAND
Support is needed now for a new anti-road protest camp that has been set up on Tortington Common, on the route of the proposed new A27 Arundel Bypass. Part of the planned South Coast motorway, being built by stealth and in segments. Bypassing the existing bypass, it would cross the River Arun wetlands south of Arundel and traverse a mile of precious Sussex woodland. Thousands of trees would be lost, including 100-foot oak trees, yews, and beech trees. If this goes ahead, it will not be long before other areas are threatened by the next stage. It can be stopped now, before the final go-ahead is given. You can join the camp this summer, or help out in other ways, either by contributing a few hours of labour or bringing supplies.
The camp is to the west of Arundel, about 15 minutes walk north of Ford railway station on the main South Coast railway line, with direct trains from Worthing, Brighton and Portsmouth. For further directions, contact 07736 964653 or 07792 248192 - text messages are more likely to get through. Or failing that, e-mail .
BIKESUMMER 2003 CONVERGES ON NEW YORK CITY
The fifth annual BikeSummer, a month-long celebration of bicycling and bike culture, began June 27, with a Critical Mass ride from Union Square North. There will be a dozen different events throughout the weekend, and festivities continue daily until Saturday, July 26. Altogether, BikeSummer includes more than 130 bike-related happenings featuring arts, performance, literary interest, food, adventure, advocacy, competition, tours, films, education, and more. Complete listings are at .
CRITICAL MASS U.S. BOOK AND VIDEO TOUR
[with editor Chris Carlsson and other contributors, in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, College Park, Washington and Richmond]
From July 24-30, AK Press is organising a book tour on the East Coast of the US, with Chris Carlsson, editor of "Critical Mass: Bicycling's Defiant Celebration" (Chris Carlsson, ed. 2002, AK Press, 256 p.). In the book, four dozen contributors document, define and drive home the beauty of a quiet ride with a thousand friends, the anarchy of grassroots inspiration, the melodrama of media coverage and the fight for the survival of our cities. Website: .
Along with the book tour, the film "We Are Traffic!" (Ted White, 1999) will be shown. The documentary interviews some of the contributors to the newly released book. "We Are Traffic!" chronicles Critical Mass, a movement of thousands (and twice as many wheels) as they reclaim public space and keep bicycling and public transport in the spotlight of contemporary politics. The film explores the fun, complexity and struggle involved in social change. Website: .
CAR BUSTERS ANNOUNCEMENTS >>
CAR BUSTERS ISSUE 17 RELEASED!
The brand new edition of Car Busters magazine was released on June 30 and will hit mailboxes and newstands shortly. Features include "How to Not Get Hit by Cars" (Ten Ways to Avoid Common Collisions), "Out of Town, Without a Car!" (The Carfree Ecovillage in Your Future), "The Biodiesel Revolution?" (Fuelling Up on Vegetable Oil), "Efficient Cars = Sick Cities" (An Open Letter to Environmental Leaders), "London's Congestion" (Mayor Livingstone Leads the Charge), and "Bogota After Penalosa" (An Interview with Oscar Edmundo Diaz). Regular sections include Letters, Car Cult Review, Industry Watch, World News, Action!, Studies & Reports, Book Reviews, and Announcements.
To subscribe to our magazine, commencing with the current issue, go to . To buy a copy of the current issue only, go to .
ATLANTA'S PEDESTRIAN AVENGER JOINS CAR BUSTERS TEAM
Katie Sobush is one of the Czech Republic's latest immigrants in the stream of political refugees escaping the terror of the American Empire. Back in February she wrote to Car Busters requesting "socio-political asylum" from the Bush regime, and she landed safely in Prague on July 2. In Atlanta she is variously known as "The Pedestrian Avenger" (named by the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper) and "Yellow Bike Girl." She was a transport planner by day and a Critical Mass activist and Earth on Empty SUV ticketer by night - although her mother and two sisters are proud members of the Ford family. Not only is Atlanta arguably the worst city for cycling in the US, but its residents drive an average of 34 miles per day, more per capita than residents of any other US city. In total that's 115 million miles a day, a distance greater than from the sun to the Earth.
CARFREE DAY PLANS IN PRAGUE
Plans are already gearing up for World Carfree Day in Prague. Car Busters has joined together with artists and colleagues from nonprofit groups to organise a big celebratory event on Wenceslas Square, the symbolic heart of the city. Theatre, music, exhibitions, workshops for children and other activities will transform at least a part of Prague into a creative and dignified space for life - without exhaust, noise and deadly traffic.
It is still unsure whether the city will lend its support to the event, but the group has decided to go ahead with its ambitious carfree day plans regardless. The group will fill Wenceslas Square with festive activities and ask motorists - via publicity, signage and nonconfrontational check-points - not to drive on the massive square for the day. We will offer positive solutions and continue to promote alternatives beyond the single-day event. Any Praguians interested in joining this civic initiative, called Automat, can contact or see the website (coming soon).
TOWARDS CARFREE CITIES IV, BERLIN 2004
At the very successful and productive Towards Carfree Cities III conference in Prague (March 17-22), it was decided that, in order to develop and maintain the Car Busters network, it is necessary to have an annual meeting. The next conference, Towards Carfree Cities IV, will be held in summer 2004 in Berlin, where two organisers are already researching funding sources and facilities, and finding sponsors and partners. As for Towards Carfree Cities V in 2005, there is already a proposal from the good people of Budapest. See future bulletins for more information.
"We've embarked on the beginning of the last days of the age of oil. Embrace the future and recognise the growing demand for a wide range of fuels or ignore reality and slowly - but surely - be left behind.
- Mike Bowlin, former chairman and CEO of ARCO (now BP).
Embrace the future and liberate yourself today.
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