No winter sales but still a pretty good bargain on car-free
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CAR BUSTERS BULLETIN >>>
Edition no. 42 - January 2003 - English version
This bulletin was compiled by Ivana Jakubková. Thanks
to everyone for their submissions and sorry if yours didn't
make it in here: it's probably too good to be shared.
- JAPANESE GOVERNMENT TO PAY FOR ASTHMA
- UK: CYCLING'S DEAD, LET'S BUILD MORE ROADS!
- "DEBUNKER" OF GLOBAL WARMING FOUND
- ALPS TUNNEL UPDATE
- ROAD PROTEST IMAGE GALLERY
- STUDY OF CAR-FREE AND MOBILITY-MANAGED
- (IF YOU MUST DRIVE) MAKE YOUR OWN
- WALK21 IV CONFERENCE: HEALTH, EQUITY &
- BIKE WISE WEEK 2003
- JOB OPPORTUNITY AT EYFA
- BUILDING A NEW CITY TOUR
Car Busters Announcements
- TOWARDS CAR-FREE CITIES III: REGISTER NOW!
- CAR BUSTERS MAGAZINE NO. 16 RELEASED
- IVAN ILLICH MEMORIAL MAGAZINE (NO. 17) - CALL
Things to Read
- HIGH AND MIGHTY
WORLD NEWS >>
JAPANESE GOVERNMENT TO PAY FOR ASTHMA
[from the latest Carfree Times at
A group of Japanese asthma sufferers has won
US$638,000 in a suit against the Japanese government
alleging that road-related air pollution in Tokyo either
gave them asthma or exacerbated existing asthma. The
plaintiffs live within 50 metres of major roads and
highways in central Tokyo.
The court cited the failure of the national government,
the Metropolitan Expressway Public Corp., and the
Tokyo metropolitan government to properly build and
manage Tokyo's roads. "The extent of the violation is
very serious. The large volumes of exhaust that are
continually released have caused and exacerbated
bronchial asthma, which can endanger a person's life,"
the court said.
UK: CYCLING'S DEAD, LET'S BUILD MORE ROADS!
[spotted by Peter Day on BBC News, Dec. 12 and Dave
Morris in The Observer Dec. 22]
The biggest road-widening programme in 20 years has
been outlined by the UK government as part of a plan to
improve transport. Notorious bottlenecks on the M1 and
M6 motorways are to get an extra lane, taking them to
four lanes wide. The transport package is worth L5.5
billion for England's roads, rail and bus infrastructure, but
at about the same time the government admitted that
road congestion could worsen by a fifth over the next
Unlike environmental and public transport groups,
motoring groups welcomed the plan. The RAC (Royal
Automobile Club) said it was "a realisation that an
integrated transport policy includes road building."
Shortly after this announcement, The Observer
newspaper published an extensive article on the decline
of cycling in the UK. Fewer people are using bikes to get
to work or school than ever before: on rural roads and for
primary school children the level is so low it has officially
fallen to 'zero percent of trips' in national statistics.
Overall, only two percent of trips are now taken by
bicycle in the UK, compared with 85 percent by car. This
represents a decline in cycling by 25 percent and in
walking by almost 30 percent since 1990.
The government has spectacularly failed with its goal
of increasing cycling levels four-fold to reach eight
percent of all trips by 2012, which would have matched
the level Germany was at in 1996. Instead, it will now try
to triple cycling by 2010, which still looks like wishful
thinking, although the government is putting in record
levels of funding. It has just begun a nationwide
assessment of all councils' performance on cycling to
find out why it is still declining.
One senior consultant to ministers said: "Some places
are great. But the prevailing attitude in most authorities is
that the car is king, money is for road building, bikes are
at best an afterthought and at worst a threat to road
safety and traffic flow. The government simply has not
had the balls to get to grips with this because they are
afraid of the motoring lobby and now they are off
spending billions widening roads again."
Read the full version of the article at
"DEBUNKER" OF GLOBAL WARMING FOUND
[spotted by Jason Kirkpatrick in the Guardian, January 9]
Bjorn Lomborg - the director of Denmark's Environmental
Assessment Institute and a leading would-be debunker
of mainstream scientific opinion on issues like global
warming and overuse of natural resources - has been
found guilty by a Danish government committee of
"scientific dishonesty" after a year-long investigation.
The committee was appointed to look at four
complaints against Lomborg's book "The Skeptical
Environmentalist," which argues that life for humankind
had never been better, pollution levels were falling, and
there were enough resources for current levels of
prosperity to continue. It also claims that the "colossal
sums it is planned to deploy on reducing global warming
will be money ill spent."
Professor Lomborg's contrarian views made him a
favourite of the rightwing establishment after the book's
publication. On its election in March last year, Denmark's
rightwing government made him the director of its
Environmental Assessment Institute.
"This is the very message of the book: children born
today - in both the industrialised world and developing
countries - will live longer and be healthier," the book
concludes. "They will get more food, a better education,
a higher standard of living, more leisure time and far
more possibilities - without the global environment being
destroyed. And that is a beautiful world."
The complaints: "Lomborg is accused of fabricating
data, selectively and surreptitiously discarding unwanted
results, of the deliberately misleading use of statistical
methods, consciously distorted interpretation of the
conclusions, plagiarising of others' results or
publications, and deliberate misrepresentation of others'
However, the committee is not quite so harsh in its own
conclusions, accusing Professor Lomborg of not
comprehending the science rather than intending to
mislead or being grossly negligent.
ALPS TUNNEL NEWS
[submitted by Anne Lassman of Initiative Transport
Since the reopening of the Mont Blanc Tunnel on June
25, 2002, in an alternating system for vehicles over 3.5
tonnes (one hour in one direction, then one hour in the
opposite direction) a lot of things have happened and
demonstrations have taken place. Here's a brief outline
of important events both past and future:
* October 2002: Michel Charlet, Mayor of Chamonix, was
charged in connection with the tunnel fire in 1999. He
has always been outspoken about road transport and the
threat posed by the tunnel and his investigation is viewed
in Chamonix as a punishment for his non-compliance
with orders and pressures from the French authorities.
This tactic was used on Charlet in 2001, when he was
charged for an avalanche tragedy (the first time a mayor
will be tried in France for a natural disaster!).
* December 14, 2002: A big demonstration in Chamonix
protested against the likely removal of the alternate traffic
system. Protesters were removed from the road by
* January 3: A demonstration was held in Courmayeur
for the same reason. A large turnout surprised the police
and showed signs of Italians' growing committment in the
fight against road freight. The new president of the Aoste
Region is campaigning alongside environmental
organisations to keep truck traffic down and to retain the
alternate system, which has kept the traffic well below
the pre-closure average. Despite that, legal pollution
levels in the very narrow Chamonix Valley are already
being reached. Any increase in traffic will push many
pollutants above accepted thresholds.
* January 17: The Somport Tunnel opens in the
Pyrenees. A sad day for mountain lovers all around
Europe. Another success for the road and the oil lobbies.
A demonstration is planned that day at Bedous, from
* January 20: Bruno Rebelle, President of Greenpeace
France, and Eric Lanoë, President of Réagir (Maurienne
Valley, Fréjus Tunnel) are on trial in Albertville following
the October 2001 occupation of the motorway leading to
the Fréjus tunnel, by 1,000 demonstrators and 20
environmental organisations. Protesters are faxing letters
to the courthouse and a demonstration will take place in
Albertville on the day to support Rebelle and Lanoë.
ROAD PROTEST IMAGE GALLERY
[submitted by Road Alert]
Just thought you would like to know we have uploaded
some of our picture archive online. If you visit
> and click on the gallery link
you can view 93 pictures from M11 Leytonstone and A46
Batheaston protests. If you require any of the images for
publishing, send an e-mail to <info@...
with the image number and we will send you the full size
STUDY OF CAR-FREE AND MOBILITY-MANAGED
[submitted by Dr Jan Scheurer, formerly of Institute for
Sustainability and Technology Policy, Australia]
A full illustrated version of my PhD thesis, titled 'Urban
Ecology, Innovations in Housing Policy and the Future of
Cities: Towards Sustainability in Neighbourhood
Communities' is now available online at
n>. The dissertation contains the first international
empirical comparison study of carfree and mobility-
managed housing developments, discussed in a broad
(IF YOU MUST DRIVE) MAKE YOUR OWN BIODIESEL
[submitted by Low-Impact Living Initiative]
On February 7-9 Low-Impact Living Initiative (LILI) is
organising a course on "How to Make Biodiesel" in
Redfield Community, Buckinghamshire, UK. Cost: L150
waged, L100 unwaged. Discounts for 'Friends of LILI'. All
meals and accommodation included.
This A-Z course covers everything from what biodesel
and its environmental benefits are, its cheap and safe
production, including practical sessions: plant design and
construction using readily-available materials; making
For more details contact LILI at tel/fax: (01296) 714184
or check out their website <web: www.lowimpact.org>.
WALK21 IV: HEALTH, EQUITY & ENVIRONMENT
[submitted by Ellen Vanderslice]
The 4th International Conference on Walking in the 21st
Century (May 1-3, Portland, Oregon, USA) will bring
together activists, practitioners, decision makers and
academics in public health, transportation, and
community planning. Together we will explore how
walking is integrated into our infrastructure, our
institutions, and our daily lives. We will rethink the
context for walking and refine the tools we use in our
work. Please join us in Portland, May 1-3, 2003!
Registration for "Walk21 IV: Health, Equity &
Environment" is now open. Best rates are before
Register at <http://americawalks.org/walk21/
> or check
out <http:// www.walk21.com>.
BIKE WISE WEEK 2003
[submitted by Robert Ibell of Cycling Advocates Network
of NZ Inc.]
February 15-23; New Zealand
National Bike Wise Week aims to lift the profile of cycling
and encourage more people to take up the activity as an
integral part of an active lifestyle. The aim is to see an
increase in the number of cyclists and increasing
numbers of New Zealanders enjoying healthy lifestyles.
> you will find resources to
help you organise events to celebrate cycling, e.g. How
to Run a Bike Day, Planning a Bike to Work Day, Being a
Cycle Friendly Employer, The Commuter Challenge and
Planning a Bike to School Day.
You'll also find details of the nationwide Bike Wise
Business Battle. It aims to encourage employers and
employees to use their bike as a means of transport.
National trophies will be awarded by business sector and
there are plenty of other prizes, awarded on the basis of
number of participants and distance travelled.
JOB OPPORTUNITY AT EYFA
[submitted by Eyfa]
Eyfa, a European-wide network of individuals and
grassroots groups active on social and environmental
issues, is looking for a creative, inspired and energetic
person to come in January 2003 to join the core team in
the Amsterdam office. They need a new person that will
manage the European Voluntary Service project, work on
networking and approaching new groups and persons,
and take part in general administration of grants,
reports, our network committee, organising meetings,
developing our web page etc.
For more information, please send an email with
subject heading: "eyfa core-team job application" to
EYFA as soon as possible at < eyfa@...
BUILDING A NEW CITY TOUR
[submitted by Paul White of ITDP <www.itdp.org>]
Within three years, Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of
Bogotá, Columbia, transformed his city from a congested
and dangerous mess, where many citizens did not have
access to transport, into the world's leading model for
sustainable urban design.
Now, on the Building a New City tour, Penalosa will share
this inspirational story and describe how Africa's leaders
can follow "The Bogotá Model" for livable cities.
The two-week tour, organised by the Institute for
Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), begins
January 15 and will bring Penalosa to four of Africa's
leading cities: Dakar, Senegal; Cape Town
and Pretoria, South Africa; and Accra, Ghana. Traffic
congestion, inadequate public transport, poverty and
poor access to jobs and services are increasingly
problematic in each city and local leaders have asked for
help in replicating Bogotá's success.
Under Penalosa's leadership from 1998-2000,
innovative transport strategies such as a successful
busway, bicycle paths and restrictions on private car use
were used to equalise all citizens' access to mobility and
began to relieve the traffic congestion and air pollution
that was choking Bogotá. His administration also built
parks, planted trees and promoted the use of public
CAR BUSTERS ANNOUNCEMENTS >>
TOWARDS CAR-FREE CITIES III: REGISTER NOW!
[Hosted by Car Busters, March 17-22, Prague, Czech
You've heard all about this conference in past bulletins; if
not, see the link below. Officially the registration deadline
for participants is January 31. Please register as soon as
possible to ensure there's space for you:
CAR BUSTERS MAGAZINE NO. 16 RELEASED
"We shape our tools and they in turn shape us" - and
some of the shapes people are now becoming look
decidedly unwieldy. Issue 16 of Car Busters Magazine
looks at a phenomenon that Ken Avidor (artist, author of
"RoadKill Bill") calls "Automorphism," and sees how our
minds, bodies and culture have been affected by
decades of growing car dependence.
The issue also includes all the usual lively, hard-hitting
sections you've come to expect Industry Watch, World
News, Car Cult Review, Book Reviews and more - albeit
with a much later release date than normal.
To get a copy, see
to subscribe, see <http://www.carbusters.org/join_us
The submissions deadline for issue 17 is February 31.
IVAN ILLICH MEMORIAL MAGAZINE (NO. 17) - CALL
Following on the December 2 death of radical
philosopher Ivan Illich (author of "Energy and Equity"
among many others), we at Car Busters have decided to
devote part of issue 17 of our magazine to his life and his
thoughts on transport(ation). Therefore we'd now like to
send out a call for letter-to-the-editors-length personal
accounts of how his ideas have influenced our readers.
Please send them as soon as possible, and by February
31 at the latest.
THINGS TO READ >>
HIGH AND MIGHTY
[submitted by Daniel Swartz]
High and Mighty - SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous
Vehicles and How They Got That Way; by Keith
Bradsher; 468 pages; ISBN 1586481231
Bradsher, a correspondent for the New Your Times,
investigates the politics behind the rise of SUVs and
provides a lot of well-researched data on how dangerous
they are. You probably already know that SUVs (or 4x4s)
are classified as light trucks so that they don't need to
comply with the 1990 Clean Air Act's rather stringent
standards, and that's why their mileage is so appalling.
But did you know that Ford Explorer's pricier cousin, the
Lincoln Navigator, is considered a truck for the purposes
of calculating the 10 percent luxury tax the 1990
Congress slapped on cars with price tags of $30,000 or
more? That law, like many others, exempted "light
trucks", in this case those with a gross weight over 6,000
pounds. The Navigator grew to that size as Ford added
luxury features but included in the price no luxury tax
because it's not a car, stupid, it's a kind of luxury truck.
Grrr, Bradsher has stolen from us a brilliant title of Car
Busters' next publication! Unfortunately we hadn't
trademarked it in advance so now we'll have think of
another name for our thrilling bestseller-to-be about the
excitements of our e-mail bulletin production. Oh, yes,
the influx of your submissions gets us high and the
selecting and editing process gives us a sense of might.
We are all addicts and regularly have fierce fights over
this task so you'd better keep filling us in or we'll all die of
withdrawal. The next bulletin is coming soon 'cos we
want to get back to the first-week-in-a-month scheme
and we hope you won't let us down.
Kratka 26, 100 00 Praha 10, Czech Republic
tel: +(420) 274-810-849 - fax: +(420) 274-816-727
> - <http://www.carbusters.org
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Register your group on-line now:
Towards Car-Free Cities III Conference
Hosted by Car Busters, March 17-22, 2003, Prague