CAR BUSTERS MONTHLY E-BULLETIN #45
- Sexy, strident and politically aware, the bulletin flashes onto
screens across the globe, fashionably late and impeccably trim.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Car Free Cities conference
and made it such a great event, more about this below.
CAR BUSTERS BULLETIN >>>
Edition no. 45 - April 2003 - English version
-CAR COMPANY PROPAGANDA FOILED
-A TERRIBLE ROAD RAGE INCIDENT
-CRITICAL MASS NEWS FROM
-CORPORATE GREED THREATENS EUROPE'S UNTOUCHED WILDERNESS
-CARNIVAL AGAINST WAR AND CLIMATE CHAOS
-HOW TO MAKE BIODIESEL
-CONNECTING THE CITY
-WALK21 IV: HEALTH, EQUITY AND ENVIRONMENT
-FANCY A CAR-FREE MEETUP?
CAR BUSTERS ANNOUNCEMENTS
-POST-CONFERENCE REPORT - TOWARDS CAR-FREE CITIES III
-CZECH REPUBLIC LOSES RICHARD
WORLD NEWS >>
CAR COMPANY PROPAGANDA FOILED
[spotted by Katie Sobush]
General Motors Canada has pulled an ad campaign suggesting that
transit buses are full of "creeps and weirdos". The company was
responding to a flood of complaints about an advertisement that ran
in Canadian newspapers touting the Chevy Cavalier as "an affordable
alternative" to riding the bus.
Other ads in the campaign, which featured pictures of buses with
messages in their destination cards, suggested that riding the bus
exposed you to "Hours of Hell" and "Bacterial Stew."
"It's a pretty offensive ad", said Marion Town of Better
Environmentally Sound Transportation. She said the ads suggest that
"not only is the bus experience threatening, but it's long."
Strangely, they also promote GM's support for Vancouver's 2010
Olympic bid, which favours effective and environmentally sustainable
transportation like buses.
A TERRIBLE ROAD RAGE INCIDENT
[sent by Howard Peel]
When Stephen Kirwin waved his fist at Carl Baxter, after his bicycle
and trailer narrowly avoided being hit by the car Baxter was driving,
he triggered a terrible road rage incident. Baxter reversed his
Ranger Rover 200m at high speed, intending to run over Kirwin and his
daughter Emily (aged four) who was being towed in the trailer. Both
were seriously injured with Emily not regaining consciousness for six
days. Baxter fled the scene of the attack and already had previous
offences for a 'road rage' attack and reckless driving. He was given
two years in jail for assault and 15 months for dangerous driving,
plus only a two year(!) driving ban, with all sentences to run
Local cyclists feel this sentence does nothing to protect
vulnerable road users and sends the message that even drivers who go
so far as to deliberately use their cars as a weapon can expect to
receive no more then a short ban.
CRITICAL MASS NEWS
[received from Matthias Bauer]
A group of influential bicyclists have had enough of Santiago's foul
air. On the first Tuesday of each month, they clog the city's broad
avenues at rush hour with their pedal-powered machines and shout out
demands for bike paths, bike racks and respect from drivers of buses
and cars. Bicycles, they say, are part of the solution to Santiago's
"The traffic gets annoying, but we have full control and it is
quite an empowering feeling that these manpowered vehicles can cause
such a scene," said Marion von Dehn, a member of the group,
Movimiento Furiosos Ciclistas. "Occasionally, cars honk in support."
Reports in the Chilean press indicate the government has a sincere
interest in the Furiosos and is committed to making Santiago a better
and safer city. Bicycle friendliness, say the Furiosos, is vital to
the improvement of Santiago.
Peace Rally, March 22 - New York, USA
[based on a report submitted by Aaron Tarfman]
Over 100 people on bicycles created an unofficial parade as they
travelled through the streets while refusing to allow automobiles to
pass. Chants of "Bikes not bombs!" and "No Blood for Oil" filled the
air. Bells were ringing amid lots of hooting and singing. The ride
went north along Eighth Avenue and met the voluminous mass of people
moving down Broadway on the peace rally. At every point where they
reached the march, they stopped and held up signs, or even bikes
sometimes. The ride moved up and down the streets crossing towards
the rally several times to show support. This was the longest running
Critical Mass ride in the group's history.
Pedal For Peace, March 28 - Hamilton, Canada
[based on a report by Randy Kay]
Making their way through wide, one-way streets lacking basic
infrastructure for cyclists, the Mass slows the pace of the city to a
calmer, saner, safer speed. As cities in Iraq are bombarded, some on
the ride equate the profligate burning of fossil fuels with the
burning of human flesh in oil wars. "No more oil/No more war/Time to
take our bikes out more!" goes the chant. From sidewalks, pedestrians
watch in amusement or disbelief as the group glides by.
A cyclist with a knack for alliteration shouts out: "For fossil fuel-
free fun/Bicycles are number one!" On his back a home-made sign "Burn
Fat, Not Fuel." The smiles of the cyclists give indication of just
how liberating a ride like this can be. The lack of safe routes in
the city acts as a deterrent to thousands of would-be cyclists, so,
for some, Critical Mass is their first positive experience cycling
Fifth anniversary ride, March 28 - Brussels, Belgium
[sent by Stephane]
We were 130 cyclists in the town (a record for the CM in Brussels!),
ready for a trip to the centre of the city. We passed through five
years of bad and good transport improvements into the town, our
biggest problem being the paving stones, which seem to be the new
leitmotiv here. We finished the fair with the blocking of the Bourse
Square, which is a very central concourse. We stayed there for 20-25
minutes, the cops came but 15 minutes too late.
More info and also pictures can be found at
CORPORATE GREED THREATENS EUROPE'S UNTOUCHED WILDERNESS
[Sourced from CorpWatch and International Rivers Network]
The Icelandic government plans to construct a large hydropower
project in Iceland's Eastern Highlands, one of Europe's largest
remaining wilderness areas, in order to supply power to a US aluminum
smelter owned by Alcoa.
The Kahranjukar Project involves building miles of roads, boring a
series of tunnels, diverting dozens of rivers to create three
reservoirs and erect nine dams, including one that is 630 feet tall
US-based Alcoa is the world's largest aluminum producer and is
moving to Iceland not to expand production, but to cut costs. It is
closing smelters in the US and moving to Iceland where the government
is offering dirt-cheap electricity. It's not just cheap power that
draws Alcoa to Iceland: Iceland's reliance on geothermal power has
given it an exemption from the Kyoto Protocol's fossil fuel
emissions, which would allow Alcoa's smelter to operate without
having to pay penalties for any carbon dioxide emissions.
According to an independent analysis commissioned by Iceland's
Nature Conservation Agency, it will likely produce annual losses of
$36 million. The group has led a strong campaign against Karahnjukar
for several years.
For more information, please visit <www.inca.is>.
Also go to
<http://www.corpwatch.org/action/PAA.jsp?articleid=5828> to send a
free fax to Alcoa telling them to withdraw from their destructive
CARNIVAL AGAINST WAR AND CLIMATE CHAOS
[a reminder from London Rising Tide <london@...>]
You are invited to be part of the carnival taking place outside BP's
Annual General Meeting at 10am, 24 April 2003 at the Royal Festival
Hall, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London. If youre despairing over
the carnage this installment of the war on terror has wrought, dont
forget how close we came to preventing it. Countless people across
the world have seen the war machine stripped bare for the first time,
seen the intimate connections between the military, government, big
oil and capitalism itself. And instead of staring dazedly at their TV
screens, theyre getting up and getting active, which is a cause for
celebration in the midst of all the darkness. The Carnival Against
Oil Wars and Climate Chaos will be another sign of that spirit of DIY
There will be a Critical Mass bike ride as part of the days fun
and games, meeting at 9.30am at BPs new headquarters - 1, St. James
Square, SW1 - and ending up at the Carnival.
HOW TO MAKE BIODIESEL
[Low-Impact Living Initiative <www.lowimpact.org>]
May 12-14 2003 at Redfield Community, Buckinghamshire
Cost: GBP 150 waged, GBP100 unwaged. Discounts for 'Friends of LILI'.
All meals and accommodation included.
Learn how to produce your own cheap, carbon-neutral diesel - no
need for alterations to your engine. This course covers everything
from a small home-made plant, to commercial-scale biodiesel
Low-Impact Living Initiative (LILI) is dedicated to helping
protect the global environment by promoting sustainable alternatives
to various aspects of everyday life. Contact us to find out more
about our installations, courses, presentations and manuals.
Contact: LILI, Redfield Community, Buckingham Road, Winslow, Bucks,
MK18 3LZ tel / fax: (01296) 714184
CONNECTING THE CITY
[picked from the Planum Newsletter <news@...>]
The Fifth Biennial of Towns and Town Planners in Europe will be held
in Barcelona in April 10,11 and 12, 2003. It will explore the spatial
impacts of transportation and other networks supplying resources such
as information, materials or energy and the challenges they create
for spatial planning.
More details on <http://www.planum.net/archive/bie-barcelona.htm>
WALK21 IV: HEALTH, EQUITY AND ENVIRONMENT
[sent by Ellen Vanderslice]
The 4th International Conference on Walking in the 21st Century will
be held May 1-3 at the Portland Marriott Downtown in Portland,
Oregon. Featured speakers include the Surgeon General of the United
States Dr. Richard Carmona, Jan Gehl and many others. Wednesday,
April 9, is the last day to register for the conference at the
regular rate of $385 ($325 for NGOs/non profits, $250 students). For
registration information, visit
<http://americawalks.org/walk21/registration>, or e-mail
<register@...>. More about the conference can be found online
FANCY A CAR-FREE MEETUP?
[from Laura Craft <laura@...>]
Meetup creates real-world group gatherings about anything anywhere.
They've built a technology and a network of venues (cafes, bars,
etc.) that can help any interest group easily organise local monthly
meetups in over 545 cities across 34 countries. Meetup with other
local individuals interested in plotting the removal of the
automobile from your city!
People interested in car-free cities worldwide are invited. 11
have signed up so far.
Click to <http://carfree.meetup.com/>.
CAR BUSTERS ANNOUNCEMENTS >>
POST-CONFERENCE REPORT - TOWARDS CAR-FREE CITIES III
Sixty participants from across Europe and beyond descended on Prague
April 17-22, a week packed with presentations, round-table strategy
sessions, a press conference and official public day, a walking tour,
a bike ride, and finally, a big closing party and concert.
Featured presenters included J.H. Crawford (author of "Carfree
Cities" and publisher of Carfree.com), Oscar Edmundo Diaz (organiser
of the now-famous car-free days in Bogota, Colombia), Lars Gemzoe (co-
author of "New City Spaces" and "Public Spaces - Public Life",
Copenhagen, Denmark), Kirstin Miller (of Ecocity Builders, Berkeley,
USA), and John Whitelegg (Professor of Environmental Studies, author
and transport consultant, Lancaster, UK).
Above all, the high-energy, productive week resulted in the
forging of invaluable interpersonal contacts and collaborations and a
strengthening of the international Car Busters network. The network,
it was decided, will hold a Towards Car-Free Cities conference
annually in Central Europe - with TCFC IV to be held in July, August
or September 2004, possibly in Berlin or somewhere in Poland. The
network will use the name Car Busters in some situations, but also
gain flexibility by utilising a second, more conservative-sounding
name where appropriate. That second name is still undecided but could
be something like Car-Free International or the Towards Car-Free
Cities Network (suggestions welcome).
Aside from the continuing conference series, a number of
collaborative projects were prioritised for the coming year and the
long-term, such as a website aimed at officials and planners, and the
founding of a Car-Free Institute based in Venice. The conference also
wrote a proposal for a coordinated global World Car-Free Days
programme, which was then delivered in person by Oscar Edmundo Diaz
to the European Union in Brussels and the United Nations in New York.
Discussions are continuing with vigour on
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, which is open to anyone working on
issues of transport and urbanism. Following discussions, a second
list, <carfreeecovillages@...>, has been created for
those interested in establishing one or more explicitly car-free
ecovillages in Europe or elsewhere.
CZECH REPUBLIC LOSES RICHARD
Today, with tear-pricked eyes we watched Rich as he lazily cycled
down Kratka for the last time. We'll miss his rapier wit and awe-
inspiring culinary skills around these parts. All the Car Busters
family wish him the best of luck in York. May your next homebrew be
the best one yet Rich, we the citizens of Prague salute you.
Despite the gloomy nature of some of the news items here and the
continuing terror caused by the US industro-military complex
worldwide, life goes on. And life is great. So you're not alone, keep
on doing what you're doing, stay on smiling, be nice to people, these
are the most revolutionary things we can do.
Kratka 26, 100 00 Praha 10, Czech Republic
tel: +(420) 274-810-849 - fax: +(420) 274-816-727
<info@...> - <http://www.carbusters.org>
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