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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Law Suit for Human Scale Access.

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  • Jason Davies
    ... hang on this doesn t work. Why should public transport (not free) be any different from cars? Buses are jsut as dangerous as cars. You can t distinguish
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 1, 2003
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      >If walking (supported by public transit) is not considered as the
      >implied mode of free and safe movement, and driving is regarded as the
      >primary way of moving around, then all these people who can not drive
      >because of various reasons (ie a significant part of the population)
      >should be provided with a car with a chauffeur, which is obviously
      >unfeasible.


      hang on this doesn't work. Why should public transport (not free) be any
      different from cars? Buses are jsut as dangerous as cars. You can't
      distinguish motor vehicles. So you will also be launching against any kind
      of vehicle that could harm people or cost anything. The only difference is
      one of degree so finding a cut -off point is going to be very hard to get
      any consensus on.
    • Steve <esdol@sprint.ca>
      Jason, Are buses dangerous? No. Are cars dangerous? No. Are drivers dangerous? A big yes. It s how people use objects, offensively obviously are dangerous. Get
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 1, 2003
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        Jason,

        Are buses dangerous? No. Are cars dangerous? No. Are drivers
        dangerous? A big yes. It's how people use objects, offensively
        obviously are dangerous. Get the notion that objects are dangerous
        out of your minds. Objects are inert, actionless until a person
        activates it. A gun is only dangerous if a person uses it offensively
        and not defensively. A cell phone, as I noted early, is dangerous
        only if a persons misuses it while driving. By the way, it is same
        for a pedestrian or cyclist who misuses a cell phone!

        Regarding the human rights thing: It might be a valid argument only
        if the pedestrians and persons with disabilities can't cross a street
        because of unsafe drivers who don't respect the bylaws and laws. This
        needs to be explored further.

        Steve
      • Jason Davies
        ... I m sorry, with respect I can t go down this line, not just because it is borrowed from the National Rifle association. Half a ton of metal at 30 pmh is
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 1, 2003
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          >Are buses dangerous? No. Are cars dangerous? No. Are drivers
          >dangerous? A big yes.

          I'm sorry, with respect I can't go down this line, not just because it is
          borrowed from the National Rifle association. Half a ton of metal at 30 pmh
          is dangerous, i don't care how good the driver is. Cyclists kill people in
          small numbers from direct impact. A legal argument that singles out cars is
          not going to stand *legally*.


          >It's how people use objects, offensively
          >obviously are dangerous. Get the notion that objects are dangerous out
          >of your minds. Objects are inert, actionless until a person activates
          >it. A gun is only dangerous if a person uses it offensively and not
          >defensively. A cell phone, as I noted early, is dangerous only if a
          >persons misuses it while driving. By the way, it is same for a
          >pedestrian or cyclist who misuses a cell phone!

          Are you talking about the legal or the (for want of a better word) moral
          angle though? I was talking about the legal angle.
          >
          >Regarding the human rights thing: It might be a valid argument only if
          >the pedestrians and persons with disabilities can't cross a street
          >because of unsafe drivers who don't respect the bylaws and laws. This
          >needs to be explored further.

          This would legally have to also be applicable to other people not
          respecting other laws. I don't think it has any chance legally of making a
          case. You might as well sue the council for permitting burglary. You would
          have to show that cars were a special case, where the use of car made it
          almost impossible to avoid breakign limits, jumping signs, etc. And this
          insane 'turn right on red' law has legalised some of the worst abuses.

          Does the US have a 'human rights' law as does Europe now?
        • Jason Davies
          ... shooting someone before they shoot you is *dangerous* whether they were going to shoot you or not. Whether it is justified is a completely different
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 1, 2003
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            >A gun is only dangerous if a person uses it offensively and not
            >defensively.


            shooting someone before they shoot you is *dangerous* whether they were
            going to shoot you or not. Whether it is justified is a completely
            different matter.
          • look384 <kevin.barton@t-online.de>
            I certainly like your thought process, however I m not familiar with cases where someone successfully sued based on violation of human rights . A case could
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 3, 2003
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              I certainly like your thought process, however I'm not familiar with
              cases where someone successfully sued based on violation of "human
              rights". A case could be made if there were violation of
              constitutional rights, but I doubt you could get anywhere on a claim
              centering on human rights. Either way, I'm not aware of any
              obligation the government has to ensure mobility. I believe you'd
              have to find something where the government is liable, such as a
              poorly designed or maintained road. Even if you did win a case on
              violation of human or constitutional rights, I'm not sure you'd be
              happy with the settlement you suggested, at least not immediately.
              If you removed all the cars from a modern US city, you'd still have a
              city with poor access for most walkers and cyclists simply because
              zoning laws keep everything so spread out. Given the expense you
              mentioned in your suggested settlement, it's quite possible a local
              government may eventually change zoning laws, however since zoning
              laws seem to be a root cause I suggest a lawsuit should target them
              directly.

              Zoning laws are published by the local government and directly
              influence the way a city or town is organized. If the city's
              organization can be proven to harm a non-motorist and the city can be
              proven liable based on the zoning laws, then I believe someone who
              chooses not to or cannot drive has a chance of winning a case. It
              may be hard for someone who chooses not to drive to get started, just
              as it may be hard for someone who cannot drive as a result of their
              own misconduct, i.e. from losing their license from a DUI or
              wreckless driving. However, someone who has been denied a license
              because of mental or physical disability would stand a better
              chance. From my perspective, the American with Disabilities Act is
              applicable because it requires builders to ensure access a design
              feature, and may well be suited to forcing a local government to
              ensure access through both design and organization. I suspect when a
              government sits down to zone a given area the planners are working
              from some frame of reference, such as permissible travel time between
              residential and shopping zones. If that travel time is calculated
              based on walking speeds, then our case is weak. However, since I
              suspect it's assumed we're all drivers, the travel distance is based
              on vehicle speeds, meaning the zones are separated by greater
              distance, requiring excessive time for walkers. Further, since it's
              assumed we're all drivers, facilities such as sidewalks and paths are
              excluded meaning walkers have no place to walk when traveling between
              zones. It's possible the government could be held liable for this
              type of poor and unfair access for non-motorists.

              I believe it's important to know what type of settlement you want,
              such as monetary, change in laws, change in service or facilities. I
              think the best case would be a change or rescission of zoning laws.
              Any of the other types of settlements may force a government to
              change the laws themselves, but in the end what you really want is a
              city layout that provides for non-motorists first, and motorists
              last, with bicycles and public transportation falling somewhere in
              the middle. If zoning laws were defeated, we could build cities and
              towns completely mixed use, such as the example of central Austin and
              the center of many other cities, which would enable non-motorists
              city-wide to have access to all the services and facilities required
              for modern life. If however, you can't win a change in zoning laws,
              other settlements could be beneficial. Following are a couple of
              examples.

              A settlement guaranteeing equal but separate facilities for non-
              motorists, such as sidewalks or paths along every road would be
              extremely expensive and eventually force a government to either build
              less roads or organize the city to where the roads are shorter. The
              fact is non-motorists do not have equal access to US roads.
              Motorists are entitled access the full length of the road, non-
              motorists are only entitled the shoulder or the narrow strip crossing
              the road at the cross-walks. A pedestrian simply can't walk down the
              middle of the road, taking up an entire lane. If you tried and
              survived, you'd surely run into problems with the first police
              officer you happened across. This theory has been proven
              by "critical mass", a movement where cyclists fill entire lanes,
              slowing and jamming traffic. Many of them have received tickets, had
              bikes impounded or been jailed. As a side note, equal but separate
              was struck down in another great cause, the civil rights movement
              against US segregation. Winning such a settlement could prove the
              zoning laws a violation and set a government up to later have "equal
              but separate" proven a violation against non-motorists.

              Another possible settlement might be a speed limit within the city to
              reduce the danger automobiles present to non-motorists. There's an
              interesting statistic that 80 percent of pedestrians struck by car
              going 20 mph will survive, while 80 percent of pedestrians struck by
              an automobile going 40 mph will die. Although a 20 percent chance of
              death for walking is still a lot, traffic moving at 20 mph is
              dramatically less dangerous than traffic moving at 40 mph. A
              settlement with a 20 mph speed limit for all city streets would be a
              major win, and would yield many more benefits than just reducing
              pedestrian fatalities. It would also make the city much quieter,
              less polluted and with far greater travel times might encourage
              denser development, all of which would significantly improve
              conditions for walkers. There is a precedence for dramatically
              slower speeds in a modern, developed nation. The national speed
              limit in Japan is a mere 30 mph, on all rural and urban roads except
              toll roads. Although speed limits are poorly enforced, traffic does
              move much slower than in the US. The roads are also built at a much
              smaller scale since they aren't designed to handle high speed
              traffic, making them much more pleasant for cycling.

              --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "ktsourl@m..." <ktsourl@m...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Couldn't human rights violation constitute a third approach?
              > There is an obligation of the state to ensure free movement as well
              as safety.
              > Human rights should be valid for every person for the sole fact
              he/she is a human beeing, regardless of beeing rich or poor, healthy
              or sick etc. Thus, free (and safe) mobility should be provided for
              everyone, even for people with psychological problems, intoxicated
              with alcohol (which is legal) or other substances, people who can not
              drive because of their age or medical condition or who can not afford
              a motorized vehicle etc. If walking (supported by public transit) is
              not considered as the implied mode of free and safe movement, and
              driving is regarded as the primary way of moving around, then all
              these people who can not drive because of various reasons (ie a
              significant part of the population) should be provided with a car
              with a chauffeur, which is obviously unfeasible.
              >
              >
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