Transportation is an issue when trying to be eco-conscious. The most sustainable methods of transportation (walking and biking) come with many risks. The foremost being that while you have chosen to use that method of transportation, many other people don't. That means you are in a very vulnerable position around those who are driving cars, SUV's, trucks, and larger equipment. In the equation of pedestrian/biker plus vehicle, the vehicle is always the greater of the two.
I mentioned in a previous post that while riding my bicycle I got hit by an SUV. That was in mid-January. Fast forward 3 months and I had just about completely healed from the accident and it happened again. This time I was cycling along when an SUV that was parked swung its door open right in front of me. I had no time to react before colliding with it. I was thrown over my handlebars to the left and fell onto the pavement with my bike on top of me. After spending 4 hours in the ER afterwards, the results showed that I had many scrapes, lacerations, and bruises across my body, a sprained finger where it hit the Jeep door, and some torn muscles in my neck/cervical area.
I reported my accident on the website bikeportland.org and saw that just since January 1st, there have been 16 collisions and 44 close calls in the Portland area. Further search found that there have been 99 collisions and 159 close calls in the last year. And those are just the ones that got reported on this website. You can see the results with their locations at the following address: http://bikeportland.org/closecall/view_reports.php?
What should I get from all of this? Should I stop biking, as it clearly has been quite hazardous for me so far this year? Or should there be more pressure to eliminate vehicles, at least from residential areas? I feel it should be the latter. Portland currently has a large plan to put in bike lanes and pathways but can't afford to do so. I think they should shut down every 3rd street to all but bicycles and foot traffic. With vehicles taken off the streets, there will be less accidents happening where the cyclist bears the brunt of the injuries.
In conclusion, the future of vehicles is limited. Its time there was a swing back to walking, cycling, and horses to get everywhere. We need a slower pace of life, a more sustainable way of doing things, and a safer life.