Car-Free World
alternative transportation news & views

December 14, 2002
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Contributors: Eric Anderson   Research/Tips: Stefan Wray, Monty Newton   Editor: Michael Bluejay

Sponsored by Easy Street Recumbents -- Recumbent sales, service, & rentals in Austin.

From the Editor

Thank-you to supporters

Free email addresses

Tough, you get car ads

Austin News

Activist, cyclist Keith Vick killed by a truck

Long article on Why No Justice?

The Soup Peddler

Urban Cycling classes

How the process fails bicycle projects

Regional News

TX-DoT's 25-year plan

U.S. News

President Bush signs electric bike law

How your congresspeople voted


Stereolab's Mary Hansen killed while biking


Car-Free World, a publication of, covers alternative transportation, especially bicycling. We're not opposed to cars, we're opposed to the car culture. CFW is published sporadically, and may be discontinued at any time without notice. We currently have over 600 subscribers. Here are links to subscribe or unsubscribe.

Articles are by the editor if uncredited. Articles by others may have been edited for grammar, clarity, conciseness, superstition, or just for the hell of it.

From the Editor
Thank-you to supporters 

     In the last newsletter I made the first-ever request for financial support for, which I've been running as a volunteer project for seven years. I want to publicly thank the people who responded, and who got a spiffy new email address in return:

Bobby Sledge  |  Jay Weinshenker  |  Mike Librik  |  Dave Troxell  |  Elliot Kralj  |  Marilyn Shashoua  |  Kathy Coons

While this has most certainly helped, it's time for me to start working again, so I've set up shop as (what else) a web designer & web hoster. I could really use some business, so if you or someone you know needs a quality but super-cheap website, send 'em my way to Also be sure to check out the new site for one of my newest clients, Waterloo Cycles.

Free email addresses 

In the spirit of holiday giving, I'm offering free email addresses to everyone for the next week, and you don't have to donate anything. Just write to me and tell me you want an address, and I'll get you set up. You can also have a address if you prefer.

Tough, you're gonna get car ads 

By far, most of the email I got in response to the last newsletter (back in July, whew) was to complain that Yahoo inserted one-line ad for cars at the bottom of the newsletter.

So here's the deal: I don't know any other way on my Mac to send HTML mail other than through Yahoo, and Yahoo adds ads. I did spend about three hours trying to find another way to send the newsletter, but I couldn't and so I gave up. There was probably a better use of my time, but that's what I get for trying to please everyone. So unless someone can come up with an alternate solution for me, then you're gonna see a one-line ad at the bottom of the newsletter. I trust that my readers aren't going to run out and buy new cars because they saw a one-line ad for them in an email message, and if they're really that easily influenced, then we've got bigger problems in the world than an ad appearing in this newsletter. So in short, I know it's tough that you may see a car ad at the bottom of this newsletter, but you'll just have to try to find a way to carry on somehow.

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Austin News

Local activist Keith Vick killed by truck while cycling

We hate being the bearer of bad news, but we lost another one. Keith Vick, 36, who went by the moniker "The Slave", was killed by a truck while riding his bicycle on Dec. 3, 2002. According to APD's accident report, Vick was riding southbound on the right-hand sidewalk on Guadalupe, and when he came off the sidewalk to cross 10th Street, a truck turning right onto 10th street struck and killed him.

It's for this reason that we've insisted that you should not ride on the sidewalk. When you come off the sidewalk to cross the street you're invisible to turning vehicles, and are just begging to be hit. Statistics show that you're nineteen times more likely to suffer a collision from riding on the sidewalk rather than riding in the street, and Keith's tragedy is a prime example of why. (For more on how to not get hit by cars, please see

Vick was a well-known activist, working primarily on issues involving economic justice and micro-radio. We'd corresponded briefly with him a few years ago when he wrote to us asking about the controversy at KOOP Radio where we had a program about bicycling issues.

There are some serious unanswered questions about Vick's death. First, APD's accident report says that Vick struck the truck. However, the broken signal lights presumably from the truck found at the accident scene suggest that the truck hit Vick. More serious is the question of whether the truck had enough speed to break its lights from the collision with Vick if it had truly stopped at the red light on 10th Street before turning right. Some suspect that the truck did not stop.

Of course, if the truck had a red light, then so did Vick (or at least a Don't Walk sign), and so even if the truck did not stop then they were both at fault.

More coverage is available on our Keith Vick page.

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Long article on Why No Justice for Cyclists?

A query from one of Keith's friends as to why cyclists have a hard time getting justice reminded us that we'd never posted the long article that we wrote on the subject for Javelina last year. Here's the introduction, with a link to the full article.

Why is there no justice for cyclists?

Motorists frequently face no penalties for hitting bicyclists, even when they were clearly at fault. But simply blaming the police for this is lazy, because the police are just part of the problem. In fact, the lack of justice experienced by cyclists comes not just from the police, but also from motorists, judges, juries, and the media. It's not coincidence that they all play a part in this injustice, but it's not conspiracy, either; it simply reflects the bias that most people have aganist cyclists. This bias is not necessarily conscious or malicious, but it's there. And its existence means that people playing various roles in society will tend to act in ways that deny us justice. Let's look at some of the players, and then consider what we can do about it. (more...)

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The Soup Peddler

There's a guy in South Austin who has a business making soup for his neighbors and delivering it by bicycle. There, that's it. What more could you want to know? Well, I guess you might want to order some soup. Check out The Soup Peddler.

Urban Cycling class

Mike Librik & Amy Babich of Easy Street Recumbents are teaching an Urban Cycling Class, to show riders how to cycle safely in the city. No word yet on whether you get an autograph from Amy with the class, but we'll recommend the class even if no autograph is included. (more info).

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How the process keeps failing bicycle transportation
by Eric Anderson

[Readers may recognize Anderson as the inspiration for the Crosstown Greenway, now known as the Lance Armstrong Bikeway. What follows is an excerpt of what he said he intended to convey to the City Council on a hearing about transportation project funding.]

First, I question why projects (funded for some time) such as Boggy Creek Greenbelt, IH35 under crossing at 4th St., or Pleasant Valley Bike Lanes are not only not complete, but construction has not even begun.
Bike lanes on Lake Austin Boulevard (Exposition to Red Bud Trail) were poorly and inadequately constructed. This bike lane is still unrepaired after nearly three years! You can ride on it on your way to Council.
Many Austinites contributed to the development of the Town Lake Park Masterplan (including many bicyclists), but final plans demonstrate that the needs of transportation bicyclists were not incorporated into that plan!
Then of course, we have the Pfluger Bicycle/ Pedestrian Bridge. At last month's Austin Cycling Association meeting, City of Austin Senior Planner Jana McCann unveiled a fourth!!! 'redesign', a central arm (see current 'Cycling News'). One could get the impression that this is just another 'anything but the NW arm' redesign. (full article)

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Regional News

TxDOT's 25-year Plan

The Texas Department of Transportation is finishing up its 25-year plan for the state of Texas. Among the details:

  • Congestion in Texas has grown 333% in the past 20 years
  • Highway use is expected to rise more than 60% over the next 20 years
  • Texas currently spends $5 billion/yr. on highways but $15 billion is recommended
  • $600 million/yr. on rail projects is recommended, primarily for freight, to remove big trucks from the highways
  • 37% of the state's tracks have been abandoned since rail's peak in Texas in 1932
  • Public transportation serves 91% of Texans
  • Spending increases of $1.1 billion/yr. have been suggested for public transit

The plan will go to the legislature for approval in February or March 2003.

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U.S. News

President Bush signs electric bike law

Electric bicycles used to be classified as motorcycles, requiring them to be licensed, have powerful (and heavy) safety lighting, etc. But now they're properly considered as just bicycles. (more)

How they voted.... shows you how your elected officials voted on bicycling-related issues.

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International News

Mary Hansen of Stereolab killed while cycling

Mary Hansen, 36, singer and keyboardist with the London-based band Stereolab, was killed in East London on Monday after being hit by a car while riding her bicycle. (full article on JAM)

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That's all, thanks for reading!