Weekly Links

You Probably Shouldn’t Ride Your Scooter on the Highway, Despite Atlanta’s Recommendation

Scooters/Transportation

Atlanta Recommends Riding Scooters on the Highway

From Facebook and CurbedThis post from a satirical City of Atlanta Facebook account shows a not too uncommon scene in Atlanta (note: a previous version of this article questioned the sincerity of the post – we now know it’s from a satirical account. For consistency, we’ve maintained the original title of the post). It’s probably safe to say that doctors, lawyers, and police officers would not recommend you ride your scooter on the highway. The City and Georgia DOT did officially disapprove of this scooter driver’s actions.

Given the anecdotal evidence supporting the frequency of scooter drivers venturing onto the roadways, perhaps the actual City of Atlanta needs to be more proactive in discouraging the behavior and advertising the rules of the road. We’ve previously written about this in the context of drivers needing to be clearly and repeatedly told that they must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. While legally we’re all expected to know the thousands of statutes and local regulations, governments should do a better job of educating and reminding the public.

The city held a public meeting on Friday morning to discuss dockless scooter legislation, which are badly needed as users are leaving scooters and dockless bikes on sidewalks and streets. The proposed legislation would prohibit scooters from obstructing sidewalks and streets, require operators to scatter the scooters across the city (most are clustered in affluent areas), and would also require the operator to carry $3 million in liability insurance.


Society

Hate Crimes Spiked in 2016 For Some Reason

From The Conversation. This week we saw a video of a man harassing a women for wearing a Puerto Rico t-shirt. That’s right, for wearing a shirt with the flag of Puerto Rico. A police officer who failed to intervene subsequently resigned. We also learned that a 91-year old Latino man was attacked with a brick and told to go back to his country.

Since the FBI began record-keeping on hate crimes in 1992, the fewest number of such crimes were reported in 2014. Since then the number has steadily increased with a spike around the 2016 election. African-Americans continue to be the most targeted group, but in 2017 they were at their lowest proportion of all hate crimes since 1992. Anti-Muslim hate crimes increased by 99% between 2014 and 2016. Gays, lesbians, whites, Jews, and Latinos rounded out the top 5.

We are far below the levels reported in 2001 and all crimes have fallen steadily since 2006, but there is a clear correlation between the 2016 election and spikes in hate crimes. In the two weeks following the election, the average number of daily hate crimes reported increased by 92%. There may also be some connection with Russian interference as we know those Russians who created bot and other fake accounts on Twitter and Facebook routinely used race to sow division among voters.

Wearing a t-shirt with the image of a flag on it, kneeling during the national anthem, and speaking about a controversial topic on a college campus are all forms of speech that are clearly protected by the 1st Amendment.  Inciting violence is not.


Environment

Sixty Percent of Americans Believe Humans Are Influencing Global Warming

From the University of Michigan. This represents a new high. The poll, conducted by the University of Michigan, found that 73% of respondents said there is solid evidence of global warming while only 15% said there is not solid evidence. This same poll has been conducted since 2008 and this year’s 73% figure represents the fifth year in row that more than 70% of respondents said there is solid evidence of global warming. Sixty percent, a new high, believe humans are either primarily or partially responsible for global warming while only 12% believe humans are not contributing to climate change. The rest either don’t believe there is evidence of climate change or they are not sure.

Unsurprisingly, there is a huge gap between Democrats and Republicans. While 90% of Democrats believe there is solid evidence of global warming only 50% of Republicans believe the same. When we look at whether respondents thought humans were contributing to the global warming, 78% of Democrats said humans were contributing while 35% of Republicans said the same. That 35% number is down from 39% in 2008.

Keep that 15% data point in mind next time you hear the head of a federal agency say that global warming doesn’t exist or is a hoax. Then show up at the next election.

 


 

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