Latest from the Blog

The Overhead Wire Daily | July 11th, 2024 | Two Systems and Two Wheels

July 11, 2024

One interesting item at least for me today is the Associated Press piece on delivery company Door Dash and the pressure they are feeling to reduce dangerous driving by drivers on two wheels.

What strikes me about this is that often vehicle laws in the Untied States are written with cars in mind, and so with the proliferation of small motorized delivery vehicles and a time crunch, these drivers are going to look for every edge possible in a system that wasn’t even designed for them.

When I was in China, smaller delivery vehicles weren’t allowed in the road with cars but there were ample multi-use paths and wide sidewalks with designations available which I detailed in an Instagram post. There were ramps next to steps and even on huge pedestrian overpasses these electric two wheelers would be zooming up and down.

That didn’t stop me from almost getting run over a few times as a pedestrian, but it didn’t feel as messy as in big cities sometimes do in the United States. I also heard about the ridiculous delivery time penalties that were often enforced which is also a likely source of bad behavior.

But it feels like there’s a double standard for those driving two wheelers versus cars and trucks. UPS and FedEx famously in the past have just settled up in bulk parking tickets and other moving violations made by their trucks in cities. But we haven’t really designated spaces or designed streets for smaller vehicles to mix in with passenger vehicles on steroids so we penalize them for making decisions that might not entirely be theirs.

Are there bad actors? Of course. And I don’t condone riding on sidewalks with higher speed vehicles. But it’s all about context and when the police led by the mayor decide to target a certain working community, you get 13,000 impounded vehicles. But when you’re a driver who happens to be sitting in a diner in mid-town when the governor happens to stroll through, you have the ability to impact national policy. Not sure we’re starting on equal footing here.

***

For this intro post and more news in your inbox every morning, sign up for a two week free trial of The Overhead Wire Daily, our popular newsletter established in 2006.

Transport

Urbanism & Design

Urban Issues

Environment & Ecology

Research

Listen to the Talking Headways Podcast

Testimonials

…the first thing I read every morning is the newsletter to see what’s been out there. It’s great to have an aggregator that pulls everything together so nicely.

Joe Cortright, City Observatory


I think that the email newsletter that you do every morning is the best one that I get, and I get a lot of them.

Mary Newsom, The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute


Really is the best daily urban newsletter out there.

Eric Jaffe, Editorial Director Sidewalk Labs

Subscribe

To Receive The Overhead Wire in Your Inbox Daily

Premium Daily Subscription

The Premium Daily Subscription is our most information packed offering, chock full of over 30 pieces of news every single day. Included are popular features such as the quote of the day and the most read article from the previous day. Also included is our weekly roundup for times when you are strapped for time but need to know what’s going on.

Premium Weekly Subscription

The Premium Weekly Subscription is for professionals constantly under a time crunch. We take the most read items from the week before and share them with subscribers along with more in depth analysis of a single popular topic.

Learn More and Subscribe

Video of the Day

Friends of The Overhead Wire

Back To Top

Welcome to The Overhead Wire

What Can We Help You Find?

Try Our Newsletter For Free