“…but she can’t sell the mistletoe.” “No selling in the park” undoubtedly makes sense as a rule, but here, as in so many legal situations, an understood *de minimis* exception would help a lot. [Portland, Ore.; ABC News, Institute for Justice] But note (as reader James points out) that the setting was an established open-air bazaar with vendor waiting lists and fees, not a conventional open grassy park. That makes a pretty big difference, no?
“There’s plenty of money. The problem is interminable environmental review.” That’s Philip K. Howard in the Wall Street Journal [summarized here; related Common Good forum with Regional Plan Association] Excerpt:
Canada requires full environmental review, with state and local input, but it has recently put a maximum of two years on major projects. Germany allocates decision-making authority to a particular state or federal agency: Getting approval for a large electrical platform in the North Sea, built this year, took 20 months; approval for the City Tunnel in Leipzig, scheduled to open next year, took 18 months. Neither country waits for years for a final decision to emerge out of endless red tape.
And has now been awarded $18 million on the theory that although there was some warning signage, there should have been more. The 23-year-old driver was traveling “admittedly 15-20 miles per hour over the speed limit” when he encountered a rough patch of roadway at a resurfacing project. The claimant’s attorney, Gerald A. McHugh Jr., “a current nominee for U.S. district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, declined to comment on the case.” [Philadelphia, Legal Intelligencer]
All it takes are a few warnings for the benefit of visitors who might not otherwise realize watery surfaces are wet [Chevy Chase, Maryland; courtesy Carter Wood]
“Two federal government agencies will withdraw their longstanding claims that bicycle helmets reduce the risk of a head injury by 85%. The decision comes in response to a petition the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) filed under the federal Data Quality Act.” [Jim Titus, Greater Greater Washington; earlier on mandatory helmet-use laws here and here]
Now guess who gets sued? [Ted Frank/PoL; Collins v. Navistar, California]
Following up on our earlier posts, a new NBER study finds (via Reason) that the main safety-related effect of helmet laws may be to discourage kids from riding bikes in the first place: “the observed reduction in bicycle-related head injuries may be due to reductions in bicycle riding induced by the laws.”
At Greater Greater Washington, Shane Farthing of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association has explained in more detail why his group does not favor a Maryland proposal to make helmets mandatory. Earlier here.
Great moments in blame-shifting: In Dade City, Fla., an ex-con with cocaine and other drugs in his system tried to outrun the cops in a high speed chase, then veered into a farm neighborhood where he smashed his car into two trees on a one-lane dead-end private road, instantly killing himself and a passenger. Now the estate of his passenger (who was also on drugs) is suing 21 local residents who jointly maintain the private road, saying they should have kept it clear of trees and did not provide adequate signage. “There were no apparent visual roadway obstructions or environmental factors that would have contributed to this crash,” a report from the Florida Highway Patrol stated at the time. [Tampa Bay Times](& Alkon)
Maryland bicycling advocates can tell the difference, and are opposing a proposal by Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore) to mandate helmet use. There’s a lesson somewhere in there, or so I surmise in my new Cato post. Update: more details from an opponent.
But how many actually deserve one? [CBS Los Angeles via Alkon]
“The [Florida] DOT had hired TransCore months earlier to install a wildlife warning system along the stretch of eastern Collier County road, infamous for being deadly for the endangered wildcats, to test whether the system would reduce the number of collisions between panthers and vehicles. It didn’t help [motorcyclist Kenneth] Nolan,” who ran into a panther and is now suing over the consequent injury. [Eric Staats, Naples News via Julie Meadows-Keefe]
A local woman says wi-fi emanations from new “smart” parking meters in Santa Monica, Calif., have caused her various health injuries including tightness in her neck and an ear infection that took antibiotics to heal. She wants $1.7 billion: “I know it seems a little big,” [Denise] Barton said, “but they can’t do things that affect people’s health without their consent. I think that’s wrong.” [Santa Monica Daily Press, LAist]
I’ve got a new post at Cato at Liberty on a truly DoTty local mandate, and the contractors’ lobby that has been hoping to reap some of its benefits.
“Daniel Schuler, whose wife, Diane Schuler, killed herself and seven others in a wrong-way crash on the Taconic State Parkway is suing the state and his brother-in-law, whose three daughters were victims. Daniel Schuler filed a lawsuit Monday against the state in the New York Court of Claims, arguing that the highway was poorly designed and lacked proper signs.” [White Plains, N.Y. Journal-News] More on the catastrophic crash, which is the subject of a new HBO documentary by Liz Garbus: Bloomberg.