Asides: Bad Pittsburgh drivers, good Pittsburgh living and elite Pittsburgh bees

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HERE’S A HEADLINE that civic boosters don’t want to see in the Post-Gazette: “Pittsburgh Drivers at Bottom of Pile of Accidents.” But that headline Wednesday was just reporting the news. The Allstate insurance company, in ranking the nation’s 200 largest cities for driver safety, ranked Pittsburgh 187th. Allstate estimates the typical driver here gets in a collision every 6.6 years, with the national average being one per decade. Among cities with populations of 250,000 to 499,999, Pittsburgh came in last. Why does it rank so poorly? We offer some theories: It’s the confusion caused by the notorious “Pittsburgh left” at intersections. Or it’s all the swerving we have to do to avoid potholes. Surely it’s anything other than being poor drivers.

NEVER MIND, Pittsburgh is the most livable city. Rand McNally said so as far back as 1985 and Forbes magazine said it in 2010. Now Pittsburgh has been designated the “most livable city” again in the continental United States by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 livability survey. Only Honolulu beat Pittsburgh among U.S. cities in the study, which measured “which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions.” Pittsburgh ranked 30th in the world among 140 cities in the Economist study and Honolulu was 26th. Pittsburgh can take this and other accolades to the bank, although it’s best not to drive there.

THE CITY WAS A-BUZZ last week with the news that the Duquesne Club, more noted as a preserve of WASPs, has been visited by city building inspectors because it had failed to get a variance and permit to keep four beehives on the roof. Without the proper paperwork, the apiary might have to be removed. But the exclusive club apparently intends to apply for approval — which would allow the bees to stay and the law to be followed, an outcome as sweet as honey. There’s no point in everybody having a bee in their bonnet. That can cause distracted driving.

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