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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on January 11th, 2010 at 9:43 am

Here’s the news that caught our eye this week:

China, car capital of the world; Tweeting and driving; immobilizing the poor; Potestio speaks; Jacquie Phelan speaks; garbage bikes; burning cars; motorized wheelchairs on the loose.

– The high-profile “road rage doctor” case has concluded; ER doctor Christopher Thompson, who was found guilty of intentionally slamming on his brakes in front of a group of people on bikes “to teach them a lesson” was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.

– Transit ridership is shrinking in some cities but growing in others during the down economy.

– Meanwhile, rampant transit cuts in cities across the US have been affecting the mobility of many; this story profiles stranded night shift workers in New York City.

– 2009 was the worst year for sales in 30 years for the big US automakers. China has rushed into the gap, claiming to be the world’s biggest auto market.

– One major US automaker is banking heavily on selling you cars equipped with social media devices that will read your text messages out loud to you and connect you with Twitter via voice recognition software.

– The Environmental Protection Agency wants to tighten up air pollution standards, including auto emissions, and can withhold highway money if states don’t comply.

– If you’ve ever been in doubt about how urban design can be used to isolate and disenfranchise the poor, just take a look at the many housing projects of New Haven, Connecticut. Here’s a particularly ripe example of how designers can intentionally limit mobility.

– Portland architect and cyclocross organizer Rick Potestio sounds off in the Oregonian about the Burnside-Couch Couplet, the Flanders Street bridge fiasco, and the role of architecture in creating a livable city.

– San Francisco, free of its injunction, has installed its first bike box. In Portland, a study on the effectiveness of the green boxes has been completed.

– A year-round bicycle hauling service that has trash removal contracts with the city of Northampton, Massachusetts is profiled on the front page of the Daily Kos.

– In the UK, motorized wheelchairs occupy a legal grey area, and regulation is being considered.

– In Denmark, it’s common practice to leave your children napping in your box bike on the sidewalk while you pop into the store or cafe. Here’s what happened when a bike thief accidentally made off with three kids.

– In Switzerland, speeding tickets are assessed according to ability to pay; a wealthy man was recently handed history’s most expensive speeding ticket, at $299,000 USD for hurtling through a village 30mph over the limit in his red Ferrari.

– In Berlin, car arson is on the rise, with a militant anarchist group taking credit for what they say are protests against gentrification.

Moving by bike comes to Edmonton, Alberta — yes, in the middle of Canadian winter.

– This pedal-powered forklift is as nice looking as it is brilliant.

– Video of the week: MTB champion Jacquie Phelan’s inspiring story:

NOTE: At BikePortland, we love your comments. We love them so much that we devote many hours every week to read them and make sure they are productive, inclusive, and supportive. That doesn't mean you can't disagree with someone. It means you must do it with tact and respect. If you see an inconsiderate or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan and Michael

  • K'Tesh January 11, 2010 at 11:09 am

    And facebook still refuses to take down that Anti-Cycling hate group.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) January 11, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Can’t resist a chance to share my Jacquie Phelan story. Waaaay back in October 2005 I did my first cyclocross race out at Portland Int’l Raceway and guess who showed up? I snapped a photo of her…

    Veloshop Cyclocross Race at PIR

    She was there to re-unite with some of her friends in the WOMBATS society… read my recap of the race where I mention my Phelan sighting here.

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  • BURR January 11, 2010 at 11:26 am

    It’s Dr. Thompson, not Dr. Patterson

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  • Elly Blue (Editor) January 11, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Thanks, fixed it!

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  • Eric In Seattle January 11, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Would be nice to know how the good Doctor’s sentence compares to assaults committed with weapons other than a car (gun, baseball bat, whatever). I’m not sure, but my hunch is that he got off easy by comparison

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  • are January 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    re comment 5, some internet sources say penalties in california for assault with a deadly weapon include fines up to 10k, with average prison time anywhere from three to twelve years, one year probation, and violence counseling.

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  • are January 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    re the green box study, i would certainly agree that the primary benefit is psychological. since i am usually not in the striped lane to begin with, i will rarely end up in the box, but instead behind a car waiting for the light. but i have noticed that the drivers are often hypersensitive to the possibility that i might pass on the right (sometimes with the result that they are reluctant to start into a right turn even after the light changes).

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  • Mike January 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    At least the doctor actually got some jail time, unlike the “stand up citizen who was just having a bad day” who actually shot a bicyclist in the head in Virginia.

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  • joel January 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    yeah jacquie! the ORIGINAL alice b. toeclips.

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  • Stig6 January 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    He is no doctor.

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  • PST January 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Potestio follows in the long line of Portlanders with generally (but not always) good ideas who render themselves ineffectual due to their hubris. He’s the Richard Ellmeyer of transportation design.

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  • Mike January 12, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Forget u-locks. I am just going to leave my kid with my bike.

    Sounds like a great theft deterrent. And a little free child care.

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  • jim January 14, 2010 at 2:17 am

    bike boxes can be bad. if you are sitting in front of a big truck with a long hood- he can not see you. when the light turns green he will run you over if your not fast enough

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