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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on January 17th, 2011 at 10:18 am

Still from amazing video of
DIY bikeway infrastructure from Guadalajara.
-Watch video below-

Here’s the news that caught our eye last week…

- From the misguided to the punitive, proposals for anti-bicycle legislation have come fast out of the gate in 2011, from the quickly shot down plan in Oregon to ban children from being carried by bicycle to an equally short lived New Jersey proposal to require bicycle license plates to an enraged demand for mandatory bike registration in New York City.

- Plenty of people bike right through the snowiest parts of winter. A story from Portland, Maine, and tips from the midwest show how it’s done.

- An in-depth look at the City of Lights program in LA, which reaches out to the city’s immigrant population with free bike lights and education.

- A recent study found racial disparities in health—which may be correlated with disparities in the availability of livable communities and active transportation.

- Another lawsuit has been filed against a police department for violence against Critical Mass participants, this time in Los Angeles. The cell phone camera footage of the incident survived the phone being smashed to the ground and stepped on.

- In Santa Cruz, a bike lane intersects with a set of railroad tracks, and the debate about how to handle the situation—or not—is on.

- On the national front, bike advocates met with the U.S. transportation secretary and are forming a new coalition in an effort to build up lobbying efforts in a potentially less-friendly (or maybe not) legislative climate.

- An interview with the doctor who discovered that while riding a bicycle the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease temporarily disappear.

- As states increasingly struggle to maintain and expand their road infrastructure, a survey shows that Pacific Northwest residents would prefer not to pay higher gas taxes, tolls, or other fees.

- A professional boxer has been killed while riding in London, adding fuel to the discussion of how to handle the city’s many bicycle-truck collisions.

- Also in the UK, signs will soon allow people on bicycles to ride in either direction on a one way street.

- If you have it in you to wade through dense paragraphs of opaque prose peppered liberally with historical upper crust British name checks, I think that what you’ll find here boils down to a dismissive indictment of London’s bike sharing system.

- During the last oil crisis, children were required to ride bikes…on school field trips, according to this collection of old photos.

- Could wearing regular clothing while riding have a traffic calming effect?

- Video of the week: In Guadalajara, five kilometers of beautiful new bike infrastructure spring up overnight — no thanks to the government…

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Comments
  • michweek January 17, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Abouut the plain clothes vs spandex, yup I get way better treatment out in camas wa if I just look like a normal girl who is on a bike. But when in full spandex I get close passes and people think I want to race.

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  • Whyat January 17, 2011 at 11:09 am

    How is Eric Ulrich’s upcoming piece of legislation ‘enraged’? It sounds like he’s working on a bill that he feels is important. I’m not saying I agree with it, but nothing about either article made him sound angry or ‘enraged’.

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  • Clarence January 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Eric Ulrich got the NY Daily News “knucklehead” award today, a great honor: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2011/01/17/2011-01-17_repeat_offense.html

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  • Spiffy January 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Could wearing regular clothing while riding have a traffic calming effect?

    yes, I think it does… at least by my unscientific observations…

    when it was warmer and I’d bike home in my slacks and long-sleeved button-up shirt I would have less problems with angry motorists… same thing when I was wearing my retro Coca Cola shirt and carrying some bug water jugs… people in cars seem to respect and avoid you more if they think you’re just a normal worker…

    when I’d wear my bright yellow windbreaker it would seem to invite angry people and they gravitate towards me… It was “us vs them” and I’d suddenly become “them” and they wanted me off their roads…

    and my bike is very upright all the time (Electra cruiser)… it just seems to be the clothes… I was taking the same route (82nd Ave North from Clackamas mall) at the same time (4:20pm)…

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    • El Biciclero January 18, 2011 at 9:53 am

      I think the underlying psychology here is one that comes out quite often in comments on “bike” stories: “cyclists think they’re better than everyone else”. The “arrogant, hipster, elitist, holier-than-thou” cyclist image that many motorists seem to have in their minds is amplified when they see cyclists in specialized gear, because dressed like that, they look like they’re trying to be “cool”, i.e., “elite”–especially since everyone knows that cycling apparel is extremely expensive, so anyone wearing it must be a head-in-the-clouds yuppie with more money than they know what to do with, earned at their “creative class”, do-nothing job. And they’re probably gay.

      On the other hand, if one rides a plain-looking bike in “regular” clothes, I think drivers have more empathy because such a cyclist looks like a poor shmo who is stuck riding that awful bike–and in this weather, too! The perceived skill level of a plainclothes rider is also lower in the eyes of many motorists, so they give a little extra room because they figure a “regular” bike rider is more unpredictable than “one of those racer types”.

      Interestingly, I’ve noticed a similar effect when I ride confidently and signal my intentions, flagrantly obey traffic signals and signs and stop for pedestrians. I might do some things that surprise motorists, especially where left turns are involved, but I try not to pull sudden moves, maintain a predictable line, signal and move with purpose. I have very few incidents with impatient drivers as long as they know what I’m up to…

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      • buglas January 18, 2011 at 11:47 am

        I too have experienced roadway respect, and I use my hand signals faithfully. I’m waiting for the majority of other roadway users to also use their signals and give me helpful information about where to best position myself. Sadly, for many the turn signal is not a declaration of intent but more often a statement of, “I meant to do that!”

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  • Paul Tay January 17, 2011 at 11:47 am

    michweek
    Abouut the plain clothes vs spandex, yup I get way better treatment out in camas wa if I just look like a normal girl who is on a bike. But when in full spandex I get close passes and people think I want to race.

    Got dress? http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs272.snc4/39948_1439010988540_1631005560_1022503_1229049_n.jpg

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  • eljefe January 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    So “regular” clothes means expensive dress clothes and “work” means work in an office. I think we need to unpack some of the class biases here

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  • velvetackbar January 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    wow, eljefe:

    Work clothes are what people “work” in–in some folks’ cases its dress clothes and in others, its carhardts or levis.

    Most of us don’t get to work in our spandex. Bully to you if you do, tho! That is awesome!

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  • scotth January 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Umm, bike lanes crossing railroad tracks? Are there no railroad crossing signs?

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  • dmc January 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    +1 “Mary Poppins Effect” is real.

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  • Richard Masoner January 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Regarding that Santa Cruz “debate” — I don’t believe that particular crossing has been on the local radar with local advocates for any improvements and, frankly, there’s not much room to fix things. I ride there frequently and have never seen a problem with it. This short video shows me going across that crossing at about 45 seconds in.

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  • El Biciclero January 18, 2011 at 10:36 am

    RE: Riding to field trips in the 70′s– Dear Lord! Did you see those pictures! NO HELMETS!!!!!!!! How did they every survive? How many fatalities were there? How many schools got sued into oblivion for endangering children in this way? I hope all those teachers got fired for abuse!

    /bitter sarcasm

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  • joel January 18, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    i remember riding on bikes on school field trips in the 70s. also bringing change to take public transit cause school buses werent always available. short window of time before everyone became lawsuit-happy…

    and sad that after so many messengers and ordinary cyclists have been killed by lorries in london, it takes a former champion boxer getting run over for anyone to really take notice.

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