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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on February 28th, 2011 at 8:52 am

Here’s the bike news from around the world that caught our eye last week:

- Utah is one step closer to becoming the second state in the nation, after Idaho, to allow people on bicycles to treat stop signs as yield signs.

- In Porto Alegre, Brazil on Friday night, someone accelerated a car through the length of a 130 person Critical Mass ride. Full coverage and videos of this horrible incident can be found on The Urban Country. As many as fifty people were injured, two seriously. The car was found abandoned and a suspect has come forward.

- If you chose to watch that last video, we recommend you immediately follow up by watching this one, a musical ode by Kenyan teenagers about how much they love bicycling. If you need more, move on to this one, demonstrating a bicycle-mounted robot that creates public art.

- San Diego is contemplating spending $2.8 billion for active transportation infrastructure in the next 40 years.

- From the world of bike sharing: A profile of an entrepreneurial college student in Mumbai, India who has started a system for his city. A look back at the history of the long-ago campus “yellow bikes” program at Bowdoin College in Maine. Lyon, France, the home of contemporary bike sharing, wants to become even more bicycle friendly with a 90 million Euro investment over a six year period.

- Memphis, Tennessee faces a decision: Will they add bike lanes to a major commercial strip when it’s repaved, or will they opt for another turn lane?

- One British newspaper claims that bicycling in traffic causes heart attacks; another debunks.

- An 18 year old from central California aims to become the youngest person and first African-American woman to bicycle around the world.

- A Norfolk, Virginia woman compares bicycle safety discourse with the politics of domestic violence, writing about how she used to assume people who were hit by cars while bicycling were somehow at fault, until she started putting in more miles on her bike without the safety in numbers of a group.

- The NYPD has determined that two of its officers were justified in beating a Bronx teenager who they had stopped for riding his bike on the sidewalk (the incident was caught on video).

- A Portland newspaper features the story of Major Taylor, one of the United States’ earliest superstar bicycle racers, and an overview of other prominent bicycle racers of African descent.

- A homemade alarm system helped a Pennsylvania homeowner prevent his bicycle from being stolen.

- The City of Los Angeles is considering a bill that would allow people riding bikes to “bring civil suit against drivers who assault them, harass them, threaten them, or intentionally distract them.”

- “Maybe it’s time we really did wage a war on cars,” ponders David Suzuki. Meanwhile, the editors of an Oregon newspaper appear ready to wage war on people trying to cross the city’s five-lane Main Street.

- There’ve been a lot of videos in the news this week. Here’s a final one worth sharing: Streetfilms’ latest episode in their Moving Beyond the Automobile series puts the spotlight on bicycling

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  • Chad February 28, 2011 at 9:49 am

    In the item “Maybe it’s time we really did wage a war on cars,” ponders David Suzuki. Meanwhile, the editors of an Oregon newspaper appear ready to wage war on people trying to cross the city’s five-lane Main Street.” both links go to the same page. Is that intentional? I don’t see anything about an Oregon 5 lane street in the link.

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  • Elly Blue (Columnist) February 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Sorry, here’s the second link: http://www.springfieldtimes.net/news/story.cfm?story_no=7603

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    • mabsf February 28, 2011 at 11:40 am

      “Is that enough to fix stupid?”
      What is stupid?
      That people have to cross a 5-lane street that is supposedly the main drag of their town…
      Or that people put up with something like that in the middle of their town?
      What do we expect from our cities? That there are more than a group of houses and services, arranged for quick in/out of our cars or do we expect communities?
      So, what is stupid?

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      • wsbob February 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm

        According the article, or probably something most people would agree with, stupid is getting really, really drunk “…the pedestrian had a BAC of .27 percent. …” and trying to jaywalk a five lane road when a signaled crosswalk is only ninety feet away.

        Or another example cited by the article: a person with “an extensive history of alcohol intoxication.”, entering the street from the sidewalk without stopping to check first to see if the street is clear of traffic (was this person drunk when attempting to so? Article doesn’t say.).

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  • Andrew February 28, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Chad,

    I’m assuming it’s about Springfield’s Main Street,a five-lane deathtrap where several jaywalkers have been killed in the last year.

    I’d recommend searching it on the Register-Guard’s website to find some of the details.

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  • Tacoma February 28, 2011 at 10:15 am

    The essay out of Norfolk, VA is brilliant and the examples she used to support her arguments brought tears to my eyes. Not that we would be presumptuous enough to compare our experience with the exact FEAR or THREAT of violence that a battered wife would experience but the analogy is accurate and valuable to help both people on bikes and people NOT on bikes understand how we might be able to move beyond the status quo.

    Also, I have been meaning to add my support to the website. I will get that done this week. Thank you for your valuable service.

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  • q`Tzal February 28, 2011 at 11:01 am

    We need that LA civil suit for cyclists law up here.

    Since the only conclusion to matching the physical danger imposed by auto drivers to cyclists with equivalent firearm use by cyclists is lawless anarchy perhaps the gun of civil suit aimed at drivers would encourage civil behavior.

    As for the Brazilian homicide driver: I’m thinking the Dexter Morgan treatment or Alexander DeLarge reprogramming.

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    • wsbob February 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm

      “…Dexter Morgan treatment or Alexander DeLarge reprogramming…” q`Tzal

      Uh-oh… . You had me, cause I couldn’t think who either one of those two guys were. The latter (Alex from Clockwork Orange), I knew about once I familiarized myself with who it was, but not the former (don’t have cable or Showtime).

      Wikipedia’s got a page on Morgan. Calls him a serial killer, which doesn’t jive with what I understand what that is, and what Morgan’s about, because he’s not killing just to be killing. More of a vigilante or a justice type killer. Like Batman or Charles Bronson’s character in Death Wish.

      Probably won’t watch the Brazilian CM rampager video. It’s anyone’s guess why people decide to do things like that. I suppose, ‘because they can’.

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  • jeff February 28, 2011 at 11:26 am

    “the editors of an Oregon newspaper appear ready to wage war on people trying to cross the city’s five-lane Main Street”

    This is pretty misleading and doesn’t convey the point of the editorial at all.

    Is this news summary intended to be alarmist by nature?

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    • are February 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      so what are you saying is the “point” of the editorial

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      • jeff February 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm

        Suggesting that drunken jaywalking is not a good idea does not equal a “war on pedestrians.”

        Since the editorial is for a local audience, there is a fair amount of information missing as to current traffic structuring/signage. But to call it a “war on…” is both trite and a hyperbole.

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        • are February 28, 2011 at 11:12 pm

          nothing in the editorial about drunk

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          • wsbob March 1, 2011 at 12:28 am

            “nothing in the editorial about drunk” are

            Oh c’mon, are …read the editorial. You did read it, didn’t you? The February 24, 2011 Springfield Times editorial by Craig Murphy, ‘Crosswalks are only effective when used’?

            The editorial mentions or alludes to intoxication at least several times. I wouldn’t ordinarily bring this up, but….tomorrow morning, re-read your comment: no capital letter at the beginning of the sentence, no period ending it, poor sentence structure making the comment hard to comprehend. Kind of seems as though you may have been just a little drunk when you wrote it.

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      • aaronf February 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm

        The point is that the pedestrians getting hit aren’t using the safety facilities that have been put in place.

        From the article:

        “I applaud ODOT for moving forward with safety improvements, as well as city staff working with ODOT.

        But there’s been this lingering question in the back of my mind for a while: will it make any difference?”

        If they really cared about pedestrians they would just close that road and make those nasty cagers drive somewhere else, huh?

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  • spare_wheel February 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    “Maybe it’s time we really did wage a war on cars”

    There is a distinct accommodative attitude among some cycling activists. I find it irritating that activists urge us to “share the road” with a public health and environmental menace. There is more at stake here than the funding for a few bike lanes.

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    • matt picio February 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      In every successful campaign, there are those who work within the establishment, those who work against the establishment, and those who work despite the establishment. All three types are valuable contributors to the fight, and pressure at all levels is needed to make lasting change. The “accommodators” open certain avenues that can’t be opened in other ways. Sure, sometimes the various groups work cross-purpose, but that happens frequently when such a large group of individuals is affected.

      That said, there is certainly room for more voices advocating to reduce the influence of the automobile, and changing social, legal and political policy to facilitate that.

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  • kww February 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I saw the video of the critical mass ride in Brazil, what a worst case scenario. You will be seeing this whether you want to or not in the bicycle press in the coming days.

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    • Paul Johnson March 3, 2011 at 6:36 am

      Collective flaunting of wreckless disregard of traffic laws does nothing to improve awareness of anything other than the idea that cyclists are lawless jerks. You’re part of the problem.

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  • deborah February 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I am so shaken after watching the critical mass ride video from Brazil. What a horrific murderous act. And his 15-year old son was in the car to witness the entire thing. My thoughts are with the victims of this heinous crime.

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  • wsbob February 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I’m always wondering whenever someone throws around hot rhetorical phrases suggesting war be waged against this or that, whether the reaction can be a positive one.

    For a moment, forget cars or bikes…David Suziki’s article is a kind of sad commentary on humanity and maybe David Suzuki himself. His opening line to his article is: “We humans like our wars.” His closing line to his article is: “Maybe it’s time we really did wage a war on cars.”

    A bunch of bike, auto news stuff in between, which Suzuki lets resign himself to the idea that there isn’t community, but instead, mostly opposing sides that can’t see or aren’t wiling to work to achieve the common interests of both. So according to Suzuki’s way of thinking and some others…might as well wage another war.

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  • aaronf February 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t safely get completely drunk and stumble into the street at any point of my choosing.

    That would have never happened in the 1800s, when cars didn’t exist. This validates my position.

    I mean, what if I wasn’t a drunk person, but a runaway baby carriage? Huh? You would feel bad then!

    Yes, jeff, Elly is prone to hyperbole. Her bias crops up in the news about once a week if you follow the stories she reports on. She’s some sort of activist, so it doesn’t matter if what she says is true… she’s doing it for the cause.

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  • shirtsoff February 28, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    “- A homemade alarm system helped a Pennsylvania homeowner prevent his bicycle from being stolen.”

    Lehigh Acres is in Florida, not Pennsylvania, according to the article and various atlases. :)

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  • Ted Buehler March 1, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Quite the Roundup — thanks for pulling all these together, Elly.

    Ted Buehler

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  • q`Tzal March 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Driver Who Hit Cyclists Indicted for Attempted Murder
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011…ted-murder.php

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  • Paul Johnson March 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Leave it to California to fall short of doing the right thing in terms of harassing cyclists. In Oklahoma, it’s a felony.

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    • Pete March 1, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      Since moving to California a few years ago I’ve seen three successful convictions of motorists who hit cyclists, including a doctor in L.A. who intentionally ran down some racers while they were training. I also witnessed an officer pull over a driver who swerved and honked at a bicyclist on a popular expressway near here. I wish I could say the same for my experiences in and what I read here of what happens in Portland!

      I love and miss Oregon, but to be honest I prefer riding here more than Portland or Beaverton. Better weather, terrain, and infrastructure for the most part (no, I don’t live in L.A.!). Cycling is extremely popular here in Silicon Valley and believe it or not drivers are quite courteous towards us.

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  • adamdoug2011 March 2, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    let me to remind you, Elly, and portland, that you, collectively turned your back on Critical Mass and, thus, in effect, supported this driver who mowed down cyclists in the streets of Brazil. Solidarity means what it means.

    In SF, it was not easy to get the police to support and not combat the ride – but it happened because people would not stop riding. In portland, a few arrests happened and most of you Shifties ran away like scared little children. remember?

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  • deborah March 3, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Adamdoug2011- I rarely participate in group rides because I have family responsibilities that limit the extra time I have. But I ride everyday, and I can tell you was crushed watcing that video.

    We all do what we can. I accept you as part of of the community regardless of if I’ve ever ridden in a mass ride with you or not. You’re anger is misplaced, and thank goodness the bike riding community is much larger and more accepting than you give it credit for. I hope you can redirect and focus on how we can help the victims instead of inciting anger.

    adamdoug2011
    let me to remind you, Elly, and portland, that you, collectively turned your back on Critical Mass and, thus, in effect, supported this driver who mowed down cyclists in the streets of Brazil. Solidarity means what it means.
    In SF, it was not easy to get the police to support and not combat the ride – but it happened because people would not stop riding. In portland, a few arrests happened and most of you Shifties ran away like scared little children. remember?

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