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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on June 13th, 2011 at 8:26 am

A very good sign-1-2.jpg
NYC Is buzzing about an
incident involving a skirt.
(Photo © J. Maus)

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

- What do you do if your city isn’t home to a summer season of grassroots bike fun, like Portland’s Pedalpalooza, Vancouver B.C.’s Velopalooza, and now Calgary’s Cyclepalooza? Start your own, of course. Even if it’s just one ride. Here’s how it’s done.

- A representative of the Dutch bicycle industry in New York for an industry event was allegedly pulled over by a police officer and threatened with a ticket for bicycling in a skirt.* (Some people believe this might have been a guerrilla marketing stunt by Vanmoof. If I’m able to confirm that, I’ll edit this item as necessary. – JM).

- In London, a woman was stopped and warned by a police officer for carrying her two children on her cargo bike, even though that isn’t illegal.

- A survey finds that cycling encouragement and education campaigns in the U.K. have not been effective at getting people on bicycles when streets aren’t actually safe to bike on.

- This season, bicycles are all the rage in marketing chic, expensive fashion, furniture, dishware, and other goods.

- In Brighton, England, the Bike Train is a group commute ride inspired by Critical Mass which also includes convoys to events and is planning to expand to school trips.

- A man in Ada, Kansas can’t walk, but he can ride a bicycle — that’s powered by hand cranks.

- In Philadelphia, a startup bicycle-based laundry service has five employees and 75 clients.

- Cycling is the recreational activity of choice in a county in Taiwan — a survey found that 63% of residents like to ride — so the local government is investing in signing, mapping, and promoting its bike routes.

- In Boulder, Colorado, a new $3.2 million mountain biking skills park has just opened.

- On-street bike parking has come to Spokane, Washington, at the request of the business it’s located in front of.

- For those of you wondering what happened to the Washington, D.C. woman who was purposely hit while riding by a driver who fled after she showed him her police badge, here’s the end of the story.

- Videos of the week: Casey Neistat (you might recall him stealing his own bike, repeatedly, on film a few years back) got a traffic ticket in New York City for riding outside the bike lane. In protest, he made a short movie of himself riding in the bike lane, no matter what else he was sharing it with.

Also from NYC is a fascinating video of a chaotic intersection that shows traffic safety is a “3 way street”:

3-Way Street from ronconcocacola on Vimeo.

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  • Lillian Karabaic June 13, 2011 at 8:33 am

    The NYC ticketing for biking in a skirt story appears to possibly be a fake story generated by the woman interviewed in the story.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 13, 2011 at 8:42 am

      Thanks Lily. I’ll make edits if necessary. At this point, I’m waiting for a confirmation.

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    • rider June 13, 2011 at 9:56 am

      What’s sad is that it’s not so far out of the realm of possibility that we all don’t immediately dismiss it as a fake even though it is completely absurd.

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      • Lillian Karabaic June 13, 2011 at 10:02 am

        Agreed. Sad state of affairs.

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      • Esther June 13, 2011 at 11:05 am

        Yep. I asked a friend of mine in NYC via facebook if it was real, since it had the ring of urban myth to it. She wrote back: “yeah I can see getting pulled over, but not ticketed. they get kudos for harassing bikers now. I got pulled over the other week by cops who just wanted to flirt- on the day of the NYPD rape trial verdict. :(“

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  • K'Tesh June 13, 2011 at 9:59 am

    @ Taiwan! Zhè shì wěidà de!

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    • Pete June 15, 2011 at 12:46 am

      Is that Mandarin, or Klingon? :)

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  • NW Biker June 13, 2011 at 10:00 am

    If it’s true, that cop would go nuts in Amsterdam. When I was there in April, I saw a woman dressed to the nines (short skirt, heels, the works) riding a bike with a table strapped to the rear rack. Oh, the father and daughter riding along on one (non-tandem) bike, she perched in front of him, while they both ate ice cream cones. I wish I’d had my camera handy for that one!

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    • q`Tzal June 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      Perfectly safe given polite road users and average skill.

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      • NW Biker June 13, 2011 at 5:39 pm

        Agreed. Bikes are definitely in the majority in central Amsterdam, and newcomers are warned to look carefully before crossing the street. I saw very few cars, but thousands of bikes. It was great.

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  • Jonathan Gordon June 13, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I saw the “3 way street” video last week and my perspective really changed between my first and second viewing. At first, I thought, “Wow, that’s crazy! So many close calls!” But by the end of it, I thought, “Dang, this seems like an anti-cyclist video.” So then I had a second look. And I found that a lot of these “close calls” really don’t seem so bad to me. A lot of them are bikes crawling through slow moving pedestrian traffic. The pedestrians don’t slow down before/after bikes pass them by, making me think they’re not terribly startled. Yes, there are certainly some decent counter-examples. But what really tipped me off is when the video shows the cyclist slowly pulling on to the sidewalk and going walking speed, but it’s iconified as “ZOMG! Red red red red!!!”

    Not to say everyone’s a saint in this video. But I think it cries wolf way too loudly and too often. There are *real* problems with mixed traffic in NYC and here in Portland as well. But bikes traveling under five mph amidst slow-moving pedestrian traffic is very rarely one of them.

    Here’s metafilter’s take:

    http://www.metafilter.com/104311/Overhead-video-of-NYC-intersection

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  • spare_wheel June 13, 2011 at 11:24 am

    The 3 way intersection video is heavily edited and one wonders how much footage was removed. Moreover, the large flashing red boxes appear designed to obscure the interaction. I am willing to bet that many of those interactions were far less threatening to the participants than it would seem from this biased video.

    IMO, cycling in the Netherlands suggests that mode share and legal protection are more important safety variables than obsessive compulsive adherence to minor motorist-centric traffic ordinances.

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    • are June 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      what, they edited out the boring stuff? the video identified misbehavior on the part of pedestrians and motorists as well as cyclists. many of the incidents involving cyclists vs. pedestrians show one or the other or both taking evasive action. this is how you typically measure whether something has gone wrong. and in some cases the situation was caused by a pedestrian crossing against the light. i honestly do not understand how anyone could see this video as anti-cyclist.

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      • spare_wheel June 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm

        the large flashing RED boxes show clear bias. why was this color used for cyclists and not pedestrians or motorists? why does the box obscure many of the interactions?

        the “interactions” were also ordered non chronologically and were overly focused on cyclists. whether the cyclist interactions represent 5%, 25%, or 95% of these interactions is unclear.

        “evasion” at 5 mph is not evasion. motorists and cyclists should EXPECT pedestrians and cyclists to get in the way. active transport should always have the legal right of way.

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  • Elly Blue (Columnist) June 13, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Agreed… I didn’t think the 3 way street vid was worth posting, it was an editorial addition. :)

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  • Marcus Griffith June 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    The 3-way street video was well done.

    The skirt incident needs a closer review; there’s a fine line between a “guerrilla marketing stunt” and defamation. If the incident was fabricated, than it does nothing other than to erode public support for those times when police really do make inane threats of bogus laws.

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  • Jene-Paul June 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Casey Neistat’s junk-in-the-bike lane video should be a part of every peace officer’s training!

    I think that it should be a requirement that officers are assigned bike-mounted patrol before they’re allowed to ride around in standard cruisers – one recurring shift a month would do wonders…

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  • -J June 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    The “3 way street” video does seem to editorialize a bit graphically with the flashing boxes. The reality is that it is possible to safely ride at low speeds pretty close to people while keeping traffic moving. It is not like there is some magical buffer that must be maintained between pedestrians passing each other on a sidewalk. Obviously as the speed differential between any two users increases, the distance of separation should increase as well. What is also missing from this distance/perspective is that there is often quite a bit of non-verbal communication between road users in New York City (and I don’t mean just middle fingers). Quick eye contact and a nod creates a lot of safety – which can’t really be shown is something like this video. But passing in front of , rather than behind pedestrians really is poor practice…and something I see fairly often even her in Portland.

    The only really egregious thing I saw in that video was the semi truck doing that U turn in the middle of the intersection – and having to back up to make it happen. That truck driver should have just taken a left and then 3 rights to get onto the street in that direction.

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    • Paul in the 'couve June 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      Not to in any way excuse the truck drive, but rather to point out the issues of bad behavior by all modes being related to how the streets aren’t working for certain users I’d like to address your suggested alternative of a Left and three rights.

      For a large truck in Manhattan that is not as simple as it sounds especially if the drive was trying to make a delivery to a business in the particular block or two closest to the intersection.

      There a several complicating factors. First, Manhattan (most neighborhoods) has long blocks on cross streets (east / west) and short blocks on the Avenues (uptown / downtown – north / south). Long blocks are 4/mile while short blocks are 20/mile. While most of the Avenues are major streets, most of the cross streets are narrow and very congested with only every 8th or 10th street being major. Both cross-streets and avenues are mostly one-way. Then add the traffic and pedestrians in cross walks. Right turns are very difficult because the pedestrians won’t yield the cross walk to cars.

      As a result the truck drive would have to probably go two long blocks – or 1/2 mile then make a difficult right. Then choose between a narrow single lane cross street or going further to a better cross street and return the 1/2 mile while make 3 right turns each of which require waiting for pedestrians. At mid-day traffic that would probably take no less than 20 minutes to accomplish.

      This is also the reason it so tempting to bicycle against traffic – especially when you are making an unfamiliar trip. I often end up coming to a location from the wrong direction and find my self at the wrong end of a one-way long block going to a destination 2/3 of the way down the block. Legally I can either ride around – which may not be as simple as going around the block, or dismount and walk. But…. it is often very very tempting to just salmon. When either the traffic is at a standstill, or traffic is light I admit that I’ll salmon it.

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    • are June 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm

      the only egregious thing, really? not the left turns from the far right lane across pedestrians who had the light, heading the wrong way up a one-way street, riding onto the sidewalk? the motorists making unsignaled lane changes? you have a higher threshold for egregiousness than i do.

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      • Joe C June 14, 2011 at 8:36 am

        If egregiousness is measured in terms of how much of a real, life-threatening danger is presented by those perpetrating these minor infractions, cars. win. every. time.

        The people riding bikes in this vid can be a little reckless, but I never felt my life was threatened by a “scofflaw cyclist.” Whereas I walk outside on the sidewalk in Portland every day and feel it’s only a matter of time before some two-ton metal deathtrap hurtling at fatal speeds (driven by someone simultaneously gulping Starbucks and yakking on their cell) plows into me…

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        • spare_wheel June 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

          dutch cyclists are notorious for having a high level of disregard for traffic laws. nevertheless, the rate of cycling injury in the Netherlands is the lowest in the world. could it be that erratic cycling is safer than puritanical and segregationist cycling?

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  • Ted Buehler June 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    “What do you do if your city isn’t home to a summer season of grassroots bike fun…”

    Note that Pedalpalooza started in 2002 as “BikeSummer 2002,” following the tradition of
    * BikeSummer 2001 in Vancouver BC,
    * BikeSummer 2000 in Chicago(?) and
    * the original BikeSummer 1999 in San Francisco, CA.

    Fortunately for Vancouver, Portland has initiated the transition from a single-year event to an annual tradition, and now BikeSummer 2001 lives on as well.

    Thank you Shifties 1.0 for bringing BikeSummer to Portland and turning it into an annual event!

    Ted Buehler

    See
    http://criticalmass.wikia.com/wiki/Bike_Summer!

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  • Lynnette Fusilier June 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks for the link love. Much appreciated!

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  • are June 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    okay, so the guy from england finds that there is not (in the towns he studied) “a mass of people on the threshold” who would become daily transportational cyclists with only “a little push.” instead, urban cycling is the “niche” province of “Lycra-clad,” “skilled” “enthusiasts.” and from this he concludes that we need segregated facilities? seems like he went into this with some assumptions that his research was designed to confirm.

    can someone explain to me why operating a motor vehicle in an urban environment is not (or should not be seen as) a “skilled practice”? what is needed is to inundate this “mass of people” with effective educational propaganda. and to remove the unskilled motorists from the roads altogether. they already have separated facilities. they are called interstate highways. everywhere else ought to be human scale turf.

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  • Alex Reed June 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Go Spokane! Every time I visit there are more bikes on the roads than the last. And the Elk’s in Brown’s Addition (the business that requested the on-street bike parking) is super delicious – worth googling if you head up there!

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  • Alexis June 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I thought both of the videos were very well done. Casey’s is hilarious and to the point, and the 3-way street video makes the point that it’s on everyone to behave safely. I don’t think the point is as much whether every interaction highlighted was unsafe (as although most are indeed illegal, however safe they might be), as much as to point out that unsafe behavior is common and even habitual and that needs to change.

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  • Daniel June 13, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Lillian Karabaic
    The NYC ticketing for biking in a skirt story appears to possibly be a fake story generated by the woman interviewed in the story.

    Wouldn’t be the first, won’t be the last time bikeportland was trolled by an urban myth or craigslist ad.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Daniel.. I suppose you always make perfect decisions and never make mistakes in your job?

      Not only am I happy to admit that sometimes I make the wrong decisions, but I am even happier to say that I also try to fix them immediately when I have correct information. (Remember that Craigslist/bike thief story I did? It was completely deleted just a few hours later).

      Thanks.

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      • Marcus Griffith June 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm

        Once something gets picked up multiple news outlets, it gets momentum for gaining more press and it gets hard sort out details, esp from the other side of the country (seriously, try calling NYC with a media inquiry from the west coast). I

        I haven’t come across anything (yet) that shows the cyclists misreported the incident. And it’s not like NYC has the best relationship between police and cyclists.

        Remember the infamous NYC critical mass assault in Times Square? In front of numerous witnesses and other officers, a NYC officer assaulted and arrested a random cyclists for fabricated charges supported by a false report only to have a tourist’s cell phone video show what really happened.

        But on a serious note, leggy does have nice legs.

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  • Kevin Wagoner June 13, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    That video is awesome. I would love to see more of those focused on our intersections.

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  • Paul Johnson June 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Don’t forget about Dirty Kanza, Tulsa Tough, Biking Across Kansas, and Oklahoma Freewheel, all happening now.

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