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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on June 20th, 2011 at 9:31 am

A design student claims that a bike helmet made of corrugated cardboard can outperform the regular helmets you buy at the store.

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

- As gas prices rise, many are taking up bicycling to save moneyeven in small towns and rural areas.

- Minneapolis opens what some are calling the nation’s first bicycle freeway.

- A new report takes a hard look at the shrinking transportation options of the U.S.’s growing population of seniors.

- Vermont has newly passed a Complete Streets law.

- In Wales, the legislature is considering a law that would require the government to provide bike routes.

- In Los Angeles, a woman who drove into a group bike ride, injuring 11 people — one critically — is confirmed to have been drunk and was reported by witnesses to have been talking on her cell phone.

- A popular program in Uganda trains women to be bike mechanics.

- Around the world, the rate of bike crashes appears to be lower during trips made on bikes rented from bikesharing systems.

- Toronto’s new bike sharing program hasn’t expanded to all its neighborhoods yet — so someone decided to start a neighborhood program that runs out of his garage.

- A program to help businesses encourage customers to shop by bicycle is being promoted unconventionally — by one guy biking around the country and selling stickers.

- In the world of bike racing, some question how prize money should or should not be determined by gender.

- One man’s irreverent account of his first year of living without a car in Baltimore.

- A photo essay examines cargo bicycles in India.

- A design student claims that a bike helmet made of corrugated cardboard can outperform the regular helmets you buy at the store.

- Here’s what to do if you’re in a crash, legally speaking.

- All your questions about bikes, answered at last.

- Video of the week: Bike paths in the U.K. and the Netherlands, in comparative perspective.

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  • gregg woodlawn June 20, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Mayor R.T. Rybak described his ride on the trail last weekend as a “mind-blowing experience from the core of downtown to the incredible prairie,” and added: “We’ve got to get across that river. We’re the No. 1 bike city in America.

    “Portland is just an avenue in Minneapolis,” he quipped.

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  • davemess June 20, 2011 at 10:17 am

    yeah, at least we have bridges! And ones that don’t fall down (well not yet at least, sorry Sellwood).

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  • wsbob June 20, 2011 at 10:27 am

    “- Minneapolis opens what some are calling the nation’s first bicycle freeway. ”

    Two one-way bike lanes and a walking path makes a “…bicycle freeway…”?

    Check out the cardboard helmet. People at bikeforums commented about this idea. There’s regulars at that site that enjoy expending lots of energy dissing bike helmets and their use, so as could be expected, about 80 percent of people’s comments to that thread over there, laughed this idea off.

    The idea may be good though. I didn’t look at the test procedure and results at the designers website, but the concept seems as though it may be practical.

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  • Chris I June 20, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Major flaw with the cardboard helmet: completely useless when it gets wet.

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    • wsbob June 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      Seriously…if you didn’t read the news article or go to the designers website to read the info each provided about waterproofing of the cardboard, did you not consider that the designers would treat the cardboard so that it would be waterproof?

      There may be some flaws with the concept of a shock absorbent box grid cardboard bike helmet liner, but water resistance isn’t likely to be one of them.

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  • Brad June 20, 2011 at 10:56 am

    The pendulum swings: Minneapolis now has a high speed crosstown bicycle route that makes bike commuting both efficient and viable. Portland may get a Guinness World Record for number of naked people on bikes.

    Another American city now leads the way on bicycle transportation issues that matter while we congratulate ourselves on another fun but ultimately hollow bike culture achievement.

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    • A.K. June 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

      I’m glad we’re not on “top” anymore – if you’re number 1 for too long, you get complacent. Maybe Portland will start doing more ambitious bike projects again when we slip down the ranks year after year. Competition is good!

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  • wally June 20, 2011 at 11:03 am

    By this definition of a bike freeway, I reckon the I-205 bike path preceded the Mpls trail by more than 20 years. But their trail does look nice.

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  • rootbeerguy June 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

    wsbob
    “- Minneapolis opens what some are calling the nation’s first bicycle freeway. ”
    Two one-way bike lanes and a walking path makes a “…bicycle freeway…”?

    If it is so, does it means Spring Corridor the nation’s first human powered freeway from Sellwood? It was mostly built in 1990′s. When the gap in Sellwood area is built, it would be complete from Gresham to Portland downtown.

    It is good to see more cities to develop bike network/infrastruction. o/o

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  • cold worker June 20, 2011 at 11:20 am

    i lived and biked in minneapolis for a while. i’m glad they are adding bike infrastructure, when i was there, gd, it was horrible. as someone with considerable biking time in both cities now, you couldn’t pay me to spend another year biking in the twin cities over portland. all the infrastructure in the world won’t make mpls’s hellish, humid summers and icy, frozen, snowy winters a great place to be a biker. on a city wide view, portland is soooo much nicer anyway you want to look at it.

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  • rootbeerguy June 20, 2011 at 11:26 am

    wally
    By this definition of a bike freeway, I reckon the I-205 bike path preceded the Mpls trail by more than 20 years. But their trail does look nice.

    Yea, I forgot that one… I thought maybe Springwater Corridor was the first…

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  • spare_wheel June 20, 2011 at 11:57 am

    sorry but the springwater look nothing like this:

    http://images.publicradio.org/content/2010/11/15/20101115_cedarlake-trail_33.jpg

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    • are June 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      most of what i see in the photo you link that looks “nothing like” the springwater is a retaining wall and a yellow stripe.

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    • Chris I June 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/luton/2231051721/

      so if we add a 4ft paved pedestrian side path, we can call it a bike freeway?

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  • Paulie June 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Did they have to make it “look” like a freeway? Nothing but concrete. I’d rather ride on neighborhood residential streets.

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  • GlowBoy June 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I’m not sure what defines “bike freeway” either … I’m sure there are a variety of ways to classify and categorize MUPs. But while Portland definitely has its advantages over MSP, our MUP system is NOT and never has been one of them.

    “I’m glad we’re not on ‘top’ anymore – if you’re number 1 for too long, you get complacent. ” -A.K. Amen. Once we start getting complacent (as I have watched happen up north in Seattle) we are doomed to mediocrity.

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    • wsbob June 20, 2011 at 11:36 pm

      “I’m not sure what defines “bike freeway” …” GlowBoy

      I understand ‘freeway’ to mean a pair of roads, each road having multiple lanes allowing same direction travel; direction of travel on each of the pair of roads is opposite of the other. Having multiple lanes of traffic moving in the same direction on the road, eases the difficulty of travel and improves safety for road users moving at different rates of speed.

      It’s not clear from the Star Tribune story about Minneapolis’s so called ‘bike freeway’, whether that’s the kind of bike trail the new 4.3-mile Cedar Lake Regional Trail is.

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  • GlowBoy June 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    “yeah, at least we have bridges! And ones that don’t fall down (well not yet at least, sorry Sellwood).” – davemess

    Can I assume you’re kidding here? Let’s look at the count …

    Portland – 11 bridges over the Willamette: 7 surface street/mixed use, 1 railroad, 2 freeway.

    Minneapolis – 20 bridges over the Mississippi: 11 surface street/mixed use, 4 railroad, 2 pedestrian/bike, 3 freeway. Oh, and two sets of locks/dams.

    Yes, Minneapolis did suffer the tragic collapse of a freeway bridge (at rush hour, claiming a number of lives). We’re just one overloaded truck on the Sellwood, or one MODERATE earthquake under the Fremont or Marquam, from a similar or worse fate. MnDOT didn’t do a good job of overseeing its construction contractor, but I have no illusions that Multnomah County or ODOT aren’t equally capable of catastrophe.

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    • davemess June 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      I was making a reference to the “we have to get across that river” comment from the mayor. Guess I wasn’t really understanding what he was saying.

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      • Jonathan Gordon June 21, 2011 at 11:51 am

        “Dozens of people who attended the ceremony wore yellow shirts that advocated for the trail to cross the river and proceed to St. Paul.”

        Minneapolis and St. Paul are referred to as twin cities. Connecting the two with this bike path sounds like a great idea to me.

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    • cold worker June 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm

      the bridges here are much more lovely than any of the bridges in mpls. a lot of those bridges are just boring overpasses. no big whoop. the one bridge there that rules is the stone arch bridge. the mississippi is a nice river, it freezes in the winter, it’s pretty in the summer. they have no big boat traffic however. i like seeing big ships in the willamette. the locks are cool but i think i ever witnessed them in action one time in just over 2 years.

      the UofM ped bridge is pretty cool in that there is no vehicle traffic allowed.

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  • GlowBoy June 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I don’t get that one either, because once you’re downtown the Stone Arch Bridge is a dandy way across.

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  • banjo June 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    if there is one place where a world-class bike freeway (or protected cycle track) is really needed in portland is in the hawthorne or belmont corridor (likewise the same goes for a MAX line in this corridor). unfortunately there is no private right of way for something off-street so it would have to be in the street right of way and deal with every cross street and driveway.

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