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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on May 14th, 2012 at 9:56 am

Police in the UK are seeking
the identify of these two individuals.

Here’s the news and other stuff that caught our eyes this past week…

- This past week it was announced that Citi Group will sponsor New York City’s bike share system to the tune of $41 million.

- Protests against Putin’s (some say illegitimate) election in Moscow are gaining attention after a reporter caught an image of a child and his bicycle staring down riot police.

- Car manufacturers continue to introduce safety features to protect vehicles’ occupants but they’re making things more dangerous for people outside by designing cars with ever-growing blind-spots.

- Police in the UK are trying to determine the identity of individuals involved in an apparent attack on a man riding a bike along a country lane.

- Researchers estimate 42% of Americans will be obese by 2030 due to access to more food than we need and our “sufficiently inactive” lifestyles.

- Grid Chicago‘s John Greenfield explores the issue of bike facilities and gentrification including a look at our own experiences with N Williams here in Portland.

- How fast do you ride? Graeme Obree is hoping his homemade bicycle (built in part from an old sauce pan) will help him travel at over 100 MPH.

- Following Portland’s lead, Philadelphia is introducing a bike corral program for local businesses.

- I’ve spent the last few days riding around Chicago so I was exited to hear the Chicago Department of Transportation is continuing to expand the city’s bikeway network.

- Not sure where to keep your bike safe at home? Try one of these twenty-six ways to store your bike.

- Learning to ride a bike may be easier than you remember, especially if you toss out the training wheels and put kids on a balance bike.

- Some businesses still believe bike lanes can be bad for business but at least one business in Los Angeles is closing its doors partly due to heavy motor vehicle traffic in the vicinity.

- Safe passing laws get a lot of praise for protecting people on bikes but The Atlantic Cities looks at why those laws may not have much of an impact on people’s driving habits.

- Police in Rye, NY are taking the honey over vinegar approach by trying a more polite message encouraging people on bikes to ride single file.

- After a man found his stolen bike on Craigslist he called the thief, arranged a “test ride” and “stole” his bike back.

- Bright green bike lanes, a common sight in Portland, are spreading to more locations around the Bay Area.

- If you’ve somehow missed the fact that May is Bike Month, now you can hear it from Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire.

- If you don’t want to always carry a helmet and a bike light, check out this Kickstarter project that combines the two into one.

- Seattle’s first “Bicycle Sunday” was a big success, drawing families out on their bicycles along Lake Washington Boulevard.

- The man who built a pedal powered Porche has now built a human powered Ferrari. You can check out the “Fahrradi” (a play on the German word for bicycle) in this hilarious video:

- And finally, here is a 1945 documentary from the UK showing you “how a bicycle is made“:


— Did you find something interesting that should be in next week’s Monday Roundup? Drop us a line. For more great links from around the web, follow us on Twitter @BikePortland.

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  • OregonCyclist May 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Did I miss the ODOT director interview or is it still in the works? Thanks

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  • Chris May 14, 2012 at 10:27 am

    So.. if your bike is stole, you find it on Craigslist, and you steal it back, is that against the law? Seems like there could be a grey area there that could get you in trouble.

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    • wsbob May 14, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Against what law? The person responding to the craigslist ad claimed the bike advertised was his bike that had been stolen. Presumably, since the article didn’t go into that detail, this person had some proof of ownership. When he goes to the person illegally in possession of his bike and takes it back, what he’s doing is recovering the bike, his legal possession.

      It’s too bad the owner had to recover the bike on his own. Article says he contacted the police beforehand, but they were too busy to go after it. Situations like this one could be dicey…for example, if the thief asks for some kind of collateral, or shows up with a couple of friends that want to ride along for the test ride.

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  • Paul Johnson May 14, 2012 at 10:31 am

    The light on helmet combo seems a surefire way to run afoul aiming requirements for lighting when used by anybody with a neck.

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  • Mabsf May 14, 2012 at 10:39 am

    About obesity: I wonder BMI is really a good measure since it doesn’t distinguish between muscle and fat tissue… I am a daily commuter of 5’6″ and put a 175 lbs on the scale… According to the measure I am at least severely overweight, although I am in good health…I think we need to re-think the measures…

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    • dan May 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

      Yeah, BMI is a bit of a lazy measure, but it’s much faster to administer than, say, a dunk test, or even the pinch test for body fat. It seems to me though that the only people who are really getting faulty BMI readings are serious bodybuilders, who register as overweight. Most people aren’t packing enough extra muscle (30+ pounds?) to mess up their BMI readings. And of course you could make the argument that serious bodybuilders who do have that much muscle aren’t that healthy…

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      • are May 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm

        not just “serious body builders.” at six foot even and a hundred eighty pounds, i score 24.4, which is right at the edge of overweight. most of this is leg muscle from simply biking everywhere.

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        • Joseph E May 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

          But 24.4 is in the normal range. And Obese starts at 30 (25 to 29.9 is borderline). You would have to weigh 40 lbs more to be obese.

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    • daisy May 14, 2012 at 11:44 am

      BMI is a perfectly fine measure for inactive people. It’s different for athletes.

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    • MindfulCyclist May 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      The BMI needs to go away. It is just a lazy way to measure and it does not take into consideration bone structure or muscle mass, and it was developed in the the late 1800′s. Health insurance companies have used BMI to deny insurance.

      When I went to a PCP once, there was a tool that measured they taped to my hand and it sent electrodes and it calculated my body fat. It may not be as accurate as a dunk test or even the calipers, but it would be a much more accurate assessment than BMI.

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      • John Lascurettes May 15, 2012 at 12:31 am

        Screw BMI. When I graduated college, I was shaped like a V because I lifted three times a week and played about 12 hours of racquetball per week as well. Still, doctors were saying my BMI was too high. I had very little fat (I most certainly have some now), but I do indeed have very thick, dense bones (“big boned” as they say – have never broken a bone except for a minor fracture that only required a sling) and large natural muscle mass.

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    • Tom M May 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      You are quite correct. The BMI is a rough estimate for “average” people, whoever they are.

      If you see how athletes are tested for % bodyfat, they are weighed dry and then weighed again while dunking under water and blowing out all their breath. It’s a far more accurate measure but obviously not something the average person has access to.

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  • wsbob May 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Torch illuminated ‘be seen’ bike helmet looks quite good; better than strapping flashlights to the top of helmets, which is what many people do. A few issues that come to mind:

    Appears to have minimal, maybe insufficient ventilation.

    Initial models will produce only 50 lumens of light, which the FAQ acknowledges is only sufficient to allow wearers to be more visible, rather than to enable them to actually see the road ahead; but the designers have heard requests for headlights that allow the road to be seen, and are thinking about a helmet design that allows this.

    $100, with decent front and back lights seems like a fair price.

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  • are May 14, 2012 at 10:46 am

    the direct link for the rye, new york article is
    http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20120509-NEWS-205090374?cid=sitesearch

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    • are May 14, 2012 at 10:52 am

      the article describes the road in question as narrow and winding, and the complaint is that riding abreast forces an overtaking motorist into the oncoming lane. thus, the cyclists are said not to be “sharing” the road. whenever i have had to discuss this situation with motorists (twice in recent memory, once i am sorry to say with considerable anger), i try to explain that if i hug the right edge of the road i will be inviting an unsafe pass, and that the only safe pass in fact does require the overtaking motorist to enter the oncoming lane, which may mean that s/he will have to wait. if i find a moment that will work for both of us, i will sometimes move slightly to the right and wave the motorist through, but frankly i do not like to take responsibility for suggesting to someone else that the maneuver is safe. each of us has to make our own judgments.

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  • Andyc May 14, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I can attest to a certain feel in some new autos that blind spots feel a lot worse now. I’m glad t know that someone has actually studied this, and it wasn’t my own timidity or lack of experience or something(although what’s necessary to get a driver’s license is almost a joke).
    Chicago is getting more and more awesome, and I can’t wait to someday ride under the Peurto Rican flags!

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    • A.K. May 14, 2012 at 11:06 am

      I agree, I think that more advanced roll-cages, drop down side-curtain airbags, and things like that have contributed to poor sight lines in newer cars.

      My 1983 Toyota Corolla hatchback had excellent 360-degree views thanks to very small support pillars and a lot of glass. It has no modern safety features except for seat belts.

      My Scion tC on the other hand has a blind spot big enough for a whole car to fit into. I have to be very aware of my surroundings while driving it. It however has all sorts of air bags, anti-lock brakes, and other crap.

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      • John Lascurettes May 15, 2012 at 12:34 am

        ironic that the features that protect the occupants make it such that the driver is more likely to hit someone outside the vehicle. I’d like to see a spike put on the center of ever steering column – you’d see everyone mellow the hell out and drive real careful then (leave the passenger protected though).

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    • K'Tesh May 14, 2012 at 11:39 am

      Blind spots in cars combined with lousy roadway design has caused at least one crash that I know about…

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/sets/72157623483962260/with/4378341620/

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    • Tom M May 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      It’s not a feeling, it’s a fact. As the link showed there really is a large difference between visibility in older cars and newer ones.

      Do all those safety features work? For the driver and passenger yes. For those outside clearly not.

      I soon see a time when backup cameras are mandatory not just an option for cars. Sad really. Cars feel ever more claustrophobic.

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  • CaptainKarma May 14, 2012 at 11:44 am

    The woman attacker and false accuser might be or become a mom.
    Imagine running across this youtube of your mom. Sounds like a new British TV show in the making, aka Avengers, 2012.

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  • Doug Smart May 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Balance bikes vs Training wheels: The bicycle education program is underway for fifth graders. We almost always have a student in the class who has never learned to ride a bike. For them we remove the pedals and lower the seat on one of our student bikes and let them practice on the playground balance bike style. Does it work? Last week in Corvallis we had a girl who went from never having ridden on Wednesday morning to skilled enough to join a four+ mile community ride on Friday in general traffic!

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  • Dave Thomson May 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I just spent two weeks in San Francisco and did a fair amount of riding around the city. The overall impression I came away with is that they are not afraid to implement lots of different street treatments to improve cycling access. There are an abundance of sharrows, “Bicycles allowed full lane” signs, bike lanes, green paint, and MUPs. I saw multiple buffered bike lanes, including the new ones on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park. Many of their facilities are not perfect, but the overall impact is that bicycles are expected everywhere.

    I also noticed that drivers are much more likely to be using a phone or texting, but on the other hand they are extremely careful to give peds the right of way in crosswalks. They must have a serious focus on enforcement. They use yellow vertical bars for crosswalks in many places which are much more visible than Oregon’s white bars.

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  • Jim May 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is Oregons safe passing distance? I didn’t see it anywhere?

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    • El Biciclero May 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      I believe Oregon’s safe passing distance is “sufficient to avoid running over a cyclist who falls into the roadway”, or approximately 6 ft. However, drivers must only allow this distance if traveling over 35 mph in a location where there is no bike lane. Under 35 or bike lane present? Pass as close as you want.

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    • Kristen May 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      I believe it is 3 feet, the generally accepted “vulnerable road user could fall over and car driver wouldn’t hit them” distance.

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      • John Lascurettes May 15, 2012 at 12:39 am

        No, not 3 feet, but rather a distance that is equal to the space the cyclist would take up if he were to fall over. And it’s only if traveling at over 35MPH and when there is no bike lane. As stated above.

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  • GlowBoy May 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I think blind spots have become a serious problem. My older cars had great outward visibility. Now it’s hard to find a car that isn’t hard to see out of. Look at any hatchback or wagon made in the last 5 years, and increasingly many sedans, and you’ll see that the rear pillars can be really wide. In some cars like the Scion xB and Kia Soul they can be up to 2 feet wide. Also, the automakers will sometimes make the sheetmetal narrower than the actual pillar, and black out the outer couple inches of the adjacent windows so it doesn’t appear quite as wide as it is.

    In front it’s just as bad. “A-pillars” (the ones between the windshield and the front door” have gotten wider due to airbags. Aerodynamics have made pillars rake backward more, often combining with bigger, taller side mirrors to create an enormous blind spot. Last year when my wife and I test drove a Honda Fit, while making a right turn on red she almost ran into a semi that was making a left turn RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER. The salesman and I easily saw the truck from our seats, but the blind spot where her left mirror meets two different pillars was so huge she didn’t see it.

    Basically with any newer car, you’ve got to move your head back and forth (which most people are not yet in the habit of doing) as you approach an intersection, because a moving pedestrian or cyclist (or something bigger!) may remain hidden in that blind spot as you come to a stop. I’ve encountered several potential incidents of this type, where I might have pulled out from a stop right into a cyclist or pedestrian if I hadn’t moved my head to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

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  • Chris Shaffer May 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Businesses don’t believe things, business owners do.

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  • dwainedibbly May 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I prefer Body Height Index. If I was 3 inches taller, my height would be perfect for my weight.

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  • Pete May 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Funny, I ride these bay area roads almost daily yet learn about the new paint from bikeportland. Moffett only shows the old blue on the outside of a sharp curve where it makes far more sense to take the lane anyway, and that road is home to the bike/pedestrian overpass from Hell, which dumps a rider into oncoming traffic with no crosswalk or lane at a busy three-way intersection (that they finally added flashing stop signs to after a girl was badly hit last summer by an inattentive driver; that’s not commentary, I actually saw the accident happen from my office window). In the photo of Stevens Creek, this intersection is quite dangerous so I use Williams and avoid Stevens Creek altogether, despite it being designated by Santa Clara for bicyclists (no there are no bike lanes yet, just small green signs). Santa Clara also designated Kiely Blvd as a bike route, threw a few sharrows here and there, but is mostly busy these days with building a stadium to attract the 49′ers away from San Francisco. The county/city can afford to fly a police helicopter over my house every few hours and drive them around flat cities in big SUVs, yet they consistently complain about budget when it comes to bike infrastructure. Nice to see them spring for some slippery paint here and there… (and if you believe they’ve addressed that as the article states I’ll show you where I got my titanium collarbone!).

    OK, so rereading this I sound like Mr Grumpy, but I actually enjoy living and riding there since moving to where the jobs were a few years back. It’s quite safe when you know where and how to ride, and the community has some dedicated advocates (though never enough).

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