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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on July 30th, 2012 at 7:43 am

“…a phrase that has popped up around the country as cities spend more transportation dollars on transit; add streetcars, bus and bike lanes…”
— NPR’s Franklyn Cater discussing the “war on cars”

Here’s the news and a handful of videos that caught our eyes this past week…

– Grim news this week from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who estimate traffic deaths have jumped 13.5% from the same period a year ago.

– The Tour de Cure lured over a thousand people and their bicycles to the roads in Washington County, raising $400,000 for diabetes education, research and advocacy.

– There’s a new bike share system live and operational in North America, right the heart of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

NPR aired a story on the supposed “war on cars” while many people point out investments in bicycling and transit benefits people driving cars too and another perspective says if there is a “war” against cars it’s being waged by other people who drive in situations where a car isn’t truly needed.

– Portland’s Elly Blue critiques the “Cycle Chic” movement popularized by some advocates as a way to show you don’t need special clothing to ride a bike but criticized by others for being sexist.

– The annual report card on “bikability” in the Emerald City from the Cascade Bicycle Club says Seattle is falling behind cities across the country in terms of bicycling infrastructure.

– Cascade also launched a campaign aimed at reducing the use of headphones on multi-use trails around Seattle.

– A swanky private club in London held a bicycle parking design contest and afficionados of bicycle rack design will certainly enjoy these images of the 68 design submissions.

– Speaking of both Seattle and bike parking, there are some who think Seattle could learn a thing or two about bike parking from Portland, while others point out that Portland has a shortage of parking spaces for bicycles too.

– Bicycles have made quite a splash at the 2012 Olympics in London. Police arrested nearly 50 people that were riding as part of the monthly Critical Mass ride, that just happened to take place he same night as the opening ceremonies. And did you notice all the biking spectators at the rowing completion?

– The myriad things we carry on our bicycles often imparts a sense of pride and accomplishment and at the same time, the things other people carry on their bicycles can be an inspiration.

– I’ve heard people deride poorly constructed department store bicycles as “Bike Shaped Objects” or “BSOs”, but this “BSO” from Brooks is so beautiful you’ll wish you could take it for a ride.

– If you’re the type that can’t turn away a DIY project, no matter how expensive or complicated, have a look at this video and instructions on how to build your own bicycle speedometer:

– The Bicycle Transportation Alliance shared the video below, of Copenhagen’s bicycle super highways, saying the Metro area would stand to benefit from investment in a similar urban-suburban bicycle corridor from downtown Portland to Beaverton:

– Bicycling in Washington County has been getting a lot of attention from the Oregonian lately and recently they’ve highlighted the Banks-Vernonia trail in two articles and the video below:

– And finally, you can see a small moderately-sized dog getting its 15 minutes of fame at the London Olympics as it darts across the road in the middle of a race:

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  • Jack July 30, 2012 at 8:19 am

    In the NPR story, a chief spokesman for AAA says, “Welcome to Washington, D.C. Please just open your wallets and be charitable. And if you don’t, we’ll still get you,” in reference to the increased automated traffic enforcement (red light cameras).

    Here’s a money saving tip: don’t break the law.

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  • oliver July 30, 2012 at 8:40 am

    You don’t need special clothes to ride a bicycle, it’s like skiing (or swimming) that way. Either activity can be done in jeans, but engineered clothing makes it better.

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  • Chris I July 30, 2012 at 9:22 am

    The cyclists pacing the rowers during the Olympics are coaches. I don’t believe that path is open to the public.

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    • Kim D July 30, 2012 at 10:36 am

      This is exactly correct – there are bikes provided at the Eton rowing facility for coaches (you can rent them I believe or sign them out if you’re a coach). This is a method that’s been used for years (coaches chasing races on bikes). The path is indeed for bikes only, to avoid collisions with pedestrians (happens a lot in Philadelphia, as riders aren’t watching particularly where they are riding).

      Most efficient way to keep an eye on your boat!

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      • Alan 1.0 July 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

        Drifting offtopic but anyway… Vermont Public Radio has an interview with Dennis Baxter, the official sound engineer for the Olympics. Seems that for rowing events it is very hard to get a live soundtrack so they dub in sampled rowing sounds. The sound of the race itself is drowned out by power boats following the rowers and helicopters overhead shooting video.

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  • Andyc July 30, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Man, yeah. I feel like most of the time there is ample bike parking around this city. When everyone breaks out their bikes for the 2 months of sun though, it leaves a lot to be desired.

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    • Spiffy July 30, 2012 at 11:00 am

      I just want a staple in front of Ace hardware on Woodstock… although the parking sign poles are handy enough I guess…

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  • Andyc July 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I believe this has been addressed before, but how does one access the Banks-Vernonia trail via bicycle? The Max or something?

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    • Chris I July 30, 2012 at 10:49 am

      You can ride to the end of the line in Hillsboro, and then it’s about 12 miles on country roads to the Banks trailhead. It would be nice if they extended the trail to Hillsboro, along the rail line. It would cut several miles off the route and make it a much more pleasant ride.

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    • Joseph E July 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      PBOT has a map of the best route to take from the Hillsboro MAX to the start of the trail in Banks:

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  • Andyc July 30, 2012 at 9:49 am

    From the city, I meant to add.

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    • Jeff July 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

      It’s not particularly easy. You can take the MAX out to Hillsboro, but then you’ve got about 14 miles (if I recall) of side-of-the-highway riding to get out to Banks from there, passing through Forest Grove.

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  • Jeff July 30, 2012 at 10:08 am

    How come we never have contests to “redesign” parking spaces for cars? Those are way uglier and take up way more space than a few good ol’ blue staples. I don’t want to have to spend five minutes figuring out how to use each new bike rack design… and I don’t care if it’s shaped like a shoe or a dollar sign or a tooth. I just want to lock my bike to something that isn’t an enormous pain in the ass.

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    • q`Tzal July 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      I was about to say that “Japan wins” and point to a Youtube video found with the search string “robot parking garage” but I found this much more clever technique where parking garages is done on low clearance automated floor skids/pallets.
      I don’t want more pointless car driving but it will not go away anymore than the dream of personal aircraft from home to work. Like smoking in America the best on street parking reduction strategy may include shades of public health shaming, as is gradually increasing every year, with a sprinkle of the same type of PR campaign that brought us “jaywalking”.

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  • Kristen July 30, 2012 at 10:16 am

    That dog crossing the road at the Men’s Race was not a small dog– it looked to me like a half-grown or mostly-grown Bernese Mountain Dog. On my big tv, we could clearly see the markings.

    Not as big as the Newfie that crashed the TdF, though.

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  • q`Tzal July 30, 2012 at 10:40 am

    On increased automotive related deaths reported by the NHTSB: I posit that it is directly indicative of economic recovery.
    Simply put: humans haven’t changed, drivers haven’t changed so an increase in total drivers will be reflected in an increase in total crashes.

    The only variant I’d modify that equation with is a demographic skew change.
    While we hear much about younger drivers giving up automobiles I’d wager that it is statistically insignificant versus the change in the employment market as younger unemployed find it easier to get hired than more skilled older workers.
    The older workers are seen as demanding too much money and likely to flee to a better paying job in their trained field ASAP.
    The younger worker can be payed less and has a weaker employment bargaining position.
    And thus I suspect that insurance records will show a demographic shift towards more road miles being driven my an increasingly employed younger population. A population more prone to poor driving decisions and a simple lack of experience.

    But I’d put money on the primary factor just being economic recovery by a very wide margin.

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    • Pete July 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      Interesting – curious if this increase in deaths is actually correlated to an increase in crashes? Either way it’s a big leap for year-to-year. I’m wondering if the root cause isn’t distracted driving, and not just the iPhone/sandwich problem but modern In-vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems. I recently purchased a 2011 car with an in-dash GPS/music system, and while they’ve done a great job making it intuitive (even voice-controlled) it could clearly become a big distraction if I let it. (My company builds embedded software for many industries and IVI is actually one of our biggest growth markets these last few years).

      If the increase in deaths doesn’t correlate to increased crashes it may be more indicative of increased speeds or maybe even a growing popularity of unsafe (i.e. typically cheaper) cars. But who knows… gotta love statistics!

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      • Pete July 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm

        In fact, if you ask Gabriel Roth of the CATO Institute he will say that downsizing cars in order to meet increasingly stringent federal fuel economy standards will result in an increase in auto crash-related deaths.

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        • Chris I July 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm

          It probably will, for a while. As people adjust their driving habits and cars all become smaller, couple with improvements in safety technology, the rate will fall. Honestly, I don’t see this as a problem. Increased auto deaths would increase awareness about dangerous driving. The improvements in auto safety decrease the safety for cyclists. Motorists are allowed to drive dangerously and still survive crashes.

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  • Jeff July 30, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Chris I
    The cyclists pacing the rowers during the Olympics are coaches. I don’t believe that path is open to the public.

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    exactly..those are not spectators.

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  • Craig Harlow July 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I’m so proud of Kris and the Tour de Cure for putting on such a terrific event year after year. Go Pacific Power Team!

    You can still donate to your favorite riders (and non-riding fundraisers) in support this excellent cause by following my links above.

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  • Hart Noecker July 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Here’s a great shaming of the London police and the Olympic planning committee over the critical mass arrests from the Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/bike-blog/2012/jul/30/critical-mass-arrest-olympic-games?newsfeed=true

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  • spare_wheel July 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm


    “but not with helmets…protection does not feel as good”



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  • Kristi Finney-Dunn July 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    The reported increase in traffic fatalities is disturbing. And I will admit that when I heard about the Colorado massacre and so much made about it, my first thought was that while that IS a horrible, unthinkable tragedy, an average of 90 people killed per day by vehicles (based on 2010 fatality counts) is even more horrific and yet almost nobody is paying attention. On the link to the report is a note that the number of people killed on our roads would fill 70 jumbo jets, yet if a single jumbo jet goes down, that is much more newsworthy. I’m not minimizing these truly devastating events (crashing jumbo jets, the deliberate massacre of people); however, many, many more people are affected by vehicle crashes, and the overall costs are much higher. And it’s our relatives and friends and co-workers and neighbors and ourselves who are selfishly and ignorantly causing these deaths and injuries. It’s our law makers and law enforcement that are enabling people to continue in their deadly behaviors. I am so angry.

    Today is the anniversary of 18 year old Michael Vu’s tragic death after being struck on his bicycle. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the last time I saw my 28 year old son Dustin, who was killed on his bicyle on August 12, 2011. RIP Miky and Dustin and Hal and Kathryn and Ben and Kurt and on and on and on…

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  • Wayne July 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I rode the Tour de Cure on Saturday for the first time, and I have to say it was the most organized, well-signed charity ride I have done. Great group of people, lots of corporate teams (I was a single but joined Team Red), the century route was scenic and the rest stops were frequent. I’d recommend this ride to anyone, and it will be in my summer schedule from now on.

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  • motorist cyclist July 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    The Critical A$$ ass ride was not “coincidental”. It was an obvious attempt to disrupt the opening ceremonies. They had the whole of London to roll around in, but chose a location that would have the most negative result from their actions, despite repeated warnings from authorities. When you try to cross paths with David Beckham, David wins. The only message that CM succeeds in sending to the non-cycling world is that cyclists are a bunch of self-absorbed twits for whom the rules of the road and general courtesy and civility towards others does not apply.

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  • Mark Allyn July 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Hmm, yes, I may agree that the CM ride may not have been coincidental, but the bail release conditions, especially for those who were caught up in this as innocent bystanders were a bit onerous. Look here http://i.imgur.com/3NcgA.jpg

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  • Amanda July 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Dude, I can see my blog from here! Thanks for the link, Will!

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