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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on September 4th, 2012 at 9:01 am

“I’m try[ing] to catch up on my work and you know I keep my eyes on the road, but I’m a busy man.”
-Toronto Mayor Rob Ford after being asked if he reads while driving

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

- Amidst the controversy of the USADA’s decision to strip Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles, donations to the Lance Armstrong Foundation have spiked.

- Per capita gas consumption in Oregon and Washington has dropped to a level not seen since the 1960s according to the findings of a Sightline Institute report titled Shifting into Reverse, which concludes the decline has more to do with decreases in personal vehicle travel and less to do with fuel efficiency improvements.

- A woman in Eugene is pushing to raise the driving age in Oregon after her son was killed by a 16-year-old driver saying we should instead, “Give [teens] bicycles to ride.”


- Portland has talked about a “Vision Zero” future where traffic deaths no longer happen; but the City of Seattle has developed a plan to get them.

- This may not come as a surprise to anyone who’s seen Travel Oregon’s new video, but here are 8 reasons why bicycles are the future of travel.

- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, the same mayor who’s responsible for the push to remove bike lanes from city streets, was caught driving while ignoring the road and instead reading a stack of papers.

- TransportationNation asked readers to send in photos of abandoned bicycles in New York City with the hopes they could help the city address the problem, but with so many submissions they’ve turned the pictures of abandoned bikes into an art exhibition. (There’s another “best-of” collection of the photos over at TreeHugger.)

- Speaking of abandoned bikes, have you ever wondered what happens to stolen bicycles?

- The League of American Bicyclists explores the important role women and minorities are playing in expanding the culture of bicycling in the United States.

- People who ride bikes in California might be able to breath a little easier after Monday when the state Assembly is set to review a safety bill that would mandate a 3-foot buffer between passing vehicles and people on bikes.

- A man in Toronto died in a collision while operating a gas-powered bicycle, which raises an interesting question about the legal grey area these bikes operate in. Are they motor vehicles or bicycles?

- As distracted driving continues to be a problem on our roads, there’s an effort to get people to choose a “designated texter” before they climb behind the wheel and it seems to be catching on.

- Young people’s preference to ride bikes more and drive less might be one symptom of a greater desire by Millennials to own less in general.

- An effort to ticket people who run stop signs on bicycles during an organized ride in Virginia seems to be an act of retribution against event organizers who declined to hire county officers to manage event safety.

- Google announced it will bring voice navigation to bicycling directions in Google Maps.

- We’ve all seen wooden bicycles before, but you’ve got to see this effort to build 4,600 bamboo bicycles for Brazilian students brought to us by Copenhagenize.

- The Fliz Sling Bike is a new and interesting pedal-less bike concept and although it doesn’t look comfortable, it’s likely to turn heads wherever you go:

- The DIYers out there will get a kick out of this homemade rack to transport a surfboard on a bike:

- And finally, have a look at what five professional cyclists have to say about bike safety:


— 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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  • Andrew K September 4, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I am totally on board with the idea of raising the minimum driving age to AT LEAST 18, if not 21.

    All safety issues aside (which are of course the strongest argument in favor of this) I think a lot of people get “hooked” into the culture of driving everwhere because we start doing it at such a young age.

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    • Pete September 4, 2012 at 10:15 am

      I read the article and made the mistake of starting to read the comments – more of the same vitriol of course. I’ve been taking my friend’s 16-yo son to drive on his learner’s permit – he (safely) ran two stop signs and a red light. He was paying attention but I think it was just too overwhelming to him.

      We recently had an 18-yo killed crossing against a red in the dark while on his bike – of course all the comments pointed to scofflaw cyclists instead of the fact the kid was at an age where poor judgment reigns (yes I would blame the victim in this case). One woman said “bikers should police their own”, which I found ironic since police reported that the driver was doing approximately 50 MPH (the speed limit is 35 there). No citations were issued.

      You hit the nail on the head with pattern forming too.

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    • oliver September 4, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Like religion.

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    • wsbob September 4, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Details given in the KVAL story and in the comments, are interesting in the information they offer about some of the reasons this collision occurred. Generally: nice driver stops so the 10 yr old kid can cross mid-block; collision occurs when 16 yr old speeding 65 in a 35 goes around the waiting car and collides with the kid.

      So was it youthful age and maturity of the speeding driver that left him to either not have or not use sufficient judgment to avoid this kind of traffic situation? Or was it due to insufficient judgment that can cross over into more than teen age groups?

      Locally, there’s there’s examples of dubious driving such as that provided by fairly young candidate for mayor Jefferson Smith that got a speeding citation for a similar mph over a posted speed limit, of course…he was fortunate not to have run over anyone when he did so.

      There’s also periodic mention of people of advanced age involved in collisions in which cause is casually presumed to be due to age, often in the absence of actually attempting to figure out whether or to what extent and how age was a contributing factor to the collision.

      Driving age in Oregon could be raised from 16 to 18, or…35…or dropped from old as you choose to drive, down to 60, 50…whatever people think is right. That approach probably wouldn’t much help reduce collisions though without some improved means of identifying, while avoiding excessive reliance on age to determine fitness to drive, the ability of people that drive to do so competently, in traffic.

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    • jim September 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm

      30 might be better, most people don’t mature that fast. Should also consider gender, race, religion, political affiliation, credit history, GPA, right handed or left, weight (fat people eat more when they drive), drug testing, sexual orientation, facebook skype twitter review (can’t be texting while we’re driving now), immigration status (might have to make a mad dash for the border), personal references from someone you don’t go to school with, signed permission slip from ins agent.
      Or he could just ride a bike.

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    • aaron September 5, 2012 at 7:55 am

      IIRC when I was in Australia in 1996 you could buy a beer and have a drink at 18 and get your driver’s license at 21. This always amazed me and the more I’ve thought about it the more I like it.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • jim September 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

        In the US you can join the army at 18, shoot at people, still can’t drink. At 18 the brain is still developing, 21 is a better idea.

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  • Zach September 4, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Andrew K
    I am totally on board with the idea of raising the minimum driving age to AT LEAST 18, if not 21.
    All safety issues aside (which are of course the strongest argument in favor of this) I think a lot of people get “hooked” into the culture of driving everwhere because we start doing it at such a young age.
    Recommended 1

    Why screw around? How about 35? It’s not like any young people work multiple jobs, have kids, and go to school.

    18 makes sense, with an exception for kids who live in the country or who can prove a need.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • 9watts September 4, 2012 at 9:57 am

    The news about falling per capita gasoline consumption is extremely interesting and great news… BUT, what really matters isn’t per capita but total consumption of gasoline. I added the OR and WA populations for each of the past seven censuses (1950-2010)and multiplied these by the per capita figures read off that chart. Turns out we use almost 4x as much gasoline in these two states today than we did in 1950, and about 18% more than in 1990. Population growth and decline in usage has kept the total roughly level from 2000 to 1010, so the trend is encouraging, but we’ve got a ways to go before this 77 million gallons/week drops to zero.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • wsbob September 4, 2012 at 10:41 am

      “…Turns out we use almost 4x as much gasoline in these two states today than we did in 1950, and about 18% more than in 1990. …” 9watts

      The increase in gasoline consumption arising from population growth supported by low density residential and commercial development land use should be a sobering thought to everyone.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Pete September 5, 2012 at 10:24 am

      Exxon doesn’t make billions of dollars of annual profit by declining per capita consumption…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • 9watts September 5, 2012 at 10:27 am

        They make millions of dollars of profit regardless of whether the curve bends slightly up, slightly down, or stays flat. Remember the last time the oil companies made out like bandits was in the seventies when prices spiked. Consumption was down but receipts were up.
        The only way they won’t is if/when we stop driving.

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  • Liz September 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Great video on being vulnerable on the open road. Thanks for posting it!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • ed September 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    How about a voucher program, run through DMV, that provides a free bike (or credit towards a bike) to every 16 year old kid who agrees to forego getting a driver’s license until they are 17 or 18?

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Pete September 5, 2012 at 10:28 am

      That sounds like logic, and will certainly be beat down by emotion. After all they have a right to drive to work…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Bike Bend September 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    As a general rule I do not do “courtesy stops” for anyone – kids, grannies, etc. – when there is the possibility that another vehicle might drive around me – unless it is required by law and thus not a courtesy stop. Likewise I politely refuse to cross when I’m the pedestrian, cyclist or motor vehicle if I’m offered a courtesy stop. I’ve been in one accident and seen to many others plus too many close calls to play the courtesy stop game. It’s great to be polite when out there driving or cycling but not if it might put someone at risk. (Sorry, I don’t mean to sound sanctimonious)

    Recommended Thumb up 5

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