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The Monday Roundup

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 5th, 2012 at 10:07 am

Given that I've been working out of a suitcase for the past two weeks or so, I haven't been filing away important and interesting bike stories at my usual rate. However, thanks to readers for sharing links and the wonders of Twitter and Google Alerts, I've managed to round up some stories I think you'll find are worth your time...

— The London Cyclist blog has a fascinating breakdown of a report on lessons about traffic safety and visibility from a Royal Air Force pilot. The reports shares important insights into how our brains process visual stimuli, and why, "I just didn't see him!" might be a legitimate excuse.

— Not sure if it was just a Halloween prank, but Portland State researcher Chris Monsere posted a photo of damage done by vandals to bicycle counters placed across the Springwater Corridor Trail.

— When Sandy hit New York, I decided to be a good citizen and stay inside; but after watching Casey Neistat's amazing video footage of biking through flooded Lower Manhattan, I think maybe I should have headed out into it.

— How can transportation officials in the Netherlands be so far ahead of everyone else? They're testing heated bike lanes, and by 2013, their highways will be glow-in-the-dark.

— The utility of bicycles never ceases to amaze me. A program in Bangladesh dubbed "The Info Ladies" brings the Internet to far-flung villages by bicycle.

— Here's a new spin on the ongoing attempts to create a bicycle wheel that doesn't get flats: The Energy Return Wheel would "eliminate the need for air, preventing punctures, tube replacement, and pressure checks."

— Hoboken, New Jersey was hit extremely hard by Sandy, so it's a good thing they've already laid the groundwork for being a bike-friendly community.

— Tragedy in Corvallis, Oregon as a 19-year-old Oregon State University student was killed while riding her bicycle on Saturday.

— In related news, the Salem Statesman-Journal reports that Oregon is on pace for yet another year of abnormally high fatalities to people on foot. There have been 48 deaths to people walking on Oregon roads so far this year; with the latest one being just this morning.

— On a more encouraging note, transportation reform seems to be a significant factor in the race for mayor of San Diego. Streetsblog reports that, "both major candidates fell all over themselves to prove that they would build the most bike lanes and bulb-outs."

— Staff of the BBC's bureau in Berlin say that city has made huge strides to being a place where people can safely and pleasantly ride a bike. Biking has taken such a hold in Berlin, the BBC reporters are thinking of buying a trailer to haul around their cameras and recording gear. Are reporters the new "indicator species" of bike-friendly cities?

— Speaking of journalists who ride bikes, this story of how UPS responded after a Huffington Post reporter tweeted about almost being hit by one of their trucks, is pretty amazing.

— What's the latest on the Lance saga? I haven't even tried (or cared really) to follow the drama; but this story caught my eye: "A 30ft (9m) model of the American... will go up in flames in Edenbridge." Burning an effigy of Lance. Wow.

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  • are November 5, 2012 at 10:28 am

    that part about UPS apparently doing the research to find out jankowski had two children was slightly creepy

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    • John Lascurettes November 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

      It might have been coincidence (as in they either assumed he had children or just gave him extra goodies because they wanted to). Not enough data (in the article) to know.

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    • A.K. November 5, 2012 at 11:56 am

      He may have mentioned them previously on twitter, if the UPS folks bothered to look at his past tweets. Not that creepy, considering he is sharing that info voluntarily online.

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      • are November 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

        facebook does show a photo with the two kids. still, it means they did some research on him before making this gesture. and in fact the gesture was probably made in large part because they saw what an audience he had.

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  • John Lascurettes November 5, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Regarding the RAF pilot's article: fascinating stuff. And all the more so an argument for lower speed limits that are enforced strictly.

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    • q`Tzal November 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      The bit on lane positioning is understressed as far as I'm concerned.

      I think the RAF guy might agree my exact analogy: riding to close to the curb is like flying your B-1 bomber in on a low altitude approach.

      After the Soviets shot down the U2 and made further advances it was clear that not being seen was the only way past the enemy's radar. This was pre-stealth so they had to hug the terrain to avoid being seen.
      This works very well for not being seen.

      Now compare it to cyclist lane positioning: the closer to the curb you are the less real chance an observer has of seeing you even if they are looking right at you.
      Gutter riding is stealth riding and one of the surest ways to avoid being seen.

      Take the lane: it is the only thing safe and practicable.

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    • Gary Charles November 6, 2012 at 9:18 am

      Next time a car kills another cyclist I'd be surprised if the defense didn't try and use this to justify the drivers actions. I realize that a driver being held accountable for killing someone on a bike isn't realistic but this is a hypothetical scenario after all.

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  • wsbob November 5, 2012 at 10:53 am

    In the last week, besides the fatal collision involving the Corvallis student, I ran across reports of two other car-bike collisions in which people riding were seriously injured; one in the Brooks area, the other on Hwy 26 at Manning. Sparse details offered in all of the reports leave major questions as to how and why the collisions may have happened.

    For example, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office apparently somehow came to the conclusion that the the Corvallis student lost control of her bicycle, but doesn't explain how they came to that conclusion.

    Seems to me, the O's reporting about the collision Hwy 26/Manning, is very cryptic.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/11/northeast_portland_woman_serio.html

    The collision in the Brooks area apparently was another of the 'driver crosses the road and collides with cyclist type'.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/11/woodburn_teen_hit_by_jeep_whil.html

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    • Craig Harlow November 5, 2012 at 11:48 am

      I think it's worth an inquiry with Benton County Sheriff’s Office regarding whose account is being reported, and whether there was any third-party witness. Since Captain Greg Ridler of the sheriff’s office was likely *not* a witness to the crash, why are we reading his account? Has the driver's story been accepted taken as unquestioned fact? Was there or will there be a forensic assessment of the crash site?

      Maybe it was all like they say it was, and the only thing wrong here is a total lack of attribution by the Albany Democrat Herald for the account that they printed.

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      • Kristen November 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm

        The police in their investigation should be checking the cyclist's phone records. Was she texting at the time of her crash? Or was she going from one side of the road to the other in preparation for a left-turn? (Not the best way to make a left turn, but I understand why people do this and have witnessed that action a lot.)

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  • Chris I November 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I rode in Copenhagen about 4 years ago, and Amsterdam and Berlin this year. Berlin was probably the most enjoyable, and low-stress of the three. It is not as dense, so you generally have to ride longer distances, but the streets were all very wide and almost all had dedicated bike facilities. I would recommend a bike rental to almost anyone visiting Berlin, but would hesitate to recommend one to inexperienced cyclists visiting Amsterdam.

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  • CaptainKarma November 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Of course they probably fired the UPS driver, or at least his UPS career progression will be stopped.

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    • are November 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      y'know, the more i read this the less i am liking it.

      jankowski has almost three thousand followers on twitter. he posts something saying he had a "near miss" with a UPS driver on his bike and he is thinking about switching over to FedEx. not surprisingly in a few minutes he gets an inquiry from the social media guy at UPS. big freaking deal. and one thing leads to another and as the captain says, the driver probably gets disciplined.

      what is missing here is jankowski saying hey, it was a residential neighborhood, not too difficult for me to catch up with the guy, and we had a conversation. the guy said geez, you're right, i was distracted, i f*cked up, hope you're okay, thanks for not being a j*rk about it, etc. if the driver says scr*w you, then you have a legitimate gripe.

      and as i suggested before, the delivery of trinkets to the doorstep a few days later was calculated to produce the huffington post piece. so the guy at UPS social media scored.

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      • q`Tzal November 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm

        It's just a combination of rapid tactical corporate PR and a journalist shallow enough to be bought with the trinkets.
        Kudos to the LOCAL office for not telling him to go #^©|< himself.

        PS: if the writer wrote ANYTHING online mentioning his kids it would take little effort for motivated PR staff to find it. Perils of living on line and all that.

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  • Al from PA November 6, 2012 at 1:03 am

    UPS gives Jankowski a model---truck! That's a great way of apologizing for almost killing the guy... And a great indicator of corporate priorities.

    No word on UPS transitioning to bicycle delivery, which would be the only way of really rectifying the situation...

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  • BicycleDave November 6, 2012 at 9:54 am

    That research project was repaired then almost immediately vandalized again. Wonder if paranoia is involved.

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  • Pete November 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

    The UPS story reminds me of an incident a few months ago when I was edged out of the middle of a lane by a well-marked car dealer's shuttle van. He came over without signaling, then looked at me when I yelled (no swearing, just "hey I'm here") and he continued to push me over anyway. I stopped a few car lengths in front of him (I was in the rightmost left-turn lane to take a left) and he proceeded to roll into my back wheel trying to intimidate me. Long story short I identified him using the dealer's web site, emailed the story to the GM, and asked him to educate his drivers about why a cyclist would be in the middle of a travel lane (including pointing to the state law around it). Turns out the GM is coach for the high school MTB team, avid roadie, and helped his city pass a cyclist anti-harassment ordinance. Not sure what happened to the shuttle driver that flipped me off...

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    • are November 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      and i have stories like that as well. and i admit that until i learn otherwise by talking to the driver, i instinctively attribute bad motives to the guy. but in this case there is no suggestion of anything other than negligence, the threat of serious injury seems to have been rather low, and jankowski made no effort to talk to the driver human to human.

      i do think those trinkets were probably pretty cool, though.

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