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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on January 28th, 2013 at 10:02 am

It costs over $10,000 (Canadian) per year to own a car.
(Source: Price Tags)

Quite a lot of news to get to this morning, so let’s get started…

— We’ve heard the push for hi-vis clothing before, and we know that it sometimes crosses the line into victim-blaming. Well, police in Columbus, Ohio have taken it to a new level. After someone was struck while riding their bike, police said, “the driver will not be charges (sic) because the person on the bike was not wearing a reflective vest.”

— On the other side of the equation, a U.K. transportation blogger feels that the inclination for bike advocates to wear neon jackets actually hurts their cause.

— Maybe if more engineers and planners read the Project for Public Spaces news Rightsizing Streets Guide, we could stop talking about reflective clothing.

— Personally, I’m not a big fan of hi-vis clothing unless it’s done with style. These new reflective loafers from Cole Haan are a great example of safety without sacrificing style.

— Chalk up another case of GoPro justice. An L.A. cop with a major attitude problem got publicly shamed and had to dismiss a ticket after the guy he stopped posted video of their conversation.

— On that same topic, beloved bike component maker Paul has released a very cool GoPro camera mount.

— Is the current socio-political polarization we see around bicycling actually progress? Martin Luther King Jr. might have thought so.

— People who drive to work everyday — even if they had regular exercise — gained more than non-car commuters in a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

— Here’s one to add to the “Who pays for the roads” debate file: A new report from The Tax Foundation shows that a mere 50.7% of spending on roads comes from fees related to driving a car such as gas taxes, tolls, etc… This led Streetsblog DC to write, “The way we spend on roads has nothing to do with the free market, or even how much people use roads.”

— The latest work from artist Ai Weiwei features a stack of 760 bikes. Now that’s a bike pile.

— Our friends up in Canada share new data (from an auto lobby group no less), that the annual cost of owning a car is $10,452.

— San Francisco has made the sensible move of prohibiting car parking to make room for more shopping activity in the streets of Chinatown.

— More good news from San Francisco; city leaders have just unveiled a $200 million, five-year plan to improve bicycling conditions throughout the city.

— Often, the only way to get attention and respect for bicycling is when it directly impacts someone in power. Los Angeles is a perfect example of that phenomenon.

— This “bicycle barometer” is a brilliant hack. It analyzes a mix of weather and subway data to tell its London-based creator whether he should hop on a bike or take the tube.

— Our neighbors in Vancouver, Washington are also crunching numbers that could impact travel behavior. In short, they’ve found a geographic correlation between traffic collision activity and property theft.

— Here’s a Short History of Traffic “Engineering” from Copenhagenize:

— President Obama’s new Chief of Staff Denis McDonough used to ride his bike work; but he might have to give it up with his new job. The League of American Bicyclists thinks that’s silly and they’ve launched a campaign to save his ride.

— And here’s some good news about how bicycles are being portrayed on major TV. Clarence at Streetfilms came across three commercials running on ABC in prime time that show bicycling as a normal, beautiful thing.

We round up the best bike-inspired things we find on the web each Monday. If you’d like to share something you come across, drop us a line and we’ll give it a look. For more great bike links, be sure to follow @BikePortland on Twitter.

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  • Tacoma January 28, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Timely post from Bikeyface regarding what to wear when cycling-i.e. reflective vest, neon jacket, elephant costume?.


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  • GlowBoy January 28, 2013 at 10:38 am

    LOVE the graphic from Copehagenize! It’s sad how often actual walking, cycling and transit routes resemble these depictions.

    As for hi-vis clothing, if you don’t like it, then don’t wear it.

    But don’t tell me NOT to wear it and whine that it somehow hurts “our” image or “our” cause. As it is, non-cyclists who know that I ride a bicycle are constantly whining to me about how so many of “us” aren’t visible enough (as if THAT is somehow my fault)… now I have to listen to whining from the other direction that I’m TOO visible? Pfffffft!

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    • Pete January 28, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Agreed! I never used to wear it mainly because I gave away the one ‘neon’ jacket (non-reflective) to my neighbor’s teenage son who rides to get around (she was so thankful because she ‘felt’ he’s much safer now). Then I came too close for (my) comfort to a rider in all black while driving one night, and I started casually looking around for options for myself. At the same time I was looking for a cool-weather short-sleeve option that would keep me warm without cooking me, and I came across a reflective neon jacket by Gore with “windstopper” and removable arms – though a little pricey. I’ve been riding long distances with it the last three days straight (in rain and biting wind and sunshine here in CA), and it’s the best performing material I’ve used – cuts the wind but breathes very well, and doesn’t seem to absorb body odor like the other tech materials I’ve tried. In addition, I ‘feel’ like I’m more visible, as it’s actually reflective but nicely designed and I don’t ‘feel’ like I look like the clown act in the Bikey cartoons.

      I think generally drivers appreciate cyclists dressing to be visible, and lest we not forget how many of them are also fellow cyclists.

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    • Chainwhipped January 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Wear whatever you like, but It’s not that you’re “too visible”, Glow. That’s like saying my shin guards make me “too safe”. They don’t make me “too safe”, but I really won’t be needing them between home and the grocery store. The point being made is that dressing ourselves like a bunch of 70’s Sci-Fi characters doesn’t help the perception of cycling as easy, practical transportation.

      Day-glow clothing is bad marketing. Nobody wants to dress like that for any reason other than fear (commonly mistaken for “precaution”). If you want anybody – and indeed everybody – to join you in any activity, you have to allow people to continue doing what they do in everyday life and that includes dressing themselves in clothes they already own and like to wear.

      Read the UK article. The author sums up our dressing habits extremely well: “It says sweat and fear. It just smells wrong.”

      He’s right.

      How prominent can a mode of transportation become if we make it look as dangerous, complicated, and undesirable as we possibly can?

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      • wsbob January 29, 2013 at 6:58 pm

        “…Day-glow clothing is bad marketing. Nobody wants to dress like that for any reason other than fear (commonly mistaken for “precaution”). …”Chainwhipped

        Bad marketing? No, it’s smart marketing. Vulnerable road users using hi-vis gear demonstrates to people seeing it in use, that distinct color and reflectivity does in fact enable easier visibility of vulnerable road users. It says to people with questions about the safety of cycling for themselves, that use of hi-vis gear can enhance the level of safety they seek on the road in certain traffic situations involving travel amongst motor vehicles.

        “…Read the UK article. The author sums up our dressing habits extremely well: “It says sweat and fear. It just smells wrong.”

        He’s right. …” Chainwhipped

        If you’re still referring to hi-vis gear, with the above statement, you seem to have concluded it says ‘sweat and fear’. That’s certainly not what it says to me. I don’t think it says that to many other people either. The fashion ‘un-cool’ association with day-glow construction workers vests and whatnot is what, I think has been most people’s objection to day-glow hi-vis; and from what I can see in my area, that association seems to be waning. More people riding are wearing or otherwise using hi-vis as part of their riding gear.

        But hey…if it bums you out so much to wear something that helps people driving motor vehicles see you easier, possibly helping them to avoid having a collision with you…certainly don’t wear the stuff.

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        • dr2chase January 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm

          wsbob, your interpretation of the hi-viz message is not the standard one. Most people see it as ugly, and they infer that cycling (with cars) must be dangerous when they see widespread use of hi-viz clothing. That’s not good marketing for cycling. Given the unfortunate state of the US roads, it may be prudent to wear hi-viz here, but where cycling is done right, it’s not necessary for safety.

          I’ve also got very very little sympathy for all these drivers who claim to have trouble spotting cyclists in the dark. *I* manage just fine when I drive, and I manage just fine riding my bike on the MUP with pedestrians. I wonder if perhaps some people just aren’t driving at a prudent speed that allows them to actually look where they’re going. The law allows pedestrians and cyclists to dress like ninjas, therefore anyone who is driving too fast to safely see a ninja-ped, is just plain driving too fast — that is, they are breaking the law.

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          • wsbob January 31, 2013 at 11:56 am

            Not clear from what you write, what “…standard…” it is you’re drawing your conclusion from, but I doubt that ‘ugly’ in response to the sight of hi-vis color and reflectivity used by cyclists on street and road situations if it does happen to be how most people view those visibility aids….which I rather doubt…is the most important response.

            The more important response I would say is occurring, is something like: ‘Hey! I can see that person on foot or bike, much easier because of the reflective stuff on their jacket.’. Or, hi-vis day glo color, as the case may be.

            In the office, at church, school, etc, where there’s no motor vehicle traffic…most people may not find the wearing of hi-vis colors to be considered particularly ‘beautiful’, but nobody need wear it such places.

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          • Glenn February 1, 2013 at 7:40 am

            dr2chase wrote: “… widespread use of hi-viz clothing. That’s not good marketing for cycling.” I would say that a cyclist hit by a vehicle is not good marketing either.

            “I’ve also got very very little sympathy for all these drivers who claim to have trouble spotting cyclists in the dark.” I wonder if dr2chase would have sympathy for the cyclist hit by the motorist who did not see him, whatever the reason might be.

            I agree wholeheartedly with wsbob. I commute daily from Vancouver to my job in Portland. My commute is about three hours. In winter, I never see daylight on the bike. I am always troubled by the large number of cyclists I encounter wearing black clothing and often with inadequate lighting (joggers and pedestrians as well). When I am driving, such cyclists are often difficult to see, and I am not driving fast. As a cyclist I am sensitive to what a cyclist looks like under poor lighting conditions. (It’s like I never realized how many Ford Rangers are out there until I bought one.) But a non-cyclist may not be as sensitive. Drivers generally may be focused on other things. This sort of quirk, if you will, in the safety industry is referred to as human factors. Even in daytime cyclists wearing dark clothing sometimes blend into the background. When driving, this bothers me because I certainly don’t want to be responsible for injuring anybody. Hi-vis clothing may not be fashionbably cool, but I prefer to be uncool and alive rather than cool and dead.

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            • dr2chase February 1, 2013 at 8:57 am

              There’s not that many cyclists hit by cars; it occurs at a low enough rate that young cyclists are safer than young drivers ( http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205200212.htm ) and that the mortality rate for bicycle commuters (after adjusting for other risk factors) is 28% lower than for not. The main marketing problem is in how this stuff is reported; reports of heart attack deaths are not accompanied by remarks about “insufficient exercise” in the same way that bicycle crashes include remarks about “no helmet” or “not wearing hi-viz”. Even though there’s comparable head injury risk for kids in cars and kids on bikes, we don’t require helmets for kids in cars.

              The numbers says that if you’re not biking, you’re less safe. We could be safer, but it’s a driver problem, not a cyclist problem. If you look at the places where they really made cycling safe, they did not do it with helmets and hi-viz; they did it by providing better infrastructure and better driver training, and they did not go around blaming cyclists for being unsafe (if you are encouraging children younger than 8 to ride their bikes to school, you’re not betting that much on mature cyclist behavior).

              And I don’t understand your remark about sympathy for cyclists who are hit. Of course I have sympathy for cyclists who have been hit; they made the right choice, and some careless schmuck ran into them. And you and wsbob keep on trying to find ways to make tsk-tsk noises at the guy who was hit, rather than at the careless schmuck.

              And yeah, we live in an imperfect world that is slow to change, but the high order bit for me is that things can be better, and I see no point whatsoever in defending the existing stupidity or giving people a hard time for failing to enthusiastically adapt to it. I’m not asking for untested unicorns and flying pigs — I’m asking for what’s already been done in other places, where it works really well. What we have now is wasteful and wrong, and to defend it is objectively (meaning, there are statistics that back up the claim) pro-death.

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            • 9watts February 1, 2013 at 9:16 am

              “Hi-vis clothing may not be fashionbably cool, but I prefer to be uncool and alive rather than cool and dead.”

              We’ve had this conversation before, Glenn. The choice you present is a false one. No amount of hi-vis clothing or defensive riding guarantees that you will be alive. We have two different things going on here:
              (1) degree of visibility by people riding bikes, and
              (2) factors that improve their safety

              Most people here might agree that a bit more illumination or some reflectivity wouldn’t hurt in general. I have agreed with this perspective here myself many times. But in my view that is mostly a distraction and we know it is a distraction because the problem of safety is that too many people in cars (still perhaps a minority, but the 3,000+ killed every year and 400,000 injured as a result of distracted driving is not peanuts) are not f-ing paying enough attention. We have to get past the wear day glo mantra because time and time again the people run over were wearing what everyone buy wsbob considers more than adequate illumination, reflectivity, etc.

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  • Paul Manson January 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Not sure how Canadian auto insurance works. I believe its run through state owned enterprises. But the cost on that graphic seems high. If the average annual insurance premiums are $2,700, something is very different up north.

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  • K'Tesh January 28, 2013 at 11:01 am

    1950 to present? I’m certain that biking routes aren’t that bad… (they’re worse).

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  • K'Tesh January 28, 2013 at 11:06 am

    As so far as the GoPro Mount… I want a mount that I can attach to the bike, and one that I can attach to the camera (and locks it into place so it doesn’t rotate in unwanted direction), then the two mounts mate with a nice clean quick release. I hate having to unscrew the damn camera each time I get off my bike (and buying new F’n screws each time I loose the F’n things). I had a tether for the thing, and it fell off anyway.

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    • q`Tzal January 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Ditto on the quick release from a permanent hard mount on the bike.

      Need one for a rear facing camera. Thinking that right under the saddle attached either to the seat tube or fashioned in such a way as to act both as a camera mount AND an anti-theft seat post lock.

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    • BicycleDave January 28, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      I’m waiting for the camera mount that attaches to the frame of the bike. When attached to handlebars (or headset cap) it picks up all the tiny corrective steering movements.

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      • Spiffy January 29, 2013 at 8:56 am

        I still prefer mine on my helmet even though it makes my head heavy… there’s too much vibration when it’s hard mounted, plus I like being able to point it wherever I look…

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  • Mark Allyn January 28, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Regarding the clothing . . . .

    Are they suggesting that I may not want to wear my creations?????????

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    • Spiffy January 29, 2013 at 9:00 am

      you’re the exception… I don’t think there’s even a category for your creations yet…

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  • drew January 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I usually wear a ANSI class 3 safety vest. It’s lightweight and goes over everything I want to wear, and has a front pocket for my phone. Its what the ODOT highway workers wear. If I get hit, it would make the inevitable “I didn’t see him” excuse sound even more lame. The driver would be admitting, by extension, that they can’t see highway workers either.

    Also, I find it really makes a difference in getting distracted motorists to notice me.

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  • wsbob January 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    “…We’ve heard the push for hi-vis clothing before, and we know that it sometimes crosses the line into victim-blaming. …” maus/bikeportland

    No identification of who the ‘we’ referred to, is…that ” …know…” hi-vis clothing somehow crosses “…the line into victim-blaming.”.

    Similarly, the 10tv, Columbus, Ohio news report about reasons police there supposedly declined to cite because of the cyclist not having been wearing a reflective vest, barely rises to the level of minimum reporting. The story apparently doesn’t quote from any official police department statement. Whether someone from the Ohio pd even offered any such reason to the tv station news, for the person driving not being cited, is highly questionable. Sounds more like a shaky summary by the tv reporter, of one or more things someone from the pd may have said.

    No mention of the name of the writer of the other hi-vis related story included in todays Roundup: http://departmentfortransport.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/cyclists-you-have-an-image-problem/

    Apparently, the writer is just some person from the UK with a weblog on wordpress…no name at either the top or the bottom of the story, or in the ‘about’ page. The person is miffed that cyclists appear at closed street demonstrations, and other street and road situations where the writer believes hi-vis gear isn’t necessary.

    Of course, the writer never much explains why they believe cyclists wearing hi-vis gear isn’t necessary, but instead, dwells primarily upon what they consider to be a bad impression left by hi-vis attired cyclists, upon “…the majority, non-cycling public.”.

    Maybe the non-cycling public in the UK, really is upset with people on bikes wearing hi-vis gear, but this writer certainly has offered nothing to support any such conclusion. Except from people that apparently don’t want to wear it while riding, I don’t believe I’ve ever run across an article or story, relating unhappiness on the part of people that have to drive, over people that bike wearing hi-vis gear or any other vulnerable road user visibility enhancing gear. I believe it’s a very good guess that most people driving appreciate cyclists’ use of gear that aids their efforts to see bike riding vulnerable road users.

    To me, at bike support related demonstrations, it makes lots of good sense for at least some of the people present to be wearing hi-vis. Not all, but some. Reason for some, rather than all, is that use of hi-vis isn’t necessary for all riding situations.

    Some riding situations can be sufficiently devoid of motor vehicle presence, and have adequate sight-lines and lighting that preclude the need for the use of hi-vis. People that ride though, just like anyone else traveling by various means…don’t stay in one place; they move about, from one street situation to another…lighting and visibility conditions often vary accordingly. Occasions where street lighting and visibility drops off in ways that are dangerous to vulnerable road users, is where hi-vis and lighting used to enhance vulnerable road user visibility, can be essential to safety.

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    • 9watts January 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      “most people driving appreciate cyclists’ use of gear that aids their efforts to see bike riding vulnerable road users.”

      I’d venture that most people biking appreciate if drivers pay enough attention and stick to reasonable speeds such that they can recognize other members of traffic without their having to dress up in these hi-viz ways.

      “Some riding situations can be sufficiently devoid of motor vehicle presence…that preclude the need for the use of hi-vis.”

      It isn’t the presence or absence of motor vehicles, but the presence of motor vehicle drivers who are distracted or not paying close attention to their surroundings that is the issue here. As we’ve seen countless times right here, people in cars slam into overly visible people on foot or on a bike even in the middle of the day with good sightlines. Have you forgotten Christeen Osborn? For those in cars, hi-viz clothing is a convenient distraction from the problem of distracted driving, a way to shift responsibility against the preponderance of evidence.

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      • wsbob January 29, 2013 at 7:20 pm

        “most people driving appreciate cyclists’ use of gear that aids their efforts to see bike riding vulnerable road users.” wsbob

        “…I’d venture that most people biking appreciate if drivers pay enough attention and stick to reasonable speeds such that they can recognize other members of traffic without their having to dress up in these hi-viz ways. …” 9watts

        Most drivers have been doing exactly that for years. Numbers of people that ride using hi-vis has been small, but of late, has been increasing, I think. Reason I think so, is that more of it seems available in the stores, and also, more people seem to be wearing or otherwise using it on their bikes.

        “Some riding situations can be sufficiently devoid of motor vehicle presence…that preclude the need for the use of hi-vis.” wsbob

        “…It isn’t the presence or absence of motor vehicles, but the presence of motor vehicle drivers who are distracted or not paying close attention to their surroundings that is the issue here. As we’ve seen countless times right here, people in cars slam into overly visible people on foot or on a bike even in the middle of the day with good sightlines. Have you forgotten Christeen Osborn? For those in cars, hi-viz clothing is a convenient distraction from the problem of distracted driving, a way to shift responsibility against the preponderance of evidence. …” 9watts

        People driving motor vehicles are not slamming into “…overly visible people on foot or on a bike even in the middle of the day with good sightlines. …”, “…countless times…”, if that’s what you’re implying.

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        • 9watts January 30, 2013 at 7:54 am

          “People driving motor vehicles are not slamming into “…overly visible people on foot or on a bike even in the middle of the day with good sightlines. …”, “…countless times…”, if that’s what you’re implying.”

          I said what I mean. Not implying anything. But since you brought it up, I think it is fair to say that the frequency with which people wearing day-glo are run over in broad daylight (I’ve listed those whom this has happened to in other conversations here) gives one pause and suggests, as I have noted many times, that the chief problem here has nothing to do with the visibility of the victims.

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    • are January 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      no mention of this and no mention of that.

      not so long ago i remember someone on these boards saying some father was to blame for getting rear-ended at a stop light because there were approximately one fewer flashing red lights than apparently necessary on the kid’s trailer.

      the story out of columbus literally says “police say.” ought to be enough attribution, one might think.

      the blogger from UK does not argue that noncyclists are “upset” with cyclists wearing hi-visibility gear. s/he very clearly says wearing such gear to a rally on a closed route sends two unfortunate messages to the noncyclist: one, that cycling is “an inherently dangerous activity” that requires all kinds of safety gear, and two, that cyclists are “a homogeneous out-group.”

      you may disagree, but there was no ambiguity. look at the pictures accompanying the blog post. place yourself in the position of a noncyclist. what do you see?

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      • Schrödinger's Cat January 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm

        Hello are,

        I’m the author of the UK blog with the post about safety gear, and I’d like to thank you for being one of the few who seems to have read it properly!

        For the benefit of others, the article was about cycling campaigners wearing safety equipment *when on safe, traffic-free protests* or when otherwise posing for the news cameras.

        I can completely understand why people wear all that stuff when riding on hostile roads.


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        • wsbob January 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm

          S-Cat…I read your blog post, and right properly, I would say. I just don’t agree with your contention that hi-vis gear conveys to non-riding people, the kind of negative things you seem to think it does. Or, that on a street closed to motor vehicles, a political demonstration having something to do with biking shouldn’t be used by those that choose to, as an opportunity to convey to other people by example, a type of cycling gear that can help to enhance bike visibility on streets that aren’t closed.

          I noticed in one of the wide view crowd pictures accompanying your story, cyclists wearing hi-vis may have been 40 percent at best. In another pic, the closeup, to which your caption referred to the guy apparently wearing dark colored street clothes, and that you considered to have stood out amongst the group of people wearing hi-vis jerseys or jackets, I thought he in fact, disappeared into the background…exactly what a vulnerable road user should not want to have happen on a street, traveling amongst motor vehicles.

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  • JJJ January 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Saw someone wearing a yellow vest with silver reflective tape….

    For some reason none of it reflected my headlights any more than standard clothing. Dont expect they make you look like a lighthouse folks.

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    • wsbob January 28, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      “Saw someone wearing a yellow vest with silver reflective tape….

      For some reason none of it reflected my headlights any more than standard clothing. …” JJJ

      The likely reason the silver tape didn’t reflect was either that it wasn’t actually reflective tape, or that your headlights were at such an acute angle to the tape that that the light entirely reflected away from you rather than back at you.

      Some apparel manufacturers, such as some of those producing some of the budget active gear sold at Old Navy, use silver non-reflective tape for looks only, I suppose to lower production costs. The silver tape that’s truly reflective, bounces back a high percent of the light falling upon it. I’d guess, to angles of at least 15 degrees, maybe up to 30 degrees.

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      • Pete January 28, 2013 at 3:24 pm

        Also 3M makes a black reflective material that does not look reflective until you shine light into it. Nashbar uses it in some of their clothing.

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    • 9watts January 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      “Saw someone wearing a yellow vest with silver reflective tape”
      Glad you saw him anyway, despite those flaws, JJJ.

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  • El Biciclero January 28, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    “Hi-vis” clothing can be double-edged sword. Those that want to go above and beyond, over the top with visibility may–through no fault of their own–make things more dangerous for those that comply with legal requirements but don’t exaggerate their responsibility. Much the same way drivers who “invest” in the Largest Possible Vehicle–for safety, you know–make things more dangerous for those that choose to drive smaller vehicles. Those that run over-bright, poorly-aimed headlights (on cars or bikes) can see fine while everyone else is blinded. It’s difficult not to get into an “arms race” of quien es mas seguro. Also, as with helmets, wearing hi-vis becomes a cultural expectation such that if you’re going to be foolish enough to ride a bike on the street(!) you’d better take every precaution fathomable, up to and including wearing a car, to avoid getting yourself run over. Otherwise, you get what you deserve, fool.

    Bike “gear”, on the other hand, shouldn’t have any effect on whether somebody chooses to ride their own bike or not. Anyone who feels uncomfortable fashion-wise wearing lycra and riding briskly, can take it easy and wear office attire. I don’t see how one person’s choice to wear what makes them comfortable riding could be construed as any kind of mandate for those wanting to “try” riding. I’m certainly not going to sacrifice my own daily riding comfort on the off chance that somebody driving by in a car is going to see me and think “wow, I guess you can dress in ‘normal’ clothes and still grind up that hill! I think I’ll try that tomorrow!”

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  • q`Tzal January 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    In my experience high vis clothing is functionality a very expensive solution to cyclist visibility.

    When new they are bright, vivid and very reflective. Invariably the high vis attributes don’t survive washing if it is permitted at all.
    Very often they get a little road grime on them that can’t be removed rendering what is usually substandard clothing with great high vis bits merely substandard clothing.

    As long as manufacturers put together junk clothing with limited reuseabily and charge obscene prices the high vis bike clothes industry is a joke that needs to die.

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    • wsbob January 29, 2013 at 11:58 am

      You don’t give any examples of what you consider to be expensive. Here and there, but not at the bike shop, I’ve found hi-vis gear that I didn’t consider expensive:

      Day-glo orange fleece gloves at Fred’s for $7.50 (on sale price for a couple months each year.).

      Target has Champion sportswear. For the last several years, Champion has had some hi-vis green and orange in their lineup…short and long sleeve wick-able fabric jerseys. It’s not specifically ‘cycling’ gear…may be designed more with runners in mind, but it looks/works fine for people that aren’t in race-kit mode. Under $20-30 regular retail, but throughout the season, usually drops in price.

      Old Navy has an active wear lineup too…this year, some jerseys in hi-vis. This year, their active wear jacket colors weren’t bright. Market demand. Last year, they had a great hi-vis yellow color water resistant jacket that for me has been working out fine. On sale, under $20. Doesn’t have reflectivity though.

      As I said in an earlier post, reflective tape used on active wear apparel…running and cycling gear, construction wear, is available for DIY’ers to use as their imagination leads them to.

      Washing and general endurance of day-glo: I know that exposure to sun, sweat and detergents causes it to fade. Getting it cheap makes this less of an issue. In the case of water resistant jackets, especially those with reflective tape…sponging off instead of machine washing, extends it’s life.

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      • are January 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm

        anything not made by slave labor?

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  • Jeff Bernards January 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I wear a yellow coat when it rains and an safety orange jacket when it’s dry, I call them the “Please don’t hit me jacket”. I find taking every step to be safe only helps insure you arrive safely: lights, bright jacket & sober all play a role. If you’ve done everything that’s available I can almost guarantee you’ll arrive alive. I’ve ridden with Jonathan, I’ve asked him why he wears a black rain suit, in the rain at night? It makes no sense to me, you’ve got a family that’s counting on you, do everything to be safe. Go watch the Tri-Met ad that promotes wearing visible clothing: http://trimet.org/beseen/index.htm
    Watch the video if you need to be sold wearing bright clothing. You can remove the bright clothing off when you arrive (alive), it’s for riding and I know it works.

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    • q`Tzal January 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Or we can just have and use sufficient lighting.

      Bright colors and reflectors are not enough for automobiles; anyone who would suggest that cars without lights are safe as long as they have neon colors and a few reflective bits would be laughed out of town before they were locked up in the loony bin.

      And while I respect the notion that high vis gear is useful it seems to be further countered by the simple reality that many states now post police cars in work zones with their blue and red strobes running full time. It seems that without an obvious police presence most drivers have already tuned out bright neon colors, reflectors, big orange road warning signs and the blinking yellow strobes.

      This seems to leave as the only option that which pisses off the bicycle community: I’m gonna make my bike so bright drivers can’t tell WHAT I am until they’ve passed safely.

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    • Kristen January 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      I watched the TriMet commercial. To my eyes, it appears that the vehicle’s headlights are much dimmer than the usual “low beams” are, at least for all the vehicles I’ve been in. Almost as if the vehicle is driving in the dark with their daytime running lights instead of their actual headlights.

      The commercial does make its point in that the people walking and riding in black clothing are difficult to see. But to me, it more points up the need to drive more alertly in the dark and difficult weather conditions that we have here.

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      • Spiffy January 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm

        the visibility in that video is so poor that the driver is going dangerously fast for conditions… it’s not that you can’t see the some of the riders, it’s that they’re driving too fast when they can barely even see the lines on the road… I think if there was a broken down car in the lane in front of them they’d run into it…

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    • wsbob January 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      “…I’ve ridden with Jonathan, I’ve asked him why he wears a black rain suit, in the rain at night? It makes no sense to me, you’ve got a family that’s counting on you, do everything to be safe. …” Jeff Bernards

      I can fathom some reasons bikeportland’s publisher-editor might not choose to wear something enabling a little more visibility at night, but mostly…especially for someone, about whose professional and personal situation readers of bikeportland know a fair amount…that choice makes no sense to me either.

      Target has hi-vis in both men’s and ladies wear. So does Old Navy. Low cost, good quality goods;not custom, bike specific gear like the bike shops have, but serviceable and decently styled for people on a budget. The fabric store, Mill Ends, out in Beaverton has rolls of reflective tape that imaginative, innovative DIY’ers could affix to their bags, jackets, pants and so on.

      To be honest, in past, I hadn’t used reflective material a lot. Gradually though, more reflectivity and hi-vis colors are amongst my gear, as I’ve been warming up to the idea that varying amounts of reflectivity and can be visually appealing as well as functional from a safety standpoint.

      I also haven’t had a lot of experience in maintaining the reflectivity of reflective tape. Heeding comments about it’s fragility when washing, I think I’m leaning towards use in forms that I can wash gently…not in the washing machine…so, sponge off dirt and grime.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 28, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      Jeff and wsbob,

      I appreciate your concern for my safety. The reason I don’t wear hi-vis clothing is because I don’t like it. I simply don’t like the way it looks and I prefer other types of clothing. I am very serious about my lighting though and I always have super bright lights on my bike, in addition to reflective sidewalls on my tires and other bits of reflectivity here and there.

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      • wsbob January 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        maus… occurring to me, related your not wearing hi-vis clothing, is that your safety is certainly a concern but only one of a number of concerns. Another big, good reason, of course, for people that bike to be working to improve visibility of themselves to people that drive, is so that people driving may see cyclists further in advance than they would cyclists relying on minimal, legal visibility requirements, and accordingly give a wide berth, slow down, and so on as needed for safe passage.

        Bike lights, bright though they can be, commonly offer less than one square inch of lens area…far, far smaller than the lens area of a typical car headlight lens. Bike tire sidewalls can offer good visibility, from the side; from front and back views, they offer no reflectivity at all.

        A person’s body, using the of clothes covering it, provides a huge number of square inches, some of which can be used to display some sizable bits of reflective material. Since you haven’t said specifically, sometime, you might explain what it is you don’t like about hi-vis clothing.

        Personally, I’m not big on hi-vis/day-glo orange, but hi-vis green or yellow agrees with me well enough. At any rate, it seems, that for reflectivity in clothing, neither of those two colors are absolutely obligatory. Notice Pete’s comment up above, reminding that motorcycle apparel manufacturers use black reflective material on some of that gear. I’ve seen it. Looks cool. I suppose manufacturers could use nearly any color as a base for reflective material, if they had some certainty a market existed for it.

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        • Spiffy January 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm

          “people driving may see cyclists further in advance”

          I refuse to enable drivers to speed faster than they can see where they’re going… they need to be startled and slow down when they suddenly see me because they were driving too fast for conditions… if the majority of cyclists wear bright reflective clothing then those that don’t are put in danger because that’s all drivers will look for… it’s just like the problem we have with too many signs… drivers stop thinking and blindly obey the signs rather than doing what’s safe…

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    • El Biciclero January 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      “It makes no sense to me…”

      Well, riding a bike at all “makes no sense” to a lot of people. Everybody has a different level of risk tolerance and encounters “diminishing returns” at a different point. Some people won’t eat popcorn because the risk of choking is just too high.

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  • spare_wheel January 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I wear my high viz clothing ironically.

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    • q`Tzal January 28, 2013 at 3:42 pm


      In a movie theater: “excuse me sir, could you please turn off your shirt? It is disturbing others viewing experience”

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  • Pete January 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Interesting Tax Foundation data – neither Oregon nor California seem to fare so well (i.e. roads are more highly subsidized). Other columns I’d love to see for comparative purposes are the number of motor vehicles registered in each state at the time these numbers were crunched, along with the number of registered drivers, and maybe the census-based population.

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  • Kristen January 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    In regards to the clothing: I don’t care what you want to wear while you are bicycling, walking, whatever. I’m going to wear whatever it is I’m going to wear, and I don’t care what you think about it– I wear reflective jackets and hi-vis vests and have good lights because I want to. Mostly because “I didn’t see him/her” is the most ridiculous excuse next to “he/she came out of nowhere!” and I want to make sure no one can use those excuses about me.

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  • dr2chase January 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    One problem with mere reflectors is that in MA lights aren’t required till 30 minutes AFTER sunset, and I see most people driving with their lights off in conditions that are already so dim than I am lighting up reflectors with my (always-on) bicycle lights. So I run bright lights, all the time.

    I “solved” the arms race problem with low beams (amber, aimed lower) for pedestrians and cyclists — in the past, some of them did complain about the pre-lowbeam brights, and I know that I find other bike headlights irritating. Since nobody driving a car has stopped to tell me that my headlights are too bright, nor have they flashed their high beams at me, I assume that they are not too bright for drivers.

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    • Robert Burchett January 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      That vest story is pathetic and I’m hoping it was misreported but we’ve all heard worse. I’m inclined to believe almost anything when it comes to cops and cyclists. And was that guy wearing a reflective vest when the SUV went through his house at 80 mph? And this time all the way through–cleaned it so to speak.

      It’s hard to tell cyclists that they can’t have bright lights in this environment, but people–can’t we get along? Those lights are movable–point them Down! on a shared path. Set your bike up and look at the lights from 50-100 feet away. I have encountered bikes with flashing lights that were shocking even in the daytime. Car lights are supposed to be aimed below the horizon. It’s a good idea for bikes too.

      Taillights can be wicked (mine is pretty unbearable and it’s a regular 2-AA battery LED flasher). If I’m riding with another person I put it on steady but it is still harsh. And, it’s not the brightest light out there by any means.

      Have a look at your lights, maybe enough is enough?

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  • Kevin Wagoner January 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Interesting. I use to bike that area of Columbus Ohio (Trabue and Dublin Roads) nearly every weekday for a year in college. I went to OSU and worked at Conway (same company in NW Portland) out past 270. The ride started out rather nice across campus. Dublin is the pits for a cyclist. Trabue wasn’t much better. It was pretty common to get honked out and I had things thrown at me on occasion in that area. For the most part riding here is much better.

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  • The Dudette January 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Regarding the Columbian article on the correlation between intersections with high crashes and high crime rates, there’s a term called “the slumming of commercial.” I heard this term in reference to what happens with commercial development as intersections are constructed wider and wider to make cars happy. The wider the intersection, the more difficult it becomes for people to access the commercial development, the more likely businesses will go other places and the more likely less “desirable” commercial uses replace those that left. A good example of this phenomenon is 82nd Avenue in Portland. Clark County routinely builds intersections very wide, with multiple turn lanes to make cars happy, and the pedestrian and bicycle environment are made less safe at the same time. Look at Highway 99 in Clark County. A prime example of the “slumming of commercial development.”

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  • Spiffy January 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    neon clothing is hella 80’s… if you’re not also wearing leg warmers and parachute pants then you’re doing it wrong

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  • Spiffy January 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    wow, where was all this non-high-vis clothing hatred last week when Jonathan posted this link to the Monday Roundup?

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  • Suburban January 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Oregon Bike Light laws could use an update, mainly to allow flashing headlighs and requiring rear lights. Rear lights are not required, and that is just strange.

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    • Pete January 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      It looks like 815.280 (2) B does not prevent blinking white lights to be used on the front, and (2) C says either a reflector or a light that can be seen 600′ away from low beams (http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/815.html). Definitely could be better specified, as you say…

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    • are January 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      remember you are imposing costs on people who may not be able to afford it

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    • GlowBoy January 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Actually I think the law is right to only require front lights and rear reflectors. Getting hit from behind is a pretty small part of the risk on the road; contrary to common belief, most of the danger is in front of you and that’s where conspicuity is most important.

      Also the cars behind you are more likely to have their headlights aimed right at you, and thus have more light directed back to them by your reflectors. The variety of cars in front of you with which you might come into conflict are far more likely to be pointed in other directions and not see as much light coming back from your reflectors.

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  • Andyc of Linnton January 29, 2013 at 6:58 am

    The L.A. mayor story is so typical.
    I honestly wish all of our elected officials were made to ride along with a different commute, say once a week or something.
    This week, you tag along a bike commute, next week you follow someone on transit, etc, etc, and get a good look at being a pedestrian and a citizen of the city that gets around not via automobile.

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  • jim February 3, 2013 at 1:35 am

    kid makes plywood bike :)

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