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The Monday Roundup: Busted legislator, condom sponsorship & more

Posted by on November 4th, 2013 at 9:04 am

Lawbreakers all.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Good morning readers! Please join us in thanking this week’s sponsor of the Monday Roundup: Pedal PT is southeast Portland’s full-service, bike-friendly physical therapy headquarters. They specialize in bike fit and cycling injury recovery… And their support helps make BikePortland possible.

Now, onto the news…

Poetic justice: “Labour MP who called cyclists ‘law-breakers’ busted for running a red.”

Condoms sponsor bikesharing: “If you climb in the saddle, be ready for the ride,” say the ads for a Boulder, Colo.-based condom maker that are helping pay for the city’s new bikeshare system. With our system probably delayed again due to lack of sponsors. Portland needs all the ideas it can get.

Traffic as a new global pandemic: Fascinating analogy: “Car crashes and motorcycle accidents are symptoms of a disease, and it’s high time we started looking at killer roads as a public health crisis.”

PSU scholar killed: The Egypt-born founder of Portland State University’s well-regarded School of Urban Studies and Planning, Nohad Toulan, died with his wife in an Uruguay car crash this week.

Hit and run enforcement: “Oregon makes it too easy for lily-livered motorists to play the odds of not getting caught,” Oregonian columnist Joe Rose writes, suggesting that the state follow in California’s footsteps by doubling the statute of limitations from three years to six.

Tickets for bike speeders: Seattle police have been handing out speeding tickets to drivers and bicyclists alike.

Three ideologies of transportation: How did you become passionate about bike politics, and why? Richard Masoner of Cyclicious summarizes a chapter from a new book by describing the three sides of “the politics of mobility.”

Bikes and social equity: The new blog Invisible Cyclist includes a great roundup of links to recent thinking about race, class and bikes, many of them written by Portlanders.

Networked bikes: The bikes of the future will talk to each other (and to your phone, of course), tech blog ReadWrite argues using a few examples, though we wish Intel’s Open Bike Initiative were one of them.

Bikeshare maker lawsuit: The operator of Minneapolis’s bikesharing system is threatening to sue Public Bike System Company for breach of contract. PBSC also supplies equipment to Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share; back in January, Alta also filed, then withdrew, a similar suit. By all available accounts, PBSC is in deep financial trouble.

Bike event regulation: Four years after Chicago’s bid to host the Summer Olympics, a rural Wisconsin county that might have held the bike events has become a popular bike tourism destination … and its county government now wants to require organized bike rides to buy event insurance and notify “affected residents” in advance.


Chicago cycle track: After months of resisting installation of protected bike lanes on state-run streets, the Illinois Department of Transportation has changed course and is allowing a pilot project on a street where a local bike advocate was killed by an allegedly drunk driver. The Chicago Reader has a heart-rending profile of that victim, Bobby Cann.

Drunk walking: Here’s a scary thought: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants you to think that “Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving,” according to its official press release.

AAA activism: Automobile lobby organization AAA is opposing a proposal to set a maximum speed limit of 20 mph on neighborhood streets throughout New York City because it says the decision is “best left to traffic engineers.”

The Dutch way of crashing: It’s nuts for American law to presume that people who crash cars into people are innocent unless proven guilty, argues Bob Mionske on Bicycling.com. the Dutch force drivers to prove that they weren’t at fault. “If you say you were driving and didn’t see somebody, it’s almost always because you weren’t paying attention.”

How sprawl killed childhood: Jane Brody says auto-dependent lifestyles have replaced youngsters’ freedom with “play dates, lessons and organized activities to which they must be driven and watched over by adults.”

Bike reformer quits: Gabe Klein, the bureaucrat who made Washington and Chicago two of the country’s most pro-bike cities (and served as a mentor to Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat), is leaving his post as Chicago’s transportation director to rejoin the private sector.

Biking and civil rights: “Much of bicycle advocacy in the last forty years has been geared (statistically speaking) to the needs of men,” Elly Blue argues. “I’ll never forget speaking in Atlanta two years ago and asking what the barriers to bicycling were and people brought up a ton — fast, unfriendly roads, smog, distance — but nearly every woman in the room added “and harassment.’”

Colville-Andersen walks: Urban mobility expert and outspoken critic of helmet laws Mikael Colville-Andersen plans to protest Adelaide, Australia’s helmet legislation by refusing to bike when he visits for a bike conference next year.

Even when your job is coaching the second-ranked football team in the country, a bit of physical activity each day will probably make you better at it. Oregon Ducks coach Mark Helfrich and his classily casual riding wear are the unassuming stars of your video of the week:

If you come across a noteworthy bicycle story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.

This month’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Pedal PT, southeast Portland’s full-service, bike-friendly physical therapy headquarters with a specialty in bike fit and treatment of cycling injuries. Roll into their indoor bike parking at SE 25th and Clinton (and thank them for supporting BikePortland!).

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  • Zaphod November 4, 2013 at 9:10 am

    AAA stance on a 20mph speed limit is kind of depressing. Cars going faster on residential streets isn’t a “win” for motorists but a loss of civility and community where people live.

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  • Terry D November 4, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Not to say that we do not need major reform of our driver acountability laws, but the comparison to dutch laws is not quite fair. Our “Innocent untill proven guilty” legal system goes back historically to an Anglican legal traditon all the way back to magna carta. This codified the assumption of innocense.

    The continent on the other hand had their entire legal code re-written during the Napoleonic era where “guilty until proven innocent” became the baseline legal tradition in contrast. We can certainly replicate the dutch reaction in studying the intersection, actively working towards safety redesigns And even insurance accounability reform but the “innocent until proven guilty” concept is a foundation to our legal system constitutionally.

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    • spare_wheel November 4, 2013 at 10:06 am

      Strict liability has absolutely nothing to do with Napoleonic law and everything to do with protecting vulnerable road users. Strict liability is not the law in France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Poland, Sweden, or Switzerland. Strict liability for vulnerable road users exists in only two nations: Denmark and the Netherlands. And…maybe…just maybe…these legal rights have something to do with low injury accident rates and high cycling mode share in these nations?

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      • Terry D November 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm

        I am not talking about liability. I read the link specifically looking at the authers terminology. Liability is a very different term legally. As I said, we could learn from them them, but the authors use of the terms “guilty until proven innocent” versus “innocent until proven guilty” has all sorts of criminal ramifications and historical reasons. If that is not what they are talking about, then they should be more careful. Or it could just be me nickpicking modern legal traditions as this tension between the two system has been a major historical strain over the past centuries in western legal tradition.

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        • Chris I November 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm

          Driving a car into someone is not a constitutionally protected right. A state could pass a law assigning a minimum sentence requirement to the act of hitting someone with your vehicle. It doesn’t matter how it happened, if you were driving when you hit them, that is the punishment. It would be similar to a minimum sentence for manslaughter.

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          • wsbob November 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm

            “Driving a car into someone is not a constitutionally protected right. …” Chris I

            Depending upon the circumstances, driving a car into someone is not necessarily the fault of, or entirely the fault of the person driving. Summarily concluding before an inquiry into the facts, that a person is ‘guilty’ of something, isn’t a basis for a good society.

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            • 9watts November 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm

              but you will admit that *not driving* is a very reliable way to avoid the uncertainty about degree of fault on the part of those piloting automobiles you are so reliably eager to champion.

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              • wsbob November 4, 2013 at 11:54 pm

                I suppose such a solution to potential uncertainty regarding the innocence or guilt of people that drive could be expected from: ‘his lordship, 9watts, Czar of Eminent Apocalypse’.

                What you seem to be saying, is that the way to eliminate any uncertainty about degree of fault on the part of people driving that at some point come to be involved in collisions, is to simply keep everyone from driving. If you’re correct in your assumptions about world energy supply, which you apparently feel some commitment to periodically remind bikeportland’s readers of, that should be happening any day now.

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                • 9watts November 5, 2013 at 7:32 am

                  No, that wasn’t what I was trying to say. My point was that in your drive to find a way to exonerate drivers you seem to be missing the fact that in our society driving is freighted with considerable risks, risks mostly to others not in cars. While some of us may be tempted to empathize with the plight of those who were in cars, driving cars, that sometimes kill and maim people, because we could imagine ourselves in that person’s shoes, the bottom line is that the potential to commit grave harm is inherent, not incidental, perhaps due to a fundamental mismatch between our capabilities and the requirements of driving.
                  If in one of your situations where you imagine the driver of the car to be less than responsible for the death or maiming of another person just run over, if you subtract the car from the situation, does this help you see fault in a different light?

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                • wsbob November 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm

                  “…in your drive to find a way to exonerate drivers…” 9watts

                  That’s not an intent of mine you’re describing.

                  You however, seem to be very intent upon removing motor vehicles as an option by which people can choose to travel about, as a means of eliminating responsibility and fault on the part of people driving that at some point come to be involved in collisions between motor vehicles.

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                • 9watts November 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm

                  “You however, seem to be very intent upon removing motor vehicles… ”

                  I am intrigued how a prediction that cars are not long for this world is so frequently misheard.

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                • wsbob November 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm

                  “…”You however, seem to be very intent upon removing motor vehicles… ” wsbob

                  I am intrigued how a prediction that cars are not long for this world is so frequently misheard. …”

                  Maybe you’re presuming what you say is misheard, because you’re not hearing a response to your prediction that you’re hoping for.

                  People understand more about limited energy reserves than you may be giving them credit for. They have more immediate concerns, such as how in a practical manner, to get from A to B within the motor vehicle based society and communities that have evolved over the last 100 years.

                  If you want to work towards constructive adjustment of overcrowded motor vehicle dominated streets…great!…I’m with people that want to do that, and have said many times in comments to bikeportland that I’d love to see better conditions for walking and biking, created west of Portland.

                  …but don’t expect many people outside of bikeportland, to clap you on the back for efforts made towards preventing them from driving or traveling in a motor vehicle where that’s virtually the only practical option currently open to them. …or for attempting to shift responsibility of vulnerable road users for doing their part to look out for their own safety…entirely upon people that drive, not simply in the form of liability, but in the additionally damning, unjustified form of unconditional fault and guilt.

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                • 9watts November 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm

                  There you go again…
                  “efforts made towards preventing them from driving or traveling in a motor vehicle”

                  who said anything about that?!

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    • Daniel L November 4, 2013 at 10:38 am

      The wording of it as “innocent until proven guilty” is poor because that standard is really just a factual finding (did the event actually happen in this way?). The liability is a statutory issue (if the event happened then by law this person is at fault).

      We have have plenty of presumed liability in US law even in regards to traffic collisions, for instance if you rear-end someone while driving you are pretty much always seen as at fault unless you can prove it was entirely unavoidable by you (such as you were at a full stop and the vehicle in front was in reverse). The same could easily be done for collisions involving vulnerable road users.

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      • spare_wheel November 4, 2013 at 10:49 am

        In OR and many other states there is statuatory “strict liability” for pedestrians in a crosswalks.

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    • wsbob November 4, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Fault and liability are not necessarily the same thing. In another of his articles the following link leads to: http://blogs.bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/2012/03/05/the-dutch-law/

      …Mionske says: “…Dutch law begins with the assumption that the driver is at fault. …”. I think he’s indirectly alluding to ‘Strict Liability’, in which ‘liability’ is apparently the basis of assigning responsibility for collisions between road users in the Netherlands. Accurate determination of fault is an after the fact element that can be determined only after a collision has occurred.

      In this same article, for the purpose of comparing how American and Dutch law handles the assignment of responsibility for collisions, he describes a collision having occurred “…in the Dutch city of Zoetermeer…”. Here again, about fault relative to Dutch law, he says: “…Under Dutch law, the driver is automatically at fault, unless it can be proved that the cyclist was at fault. …”.

      In this same article, continue reading about how Zoetermeer officials handled the collision he describes, and you’ll see that while this city did find this particular person’s driving to be at fault in this collision, through investigation, it apparently found that the intersection where the collision occurred was also faulty. The city proceeded to fix the intersection.

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    • Barbara Stedman November 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      That’s too much of a blanket statement. You can’t put the whole continent in one category. Germany also has “innocent until proven guilty” as a foundation of the legal system, yet they manage to be more strict on drivers killing pedestrians and bicyclists.

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  • q`Tzal November 4, 2013 at 10:29 am

    OMG, I live in The West; some used “lily-livered” un-ironically.

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  • Joe November 4, 2013 at 10:51 am

    love that pic! oh Wilsonville Or. just got some ” green ” paint… near I-5
    bridge here kinda crazy busy area.. ** things changing little at a time **

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  • spare_wheel November 4, 2013 at 10:57 am

    From Bob Mionske’s strict liability article:

    The truck driver who right-hooked Hananja Konijn was charged within days. A year later, the judge handed out the maximum sentence of 240 hours of community service and a suspended sentence of two months in prison. His driver’s license was revoked for 18 months.

    How can anyone who cycles possibly be opposed to this?

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  • Oliver November 4, 2013 at 11:03 am

    “Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving,”

    bull.

    I did notice riding home on Thursday that all the drivers seemed to be being extra careful. So that was nice. But I believe the above claim is reckless and irresponsible.

    When was the last time an intoxicated pedestrian crossed the center line and crashed head on into a vehicle coming the opposite direction, killing all of the occupants?

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    • John Lascurettes November 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      Or when was the last time a drunk pedestrian collided with a home or business and took down a wall?

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  • Miguel November 4, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Bikes and social equity: The new blog Invisible Cyclist includes a great roundup of links to recent thinking about race, class and bikes, many of them written by Portlanders.

    http://phmelod.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/mlh_our-bikes_diss.pdf

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  • Barbara Stedman November 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Interesting article about car crashes as a global pandemic. The other day I came across the flu death numbers and noticed that the number of people annually dying from the flu and from traffic crashes in the US is roughly the same – around 30,000. Wouldn’t it be great to have a vaccine against being killed by a car driver?
    I was surprised, however, that the author praised the “low ” traffic fatalities numbers in the US. Yes, we are better than China, but far worse than central and northern European countries like Germany. The US is more comprable to southern Europe or Russia. So there is still a long way to go in this car worshipping country!

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  • JJJJ November 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    RE: Bixi. Why did Alta put all their eggs in one basket? Why did they bid on so many cities if their one and only supplier has been in deep trouble for years? And why did the cities sign with Alta if these troubles were so obvious?

    I’ve yet to heard of a supply problem with Bixis main north american competitor, B-cycle.

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  • GlowBoy November 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    “How sprawl killed childhood: Jane Brody says auto-dependent lifestyles have replaced youngsters’ freedom with ‘play dates, lessons and organized activities to which they must be driven and watched over by adults.’”

    Ehhhh … I don’t think the reason kids’ lives are dominated by playdates, lessons and organized activities is i>because of our car-dependent lifestyle (although car dependence has been a major enabling factor, as has anxiety around competing in the global economy”). I think the biggest reason we feel the need to schedule our kids’ socialization and activities is that we no longer think it’s safe to let them run around unsupervised, as was common practice when I was a kid (which, ironically, was in very car-dependent, suburban Minnesota).

    The 1979 Etan Petz case made a lot of headlines, the 1989 Jacob Wetterling abduction gave us missing kids’ faces on milk cartons, and the 1996 Amber Hagerman case led to Amber Alerts. A lot of good has come of the increased awareness that resulted from these cases, but another result is that too many parents live in fear of leaving their kids alone for even ONE SECOND.

    Believe me, as a parent I know that if you try to let your kids have very much freedom at all, you can guarantee yourself scoldings from everyone else for subjecting your kids to this overblown “danger.” Sadly, it IS much more dangerous now for kids to be out unsupervised. This is NOT because there are more predators out there — child predators have always been with us, and as a child in the 1970s I was warned about “stranger danger” many years before the infamous cases listed above. It’s because the safety in numbers that kids used to have is now gone.

    One other side effect of this, which feeds into the cycle of car dominance, is that without so many unsupervised kids running around all the time, people feel a lot freer to speed through neighborhoods. When I was growing up and learning to drive, you knew you had to be careful because you never knew when a kid might run out into the street (and since I was in a state with stricter laws than live-free-and-die Oregon, I knew I could be charged with Manslaughter). Now if you hit a kid running across the street, you can blame the parents for not properly supervising or “controlling” their child.

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    • wsbob November 5, 2013 at 12:17 am

      “…Now if you hit a kid running across the street, you can blame the parents for not properly supervising or “controlling” their child. …” GlowBoy

      In instances in which kids run across the street in front of traffic, parents are due blame aside from whether a kid is hit or not. It’s parents responsibility to train their kids that the street is a place to be aware of and look for traffic before crossing, whatever mode of travel the traffic consists of. It’s true also though, that vehicle lifestyles can contribute to neighborhood streets coming to bad ends.

      Irresponsible, excessive vehicular road use…and that can include in some cases, the manner in which people operate their bikes…could be contributing to less freedom parents feel they can give their kids within their own neighborhood. Letting neighborhood streets be used as a kind of cut-through freeway, assaults neighborhood livability. Neighborhoods where, because they’re afraid of being run over, very few people walk or bike, or play, can leave the streets in the neighborhood, sterile, virtually empty of any activity except vehicles moving.

      I don’t think it’s nullification of penalty for hitting a pedestrian with a motor vehicle…assuming that’s happened, which I doubt it has…that’s compromised the freedom kids decades ago had to roam their neighborhood. The culprit is large scale abandonment of use of the street for much of anything except parking and travel by motor vehicle.

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  • GlowBoy November 5, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    “In instances in which kids run across the street in front of traffic, parents are due blame aside from whether a kid is hit or not. It’s parents responsibility to train their kids ” Technically yes, and of course all parents try to teach their kids this. But as any parent also knows, kids can’t be “trained” like circus animals, and even the most responsible child occasionally forgets. They’re children, not miniature adults! They simply do not possess the judgment to remember all the time. Even the best-taught 7-year-old (an age when it used to be OK to run around free) occasionally forgets and goes into the street without looking both ways.

    My point is it USED to be that drivers were also trained (again, in Drivers’ Ed states, a group to which Oregon pathetically STILL doesn’t belong!) to watch for kids and keep their speed down just in case. It’s not like kids were randomly darting into the street like deer, but it mostly worked out because you had BOTH parents teaching their kids to be careful, AND drivers watching out for the inevitable instances when the kids would forget. Now that unaccompanied kids have disappeared from the streets, a lot of drivers feel free to assume pedestrians will stay out of their way (which has always been true on major streets, but wasn’t the case on quiet neighborhood streets).

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  • wsbob November 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Train their kids/teach their kids… . Please don’t try to drag some unintended meaning out of a word benignly used. People training their kids not to unthinkingly cross the street in front of cars is no more like treating them as circus animals, than is potty training them.

    I suppose all parents, even the worst of them, make some effort to teach or train their kids not to do dumb and dangerous things, but some parents just aren’t very good at it. And certainly despite some parent’s good, best efforts, some kids can be a handful, meaning the parents aren’t due blame for every single instance when their kid does something he or she has been patiently taught and trained not to do.

    We could stand to spend some money on mandatory Driver’s Ed. People preparing for a motorcycle endorsement are required by state law to pay to take a class to learn to ride safely. Not the case for people preparing for a driver’s license, and in the case of motorcycle license applicants, the class is for their safety, not that of other vulnerable road users, which would seem to be the motivation for seeking improvements in the education of people that drive.

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    • q`Tzal November 5, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      The real insidious parental “training” comes when your parents would consistently jingle their house keys when you were young to hurry you out of the house and then you find decades later you still can’t shake the hair trigger reflex when you some random jingling keys.

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