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The Monday Roundup: The distorting power of windshields & more

Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on January 13th, 2014 at 9:41 am

Workin' At The Car Wash, Yeah

The bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week were even richer than usual. Enjoy the feast.

Windshield negativity: If you've ever struggled to understand how different people can have such wildly different views of urban life, a new UK study might help: when we see something from inside a moving car, we tend to perceive it to be more negative than if we see exactly the same thing from the perspective of someone moving in a bus, on a bike or on the sidwalk.

"Like a woman needs a bicycle": Local poet Meg Brennan has written a beautiful essay about moving to Portland and falling slowly into love with biking.

Self-powered bike lights: Ten days into an already-successful Kickstart, the Magnic Light iC adds a microprocessor and steady light to the battery-free contactless wheel-powered bike lights created last year. $69 each.

We did not make this up: A scientific study in England concluded that "cyclists are considered to be 13 per cent more intelligent and ‘cooler’ and ten per cent more charitable than other people." Also, 23 percent said they'd rather date a cyclist than another sportsperson, and 27 percent would want a cyclist on their pub quiz team.

Sweet ideas: Saul Alinsky's advice for agents of change: make your tactics fun. That's exactly what 24-year-old Portlander-turned-Chicagoan Daniel Ronan seems to be doing by envisioning cities that are safer for (gingerbread) people.

Green dividend: If the 51 largest U.S. metro areas could reduce miles driven by one mile per person per day, the country would redirect $31 billion a year into more productive uses, a new CEOs for Cities report concludes.

Seinfeld's commute: Jerry Seinfeld loves cars, but says the "neatest and most fascinating and cool" thing that he gets to do on a daily basis is walk or bike to work. "I love traffic reports because I'm not in any of them," he writes.

Assisted driving: Gadget blog Gizmodo looks at three systems being tested in London to warn drivers they're about to hit someone in their blind spot.

Car-free high street: The new mayor of Brussels wants to return his city's main thoroughfare to its roots: from "a handsome but car-snarled four-lane boulevard and a string of squares into a long, café-filled promenade" with no cars allowed.

Alaskan trails: "Fat bikes are almost as ubiquitous as cross-country skis on some Anchorage trails", writes the Anchorage Daily News in a big trend piece on the new trend in town.

Olympic cyclocross: Cross lovers are starting a push to add the sport to the Winter Olympics.

Olympia bows out: With the Washington Senate focused on dealing with cost overruns for Seattle's latest freeway megaproject, it's got little interest in picking the Columbia River Crossing back up — meaning the only lifeline for the project is Oregon's go-it-alone plan to put tolls on the overwhelmingly Washington-based bridge users.

Natural traffic calming: Want to know the perfect candidates for sidewalk bumpouts in your city? Wait for it to snow and see where the plows don't bother going.

Bike superhighways: Norman Foster's recent concept for a London bike superhighway system is only the latest of many such ideas, a few of which actually got built.

Black diamond bike lanes: "Imagine if every ski trail at Vail was a black diamond advanced run," writes Martha Roskowski of PeopleForBikes. Passionate skiers might love it, but ski resorts would go broke. That's what Americans do to biking by relying mostly on conventional bike lanes, she says.

Mayoral interview: This long interview with Mayor Hales by the Oregonian touches on repaving, street safety and lots of other things, but doesn't mention the Columbia River Crossing.

Follow-up gift: Bikeyface has a suggestion for something you should get your kid for next Christmas to go with that new bike.

The case for freight planning: "If we don’t help cities plan for freight movement, what we’ll get is unplanned freight movement, and all the chaos that comes with it."

Voice of reason: Here's a pleasantly sensible take on stop signs, infrastructure and the politics of the street from someone who doesn't personally pedal.

Two basic types: We're crossing our fingers for this smart and simple top-level typology of road users makes it into the next national traffic signal manual.

Cheap cargo bikes: The French equivalent of Ben and Jerry's is sponsoring a fleet of subsidized cargo bikes to be sold to private citizens in a city near Paris.

Safety stats: Check out the infographic in the lower right of the second page of this PDF, which claims that even without a helmet, biking is six times safer than driving. (With a helmet, it claims, biking tends to be 36 times safer.)

Biking sells: Nice to see bicycles being used to market homes in Las Vegas.

MacGyver rules: Did you know that actor Richard Dean Anderson biked 5,641 miles from Minnesota to Alaska when he was 17?

Woman-friendly shop: In Chicago, the new BFF Bikes will join the growing club of explicitly female-focused bike shops.

Federal goals: We nominate Streetsblog DC's Tanya Snyder as Unofficial Inspector General of USDOT on the grounds that her list of seven priorities for the agency are a lot more persuasive.

Ideas requested: Speaking of which, USDOT is soliciting the public to submit innovative ideas that it should be aggressively advancing.

Infrastructure advocacy: Heading into the next transpo funding fight in Washington, infrastructure advocacy group Building America's Future has a high-powered and progressive leadership team between former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and its new recruit, former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The case for slowing down: A heart-rending new anti-speeding message from New Zealand takes about 53 of its 60 seconds to explain exactly what it's up to. It's your video of the week:

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  • Humongous Ed January 13, 2014 at 11:44 am

    The freight movement article is really interesting to me. I like to imagine how cities could become carbon free, and the issue of freight movement is the biggest stumbling block. Cargo biking can definitely help, but I dont think its feasible to do *all* freight delivery by bike. Especially going uphill with a huge freight load would be difficult.

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    • Chris I January 13, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      We need vehicle length limits (40ft is about right - standard Trimet bus), no articulation, and side under-ride protection. This would save lives.

      Like this:
      http://www.mbmcargotech.nl/forum/mbmsp109990.jpg

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    • 9watts January 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      "I dont think its feasible to do *all* freight delivery by bike."

      Probably not, but let's not forget that a large percentage of the freight we ship around now we could also skip. The only reason it is moving around the globe all the time is that fossil fuels are (still) cheap. Soon we'll discover that (a) we didn't really need that, or (b) we could source it locally rather than shipping it all the way from China or Chile or back and forth across the globe several times before it is sold in a store.

      But I'd rather focus on getting to 42% of all freight delivered by bike first. Then we can talk about what to do with the rest.

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  • spare_wheel January 13, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Mi>"For years, cities have been adding conventional bike lanes on their big busy streets – it’s what the engineering manuals say to do. But for a lot of people, a single stripe of white paint and some bike symbols isn’t enough to change the street into a comfortable place. It’s still a white-knuckle ride."

    I agree that conventional bike lanes are a bad idea but buffered bike lanes are working well in europe (~18% mode share in Munich!) and many USAnian cities. Given that one of the biggest problems we face in the USA is a lack of efficient and well-connected routes, I believe our priority should be carve out buffered space for cyclists on direct routes and arterials. Greater separation is appropriate in some places (e.g. SW Multnomah) but it's not something we should fixate on at the expense of connectivity.

    "The expert bikers don’t necessarily welcome beginners, kids and out-of-shape visitors intruding on their terrain. Some even oppose proposals for protected bike lanes, saying “I’m a cyclist, and I don’t want these.” When cities understand that these highly skilled riders make up about 1 percent of the population..."

    A strawman and a made up statistic.

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    • El Biciclero January 13, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      "The expert bikers don’t necessarily welcome beginners, kids and out-of-shape visitors intruding on their terrain. Some even oppose proposals for protected bike lanes, saying “I’m a cyclist, and I don’t want these.” When cities understand that these highly skilled riders make up about 1 percent of the population..."

      Arghh. I can't stand the "Experienced Cyclists hate us" implications either. What "terrain" is it where newbies are unwelcome? The fear of Experienced Cyclists--well, OK, my fear--is that we would create an inferior "training" terrain, intended for the beginners, kids, and out-of-shape, and then force the so-called experts into it. Experienced cyclists don't oppose protected infrastructure out of some sort of elitist spite for the timid or slow, the opposition comes from being forced (either legally or by aggressive drivers) into a claustrophobia-inducing gauntlet that imposes walking speeds on everyone in it.

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      • Pete January 13, 2014 at 11:45 pm

        This is exactly what I'm working to fight here in Santa Clara City/County. At the bottom of a very nice buffered MUP called the San Tomas Aquino Creek (STAC) trail the city is working to add more 'sidepaths' (MUP extensions walled off from the neighboring highway for noise and safety). Meanwhile the county has a (dated) policy to allow bicyclists on expressways but without markings, only a minimum of 4' shoulder width as a design guideline. In practice the county expressway south of the section of the STAC trail that goes under intersections is well used by experienced bike commuters and recreational cyclists that don't want to risk hitting dog-walking and cell-phone-talking pedestrians on the MUP (which also narrows). My point is that the main problem I see is that planners assume that once the MUP is in place, ALL bicyclists will use it and they are free to narrow the expressway shoulder so they can add another left turn lane.

        Incidentally, the walled MUP extensions also drop you into busy intersections around the corner from traffic (where drivers are looking the other way for a break to jump into).

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        • El Biciclero January 14, 2014 at 11:57 am

          Exactly. This kind of thing is infuriating at times, but it seems that such facilities are designed and built by non- (or inexperienced) cyclists without consulting those that might ride it daily--or worse, ignoring the input of those who would use it. The situation you describe--being corralled into a cattle-chute MUP along with pedestrian (and canine) traffic, all so the parallel roadway can be made inhospitable for bicycle travel in favor of more auto traffic--is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. Even if it remains technically legal to use the shoulder of the expressway, the eventual state of the roadway will likely end up making conditions extremely hostile where they weren't previously.

          Not as an example that pertains to separated bikeways, but as an example of road "improvements" that most people think will make conditions better for bicycling, but in reality make them worse, I recently saw a major road in my neighborhood widened from 2 lanes to 4, with the addition of a center curbed median, some occasional left turn lanes, and two new traffic signals. They will also be adding a bike lane (according to the plan) that wasn't there before. The addition of the bike lane is perceived by almost everyone as making the street universally more friendly for bike travel. However, there was one particular point at which my route to work used to take me left off of this road onto a neighborhood street that leads to a cut-through trail into another neighborhood that connects to the rest of my route. The new curbed and tree-planted median completely blocks this left turn. I can make another left probably an additional quarter-mile up the road, but I now must either "hog" the left lane the entire way (speed limit is 35), or hope that I can merge across two lanes of traffic into the left turn lane when I need to--otherwise, I am stuck making a "pedestrian left", waiting for traffic to clear enough so I can cross 4 lanes (there is no signal at the intersection where my new left turn is). I usually choose to control the left lane for the entire distance (it takes about 45 seconds to cover that distance), and have only been yelled at once so far (within about a month of the completion of this "improvement"), even though when making my old left turn for years, I never had any problems with drivers.

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          • Pete January 15, 2014 at 8:56 pm

            We had a center median added here recently too - against BAC advise to the planners - and the end result is the city has had a dramatic rise in requests for a bike lane on that street (it is currently a bike route with discontinuous bike lane and sharrow sections).

            Sadly even when consulted the advice ($$) often falls on deaf ears. Our BAC was presented the 49ers stadium plan a few years ago and put together a brief, concise request for very specific bike access and parking. The end result is our current trail is temporarily blocked for construction and game-day access has not been addressed, no bike parking will be built, and the road to the VIP parking structure (yes, you get to park close if you can afford it) crosses the bike path with nothing but a two-way stop sign planned for the path traversal. Meanwhile, Joe Montana and his company are proposing a behemoth neighboring mixed-use development with no bike lanes or parking, just extra-wide sidewalks for the expected large pedestrian traffic (the project manager told me bicyclists are considered sidewalk traffic!).

            Fortunately on the other side of town Alta Planning is working with a much more progressive residential developer (and two cities and the county) that has even pledged to help support the budding Bay Area Bike Share along the Caltrain corridor. The County is also working with city BACs on their "Vision 2040" highway plan that includes grade separation along a popular highway to improve bicyclist safety.

            I guess you win some and lose some. Keep fighting the good fight! :-)

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  • q`Tzal January 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

    If only it would be socially acceptable to show that anti-speeding advertisement in the US.
    I expect most people would agree with the message but surely a highly vocal cash wielding minority would see any campaign by the gubment to restrict free and unfettered driving as tantamount to living in Soviet Russia.

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  • Scott H January 13, 2014 at 11:58 am

    New Zealand ad is gut wrenching.

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  • My Magic Hat January 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    I'm struggling to understand how any gender-biased business model can expect to survive in specialty retail, even if that specialty is bicycles.

    On the other hand, certain companies have proven that you can sell anything as long as you state clearly that it's made specifically for women . . .

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    • Hart Noecker January 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      "I'm struggling to understand how any gender-biased business model can expect to survive"

      Yes. Yes you are.

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    • Chris I January 13, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      Have you ever been to a comic book store?

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    • was carless January 13, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      ???

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  • Jeff Walenta January 13, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Sometimes I wonder if people want to make cycling about gender when the reality is that its just a bike. The products on offer are something that I think can be addressed by more women getting out and riding of course thats kind of a chicken or the eggs situation. But I wonder if the environment at bike shops is really the primary barrier to entry for women riding bikes?

    I think safety is a much higher barrier to entry then unwelcoming bike shops and that is not a gendered issue considering that my fat ass can be wiped out just as fast as anyone else on a bike ...the only difference is that in general men seem to take the risk more often

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    • Carrie January 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      It's hard to imagine, until you've been there. When you walk into a shop and you get ignored. When you are ready and willing to drop $$'s on a bike and, even if you really DO know what you're doing, you're not given the same level of service as the majority of the customers. It's subtle, but it's there.

      I think it's all a barrier to entry. The man-as-norm. Getting passed and then having the [male] rider slow down in front of you phenomena. Getting dropped. Not having a friend show you how to ride in traffic. Change a flat. Show you that it's "normal" to ride everywhere. ENCOURAGE you to ride, instead of talking about how dangerous it is. But, mostly, it's about not being able to see yourself out there as part of the tribe.

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      • dwainedibbly January 13, 2014 at 5:51 pm

        I'm a pretty Type B personality, non-competitive male and I tend to dislike sport-centric bike shops for the same reason. (And in my day I was a very fast & fit rider.) Too many people with things to prove, too much macho-BS (as Mrs Dibbly would say). It is a LOT better in Portland. I attribute that to the rise of transportation cycling and the number of women riding.

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  • nikorasu January 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Great Monday round-up....

    and that speed PSA is very moving. Ouch...

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  • Doug Rosser January 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I'm backing the new Magnic Kickstarter. I've been eyeballing conventional dynamo lighting systems for a while, but the wallet impact was too high (for now, at least.)

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  • El Biciclero January 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Regarding the "Black Diamond" article, it seems that what is proposed instead is a ski resort where all the "slopes" are level, or at least only sloped enough to allow a minimum of speed. They can't let you go too fast, because the runs are narrowly bordered by trees and ravines, and at several points along the way "down", skiers at Safety Mountain Resort must stop and board a ski lift to take them over some trees to where the run continues. Meanwhile, Snowmobilers just through the trees on National Forest land, have the run of the mountain and can go anywhere they want as fast as they want. How profitable would that ski resort be?

    Until we can either a) provide extensive enough caged--oops, I mean "protected"--infrastructure to allow for cyclists of all ability levels to coexist peacefully, or b) abolish so-called "mandatory sidepath" laws, such as we have in Oregon, the much-maligned "Experienced Cyclists" are likely to oppose physical "protection" in favor of behavioral safety that only comes from experience. I would much prefer to flow with cars at 18mph than dodge dogs, garbage cans, skateboarders, and pedestrians at 6. Before you tell me all about how a "well-designed" cycle track avoids all the problems of being held to the lowest common speed denominator, being invisible to drivers, having to sacrifice additional time yielding to motor traffic, encroachment by loiterers, dog-walkers, and passenger car doors, serving as garbage can storage on trash day, being non-maintainable due to inaccessibility to sweepers, etc., I say, "Show me a physically 'protected' urban cycle track anywhere in the U.S. where all those problems are solved", i.e., I could stick to that urban cycle track and cover the same distance with equal efficiency and safety as the plain old street. The only one I've found around here is the US 26 MUP (if you could even call that an "urban cycle track"), as long as you don't count the Sylvan interchange. Why? because it is like 15 feet wide and has no real intersections except for Sylvan. Yet even that path is inferior to a normal street because it is constructed from jointed concrete sections rather than paved with continuous asphalt.

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    • Nick Falbo January 13, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Clearly "b) abolish so-called "mandatory sidepath" laws" is the answer.

      We're all in this together. It's not the cycle track fans that are keeping this sucker on the books. What will it take to abolish the sidepath law?

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      • wsbob January 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm

        It's not worth the effort to abolish a law that's essentially substantial and good. But go ahead and try abolishing for example, ORS 814.420 http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.420 , if you think that's something worth expending more of your energy on than you may already have done.

        The 'black diamond bike lanes' article:

        http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/its-time-to-stop-building-black-diamond-bike-lanes

        ...mentioned in today's Roundup, is interesting, with lots of seriously thought out comments to it in its comment section. I've read some of them. There's certainly room for improvement to bike infrastructure, although conventional bike lanes can be very helpful to use of the street by bike, and are a vast improvement over no bike infrastructure at all.

        Consciously done or not, one of the bad things installation of conventional bike lanes may be doing, is possibly providing an excuse for cities to not to build at least somewhat of a basic separated, protected...whatever it should be called...interconnecting bike lane network that's not immediately adjacent to main travel lanes of roads.

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        • Pete January 13, 2014 at 11:57 pm

          It all comes down to the space and budget a planner has to work with, versus the traffic flow. Where I live it's booming, and the result is that we've added walled-off multi-use sidepaths that are broken up by existing streets and drop you dangerously around the corner into right-turning traffic (often looking the other direction). This traffic can back up sometimes several hundred feet on the expressway, and as an experience cyclist forced to share the MUP with dog-walking, stroller-yielding, cell-phone-talking pedestrians, there is no way I can signal and merge into straight traffic while pedaling at 20+ MPH. The planner now assumes he has created safe infrastructure for both pedestrians and bicyclists (the same thing in his mind), and they no longer have to use the 'dangerous' expressway shoulder.

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          • wsbob January 16, 2014 at 11:24 am

            "It all comes down to the space and budget a planner has to work with, ..." Pete

            I think it's true that planners often can have only so much to work with. Question is, who is giving them what they have to work with.

            Planners get their 'walking papers' from higher up on the hierarchy supervisors, commissioners, mayors, and so on. The public is responsible for telling the higher ups, what the planner needs to be given to work with.

            If the public wants the 4' shoulder on the the expressway retained as a somewhat usable area of the road for biking, the public has to say so in large enough numbers to get it done.

            If the sufficient public support existed, planners could double the width of MUP's. They could widen shoulders of expressways, highways and thoroughfares, build cycle tracks...whatever.

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      • spare_wheel January 14, 2014 at 10:43 am

        Nick, I vehemently disagree with you on this point. Many "cycle track" fans in PDX tacitly or overtly support the mandatory sidepath law. The classic example of this was Mia Birk's op-ed about the dude slowing her boyfriend down by daring to ride on Hawthorne. I personally have been harassed and endangered by cyclists who are pissed off about my tendency to avoid bike lanes on certain stretches of my commute. In fact, just a few days ago a woman screamed at me to use the bike lane and then aggressively cut me off. While this type of cycle rage is rare it's actually far more common for a cyclist to rage at me for violating the mandatory sidepath law than a motorist.

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 14, 2014 at 11:29 am

          Speaking as one cycle track fan: yuck. Sorry that happens, spare_wheel.

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        • wsbob January 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm

          You're right on one count: I for example, do speak favorably of ORS 814.420, because as I've already mentioned, it's basically a good law. And yes, at least some, well designed cycle tracks would be a good idea for cities to have so people could more easily have biking be a viable means of transportation at least some of the time, to travel by motor vehicle.

          As to why people riding, are yelling at you for not riding in the bike lane, it's probably not worth devoting much thought to. Riders looking at their riding practices with an objective eye, finding they basically correspond to legal requirements for use of the road, is about all the obligation they owe to other road users.

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          • spare_wheel January 15, 2014 at 11:07 am

            I'm not sure what you are arguing here, wsbob. Cycletracks are certainly a good thing to have in some locations. And perhaps some day PBOT will design and build one in one of these locations (SW Multnomah *looks* promising).

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            • wsbob January 15, 2014 at 6:33 pm

              I've mentioned a number of times in previous comments to bikeportland stories, that especially in the case of new residential developments, cities have an excellent opportunity to encourage design and construction that could be the beginnings of a basic cycle track system; Out in Beaverton...South Cooper Mtn, for example.

              Also, when county and suburban two lane roads are reconfigured/expanded to accommodate travel needs of population growth these areas experience, their may be some fair possibility of creating a cycle track system, if people were to make a good argument for such a system.

              Much harder to do in built up neighborhoods such those that Foster Rd in SE Ptlnd passes through, even though the neighborhoods could possibly benefit greatly from having such a system.

              Cycle tracks are exactly what many people that will not ride, need, to feel that some travel by bike could be a viable option. Conventional bike lanes are great, as far as I'm concerned...but my road infrastructure needs don't represent those of many people needing more protection from motor vehicle traffic than I do.

              ORS 814.420, basically works great for me in clarifying, if need be, occasions when it's justifiable to be riding outside the bike lane...which is often. For many people that would ride, if they had a cycle track to ride on, ORS 814.420, if they're even aware the law exists, may mean very little to them as a rider, because they're just not going to ride in a conventional bike lane, or on the main lane of any road, if at all possible.

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        • Jessica Roberts January 16, 2014 at 1:22 pm

          I am a cycle track fan and I am a huge advocate for abolishing mandatory sidepath laws. It makes perfect sense to me that those who are confident/fast/strong enough to mix it up with cars in a shared lane should do that, and those who prefer to bike when there is the physical protection of a cycle track should do that. Putting either user in the other's facility type is just not going to work.

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  • AndyC of Linnton January 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Re the Safety Stat article: Looks like swimming is right there with biking with a helmet. Now what about the saftey of Swimming with a helmet!?
    This is how I want to commute one day.
    Then maybe I'll start that "swimportland" blog.

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  • Gezellig January 13, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    El Biciclero
    Before you tell me all about how a "well-designed" cycle track avoids all the problems of being held to the lowest common speed denominator, being invisible to drivers, having to sacrifice additional time yielding to motor traffic, encroachment by loiterers, dog-walkers, and passenger car doors, serving as garbage can storage on trash day, being non-maintainable due to inaccessibility to sweepers, etc., I say, "Show me a physically 'protected' urban cycle track anywhere in the U.S. where all those problems are solved"

    A cycletrack meeting all those requirements probably doesn't exist in the US right now. But they do exist, notably in the Netherlands.

    Of course that's part of at least my frustration with the implementation of cycletracks (at least hitherto) in the US--they're usually 3rd-rate designs.
    Why spend all the time and money to design and redo an area when basic foundational best practices (which can be modified slightly for US needs/code) have already been found by trial and error elsewhere?

    For a video example:

    http://youtu.be/ee9XEhfA2vs?t=48s

    Passing slower bikes (as this guy does) is definitely possible for those interested in speed. The endless smooth asphalt also helps!

    Another example of a newer high-speed bikeway design alongside a train route:

    http://youtu.be/FZtkVBlgT6E?t=2m23s

    wsbob
    Consciously done or not, one of the bad things installation of conventional bike lanes may be doing, is possibly providing an excuse for cities to not to build at least somewhat of a basic separated, protected...whatever it should be called...interconnecting bike lane network that's not immediately adjacent to main travel lanes of roads.

    That may be true. The other excuse conventional US bike lanes give cities is to claim "We spent 5 years developing a master bike plan and then 5 years striping them all but now that they're done only like 1% of people use them! Why bother doing anything else?" instead of understanding that it's the very flawed design of those doorzone and/or double-parking lanes that's keeping modeshare at or below 1%.

    Caltrans calls those standard bike lanes Class II Bike Lanes which I always find hilarious because they absolutely *are* second-class afterthoughts for second-class citizens. And people know it and refuse to use them. And that's how you stay stuck at 1% modeshare.

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    • wsbob January 14, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      "...The other excuse conventional US bike lanes give cities is to claim "We spent 5 years developing a master bike plan and then 5 years striping them all but now that they're done only like 1% of people use them! ..." Gezellig

      Cities think just 1% of people riding, use bike lanes? Never heard that before. I couldn't really say though, what I think in terms of how many people that ride, do use bike lanes. There's so many variables factoring into whether or not conventional bike lanes are viably functional at any given time and place.

      While I do maintain that conventional bike lanes are better than no bike infrastructure at all, in terms of practical use of them, the occasions, sometimes are many, when exceptions to use of bike lanes, as stated in ORS 814.420, justify riding outside of bike lanes.

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  • El Biciclero January 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I'd like to know how the "odds" were derived for the safety graphic in the suburban biking article. If they are the odds that an "average person" will be injured/killed by an activity, then they are bunk. The "average person" rides a bike about 5 hours per year and probably rides in or drives a car about 2 hours per day (I just made that up)--I ride my bike about 7 hours per week. What would be convincing are the odds of being injured/killed per time unit of engaging in the activity. I can zap my odds of getting injured swimming if I never swim, similarly I can ensure I will never die cycling if I quit doing it. I would be curious to see the odds of injury if I actually engage in the activity frequently.

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    • Chris I January 15, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Exactly. A better measurement would be injury and death rate per trip.

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  • Gezellig January 14, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    wsbob
    "...The other excuse conventional US bike lanes give cities is to claim "We spent 5 years developing a master bike plan and then 5 years striping them all but now that they're done only like 1% of people use them! ..." Gezellig
    Cities think just 1% of people riding, use bike lanes? Never heard that before. I couldn't really say though, what I think in terms of how many people that ride, do use bike lanes.

    Oh sorry for the confusion--what I meant was such cities are wont to conclude, "we designed all these bike lanes and only 1% of all residents ever use them."

    In other words, I was essentially referring to cities implementing designs dictated as best practices by current state/federal guidelines then bemoaning the resulting still-dismal overall bike modeshare and coming to the conclusion that people in their community just don't want to bike.

    While I do maintain that conventional bike lanes are better than no bike infrastructure at all...

    Agreed. If given the choice of course I'd rather have something than absolutely nothing on a road.

    Though conventional bike lanes mostly just end up benefiting the small percentage of us who will bike (almost) regardless of conditions. The large reserves of "Interested But Concerned" (whom I call the "bike curious") generally won't touch 'em. The end result being that their modeshare-increasing power is quite limited.

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    • wsbob January 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      Impression I get from various informal sources, about how for example, Beaverton, the suburb I live in, or the county, thinks about conventional bike lanes, is that officials think bike lanes are great. They want to have up to date bike infrastructure, because that enhances perception that the city is 'with it', so to speak, in terms of modern livability values and standards.

      Having a good conventional bike lane system going, helps in qualifying for federal and state money.

      Problem is, officials don't seem to have very strong requests for, and support to plan for something more user comprehensive than conventional bike lanes that serve a relatively narrow range of people's riding needs. So many people seem not to have any idea whatsoever, about what a cycle track is, and why their neighborhood may benefit from having one nearby. Something like a cycle track, I think officials have got to hear, in large numbers, from residents asking for such a system, before they'll get busy putting such a system together.

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  • jollydodger January 15, 2014 at 7:31 am

    ummmm....unless he's working?
    http://www.crackle.com/c/comedians-in-cars-getting-coffee

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  • David January 15, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Read this for fat bikes in and out of Alaska
    http://gypsybytrade.wordpress.com/

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