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The Monday Roundup: Australian epic, bike share vs. bike shops & more

Posted by on June 16th, 2014 at 8:58 am

aussie ride
A long ride south.
(Photo © Northern Territory Library)

Good morning! Our roundup of the best bike links on the web is sponsored by Western Bike Works, longtime BikePortland sponsor and one of the city’s best bike shops.

Here are the stories from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Australian epic: One hundred years ago last week, a 21-year-old photographer rolled into the post office in Adelaide after a 3,000-mile bike trip across the largely roadless continent. A few hundred photos survive.

Bike share vs. bike shops: Bike shop owners have some pretty interesting theories about a recent article (linked in last week’s Roundup) suggesting that bike sharing has hurt bike shop business in Manhattan.

Bike delivery: A visitor from Minnesota whose bike went missing while she was on her way to the Oregon Outback has a heartwarming story about what happened next.

50-year bike: 75-year-old Alice Down of Dallas, Oregon, has been riding the same Schwinn around town and on road trips across the country ever since her daughter rejected it as a Christmas present in 1964.

Bikes, the missing link: The Daily Beast argues that because only 22 percent of low-skill and middle-skill jobs in large U.S. cities are accessible by transit in 90 minutes, we should stop building transit and buy cars for poor people. If only there were some other rapid mode of transportation, easily added to existing roadway networks, that could gracefully function as a complement to public transit.

Scaremongering video: Bicycling Magazine cleverly identifies the laughable Buzzfeed video “Terrifying Facts about Bicycling” as a modern-day version of Reefer Madness.

Helmet study twisted: An academic study co-authored by a helmet advocate found that cities where bike share is introduced tend to see a decline in head injuries. Uh-oh! But promoters of the study used it to imply the opposite … on the grounds that the same cities saw a sharper decline in other sorts of injuries. Mainstream media were hornswaggled, but Streetsblog and Cyclelicious debunked the distorted coverage.

Helmet ban lifted: Dallas, Texas, just
repealed its 18-year-old mandatory helmet law for adults, partly in anticipation of a bike-sharing system.

Say what? A new West Virginia law now requires people in cars to honk every time they pass a bicycle.


Two-way traffic: After Louisville, Kentucky, converted a few downtown one-way streets to two-way, collisions dropped, crime plummeted and property values jumped.

Housing divide: On housing priorities, Americans split as narrowly as in presidential elections: “liberals want to walk, conservatives want lawns.”

Multimodal app: RideScout, a mobile app that combines carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing, taxi and mass transit schedules into a single multimodal trip planner, just launched in Portland and 68 other cities.

Insignificant manufacturing: National advocacy group PeopleForBikes (disclosure: all PFB-related links are suggested by Jonathan, because it’s my other employer) is lobbying to zero out a tariff of up to 11 percent on bike imports because it says there’s no “significant” bike manufacturing in the United States. (Update: see Ed’s comment below for an informed take on this issue.)

Shoddy investigations: The Anchorage Daily News has a long and persuasive account of the flaws in two local police investigations of bike-related deaths — in one case, police claimed that telephone GPS data had shown a man was biking against traffic rather than on the adjacent sidewalk — but the best part might be the last three paragraphs, which might belong in every such story.

Police problems: Brooklyn Spoke’s Doug Gorton spotted the money phrase from this post about the perennial problem of traffic collisions: “failure to understand crashes’ causes leads police to harass groups that don’t cause crashes.”

Montreal ride: Streetfilms visited Montreal’s urban Tour de I’lle to show how a recreational tour helped build the city’s powerful bike culture.

For the most interesting part of your video of the week, skip to 6:36 to hear Mikael Colville-Anderson make the case that what really matters about biking is that it creates a “life-sized city” that lets us look at “what we like to look at”: our fellow apes.

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.


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  • Champs June 16, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Passing a bike in West Virginia is kind of the same thing as passing a car in nearby Ohio, where it’s illegal to do so without honking. Every state has its weird driver’s manual quirks, I guess.

    Oregon’s “Free Left” is insane, for example.

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    • Chris I June 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      I made a free left yesterday. It’s a low speed maneuver that requires vigilance by the driver, but poses very little risk, because the speeds involved are so low.

      To me, insanity are surface roads with 50+mph speed limits and signalized intersections. Any road design that creates an opportunity for 50+mph t-bone crashes is insane.

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    • Librarian June 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      How is the “Free Left” insane? I’m very curious to know, as it’s one of my favorite parts of the Oregon motor vehicle code.

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    • Pete June 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      What’s insane to me is that we have 50 different states, all with nearly identical sets of rules but some subtle differences like a “free left” (which I had to look up), and 50 different administrations to register cars and ensure drivers know enough about these (ever-changing) rules to keep all road users safe. Imagine if we had 50 different Postal Services?

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      • Chris I June 16, 2014 at 7:36 pm

        We need less federal control of transportation, not more. I don’t want people from Alabama dictating the rules in my city.

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        • Pete June 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm

          Do people in Alabama dictate the rules of your mail delivery?

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        • Jane June 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm

          We need more controls on motor vehicle operators, not fewer.

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  • Peter W June 16, 2014 at 9:57 am

    That solo Australian trip must have been a blast!

    Check out the photo where the young man is riding past aboriginal people with spears aimed at him. I can imagine it went something like this: “OK fellas, now Gurumarra over there is going to hold the camera while the rest of you pretend to attack me!” #selfiesonsolotrips

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    • GlowBoy June 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      If you liked reading about that solo Australian trip, or just want a Down Under perspective on the early years of the bicycle from 1890-ish to the early 20th century, you might also enjoy The Bicycle and the Bush: Man and Machine in Rural Australia by Jim Fitzpatrick. I went for the $5 Kindle Edition and have read it several times. Like most of the developed world, Australia had a bike “bicycle craze” in the 1890s, but the bicycle played a far more important role in rural Australian life than it did here, well into the 20th century.

      A lot of incredible epic cross-continental adventures were undertaken in Australia during the early years of the safety bike, many of them documented (with pictures) in this book. Fun reading.

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  • TonyT June 16, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I’d love to see an expansion on the topic brought up by the “Police Problems” piece. I noticed something a year or so ago and it took me a while to really wrap my head around why it bothered me.

    A while ago the police did some crosswalk enforcements on Williams. But they couldn’t just do that. They also felt the need to target pedestrians. At first glance this doesn’t seem unreasonable, until one considers the standards by which the people in this situation get fined.

    The person driving a car gets a ticket when they ignore someone crossing at a legal crosswalk. The infraction almost by definition involves putting another person in danger.

    The person who is walking, gets a ticket when they cross the street either against a signal, or at a point in the street that is NOT a legal crosswalk. Notice that nowhere is there anyone else involved. The pedestrian doesn’t need to step in front of a car when crossing against a signal, or in the middle of the block to break the law and get a rather large fine. In fact there doesn’t need to be a car anywhere in the city of Portland for the infraction to still be an infraction. One could cross at a crosswalk at a poorly chosen moment, almost get hit and be free and clear of any legal culpability, yet one could cross absolutely and completely safely in the middle of the block and get a ticket.

    These radically different standards for behavior seem flipped to me. It seems that there should be more responsibilities for operators of multi-thousand pound vehicles that stand independent of immediate risk to others. For people walking, it should be required that a dangerous situation be created before a fine is incurred.

    To me it’s a clear example of the privileges afforded to people driving motor vehicles over people choosing less threatening forms of transportation. It doesn’t help that the police are so invested in those very same forms of transportation.

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    • wsbob June 16, 2014 at 11:48 am

      “…A while ago the police did some crosswalk enforcements on Williams. But they couldn’t just do that. They also felt the need to target pedestrians. …” TonyT

      People on foot as vulnerable road users, have certain responsibilities associated with using road use procedures that help maintain their own safety and that of other road users. Attempts to rationalize away that responsibility on the part of people on foot, placing it instead, entirely upon people operating vehicles, aren’t responsible actions.

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      • Mij June 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm

        TonyT “For people walking, it should be required that a dangerous situation be created before a fine is incurred.”

        Wsbob “…placing it instead, entirely upon people operating vehicles…”

        Attempts to create red herrings aren’t responsible actions either. Fail again. Fail better.

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        • wsbob June 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm

          There’s no red herring in the fact that people as vulnerable road users, not sufficiently checking to see the way is clear before crossing or entering into a roadway, are creating dangerous situations. That people’s wariness and judgment is not consistent, is why roads are equipped with infrastructure such as crosswalks, stop signs, lights, and so on.

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          • TonyT June 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm

            “people as vulnerable road users, not sufficiently checking to see the way is clear before crossing or entering into a roadway, are creating dangerous situations.”

            And where did I say that that was okay? Please, show us.

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            • wsbob June 16, 2014 at 11:46 pm

              My response was to the comment made by Mij.

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      • El Biciclero June 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm

        You missed the point. Tony was in no way rationalizing dangerous behavior by pedestrians. He was pointing out the imbalance in the standards of behavior we set for motorists vs. pedestrians. For example, making a right turn on a red light and driving through a crosswalk–perfectly legal. Crossing mid-block where there are no signals, at a time when there are no vehicles present–illegal. Driving past a pedestrian at a crosswalk when that pedestrian is about to step into the street–questionable, but likely not to be cited as “failure to yield”, even though it is potentially dangerous. Walking against a light in a crosswalk, when no vehicles are present and no danger is created–illegal and likely to be cited during an “enforcement action” such as the one described.

        Tony is pointing out that drivers in the same situational context as pedestrians must go out of their way to create a potentially dangerous situation before they can be cited, yet pedestrians behaving in a completely safe–and similar–way can be cited when no possibility of danger exists. That’s not rationalization, it’s pointing out a double standard. Should the law only exist to assign blame after someone has been injured or killed, or should it be designed to support safe behavior that avoids injuries in the first place? I don’t think Tony is suggesting that motorists should be held accountable for unsafe behavior by pedestrians, but he is suggesting that pedestrians should not necessarily be held accountable for safe behavior on their own part.

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        • wsbob June 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm

          “…I don’t think Tony is suggesting that motorists should be held accountable for unsafe behavior by pedestrians, …” El Biciclero

          He may not have intended to, perhaps because he hasn’t thought through what he wrote before he wrote it, but I think holding people that operate motor vehicles, accountable for unsafe behavior by pedestrians, is exactly what rationale’s such as Tony T has presented, stand to do.

          People on foot, making road crossings mid block, using crosswalks against the light, and so on, aren’t necessarily perfectly safe actions. That they aren’t so, is why laws and regulations against such road use procedures exist. If Tony T or anyone else wishes to propose stronger deterrents against poor driving, let them go ahead and do so, but in the process, please do not undermine means in place that help to dissuade people on foot from unsafe road use.

          By the way, I can’t say for a fact because I didn’t do a search to find the ordinance, but I’ve heard that crossing mid block, otherwise known as jaywalking, is not illegal in Hillsboro. At least in some parts of that town where motor vehicle traffic is fairly low and slow, the inherent risk in jaywalking can be accordingly low.

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          • TonyT June 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm

            I have thought it through. Quite a bit actually. I think you are going out of your way to misrepresent what I’ve said because you have an ax to grind about some perceived attempt to avoid personal responsibility.

            My point is that there is a double standard in regard to what one gets cited for when driving, related to crosswalks, and what one gets cited for when walking. That’s all.

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            • Pete June 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

              You could easily strike “related to crosswalks” and still be correct.

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            • wsbob June 17, 2014 at 12:08 am

              Double standard? Wake up. ***Note: Please don’t be so combative with other commenters. Thank you – Jonathan *** The road is not a democratic environment. It’s a traffic environment in which people traveling the road by foot, bike are inherently vulnerable to injury, death, and or property damage, by motor vehicles in use on the road.

              State what realistic response to your objection you believe is in order. If you have some, share with us your ideas for realistic citation amounts you believe would be a sufficient response to your objections.

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              • TonyT June 17, 2014 at 9:26 am

                Hey wsbob, why don’t you ***deleted by moderator*** respond to what people actually write. Your attitude is not conducive to a civil conversation.

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          • El Biciclero June 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

            Crossing mid-block is only illegal if you are within, I believe, 150 feet of a crosswalk–but it varies by municipality. Outside that limit it is legal, as long as the pedestrian yields to motor traffic. Again, this is an arbitrary limitation that deems it somehow legal (because it is “safer”?) to cross mid-block when you are 151′ from a corner, but not if you are 149′ from a corner. Really, it would seem the farther you are from an intersection, the faster traffic is likely to be–so shouldn’t there be a “crossing zone” within 150′ of intersections, and crossings be illegal if you are farther than 150′ from one?

            Regardless, the only way a pedestrian can exercise their right-of-way in a non-signalized crosswalk is to step into the street. At that point, if a motorist doesn’t yield, then a dangerous situation is created, but who created it? The pedestrian, by stepping into the street? The motorist by not stopping to yield? Who is to say how much stopping room a driver needs? It depends on how much they are speeding and how much attention they are paying, yet the law tells pedestrians they should be able to trust the judgment of drivers and that they will yield if you just step into the street–even though I’ve nearly been run over by a driver full-on running a red at speed while I was in the crosswalk.

            You claim that pedestrian judgment about when it is safe to cross the street cannot be trusted, and that is why we have rules about such things as crossing at the corner, not crossing against the light, etc. I will mention yet again that there are several situations that are potentially very dangerous, yet we leave it up to driver judgment to determine the correct course of action–I’ve mentioned these before: yielding to bicyclists in a bike lane, making right turns on red, making an unprotected left turn across oncoming [motor, bicycle, and pedestrian] traffic, passing slower vehicles, etc. Just saying that the law is the law because its The Law doesn’t make it fair, logical, or even safe.

            Again, nobody is saying drivers should be punished for unsafe pedestrian actions, and I don’t even think that is a logical conclusion of what Tony has pointed out–we’re merely asking why pedestrians should not be trusted to the same extent we trust motorists?

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            • Paul in The 'Couve June 16, 2014 at 8:30 pm

              Excellent. I have one thought to add that has been in my mind all afternoon. Pedestrians have a crosswalk, even if unmarked, at every corner. Yet on many, many streets there is no reason at all that it would be safer to cross at the corner vs. mid block. I have this in mind particularly from several experiences along Hawthorn east of 39th late last evening. The only safety rational I see is that if cars are parked along the sides of the street, then perhaps there is a bit more visibility at corners. The real reason is to keep pedestrians out of the street most of the time, limiting pedestrians to the corners. As things are now, and as I observed last night several times, there is extremely little, or no additional safety to crossing unmarked crosswalks at intersections (where legal), or even in a marked crosswalk without a light. Essentially, drivers are entitled, and drive pedestrians out of the right away and pedestrians are forced to take responsibility for their own safety EVEN when legally motorists should be held responsible.

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            • TonyT June 16, 2014 at 9:07 pm

              Thank you.

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            • wsbob June 17, 2014 at 12:32 am

              “…we’re merely asking why pedestrians should not be trusted to the same extent we trust motorists?” El Biciclero

              Trust “motorists”? I hope you’re joking. For vulnerable road users, the first line of survival defense is to not trust people driving motor vehicles to consistently see and yield to them.

              Numerous people participating in bikeportland’s discussion sections, seem to have misconceptions about basic realities of survival as road users. If you’re someone crossing the street on foot, don’t start out across the street unless you’re sure the motor vehicles coming your way are going to stop, or have stopped.

              As you said earlier in your comment, action required by people on foot indicating intention to enter the roadway, to people operating motor vehicles, may vary by municipality. Need to do a bit of research for ordinances, which I don’t want to do right now.

              I recall from recent discussions to bikeportland stories, that persons wanting to indicate their intention to cross the street, to people operating motor vehicles, don’t actually have to step into the street to indicate that intent. Standing off the street, near the curb with an outstretched arm in the direction intended, visible to traffic, would be a signal people driving are obliged to yield to.

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              • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 17, 2014 at 10:00 am

                wsbob and TonyT,

                Please be careful to make sure each comment is substantive and not overly combative with one another. Thanks.

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              • El Biciclero June 17, 2014 at 10:13 am

                “For vulnerable road users, the first line of survival defense is to not trust people driving motor vehicles to consistently see and yield to them.”

                Thank you. Now you see why the law needs to be brought into balance regarding the amount of trust “we” (as a lawmaking society, not specifically as VRUs) place in people who are operating two-ton machines in close proximity to other people. Why does the law grant so much leeway to drivers when, as you state, they are not to be trusted? You are pointing out the same flaw as Tony without realizing it.

                “Numerous people participating in bikeportland’s discussion sections, seem to have misconceptions about basic realities of survival as road users.”

                I don’t think that is true. On the contrary, they recognize the difference between legal obligation and self-preservation. You seem to believe that some in this discussion are advocating complete impunity for VRUs to act with thoughtless abandon, while simultaneously proposing that poor motorists be saddled with complete responsibility for any adverse outcomes resulting from the actions of others. This is not the case. I realize the distinction can seem subtle, but let’s do a thought experiment that examines an extreme case, and work back from there.

                Let’s say there were a law against drinking battery acid. What is that, sulfuric? So it’s illegal to drink sulfuric acid–do you think there will be much need for enforcement of such a law? Or could most mature, thinking individuals be trusted not to do it? Now let’s say carrying around jugs of sulfuric acid became fashionable (kids these days!), and several incidents arose from people carelessly sloshing their sulfuric acid onto other people. Which kind of legal response seems appropriate: Enacting restrictions on how and when people could carry H2SO4, with penalties for sloshing it on other people; or extension of the ‘no drinking it’ law to include ‘no getting it on you’, with stepped up enforcement of that law for careless people who got in the way of acid-sloshers? Which group do you think has a greater intrinsic motivation for obeying “their” law? Who would you trust more to “obey” the law, those with the most to lose, or those who would remain unharmed? Could we almost convince ourselves that a law against drinking H2SO4 was unnecessary because it was “common sense”? Conversely, could we convince ourselves that restrictions on slinging acid around would be necessary and ought to be carefully enforced?

                Finally, there is no legally approved pedestrian signal for intent to cross a street. The only legal indication of intent to cross is actually beginning to cross. So to take your advice and wait for cars to stop before crossing could result in perpetual waiting, since no driver is legally obligated to stop and wait for you. You would again be putting your faith in the courtesy of drivers to stop and let you cross.

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                • wsbob June 18, 2014 at 12:10 am

                  “…So to take your advice and wait for cars to stop before crossing could result in perpetual waiting, since no driver is legally obligated to stop and wait for you. You would again be putting your faith in the courtesy of drivers to stop and let you cross. …” El Biciclero

                  Could, but mostly doesn’t. If as a pedestrian wanting to cross the street, a person stands near the curb with their hand outstretched in the direction of the curb opposite, most people driving will see the signal and yield. I know because I use this very signal often when walking.

                  “…You seem to believe that some in this discussion are advocating complete impunity for VRUs to act with thoughtless abandon…” El Biciclero

                  I’ve neither written or implied any such thing. What I have attempted to highlight, is, as the first line of survival defense, the importance of safe road use procedures for people on foot where motor vehicle use occurs. And that the importance of encouraging use of this defense, should not be allowed to be undermined by shifting a disproportionate amount of responsibility for safety of people on foot, onto people operating motor vehicles.

                  I didn’t write that “drivers…are not to be trusted”. You did. What I wrote was “…to not trust people driving motor vehicles to consistently see and yield to them. …”.

                  As I suggested to TonyT, you should consider presenting what realistic suggestions you have, to answer the objections you raise. I say ‘realistic’ as a reminder that that whatever changes to the status quo you would propose, will likely have to be approved by at least some majority of the people operating motor vehicles.

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                • Tacoma June 18, 2014 at 11:01 am

                  wsbob wrote: “I didn’t write that “drivers…are not to be trusted”. You did. What I wrote was “…to not trust people driving motor vehicles to consistently see and yield to them. …”.”

                  How is the meaning of these phrases different? In context, I took EB’s comment to read “drivers…are not to be trusted [to consistently see and yield to them].” He WAS paraphrasing your statement but they have the same thought “Do not trust people driving motor vehicles as they are not to be trusted.”

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                • El Biciclero June 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

                  wsbob–

                  “…You seem to believe that some in this discussion are advocating complete impunity for VRUs to act with thoughtless abandon…” El Biciclero

                  I’ve neither written or implied any such thing.

                  Well, OK, here’s what you actually wrote in your first reply to TonyT (emphasis mine):

                  “People on foot as vulnerable road users, have certain responsibilities…. Attempts to rationalize away that responsibility on the part of people on foot, placing it instead, entirely upon people operating vehicles, aren’t responsible actions.”

                  You’ll have to forgive me if I took that as implying, if not actually writing, that TonyT was suggesting motorists ought to be entirely responsible for the results of all actions by all road users.

                  I didn’t write that “drivers…are not to be trusted”. You did. What I wrote was “…to not trust people driving motor vehicles to consistently see and yield to them. …”.

                  OK, I guess you didn’t write that “drivers are not to be trusted”, you just said “not to trust them”. …?

                  As I suggested to TonyT, you should consider presenting what realistic suggestions you have, to answer the objections you raise. I say ‘realistic’ as a reminder that that whatever changes to the status quo you would propose, will likely have to be approved by at least some majority of the people operating motor vehicles.

                  Ah, the classic trap: “show me your realistic suggestions.” Then any suggestion made is promptly dismissed with claims that it could never work, wouldn’t pass a vote, would be too expensive, would cause a backlash…

                  But what the heck–how about starting with declassifying “jaywalking” as an infraction. Instead, why not merely enforce “failure to yield”, just like we do for motorists. Let peds cross where they want, when they want, regardless of signals or paint, and if one of them actually causes a near miss with an automobile at a time when right-of-way isn’t explicitly conferred on the pedestrian, then make that the infraction. Merely crossing outside a crosswalk or against a signal should not be pedestrian infractions if they create no interaction with other traffic.

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      • Chris I June 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

        Vulnerable road users don’t need laws dictating their behavior if the only intent is to “keep them safe” because it is already in their own interest to behave safely. Do you think that pedestrians have a natural death wish, and if it weren’t for the “jaywalking” laws, they would just wander out into roadways in front of multi-ton speeding hunks of metal?

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      • TonyT June 16, 2014 at 2:42 pm

        Please point out where I even remotely attempted to ” rationalize away that responsibility on the part of people on foot, placing it instead, entirely upon people operating vehicles, aren’t responsible actions.”

        And when you point it out, be sure to actually use what I wrote instead of creating some strawman out of whole cloth.

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        • wsbob June 17, 2014 at 12:42 am

          You don’t say it outright, but it seems that’s the effect of your objections. You seem to object that people traveling in motor vehicles aren’t subject to stiff enough penalties. Also, that vulnerable road users are subject to excessively stiff penalties for road use violations. When you figure out what you think should be done to set things straight, that would be realistic and doable, let us know.

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          • TonyT June 17, 2014 at 9:33 am

            When you’re interested in discussing what someone has actually written let us know.

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          • wsbob June 17, 2014 at 11:37 pm

            “When you’re interested in discussing what someone has actually written let us know.” TonyT

            Discuss what? All you’ve done to date, is complain that you feel people on foot get cited for what you somehow feel is disproportionate to what people driving are cited for. You’ve not proposed any specific, realistic alternative to the present. if you’ve got something to discuss, let’s hear what you’ve got.

            If you think it’s such a great idea to ‘put a bell on the cat’, let’s hear how you propose that realistically be done. Roughly 80-90 percent of road users are doing so with motor vehicles, so when you talk about adding “…more responsibilities for operators of multi-thousand pound vehicles…”, you’d better have some very good, realistic ideas, and you’d better be prepared for major resistance.

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  • Granpa June 16, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Sellwood Cycle is run and staffed by a great bunch of folks. They have been my shop since it was run out of a daylight basement on Tacoma Street.

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  • spare_wheel June 16, 2014 at 11:28 am

    I find it ironic that that the buzz feed cycling reefer madness video made an argument for protected bike lanes. Exaggeration of the “dangers of cycling” as an argument for segregated infrastructure is harmful to cycling advocacy.

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  • wsbob June 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Story about 75-year-old Alice Down of Dallas, Oregon. That woman’s partiality to riding could be a model and inspiration to many people with an inclination to ride, but that live in bigger cities here in the metro area. That’s just it though…Dallas, Oregon is a sleepy little town out in the sticks, low motor vehicle traffic. Nothing at all like traffic conditions here. Still quite an inspiration though.

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  • wsbob June 16, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Daily Beast article about making cars more accessible to poor people being a viable option: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/04/how-cars-not-subways-will-make-us-richer.html

    Writer makes some good points, one about relatively smaller cities (100,000 and smaller) being hard pressed to manage a cost effect mass transit system, and another about poor people not having jobs available to them that are accessible without either a car or motor vehicle.

    The big elephant in the room point against the writers’ points raised, is poor community planning that locates employment opportunities beyond walking and biking distance from where people reside. Cities in Washington County here in Oregon, do the same thing, and in so doing, almost directly guarantee creation of road and street motor vehicle associated congestion.

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  • Scott Kocher June 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    From the Bicycling Magazine response to Madness:

    “Most bicycle accidents are in fact solo accidents involving a defect or some other hazard in the road or trail…”

    REALLY?! Apparently, yes.

    OHSU’s study of Portland bicycle commuter injuries concluded that (only) 29% of “injury” and 48% of “serious injury” events involved a motor vehicle. The study’s lead author concluded the city would be much safer if it paid more attention to “simple things that don’t require a lot of money or time.”

    It is worth reading the study summary:

    http://www.oregonpublichealth.org/assets/2011_Conference/ophahittingthestreets.pdf

    The quotations from the author are here:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/bicycling_in_portland_is_good.html

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  • Michael M. June 16, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    wsbob
    “People on foot, making road crossings mid block, using crosswalks against the light, and so on, aren’t necessarily perfectly safe actions. That they aren’t so, is why laws and regulations against such road use procedures exist.

    I think this is where I fundamentally disagree with your position. You make assumptions about what is safe or unsafe in the abstract — i.e., ‘there’s a law against it, so it must be unsafe.’ The point others are making is that there is nothing inherently unsafe about crossing against a light or crossing mid-block without a crosswalk in many conditions — good visibility, no traffic approaching. This is no less safe than making a right turn on red when there are no conditions that prevent you from doing so. Frankly, I think RTOR is inherently more dangerous than jaywalking simply because RTOR applies to people operating multi-ton vehicles. That jaywalking is illegal and ROTR is legal speaks more to the power of the auto/trucking lobby than it does to what is or isn’t safe.

    The other thing about jaywalking is that police love to use it as a “pretext crime.” It’s perfect for that because it is something most people do, so there is no particular pressure for enforcement; therefore, the police can use it selectively with impunity. I see this all the time where I work and with people in the community who are experiencing homelessness, or at least who the police think might be unhoused. (A few weeks ago, one guy I know got ticketed for jaywalking even though he hadn’t even stepped off the curb by a cop who was pissed at him because he wouldn’t answer questions about someone else. He filed an IPR complaint against the officer.) It also happens regularly to people of color the police think might be suspicious. It’s pretty rare that middle-class white people get stopped, warned or ticketed for jaywalking, outside of a sting operation; it’s more common for others to be harassed. White privilege protects all but the poorest people on the streets from experiencing this type of harassment.

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    • Paul in The 'Couve June 16, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Yes, absolutely to all of the above. “Jay Walking” is the perfect crime than allows excuse to stop just about anyone the Police want to either harass or question or pat down.

      Regarding safety though I’d go even further. There is absolutely nothing at all inherently dangerous about walking anywhere anytime. Period. Walking is safe, as safe as we can get, humans have been doing it forever, literally. Cars and traffic are dangerous. Keeping people out of the street is about the convenience, speed and empowerment of driver, nothing more.

      Yes, it is unwise and “unsafe” to cross when cars are actually coming at you, but that danger is present entirely because of the cars and the drivers. When there are no cars in the vicinity there is no reason what ever not to cross the street if one chooses to do so and it is not dangerous.

      I’m not yelling at you Michael M. Just taking an opportunity to voice my frustration with the opposite side.

      Peace

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    • GlowBoy June 16, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      “That they aren’t so, is why laws and regulations against such road use procedures exist.” -wsbob

      Arguably, the reason why many of the laws and regulations against such road use procedures exist is that the AAA and other successfully lobbied to redefine a huge swath of ordinary pedestrian behavior, both safe and unsafe, as “Jaywalking.”

      (As an aside: Since wsbob’s also on the west side, I’ll note that Beaverton includes among these offenses failing to cross the street at a 90 degree angle. Now while I agree it is generally a good idea – and respectful of other road users, when present – to minimize your crossing distance and time, there are places where that’s not very practicable, but Beaverton cops will nab you anyway.)

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    • Pete June 16, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      I believe repealing RTOR in our current roadway environment would significantly decrease pedestrian collisions in crosswalks, which have risen dramatically in even just the past few years (hence the reason local “Vision Zero” campaigns are suddenly so popular… and funded). You are singing my song… :-)

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    • 9watts June 16, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      “You make assumptions about what is safe or unsafe in the abstract — i.e., ‘there’s a law against it, so it must be unsafe.’”

      I’ve noticed this as well. I have come to appreciate that this is one of those fundamental things we (humans) disagree about. This is one of the main reasons wsbob’s comments are so fascinating to me. I am introduced to this way of thinking.

      My take is quite different. Every law has a history, was cooked up by fallible humans, will probably eventually be revised or thrown out. Obeying it may be prudent in the short run, but in the medium and certainly the long run I may object to it, refuse to abide by it, because it is unjust, was drafted by someone who didn’t understand bikes or biking, who identified with the automobilists, or who hadn’t thought this through at all.

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    • wsbob June 17, 2014 at 12:51 am

      “…You make assumptions about what is safe or unsafe in the abstract — i.e., ‘there’s a law against it, so it must be unsafe.’ …” Michael M.

      There’s nothing abstract about people, whatever their mode of transport is, failing to make accurate judgment before crossing the street, that the way is sufficiently clear for them to make a safe crossing.

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      • TonyT June 17, 2014 at 9:29 am

        And that is exactly my point. Very often, pedestrians being cited has nothing to do with them “failing to make accurate judgment before crossing the street.”

        Someone could make the most thorough and accurate assessment of the road, cross without even the slightest inconvenience to anyone and still be cited. That’s really my point, but you won’t hear it because you’re convinced that I’m saying something I’m not.

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        • wsbob June 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm

          “Very often, pedestrians being cited has nothing to do with them “failing to make accurate judgment before crossing the street.” …” TonyT

          They get cited because they’ve broken the law. The law is there because there is no reliable way to be certain that everyone will consistently make accurate judgment before crossing the street mid block, against crosswalk signal lights, red lights and so on.

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          • El Biciclero June 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

            There is also no reliable way to create a law that makes everyone safe…

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          • Paul in The 'Couve June 18, 2014 at 3:20 pm

            You are using circular reasoning: The purpose of the law is safety of pedestrians and the actions required by the law are safe actions therefor breaking the law is unsafe.

            What at least some of us are saying is what the law requires does not equate to safe behavior and further that the purpose is not to promote safety for pedestrians. We propose that following the law does not make crossing the street safe or much safer [or most of time any safer] and also that the purpose of the law never was actual safety for pedestrians; the purpose of the law is to make it easy for motorists to speed along and keep motorized traffic flowing.

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          • Pete June 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm

            This is exactly the reason RTOR should be repealed, but you won’t see that happen (even though it would save many lives) because of TonyT’s original point. Your rationale is that the jaywalking law exists for safety. If that was really the case, jaywalking would be illegal in all of the 50 states… I’d never even heard the term until I moved to the west coast. IMO it’s yet another stupid region-specific law that should be normalized with a nationwide overhaul of roadway/driver/automobile regulation that (in my fantasy; stay with me here…) would improve safety and save taxpayers a ton of money.

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  • ed June 16, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Some inaccuracies with your heading -
    “Insignificant manufacturing: National advocacy group PeopleForBikes is lobbying to zero out an 11 percent tariff on bike imports because it says there’s no “significant” bike manufacturing in the United States.”
    Two problems with that statement:

    1) The idea to remove tariffs is more that ALL green products (as bicycles) should be given every encouragement in our economy with as few obstacles as possible. Your phrasing misleadingly turns it into a pseudo us vs. them confrontation between domestic and imported bicycles, much like the Oregonian does with cyclists vs. motorists. Argument is: other than the fabulous handmade artisan products made here there is NO US bike industry to protect anymore. US bikes made now are NOT competing with the 99.9% of bikes bought by the US public. People aren’t debating between a $9000 Vanilla or a $500 Giant! At the time tariffs were made there was Schwinn, Huffy, Road-master, AMF and many, many more – all gone as far as US manufacturing. I think we all know that virtually every Trek (under like 6K or so) is Chinese. In other words the tariffs do not protect US makers in any meaningful sense; they only make bikes more expensive for 99% of buyers. And those who buy the wonderful handmade product made here are not going to choose a Chinese bike instead because it’s a few percent cheaper! A false controversy. (again: see Oregonian)

    2) Your 11% figure is mostly wrong. Even more weird, the tariff is 5.5% for bikes over 26″ wheel size and double that (11%) for those under 24″ Again to “protect” juvenile bike makers who no longer exist. Do you see the silliness here in making bikes more expensive than they have to be when we should do all we can to make the general public seek them out? Our tariffs are punitive not protective.

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  • Fred June 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Just passing thru….*HONK*

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    • Pete June 16, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      In other news, legislators in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York are considering a law requiring automobile drivers to flip other drivers off upon overtaking them.

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      • q`Tzal June 16, 2014 at 8:22 pm

        Eh! If youse in da boroughs it’s just common courtesy!

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  • Reza June 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Why has BikePortland continued to ignore the fatal collision last Sunday between an intercity bus and a Vancouver teen in a crosswalk near the Greyhound Station? By most accounts, she had the right-of-way.

    Not even worth mention as a blurb on the roundups?

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    • Chris I June 16, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Was a bicycle involved somehow?

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    • Jane June 17, 2014 at 10:10 am

      The story was posted on this site two hours before you wrote this complaint.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 18, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Good question, Reza. It’s a terrible event, and newsworthy for other outlets. But we rarely cover the deaths of people on foot on the site on a news basis — not east of 205 (where they are, unfortunately, much more common) and not downtown. If there’s a strong element that we’re missing, let me know.

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