car culture

Multnomah County car registration is down 8% since 2007, and isn’t rebounding

by on March 3rd, 2015 at 10:20 am

Sunday Parkways Northeast 2011-31-40
Why look back?
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The Great Recession has left plenty of marks on the Portland area. Here’s one of the happier ones: so far, at least, a lot of the cars aren’t coming back.

The number of registered passenger vehicles in Multnomah County peaked in 2007, a review of 16 years of state records shows. After the economy began shrinking in early 2008, passenger vehicles per resident started a rapid slide, landing 9 percent lower by 2012. Finally, in 2013 and 2014, the local economy began a relatively rapid rebound out of one of the sharpest local downturns in the country.

But in those two years, the number of vehicles the average Multnomah County resident registers has edged back up just 1 percent.


‘Rolling coal’, deemed illegal by the EPA, enjoys 15 minutes of fame

by on July 8th, 2014 at 10:14 am

If that’s how someone feels about
a Prius owner, I can only imagine what
they think of bicycle riders.
(Photo from Rollin Coal & Raisin Hell
Facebook page)

Prepare to be depressed about the current state of civic relations here in America…

Remember our two recent reports about “rolling coal”? That’s when someone who owns a truck drives it close to another road user and then purposely spews a huge cloud of black exhaust fumes at them. We first reported about it after a man claimed he was a victim of it while riding near Mt. Tabor back in February. Rolling coal made our front page again last month when a truck driver did the same thing to a group of people riding bikes in Beaverton. In that case, one of the people on bikes turned out to be an off-duty Washington County Sheriff deputy who then pulled the driver over. (Note, we initially reported that it was a member of the Beaverton Bicycle Patrol Unit and have since learned that was incorrect.)

Fast-forward a few weeks and it seems “rolling coal” has broken through beyond YouTube videos and truck enthusiast forums and onto the major online news media. Stories this week on Talking Points Memo, Slate, Huffington Post, and other outlets have brought the behavior out of the shadows. (more…)

Truck driver does ‘rolling coal’ on riders, and one of them is a bike cop

by on June 20th, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Off-duty Washington County Sheriff deputy
writing up the truck driver in a parking lot
off SW Murray Blvd.
(Photo: Scolgan/Reddit)

A man driving a truck along SW Murray Road in Beaverton yesterday thought it’d fun to harass a group of bike riders; but he got more than he bargained for.

According to a Reddit user named “Scolgan”, the man driving the truck pulled close the riders and then as he pulled away, “he really got on the gas and covered them in a big black cloud of diesel exhaust.” What he didn’t know is that one of the people on bikes was an off-duty Washington County Sheriff deputy.

Here’s more from Scolgan: (more…)

Man claims he was victim of intentional smoke screen from passing truck

by on February 13th, 2014 at 11:33 am

A tour of East Portland-5.jpg
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Getting hassled on the road for no other reason than simply being on a bike is unfortunately relatively common here in the United States. Usually it involves someone yelling at you, or honking, or revving their engine, or all of the above.

But yesterday we heard of a disturbing new method of anti-bike road rage: a smoke screen that sends a huge black cloud from a truck’s tailpipe. We’re not talking about someone intentionally revving their engine and sending a bunch of exhaust into your face (that’s bad enough, and yes, it’s all too common) — what happened to reader John M. Tuesday night was worse.

John says the incident happened while riding near the Mt. Tabor reservoir. Here’s his account: (more…)

Scion apologizes, pulls insensitive ad

by on July 23rd, 2013 at 9:49 am

Scion has apologized.

Scion has pulled an ad that referred to people riding bicycles as “obstacles.” The ad, which we highlighted on July 11th, had a fighting theme and the “King of the road” was its tC model sportscar.

Over the weekend, a reader pointed us to a blog post on Scion.com (which seems to be incorrectly dated to July 2nd), where the company addressed the concerns about the ad and announced its removal: (more…)

In new ad, Scion sees bike riders as obstacles in a fight

by on July 11th, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Humans on bikes are just obstacles
in a fight you must win, says a Scion ad.

Toyota-owned car brand Scion has unveiled a new commercial for their latest model. In an urban setting, they equate driving with a boxing match where the car is dubbed “King” of the road. Unfortunately, Scion includes a scene with people riding bicycles and refers to them as “obstacles” and then shows the cars zoom by them dangerously — all in an effort to “roll on to victory with the path of least resistance.”

Activists revolted by use of Lorax to sell cars

by on February 29th, 2012 at 12:09 pm

New Mazda is “Truffula Tree Friendly”!

The auto industry will go to any length to sell their products: they’ll promote speeding on city streets when going too fast is the #1 reason so many people die and get injured in traffic collisions every day across America; they’ll sell huge SUVs and trucks even though they cause damage to humans around them and to the planet; they’ll make non-car mobility options look bad and encourage cash-strapped college students to sign up for loans — and the list goes on.

But this time, for a growing list of activists, they’ve gone to too far. (more…)

Opinion: A biased look at Beaverton’s auto dealerships

by on January 9th, 2012 at 11:14 am

The subtitle of the article, “City planners hope for more investment in urban renewal district,” is buried under the heading “Beaverton auto sales drive city economy.”

Full disclosure: I love bikes. I love riding them, talking about them, taking pictures of them, and just about anything else that involves them.

I live in the suburbs but my primary mode of transportation is a bicycle. I ride my bicycle nearly everywhere I go with only a few exceptions.

My love of bicycles probably makes me at least a little biased towards bikes and against cars, but I still drive on occasion. My wife and I use our car to visit family in rural areas of Oregon, and she has a 40-mile commute that would be impractical on a bike. (more…)