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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on March 9th, 2009 at 7:06 am

Time for the news roundup…

Right wing radio, comparing bikes to guns, a bike bell orchestra, alternatives to asphalt

– The New York times calls for people to take the high road while riding bikes. Interesting meditation. Are we losing the PR war? Does it fall on us to change our behavior?

BikePortland contributor Libby Tucker reports on her blog, Naked Energy, about Mayor Adams’ proposal to set an ambitious “carbon budget” for the city that would include major zoning and parking changes to create a city full of 20 minute neighborhoods.

– In reference to the proposed bike registration law, the Oregonian writes: “In some places you don’t mess with gun rights. In Portland, you don’t mess with bikes.”

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– Portland economist Joe Cortright compares U.S. traffic jams to Soviet bread lines.

– Rush Limbaugh thinks you should ride on the sidewalk, and please don’t hold him responsible for the consequences if you don’t.

– Enthusiasts of a very specific stripe may be excited to learn of London’s Bike Bell Orchestra, which features not only bike bells (on moving bikes) but vocal imitations of wind gusts.

– Sick of asphalt? How about a grass-lined transit mall?

What are we missing this week? Include your own quotes, clips, and links in the comments.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Bill
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Bill

In relation to the bike registration law/Oregonian article, I find it rather odd that people keep saying that bike riders need to pay for their resources. last I knew, I was paying for taxes like everybody else, yet predominately as a cyclist, not using or degrading as much of the resources Im affording. One can argue that cyclists actually cost the general public LESS if we look at health related expenses and figure things such as better air quality, less stress due to less congestion, etc.

How could you expect anything more out of Rush? The saving grace is that he is easy to switch off! Right wing shock jock.

Dave
Guest

The NYT article also got posted on the BTA blog yesterday, and I think that we, as those riding bicycles on a regular basis, do have a responsibility to use the roads responsibly, just as those in automobiles do.

I think, maybe because more people started traveling by bike sooner in Portland than in NYC, we’ve maybe gotten a little further over the hump of a lot of the sense of entitlement both sides (people who are anti-car and people who are pro-bike, whether they drive or ride bikes or whatever) seem to have claimed previously.

It seems to me that even in the last year or so, things have calmed down on that front, and the mantra has switched from “bikers break the law all the time” to “bikers don’t pay for the roads” – which at least signals a change in view – that people aren’t as upset about biker’s behavior on the roads. So, either people have started behaving more calmly and rationally on their bikes, or people have gotten more used to driving with bikes, or both, it would seem.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

“I find it rather odd that people keep saying that bike riders need to pay for their resources.”

The local media is framing this story in that way only to flame the bike vs. car wars they love so much.

Meghan H
Guest
Meghan H

The one thing this “bicyclists should pay their way” media blitz has shown me is that nobody in Oregon (least of all tv reporters) understands which taxes and fees pay for which services and infrastructure.

It’s easier (and just plain lazy reporting) to spread misinformation about how bike lanes and other facilities are paid for.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

I agree with you Meghan that there is a major misperception/misunderstanding in the media and general public about this issue.

I think it would be smart for the BTA to launch a campaign to help educate our city and state on the truth.

Dave
Guest

Not to mention, it would just be beneficial I think for people to be more informed about where taxes and such go – since so many people are so upset about having to pay them, at least they’d have a better idea what they go to.

DT
Guest
DT

“Next comes another species of biker, which I call the Really Cool Biker, because they are really cool — usually younger than the Lance Armstrong types, wearing skinny jeans and a windbreaker imprinted with, say, the name of a bar or a bowling alley, and riding a sleek, fixed-gear frame bike that I myself am too uncool to even adequately describe.”

Wow, I didn’t realize this species existed outside of Portland! 😛

Tbird
Guest
Tbird

I agree with most of the authors points in the NYT article. After the Alice Awards last Saturday some friends and I were talking about the exact same issues. Primarily the mentality of self congratulatory fringe behavior that permeates most cyclist’s mentality these days. Obviously this isn’t endemic to Portland only. If we expect to accepted by the mainstream of our society we need to stop insisting that “bike culture” be counter culture.
Hopefully we can all begin to follow some of the suggestions in the article.

Dave
Guest

@Tbird: I agree – it seems weird that we would try so hard to be counter-culture, when we really, in the end, want cycling to be integrated into mainstream culture. There’s an important balance in trying to bring something important to the eyes of mainstream culture, but doing it in a way in which it’s digestable.

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

of course it falls on us to change our behavior….if you want legitimacy, you must act legitimate.

acting as though you are above the laws that everyone else has to obey will do nothing to further the cause of bicycle transporation on public roads…

in my opinion, this is why the Idaho stop law is a bad idea at this point in time…riding is not legitmate yet in the eyes of a majority of other road users. That legitimacy must be earned…

KWW
Guest
KWW

I drive and already pay for the roads. Why do I have to pay a 2nd time for bicycle lanes? Will I need license plate attached my ass to prove that I paid for the sidewalks as a ‘registered pedestrian’ (that is the next step)?

To the uninitiated, it would seem that this bill is from a tax-and-spend politician, but my opinion is that Krieger is doing this out of sheer ignorance and retribution.

Tony P
Guest

The NYT article is spot on. If “bikers” don’t start behaving you can be damn sure we’re going to end up with some sort of registration/licensing burden in the future.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

Jonathan:

Maybe as a service to your readers you could break down how road construction/repaving gets funded in Oregon? I’ve always been curious about what percentage of road money comes from state/local gas taxes, what comes from licensing fees, what comes from income tax etc, but have been unable to come up with the numbers.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
March 9th, 2009 09:40

* Thank You * for all your hard work!

Joe

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Bike registration is fine…but the state should pay the bike owner, not the other way around. $54 every two year is cheap price to pay for less congestion, better air and water, fewer green house gases and healthier people. Bike lanes are just fat fog lines on most state roads anyway.
Limit to one bike per person. A family of four could register four bikes and receive $216 every two years. It would encourage children to ride their bikes to school…50 cents a week or so, could reduce the number of teenage car drivers, the most dangerous to themselves and others. Biking pays.
Incenting desired behaviors that have wide public benefit is nothing new.

Hart
Guest
Hart

Wow, I didn’t realize this species existed outside of Portland!

Seriously?

Hart
Guest
Hart

Krieger is doing this out of sheer ignorance and retribution.

Once a cop, always a cop.

Stig
Guest
Stig

There’s an incredible amount of hatred and uninformed ranting on the Katu story concerning bike registration- 449 posts in the comments. ‘Freebooter’ is the main theme.

http://www.katu.com/news/local/40905997.htm

The media needs to be more responsible when they post these kinds of stories and include some facts to stave off lynch mobs like the one that appears to have formed on KATU’s site.

Thanks for erupting a massive Them vs. Us war, Mr. Krieger.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Lenny,#15, that’s a good idea. Forward it to Krieger. If only the state could afford to pay for it.

T27
Guest
T27

Anyone want to sponsor legislation prohibiting the use of property and income tax revenue on roads. If Mr. Kieger is just doing this to stir the pot, why shouldn’t someone stir the pot with facts? I for one would love to see my property and income tax reduced while user fees for vehicles increased to pay for the needed infrastructure.

I do drive and could actually end up paying more under this system. But, it would be a fair system and if I didn’t like it I could drive less; therefore, requiring less infrastructure.

Barney
Guest
Barney

@ Dave re: #2

I agree that NYC is behind Portland in terms of the evolution of bike culture generations. When I commuted in Manhattan on bike 10 years ago, I behaved like a maniac, but I didn’t see it as entitlement at the time. It was simply survival. I would bike for two miles, see no other bikers the entire time, and have countless close calls with cars who seemed to have no awareness of me. Now, NYC has some decent bike lanes, but it doesn’t change the fact that the drivers are far more aggressive than Portland drivers.

I also don’t think the reporter’s thought, “No wonder they hate us.”, is particularly compelling. New York is so stressful that it breeds a “me vs. the world” mentality. When I was in a car, I hated bikers and pedestrians. When I was on a bike, I hated cars and pedestrians. As a pedestrian, I hated bikes and cars. NYC nurtured my inner “me-first”. It would be lovely if cyclists could chill out in NYC, but I think it’s unfair to put that obligation specifically on cyclists. If they all followed the rules of the road, they would be the only group in NYC to do so.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/article979483.ece
Florida experiments with Ciclovias

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008804872_streetclosed03m.html
Seattle is proposing six seperate carfree streets

http://www.straight.com/article-204261/andrea-reimer-says-scaled-back-carfree-sundays-would-still-be-win
Vancouver, BC scales back Carfree days, but still offers an impressive schedule

http://www.examiner.com/x-3139-NY-Bicycle-Transportation-Examiner~y2009m2d26-Carfree-midtown-Broadway-in-store-for-spring
New York City is looking to not just expand carfree space on Broadway, but to actually create 4 blocks of carfree road

KWW
Guest
KWW

Not all cops are like this.

But seriously, one less car on the road does have some value and Lenny’s concept does have merit.

dsaxena
Guest
dsaxena

I loved the NYT article. Something I’ve been thinking about lately is that while many of us have given up the automobile or at least drastically reduced our dependency on one, we are still carrying the dominant car culture with us. The one that says that we need go fast fast fast, that we need to live in competition, that it’s me vs you out there.

How about we instead slow down. Breathe. Enjoy the smells of spring the air. Share the road.

kgb
Guest
kgb

“Does it fall on us to change our behavior?”

If you or I are misbehaving then yes, whatever it is we are doing.

Opus the Poet
Guest

There was some nastiness from just up the road in Seattle. <a href=”http://www.examiner.com/x-4295-Seattle-Conservative-Examiner~y2009m3d4-Regional-emphasis-on-road-sharing-should-prompt-new-laws-and-licensing-for-bicycles-and-riders” target=”_blank” The Examiner.com had this article. Which prompted my article and also, this reply to another blog like BikePortland . I really hope all these links work, otherwise this post is going to be one huge mess. >:(

are
Guest
are

while I agree with the specific suggestions made by the NYT writer — yield to pedestrians, signal your turns, etc. — I do not agree that striped lanes or especially separated lanes, such as they are putting in there in NYC, are a good thing, and I am dismayed by his dismissal of sharrows, as they are usually a better treatment than a striped lane. frankly, I would rather ride in the traffic lane across the Broadway bridge than face all that confusion at the west end of the bridge. Hawthorne maybe not, because of the steel grid deck.

oh, and not that Rush Limbaugh needs any attention, but it seems inconsistent for him to say, ride as far to the right as possible, and then in the next breath, why are you riding in the door zone? ah, but consistency is the hobgoblin of overfed talking heads.

Dave
Guest

@are: I don’t think it’s quite fair to say separated paths are a bad idea because of some poorly planned intersections in Portland – remember, our current infrastructure for the most part wasn’t designed with bikes in mind, so where bike-concession exists, it’s slapdash and pieced together. If you had a well-connected network of separated paths, I think it would work much better.

are
Guest
are

eventually they have to intersect with the roads, and then you have to get into the management of those conflicts. if people were simply sharing the same roads, that problem would not exist.

dersins
Guest
dersins

Regarding the New York Times article, I think it would be an error not to take it with something of a grain of salt, given the page title. (“A Modest Proposal“)

Dave
Guest

That’s true, the Jonathan Swift piece of the same title is scathing satire 🙂 I noticed the title, but hadn’t thought about that specifically 🙂

Eric
Guest

Scorching! It’s time to reintroduce the words “scorching” and “scorcher” as a negative epithet to describe reckless and/or lawless bicycling and bicyclists. If we bicyclists have a name for bad bicycling, maybe we can get others to use it and to reserve bicycling for the positive and greater side of the equation.

A writer in the Oregonian in 1899 said:

But there are a few notorious scorchers who shamefully abuse the public…Nobody need look to the police to interfere with these hoodlums, but a little effort on the part of the members of the Wheelmen’s Association, who expect their paths to be respected, would soon put a stop to these scorchers. These hoodlums, these barbarians on a bicycle…will run down some old man, or woman, or child…and then in the outcry that will be made over a serious accident public indignation will take the form of an unreasoning but natural indifference to the legal rights of the wheelmen.

Additionally, we should reintroduced the word “autoist” and “autoism” to describe the practice and philosophy of single-passenger auto driving!