The Monday Roundup

Posted by on October 26th, 2009 at 11:09 am

Streetcar funding, ciclovias, contraflow cycle tracks, carrots and sticks, cycle speed bumps, pro-bike Republicans, anti-bike bloggers, a bike hearse, and rude drivers

– The National Resource Council has released results from a study conducted in 2005 on costs stemming from health effects of manufacturing cars and burning fuel. The result: $56 billion.

– The NY Times auto section has a long article on a growing trend in the U.S. — cutting back on car ownership, or going carfree entirely. Explanation of this trend is followed by an interesting look at how automakers are looking to cater to the carfree-minded.

– The US Senate is poised to pass a Climate Bill that includes 3% for clean transportation — a threefold increase over the version passed by the House.

– Portland Streetcar has just been okayed for $75 million in federal funding; the extension project has already begun construction.

– Bike-loving Oregon Republican Jason Atkinson has suspended his gubernatorial bid due to family health issues.

– Last weekend Baltimore became the latest US city to open up its streets for a ciclovia. People flocked to it and are clamoring for more.

DC’s first cycle track is being installed this week, on 15th Street. (It’s contraflow.)

– Sweeping zoning reforms are aimed at making Miami more pedestrian friendly.

– The California Supreme Court has ruled that the state must return the $3.6 billion in transit money that it redirected to other uses.

– California will follow New Mexico’s lead in requiring anyone convicted of drunk driving (including first-time offenders) to have an ignition-interlock breathalyzer device installed in their car.

– A bike shop owner in South Dakota has followed Portlander Joe Bike’s lead in offering a two-wheeled Cash for Clunkers promotion.

– Toronto bike activists are doing actions aimed at thanking people who drive politely around bikes, including holding up signs and handing out thank-you cards.

– In North London, fourteen speed bumps have been installed with the aim of slowing people hurtling down the street on bikes.

– None other than Newt Gingrich has weighed in on the Saratoga Springs bike-to-school ban — he’s written the school district a letter urging them to let kids ride.

– A photo exhibit depicting 100 Los Angeles families who live without cars, many of them not by choice, has spurred discussion of mobility as a basic human right.

– On the Portlandize blog, some interesting analysis of a new helmet safety study.

– Volvo is developing a vehicle that is intended to automatically brake to avoid hitting a person who walks in front of it.

– A USA Today blogger asks: “Have motorists let bicyclists’ ‘rights’ go too far?”

– Meanwhile in Australia, a local politician sees cyclists as “nuisances,” and calls for licensing.

– In Eugene, this bicycle hearse has been getting some press lately. And elsewhere, a bicycle ambulance.

– Video of the week — “Drivers Behaving Rudely” from Streetfilms. Priceless.

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BicycleDaveQ`ztalDavewsbobPat Malach Recent comment authors
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Rex Marx
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Rex Marx

Did anyone get caught in the traffic at the OMSI yesterday? There was a boat race and hundreds of people on the trail, here are a few observations:
– There were workers (Volunteers?) in orange vests calling out to “Please keep the bike lane clear.” Also, there were about five signs saying the same ting.
– No one was paying any attention to the workers or signs. I had to get off the bike to walk through. This was not a big issue for me, but I was in cleated road shoes and would have preferred to stay on the bike at a very, very slow pace. But, when I road up to the area, at about 11AM, it was not possible.
– This made me think how different it would have been if the trail was sharing the road with cars. I think a “Bike Detour” with signs would have been a safer and better solution.

So, what do you think? Should bikes be rerouted voluntarily around events that in essence close a bike trail or should bikes just be pushed through with signs and workers calling out to the public?

wsbob
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wsbob

Riverview Cemetery might have avoided some problems if it had chosen to use for its speed bumps, the type of plastic modular speed bumps that North London used to reduce instances of excessive speed by people riding bikes.

Dave
Guest

It really amazes me how some people can really explain every cyclist death away by just saying it was their fault. And how many people are willing to just nod and say “yup, their fault!” Of course, sometimes it really is the cyclist’s fault. However, I think in the majority case, the only way to explain it as the cyclist’s fault in general is exactly how the USA Today article did – cyclists are trying to use roads, which means if they get hit, it’s their fault, period.

When are we going to start treating automobiles as deadly weapons in death cases – even if unintentional, a person killing someone with a car should carry some weight. If you fool around with a gun and accidentally kill someone, you’re inevitably charged with something.

rex
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rex

Eugene upgraded to League of American Bicyclist Gold status: http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/sevendays/21983795-35/story.csp

wsbob
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wsbob

Dave, from the same MailOnline story about the 14 speed bumps is this:

“The move comes after Government advisers claimed motorists should be made legally responsible for all accidents involving cyclists,

Cycling England, an agency funded by the Transport Department, wants the civil law to be changed so drivers or their insurers would automatically be liable for compensation claims.”

I don’t quite understand the “…even if they are not at fault.” part. Would the driver be responsible only if the rider of the bike was also not at fault? Or would the driver also be responsible if the rider of the bike actually was responsible for a collision involving a bike and car?

Dave
Guest

@wsbob: if you’re talking to me, I’m not exactly sure what you’re talking about – my comment was in reference to the USA Today article, not the one about speed bumps in London – and I don’t see anywhere that “…even if they are not at fault.” was said… Sorry, I’m just unclear on what you mean.

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

USA Today article / inflammatory hate speech:
Maybe my IE browser is wonky but the attribution of authorship seems to be at the bottom:
“A 1997 bike rally by Critical Mass in San Francisco, by Sam Morris/AP”

Is business so bad for paper publications that USA Today needs to “troll” the country like Webtrends did back in July to prove to themselves that they are still relevant?

I’d suggest a boycott a la Fox News Boycott but who individually buys USA Today anymore? I see their publication in giant stacks unused at hotels. As far as I know they are the major customer.

The only thing that will stop this sort of journalism is loss of business.

Matt Picio
Guest

q’Tzal (#7) – and they had this little gem in the article as well:

“But the accident might have been prevented if the 47-year-old bicyclist had riding in the right, not in the dead center, of the lane, a major contributor to the accident.”

uh….. right. The VC advocates are going to LOVE that one.

mattly
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mattly

@q’Tzal: the only truly effective way to boycott something you don’t directly pay for (like USA Today) is to boycott their advertisers.

Dave
Guest

@Matt Picio: I don’t think anyone who wants to ride their bike in a city should be ok with that kind of statement 🙂

Translation: “Death as a result of automobile drivers not paying attention could be avoided if the cyclists would just get out of their way.”

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

mattly #9
Exactly that which is why I included the link to Fox News Boycott.
The problem as I see it is that more people despise Glenn Beck than believe that cyclists were legal road users before cars and cannot simply be shoved out of the way because cars are bigger.
By that line of logic the US Chamber of Commerce should be lobbying to get all private vehicles off the roads: inexperienced private vehicle operators endanger themselves and others as they bumble about in front of valid commercial traffic, they make truck freight slow and inefficient due to all the traffic they generate. Cars don’t belong on the road because they can dart in front of a tractor-trailer too easy and get themselves killed.

What I found curious was the lack of an author or was that it at the bottom? If “Sam Morris” was the author should I believe that USA Today dug up a 12 year old AP “news” article for fun? What for, to test their ability to generate web traffic like Webtrends?

Pat Malach
Guest

“A 1997 bike rally by Critical Mass in San Francisco, by Sam Morris/AP”

That’s obviously the photo credit for the picture that ran with the bog post., not the byline for the post itself.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Dave #6, have you yet read the article about speed bumps in London? What I was attempting to refer to in providing the excerpt from that article is that across the ocean in England and Europe, there is serious thought going on, opposite to that talked about in the USA Today article.

People in England…Germany too if I remember correctly what I’ve read…seem much more receptive to the idea that drivers of motor vehicles bear the greater burden of responsibility for any collision involving a bike and a car, regardless which of the two is at fault.

I’ll have to admit, I haven’t read the USA Today article. Not much of a fan of that paper. The headline link above suggested the article was pretty much the same old stuff, so I passed on it.

Dave
Guest

@wsbob: ok, that makes more sense. yeah, I agree, a lot of other countries are making an effort to legally put some responsibility on automobile drivers, whereas in the U.S., we seem to not want to touch the issue, and would rather just leave automobile drivers to have largely free reign over the roads.

Q`ztal
Guest
Q`ztal

As for Newt Gingrich:
I doubt that Newt is pro bike
I doubt that Newt is against car travel or traffic

I suspect that Newt is for less government interference
I suspect that Newt is for less money spent on fewer school bus trips.
I suspect that Newt is for less money spent of physical ed classes and the required liability insurance because the students are now getting their exercise OFF school grounds, OUTSIDE of school hours: no expensive lawsuits.
I suspect that Newt is for less money spent on obesity related illness because students are now getting some exercise.

Cycling: perhaps the least expensive mile per citizen that the government spends money on.

BicycleDave
Guest
BicycleDave

The guy who wrote the USA Today blog post is Chris Woodyard. I laughed at what they wrote about him until I realized they were serious:

“About Chris Woodyard

Chris Woodyard is an auto writer for USA TODAY who covers all aspects of motoring. He revels in the exhaust note of a Maserati and the sharp creases of a Cadillac CTS. Chris strives to live a Porsche life on a Scion budget. More about Chris…”

BicycleDave
Guest
BicycleDave

PS. I strive to live a zero carbon life on a freak bike budget.

PPS. I love The Monday Roundup. Thanks Elly Blue