Ruckus Warehouse Sale

A major dose of inspiration from Copenhagen

Posted by on July 26th, 2010 at 11:23 am

A new Streetfilm (watch it below) taken during the recent Velo-City Global conference in Copenhagen is like a refuge in a storm.

Here in Portland (and across the country), we still struggle with resentment over bike lanes, a local media that’s happy to stir it up, people wanting to ban bikes completely because they’re simply in the way, people on bikes who can’t be bothered to slow down for other bike traffic, and public transit employees whose actions and words make our streets less safe for people on bikes.

And then there’s Copenhagen, and a Streetfilm that shows what it’s like through the eyes of North Americans. The video below, put together by the inimitable filmmaker Clarence Eckerson, is longer than their usual fare, but it’s worth every second.

Here are the quotes that really stood out for me (emphasis mine):

Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong:

“We could do this fairly easily and fairly inexpensively in just about any U.S. city and the only thing we’d need to do is have the will and the political power to squeeze the cars a bit.”

Jeff Mapes, author of Pedaling Revolution:

“Too much in the U.S. there’s this feeling of the other; that somebody on the bicycle, that’s not me, that’s some different kind of creature. And here it’s very clear, ‘No, the person on the bicycle, that’s just me, using a different mode of transportation.'”

Andy Clarke, executive director, League of American Bicyclists:

“We like to say, to put people at ease, that ‘Oh, Copenhagen didn’t do it overnight and they took 40 years to get where they are today.’ We don’t don’t have the luxury of waiting 40 years to get to that point in U.S. cities, we have to do it a lot more quickly.”

Here’s the video:

U.S. politicians and high-level bureaucrats: The ball is in your court. How many videos, educational trips and studies of Europe will it take before we start really following their lead?

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59 Comments
  • 151 July 26, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    “How many videos, educational trips and studies of Europe will it take before we start really following their lead?”

    American “exceptionalism” dictates that Americans never follow anyone else’s lead…at least not without first rebranding the idea as our own. Try to pitch policy ideas to politicians in terms of “following Europe” and see how far that gets you, especially in more conservative climates.

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  • peejay July 26, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    How long before American elected officials will feel comfortable copying a proven solution that’s been implemented in Europe? Oh, I don’t know. How long did it take to take Europe’s lead on health care? Oh, wait…

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 26, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    151,

    that’s a great point and something i’ll definitely keep in mind. I agree w you about the political perils of being too direct about saying “Let’s do what Europeans do”… especially in today’s political climate.

    this reinforces why i think it’s absolutely imperative that a U.S. city breaks through in a big way and is able to do this Euro-stuff in an American context. Portland has talked that game for years now, but we have a long way to go. I think once one city creates a fully interconnected, high-quality bike system (even if just in one district/n’hood), than the dam will spill and it will be much easier for other cities to follow suit (and believe me, they will).

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  • PDXbiker July 26, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Outstanding film. Bike infrastructure we can still only dream about, even in a bike cultured city as Portland. This all hinges on political will, money, and a mindset change amongst the noncycling populace. Bikes are transportation, on par with the automobile. Not toys or just a weekend rec thing. With budgetary constraints and after observing the Holgate bike lane fiasco, you won’t be seeing that Copenhagen nirvana here anytime soon.
    Hopefully, eventually, yes.

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  • zenriver July 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Great film! I would also add, that we need to do a better job as a cycling community of welcoming newbies to the bike evolution. I’ve committed to living without a car in Portland and until recently relied mostly on Trimet. This summer I’m transitioning into using my bike as primary means of transportation – yay! Last Friday afternoon I was heading home from work balancing heavy groceries over my front wheel and in my left pannier. So here I am, a slightly out-of-shape middle-aged woman pedaling along slowly in a slightly wobbly fashion uphill on the NE Davis bike route, enjoying the sunshine, breezy trees, flowers, and birdsong. Not a situation where one expects to be harassed, but then it happened. Two young men started shouting snarky judgments when they were about a block behind me, continued while I stopped at an intersection, and then over their shoulders after passing me. What’s up with that?

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  • Kronda July 26, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    @zenriver

    That’s a bummer. @ssholes are everywhere, in every mode. Yesterday a guy biking by me greeted me with “Lookin’ goooood my ebony princess!” SO INAPPROPRIATE.

    I could only shake my head and be grateful he wasn’t going in the same direction.

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  • trail user July 26, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    New York city has an aggressive bike culture that doesn’t stop for traffic lights or stop signs! I’m moving there.

    We’re Americans, not pansy Europeans. I love Europe! Seriously, go visit sometime, it’s fun. New Yorkers tend to ride aggressively, to get somewhere quickly, to get things done, just as Americans do, “get’r done.” I just read Heidi Swift’s blog thing in the Oregonian. Portland will never be Copenhagen or any other European bike nirvana. Live with it.

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  • Andrew Plambeck July 26, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    zenriver, thank you for your comment!

    I’m a regular rider and have been for years, but I see this all the time!

    I always try to share a polite “nice day” or “great weather for a ride” with folks who may be panting a bit but are obviously working hard to get into biking for fitness, environmental or monetary reasons. Some folks have trouble with hills around town or aren’t quite sure of how to interact with traffic all the time.

    It’s important for the experienced cyclists in town to lend an encouraging comment or share some advice at tricky intersections when we see people who may be a bit unsure.

    This is a community, and that’s what a community does.

    Also, for the newbies, there are lots of folks through the BTA and CCC who would love to help you navigate your new commute!

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  • Michael M. July 26, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Interesting comment from Tim Blumenthal about 4-year-olds in Copenhagen being better cyclists than adults in America.

    Interesting too that I could only spot one spandex-clad road warrior amongst all the bike riders in that footage, and he was (or seemed to be) riding with the pace of traffic.

    It’s a shame the audio was overdubbed with eurodrab-techno — I’d like to have heard how many frantic “on your left” cries or mad dinging of bells there were. From the look of things, probably not too many, at least not compared to here.

    So the question this raises for me is does the culture produce the infrastructure or does the infrastructure produce the culture? Are Copenhagen travelers (all modes) more respectful of each others’ rights of way than all of us are here because they all feel they have what they need in place to arrive at their destinations safely and comfortably and in a timely manner, or did an inherent preexisting respect make that possible in the first place?

    To take one example of the “green wave” — if we had stretches here where cyclists could travel along at 12.5mph and hit green lights for blocks, would that significantly cut down on the number of people on bikes who feel compelled to run red lights, sometimes dangerously? That speed is considerably slower than many Portland riders are used to. Would much of the current crop of people who ride bikes around town become dinosaurs in this new Copenhagenized Portland, or would it all lead to escalating conflicts between the current crop (including vehicular cyclists) and cargo/Dutch bike set, pedestrians, and motorists?

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  • Joe July 26, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I can say people in my city have ” rose ” colored glasses on and fight the green way
    to get around, took my girls on a ride today shock, people not stopping, not waiting for us to clear an intersections, turning on walk signs, could go on and on,
    mind you this is all in a 2mile section.
    I feel some ppl think driving is freedom. we wonder why ppl are over weight

    Ive been riding with them since weee young they are 9,10 yrs old and love it.

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  • J.R. (Business Manager) July 26, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I called bullshit on a person on a bike who ran the red light westbound on Broadway at 22nd last Saturday afternoon. (I was in line behind him in the bike lane as he rolled on through)
    I felt pretty good that it jarred him from his headphoned groove enough to look back inquisitively. The funny thing was the bus driver to my immediate left who heard me yell, “that’s a red light…” opened his door and gave me the most heart felt and exasperated “Thank You!” ever.
    He said, “I see that a hundred times a day…” and I said, “Me too. It drives me nuts!” We both rolled on self righteously and confident that we aren’t alone in our loathing of people on bikes who are F’ing it up for the rest of us.
    There are some places in the world that invite people on bikes to fend for their safety outside the rules of the road. Portland is not one of those places.

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  • Inga July 26, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I ride my city bike daily.

    I find it interesting that because of my attire I have been judged by other cyclists (and pedestrians)as a newbie. By attire I am referring to being dressed up (including shoes), which is how I am almost every time I ride my city bike. I’ve had cyclists who assume I am going to be slow cut me off. In turn I will pass them with a smile. I’ve had pedestrians yell at me thinking they are funny by making comments like why do I want to break a sweat? Break a sweat..? I can out pedal most with high heels on and not even pant.

    I grew up in Europe and have been riding bicycles in an urban environment since I was 5. I moved here from San Francisco a year ago. Just because someone cares about their appearance doesn’t mean they don’t have any bike skills or fitness.

    Portland disappoints me with this judgmental attitude. I would love to see more ladies dressed up on bikes! And being rude to new cyclists is just lame. Would you rather have another car on the road? I think not.

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  • 151 July 26, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Finally had time to watch the video. Wow! I am in love with Copenhagen.

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  • trail user July 26, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    If enough cyclists disobeyed the rules we’d have anarchy — or the New York City bicycling scene. Drivers are hyper-aware of their surroundings — and hence safer — because cyclists run stops and stop lights predictably. Seems to work ok with that many people squeezed into a small island.

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  • Anne Hawley July 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    @inga 12: I’m with you in riding in street/office clothes. I commute virtually 100% by bike, and I have yet to wear anything bike-specific to do it in.

    I have to say, though, your wish of seeing more ladies “dressed up” on bikes may already have come true–as dressed up as Portland ladies get, anyway: good jeans AND a jacket. And earrings!

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  • spare_wheel July 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    “Just because someone cares about their
    appearance…”

    donning form fitting active-wear can also be caring about one’s appearance.

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  • Van July 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I love that kids are educated at an early age about biking in urban environment. I’ve always felt that this is how you really transform transportation. Lets face the fact that there is only a small subset of society that will give up their vehicle for a bike and feel comfortable doing so.
    I’d buy my kids $1000 bikes over a crappy used car (all I or they will be able to afford) any day as they approach their teenage years and seek independence. I fear for their safety on Portland roads though even though we have it better than most US cities.

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  • jim July 26, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Last I checked we were still a free country, that’s why we left England all those years ago. We don’t need a small group of people dictating to us what we need to do, we still have free will. I am so sick of hearing about how we should be more like Copenhagen or other places. I like to live in Oregon, if I liked Amsterdam I would go live there.
    I did appreciate how courteous the riders appeared in the video, stoping at stop lights and such. They probably enforce traffic rules for bikes there, unlike Portlands attitude that bikes don’t need to follow any rules because “they are just a fun loving group”. I don’t see portland fitting into this mold at all.
    They didn’t show any of the dark side of riding there, I’m sure there are problems that they decided would be better left out of this pc of propaganda

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  • Eric in Seattle July 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    The attitude of car drivers is cited a few times in the film, but the positive attitude exists on both sides of the windshield in Copenhagen. Drivers see bike riders as normal, but just as importsnt is the fact that the bike riders see themselves as normal. I only saw a couple of lycra-clad riders, and even they seemed to be keeping it under control. Contrast that to a bike lane here in the states where a family with a couple of kids out for a ride has to worry not only about the cars, but about packs of speeding racers and racer wannabes crowding them out of the bike lane. If we really want to change the whole paradigm of bikes in this country to a normal mode of transportation for everyday people, we riders are going to need to hold our end of the bargain.

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  • Vance Longwell July 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    “…people on bikes who can’t be bothered to slow down for other bike traffic…”

    I really resent this. That’s a two-way street, there, Mr. Maus. How about the people whom can’t be bothered to learn a few riding skills, and get into shape enough to pull a reasonable gear?

    So, let me get this straight. You moved here from California, and haven’t shut up about how much Portland sucks, and how many things MUST be changed NOW!! Doesn’t matter who goes hungry. Doesn’t matter how much the price-index rises locally. Doesn’t matter who gets inconvenienced as long as more cyclists start riding: Says the guy running a bicycle blog, living off of bicycle-related ad revenue. So why not move to Copenhagen? Why did you move here? It’s not bad enough that you choose to dictate to people, with years more time in the saddle than you, how they’re going to ride, and where, no. Because, apparently, your decision to move here was arbitrary, or to perhaps cash-in on a scene you didn’t start, and have only worked against since day-one, and tell riders just like me how to ride a bike.

    That just doesn’t make any sense. You like to delude yourself that your biggest critics are angry car drivers. That’s simply not true. A few regular readers of this blog, and their cohorts, have managed to alienate an entire city. Cars, bikes, buses, taxis, trucks, we all want it to just end.

    Which I wouldn’t care one whit about, but I have to go ride my bike in the mess you all make. Do you HEAR me? I HAVE to. I don’t have a choice, Maus, and neither do a ton of my friends.

    Maybe a little more bike riding, a little less minivan driving, and a lot less rhetorical, divisive, personal-liberty-stealing, me-first, Euro worshiping, crying.

    Thanks for pissing all over my hometown, again. A top-notch bike city way before you ever showed up to cash-in. A place where cyclists were admired, not hated. A perfect bike-town with miles of empty streets, and enough rain to keep the posers parked in the garage 9 months out of the year. Yeah. Thanks.

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  • Michweek July 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I’d prefer to ride slower than my current pace. But seeing as all the bikers out there race around town in a rush and then yell at me for relaxing and taking my time. Then there are all the cars that honk at me if I go too slow and then pass real close, real fast; I’m left with trying to race around town too.
    I’d say they all move slower because the road speeds are slower and more people are just out enjoying getting there as much as they enjoy the destination itself.

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  • Paul July 26, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Vance: was that tongue-in-cheek? Interesting perspective.

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  • SD July 26, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    This video would look great on one of the local news channels. A positive vision of what a mature cycling city looks like is so important for Portland and the US. I ride 5 + days a week in different parts of the city and I like to ride fast. But, I also like to exercise the skill of being very courteous i.e. stopping for peds, riding deliberately, hanging with the peleton when necessary and leaving the bike lane to pass cyclists. It all feels good. We are all watching and learning from each other every day we are on the road. In 6 years of commuting, riding in organized rides, and climbing the west hills I cannot remember any negative interactions with cyclists, runners or walkers.
    I am always surprised by the negative comments that follow the stories on this blog. The obsession with “law-breakers” is tiring also. I can’t help but think that some of commenters on this blog need a hug and a new chamois.

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  • Jerry_W July 26, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Got to agree with Vance on that one, I wished he would have included the lame BTA in that rant, talk about ineffective!

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  • Red Five July 26, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Inga, Portland is full of a-holes just like any place else and this little city isn’t nearly as sophisticated as it thinks it is.

    Don’t let the judgemental jerk offs bring you down.

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  • david July 27, 2010 at 12:15 am

    here’s my take on why folks generally ride slower in european cities, and why that’s a good thing:

    usually, it’s chalked up to the greater density and smaller geographic size of cities overseas, with a sprinkle of cultural differences thrown in for good measure. but i think it’s really more an issue of sample size.

    here in the states, where a five percent bicycle mode share is to be lauded, it is for the most part the fittest folks who ride the most. naturally, these fit folks – whether wrapped in lycra, tweed, or wearing nothing at all – ride faster than their fellow moderately fit and non-fit bicyclists. fit speedy folks exist in all cities across the world, and in all of those places they ride their bikes faster than the slow-pokes around them. the difference in the states is that here, that small fraction of the population riding 16-18 mph represents a disproportionately large piece of the bicycling pie. the speedsters bring the average bicycle travel speed up. moreover, because there are so few comparatively slow riders on u.s. streets and paths, there’s little to dampen the speeds of speedy bikes and their drivers.

    but this starts to change as more people – fit ones, fat ones, type As and type Bs…people of all shapes and sizes – choose to bike. all of a sudden, the demographic of “bicyclists” begins to more closely resemble that of the city, state, and country as a whole. this necessarily brings down the average speed of bicycle travel, because now there are a bunch of average, below average, and just plain normal folks mixing it up with the speedies. the current speedy riders might object to this orwellian future, but there’s really nothing to be done about it; there will always be more average, patient folks than hurried, fit speedsters. and lucky for us, folks in the former group are turning to the bicycle in droves!

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  • J.Chong July 27, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Michael: ‘It’s a shame the audio was overdubbed with eurodrab-techno — I’d like to have heard how many frantic “on your left” cries or mad dinging of bells there were. From the look of things, probably not too many, at least not compared to here.”

    Normally less dinging of bike bells or ‘on your left'(or similar) cries from behind. I was in Copenhagen for 6 days during VeloCity conference time with my bike.

    As for discussion in this thread about how a North American city (sorry, it just isn’t the U.S.) can translate / transform Euro-style into something that is tune with North American culture, suffice to say that to have such a large cycling mode share (Copenhagen at 36% in 2009 with aim for 50% in 2015) it does help alot for current regular cyclists of all stripes to change their mind-set to become more inclusive.

    There’s room for alot of different types of cyclists. This is not about “pansy” cyclists vs. so-called more aggressive cyclists. For North America, safe cycling would engender respect for other cyclists instead of focusing on personal liberty-my-cycling-space attitude and to-hell-with-slower-cyclists. It’s alien, narcissistic behaviour that doesn’t get a city very far with fostering more cycling as transportation.

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  • Schrauf July 27, 2010 at 7:59 am

    There is absolutely no excuse for fast cyclists causing discomfort for slower cyclists.

    I ride hard whether commuting or training, but I always pass in the middle of the adjacent lane – at least four feet to the left. Any less is not enough, especially since unlike a car I may not be noisy enough for the passee to even know I am there.

    I consider fast cyclists who do not pass nicely to be in the same class as those who run red lights when others are waiting at the intersection.

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  • spare_wheel July 27, 2010 at 9:45 am

    “I ride hard whether commuting or training, but I always pass in the middle of the adjacent lane – at least four feet to the left.”

    if so, i am sure you have noticed the exclamations of shock when you pass at a safe distance.

    newbies, if i take the CAR lane at 25 mph while passing you, you have absolutely no right to shout “slow down”. we all have different skill levels and i’ll be darned if i’m going to bike at 10 mph to coddle your safety-transference issues.

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  • Shetha July 27, 2010 at 9:53 am

    david – I think you bring up some good points. When my husband watched the video his first impression was “they all go so slow!”. They also wear normal clothes and don’t wear helmets. When I city commute, I wear normal clothes and shoes and go at a slower pace ( my trips are generally < 2 miles away). When I commute to work I average 16 mph. I have 12.5 miles to go, and not a whole lot of time to get there. So I guess I'm a split bicyclist personality. The fact is, if you are going more than 2 miles, the bike routes are split heavily by busy crossings, stop signs, red lights, and any other number of things that could be construed as "obstacles" in your travel. That's what those of us who do bike have just "put up with". It's what those of us who don't bike couldn't be bothered with. We are used to getting to places in a certain amount of time and the current infrastructure has trained us to that. If bike infrastructuralists (made that one up) "squeeze" a little harder, then things can move both ways: Going by car can become more unweildy and going by bike can go more smoothly. That's my impression, anyway.

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  • Brad July 27, 2010 at 10:29 am

    david@26

    If forced to go “slow” and confined to special bicycle infrastructure, then many of us fit cyclists will likely return to driving.

    It’s not a function of showing off or being impatient. It’s a function of being able to turn larger gears. For some, it’s combining a daily workout with the commute. I’ll admit there are some rude Lance wannabes out there but must of us will take the lane or flat out avoid MUPs and such. I don’t want to cause a new rider to crash nor do I want to get hurt because an inexperienced rider cannot hold a line or white knuckles their brakes down any sort of descent.

    This is why I prefer sharrows and education to special infrastructure built for the lowest common denominator. It’s a nice notion to get kids and grandmas out on bikes but let’s not build a system that makes bike commuting inefficient for anyone living more than three miles from downtown or for fair weather riders.

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  • Michael M. July 27, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Last week I was pretty sick and on Wednesday I took an ill-considered ride downtown from NE. On my way back, in a lot of pain, I rode much more slowly than usual, and I was very self-conscious about it. So I made every effort I could to stay as far out of the way as possible and remained hyper-aware of anyone who wanted to pass me. And everyone who did pass (and there were lots!) did so courteously and safely, allowing plenty of space. Had I not been racked with pain by the time I got home, I’d have said Bravo, Portland! for the level of maturity on display (from people on bikes and people in cars).

    Yesterday was my first time back in the saddle since then, for a short trip to SE. On my way back, I rode much closer to normal (for me), and headed north on NE 28th I was probably doing 15-17mph. A woman passed me, allowing reasonable space, then turned right directly across my path onto NE Davis or Everett (don’t remember for sure which). It was close enough that I had to brake, but not so close that I had to brake hard. But still, why? Would it have killed her to ease up a bit and add an extra 3 seconds (tops!) to her commute, so as to avoid cutting me off and creating a potentially hazardous situation?

    Riding along NE 28th has its own inherent perils that can be addressed by better infrastructure, but no amount of infrastructure can fix perils introduced by people who make unnecessarily risky maneuvers that rely on everything going exactly as anticipated and allow for only a very small margin of error. (And that’s to say nothing of how inconsiderate and self-absorbed such people are.)

    My two experiences in the past week jive, for me, with my overall impression: Portland can do better, but it’s by no means clear that it will do better. I think David (#26) is right: the more variety of riders we get, the rarer this kind of behavioral problem will become. But I’m not sure how we overcome the North American narcissism J.Chong (#27) alludes to, in order to get there.

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  • Vance Longwell July 27, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Brad #31 – Never, ever, forget man… You are talking about riding bicycles, while this crowd is talking about taking your car-keys. That’s why nothing ever adds up.

    I especially liked your lead-sentence. Tobacco prohibitionists are dealing with a similar boomerang. Turns out, excise taxing tobacco is effectively forcing people to choose less-expensive alternatives, which in turn increases the already high safety risks associated with tobacco use. The irony. In an attempt to force people to make healthy decisions, the result is that more people are smoking cheap tobacco, which is more dangerous.

    The road to hell is paved with something, I forget…anybody?

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  • PDXbiker July 27, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Vance #33 “this crowd is talking about taking your car keys”. Dude, gimme a break. Enjoy reading your posts though.

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  • Vance Longwell July 27, 2010 at 11:49 am

    PDXbiker #34 – Really? I mean, thanks for being kool, and all, but really? I’d say back at ya, on that one.

    Tell me, is a painted bicycle-lane a helpful tool for bicycle-riders, or a ban from the rest of the highway they are on? While it’s certainly the latter, the former has some serious problems. Namely, being forced to ride next to parked cars. And what about Tracy Sparling? Would she have been in such a horrible spot had the ‘law’ not told her to be there?

    Bike-lanes just aren’t that helpful to bicycle-riders, and introduce many hazards where none were before, can you say, “right-hook”? Given the level of advocacy for them here, in the face of overwhelming evidence that support my assertions, I can’t help but conclude the agenda is not bike-centric. This raises the question then, just what is the aim? Since most bicycle-specific infrastructure, when deployed, has impeded motor-vehicle traffic, I simply can’t help but observe the idea is to impede motor-vehicle traffic way more than it is to aid cyclists.

    Nah. Careful now. That Kool-Aid has something in it, and I wouldn’t drink it if I were you.

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  • YoBri July 27, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Vance #35 – really, I mean really? What Kool-Aid did you imbibe over the last two decades?

    I commute 13 miles each way and enjoy the 95% of the distance that is bike-laned for the visual delineation it provides for coffee-sipping drivers to/from work. For the 5% that is not marked, I take a tremendous leap of faith that I won’t be plowed over from behind (Lower Boones Ferry curves). When necessary, I carefully exit the bike lane to avoid grates, debris, parked cars, etc and command my share of the road. Not once have I been harassed for taking this share. So your comment “bike-lanes just aren’t that helpful to bicycle-riders” is just an ignorant statement IMO. Do you have overwhelming evidence to support that claim? The aim of bike lanes is to provide the least path of resistance for BOTH modes of transportation – not some insidious plot otherwise.

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  • Deb Kass July 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Where are the fat people in that vid??
    and why such an aggressive culture here in the US of A? The get’r done and deal w/it mentality/types, and git outa my way. Wow! What a bunch of dinosaurs we are. The snarky inappropriate comments, whistles and insults made towards women made mention in this blog. tisk, really? Makes it totally humiliating to call this place home. We the united. Dare say what a colossal joke.
    Also, was made mention on the vid. that Cope “tamed the drivers”. Gee, wild, wild West. So, that’s it. What a concept! I hope it’s doable, nation. Now, that would be PHAT!

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  • Michael M. July 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Vance: this crowd is talking about taking your car-keys

    Wait, did someone say Key Party? Whoa, ’60s flashback! Summer of Love, baby!

    “Laugh about it, shout about it
    When you’ve got to choose
    Ev’ry way you look at it, you lose”

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  • jim July 27, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Vance for president of BTA

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  • matthew vilhauer July 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    seems like Cope’s transportation values and ethic smacks of a civilized and cultured society. nothing we want any part of as americans ehh?

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  • matthew vilhauer July 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    jim #9, BTA-as in “Browbeating Tounge ASSociation”?

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  • Vance Longwell July 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    YoBri #36 –

    “I commute 13 miles each way and enjoy the 95% of the distance that is bike-laned for the visual delineation it provides for coffee-sipping drivers to/from work.”

    Except for you, right? Everyone is asleep at the wheel, except for you, right? Right? If not true, then how many others may you have been mistaken about, that are actually just as competent as you are? Minus that figure, what’s the damage to your fear-factor?

    “For the 5% that is not marked, I take a tremendous leap of faith that I won’t be plowed over from behind (Lower Boones Ferry curves).”

    No, no you don’t. At worst, you are taking a calculated risk. How on Modest Mouse’s green Earth can you even imply that 1/32″ of one-inch of thermo-plasty is going to prevent a car from running you down? It can’t, my man/woman, it simply can’t.

    ” When necessary, I carefully exit the bike lane to avoid grates, debris, parked cars, etc and command my share of the road. Not once have I been harassed for taking this share.”

    I’m not going to throw the ‘lie’ word around, but c’mon. Do I really have to sit here and pen link, after link, to the thousands, at this point, comments on this site directly refuting such an audacious claim? You go on to call me ignorant, your opinion granted, and appreciated, but you haven’t refuted my assertion. So-called right-hooks, proximity to parked cars, and lane-position in dangerous areas, are all, to the last, huge detractors.

    I hope I’m not being overly uncivil, you’re being kool and all, but the fact remains you are relying upon your opinion being common-knowledge way too much. I advocated for a bike-lane, or six, in my day, but was quickly made aware of their many drawbacks. Wait util a ballot measure hits us in a future November, to restrict bicycle-riding to bicycle-lanes, sidewalks, and MUPs, only. Then, please feel free to share your thoughts on bike-lanes with me again. Wait until a giant-sized law-suit is filed against you, and the fact you were an inch over some painted line ends up making you liable. In such a case, would you imagine that road-debris is going to get much play?

    It’s a tough row to hoe, talking bad about bike lanes, and I suck something fierce at this whole written language thing. If my fragmented, rage-soaked, rantings don’t register, forgive. In lieu of that I would ask for your trust when I say, “One day, you will regret this bicycle-specific infrastructure stuff.”. Mark ’em.

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  • trail user July 27, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Copenhagen makes a popular brand of tobacco chew under the same name. If I recall correctly, Copenhagen also legalizes prostitution and all sorts of illicit drugs. If we can bring all of Copenhagen’s goodness to the states, maybe then can we bring it’s bike lanes. To bad we have too many religious nuts opposing prostitution, otherwise this country would be a bicycling haven.

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  • Chris E. July 27, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Ah yes! I Love CPH.

    What is striking to me is that few cyclist in the video are wearing helmets. I suppose not wearing a helmet stems from a common trust between cyclist and motorist. I see CPH as a place where people “gets it.” From the video, it is obvious that many people in CPH not only ride a bicycle but drive a car too.

    As I viewed this video I noted a couple of “key” words used, “Human,” and “Human City.” CPH is a city fit for “Humans.” They don’t have a patent on humanity. US cities can be just as fit for humans too. Cyclist are “Human.” Motorist are, “Human.”

    The difference I see, as mentioned in the video, is that CPH is a place where they have managed to meld the human use of bicycles and motor vehicles, and the key, by choice, is education to promote respect between cyclist and motorist. And maybe more simply put, their example is a reminder of how each of us has a responsibility to respect another’s choice of human transportation.

    Education is the choice here for evolving our cities into “Human City.” Education seems to be working in CPH, and respect is the key.

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  • spare_wheel July 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    “seems like Cope’s transportation values and ethic smacks of a civilized and cultured society. nothing we want any part of as americans ehh?”

    the Netherlands shows that its possible to be bike-friendly without the anachronistic tweeness of Copenhagen. seriously, its OK to ride a modern bike at speeds >12 mph while wearing spandex. it does not automatically mark you as uncivilized, misogynistic, a fashion disaser, or a xenophobic exceptionalist.

    ride faster!

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  • ecohuman July 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I agree: let’s follow Copenhagen’s lead. Here are some things we need to start doing:

    1: Get Denser

    Copenhagen has 15,000 people per square mile. We only have about 1,600. They’ve got ten times the people density–we’d better get busy.

    2: Get Smaller

    Copenhagen city is about 34 square miles. Portland is *over 140 square miles*. We need to shrink the city, now. Less land, less roads, and less development.

    3: Get Older

    Copenhagen has been a city proper for over 700 years, and well-inhabited for almost 2,000 years. Its development is largely dictated by small, centuries-old streets and patterns that accomodated horses and pedestrians. Portland has been a city proper for only 159 years, with development patterns largely dictated by cars.

    4: Get Unemployed
    The average unemployment rate in Copenhagen city hovers around 12% the past three years, and is increasing due to in-migration.

    5: Get More Taxes
    Tax rates in Copenhagen can reach 63% (at about $70k/yr); Portland’s a measly ~32%. Portland needs to double its tax burden, now.

    6: Get Richer
    Copenhagen is one of the five most expensive cities in the world; Portland needs to increase its cost of living about 255% to catch up. Copnehagen’s minimum wage is about $16/hr; Portland’s is about $8.

    7: Get Cleaner
    Copenhagen has one of the cleanest waterway systems in the world. Portland has one of the dirtiest.

    8: Drive More
    Copenhagen is experience long-term increases in auto traffic congestion, which has reached critical proportions. It’s also experiencing a corresponding rise in air pollution. Despite an increase in bicycling *in* the city, the majority of city workers live *outside* the city (because of the expense). And a lot of them drive. Portland needs to drive more to keep up.

    About that Copenhagen air pollution:
    http://www.asset-eu.org/doc/Copenhagen.htm

    From that link:

    “The city of Copenhagen is characterised by a combination of high population and high vehicle emission density. Copenhagen is located in a coastal area with flat terrain and relatively high average wind speeds that basically provide for favourable air quality conditions. However, the local building topography with many heavy trafficked street canyons restricts the dispersion of emissions and cause degradation of the air quality. Recent scenario studies have shown that a large number of streets in Copenhagen will not be able to comply with European Union air quality limit values for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in 2010.”

    Look, folks: *bicycling in Copenhagen is not changing the environment*. It looks good, probably feels good, and is economical–but the environmental impact is negligible. And, it’s having no effect on auto use.

    9: Die Sooner
    Copenhagen, despite an almost 40% bike ridership, has one of the lowest life expectancies in Western Europe. Portland’s is much too high–we need to die sooner.

    10: Get Younger
    The average age in Copenhagen is 31 and dropping. The average in Portland is 35 and rising (that’s right–Portland is getting older!)

    11: Get Flat
    Copenhagen is almost dead flat, with an average elevation of about 12 feet. The most common reason bicyclists report for riding is: it’s easy because the city’s flat. Portland is…not flat.

    Oh, and:

    Copenhagen has a moratorium on skyscrapers. Portland encourages them.

    I say: Let’s be Copenhagen. That is, after we become Amsterdam.

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  • trail user July 27, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    There’s only one solution then. We bomb Copenhagen and we become numero uno.

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  • Michael M. July 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    @ecohuman – Cute!

    I don’t think the issue is that we can or should become Copenhagen, but what can we learn from Copenhagen (and Amsterdam, Utrecht, etc.) about what will or won’t work here. Obviously, first you have to agree that the goal is to get more people on bikes, which isn’t a goal some people who ride now care much about, or is something people feel threatened by, or see as an assault on their liberty, whatever.

    But beyond that, are any of the experiments (somewhat inspired by lowlands bike infrastructure) underway working? The SW Stark/Oak wide bike lanes? The SW Broadway cycletrack? I know, for me, I used to ride on SW Stark before the paint job, I still ride on it now. Frankly, it hasn’t made much of a difference to me. It was comfortable before, it still is. But that’s just me, maybe it makes a world of difference for many others. OTOH, I still see plenty of people riding eastbound on nearby streets when they could be taking SW Stark, so it doesn’t seem to be very compelling to them either, or they have specific reasons why they prefer those alternatives.

    So are we learning anything? Are these the kinds of thing that will increase bike mode share? Or are there other things that should take priority? Would strategically placed “green waves” be better?

    Given all the differences between cities like Copenhagen and Portland, would a better strategy be to pick out a reasonably dense area to build out the full Bike Master Plan wishlist, as a sort of showpiece? Maybe that would give everybody, fans and critics alike, a sense of how well any of this could work, geographically and culturally.

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  • J.Chong July 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    ecohuman:”3: Get Older

    Copenhagen has been a city proper for over 700 years, and well-inhabited for almost 2,000 years. Its development is largely dictated by small, centuries-old streets and patterns that accomodated horses and pedestrians. Portland has been a city proper for only 159 years, with development patterns largely dictated by cars.”

    Very true that one needs to consider a city’s historic urban and transportation DNA structure. Copenhagen is friggin’ old. Just visiting some the museums about the city that one is passing through, is a fantastic thing to see. Dating back to the Bronze Age. Here, we look to aboriginal/First Nations/native Indian history..which got buried with colonization.

    While the bombing joke was a …joke, after all, some of the European cities did get bombed heavily in the 2 wars.

    Aside from its historic core, Copenhagen is not as dynamic/visually arresting and spic-span as you might think. I noticed their buses didn’t have bike racks like we do on all our buses here in Vancouver, BC. But then, Copenhageners don’t have to deal with hills, mountain sides and multiple highway bridge routes like Metro Vancouver. Even though they get enough lousy winter weather like we do.

    Someone told me it is illegal for cyclists to make a left-hand turn at a road intersection in Copenhagen. Cyclists are required to do a pedestrian walk with bike. This was commented by a Copenhagen planner who visited Vancouver a few yrs. ago and was given a cycling tour around the city by other cycling advocates.

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  • Red Five July 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Yeah, let’s be Copenhagen…please if you love it sooo much, please just move there.

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  • Velophile in Exile July 28, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Red Five, seems like you have a real chip on your shoulder with people who like to ride bikes, and assert their right to do so, in Portland. Maybe you’re the one who should move. Or at least stop the incessant trolling.

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  • jim July 28, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    *@##**_+% Copenhagen

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  • jim July 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Better yet- Make a film showing how people in Portland ride, Blasting through intersections without even slowing down at stop signs, out in the middle of the traffic lane in their yellow lycra, skulcing around after dark with no headlights.
    Make that film and show it around.

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  • The Translator July 28, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Uh oh! Ecohuman went and injected facts that run counter to the commonly accepted bike fantasies about Copenhagen.

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  • Greg July 29, 2010 at 12:59 am

    @54 – yep – bummer that they’re either misleading or outright wrong 🙂

    Things will get interesting in the US if the $200/barrel oil thing hits in the near future. (Lloyds of London has a new report out that suggests a real risk of it by 2013.)

    It would be nice if the US woke up to the fact that our current arrangement isn’t even close to sustainable and exposes us to a wide array of near (and longer) term risks. Building better bike infrastructure and a culture of biking would be a small, inexpensive (relatively) and sadly inadequate step in fixing that.

    The fact that so few Americans get even that elementary reality is kind of depressing.

    And yes, biking in Copenhagen is wonderful. But biking in Groningen is better 🙂 If you want best-in-class bike infrastructure learn from the Dutch.

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  • The Translator July 29, 2010 at 5:28 am

    But our current and planned infrastructure isn’t even close to what the Euro fetishists drool over. Plus, I wish that Jonathan and Co. would find some other examples besides these lame films that only show slow moving, high density use in compact urban areas. I’ve been to the promised land and have also seen infrastructure that allows a rider to haul ass from town to town but you never hear about that.

    Where is the glut of cars in the core of our town coming from? Sellwood? Laurelhurst? NW 23rd? Or are they rolling in from Beaverton, Gresham, and Oregon City? The region’s traffic and air pollution will not improve much if a few more condo dwellers buy cruisers. The problem is suburban commuters who are pretty much forced to drive because good high speed suburban bike access and mixed mode is not available.

    European cities have it. Why won’t this site report it? Or would that offend the unfit and BikePortland’s notions that 8 MPH for two miles in the city is plenty fast enough?

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  • Suburban Commuter July 29, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    @55 – Not exactly 100% no, but the context is the point of the original post. So yes, Portland’s density is actually over 4,000 people/sq mile, not the 1,600 the poster claims (1,600/sq km in fact), but that doesn’t make all the statements false. Portland: 145sq mi (582k people), Copenhagen: 34sq mi (531k people)… context. Just because something works in one place does not mean it translates to another like importing some new brand of coffee.

    @56 – Amen on the suburban commute!

    One of my biggest complaints about commuting from outside Portland into the interior is safety. Distance is not a problem (though carrying capacity can be sometimes). Many roads outside the city proper are not even remotely bike friendly, and don’t expect sympathy from drivers regardless of how courteous you are being as a cyclist. Nothing says fun like dump trucks trying to run you off the road.

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  • ridensolidarity July 29, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    @Jim – “out in the middle of the traffic lane in their yellow lycra”

    Bicyclists have full legal right to take the lane. We are not obligated to get out of the way of motorists, as if where they have to go and do is more important.

    Riding on the side of the lane instead of the center is also much more dangerous for the cyclist. Car doors, less visible, sewer grates, debris, etc.

    Out of my own sense of courtesy, I do move over to let faster moving vehicles get by. But understand, bicyclists are not obligated to do this.

    I also wave in appreciation when cars wait for me at intersections, buses allow me pass before pulling to the curb, or when motorists wave me to go before them at stop signs…

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  • Pandora Patterson August 1, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I love that 55% of cyclists in Copenhagen are women. They feel secure riding with their kids because of the safety of the roads.

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