The Monday Roundup

For when you want to cry foul.

Here’s the news that caught our eye this week:

– Sometimes a news story comes along that just sums everything up: In Utah, a mother has been cited for criminal neglect for allowing her son to walk to kindergarten after his school bus route was canceled.

– A new academic research study has found that people who live in walkable neighborhoods are “more socially engaged and trusting” than those who don’t.

– In the department of high profile anti-bicycle grumbling: The SF Chronicle proposes greater enforcement targeting people on bicycles. The Wall Street Journal is vexed by all things bike related, but does manage a moment of admiration for the independent spirit of the urban rider. And the New York Times casts all sorts of cantankerous aspersions (accompanied by an equally querulous cartoon). Streetsblog, as always, comes through with a gallant response.

– Meanwhile, also in New York City, a nice story about a guy who didn’t have time for the gym. When a new bike lane was installed past his work, he traded his subway commute for a bike and hasn’t looked back.

Wooden bicycles, or chukudus, are the main form of family and commercial transportation in the town of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

– In Groningen, the Netherlands, 50% of all trips are by bicycle. In the late seventies car infrastructure was replaced with bike infrastructure over the objections of business leaders–who now want even fewer cars and more bikes.

– Out of Fresno, California, a jubilant expression of love for bicycling almost makes car culture sound nostalgic but passé. Almost.

– The latest place to embrace bike sharing is Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The contract is signed, folks. It’s coming.

– A magnetic “yellow card” is proposed as a way people on bikes can express their distress to someone who has just driven past them too close and at high speed.

– A man in Pittsburgh attempted to confront a man who had just sideswiped him on his bike and ended up in the hospital.

– UC Berkeley campus police are cracking down on cycling violations. Students are protesting the fines, which are equal to those given for committing traffic violations in cars.

– Toronto has a new mayor, who was introduced at his inauguration by a conservative television personality wearing a hot pink jacket “for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles.”

– Some practical tips on making the case for cycling to a conservative audience.

– It’s possible to run a respectable team of 12 professional female bike racers for 5% of the budget of a men’s team. But it’s difficult to find sponsors at all when women’s racing doesn’t get the attention or airtime that men’s racing does.

– Are you a real transportation geek? Find out here.

– Video of the week: A bicycle tunnel in Marin County, California, 30 years in the making, has opened at last.

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Mike Quigley
Mike Quigley
11 years ago

I like the “pinkos out there that ride bicycles.” Pinkos? Are commies still lurking? Pray for 10 buck gas!

patrickz
patrickz
11 years ago

Oh, for the Almighty Label!! Now I’m a “Pinko”. When I liked jazz, I was a Beatnik. When I opposed the Vietnam war, I was a “Weakling”. I went to the Rally for the Return of Sanity; there has to be a label for that. Anyway, happy —and SAFE— holidays, Jonathan & family, and everyone else.
Yours,
The Bikie.

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
11 years ago

A bike shop in Toronto has a great response to Mr. Cherry’s blathering, ill-informed rant. They’ve fixed him up with a bike…pink, no less! (Oh, and they’re directing people to donate to his favorite charity, too.)

http://www.curbside.on.ca/blog/

davemess
davemess
11 years ago

“Is there one for cyclists that blow through stop signs or weave in and out of busy traffic, to say nothing of those who refuse to ride in designated bike paths, choosing instead to ride along higher-speed multilane roads? Or those who avoid bike lanes and instead dawdle their way along mid-lane, blocking roads?”

Ah, you have to love open-minded individuals like this fellow, who commented on the yellow card article.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
11 years ago

“high profile anti-bicycle grumbling”

The SFGATE article was fairly … fair. The author did their research and laid no blame at the pedals of the cycling community, at a whole, that doesn’t belong there.
As heretical as it may be to say here on BikePortland poor behavior of cyclists is perpetuated socially in the same way that poor behavior of auto drivers is socially acceptable. This inevitably leads to fatalities like we had last week.
A random average person riding a bike or driving an auto doesn’t see the potential for harm, they only see what everyone else is getting away with so they do the same. Those that stand up for the rule of law are social pariahs.

WSJ:best summed up by the quote early in the article “Cry uncle and start riding a bike around town.”

Overall for the 3 “news” articles mentioned here it smells like the beginnings of a whole societal “sea change”. The change all the old timers deserved and fought for. I expect to be an old timer before it fully sets in.

Lazlo
Lazlo
11 years ago
Reply to  q`Tzal

Yeah, I didn’t view these as anti-bicycle so much as ill-informed. I’d say they fall on the positive side of the scale overall. Seems like anything that isn’t in line with the bike activist dogma immediately gets labeled anti-bike.

chelsea
chelsea
11 years ago

Don Cherry is a **direct personal insult has been deleted** Always has been.

Chelsea, please try and express your feelings about Mr. Cherry in a more thoughtful way. Thanks. — Jonathan Maus

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
11 years ago
Reply to  chelsea

While I can’t see your **REDACTED** description the wikipedia page on him is amusing/disappointing/depressing.

Empirical proof that evolution doesn’t just go forward, it also goes backward.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago

The bike tunnel is interesting, but why is the whole thing a no-passing zone, especially given that there’s no sidewalks? That’s gotta suck to get stuck behind a pedestrian in that thing.

davemess
davemess
11 years ago

With most of the comments on these articles, it still amazes me how far we have to go as a society.

beth h
11 years ago

Disturbing news about the Utah mother who was only trying to instill some independence in her child.

My mother made a similar choice for me and my sister; we walked two miles to school and two miles home again, every day except when there was more than 6″ of snow (this was back east when schools still stayed open unless there was a blizzard). She did not start driving me to school when the bullies followed me home; instead she taight me a couple of evasive, non-harmful judo moves (she had a brown belt) and I learned how to run faster when I needed to. (Say what you want about “different times” but this was in NE Philadelphia with very busy streets and lots of car traffic.)

If the state doesn’t keep interfering, that boy will grow into a capably, resourceful young man while his over-protected classmates will be stunted at every turn.

I support the mother’s efforts in this case and I hope she fights the charge in court.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  beth h

I rode my bike ~2 miles from 90th and Cashmur to Raleigh Park School when I was little, and then 7 miles each way to Whitford via OR-210 when I was in middle school. Coming down the long hill towards Allen from Whitford is where I got stopped for doing 45 in a school zone when I was in 7th grade: Turns out, you’re expected to slow down for yourself if it says “when children are present.”

resopmok
resopmok
11 years ago

I attribute the lack of ability for those who operate their vehicles (whether it’s a bike or a car) as scofflaws to a lack of traffic education and enforcement on the part of the government. Driver’s education in this country is treated more as a right of passage than an education and, as a result, people come away having learned little. I’m not sure what has led to the schizophrenia, but there is a culture of disrespect and self-importance on the road which is much more pronounced than in normal day-to-day, non road-related interactions. Maybe sometime regulatory agencies will wake up to this fact and try to do something about it, but until then the car vs bike debate will rage. Feces slinging fights sure do get messy, quick, though.

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” -Jesus Christ

dirt_merchant
11 years ago

I spotted the NYT cartoon and wrote the artist (Bruce McCall, zanybruce@gmail.com) to let him know I disliked the message; this is the rant I got back: “Cyclists constitute a tiny elite of the Manhattan transportation world. The lanes reserved for cyclists are underused while because of them traffic is further congested, creating further pollution. Nobody voted for this elitist idiocy.”

I’m amazed at such an anachronistic response!

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  dirt_merchant

I got a kick out of the NYT cartoon. It’s so silly, I don’t know how anyone couldn’t get at least a chuckle out of it. I especially liked this part of the text accompanying the cartoon:

” E — PROHIBITED LANE. A revenue-bonanza no man’s land with no purpose except to slap the unwary with a $95 fine. ”
Nice that you actually got a response from the cartoonist. He seems a bit testy. If it was mine, I’d print out a copy of the cartoon and frame it with his response.

Stig
Stig
11 years ago

Bike lanes support freedom of travel using a means many times more efficient and less expensive than a car.

Bike lanes are only red when they’re covered in blood.

malka
malka
11 years ago

The UC Berkley story shows just how little common sense is left in the world. As conservative a cyclist as I am, even I don’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign unless I have to. Anyone care to offer a rational argument in favor of treating bicycles as if they were cars?

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  malka

I read the UC Berkley story, and also thought the campus police may have been over-doing it. That’s assuming from a pedestrian/vehicle transportation standpoint, that UC Berkley’s campus differs significantly from off-campus traffic conditions, which I expect it probably does. In other words, less vehicle traffic, (and what there is, probably travels slower than on city streets)…more pedestrian and bike traffic.

That article didn’t have any back story that attempted to explain why campus police came to feel they needed to crack down on cyclist violations on campus. Did riding behavior on campus gradually worsen and get so bad, threatening safety so much that university administrators came to feel this step needed to be taken?

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago

A better idea would be to make a case to ODOT or PBOT to have such stop signs converted to yields. Familiarity breeds contempt with stop signs, and in most cases, even four way stops, would function more efficiently and just as safely if it were a yield. Oklahoma tends to post yield signs unless a full stop is actually warranted, and it just seems to work better.

Kevin Wagoner
Kevin Wagoner
11 years ago

Wow, the story about the kindergartner walking to school is interesting. I was in 1st or 2nd grade when I started walking to and from school by myself.

Lolly
11 years ago

Regarding the cyclist that was attacked in Pittsburgh, the biking community came together incredibly to support him and his family. Between Friday and Monday, 20+ businesses contributed items for a raffle and we organized a fundraising get-together within 48 hours. Last night we raised over $1700 to go towards his medical expenses!

Tacoma
Tacoma
11 years ago
Reply to  Lolly

I love this! Thanks so much for the update.

NW Biker
NW Biker
11 years ago

I heard a statement yesterday that still has me shaking my head in despair. I was in my doctor’s waiting room and another person waiting said to a companion: “Those cyclists are dangerous. I can see cars, but I can’t see the cyclists.”

Okay, the cyclists are dangerous because you can’t/don’t/won’t see them?

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  NW Biker

Since you were at the doctor’s office, you probably should have mentioned your concern to the doctor. Doctors can forward these concerns to the DMV to call the questionable driver in for re-testing.

Jean
11 years ago

“Remind them that cycling is cheaper than building more roads. The more cyclists, the MORE room for cars on existing roads. The more cyclists, the less concrete we need to pour. The less concrete, the more money for deficit reduction, tax cuts—or for bike projects in their home districts.

Bottom line (and that is what conservatives like to think they are all about): Cycling saves money, saves lives and makes us stronger as individuals and as a nation. Spending money to support cycling is like putting money in the bank–it pays big dividends at low risk. It’s as all American as Mom’s apple pie. How much more conservative can you get?”

Quite agree about this excerpt from article on how to talk to conservatives about cycling. One must appeal by discussing the most fiscally useful thing about cycling ….AND point value of cycling directly to the health of their loved ones. Just forget about the environmental score cards…unless you are pitching the soft sell on a smoggy summer day. 🙂

PDXCyclist
PDXCyclist
11 years ago

I wonder if **REDACTED**

BicycleDave
BicycleDave
11 years ago

Funniest line from the NYT editorial: “crack down on these cyclists and make them obey traffic laws like everybody else.” “Like everybody else” yeah right.

bramasoleiowa
11 years ago

My sympathy for the UC Berkeley students ended when I read this quote “$220 is food for two weeks.”
four years ago when I was a student, $220 was food for almost two months.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  bramasoleiowa

Until they start generating their own electricity and sourcing their own water, let them eat cake. The western US deserves better than to be welfare providers for the second biggest waste of federal money after the war.