The Monday Roundup

Here’s the news that caught our eye last week…

– Gabrielle Giffords, the U.S. Congresswoman who was the target of a mass shooting over the weekend, is no stranger to bicycle transportation issues. She and her husband ride regularly, and she has worked at a state and federal level to pass bicycle safety laws. Read an interview with Rep. Giffords that appeared on Tucson Velo last fall and read more about her from the League of American Bicyclists.

Do roads pay for themselves, via user fees? Nope.

– In Baltimore, a study has found that, per dollar spent, building bicycle infrastructure creates twice as many jobs as building roads.

– When it comes to bikes, we all know that the traffic law is, to put it kindly, a work in progress. So what rules should we follow when riding? Here’s one proposal.

– A list of ways for transportation professionals to handle the politicized backlash against bicycling is also useful reading for citizens and advocates.

– The economy may still be down, but there may be hope in the bike industry–as evidenced by this Portland wheel builder who is expanding her business.

– A Montana woman became “legendary” among hospital staff by carrying out her plan to ride her bicycle to the hospital when she went into labor.

– A new mom in the UK shares her research about when it’s safe to start bicycling with a newborn.

– New York City has a new cohort of bike lane and public space advocates: Tourists.

– The Economist takes a look at London’s year-old bikesharing system, and is critical of what it sees.

– In Ottawa, the capital of Canada, a group called the Responsible Cycling Coalition is vocally opposing the city’s plan to build a separated bike lane, saying that the free movement of cars and buses should be prioritized.

– Yet another bicycle-generated-energy invention would, in theory, harvest the wind that rushes past as your wheels spin.

– Eye candy of the week: A A bike sweater (and a car one to boot) and Photos of celebrities on bicycles.

Photo of author

Elly Blue (Columnist)

Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com

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Michael Wolfe
Michael Wolfe
13 years ago

The generator “invention” is ridiculous. Every watt it might generate comes out of three additional watts from your legs.

April
April
13 years ago
Reply to  Michael Wolfe

I might misunderstanding it, but it doesn’t look like it creates any substantial amount of drag while cycling. And if you’re already going somewhere already…I know that stuff like this is awful handy if you’re bicycle touring and camping, and therefore not always likely to have a good place to charge your cell phone and/or iPod. Some of my friends have solar panels for that purpose, but they require steady sunshine.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
13 years ago
Reply to  April

If it doesn’t create drag, there’s no energy transfer to turn the turbines. If it creates drag, it’s creating air resistance proportional to the drag.

Jack
Jack
13 years ago
Reply to  Michael Wolfe

Yeah, its no different from typical pedal-powered generators, except that its bound to be way less effective.

April
April
13 years ago

The article on NYC reminds me that I’m hoping to visit NYC one of these days, and part of the reason (I never had a great yearning to visit before) is knowing that it’s more bike-friendly these days. Yeah, the subway and walking are great ways to get around too, but hardly the same as getting to know a city via a bicycle.

SE Jimmy
SE Jimmy
13 years ago

Ok, so I know that vehicle user fees don’t pay for roads. In all seriousness, is their any government-funded service which user fees do pay for completely, and are not subsidized by unrelated taxes and fees?

Brian
Brian
13 years ago
Reply to  SE Jimmy

The US postal service claims to be self sufficient, hence the frequent rate increases.

jram
jram
13 years ago
Reply to  Brian

The postal service has been operating in the red for the past few years. Actually way in the red.

http://mnfmi.org/2010/11/12/us-postal-service-deficit-is/

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
13 years ago
Reply to  SE Jimmy

The IRS. Amtrak would have in 2002 if they weren’t intentionally crippled by the Bush Administration after 9/11 to bail out the airlines…

Chrystal
Chrystal
13 years ago

I love the story about the women in Montana! I also appreicate all info on cycling with children.

Jeff
Jeff
13 years ago
Reply to  Chrystal

riding a bike while you know you’re in labor endangers both yourself and your unborn child. the duration of labor is a complete unknown. This woman made choices that were incredibly foolish and somewhat selfish….

are
13 years ago

not sure i understand why david alpert objects to what he calls the “c-maneuver” (which does actually have a name, it is called the “cyclist’s u-turn”). this is a perfectly sensible way to cross a street that has a fair amount of two-way traffic, where the intersection you are trying to cross is some distance from whatever traffic signals are sending these pelotons of cars through at intervals that never quite seem to clear simultaneously . . . i am thinking northeast 30th and fremont, but there are countless others, along burnside, sandy, etc. yes, it is technically illegal for a “vehicle” to make a u-turn within city limits, but this is yet another area in which maybe different rules should apply to cyclists. in any event, alpert does not say why he thinks this is “bad.”

spare_wheel
13 years ago
Reply to  are

An awful lot of bike facilities in PDX come to a full stop at busy intersections. The cyclist u-turn is often the sensible way to cross during peak travel hours.

I disagree with the idea that cyclists should not skip ahead when there are only a few cars. Cyclists have the legal right to pass on the right and the legal right to insert themselves at a crosswalk. IMO,waiting behind stacked vehicles is potentially unhealthy and dangerous.

Jeff
Jeff
13 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

why? so faster riders who are willing to wait in line have to pass you twice..?

spare_wheel
13 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Name an intersection and time, Jeff. 😉

Tacoma
Tacoma
13 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

The writer actually addresses both situations for “queue jumping” – when it’s not really necessary and when there are lots of cars. I guess you would have to decide how many cars are in the queue to determine if it is “not really necessary”.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
13 years ago
Reply to  are

It’s also not legal since you have to be 500 feet from an intersection to make a U-turn (u-turns at controlled intersections (such as any intersection with a stop or yield sign, or a traffic signal in any direction) are banned unless explicitly posted otherwise in Oregon).

Johnnie Olivan
13 years ago

If I got hit by a car wearing a sweater I would prob. have a better chance of surviving.

Tacoma
Tacoma
13 years ago

The writer actually addresses both situations for “queue jumping” – when it’s not really necessary and when there are lots of cars. I guess you would have to decide how many cars are in the queue to determine if it is “not really necessary”.

spare_wheel
13 years ago
Reply to  Tacoma

I think you should always jump the queue if there is space. We have a legal right to do so. I also really hate breathing exhaust so IMO this is not only a right of way issue but a health issue.

Opus the Poet
13 years ago

Re: that “Responsible Cycling Coalition” in Ontario, Canada. I smell AstroTurf. Anybody else smell AstroTurf? For those that don’t know what I’m talking about think “fake grassroots”.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
13 years ago

I prefer not to queue jump when there’s only room enough to ride in-lane: At least my interpretation of the vehicle code states that if there’s not enough room for cars to pass in the same lane, then there’s not enough room for you to pass in the same lane either.

The Responsible Cycling Coalition sounds like one of those oppositely-named groups you hear around election time, like Oregon Taxpayers United (which is just Bill Sizemore and nobody else).

spare_wheel
13 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

Oregon code allows bikes to pass on the right in the rightmost vehicle lane.

jim
jim
13 years ago

regarding “what age to take babies on bikes” according to the bicycle helmet institute no babies under 12 months. I would trust their professional advice and cumulated data over what some mom thinks.
http://www.bhsi.org/little1s.htm
In New York state its not even legal

RyNO Dan
RyNO Dan
13 years ago

Pop quiz: What is the capital of Canada ?

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
13 years ago
Reply to  RyNO Dan

Ottawa.