The Monday Roundup

They’re headed up again.
(Photo © J. Maus)

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

– A look at some factors behind the “disconnect” between many bicycle advocacy programs and communities of color.

– In Tucson, the path of a family’s decision to trade in one of their cars for a cargo bike.

– With political upheaval continuing in the Middle East, gas prices are on the way up.

– One of our local papers, The Portland Tribune, ran a front page story titled, Will a bike ride a day keep the doctor away?. The article was based on research from Switzerland (which we wrote about a month ago) theorizing that Portlanders could save $594 million dollars in health care costs over the next 30 years thanks to our bike friendly streets.

– Los Angeles has just enacted a new bicycle master plan that requires the city to build 1600 miles of new bicycle infrastructure.

– In Chicago, citywide bike counts show that over 20% of the traffic on some streets is bicycles.

– A profile of NYC transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who has hugely expanded that city’s bikeway network during her tenure, gives voice to her critics within the city administration.

– Also in New York, a proposed bicycle licensing bill has been withdrawn, and criticism is growing against what some call selective ticketing of people on bicycles.

– Sweden has discovered that with more energy efficient cars, people are driving more.

– Californians will soon be able to opt for pay-as-you-drive car insurance, which is hoped to result in less driving.

– Across the Pacific Northwest, for unknown reasons, driving has been on the decrease for years and sometimes decades.

– An insurance company survey found that nearly 20% of respondents admitted to using the internet while driving. Meanwhile a separate study recently found that over 10% of people in the US find that lack of sleep is a problem for their driving or commuting.

– After a right hook crash in Baltimore left a twenty year old student in a coma, police say charges will likely not be filed because “he did run into her car.” UPDATE from a reader from Baltimore:
“Police have since retracted this statement. The investigation into the crash is on-going and charges are pending the outcome of the investigation. The Mayor’s Bike Advisory Committee met with police on Thursday who were incredibly helpful & informative.”

– A look at cities around the US that are removing freeway segments and replacing them with surface streets or light rail.

– After spending time bicycling in Amsterdam, a New Yorker tries to apply what he learned to bicycling at home, with a little success.

– In Tel Aviv, Israel, an organization is fighting to save the city’s mandatory all ages bicycle helmet law.

– A look at various bike bloggers and their relationships with the bike industry.

– A tale of random acts of generosity in a Toronto bike lane.

This is what an architect-designed bike shop looks like.

– A graphic display of some of your options when you’re yelled at on the road.

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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Kyle Krause
Kyle Krause
13 years ago

In other news, New Belgium’s Tour de Fat chooses to snub Portland (the city of bikes and beer) this year. Extreme disappoint.

A.K.
A.K.
13 years ago
Reply to  Kyle Krause

Maybe our own HUB could pick up the slack and do some cool events? I’d much rather support them than New Belgium.

davemess
davemess
13 years ago
Reply to  Kyle Krause

Did you go to it last year? It was pretty sadly attended. There is just too much going on at the waterfront during the summer. Tour de Fat was a fun time, but compared to Other cities, Portland was a bit of a dissapointment. Can’t say I blame them. not like they have to preach the Beer and Bike anthem here, anyways.

9watts
9watts
13 years ago

Jonathan,

I think you got the heading backwards about the Swedish car trend: Here is the article’s title you cite:
“Backfire! With Cleaner Cars, People Drive More”

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Reply to  9watts

Thanks for catching that 9watts. I’ve fixed that entry.

jim
jim
13 years ago

It’s an interesting idea that LA uses sales tax to pay for bike lanes. Everybody that buys stuff pays a fair share, rich people buying a new lexus can afford to pay more than the guy buying a scwinn. I would only advocate a new tax for essential services though (fire, police, medical…) new bike lanes would not justify a new tax here.

BicycleDave
BicycleDave
13 years ago
Reply to  jim

Actually the sales tax is a very regressive tax. The poor spend all their money so 100% of a poor person’s income is subject to the tax whereas a rich person only spends a small fraction of their income (the rest is invested or more accurately gambled in such a way as to crash the economy for the rest of us).

A.K.
A.K.
13 years ago

I really like the idea of pay-as-you-drive auto insurance… and I think such a system would actually encourage people to drive less, as there would be tangible pocket-book benefits to keeping the car parked.

A.K.
A.K.
13 years ago
Reply to  A.K.

OH, I forgot to add – my car has been hit not once, not twice, but THREE times while parked over the last four years, all in different locations around town. I have yet to actually have an accident while driving. So sometimes you’ll be at risk of making claims even while parked… especially if hit-and-run jerks don’t leave notes and you don’t have someone else to put the insurance claim on.

John Lascurettes
13 years ago

From the article on lower driving rates in the northwest:

The Columbia River Crossing project: According to this analysis by Portland economist Joe Cortright, the number of cars taking the I-5 bridge between Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA “has declined every year after 2005.” The trends are almost the exact opposite of the transportation modelers’ predictions: “Traffic levels in the nearly five years since CRC forecasts were completed have declined by about 7,000 vehicles per day, rather than increasing by about 7,000 vehicles per day as forecast.”

And we have these calls for a new CRC why exactly? Induced demand would guarantee it would spike up if a wider bridge was built.

Jeff
Jeff
13 years ago

not if gas is $4.00/gallon it won’t….

Brian E
13 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Or $5.00/gallon as many are predicting for this summer.

peejay
peejay
13 years ago

That bike shop design, while somewhat pretty, is mostly about overcoming the challenge of providing PARKING for a BIKE SHOP! And I’m not talking about big bike corrals either. They apparently sell a lot of high end road bikes to people who have racks mounted on their SUVs. There’s even a picture of the shop that shows it on a very bike-and-people-unfriendly street.

jim
jim
13 years ago
Reply to  peejay

Thats the first time I heard somebody complain about a store actually having parking. How are you going to get your new bike home without a car (and yes- bikeracks)? Bellvue is best gotten to by car, especially if your coming from Seattle

Esther
Esther
13 years ago

Pay-as-you-drive insurance is already available here through Progressive. My friend has it. They put a device in your car that monitors your distance usage as well as hard stops. You don’t need Onstar or anything like that.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
13 years ago
Reply to  Esther

Its not such a good deal. Even though I drove 400-500 miles a year I got at best a 23% discount. The discount maxes out at 25% but I doubt anyone hits that level.

beth h
13 years ago

Disagree. $4.00/gallon is NOTHING to most Americans. Consider that many Americans, if forced to choose between keeping their apartment or their car, will still pick the car to live in in the emergency short-term; that speaks volumes about how prevalent the car is in American culture.

To get Americans to drive less, end the subsidies and make gasoline $8.00/gallon or more. It has to hurt to get folks to change their habits.

rigormrtis
rigormrtis
13 years ago
Reply to  beth h

Even no commuters will bear the costs of higher fuel. Food prices will go up dramatically.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
13 years ago
Reply to  rigormrtis

Vehicle fuel is a much smaller component of food prices than you would think. The current upswing in food prices has more to do with extremely bad weather across the entire globe (and speculation).

rigormrtis
rigormrtis
13 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

Anything else you buy comes in by truck.

beth h
13 years ago

Tried to get previous post to be a response to Jeff and John L (above, on CRC Bridge); but for some reason it wouldn’t let me.

9watts
9watts
13 years ago

beth h
Tried to get previous post to be a response to Jeff and John L (above, on CRC Bridge); but for some reason it wouldn’t let me.

I know what you mean. This new post/inter-post comment software is *not* an improvement in my opinion

Jonathan "J.R" Reed
13 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Noted. Thanks. If you know of others that function better in our current structure, I am all ears. – J.R.

9watts
9watts
13 years ago

I am not sure what you mean by ‘in our current structure’ but I thought the old system where folks simply referenced the #’ed posts when they wanted to reply to something specific, but all posts appeared sequential by time stamp was much more user friendly. Or perhaps you, J.R., were referring to something else?

pixie
pixie
13 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Yes, please bring back the old system. It’s difficult to keep up with new postings in this current incarnation.

BicycleDave
BicycleDave
13 years ago
Reply to  9watts

I’m not a fan of the old system where someone at post number 101 refers me back to post 47 which has apparently changed numbers because 47 has nothing to do with what 101 is talking about.

eli bishop
eli bishop
13 years ago
Reply to  BicycleDave

agreed.

Pete
Pete
13 years ago

Pay-as-you-drive car insurance? Cool! Now… can we get that feature with health insurance??

tacoma
tacoma
13 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Not sure of your point here. Pay-as-you-live health insurance IS available.

Jayne Cravens
13 years ago

“After spending time bicycling in Amsterdam, a New Yorker tries to apply what he learned to bicycling at home, with a little success.” I so loved this article. I lived in Germany for eight years, and became a bike convert. Then I moved back to the USA – and to the Portland area – in Sept. 2009, and found my style of bike riding (not on the very best top of the line mountain or commuting bike, not riding at Tour de France speed, not having a biker’s bod, being over 40, not dressing “the part”) isn’t at all welcomed here. I could never possibly hang my bike on a Max train. I’m feeling driven back to my car…

wsbob
wsbob
13 years ago
Reply to  Jayne Cravens

Yes Jane…I second 9Watts request. Give us more insight into why you feel the reception here stateside, to the type of cyclist you see yourself as being, has not been as receptive as it was over in Germany.

Because reading your comment, my thinking is that you may be exactly the type of cyclist there’s not enough of out in Beaverton. A fair number of Beaverton residents, facing some opposition, worked hard last year to support the installation of bike lanes on Lombard Ave, with your type of rider particularly in mind.

Those bike lanes and others like them elsewhere are ready and waiting for you get on your bike and go. Ignore the sour faces, because there’s going to be far more that will be cheering you on with a smile and a thumbs up.

9watts
9watts
13 years ago

Jayne,

I’d love to have you say a bit more about this. I grew up in Germany and biked there in the eighties and nineties, and now live in Portland, and I pay very little attention to how well I ‘fit in’ with the bike scene here. I mean there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of different ways people bike around here. What do you mean by ‘style of bike riding’? If it is the paranthetical description I fit most all of those and none of this has ever come up for me, been a stumbling block. The comment about hanging your bike on MAX–do you mean it is physically impossible for you to lift the bike? the bike doesn’t fit? you are made to feel awkward? I’m missing something.

You were obviously ‘more accepted’ as a cyclist in Germany. Do say more.

Thanks.