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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on March 28th, 2011 at 8:39 am

Here’s the news that caught our eyes week…

– In NYC: The clowns have come out to defend an embattled bike lane alongside Prospect Park, police have been ticketing anyone on a bike riding over 15mph in Central Park, and more momentum builds to make both those parks permanently carfree.

Why is there so much road rage (not to mention internet comment rage) towards people on bicycles? One writer takes on the task of explaining the hate.

– The city of Cambridge, Mass. has installed free bike maintenance stands throughout town, including integrated pumps, tire gauges, and basic tools.

– Freedom Rides, a new bike group in LA for members of the Black community that hosts fun rides that end at restaurants, has been sparking conversations about race.

– An Australian professor makes the case for improving public health by getting rid of that country’s mandatory bike helmet laws.

– In Washington, DC, steps are being taken to lure people to ride bikes to their transit stops, but are still trying to figure out how to make sure the bikes are still there when they get back.

– U.S. transit systems are finding that they have to revise their standards and designs as people become heavier.

What does car sharing have to do with bicycling? Potentially, everything.

– Still yearning for a blow by blow recap of the National Bike Summit a few weeks ago? Here you go.

– A guy throws a big, fun party for the whole community to celebrate his 10 year carfree anniversary in the not-so-bike-friendly city of Danbury, Connecticut.

– A not-so-countercultural bicycle wedding in LA wends its way into the mainstream media.

– A look at the latest fashion trends in cycling, not leaving out plaid, wool, and the all important polka dot.

– Cool animated graphic of the week: A visualization of how London’s “Boris Bikes” bike sharing system has been used so far…

London Hire Bikes animation from Sociable Physics on Vimeo.

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Mike Quigley
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Mike Quigley

America’s anti-bike mindset solution: Ten-buck gas and rationing. Let’s hope it’s sooner than later.

Barney
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Barney

$10 gas means $10 for a cup of coffee and $10 for a head of lettuce. Be careful what you wish for!

Jack
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Jack

That visualization of the Boris Bikes system is fantastic. Anyone else notice that at a few points on the ‘map’, bikes seem to circle the point 2-3 times before parking? I’m thinking they must be sprial ramps on a parking ramp, but it seems odd that bike parking wouldn’t be at ground level.

It’d be great if they could get (or already have) similar data tracking motor vehicles, and then do comparisons between travel times for bikes/cars going from point A to point B at the same time on the same day. Seems like that could be invaluable for making/defending infrastructure decisions.

BicycleDave
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BicycleDave

Those aren’t bikes, they’re sperm trying to fertilize an egg.

Alexis
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Alexis

Let’s get some of those bike maintenance stations here in Portland! Those look really useful.

Anton
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Anton

…and this headline from an article on bicycling in London in yesterday’s New York Times Style Magazine: “Is London the new Portland?”

Brad
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Brad

The anti-bike hate article was interesting. I read an interview with Chris Rock in “Esquire” this month. While he was referring to the Tea Party, I think it also applies to auto driving bike haters.

Rock states, “You know how kids always act up the worst right before bedtime? I think this is the same thing. These people know that bedtime is coming very soon.”.

Jeff P
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Jeff P

What about Emmett/Gaston who is bummed by the OBRA Hagg Lake races conflicting with his weekend drive? Keep your toys to the side of the road racers! Sunday Oregonian Letters to the Editor. This isn’t Europe – people like their cars.

Kristen
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Kristen

I read that– my first thought was, the organizers had to get permits to hold their race on that road. They posted the appropriate signage warning other road users of the race. They probably posted something in the local newspaper about it. I think they did all they could but as we all know, you can’t make everyone happy.

wsbob
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wsbob

Probably true. Sounds to be true from a remark to that effect in the letter published in the Oregonian. Despite those efforts, I think that that the phenomena a large scale bike race (which I imagine this was.) represents, is for a lot of people unfamiliar with them, one that’s going to take some getting used to.

The letter to Oregonian writer was bummed because, given the nature of this type of bike race, the racers weren’t holding to the right side of the road where I believe he wrote that a bike lanes exists. Add to that, the fact that the racers had their support cars trailing the pack. So there was no way the driver was going to be able to pass them all.

K'Tesh
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K'Tesh

I’d like to share this guy’s video out of Scotland…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z19zFlPah-o

G. Tyler
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G. Tyler

The Bike Commuter in Sellwood had a repair stand, tools and free air available on the sidewalk 24/7 until someone stole the repair stand last week. 🙁 Would love to see more repair stands and air around.

A.K.
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A.K.

There is also a bike rental business at waterfront park (right by the fountain) that has bike repair tools out, but I’m not sure if they stay out after the business closes shop for the night…

Another good place for a bike repair stand would perhaps be the firestation on the Eastbank Esplanade, that way it could be looked after by the guys who work there and hopefully not be abused.

wsbob
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wsbob

Central Park cyclists being ticketed for riding over 15mph. Now there’s a complicated mess to figure out. Why are they being ticketed? Go to the Streetsblog story, ‘NYPD: Riding Faster Than 15 MPH in Central Park Now Illegal’, linked above in the Monday Roundup, to see a picture of the squad cars on the Central Park loop ticketing cyclists.

The picture shows the loop road upon which cars are allowed to drive through the park. To one side of the road, is a bike lane, which of course…joggers, and walkers and whatever else in the park is probably also using. From the above mentioned story:]

“…The Central Park Conservancy website says the official speed limit for bikes and cars in the park is 25 mph. Some signs inside the park, impossible to read from the roadway, do indicate a 15 mph cap for cyclists. …”

There’s another story, ‘ Central Park Speedtrap’/Andy Shen published by nyVelocity, that shows the same photo above, plus others of the very same location during the day. The writer posts photos with cars near red lights, noting that at the time of the shot, he’d just observed cars visible in the picture having blown through the red lights. This story also shows the sign advising cyclists that the speed limit for them on ‘Park drives’, is 15mph (it’s not a speed limit sign at all, but rather…a park info type sign with the speed limit posted in small print amongst lots of other general park regulations.).

I browsed several stories. None of them mentioned whether it was the bike or the main road the cyclists were ticketed for exceeding 15mph.

There’s also a March 15 streetsblog story on this controversy…’Hundreds Ask NYPD to Cease Irrational Bike Crackdown in Central Park’, that covers a neighborhood meeting in which precinct commander, Central Park Captain Philip Wishnia was present to answer questions. An excerpt from that story:

“…Wishnia initially tried to claim that the precinct’s sudden crackdown is in response to a “dramatic increase in incidents over the years,” an assertion that he failed to substantiate. When speaker after speaker challenged the claim, Wishnia would eventually fall back on the explanation that he is simply being instructed by higher-ups to enforce the law and has no flexibility. …”

Hart Noecker
Guest

Pretty simple to understand the road rage projected at cyclists. Car drivers see somebody freer than they are and realize the $25,000.00 lie they bought is just a pollution cage on wheels. I’d be upset too.

Jack
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Jack

Last time I found myself stuck in a traffic jam, getting passed left and right by cyclists (well, just on the right I guess) I felt only shame and envy.

Hart Noecker
Guest

1 out of 5 television commercials sells the idea that cars offer freedom. 5 out of 5 cyclists passing motorists stuck in their cages destroy that lie.

A.K.
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A.K.

Yeah, they never show the gas bill, the repair bills, the new tires ever 3 years bill, or the traffic you’ll be stuck in – it’s always “closed course/professional driver” on beautiful rolling hills or an empty downtown.

I’m glad I discovered while I was young that cars are too expensive for what they offer. I’m going to keep my current one until the wheels fall off, then re-evaluate my needs, hopefully.

wsbob
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wsbob

Commercials promising freedom by motor vehicle? Commercials like those are merely romancing a mode of transportation that to a very large extent in today’s western world, many, many people must have access to and use of in order to get their day to day routine tasks done.

Tell members of families in this country that are running the domestic end of the household, that they can get all the items on their daily job list accomplished by relying on bike or mass transit only. Their list is endless. These folks are commonly responsible for transporting people, such as kids or people that are hurt or disabled, that can’t really get around on their own.

Many businesses are similarly bound to motor vehicle use, because they have to transport items and, or tools for delivery and use on the job.

Deepak Saxena
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Deepak Saxena

Those bike service stations are neat but they are pretty hideous looking in my opinion and I wouldn’t want one in my neighborhood. Perhaps if it was covered and integrated into a bike parking island so as to not stick out I might be more excited by it.

Pete
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Pete

I love the irony in the first comment quoted in the anti-bike sentiment story: “Those that wish to ride in traffic need to obey the rules of the road.”

Last I knew, the rules of the road required drivers and passengers to ensure safety before opening their doors. But my driver’s license test was so many decades ago they may have changed that rule by now.