Lots of local and national bike news today. Instead of letting it all pile up on my various story lists, I figured I’d drop it all into one post. So here goes…
— Some big national attention on biking today with NPR’s Talk of the Nation taking on the age-old mantra of cycling scofflaws. The piece, annoying titled, Cyclists: Do You Really Obey Traffic Laws?, was inspired by a feature article in Bicycling Magazine that does a post-mortem on the New York City bike lane backlash. The Bicycling article comes to the conclusion that the “enemy among us” is us. Here’s a snip from the article’s conclusion:
“It could be that all the new bike lanes anyone could build will only go to waste unless we realize that, as Podziba says, “We need a culture of self-enforcement among cyclists.””
This meme that cycling won’t be fully embraced by America until everyone acts like an angel while doing it is frankly ridiculous. I won’t go into details here, but check out this recent Grist article for more of my thoughts.
— Another huge national story today was a major new report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. The report, Transportation and the New Generation: Why Young People Are Driving Less and What It Means for Transportation Policy, found that Americans — especially younger people — are driving less and biking more. A lot more.
Some of the salient findings include: by 2011, the average American was driving 6 percent fewer miles per year than in 2004; the average young person (age 16-34) drove 23 percent fewer miles in 2009 than the average young person in 2001; from 2000 to 2010, the share of 14 to 34-year-olds without a license increased from 21 percent to 26 percent; between 2001 and 2009, the annual number of miles traveled by 16 to 34 year olds on public transit such as trains and buses increased by 40 percent; during that same period, young people took 24 percent more bike trips.(!)
The key takeaway? “America’s transportation preferences appear to be changing. Our elected officials need to make transportation decisions based on the real needs of Americans in the 21st century.”
— Portland-based Showers Pass launched a new a new accessory for hydration packs called LapelEau. It’s a magnetic, retractable reel that keeps the hydration tube in check.
— Public Bikes issued a recall of about 4,100 bikes due to pedals that can crack and/or break. 18 models from the 2010 – 2012 model years are impacted by the recall. Check out the CPSC advisory for all the details.
— I joined several other local journalists this morning to live-Tweet a mayoral debate on OPB. It was a very interesting dicussion and you can listen to it and relive all the Twitter action on OPB’s Think Out Loud website or listen to a rebroadcast on OPB radio tonight at 9:00 pm.
— The State of Oregon and Travel Oregon officially announced the ninth State Scenic Bikeway. The latest route is the 134-mile Grande Tour Scenic Bikeway that takes riders, “under a scented canopy of Ponderosa pine forests, past stunning views of the Blue Mountains and the Wallowa Mountains and across sweeping sagebrush rangelands near La Grande and Baker City.” The route covers sections of the original Oregon Trail. Learn more and plan your adventure at RideOregonRide.com.