Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

The Monday Roundup

Posted by on March 18th, 2013 at 10:31 am

“Cars are as dangerous for pregnant women as alcohol and cigarettes, yet few mums-to-be are warned of travel risks.”
— From MSN in New Zealand

Happy Monday everyone. Let’s take a look back at the stories you might have missed last week…

— Watch this video of a dooring incident in San Francisco and then ask yourself how Geico Insurance could have partially blamed the rider for going too fast and losing control of her bicycle.

— Portland-based writer and rider Heidi Swift highlights the amazing story of a women’s cycling team that’s has emerged in Afghanistan and the woman trying to raise funds to produce a film about them.

— As the debate over how to pay for transportation infrastructure rages on, this analysis of a report by Todd Litman of the Victoria Transportation Policy Institute is a must read. It explains how auto-centric planning that fails to consider the high cost of car ownership unfairly impacts lower-income populations.

— Lovely Bicycle opines on “Passive Transportation” and gives us great food for thought for how we frame various mobility options.

— I’m really loving the League’s deep dives into legal and policy issues. Their latest is a state-by-state analysis of “Share the Road” license plates.

Bad news for bikeshare in Vancouver BC and it looks like their mandatory helmet law is at least partially to blame.

— As a traffic safety nerd, transportation culture observer, and veteran of three home-births, I always wondered if I’d ever see this headline: “Cars are as dangerous for pregnant women as alcohol and cigarettes, yet few mums-to-be are warned of travel risks, a lead injury researcher says.”

— Streetsblog shared a fascinating look at the history of hit-and-run laws in New York City, where there’s some momentum to make it a felony offense. Again. Turns out hit-and-run used to be a felony up until the 1920s when the, “rapid expansion of car ownership meant that an increasing number of the voting public saw themselves as more likely to be behind a wheel than under one.”

— Another place (Sonoma County) is looking to pass anti-harassment legislation. I’m split as to whether such laws reflect a bike-friendly culture or one that’s so inhospitable that laws like this are necessary.

— When an 81-year-old woman gets her bike stolen, the only sensible way for a community to react is to get her a new one. ASAP. Nice work Colorado Springs!

Good news about bicycles in Riverside, California is good new for bicycles everywhere.

— At USC, students and faculty are pressuring planners to make campus more bike-friendly.

— More signs of the vast political and pubic agency support for electric cars in Oregon. We’ll know bicycling has truly arrived when it can amass that much political capital.

— Check out this awesome interview in VeloNews on local bike industry icon Chris King.

— I’m late to this one, but a neighborhood in Santa Monica, California has actually implemented the “woonerf” or shared-space road design. When it comes to traffic calming and truly human-scale planning, “woonerf” is sort of the holy grail.

— In the weekly, cars-are-not-the-future department, The Atlantic Cities explains why cars are likely to follow in the footsteps of landlines and steamships. As in, the automobile’s days are numbered.

— In New York City, bike activists continue to pressure the NYPD to take fatal biking and walking traffic collisions more seriously. On the recent Criminality Suspected Ride, non-profit group Times Up! mixed a street graffiti campaign with a hard-hitting message. Watch video recap below:

— More bad news from New York City for activists that want the system to be tougher on those that drive recklessly and hurt others. A high court now says prosecutors must not only show that a driver was negligent in causing a collision, their actions must have risen to a level of “moral blameworthiness.”

— And speaking of life and death, The Guardian (UK) took a global look at road carnage with this compelling interactive feature.

— When a bike-sensitive LA Times columnist calls your bike policy “foolish,” you know it’s probably not a great idea (I’m looking at you Washington state).

— How important is it to keep multi-use paths clean and smooth? The University of Iowa just learned that answer the hard way.

— On a positive note, The Oregonian published a great profile and update on Evan Ross and his Cycle Portland Bike Tours business.

Come across a great bike story or news item? Drop us a line and we might include it in the next roundup. Thanks!

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Morgan Fitzgibbons March 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Not necessarily bike-centric, but I thought you might be interested this freakonomics podcast on parking: http://www.freakonomics.com/2013/03/13/parking-is-hell-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

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  • Top Scientist March 18, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Re: Dooring incident — These types of lanes are death traps. They’re everywhere and they cause more harm than any other scenario that appears “bike friendly”. Design is the true culprit — the bicyclist is the victim of it (and so is the driver in a certain sense).

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    • John Lascurettes March 18, 2013 at 11:40 am

      So the driver of the car breaks two laws (parking in bike lane and opening door before checking traffic), and how exactly is the rider of the bike at fault in any way? I would assume that the driver had also passed the cyclist within the last block or two too. Maddening.

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      • El Biciclero March 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm

        Based on the cyclist’s account, it sounded like the bike and car had started out on opposite sides of the road, the driver wanting to turn right, and the cyclist wanting to turn left. Cyclist waited for driver and then turned, falling in behind the car. So the driver may never have overtaken the cyclist, but should have seen her at the time they were both turning onto the same street and known there was a possibility of a cyclist being present. Of course, driver should also have just looked before opening the door, especially if they had just illegally parked in a bike lane.

        But seriously–speeding uphill?!

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        • John Lascurettes March 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm

          I had a bike & fender incident about 5 years ago where a witness for the driver claimed I was speeding on my bike downtown on 4th street. Pretty much an impossibility since I had just come off a red light less than a block away – I mean, I like to think I’m a powerful rider, but c’mon! Point being – the insurance company bought it no matter how many times I pointed out that it was a physical impossibility.

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        • was carless March 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm

          If you watch the video, the car driver parks their car in the bike lane (right curb), and opens their driver’s side door right at the exact perfect moment when the cyclist is at the point of no return from getting doored. The cyclist is traveling ~10 mph or less. Now, the lane is virtually empty of cars, so the cyclist should have made a wider berth around the car, but still – the driver opens the their door ~1 second after parking. Who does that!?

          Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but Oregon doesn’t allow proportional accountability does it? In every traffic accident I’ve been in, the police assign blame to one party or the other, and that has been that. I’ve never even had a dispute…

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    • Chainwhipped March 18, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Actually, the cyclist was a victim of a driver who made 2 dangerous and illegal decisions:
      1)Parked in a Traffic Lane.
      2)Opened a door into oncoming traffic.

      We cannot blame bike lanes for the decisions made by some fool suffering from an inflated sense of self-importance.

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      • Top Scientist March 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

        I interpreted that inside lane where the driver parked to be a parallel parking lane. If that’s the case, I’ve been a cyclist in that same scenario over and over again and this is what the design says to each party: Driver, this is where you can park and open your door without having it taken off by a moving vehicle, just look out for a bicyclist; Bicyclist, this is your share of the road, the vehicles to your left have the right to go the speedlimit and if you take the lane and they kill you, that’s your problem, if the cars parked to your right open a door in your path, it may be their fault, but it won’t really damage the car, it just might break a couple bones of yours (again your problem); Moving Drivers, we have put a little strip of road over here so that you don’t have to slow down for those nuissance cyclists, don’t worry about them anymore, they have their own space.

        Design is at fault here. ALL bike lanes should be inside parallel parking spots, next to the sidewalk.

        If that wasn’t a parking lane, that driver is just a total idiot and there’s no one else to blame.

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        • davemess March 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm

          It is clearly a bike lane (it is not wide enough for the law-braking motorist to park, notice how they are well over the white line), not to mention the girl hit and article say it is a bike lane.
          This was not a problem with infrastructure, this is a problem with a motorist who was neglectful and needs to be prosecuted.

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          • are March 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm

            the blogger, who presumably is familiar with the location, describes it as a bike lane. i don’t see the motorist signaling the pull to the curb, but that is not uncommon. assuming parking or standing is not permitted at this location, there is typically an exception for loading and unloading. and of course the cyclist could see that the motorist had pulled to the curb. yes, the motorist is at fault for opening the door into traffic. but why was the cyclist passing so close? there was no one behind her. a personal injury lawyer will take a third or forty percent of whatever you might get in a lawsuit, which would typically be about three times economic damages — medical expense and lost wages. geico knows this and makes an offer you may as well take.

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            • dan March 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm

              Yeah, the driver is 100% at fault, but the cyclist very well could have seen a car pull in front and park at the curb and anticipate that door would open. “Don’t want to be dead right,” and blah blah blah…it’s important to hone that Spidey-sense so you’re not in harm’s way when the motorist does something oblivious.

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            • davemess March 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm

              Did you guys miss the cars coming in the other direction? Making it a little more dangerous for her to swing way over out of the door zone. She even mentions that in the article.

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              • dan March 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm

                I did indeed miss them. Still, if you were alert to the driver opening the door, wouldn’t you rather try to thread the needle between oncoming traffic and the opening door, or come to a full stop (and berate the driver) rather than hold your line and get doored?

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              • are March 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm

                nope, didn’t miss it. the travel lane is at least eleven feet wide, and she was nowhere near the left edge when she snagged the door. and actually she does not claim oncoming traffic was an issue. what she says is she “maneuvered out into the street to circumvent the car.” which maybe tells you something about how she interprets what space she may legitimately claim on the road. what we see is the painted stripe providing an illusion of safety, combined with a widespread lack of knowledge of vehicular cycling techniques.

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              • davemess March 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm

                So you really don’t think the car was at fault in this situation? And it was her fault (the 8 year bike commuter), who clearly has never heard of the door zone before. You’re interpreting a lot here instead of just looking at the facts. (and yes your 11 foot lane estimate is just that an interpretation).

                What we see is a driver making a bonehead illegal maneuver.
                That is the block she was hit on. The car (with door open) takes up AT LEAST 2/3rds of the travel lane, giving her maybe 2-3 feet to have given space to the door zone. Notice she clips her inside pedal, so she was almost entirely outside of the car’s doorzone, and yet still only had a foot or two buffer with oncoming traffic. I really don’t even know why you are arguing this. Yes, she’s a much inferior cyclist to you.

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              • are March 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm

                quote from my earlier post, to which you are responding: “yes, the motorist is at fault for opening the door into traffic.” sorry an eight-year bike commuter has never heard of a door zone. sounds like we need more education out there.
                this is what i am getting for the location from googlemaps:
                and yeah, i can’t really measure out the lane to eleven feet. but the zebra striping at the crosswalk suggest my estimate was pretty close.

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    • A.K. March 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Of course Geico is going to attempt to blame the cyclist, they are trying to protect their client (the driver) and avoid paying any bills or damages to the cyclist.

      Always get a lawyer, they can help sort through such funny business.

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  • spare_wheel March 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

    The behavior of GEICIO illustrates why the first thing you should do when you are involved in a serious car-bike accident is contact a lawyer. (Its not about making the person in the car “pay”, its about protecting yourself from the sociopathy of corporate insurance.)

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  • Chainwhipped March 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Jonathan, your link to Vancouver BC’s bikeshare article goes to a page about license plates.

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  • are March 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    the new york state appeals court decisions in question are from 2008 and 2009, not all that “recent” and by no means limited in their effect to NYC alone. the times story linked has to do with a current local prosecution and could be seen as an implied editorial comment that the appeals court was wrong.

    props, incidentally, to the oregon supreme court, mentioned in the times article as having rejected the argument that we should follow new york’s lead on this. the reference apparently is to state vs. lewis,

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  • davemess March 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    LA Times Article on bike policy “foolish”:
    I think he got the states backwards. Washington is proposing a fee on the sales of bikes, and OR is proposing the registration fee.
    Not that either of them will really get anywhere.

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  • q`Tzal March 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    For all those sick of the O’s comment reaction hate-fest check out the comments at the NYTimes “moral blameworthiness” article.

    My favorite so far:

    Joseph Petrosino: “you’re not talking about somebody taking out a gun and shooting somebody”.
    If someone were licensed to carry a gun, and started shooting at random, having absolutely no intention of hurting anybody, but killing several people nevertheless, would he not be “morally blameworthy”? How is this different?

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  • davemess March 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Per the Iowa bike path lawsuit, I wonder if this is precedence for someone to sew Portland for the constantly wet/slimy patch on the Springwater under Tacoma?!?!?! What do we have to do to get someone to fix that? Or at least what can we do to get permission to fix it ourselves?

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    • Spiffy March 18, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      1) Complain
      2) Complain again
      3) Fall
      4) Sue

      they’ll have it fixed right after you do that…

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    • q`Tzal March 19, 2013 at 7:11 am

      Portland Parks & Recreation, Tualatin Hills Parks dept, PBOT and ODOT need to take a long hard look at this case.
      After consulting with their legal departments they need to reprioritize their repair schedules to cover their a$$e$.

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  • Chris Anderson March 19, 2013 at 12:14 am

    We have a bunch of barely-paved or dirt roads in Portland. Let’s make them into woonerfs. You can’t really drive on them due to potholes, so they are a great candidate for community adoption and beautification.

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