The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

The Monday Roundup: Where to put your bike bell and more

Posted by on June 10th, 2013 at 11:16 am

Is your bike bell in the right spot? Maybe not.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Your summer of bike fun is far from done, but most of it from now on will involve more fabric. In the meantime, here’s some of the bike news that caught our eyes this week:

— Last month we assessed an interesting takedown of separated bikeways by Bicycle Quarterly’s Jan Heine, and last week we highlighted some infographics that recommend when to use different types of bike infrastructure. As several readers noted, Heine recently shared his own data-driven post on the subject of using different bikeways in different contexts.

— In the Wall Street Journal, Jason Gay has some implicit advice for his now-notorious colleague Dorothy Rabinowitz: “Just get on a bike. Then it all makes sense. It really does.”

— And if you can’t get enough of the WSJ’s bike-hating Rabinowitz, she returned to video on Friday to “respond” to “the Bike Lobby.”

— Why is your bike bell way over there? Sugru has a guide on how to attach it to your brake lever instead.

— In an editorial about the Bicycle Transportation Alliance‘s new Blueprint for World-Class Bicycling, the Oregonian’s editorial board calls neighborhood greenways “smart, simple and proven” but pooh-poohs “turning the Tualatin-Valley Highway and Southeast Foster Road into fabulous, welcoming bike routes.” Dedicated bikeways are “intriguing and plausible” but “hard to carry off,” they say.

— Classic case of good news/bad news: Oregon is one of just 12 states with more deaths from guns than cars.

— In Chicago, the rate by which people on bikes stop for red lights “has improved by 161 percent since cyclist-specific traffic signals, which glow with the image of a bike on the lens, were installed on Dearborn in December.” The compliance rate, in other words, is up from 31 percent to 81 percent.

If you come across an important or fun bike story, send it in or Tweet @BikePortland and we’ll consider featuring it here next Monday.

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

  • Todd Boulanger June 10, 2013 at 11:50 am

    The traffic safety news from Chicago is important (if the trend continues over time) and reaffirms one of the important findings from my studies in the Netherlands, if that bicyclists behave like traffic if you treat them like traffic….that is if you provide them will all of the infrastructural tools and a continuous logical safe network then they will operate as such vs. doing things that seem unsafe or unexpected by motorists.

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    • spare_wheel June 10, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      I’ve always observed quite a bit of traffic signal anarchy during my visits to Holland. I suspect that some level of unpredictability is actually helpful for safety.

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  • Soviet of Washington June 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Maybe Todd. But in the past week, I’ve had not 1, not 2, but 3 separate instances where I’ve been slowing for a stop sign on McGillivray or Tech Ctr Drive only to be overtaken by another rider who doesn’t even touch their levers as they blow by me and through the intersection at 20+ mph.

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  • lonngone June 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Why waste the money on play-do glue stuff, and ruin a bell at the same time?
    Attach your Incredibell inverted, and tucked in tightly next to your right hand grip, swivel the striker into place so your thumb can operate it, and away you go…:)
    Using your thumb to strike the hammer, allows you to control your speed modulation with just one finger on the brake, and at the same time free’s your left hand to signal others, as it should be doing.
    The added bonus is your bell will also be protected from getting smacked around… you also don’t create a worthless one use item out of it this way.

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    • BikeEverywhere June 10, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      I’m thinking you really need to try some Sugru. It’s a hopelessly addictive substance that will have you dreaming of new ways to use it. Resistance is futile…

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      • longgone June 10, 2013 at 10:46 pm

        ok,ok,ok…you guys are pro’bly right… I will get some and give it a whirl!

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  • dwainedibbly June 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Sugru is great stuff. I use it all the time. They expanded the color options in the past year or so, so now all of the primary colors are covered & you can mix it to get any color you want. I have a row of Lego blocks Sugrued (is that a word?) to the top of my monitor. I then Sugrued various cables (iPod, camera USB, memory card reader, etc) to more Lego blocks, which I can then attache to the Legos on top of my monitor, so I never have to hunt around the desk for a cable when I need it. (No, I don’t have small kids in the house.) Eye-Hand Supply (Hand-Eye Supply?) in Chinatown has Sugru if you want to buy locally.

    Where to mount a bell? In the late 70s or early 80s Gainesville, FL passed a mandatory bike bell law (since repealed). I mounted my bell on the left chainstay, where I could ring it with my left heal by backpedaling slightly while turning rotating my foot slightly. It kept the bell off the handlebars and was not only technically legal but also worked fairly well while allowing both hands to keep firm grips on the handlebars.

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    • longgone June 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Hey dwdy,..Your chainstay/bell idea is gonna have me moving to the garage and fire up the torch soon.. thanks. 🙂

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    • AndyC of Linnton June 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      dwainedibbly: Whoa, that bell idea is fantastic! It’ll have me thinking all night as well.

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      • dwainedibbly June 11, 2013 at 9:45 am

        Thanks, longgone & AndyC. I used an old-school metal bell with a metal “thumb lever”, the type that has some sort of internal mechanism that makes the bell ring multiple times per push of the lever. I doubt that the newer type with the simple spring-mounted lever (like in the Sugru article) would work very well.

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  • Pete June 10, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Gay’s editorial makes some good points, but of course he had to go THERE – and by that I mean stop lights. Just like the interview I saw on San Fran news the other night with the Exec Director of SF Bike Coalition… of course the interviewer has to say “well I’ve seen SO many bicyclists running red lights…” Why does it ALWAYS come to this?? I’ve started caring so much less about running red lights (and “amber gambling”, a term I recently learned from a colleague in the UK). I just don’t get how so many people can shut their ears to so many valid points and singularly focus on this (non-) issue.

    Along the same lines, did you happen to catch John Stewart’s “The Daily Show” coverage of the NY Citi Bike issue? Check it out on the June 6th episode online (couldn’t easily see how to post the link, sorry).

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  • Slow Joe Crow June 11, 2013 at 11:35 am

    If you want a bell on your brake lever you can just buy a Tektro 535 brake lever with bell built right in.
    I have seen these on Novara city bikes among others.

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  • wsbob June 12, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Oregonian editorial about the BTA’s ‘Blueprint for World Class Bicycling’ actually recommend improving TV Hwy and Foster Rd with the objective of their becoming “…fabulous, welcoming bike routes.” ? I’ve looked over the BTA’s webpage for the objectives, but not the full blueprint. From what’s written on the webpage, I’m not inclined to think BTA made any such suggestion with regard to those roads. If anyone here knows different, say so.

    I do recall BTA suggesting that bits and pieces of TV Hwy’s existing bike lanes be connected where there are gaps. That’s a good idea. Doing so won’t make the TV Hwy bike lanes ‘fabulous and welcoming’ to ride on, but they would help to make the road at least usable by means other than motor vehicle, for easier access of businesses on TV Hwy.

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