Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

The Monday Roundup: Toddler bike ban, tiny urban trucks & more

Posted by on September 23rd, 2013 at 9:11 am

Kid on a bike-1

Trouble waiting to happen
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

We hope you had a great weekend. And now, to kick off another week of bike news and information, check out the best stories we came across last week…

Toddler bike ban: “A three-year-old girl has been banned from riding her Barbie bike in a quiet cul-de-sac by a Dagenham [England] housing association because of fears the tearaway toddler might damage residents’ cars.”

Freight reform: A European Union-funded project has some cool ideas for urban freight, including standardizing small, modular shipping containers.

Secure basket: The $195 Buca Boot will combine “the flexibility of a bike basket with the storage security of a car trunk.”

Sidewalk carnage: A video (not directly linked here) that shows a girl’s pelvis being crushed by a SUV in a split second doesn’t change the fact that driving on the sidewalk is not inherently illegal in New York. Nor did it stop her middle school principal from circulating a response letter that said electronic devices (which the victim doesn’t appear to have been using when she was suddenly hit from behind by an accelerating car while walking on the sidewalk next to two friends) threaten children’s safety.

Redesigning schools: Do you think more kids might walk or bike if they didn’t have to cross a massive driveway to reach the door?

Bike alliances: The director of New York City’s Transportation Alternatives says bike advocates win arguments by finding interesting allies. “As bike advocates, we are a one note band, and they know our song. With myriad and diverse allies you can create the symphony that makes politicians get off their duff and dance.”

Innovator killed: The woman who ran Amazon.com’s finances during the initial public offering that kicked off the 1990s tech boom was killed last week after a collision between her bike and a van that turned left in front of her. Joy Covey was 50.

Laser-powered sharrow: CNN reviews the laser-powered Blaze light, which projects a bike outline onto the street ahead of you.

Ugliness to bike thieves: Do not steal a bike in Nepal, or people might shave your head “in a haphazard way.” Then beat you up.

Unsafe parking? Earlier this year, Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras refused to provide a bike parking rack for employees because it thinks biking in central Rio de Janeiro is unsafe. OK, employees replied, so that means you’re getting rid of the auto parking too?

Pothole lawsuit: An executive for a U.K. pro racing team just won an undisclosed sum from a local government for not fixing the pothole her bike crashed into.

Biking in pleats: The Wall Street Journal has some ideas for bike-friendly office wear.

New speed record: The fastest bike ever pedaled, an egg-shaped recumbent, moved at just over 83 mph last week.

Roads built for rage: Three reasons why the streets of Los Angeles “seem to be designed with the specific intent of frustrating drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike.”

How to cross an intersection: The League of American Bicyclists should teach AAA how to make an effective bike safety video … though you’ve got to wish U.S. intersections were designed in a way that didn’t require so much explanation.

Bike share survey: Nationally, bike sharing is now more popular than President Obama.

Buses spur development: Bus Rapid Transit systems like the ones TriMet is considering for Southeast Powell and Southwest Barbur tend to be significantly more efficient than light rail at generating nearby development, according to a study by a pro-BRT group.

Bikeshare success: In previously transit-dependent Manhattan, 288,000 subscriptions sold show that the first summer of Citi Bike has gone “exceptionally better than what anyone thought.” Streetsblog takes a close look at lessons learned, which include Citi Bike staff using bike trailers to avoid congestion during rush hour.

Next federal transpo bill: Because people are consuming less gasoline and gas taxes don’t increase with inflation, “even passing an extension at current funding levels will require programmatic cuts or additional revenue — or both.”

Columbia River Highway reconnection: “For the first time in 77 years, you can ride a bike from Troutdale to Cascade Locks without having to be on the shoulder of Interstate 84,” ODOT Region 1 Director Jason Tell says in this video about the reconnected Historic Columbia River Highway.

Intersection anthropology: Say what you will about Copenhagenize‘s Mikael Colville-Andersen, but his company is doing work that nobody in the world has ever thought to do — like conducting an anthropological study of the ways 16,631 people pedaled through a single Copenhagen intersection on a single spring day.

Making bikes for women: Elly Blue has five tips for bike companies puzzled by how to sell equipment to females.

Bikes Belong rebrands: The national bike industry’s nonprofit advocacy organization (and, full disclosure, my own other half-time employer) is taking a new name and a more public face to reach “riders who have never been engaged with organized bike groups or clubs.”

Road diet endorsement: An Oregonian editorial argues that a wide street with four auto lanes should be restriped so it could be be safer to bike and drive on. Just kidding! It was a Seattle Times editorial.

Road diet research roundup: The trend of removing auto travel lanes from roads in order to reduce speeds without greatly reducing traffic capacity is “can be seen as one of the transportation safety field’s greatest success stories,” according to a recent research survey.

Despite a throwaway slur near the end, Louis C.K.’s take on why he doesn’t let his kids use smartphones is your video of the week:

This month’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by KPFF, the engineers and surveyors behind many Portland metro area bikeways, including the Eastbank Esplanade, the Vancouver Land Bridge, the Springwater Spur Trail, the South Waterfront and Fanno Creek Greenways and Graham Oaks Nature Park. You can follow them on Facebook here.

If you come across a noteworthy bicycle story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.

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

  • Spiffy September 23, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Buca Boot = better have an awesome lock because you just became a theft target…

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    • dan September 23, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Yep, even if the bike isn’t stolen, the box is plastic, so could be cut open. I assume the lid could be pried open with a crowbar / other lever as well. Furthermore, I wonder if that wood lid would really hold up to 9 months of rain here in Portland. For me, something like this makes the most sense if it can be easily undocked and taken inside with you.

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  • 9watts September 23, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Some great comments posted at the ‘toddler bike ban’ article you linked to.

    I liked this one especially:
    “Has anyone checked there website front page. Children playing happily with a strap line saying ‘Free summer holiday activities for children and young people’.

    Now that’s confusing. Play at what, no ball games, no running and oh before I forget no cycling. Maybe blowing bubbles might be fun but might the pavement slippery….”

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    • q`Tzal September 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Normally I’d think this sort of “ban on fun” story was complete bollocks to keep it in region.
      Fact of the matter is I was sort of (unintentionally) a destructive child at that age and I’ve lived with a roommate’s 3 year old daughter (3 year old girl built like a 5 year old boy and severe anger management issues) that given a bike would have gone on giggling kamikaze runs in to any stationary object.
      Perhaps medication for the child and parental training for the parents would not be out of order? If not I think a leash might be required because banning the bike will not be enough; it wasn’t in my case.

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  • WillB September 23, 2013 at 10:34 am

    In regards to the toddler bike ban I suppose you could argue that people should be banned from driving cars because of fears the reckless drivers might damage children.

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  • q`Tzal September 23, 2013 at 10:46 am

    re: “Ugliness to bike thieves”
    I’ve always liked this Scarlet Letter treatment over sending criminals to the crime university system known as the correctional system.
    If someone isn’t an eminent threat then just tattoo their forehead with their crime and cut `em loose.
    Then you know not to hire DUI criminals to drive the buses; they can work with money and the Goldman Sacks criminals can drive the buses and never be allowed to touch money again.

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  • V$ September 23, 2013 at 11:12 am

    How to market bikes to women…How about they stop making everything pink! I have a badass Felt with a $250 pink seat. I’ve been thinking about going over it in sharpie…

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    • q`Tzal September 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Reduce the theft risk: cover it in black duct tape.
      That ghetto look says “ain’t no point in stealing dat.”
      You could even keep it “Portlandian” by using lots of different colors of duct tape.

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    • wsbob September 23, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      Pink is hot. Odds are, a $250 pink seat on a Felt is gonna be some kind of badass racing seat rather than a girly-girl pastel cruisin’ cushion. Not that the latter isn’t exactly what some people want for their bike.

      Over at bikeforums, there have been in past, a number of interesting discussion revolving around guys that love to ride and work on bikes, trying to figure out a build that their wives, less enthusiastic than they about riding, would help them get psyched up to go on rides. Hubby goes ahead, puts together a fine working road bike that fits. Wife kind of says she doesn’t like it, because it’s not color-co-ordinated or some such thing. Trial and error: eventually comes up with a build that number one is into, and on with the rides.

      I think the formula for successful selling bikes to more women, involves a stronger commitment to offering them bikes tailored for the riding they intend to do, and that fit them well. Nothing much beats the sight of a gal whose strong, confident manner on a bike says everything is working well, no gear shortcomings in the way.

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    • Chainwhipped September 24, 2013 at 10:52 am

      OR . . . Women could smarten up and the “women’s specific” marketeers would be completely unable to take advantage of all of us.

      “Yeah, you should check out these tires, they’re women’s specific.”
      “Oh, this handlebar? It’s for women.”
      “This seatpost? It’s for women.”
      “Finally, a lock that was designed specifically for women!”

      I don’t think any part of my anatomy is supposed to be in direct contact with these kinds of things.

      Get the net! If it doesn’t go directly on your body, or at least press right up against your body, there is nothing Gender-Specific about it!

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  • John Lascurettes September 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Yes, yes, yes on doing a BRT over MAX. It’s much more economical to put it in and make adjustments if necessary. If it proves immensely popular, then you can invest in the rail dollars.

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    • Reza September 23, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Nope. You’ll spend about the same money on BRT guideways and stations if you actually want to make it a “rapid” service with its own dedicated right-of-way. And the operating costs for BRT are higher since you can’t carry as many passengers per vehicle.

      But we don’t do real BRT in America – it’s just something politicians suggest as a cost-cutting measure until you just end up with a bus with a new paint job that runs in mixed traffic and maybe skips some stops. You will never get rapid transit without a dedicated ROW.

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      • John Lascurettes September 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm

        Yes, it would require dedicated ROW, but it’s still got to be cheaper than laying rail if you just claim lanes on a multi-lane roadway. MAX has done exactly that on streets like Interstate and the downtown transit mall. Why not do the same with BRT and claim exclusive use of lanes on the likes of Powell and Barbur without the higher costs of completely rebuilding the ROW?

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      • MaxD September 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm

        …and runs on the same stinking diesel!

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      • Chris I September 23, 2013 at 8:57 pm

        BRT is cheaper up-front, and more costly in the long run. The biggest operating cost for Trimet is the operators. A 2-car max train can hold enough passengers to fill 2-3 articulated BRT busses.

        That said, there are places where BRT may make sense in Portland; and Powell is definitely one of them. Generally, if you have to rebuild the roadway to add dedicated ROW, LRT is going to make more sense. If a roadway is already overbuilt and lanes can be re-purposed, or you can add “jumping queues”, then BRT can be a better option.

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        • John Lascurettes September 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm

          This is exactly what I was saying. And if a BRT route proves itself to be a viable, healthy rapid transit route, it’s long-term cost-effective to then convert it to a rail system. If it doesn’t, it can be modified at a fraction of changing a rail line’s behavior, or scrapped altogether with less of a love loss.

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    • q`Tzal September 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      It works best with BRT routes that are as separated from regular surface traffic as possible. The only other traffic that should be allowed is responding EMS.
      Even the Portland Streetcar could be useful if it weren’t sharing the lane with everything else.

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  • Beth Hamon September 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    When there’s an all-pink Portland Streetcar, perhaps sales of pink bicycles will increase.

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  • dwainedibbly September 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Wasn’t there a study that showed that pink bikes were less likely to be stolen?

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    • q`Tzal September 23, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      In the military I took the remains of several incomplete orphaned EXPENSIVE tool kits and painted the handles of one of the 2 complete sets with a pastel pink fleck paint to which I added rainbow glitter before coating the handle in a durable clear coating. Several months after the other tools had disappeared the pink tool set had not even moved.
      The smartest person there, a woman engineer from Sandia National Labs, asked of the tools and said they were too girly looking to her.

      So make make bike share bikes look like something barfed out of the My Little Pony universe.

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