Splendid Cycles Big Sale

The Monday Roundup: Spain’s new touring paths, Ford’s urban shift & more

Posted by on January 27th, 2014 at 8:42 am

Where would I go without you?

The Andalucian road.
(Photo by Leo Hidalgo.)

Here’s the bike news from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Economic engines: Andalucia, Spain, is making a major play to boost its economy with bike tourism with a plan to build 3,200 miles of bike paths by 2020.

Auto futurism: At the Detroit Auto Show this month, Ford Motor Company’s CEO said that adding more cars in big cities is “not going to work” and suggested his company is looking into new products related to public transit and/or car sharing.

Bike curiosity: What’s the most exciting research subject in American transportation right now? Bicycles. These two writers counted.

Women biking: Did you know that women make up 55 percent of Generation X bicycling consumers? I didn’t.

Driver training: The teen driver’s ed program in Chattanooga, Tenn., now includes a walk across downtown, a bike ride and a bus trip.

Cute cars: Elly Blue’s column about her obsession with the car icons on her new favorite handbag is weird and maybe brilliant.

Red light runners: A huge traffic-light study from New Zealand finds that almost all bikers who run lights in that country do so in order to get a head start on dangerous traffic; only a tiny minority fail to stop altogether.

Reckless driving:Reckless driving, circa 2014, is what drunk driving was prior to 1980,” a medical professor argues: “poorly defined in the law, sometimes poorly investigated by police and almost never results in a criminal charge.”

License requirements: A law tightening ID requirements for drivers’ license applications has done basically nothing to change the number of uninsured drivers.

Amsterdamize yourself: Momentum has an interesting guide to riding a bike in a city where it’s almost as common as walking.

Biking to transit: The popularity of bike-plus-transit trips is forcing transit planners to rewrite their models for how many riders a new line will attract.

Vegas messengers: Armed with smartphones, bike couriers are looking to expand their business in Las Vegas. (Their most common cargo: food.)

Mapping poison: The Danes are so good at tracking air pollution that they can calculate the toxin levels at any given street address.

Covering crashes: In Columbia Journalism Review, Tom Vanderbilt asks how local reporting of traffic collisions could get better.

Mandatory flashiness: A UK politician who supports mandatory high-viz vests and registration numbers for bikers doesn’t look like she’s enjoying her own bike very much.

Bad traffic projections: This amazing chart illustrating the ridiculousness of federal highway planning has been making the rounds for a while. Don’t miss it.

Good gentrification? A provocative series of studies suggest that as neighborhoods get richer, longtime low-income residents actually move out of them less frequently, and their credit scores go up — even if they’re renters.

Less youth driving: National Geographic summarizes the four leading theories about the sharp youth driving decline; all four are is almost certainly at work.

Train adventure: A biking tourist from Iowa was nervous when he brought his fully bagged folding bike on Amtrak, but it worked out just fine.

Car racers for road safety: From Louis Chevrolet to Jimmie Johnson, “there’s long and almost symbiotic relationship between cycling and race car driving.” That’s one reason a bunch of auto racers are taking time to promote safe driving around bikes.

Vision Zero: “One minute they are walking to work, or home, or to the grocery store; the next moment, they are in the hospital, and their life has changed irrevocably,” writes ER doctor Kaushal Shah, calling the elimination of traffic fatalities a “moral necessity” in the New York Daily News.

Dumb law: Oops! A Class 6 felony in Virginia intended to fight masked crime also forbids wearing them in cold weather. The state’s bike advocates are trying to change that.

Bike share bankruptcy: If you want to understand the basics of why Alta Bicycle Share’s main supplier entered bankruptcy protection last week and what it means for bikeshare, there’s no better way than to spend these four minutes with NPR, interviewing the leading reporter on the subject.

Finally, your video of the week was inspired by this amazing police memo titled “safety tips for pedestrian”:

Pedestrian Safety Tips from Anna Zivarts on Vimeo.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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BIKELEPTIC
Guest

OHMAGERD. That person in the video may be more likely to get hit because people are having to look away because they are blinded – hit someone else because their night vision is then killed for a bit. . . or the mere fact that the person is a walking seizure-inducer is nauseating. Gah. I didn’t realize with each step it was going to get worse. (I had it on mute or maybe I would have had warning)

How about, be predictable! Don’t wait until the last possible second to cross the road? Common sense. (When I was coming home last night, I saw several people at midnight when it’s super empty on the road running across Sandy in front of traffic (some against the light!!) there should have been no reason for it at that time of night for instance. Especially at night.)

Then you won’t need to dress up like Capt. A**hat in that safety suit.

Dan
Guest
Dan

It’s a spoof.

BIKELEPTIC
Guest

that totally explains it. I read it wrong! Thought it was some police tips things. Reading it through a second time that phrase “inspired by” really means a whole lot!!

Opus the Poet
Guest

The text was taken directly from a bulletin handed out by NYPD in 2013.

Eric in Seattle
Guest
Eric in Seattle

I liked Tom Vanderbilt’s article. Interestingly, even he used the word “accident” instead of collision or crash (3rd paragraph from the end). He is correct when he points out the inaccuracy of the word, but this article demonstrates how easily even he can fall into using it.

Eric in Seattle
Guest
Eric in Seattle

BTW, I couldn’t see the story on the Tennessee driver’s ed program. I think there’s a broken link

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

The article describing the NZ study reports that cyclists run signals for safety reasons and then assumes that this is risky behavior that should be discouraged without providing evidence to justify this assumption.

1. Car head.
2. Idaho Stop Law.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

the charts of DOT travel demand projections and youth driving demographics suggest that instead of expansion of infrastructure (e.g. CRC and rose quarter interchange) we should be planning to *decommission* road infrastructure.

i can think of a few major arterials that would make for fine linear park space in pdx.

Jonathan Gordon
Guest
Jonathan Gordon

If you haven’t seen the bad traffic projections graph you really should.

Great quote: “And in 61 cases out of 61, the C&P estimates were too high.”

That’s a fantastic record!

John Lascurettes
Guest

That Ford piece is a bit of refreshing perspective from a car head (literal head of a motor company).

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Slightly more info about Ford’s thinking from CEO Mullaly, at the the Financial Times article: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/f0b2f6b0-7d3e-11e3-81dd-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2riZ0UxS6

Mullaly recognizes that more people are interested in smaller cars like the Fiesta, and thinks that personal mobility will become increasingly important with more cities turning into big cities. Also says the company is looking into building vehicles for public transport.

Using the Portland Metro Area as an example, going from city to city-suburb, has been to the point of being arduous, for a long while already. Within a city, or suburb, especially off business hours and certain main thoroughfares, traffic is manageable, to sparse. Good opportunity to benefit from use of a small car for short trips for which many people may not be equipped to make by foot, bike, or public transport.

Ford trying public transport vehicles could be interesting. If Ford could significantly improve on current public transport bus design and technology, that would be something.

A side note related to efforts towards fuel savings; this year the company is trying out aluminum for the body of its F-150 pickup.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“A side note related to efforts towards fuel savings; this year the company is trying out aluminum for the body of its F-150 pickup.”

Now that is about the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Robbing Peter (gas station) to pay Paul (aluminum smelter). I worked on a team that calculated the breakeven point (VMT over life of the vehicle) to recoup the extra energy & associated upstream efforts required to manufacture an equivalent car body out of aluminum through fuel savings. From memory (it was 20 years ago) the crossover was in the hundreds of thousands of km.
This is so ridiculous. We don’t need aluminum F-150s anymore than we need holes in our heads. Ten+ years ago Ford was crowing about the fuel savings that were going to result from their substituting LEDs in cars for halogen or whatever. Fiddling while Rome burns.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Agreed that Ford, while still an automaker at heart, has been fundamentally less stupid and obnoxious than the other two Detroit-based automakers. (Remember that they were also the only one that was at least modestly prepared for the late-2000s spike in energy prices, and the only one that didn’t need a federal bailout).

Also have seen what Ford is doing with the new F-series, with the new version losing 700 pounds of weight and going to a much smaller engine. Although I hate full sized pickups, especially their excessive use in personal transportation, the F-150 is the best selling vehicle in America. Knocking 15% off the weight of these monstrosities will actually save a lot of fuel.

How exactly Ford will really be able to capitalize on a reduced-car America is not entirely clear. Obviously they won’t become a serious bike (or e-bike) manufacturer. Microcars? Maybe. Will they produce vehicles that are somehow more optimized for carsharing? Possibly. How about cars with the ability to transport bicycles designed into the vehicle, instead of awkwardly and inefficiently tacked on by aftermarket firms? That would sure be nice, and is a particular problem with smaller vehicles.

Mass transit vehicles definitely make sense: GM has been in the bus and train businesses forever, and not (just) with the intent of shutting down the old streetcar lines.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Knocking 15% off the weight of these monstrosities will actually save a lot of fuel.”

To date this calculation, tempting though it is, has rarely been borne out in actual fuel consumption. Pretty much all of the US fuel economy gains (CAFE) between 1975 and 2005 were eaten up in increased VMT, shifts to SUVs, higher speeds, greater vehicle weight, tricks in how CAFE was administered, etc. Since 2005 we’ve seen a decline in VMT which is all to the good, but I think we need to be very careful how we interpret vehicle fuel economy improvements when it comes to net consumption of gasoline.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Yes, but correlation is not causation. I don’t harbor any illusions that the increase in VMT since 1975 is entirely due to improved fuel economy and low fuel prices. Partially, yes. Will a few more people buy F-series pickups, and/or drive them more miles as a result of their improved fuel economy? Sure. 15% more? I doubt it.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I don’t think I said anything about causation. My point was simply that increasing vehicle or model year (or even fleet) fuel economy has for the most part historically failed to result in reduced aggregate fuel consumption, even though one would think it should/would have.

Let’s say that Ford’s efforts result in all of the Aluminum F-150 customers driving as many miles as they did before in their 2008 model steel-bodied F-150s which are now being driven by others who picked them up on Craigslist. The paltry fuel economy gains will therefore be booked as reductions in fuel consumption in their cases (we’ll skip over the folks who traded ‘up’ to those ’08 models on Craigslist. But again, they will have to drive ~100,000 miles* to recoup the extra energy, not to mention CO2 which was required to produce all that aluminum, which is vastly more energy intensive than steel. By the time the first ones reach 100,000 miles this whole car-party may be over.

9watts
Guest
9watts

This just gets more and more ridiculous.
Ford’s Aluminum bodied 2015 model year F-150 is going to weigh about 10% less than the 2014 (steel-bodied) model, and “will get as much as 30 mpg in highway driving.”

My 1969 truck (back when I had a truck) got 33mpg on the highway, and had not a scrap of aluminum anywhere except perhaps in the injector pump casting.

“The outgoing 2014 Ford F-150 weighs from 4800 pounds for a rear-drive regular cab F-150 with a V6 engine to 6,200 pounds for a four-wheel-drive super crew cab (two full rows of seats, four regular doors), so a 700-pound weight savings on the biggest F-150 would be on the order of a 10% savings.”

How many model years do we have to go back to find an F-150 weighing 5,500 lbs?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“My 1969 truck (back when I had a truck) got 33mpg”

Probably thanks to no emissions controls.

I marvel that my 15-year-old car gets about 2mpg less than the mileage automakers brag about in some of their new (non-hybrid) models…

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Your old truck got 33mpg on the highway because the EPA has changed their rating system twice since then – in 1985, and again in 2008. Both times they VERY substantially reduced the ratings of vehicles from what they had previously (the recent reduction averaged around 15%, the earlier one even more), so that a 40mpg rated vehicle in the early 1980s wouldn’t even be rated 30mpg today. So that old 33mpg rating wasn’t as good as it sounds.

9watts
Guest
9watts

There was no EPA in 1969 and no mpg ratings either. 33mpg was my own measurement. I am aware that the drive cycle has been updated several times, and I am also aware of the degree to which manufacturers have come up with countless ways to fool around with/circumvent the spirit of the CAFE standard. But real-world measurements in 1969 or 1999 or today avoid all that. The only mpg *rating* I mentioned was for the 2015 Aluminum Ford F-150. I don’t know if that rating corresponds to actual in use fuel economy but for the sake of argument I assumed it does.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Aside from quibbles over fuel consumption reduction potential, overall for the nation, that may or may not be helped to be obtained by changes to motor vehicle design, the over-riding fact is that people need and want the means for personal mobility. Ford recognizes this, and is no doubt well aware of the popularity of their big F-150 pickup, making it a very smart move on a number of points, to introduce a model of that pickup with an aluminum body.

Population growth is the bigger reason that little design changes like this one to the F-150, probably can’t do much to reduce overall amounts of fuel used by a a big population.

My last comment from yesterday flew the coop, but in it, I posted a link to a new three-wheel motor vehicle set to be produced. Said to get 84 mpg, set to retail for $6800. Check it out:

http://www.eliomotors.com/

9watts
Guest
9watts

“… making it a very smart move on a number of points, to introduce a model of that pickup with an aluminum body.”

a smart move for Ford, or a smart move for the planet?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Effect on the planet, of Ford producing one of its vehicle models with an aluminum rather than a steel body, may be negligible. A lot depends on buyer response to this effort to reduce fuel consumption, whether that response will have Ford or other automakers decide to follow suit and produce more vehicles with aluminum rather than steel bodies.

At this point, the aluminum body is just kind of a gimmick to get people psyched about buying a new truck whose design shows Ford is ‘with it’. People do seem to love the F-150 and other big pickups. Many of them around. They love old ones too. Certainly can be practical…construction work of all types. If I didn’t have to haul stuff around, but needed to put a lot of miles on faster or more practically than a bike can take me, something like that new Elio motortrike, with its 84 mpg gas motor could be more appealing than a big pickup.

Maximus
Guest
Maximus

Can we please use target=”_blank” for the links from now on. I would rather click a link and have it open in a new tab.

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

Thanks for saying. I would too.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Hi Maximus,

Thanks for the feedback. I have always had things set to not open new links because back in the day when I studied user interface design and was building this site, I followed the basic principle that it was not good to create any browser action (like opening a new tab) without the expressed permission/expectation of the user.

I’m flexible and would consider changing, but that’s why we do it like that now. Michael and I will discuss this at our meeting this week.

are
Guest

it is certainly not difficult to right click and open in a new tab, but i have always wondered whether it might be a poor business model to take people off your page. once i get to the linked page, i might link further from there and eventually close the tab without returning to bikeportland. just a thought.

Wyatt Baldwin
Guest
Wyatt Baldwin

Another option if you’re using a mouse with a scroll wheel–you can also “middle click” links to open them in a new tab (using the scroll wheel as a button).

are
Guest

circular to argue gentrification improves the incumbent resident’s credit score if we do not know how credit scores are made. and of course equifax will not disclose their methods.

are
Guest

also frankly i do not see how the increased willingness of a lender to lend improves the life of anyone who is not inclined to borrow

Mark Allyn
Guest

That pedestrian in the video reminds me of myself.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

speaking of covering crashes and local reporters choosing their words better, I spotted this gem from yesterday:

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/01/southeast_82nd_avenue_closed_a.html

it appears as though two inanimate objects, a car and a truck, somehow managed to hit people all on their own… no mention of drivers at all… but there was a mention of people being cut free from inside the truck… the truck must have eaten them at some time before the crash…

PorterStout
Guest
PorterStout

A classic retweet from the article on the recent TRB meeting:

RT @USDOT: “If you aggregated it, every year Americans spend roughly 600,000 years stuck in traffic.” #TRBAM

Paul
Guest
Paul

That video had me laughing good.

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

The British politician who “doesn’t look like she’s enjoying her own bike very much” simply looks like she’s concentrating on the road. Her stance on high-visibility gear requirements is kind of illogical, but implying that she isn’t having any fun riding a bike while wearing a neon vest is no better than any other unpopular commentary around here about what people wear while on a bike.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…the NZ study reports that cyclists run signals for safety reasons …” spare_wheel

People compiling the report, accept the claim offered by some people that bike, that they run red lights to avoid various dangerous traffic situations (read the comment bubbles in the powerpoint slides), and for other reasons also.

The consulting firm does this rather than offer procedures for people biking either in or alongside main travel lanes amongst motor vehicles, that can help avoid dangerous traffic situations without running red lights.

Consulting firm:

http://conf.hardingconsultants.co.nz/workspace/uploads/daniel-newcombe-5174b953be74d.pdf

Both the National Business Review story and the consulting firm’s report, advise, when done for certain reasons, not discouraging people biking from riding through red lights.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Regarding the reckless driving article, I thought it curious that the author, who is obviously very knowledgeable about this subject, equated reckless and careless driving, something I’ve learned to differentiate in the comments section of bikeportland.

“A person who operates a vehicle […] in a careless or negligent manner likely to endanger any person or property, but without wantonness or recklessness, is responsible for a civil infraction.”
vs.
“A person who operates a vehicle […] in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. […] is guilty of a misdemeanor…”

Slow Joe Crow
Guest
Slow Joe Crow

The NZ data strikes me as odd because I actually do the exact opposite at red lights. I stop and when it turns green I pause before I take off because that gives me time to avoid idiots running the red light in the other direction and also lets me use a car as protective cover. Then again my regular commuting route goes through the NE25th and Cornell Road intersection in Hillsboro which attracts an unusually high proportion of automotive stupid, although the bollards on 25th help.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“The NZ data strikes me as odd because I actually do the exact opposite at red lights. I stop and when it turns green I pause before I take off because that gives me time to avoid idiots running the red light in the other direction…” Slow Joe Crow

The New Zealand report seemed odd to me. Auckland Transport hired a consulting firm to look into the situation of people on bikes, running red lights, and come up with some data.

The consulting firm did come up with some data, and some suggestions the firm must think would improve traffic and safety for people riding bikes…though suggestions such as allowing bikes to: ride against red lights to travel from the main lane to the crosswalk as a procedure for crossing the intersection against the light, and then returning onto the main lane for a through travel route through the intersection, doesn’t seem very well thought out.

Allowing bike traffic to ride against red lights, aren’t good suggestions. There’s better ways, such as positioning, to avoid right and left hooks.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

People likely will be enthusiastically debating the cost effective benefits of the Ford f-150 aluminum body over the standard steel body. From another article I read about the f-150 aluminum body, another of the reasons Ford is trying this, is to make progress towards meeting federal reduced fuel consumption guidelines for motor vehicles. Without those, automakers may not be so motivated to attempt such means to reduce vehicle weigh/fuel consumption. The auto show is coming up. My dad likes to go, so if it’s there, I’ll get to see it.

I have no particular idea how big automakers will survive in the face of reduced automobile ownership, and possibly, use in general. Permeating most of the entire auto industry, to artificially generate sales, the quirk of overly frequent design changes that compels most car owners to get rid of their cars for a new one after, say…5-10yrs…has always basically been nuts. A waste that’s almost too incredible to comprehend. Especially considering that some well designed, maintained cars around the world, 50 and more years old, continue to be regularly used for transportation.

Cars can be very nice to have though. Micro cars like the Smart, which some of Ford’s are very close to being, don’t take up much room in the garage, street, or parking lot; much less than full size vehicles. Perfect for many people that need cars for limited, close range uses. The idea of a micro car that, for example, could have its body molded or contoured to offer the capability of transporting a full size bike sounds like an interesting experiment, if it would look like and perform like something people would want to buy.

Speaking of micro cars, people that like the ELF, but feel pedaling isn’t for them, and that they may still need an internal combustion motor, something that can perform more like a car than a bike, may be interested in checking out the Elio, also a 3wheeler:

http://www.eliomotors.com/

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

9watts
There was no EPA in 1969 and no mpg ratings either. 33mpg was my own measurement. I am aware that the drive cycle has been updated several times, and I am also aware of the degree to which manufacturers have come up with countless ways to fool around with/circumvent the spirit of the CAFE standard. But real-world measurements in 1969 or 1999 or today avoid all that. The only mpg *rating* I mentioned was for the 2015 Aluminum Ford F-150. I don’t know if that rating corresponds to actual in use fuel economy but for the sake of argument I assumed it does.
Recommended 0

Sorry, should have realized that when you said 1969. But it’s still true that today’s EPA ratings are highly pessimistic for moderate drivers.

My experience is that if you drive a steady 55-60mph on the highway, you will get 10-20% better mpg than the current EPA highway rating.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I’m glad to hear it. Certainly that has not been the case historically, as any issue of Robert Heavenrich’s excellent EPA series should demonstrate: http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/fetrends/1975-2012/420r13001.pdf

I’ve not read these annual reports in a few years but the discrepancy between actual fleet fuel economy and ratings was marked for most of our country’s history with these variables. To think that we’ve now swung that far the other way is possible but I think the more likely explanation (see http://bikeportland.org/2014/01/30/scofflaws-abound-on-local-freeways-police-make-452-stops-in-five-hours-100715#more-100715 ) is that a lot of drivers (most?) don’t drive in a manner that differs as much from the ratings as your example suggests.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Well, that’s exactly right. People are driving much faster and more aggressively than they used to, as well as spending more of their time stuck in traffic, so they’re using more fuel. If people still aren’t beating their cars’ highway mpg ratings on the highway, it’s because they’re driving 65+.