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The Monday Roundup: Does marijuana make streets safer? & more

Posted by on February 10th, 2014 at 8:42 am

Amsterdam June 1-98

Yet another lesson from Amsterdam?
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

Today’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Portland real estate broker Leigh Perretta. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Leigh wants to show prospective home buyers a “love nest” in Linnton between the St. Johns bridge and Sauvie Island with river and mountain views that’s “just minutes from the City’s best cycling.” Contact Leigh via email for a private showing.

And now, here are the bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

How to cut traffic deaths: Legalize weed — or so claims a study last year from the University of Chicago, which considers evidence that people replace drinking with smoking.

Natural traffic calming: Today seems like the day to spot and share local sneckdowns, those icy promontories that show where cars don’t need to be able to go.

The look of a winner: Even if people don’t know you placed well in the Tour de France, they’ll still tend to think you are hotter if you did — just by looking at a photo of you.

Personal radar: A teenaged Ohio girl, inspired by her brother’s eye injury, has invented a way to use radar, a smartphone and Bluetooth to give people “eyes in the back of their head” when they’re biking. She’s starting a business to bring it to market.

Women’s cycling: Should NBC put the Giro Rosa and other elite women’s bike races on TV? Tell them.

Oregon gravel riding: The Bend Bulletin’s recent article about gravel as “the next big thing in biking”, was picked up by newspapers around the country last week.

Citi Bikes triumphant: One in four bikes spotted in use in Manhattan is now a Citi Bike. Among bikes ridden by females, it’s one in three.

Car-free travel: Here’s a map of every inter-city bus and train map in the United States. Woah.

Sellwood Gap: A Sellwood neighborhood committee wants your opinions on how to make the Springwater Corridor look awesome when it finally connects through their area in 2016.

European exceptionalism: Why didn’t Europe become as auto-dependent as the U.S.? Well, “in Germany, a residential zone can include doctors’ offices, cafes, corner stores, or apartment buildings.” Plus eight other reasons.

Car-lite colleges: In the latest of its excellent series on the decline of auto use, U.S. PIRG has a whitepaper on the many ways and reasons universities and colleges are reducing auto use among their students.

Open Streets closes: Chicago has eliminated its version of Sunday Parkways for lack of sponsors after last year’s sole event was rained out, illustrating the importance of holding multiple events each year.

Misplaced guilt: A man killed on his bike by a drunk driver deserves better than to be identified in a headline as having been “careful about bike safety,” a Minneapolis blog argues.

L.A. ambition: Los Angeles is thinking too small with its bike plan, an LA Times columnist argues — 5 percent of commuters aren’t nearly enough to make a real difference in the war on traffic, and it’ll need protected bike lanes to get more than that.

Anti-crash course: Is it possible to teach the basics of bike-friendly street design in 34 minutes of video? Planetizen tried.

Sochi’s first bike lane: It’s really nice.

Bike lane failure: Santa Barbara tried creating bike lanes without removing auto parking by making people move their cars to the other side of the street twice a day. It worked for a while, but no longer.

E-bike city: A great bike city and a great electric vehicle city add up to a great e-bike city, a Portlander writes.

Bike share competitor: Portland’s Alta Bicycle Share (which Fast Company just named one of the 50 most innovative companies in the world) has a new rival in the bike sharing industry: Philadelphia-based Bicycle Transit Systems, founded by a team of former top executives at Alta.

Bike share pivot: In the wake of its main supplier’s bankruptcy, Alta is cutting out the middleman, at least in Chattanooga.

Finally, I’d never realized that the joke about aliens thinking Earth’s dominant life form is the automobile comes from an Oscar-nominated short film from 1966. Via Kottke, it’s nine minutes long and your video of the week:

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.

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  • BIKELEPTIC February 10, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Legalize marijuana smoking – make streets safer because suddenly everyone will be driving about 7 mph. (But thinking they’re going 30mph.) “Oh my gd! I’m going so fast! We should just pull over and stop at that 7-11!” (Also more carpooling. And less noise pollution ie having to listen to loud booming music because window will be rolled up. However, I can’t tell you if that Honda Civic really does have 7 seatbelts to accommodate everyone mashed into the backseat or not.) (Not that I am speaking from personal high school experience.)

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    • peejay February 10, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Gonna be a lot of cars sitting at green lights waiting for it to turn REALLY GREEN.

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  • Ted Buehler February 10, 2014 at 11:34 am

    50 people driving cars all smashed into each other near Albany. Every single one of them, by definition, was violating Rule Of The Road 1.1.I.A.a. — going too fast for conditions. Apparently bicyclists running stop signs isn’t the only hazard created by folks not adhering to traffic rules. http://www.kval.com/news/local/Winter-weather-hits-20-car-pileup-on-I-5-243992911.html

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  • John Lascurettes February 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Happy to see a competitor to Alta. Competition is good and will make Alta step up all the more. Competition is a signal that the emerging market is likely to continue succeeding.

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  • wsbob February 10, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    The electric bike report article: http://electricbikereport.com/portland-electric-bikes/

    …upbeat, not bad, short but good to read. Incidentally, a bit of an e-vehicle report from last weekend’s auto show:

    Since it’s been reported on here, and elsewhere in the press, I was looking forward to seeing the Smart bike, to be sold by the Smart car automaker.

    In what I would think is possibly, at an auto show, one of the worst marketing fates imaginable for a maker of low cost gasoline and electric powered micro cars, the small, four or five display of Smarts, including the electric vehicle, was located far away from the main ballroom floors, and instead, up in the upper level ‘luxury’ ballroom, in a narrow space against a back wall of the ballroom. Right across the isle from the half million dollar Rolls Royce cars.

    Since some automakers at the show were offering test drives of their vehicles, I thought maybe Smart would be offering test rides of the Smart Bike. Sorry, no chance at the show for that. There was just one Smart Bike at the show, affixed to the back of a Smart Car (just now realized I did not, but wished I had noted what rack was being used to hold it.). The Smart rep said he had to make quite an effort to get the company to even have the one bike there at the show for people to see.

    The bike looks fairly good. …matt black, fairly clean looking frame, front and rear fenders and lights. Kind of hard to tell with it stuck on the back of a car. Someone more familiar with e-bike design and aesthetics could say better how it compares to other brands and models. Price to be about $3000 . Available at dealers in a couple weeks. Near the in-house electric vehicle demonstration area on the main floor, a small area also, to test ride the Smart Bike and the Smart Electric car, could maybe have created quite an upbeat, progressive sensation for Smart, and the auto show in general.

    But, I suppose it’s hard to get away from the, ‘whaddaya expect?’ fact, that the auto show is firmly entrenched in the effort to sell expensive, $25,000 and up, gas or diesel powered motor vehicles, with some hybrids and all electrics in the mix.

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  • Anne Hawley February 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    The 1966 video is amazing! Brilliant animation, hilarious Martian “anthropology,” and an uncanny degree of prescience. Great find!

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  • Pete February 13, 2014 at 11:35 am

    The medical marijuana correlation is a stretch, as the FARS database only records blood alcohol content and the researchers are trying to correlate through a relationship between alcohol, marijuana, and the price of marijuana. Interesting attempt though.

    The post about Marcus Nalls’ death reminded me of my neighbor Stan’s hit-and-run murder last year. His best friend was featured in a follow-up article saying he was a “safe and experienced” bicyclist (http://campbell.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/cyclist-killed-on-san-tomas-expressway-was-a-cautious-rider), and in another followup a reader asked if it was even legal to bicycle on the expressway he was killed on – and we had to correct the police chief’s answer (http://campbell.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/is-it-legal-to-bike-along-the-shoulder-of-san-tomas-expressway).

    Ironically the post about defending the safety of the bicycle/bicyclist also includes a link to a news story on the driver and crash (http://kstp.com/news/stories/s3313171.shtml?cat=1), and in it his boss is quoted as saying “It’s sad to know that something that he loved so much is what took him from this earth.”

    My condolences to Marcus’ fiancee and family – this seems a tragic murder of a wonderful young man by a selfish and ignorant scofflaw.

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