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The Monday Roundup: Australian epic, bike share vs. bike shops & more

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

A long ride south.
(Photo © Northern Territory Library)

Good morning! Our roundup of the best bike links on the web is sponsored by Western Bike Works, longtime BikePortland sponsor and one of the city’s best bike shops.

Here are the stories from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Australian epic: One hundred years ago last week, a 21-year-old photographer rolled into the post office in Adelaide after a 3,000-mile bike trip across the largely roadless continent. A few hundred photos survive.

Bike share vs. bike shops: Bike shop owners have some pretty interesting theories about a recent article (linked in last week’s Roundup) suggesting that bike sharing has hurt bike shop business in Manhattan.

Bike delivery: A visitor from Minnesota whose bike went missing while she was on her way to the Oregon Outback has a heartwarming story about what happened next.

50-year bike: 75-year-old Alice Down of Dallas, Oregon, has been riding the same Schwinn around town and on road trips across the country ever since her daughter rejected it as a Christmas present in 1964.

Bikes, the missing link: The Daily Beast argues that because only 22 percent of low-skill and middle-skill jobs in large U.S. cities are accessible by transit in 90 minutes, we should stop building transit and buy cars for poor people. If only there were some other rapid mode of transportation, easily added to existing roadway networks, that could gracefully function as a complement to public transit.

Scaremongering video: Bicycling Magazine cleverly identifies the laughable Buzzfeed video “Terrifying Facts about Bicycling” as a modern-day version of Reefer Madness.

Helmet study twisted: An academic study co-authored by a helmet advocate found that cities where bike share is introduced tend to see a decline in head injuries. Uh-oh! But promoters of the study used it to imply the opposite … on the grounds that the same cities saw a sharper decline in other sorts of injuries. Mainstream media were hornswaggled, but Streetsblog and Cyclelicious debunked the distorted coverage.

Helmet ban lifted: Dallas, Texas, just repealed its 18-year-old mandatory helmet law for adults, partly in anticipation of a bike-sharing system.

Say what? A new West Virginia law now requires people in cars to honk every time they pass a bicycle.


Two-way traffic: After Louisville, Kentucky, converted a few downtown one-way streets to two-way, collisions dropped, crime plummeted and property values jumped.

Housing divide: On housing priorities, Americans split as narrowly as in presidential elections: “liberals want to walk, conservatives want lawns.”

Multimodal app: RideScout, a mobile app that combines carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing, taxi and mass transit schedules into a single multimodal trip planner, just launched in Portland and 68 other cities.

Insignificant manufacturing: National advocacy group PeopleForBikes (disclosure: all PFB-related links are suggested by Jonathan, because it’s my other employer) is lobbying to zero out a tariff of up to 11 percent on bike imports because it says there’s no “significant” bike manufacturing in the United States. (Update: see Ed’s comment below for an informed take on this issue.)

Shoddy investigations: The Anchorage Daily News has a long and persuasive account of the flaws in two local police investigations of bike-related deaths — in one case, police claimed that telephone GPS data had shown a man was biking against traffic rather than on the adjacent sidewalk — but the best part might be the last three paragraphs, which might belong in every such story.

Police problems: Brooklyn Spoke’s Doug Gorton spotted the money phrase from this post about the perennial problem of traffic collisions: “failure to understand crashes’ causes leads police to harass groups that don’t cause crashes.”

Montreal ride: Streetfilms visited Montreal’s urban Tour de I’lle to show how a recreational tour helped build the city’s powerful bike culture.

For the most interesting part of your video of the week, skip to 6:36 to hear Mikael Colville-Anderson make the case that what really matters about biking is that it creates a “life-sized city” that lets us look at “what we like to look at”: our fellow apes.

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.