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The Monday Roundup: Self-driving bikes, Uber vs. drunk driving & more

Posted by on July 14th, 2014 at 8:50 am

Street scene, Hohhot, China

Mobility that matters in China.
(Photo: GothPhil)

Good morning! Here are the bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Self-driving bike: Chinese search giant Baidu says it’s one-upping Google by prototyping an autonomous bicycle by the end of 2014.

Better taxis, fewer DUIs: In Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle, ridesharing and hailing apps (still illegal in Portland) seem to be reducing drunk-driving arrests.

Obsoleting car ownership: Helsinki, Finland, just announced plans to replace its current public transit network with a phone-activated system “kitting everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility” that would be good enough to make car ownership pointless by 2025.

Biking as womanhood:Cycling is awfully similar to being a woman. … Welcome to being vulnerable to the people around you. Welcome to being the exception, not the rule.”

Bike Rave: Momentum looks at the glowstick-lit ride that drew 7,000 riders in Vancouver BC this year.

Armstrong reconsidered: “Do we care what happens to the great work a man has done, after a great fall?” asks Esquire in a classy Lance Armstrong profile that looks at his charity success.

At least they can set goals: A year after Brazil’s transit fare protests, Sao Paolo says it’ll be the first city in the developing world to eliminate parking minimums and cap new parking spaces on transit lines at one space per residence.

Freakout of the week: Bikers who illegally ride on sidewalks in DC are “lucky that someone hasn’t put a broomstick through the spokes of their wheels,” writes a Washington Post columnist. Also bikers who slow traffic are “terrorists.”

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E-bike crashes? With electric bicycles spreading fast in Tel Aviv, bike-pedestrian collision injuries soared 60 percent last year at a hospital there.

Unpredictable biking: “As a cyclist, I see a car coming and I am 99% confident that it will behave in a predictable manner, because drivers are trained to stick to the rules. Surely riders could do the same?” writes a UK resident. “What scares me the most as a cyclist is not the cars, not the lorries and not even the taxi passengers who unexpectedly wrench their door open in front of you – but other cyclists.” It’s the only anonymous column I’ve ever seen the Guardian publish.

Explaining sidewalk biking: Bike advocate Carlton Reid attempts to reframe the controversy by noting that governments turn some sidewalks into bad shared paths.

Vietnamese status shift: After decades when push-bikes were emblems of communistic simplicity, imported Treks and Specializeds are becoming status symbols in Hanoi.

Fixing CEQA: By abandoning “level of service,” California is about to reduce the penalty on projects that increase auto congestion and instead penalize projects that increase driving.

Highway removal: From coast to coast, cities are considering closing freeways and expressways through their hearts.

Splitting blame: A man who reported a truck passenger for throwing a Gatorade bottle at him while he was biking may himself be charged with “words in public likely to elicit a violent reaction.”

Bikes to burgers: A two-man 48-mile charity bike ride will visit all 11 Burgervilles in Clark County, Wash.

Unsolicited bridge plan: Wealthy Clark County Commissioner David Madore has privately ordered up the design work for what he says should be a new $600 million bridge across the Columbia River near his house.

And your video of the week is a very simple, fast-spreading trick for flash-free bike rides in skirts:

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 welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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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Jayson
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Jayson

I think you mean “fixing CEQA”, not SEPA (washington’s environmental law)?

Peter W
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Notably absent from the article on removing freeways was any mention of Portland.

When is the end-of-life date for I-5 on the east side of the river, and when will that (and the detested Marquam bridge) be removed to make way for a new East Waterfront Park?

Dan
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Dan

Burgerville ride sounds awesome. The challenge would be to get one burger at each place. As a bonus, Burgerville drive thrus allow bikes:

http://bikeportland.org/2009/08/14/burgerville-bikes-now-welcome-in-all-drive-thrus-22360

BIKELEPTIC
Guest

If anyone doesn’t know – if you have a non-profit, Burgerville does sponsorship partner sales match programs. (They are a really awesome organization!) You can do it a couple different ways. Like if you’re doing something there 10% of their proceeds from the time that you’re there will be sent off to your charity.

But what they’re doing is a much better idea! Because you know, it’s FRESH OREGON RASPBERRY SEASON at Burgerville right now. I’d be sooooo full of lemonade about 3 BVs in we might have to stop at a lesser fast food for a pit stop.

patrickz
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patrickz

Michael,
“words in public likely to illicit a violent reaction.” Please correct that to read “elicit violent reaction”. Elicit: to draw forth/evoke. Illicit: not allowed/unlawful.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Re’ Washington Post writer Courtland Milloy’s editorial expressing his low opinion of people biking in DC: Is biking behavior that city so bad that generally, which it seems he may be doing, referring to them as “…terrorists…”, is anywhere remotely realistic?

Probably not, and he may just be a frustrated guy that gets upset like like little things such as not being able to consistently get his mustache trimmed just right. Roundup readers, some of you, may be interested in reading a follow up editorial to Milloy’s, by another Post writer, Ashley Halsey:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/its-time-to-tone-down-the-tirades-against-bicyclists/2014/07/09/950a98b4-077b-11e4-8a6a-19355c7e870a_story.html

Champs
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Champs

If the 48-mile, 11-stop Burgerville ride can be a thing, I’m doing a 120-mile 50-brewery tour of Portland, East County, and the Gorge for Pedalpalooza next year. All it needs is a campsite and a support van to haul growlers, coolers, camping gear, and glassware out to Hood River.

Cancer sucks, and so does Lance Armstrong. Let’s just put him behind us like an abusive father instead of living in the past or trying to “think about all the GOOD things” he did.

spare_wheel
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spare_wheel

From the anonymous Guardian link-bait:

This is an attack on a kind of new boy racer who is giving cyclists a bad name.

Is that you Mia?

Indy
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Indy

They’ve published many anonymous articles:
http://www.theguardian.com/profile/anonymous

PJ
Guest

Unfortunately everywhere uber shows up cabbies loose their jobs. Living in a household supported by cabbing we are making blan B and C on how to deal with this right now. I would rather get in a cab with a licensed and trained cabbie any day over some random stranger with an I phone.

Justin A
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Justin A

The Bike Rave sounds like a good time. Of course that means I’d have to carve staying up all night into my schedule, but yeah

oliver
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oliver

“the chances are you will have seen someone on a bicycle pull a stunt that, had it been perpetrated by a car driver, would have seen them dragged from the wheel and strung from the nearest lamp-post.

I’d like to know the color of the sky in that geezers world, because it doesn’t sound like any planet I’ve ever lived on.

Ron G.
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Ron G.

Really, a rapid increase in e-bike use had led to an commensurate rise in bike-pedestrian collisions? I mean, what could go wrong, putting mostly inexperienced riders on 65 pound bikes with department store components (including brakes) and 750 watts of power and turning them loose on multi-use paths?

I love e-bikes. But I resent the industry’s under-the-radar campaign to get them classified as bicycles, in a legal sense. Their goal is a world where you can’t create a non-motorized path or trail network which allows bicycles but doesn’t allow e-bikes.

I wish e-bike manufacturers (and riders) would embrace the motorized nature of their vehicles and adopt the tenets of vehicular cycling. One of the strongest arguments against VC is that claiming space in traffic requires superior power output, the ability to assert your presence through acceleration, especially from a stop. E-bikes can do that better than most of us.

I want e-bikes to lead the revolution, to reclaim secondary roads for slow-moving vehicles, not to take over the MUPs.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

It would be helpful to know what the rules are for E-bikes in Israel and how fast/powerful the predominant E-bike looks like there. In the US, E-bikes are not allowed to provide motor assist beyond 20mph (I would argue that the limit should be 15mph). I don’t know what the power limit is, but I thought it was 500 watts, not 750. If Israel doesn’t have similar regulations, perhaps the problem is overpowered E-bikes that are really electric motorcycles?