The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

The Monday Roundup: Unshared Citi Bike, opera bike tour and more

Posted by on July 21st, 2014 at 9:06 am

bike sharing

Clever, but not smart.
(Photo: John Marsh via Gothamist)

The bike links from around the world that caught our eyes were particularly rich and interesting this week.

Bike share minus sharing: You will get in trouble if you do this to your favorite Citi Bike.

Opera on bikes: Start this CBC radio report at 24:44 to hear the story of The Bicycle Opera Project, a cast of opera singers in Ontario who travel 50 miles a day by bike, with their set, props and instruments in two bike trailers, and then perform to sold-out audiences. “There’s no room for divas. … You have to be okay with changing a flat tire.”

A (Republican) mayor that bikes: Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, “embraces cycling as part of community outreach.” And it’s such a big deal that it was covered by the New York Times.

Bike outrage bingo: People of Earth: please consult this cycling-in-the-news bingo card before your next web comment and/or opinion column related to bicycling.

Bikes and poverty: “Cycling just isn’t popular among the urban poor (yet),” write the leaders of a survey of 260 residents of two mostly African-American wards in DC. “In 2012, respondents ranked cycling seventh out of nine transport modes, ahead of only taxis and bike sharing.”

Elevation mapping: Cross-sections have been added to bike route finding in the new Google Maps, at least for Android.

Unscientific regulation: “Over the decade in which 19 people were killed in crashes for which a sticky Toyota pedal was identified as one factor, 419,483 people died on the roads of the United States,” writes an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health, arguing that our legal system has led to a misguided fixation on vehicle malfunctions.

Heat-vision stoplights: Thermal detectors could replace in-street induction loops as the go-to way to detect (and count) people waiting at red lights on bikes.

Bike share shortage: Alta Bicycle Share’s affiliates around the world haven’t received a new shipment of new bikes since the bankruptcy of their supplier last year. It’s blocking not only Portland’s bike share plans but expansion of Chicago’s.

Urban cargo tipping point? A Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn has switched from vans to electric-assist cargo bikes for some deliveries.

Automated cars and sprawl: “U.S. history shows that any time you make driving easier, there seems to be this inexhaustible desire to live further from things,” says Toyota’s top scientist on self-driving cars.

Automated cops: As cameras take over red-light and speeding enforcement duties in D.C., some worry that other violations — distracted driving, reckless biking — are going unpunished. Portland, with its dedicated traffic-enforcement team, is cited as a model.

Counting violations: In Milwaukee, bike-count volunteers are now tracking traffic violations by people on bikes, too, and finding that violation rates are no worse than for people in cars.

Pro-bike product labeling: What if there were “This product was delivered by a bicycle” labels? asks Seattle Bike Blog.

Bike microclimates: “Rather than the Dutch bakfiets or the Danish cargo trike, the bike that’s taking hold among New York City parents seems to be the longtail.”

Gas tax drumbeat: The House just approved a “sad excuse for a highway funding bill” that “pays for building projects through a series of budget gimmicks” and will only last 10 months, says an NYT editorial calling for a gas tax hike.

Waterfront bike lanes: After a successful trial last year (TV reporter: “So far, it seems to be working, and that has critics concerned”), San Francisco is proposing protected bike lanes along 1 mile of the Embarcadero.

Anti-pricing billionaire: Napster/Facebook billionaire Sean Parker is a major donor to a San Francisco ballot initiative that would “restore transportation balance” by freezing parking meter hours and prices.

Bike lanes vs. “safety”: A Los Angeles councilman says he’s blocking installation of bike lanes on a major street in his district because he doesn’t want the street to become less safe.

Brooklyn’s pump track: Looks pretty sweet.

A few Portland intersections pop up in your video of the week, a look at the nation’s rising street mural movement:

Audio Slide Show: Local Color from Orion Magazine 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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Pete July 21, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Here’s more news out of Florida; the Governor signed the Aaron Cohen Law into effect, increasing penalties for hit-and-run drivers:

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  • Peter W July 21, 2014 at 9:33 am

    > driverless technology may also result in people using their cars as mobile offices during commutes. … Local governments could take steps to avoid lengthier commutes by drivers of autonomous cars through the use of tolls, for example, Laberteaux said. Such steps also tend to be unpopular in the U.S.

    It is acceptable “technological progress” to engineer systems that incentivize waste, but unacceptable “social engineering” to create systems that incentivize efficiency.

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    • wsbob July 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      “…It is acceptable “technological progress” to engineer systems that incentivize waste, but unacceptable “social engineering” to create systems that incentivize efficiency.” Peter W

      Acceptable to who? You? Automated cars have the potential to incentivize people to waste less than they do with today’s motor vehicle technology. Check some of the comments within stories’ links are provided for in the story noted in today’s Roundup.

      Instead of being obliged to devote all of their time and energy to driving the car, driverless technology has the potential to allow people to direct their energy instead towards productive work, and plenty of other activities people miss out on because they’re driving. One of the linked stories has a quote from someone that points out that the technology could be used to limit the number of miles a motor vehicle is used for a day, month, year, and so on.

      Contrary to past motor vehicle history cited, there’s no certainty that driverless technology will have people willing to spend ever longer periods of time on the road in their motor vehicles. It disappeared, but I did write an earlier comment with a link to stories with the comment I referred to. There were other comments in that story as well, that reflected on the potential of the technology to have motor vehicle use become more efficient and safer than it is today.

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      • 9watts July 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm

        “the potential of the technology to have motor vehicle use become more efficient and safer than it is today.”

        Sure. Potential. But how can you rule out the potential that this technology, like many others before it, won’t (also) make moving about in a fossil-fuel powered machine less onerous and thus easier to tolerate/for longer periods? Traffic jam? Who cares? I’m getting work done.

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        • wsbob July 21, 2014 at 11:30 pm

          “…But how can you rule out the potential that this technology, like many others before it, won’t (also) make moving about in a fossil-fuel powered machine less onerous and thus easier to tolerate/for longer periods? …” 9watts

          Sure, that’s possible, but except for the fact that there exists the possibility for this to happen in the not distant future, with motor vehicles instead of trains and airplanes, there’s nothing new about it.

          Will society allow the convenience and options that driverless technology has the potential to open up, bring about increased traffic congestion and sprawl? Hard to say exactly. In reading the articles linked in the one the Roundup featured, it seems people are aware of negative consequences that could arise from driverless technology, and are considering ways to deal with them.

          Increased road use safety and efficiency are the big advances that automated motor vehicle technology has to offer, and I think the public is going to find that to be a great advance and very socially acceptable. Remains to be seen whether the technology will work out in reality, as well as it seems to on paper and in tests.

          I think of, as an example, the commute from 217 west into Portland, up over Sylvan and down the steep hill through the tunnels and onto the exits onto I-405. The ability of this technology to possibly eliminate erratic lane changing and speeds traveled, jamming up at approaches and exits will be great.

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      • gutterbunnybikes July 21, 2014 at 8:16 pm

        Yeah because people aren’t working enough already… (Glad I’m paid by the hour and not on salary).

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        • wsbob July 21, 2014 at 11:36 pm

          Sounds like the technology could be made to be like autopilot in planes. Not sure what I think of the idea, but theoretically, I suppose the system could be made good enough for people to get completely away from the wheel, stretch out in the back seat, nod off, watch videos, eat, whatever. The car could drive itself. Get in, punch a button, the car takes off, arrives at its preplanned destination some time later.

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  • noah July 21, 2014 at 10:15 am

    This bingo card is way better. It has no pretense to impartiality, but maybe that’s what makes it better.

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    • Clark in Vancouver July 22, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      Both of these are good.
      Funny how I had that idea of a bingo game about a year ago. Just goes to show how no idea is unique.

      I would add a few more:

      – “Now, I’m an avid cyclist but…”
      – Something about Agenda 21
      – That proposed bike lane through the park is hypocritical because it’s taking away green space.
      – They don’t deserve any money spent on them cyclists as there are too many of them.
      – It’s not worth spending money on cyclists because there aren’t enough of them.
      – Real men destroy things and cyclists are do-gooders therefore are less manly.
      – Don’t know why but they just rub me the wrong way somehow.
      – Worried about bicycles killing school children yet does nothing about motor traffic near schools.

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  • BIKELEPTIC July 21, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Here was my interesting news of the weekend: reserve office Laura Weintraub from the Santa Paula Police Dept has a youtube vid show called “cupholder commentary” and did a “cyclist edition” – in which she said several times “I hate cyclists, every one of them” and asked the driver, also a volunteer at the dept how much would it cost to run them over – mocked cyclists through the video, etc. How the SPPD responded was also pretty ridiculous throughout this whole ordeal.

    DrunkCyclist wrote a pretty thorough article with tons of links.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT July 21, 2014 at 10:44 am

    “Portland, with its dedicated traffic-enforcement team, is cited as a model” As a model? Of refusing to do enforcement on Greenways? Of not citing speeding drivers unless they’re going “more than 11-14 mph over the limit?” Of being utterly non-existent in neighborhoods? Of focusing on high revenue enforcements on roads with few vulnerable users?

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  • Pete July 21, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Aha! No wonder Ed Lee just made parking free in San Francisco on Sundays again…

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  • wsbob July 21, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Citybike U-locking: that’s kind of funny.

    Closer to home, Nike bike share related that I thought was interesting: Saturday, on the way over to the Beaverton Farmers’ Mkt, I noticed someone had ridden a Nike bike share bike over to and locked it up at Trader Joes. May have ridden it all the way from Nike I suppose. Or, they may have used Max to ride to the transit center just north across Canyon Rd. Either way, we’re seeing uses people are making of the bike share bikes.

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  • El Biciclero July 21, 2014 at 11:54 am

    One of the best Monday Roundups in a while.

    1. Heat-sensing signal cams please. Everywhere.
    2. Traffic safety dudes: focus on the right stuff, please. Now.
    3. Who’s a scoffwaw? Youwe a scoffwaw! Nyess you are, you pweshus wittow scoffwaw!

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  • John Lascurettes July 21, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Was there a link to go with the “Automated Cops” slug?

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  • Spiffy July 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Heat-vision stoplights: when are we going to stop making pedestrians beg to cross the street?

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    • 9watts July 21, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      You mean go-lights? 🙂

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  • 9watts July 21, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    NYT on the need for a gas tax – alright!

    But what an opening sentence: “About 10,000 motorists die each year because of inadequate road conditions.”

    Can’t wait for El Biciclero’s take on that whopper.

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    • Chris I July 22, 2014 at 7:15 am

      I’m assuming the author is trying to create a justification for spending on roadway improvements. While increasing the gas tax and increasing highways spending could save lives (marginally discourage some driving, and target money for safety improvements like roundabouts and safer road design), more than likely, increased spending would just be used to increase capacity, which would result in more deaths. The number one cause of highway deaths in this country is operator error. Road design can only do so much.

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      • 9watts July 22, 2014 at 1:03 pm

        “The number one cause of highway deaths in this country is operator error. Road design can only do so much.”
        Those were more or less my assumptions as well. I’ve simply never heard anyone claim that *half* of all motorist deaths were due to poor infrastructure. To have the NYT claim this without citing their source was, to me at least, baffling.

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    • El Biciclero July 22, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      I hadn’t even read that article yet, but since you were wondering, that doesn’t really square with the other safety article which tells us driver error is the major cause of 94%, or 31,000 fatalities, leaving only 2000 to be caused by other factors. But then the actual article referred to by the NYT editorial board states that road conditions are a “significant factor” in 1/3 of 33,000 annual motorist deaths. To me, that seems a little bit weaker than “motorists die…because of road conditions”, the latter making it sound as though it were the sole cause. I’m just too tired of lazy, incompetent drivers to comment on them right now. In the face of so much evidence that they are wrong, I just don’t see how we can continue our irrational policies and cultural attitudes about driving, and have such a casual reaction to any deaths caused by sloppy, aggressive, incompetent, impaired, distracted, or otherwise bad driving. As they say at the “accident” scene, “oh, well” [shrug].

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      • 9watts July 23, 2014 at 8:25 am

        except that the way I read the statistics: it is closer to ~23,000 motorists who die annually on our roads each year. The phrase/category that most closely approximates the NYT’s motorists is, I think, “vehicle occupants who died in crashes.”

        More than 10,000 apparently die in alcohol-impaired crashes every year:
        “In 2010, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.”

        But thank you for alerting me to the link in the NYT article and linking to the other piece in the AJPH. I somehow managed to miss that hotlink in the NYT editorial I was reading.

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        • El Biciclero July 23, 2014 at 8:58 pm

          I thought the same thing regarding “motorists”—that they really meant “people in cars”, not just “drivers”.

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          • 9watts July 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm

            Well either way they are confused, because the source they cite uses ~33,000/yr as the denominator, whereas fatally injured drivers make up less than 17,000/yr.

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  • gutterbunnybikes July 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    The Bingo card left out one of the big ones….

    “I’m a cyclist, but….”

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  • Caleb July 21, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    I miss those colorful intersections. Guess I’ll have to paint some here!

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