The Monday Roundup: Robin Williams, Detroit’s biking rise & more

Robin Williams at NAHBS

Robin Williams in Portland for a
bike show in February 2008.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Here are the great bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Robin Williams and bikes: Cycling superfan Robin Williams’ impression repertoire included Marco Pantani, Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich. Tragically, they went uncaptured on video. The Oregonian’s aggregation of Williams’ ties to bikes includes the time he had one delivered to Conan O’Brien.

Robin Williams in Portland: The story of that time in 2008 when the late comedian flew his plane to Portland for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Bike share safety: 23 million rides later, zero people have died on bike share bicycles. In fact, they seem to reduce bike injuries.

Bikeways improve walking: According to every available dataset in the country, protected bike lanes consistently cut sidewalk biking approximately in half.

Combined tactics: A New Zealand study concluded that a network of traffic-calmed local streets in Auckland wouldn’t be able to increase biking rates above 5 percent of trips … but that if it were installed in combination with protected bike lanes on arterials, it’d double protected lanes’ impact from 20 to 40 percent by 2051.


The UPS Cargo Cruiser, now being tested in Europe.
(Photo: UPS)

Cargo press: Portland-based B-Line is the BBC’s proof that electric-assist cargo bikes and trikes have definitively emerged as “an additional tool that can be used in urban cores.”

Salem bridge cost: Oregon is planning to build a third bridge over the Willamette River in Salem even though there’s no money to stop the city’s two existing bridges from falling down in a major earthquake.

Detroit bike city: Detroit has an all-volunteer bike shop aimed at female, queer and trans people. Events include drag bingo, full-moon bike rides and dance parties.

Freeway cap plan: Austin estimates that lowering its downtown freeway and improving the street connections above could increase the city’s tax base by $500,000 to $4.7 million per year.

Seattle lessons: The mastermind behind Seattle Neighborhood Greenways shares some of her organizing secrets, including the lynchpin: getting beyond “cars versus bikes.”


Advocate moves on: One of the country’s top biking advocates, San Francisco Bike Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum, will end her impressive 17 years with the group. Her next stop: studying Vision Zero in Europe.

Transportation targets: A new set of federal transportation regulations would require states and metro areas to create and coordinate “targets in key national performance areas.” We’ve got a few goals in mind…

Bike share progress: The agenda for the second annual meeting of the North American Bike Share Association next month shows an industry tackling all the big questions: equitable access, an open-data standard, national sponsorships and a new “reliability index” to track equipment failure. The speaker list includes only one of Alta Bicycle Share’s corporate employees.

Free bike bridge: You pick up.

Vancouver crash: BikePortland’s landlord, Todd Mobley of Lancaster Engineering, is recovering after a distracted driver hit him in a Vancouver, Wash., bike lane.

Subconscious speed limits: There are “two surefire ways” to reduce cars’ speed: the speed bump (an American invention) and the speed camera (rare in the U.S., ubiquitous elsewhere). But the other thing that works is to make a street look like a place “where driving above 25 mph seems not simply dangerous, but inappropriate.”

Finally, Apple’s iPad ad about the Detroiter behind the 3,000-strong Slow Roll rides is an inspiration for anyone using any tools to improve a city. It’s 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.

Michael Andersen (Contributor)

Michael Andersen (Contributor)

Michael Andersen was news editor of from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.

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8 years ago

…speaking of those UPS trikes, does anyone know what those funny looking (electric?) trikes the PPD is using in Oldtown are? Looks like an expensive way to avoid buying a bunch more bikes.

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
8 years ago

Thanks for mentioning Todd Mobley. I’d noticed that Columbian article about the distracted driver hitting a person on a bike but I had no idea he was BikePortland’s landlord, of course. Degrees of separation are amazing! Was he riding to work?

Michael and Jonathan, you probably also noticed that Oregon just had three hit-from-behind car collisions with people on bikes in four days. In that latest one, OregonLive mentions “…cited for careless driving” and “Police urged all drivers to be alert for bicyclists and ‘other vulnerable highway users.'” Sounds like ORS 811.135 may have been invoked. As you’re probably aware, several of us readers would be interested in more about the use of that law.

8 years ago

I loved the video.

Nik and I went (Home) to Detroit in May and we rode with the Slow Roll Crew. Rollin’ in Detroit felt REAL good. It was an amazing night filled with many different types of people. I loved it.
We have hundreds of themed group rides in Portland. I unfortunately take so many of these for granted.

Keep Rolling Slow Rollers!

8 years ago

23 million rides, no deaths, 40 hospitalizations. I didn’t realize simply riding a bike so dangerous.

Dave Thomson
Dave Thomson
8 years ago

Fortunately 22,999,960 of those rides were on cycle tracks or it would have been so much worse.

8 years ago

Thanks for mentioning the O story about Robin Williams’ enthusiasm for bikes. Learning that he had bikes and biking, likely helping him deal with at least some of life’s tougher times, was something I wasn’t aware of, and was a very nice, upbeat note. Ride on Robin, and ride well.

8 years ago

Freeway cap plan: let’s put a cap on I-405 please! we can put a park on top of it… the now dead storefronts around it would come to life…

8 years ago

Bikeways cut bicycling on sidewalks in half, but what are sidewalks doing for walking in bikeways?

8 years ago

Here I am late to the party again.
I suggest renaming N Williams Ave to Robin Williams ave.