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The Monday Roundup: Biking to the Emmy Awards, removing lanes for safety & more

Posted by on August 25th, 2014 at 9:39 am


Simpler times.
(Photo: Midtown Partnership)

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

When Hollywood and biking mix on the red carpet: It’s a great sign for cycling in America when venerable movie industry paper The Hollywood Reporter covers an Emmy nominee who biked to the closely watched awards event (in Rapha no less!).

Mistaken for Uber: “Basically anytime I’m pulled over on the side of the street, someone tries to hail me or just opens my car door,” says a New Yorker who just wants to drive his car in the age of Uber. One person told him: “Are you Uber? Well can you just be? Can we go?” “It’s kind of immoral to have a car in New York anyways, so I feel like this is my tax for doing that.”

When lanes are less safe: Removing center lines on London streets (something Portland has been doing for some neighborhood greenways) reduced average speeds by 5 to 9 mph.

How to be a “rogue agent of change”: Sprig of leaves over the bike lane? Tear ’em off before they’re a branch. And other tips from Jim Parsons of Beaverton on making walking and biking a little better.

The joy of riding: “At 56, I’m really too old to be hopping over rocks and fallen trees,” writes an unrepentant New York English professor in a short essay about her life as a mountain biker.

Marginalizing assault: NPR’s ombudsman says that after quoting a woman saying she wants to run bikes off the road because they get in her way, the reporter should have noted that this would be “dangerous and illegal.”

Carfree boom: In San Francisco, car-free households account for 88 percent of net household growth since 2000.

Insurance reinvention: Metromile, the pay-by-the-mile car insurance company that launched in Oregon two years ago, has expanded to California.

Race and public space: Streetsblog LA covered two bike rides through South LA, both setting out to reclaim public space for marginalized communities, with black and white photos that make skin colors secondary. “Bikes don’t fix everything, but they can help.”

Advertise with BikePortland.

Tilikum Crossing: Local architecture writer Brian Libby wrote an appreciation of Portland’s new, human-scale bridge for a national audience.

Freeway casualty: The 2010 firefighter of the year in Mosier, Ore., 52-year-old Ellen Dittebrandt, was killed early Sunday in a rear-end pickup-bicycle crash on Interstate 84 near Hood River.

Out of nowhere: Oregonian columnist Steve Duin has a chilling account of watching a video of a car that rocketed west along Division Street at 40+ mph last Tuesday, killing a man as he crossed the street and flinging his body 100 feet.

Grocery activism: A Pittsburgh man was annoyed that his local grocery store had no bike racks, so he wrote a letter declaring himself “on strike as your customer.” It worked.

E-bike practicality: The German post office’s purchase of 6,200 cargo e-bikes to deliver mail leads a New York Times story of their spread across Europe.

Lock tests: ABUS, the German manufacturer that invented the U-lock in 1924, put their products through some impressive tests — though sadly, their demonstration videos are too sensible to be spectacular.

Pedestrian grids: Copenhagen, Zurich, Amsterdam, Melbourne and now Stockholm all have networks of completely car-free streets “where you can walk and walk and feel happiness, solace, and quiet.” Streetsfilm’s Clarence Eckerson wants them in NYC, too.

Unionizing bike share: Citi Bike’s employees will get to vote to join the same union that represents subway and bus workers.

Class consciousness: “No amount of debt is too great when it comes to purchasing bicycles,” writes Elly Blue in “How to Bike While Rich.”

Activism and privilege: “What happened to Portland’s bike scene?” Blue wrote in a reflection that started as a comment on our post about changing strategies at the BTA. “Where did the fun go?” Her theory: fun came from the non-rich, non-white and/or non-male, and those voices have been marginalized or priced out of central Portland.

Portland’s advantage: “We will compete on being a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” said bike-friendly CEO Sam Blackman of Elemental Technologies at TechFestNW, discussing the future of our tech industry.

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.

  • F.W. de Klerk August 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Blaming “rich white males” for lack of a bike scene? Totally weak.

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    • todd.boulanger@yahoo.com August 25, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Nah…it was social media …;-)

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    • spare_wheel August 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Bohemian white people with college degrees protest influx of less bohemian white people with college degrees!

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    • William Henderson August 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Link on BikePortland seems to point to the wrong place. Here’s the post:

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    • GlowBoy August 25, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      Blaming the cycling plateau on a small number of highly visible well-off hipsters?

      Sounds like the same kind of observational biases that lead the anti-bikers to constantly accuse us of “always” running red lights, putting our own lives in danger, getting in the way, etc.

      And totally weak.

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  • Barbur of the 'ville August 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Any word on that not too serious Barbur crash at Swan Mart last week?

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  • todd.boulanger@yahoo.com August 25, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for the ABUS link…I had not realized their history with “u-locks” until then and it makes sense. Though I have had (and still use) my ABUS U-lock from 1986 and the security key they had then vs. my now discarded US u-locks with cylinder keys.

    (The big question in my mind has always been…what did ABUS know about cylinder lock vulnerability versus what did Kryptonite etc know when they moved from padlocks in the 80s? Did the US lock companies just pick a weaker security lock but cheaper option?)

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    • was carless August 26, 2014 at 1:11 am

      Kryptonite knew about the BIC pen vulnerability as far back as the 90’s, but since customer awareness about the issue was not widespread, they did nothing. REI does not carry their products because of that history.

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      • DNP August 26, 2014 at 9:02 am

        I’m not aware of REI’s previous stance on carrying Kryptonite products, but they do currently sell Kryptonite locks.

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      • Chris I August 26, 2014 at 2:39 pm

        I bought a Kryptonite lock at REI a few years ago.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu August 25, 2014 at 11:57 am

    If “fun came from the non-rich, non-white and/or non-male, and those voices have been marginalized or priced out of central Portland”,
    then the bike scene must be super funner outside of central Portland?

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    • F.W. de Klerk August 25, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Uh yeah. Ask anybody living around Gateway. Thriving “bike scene” there for sure.

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      • BIKELEPTIC August 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm

        Come out to Gateway sometime. Get involved with EPAPbike and the “Portland in Motion” project; Gateway Green and Friends with Trees and their new multi-use park they’re in the plans of creating. Also the Lumberyard! I agree! Over here in Gateway area, we DO have all the fun! 205 bike path is wicked nice too. A couple times a month I take it out to Cascade station to go get sushi or go to IKEA or Best Buy.

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        • David McCabe August 27, 2014 at 1:24 pm

          Do you know a way to take the 205 bike path and route around the weird detours at Washington, Stark, Burnside and Glisan?

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    • are August 25, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      there is a flaw in your logic. see if you can find it.

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  • Jon August 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Ms. Blue really seems to have a problem with people who wear lycra, ride mountain bikes outside of Portland, and have enough money to purchase a nice bicycle.
    I am sure that everyone who rides a mountain bike in Portland wishes there was a legal place to ride on trails closer than Sandy Ridge but even with a lot of work by the NWTA, there really is not.
    Some people like me wear lycra on our commute to work and for recreational rides. I don’t wear it because I look amazing in lycra, I wear it because it is comfortable for long rides. I don’t think I should be ashamed to enjoy doing a ride outside the city on country roads. Last time I checked they were public and open to anyone regardless of the cost of the bicycle.
    I have progressively spent more on bicycles as I’ve gotten older. I don’t see why that should be a bad thing. When I was younger and did not have as much money, I rode more and my bicycle cost next to nothing. Now it has somewhat reversed. I can’t ride as much but the bike I ride costs a lot more.
    I would suggest that people spend less time judging people by superficial things like the bike they ride. The person riding a $5,000 carbon bike has a whole lot more in common with the person on the 15 year old used and rebuild Schwinn than with the person driving the 1991 Ford Escort. Both bike riders are looking for a safer way to get around by bike. Let’s stop looking for ways to divide us.

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    • are August 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      i am pretty sure her point was if the only voices being heard are those of recreational cyclists with money to burn, the infrastructure needs of the lower classes will not be met

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    • F.W. de Klerk August 26, 2014 at 7:36 am

      She sounds like a lot of sour grapes to me. So people with nice bikes or “2000 dollar devices” are now elites? Wow. Maybe those folks worked hard and saved their money for that stuff?

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      • Chris I August 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm

        I wonder if she knows how much it costs to own and maintain a car…

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  • KristenT August 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Jim’s blog post is spot on, however citizen activists should be aware of who is in charge of what roads, especially in the Suburbs.

    For instance, Hall blvd through Tigard is an ODOT facility, and Tigard’s folks are prohibited from sweeping the bike lane. As a consequence, Tigard’s Glasshole Recycling Program has accumulated to incredibly bad proportions– even since I went out and swept the block north of Saggert.

    Actually, it’s even worse as ODOT has left large drifts of sand in the bike lane, covering some the glass with a slippery covering. And the glass keeps accumulating. I’ve asked every 2 weeks since school let out about getting the bike lanes swept and I get the same response:

    “Thanks, we’ll let our crews in the area know”
    “Thanks, we’ll see about getting someone out there”

    I could use some help here, Tigard cyclists! ODOT tends to ignore my concerns, I need more voices!

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    • K'Tesh August 25, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      I’d send an email to Jessica Horning (ODOT’s Transit and Active Transportation Liaison) , along with a phone call to her…

      Direct: 503-731-3359

      And one to Ask ODOT…

      Emails are kinda tricky to deny… Not everybody’s Hard Drive will spontaneously crash (unless you work for the IRS).

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    • K'Tesh August 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Oh, and photographs are a good plan too… reduces the chance their representatives can say “couldn’t find anything wrong”.

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      • KristenT August 26, 2014 at 10:49 am

        I did email, with extensive pictures, during the Ceramic Bowl and Glass Shards debacle of 2012. The fellow ODOT sent out to survey the area, Cory, (Hall Blvd Northbound from Ashford to Sattler) said there wasn’t anything there but pieces of the bike lane line and some of the reflective beads they use.

        Au contrair, says I, and sent pictures of very obvious large curved ceramic pieces and shards of glass as large as my thumbnail (which I picked up and still have).

        ODOT ignores me now because I pointed out that there was no way the debris was lane line chunks and reflective beads– effectively calling Cory a liar, without actually coming out and saying he was lying. I even offered to meet him out there to discuss it with him and never got a reply back.

        Social media seems to work better, as more people see it, but ODOT still only pays lip service and doesn’t ever get around to actually doing anything about the problems.

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  • Josh G August 25, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Resident on SE 34th between Division & Clinton wants to make car traffic one way on tight section
    my pic of the blueprint billboard the resident installed for Sunday Parkways https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3878/14838199468_9859a46f37_o.jpg

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  • Champs August 25, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    The term Elly Blue is looking for: “hipster ennui”. Blissful oblivion fills out the checklist of criteria.

    People love the Grampa Simpson quote “I used to be ‘with it’, then they changed what ‘it’ was.” Strangely nobody but that senile crank remembers the line that follows: “[n]ow what I’m with isn’t it, what’s it seems weird and scary to me, and it’ll happen to you, too.” I also remember a time when everything was subjectively better, but not the same one.

    Division is the perfect metaphor. If “What Happened to Division Street” is a great song, then it’s a lousy question. Ask yourself what made something great, and what you did for it. If you’re still doing that and it’s not working, are you doing all you can? If so, get help, and accept that you don’t have 100% control of the agenda. Not everyone has visions of cycle tracks brimming with helmetless and well-dressed creative-class workers. The future ain’t what it used to be.

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  • Huey Lewis August 25, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Biking will probably always be more white and male than Elly Blue will ever be able to deal with.

    I feel like there are often articles on here about how to get more people of color and more women on bikes. So reading Blue’s article am I supposed to assume just a few short years ago we had more people of color/women cycling than now?

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    • are August 25, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      not unless you skip the part where she says
      “an incredibly hopeful and necessary thing; also the thing that the exciting wave of bike activism that roped me into Portland in the first place was largely lacking.”

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  • Gregg August 25, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Sheesh. Some of these comments are harsh. Maybe some folks can identify with the criticism?

    I personally am a big fan of Elly Blue’s work. Also, she has played as much a part of making Portland a place filled with Bike Fun as anyone I can think of.

    Thanks Elly!

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  • wsbob August 25, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Wall St Journal had a story last week about the market for ‘five figure bikes’. If these type bikes are getting people with a lot of money to try biking, that’s sounds great to me.

    Saw this past weekend, quite a few of what looked to be some very expensive time trial bling bikes being ridden along ‘wonderful’ Hwy 30. Even with its very broad shoulders on parts of it, riding this road has much to be desired. Oregon could do better.

    Like it or not, rich people have a power that people with less money don’t. First hand experience with some of the state’s lousy riding conditions could maybe move more people with lots of money to support much needed improvements to biking infrastructure.

    Biking doesn’t lend itself very easily to the country club class exclusivity that define many golf courses.

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  • Pete August 26, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Once again one of my harmless comments was moderated out, I’m sure by accident (or mechanism). Again, I’m saddened to read here that Ellen was killed on I-84. I didn’t know her well but loved her art and met her a few times. What bothers me though is that KOIN 6 is using this tragedy as a public opinion platform with their poll asking “Should cyclists be allowed on Oregon’s highways?”. Of course the majority of respondents are saying no, but are likely ignorant of the fact that I-84 is the ONLY way to get between Viento and Hood River by bicycle.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) August 26, 2014 at 9:48 am

      You’re right, Pete – looks like it was a false positive in our spam filter. Sorry about that.

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    • wsbob August 26, 2014 at 11:29 am

      “…What bothers me though is that KOIN 6 is using this tragedy as a public opinion platform with their poll asking “Should cyclists be allowed on Oregon’s highways?”. …” Pete

      The question kind of begs the answer ‘No’, which may have been the station ownership’s intent. KOIN 6 could better benefit its viewers and the greater community, by using a bit more caution in conceiving questions it presents.

      If they really want to benefit viewers and the greater community, TV stations could consider asking questions that address the true problem, such as…

      ‘Knowing they either haven’t had enough rest, should people decide not to drive?’

      …or perhaps?:

      ‘ Should more effort be devoted to developing safer, alternative routes for the country’s growing interest in biking, than narrow, busy highways? ‘

      The woman, artist firefighter riding a bike down the road didn’t happen to be killed by someone’s motor vehicle, simply because she was riding on a highway: she was killed because some guy apparently fell asleep, failed to keep his vehicle on the main travel lane, and ran into her on her bike.

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      • Pete August 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        Good point! As you can see in the comments there some of us got lured into the ‘debate’…

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  • Barbara Stedman August 26, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Regarding the use of ebikes by the German postal service I want to point out that they are not replacing cars. In Germany, the mail has always been delivered on foot or by regular bike. Only parcels are deliveed separately by truck. So that means the ebikes make life easier for the delivery people, but don’t take any cars or trucks off the road. It would be great if the parcel delivery woul be done by cargo ebikes!

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