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The Monday Roundup: Seattle’s showcase, bait bike success in Texas & more

Posted by on September 22nd, 2014 at 11:30 am

2nd ave signalization 600

Seattle’s 2nd Avenue gives bikes their own signal phase.
(Photo: M.Andersen)

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

Seattle’s showcase: Downtown Seattle’s new two-way protected bike lane, which replaced a one-way door-zone lane, seems to have immediately tripled bike traffic on the street.

Cop impersonator: In Palo Alto, a man seemingly impersonated a police officer while ordering two kids in a bike lane to ride single file instead of side by side. He then flashed a weapon at one of them.

Anti-theft success: Texas A&M’s four-year-old bike bait program seems to have doubled stolen bike recoveries from 24 percent to 54 percent.

Centerline reform: Double yellow lines increase bike/car friction by seeming to make it illegal to pass a bike, even when it’d be perfectly safe. Iamtraffic is looking for better solutions.

Walking fatality: BikeSnobNYC called for a one-weekend vacation from Strava after a person walking in Central Park was fatally wounded after a collision with a man on a bike.

Road-design lawsuit: The family of a right-hook victim is suing California and Laguna Beach on the grounds that the intersection where she died was designed to look like a “freeway onramp.”

Convicted of lane-taking: A Kentucky single mom who bike-commuted on a highway to save time has been found guilty of reckless driving because she didn’t bike on the rumble strip. She plans to appeal.

Electoral rules: National bike advocates have a useful infographic about the ways nonprofits are and aren’t allowed to get into elections.

Introducing H-bikes: Hydrogen fuel cells (as opposed to electric batteries) haven’t worked with cars yet. But a group of Australians is trying to make them work for bikes.

Nude jerseys: The Colombian Women’s Cycling Team dressed up in racing kits that resembled nude bellies and crotches.

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Protected intersection: Vancouver BC is proposing to install a Falbo-style protected intersection.

Speed record: Jens Voigt, 43, pedaled 32 miles in one hour last week, a world record. Velonews has an informative Q&A on the significance.

Mandating gentrification: On-site parking spaces drive up the cost of housing, an affordable-housing advocate from SF argued at the City Club last week. So why does the city require them?

Women biking: Mic.com shares photos of 21 women holding signs about why they ride bikes.

Gender gap explanations: A sign of progress on biking’s gender gap? These days, women’s lower biking rate comes as a surprise to a young female journalist.

Infrastructure vs. behavior: Responding to NYT columnist Timothy Egan’s call for people to start being nicer in response to a “death on a bike,” Brooklyn Spoke argues that the way you actually make this happen is with infrastructure.

Three-foot passing: A new California rule will switch from requiring a “safe distance” for passing bike riders (as Oregon does) to a firm standard: three feet. The state has a cute video to promote the change:

California progress: California’s governor also signed new laws recognizing protected bike lanes as state-approved designs and allowing cities to pay for bike facilities with vehicle surcharges.

Environmentalist prosperity: A major new study has concluded that lower fuel costs, fewer air pollution deaths and lower medical bills might completely offset the short-term economic cost of returning carbon emissions to levels that wouldn’t destroy human civilization.

Bikelash is “a great thing to be dealing with” because it “means we’re forcing difficult decisions,” say an array of smart advocates from around the country (including Portland filmmaker Joe Biel of Aftermass) in a useful new Streetfilm, 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.

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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PetedmcGlowBoyEric in SeattleOpus the Poet Recent comment authors
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Dweendaddy
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Dweendaddy

You live near the Columbia. That women’s cycling team is from Colombia.

David McCabe
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David McCabe

Looking for a ride to Crater Lake this weekend. Have campsite, will pay gas.

Todd Hudson
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Todd Hudson

It would be so reassuring if PPB started using bait bikes….

Dave
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Dave

Re: Laguna Beach; I grew up near there; in the 1970’s the Orange County part of PCH could be gridlocked on sunny weekend afternoons–it has been a cyclist-hostile zone for decades. Recently on an organized tour my wife and I were hanging out with an Orange County couple who referred to “about a cyclist killing a month, regularly” in that area. Perhaps organizations like League of American Bicyclists and Adventure Cycling could have a black list of high-hazard cycling areas. Got the spine to do it anyone? I’ll volunteer to write the press releases–I’ll start with our own Oregon coast.

wsbob
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wsbob

Much writing has been done recently in NYC regarding the rise in intensity of interaction between people biking and people walking on the Central Park parkways. Another person walking there last week, passed away after someone riding, ran into and knocked her to the pavement. Person riding not charged. Second on the parkways this summer.

Said he had the green light. Hardly a defense, given that vehicular traffic is required by law to stop for pedestrians whether it has a green or a red light.

Anne Hawley
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Anne Hawley

I’m squinting at that Seattle bike lane and I’m seeing a “buffer” of paint, but nothing “protected”. Am I seeing it wrong?

gutterbunnybikes
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gutterbunnybikes

I find it interesting that many bicycle advocates seem to dismiss the personal economic aspects of the bicycle as transportation. They prefer pushing the environmental and health aspects of the general population, but largely ignore the costs of transportation at a personal level.

I only bring this up because four of the women reference finances directly as a reason they bike. It is twice as many than bring up physical fitness directly, and only one mentions the environmental impact.

Like I have mentioned before, people are more motivated by issues that can easily be seen like personal finances over more abstract and mentally overwhelming issues like climate change. And though I’m not trying to say other motivations for riding bikes aren’t worth discussing or researching, saving vasts amounts of money is something tangible that everyone can relate to.

Champs
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Champs

I don’t see a winner between the NYT column and the BS blog post. For the sake of argument, let’s say both of them are wrong.

Whether it is infrastructure or instruction, how much would either one cost and how long would they take to implement?

Paint, signs, and concrete are expensive. The engineering and construction will take decades.

We can start education today. Most of the work can be done before the decade is out. All we need is to make it a requirement to obtain or renew a driver’s license. The cost is a few bucks at registration. That is a tremendous value if it is only a 1% solution. I think it’s better than that.

Pete
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Pete

Re: Right-hook lawsuit. The “free right turn” design that’s so prevalent in California has been a bone in my throat since moving there. My thought on this is it’s a factor in the more recent rise in pedestrian deaths, not only directly due to design in some cases, but in creating new generations of drivers who don’t understand the concept “right turn on red – after stop.” I think it has patterned driver’s to do a more quick and focused glance into oncoming traffic (i.e. cars in the first lane) to optimize their travel. I think drivers – especially in California – have become programmed to expect a right turn as a natural flow of traffic: in the cases where right turns are corked, you’ll notice a tendency of drivers to become quite agitated – often more than those waiting at the red to go straight.

In my opinion, repealing the right-turn-on-red-after-stop law would be, albeit radical, very effective in both reducing pedestrian deaths, and (re-)educating current and new drivers to stop before crosswalks and start seeing more people crossing roadways.

Beth
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I suspect that at least some of the “bikelash” is not about “forcing hard decisions”. Rather, it could be about the fact that I, as a car-free bicycle owner, don’t pay licensing, insurance or registration fees, and the likely resentment that arises when automobile owners think about that. Whatever. I don’t intend to EVER pay for those things as long as there is no protection or enforcement protecting me on my bicycle in a car-centric landscape; or increased spending and focus on expanding public transit. Automobile owners — and the bicycle lobbyists that kowtow to them — can howl at my stance all they like. The older I get, and the slower the pace of change goes, the less interested I am in playing nice and being patient. I ride a bike because it’s cheaper, it’s a way of thumbing my nose at the auto-petrol/military/plasto-industrial complex, and it’s a lot of fun.
..::ppphhhttt!::..

Peter W
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Eric in Seattle
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Eric in Seattle

Curiously, when I clicked on the link to the article about the police impersonator, I got an ad for “LED Police Strobe Lights”.