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The Monday Roundup: Ice bikes in Buffalo, bike-friendly jeans for women & more

Posted by on March 9th, 2015 at 9:46 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by the Ride the Heart of the Valley Bike Ride. Set for April 18th, this ride is a benefit for the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis.

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

Ice bikes: Hot idea in a very cold Buffalo winter.

Bike pants: Levi’s has introduced the first female cuts of its ‘Commuter’ jeans line which is specially made for bike riders.

Turn signals: A bill in Iowa’s legislature would legalize signaling right turns on a bike with the right arm.

Bike summit: It’s the week of the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC. Though we won’t be covering it in person this year, here’s a guide to the highlights by the Alliance for Biking and Walking.

Vision Zero: Washington DC’s mayor is the latest to make a public commitment.

Happy comparison: Next time you’re feeling bummed about a Portlander’s behavior behind a wheel, look for the paragraph in this article that ends “these reports span less than a year in Southwest Florida.”

Feminine urbanism: How many changes to our cities in the last 30 years has been driven by the fact that for the first time, more women have been in charge of designing them?

Youth urbanism: “Philadelphia’s next great wave of public spaces” could be its schoolyards, argues a column in Philadelphia Magazine.


Multimodal benefits: More miles of street paving means more miles of potential street redesigns, notes Philadelphia’s bicycle coalition.

Divergent cities: The much-discussed urban resurgence comes only from about half of U.S. cities, Portland among them.

Sprawl habits: While declaring bankruptcy in 2012, Stockton, Calif., vowed to turn away from the costly sprawl that had helped wreck its budget. Now that money is returning, sprawl may resume.

Parking lots … the early years: “We know of no existing [shopping] center that has too much parking,” the American Planning Association wrote in 1954.

Walker’s Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker, a leading GOP presidential hopeful, has been pushing to repeal his state’s complete streets law.

Centralized decisions: These days, conservative enthusiasm for devolving federal power to the states stops where transportation funding begins.

Who bikes? A new survey by PeopleForBikes (full disclosure: my other gig) found that about “>one third of Americans ride a bike at least once a year. Fourteen percent ride at least twice a week.

Bicycle transit: Topeka’s new bike share system (from floating-fleet provider Social Bicycles) will be run by its transit agency.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Fallaballa March 9, 2015 at 10:06 am

    i was under the assumption that right-arm signaling is legal here in PDX. is that correct?

    also under the assumption that hand signaling is a throwback to driving, and that the right hand isn’t used because you couldn’t reach all the way over to the right side window…

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    • Pete March 9, 2015 at 10:10 am

      You’re correct in your second assumption.

      Also: Walker… now that’s a guy who doesn’t live up to his last name. 😉

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      • naess March 9, 2015 at 2:43 pm

        he’s correct in the first as well, at least here in pdx as he implied.

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    • 9watts March 9, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Yes. Talk about Car-head. We (or Iowans to date) bike but have to act like we’re in a car. Ridiculous.
      “Iowa’s current law only allows the left arm to be used in signalling all turns.”

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    • El Biciclero March 9, 2015 at 10:19 am

      From ORS 811.395
      “(2) To indicate a right turn either of the following:

      (a) Hand and arm extended upward from the left side of the vehicle. A person who is operating a bicycle is not in violation of this paragraph if the person signals a right turn by extending the persons right hand and arm horizontally.”

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      • 9watts March 9, 2015 at 11:52 am

        It is worth mentioning, I think, that the right hand for right turns is something performed and recognized pretty much the world over.

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      • caesar March 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm

        I wonder if it is also legal, in the State of Oregon, for a cyclist to raise the right forearm (keeping the right arm horizontal) and extend the right middle finger (while flexing all other digits) as a way of signaling dissatisfaction, frustration or disappointment to the driver of a vehicle that just completed a near-miss right hook maneuver. It’s not specifically mentioned in the 2013 edition of the Oregon Bicyclist Manual as an option, but I’ve seen it used before and so am wondering if it’s something that I should add to my arsenal of hand signals.
        Thank you.

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        • Spiffy March 9, 2015 at 3:09 pm

          the state constitution guarantees your right to do that…

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    • John Lascurettes March 9, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Yes, it is legal in Oregon to use your right arm to signal a right turn – straight out like you do a left turn with your left arm.

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    • q`Tzal March 9, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      The real question is if hand signals are a considered a suitable substitute for broken/dead turn signals on an automobile?

      A police officer can ticket you for having a broken or dead turn signal light. Does the law prevent them from citing you if you correctly use hand signals?

      If the officer can cite you whether you are using hand signals or not they are essentially useless and functionally obsoleted.

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    • KristenT March 10, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      In the state of Oregon, it is legal to use hand signals on a bike with either hand. Not just Portland, but statewide.

      For reference, please see the Oregon Bicycle Guide as published by the OR DMV.

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  • Pete March 9, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Iowa gets it. Since putting a disc on the front of my road bike I barely even use my rear brake anymore, and therefore do almost all of my signaling with my right arm (usually starting with my left in advance of braking). There’s another signal I’d like to see added to the list, though, and that’s pointing to the lane you’re about to take (as opposed to the full left turn signal which seems to lead drivers to believe you’re crossing all the way over in front of them to the lane to their left – and will soon be out of their way). I don’t know where I picked this up but it feels intuitive, and I’ve seen motorcyclists use it as they filter (here in CA where that’s legal).

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    • wsbob March 9, 2015 at 11:13 am

      “…(as opposed to the full left turn signal which seems to lead drivers to believe you’re crossing all the way over in front of them to the lane to their left – and will soon be out of their way). …” Pete

      That people driving would interpret in that way, a left turn signal displayed by someone riding, is strange to me, and something I’ve never experienced riding. I have seem some people motorcycling, display the arm pointing directly at the lane to their left signal. Always seemed a bit odd to me, maybe a hip biker be cool thing, though I figured it meant a lane change.

      Alternately, I’ve used both the left arm and the right arm to signal for right turns. Can’t exactly recall the circumstances, but there have been some where I wasn’t quite certain that people driving would get the idea from the extended right arm, that I was signaling for a right turn.

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      • Pete March 9, 2015 at 11:41 am

        Often I’ll take the lane while crossing busy intersections, and I’ve noticed that people seem to understand when I point at the lane and move over, though I’ve had two specific occasions when drivers have tried to pass me on the right (usually in a marked bike lane). On one of those occasions a Mini driver came within a foot of me and I got startled and lost my temper and whacked his mirror. We exchanged words, but I followed him into a parking lot a few blocks down and apologized and we talked through things. He explained that he thought I was moving all the way over to get into the left-turn lane, so that’s stuck with me. I should add that most of the roads I ride on are wide 4-lane roads with frequent intersections and marked left- and right-turn lanes, and that although CA drivers aren’t known for their patience, many here also bike so I think they tend to get it.

        Tried to use both hands to signal a right turn once… that didn’t go so well. 😉

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    • soren March 9, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Lane splitting or filtering on a pedal bicycle has the same status as in CA: not illegal and not enforced.

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  • Todd Boulanger March 9, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Thanks for the great link to the on-going evolution of decentralization of powers from the right right of center…I have long said this, that true Libertarians should embrace the low cost modes such as bicycling, …but in reality so far these Libertarians are closer to Transportation RHINOs.

    I could support this selection, as transportation planner, of their “winners and losers” sans the “free hand of the market place” if they included support for transit and other social modes. But they cherry pick their ethos and bike and peds and transit gets the pits at best.

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    • Chris I March 9, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      I think it’s a good idea, because it appears that the US continues to polarize into extremes. I don’t want the likes of Scott Walker dictating our transportation policy. As pedestrians and cyclists, we have a much better chance in Oregon if we get to make 100% of our funding decisions. Eliminating federal spending will also decrease the likelihood of mega-projects like the CRC.

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  • PdxMark March 9, 2015 at 10:15 am

    i was under the assumption that right-arm signaling is legal here in PDX. is that correct?
    also under the assumption that hand signaling is a throwback to driving, and that the right hand isn’t used because you couldn’t reach all the way over to the right side window…
    Recommended 1

    All over Oregon, in fact…. From ORS 811.395:

    To indicate a right turn either of the following:
    (a) Hand and arm extended upward from the left side of the vehicle. A person who is operating a bicycle is not in violation of this paragraph if the person signals a right turn by extending the persons right hand and arm horizontally.

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  • esther2 March 9, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I don’t know how bike friendly the Levi jeans are. They don’t have a gussetted crotch. I have bad memories of riding in jeans in the 70’s.

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    • Pete March 9, 2015 at 11:47 am

      I can tell you how un-bike-friendly Levi’s Stadium is… 😉

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    • John Liu
      John Liu March 9, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      The first Levi’s Commuter jeans had a gusset crotch and also had a nifty zippered pocket at the rear waistband, sort of where a jersey pocket would be – a good place to stash wallet, phone etc where it won’t interfere with riding. I don’t know about the crotch, but the stash pocket was deleted from later versions including the current Commuter jean.

      I have a couple pairs of the original Commuter jean and they are okay to ride in, more comfortable than you’d expect “skinny” jeans to be. I have other skinny-cut jeans that actually cause my thighs to hurt when riding, I think because the material doesn’t stretch enough. No “Thunder Thigh” comments welcome, please.

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      • rain panther March 10, 2015 at 9:44 am

        My wife got me a pair of the commuter shorts a couple of years back. I almost never wear them, though, for 2 reasons. They’re way too tight on my (not so huge) thighs. And they have such a low rise that they fail to adequately cover the vertical entirety of my butt – especially when bending at the waist, which is usually how I ride a bike.

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  • Terry D-M March 9, 2015 at 10:43 am

    My poor Wisconsin…..It makes me so sad Walker is turning it into Wiscissippi.

    When I moved here in 1998 I knew I was going to do well from a climate change perspective….but I did not expect my home state to collapse into a Koch brother’s fiefdom.

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    • meh March 9, 2015 at 11:32 am

      Not like he wasn’t recalled and won the recall election as well as another general election.

      Like any state, you get the government you vote for. Wisconsin has chosen Walker, 3 time over.

      Oregon got Kitzhaber, Wisconsin got Walker.

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      • CaptainKarma March 9, 2015 at 3:37 pm

        Only with outside help (koch bros). Maybe he can convince Trek to start making significant numbers of bikes in WI now that they are a right-to-work (for less) state?

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        • meh March 10, 2015 at 7:01 am

          Trek was never unionized so it made no difference whether right to work or not. How about calling out Jamis, Specialized and Cannondale for their domestic production? Right to work has zero impact because these companies have also worked hard to keep their shops union free.

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  • Champs March 9, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Plot twist: when situated on the left side of the roadway, e.g. Williams, it’s likely illegal to signal a left turn with your right arm upward, even though it would be more visible.

    It’s nice that Levi’s Commuter line finally recognizes more kinds of riders. Besides women, they added a looser cut for men! It’s taken years to realize that fit people who ride bikes might be thicker downstairs than their waist would imply.

    Another product announcement that would warm my heart: Kryptonite (or anyone else) to sell aftermarket secondary shackles like on the Messenger Mini+:

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    • John Lascurettes March 9, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Plot twist: when situated on the left side of the roadway, e.g. Williams, it’s likely illegal to signal a left turn with your right arm upward, even though it would be more visible.

      Why even bother doing it with your right hand anyway? It would be far clearer and more visible to anyone to whom it’s pertinent to use your left hand extended straight.

      Pedestrians that would be in a conflict zone will be on your left. They’ll have better line of sight on your left hand as you approach (plus you should be yielding to them anyway).

      Cars behind you can see either arm just as well. But I would argue that a fully extended arm is a more obvious motion than a raised, bent arm (and this and the next reason are why I prefer to signal right turns with my right hand when I’m on the right).

      Cars on your left (cross traffic) will definitely have better line of sight on that left hand as you approach. Cars on your right don’t really need to know you’re turning left in front of them (assuming it’s a signed intersection instead of a signaled one) lest some drivers will gun it, just to be sure they’re not going to get “stuck” behind you. This happened to me recently on a greenway I was turning left off of and I had to brake hard to avoid t-boning the driver. Now, I don’t even bother signaling to someone that should be waiting for me anyway.

      You’ll have no opposing traffic so that’s not even a factor. But again, even if you did, it would be facing you on your left. Your extended, near hand would be more visible than a bent opposing hand.

      I don’t know about the legality of a bent-arm left-turn signal made with the right hand, but it’s certainly a whole lot less pragmatic.

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    • gutterbunnybikes March 9, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Don’t think I’ve ever heard of singling a left turn with the right arm.

      I gave up left hand right hand turns long ago, too many people wave back.

      Though honestly, does the legality of it really matter, don’t think I’ve heard of anyone (car or bike rider) getting a ticket for not using a turn signal.

      >>>interesting side note the brakes on bicycles were switched by Raleigh in the 30s for better hand signaling. That’s why they seem backwards here.

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  • Jim Lee March 9, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Since putting a drum on the front of my track bike I back-pedal only to modulate speed or brake the rear.

    I rarely signal at all because it is my job to anticipate what everyone else could possibly do and adjust accordingly.

    More accurate to maneuver with both hands on the bars–safer too.

    And traffic-stands at octagonal reds.

    Robert Hurst rules!

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    • Fallaballa March 9, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      LOL, just stay safe out there broseph… we’ll all adjust our behavior accordingly to accommodate your special needs.

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    • Pete March 9, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      If Maus doesn’t give you $5 for that one I will! But first I wanna see you bunny hop that sucker over streetcar tracks… 😉

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  • Electric Mayhem March 9, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I prefer the right arm extended for right turns. It’s intuitive for even a child to understand. People coming from someplace where bikes are not common might not undestand the arm straight up signal.

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    • Psyfalcon March 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      They should. Its in their drivers manual. It only exists because you can’t see a right arm signaling inside a car.

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  • Jim Lee March 9, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I strongly suspect that nearly all commenters here are closet VEHICULAR CYCLISTS: take the lane; signal every turn; run every octagonal red.

    Or just the OPPOSITE: more bike lanes, more cycle tracks, more greenways; WE ARE SPECIAL; everyone must accommodate us.

    I seem to be nearly unique in my Robert Hurstian fidelity: “Today’s real American City, in all its grungy glory, is already rockable on two wheels.”

    “The most effective way for a cyclist to stay out of trouble on city streets is to forget entirely about the possibility of blaming others, and to take on full responsibility for his or her own safety. This attitude will be fundamentally different form the prima-donna mind-set displayed by many humans, drivers and cyclists among them, who put their safety in the hands of others, count on everything working out just right, and have a royal freak-out at the first sign of trouble. The successful cyclist counts on nothing but chaos and stupidity.”

    “The cyclist’s best chance is to gather all the responsibility that can be gathered. Hoard it form those around you. Have faith that you will do a better job with it than they will, and make it so. Don’t trust your fate to the police, the planners, the pedestrians, or the paramedics. Don’t leave your fate to the stars, or to luck. Definitely don’t leave your fate to the drivers.”

    In other words, learn to ride your bike. And keep both hands on the bars at all times.

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    • Dan March 10, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      Hey, I read the Art of Cycling, and am convinced it has saved my bacon more than once. But I don’t believe all of those skills SHOULD be necessary to ride a bike. Are my kids supposed to take FULL responsibility for their own safety when riding home from school?

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      • soren March 10, 2015 at 3:54 pm

        Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it.


        While this speaks to me…I don’t want my nieces/nephews to have to learn how to ride by being human crayons.

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    • soren March 10, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      The prototypical VCer does not run stop signs. They *drive* their bikes and follow the “rules of the road” to the letter and punctuation mark.

      From Forester’s review of “The Art of Cycling”:

      “Robert Hurst, in his The Art of Cycling (Falcon Press, copyright 2004, 2007), argues for a third way that combines confidence in cycling skill, as in vehicular cycling, with the distrust of the rules and the lawless behavior of cyclist-inferiority cycling.”

      I am a fan of Hurst’s argument for a risk-adjusted synthesis of VC and “flow with traffic” cycling. I believe it’s the most sane approach to cycling in the mixed infrastructure environment common in North America. That being said, I personally am a proud practitioner of what Forester calls “cyclist-inferiority cycling”. My only “rules of the road” are: be safe, be polite, and don’t violate anyone’s right of way.

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  • Andyc of Linnton March 9, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Wow. Now even Kansas is evolving faster than Portland!

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    • gutterbunnybikes March 9, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      And Topeka of all places….Lawrence or Wichita ok…But Topeka – ouch.

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