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The Monday Roundup: Solar e-bike, China’s bike rebound and more

Posted by on May 4th, 2015 at 8:56 am

solar bike

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

Solar e-bike: Thanks to a custom panel design, this one weighs just 37 pounds. (No, there is no mention of price.)

Chinese rebound: Seemingly left behind by history, Chinese bicycle advocates are fighting to restore the Kingdom of the Bicycle.

Developing cities: “The battle against the car has been more-or-less won in the west,” one consultant tells The Guardian for a voyage tracking the so-called “peak car” trend. “Even in a traffic-clogged, car-fixated megacity such as Mumbai, however, there are glimmers that the anti-car lobby is gaining some traction.”

White-hat graffiti: A U.K. graffiti artist calling himself “Wanksy” is successfully getting potholes fixed by spray-painting penises on them.

Flat-tire fixing: …with no hands. This man shows how.

No-brakes bike race: “It is like your video game and you’re in it. And somebody crashes and burns, it could be you. Literally.”

Westside Bypass: The long-abandoned freeway project is back in discussion in Washington County, where one former county commissioner is saying a new limited-access freeway loop from Wilsonville through Hillsboro to U.S. 26 is needed to make the county more like East Portland.

Freeway removal: Streetfilms looks at Dallas residents’ proactive strategy to reclaim a huge expanse of downtown.

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Freedom for whom? This cartoon by neotraditionalist engineer Ian Lockwood tells it well:

Sidewalk upgrades: 1,000 more Beaverton public school students will be walking to class next fall after their district removes 64 bus stops from areas newly deemed safe to walk in. Some parents disagree.

Helmet psychology: Why do “the risks we accept when we climb behind the wheel suddenly appear unacceptable when we mount a bicycle”? A writer raised in Germany uses transcontinental differences to explore the question.

Bike-by injury: A hit-and-run-by-bike in London has left a woman “scarred for life,” the Evening Standard says.

Bike-race terror: Two suspects were arrested in Germany last week on suspicion of planning an “Islamist terror attack” on a bike race in Frankfurt.

Bike share demographics: D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare is working on “infrastructure improvements, outreach efforts and expansion” that it hopes will reverse its increasingly disproportionate use by the rich and the white.

TriMet bridge: A pair of public conversations with the creators of Tilikum Crossing will be held this month.

Distracted driving: A smartphone app that blocks teens’ cell service when they turn on the car seems to reduce “high-risk driving events” by more than half.

Bikes + trains: By the end of the year, every long-distance Amtrak train will have a baggage car equipped with a bike rack.

Parking economics: Fans of retiring UCLA parking scholar Donald Shoup are crowdfunding for a fellowship in his name and his wife’s.

Sidewalk biking: It’s allegedly #26 on a list of “things people from Portland love.”

And your video of the week explores what happens when someone tries to ride a bike whose handlebars have been reversed … and then finally figures it out … and then switches back.

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.

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

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John Liu
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John Liu

The solar bike only charges when the bike is stationary, and takes five full days under ideal conditions to fully charge. I’d think the solar panels aren’t worth their weight in this application, never mind cross-wind sensitivity and cost.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

True for most of us currently cycling…but for those who “hope” to cycle then this is their dream come true, ‘a powered bike that is always ready for them and they do not need to plan ahead and plug in’…though by being parked outside for the solar access it might be gone by the time they think to ride it. 😉

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I’m thinking how “fun” it would be handling that much gyroscopic inertia when trying to turn or maneuver.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Or how much “fun” it would be riding it through the Gorge on a breezy day.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

That’s why I stopped using front panniers when I was stationed in Omaha Nebraska for 5 years.

Sure they gave me more cargo capacity and allowed weight to be distributed up front, a little.
Unfortunately the year round average wind everyday is about 15-25mph continuous wind with 30-35mph gusts. Add surface obstructions (buildings, terrain, large trucks) and you have the formula for a type of wind I simply called “slappy”: it’s there, gone, then suddenly back again. I have better than average balance but those few incidents nearly killed me.

OTOH: there were projects like a lift generating safety sail for a tadpole trike that seemed like a functional use of a high visibility panel.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Hitler’s reaction to the St. Paul (MN) bike plan was pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK9Tw5Utqgw

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

What are we supposed to call it when some Godwin’s Laws an argument thread that never existed?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Hilarious.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Effect before cause
I guess someone should start a contentious and pointless argument but it needs start heated with profanity then gradually become civil.
Helmets or Effective Cycling… yeah, that’s the ticket.

Dimitrios
Guest
Dimitrios

I’m pretty sure Champs was just offering up the video as something funny, bike-related, and current for the Monday Roundup. The St. Paul bike plan was just adopted in March and the video is days old, obviously in response to opposition of the plan’s adoption.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

CAUTION: While attempting to share the “Hands Free” video, my web browser was taken over by a pop-up with a “Virus Alert” telling me to call a number help me get rid of the virus!

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

Re: video of the week.. I suppose this isn’t too surprising to anyone who has spent more than a couple days at a time on a boat, and then had to walk again on land. They call it “sea legs” for a very good reason.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Walking to school in BeaverTron because of super close bus stop eliminations:
DARN good idea!

Parents are worried (1) about criminals and specifically sex offenders (2) but the real hazard is going to also be the biggest safety bonus: smartphones in every kids hand, on and available to record dozens of different video POVs of anything resembling and incident or YouTube fodder.

Related: witness the dawn of and ACLU app that:

The Nation
allows people to send cellphone videos of police encounters to the ACLU, automatically—and the ACLU will preserve the video footage, even if the cops seize the phone and delete the video or destroy the phone. The app, “Mobile Justice CA,” works for both iPhones and Android users. It’s available at Apple’s App Store and at Google Play.

With smartphones in every hand, all out browsing, the biggest thing I’d be worried about is blindly walking in to things. With a generation enamored and inured to the recording of everything odds are parents will be able to visually track their children to school just from the shear volume of overlapping video streams.

(1) Telling someone not to worry is as effective as telling The Hulk to stop being angry
(2) over at the O someone in the comments listed some obvious things that’ll get you on the sex offender database for life but I never knew it included “urination in public” drunk or otherwise.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Lousy road infrastructure kids walking to school are subject to, is likely the biggest problem with the routes on which the bus stops are being eliminated.

School officials reportedly studied and walked the routes on which eliminating stops was considered, in order to decide whether the routes were safe for a kid to walk to school. In actual practice, can it be expected that a kid walking by themselves on those routes, will be safe from motor vehicle traffic?

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Children are quite agile and poor infrastructure is just another playground obstacle; if there is anyone that can nimbly traverse broken and neglected concrete sidewalks and areas where there are no sidewalks it is those most young among us.

But once you factor in the hazard of goofing off, being completely distracted by smartphones and just general “kid stuff” even a padded room is a hazardous venue.

It would make sense to have some group leader and encourage minimum group sizes of 3 or more. Every time I see some horror movie scene where someone gets snatched by the monster/bad guy I’m always screaming “you idjits! if you went in 3’s the person not snatched wouldn’t be alone!” I think the same principal should work for kids walking to school like they show at http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/ .

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

q`Tzal…broken sidewalks and no sidewalks, is not what I’m talking about when I say poor infrastructure. What I’m talking about is infrastructure whose core function is not conducive to safe enjoyable walking for kids, but not only for kids; for adults as well.

Especially in the case of new development not so long ago, designed from the ground up, as in Bonny Slope or Bethany (two neighborhoods very close to each other.). Those are examples of neighborhoods that have been entirely designed to be subordinate to roads busy with motor vehicle use throughout the area. Big, complicated, busy thoroughfares heavily congested with excessive motor vehicle use. That dramatically impacts travel by foot. I haven’t been keeping up on how plans for South Cooper Mtn development are coming together, but I’ll be surprised if travel infrastructure within it is not being designed the same way.

Dan
Guest
Dan

I’m in the neighborhood where we’re losing buses for 337 students. Our kids already walk, but we will be impacted by the increase of cars on the street they cross, which is on the main driving route to the school, so of course we are encouraging other kids to walk/bike as well. We are frantically trying to organize walk/bike trains for the newly affected families, but it’s a daunting challenge. People cite the weather, the predators, the other cars, the speeding, the skinny sidewalks, the distance, the time, etc etc. It’s good to hear so many people talking about safety now, I guess, since it wasn’t much of a concern for them when it was just our kids walking. (Who knew our neighborhood was filled with kidnappers and pedophiles?! This is something we need to fix!! /s)

The safe routes to school folks seem to be great at emailing us brochures and maps, but I haven’t seen much else. We’re hoping they might step and I help us with the leadership aspect of transitioning 337 kids away from buses. I mean, what an opportunity, right?

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

Talking about safety, only strengthens the perceptions that the automobile is the only option for concerned parents.

Of course this isn’t apparent in the data, where you’re actually much more at risk in a car than you are on your feet or on a bike (even with the creepers lurking about).

When are we going to start lobbying for laws on helmet use in cars?- You know just to start the discussion.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Motor vehicle dropoff should not be allowed within 5 blocks of the school. Forget 20mph signs, just close the street for 40 minutes before and after school.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Yes, I am in favor of this. Or, at a minimum, having early departure for kids who are walking, to at least get them clear of the snarl that will become our parking lot. Or allowing kids to enter/depart from the back of the school, which is currently off limits due to district “safety guidelines”.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

The problem I have is that the school districts and cities eliminate the school bus stops, hype up the Safe Routes to School programs, and then do NOTHING to actually create the safe routes.

I know I’ve said it before, but my neighborhood is exactly 1 mile from Fowler Middle School in Tigard, and none of the kids in my neighborhood or the ones immediately adjacent can walk or bike to school without having to be in the lane on some very busy roads that have no sidewalk, shoulder, or bike lane.

Yet Tigard touts Safe Routes to School as if all they have to do is talk about it, and the roads will automatically become perfect for children to ride on and walk on.

At some point, the cities and the school districts are going to have to put their money where their mouth is and actually create the sidewalks, bike lanes, and shoulders.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“The problem I have is that the school districts and cities eliminate the school bus stops, hype up the Safe Routes to School programs, and then do NOTHING to actually create the safe routes.

I know I’ve said it before, but my neighborhood is exactly 1 mile from Fowler Middle School in Tigard, …” kristen t

Article linked in this roundup, reports on Beaverton school districts’ action on bus stops. Excerpt from that article:

“…District staff spent a lot of time walking and driving the routes during different times of day and pulled together a Supplemental Plan Committee of Washington County and Beaverton city staff, which included representatives from land use, public safety, traffic team, safe routes to school and the park district, according to district information.

“It was important that we do a lot of due diligence in this process, and I can say absolutely that has happened,” said Ron Porterfield, deputy superintendent.

The committee’s vote on the changes was unanimous, he said.

Committee members followed a set of guidelines in their determination, including sidewalks, volume of traffic, speed, crosswalks, crossing guards and conditions of road shoulders, Porterfield said.

For example, he said, an intersection where elementary and middle school students would cross five lanes of traffic or less would require a pedestrian crossing system, crossing guards, 20 feet of visibility and the speed limit must be no greater than 40 miles per hour. …” http://www.oregonlive.com/beaverton/index.ssf/2015/04/walking_to_school_1000_more_be.html

I take exception to some of the criteria used to determine a route’s functionality for kid’s walk to school, mentioned in this excerpt. Apparently though, district officials and other people, have studied routes in question and have arrived upon an evaluation and mitigation of them that they think is acceptable.

Problem, is that if kids actually having to walk to school, or being expected to walk to school, won’t do so because the infrastructure is crummy. Or can’t because their parents don’t find the routes to be safe for their kids to walk. At least some, maybe many parents will resort to driving their kids to school. Result is even more traffic congestion on roads already overwhelmed with excessive motor vehicle use.

Routes for kids walking to school should not only be safe, but also, actually enjoyable to walk. Walking directly alongside roads that are dangerous and busy due primarily to motor vehicle use, isn’t an environment most people would likely consider a good one in which to walk.

Dan
Guest
Dan

For some of the kids, 80% of their walk would be along West Union, or the East German wall that is Bethany.

Dan
Guest
Dan

The main crosswalk into the neighborhood regularly has people parked right up against it, despite Oregon law mandating 20 feet of space. I’ve asked Washington County about posting a sign to indicate a no parking zone, or to simply paint the curb yellow. They won’t do either, because they consider it redundant, and believe that people should just know the law about parking near a crosswalk without signage. Well, clearly they don’t. The crossing guard has nearly been hit here, because, despite wearing an orange vest and carrying a large flag, she was not visible to a driving coming around the corner. I’ve asked if our HOA could take care of it and post our own sign. Nope, not allowed.

Let’s save $10 on curb paint and provide walking lessons for kids instead. That seems to be the plan.

dan
Guest
dan

Re: bike racks in Amtrak luggage cars, the Amtrak blog says that the new luggage cars were to be rolled out “by the end of 2014.” I would love to take my bike to Glacier Park…is that really possible today?

dan
Guest
dan

Hmm, looks like this isn’t available on the Empire Builder yet. I guess we can keep our fingers crossed for the end of 2016 then…

Andyc of Linnton
Guest
Andyc of Linnton

Ach. One day…one damn day in my life I swear I will ride the Going-to-the-sun highway. Hope Amtrak can get it together soon.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

The countryside around Hillsboro will most certainly be diminished by the physical structure of a ‘Westside Bypass’ and various growth consequences likely to occur as a result of it. I hope people will consider whether the benefits it’s claimed a bypass can offer, really is worth the drawback of a diminishing of the countryside.

Dave
Guest
Dave

That redubbed Hitler video is the funniest Nazi-mocking since Mel Brooks made “The Producers!”

9watts
Guest
9watts

That cartoon is wonderful. Captures (at least for me) the spirit of some commenters here who were arguing against the planned bike infrastructure on Foster not so long ago.
http://bikeportland.org/2013/10/24/after-tempers-flare-citizen-committee-approves-pbots-plans-for-foster-96054#comment-4476048