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The Monday Roundup: Surgeon General’s warning, the healthiness of childhood risks & more

Posted by on September 14th, 2015 at 9:48 am

hazardous neighborhood

The new message from the Surgeon General, in short.
(Image: Smart Growth America)

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

Safety labels: Smart Growth America offers our favorite riff on the U.S. Surgeon General’s “call to action” this week that Americans need to walk more.

Healthy risk: It’s dangerous for kids to never do anything dangerous, according to a new meta-analysis. “Risky outdoor play” gives people better health, creativity, social skills and resilience.

Exclusionary zoning: The fight against excessive single-family zoning builds on decades of civil rights battles and is one of the best ways to fight inequality in cities, says Daniel Kay Hurtz in the Washington Post.

Best locks: The sturdiest bike locks on the market take about 2.5 minutes to defeat with a portable cutter, BikeRadar found in its latest ratings.

Cargo accessories: The Sweet Home reviews the best bike rack, basket and panniers for bike commuting.

Insurance costs: Geico and Allstate are raising car insurance premiums in response to this year’s 14 percent jump in auto fatalities, and further hikes seem likely. Geico owner Warren Buffett blames texting. “If cars are better — and they clearly are — drivers must be worse,” he says.

Unused features: Carmakers keep rolling out new safety features, but large swaths of Americans don’t know they exist.

Stolen bike: A $13,600 bike stolen from a Spanish bike racer turned up in a used-bike shop, on sale for $135.

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Federal transpo bill: The momentum from before Congress’s summer break has stalled, Streetsblog reports.

Bike sharing: Copenhagen startup AirDonkey is launching a Spinlister-style service that lets people make money by renting out spare bikes to peers.

Bike-share benefits: Who does a bike share system serve? It’s not just people who live within its service area but people who take trips within its service area.

National model: A picture of Tilikum Crossing is the cover of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2016 budget, reports CityLab.

Gentrification vs. displacement: They’re not the same thing, argues Richard Florida, and the fact that they’re major forces in only a handful of U.S. cities suggests that they’re “symptoms of the scarcity of quality urbanism.”

Kids biking: Reports of the death of childhood biking seem to have been greatly exaggerated: though biking to school is way down, overall biking by kids actually seems to have been more or less stable since 1977.

Carbon folding bike: It weighs 18.6 pounds and costs $5,000.

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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Dead SalmonMichael Andersen (News Editor)9wattswsbobDan Recent comment authors
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ethan
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ethan

The CSS of this page is all jacked up for me, FYI.

9watts
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9watts

Walking & The Surgeon General. Delightful piece.
Though someone is sure to lament the mention of obesity.

Also regrettable that Smart Growth folks weighed in. Growth is hazardous to our health, just like cars and the suburbs. And it doesn’t much matter whether the growth is smart or dumb.

rick
Guest
rick

Oak Hills is more walkable in Washington County than many places in SW Multnomah County.

Dan
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Dan

Oak Hills is a throwback neighborhood like I grew up in, which is why I love it.

There are still a number of families who are afraid to let their kids walk to school though, whether it’s due to the TV news stories or too much sympathy for their kids’ itty bitty legs, I don’t know.

That said, last week was a great week to watch kids walking to school. They completely overloaded the sidewalks, and now our next ‘problem’ is trying to figure out ways to widen the walking paths.

soren
Guest
soren

Sprawl and habitat-use are also damaging. If we are going to reduce sprawl in the medium-term then increases in urban density are a necessity.

Fertility in the USA is now significantly below the replacement rate and continues to fall. In particular, urbanism correlates well with decreases in fertility.

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1006032332021
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo74mfr9od8
http://www.nber.org/chapters/c2383.pdf

9watts
Guest
9watts

“in the medium-term”

I’m glad you included that qualifier. What I’m missing is the plan for the long term. If we always and predictably only focus on the short to medium term, and make plans to accommodate that, we’ll end up in the same place we would have without those plans. Accommodation with or without density is still not any kind of solution. The point should be to have a long term plan that inspires us to end up somewhere else. I never hear about or see that plan.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Fertility in the USA is now significantly below the replacement rate and continues to fall.”
Then there should be very little opposition to working out a plan for shrinking the urban growth boundary, doing away with the 20-yr supply clause.

Appeals to average rates for this rather large country of ours are understandable but hardly adequate when it comes to any given locale’s challenges when faced with population growth pressures. I welcome declines in fecundity as much as the next person but all by themselves those statistics don’t give me much hope when we, here, still talk as if our hands were tied; we can do nothing whatsoever to stem the tide; or, rather we don’t want to do anything.

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

Fertility may be below the replacement rate, but immigration more than compensates. Especially here in Portland.

Dead Salmon
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Dead Salmon

9watts,
Donald thanks you in advance for your vote so he can build that wall:
.
http://www.immigrationeis.org/sites/default/files/images/charts/graph_us_pop_projections_to_2100_5_scenarios.gif

9watts
Guest
9watts

What a low blow.
My critique here has nothing whatsoever to do with xenophobia. Having a plan for eliminating future growth and the costs associated with it should benefit the poorer half far more than the rich, at least as I understand it.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

Hope I didn’t hit you in the nuts with that low one. 🙂
.
Noone said anything about xenophobia – don’t go calling people names to try to distract from the issue at hand – over-population. Donald is not xenophobic. He, like you, wants to stem the illegal flow of humans from south of the border – he knows we are already too crowded (as you have also indicated), and he knows we don’t want people here who may be criminals (maybe you’re for more criminals, but I doubt it), and he knows our social safety nets are bankrupt and don’t need more stress from a wave of illegals. Is there some part of this you are having difficulty grasping?

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

Excellent point Michael and I will comply, and may I suggest to others that they not resort to labeling people as xenophobes, etc. Donald’s “wall” has nothing to do with xenophobia. It’s about math. Argue with the points people make, don’t label them with nasty labels.

I thought the discussion I responded to was about the math of population growth. Thus I presented a link to a graph relating population and immigration. My comment to vote for Donald and his wall was a joke, but the graph gives his wall argument a LOT of merit:

http://www.immigrationeis.org/sites/default/files/images/charts/graph_us_pop_projections_to_2100_5_scenarios.gif

9watts
Guest
9watts

Bike lock test article – Very Useful.

I still wonder, and have asked here before, about the percentage of bikes stolen that have been *locked with a reputable U-lock to something stationary*?

Knowing that with the right equipment you can defeat any lock in 160 seconds is sort of useful, but isn’t it still true that your lock mostly needs to be better than the one on the bike locked up next to yours?
Said as someone who doesn’t ride a fancy-looking bike on purpose.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

“I still wonder, and have asked here before, about the percentage of bikes stolen that have been *locked with a reputable U-lock to something stationary*? . . .but isn’t it still true that your lock mostly needs to be better than the one on the bike locked up next to yours?”

There are a lot of comments along these lines on here. But the logic continues–if every one of those people had their bikes stolen had used a reputable lock and locked it correctly, then someone would still be the bike that’s least-well locked up. As you note, the best lock can be defeated in a couple of minutes. So what good is it to question whether an individual used a good lock? I suppose it would eliminate thefts by cruder means.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“But the logic continues–if every one of those people had their bikes stolen had used a reputable lock and locked it correctly, then someone would still be the bike that’s least-well locked up.”

But this is a war of attrition. By shrinking the population of poorly locked or not at all locked bikes we’d be miles ahead of where we are now. Those bikes would not be the sitting ducks they are now and, I submit, would not have been stolen, or at least not nearly as easily.

“As you note, the best lock can be defeated in a couple of minutes.”

But at what risk to the thief? 2-1/2 minutes with an angle grinder is a very long time to expose yourself like that.

“So what good is it to question whether an individual used a good lock? I suppose it would eliminate thefts by cruder means.”

I guess I’m not expressing myself very clearly. If we persuaded our fellow bikers to stop using joke-locks, and generally upped the fastidiousness with which we, collectively, lock our bikes, my suspicion (which I’m trying to ground truth) would be that the incidence of theft would plummet.

In some sense this is, as you would probably agree, an arms race. Before battery powered angle grinders the worst we had to worry about were bolt cutters and Bic pens. But time is still of the essence. The time and decibels associated with using the best methods are surely going to preclude them from being used just anywhere and anytime.

My contention, and I’d like to know if I’m right, is that the thieves and the makers of battery operated cutting tools have made great strides in the past fifteen years while we who bike, generally have not. We can and should do better at holding up our end of the arrangement.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

I think we agree on all points. It’s the arms race aspect of it that concerns me, as the angle grinder seems to have won that race. But yes, you make a good point on the attrition that’d cause if angle grinders were the only way to steal a bike.

Expensive locks are a major impediment to biking. And for those of us fortunate enough to afford them, then the time and effort involved in winning (least-losing?) the arms race is a major impediment. Hence why I wonder about questioning how the bike was locked up. It’s a form of victim blaming (and I don’t mean to equate that in any way with that term in the non-financial sense).

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Hence why I wonder about questioning how the bike was locked up. It’s a form of victim blaming (and I don’t mean to equate that in any way with that term in the non-financial sense).”

I think there’s plenty of room for pragmatic, constructive advice (get a U-lock and *always* lock your bike up with it to something stationary and through your downtube and front wheel) without engaging in victim blaming. We’ve had a version of this conversation here recently where some were suggesting that none of us should have to lock up our bikes at all. The problem with that fantasy is that although sometimes it seems like we live in a police state, the police are unlikely ever to prioritize this particular crime to the extent that either the extreme or the mild form of this fantasy will be realistic.
In the meantime/real world I think advocating for U-locks as standard equipment is not too much to ask. I am a penny pincher of the first order so I get the $45 is a lot of money thing. But I think what we’re really talking about is the difference between a crappy cable lock ($15) and a decent U-lock* (starting at $27), and that difference is closer to $12.

*http://tinyurl.com/nk4ucrt (Kryptonite Keeper)

9watts
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9watts

Not sure why my comment has been in moderation for 8 hours.
Since posting it I picked up a Kryptonite Keeper (with the right kind of keys) on Craiglist for $15.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I guess it’s like running from a Grizzly. You don’t have to be faster than the bear, just faster than your companion. Your bike doesn’t have to be unstealable, just less stealable than the bike next to it.

And yes, I also ride bikes in town that no sane person would want to take.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

Honestly, as one who ridden through that entire span of time with the children’s bicycle study, I really don’t think there is much of a case to say that rates have increased since the 70’s, even the study itself calls out doubt in data from before 1995.

I know when I look around now, there are many less kids on bicycles in the streets than when I was a kid, though honestly I didn’t grow up here in Portland, – it was the southern burbs (Downriver) of Detroit where there were literally packs of us unattended roaming around on our bicycles.

For four years I had a job that has vanished – I was a paperboy. And that alone was roughly 10 miles of riding everyday in all weather conditions. That doesn’t include the rides to school, and re riding the route countless times each month to collect the bills for the paper and delivery. Or my rec. rides all over the Detroit metro area (some of which were much further from home than parents would allow). And I was one of likely a 1000 of them in just that one Metro region. My burb was one of the last ones to go auto only in Detroit in 85.

I had friends that couldn’t get a paper route but they still made money using their bicycles, by riding around with a makeshift trailer arm attached to lawnmowers, or they just dragged them by one arm (but the landscape industry took those kids out of business too) and in the winter once everyone on their block was cleaned they’d ride into the neighborhoods with less kids with shovels clearing sidewalks and driveways for a couple bucks a house.

In elementary and middle school, other than when there was snow or heavy rain in the morning, there was almost always more bikes than rack space (though honestly I don’t remember a rack at my elementary school) but the front lawn of the schools were littered with bikes just laying in the grass or propped up on kickstands on the sidewalks (never owned a bike lock in Detroit). Though in high school, most quit riding in favor of friends with cars.

And by the way, us paperboys (at least in Detroit) typically rode 26″ Schwinn workman edition Cruisers, and I got my first 10 speed with 700’s for my 10th birthday. And as most of us know, there is a huge difference between owning a bicycle and riding a bicycle. Most bicycles see a ride of two a year for a couple years before leaving the garage for abandonment in the back yard until they hit CL or the dump.

Are rates stable from 95 on yes, are injuries down, yes. But just adding the now extinct paperboy to the equation, of hundred of thousands of us out there everyday, makes it nearly impossible for today’s kids rates to even come close to numbers or miles or rides.

Pete
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Pete

Amen! Someone in Portland is even riding around on the old Fuji Sports 12 that I saved up for with paper route funds (unless it’s been stolen and melted down for meth money, that is).

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

“They’re the result of colossal improvements in youth bike safety over the last 40 years.”

“There’s no hard evidence that off-road paths are what’s kept youth biking popular. But there’s no dispute that the United States has built tens of thousands of miles of them since 1975 — and there’s maybe no likelier explanation for the steep decline in youth fatalities.”

Pretty bold assumptions, considering all these improvements “might” have dropped about 200 bicycle fatalities a year.

Is 714 (or 740 in 2013) still too many, yes. But again in the articles own graph, you’re look at your own rails to trails graph, you’re looking at nearly 100 times (though that was only rails to trails not the entire network) the infrastructure for what at best (though there is no direct link to more paths reducing injury or fatalities) is moderate results.

At a certain point in decline, rates for any age group will steady out, ie hit rock bottom and it’s just as likely kids ridership is there and has been there for the last few decades.

And come on, “ride a bike at least once a year?” What a poor survey question for ridership data. It’s worthless.

Did those recently surveyed include tag-alongs and kids in trailers/cargo bikes count as riding a bicycle to school? We didn’t have those in the 70’s and 80’s, and I personally would count them as kids that “biked” to school. Might seem nit-picky, but I don’t consider them the same as kids on their own bike. Perhaps the rise in children biking is the result of children riding in or on – but not actually powering the bicycle. I know my biggest pedalpalooza disappointment was going to the Kidical mass ride and seeing how few kids actually rode a bicycle under their own power (though my daughter and I did enjoy the ride a lot).

As I pointed out above, paper carriers pre-80’s were mostly kids ages 11-16 (we didn’t make enough to make it worthwhile for cars) and there were hundreds of thousands of us across this country logging in millions of miles – every single day of the year. (and it’s with this history and knowledge why I’ve always been skeptical of much of the bicycle safety data and how it’s presented – over all).

I suspect if you take this study from the CDC and the consider the data from the JAMA recently, what we are actually looking at is the trend of the bicycle being used predominantly by children from the 40s and bottoming out in the 80’/90’s- or at least I hope it’s the bottom) to becoming a tool that is more frequently used and taken seriously by adults than children now.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Funny to think that I used to ride around in the dark at 5am without a helmet or a light with a bag full of newspapers on the front of my bike, starting in middle school. Would any parents even allow that nowadays? They’d probably get arrested.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I think Warren Buffett is engaging in a little generational warfare. Sure, the folks who are texting are menaces and young women are disproportionately likely to be doing that. However, a greater menace is old folks like Mr. Buffett. Motorists over the age of 70 are deadlier than teengers, and the teens have the excuse that they are just learning how to drive. When I find myself taking evasive action, on a bike or as a pedestrian, it’s usually an old person behind the wheel.

Worse yet, if my aged family members are representative, our old folks are driving more now than they ever did. My in-laws, in their eighties, literally spend most of the day driving around. Every time I check in with them they have hit some immobile object, but they refuse to give up the keys. (They are wealthy enough to take a cab everywhere and not notice the cost.)

Of course if insurance rates rise appropriately, it may well encourage even more young people to not join the car-addicted. Perversely, that will increase the percentage of the cars on the road that are being driven by people who are too old to do so. At least cohort replacement will eventually come to our aid.

Pete
Guest
Pete

“…young women are disproportionately likely to be doing that.”

This is the generalization I keep hearing, but it’s not really what I see on the roads. I do observe slightly more females texting than males (though today I saw a guy texting with one hand with a female on the back of his motorcycle doing ~60 MPH down Lawrence Expressway), but of a broad spectrum of ages.

On two occasions I’ve actually witnessed women who appear to be in their late 50’s or young 60’s wearing reading glasses while texting. One had her Prius stopped (at a light) halfway across the bike lane I was riding in, and the other was driving a minivan with this logo on the side: http://kidskab.com.

Of course, after reading your comment I couldn’t help but think of this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_Dawn

Pete
Guest
Pete
Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_age_and_driving

“According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a senior citizen is more likely than a younger driver to be at fault in an accident in which they are involved.”

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…However, a greater menace is old folks like Mr. Buffett. Motorists over the age of 70 are deadlier than teengers, and the teens have the excuse that they are just learning how to drive. …” B. Carfree

Don’t think so. In fact, I think you wrote what you did, just to make up and be saying something mean and nasty about Buffet and people over 70 years old, the latter of which by and large, (cross generational cell phone abuse and other distracted driving excepted.)…unless recent records show otherwise, tend to be far better at driving than are teenagers.

One of many good reasons for well designed, low congestion road infrastructure is so that resulting demands on skill and ability of road users are not so great that it prohibits them from being able to use the road.

Too big and too fast thoroughfares and other traffic situations doesn’t just make traveling the road difficult for people who may be experiencing some reduction in peak physical and mental capability compared to that of their youth…tough traffic situations also make using the road very difficult for people that bike.

So if you think some of your relatives truly are too old to be driving, and should hand over the keys: fine, say that. Be sure and be the first one to offer them a ride in a car, wherever they need to go, when they need to go, rather than oblige them to take a taxi, mass transit, etc. But please stop with the gratuitous nastiness, just because you feel you may be able to get away with it here at bikeportland.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Correction: “…Too big and too fast thoroughfares and other bad traffic situations…”

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

B. Carfree,
You said: “They are wealthy enough to take a cab everywhere and not notice the cost.”

Please tell us how much wealth they have, so, when we’re in our 80s, we’ll know when we have enough to afford to take cabs everywhere. Also, please tell us how you know how much they have – are you their accountant? And also tell us how long they will live, their property taxes or rental costs, medical costs, etc – that information will help in our understanding of our finances when we get into our 80s. I think you can teach us a lot if you can provide this good info.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Seems simple….put a bike helmet on your kid and make them use it. I am continually amazed at the number of teens without helmets or pads in skateboards. Guess parents have unlimited change for emergency room visits.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Anecdotally, I rode everywhere as a kid, off-road and all over town. And when I wasn’t on a bike I was on a skateboard. Crashed MANY times, never wore a helmet, never hit my head.

Now, my kids wear helmets — most kids do now, so it’s socially acceptable.

Dan
Guest
Dan

My oldest son bikes and skateboards, and has hit his head once. Got a concussion, and we took him to the hospital.

How did he do it?

He fell from a chair in our kitchen. Was not wearing a helmet.

Ted G
Guest
Ted G

…Or maybe riding a skateboard is not as dangerous as you think.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Then again, my son has, and all his skateboarding friends also have, crashed badly enough to need medical attention. Broken arms, broken wrists, major abrasions, etc. This is with helmets. Their helmets have crash scars, their heads (so far) don’t.

Dan Sr.
Guest
Dan Sr.

Says the guy who has never zoobombed on a longboard…

Dan
Guest
Dan

Skateboards are particularly dangerous when pushed in front of a moving bicycle too. What’s your point?

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

The Allen carbon folder is pretty sexy. However, the frame and fold are merely a close copy of the Dahon folding bikes. And the weight is not significantly less than the lightest Dahon or Brompton folders. And Allen hasn’t figured out how to put drop bars on their go-fast folder. I like it but think the bike is not as cool as it could be.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

I wanna live downtown in high density where 6,000 cars per hour drive under my window spewing combustion products from their engines. Yeah, that’s the healthy way to live.
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