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The Monday Roundup: German scofflaws, winter tips, John Wayne threat, and more

Posted by on November 16th, 2015 at 8:31 am

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This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by Cascadia Ciderworks United, makers of fine cider made right here in Portland.

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

Offline maps: Google Maps can now pre-download maps of areas you plan to journey.

John Wayne Trail threat: A major biking path in eastern Washington is under threat because two state reps are taking “concerns of adjacent landowners” way too seriously. (More details.)

Tips and tricks: To stay safe at night this winter, convince your city to stripe narrower traffic lanes and install speed cameras. Wouldn’t it be nice if more news outlets at least mentioned this alongside lights and reflectors?

Beyoncé on a bike: GearJunkie aims for a balanced exploration of whether and when an image of a woman on a bicycle goes from sexy to sexist.

German rules: The most famous law-abiders in the world are considering decriminalizing red-light running on bikes or foot.

Bike lane or else: A Louisville man faces possible jail time for “obstructing a highway” after he refused to use a bike lane.

Devolving transportation: Republican candidate Marco Rubio says he’d veto any gas tax hike. He wants federal gas taxes to drop 80 percent and dedicated mass transit funding to end.

Too-bright bike lights: Chill out, argues Josh Cohen.

Speed camera: A Pittsburgher used a “cell phone video, his computer, and open source software” to calculate the maximum speed of every car that passed a stretch of road for 10 minutes.

Chinese trap: Now that Beijing’s biking rate is down 70 percent in 15 years, officials are scrambling to bring it back up. One of the main reasons people don’t bike: air pollution.

Global benefits: Tripling the number of urban bike trips by 2050 would cut urban transport carbon emissions 7 percent and release $25 trillion in worldwide wealth, a new study calculated.

Co-housing: Adults living with parents or other adults isn’t the “new normal.” Most places outside the United States, it’s just plain normal.

Affordable housing: New private-sector homes don’t house poor people, but they do give rich people a reason to move out of older homes faster.

Asphalt subsidy: Congressional Republicans’ latest strategy for avoiding gas tax hikes is to repurpose profits from the Federal Reserve.


Safest nation: The country with the world’s lowest traffic fatality rate will very likely surprise you.

Truck ban: London’s legislature voted unanimously to ban trucks during rush hour.

Freight myth: You can’t build an export economy on cheap freight, writes economist Joe Cortright. If cheap freight were essential to Portland’s economy, he asks, why did job growth only accelerate when its shipping terminal closed?

Autonomous safety: A Google self-driving car was pulled over by California police for … driving too slowly.

Transit + bike share: Los Angeles’s integrated system, the country’s first, is releasing details of its fee structure.

Portland inspiration: Orlando has been arguing whether or our bike infrastructure should be a model.

Global biking: An 18-minute video by the BBC explores how the bicycle became “the world’s most popular means of transport.”

Ouch: A yellow jersey from Lance Armstrong’s bogus 2004 Tour de France win sold at auction for $225.

And in your video of the week, a briefly weeping Dr. Donald Shoup makes a cameo in an episode of TruTV that explains the near-collapse of midcentury U.S. cities in less than two minutes.

If you come across a noteworthy story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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

  • Andrew Holtz November 16, 2015 at 9:15 am

    It’s good to see attention to the proliferation of insanely bright bike lights. Too often I have to hit my brakes while riding the Springwater Trail at night, because an oncoming cyclist has his/her high-beams searing my eyeballs to the point I can’t see the edge of the asphalt.

    Please, when you get to a trail or other dark area, lower the intensity of your lights and point them down and to the right, the way car low-beams are set. Then you can see the trail… and so can the riders coming the other way.

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    • Tony T
      Tony T November 16, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Seriously, this subject needs serious attention.

      These super-bright headlights, flashbulb bright, aimed up into people’s eyes, especially on trails like Springwater, are a hazard and unwarranted given the requirements actually needed to see and be seen. The issue is beyond mere courtesy.

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      • Ian November 16, 2015 at 10:45 am

        Totally agree. I’ve been wondering how best to have a conversation about this within the cycling community, because I feel like it’s getting kind of out of hand. It feels like there’s an arms race to have the brightest and most furiously strobing lights out there in the name of safety and visibility, when in fact these things are dangerously distracting and blinding. These topics seem worthy of an entire discussion thread – how do you decide whether to use steady/flashing/pulsing modes? How do you politely tell another cyclist that their lights are poorly aligned/too bright/unnecessarily flashy? Does anybody else intentionally angle their headlights away from drivers’ rearview mirrors when stopped in traffic?

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        • Lester Burnham November 16, 2015 at 11:05 am

          Considering nothing else other than emergency vehicles have flashing lights, why did bike light makers decide it was a good idea to begin with? I like bright bike lights just to be able to see, but the strobing seems pointless to me. My light doesn’t even have a strobe mode.

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          • was carless November 16, 2015 at 2:39 pm

            Isn’t it actually illegal to have strobe lights on a regular vehicle? Why are bicycles allowed to have them?

            Just curious, hoping someone may be able to shed some light on this.

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            • GlowBoy November 16, 2015 at 6:56 pm

              Yes, this has been discussed ad infinitum over the years: flashing lights are *technically* illegal on vehicles in most jurisdictions, and sometimes cops have been known to pick on cyclists for violating the law on this point.

              In other countries the law is consistently enforced, and this is why the German-designed lights you can buy (including the B&M taillight I recently acquired) don’t have any flashing modes.

              The reason it is accepted here is that Americans are inattentive drivers, and many people consider steady lights inadequate for conspicuity.

              Until around 5 years ago blinky brightness wasn’t a serious problem: few blinking taillights exceeded 5 lumens, and LED lights with substantial brightness (incandescents can’t really strobe, and HIDs can’t generally flash at all) were a dream.

              I still think flashing lights have their place, with a couple of caveats:
              – 1000 lumen headlights are all well and good, but there is absolutely NO reason to have a strobe that bright. It’s unfortunate that bike-light companies are including high-output strobe modes in their products. I would think 50-100 lumens should be the absolute upper limit for strobes.
              – There are other flash patterns beside abrupt on-off strobes that will still make you more noticeable than with a steady light: I’m partial to the alternating pulse mode of the PDW Danger Zone, and I also have a couple of Cateyes with similar modes. In daylight, when anything but a strobe is easily washed out, I’ll use strobe mode, but at night when people’s eyes are more sensitive I switch to a pulse mode. (Actually, 1 light is on pulse, the other on steady).

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            • realworld November 17, 2015 at 10:30 am

              Most bicycle lights with strobe [like] flashing by trusted brands are not illegal in the US, the law states they can not have more than a certain number of strobes per minute which is something like 60 or 80 flashes per minute if I remember correctly.
              So most trusted brands do not offer flashing functions with strobes faster than the law allows.
              And many good brands offer two flash modes 1- quick flashing (for day time use) 2- slow flash (for night time use)

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          • 9watts November 16, 2015 at 3:08 pm

            ” why did bike light makers decide it was a good idea to begin with?”

            I’ve always thought that it stretched out the capacity of the batteries. That is why I would be inclined to use a flash/strobe pattern.

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            • Dead Salmon November 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm

              Agree with 9 watts – strobe lengthens the battery life a lot. The main reason for strobes is probably because they get the attention of other vehicle operators a lot quicker than a continuous beam. BUT if you’re riding at night, it’s best to have at least one continuous beam so you can see the road.

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            • GlowBoy November 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm

              Good point about battery life. Strobe mode (at least on LEDs) only uses 10-20% of the battery power of the same brightness in steady mode, because the light is only on that fraction of the time.

              To answer the “why did they think it was a good idea” question: well, because until *extremely* recently, bright bike lights were either very expensive, very heavy and bulky (big batteries!) or both. Almost no bike lights were bright enough to cause problems for other users, and flashing mode was used to enhance the conspicuity of what were NOT very bright lights to begin with.

              Unfortunately, now that bike lights are often very bright, many makers have persisted in offering 100%-brightness strobe modes. It’s a bad idea, but it sure isn’t surprising how we got here.

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              • realworld November 17, 2015 at 10:53 am

                Yes you are correct that flashing functions conserve battery but it isn’t solely based on the fact that they flash. Most if not all bicycle lights only use about 30% – 50% output of power on a flash functions.
                I.e. a 400 lumen light only puts out about 100-200 lumens on flash modes.

                This is how they achieve the majority of battery conservation.

                Btw before anyone wants to argue they can tell the difference between 200 lumens and 400 lumens… it is almost impossible for human eye to tell the difference. this is why most lights drastically reduce power between functions, for instance you can tell the difference between hi and low because they are reducing power by about 70% from hi to low.
                which means your 400 lumen light on “low” is only actually putting out about 100 lumens.
                This is also how they double the burn time of your hi powered lights between hi and low, it’s not a 1 to 1 equation. for a high powered light to go from 1.5 hour burn time to 3 hour burn time they usually have to sacrifice at least 70% of power input and that is for very efficient and well made lights.

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          • realworld November 17, 2015 at 10:32 am

            “bike light makers” did not “decide it was good idea” to offer flashing modes… Consumers did! it’s called consumer demand and the majority of features and functions of bicycle products are based on consumer demand.

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            • 9watts November 17, 2015 at 10:36 am

              A common misperception.

              Consumers cannot demand what is not for sale. Consumers can choose from among the options, but, typically, the features are bundled. I have to date tended to build my own bike headlights from LED flashlights as the market doesn’t offer me what I want… so much for consumer demand leading this.

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              • Ian November 17, 2015 at 11:08 am

                Are you really claiming that market pressures don’t influence the features of products that are available to consumers? Certainly, a single consumer can’t drive a manufacturer to offer a given product, but I think it’s pretty dubious to argue that manufacturers aren’t responding to consumer demand. Of course it’s the manufacturers who determine the features of a given product, and they generally do so without directly soliciting feedback from consumers, but nobody’s suggesting that’s how it works. But if you’re a bike light manufacturer who notices that bike lights sell better when they feature aggressive strobe patterns and are on the high end of light output, what kinds of features do you think you’ll include in your new model? Also, these manufacturers aren’t blind to the wealth of consumer reviews in which brightness and strobing are key considerations.

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              • 9watts November 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm

                “I think it’s pretty dubious to argue that manufacturers aren’t responding to consumer demand.”
                What is consumer demand, but consumers purchasing products that manufacturers have produced? QED.

                “Of course it’s the manufacturers who determine the features of a given product, and they generally do so without directly soliciting feedback from consumers…”
                We agree!

                “…but nobody’s suggesting that’s how it works.”
                Um, I just did.

                “But if you’re a bike light manufacturer who notices that bike lights sell better when they feature aggressive strobe patterns and are on the high end of light output, what kinds of features do you think you’ll include in your new model?”

                For this to work as you say, consumers would need to be in a position to choose otherwise equivalent lights with and without strobe functions. Or at different combinations of battery life and lumen output. I’ve studied the marked for LED bike lights and LED flashlights for a number of years now and have noticed all kinds of things that are *not* available.

                + Made in USA being just one;
                + A feature that lets you choose, say 60-80 lumens (a decent amount of light output in my view) to maximize battery life;

                Instead of this, manufacturers fall over themselves to offer ever higher lumen outputs with pretty much constant battery life. Did I ask for that? Did anyone? How exactly would we (who might prefer something that isn’t available) register that preference?

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              • realworld November 17, 2015 at 2:53 pm


                “+ Made in USA being just one;”

                I do to and believe me I’ve tried, I’ve worked with one of the largest accessories Co with deep pockets and resources but it all comes down to price. It just isn’t possible to produce in US (I’m speaking of accessories only) at the price points consumers demand, also reliability goes down not because of shoddy workmanship but because you have to use low end or inferior components.

                “+ A feature that lets you choose, say 60-80 lumens (a decent amount of light output in my view) to maximize battery life;”

                Already exists on many of the 200, 340, 380 and 400 lumen lights from good brands. hi = 100% power, medium= 50% power and low= 30% of power.

                “Instead of this, manufacturers fall over themselves to offer ever higher lumen outputs with pretty much constant battery life. Did I ask for that? Did anyone? How exactly would we (who might prefer something that isn’t available) register that preference?”

                Talk with your dollars is the first place to start… maybe you don’t “want it” but the majority of consumers have spoken and made it very clear what “they want” which is “low price, high lumens”
                Yes it sucks because it is wasteful and pretty bad for the environment… but until consumers change their demand it will keep slowly evolving. frustrating isn’t it?

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              • realworld November 17, 2015 at 2:57 pm

                “A common misperception.”

                Not at all, this comes from 15 years of inside knowledge as a product designer.

                (in the accessories side if the bike industry) Product ideas come directly from consumer feedback… product designers research many different angles of consumer feed back from retail shop level feedback to (more currently) forums, emails, product reviews and direct input from consumers that call or email us.

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        • Buzz November 16, 2015 at 3:39 pm

          I think a lot of cyclists who use these lights deliberately point them into oncoming drivers eyes. Either that or extreme ignorance.

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      • Al Dimond November 16, 2015 at 11:12 am

        It really is a particular problem on trails. Why? Because most trails have no surface lighting! I recently observed, while riding home on a well-lit arterial bike route, that oncoming cyclists were probably using the same sorts of lights that blind me on the trail, and it didn’t really bother me. Now the oncoming cyclists were farther off to the side, but other light sources that give me trouble on trails were also present, in greater quantity: street lights from nearby roads, oncoming cars coming up hills (so the downward-aimed lights shine right in my face), and floodlights in nearby lots and industrial sites.

        Trails typically have the same total absence of surface lighting as rural two-lane highways. They also usually lack the reflective lane lines and fog lines that even unlit rural highways have, which help drivers see the shape of the road ahead. Trails often lack reflective markings even for potential hazards like median bollards and intersections! Cyclists on trails should certainly observe the same courtesy that rural drivers do, turning off the high-beams for oncoming traffic. But even if we all did, we’d still have problems with other nearby light sources common in our urban and suburban surroundings. In addition to better behavior, we need better infrastructure.

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        • are November 16, 2015 at 11:36 am

          on a street with ambient lighting a headlight will not generally add much meaningful coverage, so the flashing mode (directed slightly down, not into the eyes of oncoming) is appropriate, as what you are mostly trying to achieve is visibility.

          on an MUP, you are not trying to alert motorists, but to light your path. the flashing mode makes little or no sense in that context.

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        • was carless November 16, 2015 at 3:16 pm

          Glare is caused by a high contrast in illumination. If a bright light is shined at your eyes, but the ambient light viewed peripherally is very dark, it will be difficult to see.

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      • Justin November 16, 2015 at 11:23 am

        I get hit with those blinkies on the Moody path all the time. It makes me late because I have to stop for each one and do some disco moves.

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    • wsbob November 16, 2015 at 10:42 am

      An issue definitely in need of greater awareness on the part of people adjusting their bike lights.

      In fact, last week, I noticed an example of this on Center St at 117th in Beaverton. Late in the day, overcast, getting dark. Approaching from the opposite direction in the bike lane, someone had their front blinky on…an intensely bright white light that flared wide. I was driving, first saw the person some 500-600 feet away.

      At about 300′ away, it was still very bright to my eyes, compared to nearby motor vehicle headlights. Person reached the intersection slightly before myself, and started turning, so I didn’t get the full, straight on blast of the light. We were maybe 100′-125′ apart at this point.

      I have no reason to think this person is deliberately displaying a light that’s over-bright to the point of causing other people difficulty in using the road safely and comfortably, but that was the result.

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      • was carless November 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm

        According to the article, some of the bike lights are around 50% brighter than your typical car’s high beams!

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    • realworld November 16, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      lights mounted on handle bars will create an inherent problem because they are already to close to eye level of on coming road users. DOT has a standard regulation that makes sure car head lights are permanently mounted at a specific angle and height above the road so they do not create glare or blind other vehicles. Since bicycles do not have to adhere to these regulations there in lies the problem.

      The other issue is since MUP users are usually in a very dark setting (most of spring water) as well as no real ambient light around us other than the lights we are using to see in front of us. Our eyes are very light sensitive because we are trying to see in the dark. Which makes on coming lights seem even more blinding.

      I think there needs to be a consensus of what is expected of commuters to use hi powered lights responsibly. Here is what I suggest (add your input)

      – mount lights lower on the bike ( either from the rack mounts on your fork or fork crown mounted and avoid handle bar mounting. This keeps the lights lower (like car headlights) from eye level allowing the hi powered lights to extend further in front of you with out the glaring blinding effect.

      – point lights down slightly so the hot center of the light extends out about 10-20 feet in front of you. Similar effect as above but you lose distance of how far your light illuminates the path in front of your mounting option gets further above the road level i.e. handle bar and up to helmet mount.

      -helmet mounted lights should be point down so when your looking straight ahead the hot spot of the light lands about 10-20 feet in front of you. Helmet mounted lights are the worst way to use safety lights in my opinion, you lose accuracy of illumination (farther from the ground) and the angle you have to point the light down creates a very hot spot to close in front of you which makes the light scatter and you lose much of the lumens because of this.

      – Only use strobe or rapid flash functions during day time when there is plenty of ambient or day light. During the day drivers will see bright blinking lights but it won’t blind anyone since their eyes are adjusted to brighter ambient light.
      strobe and fast blink should never be used at night, it confuses most road users and annoys other cyclists as well as blinds them worse than a solid beam of light would.

      – on MUP’s only use your strongest headlight and turn off blink functions and your helmet light, if its pointed down correctly it will not blind other road users but your will be able to see plenty of distance in front of you as well as be seen from at least 200 feet away.

      Hi powered Tail lights are more common now as well and should adhere to these same rules of thumb.

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      • Dave November 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm

        Part of why so many lights are aimed wrong is the consumer wish for convenience. If you want a light that clamps onto the handlebar and can be removed easily, it won’t likely be installed or later kept at an ideal angle.
        Use lights that bolt on–not little flashlights adapted to bikes. Accept that they have to be a near full-time installation, bolted down as if they were derailleurs or brake calipers. Relying on spring clips or little bolts and rubber shims to keep them in the right alignment won’t work more than briefly.

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        • resopmok November 17, 2015 at 6:28 pm

          bolting lights on does not prevent them from being stolen, but it doesn’t prevent me from removing them every time i go to lock up my bike. i’m sure plenty of people here who have had dyno-hub run lights stolen will attest to it as well. perhaps replacing the factory screws with torx heads would help and deter, or using the ball-bearing super glue trick, but there aren’t much guarantess for these expensive and difficult to replace lights.

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      • wsbob November 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm

        realworld…good input. Efforts probably should be made to somehow have at least bike headlights meet,or model some of the ODOT specs for headlights used on motor vehicles.

        In the days not so long ago when bike lighting capability was generally feeble, it wasn’t such a big deal to have bike headlights mounted any which way, as long as one was there, working, and helped to indicate the presence of a bike on the road. Since those times, due to vastly improved technical developments in bike light lamps and power source, it’s increasingly common for bike headlights to be very bright (in some cases, tail lights too.). So it may be time here in the U.S. for some standardization of bike headlight mounting and intensity.

        Included here is a link to an vehicle code document providing specs for ‘Vehicle Equipment: Lights’. Page 4, 816.50, has the specifics on height above the road, distance out, and where the highest intensity of the light should extend beyond:

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    • mw November 16, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      The problem is if you point your light too far down, then it doesn’t illuminate enough of the path in front of you. You need to be able to see at least 30-40ft ahead of you to watch out for the clueless joggers and cyclists on the trail without any lights or reflective gear.

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      • soren November 16, 2015 at 12:38 pm

        pointing a light down also does not do a good job illuminating people, dogs, cats, squirrels, and nutria entering the road.

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        • mh November 16, 2015 at 9:10 pm

          I guess an inattentive nutria could take a bike and rider down…

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          • Opus the Poet November 17, 2015 at 10:47 am

            Probably not a problem up there in PDX, but riders in South TX and LA have been injured when they hit nutria trying to cross the road. At least the nasty critters have some culinary value dependant on their food source.

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            • ssimonson November 17, 2015 at 12:09 pm

              There’s actually a family of nutria I see everyday on my ride through Jennings Lodge on the Trolley trail. The live in the wetlands between SE Roethe and SE Boardman.

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      • Ian November 16, 2015 at 1:43 pm

        Maybe somebody should come out with a bike headlight with some sort of high beam/low beam handlebar trigger? That would be pretty slick.

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        • LC November 16, 2015 at 2:08 pm

          The b&m luxos u has a high/low button that can be mounted to bars or stem.

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          • Adam Herstein
            Adam Herstein November 16, 2015 at 3:02 pm

            I have this light and can confirm. It’s a great light!

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            • soren November 17, 2015 at 8:27 am

              the main reason i use a light is that i bomb down windy poorly lit

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            • soren November 17, 2015 at 8:32 am

              2nd try.

              the main reason i use a head light is to see the road when i bomb down poorly lit roads near the speed limit (i would never ever break the law). the luxos simply does not project enough light for me to see branches, gravel, water, or nutria when i’m riding downhill at 24.9 mph.

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              • LC November 17, 2015 at 10:47 am

                Maybe you’re not using it right? I break the law by exceeding the speed limit on poorly lit and unlit roads and paths daily and it’s never been a problem.

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        • was carless November 16, 2015 at 4:00 pm

          German-made bicycle dynamo lighting systems are actually engineered with a cutoff line:

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        • realworld November 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm

          Here is a solid product that is launching soon… I will definitely be watching this one to see if it takes hold.

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    • Andy K November 16, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Everyone who wants to comment on this should just copy and paste what they wrote last summer.

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      • Ian November 16, 2015 at 2:03 pm

        Alas, I wasn’t a BP reader a year and a half ago. I guess that’s one of the difficulties in discussing these issues in a rapidly growing community and needing to rehash old discussions every year or two. Also, I think it makes more sense to have this sort of conversation in November than in July, anyway. But thanks for providing that link – looks like there’s some good discussion in there.

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    • was carless November 16, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      A couple of nights ago I passed someone on the Springwater with not one… but FOUR of those ultra-bright blinky lights(!). They were all blinking out of sync with each other… I couldn’t see anything, not even my own handlebars. It actually made me really disoriented, and I almost fell off my bicycle as the cyclist passed me.

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      • LC November 16, 2015 at 4:19 pm

        Clearly the only thing to be done in this situation is to ride directly into the source of the light.

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    • Steve B November 16, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      1000x this. I am blinded practically every evening when I commute along the Eastbank Esplanade.

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    • eli bishop November 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Another Trail Rider Against Bright Lights In My Eyes. “TOO BRIGHT!” I shout with my hand in front of my face as they pass me.

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    • anonymous November 17, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      I find that not only are high-mounted, bright flashing headlights blinding to oncoming bicycles and pedestrians, but also to cars. Having one in your rearview mirror completely destroys your sense of both distance and what else is behind you. Very bright flashing taillights are not quite as bad about blinding people and messing with depth perception, but they’re not really good either. I stopped using the flash setting on my bicycle taillight as well as my headlight after experiencing what other people’s were doing to me when I was driving.
      Also state law requires a solid white headlight. It doesn’t explicitly ban a blinker, but legally you have to have a solid one as well. Personally I’d favor a height and lumen limitation on flashers as well as enforcement on the requirement for a solid headlight.

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  • Pete November 16, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Self-driving car link points to Pittsburg student article.

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    • John Lascurettes November 16, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      I did some googling around and read several articles on it. The comments on Ars Technica (of all places!) are jaw-droopingly ignorant. People are seeming in consensus that going 10 under the maximum posted speed limit is more dangerous than turning a blind eye to people going 10+ mph over the speed limit. Crazy. Just crazy.

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      • Pete November 16, 2015 at 2:50 pm

        Some of the same ignorance on Mt. View’s police blog comments:

        Here, Richard correlates the car’s location with FARS data:

        I cycle through Mt. View a fair amount and recently followed a Google Lexus. I noticed it has more sensors hanging off the side-view mirror than the last one I followed. We were both doing ~25 MPH on a 35 MPH road and I tried to position myself next to it for an upcoming right turn, hoping it was turning in that direction and wanting to see what it would do, but it suddenly signaled left and popped into the left turn lane so I figured it was being human-operated. That brought about my other question (I have many, having worked on UVs in the past), is it programmed to signal 100′ in advance of a turn, as the law requires? So many ‘rules’ have to be programmed into these things it’s mind-boggling…

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        • John Lascurettes November 16, 2015 at 3:10 pm

          I imagine it’s programmed to do that. Certainly it knows well before the turn that it will turn. I’ve never understood the distance rule and feel like saying all turns and lane changes have to be signaled 3 seconds ahead of time would make more sense than saying 100 feet because then it would always proportionately go up (distance wise) with the speed.

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          • John Lascurettes November 18, 2015 at 5:17 pm

            Hmm. Just did some calculations, 3 seconds at just under 23 mph is 100 feet. So that’s a pretty good baseline.

            It would be awesome if the standard then was requiring a signal 3 seconds before a turn rather than the distance (preferably 4 seconds). People have an easier time estimating accurate time than they do accurate distance when it comes to their driving (my assumption). A time-based standard is hand-in-hand compatible with other road users’ reaction time.

            Jumping the speed up to 35 mph but keeping the 3 second rule would give and extra 54 feet of warning (154 feet total) – but the time to observe it is the same.

            If instead we stick with the 100 foot standard, one only has to signal for barely a second (1.24 sec) at 55 mph before making a lane change or turn to qualify the minimum distance standard – that’s not enough reaction time for other road users. It seems bass ackwards.

            Whereas, and again sticking to the actual 100′ rule, a person on a bicycle traveling at 11.5 mph would be holding their arm out to signal for almost 6 full seconds before their turn to satisfy the letter of the law. Even longer if they’re going slower. Why is the the slower moving bicycle user, per the letter of the law, having to signal for more than twice as long as a car operator driving at 25 mph or more?

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          • wsbob November 18, 2015 at 6:00 pm

            There are traffic situations in which signaling for longer than 3 seconds, or 100′ from the turn, is a good idea. Assuming that specification in the law with regards to signaling for turns, should be taken entirely literally, misses taking into consideration, other relevant considerations necessary to make when signaling.

            Good judgment and discretion are required in order to signal well.

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            • John Lascurettes November 20, 2015 at 9:09 am

              The problem is people rarely signal well. The average road operator signals only once they’ve actually started or split seconds before they’ve already started their turning motion in such as way as to the turn being self-evident already (which is too late if you’re someone in conflict with it). So there needs to be some easy litmus for people to work against. I’d lay down money that people could confidently estimate (and get better accuracy) as to how long 3 or 4 seconds is as compared to how far 100 feet is. 100 feet is always longer than I think it is. Many inner portland neighborhood homes are on 5,000 sq. ft. lots that are approximately 100 x 50 feet (with the 50 foot side facing the street). So that means a signal should start two homes before the corner. I almost never see anyone signal for that distance.

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              • wsbob November 20, 2015 at 10:12 am

                John…comments I post to bikeportland, frequently take so long to be cleared out of moderation, I don’t when or if you’ll ever have opportunity to read this.

                People not signaling their turns well, is a definite problem. I wouldn’t go so far as to say everyone using the rarely signals their turns well, or that the average person only presents a token signal as you’ve described them doing…but many people definitely could be a much better job of signaling for turns, whether they’re driving or biking.

                As for the distance specification for signaling that’s in Oregon’s law, I think the 100′ specified, is a ‘rule of thumb’ guide. People using the road can take this guide into consideration along with using their discretion to decide what signaling procedure is safest and best for the particular traffic situation they find themselves in.

                I believe there’s so many legitimate variations to a strictly literal interpretation of the 100′ before turn signaling spec, that it would a little silly to try list them all. People using the road should just know…that other road users around them, need to know where ‘you’ are going, and what you intend to do.

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              • John Lascurettes November 20, 2015 at 3:40 pm

                There is no “rule of thumb” in that the signal must be signaled at least 100′ at minimum. There is no ambiguity there.

                The “rule of thumb” part (that would only add to that length with higher speed) is clause that states that the signal was done while “the movement cannot be made with reasonable safety”

                Bicycle riders get some exception where a separate law allows for them keep both hands on the handlebars if they need to for control.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) November 16, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks, Pete, this is fixed. And thanks for the patience, John. 🙂

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  • 9watts November 16, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Germany and red lights – I liked this quote from the WSJ:
    “where walking or cycling to work is seen as both practical and politically correct.”

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  • 9watts November 16, 2015 at 9:40 am

    The international comparison of road-fatalities per 100,000 people is so instructive. With the US rate roughly 4x higher than the winners, ODOT’s recent dismissal of Vision Zero (presumably because they thought they had something better up their sleeve) seems pretty brazen. Can we fire anyone?!

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    • TonyT
      TonyT November 16, 2015 at 10:36 am

      And remember, they don’t even think road design can do anything. Essentially we have state level nutritionists who don’t even believe that food has anything to do with health.

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    • Racer X November 16, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      You can always fire the Governor – who hired/ reappoints agency directors, such as the ODOT director….

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    • Dead Salmon November 16, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      9 watts. The graph in the link to road fatalities was very biased – it only included nations that were less than the US. When you look at all of them, we’re one of the better nations: (sort by fatalities per 100,000 people)

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      • 9watts November 17, 2015 at 7:07 pm

        Why would we want to compare ourselves to countries doing worse than we are when Britain and Sweden, countries not so terribly different from us, have 1/4 the fatalities?
        Heck, Romania is even better than the US….

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    • B. Carfree November 17, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      I’m not sure I want to ride in a place with one-quarter the total CARnage but where half the deaths are cyclists, bikers and peds unlike our 3%.

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  • Gary B November 16, 2015 at 10:27 am

    “Waiting at a red light is something of a German cultural trait…” Interesting read. I lived in Germany (formerly East) for a short while when I was 20. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure why the locals would stand at a crosswalk on a small road for several minutes with not a car anywhere in sight. I’d occasionally break from the pack and just cross against the signal, and I swear you could hear the gasps and the piercing stares. It was bizarre to a young me, and certainly added to my cultural education.

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    • TonyT
      TonyT November 16, 2015 at 10:38 am

      You have to consider that Germany is a nation where a child’s name needs government approval. They love their laws.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 16, 2015 at 11:20 am

      I’ve noticed that willingness to cross against the light varies significantly even among US cities. I always try to learn the local culture in this respect when visiting a new city.

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      • Pete November 16, 2015 at 12:54 pm

        In my experience it’s more of a west coast thing (to wait for visual permission to cross), but then again they write tickets for jaywalking out here; something I’d never heard of until I moved west.

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        • Mao November 16, 2015 at 1:30 pm

          Fun fact: Jaywalking isn’t a crime in the state of Oregon, but it is one in the city of Portland. Thus, there are places in Oregon (Such as Corvallis) where you can jaywalk as the city or county has no law to be violated. Hehe.

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          • wsbob November 16, 2015 at 5:22 pm

            “…Jaywalking isn’t a crime in the state of Oregon, but it is one in the city of Portland. …” Mao

            The city doesn’t want people crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, if within 150′ of a crosswalk. Unless within a crosswalk, doesn’t want people crossing streets diagonally. That would include much of Downtown for sure, but seems like there are streets elsewhere in town where the crosswalks are further apart than 150′. Check out: ‘16.70.210 Must Use Crosswalks.’, and ‘16.70.220 Must Cross at Right Angles.’:


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    • 9watts November 16, 2015 at 11:22 am

      “It was bizarre to a young me, and certainly added to my cultural education.”
      You said it well. Which is a chief reason I think this development is so interesting. If they can get over this, any people or country should be able to.

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    • Tim November 16, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      The other side of a country where crossing against the light is socially unacceptable, is that drivers stop back of the crosswalk every time.

      Also, it makes for cute towns. In Bavaria not having window boxes of nice flowers is as unacceptable as crossing against the light.

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    • B. Carfree November 17, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      After forty years in California, it took me quite a while to adjust to the fact that people in Oregon don’t wait for the light to cross.

      Personally, I’d rather have rigid law enforcement on the roads and have to go back to waiting at red lights both as a ped and as a cyclist in exchange for having motorists obey the law.

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  • soren November 16, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Britain has been quicker than most countries in cutting speed limits in cities to 20mph.

    A maximum default speed limit of twenty is exactly what this city needs.

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    • Dan A November 16, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Additionally, they have started pilot programs that ban cars within a certain radius of schools during arrival/departure time. I would like our school to be part of such a program…

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    • paikiala November 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      Have you contacted your state legislator and requested they propose lowering the residential district statutory speed limit to 20 mph?

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      • soren November 17, 2015 at 2:01 pm

        I have in the past…but I should do so again.

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  • Dave November 16, 2015 at 10:38 am

    All I could think of was, can’t Beyonce afford more of a bike than that Goodwill reject?

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    • SD November 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

      We all have something to learn from Queen Bey.

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      • are November 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        is that a portable radio in the basket? with an analog dial?

        the pose does not suggest actually riding the bike, but instead draws attention to the angle of the seat tube. also the dress — while nicely coordinated with the paint scheme of the bike — is absurdly short.

        gearjunkie’s argument is “the image doesn’t _use_ beyonce, it _is_ beyonce.” okay, but maybe beyonce _uses_ beyonce. to what end?

        i do not follow celebrity culture, but the little i have read about beyonce’s claimed “feminism” does not impress.

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    • Spiffy November 16, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      all I could think was “that’s a super sweet old-school city bike”…

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    • Dan A November 16, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Beyonce pays someone to ride the bike for her.

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  • wsbob November 16, 2015 at 10:51 am

    “…To stay safe at night this winter, convince your city to stripe narrower traffic lanes and install speed cameras. Wouldn’t it be nice if more news outlets at least mentioned this alongside lights and reflectors?” andersen/bikeportland

    Though narrower streets and speed cameras likely would not be feasible in many areas….not a bad idea to help in various ways to have them kept in mind.

    I would hope that a lot of people wouldn’t start thinking that making such mention, should be obligatory to any mention made of the importance of bikes being equipped for safe use, with lights and reflectors.

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    • 9watts November 16, 2015 at 2:59 pm


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    • Chris I November 16, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      They are feasible in all areas. I’m not sure what you mean… but I know I’m going to get a long response…

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      • wsbob November 16, 2015 at 5:32 pm

        I mean simply that for safety and traffic flow reasons, it isn’t feasible for all lanes of all streets to be a narrow, say 8′ or 10′ wide.

        Speed cameras are a good idea in some places, but their being in all areas, on all streets, doesn’t seem like something that would work out or be needed.

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        • Chris I November 16, 2015 at 8:18 pm

          Speed cameras are not needed in certain places? Where should we allow people to speed? In your neighborhood?

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          • wsbob November 16, 2015 at 11:00 pm

            “Speed cameras are not needed in certain places?…” chris

            I don’t think they are. Gets back to the reasoning for andersen’s original mention of narrow streets, which I believe is that narrow streets natural constriction on traffic flow, can have a tendency to persuade people to drive on them slower than they may on wider streets of say, 12′ wider or so. You can ask andersen if that’s what he was thinking with his description in this Roundup.

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        • Dan A November 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm

          It depends on your definition of “safety” and “traffic flow”. It sounds like you are just talking about safety and traffic flow for people in motor vehicles. And even the notion that wider streets are safer for motor vehicles seems questionable to me.

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  • kiel johnson
    kiel johnson November 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Marco Rubio is such a bummer. That is a pretty radical plan. I wonder if having states foot the bill would be a good thing in the long run and focus solutions on smaller projects instead of mega projects (CRC). I doubt it and it will kill a lot of good jobs in the process.

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    • Dave November 16, 2015 at 11:49 am

      And, his transportation ideas are genuinely treasonous–yeah, sure we use our own oil and Canadian oil, etc., but we still burn some Saudi oil which ends up putting sheckels right into the pocket of Wahhabi terrorist funders.
      Never mind saving the planet with cycling–every time someone uses a bike when they could use a car they keep money out of the pockets of Islamofascist mass murderers.

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    • Todd Boulanger November 16, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Thats what our grandparents / great grandparents did… Having local regional communities (and corporations with user fees) finance transportation infrastructure was the norm until state DOTs came about in the 1910s/20s and then the nationwide Federal DOT/ Defence autobahn programs in the 1950s.

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      • Dave November 16, 2015 at 1:46 pm

        That was then, this is now. Ideally we’d have a “Cascadian Transit Authority” that would coordinate money and systems from about Roseburg to the Canada/US border. Take a look at the Seattle area now with multiple cities and counties in the Metro/Sounder/whatever system which works great.

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        • LC November 16, 2015 at 4:20 pm

          And in no way finances transportation infrastructure.

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  • Adam Herstein
    Adam Herstein November 16, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Those flashing lights annoy the heck out of me! I have a light that meets German road standards of focusing the light at the road surface and lacking of any flashing lights. Please use steady mode on your light and point them at the road, not straight out!

    One of the results of a lack of regulation as well as lights being an accessory, not a required component on new bikes.

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    • Ian November 16, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      I’m with you on the regulation bit – I think one of the most realistic remedies to this problem might be to put some limits on the brightness/strobe characteristics of these lights or to otherwise disincetivize manufacturers from producing irresponsibly bright lights. (Maybe bike shops could be more selective in the models they’re willing to stock?)

      I’m curious, though, are you suggesting that lights should come standard on new bikes? That’s not a terrible idea, but I think there’s some value to lights being an accessory item, given that different riders have different needs and preferences. What kinds of lights do you think should be provided with new bikes?

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      • Adam Herstein
        Adam Herstein November 16, 2015 at 12:19 pm

        If the bike is a commuter or city bike, lights should definitely come with. Preferably dynamo, but that can get expensive. Even a cheaper solution like the Copenhagen Light would get the job done.

        Mountain and racing bikes obviously would get a pass on required lights, but if a bike’s primary purpose is to get around town, then a light is an essential component. Especially since it’s illegal to ride without a front light at night.

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        • Dave November 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm

          Until our cities more resemble Amsterdam or Copenhagen, can we stop freakin’ mentioning those cities. There is not a whole lot that riding across the downtown core of a dead flat 400 year old European city has in common with, say, a Buckman to Beaverton commute. We should stop pretending that we have much in common with those cities and aim at solutions that reflect the real conditions that US cyclists face.

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          • LC November 16, 2015 at 1:59 pm

            Nobody mentioned those cities until your rant, the “copenhagen” light is a brand. It includes a front white light and a rear red light as used on vehicles around the world, regardless of the age or location of the cities in which they are operated.

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          • Adam Herstein
            Adam Herstein November 16, 2015 at 3:07 pm

            I never said any of that. I was referring to a brand of bicycle light powered by magnets that happens to be named after a particular European city.

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        • Dave November 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

          PS, when you see someone who may have a 15-20 mile round trip commute through neighborhoods where drivers are either hostile or unconscious, and they’re using a modified sport bike and sporting monster lighting what you are seeing is an indigenous American solution to our specific cycling conditions. Repeat–let’s everybody stop talking about Amsterdam and Copenhagen until our cities more closely resemble them, eh?

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          • 9watts November 16, 2015 at 3:03 pm

            “Repeat–let’s everybody stop talking about Amsterdam and Copenhagen until our cities more closely resemble them, eh?”

            Don’t you have that backwards? How would we hope to get there if the first rule is refusing to discuss them?

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          • Adam Herstein
            Adam Herstein November 16, 2015 at 3:13 pm

            I never said anything about being more like Amsterdam or Copenhagen, although that certainly would not be a bad thing. My point is that if a bike was designed to be a commuting/city bike whose primary function is short trips around town, to work, shopping, etc; that a light is an necessary component. Especially since you’re required by law to have one at night. You wouldn’t expect a scooter or car to not come with a headlamp, would you? If someone wants to buy a racing bike to commute 20 miles, and purchase a light separately, no one is stopping them.

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          • LC November 16, 2015 at 3:25 pm

            I have a 25 mile round trip daily commute in a city with slightly more hostile social, climatic and topographical conditions than portland and I somehow manage to do it on an upright bar touring bike with European designed dyno lighting. How have I survived until now?!

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            • mh November 16, 2015 at 9:32 pm

              Because generator lights compliant with German rules are the best. Yes, look at Peter White’s treatises on bike lighting, beam cutoffs, and general break effectiveness. My second bike’s worth of generator hub, headlight, twilight, and all the necessary wiring arrived at Clever from Longleaf over the weekend, and I’m picking up my new wheel on Friday. “Don’t leave home without it” seems to be my new mantra.

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      • realworld November 16, 2015 at 1:12 pm

        “disincetivize manufacturers from producing irresponsibly bright lights.”

        No bicycle light manufacturer currently produces lights anywhere near as bright as car head lights. No one is producing or selling irresponsibly bright lights!
        If you go to any bike shop today you would not be able to find and buy a light that puts out more than 1200 lumens in comparison your car lights produce about 2000 lumens on low beam.

        The onus falls on the user, commuters need to use lights responsibly and be informed or take the initiative to learn how Their light should be mounted.

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        • Ian November 16, 2015 at 1:41 pm

          I don’t think bike lights don’t need to be as bright as car headlights to count as “irresponsibly bright” (in the context of bike lights, which I don’t think need to be more than a few hundred lumens for most purposes), but I think I see your point. The real hazard is, of course, the brightness coupled with beam angle and strobe pattern. Maybe there’s nothing irresponsible about selling a 1000 lumen bike light; but maybe the irresponsibility comes from including a 1000 lumen strobe pattern that could trigger a seizure from half a mile away.

          I definitely agree that the onus ought to be on the user to use these tools responsibly. My concern is that there’s a lot of “safety-minded” cyclists who think brighter and flashier means safer, and who perhaps fail to recognize that they’re actually making themselves less visible by blinding everyone around them. How do we go about teaching these riders that their attempts at responsibility have missed the mark? This may just be conjecture on my part, but I’d guess that the sorts of cyclists who seek out the brightest and flashiest lights might not appreciate, let alone seek out, constructive criticism of their safety routine. And these are the same cyclists who are creating market pressures for manufacturers to produce ever brighter and flashier lights. This is why I suggested that perhaps the most effective way to address this issue could be to somehow encourage manufacturers to rein in potentially dangerous features rather than to rely on the consumers to self-regulate. But I’m also just thinking out loud here, and I’m curious about other people’s ideas about this.

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          • realworld November 16, 2015 at 2:40 pm

            Well if it were a perfect world and our government actually had a clue… lol I would think something similar to the German standard for bikes would be best.

            Unfortunately retailers are not playing their part in the equation either. Most bicycle etiquette is learned on the retail level, meaning sales people are usually the first place that most consumers learn the unwritten rules of bicycle etiquette.
            They should also step up their game and when selling a light take customer service to the next level and make consumers aware of how to mount and use a light and what would be acceptable daily practice.

            We don’t buy a car with out lights or a horn. And you don’t leave the dealer ship without being shown how to use all the technology of the car, so why do we put people on bikes on those same roads with out those same safety features and knowledge?

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            • Dave November 16, 2015 at 4:25 pm

              Retailers can be pretty chickenshit about recommending proper lights correctly installed. The bike industry’s suppliers push things the wrong way by trying to pander to the ignorance-based wish that lights be cheap and be easily removed when not wanted.

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              • realworld November 17, 2015 at 11:30 am

                I couldn’t disagree with you more on the “industry suppliers push things the wrong way”. manufactures have very little say in what they push, produce, educate or sell to retailers.

                All the products you buy are designed based mostly on consumer demand, this is very prevalent in the bike industry.
                almost all bike accessories are designed based on what consumers buy and/or ask for.

                If a brand tries to force “the right thing” down a consumers throats they will go OOB almost instantly. The almighty dollar decides what companies produce and sell.
                Here is a perfect example: Knog produced a “cafe lock” which was the same as a Snow Ski cable lock, basically a wire the same thickness as a brake cable. because they thought “that’s what consumers want” but they didn’t sell at all.
                And this is also why cable locks for bikes still exist because there are still a tone of consumers that buy them… unfortunately.

                many brands work this way, they phase in or out SKUs based on what sells and what doesn’t. Serfas is notorious for flooding junk into the market to see what sticks.

                And to be honest price point drives technology advances by about 95%! we could have easily had 200 or 400 lumen lights back in the early to mid 90s but they would have cost well over $500 or more so what we got was a $30 to $60 price point (demand) which up until about 2009 was a 10 to 35 lumen lights.

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              • 9watts November 17, 2015 at 12:59 pm

                “All the products you buy are designed based mostly on consumer demand, this is very prevalent in the bike industry. almost all bike accessories are designed based on what consumers buy and/or ask for.”

                You’re skipping over the part where consumer demand is a function of what manufacturers have chosen to offer which governs what can be bought, which sets some pretty clear boundaries to what can be chosen.

                “Serfas is notorious for flooding junk into the market to see what sticks.”

                This is I think a more accurate description of how this works. But for consumer preferences to mean much the products on offer have to run the gamut. Generally they don’t. The thousand breakfast cereals you see on the shelves suggest diversity but are really just variants on a theme: sugar+ cardboard + advertising.

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              • realworld November 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm

                “You’re skipping over” 9watts

                Not really, I am speaking specifically of the accessories side of the bike industry and it actually is that cut and dry.
                I’ve worked as sales, marketing and product design and management in the bike industry for 15 years now for more than a few accessory companies and that is exactly how they work.

                Consumer talks to bike shop >bike shop talks to sales rep > sales rep talks to product manager > product manger researches and puts their “company” spin on it and voila. (of course the good brands have a longer gestation process and lots of testing but not who or as many as you think)

                Just take a look at all the dopey “idea’s” that people try and start on kick starter… how many times have you seen someone try and do a kick starter for a “new” type of lock? or a new “smart” light? or worse different types of bikes based on body position… those really show how products just get recycled and repackaged and recycled again…

                Consumers know what they want but it’s rarely what they need or what makes the most sense, which is why Americans are into such disposable consumerism.

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            • pink$$ November 16, 2015 at 5:49 pm

              “We don’t buy a car with out lights or a horn. And you don’t leave the dealer ship without being shown how to use all the technology of the car, so why do we put people on bikes on those same roads with out those same safety features and knowledge?”

              We also don’t all walk away from the bike store with pre-fab bikes, so I’m not really sure how to hold retailers responsible for all kinds of safety.

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          • Adam Herstein
            Adam Herstein November 16, 2015 at 3:16 pm

            The only solution to this problem that will work on a large scale is regulatory action by the government. Force the manufactures to adhere to the standards.

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          • Dave November 16, 2015 at 4:29 pm

            A bicycle headlight, blinking or not, needs to be the sharp stick in the eye that gets drivers’ attention. If drivers paid attention and, like, could read speed limit signs, the punchiest lights wouldn’t be needed. Tame the damned drivers first–then worry about if bike headlights are “too bright.”

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            • Ian November 16, 2015 at 4:56 pm

              There’s a difference between getting a driver’s attention and blinding them to the point that they can’t effectively determine where you (or any other cyclists) are. Excessively bright/misaligned/fast-strobing lights are a hazard for other cyclists too for the same reason.

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          • realworld November 16, 2015 at 2:21 pm

            Didn’t say they don’t exist, but that shops don’t typically stock and sell them. also notice there is not “flash” function.

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          • Tom Hardy November 16, 2015 at 2:49 pm

            3600 lumens. I keep getting flyers from the gun association for 7000 lumen LED lights. Not a member and the $14.00 price tag would be subsidized by the battery sales.

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            • Angel November 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm

              How many lux are those?

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      • wsbob November 16, 2015 at 1:19 pm

        “…on the regulation bit – I think one of the most realistic remedies to this problem might be to put some limits…” Ian

        Are there any federal or state regulations and standards in the U.S for manufacture of bike lights relative to their use on the road, other than meeting the 500′ visibility requirement?

        How bike lights are to be mounted and aimed for most efficient and mutually safe use, is almost entirely left for the person using them to figure out. That’s partly why it would seem, that some bike lights are overly bright, or aren’t aimed so as to illuminate the road but not blind other road users.

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        • Ian November 16, 2015 at 3:05 pm

          Yeah, I agree that proper installation and use by the end user is by far the best solution; I’m just trying to brainstorm other ways of mitigating this problem that don’t rely on consumers to self-regulate their own behavior.

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        • Pete November 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm

          I’m gonna summons Nathan Hinckle of Bike Lights Database on this one. Lack of standards is one of the primary reasons I was against legislating a 600′ minimum requirement, let alone beamforming issues, battery strength, and the possibility of stolen equipment (like a helmet could be).

          BTW, I’m finally working on that after-dark lighting workshop with the GoPro cameras and measured distances that I’ve had in the back of my head for a while. I’ve really wanted to show people what a ‘normal’ bike taillight looks like from 600′ and again from 300′, as well as what “high viz” clothing looks like after dark. (It’s not as easy as you’d think to find a location that would work for this!).

          As Nathan mentioned in our previous debate on taillight legislation, lumens is not always a measure of “visibility”…

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    • TonyT
      TonyT November 16, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      The flashing usually doesn’t bother me, it is certain flashing patterns, the super-rapid strobe type for instance, that really mess with me. And frankly, when I drive, I find flashing lights easier to distinguish from background lights, especially when it’s raining.

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      • John Lascurettes November 16, 2015 at 2:10 pm

        The optimal combo at night for those that want strobe lights is bright-lumens solid-on light for lighting your way, and a low-lumens light with strobe for attention (like a $5 blinky light at the LBS point of purchase).

        Personally, I only ever use solid on on both front and back with my dyno lights. They’re plenty bright enough. If I feel like an oncoming car driver is acting like they’re not giving me enough room (because maybe they’re misjudging things?) I wiggle my handlebars a little. That give enough of an artificial strobe to get their attention (and maybe makes me look like a wobbly rider that needs more care 😉 ).

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        • realworld November 16, 2015 at 2:23 pm

          ata boy.

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        • Pete November 16, 2015 at 3:00 pm

          Exactly. Ditto here, though I have an alkaline-powered Radbot 1000 on the seat stay for redundancy, and to occasionally augment the 60-lumen steady rear on the seatpost with low-frequency flashing or steady and some spatial separation (as recommended by Nathan H).

          I’m typically not a fan of strobing on the front, but there was one particular stretch (popular right turn) on my last commute where I got into practice of switching it into strobe mode when overtaking drivers on the right, as it seemed like more people turned their heads and noticed the flashing mode more than the steady. (Note that cars legally can jump into the bike lane to turn right here in Cali, so occasionally drivers decide to take alternate routes after waiting through more than one cycle of lights).

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  • wsbob November 16, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Very glad to read about Washington state’s John Wayne Trail. In both the Inlander article, and the bikeforums discussion, I didn’t find much specific info about why the state reps would like to close parts of this major off-road trail. No quotes from them. Sounds like a great ride, and an important one for Washington to keep open.

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    • LC November 16, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Reps want to close it simply because they don’t like people using bikes. No real reasons for that are given. It is one of the best trails in Washington state.

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    • GlowBoy November 16, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      The eastern section of the JWT is a spectacularly scenic and solitary trail. I’ve ridden a couple of segments of it, and would hate to see the state just give the land to the adjacent landowners for free – talk about welfare! That’s a pretty scary close call if the legislation failed on a technicality.

      I do know why it’s not ridden very much, though: some of the sections I’ve ridden are VERY rough, with mile after mile of very large ballast rock. Even with a 29×2.35″ tire at low pressure, a suspension fork and a suspension seatpost, it was pretty jarring ride. Might be better on a fatbike, I suppose.

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    • Alan 1.0 November 16, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      Wsbob, there’s a little bit more about Schmick and Dye’s statements in this article (linked from Seattlebikeblog): . They are the state representatives for the district surrounding the WA DNR maintained portion of the trail, Columbia River to Lind, so their constituents are adjacent land owners, and the right-of-way would have reverted to them.

      The “Iron Horse Trail” portion extends from North Bend to the Columbia River as a state park. Then comes the DNR portion in the middle, then another state park maintained section on the eastern end. At an estimated 253 miles, the JWPT surpasses the Katy Trail as the longest rails-to-trails route in the US. More info, including DNR permits, is here:

      Just as people from many states wrote to support the Salmonberry Corridor, please send your support for the JWPT to today!

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      • wsbob November 18, 2015 at 6:03 pm

        alan…thanks for posting those links. I will check them out.

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      • wsbob November 19, 2015 at 6:10 pm

        I did actually read the Seattle DJC story, looking for more statements from the legislators as to why they thought to pursue closure of the east section of the JWT. As you said, ‘a little bit’ and not much more. I doubt Illegal dumping in the outback of Washington, is exclusive to this trail. An Oregon Field Guide show on OPB from a few years or more back, highlighted the huge problem in southern Oregon outback with vandalism, dumping, squatting and so on. No surprise then that Washington right next door, may also have some of that problem.

        Seems likely that the JWT at present, has a kind of low profile, or put a different way…that the country it passes through may not be widely known of as one of the state’s central natural features, such as the Olympic :Peninsula, or MT Rainier and its surrounding country. It sounds to be ‘under the radar’. That leaves it vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and resulting unhappiness on the part the neighbors.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson November 16, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Glad to see the reference to two fine pieces by Joe Cortright on affordable housing and the “freight drives the economy” myth. Note that PBOT has a staffed “Freight Committee” which routinely advocates for more and wider roads. I was explicitly banned from that group during my Swan Island days.
    Cortright is one of the smartest people around. Read more at Joe’s a biker AND an economist…a powerful combination!

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  • mark November 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Umm..if a flashing red light is a threat to one’s ability to drive a car…why is that person in the car and driving? Hmmmmm.

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  • realworld November 16, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Adam Rules!

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  • Josh G November 16, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Michael, not sure if this is worth an edit, but a good part of the importance of not losing the eastern WA parts of the John Wayne (AKA Iron Horse) trail is that it extends across almost the whole state. One can start on the rail trail in the outskirts of Seattle and ride all the way to the border.

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    • TTFN November 16, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      Additionally it’s possible to ride trail almost contiguously from Seattle to the Iron Horse – It’s 72 miles by bike from my house in south Seattle to the westernmost camp on the Iron Horse, and maybe twenty of that isn’t on trail or double track. (Duwamish River trail – Green River trail – Cedar River trail – back roads over Renton highlands and around Squak mountain – Rainier trail – Issaquah Preston trail – Preston Snoqualmie trail – Snoqualmie Valley trail to the Cedar Falls trailhead of the Iron Horse)

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    • Lester Luallin November 17, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Yeah, I put my bike on the Amtrak Cascades and was on the first MUP (I-90 trail) just a few blocks away from King St. Station. The first taste of dirt is on the Issaquah-Preston trail, about 18 miles from King St., if I remember correctly. If you wanna cut out more of the pavement riding you can put your bike on a bus out to Issaquah.

      I rode the John Wayne out to Ellensburg last summer and it was a great trip. Hoping to do the whole enchilada next summer.

      Pics from my trip:

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      • Alan 1.0 November 17, 2015 at 2:11 pm

        Nice blog, thanks!

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  • Dead Salmon November 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm
  • Jeff Bernards November 17, 2015 at 1:12 am

    Regarding Cortright’s article regarding shipping, shipping cost have gone down with the help of subsidies. Port of Portland dredged the Columbia and Willamete rivers another 3 ft. at a cost of $150 million. The true cost of the dredging was never borne by the users but by more borrowing. Who eventually pays, you and me for what? So people’s who’s business needs shipping can actually make it all work, thanks to you and me. I believe infrastructure spending can be good when it benefits society, not when it subsidies unsustainable business models.
    They also have to continually dredge to maintain that depth, nice carbon footprint.
    The dredges were dumped on crab breeding grounds in the Pacific.

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  • Opus the Poet November 17, 2015 at 11:49 am

    re: lights. My bikes have as many cheap lights as I have room to mount on the back, with the highest light set on steady and the rest on blinky mode. On the front I have one bright LED light mounted to see where I’m going and two cheap white blinkies so that drivers notice me. On my old ‘bent I had several different lights, finally settling on a combination of 12V trailer lights on the back and a accessory backup light as a headlight all run through the same switch under the seat. I also used a flasher designed for LED car lights to trigger the bright setting on the taillights, like the emergency flashers on a car. That bike could be seen at night, but none of the bikes I have had since could be set up that way.

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