The Monday Roundup: Ford’s haunting safe-driving campaign, an LED U-lock and more

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This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Walnut, the Portland-based leather goods maker whose new Travel Dice set is perfect for taking along on your next bike tour.

Are you ready for an industrial-strength jet of bike-related links? Good, because a torrent of interesting articles caught our eyes this week.

Distracted driving: Ford’s Instagram-themed “Don’t Like and Drive” campaign is haunting and effective.

The last highway bill? “Within the next five years, how we drive, where we go, and even the number of cars we use to get there is going to change forever.” That’s Gizmodo on the new five-year federal transportation bill.

Self-driving buses: A Swiss startup is on it.

Brakeless biking: Japan’s Keirin races are “the most extreme sport you’ve never heard of.”

Rear-light U-lock: Amazon is selling two in one for $18.

Parking scarcity: It might actually be more important than transit to transit-oriented development.

Racing numbers: Tour de France victor Chris Froome has released three datasets about his body in an effort to prove that he really did win the race.

Fault and recovery: If you were injured in a traffic injury and think it wasn’t your fault, you heal less rapidly.

Bike count: The first global study of its kind estimated that world bike ownership halved from 1981 to 2012.

Interchange honored: The Inland Empire chapter of the American Planning Association gave its 2015 Urban Design Award to a two-acre freeway interchange.

Urban revival: In the country’s 50 largest metro areas, the population of 25-44-year-old college grads is growing three times faster downtown than in suburbs. The most sophisticated effort I’ve seen to explain why sorta comes up empty.

Cycling deaths: While promoting a new book about football, writer Gregg Easterbrook argued that sport is ethically clean because more people die while biking.

Automated intimidation: A Google patent for self-driving cars includes the ability to “decide whether to slow down, stop altogether, or communicate a warning to pedestrians.”

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Biking with age: The number of Americans over 50 who’ve biked in the past year is up from 16 percent to 20 percent since 2011.

Signal priority: Copenhagen is experimenting with RFID chips on bikes that give them green lights.

Earbud outcomes: Wearing headphones while biking probably puts you at more risk, but probably not at more risk than driving with the radio on.

Grid safety: Wide, looping post-1950 streets are three times deadlier than narrow pre-1950 grids.

Sharrows defended: A Dutch engineer says they’re mostly useful on streets where overtaking is difficult.

Carless dating: “Taking a girl out in high school was rare,” says Los Angeles biking advocate Tafarai Bayne in a brief interview about race and biking. But if he were in high school these days he thinks he might do better. “I was a bit ahead of my time when I think about it.”

Dangerous areas: Auto fatality rates in the Dakotas and elsewhere are higher than Chicago’s murder rate.

Cycling personalities: Here are 10 athletes on wheels worth knowing. Oh yeah, and they’re all female.

Capital steps: “A fundamental prerequisite for the prosperity and livelihood of a city is that its pedestrians must be able to traverse the city,” writes Salem-based comedian Eric Alexander Moore in a lament about walking in his city.

Vision Zero: The City of Eugene has formally joined the movement.

“Liberal” urbanism: Smart-growth policies often involve deregulation. So why are they popular on the left but not the right? Because liberals are often the sort of people who enjoy cities, basically.

Bike definition: In his reply to some garden-variety bike bashing, a British member of Parliamant charmingly described a bike as a “green car which can run on tap water and tea cakes and, moreover, has a built-in gym.”

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 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Don’t be fooled – auto manufacturers are talking out of both sides of their mouths on their “don’t talk/text and drive” campaigns. They would rather you use their dash-mounted portals so they can build the same revenue models that Google has built with Android phones. If they really wanted people to drive without distractions, they’d stop adding soft-button-based touchscreen dashboards that force your eyes to focus on which icon you’re touching.

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete

I rented a ferd fusion a few weeks ago. That thing is a distracted special. I hated it.

GlowBoy
GlowBoy
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Agreed! Touchscreens should not be legal in cars. They require you to take your eyes off the road several times longer, while you guide your finger all the way in, than physical buttons.

9watts
6 years ago

Gizmodo piece about how everything is changing.
They’re right about everything changing, and fast, but it is rather unfortunate in my view that the scope of the piece includes only two of the three sources of change: preferences (millennials not driving so much), and computers (autonomous everything). Where are constraints in this view? Peak cheap oil, climate change, those are hardly trivial factors in the (near) future of transportation.

Alan Kessler
Alan Kessler
6 years ago

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that both of the images for the “Don’t Like and Drive” show pedestrians crossing at unorthodox locations. Even in a safe-driving campaign Ford is getting in another swipe at those ignorant jays carelessly walking on their streets.

lop
lop
6 years ago
Reply to  Alan Kessler

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812124.pdf

69% of pedestrian fatalities were recorded to have happened at non intersections. I wouldn’t mind if drivers were paying attention for crossing pedestrians then.

Jeff Bernards
Jeff Bernards
6 years ago

Except when you get hit

Barry
Barry
6 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Bernards

To insert a quote from our local (Atlanta) cycling lawyer (cyclist and lawyer specializing in bike-related cases): “Are you prepared to cost you or your family hundreds of thousands of dollars if you are severely injured by a negligent motorist because the jury says you may have avoided the collision if you weren’t wearing earphones and had the abilility to hear the approaching vehicle?”

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  Barry

Georgia… Where its a crime to ride on any sidewalk in the state. Yeah. Let’s emulate that state.

JAT in Seattle
JAT in Seattle
6 years ago
Reply to  Barry

and tangentially related, that Australian study about healing from injury and perception of fault: note all “patients [were] covered by the state’s no-fault third party insurer for road traffic injury”

(and I’m saying this as a lawyer…) the fact that we have to sue each other to get our medical costs covered in traffic crashes is barbaric.

Matt
Matt
6 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Bernards

But should you lessen your hearing i.e. make yourself deaf, when you ride? That’s a straw man if ever I heard one. I’ve had many close calls with cyclists and joggers who had ear buds in. I like all my senses to be at peak when I’m riding.

mark
mark
6 years ago

Wide lanes: It seems to be a “thing” to mandate wide roads in suburbs which is a license to kill people walking and biking. Yet…engineers keep cranking them out on the innocent public.

Dan A
Dan A
6 years ago
Reply to  mark

And they sell them as safety improvements.

mark
mark
6 years ago

Earbuds: This is something new for the bike haters to grab onto. They create a non solution for a non issue and them try to get it into law. Sad.

Don’t worry, it’s a crime to ride on a sidewalk anywhere in Georgia..because you know…safe roads are everywhere in Georgia and racism is non exisitant.

longgone
longgone
6 years ago
Reply to  mark

I hate earbuds in anyone’s ears, if they are doing anything related to taking up space on the road. Mode isn’t the issue.

mark
mark
6 years ago
Reply to  longgone

We ride with out eyes..not with our ears..unless you are blind and somewhat superhuman in ability.

Sorry you hate it..I love it and gives me the same rights to listen to music as a car driver and I Will fight for that to the end.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  mark

Don’t do it when you cross the borders into Washington or California. It’s illegal there, even while driving.

And speak for yourself – count me in the camp who prefers to use all available tools to avoid being hit, especially on rural roads.

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Used to be illegal for anybody but white to drink from the same drinking fountain too. Discrimination in laws is wrong.

longgone
longgone
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Whoa,… I just saw this comment. Now I understand your logic completely.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark

That’s a weak analogy. Nobody is preventing you from riding with speakers on your bicycle (or motorcycle). The current law disallows headphones for drivers, bicyclists, and motorcyclists – it does not discriminate based on vehicle driven. I’m not here to argue if it’s based on sound principle or not, and I don’t know if it applies to earbuds or not.

In my experience, especially on rural roads, my ears and my drop-bar mirror have allowed me to position myself safely on many occasions where I could have otherwise been at risk. YMMV.

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete

A tool is to avoid boredom and pursue happiness while I am riding.

longgone
longgone
6 years ago
Reply to  mark

@ mark.,. Power on my bro. Tons of things in the world I hate. Have a blast ridin with your earbuds. I will still see you as not so bright when we pass each other. It is a free country.

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  longgone

Clearly those who are deaf should not ride based on your assertion .

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I wore earplugs while riding a Motorcycle in all three western states while it illegal. Why? Save my hearing and cut down on wind noise. So did thousands of other motorcyclists….guess they were all dunces too for not obeying the law.

longgone
longgone
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I too am a motorcyclist, and have raced and ridden since 1968. I too at times tried riding with earphones, ( Sony walkman cassettes BTW). I found it to be a major distraction. Again, I will tell ya “you do you”. To each their own. I am now done with this banter. Have fun out there. Hope ya here that emergency vehicle.

Angel Y
Angel Y
6 years ago
Reply to  mark

In my experience riding behind people who have earbuds in, they usually don’t respond when I say something like “on your left” or ding my bell. If this is no worse than car radios as far as distraction levels go, I say we may need to be getting rid of car radios. Except, while we’re at it, it’s probably safest if we just get rid of cars on the road entirely.

On a tangent, I am concerned that automated cars are going to be a distraction. That city planners will be working out the legal and infrastructure details of dealing with automated cars and that bike/ped infrastructure will get lost by the wayside for another generation. But! I am also optimistic, and think rethinking infrastructure for automated cars may be a great opportunity to rethink roads entirely … including for healthy transportation modes such as biking and walking.

GlowBoy
GlowBoy
6 years ago
Reply to  longgone

You don’t need earbuds/headphones to listen to music while you’re biking. There are other ways to hear your music without canceling out the sound around you.

B. Carfree
B. Carfree
6 years ago

Sure, Eugene, OR joined the Vision Zero movement. But, details matter. Notice that there are no metrics with consequences attached. Context matters too. Eugene has averaged six road deaths inside the city limits per year for the past decade. Vulnerable road users have accounted for an astounding 50% of those deaths! Bear in mind that this is a city that has seen its rate of cycling drop from 10.8% in 2009 to a paltry 6.8% in 2014, a ridiculously low rate in a left-leaning university town in the temperate west.

Perhaps the fact that Eugene’s traffic engineer, Tom Larsen, has been operating without the required state license since 2008 has something to do with this major failure. For further context, this is a city that passed a Climate Change Policy in 2010 (IIRC) and then upgraded that to a Climate Change Ordinance in 2012. Both of those explicitly call for reduced automobile trips and more trips by bike, bus and walking. Again, there are no enforcible metrics or consequences for failure. The city manager was given a whopping raise of about $30k this year for failing to implement these policies.

When we see some success, let’s celebrate. When we see people or places jump on the policy bandwagon, let’s hold their feet to the fire to put enforcible metrics behind these aspirational policies. Until then, it’s just propaganda in its worst form.

Andy K
Andy K
6 years ago

RE: earbuds, I don’t get the comparison.

If you’re driving your car down the street with your windows up and music blasting, what’s the worst that can happen to you?

B. Carfree
B. Carfree
6 years ago

Re earbuds and loud car radios: I can’t find a link, but I recall a study years ago that showed a correlation between loud radios in cars and poor driving. I don’t remember the metric for poor driving (citations, collisions, observations?), but it does seem to hold in my experience of observing the motorists in my neighborhood. The folks with the loud music tend to be the ones speeding on this dead-end residential street.

gutterbunnybikes
6 years ago

No one comments on the sharrows article.

” In fact, in the Netherlands, often seen as the paradise for cycling, 80% of the urban roads are shared use, mixing bicyclists and cars.”

Looking at another article published today here, where not a single sharrow makes the top list of incidences on the road, makes one wonder if perhaps were closer to bicycle Nirvana than everyone thinks.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

I thought he made some good points, but it was really interesting to read the comments and viewpoints. I personally like sharrows, but I too don’t think they’re applied where they could be used best. In many places that I refer to as “mixing zones”, sharrows could actually be used to indicate to drivers to expect the possibility of merging with a cyclist due to the roadway design. I know of places where a bicyclist has to merge across two lanes of car traffic to stay in the bike lane (which disappears and then reappears on the left), and sharrows could be used to indicate to both drivers and bicyclists expect this traffic mixing. But again, there are no guidelines that engineers have to work with, and the modern emphasis seems to be on separating cars and bikes at all costs.

Spiffy
6 years ago

earbud ban: you can ban earbuds as soon as you make it illegal for deaf people to bike…

just like you can ban hand-held phones as soon as you make it illegal for amputees to drive…

oh wait…

Paul H.
Paul H.
6 years ago

I’ve been reading Gregg Easterbrook’s football columns for years now. I’m pretty sure he was mentioning bicycling deaths as a way of setting a moral context (bicyclists die and get injured, but that in and of itself doesn’t rule out enjoying bicycle racing) rather than (a) bashing cycling or (b) justifying athletic injuries.