This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by the BTA’s sixth annual bicycle-themed storytelling event, Live the Revolution (February 12th, tickets available now).
Here are the bike-related links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:
“Better by Bike”: These five ads from the City of Buenos Aires are more clever and heartwarming than anything I saw on TV Sunday.
“The Forager”: “Is this the first bicycle to come with its own fire-pit, mushroom knife and recycled wooden chopping board?”
Rider exonerated: A Michigan man successfully had an “impeding traffic” ticket dismissed after fighting it in court, thanks in part to the officer’s dash cam video.
Unusual roundabout: This Spanish design sends bikes straight through.
Post-industrial progress: Odense, Denmark’s third-largest city, is putting bikes at the heart of a $4 billion attempt to refocus its rust-belt economy around livability.
Lethal selfishness: The distracted driver is a new kind of “me-first” menace, says MacLeans.
Sign clutter: This Bikeyface webcomic isn’t set on the transit mall, but might be.
Mandatory lane changes: The “Change Lanes to Pass Bicycles” law proposed in Iowa would do what it claims.
London numbers: Bikes will soon outnumber cars in central London rush hours, the city’s transport office says.
Truck visibility: London may require a second window in the lower half of truck doors, to help their drivers see people biking.
Destriping roads: Britain is doing it, and talking about other counterintuitive road safety measures.
Green neighborhoods: Here’s what low-carbon cityscapes look like from above.
Oil tax: President Obama wants to put a $10 tax on each barrel and spend it on “green transportation infrastructure.” It would require an act of Congress, so it’s basically just for show.
Wonk fired: Former Oregon transportation official Lynn Peterson was unexpectedly fired by Washington’s GOP-controlled Senate, apparently for being “very partial to transit, very partial to bike and pedestrian paths, all those things.” (Update: In the comments, former Cascade Bicycle Coalition advocate Evan Manvel offers a more specific take.)
Biker found: The sprocket-themed belt of Michael Rust was found amid human bones in Colorado. The mountain biking pioneer went missing in 2009.
Cheaper curbs: Austin is using polka dots and plastic posts to make corners much more walking-friendly.
Car Free Day: Dubai does bike to work days, too.
Poisonous cars: Air pollution kills millions of people a year. So why isn’t it condemned by doctors, just like bacon and sugar?
NYC streetcar: A newly proposed line would run along the East River, joining Brooklyn and Queens. “Not everybody’s going to ride bikes,” said former transit boss Richard Ravitch in its support.
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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I couldn’t make it through the Michigan cop’s dash cam video – so irritating to watch him berate the cyclist for no reason whatsoever.
I can’t believe how much time was wasted pulling them over. Sounds like somebody just does not like bikes.
Amazing how arrogant the officer is in this video. He should be taken out of his patrol car and issued a bicycle.
Someone called Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall helping design a mushroom foraging bike inspired by the Land Rover, for his cooking show “River Cottage” may be the single English-est thing I’ve ever heard of. And I’ve lived in England.
(River Cottage is a terrific cooking show, BTW.)
Re: the Michigan cop ticket thing: I don’t understand how a bicyclist could ride any other way than “single-file”.
My read on Lynn Peterson’s disappointing non-confirmation is that Andy Hill got mad about the I-405 tolls and traffic situation (read: rich Bellevue residents didn’t like paying for roads or being stuck in traffic). Andy Hill is one of the most powerful Senators, and is perceived generally as more moderate.
There’s also been an impressive boondoggle in the Seattle tunnel mega-project, which those familiar with highway mega-projects predicted, and was a boondoggle inherited by Peterson (to go along with inherited cost overruns on the 520 bridge mess).
Those grousing about Lynn’s caring about transit, bikes and pedestrians have groused about it forever.
Here’s hoping Lynn finds a good position back here in Oregon.
I remember meeting her, she wanted to give me money for the studded tire campaign, but it had to be under $100, so it wouldn’t have to be reported, with her name attached. The backlash from Les Schwab and conspiring politicians in protecting the statues quo is unrelenting.
Good Luck Lynn on trying to do good work for the people, in the future.
I have two friends who have worked for the Washington DOT for a long time. In the rare instances that we talked about their work, all I heard was that the new secretary was too focused on transit and infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. In their defense, they’ve been drinking the DOT kool-aid for a long time, so all they see is that it’s best to have more cars and trucks moving faster all the time. It’s sad.
As much as we complain about ODOT, WSDOT is even worse, AND they have billions of dollars to play around with. Drive I-205 through Vancouver or drive through north Spokane and you will see how bad the excessive highway spending is.
I drive I-205 and I-5 all the time. Have you seen some of the PM congestion?
In Vancouver, Oregon drivers get ticketed and fined at 2 MPH over the limit. Washington drivers do not.
“WSDOT is even worse, AND they have billions of dollars to play around with.”
Not what I’ve heard. I read right here on bikeportland that WashDOT was a step or two ahead of ODOT in mortgaging the future, spending money they didn’t have and that debt service was eating up a rapidly growing share of the funds they “have” to the point where they actually have very little real money left to do what you would think an agency like that would do: fix roads, etc.
I can’t find the story here. Search function still is terrible. Even google disappointed.
This is similar to what the Seattle Times is now reporting.
“In the end, state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson wasn’t derailed by nearly $400 million in Highway 520 bridge overruns, or even the two-year delay in the Highway 99 tunnel, a pair of projects that she inherited.
“Instead, the cardinal sin that Peterson and her department committed was to infuriate suburban motorists. Blame a bumpy rollout of Interstate 405 express-toll lanes, which were meant to improve traffic flows in south Snohomish and northeast King counties. Instead, they moved some of the worst congestion from Kirkland to Bothell. And even though state data showed time savings southbound, the general lanes turned slower in the Bothell chokepoint — and 29,000 people endorsed an online petition to repeal the toll lanes.
“Robert Cruickshank, senior campaign manager for Democracy for America, said Peterson paid plenty of attention to motorists…. The transportation plan includes about $9 billion for road construction and $1.3 billion for maintenance. These include Interstate 5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Highway 167 connecting Tacoma to warehouses and foothill suburbs.”
From the article on Odense, Denmark:
“We’re very average as a city,” Andersen says. “There are hundreds of cities like this around Europe. So it’s more interesting – you could have hundreds of cities like Odense, all over.”
This struck a chord with me. For some time now, Portland has been all about its extraordinariness, its cool-kid popularity, wearing the tiara it earned through a few key (and yes, extremely unusual) decisions made between 1965 and 1995.
When your city doesn’t view itself as average, as one of hundreds like it all over the map, it gets leapfrogged by the cities that aren’t so stuck up. Those other cities get bikeshare first. Those other cities build protected intersections first.
The aging prom queen who can’t seem to stop wearing her tiara on her 90s hairstyle looks a bit silly these days, but she did have some good ideas, and the “average” kids have been stealing them and updating them like crazy, while she gets more and more out of date, and still thinks She’s All That.
I wish Portland would accept its smackdown and humbly start its new life as just another 21st century city.
But what’s so sad, and frustrating for some who don’t live in Portland, is that Portland still stands out as an extraordinary city in terms of sensible transportation policy, in the context of most of the North America. You have to understand that in most other cities, things are so much worse. I mean, it’s just ridiculous! The question then becomes, WHY is Portland-ish planning not spreading more rapidly, WHY is this not making sense to more of tho$e in charge and translating into more livable communities, what is so frickin’ hard to understand?! And why does Portland STILL stand out as such a special case?
I wish I knew the answers. I don’t. But I feel like there’s an analogy to be found in the story of telephone service. Exceptional, powerful, rich-and-rolling America went whole hog into running copper wire everywhere in the late 19th and early 20th century. Because we had a fully built out, functional, and profitable phone system when cellular came along, the titans of the phone industry tried to fit cellular to the old, wired-network model. It took us YEARS to break out of the stupid pricing plans and restrictions that they put on this “competing” service.
Meanwhile, the developing world, never having strung the expensive copper in the first place, has gone hog-wild with cellular, leap-frogging us in inventive uses for the system, with wide deployment (even to the poor! OMG!).
So now we’ve got one of the slowest, most poorly-deployed, most restrictive cellular business models in the world. Those dinosaurs died hard.
Maybe other cities are on the verge of jumping into a brand-new system, an urban transportation model that doesn’t quite exist yet, a toolbox made of parts from Portland AND Copenhagen AND Singapore AND Los Angeles AND Tactical Urbanism. I don’t know. There are dinosaurish elements to Portland that other cities would be wise not to follow when newer models are coming along.
Comparing other roundabouts to that Spanish cut-through is apples and oranges.
Look at the picture. Start by noticing that it’s just a glorified 3-way intersection. Then see those roomy, buffered central bike lanes; whatever you think of those, note that the design creates only one danger point. The danger comes from only one direction. The vehicle is slowed by a chicane. Drivers making the turn can see all dangers in front of them, i.e. no mirror checks. It is a no-hook intersection.
But whatever, it’s not from the good idea monopoly in northern Europe so something must be wrong. Not invented here!
blueberries and pineapples.
the ‘circular intersection’ has signals. No modern roundabout has signals.
Ah, yes. Building your way out of congestion.
Glad to hear Mike Rust’s family is getting more closure. I would love a Portland screening of the documentary about him: http://www.gritandthistle.com/films/the-rider-the-wolf
The video of the Michigan cop pulling over the cyclists reminded me of how valuable I think a drop-bar mounted mirror is. It gives the rider pretty decent situational awareness, especially riding double-file, and lets you time gaps or see when traffic is coming from behind and it makes sense to single up. Not foolproof, of course, but if I was riding double on that narrow road and had seen a car approaching, I’d have done the exact same thing Tim did (though probably not have handled the encounter with the officer as well… ;).
Personally, I’m not a fan of riding double, but it’s perfectly legal. Tim had zero obligation to move over for any driver at that point. On top of that, the cop throws a pretty serious hissy fit for having to wait 7 seconds to make a pass. His lights aren’t on, he’s just driving around — what is the hurry? How about setting a good example: wait until it’s clear, make a legal pass, go catch someone actually doing something illegal.
there are circumstances in which riding two abreast is actually preferable to riding single file, as it delivers the message — which this officer obviously did get, but not in a positive way — that a motorist should move left to pass. hugging the edge of the pavement makes it more likely the motorist will pass too close, imagining the fog line alone is some kind of buffer, and it leaves the cyclist nowhere to bail.
This is by no means NEW!
Distracted driving is an age old American past time, of boys and girls, that is only easier to spot when it is a smartphone.
And it isn’t just the younger generation.
Coming back from Seattle (just this week) I saw a driver who had their smartphone mounted to the 12 o clock position of her steering wheel. As if her constant fiddling with it wasn’t bad enough this person was the stereotypical little-ole-granny who was barely tall enough to see over the steering wheel and dash board. I actually was able to watch her dodge the wheel slightly left and right to look around the big obstruction directly in front of her field of view.
Me-First SUV drivers: High and “MITY” (More Important Than You).
Yesterday I watched a rather lengthy TV article that highlighted a Stanford research piece on distracted driving. It documented handsfree cellular use and handheld cellular use with 50 drivers. All the drivers in each category had accidents. None of the drivers had accidents when they did not have a crash when they did not use their cell phones.
Texting / using a smartphone while driving has been proven as dangerous as drunk driving, but is much harder to prove and enforce. I’m convinced that if we were able to document we’d find it’s killing as many people as drunk driving did in the 1970s, before the rise of MADD and DWI awareness.
As I type this I’m sitting in a public library with a good view of a busy street in a popular urban neighborhood (Uptown Minneapolis). And as I’ve been typing this I’ve looked up briefly twice, and witnessed three drivers going by tapping on their smartphone screens while their car was moving.
Also be glad OR and WA have bans on handheld cellphone use while driving. I used to think these laws were misguided, because talking on a handsfree phone has been shown equally distracting as talking on a handheld (duh), but that ignores the elephant in the room: texting and driving, which is a far greater threat.
Even though the handheld ban is widely violated, it has a major effect: Oregon and Washington drivers are far more circumspect in using their handheld phones behind the wheel, whereas here in MN (which, like *most* states, lacks such a law) it’s far more blatant.
More importantly, it gives cops a good tool to bust texting drivers. At least it can give them probable cause for a stop, though actually proving the offense is harder.
What we really need is an Implied Search Consent law such as most states have for alcohol. Much as getting behind the wheel is automatically considered consent to have your body searched for evidence of intoxicant impairment, it should also be automatically considered consent to a search of your phone’s GPS and communications history for a few minutes leading up to a traffic stop.
We should destripe streets like NE 28th, SE 21st (between Division and Hawthorne), and others.
I restored a 78 Datsun 280z that leaked exhaust mostly from the rear taillights into the car. The car looks aerodynamic but it’s really a swirling vortex of exhaust gas in the rear.
I took off the back panel and insulated it with closed cell foam out of an old boat cushion and that sealed out the exhaust gases. They were making me nauseous, but the exhaust was probably doing a lot of worse things. I was probably low on benzene anyway.
I have always thought that car exhaust should be bio-filtered through the passenger compartment before being pumped out into innocent lungs. It would certainly reduce unnecessary driving and make the life expectancy difference between motorists and cyclists even greater.