Esplanade closure begins February 1st

The Monday Roundup: A crash-proof human body, a San Jose bike bridge & more

Posted by on July 25th, 2016 at 9:09 am

The head of “Graham,” a lifelike model of what humans might look like if they’d evolved to use cars.
(Image: Towards Zero)

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by The Portland Century, a one or two-day bicycle tour coming August 6-7th.

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

Crash-proof human: An Australian artist collaborated with a trauma surgeon to create “Graham,” a full-body silicone model of what humans might look like if they evolved to survive car crashes.

Bike bridge: San Jose’s proposed biking-walking bridge over a freeway would certainly be spectacular.

Bicycle dystopia: The bicycle cops outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland were pretty intensely dressed.

Overemphasizing commutes: Because women take more non-work trips, “focusing only on commutes overlooks women’s transportation needs.”

Santiago biking: The biking rate in Chile’s capital has doubled in 10 years to six percent, about the same as Portland’s.

Best bike sharing? A moderator of Reddit’s bicycling page who visited Portland to test Biketown says it’s better than the systems in Paris, London, DC, Montreal, NYC, Austin or San Francisco.

Protection endorsement: AASHTO, the country’s most influential transportation engineering organization, seems prepared to finally endorse protected bike lanes.

New recruits: A survey of Londoners who bike found that one-third of them had started riding in the previous 12 months — just after protected bike lanes started being built.

Forgotten killing: Gothamist takes a long loo at the case of a Brooklyn man killed by a hit-and-run. It’s been painfully slow despite a seemingly open-and-shut case.


Self-driving bus: A prototype by Mercedes-Benz has successfully navigated a route of more than 12 miles … in suburban Amsterdam.

Indestructible murals? An obscure federal law from 1990 prohibits building owners from covering or destroying murals on their buildings unless the artists sign off, Willamette Week reported in its cover story.

Mural map: To accompany the above story, Willamette Week created a digital map of Portland’s pre-1999 murals.

NYC biking: The city’s “renaissance” in biking is happening “despite glaring failures in the design, politics, and security of bicycle infrastructure,” Slate economics writer Henry Grabar says in a personal essay.

Racialized enforcement: In the Minnesota suburbs where Philando Castile was killed during his 46th traffic stop in 14 years, darker-skinned people are seven times more likely than white people to be pulled over while driving.

Suburban efficiency: Minnesota-based Strong Towns imagines ways to make suburbs energy-efficient by putting their less-used spaces to work.

Transportation vision: The Republican party platform calls for eliminating federal funding for transit, walking and bicycling.

Uber for gasoline: A new crop of gasoline delivery startups wants to stop by and fill your car up for you.

Bike “mayor”: “Cycling is almost too successful” in Amsterdam, says Anna Luten, recently voted into volunteer office as the city’s unofficial “bike mayor.”

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 –

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  • Mike Sanders July 25, 2016 at 10:58 am

    According to the linked article, Trump’s platform on transit would center on bike share programs like Portland’s recently-launched Biketown, while banning all federal funding for bus or rail projects, and for all bike / walk programs. That means Tri-Met would get no federal funding for any expansions in bus or MAX/streetcar service. And all the bike / walk programs now in the pipeline, including those just getting off the ground in the PDX area would be zeroed out. That would rule out any new rail projects in Portland for perhaps 10 years or more, and bring bike trail projects (including, very likely, expansions in the US Bike Route system) to a dead halt. That would be a disaster of the first order.

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    • B. Carfree July 25, 2016 at 11:19 am

      And as bad as all that is, if the GOP actually gets into a position to implement their agenda this will be but a very small part of what goes wrong.

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    • Chris I July 25, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      The rural bias in American politics is probably one of our greatest flaws. It just reinforces policies that are bad for the majority of Americans.

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    • Todd Boulanger July 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      Cyclist is the most “Libertarian” of travel modes other than walking.

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  • B. Carfree July 25, 2016 at 11:01 am

    New York city is unquestionably a bike town? That’s certainly news considering that it has only 1.5 times the percentage of bike commuters as the the paltry numbers for our nation as a whole, and even this low number has been flat for three years. Been down so long it looks like up, I guess.

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  • Eric Leifsdad July 25, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Cool, now we know what drivers look like behind the dark tinted windows.

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  • Josh G July 25, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I really thought that “Uber for gas” was an April Fools joke, then I checked the date. Then I watched the video
    Ask yourself if you want this “like like like” spewing tech-bro driving a F150 full of gas tanks disrtupting and innovating around your city.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty July 25, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      I think that, very likely, this type of service would be illegal in most places.

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      • Josh G July 25, 2016 at 4:07 pm

        The legality is addressed in the video, but they appear to have a Uber type attitude that the law will be adjusted to meet their needs.

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    • B. Carfree July 25, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      My wife actually thought of doing this, albeit without a cool app, twenty years ago. In the end, she just couldn’t go down that evil road and still call herself a good person. That sort of attitude has cost us a lot of money, and likely added many happy years to our lives.

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      • Stephen Keller July 26, 2016 at 7:14 am

        Now if I could just get someone to deliver carbs and protein to me when I need them. That’s an app, I could get behind.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. July 26, 2016 at 9:09 am

          Burrito delivery? 🙂

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        • KristenT July 26, 2016 at 10:48 am

 will send you delicious healthy snacks….

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  • Pete July 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Elsewhere in San Jose, the Earthquakes (AVAYA) soccer stadium gets built with no bike lanes, no organized bike parking, and no way to safely cross I-880 or Caltrain tracks, let alone traverse Coleman Ave without taking the lane in 45+ MPH traffic.

    At least they have a bike-friendly mayor now and (for the most part) city council.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. July 25, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      So many of the new MLS stadiums are being built in the far exurbs. KC, Chicago, LA, etc., are all far outside the city centers and surrounded by parking lots. One of the many contributing factors to the Cascadia teams being so popular is that all three stadiums are close to downtown and have excellent public transport access.

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      • Abide July 25, 2016 at 1:33 pm

        Yep. Moving to Chicago very soon and will have to cut back on my soccer games because the stadium is half a billion miles from downtown. Seriously, Google tells me it takes 1 hour and 9 minutes to get to Toyota Park from downtown. WTF?! 🙁

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. July 25, 2016 at 1:38 pm

          I really don’t understand why the Fire doesn’t play at Soldier Field. It’s so much easier to get to from anywhere in the region.

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        • Chris I July 25, 2016 at 2:09 pm

          It looks like they could extend the Orange line from Midway to get to the stadium without too much trouble. There is a clear ROW along the freight rail lines.

          Also, the west end of Chicago is absurdly sprawled out. I bet people have absolutely horrendous commutes there.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. July 25, 2016 at 2:25 pm

            The Roosevelt station on the Orange/Green/Red lines is pretty close and the 18th St station on the Metra Electric line is even closer.

            Pretty much all of the Chicago suburbs are sprawling – especially on the north and west sides. Such of Chicago is a bit denser and the commuter train liens are closer together, but it’s still mostly car-centric. Almost everyone I know in Chicago that drives to work has at least an hour commute each way.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. July 25, 2016 at 2:26 pm

              Typo, that should read: “South of Chicago is a bit denser”.

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      • Mike Sanders July 30, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        Last season, something like 70% of the people who attended Timbers home games got there on public transit, mostly MAX. The figures for Vancouver, I think, are similar. The ballpark in Seattle (and the Mariners stadium as well) is a five minute walk from King St. Station in downtown Seattle, with the ferry service across Puget Sound just one mile north of King St. I took a train rude from Portland to Seattle last summer and arrived off the Amtrak train to find the pregame “March to the Match” already passing the station’s front door! By contrast, the NY Red Bulls stadium is actually in NJ, well outside Manhattan. (The Mets, Yanks and Nefs all have stadiums next to major transit stations, which explains in part why they usually draw very well.)

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  • bikeninja July 25, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Many of the drivers I see at the wheel of jacked-up pickups and SUV’s look surprised like Graham in the first link. Perhaps natural selections has been at work long enough to make a difference. Darwin would not have been surprised

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    • rachel b July 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Graham is kind of All-American…

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      • B. Carfree July 26, 2016 at 10:29 am

        Kind of, but he’s missing a hundred-odd pounds of adipose.

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        • rachel b July 27, 2016 at 12:33 am

          🙂 He carries all his weight in his head and totters about on his slim, elegant legs.

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  • hot fuzz July 25, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Wow. All that black robo-bike cop armor must be incredibly hot for the officers. Does this make them more grumpy? How about shorts and a light blue t-shirt over the kevlar vest?

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  • BikeEverywhere July 25, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I’m thinking one of those hi-tech uniforms the bike officers are sporting outside the convention would be perfect for winter commutes in Portland. Should protect a cyclist if a driver is texting and drifts into the bike lane. Looks like it might add some warmth and dryness as well.The bullet-proof vest and full-coverage helmet wouldn’t hurt either now that Portland is transitioning from a city that’s a little bit weird to one that’s downright scary.

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    • Todd Boulanger July 25, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      …but then the PPB ‘accident report’ would report…

      …male cyclist wearing all black clothes was struck by car/ truck and driver reports (1) not seeing the cyclist or (2) feeling threatened by the cyclist’s actions [the cyclist was hand signalling a right turn and stop…but the driver did not understand this…

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  • Al Dimond July 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    That trail bridge in SJ is going to look a lot less spectacular in real typical lighting conditions, and less spectacular still after its color is dulled by all the pollution. Hopefully they only spend way more than a more prosaic bridge would cost, not way, way more.

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    • Pete July 25, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      They’ll wash it frequently, like people do with their cars there, with all of the abundant water.

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  • Brian July 26, 2016 at 7:34 am

    I think I remember “Graham” from an early TOOL music video.

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  • Lester Burnham July 26, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Graham is a white male. Where is the outrage?

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    • Pete July 26, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Most Australians are.

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      • Dave July 27, 2016 at 4:48 pm

        And, in this country, by far the greatest number of scary drivers are! White males, that is, not Aussies.

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        • Pete July 29, 2016 at 9:32 pm

          That’s a non-sequitur, but we clearly don’t live in the same place, and personal observations (yours or mine) are small sample sets. (I won’t say what race or gender the scary drivers are where I live, but they mostly drive minivans).

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