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The Monday Roundup: Blaming apps, Black Lives Matter, pedaling patent, Trump’s plans and more

Posted by on November 21st, 2016 at 7:35 am

mru-11-21

Happy Monday everyone.

I don’t make promises very often, but I have one to make this morning (can’t believe I even have to say this): BikePortland will never publish or link to “fake news” — a.k.a. propaganda. The lack of media integrity and media literacy in America has reached a dangerous level so I promise this will continue to remain a conspiracy and bullshit-free zone — just like it has been for nearly 12 years now.

An informed and engaged community that knows how to respectively discuss important issues with each other is the bedrock of our democracy and I will do my part in this tiny little corner of the world to contribute to that.

So with out further adieu, commence your acquisition of knowledge and perspective with the best stories we came across this past week…

Standing with Black Lives Matter: There’s been a lot of talk in transportation reform circles about how best to integrate with burgeoning social and racial justice movements. Leave it to New York City’s Transportation Alternatives for coming out with the most direct call-to-action on the topic yet.

Road design is to blame: A solid commentary from the other Portland about how the design of our roads — and the speeding they encourage — are to blame for traffic deaths.

Can you hear me now?: This is good and bad news. Good because vulnerable road users will be able to hear electric cars approaching; bad because it means a more noisy environment.

Driverless cars versus jerks: A Mercedes-Benz exec said one of the biggest problems with the rollout of driverless cars is something vulnerable road users know about all too well: people behind the wheel of a car tend to get mean and aggressive.

No translation needed: Check out these excellent images from a year-long bike tour through South America. It’s in Dutch, but the images are worth the time.

We never learn: The latest innovative (not) solution to car overuse in Orange County, California is…… Encouraging more car overuse! They want to expand a busy freeway with more lanes at a cost of $1.2 Billion — all based on the promise of free-flowing traffic. Sigh.

Problems at ONI: Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement got a bad report card from the Auditor’s office. With a new mayor and a new commissioner on the way, maybe this is a good opportunity to revamp the neighborhood association system?

Traffic death blame: The NY Times has a must-read on the role distracted driving plays in the U.S. road fatality increase. They blame auto and app makers who have created a false sense of security in drivers by encouraging inattention and distraction via cell phones and other in-car technologies.

Trump the urbanist?: The president-elect could be good for transit and cities says Oregon Business Magazine.

Debt politics and infrastructure: New York Magazine says Democrats on the Hill must not support Trump’s infrastructure spending bill. To do so would cause them to, “cooperate with the subversion of American government and an act of political self-sabotage.”

Tax credits everywhere: Vox takes a deeper dive into Trump’s potential plans and sees a lot of tax credits to private companies.

Real consequence: Here’s some enforcement we know many of you will appreciate: With a focus on unsafe passing, police in north London will confiscate the vehicle of people cited twice for a similar traffic offense within 12 months of each other.

Don’t mess with Bill’s bike: Bill Walton, a member of the Portland Trail Blazers’ sole championship team in 1977 who’s known for biking to practice, was reunited with his bike after it went missing on a flight to Maui last week. He launched d to pressure the airline.

Pedaling patent: Cycling historians are hailing a little known inventor for filing what they say is the first official patent for a bicycle — way back in 1866.

Latest from Copenhagenize: Global bike visionary and influencer Mikael Colville-Andersen is behind a new TV series called “The Life Sized City.”

Tech for your head: A helmet made out of paper won a prestigious design award. Some say its low price and foldability would make it perfect for use in bike share systems.

Less tech, more basics: Modacity says all the techie gimmicks flooding headlines these days aren’t what we need: Just keep it simple and make protected bike lanes instead.

Bike innovation in Houston. Houston!: Remember our interview with Earl Blumenauer last week where he used Houston Texas as an example of a state whose Democratic resurgence mirrors the growth of its cycling network? Well now they’re planning a Dutch-style protected intersection.

Nor-way ahead of the game: Portland wants to elimate traffic fatalities by 2025. Already leaders in Vision Zero, Norway has moved onto a plan to completely eliminate gas-burning cars by 2025.

Thanks to everyone who subscribed last week. I need your support to keep BikePortland alive and thriving.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

141 Comments
  • Dave November 21, 2016 at 8:27 am

    When is someone like I-tunes going to see the opportunity in synthetic car noises and external speakers to play them? How about requiring a sound chip of an internal-combustion engined vehicle? Require that description so that nobody’s Prius makes the sound of a herd of trumpeting elephants, for example. But perfectly OK to have a diesel log truck or 427 Shelby Cobra sound chip for one!

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    • canuck November 22, 2016 at 6:55 am

      The majority of sound coming from modern internal combustion cars is not the engine, it is road noise(tires) and wind noise. Most cars outside of the obvious sports models (Challengers, Mustangs), don’t produce near the sound from the engine that we think they do. I have very little difficulty hearing a Prius, Tesla or Leaf.

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  • Ethan Seltzer November 21, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Yes, it’s definitely time to reconsider what we want ONI to do. Imagine what it would be like if instead of simply a part of the bureaucratic apparatus for citizen engagement, ONI had as it’s primary function the ongoing organization of neighborhoods….neighbor to neighbor rather than resident to initiative. In a city of newcomers like ours, it would be a refreshing return to the roots for the system. Time to reassert the fundamental principle that the whole city benefits from articulate neighborhoods committed to engaging everyone…and along the way, finding new ways to solve problems and meet needs on their own.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 11:34 am

      As far as I can tell, no one is doing “neighborhood involvement” at the moment… they City has done such a horrendous job of getting the public involved in the very big decisions they’re making. For example, where was the public discussion around the Residential Infill Project? That has the potential to make a much deeper imprint on the city than the Comprehensive Plan revamp did.

      Confidential to ONI: Get off your butts and get folks involved!

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      • Ted Timmons (Contributor) November 21, 2016 at 11:41 am

        I don’t know, I have a dozen emails on the “Residential Infill Project- E-Update” in my mailbox, a “BPS Media Advisory | Public Hearing on Residential Infill Project Concept Report” mail listing the hearings, another one from BPS, a few notifications on Nextdoor about the hearings, one from Architectural Heritage Center on it, plus a few from my neighborhood association. That’s just in my email, not even looking at media outlets.

        http://www.ftrain.com/wwic.html

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 12:29 pm

          You are much more plugged in than most folks. I talked to several of my neighbors about it over the weekend, people who are generally aware and interested in what’s going on around them, and they had never heard of the RIP.

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          • Ted Timmons (Contributor) November 21, 2016 at 1:36 pm

            My point is it isn’t ONI’s fault. It’s been put out in various mediums.

            I’m amazed at what people manage to avoid in the news. Again, it isn’t the fault of the news.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm

              It sounds like you’re saying that there was sufficient effort made to inform the public of a highly controversial and sweeping rule change. I disagree. Compare what was done at the outset of the Comp Plan revamp — all sorts of public involvement and engagement and discussion. That effort, too, suffered towards the end of the process, part of what I regard as a systemic failure of the City to engage with the public.

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              • q November 21, 2016 at 3:02 pm

                The RIP has enormous impacts, and people are not aware of them. However, I don’t blame the ONI. I blame the Planning Bureau, because it never portrayed the changes clearly.

                People who attended the several open houses, or read the project handouts from the meetings or online, or read articles with info provided by the project, also didn’t get a good understanding of the project, for the same reason–staff didn’t tell people clearly what the impacts were. In some cases, it was because staff itself didn’t know the impacts.

                Imagine if the RIP had put out these facts upfront in their info:
                –if you own a residential lot, with or without a house on it, this project will cut the allowable size of a house you can build on it (new or replacement) by over 50%
                –the rules apply to remodeling as well as new construction, so if you live in a larger house, you may never be able to add on to it, even though your current zoning allows that
                –we are banning 3-story houses with flat roofs, but allowing them with taller gable roofs
                –in many neighborhoods, every property on your street can go from one dwelling unit to two or three, more than doubling the density

                It’s been a problem for Planning for decades. Instead of saying “we are rezoning your property so you can never use it for what you bought it for” they will announce “Code Refinement Package #13 will be discussed”.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 3:32 pm

                Even the official documents are confusing and misleading.

                I challenge anyone to show me where Recommendation #5 is explained in the RIP report. That recommendation is, perhaps, the single most far-reaching zoning change ever proposed in Portland, and the official report recommending it is almost completely silent on what it entails.

                Earlier, I incorrectly accused BDS of botching the public outreach. You are right… it was BPS. I only drag ONI into this because they should be working with the other agencies to get the public involvement stuff right.

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              • Doug November 21, 2016 at 10:39 pm

                The RIP will go a long way toward adding more density in neighborhoods without much physical change. This will allow more cyclists to live within easy biking distance of downtown or their local neighborhood stores. RIP is a net gain for cycling, as well as carbon reduction. The process has been going on for over a year, and it has been in the news, on nextdoor, at neighborhood associations, etc. Now, if Council approves, it will pass back to BPS to actually start writing the code that would implement it, another process of 6 months or more, Planning Commission hearings, and Council hearings. You’ll have your say.

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              • q November 21, 2016 at 11:13 pm

                I just wish it had been presented accurately. Months of articles, meetings, open houses, etc. don’t mean as much when what was presented wasn’t accurate or clear.

                It’s true people have opportunities to have their say, but the problem is that lots of people would be saying different things if they’d been given a better picture of what’s being proposed. Lots of others who are not bothering to comment–because the proposals sound fine or irrelevant to them–would certainly be commenting if they’d been given a better picture of what’s being proposed.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 22, 2016 at 12:16 am

                Doug, how do we get significantly more density in already built out (and reasonably dense) neighborhoods without much physical change? I just don’t see how the proposal can live up to all the contradictory claims its proponents make.

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              • SE Rider November 22, 2016 at 7:49 am

                RIP isn’t looking to get “significant” density in most of these single family dwelling zones. It’s assuming that it will be gradually built in, in the way that current development is going. It will provide alternatives to the larger multi-units being built in the central city and adjacent to Centers and Cooridors.
                It’s not THE solution, but just part of it.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 22, 2016 at 10:29 am

                I’d be more supportive if the proposal had some mechanisms for preserving and utilizing the affordable housing we have. At the moment, it mostly seems like feedstock for redevelopment. The RIP does not even mention the need to preserve affordable housing where we already have it, instead favoring policies that will result in more new construction, which will continue to provide some of our most expensive housing.

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      • Terry D-M November 21, 2016 at 6:08 pm

        Speaking as someone who has done land use at the neighborhood association and Coalition level for a few years now, I feel like RIPSAC has been on so many agendas and discussed so much throughout the NA system……I’m personally exhausted, and excited, by it. I have minimally discussed it in depth at regional meetings a half dozen times, plus three separate times at the local level. All publically noticed meetings.

        Now, I’m not saying this final concept report has not been rushed due to mayoral priorities. Keep in mind, Whatever gets passed council, we will have at least a year while the next administration writes the rules for the concept passed. There will be many rounds of open comment throughout 2017 before the final code has to be passed by council.

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        • rachel b November 21, 2016 at 10:55 pm

          As a human of Portland, I got the news about RIP (really? RIP? It’s too hilariously evocative. RIPSAC had me laughing even harder. What, exactly, is the SAC?) through local news rags and by dint of my own search efforts. It’s got the Hales “look over there!” sneak approach written all over it.

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          • SE Rider November 22, 2016 at 7:47 am

            How do you think you should have found out about it? Are you interested in land use info in general? In my experience the vast majority of residents do not care, outside of occasionally thinking they don’t like the skinny house down the street or that abstractly housing is too expensive. As Terry points out, this issue has been at the forefront for almost every neighborhood association and coalition in the city.

            If folks are feeling like they weren’t informed at all (and this kind of subject is important to them), I would strongly encourage them to get at least marginally involved with their neighborhood association.

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            • rachel b November 23, 2016 at 12:30 am

              RIP has the power to completely alter neighborhoods in permanent dramatic (some would say catastrophic) ways that are beyond your run-of-the-mill “find out through the neighborhood association” proposals. I’d say if you’re considering giving the green light to rezoning large swaths of Portland and changing the very character of the streets on which people live, wholesale, it behooves you to do a bit more than the ordinary public outreach. I think that’s all anyone’s saying here. RIP has the power to rip Portland neighborhoods a new one. That’s not an understatement. There should be HUGE clashing cymbals public outreach efforts on this one.

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  • Mike November 21, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Trump good for transit and cities? Not according to what he said on the campaign trail. More money for freeways while slashing funding for passenger rail, transit, bike infrastructure. etc. And he’s going to pay for it all with massive tax cuts, 55 percent of which will go to the one percenters. YIKES!!

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    • B. Carfree November 21, 2016 at 11:23 am

      Today’s column by Paul Krugman in the NYTimes is well worth the read regarding Trump’s infrastructure plans. Dark times ahead, I fear, unless you’re one of his cronies who stands to gain. I’m reminded of what happened to the public assets in the former USSR.

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      • KTaylor November 21, 2016 at 4:30 pm

        Yes! We all need to be watching this very closely. What Trump is talking about is public-private partnership (P3 to those who have been pushing this all over the world for the past 15 years). This is the infrastructure equivalent of insurance companies – – a middleman fronts the money for the project (hurray! USA!) but then figures out how to gouge as big a profit as he can, making the whole thing more expensive in the end for taxpayers than if we just did it the old fashioned way (borrowed or raised money and built the damn thing ourselves). To make matters worse, we will have less say in how these things are run – when fees are increased and by how much, and our governments tend to make ruinous deals that lock taxpayers into these deals for 99 years at a time. We don’t want any more of our public assets privatized. Look how well that’s worked out with prisons and charter schools.

        Compared to the rest of the world, there has not been much P3 in the US yet. Here’s a big example – the disaster of Chicago’s parking meter/parking garage privatization:

        http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/parking-meters-garages-took-in-156m-but-city-wont-see-a-cent/

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  • highrider November 21, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I’m still very curious whether the self driving car will self protect or accept damage to avoid hitting others. Ah, the tragedy of the commons- we get to see it played out in slow motion. We may never get self driving cars after all. Or the forces that get to decide these things might opt for a self driving car that is just as selfish and aggressive as the average person.

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    • Spiffy November 21, 2016 at 9:14 am

      it’s a straw-man argument as the self-driving car won’t get itself into a scenario where it needs to make that decision…

      if something jumps out directly in front of it then it’ll do whatever is legal to prevent the collision, and will usually result in the thing being hit that jumped in front of the car unless there’s an alternate escape route…

      but it’s unlikely to happen since it’ll be aware of things that we wouldn’t see until it was too late…

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      • Tom November 21, 2016 at 11:22 am

        The car wont be able to control all scenarios, such as an object falling off a truck in front of it. At least one car manufacturer has already said they will program to protect the driver first, which means hitting the peds to the right on the sidewalk, not the object in front, or the car to the left.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 11:40 am

          Both of you are right — the situation is a bit of a strawman, and, of course, the vehicle will protect its occupants first, just a human diver would. Who would buy one that offered to sacrifice the occupants?

          But take the scenario a little further… as the car is swerving into an adjoining lane to avoid the object that fell off the truck, it will be alerting vehicles around it of its actions, and they can take evasive action of their own The number of actual scenarios where someone needs to make a choice about who dies is vanishingly small.

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          • q November 21, 2016 at 11:56 am

            What if you’re behind a truck carrying scarecrows and they suddenly fall off? Is it valid to bring up that concern? Or is it a strawman argument?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 1:16 pm

              I can’t figure out how to add a trombone sound to this post. 🙁

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              • q November 21, 2016 at 3:03 pm

                Better just let is slide then.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 3:34 pm

                Dang… trombone attachments are still broken!

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              • q November 21, 2016 at 5:25 pm

                Must have been given the axe.

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        • pdxpaul November 21, 2016 at 11:42 am

          it occurs to me that the pedestrian who just fell off the truck in from of me is going to already have some problems…

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 11:51 am

            The robot car just behind the truck will swerve into a wall, sacrificing its occupants to save the pedestrian, who will be immediately taken out by the human-driven car just behind, because the driver doesn’t realize what is happening because she is trying to figure out why her Pandora feed is suddenly playing so much Rick Astley.

            Oh the humanity!

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          • CaptainKarma November 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm

            …especially if it was a turnip truck…

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        • Spiffy November 21, 2016 at 1:55 pm

          a driverless car wouldn’t be tailgating another vehicle so that scenario will never exist…

          such cars will also not be allowed to be programmed to swerve into innocent pedestrians as that would mean they were programmed to drive illegally… it would simply try to stop or evade without harming, if possible… yes, Mercedes says otherwise but the law will tell them their vehicles have to obey the law while evading an imminent crash…

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          • I voted for Trump! November 21, 2016 at 8:36 pm

            Actually, tailgating is one of the arguments used to promote driverless cars – they say cars will be able to travel closer together due to little or no reaction time.
            .
            Soon as it looks like driverless cars are going to come on the market, I’ll buy a regular car to get me down the road another 10 or 20 years. Don’t want an expensive vehicle with a bunch of electronics that are just about guaranteed to fail occasionally.

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            • GutterBunnyBikes November 25, 2016 at 11:23 am

              The theory is they would only tailgate each other. If there was no data link between the car in front of it the autonomous car wouldn’t tailgate.

              Think fo the tailgating aspect as an invisible electronic train car link. Basically if done right the first car would be the engine of the train while the cars following behind would be controlled by the first car. Of course,this is rather simplistic, in that routes would change and break linkages etc. but the autonomous cars aren’t going just tailgate any and everything.

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      • Spiffy November 21, 2016 at 2:04 pm

        “A self-driving car identifies a group of children running into the road. There is no time to stop. To swerve around them would drive the car into a speeding truck on one side or over a cliff on the other, bringing certain death to anybody inside.”

        so the children either came up over the cliff or barely missed being run over by the oncoming truck…

        the scenario seems too implausible… I don’t think it even deserves consideration…

        the car would have detected the children climbing up to the roadway from the cliff and slowed down… or it would have seen them about to cross in front of the truck and slowed down… it would have been going slow enough to stop because anything faster would be negligent…

        only humans drive faster than they can react to new hazards… driverless cars will be inching along at a safe pace where the environment is that dense…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 3:44 pm

          Ok, try this one on for size: A group of school children parachutes down into the middle of the highway, appearing right in front of a robot car, from an angle unanticipated by programmers. The last pair of endangered white rhinos is on a truck in the oncoming lane, being driven by a savant who has just realized the cure for cancer is right under our noses, and, just off the road is terrorist with a dead-man’s switch connected to a small nuclear device under New York City. The car’s self-destruct mechanism seems to be jammed. What will the car do?

          If we can’t handle situations like that, I don’t see why we’d release a swarm of half-baked robot cars onto our highways, creating havoc and ethically unprepared mayhem wherever they go.

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        • I voted for Trump! November 21, 2016 at 8:38 pm

          Deer dart out in front of cars hundreds of times per day.

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  • Mike Healey November 21, 2016 at 9:43 am

    From the NY Times piece on distracting technology:
    “Brett Hudson, 26, a teacher at a charter school in Jackson, Mich., said his iPhone 6 Plus had become essential to his daily commute in his 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer. He uses Apple Maps for navigation, listens to music via Pandora and gets his favorite Michigan football call-in show on iHeart Radio.

    To reduce the time he looks at the phone, Mr. Hudson installed an aftermarket Bluetooth system for hands-free phone calls. He mounts the iPhone on a clip attached to an air vent, enabling him to see the screen while still keeping the road in his field of vision.

    Mr. Hudson concedes that the setup is not risk-free.

    “I’ve noticed that when I do have to touch the phone,’’ he said, ‘‘my brain becomes so totally focused, even in that short period of time, and I don’t really remember what’s happening on the road in those four or five seconds.”

    This man is a congenital bloody idiot. He apparently needs a nav aid to find his way to school on his daily commute; he’s incapable of switching on his radio before starting; he seems to believe that he can look at the details on an iPhone screen while still (!) keeping the road in his “field of vision” but not to the point that he can remember what’s “happening on the road ” in front of him.

    At 40mph, in 5 seconds he will travel nearly 300ft.

    And yet he believes these activities are “essential to his daily commute”. And he’s in charge of increasing his pupils’ intelligence and awareness of the world.

    Please ignore the phrase congenital bloody idiot, understatement is an English habit. The following is not abuse but an exercise in accurate description using the First Amendment. Please feel free to excise it Jonathan. He is a fool, a clown, a nitwit, a numbskull, a numpty, a nitwit, a moron, a cretin, a bonehead, a halfwit, a man with the IQ of a brain-damaged gerbil and the judgement of a drunken fruitbat.

    And the spokesman for Ford says “Since then, the company has added features to reduce distractions, like a “do not disturb button” that lets drivers block incoming calls and texts.” It’s called the off-button you prat!

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    • BB November 21, 2016 at 10:35 am

      The First Amendment states that it is illegal for the US government to infringe on free speech and freedom of religion, it has nothing to do with content on web sites run by private individuals.

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      • pdxpaul November 21, 2016 at 11:44 am

        That, too is an English mistake, as they have nonesuch protections.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 11:59 am

        The First Amendment also guarantees Freedom of Assembly… we all have the right to put our Ikea furniture together!

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    • Pete November 21, 2016 at 10:49 am

      My commute is a 1-hour drive to our headquarters, two or three times a month. I recently (begrudgingly) switched to an iPhone 6s because it works best with our corporate infrastructure. The damned thing doesn’t integrate with the Bluetooth on my 2011 Acura, so I can’t answer incoming calls on the road. What do I do about that? I block the commute time off on my calendar as “Out of Office” so my admin doesn’t fill it with meetings, and I leave the phone in my backpack sitting in the back seat. “Necessity” is purely subjective.

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    • wsbob November 21, 2016 at 11:27 am

      The pervasive obsession with smart phones, and people’s seemingly increasing dependence on them, is becoming a bore, with potentially dangerous consequences.

      Most recently, a couple people I know felt they had to have their phone mounted on a holder to their bike handlebars, with the display facing them so they could keep checking it for calls and data info as they rode along.

      Use of the phones for en route map finding, sometimes while actually pedaling along, is another of what seems to me to be a bad use of the phones. At least, pull off the road, whether driving or biking, to check calls or consult the digital map.

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      • Dan A November 21, 2016 at 11:36 am

        What a strange tangent.

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        • wsbob November 21, 2016 at 12:45 pm

          What is ‘tangent’ you are thinking of? The comment I responded to, seems to be about the interference in road use arising from an over-dependence on personal electronic devices?

          Road use is becoming increasingly strange. It might go back to being less less so, if people were to stop fussing with their phones while they driving, biking, and walking down the road, and paid the attention due to what is going on around them on the road.

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          • Dan A November 21, 2016 at 1:42 pm

            Why did you feel compelled to shift the discussion to people on bikes using their phones? Has this led to thousands more dying on the roads, and we’re just not aware of it?

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            • wsbob November 22, 2016 at 10:06 am

              Let me amend slightly for accuracy, what I wrote yesterday. Not the substitution of “…in addition to…” for “…other than…”:

              ‘ “Why did you feel compelled to shift the discussion to people on bikes using their phones? …” dan a

              I did not “…shift…” the discussion, but rather, extended it to road users in addition to those driving motor vehicles, whom also are contributing to the creation of unsafe road conditions through their choice to be distracted by the use of electronic personal devices while riding bikes on the road. ‘

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              • Dan A November 22, 2016 at 3:17 pm

                I just don’t get it, I guess.

                Imagine there’s a discussion going on following a mass shooting and what to do to prevent mass shootings from happening in the future, and someone pipes in to tell a story about a person they know who is a little bit crazy and owns a slingshot.

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        • Lester Burnham November 21, 2016 at 2:22 pm

          Are the poor folks in the Apple factories still trying to kill themselves?

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  • EmilyG November 21, 2016 at 10:04 am

    OMG the paper helmet thing! Just ridiculous, like the helmet petition for Biketown that somebody started recently. Like Modacity says, why waste time and effort on these things when that effort would be put to so much better use advocating for and designing safer streets for all?

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    • Chris I November 21, 2016 at 10:08 am

      The Biketown petition is ridiculous. If you want to wear a helmet while using it, you can. No one is stopping you. Funding and maintaining some sort of helmet dispensing system is a huge waste of money. The only bikeshare systems that do it are ones that have to because of silly state or local helmet laws.

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    • Dave November 21, 2016 at 10:24 am

      And, for heavens’ sake, why are people so freakin’ CHEAP over buying something (a helmet) that can keep them from much greater medical expense? I’m just not ignorant enough to see that reasoning, help me be stupid, okay?

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      • Dan A November 21, 2016 at 11:41 am

        Is that the main reason people choose to not wear a helmet? It’s certainly not the reason why I sometimes go without.

        On a side note, Dave, I assume you wear a helmet when you ski, ice skate, shower, use a ladder, rock climb, play soccer, or ride in a car, right?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 11:54 am

          People do often wear helmets when skiing, climbing, and, increasingly, when playing soccer. I also hear shower helmets are becoming more of a thing.

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          • bradwagon November 21, 2016 at 12:26 pm

            Helmet use seems to be born out of participating in activities in a way that may result in collisions that our bodies are not able to withstand on their own. Skiing too fast, rock climbing in dangerous areas, using the head for contact (soccer and football). I use a helmet when I knowingly enter this zone (road cycling, riding in wet conditions, downhill skiing, fast longboarding or vert skating) but accept the very small risk of random injury outside of it (casual ride on bike path, dry weather commute, back country ski touring, skating around the neighborhood or crusing the local skatepark…).

            Life can be dangerous. To simply put a helmet on at any perceived risk limits our ability to control ourselves and learn the skills necessary before participating in an activity. More or less, a false sense of safety. My son will wear a helmet until he can learn to ride a bike proficiently, after that (and once he is old enough) I would hope he decides to use one once he enters into the realm of “beyond control”.

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          • B. Carfree November 21, 2016 at 12:48 pm

            But just about no one is wearing a helmet while in a motor vehicle, even though the risk of traumatic brain injury while in a car is 12% higher than while on a bike. Also, motor helmets actually work, unlike the magic styrofoam hats that one can wear while cycling.

            Then there’s the biggee: walking. Pedestrians are more than twice as likely as cyclists to experience traumatic brain injury. Where are the helmets on pedestrians? Is everyone determined to be an organ donor?

            And that is why I view all helmet advocacy as anti-bike drivel.

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          • MIke Sanders November 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm

            And many rugby and Aussie Rules football players wear helmets, too. For very good reasons.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 1:18 pm

              They need them to hold their ears on.

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              • MIke Sanders November 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm

                And rollerbladers and skateboard nuts wear helmets, too. (Well, at least the saner ones do.)

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          • Dan A November 21, 2016 at 1:45 pm

            A couple of friends of mine at dinner both shared stories of concussions they suffered while ice skating. I’ve yet to see someone wear a helmet while ice skating, though I don’t doubt that some people do. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone wearing a helmet while up on a roof, but that seems like a pretty good idea too.

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            • Pete November 21, 2016 at 4:37 pm

              My neighbors are avid cyclists and canyoneers. My wife happened to notice the woman up on their roof wearing a bicycle helmet this past summer (adjusting their HD antenna, it turns out). Her first reaction was that it was silly. In thinking about it, I guess the rock climbing helmet might have made for better protection, but I’ve never even thought twice about running around on our roof with a helmet on. Turns out I’m the silly one!

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          • KTaylor November 21, 2016 at 6:39 pm
        • soren November 21, 2016 at 2:13 pm

          Portland pedestrians have over 3x the risk of being hit and injured by a motorvehicle versus someone cycling. I’ve yet to meet a bicycle helmet proponent who wears a helmet while walking.

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      • bradwagon November 21, 2016 at 12:07 pm

        The presence of a helmet will help you in the event you smash your head against something. Cycling safety in general is a much more complex conversation with debate as to how helmet use fits into it. I personally prefer to ride helmet-less during my nice weather commutes to convey my humanity to drivers, my vulnerability to myself and to show others that the only thing that poses a threat to my head while riding my bike is (largely) drivers. Cycling is no more dangerous than driving a car in regards to head injuries, I hope more people start seeing cycling as the safe transportation option that it is and don’t feel that having obscene safety gear is a barrier to entry.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm

          A helmet is “obscene safety gear”?

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          • bradwagon November 21, 2016 at 2:28 pm

            I don’t consider them particularly attractive, no. Maybe a better word would have been “excessive”… Like riding with an 800 lumen strobe in broad daylight.

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      • Tom November 21, 2016 at 12:42 pm

        14 times more head injuries occur within cars. If drivers can afford a 40k SUV, then a driving helmet should be cheap for them. Mandatory car driving helmets first….start with the biggest bar on the histogram not the smallest.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 12:49 pm

          14x in total, per mile, or per trip? The units are important.

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          • soren November 21, 2016 at 1:49 pm

            the units are people with head injuries.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 2:04 pm

              If that’s the case, a 14x as many head injuries means that cycling is far more dangerous than driving, from a head injury standpoint, given the number of people who engage in each activity.

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              • bradwagon November 21, 2016 at 2:51 pm

                Not sure where that 14X number is from but an Austrailian study in the 90’s found that risk per million hours traveled was 10% higher for car drivers than cyclists (.46 to .41).

                I will remain skeptical until I see widespread helmet use resulting in significant reduction in cycling injuries / fatalities OR that bicycle helmet use improves safety significantly more than vehicle or pedestrian helmet use would improve those types of injuries. As of now, cycling is being singled out as a “helmet activity” somewhat arbitrarily.

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              • Dan A November 21, 2016 at 4:05 pm

                Right, I have family members who are very skilled and dedicated rock climbers. I’ve heard them discuss the need for cyclists to always wear helmets, and yet they never wear helmets for regular rock climbing. I don’t know the statistics, but it would seem like helmets are probably more important for rock climbing than for cycling.

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              • BB November 21, 2016 at 4:07 pm

                As someone who is alive today because of wearing a helmet, I find your skepticism petty.

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              • Dan A November 21, 2016 at 8:27 pm

                I bet there are other cyclists out there who would be alive today if they’d only worn full body armor. Shame on them.

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              • bradwagon November 22, 2016 at 11:07 am

                BB-

                I am not saying that cycling helmets do not offer protection in the specific incident of a crash. Thus I always wear a helmet on road rides and most dark / rainy commutes where I am encountering speeds or conditions that I am not confident in my bodies ability to handle (including different auto mixing conditions).

                Of course helmets will protect you if your head comes into violent contact with something. Just like a walking, driving, ladder climbing, jogging helmet would reduce risk of head injury in the event of violent contact. We need to look at the activity being done separate from the general action of hitting your head on something. Does wearing a helmet while cycling reduce the risk of having an incident in the first place? If not then it is no different than wearing a helmet doing other activities. Granted that collisions with vehicles can be more violent than say tripping off a curb but I think the conversation needs to be bigger than “Yes, helmets protect your head when you are hit”.

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              • Tom November 21, 2016 at 3:04 pm

                What’s more important to reduce, the total number of head injuries, or just the total in a possibly slightly higher risk subgroup. Doesn’t Vision Zero focus on the overall total.

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      • soren November 21, 2016 at 1:59 pm

        the risk of medical complications from the disease of inactivity is far greater than the risk of not wearing a helmet. please stop discouraging people from making healthy choices.

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    • wsbob November 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      “OMG the paper helmet thing! Just ridiculous, …” emilyg

      What is it about the paper helmet, that you feel is ridiculous? Did you by chance go to the ecohelmet website for information about this helmet technology? http://www.ecohelmet.com/copy-of-about-us

      For some time, people have been exploring the idea of paper used for the creation of bike helmets that can be effective in lessening impact to the wearers’ head resulting from falls from their bikes. This design has three strong things going for it by way of it being..fold-able, recyclable, and able to absorb significant impact.

      I personally feel that use of bike helmets while riding is very advisable, though a key thing about them that I don’t think is good, is relative difficulty associated with recycling the foam and plastic they’re made of. Not enough information on the websites explaining how recyclable the paper helmet is…but if it breaks down fairly quickly and easily into wood pulp, or exposed to the elements in a compost pile, into soil, that would be head and shoulders improvement over foam bike helmets.

      It’s possible there are plenty of people desiring to have the option of use of a bike helmet when riding a public system bike share bike. Having to carry around a bike helmet in order to exercise that option, may be a deterrent to wider use of bike share. If it works as stated, this folding paper bike helmet may turn out to be a very good idea in practice.

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      • Eric Leifsdad November 21, 2016 at 7:42 pm

        “the best approach is to leave the promotion of helmet wear to manufacturers and shopkeepers.” http://www.copenhagenize.com/2009/06/get-yer-torches-its-bike-helmet.html

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        • wsbob November 22, 2016 at 10:50 am

          ” “the best approach is to leave the promotion of helmet wear to manufacturers and shopkeepers.” …” quote posted by leifsdad from copenhagenize.com website

          I don’t think it’s a good idea for advice about the benefits use of a bike helmet can be to people riding bikes in the event they fall from their bikes, to be left to manufacturers and store owners exclusively. Advice about helmet use, exclusively given by bike manufacturers and sellers of bike helmets poses a potential conflict of interest between seeking profit and safe use of bikes.

          I read the copenhagenize article you posted the link to. In it are a number of links to other sites, which I’ve not yet visited…including one said to be produced by actor Matthew Modine. The article contains a fair bit of story research, and range of perspective, but then about one half way through, reverts to worn out anti-helmet use rhetoric. None of which it seems to me is likely to be constructive towards helping people evaluate whether or not the design capabilities of bike helmets, can help them reduce the degree of injury they may suffer should they happen to fall from a bike while riding, having their head land hard against against something.

          Lots of factors other than strictly safety benefits bike helmets are capable of, likely figure into whether people decide to use a bike helmet or not. Safety benefits should be, and I think generally tend to be, the primary consideration as to whether or not to wear a bike helmet while riding.

          I’ve ridden bikes, while not wearing a bike helmet, and while wearing a bike helmet. I understand that wearing them can be difficult and awkward for some people and their personal riding situation; it’s their choice to wear, or not wear them if here in Oregon, they’re over 16 years of age. For me, bike helmets work great in all the other good things they offer…aside from the potential they have to reduce injury in the event I fall from the bike, head to hard surface. Bike helmet design is great for air flow and body temp regulation: cooling in summer, warmth in winter. Protection from sun glare. I’m not comfortable wearing bike hats or stocking caps. For me, bike helmets are far more comfortable to wear.

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          • Eric Leifsdad November 22, 2016 at 10:56 pm

            Tell it to the kids who aren’t riding to school and their parents who gew up under child helmet laws.

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    • q November 21, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Nobody used to wear helmets. Riding a bike was like being a pedestrian–nothing distinguished you from other people except that you were walking or biking.

      Helmets changed that. They made cyclists different. It’s been exacerbated with lycra, reflective gear, GoPros, etc. The bike share bikes are a welcome reversal of all that. It’s not to condemn all those things or the people who use them, just to point out that I think they intimidate new cyclists–esp. the helmets because they imply biking is dangerous while also implying that the helmet will make you safe.

      Same thing is happening to pedestrians now with the frothing about lights and reflective clothes.

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  • B. Carfree November 21, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Regarding the foolish expansion of the 405 in SoCal: I’m more than a little disappointed that less than a year after CalTrans said it had changed its policies in light of studies that had proven induced demand is the real deal, they are one of the funders of this boondoggle. Granted, Orange County’s transportation portion of their local sales tax and federal dollars will be the bigger part of the funding picture, but how can CalTrans jump on board at all? They literally said that trying to build their way out of congestion was not only foolish but counterproductive.

    Arrgh! No doubt their own version of Matthew Garrett is behind this backwards step. On the bright side, it’s another golden opportunity for those wonderful researchers at UC Davis to gather more data on how induced demand causes more congestion.

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    • MIke Sanders November 22, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      L.A. Is one of the most car-crazy cities in America. Building light rail or streetcars along that freeway would make more sense than adding lanes, even HOV lanes (and many SoCal freeways have those, which was tried, pre-Max, on I-84 here for awhile, with limited success).

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      • Ted Timmons (Contributor) November 22, 2016 at 3:02 pm

        That’s an old myth/stereotype.

        LA is surprisingly dense and has been doing mass transit projects like crazy over the past 30 years. Their ridership is unbelievably high.

        And calling that part of Orange County ‘LA’ is like calling Monroe Township, New Jersey part of New York City.

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  • Mike G
    Mike G November 21, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I really don’t understand why out of maybe 100+/- Biketown cyclists I have seen downtown in my meanderings, I have only seen perhaps 2-3% helmeted riders?

    Can’t they recognize why a majority of the private riders passing them have helmets, and why they are exempt from possible head injury?

    I think something has to be done – if it’s enforcing common sense, or paper helmets, so be it.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) November 21, 2016 at 11:34 am

      You’re wrong.

      Go look up fatality/KSI rates for bikeshare.

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      • wsbob November 21, 2016 at 12:58 pm

        What is it you feel mike g is wrong about? He seems to have mentioned nothing about dying while riding bikes, due to their not having worn bike helmets. Did imply though, that use of a bike helmet can help to mitigate the impact of people’s heads against hard objects, that can occur from a fall from a bike…which is something that’s widely related to and agreed upon by many people around the world.

        I like and support that bike helmet use by adults while riding a bike, is optional, not mandated by law, but I do still encourage everyone to consciously give consideration to those riding situations where use of a bike helmet may be beneficial to them. Especially in traffic where motor vehicles are in use, because that’s a situation where potential for a fall from a bike is greater, than away from such traffic.

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        • soren November 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm

          “because that’s a situation where potential for a fall from a bike is greater, than away from such traffic.”

          evidence? citation? link?

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          • wsbob November 21, 2016 at 7:30 pm

            I wouldn’t, but you can try make the argument that potential for a fall from a bike is greater away from road traffic that includes motor vehicles, than it is in such traffic.

            Note: potential for falls, rather than rate of falling, or rates of head injuries from falling. Arguments made that rates of falling, injuries, etc, derived from various study conclusions are of little significance to what is apparently plenty of people setting out into the city on their bikes, wishing to give themselves a bit of an edge on their best chance of coming out of a fall from their bike if it should happen they have a close call or worse, with a motor vehicle, or other hazards in road traffic environments.

            With some exceptions, people have the right to wear a bike helmet while riding a bike. People should have a right to request of their public bike share system, that it make available bike helmets for use while riding bike share bikes. And it seems people are acting on that right, with this petition that’s been mentioned.

            BikeTown could stock some of the new concept folding paper bike helmets to meet supply demands. If bike share users aren’t interested in paying the 5 dollars to use one, the supply won’t be depleted and BikeTown won’t have to spend more money to order more to restock.

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        • bradwagon November 21, 2016 at 2:53 pm

          The only reason that potential for incident around vehicles is higher is because of the vehicles… a cyclist does not all the sudden start losing control of their bike around a car.

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          • soren November 21, 2016 at 6:49 pm

            a significant percentage of TBIs associated with cycling are the result of recreational cycling, not transportation cycling. i suspect that transportation cycling is likely much safer overall than recreational riding but have not been able to find data that separates out the two. however, bike share safety data from NYC is certainly suggestive of this.

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            • bradwagon November 22, 2016 at 11:10 am

              Agree, I think this aligns with my feelings about higher speeds / risk taking being a factor in determining what a reasonably expected outcome of a situation is and if those outcomes would be better handled with a helmet on. An expected outcome of a road ride is a high speed decent in which a dangerous crash can be a reasonably (although rare) expected outcome. A high speed crash while I ride the local bike path just is not in any way a reasonably expected outcome of that activity.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 11:56 am

      It’s hard to build up any kind of speed on one of those Biketown behemoths. I think the real safety hazard they present is crushing injuries if one of them ever tips over.

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    • Dick Button November 21, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Maybe they see folks like me, who don’t even have on a hat, and think:
      “Meh, it’s probably fine, they pretty much don’t wear them at all in Europe.”

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    • Matt November 21, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Your whole comment was meant as sarcasm, yes? It’s the only explanation I can conceive of for the occurrence of the mystifying, nonsensical phrase “exempt from possible head injury”.

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  • B. Carfree November 21, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I love, love, love the program to crush the cars of dangerous drivers in London. There’s a program we simply must have.

    We should also require the perps to attend the crushings and perhaps even sell tickets so spectators can enjoy the look on their faces as they get their just desserts. (Yes, as a matter of fact my heart is cold and dark.)

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    • El Biciclero November 21, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      59 is my new favorite number.

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      • El Biciclero November 21, 2016 at 4:38 pm

        Oops, I mean “favourite”.

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  • Champs November 21, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Bike share doesn’t need paper party decorations. What we need is the end of the helmets = seat belts analogy.

    Seat belts are easy and proven very effective. If I roll out the door without a helmet, there simply isn’t enough data to support the hassle of going back upstairs for it.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 22, 2016 at 12:37 am

      The reality is that on the vast, vast majority of car trips, putting your seatbelt on is a complete waste of time.

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      • Champs November 22, 2016 at 2:44 pm

        The quotients of effectiveness over time and effort are significantly different.

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  • wsbob November 21, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    This article mentioned in today’s roundup: http://www.pressherald.com/2016/11/15/commentary-blame-road-design-for-pedestrian-fatalities/?utm_source=Headlines&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily

    …is another example of writers expressing a desire some people seem to have, seeking to blame road design for motor vehicle mph speeds traveled that may be contributing to collisions involving motor vehicles and vulnerable road users.

    Typical of such articles, the writers stop short of offering any ideas they may have about of how roads should be designed, or that they’ve heard about and would recommend, in order to achieve the safety objectives they have in mind.

    Just bringing down the posted limits on road designs currently in use, probably would be an excellent, first step towards achieving safer use of roads by all travel modes. It’s seems to be common for posted speed limits on thoroughfares through neighborhoods to be too high a mph speed, at 30, 35, 40, 45 mph.

    Before jumping to conclusions about a need to reconfigure street design as a means of somehow psychologically inducing people to lower the mph speed of their motor vehicles below that of the posted speed limit….start out by giving road users clearly stated instructions, by first lowering the posted speed mph limits to those that will offer safe use of the street by people walking and biking, and that address the need to meet travel and transport use of the road with motor vehicles.

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    • B. Carfree November 21, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just lower the speed limits. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Traffic engineers aren’t allowed to lower the speed limit below the 85th percentile, so a road design that invites high speeds will end up with a high speed limit eventually.

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      • Eric Leifsdad November 21, 2016 at 7:29 pm

        From reading the law, designated speeds aren’t as restricted as traffic engineers say. Emergency or temporary designated speeds, or reverting to statutory speed requires no study or permission.

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        • B. Carfree November 21, 2016 at 8:35 pm

          If I understand what you’re saying (and I may not), then is it true that a roadway near me that was previously a 25 mph speed limit road owing to the fact that it is residential in nature that had its speed limit raised to 35 mph after a speed survey was conducted could be changed back to 25 mph by local authorities?

          Please cite me chapter and verse and I’ll take it to our interim traffic engineer and the tiny community of folks who either ride, used to ride or would like to ride to press for a speed limit reversion.

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          • Dan A November 21, 2016 at 11:10 pm

            I’ve had one engineer tell me that 85th percentile can be used to raise speeds, and another tell me that 85th percentile can be used to justify speed-reducing measures. The engineer is basically going to do what they want and quote whatever source fits what they’ve done.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 22, 2016 at 12:40 am

            Agencies have wide latitude to set the speed however they see fit. There is a logic to the 85% speed method, but relying solely on that while ignoring other factors would be derelict.

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          • Eric Leifsdad November 22, 2016 at 11:03 pm

            ors 810.180 (8),(9),(10)

            http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/810.180

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  • B. Carfree November 21, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    The story of Lallemont inventing the bicycle and his subsequent lack of being enriched or even given credit is not unlike what my cousin Philo Farnsworth experienced with regard to inventing the television.

    I wonder if Lallemont eschewed his invention like Farnsworth did, Apparently Philo was so upset with the junk that was broadcast that he never allowed a television into his home; he had visions of wonderful cultural enriching programs like the opera, orchestra and such rather than I Love Lucy.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      I wonder how he would have felt about Duck Dynasty.

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      • B. Carfree November 21, 2016 at 4:25 pm

        No doubt he is spinning in his grave.

        That said, he wasn’t completely devoid of humor. By at least one report, the first thing he broadcast was a dollar bill. He showed it to his investors who had been hassling him by asking when they were going to see some money from this project.

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    • Pete November 21, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      I wonder if he knows he inspired a cartoon character?
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professor_Farnsworth

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  • Vince November 21, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Adieu…..goodbye. Ado…..discussion, discourse, elaboration.
    Shakespeare did not write Much Adieu About Nothing.

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    • dan November 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      Actually, he did, but it never achieved the recognition of the better-known prequel 🙂

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 21, 2016 at 3:53 pm

        Much Ado About Nothing — The Phantom Menace?

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  • Eric Leifsdad November 21, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I wonder if rising gas prices will lead to more sensible policies with airbags on the outside of cars instead of helmet shaming and noisemakers. Turbospoke looks fun though.

    Word is that Portland’s neighborhood associations had more teeth in the 70s. Now, they’re basically a voiceless body for developers and beauracrats to send notices to instead of talking to people.

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    • q November 21, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      That’s the huge problem with neighborhood associations–not so much what the associations do or don’t do, but the fact that their existence gives bureaucrats a way to pretend they’ve done public outreach by sending one email to a neighborhood association.

      Ironically, in many of the neighborhood battles I’ve been in, my neighbors and I have been fighting our own neighborhood associations.

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      • Doug November 21, 2016 at 10:43 pm

        A huge problem with neighborhood associations is they are blatantly unrepresentative. Take your typical inner Portland neighborhood, where 50% of the residents are renters. Look at the Neighborhood Association board, or even the audience at meetings. How many renters will you see? Very few or none. They’re a voice for the older, white, homeowners (and I am one of those), and as such do not represent the population. The city is right to de-emphasize NA’s in it’s planning, and broaden the “involvement” model to include other “communities”, such as communities of color, “communities of concern”, renters, etc.

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        • q November 21, 2016 at 11:35 pm

          Yes, exactly. Even those in the same group as the typical active neighborhood association member (older white homeowners) often have much different opinions than the neighborhood association does.

          It’s frustrating to see, for instance, Parks making decisions about a park based on meeting with a neighborhood association, without Parks ever bothering to tape up a few notices in the park so park users can give their thoughts.

          Several times, I and others I know have been left completely out of decisions by the City and neighborhood associations regarding our own properties. Once there was a meeting involving neighborhood association members and City staff to discuss condemnation of my house for a public project, taking place outside my house unbeknownst to me while I was at home inside my house! Nobody thought to knock on my door to even let me listen in–or more accurately (as it turned out) they didn’t want me interfering with what they were deciding.

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          • SE Rider November 22, 2016 at 8:05 am

            If you’re claiming that NA’s have so much power, why aren’t you involved in your’s?

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            • q November 22, 2016 at 11:44 am

              I’m not claiming they have great power, although in some cases they can. What they do have is that they’re who the City contacts with issues that the City should be contacting the general public and obvious stakeholders. Then the City can pretend it did “outreach”. I’d rather have no neighborhood associations if it meant more direct communication between City and residents.

              And I have been involved, including being president and treasurer, and board member for years in the past. The problem is, not everyone can spend that much time, and when I did, that just meant I was in the loop but the 99% of my neighbors still were not. I spent much of my time as president telling the city to contact other people directly. The City would say to me, “We want to do X in the park. Is that OK with you?” They actually expected me to give my individual blessing, and if I did, they were satisfied. When I’d tell them, “Put signs up in the park, that’s something that affects park users” or “Call that property owner, she’s the one being affected, not me” they seemed flummoxed.

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              • SE Rider November 22, 2016 at 12:14 pm

                Isn’t that kind of how a representative-based government works though?
                The people who want to tune in and pay attention to this kind of stuff, because it’s important to them do?

                Was the city to send out mailers about RIP to the whole city?

                I do agree that often they can do a bit more, but what is the limit?

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              • q November 25, 2016 at 11:40 pm

                In regard to the RIP, I think the main problem with notification wasn’t who was notified, but what was in the notifications. The degree and types of changes proposed weren’t laid out very well. So lots of people ignored the project, who would have become involved if they’d realized the stakes.

                But in many cases, the issues aren’t citywide ones, they’re ones affecting say, users of a park, or neighbors of a particular site. In those cases, it’s easy to target notification, so notifying a neighborhood association without putting up notices in the park, or mailing 6 households, is just lazy, and unfair.

                The extreme example is my own case where neighborhood association people met with government staff making a decision to propose condemning my house (no other properties were affected) while I was inside, and I wasn’t notified. That would have taken one phone call by City staff, or for that matter walking 50′ and knocking on my door.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 22, 2016 at 12:42 am

          It might be better if renters were allowed to join NAs.

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  • rachel b November 21, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    As a sincere hater of noise, I loathe this “make the car noisier!” trend. Lots of manufacturers are already doing it for ‘fun’. And fragile egos.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/americas-best-selling-cars-and-trucks-are-built-on-lies-the-rise-of-fake-engine-noise/2015/01/21/6db09a10-a0ba-11e4-b146-577832eafcb4_story.html

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  • SE November 22, 2016 at 7:17 am

    re:Don’t mess with Bill’s bike: Bill Walton, a member of the Portland Trail Blazers’ sole championship team in 1977 who’s known for biking to practice, was reunited with his bike after it went missing on a flight to Maui last week. He launched d to pressure the airline.

    I don’t understand the line … “He launched d to pressure the airline.”

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  • SE November 22, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Hello, Kitty
    People do often wear helmets when skiing, climbing, and, increasingly, when playing soccer. I also hear shower helmets are becoming more of a thing.
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    My sister-in-laws BF comes to her home and mows the lawn sometimes. I was there when he arrived ….in orange jumpsuit, heavy boots, heavy gloves and a helmet with face shield, last summer. maybe overkill ?

    it’s just a wimpy 12×12 yard and an electric mower.

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  • Lester Burnham November 22, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Hipsters don’t like helmets because they want to look cool. Fashion trumps (haha) safety.

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  • Paul H November 22, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I grew up about a mile from that stretch of I-405 mentioned in the article on widening the freeway. As the 405 heads into LA County (the northern terminus of the new lane), it’s already 7 lanes wide in each direction. It returns to the normal four/five lanes south of the 22, but, wow, i cannot imagine that widening will help in the long run.

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    • MIke Sanders November 22, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      Including the HOV lanes in each direction, correct? Go look up the videos on You Tube to get an idea of how wide 7 lanes each way really is. The Dan Ryan (I-90/94) in Chicago has a set of thru and local lanes each way. I think it’s 4 thru and 3 local lanes each way, if memory serves.

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      • Paul H November 23, 2016 at 10:45 am

        Mike,

        I don’t know if there is an HOV lane on the 405 between Hwy 22 and the LA County line. The setup you describe on the Dan Ryan, however, is not really like the 405 configuration at all.

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      • MIke Sanders November 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm

        Did anyone see the video of I-405 in West LA Wednesday night? Bumper to bumper traffic in both directions. It was shot by a KABC helicopter and was picked up on Facebook by several news outlets, including WGN Chicago and the BBC. Every lane jammed.

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