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The Monday Roundup: Walking while black, NYC’s “nightmare” and more

Posted by on February 6th, 2017 at 12:28 pm

This week’s must-read is from the Portland Trib.

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by the Worst Day of the Year Ride, coming up February 12th!

Here are the best stories we came across last week…

The NYC “nightmare”: A news outlet in New York City dug into this very important question: “Just how much space are cyclists taking away from drivers?” At lease they make the extremely biased reporting easy to spot.

Trump and transpo: NextCity has a good roundup of where the transportation funding debate stands in the Trump administration.

Repeating mistakes from the past: Tampa is trying to rally support for a $6 billion highway mega-project that would go through areas where 80 percent of residents are black or Latino.

Hearing matters: An auto user in a town in England was fined and found guilty for careless driving because he had the volume turned up too high in his car when he hit a bicycle rider then failed to stop.

Governor Kate Brown on activism: Oregon’s governor garnered national attention with a story in The New Yorker where she encouraged citizen activism and was framed as a progressive leader and “radical feminist governor.”

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More trouble with “more enforcement”: Last week we shared how white people have a much easier time arguing down traffic violations in court. This week there’s more bad news: An in-depth probe of Multnomah County police records reveals that people with black or brown skin are charged much higher fines (up to 15 times the amount) than whites for numerous minor violations — including things like, “Failing to cross the street at a right angle,” “jaywalking” and “walking in the road.”

Bike path maps: A guy in San Francisco has unlocked a devilishly simple trick to better bike maps: Make them look like subway maps.

Powerful woman: A small farmer from Chile rides her bike 18 miles a day. No big whoop until you realize she’s 90-years old.

Fat bikes, fat profits: We are loving all the stories about fatbiking’s rise in popularity — including this major national NPR story that focuses on Minnesota’s love of the big tires.

Safer trucks: A man was killed in a right-hook collision with a box truck this morning. In related news, the City of Seattle just announced that all its fleet trucks must have side guards to reduce risk of people falling under wheels.

Thanks for all the suggestions that came in this week.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and 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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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lop
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lop

http://www.oregonlive.com/clark-county/index.ssf/2017/02/driver_on_probation_for_2016_crash_arrested_in_fatal_vancouver_hit-and-run.html

A driver suspected of fleeing after he struck two pedestrians — one of whom later died — was booked into Clark County jail on criminal charges.

Ernesto N. Estrada-Tapia, 24, of Vancouver, is accused of hit and run and vehicular homicide while driving under the influence in connection with the Jan. 11 collision in Vancouver. Court records show Estrada-Tapia is on probation in connection with a 2016 crash in North Portland.

Cyclekrieg
Subscriber
Cyclekrieg

If you want to see how the whole fat biking thing makes for fun events (including more Ms. Flynn cameos), take a look at these.

http://www.touchtheskyblue.com/2017-45NRTH-Whiteout/

Adam
Subscriber

I wonder what the “I don’t see color; we just need to enforce illegal behavior” crowd has to say about the “more enforcement” piece.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Some of us have only advocated for camera-based systems that apply penalties equally. Red light cameras at every intersection, and speed cameras on every street.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If you read the last two paragraphs of the Tribune article, they say that at least part of the disparity may come from default judgements, that is, where the defendant fails to show up for their hearing and therefore loses by default.

Automated enforcement is unlikely to change who goes to court to challenge their ticket, and so is unlikely to fix the disparity.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

The article also points out the fact that enforcement is focused in neighborhoods where more POC live. This is wrong; it needs to be distributed evenly throughout the jurisdiction to create safe driving habits, not just focused where bad driving habits combine with other factors to create crashes. The current “data-driven” policing is creating some of the problem with uneven enforcement.

Michweek
Guest
Michweek

We still need to remember who has the privilege of taking time off work to go to a courthouse and who feels safe in the very same place.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’m curious why black drivers get higher fines for parking violations. I would expect that that item, unlike the others, does not involve a face-to-face interaction that might lead to racial bias.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Actually, now I understand — these are not penalties imposed by the police, but rather by the courts, who, presumably, would know who they were dealing with.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

In Portland, at least, you can contest a parking citation simply by writing a letter to the court. It’s anecdotal, but based on a pretty decent sample size (a couple mine, but mostly acquaintances) I can say that if you write any sort of letter, you’re virtually guaranteed the judge will knock half the fine off.

I wonder if writing such a letter is an option that different demographics take advantage of at different rates, for whatever reason–awareness, language barriers, etc. It’d probably account for the bulk of the disparity.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

Interesting piece on the mapping bike routes in the style of subway routes. The concept leads to very legible maps, but I question how useful they are. On transit, you only need to know where to get on and where to get off. When planning a bike route, you can enter and exit from any point. The route itself is likely to jog over a block every few blocks. Bike routes frequently disappear with no clear signage indicating if they resume or not or what options you may have, and wayfinding signs along them are sparse, tiny, and not illuminated. There is a damn good reason bike maps are full of detail: you need the detail to figure out where to go because bike routes suck!

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

A lot of the 26% “interested but concerned” bicycle people now use their cell phones to navigate along unfamiliar neighborhood back streets, whether driving or biking. I think the idea of these maps is to give a bearing of where to go, which direction, and to which landmark, and the cell phone will tell them which street to use, when to turn right, etc. If you use the bike feature on Google maps, it will often navigate based upon where other cyclists have gone as well as on routes listed in the local bike master plan (including many not yet built.) It’s another tool.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I love subway maps…actually all maps…but is it true that folks not yet biking (or walking or taking transit) can read a subway type map better than a more traditional road type bike map?

Adam
Subscriber

Personally, I find PBOT’s bike maps to be very difficult to read – there are far too many designations to keep track of and many streets PBOT marks as “low-stress” are anything but.

Adam
Subscriber

Also, PBOT’s bike maps still helmet and hi-vis shame riders:

Wear a hard-shell helmet whenever you ride (required by law for cyclists under 16 years old). Wear light-colored clothes at night. Make yourself as visible as possible.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Did you mean PBOT’s maps still carry common-sense safety advice? Even if you don’t think that advice is good, it certainly doesn’t shame those who choose not to follow it.

Spiffy
Subscriber

it’s not common sense safety advice, it’s a doomsday warning given only because of the dangers of drivers…

nowhere in the DMV driver’s manual does it say you should wear a helmet while driving your car, even though that could greatly reduce your chance of a head injury in a crash…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It’s good advice for anyone wanting other people to be aware of their presence. Maybe not as good for commandos and ninjas.

BB
Guest
BB

No, it’s something we’ve had forced upon us by the group of people who insist on using methods of conveyance that are outside of normal human scale and proportion that have negative effects on their ability to perceive their environment.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It’s not just “a group”… it’s most of society, and probably even most readers of this blog. And even with that disqualification, I disagree. When I ride at night, I am thankful for pedestrians who have some illumination or reflectivity when they cross the street. Some people are simply very hard to see.

Being visible is good advice.

BB
Guest
BB

I guess that depends on who you consider “society”, but that would say a lot about how you view yourself I would imagine.

“Across the 44 countries we surveyed, a median of around one-third (35%) say they have a working car in their home.”
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/16/car-bike-or-motorcycle-depends-on-where-you-live/

Regardless it doesn’t change the fact that your pro automobile, human shaming perspective still refuses to see what is plain – Clothing color doesn’t matter except when moving faster than your senses can process information.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Since those other countries have no say in our urban form or road design standards, I think their opinion on this matter is not relevant. So when I say society, I mean specifically American society. Which was clear from the context.

Since the (vast) majority of Americans regularly travels faster than their senses can process information, your own logic suggests clothing color does in fact matter. Also, your accusations of shaming and favoring autos is fake news.

BB
Guest
BB

Hello, Kitty
Since those other countries have no say in our urban form or road design standards, I think their opinion on this matter is not relevant. So when I say society, I mean specifically American society. Which was clear from the context.
Since the (vast) majority of Americans regularly travels faster than their senses can process information, your own logic suggests clothing color does in fact matter. Also, your accusations of shaming and favoring autos is fake news.
Recommended 2

Your use of “fake news” in that context is fake news.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You can double-fake me, or actually produce a comment where I shamed someone. Until then, I’m calling your double-fake fake.

BB
Guest
BB

Every post you make is finger waggling tit for tat, what other “proof” do you need?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Perhaps a quote from something I posted that seems particularly shaming?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’ll add that if you are referring to my stance that being visible makes you safer, I’ll cop to that.

BB
Guest
BB

Safer from what, exactly?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Safer from being struck by a car or truck.

BB
Guest
BB

People are operating those cars and trucks, and it’s entirely up to them to operate them at speeds at which they can mentally process visual information. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to accommodate people who refuse to act in a safe manner in public. The fact that you think so is based on ingrained car culture, which is wrong and should be changed. Any argument to the contrary, regardless of how unconscious you are of your bias, is wrong.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Sure, yes, of course; drivers are responsible for operating their vehicles in a safe manner. Who would disagree?

Which begs the question: What is “safe”? Even in the absence of motor vehicles, the streets would not be perfectly “safe”. There will always be a tradeoff between safety and other values, and in the case of our transportation network we (collectively) have decided that we are willing to accept some degree of risk in exchange for convenience, power, speed, what have you.

Like you, I do not agree with where we’ve drawn the line. Over the past 20 years, I have worked on a number of speed reduction efforts, with various degrees of success (including Powell, lower Hawthorne, SE 20th, SE 26th, et al).

But I also understand the tradeoffs, and that not everyone agrees with where the line should be drawn. Recognizing that many people might disagree with me does not make me an apologist, but it does cause me to reject, out of hand, whackball solutions like putting metal posts in the street to slow traffic, or simplistic ideas like “let’s just lower all the speed limits” which are obviously non-starters and probably wouldn’t work anyway. Changing behavior requires some degree of consensus, and you can’t just wish that into being.

And I’m sorry, but I do not accept absolutist positions such as yours. “Any argument to the contrary… is wrong”. Well, no, it’s not.

BB
Guest
BB

If you really don’t see the difference between the level of safety hazards present on a street with cars versus one without, there really is no sense of logic to appeal to and it becomes clear that you’re engaging in a meaningless back and forth in which your only real intention is to get a last word in, no matter how nonsensical it might be.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Of course I see the difference — why would you think I didn’t?

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

When you’re more visible, you are safer. But drivers get used to that and don’t look for anything except hi-viz. Before you know it, hi-viz isn’t visible enough. Are you safer?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Yes. Because it doesn’t work like that. Drivers don’t “look for high-viz”; they look for other people (or not), and if they don’t see them, they won’t avoid striking them. We had decades and decades when high-viz basically didn’t exist. Were there fewer collisions then? Are there any precautions cyclists could take that wouldn’t just train drivers to be less careful? Your line of reasoning just doesn’t compute.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

I should have said “drivers don’t look for people”. Because hi-viz screams at them, they don’t have to look (while driving at least 10mph too fast.) Freely-roaming sheep would help set the tone, but we might need to start with electric ones to keep the death toll in check.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You don’t eat mutton?

Michweek
Guest
Michweek

I’ve the effects of this thought process. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter that I am in all Neon Pink, if people don’t look or don’t care that they are double parked in the bike lane outside the Burnside Sizzle pie I could still end up flat as a pizza. Most people who complain to me about how pedestrian’s and cyclists should wear hi-viz normally respond to my question ‘do you wear hi-viz when you park your car and walk a block and cross the street to enter Powell’s books?” With a resounding, ‘oh, no.’ Because we are all people who walk (ish-ada-etc) and everyone owns a black jacket.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I’ve got an older 2007 Metro, ‘Bike There!’ map. Lots of detail, all streets are named…several other city and Washington County maps in my collection, don’t have info as extensive. Because of that detail, much of it very small, on the road, this map would be difficult, though possible to use. For at home route planning, or finding street locations, it’s great! I don’t have a PBOT map…I’m curious to take a look at one.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Yes they could do a lot to simplify the mapping process…by just upgrading all the bikeway routes to separated bike lanes. BAM! 😉

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

And to be fair…if subway systems were built like bikeway systems…then subway maps would have a lot of broken connections/ barriers to then route users through…like adding surface street connections and station stairs or broken elevators/ escalators, etc.

lop
Guest
lop

Free out of system transfers make the map.

http://imgur.com/a/pf9WC

Some that would be convenient aren’t free, they don’t make the map.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Wow, did you read the comments on the NYC bike space piece? Unbelievable (lack of vitriol, that is).

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Where we leave the most discretion, we find the greatest opportunity for bias. No surprise. It’s a white owned system. Bring in the tech.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If any particular judge is handing out different punishments for similar crimes committed in similar circumstances, based on race, then that is a huge problem, and that judge should be sanctioned or removed.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

so enforcement is biased, what else is new? that’s built in to our system, time to reform the police agencies?

Engineering doesn’t seem to work, either, so what’s up with the ‘third leg of the pyramid’, education?

I don’t see squat from the state or the city on re-educating motorists.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Engineering needs to get a tape measure and check the width of a car. Most of our lanes have enough space for a bus and a jersey barrier next to the bike lane, but there’s no jersey barrier because engineers insist on giving drivers an extra 2ft of “shy space”. Until drivers are whining about feeling fenced-in and being constantly afraid of scraping their paint, they will continue speeding.