Support BikePortland

The Monday Roundup: Holy spokes, scofflaw study, N-why-PD?, and more

Posted by on March 27th, 2017 at 8:41 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by The eBike Store, Portland’s exclusive dealer of the BuddyRider dog carrier.

Here are the most noteworthy stories we came across last week…

The NYPD strikes again: Seems like every time I check my news feed there’s another example of how police in New York City just don’t get it. This time they’ve confiscated hundreds of “illegal” e-bikes used by the city’s droves of food delivery workers. WTH?

Holier-than-thou: A religious leader in Boston has found what many biking veterans have — a deeper spirituality and stronger connection to place — since she started biking to church. She’s even written a book about it.

Portland loves auto parking: The DJC has a good roundup of all the auto parking projects the City of Portland and Portland Development Commission are poised to spend millions on this year.

Bike share revolution in China: Beijing, once a bicycle capital of the world, was overrun with cars in recent decades. Now bikes are coming back thanks to high-tech bike share systems.

Ofo leading the charge: Ever hear of Ofo? It’s a Chinese bike-sharing company that’s valued at over a billion dollars and just got a visit from Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Studying scofflaws: A major study found that people generally break traffic laws while cycling just to stay alive — not to be jerks.

Trump’s budget and bikes: The League of American Bicyclists breaks it down. It’s not all bad, but it’s pretty bad. Let’s hope this thing goes the way of his health care plan.

Advertisement

Silicon Valley’s bike vision: Some heavy-hitters in the tech world are behind a new vision for better bicycling in the Silicon Valley.

It’ll take more than a vision: A report by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition found that people won’t try cycling because they feel auto users drive too dangerously.

World-class fast: USA Cycling (America’s governing body of racing) wants to be the best in the world — with a focus on their women’s teams and BMX.

Not that AAA: Vancouver, Canada has just released an inspiring new set of bicycle facility design guidelines that put the focus squarely on “All ages and abilities” or AAA.

Bikeway debate in NZ: Small market owners in New Zealand blame a bikeway for the demise of their business because it took away auto parking.

Take risks: Los Angeles DOT leader Seleta Reynolds is a breath of fresh air in the transportation reform world.

They’re loud too: Cars: They pollute our air, they are used as weapons by terrorists, they turn people into assholes, they kill 40,000+ people every year, they take up way too much space in our cities and towns — and they also make too much damn noise.

— 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.

Please support BikePortland.

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

60 Comments
  • soren March 27, 2017 at 9:14 am

    they kill 40,000+ people every year

    WHO estimates that cars/trucks kill ~1.25 million people per year of which ~50% are vulnerable road users. (And this does not include the many millions of early deaths attributed to tail pipe pollution.)

    http://www.who.int/gho/road_safety/mortality/en/

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • rick March 27, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Laws in New York ought to be changed today.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • wsbob March 27, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Misplacing blame onto NYPD cops isn’t of much help. There’s more to the story of the NYC cops seizing e-bikes:

    “…Laws involving electric bicycles are murky and vary. The federal government considers any bicycle legal that, when powered exclusively by a motor, has a maximum speed of less than 20 miles per hour. But those same bikes are banned under New York state law. …” amny.com

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 27, 2017 at 9:24 am

      The NYC cops have a lot of discretion here… see the “laws are murky” part. Given the context of their actions on the whole on a range of other issues, it’s clear they just want to throw their weight around with users of two-wheeled vehicles. Unfortunately in NYC it seems the policy and the DOT are at war with each other, instead of being partners to make the city better. It’s complete opposite here in Portland are we are all luckier because if that.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • wsbob March 27, 2017 at 9:47 am

        I agree that NYPD cops, and cops in general, have discretion in terms of what violations they cite for. It’s interesting though, and suggests there’s more to the story, that the police in NYC have used the state’s apparent ban on e-bikes, to specifically focus on delivery workers using e-bikes. Is it only delivery workers e-bikes the police are seizing? If that’s not the situation, it’s surprising that the article didn’t mention other people’s e-bikes being confiscated.

        Why the police in NYC conducted this enforcement detail, I’m not sue…but I’m inclined to think there’s much more to the story than e-bikes being illegal under state law, if the report by the article that it is, is true. Could be some form of racial bias, but with so many bikes seized at one time, that seems a stretch. Could be notoriously bad road use and sidewalk use habits of delivery workers, which I have heard of from someone I know that lives and works in the city.

        It’s also a mystery to me, if true, that e-bikes are illegal in the state. If so, why would NY continue to have e-bikes be illegal? Doesn’t add up. Are they truly illegal in the city too? Strange, because I think it was less than two years ago, that I read quite a good article about the dramatic rise in popularity of e-bikes in the city, by not just delivery workers, but by commuters as well. (NYtimes or WSJ story, not sure.).

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Chris I March 27, 2017 at 10:27 am

          The fact that they choose to enforce a ban on e-bikes when there is zero evidence of public health endangerment. Meanwhile, vehicle are maiming and killing hundreds of citizens every year, and the NYPD does nothing. They don’t enforce speed limits, and they usually fail to properly investigate when someone is injured or killed. They don’t enforce vehicles illegally blocking cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure, and they often block bike lanes.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • wsbob March 27, 2017 at 11:55 am

            “The fact that they choose to enforce a ban on e-bikes when there is zero evidence of public health endangerment …” chris I

            Did a New Yorker tell you that the riding manner of delivery people using e-bikes poses, is not a problem in the city? I want to hear more. My source is just one person’s opinion…someone living in Queens and working which involves a fair bit of travel, in Manhattan…but their observation is that the delivery people ride with little to no regard for rules of the road and on the sidewalk as well. Different from how regular bike commuters ride.

            Could be the NYPD is just singling out the e-bike delivery people for some kind of arbitrary reason…but I’m not convinced yet. Show us some news report suggesting the e-bike delivery people are a benign presence on the city’s streets and sidewalks, and we’ll consider that.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Dave March 27, 2017 at 1:45 pm

              Hypnotherapy for New York cops–so that they believe that every delivery bike driver is a 50 year old WASP-y guy in a suit on his way to a banking job. See if that helps.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • wsbob March 27, 2017 at 11:59 pm

                That was creative. Hope you don’t have a cow. Here’s a thought to help inspire more of your creativity:

                The police didn’t create the state law that says e-bikes are illegal. The police didn’t tell NYC city hall councilors that the city couldn’t write up an ordinance, waiving within city limits, the state’s illegal designation of e-bikes.

                Good guess, is that the police chief didn’t get ready for bed one night, and thought, ‘Geez, we just got nuthin’ to do tomorraw in this big city…for some fun, lets go and take a bunch of those delivery guy’s illegal electric bicycles!! Hah-hah-ha, that’ll be a tale for the grand-kids!.’.

                Better guess, is a bunch of people in the neighborhood, over a long period of time, years it would seem…barraged the police dept about e-bike delivery people riding the streets and the sidewalks with little regard for anyone or anything but themselves. Until the police relented and said, ‘ok, we’ll send your concerns up to the chief, and if he gives the green light, we’ll follow it up’.

                So how’s the NYPD supposed to respond when the state, and city hall, says ‘This is the law on e-bikes…enforce it.’? Is the chief supposed to say ‘fuhgettabout it…we got discretion’.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • X March 28, 2017 at 1:03 pm

                The people who complained about riders on e-bikes breaking laws were no doubt a completely different set then ones who ordered food and expected it to be delivered hot. I think the price just went up.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Chris I March 27, 2017 at 3:01 pm

              How about this: I’ll provide you with a complete summary of all the New Yorkers killed by e-bike riders, if you provide me with a complete summary of all the New Yorkers killed by drivers. Ready? Go.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • wsbob March 27, 2017 at 6:53 pm

                Why would you want to do that? Go ahead if you think that’s a good way to find out why the police have focused an enforcement detail on delivery people that use e-bikes. You already seem to be chomping at the bit to indulge animosity you apparently have against the police for confiscating the bikes claimed to be illegal…with no further information about the situation in NYC that what’s been reported in the story linked in the roundup.

                Within NYC, I figure there’s probably a lot more knowledge and discussion in the news and on the street, about the delivery people, the e-bikes they’re using, and the bike confiscation. If all you want to do is snicker and make sarcastic remarks, I guess that’s ok on this weblog, because you’re passing moderation.

                Myself, I’d like to know more about why the police conducted this confiscation detail. If as you seem to be thinking, they’re unfairly singling out the delivery people, I wouldn’t mind knowing about it. If it’s for some other reason, I’d like to know that too.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • wsbob March 27, 2017 at 11:06 pm

                I just did a little web searching about the situation with e-bikes in New York State, and NYC. In state and city, e-bikes have been illegal since at least 2013. Web media, streetsblog has been covering the story since then. That blog did some research on why e-bikes are not illegal from the federal gov’s viewpoint, but are illegal from the state and city’s perspective: it has to do with classification…the feds classifying e-bikes as bicycles…

                “…But Albany never updated state code to reflect the change. …” http://nyc.streetsblog.org/2013/04/10/why-are-electric-bikes-illegal-anyway/

                In another more recent article, streetsblog questioned, and remarked with dismay about NYC police not seizing trucks that were oversized and prohibited due to that oversize, from operating in certain routes in town. That article didn’t go into considering why the trucks weren’t seized. Of course, the trucks weren’t illegal in the state or the city…except on some routes in the city, un-named in the article. http://nyc.streetsblog.org/2017/03/24/nypd-seized-247-e-bikes-saving-zero-lives/

                Why may have the NYPD conducted this enforcement detail? streetsblog says: “…The e-bike enforcement in Manhattan reflects resident complaints about cycling in the borough, which often focus on delivery cyclists. …”.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

            • eawrist March 28, 2017 at 5:46 pm

              http://www.villagevoice.com/news/nyc-delivery-cyclists-speak-out-about-the-toughest-job-on-two-wheels-9800106

              There is no evidence that delivery bikers cause or have a higher rate of death/injury than other modes. I also live in NY. There is one precinct in NY (a godsend, the wonderful 49th) that I am aware of that publicly enforces laws that protect the safety of bikers/pedestrians (eg cars parked in the bike lane/on the sidewalk). Several precincts really could give a shit about safety. The 88th is a great example. They have a parking lot in the bike lane on Dekalb Ave in Bklyn. The culture is rock bottom in most precincts vis a vis people on bikes. There is no comparison to the Portland PB.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • X March 30, 2017 at 12:36 pm

                When I was in New York City two years ago the vast majority of visible working cyclists were food delivery people and almost every person doing that job was on an e bike of some sort. Its tempting to say they were more numerous than any other type of cyclist but that might be a stretch. At that time the bikes appeared to be entry-level or conversion types. If they have changed over to higher end bikes with an integrated drive train that’s interesting because it suggests that people delivering things as a job (not as a sporty thing or a lifestyle choice) will wind up on e bikes. As for the NYPD, I think they are bucking the dead hand of Adam Smith. Millions of people want takeout food, and thousands of cops can’t really stop it.

                Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for human power. All my drive trains are pure. So far.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • 9watts March 27, 2017 at 12:44 pm

          “Could be some form of racial bias, but with so many bikes seized at one time, that seems a stretch. Could be notoriously bad road use and sidewalk use habits of delivery workers, which I have heard of from someone I know that lives and works in the city. ”

          Yes, why don’t we speculate wildly, and see if we can come with some cockamaimy scenario with which to exonerate the cops who are the focus of this piece….

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • wsbob March 27, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Information in the story about the New Zealand cycleway being claimed to have resulted in a serious loss of business to businesses, specifically, dairies…due to the cycleway needing parking spaces out front of the dairy shops, was very interesting.

    Question immediately coming to mind, was: Why didn’t increased bike traffic on the street enabled by the cycleway…that logic would suggest would have occurred…make up for business lost to the dairies from customers that may have stopped coming to the dairies by motor vehicle upon finding parking, not available?

    One dairy in particular mentioned, lost four of the five out front parking spaces; parking to make up for the loss was provided on the side street, but was abused, with insufficient enforcement from the city. One possibility for the dairies’ loss of business, may be that sufficient parking availability for the dairies’ customers, whether they were traveling by motor vehicle…or bike…was not provided.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Champs March 27, 2017 at 10:19 am

    http://jefftowson.com/2017/03/how-hype-and-greed-are-ruining-chinese-bike-sharing-i-e-mobike-and-ofo/

    Also note that Tim Cook is Steve Jobs’ successor, not his reincarnation.
    Cook: money guy who won’t sell a compelling upgrade for aging Macs (like mine).
    Jobs: hype man for Segway, visionary of smartphones without apps

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kyle Banerjee March 27, 2017 at 10:36 am

    The scofflaw study is interesting. On one hand, it says people mostly break the laws to be safe. On the other hand, ” young males are the most prolific scofflaws” and 85% of cyclists either are entirely law abiding or only engage in minimal infringements.

    Unless we’re to believe that the physically most capable demographic is also the most fearful, something doesn’t add up…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Paul Atkinson March 27, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      I’m not sure I’d read that as “the most fearful.” Another possible interpretation is that given the choice between following the rules (even when that may not be the safest choice) and breaking the rules (for whatever reason, including safety) young males are the most likely to make the decision that the rules-as-written do not apply to them.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Kyle Banerjee March 27, 2017 at 1:18 pm

        I find it interesting that young males seem more prone than others to need extraordinary measures to protect their safety. I wonder if it’s not cycling’s answer to those big young guys who need weapons to defend themselves when doing ordinary things like going to the grocery store far more often than old ladies.

        If there were something to the safety argument, you’d think more of the most vulnerable cyclists would break the laws more often — I know I would. Ride through town and watch cyclists blowing lights and signs, ignoring peds, and doing other stuff and say with a straight face it’s about improving safety.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Chris I March 27, 2017 at 3:09 pm

          You have a good point that much of the illegal behavior is not to improve safety. I will often run red lights out here in outer-east Portland/Gresham for safety, because turning left from the middle lane of a multi-lane road when traffic is clear is much safer than waiting for a red light that I may or may not be triggering, while cars speed past me at 50-60mph on all sides. Another scenario? riding against traffic for one block so I can avoid turning left onto a similarly fast/dangerous street to get to a safer side street. The root of the problem is that many of the laws were created with just cars in mind. They don’t factor in the improved agility, increased visibility, and inherent vulnerability of cyclists.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Kyle Banerjee March 27, 2017 at 4:59 pm

            I completely agree there are situations where it’s absurd to make bike rigidly follow rules created only with cars in mind.

            My personal experience is that no one gives you any guff if you what is obviously sensible and not in technical compliance rather than something dumb which is 100% compliant.

            Also, as if car compliance is so exemplary. Few stop at stop signs or observe speed limits, many run red lights and block intersections (particularly at rush hour), and a litany of undesirable/illegal behavior is widespread.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

        • soren March 27, 2017 at 5:24 pm

          “Ride through town and watch cyclists blowing lights and signs”

          I definitely appreciate how jumping/blowing a light reduces my risk collision. For example, at this intersection, I will always jump/blow the red light if there is no oncoming traffic from the right:

          https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5149166,-122.674862,3a,75y,310.16h,73.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1skCB9w6EugiBz8GFzGjm0bg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

          Waiting for the light to turn green and attempting to merge through dense traffic on incredibly broken and potholed pavement is, IMO, riskier than jumping the light.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Pete March 27, 2017 at 7:42 pm

            That’s kind of a “reverse amber gamble”… many drivers easily rationalize that accelerating through a yellow light (amber gamble) reduces risk of a rear-end collision, but I doubt they’d admit to being “scofflaws” when asked about it in a questionnaire.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Kyle Banerjee March 28, 2017 at 10:05 am

              Few drivers obey the laws, and those that do get abused. Speeding is the norm as is rolling through stops. As is the case with bikes, the safety claims are highly exaggerated.

              The fact is that it is the exception rather than the rule when flouting motoring rules on a bike enhances safety. I ride virtually every single day, the *vast* majority of scofflaws I see clearly doing it for convenience or because they are simply bad or inconsiderate riders.

              With regards to that specific intersection, I used to ride it every day though I turned left most days after crossing Hawthorne.

              However, I have also gone straight on numerous occasions. The safety argument is weak to put it charitably. If you’re going to merge in, it makes sense to get in waiting traffic rather than pull in front and then over. And where exactly do you need to pull left anyway? Planning on turning left against the one way at the next block?

              If cyclists are going to be taken seriously, we need to not make ridiculous claims.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • soren March 29, 2017 at 9:13 am

                If you’re going to merge in, it makes sense to get in waiting traffic rather than pull in front and then over

                when i jump the light (a text book idaho stop, btw) i typically merge into the left lane without interacting with traffic. this entirely avoids merging across aggressive morning commute traffic on some of the worst pavement in portland.

                i also have to laugh at the claim that i do this for convenience because, as you noted, i end up waiting for traffic at 2nd. if, as you argue, this maneuver does not make sense because i end up waiting, then you might want to consider that i could have another motive. in fact, the contradiction in your argument suggests to me that your perception of scofflaw behavior may be an example of motivated cognition (also see below).

                the *vast* majority of scofflaws I see clearly doing it for convenience or because they are simply bad or inconsiderate riders.

                the use of absolute language about bike safety and people’s motivations is interesting. could it be that an ideological commitment to vehicular cycling makes one less able to see other points of view?

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • wsbob March 29, 2017 at 9:55 am

                “Few drivers obey the laws, and those that do get abused. Speeding is the norm as is rolling through stops. …” banerjee

                What I see over years of biking, walking and driving, is that most of the people driving, are complying with the laws and rules of road use. Some definitely don’t, and they oblige people to adjust accordingly…having to slow down for people that: speed excessively fast, that don’t stop for stop signs and stop lights, making rolling turns on red lights and stop signs without checking for and waiting for traffic as needed before turning.

                The bad drivers and bad riders are causing problems for everyone else. Unrealistically characterizing all but a few of the people’s driving, a bad drivers, does not help in moving towards ways to have the roads be safer for everyone to use.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Kyle Banerjee March 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm

                Hardly anyone obeys the letter of the law. Are people seriously suggesting that motorists don’t speed a bit when unobstructed or that the vast majority of road users come to complete stops at signs except to let people through?

                I don’t see either as bad driving/cycling as they’re safe enough and within widely accepted norms. What is not within widely accepted norms are some of the behaviors wsbob described. This stuff is done only by a small minority and is properly described as scofflaw behavior.

                @Soren: why not say what you’re trying to accomplish and why jumping in front makes you safer rather than implying there’s some mysterious purpose I couldn’t possibly understand despite having passed through this area thousands of times? And if you’re going to hassle me about contradictions, explain exactly how this a good game plan in “aggressive morning commute traffic” when it’s busy and cars still frequently enter the intersection even after the light is red, and some drivers do jackrabbit starts even when going a single block to another red light?

                But hey, I get it. In our society, the easiest way to justify whatever is to claim a fear or safety dimension is at play.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • wsbob March 30, 2017 at 12:06 am

                Two related, but different things:

                “Few drivers obey the laws, and those that do get abused. Speeding is the norm as is rolling through stops. …” banerjee

                “Hardly anyone obeys the letter of the law. Are people seriously suggesting that motorists don’t speed a bit when unobstructed or that the vast majority of road users come to complete stops at signs except to let people through? …” banerjee

                Real life application of road use laws, by road user, law enforcement, is subject to finite interpretation and discretion by all parties involved. That can and does differ from strict application of ‘the letter of the law’ relating to common road use practices, and does exist as a widely accepted norm, again, by all parties involved.

                Varies some depending upon the law in question, but as long as the road user confines their discretion to a reasonably close approximation of the letter of the law, their likely to benefit from the discretion of other road users, the cop, the judge, etc. For example, I don’t have the stop sign law right before me as I write this, so I’m not reading exactly what the language used in it is…but I know, and I believe most all people using the road know as well, that it essentially requires the road user to fully stop at stop signs, be certain the way is clear, and then proceed on through the intersection or the turn, whichever the case may be.

                Despite my summary of the stop sign law I offer as, I think close to the letter of the law…if for example, someone in a car on a bike, rolls up to a stop sign, shows clearly in some way that they’re clearly checking for traffic and have been determined the road is reasonably clear, and then proceeds through the stop sign at two or three mph without stopping…chances are good that other road users won’t be upset, an officer using discretion may decide a citation isn’t warranted…and best of all, any potential chance for a collision will have been avoided. From my observation, most of the people driving, may use some discretion in varying from a strict letter of the law interpretation, but stay quite close to it.

                That’s very different from procedure soren seems to be talking about with regards to how he regards stop signs and red lights. Doesn’t sound like he feels obliged at all to stay reasonably close to the letter of the law in complying with those traffic management measures. He seems to be saying that if he thinks he can make it through a stop sign or stop light, he rolls through or blows through, at what speed? Who knows? He’s seemed to have contrived a rational that makes him feel doing so is acceptable, so he can do what he pleases.

                Everyone using the road, has to acknowledge that there are such people playing loose and fast with the laws and rules of the road…and take precautions accordingly. That’s an extra burden on people using the road responsibly, that they should not have to bear. Fortunately, most people using the road, don’t just make up their own rules and do whatever they want. Though on some roads, some street situations, bad road use rises to chronic levels, and that’s when people get stressed out and frustrated, prompting them to try to get the police and the city out to help them get the situations back under control.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 9:30 am

                By and large, Portlanders do pretty well. I’ll take it a step further and say that they do better than other US cities I’ve driven/ridden in.

                One can argue with a straight face that some clearly illegal practices are both logical and reasonably safe. However, traffic dynamics in the moment is not the only thing that need to be considered even if that is what is most important.

                An amazing percentage of motorists and cyclists don’t seem to understand that their attitudes towards and relationships with other road users are important.

                Be kind, unkind, or simply provocative and it affects how all witnesses work with you. In addition, drivers usually do whatever the person in front of them did so any good or bad behavior that you trigger often has a snowball affect. Add to this the fact that people are creatures of habit — i.e. they tend to show up in the same times/places and will recognize you — what you do affects the future as was as the present.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • soren March 30, 2017 at 9:43 am

                “Hardly anyone obeys the letter of the law. Are people seriously suggesting that motorists don’t speed a bit…I don’t see either as bad driving/cycling as they’re safe enough and within widely accepted norms.”

                speeding is safe enough? wow…just…wow.

                And if you’re going to hassle me about contradictions, explain exactly how this a good game plan in “aggressive morning commute traffic” when it’s busy and cars still frequently enter the intersection even after the light is red

                this “game plan” is known as the idaho stop.
                briefly: i stop, look to the right, ensure that sure there is no oncoming traffic, and proceed.

                i would be happy to demonstrate how to idaho stop effectively. you can email me at sorenimpey at gmail if you are interested.

                let me rephrase the safety argument i made above: merging left in the absence of traffic is safer than merging across several lanes of traffic on pot-holed pavement with massive cracks and waves. a good analogy with my safety-motivated behavior is the leading pedestrian interval. is the leading pedestrian interval also unsafe because someone might run a red light?

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 10:20 am

                “speeding is safe enough? wow…just…wow.”

                Yes, so long as it is appropriate for the totality of conditions. There are circumstances where speeding is safer than the speed limit. There is nothing magic about the speed limit beyond that it is a bureaucratic determination that it’s safe for most drivers under normal circumstances.

                “i would be happy to demonstrate how to idaho stop effectively”

                Done properly, it’s not a matter of getting hit. But given that a recurring attitude I see on this blog is that cyclists shouldn’t have to pay attention to traffic, I’d highly recommend against advocating this practice.

                In any case, it needlessly gets motorists in the wrong state of mind which causes other problems. If we take such liberties with the rules, we shouldn’t complain when motorists do the same.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • soren March 30, 2017 at 2:43 pm

                “But given that a recurring attitude I see on this blog is that cyclists shouldn’t have to pay attention to traffic”

                a most excellent strawman!

                it needlessly gets motorists in the wrong state of mind which causes other problems.

                your omniscient knowledge of the “intentions” of scofflaws and “state of mind” of motorists is…ummm…interesting.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 5:22 pm

                It’s really not so hard. Most communication is nonverbal — it’s just a matter of being able to read it.

                Anyone who works with hostile dogs must be cognizant of what the dogs are telling them as well as what their own body language is communicating to the dogs. If they don’t, they get bitten. Most people — including many who love dogs — are not good at this. The fact that some people are and can effectively manage situations doesn’t make it voodoo just because others don’t get it.

                That some people read others’ signals (which they might not even want to send) doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You seem to need to flip birds at motorists with great frequency. I have yet to feel a need to do so. There is some chance I’ve figured something out that you haven’t since I appear to experience significantly less conflict and frustration than you do on the roads.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • wsbob March 31, 2017 at 9:45 am

                “Drivers routinely drive through red in many of the intersections I pass through daily — often when speeding. I shudder to think what would happen if people tried to do idaho stops in these locations.” banerjee

                That’s the major flaw in the idaho stop, and likely a big reason no other state is willing to take on the burden to road users it poses. If they think they can make it, despite proximity of oncoming traffic, the idaho stop allows people riding bikes to roll through stop signs without stopping.

                That option puts them in the position of checking for oncoming traffic, during their rolling approach to the stop sign, rather than having them check for traffic as the law does of all other road users, at a complete stop, or something very close to it, at their discretion. Obviously, the opportunity to sufficiently check for oncoming traffic, is better at a complete stop or something close to it…say, normal walking speed, 3mph…than it is at higher speeds, which the idaho stop leaves completely to the discretion of people riding bikes.

                The spud state’s so called ‘safety record’ with their law, diverting from the stop sign law, for the exclusive indulgence of people riding bikes, doesn’t acknowledge the fact that in instances where people miscalculate the proximity of approaching motor vehicle traffic…and other bike traffic too for that matter…it’s the oncoming traffic that’s shouldering the burden of mistakes made by people biking and not stopping at stop signs to adequately check for approaching traffic.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • soren March 31, 2017 at 3:38 pm

                the “people run red lights” argument is amusing given that under this logic a green light would be even more dangerous than an idaho stop (where, by definition, people proceed only when there is no oncoming traffic).

                Recommended Thumb up 0

            • soren March 29, 2017 at 8:33 am

              since the idaho stop has a proven safety record and, if anything, slightly reduces risk i’m struggling to understand why you believe it to be an “amber gamble”

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Kyle Banerjee March 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm

                Probably because the bet is that someone won’t enter the intersection late.

                At rush hour downtown, that’s not a great bet.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • soren March 30, 2017 at 9:49 am

                is your imaginary scenario more believable than decades of empirical data in a neighboring state?

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 10:29 am

                What is true at the aggregate level is not necessarily true at the specific level. There are a lot of places where it will almost always work. Other places it will normally be suicidal.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 10:33 am

                Drivers routinely drive through red in many of the intersections I pass through daily — often when speeding. I shudder to think what would happen if people tried to do idaho stops in these locations.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • 9watts March 30, 2017 at 11:55 am

                Do you understand the way the Idaho Stop works, Kyle?

                Your imagined scenario doesn’t strike me as a way to condemn the Idaho Stop at all.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 3:40 pm

                I understand how it works.

                Doing it safely requires cyclists to ride defensively and competently. My consistent experience on this blog is that suggesting people ride this way is a great way to get accused of victim blaming or elitism. For this reason, I don’t think it’s a good practice to encourage.

                Even done properly, it causes ill will with motorists and undermines the concept that we are traffic. I know a lot of people don’t care about that here, but I seem to have far fewer problems with drivers than others despite the fact I ride on streets that few others will.

                If we expect cars to adhere to the rules of the road, we should follow them ourselves.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • El Biciclero April 1, 2017 at 11:21 am

                “If we expect cars to adhere to the rules of the road, we should follow them ourselves.”

                I didn’t want to, but I have to respond to this and the Idaho discussion. First, why does this “respect” argument only go one way? Why is it the bicyclists that must “behave” if we want motorists to do the same? This is an assumption of false equivalence, similar to saying “if we want javelin throwers to be careful, then we must insist that frisbee(tm) throwers take all the same precautions”. I like to think of this the other way around: if drivers (and authorities/engineers) want bicyclists to follow the rules, then drivers should operate more carefully so as not to put bicyclists in fear of their lives, and engineers should consider the needs of bicyclists when designing roadways (especially signal timing and sensing), so as not to leave bicyclists stranded with the most attractive option to proceed being technically illegal.

                I tend to agree with you that except for a few very context-specific cases, the “safety” argument for breaking current law is dubious. I’ll usually only break the law for right turns on STOP, when no other traffic is present (for convenience), or when turning left at a signal that may or may not detect me. Maybe twice in my life I’ve gone straight through on a “dead” red. The only “safety” rationale in my case is the one mentioned already: that it is safer to make a left turn when one can hear crickets at an intersection than it is to wait for the signal and hope that the two-ton death machines have drivers that are paying attention.

                Now, tying both of these things together is the idea that the law can and does change. If an Idaho-style stop law were passed here in Oregon, then cyclists who engaged in the kind of behavior we’re talking about would [probably] be following the law. Would they then be respected by motorists? Would motorists then start following more of the law as well? How are changes to the law to allow things like higher speed limits on the freeway, right turns on red, proceeding through a “dead” red, or switching to “permissive” left turns with a flashing yellow arrow any different than a change in the law that would allow bicyclists to proceed legally in much the same manner that many already do—with no safety issues?

                Further, I have to agree with soren that the “attitude” argument is a bit of a straw man. The idea that bicyclists are entitled enough; if we further pander to their law-breaking ways, it will be all-out pandemonium on the streets as bicyclists of all stripes will now blast cavalierly through every stop sign and red light, leaving a trail of wreckage in their wake as poor drivers, now forced to take all responsibility for the safety of arrogant bicyclists, screech to a halt and rear-end each other for fear of getting the needle if they so much as brush up against an angry, bird-flipping hipster on a brakeless fixie with earbuds in both ears and no helmet. My personal prediction for how things would change on the roads if Oregon passed an Idaho-style stop law? Not at all—or at least in no detectable way.

                For further reading: Living With Stop as Yield for Bicyclists (bikelaw.com).

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Kyle Banerjee April 1, 2017 at 5:18 pm

                blockquote cite=”El Biciclero”>
                El Biciclero
                First, why does this “respect” argument only go one way? Why is it the bicyclists that must “behave” if we want motorists to do the same?

                It doesn’t go only one way. That’s the whole point.

                If you go out there looking for battle, you’ll find it every time. The reality is that Portland drivers are decent both in terms of attitude and driving habits. If you don’t believe that, try riding in a bunch of other areas and see what your experience is.

                Play well and treat people with consideration and they do the same for you. Fail to do that, and the results are predictable. It has nothing to do with being on a bike.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • 9watts April 1, 2017 at 5:51 pm

                El Biciclero,
                You do have a way with words and vivid imagery. Keep it up!

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • El Biciclero April 2, 2017 at 8:45 am

                “Play well and treat people with consideration and they do the same for you. Fail to do that, and the results are predictable. It has nothing to do with being on a bike.”

                Well, this I would tend to agree with. It’s also possible I projected a little into your previous comment. Yes, it’s hypocritical to say “hey! You’d better follow the law, even if I don’t!”, but there are definitely lopsided consequences to breaking the law in the wrong place at the wrong time, depending on vehicle choice. Does that lopsidedness mean that bicyclists have a higher moral obligation to be perfect in their law-keeping? Or would that greater responsibility fall on drivers? It is definitely not equal. The roadway system is also heavily tilted in favor of smooth and fast auto use, rather than bicycle use. The fundamental assumption of speed and size makes many (many, many) roadways borderline hostile to bicyclists, who find ways of mitigating the hostility that aren’t always legal. Imagine you and I are playing a game of some sort, and it’s actually written into the rules that you lose every time. I’d have no problem following those rules, but you might find that game, at least played by the written rules, unsatisfying. Now I realize this analogy compares to “battle”, which I also agree is not good to go looking for, so perhaps imagine a puzzle that I can figure out easily, but your rules state that you don’t get certain puzzle pieces. Then imagine that those who have full access to all the pieces still feel the need to cheat by stealing your puzzle pieces when you’re already down a few. All you want to do is finish enough of your puzzle to see what it looks like, but it’s been made incredibly difficult. I could even go so far as to imagine that some careless privileged puzzler has dropped one of the key pieces you’re not technically allowed to have, but if you get caught picking it up and using it in your puzzle, you get disqualified and all your puzzle pieces are taken away by the puzzle proctor. That kind of a system just inspires, and at times nearly requires cheating.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • wsbob April 2, 2017 at 10:00 am

                el bic at april 1st:

                “…First, why does this “respect” argument only go one way? Why is it the bicyclists that must “behave” if we want motorists to do the same? This is an assumption of false equivalence, similar to saying “if we want javelin throwers to be careful, then we must insist that frisbee(tm) throwers take all the same precautions”. …” bic

                In the U.S., motor vehicles, and not bicycles, are the major means by which people meet their travel needs. Provision of roads has to be prioritized for that mode user group, simply for the purpose of moving the great number of people using motor vehicles for travel. If it were the reverse: 80 percent of road users traveling by bike, 20 percent traveling by motor vehicle, road use availability would be prioritized for people biking.

                Road use isn’t simply a matter of, as you insultingly put it: behave'(ing), but rather, using the road safely and responsibly. Helping safe and responsible road use to happen, is why the roads are equipped with stop lights, stop signs, yield signs/ signals, pedestrian crosswalk signals/activated beacons, and other means of traffic management; all these are road use safety measures.

                People riding bikes, and other non-motor vehicle road users, are comparatively to motor vehicles…vulnerable road users. When they, people riding bikes, people on foot, etc, disregard these road use safety measures, they self cancel some of the ability of the road to be a safe place on which to travel.

                Complaints that motor vehicles are inherently more dangerous vehicles than bicycles, or that people driving, because they’re using comparatively more dangerous vehicles for travel, don’t make a legitimate excuse for people biking, to not use the road safely and responsibly, in general, because they don’t want to expend the energy to completely stop and then have to get started again at stop lights and stop signs…or because individually, they’ve come up with the idea that’s it’s safer for them to roll or blow through stop signs and stop lights at random, theorizing they might thus avoid a collision.

                All road users get lots of latitude in their compliance with rules of the road…from other road users as well as the police. Despite this, bottom line is that all road users are obliged to adhere close to the safe and responsible use of the road that traffic regulation rules of the road and infrastructure are in place to help provide for.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • El Biciclero April 3, 2017 at 11:40 am

                “In the U.S., motor vehicles, and not bicycles, are the major means by which people meet their travel needs. Provision of roads has to be prioritized for that mode user group, simply for the purpose of moving the great number of people using motor vehicles for travel.”

                OR…people feel compelled to travel by motor vehicle because other means of travel have been de-prioritized to such a vast extent. We could reason that private, single-occupancy motor vehicles are the majority travel mode because that mode has been prioritized. Besides people getting really mad, what do you think would happen if—overnight, by some magic—two lanes of US 26 were walled off with Jersey barriers and dedicated to express bus service, and hundreds of buses were added to suburban routes that ran frequent service through neighborhoods and dropped people off at an express station? What if one’s car trip into town suddenly took longer than a bus ride? How long to you think it would take for the majority mode to change, at least for commute trips? I think in this space, prioritization comes first, and usage follows.

                “Complaints that motor vehicles are inherently more dangerous vehicles than bicycles, or that people driving, because they’re using comparatively more dangerous vehicles for travel, don’t make a legitimate excuse for people biking, to not use the road safely and responsibly, in general, because they don’t want to expend the energy to completely stop and then have to get started again at stop lights and stop signs…or because individually, they’ve come up with the idea that’s it’s safer for them to roll or blow through stop signs and stop lights at random, theorizing they might thus avoid a collision.”

                I’m not—and I don’t think anyone here is—advocating that VRUs take zero responsibility for being safe. But the level of danger posed, and therefore, the level of responsibility for “safety” is not equal between motorists and VRUs. I would argue that, given the “responsibility” of self-preservation, we should not place an additional legal burden on VRUs to be perfect, while we continue to excuse poor driving “‘cuz driving is haa-ard!“. Pure self-preservation already obligates VRU to compensate for the shortcomings of drivers; do you want to write that into the law as well? “Sure the driver was speeding through a marked crosswalk on a red light, Your Honor, but the pedestrian should have seen him coming, soooo…”

                “Road use isn’t simply a matter of, as you insultingly put it: behave'(ing), but rather, using the road safely and responsibly.”

                I’m not the one that puts it that way, I’m summarizing the apparent attitude of people like Amanda Fritz and others who think the “bicycle community” needs to “police themselves” if they want any consideration on the road.

                We have to make a distinction here between what you are calling “safely and responsibly”, and “following the letter of the law”. Is it safer (i.e., less risky) to cross an empty street mid-block, or stand at a corner and wait for a signal, then hope drivers all stop and right-turners are paying attention? Which one is legal? If no cars are within immediate overtaking distance, and I’m riding in a bike lane past a shopping center with multiple driveways, is it safer to stay in the bike lane, or move over to the left, out of the bike lane as I ride past? Which is legal?

                Inversely, is it generally more dangerous for a driver to make a right on red without stopping (or looking right), or for a bicyclist to make a right at a STOP sign without stopping? Is it more dangerous for a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk, or for a driver to exit a driveway without stopping at the sidewalk OR the bike lane? Is it more dangerous for a bicyclist to illegally ride in the left lane of a one-way street when there is a bike lane on the right, or for a driver to fling the door of their parked car open without looking first? These are things that lots of people do every day. They take calculated risks. The only difference is that drivers risk injuring other people, almost always for their convenience, and bicyclists (mostly) put themselves at risk, whether they believe they are bending the law for “safety” or merely for convenience.

                To summarize:
                * Usage follows prioritization, not the other way around.
                * Level of safety impact of driving a car vs. walking or riding a bike: not equal.
                * Nobody says VRU should take zero responsibility for their own safety.
                * The law, if followed as written, does not always guarantee safety, especially for VRU. Corollary: sometimes breaking the law can be safer for VRU, whereas breaking the law (in a city, outside of some extreme emergency) is never safer for those around when done by a driver. That’s right, I said “never”. It might not necessarily be more dangerous, but it is never, ever “safer”.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

  • chris March 27, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Re: The parking garage article, the almost-complete Goat Blocks development in the Central Eastside will also have 246 parking spaces for customers (parking for apartment tenants is separate). I’m actually not opposed to the construction of parking garages, but only if they are supplemented by A) the removal of street parking on certain key bicycling streets (like Ankeny between MLK and 12th) and B) the replacement of surface parking lots with multistory mixed-use buildings. B is already happening, but A needs to. I do think consolidating parking into a small number of centralized areas is a good idea, as it forces people to park only once and then walk, rather than driving short distances between locations that are already within walking distance of each other.

    Yeah, yeah, I know that BP would rather people bike or take transit everywhere, but that’s clearly not happening. The bike and transit modal share has hardly budged in the last couple of decades, despite Portland building new transit lines, modest bike infrastructure improvements, and many new clusters of dense walkable mixed-use development (e.g., Mississippi, Williams, Division, inner E Burnside, etc).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • MaxD March 27, 2017 at 11:05 am

      You have a fair point about consolidating parking. What drives me crazy is they are not building the parking for the Convention Center Hotel under the hotel! They say it makes the hotel too expensive, then use public money to build a separate parking structure next door! Just use the public money to build the underground parking. If you you need more building because underground is more expensive, then sell the adjacent lot to a developer and use the proceeds. Surely some would buy it and build on it- the City gets the proceeds, the SDCs, and the expanded tax base and the hotel gets parking. Is it really too late for this??!! Also, if the parking fails, then the Hotal has an opportunity for an underground venue/theater a la Doug Fir.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • chris March 27, 2017 at 11:16 am

        Agreed. The Goat Blocks made the right move by building underground parking, which they can later convert to something else if demand for parking collapses in the coming era of self-driving vehicles. I’ve read that developers are building new garages in a manner that would make them easy to repurpose in such a scenario.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • bikeninja March 27, 2017 at 11:07 am

    The e bike thing in new york certainly requires legal clarification. The ebikes commonly used by delivery folk in NYC are not the ebikes we are familier with here in Portland. They are big heavy bikes with very large batteries and throttles/pedal mechanisms that have been bypassed to allow them to only run via an hand control. They are much more like electric motorcycles than normal ebikes. In my opinion they should not be outlawed but kept on the street like motorized scooters, and not allowed on the sidewalks or bike paths.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Eli March 27, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    The Vancouver guidelines were fascinating to read.

    It’s almost a laundry list of everything Seattle doesn’t deliver, on new infrastructure.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Pete April 2, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    El Biciclero
    …if drivers (and authorities/engineers) want bicyclists to follow the rules, then drivers should operate more carefully so as not to put bicyclists in fear of their lives, and engineers should consider the needs of bicyclists when designing roadways…

    Amen! People who frequently bike typically adapt to behaviors to keep themselves safe. For Soren it’s jumping the light. For me it’s taking the lane in certain intersection configurations in advance of when the law might be interpreted that I can. For wsbob it may be avoiding B-H highway. And for most of the general public it’s just pointing out how unsafe they think biking is.

    And if you want examples of how (and where) engineers endanger bicyclists, I’ve got scores of examples and anecdotes (I keep them strewn throughout cyclelicio.us and bikeportland for safe keeping ; ).

    There is no recipe for this, and the “rules of the road” quite frankly weren’t all made to keep us safe (except for some that people like Ray and others have fought for). This behavior wasn’t developed overnight, we aren’t “scofflaws of convenience”, and it’s widely open to (mis)interpretation. You can honk at me all you want for riding outside of that “perfectly good bike lane” you think your gas taxes bought, but at the same time thank one (or more) of your fellow motorists for my practical interpretation of CVC 21202 that I’m sure you’ve never read before.

    Anyway, El B comes through with a “point of the week” as usual, even if we haven’t seen a COTW for a while… : ).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • wsbob April 3, 2017 at 10:58 am

      In the U.S., provision of the road for biking, has long been a comparatively low priority in terms of need of the road to meet individuals, and the nation’s, transportation needs. Unlike in some frequently mentioned European countries. So in a sense, this country is in and has for some time, been in a revolution of sorts, in gradually moving towards road infrastructure providing more than it has in past, for means of travel other than driving; walking, biking, skateboarding. Seriously…skateboarding too…out here in the beav, I frequently see people riding skateboards, not for trick riding, but to get somewhere…both short boards and long boards.

      So, all this whining and griping attempting to lay blame upon ODOT for not doing this or not doing that, really doesn’t amount to much more than a hill of beans…unhealthy static. No grand provision of road infrastructure for biking is going to happen, until the public, to a much greater extent than it does now, comes up with the money and gives orders to its transportation departments, to provide better provision of the road for biking, walking, etc…if that’s what it really wants. So far, not really.

      It’s going to take a lot of money to do it. Lack of inclination to provide it, is why I’d say, that for example, Portland doesn’t have an east-west pedestrian esplanade, or cycle track. Or in Beaverton, after years and years, the bike lanes of Hall Blvd, south of Canyon Rd to Cedar Hills Blvd, still are not continuous…requiring a very deftly made transition into the main lanes some 300′ or so from CHB.

      The tricks soren uses to have him feel safe using the road, are ok for a small percentage of road users. The rest of road users can manage reasonably against the small percentage of people playing loose and fast with the rules that way. As a general practice towards safe, efficient conditions for everyone’s use of the road, fairly close adherence to rules of the road is important for optimal functionality. There are people biking, fairly ordinary non- racing types, that have developed the ability to do this quite well, in all types of motor vehicle traffic. They get where they need to go, stopping at the stop signs, the red lights, using all the lanes of the road, as needed, as is their right by the law here in Oregon.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • El Biciclero April 3, 2017 at 2:21 pm

        “So, all this whining and griping attempting to lay blame upon ODOT for not doing this or not doing that, really doesn’t amount to much more than a hill of beans…unhealthy static. No grand provision of road infrastructure for biking is going to happen, until the public, to a much greater extent than it does now, comes up with the money and gives orders to its transportation departments, to provide better provision of the road for biking, walking, etc…if that’s what it really wants. So far, not really.”

        Well, bob, then the same goes for “whining and griping” about “scofflaw” bicyclists and attempting to lay blame for dangerous roads at their feet. Status quo ad infinitum, things are the way they are because they’re the way they are, the rules are the rules because they’re the rules, government knows best—let’s just all quit our whining and let everybody deal with reality the way they see fit; sounds like it’s never going to get any better than that.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Pete April 3, 2017 at 4:53 pm

        We know the public wants nobody else on their streets but them, shorter commute times, and removal of speed limits.

        “fairly close adherence to rules of the road is important for optimal functionality”

        I both agree and disagree. I agree in the sense that predictability of intentions is key. I disagree because there’s an inherent assumption in your assertion that the public actually knows the rules of the road.

        I stop differently in my car (at the line, sometimes then having to creep forward to see past parked cars) than I do on my bike (behind the line, timing opposing traffic so I preserve even slight forward momentum). I’ve been yelled at to ride on the sidewalk in communities where it’s illegal. I’ve been honked at for riding in line with sharrows on marked bicycle routes. I’ve been stopped by police for (safely and legally) passing right-turning cars on their left.

        Folks don’t believe ten over the speed limit, rolling through right turns without stopping, or using mobile devices while driving is illegal, because it’s become the accepted norm. To your point on priorities, this behavior becoming “necessary” for public mobility has diminished the need for public safety, resulting in our current dramatic uptick of pedestrian deaths across the country.

        In Joe Public’s view, what makes me a scofflaw bicyclist isn’t the way that I ride, it’s the fact that I ride.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • 9watts April 3, 2017 at 5:07 pm

          Excellent post!

          Recommended Thumb up 0