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The Monday Roundup: Bike share war, a bad ‘joke’, targeted ticketing, and more

Posted by on April 10th, 2017 at 10:28 am

This week’s Monday Roundup has been made possible by Bike Index, bike registration that works.

Here are the best stories we came across last week…

Hello, Portland, are you there?: The city of Edmonton approved a $7.5 million network of downtown protected bike lanes six months ago and they have already broken ground. Meanwhile, it’s been four years since Portland said yes to a similar project and we are yet to put a line on a map.


Cycle freight: The Guardian’s Peter Walker (author of the wonderful new book, How Cycling Can Save The World) breaks down how and why bike-powered freight can help cities.

Put down the phone, loser!: I almost don’t like reading about how bad the distracted driving epidemic has gotten; but ignoring it will only make it worse. We need all hands on deck for this one (and we need to start calling people out for the social menace this has become).

Hit-and-run decline: In Los Angeles, more undocumented residents tended to stay at the scene of traffic crashes once they had driver’s licenses.

Baby steps: Great news! After years of being named “FAST Lane,” the official blog of the US Department of Transportation has been renamed “Connections.” Long overdue.

No big deal: Oh look, Atlanta removed a major freeway and the sky didn’t fall.

Get your shovel-ready projects ready: The Trump Circus says only “shovel-ready” projects need apply for any forthcoming federal funding (if it ever materializes).

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Another cycling legend gone: Last week it was Mike Hall, now another legend of American bike racing is dead. Steve Tilford raced and won all manner of cycling events over a four-decade career. He died while driving a van with a friend. RIP Steve Tilford.

Why own when you can share: Article from a car-sharing expert reads like an advocacy toolkit for people who want to ween America off car ownership and into a shared-car future.

Just kidding!: A lawmaker in Montana thought it’d be a ha-ha funny joke to put a $25 tax on bicycle tourists into a bill. He was wrong.

Bike share wars: The business of bike share is thriving in New York City, so much so that competitors to Citi Bike want a piece of the pie.

Targeted ticketing: Black bike advocates in Chicago say traffic stops are racially motivated: “There’s no way they account for 64 times as many citations being issued in lower-income, majority-black Austin as compared to affluent, majority-white, and bike-crazy Lincoln Park,” says reporter John Greenfield.

Street harassment is a thing: It’s way too common from women on foot and on bikes to be harassed on the street. Here’s how you can fight it.

Free parking kills cities: Want your city to thrive? Reduce auto parking, charge a lot more for it, and if all else fails put the parking in a dank underground garage. A must-read from The Economist on how free parking makes it impossible for cities to reach their potential.

He’s really attached to his bike: The amazing story and photos of Tony Pizzo, a man who rode a single-speed bicycle across the country in 1919-1920 while handcuffed to it.

A ‘veloway’ in Melbourne: Depending on your perspective this “aerial veloway” coming to Melbourne is either a brilliant piece of cycling infrastructure or a white flag of surrender to the auto-centric infrastructure below it.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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36 Comments
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    Champs April 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Atlanta didn’t so much remove a major highway as it closed the highway after a major section was destroyed by arson.

    Australia can build an aerial veloway, but it’s hard not to be cynical about the country’s hostility, both natural and cultural. If they build it, I hope that overhead coverage makes the final design (google “swooping season”).

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    rick April 10, 2017 at 10:45 am

    It needs to become difficult to obtain and keep a driver’s license. Check other countries.

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    Bjorn April 10, 2017 at 11:02 am

    It is not just staying at the scene. Insurance companies don’t like to insure people who don’t have drivers licenses, which means that allowing people to get a drivers license increases the chances that they will have insurance, which is better for everyone. In oregon around 1 in 10 drivers do not have insurance, and that is a real problem if one of them hits you.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 10, 2017 at 11:45 am

      Interesting counter-argument to rick’s message above.

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        9watts April 10, 2017 at 12:58 pm

        I wonder what the plural of hit-and-run is?

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      rick April 10, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      Giving a license for operating a 4,000 pound device that can be easily used as a weapon should not be taken lightly. There should be giant consequences for hit-and-runs.

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      wsbob April 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      The big picture snapshot with the headline, which I’ll excerpt part of here, ” …California gave driver’s licenses to those here illegally…”, is misleading. California didn’t just hand out driver’s licenses to people here illegally.

      These people became required by new California law, to study for and be tested to meet the states’ requirements for receiving a drivers license; eye test, written test, on the road test. …heck yes, having them meet at least that standard for driving competence, (even though some people feel it’s insufficient), has got to be some improvement in road safety over no testing for competency at all.

      Of course there’s going to be fewer hit and runs, if the person involved in a collision, doesn’t have to worried about being cited for not having a driver’s license. It might have been mentioned, but I didn’t notice in the L.A. times article, whether allowing people here illegally to get drivers licenses, also resulted in a reduction in the number of collisions. It was speculated that the licensing may have helped reduce collisions, due to the training the licensing process offers, but there wasn’t a certainty that this has happened.

      Here’s an excerpt:

      “…Los Angeles Police Capt. Andrew Neiman, who recently took over as the head of the Valley Traffic Division, said numbers in his area have been mixed. Hit-and-runs rose in 2014, 2015 and 2016, he said, but declined by 3% in the first three months of 2017.

      Still, the law was a “win-win for both of the sides,” Neiman said.

      “Common sense says that if you teach people about the rules of the road and provide them with a test, then people are going to be better drivers and exhibit better behavior,” he said. …” L A times

      I think the same rationale expressed in the last paragraph above, could be reasonably applied to people using bikes in traffic for travel. With people using bikes for travel, being under no legal obligation to study and test for road use with a bike, that leaves good reason to suspect this accounts for some of the poor road use by some of the people biking, and for some of the collisions they’re involved in.

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      GlowBoy April 11, 2017 at 7:34 am

      Not only do we need to take away a lot of people’s licenses, but we need to step up the penalties. When I got rear ended by an unlicensed driver years ago (“license? Oh, I don’t have one of those”), I learned that driving without a license is merely a violation in Oregon. It should be a crime.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty April 11, 2017 at 9:32 am

        I agree with you but the ACLU does not; they think driving without a license should not be criminalized.

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          GlowBoy April 12, 2017 at 9:59 am

          I understand the profiling problem, and we need to figure out a good way to address that with criminalization of DWL. But still, vehicles are deadly weapons (as anyone from a Drivers Ed state knows), and a privilege. Wielding one when you’ve lost your license for being a bad driver is as serious as weapons violation as far as I’m concerned.

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    Dan A April 10, 2017 at 11:32 am

    That Steve Tilford incident is bizarre. Semi truck is overturned and laying across the highway, and Steve crashes his van right through the trailer. The trailer is carrying cardboard boxes, so they are mostly unhurt. Shortly afterwards, after they have taken pictures of the initial event, Steve is back in the van getting his dog Tucker out and another semi truck comes along and crashes into the overturned semi and Steve’s van. Somehow Tucker made it out.

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      9watts April 10, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      distracted trucking?

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        dan April 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm

        Apparently it was night time, but still surprised the second trucker didn’t manage to brake before the collision.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 10, 2017 at 2:32 pm

          Maybe he did, and hit at less than cruising speed.

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          Chris I April 10, 2017 at 9:23 pm

          The same goes for Tilford; but out-driving your headlights is basically an American pastime.

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            Monkeysee April 11, 2017 at 6:04 pm

            Perhaps all the vehicles previously crashed had no lights shining? Did you think of that?

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    stephanlindner April 10, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Street harassment: Both my wife and I commute to work by bike. We have similar riding styles and use the same route (Tillamook to Moda Center, then SW waterfront). Yet she gets yelled at about once a week by another (typically male) bicycle rider who thinks that she is doing something wrong (she typically is not), while I never get yelled at.

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      Kyle Banerjee April 10, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      This is borderline creepy. Do different cyclists do the yelling or is it the same one?
      Cyclists yelling at cyclists is just weird (hasn’t happened to me ever)

      What on earth are they accusing her of? I ride through that area every day and have never seen a cyclist do anything that would justify yelling.

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        soren April 10, 2017 at 4:22 pm

        Calling people out was encouraged by many cycling advocates, including the BTA and PDOT/PBOT. In particular, the BTA’s “bike ambassador” program helped promote the idea that misbehavior was a major cause of hostility towards cycling. Mia Birk and others even went so far as to publicly plead that cyclists police misbehavior (e.g. at Ladd’s Addition). IMO, these efforts failed because the idea that “someone can make us all look bad” is rooted in internalized othering. (And there are far too many people cycling for transportation in Portland for us to be “othered” effectively.)

        Speaking for myself, I had pretty much retired from youthful bike scofflowery in the late 90s but this changed when I moved to portland and witnessed so much yelling and harassment. I am a proud bike scofflaw.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgCqz3l33kU

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          Pete April 10, 2017 at 4:50 pm

          “Every day I ride the Tour de F*** U.”

          Classic! Subliminal MASH advertisement, that was. This one’s not so subtle:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqUKWnk_ug0

          But yeah, I agree – although I tend to ride courteously (like when I drive), I firmly believe people’s ignorance of bike-related laws and bicyclist behavior is their own doing, and no matter how many times I wave thank you, people suddenly won’t get the concept of “taking the lane” when necessary.

          If you were the only bicyclist jumping red lights in all of Oregon, I’d still get honked at for signalling and taking the lane at this roundabout 70 miles east of you: https://goo.gl/maps/7CW1GggLGq62.

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          wsbob April 10, 2017 at 6:27 pm

          Maybe not just ‘someone’, but lots of ‘someones’ in Portland, making people that bike look bad.

          Don’t know…I don’t seem to have that problem out in Beaverton. Again today,on the bike, 1pm or so, from West Slope up the hill I came rolling down Canyon Rd from the east. Approaching the Hwy 217 underpass, I signaled, left the bike lane, took the lanes on this 4 lane highway, preparing for a left turn in the left turn lane accessing Beav Town Sq some 500′ or more away. Not a horn toot, or a hand gesture, not a yell. It was like a quiet Sunday morning, even though there were lots of cars around, some very close by.

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            soren April 10, 2017 at 10:44 pm

            what percentage of people who bike commute in portland would be comfortable signaling and taking the lane on a busy 4 lane highway?

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            BB April 12, 2017 at 10:54 am

            What on earth does what one person with a bike’s actions have to do with any other random person with a bike? Or do you always judge people based on the actions of others?

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          Kyle Banerjee April 10, 2017 at 6:52 pm

          Love that song — I’ve owned it for years.

          Despite being a critic of scofflowery, I’ve always believed hassling people is counterproductive. Most people go into fight or flight mode if you escalate things with them — the former is more likely since scofflowery is a deliberate act.

          When I’m in a bike lane and approaching a red light, I go as far left as I can so those who want to turn right or even go through won’t be impeded. I try to be the type of cyclist I want to encounter and hope others will follow suit. But if they have other ideas, I don’t sweat it.

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            soren April 10, 2017 at 7:10 pm

            i almost never experience conflict with drivers when i ride alone in portland. it’s only when i ride with more cautious (slower) riders that i tend to experience hostility or conflict.

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              Kyle Banerjee April 11, 2017 at 6:48 am

              This is also my experience.

              I believe multiple dynamics are at play. While you’re less likely to be perceived as in the way if you’re moving along, riding style is even more important. Motorists are not kind to those perceived to be unpredictable or inconsiderate. Some slower riders also send the wrong signals to motorists.

              You can be very assertive with motorists and they’ll have no problem with it. But some skittery riders repeatedly tell motorists to cut them off via their movement. For example, if you know someone wants to turn and they’ve eased up on the gas as they follow you, slowing down as you approach the intersection tells the motorist you expect them to pass and turn — and many will.

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              Kyle Banerjee April 11, 2017 at 7:11 am

              As an illustration of why riding style is so important, consider cargo bike riders.

              I suspect they get into significantly less conflict than most riders despite the fact that their bikes are big, slow and don’t maneuver well. As a group, they have excellent riding habits and do a great job of communicating their intentions with other road users so they’re easy to work with.

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            El Biciclero April 15, 2017 at 10:08 pm

            “When I’m in a bike lane and approaching a red light, I go as far left as I can so those who want to turn right or even go through won’t be impeded.”

            I don’t move left so drivers won’t be impeded, I do it so they won’t attempt to right hook me from a standstill. If I’m going through, and there is no bike lane, I want through drivers to be impeded momentarily—again, so they don’t surprise me with a right hook. I try to invite drivers to do what I want them to do without them knowing I’m “controlling” them.

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      Middle of the Road Guy April 11, 2017 at 11:02 am

      It’s almost like cyclists can be self-righteous and sexist at the same time!

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    Parking April 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    The free parking article in the Economist is really interesting. Thanks for posting the link.

    The problem is that free parking promotes pollution, sprawl, congestion, wasted taxpayer money, unaffordable housing, unlivable cities and unused transit/biking facilities. What’s the solution?

    It’s not self-driving cars. People will just own multiple cars that will circle around looking for parking and causing driverless traffic jams. None of the car/tech companies really believe we’ll be sharing cars–that would mean they’d sell less stuff and wouldn’t be building huge parking lots for themselves (ie Apple’s new HQ).

    But maybe there is a high tech parking meter solution. Enter your plate number. If you aren’t a resident with a permit, you pay by the hour. Fees escalate to always allow for a few empty spaces.

    Cities stop building parking garages, stop requiring parking spaces with buildings, set parking space maximums and tax parking spaces. Low-income new residents would benefit from cheaper housing without having to pay for a $25,000 parking space baked into their rent by their landlord. Low-income existing residents could benefit by the opportunity to sell their yearly parking permit into an online marketplace managed by the city. The city would get parking revenue to improve transit, biking and walking facilities.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 11, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      Once again… lower development costs do NOT translate into lower rents, but rather higher profits.

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        Chris I April 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        And higher profits lead to more developments, because projects that were not economically viable are now viable. This increases overall housing supply and puts downward pressure on prices.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 12, 2017 at 3:38 pm

          Do you have any evidence that good projects aren’t being built because they are just not quite profitable enough? I see tons of development going on, which suggests that’s not a major problem.

          I’m sure the developers thank you for looking after their welfare.

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    SE April 12, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Kyle Banerjee
    When I’m in a bike lane and approaching a red light, I go as far left as I can so those who want to turn right or even go through won’t be impeded. I try to be the type of cyclist I want to encounter and hope others will follow suit. But if they have other ideas, I don’t sweat it.
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    I do the same thing with moving far left so as to leave drivers room to make a right turn.
    In fact, at the “beg buttons” (typically at the 122nd library) , I wait to hit the button until the majority of vehicles have passed, to impact the fewest amount of drivers.

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      Mark smith April 15, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      I try to inconvenience my oppressors as little as possible.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty April 15, 2017 at 8:30 pm

        We appreciate that.

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