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The Monday Roundup: Artcrank b’day, good bike laws, bad air, a transit scam, and more

Posted by on July 10th, 2017 at 9:33 am

Welcome to Monday.

I regret not being in the office on Friday after dropping the Oregon bike tax bomb. I was on the road covering a bike ride in McMinnville. As such, I wasn’t able to respond to all your comments, requests and tweets as I would have liked. Sorry!

So let’s re-engage shall we? To start things off let’s review some of the best things we came across on the web last week…

We need better bike laws: While Oregon decided to tax bikes, advocates in Delaware helped pass a “bicycle friendly” set of laws that includes a safer passing measure, a provision that allows bicycle users to yield at stops signs, and more.

Artcrank turns 10!: Remember that cool bike-themed poster show that came to Portland a few times? Artcrank is celebrating a decade of success.

Family biking info: When you starting biking with kids, the more information and tips you have the better. Check out the new Family Biking Guide from the SF Bicycle Coalition.

Fatal crash on rural Oregon road: 32-year-old Seattle resident Katie Jenks died as a result of what appears to be a non-auto related crash while biking outside of Bend last week.

Transit idea con: That crazy Chinese-born transit idea of a bus that would straddle auto traffic turned out to be a scam.

Just ride bikes: The world keeps trying to come up with ideas for fast, eco-friendly, efficient urban travel — and the simple bicycle keeps coming out on top.


Better buses in SF too: Is it just me or does it appear that forward-thinking cities are competing on better bus service these days? Check out San Francisco’s progress.

Going beyond modal silos: This excellent rumination on mobility freedom from Tony Dutzik of Frontier Group speaks to breaking artificial divisions and looking for common ground while also acknowledging the impacts our mobility decisions have on others.

No more gas in France: By 2040 France hopes to ban gas-powered vehicles.

Cars as weapons: People have been killing other people with their cars for over a century now; but it took the threat from terrorists doing it in order for cities to get serious about protecting citizens from the threat.

Working, even with helmets: As Vancouver’s “Mobi” bike share system turns one year old it appears to be doing O.K. despite operating with a mandatory helmet law that many said would lead to its demise.

The air we breathe: The New York Times shares insights into research that shows separated bikeways allow bicycle users to breathe fewer toxic auto emissions — something Portland researchers have also uncovered. And yes, the benefits of cycling outweigh the risks.

Insert loved one here: A creative advocacy campaign from Great Britain encourages people to “insert a loved one” into sketchy street scenarios as a way to create urgency for better bikeways.

Thank to all the newsmakers and to everyone who sent in suggestions.

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

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

  • bikeninja July 10, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Love the Sunday Car Free Zones in Paris. I think this could work in Portland, if well located.

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    • Adam
      Adam July 10, 2017 at 11:39 am

      We really need to take the concept of Sunday Parkways to the next level. Instead of routing people along already low traffic streets, we should instead use the events to showcase what a car-free city could really feel like. Imagine how transformative it would feel to have, for example, Division between 12th and Chavez completely car-free for a day.

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      • Spiffy July 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm

        the Division Street Fair already gave a glimpse… how’d the businesses do during that? now just expand it to further down the street…

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    • David Hampsten July 10, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      As much as this idea will help those living in urban areas, there are some rather unpleasant long-term consequences to this policy of eliminating gasoline-powered cars in France specifically – most of France’s electricity comes from nuclear, the waste of which last pretty much for forever.

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      • Bikeninja July 10, 2017 at 12:20 pm

        We could solve this by not replacing the oil powered cars with electric ones but with bikes.

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        • VRU July 11, 2017 at 6:49 am

          or maybe…just maybe…we will use a mix of modes instead of just one.

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      • Chris I July 10, 2017 at 2:15 pm

        GHG emissions are the greatest threat humanity currently faces. Once we develop a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels, we can start shutting down these power plants.

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        • 9watts July 10, 2017 at 10:33 pm

          “Once we develop a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels,”

          That approach is a surefire way to sit on our hands. I think you’ve got it backwards – We already have alternatives; the problem is that we don’t take them seriously because we, by and large, don’t take climate change seriously.

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  • El Biciclero July 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

    From the Bend/Terrebonne crash story:

    “‘…there is no evidence to suggest there was any contact with another vehicle or any other obstructions.’

    ‘There is evidence to suggest that there may be a mechanical issue relating to her bicycle,’ Dizney said.

    The investigation is continuing, he said, but Jenks was not wearing a helmet or protective clothing when she was found.”

    (emphasis mine)

    One of the things I dislike about the definition of vehicular assault in Oregon is that it requires “contact” to apply. It is very easy for a driver to come within inches of a bicyclist, causing the bicyclist’s evasive maneuvers—or sheer panic—to land them in the ditch. I would be curious to know what evidence of a mechanical issue was found, and who evaluated said evidence to make that determination.

    Also, I wonder why this account went beyond even the “wasn’t wearing a helmet” template to include “or protective clothing”. What? What “protective clothing” do we now expect bicyclists to wear? Body armor?

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    • John Lascurettes July 10, 2017 at 10:46 am

      All thoughts I had while reading the piece.

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    • David Hampsten July 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

      “There is evidence to suggest that there may be a mechanical issue relating to her bicycle,” Dizney said.

      As much as I might agree with you about a car swerving at her as a real possibility, equally she could have hit a rock or other piece of debris that could have both blown her tire and thrown her against the rocks in the ditch. It does happen. I’ve had friends hurt this way, even with a broken collar bone, and in certain circumstances, for example a steep embankment, sharp rocks, and/or no helmet, it’s reasonable to assume it could be fatal. Some crashes are indeed “accidents,” insofar as another person may not have been responsible. Even without distractions, she may have been tired or “zoned out” while riding – we all do that at some time.

      As tragic as it is, we all have to exit at some point. Better to do it while doing something you enjoy, and exit before you know it. I’m kinda jealous of her.

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      • BB July 10, 2017 at 11:27 am

        **comment deleted by moderator**

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      • CaptainKarma July 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        I can’t imagine talking so glibly about someone’s loved one “exiting”.

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        • Skip July 10, 2017 at 2:12 pm

          I’m not sure one can argue that she was enjoying herself while “exiting” if her last experience was the terrified realization that she was heading off-road (there is a lot of gravel in that area) – or if she was trying to avoid being driven off the road.

          This stretch of road provides basically a paint line heading westbound past the small nature reserve where the report says the accident was located. (Here is the google map location) (sorry, I don’t know how to insert pictures)


          It is a very exposed location with, presumably, fast moving, if occasional, traffic. No matter what happened out there, it is very sad.

          My sincerest condolences go out to her family and loved ones.

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        • David Hampsten July 10, 2017 at 9:07 pm

          CaptainKarma (and anyone else), sorry if I’ve offended you. Was it my phrasing or was it my talking about death that disturbed you most?

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        • wsbob July 11, 2017 at 9:51 am

          “…glibly…” c karma

          Question: what to you, does ‘glibly’ mean? Here’s a definition of ‘glib’ from the free dictionary app created and offered by, I believe Stanford U students:

          “…Marked by lack of intellectual depth…” wordweb

          hampsten wrote:

          “…As tragic as it is, we all have to exit at some point. Better to do it while doing something you enjoy, and exit before you know it. I’m kinda jealous of her.”

          That’s not an original thought, but is one, people for centuries, maybe since the time of humankind have had, and celebrated as at least, sage advice for the pursuit of a vibrant, meaningful life. Mountain climbers, downhill skiers, freedom fighters, and bikers, both motored and pedaled to name a few, all have acknowledged this thought as a reality of what they do. Life is short…better get on with it despite some risk involved. Think long and hard about people that pass on from this life, lying on a hospital bed, stuck with a bunch of tubes in them.

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      • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 3:02 pm

        Agree with your comment. Mechanical problem could be anything – something caught in front wheel caused it to stop so bike flipped, just ran off the pavement and did not recover causing a crash, broken front axle, blown tire, handlebar came loose causing loss of control, frame weld cracked, etc. Hopefully we will get more information – maybe it will help others to be alert to the problem. My condolences to the family.

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    • shirtsoff July 10, 2017 at 11:16 am

      I have so many concerns with the press person’s phrasing in that article, but to answer your question.. I always drive my bicycle with gloves on. I’ve had scraped my palms twice in the past two decades due to not wearing cycling gloves. I’ve also destroyed a pair of gloves during that time as well. I’d recommend “protective clothing” in the form of padded gloves. Now back to the article.. it doesn’t sound at all as though gloves would have helped this person and I too wonder what the heck the author meant by that phrase since helmet usage was already mentioned.

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      • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 3:05 pm

        Ditto for gloves. I’ve arrived at a stop sign and been unable to get my feet out of toe clips causing me to fall over and hit the ground. Hands took a beating, elbow too. Of course a fall while moving will do even more damage to hands, and other parts.

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    • wsbob July 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      Your expectations of this brief Seattle tv station’s report on this collision, and info in it from quoted statements by the Deschutes County sheriff’s office deputies, don’t seem reasonable, but do seem excessive.

      Here’s a bike crash to which presently, known witnesses if there were any, have not been found, and to whom the DCSO has made an open appeal to come forward. According to the story, already, the sheriff’s dept has committed a lot of time to investigating the crash:

      “…The investigation prompted closure of the road’s westbound lane for about 3 1/2 hours. Flaggers from the Deschutes Count Road Department directed alternating traffic.”

      The photo caption for that story doesn’t say the photo is a shot of the crash location, so what about the actual location that may or may not have contributed to the crash occurrence, is a question to wonder about. Whether there was more of a shoulder than we see in the picture. Reporting that:

      “..There were no apparent witnesses to the crash, the sergeant said, “and there is no evidence to suggest there was any contact with another vehicle or any other obstructions.” …” .

      …is not saying that there was no possibility that, for example, someone driving a motor vehicle might have somehow contributed either deliberately or unintentionally to the occurrence of this collision. It is saying that at present, the DCSO doesn’t have any evidence to indicate such a thing happened.

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      • El Biciclero July 10, 2017 at 2:34 pm

        Not sure what “excessive” expectations of this report you are thinking of.

        Things I actually criticized, directly or indirectly: Wording of Oregon law pertaining to vehicular assault; inclusion of the words “or protective clothing” in the report.

        Questions I asked directly or indirectly: Was there another vehicle involved, regardless of lack of contact? What evidence of mechanical failure was observed, and who determined that it was a pre-crash “failure” rather then crash-induced damage? What other “protective clothing” are we now expecting bicyclists to wear?

        I can’t see anything “excessive” there, but please tell me more about my motives and thoughts.

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        • wsbob July 10, 2017 at 8:36 pm

          The following remarks of yours are part of what I’m referring to:

          “…Questions I asked directly or indirectly: Was there another vehicle involved, regardless of lack of contact? What evidence of mechanical failure was observed, and who determined that it was a pre-crash “failure” rather then crash-induced damage? …” el bic

          The tv station story, is not a complete sheriff’s dept investigation report on the crash. Statements made by sheriff’s dept personnel and quoted in the story, may not have been drawn from a report made on the collision after it was fully investigated…I’ll venture to say, most likely weren’t. In the story, a sherif’s sergeant is quoted as saying there’s evidence to ‘suggest’…that there ‘may’ be a mechanical failure with the bicycle of the person that was riding. The sergeant didn’t say with certainty that the evidence to which he referred, caused a mechanical failure prior to the crash, as you apparently are speculating.

          You seemed to be expecting way more info from the DCSO, via this tv station news story, than to me seems reasonable. If your were reflecting on details disclosed, which you had read in a full sheriff’s dept report of the collision, your questions might be reasonable.

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          • El Biciclero July 11, 2017 at 2:03 pm

            Ah. I’m only asking questions that this report raises in my mind. I’m certainly not expecting a preliminary newspaper/TV report to detail the conclusions of a complete investigation. Again, my only criticism/expectation of the actual report is that I wish the helmet/”protective clothing” statement had been left out.

            Now I do wonder about the questions I asked regarding possible non-contact motor vehicle involvement and the “mechanical failure” evidence, and I was wondering/hoping out loud that those lines of investigation will be pursued diligently as far as they can be taken. Those are my expectations of any law enforcement agency investigating a fatal crash.

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            • wsbob July 11, 2017 at 3:10 pm

              I think people reading the news, should consider the source, regarding what they feel they can reasonably expect for details. As media sources go, personally, on a hierarchy of sorts, I feel local tv news reporting tends to mostly fall somewhere below print reporting in terms of detail and depth. Routine reporting stories like this particular item about the collision out in Deschutes County aren’t investigative journalism…they’re just quick grab reports to let people know that something happened, lacking the time and opportunity to explore the kind of questions about the collision that you raised.

              Sure…lots of people probably would like answers from the sheriff’s dept about the kind of questions you raised about this collision. As I wrote earlier, the dept already has committed the amount of work hours involved in closing down the road for three and half hours while its staff investigated the collision. They may well have come to more definitive answers than they could offer to the public in the tv news story q and a. Who is going to go to the dept to find out what it determined through its full investigation once the investigation is complete and the info in it is available to the public?

              Just a reminder, that many areas of Oregon are seriously strapped for operating funds. What’s it cost to do a three and a half hour road closure, and have sheriff’s dept staff conduct a full investigation of road incidents like this traffic collision? I’m afraid it’s lots of money, which many counties and municipalities in the state are hard pressed to come up with. Bike tourism in rural Oregon probably is growing, and it could be, should be good for everyone. As with much else though, growth often carries with it complexities and consequences that have to be addressed, such as potential for increase in incidence of collisions, all of which should be fully be investigated. What’s it going to cost to consistently do that, and how do the people of this state pay for it?

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              • 9watts July 11, 2017 at 6:33 pm

                “What’s it cost to do a three and a half hour road closure”

                That really made a big impression on you, didn’t it?

                Me, I’m not impressed by 3-1/2 hrs unless we all learn something useful from the taxpayers’ money being spent in that fashion, but if history is any lesson we almost never learn anything that contradicts, or further clarifies the boilerplate phrases that make it into the first local news stories. Bikeportland going back to the very beginning is full of these stories that raise questions that never get answered. And justice? Well we can mostly forget about justice for people cycling who are hit, or blown off the road, or assaulted.

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              • wsbob July 11, 2017 at 10:54 pm

                ““What’s it cost to do a three and a half hour road closure”

                That really made a big impression on you, didn’t it?

                Me, I’m not impressed by 3-1/2 hrs unless we all learn something useful from the taxpayers’ money being spent in that fashion, but if history is any lesson we almost never learn anything that contradicts, or further clarifies the boilerplate phrases that make it into the first local news stories. …” 9watts

                …watts, you’re doing a lot of whining, and not a whole lot more. You claim you want in depth investigation of collisions, and then when some police dept or county, or some lawyer conducts one, you still complain, going on and on about the results and conclusions not meeting your expectations. If you don’t like what they’re doing and think you can do a better job, get busy. Maybe you can follow in the footsteps of muckrakers like Erin Brokovitch, Ralp Nader and many others that actually find ways to have the words from their heads and mouths get things done. You crab and whine about other people’s efforts while you sit around doing nothing. Do something constructive, watts, or at least try to keep a civil tongue.

                You fool around being bitter because you’re allowed to here on bikeportland, ridiculing people whose views don’t agree with yours, insensitive to real life concerns of people paying the bills. Yes, people should think about what it means from a budgetary sense, to be able do the kind of things necessary to conduct thorough investigations of collisions. Investigation of collisions is something I gather that most readers of bikeportland, including its owner-editor-writer, would like more of to happen, but that’s going to be difficult to do if the money to do it is not there.

                Will there even be a follow up story, somewhere, by some media outlet, about this collision? I wonder. Will many people even contact the DCSO to thank staff there for their efforts and to ask about the full investigative report? I doubt it. A Seattle resident dies riding a bike on a rural road in Oregon: that’s a serious incident in a number of ways. Did any Oregon media outlets cover this incident? I hope so, but given the state of Oregon news reporting, if they didn’t it wouldn’t surprise me.

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              • 9watts July 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm

                “You crab and whine about other people’s efforts while you sit around doing nothing”

                Funny coming from you.

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        • 9watts July 10, 2017 at 10:37 pm

          your interlocutor resists patterns, does not welcome inferences that past experiences might suggest treating these kind of crash analyses with caution, skepticism, or even suspicion.

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        • wsbob July 11, 2017 at 10:06 am

          bic….note that I responded to your question, last night at 8:36 pm…and here it is 10:00am the following day and my response still is not out of moderation. Just to let you know I’m trying to answer people’s questions asked of me, in a timely manner.

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    • Dan A July 10, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      By “protective clothing”, maybe they mean a one-ton cage with crumple zones?

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    • Al July 10, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      I was run off a rural road by a van and subsequently crashed. The driver’s actions were entirely intentional. Except for my recollection of the event, there would not have been any evidence of a vehicle being complicit in my crash. The police officer taking my report was dismissive and actually admitted that because nothing would come of the report, I should “find the vehicle and key it.” This after I just finished explaining that the vehicle was a contractor van and the driver was not the owner. When I approached an attorney, I was told that because I did not sustain injuries requiring medical attention, there were no damages for which to sue and recommended against pursuing the matter through the courts. Bicycle damages were deemed insignificant enough to sue over as well.

      While this was 2 decades ago, little has changed in such circumstances for bicyclists and I found this article and others reporting on this incident to be entirely tone deaf.

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      • Skip July 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm

        Sorry to hear about your experience. Sounds like a raw deal all around.

        There has been one significant change in the last couple of decades — the invent of small, portable video cameras, bike or helmet mounted, or even the use of the camera on your phone (assuming you’ve bought a new phone in the last 20 years:).

        Nothing wins a he said/she said argument – or goes over better in court – than a video evidencing a road rage incident.

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        • Al July 10, 2017 at 3:28 pm

          Good point and one I considered recently since I have a GoPro and it has enough memory and battery life to last for the vast majority of rides. However, had I used it in the last 20 years, and tens of thousands of miles, I still would not have recorded video that would prove useful. All of those hours mounting/dismounting the camera, charging it and so on would have been for nothing. This assuming even that a video would have captured relevant aspects of the incident. In my case, the van pulled up from behind and proceeded to squeeze me against a rather formidable curb. When I attempted to hop the curb, my rear wheel didn’t clear and I went down into a grassy ditch. A handlebar mounted camera would likely have recorded a bunch of grass and blue sky and nothing of the vehicle. I would have needed a rear facing camera for that. I couldn’t even get the license plate. All I could identify was the contractor logo and the contractor van ID which should have been sufficient for the police to ID the driver.

          Perhaps a more convenient product exists, one which can be charged on the bike or something? Anyone know of anything like this? Perhaps helmet mounted with a front and back view? This would need to be convenient for daily use even by a commuter.

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          • BobA July 11, 2017 at 7:45 am

            I have a Fly6. It combines a rear red blinky with a video camera. Resolution is good enough to be able to read license plates of overtaking vehicles. It also will continue recording for an hour then shut itself off after changing from vertical to horizontal. Attaches to seat post, just under my little seat bag.

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        • Pete July 10, 2017 at 11:26 pm

          Two changes… the second being the introduction of “bicyclist harassment” ordinances onto a few city’s books. While a very small step, they allow an individual to file civil claims against a harasser – provided, of course, convincing enough evidence to convince a judge there was identity and malicious intent.

          Enter the first change you mentioned, though I have two GoPros and a RideEye and remain unconvinced that they would be terribly effective should something force myself or my family to deal with the law… let alone a hassle to tangle with regularly.

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  • bikeninja July 10, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Unfortunetly there are several mechanical malfunctions that could lead to this tragic result on this type of terrain. Failed brakes, a front tire blowout, a poorly tightened front wheel coming out of the dropouts due to a bump, or disc brake torque out. And possibly a previously damaged carbon fork failing catastrophically. Thankfully most of these things are rare, but all of them should leave evidence so it should not be a mystery for long.

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    • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      All possible scenarios. I think about things like that when I have the occasion to ride 40+ mph down a steep rural hill! It’s fun, but could have serious consequences.

      Other things that could cause you to run off the road would be avoiding an animal, or a big vehicle (truck, bus, or RV) going by fast and blowing you off the road.

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  • wsbob July 10, 2017 at 11:40 am

    I’m not sure from the story linked in today’s roundup, how or on what kind of timeline, The objectives and requirements of the “Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act”, assuming that state’s governor signs off on it, would become laws for road use.

    The act covers a number of issues associated with road use while riding a bike: passing of people biking by people driving…people biking being allowed to roll through stop signs rather than stop…harassment of people biking by some of the people driving. The act also seeks to clarify use of the road by people biking, I guess meaning, what areas of the road they legally have a right to use.

    On the harassment issue part of this act, here’s a link to another story that notes what L.A. wrote for law to address harassment of people biking:

    This story also reflects seriously I think, about the likelihood people in Delaware will become widely aware of the act’s provisions:

    “…Even though HB-185 (if passed) will see little to no public education — never mind enforcement — strong language is still critical for incident reporting. …” 1st state

    No public education of new laws that may be introduced by the new act?

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    • B. Carfree July 10, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      When does Oregon ever do meaningful public education for new roadway use laws? I can think of one and only one time: the slow down or change lanes for stopped emergency vehicles. We got billboards and permanent signage for that one. For safe passing of cyclists? Crickets. Even many cops I speak with have never heard of it until I give them the number so they can look it up.

      Since we moved to lifetime licensing, we have no way of informing motorists of changes in the law. This is a real problem because the laws are changed in response to the damage being done by those same motorists. We really need to require people to retake the knowledge test (at least) when they renew their license if for no other purpose than to help expose them to the changes in the law since they were sixteen.

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      • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 3:15 pm

        I’d go for education and a test for new law changes. I suspect few drivers know what all the green paint, and other bike road symbols mean in Portland.

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        • Dan A July 10, 2017 at 6:54 pm

          Few cyclists do either. I regularly encounter people riding up Johnson in the door zone, rather than right down the middle of the sharrows like they’re supposed to.

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      • wsbob July 10, 2017 at 8:52 pm

        “When does Oregon ever do meaningful public education for new roadway use laws? …” b carfree

        Oregon, and the nation, have done, and can do public service announcements about road use laws. A long ago introduced but famous example are the ‘Buckle Up’ seatbelt campaigns. On television, there have been and currently are running, anti-DUI and anti-distracted driving PSA’s.

        It seems to me that Oregon could similarly effectively get the word out through some good PSA’s, about how the law requires people driving to safely safe pass people people riding bikes. And how people biking could enhance their ability to safely use the road through such things as conspicuous and effective use of hand signals, correctly performed lane changes and stopping at traffic control devices.

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    • David Hampsten July 10, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      NC passed a similar set of laws last year. The real issue here is enforcement as much as education – even the police are unaware of both the new laws and the old laws regarding cycling, let alone the public. In general, unlike Oregon, motorists here do not “see” what they are not looking for: bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and even other drivers. You can pass all the laws in the world, but it’s not going to make your world much safer, without a rigorous mix of education, enforcement, engineering, equity, etc.

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  • JeffS July 10, 2017 at 11:44 am

    I don’t understand why cabs get to use the red lanes in SF.

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    • Chris I July 10, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      If cabs can use it, then why not HOV 2+? No special treatment.

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  • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Lars is talking about the bike tax RIGHT NOW on 101.1 FM.
    1:29 pm

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    • Chris I July 10, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      And you are probably the only person that frequents this blog who is listening.

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      • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 3:17 pm

        Most are low-information voters. I’m not. I get all sides – even on Lars show he allows nay-sayers to go to the front of the line to talk. Call him up and give him some stuff – convince him he is wrong – he is fair. 🙂

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        • bikeninja July 10, 2017 at 3:42 pm

          For a few years I forced myself to listen to Lars as a way of seeing all sides of the political perspective. After a while I stopped being able to stomach it, not because Lars was not fair, or did not allow people to disagree but because he is such a predictable voice for the neoliberal agenda that has been foisted upon us since Reagan was elected. This message is that the answer to everything is privatization and and everything can be valued in terms of money. He is an errand boy for the market based economic and political model developed by Milton Friedman and pushed by the Chicago School of economists. This “Randian” perspective, that anything is good that makes money and anything is bad that doesn’t has put us in the pickle we now find ourselves in.

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          • Chris I July 10, 2017 at 6:34 pm

            You, sir, sound like a “low information voter”.

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            • Dan A July 10, 2017 at 6:59 pm

              Speaking of “low information voters”, the Pew Research Center just did a study of 2000 people and found that, of the Republicans sampled, only 10% think that the national news media has a positive effect on our country. And only 36% think that colleges and universities have a positive effect.

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              • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 8:55 pm

                I’d say that those 10% and 36% were the less-intelligent Rs. The mainstream media is so biased that it is not worth listening to it. And colleges are producing indoctrinated zombies with no ability to think, no knowledge of how things work, a totally unrealistic view of the world, have no appreciation for the USA, think all nations are superior to the USA, and on and on and on. Both are a huge threat to the survival of the nation.

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  • bikeninja July 10, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Looks like the decision makers in France have realized what the smart independent geologists and energy thinkers have been saying for many years now. For reasons of long term declines in legacy fields, rapid depletion in unconventional fields, and EROI there will be very little economicaly useful oil to be had by 2040. We would do well to follow France and plan for a petroleum-free transportation system by then also.

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    • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      Are they planning on utilizing mostly nuclear energy?
      On the oil, that’s what people have been saying for decades; at least since the 70s – “we’re about to run out of oil”. I think it will eventually become expensive but would not predict when – they find more every day. We all love our cars. I do anyway. Nothing like driving across the western USA, out in the middle of no-where watching the beautiful scenery go by; and stopping to enjoy some of it!

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      • bikeninja July 10, 2017 at 3:52 pm

        The predictions about oil depletion made since the 70’s have mostly been correct. The work of M King Hubbert predicted that world conventional oil production would peak in 2005 has proven to be true. We have become desperate enough to try and use sources of marginal thermodynamic value like shale and tar sands but these have proven to cost more to get out of the ground and refine than the World economy is willing to pay for them, hence the tight oil industry has been losing money and racked up Trillions ( with a T) in debt since the price drop in 2013. Even with money losing tight oil we discovered 2.4 billion barrels of conventional oil in 2016 compared to the 25.1 Billion barrels that we used. As an example, Mexico used to be an oil exporter and has now become an oil importer. The same is true of the UK and will soon be true for Norway. There is of course many points of view and debate on the economics of oil, but it is virtually certain that people are not going to be driving gas powered cars and diesel pickups in 2040 no matter how much they enjoy them.

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        • David Hampsten July 10, 2017 at 5:15 pm

          Then you must find the idea of the USA, the world’s biggest consumer of energy, now being a net oil exporter quite ironic.

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          • Bikeninja July 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm

            This is a common misconception, in actuality the U.S uses 18 million barrels per day and only produces 9, the export myth is based on reexporting refined fuels and natural gas liquids.

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            • 9watts July 10, 2017 at 10:46 pm

              Thank you, Bikeninja, for noting this (again).
              Quite amazing really that this fanciful notion ever took hold. Tells you something about how wishful our discourse sometimes is.

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        • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 5:41 pm

          Are you referring to the pickle which includes things like PERS is billions in the hole (in most states), the US government is trillions in the hole, Illinois is bankrupt, SS is not in good shape and may not be there for the old folks in the near future, Medicare is not in good shape, Government-mandated health insurance is unaffordable and collapsing and making health care costs soar, if interest rates rise we will spend a huge chunk of taxes just paying interest on the debt but if they don’t rise worse problems may occur, government-mandated loose lending standards caused the 2008 economic crash, government-involvement in education/loans has driven higher education costs up to be unaffordable, etc.

          Yes, you have a point, but the profit system has proven to be better in most cases than government run systems.

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          • Kyle Banerjee July 11, 2017 at 6:31 am

            I’m not so sure even if it is undeniable that governments are a mess everywhere.

            For profit systems frequently use bankruptcy as a financial tool. Our current President has used this tool himself on several occasions to stick someone else with his costs after reaping the benefits.

            Even when this mechanism isn’t used intentionally, huge and well established companies fail all the time. Google, Amazon, and Apple might be doing great now, but that might be totally different in a few decades.

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            • Big Knobbies July 11, 2017 at 2:46 pm

              Yes, huge companies do fail all the time. That’s a good thing – if a company isn’t profitable, then it’s usually best for it to go away. But our prosperity and high standard of living is due mostly to innovation by private industry, entrepreneurs, etc. We need some government infrastructure for business for business to operate in, and we have that.

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              • Pete July 12, 2017 at 11:32 pm

                “But our prosperity and high standard of living is due mostly to innovation by private industry, entrepreneurs, etc.”

                That, and the printing of free money known as “QE” when we had to bail out the banks, insurance companies, and automobile companies that were over-leveraged by 2007.

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              • Pete July 12, 2017 at 11:36 pm

                “if a company isn’t profitable, then it’s usually best for it to go away.”

                No, if it isn’t profitable, then it’s best to change strategy and tactics. If it goes away instead, so do the jobs and secondary economies that go with it (suppliers, sandwich shops, etc.)… and so does its responsibility for debt owed, which was the main point Kyle made.

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        • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 5:42 pm

          Oil is cheap because there is a glut of it today. Probably temporary, but that is the reason.

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          • Dan A July 10, 2017 at 7:01 pm

            Oh, and because we subsidize its production and protection.

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            • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 8:43 pm

              I think there’s a glut because OPEC, not sure who else, wanted to cause the price to drop so the US fracking would not be viable; or maybe it was the USA driving the cost down to harm the Russian economy, can’t remember all the details. Anyway they increased production to cause prices to decline. They will come back. And eventually we will go more toward electric, but right now they are an insignificant, but possibly growing, portion of the car market.

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      • Matt July 10, 2017 at 6:17 pm

        “We all love our cars. I do anyway. Nothing like driving across the western USA, out in the middle of no-where watching the beautiful scenery go by; and stopping to enjoy some of it!”

        I do not love my car. I do love my bike. Coincidentally, riding a bike in the middle of nowhere and taking in the beautiful scenery is WAY better than doing it in a car. So, inasmuch as it’s a more enjoyable, more immersive, more peaceful, more satisfying experience–you’re right; it is nothing like driving!

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        • Big Knobbies July 10, 2017 at 8:38 pm

          I like both but I can see a lot more and go to much more exotic places in the car, plus it’s comfy. I have ridden a lot in wild places on my bike – it’s great to ride to the top of a mountain on a FS road, and coast down – you can fly! And you can sneak up on big game standing in the middle of the road which is cool. But, nothing like relaxing to good tunes, a big gulp, and watching the western USA go by out the window. I’ll take both. 🙂

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        • David Hampsten July 10, 2017 at 9:28 pm

          I’m a train person myself. Bikes are okay, I have 5 myself, no car, never learned to drive, but there’s nothing like a train for seeing the backside of everything, the parts no one wants you to look at. Plus you can sit back, read, listen to music, or snooze if you like. Cascades Talgo, Empire Builder through North Dakota, ICE through the Ruhr & Mittelreine canyon, TGV through the Loire, milk-run trains in Italy, Virgin Rail, the Piedmont here in NC, all are wonderful.

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          • Big Knobbies July 11, 2017 at 2:51 pm

            Trains are OK, but no freedom on a train. Can’t stop and look when/where you want. Can’t go on your own schedule – have to go on the train schedule. Very limited routes available.

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            • 9watts July 11, 2017 at 6:36 pm

              “but no freedom on a train”

              comment of the weak?


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              • Big Knobbies July 11, 2017 at 9:52 pm

                It’s a big ‘ol country and trains don’t cover much of it. Nothing wrong with them if that’s what you want to do. Given the choice, my first preference is driving. Airlines get you there quickly which is nice, but they’re a huge pain now-days, and less freedom going that way. Cars? Total freedom – go when/where you want, take what you want (backpack, bike, both, firearms, books, beer…..), stop and stay where you want, etc. Cars are total freedom – that’s why they are popular with just about everybody.

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              • 9watts July 11, 2017 at 10:00 pm

                “Cars? Total freedom – go when/where you want, take what you want, stop and stay where you want, etc. Cars are total freedom – that’s why they are popular with just about everybody.”

                Just like in those car commercials.

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              • Pete July 12, 2017 at 11:15 pm

                Cars are free of just about everything except traffic, pollution, and expense. Oh, and physics.

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  • Champs July 11, 2017 at 9:58 am

    I don’t believe this is the original article I loved so much, but just like the “straddle bus,” here’s a piece about Elon Musk’s plans for the Boring Company to tunnel cars through Los Angeles at high speed and the flaws sensible people could see from a mile away.

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    • Big Knobbies July 11, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      Good luck to Elon on that scheme. Nothing inherently wrong with an underground tunnel I guess (unless it’s near a major fault line, perhaps), but his idea of a vast network of them is likely a tad unrealistic from an economics viewpoint. As once comment said, he probably just wants a direct route from SpaceX to the airport. If he can get some government funds to pay for it, he might get ‘er done.

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