The Monday Roundup: Tech, why words matter, a $35,000 python-wrapped bike, and more

Posted by on July 31st, 2017 at 10:37 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is made possible by Treo Bike Tours, who reminds you to reserve a spot for their upcoming (August 25-27) three-day ‘Journey Through Time’ riding experience.
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Welcome to the week. Everyone’s talking about the heat wave headed our way. Hope you can keep riding through it. Stay tuned for some tips and tricks to stay cool on the bike.

Before we get to last week’s best stories, remember to follow us on Facebook if you don’t already. We’ll be sharing more content there in the future.

Here are the best articles we came across last week…

NYC’s bike boom: What do you get when you combine the biggest bike share system in the U.S., a dense urban form, an aggressive DOT, and the nation’s best transportation reform advocates? More than 450,000 daily bike trips — and all the other immeasurablly positive benefits that come with them.

Hidden housing cost: The title of this piece says it all: “If you’re renting a US city apartment without a car, 16% of your rent pays for parking you don’t need.”

Bike tech and AVs: Researchers think bicycles need to feed data to autonomous vehicles (AVs) in order to prevent the future robocars from inadvertently running over bicycle users.

Feds address speeding: The NTSB released a landmark report on speeding that advocates for the abolishment of 85th percentile speeds (yay!) and includes other important measures to tame America’s motor vehicle menace. And to think, just a year ago the official US DOT blog was named “Fast Lane”.

AV industry power grab? The National Association of City Transportation Officials is sounding the alarm about draft bill language from U.S. House that would let AV companies “self-certify” vehicle safety and prevent local regulatory power.

Automatic doors: Few things show America’s complete lack of sympathy for and understanding of bicycle users than the automatic door opening feature of the Tesla Model X.

E-bike share: We’re watching stationless bike share in Seattle. Now we’ve got eyes on Park City, Utah where they’ve just launched the an e-bike share system.

Don’t work from home: The Wall Street Journal reports that full-time telecommuting is on the decline, just as the City of Portland preps to add a 10 percent “work from home” mode share to its Transportation System Plan performance goals.

$35,000 bikes: A company called Williamson Goods is making bicycles in Detroit with an eye-popping price that covers lots of copper parts and tubes wrapped in hand-sewn python and crocodile skin. No shit.

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Froome’s magic: Fresh off his fifth Tour de France win, Chris Froome’s boss explains why his man is so successful in the pro peloton.

Motor doper: An Italian man was caught at a race with a motor concealed in his frame.

Driving makes us less smart: British researchers say driving more than two hours per day can lead to a drop in IQ.

Mandatory helmets for Citi Bike? A New York lawmaker has proposed legislation that would make helmet use required on all Citi Bike rides. This will either save lives or kill the life of Citi Bike, depending on your perspective.

Hope for the future: Mountain bike racing is the coolest thing in high school sports right now. Minnesota has 100 teams in their league and I can’t wait to bring you the story of Portland’s nascent league.

Power of courtesy: Small town safety PSAs are usually noted for how silly or off-mark they are; but this one from Newport Rhode Island is actually kind of good. And “Do the wave” campaign itself seems smart:

The curse of Ray Scott: That Colorado lawmaker inspired by Oregon’s bike tax has spurred quite a discussion in his state. A newspaper in Aurora says taxing bicycle users could make sense if done with good intentions.

“Jaywalking” no more? A Seattle politician is questioning the effectiveness and necessity of the law that criminalize the behavior of people who don’t cross at intersections.

Then there’s Honolulu: A city in Hawaii wants to lower its walking death rate so they’ve passed an absurd new law that makes it illegal to look at your phone while crossing the street.

Words matter: For many years we’ve used human-centric language on this site for a myriad of reasons. Now there’s research to back up our approach.

Finally, for fun: Did you see this cool graphic posted on the River City Bicycles Instagram? Shows how diverse the riding opportunities — and the bikes — are in Portland

Ride as much or as little or as long or as short as you feel, but ride. Anything.

A post shared by River City Bicycles (@rcbpdx) on

(NOTE: This post originally included an item on teenage head injuries from car crashes. I mischaracterized the research and ultimately decided to remove the item. Sorry for the error. See comments below for more background.)

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

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89 Comments
  • Avatar
    bikeninja July 31, 2017 at 10:58 am

    In my interactions with them, it certainly seems that drivers have had their IQ lowered by riding about in motor cars.

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      Middle of the Road Guy July 31, 2017 at 11:33 am

      The author clearly never watched Repo Man. This was known back then.

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      B. Carfree July 31, 2017 at 11:52 am

      My tired old jokes keep turning up in real studies. Like many long-time cyclists, I’ve been joking that driving makes people dumb for decades. I also used to joke that diet sodas must cause people to be over-weight (mostly as a humorous push-back against unsubstantiated conclusions from poorly-designed clinical research). That one was shown to have a kernel of truth to it a few years ago.

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      resopmok July 31, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Repeating inflammatory “results” such as these do little to advance the conversation about the state of transportation in our rights-of-way, except to sling mud by literally calling people stupid. It’s one thing to make jokes behind closed doors, and another altogether to promote borderline fake news on a blog devoted to transportation advocacy. The bias of this blog is obvious and warranted, but stooping this low is beyond the threshold of good taste.

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        Bikeninja July 31, 2017 at 6:49 pm

        Carl Sagan said,” extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The corollary to this statement is that common and easily observed claims require only modest evidence.

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        Kyle Banerjee August 1, 2017 at 4:16 am

        It appears the actual connection is associated with sedentary behavior — “Researchers investigating how sedentary behaviour affects brainpower found IQ scores fell faster in middle-aged Britons who drove long distances every day…..This research suggests it is bad for your brain, too, perhaps because your mind is less active in those hours….A similar result was also found for those watching TV for more than three hours a day…”

        In any case, calling people stupid doesn’t make them smart or advance anything.

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          El Biciclero August 1, 2017 at 10:31 am

          Maybe it’s not the driving, it’s what one listens to on the radio while driving. If I listen to NPR when I drive, does it cancel out the IQ-lowering effects?

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          wsbob August 5, 2017 at 12:55 am

          Yes, the news item said that long hours of driving, and long hours of tv watching is bad for IQ retention, but fiddling around on the computer, games and whatever, is good for IQ. Could be the start of a great pitch to sell more computers… .

          Well, the item didn’t say ‘fiddling’, but it didn’t say what kind of use of the computer was good for IQ either. I guess we would need to dig up that study those British researchers spent five years conducting, and go through it to try find out what kind of work with the computer they found does not hurt people’s IQ. Seems like half the word’s population today, maybe more of it, is spending some part of their day engaged in using some kind of computer, whether it be their phone, pc, laptop, tablet, or game console. All of their IQ’s must be rising as a result!

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      wsbob August 2, 2017 at 11:46 am

      “In my interactions with them, it certainly seems that drivers have had their IQ lowered by riding about in motor cars.” bikeninja

      Never pass up an opportunity for a sarcastic dig against people that drive? Is that where you’re coming from with that remark? hah-hah…there you go, you got a laugh. Or are you serious, in which case I wish you would have expanded on what you wrote.

      I’ve got to wonder what kind of “…interactions with them…”, as you say, “drivers”…that you’re talking about. Interactions between people using the road mostly are limited to people non-verbally acknowledging each other’s presence, and often waiting varying lengths of time for each other to pass or clear the road, things like that. Mostly, that part of road use works rather well.

      People generally do quite a good job of using the road so their use doesn’t muck up the road’s function for everyone else. Of course, there are exceptions: In slow moving and stop and go traffic, the people that insist on switching back and forth from lane to lane to try to shorten their trip length. Often forces everyone else to brake to let them in, boggling up the movement of long lines of traffic.

      Of all types of traffic conditions, the stop and go type seems to me to be the most boring, but I don’t if it’s to such an extreme that it would lower people’s IQ, permanently. Some of the pollution ingested from surrounding motor vehicles, through enduring that kind of driving, might. Though that type of road use is boring to many people, I think, I also think it takes a fair bit of skill and concentration to do it well so as to avoid a collision and not go completely bonkers. Aren’t skill and ability to concentrate, part of what makes up IQ? I think so.

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        9watts August 2, 2017 at 12:20 pm

        Another way to look at this is that the demands driving a motor vehicle with the proper amount of care and perspicacity among others place on the pilot exceed what most people can supply continuously. This leads to the millions of injuries and tens of thousands of deaths every year we’ve become inured to.

        How exactly this intersects with IQ I’m not going to speculate, but the fact that humans aren’t good at driving safely is pretty hard to deny.

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          wsbob August 5, 2017 at 12:40 am

          “…humans aren’t good at driving safely is pretty hard to deny.” watts

          Actually, people for the most part, are very good at driving. Of course some aren’t but most people are very good drivers given the vast range of types of road infrastructure on which motor vehicles can be used for travel. They tend to be very good also, at saving the lives of many people using the road as vulnerable road users that decline or fail to for various reasons, use the road with the due care for a vulnerable road user in known motor vehicle use settings.

          News items suggesting an unfavorable to people that drive, correlation between driving and IQ stability, are good for a bikeportland readership laugh or two, but that’s about all they’re worth. The news item featured in this Monday Roundup is so brief on details on how the “British researchers” came to their conclusions, that it’s of little value beyond water cooler chatter.

          Can people get bored stupid, depressed and have their mental function falter, sitting in their cars, driving for long hours a day? Sure, some can. Is that kind of mental decline, an actual long term permanent IQ loss, as some people reading this weblog might be jumping up and down to gleefully conclude and cackle about? Long hours of driving probably aren’t contributing to permanent IQ loss, but short term? Very possibly. Long haul truck drivers and city bus drivers, like Portland Trimet’s own, know all about work fatigue that can interfere with mental function short term. R&R can recover much of that kind of loss.

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            9watts August 6, 2017 at 7:54 pm

            “saving the lives of many people…”

            CPR?

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      Tim August 3, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      I don’t have to observe others, I find myself feeling numb and disconnected after a long drive. It is like my mind is numb along with my backside. After a long ride I may be tired, but I don’t feel like my brain has been disconnected.

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    BB July 31, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Re: The Tesla door thing: We should assume all doors on all parked cars regardless of make are going to do this at any given time and position ourselves in the lane accordingly.

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      Chris I July 31, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      You mean the bike lanes that are 4ft wide in some areas, or the ones that have cars parked over the line, making it even narrower? In some places, the only option is to leave the bike lane on a very fast street or take your chances in the door zone. It would be nice if I didn’t have to worry about these new “smart vehicles” taking me out some day.

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        BB July 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm

        No I mean anywhere on the entire roadway where you judge to be appropriate to not be hit with an opening door.

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          Chris I August 1, 2017 at 1:11 pm

          Do you ride east of I-205? I can’t imagine someone being brave enough to “take the lane” in the right vehicle lane on 122nd or Halsey street for more than just a few seconds.

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      wsbob July 31, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      “Re: The Tesla door thing: We should assume all doors on all parked cars regardless of make are going to do this at any given time and position ourselves in the lane accordingly.” BB

      BB, Good advice: The law doesn’t oblige people to ride in the door zone. Don’t ride there.

      Tesla’s and other companies’ engineers, could eventually figure out how to have smart car technology keep vehicle doors shut until traffic in the bike lane is sufficiently clear of approaching bikes to allow the door to be safely open. Might that mean though, that people riding, knowing vehicles have such technology, would ride in the door zone more than some people do already?

      Doesn’t sound like a good result, if that might be one.

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        GlowBoy August 1, 2017 at 11:03 am

        Well, of course defensive riding implies not riding in the door zone. Which is usually practicable, but not always.

        In any event, Oregon law is clear: opening a car door in front of a cyclist is illegal. Ray Thomas has made a point of that for years. Having a machine instead of a person opening the door doesn’t change that. It may cause some confusion about who’s the defendant though.

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          wsbob August 2, 2017 at 3:57 am

          It’s a question of effectively giving vulnerable road users, real power over people operating motor vehicles. Motor vehicle doors opening, contingent on the proximity of vulnerable road users, could conceivably be used to impede people inside motor vehicle from being able to get out in a timely manner. In an extreme, hypothetical example, of course. Plenty of readers here, no doubt feel that any giving of power over people that drive, is indisputably a great idea.

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            El Biciclero August 2, 2017 at 7:47 am

            “…could conceivably be used to impede people inside motor vehicle from being able to get out in a timely manner.”

            What does this mean? That someone getting out of their car would have to wait 5 seconds for someone on a bike to pass before opening their door? Or are you picturing streams of bicyclists pouring past a parked car preventing the driver from opening their door indefinitely?

            Either way, the delay would be no more than a driver would experience while waiting for a pedestrian while attempting to make a right turn, or sitting in a long line of other cars waiting for multiple signal cycles before being able to pass through an intersection, or any number of other non-bicyclist-caused delays. Unless your car is equipped with flashing red/blue lights and a siren, you’re subject to a certain amount of impediment.

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              9watts August 2, 2017 at 9:56 am

              Hm… scratches head… what makes that guy tick?

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              wsbob August 2, 2017 at 11:20 am

              “What does this mean? That someone getting out of their car would have to wait 5 seconds for someone on a bike to pass before opening their door? Or are you picturing streams of bicyclists pouring past a parked car preventing the driver from opening their door indefinitely? …” bic

              That’s a potential cause and effect. Depending on how and if vehicle door opening sensor technology evolves, the amount of time someone could be confined to their motor vehicle before it would be safe for vulnerable road users to have the vehicle door open, is a situation engineers would definitely have to work with.

              Think of the sometimes long, continuous streams of people riding bikes during the commute on Williams Ave, or even smaller numbers of people biking, but close enough to not avail the vehicle door opening equipment enough distance to allow a safe opening. This is a situation similar in some ways to a road user waiting at an un-signaled intersection for a break in the traffic big enough to merge into traffic or cross the road.

              In that situation, it’s the person waiting for an opening in the traffic that makes the decision when to proceed, and plenty of them don’t do it well. If it becomes an electronic device that people design to make such decisions, the tolerance for error will be, or should be, less. So, there seems to be some interesting potential scenarios that development of this technology has to consider.

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    Andrew Kreps July 31, 2017 at 11:01 am

    For anyone who was wondering (like myself), the unexplained acronym AV above *probably* stands for autonomous vehicle.

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    Middle of the Road Guy July 31, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I don’t feel the Honolulu law is absurd.

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      Chris I July 31, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      It isn’t absurd, but it probably won’t save any lives, either. One has to weigh that against the odds that it will result in additional harassment of certain people, based on how they look.

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      Paul July 31, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      I feel it is absurd. I can literally read a book while walking down the street and do so safely. (I have done so.)

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        GlowBoy August 1, 2017 at 11:37 am

        It’s not only absurd, it’s disgusting and enabling of drivers to avoid taking responsibility for the fact that motor vehicles are deadly weapons. It also reinforces the transportation class structure that cars are superior to pedestrians, and the false equivalence that distracted walking is even 1% as dangerous to others as distracted driving.

        Personally, for the last couple years I have observed a personal policy of ALWAYS putting my phone in my pocket – not just looking up from it, but putting it AWAY – when I’m crossing the street. If I get hit by a car, I want there to be ZERO question about this. If my phone was in my hand, no jury of 90%-driving citizens is going to believe I wasn’t looking at it. And no jury of 90%-driving citizens is going to be sympathetic, even if I had the right of way. That’s just the sad reality.

        But my defensive walking should not be codified into law. If I’m in a pedestrian rightfully in the crosswalk (either because I have a WALK signal, or I’m in an unsignaled crosswalk, marked or implied), I have the right of way. PERIOD. Even if I cross while wearing a VR headset, 100% oblivious to the world around me other than the pavement I’m walking on, I still have the right of way. Although making eye contact with drivers and giving a little wave of acknowledgement is a good idea, it is NOT a legal requirement. The rules are clear. No negotiation between drivers and pedestrians is legally required (nor should be needed).

        This is just a knee-jerk reaction to concerns being raised about electronically distracted driving. Drivers always whine, “But pedestrians are doing it too!” Yes, but so what? Pedestrians don’t weigh 4000 pounds and go 30 (or 60) mph.

        Here is another reason drivers resent pedestrians looking at their phones: people on foot aren’t universally making eye contact with them and doing that little wave, genuflecting before King Car. “Oh, thank you benevolent driver, for not slaughtering me today!” We only expect this behavior when “lower” classes of roadway user interact with drivers: If I drive up to a stop sign at an intersection with a busy road, I have to wait for the the cars already on the highway. I don’t expect every passing driver to wave at me or flash their headlights, thanking me for not pulling out in front of them. It’s assumed that I will stop and wait until I can legally pull out.

        But as a pedestrian, lower on the food chain, I’m expected to be deferential to those over whom I have the right of way – for actually yielding it to me.

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          9watts August 1, 2017 at 11:45 am

          or you could be blind…
          Are we going to outlaw blind people in crosswalks next?

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    Matthew in Portsmouth July 31, 2017 at 11:16 am

    I think that requiring helmets would negatively impact Citibike with no significant benefit. Citibikes are slow, you would be hardpressed to get one up to 13 mph. Citibike’s territory is also very crowded with motor vehicles generally moving quite slowly (under 25 mph) in the areas where Citibike riders and motor vehicles intersect. With only 50 injuries in 43 million rides, why is the legislature trying to solve a problem that barely exists.

    My expectation is that injuries occur when both motor vehicles and cyclists are travelling at higher speeds, and in situations where motorists have become so used to having roads for their exclusive use that they don’t look around them for other road users and collide with cyclists or pedestrians.

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    John Lascurettes July 31, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Regarding driving and IQ drop. Repo Man had this covered in 1984. 😉

    https://youtu.be/vRJ5cCP0ZPE?t=2m14s

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      Middle of the Road Guy July 31, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Find one in every car, you’ll see!

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    Dave July 31, 2017 at 11:26 am

    I love the handlebar/location graphic. I’ll take a T-shirt or three when they make them. Needed addition: A set of time trial bars over the name “Lacamas Lake;” lots of multi sport riders over here.

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      David Hampsten July 31, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      They are also missing the drop bar rotated 180 degrees, ridden by a person in dark clothing without a helmet against the traffic flow, at night without a light.

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      • Adam
        Adam July 31, 2017 at 2:10 pm

        You forgot “while texting”. If you’re gonna bust out the bikelash tropes, you might as well be thorough. 😉

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          David Hampsten July 31, 2017 at 2:25 pm

          I rarely see them texting, but then it’s usually dark, so I can’t say that they are not doing so. I do see them listening to something on earbuds or headphones though. They are frequent here and they were frequent in East Portland too.

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            Eric Leifsdad July 31, 2017 at 9:52 pm

            Note the missing Amsterdam bar — flipped drop is actually a rather similar hand position (high, straight, narrow.)

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        Pete August 3, 2017 at 4:19 pm

        Ninja salmon with ghetto bars! I was hit by one in Beaverton. You, sir, have been around the block a time or two…

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      Matti July 31, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      I’d like to see some randonneur bars associated with Oregon Scenic Bikeways!

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    bikeninja July 31, 2017 at 11:26 am

    I am more concerned about the folding gullwing style doors on Elion’s Quasi SUV than I am with Tesla bozos opening their doors in to trams. I saw some tourist types park one of these mobiles in the better Naito lane to unload their crew and the gullwing door was exactly at head height in the remaining portion of the bike lane, presenting a thin deadly profile, ready to spear the eye socket of an unsuspecting cyclist

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    B. Carfree July 31, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I think we should begin campaigning for a mandatory motoring helmet law for all people in Oregon under the age of 16, just like the mandatory helmet law for children on bicycles. Not only will it save lives and brain function, but over time those children will grow up accustomed to strapping on a helmet when they get into a car, which will make passing a mandatory car helmet law much easier.

    Why do I care about helmets for motorists when I often don’t wear one myself (whether driving or cycling)? Because I believe that being required to wear a helmet when in a car will have three positive effects:
    1. Motorists will be made much more aware of the danger of their vehicle choice and perhaps behave better.
    2. It reduces the convenience of driving, perhaps thus reducing its appeal.
    3. It will reduce brain damage.

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      JeffS July 31, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Proponents of the nanny state are always eager to impose their will on others.

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        Paul July 31, 2017 at 2:59 pm

        Usually only when they have good reasons.

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      bikeninja July 31, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      I agree about requiring helmets in cars, but we should go even further and require the use of a 6 point harness which will further improve safety and make driving a car even less convenient, thus improving the state of the world

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        Dan A July 31, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        Would that encourage people to drive faster?

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        tel July 31, 2017 at 6:48 pm

        I think it was traffic engineer Hans Monderman who suggested quite the opposite: that once a driver left a limited access highway, all seatbelts of any kind should be automatically disconnected. in addition, a very sharp blade would be deployed from the steering wheel directly in front of the driver. the idea was to even out the stakes a little bit. add some danger back into the equation for drivers.

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      wsbob July 31, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      “I think we should begin…” b carfree

      What might be the chances your suggestion was made out of sincere concern for people’s safety…rather than spite and contempt for people that feel that laws obligating the general public’s use of bike helmets while riding is a good idea, and that ideas for creating laws that would obligate the general public to wear helmets while riding in or driving motor vehicles, isn’t a good idea? Virtually ‘zero’, it would seem.

      But, one way to find out whether you could rally the public support to get a bill for a law like you’ve suggested, is to start knocking on doors and asking people, talking to them on the street, writing up a petition, getting it approved, and asking people you talk to on the street, whether they’d like to sign it.

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    B. Carfree July 31, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Small typo on Froome: He has four TdF wins, not five (2013, 2015-7).

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      David Hampsten July 31, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      My favorite excuse for racers doping: “I did only what my coach told me to do, and took the meds that my doctor prescribed to me.” After Lance was rejected for doping, they found that Big Mig was also doping, but then so was pretty much everyone else in the peleton, so they let Mig keep his “victories”. I expect a tell-all in a few years about how Froome doped as well.

      The Tour, the Giro, and the Vuelta, like Portland’s Bike Friendly City designation, are not about competition and who’s the best, but it’s about perception and selling the sport to buying consumers, for bikes, tourism, accessories, and for corporate publicity. Or to misquote Lance, it’s not about the bike.

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        wsbob August 2, 2017 at 3:48 am

        “…Or to misquote Lance, it’s not about the bike.” hampsten

        “It’s not about the bike” is the title of Lance’s book. That’s not a misquote, unless he didn’t come up with the phrase for his book, and some editor or creative director did instead.

        If you’re touching on the point though, that pro sports have an association with money and getting people to do all kinds of crazy unethical things to make it, and to buy a lot of crap…I’d have to say that far too much about pro sports does seem to be that way.

        How great is your strength of character? For each individual athlete, I think that’s a big part of what the question about doping is. Lance had his chance. I’m going to say, from reading his book, that he felt he wasn’t going to have a chance at winning unless he used some performance enhancements that were against the rules. Despite being an excellent athlete, he ultimately discovered he lacked the strength of character to accept not winning, if he didn’t dope.

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    Dan A July 31, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Cars = free dumb?

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    Jack Olsen July 31, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I think you misinterpreted/misrepresented the Forbes article on teen head injuries.

    “…of the more then 55,000 teenage drivers and their passengers who were seriously injured in auto accidents during 2009 and 2010, 30 percent suffered acute head injuries…”

    This really shouldn’t be surprising. Get a solid knock on your shoulder and you might end up with bruised shoulder. Get a solid knock on your head and you’ve been “seriously injured”.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu July 31, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Complete misrepresentation. The BP post says:

      “Car helmets: A study found that a whopping 30 percent of teenage drivers suffered a serious head injury in a car crash — yet I’ve never heard a serious discussion about car helmet use. Wonder why?”

      The Forbes article says:

      “of the more then 55,000 teenage drivers and their passengers who were seriously injured in auto accidents during 2009 and 2010, 30 percent suffered acute head injuries”

      The two statements are completely different.
      – BP is saying that 30% of teenage drivers suffer serious head injuries.
      – Forbes is saying that among those teenage drivers who do suffer a serious injury, 30% of them have head injuries.

      Let’s see. There are about 13 million teenage drivers in the US (less than 7% of the 210 million licensed drivers in the US: 2009 data). Forbes says 55,000 of them suffered serious injuries in 2009 and 2010, so that is about 27,500 per year. If 30% of those are head injuries, that is 8,250 serious head injuries to teenage drivers per year. 8,250 / 13,000,000 is 0.06% of teenage drivers who suffer serious head injuries each year.*

      Six one-hundredths of a percent. That’s the answer to BP’s question “I’ve never heard a serious discussion about car helmet use. Wonder why?”

      * Actually, the rate is even less than 0.06% because the 55,000 in 2009 and 2010 includes passengers.

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    Todd Boulanger July 31, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Jonthan – thanks for the NTSB update about the changes to the 85th% thinking…thtis has been needed for a long time… the “positive feedback loop” of drivers speeding pushing up posted speeds has been long known as the safety skeleton in the traffic engineering closet…along with rural posted speed limits never being reduced as rural roadways become annexed and ‘develop’ into substandard urban arterials (such speeds should be re-evaluated holistically as a part of many western cities’ TIP each biennium).

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      Dan A August 1, 2017 at 7:09 am

      Also, there is a presentation in there called Safety Issue: Speed Limits and Data-Driven Enforcement (https://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/Documents/2017-DCA15SS002-BMG-pres-3.pdf)

      In pages 31-33, it outlines the ways we fail to properly tally speeding-related fatalities. The pie chart indicates 7.7% exceeded the speed limit, 8% going too fast for conditions, 2.7% “other speeding”, 4.5% unknown, and 77.1% not speeding. But within the ‘unknown’ and ‘not speeding’ categories, there were 975 vehicles reported traveling more than 10mph over the speed limit, and still not logged as ‘exceeding the speed limit’.

      How many other cars were exceeding the speed limit by less than 10mph, and also not logged as exceeding the speed limit? Why is it so difficult for LEOs to check the correct box? Speed limit is 25, you’re driving 28 and you kill somebody. LEO says “not exceeding speed limit”. We are being told that only 15% of fatal crashes are speed-related, but this is completely bogus.

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      Moike August 1, 2017 at 11:57 am

      There are other design and enforcement issues that work together to create problems using 85th percentile speed design. A hypothetical example using actual Oregon practices:

      A new segment of state highway is being designed. It is in an urban area, and the speed limit on the adjacent highway segment is 30 mph. When designing the road, the state’s engineers want to make sure that it is safe so they design the vertical and horizontal curvature as well as roadway clearances for a safe operating speed of at least 40 mph.

      After the road is constructed, they allow traffic to flow on the roadway with no posted speed and conduct a speed study. With 40 mph being a comfortable speed based on the design, the measured 85th percentile speed comes back at least a bit higher, say 42 mph.

      Now ODOT establishes a speed zone order by rounding the measured 85th percentile speed down to the nearest 5 mph increment. The speed limit is posted as 40 mph.

      With a legal speed limit in place, police officers begin enforcement. However, they typically cite drivers traveling more than 9 mph over the posted speed. This means that people are cited for speeds of 50 mph or more.

      Using standard design practices, we just went from an intended speed of 30 mph to a functional limit of 50 mph.

      To avoid this, we really need to get all of these speeds aligned. If we want speeds of 30 mph, let’s design for 30 mph, then create roadway culture that encourages 30 mph, then post 30 mph, then cite for speeds over 30 mph. It isn’t rocket science, just consistency.

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    Brian H. July 31, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    On the $30k bikes from Detroit. I just keep thinking about the number of truly excellent Oregon hand-built bikes I could purchase for that amount. OK, so the handlebars wouldn’t be copper plated, but they would be lighter and I am sure would ride better. How is there any market for those $30k bikes?

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      Kyle Banerjee July 31, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      People pay millions for some splotches of paint on canvas. Why not a fraction of that for a bike?

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      • Adam
        Adam July 31, 2017 at 4:57 pm

        You don’t ride paintings.

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          Eric Leifsdad July 31, 2017 at 9:35 pm

          That bike will be ridden as much as most paintings. Not as much as kyle’s paintings though.

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    chasingbackon July 31, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    I think Chris Froome in fact just won his 4th tour de france.

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    Doug Klotz July 31, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Police departmemts advocate for kerping jaywalking a “crime” that theycan arrest you for, rather than an “infraction” where a ticket is the maximum penalty, do that, as one Portland police spokesman said several years ago at a committee meeting, the can use the jaywalking charge as a “pretext” (or “pretense”?) to haul in someone that they don’t have a reason to arrest, like a protester.

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      wsbob August 1, 2017 at 10:41 am

      “…advocate for kerping jaywalking a “crime” …” doug klotz

      Sounds like a new word: “…kerping…”. Created either by you, in which case, what does it mean?…or the robot spell check you’re entrusting too much to produce the correct words for what you have in mind. Seems like ‘keeping’, is the word you may have had in mind. It’s too early in their evolution to trust the robots entirely.

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    David Hampsten August 1, 2017 at 2:02 am

    I appreciate all of these articles, as well as this regular feature of Monday Roundup, and one day I hope to subscribe to this service, but it would help to have some notion ahead of time if an offsite article is going to affect my computer by my reading it. The host ads accompanying the article on children mountain bike teams in Minnesota for example slowed my computer down so much that I gave up reading it about halfway through it. About a quarter of the articles on any given Monday do this as well; the other three-quarters are not as much of a problem.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 1, 2017 at 8:24 am

      Thanks for the feedback David. I hear you. And I often will omit links that have annoying ads. I will look more closely at this issue.

      And we’d love to have you as a subscriber. If a monthly thing isn’t your cup of tea you can contribute a lump sum via our support page or send money via paypal to jonathan@bikeportland.org. Thanks!

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        David Hampsten August 1, 2017 at 12:56 pm

        I’m embarrassed by how often I’ve used your articles (and the links provided by commenters) for my bicycle advocacy work. Thanks for all you do.

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    Spiffy August 1, 2017 at 8:17 am

    $35,000 bikes: that’s my front rack! but mine is still its original silver…

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    plm August 1, 2017 at 9:44 am

    I would have loved to have had a PIL mtb league in the 90’s. The map of legal trails in Portland might look a little different today

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    wsbob August 1, 2017 at 11:22 am

    The editorial in the Aurora Sentinel about the proposed bike tax in Colorado is interesting:

    http://www.aurorasentinel.com/opinion/editorial-take-breath-think-balancing-colorado-bike-tax-work/

    …for how it primarily considers the potential of a bike tax being dedicated towards bike specific infrastructure that would open up direct routes between destinations that by road user demand tend largely to be prioritized to meet the amount of road use made with motor vehicles.

    As an idea expressed in a simple opinion piece, unaccompanied by any suggestion of the costs that might be required to provide this type of infrastructure for bike travel, the idea is ok. With a realistic consideration of what those costs might be, the idea wouldn’t likely stand because there’s probably no way costs for such infrastructure could be of a sufficient amount through a tax on the sale of bikes: Not enough of the people using the roads and streets, buy or ride bikes. Of course, maybe in Colorado, that’s not true…also I haven’t browsed over the senators bill proposal to know how he’s proposing the tax on bikes be applied.

    It’s not the toughest bullet to bite, for the majority of people using the roads and streets by motor vehicle, to subsidize infrastructure that can help riding bikes be a practical way to travel for more people than currently ride them. Especially in and around cities, extensive use of motor vehicles exceeds the capacity for motor vehicle use on many of the roads they’re being operated on. Populations can and do grow. Capacity for road expansion and increased use of motor vehicles on them, and correspondingly, their ability to meet the travel needs of the growing populations, is kind of tapped out.

    Basic infrastructure proposed for use by a minority, paid for disproportionately by the majority of the population, is not something limited just to bike lanes. Schools are one example: What percentage of the population has kids in public schools paid for the by general public, whether or not they have kids in school? I’ve heard figures like, 15 percent. Whether they have school age kids or not, the public pays to provide public school education, more or less gladly, because to put it simply, an educated public is essential to a healthy, successful nation. Also essential, is infrastructure that enables the public to get around, meet their travel needs on the roads and streets.

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    GlowBoy August 1, 2017 at 11:53 am

    The NPR story about forcing bicycles to send data to AVs makes one hell of a logical leap. The justification for this is that cyclists are “unpredictable” because we might use the roadway or switch to a sidewalk or crosswalk.

    But the thing is, having the bike transmit its position isn’t going to help that. Knowing where a bike IS won’t help a car resolve the unpredictability of a bike being able to go places cars don’t.

    And in any event, AVs ought to be able to pinpoint cyclists’ locations without any signal being transmitted, just like they will need to be able to do for pedestrians.

    Does this demand from the AV industry mean all new bikes will have to have transmitters in them? All old bikes must be retrofitted? All children on bikes must comply too? In Portland where skateboarding and rollerblading are legal on the street, users of those devices must transmit their position too?

    Or is the next step to demand that all pedestrians activate phone apps that transmit their precise position to nearby automobiles? Either way, the whole thing makes zero sense, and is just as much a power grab by the AV industry as the other article about them.

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      9watts August 1, 2017 at 11:56 am

      But I suspect you’d agree that this is the logical extension of the ‘those in cars must don day-glo so we don’t have to actually scrutinize our surroundings, or, heaven forbid, slow down…’
      All to externalize responsibility for the inherent limitations of trying to see out of an auto, or in this more recent example, to make up for computing limits?

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        El Biciclero August 1, 2017 at 12:36 pm

        “All to externalize responsibility for the inherent limitations of trying to see out of an auto…”

        “Force of Nature”.

        1. Cars are assumed to be operated/operating in dangerous ways.
        2. We further assume there’s nothing we can do about that (FoN).
        3. Therefore, if you don’t want to be hurt by a car, you’ll do anything we tell you will make you “safer”. Tornado coming? Get to the cellar. Sharks in the water? Stay out of the water. Blind drivers/cars careening around? Wear your day-glo/transmitter and stay out of the street.

        Next will be the campaign to get your kids/pets “traffic-chipped” to become responsible blips on the roadway.

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      wsbob August 2, 2017 at 3:19 am

      “The NPR story about forcing bicycles to send data to AVs…” glowboy

      The story did not report about an intention or a plan to someday have bikes equipped so they can be forced to send location data to AV’s. At this point, bikes being able to send data to AV’s is just an idea in the R&D phase.

      A related, fair question might be though, ‘Could it be a good idea for people riding bikes, and other vulnerable road users not traveling by motor vehicle, to be able to be equipped with technology that could transmit their location when using the road, to motor vehicles in operation and in close proximity to them?’.

      I’d have to say, sure, possibly could eventually be a good idea for their safety. They’re vulnerable road users. Relative to vulnerable road users using the road by their own motive power, people driving aren’t vulnerable road users.

      The idea seems fraught with potential problems too though. For example, if someone, a vulnerable road user, is carrying on them a device they have good reason to believe will transmit to nearby AV’s, data as to their location, obliging the AV to avoid a potentially imminent collision, based on the received data…what incentive will there still be for the device equipped vulnerable road user to not just run out front of AV’s at will? Vulnerable road users do this now…run out in front of moving motor vehicles, assuming the people driving them actually will stop, when it’s all too well known that not everyone driving does stop when they’re supposed to.

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        GlowBoy August 2, 2017 at 11:06 am

        It certainly is fraught with potential problems. There are two possible outcomes:

        1. Vulnerable road users are mandated to carry transponders that inform cars of their location.
        2. Transponders aren’t mandatory, just optional, but those not using them are significantly less safe.

        Neither outcome is acceptable. AVs need to detect pedestrians and cyclists without the latter having to do anything. Period. The rate of technological progress in sensors of all types, just like processing power, memory and data storage, has for a number of years been following Moore’s Law of exponential improvement. The technology may not be there yet, but it soon will be.

        Certainly by the time AVs are fully ready to take to the streets, it will be easy for them identify the location and velocity of people on the street with pinpoint accuracy, using some combination of radar, IR and other technologies I haven’t thought of. We need to demand that they do so.

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          Dan A August 2, 2017 at 11:19 am

          “Here lies Bob, husband and father. He didn’t wear his transponder.”

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            Pete August 2, 2017 at 3:48 pm

            A bicyclist was killed by a car tonight. He was not wearing his helmet or transponder, but was dressed in black. Drugs, alcohol, and speed were believed to be a factor in the accident, but a citation has not been issued, and the driver is cooperating with police, who have noted that the bicyclist came out of nowhere.

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          wsbob August 3, 2017 at 8:52 am

          “… AVs need to detect pedestrians and cyclists without the latter having to do anything. …” glowboy

          If it can be engineered, and it’s possible it someday could, that ability won’t be able to keep the roads entirely safe for vulnerable road users where motor vehicles are in use, and at the same time allow the roads to be a viable means of travel with motor vehicles.

          The responsibility for safe use of the road by people as vulnerable road users, cannot lie entirely upon people operating motor vehicles. People as vulnerable road users should and do have to accept some responsibility for their own safety in using the road where motor vehicles are in use.

          I think that if there ever were a location transmitting device or app people as vulnerable road users, could download to their phones, that would inform AV’s of their presence, commanding them to take evasive action, many people would go ahead and use it.

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      Pete August 2, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      “all new bikes will have to have transmitters in them”

      Looks like your $15 tax is about to go up…

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    Justin M August 1, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Is anyone else suddenly struck by feeling like an asshole just riding around on their metal/carbon/wood frame knowing that the lack of alligator or python between your legs is making you a laughing stock? I cannot believe this technology has been kept from us for so long. Personally I’m going to buy one for everyone I know so they don’t have to go about being embarrassed by their bicycles anymore. I feel like Adam when he ate the fruit and suddenly realized he was naked.

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      Justin M August 1, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      not the commenter Adam obviously, the one from that book.

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      • Adam
        Adam August 1, 2017 at 4:12 pm

        😉

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    Shuppatsu August 1, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Check out a video of a Tesla door opening. It would be really hard to get spores while riding by. The initial movement is mostly vertical. And I’ll take an algorithm that can improve over inattentive drivers anyway.

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