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The Monday Roundup: Paris’s car-free day, SF’s chop shop ban and more

Posted by on October 2nd, 2017 at 8:03 am

Lots of kids and families took advantage of (relatively) carfree streets throughout Paris yesterday. This is a scene from the Quai des Tuilieries along the Seine River.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Here are the bike-related links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Car-free Paris: For one day, the City of Light banned non-local private cars from all its streets Sunday for the first time ever. Related news: Car trips from one location within city limits to another are down 30 percent in the last decade.

Outlawing chop shops: San Francisco may be close to banning sales or distribution on public land of bikes and bike parts.

Delaware stops: The Eastern state is posed to become the second (after Idaho) to make it officially legal for people biking to treat stop signs like yield signs.

Suspended licenses:  In most of the United States, losing the ability to drive sends anyone who needs income into a “hellhole of desperation.” Maybe that’s why three in four Americans with suspended licenses choose to keep driving, even though that can lead to a crushing debt burden if they’re caught.

Post-quake bikes: “Amid the chaos” of Mexico City, “bicycles have become the missing link, allowing supplies to reach those in need, and averting the paralyzing traffic jams.”

Space-efficiency by mode: Here’s a handy chart:

Brompton recall: The UK folding bike company says 144,000 bikes made between April 2014 and May 2017 should be returned due to possible faulty brackets.

School parking lots: They often waste lots of money while making the area around schools less walkable — and they’re usually empty.

Seattle mayor: With six weeks to the city’s mayoral runoff, candidate Cary Moon says her city “spends too much on car convenience.”

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“Token attractive woman”: That was the caption UK magazine Cycling Weekly used with a photo of Hannah Noel in an article about her racing club.

Road diet lawsuit: A group of Spokane businesses are suing the city over the lower sales they predict if their street is redesigned to have fewer auto lanes.

Measuring emissions: Nine states (including Oregon) have sued the Trump administration over its attempt to undo a rule that requires transportation projects to measure their effect on greenhouse emissions.

Tolls and equity: At City Observatory, local economist Joe Cortright makes a case that peak-hour tolls are not bad for poor people.

Trump and tolls: The president now says the self-financing infrastructure package his team once pushed would be “more trouble than it’s worth.”

Autonomous cars: Pending federal legislation would block cities and states from regulating robots on their roads.

Car-free freeways: Here’s what Israel looks like during the Yom Kuppur holy day.

— Michael Andersen: (503) 333-7824, @andersem on Twitter and michael@portlandafoot.org

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95 Comments
  • Champs October 2, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Suffice to say I’m ambivalent about “more trouble than it’s worth” from an intellectually uncurious White House.

    Privately operated highways are one of the most persistent Objectivist fantasies. This administration was their chance, but for a change, somebody decided to “research” the idea before charging ahead, but couldn’t support it even working back from the conclusion.

    At long last, this idea could have spontaneously combusted in the light of day. For now, it’s just a bad idea safely sheltered in the basements and locked bedrooms of impressionable boys who just picked up a copy of Atlas Shrugged. And it will be back.

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  • Dan A October 2, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Weird, I was able to get to this post through Facebook, but it doesn’t show on the main BP page.

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    • Michael Andersen (Contributor)
      Michael Andersen (Contributor) October 2, 2017 at 9:41 am

      It’s because I forgot to set this up right when I published! Sorry about that, now fixed & thanks for saying something.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu October 2, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I think Portland should also ban bike chop shops on public property. The arguments for this are pretty obvious to anyone who’s had their bike stolen or found bike paths and sidewalks blocked by piles of dismantled bikes being stored and sold and traded for drugs.

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    • Dan October 2, 2017 at 11:30 am

      I wish I could upvote this more than once. It’s pretty obvious that those chop shops are not dealing in legitimately acquired goods, and even if they were, I’m confident they’re not paying for a business license.

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    • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Would love to see this. Though I suspect it would be enforced as effectively as some of the other laws that would normally prevent this from being as big a problem as it is.

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    • meh October 2, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Aren’t chops shops illegal by definition, in that they are dealing in stolen goods? How does would this law change anything, other than creating a new law that won’t get enforced because PPS is understaffed as it is?

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      • Bjorn October 2, 2017 at 3:23 pm

        I would think the main reason would be that the cops would no longer have to prove an individual bicycle was stolen but could move in anytime they saw someone with a whole bunch of probably stolen bikes and some cans of spray paint camped out in a park.

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        • meh October 3, 2017 at 6:54 am

          I would say that the cases that would be brought would be thrown out if it is strictly based on someone having spray painted bike parts. I know people who make a living out of parting and refurbishing bikes that they buy cheap from garage sales. Just another feel good law that won’t accomplish much.

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  • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I’ve known a few people who have had their licenses taken away from them. It’s a complicated issue, but one theme I have heard is that some people just do dumb things even if another theme I’ve heard is that the system is exploitative. For example, they get busted drunk driving, get their license suspended, don’t even try to figure out anything else when there are options, and set themselves on a course where they lose their jobs and get into recurring legal trouble.

    One thing to keep in mind is that regardless of how the person loses his license, the problem described in the article always exists.

    Most people lose their licenses for good reasons, and those that get them back are bad insurance risks — I know a 50 y.o. who pays $4K/yr liability insurance on a 4 cylinder junker that’s barely worth 1/3 that. He’s never been in an crash, but he did get his license suspended for a year. Presumably, that number would be higher if there would have been a payout.

    BTW, e-bikes are a great option for some who lose their cars. I’ve encountered more than one “court appointed cyclist” who went that route. If you get an overpowered one (e-bike laws aren’t exactly an enforcement priority), you can move pretty far at speeds that approach a car without need for a valid license or insurance.

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    • Matt October 2, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Please don’t encourage overpowered e-bikes.

      You can move plenty far and plenty fast on a normal e-bike that limits assist to 20mph. And you also get the joy of not putting others—cyclists and pedestrians—at risk for your convenience. Which is probably why they lost their license in the first place.

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      • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        I’m not a huge fan of e-bikes to begin with, especially the overpowered ones. As is the case with automobiles, the sort of people least able to handle the speed/power are attracted to these things.

        But I do find them preferable to people driving.

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      • GlowBoy October 2, 2017 at 12:26 pm

        Ugh. Even 20mph is too high IMO. I’d like to see the assist limit set at 15 mph. But unfortunately it’s probably too late to change things.

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        • Dan A October 2, 2017 at 1:13 pm

          Yeah, some dude passed me last week going uphill about 30mph. I wouldn’t have minded if he had given me a sensible amount of space, instead of silently whooshing by right next to me.

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          • Brian October 3, 2017 at 5:27 am

            If you’re gonna do that, at least offer a tow rope!

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    • John Liu
      John Liu October 2, 2017 at 11:39 am

      It is always possible to find a superficially sympathetic case like the construction worker mentioned in the cited article. But I suspect that most people who have their drivers licenses suspended or revoked did indeed deserve to lose the driving privilege. I suspect that in most cases, they do indeed have an alternative to driving illegally, be it commuting by bike, bus, or foot; finding a job closer to work; moving closer to job; car-pool; etc.

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      • KTaylor October 2, 2017 at 2:14 pm

        I know someone who had his license suspended for drunk driving – he totally had it coming, and admits that – but it has been a real eye opener watching him try to navigate life out in the Gorge with no car, two kids and a business. Fortunately, he is in really good shape, so he rides his bike when he can’t get a ride from a friend – so anyway, my takeaway from this article is that it is crazy that anyone should have to have a license (or a friend to give them a ride) just to maintain their basic quality of life and fulfill their responsibilities. It’s on a level with health insurance as a social problem and it’s rarely even seriously discussed.

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        • 9watts October 2, 2017 at 2:22 pm

          “it is crazy that anyone should have to have a license (or a friend to give them a ride) just to maintain their basic quality of life and fulfill their responsibilities.”

          = freedom; or that is what we were told the car was all about. Ha!

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      • dan October 2, 2017 at 2:32 pm

        Yeah, and if people raising those objections really cared about lower-income workers, maybe they should be involved in promoting workforce housing. Or is it possible they only care about lower-income workers when their needs appear to align with their own? [gasp] Could it be?

        /s

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    • El Biciclero October 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      “Administrative” suspensions for non-driving-related reasons are the rough equivalent of debtor’s prison and should not be allowed. Instead, there should be more driving-related reasons for suspensions, and more confiscations of vehicles driven while suspended.

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      • Michael Andersen (Contributor)
        Michael Andersen (Contributor) October 2, 2017 at 1:29 pm

        For me, this was a crucial sentence in the piece:

        “In 2006, nearly 40 percent of license suspensions in the U.S. originated with offenses like unpaid traffic tickets, drug possession, or unpaid child support—violations the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, or AAMVA, categorizes as ‘social non-conformance.'”

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        • 9watts October 2, 2017 at 1:33 pm

          that is troubling.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu October 2, 2017 at 2:04 pm

          In Oregon, the reasons for drivers license suspensions are:
          – DUI
          – Habitual offender (3+ convictions for certain offenses w/in 5 years, the offenses include vehicular homicide, reckless driving, hit and run, etc)
          – Lots of accidents (3+ accidents/convictions in 18 months)
          – Failure to appear in court or pay fine
          – Failure to pay child support

          See http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/pages/driverid/suspreasons.aspx

          And there is a hardship exception (to allow driving to/from work) in some cases.

          I don’t see a big problem with these reasons for license suspension. I know there are always particular cases that are sad or unfair. But how would we feel if drivers’ licenses could not be suspended for people who repeatedly commit vehicular assault, etc?

          On the “failure to pay child support”, of course paying child support is a financial burden and often that burden falls on a low income person. But let’s not forget the burden on the parent who is actually raising the child, and on the child.

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          • 9watts October 2, 2017 at 2:10 pm

            “But let’s not forget the burden on the parent who is actually raising the child, and on the child.”

            Sure, but how does taking away the license of the (presumed) poor schmuck who isn’t paying child support going to put food on the table of his estranged spouse? Dragging child support non-payment in here seems absurd and misguided to me, but I’m happy to learn why I’m wrong.

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            • John Liu
              John Liu October 2, 2017 at 5:56 pm

              The threat of losing the license forces most absent parents to pay the child support. The threat isn’t real unless it is carried out in the hopefully few cases when they don’t.

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              • 9watts October 3, 2017 at 10:06 am

                Well the only reason we know or care about this curious statute, presumably, are the situations in which it is executed. In those situations the deterrent effect is evidently not working.

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              • John Liu
                John Liu October 3, 2017 at 10:14 am

                Yes, but you’d need to compare the number of times when the threat of license revocation does work (i.e. does result in parent paying child support) to the number of times when it does not work (i.e. does not result in parent paying child support).

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              • 9watts October 3, 2017 at 10:32 am

                A fair point. I wonder if that is possible?

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      • B. Carfree October 2, 2017 at 5:55 pm

        I strongly disagree that license suspensions for other than moving violations is the equivalent of a debtors’ prison. You do realize you are equating driving with freedom and thus being car-free with being incarcerated, don’t you? I find it is the other way around; my car-addicted friends and neighbors are far less free than I am. They are also condemned to far shorter, nastier and more brutish lives because their driving habit contributes to sedentary lifestyles.

        In addition, many of those suspensions hail from unpaid parking tickets, yet more motorist entitlement wherein a motorist decides his or her convenience outweighs the safety aspects of parking legally or the society-imposed sharing aspect of not staying in a prime parking space beyond an alloted amount of time. Does anyone think such a person is going to be a safe and responsible driver who is willing to patiently wait for a cyclist where necessary and stop for pedestrians? If so, I’ve got some Florida land to sell you.

        Driving is a privilege. It comes with financial responsibilities, among them carrying insurance, paying one’s fines and maintaining one’s vehicle. If you don’t have the funds for all of those, you don’t have the funds to drive. The myth that driving is necessary to live in this nation is not only insulting, it is literally killing us in the short-run and the planet in the mid-run.

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    • 9watts October 2, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      ” (overpowered) e-bikes are a great option for some who lose their cars.”

      Why skip right to the e- variety? Anything wrong with just bikes?

      The kid next door who has had his license suspended, car impounded, and has racked up enormous debts in the process doesn’t go anywhere these days, by any mode, but he is perfectly capable of pedaling a bike if he actually needed to get somewhere. I suspect the same might be true for most of the people we’re talking about here. Besides it (regular bike) would be vastly cheaper.

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      • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        A few reasons. Having known a few people that went through the process, this option is so out there for many people that they literally can’t even think about it. Yeah, I know it’s dumb, but that’s how it is.

        Also, most people don’t live in compact urban areas where they have a short commute there’s great bike infrastructure and plenty of options. For all the complaining here, it’s still way better by orders of magnitude. Average commute here is 7 miles, and there are lots of bike lanes. paths, greenways etc. Plus the traffic is slow. Many people have way further on much trickier roads with much faster traffic.

        There is also a fitness issue. It doesn’t take much to do a few miles at low speed in a flattish areas, but few people are in the kind of shape necessary to do a substantial commute.

        A significant percentage could probably make riding work that aren’t — the kid you mention sounds like a perfect candidate. But you have to find a way to get the thinking in many of the others changed. You’d be amazed how many people just do nothing and let everything fall apart.

        One thing I personally wish courts would do is order drivers that are reckless or dangerous (particularly with cyclists) to ride a bike for a couple months. Seems like GPS and HR data could easily verify if they were cheating, and I would personally be happy to volunteer to ride with them if actual human verification were necessary.

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        • 9watts October 2, 2017 at 12:52 pm

          “One thing I personally wish courts would do is order drivers that are reckless or dangerous (particularly with cyclists) to ride a bike for a couple months. ”

          This has been suggested here over the years. An interesting idea, to be sure, but in my view dangerously close to associating bicycling with punishment. Not pedagogically astute if you ask me.

          “There is also a fitness issue.”

          This is kind of circular, you know.

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          • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 1:43 pm

            It is, but it’s still real.

            More than 1/3 of Americans are obese and when you add in overweight, we’re talking 2/3 of the population. Many have no cardio base, aren’t very strong, and have terrible eating/lifestyle habits. It’s not so easy for them to ride and it will take a long time for them to get in any kind of reasonable shape.

            Even significant percentage of these people can handle a modest commute of a few miles. But stretch that out, add some hills, and it becomes much more daunting.

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            • 9watts October 2, 2017 at 1:48 pm

              let’s not give up before we try. We’ve read here in these pages about people of all shapes and sizes biking. Have you been on the World Naked Bike Ride? You can keep marshaling statistics about how unhealthy we as a society are, in defense of your point of view that a large share can’t get on a bike, but I’ll continue to counter with the view that we could just as easily approach this by viewing the glass as half full. What is the point of writing off all the old and overweight and unhealthy people, when many within those categories do bike in other societies? Let’s invite them (or stop to notice that some of them already are), give it a serious try first, eh?

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              • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 2:25 pm

                It’s not that nothing can be done — I’ve personally known people who lost hundreds of pounds. But we do need to be realistic.

                Many people who think they can’t bike probably can. But huge people who are out of shape need to start much more gently. They’re going to need pretty short flat rides — which is often what those people in other societies have.

                It takes a long time and a lot of work to get into good enough shape to do other than really easy stuff. Most people drastically underestimate the amount of work it takes and overestimate the work they do. I can’t tell you how often I see people reward themselves with food for trivial amounts of exercise. Riding a few miles or running a mile or two is much better than nothing, but it hardly burns any calories.

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              • 9watts October 2, 2017 at 2:30 pm

                “but it hardly burns any calories.”

                You crack me up.

                You remind me of friends I met in California who wouldn’t recognize anything I did (no car, bike everywhere) unless I got my heart rate up. There are so many ways to understand the relationship between metabolism, exercise, person-km, etc. If I am overweight and bike at my own pace what the hell does it matter how fast I’m going or whether I am burning calories? The point is, surely, to get somewhere under my own power, to avoid the auto.

                #ethnocentrism

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              • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 4:47 pm

                It matters if you have distance to cover.

                If you only have a 3 mile flat ride, you can be 70 lbs overweight and it will work fine. But it won’t take much before you simply won’t be able to make it. Speed also matters as you start stretching distances out, particularly if you have other responsibilities.

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              • 9watts October 2, 2017 at 4:53 pm

                The certainty with which you make all these global pronouncements always surprises me.
                https://averagejoecyclist.com/guide-for-fat-cyclists/
                http://www.womenscycling.ca/blog/get-motivated/fat-broad-on-a-bike-dont-hide-ride/

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              • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 10:43 pm

                Yes, I’m quite familiar — it so happens I knew Tom from that thread. I also met a guy riding the Everest Challenge (difficult ride/race with 29K feet of climbing) some years back who had started out at 440 lbs and was riding the course 205 — he was probably the heaviest guy out there. I don’t know if he finished but he was doing decent when I encountered him.

                But it’s much harder for people like that to ride for a lot of reasons and they have to be seriously motivated. Given the excuses people here make for not riding, the super clydes who aren’t riding deserve some slack.

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              • Brian October 3, 2017 at 10:06 am

                Agreed. I like your optimism. The big question is, of course, “How/what do we try?” I’m having difficulty convincing the fit people I know who own bikes to use them more often, even in the best of weather.

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              • 9watts October 3, 2017 at 10:25 am

                “having difficulty convincing”

                I don’t think it is our job to convince people, necessarily. My hunch is that people who are overweight or disabled or frail and who already bike would be in the best position to offer encouragement or advice to those in those categories who may not yet bike. We would be doing ourselves a disservice by assuming, as Kyle consistently does here—at least until we push back—that members of these groups don’t already bike, couldn’t possibly bike unless they have Herculean will power.

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              • Brian October 3, 2017 at 11:40 am

                What about those who do not fall into those categories? I feel that I should be trying to convince my peers to give it a try, but am not having much success. What does it say if we can’t get those with the least barriers to try?

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              • 9watts October 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm

                Well, perhaps their cars are the problem. If you have a car then it is pretty tempting (economically, habitually, culturally) to default to it.

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              • Kyle Banerjee October 3, 2017 at 12:22 pm

                It’s not that I assume they don’t bike — one thing I try to convince practically everyone I come into contact with is that cycling is far easier, safer, and more fun than they imagine. I’ve helped people identify and even design things that would help them ride. I’ll ride anywhere with anyone who needs the support. I enjoy helping open peoples’ eyes to a new world where they can have more fun.

                For someone to ride, it has to make sense in the context of their own life. As Brian points out, convincing even able bodied people to cycle can be a hard sell. It is way harder for people who not only face physical barriers, but know that they’ll stick out like a sore thumb, work much harder than everyone else, and not look good doing it.

                Especially women seem to have a great fear of being judged. I try to reassure them that any cyclist that’s worth a dаmn will think it’s awesome that they’re trying, and that the ones doing the judging are just insecure and compensating for their own inadequacies, but even when they see this is the case, it doesn’t help much.

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            • bikeninja October 2, 2017 at 2:09 pm

              Better change now and avoid the rush in 2020 when the oil shortages start.

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              • Kyle Banerjee October 3, 2017 at 5:32 am

                You may want to google “Known reserves”

                Price of oil may jump dramatically in 5 years, but we’re not running out in that period. Auto manufacturers are switching to electric — GM already declared they’re headed towards an all electric future.

                Of course, oil is a unique resource and is used in a huge variety of process and products (including bike parts). But the world is already starting to adjust.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu October 2, 2017 at 1:29 pm

          The other option would be to permit driving to/from work at set times only, enforced with GPS tracker on car.

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          • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 1:47 pm

            This is an option in many situations.

            There are a number of things that could be done to make all cars safer. For example, have alcohol detecting interlock on all vehicles, not just court ordered ones on vehicles owned by convicted drunk drivers.

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    • Bjorn October 2, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      In oregon I am fairly sure you need to be eligible for a driver’s license in order to be able to ride an e-bike. You don’t have to have one, but if you aren’t allowed to have one due to DUI’s etc then you aren’t supposed to be operating an e-bike either.

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      • B. Carfree October 2, 2017 at 6:02 pm

        Huh? I believe you are wrong, as long as the e-bike conforms to the law in terms of max power and engine cut-out at speed. Here you go:

        http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Forms/DMV/6619.pdf

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      • John Liu
        John Liu October 3, 2017 at 10:18 am

        Riding a legal e-bike doesn’t require any license or eligibility for same. “Legal e-bike” means an electric bicycle that conforms with power/speed limits.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu October 2, 2017 at 10:21 am

    The article on inclusionary zoning (IZ) is interesting. Other than publicly subsidized apartments, IZ is the only tool that Portland has to encourage growth in affordable housing in the close-in areas of Portland.

    The article concludes “its too soon to tell what the effects of the inclusionary housing mandate will be. The negative effects of the ordinance will be concealed and delayed by the big backlog of housing permitted under the old rules. But when that inventory is gone, the real effects of the ordinance will be more apparent.”

    The (possible) “negative effects” being referred to are (possibly) steering development toward micro-apartments and buildings with <20 units. I would add another (possible) negative effect: driving a bubble in development of market-rate housing, that could oversaturate the market and lead to a development bust.

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  • Lester Burnham October 2, 2017 at 10:25 am

    We need a bike chop shop ban in Portland NOW. Time to stop looking the other way.

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    • B. Carfree October 2, 2017 at 6:06 pm

      Statewide would be nice.

      Where I live, one little thing done under current law might make a big difference. Most of the chopped bikes end up with mismatched wheels/brakes and as a result don’t have any functioning brakes. If our cops simply impounded the bikes that don’t have legally functioning brakes, the chopped bikes would lose their value.

      Of course that could cut three ways: 1. Diminish chopping because of decreased value of the final “product”
      2. Increase chopping to get a better inventory of parts so the resulting bikes have brakes
      3. Increase chopping to make up lost drug money in volume.

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  • Dan A October 2, 2017 at 11:28 am

    I’m curious whether anyone’s written an article about the “crushing debt burden” people face when having to pay off massive medical bills after being hit by a driver without insurance.

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    • El Biciclero October 2, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Come on—if you get hit by a driver, it’s your own fault; what does the driver’s insurance have to do with it? Shoulda worn brighter clothing and paid more attention!

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    • Tim October 2, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      And families facing an uncertain future, loss of income and mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers because someone just had to drive without a license, insurance or following the rules of the road.

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  • GlowBoy October 2, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    “Maybe that’s why three in four Americans with suspended licenses choose to keep driving”

    Sorry, I know it’s difficult to be poor, and I know minority groups disproportionately accumulate tickets because of biased policing and sometimes lose their licenses, but I run out of sympathy on this one.

    In my experience most people who’ve lost their licenses are bad drivers who shouldn’t be behind the wheel. We allow far too many people to drive as it is. I have witnessed quite a few collisions over the years. And in nearly every one (including one where I was rear-ended), the apparent at-fault driver lacked a license.

    Best bad-driver quote of all time … an unlicensed driver who ran a YIELD sign and hit another car actually said this to me: “But yield doesn’t mean stop!”

    Yes, I’m sorry it can be hard without a car (or even with one) to juggle multiple part-time jobs, kids, and everything else you need to do to make ends meet. But if you can’t do it safely, too bad. Driving is not a right, and if you’re bad at it you have no place getting behind the controls of a deadly weapon and pointing it at people.

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    • 9watts October 2, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      It would be interesting to compare the whole context of driver’s license suspensions we have here with another country, maybe Germany. My hunch is that we’d learn a lot. I suspect that our massively unequal society plays a nontrivial role in generating the problems that lead here in the first place.

      Could we demonstrate that inequality makes roads less safe, license suspensions and violations thereof more common? I suspect so.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu October 3, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        Maybe the wrong audience – defending the “right to drive” is perhaps not top of mind here?

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    • Dave October 5, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Perhaps it would drive (sorry) the point home if violations like DUI, phoning, extreme speeding, were redefined under the law as “attempted murder.”

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  • GlowBoy October 2, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Three cheers for the Delaware Stop!

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    • 9watts October 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      A fourth cheer!

      don’t tell wspob, though. His head might explode.

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      • El Biciclero October 2, 2017 at 1:41 pm

        Wait, what? You mean laws can be re-written? They’re just made up?

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        • Dan A October 2, 2017 at 2:09 pm

          Other good stuff in the reform, from the article (the bold is mine):

          It will require motorists to change lanes when passing cyclists on roads with two lanes in the same direction, or even if there are fewer lanes if there isn’t enough room to give safe distance. Otherwise drivers are required to slow down and pass with no fewer than three feet of clearance. The law will also clarify where cyclists should ride in the roadway, in an effort to protect them from bogus tickets for not hugging the curb. It would legally prohibit motorists from honking when passing a cyclist. It would also allow Delaware DOT to operate bike-specific traffic signals.

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    • wsbob October 2, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Delaware? So what. How big is Delaware? About the size of the Portland Metro area? Haven’t read the article yet. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I kind of doubt that little state’s decision to go for the Idaho stop, will sweep the nation…but we’ll see.

      Meanwhile…what’s the latest count for the last year or two or three, on people biking having received citations for not having stopped at stop signs in the tri-county Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas county area? Or just in Portland? Or all of Oregon? Any citations during that time in Oregon, to people biking and running stop signs?

      Oh…well at least one…for readers remembering the bikeportland story of a couple weeks ago…about the guy that thought it was a great idea to blow a stop sign…only to find himself running into a van across the other side of the intersection that apparently popped out from behind the far side of a city bus that had pulled partly over and stopped. Readers might remember the police payed a visit to the ‘victim’ at the hospital recovering from his injuries, after hearing that he was BUI.

      But some advocates of the Idaho Stop no doubt will rush to rationalize that the ‘odds’ of this kind of behavior being a factor in people biking and running stop signs, must be so low, that consideration of it should be no obstacle to the public supporting approval of an Idaho Stop exclusively for people that bike, here in Oregon too.

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      • 9watts October 3, 2017 at 7:11 am

        “Delaware? So what.”…
        “Any citations during that time in Oregon, to people biking and running stop signs?”

        For the 367th time, Idaho Stop and running stop signs are *not* the same thing! No wonder you have developed a well-known antipathy to this law.

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        • wsbob October 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

          “… Idaho Stop and running stop signs are *not* the same thing! …” watts

          Oregon doesn’t have the Idaho stop. In Oregon, not stopping at stop signs is failure to stop at a traffic control device, also casually known as running stop signs, rolling stop signs, etc

          Here’s the relevant law (refer to 15) and 16):

          ORS 811.260¹ ‘Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices’

          https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.260.

          Shorter version: 811.265

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          • Dan A October 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm

            Whoosh.

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          • El Biciclero October 4, 2017 at 7:02 pm

            To compare an “Idaho stop” to “running a stop sign” you would have to be in some jurisdiction where that distinction existed. If in such a jurisdiction, there is a distinction. To make an analogy to something pertinent to Oregon, is making a right on red the same as running a red light? If I caused a crash by making a right on red without yielding to side traffic, is there a citation for that? A: Yes (“improperly proceeding at a stop light”). The same law I just cited also allows motorcyclists and bicyclists to “proceed with caution” on a so-called “dead red”, subject to the same citation if they don’t do it properly.

            Just as the law I cited above does not allow anyone to go blindly careening through red lights, neither does the “Delaware Stop” law allow anyone to blindly blow through stop signs. Almost everyone who complains about such a law seems to rest their complaint on the anticipated feelings of entitlement, the lack of bicyclist judgment, and the specter of an inevitable uptick in close calls and crashes caused by unprecedented numbers of emboldened bicyclists blasting cavalierly through STOP signs without so much as a sideways glance. Why no such outcry about those things when it comes to passing laws (we allow people to drive in the oncoming lane, for crying out loud!) or right turns on red, or YIELD signs, or “Big Boy” (flashing yellow arrow) left turn signals—or any other rule or law that puts safety in the hands of vehicle operators to exercise good judgment? Do we somehow believe motorists have good judgment, but bicyclists don’t? Have there ever been crashes caused by dangerous passing? (yes). Improperly proceeding at a red light? (yes). By failure to yield? (yes) Does this prove poor judgment on the part of some motorists? (yes). Did we still pass the relevant laws to allow such judgment-based actions on the part of motorists? (yes) Given the damage and injury caused by drivers using bad judgment in those situations, have we repealed any of the aforementioned laws? (no). So why the big opposition to Idaho/Delaware stop laws? Is it merely childish envy? Do grown-up drivers cry “no fair!” because there would be a law that let bicyclists do something they were not allowed (for good reasons of mass, velocity, and visibility) to do? Given our other traffic laws that provide exceptions to the normal rules in favor of allowing people to travel faster (almost all exceptions—RTOR, passing on the right, passing on the left—are only there to allow for more speed or shorter/fewer stops), why not allow an exception for bicycle operators in the case of STOP signs?

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            • 9watts October 4, 2017 at 7:40 pm

              stop making so much sense!

              three cheers for superb analogies.

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              • El Biciclero October 4, 2017 at 9:18 pm

                In Idaho, I could yield making so much sense…

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            • wsbob October 5, 2017 at 12:12 am

              Stop signs are still stop signs, whether or not they’re subject to a type of law such as the Idaho stop that exclusively allows people biking to roll or blow through through stop signs except when there is approaching traffic close enough to require that the person biking yield to such traffic.

              The question I ask myself when the subject of the Idaho stop comes up, is, how might a majority of individuals of the general public feel if asked what they think…about the idea of people biking, not having to stop at stop signs if they believe while in motion and approaching an stop sign regulated intersection, that the way is sufficiently clear and safe to proceed on through.

              Most likely answer in general terms I suspect they’d reply with, would be something on the order of ‘Not good’.

              What discussion process Delaware did or didn’t go through to address questions like I mention above about the Idaho stop, idea, I don’t know. The streetsblog story certainly didn’t report on such a process in that state, if one occurred there.

              Nothing towards and Idaho stop seems to be happening in Oregon. That says something to me about the level of interest across the state, in Portland, or the tri-county, for such a bike exclusive exception to the stop sign rule of road use. Oregon legislature will soon be going into an interim legislative year, meeting just 65 days or thereabouts. It won’t be until 2019 until the full legislative session commences again. Plenty of time for Oregonians to prepare a proposal for an Idaho stop in this state, if there was confidence that a majority interest and support for it could be developed.

              So all of you people reading here and cheering the Idaho stop, thinking it’s such a great idea that Oregonians just won’t be able to help falling in love with…maybe you should consider getting busy trying to sell them on that idea.

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              • Brian October 5, 2017 at 1:23 pm

                I would think the complete opposite, bob. “Would you prefer that cyclists make a complete stop and put their foot down at every single stop sign and impede your ability to get through the intersection in a more timely manner, or would you prefer they do what motorists do and come to a near complete stop without putting a foot down and save you time on your drive?”

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              • El Biciclero October 5, 2017 at 9:02 pm

                “There’s no difference between cats and rabbits.”

                “Yes, there is; they might look a little bit similar, but they are different species.”

                “Well, I bet nobody likes cats.”

                ———–

                What if we asked this question:

                “Should there be harsher penalties for bicyclists who fail to properly yield to other traffic at STOP signs?”

                This is what the proposed “Oregon Stop” law would have done a few years ago, if passed. It would have allowed bicyclists to treat STOP signs as yield signs, but also provided an increased fine for improper entry into an intersection if anyone failed to yield as specified.

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            • Dan A October 5, 2017 at 5:51 am

              “blow through through stop signs”

              There you go again.

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    • wsbob October 2, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      I’ve got two earlier comments, different from each other, on this subject of Delaware and it’s bike safety bill package, not yet released from moderation. If you feel that state voting in an Idaho stop, is cheer worthy, go ahead.

      If Delaware passes its bike safety package with the idaho stop enclosed, will some other states in the nation take notice and decide to follow suit? Delaware being a bellweather state and all, as it relates to presidential elections.

      It’s the second smallest state in the nation, entire population is under a million. Densely populated, but no city over 100,000. Democratic majority.

      A question I have whenever any state introduces a bill proposing an Idaho Stop, is whether state reps and senators speaking in favor of this idea, are faithfully representing a majority viewpoint of their constituency, district by district. If that’s the case, and the population of Delaware, really wants and believes the Idaho stop would be in their best interest, I say ‘Great’.

      Oregon had the idaho stop in the house and senate some years ago, but it failed, the senate, I think. Had the senate passed it, would the governor have signed it into law?

      The effort for an idaho stop down there in San Francisco was interesting. Because of the stir SF bike commuters caused over not wanting to stop at the Wiggle intersection, city-county commissioners decided to go for and idaho stop effective over not just he Wiggle intersection…but the entire SF county. Mayor vetoed. What did a majority of SF and SF county voters think about the idea? On simple web searches of news stories, I never was able to get an answer to that question.

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      • MJS October 4, 2017 at 9:36 am

        CA Assembly Bill 1103 introduced this year would have made the Idaho stop legal statewide, but it stalled in committee. It sounds like they will get more feedback and try again next year.

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        • wsbob October 4, 2017 at 10:33 am

          Reading about it in bikeportland stories, some SF bikeweblogs and a couple of the newspapers for that area, I think SF commissioners could definitely have fairly easily resolved issues for people biking, specific to the Wiggle intersection.

          Unfortunately for many people, they chose not to do that, instead seeming to opt for a cause celebre’, they apparently thought the city would accept without any reservations at all. As I said earlier, I could never determine from the sources I found, what a majority of SF and SF county, or Californians in general, think of the Idaho stop for people biking. What the majority thinks about such a provision for people biking, does seem to me to be one of the more important things to try determine, whenever officials decide to propose and pass a law for the Idaho stop for their area.

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          • MJS October 6, 2017 at 10:46 pm

            The LA Times had an opinion piece on the Idaho Stop law saying “we should at least try it out”. Comments were very negative. In LA, one councilman may face a serious recall challenge because of some controversial road diets that were implemented this year and are in the process of mostly being ripped out (admittedly it’s unclear how the city of LA justified them in the first place, though it looks like a Vision Zero plan). We also are likely voting on two ballot initiatives in 2018 to repeal a gas tax increase law that’s not in effect yet; one of them will prevent the legislature from ever raising the gas tax unless it is a ballot initiative with a two-thirds majority. (CA is also about $52 BILLION in the hole for road and bridge maintenance.)

            Outside of pockets like SLO, Davis, and probably some of the city of SF – cyclists are an annoyance and a nuisance to traffic flow and one’s commute. If you haven’t heard much about the Idaho stop law in CA, it’s because the motorists are mostly against it.

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  • John Lascurettes October 2, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Road diet lawsuit: A group of Spokane businesses are suing the city over the lower sales they predict if their street is redesigned to have fewer auto lanes.

    Help me out with the semantics here: are they “suing” to block it from happening? Because I find it a little incredulous for them to sue over “lost” revenue until it happens (spoiler: it’s not likely to happen!).

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  • B. Carfree October 2, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Just last week I was commenting to my wife that I thought folding bikes might finally be ready for prime-time. It’s been a few years since the Dahon’s were falling apart under people and since there hadn’t been any other issues in the news I thought the other manufacturers had taken that to heart and raised their game. Alas, with the latest news from Brompton, my faith is again shaken. Maybe four years down the road…

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    • Kyle Banerjee October 3, 2017 at 5:41 am

      Folders are good, and I would not be dissuaded in the least by the Brompton recall.

      Nothing that they built had any defect — it’s a 3rd party BB, a quick, cheap, and easy thing to replace. They ship you a new BB, and there’s even a place in Portland that will install it for you if you don’t have the tools.

      https://www.brompton.com/About-Us/BB-Checker-Consumer

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    • John Liu
      John Liu October 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      My Dahon was fine for a few years under my use, then I mailed it to a friend who lives in NYC, five years later she let me know she had to change the tubes but otherwise its still doing fine . . . and Brompton is multiple steps above that in quality.

      I’d have a Brompton in a flash, if they were less expensive.

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    • MJS October 4, 2017 at 9:41 am

      It’s a voluntary recall. The letter I received from the Brompton CEO (I have an affected bike) is that the BB passes the manufacturer’s standards but not the ones Brompton specified in the part. My guess is when Brompton was getting too many failures they decided to do the recall.

      Considering Brompton’s been in production since the late 1980s and that many people have them – Russ and Laura from Path Less Pedaled crossed the USA with them, and Heinz Stucke has owned one since 2010 – I’m confident that at the Brompton’s good enough for most anyone, recall or not.

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  • B. Carfree October 2, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    The huge parking lot at the school in Atlanta just shows how we refuse to ever back down on car subsidies. If the staff had to pay market rates for the land that is being wasted and pay for extra PE for the kids since all those car amenities make them less able to walk and ride to school, they would beg for the lot to not be built. The district and city have policies, toothless, to encourage active transportation. The school is near a transit hub with high density residences and still the school district admins see fit to waste expensive real estate to subsidize staff parking.

    I’m sickened, doubly so because it sounds so much like Eugene’s recent work. To add insult to injury, the Safe Routes to School person in Eugene was just given a lifetime achievement award by the Street Trust. After about a decade on the job, this very nice man has achieved negative growth in terms of getting kids to ride bikes to school. In fact, the loss of riders at the local schools has played a noticeable role in Eugene’s 43% decline in bike ridership.

    Oh, but just like Decatur, Georgia we have policies to encourage active transportation, as long as it doesn’t interfere with subsidizing and using sedentary transportation. Ugh! How do we get back to the proper side of the looking glass?

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  • B. Carfree October 2, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    If Cary Moon is elected mayor of Seattle, we should all be jealous. Car-free since ’94? I don’t think any other mayors on the west coast have ever gone a week without driving a car.

    I love the notion of changing the signal timing to put pedestrians and cyclists ahead of motorists on busy streets. That’s one of the things that holds back cycling in cities that are car-centric: you can do diversions (not enough yet by a long shot), but in the end they force you to cross many arterials that involve long waits for lines of cars. There’s a world of difference between a twenty-second delay and a ninety second wait, especially if the twenty-second delay results in a green phase long enough to occasionally make the light without waiting at all (you know, like motorists get most of the time).

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    • paikiala October 3, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Portland has several intersections with Leading Pedestrian Intervals. Most typically where there are heavy vehicle turn movements that usually get to start at the same time as pedestrians moving in the same direction.
      Protected left turns everywhere could have even greater benefits to pedestrian safety, to prevent anxious drivers from shooting a gap in oncoming traffic, forgetting there might be pedestrians, or cyclists, there, ala, 26th and Powell.

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  • SE October 4, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I ride Springwater from 122 to Sellwood 3-4x a week. You can’t make that ride w/o seeing piles of bike frames/wheels stacked up in front of tents. Usually one of the “campers” is out deconstructing more. Very often there is another resident riding with one hand and guiding his latest acquisition with the other.

    I want to have sympathy for their plight, but they sure make that difficult with their actions.
    I also want a Police force that cares and enforces. Guess those desires ain’t gonna happen ???

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  • wsbob October 5, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Re; Delaware’s Bicycle Friendly Safety Act with a selection of proposed changes to include the so called Idaho stop: Anyone that feels the language of Oregon’s statutes are difficult and intimidating for average, non-lawyer people to read, ought to maybe take a little time out to browse over the text for Delaware legislature’s house bill 185.

    I read it over a couple times, once in the html version, which is the same language, but visually a little easier to read than the pdf version. It’s there towards the bottom of the page, but takes some doing to find the section statement that refers to people biking being allowed by this bill as law, to proceed through stop signs without stopping, unless they determine they need to yield to oncoming traffic.

    The bill mentions section 4118 and 4119 of title 21 of the Del code, but I either missed seeing them in this bill, or they weren’t included; most likely have to go to the code to see what they specify.

    https://legis.delaware.gov/json/BillDetail/GenerateHtmlDocument?legislationId=25819&legislationTypeId=1&docTypeId=2&legislationName=HB185

    On bicycling.com this morning, I read a story about Delaware’s bike safety act. It’s a little better and more informative about the process that state used to put the bike safety act together. Just a little. Quotes a lieutenant with the Delaware state police, supportive of the bill, and mentions that the state police traffic unit helped craft the bill. Virtually nothing though about what inquiries may have been made of the Delaware public about the bills’ provisions.

    I think Delaware has a sort of newspaper The Journal…but I couldn’t get the search function to work for me to find any stories the paper might have done on the proposed act. Subscription may be required for that feature.

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