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The Monday Roundup: Distracting dashboards, no more signals, straight talk from L.A., and more

Posted by on October 9th, 2017 at 10:15 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by Chris King Precision Components who would like to invite you to their upcoming Open House and Builder’s Showcase this Saturday, October 14th.

Welcome to the week. I had a wonderful time exploring Paris, the French countryside, and Amsterdam over the past few weeks (photos and thoughts coming soon!). It looks like the site was in great hands while I was away. Let’s hear it for guest editor Michael Andersen, comment moderator Ted Timmons, and contributors Steph Routh, Kate Johnson, Leah Benson (on Instagram), Kiel Johnson, and James Buckroyd.

Here are the a few stories from the past week that are worth your attention:

Truck used as a weapon: Authorities are looking for a man who appeared to purposely hit a group of bicycle riders with his truck during an organized bike ride in Marin, California over the weekend.

Cargo bike sizes: Cargobike Magazine did an overview (literally) of the box dimensions of many popular models.

Screen time: Surprise, surprise! Those big “infotainment” screens that dominate many new car dashboards distract vehicle operators, so says a new study by the AAA.

Road death uptick continues: NHTSA released their 2016 fatal crash data and the numbers are not good.

Bike share free with transit pass: The city of Pittsburgh now offers free use of their bike share system to anyone with a transit pass.


Silly planners, signals are for car users: In Amsterdam, traffic lights at intersections often do more harm than good, so city officials are starting to remove them in order to improve the flow of all vehicles (especially bikes).

Outdoor bike “chop shops” banned: San Francisco has passed a city ordinance prohibiting “chop shops” operated on city streets. The new law will be enforced by the public works department, not by the police, because some people feared criminalization of homeless people. A woman who was sued by the driver who hit her from behind has launched a new website that’s an exhaustive resource on what to do if/when you suffer a similar fate.

The inconvient truth: The LA Times Editorial Board tells it like it is with this piece on what it takes to have a meaningful impact on climate change. In short, cities must make driving more expensive and less convenient. Everything else is window dressing.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Jim Lee October 9, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Let’s have some photos, JM!

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  • BradWagon October 9, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Thankfully hit and run suspect was arrested late Saturday night. Attempted murder? Assault with a deadly weapon?…

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    • Dan A October 9, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Attempted murder.

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    • Pete October 9, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Aaron Paff is out on bail already. If he had used a gun, he wouldn’t be out on bail, especially in light of the Las Vegas tragedy. Like the saying goes, if you want to get away with killing someone in America, make sure they’re on a bicycle.

      I was supposed to be on this ride, but commitments came up at home. I hope and pray for a full and fast recovery for the four victims, especially Spencer Fast.

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    • wsbob October 10, 2017 at 11:37 am

      “…Aaron Michael Paff, a 2014 graduate of Casa Grande High School, was booked into the Marin County Jail on charges of felony hit-and-run. He was released Sunday on $50,000 bail. …”

      Pete, thanks for that link.

      I’m interested in how the judge came to determine that he was safe to be released on bail, and what conditions to his release there may have been. The hit and run charge should be an easy conviction. Proving that he deliberately ran into the people riding, will be more difficult.

      A couple months ago to a story here, I posted a link to a story about a collision elsewhere in the country in which it was established that a guy driving, deliberately drove his vehicle in such a way as to, with the side of the vehicle, hit someone riding a bike, knocking him down, destroying the bike. Somewhat miraculous to my thinking, the guy knocked down in that collision came out of it with just a few bruises. The guy driving, was given more serious citations and was convicted, but I can’t remember exactly what they were. Sorry, can’t seem to find the link to the story.

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  • bikeninja October 9, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Welcome Back Jonathan,and thanks to Michael and Crew for keeping the flame lit. This weeks roundup is a litany of misbehavior by motorists. From running down charity riders, to suing victims to putting their own convenience and entitlement ahead of their children’s future to even killing and maiming each other in greater numbers while watching big screens. I am not sure what is to be done. It seems like as fast as we make improvements to laws or infrastructure the motorists just get worse and more irresponsible. I am afraid that the day can’t come too soon when thermodynamics, economics and karma takes their dangerous toys away once and for all.

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    • B. Carfree October 9, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      I think the key to safe roads is hidden away at the end of the NHTSA blurb on last year’s CARnage. It referred to their support of technology IN vehicles to make them less dangerous. IMO, we need to take advantage of technology outside of vehicles by using automated traffic law enforcement (and moving it towards zero-tolerance and complete coverage, unlike Oregon’s 10 mph speed buffer at the few cameras that are in use).

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  • Dave October 9, 2017 at 10:55 am

    The least surprising part of the Marin incident was that the assailant was using a full size US-made pickup truck. Unless you need the carrying capacity for work, what emotional defect generates the need to drive something like that?

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    • Middle of the Road Guy October 9, 2017 at 11:41 am

      I noticed how FEW pickups there are in Europe…indeed, how few sport-utes, etc.

      I think part of this is due to the high fuel costs, but I also think there are other factors, including how difficult it can be to park in urban areas.

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    • Dan A October 9, 2017 at 11:49 am


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    • wsbob October 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Full size pickups like the Ford F-150 and foreign made counterparts, serve as practical and comfortable vehicles for most of the people using them. With regular sized wheels and moderate four wheel drive lift, or even simple two wheel drive, they’re easily manageable on most city streets. They’re great for hauling all kinds of things, like for DIY weekend home projects, or helping out the neighbors with their projects, or for transporting bikes to ride start points long ways from home. With modest sized engines, they can get good gas mileage too.

      Some guy using his extra large crew cab, jacked up and with oversized tires extending past the wheel wells, to intimidate and even hurt other road users, is the exception. The couple pictures show that it’s this type of hot rodded vehicle the guy was driving. If for some reason the guy driving that used his pickup in this way is not able to be located and brought in for questioning, and whatever justifiably follows, that wouldn’t be a good outcome. I’m thinking there’s a good chance he’ll be caught.

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      • bikeninja October 9, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        I get great amusement out of watching the clueless pickup drivers who think their 4 wheeled macho machines are a good choice to transport them to locations in much of urban Portland. I chuckle as they hit the little chains with their cabs in the lowest parking garages, or cruise around the block endlessly on Williams or Division looking for a street parking spot that will fit their soot spewing beasts.
        Some day our decendents will gaze back in wonder ( and anger) at us for burning up all the fossil fuels that took millions of years to accumulate in a little over a century so we could drive around in 6000 lb metal and rubber boxes ,just so on occasion we could stop at Home Depot for a bag of barkdust , or pick up a mega size case of cheeze doodles at Costco.

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        • Dan A October 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm

          They don’t even have to post fuel economy numbers on the Monroney labels of heavy duty trucks.

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      • BradWagon October 9, 2017 at 3:45 pm

        Totally agree they are comfortable, but practical?… for “most” people driving them? No. I see maybe 1 in 10 pickups hauling more than a person or two.

        They do not get good gas mileage. They get average to slightly below average gas mileage… which is bad. Good gas mileage is 40-50 mpg. Majority of vehicles have poor mpg.

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        • Pete October 9, 2017 at 4:18 pm

          My friend traded in a Subaru Forester for a Chevy Silverado and got equivalent highway mileage (most of his driving). He did so because he could write off the truck as a business expense under the ‘Hummer loophole’. He later traded his travel trailer for a pickup camper and the setup works much better for him. Most of his around town mileage is on his motorcycle, though (he used to bike lots but moved into the hills and it’s much less practical for him now). Not a common use case, for sure…

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          • Chris I October 10, 2017 at 9:15 am

            The Silverado can get 25mpg around town, and 30mpg on the highway? Or are you comparing it to a really old Forester that needs work?

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            • Pete October 10, 2017 at 8:38 pm

              He was getting ~28 MPG highway with a cap on and the truck fairly loaded. His turbo Forester was getting ~25 MPG highway – that being said he’s not the most economical of drivers and I could probably have done better behind the wheel. Leadfooting takes its toll on engines, especially turbos.

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        • wsbob October 10, 2017 at 12:46 am

          “Totally agree they are comfortable, but practical?… for “most” people driving them? No. I see maybe 1 in 10 pickups hauling more than a person or two.

          They do not get good gas mileage. They get average to slightly below average gas mileage… which is bad. Good gas mileage is 40-50 mpg. Majority of vehicles have poor mpg.” bradwagon

          Depends on individual’s travel and transport needs. For many people, they’re very practical vehicles. For people that aren’t putting in a lot of daily travel miles, mpg isn’t that important. High mpg in standard American passenger cars, is a relatively new trend, the hybrids and electric cars. My ‘ancient’ import truck with a 4 cylinder, and bunch of junk in the back that I carry around all the time, only gets 17. It’s a ’95, ‘old’ technology. But so what, I’m only driving three to four thou a year. Sure, I’d like to have a new hybrid pickup…but for the 40 thousand that would cost…if such a critter even is made…I guess I have to pass.

          Pickups can have enormous emotional and romantic appeal too. I kind of wish I could still occasionally be driving my dad’s 50 Dodge three-quarter pickup. Sweet sounding gutless flathead six, just 15mpg. Beautiful old rounded lines. Slow and comfortable. I’ll stop there.

          Pete…I see your comment posted here:

          If you come across any additional info, with links to stories about the person driving…an Aaron Paff, I think you wrote, think about posting them here. I think people reading here might benefit from hearing more of what is known about the collision, how the person was located and what he was charged with, and what justified his release on bail.

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          • BradWagon October 10, 2017 at 9:00 am

            Yeah I’m not arguing the appeal or usefulness of larger vehicles in specific cases. Maybe it’s telling that the only defenses that come up point to very atypical low use examples haha. I grew up driving trucks and vans be it for work or play and still use them when the activity demands. And I think a future where these vehicles still exist and are used is totally ok… if we get a majority of commutes, grocery trips, really any trip under an hour that’s primarily just transporting people, to happen outside of cars, and if we reduce the distance of all trips in general.

            I think a large part of it is that folks have those hobbies or needs or like to think they have the lifestyle where they need a bigger truck maybe 5% of the time they drive but they can’t afford two vehicles when one is a 50K pickup so they have no choice but to just use it for all of their driving. It all again comes down to forcing people into making lifestyle changes because most folks are not going to choose a less convenient option or even change their hobbies / needs if they can’t afford owning a smaller vehicle for daily driving or making an effort to drive less if they have a larger one.

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            • KTaylor October 10, 2017 at 11:41 am

              In France, they laugh at Americans for buying huge vehicles the capacity of which we only rarely use – – in France, if you need a truck, you rent one. Most people who actually use their Ford F-150s routinely could get by with one of those little Toyota trucks – it just doesn’t look as masculine. I find it really weird that people aren’t at least as critical of truck-bloat as they are of fat people (personally, I would do away with criticizing the latter and double down on the former – truck-bloat is a much bigger problem).

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              • John Lascurettes October 10, 2017 at 12:28 pm

                I’ve bemoaned “truck bloat” (nice term!) for years. Does Toyota even make a “normal” sized pickup anymore? It seems as though all pickups sold in the last 15 years are those raised two-ton beasts or bloated SUV crossovers now. What ever happened to all those old 1/2-ton pickups? Those had great utility, milage, and longevity (especially the old Toyotas).

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              • 9watts October 10, 2017 at 12:37 pm

                ” Does Toyota even make a “normal” sized pickup anymore?”

                An unanswerable question as *every* vehicle has suffered bloat. The ‘new’ Mini weighs TWICE as much as the ‘old’ Mini. Everything from a Toyota truck to a VW Golf has swelled and swelled and swelled to the point where many models now weigh close to twice what they once did.

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              • Ted Timmons (Contributor) October 10, 2017 at 1:17 pm

                all that bloat like side/curtain airbags and ABS brakes. There is a silly market segmentation issue that causes cars to tend towards upmarket.

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              • wsbob October 12, 2017 at 12:41 am

                It’s a long time ago since the little toyota pickups were really little. When nissan pickups were Datsun pickups, they were kind of small compared to F-150’s of the day. Standard size F-150’s today, seem larger to me than they were forty years ago, but I haven’t actually made a comparison measurement. I think newer model standard Ford pickups, are a little bigger than those of the old days, but not by that much.

                It’s the add-ons that get pickups to become big, and huge. Tires, wheels, lift kits, bigger cabs.

                If the French laugh at people here in the states with their pickup trucks, I’m not going to get too upset about that. The French are hardly in a position to be criticizing other people’s tastes as excessive. Vive la France!

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              • 9watts October 12, 2017 at 9:55 am

                “I haven’t actually made a comparison measurement”

                well some of us have, and you can take it from me: swelling is quite evenly distributed over all models.

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          • Pete October 10, 2017 at 9:42 am

            More info on the Marin County Hit-and-Run:



            Causing that kind of damage to a Pinarello Dogma should be punishable by death, not to mention the four counts of attempted homicide, deadly weapon, etc.

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    • B. Carfree October 9, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      It’s not psychological, it’s anatomical. Then again, I guess the need to compensate for their anatomy is psychological.

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  • John Lascurettes October 9, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Bike share free with transit pass: The city of Pittsburgh now offers free use of their bike share system to anyone with a transit pass.

    Now there’s a way of encouraging people to get out of their cars. What a great idea! It greatly extends people’s ranges and speeds up their transit commutes if you minimize the transfers needed.

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    • wsbob October 9, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Someone has to pay for those free rides on bike share Pittsburgh is offering people with transit passes.. I haven’t read the story. Does it report on whether the cost of transit passes will rise to cover that cost, or on where the money for this no user charge for bike share comes from?

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      • bikeninja October 9, 2017 at 12:54 pm

        Someone has to pay for the free use of surface streets and highways by automobiles also. Gas taxes only pay a small portion of the true costs of covering the earth with asphalt, and speeding metal boxes. I would certainly rather subsidize the massively efficient use of multimodal transport than the crazy system we have now.

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        • wsbob October 9, 2017 at 1:37 pm

          “Someone has to pay for the free use of surface streets and highways by automobiles also. …” bikeninja

          There’s nothing free about the use of surface streets and highways, regardless of the mode of transportation. General figure often cited, is that 80 percent of road users do so by motor vehicle. The money for roads is coming from somewhere. It’s obvious that 80 percent is paying a majority share of that money. People walking, biking, skateboarding and so on, also are paying.

          One of the reasons Portland didn’t have bike share for the longest time, was the cost of startup and operation of bike share systems. It’s not cheap. That’s why user fees to defray those costs were a condition of approving bike share for Portland.

          I thought someone else reading here might relay what the article says about how Pittsburgh is managing to offer its bike share system ‘free’ to holders of transit passes in that city. If it’s the general public that’s paying through taxes, and they’re happy about that, I say great for them.

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          • bikeninja October 9, 2017 at 3:07 pm

            The 80% are not really paying for the true costs of the automobile transportation system. They pay for a nominal visible portion in the form of gas taxes, registration fees etc, but like an iceberg the largest portion of the true cost is hidden away in the form of externalities.

            I will list just a few of these:
            * The costs of dealing with the massive increases in storm water runoff caused by the
            impervious surface of roads and parking lots.
            * The health care costs due to auto accidents, pollution and obesity.
            * The costs of dealing with forest fires, storms, oceanside property loss, etc caused by
            the co2 emitted by automobiles.
            * The loss of real estate that could be used to house people near city centers that is now given over to roads and parking.

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            • Pete October 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm

              You forgot to mention the multitude of transportation bond measures passed by the people adamantly opposed to raising gas taxes. One burden is borne (with interest) by taxpayers at all income levels, the other by “the driving public”. You can guess which is which…

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            • wsbob October 10, 2017 at 12:17 am

              “The 80% are not really paying for the true costs of the automobile transportation system. …” bikeninja

              Of course they’re paying. Where else do you think the money is coming from. Everyone that uses the roads and streets directly or indirectly and benefits in some way from that usage, is paying for the road system. Road infrastructure supporting use of motor vehicles for travel and transport, is one of the major components of the U.S. economy.

              Bike Share…is not even remotely close to being able to provide to the U.S. economy and the people living in this country, what motor vehicle travel and transport does. Bike Share isn’t an essential. It’s kind of a nice thing to try out, and I hope the number of people that ride the bikes, does increase, hopefully relieving the streets of some of the motor vehicle use on the streets.

              Bike share is expendable. At present. infrastructure in this country for motor vehicle travel and transport, is not expendable. That infrastructure is expensive, so the public does like to save money where it can. Exit: Bike Share, if it can’t go some long way to pay for itself, because it’s not an essential component of the U.S. economy. I’m glad for Pittsburgh taxpayers, if they’re footing the bill for free Bike Share use with transit passes, and they’re happy doing that.

              Would such an idea fly here in Portland, now that everyone has had a chance to see the flashy orange bikes parked at curbs, and in use in the city? Well, I don’t know. Doesn’t hurt to start asking around.

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              • Dan A October 10, 2017 at 10:34 am

                I feel like we are watching backwards evolution right before our eyes.

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              • KTaylor October 10, 2017 at 11:50 am

                Wait a minute – I thought we just established here that the motor vehicle infrastructure DOES NOT pay for itself. It’s a huge money pit. Driving a car is heavily subsidized. Drivers pay less than 50% of the cost of the infrastructure itself – the rest of it is paid for through taxes on all of us (I’ve posted these stats many times – will look them up again if I have to, but I’m at work and don’t have the time to dig them up again right now). As bikeninja points out, that doesn’t begin to cover the externalities, like blight, parking (costs passed on to tenants/customers, if they have a car or not) and climate degradation. There’s nothing rational about motor vehicle dominance – it has been cultivated to the tune of trillions of dollars every year for the past 70 years. TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR FOR 70 YEARS. Just imagine what else could be done with that money! I did the math once and figured out that if we invested the annual budget for just one year of maintaining and building the National Highway System, we could fully build out high speed rail all over the country. Just because something is already here, that doesn’t make it the most rational investment for the future.

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              • rachel b October 11, 2017 at 1:54 am

                Hear, hear, KTaylor!

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              • wsbob October 12, 2017 at 12:23 am

                “…Drivers pay less than 50% of the cost of the infrastructure itself – the rest of it is paid for through taxes on all of us (I’ve posted these stats many times – will look them up again if I have to, …” ktaylor

                You nor anyone else here in this discussion, has established a viable alternative to the infrastructure for motor vehicle use everyone in the U.S. pays to build and maintain. There is no viable alternative, for now.

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              • KTaylor October 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

                I kind of did – high-speed rail. If China can do it – and not just in their own country, but in Djibouti – we certainly can. In Holland, you can get from Amsterdam to a sleepy farming town in the middle of the night by train. There’s no reason we couldn’t do that, aside from political will. In the long run, building out a really good rail network and supplementing it with really good bus service and protected bike/ped facilities would be cheaper and more practical.

                If what you’re saying is that Americans are not, by and large, willing to look at any alternative to the current system, I’d agree with you there. But they would change their tune quickly if driving subsidies ended.

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          • Pete October 9, 2017 at 5:01 pm

            Gas taxes were supposed to be a “pay as you go” system, but have become obsolete from a logical perspective in today’s transportation ecosystem – not to mention suicidal from a political perspective. So instead we pass bond measures which raise our sales taxes (oh, sorry Oregon, you don’t have that revenue stream), and even at today’s low interest rate add up to compounding.

            A less effective solution to an ineffective remedy for a well-hidden problem.


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  • not that Mark October 9, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Does anyone have experience with rear facing cameras? I see the prices are coming down on the combination tail light/cameras.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) October 9, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      I have seat rail gopro brackets, but they mean no tailbag. Likewise with the Fly6, no tailbag can be used.

      So I mostly don’t run a rear camera :/

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    • BVT_Biker October 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      While front license plates are required in Oregon, this law is rarely enforced. The perpetrator of the California Hit-and-Run did not have a front license plate. Luckily there was someone on a motorcycle with a helmet cam who captured both the perp’s face and truck.

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  • BradWagon October 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    From Amsterdam Signal Article:

    “Monderman’s philosophy was that the safest roads were those with the least amount of lights, signs and road markings dictating where and when cars, bicycles and people should travel. His theory was that the unpredictability of a shared space would require the utmost attention from all road users, whereas lanes and signals allow people to zone out to some extent.”

    I share this philosophy as well. Although, I believe American motor vehicle infrastructure is too far gone and different in some cases to fully adopt it outside of low traffic areas. However this applies 100% to the paint mazes being created on new bicycle infrastructure (Tilikum & Moody, West end of Sellwood Bridge, etc..). While bikes are smaller than cars we can’t scale down the space they need, turning radii, etc… to the same degree. Once again an example of how engrained automotive culture is. Bikes and people don’t need the same containment vehicles do and operate much more efficiently without it. Would love to see a change towards larger more free flowing bike infrastructure.

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    • BradWagon October 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      “Certainly there are no U.S. cities with that volume or level of driver respect for other road users.”

      lol, sadly so true.

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    • J_R October 9, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      Many years ago, we rode across the south of France for four weeks and were never run off the road, honked at in anger, or treated with anything but courtesy by motorists.

      A week after returning, while we were riding to Women’s Forum, a pickup driver expressed his displeasure at us being on the road by driving two feet behind our rear wheel and laying on the horn for 20 seconds before squeezing past us with inches to spare, even though there was no on-coming traffic.

      The problem is who’s behind the wheel, not the infrastructure.

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      • paikiala October 9, 2017 at 1:35 pm

        Then there are the cultural differences.

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        • BB October 9, 2017 at 2:50 pm

          No, there is no cultural difference that would account for such a drastic difference in value of a persons life from Europe to America. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior and everyone claiming something like “cultural difference” is part of the problem.

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          • BradWagon October 9, 2017 at 3:53 pm

            Cultural differences ARE the problem. Mainstream America kinda, just… sucks.

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            • Jason H October 9, 2017 at 9:06 pm

              I hate to say it, but I think it may in fact be ENGLISH (the language) that is the problem. That may sound crazy, but whether it’s the shared pickup scourge in Canada, White Van Man ( in the UK, ‘Ute ragers down under, and the surprising amount of road rage against cyclists in otherwise polite New Zealand, and you have a world-wide phenomenon of heightened aggressiveness by specific road user groups, with only our shared language in common. That or we English speaking nations all happen to culturally share an overabundance of unhealthy over-masculinized, hyper-individual centric subculture that is (rightly) looked down upon in many other parts of the world.

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              • Dave October 10, 2017 at 11:02 am

                The only non-English speaking country I’ve ever ridden in is Italy. Only time on that trip that I ever felt nervous on the road was when our group saw an English antique sports car club going the other way in their right-hand-drive cars.

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              • rachel b October 11, 2017 at 1:58 am

                “That or we English speaking nations all happen to culturally share an overabundance of unhealthy over-masculinized, hyper-individual centric subculture that is (rightly) looked down upon in many other parts of the world.”

                Yes! And they’re all acting out like crazy as they perceive their ‘benefits’ slipping.

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              • Pete October 11, 2017 at 7:25 am

                Italy, like Spain and many other non-English countries, tend to have cycle tracks.

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      • B. Carfree October 9, 2017 at 3:30 pm

        I sometimes wonder if everyone who tours doesn’t have a similar story. Nearly thirty years ago, my wife and I took off from Davis on our new tandem and rode up to Spokane for a family gathering and then on up to Banff and Jasper followed by a very pleasant ride west across BC, all incident free (unless you count friendly waves and words, offers of free lodging and a timely assist from a lawyer when our headset failed).

        We eventually took the train home from Seattle because we kind of needed to get back to work after our month off. Literally one block from the train station back in Davis a motorist ran a stop sign and nearly took us out. We immediately recalibrated our expectations back to the home setting and lasted another eleven years there before we had had enough.

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      • BradWagon October 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm

        Decades of infrastructure design, car dominance and culture in general have created those attitudes. Or are humans born on one continent genetically less inclined to respect cyclists than another?

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        • rachel b October 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm

          Americans have our exceptionalism ground into us from birth. We’re a seriously self-entitled, self-(not community-) centered nation. It seeps into everything, that rampant me-firstism. And it makes daily life a real trial, navigating all those impatient, demanding, special special selves.

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          • 9watts October 9, 2017 at 8:19 pm

            like the antipathy to real gas taxes, and mindset that climate change happens to other people, hat someone else will pay for the CRC and the Rose Quarter freeway boondoggle?

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      • Chris I October 10, 2017 at 9:18 am

        The Corbett area has some of the worst drivers to share the road with. A bunch of hick, pretend farmers that have to commute long distances to real jobs in the city, and thus hate their commutes, and anything that “gets in the way”. I won’t ride out there during commuting hours.

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    • USbike October 10, 2017 at 4:54 am

      More and more, it seems like some cities in the Netherlands are experimenting with this concept of removing not only traffic lights and signs, but in rarer cases, the special infrastructure for different modes of transport. I think that not only does this need to be studied and planned out very carefully beforehand, but thoroughly monitored afterwards. In theory shared space can sounds great. But in practice, that doesn’t always happen. If car traffic is too high, that usually results in all other modes being squeezed aside. While I appreciate the Dutch mindset to continually evolve their infrastructure to fit the needs of the current situation, I hope they don’t completely reinvent the wheel unnecessarily or lose sight of why certain things were done in the first place. The physical danger and dominance of motor vehicles in itself is no different now than 20 or 50 or 80 years ago. Protected intersections, separated cycle paths and no-thru way for cars were all invented and implemented decades ago for a reason. If they suddenly start converting everything back into shared space (which is how all streets use to be pre-automobile), I think they are going to quickly see problems occurring. And like anywhere else, it’s hard to undue something once it’s done.

      But there are additional considerations as well. Even if there are no serious collisions after the change, that doesn’t automatically mean that all is well. If the situation becomes more stressful for cyclists and pedestrians, I don’t consider that a success at all-the so called subjective safety. This is much harder to measure and assess than fatalities or injuries. If anyone thinks that simply putting a 30 kph limit on a street with some nice paving is all it takes to make it a low or no-stress cycling/walking environment, that’s just wishful thinking.

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  • B. Carfree October 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    I love that The City is beginning the process of cracking down on bike chop shops. My neighborhood facebook page generally has one to three reports of stolen bikes per week, in a neighborhood of 4400 people with only a small fraction of them on the page. Sometimes someone will roll over to one of the many nearby homeless camps and make an immediate recovery. If it isn’t recovered within the first few hours, it will no longer be recognizable and is unlikely to ever be found and returned.

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  • Ten October 9, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Middle of the Road Guy
    I noticed how FEW pickups there are in Europe…indeed, how few sport-utes, etc.
    I think part of this is due to the high fuel costs, but I also think there are other factors, including how difficult it can be to park in urban areas.
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    Europe does have a lot of vans the size of Ford Transit Connects or the Mercedes one of similar size that I don’t recall the name of. An explanation I was told once is that (and this is a generality) Europe has a much higher petty crime rate and for around the same price as a pickup you can get a van which is more compact and easier to secure cargo

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  • Vince October 10, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Further on the use of pickups and their current size, here’s a take on it from a guy who actually does construction, when he is not busy being frugal, riding his bike instead of driving, and generally trying to like a more rational life….

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    • Chris I October 10, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Bingo. So many of the trucks you see on the road are more about anatomical compensation, or “toy towing” than actual work. Many of them are lifted to the point where they can’t be used for real work.

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      • Dan A October 10, 2017 at 2:56 pm

        They are preparing for the floods.

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  • KTaylor October 10, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I don’t understand the concern in SF about criminalizing homeless people vis a vis roadside chop shops. How would police enforcement affect homeless people who are not running chop shops?

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    • Bald One October 10, 2017 at 11:46 am

      Right, it’s hard to understand the theory that an enormous pile of bikes under a tarp in a homeless camp are somehow not stolen. I guess the tolerant perspective of this activity is that it would be an unfair burden to a homeless camper to have to produce any type of proof of ownership or purchase receipt to a police officer who has accused them of being in possession of stolen property and a pile of bikes. So now they just say it’s a public nuisance and ask the road department to just sweep up any piles of bikes and bike parts they see – bypassing the police involvement.

      I think this approach could work somewhat in Portland also – if you remove the source of revenue, then the value of the stolen property drops, and the risk/reward of engaging in either theft or purchase/barter for stolen property changes. Why would you trade a bag of drugs for a stolen bike if you thought the authorities would repossess the bike before you could again sell it? It would lower the value of that stolen bike. I think that stolen bikes are a form of street currency that is mostly fueled by drug addiction, so this could lower the value of this currency.

      Last week, I rode by a guy on the ped/bike bridge at Peace Park (between Rose Quarter and Steel Bridge) – he was standing there just filing away the serial numbers on on a bike frame as 100’s of cyclists streamed by. Every day, all day, all over this city.

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      • rachel b October 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm

        Grrrrrr. 🙁

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      • dwk October 10, 2017 at 1:17 pm

        I counted 15 bikes at the peace park camp…
        It has been there for 3 days in one of the most public areas in the city and NOTHING is being done.
        Wheeler is useless…

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        • Bald One October 10, 2017 at 2:24 pm

          I am curious where the end-market for stolen bikes and bike parts is. Do they all eventually end up on Craig’s list and get sold at full market value? Do they get bought wholesale and shipped off to some other city/country? Or, is it just a closed-loop market among homeless – upgrade from a Huffy to a Trek for their ride? Given the quantity of bikes you see in piles on the street, and what appears to be a constant turn over of stolen bikes, where do they all end up? Who is buying them? I guess each city here on the west coast has the same issues, so where do they all go – just into a police warehouse or a metal recycler?

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          • dwk October 10, 2017 at 3:28 pm

            I think that stealing, stripping or chopping, selling and trading parts and the like is a way to pass time and addicts usually are up a lot…
            Most of the bikes I counted were half parted out beaters, but there was a Specialized and a nice Kona frame.
            The camp was still there when I went through an hour ago.
            The most blatant chop shop camp I have seen in the city, in the most public place within clear view of Transit cops and others at the Max stop .

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          • Pete October 10, 2017 at 8:33 pm

            Do you have “flea markets” in the area? I’m gonna guess my Gary Fisher wound up here:

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