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The Monday Roundup: NYC aftermath, vision zero fire truck, Uber’s strange ad, and more

Posted by on November 6th, 2017 at 10:00 am

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This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Left Coast Bicycles, offering mobile bike repair at your home or workplace throughout the Portland Metro area.

Here are the best stories that came across our desks last week:

Auto industry funds anti-walking propaganda: Treehugger breaks down how America’s “culture of fear” — filtered through an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons PR campaign supported by auto manufactuers — is shifting blame for unsafe streets away from drivers and onto walkers.

Beer bikes banned: Amsterdam has outlawed those huge, pedal-powered “beer bikes” after many complaints of rowdy tourists made them a “nuisance”.

Residential bike parking: Portland’s ubiquitous blue bike staple racks rarely reach into residential areas. We need more places to park near homes. What to do? The Dutch use “bicycle hangars” and other neighborhood facilities.

Vision Zero fire truck: San Francisco officials purchased new fire engines with many features that aim to make them safer for use in dense urban areas where lots of people walk and bike.

Bicycle traffic school: The southern California city of El Monte has long allowed auto users to get traffic ticket fines waived by attending a safe driving class. Now bicycle users can do the same thing.

Dockless bike share in Minneapolis-St. Paul: In a place where the existing, kiosk-based bike share system shuts down in winter, dockless bikes could fill an important gap in mobility needs.

Normalization of speeding: An entire article about driving over the speed limit and “gunning it” (an interesting phrase given all the talk about cars as weapons) that completely ignores the fact that driving too fast for conditions is dangerous.

Not speeding is the problem? Really?: An article that relies on a police officer as its single source of expertise tries to make the case that we’d all be safer and happier if everyone drove faster. (Fact check: That’s not the case at all. Higher speeds mean more people will be killed and injured.)

It’s our fault: Finally, despite the willfull ignorance of Donald Trump and his friends, the U.S. government has told the truth about climate change: It is caused by humans.

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DUI-E: I like the way Washington has reframed distracted driving violations as “driving under the influence of electronics.”

AVs are not so smart: A driverless shuttle van being used as a demo at the Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress in Montreal malfunctioned. Conference goers got out and walked.


New York City Terror Attack Aftermath

Make trucks harder to get: Lloyd Alter at Treehugger (and others) think we need to make dangerous vehicles like SUVs and trucks much harder to come by.

Car-centric infra the problem: We need to ban cars from dense downtown areas; or at least get rid of the majority of them. Think that’s crazy? Many great cities are well on their way.

Safe street activists FTW: Many articles focused on the fact that — given the new era of weaponized motor vehicles — perhaps its time for public and politicians to embrace the ideas of transportation reform activists. Writing in the NY Times, Yonah Freemark puts is clearly: “By redesigning streets, we can protect pedestrians and cyclists from both careless drivers and malicious ones.”

Terrorism = everyday traffic violence: For New Yorker Teka Lark, it doesn’t matter what motivates a person behind the wheel, we need to stop bowing to the motor vehicle menace: “The authorities would rather pedestrians and cyclists die than force motorists to slow down and go the long way around.”

Push for bollards: After the attack, NYC City Council rep Ydanis Rodriquez renewed his call for more bollards to protect bike paths and other public spaces.

But not like this: The City of New York placed jersey barriers on the Hudson Greenway Path (and soon at 56 other locations); but the installation is completely wrong and an insult to people who walk and bike.


Uber’s ad: And finally today, check out the new ad from Uber — and remember this is a company that encourages people to use cars in cities. Am I missing something?

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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Kyle Banerjee
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The idea that making trucks harder to get will somehow prevent terrorism is nonsense. They are simply necessary for modern life — it’s not like the functions they fulfill can be taken up by small vehicles and bikes.

However, one thing that would help is to change the licensing regime that allows people to drive them and registration fees. That would at least encourage people not to drive trucks unless they really needed to.

When I moved to OR, I was shocked to find that the DL that everyone gets by default allows you to drive up to 26,000 lbs. This is way higher than where I moved from (IL) where the current limit is 16,000 lbs — but I could have sworn it was 8,000 a couple decades ago.

In any case, it takes a totally different skill set to drive a 26,000 lb vehicle than a regular car, particularly if you’re towing which you’re allowed to do. Towing should really require an endorsement and the weight limit should be way lower.

Too often, the worst drivers get themselves in the hardest to drive vehicles (as anyone who’s shared curves with land yachts on 101 knows too well). At the very least, they can be trained better.

Stephan
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Stephan

The article about bike storage is really important, especially as Portland gets more dense (very, very slowly, but still). It speaks to the Portland’s car-centric policies that it required (still requires?) houses to have a driveway, but no space to park bikes. As a result, many residential houses have plenty of space to park your car(s) but not enough space to park your bike safely. I would not want to advocate for mandatory bike parking space but perhaps the city could encourage it more.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

Might the Uber commercial make more sense if it was related to Amazon cardboard box clutter?

bikeninja
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bikeninja

I really like the Uber commercial but it should be an ad to promote cycling, walking and mass transit as it pokes fun at the logical impossibility of 2 square foot humans (footprint) trying to get around in and store 60 square foot ( footprint) automobiles in a dense urban environment. It of course does not try and show how riding in an Uber automobile would help the situation, because it doesn’t, except perhaps for parking.

Evan Manvel
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Evan Manvel

The Uber ad would make more sense if the boxes had Uber stickers on them and the people were going around in circles looking for someone to put in the second seat.

And then said “our hopeful future” and had empty AV boxes driving around clogging the streets while trying to find someone.

The data show Uber, as currently implemented, makes traffic worse. Which isn’t surprising.

If they changed their pricing structure so it made more sense for people to take UberPool or whatever their actual shared ride product is called, then maybe it might eventually improve traffic.

Sam
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Sam

For no good reason other than that I find them annoying, I’m glad Amsterdam to a stand against beer bikes and wish Portland would do the same.

CaptainKarma
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CaptainKarma

What deters me from riding my bike everywhere, all the time, is the odds of it not being there when I come out of the theater, or grocery, etc. While I appreciate the bike theft recovery programs, prevention would be far more effective in getting cars off the street.

Greg Spencer
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Greg Spencer

I would support any policies like the one Michael Anderson proposed that make people pay for their road usage. And for revenues collected to go to transit improvements. Uber and Lyft wouldn’t be nearly as successful if these companies were charged a toll for this public resource.

turnips
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turnips

SF could have saved a lot of money. search “kei fire truck”.