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The Monday Roundup: Equiticity, beating bike theft, Montreal’s new mayor, and more

Posted by on November 13th, 2017 at 11:49 am


This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Urban Tribe cargo bikes, which are now 15 percent off for BikePortland readers.

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

Middle finger hero: Here’s the story behind Juli Briskman, that woman who flipped off Donald Trump’s motorcade last month.

“Equiticity” for mobility justice: The founder of Chicago’s “Slow Roll” movement has started a new group whose first project will be dockless bike-share libraries in communities of color.

Side guards in Seattle: Our northern neighbors are not just talking about side guards on trucks like we are, they have actually began to install them (and from a local manufacturer to boot!). (H/T Seattle Bike Blog)

Beautiful streets: Seattle has a new street design manual that looks really fantastic.

Montreal’s new mayor: People are buzzing about Valérie Plante and her potential to make biking better in what has traditionally been North America’s most bike-friendly city.

End of the automobile era: When a former VP of General Motors says cars as we know them will be obsolete in five years to make way for autonomous modules, it’s probably worth hearing him out.

E-bikes are a revolution: At least that’s the feeling of one reporter from The Economist who used one around London for a week.

Encouraging distraction: Why the hell is the Arizona DOT sending traffic alerts via text message to people’s phones?

Advertise with BikePortland.

Get out of our bike lanes! People who drive for companies like Uber and Lyft think they can park anywhere. A San Francisco lawmakers wants to establish clearly marked pick-up zones to help fix the problem.

Treat them right and hold them accountable: An employment court in London has ruled that Uber drivers are employees — not the independent contractors the company has always insisted they are.

Beating bike theft: Vancouver BC has embraced Project 529 and put in the necessary work to make a significant dent in bike theft.

Great streets don’t have cars: Inspired by the City of London’s plans to make Oxford Street carfree, Citylab has this how-to guide for how we could do the same thing here in Portland. Burnside? NW 13th? Sandy? Pick one!

GOP tax plan: We already know the petty move from the GOP to axe the paltry Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit; but did you see how they also carved out a loophole for auto dealers?

Victim blaming bill: A lawmaker in Chicago wants new fines for people who use cell phones while walking across the street. Thankfully he’s not being taken serious. Yet.

Wool giants merge: Smartwool’s parent company has bought Icebreaker.

Video of the Week: Even in bike utopias like Nijmegen there are still tactical urbanists at work (and they use duct tape!):

Thanks for all the submissions folks.

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

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107 Comments
  • Lester Burnham November 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Flipping someone the bird makes you a hero? Sorry that’s pretty weak.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      Yeah. She fits my definition of hero because she found a creative way to do her activism, she did it atop a bicycle (a vehicle that has deep historical roots to empowering women), and she did it in a way that captured the attention of millions of people.

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      • Chris I November 14, 2017 at 9:13 am

        And she got fired.

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  • bikeninja November 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    “Everyone will have 5 years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap”

    I couldn’t agree more Bob. But i don’t think it is for the reasons you think it is. The curtains are being drawn on the 100 year era of happy motoring and selling our cars for scrap is the least of our challenges.

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    • dan November 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      I was surprised to see Bob Lutz so down on personal cars! It can’t come soon enough…but I will miss muscle cars, though not most of the people who drive them.

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      • GlowBoy November 14, 2017 at 7:52 am

        I think that like so many other “experts,” Lutz is right that autonomous vehicles are going to take over much faster than most people expect.

        I’m surprised there’s no mention here of last week’s Rand report projecting that we could save a million lives over the next 50 years if we adopt AVs aggressively instead of taking five decades to phase them in. They’re already safer than human-operated vehicles, and data collection from accelerated adoption will also speed up safety improvements.

        I don’t think full AV adoption will happen within 5-10 years, but I think within 5-10 years we will see AVs available at comparable price points to similar conventional vehicles. And we will start to see how much less death, dismemberment and property destruction they cause. At some point things will start to happen very fast, and insurance companies will drive the change. Policies for human-driven cars will become VERY expensive, and probably very hard to get for higher-risk drivers: get one speeding ticket, and you’ll lose your insurance: time to sell the dinosaur and make the switch.

        But Where I think Lutz is wrong is in thinking that autonomous vehicles = anonymous vehicles. What I think is going to happen is a large share of people will continue to buy and own vehicles, even if they’re fully automated. As it is, automakers sell their product based mostly on image and lifestyle. For a lot of people, choosing a car is more about projecting their uniqueness to the world than on purely functional attributes. If that weren’t the case, the only cars on the road would be Accents, Priuses and Leafs. Okay, maybe some primitive, budget SUVs for the few that really needed the extra ground clearance, and some bigger cars for really large people. But seriously, the average new car now exceeds $30,000 even though there are very nice new cars available for half that price.

        Do we really think the reptilian marketing of cars will suddenly die away? Lots of people will still buy Bimmers and Benzes and Ram trucks so they can be seen in them, so they can project a certain image to the world, even if they’re no longer behind the wheel. Ford will still sell plenty of F-150s so people can tow their RVs and boats to vacationland, even if they’re no longer behind the wheel. And suburbanites will still buy cars to keep parked in their driveways so they can get in the car NOW, even though they won’t be behind the wheel, so they don’t have to wait 15 minutes for an Uber to show up at their cul de sac.

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        • ktaylor November 14, 2017 at 1:39 pm

          The expense and maintenance requirements of autonomous vehicles may bring about the change in ownership more quickly than I thought in the past. A network of high-speed autonomous vehicles won’t function safely if everyone doesn’t maintain and update their vehicles the way we all have to update our phones and computers. Expensive components wear out and have to be replaced. Think of your mom or granddad who never applies updates – think of the person driving the old beater car because it’s all she can afford. Think also of the number of entrenched industries that have been destroyed in the space of just a few years over the past couple of decades. I tend to believe Bob Lutz that dealers may not be long for this world.

          I am very worried about the AV revolution because I think it is going to happen so fast cities will have little to no control over how it goes down. Looking around at where public agencies are with this stuff, mostly you just see bewilderment – nobody has any idea what to do to get out in front of this thing.

          We already have statistics showing that ridesharing services have substantially increased VMT (49 to 61 percent of ridesharing trips “would not have been made at all” if the services didn’t exist, or would have been made by walking, bicycling, or on public transit, according to University of California Davis researcher Dr. Regina Clewlow). That trend will likely continue with autonomous fleets. Between that and platooning (long strings of AVs clumping up and traveling as a unit) our surface streets could become an ugly, high-speed nightmare criss-crossing our cities like a moving blight. And we’ll NEVER get rid of surface freeways. China and France might move them underground, but us? Never in a million years.

          Which brings up another interesting point: if this AV revolution is going to happen, somebody has to pay for the infrastructure. Roadways designed for human needs are not optimal for autonomous vehicles. And connected vehicles require technological infrastructure that doesn’t exist at all in most parts of the country – we’re talking large-scale installations. At this point, all I can imagine is that governments will be unwilling or unable to pony up money fast enough to respond to the mounting pressure, and transportation infrastructure will become privatized under the ownership of google, amazon, uber, lyft and other tech industry giants. The alternative will probably be ruinous public-private partnerships, where all the money comes from us and all the profit devolves to private industry. Instead of paying for it once and we’re done (except for maintenance), we will pay and pay and pay and pay. We’re already halfway back to feudalism – a privatized national transportation system will be another great, big nail in the coffin.

          So these are the things that keep me up at night when I think about AVs. I think they’ll be upon us before we can decide how we want to incorporate them into our cities, and they’ll shape and possibly unravel the livability of those cities, just like human-driven cars did. They’ll be an improvement over single-occupant cars, but they can’t help but be a huge step down in terms of livability from really good transit and bike/ped facilities.

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          • ktaylor November 14, 2017 at 1:50 pm

            For anyone who’s interested, NACTO just released a ‘Blueprint for Autonomous Urbanism’ – I just received and haven’t read yet, so don’t know what’s in it, but NACTO tends to support solutions that enhance livability – should be a worthwhile read!

            https://nacto.org/publication/bau/blueprint-for-autonomous-urbanism/

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            • soren November 14, 2017 at 4:17 pm

              A major theme is that planning for autonomous vehicles can/should increase active transportation mode share and create additional car-free/low-car urban space.

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              • ktaylor November 14, 2017 at 4:54 pm

                It can and it should, but at this point it’s far from certain that it will.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 14, 2017 at 4:59 pm

                AVs may reduce the need for parking, but will increase the need for loading zones, and, if it delivers on its promise, will make vehicle transportation cheaper, lower stress, and safer than it is today. I see little prospect that those factors will swing mode spit in favor of active transportation.

                It is entirely possible that we have reached Peak Bicycle.

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              • soren November 15, 2017 at 9:59 am

                imo, a major barrier, if not the major barrier, to wide-spread adoption of cycling for transportation is the perception that it is dangerous. AVs will evaporate that fear. if we as a society make it to the point where AVs become dominant, i expect cycling mode share to rocket up.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy November 14, 2017 at 9:03 am

      We heard that 20 years ago.

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  • CaptainKarma November 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    I want that motorcade T Shirt. I’ll make my own if I have to!

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  • Todd Boulanger November 13, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I would rather see this tax loop hole closed…but if it cannot be politically achievable…perhaps expand it to ALL vehicles: like bicycles (assuming IBDs pay similar fees): “The proposal also applies to dealers of RVs, motorcycles, boats, and farm and construction equipment.”

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  • Toadslick November 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Burnside? NW 13th? Sandy? Pick one!

    I’ll never forget the experience of riding a bike down Sandy car-free for this year’s WNBR.

    It was a fast, convenient, and direct connection from NE Portland to downtown. Nothing at all like the indirect, meandering, and unnecessarily hilly greenway routes that the city would usually have us take.

    In a real “Vision Zero” city, roads like Sandy and Foster would be given fully to buses, bikes, and pedestrians, and it would the drivers that were relegated to the few sparse crossings of these roads.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 13, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      In which other city are the major arterials given over to bikes and buses? Every city I have ever visited has had major auto-oriented roads in and around it. At best, the inner core is somewhat car-free, but Powell and Sandy are not in our inner core.

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    • rick November 13, 2017 at 6:15 pm

      What was WNBR ?

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      • Dan A November 14, 2017 at 7:12 am

        N is for Naked.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 14, 2017 at 10:25 am

        A really rockin’ radio station.

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  • SD November 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Every quadrant/ sub quadrant in Portland should have a car-free street (AKA plaza) that is at least partially covered and dry in the winter.

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    • John Lascurettes November 13, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      I second this fantastic idea. (and let’s include the “outer quadrants” as well).

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    • Pete November 13, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      Las Ramblas de Portlandia

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      • Middle of the Road Guy November 14, 2017 at 9:05 am

        I recall Las Ramblas as being bordered by roads with cars and buses.

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        • Pete November 14, 2017 at 11:08 am

          True, though several boulevards have streetcars and cycle paths in the middle. Auto traffic is neither forbidden, nor prioritized (or subsidized, for that matter). Several elements at play to reduce car traffic (though pedestrian crowding… and pickpockets, another story entirely!).

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  • mran1984 November 13, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Walking across the street while completely focused on your device is not victim blaming. Why should I pay attention to the present when YOU don’t feel the same responsibility? This is insane. Be present in the world you live in. Your phone is no excuse for anything.

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    • bendite November 13, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      It’s a form of victim blaming because it’s shifting greater responsibility away from drivers and encourages the theme of “they need to be more careful” to compensate for bad driving. Legally, pedestrians need to cross on the walk signal, or cross leaving enough room for the driver to safely stop. The law shouldn’t attempt to make pedestrians even more legally responsible for driver inattention.

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      • John Lascurettes November 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm

        Exactly this. If a pedestrian is within the crosswalk with proper right-of-way, meaning on a green or with enough space for traffic to stop, it’s completely irrelevant if they’re distracted because they are not posing a danger to anyone.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 13, 2017 at 2:31 pm

          You are absolutely right from a legal standpoint, and dead wrong from a survival one.

          If we want to reduce fatalities, everyone needs to pay attention, even if it’s “not their job.”

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          • John Lascurettes November 13, 2017 at 2:58 pm

            You’re conflating self-preservation with liability. Laws making this behavior illegal are doing the same thing. The driver that hits a pedestrian, who hasn’t crossed dangerously and with right of way, that driver is liable — not the pedestrian, regardless of the pedestrian’s distraction state.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 13, 2017 at 3:05 pm

              I am not. I clearly differentiated between the two. If we want to reduce traffic mayhem, everyone needs to pay attention, even when they have the legal right-of-way.

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              • John Lascurettes November 13, 2017 at 3:29 pm

                Fair. I see that now.

                I’m going to start carrying heavy hurling devices to chuck at drivers that bully their way through intersections when I’m in the crosswalk — like the guy that felt he had to barrel through at 25mph in the northbound lane while my family and I were crossing NE 28th and already almost across the southbound lane and into the northbound lane at Everett last week. The whole time I was making eye contact with him.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 13, 2017 at 4:04 pm

                Maybe push a shopping cart full of concrete rubble as you cross?

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              • 9watts November 13, 2017 at 10:34 pm

                I’m really baffled we keep having this debate.

                “If we want to reduce traffic mayhem, everyone needs to pay attention, even when they have the legal right-of-way.”

                Traffic mayhem without motor vehicles is very nearly impossible. The danger arises not from inattention but from those who pilot autos amongst the rest of us.
                As others have noted above, focusing on behaviors of those not in cars *under the present circumstances* is an untoward swipe at vulnerable road users and a distraction. Unless and until we’ve found our gumption and a method for clamping down on the behaviors of those in cars, spending any time or effort berating people in crosswalks is transparently in bad faith.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 13, 2017 at 10:47 pm

                Yes, the solution is to get rid of cars. Now that we have a plan, let’s get to it!

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              • X November 14, 2017 at 3:40 pm

                Hockey stick.

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          • Paul Atkinson November 13, 2017 at 3:36 pm

            Victim blaming is super easy because there are zero victims who were careful enough not to get hit.

            If we’re going to hold pedestrians to extralegal standards then let’s also hold drivers to extralegal standards. If we’re not even going to hold drivers to the minimum legal level of responsibility let’s not hold pedestrians to that either.

            The problem we keep arguing about over and over boils down to:
            We won’t hold drivers responsible when they fail to obey the law, excusing them by holding vulnerable users to a standard well above what the law requires of them.

            It’s not that all that extralegal advice is *bad,* but it’s not at all equivalent to what we demand legally — if not culturally — of drivers.

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            • drew November 13, 2017 at 8:35 pm

              Those carrying the most kinetic energy into the event on a public right-of-way bear the most responsibility. No normal person would blame a hiker who “didn’t get out of the way” for getting smashed by a speeding mountain bike rider. This twisted social construct of victim blaming on our streets will probably not end until the advent of autonomous vehicles.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm

                “HOT PIZZA!!!!!”

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              • Dan A November 14, 2017 at 7:15 am

                Are you suggesting the hot pizza guy is ‘normal’?

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            • 9watts November 13, 2017 at 10:36 pm

              You said it better than I did, Paul. Thank you!

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      • wsbob November 13, 2017 at 4:55 pm

        “It’s a form of victim blaming because it’s shifting greater responsibility away from drivers and encourages the theme of “they need to be more careful” to compensate for bad driving. …” bendite

        There are people, distracted on their phones and otherwise, walking across streets, right out in front of approaching traffic, without looking first to see what the traffic situation is.

        Doesn’t seem like there should be any question that people walking have some responsibility for looking out for their own safety when crossing streets, but apparently, some people do have questions about what is the extent of that responsibility.

        If you think asking of people walking, that they look for approaching traffic before leaving the curb to cross streets is too much responsibility to be asking of pedestrians, perhaps you might share with readers here, your thoughts about what is a reasonable level of responsibility to ask of them.

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        • John Lascurettes November 13, 2017 at 5:29 pm

          I look and assess before I cross. But after assessing the safety and clarity of the path of my crossing, I can easily and safely glance at my phone while walking. Laws like these would make that illegal. That’s absurd. It’s not equivalent to driving while looking at a phone because I don’t weigh 4,000 pounds and I’m incapable of covering dozens of feet per second on foot.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy November 14, 2017 at 9:11 am

            Do you think it is smart to walk across a street while distracted? What’s so important that it can’t wait 5 seconds? You’re vulnerable – don’t remove the best sense you have in that situation.

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            • John Lascurettes November 14, 2017 at 1:35 pm

              I’m not distracted. I’m still listening to the road (that I already looked and assessed was clear before I went out). I can hear if any vehicles that weren’t on the block are racing toward the block — and if there were cars approaching the intersection, I look right at them as I’m crossing until I know they see me and are decelerating to stop. I’m an assertive pedestrian and won’t let a driver bully me out of my right of way (I’ll take evasive action if I have to). Once I do that, I feel 100% fine glancing at my phone if I want. I cannot only hear the traffic around me but my peripheral vision still works for motion from the sides and I can see over the top of my phone as I walk. I’m not staring down at the phone pointed at the ground but rather I’m holding it up so I can see where I’m going. But the discussed pedestrian law would make that illegal. It’s an unnecessary law.

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        • Paul Atkinson November 13, 2017 at 5:35 pm

          That level is fortunately written down for us. The Oregon Revised Statutes are searchable here: https://www.oregonlaws.org/oregon_revised_statutes

          That’s the level of responsibility everyone has. Right there. No more, no less.

          Safety behavior above and beyond that is certainly possible for everyone, but if one party is doing all that’s required by the ORS and the other isn’t, I don’t think it’s appropriate to absolve the lawbreaker — even a little — based on extralegal requirements. That’s “shifting responsibility.”

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      • Middle of the Road Guy November 14, 2017 at 9:07 am

        Completely disagree. Pedestrians are users of the system as well, and should be equally alert and responsible for safe use of that system as other users.

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        • Dan A November 14, 2017 at 10:36 am

          Equally! Um, no.

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    • El Biciclero November 13, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      “Why should I pay attention to the present when YOU don’t feel the same responsibility?”

      Because “you” are the one plowing through the city in a 4000-lb. missile, creating all the danger that exists.

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      • Kyle Banerjee November 13, 2017 at 2:54 pm

        Cars are hardly the only danger out there even if they’re a major one. Plus, things just happen. People make mistakes. Equipment sometimes fails. Medical emergencies and other things occur.

        In any case that others should do something shouldn’t be used as a reason for why you shouldn’t also be responsible. For example, if you adopt a female cat, you should still have her spayed even if male cat owners should have their neutered.

        To call ignoring known threats unwise is to put it very generously.

        Happy walking 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O51f1BZKPoo

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        • bendite November 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm

          What percent of road injury and fatalities are cause by medical emergencies and equipment failure? 1% is probably generous.

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        • El Biciclero November 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm

          Right, but, “if you don’t, why should I?” is completely invalid in the vastly unbalanced conditions of car vs. pedestrian. Also, on roadways, if the cars/trucks were gone, so would the danger be, except for things like trees falling and lightning strikes. One could also count bicycles as a danger once cars were gone.

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          • 9watts November 13, 2017 at 10:43 pm

            “Equipment sometimes fails. Medical emergencies and other things occur.”

            This is just so weird.

            You fall over backwards to come up with excuses for those in cars, to rationalize your new favorite horse to kick: that people not so encumbered go above and beyond in their vigilance, due diligence when moving about under their own power. The reason medical emergencies are so important and equipment an issue is when they are coupled with autos driven at speed by casually certified fallible people. My medical situation and equipment isn’t very likely to endanger my life or the life of others when no cars are about.

            Other here have already done an excellent job disputing your cause.
            Throws up hands.

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            • Kyle Banerjee November 14, 2017 at 5:50 am

              Or I don’t have this delusion that there’s any possibility of a road system with no vehicles on it in our lifetimes.

              Wherever you go, you need to be prepared for what you can reasonably encounter there. If you have an issue with well over 95% of the road users, the roads are not a good place for you.

              Let’s keep some perspective. Lifetime odds of dying on the roads are less than 1%. While these violent deaths are still tragic and need to be reduced, only a tiny percentage of the population would consider totally changing the way they live to dent that.

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              • 9watts November 14, 2017 at 6:50 am

                “If you have an issue with well over 95% of the road users, the roads are not a good place for you.”

                This isn’t about me.

                It is about policy priorities.

                I can tell you haven’t thought to apply your filter to how black people are treated by aspects of our system.

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              • Kyle Banerjee November 14, 2017 at 1:50 pm

                This has nothing to do with black people. Cyclists are not a discriminated against class of people — in fact, even here cycling weirdly has some association with gentrification.

                Your policy priorities are not the same as the vast majority of the population regardless of the merits. As a practical matter, this means it is improbable that society will suddenly change the way you would like.

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              • 9watts November 14, 2017 at 4:45 pm

                “This has nothing to do with black people.”

                The subject matter we’ve been discussing here doesn’t and I never said it did.
                It was your blanket statement that the tyranny of the majority trumps any disagreements that brought the comparison to mind. I thought perhaps you’d see the parallel.

                “If you have an issue with well over 95% of ____, the ____ are not a good place for you.”

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              • Kyle Banerjee November 15, 2017 at 2:32 pm

                I never said anything of the sort, and you were the one who brought blacks into the discussion. If you want to bring tyranny, how about bending practically everyone to conform to an extreme view held by very few?

                Very few people are confused about why roads are built. If you don’t want cars on them, that’s fine, but hardly any would be built at all if they could only be used for your imagined purposes. Very few people share your belief that we are on the precipice of a sudden collapse nor do they agree on your view of success.

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              • 9watts November 15, 2017 at 6:09 pm

                “Very few people are confused about why roads are built.”

                http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com

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    • GlowBoy November 14, 2017 at 7:23 am

      “Be present” is always the rationale I hear when drivers get mad about pedestrians not “paying attention”. From someone walled off from “the world they live in” by steel and glass, who can’t hear what’s going on in that world and can only barely see it, whizzing past in a blur.

      There are two reasons motorists get SOOO angry and resentful about pedestrians not paying attention to them, even though it’s not putting anyone in real danger:
      1. It reminds motorists of their greater level of responsibility, and they resent that they have to be careful around others while pedestrians have the freedom to not worry much about endangering others.
      2. Pedestrians are supposed to be the bottom of the totem pole. They’re supposed to effectively genuflect before the mighty automobile and its pilot, at least making eye contact or maybe even giving a little wave (I do it too) as if to say, “thank you, your majesty, for not killing me right now, even though you could.” And boy do drivers get mad when pedestrians don’t acknowledge this routine saving of our lives. Nevermind that the same behavior is not expected when drivers correctly yield the right of way to other vehicles at a stop sign or a traffic light. It’s like we’re rubbing their faces in the fact that THEY have to yield to US! The horror!

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      • 9watts November 14, 2017 at 7:35 am

        GlowBoy gets the cookie!

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 14, 2017 at 11:57 am

        A system built around humans operating powerful machines at high speeds will always be dangerous. We can take steps to make it safer: lower speed limits, increase enforcement, improve infrastructure, but those remedies are all limited by our willingness to spend resources.

        So yes, drivers may well get angry when a pedestrian asserts their right-of-way, yet seems to “appear out of nowhere” because the driver was watching another driver to see if they were going to turn in front of them. That doesn’t mean the pedestrian is in the wrong. But it does induce a jolt of stress into the driver that may make them react negatively, even if the pedestrian’s actions were perfectly reasonable, and the driver might have done the same thing in their place.

        “Othering” drivers, and mischaracterizing motivations, is not productive, and it will not make our streets safer. Driving is both difficult and routine, which is not a combination that works well for the human brain.

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        • Ryan November 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm

          Exactly. I highly doubt *most* drivers get angry because they feel superior to those not in cars and feel resentment, it’s more likely because feeling like they almost hit someone or could have hit someone stresses them out. It’s the same idea behind them getting upset when coming upon a cyclist/ped without lights at night; when they see them close suddenly it stresses them out. This happens multiple times to someone and it can be seriously irritating (even if changing their behavior would prevent it). You could argue that driving should be stressful since you’re operating a deadly machine, but the culture has been created to try to make it as comfortable as possible. So when a situation happens that shocks them from a comfortable state to stressed they want that stressor removed. This comes in the form of pushing for policies they *think* will prevent that shock, such as compulsory high-vis clothing for cyclists and anti-distraction laws for ped’s.

          Of course, better driving behavior would be much more effective in reducing a driver’s stress, but they felt safe and comfortable prior to the stress event, so as far as they’re concerned the issue is external.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

            I question whether the system would work at all if everyone drove in the safest manner possible. It would dramatically cut capacity and lengthen travel times. This would impact both drivers and transit riders.

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          • Kyle Banerjee November 15, 2017 at 5:22 pm

            This stress thing is real. I don’t normally engage with motorists, but a few years ago a woman stopped me from a driveway while I was riding down the highway (a section of 99 with no paved shoulder, decent amount of traffic moving about 60mph) and said, “I have a bone to pick with you.”

            I was bright and visible, she had cleared me with an appropriate amount of space but she was upset because she felt I was endangering myself unnecessarily and thought there was a real risk that someone (including her) could make a mistake and hit me.

            We had a nice chat. She was unaware that some cyclists don’t bet their lives on the idea that motorists will never make a mistake so they pay attention to what’s going on behind them.

            In situations like that, I find the experience as a driver much more unnerving than as a cyclist.

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  • John Lascurettes November 13, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Smart Wool buying Icebreaker? Oh no. I find Icebreaker to be a much better quality product than Smart Wool. I hope they keep it as a premium brand and don’t skimp on the quality (and please keep the yearly warehouse sales going, but that’s the best way I can afford new base layers as they wear out).

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    • Dan A November 13, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      I’ve bought good and bad products from both companies. I have a midweight long sleeve Icebreaker T and midweight long tights that are my favorite winter baselayers, a midweight short sleeve T that goes pretty well under a jersey and a short sleeve lightweight T that I thought would be awesome for backpacking, but the stitching on the sleeves shrank so much after one wash in cold water that I haven’t been able to wear the shirt a second time. And I own tons of Smartwool socks, a few beanies, and a balaclava. Come to think of it, I guess I’ve had better luck with Smartwool overall. Icebreaker seems to have better lightweight stuff, but I haven’t been daring enough to test my luck again.

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      • John Lascurettes November 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm

        That’s a super bummer, Dan.

        I’ve washed all of my icebreaker shirts many, many times (always air-drying them flat on a screen in my laundry room) and though they’re totally threadbare now, have served me many years (I rotate two short sleeve shirts in the summer and two long sleeve in the winter). When it come to socks, I find the weight, comfort and durability of the Icebreaker socks second to no other wool socks (and I go ahead and machine dry those). I’ve got ankle socks, mid-high socks, and knee high socks that I use when Portland is below freezing. With Smart Wool, they seem to pill and wear then much too fast — and they either seem too light or too heavy (at least the ones I’ve tried).

        For the shirts I ride in, I buy the lightest weights they have (“100” or “150”) as my base layer and then put windbreakers and shells on top as the temperature or elements dictate. I’ve found that their zippered running shirts make better biking base layers than their actual bike jerseys (the zipper is important for airing out when you start heating up). I bought a wool bike jersey from them once at the warehouse sale and found it was a mistake. It’s not as comfortable or practical (doesn’t work as a base layer).

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        • Stephen Keller November 13, 2017 at 6:09 pm

          I were wool year round. The biggest problem I have is moths. Fortunately Merino wool doesn’t seem to attract them as much.

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          • GlowBoy November 14, 2017 at 7:59 am

            Other thing that helps with wool, for me, is to ALWAYS wash wool items promptly after I’ve sweated in them. I’ve never had a wool garment damaged by moths as long as I washed it within half a week. Remember, they don’t like clean wool, only wool that’s infused with dried bodily fluids, and it takes a few days for them to eat a hole and lay their eggs.

            The one exception seems to be socks, which (at least for me) seem to be relatively immune to moth damage. I wear nothing but wool when it comes to socks, but I can leave them in the hamper through a typical once-a-week laundry cycle without any problems.

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            • GlowBoy November 14, 2017 at 8:00 am

              I should add that conversely, I’ve had a number of expensive Merino garments develop holes when I forgetfully let them sit dirty in the laundry pile for a week or more.

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        • Dan A November 14, 2017 at 7:28 am

          I love the fabric on my ‘tech lite’ T shirt, just don’t know what happened with the sleeve stitching. It has shrunk inwards and I can’t raise my arms in the shirt without threatening to rip the sleeves open. But it sounds like you haven’t had a problem with yours so maybe I’ll pick up another one and see how it goes. Sounds like I should try out their socks too!

          The outlet at Woodburn is a great source, in case you hadn’t been there.

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        • Kyle Banerjee November 16, 2017 at 9:29 am

          Actual bike jerseys are best as external layers for road cycling. For starters, except for the best ones, the fabrics aren’t light enough and the pockets create extra layers that generate heat on your back — i.e. just where you want less material.

          I also use runners jerseys as base layers, though not with zips as I find they mess up performance. Better to get zippered cycling jerseys and if you’re still too hot after opening that up, lose the base layer or jersey as appropriate.

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    • hotrodder November 13, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Boy, no kidding. Icebreaker guarantees their socks for ever for any reason. Will Smart Wool end that practice?

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      • hotrodder November 13, 2017 at 7:44 pm

        forever not for ever.

        Sure wish there was an edit button on this bbs.

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    • GlowBoy November 14, 2017 at 7:25 am

      I’ve had good results with both brands, which is why I’m not happy to hear about a merger. Less competition will not be good for the consumer.

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  • Joe November 13, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    place I work at seems to have lotta folks walking head down w/ cell phone so riding around these types is nerve racking at times.

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  • Todd Boulanger November 13, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Great news about SDoT integrating truck side guards as part of its VZ effort…the NYC is even further along, as I was just chatting with their VZ lead on this very topic last week, per NYC they said,

    “Over 1200 [truck side guards] installed. Local law passed requires installs on qualified nyc fleet units and private sanitation vehicles by 2024. We started with one vendor and now have five so prices down and options of style and materials up.”

    So CoP…what’s up with y’all?

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  • bikeninja November 13, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    To keep the Ubers and such from parking in the bike lanes I like those giant unremoveable windshields stickers the Russians use on cars that drive on sidewalks and bike lanes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPxDHN7aLo4

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  • bendite November 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    wsbob
    “It’s a form of victim blaming because it’s shifting greater responsibility away from drivers and encourages the theme of “they need to be more careful” to compensate for bad driving. …” bendite
    There are people, distracted on their phones and otherwise, walking across streets, right out in front of approaching traffic, without looking first to see what the traffic situation is.
    Doesn’t seem like there should be any question that people walking have some responsibility for looking out for their own safety when crossing streets, but apparently, some people do have questions about what is the extent of that responsibility.
    If you think asking of people walking, that they look for approaching traffic before leaving the curb to cross streets is too much responsibility to be asking of pedestrians, perhaps you might share with readers here, your thoughts about what is a reasonable level of responsibility to ask of them.
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    Bob, the law that people look before crossing the street is already in place by making sure drivers will be able to stop safely. Laws like this cell phone law are designed to further lower the bar for drivers.

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    • Dan A November 14, 2017 at 7:30 am

      Sure, officer, I failed to yield, but that guy was looking at his phone!

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    • Middle of the Road Guy November 14, 2017 at 9:16 am

      Nonsense. We used to be taught to look both ways before crossing a street, because it was common sense to not walk blithely into a situation where one could get mowed over by a distracted driver. That’s just common sense. Now, you are arguing that a pedestrian has zero responsibility for their own safety, which is essentially an argument for stupidity.

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      • Dan A November 14, 2017 at 10:38 am

        I guess if you round all the way down it would be ‘zero’….

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      • Snowrider November 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm

        Nonsense, it’s an argument for one’s sense of survival to being enough of a motivator to not get killed. You’re just arguing for legal culpability on top of that.

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      • Vince November 14, 2017 at 12:42 pm

        This has been framed as bike vs. cars. What would the reaction been if the law was about making the use of a phone illegal while using a MUP?

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        • Dan A November 14, 2017 at 1:05 pm

          That would be dumb too.

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        • John Lascurettes November 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

          That would also be dumb. Because you as a rider need to yield to the person walking. And quite frankly, most walkers in MUP areas should be treated as unpredictable regardless of electronics. It is your responsibility as a vehicle operator (even if it’s just a bike) to treat those on foot with care — even if they’re being clueless.

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          • Dan A November 14, 2017 at 5:28 pm

            Yes, I agree with the long answer too.

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          • Vince November 15, 2017 at 6:56 pm

            okay, so say someone is walking on a MUP. And someone else is walking going the other direction. The first person is on their phone. As they pass each other, the first person, looking at their phone, wanders into the path of the second, knocking them to the ground and person two is injured. Who is responsible for this crash?

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            • 9watts November 15, 2017 at 7:20 pm

              Your example doesn’t compute. Unless both are distracted or the second one is blind there should be no knocking to the ground in a scenario such as you described.

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            • Dan A November 16, 2017 at 8:02 am

              Does this hypothetical person weigh 2000lbs and walk at 20mph? Because then it might be something I would take seriously. Maybe this walker should be licensed too.

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            • John Lascurettes November 16, 2017 at 5:09 pm

              The distracted guy, if he’s not a total tool, says “oh my god, I’m sorry” and picks the other person off the ground. He apologizes again. They brush off and go on their way. Try that with a car.

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              • 9watts November 16, 2017 at 5:54 pm

                Vince still hasn’t explained why the guy who was knocked down, (but ostensibly wasn’t distracted) didn’t (a) call out to the distracted guy heading for him, or (b) step to the side, or (c) both.
                I have little patience for these imagined but poorly conceived hypothetical situations that take us for fools.

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  • B. Carfree November 13, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Am I the only person who is unimpressed by Seattle’s road design manual? Five foot bike lanes with “protection”? Really? We lose the ability to make left turns and have increased intersection woe and are only given five feet? That’s a design for failure. Ditto for two-way bike lanes at any width but especially for the ten feet proposed.

    Also, I found no meaningful discussion of the potential downsides and why one would not want to do “protection” in many circumstances. It reads like a manual to stay in single-digit cycling mode numbers, which is hard to get excited about. This will lock in many low-grade designs and will hold Seattle back, imo.

    Seattle has been sitting at 3.5-4% cycling (ACS) for nearly a decade in spite of doing a number of these treatments. Does this approach sound familiar? Of course, like the businessman who loses money on each sale but is determined to make it up in volume, Seattle, and Portland, will push on with more of the same shoe-horn separation and be certain that it will work just fine.

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    • GlowBoy November 14, 2017 at 7:27 am

      I didn’t look at the manual, but five feet is definitely too narrow for protected lanes. Even cyclists need to be able to swerve around debris or even – gasp! – pass each other.

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    • Dan A November 14, 2017 at 9:16 am

      In related news, Specialized has begun development in the next exciting new bike segment: leaf bikes! Gravel bikes RIP 2017. Long live the leaf bike.

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    • soren November 14, 2017 at 9:23 am

      10 feet for a two way bike lane as a design guideline is a farce.

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      • Pete November 14, 2017 at 11:14 am

        Didn’t see mention of gutter pans in the guidelines. 5′ where I ride is normal (not pleasant)… though rarely accounts for gutter pan seams at 12″-18″.

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      • Chris I November 14, 2017 at 12:41 pm

        The Springwater trail is a farce now?

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        • soren November 14, 2017 at 3:58 pm

          we are discussing seattle design guidelines for two way protected bike lanes located in the roadway. the springwater is an off-road walking/equestrian/bike trail that is not designed for two way transportation cycling traffic.

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  • Al November 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    I don’t know where to start with the Bob Lutz article. Let’s set aside the fact that Uber and Lyft don’t want to own vehicles as they mostly rely on exploiting their drivers.

    Lutz seems to be extrapolating the fantastic progress that has been made in autonomous vehicle technology the last 5 years but fails to recognize the fact that this pace of progress is based on solving the easiest problems. Companies have literally picked the lowest hanging fruit and are projecting that the rest will be just as easy to pick. Good luck with that.

    Think about this for just a second. Neither rail nor shipping have automated navigation yet. Trains on a closed rail network that can be entirely computerized still have drivers! Ships still have crews to navigate them! When either of these systems show signs of full autonomy, then we can get excited about autonomous vehicles that operate in a much more complicated environment.

    We are living in another economic distortion much like the dot com bubble. This is not normal. Companies like Uber, which are struggling in this petri dish of an economy almost as if it were specifically designed to foster such companies will utterly collapse at the next correction.

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