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The Monday Roundup: Seattle’s secret, Sicily’s stereo cycles, sad satire, and more

Posted by on November 20th, 2017 at 9:54 am

Welcome to the week! These are the best stories we came across in the past seven days…

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Sad-tire: This Onion article is hits close to home when it quotes a make-believe NHTSA official as saying, “If every cyclist purchased and operated a car like you’re supposed to as an adult, bike fatalities would drop an estimated 40 percent within six months alone.”

Stereo-cycles: Teens in Palermo Sicily are into a hot new trend: Putting as many speakers as possible onto their bicycles.

Seattle’s secret sauce: Turns out the 1991, statewide “Commute Trip Reduction” law is one of the keys to Seattle’s success in reducing drive-alone trips.

L.A.’s bike bunker: While inspecting a homeless camp in Los Angeles, authorities uncovered a tunnel with 1,000 bikes, many of them suspected to be stolen.

Meanwhile, in Oregon: Two auto industry groups are lobbying the Oregon Supreme Court to kill the new 0.5% sales tax on new car purchases that the legislature passed to help pay for transportation investments.

Must-read transit journalism: The NY Times went deep to uncover the causes of NYC’s subway system failure.

Bikenomics strikes again: As Portland gets ready to start the SE Foster road diet project, Bike Biz UK has the story of a business owner who vehemently opposed a street project that removed auto parking — only to embrace the project after it was done.

When driving cars is outlawed: This story on Autoblog envisions a day soon where human-driven cars won’t be allowed on public roads so driving enthusiasts will take to the hills (and the tracks).

TriMet autopsy: Analysis from TransitCenter shows how housing price increases figure into the TriMet bus ridership decline. Lower-income people who are typically heavier transit users, now live further out, in places with less transit service, and vice versa.

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Race and renderings: A Streetsblog LA writer is miffed at renderings for a new project in a black community that shows only white people as its future denizens.

Getting tough on Uber: Is Portland City Council about to stand up to Uber? Possibly even kick them out of town?

Traffic deaths continue to rise: The 2016 fatal crash data is complete and it shows that the threat posed by vehicular travel in America is growing faster than our efforts to mitigate it.

E-MTBs coming to a trail near you: The International Mountain Bicycling Association now officially supports the use of Class 1 (pedal-assisted) e-bikes on dirt trails.

Bike share race: WaPo hosted a race of all six (yes six!) of D.C.’s current crop of bike share bikes.

Dockless disappearance: Industry watchers are buzzing about the abrupt death of Bluegogo, a China-based dockless bike share company. Is it an outlier or an omen?

Speed kills: Yet DOTs continue to raise speed limits. In Ohio crashes increased 24 percent in stretches of rural road where speed limits were increased to 70 mph.

MVdP = GOAT: A long and very pleasant read about cycling (mostly cyclocross) phenom Mathieu Van der Poel, whom CyclingTips calls “the most talented bike racer on the planet.”

Twitter thread of the week:

— 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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Justin
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Justin

I unfollowed The Onion as soon as I saw that come up. So tone-deaf and horrible, especially in light of all the people that keep getting hit by cars and dying.

Dave
Guest
Dave

In his versatility, you could say that MVdP in the very best way races like a woman.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Wow, while I look forward to the day when driving is outlawed. I certainly don’t welcome the day when even more car-heads will race through the wilderness terrorizing animals,tearing up nature and burning the last drops of fossil fuels in in orgy of ego fueled self gratification.

Manville
Guest

E-Bikes can’t come to a trail near me because there are no trails near me…

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Those homeless folks really like to collect bikes!

tridork
Guest
tridork

Speakers on bicycles is not a new fad. It was featured in the New York Times in 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/29/nyregion/29bikes.html

There was also a documentary about it in the bicycle film festival years ago.

SD
Subscriber

We are investing a lot of hope in AV technology to fix what we haven’t been able to fix with policy while saying that AVs will have to be adequately regulated with good policy.

We think of policy and government as being too complicated and flawed to make meaningful advances in sustainable, efficient, human-centered transportation, but expect that local elected officials will be able to regulate technology that will consolidate private control of our roads.

I know “it’s not if but when,” however, the impending AV future means that we need to aggressively do more to return the streets and urban landscape to non-motorized use before AV-corp lobbyists are writing the laws for us. We should view AVs as a risk not a solution given the current failures of transportation officials.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I enjoyed the photos of the speaker bikes of Italy. I have a dear neighbor who rides a recumbent trike tricked out with oodles of speakers and a laser light show to boot. He likes to ride at night, often returning home around 2:00 AM (just about the time I’m heading out for a ride). He has a cohort of about five other light show/speaker bike folks who travel with him and there are very few complaints.

He did have one tiny issue with a UO campus cop who took exception to his one very tiny blue light (hard to see amongst the rest of the light show). The cop felt that the blue light was equivalent to impersonating an officer, a comment that provided laughs all around. The cop did get the last laugh by actually writing Rainbow a citation.

Zimmerman
Guest
Zimmerman

I recommend NWTA end their IMBA chapter membership immediately and issue a strong statement against allowing motorized vehicles on non-motorized trail systems.

The bicycle industry has lost its friggin’ mind when it comes to “pedal assist” and already tenuous trail access issues.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I happened into Seattle in 1989 at the end of a long tour. It was a horrid environment to ride in, contrary to its propaganda at the time. Over two decades later I went back and was astounded by the awesome public transit (the cycling is still so-so at best). It was easy to use, went all over with decent schedules and had very helpful staff. I love the bus tunnel and met some wonderful people while riding the buses. Seattle has really done a fantastic job with their transit system. It’s nice to see an instance of words on paper being translated into meaningful facts on the ground.

jeff
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jeff

Justin
I unfollowed The Onion as soon as I saw that come up. So tone-deaf and horrible, especially in light of all the people that keep getting hit by cars and dying.
Recommended 1

WTF? its a satire website. get a sense of humor.

ktaylor
Guest
ktaylor

Nice headline alliteration, Jonathan!

ktaylor
Guest
ktaylor

And as for stereo-cycles – ugh. Why are humans so annoying?

Toadslick
Subscriber

I love audio bikes, light-show bikes, tall bikes, grill bikes, and every combination thereof. Those same mods, when applied to motor vehicles, feel incredibly annoying. But on bikes they feel creative, expressive, and beautiful.

I’m not sure why I have such different reactions. Maybe it’s because the bike mods are mostly still home-made? Or that they’re human-powered and generally harmless, unlike tricked-out cars, which feel like they’re meant to be macho, ostentatious, and/or intimidating.

Regardless, i’m perfectly okay with my double standard. Kudos to Portland’s freakbike community for always putting a smile on my face.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

That was a fun article covering the “race” of bikeshares in DC. The start line location may have been a bit unfair to the e-bike, but them’s the breaks. In the long run, I expect e-bikeshare to take over the market.

I fully agree that “pathing” is the key to all cycling. It’s the big difference between being on a bike and being in a car. Motorists can simply point themselves in the general direction of their destination and get there with reasonable safety and speed. On a bike, one must have much greater local knowledge and be much more careful in selecting a route that is safe and efficient.

This is my main beef with so many city efforts to create bike routes. I feel strongly that we should instead select car routes and take steps to make driving extremely difficult and time consuming on all other streets.

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

As for the LA Homeless Camp discovery…1000 bikes sounds like a lot, but its only 6.666 bikes per resident of the camp…I think many of us have more bikes than that.

I am glad that the County is enforcing its bicycle parking ordinance for residential projects…even those that are houseless need a safe dry place to park their bike(s).

[PS. Good luck reuniting the bikes with their lost owners.]

Harth Huffman
Guest
Harth Huffman

I crashed my bike a week ago and broke my ribs and clavicle. Doctor specifically said to avoid laughing. Right away, my smart *** sister in law posted that Onion article to my FB page. Not fair.

X
Guest
X

I’m waiting to see what TriMet will do to solve the problem of transit riders forced to move out of service areas. Express routes from Gresham and the East side? More frquent service? Quicker connections? BRT? Those things might inconvenience motor vehicles with a single rider. Oh well, might as well just toss that study on the pile.

chris
Guest
chris

I’m guessing not many people here have seen the Top Gear bicycle public service ads?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Bikeradar’s story about IMBA supporting use of Class 1 eMTB’s on what the association refers to in its statement, as “…non-motorized trails…”, had some interesting things in it to think about. IMBA says in its statement, that it’s supportive,

“…when the responsible land management agency, in consultation with local mountain bikers, deem such eMTB access is appropriate and will not cause any loss of access to non-motorized bikes. …”.

The association statement doesn’t say specifically, but the implication seems to be that it’s referring to trail exclusively designated for mountain biking or other off-road biking. This seems to be the implication, because the statement makes no reference to loss of access to trail users of any other mode of travel besides non-motorized bikes.

From my perspective, not being someone that mountain bikes, but has no objection that absolutely excludes this form of recreation outside of federally designated wilderness, and nature parks that are open to use, only without a vehicle..is that use of e-mtb’s could be ok, specifically limited to certain conditions. It seems possible that e-mtn bikes could be the technology that, because of some moderate level of physical disability, would allow some people not able to go out riding on an only pedaled, no e-motor bike, in a natural setting off road…to go out and ride easy trail in a natural land setting; mostly flat, gently up and down grades, no jumps.

Given the range of use it allows, it kind of surprises me that IMBA would support use of Class I e-mtn bikes. I’m referring to that class bike, allowing speeds up to 20mph on the motor alone. On the road with motor vehicle traffic and other bikes, that top end mph of 20, unassisted is probably ok, but off-road, on trail, it seems unnecessarily high. What type of trail situations and uses is IMBA feeling this mph speed on an e-mtb, attainable with electric power alone, is acceptable in a natural land setting or park?

My idea about what would be a reasonable speed before electric cutoff, would be say…5mph tops. Want to go any faster than that, you pedal. I think it’s true that e-mtn bikes likely will be very appealing to people interested in mountain and off-road biking. Some of them likely will be interested in a wide range of riding style, not limited to just some sedate, meander on trail through the woods at around 5mph. Some of them will want to go fast. Very fast. Electric power able to move a bike down the trail, and up the hill, is the technology that can get them there. At the table, figuring out how to deal with that desire some people will likely have for off-road biking, could be quite a challenge.

N-1
Guest
N-1

I wonder if that furniture store, with signs against the SE Foster redesign, will have the same revelation. Either way, I won’t be shopping there, ever.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/18/nyregion/new-york-subway-system-failure-delays.html

The NYtimes story on the problems the city’s subway system has succumbed to, is reading that’s worthwhile for Portland residents and residents of cities in the metro area that gradually come closer to relying more on mass transit to meet their travel needs.

New York’s mass transit system including the subway system, is massive compared to that of Portland and the metro area. Both systems though, have things in common, chief among them in terms of maintaining reliability, includes routine, regularly scheduled maintenance, which over the decades since 1970, NYC state and city have cut back repeatedly. The result is that with increasing frequency, trains break down, preventing them for being able to stay on schedule.

Portland’s light rail and trolley system, and bus system gradually grows bigger and bigger, to help meet a portion of the growing population’s travel needs. Mass transit systems are an essential mode of travel that city’s the size of Portland, must provide to counter the impact of too great a reliance on personal motor vehicles to meet the population’s travel needs. Such systems cost a ton of money, so it’s not a surprise that the temptation is strong, to insufficiently fund their basic needs.