Tour de Lab September 1st

The Monday Roundup: Senator scofflaw, self-driving slowdown, women racer challenges, and more

Posted by on December 18th, 2017 at 9:42 am


Happy Monday everyone. I was out of town visiting family for a few days last week (you might have noticed the lack of posts), so this week’s Roundup is a bit spare.

Here are the best stories I read and bumped into thanks to reader submissions…

Adding immunity to injury: An interesting legal case from Illinois found that municipalities don’t have blanket immunity to lawsuits for poorly maintained bike paths (but it’s still hard to find them liable).

Auto industry is not dumb: The post-millenial generation might not be gung-ho about owning a car right when they turn 16; but don’t let that fool you into thinking the auto industry will retract its claws from them. Not a chance.

Shop while you drive: GM’s suite of car brands now has a “Marketplace” option for their dashboard screens that allows drivers to shop and order items while they f’ing drive. What could possibly go wrong?

Drive better > dress better: Hell of a lede on this news story from British Columbia: “Moments after receiving a safety reflector designed to help increase pedestrian visibility, a Victoria-area man was struck by a car in downtown Sidney.”

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Mom/racer balancing act: Women who dedicate their lives to racing bikes often don’t menstruate until they retire and that can weigh heavily on family-planning options.

Senator scofflaw: New York State Senator Marty Golden has landed in hot water for allegedly impersonating a cop after hitting a bicycle rider, then fleeing the scene through a red light. Add in his 10 school zone speeding violations and the fact that the person he hit was a transit activist and community board member and you’ve got a perfect storm of car culture karma.

Quick/easy/cheap bus-only lane: Boston’s transit authority wanted to speed up bus traffic so they simply placed some orange cones to create a dedicated lane. It worked great. So simple. So easy. PBOT and TriMet, are you listening?

Perspective matters: Another reason to encourage bicycle use is that the simple act of pedaling has been shown to make people safer drivers.

Self-driving vaporware: Oh look, a major automaker has delayed their rollout of self-driving features — which will only fan the flames of people who are skeptical of the zeal for our AV/self-driving future.

Thanks to everyone who shared links this week.

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

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23 Comments
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    ricochet December 18, 2017 at 9:57 am

    the “drive better > dress better” link is broken

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 18, 2017 at 10:13 am

      sorry ricochet. Fixed it. Here’s the link.

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        Andrew Kreps December 18, 2017 at 10:41 am

        “Police officers and representatives from ICBC were in downtown Sidney helping promote better pedestrian safety — reminding people to use crosswalks, make eye contact with drivers and to wear bright clothing and reflectors in order to be better seen during the darker, rainier days of fall and winter on Vancouver Island.”

        Epic fail.

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    Jack G. December 18, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Amtrak Cascades train derails on the first day of service on the new Point Defiance By-pass. Several train cars fell on I-5 southbound. More info: http://komonews.com/news/local/derailed-train-falls-off-bridge-onto-i-5-lanes-south-of-tacoma

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      Dan A December 19, 2017 at 11:15 pm

      Going 50mph over the speed limit. Last time that happened and resulted in multiple deaths, in Philadelphia, the engineer was let off from criminal charges because “there was no evidence that Bostian acted with “conscious disregard” when he accelerated the train to 106 mph on a 50 mph curve.” Just like driving a car — if you’re not paying attention, they can’t charge you with anything.

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        X December 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        It takes about a mile to stop a passenger train from that speed. You can’t see much about a rail line, or a road, from a mile away. I just read an article about how automatic train control works but I don’t know anything about what it’s like to be in manual control of a train. Obviously there are signals, but what if you miss one? People screw up. This seems like a systemic problem.

        I don’t excuse anyone from responsibility here and I don’t imagine that the train crew are anything but distraught. Let off? The court just said it wasn’t a criminal offense. Imagine a person’s life after something like that.

        The irony of the crash this week on the first run of the new Cascade route–words fail.

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    Dave December 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Shop while you drive??? Any car thus equipped should for sure be at least vandalized if not torched. This is an act of passive homicide by GM but it shouldn’t be a surprise–Corvair rear suspension, Cobalt ignition keys, 80’s pickup truck side gas tanks sound familiar to anyone?

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      q December 18, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      The companies that participate (article lists several) are part of the problem, too. I’d like to see them called out by name in police reports when drivers hit people while ordering their frappucinos and burritos.

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    bikeninja December 18, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I totaly agree with the cyclists make better drivers article. If I were the king, I would make the minimum age for a drivers license 24, and lower it to 21 for those who have spent at least 3 years as a cycling-only citizen, with exceptions for the disabled. I think this would transform the roads for the better and cut down on the awful carnage that accompanies 16-21 year old drivers.

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      Dave December 18, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Bikeninja, a way to ramp up to this might be to stop giving high school students free car parking, instead charging them the highgest regional daily rate (say, downtown PDX parking rate for every high school in the region) plus giving kids full phys-ed credit for walking or cycling to school.

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    Bret December 18, 2017 at 10:23 am

    The scofflaw senator didn’t actually hit the cyclist, just threatened to arrest him for not yielding the bike lane.

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    soren December 18, 2017 at 10:39 am

    The walker hit in the crosswalk does not appear to be wearing a hi-viz ANSI class 2 vest. There was also no mention of walker safety lights or a walker safety helmet. When will walkers start taking personal responsibility when they enter the roadway?

    Remember you can have legal right of way and still end up dead. It’s physics!

    I urge walkers to look both ways at least three times, only enter the roadway when there is no visible oncoming traffic, wear an ANSI class 2 safety vest, and use a walker safety light (at least 300 lumens). All walkers should also use a walking helmet:

    https://www.allegromedical.com/images/productImages/79/AF/opti-cool-headgear-single-shell-eva-foam-helmet-569491-BIG_0.jpg

    https://www.rei.com/product/874957/nathan-zephyr-fire-300-hand-torch

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      Middle of the Road Guy December 18, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      I thought you were against victim blaming.

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      bikeninja December 18, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      I think that while we are at it the motorists should have the latest in pedestrian protection as required by OSHA in places like home Depot when a forklift is being used in proximity to people. A flagger should accompany each vehicle operated near pedestrians and walk in front of the Automobile alerting each vulnerable road user to the oncoming dangerous motorized vehicle.

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        soren December 18, 2017 at 1:47 pm

        only ~60 mins ago i road past a forklift zone on the SE 12th sidewalk (vegan soycurl burrito run) and was duly impressed by the large bright warning signs, flashing lights, and the flagger (!) in the ANSI level 2 safety vest.

        if OSHA regulated cars/trucks they would all be painted dayglo chartreuse, covered with dozens of bright flashing lights, and limited to 20 mph.

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          soren December 18, 2017 at 3:19 pm

          gaaahrg: “rode”

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    wsbob December 18, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I wonder whether GM’s Marketplace feature will be in compliance with Oregon’s newly amended law regulating the use of electronic devices while driving.

    I haven’t studied the new feature in depth, other than just browsing the business insider story, but I would tend to think that shopping while driving, using this device, if it involves using hands and fingers off the wheel, could tend to involve a lot more concentration than changing to a different radio station. Oregon just amended its law last session, so I wonder if GM’s design was developed before that change, when it might have more likely stood a chance of being in compliance with Oregon’s law now. Of course, it may be in compliance with the newly amended law…I’m just not sure.

    “…While Marketplace can be used while driving, GM has designed it to minimize actions that will distract drivers from the road.” business insider.com

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      Dave December 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Good point–and Oregon isn’t the only state with a law like that. It may be an unmarketable car already!

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    B. Carfree December 18, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I wonder which is more on-point relative to Oregon, Illinois’ standard of giving municipalities almost total immunity for dangerous cycling infrastructure, or what happened in California a couple of years ago where a city had to fork over millions for its failure.

    https://www.ssti.us/2015/12/california-city-loses-lawsuit-after-death-of-bicyclist-on-road-with-substandard-bike-lanes-and-no-lighting/

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      R December 18, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      Washington has case law supporting cyclists claim against municipalities for bad infrastructure, both streets and multi-use paths. Mercer Island and Port Orchard were defendants in noteworthy cases. Need to go to bed but that should be enough to for basic legal research.

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    q December 18, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    “…While Marketplace can be used while driving, GM has designed it to minimize actions that will distract drivers from the road.”

    Another way to put it is that currently, car screens don’t allow you to shop while driving, but this one does, so it actually MAXIMIZES distraction.

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    Jason McHuff December 18, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    PBOT and TriMet, are you listening?

    Portland Bus Lane Project is advocating to them for it, especially on SW Madison approaching the Hawthorne Bridge (this may also benefit cyclists depending on the final design). The hope is to have a one-week test next spring.

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