The Classic - Cycle Oregon

The Monday Roundup: Bike Snob’s mic drop, de Blasio’s bollards, Ayesha McGowan, and more

Posted by on January 8th, 2018 at 10:06 am

Welcome to the first full week of 2018.

Here are the best stories we came across last week…

Scofflaw science: A study in Florida found that — surprise, surprise — people break traffic laws at similar rates regardless of the type of vehicle they operate.

Breaking barriers: ESPN has the story of Ayesha McGowan, a woman who wants to be the first African-American to land a professional cycling contract.

Dutch data: The great Bicycle Dutch blogger and filmmaker Mark Wagenbuur starts off the year with a slew of interesting datapoints about cycling in The Netherlands. Don’t miss the video at the end.

Bike Snob, truth-teller: In one of Eben Weiss’s best-ever columns (and that’s saying a lot) he argues that people who think biking with kids in traffic is dangerous are completely brainwashed: “Perhaps the greatest toll the car has exacted upon our culture: it’s completely annihilated our ability to perceive and understand danger and act accordingly.”

Drive with good morals: Pope Francis singled out driving behavior during his New Year’s Eve address, saying that people, “who move in traffic with good sense and prudence” are “artisans of the common good.”

Terror response in NYC: Bill de Blasio announced that New York City will install 1,500 metal bollards to prevent people from using cars as weapons and protect spaces where people walk and bike.

Bikequity: Elly Blue, the Portland publisher who coined the term “bikenomics”, just published the 14th issue of her feminist bike zine. It’s titled, “Bikequity: Money, Class, & Bicycling” and its contributors include Adonia Lugo, Tamika Butler, and 12 others.

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Neighborhoods are the new backyards: Federal policy to encourage people’s connection to their neighborhood have had unintended consequence of excluding others and resisting change (aka NIMBYism) says this piece in the NY Times.

Sideguards save lives: A bill working its way through Congress would require the use of guards on the side and front of large trucks to prevent other road users from going under the wheels in collisions.

Cleaner buses: This should give you hope: A major city in China has switched all of their buses — a whopping 16,359 of them! — to electric power just six years after it promised to do so.

Visionary path and park: A $40 million project in Ohio will lean on a public-private partnership to create a seven-mile “world class” park and bike path along a riverfront.

An hour just to find a parking spot: In addition to drivers and bike riders and Uber drivers, urban street capacity is being tested by the surge in delivery trucks due to increased use of online ordering. Hopefully cargo bikes can help solve this one.

Truck culture: This inside look at Ford’s MegaRaptor, which is essentially a consumer monster truck, should stoke the ire of every street safety advocate. These trucks are extremely dangerous to vulnerable road users.

Protect it and they will come: The number of people who commute to work by bike into downtown Denver rose 25 percent (to an 8.3 percent mode share) and it follows the installation of four miles of protected bike lanes.

Video of the Week: The BBC sheds light on how the Tour of Colombia bicycle race helps unite the country, as told through the eyes of a young woman whose ex-racer father was killed in the drug wars.

Thanks for all the submissions everyone. And by the way, we’d love to find more sponsors for this regular feature. Please contact me for rates and more information.

— 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 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

139 Comments
  • bikeninja January 8, 2018 at 10:23 am

    It seems like on-line shopping and individual package delivery to the consumer is a step backward in congestion and logistic efficiency. I think it would be better for people to ride bikes to local stores that were supplied by trucks that made deliveries at night. Or if we are going to have everything delivered, get rid of personal cars and leave the roads to delivery drivers and cyclists.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 10:39 am

      That assumes the desired item is available locally.

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      • bikeninja January 8, 2018 at 11:03 am

        The greater your desires, the greater your needed cycling range.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 7:51 pm

          What if it’s a fridge?

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          • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 8:13 pm

            I’ve hauled plenty of fridges by bike, if that is what you’re concerned about. Freezers too.

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          • BradWagon January 9, 2018 at 1:19 pm

            “I might need to move a refrigerator some day… better just never ride a bike then!”

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            • 9watts January 9, 2018 at 1:20 pm

              =learned helplessness 😉

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            • 9watts January 12, 2018 at 10:49 am

              “I hope he decided to book a removalist as we would encourage people to do, or call up one of his mates with a ute.”

              Lovely.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 10:40 am

      And that one knows which store stocks it.

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    • X January 8, 2018 at 10:57 am

      This brings up the question of wanting stuff vs. needing stuff.

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      • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 1:20 pm

        and the role that a century of artificially cheap fossil fuels have played in shifting that boundary, in habituating us to being able to afford most anything.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 1:46 pm

        Thankfully, we all still have the freedom to make those decisions for ourselves.

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        • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 1:50 pm

          Sure.

          But to what end?

          Après moi le déluge?

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        • bikeninja January 8, 2018 at 2:32 pm

          How right you are. As long as we get to choose between the Orange and Purple Salad Shooters we won’t notice that corporations are monopolizing the airwaves, the internet , education and healthcare. And we won’t notice that our freedom to travel over the earth without being run over, sprayed with pollution or flooded with unwanted advertising has been rapidly diminished. Go consumer choice.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 8, 2018 at 3:06 pm

            I’ll take purple, please.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 4:28 pm

              You would!

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          • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 4:27 pm

            I trust my ability to choose what is best for me over yours.

            And who uses salad shooters?

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            • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 4:33 pm

              “I trust my ability to choose”

              Of course you do. But is that the most interesting thing we can say about this situation? I don’t think so. Everyone for himself isn’t a very grown up way to run our affairs – and – just look at how much trouble it has gotten us into.

              Discovering what enough looks like is or could be understood as an urgent challenge.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 7:22 pm

                Do you not see the irony that believe you know what is best for others, while telling them that they do not? Pretty arrogant.

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              • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 7:33 pm

                I don’t think you are understanding what I’m trying to say. I hear you saying freedom of choice = an organizing principle for how to run society (are you saying that?); to which I’m responding: let’s instead recognize limits, discover what enough tastes like, what the damage wrought by a mindset that privileges choice over prudence is. I see worshiping of freedom of choice as leading to ruin, and I’d like to imagine we could be smarter than that, recognize the need for a course correction and figure out ways to rein in our appetites.
                Care to comment?

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              • Middle of the Road Guy January 10, 2018 at 2:16 pm

                I don’t think YOU are understanding what I am trying to say, either. I’m just saying I don’t want you making choices for me based upon what you think is best for me…because I would not presume to do that for you. I would assume that you’re well educated and intelligent and make decisions that are balanced between what is best for you within the confines of a structure that also does it’s best to minimize harm to those around you – which is why we have laws. I am specifically including that statement to provide you with something to comment on.

                I would trust that you would provide the same freedom to others, instead of believing you know what is best for people you’ve never met, have different values and want/need different things.

                Policies work best when people think they are making a decision on their own, as compared to being forced to. My advice would be to not tell people how to live, but to provide a structure that based upon its parameters, leads people to make the decision you want them to make.

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              • 9watts January 10, 2018 at 2:30 pm

                “I don’t want you making choices for me based upon what you think is best for me”

                You’re the only one here who is individualizing this conversation.

                I am not and have never said anything about one individual making decisions for another individual. What I am talking about is the need for us to wrestle with the limits of individualistic—consumer-appetites-are-how-to-organize-ourselves—approaches to our predicament in what is now by all accounts no longer an empty but a full world (TM Herman Daly). Have the conversation about how to do this. But your penchant for turning this into I am making choices for you is revealing, perhaps more than you realize.

                “Policies work best when people think they are making a decision on their own, as compared to being forced to.”

                I don’t know what that means. A meaningful policy is one that puts constraints on individuals *for what we, well some of us, recognize as the common good*.

                “My advice would be to not tell people how to live, but to provide a structure that based upon its parameters, leads people to make the decision you want them to make.”

                Now we’re getting somewhere. I don’t understand why you read what I was saying as any different from this. Where did/do you get the idea that I am so wrapped up in telling others how to live?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 10, 2018 at 2:37 pm

                “We” have decided that an auto-based transportation system is best for “us”. Why do you continue struggle with the wisdom of the collective?

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              • El Biciclero January 11, 2018 at 3:22 pm

                “I’m just saying I don’t want you making choices for me based upon what you think is best for me…”

                Is it so much a matter of making choices, or figuring out what the menu of choices is? There are already limits on what we have to choose from. I can’t go out and buy a jet-engine-powered car and drive it around on the street, for example. I can’t build a high-rise office complex in the middle of my residential neighborhood. I can’t live in a sod house. I can’t put a helipad on my roof. I can’t even cut down a tree in my neighborhood unless I can show it’s a “problem” tree. All those choices that someone has already decided wouldn’t be best for me. Since we already have limits on our choices, what would happen if those limits contracted a little further? A recurring theme of 9watts’ posts, if I may be so presumptuous, is that our ultimate choice is to either put limits on ourselves now and learn to live within those limits, or wait until the planet imposes the limits and the leftovers go to the most well-armed.

                I was walking around Macy’s the other day and recalling the days of my innocent middle-class youth when it was fun/cool to go to the mall and see all the “fancy” stuff and savor the mall “scent”, buy some cool clothes, and enjoy the experience…but all I could think of the other day was how shocking it’s going to be when only the 1% will be able to have that experience while the rest of us starve.

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            • Jim January 8, 2018 at 6:02 pm

              This here is a huge problem. What we need is for US to choose what is best for US. We are failing spectacularly at this, with results that are really bad for all of us. But so many people are still stuck on the individuality of “I know what is best for me”.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 7:49 pm

                I am curious as to what your reaction would be if someone else told you they know what is best for you.

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              • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 8:14 pm

                I would welcome the conversation. Avoiding the conversation (what I take to be your stance) seems the kind of approach we tell ourselves ostriches take.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2018 at 9:14 pm

                Who decides what’s best for “us”?

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              • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 9:15 pm

                that is a question that will cause Libertarians’ heads to explode

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              • Jim January 8, 2018 at 9:55 pm

                Middle of the Road Guy: I probably wouldn’t like it much. But if my actions affect their health, their future, the space we all use, the air we all breathe, our grandchildren, I would feel an obligation to listen and enter into dialogue with someone trying to tell me what do do.

                Hello, Kitty: We do. Is this some kind of trick question?

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              • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 9:56 pm

                It is a trick question (for Libertarians). They recognize no ‘we’.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2018 at 10:22 pm

                Jim, if you want to let me decide, then I’m on board.

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              • El Biciclero January 12, 2018 at 9:22 am

                “I am curious as to what your reaction would be if someone else told you they know what is best for you.”

                My doctor does that all the time. He can’t force me to do what he says, but he’ll tell me what he thinks is best for me, for sure. Companies (marketers) tell you what’s best for you all the frickin’ time, and you take their advice (as do we all) more than we’d like to admit. Nobody is an expert in everything; we rely on experts who know more than we do to tell us what’s best about lots of things. Maybe it isn’t that someone else tells you what’s best; maybe its how much trust we have in the person/entity telling us? It’s hard to know whether corporations, governments, the rich, the communists, the city planners, the architects, the scientists, or we, ourselves know the most and can be trusted to decide what’s best when it comes to resource allocation and planetary conservation. Really, if we wanted to “save” the planet, all humans should cease to exist immediately. If we want to preserve our “way of life”, the planet will only tolerate it for a few more years before it puts an end to that and starts annihilating us. Where is the balance between a life worth living and preserving a planet to live on? Not to mention allowing everyone to have a chance at a decent life?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 12, 2018 at 9:36 am

                Looks like someone fell for a Chinese hoax!

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      • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 7:24 pm

        Ever drink a beer instead of water? Eat something other than rice and beans? If you are not subsisting on the bare minimum, you are making decisions based upon wants, over needs.

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        • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 7:49 pm

          I guess it seems like you are not differentiating between enjoying the good life, the finer aspects (I’m all for that, and for others to pursue that), and the value/need/even urgency of a conversation that wrestles with the limits to what our voracious appetites have wrought. Can you appreciate that we may inhabit a world, a society that has to find ways to choose between those two?

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        • Jim January 8, 2018 at 9:51 pm

          Of course I am making a lot of decisions based on wants and not needs. We all are. This is not some kind of “gotcha” admission. I have never said that my opinions are the correct opinions. We just need to start by acknowledging that our decisions affect other people. I’m not even faulting any of your choices (and have no idea what you like/buy/consume/think about most things), but there’s such resistance to these very basic concepts. We live as a community. We share common resources.

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          • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 9:53 pm

            Well said. Thank you.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 8, 2018 at 10:23 pm

            My opinions are the correct opinions.

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            • El Biciclero January 12, 2018 at 9:29 am

              Indeed. Show of hands from those whose opinions are wrong…anyone…?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 12, 2018 at 9:34 am

                I’m just raising my hand on someone else’s behalf.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy January 10, 2018 at 2:19 pm

            No argument there…but who tells each individual what and where those lines are for them?

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  • Pete January 8, 2018 at 10:29 am

    I vote we replace all remaining “Share the Road” signs with “How Would Jesus Drive?”…

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 10:42 am

      He’d ride a cross bike.

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      • Dave January 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm

        Post of the year!!!!!!!!

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    • Al January 8, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      On a serious note, I never liked the “Share the road” campaign. The signs imply that bicycles are taking something away from drivers rather than reinforcing the habit of looking out for bicycles like say the motorcycle safety campaign’s “Keep an eye out for motorcycles” slogan. Drivers then assume that bicycles have no right to be on roads without “Share the road” signs.

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      • Stephen Keller January 8, 2018 at 2:00 pm

        I much prefer the “bicycles may use full lane” signs. I always figured motor vehicle drivers would interpret the “share the road” signs as instructions to cycles to get out of the road way.

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        • Clark in Vancouver January 9, 2018 at 9:07 am

          The “Bicycles may use full lane” or graphical equivalent signs are much better than “Share the Road”. Cutesy slogans like that imply that someone knows the background of what they really want to say but if they didn’t go to the workshop about it they don’t know and take a guess.

          In my opinion, the signs should also mention that this is a narrow section of road. Many people don’t notice the shoulder missing in those places and wonder why that person cycling on the side of the road now is taking the lane.

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          • Pete January 9, 2018 at 4:11 pm

            “…if they didn’t go to the workshop”… too funny!

            The best example I’ve seen (and I posted a photo link on here a few years back) of someone who clearly attended the workshop was a “Bikes May Use Full Lane” sign in Burlingame (I think) area, accompanied by the CA Vehicle Code reference (21202), and an additional sign directing “Move Left To Pass” (there were two lanes on this road). I don’t recall sharrows (tried to find on maps, but don’t remember where), but I think the road was 40 MPH and sharrows can only go on roadways 35 MPH and below (here in Cali).

            Yeah, the double-edged sword of sharrows, BMUFL, and especially those silly “Snare The Toad” signs is that drivers may come to believe those are the only places that cyclists may ‘take the lane’… but ignorance isn’t really the signs’ fault.

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    • B. Carfree January 8, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      The question, “How would Jesus drive” is overlong. The better question is one word shorter, “Would Jesus drive?” and the answer is obviously NO.

      I’m constantly amazed that people who do their best to follow many strange passages of their Bible insist on taking action daily to destroy the very “creation” they are supposedly entrusted to care for.

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  • bikeninja January 8, 2018 at 10:42 am

    The only thing I can say about those Megaraptor monster trucks is , Where is E.L.F. when you need them?

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 11:11 am

      The main thing I notice when I cycle in Europe (which is “not enough”) is the absolute lack of pick up trucks and SUVs. Most work trucks are the “sprinter”-type vehicle – and often the smaller ones. I believe I have only seen 2 large pickup trucks (both in Italy) and one Grand Cherokee (Spain). The largest personal vehicles are what we would call “crossovers” here, unless it was a larger luxury car like a Benz or Audi – but those were rare.

      In many cases, it’s dang near impossible to take bigger vehicles on the narrow streets – which is a plus.

      Some how, the Euros are able to get by without F-250s everywhere.

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      • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 1:23 pm

        Those countries never had a two-tiered CAFE standard which sends all the cushy amenities into the for all intents and purposes exempt class of vehicles; they have a real gas tax. That in a nutshell is the difference.

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        • Al Dimond January 8, 2018 at 4:46 pm

          I sort of wonder about the interplay of the two-tiered CAFE standard and the removal of two-tiered vehicle licensing. When I was a kid I knew a guy that had a Ford Ranger and had to get truck plates for it. Not too many years later everyone was driving much larger, less efficient trucks with passenger plates.

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      • David Hampsten January 8, 2018 at 4:41 pm

        I once saw a US Army Humvee near Ely UK, not far from the US base of Lakenheath. The vehicle occupied both the left and right lanes entirely.

        I will point out that US and European semis (18-wheelers) are more or less the same size and width, as are the containers, and that US freeways are built to German autobahn standards and speeds, even though we have limits and they don’t. US railroad “standard” track, including MAX, is exactly the same width as most European track, from a commercial agreement from the 1930s.

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  • John Liu January 8, 2018 at 10:44 am

    The truck side guard legislation is long overdue . . . but I’ll believe it when i see it.

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  • GlowBoy January 8, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Re: cyclists and drivers obeying the law at approximately the same rate:

    This is all the more remarkable considering how hostile our roads and laws are to cycling. Imagine what the numbers would look like if our system actually worked for us.

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    • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      An interesting opportunity for a comparative study, eh?

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  • Elly January 8, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Thanks for the Bikequity shout-out! To be totally fair, Joe Biel coined “bikenomics” as well as this new title. He’s a man of many portmanteaux.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 11:12 am

      But is he a man from Portland? Because then that would be even better.

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      • John Lascurettes January 8, 2018 at 12:15 pm

        That would make him a man of Portlandteaux.

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        • Elly January 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm

          Lol

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          • whooo January 9, 2018 at 1:29 pm

            Bikequity: Elly Blue, the Portland publisher who coined the term “bikenomics”, just published the 14th issue of her feminist bike zine. It’s titled, “Bikequity: Money, Class, & Bicycling” and its contributors include Adonia Lugo, Tamika Butler, and 12 others.
            I love Elly’s work. Thanks for featuring it!

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      • El Biciclero January 8, 2018 at 5:44 pm

        Would that be some kind of portmantrois?

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  • X January 8, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Eben Weiss’ next column was about bike monogamy. Guess I’ll stay married to my cargo bike.

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  • bikeninja January 8, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Anyone who hasn’t been there should go to Microcosom publishings’ store on Williams for their copy of Bikequity, while you are there your can check out their great cycling t-shirts. I need to get back there soon and get a new ” Live Free or Drive” shirt has my old one is getting ratty.

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  • soren January 8, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    With regard to the scofflaw study, I’m pleased that I do my part to decrease local compliance with unnecessary motorvehicle-centric traffic laws . If I can safely violate a traffic law while walking or rolling without impacting the comfort or ROW of another person, I always violate that traffic law.

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    • Brian January 8, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Just curious, would you do it if at a red light next to a police officer?

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      • soren January 8, 2018 at 1:42 pm

        idaho stop it, typically.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idaho_stop

        i do this a few times a month since my commute to work is via SW Madison with a left on SW 3rd (e.g. very near the PD).

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        • Brian January 8, 2018 at 2:00 pm

          You will bike through a red light (after stopping) even when a police officer is right next to you waiting at the light? And you’ve never been pulled over?

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          • soren January 8, 2018 at 3:26 pm

            countless times. most often at the intersection of SW 3rd and Madison (going south on my way home and east on my to work).

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            • soren January 8, 2018 at 3:30 pm

              Correction: SW Main and 3rd. (I am terrible at remembering street names because I move about the city visually and almost never look at a street name or map.)

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              • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 4:30 pm

                Or stop signs.

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              • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 4:35 pm

                Common misunderstanding: Idaho Stop is not the same thing as ignoring a Stop sign. Why is this so hard to grasp?

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              • El Biciclero January 12, 2018 at 7:16 pm

                It’s not. It’s just that “blowing through stop signs” is a super-desirable straw-man for those that oppose “stop-as-yield” on dogmatic grounds.

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            • Brian January 9, 2018 at 10:30 am

              That potential fine always keeps me from doing things like this. I got pulled over by a motorcycle officer in Beaverton one morning, no one else around and totally dark out, because I didn’t come to a stop on a right hand turn at a stop sign.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      Does that logic apply to cars? If I roll up on an intersection with no other people…it’s cool to Idaho stop it?

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      • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 1:58 pm

        I’ve never heard of an Idaho stop for cars. Can you articulate why that would make sense?

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        • 9watts January 8, 2018 at 2:04 pm

          Come to think of it, Germans don’t (for all intents and purposes) have stop signs. They have some (what we might consider curious) workarounds besides using yield signs more than we do.

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          • David Hampsten January 8, 2018 at 5:16 pm

            They also use signals far more than we do. In general, Britain, Ireland, and France seem to prefer roundabouts where we would put in double-lane signals. I always notice the stop signs in Belgium and France are in fact spelled S-T-O-P, but in Quebec they use “Arret”. The heavy stop bars on the street are the same in both the US and Germany, but as you say, the Germans prefer yield signs and blue merger signs when we might use a Stop or a yellow merger sign.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 7:38 pm

              And more roundabouts. Which is basically an Idaho stop in principal. If it is safe, proceed without stopping. If not, stop.

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        • Dan A January 8, 2018 at 2:13 pm

          I’ve yet to see a follow-up response from MOTRG to any of his reflexive posts on the Idaho stop.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 7:29 pm

            The same argument for bikes doing it works for cars. You might not like it, but it’s true.

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            • Dan A January 9, 2018 at 6:33 am

              When bikes weigh 2000lbs and have A pillars.

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            • soren January 9, 2018 at 9:19 am

              my support of the idaho stop is not only based on “argument” but on many decades of evidence. and two studies from a neighboring state suggest that, if anything, the idaho stop has slightly improved safety.

              as for the same argument working for cars, i agree. and i suspect that you would loathe this kind of road network because it prioritizes people over motorvehicles:

              https://worksthatwork.com/1/shared-space

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        • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 7:28 pm

          Saves energy and time. If nobody is there to be harmed, where is the problem? It’s just like an intersection without a stop sign.

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        • Pete January 13, 2018 at 1:27 am

          Because it’s actually called a “California Stop”, and it’s a way of life for motorists where I live.

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      • John Lascurettes January 8, 2018 at 4:42 pm

        “Does that logic apply to cars? If I roll up on an intersection with no other people…it’s cool to Idaho stop it?”

        No.

        1. You don’t have the same unobstructed view a cyclist has. You have larger blind spots.
        2. You don’t have the same auditory advantage a cyclist has. Cars are advertised at how good they are a dampening outside noise
        3. You have more mass
        4. You approach with more speed (typically) and therefore have less time to judge
        5. Your errors in judgment are magnitudes more deadly

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        • David Hampsten January 8, 2018 at 5:19 pm

          And because of their lower mass, larger gears, and much higher-pressure tires, bikes can both accelerate and stop much faster than cars, assuming everything is in good working order. (Obviously this doesn’t apply to Walmart bikes.)

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        • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 7:36 pm

          Oy vay…where to start with this…you’re making a lot of absolute statements that require dismantling.

          1. You can’t make that statement with 100% certainty. Cyclist may have eyeglasses/sunglasses on. Cyclist also cannot see behind them without turning, just like the driver.
          2. Irrelevant…and my windows may be open. Also cyclist may have earbuds in.
          3. So what – not an issue if nobody is there. If anything, more mass is a better argument for inertia to save energy.
          4. How do you know how fast people approach? If one were to do an Idaho stop in a car, they’d likely be at a near stop in the first place.
          5. Errors don’t matter if nobody else is present to be harmed.

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          • John Lascurettes January 8, 2018 at 11:20 pm

            1. I can say this. Prove me wrong. There is no car I’ve EVER been in, even a convertible that provides me with the same freedom of field of view that I enjoy on a bike. Every car I’ve ever been in has cage pillars. On a bike I have easy 360° vision with just a shoulder check. And approaching an unobstructed intersection, I have a 210° horizontal view of it without even turning my head. NOT SO IN A CAR.

            2. Your window may be open, but your car still makes more noise from the engine alone than my bike does. So do your fat four wheels. So does the wind harmonics on the car. Do you really drive with your window down year round with the radio off? Because even if you did, you still couldn’t hear the ambient surroundings as well as I can even with earbuds in (which I keep turned down low enough that I can hear my wheels on the ground).

            3. If you can’t do 1 or 2 as well, the 3 can’t be guaranteed safe for you to roll through a stop sign. That’s the point of stopping and then checking.

            4. Cars generally travel faster than bikes, which is why I said they “typically” approach faster (and brake harder) at a stop sign.

            5. I refer to steps 1–3 again. If you make a rolling error in judgement about “nobody else is present”, then the results are more catastrophic.

            What needs dismantling is that you think human-powered bikes and cars are somehow equivalent risks in making an Idaho stop. Why pray tell do you think that Idaho hasn’t made it legal for drivers too?

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            • Middle of the Road Guy January 10, 2018 at 2:24 pm

              1. Here is how to prove you wrong. There are millions of 4-way stops that happen daily without incident. Which proves the drivers have enough information to make a decision on how to navigate the intersection without incident. If there was as much distraction as you suggest, there should be pileups at every stop. Yet there are not.

              Is there a different between coming to a stop and waiting for other cars, coming to a stop without other cars present, or slowing to a crawl when there are no other cars present and proceeding? In all cases, there is enough information to make an informed decision. One does not need 100% total visibility to do this safely.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy January 10, 2018 at 2:25 pm

                2. See #1. There are not millions of accidents daily from not hearing 100% of sound. With your logic, a hearing impaired person should not be allowed to partake in an Idaho stop.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy January 10, 2018 at 2:27 pm

                3. Mass is not an issue if nobody is present and driver is making good decisions. I am unsure why you are fixated on that.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy January 10, 2018 at 2:28 pm

                4. Slowing down to a stop sign, both cars and bikes approach zero mph. They are likely traveling at near the same speed (nearly zero before the stop sign). You seem to be assuming that I am advocating speeding through a stop sign – I am not.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy January 10, 2018 at 2:29 pm

                5. People driving can and do make good decisions at intersections.

                Is it possible for you to admit ANYTHING good about car use or do you have such a bias that you cannot see anything positive?

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              • John Lascurettes January 11, 2018 at 12:37 am

                I am quite unbiased in the matter. I ride. And I drive. And I walk. I don’t know why stating that the visual and aural acuity of a person on a bike is measurably better than a person in a car as fact is in any way some crusade against cars.

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              • El Biciclero January 11, 2018 at 9:56 am

                “There are millions of 4-way stops that happen daily without incident.”

                So? You seem to be assuming that zero interactions happen “with incident”. I will assume the inverse and then attempt to imagine how many incidents, even in which at least one party came to a full stop, involved pedestrians or bicyclists, and how much greater the damage or potential damage might be with a two-ton motor vehicle in play.

                If we indeed assume that there are not zero “incidents” at STOP-controlled intersections, and we assume that those incidents are the result of mistakes made by at least one party involved, and we further assume that such mistakes are made with equal frequency by motorists and, let’s just say, bicyclists (ignoring pedestrians for now), then is there any situation where we can possibly imagine a bicyclist making a mistake at an intersection and killing a motorist as a result?

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              • Pete January 13, 2018 at 1:33 am

                “There are millions of 4-way stops that happen daily without incident.”

                The converse is also true: there are millions of incidents daily that happen without 4-way stops. Drivers don’t need intersections to hit each other, or inanimate objects. My auto insurance would be radically cheaper, insurers wouldn’t have the lobbying power they have, and entire police forces wouldn’t be called “Highway Patrol” if driving didn’t take so damned much infrastructure to be perceived as safe.

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            • X January 11, 2018 at 6:13 pm

              I’m with JL, but he didn’t mention the difference in vulnerability. People riding bikes necessarily feel some humility that people in cars may lack.

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          • Dan A January 9, 2018 at 6:43 am

            1. Sure he can. ‘A’ pillars on either side of the windshield are a significant visual obstruction which are not connected to the driver’s head and block views of side traffic, especially foot and bike traffic on the sidewalk or in the bike lane. They are not at all similar to wearing sunglasses.

            I would support Idaho stops for motorcycles — they don’t have A pillars.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy January 10, 2018 at 2:30 pm

              Dan, these A-pillars do not seem to have an impact on the millions of interactions at intersections. They are easy to look around.

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              • Dan A January 10, 2018 at 5:07 pm

                “The rolling right on red now accounts for 6 percent of all pedestrian fatalities, and the number is on the rise. Worse still, 21 percent of the deaths happen to kids. Even when a car is moving slowly, children have a four times greater chance of dying than grown-ups.”

                http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2017/11/the_six_main_causes_of_car_crashes.html

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              • X January 11, 2018 at 6:25 pm

                It is very possible to look around them but a car driver who committed themself to rolling a stop in second gear may lose sight of cross traffic in the eyeblink it’s behind the pillar. This is not hypothetical. On NE Going it’s called a Tuesday.

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          • Dan A January 9, 2018 at 6:48 am

            “5. Errors don’t matter if nobody else is present to be harmed.”

            This can be used to justify all kinds of terrible behavior. Is this really what you mean to say? Tamar Monhait was killed by a driver who assumed it was okay to cut a corner in a 50,000lb truck without signaling because ‘nobody was present to be harmed’.

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            • El Biciclero January 9, 2018 at 10:13 am

              Right. The error that truly matters is failing to determine that someone else is there. That error, combined with any of the others, is what makes all the difference.

              Also, not mentioned is the fact that for most motor vehicles, the front of the vehicle has to be blindly pushed forward before the driver can see well enough to know that no one is there.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy January 10, 2018 at 2:31 pm

              I did not state that as I wished I admit…and after reading it I decided to leave it there for the comments 🙂

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          • El Biciclero January 9, 2018 at 12:26 pm

            “…you’re making a lot of absolute statements…

            1. You can’t make that statement with 100% certainty. Cyclist may have eyeglasses/sunglasses on. Cyclist also cannot see behind them without turning, just like the driver.”

            100% certainty? Talk about your absolute statements. Also, as I mentioned, a driver has to pull their vehicle 3 – 5 feet further forward before their head is in the same position and they can possibly have the same POV as a bicyclist. How are eyeglasses an obstruction? I can get pretty much a sweeping, near-360-degree view with very small head turns combined with my eyeglass-mounted mirror.

            “2. Irrelevant…and my windows may be open. Also cyclist may have earbuds in.”

            Are we talking “may”s and “might”s? Driver might be drunk. Driver might have illegally tinted windows. Driver might have AC and stereo going full blast with windows up. Driver might be texting. What your statement further implies is that there is a small chance the cyclist might be doing something slightly more dangerous, while there is also a small chance the driver might be doing something slightly safer—so on balance, the bicycle default is safety, while the motor vehicle default is danger.

            “3. So what – not an issue if nobody is there. If anything, more mass is a better argument for inertia to save energy.
            5. Errors don’t matter if nobody else is present to be harmed.”

            Again, if nobody is there. That’s the big mistake that is more likely to be made in a car. There are two facets to the “argument” for so-called Idaho stops: The momentum savings/efficiency, and the degree of safety with which it could be performed. The “argument” that is usually discussed here is the degree of safety from the POV of danger posed to others. If we assume all vehicles roll stops at the same speed, there is no way this is safer (or even nearly as safe) to do in a car.

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  • oliver January 8, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    “artisans of the common good”

    I pulled in behind a Union Pacific Railroad Ford Expedition on Interstate yesterday, and was shocked.

    The lane cohesion of this driver was absolutely impeccable. He didn’t drop a tire onto either the fogline/bikelane or the yellow “centerline” all the way from Going to Lombard. Not once.

    It was amazing to drive behind someone who was obviously paying attention for once.

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  • TK Conrad January 8, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    In regards to Eben Weiss’s article, while I agree that biking is not as dangerous for children as driving, it also has tremendous health benefits that have been shown to significantly outweigh the risks of biking. When adults regularly bike with their kids, they are setting an example of how to get around the city without a car. When kids grow up seeing biking as a normal and easy way to get around, they are more likely to become adults who prioritize this for themselves. Therefore, I feel the best reason for wanting to bike with your kids is to help them establish lifelong active commuting habits.

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  • soren January 8, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    “Drive with good morals”

    * ubiquitous harm to people’s health
    * ~1.3 million human beings killed each year (WHO statistics)
    * trillions of animals with emotion and sentience killed each year (multiple sources)
    * an unavoidable and emerging climate catastrophe that is partly attributable to driving (IPCC report)

    IMO, driving can only be a “moral good” overall when it is necessary due to inequity, lack of access, inability, and/or socioeconomic oppression.

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  • Clark in Vancouver January 8, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    That MegaRaptor truck is crazy! If this is the type of thing they’re making then it only makes the case stronger for protection from motor vehicles.
    I don’t want to take anyone’s toys away or tell them what to do with their money but on the other hand I don’t want to get killed by somebody with a macho complex.
    Another thing is at what point do limits get set? Do people who drive these need to get a different license and training? If these trucks keep getting bigger and bigger then at one point they’ll be the size of a semi-trailer. Would there be some streets that they’re not allowed on?

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 8, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      NYC is going to need bigger bollards.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 2:40 pm

        Brody’s best line!

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    • BB January 8, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Except this isn’t a truck you can just go and buy, it’s a high dollar aftermarket customization that you will literally never see one of on the street. Lot of hype for nothing when actual vehicles that everyone buys are actually being used in such a way that kills people today.

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  • Todd Boulanger January 8, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    The shift in delivery methods and suburbanization of distribution centers…have also led to the shift from larger semi-truck style trailers (>80,000 GVW / >60 FT long) from smaller more city friendly box trucks (<20,000 GVW / <24 FT long) in many US urban areas…these trucks are too large for most if not all city center loading zones thus if not enforced by the police and traffic/ parking departments will then double park thus blocking bike lanes and or sidewalks and undermine traffic safety (and vision zero policy).

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  • rachel s January 8, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    The video clip from Bicycle Dutch with all the kids streaming into the school yard on bicycles is worth the click alone….Just think how the demand for safe streets would escalate if kids used them for school, sports etc.

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  • Jim Lee January 8, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Jesus of Nazereth? Definitely a fixie guy.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 8, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      Nailed it!

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      • Matt January 8, 2018 at 5:49 pm

        hah, “nailed”

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        • bendite January 9, 2018 at 1:23 pm

          Too soon!

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    • Jeff January 8, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      Less fixie. More mythie.

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    • Pete January 9, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Next you’re gonna tell me that Sheldon Brown was really His second coming… 😉

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  • Jeff January 8, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Taking any advice from the Catholic church might be hazardous to your health.

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  • Douglas K January 8, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    The “$40 million project in Ohio” is actually in Indiana.

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  • B. Carfree January 8, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    I’m always dubious of “build it and they will come” claims. In Denver, I wonder how valid downtown groups number of 6.6% of commuters coming by bike in 2016 is when the city as a whole had a bicycle commute rate of one-third that number (2.2%). Downtown had 40% coming in cars, but Denver proper had over 75%. I suspect their survey is a bit biased.

    If their numbers for that are legit, it’s just a small bubble and I’m unwilling expand that to confirmation of biatwc. Besides, the experience of Davis, CA is the case that disproves the value of separation. Davis built boatloads of separated infra from 1990-present, but has seen longstanding trend of decreased ridership, with a few brief upticks, from its heyday of the early ’80s when modal shares were, while never documented, beyond anything I have seen since. (Only place in the world where one could look down a random road and pretty much always see bikes outnumbering cars.)

    What changed? Traffic law enforcement. Enforce traffic laws and they will ride. Don’t enforce them and they will drive.

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  • Joe Fortino January 9, 2018 at 10:52 am

    jesus rode fixed.. haha

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  • SE January 9, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Middle of the Road Guy
    The main thing I notice when I cycle in Europe (which is “not enough”) is the absolute lack of pick up trucks and SUVs. .

    I drove to SoCal a while back and made the same observation there.

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  • Jim Lee January 9, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Well, I actually bought a drum brake for my KHS Flite 100 track frame from Sheldon Brown so I could convert it to a 26 inch cross machine.

    Rode it for 11 years. Stolen last spring.

    Just today I picked up a new drum brake from Clever Cycles. Another month to build more wheels, these for the old custom frame fixie. Drum brakes are truly excellent in horrible mucky weather.

    Be back before long!

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  • Andy K January 12, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Eben Weiss is a national treasure

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