Esplanade closure begins February 1st

The Monday Roundup: Dallas’ dock-mess, de Blasio’s hypocrisy, a velodrome in Detroit, and more

Posted by on January 22nd, 2018 at 10:09 am

Welcome to a new week.

Here are the best stories we came across in the last seven days.

I’ll have what they’re having: This piece in Governing caught my eye because it highlights the decrease in traffic deaths in San Francisco and New York City last year. Do they know something we don’t know?

From our Sponsor:

Don’t miss the Tacx Indoor Trainer Demo Night at Western Bikeworks tomorrow night (Tuesday, 1/23)!

A “hot trend”: More momentum for e-bikes in the U.S., and about as mainstream as you can get. Stories like this one are why many of us got into the bike business to begin with!

The lifesaving bicycle: This wonderful essay comes from a woman who was at her personal rock bottom — only to find that the simple act of riding a bicycle helped get her life back.

Here they come: Waymo’s self-driving cars — without a driver behind the wheel — are in operation on the roads of a 100-mile geofenced area of Chandler, Arizona.

Is Oregon ready?: If a self-driving car company gets aggressive in the Oregon market, Nigel Jaquiss from the Willamette Week says state lawmakers are way behind the curve.

Tips for “biking fat”: Get the right bike, the right clothes, the right people, and the right attitude, says Seattle’s Marley Blonsky.

Free transit works: Utah’s transit agency gave free rides for a day and saw a 23 percent in ridership and took an estimated 17,560 drivers off the road.

Here’s how NYC does bikeways: While we wait for PBOT to unveil a plan for central city protected bikeways, here’s how NYC plans to make biking better in Manhattan.


Bike Snob has had it: Eben Weiss (aka Bike Snob) calls out NYC’s mayor for his tough talk around climate change — while he continues his fight against delivery workers who use e-bikes.

It’s our choice: Curbed looks at a new study that finds U.S. kids are twice as likely to die at the hands of auto users than other wealthy nations. The worst part is solutions are readily available we simply choose not to implement them.

Discrimination in traffic: America Walks has published the audio recap of their latest “Walking Toward Justice” episode that examines how the criminal justice system interacts with Vision Zero and traffic enforcement.

Dock-mess: The mayor of Dallas, Texas is very upset by the “bike litter” created by dockless bike share systems in his town; so much so he’s suggested rounding them up in his pickup truck and impounding them himself.

Congestion pricing in Manhattan: NYC’s governor unveiled a plan that would make driving a car into the busiest part of the city cost up to $11.52.

Traffic law compliance: Outside breaks down a study from Florida’s DOT that found people break traffic laws more when they use cars than when they use bicycles.

So jealous: Detroit is getting an indoor velodrome where young people can ride for free. I would love to see one of these in Portland.

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

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

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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

  • Jon January 22, 2018 at 10:26 am

    It would be great if the state could increase gasoline taxes or automobile use fees enough to make mass transit free here year around. I know there are legal issues around use of gasoline taxes and where they can be used but I would think that if we are serious about reducing individual automobile use and decreasing the gridlock caused by increased use of cars the state could find a way to charge automobile users fees to pay for mass transit. Until people have to pay more to use the roads they are going to act like using the roads is free.

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    • John Liu January 22, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      The 2017 state transportation bill includes a 10 cent increase in state gasoline taxes, 4 cents in 2018 and 2 cents every other year until 2025. In 2016 Portland added a 10 cent gasoline tax.

      The 2017 bill also increases auto registration from $86 to $112, about 30%.

      (Road projects can help transit, by clearing the way for BRT. We know road projects can help ped/bike.)

      I don’t know if it is feasible to raise enough funds to make Trimet free. Trimet gets about $120MM/yr from fares, that is equivalent to $200 for every Portland resident.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy January 22, 2018 at 1:42 pm

        And then it would have to be progressive, so a good portion of people would be excluded from even paying that.

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      • turnips January 23, 2018 at 9:03 am

        AAA says it cost $8500/yr on average to own and operate a car in the US in 2017. I don’t know what that number would be for just Portland. and I don’t know what fraction of Portland residents own a car. but making that expenditure unnecessary for $200/yr seems like a hell of a good deal to me.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu January 23, 2018 at 10:04 am

          That’s a high number. Assumes buying a new car.

          Not everyone will consider that better transit means they don’t need or want a car.

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          • q January 23, 2018 at 10:14 am

            Yes, and AAA would use the high number to oppose more subsidies for transit. “The average driver already pays $8,500 per year to drive. Making them pay even $1 per year towards transit that they don’t use isn’t fair”.

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        • John Liu January 23, 2018 at 10:58 am

          The low-end cost to own/operate a car can be more like $5,000/yr. $5,000 used car amortized over 5 years is $1,000; insurance and registration $560; gas for 10,000 miles at 15 mpg and $3.50/gal is $2,333; maintenance $1,000. Of course, make that car a Telsa or Mercedes and . . .

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    • BradWagon January 22, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Toll highways with parallel rail / high frequency bus service?

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  • Dan A January 22, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Dallas, where it’s okay to have cars littered all of the streets, but not bikes.

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  • Dan A January 22, 2018 at 10:42 am

    From the Outside column:

    In the end, the results indicated that cyclists were compliant with the law 88 percent of the time during the day and 87 percent of the time after dark. The same study determined that drivers who interacted with the study subjects complied with the law 85 percent of the time. In other words, drivers were slightly naughtier than the cyclists—even without measuring speeding or distracted driving.

    Not even including speeding? I wonder why not. If you measure speeding, many drivers are probably speeding 85 percent of the time, complying with the law almost never.

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  • bikeninja January 22, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Cycling Joke: What do you call $11.52 to drive in to the center of town? Answer: A good start.

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  • Andrew Kreps January 22, 2018 at 10:55 am

    It’s worth nothing that we do have a velodrome young folks (and in fact anyone) can use for free….as long as it’s not raining. 😀

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    • B. Carfree January 22, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Even Los Angeles has an outdoor velodrome. It’s kind of sad that in the entire rainy state of Oregon we can’t find a way to build a single indoor velodrome.

      Maybe if track cycling becomes an NCAA sport we might get Uncle Phil (Knight) to build one at the UO; he’s built every other conceivable sports facility (and an academic facility or four; I’m not hating on Knight by any means).

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      • Bay Area rider January 22, 2018 at 1:32 pm

        Actually Los Angles doesn’t have an outdoor velodrome any more. The Velodrome built for the 84 Olympics was torn down but it was replaced with a 250m indoor velodrome. The old Olympic velodrome was a 333 meter track. San Diego has an outdoor velodrome.

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        • Andy K January 22, 2018 at 1:40 pm

          We have three indoor velodromes now, right? LA, Colorado Springs, and Detroit.

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          • turnips January 23, 2018 at 9:06 am

            We? Burnaby?

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  • bikeninja January 22, 2018 at 11:02 am

    I am not surprised at the article that shows the much higher rates of auto related fatalities for children in the U.S. It only makes sense that a culture that is willing to sacrifice the future or our children on the planet so that we can maintain the convenience and comfort of automobile transportation is willing to sacrifice actual children to maintain that same privilege.

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    • Tim January 22, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      Motor vehicle drivers are the number 1 cause of death in children and young adults. But, we can’t expect drivers to slow down and put down the phone, that would infringing on their rights.

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  • rick January 22, 2018 at 11:10 am

    People keep voting for the same people and the same results.

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  • 9watts January 22, 2018 at 11:20 am

    “The report, the largest of its kind ever attempted, concluded that cyclists were slightly more compliant with traffic laws than drivers. ”

    “drivers were slightly naughtier than the cyclists—even without measuring speeding or distracted driving.”

    Haha. Some commenters here should not read this or their heads may explode.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 22, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      What, the part that cyclists don’t follow the rules of the road a significant portion of the time?

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      • 9watts January 22, 2018 at 1:49 pm


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      • Dan A January 22, 2018 at 2:18 pm

        Someday maybe we’ll be able to reign in the savage killing machine that is the bicycle.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy January 22, 2018 at 3:55 pm

          Just pointing out that there are many ways to interpret the same data – it’s all about perspective and whichever inherent biases we bring with us.

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          • 9watts January 22, 2018 at 4:19 pm

            “the same data – it’s all about perspective”

            you have a habit of representing this relativist take in the comments here, but the risk is that we lose sight of the fact that underneath all our biases and preconceptions there are observable statistical relationships, undeniable differences. It serves no purpose to abandon any commitment to finding the truth.

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    • John Lascurettes January 22, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      It’s that notion that “everyone speeds” so therefore it’s seen as normalized. It’s so wrong. Whenever I hear a friend who’s actively driving complain about a cyclist on the street I ask if they’re 100% compliant with driving laws. They nearly always say they are. Then, I start pointing out how they are already over the speed limit (usually it’s denied or some indefensible defense of “going slower is unsafe”). Then I point out how they encroached on the bicycle lane as they made a turn and didn’t come to a complete stop. And so on. People really don’t like hearing how they’re part of the problem.

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  • Andrew Kreps January 22, 2018 at 11:21 am

    That Governing article is pretty weird. It starts out saying traffic deaths are down, then only states how pedestrian deaths are down, and then finishes by saying deaths among those cycling, motorcycle and driving are up dramatically.

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    • 9watts January 22, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Wow. You’re right.
      The last short paragraph is 180 degrees out of phase with the rest of the article. Where was the editor?

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    • Pete January 22, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      I noticed in local news they are touting San Francisco as proof of Vision Zero’s success, when in neighboring VZ cities like San Jose, pedestrian and cyclist deaths have actually risen.

      Here’s a decent review of the data, albeit not current:

      If you notice the breakdown by BAC, it notes that about a third of pedestrians killed are technically ‘drunk’.

      Anecdotally, I still believe that if right-turn-on-red laws were suspended for a year (with enforcement), we would see a notable drop, especially in elderly and children being killed while inside crosswalks.

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      • 9watts January 22, 2018 at 2:44 pm

        Drunk pedestrians. A fascinating topic we’ve had occasion to discuss here over the years.

        For someone to end up dead it is in almost all cases still necessary to introduce a car into the mix, or drunk pedestrians are still merely drunk pedestrians.

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        • Tim January 22, 2018 at 5:23 pm

          Considering the relative risks (at least to me), I prefer drunk pedestrians to drunk drivers.

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    • stephan January 22, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      That is why I think we should take these reports with a grain of salt. I think fewer people died on Portland’s road thus year than last year but we would be foolish to claim success of Vision Zero for that. VZ applies to overall traffic deaths, and most of them occur to people while they drive a car. And it is a long-term trend, so one-year fluctuations should be interpreted very cautiously.

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  • B. Carfree January 22, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I think the biggest keys to the reduction in roadway deaths in NYC and SF are two-fold:
    1. Only a minority of people in each city actually gets into a motor vehicle (about a third of NYC residents and 45% of SF residents). The rest are exposed to them and the many suburbanites who drive in. That gives a political force to safer streets for those who walk. In NYC, fully two-thirds either walk only for their commute or combine walking with transit. In the “Us vs Them”, in these cities, the voting motorists are heavily outnumbered.
    2. Both cities have transitioned from anti-bike enforcement to at least some fig-leaf level traffic law enforcement directed at motorists. Sadly, it took some public scandals to bring this about, but it’s a grand start.

    There’s also that little fact that the average speed of cars in NYC is under 5 mph. Collisions at that level barely leave a mark, let alone cause death.

    The small street furniture changes likely contributed as well, particularly the ones that removed travel lanes in SF and restricted turning movements, but attempts to give these full credit seem overstated.

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    • encephalopath January 22, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      Planning works in favor of NYC residents because of that dynamic. Enforcement does not. NYC has the same problem we do in that its law enforcement officials don’t live in the city. NYPD drives to the city from New Jersey. Police interaction with the city is almost entirely limited to the windshield perspective.

      That’s why traffic violence in NYC revolves around the joke, “No criminality suspected,” meaning NYPD isn’t going to do anything.

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    • rick January 22, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      I wonder what effect the reduced transit usage has had on traffic deaths. Some are talking about a ban on Uber and Lyft in NYC.

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    • paikiala January 23, 2018 at 10:03 am

      Then there is the regression to the mean error.
      A one year change (positive or negative) is not a trend.

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  • Kyle Banerjee January 22, 2018 at 11:36 am

    The fare free experiment is interesting.

    There may be valid reasons to subsidize ridership, but what it shows is that given a choice, the vast majority of people still prefer to drive — that speaks volumes about how effective people find public transit.

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    • 9watts January 22, 2018 at 11:58 am

      “if given a choice, the vast majority of people still prefer to drive”

      A common inference but I think it is based on several misunderstandings. for that matter, what does ‘if given a choice’ mean in this context?

      + Our society has been built around the car for more than a century.
      + A car and a bus are not equivalent; only one offers point-to-point service.
      + Automobility has enjoyed vast subsidies for as long as we’ve had cars; buses receive some, but the level of subsidy is not, I don’t think, on par with what the car user has historically benefited from.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 22, 2018 at 9:46 pm

        I think you’ve hit it directly. A car and a bus are not equivalent. They do not provide equivalent service. Most people prefer the convenience of a car.

        To compensate, I totally support the idea of free transit service.

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        • chris m January 22, 2018 at 10:27 pm

          Really when you look at the level of service provided by even the best public transit services they don’t match the service provided by a car in a medium-sized US city. The only way to change that calculus is to make driving worse and more expensive, which is of course a very difficult political position to take.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 23, 2018 at 10:16 am

            Making transit better and cheaper might be an easier political sell.

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            • Dan A January 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm

              Transit? Boondoggle!!!

              So sayeth Portland.

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        • 9watts January 22, 2018 at 11:42 pm

          “They do not provide equivalent service. –> Most people prefer the convenience of a car.”

          Walking, bicycling, horses, and the car all in their own ways provide(d) point-to-point service.

          Mass transit not so much.

          We in this country have for more than a century put all our transport eggs in the auto basket, to the express detriment of all other modes, but especially those which in the absence of the car offer(ed) point-to-point convenience. This was the subject that so captivated Ivan Illich: the displacement of true auto-motion by the automobile. Although you are fond of privileging consumer preference as the explanation of this, I don’t think that comes close to helping us understand how we got here. To look back from 2018 and conclude that people ‘prefer’ the car is triumphalist. And furthermore it leaves us high and dry when it comes to trying to make sense of our present world that is about to lose this special convenience.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 23, 2018 at 10:38 am

            The prospect of cars disappearing in the near future is so far down my list of concerns that it’s not even worth thinking about.

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            • 9watts January 23, 2018 at 10:42 am

              I readily concede that the end of automobility is hard to imagine, take seriously, fathom. But our reluctance to ‘go there’ may have very little bearing on the actual probability or timing of that coming to pass.
              We similarly don’t want to face the prospect of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake that will likely lastingly disrupt life as we’ve come to know it around here, but that has no bearing whatsoever on when this will happen, much less whether.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 23, 2018 at 10:59 am

                There are only so many things we can plan for. “The end of cars” can wait until the prospect is clearer. A lot will change between now and then.

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              • 9watts January 23, 2018 at 11:10 am

                The only way what you say makes any sense is if the end is
                (a) far off, and
                (b) hypothesized to arrive so gradually that we’ll have plenty of time to adjust.

                I have no reason to think either of those are likely. Do you? Furthermore, given that we have no assurance that your assumptions are correct your approach runs the risk of being caught with our parameters down. C.f. Subduction Zone earthquake.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 23, 2018 at 11:58 am

                I believe both of those statements are correct. More importantly, most people do, which would make any large-scale planning process impossible. If you think you see things others don’t, then you can at least plan for yourself and ensure that when the end does arrive, suddenly and soon, you’ll be well rewarded for your foresight.

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              • 9watts January 23, 2018 at 12:09 pm

                You haven’t responded to the prospect of you being wrong.
                Planning under uncertainty and/or widespread ignorance is not impossible, and if anything more urgent.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 23, 2018 at 12:19 pm

                It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future, and we can’t plan for every eventuality. Sometimes we just need to adapt.

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              • 9watts January 23, 2018 at 12:44 pm

                “It’s tough to make predictions”

                especially tough when you give up any agency before we even start.

                Here’s a bit from the late Donnella Meadows for you to contemplate:
                Was there ever a society in human history so arrogant about its technical skills and so unempowered in its social skills? We think we can blast incoming missiles out of the sky, but we don’t think we can stop people from littering. We attempt to master the bonding of copolymers or the neutron flux in a power plant, but we will not contemplate mastering ourselves. We hand off our responsibilities to companies whose interest is in selling us products, not in solving our social or environmental problems.

                They challenge society only at its margins; most of the time, usually unconsciously, they reinforce the status quo and resist really new ideas… Also unconsciously they report through filters of helplessness, hopelessness, cynicism, passivity, and acceptance. They report problems, not solutions, obstacles, not opportunities. They systematically unempower themselves and their audience.

                “System Dynamics Meets the Press,” by Donella H. Meadows, The Global Citizen, pp. 1-12, Washington, DC, Island Press, 1991

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  • Tim January 22, 2018 at 11:41 am

    The big difference between cyclists and and drivers is not the number of laws they break, it is the number of people they kill and maim.

    These articles about who breaks the law the most are a distraction from the real issue of traffic safety and the responsibility of drivers to behave in a safe and ethical manner.

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  • soren January 22, 2018 at 11:54 am

    The Outside piece on traffic compliance has some absurd false equivalency:

    “Even more damning, 20 of the 21 close calls that were recorded involved a driver who failed to yield properly while turning, or didn’t give a cyclist the three feet of space mandated by Florida law.”

    How is a near miss by people driving a multi-ton metal vehicles that kills ~40,000 people in any way comparable to that of a person using a 20-40 lb mobility device?

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 22, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      Well, a near miss isn’t a hit. So in that way they are comparable.

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      • GlowBoy January 22, 2018 at 2:20 pm

        When a car has a near miss with a pedestrian or bicycle, that means someone almost got killed. When a bicyclist breaks the law they rarely put people in such grave danger.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy January 22, 2018 at 3:56 pm

          Sure…but “almost” still means didn’t.

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          • GlowBoy January 22, 2018 at 7:45 pm

            Ok, so when a motorist breaks the law and actually hits someone on a bike, is it still morally equivalent to you when a cyclist breaks the law and hits a car?

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          • q January 22, 2018 at 7:49 pm

            Yes, in the same way that looking at someone, then shooting at them with a gun and missing is the same as just looking at them.

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    • BradWagon January 22, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Next Study: “When are people more likely to falsify information? A job application or on their tax filings?”

      Agree, yes both have real world consequences but comparing them is denying the basic advantage of one over the other when it comes to not injuring people.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 22, 2018 at 9:47 pm

        I hope my resume never gets audited!

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    • Tim January 22, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      So we are to believe that all of the close calls were caused by cars? When riding my bicycle I often pass other cyclists than weave and bob like Rocky Marciano!

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      • BradWagon January 23, 2018 at 9:02 am

        Cyclists are permitted to use the main vehicle lane when any hazard exists that prevents them riding to the right or in a bike lane. It is the drivers responsibility to pass with enough room that should the cyclist fall towards the vehicles lane of travel (which would also cover the distance needed to avoid a hazard) they are not struck by a vehicle. So even a close call in the case you describe is likely to be legally the fault of the vehicle doing the passing, not being passed.

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        • BradWagon January 23, 2018 at 9:03 am

          Which I should say, includes cyclists that pass other cyclists as your example includes.

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  • B. Carfree January 22, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Unless something dramatically changed in NYC in 2017, it has about twice our abysmal national cycling numbers. That’s hardly the boom being touted in the article about plans to install so-called “protected” bike lanes in Manhattan. In fact, the percentage of New Yorkers using bikes to get to work has been remarkably stable at 1.2% for half a decade. It’s kind of like Portland, only lower.

    That said, the 1.2% number ignores folks who use Citibikes for their last fraction of a mile, so maybe there is a perception of a boom for those who don’t look around much.

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    • X January 22, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      The NY numbers presumably include nothing about the ubiquitous food delivery bike riders (see the Eben W. piece.) In terms of trips, miles traveled, or riders, these people represent a huge chunk of the human powered travel in that city. Bike Snob is dead on–the Mayor is shooting himself in both feet.

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    • Matthew in Portsmouth January 22, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      And a lot of people use Citibike for that last part mile. When I lived in NYC, I started out owning a bicycle. However, I lived a good 45 minute ride (at cardio speeds) from work, so riding to work would only be an option if I could shower when I got there, and had a secure place for my bike (the building I worked in offered neither). Riding with snow on the streets was never an option for me. I did, however, use Citibike for my homeward commute for the last couple of years, at least on those days when it wasn’t snowing/raining cats and dogs. I also used it when I needed to run errands during the day. The blue bikes are much more noticeable than private bikes, so may attract more ire than private bikes.

      The personal bike I did own was stolen from my apartment building a few years before I left NY and I didn’t replace it until I moved to Portland. That is another problem for NYers – finding safe places to store their bikes. A lot of residential buildings don’t provide bike storage and won’t allow bikes in their elevators. There are still a lot of five to seven story walk ups in NY – I lived in a defacto fifth floor walk up for a year (the elevator was being replaced) and carrying my bike up and down those stairs was horrible, but necessary during the transit strike.

      Never ask for logic from a NYC mayor who is an integral part of the Democratic Party machine, such as de Blasio. They are long on party rhetoric, short on science.

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  • X January 22, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    As a frequent bike rider, I have to say that mounting cameras on bikes is _not_ how I would go about collecting data for an unbiased study of bike vs. car operator behavior. Sure, from my saddle, bike riders have about the same lack of scruple that car drivers do when it comes to accurate observance of traffic laws, but I think cameras in stationary white vans, or a dumpsters, or bushes would be a more neutral experimental method. We can track baseballs with cameras, so no doubt we can track vehicles.

    Of course, when a cyclist cuts me off, I think “that was rude.” When the cyclist is in their car (we are all cyclists are at heart) I think “whew that was close, guess I’ll die some other day.”

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    • BradWagon January 23, 2018 at 9:06 am

      I got a rear facing camera for Christmas and since mounting I haven’t changed my scofflaw habits… although I know my footage isn’t be reviewed for just that purpose but the arguments that cameras make cyclists ride safer doesn’t hold up for me at least. (Not that I ride unsafe… it just didn’t turn me into a by the books rider when it comes to yielding at stop signs, splitting traffic, etc..)

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  • encephalopath January 22, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I’m of the opinion that autonomous vehicles aren’t going to happening. The problem is too complex to be solved with engineering and software.

    But if they DO happen Oregon is going to be the last to get them unless Oregon changes it’s bike lane law to be like California’s, something I’m not in favor of. Specifically the rules about turning across bike lanes. Oregon law says only cross the bike lane at the intersection. California law say merge into the bike lane up to 200 feet before the intersection.

    This makes Oregon’s use case for driving around bike lanes an edge case. It’s a whole bunch of software development and testing just for Oregon (and maybe a couple of other states. I don’t know). The manufacturers either aren’t going to do the special development, or they are going to do it last.

    More likely, the manufacturers are going to pressure Oregon to change its law to suit the development they’ve already done for everywhere else. My preferred response to that would be to tell them to go sit and spin.

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    • GlowBoy January 22, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      In the last year I’ve shifted to the opposite opinion from yours about how quickly AVs are coming, but I agree with you that it would be unfortunate if Oregon changed its bike-lane laws to make way for AVs.

      Minnesota has the same law as California, and I absolutely hate it. It’s an awkward mess having cars pull into and turn from the bike lane. To me this makes about as much sense than having cars pull into the opposing lane before making a left turn.

      The CA/MN turn-from-the-bike-lane system carries the downside of right-turning cars often blocking bikes’ path forward — while failing to provide the purported benefit of keeping drivers from right-hooking bikes: in reality, if you’re in the bike lane, right-turning cars still pass on the left and then pull in front of you anyway. It’s lose-lose.

      But Oregon and other states shouldn’t have to change any driving laws (even legal left turns from two-way to one-way on red, which I don’t think ANY state but Oregon allows). Every state has unique laws, most especially when it comes to interactions with pedestrians and bikes, and that’s not going to change. Driving is a stupefyingly complex problem to solve, but the staggering amount of data now being collected daily by vehicles is allowing it to get solved much faster than anyone expected. Keeping track of and following the unique laws of 58 states, provinces and territories and incorporating that into these cars’ logic is an infinitesimally smaller challenge.

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    • Pete January 22, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      You probably saw the ire last year raised by SF Bike Coalition about the Uber and Google cars being programmed not to merge into bike lanes when turning – raised quite a conversation here on BP. There are pros and cons to both approaches (I had to learn the latter when I moved here from there).

      What we’ve done here in California is paint these bike lanes green in many busy intersections, and/or install small bike buffers (the inside line remains dashed, the outside solid, like here: In the locations where this has been done, we cyclists have noticed a trend for drivers to stay out of the bike lanes, and to turn across them in the ‘Oregon’ manner. For those of us accustomed to passing right-turning drivers on the left, it can actually make for some confusing navigation!

      What I’ve noticed about drivers in these situations, though, is that the (green paint) design goal actually works and they tend to look and signal and pay attention before turning. (In many cases they will give me a friendly smile or wave, like they are proud of doing the right thing).

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    • B. Carfree January 22, 2018 at 11:37 pm

      It is my understanding that only Oregon and Arizona do our weird thing with motor vehicles turning across bike lanes. The other forty-eight states require turns to be from the curb lane (or any other lane that is marked as a turn lane), which means merging into the bike lane prior to turning.

      I’m ambivalent on the whole thing. I expect motorists to do stupid things that endanger me, not because they dislike me and want to kill me but because they aren’t competent to safely operate a motor vehicle. As such, I don’t generally find myself in a situation where the law makes much difference; I’m not going to be on the right side of a right-turning vehicle as it turns.

      I have noticed that many intersections are now being striped with the bike lane ending well before the intersection, which then creates an “other forty-eight” like experience. If this trend catches on, then Oregon will join the rest of the nation without ever changing its law.

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  • GlowBoy January 22, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Re: dockless bikeshare. After spending most of the weekend up in Seattle and racking up nearly 50 miles on their bikeshare systems (I also added a writeup of this experience to last week’s Monday Roundup), I can understand the “problem” being encountered in Dallas. Bikes (not necessarily broken ones) are all over the place, at various points along paths and sidewalks.

    From what I saw in Seattle, though, rarely were the bikes parked in a way that blocked free passage along the sidewalk: they were mostly in the “furniture” zone where you see light poles, newspaper boxes, etc. And the apps for these rental systems ask you when you pick up a bike whether it was parked properly, so there is at least some incentive there.

    From what I saw on the streets, I’d guess Seattle has 10-20x as many sharebikes as Portland, which puts them in the same ballpark as Dallas’ 20,000 bikes. And yes, there are bikes all over. They are generally not in the way, so I personally don’t think it’s a problem except in the aesthetic sense. I remember a BP commenter last year who described the bright orange Biketown rack in their neighborhood of taupe historic foursquares as a “gut punch.” If you feel that way, you probably won’t enjoy these bright green, yellow and orange bikes parked everywhere either.

    Where it will be a real, and not just visual, problem is if the public right of way starts getting clogged up with broken bikes. I think that’s a big risk, and even after just a year of operation Seattle is teetering on the edge of that. A lot of the Ofo bikes I tried to use were either unrentable or unrideable, and so were a significant number of the Spin bikes. LimeBikes weren’t 100% either for me, but

    Right now I think there isn’t much incentive for these companies to maintain their bikes, because they are startups more concerned with locking in market share than with making money.I think these bikeshare companies should pay a franchise fee, as do utilities that use the public right of way. And they should be accountable for “dead” bikes cluttering up the works, or any bikes that sit in one place for very long not being ridden, much as is being proposed in Dallas.

    These issues need to be addressed, but are not insurmountable. Get ready: dockless bikeshare is coming. Dock-based bikeshare has been a bit of a game-changer for the few who could use it, but I wouldn’t call it revolutionary. Dockless, though, is a disruptive technology. It is exponentially more accessible – in multiple ways – than the bikeshare you’re used to. And it’s coming. I know Portland’s looking at it, and in the Twin Cities our Nice Ride system announced last week that they will switch to dockless by 2020.

    Consider your world about to get rocked.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu January 22, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Dockless bikeshare is fine, as long as the user is required to lock the bike to a bike rack – any rack. That eliminates the problem of bikes scattered all over the place, blocking pedestrian, fallen over, broken and littering.

      Portland’s Biketown is essentially that. Dockless but locked.

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      • GlowBoy January 22, 2018 at 7:45 pm

        It is not possible to lock a dockless bike to a rack. They only lock to themselves.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu January 22, 2018 at 8:43 pm

          Semantics. To me, dockless means you don’t have to return the bike to a specific location or locations (docks). Biketown bikes can be left locked to any bike rack, so I consider they are in that sense dockless. Maybe semi dockless.

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          • GlowBoy January 23, 2018 at 10:13 am

            You bring up semantics, but the problem is maybe you’re taking the word “dockless” a little too literally. What we’re talking about is not locking a Biketown bike to a rack outside a dock.

            “Dockless” is just a label for the new method of bikesharing that IS coming, and will change everything. Get ready. If you’re not sure, go check it out. Seattle’s less than 200 miles away.

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            • John Liu January 23, 2018 at 6:15 pm

              I was in Seattle when Spin and Lime were starting to roll out.

              We’ll see if Spin, Ofo, Lime and the like survive. Right now they are being funded by investor dollars, and the investment is small potatoes for VCs. Eventually they have to break even, or go out of business.

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      • David Hampsten January 22, 2018 at 8:39 pm

        Plus by locking them to a rack or parking them there, you block personal bike users from using the racks.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu January 22, 2018 at 8:41 pm

          More racks . . . Most cities need ’em. Even in Portland, I’m sometimes looking for a rack.

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          • David Hampsten January 22, 2018 at 8:58 pm

            I wonder, how many bike racks does Dallas have downtown? I’ve been to many cities that have very few.

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  • Mike Healey January 22, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Smug alert: UK – 5 indoor velodromes – Manchester, Derby, London (England); Glasgow (Scotland); Newport (Wales)

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    • GlenK January 22, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      New Zealand, population 4 million, has two…

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  • bikeninja January 22, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    I liked the times essay about the woman who’s life was saved by cycling. I feel this is the hidden cause behind much of the degraded auto driving behavior we have all witnessed ( or been impacted by) around Portland. Many of the motorists are like this lady before she started riding. Sad, sore joints, impatient, and foggy minded just thinking if they could get home quicker, or if those darn cyclists would just get out of the way they could be happy. But what they really need is to climb out of the chemical tinged, plastic lined metal box and start riding to be happy.

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  • Paul Wilkins January 22, 2018 at 5:41 pm
    • 9watts January 22, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      That was fun. Thanks.

      I will try to find ways to use the phrase Pedestrian Curricle at least once a day.

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    • q January 22, 2018 at 9:06 pm

      I know a guy whose bike has lasted over eight centuries.

      I know another guy whose bike goes back to Louis the Fourteenth. Unless he pays Louis by the Thirteenth.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 22, 2018 at 10:18 pm

        Ok, those are a bit better than median.

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      • Paul Wilkins January 23, 2018 at 10:38 am


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  • David Hampsten January 22, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Fat cyclists: I too bike while being fat, 300+ lbs, and I tend to destroy the casings of rear tires, so I’ve switched to building my own rear wheels with wider 35-42mm rims, both for 26″ and 700c wheels, generally with 14 gauge spokes cross3, then tensioning the heck out of them. The only bad side, aside from the cost, is that the rear derailleur can rub slightly on the spokes at the lowest gear. I’m also big & wide, so all my bikes have 27mm pedal extenders and in general “womens” saddles fit me better than “mens.” I also make sure my seat posts are “oval” on their interiors (such as Thompson Elite seatposts) and that I periodically loosen the post to avoid metal-on-metal fusion.

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    • B. Carfree January 22, 2018 at 11:49 pm

      You don’t have to be a fat guy to use a women’s saddle. My body fat varies from 5-11%, but when a saddle comes marked for genders the women’s version always fits me better. It’s all about anatomy and on-bike posture. A more upright riding style will put the wider part of the bones on the saddle.

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      • GlowBoy January 23, 2018 at 10:14 am

        I agree. I caused myself unnecessary discomfort for years using too-narrow saddles (and they weren’t even that narrow). I have a skinny butt and thought a narrow-ish saddle, but that still wasn’t the right fit for my sit bones.

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  • El Biciclero January 22, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    So, the Chinese air purifier cleans a 7x7x7 room’s-worth of air in an entire day? That doesn’t sound like much; if that tower is only 30 feet across, it holds ~70,000 cf. Should that be 353,000 cf cleaned? 353 tons?, or does the passive nature of the convective air flow limit the throughput that much? would that low volume be worth the construction and maintenance costs?

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