The Monday Roundup: Our helmet fixation, safer trucks, busy biking bridges, and more

Welcome to the week.

We have just recovered from a pretty nasty battle with server bots and gremlins that took the site down last week. I apologize for the temporary lack of site access and then the lack of a comment section on many posts. Thankfully we appear to be past the problems (knocking on my wooden desk). Please let me know if you see something strange, and it don’t look good. One more thing… As part of those server issues, we’ve had to ditch our old “Related Posts” tool. We hope to find a replacement shortly.

Here are the most notable stories we came across in the past seven days…

Safer trucks for cities: Treehugger has the lowdown on a new model of Mercedes cement/garbage truck that was designed specifically to see other road users on crowded streetscapes.

The American “helmet fixation”: Newly published research from German scientist Gregg Culver makes a convincing case that America is less safe because of our “helmet fixation” which is “ultimately tied to the (re)production of unfettered automobility, and that it arguably hampers efforts to actually improve bicycle safety.”

Victim-blaming fixation: The city of Montclair, California has passed an ordinance banning the use of phones and earbuds while crossing the street.

Cars and Hollywood: What we see in films matters, and Mobility Lab says two reasons we see so much car use (and not transit) are ease of filming and product placement.

E-bikes akin to cars: Another week, another mainstream media article touting how awesome e-bikes are. This one is notable because of how it shifts the frame from seeing e-bike riders “cheaters” to seeing them as evolved drivers.


Seattle fights car abuse: Our neighbors to the north are celebrating transit ridership growth while drive-alone commute trips are falling. That’s the opposite of what’s happening in Portland.

Free transit in Germany: To reach pollution targets set by the EU, Germany is set to try free public transit in five of its cities.

ODOT and the ADA: 97 percent of the 26,000 curb ramps inspected in a survey conducted by Disability Rights Oregon did not meet ADA standards. (via The Oregonian)

More bad news about ODOT: The venerable Strong Towns podcast takes on none other than the Oregon Department of Transportation for their abysmal, auto-centric road designs that make tragedies inevitable.

Busiest bike bridge: Portland-based transportation planner Ray Delahanty crunched some numbers and ranked bike traffic volumes on North America’s bridges. Portland’s Hawthorne ranked only sixth. “Oh how the might have fallen,” Delahanty quipped.

It’s the automakers’ problem, not ours: New report states that bicycle users are “the most difficult detection problem” for self-driving cars — as if that’s somehow different than traditional cars.

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

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