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The Monday Roundup: AV myths, Team Sky high, Hype-PR-loop, and more

Posted by on March 5th, 2018 at 10:56 am

Welcome to the week. Before we get going, let us not forget the stories that came before…

Show us your Portland!

— Enter the Biketown Design Challenge. Deadline is March 7th!

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Fast and dirty: You had us at, “cut the project time of a new protected bike lane by 90 percent and the cost by 75 percent.”

The truth about AVs: They can’t solve urban transportation problems says this visually-appealing, truth-telling, myth-busting NYT Opinion piece.

Not heroic: The fact that the media and others think a criminal who destroyed a speed camera is a “hero” is everything you need to know about America’s dysfunctional and dangerous road culture.

Idaho stop in Utah: While Oregon’s legislature was busy expanding the bike tax, Utah lawmakers were supporting a change in the law that would make it legal for bicycle users to yield at stop signs and treat signals like stop signs.

Legal clarity: While Oregon’s legislature was busy expanding the bike tax, Seattle lawmakers passed a bill that clarifies the legal standing of electric bicycles. As the fastest growing segment in the bike market, Oregon needs to address this issue too.

Non merci: A dockless bike share company has pulled out of Paris after the bikes suffered “mass destruction” by vandals. Just proves that you can’t copy/paste solutions from one place to the next. Local culture matters.

It’s not the weather: Turns out a major reason people don’t bike in winter is the same reason they don’t bike in summer: because the infrastructure sucks even more.

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Hype-PR-loop: This cautionary post about the PR machine behind the Hyperloop could be applied to big highway mega-projects too. Just remember: The more PR it takes to convince of how good something is, the less likely it is to be needed.

Let’s keep arguing about parking spaces: Scientists are “alarmed” by a startling rise in temperatures in the arctic. (h/t to @BrooklynSpoke for that intro)

Safer trucks: Very happy to see that NACTO is working with the US DOT to develop best practices for big trucks that operate in cities. (For some reason Portland isn’t on the list of cities taking part in the effort.)

About time: The Tour de France says they’ll end the practice of having “podium girls” stand on stage next to bike racers.

Team Sky high: The pro bike scene can’t seem to shake widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Why so many walking deaths?: NPR covered a new report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association that found the number of people killed while walking has reached a 33-year high.

Dangerous cycling consequences: The UK government is debating a new law that would make it a crime to cause someone’s death by “dangerous or careless cycling.”

Tweet of the Week: We hear you Dena…

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Spiffy
Subscriber

Non merci: if people start vandalizing cars in Portland will companies stop selling them here?

9watts
Subscriber

What can we do to get the ‘subscribe to comments’ button back?
I am sure I’m not the only one who misses it.

And while we’re at it, I’ve always yearned for a way to subscribe without having to post first. Not knowing anything about programming I have assumed this would not be hard to make happen. Am I wrong about that?

Thank you.

Spiffy
Subscriber

Legal clarity: sounds like the biggest thing was allowing them on sidewalks… clarity? it was already clear if you looked up the laws… same as our laws here… do we need to be able to take our ebikes on the sidewalk? yes, but only because they won’t give us any safe places to bike… will people bike too fast on sidewalks and paths? yes, just like they drive too fast in their cars…

Spiffy
Subscriber

Not heroic: if you get caught posting things online that are critical of your job you will likely lose your job… anyone caught posting that this is heroic should lose their license… it’d be an easy thing to add to the DMV laws… and there’s no freedom of speech issue because you have no right to a driver’s license…

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

The Myth Busting NYT opinion piece should be required watching for anyone getting a job or elected position in transportation in this country. It should also be on a continuos loop on a big screen on every floor of every ODOT office in Oregon.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I’d be careful about relating the value of hyperloop and PR efforts — a similar argument could be made for cycling.

I am also skeptical about the specific project mentioned in the article. However, if hyperloop could be used to move freight along a few major routes (freight is more compelling application than people IMO), it could remove countless smoke belching diesels from the roads which would improve safety and air quality.

9watts
Subscriber

…speaking of pedestrian deaths, has anyone else checked in at distraction.gov lately? It seems to me that things have kind of gone quiet over there, the useful tabs on the home page for research and statistics have been removed. And the latest data is from 2015. Maybe I’m imagining things, but something seems fishy; and with the general approach the federal government has taken toward its internet presence I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that no funds are being spent on this nascent effort. Anyone?

For comparison, here’s a link to the site from a year ago, courtesy of the wayback machine:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170201225023/https://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html

Spiffy
Subscriber

Why so many walking deaths?: why no political spine? this is insidious side of democracy creeping into our republic… masses of people getting their (wrong) way by appealing/whining to the few people who can make the changes needed… we need a bulldozer in charge, not a pair of sewing scissors…

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

I wish the article on Paris Bike-Share vandalism had some background on what might have motivated the vandalism to these bikes. Where they parked in places that offended people? Where they perceived to take business from taxi’s? Did they have offensive advertising? Did they transport tourists to places they were not welcome? Or is just that much pent up anger ,violence and lawlessness in the city of light?

Paul
Guest
Paul

The NY Times piece mentions that cars have been privileged over other road users, but I think that is only partially correct. It’s the PEOPLE who buy cars who have been privileged, as well as the businesses and employers who require people that drive. In fact, in far too much of the U.S., the local economy is driven by (pun!) drivers. The technology is only part of a larger and more complex socioeconomic problem.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Re; demise of Tour de France podium girls. This is part of a great, new, continuing trend, I guess. No more young lady pin-up types on the podium to hand out prizes for tour winners. Ok though, for guys with sexy bare legs to be standing up there for the world to see. Shouldn’t they be covering up, to avoid sexual objectification by the world’s people that find such sights arousing? Or, is the issue with the podium girls that the prevailing view taking the dominant position today, is that they’re only up on the podium with the winners, to sell the event with sex? As if there was nothing else appealing about the girls handing the prizes, than the potential they provide to sexually arouse, thereby drawing greater numbers of people to attend the event and watch it on television?

A couple days ago, I had to be doing some work with the family. In the shop, television going, what happens to be on? Women’s beach volleyball. Anyone reading here know what I’m talking about? Women wearing little skimpy shorts and tops, moving, jumping and twisting around, jane be nimble, jane be quick. Lots of those pro’s skin visible. I think I’ve seen the awards part of a competition a couple times, years ago. Don’t remember for sure if they had some kind of good looking guy handing out awards. Maybe they do, maybe this is the end of that too.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That NYT article starts out by saying the old chaotic systems worked, and that newer, more organized systems were inferior, but then proposed a new, even more organized system as the way forward. Given a big enough pile of money, it would be interesting to try rebuilding the street network in an area, and see if it lived up to its promise.

soren
Guest
soren

Fast and dirty: You had us at, “cut the project time of a new protected bike lane by 90 percent and the cost by 75 percent.”

Implementing a bike lane without extensive public outreach (e.g. a 2+ year process of hearings and open houses) that ends up being a significant fraction of the total project cost is OUTRAGEOUS.

This proposal goes against every tradition we have when it comes to Portland transportation planning. HOME-OWNERS who tend to drive more on average and have “roots” ($$$$$) in the neighborhood, must be allowed to use our neighborhood association system to obstruct and delay any infrastructure that might improve the lives of people who bus, walk, or roll.

This is just the way we do things in Portland.

joan
Subscriber

Great news about the Tour! I’m guessing it became incredibly uncomfortable for them to continue this sexist tradition in the #MeToo era. Next step: a full women’s Tour! (I’m not holding my breath.)

Timothy Moss
Guest
Timothy Moss

I love the bike lane sized snow/gravel/debris-plow When do we get one?

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Why do Vandals always get the bad press?

Who knows–it might have been Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Gepids, even the always despicable Huns!

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I certainly hope Utah manages to add the Idaho stop to its laws. If Oregon would follow suit, it could create the momentum to make this a national trend (at last).

I do like that the argument has focused on the fact that cyclists are most vulnerable when stopped and slowed at intersections rather than on how unfair it would be to allow cyclists to roll along while motorists are supposed to be stopping.

Tim
Guest
Tim

Team Sky High Is anybody actually surprised about “Doping” happening in pro-cycling or pro-sports, or in major college sports for that matter?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Re: Winter infrastructure: YES! The quality of winter infrastructure makes all the difference. Nowhere is this more obvious than here in MN, where the weather is rather … impactful. Especially this year, where after 4 winters I’m finally experiencing one that is (historically) relatively normal in terms of both cold and precip with about 45″ of snow so far.

During and after a major snow event (and we just had one last night), the streets are cleared with clockwork precision, in 3 phases over two days, with the arterials and collectors cleared in the first phase and the quietest side streets in the third phase.

About half our bikeway network consists of separated facilities (100 miles of paths and protected bike lanes in the city of Mpls), plus another 100 miles or so of on-street facilities (bike boulevards and traditional bike lanes). The contrast in maintenance between these two halves could not be more dramatic.

The separated facilities get priority plowing, same as the first wave of street plowing.
As a result they get quite a bit of bike use, even in the depths of winter. *If* you can get where you’re going on these routes, winter biking here is truly awesome and you can ride just about every day of the year.

On-street bike lanes, on the other hand, are often completely ignored in winter, and don’t get much use either. Plows don’t clear all the way to the curb and/or steer around parked cars, leaving half a bike lane or less. Boulevards are a mixed bag, often getting higher priority plowing but their safe usability depends on the level of car traffic.

With the on-street bike lanes, we actually have a fairly complete bikeway network … for 8 months of the year. In winter, though, we don’t, and that’s a big part of why our overall mode share is about 2/3 that of Portland’s. In the warmer months our bikeways are easily as busy as Portland’s, if not busier.

Obviously our climate would prevent us from having Portland’s mode share in winter, but better maintenance of the onstreet bike lanes (or conversion to protected lanes – which IS happening at a good pace) would make a big difference.