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The Monday Roundup: Uber’s big Jump, crash journalism 101, calling BS on Mercedes Benz ad, and more

Posted by on April 9th, 2018 at 9:28 am

Welcome to Monday.

This week’s Roundup is brought to you by Cycle Oregon’s Weekender (July 13-15) — a two-day bike bash based at University of Oregon in Eugene.

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

A leap for dockless bikes: Jump, the company that makes Portland’s Biketown bikes (they used to be called Social Bicycles), has been acquired by Uber. Looks like either Uber has figured out that dockless, electric bikes are superior to cars in urban settings — or they want to snuff out a legit threat to their bottom line. Interesting times.

E-bikes OK in NYC: Mayor Bill de Blasio had come under fire for harsh treatment of e-bike delivery workers. Now he’s clarified rules to permit pedal-assist bikes and prohibit those that use a throttle (for speeds over 20 mph).

Bike libraries in Chicago: To increase access to bikes in low-income communities, activist Oboi Reed has launched a program that loans them out for free.

Bike urbanism primer: Fast Company has an overview of Mikael Colville-Andersen’s new book, Copenhagenize, which lays out his view that all the transportation tech we need is already available in the humble bicycle.

Music to my ears: When it comes to traffic crash reporting, “Journalists need to scrutinize driver’s actions as much, if not more, than the behavior of pedestrians or cyclists,” says the Columbia Journalism Review in this fantastic piece that rightfully calls out the police and the lazy media professionals who enable them for their biased and victim-blaming coverage. (Based on a research paper by Heather Magusin titled, If you want to get away with murder, use your car.)

What Boston is doing: Boston’s mayor has used increased parking fine revenue to fund 20 new city staff positions that will be dedicated to making it easier to bus, bike, and walk.

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Flag this, PBOT: As Portland gets ready for the dockless revolution, we should learn what we can from Chicago’s research on best practices and regulations.

The future isn’t more lanes: In yet another example that the I-5 Rose Quarter and other regional freeway widening projects are bad moves, the CEO of Moovel says the future is in updating our existing infrastructure so that it can fully exploit new transportation-related technologies.

Biking so white: North America isn’t alone in grappling with the fact that cycling for transportation is still dominated by white professionals. UK-based New Statesman mag asks, “Why are there so few black and Asian cyclists in London?”

A vision in Seattle: Portland is already doing a lot of the stuff Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan lays out in her vision of transportation; but it’s happening under-the-radar. Having a mayor who’s transparent about their vision is almost as important as doing the work it takes to achieve it.

Speaking of mayors: Los Angeles-based transportation reform journalist Alissa Walker calls out “climate mayors” who like making lofty proclamations, but who have a harder time making the hard choices (like reigning in auto use) it takes to actually push back the needle of climate change.

Bike ban in Prague: Leaders of the Czech capitol say there’s just not enough room for bicycling in the dense urban core.

F*&$ you Mercedes Benz!: This abhorrent advertisement that glorifies racing on city streets and has the audacity to feature a vulnerable road user as a target should be illegal. Full stop. Crap like this a big reason why deaths of people outside of cars is going up in America.

Thanks to everyone who tweeted, emailed and tagged us on these important stories.

— 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

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John
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John

“Crap like this a big reason why deaths of people outside of cars is going up in America.”

Sentences like this are a big reason that many people don’t take Bike Portland seriously.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Autocentricty is so prevelent and reinforced in America that it comes as a shock to some people when it is pointed out as Jonathan has done here. Car companies have sold cars for decades by preying on the subconscious weakness’s of its potential customers and this has in turn built up a set of assumptions and biases in society in general. Now that we are sitting on the precipice of climate chaos, energy depletion, urban congestion and auto related carnage we should be stepping back from this mindset and building up societal bias’s against the automobile and its trappings. This add did not ramp up the carnage by itself, but the fact that it exists means we are not moving in the right direction.

just one skip remount
Guest
just one skip remount

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Sorry John but I stand by that comment 100%.Do you think ads like this impact our street culture and behaviors?Recommended 2

Facts are great, they help us be informed and inspired. Opinions are best left for the note from the ED.

X
Guest
X

Clearly that was an opinion, JM wasn’t trying to sneak anything by you.

Here’s a fact: MB is proud of making a 4-door with over 600 HP. WTF streets is that supposed to run on? That there is some bullshit, honey.

Spiffy
Subscriber

it’s for the autobahn… to be driven by people that have gone through a more strict process to get their license than those in the US…

Pete
Guest
Pete

One could more readily afford a Tesla that would beat this car off the line.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Agree with John and Jonathan.

Another way to look at this is that this Mercedes Benz ad, and our current president both starkly reveal their/our shadow*, giving form to the darker impulses that exist both in the world and in each of us.

* used here in the sense that Carl Gustav Jung used the term.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_(psychology)

Josh
Guest
Josh

Really disappointed to see any company willingly associate themselves with Uber in any way. If Uber’s acquisition of Jump means that Biketown contributes anything to Uber’s bottom line, then maybe I’m done with Biketown.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Humor?
I was done with Biketown before a single bike showed up on our streets – given its contributions to Nike’s brand.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

What you need to watch out for is any integration of the Biketown app with the Uber app, especially if in a nanner that disadvantages Lyft and other rideshare/taxi apps.

Uber bought Jump for $100MM to integrate bikesharing with ridesharing in the Uber app. In many cities, Jump operates the bikeshare. In Portland, Jump is not the operator – it supplies the bicycles to the operator Motivate – but I’m not sure if Jump supplies the app.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Uber bought Jump, formerly Social Bicycles, for about $100MM.

Jump does not operate Biketown. Jump sells the bikes and apparently some of the software purchased by Biketown. Biketown is operated by Motivate for the city.

In some other cities, Jump is the operator of the bikeshare in addition to supplying bikes and software.

Uber will probably try to integrate the bikeshare systems operated by Jump with the Uber app. The cities who contracted with Jump to operate those bikeshares may have something to say about that. In Portland, since Jump is not the operator of Biketown, there may be more obstacles to Uber’s goal.

Josh
Guest
Josh

Not sarcasm. I felt conflicted about Nike’s involvement, too, but as far as I know revenue didn’t flow back to Nike. They certainly got a brand boost from it, advertising from bikes riding around town, etc. But my money didn’t actually go directly back to Nike. With Uber owning the operating, they will actually get revenue.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Nike (or Uber) benefit from boosts to their brand far more than from the few bucks you or I might or might not contribute to the cause. I recommend Naomi Klein’s No Logo.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

People who buy Nike are going to buy Nike already…even if they don’t sponsor bike shares.

9watts
Guest
9watts

How do you know it works like that?

As just one example for why it doesn’t work like that, let’s note that the biketown deal was worth $XX million to Nike. Nike is not a philanthropic entity but a multinational corporation. They don’t spend money for no reason.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I guess they don’t need to spend billions on marketing, then… you should tell them!

Josh
Guest
Josh

Fair point, I don’t necessarily disagree. It’s just easier to definitively trace revenue dollars on a balance sheet. Brand value is bit fuzzier on the edges, though as you say, potentially more lucrative.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

For me the bigger concern is that Uber may not really be interested in becoming a bikeshare company and expanding their app to include bikes. It’s possible that rather than acquiring Jump for vertical integration, they may have bought it for anticompetitive reasons: to shut it down.

David Hampsten
Guest

More likely they bought it to collect user data and to expand their client base.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Also Uber has a much worse reputation than Nike.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I was about to suggest that it was a wash as far as their malfeasance, crummy practices, etc., but since you got there first, let me ask you for evidence of your assertion that Nike wins over Uber.

9watts
Guest
9watts

John
Can you imagine if we had a piece like NY Mag’s in The Oregonian? http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/lessons-from-the-park-slope-crash-that-killed-two-children.htmlRecommended 0

Thanks for that excellent piece.
I’ll just note this quote from it –
Mayor de Blasio’s adoption of Vision Zero has cut the annual number of pedestrian deaths by 45 percent in less than five years.

Can we get a response from PBOT? What does de Blasio know that our elected leaders do not?

Joseph E
Guest
Joseph E

Re: “…cycling for transportation is still dominated by white professionals…”

While this may be true in Portland and some other cities, it isn’t true for every part of the USA. In southern California I saw many more Latino cyclists.

This report says 23% of bike trips were made by Black/Latino/Asia people in 2009, who made up about 27% of the population at that time:

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2013/05/surprising-diversity-american-cycling-community/5737/

David Hampsten
Guest

According to the census, 43% of our local population is African-American, as are 55% of our cyclists and 90% of our transit users, here in Greensboro NC. LimeBike is getting similar numbers, except MUCH higher rates for cycling in black areas of town.

Might it be that in mostly white communities like Portland or Seattle, blacks feel intimidated riding through them? That they fear they’ll be unfairly pulled over by police for “cycling while black”?

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Motoring is an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Also, does this thread contain the first reference in BP to C. G.Jung?

Jason H
Guest
Jason H

Thanks BP, this week’s collection of articles was particularly well chosen. Including the two insightful dock-less bike stare stories.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Damn straight!

Dan A
Yes, gasoline is far too cheap.Recommended 3

q
Guest
q

The Mercedes ad with its “You get the &^%$ out of the way” would look great on a bus alongside one of PBOT’s new “Slow down” ads.

Michael Rubenstein
Guest
Michael Rubenstein

My ‘favorite’ TV car ad portrayed a SUV driver wildly driving over concrete spacers and berms to get to a coveted parking space. Having witnessed a pedestrian fatality and numerous injury scenarios in real life parking lots, this had to have been the worst behavior modeling I’ve ever seen in a car ad

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

You’ll like this one then, just released for the new Mustang Bullitt:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlbtzVdfVcE

It features two drivers racing for a single parking lot, one of them making a pass at 55mph.