Gravel - Cycle Oregon

The Monday Roundup: Hinault’s gauntlet, anti-transit extremism, sundress-gate, and more

Posted by on June 25th, 2018 at 10:49 am


Welcome to the week. Today’s Monday Roundup is made possible by the Portland Century, offering three route options on August 19th.

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

Ball sports are over: If you’re too afraid to let your kid bike in the neighborhood, get them into racing! There’s more to life than the traditional ball sports, as the Bike Snob explains in his most recent column.

Any excuse necessary: It’s amazing what people will do to justify their anti-bike bias; including protesting a protected bike lane on safety grounds while marching in said bike lane in order to not get hit by other road users. (h/t @BrooklynSpoke)

Anti-transit extremists: As if non-car mobility needs any more hurdles in America, the billionaire Koch Brothers are hellbent on destroying it.

Auto touchscreens are bad, very bad: Even a self-described “Tesla fanboy” admits that the huge “infotainment” screens in cars are very unsafe because — shock! — they distract people from the important task of paying attention to the road.

Phones too: FiveThirtyEight reveals the hidden dangers of having phones in cars — even when they’re not actively being used.

Trump’s tariffs: The man in charge of our country has slapped tariffs on Chinese-made bearings, materials, GPS devices and electric motors.

Dockless wisdom: Seattle’s DOT has shared a trove of data about their robust dockless bike share pilot program and Curbed has a solid breakdown.

Portland needs to try this: L.A.P.D. is using e-bikes for patrol. It makes so much sense. Portland talks about community policing, we are a biking city, we finally got rid of mounted horses… Time to bring back police bike patrol units!

A new day at TriMet: The transit agency’s new leader comes out in an Oregonian interview as a champion of bus-only lanes, fewer light rail stops downtown, a new transit tunnel, and more good things. Sure as heck beats his freeway expansion lobbyist predecessor.

Sundress-gate: A councilor in the Canadian city of Hamilton spurred quite the backlash after wondering aloud whether women’s love of sundresses prevented them from riding more.

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Turns out walking isn’t the problem: Despite the propaganda from governments and other “safety” agencies, new research shows what many of us have known all-along: That “distracted pedestrians” aren’t really a thing to worry about.

Coal-rolling victory: A judge in the case against Diesel Brothers has ordered them to stop selling illegal exhaust kits that allow people to spew toxic exhaust at will. (We covered that case back in 2016.)

Congestionomics: What if free-flowing freeway traffic was a sign of economic depression instead of success? New research from Denver makes the case that there’s a strong correlation between congested cities and booming business environments.

Lime’s scooter pitch: High usage rates and solid profits are among the ways Lime is selling investors on their dockless electric scooters. Worth noting that Lime is likely to win a permit to operate in Portland very soon.

Hinault’s gauntlet: Frustrated by continued allegations of doping in the sport he once dominated, a legendary Frenchman says riders should boycott the Tour de France if Chris Froome — who’s under investigation for drug use — participates.

Dispatch from L.A.: Amid a sharp rise in deaths and with a city government not doing enough to keep them safe (despite a Vision Zero pledge), a new guard of bike activists is rising up in the car culture epicenter of Los Angeles.

Speed camera debacle: Advocates in New York are reeling after their state government failed to renew a speed camera program that had placed 140 of the safety devices in schools throughout the state.

— 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

32 Comments
  • bikeninja June 25, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I Normally avoid using this word in the comments on Bike Portland because in most cases it is an overstatement of most misguided people’s goals or motivations. But in the case of the Koch Brothers using their billions to kill non-automotive transit projects, the only word that really applies is —-EVIL.

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    • Mike Reams June 25, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Case in point of my comment below.

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  • Mike Reams June 25, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Calling someone an “extremist” just because they oppose a light-rail project devalues the word extremist.
    I’ve long enjoyed this site because, while I disagree with you on occasion, I’ve always found you to be fair and even-handed. I hope you don’t descend into the realm of “everyone who disagrees with me is a “

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    • Mike Reams June 25, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      It must not like angle brackets. That should read “everyone who disagrees with me is a ‘insert slur here'”

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 25, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Yes I hear you Mike. That is a valid point. However, I believe the Kochs fit the definition of extremist. They aren’t interested in a policy debate, and they are not run-of-the-mill advocates pushing for what they believe in. They are using any means necessary to accomplish their goals and I think sometimes harsh words are necessary. You’ll note I use a similar tone with people who are working against better cycling access in Forest Park. I do that because they — like the Kochs – are using their privilege and power to maintain a status quo that’s inherently unfair and they are using tactics that go way beyond the pale of normal public discourse. Their positions also don’t hold up to factual scrutiny so they have to resort to fear-mongering and propaganda tactics. So yes, I do believe they are extremists. I also know that I personally do not fit the definition. So there’s that.

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      • Mike Reams June 25, 2018 at 2:23 pm

        Here is the problem with using the word “extremist” in this context. It is either an ad hominem argument. ie. The Koch brothers are extremists, therefore their position on light-rail in Nashville is wrong. Or, opposition to light-rail is an extremist position.

        In the first case, it’s sloppy arguing. The argument for or against this ballot measure should stand on its own, regardless of whether people you find “extremist” support or oppose it.
        In the second case, you are slurring anyone who doesn’t support light-rail, which will probably not make them more sympathetic to your cause.

        Why are these things problems? Well, if you want to get light rail passed, you’re going to need to convince some of the no voters to become yes voters. If you’ve just insulted them, have you made it easier or more difficult to reach them and change their minds.

        Also, it lets the proponents of light-rail and, this campaign specifically, off the hook for the mistakes they may have made. Why re-examine your message or, do a better job of addressing concerns over cost, disruption, gentrification etc… when you can just blame the whole thing on the bogeyman.

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        • soren June 25, 2018 at 2:41 pm

          Polling shows that 70-80% of USAnians support funding public transit. The Koch brothers categoric opposition to publicly-funded transit seems rather extreme in this context.

          It’s very odd that your comment focuses exclusively on light rail when the Nashville plan also includes 4 bus rapid transit routes, major bus network improvements, a bus tunnel, 19 new transit centers, major transportation access improvements, sidewalks, bike share, and bike lanes:

          http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/wpln/files/styles/large/public/201803/8_prongs_of_plan.png

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 25, 2018 at 2:51 pm

          Thanks Mike. You made your point. I don’t agree with your assessment of what I’ve done though. I love people to disagree with me and I certainly don’t label them all the same way. As I clearly said, I don’t have much tolerance for people who clearly use heavy-handed and willfully dishonest tactics to get their way. Thanks.

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    • bikeninja June 25, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      You are correct. in a way. Mike. Someone who just opposes a light-rail project by putting lawn signs out or circulating a petition like some of the residents in my home-town of Tigard have done is short-sighted ,but I agree they are not extremists. But a couple of Billionaires who systematically use their wealth and power to thwart citizen’s honest attempts to improve public transit is extreme. To do this in the face of evidence that we are destroying our planet with greenhouse gases, that the cost of automobile transportation is impoverishing millions and that there is not much future in this arrangement is truly extreme. But to do all this to prolong the life of your oil based empire and and add more Billions to your coffers is truly Evil. As the great folk singer Utah Phillips once Said, ” The Earth is not Dying. it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” And right at the top of that are the Koch Brothers. So yes the label of Evil may not apply very often, but it does to these two.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 25, 2018 at 4:11 pm

        Extremists, by definition, advocate extreme action. Fighting against an expansion of public transit just does not fit that definition.

        There may be other reasons the Kochs are extremists, but their anti-transit advocacy is not one of them.

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        • soren June 25, 2018 at 9:42 pm

          Nah…nothing extreme about advocating for burning more fossil fuel in single occupancy vehicles.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 25, 2018 at 10:10 pm

            Exactly.

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  • Branden Shelby June 25, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Ouch, if our cops have ebikes the next time another bike officer tries to stop me for having an open beer he might be able to catch me…

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  • Mike Sanders June 25, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    The Koch argument that gentrification created by light rail improvements is bad sounds a lot like the “crime train” arguments brought up by anti-Transit activists every time Tri-Met proposes a new Max line (and we’re starting to hear this argument against the SW corridor project…expect the noise to grow louder, especially if the Koch Brothers get involved in the process here). We have to find ways to counteract thus kind of antiprogressive thinking. Anti-bike folks may well try to use the same playbook when it comes to ped/bike improvements. Uber is not the answer. We have to get proactive to get transit projects that we need up and going.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty June 25, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Gentrification is the inevitable consequence of improving a neighborhood. Adding transit, reducing crime, and building sidewalks will all increase the desirability of a neighborhood. Rents are higher in desirable places.

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      • 9watts July 1, 2018 at 3:38 pm

        “Gentrification is the inevitable consequence of improving a neighborhood”

        Ouch.
        Inevitable?
        Oh, right, you consider population growth and inequality to be exogenous, natural.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty July 1, 2018 at 6:16 pm

          It has nothing to do with population growth. Just improvement.

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          • 9watts July 1, 2018 at 7:34 pm

            How are proposing to measure this ‘improvement’?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty July 5, 2018 at 12:05 am

              I’m not proposing measuring it.

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  • Kyle Banerjee June 25, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Beats me why cops haven’t been using e-bikes for years. Seems an almost perfect application for the technology.

    They’re small, fast, quiet, maneuverable, and cops have to wear and carry a lot of gear. Way better tool for the job than the bikes they have been using.

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    • Andy K June 28, 2018 at 9:02 pm

      I agree. e-bikes are perfect for police under the right circumstances.

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  • Anna G June 25, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    The comment on the second story regarding folks protesting the safety of the bike lanes is misleading. I see nothing biased about protesting unsafe intersections on bike lanes, in fact we comment of them all the time on this blog, ie that parking protected bike lanes have terrible visibility at intersections and are therefore dangerous. The intersections in the story are freeway entrance and exit ramps, yeah I’d call that dangerous and probably protest them as well if it was my town. Please read the story and judge for yourselves.

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    • soren June 25, 2018 at 1:52 pm

      1) It’s not a parking-protected bike lane.

      2) There is a dedicated bike signal phase at the intersection criticized by protestors.

      https://goo.gl/maps/XoYWDhMvwAt

      3) Right turns on red are illegal in NYC so the bike signal is far safer than those in Portland.

      2) The alternative proposal calls for people biking to share a sidewalk with pedestrians and use a crosswalk to cross the ramp.

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  • Jim Lee June 25, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    The dreaded “Nordstrom” effect!

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  • Mike Quigley June 25, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Trump’s tariffs are beginning to have positive effects. Harley Davidson is laying off in the U.S. and moving production to Europe. Autos next?

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  • bikeninja June 25, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Years ago my family and I while on vacation in Italy paid a visit to the Torture Museum, which displayed grim artifacts of the inquisition. I hope in the near future that the kind of monster trucks the Diesel Brothers build as well as other ” dinosaur” trucks end up only being seen in a similar museum here in America. I have a feeling that when this particular chapter of “motoring madness” draws to a close they will have done more damage than the horrors inflicted by the dungeons of the middle ages.

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  • Pete June 25, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Reading the Kock article, the Tennessee ‘activists’ claim “the highest sales tax in the nation.” I don’t know if they add city or county taxes, but their state’s at 7% is several percentage points below what I pay (when I’m not shopping in Oregon ; ).

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    • Chris I June 26, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      The opposition tactics relied primarily on falsehoods and/or outright lies.

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  • Tomas June 26, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Just a thought, perhaps in the lead in on “Trump’s Tariffs” you could replace the words, “electric motors” with “e-bikes”. Seems it would garner more attention from the savvy BikePortland readership since e-bikes are a much discussed topic here and e-bikes are the fastest growing segment of the bike industry. This news can greatly affect this mode of clean transportation if the bill is passed with e-bikes caught in the wide sweeping brush of this tariff proposal.

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  • 9watts July 1, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    I don’t see anything salutary about buying Chinese bearings or Chinese anything, frankly. I boycott as many product categories that come from there as I can; spend what many consider inordinate amounts of time looking for alternatives.

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    • soren July 2, 2018 at 9:18 am

      if i have to purchase something, i always prefer to purchase from genuine pluralistic democracies, as opposed to authoritarian states. thus, i avoid buying goods from both the usa and china whenever this is practicable.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty July 1, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    It has nothing to do with population growth. Just improvement.

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