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The Monday Roundup: Black Kids on Bikes, Islabikes for older people, ‘surveillance capitalism’ and more

Posted by on January 28th, 2019 at 11:08 am

Here are the most noteworthy things we came across in the past seven days (thanks for all your submissions!)…

Partisan mobility divide: We all know the nation is more divided than ever politically; but did you realize this split might also have a parallel when it comes to how we get around?

Inequality and e-bikes: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is perpetuating a racist and xenophobic system by making some e-bikes legal and others (used by delivery workers) illegal says Dr. Do Jun Lee of IntersectionalRiding.

Profiling: This story about an LAPD unit that disproportionately stopped black drivers is what Portland’s Vision Zero Task Force was afraid of when they opted to not prioritize enforcement.

Black Kids on Bikes: Streetsblog LA has a great story and photos about a group of riders from South Central who took part in the annual MLK Day Parade.

Bikes for older people: Islabikes made a name for its high-quality bikes for kids. Now they’ve launched the “Icon” range which is made specifically for older people. Don’t miss the excellent promo video — it’s a fantastic bit of bicycle marketing.

Portland and “surveillance capitalism”: Late last year Portland City Council voted to allow PBOT to use a new transportation planning data tool that tracks where we go. It’s supposed to protect our privacy, but some experts are skeptical.

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A vision for dedicated lanes: A co-founder of Waze has an interesting idea for how to alleviate traffic jams — and several of his points actually make pretty good sense.

Dangerous by Design: Smart Growth America released their latest report on the amount of walkers killed by motor vehicle users and the findings are not good at all.

Climate change politics: U.S. House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — arguably the most influential lawmaker on Capitol Hill right now — warns that “the world will end in 12 years” if we don’t up the urgency around climate change.

E-scooter lawsuit: Something to watch in San Diego: A group of San Diego, California residents with disabilities have sued the city over the proliferation of electric scooter on city sidewalks.

Traffic sucks: As we debate ways to alleviate congestion, here’s a good roundup of research that shows how bad it is for our mental health.

“There are basically no cars”: This article about what happened after the Norwegian city of Oslo removed 700 parking spaces from its downtown core make me want to visit the place very badly.

— 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 28, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Ocasio-Cortez might want to read up on Chicken Little before making statements like the world will end in 12 years. The only things that can end the world as we know it in 12 years is an asteroid strike, nuclear war, or global pandemic. People have been predicting peak oil for 40 years and been wrong every time. People have been predicting that the earth would not support the number of people that are living on it for many years and also been completely wrong. Statements like this undermine serious attempts to address climate change. Climate change is real and we need to make serious changes to address it but taking a UN report that says that the effects of climate change will be irreversible in 12 years is not the same as the world ending in 12 years.

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    • 9watts January 28, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      “People have been predicting peak oil for 40 years and been wrong every time.”

      Not quite so simple. But we now know that this is beside the point as we are on the hook to leave the oil, gas, and coal in the ground.

      “People have been predicting that the earth would not support the number of people that are living on it for many years and also been completely wrong.”

      Completely right. It can’t support the number of people, which is why every single indicator of planetary coherence, continued ability to support us, are trending down, and at accelerating rates.

      “Statements like this undermine serious attempts to address climate change.”

      I don’t think that is the reason we are unwilling to tackle it, frankly.

      “the effects of climate change will be irreversible in 12 years is not the same as the world ending in 12 years.”

      It is already irreversible. One can parse her words, but the reason we are arguing here over semantics is our political and emotional resistance to facing the music: Classic, Hip-Hop, Blues, Opera; which kind of music isn’t the point.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy January 28, 2019 at 12:27 pm

        Do you like any hip-hop?

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 28, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      Just when I want to start liking her she goes and says something very uninformed. Happens every time.

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      • JP January 28, 2019 at 3:27 pm

        It’s almost like she’s a human being who’s not perfect.

        FWIW, it’s okay to support people who you don’t agree with 100% or who you think can do better in certain areas.

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        • Chris I January 28, 2019 at 3:47 pm

          How does she feel about vaccines?

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    • bikeninja January 28, 2019 at 1:12 pm

      M King Hubbert predicted the continental US would reach of conventional oil production in 1972 back in the 1950’s by projecting the curve of discoveries to production. This turned out to be exactly true and U.S. (lower 48) conventional oil production peaked in 1972. Other geologists used this analysis to project the worlds peak production of conventional oil in 2005. This also turned out to be exactly correct. Back in the early 2000’s we still discovered about as much oil each year as we burned, in 2017 we discovered less than 10% as much oil as we burned. Our only increase in oil output has been from oil sands and fracking which exploit oil that was discovered long ago but considered uneconomic when better sources were available. Fracked oil is still uneconomic as companies lose money producing it and only rack up unpayable debts even when oil was at $100 per barrel. Peak oil means the peak of production, which was correct and since 2005 we have been “burning the furniture” by polluting our water, racking up debt, and wrecking the Canadian North to keep happy motoring going a bit longer. Industrial civilizations desperate measures to get oil “post peak” are like the alcoholic who no longer has the money to get a tall frosty draft from his neighborhood pub and must resort to tying to suck up spilled beer out of the damp tavern carpet.

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      • Jon January 28, 2019 at 2:44 pm

        Take a look at the Wikipedia article. Hubbert has been consistently wrong with his predictions.

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        • Dan A January 28, 2019 at 2:51 pm

          What does the your interest in peak oil have to do with climate change? Even if there was an endless supply of oil under our feet, we still have to deal with the fact that the earth will not be hospitable much longer on our current trajectory.

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          • Jon January 29, 2019 at 9:17 am

            Climate change is probably the biggest issue that the current generation must face. Back in the 70’s people created alarmist headlines proclaiming “peak oil” and that population growth would cause giant famines all across the globe. Headlines like “earth will end in 12 years” is just like those 70’s headlines. The earth is much worse off because of large populations and the burning billions of gallons of oil but because the mass famines and peak oil predictions were wrong today’s voters take a look at climate change and figure the headlines and experts are wrong again. When “green” champions with credibility like Ocasio-Cortez create headlines like she has she is undermining the future efforts to reduce the effects of climate change because the world won’t end in 12 years and everyone is going to see that 12 years from now.

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            • X January 29, 2019 at 10:52 am

              Parsing ‘the end of the world’: it doesn’t mean there won’t be humans, and it probably doesn’t mean the US won’t have territorial integrity, electoral politics and a lot of guns. I suggest that in 12 years, things that now seem normal and perfectly possible will be revealed to be part of history. Unreachable.

              We keep hearing ominous news about the condition of the ice sheets that now hold a lot of water above sea level. Forecasts of melting/breakup are probalistic, they include a range of outcomes. We can’t rule out the worst case.

              Right now there are developed areas of US cities that have sea water in their streets at peak high tide. On a sunny day.

              Species diversity? One of the lesser luxuries, after SUVs, bacon, stuff like that.

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        • 9watts January 28, 2019 at 3:07 pm

          Trying to criticize Hubbert at this stage is a precious and frankly pathetic attempt to deny the obvious.: We are running out of everything: oil as well as Many of the essential-to-life things that were abundant before we embarked on this risky experiment, like clean air and a stable or at least predictable and generally hospitable climate.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 28, 2019 at 3:24 pm

            I ran out of shampoo this morning, which was abundant before I embarked on the risky experiment bathing thrice daily. And now, dang it, it’s all gone.

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            • Toby Keith January 28, 2019 at 5:11 pm

              And I’m out of beer. My neighborhood is plagued with crime I’d ride my bike over to the store but it would be stolen. I think I’ll drive instead. : (

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              • Q January 30, 2019 at 2:27 pm

                Running out of beer is a planning problem not a supply issue.

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        • bikeninja January 28, 2019 at 3:42 pm

          Despite Wikipedia’s claims Hubbert himself did not try and predict the peak of conventional world oil production, only the peak in US conventional production in the lower 48 , that prediction was spot on. Others have used his methodology to predict a peak in World conventional oil but it was not until the late 90’s that enough data was on hand to make an accurate prediction, and that prediction of 2005 has proven to be true. Cornucopians have tried to muddy the water around this prediction by adding in non-conventional oil, and gas liquids which were not part of the prediction. It is a simple theory, you look at the curve of discoveries and the curve of production mirrors it delayed by 30 years.

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          • John Lascurettes January 28, 2019 at 11:20 pm

            It’s the same thing that happened with Erlich’s Population Bomb predictions about world famine: technology fills in to extend the end zone. It’s still a globe of finite resources. It has its limits.

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            • 9watts January 29, 2019 at 10:14 am

              “technology fills in to extend the end zone…”

              Worth emphasizing.
              We are immensely creative, and facing something running out, especially something as essential to the functioning of our economy as fossil fuels, it is no surprise that capitalism rallies the troops and finds a nother way to squeeze a bit more blood out of the proverbial turnip.
              Some commenters here appear to interpret this to mean we don’t have to worry, that our creativity will see us through. Others recognize that we are engaged in what Michael Klare calls “The Race For What’s Left,” (The title of his recent book).

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        • soren January 29, 2019 at 8:50 am

          If we are going to have any chance of avoiding global ecocide the world will be awash with cheap oil that is far, far too expensive to burn.

          Just as it is typically considered immoral to sh#t in our neighbor’s back yard, it should be even more immoral to grievously harm our shared environment.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 29, 2019 at 9:14 am

            This is exactly right. That is why it concerns of running out of oil are misguided. A far worse problem is not running out of oil.

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  • Dave January 28, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Re: law enforcement and racial equity, has any city ever considered a moratorium on hiring white men as police officers?

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    • AB January 28, 2019 at 12:26 pm


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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 28, 2019 at 12:36 pm

      I suspect that would be neither legal nor effective.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy January 28, 2019 at 12:55 pm

        But it would make the progressives feel good.

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        • Mick O January 28, 2019 at 2:33 pm

          Possibly. Unfortunately, it would not make us feel as good as you feel right now.

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      • David Hampsten January 28, 2019 at 3:29 pm

        But what you could do that is perfectly legal and enforceable, albeit expensive, is require that all of your officers live in the city that they are responsible for policing. Both in my city and in Portland, over 80% of officers live outside of city limits. This is “normal” nationwide. In those few cities with home-grown police, their departments reflect the local population to a remarkable degree. However, the racism and bias then becomes reflective of the local community. It’s more pleasant to blame our hired cops for racism rather than ourselves.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 28, 2019 at 3:34 pm

          While I like the idea of officers living in the communities in which they work, I can totally understand why they would not want to. Would you want to be out walking with your kids and run into the guy you arrested for assaulting his wife, who blames you for breaking up his marriage? DAs also tend to live elsewhere for similar reasons.

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        • B. Carfree January 28, 2019 at 11:10 pm

          Davis, CA became the bicycle capital of the world by simply enforcing traffic laws with zero tolerance (okay, it had one bike path that led out of town and eight bike lanes, but close enough to zero to round off). Every cop I knew, and I knew quite a good percentage of the two police departments, lived inside the city limits.

          Then real estate in NorCal went nuts and new hire cops could no longer afford to live inside the city. What a change that made. Since the cops’ families weren’t on the streets, the cops had no interest in keeping them safe, or so it seemed. Traffic enforcement came to a halt and the bikes disappeared (relative to previous numbers). By the end of the century, people were organizing to try to get butts into saddles, with mixed results. My family and its doppelgangers became known as the bike family because there were so few families still riding.

          Yes, cops should be required to live in the cities they work in. To do otherwise cheats the city out of their best efforts. I’ve had several out-of-town-residing cops in Eugene tell me that my life doesn’t matter, as long as they get home at the end of their shifts. If they were my neighbors, I like to think they would place more value in my well-being.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty January 28, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Restricting e-bikes with a throttle is xenophobic?

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    • Dave January 28, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      In NYC they are used by restaurant delivery riders.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 28, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      it’s E-nophobic.

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    • BikeRound January 28, 2019 at 1:16 pm

      If the police in New York successfully enforced the e-bike ban, then deliver workers would use regular bikes to deliver the food, which would actually mean that there would be more jobs for those workers. It is more than astonishing that Dr. Lee argues (and I did read his article) that if you are Chinese or Mexican then you should be able to break the law with impunity.

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      • bikeninja January 28, 2019 at 3:46 pm

        The bikes that delivery riders use in NYC are essentially electric mopeds. I don’t see any reason why they can’t continue to use them but follow all the rules for the legal use of mopeds.

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        • BikeRound January 28, 2019 at 5:36 pm

          I agree. The solution is obvious: legalize all manners of ebikes, bus strictly enforce the no riding on sidewalk rule in New York City. Any driver who drives 21 mph in a 20 mph needs to get a ticket; but in Manhattan, any bicyclist who rides on the sidewalk also needs to get a ticket. There are more than enough police in Manhattan for this type of saturation policing. And once the word starts to get around that the police are not going to be putting up with lawlessness anymore, lawless behavior will start to dramatically decline.

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    • Paul January 28, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      Why not just remove the throttle levers from the bikes?

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty January 28, 2019 at 11:47 am

    In LA, the stops that targeted minorities were pretext stops, which are notorious for bias and abuse (because they are based on what an officer thinks looks “suspicious”). Traffic enforcement, on the other hand, should be based on driving behavior, not on whether the officer thinks a person looks like a criminal, and tends to be much less biased, as Portland stats show.

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    • soren January 29, 2019 at 8:44 am

      you have access to “statistics”?

      do you work for the portland police bureau — i’m sure jonathan would be interested in this scoop. the portland police bureau they have repeatedly claimed that they don’t even bother to collect data for many traffic stops. despite this lack of interest in protecting civil rights at the portland police bureau, a city audit and found overwhelming evidence that portland’s finest are racially profiling drivers:

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 29, 2019 at 8:53 am

        I’ve posted them several times in the past, but the racial breakdown of stops by the traffic division is close to, but not exactly, that of Portland’s population. They do a lot better than the police in general. It’s not enough to assert that there absolutely is no problem, but it’s also not enough to assert that there is.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 29, 2019 at 8:57 am

        The article you posted talks about gang enforcement, which involves pretextual stops, which is not traffic enforcement.

        Pretextual stops are a problem. I am talking about traffic enforcement.

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        • soren January 29, 2019 at 11:07 am

          “It’s likely that members of Portland’s Gang Enforcement Team (GET) are racially profiling those they pull over for traffic violations

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 29, 2019 at 11:20 am

            Yes, certainly. GET is not doing traffic enforcement, they are using traffic stops as an excuse to pull over people they think look “suspicious”. The traffic stops are only a pretext. That is different than real traffic enforcement, where the goal is to reduce dangerous behavior on the road.

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  • onewheelskyward January 28, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    I won’t use a Jump bike simply because of their corporate heritage. If you don’t know what I’m on about, run a search for “uber scandals”.

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    • B. Carfree January 28, 2019 at 11:14 pm

      So I’m not the only person who refuses to support the murderous crown prince of Saudi Arabia. It’s nice to know others are offended at the notion of enriching someone who orders the murder and dismemberment of a journalist who works in the US.

      Eugene’s bike share system is owned by Uber. When it was purchased, my support for it disappeared. I’m extremely disappointed in my city staff for continuing to engage with that company. I do expect the local Catholic hospital to withdraw its sponsorship as soon as it can legally do so.

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  • Stephen J Sanow January 28, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Ralph Nader has a great podcast this week about predatory surveillance capitalism and how you are forced to sign away your rights to control your information in order to use almost all digital “conveniences”. Losing your rights goes much deeper than you imagine. Hint: Ralph ( a lawyer) has never used FB. You can just go to the website and listen if you don’t fool with podcasts.

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    • Pete February 3, 2019 at 10:47 am

      Just don’t use Chrome or Safari or IE to go to that web site; their very use implies consent.

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  • soren January 28, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Oslo removed 700 parking spaces from its downtown core make me want to visit the place very badly.

    This is where I part with Shoup and his followers. My goal is not to “charge for parking” in the urban core but to eliminate it entirely.

    Sadly, our city has created a large conflict of interest at PBOT by making “parking” a significant part of its revenue stream. It’s harder to eliminate parking spaces when your salary may depend on them…

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 28, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      Would elimination of downtown parking conflict with your pro-car, pro-subsidy perspective you shared recently?

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      • soren January 28, 2019 at 1:12 pm

        Not at all.

        I believe we should subsidize parking on the periphery of the urban core* so that everyone can take advantage of efficient alternative modes — bus, rail, micromobility, and/or walking.

        (This is actually another area where I disagree with Shoup. I’m a huge fan of free “park and rides”*.)

        *As part of a long-term “just” transition to a more sustainable city architecture.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 28, 2019 at 1:21 pm

          That’s pretty much what we’re doing now with all the free park-and-rides TriMet built at their distant stations.

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          • soren January 29, 2019 at 8:34 am

            i don’t support distant and i definitely do not support making it easier for wealthier folk to park a car (or use a car) in the urban core.

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  • Jim Lee January 28, 2019 at 4:25 pm


    Ancients Ride Fixed!

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  • random January 29, 2019 at 9:01 am

    “But what you could do that is perfectly legal and enforceable, albeit expensive, “is require that all of your officers live in the city that they are responsible for policing.”

    We see how this works in Chicago which has a residency requirement – almost all the cops live in a handful of safe, very-low crime neighborhoods. If you required this in Portland, all the cops would live in Pleasant Valley, and maybe a couple of other neighborhoods.

    Cops aren’t going to live in high-crime neighborhoods – they don’t want to have to interact with people they’ve arrested on their time off, and they especially don’t want to have their families having to interact with people they’ve arrested.

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  • Glenneration X January 29, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Oh my gosh, the Isla thing… the Joni, the Janis and the Jimi. Barf! The silver lining of being in the ignored Generation X is that nobody cares enough about you to try marketing to you in this cloying manner. Although if you were gonna, maybe you could have the Kim Deal, the Kim Thayil, and the Kim Gordon! 😛

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