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The Monday Roundup: Cycling’s solace, dooring breakthrough, climate panic, and more

Posted by on February 19th, 2019 at 12:10 pm

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Ride Like A Girl, now offering a special “Ready to Ride” coaching program to help you get ready for your big spring/summer rides!

Yes I know it’s Tuesday. But yesterday was a holiday, remember?!

Here are the most noteworthy things we came across in the past seven days…

Ride as an act of resistance: An immigrant from Africa shares how cycling has provided solace from the culture shock of living in 80-percent white Denver and an America as divided and vitriolic toward outsiders as its ever been.

Trump’s accidental parking tax: Portland’s very own Michael Andersen got a whopper of a scoop when he uncovered a piece of the new tax code that might (inadvertently?) punish corporations that subsidize auto parking as a commute benefit.

Stronger aluminum bikes? A new aluminum welding process is on its way to bike frames and the result could lead to very light, strong, and affordable bikes.

Bike New Deal: The League of American Bicyclists wants to amend the Green New Deal so it includes cycling mega-projects, compulsory 8th grade cycling education, and more.

Dooring breakthrough: Bloomberg Editorial Board has endorsed the “Dutch Reach” method of opening the driver’s side door.

Sorry, not sorry: As the Dutch government unveils plans for driverless trucks, a new report cautions that the country’s famous bike traffic could throw a major wrench into the system.

Utility worldwide: From knife-sharpeners, to cargo-carriers — this excellent post features the many ingenious and useful ways bicycles are used around the globe.

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Shop talk: A refreshingly candid bike shop owner in Seattle shares that he closed his e-bike shop because he just couldn’t relate to customers.

Car tech: I’m reflexively against all the shiny new tech carmakers are touting these days; but what if a car would automatically alert police when the driver dozed off, had been drinking, or are driving erratically? I might change might tune.

Clean up your (sexist) act: A commentator at VeloNews thinks racing regulators should take sexism as seriously as they take doping.

Keep building, ODOT and PBOT! How urgent is our need to change the status quo when it comes to sources of greenhouse gas emissions? “Panic might seem counterproductive, but we’re at a point where alarmism and catastrophic thinking are valuable,” says a noted scientist in a major NY Times Opinion piece.

Now you know how it feels: Traffic engineers in Virginia goofed and put a standard traffic lane right in the path of a curb extension — something that happens with bike lanes all the time.

— 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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El BicicleroDaveGlowBoymoleskinMichael Ingrassia Recent comment authors
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David Hampsten
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Now you know how it feels: Someone sure was bone-headed. I’ll bet the pavement line contractor didn’t follow the city plan as closely as they should have. The city plan probably called for 10-foot traffic lanes, maybe even 9 foot in places, as it is an urban intersection with slow traffic speeds. The contractor, being suburban and used to 11-12 foot traffic lanes, put in old “standard” lanes without a 7-foot parking lane. The result is hilarious.

colton
Guest
colton

“should take sexism as seriously as they take doping”

Considering the history of biking and doping, can’t we set the bar just a bit higher?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Everybody’s doing it, apparently.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

But mom, my friends won’t think I’m cool!

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

The story about the E-bike store closing clinches it for me. Can we just call these things something other than E-Bikes? How about Wobble Rascals, or Battery Sleds or something. They are legitimate transportation for a different crowd, but their fans gotta accept that they can’t hang out at the cool kids table in the lunch room.

Que
Guest
Que

There’s a legitimate use for e cargo bikes but these battery powered things that look like “regular” bikes – they are mopeds and are 100% for people with a lot of money to skip car traffic without having to put forth any actual effort.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Having taken my wife’s e-bike to Vancouver on mostly the I-205 path I can say definitively that I put in a lot of effort in those 40 miles. I was quite sweaty from all the pedaling. Yes, I would have been pedaling even harder without the assist, but it was far from effortless.

Now, if we’re talking about the ones with a throttle, then yes, those should be classified as mopeds. But it seems like the majority are pedal-assist.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I sometimes get totally physically exhausted riding my eBike. Without assist, I just wouldn’t be able to do those rides or anything close to them. Some people think anyone can get in good shape by exercising but it doesn’t work that way in reality for many people.

moleskin
Guest
moleskin

I just don’t get the hate. No one is forcing you to buy one, they are quiet and take no more space than a normal bike and if they get people out of cars then surely that’s good. There seems to be more objection to a $3000 ebike than to people driving 5 miles to work downtown in a $50000 car.

The recent article about the mayor of Milwaukie illustrated the possibilities well I thought.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

E-bikes is fine.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Like they’d want to 😉 The attitude behind your comments are exactly what I addressed in my response to the piece about the Seattle store further down. Your cherished status in the micro-subculture of US cycling is definitely endangered – and amen to that! Hopefully we can all move on past the pettiness. Can you say bike snob? Meanwhile I’ll wave to you regardless of which bike I’m on at the time. Perhaps you can lower your standards enough to accept those other cyclists so far beneath you 😉

Ed
Guest
Ed

the above comment was addressed to bike ninja but seemed to sequence in the wrong place

Sukho
Guest
Sukho

I call them motor-cycles.

Andrew Kreps
Guest
Andrew Kreps

I keep hearing about the dutch reach thing. I’ve had exactly one parked car door opened into my path in my entire cycling career, and when I researched it I couldn’t find any evidence that a stationary door opening has killed anyone(injuries, sure, but they bill it as a “life saver”).

Can we talk about how to look behind you on the right side of your car when turning right, pretty please?

PDXCyclist
Guest
PDXCyclist

How hard did you try Googling? I can’t help but be condescending. It took me 10 seconds of googling to find these. Because something hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It feels like you are belittling the deaths of all these people because this hasn’t affected you.

https://news.google.com/search?q=cyclist%20doored%20dead&hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen

https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/01/01/hours-into-2019-a-cyclist-is-doored-to-death/

gilly
Guest
gilly

Keep in mind, your google search results are based on your previous search history and the key words you choose to use. What pops up on page 1 for you may be page 10 for others.

idlebytes
Guest
idlebytes

That same search in incognito mode returned the same search results. Bing returns similar results too.

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

A close friend of mine lost both of his front incisors from riding in the bike lane on his bike when a parked car popped open its door as he was adjacent. This was 12 years ago and every time I see bike lanes placed in the “door zone” it is the first thing that comes to mind. Sure, he did not die. Sure, the car operator’s insurance covered the false teeth. But, it was entirely needless trauma that could have been prevented through a visual check which the “dutch reach” encourages. Still, had a safer lane configuration been installed along the roadway on day one and not in the door zone, it could have been prevented through design.

X
Guest
X

I’ve been doored and have had near misses of every degree. I was lucky, the hit was on my front rack and my only injury was a little road rash.

A friend of mine had a career-changing injury as a result of being doored.

Wonder why bike riders get so keyed up about such a little thing. Sarcasm.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I have to conclude that you either have a poor memory, don’t ride much, don’t pay attention to what’s happening around you while riding and/or are being untruthful. An acquaintance of mine is now dead because he was doored. Dooring is well known as a serious hazard, so much so that Chicago actually kept track a few years back and found it responsible for 23% of cycling injuries and deaths there. The SFBC called it the number one cause of cyclist injuries and deaths in San Francisco. While I was interviewing residents for a proposed bike lane upgrade, interestingly enough parking removal so that the bike lane wouldn’t be in the door zone, every single cyclist I spoke with, and 21% of the residents used bikes as their primary means of transportation, had been doored just on that four block stretch with several of them suffering serious injuries.

I lost count years ago, but at least a hundred car doors have opened as I passed them or just prior to my arrival. None of them made contact because I NEVER ride in the door zone. (Yeah, I’m that guy who will take the travel lane if the bike lane is in the door zone.)

Imo, it’s gross negligence for any traffic engineer to approve of a project that has door zone bike lanes. We don’t ask any other road user to tolerate such obvious hazards, but for some (carhead) reason, we continue to allow these things to not only exist, but we keep putting new ones in.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Amen–and that’s why “vehicular cycling” principles will have a place in US cycling until there are no more private passenger cars.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

The door may or may not kill you, but if it doesn’t, then the passing truck into the path of which the door launches you probably will.

soren
Guest
soren

The climate panic link is dead and the author is a journalist, not a climate scientist.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/opinion/sunday/fear-panic-climate-change-warming.html

The time to panic was decades ago.

Remarkably, we are not panicking at all. We are still apathetically emitting more greenhouse gases than we ever have and will almost certainly continue to do so in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 etc.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

It’s getting kind of depressing. Good news is our youth are panicking, not that that should uplift anyone.

I sit on a neighborhood association board. Our ‘hood is 83% renters and that’s front and center, so we don’t do much NIMBY, thankfully. However, I also sit at the super-board of all NA’s. Oh my goodness, you would think that allowing for a wee bit more density will end the world (as opposed to the opposite being closer to the truth). I actually try to not be offensive with them (big ask for me), but I am ashamed of my generational peers for their willful indifference to the near-future, let alone the next century.

Ed
Guest
Ed

This re: the piece about the Seattle shop owner closing his e-bike store. Several ways to take these comments; I suppose one is “refreshingly honest”. Another being resentment of the fact that e-bike users, specifically those new to cycling (or coming back to it after decades) have no interest in the American cycling subculture. (he calls it “community” here) I can relate in a way (coming from that subculture for decades) but it can be seen as cultural and provincial sour grapes. In other words, the old purity test some impose on what is and isn’t “true cycling”. Ask a Dutch person about their bike culture and you may well see a look of incomprehension, like if Americans were asked about toothbrush culture 😉 We actually should rejoice if cycling in the US becomes wide and inclusive enough to where a bike subculture no longer needs to exist. Such things signify the understandable banding together of persecuted minorities, and are essential in the survival of those. But despite a loss of romance, the nation and the planet will be far better off if cycling here becomes way too broad and deep to ever have a cycling community or subculture as such… as it is in The Netherlands and other places where everybody rides everywhere. In this case mainstream is good – very good!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

It’s hard to read that article and not perceive the shop owner as pretentious. It’s basically the textbook definition.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

He says he believes in the community, but not to the extent that the community won’t patronize the e-bike store if he sold it rather than closing it.

turnips
Guest
turnips

having met the owner in question, I don’t believe it’s pretension. 20/20 is a really nice shop. it’s an inviting space and Alex is a real friendly guy. when a lot of other shops in Seattle were giving off snobby vibes and courting the cool kids or conspicuous consumers, 20/20 went the other direction entirely and felt really inclusive.

I could be wrong. maybe he’s become a pretentious ass since I moved away, though I doubt it. it would be unfortunate if that’s the case, but I would still admire that he valued a positive connection with his customers over the profit it sounds like he was making.

I doubt there is a serious dearth of other outfits to buy an e-bike from if 20/20’s inventory doesn’t cut it, so I don’t think Alex is cutting the legs out from under the Seattle e-bike market. there’s an EVELO store less than a mile from Electric Lady.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Jesus, will you all quit gnawing on this guy’s leg! The bike business is hard to survive in and there is such a thing as fatigue born of customer interactions. Be happy he’s still in it in some form; obviously he is keeping a lot of customers happy. Don’t whine and kvetch about his attitude or some other stupid trivial thing, will you all?

Paul
Guest
Paul

I would guess that a large majority of all bicyclists have no interest in being involved in cycling culture or the cycling community. I certainly have no interest in those things despite being an enthusiastic lifelong cyclist. ( I come to BikePortland for the transportation policy articles.)

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Clearly the Dutch are in need of autonomous bicycles.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Would those autonomous bicycles necessarily be electrified? Or might you still have to pedal some of them, but still be relieved of the need to steer and brake? Can I read a book on my kindle app and send texts to my kids while I’m pedaling?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I’m not sure I’m seeing the same thing as his characterization of typical e-bike purchasers, but I get his point that there is clearly a very different demographic among e-bike buyers than regular bike buyers. There is overlap, for sure (myself included – I may get one eventually), but overall there’s a very different vibe among e-bikers.

I’m not sure yet if it’s a good or bad thing – obviously, expanding the cohort of bike riders and those with an interest in fighting car dominance is a very good thing, but are a bunch of these newcomers to the bike lanes self-interested, fast-moving jerks with money? Dunno.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

I would love to see Aluminum bikes grow in market and carbon fiber bikes decrease to race level only (not just race wannabe level. Why? Because we are literally dumping carbon fiber waste in the ocean. Think about that the next time you buy a carbon fiber bike…

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

The autonomous vehicle article made me literally laugh out loud. It stated that AV’s would have trouble with cyclists because of their unpredictable behavior and rapid changes of direction and speed. Those folks should take a good long look at American motorists. Our car users put cyclists to shame in terms of failing to follow any laws and darting every which way in hopes of passing just one more car.

I guess AV’s won’t be ready for prime time before we have to scrap cars altogether. Oh well, no great loss.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Just yesterday I saw a driver exit to the right out of a parking lot and then continue straight in the far right lane through two right turn only lanes, in the midst of turning traffic.

And a couple of nights ago I was driving on 185th when a driver to the left of me suddenly cut across 3 lanes of traffic directly in front of me to make a right turn.

It must be really interesting trying to code AVs to account for that.

Michael Ingrassia
Guest
Michael Ingrassia

I have been renting an e-bike recently from a bike share program here in San Francisco. They are great, and fill a purpose that bikes cant – bridging the gap for people with physical limitations, and extending the range of bike-able trips. Like all e-vehicles they are only as green as the source of electricity, but I believe they get more miles per lump of coal than a Tesla.

I feel weird about using bike infra on them though though. I’m an above average cyclist now, I beat just about every commuter on the busiest bike street in the country. So when you add extra power to my pedaling, I go quite fast, definitely close motorcycle speed. Accordingly I make a conscious choice to use multi-mode lanes over bike lanes. Something like the 205 path which cuts through my least favorite type of area to ride (suburban sprawl with fast arterials) might tempt me to change my tune. Though I believe there is probably still some onus on the operator to be conscious of regular cyclists.

Also, I dislike being made to be part of a community, or the expectation that my transit choices should lump me in with a scene. I freely associate with any group that doesn’t have snobby barriers to entry, but I don’t represent anyone but myself.

moleskin
Guest
moleskin

With regard to using ebikes on bike infrastructure, I agree there is onus on the user to moderate their speed according to conditions. We don’t ban cars from driving on residential streets just because they are capable of 100 mph, but we do expect users not to exceed appropriate speed limits. Same should apply on bike lanes / mixed use infrastructure – ebikes don’t smell, make significantly more noise than or take more space than other bikes, so provided they aren’t a hazard (very much down to the user, just like any mode of transport), why exclude them? But yes, if your bike will do 35 mph and you want to go at that speed, not really appropriate on the bike paths we have today.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Also, if your bike will do 35 mph it is a Class 3 bike and not allowed on the bike paths, though there is of course no enforcement of that.