The Monday Roundup: Bicycle Day, DC defends bike lanes, e-bikes’ mental health boost, and more

Posted by on February 25th, 2019 at 9:29 am


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

Bring back Bicycle Day: Before the Presidents Day holiday was used to sell cars it was a “day of leisure” that many people took as an opportunity to ride and race bicycles.

Worst Day Ride Photos: Don’t miss these great photos from The Oregonian that captured the costumes and spirit at yesterday’s Worst Day of the Year Ride.

Speed kills: A new study has shown that higher speed limits on eastern Oregon highways — passed by the Oregon legislature in 2015 — have led to more fatal crashes.

ITE on parking: The influential Institute for Transportation Engineers has issued a promising new policy stance in the latest issue of their magazine: removal of parking minimums, more use of pricing tech to manage demand, and the promotion of different modes.

Lime is over bikes: Interesting to see that a company that once operated both shared e-scooters and bikes has decided to drop the latter.

DC defends its bike lanes: The District of Columbia has decided to get tough on Uber/Lyft drivers and delivery trucks who think they can stop in bike lanes by clarifying existing bike lane law. It’s being done as part of D.C.’s Vision Zero program.

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State of safety: A good overview of why more vulnerable road users are being hit and killed in U.S. cities and what it will take to do something about it.

What do we want? More bike parking!: The SF Bike Coalition is demanding the City of San Francisco triples the number of bike racks and respond more quickly to bike parking requests.

NYPD hates cycling: The Bike Snob shares an overview of a problem we’ve noted for years: That behind all their infrastructure and other urbanism successes lies a terrible barrier to bike-friendliness — the police.

Mental health and e-bikes: Research has shown that electric-assisted bikes not only make pedaling easier for older people, they can also provide a mental health boost.

Slow buses: Portland is working to speed up buses, many of which are stuck in traffic behind car drivers. In New York City, activists on foot challenged a bus to a race across town and they only lost by five seconds.

Unspent bike/walk funds: Streetsblog reports on $1 billion in unspent federal funds lying in state coffers that could be rescinded if they don’t get used. And yes, Oregon is on the list to the tune of about $12 million. Is this a big deal? We’re inquiring with ODOT and hope to share more info soon.

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

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43 Comments
  • Avatar
    Abe H. February 25, 2019 at 9:49 am

    We have a Bicycle Day. April 19th.

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      Andrew Kreps February 25, 2019 at 11:51 am

      Funny, you’d think we would align the bike commute challenge with that. 😀

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      ricochet February 25, 2019 at 2:38 pm

      and it’s not really about what it sounds like it’s about!

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty February 25, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Some comments about the ITE Journal issue on parking: 1) They are really arguing for “right sizing” parking, which means not over (or under) building; this seems primarily targeting the large seas of unused parking we see at malls and other large developments. They say “strategies must be in place to assure that parking supply will satisfy demand.” 2) They say that when offstreet parking is not required, there should be steps taken to ensure parking does not spill over onto the street; in Portland’s case of no-parking apartment buildings, this would mean restricting residents in “no parking” buildings from parking on the streets, probably using some sort of permitting system. 3) They argue that public perception has to be taken into account, so the public understands that new parking policies “will not impact people’s lives”.

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    9watts February 25, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Bikes = leisure; cute in 1895, not sure how strategic that would be if exhumed in 2019

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      Que February 25, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      Wouldn’t mind seeing a bike/car modeshare split closer to what it was in 1895..

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        9watts February 25, 2019 at 4:09 pm

        I wouldn’t either, but I can think of other avenues besides what the article in question suggests for pursuing, much less accomplishing, that feat.

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    bikeninja February 25, 2019 at 10:20 am

    With the slow speed of the bus depicted in the slow bus story (4 mph) perhaps we should adopt some technology from an earlier time and just have some buses with open sides and running boards so passengers can just leap on and off while the bus is moving.

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      PS February 25, 2019 at 12:10 pm

      Walk by a bus stop and count the number of people you have any confidence in their ability to leap onto or off of a moving vehicle, lol.

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      Matt S. February 25, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      When I was running to work years ago, I would regularly race the Max from the Moda Center up and over the steel bridge to its next stop. I would sometimes win.

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    John Lascurettes February 25, 2019 at 10:24 am

    I wish we’d adopt the DC rule on bike lanes. Instead, we specifically allow for loading and unloading.

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      mark February 25, 2019 at 11:23 am

      I believe that the allowance is for active loading and unloading only, but I often see Uber/Lyft drivers parked in the lane waiting for their fares to show up. It it extremely frustrating to see these alleged professional drivers flout the law for their convenience. I sometimes stop next to them to advise them that the bike lane is not for parking, and the drivers respond in one of two ways: stare straight ahead and refuse to make eye contact, or tell me some variation of, “I’m not parked; I’ve got my flashers on.”

      It is clear to me that the city only provides lip service to cycling as a legitimate means of transport.

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        turnips February 25, 2019 at 2:44 pm

        take a photo of the license plate. I’ve gotten responses suggesting action was taken from both PBOT (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/71084) and lyft when I’ve lodged complaints about parking in bike lanes. whether or not I was just given lip-service or whether any action that was taken makes a meaningful difference is another story. I did not put in the effort to follow up.

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      Matthew in PDX February 25, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      I wonder if the DC rule apply to law enforcement vehicles? Certainly, any NYC rules don’t apply to the NYPD. I wonder if Portland rules apply to PPB.

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      David Hampsten February 25, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      Rules schmules. As in Portland or in my city, it always boils down to enforcement, which in DC is often lacking if you are far from the tourist/government areas.

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    9watts February 25, 2019 at 10:24 am

    From the piece on why those outside of cars are less safe, why deaths are rising, no answers, but some interesting pull quotes:

    “Most pedestrians and bicyclists are killed or injured while they are obeying the law.”

    “While pedestrian deaths in Norway declined by 37 percent from 2010 to 2016, in the United States they increased by 39 percent.”

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      Dave February 25, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      I wonder what the average sized car is in Norway–bet not too many Norwegians drive Chevy Subdivisions or Ford Excretions.

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        9watts February 26, 2019 at 1:17 pm

        I see what you did there…

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      Tim February 25, 2019 at 4:24 pm

      I also noticed “Adding to the dangers are distracted drivers and pedestrians and the introduction of electric scooters” Not surprising these would add to the chaos….

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    Johnny Bye Carter February 25, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Bring back Bicycle Day: Gladly, this is the first time I’m hearing that Washington’s birthday is used to sell cars. I thought it was just the usual excuse to sell anything.

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    Johnny Bye Carter February 25, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Slow buses: If they only lost by 5 seconds then that won by several minutes. The reason they lost is because they didn’t start walking when they got to the bus stop, but instead waited for the bus to arrive and start leaving. That’s not a real-world scenario. When I get to the bus stop to find that the bus is delayed (or traffic is at a standstill) I don’t wait for it to arrive before I start walking to my destination.

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      Matt S. February 25, 2019 at 12:30 pm

      I used to take the bus east on Sandy and I would get off around 21st and walk to 28th because it was faster than waiting in the bottleneck traffic.

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        John Lascurettes February 25, 2019 at 1:04 pm

        I used to do that with the MAX when I used to ride it from Hollywood TC to Beaverton. When it traversed downtown, it was often quicker to get off and walk through the short, corked downtown blocks to catch the red or blue train that was up ahead of the one I was on.

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    Allan Rudwick February 25, 2019 at 11:05 am

    saw a lot of tandem bikes out their on the worst day of the year. awesome work portlanders!

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    SD February 25, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Everyone knew that deaths and injuries would increase with increased speed limits in Eastern Oregon. Did we have to do this experiment to prove it? The legislators who backed the higher speed limits have blood on their hands and should step down.

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      bikeninja February 25, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      There is no real evidence that the culture of happy motoring (autohead) has every really cared about safety. They pay it lip service, and incorporate safety gizmos in new cars to encourage sales but when it comes right down to it motoring is about commerce, greed, perceived freedom, real estate speculation, machismo and luxury. It will probably only end when it becomes unaffordable to most of the population, hopefully that will be soon.

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        Matt S. February 25, 2019 at 2:15 pm

        I’m starting a job in Construction soon. It’ll be downtown and I don’t really want to drive. I’m trying to build or come up with some creative way to carry my tools. Essentially I will have my lunch pale, tool bag with tools (no power tools), rain gear, and then some small misc. items to get through the day. I was thinking hauling everything in my Burley trailer designed to carry dogs, but I am also considering using transit more regularly.

        If I rode the bus, it’d be nice to have something on wheels to drag, but also be able to lock. On the bike, I’m hoping to park within the jobsite so that my trailer can be away from the general public.

        Any thoughts?

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          PS February 25, 2019 at 2:54 pm

          Exactly what you describe with the trailer and if it is heavy buy a copenhagen wheel to make it a bit more manageable. The trailer will be better than using panniers or the like as handling will be good. If you are handy, you could also modify a single wheel trailer for your needs. Copenhagen wheel will pay itself off in 6 months of not paying for parking.

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          9watts February 25, 2019 at 4:07 pm

          I’ve hauled up to 290lbs in my Burleys (I’ve converted several to cargo haulers). But other trailers (stay away from offshore stuff) will work too, like Blue Sky out of Sutherlin. But for all around stout Burleys are hard to beat.

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      Dan A February 25, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      From the related East Oregonian article:

      “Troy Costales, the ODOT Transportation and Employee Safety Division administrator, told the Oregon Transportation Commission at a Jan. 17 meeting that ODOT planned to continue to direct resources toward speed enforcement and could also install new signs and other infrastructure to prevent offroad and head-on crashes on two-lane roads.”

      So, you raise speed limits and find that fatal crashes have risen 36 and 67 percent, and the engineering solution is to add signs and barriers? WTF. ODOT does love spending money.

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        SD February 26, 2019 at 11:49 am

        “The automobile creates the problems that it is intended to solve,” could easily be modified to “The ODOT creates the problems that it is intended to solve.”

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 26, 2019 at 11:58 am

          Actually, the automobile was intended to be a cleaner, safer, more reliable alternative to other means of locomotion available at the time (i.e. horses). It did pretty well. It has created other problems, some of which may need to be solved by moving on to a new technology (e.g. better mass transit, robot cars, etc.).

          Those in turn will create their own problems, and on it goes.

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            9watts February 26, 2019 at 1:13 pm

            “the automobile was intended to be…”

            Triumphalist history now?

            This is curious indeed. I don’t think history, generally , follows this sort of orderly, intentionalist logic. The automobile certainly ‘succeeded’ in various ways, but to say that there was some powerfully positioned council making these decisions, planning out the future of the automobile as the solution is a real stretch.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty February 26, 2019 at 2:56 pm

              >>> there was some powerfully positioned council making these decisions, planning out the future of the automobile as the solution is a real stretch. <<<

              I agree, and I don't at all believe there was. It succeeded because people preferred it, and purchased it, not because of some big conspiracy.

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      SD February 26, 2019 at 11:46 am

      Not to be outdone by the bad and dangerous ideas out of Eastern Oregon, a California lawmaker proposes that eliminating speed limits on I-5 will make U.S. drivers as safe as German drivers.
      https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-autobahn-20190219-story.html
      If this goes through and people die, he and the DOT should be held accountable for those deaths.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty February 25, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Safety might not be the only consideration in Eastern Oregon. It is, and should be, an important factor, but no one that trumps everything else. The article (brief as it is) does suggest ODOT is taking steps to implement the recommendations in the safety study to help mitigate the increased danger.

    “Blood on their hands” is a bit dramatic.

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      SD February 25, 2019 at 8:17 pm

      When you weigh fatalities against very small decreases in travel time and you go with fatalities, you have blood on your hands. The phrase sounds dramatic when we talk about deciding to increase deaths on the road, because culturally we have accepted road deaths to be worth people arriving a minute or two earlier to their destination.

      When people in industry knowingly cut corners for profit in ways that endanger workers and employees die, the phrase “there is blood on their hands” also applies. It sounds dramatic in this instance also, but in general people would be less surprised to hear the phrase despite the similarities.

      The legislators and others that supported this change could feign ignorance, but in truth they are just relying on the complacency and apathy that most people have toward traffic fatalities. If people’s empathy with families who lose their loved ones in “traffic accidents” was greater than their mild annoyance with driving and the trucking industry didn’t place profits over people’s lives, the speed limit would not have been raised, knowing what we have long known about speed and mortality.

      “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.”

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        9watts February 26, 2019 at 7:45 am

        Thank you, SD.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 26, 2019 at 2:55 pm

        Do those who are not lowering the speed limit to 50MPH also have blood on their hands?

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    morgan February 25, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    From Outside magazine (online) today: “Bike Commuters Are Dying in Record Numbers”
    https://www.outsideonline.com/2390525/bike-commuter-deaths

    tl;dr: 840 cycling fatalities in 2016 in the U.S., surpassing the previous high of 836 in 1991.

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    David Hampsten February 25, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    The LimeBike headline is not quite accurate. They are keeping some bikes for their markets where scooters are also allowed (though they are reducing bike fleets there too.) This is partly because many cities have limited how many scooters any one company can have, so the bikes are for the excess demand.

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    Ed February 25, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Great to see the Bike Snob piece and that clip of walkers almost beating a NYC bus! I read often, inclusing here in bikeportland, of how we’re falling so far behind New York in active transportation etc. And it can look that way on paper but these accounts tell you what it’s really like there – as a cyclist or pedestrian. I’ve seen this myself there and glad to see the myth bubble popped. I say the reason bike and bus lanes exist in Brooklyn or Manhattan (and are tolerated) is it gives motorists (especially cops) a place to double park 😉 We may not be perfect here, but by US standards anyway (admittedly very very low) Portland still ranks highly for walkers and cyclists so don’t believe the hype about it there in NYC.

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    todd boulanger February 26, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Per the “NYPD hates cycling” article…it is also reflected in how NYPD [institutionally] does not really care about pedestrian safety either…what with its chronic NYPD vehicle parking on the sidewalks [and placard abuse] surrounding precinct stations. (This is such the canary in the coal mine….and I am surprised that there have been no effective ADA lawsuits about it too.) https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2018/04/20/108th-precinct-cracks-down-on-sidewalk-parking-nypd-placard-holders-not-included/

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