Order Rev Nat's Cider Today

The Monday Roundup: Law-breaking philosophy, WePark, Baltimore blues, and more

Posted by on May 6th, 2019 at 11:04 am


This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by the Community Cycling Center, who invites you to their 25th anniversary Momentum Gathering this Friday May 10th!

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

Safely breaking the law: This excellent piece from David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington says that not all traffic laws are equal and pretending it’s safer for bicycle users to follow them is spurious.

Car storage is too cheap: WePark is a new initiative that aims to highlight the value of curbside real estate (a.k.a. on-street parking) and how absurd it is to give it away so cheaply to private car storage.

Bad Baltimore: When a politician says bicycling infrastructure must “work for all,” you know you’re about to get shafted. RIP Baltimore protected bike lane.

Welcome, scooter comrades: Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance is welcoming e-scooters with open arms in hopes the new two-wheelers can join their fight against auto users for more dedicated roadway space.

Advertisement

L.A.’s new bikeway: Los Angeles has opened up a two-way protected bike lane on a major downtown street.

Mode shift goals are no longer enough: The world’s most iconic cycling city has announced plans to completely ban diesel and gas-powered vehicles by 2030.

Racing’s “Unicorn Prince”: Noted sportswriter Jason Gay has written a profile of the greatest bicycle racer of the current era: The incomparable Mathieu van der Poel.

Traffic injustice: A methodology that connected police data on traffic crashes to hospital records showed that older, lower-income, and people with black/brown skin are more often victims of traffic violence in San Francisco.

Protection matters: Not sure if we’ve shared this yet; but it bears repeating: New research shows the importance of physical protection (not parked cars, not paint) when it comes to bikeways.

Typical selfishness: Authorities in Germany have seized 120 high-end supercars that were allegedly racing on open roads at speeds up to 155 mph.

E-bikes for the win: I would love to see what would happen on our streets if we had access to high-performance, dockless electric bikes that could go 30 mph. How about a pilot of these PBOT?

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

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

23
Leave a Reply

avatar
5 Comment threads
18 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
GlenKqEl Bicicleropruss2nyPaul Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
turnips
Guest
turnips

e-bike link isn’t right.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

I think this fuzzy line between ebikes and electric mopeds is a problem. There is nothing wrong with either one, but at some point an ebike becomes an electric moped and should be driven in the car lanes only and not parked in bike parking. The other day I locked my bike up next to an ebike with a giant vertical battery behind the seat post ( just like the NYC delivery bikes). The pedal drive train looked it was just for show . It had about a 30mm bottom bracket, a stamped front cog, and tiny molded pedals that looked like they came off a kids trike. It was an electric moped with a fake bike facade.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Exactly right. A 30 mph ebike would require changing the definition of ebike in the ORS:

ORS 801.258¹
“Electric assisted bicycle”

(5) Is equipped with an electric motor that:

(a) Has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts; and

(b) Is incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of greater than 20 miles per hour on level ground.

A bike that goes 30 mph unassisted would require am Oregon drivers license to operate, registration, and the rider would be required to wear a motorcycle helmet. Not really a bike anymore.

This handy chart puts all the things in one place:

https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Forms/DMV/6619.pdf

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

AND the use of the term “Mopeds” should go back to its origin: “Motorized + Pedalling”

…and then e-bikes should move into a reformed “moped” niche and ALL non peddled motorized petrol fuelled two wheelers (the current mopeds) should move into a new urban lower speed / single passenger “scooter” class..since almost no new “mopeds” have pedals anymore for either starting or propulsion…not like the 1960s/ 1970s. Motorcycles would stay happily where they are.

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

As I headed out this morning, an elderly obese woman on such an e-bike rolled across my view on the bike path. She wasn’t pedaling at all and at first I thought she was on an e-moped. On closer inspection, I realized that she was so infirm that the only way she could be out on the bike path was on such a machine. Her big smile as she sailed along at 20 mph on the nearly deserted path was all I needed to be supportive of her choice.

Funny enough, my wife encountered a man on a similar machine. He was also elderly and a bit infirm, but he was content to roll along slowly, perhaps because there were more people where he was riding. He turned off the path and rode up a nearby hill with a nice view. Without the e-bike, his only option for that view is a car. With the benefit of more speed, he can increase his safety where traffic moves faster than 20 mph (everywhere, really).

This is what’s in play. These are new riders. These are allies. These are voters. Tired of being “othered” because you ride bikes and support better facilities? Help these people get what they want, which is mostly e-bikes and sometimes faster e-bikes. A good friend (age 74, one arm only) rides an illegally suped-up e-bike because it’s the only way he can get his 300 pound body up to his grandson’s house with reasonable safety. We should legalize him (not that he cares).

We don’t need purity tests. Leave that stuff for the UCI and its racing standards.

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

Is anyone ever going to read that Australian study? It doesn’t look at protected facilities. It compares passing distance on notoriously awful door-zone bike lanes (where there shouldn’t be a bike lane in the first place because there isn’t room) to passing distances on roads that lack parked cars (and also lack bike lanes). Seriously, this makes no case at all for the statement that painted lanes aren’t enough or that “protected” lanes are better.

It does make the case that DZBL’s are horrible and encourage overly close passing, but we already knew that. That’s why experienced riders don’t ride in DZBL’s. We either route ourselves away from them or take the lane, as permitted when a hazard exists in the bike lane.

Let’s stop misrepresenting this work and use it for what it really says: Get rid of Door Zone Bike Lanes!

GlenK
Guest
GlenK

Bravo; most studies of painted bike lanes still find that they produce some safety benefits over having no markings at all, mainly because of the greater consistency in passing distances they engender (the smallest distances observed in the Aust study were on streets with NO markings). Here’s my take: http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz/2019/04/26/do-closer-average-passes-mean-less-safe-cycling/

Champs
Guest
Champs

At 20MPH, you’re an elite sprinter, a faster-than-average cyclist, and extremely unlikely to have a fatal traffic collision. Just a thought here, but it seems like our bodies and brains are only evolved for the kind of speeds that humans can run.

Whatever good there is in a 30MPH e-bike, it is hard to imagine it outweighing the bad.

Andrew Kreps
Guest
Andrew Kreps

I could say the same thing about a family sedan that’s capable of 150mph.

hotrodder
Guest
hotrodder

This is a quote from the (some might say) typically selfish ebike article:

“Investors think the company might be right — at least, they think it might be right for a certain type of customer who wants to get to where she is going faster. ”

What? Hey, what happened to just leaving earlier, chilling out, Vision Zero?
Isn’t this the exact sort of behavior that has been vilified on this website when it pertains to car travel?

9watts
Subscriber

I know, right?

Jonathan, I’m curious for your response.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I don’t find 20 mph all that fast, and I’m definitely no elite sprinter. However, terrain makes all the difference; I might be able to stick to 20 for a minute or so on flat ground, but I do go much faster on even slight downhills. The real key is context. Would I go 30 mph down hill on a crowded or limited-visibility MUP? No. Would I pass a kid on a bike the same way I would pass an adult? No. Does the intoxicating rush of high-speed e-bike travel induce unsafe operation around slower cyclists or pedestrians? I don’t know. Have I ever ridden an e-bike? No.

The real trouble with “fast” e-bikes is not necessarily the raw speed, but the seemingly unnatural speed a “bicycle” like this can attain. I can usually identify the e-bikes I see because they look overly-heavy and clunky, with great huge knobby tires, yet fly along with no pedaling or an unnaturally slow pedal cadence—and the riders are usually way overdressed (subjective, I know). Do drivers with no riding experience have the ability to see a bike coming and properly judge its speed based on whether it is an e-bike going 30 or an old-fashioned bike going 15? If an untrained driver sees two bikes side-by-side, can they tell at a glance whether they are two riders going the same “normal” bike speed, or whether one is a 30-mph e-bike passing a poor shlub on an ATP-driven, 19th-century contraption?

It seems like super-fast bikes would mess with the assumptions and challenge the judgment of drivers and other VRUs alike.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Sorry e-bikes fans, it’s time for Motorized Bicycles to be licensed, registered, and insured. I can imagine a fair number of these belonging to persons who don’t own a car, therefore are not insured for liability, at all. I can also imagine a mamma and two babies in a stroller using the bike path on Powell (no sidewalk available) getting cut down by someone using the bike lane at 30 mph. I’m going to begin lobbying city, state & federal reps.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I am sure you will be pleased to learn that 30 mph ebikes already do you have all of the requirements you suggest.

q
Guest
q

The 30 mph ebikes certainly present complications for classification, where they should ride, etc. due to their speed. But it seems like the complications and problems arise if they’re viewed as bikes. That is, I’ve never had a problem with 20 mph ebikes in a bike lane, or going past me when I’m walking my dog on the Willamette Greenway Trail. But I don’t think 30 mph ebikes should mix with people on a trail in a park, or in a busy bike lane. You could theoretically have a 20 mph speed limit for them in those places, but I’m not sure that would work.

But if they’re on the street, as a replacement for a car, why not? The extra 10 mph is significant because it means people can ride in the lane on most streets, like a moped, scooter (Vespa-type), etc.

Basically, they seem worse than bikes but better than cars.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

the view that has been pitched heavily is that safest means to mix modes is to slow down traffic …not to speed up the VRUs.

q
Guest
q

Having ebikes capable of 30 mph doesn’t preclude slowing traffic down. Cars go a lot faster than 20 mph also. The ebike rider can go 30 mph on a 30 mph street, then slow to 20 or less on slower streets.

I’m not really pushing for them. I’d never want one myself. I’m just trying to think the arguments through. I can also see where logically they should work (for instance the idea they can go slower where needed) but in practice they won’t (people will go 30 mph on places like shared trails where that speed isn’t safe, even if there’s a 20 mph or slower limit).