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The Monday Roundup: Behind the lines, say “pannier”, climate crisis framing, and more

Posted by on May 20th, 2019 at 9:03 am

Welcome to the week. Lots to get to. But first: We must know our history.

This week’s edition is sponsored by Rack Attack, where you go to figure out what bike rack is right for your car.

Behind the lines: Don’t miss the latest War on Cars episode where co-host Aaron Naparstek infiltrates the New York Auto Show to bring you all the absurdities and ironies of peak car culture.

Dirty tricks: The Oregonian reported that the University of Oregon and Oregon Health & Science University help bankroll a group that is trying to kill Governor Kate Brown’s climate change bill.

Language matters: Excellent decision from The Guardian to start using more direct and accurate language on vital environmental topics.

Dooring prevention: Uber is trying decrease the amount of dooring incidents their drivers and passengers cause with in-app notifications and driver training.

Ride of Silence: There was no such ride in Portland this year, but that didn’t stop Vancouverites from hosting the memorial ride that aims to raise awareness of riders who have been killed.

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Tesla mess: Not sure what’s more galling to me about these NTSB findings: the fact that Tesla uses humans as guinea pigs; there’s seems to be no federal safety oversight of this shit; or that the “autopilot” mode allowed the car to go over the posted speed limit.

Self police: Leader of a free-market think tank — and 50-year bicycle commuter — penned an editorial in The New York Daily News saying that bicycle riders should welcome more enforcement of cycling traffic laws.

MTBs and trail damage: This piece from Adventure Journal explains how bicycles have less impact on properly built singletrack trails than you might think (required reading for many Portlanders who don’t understand this simple concept).

Cross-country low-stress: What if you could ride cross-country on carfree rail-trails? That’s the vision behind the Great America Rail Trail, a 3,700 vision launched by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy last week.

Slow cars, fast food: Burger King says they will roll out delivery to hungry people stuck in traffic jams.

Video of the Week: Check out Path Less Pedaled’s latest video about the roots and correct pronunciation of the word “pannier”:

— 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

45 Comments
  • Avatar
    John Lascurettes May 20, 2019 at 9:33 am

    That War On Cars episode also has a section relevant to the Red Cup Project.

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    John Lascurettes May 20, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Love the video of the week. I geek on this sort of stuff a lot.

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      mh May 20, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      I’m so torn – I’ve been saying it the correct French way because I’m compulsive. I don’t speak French; can I justify it? Is it an affectation? That one guy was right – just avoid it.

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        q May 20, 2019 at 3:07 pm

        Yes, the correct pronunciation is “bike bag”.

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          Glenn II May 21, 2019 at 1:08 pm

          I pretty much just say “bag.” It’s the only bag I have, so there’s no need for further differentiation. Works well with my goal of reaching the “Dutch model” — i.e. having bicycling fade into the background and become normal and boring just like vacuuming.

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      mh May 20, 2019 at 3:42 pm

      Anyone all the way through the War on Cars podcast to catch the sponsor callout to Charlie Gee? Thank you!

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    Kittens May 20, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Skip to 12:45 to hear him says the word “Pannier”

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 20, 2019 at 10:01 am

      Thanks for posting that. Despite the clickbait title, it WAS what you think. Now excuse me while I get rid of this one vegetable that gut scientists are begging me to throw out (and it’s NOT what you think!)

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        Kittens May 20, 2019 at 10:17 am

        I went to youtube and found the video, YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT I DID NEXT!

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        GlowBoy May 20, 2019 at 12:37 pm

        Did you try that one weird trick, too?

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        Todd Boulanger May 20, 2019 at 12:47 pm

        Merde! Now all that I can says is the “pannier” is dead to me. Vive “sacoche!!” [And from a Boulanger that is tough.]

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        Glenn II May 21, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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    John Lascurettes May 20, 2019 at 9:56 am

    In the case of Tesla (or any other car attempting semi-autonomous driving), it should require at least one hand on the wheel, preferably two. The article even states that it detected that the driver’s hands were not on the wheel. It’s absurd that they’re allowed to release such a dangerous, unvetted system in the public domain.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 20, 2019 at 10:09 am

      I agree — they should be required to show their system is no more dangerous than a human driver.

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        Q May 20, 2019 at 10:33 am

        Oh look another glib sarcastic remark from this blog’s biggest fan.

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          Middle of the Road Guy May 20, 2019 at 1:49 pm

          How do you know BK is the biggest? Shoe size?

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            Q May 20, 2019 at 3:37 pm

            Because there’s a strong likelihood that you and he are the same unemployable person..

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              q May 20, 2019 at 3:52 pm

              ?

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        Chris I May 20, 2019 at 12:07 pm

        That’s a very low (and deadly) standard.

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      Jon May 20, 2019 at 11:01 am

      The Tesla system is basically a slightly more advanced adaptive cruise control with automatic braking. I have seen the system in use in a Tesla. Just like like any other automatic braking system it is not perfect but it is much safer than un-assisted driving. See this Consumer Reports article: https://www.consumerreports.org/automotive-technology/automatic-braking-reduces-car-crashes-injuries-iihs-study/
      USA Today also had an article that explains a bit why they are not perfect: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/05/29/tesla-uber-crashes-spotlight-automatic-emergency-braking-what-can-do/639261002/
      Personally I would like to see a lot more automated traffic enforcement. I don’t see why there are not 1000’s of speed cameras all over the state but giving Tesla grief over a system that is statistically safer not of much use. The headlines love to trumpet accidents like this for the “man bites dog” or bicyclist kills pedestrian but in reality it is just highlighting a fringe case.

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      bikeninja May 20, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      Teslas self driving danger does not bother me. It seems to represent a sort of Automotive Darwinism that will winnow out the ranks of the vain and gullible before they use up too many resources needed by the rest of us.

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      BikeSlobPDX May 20, 2019 at 1:03 pm

      Well they should never have called it an “autopilot”. But what’s more troubling to me is the thing was speeding. I’ve been hoping that automating cars would cut down on aggressive driving.

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        Johnny Bye Carter May 21, 2019 at 5:08 pm

        It’s possible that it was decelerating during the 10 seconds since it was activated.

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      Stephen Keller May 20, 2019 at 3:35 pm

      Actually, any semi-autonomous vehicle on the road today should require a guy in a white lab coat on donkey riding 20 to 30 yards ahead of said vehicle, blaring a klaxon as a warning to all road users, and especially those more vulnerable, to steer clear of an involuntary social experiment in progress.

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    bikeninja May 20, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Instead of delivering burgers to the windows of traffic bound motorists how about we do the planet a favor and just turn the highways in to housing. Then those who insist in sitting in living room on wheels to get to work can just reserve a space on the highway near where they work and stay in their stationary “living room on wheels” during the off hours of the work week and have food delivered to their roll up window. Then on friday they can hop on a train or folding bike or something and head out to their cabin in the burbs. Think of the time and gas we would save in addition to giving income opportunities to cyclists in the food delivery business and provide very safe side lanes for travel not menaced by speeding traffic.

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      CaptainKarma May 20, 2019 at 10:19 am

      As a child way back in the previous century, I read a kid book where-in the entire world had become paved over and everybody lived in roving Winnebagos. Written before Winnebagos had even become a thing. If anybody remembers that story, I’d like to know how it turned out.

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        Dave May 20, 2019 at 12:58 pm

        The Winnebago story was written by someone who was anticipating 21st century low-income housing as the ultimate result of under controlled free markets in real property.

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    Al May 20, 2019 at 10:25 am

    While I agree that Tesla should not be allowed to beta test their products on not just their customers who presumably signed off on a lot of end user agreements that they pretended to read but the rest of us as well, I’m here to make the point that trucks should have side panels on their trailers which extend down to the road surface. This would have prevented both Tesla accidents as the problem is that Tesla’s sensors didn’t see the trailers due to the empty space underneath. Such side skirts also prevent cyclists from getting sucked under the rear wheels of the trailer.

    Trailers used to not have Mansfield bars, and when the law went into effect, early bars used to be just for show offering very little protection. We need another Mansfield bar type political effort to get trailer side skirts implemented.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 20, 2019 at 11:48 am

      I had not heard about Mansifeld bars, and read a bit more. It’s a gruesome history, and the crash videos in this article give me the willies:

      https://jalopnik.com/mansfield-bars-on-trucks-arent-all-terrifying-garbage-a-1792910886

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 20, 2019 at 11:59 am

      “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

      Regarding the auto show “infiltration”, it sounds like War on Cars is still in the ignore phase, but it’s an interesting listen.

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        John Lascurettes May 20, 2019 at 12:20 pm

        I’ve been listening to the podcast ever since Jonathan first mentioned it and it’s been a good subscription

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      Dave May 20, 2019 at 12:57 pm

      The American Big 3 car makers as well as European and Japanese companies have had test facilities and have rented auto racing circuits for testing as well–what’s with the self driving car companies that they have to inflict their half-baked fantasy products on us on public roads?

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        Al May 20, 2019 at 1:38 pm

        Tesla is currently selling what they call their “full self driving” system. They are already taking money for a product which is being promised as being available “next year”. If there’s one thing that Tesla can’t do is meet a timeline and the autonomous industry itself is now backing away from claims that full self driving is achievable within a decade.

        The problem with Tesla isn’t so much the product that they are releasing but the fact that their product naming is setting a certain expectation with their customers that the product can’t actually deliver. Names like “autopilot” and “full self driving” don’t mean to Tesla what they mean to drivers who hear these names. This gap in expectation and reality is what is getting people literally killed. Also, drivers are not professional pilots. New features like this are likely to get misused and abused. Just look to youtube to see what people are doing with Tesla’s autopilot which is no more than a system of lane keeping and adaptive cruise control intended for use on one way interstate highways.

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          Jon May 20, 2019 at 2:23 pm

          Oddly enough the first modern “cruise control” on cars was also called “auto pilot” according to Wikipedia. “Modern cruise control (also known as a speedostat or tempomat) was invented in 1948 by the inventor and mechanical engineer Ralph Teetor.[1] His idea was borne out of the frustration of riding in a car driven by his lawyer, who kept speeding up and slowing down as he talked. The first car with Teetor’s system was the 1958 Imperial (called “Auto-pilot”) using a speed dial on the dashboard.”

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    David Hampsten May 20, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    I thought every city did a Ride of Silence. Even super conservative Greensboro NC did one on Wednesday evening, with over 150 participants including all 12 bike police (and several more on motorcycles and in cars blocking traffic.) To hear the Portland didn’t do one is kinda shocking.

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      russ willis May 20, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      Having pretty much singlehandedly organized the thing for three or four years when I lived in Portland, and never getting even a hundred folks to ride, I can readily believe it. There is or was a certain complacency among the bike “community.” Wouldna happened at all if I had not stepped in, didn’t happen after I stepped away.

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        B. Carfree May 20, 2019 at 11:47 pm

        Maybe it’s complacency, and maybe it’s a form of advocacy. Is it really a good thing to annually make a big point about how deadly cycling is (when it’s not)? If there is such a thing as safety in numbers, and certainly at the extreme there is since if one gets everyone cycling one has naturally gotten all the killers in cars disarmed, then anything that depresses riding is not a good thing.

        Should I ever die on my bike, please don’t remember me with a somber ride of silence. Rather, go out and ride with the kind of unstoppable joy that has kept me on my bike all these decades. Go ride out into the forest and have a picnic under a cougar (I’ve done that a couple of times). Do a bike tour without a route, just a start and end. Ride to your local coffee shop and enjoy a cup. Bring a friend or granddaughter or whoever. Whatever ride brings you joy, do one for me, and then another just because.

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    David Hampsten May 20, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Who knew that bike bags were over 800 years old? News to me.

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    B. Carfree May 20, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    The autopilot thing reminds me of something. Whatever it’s called (lane keeper, lane assist, auto pilot), the features in these new cars pose a problem for cyclists who don’t take the lane. You might ride near the fog line, thinking it’s fine for an overtaking motorist to do a partial lane change to safely pass you. That may have worked fine in the past, but newer cars can actually steer the car right back into you. It assumes the driver has drifted over the center line and “corrects” at just the wrong time.

    Lanes are binary. They are either wide enough for a motorist to safely pass while fully in the lane or they aren’t. (I’m counting the shoulder here, though one is not required to do so.)

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  • Rivelo
    Rivelo May 21, 2019 at 6:45 am

    Another great Russ Roca video. For me, though, the central mystery regarding “pan-yurs” is NOT how to pronounce the word, but WHY so many commuters ride around with only ONE of them?!?!?

    Once you load more than a pound of stuff in one of those Off-Side Hangers, it requires significant “correction,” either consciously or unconsciously, to ride a balanced bicycle.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BjqPbU2hwTH/

    I’ll take a front mounted basket and a bag any day. Keeps my cargo evenly center-mounted, and away from the Spinning Wheel of Road Grime, high and dry.

    Friend and customer, Isaac, shows how it’s done:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bf__yvQAOoR/

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      Al May 21, 2019 at 8:29 am

      I’m one of those commuters with a single pan-YAY! It sounds so happy to say that. Like, “Yay, I don’t have a backpack on my sweaty back while I ride.” I typically have my clothes to change in it but I’ve loaded it up with stuff before and it takes A LOT to make the bike feel unwieldy. Maybe your problem is you’re mounting them on 15 pound bikes? If you put it on a proper commuter that weighs 40 pounds, you won’t even know it’s there.

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      El Biciclero May 21, 2019 at 10:52 am

      I kinda have to have two bags, because I have a lot of stuff I like to have on my longer commute. I have a “dirty” bag, with rain gear, lock, spare tubes, tools and stuff, and a “clean” bag for my clothes, lunch, etc. I’ve heard that using a single bag doesn’t necessarily cause balance issues for the rider, but it can put awkward torque on one’s rack, causing premature rack failure. Just what I hear. The only trouble I have with my cheapo aluminum rack is that my panniers will eventually grind through the tubing at contact points—I need a new rack every few years.

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  • Rivelo
    Rivelo May 21, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Completely AGREE about backpacks, Al!

    My commute bike weighs in somewhere close to yours, I’m pretty sure. Here’s my set-up:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BSEEUshA1Kb/

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    mark smith May 23, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Hello, Kitty
    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”Regarding the auto show “infiltration”, it sounds like War on Cars is still in the ignore phase, but it’s an interesting listen.Recommended 1

    I guess when one is secretly in love with the car, then one might feel that way.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 23, 2019 at 11:07 am

      I take it then that you didn’t listen to the story — listen to the first couple of minutes, and you’ll understand my comment.

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