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The Monday Roundup: E-bike rebates, Major Taylor in the spotlight, a very long walk, and more

Posted by on June 24th, 2019 at 9:28 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by Wheelhouse Lofts. Just steps away from the Springwater Corridor, you can live in a place that welcomes you and your bike with open arms.

Here are the most notable items we came across in the past week…

LPIs FTW: Seattle’s DOT has announced that leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs), which give crosswalk users get a head-start into an intersection, are now the preferred treatment whenever a signal is upgraded, maintained, or installed.

E-bike rebates: The province of British Columbia in Canada has a policy that Oregon should have passed this session: People can get an $850 rebate toward the purchase of a new electric bicycle when they scrap their toxic, gas-powered cars.

Ped-E-cabs: People who operate pedicabs hope the recently passed e-bike legislation in New York City gives them a chance to lift the existing ban on motors on their large, people-carrying vehicles.

Our road safety crisis: Streetsblog crunched the 2018 traffic fatality numbers and they paint a devastating picture of inequity: Biking and walking deaths are up; but fewer people inside cars were killed.

I-5 project is a boondoggle: OSPIRG, an environmental group, released their annual report on highway boondoggles and of course the I-5 Rose Quarter freeway expansion project made it on the list.


Major Taylor gets his due: NPR’s venerable Fresh Air interview show featured author Michael Kranish who has written a new book on the race barrier-breaking-sports-superstar-cyclist Major Taylor.

Grand Tour on an e-bike: As electrified bicycles creep ever closer into mainstream acceptance, organizers offered an e-bike race on the same course as the legendary Giro d’Italia.

E-bike study: Recent research on people who switched to e-bikes from driving/transit or standard bikes revealed (among other things) that because they take longer trips on average, e-bikes users get the same net physical benefits as non-e-bike riders.

Manhattanites on bikes: An observational study of people riding bikes in Manhattan found that cell phone use while cycling has shot up in recent years.

City-killers: The reliable George Monbiot had me with his lede: “What is the best way of wrecking a city? Pour cars into it.”

Take a (looong) walk: The mind-boggling Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Race requires participants to walk around one block in Queens, New York 5,649 times. It’s like the Ladds 500 on steroids, times a thousand.

Dream a little dream: Check out these inspiring and lovely photos of the best bike infrastructure in the world that are part of the Bicycle Architecture Biennale competition being held in Amsterdam

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

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Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy

I really regret not trying to ride the Mortirolo when I was in Bormio. The weather was bad and I was shot from having ridden the Stelvio and Gavia in the days before.

Some day! And hopefully not on a e-bike, either.


Fantastic news about e-bikes. Recently purchased a couple for myself and husband, and have been enjoying ditching the car and commuting to work more often (and not arriving covered in sweat!). Would love to get some money back on that.


While I have definitely left my truck parked twice as often, my eBikes won’t 100% replace my Tacoma or bicycle. I still got stuff to haul, 6 bags of groceries or more to toodle home, and passengers to get from SE to places like Molalla and Astoria.
But it’s undeniable that I’ve gone from driving my auto at least 5 days a week, and pedaling about 10-12 total miles on weekends, to pedaling with power 3-4 days a week, averaging 18-20 miles per day whenever mission and weather allow for it, and just throwing a bag or two of groceries in the luggage more often


Why limit the rebate program to ebikes? All bikes should be eligible, FFS.


E-bikes already have mainstream acceptance.
It seems to me like the only haters are other (traditional) cyclists.


After looking at the sketches and photos of current and proposed bike infrastructure in various places in europe it makes me face up to something I have suspecting for a long time now. Despite the declarations from government and cheerleaders in the media we are no longer a first world country. We have squandered our wealth on rackets in education, healthcare, transportation, banking , housing and the military and no longer have the will or the means to achieve world class standards in anything that matters outside of sports and entertainment.

Josh Berezin
Josh Berezin

I read the study about “cyclists using phones.” Unsurprisingly, the New York Post headline and photograph are misleading. The study didn’t address whether people were “using phones” in the manner depicted. It did count how many people were riding while wearing headphones or earbuds.

The study also looked at lots of other behaviors like wrong-way riding, behavior at red lights, bike lane use, and helmet use. It broke behaviors down by cyclist type (general rider vs commercial rider vs CitiBike rider) and gender.

It’d be interesting to compare these results to those of Portland. I’d hypothesize that the generally better bike infrastructure in Portland leads to better compliance in wrong-way riding, red light behavior, and bike lane use. Anyone got data to compare to?


My e-bike has saved me over $1500 in gas in the last 2 years, plus I was able to negotiate a modest discount on my auto insurance (State Farm) since my car mostly sits in the driveway… My daily e-bike commute still requires vigorous exercise, I’m just going faster now. 11 miles in 35 minutes, about 10 minutes more than if I was driving. When there’s heavy traffic I’m home faster than if I actually drove my car…


The bike infrastructure examples are inspiring.

What caught my eye were the dynamic, curving shapes, which fit with how bikes move. In comparison, sadly, we’re still building bike facilities that don’t even acknowledge that bikes don’t make 90-degree turns.

I’m thinking in particular of the Sellwood Bridge’s long, westside switchback ramp that consists of two bleak, long straightaways connected by a 180-degree turn, but there are plenty of other examples. Hardly anything to be excited about.

In comparison to some of these examples that celebrate movement, Portland is still building bike infrastructure projects that require people to get off their bikes and walk.


The article on the rise of ped/cyclist deaths, while car deaths have decreased, has a comment that should inspire a whole series of investigations! It deserves to be quoted in full:

Mark R. Brown says:
June 19, 2019 at 11:53 am
Some observation as a frequent cyclist/pedestrian and as a professional planner:

-Cars are bigger and more powerful than ever which encourages speeding and makes drivers feel more disconnected from the street.
-Bumpers are higher, placing them directly at ped/cyclist torso level.
-Drivers are more distracted than ever. It’s not even the texting – it’s the constant looking at nav maps for even the shortest trips.
-Navigation apps, including the ones Uber/Lyft drivers use, are bringing higher-speed through traffic onto local residential streets where peds/cyclists don’t expect it.
-Younger people (and older ones) want to walk and cycle more and are doing so even on streets that aren’t designed for it.
-The traffic engineering profession still prioritizes traffic speed over multi-modal safety at many levels of government.