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The Monday Roundup: Micro-lanes, food courier life, flying free and more

Posted by on July 22nd, 2019 at 10:16 am

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

Life of a food courier: A NY Times journalist worked delivering food by bike in the Big Apple and lived to offer this fascinating report about it.

How to price: Last week Portland established a congestion pricing task force and now there’s a plan from Seattle that offers a blueprint for how to implement this sensitive policy in a way that both eases gridlock and the economic hit to people with lower incomes.

No rust or bust: Popular Mechanics puts a “rust-proof bike” to the test.

Seattle safety struggle: Our sister city to the north is not doing enough to tame drivers and their motorized beasts and the result is a rate of deaths and injuries going in the wrong direction.

Whose “micro-lane”? Noteworthy thoughts from a planner about how the micro-robot/AI industry has designs on using lanes currently used (almost) exclusively by bicycle riders.

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More on those robots: And Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter says the new demands on bike lanes could result in more advocacy to make them wider and better — and that would be a good thing.

Free parking (for scooters): Mr. Parking Reform Donald Shoup said in an interview with Bird one way to improve the e-scooter parking conundrum is to start charging more to park cars.

The truth behind the hate: The NYC-based Gothamist delves into the old question of why so many Americans express hate toward bicycle riders, and offers some solutions to shift that psychology.

Knew this would happen: As cars get more “smart” tech, many people just get dumber (and less safe) while using them.

No more fees: Hallelujah! Another major airline (Delta) has dropped automatic fees for bicycle bags.

Tweet of the Week:
https://twitter.com/twjpdx23/status/1152418952565231616

Congratulations! You’re caught up. Thanks to everyone to sent in suggestions.

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

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mh
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Jonathan, the link to the Shoup interview takes me to a blank screen.

bikeninja
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bikeninja

I think the Tech Bro’s that are planning on putting food delivery robots in bike lanes have spent too much time driving around in Tesla’s and not enough time cycling in an actual bike lane. As we know bike lanes stop and start, don’t have access across the curb on many blocks, etc. The the guidance task to navigate the uncertain ( and poorly mapped) bike lane/sidewalk/road inter-relations would be greater hurdle than many think. Dudes, just wait till you have the flying delivery robots figured out, till then leave the lanes to the cyclists.

Jon
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Jon

It looks like Oregon is one of the top 10 LEAST regressive when it comes to taxes mainly because we don’t have a sales tax and mostly rely on income and property taxes. (https://itep.org/whopays/) Thus a congestion pricing scheme in Portland should be a no brainer. Lets get the tolls going ASAP! According to the article about Seattle congestion charges Washington state has the most regressive tax system in the country so tolls in the city might have more of an impact on the poor. Overall more tolls are great since it forces drivers to start paying for all the externalities created by driving cars.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

I’m not sure I see that the “rust-proof” bike in the PM article is that special. It’s got an aluminum frame, aluminum handlebar (often NOT the case on cruiser-type bikes), a belt drive and an internally geared hub. Except for the belt drive there are millions of bikes like this already on the streets of America. Even the article concedes that it still has lots of steel bolts that are rusting, and that the front brake is not rustproof (for a few bucks more the bike could have included a front hub brake – which I have on one of my bikes, and it works great in all conditions).

For the record, I’ve now ridden through 4 Minnesota winters on a $700 mountain bike, exposing my bike to conditions that are at least as corrosive as storing a bike near the surf. My bike gets literally bathed in salty grime all winter, and I only wash it once in the spring. Of course the frame and handlebar are aluminum, which is probably the most important thing, and when I converted it to drop handlebars I went with full-length brake and shift cables. But I don’t have belt drive (or an IGH), because I like the versatility of a derailer drivetrain. If you really want to do ZERO maintenance on your bike go the former route; but personally, even as a lazy ride-hard-and-put-away-wet kind of guy I don’t find it a major inconvenience to lube the chain every few weeks and spend $12 to replace it once a year.

I keep expecting things to go wrong from all this abuse, but they don’t. The only significant corrosion-related mechanical issue is that the adjustment knobs on my mechanical disc brakes are seized. Eventually I’ll replace them with the BB7S model, which has stainless internals. Also, the spokes (not stainless) on my cheap wheelset are starting to show some surface rust, though they still seem strong. Maybe I’ll drop $100 on a replacement set after my 5th winter. But other than that, everything’s been great. Derailer still shifts great, no bolts are frozen … basically the bike looks and rides like it’s almost new.

So yes there are ways to make bikes – including maybe a bike you already own – highly weather-resistant, but it doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy this bike. In fact you may already have an inexpensive bike that will work fine in the weather. As Grant put it: Just Ride.

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

RE Knew this would happen:

Did it happen? The survey reports a correlation between high tech cars and cell phone use, but makes no attempt to show causality. Perhaps people with the means/desire to purchase cars with advanced safety features (i.e. expensive cars) also feel under pressure to be always present at their jobs, thus they use the phone more in the car? Perhaps they invest more in their car because they spend more time in them and thus are more likely to use their phone while driving? Hard to say what is going on.

Correlation is not causation (unless you think there’s a connection between cheese consumption and bedsheet entanglement deathscomment image). Unless there’s more to it than what is written up in the chipper summary, this study does not show that as drivers get more assistive tech they also take more risks. They might, but we’ll need a different study to know for sure.

Oh, and the data came from an online survey, so you know it’s solid.

bikeninja
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bikeninja

The the “snapshot” takeaway from this weeks roundup is that auto users are becoming dumber and more distracted, are causing deaths and injuries to themselves and others at an increasing rate and are too lazy to cook or get food themselves so they need robots to bring it to them, yet they are angry with the most virtuous and low impact citizens in town (cyclists).

Toby Keith
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Toby Keith

There is already great scooter parking at the bottom of the Willamette river.

Mark smith
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Mark smith

The whole “why do people in cars hate people on bikes” cracks me up. It is so obvious but nobody and power will say it.

Driving , if we don’t stop the thought, immediately puts us in lizard brain mode. Why? Because we have overwhelming power. Even a Prius has the power to go faster than our ancestors ever imagined.

Now, I know this because I drive a semi truck. And believe you me, I have lizard thoughts all the time. Especially if I am under the gun time wise. And I know that I am piloting an instrument of death.

If we really confronted the fact that just driving a car makes us essentially part sociopathic, cars would be heavily regulated. Like guns. But they don’t say it so instead they write cute essays that mean nothing.

Vince
Guest
Vince

Free bikes on Delta? Someone needs to tell the gate agents at PDX. Just got back from. Trip, and despite the fact that the Delta website says that bikes are welcome, I still got hit by the fee. Spent hours getting bike to specified size and weight. Gate agents were downright rude to boot! On the other hand, TSA was great on the bike inspection . @delta @dal