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The Monday Roundup: Safe streets for whom?, cars as weapons, the right to march, and more

Posted by on June 8th, 2020 at 9:59 am

Welcome to the week.

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

Vehicular violence: A man drove his car into protestors in Seattle last night in what is just the latest in a worrying rise of vehicular violence across the country.

Safe streets for whom?: Anthropologist and planner Destiny Thomas says transportation and urban planning, “Must no longer exist in service of white comfort, with no regard for the bodies that carry the burden of protest when Black lives are lost in the streets.”

Path rage: A 60-year-old white man riding on a popular bike path in Washington D.C. assaulted several teens who were putting up posters related to the killing of George Floyd. After a video of the incident went viral he was found and arrested.

Stranded: Whether to suspend transit service during a major protest is a much more difficult decision than you might think.

Bikes in Africa: This photo gallery of Zambian women farmers who use bicycles to cart their products to market will brighten your day.

Police reform now: In a massive development that illustrates the power of protest, Minneapolis city council is poised to dismantle their existing police force.

Open streets: Shabazz Stuart argues in Streetsblog that streets play a vital role as gathering spaces during demonstrations and governments should not impinge our right to march on them.

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Police bikes: As police nationwide use their bicycles as weapons against protestors, the parent company of Fuji Bikes announced they’d end sales to law enforcement agencies. Fuji now says they’re in talks with police leaders about the issue.

Transportation and racism: “There is not one issue, problem or system that we work on in social justice/civil rights or in policymaking that does not encompass ending racism,” says Dara Baldwin in this persuasive essay aimed at transportation reform advocates.

Shut it down: People who live on the North Portland Peninsula shut down the St. Johns Bridge Sunday, and used the carfree space to dance and chant against racism and police brutality.

Cycling’s big moment: “Turning cities like London or New York into so many Copenhagens will be less of a sprint, more several Tours de France,” says The Economist in this story about the pandemic-fueled global bike boom.

Thread of the Week: Some local and well-known transportation planners weighed in on this question posted by planner and researcher Charles Brown about white silence.

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

It seems like what the pandemic bike boom emphasizes more than anything is that the main thing holding mass adoption of cycling back the is fear of being killed or injured by careless clowns in speeding automobiles. So we can’t just promote cycling we have to work to phase out the scourge that is the private automobile. The earth and its future inhabitants will thank us.

X
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X

Following the Streetsblog link to Shabazz Stuart’s article, I also saw this:
https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2020/06/04/its-not-your-bike-anymore-police-swipe-bikes-at-black-lives-matter-march/

Jason H
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Jason H

https://www.defundbikepolice.com “A tool of freedom or violence” discusses the militarization of Bike Police and their bikes and how they have become a focal point of the overwhelmingly unproportionate violent response to peaceful protest, and includes a link to a petition to defund all such units. Read the page and come to your own conclusions.

Me, I’d like to see all police bike manufacturers step up like Fuji. Hey Trek, how does the cover image on that page make you feel? Seeing your logo literally violently shoved into the faces of those just asking for equality?

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

A few thoughts about Minneapolis’ vote yesterday to “dismantle” our PD:
– This is a commitment to change, not yet a specific proposal to shut down the department right away. It will take months of planning and years of execution.
– Contrary to frantic spin in the right-wing mindspace, it does not mean we are going to be completely without an armed law enforcement presence, with criminals roaming the streets and victimizing people at will. Of course it will be sometimes be necessary to send in armed officers. Duh. Whether this means shutting down our department to get out from under the oppressive police union contract and reconstituting a new, smaller city-led force, or reverting to the county for enforcement, is not yet clear. Camden and Compton both did the latter, but that doesn’t mean it’s what we will do.
– I admit I went “huh?” when I first heard calls for “dismantle,” “defund” and “abolish” two weeks ago. Turns out communities of color have been proposing reimagined public safety departments for years. MPD150.com, which examines the sordid 150-year history of the MPD and has (sometimes vague) answers to frequent questions, is a good starting point.
– Police defenders have always been complaining that officers often end up being more social workers than law enforcers, and they’re not trained for what they have to do. Okay, let’s send in people who are trained for it: a lot of 911 calls could be better answered by social workers, or psychologists, or dogcatchers, or relationship counselors. In particular to that last idea, sending law enforcement to every “domestic disturbance” disincentivizes victims of domestic abuse from seeking help early, before things spin out of control. Having an easier way for victims to seek help without automatically escalating to law enforcement could actually make a dent.
– Of course the question “how you gonna pay for it?” rears its head, but consider this: the Minneapolis Police Department’s annual budget is $193 million (not including the contract work they do for various organizations around town). LAPD’s is $2 billion. NYPD’s is $5 billion. Those are staggering amounts of money, which means police agencies are staggeringly inefficient at keeping the lid on crime. There is definitely room to redirect some of that funding to efforts that will produce better results for less money.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

Fuji is one of those Taiwanese companies like KHS and Giant that produces bikes for other unrelated brands. I have a cheap Fuji 29er MTB hydroform aluminum frame from a bike I bought at Performance, then stripped down and rebuilt as a fast 1×10 bike – it works quite well.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

From https://www.policebikestore.com/:

We have a large selection of Fuji bikes in stock in our warehouse that are ready for immediate shipment.

For over 15 years, we have been committed to serving the Law Enforcement Community with quality Police Bikes and Accessories. We can provide your department with as many bicycles as required. Whether you need one bike for a single patrol officer, a dozen bikes for a unit, or hundreds for an entire base or force, we can supply you with quality mountain bikes and accessories that are specially designed for the day-to-day riding and demands that a Police officer places upon a bike.

Although our main focus is Law Enforcement, we also regularly supply EMS, Park Ranger, Security and all other types of bike patrols.

In addition to Police Bikes, we also offer a complete line of Accessories. We work factory direct with many of the brands we carry which allows us to offer high quality products, designed specifically for bike patrols at very affordable prices.

Why Does A Department need a Police Bicycle Division?
A bicycle allows a police officer or security agent to be closer to the people, and to travel where cars can not reach. This can be great for downtown areas and public events, where a bicycle allows an officer to see more of their surroundings and what is occurring. The visibility of a bicycle patrol can reduce crime and is a very stealthy way to approach people not expecting law enforcement to be on a bike. A bicycle division is great for morale, fitness, and also provides the officer with the ability to interact with the community on a more personal level.

chris m
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chris m

The Destiny Thomas article is interesting. That said, I do not understand this:

If you want to ban cars, start by banning racism. Planners should make an intentional effort to address scarcity across all modes of transportation so as to empower freedom of movement and choice in mobility. This should include free assistive devices, bikes and bike accessories, free transit, subsidized rideshare, and economically equitable access to zero-emissions vehicles. Until Black people are no longer being hunted down by vigilantes, white supremacists and rogue police, private vehicles should be accepted as a primary mode of transportation.

Racial profiling from traffic stops has been a huge problem forever! Philando Castile, Walter Scott, and Sandra Bland all died after traffic stops… George Floyd was also in his SUV when the police encountered him. Perhaps there is evidence that being in a car protects Black people from police violence, but it is definitely not so obvious that you can just assume it’s true.

Toby Keith
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Toby Keith

The Zambia story is pretty awesome.

Paul
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Paul

Hit a paywall with the Economist article.

Aaron
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Aaron

That article about the cyclist assulting kids was super sad. Then I saw this one… Interesting if you use Strava… Or just like to ride your bike and mind your business.
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/amp/2020/06/what-its-like-to-get-doxed-for-taking-a-bike-ride.html