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The Monday Roundup: Seattle tragedy, defund traffic police, VanMoof’s ad, and more

Posted by on July 6th, 2020 at 10:39 am

Vehicular violence: A man sped past a closed section of freeway in Seattle and intentionally drove his vehicle into peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors. He hit two people. One person, Summer Taylor (on left in lead image), died from their injuries and the other person, Diaz Love, is still hospitalized. Seattle Police arrested Dawit Kelete and charged him with two counts of vehicular assault.

No more traffic police, Part 1: A budget proposal in Berkeley, California could make them the first city to redirect traffic law enforcement funds away from police and toward unarmed city staff.

No more traffic police, Part 2: City councilors in Los Angeles have also proposed taking traffic law enforcement out of the hands of armed police. Their proposal would increase the use of automated cameras and use department of transportation employees to issue citations instead of armed cops.

Self-enforcing: There are a lot of traffic laws that make no sense for armed police response. This article from Fast Company says automated cameras and better infrastructure design could help further minimize the need for police.

French faux-pas: The Government of France is so afraid of the e-bike revolution they forced VanMoof to stop airing a brilliant ad (below), saying it denigrates the auto industry and creates anxiety among the populace.


Racism in transportation goes national: NPR’s Weekend Edition show featured a segment on how America’s transportation system is rooted in discrimination against Black and brown people.

Relax, don’t pass: A study based in Portland found that there was no significant increase in congestion or emissions when people in cars opted to wait behind bicycle riders on roads without bike lanes, instead of passing them dangerously.

Riding for justice: “We’re like the moving billboard for Black Lives Matter. We can literally take it from borough to borough, all in one day, and make our message heard,” the leader of Brooklyn-based Street Riders NYC told The Guardian about the booming popularity of their protest rides.

Clark County bike boom: Our northern neighbors are experiencing a pandemic-related increase in bike sales and riding.

Video of the Week: Street Riders NYC via Streetfilms

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Kyle Banerjee

“Bicycles do not reduce passenger car speeds by more than 1 mph”

I’d be surprised if it were nearly that high given that they’ll just catch up with the next vehicle a few seconds later.

Blows my mind how many people will do a fast pass literally a few yards before encountering a line of stopped cars — i.e. I wind up passing them back literally less than a 1/2 second later.

Matthew in PDX
Matthew in PDX

Personally, I would support the widespread use of traffic enforcement cameras. I would likely end up with a few citations, although I make a conscious effort to follow all traffic laws, sometimes I slip up. However, when cycling, I feel much safer if motorized road users are held accountable for their actions.

Racer X

Per “Government of France is so afraid of the e-bike revolution”: related to this is that the French government is fearful that with an environmental push to lower demand for automobiles then this along with the recent flood of Chinese built (lower cost) cars that the French will loose another leg of its industrial / tech institutional foundation…gone like its language dominance. These loss of jobs will likely hit the “yellow vest” population thus creating additional rebellion in its middle tier cities/ rule

David Hampsten
David Hampsten

Clark County Bike Boom: North Carolina, like Oregon & Washington, is a state that requires masks in all places where social distancing is impossible, though our actual compliance rate is probably a lot lower than that in the Pacific Northwest. The biggest set of exceptions to all our new state Covid-19 laws and local executive orders has been related to bicycling: officially no masks are required nor confinement at home as long as you are riding recreationally (and who’s going argue if you aren’t?) So we too have seen an unprecedented increase in bicycling, sales, and parts shortages, especially as we don’t have Portland’s wondrous weird tradition of informal parts sales and supply (i.e. illegal chop shops). I work locally with a nonprofit that gives donated bikes to local immigrants, refugees, and inner-city youth, and we’ve seen a huge steady surge in bike donations since late March, far greater than most years; as with Bike Clark County, we’ve even sold enough of the nicer bikes to pay for our program for the rest of the year and into 2021 (we are all-volunteer without paid staff.)


According to some French commenters on another cycling website, it’s against French law for an ad to attack other products, so they could have legitimate reasons for banning the VanMoof video. However, their response didn’t appear to address this part of it, so it really does make the decision seem more questionable. Good publicity for VanMoof, though!


Re: Vehicular Violence … I’ve been glad to see BikePortland covering the story of protesters being attacked with deadly vehicular weapons, really from the start of the George Floyd related protests, when hardly anyone else has been covering it. The Guardian ran a story about a month ago, and they have now posted another: I think the trend has been going for a few years now – we had a high-profile incident here in Minneapolis during the Dakota Access protests, for example, though there were no fatalities in that one – but it is hard not to conclude that the trend is much worse this time.

I hope increased awareness of this problem is followed by toughened-up laws. Fortunately Washington has a vehicular homicide statute, and it’s my understanding that Summer Taylor’s killer will be prosecuted under it. (Full-disclosure side note: I once served on a vehicular homicide jury in King County. The law is usually used for DUI fatalities, but can be also used in reckless driving incidents).