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The Monday Roundup: E-bike grants, #BanWhiteUrbanism, racist traffic signals, and more

Posted by on July 13th, 2020 at 10:51 am

Here are the most notable stories we came across in the past seven days…

That NY Times article: A widely shared and visually stunning NY Times opinion piece about banning cars in cities showed how far the once-bold idea of carfree/low-car cities has come thanks in part to the pandemic and demands for more public space. But the article also touched off a debate from some urbanists who saw it as just another example of top-down visioning that erases the lived experience of Black people and criticized its failure to mention how racist policies and the lives of people with disabilities might be intertwined with and influenced by such a dramatic re-structuring of public space. (See #BanWhiteUrbanism and tweets from @bambinoir and @defergusson on Twitter.)

Rent a fiets: A Dutch company Forbes calls the “Netflix of Bikes” has expanded from its home country into London, Milan and Paris.

Traffic signals and racism: A writer from New York City shares how he feels a sting of racism from the “little white man” that “allows” people to cross at traffic signals.

From meme to murder: Interesting how the rise in memes and bumper stickers making light of running people over seems to be leading to more running people over. It’s almost as if we should take violent rhetoric and “jokes” seriously.

E-bike grants: Scotland gets it. E-bikes are the killer app when it comes to urban transport and governments should be doing much more to subsidize them.

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Lower risk: A bike insurance company will reduce rates for e-bike-owners after finding that they are lower-risk than non-e-bikers.

White supremacy in bike advocacy: The leader of the 10,000-plus member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition acknowledged failure in addressing racism in a strong statement about how he plans to steer the organization into being truly antiracist in the future.

Crash reporting guide: Former editor of Bicycling Magazine Peter Flax published a comprehensive list of tips for reporters to cover crashes with more accuracy and sensitivity.

Helmets, not for what you think they are: “We do not design helmets specifically to reduce chances or severity of injury when impacts involve a car,” a product designer from Giro told Forbes in an article that has re-ignited our favorite debate.

Cameras can help: A Bloomberg reporters delves into the politics and data and comes out thinking that increased use of automated traffic enforcement cameras would decrease potential for racists policing.

— 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 welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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Bill HillHello, KittyyepEl Biciclerorain panther Recent comment authors
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Middle of the Road Guy
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Middle of the Road Guy

What color should a walk signal be?

Anne
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Anne

You forgot to include the link in “Traffic signals and racism” news story.

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

From meme to murder: Interesting how the rise in memes and bumper stickers making light of running people over seems to be leading to more running people over.

The article did not include even a shred of evidence that jokes/memes about running people over has led to any incident in real life.

I think they are disgusting and provocative, but no more so than the jokes about guns we’ve lived with for decades that no one blames for shooting deaths. And the more upset they make people, the more attractive producing more will be for those who like that sort of thing.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

Cameras can help: Another top-down master planning idea that is killed by local advocacy. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has become a big fan of speed cameras — but the NHTSA doesn’t make traffic laws; state and local governments do.” Welcome to our federal form of government. From what I recall, Portland is the only city the state of Oregon allows to have such cameras, and very few of them. Apparently they are banned outright here in NC.

cmh89
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cmh89

Not having top down planning is how you end up with Portland. Portland is a terrible place to walk, scoot, use a wheelchair or mobility scooter, bike, and drive and it’s largely because PBOT absolutely refused to adopt city wide transit plans. Every bike route has major holes in it, every walking route crosses dangerous big streets, there’s tons of inconsistent infrastructure everywhere. It’s a mess and it all comes down PBOT letting the largely white and affluent NIMBYs who attend NA meetings tell them how to build road infrastructure.

IMO based on the tweets in that hashtag, it’s most a handful of (mostly white) planners trying to figure out how to inject themselves into the current discussions on race. The idea that you can’t create safe and healthy environments until racism is gone or that BIPOC folks don’t want safe and healthy environments is nonsense.

PS
Guest
PS

E-bike riders per the article are more “risk averse”, yet are 5x more likely to file a claim for accidental damage (just bike and rider accident) than theft. So, they may be risk averse, but just aren’t good at it?

q'Tzal
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q'Tzal

Traffic cameras help in two ways:
() it is drastically less expensive to have more of them
() you can remove police from 99% from the situations where they justify killing a not-white person for some arcane traffic violation.

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

“White urbanism” is part of what brought us the RIP rezoning proposal that City Council is considering. The PSC vote that *barely* endorsed it was polarized along racial lines; opponents were very concerned with further displacement of low-income renters, and further losses of “naturally occurring” affordable housing in Portland that the plan does little to mitigate.

Rachel Cameron
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Rachel Cameron

Damn, lots of racists read this blog apparently.

John
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John

I am beyond words how racist this entire set of articles are. Sickning

yep
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yep

Ugg This dumb picture we’ve all seen more times than we need to of a white man looking at the back of a white woman while another white woman looks on disgustedly. Why does this dumb pic stand in for meaningful conversation/critique? About transpo policy? It’s sexist and dumb. Stop using it.

Bill Hill
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Bill Hill

Geez, talk about “fragility”

Bill Hill
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Bill Hill

Geez, now that is fragility