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The Monday Roundup: Car culture at the insurrection, Parisian dreams, NTSB on bikes, and more

Posted by on January 11th, 2021 at 10:36 am

Welcome to the week. Here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days.

Bike parking advocacy: NYC-based nonprofit Transportation Alternatives has issued a scathing report on bike parking that takes NYC DOT to task for not having nearly enough of it.

Of wine and gravel roads: Peloton Magazine has discovered how Willamette Valley towns like Newberg and McMinnville are excellent, winery-infused gravel road riding paradises.

How Paris did it: This NY Times opinion piece on how Paris has become a great cycling city is very inspiring and points to the importance of strong political leadership in moving the needle.

Clip it on and go: How about an electric-assist device you can carry around with you and just attach to your bike whenever you want it?


Insurrection and car culture: “The astounding images [of Trump supporters parking all over the National Mall] depict a collective act that is simultaneously wholly un-American and yet completely in line with the psychology of this country as it relates to car ownership, personal freedom, and tendencies toward authoritarianism,” says the Verge in this look at ‘petro-masculinity.’

Parking wars: A massive (and quite troubling from a climate change and human life perspective) rise in the number of cars on the road in New York City since the pandemic hit has led to “parking Hunger Games” due to a lack of space to store them all.

No sympathy for car owners: And to put a fine point on the above story, Vice reporter Aaron Gordon says, “Owning a car in the city should suck.”


Gas-guzzlers: Massachusetts is first state to follow California’s lead and plan a ban on gas-powered cars that will begin in 2035.

Car safety ratings: We’ve all heard about the deadly scourge of oversized trucks and SUVs, now here’s an article with a clear plan for how the Biden administration can actually do something about it.

The latest in distracted driving: On a related note to the item above, Mercedes Benz is eager to unveil a new, 56-inch “hyperscreen” display in one of its models.

NTSB on bikes: WashCycle has a summary of the new bicycle safety report published by the National Transportation Safety Board — the first such report in 47 years. Among its findings was a recommendation that all states make helmets mandatory for all ages of riders.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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Alan 1.0Hello, KittyChris IXDavid Hampsten Recent comment authors
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On alternate side parking days in NY, people wait in their cars and sometimes doublepark for hours to keep their free parking spot. It has to be one of the most dedicated car cultures in the US, and something easily solved by making all car parking cost the actual price it is worth to everyone living in the city.


Oof. That NTSB recommendation for compulsory helmet law is a disappointment.


The article on insurrection and car culture gave me a good idea of how we can head off much mayhem and violence over the next 4 years. Cities like Washington DC, Portland, San Fran etc. can put up size-sorting barriers on all the roads and highways leading in to town. These would be set up like toll plazas to not reduce capacity too much. Vehicles would have to pass through a portal of a given size that only allows ordinary cars, or small cross-overs but not big pickups or SUV’s. Delivery drivers, etc would obtain a special remote control from the city involved that would momentarily open one of the portals so they could get in. This would keep out all the angry insurrectionists and such as they are known to only travel by giant petro-buggies as shown in the article. It would also have many side benefits for the health and safety of pedestrians, cyclists, children and the elderly.


um… so is that a Clip on your front wheel or are you just happy to see me?

David Hampsten
David Hampsten

Car Safety Ratings:
Under President Obama, NHTSA attempted to modernize NCAP, proposing revisions in December 2015 that included evaluation of a vehicle’s risk to pedestrians (though not to cyclists). But those changes were not finalized before President Trump took office, and his administration has not moved them forward. “We’re scratching our heads,” says Chase. “This should have been an easy lift.

USDOT’s recent Pedestrian Safety Action Plan promised upcoming NCAP adjustments, so it’s possible that Trump’s DOT will squeeze in changes prior to Inauguration Day. Regardless, the Biden administration can reshape the program after taking office, and the process need not take long. NCAP revisions require neither Congressional approval nor the navigation of a byzantine regulatory process; USDOT can simply issue new guidance in the Federal Register. NCAP adjustments can become final in a matter of months.

Let’s see, Obama was president for 8 years, Jan 2009-Jan2017. Even after 7 years of creating the needed car safety guidelines and a full year to approve them, Obama still wouldn’t actually sign them into law. And now his VP is taking over 4 years later. Why do I think nothing is going to come of this, why my pessimism?


White nationalists hardly have a monopoly on toxic car culture. I’ve seen dozens of cars parked on the lawn of Dawson park In Portland. And there is always ample parking within a couple of blocks of that area, unlike the national mall in Washington, where one might have to walk miles or take transit from the nearest parking on the day of a big demonstration.