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?

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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.”

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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 jonathan@bikeportland.org
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eawriste
Guest
eawriste

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.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

The best way to find the true value is via an auction. As I have long stated, I would happily pay the auction price for the parking spot in front of my house.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I’ve been to NYC a few times, and their car parking and sanitation policies are absolutely insane. They have some of the most expensive real estate in the world, and they give it away for free, as long as you choose to own a car. They also just pile bags of trash on the street on trash pickup days. No wonder they have an incredible rat problem.

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

True. There are pilots to move garbage into permanent street corrals finally. Seems like if a parking spot is cherished more than the safety of people moving around on the street, something is amiss.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

“they also just pile bags of trash on the street on trash pickup days…”

well, they don’t really have alleys in manhattan, so where else they gonna put it?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

As mentioned above, you can use street corrals that enclose it. I’ve also seen more innovative (and expensive) solutions:
https://mashable.com/2017/02/15/villiger-underground-waste-disposal-system/

squareman
Subscriber

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

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

They also recommend seatbelts on trains, and blamed Talgo for designing a train that couldn’t keep everyone alive when it was driven off a bridge at 70mph up in DuPont. They don’t really consider the possible side-effects of their decisions.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Airliners need airbags, in case of crashes.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Since 2010 there have been 2 fatalities on commercial airline flights in the USA. That is not a typo. 2 people have died. Why? Because the aerospace industry and airlines have used a science based method to reduce accidents. If only cyclists would use data and science to improve their chances of surviving crashes we might be improving our safety instead of what is happening. Mandatory helmet use is a good start. https://www.airlines.org/dataset/safety-record-of-u-s-air-carriers/#

squareman
Subscriber

People on foot are killed at a higher rate by people driving than people on bikes are killed by people driving. Take a look at Oregon’s own traffic injury and fatality statistics for 2020. Should we wear helmets to go take a stroll through our local retail districts?

Context is important about where those helmets would be required too. Hardly anyone wears a helmet in Denmark because riding a bicycle is not a dangerous activity in isolation. Their death-rate-by-bike numbers are so much lower than ours not because of helmet use, but because of infrastructure design, laws, education, and accountability. Making helmets compulsory for all riders at all times is a good way of squelching people riding. At worst, I could maybe abide by helmet zones or for classes of roads – but it’s still passing the buck of responsibility of threat of danger where it lies from road designers and drivers onto the rider.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Stats were posted here recently showing the majority of cycling-related head injuries involved riders crashing into stationary objects. (I’d therefore be willing to bet that the increment of safety offered by a helmet is far greater on Clinton than on Powell.)

I’m not sure if Denmark has somehow solved the stationary object problem, or if we just don’t hear about that sort of thing from this remove, but it is a problem here in the US.

I’m neutral on the question of whether helmets should be mandatory. I (almost) always wear one, encourage others to do so, and see no issue with other mandatory safety laws like motorcycle helmets and seatbelt use and warnings about operating heavy machinery after washing down allergy pills with a chaser of vodka. But I also understand why some don’t want the nanny state interfering with our cherished freedom to crack our skulls on a parking meter if we darned well want to. Helmets just make our transportation choice look silly (styrofoam hats!) and dangerous (which, as you point out, it is).

Ultimately, passed buck or no, if I crash, regardless of whose fault it is, I’m the one whose going to get hurt, and head injuries can be life changing, rarely for the better. Maybe my caretaker can sue a road designer after I become debilitated.

So please wear a helmet when you ride!

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I can also easily see the police systematically pulling over and fining unhelmeted bicyclists for bicycling while black.

Bicycling Al
Guest
Bicycling Al

Jon, if you are going to be science based, then ALL CAR OCCUPANTS should wear helmets as the biggest reason for car accident fatality is head trauma! Given that nearly 40 THOUSAND people die in car accidents a year, wearing helmets in cars would save a very significant number of people, SEVERAL ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more than mandatory bicycle helmet use.

Note that in the US a good portion of bicycle riders already wear helmets which is in stark contrast to countries like Holland where practically nobody wears a helmet on a bicycle unless they are racing.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Wearing a helmet is a simple way to reduce your chances of Traumatic Brain Injuries in a crash by over 50%. The medical costs of treating injuries like this are resources that could be used for things like prenatal care or other important health care. Things like mandatory seatbelt laws have saved many lives and reduced injuries to drivers. The reluctance to legislate safety measures for cyclist is costing us lives. Read the report: https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Documents/SS1901.pdf

squareman
Subscriber

I didn’t even make it past page v of the intro and they identified the crux of the problem where the danger lies:

Bicyclists involved in crashes with motor vehicles are more likely to sustain severe injuries than bicyclists involved in any other crash type.

Note: got to love how bicyclists are clearly still people in that statement, but where are the drivers?

Head injury is the leading cause of bicycle-related deaths, and head injuries are prevalent in bicycle crashes with motor vehicles.

Again, the issue isn’t bicycle riding. It’s intermixing bicycles with motor-vehicles and treating them like similar-class vehicular road users. Requiring helmets for everyone everywhere is a misdirection of the real problem.

They even acknowledge, buried at the end of the study, that helmet use can be improved without compulsory laws:

However, there is some research showing that nonlegislative interventions can increase helmet use among young bicyclists

I always wear a helmet when I commute (when that was a thing in the before times). I even wear it when I pick up my prescriptions at Walgreens. But I do not just to ride to the grocery store 3/4 mile away. What’s the difference? Well, for one, my commutes tend to be more high speed than just running an errand, but the big difference is the type of road I must encounter and the volume of motor-vehicle mixing. I can get to my grocery store using 100% neighborhood roads, I’m never in a hurry to do that and ride slow, and only have to cross two major arteries using crosswalks. Commuting and those Walgreens runs involve not only crossing more major roads but using those major roads as part of the route. I wear the helmet then, not because I fear a fall, I wear it because I do not trust people in cars.

qqq
Guest
qqq

The fact that it’s “the first such report in 47 years” is also a disappointment.

Good news for the people who asked them in 1973 when the next one would be coming out, though.

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

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.

SolarEclipse
Guest
SolarEclipse

Bummer that we can’t down vote anymore.
I own a full size (but not 4×4) pickup truck and in no way shape or form am I one of those a-hole insurrectionists. I should not be limited where I can drive as long as I drive safely and follow all rules of the road.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Please don’t aggrandize the rioters by calling them “insurrectionists”. Don’t give them the credit. They were rioting, plain and simple.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

“Stop the Steal”

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Right. In their mind they were protecting our democracy, not overthrowing it. But it should be obvious from their actions once they got in that they had no real agenda beyond selfies and souvenirs. Insurrectionists they were not, and the term only gives them an importance and a mythology that is wholly undeserved.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

And the guys who went in the main chamber with riot gear and handcuffs? They were just carrying those for fun?

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

When Portland rioters carry that stuff, do you use that as evidence of grand intent? I won’t dignify either group by granting them an undeserved status.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I don’t recall Portland rioters entering a legislative building while lawmakers are in session, armed with weapons and handcuffs. You’ll have to show me evidence if you’re going to try and “both sides” this one.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

We can admit Portland Rioters have tried to gain entry to the Federal Courthouse and the County buildings though, right?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

MotRG.

Yes. They definitely did that.

If they had, say, forced their way into city hall after the recent election in an attempt to detain the mayor and city councilors, I think we could call it sedition.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

Here’s how Merriam Webster defines the word:
“an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government”

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Is stealing Pelosi’s podium really a revolt?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

HK knows better than the Justice Department, I guess:
https://www.npr.org/2021/01/12/956083079/justice-department-warns-its-coming-for-those-involved-in-capitol-violence

“We’re looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy,” related to the most heinous acts that occurred at the Capitol, Sherman said. Such charges, he said, have prison terms ranging up to 20 years in prison.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

From the article you linked:

He said the crimes include “everything from trespass, to theft of mail, to theft of digital devices inside the Capitol, to assault on local officers, federal officers both outside and inside the Capitol, to the theft of potential national security information or national defense information, to felony murder, even civil rights, excessive force investigations.”

It sounds like the Justice Department agrees with me, in fact. None of this sounds like attempted overthrow of the government, which actually is what “insurrection” means. Not stealing someone’s mail.

PS Conspiracy = planning something illegal (like a riot, or storming the Capitol); sedition = inciting someone to “rebel”. A zealous prosecutor will find no shortage of people guilty of both of these crimes.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

“We’re looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy,” related to the most heinous acts that occurred at the Capitol, Sherman said. Such charges, he said, have prison terms ranging up to 20 years in prison.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Yes. Sedition and conspiracy are both essentially crimes of speech, not action, and they come with very long jail sentences. Nothing listed sounds like insurrection, only talking about it and urging others on.

If more information emerges, I’ll reassess, but either way, I’m disinclined to help them build their mythology.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seditious_conspiracy

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

I’m enjoying the word autogolpe.

(yes, small pleasure, but they’re scarce these days)

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

“It Was an Attempted Coup: The Cline Center’s Coup D’état Project Categorizes the January 6, 2021 Assault on the US Capitol”

https://clinecenter.illinois.edu/coup-detat-project-cdp/statement_jan.27.2021

They further defined the attempt as a dissident coup, and go through the academic rigor they’ve developed in analyzing 943 worldwide coup events since 1945.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

They were honest American patriots visiting with their national elected representatives, armed to the teeth like they do when visiting their state capital representatives – you never know where a mugger might be lurking.

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

Thats like what the guy who let the Visigoths in to Rome Said, just before he demanded that the gates be opened to let in the pizza delivery man.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

When in Rome, do as the Vandals do…

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

That is one of the problems with America Today, no sense of self sacrifice for the greater good. During WWII when FDR asked everyone to put their cars up on blocks to save rubber for the war effort, no one replied, ” I should be able to drive if I want to.” Is eschewing oversized vehicles,for a while, too high a price to pay to keep PDX safe from destruction by bands of motorized ruffians.

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

Bollards, bollards everywhere, and not a parking spot above ground.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Man, if only there were gates that also kept out people of a certain political persuasion or race. Restrictions could be voted on at the municipal level.

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

Because limiting cars in a city is tantamount to limiting people based on race or politics? Our current de facto design for cities severely limits anyone without a car.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Because limiting cars in a city is tantamount to limiting people based on race

According to PBOT, it is, yes.

sorrynotsorry
Guest
sorrynotsorry

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

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

The current version apparently doesn’t work in the rain according to their website: https://www.clip.bike/

X
Guest
X

There’s no bike accessory that can’t be cheapened and made worse!

One good thing about dedicated e-bikes: they often come with lights.

David Hampsten
Guest
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?

X
Guest
X

Obama came into the office with the economy deep in the tank. The one thing that people could agree on* was that the federal government needed to lay out some money, and quickly. The US car industry was an easy target for some cash. It’s a major industry with a lot of workers on shore, and something that people understand. If car makers became profitable again the money would get paid back, and SUVs and trucks are profitable. The bigger, the more money.

Whatever Obama might have thought, he couldn’t touch the sacred cows. The Biden administration is in a slightly different spot. There’s a crisis alright but the locus is not around the car makers. Biden may not have better ideas than Obama but he has a different hand to play.

*Congress didn’t give Obama a totally free hand. Mitch “One Term” McConnell saw to that.

Drs
Guest
Drs

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.

X
Guest
X

So much for that idea about filtering out big vehicles with off-road tires