The Monday Roundup: Fox News hypocrisy, Fear and Loaming, better Google Maps, and more

Posted by on November 1st, 2021 at 8:42 am

Welcome to the first day of November.

Let’s get things started with a hand-picked collection of the most notable items our editors and readers came across in the past seven days…

News from the cycle path: BBC Correspondent Anna Holligan has made the news for how she delivers the news (from the seat of her bicycle).

Rolling coal: “It takes a huge dose of hatred to escalate violence from behind the dash of a three-ton truck,” says this reporter in a solid summary of the sad and sickening coal-rolling phenomenon.

Fear and Loaming: Don’t miss this excellent Oregon Field Guide episode on the volunteer trail builders behind an exciting new mountain-biking trail just northwest of Forest Grove.

Better Google Maps: Heat maps and facility-type are among the four items on this wishlist for making Google Maps better for bicycle users.

Advertisement

Fast and loose with regulations: Discussions over the policy implications of fast e-bikes should hasten our shift toward road designs that have less space for cars and more space for everything else.

Eastside Bike Club: A southern California town builds community by coming together for bike rides and the BBC took note.

Portland politicians take note: Former leader of New York City’s DOT details examples from around the world where leaders faced backlash for bold bicycling decisions, but ultimately won support after the changes proved popular.

E-bike tax credit is back: The latest version of the White House budget deal includes the e-bike tax credit (at its original rate of 30%!) championed by Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer and e-bike lovers nationwide.

Video of the Week: Watch how the Daily Show points out the hypocrisy of Fox News in how they treat people who block traffic while protesting:

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

50
Leave a Reply

avatar
9 Comment threads
41 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
25 Comment authors
XsorenBoydClem FandangoCaleb Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Clem Fandango
Guest
Clem Fandango

I’m not sure what “sad and sickening” adds to the coal rolling phenomenon. Seems like the original commentator’s “deeply stupid” covers it pretty well. The pearl clutching just gives them what they want. Personally I’m all for encouraging these guys to express their political opinions using their big boy words instead of obnoxious pranks. I have a feeling leftists are going to like that even less though.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Either I misunderstand the phrase “pearl clutching”, or you’ve misused it here. Who do you believe is clutching pearls in this context, and why do you believe that?

Clem Fandango
Guest
Clem Fandango

I was suggesting Maus was pearl clutching with the “sad and sickening” phrasing. It smacks of the sort of theatrical, performative outrage that I associate with pearl clutching southern ladies. Also, it seems to me to be *exactly* the reaction that “coal rollers” want.

foobike
Guest
foobike

Clearly you’ve never been coal-rolled while riding a bike Clem.

If you had, you’d know how dangerous it is, how shitty it feels to ride through the noxious cloud (trying in vain to hold your breath) and how threatening it feels – it’s a malicious, cowardly (along with sad and sickening – and I might add performative) act. I’ve been coal-rolled several times while riding, I can promise there is nothing performative about the anger and outrage I’ve felt when it happened.

Oh yeah, more often than not these guys do “express their political opinions using their big boy words” from the open windows of their trucks rather than spewing black smoke at me – it’s typically some kind of homophobic slur or a shout to “get the f*** off the road” or similar intelligent comment that apparently only a leftist / communist snowflake would find offensive. I guess that’s better than the smoke, but I’m not sure I get your point?

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

If this isn’t sad and sickening I don’t know what is. I have some pearls for you if it will help you get over your concern for how these terrorists are being treated. These are big BOYS so your use of big boy words is appropriate. Personally I wish they were adults and not mentally and emotionally stunted threats to society but then that isn’t really what right wing extremist are about.

Clem Fandango
Guest
Clem Fandango

Well, I’d point out that your disgusting deplorable douchebag “terrorist” is 16. Also, last I read the county has appointed a special prosecutor in the case, so it doesn’t look like he’s just going to walk, as well he shouldn’t.

My point is simply this. If you want a 16 year old to stop doing something stupid, like eating tide pods, or “rolling coal”, I think telling them that they’re an f*ckin dumbass and punishing them appropriately, is more effective than weeping and gnashing your teeth about your feelings, which simply empowers them.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Clem, people like JM and the author of the article about rolling coal do not hold any position to punish offenders, so why would you expect them to do anything other than express their views in hopes that public perception might eventually shift enough that authorities actually care to punish such behavior?

Also, perhaps you didn’t even read the article, because it covers much more than that one 16 year old.

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

Yes and I’m sure his parents are just lovely people. Your comment referenced “these guys” and big boy words ect you were talking about all of them not just the attempted murderer. And so was I, rolling coal is a terrorist act.

Clem Fandango
Guest
Clem Fandango

The outrage escalation doesn’t get us closer to the truth, or to an appropriate punishment in this case. It’s probably not helping much with your blood pressure or mental health either.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Cyclists getting outraged about coal rolling is exactly why it exists. Motorists harass cyclists for the response — i.e. get you to jump out of your skin or totally cheese you off.

When you play the role they scripted for you exactly as intended you’ve rewarded them for their bad behavior. May as well bark at dogs that chase you (hint, it only excites them more)

Steve C
Guest
Steve C

Rolling coal is bad in and of itself. It sucks regardless of outrage and enjoyment that outrage elicits. It isn’t just the outrage that they want, they are literally smoking you off the road. It wouldn’t stop if we either ignored or waved and smiled. We can’t zen our way out of these intimidation tactics. This is some bizarre victim blaming. “If you wouldn’t get so upset we wouldn’t find it so funny” isn’t a defense.

drs
Guest
drs

Yes, but the solution is not to ignore the problem. Not reacting to coal rolling is not going to put an end to the problem. The real issue is that coal rolling is just a part of a widespread culture of installing engine modification chips and other after market defeat devices that boost engine performance and produce engine emissions that are way off the charts and which would be totally illegal if the vehicles were producing then when they come off the production line. There are laws that are on the books that allow prosecutors to go after the people that sell the engine mods, but there should also be ways to go after people that install them in their vehicles. Our current emissions monitoring system is weak and ineffectual. And considering that it is connected to the vehicle registration system, which is not really being enforced in Portland anymore, it is pretty much optional. Also, heavy duty trucks are currently exempt from emissions monitoring in Oregon. This is a big problem and it’s a legal loophole that is big enough to drive a truck through. I’m not surprised that the cops aren’t interested in enforcing emissions violations that are based on ephemeral puffs of smoke, as they are difficult to prove. But if heavy diesel trucks were actually subject to testing the way cars are, and field monitoring, which is done in Virginia and elsewhere, you could actually bust the perpetrators without having to prove that they intentionally blew smoke on someone.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

To those who feel obligated to respond to juvenile stuff like coal rolling, what do you think you accomplish?

The idea of someone on a bike challenging people (sometimes armed) encased in 2+ tons of steel is comical. You can only challenge those who choose to allow it, and then only to the extent they decide. It’s like a teacup poodle challenging a Rott.

What do you guys do when people point guns, toss M-80’s, or maybe just garbage on you? Or maybe are outnumbered by people more numerous, much bigger, and less fatigued. If it hasn’t happened, keep riding — you may discover that a bit of smoke is no biggie keeping your cool is the best way through most situations that life throws at you.

If you consider the percentage of motorists that actively mess with you and then consider the percentage of individuals with mental problems, criminal convictions for violent crimes, carrying firearms, under the influence of powerful drugs, etc., I’m not following why so many think engaging is such an ace idea.

foobike
Guest
foobike

I don’t understand the minimizing of coal-rolling as “juvenile stuff”. It’s really not that different from someone throwing eggs at the windshields of passing cars – it might result in no harm, just a little yolk on the window, but it’s also putting the drivers’ safety at risk. Is that merely juvenile behavior? What driver wouldn’t get upset, wouldn’t stop, and wouldn’t try to do anything about it, even if it’s not the wisest thing to do on second thought?

In your original comment, you appeared to be advocating cyclists take a grin-and-bear-it attitude so we don’t give coal-rollers the satisfaction of a response. Which, c’mon, it’s gonna get the autonomic middle finger or wtf hand gesture from me and that’ll have no bearing on whether they ever do it again (spoiler: they will) or get more pleasure out of it.

To your point in the rest of this comment – but of course, I generally do rein in my reaction after that initial adrenalin spike. It dawns on me that it’s a truck full of dudes (always dudes) who already put me in danger once for their jollies and they can do a whole heck of a lot worse to me if they don’t like my response.

You are correct, there’s not much I can really safely do as a vulnerable road user but that doesn’t mean I’m going to take abuse quietly and not stand up for myself if necessary.

Lance Boyle
Guest
Lance Boyle

Fox news provides a valuable service by providing insights into the so-called thinking of the LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) crowd.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I once saw a thorough academic analysis of Trump speeches before he was elected and why they were so popular with the LCD crowd. Apparently he or his staff writes them to no higher than a 5th grade level (3rd grade being preferable) and ends every sentence with a key word. Writing to a fifth grade level is far harder than it sounds, especially if you already have a college education or higher.

Online sentence testing tools (out of many):
https://readable.com/
https://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

I have long held the philosophical view that the cosmos put the huge reserves of fossil fuels on earth as a test for humankind. If we were a mature and advanced civilization capable of advancing on in the cosmic community we would respect this giant gift of cheap energy and use it very wisely and very slowly. But we failed the test, as we burned it all up in a little over 100 years wrecking the climate, polluting the earth and covering the countryside with sprawl and ugliness and having little more than Ilth to show for it. The monster truck rolling coal is like an exclamation mark at the end of our sad performance, so the rest of the cosmos will pay attention and realize we are not ready for prime time.

soren
Guest
soren

as we burned it all up in a little over 100 years

climate scientists are still begging governments to not build more fossil fuel power plants so it’s clearly not all burned up.

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

We burned through all the low hanging fruit that was easy to get and has a good return on energy invested. Now we are down to the dregs like tar sand and Shale oil that is even more dirty and destructive to obtain and use. So it does make sense that climate scientists are trying to keep us from making a bad situation worse by burning these dregs, just like an AA coach encourages a drunk not to get down and suck the spilled bear out of the carpet in the tavern after the taps have gone dry.

soren
Guest
soren

Venezuela alone has enough reserves to keep USanian oil consumers happy for many, many decades. We need more than wishful thinking if we are going to address ecocide.

EP
Guest
EP

I once read something similar along the lines of some advanced beings watching us and saying; “Uh oh, they started digging and found the stuff in the ground and are burning it.”

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Re: fast e-bikes … while I disagree with the purists’ claims that a class 1 or 2 e-bike is suddenly a motorcycle or moped, arguably a “class 4” that can go 37 mph bike is one, and doesn’t belong anywhere on bike lane or path that is actually used by people at more moderate speeds.

We’ve already found ourselves in the situation where the industry is simply churning out lots of Class 3 bikes (no longer difficult technically, and they can charge more), so I don’t think we can put that genie back in the bottle. Maybe, as the article suggests, bike-lane speed limits are in order. Limit them to 20 mph (except on downhill stretches!) It won’t be widely enforced, but will help deal with some of the most egregious violators – and will empower sane users to yell at them.

Personal note: Not desiring an e-bike that propels me to 28 mph, I bought a Aventon Pace 350 (Class 2) a couple months ago. However, I was surprised to find that the top assist speed, factory-set to 20 mph, is easily menu-adjustable. I can easily set it higher, and though the 350 doesn’t have enough power to go over about 24-25mph in most situations, that’s still class 3 territory. Conversely, owners of the more powerful Pace 500 (which has the same control panel as mine but is set for 28 mph and sold as a Class 3) could limit their rigs to 20, making them legal Class 2 bikes if they were so inclined, though few will ever do so. In any event, given that most e-bikes now have 700+ watt motors and are shipping set for 28 mph, I don’t think we’re realistically going to have a world where most e-bikes are self-limiting to 20. Local regulation of actual speeds is going to have to be the answer.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Require proof of medical liability insurance, in lieu of a realistic national health service.

EEE
Guest
EEE

It already is locally regulated — AFAIK there are still no “Class 3” ebikes under Oregon regulation.

Side note, the VM site shows the bike’s top speed at 31 m/h, not 37. That will significantly increase range compared to 37, but the battery’s 700 W-h capacity still seems too small to me.

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

I have stopped riding the formerly enjoable path between OMSI & Oaks Park because speeding e-bikes have made it about as relaxing as a busy street. But even if they were banned, who would enforce it? Portland cops won’t even enforce traffic laws on the streets. Even so, e-bikes are still a net positive,given their potential for cutting pollution from transportation.

 
Guest
 

With the Google Maps heatmap story, I wonder if they could partner with Strava to make use of their heatmap. I know I often look at the Strava heatmap when planning routes in areas I’m less familiar with.

Allan Rudwick
Subscriber

Google has way more usage data than Strava, they probably just don’t want to admit to it by publicising.

I think it would be quite interesting to see it, transportation planners would also benefit

Steve C
Guest
Steve C

Yeah, google probably has orders of magnitude more unique bike trip data. I’m Stravaing my workout and maybe commute, but if I need to find a route to a unique destination in a city, I’m more likely to at least see what google recommends. And they can see if you actually used their route or found another, as well as whether you were faster than their prediction.

Psmith
Guest
Psmith

These suggestions for Google Maps are nice, but fundamentally the main issue with Google Maps for bikes is that it has no idea how to route bikes, even after all these years. Google still thinks I can’t ride a bike through a diverter, even though I’ve reported this issue to them for years. It also just generally favors busier streets, even ones without any official bike facility, over neighborhood greenways that prioritize bikes. It still routes me to go to Hollywood via Knott Street rather than Tillamook! It’s a broken system, so before adding bells and whistles like heat maps, maybe they should actually fix their algorithm.

X
Guest
X

…”lock-to’s,” a locking mechanism that a rider uses to affix their vehicle to a bike rack or street sign after completing a trip, thus preventing discarded scooters from becoming obstacles for pedestrians or those using wheelchairs,,,

Portland is considering this for e-scooters? When can we revisit the rental bike parking plan, a failed experiment, and repurpose the space and hardware for public bike parking? Some of the ‘orange’ parking areas displaced existing bike racks or corrals, and I have NEVER seen one of them full.

Bike corrals are desired and successful. They should be enhanced, not displaced. Scooter users who fail at parking should have their fare doubled. If they can’t learn, let them pay.

All Bike Credit
Guest
All Bike Credit

Re e bike credit: time for Oregon to follow suit, repeal its regressive bike tax and give a credit to ALL bike purchases, not just electric

X
Guest
X

Oregon legislators drive motor vehicles to work. By definition they live over 100 miles, on average, from their workplace.

I’d be perfectly happy to be shown a counter example.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

How about a sales tax on all goods, like 45 other states and DC have? For example, with a 5% sales tax, your $3,000 ebike would have a $150 tax added on instead of a measly $15 fee. Then you would have even more skin in the game.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Sure, if you’d prefer the impoverished stay impoverished, which is an effect toward which sales taxes contribute.

Regardless, are you the type who uses the phrase “skin in the game” suggesting certain others have none, or were you trying to be supportive?

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

Oregon should have a sales tax. You can give an income tax credit to the poor to offset the effects.

soren
Guest
soren

Oregon could have a progressive income tax as opposed to the current right-wing flat tax.

X
Guest
X

I think in this context “skin in the game” is fully ironic.

Rolling Cops
Guest
Rolling Cops

re rolling coal – if police were doing their jobs, they would use the videos as evidence, charge them with assault, and seize the trucks as evidence and fine/victim compensation collatoral