Welcome to the week.
Here are the most notable stories our writers and readers came across in the past seven days…
Politics and petro-masculinity: “Here in the heartland, white nationalism feeds on gas, gunpowder, oil, and testosterone,” reads a really important piece from The Nation about how cars have become weaponized by some Americans on the political right.
Rad lawsuit: The family of a girl seriously injured in a crash on a Rad Power e-bike is suing the company for negligence in a high-profile case that is causing a lot of buzz and finger-pointing in the bike industry.
Right on red is wrong: Legislators in Washington D.C. are looking to not just legalize the “Idaho Stop” for bicycle riders, they also are considering a bill that would prohibit drivers from turning right on red.
No deal: The big climate legislation passed by the Biden Administration is yet another massive subsidy for the auto industry and it has completely left out bicycles from the EV incentive language.
Long arm of the law: I’m so grateful that the Portland Police no longer seem to have the time or inclination to mess with bicycle riders the way they do in Toronto.
Ungrateful automakers: And of course, despite another purchase incentive for e-cars, the auto industry is still complaining that the bill doesn’t go far enough for their interests. Boo hoo!
Russell Wilson’s silly truck: Pro football superstar Russell Wilson’s decked-out supertruck is so absurd that it has forced one of his biggest fans to re-think their relationship.
More e-bike news! E-bikes are so hot right now you can’t avoid them in the headlines… This piece in WaPo covers the growing pains with other road (and sidewalk!) users that constantly plagues e-bikes.
Tour winner: Annemiek van Vleuten rode to a dominating win in the Tour de France Femmes as the popular and widely-watched race injected new interest in women’s cycling.
Thanks to everyone who sent in links this week.
If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
Long arm of the law: Remember when Portland police had so little else to do that they were staking out and ticketing people on bikes for not coming to a complete stop when entering Ladd’s circle?
RE: Weapons of the Right
Really? The ad-hominem attacks & broad brushing of every conservative as a RWNJ is getting old. It’s as out of touch with political reality as the LA Times editorial board calling on Biden to take emergency executive action to ban all fossil fuels in America in an editorial over the weekend.
sorry. I keep forgetting to add the word “some” when I write stuff like that. “some” people on the right.
Other than that. I 100% stand by my words on this issue. It’s accurate. Sorry if the truth hurts but there’s a lot of violence from cars and many folks on the right are taking part in it. That is a fact.
As yes, irony. On the one hand, the MAGA right is all about weaponizing cars. And on the left, under the article of “No Deal”, are the Democrats going all-out in support of the automobile against climate change.
Yup. Both parties are F***ing up our country and we are still voting for the incumbents, hoping each time for a better outcome. What a bunch of idiots we are.
Yes the party that has passed a big infrastructure bill and now a climate bill and the party that voted for none of it and just voted to keep the price of Insulin sky high are exactly the same aren’t they?
From a climate and pro-automobile stance, yes they are in fact exactly the same party – even our Democrats are a bit to the right of both Britain’s and Canada’s conservative parties, let alone the New Democrats, Liberals, and Labour. Our 535 members of congress are pretty much in it for themselves. And we keep reelecting them.
So Trump will be better next time, right?
Same side BS completely ignores reality but carry on with Trump, Desantis and the clown posse, they are going to be great on climate aren’t they?
We don’t compare what we have with some other country and we are what we are..
We have 2 major parties and that is what we choose from.
Vote for the Orange clown again, that will improve things.
Nah. The rethuglicans are viciously opposed to emasculating communisit-maoist electric vehicles while democrats believe they are some sort of golden capitalist panacea.
Both parties, of course, could not give a tiny crap about cycling but then again, even in Portland, it’s not a rounding error when it comes to decarbonization. In point of fact, cycling mode share has contributed to the climate crisis in Portland over the past past ~7-8 years.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will be the boldest climate legislation the US has ever enacted. It is a major accomplishment for Democrats. Here’s a PDF of what it does for climate:
Yeah, Manchin and Sinema suck, subsidies for e-bikes and closing of the carried-interest loophole had to be sacrificed to get their votes. But it is still landmark legislation. Not a single Republican voted for it.
The problem with any legislation is that the next congress can vote to defund it in the budgeting process, particularly as Biden will be a lame-duck president at least through 2024. If the opposition gains the presidency after 2024, expect much of this legislation to be gutted – enjoy it while we can.
This is the main problem with our two-party system – if there’s no bipartisanship, then anything that one side passes is often undone by the other side when they next come into power.
And so it continues.
You are hilarious.. so no legislation should ever be passed?
Last I checked we still have Social security, Medicare, Obamacare, Trumps tax cuts…
This is nonsense.
Manchin and Sinema may suck but without them Mitch McConnell would be running the Senate, so maybe they’ll don’t suck so much.
Perhaps if you didn’t worship a Game show host as your Cult leader, you would not get broad brushed but since you all are going to vote for him again, maybe the shoe fits?
So, you’re more bothered by not including the word “some” than what the article is actually describing? Is that sort of an attempt to discredit the information and make it somehow seem like you’re actually the victim in all this?
This site is big on pushing the “us vs them” narrative and Maus appears as smug as they come.
Frank you are totally wrong about me and this site. I go out of my way to avoid “us vs them”. Always have and always will. But I do not shy away from calling the kettle black. As for me being smug. lol.
Right on red is wrong: If laws aren’t going to be enforced, why create even more of them?
Just this morning on my walk to TriMet, car had red light, paused, proceeded through intersection even with other cars coming from the other directions (3-way intersection). Nice how folks can’t wait 30 seconds! Makes me want to scream sometimes.
From what I’ve observed when visiting DC, most intersections in the touristy part of town already have leading-pedestrian-interval signals of up to 90 seconds in which all turns are already prohibited, so this will probably have no impact there. In the other parts of town with higher speeds and less patient drivers, yeah, I can see how this is a good idea that’s long overdue. Of course most of the city’s population is outside of DC in Maryland and East Virginia which most badly needs such laws…
“The sun was in my eyes” (Toronto Police officer’s excuse) is one that is regularly made by drivers. Unfortunately, I think that the law in most jurisdictions is quite clear, if you cannot safely operate your vehicle (bicycle, motor car, motor cycle, truck, whatever) due to environmental conditions, you should not drive – whether those conditions are very heavy rain, fog, snow, or driving west at sunset. I keep a pair of polarizing sunglasses in my car to enable me to see properly when the sun is directly in front of me. Hopefully the Toronto/Ontario/Canadian courts won’t accept this excuse if a case comes before them.
Unfortunately, that’s the kind of thing that’s incredibly difficult to prosecute in the USA, as well. Because so much of the population uses personal vehicles as their primary/only mode of transportation, they all suffer from windshield bias. It starts with the cops that investigate crimes, continues with those that prosecute and bring charged, and also includes judges and jurors. They all identify with the person sitting behind the wheel of the car and they are hesitant/hostile to the idea of punishing someone who inflicts harm on another with the vehicle, even if they were operating the vehicle in a dangerous fashion.
Right-on-red was and is a terrible idea in relation to transportation safety in a city setting. It encourages unsafe driving habits and favors the supremacy of auto users on our shared roadways.
Right-on-red not only prioritizes auto users — already essentially the fastest and most efficient mode of transportation in a metropolitan, urban setting — but implies that they should be moving even more rapidly through our streets. Right-on-red validates impatience.
It also endorses the idea that the only other road users automobile drivers should really be looking out for are other auto users. Anyone walking, riding, or rolling will have experienced incidents at intersections where an auto user, emboldened by right-on-red, executes a rapid rolling stop, or worse blows right through a red light or stop sign. It’s tedious in its’ frequency.
I would hope that the Bicycle Advisory Committee would demand that the city implement a right-on-red ban such as D.C’s.
100% agree- right on red should be banned! I see this behavior all over town: drivers roll across a crosswalk, only looking to their lleft- it there s a gap, they accelerate and turn right. They miss the joggers, pedestrians and other sidewalk users approaching that intersection from the driver’s right hand side who just missed getting hit by the driver and now have to wait for them to make their turn before the crosswalk is clear.
Yeah, ROR was promised to be a short term stop gap measure for the first and second “oil crisis”…trading fuel savings for traffic safety (I remember the discussions on the news etc.). Sadly, there was little foresight back then to add a sunset to these state laws…doubted anyone would have thought they would still be in use 40 to 50 years later…at least back then it seems there was more honest political support for pedestrian safety than now.
Rad Lawsuit: Alternative article in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN)
Could someone explain to me how a 750W at 45 mph ebike is supposed to stop with 6″ hydraulic brakes? Is this even possible? Never mind the 12 year-old underage users. And why were they wearing bike helmets and not motorcycle crash helmets?
I think the brakes are fine. I’ve done bike tours on a bike with rim brakes and a combined load (cyclist+bike+gear) approaching 300 pounds. I’ve gone over forty on long downhills and felt like I was in control. Six inch mechanical disc brakes are much more powerful than my puny rim brakes were.
But I have good bike handling skills, and I’m strong and competent. Put a preteen in those conditions? Maybe not so much. But that’s why ebikes are not marketed to kids. If parents are giving their kids unsupervised access to ebikes, they are acting negligently. Don’t blame the manufacturers and sellers of the ebikes.
In addition to the likely lack of bike/moped handling experience of a tween operator as a contributing factor, I can attest as a mechanic who has worked on several Radpower bikes that they very frequently ship to the consumer with unsafe assembly, especially including poorly set up brakes.
Absolutely…these bikes are built to a price-point, not to satisfy safe operation. I’ve (re)assembled a few Rad bikes also and they are crap bikes. More unsafe than the Walmart-built full suspension bikes for $400.
Echo that. My shop has assembled boxed Rad bikes for customers, and most have significant problems needing adjustment.
E-assist longtails with two passengers can easily reach 400+lbs. And the weight distribution is wonky, and very rear heavy. I’ve ridden a Surly Big Dummy with another adult rider on the back, and it was hard to handle. Fortunately, Surly puts large disc brakes on their cargo bikes. Stopping was not an issue.
I’d be curious to hear from other Rad owners on this one. Do you feel safe with another adult passenger on the back?
Rad Power specs their cargo bikes with comparable brakes to those that are included in standard build surly big dummy and big easy bikes. They all use 180mm rotor disc brakes front and back
But the quality of the build itself is arguably of more importance, IMHO.
Actually I do somewhat blame the manufacturers and retailers. Take a look at the Rad Power website https://www.radpowerbikes.com/ and tell me how it is NOT being marketed to kids? It’s fun, family-oriented, creating independence, and so on – messages that appeal to teens, is that not so?
The big difference, especially in the picture on the site is that it is being operated by an adult. On their site, the smallest frame can accomadate as low as 4’8″, taller than most preteens. Seems more like poor parenting.
I see photos of adults riding bikes and photos of small children in child seats. I see no ambiguity in the marketing material about who is intended to be riding these bikes.
I have no doubt that these bikes appeal to teens, just as manually powered bicycles were an appealing route to independence and fun when I was an adolescent. I also injured myself more than a few times when riding as a teen/preteen. But no way did my parents have any business suing Trek when I got hurt riding my bike.
Also, as a preteen, I regularly biked to top of all of the tallest hills I could find. I didn’t need electric assist to get myself into dangerous situations. To suggest that those girls couldn’t have gotten to the top of a potentially dangerous hill without an electronic assist, as the lawsuit alleges, is not consistent with my experience.
“Don’t blame the manufacturers and sellers of the ebikes.”
Might those who market these e-motorbikes as “bicycles” deserve some of the blame when their customers believe them?
I (170lbs) ride with my son (60lbs) on the back of my RadRunner regularly. It’s quite the challenge to hit 45mph on one of these bikes as the governor limits them to ~20mph. Only if I’m going down a steep & looooong hill in an aero-tuck to I even get close to that speed. But yes, I can stop and control the bike with the stock equipment that it came with no problem (otherwise I wouldn’t be doing such things).
Are we really surprised that in a society that gives 3-5 year olds electric powered ride-on Jeeps, Lambo’s, and other “cars,” that those parents see nothing wrong with giving their tween an electric powered bike or scooter, despite manufacturer warnings.
Rad lawsuit: The girl was seriously injured… and then died from her injuries. I think “killed in a crash” would be more accurate.
Sad that any male’s masculine self-image could be so tied to manufactured metal products (guns, cars, etc.).
If E-Bikes are greater than 5% of all bikes sold (which given how many of them are out there, seems possible), there should be no subsidy at all. That threshold suggests sufficient supply and demand for the product to stand on its own. Same goes for EV’s, they just crossed 5%, so there should be no subsidy at all.
“More E-bike news” I was asking myself some of these questions on Friday’s commute. In the morning, I shared the bike lane with an electric unicycle. THe driver tailed me fora ways then took the lane and passed me. They proceeded in the driving lane until the cars backed up, then took the bike lane again. They were certainly going faster than the posted 25 mph speed limit. On the way home, I encountered a couple more- one on the Tillicum going the wrong way in the bike lane, and a second on the Esplanade weaving around pedestrians and bike riders. The riders seem pretty skilled, but they are in full crash helmets and leather jackets, pads, etc. I looked them up after reading this article, and many have a top speed over 30 mph, 40-45 is not uncommon. (https://eridehero.com/best-electric-unicycles/). Is is unreasonable to keep this motorized vehicles out of the bike lanes and out of the parks?
The Onewheel ***portion of comment deleted by moderator*** can be a real menace on the MUPs. The issue is that it’s a vehicle that doesn’t really have appropriate infrastructure. They are capable of going the speed limit on arterial streets, but you basically never see them doing this. Instead, they tend to go way too fast on MUPs, especially considering that they can’t stop quickly. They have 1000-2,500 watt motors, and weigh as much as an e-bike.
I don’t really understand the practical value, due to the many issues (infrastructure, storage, charging, etc). They seem to be more of an exciting toy (that unfortunately put other people in danger).
I think the reason for the high top speeds and powerful motors has to do with the physics of how they work. If I understand correctly, while accelerating, the motor has to be able to keep up or you’ll fall forward. So they essentially have to be overbuilt to handle normal riding conditions. They have to be *capable* of going 45 so that they can keep you upright when accelerating aggressively (deliberately or not) up to 20. Or whatever.
I don’t know if they’re a toy or not. It’s not uncommon for them to be capable of over a 100 mile range which to me suggests a serious use case. I don’t see how a relatively inexpensive vehicle you can wheel into your apartment that charges on wall power can possibly be called impractical.
They do seem to require particular skill compared to a bike, so that seems to have dangers. I have a feeling that they’re somewhat self limiting though, in that a rider isn’t going to feel confident if they don’t know what they’re doing. That doesn’t mean they won’t be careless though when they do get some experience.