The Monday Roundup: Gas prices, a no-passing city, cheap bike share and more

Welcome to the week.

Use code bikeportland22 and save 20% off at ShowersPass.com!

Today’s Monday Roundup is made possible by Showers Pass, makers of quality waterproof rainwear and gear that’s proudly designed and tested right here in Portland!

Here are the most notable stories our writers and readers came across in the past seven days…

Bike share riddle solved? The City of Portland should study Stockholm’s new bike share system, which has managed to sustain its fleet of modern e-bikes with a “ludicrously” low rental price by selling ads on the bikes and eschewing expensive docking stations. (Vice)

Petrol state: Americans are politically and emotionally tied to gas prices and it’s largely because most of us are tied to our cars. (NY Times)

Urban cargo: The adoption of electric cargo bikes to make last-mile deliveries is growing in the U.S. and around the world and it could save lives and fight climate change. (Transport Policy Matters)

Don’t believe the hype: Very happy to see USDOT Sec. Pete Buttigieg talking sense about “self-driving” cars, which have never worked well and are not likely to work well for a long time. (Jalopnik)

Elon’s folly: If Mr. Musk wasn’t so eager to dupe his acolytes into buying Teslas, he might have avoid killing and injuring some of them who used the “autopilot” feature, only to find out it doesn’t work. (Reuters)

Too good: Denver’s much-ballyhooed e-bike rebate program has been so successful officials have been forced to pull the plug due to a lack of funding. (PBS)

Check out a bike: There are over 30 municipalities in the U.S. where people can borrow a bike with their library card and it’s a growing method of getting more butts on bikes. (Next City)

Don’t pass me bro: In the Belgium city of Bruges, there are over 8 miles of streets in the central city where it is now illegal for a car driver to pass someone riding a bike. Makes perfect sense to me. (Road.cc)

Republican shenanigans: Amazing story in Philadelphia where blatant politicking by petty Republican lawmakers has killed a previously non-controversial bike lane bill that advocates were close to passing. (Huff Post)


Thanks to everyone who shared links this week.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. 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 maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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X
X
1 year ago

Hopefully the Stockholm model for bike share will catch on. It seems like the hardware Portland has would be compatible. The existing program is widely used and with a few tweaks it could be truly popular.

Predictable locations, inexpensive rates, and a subsidy for trips that balance the system are well within reach of existing technology. Empty bike stations are a bad look.

dw
dw
1 year ago
Reply to  X

Biketown for all already has a program where you get credit for parking at a station. I think they should expand that to every Biketown user. They should also get more bikes, but I think an incentive to keep the stations stocked would go a long way toward making the system more consistent and easier to use.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago

If Mr. Musk wasn’t so eager to dupe his acolytes into buying Teslas

That’s a curious way of describing selling an exceedingly popular product line.

Dwk
Dwk
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Tesla is losing share of the electric market monthly, is only 3.4% of the car market
anyway.
A creepy billionaire who hopefully loses the rest of his share.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  Dwk

I don’t really care a whole lot about the personal life of Elon Musk one way or the other, but anyone who cares about global heating definitely owes him a debt of gratitude for bringing electric cars into the mainstream. Before Tesla made them sexy, they were going nowhere. And he’s certainly willing to think big thoughts and back them with real money.

Whether Tesla continues to be successful is really up to their ability to continue making cars that people* want and are willing to pay a lot for.

*Stipulating that this includes neither you nor I.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Watts

You mean thank Obama and the DOE for the $465M loan from the fed gov to Tesla as part of DOE clean energy investment.

Unfortunately with Musk it isn’t his personal life that is the problem, it’s the amplifying of conspiracy theories, i.e. “more to the story than meets the eye,” with link to bs Santa Monica Post story about Paul Pelosi. Musk has no shame.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago

Tesla used that money to do what no other automaker could or would do. I am glad the government supports the development of the industries we need for the future.

So, thank Obama as well, and the senators and representatives who apportioned the money, and the taxpayers who elected them and paid the bill.

I don’t need to embrace the whole Elon Musk to acknowledge the important work he has done. The idea that people are either good or bad, and not a mix of the two, is a false binary I reject outright

If you do great things, you deserve credit. If you are a scoundrel, you deserve to be condemned. Some people deserve both.

squareman
squareman
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Can we at least acknowledge that Musk did not build Tesla? Yes, he bought his way into it and made it more popular; he should get credit for that latter part, but he did not invent any of the technology or do the initial investment in the company.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  squareman

Absolutely. Tesla was founded in July 2003, and it wasn’t until February 2004 that Musk became chairman of the board (and he didn’t even become CEO until 2008, before they produced their first car). Given his lazy personality, he likely just sat on his hands watching those around him create the only successful startup car manufacturer in the past 50 years of US history. And Tesla was only the 6th company to be worth $1 trillion. Old news. Anyone could have done what he’s done. I’m surprised more haven’t tried.

There are very very few areas in life where you can build something successful without the help of others. No one does it alone.

[All facts above from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla,_Inc.%5D

dwk
dwk
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Another Elon Musk groupie…. he made billions on PayPal, bought an electric car company and labeled himself a visionary.
Just paid 44 billion to own the libs on twitter which is an outdated platform money loser. A real genius.
His hyperloop is a joke. His satellite business would go broke except for government handouts he gets.
He is a dumb persons idea of smart.

Matt
Matt
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Just because something’s popular doesn’t mean it’s good.

Buster
Buster
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Tesla is the Apple of cars. Huge cultural footprint but relatively low market share. In the Apple example, iPhones get all the attention but most people have Android phones. Teslas are also similar in having bespoke chargers that don’t work with other systems, and an obsession with form over function. The first time I was picked up by a Tesla-driving Lyft driver, I couldn’t figure out how to even open the car door.

dwk
dwk
1 year ago
Reply to  Buster

Companies like Volvo and others will put this cheap fraud out of business in a few years.
Go drive high end electric cars.. Tesla is not all that…

dw
dw
1 year ago

I really wish Oregon had a rebate for ebikes – at least on par with what they’re doing for electric cars. Every time ebikes are mentioned on this site, some real lukewarm and soggy takes get pulled out of the swamp, but I think they are a net good. Pedal-assist bikes can really help get more folks on bikes, which I see as a win. My commute is hella hilly and I love having a motor so I don’t show up to work sweaty.

I do believe that e-motorcycles that go 35+ mph should be regulated as such. But don’t demonize every ebike just because of a few bad actors. I get passed by lycra guys on carbon bikes way too close and too fast on the greenways all the time. Should we ban lycra guys? Should we make it so you have to have a special license to operate a high-end road bike?

soren
soren
1 year ago

Were the 303 people killed as a result of faulty ignition switches duped acolytes of GM CEO Rick Wagoner?

To re-frame a piece that describes profoundly unethical actions of a mega-corporation into a rant that demeans product purchasers as “acolytes duped by Musk” is victim blaming (likely rooted in anti-electrification bias). I would also add that while Tesla Inc is the villain in this story, the regulators who have turned a blind eye to this BS for years have functioned enablers.

Will Ferrule
Will Ferrule
1 year ago
Reply to  soren

As a Model 3 owner, I disagree with your what-about-ism. I bought my Model 3 early on; I knew that Musk was erratic (he had posted online videos of him smoking dope), but at that time he hadn’t yet revealed himself to be evil. It’s also wrong to blame the regulators, who are under extreme political pressure from pro-business Rethuglicans, and Musk himself.

soren
soren
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Ferrule

I disagree with your what-about-ism. I bought my Model 3 early on; I knew that Musk was erratic (he had posted online videos of him smoking dope), but at that time he hadn’t yet revealed himself to be evil.

What whataboutism?

The piece Maus linked to focused on the DOJ’s criminal investigation of Tesla so I focused on Tesla. It would be great if the DOJ started filing criminal cases that held management liable for the criminal actions of corporations but that was not the focus of the piece.

As for Musk, he was a billionaire when he smoked pot on a fascist-entryist show and is still a billionaire. Being a billionaire alone is more than enough evidence of evil, from my perspective.

Even if one were to believe that the millions who purchased Teslas are all “Musk acolytes”, they would still deserve protection against product defects due to corporate malfeasance. Fixating on their alleged worship of Musk in the context of a criminal investigation triggered by deaths is messed up.

It’s also wrong to blame the regulators, who are under extreme political pressure from pro-business Rethuglicans, and Musk himself.

I should not blame regulators because they are allegedly corrupt (political pressure from pro-business republicans) and lack an intrinsic sense of ethics? OK…then.

And this is, of course, nonsense because CA has been run by the “blue team” for decades and is still dawdling over legal action over Tesla and Musk’s use of “autopilot” and “full self driving”.

Cyclops
Cyclops
1 year ago
Reply to  soren

Re: whatboutism – No where in the article by Maus or Reuters was GM or  Rick Wagoner and the 303 people killed as a result of faulty ignitions mentioned.

Re: feeling duped. I drive a small Honda and feel duped daily by fact that we live by, tolerate and even support massive roads for all types of SOV. It’s the system that we were bon in to and we can wish and work for it to be better. Cars were a mistake and we’re all the marks.

soren
soren
1 year ago
Reply to  Cyclops

No where in the article by Maus or Reuters was GM or Rick Wagoner and the 303 people killed as a result of faulty ignitions mentioned.

People died due to Tesla’s hyping of their lane-keeping software as “full self-driving” or “autopilot” and you fail to see the analogy between this corporate (and CEO) safety malfeasance and another example of corporate safety malfeasance?

I drive a small Honda and feel duped daily by fact that we live by, tolerate and even support massive roads for all types of SOV.

You could get rid of your small Honda and go car free. If this is not possible, you could use Federal and State used EV credits to replace it with a used Leaf or Bolt. This would reduce the harm your driving causes to our shared environment (and would provide some prefiguration for your neighbors who drive air-toxic spewing death mobiles).

by fact that we live by, tolerate and even support massive roads for all types of SOV.

Oh darn, you caught me. I’m clearly a champion of massive roads for all types of SOV despite my decade plus of anti-cage commentary on bike portland

Cyclops
Cyclops
1 year ago
Reply to  soren

I see the analogy, but it’s in whataboutism territory.

Thanks for the tip on the used EV car credits, my goal is to drive my near 20 year old ICE vehicle until it gives up the ghost while weening myself of driving entirely – when it does finally stop, I’ll reevaluate where I am and aim for a used EV if I still think there’s a need for a vehicle in my life.

Lastly, nowhere in my comment did I characterize you as a “champion of massive roads for all types of SOV” – but ok.

Will
Will
1 year ago
Reply to  soren

Yeah…it’s totally anti-electrification bias…

20221031_133203.jpg
soren
soren
1 year ago
Reply to  Will

It’s hilarious that you are trying to paint me as a defender of Musk. If it were up to me, there would be no billionaires or millionaires. Musk is a good example of the kind of morality it takes to become a billionaire.

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
1 year ago

Regarding PA state attempt to update their bike lane law:…perhaps its time to make lemons out of lemonaide…by embracing the old law’s 12IN restriction AND design ALL PBLs with a fixed concrete curb. More protection and just move on to other issues…
Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code currently requires cars to park with their tires within 12 inches of a curb. This prevents the installation of parking-protected bike lanes, which sit between a curb and a parking lane, shielding bicyclists from moving traffic…”

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago

Central Bruges is so pedestrian friendly I fully expect them to next ban cars and all motorized vehicles during the daytime, even eBikes. But not power boats.

squareman
squareman
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Just wait until the all-powerful, spandex-wearing pedal boat lobby comes along.

squareman
squareman
1 year ago

Don’t pass me bro: In the Belgium city of Bruges, there are over 8 miles of streets in the central city where it is now illegal for a car driver to pass someone riding a bike. Makes perfect sense to me. 

This should be the standard for our allegedly pedestrian- and bicycle-prioritized greenways. We might see a whole lot less cut through traffic on them this way too.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  squareman

As much as I don’t like being passed on a greenway, I really really really hate a driver hanging back and following me. A no pass rule would not improve the situation from my perspective.

Nor could I imagine it being adhered to.

Clem Fandango
Clem Fandango
1 year ago

I was walking my dogs down along the east bank last night. If making it illegal for cars to pass cyclists is a good idea, it ought to be illegal for bicycles- especially e-bikes- to pass pedestrians. There are some maniacs on those orange creamsicle contraptions.