Monday Roundup: Slow scooters, trans ban, safety surge, and more

Welcome to the week. Here are the most notable stories our writers and readers have come across in the past seven days…

This week’s Roundup is brought to you by the Pioneer Century ride June 3rd. Choose from three excellent routes full of wide, mountain vistas in Mt Hood Territory as you enjoy a fully-supported event that benefits the Portland Bicycling Club. More info and registration here.

And now, let the Roundup begin…

Finally: Big news in traffic safety as NHTSA has taken a big step toward changing it’s safety ratings so they rate new cars on impacts to people outside the vehicle and not just inside it. (NHTSA)

More e-bike rebates: Boulder is the latest city in America to jump on the e-bike subsidy bandwagon with a new program that offers up to $500 instant money back on the purchase of an e-bike. (Boulder Beat)

Sidewalk scootering: Interesting new study showed that in places where e-scooters were speed-limited, more people would opt to ride them on the sidewalk. Seems like a great argument against speed limiting scooters IMO! (IIHS)

What leadership looks like: Boston’s mayor is behind a “safety surge” aimed to boost traffic safety in neighborhoods via hundreds of new speed bumps and other traffic calming measures citywide. (Streetsblog Mass)

Superguzzlers are key: When it comes to encouraging people to buy electric cars, we’d be smart to take a more strategic approach that targets the folks who currently spend the most on gas. (Grist)

Yay for yielding: Another state has joined the “Idaho Stop” club as Minnesota cyclists can now legally slow-then-go when approaching a stop sign. Yeah for common sense cycling laws! (Bring Me The News)

Paying for it: With eyes on 2025, Oregon insiders should take a close look at the $1.3 billion transportation funding package just passed by the Minnesota legislature — which included a move to index the gas tax to inflation, money for transit safety, an e-bike credit, and more. (Star Tribune)

Trans racers: In a major twist in the ongoing saga about competitive transgender cyclists, British Cycling (that country’s governing body of bike racing) will only allow people whose sex was assigned female at birth to compete in women’s categories. (BBC)

Gap flap: Seattle is stewing over how to deal with a bikeway gap in an eight block section of their new, $750 million waterfront road makeover. (Seattle Times)


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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Pierre Lathau
Pierre Lathau
10 months ago

Why do I always feel that ANY place (like Boulder in this case) will do a better job with any kind of taxpayer incentive/new tax (for ebikes in this case) than Portland and Oregon? Look at how badly we screwed up with measure 110 (state of Oregon) and the PCEF—Portland Clean Energy Fund (city of Portland). My trust of the both the local and state government is at an all time low.

Steve C
Steve C
10 months ago
Reply to  Pierre Lathau

https://tax.colorado.gov/retail-delivery-fee

This was somewhat of a shit show when it first went into effect. Thankfully, it looks like they’re backing off the separate line item stipulation as of 7/1/23, but most law abiding businesses already paid to adjust their sites’ checkout/receipt/invoicing systems.

JeffS
JeffS
10 months ago
Reply to  Pierre Lathau

PCEF was green washed racial discrimination.
Surely, we’re not still pretending it was ever anything else.

cc_rider
cc_rider
10 months ago
Reply to  Pierre Lathau

Look at how badly we screwed up with measure 110 (state of Oregon) and the PCEF—Portland Clean Energy Fund (city of Portland). My trust of the both the local and state government is at an all time low.

Both of these were passed by the voters, not the government. M110 over-promised. I don’t personally think it is a failure but it was pretty obvious to me that you can’t provide addiction treatment services without personnel to provide those services, of which we have a national shortage, much more put that on an agency that was in the middle of fighting a global pandemic.

PCEF on the other hand was always going to be a slush fund, but it sounded really cool.

Governance by ballot measure is a pretty terrible idea.

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

The legislature chose to decriminalize drugs before the treatment services were up and running. That’s a failure of government.

cc_rider
cc_rider
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

The legislature didn’t decriminalize drugs. Here is the text of M110 if you want to see what it actually did

https://sos.oregon.gov/admin/Documents/irr/2020/044text.pdf

I do have to laugh at the ‘War on Drugs’ folks who hate M110 though. The underlying hate for M110 is predicated on the idea that the cops, who can’t manage our rising gun violence or break up a massive open-air fent shop without a reporter calling them out, would effectively go after people for minor drug possession. It really says something about the police and their supporters that they understand the police can only be motivated to do their job if it means pretty bullying.

I guess being a cop is more fun when you don’t have to deal with actually dangerous people.

ShadowsFolly
ShadowsFolly
10 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

I work in a business for various internal reasons that require employees to store their documents only with one company on the internet. Some refuse to because they see that company as “evil”.
As I’m in a position to see these infractions against policy I report it to my management. They refuse to do anything. After reporting the issue many times over the years I now don’t bother reporting any more.

Makes me sympathize with the Portland Police when the Mayor and DA are doing virtually the same thing. No wonder they don’t want to bust up drug dealing or bike chop shops when the perps will just be back on the street.

Don’t get me wrong the Police union needs to be busted and the Police held much more accountable for their actions. But at the same time we need a Mayor who isn’t wishy washy and actually instructs the officers to enforce ALL the laws and a DA who will actually prosecute the majority of criminals.

Matt
Matt
10 months ago

Correction: transwomen who have not yet begun hormone replacement therapy treatment are still eligible to race in the Women’s category.

Matt
Matt
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Ugh, that should say *transmen*, not transwomen… oops

Matt P
Matt P
10 months ago

Scooters (or bikes) don’t belong on sidewalks…period.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt P

Even as a vehicular cyclist, I have to disagree with that.

First – I always ride a very modest speed on sidewalks and never faster than the person in front of me (considering I can ride an upright under 2mph and my trike can come to a standstill without putting a foot down, this doesn’t pose much of an issue).

Second – there are many places where a short stretch on the sidewalk is safer and faster:

At least 2 spots in my commute, if you ride the roadway you’ll never get the signal until a car shows up (rare at O’dark 30) – so hopping on the sidewalk at the ADA ramp or driveway and hitting the walk signal is the single best way to cross.

Also, the bike path NE of 224 dumps you on the left side of 122nd at 212. Rather than wait for another signal and cross to the west side, then have to use the left turn lane at Jennifer (a fraught experience because of freight traffic turning left from Jennifer onto 122nd) it’s simply much safer and quicker to ride down the east side sidewalk and cross Jennifer from there (it also gives you a bit better visibility around the curve on Jennifer to the west).

117th and Center st – far better to cross Center to the sidewalk and ride the 100ft on the left side to the apt complex driveway than it is to try and cross from a bike lane across 2 lanes of people being stupid – people use it as a cut through and are going way to fast WB toward the stop sign or gunning from 117th EB.

I’m sure there are others – but these are places I hit either every day or several times a week and have chosen to incorporate a bit of sidewalk in my ride.

This doesn’t count the places where they’ve made the “bike lane” part of the sidewalk (EG: the Hawthorne bridge)

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

Scooters (or bikes) don’t belong on sidewalks…period.

Even as a vehicular cyclist, I have to disagree with that.

Even though I accept your arguments, and could add a few of my own, the existence of exceptions does not invalidate the rule: don’t ride on sidewalks.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

There is no such rule.

There are rules about how you conduct yourself on the sidewalk on a bike (814.410) however.

Section (2) explicitly states that a bicyclist on the sidewalk has all the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.

Those of us who obey those rules absolutely belong on a sidewalk if we so choose.

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

There is no such rule.

You mean there is no such law (outside of downtown). There absolutely is a rule, but it’s a social and safety one, not a legal one.

You can legally ride on a sidewalk at 20 MPH, but doing so would make you a jerk, and might lead to injury (quite possibly yours).

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Really?

Riding in accordance with the law doesn’t pose any safety issues – even if you go faster than walking speed when there’s no one else on the sidewalk with you. Though I don’t go faster than athletes like my brother used to run (11mph for a half marathon).

As for social issues – most people don’t even think twice about it – heck, a large portion of the driving public believes that’s where bikes belong.

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

“Riding in accordance with the law doesn’t pose any safety issues”

Assuming all drivers coming out of driveways and the like look for fast moving vehicles on the sidewalk, perhaps traveling in the opposite direction as traffic. Which they don’t. Sidewalk riding presents all sorts of increased risk for collision.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Read the law again – you’re not supposed to cross driveways above pedestrian speeds.

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

Noted. I’ll partially concede the point you were making about following the law, but as a self-described vehicular cyclist, surely you recognize the dangers of riding where drivers don’t expect you to be.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Of course I do, which is why I slow approaching areas where I might meet them. I honestly didn’t know the law until this conversation – turns out I was obeying it all along because it’s the safest/most reasonable way to operate.

Also, I rarely cross driveways/roads since my stints on sidewalks are usually very short.

122nd is the exception and crosses 2 driveways and Ford Rd. – very clear lines of sight on vehicles coming out of them, but the most important part is looking back over my right shoulder for vehicles turning left. Slow, get a good look (recumbents are great for being able to get turned and get a really good view), and then go when it’s safe.

Even though there is almost never a ped on that sidewalk I doubt I exceed 10mph and brake at the 3 above spots. There’s also a fire hydrant to navigate around (on a trike you have to put the left wheel off the walk onto the grass).

Still safer than taking the lane at the south end and using the left turn lane there.

This from someone who has regularly taken the lane on Beaverton Hillsdale at Oleson to get in the left turn lane at Scholls, same on Johnson left turn on Lake, 82nd left turn onto Sunnybrook and 17th to go straight across Mcloughlin.

On the way home I hop on that sidewalk NB at the last driveway 100ft short of 212. Not for me, but so I can hit the walk signal and give the traffic backed past Ford road a chance to go without waiting for multiple cycles.

I’ve actually had regular drivers from that area thank me for that one.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

(d)Operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway or crossing a curb cut or pedestrian ramp and a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp. This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic.

Granpa
Granpa
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt P

This is Bike Portland and every mode deserves access everywhere. Just ask mt. bikers

Zimmermam
Zimmermam
10 months ago
Reply to  Granpa

This is Portland where hikers must maintain their exclusive access, Just ask Forest Park/Riverview adjacent homeowners.

jakeco969
jakeco969
10 months ago

Interesting read from the BBC, I’m impressed that the UK is taking such a progressive lead in establishing an open category in addition to male and female categories. Seems like a win-win-win.

Cyclekrieg
10 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

I thought so too. I know the “Gilead sounds like a good idea” people won’t be happy nor the “my feelings should override everyone else’s” people. That tells me it’s a balanced and nuanced plan. Let’s hope this becomes a template for all sports. Let’s hope British Cycling can stand up to inevitable whining from both sides.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
10 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

It seems to be a very non-binary approach that should appease everyone 🙂

Adam
Adam
10 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

The men’s category should be the open category. The women’s category is really a handicap category justifiable because of human biology, as women would not find much glory in a serious co-ed competition. But if a woman or a trans person thought they could win against the men, let them have at it. I don’t think any serious men would care.

A separate open category would not have the prestige of the men’s and women’s categories as it would very likely appeal to those who thought they would have no chance in the men’s or women’s races.

The few trans racers that have seen success in the women’s category would not come close to placing in the men’s category so maybe they would swallow their pride and choose to compete in a separate open category, but unless racers in the open category produced top quality times compared to the men, a separate open category would be dismissed as just a fun ride for unserious competitors.

Moleskin
Moleskin
10 months ago
Reply to  Adam

The BBC article isn’t that clear on this but they’ve done what you suggest from other articles I’ve read – there are 2 categories, Women’s and Open (no separate men’s category).

jakeco969
jakeco969
10 months ago
Reply to  Moleskin

“Under a new participation policy that the governing body said was “predicated on fairness”, such athletes will compete in an ‘open category’ with men.” BBC

The opening sentence is what confused me. After seeing your comment I read a reuters article which was much more explicit in stating that the Mens category is now the Open category.
I still think three categories has merits though, I’m not sure how well humans who have been taking inhibitors will do against humans who haven’t in the new Open category, but I guess we will not need to theorize much longer.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  jakeco969

Hi Jake and Mole,

What I think gets missed in the testosterone levels, pre/post puberty categorization is that boys and girls are different from the get-go. A three-year-old boy is different from a three-year-old girl.

The differences don’t begin at puberty, and they aren’t limited to muscle, bone-size and lung capacity. Male and female immune systems are different. Recovery from brain injury is different. There are a lot of sex differences.

Growing up a girl, “you can’t always get what you want” seemed like an accurate motto. If you are going to have a baby you need to get with the program pretty quick. The division of household/family labor most likely will fall more heavily on the woman, and that will affect her career, and limit her choices. In bad relationships, it even plays out as getting trapped in a violent situation.

I like being a woman, but I think a lot of men (and even young women) don’t get the full picture of what it means. Come talk to me when you turn 65 and wonder why your social security payments are so low.

Watts
Watts
10 months ago

“Come talk to me when you turn 65”

I will if I live that long.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Watts

LOL, with all that bike riding I predict you will be an outlier in the actuarial tables.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
10 months ago
Reply to  Adam

because of human biology

I think all “men” should be tested for their testosterone levels and placed into three groups: low, medium, and high. What’s your testosterone level, dude?

John
John
10 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Yeah, this is just the fundamental contradiction of competitive sports. It’s almost all biological at highly competitive levels, so you can continue to indefinitely subdivide the competing population into smaller and smaller sub-categories and it ends up looking like a bracket that goes down to the individual. Depending on the sport, people who are simply born a certain way are going to dominate on average and it’s never “fair”. I don’t have the body type to ever have competed seriously in something like running for example. But with people who are nearly identical twins? Sure. But what’s the point?
I don’t really know what to do about that. The key is that it’s mostly only true at the elite level, so maybe amateur sports is where it’s at.

Lazy Spinner
Lazy Spinner
10 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

This makes me think of Molly Cameron. I always appreciated that she recognized her advantages being born male and raced only against men as a matter of fairness.

Yolanda S
Yolanda S
10 months ago

Trans racers: In a major twist in the ongoing saga about competitive transgender cyclists, British Cycling (that country’s governing body of bike racing) will only allow people whose sex was assigned female at birth to compete in women’s categories. (BBC)

Jonathan, What’s your opinion on transgender cyclists, competitive racing and who should be able to compete where?

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  Yolanda S

You know that question is a trap. But what is your opinion?

Yolanda S
Yolanda S
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

How is it a trap? I’m genuinely curious what Jonathan’s opinion is.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
10 months ago
Reply to  Yolanda S

Yolanda S, What’s your opinion on high T men, competitive racing, and whether high T men are cheaters that should be banned from the “men” category?

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I think there should be a category for people who can’t be bothered to train and refuse to wear spandex or those silly bicycle shirts, and who ride bikes that cost under $750, so then I could compete.

pierre_delecto
pierre_delecto
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

UCI Cat 6 racing rules:

A Cat 6 race occurs whenever another rider is seen in front or in back of you. At that point the race has begun. It doesn’t matter if the other person is 6 years old on a tricycle or 60 years old on a fat tire bike. Race on.

A Cat 6 race does not require both participants to be aware of the fact they are in a race. One can decline to participate but it only takes one out of two participants to make a race.

A race is officially won by overtaking the other participant from behind or alternatively if the person in front is unaware of their status within the race, they can win by simply turning off the current road/path.

https://www.twospoke.com/threads/cat-6-race-rules.17697/

9watts
9watts
10 months ago

The Grist piece on incentivizing folks who use the most gasoline is so completely upside down. That is what a gas tax – a real one like Norway or Germany has – is for. Throwing money at people who drive too much or in oversized vehicles is just ridiculous.

Chris
Chris
10 months ago
Reply to  9watts

The piece did mention pickups, but my interpretation was that it would be geared towards low income people who drive a lot but can’t afford or choose not to buy a new car with a high MPG.

9watts
9watts
10 months ago
Reply to  Chris

can’t afford or choose not to buy a new car with a high MPG.”

This was true forty years ago, but today I don’t think the new vehicles are much more fuel efficient than the ones people are already driving. Most/many? people don’t even drive cars anymore, they drive vehicles classified as light trucks and SUVs.

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  9watts

 …is just ridiculous.

It makes much more sense getting the Tahoe drivers to switch to electric than those driving Honda Fits. Don’t think about it in moral terms, about who “gets rewarded”; think about it in consequentialist terms, about how to maximize impact.

9watts
9watts
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I don’t care if they switch to electric. The relationship between them switching to electric and all the other goals enumerated in the Grist article is so tenuous. A stiff gas tax (never mentioned in the piece) would accomplish all those goals and wouldn’t cost the tax payer anything.

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  9watts

I don’t oppose a gas tax at all, but would much prefer a stiff carbon tax, the effectiveness of which is one of the two things that most economists agree on. (The other is the foolishness of rent control.)

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

We should have pretty severe child-taxes. Nothing is going to have a bigger carbon footprint than having a child in the USA.

9watts
9watts
10 months ago

We agree. Only the second time in the history of bikeportland? 😉

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
10 months ago

MORG and 9watts, See you guys at the next VHEMT meeting!

Dr. Tye Vasdeferens will be discussing research suggesting that exposure to endocrine suppressors is correlated with greater quality-adjusted life years.

comment image

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
10 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I’ve read about that Dr. He’s nuts.

Watts
Watts
10 months ago

“Child tax”

A carbon tax would account for that.

maxD
maxD
10 months ago

Gap Flap- I think this article provides a striking contrast to PBOT and Portland bike advocacy. The Seattle transportation seems to be starting with consensus that a safe, direct route is critical, and that some difficult compromises might need to be figured to achieve that. I think Better Naito provides a great contrast: Portland seems to be very proud of itself for getting somewhat close. They built a mostly continuous bike path (with a few poor/missed connections), but they did a terrible job on the pedestrian improvements. They closed a crosswalk at a critical pedestrian crossing location, and the failed to build a continuous sidewalk. The result is that during the busiest time, when it is most needed, the bike lane fills up fist with trucks, then with people waiting in line for the event. Portland advocates regularly trumpet Naito as an unqualified success, but the City failed to consider the multiple events on the Waterfront or the Saturday Market and the bike/ped and bike/truck conflicts persist. Better Naito is a fine bike route in the winter (except for the poor construction that left puddles and sharp bumps along the route), but it is a failed design during the sunny months. Reading the article, I was impressed that Seattle seems to be having a far more sophisticated conversation about planning bike infrastructure than Portland.