Monday Roundup: Rad apology, conservative case for bike lanes, 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 sponsored by The Vineyard Tour, coming to the beautiful Umpqua Valley Labor Day Weekend (September 3rd).

And now, let the Roundup begin…

Coast to coast: Portland’s bike bus has inspired parents and teachers in New York City to start up ones at their school. (New York Times)

Bikenomics: A news publication in Toronto shares an excellent model for how to talk to cycling-skeptical conservatives. (The Hub)

Sorry for safety record: The new CEO of Rad Power Bikes has done something very rare in corporate America: admitted doing something wrong! (The Verge)

Last-mile tech: You know you’re in the midst of a real cargo bike delivery movement when you see companies innovating to compete. (Cycling Electric)

Pedaling the past: An annual ride by a group of Cherokee Nation teens retraces the 950-mile route of the Trail of Tears and brings them closer to their ancestors. (PBS)

Transit protest: Activists in San Francisco used bicycles to block traffic in opposition to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s attempt to defund transit. (SF Standard)

Relativity: One advocate says we should stop using the term “micromobility” because the “micro” assumes oversized trucks and SUVs are the benchmark size. (Streetsblog USA)

Corrupt cops: NYPD officers actually used a “get out of jail free” card to give friends and family a free pass and not face traffic citations — until one of their own blew the whistle. (Washington Post)

Musk’s deadly experiment: Turns out that Tesla has a much worse safety record with their automated driving feature than the company has admitted do. (Washington Post)

Bike the Apple: Apple’s latest watchOS comes with enough nifty new features for bike riders that it could be your sole cycling computer. (Bike Radar)


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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Randi J
Randi J
11 months ago

This is good but will be lost on many of the bike Portland peanut gallery…who think all fiscally responsible individuals with a conservative financial outlook are far right Trumpers.

Unfortunately the polarization of the USA has put Portland in a bad place (as it now filled with many left wing extremists). Just like Alabama is in a bad place as it’s now full of right wing extremists.

https://thehub.ca/2023-06-06/steve-lafleur-why-conservatives-should-be-all-in-on-bike-lanes/

Graham
Graham
11 months ago
Reply to  Randi J

Fiscally responsible individuals with a conservative financial outlook?
Word salad. Do you mean fiscally conservative? Nothing about Trumpism is fiscally conservative.

Jim Gould
Jim Gould
11 months ago
Reply to  Graham

Are you a fiscally conservative English teacher or something? Good on you if so but I’m getting bad flash backs to freshman writing. Oh vey.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
11 months ago
Reply to  Randi J

Actually, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa are pretty liberal…

Myth Dispulsion
Myth Dispulsion
11 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Don’t tell them about the other cities in Dixie that go blue on election day maps, including in your own new state. (Oregon of the eastern US if you go where the scenery is, in particular)

blumdrew
blumdrew
11 months ago
Reply to  Randi J

Depends on what you mean by “conservative financial outlook” I guess. I think that high spending is justified on things like healthcare, education, and transit/transportation because they are public goods that the government is uniquely positioned to provide better than the private sector. Sure, this means higher taxes and higher spending but the alternative is far worse for society at large.

In education, if the private sector is left to its own devices, tuition and fees for school become prohibitively expensive to the poorest segment of society – whose children most need the education to provide for their families in the future. In healthcare, the government can provide insurance at a much lower rate by simply insuring the entire population at once – reducing the adverse selection issues inherent in insurance. In transportation, the government can provide a much more robust level of investment since it does not have to operate a transportation network for a profit – it benefits directly from the increased economic activity that a well funded transportation network brings. Plus, transportation/transit is a “natural monopoly” so it’s generally in the public interest to have municipal control to prevent needless profiteering.

But fiscal conservatism in the US is not interested in any of this. Public spending is for communists, and the private sector is “more efficient” in every case – even if that is demonstrably false (like in healthcare). Does this make me some kind of left wing extremist? No – these were fairly mainstream ideas in the pre-Clinton New Deal era Democratic party.

If you think Portland is filled with left-wing extremists, I can only assume you are unfamiliar with what being a “left-wing extremist” really means. Maybe you haven’t been tuned into city politics, but the entire city council is fairly mainstream Dem these days. Is there a single candidate that the Portland DSA has backed that has meaningful public office? (not even getting into how Democratic Socialist parties are typical considered to be fairly centrist by left-wing standards insofar as they are working within the present political structure rather than struggling for a working class revolution).

jakeco969
jakeco969
11 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

As far as your final paragraph is concerned, I remember seeing a tide of extremists (call them whatever direction you want, but they seemed left to me) tear down statues, riot, cause a lot of destruction downtown and attack a government building with people inside for the crime of being a government building for……was it longer than a month? Can’t quite remember now.
Interesting that you selected as your argument five people on the council as your version of mainstream leaving out the hundreds (or thousands depending on who you’re talking to) who acted out multiple months of rage. That seemed pretty extreme to me and it definitely seemed to be of the left wing variety.
I don’t think it makes Portland a bad place though, it just is what it is and shouldn’t be denied.

cc_rider
cc_rider
11 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

If you go back and look at police reports of arrests you’re going to find a lot of the people arrested don’t live in Portland. As it went on longer, the hometowns of the arrestees got even further afield.

The summer of 2020 escalated and got so bad because of two things. 1. The CoP and PPB absolute and total refusal to acknowledge the culture of violent white supremacy in those institutions and 2. the highly-filmed ultraviolent and thuggish response by the PPB to peaceful protest.

The original protests were police riots, where police decided to escalate a situation they didn’t need to by trying to force people to dsiperse. Their violent attack on peaceful protest made the community at large have even more support for the protests, just as their coordination with trumps black shirts who came in and made things even worse.

2020 is a failure completely on the city and there is no other way to look at it.

blumdrew
blumdrew
11 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

The current city council is more reflective of the political and civic mood of Portland than the events of three years ago. Consider Commissioner Gonzalez working to dismantle and union bust the fairly popular Portland Street Response. He just won his seat on the council, so is probably the strongest indication of how Portlanders writ large feel. Would a city filled with far left-extremists elect someone like that? I’d lean no.

I’m not looking to dismiss the events of summer 2020. It could have been a watershed moment for the city, but I get the feeling that most people want things “back to normal”. Which is a fairly resounding rejection of the social movements that took place then (in my opinion). Though I didn’t live in Portland until May 2021, so take what I’m saying with a grain of salt I guess.

And maybe a bit hair-splitty, but I figure a lot of this depends on what “filled with far left extremist” means from a numbers stand point. I don’t really think even a few thousand protestors is necessarily representative of any place with 650,000 odd people in it. It’s not like we have a full scale revolution with the working class creating the Portland Soviet here.

Joseph E
Joseph E
11 months ago

Hey look at this photo from the “don’t call it micro mobility” article. Guy looks familiar… 🙂comment image?w=710

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
11 months ago
Reply to  Joseph E

Oh man! Jonathan lost a rear wheel back at the start of the parade! 😉

Chris I
Chris I
11 months ago

The recall was the biggest blow to Rad Power’s reputation. The company said it had received 137 reports of tires blowing out, deflating, and separating from the sidewalls. Eight injuries were reported, including five incidents of “road rash, cuts and/or bruises and one report of a broken wrist and one report of a broken arm.”

I never liked the proprietary wheel/tire sizes on the Rad bikes, and this seems to reinforce those concerns. Any Rad owners care to comment on the article?

Phil
Phil
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Rad owner here with 6,000 miles on my RadCity. My ownership experience has been excellent. The only parts I’ve had to replace so far are the kickstand and the rear tire. My interactions with customer service have always been great.

That said, I did not purchase a RadWagon, and a big part of that decision was the proprietary wheel/tire size. This was before all of the issues started popping up, but I sure felt vindicated in my decision.

I was surprised that the article did not mention any customer service issues, and then I saw that it was from back in January. I don’t know exactly when the change took place, but sometime in the last month or two I have noticed a massive increase in complaints on the Rad subreddit about their customer service. They seem to have shut off their online chat feature and completely stopped answering their phones. This has left customers with bike issues high and dry and really soured the reputation of the brand. Comments on the subreddit from former employees make it sound like company morale has really taken a hit too.

Chris I
Chris I
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil

From the article, it sounds like they’ve laid off nearly half of the company in the past year. Not shocked to hear about a drop in customer service levels…

I think people need to be very careful/thoughtful about the e-bike they purchase, because support is such a critical part. Even giants like Rad can go under, or at least degrade their customer service to the point where you might as well just buy a Chinese E-bike from Amazon.

JJ Reyce
JJ Reyce
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Rad guessed— correctly, I’d bet— that a vast majority of units shipped won’t ever get used enough to actually wear through a set of tires. Availability of rubber will be the least of future owner concerns, after the proprietary motor and batteries can’t be fixed and aren’t worth repairing.

I’ve seen the latter a bunch already, and I’ve even seen it on higher end (and supposedly rebuildable) Bosch stuff. Best of luck to anyone buying an e-bike from Costco or whatever (though we all know those will get used 3x and then language in the garage until estate sale time)

Hotrodder
Hotrodder
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

I saw quite a few e-motorcycles on the McKenzie Pass this last weekend. I know very little about them, but some of them had unpronounceable names on the downtube and some had those really chunky 20″ tires. (None of them looked like my road bike as far as I could tell) I’m all for people getting out in the fresh air and using public spaces, I just hope these motorbikes don’t end up in the landfill after proprietary and un-replaceable parts break and brick the machine.

Chris I
Chris I
11 months ago
Reply to  Hotrodder

I rode it during the Memorial Day weekend and saw someone on a gas-powered moped! That was a first.

JJ Reyce
JJ Reyce
11 months ago
Reply to  Hotrodder

The “at least it gets people out there riding bikes” argument has been flawed from the get-go. Now we’ve got electric motorcycles poaching MTB trails at Yacolt Burn, Sandy Ridge and even Gateway Green. And apparently we’re supposed to just act like this isn’t abuse because according to the brainwashed e-bike zealots, any vehicle with a battery should be allowed to to anything anywhere and ignore whatever regulations they feel like… all under the banner of “more people on bikes”. We’re expected to surrender the trails we’ve spent decades fighting for, building and maintaining so that a reductive argument on a blog can sell more electric motorbikes to the Wall-E generation…

Caleb
Caleb
11 months ago
Reply to  JJ Reyce

Electric motorcycles weigh hundreds of pounds. They are different from electric bicycles. But I agree that anyone using an electric bicycle needs to respect trails, trail rules, and other trail users.