Monday Roundup: Crash reporting, car line agony, and more

Welcome to the week. It’s going to get busy and interesting this week. Before the silliness starts, below are all the stories you need (from sources you can trust) to get up to speed.

Check your cranks!: After a whopping 4,519 reported incidents of crankset damage and several injuries, Shimano has issues a massive recall. Learn more here. (Bicycle Retailer)

School pick-up lines are a policy failure: The line of drivers just to pick kids up from school is “soul-sucking” and totally preventable. (The Atlantic)

Micro-mobility, mega impact: When people talk trash about e-scooters and/or bike share, keep in mind that those modes are an invaluable piece of the mobility puzzle for people with lower incomes. (Streetsblog USA)

Black people and bikes: Access to and love of bicycles contradicted popular ideas about the the lack of mobility for folks who lived in the nearly all-Black neighborhood of Newtown in Montgomery, Alabama in the mid 1960s. (African American Intellectual History Society)

DEA agent charged in Salem cyclist death: Samuel Landis is accused of criminally negligent homicide after he drove recklessly, hit and killed Marganne Allen, and then never stopped to see if she needed help. (Statesman Journal)

The Oregonian is trying: It’s nice to see Oregon’s newspaper of record saying thoughtful things about how they cover traffic crashes. Thanks to all the folks who contact them about it. Let’s see how it plays out in future coverage. (The Oregonian)

Environmental racism: When a major data analysis find that “More than 49 million Americans live within a mile of a highway and face startling health risks from traffic pollution,” it makes it all the more difficult to support any compromise for lane expansions. (ABC)

E-bike revolution strong as ever: A poll found that nearly half of Americans are in the market for a new e-bike, and corporate America is lining up for a piece of the pie. (Adweek)

xkcd on urban planning: About a dozen readers have sent me this strip on the “typical urban planning opinion progression” that reveals how many of us have become radicalized. (xkcd)

Victim blaming again: It’s almost as if police got to national conferences and trade tips on how best to absolve drivers in fatal bicycle crashes. This one in Texas (similar to one we’ve recently covered) says a highly-experienced bike rider just happened to “veer” in front of a truck before he was hit. (KPTV)

E-bikes can unite Oregon: What’s one transportation policy that could unite urban and rural Oregon? E-bike rebates! Imagine the flood of positive mobility impacts folks from rural folks (especially older ones) if they could hop on a motorized bicycle. (PBS)

Protected convenience stores: Here’s a stat that shows just one absurd consequence of America’s car-centric planning: “Over a 15-year period, 6,253 cars crashed into 7-Eleven storefronts in the U.S. – an average of 1.14 per day.” (ABC Philly)

Safe street tech: CycleRAP, A tool that anonymously captures road features and then runs it through a safety assessment is being piloted in at least one American city. Could it help advise planners on where and what to do to make cycling safer? (NY 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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Scott Kocher
Scott Kocher
8 months ago

It’s progress for the Oregonian to stop calling crashes “accidents” and go with “driver kills pedestrian.” Eventually maybe we’ll see “ODOT’s Powell Blvd kills another person walking”?

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
8 months ago
Reply to  Scott Kocher

“Election 2024: Oregon Voters Engage in Mass Slaughter – Again – By Electing Same Politicians and Expecting Different Outcomes”

Chris I
Chris I
8 months ago

Were the 7-11 stores wearing hi-viz?

Phil
Phil
8 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

I doubt they were even wearing helmets.

dw
dw
8 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Probably didn’t cross in the crosswalk either!

Brian
Brian
8 months ago

I live in North Eugene and they just built a new high school. 30-40 cars park in the bike lane daily waiting for students to be picked up.

dw
dw
8 months ago

It’s good to know that shared scooters and bikes are being used by low-income people. The whole article begs the question, though, instead of subsidizing the services, why not have the cities run them instead? If all these VC-backed tech companies go belly up, where does that leave the folks who are now using scooters and bikes day to day? Is the infrastructure in place to convert Lime scooters, for example, for use with another company or would they just become expensive hunks of e-waste littering the sidewalks?

X
X
8 months ago
Reply to  dw

Tech companies have their problems, including the venture capital perpetual motion machine that appears to be driving them. How long can that last? But, maybe it’s better to contract out that activity than to have the city or Metro take on another function.

“Cities like Denver have completely waived program fees for micromobility operators in exchange for them meeting robust equity benchmarks and building parking corrals to keep scooters off sidewalks…”

It’s up to the city to regulate the contractors intelligently. It would be great to solve the parking problem, for instance.

EP
EP
8 months ago

The lines of cars at school article is appropriate with all the NE72nd issues last week. Some parents on ND were getting all bent out of shape about the closure of NE72nd through the park, and how there’s no other good way to _easily_ drive their kids to school. They also said it wasn’t safe to let their kids walk or bike…

It’s amazing that the city is trying to put in a low-traffic greenway that leads DIRECTLY to the school, and these parents are still opposed. It would be great if Portland Public Schools would stand up for greenway projects and make a big deal about supporting them, and encouraging students to use them. Contests, bike giveaways, rewards for riding in, etc. Normalizing the pickup/drop-off traffic jam is not the answer.

Fred
Fred
8 months ago
Reply to  EP

Fear has been normalized, unfortunately, which drives a lot of parent behavior IRT not letting their kids bike or walk to school.

I was very fortunate to grow up in a time when parents let their kids bike and walk places on their own.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
8 months ago
Reply to  Fred

I too was free-range and organic as a kid in a small Midwestern college town – I was using the city bus alone by age 9 (probably illegally), in a community that had sidewalks citywide, even in the newer suburbs. I now realize after living in other towns and cities that the community I grew up in was unusual to say the least – the fact that it had sidewalks and city bus service citywide in a community of 50,000 made it unusual even back then. A lot of kids today live in suburban areas with no sidewalks and narrow 2-lane stroads and really no safe options to walk to school, and yet many poorer kids with working parent (often single) really have no choice but to walk or bike when there are no school buses.

Michael
Michael
8 months ago
Reply to  EP

There are similar issues with my kid’s school in West Haven-Sylvan. The school has a nearby bus stop, but the bus that services it (58-Canyon Rd) only comes every 20-30 minutes and doesn’t line up well with the school schedule (you can either arrive from downtown 20 minutes before school starts or be late by 5 minutes, and likewise it comes 5 minutes before school lets out for the middle school grades or 20 minutes after). Also, both stops are on the on/off-ramps to Hwy 26, and at least once per day a rider is going to have to cross the Skyline/Hwy 26 interchange. There are potential alternatives, but they’re not really worth it. The Washington Park MAX station is a 27 minute walk away, while the nearest stop for the 20-Burnside bus is also 27 minutes away with the added benefit of walking uphill or downhill along winding streets full of blind corners and no pedestrian facilities, including the major streets of Burnside and Skyline. Finally, aside from the Sunset Highway Trail, which ends right around the interchange, there’s no cycling facilities to speak of, let alone family-friendly facilities. So much for Safe Routes, amiright?

Zooming even further out, there are no real express options through downtown Portland. So, if you’re a family coming across town for this district-wide focus school, it’s going to take you ages to get from point A to point B. We just had a school fall festival thing, and I knew parking was going to be a nightmare, so my first thought was that I should take a double opportunity to teach my young teen a bit about using the transit system and avoid the hassle of finding parking at the school with (thankfully) little in the way of parking facilities. Only I come to find out that my drive over from Gateway in peak rush hour traffic would take 25 minutes compared to 65 minutes to hop on the MAX, ride to Goose Hollow, get off and wait for the 58, then ride for one more stop up the hill. Now, because I’m an ideologue who hates almost everything about cars in cities, I might be fine with that if it were just me. But am I going to ask the rest of my family to lose more than an hour of extra time just to make a point about arriving by bus? If I know my wife and child, not at all. And if we’re not going to make that sacrifice, how could I expect anyone else to, when they’re likely just as or more busy than we are, with much more valuable things to do than sitting at a bus stop or a train station scrolling on our phones for 15+ minutes (god knows we wouldn’t be able to talk to each other over the roar of traffic).

So yeah, of course I and every other parent is just going to drive! There’s no other real choice! And because everyone’s driving, pick up and drop off are a nightmare snarl of weaving cars, darting kids, and packed parking lots and intersections. It’s so bad that the principal is taking the first couple of weeks after summer break to don a day-glo vest and (poorly) direct traffic at the 4-way stop in a misguided attempt to alleviate the logjam. I would argue that her time is better spent on the phone with her supervisor and with PBOT and Trimet to lobby for much needed relief, but I understand the urge to try to solve the problem today by playing traffic cop instead of in several years by playing transportation activist. It’s a ridiculous situation on every level, and really goes to show a lack of respect for families’ time and resources for just fulfilling the need to educate their children.

Sorry-not-sorry for the rant, but it’s the epitome of everything wrong with our transportation system, even in a supposed cycling utopia like Portland, and it’s something my family and many others all over the city have to deal with on a daily basis 9+ months out of the year. A tremendous failing of government in providing necessary services to its constituents.

maxD
maxD
8 months ago
Reply to  Michael

COTW

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  Michael

This is a great illustration of some of the fundamental shortcomings of our transit system. I do not see how TriMet’s model of transit can reasonably provide service for this situation without spending a tremendously huge amount of money and resources. We need something point-to-point, on-demand.

Chris I
Chris I
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Adding additional runs that coincide with school start/end times is something they have done in the past, and could do tomorrow if they prioritized it. Once the service is established and understood, the busses are packed with students.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Telling folks to replace a 25 minute drive with a 65 minute transit trip is a tough sell, even without the meth. Yes, TriMet could run a bus from Gateway to West Haven-Sylvan and reduce the travel time somewhat, but they’re not going to. That’s just one of the many thousands of trips that are uneconomical to provide with the current transit model.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Getting kids to and from school efficiently and for not too much money is a solved problem. School busses have the most predictable and regimented routes imaginable, they are an ideal solution for this problem.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

And yet it hasn’t been “solved” in this case.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

It is solved in this case, so that’s why I’m also asking why the obvious solution isn’t being used. Are there school busses here? If not, why not? If there are school busses, why isn’t Michael using them?
I assume there are answers to those questions (and besides school busses, Michael was open to Trimet if the timing was right and that’s an easy fix), so it remains true that this is an easy, solved problem.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

If it were solved, Michael would not have made his post.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

That’s obviously not true. People don’t always use the obvious solution to solved problems, and furthermore, sometimes it’s not the individual not using the solution. Like if a city doesn’t have school busses that get to the kids that need them. That doesn’t make it any less solved. Getting kids to and from school is the easiest most brain dead simple problem and it was solved a long time ago. And the solution isn’t any less relevant.

Now, there maybe some (yes, private) intrusions that are making things more complicated like charter schools and private schools. The problem there is the existence of the private school. But for public school, busses are an obvious solution for getting kids to school and if they’re not being used we need to know why and fix it.

Edge cases like moving and then trying to stay in the same school you’re no longer close enough to is not the majority.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Michael

It’s been a while since I was in school, but do they not just have regular school busses? That’s the real outrage if not. It absolutely should not be necessary to drive.

Also it’s very strange that it’s even a slightly difficult ask to have Trimet line those bus schedules up with school time. A 20 minute shift earlier or later should make almost no difference. Although I expect the one bus line wouldn’t make that much of a difference.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

The reason that there is no bus in this case is almost certainly that Michael’s kid has transferred in from outside the school catchment area. Schools are not obligated to provide transportation in that circumstance (reasonably so), so families need to find their own solution. It sounds like the trip is possible on TriMet, but is comparatively very slow, even though part of it is on the Red Line.

From TriMet’s perspective, this particular trip is probably an edge case, so not worth optimizing for (especially if it involves cost or de-optimizing other trips).

The fundamental problem is that a significant number of trips are such edge cases, and individually we’re not willing to sacrifice large chunks of our day when there are better (for us individually) options available.

I contend that TriMet cannot be that better option for a critical mass of trips, even with a much larger financial and carbon budget.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Oh so your assertion is that he’s going to the wrong school. If that’s the case, it’s an edge case not worth addressing unless it’s easy with a Trimet schedule adjustment or one (1) extra bus. People should go to the school that they live near.

X
X
8 months ago
Reply to  Michael

The school has the address of all of its students and they know what time they can be expected to arrive. All the information needed to solve the problem is available. No, the principal should not be out on the street directing traffic.

We’ve hardly begun to make use of all the huge amount of data available to optimize existing resources. If ride sharing were promoted, subsidized, and normalized, motor vehicle traffic congestion would disappear.

curly
curly
8 months ago

I live on a street going to the local grade school in east Portland. Only sidewalks on 1 side of the street and it only connects to streets which have no sidewalks. No Safe Route To School for these elementary school students, so there is a heavy traffic pattern with busses, cars and some parents who walk their kids to school during pickup and drop off times every school day. Not an ideal situation. Where there is no infrastructure, there can be no safe way for students, or parents to walk to school. In this school’s case infrastructure is the solution, but no political will to change.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
8 months ago

Can anyone tell if the Shimano recall includes 6803 cranksets?

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
8 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Nevermind, mine are 6603 and 6703.

Steve C
Steve C
8 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Did they make the 6800 in a triple?

Matt
Matt
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve C

Nope, no such thing as a 3 x 11 road crankset from Shimano. Although they did make a 3 x 11 mountain group (M8000).

Foot Patrol
Foot Patrol
8 months ago

It’s unclear how proximity to highways relates to race based on the summary offered to first time readers here. The linked article’s headline, “Highway traffic pollution puts communities of color at greater health risk, data analysis shows,” suggests a direct connection. Would it be possible for future summaries to acknowledge this relationship explicitly rather than focusing solely on the impact?

Matthew in PDX
Matthew in PDX
8 months ago

The DEA agent that killed the cyclist will likely move for his case to be transferred to from Marion County Court to Federal Court. As he was on duty at the time of the crash, and driving was likely part of his duties, his case is much stronger than those we’ve been seeing in Fulton County, GA.

It is not unheard of for the Federal District Court to dismiss cases against Federal Law Enforcement Officers.

X
X
8 months ago
Reply to  Matthew in PDX

Your point was well made, and it would be both awful and unsurprising if that happened. But, if a person not using a siren or emergency signal kills a member of the public and then fails to give aid, haven’t they just failed in their duty? This legal out would be entirely cynical.