Monday Roundup: Your brain on bikes, parking informants, and more

This week’s Roundup is sponsored by Gorge Pedal on June 15th. Discover the Gorge and the Historic Columbia River Highway in style on this annual ride organizers call “one of the happiest rides in Oregon.” Tickets and info here.

Welcome to the week! Hope you enjoyed Memorial Day and found time to remember the people who sacrificed their lives for our country. Here are the most interesting stories our community has come across in the past seven days…

Don’t ask: When it comes to parking reform, you might want to think twice about getting advice from a traffic engineer. (Strong Towns)

The fountain of youth: A new study found that older people who bicycled regularly were over 20% less likely to have knee pain or osteoarthritis, proving once again that riding is a wonder drug. (NPR)

Your brain on bikes: On a related note to the item above, 23-year-old Connie Hayes is a bike racer with dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism who says cycling is a “lifeline”. (BBC)

Work(out) from home: How many of you would jump at the chance to use a desk that allowed you to use pedal-power to generate electricity needed to run your work-from-home setup? Check out the PedalPC. (The Guardian)

Record ride attempt: Ultra-distance cyclist Lael Wilcox has embarked on an attempt to circumnavigate the world in world record time. She expects to ride 18,000 miles in 110 days for an average of about 170 miles per day. (Velo)

Speed governors: A step forward in speed reduction that would be baked-into cars by way of a visual and audible signal when someone drives over the limit has been passed by the California Senate. (SF Gate)

Safety disconnect The post has since been deleted, but Texas police officers shared a photo of themselves on social media next to a ridiculously oversized truck patrol vehicle as part of a seat belt safety campaign. It was an example of how many in the “public safety” field still don’t see these vehicles as inherently unsafe. (Fast Company)

E-car safety risks: Researchers have found that EV cars are much more likely to hit people on the street than gas-powered cars. It might be because of how quiet the cars are, the demographics of the drivers, and swift acceleration. (The Guardian)

Bikes and Blumenauer: Portland’s bike-loving U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has always been optimistic about the future of bicycling in America and says once he leaves office he’ll have more time to do something about it. (Streetsblog USA)

Parking informants: There’s a growing cadre of San Francisco residents who are sick and tired of some drivers who think they can park wherever they want without consequence. It’s one way to fight back against the scourge of Big Auto in our lives. (San Francisco Standard)

Big investment: Portland-based Ride With GPS landed a $3 million infusion to help it grow, marking the company’s first-ever outside investment. (MSN)


Thanks to everyone who sent in links this week. The Monday Roundup is a community effort, so please feel free to send us any great stories you come across.

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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jakeco969
jakeco969
15 days ago

Welcome to the week! Hope you enjoyed that extra day.

Here’s a nice pic of some of the people who paid for us to have that day off.
Lest we forget

IMG_9736a
Matt
Matt
15 days ago

Knees and arthritis: Any statistician knows correlation is not causation; the linked article even explicitly says “the study can not prove cause and effect”. Does it not seem entirely plausible that people without arthritis are more likely to want to do activities like riding bikes? I’m all for getting more people riding bikes, but I must object to this unscientific framing of “proving once again that riding is a wonder drug”.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
15 days ago

I assume readers are smart enough to do the work on their own to determine if a study is valid for them or not.

Yeah…I do my own research on the internet!

More seriously, most readers are not smart knowledgeable enough to assess the methodologies and literature context of a single study (doing so often requires the significant effort to develop some understanding of the basic science, scientific literature, experimental design. and statistical methodologies. A great example of this is how journalists constantly write about a single biomedical study as if it means anything on its own (and this is especially true for epidemiology).

PS: I have a hate-hate relationship with NYT Well

Matt
Matt
15 days ago

Sadly I’ve found that many (perhaps even most) people are not smart enough to understand that correlation is not causation, so I see a need to push back on questionable claims of causation pretty often. I’m fully with you that biking makes me feel good; just trying to keep things on the up-and-up.

PS
PS
15 days ago
Reply to  Matt

It seems plausible that an unfortunate proportion of our population are not inclined to participate in physical activity regardless of their ability or condition, but that doesn’t remove the reality this study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8519272/) reitierates, “Whereas all adults with arthritis can benefit from physical activity…”.

Movement is medicine, and most people who regularly participate in physical activity can anecdotally attest to this and the literature supports this as well.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
15 days ago
Reply to  PS

The so-called “study” you linked to is not actually a study but rather a non-peer-reviewed report. This is exactly the kind of thing that happens when someone with very little knowledge of the scientific literature starts googling to confirm their biases.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
15 days ago
Reply to  PS

I’m not dying on any hill and have zero interest in debating some random prospective epidemiological manuscript from the esteemed journal of “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise” (Impact factor 4.1).

My comments here focused on how journalists and non-scientists write/talk about biomedical science.

Laura
Laura
15 days ago
Reply to  Matt

Then, again, Bill Walton (RIP) is a data point. With all of his knee injuries, he had to be arthritic, yet 5 years ago, biking was still a joyful, go-for-it activity for him, even if he could barely walk. I know many former elite athletes in basketball, volleyball, rowing, and running…all looking at knee and/or hip replacements in the not too distant future…who say bicycling (and even age-group racing) is relatively pain free and brings them happiness they can’t find in their former sports.

dw
dw
15 days ago

From the NPR cycling article;

Each year, thousands of bicyclists are injured in motor vehicle crashes, and older adults are at higher risk of serious injury

Then they go on to quote a Harvard study saying it’s safer to bike on off-street paths (no shit). They don’t even make a passing mention of the fact that bike infrastructure is a policy choice. The whole article seems hyper-focused on riding a bike as a recreational/sport activity. It completely neglects the fact that making utility cycling safe and convenient can yield similar benefits to health and longevity for a MUCH wider range of people. Really disappointing – but not surprising – framing decision.

Ben Waterhouse
Ben Waterhouse
15 days ago

How much of the difference in pedestrian collisions between ICE and electric cars is down to the giant screens Tesla and its imitators use in place of a proper instrument panel? Tesla drivers seem to be the most distracted people on the road thanks to having a tv built into the dash.

dw
dw
15 days ago
Reply to  Ben Waterhouse

Dashboard iPads need to be legislated out of existence.

John V
John V
14 days ago
Reply to  dw

They’re not only bad for safety, they just suck from a user experience perspective too! It’s a horrible idea. They’re just flashy gimmicks (much like the Cybertruck itself and most of what Musk says/does). For usability, a physical knob you can use without looking and never moves is ideal.

Non-mechanical interfaces are a scourge. I just got a new induction range recently. Love everything about it except the interface doesn’t use mechanical knobs and buttons. It’s some kind of touch sensitive thing which is slow to use and crucially, doesn’t work if it gets steamy! Like if your pot of water is boiling hard the steam makes the “turn down the heat” button stop working! How stupid. End rant.

Mark Remy
Mark Remy
15 days ago

Re the Texas police department monster truck “safety” thing: The post may have been deleted on Twitter, but it’s still up on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/CedarParkPolice/photos/we-are-proud-to-be-part-of-the-texas-department-of-transportation-annual-clickit/782125347381022/

Mark Remy
Mark Remy
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark Remy

p.s. In case the FB post gets deleted, too, here’s the photo in question:

truck
🚲
🚲
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark Remy

I’ve seen trucks like that in Portland, with huge tires extending past the fenders (and been passed by some too close for comfort). Are they even street legal? As I recall, non-commercial couldn’t be like that. When did that change? How can we bring back the old regulations (and have PPB enforce them)?

Chris I
Chris I
14 days ago
Reply to  🚲

Definitely not legal, but cops will never enforce it. Exposed wheels are really dangerous and illegal in Oregon.

Jim Calhoon
Jim Calhoon
13 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

Very True but it wasn’t always like that. When I started driving in 75 the popular thing to do is put wider tires on the rear of your muscle car. It was very common to be pulled over. The officer would then look straight down the fender. If he saw more than 1 inch of tire sticking out he would ticket you. Of course now they don’t bother to write tickets for speeding, reckless driving even drunk driving. Oversize tires seem pale in comparison to the really dangerous violations.

Phil
Phil
14 days ago
Reply to  🚲

When I was in college (20 years ago) there was an officer in Corvallis who would frequently pull drivers over for having tires that were wider than their fenders. A couple friends of mine got pulled over multiple times and ended up modifying their vehicles because of it. Now I see trucks like that all the time. I think it’s a change in enforcement, not a change in the law.

🚲
🚲
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark Remy

And this? Seriously. How is that legal? How is it not pulled over?

PortlandCar
mc
mc
15 days ago

RE: ‘Work(out) from home’

What I’d rather do, if only I had the brain power to do it, is have bank of batteries that are rechargeable while riding the bikes I love to ride in places I love to ride them, that could run all my electrical devices & appliances from.

*If only I had a brain”,

— The Scarecrow

John V
John V
15 days ago
Reply to  mc

You could probably shave off a few tens of watts before it starts getting annoyingly more difficult, but it could be usable energy. Funny, if THAT was what the machines in “The Matrix” did with the human population, it could have at least been a plausibility. Put people in a VR matrix while their physical body pedals a generator.

It’s still a less efficient use of energy to produce nutrients to feed the humans, than to use those nutrients (energy) directly. But better than using body heat or whatever 🙂
(I hear the original script used humans for their brain computing power or something instead which made sense. Someone wanted a simpler storyline which came at the expense of plausibility).

Phil
Phil
14 days ago
Reply to  mc

If you had a generator hooked up to a stationary bike, you could probably generate 200 watts for a couple of hours at a time if you are in good shape. After 5 hours you would have about $0.12 of electricity stored.

If you wanted to store up electrical energy on a bike that is also taking you where you want to go, you’d probably want to use at least half of the energy you are generating to get where you’re going. You’d also have to carry around that bank of batteries and outfit your bike with a generator to convert your mechanical energy into electricity. You would never be able to save enough money on your electrical costs to justify what you paid for the equipment, and I doubt you would be able to overcome the environmental costs of manufacturing that equipment.

Art Lewellan
Art Lewellan
14 days ago

Here follows my letter to Willamette Week regarding Broadway Corridor redevelopment and City Councilman Dan Ryan’s suggestion that Portland Prosper “simplify.”

Friday, May 24th

Portland Prosper (prosperity for the already prosperous) business organization simplifies more than enough to leave the public in the dark. An open house held recently at PNCA had “nothing” to show for how far along their plans for redeveloping the federal post office site have come. The recent renderings date back at least 5 years; the same street grid that predicts traffic havoc; the same stupid elevated bikeway; the same disregard for pedestrian amenities; the same park block layout designed for commercial events.

The only difference between then and now is “allowable building height” raised from 30- to 40-stories announced immediately after Tri-Met proposed a MAX subway route beneath 6th Ave with a station at the defunct Greyhound Depot. No mention of why a bus depot must logically return to the site. No mention of why this MAX subway route downtown is far from ideal and likely poses a seismic threat to buildings above in predicted earthquakes the years ahead.      
 
Multi-billion dollar development projects Portland Prosper concocts, including the (Broadway Corridor) Rose Quarter I-5 “improvement” makes existing traffic hazards there so much worse, they should be condemned as a death trap!

One salvageable component of the RoseQ I-5 project is relocating the southbound on-ramp from dangerous Wheeler Way to Weidler as much safer for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. Unfortunately, this major safety improvement is “off the table” catering to developers who do not see living near I-5 on/off ramps as “reckless endangerment” nor an air quality health concern.

Blame for the lackluster Broadway Corridor project as proposed can be directed at car-related business and development interests. Lastly, everyone should admit that the lack of attention to redeveloping the federal post office site is largely due to dangerous homeless encampments and ineffective social services nearby. 
 

Joseph E
13 days ago

Re: swift acceleration – I’ve always thought there should be an acceleration limit. If you go from 0 to 40 in 2 seconds in a 45 mph zone it is quite dangerous, because other people don’t have time to adjust.