The Monday Roundup

The Monday Roundup

Not sure what’s more painful: This guy’s
face, or the misguided “safety”
campaign exploiting it.
(Photo: Boston Public Health Commission)

Welcome to Monday. It’s time to roundup all the noteworthy news and stories from the past week…

— A new PSA campaign in Boston is an example of when officials get over-eager on the “bike safety” idea. The Boston Public Health Commission is behind a ridiculous and scare-inducing campaign to encourage helmet use that includes billboards of men with bloodied faces and the “No Excuses, Wear a Helmet” tagline. Thankfully, the Boston Biker blog has called it out, saying the ads, “Might actually do more harm than they avoid.”

— Perhaps public health folks feel justified in their fear-mongering with studies like this one from Ontario, Canada that found, “cyclists who did not wear a helmet were three times more likely to die from brain trauma than those who wore protective headgear while riding.”

— For a PSA that might actually do some good, our friends Russ and Laura from Path Less Pedaled published their latest video: How Bicycles Can Save Small Town America.

— If the back-and-forth of Romney and Obama vying to be the most fossil-fuel friendly candidate during presidential debate number two wasn’t enough to make you gag, how about Senate candidate Todd Akin using a statement about declining emissions against his opponent. Akin’s video uses a statement from Sen. Claire McKaskill (D-MO) saying, “the good news is our emissions are way down because of the recession.” Scandalous huh? Because we all know a healthy economy is way more important than a healthy planet.

— Here’s some good news for all of you who help get kids on bikes: It might just make them better drivers when they grow up (assuming they’ll ever need/want to drive at all).

— On that note, here’s a wonderful blog post from the biking family behind the Tiny Helmets Big Bikes blog that outlines their path to “car freedom”.

The Unlikely Cyclist is a new shop that is on the cutting edge of an exciting new trend: Stylish bike shops owned by women and geared specifically to them. What makes this new one even more interesting is that’s located in Costa Mesa, CA (not a place that’s known for its bike culture).

— Several readers emailed me The Stolen Bike Finder, a new stolen bike listing and recovery site from San Francisco.

— Speaking of links you’ve sent in, the $20 cardboard bike that’s headed for production was emailed to me by dozens of people. And with good reason. If the bike can really be sold for $20 and it’s reliable and durable for city use, it could open up some interesting possibilities. (Of course, we we all know the reason more people don’t bike isn’t for lack of a cheap bike; it’s because they don’t feel safe on auto-dominated roads.)

— If you’re into infographics, check out this one from Governing.com showing where Americans bike to work.

— Hey look, the editorial board of a major newspaper in San Francisco is actually advocating for more bold bicycling measures (instead of undermining them like a certain major newspaper in Oregon likes to do). Not just that but they are willing to call the kettle black by pronouncing, “A cars-first approach cannot be the norm moving ahead.”

— Maybe those editorial board members have seen the bicycling revolution happening on the streets of San Francisco — a revolution that isn’t just about activism or Critical Mass; but about the “enthusiastic” market for, “bicycles that can carry several people and heavy loads.” Yes, cargo bikes have taken hold in the bay area in a big way.

— In Pittsburgh, some bicycle (and motorcycle) cops are outfitted with cameras attached to their helmets. That’s a cool idea I’d love to see here in Portland.

— The League of American Bicyclists announced a bunch of new “Bike Friendly Cities” last week. The one that got the most attention was Los Angeles. Yes Los Angeles, California. The announcement led BikinginLA to proclaim, “Hell freezes over.”

— If you just can’t fathom L.A. as a biking hotbed, I recommend this article by Ron Milam: The Case for Los Angeles as a Bicycling City.

— The American Journal of Public Health has published a new study that finds separated bike infrastructure can reduce the number of injuries to urban riders by half. (No telling yet whether this study will help cities like Portland actually start building more of them.)

— What do you do if you live in Dallas, Texas and are sick of the cycling renaissance happening everywhere else but your town? You go outside and paint your own sharrows.

— I hope none of those guerrilla sharrows are painted on a new, 40-mile stretch of Texas highway that’s set for 85 mph speed limits. Yes, they are raising speeds in Texas when speeding is known as a major killer. “More than 3,000 people were killed on Texas roads last year, a higher fatality rate than the national average,” a local newspaper reported. Oh well, no biggie. Just think of how it will help the economy!

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If you come across a noteworthy story, drop me a line and I’ll consider it for next week’s roundup.

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