Welcome back from the historic (and long) weekend. I hope you all got the chance to watch the inauguration festivities. If you didn’t, the big takeaways from folks in the bikeosphere are that Obama 1) walked on the new protected bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue and 2) mentioned climate change in a big way during his 20-minute speech. On that note, let’s get down to the news from the past week shall we?…
— If you haven’t yet reveled in the grandeur of seeing the first President to walk down a bike lane on inauguration day, Streetfilms has wrapped it all up with a bow for you.
— And as for that climate change mention, here’s more from the NY Times.
— Hopefully Obama makes the climate change/transportation/bicycling connection. We’ve certainly known about the vast negative impacts of cars in cities for a long time — even here in Portland. Local historian Dan Haneckow remembered architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, who warned Portland and the nation way back in 1970 that too many cars would ruin our cities.
— The inauguration also fell on the day we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who fought great odds on behalf of racial and social justice. Anthropologist and transportation activist Adonia E. Lugo sees important parallels between King’s work and the barriers and discrimination that exist around bicycling.
— A recent study showed that New York City’s Safe Routes to Schools programs can be credited with a 40% reduction in traffic injuries.
— One of the benefits of having lots of people on bikes on our streets is that — because they’re not enclosed in a steel box — they can hear and see much better than people in cars. One byproduct of that awareness is this type of heroic rescue.
— The Pennsylvania Ave. bike lanes didn’t just get noticed during the inauguration, they also helped thousands of people get to the event. I love this headline in the Washington Post: For many, biking is the sane way to get to inauguration.
— Some in the industry and blogosphere think 2013 will be a huge year for fatbikes (I’m one of them). If you’re unaware of what all the fuss is about, check out this story on NPR.
— Bike laws are a constant source of confusion and debate. Now the League of American Bicyclists has put together a state-by-state breakdown of all bike-related laws. It’s a helpful tool for finding out the law where you live and comparing them to other states.
— It seems like for years now, we’ve been seeing major, mainstream media coverage of the urban bicycling renaissance in America. The latest is this video story from Al Jazeera which proclaimed that, “Car culture in many areas is starting to be replaced by one that encourages two wheels rather than four.”
— What happens when a news journalist has their perspective shaken by a senseless traffic tragedy involving someone on a bike? They arrive at the same conclusion we’ve been sharing around here for a long time now: That investing in safe bicycle access should be above politics and that failure to do so is a failure of government to protect its citizens and project equal access to mobility.
— Looking toward the end of his reign as Mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg is fighting to save his street design legacy by publicly vouching for the many public plazas his DOT has implemented.
— While Bloomberg was sticking up for his plazas, the NYC DOT was busy cutting the ribbon on new improvements made to Willoughby Plaza, which was one of the originals. Ms. Sadik-Khan said in a press release, “With a down payment of just a few planters, seating and some shade, Willoughby Plaza became the anchor of a retail and dining destination, showing once again that better streets mean better business.”
— Another week, another major PR hit for protected bikeways in America (thanks Green Lane Project!). This time the USA Today picks up on the theme of how protected bike lanes help urban economies and make cities more competitive.
— Minneapolis has released a bunch of bike-car collision data and the results show a correlation between higher rates of bicycling and a lower crash rate. It’s being hailed as an excellent example of the “safety in numbers” phenomenon.
— This cold weather in Portland just won’t let up. Ever wondered how it impacts your body? Dr. Allen Lim (trainer to many professional riders) goes into fascinating detail about how the human body reacts to cold while cycling.
— As Obama settles into his second term, we’re watching his cabinet and the various transportation-related committees in the House and Senate. Just this morning we saw reports that US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood will stay “for a while.” Also, earlier this week we learned that “pro-bike Republican” Tom Petri (R-WI) was named chair of the all-important House Highways and Transit Subcommittee. Rep. Petri spoke at the 2012 National Bike Summit and told us we were “doing God’s work.”
— With all the hullabaloo about Lance and Oprah this week, the thing I enjoyed reading most was this essay on Bikehugger from David Schloss. He made the great observation of how Lance’s fall echoes a greater shift in the road bike world where it’s less about hero-worship and more about ride-worship (and how companies like Rapha are leading the way).
— The Portland Tribune went in-depth on the forthcoming Westside Trail, which will be 24 miles long and will connect Portland to suburbs to the west once completed.