Here’s the bike news that caught our eyes this week:
A helmet for your mouth: The United Kingdom is considering recommending that people on bikes prevent pollution exposure by wearing “cycle masks” over their mouths. Or maybe, some point out, people on bikes could be physically separated from tailpipes.
It must be true: Pope Francis advises future priests and nuns to ditch their expensive cars and start realizing the joys of two wheels: “Bicycles are necessary because there’s a lot of work to do.”
Kickstarter’s bike list: Kickstarter’s new tag system now lets you track all sorts of bike-related projects.
Women’s racing advances: A 90-minute meeting in a hotel lobby last month has resulted in the new Women’s Cycling Organization, which aims to set minimum salaries for female racers and equal prize purses with men.
Universal taxis: By making carsharing easier and cutting demand for urban parking, self-driving car technology will reduce driving, lower housing costs, unclutter streets, improve retail access and cut pollution, various researchers predict.
You can now fly: After 33 years of trying, the first human-powered helicopter achieved liftoff last month for more than 60 seconds.
Does rural sprawl boost suicide? The less dense your county is, the more likely its 15- to 19-year-olds are to commit suicide, a recent international study found.
Royalty on wheels: The new queen of the Netherlands “shuns the chauffeur and arrives on a bike in summer dress and heels to open [a] park in her name.”
Smith on the radio: Freeway-fighting mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith is testing the waters of Internet talk radio with a new show called Thank You Democracy.
Cheap ride: Anybody can bike across the country, but you have to be cool to do it on a $45 bike.
“I’m an elephant, too!” Web comic Bikeyface explains why vehicular cycling doesn’t pass her sniff test, or at least that of people in cars.
Covering the urban boom: As American cities thrive, a media columnist argues that the new generation of local news websites is missing the forest for the trees.
Pay-per-mile taxes begin: Oregonians will be able to choose whether to pay for their car use via gas or mileage-based taxes under a new state law. It might be a step toward scrapping the gas tax for mileage-based charges, part of a so-called “utility model” for paying for our roads.
End mandatory auto parking: No development anywhere in a city should be forced to offer auto parking, argues Slate’s Matt Yglesias. Gradualism “denudes parking reform of its main promise — transforming neighborhoods.”
Linux developer killed: The latest victim of our unsafe streets is the well-known open-source software developer Seth Vidal. Our friends at Path Less Pedaled profiled his Durham bike use in 2010.
How to change behavior? Make it weird: Public smoking bans aren’t actually that good at protecting bystanders from second-hand smoke, but the Atlantic’s Emily Badger argues that they’re effective anyway. “Over time, smoking bans have helped turn cigarette butts into something disgusting, and smokers themselves into pariahs. Smoking bans help change smoking norms.” Seems like there might be a lesson here for other behavioral changes.
Gateway’s lost vision: The Oregonian’s Thomas Boyd and Samantha Masunaga hit on a perfect way to capture the still-unrealized potential of East Portland’s Gateway area: neighborhood activist Arlene Kimura stands in the middle of its auto-dominated sea of parking lot and reads, deadpan, from the list of human-oriented amenities the city once planned for the area.
Bikeshare is the new stationary workout machine: As your 11-second-long video of the week proves, you don’t need a gym membership any more in New York City — just a nearby CitiBike rack. (Via EV Grieve.)