The Monday Roundup: Unsafe postage stamps, bike sculptures & more

The Monday Roundup: Unsafe postage stamps, bike sculptures & more

A line of stamps killed for promoting “unsafe” activities.
(Image: USPS.)

Here’s the global bike news that caught our eyes this week:

Unsafe stamps: The U.S. Postal Service killed a set of stamps depicting kids enjoying physical activity because another federal group said some of the activities might be unsafe. For example: “a youngster is doing a headstand without a helmet.”

Bike sculplture: Chinese artist Ai Weiwei unveils a massive installation in Toronto.

Crowdsourced route builder: Bike-tracking company Strava is using its users’ route data to identify popular bike routes.

Anti-texting cop: After reading that 10 Americans die every day from traffic crashes linked to cell use, a Georgia cop took it on himself to target it. He expects to write 1,000 tickets this year for texting while driving.

Lost kids: Children who get driven everywhere don’t know where they’re going, a new study finds.

Too drunk to choose? A case before New York State’s top court could set (or reject) the precedent that people who are drunk out of their minds can’t be punished for willful indifference to human life.

Auto auto safety: Volvo cars can now automatically hit the brakes and sound an alarm to avoid hitting a person on bike or foot, and other automakers are following suit.

Autonomous car effects: Will the new boom of self-driving cars be good or bad for biking?

Mayors matter: The U.S. cities improving biking fastest seem to depend on powerful mayors.

Pro-city, anti-height: Urban anthropologist Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman looks at proposals to raise Portland’s height limits and argues that low-rises are better.

Eugene fatality: Oregon State Police have the details on an Oct. 6 collision in Eugene that killed Steven Burch, 56. He was riding a “motorized bicycle.”

Bikesharing and streetcars: They’re both popular with tourists, geographically limited and nice for quick trips, but one is way cheaper. Is bikesharing the new streetcar?

No bikeshare benefits: Charmingly, the IRS has ruled that bikesharing counts as neither “mass transit facillities” nor “a bicycle that is regularly used for travel” and therefore employers can’t deduct bikeshare memberships as normal HR expenses unless Congress acts.

Complete streets in Houston: Even Portland’s archnemesis has just announced a plan to put bike facilities and sidewalks on major streets.

Anti-bike protest: People who don’t like bike tourists are suspected of sabotaging a U.K. bike tour by tearing down directional signs and spraying mud on the road.

No police help: The head of NYC’s police department told an Atlantic reporter that he assumed she was an “advocate” because she asked him if the police could better enforce laws against violent driving. He answered her question, though: he thinks they can’t.

Civil rights and transportation: Building neighborhoods safe for walking is a “premier civil rights issue,” an NAACP official says, noting that it’s related to cutting crime and improving health.

Mandatory biking? Is a major Bolivian city requiring its residents to bike once a week? Cyclicious’ Richard Masoner has some valid doubts, but judge for yourself.

Bike freight: Portland’s April Streeter reports on a study finding that 51 percent of European urban freight could be moved by bike.

Roundabouts vs. stop signs: TV’s Mythbusters show why roundabouts are so much more efficient, but unfortunately focus mostly on their traffic flow, not safety.

Bike lane blockage: Casey Niestat’s hilarious 2011 video of himself deliberately crashing into bike lane obstacles in response to a police order has been making the rounds lately. Worth rewatching even if you’ve seen it beore.

Pavement lawsuit: The City of Tacoma must pay $242,000 to a person who suffered multiple injuries after his bike tire wedged in a pavement crack.

Infrastructure blog: “Light when you press a button, hot clean water when you turn a knob, fresh fruit in January” — it all relies on “fading infrastructure,” and a new Orion Magazine series will look at the process of remaking it.

We’ve got two great videos of the week. One is the longest Streetfilm ever, about Groningen, a Dutch city where most trips happen on bikes. Seeing is believing:

The other is a TED talk from outgoing revolutionary Janette Sadik-Khan of NYC’s transportation department, summarizing her wisdom from years of redesigning her city’s streets:

If you come across a noteworthy bicycle story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.

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