Welcome to December! Here’s the bike news from around the world that caught our eyes this week:
Fender zones: “It’s winter riding season,” writes Vancouver designer Jeff Werner. “Do you know your fender zones? Mere centimetres separate the douches from the saints.”
High-vis clothes don’t help: A “small but potentially lethal number of drivers will pass too close whatever you wear,” according to a study by a professor who once wore a wig to test whether people passed women on bikes differently than men. That’s just the start of the interesting findings in his team’s new study.
Is your blinking light too bright? “The scariest thing about biking at night in Seattle isn’t the cellphone-jabbering SUV drivers or the bone-crunching potholes,” argues Crosscut. “It’s other cyclists — specifically, their high-powered, strobing and flashing headlights.” Seattle Bike Blog’s Tom Fucoloro notes that though the problems of such lights are actually dwarfed by distracted driving, they can indeed cause trouble and he has some ideas.
Bikes suck: At first, it seems like Melbourne’s newspaper has brought clickbait to a new low with a piece called “14 reasons we hate cyclists.” But it hasn’t!
Do bikers long for injury? People who ride bikes are “longing” for cars to “run them down” so they can get the drivers in trouble, a British politician said during a debate over a string of six bike-related deaths on London’s streets.
Multi-use path horrors: A biking and walking path that would run alongside a Medford golf course would probably attract illegal camping, detractors say. “It will be a Guantanamo Northwest,” said Viktor Met, 85, who lives nearby. “Or a penal colony.”
Peak car: “Whenever a new study on the decline of driving in America is released, it’s almost like reading a chapter of my life and the people around me,” writes Stephen Lacey in a nice summary of the ever-stronger evidence for this trend.
2020 bike boom: A researcher predicts that after years of stagnation, a big bike sales and manufacturing boom will come in 2020, when bike-loving Generation Y (aka the Millennials) hits the traditional bike-purchasing sweet spot of ages 30 to 36.
Mixing bike cultures: In one of her first posts as Equity Initiative Manager for the League of American Bicyclists, former Portlander Adonia Lugo tells the story of African-American bike-racing champion Major Taylor and reflects on his decision to cross cultural barriers in order to race.
Cross-country ride: A Battle Ground man, 62, finished his bike journey from Vancouver BC to Key West, Florida last week. He hadn’t ridden a bike since he was a teenager; it took him just 100 days.
Guerrilla speed limits: A group of Brooklyn activists who support a proposal to cut NYC’s neighborhood speed limits to 20 mph spent $300 to install 10 of their own 20 mph signs along Prospect Park West. (The city removed them by the following evening.)
Celtic pedestrians: An English historian and bicycle lover stumbled across a radical new theory of early Celtic migration because he was researching riding routes across the Pyrenees.
Plaza donation: Public spaces require upkeep, and upkeep costs money. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation just gave a private New York organization $800,000 to maintain public plazas in low-income neighborhoods.
Toronto bike share struggles: Toronto, home to one of the few bike share systems in North America that hasn’t broken even, would spend $3.9 million on a plan to bail out its local system and hand operations to Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, which operates many of the successful systems.
Seattle bike share struggles: Portland isn’t the only city struggling to find private bike share sponsors. Puget Sound Bike Share is considering lopping downtown and Capitol Hill out of its service area to save money. It’s the latest sign that Alta may have overestimated sponsorship revenue potential during its race to expand.
Seattle bike plan: Looks like the Emerald City is about to scrap its six-year-old bike plan, which relied heavily on sharrows, in favor of a new one that would add 100 miles of protected bike lanes by 2033. Intriguingly, it’s been vetted by Seattle’s freight committee as well as biking experts.
Against lane position laws: Last week’s roundup alluded to this Floridian’s case against far-to-the-right laws that push bikes toward unsafe parts of the road. As discussed in last week’s comments, it’s worth a direct link.
Houston progress: A federal TIGER grant will provide half the cash for a $30 million upgrade to Houston’s biking and walking network. (That’s more than half what it cost to build Portland’s entire bike network as of 2009.)
Parking wins: A DC-area bike lane that drew national attention thanks to the nonsensical arguments of its opponents won’t be built, an Alexandria, Va. committee decided last Tuesday — at least not yet.
Uninformed cop: An Ohio sheriff’s deputy, apparently unaware that bicycles are allowed to ride on roadways, ordered two men on bikes off the road. When they refused, they say, he tried to force them off the road, tried to door them and finally tazed and beat one of them with his baton. His citations were thrown out in court, and they’re suing him.
Uninformed bobby: A UK policeman, apparently unaware that cargo bicycles are a thing, detained a London man taking his kids to school, then released him upon deciding that the bike was “legal.”
Car dependence prediction: 60 years ago, car-free science fiction writer Ray Bradbury predicted a world where walking would be so rare that people get arrested for it.