The Monday Roundup: The distorting power of windshields & more

The Monday Roundup: The distorting power of windshields & more

Workin' At The Car Wash, Yeah

The bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week were even richer than usual. Enjoy the feast.

Windshield negativity: If you’ve ever struggled to understand how different people can have such wildly different views of urban life, a new UK study might help: when we see something from inside a moving car, we tend to perceive it to be more negative than if we see exactly the same thing from the perspective of someone moving in a bus, on a bike or on the sidwalk.

“Like a woman needs a bicycle”: Local poet Meg Brennan has written a beautiful essay about moving to Portland and falling slowly into love with biking.

Self-powered bike lights: Ten days into an already-successful Kickstart, the Magnic Light iC adds a microprocessor and steady light to the battery-free contactless wheel-powered bike lights created last year. $69 each.

We did not make this up: A scientific study in England concluded that “cyclists are considered to be 13 per cent more intelligent and ‘cooler’ and ten per cent more charitable than other people.” Also, 23 percent said they’d rather date a cyclist than another sportsperson, and 27 percent would want a cyclist on their pub quiz team.

Sweet ideas: Saul Alinsky’s advice for agents of change: make your tactics fun. That’s exactly what 23-year-old Portlander-turned-Chicagoan Daniel Ronan seems to be doing by envisioning cities that are safer for (gingerbread) people.

Green dividend: If the 51 largest U.S. metro areas could reduce miles driven by one mile per person per day, the country would redirect $31 billion a year into more productive uses, a new CEOs for Cities report concludes.

Seinfeld’s commute: Jerry Seinfeld loves cars, but says the “neatest and most fascinating and cool” thing that he gets to do on a daily basis is walk or bike to work. “I love traffic reports because I’m not in any of them,” he writes.

Assisted driving: Gadget blog Gizmodo looks at three systems being tested in London to warn drivers they’re about to hit someone in their blind spot.

Car-free high street: The new mayor of Brussels wants to return his city’s main thoroughfare to its roots: from “a handsome but car-snarled four-lane boulevard and a string of squares into a long, café-filled promenade” with no cars allowed.

Alaskan trails: “Fat bikes are almost as ubiquitous as cross-country skis on some Anchorage trails”, writes the Anchorage Daily News in a big trend piece on the new trend in town.

Olympic cyclocross: Cross lovers are starting a push to add the sport to the Winter Olympics.

Olympia bows out: With the Washington Senate focused on dealing with cost overruns for Seattle’s latest freeway megaproject, it’s got little interest in picking the Columbia River Crossing back up — meaning the only lifeline for the project is Oregon’s go-it-alone plan to put tolls on the overwhelmingly Washington-based bridge users.

Natural traffic calming: Want to know the perfect candidates for sidewalk bumpouts in your city? Wait for it to snow and see where the plows don’t bother going.

Bike superhighways: Norman Foster’s recent concept for a London bike superhighway system is only the latest of many such ideas, a few of which actually got built.

Black diamond bike lanes: “Imagine if every ski trail at Vail was a black diamond advanced run,” writes Martha Roskowski of PeopleForBikes. Passionate skiers might love it, but ski resorts would go broke. That’s what Americans do to biking by relying mostly on conventional bike lanes, she says.

Mayoral interview: This long interview with Mayor Hales by the Oregonian touches on repaving, street safety and lots of other things, but doesn’t mention the Columbia River Crossing.

Follow-up gift: Bikeyface has a suggestion for something you should get your kid for next Christmas to go with that new bike.

The case for freight planning: “If we don’t help cities plan for freight movement, what we’ll get is unplanned freight movement, and all the chaos that comes with it.”

Voice of reason: Here’s a pleasantly sensible take on stop signs, infrastructure and the politics of the street from someone who doesn’t personally pedal.

Two basic types: We’re crossing our fingers for this smart and simple top-level typology of road users makes it into the next national traffic signal manual.

Cheap cargo bikes: The French equivalent of Ben and Jerry’s is sponsoring a fleet of subsidized cargo bikes to be sold to private citizens in a city near Paris.

Safety stats: Check out the infographic in the lower right of the second page of this PDF, which claims that even without a helmet, biking is six times safer than driving. (With a helmet, it claims, biking tends to be 36 times safer.)

Biking sells: Nice to see bicycles being used to market homes in Las Vegas.

MacGyver rules: Did you know that actor Richard Dean Anderson biked 5,641 miles from Minnesota to Alaska when he was 17?

Woman-friendly shop: In Chicago, the new BFF Bikes will join the growing club of explicitly female-focused bike shops.

Federal goals: We nominate Streetsblog DC’s Tanya Snyder as Unofficial Inspector General of USDOT on the grounds that her list of seven priorities for the agency are a lot more persuasive.

Ideas requested: Speaking of which, USDOT is soliciting the public to submit innovative ideas that it should be aggressively advancing.

Infrastructure advocacy: Heading into the next transpo funding fight in Washington, infrastructure advocacy group Building America’s Future has a high-powered and progressive leadership team between former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and its new recruit, former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The case for slowing down: A heart-rending new anti-speeding message from New Zealand takes about 53 of its 60 seconds to explain exactly what it’s up to. It’s your video of the week:

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