The Monday Roundup: Self-driving bikes, Uber vs. drunk driving & more

The Monday Roundup: Self-driving bikes, Uber vs. drunk driving & more

Street scene, Hohhot, China

Mobility that matters in China.
(Photo: GothPhil)

Good morning! Here are the bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Self-driving bike: Chinese search giant Baidu says it’s one-upping Google by prototyping an autonomous bicycle by the end of 2014.

Better taxis, fewer DUIs: In Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle, ridesharing and hailing apps (still illegal in Portland) seem to be reducing drunk-driving arrests.

Obsoleting car ownership: Helsinki, Finland, just announced plans to replace its current public transit network with a phone-activated system “kitting everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility” that would be good enough to make car ownership pointless by 2025.

Biking as womanhood:Cycling is awfully similar to being a woman. … Welcome to being vulnerable to the people around you. Welcome to being the exception, not the rule.”

Bike Rave: Momentum looks at the glowstick-lit ride that drew 7,000 riders in Vancouver BC this year.

Armstrong reconsidered: “Do we care what happens to the great work a man has done, after a great fall?” asks Esquire in a classy Lance Armstrong profile that looks at his charity success.

At least they can set goals: A year after Brazil’s transit fare protests, Sao Paolo says it’ll be the first city in the developing world to eliminate parking minimums and cap new parking spaces on transit lines at one space per residence.

Freakout of the week: Bikers who illegally ride on sidewalks in DC are “lucky that someone hasn’t put a broomstick through the spokes of their wheels,” writes a Washington Post columnist. Also bikers who slow traffic are “terrorists.”

E-bike crashes? With electric bicycles spreading fast in Tel Aviv, bike-pedestrian collision injuries soared 60 percent last year at a hospital there.

Unpredictable biking: “As a cyclist, I see a car coming and I am 99% confident that it will behave in a predictable manner, because drivers are trained to stick to the rules. Surely riders could do the same?” writes a UK resident. “What scares me the most as a cyclist is not the cars, not the lorries and not even the taxi passengers who unexpectedly wrench their door open in front of you – but other cyclists.” It’s the only anonymous column I’ve ever seen the Guardian publish.

Explaining sidewalk biking: Bike advocate Carlton Reid attempts to reframe the controversy by noting that governments turn some sidewalks into bad shared paths.

Vietnamese status shift: After decades when push-bikes were emblems of communistic simplicity, imported Treks and Specializeds are becoming status symbols in Hanoi.

Fixing CEQA: By abandoning “level of service,” California is about to reduce the penalty on projects that increase auto congestion and instead penalize projects that increase driving.

Highway removal: From coast to coast, cities are considering closing freeways and expressways through their hearts.

Splitting blame: A man who reported a truck passenger for throwing a Gatorade bottle at him while he was biking may himself be charged with “words in public likely to elicit a violent reaction.”

Bikes to burgers: A two-man 48-mile charity bike ride will visit all 11 Burgervilles in Clark County, Wash.

Unsolicited bridge plan: Wealthy Clark County Commissioner David Madore has privately ordered up the design work for what he says should be a new $600 million bridge across the Columbia River near his house.

And your video of the week is a very simple, fast-spreading trick for flash-free bike rides in skirts:

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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