Friday’s Headlines Look to the Past

 Hulton-Deutsch Collection, Corbis, via Nat Geo, CC
Image: Hulton-Deutsch Collection, Corbis, via Nat Geo, CC
  • Two stories show how the auto industry manipulated the public into our current car-centric predicament: Governing writes about how late 19th century cyclists were the first Americans to advocate for better roads — a movement that was hijacked by drivers and became the basis for the interstate highway system. Meanwhile, the MIT Press Reader illuminates how business leaders reversed popular opinion that, in the automobile’s early days, viewed the machines as dangerous threats.
  • Speaking of which, there’s a long history of bikes winding up in bodies of water (The Guardian). Maybe that’s where all of Portland’s missing Biketown bikes have disappeared to (Bike Portland).
  • As the right-leaning City Journal notes, weaning ourselves off fossil fuels also means more mining for minerals to make batteries, which progressives also oppose because it damages the environment.
  • Rail is not helping itself in the argument against EVs. By 2035, Amtrak hopes to reinstate several lines — and make them slower than they were in the 1940s and ’50s. That’s right, they’ll be slower than they were more than 70 years ago. (Vice)
  • Texas is skirting federal environmental laws by breaking its freeway projects up into chunks that are small enough not to be subject to intensive environmental review. (The Grist)
  • Denver’s new bus network will pull back from the suburbs to focus more on downtown. (Colorado Public Radio)
  • Portland is considering becoming the first U.S. city to phase out diesel trucks. (Willamette Week)
  • Cyclists rallied in Washington, D.C. to urge Mayor Muriel Bowser to do something about traffic deaths. (WJLA)
  • A Los Angeles transportation official who’s been an advocate for walking and biking is Seattle Mayor Brett Harrell’s pick to lead SDOT. (The Urbanist)
  • The Boston Globe wants to hear from readers whether they think the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority should be merged with MassDOT.
  • Cedar Rapids is reinstating bus fares for many riders but lowering them from the pre-pandemic rate of $1.50 to $1. (The Gazette)
  • Japanese triathlete Tsudoi Miyakazi was killed by a driver while training on her bike in France. (New York Post)
  • Uber passengers apparently can’t figure out how to open a Tesla’s door. (Axios)


Ped-Bike Mockery Flops for 7-Term House Incumbent

The National Republican Congressional Committee ran this ad against Democratic challenger Kathy Dahlkemper in the race for Pennsylvania’s third congressional district. It hits a few Gingrichian notes on how to address the country’s energy problems before the announcer tells us incredulously: Dahlkemper’s wacky solution? She said we should make personal sacrifices, such as walking places […]
Image: Cliff Mueller, CC

The Bikes That Last Four Months

While we’re all annoyed when our latest electronic gizmo conks out after just a few months, by now it’s not all that surprising. But a bike? Surely a bike should last longer, right? Here's how to spot an unfixable bike designed for the dump.