Portland tops list of bike-friendly major cities

TRANSPORTATION NEWS: Health website says West Coast better for bikers; Uber appeals fines from Eugene.

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Is Portland the most friendly major city to bicyclists in the nation? One health-related website seems to think so.

BetterDoctor.com ranked Oregon’s biggest city as the most bike friendly out of 52 major cities in the nation Monday, the Portland Tribune reports.

Divya Raghavan of www.BetterDoctor.com reviewed data from the U.S. Census 2013 American Community Survey from the nation’s 52 largest cities to determine the percentage of bike commuters and also used information from the Alliance for Biking and Walking and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to complete the survey.

Her March 23 report weighed such factors as the percentage of people who use bikes to commute to work, the safety of bike riders in the cities and street work and other improvements that support bicycle riders.

The West Coast dominated the top-10, which is as follows:

  1. Portland: Earned the top mark because people bike to work at a 50 percent higher rate than the next closest city.
  2. Washington D.C.: The site said the nation’s capital had a low fatality rate with high infrastructure rate.
  3. Minneapolis: Overcame its cold weather by having 118 miles of on-street bike paths.
  4. Oakland, Calif.
  5. Sacramento
  6. New Orleans
  7. Tucson
  8. Miami
  9. San Francisco
  10. Philadelphia

Find the whole study here.

Uber appeals Eugene’s fines

Uber asked a city of Eugene hearings officer to dismiss the $64,000 in fines the company has accumulated while operating without permission in the city.

The company claims it can’t be held responsible for the actions of independent drivers, the Register-Guard reports.

Uber says it offers its own driver background checks, vehicle inspections and insurance coverage to keep drivers, passengers and the community safe, but city regulators said the ride service requires additional oversight. Gregory Chaimov, the lawyer representing Uber, told hearings officer Fred Wilson that Uber is not subject to the licensing requirement because it’s technically not operating in the area.

Chaimov acknowledged that Uber developed the technology that allows riders to digitally hail a for-hire driver with a few touches of a smartphone application. But it’s Rasier LLC, a wholly owned subsidary of Uber, that enters into licensing agreements with drivers so they can use the technology to link digitally with riders. And neither Uber nor Rasier, he said, own or dispatch any vehicles or employ any drivers, which the ride service deems to be independent contractors.

(The R-G details the case extensively here.)

The officer is expected to respond to the appeal within 10 days.

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