Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 17th, 2008 at 11:17 am
In a blog post published yesterday, City Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams wrote that with each new innovation the city rolls out for bicyclists, “our bicycle community assumes more responsibility as well”.
“As we make continued investments in our street system to accommodate bikes, it is imperative that our bike community respond with responsible behavior. No excuses.”
Adams added that,
“with strong support of the BTA,” he has asked the Portland Police Bureau to “adopt a no discretion/zero-tolerance policy for red light running (applicable to all modes) through the Rose Quarter Transit Center”
Adams is well-aware of the perception among many Portlanders (outside the bike bubble) that feel bicyclists do not obey laws as much as they should. He realizes (as do I), that in order to continue to make the kind of innovations to improve biking that are yet to come, we must acknowledge the PR battle as well.
His words are a pre-emptive strike in the battle for the hearts and minds of the City of Portland. If a large chunk of our population sees bike riders as erratic, scofflaws who don’t think rules apply to them, it means that needed bike projects, and sensible bike policies will be harder to push through.
Here’s how Adams ends his piece (emphasis mine):
“Portland’s bicycle community has blossomed in dramatic ways over last few years. With the growth comes newfound maturity. It is my hope and expectation that my friends in the bike community will self-police. In the Rose Quarter Transit Center. And everywhere.”
I agree with Adams’ call for good behavior, but I would add that the “growth” he speaks of his still a drop in the bucket when compared to the money spent, level-of-service given to, and facilities available for other modes.
I’m ready to mature and ride more responsibly, and I will. But let’s not think a few thousand dollars in green paint will lead to cyclists suddenly behaving perfectly in a system still largely built for motor vehicles.