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Comment of the week: ‘The stream carves its own bed’

Posted by on August 8th, 2014 at 7:14 pm

A ride with the family-6
Civic action in its own way.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

If any new phrase about biking I’ve seen in the last few months deserves to become a cliche, it’s this one.

Reacting to our post about what would happen if all of Portland’s bike commuters switched to cars, reader Champs took another tack.

Here’s a different hypothetical: what if we lobbied PBOT with demand instead of begging for supply?

Since the 28th project became a mess, I’ve made a point of using that street whenever possible and taking the lane. Everyone should. It’s much slower and flatter than it looks.

“Build it and they will come” can’t beat “we’re here, get used to it” pragmatism. The stream carves its own bed.


It’s worth noting that by planning to put green-backed sharrows on 28th Avenue and putting any actual bike lanes on the back burner, this is basically what the Portland Bureau of Transportation is proposing, too. But I assume Champs sees his proposal as a more useful attitude for individuals than for governments, since very few people are comfortable biking down the middle of a busy street.

In a sense, he’s arguing that people who are comfortable doing this should put their bodies into the service of those who aren’t.

In any case, this is a powerful idea that deserves to be remembered.


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Comments
  • Hart Noecker August 8, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    MAKING DEMANDS?!!

    That’s no way to appease all parties involved to make sure each and every stake-holder comes away feeling represented and their input mutually considered – yet shelved upon further bureaucratic process!

    Something might actually get done otherwise…

    Better to stick with that status quo and continue making donations to non-profits who will take that money and make long-term, cozy relationships with politicians. THAT’S the way you achieve progress!

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  • Ian August 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I’m on board.

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  • Christopher Sanderson August 8, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I left a client’s house the other day with a full load on the trailer. I actually backtracked to 28th to take the main thoroughfare through that neighborhood. Bikes belong!

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    • Spiffy August 9, 2014 at 10:03 am

      I did the same thing with my kid on the tag-a-long and a trailer… 28th is a nice route… cars don’t zip past you dangerously close because there’s no room for them to pass with all the oncoming traffic… I had actually tried a quiet parallel street first and it was more annoying than 28th…

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  • WillB August 8, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Vehicular cycling. Yes, I think that is the name for it.

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    • spare_wheel August 9, 2014 at 9:10 am

      nah.

      vehicular cyclists zealously follow the rules of the road — car-centric traffic laws that are help promote a global tragedy of the commons. by taking the whole lane when he could ride on the right champs is practising true transportation cycling. the idea that cyclists should have the same (or similar) right to the road as motorists is a radical idea that is in opposition to the car-centric appeasement at the core of “VC” and “bikes belong/green lane” advocacy.

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      • gutterbunnybikes August 9, 2014 at 10:38 am

        Though I agree with the sentiment of your post, that taking the lane can be away of asserting ones right to the use of the road, riding on 28th safely requires one to take the lane.

        “As far to the right as safely possible”, in my estimation, means three feet to the left of the line of parked cars to stay out of the door zone. And like my VC upbringing I wont give up lane position until I feel I can be safely passed. I won’t give up the lane if there is a single car parked on the road for that block. If the entire block opens up with no cars there, I’ll consider moving over.

        I gotta admit I’ve taken to going down 28th more often now too, just to prove a point. And even at an average speed of 12 MPH I usually keep up with the auto traffic, the lights aren’t synced for the traffic on 28th, so the cars usually “rushing to reds”.

        And I gotta say it seems like many others have taken to the lane on 28th lately too.

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      • are August 9, 2014 at 12:35 pm

        i find spare wheel’s comment confusing. especially odd is linking “vehicular” with “bikes belong/green lane,” as these two are in direct and often fierce opposition.

        i describe myself as a “transportational” cyclist, but i do not find that description inconsistent with “vehicular.” when i lived in portland i routinely took the lane on 28th and felt comfortable doing it.

        i did several bike counts for PBoT at the corner of 28th and glisan and reported the difficulty many cyclists had because they were not claiming the lane coming out of the stop northbound. the recommendation i was making then was to put down sharrows.

        the basic vehicular principle is to assert the space you need to create a safe situation. the phrase “lane control” originates with vehicular cyclists. a vehicular cyclist may “follow the rules of the road,” but not “zealously.” where the rules of the road include mandatory sidepath and/or far to right, the vehicular cyclists are lobbying hard to change those rules.

        and speaking only for myself, as a vehicular cyclist, if the rules of the road include mandatory sidepath and/or far to right, i will break those rules for safety. have not been ticketed yet, but am willing to defend the ticket on that ground.

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        • spare_wheel August 9, 2014 at 1:03 pm

          some VCers seek to appease dangerous autoists by behaving like “vehicles” while some of the “protection-always” folk seeks to get out of the way “dangerous autoists”. they are often opposites but also from my perspective also flip sides of the same reactionary coin.

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          • are August 12, 2014 at 11:56 am

            i do not see how claiming the lane “appeases” anyone.

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            • El Biciclero August 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm

              The only sense I can make of this notion is that there seems to be an unspoken element of speed here. “Appeasement” would then take the form of traveling at a fast enough rate while claiming the lane, so that motorists are not as inconvenienced by it—”acting like a vehicle” means “moving as close to motorized speed as possible”. I know there are times when I take the lane because I want to go faster, and there are times when I try to go faster because I need to take the lane (and I don’t want to make motorists too mad at me).

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            • spare_wheel August 12, 2014 at 5:27 pm

              Riding in the roadway is not “VC” — cyclists were doing this many decades before Forester was born.

              The underlying premise of VC is that that we should ride like motorvehicles and follow *their* rules. The arguments used to justify this often touch on predictability and safety but in reality I think the desire to be a *vehicle* has more to do with not antagonizing the majority. For example, riding on the right is a VC concept and AFRAP was a VC law (even though many now disavow it).

              Ef that.

              I’m a cyclist. Sometimes I ride on the right. Sometimes I ride in a bike lane. But other times I ride on the left, filter, fail to signal, jump the gun, cut to the front, ride on the sidewalk, and even violate *the law*.

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  • wsbob August 8, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    “…since very few people are comfortable biking down the middle of a busy street. …” andersen/bikeportland

    Depends on the circumstances: location, amount and type of traffic, speed traveled, and so on.

    One person riding, virtually no other bikes on the street, in the main lane, 10-12 mph, with lots of motor vehicles in use on the street, where the flow otherwise may be 20-25 mph: not going to go over well. This is especially understandable if the situation on the street is such that the person riding could reasonably move to the side of the lane to allow faster traffic to proceed on past.

    On the other hand, naturally occurring numbers, together, of unaffiliated people on a given section of street could reasonably turn that paradigm around. By ‘unaffiliated’, I mean people not on a group ride, a demonstration, etc. Travel for commuting, general shopping, business, etc, being accomplished with a bike.

    If any Portland street has such numbers of people biking that could realistically pose the demand for infrastructure to better handle the demand, people riding there might consider allowing the message to be sent.

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    • spare_wheel August 9, 2014 at 9:16 am

      not going to go over well.

      perhaps this is true where you live wsbob but last night i watched dozens of cyclists ride in the lane on 28th and it went well.

      it’s time to think of bikes and peds as having *priority* on our streets.

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      • Spiffy August 9, 2014 at 10:06 am

        it’s time to think of bikes and peds as having *priority* on our streets.

        I’m already there…

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        • Dwaine Dibbly August 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm

          Me, too. I’m an absolutely militant pedestrian when I’m downtown (except that I will step back & wave a person on a bike past me, especially if they’re riding uphill).

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          • spare_wheel August 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

            i will often walk out into the street at unmarked intersections and play chicken with motor vehicles. a sudden screech to a stop means i’ve helped educate motorists and helped make our roads safer for everyone.

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            • Kyle August 9, 2014 at 5:41 pm

              This is great! So long as you’re not darting into an intersection right in front of a car with no time to stop, it’s perfectly legal, and if the person in the car doesn’t slow down as you cross the intersection, it’s their own fault if they have to slam on the brakes.

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            • wsbob August 10, 2014 at 10:04 am

              What do you want for flowers at your funeral? People get hit, playing crazy games like you’ve described. Predictably, when you do get hit pulling that stunt, you’ll blame it on the person driving, explaining that you were just trying to ‘educate’ them.

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              • 9watts August 10, 2014 at 10:11 am

                I think it depends on your perspective, and/or the circumstances, wsbob. Hand Monderman was famous for walking backwards and with his eyes closed into traffic on streets or intersections that had been modified according to his remove-all-signs-increase-uncertainty-for-drivers approach.

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              • spare_wheel August 10, 2014 at 10:41 am

                >If there is neither sidewalk nor shoulder, a crosswalk is the portion of the roadway at an intersection…

                http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/801.220

                PS: skip the flowers and send a donation to psi.org.

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                • wsbob August 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

                  Don’t confuse what the law provides for, with the kind of irresponsible activity you’ve boasted about doing:

                  “…i will often walk out into the street at unmarked intersections and play chicken with motor vehicles. …” spare_wheel

                  The law obliges people driving to yield the right of way to pedestrians, whether at marked, signaled crosswalks or not. This isn’t in dispute.

                  At the same time, the law doesn’t allow people on foot to, without taking precautions to be reasonably certain the person driving sees them and can make a safe stop, walk right out in front of approaching traffic, forcing traffic to come to a brake screeching stop. Especially for misguided, self absorbed notions about ‘educating’ people that drive.

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                • spare_wheel August 11, 2014 at 10:53 am

                  wsbob, enough with the strawmen. i’m simply cautiously asserting my legal right of way. people in cars screech to a halt because they were not paying attention (and do not want to hit a human being).

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                • wsbob August 11, 2014 at 6:11 pm

                  spare_wheel
                  wsbob, enough with the strawmen. i’m simply cautiously asserting my legal right of way. people in cars screech to a halt because they were not paying attention (and do not want to hit a human being).
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                  Right. Then don’t try amp up your comments with animosity fueling claims that you’re “…playing chicken…”, when in “…cautiously asserting…”, your legal right of way, you’re not actually playing chicken with motor vehicle traffic.

                  You offered no details as to what kinds of street situations you were referring to with the words “…unmarked intersections…”. Nor do you explain the procedure you use to cautiously assert your right to cross the road in those situations. Both are relevant to the question of how a person operating a motor vehicle, may respond to someone attempting to cross the road on foot at unmarked intersections.

                  People attempting to cross a road where there are no means provided to aid their crossing safely, run a greater risk of danger from motor vehicle traffic, then they do at intersections specifically equipped with markings, signs and lights to help people driving detect people on foot trying to cross the street.

                  Presumptions that people driving motor vehicles, and not stopping for people on foot trying to cross the road at unmarked intersections, failed to do so because “…they were not paying attention…”, by no means represents a realistic range of reasons someone driving may not make a timely stop for someone on foot trying to cross the road.

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                • El Biciclero August 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm

                  “Presumptions that people driving motor vehicles, and not stopping for people on foot trying to cross the road at unmarked intersections, failed to do so because ‘…they were not paying attention…’, by no means represents a realistic range of reasons someone driving may not make a timely stop for someone on foot trying to cross the road.”

                  If we assume that a pedestrian crossing the street does not leave a place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard, what other reason besides “not paying attention”, could there possibly be? Asserting some imagined “right” to run over a pedestrian because a crosswalk is unmarked? Vehicle mechanical malfunction? Driver medical condition? What realistic (i.e., “probable”) range of reasons are you thinking of?

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                • wsbob August 15, 2014 at 6:51 pm

                  “…If we assume that a pedestrian crossing the street does not leave a place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard, what other reason besides “not paying attention”, could there possibly be? …” El Biciclero http://bikeportland.org/2014/08/08/comment-week-stream-carves-bed-109931#comment-5350825

                  The person on foot crossing, not being readily visible or easily able to be visibly detected by people driving. Lots of possible site related reasons for this, which is why crossing at intersections specifically equipped to enhance safe crossing for people on foot, is generally better than picking a point to cross at random, somewhere between such intersections.

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                • 9watts August 15, 2014 at 7:19 pm

                  “The person on foot crossing, not being readily visible or easily able to be visibly detected by people driving.”

                  Remember, wsbob, this matter is understood, viewed, treated very differently in other countries and in places where Vision Zero obtains. I will point out my earlier discussion of this matter in a Swiss paper, where the statistical probability of someone darting out in front of a car was vanishingly small, even as the automobilists would like us to think it was a far more common issue.

                  http://bikeportland.org/2014/06/20/pbot-ad-campaign-drivers-slow-107630#comment-5092741

                  The phrase ‘too fast for conditions’ comes to mind when talking about ‘not being readily visible or easily able to be visibly detected by people driving.’

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                • wsbob August 16, 2014 at 1:46 am

                  “The phrase ‘too fast for conditions’ comes to mind when talking about ‘not being readily visible or easily able to be visibly detected by people driving.’ …” 9watts

                  The phrase ‘too fast for conditions’, shouldn’t come to mind if you’re thinking about spare_wheel’s remark that introduced this subject of discussion:

                  “i will often walk out into the street at unmarked intersections and play chicken with motor vehicles. …” spare_wheel

                  Wheel never clarified, but I suppose an unmarked intersection could be any point on the road where someone on foot decided they needed to cross, places where there may be little or no reasonable expectation that a person on foot would cross, and where the road itself is visible, but the area away from it isn’t.

                  In this type situation, if someone walks out in front of oncoming motor vehicle traffic, not taking steps to be certain they’ve been visually detected, or allowing sufficient time for it to stop, I don’t think the ‘too fast for conditions’ claim will work. People on foot have an obligation to exercise due care in their use of the road, as do people driving. One thing that means, is that they have an obligation to make certain oncoming vehicle traffic sees them, before they go stepping out in front of it.

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            • Mike August 14, 2014 at 9:20 pm

              If you jump out in front of my car without warning how is it my fault that you get pancaked? If you are waiting at a crosswalk with the intention to cross I understand the anger if a car doesn’t stop but otherwise I don’t get it.

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              • are August 15, 2014 at 11:22 am

                there is a third scenario. you are at the crosswalk, the nearest approaching car is far enough away they could easily stop. you step out into the road [as is your perfect right to do]. they do not immediately register you are there [note to wsbob, this is what is meant by "inattention"]. they stop if at all only abruptly.

                or your crossing has the effect of calming traffic more generally, which was the point of the “human speed bump project” linked in my earlier comment.

                especially in an area where pedestrian cross traffic should be expected, there is no justification for motorists to be moving more than twenty or twenty-five mph, and i do not care what the posted markings are.

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              • wsbob August 15, 2014 at 7:01 pm

                “If you jump out in front of my car without warning how is it my fault that you get pancaked? …” Mike

                As per the scenario you describe, the collision wouldn’t be your fault. Although it seems that in countries that use the Strict Liability means of assigning responsibility for covering consequences of collisions, the person driving would likely be liable for the consequences of the collision, whether or not they’re at fault for the collision.

                It seems this is so, simply because it’s considered that their mode of travel, a motor vehicle, in a collision between a motor vehicle and a person on foot, is capable of inflicting greater harm in on the person on foot, than vice versa.

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                • Alan 1.0 August 15, 2014 at 9:10 pm

                  Mmm, not exactly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strict_liability

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                • wsbob August 16, 2014 at 12:28 am

                  Alan at http://bikeportland.org/2014/08/08/comment-week-stream-carves-bed-109931#comment-5373561

                  If you’ve got a point, make it, instead of just lazily posting a link to Wikipedia’s page on Strict Liability, and making a smart alec remark. Some people like to assume ‘Strict Liability’ finds fault or guilt, but it doesn’t, and that may be why the concept is not called ‘Strict Fault’, or ‘Strict Guilt’.

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                • Alan 1.0 August 16, 2014 at 8:14 am

                  So, you call me lazy because I provide a resource which could help you understand why your answer to Mike is wrong, yet you apparently don’t bother to read the information yourself? Isn’t that an ad hominem argument? Pardon me if I don’t bother to reply further.

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                • Paul in The 'Couve August 16, 2014 at 11:57 am

                  Bob, this gets right back to one of the major points where you disagree with several of us repeatedly and we will make no progress dialoguing in these question until you are able to at least acknowledge where we disagree and address the actual point of disagreement.

                  Our claim here is this: People operating motor vehicles are (in reality) and need to be (Legally) responsible for choosing to operate a machine that had the potential to cause significant destruction to life and property. Drivers are the ones engaged in a practice that is full of potential dangers. As a driver, daily, myself, I personally know that I need to operate my vehicle with the height of care and attention at all times. If I am not capable of that, or if my capability is reduced for any reason I need to get out from behind the wheel, immediately. That means being alert, and prepared to notice and avoid hazards, and slow down for conditions. Drive within my ability to see and react.

                  If you at least understand that that is where I (and others) are coming from, then we can engage on that issue. Because within that framework it is perfectly obvious that the man who steps out into the street when a car is down the block 150 feet (2 or 3 houses) is not the cause of the accident the results. The cause is a motor vehicle operated inattentively.

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                • wsbob August 17, 2014 at 11:15 am

                  Alan at http://bikeportland.org/2014/08/08/comment-week-stream-carves-bed-109931#comment-5376176

                  Yes you’re lazy, and for that matter, inconsiderate for not pointing out what it is in the Wikipedia article about Strict Liability, that apparently you think finds people that operate motor vehicles more than simply liable for the consequences of a collision. You seem to expect people to read through that article and attempt to read your mind as to the point you must be hoping to make.

                  Paul, at: http://bikeportland.org/2014/08/08/comment-week-stream-carves-bed-109931#comment-5377185

                  “…it is perfectly obvious that the man who steps out into the street when a car is down the block 150 feet (2 or 3 houses) is not the cause of the accident the results. The cause is a motor vehicle operated inattentively.” Paul in The ‘Couve

                  Refer to Spare_Wheel’s ‘pedestrian playing chicken’ scenario originally offered: http://bikeportland.org/2014/08/08/comment-week-stream-carves-bed-109931#comment-5328832

                  Your comment does not answer to that scenario.

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      • wsbob August 9, 2014 at 10:38 am

        wheel…you’ve not said whether the dozens of people you observed riding, were doing so with no other riders around, as illustrated by the picture at the top of this story, of a single rider in front of a long line of cars.

        What I wrote is true out in Beaverton, as well as most everywhere else. If the dozens of people you observed riding on 28th last night, happened as I described in my comment above, that’s an exception to almost everywhere else.

        I think, applied to transportation biking, the ‘The stream carves its own bed’ thought, posits some interesting ideas. There has to be a stream, if any carving is to be done. A drop or two here and there, or a trickle, isn’t likely to do it.

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    • gutterbunnybikes August 9, 2014 at 11:03 am

      First of all people do need to get use to riding in the lane. And people that are interested in going this way should start by taking the lane on the greenways. It’s why they were ordained to begin with. Once they realize riding in the lane is not as scary as they think it is, then they can move up to the other slower main streets like 28th. Eventually you can graduate to the bigger streets. And even they aren’t as scary as most think they are, they have two lanes going one direction so cars can safely pass you on them.

      Second you’ve already outlined the DOT’s reasoning for adding bike infrastructure. Why is Willamette and Williams getting upgraded? Because the active transportation users are out growing the existing lanes and are starting to interfere with the motor lanes.

      Bike lanes aren’t built for bikes, they’re built to keep the bikes from slowing down auto traffic. It’s nice Orwellian double speak that they (DOT’s, advocates, wonks) say they are “bike friendly” because statistically the bike lanes presence, at best or worse- only affects safety minimally.

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      • Kyle August 9, 2014 at 5:46 pm

        Lately I’ve encountered a lot more bicycle traffic on roads with only standard bike lanes – such as Burnside on the bridge and up to Sandy. When I have to pass other cyclists, I’ve made it a habit of signaling and then taking the middle of the lane to my left. Too many vehicles have dangerously (and angrily) squeezed by at a high rate of speed to my left while passing, so now they are unable to do so. If more people would be assertive and take the lane to pass when needed, eventually the city will be forced to remove one of those automobile lanes and widen the bike lanes in both directions. Then it becomes a matter of safety and necessity versus “like to have.”

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      • wsbob August 9, 2014 at 10:40 pm

        “Bike lanes aren’t built for bikes, they’re built to keep the bikes from slowing down auto traffic. …” gutterbunnybikes

        It’s partly true that bike lanes are provided to support majority road traffic, which tends to be motor vehicles, in maintaining flow. There’s other reasons bike lanes have been provided though, and I believe, as I think many other people would as well, that bike lanes generally do help towards a considerable improvement in the safety of people riding bikes on the road.

        Contriving and using phrases like ‘motor lanes’, doesn’t help to expand clear understanding of legitimate use of roads. With the exception of bike lanes designated almost exclusively for use with bikes, lanes of the road are main travel lanes, left turn lanes, right turn lanes.

        Though I haven’t personally ridden them during commute hours, impression I get from reading about them here, is that routes such as Williams are getting numbers of people riding that seem as though they may even exceed the capacity of bike lanes existing or to be built. That seems like as good an opportunity as any, to test out the demand justifies use idea. I mentioned this in a comment to a different story, earlier in the week.

        I think it is good advice for people to develop their cycling skills and savvy on quieter streets, before taking to busier thoroughfares. Very good advice. Lots of improvement could be made to offering people help in acquiring what they need to be good at negotiating their way amongst motor vehicles while riding a bike.

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      • Brian August 11, 2014 at 9:50 am

        Exactly. I live on Davis and when I see a cyclist hugging the curb/APARKED CARS, with a car behind that is about to speed up to pass them, I want to shout, “TAKE THE LANE!!” Maybe I’ll make a sign and attach it to the trees out front reminding cyclists to “Take Your Lane.”

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  • Peter W August 9, 2014 at 9:06 am

    +1

    Reminds me of the Extra Legal Bike Rides (group of folks ride single file, stopping individually at every stop sign), and Critical Mass (where as a group people on bikes are able to assert their right to use a space).

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  • Dwaine Dibbly August 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    That’s why I’m always saying, “Take the lane!”

    Tell you what: tomorrow I’m going to ride over every Willamette River bridge in town, even the interstate bridges. Let’s see how they like THAT!

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    • spare_wheel August 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      i’ve taken the lane on the ross island bridge during rush hour a few times and each time a motorist went out of their way to “protect” me the whole way. definitely an “i love portland” moment.

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  • Randy August 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    time to expand our verbage perhaps? “vehicluar cyclist” appears to be a car centric-label? lane calmer, etc…

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    • gutterbunnybikes August 9, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      The term and riding style was first publicly outlined in 1976 by John Forester in the book “Effective Cycling”. It was also the name of the of the training program offered by the League of American Wheelman as well for awhile, which I’m pretty sure (though I can’t remember- though there might be some literature from it in some dusty box deep in bowels of my parents house) was responsible for the classes/lessons I took in elementary school.

      And it isn’t so much about following the letter of the law or pretending to be a car or motor traffic. VC is more about visibility, lane control, and behaving in a predictable manor.

      The segregationist support bike lanes and infrastructure. The VC’rs will typically be more in favor of lowering speed limits and improvements within the laws. And the truth is is that both camps are right in certain situations.

      More urban settings like 28th is all about VC. Taking the lane is much safer than a bike lane. The VC method of riding nearly completely eliminates doorings and right hooks (cars overtaking bicycles in the road is statically the rarest of auto/bike collisions- roughly 5%). Doorings and especially right hooks are the most frequent collisions with bike lanes and with riders that ride too far to the right (gutter bunnies…hahahaha). Right hooks in particular are almost all a result of existing bike lane infrastructure.

      However, on long stretches of busier suburban and country roads with higher speed limits and little to no street parking bike lanes do well (think the arterial roads east of the 205 or Barber).

      The biggest problem that people have with the VC method in general is that it is treated as common knowledge that riding bikes isn’t safe. Which simply isn’t so. More people cross the Hawthorn bridge (current daily average is 5,495) on a busy day, than die in bicycle accidents in decade across the whole country (roughly 6,500 from 2001-2011 CDC/WISQUARS).

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      • spare_wheel August 10, 2014 at 6:22 pm

        Believe it or not I’ve had multiple exchanges with “the John Forester” and he does indeed advocate following the rules of the road except when it’s not safe/prudent to do so. I disagree vehemently.

        I have no significant issue with the VC “method” but when it becomes an ideology that limits reform and improvement I have a big issue. Likewise, I have absolutely no problem with cycletracks but I have a big problem with ideologues who believe that cycletracks built on the cheap are the answer to every cycling infrastructure problem.

        More urban settings like 28th is all about VC.

        This is one method but there are others. For example, Hurst’s Art of (Urban) Cycling describes a “flow with traffic style” developed by utility cyclists and messengers. Since this cycling style allows for movement even when the lane is occupied by vehicles it’s very much in opposition to Forester’s “effective cycling”.

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        • are August 12, 2014 at 12:02 pm

          the fact forester personally is a dinosaur does not mean vehicular cycling as a strategy is wrong. ad hominem.

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          • spare_wheel August 12, 2014 at 5:45 pm

            i stated above that i thought the method/strategy was sound. i’m mostly criticizing the ideology.

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  • Pat Franz August 9, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    In understand the sentiment, but a stream carves it’s own bed only because it doesn’t know better. Actually, a stream follows a path of least resistance, completely unaware of other, better possibilities that might be right over the hill. People don’t have to operate that way. We can actually think ahead and plan and do smart things. We can, not that we always do. But we have the option to plan, and we should.

    As for 28th, I always take the lane there south of Sandy. If it helps drivers get used to the idea of cyclists in the lane, that’s great, but I really don’t have any hope of educating the masses. There are enough that just don’t notice things like that, and enough that it just pisses them off, that I don’t see it making a difference.

    Big signs saying “City of Portland too cheap/too politically scared to put in better facilities, so cyclists are recommended to take the lane, next 12 blocks” would be more educational for everyone.

    –Pat Franz

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    • 9watts August 10, 2014 at 7:05 am

      “Big signs saying “City of Portland too cheap/too politically scared to put in better facilities, so cyclists are recommended to take the lane, next 12 blocks” would be more educational for everyone.”

      Comment of ‘the next week’!

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    • spare_wheel August 10, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      “but I really don’t have any hope of educating the masses.”

      try taking the lane in mahattan or central philly and get back to me.

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      • WillB August 10, 2014 at 11:07 pm

        Manhattan and Philly get a different sign:
        Stop de Kindermoord

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    • are August 12, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      for a stream, there is no “better” path than least resistance. i know plenty of people who will take side roads rather than 28th until they absolutely need to get across the highway, and this is maybe “better” for them, for now, but only because 28th seems so unfriendly. similarly going is not “better” than alberta, etc. in fact going is worse at key crossings.

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  • mercier531 August 9, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    I have taken the lane while biking on 28th for the 25 years I have lived in our fair city. I refuse to be doored (again) and on the stretch between Sandy and Burnside that is a serious concern. I ride at 15 to 19 mph and I do not care if automobile operators have to slow down for a few blocks. I also drive a car, mostly around inner SE, and I frequently have to slow to 13 to 18 mph when I am behind a cyclist. I have never honked at or become irritated with those cyclists. I do get irritated if they are riding side by side in a manner that prevents me from safely passing. Even in that situation I behave like a civil (if pissed off) citizen.

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  • WendP August 10, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    If I were a stronger rider & a braver rider, I’d consider this in the 30-45ish block of SE Division, near my own neighborhood. The actual bike lane is awesome from the 100-and-somethings all the way down to 60th or so, then becomes non-existent, right where everything narrows down to a barely-one-lane section where all of the new housing & businesses are going. You know, where all the trendy people are now living and shopping and dining, and trying to figure out where to park? Right there in the barely-one-lane area? We’ve given up trying to drive through this section, so none of the businesses are currently getting our patronage. I’d bike if I didn’t feel like I was taking my life into my hands and putting it in my bike basket. Any stronger, braver riders who would like to help educate the car traffic down there, you have my awe and gratitude.

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  • Jesse Singer August 10, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Fellow riders,

    My small team recently launched a new app for fellow Portlanders to find others to bike with for free. Please feel free to download it and enjoy meeting great locals to bike with. Feel free to drop me a line if you don’t see what ya need!

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  • John Liu August 11, 2014 at 2:12 am

    I’ve been going out of my way to ride the lane on 28th, from Stark to Glisan. No issues w/ cars at all.

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  • Cory Poole August 11, 2014 at 9:21 am

    I have also been making a point to ride 28th with my family. I also skate it alone. When on my bike we take the lane and I have not yet had any problems. When on my skateboard ( traveling the same speed ) I stay a bit to the right but out of the door zone. Almost no one attempts to pass me and I have had no problems. I also have made a point when going to businesses on 28th to find the owner and let them know that I came by bike / board. The only business I will not go to is the Laurelhurst Theatre.

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  • Craig Harlow August 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Love it. I’ve been doing this ever since the the 28th segment became controversial. Whenever riding from NE to SE, I (and sometimes my family biking entourage) go out of my way to take 28th from Gleason to Stark, taking the full lane, but always letting cars pass when it’s safe to do so — there’s nearly *no* place that it’s safe to do so :^)

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    • germaine August 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      I don’t understand what everyone means by letting cars pass ‘when it is safe to do so.’ Could someone explain? Is ducking into parking spaces to let them pass unsafe?

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      • Karl Dickman August 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm

        The conventional wisdom is that ducking in to parking spaces is unsafe. For example, see the Oregon bicycle manual, page 5: “Ride in a Straight Line. This will make you more visible to motorists. Don’t weave in and out of parked cars – you may disappear from motorists’ sight and get squeezed
        when you need to merge back into traffic.”

        http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/hwy/bikeped/docs/bike_manual.pdf

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      • are August 12, 2014 at 12:06 pm

        and this, spare wheel, is why we need “vehicular” education.

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        • spare_wheel August 12, 2014 at 5:53 pm

          cyclist education!

          something i see all the time: people riding in the right wheel well on a narrow lane when they should be in the center or the left side of the lane (not approved).

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  • spencer August 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I ride on the bike symbols, I ride / take the lane on every residental and commercial street. People can pass when its safe to do so. We ALL need to do this. Lets start on Clinton and Ladds so that we can stop the cut through raceway from occurring on a daily basis.

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  • John Liu August 13, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Oh, just to add – if you “take the lane” on a street like 28th between Stark and Glisan, as I do, I feel you have an obligation to crank up the legs and ride at a reasonably rapid speed.

    On a narrow two lane street like that, a cyclist taking the lane is forcing all the drivers to travel no faster than the rider. I think in that brief stretch of 28th through a dense commercial area, it is reasonable and desirable for car traffic to drive slowly, like 15 or 20 mph, thus the calming effect of bicycles taking the lane is a good thing. I absolutely do not think it is reasonable to slow everyone down to 5 mph or 10 mph. If you want to dawdle along at that pokey speed, then you should ride well to the right so that cars can pass you, or ride the parallel roads through quiet neighborhoods.

    I hardly ever see riders hogging the lane at 5-10 mph, so this isn’t currently a problem, but I’d hate for riders to start doing so, whether to make a point or otherwise. Drivers and riders get along better in Portland than in most cities our size, and in part it is because we are usually considerate and cooperative to each other. Carve the stream, don’t dam it up.

    By the way, I feel differently about a street like Clinton or Ankeny. I consider those streets were designated for bikes as the primary users, and that car traffic should be actively discouraged, other than purely local traffic like someone driving one block to their house. So there, I have no problem with pedaling lazily along.

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    • Paul in The 'Couve August 13, 2014 at 10:17 am

      I agree overall, but some particulars I see a bit differently. Firstly, for the whole distance you are right, but for a single block I disagree. Particularly between Ankeny and Couch where there are many businesses and pedestrians. Even riders traveling at 5 to 10mph should take the lane here. Also, even when riding slowly, I suggest keeping Left and moving right. Firmly take and occupy the space in the road you need, and I believe on streets like this make it clear to drivers that they can’t likely squeeze by you without crossing the centerline. However, especially if riding slowly, move right as they go around, and take opportunities to move over, or pull off if you are holding up traffic. This approach is fully in accord with Oregon vehicle code.

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    • spare_wheel August 13, 2014 at 10:18 am

      motorists often drive at ~10 mph when they are looking for parking or simply gawking. and yet there are realtively few angry rants about this even though it’s more common than a cyclist “other” inconveniencing “the majority”.

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  • are August 15, 2014 at 11:22 am

    there is a third scenario. you are at the crosswalk, the nearest approaching car is far enough away they could easily stop. you step out into the road [as is your perfect right to do]. they do not immediately register you are there [note to wsbob, this is what is meant by "inattention"]. they stop if at all only abruptly.

    or your crossing has the effect of calming traffic more generally, which was the point of the “human speed bump project” linked in my earlier comment.

    especially in an area where pedestrian cross traffic should be expected, there is no justification for motorists to be moving more than twenty or twenty-five mph, and i do not care what the posted markings are.

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