US Secretary of Transportation: “Bicycling is only healthy when you ride safely”

Posted on May 20th, 2009 at 11:04 am.

“While we are working to improve conditions for bicyclists on the roadways, let’s, please, remember the culture we’ve created over the last 100 years will not welcome bikes overnight.”
— From the US DOT blog

Came across an article on bike safety published to the official blog of the U.S. Department of Transportation this morning (which is unfortunately called “Welcome to the Fast Lane”). Since May is National Bike Month, the US DOT found it fitting to remind folks on both sides of the windshield that safety should be the top priority.

A blog post about bike safety isn’t usually news, but when it comes from the US DOT I think it’s worth noting how they approach the topic.

The basic gist of the article is, ‘hey, we all know bikes are great, but this new push get more people on them will only work out if people don’t run into each other’.

“As this Administration works to develop environmentally-sound transportation options, making our streets more bike-friendly is high on the list,”


Guest editorial: Riding with courtesy in a city of bikes

Posted on April 3rd, 2009 at 4:15 pm.

Roger Geller
(Photo © J. Maus)

[Editor’s note: This guest editorial was written by Roger Geller, Bicycle Coordinator for the City of Portland.]

“What does it mean to be exemplary? To me it means the two “C’s” of cycling: Courtesy and confidence.”

In the past week I’ve been noticing harbingers of spring: flowering magnolia, daffodils in full bloom, tulips beginning to push their way up, birds early in the morning, sun later in the evenings, and, on especially nice days, a city beginning to pop with bicycling. We are approaching Portland’s high bicycle season.


PBOT confirms last year’s record low traffic crash, fatality numbers

Posted on April 2nd, 2009 at 12:17 pm.

more bike boxes springing up-3.jpg
Mayor Adams credits bike boxes
as one reason for record numbers
(Photo © J. Maus)

Back in January, we reported that Portland had potentially had a record low number of traffic fatalities in 2008.

PBOT has now made it official — we have never had fewer traffic fatalities in any year since they began keeping track in 1925.

In 2008, 20 people died in traffic crashes. Fifteen were in cars and five were on foot. For the fifth time in the past ten years, there were no bicycle-related fatalities.


Learning the law at the Share the Road safety class

Posted on January 26th, 2009 at 4:50 pm.

Ellee Thalheimer is a new contributing writer to BikePortland. Her most recent story was a product review of women’s bike shorts designed for utility and fashion. Ellee is a yoga instructor and travel writer living in Southeast Portland. Check out her author page here.

We covered the beginnings of the Share the Road Safety Class; this is our first inside account by a BikePortland operative.

Traffic safety gurus (L to R): Judge
Chris Larsen, BTA instructor Gregg
Lavender, Officer James Sorensen,
and nurse Mike Morrison.
(Photos: Ellee Thalheimer)

“Bike laws are schizophrenic,” the judge in my case told me. “Sometimes you’re a vehicle, sometimes you’re a pedestrian.”

It’s true. The rules of the road are confusing, and for those of us who get around on two wheels, confusing can translate into lethal. That’s one reason self-proclaimed “safety geek” and Judge Chris Larsen wanted to create a better way to educate road users about how to operate legally, and safely, on city streets.

Nearly two years ago, Larsen initiated the Share the Road Safety Class, a two-hour lecture/discussion/presentation that takes place twice a month at Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

The class functions as an alternative to expensive, record-marring traffic tickets that leave offenders frustrated, but unfortunately, still ignorant about the rules of the road.


Zero bike fatalities in 2008: A Q & A with Greg Raisman

Posted on January 5th, 2009 at 10:58 am.

traffic safety education action
PBOT traffic safety expert
Greg Raisman.
(Photos © J. Maus)

In 2008, there were no fatal bike crashes in the City of Portland. After a tumultuous 2007, when we had six fatal bike crashes (two of them very high-profile), this was welcome news by many in the community.

To gain more perspective on this statistic, I asked Greg Raisman, the chief traffic safety guru in the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) a few questions. Raisman thinks that it’s not just people on bikes that are safer, but that as bike traffic grows, all road users have a lower risk of being involved in a fatal crash.

Here’s the Q & A we did via email:


PDOT employee gets a scare during crosswalk safety event

Posted on December 2nd, 2008 at 9:24 am.

I Share the Road Rally
PDOT’s Sharon White, shown here
at a Share the Road rally in 2006.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Sharon White is PDOT’s pedestrian safety chief. One of the many programs she oversees is an ongoing “crosswalk enforcement action” campaign. Working with the Portland Police Bureau, White and staff at PDOT identify high-risk intersections and then employ decoys to walk across them while officers stand by.

White is so committed to her work that often, she herself takes on the role of crosswalk guinea pig. A few weeks ago, during one of the enforcement actions, she got more than she bargained for.


Momentum’s new safety vid: “Let’s Get Visible”

Posted on November 18th, 2008 at 10:27 am.

Momentum publisher/editor Amy Walker as
Olivia Newton-John in “Let’s Get Visible”.
– Watch video below –

The folks at Vancouver, BC-based Momentum Magazine have combined their passion for safe biking with their fun and fashionable style to create a new PSA for their local Bike to Work Week.

The result is “Let’s Get Visible”, a bike safety video that spoofs the legendary Olivia Newton-John song from 1981.


Right-hook warning, Copenhagen-style

Posted on November 14th, 2008 at 1:51 pm.

In Copenhagen, this sign is placed directly in the bike lane.
See another photo below for another view.
(Photos by Tom Miller)

Copenhagen should become a sister city to Portland. I can barely keep track of all the local planners, politicians, advocates and bureaucrats who have made a pilgrimmage to the “City of Cyclists” this past summer alone.


With ‘Hindsight’, Nike looks to improve bike safety

Posted on October 22nd, 2008 at 12:04 pm.

New Hindsight glasses from Nike.
(Photos: Nike via Gizmodo)

A reader (thanks Austin!) just gave me a heads up on an interesting new product idea from Nike.

Gadget blog Gizmodo reports that the new Hindsight glasses “are designed to do one simple thing: stop cyclists from getting hurt on the roads.”

How do they do this?


Watch the Water Burea’s new bike/truck safety video

Posted on October 6th, 2008 at 12:01 pm.

The Portland Water Bureau has released a new video on bike and truck safety.

First unveiled to the public at a bike/truck safety event back in September, the video (watch it below) is an engaging look at what Portland’s busiest bikeways look like from the seat of a large truck.