View Full Version : Monday 5:45pm runners on Hawthorne bridge

08-06-2008, 03:23 PM
This has happened too many times. On several Mondays at about 5:45pm, I've encountered a large group of runners headed east on the Hawthorne bridge while I am biking west. I am in the designated lane for west-bound bikers. (I've read there's an organized run that starts at 5:30 on Mondays from Niketown and includes members of the Red Lizard team and other running clubs; this may be the group of runners I encounter.) These encounters have been downright scary. The runners come fast, often several abreast, passing each other. Even though I ride in the bikers' lane as close to the curb as I can, I've had several runners come straight at me, seeming to not even notice me. Several times, I've yelled to alert runners I am there, and a path cleared for me at the last second. I am worried about a collision and/or ending up in the road. People running in packs on the bridge: please give adequate berth to bikers and others who are on the outside edge.

08-06-2008, 08:48 PM
Or, ideally, a large pack could use common sense and use the appropriate side of the bridge when traveling eastbound or westbound. Small groups of pedestrians make little difference what side they are on, but large groups are more disruptive if they are going against the general traffic direction.

08-07-2008, 08:02 AM
My advice: Ring the HELL out of that BELL!!

Some guy, who I think was a Red Lizard club member, got into a physical altercation with a woman on a bicycle on the Sellwood Bridge a year or so ago over what seems to be a similar issue. You can probably find that story in the archives.

Schrauf, the Hawthorne bridge sidewalk is bi-directional for pedestrians. So there is no "appropriate side" - they both can be legally used in either direction. Still, I understand your point about sharing the space.

08-07-2008, 08:50 AM

Thank you for alerting us to the hazard of the pack runners. The likelihood that change could be enacted would be greater if you were to open a dialog with the running club. I am sure there are self absorbed jerks who are runners, but I bet most are just folk who would alter their behavior if it were pointed out to them that they behave in a frightening and dangerous manner. (just like we hear about bicyclists)

We have to get out of “Group Think” and start dealing with each other as persons. Cars vs. bikes, runners vs. bikes, and fixies against the world: it is counter productive.

I posted a contact link to the running club, and after I post this I will post the BikePortland forum link on their contact recipient’s inbox and alert them that we are talking about them.

08-07-2008, 10:15 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the discussion in the cycling realm. I can't even count the number of times in the past couple years that we've have similar message board discussions regarding awareness and courtesy between all of the user groups (cars, bikes, runners, walker, dog walkers, families), especially on multi-use paths like the Springwater. I wish I could say it would be easy to fix, but communication is a good start.

The Monday night group of runners is organized by the Niketown Running Club. Many Red Lizard members join that group on Mondays, so I will make sure the word makes its way to the rest of the group. But I don't expect that to solve much. I think most of the issues and best solutions have already been posted in this thread. During my daily commute, I admittedly don't do a great job of ringing my bell or yelling "on your left" when passing other bikes or path users, but I assure you that most of the runners you come upon will gladly move over once they are aware of your presence.

And trust me, as a runner I would rather have someone ring their bell or yell that they are coming by on the left than have a cyclist annoyed that a group of runners can't sense the bike approaching from behind. Even when it seems like you have a clear path, it's always good to announce your presence, since you just never know when you might have a 100-150 lb obstacle take a sudden step in front of you - no one ever gets road rash from being annoying...

08-08-2008, 06:06 AM
FYI - I just started a thread on the Red Lizard message board and will make sure the Niketown run organizers are aware of the issue and make an announcement to their run participants.


Thanks Torrey! - K'Tesh

08-08-2008, 06:36 AM
AO, I agree pedestrians have a right to use either side of the bridge regardless of their direction of travel - I just mean, it makes it easier and safer for everyone, if large packs of runners, who travel at least as quickly as most bikes on the bridge, go "with traffic".

There are also definitely some times when runners should go against traffic, just so they can see what is oncoming, and step out of the way to stay safe.

08-08-2008, 11:12 AM
[A]s a runner I would rather have someone ring their bell or yell that they are coming by on the left than have a cyclist annoyed that a group of runners can't sense the bike approaching from behind. Even when it seems like you have a clear path, it's always good to announce your presence, since you just never know when you might have a 100-150 lb obstacle take a sudden step in front of you - no one ever gets road rash from being annoying...

As I understand it, Multnomah County, which owns the Hawthorne Bridge, considers the multi-use space there to be a "sidewalk" under Oregon law. However, I do not know whether this issue has ever been adjudicated by an Oregon court, or what the stance of the PPB is. There is some possibility part of it is a "bike lane," but that seems unlikely to me. If anybody does know of any such adjudication, please let me know. Here's the potentially relevant provision:

ORS 814.410. Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person does any of the following:


(b) Operates a bicycle upon a sidewalk and does not give an audible warning before overtaking and passing a pedestrian and does not yield the right of way to all pedestrians on the sidewalk.

(c) Operates a bicycle on a sidewalk in a careless manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.

(d) Operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway or crossing a curb cut or pedestrian ramp and a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp. This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic.


(2) Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, a bicyclist on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.

(3) The offense described in this section, unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §699; 1985 c.16 §337; 1997 c.400 §7; 2005 c.316 §2]

And here's another question, in case anybody is interested in playing law nerd with me: I read subsection (2), above, to mean that bicyclists also have the right to receive an audible warning when being passed on a sidewalk. Any thoughts on that?

08-08-2008, 01:23 PM
Thanks to everyone who replied. I appreciate the help in raising awareness about the problem and the thoughts about possible solutions. One thing I want to clarify, though. During the encounters described, I was not coming from behind the runners; I was riding toward them in the lane designated for bikers who are headed west. The pack of runners was coming straight at me, running toward the east, as they are allowed to do according to the bi-directional arrows in the pedestrian lane. When I see the horde coming, I actually stand tall on my bike in an effort to make myself more visible and I slow down. When it gets too close, I start yelling at people to move over. Most times, the runners seem startled to see me at that point even though I've been riding toward them for several yards and they quickly move over to the inside edge (although, in a few cases, I had the feeling they saw me coming but didn't move anyway, for whatever reason). I think there are many contributing factors here. First, the runners often run several people abreast, putting some people out in the bikers' lane. In addition, the runners are often passing each other. It's usually someone who pulls out into the biker lane to pass other runners ahead that almost runs into me. Too, the group is so large that visibility of what's ahead is probably limited. Finally, some of the people I've almost collided with just didn't seem to be paying attention, either running with their head down or talking to fellow runners. I hope that discussing the problem this way will help all of us to be safer. Thanks!

08-08-2008, 06:15 PM
NOT, more like point of courtesy ( the honey vs. vinegar thing)

Runners and cyclists are both, by virtue of their pastimes, competitive. As a greyback and a cycling commuter, I bristle when some young, thick legged woman drops me like a sack of potatoes, and I step up and push, until I can’t push more to defend my honor and athletic virtue. I am sure runners are burdened by that same competitive spirit. On the Hawthorne Bridge pedestrians, toodlers and novice commuters share space with strong athletes. (and formerly strong athletes). We with greater experience and skill and knowledge (and hazard awareness) bear the real burden of anticipating the ignorance of the inexperienced. In other words: Set down your competitive urges when you are sharing constricted space with other people. It is just common courtesy.

Competition is valid in its place, but it could be tragic in the wrong place.

We have clean air and great facilities and there is plenty enough to share if we all pay attention.

I am delighted that runners have chimed in on this thread.

08-11-2008, 12:01 PM
scofflaw runners! how dare they! Any time I see a runner, they never stop at stop signs, just run on through. NO RESPECT, and not even wearing a helmet either and no reflective clothing and he was listening to his IPOD!

08-11-2008, 12:13 PM
When will the pedestrian community reign in these rogue runners!?

08-12-2008, 01:22 PM
When will the pedestrian community reign in these rogue runners!?

seriously! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

08-12-2008, 01:59 PM
Pedestrians need to be licensed. It's only a matter of time before they kill someone, running around like they own the city and all. Make 'em take a test before even stepping foot on the sidewalk - and if they're out without a license, give 'em a ticket. That'll make them think twice before going out in public while listening to an iPod.

We also need a mandatory pedestrian helmet law, one for all pedestrians, regardless of age. It's just not safe to even be on the sidewalk without one. What if you bump into somebody?! Or get hit by someone on a bike? And their dogs should wear helmets, too.