View Full Version : Let's change the world: How do we get "The Interested But Concerned" on Bikes?

12-07-2006, 08:18 AM
See the lead article "What Type of Bicyclist Are You" on the main page for background. I'm starting with the assumption that, if we want to fundamentally change transportation in Portland, make Portland a truly bike friendly city, and lead the way toward a new vision of sustainability, we have to get "The Interested But Concerned" demographic on their bikes. I think the numbers of this demographic speak for themselves (see the description I pasted below). Because this is a goal of mine, I'd like to hear ideas from people who share this goal on how we can accomplish this. What do you think?

The Interested But Concerned
A much larger demographic, representing the vast majority of Portland’s citizens, are the “interested but concerned.” These residents are curious about bicycling. They are hearing messages from a wide variety of sources about how easy it is to ride a bicycle in Portland, about how bicycling is booming in the city, about “bicycle culture” in Portland, about Portland being a “bicycle-friendly” city, and about the need for people to lead more active lives. They would like to ride more. But, they are afraid to ride.

There are probably 300,000 in this group (with perhaps 2,000 who ride regularly), representing 60% of the city’s population. They would ride if they felt safer on the roadways—if cars were slower and less frequent, and if there were more quiet streets with few cars and paths without any cars at all.

Jonathan Maus
12-07-2006, 08:49 AM
I think the best thing we can all do is just keep riding and help all our friends, co-workers and neighbors get on a bike.

The more bikes on the road, the safer the roads...there's really no need to wait for more infrastructure or more large-scale, official bike promotion efforts by the city or advocates.

Just keep riding and do your part to make it an appealing option for everyone you know.

12-07-2006, 09:50 AM
I certainly agree that we are all helping by riding and by helping folks get riding. That's definitely the foundation of it all. But I'd like to do more. All the studies that have been done on this topic show safety as the number one obstacle to getting more people on bikes. This means that the number of new riders we can create will have diminishing returns unless and until the roads reach some critical tipping point of safety. Maybe there's nothing else we can do enhance safety besides simply putting more folks on bikes. But if there is...

12-07-2006, 09:55 AM
that there are several routes we could follow to 'assimilate' the masses. Primarily, I would like to see legislation to not only protect the rights of cyclists, but also grant us greater right of way in traffic ( at least in the center, but ideally everywhere) and provide defined bike lanes through out all bike routes. I love the new bike signal at 42/burnside. I feel like I'm back in the Netherlands...;). That sort of stuff is great! But alone it does us little benefit to recruiting the "IbC' group. We need more stringent legislation followed up by more designated infastructure like the signal and brightly defined bike lanes on all bike routes.
That being completed, it is then simply an education and perception issue to recruit the masses. Obviously this will not all happen at once so both legislation and education must happen in conjunction with each other to build like a rising tide.
I would love to get involved in a project like this. I'm not really sure where to go with these ideas. I know I'm not the first to say these things.

12-07-2006, 11:15 PM
I think education is key to the success of bicycling as a key to transportation. Educate the driver and cyclist. The more educated we are on how to respond to situations that arise on the road, the better off will all be, and the more comfortable.

12-11-2006, 11:45 PM
These are all good ideas that we should pursue. But judging by the experience of an "interested but concerned" friend, the main obstacle is lack of safe bike-only commuting paths. My friend is a partner in one of the big downtown law firms. I took him to River City to buy a commuter bike, and we enjoy riding on weekends. But since he moved to the Belmont neighborhood, he started driving to work. He says the bus is often so crowded on weekday mornings that it passes him by, and he can't afford to miss important meetings. He won't ride if he has to share the street with cars during rush hour. I've tried to persuade him otherwise, and maybe if someone could sketch a bike path only commuting route for him (basically from Laurelhurst Park area) , he'd ride more often. But he just doesn''t feel safe riding in traffic, and I suspect there's plenty of Portlanders just like him who would commute often by bike -- if they could do it on a bike boulevard or at least bike lane.