View Full Version : Cars really hate bikes in this city

06-18-2007, 09:13 PM
Hello everyone, first post here for me.
So correct me if I'm wrong but lots of car drivers really hate bikes in portland. I have just recently started doing some serious riding on my quest to get back in shape and I am starting to have more and more run ins on the road for no apparent reason. I was riding all the bike paths for about a month and recently have been doing more mixed riding on the street and paths. In the last week of this I have been yelled and honked at least 4 times even though I was moving fast and as far to the right as I could possibly ride. Been flicked off and yesterday and car raced in front of me and made a sharp right turn in front of me and slamed on the brakes so I had to swerve hard to avoid running into the car. On all of these occasions there was no reason or provocation. No running lights or swerving thru traffic. I dont think people understand that bikes have just as much a right of way as cars I am fairly new to the city and now considering getting my old mini ballpark bat (with bike chain wrapped around the end of it) and carrying it in a messenger bag like I did in the early 90's in NY. After browsing thru some other posts It seems there is some hate in this town or did I just have some bad run ins? Hope to see some of you out on the road.

06-19-2007, 07:47 AM
Hopefully you just had a run of bad luck. I find many drivers to be considerate and aware. Note, I did not say all of them were like that. There are also jerks and hate-mongers out there ready to snap at any moment. My own experience is that there is an equal number of really stupid and/or angry people driving as there are riding bikes. The ones in cars are slightly more dangerous but honestly I've had more close calls with fellow cyclists running stop signs. About 3 weeks ago I almost smashed into two lycra-clad roadies who decided to cruise through their stop sign while I was bombing down the street at 25+. Then last week I stopped at a 4-way stop on my way to work and some oblivious lady in her car rolled through the stop and was about an inch from my back tire. She was looking left and right so fast she forgot to look right infront of her!

What kind of roads have you been on where you had these bad experiences? I've been riding to work about 4 days a week and lots of rides on weekends, year round, for over two years now and in that time I've only been honked at twice and never been yelled at. One honk was my fault, I deserved it. The other time both me and the driver were equally to blame for the close call at an un-controlled intersection.

There are some roads that despite our legal right to the road, you just should not bike on. 39th street is a prime example. This morning I saw some guy on his fixie cruising down 39th street. He was on the far right of the right lane but in my opinion he had no business being there and I completely understand why drivers would get pissed at him.

06-19-2007, 08:14 AM
I think it definitely matters where you are riding.

It also matters how you are riding; I know you say you are riding as far to the right as possible, but are you blowing stop signs and red lights, cutting people off, not signaling your intentions, and basically behaving like one of those oblivious bike-riding jerks?

Or are you signaling, yielding, stopping, etc per the law?

If the latter, then you seem to be riding in an area high in arrogant jerk drivers. If the former, than I guess you're getting what you deserve.

For instance, in the year I've had my bike (just turned over 1000 miles on it, too!) I've been menaced exactly once. Guy leered at me and crowded me in the bike lane all the way from Upper Boones to Hall on Durham. Then he got stuck in traffic and I rode away from him. :)

Honked at, never. But again, where I ride, drivers seem to be more aware of cyclists and drive appropriately. Plus, there's, mostly, ample bike lanes or shoulders, so everyone feels a little more mellow.

06-19-2007, 08:41 AM
On all of these occasions I was not riding like a jerk, I have enough common sense not to wonder why that would happen if I was riding like I used to ride 15 years ago, but I understand why you have to ask. My theory when riding is that everycar is going to hit me or swerve into me and that I am not a 3 ton piece of metal so I dont get in cars way or piss them off.
Most of this happened on 82nd from freemont to sandy, only a few blocks for me to go from my house to sandy get to bike paths, I dont ride 82nd anymore unless I have to. the other street I have ridden and gotten hell was on lombard coming back from the st johns bridge. I am not familiar with most roads in portland so I end up on alot of streets that are not bike friendly and get off them as soon as possible.
I guess I just need to figure out what roads I should be riding.

06-19-2007, 09:16 AM
Yeah, those roads you mentioned are not very friendly, even for cars. I live near St Johns and drive on Lombard all the time. It is not a very nice street to drive on, and I avoid riding on it as much as possible. You can take Willamette Blvd and Portland Blvd instead. Both of those have bike lanes.

You should grab a Portland Bike Map from your local bike shop. I think you can download a copy from this site or BTA or some other site as well. It shows you all the bike routes, trails, and bike-friendly streets in town. There are good bike-friendly alternatives to Lombard and 82nd.

The other thing to keep in mind is how many cars passed you without honking or swerving or turning in front of you. If 4 cars honked at you, there were probably 10 times that many (at least on 82nd and Lombard) that didn't honk. And a lot of them probably tried to give you a bit more room as they went by. But still, it sucks when any car does something dangerous like honking or swerving in front of you.

06-19-2007, 10:28 AM
I agree with the last post. I shuddered when I read you are riding NE 82nd.

Here's the link to the City of Portland bike maps http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?&a=70221&c=deiaj

The 205 path demolition has forced me onto SE 82nd down by Clackamas Town Center but its early enough in the morning that the traffic isn't bad, but the main drags are still full of glass and construction detritus. I've actually taken to back alleys behind malls along 82nd when I ride north in the afternoon to get to Fuller Rd and then to 92nd - which is better but not much.

After I had an accident on SE 13th (busy one way street - no bike path) I got a call from someone at the city who told me that 85% (or so, memory failing...) of city bike accidents happen on streets without bike lanes.

Greg Raisman
06-19-2007, 10:52 AM
82nd Ave is indeed a major concern. Your timing is good as there is a major community effort to make the street much more safe. Kirsty Hall is the lead contact for the project. You can find out a little more background on her post to the Shift list here: http://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/shift/2007-05/msg00351.html.

If you have any questions or are interested in being involved, give her a ring at (503) 823-6981.

Greg Raisman
Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
Portland Office of Transportation
(503) 823-1052

06-19-2007, 04:26 PM
I think there is a an alternative for riding on 82nd Ave, I think the bicycle blvd is 74th or 75th ave, not sure, but it's there, I've ridden it. Stay off of 82nd, if only because of Trimet.

06-22-2007, 05:18 PM
Even safer, and only 12-15 blocks east is the 205 bike path.

This is just opinion, but I feel that there was more harmony a few years ago than there is now. Massive development and growth, coupled with more visual complaints in the extreme, often flamed by the media (push-button articles and letters in the Oregonian over the past 2-4 years) has all made it worse. Or seem worse.