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Ask BikePortland

Welcome to Ask BikePortland, where we delve into your burning questions of etiquette, laws, and everything else. If you have a question, send it to us and we might feature it on the site.

Ask BikePortland: How can I convince my friend that cycling is safe?

Friday, October 11th, 2013

“This is the second time she’s been right-hooked in five months…How can I suggest to her that biking around can be okay again?”

Welcome to our latest installment of Ask BikePortland where we (that includes you, dear readers) attempt to answer your burning bike-related questions.

Today’s question comes from reader Chris Muhs. It’s sort of a bummer of a topic, but one I felt was important to share with the community because I think it’s something many other people grapple with. Chris wants to know how to convince his girlfriend that — despite two collisions in five months — she shouldn’t stop riding.

Here’s the background and Chris’s question…
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Ask BikePortland: Should I go it alone or with group at stop signs?

Friday, August 31st, 2012
New stop sign at NW Broadway and Couch-4
Group stops happen.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to the latest installment of Ask BikePortland. Today’s question comes from reader Ruben G. Ruben is curious about a topic on a lot of people’s minds today: stop sign behavior.

Ruben wants to know if people on bikes who arrive at a stop sign together are allowed to go through as a group or if they are legally required to go through one at a time. Here’s his question:

“What is the proper way to queue with other bikes at a stop sign? Is it a one at a time scenario? Or can two/three/four bikes line up adjacently to count as one stop? Or maybe even two rows of bikes at a time if traveling as a party?”

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Ask BikePortland: Was a bicyclist right to yell at me for jogging in the street?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012
Sunday Parkways-13.jpg
A look at the laws around people
on bikes and foot sharing the road.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This installment in our ongoing Ask BikePortland series tackles a question I’m sure many of you have had. It comes from reader Ian D.

“I was yelled at on Tuesday by a bicyclist who claimed I was doing something illegal by jogging on the street. Was he right?”

I’ve had this experience too, and I have to admit I was mildly frustrated at the person running. I think the feeling stems from the fact that when I’m riding my bike there’s a constant stream of compromises to the space I’m trying to occupy. If there’s no bike lane, not all people in cars are nice about sharing the space. If I’m on the sidewalk (which is legal except for a swath of downtown), than I must defer to people on foot. Even when I’m on a bike lane, there are often delivery trucks and hotel guests who push the limits of the legal exception that allows them to be there.

So, what is the deal with people who use roadway shoulders and bike lanes as jogging tracks? (more…)

Ask BikePortland: Are runners required to have lights while using paths?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
Dark paths require caution.
(Photo © J. Maus)

This edition of Ask BikePortland comes from reader J. Long. Mr. Long emailed us after he was involved in a collision with someone who was jogging while riding his bike on the Springwater Corridor at night.

“Hey Jonathan, Two nights ago I was riding my bike home on the Springwater [Corridor] between OMSI and Oaks Park.

I hit a female jogger and we both went down hard. As a cyclist I am always worried that somebody may have been hurt; but as I was laying on the ground she just got up and jogged away while I was a little dazed and trying to get untangled from my bike.

Are there rules for joggers to have reflectors or lights as there are for cyclist’s on multi-use paths?”

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Ask BikePortland: Is cutting in line OK during bridge lifts?

Friday, August 26th, 2011
Back-up during Hawthorne Bridge lift.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Anyone who has ridden a bike in Portland for long has experienced bridge lifts. When they happen, it’s common for a long line of people on bikes to queue up.

Reader Rick T. wonders about the proper etiquette for waiting in the line. Check out his question below and then share your thoughts… (more…)

Ask BikePortland: Can a front bike light be too bright?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
Bike Light Parade
Being seen doesn’t have to
cause temporary blindness.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Today’s question comes from reader Chris M. Chris wonders if there’s such a thing as a front bike light that’s just too bright..

“I’ve been blinded on my morning commute a few times too many. This afternoon while riding north from Sellwood on the Springwater, I was blinded by a dual strobe light on a bike coming towards me.

It seems that some folks have lights that can literally be seen from a mile away and become blinding within a block when I’m riding against them. It’s difficult for me to see the road in front of me and it can’t be that different for our friends in cars. How bright is too bright for a front light?

I doubt there’s a standard, but does anyone else think that there is such a thing as too bright?”

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Ask BikePortland: Do I have to get over on streets with sharrows?

Friday, October 1st, 2010
This sharrow on the N. Concord bike boulevard is meant to guide bicycle operators and show all road users that this is a shared lane, “bike priority street” environment.
(Photos © J. Maus)

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Ask BikePortland: How should riders treat “T” intersections?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
A woman approaches
a T-intersection on Naito.
(Photo © J. Maus)

This week’s question comes from reader Ruben Galbraith. Ruben wonders about something I’ve also thought about a lot. Here’s his question:

“How should bikers behave at “T” intersections with traffic signals?

For me, this always occurs while heading North on Naito. What could be really smooth ride is often broken up by a series of (ill-timed) lights. The lights are totally necessary for cars, which need to cross over each others lanes at these “T” intersections. It doesn’t feel right to roll on through… But is it kosher to stop, and then proceed through the light? You know, like a right-on-red, or more aptly, from a one-way onto another one-way?”

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Ask BikePortland: Any changes planned for NE Ainsworth?

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
Ainsworth can be a very tight fit.
(Photo: Peter Welte)

This week’s question comes from reader Kinya Hanada. Kinya touches on a question I’ve wondered myself for several years now. She loves riding on NE Ainsworth because it’s a “nice, direct route,” but wonders if there are any plans to make it more pleasant to bike on (emphasis mine). (more…)

Ask BikePortland: Can work crews block the bike lane?

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
Construction blocking bike lane on Williams-1
Bike lane blockage on N. Williams
last week.
(Photos © J. Maus)

This week’s question comes from reader Darren P. Darren wonders about something I think many people have encountered over the years…

“Road crews block bike lanes with their road work signs. The signs intended to warn us of dangers are dangerous. Is this legal? Is there a better way?”

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