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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: As a driver, what does all that green mean?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
Ride Along with Ali Reis-22
Huh?
(Photo J Maus/BikePortland)

We get a lot of interesting emails here at BikePortland (and phone calls for that matter). And because we’re easy to find in search engines and we’ve been around for a decade or so, a lot of those emails come from people who aren’t daily readers or loyal fans. We often hear from people don’t even ride bikes and who just have something about cycling they want to get off their chest.

The question I want to share with you today comes via an email from David J., someone who identified himself as a driver. The subject of his email was “Autos and bikes”: (more…)

Ask BikePortland: Who can teach my autistic teen how to ride?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

“My notion and hope is that there is some bicycle whisperer, bike shop dude, or cycling samaritan out there.”

Today’s Ask BikePortland question comes from a reader who is looking for a very specific kind of help. This is a bit different than our usual fare for this column. Instead of just trying to answer the question, we plan to forward tips and offers to help onto the reader (a woman who has asked to remain anonymous).

Here’s the email that includes the question and request for help:

Subject: Need an Awesome Pedaling Guru for Awesome 18-year old ASD son
(more…)

Ask BikePortland: Is it legal to ride with my dog?

Friday, January 30th, 2015
East Portland Sunday Parkways-14
Not a crime, in case you were wondering.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to the latest installment of Ask BikePortland. Browse past questions here.

Portland is a perennial front-runner in national rankings of top bike cities, and the same goes for dogs. We love them both. But what happens when you demonstrate affection for pedaling and pooches at the same time?
(more…)

Ask BikePortland: Can I go when the walk sign turns green?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
A LPI in action
An LPI in action at N Williams and Killingsworth (note the crosswalk has a green while everyone else still has a red).
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Have you ever noticed how the “WALK” sign over in a crosswalk sometimes turns green while your signal remains red? This phenomenon has confused a few readers who aren’t sure if they can start riding when the walk sign turns green or if they must wait for the main signal.

Here’s our first question from Dave M.: (more…)

Ask BikePortland: What if all of Portland’s bikers decided to drive for one day?

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Summer bike traffic-1
Let’s do the math.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

This post is sort of inspired by Randall Munroe.

It’s an idea that pops up now and then in the bike world: What if, one morning, we all drove cars instead?

That’d teach the naysayers a lesson.

Or would it?

Well, let’s find out.

(more…)

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…
(more…)

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?”

(more…)

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?”

(more…)

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…)

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