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Portland needs to invoke the lifeboat rule

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
kid on bike
Amsterdammers are made, not born.
(Photo in Amsterdam by J. Maus/BikePortland)

America's Next Bicycle Capital

Part of our series, America’s Next Bicycle Capital, where we share community voices about the future of biking in Portland. This week’s guest writer is A.J. Zelada, who chaired the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee from 2011 to 2013.

The lifeboat rule needs to be invoked: parents and children first.

I returned from the Netherlands a few weeks ago and I was struck, of course, by how different it was. I admit, I am not so sure it is reproducible here as much as I’ve hawked it in the past. My partner and I bicycled from Bruges, Belgium to Amsterdam up the North Sea coast line but catching Ghent, Delft, Leiden and many other towns along the incredible segregated bike lanes that simply connect everything. [Publisher's note: Follow Jerry's adventures here.]

What struck me was that Americans have a missing childhood developmental stage of being an infant, a toddler, and a child on a bike before they get on a bike independently. And even though little Americans are propped up in a baby trailer or behind the rider’s seat, they still miss what parents in Belgium and the Netherlands teach their kids.

(more…)

As a low-car generation rises, youth organizers step up transportation activism

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Kelly Hansen of the Community Cycling Center, Nicole Johnson of OPAL, Camille Bales of Grant High School and Adriana Rangel of De La Salle High School at a panel on youth transportation advocacy Monday.
(Photo by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Few Portlanders rely more on low-car transportation than teens. And as many factors have made car use by young people dramatically less common, some are getting more sophisticated in advocating for better public transit, biking and walking.

A panel on the subject at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit Monday was enough to make city staffer Janis McDonald call herself “embarrassed” on the city’s behalf that it isn’t doing more to tap youth advocates’ opinions and expertise.
(more…)

Portland’s best (and worst) elementary schools for biking and walking

Friday, January 17th, 2014
Trillium Charter School bike train-24-19
Typical morning drop-off at Trillium Public Charter School, one of 51 elementary schools surveyed by the city’s Safe Routes to School program.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

Slowly but surely, Portland seems to be edging toward its transportation goal for elementary schoolers: getting as many of them to walk or bike to school as the average American kid did in 1969.

For the last two years, progress has leveled off, just as the city’s goals for adult transportation have. But (much like workplaces) some local elementaries have been far more successful than others.

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PBOT director co-stars in Safe Routes Streetfilm

Monday, November 18th, 2013

The best cure for gloominess about the progress of active transportation in Portland is Safe Routes to School.

As the newest Streetsfilm shows, the program has been a huge success here. One in ten Portland youngsters bike to school (ten times the national average) and three in ten walk (three times the average).

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When a child rides alone: A test of our kids and our streets

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
Eleni rides home alone-1
On her own: Would our streets — and my daughter — pass the
solo biking test?
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

I recently — and surreptitiously — followed my daughter Eleni as she rode home from soccer practice by herself. She’s almost 11 years old now and we’ve just recently started to let her do this. I followed her because I was curious to know how she would ride without me or her mom offering that perception of protection that our proximity provides.

If you have children (or even if you don’t), I’m sure you can relate to the mix of emotions that occur when you allow your own flesh and blood to become a full-fledged “vulnerable” road user. I was also curious if our neighborhood streets would live up to their reputation as “family friendly.”
(more…)

Portlanders bike back to school (photos)

Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Trillium Charter School on North Interstate.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Schools in Portland are back in session as of yesterday, and that means the biking to school season is upon us once again. (That, combined with the Bike Commute Challenge and the all the regular Portland bike traffic, often makes September feel like the busiest biking time of year.)

Yesterday we asked readers to tweet us photos of the bike racks at their kids’ schools with the hashtag #bikebacktoschool. Check out a few of the images below…
(more…)

Milwaukie police join Portland bike shop to offer bikes to kids in need

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
A Milwaukie Police Department photo
from the first giveaway, in 2011.

A three-year-old experiment that distributes unclaimed bikes to low-income kids in Milwaukie has taken root, with the help of Milwaukie’s police and Sellwood shop The Bike Commuter.

Last week, the program gave 50 bikes to students at four Milwaukie elementary schools and one middle school. Most were unclaimed bikes collected by TriMet police and the Milwaukie police department, but unclaimed by owners (many of whom haven’t recorded their bikes’ serial numbers, as recommended).

The Bike Commuter, a shop in nearby Sellwood that opened in 2010 with the help of a loan from Mercy Corps Northwest, donated their mechanics’ time to make the necessary repairs, as they have for the last two years.

(more…)

Catching the Beach Elementary School ‘bike train’

Monday, May 24th, 2010
A good sign.
(Photos © J. Maus)

This morning on my way to the office, a sign at the corner of North Michigan and Alberta caught my eye; it read “Beach Bike Train meet up spot – 8:30 – Join Us.” It was about 8:25, so I decided to wait around and see if anyone showed up.

A few minutes later I saw a line of kids and parents pedaling toward the spot. One of them was Laurie Paulsen, a Beach parent who I’d met last summer at a nearby farmer’s market.

As kids (and kid-like parents) zoomed in circles around a parking lot waiting for others to show up, I chatted with her for a minute. (more…)

A new bike in the family

Thursday, February 18th, 2010
A new bike in the family-1
Eleni’s new Batavus.
(Photos © J. Maus)

My seven-year old daughter Eleni is the proud owner of her first city bike; meaning it came with fenders, a rack, integrated light, and more.

It wasn’t easy to find a well built kids city bike in local bike shops. Most kids bikes are just mini versions of adult bikes that aren’t really functional for getting around, riding in traffic, carrying stuff, and so on. When I saw this gorgeous, 24-inch wheeled, three-speed Batavus, I was immediately impressed. Eleni likes it too. Here are a few highlights: (more…)

New report details safety impact of Safe Routes to School programs

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
Buckman Elem. bike safety class
Kids learn the ropes during a bike
safety class in
Southeast Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Safe Routes National Partnership has just released a new report detailing how five communities around the country — including Portland — have used Safe Routes to Schools programs to create safer walking and biking environments.

Titled Safe Routes to School: Putting Traffic Safety First (PDF), the report details how communities from Florida to California are participating in encouragement programs and making safety improvements that are affordable yet have “profound effects on keeping children safe while also improving physical health and the environment.” (more…)

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