Last night a cyclist was struck and killed near Delta Park in North Portland . The vehicle did not stop and is currently at large. The cyclist’s identity has not been released.
As you may know, this is not the first cyclist killed by a car this summer. There is an unfortunate yet undeniable trend in fatalities in the last few months.
The safety of bicyclists on Portland’s streets has become a hot topic in transportation circles and now the media is starting to take note as well. Yesterday morning (before this most recent fatality) I fielded calls from both KGW and KOIN TV about the issue. I also spoke with a writer from The Daily Vanguard (the PSU newspaper) last week and this story was the result.
I am glad to see the increased attention for this issue, but I’m afraid it won’t be enough. We (the bike community) must do our part to help make our streets a safer place.
But what can we do?
- Talk to your friends and neighbors. Tell them to take extra care while driving and riding. Ask them to relax, to be aware of bikes, and to not be in a hurry out on the roads.
- Get involved with organizations who are working hard to improve biking conditions and raise awareness of bikes on the road.
- Educate yourself about the rules of the road by reading “Pedal Power” (available through the BTA).
- Ride defensively and ride with confidence.
- Create websites, blogs, stickers, t-shirts, anything to spread awareness of this issue.
- Engage your representatives in government and let them know safe streets are important to you.
- Most importantly, maintain a constructive dialogue with our four-wheeled friends. I don’t like cars much either, but I also know that an extreme response will not help the situation.
This list is just a start. If you have more ideas, please leave them in the comments for all to see.
I encourage everyone to stay tuned to the bike community for opportunities to mobilize and volunteer. Our combined strength and collective voice is our best chance at bringing about change.
See you out there.