Portland responds to bike safety issue

How are local advocacy groups, the City of Portland, and the bike community working to make our streets safer? Here’s an update on some of the latest efforts:


  • Besides their usual diligence of writing letters to the editor and op-eds, the BTA has assembled a Crash Response and Safety Team. This team consists of citizen volunteers and BTA staff. The goal of the team is to respond to Metro-area bike/car crashes and learn more about what happens after a serious or fatal incident so that we can intervene and take action when/if necessary. For more information about this effort contact Evan Manvel at the BTA.
  • One thing to already come from this team is the “Crash Response Wiki“. What is a “wiki”? A wiki is just geek-speak for a community-driven, user-editable website that provides a central point for information sharing around a specific topic. Anyone can register and add documents to the space and everyone on the Crash Team can also edit and re-organize existing documents as necessary. The idea is to have all pertinent information on each case accessible to everyone.
Bike Safety Leadership Workshop ride

The City of Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT)

  • PDOT is hosting a series of Bicycle Safety Leadership Workshops throughout the Portland metro area. I attended the North Portland one and it was really solid. How many other cities can you talk candidly about your concerns with the Police, top-level city employees, and heads of major non-profit groups? I had a good discussion with a member of the Police bureau not only about bike safety but about some of my concerns with how they are handling Critical Mass. We learned all about stats and viewed some amazing new maps about where crashes occur and we went on a ride to asses local problem spots that need to be addressed.
  • {Here are a few photos of the meeting and the ride.}

  • PDOT has also put together a mapping committee to explore the potential of a comprehensive online map. This map would be powered with all sorts of GIS data that would allow it to do tons of cool stuff; everything from provide safe route information, to tell you where the nearest bike shop is located. Stay tuned to this site for developments.

The Community (that’s us!)

  • A month after posting my “Close calls” post I am still receiving submissions. So far, there are 85 responses! The next step is bringing these responses to city and elected officials. Rest assured that your voices have been heard and they are an integral part of helping make our streets safer. You can still submit responses here.
  • Someone in the community is organizing a GhostCycle Portland program. I tried to put them in touch with the BTA who also expressed interest in doing this. Last I heard they were moving forward and I expect to hear more about this soon.
  • The discussion of bike safety topics on the Shift and OBRA email lists have been very active and enlightening. I just heard that an editorial page editor for the Oregonian has contacted someone about an email they posted to the list…so our discussions are being heard and they’re having an impact! I encourage everyone to join in the conversation.

There’s a ton of stuff going on…so now is a perfect time to get involved! Here’s a list of links to local organizations that could use your help.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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[…] I think these results might be a bit misleading because many of this city’s cyclits are plugged-in and knowledgable about bike safety and would have a very high bar for giving a “good or very good” rating. Even so, it’s interesting to see the breakdowns by neighborhood and to know that despite some amazing efforts, we still have a lot of work to do. […]