Spring safety tips

[Try not to let it bug you.]

The warm Spring air has beckoned hordes of Portlanders onto their bikes. I’ve heard reports of bike congestion on the bridges and I think its safe to say we’ll see more people than ever on bikes this year. With more bikes on the road, I thought it would be a good time to suggest some good bike safety resources I’ve come across recently.

Joe’s Secrets
My compatriot Joe Travers, from the excellent Biking Toronto blog, recently wrote a great series called “Secrets to Cycling in Traffic”. Here they are:

Guest column on Blue Oregon
Jeff Alworth wrote a great article called The (Five Golden) Rules of the Road on the Blue Oregon blog. Here’s his rules (I also recommend reading the good comments):

    1. That guy in the car/truck/SUV is not evil.
    2. Cars and trucks are much larger than bikes, and will tend to win physical encounters.
    3. That guy on the bike isn’t evil.
    4. Rage tends to worsen our lives, not improve them.
    5. Do unto other drivers as you would have them do unto you.

Book Recommendation
And finally, a book recommendation. The Art of Urban Cycling: Lessons from the Street. Written by Robert Hurst, this is the most intelligent and detailed book on the subject I’ve ever come across. Find it at your local library.

Remember, it doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right, or what the law says people should do. All that matters is your safety. So read up, ride safe, and have fun.

[Feel free to share your own tips and links in the comments.]

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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Jessica Roberts
17 years ago

My favorite biking book is Dave Glowacz’ Urban Bikers’ Tips and Tricks. He covers theft-proofing your bike, riding in normal clothes, self-defense on a bike, and lots of other stuff.

There’s also a chapter on biking smart in traffic that covers some of the more advanced situations people don’t “read” as dangerous when they’re just starting out (blind spots, turning conflicts, emergency stops).

There’s also this classic part where he tells you where NOT to ACCIDENTALLY hit a car windshield with your U-lock, since you wouldn’t want to BREAK it (p. 140).

They have this at the Multnomah County Library.

BTW, Dave works for the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, one of my favorite bike groups in the country. He’s a really nice guy.

17 years ago

Here’s a few more links:

Good common sense riding and safety advice:

Good one page guides to Sharing the Road for Bicyclists and Motorists from the Maine Bicycle Coalition:

17 years ago

Great post Jonathan, and I’m glad to hear you like the Hurst book because it is one of my favorites too.

I like his four rules:

–Be ever vigilant
–Take responsibility for your own actions
–Expect mistakes, and don’t be angry when they happen
–Always choose your route based on the actual situation/weather/road conditions

One rule that I would add to those:

Measure yourself by what makes you angry.

Funny how all of these rules work off the bicycle too.

Ride on.


17 years ago

Hey bikers,
If you are coming up on the left, do the slow pokes (me) a favor and announce your intent. This is especially important on the bridges where we share tight spaces with pedestrians. Remember, it’s not when you get there, it’s how. I’d personally like to stay in one piece.

17 years ago

I second Alice. I cannot hear you when you are behind me and plan to pass. I may be slow, but I am getting faster every day and I behave in a predictable fashion. Please extend me the same courtesy.

john bloss
john bloss
17 years ago


I was reading this post and thought of the saying “great minds think alike” … I have just coincidentally read ART OF URBAN BIKING and agree it is a very readable and sensible guide. I have taken steps to set up a partnership between BTA and Powell’s online to provide a link to the book from BTA web site and a small portion of sales generated by the link will flow to BTA. So, thanks for early “cross promotion” I will advise you when BTA blog item and book link are in place.


the serrach
17 years ago

that guy in the suv who is on his phone and making a left turn with one hand…he MIGHT be evil. so watch out.