Oregonian blasts Bridge Pedal

Bridge Pedal 2006
The man behind Bridge Pedal,
Rick Bauman.
(File photo)

Continuing the drumbeat of dissatisfaction with this year’s Bridge Pedal is a front page story in the Metro section of today’s Oregonian that details the problems with the ride and grievances experienced by many participants.

Reporter Helen Jung opens the article with, “Officially, it’s called the Providence Bridge Pedal. But the annual bike ride over Portland’s bridges earned a new name Sunday — Providence Bridge Ped-debacle.”

Her story reveals new information about the now infamous Ross Island Bridge bottleneck:

“Although the ride usually reserves only one of the four lanes, Bauman said, in past years cyclists have dodged the traffic cones and commandeered the second lane. To satisfy safety concerns of TriMet, ODOT and police, race organizers this year put up yellow tape along the lane, restricting cyclists to a single lane, he said.

One lane wasn’t enough, Bauman conceded, which organizers hadn’t considered.

“I just didn’t see that coming,” he said.”

Walking the Hawthorne Bridge.
(File photo)

The article also included this line about crashes and overall safety of the ride:

He (Bauman) added that there were three accidents that he knew of, and that the event was a safety success.

And as for how to fix the problems?

“Bauman said organizers and state and local authorities will meet to discuss ways to improve the event, and may consider a cap on participants.

Bauman is personally against the idea, saying that he thinks it would create an “exclusiveness” that he doesn’t like. And Jones, despite her annoyance that she was unable to complete the 10-bridge ride she signed up for, agreed that the ride should not be limited — just better organized.”

Not capping the event, and focusing on better organization, seems to be the prevailing sentiment in the 80 or so comments left on my Bridge Pedal report.

The problems experienced on Sunday are nothing new. This event had similar issues back in 2005. After that ride, Bauman met with TriMet, ODOT, PDOT, etc… to figure out improvements and Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams asked for feedback on his blog.

Apparently whatever solutions they came up with didn’t work.

Perhaps this article in the Oregonian will provide renewed pressure on the ride organizers to finally implement aggressive and strategic changes.

Read Helen Jung’s article, “Bridge Pedal turns walkathon“.

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