The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Tonight at 11: KGW presents ‘bike/car challenge’

Posted by on November 28th, 2007 at 7:30 pm

My day in Salem

See how a cyclist feels in the
driver’s seat tonight on KGW.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

Tonight at 11 o’clock, KGW-TV (channel 8) will feature a special segment on bikes and cars.

The piece will attempt to show how it feels to navigate Portland streets from a different perspective. They took a regular bicyclist (who just so happens to be columnist Elly Blue) and had her drive a car from her home in Southeast to Powells in the heart of downtown Portland.

They then took someone who regularly commutes by car and had them ride a bike home from work (Emanuel Hospital) in Northeast Portland.

Folks at KGW tell me that they decided to do the piece in the wake of the two fatal collisions last month. One KGW staffer said,

“We decided it would be eye-opening to let each side see how the other lives — or in this case, commutes…I think our viewers — both dedicated cycle commuters and dedicated drivers — will gain a better understanding of the challenges each other faces, and how to find more of a common ground.”

Should be fun to watch. Tune in (channel 8 at 11:00) and then report back here with your thoughts.

UPDATE: The video of the segment has been posted on

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • pre 8:00 thought November 28, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    I can\’t respond with my thoughts on the piece since I don\’t have a TV, but it seems really…weird…that KGW assumes that driving (on streets with cyclists present) is such a foreign concept for cyclist themselves; and that we wouldn\’t know how to react in this situation. I know I haven’t owned a car in 13 years, but I have enough common sense to be aware of other people on the road (cyclists, joggers, motorcycles, etc) and to know that I should slow down and give them plenty of room as I pass. On the other hand, I know that whenever I do drive around in my friend’s car, I tend to notice how bad and/or disrespectful some cyclist can be (such as suddenly swerving into the lane without even looking, let alone signaling or riding in the middle of the night wearing all black and not having any bike lights). Experiences like these has definitely made me re-evaluate my own actions when riding a bike, not only in consideration for driver out there that I might be sharing the road with, but more importantly, for my own safety as well.

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  • Lynne November 28, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    I hope the spot is available via the internet tomorrow. I\’m in bed by 11 🙂

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  • nerf November 28, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    oh good more media coverage….
    the people are gonna be fun when i go to work tomorrow,the last one of these that aired i had two drivers the next day yell at me and a bus try to hit me…
    oh good…

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  • dat November 28, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    Trading places: biker, driver see how other half gets around
    10:02 PM PST on Wednesday, November 28, 2007
    Elly Blue drives so infrequently she doesn’t know what a gallon of gas costs.

    “I don’t ride my bike past any gas stations,” said Blue.

    Candace Severson has always wanted to ride her bike to work, but she likes the comforts of her car, especially when it’s cold.

    Your turn: Share/read comments on this story

    “I do love my seat heat and I love the radio,” said Severson.

    But for one day this month, the two Portland women traded in their usual modes of transportation to see how the ‘other half’ gets around.

    Elly Blue volunteered to drive from her southeast Portland home office to Powell’s Books on West Burnside. Driving through downtown was no easy request.

    “I’m always scared when I’m in a car that I’m going to hit someone and I’m never scared of that on my bike,” said Blue.

    KTVB file photo

    Bikers and motorists sharing the road.
    Candace Severson exchanged her car keys for a helmet and a bike supplied by Portland’s Office of Transportation.

    City Transportation expert Greg Raisman agreed to ride his bike with Severson. Before heading out he gave her tips on hand signals and bike lane laws.

    “I don’t know if I’m coordinated yet to signal and ride my bike,” said Severson.

    With her hands tightly on the steering wheel at the ‘10 and 2’ position, Elly Blue drove across town on streets she normally does not take on her bike.

    “Oh my God,” Blue said while driving downtown, “Did you get that on film? That guys was texting while driving!”

    Blue noted how easy it was to drive at speeds she wouldn’t consider safe on a bike.

    “I’ve gone 30 on my bike once or twice before and it does not feel slow like this,” said Blue.

    Her biggest worry about driving to Powell’s was finding parking in the congested Pearl District. But as she started looking for a spot, one opened up right in front of the store.

    “I can’t believe we’re getting parking this easily, the parking God are with us,” said Blue.

    Backing into the spot was not as easy. It took Blue a couple of attempts.

    “If I was sitting here on a bike blocking traffic someone would be honking at me,” said Blue.

    Candace Severson said she was surprised by what she learned on the bike.

    “It’s not as scary as I thought. It’s not as difficult. Cars have been really friendly,” said Severson.

    Severson said her first ride home from work won’t be her last.

    “If it’s raining, I might not be quite as inclined,” said Severson, “But I certainly would venture to say you’ll see me in the summer time riding my bike.”

    Elly Blue, the driver-for-a-day, won’t be car shopping anytime soon.

    “This definitely is not going to convince me to drive anymore,” said Blue.

    She thought driving took longer than riding her bike and she said her legs got “antsy” while sitting in the car.

    “It was also very scary,” said Blue, “I felt I had a lot of responsibility to watch out for the other people especially bicyclists who I felt I couldn’t see very well.”

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  • Todd B November 28, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    Too bad the weather is not so nice…vs. those glorious June days crossing the Hawthorne Bridge on a bike…

    Perhaps the long ride in the rain snow will remind the driver that $4 gas is a bargain?

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  • brodie November 28, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    to be honest, the part where elly hit the car prallel parking was the best part. oh, and the fact that biking came out ahead!

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  • Dan (teknotus) November 28, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    That was just AWESOME!

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  • Cameron November 28, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    What a great story, the woman who road the bike looks like she might even try it on her own. This might get other committed car drivers to try it as well. I\’m all for more stories like this on local news.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 28, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    I agree Dan, that was a pretty solid segment.

    It was very cool that the driver was so excited and had such a great time on her bike! and of course we all knew Elly wouldn\’t end up enjoying her time behind the wheel.

    I hope they upload the video to their site because I thought the most interesting part was how the producer introduced the piece. He mentioned comments \”on blogs\” and on and said the recent fatalities sparked \”the most contentious period ever\” between bikers and drivers.

    Overall I\’d say this is yet another recent bit of fair, not-divisive coverage by the local media…and the fact that riding a bike came out looking like a fun, safe, and do-able option (even for a complete newbie!) was just icing on the cake.

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  • Todd B November 28, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    yes…poor Ellie!

    It was so painful to watch her drive. I am glad she works from home as a super bike advocate. 🙂

    The segment looked like it was filmed last week as the nice weather we had before winter arrived. I am glad it was not taped today. (I left my bike at home and took the bus to work.)

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  • John November 28, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    yeah Elly did a really good job of tactfully making driving a car be crappy.
    The other person did a really good job of showing that riding a bicycle is easy and nice.

    Even tonight riding home in the cold rain, i was comfortable the secret ? : three layers core, two layers arms, wick or wool under shell. Hat with a baseball bill (if you keep the rain off the eyes, psychologically it can feel like its not even raining) and ear coverage, big old thick gloves, Loose tights or pants, with extra layer over the knees. My feet did get cold, breaking out the half booties.

    Ice is when i switch to hoofing it and the bus. I don\’t need a broken hip.

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  • rev November 29, 2007 at 12:39 am

    This takes me back to when I challenged Oregonian writer Renee Mitchell to a month of trading-transportation-places

    ah the memories…

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  • wsbob November 29, 2007 at 2:15 am

    Renee Mitchell. I think the O story about her view of light rail is gone from the archives, rev. Doesn\’t sound like she was game to take you up on your challenge. I think it would be terrific if she were somehow persuaded to change her mind and commute to work by bike for a week.

    Seems like Candace Severson, the woman that gave up her car for a day and rode a bike to work might have been fairly brave to do that, cold and all. A full week, especially this time of year, would have been a more impressive, personally informative effort. Seems like she\’s got what it takes to do that.

    That\’s the kind of thing that could really make the difference in terms of introducing street infrastructure changes that would enable bikes, cars and pedestrians to coexist together more efficiently and safely on Portland streets. If Mr. Gerhard Watzig, candidate for mayor of Portland actually rode a bike from his home in S.E. to his flower shop on S.W. Broadway, his comprehension Portland\’s commuting infrastructure and the bicycle\’s increasing importance to it might be wholly improved.

    No doubt, if Renee Mitchell, noted local columnist for the Oregonian were to commute by bike for a week to the Oregonian building from wherever it is she lives, her experience and what she would likely write about it could be an invaluable service to all that share this city. Actually, like Candace Severson, Renee Mitchell also seems like the type of person that\’s got what it takes to grip an experience like this by the horns and go for it. Here\’s looking at you Renee.

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  • Robin November 29, 2007 at 7:26 am

    It\’s amazing where people will go on their bikes when they have someone showing them the way the first time or two.

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  • Greg Raisman November 29, 2007 at 7:27 am

    It was really fun to participate in that story.

    For those curious, we took the bike ride last Wednesday night after work. It was pretty cold and windy. We made sure Candace was dressed for the day and it worked out fine. The only thing that didn\’t work out as well was that she used these thin cotton gloves and her hands were cold when she got home.

    Almost the entire route was on bike boulevards. So, it was pretty low stress and scenic. It was really nice to see how surprised she was by how little time it took to ride her bike home.

    I hope they put the video up online – I didn\’t see it and am quite curious what it looks like.

    Greg Raisman
    Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
    Portland Office of Transportation

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 29, 2007 at 7:48 am

    Robin said:
    \”It\’s amazing where people will go on their bikes when they have someone showing them the way the first time or two.\”

    Agreed. This segment showed how effective a bike ambassador/mentor type program would be.

    Imagine if we all encouraged a friend who doesn\’t ride to try it out and then went along with them and helped them out for their first time out…

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  • a.O November 29, 2007 at 7:54 am

    I\’ve often thought that we needed a dedicated New Biker Team of just a few folks who help new cyclists get started and ride with them for a week or two when they first start riding.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 29, 2007 at 7:56 am

    \”I hope they put the video up online – I didn’t see it and am quite curious what it looks like.\”

    They just posted the video. Click over and view it. It\’s much better than their text-only online story.

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  • leftcoaster November 29, 2007 at 8:25 am

    Overall, good coverage, but the framing at the beginning was ABSURD – calling the period of the tragedies \”contentious\” between \”the two groups\” – as if the tragedies were a direct result of hot tempers on both \”sides\”. Not to mention that there is no clear distinction between the \”two groups\” as many cyclists drive and vice versa.

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  • Lenny Anderson November 29, 2007 at 8:31 am

    This week has been great for bike riding…make me think of looking over the edge at the top of the Upper Bowl before a downhill ski run.
    I bike everyday and drive often for errands; I think most of us do both on a routine basis. But no matter speed is the key safety issue…and bikes are overall pretty slow and harmless. So how do we slow down motor vehicle operators?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 29, 2007 at 8:35 am

    \”… but the framing at the beginning was ABSURD\”

    I agree leftcoaster… but unfortunately without that intro, they would not have an \”angle\” for the story and the good coverage that followed would never have been aired. For better or for worse, the nature of media (and especially local network TV) is that you simply must have some sort of \”angle\” or \”story\” or \”conflict\”, real or fabricated, in order for a story to see the light of day.

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  • a.O November 29, 2007 at 9:03 am

    I don\’t know, Jon. I agree that they have to have an angle, but I disagree that it had to be the \”contentious us v them\” angle.

    It could have been \”Are the collisions partly due to not really understanding what it\’s like to use the other mode of transportation?\”

    My personal view is that it\’s not cyclists who don\’t understand what it\’s like to drive. I turned down being the \”driver\” for this spot because I am an experienced driver yet also a cyclist, like the vast majority of cyclists.

    I think it\’s generally drivers who don\’t understand what it\’s like to bike because the majority have not done so since they were children.

    I appreciate them getting someone from each \”group\” to switch over (and it sounds like with Elly it really was a switch), but I think they/we should be taking traffic cops, judges, blowhard radio hosts, and anyone else who wants to talk about what cyclists \”should do\” on the road and ask if they want to have an informed or uninformed opinion.

    If they want to have an informed opinion, they should come ride with us, then talk about this issue.

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  • Commuter November 29, 2007 at 9:10 am

    On a side note, I was reading through last weeks TIME Magazine on the Max this morning and Portland got a small (but still recognized) blip on biking in the Eco-anxiety article. Just thought I would share that.

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  • Metal Cowboy November 29, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Now that\’s more like it. We\’re starting to see some decent coverage – even with the sensationalized opener… it\’s much as Jonathan said, meddia couch things this way – especially if it\’s not a topic that is part of the daily newscast… weather, sports… What we have to woork towards is getting bike stories andd vulnerable road user stories into the cycle enough that it becomes something that the general public gets accustomed to seeing and hearing.

    On that note, OPB calledd and asked me to tape a segment for morning eddiitionn – It\’s gonna run on Monday… well, morning… tape it tomorrow – It will focus on our Canada ride but I\’m plannning to work in the idea that a bicycle can be used to have a really adventure/journey, rather than a prepackaged tourism product samplled at set times and places – and that mindset, of using a bicycle to cross a continent translates easily to more commuting, more use of a bike in town and as an every day form of transportation. We\’ll see how the interview goes.

    And for everyone interestedd in keeping feet to the fire after the WEAREALLTRAFFIC Rally – we\’re meeting this week and next week to plan the next steps andd concrete actions. Stay tuned…

    Oh, and a little plug for my Saturday event – free beer, food, swag and stories from the Canada ride 6pm at River City. WW picked it as a recommendedd event and It was fun to see my face in WW wearing a Santa hat – I always swoore i\’d never turn into \”that \” guy – you know, the one who puts on a silly santa hat for a ad marketing an event – never say never 😉 My kids like at least.
    Hope to see everyone there.
    Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie

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  • bikieboy November 29, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Elly, you were fab-u-lous! & Candace, as the neophyte commuter cyclist, gave a simple yet compelling testimonial (\”hey, this is fun!\”) that would be hard to beat.

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  • Kristen November 29, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Interesting… but it would have been more informative (to other drivers or riders) if they had had both women make their trips like usual, then switch modes.

    Now THAT would have been an eye-opener!

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  • Ron November 29, 2007 at 10:22 am

    I thought the piece was well done, and in fact I loved the emphasis (purposefully or not) put on difficulty in parking.

    We live in NoPo, about a mile from the Arbor Lodge New Seasons, which we\’re very fortunate to be able to shop at regularly. Anyone who\’s been there knows it\’s a parking nightmare, quite literally — they now have an overflow parking setup at a church a mile away or so, and run regular shuttles to the store and back.

    This parking situation gets my wife, an infrequent but capable rider out on the bike with full panniers to do the shopping, because she can just pull up and lock up, no fuss. Obviously I am quite proud 🙂

    And of course this wouldn\’t be possible had New Seasons not been so supportive by putting in no fewer than 12 or so staple racks — yes there could be more, and hopefully future demand will dictate it, but it\’s good support for now.

    So thanks Elly! I thought you did a terrific job. And cheers to Candace whose enthusiasm was truly infectious, even to this full time bike commuter!


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  • Elly Blue November 29, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Wow. I am a little surprised how much my nerves show in this — it looks almost like I\’m putting it on, but I actually was making an effort to appear at least somewhat competent and calm. Driving is not that easy if you\’re not used to it!

    Also, for the record, I did not actually hit anything while parking. That is despite my embarrassment at messing up, the considerable distractions in the car, and the guy who paused to point and laugh at me the entire time I was trying to straighten out (thanks a lot, dude).

    I agree with the attorney, though. Most folks in the US aren\’t lucky enough to have managed to avoid driving for most of their lives. I\’m hardly representative of cyclists as a group (but who would be?).

    It\’ll be interesting to see what future stories they come up with, it looks like they are slowly but surely getting it. I\’m really pleased with how this story came out. Of course, some will squall (and are on the KGW board) about how it made driving seem harder and biking easier, but you can\’t fight the truth…

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  • girl on a bike November 29, 2007 at 11:45 am

    I watched this segment last night too, and while I was really into the idea of it, I was hoping it might be a more substiantial piece in terms of educating people more about the real challenges daily commuters face in Portland. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing, but I\’ll try to be brief and cogent here.

    Elly was a great representative of the bike community, partly because she\’s so personable and NOT the kind of stereotypical \”arrogant\” person a lot of non-bikers imagine most bikers to be. But this very element made it all too easy to feel sympathy for drivers. If I — a dedicated cyclist — walked away from that piece with the general impression that \”driving is hard, cycling is easy\”, how many other people felt the same? And if cycling is so \”easy\”, then why is the cycling community asking for so much in terms of additional infrastructure to keep us safe? Judging by that fluffy little chunk of news, cycling in Portland is super-duper neato safe! Yay! I know it\’s probably asking too much, and this clearly wasn\’t the meatiest piece of journalism ever, but it would be much more interesting to take a novice cyclist downtown … or even just down NE Broadway and over the bridge to downtown.

    And I have to wonder if drivers along Candace\’s bike route home weren\’t so accomodating and \”nice\” because there was clearly some kind of group dynamic happening — two riders, and there must have been a camera man riding along either on a bike or in a car. When most drivers see anything like that happening in the street ahead of them, what do they do? Most will slow down and GO AROUND with lots of clearance … which isn\’t what people should expect biking in this city to be like under everyday circumstances.

    So I worry it was misleading in a couple of different ways. But getting a little enthusiasm and acceptance for bikes on the news is not a bad thing, and at least that was achieved.

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  • pushkin November 29, 2007 at 11:49 am

    Elly –

    How can you imply that the truth is biking is easier than car driving and at the same time say \”driving is not that easy if you\’re not used to it\”? I would say that both are not easy if you are not used to them.

    \”Most folks in the US aren\’t lucky enough to have avoided driving for most of their lives\” because most people who own cars have a free-loader threshold. How many times have you heard people brag about how car-free they are but are more than ready to ask for or accept a ride from someone who does own a car?

    I think the problem with this news piece was that it purported to be about both road users \”gain[ing] a better understanding of the challenges each other faces\” but did so by using two people who were technically incompetent in adopting those modes. Elly doesn\’t even know what a gallon of gas costs. I don\’t want someone on the road who is that out of touch with driving; it\’s just negligent to have someone driving whose skills are that rusty. Her driving segment had all the hallmarks of a failed driver\’s license test. And Candace needed a remedial course in hand signals – something a license holder should already know.

    The moral here: get some lessons and experience with a qualified instructor before you go out on the road and endanger yourself or others. The bunny hill v. the black diamond.

    The upshot of the piece is that cyclist/drivers like me got a good idea of the challenges people face when they are not qualified to drive or cycle.

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  • Jstern November 29, 2007 at 11:50 am

    So when and where can we start signing up to be \”ambassador/mentors\” for new cyclists?? I\’m ready to take newbies out on the road, it\’d be fun!

    It could be like carpooling, except… bike-pooling. Would there be a way for drivers to find cyclists willing to ride along with them to work if we were going to the same place?

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  • el timito November 29, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Pushkin, how can I say this? Go park it.

    Elly, in her hyper-aware, seemingly nervous state, was a much better driver than most of the people on the road with years of \”experience\”.
    We have made driving seem like an extension on sitting in one\’s living room – cup holders, music system, heated seats, t.v. even! Would you feel as comfortable if every trained gun owner walked around with their safety off, casually pointing out local sights with their weapon\’s barrel? (Perhaps a better analogy – waving their gun around while talking on the cell phone and reaching for their coffee.)
    Drivers need to act more like long-tailed cats in a room full of rockers: Be completely AWAKE for the entire journey, aware that vulnerable users are out there, and not easy to see.
    Of course, cyclists also need to use hyper-awareness (my favorite lesson from The Art of Cycling – check it out from the library, after I\’m done with it).

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  • Phil Hanson (aka Pedalphile) November 29, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Elly\’s legs got \”antsy\” from sitting in the car? RLS? Could be a cyclist\’s secret advantage, I guess.

    Now, if they could only get a cyclist behind the wheel of a large truck (as opposed to under a set of duals).

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  • wsbob November 29, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    There are plenty of faults that could be found with the experiment, but I\’m not sure doing so is that constructive. This was just a locally produced short news feature, not an hour and a half production of Frontline for PBS. Even so, light things like this probably help to keep the issue in the public consciousness.

    If someone really wanted to inform the public with a more representative coverage of the experience of drivers and cyclists in negotiating the traffic grid, that could probably be done. I\’d like to see the cyclist equipped with a multi-directional helmet cam and the accompanying camera crew mostly invisible to motor vehicles on the street. The motor vehicle driver would have as discreet as possible camera crew in the car.

    It might be possible for footage so produced, to better help motorists and cyclists more clearly recognize and understand routine, daily hazards each face as they make their way about. With this knowledge, greater support for critical street improvements beneficial to more efficient, safe flow of bikes and cars together could possibly be generated.

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  • Elly Blue November 29, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    I thought the point of the segment was to give people a fresh view of activities they take for granted, and it did a pretty good job of that. There are of course many more issues out there, and I hope TV producers are reading these comments for more story ideas — there are some really good ones here.

    Pushikin, you have a point — you don\’t think I should be on the road without being an expert driver, and I mostly agree with you (and thus mostly don\’t drive). The scary thing is that you need way less than my level of experience (and I\’m pretty seasoned at biking in traffic) to get a driver license. Want to put your money where your mouth is and pitch in to help change that? I\’ll be a willing poster child of incompetence if that\’s what it takes.

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  • Shanana November 29, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    I liked the piece overall. But I\’m not sure it accurately portrayed what it\’s like commuting by bicycle (\”cars have been really friendly\”). I\’m glad she had fun, and I think it\’s wonderful that she will consider doing it again. But most of us didn\’t get an escort to show us the ropes.

    My first time was a nightmare….didn\’t wear the right clothes, didn\’t have the right equipment, took an unsafe route that forced me to take the entire lane (terrifying as a newbie), and was generally unprepared for split second decision making to avoid being run over. I admit a little homework would have been prudent before my adventure, but I was ready and willing so I went.

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  • Siobhan November 29, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Elly you did great!

    I really liked how you stated you have to be worried about all of your blind spots at once.

    Before I got on a bicycle I could not understand why cyclists who rode on the bike lane line and did not hug the curb. But now that I cycle I know it is because of all the JUNK that collects in the gutter. I also, never in a million years could have imagined that cycling would be a fun alternative (and be just as FAST!) as a car.

    I think the piece made an excellent point, that it is important to get out of your comfort zone every once in awhile especially if you want to have an informed opinion.

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  • Todd Boulanger November 29, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    And Greg thanks for making Candace well outfitted (other than the gloves) – within reason for a novice. It was nice to see her on a solid city bike (Breezer Villager?) too.

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  • N.I.K. November 29, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Before I got on a bicycle I could not understand why cyclists who rode on the bike lane line and did not hug the curb. But now that I cycle I know it is because of all the JUNK that collects in the gutter.

    Junk that\’s often pushed there by air moved by passing automobiles, or, in the case of leaves, often raked into the street by some of our town\’s certifiable mental giants. Plus, you know, there\’s that whole bit about having enough clearance on *both* sides of the bike. Hugging the curb is like an invitation for a motorist to squeeze by when they might not otherwise; the resulting tiny sphincter-like space is almost as terrifying a no-chance-of-escape spot as the door zone. 😉

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  • N.I.K. November 29, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    I\’d like to see the cyclist equipped with a multi-directional helmet cam and the accompanying camera crew mostly invisible to motor vehicles on the street. The motor vehicle driver would have as discreet as possible camera crew in the car.

    Interesting thought. And not as prohibitively expensive to pull of as it may once have been. Thanks to way-awesome super-cheap rapid-fabrication materials like Shapelock -amazing re-shapable plastic rigid plastic that becomes pliable at 160F- somebody could build an appropriate helmet-mount bracket for a couple webcams on the cheap, stick a small-form factor computer (w/ solid-state storage and basic video recording software) in a protective enclosure on a rear rack and go nuts.

    No, I don\’t have *time* to do it, but I daresay the whole thing could be put together for under $200 – chump change to media outlets.

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  • Duck Lady November 29, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    A bit late, but: Elly, you did great! I was so impressed with how you managed to convey so much in such a short segment. You seemed brave and competent and yet conveyed very well that driving is NOT an easy task.


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  • Candace Severson November 29, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    I had a great time riding a bike for the first time in many years. I\’d like to thank Greg for being such a great mentor and helping me navigate Portland traffic on a bike. I was quite nervous about the thought of having to ride around cars, but having an expert rider with me really helped and I was able to enjoy the ride and feel safe at the same time.

    I am a pediatric nurse at Emanuel Hospital, but I also teach trauma prevention with Trauma Nurses Talk Tough, and I think the part of this experience that will help me the most is being able to get the message of \”sharing the road\” out to the young drivers that I educate in high schools, driver\’s ed classes, and in Young Drivers Improvement classes. Even with this brief bike ride it gave me a new understanding of how important it is for everyone to be looking out for each other–bikers, pedestrians, and car drivers alike.

    This was a great experience and I know that I will be back on a bike again soon!

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  • N.I.K. November 29, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks so much, Candace. We more or less knew what to expect out of Elly, and while there\’s ZERO disappointment there -what better results could we expect, really?- it\’s nice to hear the party we didn\’t automatically expect to hear pro-bike sentiment come from talking up cycling. Especially when it\’s in the form of \”looking out for each other\”. That\’s really what sharing the road is all about -awareness and consideration of others.

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  • Duck Lady November 29, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    Yay Candace! You rocked as well (didn\’t know you\’d be here or I\’d\’ve said something earlier). Me three on the importance of mentoring–I haven\’t had one specific mentor, but every group ride has helped me a little more. Especially the Portland Office of Transportation and their summertime neighborhood rides. They taught us not one but two excellent safe routes to downtown. So important for newbie riders! You really got across the message that biking is do-able. Thanks!

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  • Austin Ramsland November 30, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Nice work Candace. Your optimism and positive attitude was fantastic to see.

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  • Sara November 30, 2007 at 11:29 am

    I am glad that they are bringing more light to the bicycle problems. But I\’m also kind of mad for the fact that they think all bicyclists are driving impared somehow. I do everything, bike, commute on bus, and even drive my car. I don\’t consider that amazing just a way to get around. I have to say that out of all three modes of transportation, I think that cars are the most dangerous. They constantly cut the bus off and don\’t always take caution while doing it, just so they can get ten extra feet. They cut in the bicycle lane, or act irrationally around bicylcists. That\’s what they should do a segment on, cars and their interaction with others. Not only are they rude to other people in the bus or on bikes, they are even rude to other drivers.

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  • Brian November 30, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Regarding the \”Ambassador\” Concept. We have a fleet of 10 bikes where I work that people can sign out and I implemented a \”Bike Buddy\” program where volunteers sign up based on their neighborhood. If someone needs a little help with route finding or have safety concerns, I pair them up with a volunteer and they ride together a couple times. It\’s been really successful. During the commute challenge we got three non-commuters to ride to NE Portland from Vancouver and also got some people safely down to SE. I\’d recommend starting in your own work place first, you might be surprised by the number of people interested.

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  • Schrauf December 1, 2007 at 8:30 am

    Regarding the impression left by the newbie cyclist to viewers of the segment in general, there are two ways it could go, and still be positive to cyclists.

    It could have been a totally positive and easy experience, and this would encourage more drivers to try cycling. This is pretty much what happened.

    Or it could have been fraught with poor drivers passing too closely and violating right-of-way. This would have at least made some drivers a little more aware, which is good. However, it certainly would not have turned more people on to cycling.

    In reality, urban cycling is somewhere between the two extremes, but in my experience it is much closer to the positive end of the spectrum.

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  • Greg Raisman December 1, 2007 at 10:26 am


    Sorry for the delayed reaction. It was a Breezer Citizen. Three speed, barrel generator, basic intro city bike.


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  • IanO December 1, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    John said:

    \”…Hat with a baseball bill (if you keep the rain off the eyes, psychologically it can feel like its not even raining)…\”

    I just got a dutch bike and went all over the place this week in the rain and snow. It was great, except for getting so much rain on my glasses.

    John were you wearing your hat under your helmet? Does anyone make a brimmed bike helmet?

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  • Greg Raisman December 1, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    I\’ve found that just using a helmet cover on a helmet with a visor keeps my glasses a lot more dry. I love the $20 cover I have that\’s made out of Gore Tex with reflectors all around it. It keeps my head warm, dry and helps shield my glasses.

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