Open thread: What’s it like out there?

Are you smiling or grimacing on the roads these days?
(Photo © J. Maus)

As Portland’s bike-friendly reputation gets dragged through the mud following two high-profile road rage incidents in a week, I would love to get a better sense of what it’s like out on the roads.

I frequently hear about hit-and-runs, near misses, fender-benders, and road rage, and I can’t say that I’ve noticed a big increase lately (although recent headlines would have most people thinking otherwise).

One thing I’ve heard from more experienced riders is that there are a lot of “newbies” out there right now. I’ve also heard that people feel inexperienced riders don’t alway know the proper road etiquette and/or laws.

I would love to know what your experience has been while riding around the city recently.

Have you felt an increase in stress, anger and contention out there (whether coming from someone on a bike or in a car)? Or has it been (sadly enough) business as usual?

Have you noticed an increase in newbies in the bike lane? If so, do you notice that they are any more or less considerate/law-abiding than experienced riders?

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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Bill
Bill
15 years ago

I can\’t say I\’ve seen a big difference out in the West side. Same amount of near-death experiences…

While I was never a big light-runner, I have been much more self-conscious about following the letter of the law this past week…

–Bill

Craig
Craig
15 years ago

In the past week I have seen 5 cyclists, in 5 separate instances, riding the wrong way in the bike lanes, two of the instances were on the Hawthorne bridge(not really a bike lane but kind of).

burning shame
burning shame
15 years ago

I bike commute as well as race, so far the NE/NW commuting seems pretty good. Drivers seem cool and the cyclists seem to be doing fine.

My training rides though… I don\’t think I have ever been honked at, yelled at, and motor-gunned more in my life than I have this last week.

Stephanie
Stephanie
15 years ago

I\’ve noticed riders passing me on the left without ringing a bell…especially annoying as I\’m climbing up the Interstate hill with 6 year old on tag-a-long and a Burley trailer attached during rush hour.

The Machine
The Machine
15 years ago

I have noticed the increase in new inexperienced riders. Either riding on the sidewalk or the wrong way in a bike lane.

I can usually spot the n00bz by their orange safety vests, shiny new commuter bikes and lack of confidence.

jonno
jonno
15 years ago

Lots of newbies out there. The day after the fateful O front page, I rode home and saw what were clearly newbie riders in places I\’ve never seen any riders before.

That same day, I made a experiment of following every single traffic law to the letter on my way home. Because the connection to Glisan westbound over the Steel is fubar\’d right now, I had to go blocks out of my way to keep from making an illegal turn onto Glisan. This added about 5 minutes to my ~20 minute commute. I won\’t be doing that again.

Got me thinking that part of the problem with cyclists riding illegally is that often there is no set of laws that can guarantee both legality AND expediency, since the vast majority of roadway design never considered bikes as vehicles. For example – since the Steel lower deck is still open, I take it since it\’s the most direct route home. But when I get to the west side, there\’s no clear connection, so I stitch together my own route alongside train tracks, over curbs and around the Road Closed signs to get to where I need to be. If I wanted to be 100% legal, I\’d go over the Broadway, but who wants to go that far out of the way? Really?

Since there\’s no single code for all situations, many riders just make up their own rules and go about their merry way. All I want to do is get where I\’m going safely AND quickly, and I\’d rather not break any laws on the way. But to do both in a built environment intended for car traffic, a little innocuous lawbreaking is practically required.

Mark C
Mark C
15 years ago

I can\’t say I\’ve noticed an uptick in newbies. I did have a nice experience, though, that I\’d like to pass along. While on a club ride yesterday with Portland Velo, me and another rider (the rest of the group was aways ahead) stopped at a four-way on Old River Road between Milwaukie and Gladstone to let a van (which had the right-of-way) proceed. As the van moved into the intersection the driver shouted out the window and thanked us for stopping and allowing him to proceed. I think that\’s the first time I\’ve ever had a driver verbally thank me for observing a stop sign.

Bike commuter
Bike commuter
15 years ago

I ride from SE to Milwaukie daily. Previously, 1-2 other bikers is all I would see. As of late I\’ve noticed more riders…today I saw 3 riding the wrong way in a span of less than 1 mile. 2 of these were on the sidewalk. It\’s great that more people are riding-I think.

steve
steve
15 years ago

As I\’ve said in one or two other posts here I recently moved from the Washington DC area so Portland feels Utopian to me! I think Portlanders have quite a bit to be grateful for. That said, the more I ride here, the more I think people (car drivers, bike riders, etc.) are more or less the same everywhere. Most are fine and we barely notice them while the small minority pull out in front of us, run a stop sign, fail to come to a complete stop and so on. This is life. As far as recent riding goes, I did STP this weekend and had a wonderful, incident free ride.

josh
josh
15 years ago

on the road, no more idiocy than is usual (behind the wheel or handlebars).

on the train, this morning was the first time on my usual outbound commute that the train has actually been too full of riders w/ bikes for more folks to board. interestingly, this led to a small altercation between a woman trying to get off and an older gentleman (60s) trying to get his bike out of her way. maybe nothing, maybe a sign of things to come.

Klixi
Klixi
15 years ago

My take:

NW/Pearl/Downtown/Inner SE: Great experiences. No problems with drivers. Newbie bicyclists are out there and making errors, but I suppose that is to be expected. I welcome the new folks though, except for the ones who don\’t really understand how to ride on the Esplanade and Corridor.

All in all things have been better than I could\’ve hoped for. It\’s been a great summer, great weather, lots of courtesy on the bike paths and streets.

Kara
Kara
15 years ago

My usual ride from St John\’s to downtown has seen quite a few newbies since summer finally showed up. But even so, I\’m seeing about the same number of people blowing lights or being reckless. Ever since the article came out though, I\’ve been a little on edge worrying that someone driving past me will heckle me, but so far my fears haven\’t been realized at all. No heckling, just good overall ride in.

West Cougar
West Cougar
15 years ago

\”What\’s it like out there?\”

I\’ll tell ya. Hot and Humid. Everyone\’s pissy and short-tempered. The economy sucks, gas is expensive, and anyone that\’s bought a house in the last 12 months is up side down on their mortgage.

T Williams
T Williams
15 years ago

I have a 4-6 mile daily commute (yes, even during the wet months ;), mostly on Springwater but with some surface street with a bike lane. I\’ve not noticed anything different, but lately I\’ve felt that where the trail crosses a street the big light trucks (Ram 1500+, F250\’s/F350\’s, etc) and SUV\’s , almost to a \’T\’, have been the first to slow & stop at the crosswalk to allow me and other users to proceed.

There\’s that saying that there\’s no bad publicity. I suspect that this issue is like any other \”controversy\”: a few vocal proponents one way or the other may give an impression that is not accurate.

If anything I believe that the vast majority of people are decent, and all this bruhaha has only made them more aware for other users of streets & trails.

Bether
Bether
15 years ago

I just got back on my bike after a long period of being too broke to get it repaired enough to be ridden (work lets me ride the bus free), so take my comments for what they\’re worth, but I have noticed a huge number of newbies or inexperienced fair-weather cyclists, mostly all over NE Alberta, being generally safe. Mostly, they seem not to wear helmets or have lights.

I have noticed more stop signs being run, but I can hardly get all upset about that, as I run them myself from time to time.

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
15 years ago

Meh…nothing\’s different.

As usual, the world is made up of 98% good people, 2% d**kheads. If you choose to confront a d**khead, you\’ll wind up in a confrontation and subsequently on the front page of the local newsrag that\’s circling the drain as we speak.

Schrauf
Schrauf
15 years ago

Business as usual. The vast majority of drivers are great. The few jerks are memorable. Just like cyclists.

Ethan
15 years ago

I rode from Eugene to Veneta (both ways) this weekend. I was pretty nervous, as this was one of my first rides in rural Oregon. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of room every car gave me, and the waves I got from porches. Oregon is great for biking, as far as I can tell!

B.C.
B.C.
15 years ago

I commute from NE Portland into downtown, riding up and down Williams and Vancouver, respectively.

Morning: I typically am on the road before 7AM and only see two or three riders and hardly any cars. Sometimes I will be waiting at a red light and another cyclist will ride through the light… to each his own. Once on Broadway, some people turn right without looking, but with a little defensive cycling, there really aren\’t any problems. Once I cross Burnside, I merge over to the leftmost lane so I can turn left onto Stark. I signal and look behind me to make eye contact and have yet to have a driver be aggresive at all. I am, however, riding as fast as the car traffic, so I don\’t slow them down at all. Overall, a very plesant experience.

In the afternoon: I ride across the Steel Bridge and through the Rose Quarter Transit Center. I take the legal way and avoid going through \”no bikes\” part of the transit center. I typically like to avoid conflict with busses and other people. I get irritated when other cyclists do it, but more out of jealousy that they are getting away with it. I can\’t wait until Tri-Met makes it Okay to go through there. I see the most people at the intersection of Broadway and Williams, where I have to do a substantial amount of passing other cyclists. There are a lot of slower riders in the bike lane, so to pass, I wait, look behind me, and when it is clear, I pass by taking the lane and getting into the bike lane as fast as possible. I typically ride to the left of the bike lane to avoid getting doored, since, statistically, you are more likely to get doored than run over from behind.

Two to three times a week I witness an impatient driver go into the bike lane to make a right turn onto Fremont/Skidmore/other streets, but I am keeping my eye out, so they are not close calls. When I turn right onto Alberta, I ride pretty quick and people are very respectful of my riding 3-4 feet away from parked cars. I have yet to have someone honk at me.

Overall, my ride is very nice. All it takes is a little patience when you are commuting. As more and more people join to commute by bicycle, we are going to have to be more and more patient with newer riders. We cannot let ourselves become angry with these newer riders because they are our ticket to policy change and support from more of the population.

The only concern I have for the newer riders is some safety issues. I see too many passing in the car lane without looking back, riding too close to car doors, and worst of all, non-defensive driving. Riding a bike for most of your life gives you a sixth sense for anticipating what cars in front of you are going to do, which can help avoid a good amount of accidents. I am absolutely against bicycle licensing, but I would love to see free bicycle safety classes offered for free by the City for new riders. Afterall, the number one reason why people don\’t commute is because they don\’t feel comfortable on the roads.

I hope everyone has a safe commute home today.

wyatt
wyatt
15 years ago

Yeah, there have been loooots of new riders. I haven\’t noticed anything different as far as drivers being more aggressive. Pretty much the same.

I really haven\’t had a lot of close calls and I\’ve been biking (carfree and extremely little dependence on tri-met) in portland for close to 9 years and lots of commuting elsewhere for years before I moved here. So experience definitely counts for something.

Paul Souders
15 years ago

If it weren\’t for the Oregonian, I\’d never know there was a war on.

I\’m paying more attention to behavior: are there more jerks than usual? So far seems like the opposite.

I have made a point to wave \”thank you\” whenever I make a maneuver that cuts another vehicle\’s line (changing lanes, taking RoW at a four-way stop etc.), even when I\’m unambiguously entitled. I\’m also trying to say \”on your left\” alla time, I admit I was a little lax on that.

I\’m noticing a lot more novice commuters on my route, which is impressive as my route includes the entire length of Terwilliger. That\’s a 500\’ foot climb either way, a pretty serious obstacle for a green cyclist on a mountain bike in street clothes. Many of them ride on the sidewalk, dodging joggers. That seems really unnecessary, Terwilliger is probably the easiest road in town, traffic-wise.

This is all on the westside though. The air is cooler, we get more shade, maybe tempers are lower?

Bob
Bob
15 years ago

I\’ve lived and biked here since 2001. The only thing that is different is that everything is better. The bike infrastructure is better. The awareness of motorists is better. The number of cyclists is better. Heck, even my ability to climb hills has gotten better.

Sure, we have a long way to go and there is room for improvement, but on the whole this is a GREAT place to ride a bike. Don\’t let the media try to convince you otherwise.

SkidMark
SkidMark
15 years ago

Seems about the same to me. If anything, I am experiencing less rude drivers.

encephalopath
encephalopath
15 years ago

From the north William/Vancouver direction, I\’ve noticed lots more riders this year than last. There are quite a few novices, but they\’re pretty easy to spot. I try to give them a little exrta room.

Interestingly enough, the increase in cyclists seems to have come with a decrease in the number of traffic law violations I see by cyclists. More bikes stopping and waiting at traffic lights has led to even more bike stopping and waiting at the lights.

If there is a bike strictly obeying the laws, everyone else seems to as well. I saw more bikes going through the light at Legacy Emmanuel over the winter than I do this summer, even though there are twice as many riders now.

I probably see 75 bikes a day, and 2 maybe 3 of them do something that could get them a traffic ticket.

encephalopath
encephalopath
15 years ago

Adding… the novices are doing a really good job, from what I can see. I hope this means they\’re having an easy time of it and will keep riding.

bArbaroo
bArbaroo
15 years ago

Out there? It\’s pretty amazing out there!

I actually have seen an increase in courteous drivers, not that that means the not-so-courteaous has declined entirely, but I swear I have more auto drivers wave me through intersections, pass carefully, etc., than I\’ve ever experienced – in 23 years of bike commuting in Portland

I also beleive that even though there are lots of new riders that they are contributing to a new atmoshpere on the streets. Yes, some of them are not riding safely or legally, but as a whole it is wonderful to have them out there. I love the change that is occuring. I\’m noticing so much more that is good than bad.

I\’m a bit of a Pollyanna but from where I sit I think something really magical is happening. When I ride around town, dispence coffee and repairs on the bridge, or sit at Hoddas and see the parade of cyclists go by on Belmont and 34th, I can\’t help but rejoice. It really is fun to see the variety of bike expression that we have here. Even years ago it was different.

When I recall the days of 15-20 years ago when you were lucky to see another cyclist AT ALL then I am just AMAZED how now it is rare to see as few as one or two bikes on a given route. Do I occasionally have to slow down in a bike lane to wait and pass, yes. Do I benefit from the increased number of cyclists, yes. So, can I exercise a little patience with a newer, slower, faster, or misbehaving cyclist, YES. I think we are really all on the same team.

What saddens me is the need for some to create and feed polarizing behaviors and conversations; the lack of compassion, acceptance, and understanding of the myriad cycling styles that may differ from ones chosen style that is expressed here and in the media – cars vs bikes, slow riders vs fast, fixies vs… I don\’t know who? Gees, I don\’t want to engage in that kind of conversation, and I like to believe that most others don\’t either; we just want to go out and ride our bikes.

So, in summary – I beleive I\’m seeing far more that is good – and I\’d rather focus on that(note: I say focus, not ignore) than focusing on the rarer bad situations such as close calls, rude behavior, mistakes made by novice riders, etc.

Now, I\’m gonna go ride.

KT
KT
15 years ago

Business as usual in Tigard and Tualatin– which is to say, I have very few problems with other road users.

I have noticed more bikes than \”normal\”, and it\’s always great to see them! Less and less people riding the wrong way in the bike lane, which is nice.

Carl B
Carl B
15 years ago

Commuting from SE to downtown, I\’ve had no bad experiences with cars since February, when a car ran a stop sign (two way stop) on Lincoln right in front of me. I don\’t think he ever knew I was there and he was long gone before I could pick myself up and think about saying something unkind.

Lots of times cars at 4-way stops will wave me through even though they were there first.

I\’ve almost collided with bikes twice as they were blowing through stop signs without even looking. Both times they apologized and there was no animosity. Both were inexperienced riders and one had her kid in a trailer. It could have been really bad if I\’d been a car.

I see other riders do really stupid things almost every day, but they are a tiny fraction of all the riders I see, and it is often the same idiots I\’ve seen doing stupid things on other days.

dobrien
dobrien
15 years ago

as someone who commutes on St Helens Rd from Linnton into NW, i like and welcome the growing numbers (newbies or not!) … more the merrier, dammit! the occasional obnoxious taunts from carloads of rowdies headed to sauvie island is just part of the dealio. all good!!

knappster
15 years ago

One of the main reasons I moved away from Portland was my perception (in 2006) that an increasing number of motorheads were willing to threaten or kill bicyclists who got in \”their\” way.  Since leaving, I have seen nothing to convince me that my view is inaccurate.

Kent Dahlgren
Kent Dahlgren
15 years ago

This thread makes me laugh.

I ride all the time, and enjoy every minute of it. In fact, I get to go ride home in about an hour, and am stoked. I cannot fathom hanging up my bike because it was \”too dramatic.\” Weird. Could it ever get that bad? I seriously doubt it.

I used to commute from Holgate to the PDX airport in 1987-1989, up and down SE 39th to NE 41st. As memory serves, hardly anyone commuted by bike. I recall lots of drama, road rage, etc.

Granted, I was in my early 20\’s, and prided myself as some sort of hot-headed vigilante, trolling for drama by yelling at drivers, kicking cars, waving my lock like some sort of raving lunatic…with predictable results.

In other words: I was absolutely looking for drama, and it regularly found me. Not unlike how I lived my life off of the bike, to be absolutely honest.

At issue wasn\’t tensions between autos and bikes along SE 39th; the issue was my atrophied inability to control my temper.

Would you be surprised to learn I was a similarly bad driver during this same period? I was just a hothead.

True, drivers were barely accustomed to a bike commuter, but I certainly didn\’t ease things by rolling around with a giant chip on my shoulder.

I suspect this is what\’s going on for those who constantly speak of all this \”tension,\” because I spend a lot of time on my bike and while close calls do occur….they ALSO occur while driving my car, between automobiles.

In neither case does it necessitate some sort of Incredible Hulk freak out, nor does it ever compel me to act as vigilante.

And seriously….riding bikes in Portland is about as difficult and stressful as napping, compared to how it used to be, and compared to most other cities. I love riding and would never characterize it as scary, etc.

One of the best things ever, next to experiencing the thrill of rain on the face while biking, is sitting in traffic watching some Neanderthal pounding his fist on the dashboard and screaming line a lunatic.

I gain similar pleasure watching fellow bikers freak the hell out over every infraction. I have joked with friends that I want to give these people whistles and signs that say \”I\’M GONNA TELL!!!!!\”

Ok, see? Now I\’m laughing.

peejay
peejay
15 years ago

Coming down 14th at Burnside the other night, I saw a car in the bike box. Told the guy about the ghost bike to our right, and what it meant – he said he\’s from Arizona and didn\’t know. He backed up as I asked, and I thanked him, and on we went.

peejay
peejay
15 years ago

knappster:

Where\’d you move to? I\’m curious if you found a better reception elsewhere. My experience is that I feel much safer within the city limits than anywhere else I ride. And it\’s pretty obvious why: the suburbs are organized around the car, so there are never going to be the number of bikes there that there are here. If you\’re in fantastic shape and very dedicated, it may be possible to give up your car and ride everywhere in Beaverton, but in Portland, even a casual rider has that option.

bahueh
bahueh
15 years ago

same old, same old…still witnesses nearly dozens of riders blowing through red lights and stop signs on SE Hawthorne, through Ladd\’s and up Harrison daily…

Jonno…no designated laws for cyclists? huh? what the hell are you talking about? they\’re the exact same laws that car drivers have to follow…think what would happen if the same amoutn of drivers drove like cyclists do…into oncoming traffic, with no regard for stop signs, etc…

John Beaston
John Beaston
15 years ago

Lots of newbies on sections of my NPDX-to-Beaverton commute. They are easy to spot and seem to appreciate the friendly \”Hello\” and ding-ding as I pass. Nice to see them out there.

I have noticed an increase in high-speed riders who blast by with nary a warning particularly in high-bike-traffic areas. Guys, please get a grip, and a bell.

Drivers have generally seemed more considerate lately especially downtown and on the eastside. The westside has its usual crazies.

Christopher
15 years ago

I ride from around 36th and Powell over the Hawthorn bridge into downtown to catch MAX for work.

Lots of newbies. Yes.

The folks who seem to break the laws the most are the \”experienced\” riders. The Lance Armstrong wannabes and many others who clearly should know better. They seem to blow every single stop sign on the road.

You can\’t imagine how surprising/shocking it is to be riding along and making a left onto Clinton from 26th, only to be nearly run over by some freak going like a bat out of hell downhill westbound blow\’n the stop at 30+mph and flip\’n off the cars who honk their horns at him as he screams on by…

jeremy
jeremy
15 years ago

It is like people are pissed off because we don\’t pay the high gas prices and they do.

I got my head almost taken off a couple weeks ago because I brought my bicycle onto the MAX. The guy started yelling at me saying there is not enough room, and people are sick of us cyclists.

All of you cyclist out there bashing other cyclist- do you ride because you have to, or choose to? Or are you simply a joy rider that thinks he knows something because he rides when the weather gets nice?

I would encourage you to try it day in and day out and see not only the good (which there are a lot of friendly motorists and cyclists) as well as the bad (there are a lot of those as well.)

beelnite
beelnite
15 years ago

More riders for sure… overall but I rode in this morning and things were eerily calm. I actually wondered where everyone was… I\’ve been out-of-state for a week so hadn\’t heard about the incident.

Things I notice: Some riders are terrible about respecting pedestrians on the Hawthorne Bridge and Waterfront. Even at 12 mph: a dinging bell, and screaming \”on your left!\” does not reduce the fear and discomfort of a pedestrian if we pass too close — or \”buzz\” them. This is be bad for a cyclists reputation.

Some cyclists seem clueless… passing on the right, wearing ipods in traffic, the downtown sidewalks, wrong side of the road, etc.

I confront while riding – though gently – most cyclists are appreciative when you tell them they are doing something that could lead to getting ticketing… or worse.

My biggest: Ladd Circle. I stop at the STOP sign while most others use the stop as an opportunity to pass me. I usually just say \”242\” which stands for the dollar amount of the ticket they could get. Odd looks.

Then I pray they take my cutoff to SE Lincoln because I am now going to embarass this scofflaw on the hill.

Portland is one of the best places to ride in the US – no question – but dang, do we take ourselves too seriously or what???

Ride with a smile. Thank courteous drivers and ride by example folks!

toddistic
toddistic
15 years ago

lots of newbs out for teh summer, cant wait until winter when the real commuters are the only ones out there. other than that? well i adjusted to a new work schedule so im not seeing the regulars out there. i do see alot of sidewalk riders out now.

BF
BF
15 years ago

This morning on the Broadway bridge I saw two cyclists crash into each other as one was riding in the wrong direction and their handlebars caught each other on the pass.

One rider was clearly experienced and going in the right direction, heading downtown, the other was inexperienced (no helmet, heading east).

The experienced rider flew over her handlebars, but got back up quickly before more bike traffic caught up. The noob apologized profusely.

It all happened and was over very fast.

peejay
peejay
15 years ago

bahuleh:

How many times do we have to have this discussion? In fact, you\’ll find that motorists are just as contemptuous of the traffic laws as cyclists; they just tend to break different ones. On some stretches of road, something like 85% of drivers are speeding. They also blow a lot of stop signs, and they\’re not opposed to going the wrong way now and then. But it\’s mostly speeding. You know why? Ask someone why he thinks it\’s ok to go 50 in a 35 zone, and he\’ll say he thinks it\’s safe enough, just like the cyclist who says he can see that no one\’s coming the other way at that four-way stop. It\’s not a coincidence.

jami
jami
15 years ago

i don\’t experience these kinds of things, but then i don\’t bike or drive like a jerk, and i don\’t shout obscenities at people who do. and when the occasional driver sees fit to shout at me, i pity his fat ass and keep on bikin\’.

islander
islander
15 years ago

In regards to comments about Newbies, I can understand that those of us who ride year-long can snicker a bit at the first hint of sun which brings out the \”fair weather riders\”.

However — newbie or not, I really must be honest and say that I am not impressed with negative comments from the more seasoned riders when I know that many a morning while riding to work (or wherever), it always saddens me when an obviously advanced rider zips past me on my left (oftentimes within inches of me) without ever issuing any verbal warnings.

Of course, we are not required to provide audible warnings to other cyclists (only to ped\’s if we\’re on the sidewalk is it req\’d by law), but when I hear complaints about how hostile the road is, I have to wonder how much better we could make it for ourselves with simple communication and (gasp) maybe even a greeting to the fellow traveler on wheels.

We cannot depend on or force drivers to start accepting us as legitimate traffic. However, we can create this space for ourselves, with each other.

In the spirit of kindness and compassion towards others on the road (such as the newcomer driver from Arizona), I ask why there is such a strong impression of elitism in some bicycling circles?

Can we not abandon the competitive spirit which has created this sense of detachment and hyperindividualism in america and join in the spirit of welcoming and guiding (when requested) those who join our ranks?

John Russell
John Russell
15 years ago

I always make sure to yell at cyclists going the wrong way in the bike lane, but yesterday, I saw a dirt bike going the wrong way in the bike lane! Mind you this was up in Vancouver, but I was about to call the cops, as the guy could easily have been drunk. Either that, or just plain dumb.

FredLf
FredLf
15 years ago

I\’ll admit to feeling a little trepidation when I went out for recreational rides on Friday and Saturday, but it was for nought. Everything seemed normal, no conflicts with other road users. I was courteous and friendly to motorists and received the same in return. Extra thanks to the guy in the SUV who waved me ahead at the stop sign on NW Lovejoy where it starts getting steeper, nice not to have to put my foot down.
That said, I gotta agree with the earlier poster who says he gets more grief on training rides than commuting. I\’m not saying it happens very often, but about the only time I\’m harassed is out on the rural roads west of town. I hope all those people who think slow-moving bikes don\’t belong on rural roads get stuck daily behind tractors pulling loads of manure. I\’ve also noticed that out in \”real\” rural areas far from PDX (e.g. Steens) motorists are very friendly and courteous.
So, all in all, I think The Oregonian is full of shit. The only conflict out there is the one they are desperately trying to manufacture. Shameful.

peejay
peejay
15 years ago

Anyway, did anyone notice the awesome signs all along Lincoln from 60th to 50th or so last weekend? These were temporary signs stuck in the parking strips of people\’s yards that said \”Share the Road\” and a couple of variants of good advice underneath, like \”slow down – set the pace\” and \”Pass safely\” and \”Watch for kids.\”

We need more of these!

djasonpenney
15 years ago

Speaking re the westside experience, I think that motorists by and large have gotten much more thoughtful over the last eight or ten months. The ones who are still driving dangerously really scare me though; it seems like this group is overrepresented by little old ladies and tobacco-chewers in pickup trucks.

I do see quite a few riders who are obviously very new (no helmet, denim pants in 90 degree heat, that sort of thing). They haven\’t seemed particularly clueless or dangerous.

suburbanite
15 years ago

I was just having this same conversation with a friend and fellow bike commuter last Friday. We actually both agreed that, on the west-side, drivers, for some unknown reason, seem to be more courteous and respectful than in the past. There\’s still plenty of folks who aren\’t really paying attention, but it is better than it has ever been with less intentional aggression than in years past. I\’ve also mellowed quite a bit lately too, meaning that I don\’t get enraged when someone inadvertently cuts me off. I just ride more carefully through congested areas where this is likely to happen so that I\’m prepared to deal with it when it does. And, frankly, I find riding in the west-side burbs to be as or more comfortable then riding anywhere downtown (which I usually only do on weekends). I\’ve also noticed significantly more commuters lately out here, both roadies like myself, and casual riders. Sometimes there as many as *four* other bikes waiting at a stop light with me. It\’s nice.

B.C.
B.C.
15 years ago

toddistic:

I can\’t wait until everyone commutes by bike year round! Maybe then we will see some streets turned into \”bike only\” boulevards.

Klixi
Klixi
15 years ago