Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 12th, 2008 at 2:57 pm
“It appears the bike riders have gotten a little soft over the years…Just be careful, folks. It’s not Afghanistan.”
— Eugene resident Marty Casado in a letter in the Eugene Register-Guard about concerns over leaf piles in the bike lane
We’ve been following the issue of leaf piles as a danger to bike traffic both in Portland and, most recently, down in Eugene.
Bike advocates in Eugene are pressing the city to clean up the problem. Shane Rhodes is a Eugene-based bike advocate and has been active on the leaf issue. He’s also on the City of Eugene’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and sent us an update from their meeting last night. He also sent along the text of an entertaining letter to the editor from today’s Register-Guard newspaper and his response.
First, the update:
We discussed this issue at the BPAC last night and we are still working on the issue; the Safety & Education subcommittee will be meeting in the New Year and will hopefully get a report back from Staff on what they have been working on regarding miles of curb side bike lanes, other cities programs, and more information. Stay tuned for more.
And now, the letter (I can’t decide which line is my favorite!):
Bikers whine too much
The article about bike riders whining about leaves in the street is ridiculous.
I rode skates to work for 20 years; try it on roller skates. A little tougher, but still quite doable. I bike all over all the time. Dangerous? Just be careful, folks. It’s not Afghanistan.
We have two huge deciduous trees in our front yard, and there are many belonging to the fairgrounds across the street. Needless to say, the leaves blow all over, and the thought of putting them all in 5,000 plastic bags is a bit silly and wasteful.
Perhaps they would have us out vacuuming the streets each morning to give them a nice smooth surface to ride their bikes over.
It appears the bike riders have gotten a little soft over the years. I am a 50-year bicycler living on the bike path.
And here’s Shane’s response (a great example by the way):
I was waiting for a letter like Marty Casados to arrive after the article regarding leaves in the bike lane. In talking to fellow cyclists two of the fears of dealing with this issue are that people will think we want to end the leaf program and that we are just a bunch of whining cyclists complaining about petty things when really we have it so good in Eugene.
It is true that cycling in this area is good, however it is not true that it is great for everyone OR that the majority of cyclists want to end the leaf program. It is easy to make the choice to drive, it is not easy to choose cycling because we don’t have a complete system of comfortable bike ways and we still have barriers for kids, families, and new cyclists. We expect leaves to falls, rain to come, and normal road hazards to be present. What we don’t expect is for the City to say it is okay to pile leaves in a lane dedicated to travel. It’s not called a “leaf pile lane”. Let’s talk about other options, not ending but adapting the program.
It might be fine for someone like me, who teaches bicycle education, or Mr. Casado who has been cycling for 50 years to maneuver around leaf piles on busy roads, but as we try to encourage new cyclists these piles are a barrier we don’t need to place in their way.
Thanks Shane. Nice work so far. Keep us posted.