The congestion solution? Chill out and slow down

Posted by on May 12th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

new Hawthorne Bridge markings

Approaching the Hawthorne Bridge.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Since last Thursday, readers have left nearly 500 comments on our stories about a horrific crash on the Hawthorne Bridge between two bike riders.

The discussion has revolved around who’s at fault, the design of the sidewalk/path (it’s still unclear what it is, technically), how people should behave while crossing the bridge, and so on.

My thoughts and coverage instantly focused on the design issues. I wanted to hash out all the possible, infrastructure-based solutions and I thought this crash was yet another sign that our bike/ped network was falling behind and quickly becoming inadequate. I thought this high-profile crash was the perfect illustration that bikes need more space. Now!

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But so far, no infrastructure solution seems to be in the cards. The County’s hope is that the new Morrison Bridge bike/ped facility will help alleviate some traffic. On the Hawthorne, they’ve said no to a railing, there are no plans to widen the existing path, and putting bikes on the outside lane of the main roadway is pretty close to a non-starter.

I’m not saying we should stop putting pressure on policymakers and planners; they still want and need our ideas and constructive criticisms to make our transportation infrastructure work for everyone. But now it’s seems clearer than ever that we need to work on our mental infrastructure as well.

Bike Back the Night-20.jpg

Congestion ahead, act accordingly.

I’m one of those people who loves to ride in part because of the independence it allows. When riding, I don’t feel bound by the same constraints as when I drive (and yes, I do own a car — a minivan actually). I can stop whenever I feel like it to take in a view, grab a phone call, or chat with a friend. I can ride up on the sidewalk if I want (as long as I’m not downtown, where it’s illegal). When an intersection is backed up with cars, I can zoom right by them in the shoulder or bike lane, grinning at my good fortune.

I was also raised to see bike riding as more of a competitive pursuit judged by speed, rather than as a utilitarian mode of transport judged by purpose and function. I have begun to shed that baggage, but it still hangs around.

Those things, combined with always running late to another interview or event, and I’ve begun to expect that the bikeway system in Portland should allow me to go as fast as I need to go at all times.

It dawned on me a few days ago, how different I am when I drive. When I’m on the freeway or a street that suddenly becomes congested, I don’t swing over into the emergency lane, honk my horn a few times, and zoom by everyone. No. I put my foot on the brake and slow down.

Some folks out there ride like they should never be forced to slow down. Others feel like their bike bell, once dinged a few times, gives them a free pass to fly by (often mere inches from someone else), and still others will speed by without any audible warning at all (that’s a recipe for disaster if you ask me).

So, I hate to admit it, but those of us who ride in bike traffic should maybe start becoming more like car drivers. When the lane gets crowded, slow down, don’t make any sudden turns, and just chill out. If you still want/need to pass a slower rider, do it politely; leave plenty of space, make sure they are aware of your presence, then consider a wave, a smile, or even a “hello” as you roll by.

After the events of this past week, I think I’ll re-read City of Portland bike coordinator Roger Geller’s editorial from last month. Geller called on all of us to ride with both courtesy and confidence and I think he was on to something.

Geller wrote that, “Because our infrastructure hasn’t yet caught up with the growing demands on it, it’s imperative that we do all we can to share well.” He also added that, “behaving in an exemplary manner will help attract more people to bicycling.”

It’s hard to disagree with that.

What do you think? Has the Hawthorne Bridge incident changed your thinking?

— Read all our coverage of this story here.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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Jason S.
Guest
Jason S.

Well said. I second it.

Kevin
Guest

I’ve been commuting for years on my race bikes. They like to go fast and I’ve never been able to hold them back. A few weeks ago I finished building up my single speed commuter. It has a nice set of upright bars and a gear that only lets me hit 16mph with a tailwind. My commute is a lot more fun and less stressful now that I don’t feel obligated to chase down everyone within a 1/4 mile of me. Commuting in the slow lane is a lot more enjoyable than showing up to work frazzled and sweaty.

buzz
Guest
buzz

Very well put, Jonathan.

I feel the same way that we as cyclist need to act like cars when there is congestion. Especially if we want to be treated as traffic and expect to have the same rights as cars.

As more and more people begin to take up cycling, the Hawthorne Bridge congestion is going to be an issue. Hopefully, once the Morrison Bridge gets its improvements, it will help with the congestion.

But, just be thankful that the only major congestion you have is a short span across a bridge and not a 4 mile bottleneck on the Sunset Highway or I-5.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Very good points, Jonathan. I’m in line with that. I think it’s a good balance between the “everyone in single file no passing allowed” camp and the “out of my way don’t tell me what to do” camp. Fact is, as different as bikes are from cars, we share a need to get along with our fellow traveller, and limited space to do it in. Let’s keep acting like human beings to each other, no matter what kind of wheels or shoes we get around in.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Good thoughts, Jonathan. We’re kinda in uncharted waters with this whole “bike congestion” problem. But I think that some of the same principles of managing automobile congestion apply here. We can’t always simply add more capacity to solve a transportation problem, nor is maximum speed always the preferred outcome. We need to “share the road” with our fellow cyclists, as well as the cars.

indy
Guest

Yep, the same goes for cars. It may seem unintuitive (or intuitive,) but if the group as a whole wants to get there faster, they need to travel at a consistent, safe speed.

One accident, and the entire method falls apart (rubbernecking/flow interruptions/stop/start.)

M
Guest
M

That’s great, and it is correct for the most part, but I disagree with the “more like cars” comparison, though I understand the basis for using it.

It’s the behavior that people bring to commuting per se that is causing these problems — the impatience, the idea that getting to or from work fast is somehow important. It’s not really useful to talk about racer mentality, it’s much more about commuter behavior that is common to operators of both bikes and cars.

Going slow is an important aspect to working with our mediocre (“platinum?”) infrastructure, but baseline civility and recognition of the situation you’re in is equally important. Ignoring someone’s bell when they are asking to pass is likely to be interpreted uncivil — and as potentially dangerous — as brushing by at speed. Since we’ve all been told that’s what bells are for, we have a legitimate expectation that they’ll be acknowledged. Sitting in the middle of the lane and blocking when there’s room to be on one side is as aggressive in its own way as riding too fast. You are trying to provoke a confrontation when what you should be doing is trying to get where you’re going.

Both riders in that circumstance are likely to feel that civility has been breached. Both slower and faster riders could improve things by not setting their jaws and asserting their ‘rights’ in preference to understanding what pragmatic, intelligent behavior looks like in a given largely unregulated, situation.

As a principle, self righteousness NEVER leads to the best result in a situation involving two vehicles of any kind. You will not teach anyone a lesson when they’re frustrated or angry, The only important value in the moment is to make the space safer right now, even if you think it’s ultimately the wrong way to do it or if it feels like giving in to someone. Then, by all means come in and write on an internet discussion board about what you think should have happened, defame the offending rider, whatever, but in the moment, try to understand what’s at stake for everyone in that space and act accordingly.

Andrew Holtz
Guest
Andrew Holtz

Yes, Jonathan. Your advice on how we can best muddle through congestion is well taken.

That said, I want to underline and highlight your comment about keeping the pressure on policymakers. It’s been increasingly apparent since the Hawthorne Bridge upgrade that one of the biggest challenges Portland cyclists face is our success.

And while we see bike (and bike/ped) congestion all the time, the larger non-cycling public is barely aware. Indeed, many people would guffaw if you started complaining about traffic jams on city paths. The concept of bike jams just isn’t in their heads yet.

So while we use courtesy, calm and smart riding to get safely through the clogs, we need to take every opportunity (and make our own opportunities) to put bike congestion on the public agenda.

Say, next time you run into slow bicycle traffic… call it in to a radio traffic reporter. It’ll be laughed off as a joke the first time and the second… but eventually bewilderment will become curiosity.

Of course, we have to always remember to include the benefits drivers get from “one less car”… so that they understand how easing our jams also smooths their way home.

brewcaster
Guest

If you are riding for training, or for a vigorous exercise, think about choosing a time and location that won’t be cluttered with commuters.

I think egos get in the way of common sense a lot on the road. It is human nature to want to pass someone, and stay ahead of them. But why are you really on the bike? To get to work or home. If not, again, choose a different time or path that won’t have you passing dangerously close or into traffic.

I have started to really concentrate on slowing down and ONLY passing when it is ridiculously safe.

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

I was happy to read this article (and the Roger Geller editorial)..

I walk the Hawthorne Bridge to work most days (and also bike off and on), and over the last year its gotten more unpleasant to walk during the morning commute, due to bicyclist passing within inches at high speed, without any apparent consideration. What baffles me is I’m walking all the way against the rail, and I’m passed by inches when it seems they 5 or more feet of space on their left. It feels unsafe and definitely make me feel uncomfortable. And makes me angry at cyclists, which is the last thing I want to be.

I was happy to read the article and learn that the cycling community is engaged in an active and healthy debate about how we can all share the road.

My hope: bicyclist give the peds the same courtesy (and safety) they expect cars to give them.

Mike M
Guest
Mike M

I agree wholeheartedly. Slow down.

The problem is the people who do not agree are the ones who put people in danger. So, how do we slow them down to keep everyone safe? Cars have cops with radar guns. I would drive 80-90 everywhere I could (on highways) if there wasn’t a chance of getting a ticket.

chriswnw
Guest
chriswnw

Brewcaster @ 9.
“If you are riding for training, or for a vigorous exercise, think about choosing a time and location that won’t be cluttered with commuters.”

Your comment doesn’t really apply to anything during commute hours that isn’t the Hawthorne Bridge. The bridge is the only congested point of my commute, and I do commute during peak hours. Up to that point and after that point, it is smooth sailing and riding as fast as I want produces no conflicts.

OnTheRoad
Guest
OnTheRoad

I usually try to avoid the rush hours – usually hit the bridge earlier before both the AM and PM rushes.

But if I do hit congestion in the AM, I just remind myself – I’m only going to work – what’s the rush?

That doesn’t work as well in the PM – headed for an IPA at Roots or the Lab – outta my way – I’ve got some place to be!!!

Erica
Guest
Erica

As with any sport, there’s a time and a place for competition. Hopefully more folks will support track and cross races or use some of our lesser-known bike trails to get the speed out of their systems. The Portland bike scene has plenty of outlets for those – like myself – who think fast is fun. Commuting, for most folks, though, is unfortunately slow. Nicely put, Jonathan.

Marion Rice
Guest
Marion Rice

Yes, nicely said.. and please remember to never pass a Momma with kids on the right!!!

Aaron Hayes
Guest

I totally agree Jonathan- the few seconds you might save by passing recklessly are not worth the risk when its congested.

I also feel its my right to express how i think that’s a stupid idea to someone who does this. If you are going to act like a jerk, then you should expect to be called out on it once in a while.

Neighbor
Guest

“Your advice on how we can best muddle through congestion is well taken.”

That makes it sound miserable. I’ve never had bike congestion slow me down more than a couple seconds. Waiting patiently I might be slowed for a ten-count, but calling “on your left” clears the (typically) happy-to-oblige slower traffic in no time. Maybe a sum total of 5 minutes at year I’m forced to slow my pace for traffic.

Compare that to hours I’ve spent in motor vehicle gridlock. And how effective is calling “on your left” in that scene?

If your unhindered, uninterrupted commute is so valuable to you, find a less popular means- I hear there’s very little kayak congestion on the Willamette during rush hour (and don’t worry, they wont typically let barges through until after 9am so you wont need to slow down for them).

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

Interssting..the old arguement about ‘you can’t solve congestion with capacity holds true for bikes as well as cars. There is no love for the 12 lane CRC among most of us,so the cry for more capacity on the Hawthorne sounds disingenuous.

Like Jon and Roger, I vote for courtesy and patience.

Perry
Guest
Perry

Hear, hear! Just like with cars, satisfy your need for speed at the track.

bArbaroo
Guest
bArbaroo

I agree that voluntarily slowing down, being courteous, and remembering to breathe, are better potential solutions for improving safety than infrastructure or safety mandates.

However, focusing on behavior is value based and we need to be careful about imposing our beliefs on others. Yes, getting along is part of living in a society but the freedoms of which Jonathan speaks above are also valued components of our bike society.

I wish we could just ask everyone to slow down. I know that I benefit from the conscious effort I make to do that in conjested areas, or sometimes in serene areas where the birds are singing. I also wish we could ask everyone to wear a helmet. I know I just had one save my life and it would be great from my perspective to see more helmeted heads. BUT those are my opinions and I don’t think that makes it a truly viable option for all cyclists.

The puzzle here is that mandating a change to either the infrastucture or behavior alone will not solve the problem. The solution may lie in a combination of the two, or in a strong wave of voluntary action that improves safety overall but does not impose my values on those who have a different perspective.

Mike M -@11
I think we should be careful about assuming that it’s always the ones who disagree about speed, etc. being the ones that put us in danger – that’s a fairly broad generalization. The danger can come from one tiny lapse in judgement from a very careful person, or from a variety of other scenarios. I try to be VERY careful, I’d say extremely careful, but know I’ve goofed and scared people( I’m not proud of that) and once I saw a very slow novice rider cause an accident. So it’s not just the fast “careless” folks that cause problems.

Megan
Guest

Hear hear! Great article!

chriswnw
Guest
chriswnw

“Hear, hear! Just like with cars, satisfy your need for speed at the track.”

Ridiculous — there are hundreds of streets in this area where one can ride fast, just not on the Hawthorne Bridge.

Matt Picio
Guest

chriswnw (#12) – Perhaps not for you, but it applies on the Springwater frequently during summer evening commute hours, especially in the narrow sections, and I’ve seen some incidents on Salmon where cars are parked on both sides and faster cyclists have nearly collided with cyclists they are overtaking or pedestrians who enter the roadway from between parked cars. (I’m not ascribing blame to the faster cyclists, merely pointing out that incidents can and do happen in locations other than the Hawthorne Bridge)

Joe (#17) – I was thinking the same thing. It’ll be interesting to see how cycling etiquette evolves as the number and density of cyclists increases.

Jonathan, great job of summarizing the discussion of the previous threads – I think that really sums up the general tone and content of the 500+ postings.

we'll all get there eventually
Guest
we'll all get there eventually

I like the way this writer describes her new-found attitude.

http://www.momentumplanet.com/features/well-tempered-cyclist

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

After 130,000 miles logged in every type of riding situation around the globe, I’m still here because I internalized that patience and curtesey were the golden rules, then externalized them through my actions. (that, and luck)

And lest you think that’s just an aging loaded bike touring type talking, the first chapter of my first book was titled “Oh To Be Young And Go Very, Very Fast.” Fun fact; Back in my distant past I took a podium as a Cat 3. and I didn’t even cheat. No big deal to you cat 1’s and 2’s, but I’ll still be talking about them apples from the rocker. Point is, I still love to go fast now and then, but there’s so much open road out there just a few minutes from our door. I choose to save the scene from Quicksilver and ease up during rush hour and in any crowded conditions.

Steve Hoyt-McBeth
Guest

Nicely stated, Jonathan.

Check out Copenhagen at rush hour:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYajXN4pPHI

I think as ridership continues to grow we’re going to have to recalibrate our expectations for unobstructed cycling in the Central City.

mmann
Guest

What I said before. Civility (civilization) is the awareness that our actions impact others. It’s opposite is barbarism. Don’t ride like a barbarian.

carlos
Guest
carlos

The williams/vancouver bike highway is my typical through fare during the winter months. But once the sun comes out, I tend to find other less traveled routes. This makes me less likely to compete with anyone out there, and in turn enjoy my ride more. This may not work however when crossing say the Hawthorne Bridge as it is one of the few river crossing in the area.

Rob Word
Guest

I agree. Courtesy goes a long way. Stop at stop signs and red lights. Slow down when there’s congestion. Signal for turns. You don’t have to behave exactly like a car, but do so within reason. Shaving a few seconds off of a 20-minute commute isn’t really worth the risks.

Michael M.
Guest

To answer your question, JM, no it hasn’t changed my thinking because I’ve always thought that way. My appreciation of cycling has always been purely non-competitive, recreational and utilitarian, so it has always been a comfortable fit with the notion of commuting and urban cycling. (The racing/speed aspects of cycling have never interested me.) It’s interesting and enlightening to read a frank assessment of your own attitudes and perspective, coming from a different cycling background. One thing that has always puzzled me about the speedracers amongst us is why they are in such a hurry. I’ve thought that if I were in that much of hurry, I’d just drive. But I guess I’ve overlooked the enjoyment some people get from racing around town, even where it isn’t necessarily wise or appropriate. To me, an intrinsic part of the pleasure of cycling around town is being able to take time to appreciate my surroundings, similar to the way you describe it. For me, that just doesn’t jive with zooming over a bridge, weaving around pedestrians and others cyclists, dinging my bell, and continually issuing “on your left” warnings. If I wanted that kind of stress, I’d buy a car. I’d just as soon slow down behind a slower rider (and have done, many times) and take the extra seconds to get a better look at the scenery.

M #7 — The problem as I see it now is that not riding on the “cycling” side of the Hawthorne Bridge MUP creates the conditions for what happened to Erica. I’ve always ridden to the right, to allow other cyclists by, moving to the left only when I’m coming upon pedestrians. But I question the wisdom of that now, because of this incident. You say, “Sitting in the middle of the lane and blocking when there’s room to be on one side is as aggressive in its own way as riding too fast,” but the other side of that is that moving back and forth gives certain types of cyclists the impression that it is safe to pass when it really isn’t. When the bridge is congested, as it is during rush hour, I have to question the wisdom of trying to be polite to the wants of speedier cyclists instead of holding your ground and making it clear that this is one time when they will have to slow down.

Perry
Guest
Perry

ChrisNW (#22) – Sure, if it’s safe to do so under the prevailing conditions and it does not violate the law. If you’re not sure it’s safe, then don’t do it. The streets are not a racetrack.

Perry
Guest
Perry

Mmann (#26) “Don’t ride like a barbarian.” – can I get that embroidered on my jacket?

beelnite
Guest
beelnite

This incident hasn’t changed my repeated and tired pleas to our “community” for a little more awareness, courtesy and patience on the Hawthorne. This has been an issue really for many years.

However I will say that by joining the bikeportland forum I have been gently educated by the more experienced riders about how to mentally approach the commute.

Going fast and making time is fun, but there’s a time and a place. Sharing a crowded path with Peds… not the place.

I think most everyone reading bikeportland agrees. We’re sorta preaching to the choir. Let’s take it out on the road – politely of course.

And in your own unique way…

Fair warning to the light jumpers, right side passers, lane crowders and speed demons leaving downtown… I am going to catch up to you regardless of whatever weave and bob you engage in on the Hawthorne. If I don’t catch you at Grand I will catch you at Ladd – and if you’re still recklessly buzzing – I will gently and blatantly embarass you on SE Lincoln’s hill.

I might even reel you in regardless of where you’re heading just to politely discuss matters with you. Yeah, it’s an obsession.

I do this to some kid or helmetless wannabe just about every other day. It’s really disheartening to get passed by 38 year old on an MTB with fenders ya’ll.

Don’t let it happen to you!

chriswnw
Guest
chriswnw

perry @ 30:
“Sure, if it’s safe to do so under the prevailing conditions and it does not violate the law. If you’re not sure it’s safe, then don’t do it. The streets are not a racetrack.”

It is pretty difficult for even the fastest of cyclists to even exceed or match the speed limit on city streets, most of which have 25-35 mph limits.

Speedyg
Guest
Speedyg

Sentinel or signaling events such as the crash on the Hawthorne bridge should make us all pause and think about the possibilities. Regardless of ability, we can all learn from these situations.

Nicely stated JM.

KruckyBoy
Guest
KruckyBoy

Great piece Johnathon- Really, we should be thrilled that there are so many people riding. Let’s just use some common courtesy when we’re out there.

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

chrisnw….25mph is easy on a road bike…wind resistance gets a bit more challening up around 27-28mph for any sustained solo effort…just sayin.

I for one would like to hear why Jonathan says…
“So, I hate to admit it, but those of us who ride in bike traffic should maybe start becoming more like car drivers. ”

why do you hate to admit it?
seems contradictory to the “we’re all traffic stance” doesn’t it?

would you extend this feeling to promoting the cessation of speed at stop signs or will it take another near tragic accident for that to come about?

KruckyBoy
Guest
KruckyBoy

and sorry for misspelling your name- my bad.

Corey
Guest
Corey

Michael M #29 – “I’ve always ridden to the right, to allow other cyclists by, moving to the left only when I’m coming upon pedestrians. But I question the wisdom of that now, because of this incident.”

This sums up exactly how this incident has made me feel. I am probably middle of the road speed wise – I pass and I get passed daily. I always try to be courteous to both faster and slower riders but there’s no question that I’d rather be perceived as discourteous by a few racer types than in an accident like Erica’s. My only concern is that a number of those fast riders are going to pass no matter what because a good chunk of them don’t give me any warning they are there.

Perry
Guest
Perry

ChrisNW (#34) – Yeah, that’s pretty obvious. I’m not talking about violating the speed limits so much as violating the Prima Facie speed law.

When is it appropriate for someone to risk putting another biker or pedestrian to the pavement in order to satisfy their need to be first?

beeInite – It’s even better when you’re 48. There, I’ve outed myself as an old fart.

a
Guest
a

after training for races, i’ve become tired enough to not care about chasing down the guy ahead of me during my commute

…unless he just blew a stop sign or light, then I have to catch him to show him that you can still go fast on your bike and observe the law (and that he’s still slow even while blowing the traffic signals)

Mike
Guest
Mike

As a cyclist, I like to pass as close to the railing as possible because there’s a foot drop on my left with a bunch of cars!!!!! Not to mention the bridge being super windy sometimes, which can really knock you off balance. I’m all for slow safe passing, but don’t ask someone to risk themselves just so you feel safer!

BURR
Guest
BURR

this is not an infrastructure problem, it is a people problem

k.
Guest
k.

The whole ‘fast vs. slow’ argument here is tripping people up. Someone said that “slow is all relative” and that’s so true. The real issue is; are we riding at a safe speed for the conditions? That should be the only valid argument regarding speed. My slow may be your fast and there should be no problem with that from either side as long as both of us are riding safely. We need to stop judging people by the speed they ride. The variables that determine that are myriad (type of bike, condition, attitude, etc) and should have little, if any, bearing in this discussion.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Joe Adamski#18:

Interssting..the old arguement about ‘you can’t solve congestion with capacity holds true for bikes as well as cars. There is no love for the 12 lane CRC among most of us,so the cry for more capacity on the Hawthorne sounds disingenuous.

That sounds like a great argument until you think about it. First, say we increased bike capacity and bike traffic increased to the point that congestion returned. Is this a bad thing? It seems to me to be a very desirable outcome, with more people using bikes instead of cars. It’s the kind of induced demand we actually spend all our time on this site advocating for, no? The induced demand created by an expanded CRC, on the other hand, is one where more people move further from their place of work because the cost of driving longer has temporarily gone down (with the increased capacity) until enough people make that same decision and the traffic fills the capacity. The outcome in that case is bad for the environment, the health of the commuters and neighbors of the road, etc.

I love the fact that there’s a lot of bike traffic, and if building more bike capacity generates more bike traffic, so much the better! Maybe that’ll mean that there will be that much fewer cars on the roads, and we can not just “take the lanes,” but take them over.

amanda
Guest
amanda

Well said, Mr. Maus. Honestly, sometimes riding around downtown feels like negotiating one kind of puzzle after another: the intersection where drivers never see you, the spot where the bus pulls over, the traffic jam that blocks the throughway, the pedestrians loping about, the unruly dogs jumping around on the end of leashes. And then the bridge where we tap dance with pedestrians, cyclists, homeless, hipsters, kids, elderly, cars, trucks and busses. Sometimes I just want to get through it. That’s congestion for you. And this incident has been a very good reminder. No one wants to crash or be responsible for a crash. Take it easy out there folks and enjoy the summer.

Chris
Guest
Chris

I’d like to see more hello’s and waves. I try to say good morning or good afternoon often on the bike boulevards. I guess I’ll try that instead of “on your left” till the Morrison relieves some congestion. I miss the winter snow rides already. Open streets and faster rides but will give this SLOW thing a chance.

KWW
Guest
KWW

I was thinking of the technical issues preventing the modifications necessary to the bridge, and I thought, it would be really interesting if the bicycle community could force the issue and take one eastbound and/or westbound lane from the cars for the 5 peak months of bike ridership.

That would be a real watershed event. DOT says that the bridge is overload? Good, give US the lanes…

brettoo
Guest
brettoo

Ditto Jonathan, Roger (who’s been asking us to slow down for years), and everyone else who says let’s just chil a bit. Maybe we go fast because of all that coffee (not that I’m giving up my stumptown) and because so many of us were used to driving cars before we got on bikes?
I also agree with Kevin above about how maybe some of this has to do with the kind of bikes we ride. When I visited Holland and rode a Dutch bike, I cruised at a lot more leisurely pace, and loved it. When I returned to Portland and jumped on my hybrid, I suddenly wanted to go FAST. Then I bought a used Dutch bike with the upright position and smooth ride, and again I’m happy and comfortable riding at a slower pace. I really think it has something to do with the upright posture; it’s easier to go slow and be stable (no wobble), and somehow just feels more natural. Anytime I get back on a typical (and admittedly more efficient) American bike, it’s like my body posture is encouraging me to go fast. But on my upright bike, now, unless I’m really riding for the exercise instead of transportation, I just leave a couple minutes earlier and enjoy my ride a lot more, and sweat less. I can enjoy the ride, even a familiar one like the Hawthorne etc. and not just focus on getting to my destination ASAP.

RyNO Dan
Guest
RyNO Dan

You opened a big can of worms !