River View Cemetery board rules on bike access

An issue that has been simmering since April 2006 has finally reached some resolution. The River View Cemetery Association Board of Trustees has met several times in the last few weeks to address the issue of bicycle traffic going through their property. The issue reached a boiling point in September when the cemetery installed a series of speed bumps that many felt were draconian and unduly severe (they caused several injuries).

After forming a committee to look into the issue further and inviting a representative from the BTA from PBOT out to look at the roads, the non-profit’s Executive Director David Noble has announced, “for the time being, no restriction on bicycling has been enacted.”

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However, Noble added that safety for their visitors and employees and liability exposure remain their top concerns and the trustees will take up the issue again several months from now. While bicycles are allowed to continue to use the roads, Noble says the cemetery will enact the following measures before re-considering bike access into the future:

  • as soon as practically possible, post signs at the 4 entrances and throughout the cemetery to advise autos and bicyclists of River View’s long-standing, internal speed limit of 15 MPH,
  • retain a traffic safety consultant for input regarding the design of the existing speed control devices; as well as recommendations regarding the need for additional such devices and/or the need to change or enhance signage or road stripping in connection with these devices,
  • consult with a representative from our insurance carrier to determine how they view the “non-cemetery” usage of bicycle commuting – specifically, whether our liability coverage or rate of premium would be impacted were we to face any damage claims by either an injured bicyclist, or a vehicle owner or pedestrian who might be struck by a bicyclist,
  • continue to dialogue with BTA, PBOT other interested parties in the bicycle community regarding ways to create the safest possible environment for all parties.
  • Noble says the trustees biggest concern is people riding through the cemetery outside of their posted hours of operation (8:00 am to dusk). When the gates are locked, people on bicycles have been going around the gates, over grass and grave sites to get onto the road. Michelle Poyourow from the BTA told the Portland Tribune that “It’s happening enough where you can see wear in the grass where they’ve been going through.”

    Noble’s hunch is that the trustees will vote in favor of continued bike access, but that “some curtailment of after hours riding will be put into place.”

    Access for bicycles in River View Cemetery is a privilege and we’re lucky Mr. Noble and his colleagues have allowed it to continue. Let’s do everything we can to be respectful of the property in order to maintain this valuable resource.

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