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Commissioner Fritz: No to bike share until “dangerous” bicycling subsides

Posted by on August 16th, 2011 at 1:26 pm


Commissioner Amanda Fritz
(Photo © J. Maus)

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz plans to vote against a PBOT request for federal funds that includes a bike share system when it comes in front of Council tomorrow.

Since her winning campaign back in 2008, Fritz has championed “basic services for all 95 neighborhoods” as the pillar of her policy making. Given that, when it was reported yesterday that she would vote no on bike share, I wasn’t completely surprised.

What I am surprised about is that the “basic services first” mantra isn’t the only reason she objects to the bike share project.

In an email to a constituent who urged Fritz to support bike share, the Commissioner said she won’t support it because she sees too much bad bicycling behavior already downtown and she’s concerned bike share will just make it worse. In the email, she also accuses “the cycling community” of not doing enough to curb what she calls “dangerous behaviors.”

See Commissioner Fritz’s email below (emphasis mine)…

“… My choice is basic infrastructure to make streets safer for all, before a bike rental program to encourage people to cycle in an unsafe environment.

I may support a bike sharing program downtown when I see bike riders using downtown streets and sidewalks in a safe manner. Daily, I see cyclists in the Light rail and bus lanes in front of my office. I see cyclists riding on the sidewalks, endangering and harassing pedestrians. I see cyclists running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced cyclists. I believe a bike rental program downtown would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for cyclists as well as pedestrians and drivers. The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.

Until downtown streets and sidewalks are safe for all modes of users, I will not support using scarce transportation dollars for projects that would exacerbate problems rather than providing basic services that enhance safety for all modes.”

When I emailed Fritz asking to share reasons for her opposition, she replied that, “I would rather spend $2 million on structural improvements for cyclists and pedestrians on Barbur, or elsewhere in neighborhoods outside of downtown.” She also added the sentiment about bicycling behavior:

“I am also concerned about behavior I see every day downtown, with cyclists riding on the sidewalks, bus and light rail lanes. Since even cyclists who are experienced riding downtown endanger themselves and other users of the right-of-way, I can’t support a program encouraging additional, occasional cyclists downtown without a proactive education campaign first.”

Fritz hasn’t shared details of a plan that would adequately educate people about how to operate bicycles in traffic and she hasn’t provided any benchmark for how much good behavior she’d like to see before she’d feel comfortable spending money on bike projects downtown.

Perhaps she’ll flesh out her objections during testimony at City Council tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for a full report.

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  • Jim F August 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Nothing Amanda Fritz does or says could surprise me.

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    • Bill Michtom January 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      Way to criticize with no support for your statement.

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  • John Mulvey August 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    This is an incredibly short-sighted position for Amanda to take. I’ve been a big booster for the Foster improvements and have been disappointed with the BTA’s approach to this round of Flex Funds –they’ve burned more bridges than they realize, I think.

    That said, Amanda is on the verge of ensuring herself a quick exit from the council. This is an incredibly stupid position to take.

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    • Andrew Seger August 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

      This is all so correct. Especially since the main criticism against Frtiz is she lacks vision. Hopefully with Sam Adams and Randy Leonard not running again it can still garner the votes. Can’t wait to vote against her.

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    • Bill Michtom January 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Please provide a long-sighted position. Thanks.

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  • Mark August 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Interesting. Perhaps we should not allow any additional cars into the CBD until the existing cars, experienced drivers, show that they can be responsbile, not drive in the bus lane, respect speed limits, red lights and crosswalks.

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    • Seth Alford August 17, 2011 at 12:07 am

      Taken to its logical conclusion, Fritz’s logic would have us not spend any transportation dollars on any project. Ever. Mark made the argument about the car driving community. But he neglected to mention that bus drivers sometimes make mistakes, so we can’t spend anything on buses until the bus driving community gets all of its members to not ever make a mistake. I’m sure that street-car and Max motormen sometimes neglect to blow the horn for a grade crossing, overshoot a station, close the doors too soon so that parents and children are separated, etc. So we can’t spend any more money on rail based transit until the rail based transit community gets all of their members to never do anything wrong, etc.

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    • Colin August 17, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      Turn Signals!!!!!!!! I live downtown and ride every day of the year and hardly a single day passes where I don’t have a driver turn right in front of me without signaling. If following all the rules is a prerequisite for using the roads then there are plenty of drivers that shouldn’t be allowed and money for roads should be cut off.

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    • 007 August 17, 2011 at 10:15 pm

      …and not drive in the bike lane, the green place, make right hooks, talk on the phone, text. If any group needs to be educated it is the drivers. How many people will have to be maimed and killed before the law “yield to cyclists in the bike lane ” is lodged in their thick skulls?
      Otherwise, I really admire Amanda. She is hard-working and dedicated.

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    • Michweek August 18, 2011 at 12:14 am

      Don’t forget those aggressive pedestrians! All over the place, jay walking, walking against the lights, darting out in front of people, opening/closing car doors, texting while not looking where they are walking. Man, we need high school Ped Ed!

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  • Dave August 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I appreciate her concern about prioritizing projects like Barbur, I understand that many areas of Portland, particularly SW and far East Portland are still lacking things we consider basic amenities, like sidewalks and such.

    The safe riding argument is just a red herring. If we used that same argument for automotive programs, there would be no rental cars or car-share programs, because people driving behave in the same manner. All of the arguments she lists there (except riding on the sidewalks) I see daily from people driving as well. It’s not the mode of transportation that makes the person irresponsible.

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    • Spiffy August 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm

      I see plenty of motorcycles driving on the sidewalk…

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    • A.K. August 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Yes, quite the red herring. And particularly deceiving, because it holds a specific user-group hostage to a unrealistically high bar to reach, therefore making it easy for her to *never* have to approve it. Very sneaky.

      This part was particularly annoying:

      “The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”

      You know, that’s not my job. I can try and influence my friends and family, but I have little influence on what strangers do. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the job of PDOT and the Portland Police. The last time I tried to “chastise” a guy on a fixie who ran some stop signs and flipped off a van, all I got was a look over the shoulder as he rode away, and I sort of felt like a douche. Besides potentially provoking a fight, there is little I can do to hold a stranger accountable.

      And I sort of hate the term “cycling community” like we’re some sort of cohesive group, with a secret meeting every Monday night at the local grange hall. We are as diverse as any other “community”, and

      When drivers are required to start holding each other accountable before road improvements are made, I’ll listen to what Amanda has to say. Until then, I can’t wait to vote her out of office. She obviously has no use there.

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    • Kevin August 17, 2011 at 10:33 am

      When was the last time you saw a government subsidized car rental program. Otherwise, your argument is silly.

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      • Richard Masoner August 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm

        @Kevin: The city of San Jose recently completed a shiny, brand new consolidated rental car facility at the airport for $270 million. I’m pretty sure that counts as a subsidy.

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      • 007 August 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm

        It wouldn’t surprise me if the government is subsidizing Hertz, Budget, National, etc. We taxpayers are always subsidizing business and industry, the latest being poultry factory “farmers”. Frankly, I don’t think my taxpayer dollars should subsidize the torture of a billion chickens. Off topic, I know.

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    • jay jay mack August 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Exactly – we don’t even have sidewalks in half the east side and they want to spend millions on these give-away bikes.

      I’m pretty sure most of the people who like to bike in this town already own bikes. If there is any demand for temporary rental bikes I’m sure there are bike places that rent them.

      The meth heads will dig up copper pipes out of the payment, how do you plan on keeping them from just stealing all the bikes?

      More bike infrastructure is what we need, not a bunch of free bikes laying around.

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  • peejay August 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I hope she’s holding up any road resurfacing or other improvements that might benefit motorists until such time as 18-year olds don’t drive their SUVs into cyclists in the bike lane.

    What a piece of work.

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  • Allison August 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Ok, so let me get this straight, bike-sharing (whose chief customers are likely to be out-of-towners and commuters) is a bad idea because people who probably aren’t likely to be using the bike-share (obviously, they own their own bikes currently) aren’t cycling safely downtown?

    Obviously there’s are problems with her the premise, that a) it’s dangerous to cycle downtown. Unless I’ve missed the coverage, all the most recent dangerous bike/car interactions have been in much more suburban areas – places where arterial traffic can reach speeds of above 35 miles an hour. b) that it’s cyclists creating the danger – I suppose it’s Commissioner Fritz making the very human mistake we all do – mistaking her personal witness (colored by a pre-developed narrative) as actual, you know, evidence. But my personal witness, colored by a pre-developed narrative says that’s malarky.

    But it also assumes something rather strange – that it’s people who ride bicycles (or maybe people who want to make it safer for people to ride bicycles, or maybe people who like to talk about bicycle safety) who are responsible for educating other people who happen to ride bicycles in the rules of the road. Because I’m pretty sure absolutely no assumption like that is made for operators of motor vehicles…I’m pretty sure that’s the government’s job, rather than say, AAA’s job.

    I say we stop all highway construction funding until all speeding is stopped. We should stop all new road building until people stop running red lights. And we should stop issuing new vehicle licensing until motorists stop getting confused by the new highly restrictive and rather byzantine Portland Transit Mall.

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  • Nik August 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I follow all the rules on my bicycle. What exactly am I supposed to do about somebody who isn’t me?

    If people are doing riding in a bad way it reflects the degree to which bicycles are treated like 2nd (or 3rd) class road users. It is intimidating riding around downtown, and I feel lucky that my commute schedule allows me to go uphill for 20 blocks through downtown before 7am when the traffic is light and that I can go downhill on my way home and keep up with the traffic flow.

    Accommodate cyclists with useful infrastructure and compliance with laws will increase. Hold infrastructure hostage to playing somebody else’s game with a stacked deck and some will comply, some will continue going where they need to go the best way they know how, rules-be-damned, and some will give up entirely.

    Every time I’m downtown I see people on foot jaywalking and crossing the street against the lights. I say no more sidewalks until the pedestrian community ceases their rude and unsafe behavior.

    (I tend to agree with Fritz on this one from a policy standpoint, but the “oh yeah and cyclists are law-breaking-jerks too” argument doesn’t make me want to)

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    • Allison August 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      Certainly, her position of, “Let’s spend money to keep people from getting killed on Barbur before we spend money to make things more convenient downtown for business travelers and lunch time commute trips” is valid. Limited funding and all that…but she’s not saying “If we had all the money in the world we’d do both” she’s punishing bike advocates because she has some idea that people ride their bikes on the sidewalk downtown.

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      • tim August 17, 2011 at 12:00 am

        Which is where people have been getting killed.

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  • Matthew August 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I would like nothing more than for the cyclists downtown (and elsewhere in the city) to start behaving like responsible members of society — except, perhaps, for the drivers downtown and elsewhere in the city to start behaving like responsible members of society — but I agree this is a somewhat bizarre reaction.

    Maybe she’s just trying to use this project to get a dialogue started?

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  • Allan August 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I worry that politicians are coming to the conclusion that throwing up completely unrelated anti-bike arguments like this are a way to win votes. Certainly not mine

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  • Joe Rowe August 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Time for the city to stop funding car projects with general fund money. That is until cars behave better…. stop killing pedestrians and bikes, driving on the rails in the bus mall, making illegal turns. etc, etc.

    Time to audit how much general fund money goes to car projects, land for parking lots, etc etc. Amanda has some valid points about all the bad behavior on 2 and 4 wheels.

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  • P Finn August 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Booooooo. Red herring indeed. The best way to “educate” the ignorant is to get more people cycling. We all know that the more cyclists, the safer it becomes. That means more motorists off the road. You know, the ones behind the wheel of a two-ton deadly weapon.

    Who’s unsafe?

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  • Ethan August 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Sometimes I think she’s crazy as a bedbug. Seriously though, when an elected official falls prey to the nonsense that cyclists’ behavior patterns are different than drivers or even pedestrians, we have a big problem. If anyone should be able to parse the relative R.O.I. of bike investment, and the inequities of a system that essentially subsidizes motor vehicle use, it should be our elected officials.

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  • Chris I August 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I’m only downtown around night class time at PSU (5pm and then 9pm) at the southern end, but I can’t recall seeing higher levels of lawlessness among cyclists compared with other modes. I have seen all modes conducting their fair share of illegal activities around the bus mall. Cyclists probably run red lights at a higher rate, but cars undoubtedly exceed the speed limits at a higher rate. If cars could fit on the sidewalks, people would probably use them to harass pedestrians as well. They already do that at crosswalks.

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    • Allison August 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      I <3 the north-south LRT corridor through downtown, but the way it was designed is almost *impossible* to understand and use legally if you're not on the MAX. I don't blame cyclists and drivers from not always getting it. I think it'd be easier on everyone if it was entirely transit only rather than mostly almost always transit only except here and then there you have to turn again….

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  • Ross Williams August 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    What Amanda seems to be saying is that she opposes this bike sharing project because it will encourage cycling. Given the misbehavior she sees, she is opposed to anything that encourages more people to bicycle. At least downtown. At least people know where she stands.

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    • jay jay mack August 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      That’s crazy.

      All she is saying is that there is a problem downtown – and that having hundreds of drunks and tweakers flying everywhere on their new free bikes will make it worse.

      As a cyclist do you want to share the road with the type of people who are going to be using these free bikes? All the normal non-druggie people that like to bike already have bikes.

      But the problem will take care of itself as these same people will also promptly steal all the bike.

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  • k. August 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Yeah. And Sidewalks too. We shouldn’t fund any more sidewalk construction until we put an end to all that dangerous jay walking.

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  • LDA August 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    These are all good comments, perhaps they should be mailed to Amanda?

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    • Alex Reed August 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks for posting the nudge! It caused me to email my thoughts to Commissioner Fritz! 🙂

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  • Alex August 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Why doesn’t she propose outlawing the bike rentals too? That’s the same kind of clientele that would be using the bike share program. Her 99% chance of being a single-term commissioner just went up to 100%. Most of us don’t need to be “educated” because we already know better. It’s all about enforcement. She could apply the same perspective to the Max. No new Max expansions until there’s no more fare evasion, darn it! Oh wait, fair inspections almost never happen. So much for that.

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    • John Mulvey August 16, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      I’ll disagree with you about Amanda’s chances. I think the conventional wisdom in City Hall and among political types was that she had a very slim chance. But her base of support isn’t among those folks. Out in the hinterlands I think she was actually about 50/50.

      Trouble is, public financing is gone, she has no money, so she has no polls and no way of gauging her support or identifying the right message.

      So apparently she’s going by her gut, which in this case was a really bad idea.

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    • Kurt Kemmerer August 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm

      She is not proposing to outlaw anything.

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  • Andrew August 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I intend to only use the bike sharing system to harass pedestrians.

    But on a serious note, it looks like she’s starting to take tougher stands because she’s not running for reelection. Wait…what? She is running? How?

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  • mabsf August 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Oh, how nice, so Ms Fritz is supporting radical driver’s ed about save behavior and basic traffic rules? How nice and progressive of her!
    (drip, sarcasm, drip)

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  • cyclist August 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Amanda Fritz is the worst type of politician, she’s unable to build coalitions to pass legislation that matters to her, so her only real role is to make symbolic “no” votes, since votes like this one pass without her support anyway.

    Nice work Amanda, I’m looking forward to booting you from the City Council at my first available opportunity.

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  • mabsf August 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    So in Ms. Fritz’ mind, our down town belongs to cars? How peculiar…

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  • Lance P. August 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Does she realize who voted her into office? With this short sited and misguided position I for one am excited to vote her out of office.

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  • Brad August 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Brilliant political move! Since cyclists comprise less than 10% of the city electorate, she can alienate the most passionate and vocal bike advocates while postioning herself as the candidate who will hold bicyclists accountable. Yet, she can also claim that she is not anti-bike but pro-responsibility and pro-safety.

    Commissioner Fritz will not pass the BikePortland purity test but she just picked up a ton of votes outside our relatively small echo chamber.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm


      You are making a common error in thinking that the mode split numbers are somehow representative of the amount of people in Portland who care about bicycling and the benefits it brings to our city.

      I’d be will to bet that a majority of Portlanders feel that our city needs to do all it can to promote safer, more efficient, affordable, healthier, and more environmentally responsible ways of getting around.

      Yes, if you asked everyone.. “Are you a cyclist?” Maybe a small percentage would answer “yes!”… But if you asked people whether or not they care about building a transportation system that makes it easier to ride a bicycle, you’d get well over 50%.

      You’re also making the mistake of thinking this site is a “relatively small echo chamber.” BikePortland has probably the largest audience of any citizen-run site in the region and there are very diverse opinions expressed here on a daily basis.

      Thanks for your comment.

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      • John Mulvey August 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm

        I think there are a strident group of anti-bike people, though they were unlikely to have voted for Amanda Fritz anyway.

        The more significant group, in terms of votes, is the people in the center who have started to perceive that bike projects hold some kind of special place in this city compared to other needs.

        Because of the heat that the Oregonian and others have generated with their “bike war” rhetoric and awful, divisive coverage of every traffic story, there are a growing number of “difference splitters” –they generally support alternative transportation but think the balance has tipped too far, and draw the conclusion that this side’s a little bit right and the other side’s a little bit right. This middle group is a significant number of voters in this city.

        I think there are good arguments to be made to answer their concerns. It’s really sad that the Mayor and the BTA have done such a rotten job of reaching out to them and making the arguments that might pursuade them. I can guarantee it will turn out to have been a serious error in strategy.

        As for Amanda, she is making a cynical attempt to grab the anti-bike constituency (which, as I said, won’t vote for her anyway) and her strident black-and-white view on the issue won’t win her any of the difference-splitters either.

        Until this morning I was a big Amanda Fritz supporter, and I’ve communicated with her on many issues over the last several years. I really wish she’d have talked to me (or someone) within the biking community before deciding to stake out such an asinine position. Something more nuanced would have put her in a good spot. This puts her halfway out the door.


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        • Allan August 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm

          very good + interesting analysis

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        • 007 August 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm

          Disagree with you about Amanda pandering to anti-cyclists. She has integrity, actually.

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      • Brad August 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm

        I would counter that you make the common error that the majority of Portlanders really care about bike infrastructure and that you overestimate our political clout.

        Everyone says they want… That is, until they are told the money will be at the expense of another nice program they like, or from a tax hike, overpayment of their sewer bill, etc. If bikes and their fans were really that powerful and popular, then why not put a levy out there to build the 2030 plan in its entirety? But would a majority property owners in Portland go for that? How about channeling 10% of PBOT’s annual budget towards bike infrastructure and safety? Or would that piss off the business interests and choke off the supply of campaign cash?

        I agree with most here that Fritz’s posturing is both silly and cynical but I also firmly believe that it will appeal to voters that think that Portland should be spening more effort on things like schools, public safety, and social concerns before giving more to bikes. Think back to the recent Metro race where Tom Hughes rather cynically embraced the CRC and scored a narrow victory. Where was the mighty pro-bike / safe transportation vote? Why has Sam Adams time and again walked back from his big bike talk and waffled on CRC? Why have no other prominent Portland civic electeds really ever stuck their necks out on truly bold bike initiatives? Where is “The Bike Candidate” with broad appeal rather than “that bike guy” that cannot get enough signatures to qualify for public campaign financing? Why isn’t the BTA getting the nation’s toughest cyclist protections in Salem simply because they represent the region’s bicyclists and no politician dares offend that constituency?

        Because the pro-bike vote doesn’t hold a candle to the combined forces of business, the motor carrier industry, and regular people looking after their own financial self interests.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm

          I actually agree with almost everything in your comment Brad.

          My main point was that it’s a mistake to think that the opinion about bicycling is the same as the mode split.

          But on your other points, you are taking words almost completely out of my mouth! I too am frustrated at the lack of bold politics and advocacy in our region around bicycling.

          I think we missed opportunities to put out an active transportation bond measure, I think the repeated PR debacles from City Hall have hurt bicycling in this city, I think we need someone (BTA? our next Mayor?) to announce a bold and very public vision for bicycling to get us way beyond the low-hanging fruit.

          But I digress. Thanks for your comment.

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        • Otto August 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

          This goes back to “what is the bicycle community”? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a bicycle, but most are not regular riders… whatever that means. But that doesn’t mean that the so-called irregular riders don’t want safe cycling infrastructure or wouldn’t care if someone like Fritz condescended to them about riding “responsibly”.

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          • Otto August 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

            Just want to add that I’m skeptical on bike sharing too, but I’m not using anonymous and exaggerated tales of the “irresponsible cyclist” as a cop out.

            I wish bicycles weren’t politicized.

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        • 007 August 17, 2011 at 10:29 pm

          Tom Hughes won only because Bob Stacey turned out to be a flawed candidate. If you were paying attention you know why.

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      • John August 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm

        Brad gets more right with his comment than he gets wrong. Most of the comments here are criticizing Fritz for being illogical. But politics aren’t logical. Fritz is voicing a common criticism of cyclists — “they don’t obey the rules!” We see it every day. We all know that annoying, irritated feeling when you see some cycling dude blow through a red light. Now you can add to it that cycling is redirecting transportation funds that should be used for safety improvements in neighborhoods where people live. Fritz is a good politician and she is wrapping up a bunch of votes with her opposition and her statements. More importantly, this is the nucleus of a political backlash against cycling. Before it grows into something real, we need to take her seriously and try to meet her halfway. She wants to see the cycling community in Portland do a little more education and self-policing on following the traffic rules. That isn’t unreasonable, and it is a small price to pay if we want cycling to have continued political support in Portland.

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  • JF August 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I would have respected her more if she just indicated the money should be spent on other higher priority projects. Bringning up her general thought on bicyclist behaviors she happens to observe/remember is a poor strategy on her part.

    I only remember all the autos that run read lights. I don’t remember all the autos that stop/yield.

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    • El Biciclero August 20, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      “I don’t remember all the autos that stop/yield.”

      I do, since I can count them on two fingers. Drivers following the rules related to yielding to peds/cyclists is the exception. Heck, drivers even knowing the rules is the exception.

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  • whiney August 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Hey… still true, even with my changes.

    “… My choice is basic infrastructure to make streets safer for all, before a car rental program to encourage people to drive in an unsafe environment.

    I may support a car sharing program downtown when I see drivers using downtown streets in a safe manner. Daily, I see drivers in the Light rail and bus lanes in front of my office. I see drivers endangering and harassing pedestrians. I see drivers running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced drivers. I believe a car rental program downtown would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for drivers as well as pedestrians and cyclists. The driving community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate drivers or reduce these dangerous behaviors.

    Until downtown streets and sidewalks are safe for all modes of users, I will not support using scarce transportation dollars for projects that would exacerbate problems rather than providing basic services that enhance safety for all modes.”

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  • John Lascurettes August 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Can we use Fritz’s own logic to forbid any highway or CRC funding until motor vehicle operators start operating safely too? I mean, they actually kill people.

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  • Charley August 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I’m with the others: no new automobile funding until drivers learn how to drive sober, and not kill cyclists and pedestrians. That would be the logical conclusion of Fritz’s reasoning.

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  • thefuture August 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I formally retract my previous endorsement of Amanda Fritz’s position on the bike share issue in light of this new evidence. I think most people on bikes want to operate safely and within the law but the infrastructure is not always clear or safe causing them to do things like ride on the sidewalk (which to some seems safer even though its not). I think everyone agrees the transit mall is just straight up weird and not intuitive for any mode of transportation.

    I do still think funds should go to outer neighborhoods before bike share though.

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    • Alex August 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Now if she had simply said the part about outer east needing more bike funding more than downtown without the nonsensical correlation with bicyclist behavior, she would’ve come off as much more convincing and more pro bike.
      Didn’t she vote in favor of the latest CRC mess? She must think that all the daily car drivers have eaten their vegetables…..

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      • Evan Manvel August 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

        FYI, Amanda Fritz has been one of the few public officials to speak at rallies against the CRC mega-highway boondoggle.

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        • Rol August 16, 2011 at 7:35 pm

          Makes sense… it’s in keeping with her position of being against everything.

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          • 007 August 17, 2011 at 10:32 pm


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  • NW Biker August 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    No more treats for you until all of other kids clean up their rooms.

    I mean, seriously.

    I also noted the repeated use of “cycling community,” as if everyone who ever rode a bike carried some kind of membership card.

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  • Matt August 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I just sent her the following email:

    I may support car rentals downtown when I see motorists using downtown streets in a safe manner. Daily, I see motorists in the light rail and bus lanes. I see motorists endangering and harassing pedestrians. I see motorists running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced motorists. I believe a car rental program downtown would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for motorists as well as pedestrians and cyclists. The motoring community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate motorists or reduce these dangerous behaviors.

    I’ll add that daily I see motorists run stop signs and proceed through crosswalks and endangering pedestrians. I see motorists speeding in residential neighborhoods and school zones. I regularly have motorists use my neighborhood as a cut-through during rush hour. The list goes on and on.

    Your argument is profoundly illogical. If it’s not, let’s then seriously consider eliminating automobiles from the downtown area.

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  • anonymous August 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I have personally broke all the laws available on the way to delivering a package to many, many different offices at city hall in 15 minutes or less.

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  • scott August 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    When is she planning on having her community police itself for bad behaviors. There are probably less politicians out for the benefit of their constituents than there are cyclists who foot-down at stop signs.

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  • David M August 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I certainly think the ‘people operating bicycles dangerously’ is a silly argument, but I really can’t help but feel that money would be better spent increasing access and safely in parts of the city that are sorely lacking bike infrastructure.

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  • Jason Skelton August 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    As an FYI, Mary Nolan is running against Amanda for her seat on the council. Mary would likely be quite an improvement over Amanda.

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    • Mark August 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm

      Between this and Fritz’s position on SW Ankeny, I’m becoming much more interested in Nolan as a possible replacement. Is there somewhere to find out more about her views on issues like these?

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    • 007 August 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      I’m voting for Amanda. I’m a 365 bike commuter. Amanda is honest. At least you know where she stands. You may not agree with her but at least she’s not a liar like most politicians.

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  • are August 16, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    pretty sure that’s the government’s job, rather than say, AAA’s job.
    until you said that, i wasn’t clicking on what fritz could possibly mean by the “bicycling community,” for reasons others have cited.

    but i actually do think triple A has a role to fill in educating motorists, so maybe fritz means the BTA and/or possibly LAB.

    while BTA does have some educational programming for schoolchildren, and they have ray thomas giving his little seminar practically every month, they don’t have a lot of hands-on direct commuter education. in theory, LAB does, through their LCIs, but i am not aware that any local LCIs are particularly active. (disclaimer: i am an LCI and i do not teach LAB’s curriculum.)

    but (again as others have noted) the people fritz would want BTA or LAB to reach aren’t really listening to those sources because they do not see themselves as part of that “community.”

    so who do these scofflaws listen to? allison suggests the government, which i guess is the “community” writ large. do they listen to commercial radio, do they watch television, do they read the mercury? these would be channels for this kind of messaging.

    much as i kinda like fritz, this not a dime until the sidewalk surfers clean up their act thing is pandering, pure and simple, because there is no way to meet her criterion.

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  • poncho August 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    You barely need to spend money on bike improvements on Barbur and East Portland or any location for that matter if you just LOWER the speed limit to a safe speed so that all users can use the road in safety.

    Anyone notice how bike infrastructure is almost entirely about protecting cyclists from the dangers and general impacts of automobiles? If there were no automobiles you would not need bike lanes, cycle tracks, HAWK signals, bike blvds, etc. You would just use the street. Better yet, there wouldnt even be stop signs or traffic signals, every intersection would function like a tiny traffic circle like you see on Sunday Parkways.

    Therefore bike infrastructure funding should be coming entirely from automobile users who are the sole reason for the need for bike infrastructure in the first place.

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  • erik August 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Amanda is going to be @ Friends of Mt. Tabor Park Annual Picnic tonight 5 – 8pm.
    Why don’t we stop by and talk to her about it.

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    • Dabby August 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm

      Yeah, because the Friends of MT Tabor themselves are such a level headed nice

      We should go say hi..

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  • q`Tzal August 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I know how to balance the federal and all states budgets:

    I may support an AUTO sharing program downtown when I see automobile drivers using downtown streets and crosswalks in a safe manner. Daily, I see automobile drivers in the Light rail and bus lanes in front of my office. I see automobile drivers drivers on the bike lanes, endangering and harassing cyclists. I see automobile drivers running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced government licensed automobile drivers. I believe an automobile parking systemdowntown would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for automobile driversas well as pedestrians and cyclists. The automobile driving community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate drivers or reduce these dangerous behaviors.

    There, I fixed that for you.

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  • El Biciclero August 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    This kind of parental attitude steams me to no end. In no other public context do we hear about making allocation of resources contingent on some ambiguous standard of good behavior, as though cyclists (and potential bike users(!)) are puppies in training that have to sleep in the garage until they stop peeing on the carpet.

    At the same time, we’ve got rabid dogs crapping on the carpet, attacking visitors, and destroying the furniture–practically tearing the house down–yet we have no compunction about spending the money to replace the carpet, buy better furniture and supply doggy treats for them!

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  • poncho August 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    portland’s very own michele bachmann

    she’s coo coo for cocoa puffs

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    • 007 August 17, 2011 at 10:37 pm


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  • peejay August 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Funny how she demanded that there’d be tables for public use on the car-free block of Ankeney St, but did not put conditions of behavior on those members of the public who would use them, like no public consumption of drugs, no panhandling, etc.

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  • Ben August 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I think Fritz is right on about unsafe bicyclists. It PISSES ME OFF when I see terribly unsafe, stupid cyclists just making a bad name for themselves and the rest of us. Running red lights is only going to make cycling more unsafe for everyone.

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    • are August 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

      and what do you personally do about it. fritz is holding you responsible.

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    • scott August 17, 2011 at 9:39 am

      Or more fun.

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  • dwainedibbly August 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I wish the “driving community” would do more to discourage dangerous behavior in their ranks. No more funding for automotive infrastructure!

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    • dwainedibbly August 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      Apologies to everyone who posted the same sentiment prior to me. I was so livid when I saw this story that I posted before reading comments.

      Can we get a comment about ZipCar? How do they feel now that it’s clear that they aren’t welcome in downtown Portland?

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  • jim August 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    There is no law that says somebody like Hertz or Budget cant rent out bikes. Why do we need govt to run this? It would be just one more thing that will lose more money than it takes in. Amanda is right that this is not the highest thing on the priority list. There are a lot of other things we should take care of first.
    Remeber Sam Adams vision of creating jobs in Portland? Make the city real nice and jobs will just come here. That was a failed plan, and this seems to be just more spending money in a foolish fashion. Kudos to Amanda for sticking to her guns.

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    • wsbob August 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm

      ” There is no law that says somebody like Hertz or Budget cant rent out bikes. Why do we need govt to run this? …” jim

      Good question. Probably because it’s a tough business to make pay off, and the execs and stockholders of those companies know this.

      “Amanda’s on the Fritz. I can’t believe nobody’s made that joke yet. …” Rol August 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      Rol …I’m sure lots of people have been thinking that very same bad joke, but not wanting to post it, even though it’s kind of silly fun to think it.

      It’s anyone’s guess why Fritz would introduce road user bad behavior by people that ride bikes in traffic, as one of her reasons to withhold support for a bike share program, because it seems there’s no small number of drawbacks a bike share system would face in Portland in order to be successful. Maybe Fritz was just having a bad day.

      At any rate, a lot of the comments to this story suggest people certainly have been having a ton of fun giving Fritz the ol’ jab. So now…having done that, I hope people will return to coming up with ideas about how a bike share system in Portland could actually work.

      Though vastly different in concept and execution they’d be, when the idea of bike share systems come up, I can’t help recalling Portland’s experiment more than once with the ‘yellow bike program’, which seems to have been an almost complete program. Better name for that one might have been ‘Portland’s Program for Vanishing Yellow Bikes’.

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      • Joe C August 16, 2011 at 11:24 pm

        The ‘yellow bikes’ program is in no way comparable to city-wide bike sharing programs as exemplified by DC, Toronto, Paris, Amsterdam, Hangzhou and the like. The Twin Cities bikeshare program experienced only 1 bike theft in its first year of operation.

        Just food for thought.

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  • Eli August 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    This thread is fascinating, from a social justice and white privilege point of view.

    Like white people in America, motorists get the privilege that nobody is judging the motoring class based on their individual actions — nobody is going threaten banning cars from downtown because a minority of people drive dangerously.

    But like non-white people, bicyclists are put on the spot to justify the behaviors and actions of other people in our class, and to have our right to safe infrastructure be made contingent upon each member of our minority group meeting the expectations of a member of the dominant, privileged group that takes their safe road access for granted.

    P.S. Amanda, in the unlikely event you’re reading this, I live in Seattle but visit Portland monthly to bike on your much more bike-friendly roads. The only place I bike on the sidewalk is downtown — and that’s because there’s nowhere that ordinary, everyday people who fall into Roger Geller’s “interested but concerned” bucket have to ride. I have no desire to ride on the sidewalk (it kinda sucks, even on my tiny folding bike)– I just don’t have a viable alternative. If you built a cycle track downtown, I promise I’d never ride on your sidewalks again.

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    • are August 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      downtown is the safest place in portland to bike in the streets.

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    • bsped August 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      You choose to ride a bike. People don’t choose to be non-white. Please stop with the “riding a bike is equal to being a minority” mentality. There is no spot to check off on your taxes or on a census form to say you ride a bike. There are tons of minorities out there that can’t stop being who they are to end the harassment that they get. You can always just off a bike.
      Please think of another way to get your message across without comparing bikes to being a minority.

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      • are August 17, 2011 at 7:29 am

        the point is that the dominant culture views the cyclist as “the other,” and that rather than trying to change this way of thinking the cyclist is asked to take responsibility for the actions of a few who are grouped with her. and even if it were possible for the cyclist to accept this responsibility (which of course as a practical matter it is not), nothing would change anyway. the cyclist would still be “the other” and would still be on the receiving end of abuse. yes, i can get off the bike and start watching television and shopping at wal*mart and voting for sarah palin, but there is some level at which this is not a true choice.

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        • bsped August 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm

          Just because you don’t use a bike as your main form transportation does not mean you shop at Wal*Mart, watch tv, and vote for Sarah Palin. Is that how you think of anyone who is incapable of riding a bike? DOoyou feel that way about anyone one who can’t use their legs or is blind?
          I guess I just don’t understand how hard it is to be white, straight, and to ride a bike in Portland.

          All I ask is to not take the mentality of thinking that riding a bike is equal to being a minority. Use an other analogy that makes more sense. I’m just trying to make a point but instead I get harassed by another entitled cyclist on this site.

          For the record, I would feel safer riding my bike downtown than I would holding my boyfriend’s hand downtown.

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          • are August 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm

            your closing note about holding hands suggests that you actually do get my argument about the cyclist as “other.” i do not feel that i am entitled, and i did not mean my comment as harassment, sorry it came across that way. my point was, and is, that there are some choices we kind of “must” make, or surrender our claim to being sentient creatures. i “must” use a bicycle as my primary transportation (if we are talking about short trips in a motor vehicle as the alternative), and thus i do not really see my choosing to do so as exercising a “choice.”

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  • David Smith August 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Who & what’s unsafe? Depends on how you’re thinking, because that is the best predictor of the facts you choose.

    BicycleDriver.Com deals with both, safety and the diifferent ways of thinking and compares them. And check out the free report there on The Six Biggest Myths that Steer Bicyclists in the Wrong Direction…Are You at Risk? where opposite ways of thinking are compared. Even if you disagree with me about safety you can learn more about why people believe and behave differently so you’ll understand them better.

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  • Dabby August 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I agree that we should say no to bike share until the streets are safer. Actually I believe we should say no to it in it’s entirety.

    But NOT for the reasons Amanda does.

    I do not believe our streets are safe enough to invite tourists/et all on barely capable rental bikes onto our streets.
    And this is not because of the actions of cyclists.
    Certainly not.

    On a side note,

    Is Amanda Fritz insane or what?

    I have not heard much good from her at all.

    Is obviously losing your facilities grounds for replacement?

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    • wsbob August 16, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      “…Is obviously losing your facilities grounds for replacement?” Dabby

      Uh-oh …did Ms Fritz also lose access to the ladies room? This is getting serious.

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  • Rol August 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Amanda’s on the Fritz. I can’t believe nobody’s made that joke yet. Seriously though, if she’s going to vote no on everything, why not just fill her council seat with a pumpkin? (Oh but first write “NO” on it with a Sharpie.)

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    • 007 August 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

      Here’s an idea. Write in magic marker above the push button on the hand dryer in the restroom, “For a message from Rol, press the button below.”
      I can’t believe nobody’s made that joke yet. LOL.

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  • Ian August 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I fully support investing in Bike Sharing for Portland. That said, I also fully support making ALL of our city safer for walking and biking.
    The problem here is not Bike Sharing. The problem is not being given enough funding to create the city we want: one where biking and walking are easy, safe, and attractive. I firmly believe that Bike Sharing is a game changer that will enable our city to see more people adopt the bicycle for more trips, which is never a bad thing.
    As advocates and supporters of bicycling, we need to stop fighting amongst ourselves for the scraps we’re being handed when it comes to transportation dollars and start demanding that ALL of our needs are met. If we fall victim to fighting over what we’re given, then we give way to comments like those from Commissioner Fritz that delegitimize our movement as a whole.
    From here forward, I am committing to supporting ANYTHING that’s good for bicycling and I refuse to shout down one bike project in favor of another. I sincerely hope you’ll join me.

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  • Joe Adamski August 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    So Amanda is one vote against. What about the Mayor and other Council members? You just have to count to three.
    FWIW, I question the bike sharing idea for many reasons. But not one of my reasons is remotely comparable to Amandas objection to ‘the bike community needing to police our behaviours”.I suggest we don’t build the Max bridge while there is a lot of fare evaders. And stop any new road construction projects until everybody stops talking on their cells while driving. Preposterous? Across the board, yes.
    While I genuinely like Amanda and believe she is a pretty good Commissioner, and I respect the path she took to office, I disagree on this one issues reasoning.
    Which, in the long run, isn’t too bad a record.

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  • J_R August 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I’m a daily bicycle commuter and used to work in downtown. I’m disappointed in the selection of bicycle facility projects proposed by Portland. Portland tends to select big, expensive projects that, in my opinion, have relatively low bicyclist benefit-to-cost ratios. Lots of fancy expensive stuff on most projects. I’d rather have more less-expensive projects. Things like paving a 4 to 6-foot shoulder on roads like a section of Vermont in SW. It’s a real gap in the system.

    I wouldn’t pick funding for Bike Share, either. Give me something that is long-lasting and proven with that will benefit more users. Just my opinion.

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  • Alain August 16, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Bike share or no bike share, how about…

    I see cars killing and maiming pedestrians and cyclists annually!

    Come on, when do you see our “bad behavior” resulting in someone’s death.

    Sure, I see a-hole cyclist every day, but I’ve not seen one of them actually kill someone. Whereas, on this very blog, I seem to read about people being seriously injured and killed by cars all the time.

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  • Ted Buehler August 16, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Shortsighted on Fritz’s part.

    We have the opportunity to launch a whole new way of getting around downtown and along N Interstate.

    For the $2M price tag we get a terrific, tested system that will be a gateway for nonbicyclists to try riding a bicycle. A fully functional, well-tuned bicycle.

    I don’t understand the “Bike Share or Barbur” debate. Can’t they all agree that both are needed, and delay an autocentric improvement for a year?

    Ted Buehler

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    • jim August 16, 2011 at 10:32 pm

      It’s not that it’s a bad idea, it’s just way far down on the priorities. There are a lot of things we need worse than this. We can’t do everything, Portland doesn’t have its own treasury dept. where they can go print more money for every project they want to do

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    • Dabby August 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      The Barbur Fix is needed.

      Bike Share is definitely not needed…

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  • Ted Buehler August 16, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    BTW, it’s one thing to post your comments to Bike Portland. But if you want to be heard, send them to Amanda herself.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler August 16, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    And, of course, if you really want to see this get voted into existence, you’ll want to email the other four commissioners who might actually vote “yes” on it.

    Emails and phone numbers are here. Go ahead — let them know what you think. Be the Squeaky Wheel.

    Ted Buehler

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  • jim August 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    “Good question. Probably because it’s a tough business to make pay off, and the execs and stockholders of those companies know this.”
    Govt. can never run anything as efficiently as well as private industry. If private industry can’t make it pencil out, then it shouldn’t be done.

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  • Donna August 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I can’t in good conscience support bike sharing that is subsidized by the city until *all* of the city’s neighborhoods have the basics like paved streets and sidewalks.

    That said, Fritz’s reasoning for opposing bike share seems to indicate a lack of critical thinking skills that should not be acceptable in an elected official. I guess it’s good to learn these things before the next election, as opposed to afterwards.

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  • Jj August 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    It is definitely YOUR perceptions that matter, not Fritz ‘s.

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  • fasterthanme August 16, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    The number one reason people don’t bike is they feel unsafe on the road. You build safer infrastructure, you get more riders.

    I ride to downtown every single day for the past 9 years and I don’t see how having a subsidized bike program there is going to bring more people to bicycling.

    There are a few nice places to rent a bike around downtown Portland. If this is so great let a business pick up the tab.

    Infrastructure is permanent, needs little maintenance and is used by more people then this bike share.

    And think about it. We already have experienced bicyclists using sidewalks and being perceived as dangerous. Do you really want folks who don’t have a lot of cycling experience to learn there? Seriously there are way more pleasant places to ride around Portland then downtown and all are more compelling argument for traveling around on two wheels.

    If you’re reading this Amanda, here’s one cyclist who supports you! (Thanks for the email links peeps, you made it especially easy for me to send my support)!

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  • Bjorn August 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    What am I supposed to do amanda? Perhaps you would suggest that if I see someone do something unsafe, regardless of their mode of transport I should tackle them and hold them down until the police arrive. What if they are in a car and won’t stop, am I justified in shooting them with a gun? This is idiocy, no one would suggest that we should stop Zipcar because sometimes drivers run red lights, well no one but amanda fritz!

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  • Bjorn August 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Also as much as riding on a busy sidewalk may make peds uncomfortable and is something that people should try to avoid, I am trying to remember the last time a cyclist riding on the sidewalk downtown killed someone. Seems like there are bigger safety issues to tackle before this one.

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    • wsbob August 17, 2011 at 12:47 am

      “…Seems like there are bigger safety issues to tackle before this one.” Bjorn

      Why do you suggest that death arising from pedestrians struck by a person riding a bike on the sidewalk, should be the justification for Fritz to take a stand against the bike share proposal? Portland does have problems with people riding bikes on the sidewalk downtown. Do a search of bikeportland’s archives. People have been injured by other people on bikes illegally riding the sidewalks downtown. Fritz is correct to be concerned about this type of danger.

      Fritz is probably quite right that ready access to bikes by people that may not have much experience riding a bike, particularly in traffic conditions, or knowledge of Portland’s laws specifically relating to bicycles, could significantly add to already existing problems arising from people that don’t operate bikes safely or competently.

      In other words, a successful bike share system in Portland could effectively dump onto Portland’s already congested streets, sidewalks MUP’s and bike lanes, a lot of people that don’t know beans about riding bikes amongst a lot of other people and vehicles.

      Which isn’t to say this is a reason Fritz should withhold her support for the proposal. There’s other far more significant reasons to possibly withhold her vote in regards to the proposal.

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    • Kurt Kemmerer August 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      Fritz’s justification is not logical. However, I have a friend who ended up with severe back injuries, went through months of pain and months of treatment after being struck by a cyclist riding on the sidewalk in downtown. I’m sorry, but there’s no reason to make light of the behavior of those who do ride on sidewalks downtown.

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  • Alan 1.0 August 16, 2011 at 11:57 pm


    so who do these scofflaws listen to? allison suggests the government, which i guess is the “community” writ large. do they listen to commercial radio, do they watch television, do they read the mercury? these would be channels for this kind of messaging.

    Ipso facto, law breakers don’t listen to the government. But maybe those other channels… Not so long ago motorcycle safety courses didn’t exist. Now, while not mandatory, they are quite popular, usually sold out well in advance, and enough road riders of many stripes have taken them that it’s cool to have that credential. How did motorcycle classes get popularized? Could that be a model for how to get bicycle riders into some formal instruction?

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    • Dabby August 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Has this not been tried here?

      I think articles about private rider education courses have been here on Bike Portland.

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      • Alan 1.0 August 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm

        I dunno. If there have been courses, they aren’t coming to mind. Remind me?

        Joe Adamski mentioned a similar idea earlier this month, so it caught my eye when RA mentioned it, too. As I said to Joe, the LAB classes seem a little long, maybe discouraging some people from taking them. I think motorcycle safety classes are 6 to 8 hours, and I wonder if a “intro to street riding” bike class couldn’t be even shorter in order to attract more people. I realize there’s plenty of material for longer classes but I’m thinking it might be better to get at least some basic knowledge spreading around than to go for “perfect” in one class. There could always be higher-level classes if the intro caught on.

        I’m guessing that one way the m/c classes attract students is by insurance companies offering discounts to graduates. Bikes can’t leverage that angle. But it sure seems like the “interested but concerned” segment might buy into self-preservation as a good reason, if it were presented to them properly.

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        • are August 22, 2011 at 9:30 pm

          the road 1 course, now called traffic skills 101, is pretty long, but they do have shorter commuter skills courses. again, not aware that any LCIs in portland are actually offering.

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    • wsbob August 17, 2011 at 11:07 pm

      “…Not so long ago motorcycle safety courses didn’t exist. Now, while not mandatory, they are quite popular, usually sold out well in advance, and enough road riders of many stripes have taken them that it’s cool to have that credential. How did motorcycle classes get popularized? Could that be a model for how to get bicycle riders into some formal instruction? …” Alan 1.0

      I think the answer to how motorcycle classes became popular, is complicated. Partly, I believe it was a kind of natural evolution with some connection to technology. Goes back to the sixties when motorcycle helmet use wasn’t mandatory.

      Motorcycles, being cheap transportation compared to the cost of a car, were the vehicle of choice for young people. Some really macabre crashes and collisions, stories about which the press compulsively published in sensational accounts, brought questions about motorcycle safety to the public consciousness. Along with all of thise were the activities of certain outlaw motorcycle clubs.

      Lots of public debate ensued about whether people that ride motorcycles should have to wear helmets. Public opinion eventually overwhelming won out, saying ‘yes’, they do, along with running lights in the daytime. Another thing, is that people that enjoyed riding bikes…motorcycles…got older. Realized that cars indisputably had the advantage over them in a ‘1 to 1’ case of inattentive car operation, and that a good counter to this for people riding bikes, was defensive riding techniques.

      There’s always people that are going to want to be outlaw road users, whether it’s with bikes, cars, or bicycles. Certainly though, there’s lots of room for increase in general social awareness of standard safe and responsible operation of bicycles in traffic situations. And that likely will result in an increase amongst people riding bicycles, practicing competent in traffic riding. Not that a point of competency will necessarily ever be achieved where model bicycle operation in traffic is the rule, rather than ‘so-so, part of the time’, but it could certainly get a lot better.

      People that ride bikes should not wait for motor vehicle operators to achieve a high consistency of in traffic operation to make up for their own lack of, or exercise of skill and knowledge in riding a bike in traffic.

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  • dmc August 17, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Amanda Fritz has proven herself recently to me. She seems too keen for me to dismiss her voice. I feel this woman is an exceptional politician. There must always be opposition to everything. The must always be an argument to anything. This lady is passionate.

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    • 007 August 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm

      Agree. She is extremely smart, works her arse off, really engages with the public, and you’ll see her everywhere participating in Portland outdoor events like Sunday Parkways and street fairs. She is a good egg. Quirky maybe, like Portland. She is not your typical politician. AND she is against the CRC, I believe. As I’ve said before. She has integrity.

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  • Deeeebo August 17, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Heres the thing, car drivers must pass a test for minimum proficiency in operating their vehicle and maintain a license. This is the benchmark by which their skill is measured (regardless of your perception of their skills). Most of the bike community seems to be resistant to any kind of formal regulation of this kind but until that happens Commissioner Fritz has nothing better to go on than anecdotal evidence. The community also seems to want to be seen as homogeneous and monolithic when attempting to influence policy but claims to act as unrelated individuals (“not my problem!”) any time criticism is directed towards it. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

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  • Jim August 17, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I live in DC and used to live in Montreal and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the BIXI bike share! It is amazing and I was shocked that the bike “capitol” of the country didn’t have bikeshare! Fritz needs to go to Montreal and DC and experience this bikeshare system and focus on getting cars out of the city, not bikes. I hope when you get a pro bike person in the leadership that they pick BIXI…. Its amazing… I would avoid the clear channel system DC had before BIXI, it was useless.

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  • Kristen August 17, 2011 at 9:31 am

    The so-called cycling community is anything but homogeneous and monolithic. A lot of people who ride bikes don’t consider themselves part of a larger cycling community.

    I agree with Comm Fritz that there are a lot of projects around the City that should be funded and completed before a bike-share plan is implemented, however she really went off the rails in claiming one of her reasons for voting no is because the so-called cycling community isn’t policing themselves to halt law-breakers. I hate to say it again as so many others have said, but making other people obey the law is not my job.

    But hey, since I ride a bike and am identified by others as being a member of the cycling community, I could police fellow bike riders– Comm Fritz, I’m going to need to be put on the Portland Police payroll and paid a salary equal to a regular patrolman, and be given proper training to fulfill your requirement.

    (FYI: about the only self-policing I do is with people I’m riding with and know personally. Or people who are riding the wrong way in the bike lane when I’m riding in it. And I self-police myself, so I guess I’m already fulfilling Comm Fritz’s requirements, both as a bike rider and as a car driver.)

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  • Waltzing Matilda August 17, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I live in Virginia, in a city that’s much much smaller than Portland, and I get confused by the term “bicycling community.” It assumes we all know eachother – like members of a church or club or something and can influence eachother’s behavior. Like I said I live in a much much smaller city than Portland (only 40,000 year round residents). I don’t know every other bike commuter in my city. I might recognize most of the other regular commuters in my neighborhood by sight, but I only know one or two of them by name. But, I certainly am not responsible for their behavior while riding. I will, once in awhile, yell at other cyclists who are doing something dangerous/illegal, but I usually get met with a middle finger when I do.

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    • 007 August 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      I think it’s an ongoing typo and the correct term is actually “bicycling commies.” Or bicycling “liberal elitists” (Terry Parker are you listening?)

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  • was carless August 17, 2011 at 10:00 am

    As an experienced cyclist, pedestrian, and motorist, I 65% agree with Fritz.

    Few things tick me off as much as when I stop at a red light, only to have a few kamikaze cyclists blow right through the light.

    Also, whats the deal with people STILL riding down MAX tracks? You are just asking to die. Either by bus or by your own bike tire in the groove. I see it almost every day.

    That said, downtown desperately needs bike lanes at least every other street (in each direction – N/S, E/W). Preferably like Vancouver BC’s multi-directional cycle tracks, so I don’t have to bike 3-4 blocks out of the way to get to my destination. I think 2-way cycle tracks would help eliminate the sidewalk riders.

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  • Oliver August 17, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Private vehicle lanes should have been removed during the redesign . It takes forever to get more than a block because of lanes is constantly blocked by cars (left turns…the devils work) waiting for people crossing at cross walks.

    Put in a bike lane, quit moaning about people riding around stopped cars or ban one or the other entirely from the bus mall. Don’t create an bad situation and then grouse about how bad it is.

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  • John Landolfe August 17, 2011 at 11:17 am

    This highlights the issue of trying to build transportation infrastructure based on the whims and biases (on all sides) of a few personalities. I do have a word of political advice for Ms. Fritz: to remain consistent on the issue, she should advocate that we freeze all publicly-funded rideshare programs until drivers stop driving drunk.

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  • Ted Buehler August 17, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Updates every 10 mins on the Oregonlive site.

    Ted Buehler

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  • GlowBoy August 17, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    So what are we in the “bike community” supposed to do about the amateurs who ride recklessly? Use peer pressure? Believe me, I’ve tried talking to red-light-runners and other miscreant cyclists but gave up several years ago. They are ALWAYS defensive and defiant, and OFTEN threatening. My attempts stopped several years ago when I had my life threatened by someone who appeared ready, willing and able to back up the threat.

    She’s clearly trying to take political advantage of widespread resentment towards cyclists (and the mistaken belief that we’re “all” blatant scofflaws), and trying to “punish” ALL of us for the bad behavior of some. Easy, but cheesy.

    Funny, since I really don’t think bikesharing programs are a good use of public money, you might expect me to be with Amanda on this one. I was even planning to vote for her in the next election.

    But no, now now. She has now guaranteed that I will vote AGAINST her.

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  • Kurt Kemmerer August 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Yes, Fritz’s argument is ridiculous. As has been repeatedly noted, automobile drivers also break the law, as do pedestrians, as do skateboarders, and on and on. Still, the responses seem overly defensive to me, and I feel like there is some perspective missing.

    Yes, some politicize every little incident in order to bash cycling. On the other hand, there have been too many anecdotes going around about pedestrians struck by cyclists on the sidewalk in downtown (a couple of the incidents I’ve heard about, I know actually happened). There have been too many incidents of cyclists riding through four-way stops with cars sitting there waiting their turn already. Heck, the other night I noted five cyclists riding after dark with no helmets, no reflectors, no lights but wearing dark clothing.

    I could go on and on with such anecdotes.

    Is there anything that can be done about it? I don’t know. I am now in a situation where I can walk to work, to the grocery store, etc…, so I don’t cycle anywhere near as much as I used to cycle, and I don’t feel I have enough current perspective. Still, I don’t think the defensive responses on this page serve the community any better than Fritz’s ridiculous “reasoning.”

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    • Otto August 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      But what exactly are other cyclists supposed to do? Some advocate testing and licensing, but the testing and licensing of bicycles would be a money loser for the state and would discourage bicycle use in general. Is the kid just riding around his residential neighborhood supposed to get a license? Or how about the adult with a fixie that is used only a few times each summer? There is no guarantee that a lousy bicyclist would suddenly be more responsible if licensed. And how would you enforce compliance? Are we to criminalize something that is a inexpensive, voluntary, and peaceful activity shared responsibly by a majority of cyclists without licenses now? That would be bad for cycling and a poor or potentially corrupting use of traffic police when cars are clearly the most dangerous thing on the road. I think bicyclists do a pretty good job self-policing already with the encouragment or peer pressure of helmet use, lights, reflective gear, etc., and the many books, websites, and clinics available. The problem with people like Fritz is that she says outlandish things to make it sound like chaos out there. So yeah, some people here are defensive but it’s not like they’re saying anything that isn’t true.

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      • Kurt Kemmerer August 18, 2011 at 5:53 am

        I said nothing about licensing, so I’m not why you responded with such a long bit about that. On the other hand, my perception is that cyclists are doing a much worse job promoting safety through peer pressure. I am not aware of any truly community-wide safety promotion campaigns. At the same time, I am seeing more and more riders without lights, in dark clothing, etc… I am not saying there is a cause and effect. I am saying that this situation makes the positive of cycling more tenuous. Thus, I do think it needs be discussed. Certainly, dismissing it as most have done on this board is not helpful.

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        • Kristen August 18, 2011 at 8:38 am

          You haven’t seen anything about “community wide” because the people that need the education don’t identify themselves with the “cycling community”.

          So peer pressure won’t work, unless they happen to be a part of some other thing that I’m a part of– professional association, hobby club, non-profit volunteer association, etc. Being a white, suburban-dwelling, female, payroll professional, knitter, member of a car club and cyclist doesn’t allow me very many opportunities to influence the people I see that need that peer pressure or education.

          The licensing issue was brought up in relation to your post because that is one way to educate the masses, I suppose. Except I already have a driver’s license and bike stuff is included in the driver’s manual (sort of) so I don’t see why I need another license. Maybe an endorsement on the existing license, and institute mandatory renewal testing (written test at the minimum) every 2 years. I’d go for that.

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          • Kurt Kemmerer August 22, 2011 at 11:10 pm

            That makes no sense whatsoever.

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      • wsbob August 18, 2011 at 10:45 am

        The thing about bike use and the need for some kind of strong modeling and/or instruction about how to competently ride in traffic, is that the entryway for use of a bike in traffic can come for people at such a young age. In fact, there isn’t any minimum age limit for riding a bike in traffic. Technically, a 10 year old person has as much right to ride a bike in traffic (some parents might not dig the idea.), as a 25 yr old person does.

        10 years old may be uncommonly young for people on bikes in busy traffic situations, but isn’t so uncommon, I think for people in their early teens.

        Add to this potential user group, the thrill seeking, rebel type personalities. Sure, people with those types of personalities use motor vehicles too, but with bike use, the restrictions against erratic, careless, reckless road use are almost non-existent. And so it is that a lot of people riding bikes…that, let’s face it…are smaller and more difficult to see than cars, are quite conspicuously putting fear in a lot of road users and people on the sidewalk.

        On their own, many people as they age, slow down and become more competent and responsible in the operation of vehicles on the road. Waiting for people to age and mature though, isn’t a realistically practical way of affecting a higher level of competent bike use in traffic and on the sidewalks.

        Fritz is right to raise the issue of many people not competently using bikes in the public way, but she’d be doing everyone a great favor by not complicating a mostly entirely different subject by introducing this concern into it.

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  • Eric in Seattle August 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Everyone contact her office and suggest that Portland stop funding automobile-related projects until dangerous driving stops!

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  • tonyt
    tonyt August 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Hey Amanda! Until you get all the corrupt and corporate sell-out politicians to change their ways, I won’t vote for you. How’s that logic for ya!

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  • David Smith August 17, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Not so long ago motorcycle safety courses didn’t exist. Now, while not mandatory, they are quite popular, usually sold out well in advance…

    Excellent observation Alan.

    Did motorcyclists choose to ride in the streets with the rules of the road, or did they choose political advocacy for dedicated motorcycle facilities? After all their death rate/hour is 10 times that of bicycling!

    Now, what’s the biggest difference between the two? It’s how you think about other people! And therefore how you think about your own personal responsibility.

    When you market for separate facilities you see other vehicles as the problem, and select those facts that justify special treatment for your vehicle type.

    When you market skills training, you go in the opposite direction. Problems, yes…but with your personal responsibility you can mitigate them, regardless of the vehicle type.

    Bike Activists have very successfully marketed segregation or the separate facilities approach in a way that just KILLS the incentive to take personal responsibility for getting your vehicle to work in traffic and makes it emotionally inconsistent to even think in the direction of skills.

    So that today by far… the biggest problem with bicycle skills training is the extreme difficulty of getting any relevant participation from bicyclists where the motorcyclists are overfilling their classes.

    But…I’m thinking that’s a competitive marketing issue. And… its the responsibility of skills trainers to address the concerns of bicyclists and market their program in a compelling and competitive way.

    I’ve yet to see any marketing of skills that is competitive with the excellent marketing of facilities, so I hired a professional marketer help make BicycleDriver.Com competitive and relative to bicyclists concerns.

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    • kerry August 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

      “Did motorcyclists choose to ride in the streets with the rules of the road, or did they choose political advocacy for dedicated motorcycle facilities? After all their death rate/hour is 10 times that of bicycling!”

      How is a higher death rate a strong argument for their approach? Maybe they SHOULD be advocating for separated facilities if their education plan is failing so miserably.

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      • David Smith August 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

        If the segregated facilities solved the problem…You would be right.
        I see no evidence that segregated facilities have this effect…see the thread on the bike box right hook! These facilities are known to violate the rules of the road in a way that increases crashes, while discouraging bicyclists from learning safe behavior.

        That’s why bike facilities need bright paint particularly where their violations of the rules are so blatant. While the facility violates the rules, the bright paint is used to get the motorist to see and avoid the bicyclists violations of the rules.

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  • Alphamonk August 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    It may be a red-herring, but it’s one that resonates with certain people. If you get flipped off by just a few cyclists who themselves were in the wrong, one may form a prejudiced opinion pretty quickly. It just takes a few bad apples to make the greater community look like pricks.

    Add to that all the riders at night blasting through stop signs and controlled intersections with no lights, etc.

    There are many people who are annoyed by that behavior and can identify with this kind of “parental” rhetoric (you don’t get your toys until you play nice). It may be BS in terms of logic, but it’s not an un-savvy statement for a politician.

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  • Belok August 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Yes, and we should stop supporting automobile infrastructure until the “Automobile Community” curbs their “unsafe behavior.”

    Seriously, the most reckless bicyclist is not nearly as dangerous as the most cautious motorist.

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  • Blazermvp August 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    This thread is a prime example that you are alienating people that support bicyclists.

    If everyone read what was said, she doesn’t support the plan UNTIL there is a bicyclist education initiative. How is that anti-bicycle?

    Everyone is spending time flaming her here, but nobody is talking about the subject of why there are a much higher rate of bicyclists breaking laws versus vehicles downtown. (Joseph Rose of Oregonian has actual statistics). Additionally, the PPB doesn’t enforce any bicyclist related infractions – as they say they dont have time/resources to enforce bicycling.

    That said, why don’t you ask the bigger question? Whare so many people violating the common laws of the road for bicycles? Why is the perception of riding downtown so bad? What are you doing to help curb that behavior? How can you help educate other bicyclists to move past the hurdles?

    Lastly, I will say that while you surround yourself with others like you – the majority of the public is anti-bicycle. Sam Adams is a moron (in general) … but a lot of his flack is from pet projects like bicycles. Notice he is not going for re-election. Many people will vote for the council member that pushes back the most on these pet projects. So if you make this a “us vs them” fight…. you will absolutely lose.

    I would recommend working to resolve common complaints, instead of just saying ef off.

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    • Velvetackbar August 17, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      Joseph Rose has proven himself incapable of digesting statistical data. He has in the last week regurgitated industry “facts” without any critical examination, and has frequently mistaken anecdotes for data.

      I would examine the raw data for *anything* he presents as fact.

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    • JRB August 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

      If there is also actual data showing that cyclists violate more than motorists, please post a link. I won’t believe it until I see the data. I think disregard of traffic laws is pretty ubiquitous for all road users. Drivers speed more and run more red lights (really do any cars stop on a yellow anymore?), cyclists tend to run more stop signs. I don’t see any quantitative difference between the two modes. Therefore I heartily agree with the many posters who think Commissioner Fritz is way off base on singling out cyclists.

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      • David Smith August 18, 2011 at 11:10 am

        Well, pedestrians are the saints of traffic — how many of them callously disregard the speed limit and exceed it?

        When I compared bicyclists to motorists I chose two things to watch for at a 4 way stop.

        1) Signaling turns.

        2) Taking the right of way from another person who arrived first. This is a violation of the rules of the road, and its selfish even mean behavior, stealing another persons right and taking it for yourself.

        Motorists signaled about 50%, Much worse now as we have shifted from traffic enforcement to facilities construction to control behavior. Bicyclists signaled occasionally, less than 10%.

        Motorists rarely stole the right of way, bicyclists at least 10 times that frequency.

        Technically motorists violate more due to capacity. Bicyclists functionally violate the rules of the road much more, and do it in a selfish manner.

        That fits the disproportionate licensing, enforcement and insurance. Motorists do not play with cars as toys when children and when more mature drive into traffic without training/licensing/insurance like bicyclists do.

        That opposite experience has predictable results. Its just that we have emotions about traffic and bicycling and that determines how we select facts, we like to select and construct ones that make us feel good.

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        • Don Grigsby August 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm

          Well, the fact is, a bicycle is not a motor vehicle and cyclist are much vulnerable in traffic; they are less visible, slower, and “softer”. Their Behavior then becomes one of a defensive posture when riding on infrastructure that was designed for automobiles and is inhospitable toward them. This is more a human psychology and behavior phenomenon than one of disregard for the law. The current laws governing cyclist are obsolete if they were ever well thought out to begin with. The laws governing bicycles need to be revised and modernized. The idea that regulations and laws made for motor vehicles should also apply to human powered vehicle is a lazy idea at best. Furthermore, those regulations and laws are inconsistently applied to cyclists anyway. For example, if a bicycle is the same as a motor vehicle under the law, then why can’t a bicycle have the entire travel lane, all the time like an automobile? Why are bicycles restricted from some highways and why can a cyclist get a ticket if they are not on the bike path if there is one available (I know why, just making the point that bicycles and automobiles are not the same, so they should not be governed by the same “rules”).
          Sure, back in the day when the average car was about as fast as the fastest bicycle…maybe, it made sense to lump the two together, but, not these days.
          Additionally, even when abiding by the law, cyclist are often chastised for being on the road and not the sidewalk (it’s a side-WALK, not a “side-ride”). So, motorist should also know laws governing cyclist as well.
          And BTW, what is the big deal if a cyclist does not come to a complete “foot down” stop at a stop sign? Regardless if motorist comes to a complete stop of not (because most often they don’t), it is silly to think that a cyclist rolling through a stop sign controlled intersection at 3mph is any kind of danger to society. If I am cruising along a 12mph approaching an intersection, I can see in all directions, my relatively slow speed gives me plenty of time to asses the intersection before I get to the stop line, and a 3mph I can stop in less that 2 feet should I need to. It is a silly, infantile argument to make. Stop signs were intended for automobiles for obvious reasons. I do not defend aggressive rude riders who simply think they are cool and bad-ass because they belong to some “cycling subculture” and therefore are too cool for rules; but, just as some personality types like to burn rubber and street race their cars, these same types will ride their bike like dicks as well. Another thing that doesn’t help is the “us and them” mentality pitting motorists vs. cyclists.
          Instead of getting trapped in a “do-loop” of pointing fingers at who doesn’t come to a complete stop at stop signs, we need to amend the laws and rules of the road governing cyclist to reflect the fact that human powered vehicles are more like pedestrians than they are automobiles.

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          • David Smith August 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm

            Bicyclists are vulnerable in traffic?

            Which bicyclists?

            Those who have the attitude that the rules of the road don’t work and therefore never learn to use them?
            Or those bicyclists who take the approach that they are personally responsible for learning the rules so they do work – from a bicycle?

            I’ve learned with some help from others how to get the rules to work as well and in many cases BETTER from a bicycle than a car. My whole body is visible so I am far more accessible and get motorists to slow and make room for me just by what I LOOK at! They see me, study me, and when I reveal the smallest cue they very often cooperate with me. And I have learned to use a lot more… what I look at… to my lane position… to my arm signaling…to my pedaling there’s so much more to work with than a blinking light on a box — its just TOO GOOD NOT TO USE!

            See my blog post on: Passing traffic got your bicycling blocked? How to get drivers to make room for your bike. just click on my name & go to the blog

            With a healthy attitude, and a willingness to learn from those who know how, you can be as safe or safer than most motorists! But… I don’t know how to do that in a bike lane that puts you in violation of the rules of the road, introducing a conflict with traffic turning right while you’re going straight on their right, right through their blind spot! How can they see and cooperate with you now??

            Do bike facilities make you safe because they give you your own space? or do they make bicycling more dangerous because you can not ride in a bike facility without violating the rules of the road thereby alienating yourself from their safety and convenience. And, how can you learn to get the rules of the road to work riding in a facility that violates the rules?

            Bicyclists get their competency by riding with traffic and they keep their competency by continuing to ride with traffic. The more you ride on bike facilities the less you learn, and the more dependent you become on motorists looking out for you.

            I think bicyclists have a real choice here, there are really opposite ways of thinking and behaving. And I think the best approach is to let go of your strong emotions, challenge them with the alternatives and TEST them so you can see what works.

            Lets do a simple survey here: Which bicyclists have greater mobility and safety? Those who avoid traffic or those who ride with traffic using the rules of the road?

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          • Don Grigsby August 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm

            Well Dave, Any and all persons on bicycles are vulnerable when compared to drivers sitting inside automobiles. I think it’s great that you can interpret the “rules” and “laws” as they are to work for you, that you had mentors to guide you through your learning process and that all drivers can accurately understand your gestures and position in traffic to know what you are going to do next and in return convey to you what is on their mind and their intentions (personally, I wouldn’t trust the typical stranger behind the wheel to “study” the “smallest cue”); but, the fact remains the same; the “rules” of the road become convoluted and require too much speculation and guess work when practiced concerning the idea of treating bicycles like automobiles (most of the time). I don’t see what the big deal is; cyclist yield to pedestrians, cars yield to pedestrians and cyclists and if you see a dangerous situation like a right hook, than avoid it regardless of what color the asphalt is painted. All three groups must be governed by clearly stated and well thought out laws which make the most sense for that particular mode of travel.

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        • Joe C August 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

          “Motorists do not play with cars as toys when children and when more mature drive into traffic without training/licensing/insurance like bicyclists do.”

          Guess you don’t get out much…

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        • chad b August 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm


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    • El Biciclero August 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Ah, spoken like a true majority-member oppressor: “Hey, you people need to clean up your act before you can expect any acknowledgment as legitimate!”

      It’s interesting that the alternative to spending on a bike share program is spending on building sidewalks and such–with no stipulation that all pedestrians quit loitering, sleeping on sidewalks, crossing against signals, smoking within 10 feet of building entrances, panhandling, and wandering into the street with their noses buried in smartphones. When is the pedestrian community going to start educating each other on proper conduct?

      We have no problem spending money (and not just gas taxes, either) on repairing auto damage (to roads and buildings and other fixtures destroyed by wayward drivers), widening freeways, widening other roads, upgrading traffic signals, cleaning up after crashes, etc.–again, with no stipulation that drivers “clean up their act” first. When is the driving community going to start making some effort to educate each other on how to obey the law and keep their eyes on the road?

      To take a non-roadway example, are we going to quit spending money on schools until all students get their acts together, quit bullying other students, skipping school, starting fights, being disrespectful to teachers, sleeping in class, not doing homework, vandalizing school property–oh, and get those standardized test scores up? When are high-schoolers going to start exerting some positive peer pressure and get their ne’er-do-well classmates under control?

      All the questions you ask in your fourth paragraph could just as easily be asked about cars/drivers. I would state unequivocally that drivers break The Law at the same or a greater rate than cyclists–they just break different laws, or break the law in a different way. Number one law broken by almost every driver constantly: Speed Limit. Other laws broken constantly by motorists include, but are not limited to: failing to come to a complete stop a) at stop signs, b) prior to making a right turn on red; failing to signal turns and lane changes; continuing to use cell phones while driving, driving in bike lanes, parking in bike lanes, blocking intersections because they didn’t wait for the far side to clear before entering the intersection, running red lights (especially on left turns); failing to yield to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks, etc. In addition, many of the “laws” that motorists imagine cyclists to be breaking are not really laws in the first place.

      Your vain assumption that anybody who might ever decide to ride a bike anywhere a) is a law-breaking rebel, and b) has to suck up to you before they can exercise their legal rights is sorely misguided.

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      • Joe C August 18, 2011 at 10:24 pm

        Over 30,000 killed on America’s roadways every year from automobile collisions.

        That’s a whole lot of act to clean up…

        I for one wouldn’t mind holding cars’ tires to the fire until they can drop that number to 0. Until they do, let’s make all speed limits 25mph, all freeways toll roads, and ban cars from all city centers.

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  • Chris August 17, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Commissioner Fritz errs by conditioning her support for the bike share program on safer cycling in the future.

    But, as a 25-year Portland bicycle commuter, I can confirm that drivers remember most the cyclists who think traffic rules don’t apply to cyclists. Every time a cyclist makes a bonehead move in traffic, cyclists lose a vote on the next pro-bicycle project.

    Also, in my opinion, based on my observations, bonehead moves are on the rise these past few years.

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  • Harvey August 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Yes, if you asked everyone.. “Are you a cyclist?” Maybe a small percentage would answer “yes!”… But if you asked people whether or not they care about building a transportation system that makes it easier to ride a bicycle, you’d get well over 50%.
    You’re also making the mistake of thinking this site is a “relatively small echo chamber.” BikePortland has probably the largest audience of any citizen-run site in the region and there are very diverse opinions expressed here on a daily basis.

    Thanks for all your hard work, but as the editor of this site, it is grossly irresponsible for you to imply a 50%+ pro-bicycle opinion without any data at all. You are making it up, out of thin air.

    I would bet that 50% of car drivers have experienced a real jerk with a U-lock in his back pocket riding a fixie on public roads doing all sorts of illegal things. How about that in the echo chamber of 90% of the city that does not commute by bicycle?

    So there.
    There are a crapload of bad cyclists, and we refuse to accept registration of bicycles or policing of these scofflaws, they are scoundrels and should be treated as such.

    Quit making stuff up Jonathan.
    Thanks again for your efforts.

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  • bsped August 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Just because you don’t use a bike as your main form transportation does not mean you shop at Wal*Mart, watch tv, and vote for Sarah Palin. Is that how you think of anyone who is incapable of riding a bike? Do you feel that way about anyone one who can’t use their legs or is blind?
    I guess I just don’t understand how hard it is to be white, straight, and to ride a bike in Portland.

    All I ask is to not take the mentality of thinking that riding a bike is equal to being a minority. Use an other analogy that makes more sense. I’m just trying to make a point but instead I get harassed by another entitled cyclist on this site.

    For the record, I would feel safer riding my bike downtown than I would holding my boyfriend’s hand downtown.

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  • Don Grigsby August 18, 2011 at 10:09 am

    BTW, aren’t bicycles supposed to use the bus lanes too? I just spent the past year in the South of Sweden and the “bus lanes” were also “bike lanes” and were marked with signage to state so. I was also in the PSU area last week and with one bus lane and the trolley lane (both with little traffic) and one backed-up automobile lane, it seem silly for cyclists to not use at least the bus lane. After all, one of the great advantages of using a bicycle in the city is because it is quicker to get from point A to Point B.

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  • Jim August 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I was shocked to see “bike heaven” Portland doesn’t have dedicated bike lanes in the city, just around the city on the isolated riverfront. (sidewalk, bikelane, parking, moving cars) I would think the “bad behavior” would be reduced greatly if the bikes had its own right of way without being forced to mix with cars and people.

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  • GlowBoy August 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Pedestrians are the saints of traffic, huh? I would agree that they’re the most vulnerable, but I would also say that (often because of our ped-unfriendly infrastructure) they break the rules at least as often as any other group of users.

    I know most people here act like it isn’t even illegal, but jaywalking is pretty rampant. (It was really hard not to notice that when I moved here 15 years ago, from a city [Seattle] that at the time strictly enforced jaywalking laws and most people DID NOT jaywalk downtown or in the U-district for fear of getting a ticket).

    I’m not condemning jaywalking in most cases — I very frequently practice civil disobediance WRT pedestrian laws myself — but if we’re strictly talking about obedience to the law, pedestrians as a whole rank pretty low.

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  • Todd August 19, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Not a big fan of Amanda but given the many other financial needs in the city; i.e. schools, safety, unemployment, etc should she be crucified for saying there might be other priorities? Also we have such a great history with bike sharing… There is something to her feelings about bike behavior, as a avid bike commuter for 20 years and been on several bike related city committees I see it every day…”we” don’t deserve the investment. Sat on Vancouver yesterday at Emanual Hospital..out of 100 bikers, 23 ignored the red light…not one car did.

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    • El Biciclero August 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      “we” don’t deserve the investment.

      Neither does any other group then. Not pedestrians, not motorists, not skateboarders, not dog-walkers. Yet we have freeways, dog parks, sidewalks, and skate parks for the convenience and even pure recreation of these other groups: the skateboarding community, the dog-owning community, the pedestrian community, and the driving community (oops, don’t we use those terms to describe these obviously cohesive groups?). Everyone breaks the law; why is there a double-standard that says only cyclists must kow-tow to majority opinion and meet some standard of law compliance before they are “worthy” of acknowledgment?

      If cyclists are such scofflaws, start writing citations, for crying out loud! Is it that stepped-up enforcement of traffic laws for cyclists isn’t worthy of investment either? Sounds like a no-win.

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  • Skeezicks August 20, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Having been nearly run over too many times to count by the cyclists on the Hawthorne Bridge who insist on maintaining a ridiculous speed for their aerobic workout on the sidewalk, I say we should have more beer and bike festivals and let more bikers get killed. (see ad above)
    Maybe simultaneously have a Drink and Drive festival too, and mix up the bikers with the car drivers properly.
    And, Please, Don’t Wear a Helmet!

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  • MIddle of the Road Guy August 20, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Oy vay….more fuel for the “we are so persecuted” crowd.

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  • Dave August 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Sauce for the goose, then–defund the Portland Police Bureau’s auto theft detail until such time as drivers are universally sober, speed-limit-observing, non agressive cell-phone non-users.

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    • chad b August 22, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      Are all bicycle riders universally sober, non-aggressive, non- cell phone using, and road rule abiding?


      What’s your point? How are we as someone riding a bicycle any less of a threat to ourselves or others when disobeying these regulations? I’m fed up with being lumped in with the like of the rest of the ‘cyclist’s’ here, more like a bunch of cry babies whose mother hasn’t changed their diaper yet.

      Grow up.

      Learn to ride a bike in traffic, learn to take responsibility for yourself in traffic, and ride defensively. I could be in a ‘bicycle crash’ every day I choose to commute via bike , but am not because I follow the rules, whether they are written or unwritten, and am willing to cope with traffic and not be a d**k (and I don’t mind the “unsafe” aspect of riding, everything has a risk people!). There’s no doubt that auto drivers make mistakes, but guess what- so do bikes. And either vehicle should be considered a weapon given their equal status of rights on the road. I’ve seen bikes cause a lot of damage to unsuspecting pedestrians. If you want to be ‘safe’, how about folks never leave the house?

      PS. This is from someone who has commuted to some extend via bike for the past decade, holds a valid CDL and non-com driver’s license.

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  • Jim September 30, 2011 at 7:12 am

    DC Bikeshare celebrates its first year with over a million rides and it made money!

    I also want to reply to a comment about tweeters terrorizing portlanders on free bikes…. If you get the DC system its not free (but very affordable) you either pay $5 for 24 hours or $75 a year and you have your credit card in the system so in actuality bike share riders are more accountable for their actions than people riding a $25 clunker with no ID or credit card.

    How do you like them break shoes?

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  • Bjorn August 19, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    After 23 million rides there hasn’t been a single death associated with bikeshare in the US. That is lower than the rate for privately owned automobiles in the US. How much data does Fritz need to realize she is wrong about the safety issues associated with bike share?

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