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Five new bike ideas from other places that Oregon could steal

Posted by on April 14th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Share the Road - North Plains

Time for Oregon to stop “Share the Road”? (This sign is on NW West Union in North Plains, a small city in Washington County.)
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Over the last week or so, a bunch of great ideas from other cities have been washing up on our digital shorelines. Let’s take a look at a few.

1) Delaware killed “Share the Road.”

(Images courtesy Bike Delaware)

The sentiment is great. The phrase is confusing. Delaware has officially killed it.

The classic case: when you come up behind a person on a bike while driving a car, should the person on the bike pull right to make way? Safety would say that this isn’t always a good idea. But to many drivers, “Share the road” says otherwise. “Bikes may use full lane” is completely clear.

Coordinating behind the scenes with state officials who had realized this, Bike Delaware fronted a campaign to eliminate the confusing phrase from new road signs. Maybe it’s time for Oregon to stop putting the phrase on tens of thousands of its best-selling specialty license plate.

What it’d take: Somebody prioritizing it and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance publicly validating their decision.

2) California and Massachusetts endorsed NACTO’s design guides.

(Image by NACTO)

The National Association of City Transportation Officials Urban Street and Bikeway design guides, written with human-friendly streetscapes rather than automotive mobility in mind, is a city-oriented expansion pack for the bible of engineering, the AASHTO family of manuals.

It’s most useful in cities — The Dalles, with state Highway 30 running through its downtown, comes to mind — that want to be bike-friendly but lack in-house staff with expertise on modern pedestrian bumpouts, protected bike lanes and so on. On Thursday, after a years-long advocacy campaign by the California Bicycle Association, the conservative California Department of Transportation endorsed the guide, following Massachusetts and Washington’s DOTs. It’s not clear what’s holding Oregon back.

What it’d take: A legal review by ODOT and a decision by its executives.

3) The Indianapolis Pacers are sponsoring bike sharing.
Pacermates are performing

(Photo by Shih-Pei Chang)

The Simon Family, which owns the Pacers, got naming rights to a 250-bike sharing system in Indianapolis in exchange for an undisclosed donation and a pledge to fund ongoing operations. Wouldn’t it be perfect for the bike-friendly Trailblazers to sponsor all or part of Portland’s 750-bike system that will be great at bringing people, congestion-free, to their Rose Quarter stadium?

What it’d take: Money from the Blazers and a system they feel comfortable putting their name on.

4) DC is building its first curb-protected bike lane.

(Photo by Darren Buck)

These aren’t actually new, but cities around the country are bringing the trend back. These are much more expensive in the short run than paint or plastic posts, but they’re going to last much longer and they’re certainly better at keeping cars clear and people comfortable. Though they don’t work in every setting, curbs are great in many places (Beaverton, for example) for making bike lanes an actually pleasant experience for most people to ride in.

What it’d take: Money (about $50,000 per mile of curb) and city leaders willing to frame this as something that makes biking accessible to everyone.

5) Bikes are prescriptions in Boston.
Regular guy

(Photo by Alan Perryman)

The sneakiest thing about a muchcovered program that lets doctors “prescribe” bikeshare memberships to low-income Bostonians for $5 is that it seems to be nothing more than a brilliant marketing campaign for an existing public health program.

What it’d take: Money from public health sources and a medical provider that wants a bunch of free publicity.

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  • peejay April 14, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    We need to do all of these, right now! Obviously, we can’t get Blazers Bike Share until we have bike share, but we can get a promise from Paul Allen. The most important is the ODOT adoption of NACTO. Is the BTA pushing them on this? We need a wider coalition, and lots of publicity. Too bad we lack an actual local daily paper that cares about the community (cough Oregonian cough) to push this along.

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    • Joe Adamski April 14, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      What we can hope from Mr Allen is a little leverage on his part to make sure the connections from the Esplanade near and through the Moda Center insure safe access and become part of the envisioned riverfront development that will ultimately be part of the North Portland Willamette Greenway Trail.

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  • TOM April 14, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    >>Five new bike ideas from other places that Oregon could steal

    STEAL ???
    How about COPY ? or EMULATE ? or ADOPT ?

    To steal means:
    take (another person’s property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.
    “thieves stole her bicycle”
    synonyms: purloin, thieve, take, take for oneself, help oneself to, loot, pilfer, run off with, abscond with, carry off, shoplift

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  • Timid tin April 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Whoa Tom relax man

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  • Nick Falbo April 14, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    ODOT is currently updating the state “Bicycle and Pedestrian Mode Plan.” It seems like a great opportunity to include an endorsement of the two NACTO guides as a part of this process.

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  • Harald April 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Five new ways to make bikeportland sound like Buzzfeed.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. Fortunately, in contrast to Buzzfeed the article actually has real content in it.

    And yes, let’s get rid of “Share the Road”!

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      I’m definitely in favor of using Buzzfeed’s best ideas to spread BikePortland’s information. 🙂 Thanks for the validation.

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      • q`Tzal April 14, 2014 at 4:44 pm

        Some think that Buzzfeed’s linkbait articles are worthless fluff that devalues the site and hides any real content under a mountain of article titles that seem to be ripped from the cover of Cosmo magazine.

        We LIKE the content on BikePortland.org and want to maintain the level and quality of content. Going Buzzfeed means you will sacrifice that.

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
          Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 14, 2014 at 5:40 pm

          I agree, and that’s why I rarely read Buzzfeed — but content is different from form, right? Cosmo and Buzzfeed use lists because human beings are neurologically predisposed to read and remember lists. If lists can help people read and remember ideas for making biking in Oregon better, I want to use lists.

          So I think the real question is whether this content is worth reading or not. It might not be! If it’s not, please let me/us know.

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          • q`Tzal April 14, 2014 at 10:45 pm

            Even link bait-y article titles is better than intentionally starting a helmet-themed comment fl@me war.

            It is disturbing how many of the real knock down drag out comment battles here on BikePortland.org come down to subjective interpretation, misunderstanding and misuse of a SINGLE word.
            From an outsider’s perspective you’d expect a brain dead adrenaline fueled rage fest but the arguments here are deceptively linguistically geeky.
            And I love it!

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          • Carl April 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm

            The content is GREAT. I’m just disappointed that i didn’t have to click through to each of the 5 points. Step it up, Andersen! ADVIEWS, BABY!

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  • Steve April 14, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Why does it have to be the Blazers? I imagine the Timbers would be open to getting behind bike sharing, especially with their relationship with Providence.

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    • Paul Johnson April 15, 2014 at 10:14 am

      I think the idea is to be accessible and not a stereotype of itself. Soccer in Portland isn’t either. Even in Portland, most people aren’t miserable tight-pants wearing NIMBYs known for skipping their TriMet fare to go watch a sport most people don’t care about.

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  • Granpa April 14, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Considering the venom spouted on Oregon Live, it is safe to assume the ignorant and haters move among us. Until accommodations, more robust than striped lines on pavement, are provided for cyclists I would prefer to keep signs in place to remind motorists that cyclists have a right to the road.

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    • q`Tzal April 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      The argument is not that autos don’t need to share the road with bicycles but that the current sign verbiage is not explicit enough to let the bike haters know that bicycle riders are actually allowed to ride outside the ditch.

      Outside of Portland Oregon the default driver behavior is that people on bicycles are only allowed to ride on the very outer 6″ inches of the pavement, preferably in the dirt. To the rest of America THIS is “Sharing The Road” with bicycles.
      Obviously the wording needs to be more specific.

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    • Sid Salinger April 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      The reason the signs are being removed is that they’re unclear. They *don’t* remind motorists that cyclists have a right to the road — motorists think the sign means that cyclists should move out of the way.

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      • Dave Thomson April 14, 2014 at 9:44 pm

        And you know what they think how? This is way overblown.

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        • q`Tzal April 14, 2014 at 10:46 pm


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        • Pete April 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

          I think the fact that like-minded people are debating it here demonstrates ambiguity enough.

          The problem I have with the situation isn’t that the 49 other states haven’t done away with it yet, it’s that it has to be debated on a statewide basis to begin with. In this day and age it’s absurd to me that we pay such an incredible overhead for the administration of automobiles on a statewide basis.

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    • wsbob April 15, 2014 at 12:57 am

      I guess I’ve got mixed feelings about throwing out the ‘Share the Road’ sign approach, to replace their message, with the sign design stating that bikes may use the full lane. ‘Share the Road’ on road signs, is far more egalitarian in principle than ‘may use’ instructions on road signs are.

      Finding favor in the ‘may use’ signs, due to buying into the ‘Us vs Them’ dichotomy that some people continually keep trying to sustain, could wind up causing more damage than benefit to vulnerable road users. It kind of smells like bad mojo.

      Definitely though, there seems to be road situations where ‘may use’ signs specific to bike use beyond what a ‘Share the Road’ sign can convey to all road users, is needed.

      Getting off topic somewhat, I was disappointed that more people didn’t offer thoughts about the latest info about his court hearing that Dallas Smith, the guy from Medford that got a ticket in Ashland for not riding in the bike lane, posted last weekend to a bikeportland story from some time back.


      Part of what Smith reported: “…I showed the judge the debris I was avoiding and she said the bike lane is wide enough that I should be able to swerve around most objects in the bike lane and not have to leave it. …”

      Note ‘should be’. Of course, many people that ride, know it does happen, unfortunately not infrequently, that debris in the bike lane is distributed across the bike lane to an extent that the only way for someone riding a bike to use the road and avoid the debris, is to move from the bike lane, to the main travel lane. More road users than do now whether driving or riding, should know this. The judge for Ashland should know this too. That’s what ORS 814.420 is for.

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    • Dan April 15, 2014 at 7:44 am

      What if the signs said “Share The Road With Bikes”?

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    • Spiffy April 15, 2014 at 9:15 am

      you should probably read the linked article…

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    • Paul Johnson April 15, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Given my experience, I’d say that’s kind of the norm, not the exception in Oregon. If you can’t be worked up and aggro, why live in Oregon?

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    • Carl April 15, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      When people in cars routinely scream a road safety campaign phrase at people on bikes…it’s not working very well.

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  • johnny April 14, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    is it just me that is all too vigilant and the first thing I noticed was what appears to either be a car parked in the curb enforced bicycle lane or actually driving in it in picture #4 DC?

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    • johnny April 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      oh wait, that could be the construction crew…

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  • OnTheRoad April 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Put a “bikes may use full lane” on 28th between Glisan and Stark. You’ve just short-circuited the bike facilities versus parking debate.

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    • Reza April 14, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      The problem is anywhere you DON’T install BMUFL signs, motorists may see that as implying that bicyclists can’t use the full lane.

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      • Paul Johnson April 15, 2014 at 10:17 am

        I’m so glad this isn’t a problem in the southern plains, where it’s not unheard of to see someone riding a horse on a main thoroughfare…

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      • spare_wheel April 15, 2014 at 2:17 pm

        The problem is anywhere you DON’T install BMUFL signs, motorists may see that as implying that bicyclists can’t use the full lane.
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        cyclists are not allowed to use the full lane in OR:


        and the person does not ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.

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        • wsbob April 15, 2014 at 3:38 pm

          “…cyclists are not allowed to use the full lane in OR:

          http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.430 …” spare_wheel

          People riding bikes on Oregon roads have the right to use the full lane of the road. Take a look at the opening statement of the Oregon law you excerpted:

          “(1) A person commits the offense of improper use of lanes by a bicycle if the person is operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic using the roadway at that time and place under the existing conditions and the person does not ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway. …” ORS 814.430

          Meaning that if for example, at any given time there is no traffic using the road at speeds faster than a person on a bike would normally travel, people riding bikes are not in violation of the law in using the main lanes of the road. Of course, when faster traffic does catch up to people riding bikes as slower road users, people riding do have to then move “…as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway. …”.

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        • Paul Johnson April 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

          Notice that it doesn’t say “possible,” leaving the door open for riding farther from the right edge than is possible for safety reasons, given broken pavement, narrow lanes, or other conditions that would create a hazard for all involved riding farther over. Most states have similar language.

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      • Pete April 27, 2014 at 8:18 pm

        A block from my house there’s a bike lane that disappears for about 100′ and at the beginning of that there’s a HUGE sign (that’s been there since the 80’s) with a drawing of a bicyclist centered in the (first of two) lanes and the words “BIKES IN LANE.” I’m frequently honked at while in this position next to this sign, even while pedaling at 25+ MPH in this 30 MPH zone.

        My point is that the real problem is that signs don’t really work to begin with…

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  • Joe April 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Please might work better. ppl see these signs and drive shitty

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  • Dave April 14, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    A Seattle bike store’s idea from a couple of decades ago that ain’t copyrighted to my knowledge–R&E Cycles used to sell shirts printed with the slogan “One More Parking Space.”

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  • ed April 14, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Copying ideas is a good thing. It is painful to watch the same infrastructure mistakes predictably repeated. Go learn from other places that have it right and support those politicians and transportation designers who venture to other places as money well spent. As for the ideas presented above…they are largely ridiculous.

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    • Paul Johnson April 15, 2014 at 10:22 am

      No joke on that! Portland’s really good at the first/last mile problem, but it’s left it’s core dedicated cycleway network neglected for decades! Missing or faded signs aren’t getting replaced, there’s essentially no wayfinders outside Gresham, centerlines and edge lines are long faded off, traffic controls at intersections are in poor repair or missing, enforcement is nonexistent, and there’s an atrocious shortage of sidewalks. There’s pretty much nowhere in the city except the I 84 cycleway east of 205 that lacks the space to put in a paved shoulder or sidewalk for pedestrians, and there’s inexcusable that the basics like signage and lane markings are neglected, especially when these things make the system easier to use, faster and safer, and almost everywhere else is getting it right,

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  • Paul Johnson April 15, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Looks like Delaware just caught up to Texas and Oklahoma on the “BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE” sign, which people understand in Tulsa (though it’s not a common sign here) but just about a city slogan in OKC and DFW.

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  • Opus the Poet April 15, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Many towns in Texas have actually gone out and checked how many miles of exceptions to the AFRAP state law they had compared to how many places where AFRAP was applicable. One local town found 99% of the streets in the city were exceptions and less than 1% were clearly applicable for the AFRAP and those only for less than 1/4 mile per segment. That town has placed BMUFL signs at all streets they control as the cross the city limits announcing that this is true for the entire city.

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  • Paul April 15, 2014 at 11:12 am

    You forgot one: http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/ontario-build-bike-infrastructure-highways-and-bridges.html

    All Ontario highway & bridge construction projects now will include bike infrastructure.

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    • Pete April 27, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      Rob Ford must be stoked about this!

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  • Oliver April 15, 2014 at 11:36 am

    The Oregon Driver Manual clearly states that a diamond shaped yellow sign with a black border is a warning sign about a local hazard on the roadway ahead. (Consistent with US MUCTD regulation)

    A bicycle on a yellow, diamond-shaped sign with a black border is a warning to drivers that a bicycle is likely to be on the road ahead, in the exact same way were that sign to include a cow, deer or tractor.

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  • paikikala April 15, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    2) Portland is one of the Cs in NACTO, btw.
    4) Portland estimates concrete curb – the 6-inch wide version – at about $20 per linear foot, or $105,600 per mile, not counting removal of the existing street.

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  • Trikeguy April 15, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Um, just no to curbed bike lanes. They’re bad enough when they have reflectors and rumble strips in the markings. How do I get around slower people? How do I avoid trash that will flat one of my front wheels? I hate lanes that lock me into them. You try running 20mph or more with your right wheel only a couple of inches from the curb and the left a couple inches from the barrier on the left – no thanks.

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    • Paul Johnson April 15, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      City bikes are generally built to handle commonly accepted delineation devices safely and comfortably. If your bike has a problem with something as common and required as reflectors and Botts Dots, maybe you should try a bike that wasn’t built to be used exclusively on pristine pavement and velodrome tracks…

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    • Chris I April 16, 2014 at 7:34 am

      The current protected lane is wide enough to easily pass another cyclist.

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  • Barbara Stedman April 22, 2014 at 10:38 am

    This morning I noticed a new (?) sign on Capitol Hwy eastbound just after Terwilliger: it was the diamond bike warning sign and under it said “in lane”. This comes after PBOT recently added sharrows to this section of Capitol Hwy between Terwilliger and Barbur. This section has no bike lane but is downhill so that bikes go at the same speed as cars. Most bicycliststake the lane here.

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  • Pete April 27, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    The picture in #2 shows a situation where the length of a right-turn-only lane is designed based on traffic projections at the time of design, and the merge point at the beginning of that buffer lane. Here in Silicon Valley there’s far more traffic now than most of those buffered lanes hold, so right-turning cars cork both car and bike traffic as they move to the right and stop to wait their turn into the buffer lane. As an experienced (and fit) cyclist I know where to expect this and I find gaps in advance and signal and take the lane and pedal at traffic speeds through these intersections, but I’ve seen many occasions where riders have nearly been hit or have literally been pushed into the curb AT the merge point due to the overflow.

    If the merge sign is at the 200′ mark, then this (pictured design) makes sense, and the bike lane should probably even get a RED coloration for a distance before this lane begins (as cars are technically not allowed to move to the curb before 200′, at least in CA). Otherwise, don’t bother denoting the merge point with a sign, as (yes, I’ll say it again) people don’t really heed signs anyway.

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