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Comment of the Week: The Four Types of Bikeways

Posted by on September 26th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I-205 Path Ride - Pedalpalooza-30

Which type?
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Most BikePortlanders probably know the Four Types of Bicyclists, a concept sketched out by Portland’s bicycle planning coordinator, outed on this site eight years ago, and road-tested by a Portland State University professor in 2012.

But what if we turned this concept on its head and divided the bikeways of the world into four types, too?

That’s the intriguing idea from reader “Alan 1.0,” who speculated in a comment this morning that 60 percent of Portland bike routes work for “strong and fearless” bikers while about 1 percent of Portland bike routes work for just about everybody.

Here’s his comment:

This has me wondering about a scale for bike routes along the lines of Geller’s “Four Types of Cyclists.” It might go something like this for current Portland build-out (flipping the percentage of his last two categories):

1% – If they won’t ride this, they won’t ride anything.
7% – OK for most people with more than a few months under their wheels.
33% – Works for most “Enthused & Confident.”
60% – Works for the “Strong & Fearless.”

The route in this article seems to me to fall somewhere in the 33%, maybe nearing the 7% category. To dig into Geller’s 60% “Interested but Concerned” people category, Portland needs to massively increase the fraction of those upper two infrastructure brackets.

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That’s a clever new way to think about the issue.

Side note: Though we always prefer to end the week on a positive note, we’d be remiss not to give an honorable mention to two amazing comments in the conversation that followed our story on a panel about Portland’s recent biking plateau: this compelling personal take from Lisa Marie, who wrote that “denial is apparently a river in Portland” and this six-point theory and action plan from Mindful Cyclist.

— This post will most likely wrap things up for Jonathan and I this week. Thanks again to all of you for sharing our stories and being part of our comment threads. We’re already looking forward to Monday!

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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tacoma
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tacoma

Yes, you would be remiss not to mention these two amazing comments. Thank you for alerting us. I find it interesting how all three comments (from different viewpoints) share similar conceptual connections.

9watts
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9watts

Some folks are really putting a great deal of thought and effort into their comments. I continue to be very impressed. And the comment of the week carrot doesn’t hurt, I’m sure.

Dwaine Dibbly
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Dwaine Dibbly

I always pictured the “strong & fearless” riding where there was no bicycling infrastructure at all, but I do agree that this is a good way to think about our infrastructure.

Does the winner get a plaque, or a BikePortland pint glass, or a Voodoo Donut gift card, or something?

wsbob
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wsbob

There’s a need for way more bike routes of this description than there are now:

“1% – If they won’t ride this, they won’t ride anything.”

On The Road
Guest
On The Road

Maybe it would be more cost effective, instead of trying to install bike infrastructure geared toward the lowest common denominator everywhere (which can’t be paid for anyway), to give people the skills they need to ride on streets.

Since there are all kinds of streets — arterials, neighborhood collectors, local streets — everyone should be able to find a street they are comfortable with. And if that street doesn’t take you where you are going, time to develop some skills to ride the streets that do.

wsbob
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wsbob

“Maybe it would be more cost effective, instead of trying to install bike infrastructure geared toward the lowest common denominator everywhere (which can’t be paid for anyway), to give people the skills they need to ride on streets. …” On The Road

Many people just aren’t inclined to be road warriors if that’s what they’ve got to do to meet basic travel needs with a bike, and I don’t blame them. I think more people having ready access to good biking in traffic skills information and instruction is a great idea, but I’m doubtful such skills will much change the outlook on riding in traffic for the in traffic averse.

Pete
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Pete

If I were a betting man, I’d wager on personal interactions being more effective than waiting around for infrastructure to be funded. In my experience the persuasiveness of demonstrating possibility is far more effective than negotiating logical infrastructure. In the past year I’ve guided two individuals on conservative routes to their work place, which has been more effective than three detailed proposals for improved infrastructure (2 RTOL with bike lane, 1 sharrows in bike lane drop). For my time, just a few simple rides showing two people the lay of the land snowballed into 12 bike commuters over 9 months, whereas a year+ of bike committee meetings, city council meetings, and countless emails have produced NO change in landscape.

Yes, I continue to pull for the 8/80 crowd, but the reality is that the folks who start riding are the ones who are simply shown that riding makes more sense than driving, and is not the death sentence that media and common fear make it out to be.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I think that’s right. Can’t wait around forever for these dream improvements to be made. Personal interaction, or in other words, just being able to talk with people about what’ routes may be there that can help them avoid the kind of exposure to motor vehicle traffic they don’ like, may be a key to having them find that biking may be a realistic option for them.

From some of the comments to the recent bikeportland story about Beaverton’s potential to be a great biking city, I got the feeling that some people riding may have been unnecessarily choosing routes that involved far more intense exposure to motor vehicle traffic than some other usable routes.

It seems like it’s still going to be a long wait before any city in the Metro area seriously considers including a central, basic cycle track system into their existing street grid, or into that of new developments, such as Beaverton and Hillsboro have examples of. In the interim though, more effective efforts of conveying to people, manageable routes that may already exist, could get people going.

Actually, not sure I’ve got the name right, but this past summer, a Metro sponsored public information and interaction program, ‘Drive less, Save more, Cedar Hills’, did lead some route finding rides. More of those may be a good idea. Talked with a gal that lead at least one of them.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Same here. I guided a colleague of mine this past Friday. She remarked that all she needed was the confidence to do it, and she loved it! It’s helpful for the newbies to hear about the little tricks (things to watch for, shortcuts, etc). Two others took me up on my offer for another week. That’s three more people riding to work, which is three more people telling others to do the same and transferring that confidence on.

Alan 1.0
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Alan 1.0

Pete and On The Road, you’ve sold me! I’m convinced! Let’s do both education and better routes for bikes!

A few “buts,” though. I’d like to take an advanced street skills class, I’m sure I’d learn some things I haven’t picked up in 50+ years of riding and safety reminders are usually good things. But I’m completely certain that no skills class will convince me not to ride that sidewalk I mentioned in reply to WendP. Only safer a safer route will fix that.

Also, about the infrastructure which “which can’t be paid for anyway,” I’m not sure how many discussions you’ve followed around here, OTR, but it’s the motor vehicle infrastructure which soaks up the funds. Bike stuff is pennies on the dollar (or less), and those pennies end up saving more money than they cost due to lessened demand and wear by motor vehicles.

KristenT
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KristenT

One doesn’t have to be a “road warrior” in order to feel comfortable riding arterials. I disagree with you that skills training is a barrier to the traffic-averse.

Point of fact: When I first started learning to drive, I was terrified to drive on freeways and multi-lane roads with speeds great than 35. Eventually, through training and practice (and more practice), I became less terrified and a better driver, better able to handle multiple lanes and higher speeds/traffic volumes. It wasn’t because the infrastructure got better.

When I first started riding to work, I was terrified to ride on Hall Blvd because it’s a 40mph road where people drive much faster. But it was also part of the most direct route that wasn’t highway 99W– which I was also terrified to ride on. Eventually, through practice and more practice, I became less terrified and a better rider, better able to handle Hall and Hwy 99W and other arterials. It wasn’t because the infrastructure got better.

I also spent (and continue to spend) time reading about how to be a better rider, what laws apply, what the state says are my responsibilities, and what other regular commuters (especially this site) are doing. Training, if you will.

wsbob
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wsbob

Definitely, training and experience riding amongst motor vehicle traffic can develop ability to do that type riding more safely and with less fear and anxiety.

That still leaves, I think, many people that potentially could be riding, that simply will not ride where they feel their lives are hanging on the balance of how well people are driving their motor vehicles directly along side them.

Locally, at least, there just does not yet seem to be sufficient leadership or prioritization, and even more importantly, public support of infrastructure that provides for people that feel this way about riding as transportation.

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

I think this comparison is underutilized in this kind of discussion. Who, when they first started driving, didn’t sweat a little bit the first time they had to time a tricky left turn or merge into another lane or onto the freeway? I remember being terrified of heading into downtown Salem when I was first learning to drive. Also, the freeway.

There is no infrastructure for new drivers, but there legally MUST be an experienced “instructor” of some kind to offer advice to the learning driver. In car-land, we consider this to be the only thing anyone really needs: just a little helpful advice/moral support while learning to drive. Somehow, that’s enough for most people (granted, many of them are kids excited about being able to drive a car and so sufficiently motivated) to give driving the old college try. They don’t let the ~30,000/yr fatality rate caused by driving scare them off—by Jove, they keep a stiff upper lip and soldier on.

Yet when it comes to learning to ride a bike in traffic, suddenly it’s super-dangerous and we need all kinds of special infrastructure or “nobody” will do it. I frequently talk to people who think I’m crazy to bike commute; I point out the relative dangers of routes and modes, and they will flat-out refuse to hear it because they have it stuck in their heads that riding a bike—or at least riding a bike there—is “dangerous”.

I think we need to start pointing out how dangerous it is to drive a freakin’ car.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…There is no infrastructure for new drivers, …” El Biciclero

Because, people new to driving as well as drivers with experience, all generally travel within vehicles offering them some protection from hazards specifically arising from travel amongst other motor vehicls in traffic. People riding bikes amongst motor vehicle traffic lack any such protection.

Despite people driving within the protection a motor vehicle body can offer, the instruction people learning to drive may receive can be far more substantial than as you wrote, “…just a little helpful advice/moral support while learning to drive. …”. It can be a lengthy, even arduous process with hours on the road with a good, experienced instructor, whether a family member, friend, or professional instructor. I know this first hand, it being my own experience, and my nephew’s now.

It’s a common expectation that anyone planning to drive must undergo some kind of on the road instruction, as well as book study and examination. In comparison, there’s no similar expectation that people planning to ride a bike in traffic, vulnerable road users, must, or simply should, receive instruction for that type riding.

I don’t think there’s good very good reasons for depriving people that may be inclined to ride, from having some kind of instruction for route finding and riding in traffic as readily available to them as driver instruction is.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in making my comparison. People learning to drive in traffic (in spite of the protection offered by a car) AND people learning to ride a bike in traffic are BOTH fearful at the outset, never having done it before.

To help people who are learning to drive overcome their fear, instruction (to whatever degree you wish to formalize it, from “advice” to “professional driving school”) and practice are given as the remedy.

To help people learning to ride a bike (in traffic), special, additional infrastructure is often cited as the remedy, but alas, that remedy is too expensive, we won’t ever have it, so we can’t expect anyone to ever learn to ride a bike in traffic.

In using this comparison, the question I want people to think about is why do we not believe instruction and practice are good enough to help new bicyclists become experienced bicyclists who are comfortable operating in traffic?

I definitely hope no one is depriving would-be transportational bicyclists of instruction, I just think that most people’s parents never had an inclination to learn how to ride a bike in traffic, and so the #1 source of driving instruction cannot be counted on as any kind of source for riding instruction.

We may be saying the same thing here, inasmuch as we seem to agree that more—and more readily available—bicycling instruction could go a long way toward creating more bicyclists who are confident to ride in traffic regardless of infrastructure. But why do so many seem to disagree and instead hold the apparent position that creating new bicyclists depends entirely on infrastructure?

ED
Guest
ED

Yes, but… I’m willing to ride most types of infrastructure, but there are some I particularly dislike and no amount of skills or personal interactions will (likely) change my opinion. For example, I have to cross the I-5 bridge to get to my office and it just plain sucks. I know where the route goes, I’ve ridden it with co-workers, but I just don’t like it and as a result I don’t ride to work. So in some cases I think it really does take money to fix an infrastructure problem rather than just education. (Note: the I-5 bridge is perhaps not the best example of a problem that money can solve, given the political nightmares associated with it, but substitute your own least favorite stretch of road as appropriate to get my point.)

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Unfortunately, ED is also correct. If perfectly separated cycletracks are at one end of the spectrum, horribly hostile, high-speed, narrow lanes of motor traffic hell are at the other, and even hard-core, “fearless” riders have some upper limit of tolerance.

WendP
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WendP

So, what do you do when the route type you were on suddenly changes to a different route type? I’m definitely one of the “interested but concerned” – I ride, but I’m definitely not a strong or fearless rider. I stick to sidewalks whenever possible, if I have to ride in traffic. I’ve timed my rides so I can go on the sidewalk while avoiding higher pedestrian-traffic hours, just so I can stay off the street. I’m getting better about using bike lanes even though sharing them with wide trucks and city buses scares the poop out of me. But then I’m riding down the bike lane on, say, Division, from 90th or so, heading into town. And then 60th comes along, and boom! No more bike lane. Back on the sidewalk I go. Especially when I know what sort of hell that is the 30s on Division is coming up.

I want to ride. I really do. I’m working on the skills, honest. But it’s hard to develop the skills when I’m having panic attacks riding down the one-lane road worried about the bus behind me, the van full of kids in front of me and wondering if door will suddenly open as I pass the pickup parked next to me.

9watts
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9watts

“But it’s hard to develop the skills when I’m having panic attacks riding down the one-lane road worried about the bus behind me, the van full of kids in front of me and wondering if door will suddenly open as I pass the pickup parked next to me.”

Good for you for giving it a shot all the same. This may not help, but, despite a penchant here at times for the gruesome, probably upwards of 99% of bike miles are incident-free. Do you use a rearview mirror? Are your brakes adjusted so that you can stop on a dime? Mostly getting the hang of traffic amounts to practice, lots of it, but I can see your dilemma. Have you asked a more confident friend to ride with you, offer some tips? Because there are a great many simple ones that might put your mind at ease when it comes to doors, wide vehicles, heavy traffic, etc.

I guess I’m in the fearless category, because I’m pretty sure that if I worried about all the what-ifs I’d have to stay home. I’ve biked pretty much all my life, in all sorts of circumstances, and without a serious incident in traffic. The sidewalk to me seems more fraught at anything like what I’d consider a normal speed: bad sightlines, unpredictable cross traffic.

“So, what do you do when the route type you were on suddenly changes to a different route type?”
I keep right on pedaling. My early years of biking predated anything like widespread bike lanes, so perhaps that helped shape my sense that I have as much right to the road as anyone in a car, don’t need mode-specific accommodations to get where I want to go. I like bike infrastructure, and largely through reading this blog have come to appreciate that more of it, and better designed accommodations, would be salutary. But, not living in the Netherlands, we’re going to need to go (some) places that won’t have it, so I figure we might as well learn how to navigate those stretches as well.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Great point here about the mirror. Find one that works for you. To me, the mirror provides situational awareness, which really translates into timing with the flow of traffic rather than being intimidated by it. It comes with time. Buon velo as I’ve heard said here in Italy!

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

What do I do when the bike lane disappears? I sometimes pause and scope out the situation. Most of the time, I’ll check behind me in my mirror, find a gap to merge into traffic, and keep pedaling.

I definitely agree that getting a mirror greatly increased my confidence as a rider, I wouldn’t ride without one now.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Consider taking Lincoln, Clinton, Woodward as alternatives to Division, until you get more comfortable with traffic.

Map here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/322256

Riding a long distance on the sidewalk is slow, many opportunities for accidents (pedestrians, driveways) and when you ride off the sidewalk to cross the street, you’re in a prime location to be hit by a turning car. Everyone rides on the sidewalk to begin and end their journey, but try not to ride there more than absolutely necessary.

You’ll get more confident and capable, just give yourself time.

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

We often complain about the Clinton here, but it is much better than Division. I actually like it better than Lincoln too, but others disagree.

A van ahead of you is of no concern if you can stop, and a bus behind you can stay there until its safe to pass. Just stay out of the door zone and let the people behind you figure it out. Despite the recent highway crashes, its still very unlikely to be hit from behind.

On the other hand, we’re trying here trying to explain the route from the eastside to something as simple as going downtown. Or from a major employment center to a major college (OHSU/tram to new bridge to PSU). That can not count as decent infrastructure even if its all safe to ride on.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

More power to you for sticking with it, WendP, you are brave! I’ve seen your posts here for long enough to know you have stuck it out.

I like the suggestions you’ve gotten so far, but I will say that while I mostly ride in the lane, there’s a stretch near me with median vehicle speed over 40mph, bike lane less than three feet including the 8″ concrete curb lip and punctuated with drains, cars like to cut the inside of the curve into the bike lane, and only two moderately used driveways. When I’m packed wide and carrying 60 lbs of groceries, I take the seldom-used sidewalk, slowly and carefully.

If you haven’t tried it already, consider riding with a group, just for fun rides. Riding in a group lets me see how others handle various street situations and gives me confidence that comes from knowing that drivers see (and respect!) the group. Check the http://shift2bikes.org/ calendar or sign up for the mailing list. I think BikeLoudPDX is posting its rides there, too.

Finally, your post brings up a thought that was going through my head after I posted yesterday. That is that the “type” of route really needs to be considered for each individual rider on an end-to-end basis. So, when Sadowsky mentioned the lack of a connected pathway system, that means a bike route could be really good on both ends but have a short gap in the middle which is beyond a rider’s confidence, and that short gap makes the whole route untenable for that rider. While we can rate individual segments for different confidence levels, or planners can build better routes in pieces and apply ratings to them, ultimately the entire route, end-to-end, has to fit with a rider’s determination before that rider will use it.

On The Road
Guest
On The Road

Or give them the skills and the confidence to ride that insufficient gap.

davemess
Guest
davemess

What would it take to convince you that most often riding on the sidewalk is actually more dangerous than riding on the street?

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

I am convinced of that already. I mentioned a special case, just as did WendP. As I said, I mostly ride in the lane.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Oh wait, you were asking WendP! Sorry, nevermind!

davemess
Guest
davemess

yes. No problem. I am truly curious about the problem. Just like I want to stop the guys riding in front of my house and ask them why they’re riding on the wrong side of the street down the bike lane.

WendP
Guest
WendP

I’m slowly working my way up to riding in the lane more often right now. I currently have an extraordinarily short and bike-friendly commute, so I’m working on a variety of skills (read: doing them, knowing I only have to go a short way, so maybe I can convince myself not to have panic attacks along the way).

What else would it take to convince me that riding on the sidewalk is actually more dangerous than riding on the street? It’s not that I don’t believe you (well, mostly). It’s more that I feel in slightly more control over what I do on the sidewalk. I don’t have quick starts, which matters at stop lights and signs. I don’t ride fast – not nearly as fast as most cyclists I see – which matters for keeping up with traffic. I both overreact and underreact, as I compare myself to friends and others who cycle (which I’m working on by making myself cycle more, as experience is the only thing that cures inexperience). I feel less like I’m going to get doored, swerved into, cut off, stopped short in front of, and generally less like I’m going to get crashed into than when I ride on the sidewalk.

And yes, I do keep pedestrians in mind. I am mindful about trying to stick to riding when there are fewer pedestrians about, I stay on the correct side of the sidewalk, I give notice when I come up behind pedestrians, and all that good stuff.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Can you tell us the start and end points of your commute? (Feel free to obscure the exact details if you wish.) We might have some route suggestions.

So, the sidewalk. The issues are pedestrians, driveways and crossing streets.
– Pedestrians are a hazard to cyclists (they’d say it is the other way around). When walking, people don’t hold a line or look where they are going. They stop, swerve, turn, throw out their arms, don’t listen, walk while reading their phones, dart in and out of shops, suddenly and without looking or warning. Kids and dogs are even worse. This erratic behavior is normal! The sidewalk is their space (all of it – there is no “correct side” for you), if you are knocked down by a pedestrian on a sidewalk, or knock one down, it is always your fault.
– When drivers pull out of or turn into driveways, they are looking for pedestrians. Pedestrians walk 2-3 mph, so anything not in or right next to the driveway is ignored, even the cyclist moving at 10 mph who will be in the driveway in the next second. Runners and skateboarders have this problem too.
– Same with cars turning at intersections. A driver about to turn looks for someone in the intersection or on the edge of the sidewalk about to step into the intersection. He doesn’t look to see if there is someone 20 feet from the intersection, even though that person, if on a bike at 10 mph, will be in his path in 1.5 seconds.

On the street, you don’t (usually) have to deal with pedestrians, and you are where drivers are (usually) actually looking. Drivers in Portland are accustomed to bicycles, they mostly know how to drive around bicycles, and they won’t intentionally hit you, if they can see you.

Quick starts are unnecessary. No cyclist can out-accelerate a car anyway. I take my time getting away from stops and it is never a problem.

Riding fast is unnecessary. No cyclist can ride faster than a car. I ride fast sometimes, slow other times, mostly depending on mood. There are situations where cars are bottled up behind you so it is courteous to ride briskly rather than pootling along – but you can avoid those roads.

WendP
Guest
WendP

So, my panic attacks (and I’m not using this term loosely or colloquially) tell me “don’t ride on the street”. You tell me “don’t ride on the sidewalk”. What this amounts to is the overall message “don’t ride”.

I appreciate (read: comprehend, understand, “grok”) your arguments. I even agree, for the most part. The actual situation is slightly more complicated than that for some of us riders.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I would add another category:
Confident and fearless rider who is towing a little one.
I will ride pretty much any road at anytime, but this mindset changes when my five year old is in tow. When this is the case, my mind scrambles for options and some parts of the city sorta become off-limits. For example, last Summer I refused to bring him from our home on NE Davis to Washington Park to watch the weeknight road racing due to the need to ride through downtown. It absolutely sucks that what should be a fun part of the city to ride (the vibrant downtown area), is off-limits for us.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Yours and maybe WendP’s is an example of a need cities could a long way to overcome by providing a basic cycle track system across town, east, west, north, south. Basic system meaning, not cycle tracks everywhere, but at least one, maybe two for each direction.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Totally agree, wsbob. Just get me somewhat close, and I will figure it out. As it stands, that is not an option.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Hear hear, combined with a culture of pedestrians and motorists in tune with the flow of cycle tracks.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Thanks you two. Just noticed what I wrote would likely have made more sense had I said it thus: “…an example of a need cities could meet…”. Oh, well, you seem to have figured it out what I was thinking.

Clark in Vancouver
Guest
Clark in Vancouver

The Capital Region Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan (this would be the capitol of British Columbia) has a nice classification system. From Class I to Class III.

It’s on page 8 of this document.
https://www.crd.bc.ca/docs/default-source/regional-planning-pdf/pedestrian-amp-cycling-master-plan.pdf

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Nice scale! I like how they shade the gradation rather than simply set rigid boundaries; there are so many variables and qualifiers that such a scale needs that full-spectrum grading. I also like that it shows no door-zone bike lanes except the parking-separated cycle track, which has a door buffer.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

i know i am a broken record on this but i do not appreciate being labelled “fearless”. this language stereotypes experienced, confident, and/or strong riders as immature idiots who believe they are immortal. it’s part of a divisive and dishonest trend in bike advocacy where experienced cyclists, commuters, and/or sport cyclists are scapegoated as barriers to wide-spread adoption of transportation cycling. i may ride faster than you think is wise and i may bike in a manner that appears to be reckless but like many cyclists i am very much afraid when someone in a cage threatens my life. please stop dehumanizing me.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Sorry about that and thanks for mentioning it. I was too busy copying Geller’s model to think of that change. What’s a better buzz phrase? Strong & skilled? Expert & fast?

(psst…moderators! reply to John Liu awaiting!)

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

there are people who are not especially fast or strong but will still cycle just about anywhere. i prefer confident but “will cycle anywhere” would work if there is a need to differentiate further.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Good suggestion. I’d edit my last category to “If they’ll ride this, they’ll ride anything.” Makes a nice symmetry with the first category, “If they won’t ride this, they won’t ride anything.”

Pete
Guest
Pete

I just use the adjective “experienced”.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

What is a “1%” bike route? Can anyone describe what features, elements, design makes a route qualify as 1%? Also, can anyone name a couple routes in Portland that are 1%?

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Clarification: I mean, what makes a “if they won’t ride this, they won’t ride anything” route? My using the shorthand “1%” name wasn’t very clear.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Not sure why my replies never cleared moderation; sorry, John. They were roughly the same stuff as Jeff’s, just below this.

Jeff
Guest

John Liu
Clarification: I mean, what makes a “if they won’t ride this, they won’t ride anything” route? My using the shorthand “1%” name wasn’t very clear.
Recommended 1

I’d suggest starting where you already observe the greatest variety of skill levels riding (say on a nice weekend.) I’d suggest the Eastbank Esplanade/Tom McCall, Springwater, and the Willamette Greenway (between S. Waterfront and Johns Landing. Common features of these routes: effectively no motorized parallel traffic, minimal motorized cross traffic, and minimal climbing.

lee
Guest
lee

Educating new riders is great, but what about the kiddos who are commuting on their own bikes with parents? My 9 year old understands the basics, but when lanes suddenly end or traffic is too fast, etc – no amount of education on her part will help – physically she just might not be able to keep up/be safe (as is someone who isn’t in prime shape, elderly or disabled).
Having basic infrastructure in place not only brings in new adult riders, but a whole new generation of riders (and their families)..

Pete
Guest
Pete

Totally agree, and I hope you didn’t read my reply to wsbob as being mutually exclusive, as his suggestion about arterial cycle paths is dead on. Another part of “basic infrastructure” is proper way-finding for bicyclists. It’s easy to talk about routes we already know, but as WendP touches on there needs to be (practical) guidance not just for beginning riders but out-of-towners. (When I first moved here that ‘guidance’ amounted to seeing an “End” sign tacked above the “Bike Route” signs I’d been following…).

BTW, as modern way-finding in cars is often done with navigation systems tuned to suggest best routes (sometimes in real-time accounting for traffic), I encourage parents to also educate their children on route-planning as an important aspect to biking somewhere. Google maps, for instance, has come a long way in classifying bike routes (partly because some product managers there have ridden all over the world ;).

WendP
Guest
WendP

This! This! This is me! This is what I was trying to say!