Here’s another take on the much-discussed and increasingly well-documented problem of people who are in a big hurry to drive on some of Portland’s neighborhood greenways (sometimes known as bike boulevards).
My commute has me driving for four blocks on the Clinton bike boulevard west of 21st. For the second time this month I’ve had an aggressive drive pass me to speed down the street. This morning there was a line of bicyclists in front of me basically taking up the lane through to the next signal, as well as oncoming traffic. It would not have been safe or prudent to overtake the bicyclists as I would have to either cut one of them off or stay in the oncoming lane until the next signal. Instead I just drove at the speed of the bikes which was around 18mph. The car that passed me nearly took out a cyclist trying to get back in our lane to avoid a head on collision. It’s completely ridiculous to me that PPB has nearly zero traffic enforcement, especially on our neighborhood greenways where safe respectful driving is even more important. I’ve tried calling in requesting enforcement but have not seen any cops. Any ideas on how to make our streets better, and what the fuck is going on this summer that is making all the drivers extra aggressive?
No one has ever died on one of Portland’s neighborhood greenways; the more direct safety problems (and, some argue, the more pressing ones) are on larger streets. On the other hand, there’s no question that incidents like the one described here would make most people uncomfortable with being on a bike in the street.
As we reported last week, a recent city study found that significant amounts of motor traffic travels well over the speed limit on most neighborhood greenways in the city. Some neighborhood advocates have, like the person above, wondered if the city should dedicate more traffic enforcers’ time to this problem.
Hat tip to the Reddit Portland community, which already has a rich thread going.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.