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As city council weighs bike share agreement, three of five votes look certain

Posted by on September 16th, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Portland City Council

Portland’s city council: Steve Novick, Amanda Fritz, Charlie Hales, Dan Saltzman, Nick Fish.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A half-hour city council hearing Wednesday on Portland’s proposed bike sharing system raised some questions but, seemingly, few serious concerns.

With a formal vote lined up next week, Commissioners Steve Novick and Nick Fish, along with Mayor Charlie Hales, all spoke warmly about the proposal.

Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman didn’t seem to be raising major objections, though both asked pointed questions: Fritz about safety and Saltzman about money. Saltzman in particular seemed upbeat about the plan. Neither offered a closing comment Wednesday, leaving themselves plenty of room to back away from the deal if they decide to.

“It’s nice sometimes not to be first, and this time we’re going to be 65th.”
— City bike share project manager Steve Hoyt-McBeth

The hearing was significantly less contentious than previous council discussions about bike share, all of which have occurred in the glare of repeated editorials from The Oregonian urging the city not to create such a system. (The latest of those was published Monday.)

This time around, the council seemed less stressed about the concept.

“It’s nice sometimes not to be first, and this time we’re going to be 65th,” city bike share project manager Steve Hoyt-McBeth told the council.

Commissioner Fish, in particular, seemed to be strongly influenced by the success that bike sharing has had in other cities like San Francisco, New York and Chicago. He said he’d seen it in action on family trips around the country.

“Bike share is blowing up in those cities and everybody seems to be on a bike,” Fish said.

Like the other commissioners, Fish also praised the low-risk nature of the deal the city has set up. The city’s contractor, Motivate, will assume all downside risk for the first three years. The city says that even if the system flops and no private sponsors are found, it can scale back the system’s performance standards for the fourth and fifth years that would be required under the terms of a federal grant. That’d prevent any public operating subsidy of the system.

“There’s risk in everything we do,” Fish said. “It seems like this time there’s a modest risk.”

“There’s risk in everything we do. It seems like this time there’s a modest risk.”
— Commissioner Nick Fish on financing bike sharing systems

Novick, laying out the virtues of a bike share system, sounded similar notes. He said that though he hadn’t supported a public subsidy for a convention-center hotel, sending a $2 million federal grant to bike sharing seemed like a “reasonable investment” for a system that would both serve many locals and provide a service that tourists have come to expect.

Hales called the proposed 600-bike system a “Goldilocks” proposal: not to big, not too small, not too fast and not too slow.

“I hear from people saying ‘We’re way behind in Portland and that’s terrible!'” Hales said. “We’re behind, or ahead, or somewhere, because we started it.”

He said that other cities that have been embracing biking amenities are doing so because they’ve seen Portland’s success.

“That has set off a virtuous competition among cities to be green, livable,” he said. “What a problem to have, for cities to be competing with each other to do the right thing. … To those who are wringing their hands saying ‘we’re not a leader’: yes we are, and others are running in our same direction.”

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Commissioner Saltzman asked if the city would be opening itself up to lawsuits. City Active Transportation Manager Margi Bradway said the city’s contract with Motivate protects it from liability. This seemed to satisfy Saltzman on that issue.

“It’s a nice thing to have; it’s not an essential thing to have,” Saltzman said.

Commissioner Fritz raised two main areas of concern: whether bike-share users would be able to get helmets, and what the city’s plan was for keeping people from riding the bikes on downtown sidewalks, which is illegal.

“Downtown is a dangerous place to ride a bike safely,” Fritz said. She said she’d recently met an East Portland resident who told her he’d been biking in a downtown MAX lane, caught his wheel in one of the grooves and badly injured himself.

“Downtown is a dangerous place to ride a bike safely.”
— Commissioner Amanda Fritz on obstacles to good bike sharing

Hoyt-McBeth said the city’s proposed contract with Motivate includes a plan to test helmet vending machines, but that choices are limited because no reliable option seems to be on the market yet. In any case, he said, the system will promote helmet use through its membership channels, offer discounts for helmet purchases, give free helmets to low-income members and pursue partnerships with bike rental shops.

As for downtown sidewalk riding, Hoyt-McBeth said the city will find some way to add messages on the bikes or their docks that tell people not to ride on downtown sidewalks.

Meanwhile on Twitter, various people suggested another way to reduce sidewalk biking.

A handful of other Portlanders came to testify in support of bike sharing, including a developer who said that commercial real estate tenants rarely ask about auto parking availability these days and are much likelier to ask about bike parking.

Bicycle Transportation Alliance Executive Director Rob Sadowsky spoke in favor, saying his organization would be happy to partner with the city to educate people on safe bike use.

BikeLoudPDX co-chair Ted Buehler said the system seemed small but that he looked forward to inviting visiting friends to use it.

“600 bikes isn’t really a lot to go around,” Buehler said. “Still, it’s a terrific start.”

The most skeptical testifier was Joe Walsh, an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. He echoed Fritz’s concerns about people biking on downtown sidewalks.

“Right now the police aren’t enforcing that,” Walsh said. “It’s the wild west.”

But even Walsh didn’t have a problem with the general idea of bike sharing.

“The program itself sounds really interesting,” he said. “They did it in New York. That’s kind of a good endorsement, because it is a very complex city.”

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maccoinnich
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‘”Downtown is a dangerous place to ride a bike safely,” Fritz said.’

Glad she acknowledged it. Now lets do something about it.

kellz
Guest
kellz

“…he’d been biking in a downtown MAX lane…”

Although I agree that cycling downtown can be harrowing, why was he riding in the MAX lane? Seems like an easy way to set yourself up for disaster.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

they have a diamond symbol in them, the same as many bike lanes… the same as many carpool lanes… yes, Portland has 3 different meanings for a diamond symbol in a vehicle lane…

there’s only a “MAX only” sign every 3 blocks, so it’s easy to bike 2 blocks in a MAX lane and not know it’s illegal…

Adam Herstein
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Adam Herstein

The diamond symbol only has one meaning: “special-use lane”. Of course, there nothing telling you what exactly that special use is.

Justin Carinci
Guest
Justin Carinci

I always thought that symbol meant “Renault-only lane.”

Mark
Guest
Mark

Not if the Lars Larson crowd has anything to say about it

Adam Herstein
Guest
Adam Herstein

Hey Fritz! Don’t want people riding on the sidewalks? Support protected bike lanes downtown! It’s the only solution – other than banning all cars, of course. 😉

Adron Hall
Guest

That.

chris
Guest
chris

Another option would be to turn half the streets into limited access roads that with diverters every couple of blocks, thereby creating a network of bike boulevards. It would be super cheap too, but of course it won’t happen.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

Being a commuter and all, I understand the value of getting people on bikes, but I’m having a hard time seeing the value of this sort of set up or why tax payers (via federal grants or local taxes) should ever be asked to fund it. I’d much rather see dollars going to beefing up the cycling infrastructure for safety and throughput. A well designed and safe cycling system will encourage bike-share vendors to run their businesses here in a far more sustainable manner than one-time grants ever will.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I’m not saying this is the purpose, but having a few folks who generally don’t/won’t ride use a bike share on occasion is bound to ramp up the bike use numbers and (finally) get Portland off the 6%. It’s not really going to add the same amount of cycling as getting those people to ride their own bikes regularly, but it will somewhat artificially bump up the participation numbers, which can be used to press for more/better cycling infrastructure.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Fritz really seems to have downtown sidewalk riding on the brain.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

She thinks it’s dangerous to ride in the street so obviously everyone is going to choose to ride on the sidewalk. Not having bike share hardly seems like the right solution to that problem, but I guess one wouldn’t know downtown mostly moves at bike speed without having tried it.

reader
Guest
reader

“In any case, he said, the system will promote helmet use through … partnerships with bike rental shops.”

In other words, the City will rent the bikes and the bike rental shops can rent some helmets?

mixtieme
Guest
mixtieme

maccoinnich
‘”Downtown is a dangerous place to ride a bike safely,” Fritz said.’Glad she acknowledged it. Now lets do something about it.Recommended 11

I’m still amazed how people manage to crash in those tracks. There is also so much hub bub about how ‘dangerous’ they are. It’s always seemed rather clear to me, bike tire skinny, move parallel to skinny crack in the ground, get caught in the crack and drop an inch, logically you’ll either have to stop to get out, be that purposefully or via a crash. Is this not so obvious to people? Tracks or cracks aren’t dangerous, people with bad decision making skills are dangerous (sounds like guns). Of course exceptions to the rule, being pushed/bullied into a dangerous situation, but in 8 years I have never crashed on those tracks and probably never will.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Renting a bike down at a shop along the river for a ride along the esplanades is, compared to riding a bike around Downtown, no challenge. Don’t need much biking skill at all other than being able to balance, pedal, and avoid the ‘Fast Bikes on Naito’ crusaders for ‘just-us’. Downtown streets are an entirely different story.

Bike share’s ready accessibility may have a number of complete novices to biking, deciding to hop on a bike for a zip around town. It would be a lot to expect that they’ll handle well the range of challenges of Downtown Portland’s streets; bunny hopping/properly angling across tracks, signaling for direction changes… . With some riding experience, Portland Downtown streets aren’t that tough really, even with streetcar and light rail tracks to avoid. With no experience…watch out.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m interested in seeing how bike share works out for Portland. Not having been to a city with the system, the whole thing seems a little silly and a lot of clutter. Why Portland needs this, I don’t know. It’s a very walkable Downtown. Sounds like something bound to bring in a bunch of doofuses on rent-a-bikes that don’t know beans about riding a bike in the city; chaos ensues. But we’ll see…maybe it’ll be ‘fabulous’.

MNBikeLove
Guest
MNBikeLove

Actually, visiting a city with bike share would alleviate all your fears. Bike share users tend to be very good about traffic and other encumbrances. Also, the bikes themselves tend to lend to a more relaxed riding: the geometry, seating position, weight of the bike and low gearing all help. Also, most bike share bikes are some garish color meaning you can’t miss them on the road.

You should visit Minneapolis and see the Nice Ride system. Its a great primer on bike share and unlike most systems in the USA (including Portland’s proposed system) is completely non-profit and self owned. Plus, if you come in the next month, you can enjoy the fall colors as you bike around the Grand Rounds.

Also, while you are in MSP, you can ride one of our many urban mountain bike trail systems and see that urban mountain biking has not reduced parks and greenspaces to the Dante-esque Hellscapes you believe urban mountain biking creates.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Just don’t go in the winter months…… 🙂

I loved Nice Bike when I was there a few years ago. I wrote a review for this site, but Jonathan didn’t post it.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I question how bike share will work in Portland, but ‘afraid’? Hardly. It’s going to be Portland’s baby to deal with. Which city leaders realized, so they waited to sign a deal that would oblige some company, instead of the city, to eat the costs and solve various problems with the system in order to get it to work, at least initially.

No doubt, people in cities surrounding Portland, will be watching to see how bike share works out. Anyone with some knowledge of how Beaverton’s Downtown parts are separated from each other, may have some thoughts about bike share possibly being a good fit for this city; bike share between Beaverton Town Square, Old Town, The Round, Cedar Hill Crossing…all points within a 3-4 mile radius, bisected by big thoroughfares and highways, but not having a continuous retail/office district like Downtown Portland.

Your melodramatic description of what you seem to think are my feelings about the use of natural park land within city limits for mountain biking, doesn’t match my thoughts or what I’ve ever written on the subject.

I’ve given a fair amount of thought to, and written in plain simple terms, about possible reasons why a majority of Portland residents may be not enthusiastic about the use of their natural area parks for mountain biking.

If a majority of Portland residents believed a particular activity, such as mountain biking, would be a good use of their natural park areas within city limits, that’s what they should use them for. So far, there’s no indication of that kind of interest in Portland.

MNBikeLove
Guest
MNBikeLove

I question Portland’s system myself. I’m… let’s call it curious… to see how Portland’s approach will work since they do not have a corporate sponsor at this time and the agreement with Motivate seems… odd. It’s a little different of a setup vs. Chicago (Divvy) or New York (CitiBike). Its also WAY different than Nice Bike, who as I mentioned above, is a nonprofit that owns 100% of the system. No need to profit share with a 3rd party.

I stand by the point though. You had a lot of questions on the user interaction of bike share that show a concern for how the system would operate in the field. Those concerns are quickly alleviated by observing, using and learning about a city with bike share.

As my being melodramatic regarding your feelings in relation to urban mountain biking, I’ve had discussions with you regarding the subject, and I don’t think my description of your opinions were too dramatic. Literary, yes, dramatic, no.

Seeing a functioning urban mountain system, especially one that parts of have been functioning for over 15 years, would totally re-write your thoughts on urban mountain biking. In our discussions in the past, you seem to think Red Bull ads are an accurate representation of urban mountain biking. You also tend to greatly exaggerate the environmental impacts and the “disruptiveness” to other users. Riding down or walking a trail and realizing it’s the same trail tread that has been there since 2004 with no trail tread movement or erosion and seeing bikers and hikers say “hi” as they pass each other would crumble your preconceptions.

As to the majority of Portlanders needing to decide to do urban mountain biking, its a non-argument. No agency bases its land usage decisions on public referendum. No soccer field, baseball diamond or mountain bike trail would win some straw poll. Users of these amenities are just not the majority. There was no great groundswell of public interest when the first mountain biking trails were built in the Twin Cities. Just some riders with a dream (and a willing municipal entity, which is different than Portland). But after a few were built, they became popular and loved. Now, it’s just part of the park’s available amenities matrix.

Seriously, you should come to Minnesota. Learn about bike share, learn about urban mountain biking. You might find the trip to be your own ‘road to Damascus’ moment.

Scott Mizée
Guest

Here here! Well said.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…As my being melodramatic regarding your feelings in relation to urban mountain biking, I’ve had discussions with you regarding the subject, and I don’t think my description of your opinions were too dramatic. Literary, yes, dramatic, no …” MNBikeLove

Your description of my writing in comments to bikeportland stories about use of the city’s premier, longest standing nature park, Forest Park, definitely was melodramatic, and inaccurate. I’ve actually encouraged people to garner broad public support for the acquisition of natural land within city limits, specifically to be used for mountain biking.

For whatever reason, you seem to fail to fathom that mountain bike enthusiasts’ primary target natural land for mountain bike use within Portland city limits, is Forest Park. Making a sufficiently strong case to use that particular park for mountain biking, is a very, very tall order. Were mountain bike enthusiasts seeking the acquisition of other natural land areas not already designated for other uses, within city limits to use for mountain biking, there likely would be considerably more public receptiveness to use of the land for mountain biking.

The public in Portland, at least in terms of numbers of residents approaching anything close to a majority, apparently is not interested in using natural parkland already designated for other uses within city limits, for mountain biking.

As for bike share, I hope Portland has fun with it, or at least learns something from the experience if it does happen.

MNBikeLove
Guest
MNBikeLove

Here is the thing. On one hand you say I was being melodramatic regarding your views concerning urban mountain biking. However, in your “clarification” of your viewpoints you argue that mountain bikers should push for “the acquisition of natural land within city limits, specifically to be used for mountain biking” and this acquisition should be of “natural land areas not already designated for other uses”? See that is the crux. Unless you believe that mountain bike trails somehow ruin a park (that would be aforementioned creating a Hellscape part) then why would new properties be needed to contain mountain biking?

That belief, that urban mountain biking and green space are incompatible, is just patently false. Almost all of the existing mountain bike trail systems (approx. 255 trail systems comprising just shy of 2,000 miles; 16% of which are in MN, BTW) in the United States are contained in part or in whole in properties that pre-existed the construction of said trails. Minneapolis didn’t buy a property to place mountain bike trails in Theodore Wirth. Nor did New York City or Indianapolis or Louisville or Tacoma or anywhere else. So why should Portland operate any differently?

The only way to show you that greens spaces and urban mountain biking are compatible is really to have you stand in a park that contains urban mountain biking. And that ain’t anywhere in Portland.

I fully understand that Forest park is goal of the mountain biking community in Portland. It’s a goal I support (though I and the locals differ on how soon that goal should be pursued). To build a robust system places like Forest Park, Marquam, Mt. Tabor and maybe a few others would have to include trails. The city-wide mountain biking master plan might outline all of these. But none of what that plan outlines will ever get built till city leaders and residents are willing to look outside Portland (and Oregon) and see what urban mountain biking really is like.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Doesn’t have to be a skinny tire. My 2.5 hookworm slid right into the max tracks on the tilikum bridge. Granted, they seem to be narrower than that in many places.

Scott Mizée
Guest

Understood and agreed. That is why I carefully phrased my comment to say “less likely.”

Ted Buehler
Guest

“My 2.5 hookworm slid right into the max tracks on the tilikum bridge.”

I haven’t tried dropping tires into the tracks, but 2.5″ seems like it should be wide enough to stay out.

Do your tires drop into any streetcar tracks, or was there a particularly wide flangeway where it fell in?

& I assume this was at the intersections at one of the ends of the bridge?

Ted Buehler

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

I tested it during the preview day when they detoured us onto the trackway (with some rubber mats covering the tracks.) It may be wider than would be standard on a street because they don’t expect bikes (or even motorcycles) to ever be riding there.

soren
Guest
soren

Slick polished metal and a smaller contact patch can cause front wheels to lose traction. The same principle makes wet bridge gratings slick.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Same here.

To ride safely in the city, you have to have some basic skills. Crossing rail tracks is one of those. Some people learn by falling. Don’t whine about it. Get up and learn your lesson.

Chris Shaffer
Guest
Chris Shaffer

That’s not even close to 8-80. Tell that to the kid or grandparent sho just broke a bone.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Who learned to ride a bike without ever falling? Who didn’t fall a bunch when biking as a kid?

This idea that people without basic biking skills should expect to ride around a city without any risk of falling is unrealistic.

People who drive without basic driving skills have accidents. Cycling is no different.

As for the survey Ted mentioned, these “experienced cyclists” must not have been experienced in riding in just about any city with a streetcar or light rail system. Maybe they were experienced in riding in the suburbs. There is no magic technology in Europe that makes rails somehow not slippery, or allows street cars to operate without rails and a groove. Nor is there such in San Francisco or other U.S. cities with a street car. Stick your front wheel into the rail tracks of any street car system anywhere, and you will fall. Cross those tracks the right way, and you won’t.

Granted, the main cycling routes should ideally not coincide with street car or light rail routes. But you can’t really expect to be able to ride all over the city and never have to cross any tracks.

soren
Guest
soren

Despite similar concerns about safety from critics of bike share in NYC, “inexperienced” bike share users have proven to be very safe riders:

“Out of 8.75 million trips, we’ve had about 100 crash reports, of which about 25 warranted a trip to the ER,” Citi Bike spokeswoman Dani Simon told me. “To my knowledge there have been zero fatalities to date.”

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/05/30/nyc_citi_bike_zero_fatalities_in_new_york_city_bike_share_program_s_first.html

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

Yikes.

soren
Guest
soren

Ride like me! Ride like me!

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Portland’s experienced cyclists know how to ride without crashing on the tracks. I doubt that can be said for many bike share users. Many will be from out of town who want a taste of Portland’s cycling culture. Some will crash and crash hard.

I used a share bike in Frankfurt and found it a pleasant experience.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I agree, some bike share riders will fall down. What’s the alternative?. Tear up all our street car lines as well as all the surface street MAX lines? – not going to happen. Fit all bike share bikes with fatbike tires? – there’s a trade-off in ease of pedaling, maybe it is worth it but I think riding a fat bike on pavement is unnecessarily tiring. (although a 42 mm tire might not be a bad idea) Not have bike share because some tourists will fall? – that might be Fritz’ position, but I think she uses “safety” as an excuse to restrict cycling and this would be more of the same.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Bunny hop clinics? not on those bikes. I guess an iron clad liability waiver is the solution

davemess
Guest
davemess

bunny hop? Just cross at 90 degrees or get off and walk.

Ted Buehler
Guest

(Thread drift alert — warning)
Granpa wrote:
“Portland’s experienced cyclists know how to ride without crashing on the tracks. ”

Incorrect.

In 2011 AROW solicited crash data from Portland bicyclists. We got a large number of replies. Maybe 200? I don’t recall at the moment.

A common element of many peoples’ responses were:
* I am an experienced bicyclist
* I have ridden for XX years and had zero crashes, in Y cities or Z countries.
* I have been riding around Streetcar tracks in Portland for a few years.
* I was surprised to find myself in an ambulance after so many years of safe riding. And felt betrayed that Portland had built a system of streets that could not be safely navigated by a skilled bicycle operator.

This trend continues, I’ve had two friends suffer very bad crashes (broken bones, busted teeth, that sort of thing) in 2014 and 2015. Both had been bike commuting for over 15 years.

BikeShare bikes usually have fairly thick tires. I don’t know if they’re fat enough to stay out of a streetcar track, though. Almost as thick as a mountain bike.

We should bring that up, and if the first order of 600 has narrow tires, we should make sure the subsequent batches have streetcar-proof tire widths.

Ted Buehler

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Would those huge fat bike type tires do the trick do you think? Try some out, see if they’re idiot proof.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

They would, but I imagine the cost, weight, and rolling resistance make them a non-starter for bikeshare bikes (even if they are a great match for our crumbling streets.) They would still go down on the wet tracks.

Try riding south on SW Moody between the car parking and the streetcar tracks on a Saturday afternoon. The bike lane there is basically just a buffer for parking.

Ted Buehler
Guest

Thanks for the article, Michael.

If you like BikeShare and want to see it in Portland, you might consider letting your elected officials know your opinion.
http://www.portlandonline.com/Auditor/index.cfm?a=191877&c=27481

Thanks to all who have worked on this for many years to bring it into fruition, I hope to see it come into being next summer.

Ted Buehler

Scott Mizee
Guest

Keep in mind that bike share bikes use wider tires, and therefore are less likely to easily slip into the flangeway.

Mark
Guest
Mark

The whole sidewalk thing is weird. Bikes are apparently deadly to walkers (um no), but its perfectly fine to blend semi trucks, trucks, cars with bikes.

Make sense?

The reason cops don’t enforce the sidewalk issue until its a problem….because its dumb. The ordinance simply gives a few people the right to complain about whatever wheeled item on their sidewalk

If there are a lot if people on the sidewalk, I go around. If not ..I might use the sidewalk. Whatever works. Bleh. Sidewalk elitists.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…If there are a lot if people on the sidewalk, I go around. …” Mark

Well…if only everyone riding a bike on the sidewalk were as considerate to people walking, as you are.

What many people on bikes often do when riding sidewalks where people are using them, is ride too fast and too close to people on the sidewalk when going around them. That is if they don’t brush up against them or actually run into them and knock them down.

Bikes are vehicles. While sidewalks are for walking, not bike riding, Oregon law, out of consideration for people’s apprehension over riding in traffic, permits people riding bikes to use sidewalks for travel, on the condition they moderate their manner of travel to be compatible with people walking, where they’re present.

With the likelihood of people with limited to no experience biking, that bike share may bring to Downtown or wherever else in town bike share will come to be installed, it’s difficult to know how this may effect use of sidewalks for people walking. Hopefully, the experience will be good for everyone.

Mark
Guest
Mark

The cops should bust bad behavior. The spirit behind the anti bike ordinance is that bikes must yield to peds just as cars must yield to bikes. Yes, in any group, there are always dunderheads who are clueless to the world around them.

Thankfully, they are riding a bike and not piloting an F-350. Because, F-350 drivers are by far the most courteous. Anyway…

The ordinance does not apply to all Portland streets FYI.

I can pilot a bike on Portland’s sidewalks in such a fashion that is safer than a pedestrian. I don’t look at my phone no wander. I just ride straight. I have seen it from Australia to Seattle where the pedestrian crusaders decry their plight (despite having a dedicated lane almost everywhere) and fuss that the bicyclists are going to run them down in droves. Meanwhile…they did in crosswalks.

The real issue here is education that pedestrians have the ultimate right away. An outdated ordinance isn’t going to solve that issue.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I realize Portland’s no bikes on sidewalks ordinance is confined to a limited area of the city’s Downtown. A large part of the reasoning for the boundaries established, I believe, is that this part of town generally has more foot traffic on the sidewalks than do other parts of the city.

Unfortunately, problems with people riding bikes on sidewalks while pedestrians are trying to walk there, are not limited just to Downtown’s streets. You remarks suggest you consider yourself to be someone that rides very safely with respect to people walking. Even if in fact what you say about yourself is accurate, people walking on sidewalks have little way of being certain that people riding bikes on sidewalks will refrain from doing so in ways that are compatible with use of the sidewalk for its basic, first priority function: walking.

In order to garner support for novel ideas like bike share, it’s important to keep as many as possible, of the people that use the area where the system will be installed, happy. That includes people that use the sidewalks for walking, and that are concerned about their safety from people riding bikes on sidewalks.

For them, promises made that bike share will not degrade conditions for safe use of sidewalks, is likely to be very important to their offering their support for the system. People advocating for biking and bike share, ought to be recognizing this concern, and taking pains to be certain measures will be in place to effectively curtail any use of sidewalks for biking where it’s not permitted.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Correction: “…have little way of being certain that people riding bikes on sidewalks will refrain from doing so in ways that are incompatible with use of the sidewalk for its basic, first priority function: walking. …”

Mark
Guest
Mark

One other thing, why does the Oregonian hate bikes share? Do they even have a dedicated writer for all things bike or was that handles by joseph rose?

Adron Hall
Guest

I’m kind of perplexed, as there is a lot of cognitive dissonance in Fritz’s continual drive (no pun) for safety. She seems overly concerned about the damage a cyclist could *theoretically* do but seems to never really go to bat for the real problem. Which is of course, errant motorists and dangerously designed road system – which her husband was even killed by. Which makes things even more confusing, considering it would make things SAFER for people if a greater density of people actually biked in downtown Portland.

In the end, with some logic and data analysis applied it just seems like Fritz has a strange hang up about someone biking into somebody even though there’s basically non-existent or only extreme outlier data that this is a significant risk. But there’s boatloads of data to point to getting cars OUT of downtown and increasing cycling would be a GOOD thing for safety…

Blagh… the dissonance just hurts the mind. :-/

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Bikes being ridden on sidewalks often aren’t great when people are trying to walk on the sidewalk. It’s a common concern among people that rely on sidewalks as a refuge for walking, away from vehicle traffic which includes bikes. Similar to the way that for people biking, bike lanes offer a refuge away from motor vehicle traffic.

It remains to be seen what would need to be done to improve Downtown Portland streets to have them be regarded by the full range of different types of people that would consider riding a bike share bike on the street, as preferable to riding the sidewalks.

If Fritz or any other commissioner have some strong sense of what changes to Downtown streets needed to be made to draw bike share riders to choose the street over the sidewalk, perhaps this is something they’ve been talking about and are working on.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

No dissonance. She doesn’t want more bikes or bike investments, adds uses “safety” as her default excuse for blocking bike project wherever she can. I really hope we remember this at the next election.

Denver Dan
Guest
Denver Dan

We have a big bike share system in Denver. I’m a hard core commuter. I don’t see noobs renting bikes and causing issues. I see visitors using them who obviously ride bikes at home. I see locals who prefer the convenience of not having to tote all the heavy accessories (like multiple locks) that coincide with riding your own bike. The system is convenient and fun. The bikes are super heavy though (over 40 lbs), so they are a bit slow.