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Tilikum Crossing Musings

Subscriber Post by Carrie on February 26th, 2016 at 3:12 pm

The Tilikum Crossing is not a normal route for me, though I do ride through the 11th/12th/Gideon area daily. However yesterday I rode from inner SE across the Tilikum and then back again to attend a meeting at PSU. One the West side of the bridge, I nearly hit two pedestrians, once on the way there and once on the way back.

The first person was walking in the sidewalk next to the Moody cycle track and then turned to cross the cycle track (and eventually Moody). This person was intently staring at their smartphone and had earphones in both ears and did not look up as he started walking into the cycle track. Despite my repeated verbal warnings that I was approaching, he did not look up until I was swerving around him (and then he did promptly apologize and realize what he had done).

The second person was walking on the separated walkway at the foot of bridge as I was riding on the green cycle lane headed East. I had the green light as the person approached the crosswalk. The person moved to step into the bikeway with his back to me and luckily jumped out of the way as I went past with a verbal warning (there were at least 2 other cyclists right behind me). This person was also wearing earbuds, if that matters.

These interactions have me thinking about interactions with other users and infrastructure. Was I going to fast? I’m a fast-ish cyclist, but in both cases the walkers walked right into ‘my’ lane without even looking to see if it was clear, and I’m definitely not fastest cyclist on my commute route. How could infrastructure have prevented this – both of these interactions occurred in one of the most painted/signaled/delineated areas of Portland? Really the only conclusion that I came up with is that we need to get our heads out of the clouds/phones/distractions and pay attention to each other as humans.

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9wattsAdam H.JeffSAl from PAEl Biciclero Recent comment authors
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Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Member

wouldn’t it be cool if our phones could warn us when we are about to hit someone?

something like the sensors on a self-driving car that would announce to you that you are about to run into someone/something. “prepare for impact or look to your left” it could say

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Ha- I like this.

I have a bell on my city bikes because it’s nicer than a male voice yelling that a bike is coming. I’ve definitely had close moments, especially along that pathway.

Adam
Subscriber

Whatever happened to “slow down and pay attention”? 😉

9watts
Guest
9watts

“wouldn’t it be cool if our phones could warn us when we are about to hit someone?”

You’re kidding, right?
Wow.

Kristi Finney Dunn
Guest
Kristi Finney Dunn

This is exactly what I think is the solution to most of our problems on the roads. Lack of this is what contributes to the reasons for the repeated articles (including this one) about the indifference of road users to others’ and their own safety. So glad you were on top of things. Hopefully nobody takes this as shaming people walking. Everybody needs to behave responsibly although that won’t necessarily guarantee their own safety. But it helps!

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

A curb or other physical delineator would have helped, I think. I understand that they didn’t do that on the Tilikum in order to allow more flexibility for bikes to pass bikes, which I appreciate. But even better would have been to make the bridge a little wider so soft curbs would be possible. My understanding is that bike lanes only 7 feet wide would be unheard of on a new-construction choke point in Copenhagen or Amsterdam.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

If we took bikeway design seriously, there would be a “design speed” of 12-25mph. PBOT seems to use 3-8mph as a design speed, but I don’t think they actually do speed analysis (sightlines/reaction or stopping distance, curve radius, ramp pitch, lane width) because it’s just a sidewalk design. Then the paint “slow” on everything. And we wonder why people won’t switch from driving to biking? Most car trips in town average near 20mph with any daytime traffic. Don’t forget electric bikes.

If you think 25mph is too fast for design speed, enjoy your extra auto traffic. One day, we might be able to bike at 15mph and average 15mph but not until we eliminate the stopping.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Bingo. Why can’t we design “bike infrastructure” as though it would be used by really skinny cars (or motorcycles)? IMO, this tendency (policy?) to treat bicyclists and pedestrians both as pedestrians is laziness. If I wanted to be a pedestrian, I wouldn’t encumber myself with a big, unwieldy bicycle I had to lug around everywhere.

I also get tired of being the mode that, in public opinion, always has to be the responsible party. If I ride in the road and get run over, it’s my own fault for not watching out for myself and failing to stay out of the way. If I hit a pedestrian on a MUP, It’s also going to be seen as my fault because as the fast mover, I should have been operating with due caution. Drivers feel affronted if they have to slow to less than 5-over the posted speed, yet bicyclists must always operate at a speed “appropriate for conditions”, which conditions are thrust upon us by designing sidewalk-style, mixed-use infrastructure and saying, “you have to ride there”.

Adam
Subscriber

Don’t worry, people walking are also blamed for getting run over by car drivers.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Unfortunately, this is the inevitable result of specialized facilities. Once you manage to get bicycles out of the way of cars, nobody really cares what happens next.

Just wait for Adam’s protected lanes… Swerving around the ped, and not hitting the protective concrete wall on your left will be a fun task. Reduced to cattle in a chute “for your protection”.

Adam
Subscriber

If you can’t go around someone walking without slamming into a wall, then you are probably riding too fast. At any rate, a true separated facility would be bike-only, with a separate sidewalk for people walking.

Shane Lorimer
Guest
Shane Lorimer

It sounds like you were going fast enough that you didn’t feel comfortable taking evasive action to avoid the other users around you. You just have to go as slow as necessary to be able to stop and maneuver. We, the cyclists, are the fast moving objects here, and pedestrians are always going to be unpredictable in mixed-modal areas (Waterfront, Springwater, etc.). Act accordingly.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Let’s apply this thinking to roadways, too then. Why the double standard?

Al from PA
Guest
Al from PA

http://www.amazon.com/Air-Zound-115-db-Horn/dp/B0048C1SBG/ref=zg_bs_6389521011_19

This gets their attention, especially through “ear buds.” Just don’t honk it inside the house.