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Springwater path is one of Strava’s top ten segments in the U.S.

Posted by on December 19th, 2017 at 11:18 am

BTA New Year's Day Ride-13

Riders on the Springwater at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge during the The Street Trust’s New Year’s Day ride in 2010.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of Portland’s most iconic paths has made it on the list of Strava’s all-time busiest bikeways. Referred to as “segments” by the popular ride-logging app, a 1.6 mile section of the Springwater Corridor between the Ross Island Bridge and Oaks Bottom Park in Westmoreland has been ridden 144,392 times by 11,878 people (as of this morning).

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While Strava tends to be used by competitive riders or people looking to train and improve fitness, the “Bridge to Bottom” segment is also a major route for people simply riding from Point A to Point B. The path is a major commuting route between Sellwood and downtown Portland.

According to the City of Portland’s latest bike counts, over 2,800 people per day (on average) ride on the Springwater past Oaks Bottom. That makes this the seventh busiest location for cycling in inner southeast.

What’s perhaps most impressive are the speeds which some people ride. Strava’s data shows that the 20 fastest people can ride this 1.6 mile segment in 3 minutes and 32 seconds or less at a speed of about 30 mph. That is blazing fast (too fast for a shared-use path in our opinion, but that’s a discussion for another day).

See what other segments made the top 10 on this post from Bicycling.com.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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124 Comments
  • steve December 19, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Strava users are my least favorite group of cyclists. Springwater is no place for that kind of speed and it is always the time for that discussion.

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    • RH December 19, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Is there a speed limit on the Springwater? What if they were cycling that fast with no other users around?

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    • ps December 19, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Given that your first sentence suggests you are capable of coming to the table with a reasoned argument about speed of Springwater users, I’ll bite. What is the discussion to have? Pretty sure if there was some plague of unreported collisions on the path there would be multiple articles on this blog. Are there close calls, sure, are there also other irresponsible users (3 abreast walking, no reflective clothing or lights at night, unpredictable riding styles, etc.) yes there are. I ride this section of path every day, twice, and there are certainly times (Summer by mid morning and right now with the holiday train on the weekends) that high speed cruising certainly requires a bit more attention, the rest of the time, there are so few users even at commute hours, that the risk of injury argument you’re likely to make, doesn’t hold water at all.

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      • Alex Reedin December 19, 2017 at 1:53 pm

        It’s not necessarily about actual safety, it’s about subjective safety. If it doesn’t feel safe for me to go there to do a particular thing at a particular time, I’m not going to do it. For example, I never bring my toddlers to walk on the Springwater, even though it (albeit a MUCH different section) is six blocks from my house and they would love it. I have no idea what the actual risk of injury to toddlers for wandering around on a moderately trafficked multiuse path is, but even if there is credible data out there showing it’s eminently safe, I don’t care because it FEELS dangerous.

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        • ps December 19, 2017 at 2:16 pm

          I have read this argument frequently on here and it is entirely sensible to have that approach as long as you’re not advocating for altering the activity of others due to your own subjective risk tolerance. If it is not “actually” dangerous for people to operate their bikes at that speed on the path, then why is it considered too fast? Nobody is forcing others to match that speed, and if there aren’t collisions, then it would suggest that either a. those speeds are being reached at low volume hours on the path, or b. the bike handling skills of those reaching those speeds are commensurate with the saddle time required to reach that fitness level.

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          • Alex Reedin December 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm

            Subjective feelings matter for subjective happiness (the only kind). I care about others’ happiness, so I change my behavior based on their feelings. Also, subjective feelings are a huge determinant of behavior. Do you agree with me that, all else equal, more people getting around on foot and bike would be objectively better? If so, I think it’s worth considering doing something about the feelings of others even if you don’t think it’s your responsibility to do small things to make others happier.

            My first-best option would be to get the City to widen the path and create separate spaces for people walking (and kids biking slowly), and people biking. I think that would remove the most important conflict/feeling of non-safety limiting use of the path.

            Given that there’s not the political will for that currently, I do think it’s worth considering asking/requiring people biking to reduce our speed when traveling on the path in the presence of other people (personally, I go up to 20 mph when no one’s around, then slow down to 10-15 mph when going by someone on foot, or slower if they seem unpredictable or if they’re walking two/more abreast). I also think it’s worth considering asking/requiring people biking to go slow enough and have good enough lighting to be able to see people walking on the path whatever they’re wearing, even if it’s dark.

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            • ps December 19, 2017 at 3:17 pm

              Absolutely agree with you, more people pedaling or walking is better than getting in cars. Your first option is a great improvement and interestingly there are many areas along the path where a singletrack path has been worn into the grass area as a result of folks walking off the path. Making that a bit more permanent likely costs more than I think, but it would be a great improvement. Slowing in unpredictable situations is part of being a competent bike handler, my point is your level of comfort may be 12 mph, mine may be 18mph. Rest assured, if either of us hit a pedestrian at those speeds, both parties are likely to be hurt. This suggests either the appropriate speed to pass a pedestrian is nominally faster than their walking speed (obviously a ridiculous notion), or the pedestrian needs to have some personal awareness of where they are walking and the reality that there are other users on the path that may pass at speeds significantly in excess of their own, so it is sensible to act predictably for everyone’s safety.

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              • Alex Reedin December 19, 2017 at 3:43 pm

                Yeah, I think we pretty much agree. The underlying issue is that the City isn’t providing proper facilities for biking, so we are making do with things like the Springwater. That means that we as well as walking users must meet halfway on what’s proper behavior and who can use the path. We’ve all come to this de facto compromise that people walking must walk in a straight line or risk a near-miss or worse, while people biking must slow down near people walking or be judged rude.

                That doesn’t mean that people are wrong for feeling that they should be able to walk on this beautiful (and so-rare) path away from cars in their neighborhood with their little kids, or that we’re wrong for feeling that we should be able to bike quickly and comfortably from A to B without having to share a narrow path with people walking. It just means that our local politicians haven’t yet made the choice to allocate the funds to allow that.

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              • John Liu
                John Liu December 20, 2017 at 11:59 pm

                MUP is not the place for a time trial. If you can ride 30 mph for a sustained period, you can mix it up with cars. Sure, bursts of speed on empty stretches of the MUP is ok and fun. But if you’re passing anyone, speed has to be much lower.

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              • Dan A December 21, 2017 at 12:25 am

                “But if you’re passing anyone, speed has to be much lower.”

                That’s the definition of too fast on a MUP? That you’re passing people?

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              • Ken S December 23, 2017 at 12:12 pm

                “If you can ride 30 mph for a sustained period, you can mix it up with cars. Sure, bursts of speed on empty stretches of the MUP is ok and fun”

                That’s such a tone deaf thing to say to the cycling community.
                So, what, because I want to ride quickly on routes without lights and stop signs, I should resign myself to risking my life around drivers who aren’t paying attention?!
                The roads that are continuous enough to ride at a sustained 30mph have auto traffic doing >> 40mph.
                And often there’s either no shoulder and the bike lanes disappear for stretches, exactly where you need them most.

                Or if I want to ride where it’s safe, that’s not an MUP, I have to drive an hour out of the city, to roads that are wide and empty.

                Seriously, why should people have to choose between getting a decent, uninterrupted workout vs making it home to their loved ones, alive?

                Instead of rabble rousing about who should and shouldn’t get to use an MUP, we could be talking about how springwater and others are such successes that they are perfect for additional facility improvements and connections to other trafficked areas.

                And for the record, if there’s more than 1 person per 500ft on an MUP, I don’t ride flat out. Anyone who does people-slalom on a crowded path is an idiot and an asshole.

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              • q December 24, 2017 at 2:46 pm

                “Instead of rabble rousing about who should and shouldn’t get to use an MUP, we could be talking about how springwater and others are such successes that they are perfect for additional facility improvements and connections to other trafficked areas.”

                I agree with this and your other comments, Ken. I see the westside trail from my windows day and night, and half an hour can go by even in daylight with nobody (pedestrian or cyclist) passing by, or an hour or more with hardly anyone. The eastside trail may be more crowded, but on the other hand it may not be as far as walkers, kids and dogs go. A MUP in off hours is an IDEAL location for fast riding, better than most in-town roads with cars, driveways and stoplights for sure.

                Like you said, you don’t speed when it’s crowded. And as those lightly-used times get more scarce, then yes, that’s where new trails that allow fast riding come in. And the argument isn’t that they’re just for fast riders, they’re for everyone else who drives or walks or rides slower who’d then not need to share the road or trails as often with fast riders. And fast riding—for transportation or pleasure–is a legitimate activity that should be supported by infrastructure.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm

                How about we stop pretending MUPs are good facilities for anyone? Moving fast cyclists and pedestrians is a bad idea.

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              • Dan A December 26, 2017 at 11:55 am

                Maybe if we had a lot more MUPs, the Springwater wouldn’t be so crowded.

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          • Alex Reedin December 19, 2017 at 2:52 pm

            And, catering to one person’s subjective feelings are one thing. Catering to a widely-held subjective feeling is quite another. Based on my unscientific chatting with parents on Hike It Baby and elsewhere, feeling unsafe and ill at ease with one’s small kids on a heavily-trafficked multiuse path is a widely-held parent opinion. I think that our biking and walking paths should be places where just about everyone feels comfortable biking and walking. That’s not the case now for parents of small children, nor for people who want to walk and talk to more than one person at a time.

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            • ps December 19, 2017 at 3:23 pm

              Understood, I share in that sentiment as well that a MUP with small kids, who are the definition of unpredictable, is a very stressful place, I won’t take my daughter on the path and it is a block away from our house for that reason. Fortunately there are parks in our neighborhood and plenty of other areas to burn off that toddler energy where it is less stressful.

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          • Kyle Banerjee December 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm

            The perception that it’s unsafe to have people whizzing by you at speed is an accurate one — this is actual safety.

            If there’s no one else on the trail, there’s nothing particularly unsafe about riding at high speed. But 1.6 miles at an average speed of over 30mph and not encountering anyone? I call ВS.

            There are kids, dog walkers, people who might just step out, and slower cyclists who might veer out. I see cyclists cut people less than a foot of space regularly. This is super dangerous, inconsiderate, and pretending otherwise is hypocritical given the separation and clearance demanded from low speed traffic that’s far more predictable.

            Those who like speed need to ride on roads. You cannot save much time riding these sections fast for the simple reason that they don’t even take much time to ride slowly.

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        • BradWagon December 19, 2017 at 3:14 pm

          I think it’s a bit misleading to just call it a multi use path when it’s as close to a cycling expressway we have in the city. Not many destinations along it, mostly straight and mostly used for transportation or focused exercise, maybe this should be reclassified so that those unfamiliar with it know to expect higher cycling speeds.

          Or, like I tell people who complain about my MUP speed, “I’d gladly be on a nice bikeway instead but I’m assuming you’d just complain at me from your car still”. Once again, folks love to encourage cycling, as long as it’s not in spaces they use.

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          • J_R December 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm

            I ride the Springwater Corridor regularly, but seldom during commute hours so maybe my observations of cyclists/non-cyclists don’t match yours. I often see almost as many walker/runners as I do cyclists. Even if the cyclists outnumbered non-wheeled folks by 10-to-1, I think you’d have to consider it a multi-use path.

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          • soren December 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm

            I almost never use this trail for transportation cycling because it, for the most part, skirts business districts and denser areas. If Portland is going to reverse its declining cycling mode share, it needs protected bikeways that link communities/districts directly (IMO).

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        • I wear many hats December 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm

          This is the same argument the hiking community hides behind to prevent mountain biking in Forest Park.

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          • Alex Reedin December 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm

            Well, they (we – I am a member of the hiking community, although I have written in support of bike access in Forest Park) have a point, though their conclusion is wrong. Especially because we have so few mountain biking trails near Portland, any beautiful, flowy, steep, narrow singletrack in Forest Park would probably get fairly heavy bike use. If hiking on said singletrack were allowed, some of the hikers would almost certainly be scared (rightfully or not) by some of the bikers, and that would make their hiking less fun (and perpetuate mountain biking’s political problem in Portland).

            My belief is that, to start, we should either designate some current Forest Park trails biking-only and sign that copiously, or, more likely, create some new biking-only trails. Once the hunger is more satisfied and biking and walking has started to coexist better in Forest Park, then we might consider some shared trails in carefully considered areas for good reasons. (The shared trails on Powell Butte seem to mostly work fine, but they have good visibility and honestly just don’t attract heavy bike use I assume because they’re not technical)

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            • I wear many hats December 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm

              I agree, I too hike, and I bike. I like to ride human speeds around humans, which means slower speeds around pedestrians and slower riders. And slower speeds on shared trails. Feeling is hard to quantify. Its different for everyone. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions about the fast rides here. There is room to share, but perhaps PPR or BIKELOUD could codify some simple signage for shared spaces such as the springwater (NO AEROBARS, NO INTERVALS, etc. ) FYI, the majority of close in Strava KOMs are done at night, as there is fewer traffic to contend with. I imagine the 30 mph rides were done in the dark with a tailwind.

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            • matt savage December 20, 2017 at 8:52 am

              All mountain bikers have ever wanted was their own singletrack in Forest Park. The only reason we advocate for access to existing trails is because it’s pretty clear they wont allow any new construction. And fwiw, I run and ride on those trails in FP, my riding times vs. running times aren’t significantly different. I track EVERY ride and run on Strava, have made hundreds of segments (most private of course). Average pace over a typical rolling 1mile stretch is only a minute or two different, and I’m not anything near an elite runner. Existing trail conditions, construction, and sightlines prevent any sort of excessive speed by a bicycle on the singletrack. The exception to this are the falline fire roads, Leif, Saltzman, etc.

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        • JJ December 20, 2017 at 5:22 am

          As someone who commutes on this section twice a day I agree. This is not a place to bring “toddlers for wandering around”. In fact no MUP is. Same goes for dogs off leash and dogs on the killer zip-line extendo death cords. Take them to the park.

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          • Dawn December 20, 2017 at 7:34 am

            ” As someone who commutes on this section twice a day I agree. This is not a place to bring “toddlers for wandering around”. In fact no MUP is. Same goes for dogs off leash and dogs on the killer zip-line extendo death cords. Take them to the park.”

            This is starting to sound a lot like the argument the car drivers make when saying that bikes don’t belong on the roads. I get that as cyclists we’re squeezed in the middle, but MUP are exactly that…multi-use. I think shared use paths (ideally) should be places where all vulnerable road users are welcome. Yes, parks may be the best places for your dog or child to burn off some energy, but a dog or child that is appropriately under control should be able to enjoy use of these facilities too. I mean, how do we define “toddlers wandering around”? As a parent that may look very different to me than it does to you. (All this being said, I don’t generally bring my child on the Springwater to walk or run around…but the bigger issue is that I’m not entirely sure I’d feel safe biking with him there either – with his shaky 8 year old biking skills. But this is exactly the kind of place that he should be able to hone his skills, safe from cars.)

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            • ps December 20, 2017 at 11:04 am

              It actually sounds a lot more like the argument that path users of a certain speed belong on the roads and not on the path. The reality is, unpredictable behavior is the problem. If your 8 year old is incapable of riding his bike in a generally straight line, then yes, the path is not a place for him to “hone his skills”. The park, an empty church parking lot, and empty school parking lot, etc. are fantastic locations to get his skills up to snuff.

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              • Ken S December 20, 2017 at 11:08 am

                Fact. I learned to ride without training wheels in a bank parking lot, after business hours. I was all over the place. It would have been a terrible idea to have done that on a busy path – especially one that is a major commuting route.

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              • Dawn December 20, 2017 at 11:36 am

                Each group views the slower group to be “unpredictable”. It is a common complaint among drivers that cyclists are unpredictable and I’ve seen cyclists make the same complaint against pedestrians. A multi-use path is intended to service groups like cyclists and pedestrians. In reference to my comment about my child, he can ride in a straight line and we cycle on local roadways together. My expectation is that I can let my guard down a bit on a MUP compared to a road that we might share with cars.

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            • Alex Reedin December 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

              OK, there are two different levels of “kids learning to bike” we’re talking about here. One is the very first few, extraordinarily wobbly hours. Another is the first ? 5? YEARS of being more wobbly than the average person, plus just being a kid with poor impulse control and a lack of understanding that there are other people in the world who may be inconvenienced or worse by you darting around. (For example, on foot, I’m sure everyone has noticed that kids “get in your way” more often than adults, for example in a supermarket or a mall. This is not due to poor parenting – this is an inherent lack of awareness that almost all kids share until they grow out of it).

              The first few hours, yeah, that should always be at an extremely lightly used area. The first 5 years of biking (and walking!), I think we should aim to change our infrastructure and norms as a society so that those kids can be taken on MUPs. These would be the most fun, lowest stress places to bike and walk with young kids by far (parks are… fine, but are generally too small to be much fun), if only faster cyclists had quality alternate routes (or second paths, as suggested above) and used them.

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            • Todd Boulanger December 20, 2017 at 12:47 pm

              One also has to look back at what sources of transportation capital funding paid for this facility…if it was a commuter or recreational bike focus…the grant rational may help with this discussion.

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          • q December 20, 2017 at 11:11 am

            The major westside MUP is also the park circulation in Willamette Park. So if you take your kids to that park, you may likely be walking on that trail on the way to the playground or restrooms.

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            • Ken S December 20, 2017 at 11:18 am

              The new additions to Willamette park help with these issues. The main road has share-Os, and generally keeps faster cycling traffic separated from the foot traffic, nearer to the river.
              Yes, the paths cross near the bathrooms, but the section is done in a way that you have to slow dramatically and make several sharp turns; Additionally, the intersection is pretty wide open, visibly, so you’re not flying around any blind corners, into pedestrians.

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              • q December 20, 2017 at 11:41 am

                Yes, it will to some degree. I think the overall scheme could have been done much better, but on the other hand some other things that could have been worse were not carried forward. It also has some details that weren’t thought out well, such as putting up a new 6′ tall pylon that blocksviews between pedestrians and drivers right where people step into traffic at a crosswalk, and a stainless steel utility box cover that blinds trail and field users when the sun comes out.

                Now people (esp. City vehicles) need to stop parking in the “no parking” zone in front of the restrooms so cyclists heading north can see oncoming cars heading to the picnic parking area. I saw a cyclist get hit by a car due to both their sightlines being blocked by a Park or Water Bureau truck.

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              • JJ December 22, 2017 at 8:27 am

                Ken great point I love that new feature. Seems to make everyone happy or at least us fast aggressive cyclists. 🙂

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        • jeff December 20, 2017 at 11:48 am

          so everyone else should change their behavior due to how you feel about something?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 20, 2017 at 6:16 pm

          Pedestrians and cyclists should not mix.

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      • Chris I December 20, 2017 at 6:15 am

        If you can’t see a pedestrian wearing normal clothing at night, you are going too fast or do not have a headlight that is sufficiently bright. Expecting people to wear reflective clothing on a multi-use path is the same kind of attitude motorists use to excuse people that hit and kill cyclists.

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        • matt savage December 20, 2017 at 8:56 am

          personal accountability… Why would a pedestrian not want to be seen? going to walk or jog in the dark, in the rain, on a multi use path? put a light on. too many environmental conditions this time of year that can make a person nearly invisible.

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          • q December 20, 2017 at 11:14 am

            Personal accountability…Why would a cyclist not want to see people going to walk or jog in the dark, on a multi use path. Put a light on. Too many environmental conditions this time of year that can make a person nearly blind without an adequate headlight.

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    • Dave December 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Amen; Strava users should educate themselves in vehicular cycling and stay on the roads. Sooner or later some Strava-tard will end up in a homeless cat’s shopping cart when they miss a turn.

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      • ps December 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm

        Great take Dave, looks like you’re all up on your education as well…

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    • Jon December 19, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      Stereotype much? Nothing builds community like marginalizing a group so you can feels superior.

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    • Phoenix December 20, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Hmmm. Far faster than I can ride, but not everyone is a tourist or out for an aimless meander (often with clueless children in tow).

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    • Andy K December 26, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      Are springwater strava scofflaws really our biggest cycling safety issue right now?

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  • rainbike December 19, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Passing too close, too fast, with no courtesy warning.

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    • BradWagon December 19, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      Do you also request cars honk when overtaking you on the road?

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      • q December 19, 2017 at 9:55 pm

        It’s not really equivalent.

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        • jeff December 20, 2017 at 11:50 am

          of course it is – its a selfish request that someone else make you the center of attention.

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      • rainbike December 19, 2017 at 11:46 pm

        No, but maybe I am naive in expecting a higher level of courtesy from fellow cyclists.

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        • BradWagon December 20, 2017 at 8:05 am

          I’m somewhat introvert when I ride and am just tired of people looking at me like I’m rude for just calmly riding my bike by without saying anything, I’m just another person using the path, I want to not hit your kid just as much as you want me to not hit them. Yes I usually ride faster than recreational cyclists or people walking / jogging but does that mean I need to be a constant barrage of bell rings and warning yells? People are pretty good at navigating around each other, this doesn’t change much when on a bike.

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          • Dawn December 20, 2017 at 8:10 am

            I’m with you BradWagon. I’m not a huge fan of constantly ringing bells. I think if you pass safely and at a reasonable speed (not full bore, bombing closely past another rider or pedestrian) then it’s not always necessary to ring. I do use it when approaching families or large groups since they are generally more unpredictable, but I also slow my speed a bit so I can be prepared to react if necessary.

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          • Alex Reedin December 20, 2017 at 8:26 am

            I think I’m mostly in agreement that an audible warning doesn’t necessarily increase safety (though sometimes, like when Dawn notes, I bet it does). Yet, I do one anyway. A large percentage of walking path users seem to expect it, and I’ve heard in conversations with friends and acquaintances that they like it, it keeps them from being spooked by an unheard bicyclist suddenly whooshing by. In that context, why not go ahead and get a bell and do it?

            (Also, less importantly, but relevant to social expectations, it is the law to give an audible warning when overtaking someone walking on a MUP)

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  • Dawn December 19, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Yikes, waaaaaaaayyyy to fast for a mixed use path.

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  • Joe Fortino December 19, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I like strava for miles counted and not going for any victories. 🙂

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    • Ryan December 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Same. While there are some segments I like to get new PR’s on, they’re pretty much all hill climbs where I’m not going much more than 10mph anyway, if that. Mainly I use it for tracking mileage, especially the feature where I can track mileage for all the different bike components. Has helped me figure out what types of tires/chains/brake pads/etc. work best for me, durability-wise.

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    • jeff December 20, 2017 at 11:52 am

      this. seems the terrible assumption here is that every Strava user is just out to see how fast they can go at every second, at every location. another example of BP readers losing credibility.

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  • Brent December 19, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    As a heads up, the Springwater trail will be closing summer 2018 for 3 months between Sellwood and the Oaks Bottom trail junction for the long delayed fish culvert improvement project. At least that’s what the flier I received in the mail said. They have been talking about this project for over a decade and apparently there are finally enough funds to start. The only detours available will be riding surface streets through West Moreland and Sellwood or skipping the Springwater corridor all together and riding on the west side path.

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    • Andrew Kreps December 19, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Well….#@!$. Thanks for the heads-up, I ride that 2-4 times a day.

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    • Jillian Detweiler December 20, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      The Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) contacted The Street Trust about the planned closure of the Springwater for the Oaks Bottom Habitat Restoration Project. BES consulted with PBOT about detours and signage during the closure. This information will be presented January 3rd at the SMILE meeting, SMILE Station – 8210 S.E. 13th Avenue (SE 13th & Tenino). The meeting is from 7:30 pm-9 pm. No word yet on where this item will appear in the agenda. BES expects to attend a second SMILE meeting in the Spring. More info about the project at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/oaksbottom. I shared the information about the Strava rating with the BES project manager to underscore our emphasis on how important this piece of the trail is and the need to keep the closure as short as possible.

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      • Alex Reedin December 20, 2017 at 5:34 pm

        Thanks Jillian. Are you able to share any info on the proposed detour route(s)?

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        • Scott Kelly December 22, 2017 at 12:13 pm

          Brent and Jillian, thanks for bringing up the closure to the Springwater for up to 120 days planned for the summer of 2018. BES says they will provide signage for detours on surface streets, but I don’t think that’s good enough to provide a safe alternative to all trail users. Jillian, when they contacted the Street Trust, did you suggest anything more than signage? One thing I’ve asked them to consider is temporarily removing parking and striping bike lanes on SE Milwaukie Avenue between Reedway and the Oaks Bottom trailhead on Milwaukie. I recommend contacting Ronda Fast at BES (Ronda.Fast@portlandoregon.gov>) if you have concerns.

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  • Chris I December 19, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    That would explain the guys on TT bikes that I see in full tuck doing laps while I run with my kids. Not cool.

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    • Chris H December 19, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Shared use path.

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    • I wear many hats December 20, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Not cool to do intervals or ever use aerobars near other people. Ever watch draft legal triathlon? The crashes are hilarious. The Springwater should be for cruising and everyone on foot and on bike. Luckily the Strava jerks are now using Zwift inside, so they wont bother other trail users until the weather turns, but beware of those who spent a winter riding a stationary bike indoors as their superb stationary bike handling does not transfer over to real time riding.

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  • michael khamsot December 19, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I used springwater trail all the way to Lents (205), 5 times a week for commute.
    It’s a lot safer then sharing a road with cars. I was wondering if anyone can tell me why there is no lights at all. It get little creepy at night and early morning.

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    • Brian December 19, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      It sucks to have to choose to be on the road with cars because the MUPs are too sketchy at night.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2017 at 2:33 pm

        Why are they sketchy at night?

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        • Brian December 20, 2017 at 8:02 am

          Though this happened in the afternoon, I suspect riding at night makes things even more sketchy for some people. After riding the 205 MUP this weekend, I would def prefer the road at night.
          http://www.kgw.com/news/crime/man-gets-20-years-for-raping-woman-on-springwater-corridor/393773529

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          • paul h December 20, 2017 at 5:48 pm

            nothing bad ever happened on a lit, main road

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            • Brian December 21, 2017 at 8:27 am

              No one is saying that lit, main roads are 100% safe. It’s all about subjective safety as discussed above. Many people no longer choose to use the Springwater and 205 Paths, including during the day, and now choose to use roads instead. I think that kinda sucks.

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    • Alex Reedin December 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      I did that for more than a year. Lately I’ve been bombing down Foster. OMG, the time savings are INSANE! 20-25 minutes each way.

      I have heard that it has no lights because it’s managed by Parks, and their stakeholders prioritize wildlife over a feeling of safety for human users. I would also guess that realistically, another major reason it has no lights is that lights are expensive and represent a major change for nearby residents, and there’s not strong political will for active transportation in Portland. No recent politician has the commitment to active transportation to bother using their political capital on the proposal only to get blowback from nearby residents.

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      • Kyle Banerjee December 19, 2017 at 2:33 pm

        Given the alternatives, I’m not surprised this is a popular segment.

        Light pollution and impact on wildlife are both real and need to be part of the equation. My general opinion of Portland is that people are way too fast to pave over or otherwise remove what little natural things remain.

        I hear you on the creepiness factor — I won’t take this segment late at night. But I also won’t take the Esplanade even though that is well lit and doesn’t present nearly as many ambush points. Lack of people are a much bigger deal than lack of light.

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        • Alex Reedin December 19, 2017 at 3:14 pm

          I wasn’t intending to be stating an opinion by contrasting the feelings of human users with the habitat of wildlife and the thoughts of nearby residents but I see how it came off that way. I think I agree with you that keeping the Springwater un-lighted is my preference. With the caveat, however, that alternate, fast, safe, comfortable, reasonably quiet bike facilities should be created along, say, 99E, Tacoma, Johnson Creek, and similar streets. That way, people wanting to bike from A to B at night would have a reasonable way to go that’s NOT the Springwater.

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      • Dave December 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm

        Well, cyclists who want to ride at night could, like, put lights on their bikes? Is that too simple?

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        • Alex Reedin December 19, 2017 at 3:09 pm

          Um, many people (not me – I rode the Springwater downtown to Lents year-round at many light and dark times between 5am and 9pm, and though I was aware, I never thought I was in danger) feel quite scared of being victimized by criminals if they travel on foot or on bike somewhere in an urban area where there are no other people on foot at night. They feel somewhat better if there is street lighting because they can avoid scary-looking people, and because the light means that others people can see from further away so the effective density of helpful people is increased, and just because I think humans are generally evolutionarily programmed to be a little wary of the dark.

          So, putting a light on your bike really doesn’t address any of those issues. It only addresses the problem of being able to see the trail and any sticks/obstacles/puddles/humans on it, which is admittedly important. (I used a light when I travelled the Springwater regularly).

          A bike light with a nice, wide beam might help a little bit, but those are hard to find. And, there is the issue (for people afraid of being victimized) that the light just makes them visible to the potential scary people and does much less to make the scary people visible to them.

          Realistically, whether or not homeless folks commit “scary” crimes at a higher rate than other people, most housed people regard the average homeless person as “scary” so the camping that occurred along the Springwater quite a lot a year+ back (less so a year to a few months ago, but I haven’t been on the Springwater for a few months) counts into this mindset as well. Most housed people don’t know that, lately the City has moved people camping along the Springwater to other places quite quickly and still assume that there are lots of people camping there.

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        • Kyle Banerjee December 19, 2017 at 3:47 pm

          I’m with Alex here.

          I have no fear of the dark and love riding at night in quiet areas — something about being out there makes me feel like I own it all. I have decent lights. I normally run a 700 lumen light on my bars and a 900 lumen one on my head which I use only in unlit areas. I lower both the intensity and aim of my lights when ambient lighting or other humans are present.

          I don’t consider these areas safe except when the winter storms wash everyone away — I’ve had some “interesting” experiences with people high on god knows what that include fake ambushes, needing to turn around because people were intentionally blocking the path, and the like. Granted, I sometimes ride very late hours, but these places can get deserted fairly early.

          I strongly prefer riding in the street late at night even though I know drunks are out because they’re easier to spot and avoid.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2017 at 5:26 pm

            Who does that kind of stuff? Suburb kids?

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          • John Liu
            John Liu December 21, 2017 at 12:06 am

            Too many weirdos and strangely acting people on the Springwater and some other MUPs to ride alone at night.

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  • William Henderson December 19, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Interesting stat. In Ride Report’s dataset this section of Springwater doesn’t even make the top ten list in Portland – let alone in other cities.

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  • catherine feta cheese December 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    A 20 minute each way segment year round, featuring: deer, ospreys, bald eagles, otters, geese, frog chorus, roller derby sounds, ferris wheel, Christmas boats, steam train, rainbows, rowers, sailboats, wildflowers, snow, Hood to Coasters in costume, babies in strollers with jogger Moms, cargo bike kids going to school, kids on their first bikes, music from party boats, golden autumn leaves, sunsets reflected on the river, feral cats, islands, sand & gravel barges, houseboats, herons, icy rain in the face, moonlit nights, misty mornings.

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    • Pat Lowell December 19, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      <3

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    • Alex Reedin December 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      I can’t match the poetry of your comment (thank you!) But here are some more things I miss: the awesome older gentleman biking and doing arm circles, bombing through the large puddle that accumulates in heavy rain where that other path comes in from the trailhead a bit south of Holgate, lovers kissing next to the river, a romantic idea of what it would be like to camp for fun on the edge of the bluff overlooking the river inspired by the people that used to camp there not for fun, frozen over wetlands.

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    • Steph December 19, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      Thank you for this.

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  • Rain Waters December 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Does strava distinguish between bicycles and low powered electric motorcycles ?

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    • BradWagon December 19, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      There is an E-Bike activity type option although I do not know if that would exclude it from cycling segments, my guess would be yes.

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    • pdx2wheeler December 20, 2017 at 9:27 am

      You rather a commuter who needs some assistance use a high powered gas vehicle instead? Sounds like you’ve got e-nvy…?

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  • BradWagon December 19, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    “That is blazing fast (too fast for a shared-use path in our opinion, but that’s a discussion for another day).”

    Cue only this discussion for the current day.

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  • X December 19, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Smooth pavement, few MV conflicts, flat grade, connects business, natural areas, and residential areas. That’s a formula for success. Where else could we do that?

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  • Kate December 19, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    That’s a really fast ride, but I think it’s worth remembering that strava record holders did that segment that fast one time to be on the reader board. It’s not likely people are averaging 30 mph every single day during regular commute hours. I can’t imagine you could reasonably maintain that speed except when the path is nearly empty. In that case, I’m less concerned because there isn’t much potential for cross traffic the way there is on other popular paths or bike lanes (esplanade, waterfront, etc.). However I’d agree that it is way too fast during heavier use and when passing within 5 feet of anyone.

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    • Ken S December 20, 2017 at 10:37 am

      As a transit/urban planning nerd, bike commuter, and #7 on the segment leaderboard, I have some thoughts on this discussion:

      A) There seems to be a widespread idea that cycling and bike-centric infrastructure is great, but only if it’s slow. Real slow. Like 12mph.
      While I echo a sentiment shared in other posts that “I have a right to get to work, safely” whether on foot, bike, car, etc, I also like the guest post by Eva Frazier. “I’m tired of being told to be safe/ride safe/stay safe. I want to have fun.”
      Safe and slow aren’t synonyms. Fast and dangerous aren’t synonyms.

      Commuting along Springwater, if you’re on an e-bike or you’re reasonably fit, you’ll be going 20-25mph. To suggest that this is too fast is to imply that while we want people to ride more instead of drive, we aren’t okay with people getting anywhere in a timely manner.
      Especially on paths like Springwater, there’s no reason we can’t have slower users keeping right and faster users filtering through, when it’s safe to do so.

      B) Having done the segment at 28mph, I can tell you it hurts, bad. I can’t ride that fast every day. Few can. And the only time it works to do those speeds are when the area is deserted. The assumption that people are out Strava KOM hunting all the time is a bit far fetched.
      If there’s traffic, I slow down. It’s no more fun to buzz people than to get buzzed and if I’m going fast and I see that there’s going to be a right of way conflict, I have to slow down. Strava competition just is not worth risking injuring others.

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      • I wear many hats December 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        Agreed! Strava KOM hunting is not an everyday experience. I’m often trying to hit a segment hard and be 90% done only to have the environment (cars, people, animals, etc) put a wrench in the plans. Riding safely is not the same as riding slow. Passing safely, sadly, needs to be instructed to EVERYONE IN THE USA, whether or not in a car, on a bike, or on foot.

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  • 2 wheel commuter December 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Any future infra put into the city that is similar to this should include:

    1) a MUP for all sorts of users, riders, rollers, walkers, children, strollers, dogs, campers, skateboarders, etc.
    2) a parallel BIKE ONLY path where high speed cyclists are expected and welcomed and paths are engineered for this.

    There should be more than enough land to make this a reality and move Portland from Bronze to Silver and beyond. If we can maintain a rail line that gets used a handful of the year, we can also have a bikes only path.

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  • Andrew Kreps December 19, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    What I really want to know is who drunk-hashed the section from Sellwood to the North this Spring? It’s not that they did a bad job, it’s that they did a terrible job and they did so in permanent ink.

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    • Brian December 20, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      What I want to know is, what the hell is drunk hashing? The last time I drunk hashed I fell asleep in my dorm room listening to early Pink Floyd.

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  • Mike Sanders December 19, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Many trails post a 15mph speed limit for bikes, using standard speed limit signs (I’d add a bike icon above the sign to make the meaning clear). Metro should adopt a
    policy for a 15mph limit and post it prominently and regularly (and Portland and ODOT as well) on all trails. (This should be a statewide policy, too.) it’s also state law that bikes approaching peds must give an audible warning before passing (screaming “Left!” five yards before passing at full speed isn’t the correct way to do so). A few signs reminding cyclists of the law on an occasional basis might help!

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    • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      You’ll likely get people here complaining that limiting cyclists’ speed is anti-cyclist.

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      • q December 19, 2017 at 9:53 pm

        Count me in as a complainer, if the idea is a 15 mph limit on all trails. And I say that as someone who walks on those trails daily, and much more than I ride on them. The Willamette Greenway Trail (westside counterpart to Springwater) at many times of the day, many times of the year, is almost empty. There’s absolutely no reason to limit people to 15 mph in those conditions.

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      • El Biciclero December 20, 2017 at 9:57 am

        If any “trail”, MUP, or “bike path” is considered to be the place we would prefer bicyclists to ride (not that the bicyclists would necessarily prefer it), then I would like to see a speed rule that allows some parity with auto travel. I’ve often thought that a speed limit of 30 mph, or the speed limit of the closest parallel street route, whichever is lower, would be adequate. Not all bicyclists have either the time for a leisurely toodle to work, or the flexibility to “just leave early”. As an example, I have morning drop-off obligations (which I do by bike) that don’t allow me to actually leave for work until after 8 am, and it is an hour’s ride to work.

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        • Dawn December 20, 2017 at 10:06 am

          But a MUP is by definition for multi use. It is not necessarily intended for high speed biking. Multi-use assumes pedestrians, skateboards, etc. will also be using the path. With an upper limit of 30 mph for bikes you may be talking about a 26+ mph difference in user speeds. Would you feel comfortable riding your bike at average biking speeds of 9-25 mph (per a randomly googled Copenhagen survey) sharing the roads with cars driving 26 mph faster. The guidelines that I’ve seen published suggest separated facilities when dealing with speed differentials like this. I don’t have time to pull out the details, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen these guidelines in this pub:

          http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Engineering/Documents_RoadwayEng/HDM_L-Bike-Ped-Guide.pdf

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          • El Biciclero December 20, 2017 at 12:51 pm

            I agree entirely. Part of my point is that MUPs are not suitable as mandatory-use “sidepaths” for bicycle travel. “People” (e.g., “The City”, “PBOT”, whomever) want to have it both ways: we want people to use bikes more, but then we degrade the bicycling experience sufficiently to make it unattractive, thus reducing the number of people who would use it as an alternative to driving.

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    • X December 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Will bike riders necessarily be more law-abiding than MV operators? People going for a Strava record: probably not. Could we get Strava to stop posting times on the springwater because there are vulnerable users out there? Would we like to have 1000cc motorcycles out there to enforce a speed limit? Perish the thought.

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    • B. Carfree December 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm

      I suppose we get the ten mile per hour buffer that motorists get, so no citations until 26 mph.

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      • El Biciclero December 21, 2017 at 11:31 am

        Heh. More likely that there would be “Enforcement Actions” that would rely on visual observation of bicyclists traveling at a “high rate of speed” rather than actual radar/laser speed telemetry. Anything over 12 would get you at least a warning. You know, for educational purposes to teach how dangerously you were operating your vehicle…

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    • ps December 20, 2017 at 11:31 am

      http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Safety/Documents/OregonPedBikeDriverRules.pdf I don’t see anything in this doc that says a cyclist on an MUP needs to notify a pedestrian when overtaking. Of course, with your logical mandates in mind, it would also be illegal to use any device that would make it hard for you to hear an overtaking cyclist, right? It may also be that when someone yells LEFT right before passing you, you didn’t hear it the first five times they said it. Ever yelled into a headwind?

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      • Alex Reedin December 20, 2017 at 11:58 am

        https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.410

        For sidewalks, not sure if MUPs legally count as sidewalks, but a lot of people sure have the social expectation of a warning!

        A nice loud Bell is much louder than any yell. However, you can’t count on anyone to hear anything (among other reasons, they could be deaf!)

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson December 19, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    I got my wife to bike that segment with me a few years back; we stopped to watch a bird and some folks flew by way to close, way to fast. Never been back. Sad. We both got on our first bikes about 65 years ago.

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    • Chris I December 20, 2017 at 6:21 am

      You should go out again. If you let one bad experience ruin everything forever, you wouldn’t get to experience very much.

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    • q December 20, 2017 at 10:54 am

      I was out in the park a couple weeks ago taking photos of hundreds of geese (usually not my favorites) appeared and the most beautiful rays of afternoon light turned all the leaves golden. The geese were right next to the Willamette Greenway Trail, and cyclists were coming, so I figured I had a few seconds left until they came past and scared the geese. Instead, one by one, they either slowed way down and watched the geese, or stopped and also took photos alongside me. We were all actually whispering. It was a great experience, better than if I’d been alone.

      I hope you’ll give it another try.

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  • q December 19, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    On the speed topic, I walk on the westside trail daily with my dog. Lots of times, it’s almost empty, and biking fast is no problem. Biking towards someone who can see you coming isn’t any problem, even going fast. Passing from behind can be unsafe even when slow. I appreciate a warning–bikes can be almost silent, especially with wind blowing through the trees. My older neighbors really get surprised and scared by fast cyclists passing from behind with no warning.

    I think I’ve had only one cyclist pass me in the last several years who I’d call rude.

    I try to be aware of cyclists approaching from behind. On a sunny weekend day, I assume they’ll be passing regularly from behind. Often, though, I’m out when a cyclist might not pass me more than once every several minutes, and I don’t feel guilty for not checking behind me regularly at those times.

    I appreciate headlights when cyclists approach from behind–I can see the light bouncing off trees and ground ahead me well before they overtake me. Bright lights, especially blinking, from bikes approaching from in front can be blinding.

    Biking, biking fast, walking, running, walking with dogs and kids…all can happen safely on the same path when common sense is used. I’d say the most important aspect of common sense is to acknowledge that the same trail is a completely different environment (calling for different behaviors) on a crowded, summer Saturday afternoon than on a winter morning or evening.

    Over time, Portland does need to create more off-road options that don’t just lump commuting or training cyclists and people walking with dogs and kids all together on the same narrow path.

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    • Alex Reedin December 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      The westside path is so narrow and winding that I’d guess most of the faster cyclists avoid it. I sure do.

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      • q December 20, 2017 at 12:47 pm

        Yes, I agree. I always thought some of the usage assumptions during the Sellwood Bridge project were nutty, because they ignored that the Springwater is a better option for many people biking. And similarly, a worse route for walking or running.

        My comments apply to any trail, but with context in mind. That is, since the Springwater IS more of a fast riding trail, then people walking need to take that into account, and vice versa for the westside trail.

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  • BradWagon December 20, 2017 at 8:09 am

    There is a gentleman I pass somewhat regularly on the Fanno Creek trail during my summer commutes. The trail is usually pretty empty and we usually pass each other going opposite directions (as in, we both see each other coming from a long way). Without fail I will be riding roughly 16-18 mph, keep well to my right and wave when I go by only to be met with a “Slow Down” comment. I think it’s just a lack of cycling experience for some people that causes them to not appreciate that even at faster than walking speeds cyclists are still in control of their actions and generally adjust their riding appropriately for potential hazards.

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  • matt savage December 20, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Strava or not, those riders will still go as fast as they can. They did it before Strava, they’ll still do it without it… Assholes gonna asshole…

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  • Steve Scarich December 20, 2017 at 9:59 am

    I had a funny ‘moment’ yesterday while driving in Bend. I drive my car about once a week, and ride my bike 5 or 6 days. As I approached a cyclist in the bike lane, my first reaction was ‘you gotta be nuts to ride in this traffic’. Cars were whizzing by him at 50 mph, missing him by maybe 3′. Had to laugh at my different perspective. I am only vaguely aware of traffic when I am riding, and only when they doing something dumb.

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  • Leif Warner December 20, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Paths like this are places I feel safe going fast; there’s not a lot of stuff to the side where someone or something will enter the path suddenly from, and I don’t have to stop every block.
    I would commute 11 miles to downtown along it daily; I thought of it as a “bike expressway”.
    Sure, there are plenty of users of the path, but many of them are also bikes; also, there’s great visibility of the path ahead giving one plenty of time to slow down if a group is occupying the path.
    I also take my kid for walks along the path. I tell her to watch out for bicycles in both directions, and I myself do as well. You can see them coming from a good way off.

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  • Todd Boulanger December 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    As for the 30 mph recorded top speed of a “bicyclist” on this facility…given its relatively flat grade I wonder if this was an e-bike…

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  • Ken S December 20, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Nope. I checked Strava. All the guys in the top 10 race. Most are CAT1-3.
    I’ve been on group rides with a few of them and they are just animals.

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  • Jon December 20, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Remember the basic rules that all people appear to follow: Everyone that goes faster than you is crazy, out of control, and unsafe. Everyone going slower than you is a meandering, clueless moron.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty December 20, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    HOOOOOOTTTTT. PIIIIIIZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

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  • SD December 20, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Alternate Headline: “Strava records suggest that cyclists rarely travel fast on Springwater path.”

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  • Beth H December 21, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    I see the same trickle-down from bicycle racing in this discussion that I’ve seen in two decades working in the bicycle industry.
    Strava is designed to get people to not only use it, but to encourage competition between riders (by goading them on to ride farther and/or faster on their routes).
    Riders who take this bait are not in a sanctioned bicycle race, but they are definitely racing all the same. As someone who is slow and does not race, I’d prefer not to have to compete for space on an MUP with racers, wannabe or otherwise.

    (**On another note: Am I the only one who finds it interesting that the lead photo shows people riding on a much cleaner, quieter Springwater from an 8-year-old photo — on a ride captioned as being hosted by a “Street Trust” which did not exist then?)

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