Splendid Cycles

It’s silly season in Portland’s bike lanes: Please try to be nice about it

Posted by on May 2nd, 2018 at 12:18 pm

North Williams Avenue, May 3rd 2016.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

I received a disturbing text from a reader this morning (trigger warning: language might be upsetting to some readers):

“Got yelled at by a guy on a bike on Better Naito today. He stopped in front of me to yell at me for being selfish. Apparently I was riding too slowly because I was unsure how to cross the lane to turn left onto Oak. Two blocks later I was called a faggot and spit on. It’s chaos out there and commuter race season has begun.”

Sigh. There’s a lot to unpack here.

If you’ve lived in Portland a while you know that as the sun creeps out in spring, everything changes for cycling. Not only is it physically and mentally much more appealing to ride bicycles this time of year compared to the darkness and moisture that pervade previous months on the calendar — but there is also just so much excitement around cycling in general. Pedalpalooza planning is in full swing, it’s National Bike Month, the Bike More Challenge is on many people’s minds. And heck, this year the folks who run Biketown decided to make it free for the entire month!

And these days, with tens of thousands of new Portlanders in town (Hi! Welcome!), there are even more people using bikeways who might not be as comfortable riding and navigating around on two wheels as many of you are.

Please be nice to them!

I know people who actually change the routes they take during this time of year specifically to avoid all the dreaded “newbies” who use the popular bikeways. People wait all year for better weather. And then it gets here and they feel like they still can’t ride in peace because of all the people suddenly pedaling around in front of them. I personally don’t get that. I love the crowds! But hey, different strokes for different folks. I’m fine with that. Just don’t be a jerk about it.


This anti-newbie culture, made so apparent in those insults shared by our reader on his ride into work this morning, is much stronger than you think. It’s gross and I wish it would stop.

This ad for new residences on North Williams — known as Portland’s “Cat Six” corridor for the daily races that break out on its bike lanes — is not helping.

Of course it doesn’t help that our cycling culture in America is draped in the same macho, speed-is-everything-BS that our car culture also suffers from. But I digress.

After texting back to that reader what might motivate someone to be so rude, he surmised. “It’s the elite attitude of this city’s ‘ardent’ bike commuters.” I think there’s some truth to that.

Yesterday on Twitter, our Mayor Ted Wheeler happily shared a photo of himself in City Hall after biking into work. But he made a fashion choice that led @zacconklin to respond with, “Nice try Ted, looks like you wore the wrong shoes for your pedals on this photo-op. If you actually rode your bike more you would realize that.”

Wow. Tough crowd.

Maybe if we’d all just relax a bit and be nicer — you know, if we’d just ride and act the way we always hope and pray (and demand!) that people drive — then maybe our streets be the humane spaces we all want them to be.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to riding with you — no matter how long you’ve been doing it.

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

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

  • morgan May 2, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Jonathan–thanks for posting this. It’s a solid reminder that we all can do better, especially when it comes to making Portland a more welcoming city for all types of cyclists.

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  • ktaylor May 2, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    No one needs to be a jerk, but there are some safety issues at this time of year related to newbies – or oldbies with bad manners, and sometimes you have to speak up. Speaking up about someone else’s behavior is almost always perceived as being an a-hole in our culture.

    Coming down that steep, winding hill in River View Cemetery at 7:30am on Monday, I nearly ran over an 8 year old pedaling around the corner with his dad. He was on the left side of the road hugging the curve, coming straight at me – I wasn’t going full speed, fortunately and was able to stop in time. I told the dad that he needed to be a lot more careful coming around that corner, especially during commute hours, and the dad said something limp and wan about how he’d told the kid to get over but he just didn’t listen. It was clear to me this man did not realize his child could have been injured or killed, and so could I if I had been traveling any faster. I wish I had gotten off my bike and put the fear of god (or at least that hill) into that dad instead of hurrying on because I was late to work. It would have been the responsible thing to do, and it probably would have rattled that guy and made him think I was an a-hole.

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    • billyjo May 2, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      So you’re coming around a corner and riding faster than you’re able to stop? In all honesty, you need to be in control of your bike and be able to stop. We expect someone driving a vehicle to be able to stop it when there is an obstacle, it is no different with a bike.

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      • idlebytes May 2, 2018 at 12:53 pm

        “I wasn’t going full speed, fortunately and was able to stop in time.” They weren’t going full speed. The warning to the dad was about how others might be and could have hit his child.

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      • ktaylor May 2, 2018 at 1:50 pm

        Please see idlebyte’s comment below – there’s a speed limit in the cemetery and I was traveling below it. I was not traveling too fast to stop, but I was worried others would be, and I didn’t want that kid to be allowed to take the same risk again. I think it’s fair to say no one expects to see a child on that route at 7:30 in the morning, and certainly not riding directly into an oncoming lane. A car or maintenance vehicle could have hit him too. This was a clear-cut case of inadequate parenting and needed to be called out.

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        • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 8:51 am

          Can some of the wonder parents here share how you’ve been able to get your young children to follow best cycling practices 100% of the time? I ride regularly with my kids and coach them constantly until they are sick of it, and they still ride on both sides of the road (and let’s be honest, that road up Riverview is more like a wide bike path than a road), and they meander into the door zone, and they have trouble knowing when it’s safe to cross the street. My 9-year-old has such a hard time judging car speeds that he typically waits until there are NO cars coming in either direction before he crosses our neighborhood street, which can take a while.

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          • Pdxpaul May 3, 2018 at 9:08 am

            Yeah, OP is a bit rigged in the juice for someone who almost ran over a child. Maybe looking to shave a few miniseconds off a strava time will do that to ya.

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            • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 9:35 am

              I weigh 324 pounds, I’m almost 50 years old and, as noted in my original post, I was riding more than slowly enough to stop. The child was invisible behind a wall until I was right on top of him. No children ride this route at 7:30 in the morning (until now). Are you seriously saying this parent had no responsibility to protect his child or give me a heads up?

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              • rachel b May 3, 2018 at 12:36 pm

                I second this feeling of insanity. !!! ???? And I fear reading comprehension is a thing of the past.

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              • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 1:42 pm

                Yes! Thanks!

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              • pdxpaul May 4, 2018 at 4:29 pm

                That’s not what I said.

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          • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 9:32 am

            Yes – children do have a hard time avoiding danger, and parents have a responsibility to look out for them – that’s why I placed the blame on the parent, not the child. I know nobody can 100% control their kid – all I wanted from this dad was some active parenting – not a flabby ‘Bobby, you might want to come over here with me’ but a worried, urgent ‘look out!’ I was worried about the kid.

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            • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 11:01 am

              “This was a clear-cut case of inadequate parenting”

              As a parent, I disagree with your off-the-cuff assessment. You don’t know how the parent has been teaching his child for the past 8 years.

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              • rachel b May 3, 2018 at 12:40 pm

                Agh. Agh. Agh. It is not unreasonable to have expected that dad to 1) maybe find a better place and time to teach their kid to ride, and 2) if he must insist upon taking his young child to ride his bike in the Riverview Cemetery at 7:30 in the morning, he really put his responsible adult pants on and look out for the myriad cyclists–many NOT AS CAREFUL AS THE POSTER–riding to work via that route. Going down a hill. And around a blind corner.

                I say it again: don’t depend on me to be your Village. Most Portland parents lost that privilege with me a decade ago, and they earned that loss through sheer, relentless obnoxious self and offspring interest. I’m not keen to help those who seem to have no regard for anything but themselves and their own.

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 1:14 pm

                “no regard for anything but themselves and their own”

                That’s an ironic categorization.

                In the glorious days of Portland I’m sure children were all perfect little angels, as I’m sure you were as a child.

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              • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 1:44 pm

                This has nothing to do with the child, we’re criticizing the parent’s behavior in a situation where his child was in danger and consequently putting other people in danger. Are you really defending his behavior?

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 2:21 pm

                “I wish I had gotten off my bike and put the fear of god (or at least that hill) into that dad”

                “This was a clear-cut case of inadequate parenting”

                “sheer, relentless obnoxious self and offspring interest”

                “those who seem to have no regard for anything but themselves and their own”

                “Me First people are literally running roughshod over our roads and trails and public spaces”

                “hat dad is definitely of the “Me and mine first, everyone else second” camp”

                “flaccid parenting”

                “inflicting poorly socialized brats on the world”

                This is an awful lot of angst over a clearly terrible excuse for a parent who has been unable to get his 8yo boy to ride in a perfectly straight line up a steep hill in a park, and I’m sorry it ruined your day. Keep an eye out for this flaccid parent while you’re out there — clearly not respecting the danger you might present on your way down. https://tinyurl.com/ybll3452

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              • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 2:45 pm

                What are you so offended about? You don’t know this guy, and there are lazy parents out there, even if you don’t feel you are one of them. Do you make an effort to keep your child safe when they out riding with you? If you thought they were in danger, would you try to keep them safe? Btw, not talking ‘wobbly’ here – the kid was beelining directly toward me. He was a good enough rider to ride a straight line, he just wanted to hug the curve, which put him in the oncoming lane. NOT HIS FAULT! But absolutely his dad’s fault for not looking out for his safety.

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 2:56 pm

                I’m offended that you are completely unsympathetic to the challenges of teaching a young cyclist. And when pressed, you & rachel have little more to impart upon us except that maybe we should yell at our kids more and stop being so selfish.

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            • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 3:13 pm

              I’m not unsympathetic – I just want the teaching to be done. Taking a kid out without giving them any instruction or correcting them when they are doing something wrong is not ‘teaching.’ It’s also dangerous when you’re not on a family-worn multi-use path.

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              • rachel b May 3, 2018 at 8:20 pm

                Count me as unsympathetic, yup, after this exchange. And here’s this:


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              • K Taylor May 3, 2018 at 9:59 pm

                “In theory, their intentions are good and their efforts impressive—moms and dads today are trying to build up their kids by giving them influence; they also want to please them and avoid conflict. In reality, parents are at risk of losing primacy over their children.”

                Good, fair-handed article.

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              • Dan A May 4, 2018 at 9:24 am

                Clearly a child riding his bike on the wrong side of a cemetery path is a sign that parenting itself has collapsed. Time to move to a city where parents are better.

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              • K Taylor May 4, 2018 at 9:42 am

                Haha! Well no, of course. I probably wouldn’t even have mentioned this incident if it was an isolated one. I just find it weird how our generation of American parents defer to their children, even when it puts the child in danger or makes them a burden on others.

                What I like about this article is that it respects the philosophy behind this parenting behavior (a desire not crush the child’s spirit, to respect their individuality and to teach them to be independent and strong) but suggests we actually undermine these goals by letting the child be the boss.

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      • El Biciclero May 3, 2018 at 8:18 am

        “riding faster than you’re able to stop”

        This is a phony requirement. No one is ever riding faster than they are able to stop. The question is how soon do you expect anyone to be able to come to a complete stop? This varies with speed, skill, and brake type and maintenance. We don’t expect drivers to be able to stop instantly, it takes some distance. We can’t put some physics-defying requirement to never ride “faster than you are able to stop” on bicyclists. Plus as was mentioned, the poster of the comment was actually able to stop.

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        • Pdxpaul May 3, 2018 at 9:09 am

          >Overdriving the range of vision

          Not a phony requirement

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          • El Biciclero May 11, 2018 at 10:04 pm

            Well, “[Not] [o]verdriving the range of vision” is a different, better-stated requirement. It’s a fine way to be reasonably confident of being able to stop for fixed obstacles that might lurk around a blind corner, but there is still no accounting for what other people might do, such as swerve into one’s path, or run into the street without looking. Unless we impose a 5-mph or less universal speed limit, there is no way for everyone to be able to stop in time to avoid every possible thing that could intersect their path.

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    • pdx2wheeler May 2, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      15 mph limit in Riverview…! You might think of slowing your roll through there since cyclists are on a thin ice as it is. At that speed there should be no issues with these types of conflicts with children. Also, for everyone who rides Riverview, consider making a tax deductible donating to Riverview Cemetery to help support this route, the bike markings, and generally being a positive partner with them. Don’t just take!

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      • rachel b May 2, 2018 at 3:40 pm

        ktaylor already affirmed several times that the rolling was indeed slow, and I believe them. ??? If anyone else would like to chime in on that, though, and hector k, have at it.

        I’m interested in the point they were making. I’ve been thinking a lot lately of how corrosive hyperindividualism is to communities, and if America’s the most hyperindividualistic country there is, I’d posit Portland is one of the cities that most enthusiastically embraces that “me and mine first, everyone else second” mentality.

        As we get more and more crowded, and with people who come from not-so-polite places, it feels to me like our hens are coming home to roost in a big way in Portland, re: our flabby response to everyone doing their thing wherever and whenever, damn the torpedoes. Me First people are literally running roughshod over our roads and trails and public spaces. We need something a little more concrete and sturdy than cheerful forbearance to counter that trend. I for one am overtired of accommodating and tolerating non-community-minded behaviors.

        Why have disorder when there’s a possibility of actually having or creating order? I’m not being a martinet, here. Just advocating that we establish rules or pay attention to existing rules and enforce the following of them. Our free-for-all approach to everybody doing their thing has gotten so ridiculous, daily life is in danger of becoming completely unbearable. The more people that come here, the more laissez faire we seem to get, and it’s getting on my last nerve.

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        • ktaylor May 2, 2018 at 4:59 pm

          Thank you, rachel! I second this: “I for one am overtired of accommodating and tolerating non-community-minded behaviors.” Unpleasant though it may be, calling rulebreakers out is part of being responsible to your community and contributing to a better shared environment – which can only be more welcoming/less bewildering for newbies. This applies careless speed demons too – if someone strafes you with no bell and no ‘on your left,’ call out ‘use your bell, please!’ Firm, polite, to the point. If enough people do it, this behavior becomes less comfortable.

          I just want to add that I am one of the slowest and most cautious people on the road. I weigh 324 pounds and I’m almost 50 years old. I wasn’t kidding when I said I could have been badly injured in this dust-up with the 8-year-old, even if I’d just had to stop so quickly and awkwardly that I fell. It couldn’t have done the kid any good to be flattened by a 300+ pound adult either.

          If you know that hill, you know how completely blind the corner is. You can see an adult rounding it, but not a kid, and kids are not a common sight there at the crack of dawn on a weekday. I saw the dad, who was where he should be (the oncoming lane), so I was prepared to stick close to my side of the road rounding the corner. My cautious safety maneuver put me right in the path of the kid, who was not where he should have been. I looked out for his safety, but it wasn’t reasonable for the parent to expect me to do that in this situation. And he wasn’t looking out for his kid’s safety or mine. He could at least have yelled ‘look out!’ He didn’t.

          I’d like to second pdx2wheeler’s suggestion that users of Riverview donate to Riverview Cemetery to support their investment in the bike route. I didn’t realize there was an avenue to do that. Thanks!

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          • soren May 2, 2018 at 9:23 pm

            “calling rulebreakers out”

            i happily break car-centric rules. for example, i always try to stop for jay walkers. hitting the brakes hard and letting a human being cross the roadway with ease always brings a smile to my face.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy May 3, 2018 at 9:00 am

              I like how you couch inherently selfish behavior under the rubric of striking out against The Man.

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              • soren May 3, 2018 at 10:15 am

                stopping for someone else who wants to cross a roadway is “selfish”.

                ok then.

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          • Buzz May 3, 2018 at 8:59 am

            If another cyclist calls me out for something like not stopping for a stop sign, they are going to get a not so polite ‘mind your own business’ in return.

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            • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 11:17 am

              I don’t care so much unless you blow through the stop sign into my right-of-way, which does happen from time to time, most particularly in NW Portland.

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          • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 4:46 pm

            Good thing the 8-year-old wasn’t a rock or a tree branch or something. Those things also are not as tall as an adult cyclist. What’s worse, they usually don’t have a convenient parent punching bag with them.

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            • K Taylor May 3, 2018 at 9:50 pm

              ?? I’m not sure what this has to do with anything. There’s no reason to be concerned about the safety of a rock or tree branch.

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              • Alex Reedin May 4, 2018 at 11:15 am

                I was attempting to imply that, around blind corners, one should go slow enough to stop for unexpected obstacles in the roadway (as you did, good job!). I would also hope that another cyclist who *could * see the obstacles would have the presence of mind to warn you, especially if the “obstacle” was a small child, but in my mind the primary responsibility when dealing with forces of nature like rocks or small children is with the person who might hit them. (Keeping kids out of excessively dangerous situations to begin with is the parent’s responsibility, but honestly, I don’t see the Riverview cemetery path as excessively dangerous. Unless you count a hill-induced kid meltdown as a danger 🙂 . The traffic is very light and slow, and IMO most of the sightlines are good. One can’t keep kids in a padded box.)

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              • rachel b May 4, 2018 at 1:12 pm

                K was going slow. K was going slowly. K has reiterated ad nauseam that they were going slowly around the corner, and has provided ample substantiation, exhibits, powerpoint presentations and charts and graphs to support their assertion. PLEASE–stop with the absolutely complete ignoring of this stated fact.

                Riverview Cemetery is also not a path, it’s road, and people drive cars and trucks on it, some carelesssly. For all that’s good and holy, think of the child getting hit by a car if the whole cyclist thing is just too hard to grapple with. And no–it is not a good place to teach an inexperienced kid to ride. That is a blind corner and it behooves ANYONE riding around it to exercise caution. As K did.

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              • K Taylor May 4, 2018 at 9:02 pm

                I hate to say this, but deer have better sense than many young humans (or their parents). It’s hard for me to imagine a scenario in which a deer would have been coming straight at me like that and not dodged out of the way to avoid me veeeeeeery slowly hitting it.

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        • rachel b May 2, 2018 at 5:22 pm

          That dad is definitely of the “Me and mine first, everyone else second” camp. Grrr. I hate flaccid parenting. I don’t want to be your Village, thanks.

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          • Gary May 3, 2018 at 8:52 am

            Wow, a flaccid parent because their 8yo didn’t listen to an instruction? I guess I need to meet your child(ren)–obviously you have one–for inspiration on how to raise mine correctly.

            I’m not sure who the community and hyperindividuals in this scenario are, exactly. The community is the one that needs to get down that hill quickly, but the individualist is the one that wants to enjoy a pleasant ride without sweating their child staying in line for a few minutes? It seems to me that perhaps you are in the me and mine first camp.

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            • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 9:37 am

              No – a flaccid parent because he had no sense of urgency about protecting his child’s safety. Sometimes you just have to yell.

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 11:15 am

                Do you do a lot of shouting “LOOK OUT!” at 8-year-olds? And how do they respond to such instruction? Do they ask to go on more bike rides? Mine don’t.

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              • rachel b May 3, 2018 at 12:48 pm

                If your 8-year-old doesn’t respond to an urgent, shouted warning, I don’t even know what to say to you. That’s not on him; that’s on you. You you you. And it’s not up to the community to make up for that lack.

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 1:16 pm

                Sounds like you would prefer kids stay inside and play xbox, where you don’t have to look at them…

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              • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 1:46 pm

                Again, not talking about kids – talking about parents.

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 2:24 pm

                Again, please share your magical parenting style. I’d honestly like to know how to make my kids better riders without nagging them more. They already prefer not to do anything that I already know how to do, lest I try to coach them too much.

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              • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 2:51 pm

                You have to nag them. You have to be willing to be the uncool, boring dad who occasionally makes them feel hemmed in and annoyed. If they learn the rules of the road to the point where they can be trusted to ride safely, reward them by letting them come with you on more challenging, riskier rides (like Riverview Cemetery). If they don’t, they have to stick to the boring old MUP.

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 2:59 pm

                This is the perfect plan to prevent my kids from wanting to ride with me. Is this how you taught your kids?

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              • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 3:11 pm

                Well, you’re the parent. You can (good humoredly) make them go, and once they’re out there, they’ll have a good time. I know this from experience. Also, the nagging is an investment. They’ll hate it, yes – and therefore you won’t have to do it for that long. They’ll learn. These are kids we’re talking about. They don’t know enough to make all their own decisions about everything with no input from you.

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 3:21 pm

                You’ll be happy to know that I nag them all the time, I talk about cycling and the dangers of poor cycling all the time, I have have made them ride to school most of their lives and go on numerous recreational rides with me, and nowadays they mostly refuse to ride with me specifically because I am too “coachy”. And they still ride on the wrong side of the road from time to time. I guess if you ever catch them doing that, you can put the fear of god into me and call my parenting style “flaccid”, “inadequate”, and “self absorbed”.

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              • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 3:44 pm

                It sounds like you’re saying your kids are responsible for themselves, that they don’t follow road rules no matter what you do, so if they crash into something, its their responsibility or other people, but not yours. Either that or you’re saying they are old enough to make their own decisions and nimble enough to dart out of the way of oncoming traffic, in which case they are not like the little boy in the cemetery (hm…that sounds like the title of a horror novel). In that case, your situation is just not the same as this one.

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              • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 4:24 pm

                No, it sounds like he’s being realistic about what he can and can’t achieve. Children are their own self-directed humans with their own personalities, wills, and desires. Parents can do our best to encourage (I use the term broadly, including more traditional / adult-control-focused parenting techniques such as discipline and yelling. Sidebar, I’m not a fan of the use of the word “flaccid” in this context) our kids to behave courteously, safely, and responsibly, but ultimately the kids will either do it or not do it and that will be their choice.

                As a parent yourself, you might be operating under the delusion that because your parenting choice X achieved desired behavior Y in your child(ren), that parenting choice X would achieve desired behavior Y in someone else’s child(ren). That is manifestly false. There are children who need to learn from experience that something is scary or dangerous. There are children who are super spacey and just don’t hear half of what their parents say because they’re concentrating super hard on something interesting. And many more variations

                In general, please stop judging other parents. Exceptions for abuse/neglect. Thanks!

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              • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 4:29 pm

                Personally, I would shout “LOOK OUT!” to the adult going down the cemetery road. Not because I’m worried it would bother my child to be yelled “LOOK OUT!” at, but because in this situation it seems like it would be way more effective.

                -Adults generally have better bike handling skills than kids
                -Adults generally listen and respond appropriately better than kids
                -The adult in this context was the one traveling relatively quickly (downhill) towards the kid going uphill, so even if the kid stopped in their tracks, the collision potential is still present.

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              • K Taylor May 3, 2018 at 9:47 pm

                Alex – actually, I suggested that further upthread (yelling ‘look out’ to the oncoming cyclist). If he’d done that, my comments here wouldn’t exist. And I’m sorry the exchange between Dan and I got personal, so I’d like to draw it back to the situation at hand. I’m not sure what a parent’s realistic outlook has to do with anything. If the dad in this incident realistically understood that his child doesn’t understand (or just doesn’t follow) road rules and also doesn’t ever listen to him (which seemed clear from his comment), he probably shouldn’t have taken his child on such a challenging route at such a wholly unexpected hour. I’m really surprised everyone is so upset by the fact I don’t think it’s cool he did absolutely nothing. At issue is the kid’s safety. ‘Flaccid’ in the sense I was using it just means lacking force or effectiveness, which I still think was a fair description of this man’s behavior.

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              • Dan A May 4, 2018 at 9:21 am

                “at such a wholly unexpected hour”

                Not sure why you keep mentioning this. You don’t expect to see kids on bikes at 7:30am on a school day?

                And even so, why would that matter? If you only expect certain kinds of traffic at certain times of they day, one day you will be caught off-guard by something you don’t expect to see, maybe even right behind a blind corner.

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              • Alex Reedin May 4, 2018 at 9:31 am

                I think it’s clear that the parent should have warned you, so that’s on him – and complaining about that totally makes sense. But the whole thing with Rachel B and you questioning his parenting, seems like people extending a very small set of information about this man and his boy way too far. Maybe his kid is usually a really good 8-year-old rider, but this time he’s getting really frustrated and his dad thought that a shout to him would just make him even more sullen and dangerous for the rest of the ride. Maybe they’re trying this for the first time and realizing it’s not a good idea. Maybe they’re running late and frazzled. I dunno.

                And Rachel, the link you posted has no evidence, just a couple of psychologists spouting their anecdotes.

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              • K Taylor May 4, 2018 at 9:50 am

                To reiterate, my complaint isn’t that I’m some fragile flower who can’t roll with the punches – I did – I was riding defensively and didn’t hit the kid. But I know probably most people riding down that hill would not have been as cautious and very well could have hit him. And part of the reason for that is that you don’t expect to see an out of control little kid on that route at 7:30 in the morning, no where near a school.

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              • rachel b May 4, 2018 at 1:38 pm




                K’s point that this is not an isolated type of incident–do-nothing parents ‘on the job’–it’s the kind of thing you experience every day and everywhere in Portland anymore (and America, apparently). This incident should not be addressed (as is happening) as though it exists in a vacuum. The whole point of K’s bringing it up relates to the greater problem, the greater issue with parents who fail to properly supervise their kids in public spaces.

                There are whole tomes written about the modern age of lax, excuse-making American parents. It’s a widely known and written about phenomenon. Come on–surely you know that? We also all (unfortunately) have the all too ample evidence of our eyes (and ears) and experience. I never had any cause to gripe about parenting prior to about 2000. Remember when all the hipsters had kids and didn’t want to give up the lifestyle? Hence, the advent of: Kids in bars! Kids at rock concerts! Kids in fancy adult restaurants! Kids in quiet tea rooms! Loud “kid friendly” libraries! Loud “kid friendly” museums! You name it. No space is sacred enough now to prevent some parent from carting their toddlers into it, unapologetic, loud and proud.

                It has been a halcyon time to be a parent. And a bloody awful time to have to be around American parents and their kids. The sad part is, the kids usually don’t want to be in the adult places (at the adult hours) so many modern parents want to be. But mom and dad want a drink. They deserve a treat. And we should all support them by tolerating their understandably frustrated, tired and cranky child’s acting out, because they most certainly are not going to address it.

                Oddly, it’s way less of a problem when I go to the suburbs or out of Portland (unless Portlanders w/ kids are there). For some reason, people on the outskirts still consider it ok to shush and correct their children and instruct them on manners without turning it into the kind of lunatic negotiation a three-year-old isn’t even cognitively equipped to handle.

                Nothing is more illustrative of how ridiculously excuse-making and permissive parents have gotten than this whole discussion, here. K is making an eminently reasonable request, and it has the bonus of reflecting actual care for the child! I’m flummoxed as to why this would trigger any parent at all, unless they’re in denial over their own parenting style.

                Nobody appreciates good parenting more than I. I know several fabulous parents, with great kids, and I appreciate the hell out of them.

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              • Alex Reedin May 4, 2018 at 1:54 pm

                Seriously. Halcyon days of parenting, my saddle. Time was, parents could let their kids play outside unsupervised in the neighborhood with other kids before the age of 12(!!) without fear of Oregon DHS getting on their case for allowing their kids to be in a “dangerous location” per Oregon law exposed to cars and kidnappers (AKA essentially anywhere except for in front of the XBox). Time was, only one parent’s worth of income was generally needed for a middle-income family to afford housing, health care, and education, allowing (societal misogyny acknowledged and decried) sufficient total time between the two parents to do plenty of parenting and meet some basic social needs like talking to friends regularly. Time was, metro areas were still riding on the density legally allowed to be built pre-1950, and didn’t have bad enough traffic/sprawl to make commutes long, leaving more time for parenting. Time was, less movement around the country meant for more extended family helping out with raising the kids.

                Based on my personal experience and what I see my friends with kids going through, I believe the reason you’re seeing kids in previously mostly- or only-adult spaces more now is not largely because parents want to bring them there. It’s largely because some parents want to go there, and all the above squeezing of parental time means a significant portion of parents feel like the only way they’re going to get to go to those places is to bring their kids with. (N.B. I personally choose to bring my kids nowhere adulty, because I personally *hate* going to a restaurant or whatever with kids. Grocery shopping with kids is bad enough – Fred Meyer’s free hour of daycare, hallelujah! Plus, I don’t even like concerts *without* kids. Unless they’re outside and start at 2pm. Curmudgeon alert!)

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              • Dan A May 4, 2018 at 2:12 pm

                “The whole point of K’s bringing it up relates to the greater problem, the greater issue with parents who fail to properly supervise their kids in public spaces.”

                No it does not. I didn’t read any further. This is a kid riding his bike a bit outside the lines, which is typical of all kids riding their bikes all throughout history. We rode this way when I was a kid 40 years ago.

                I DO think this story points to a change in culture where dads are expected to actually participate in activities, though, which is a good thing. I barely knew who any of my friends’ dads were, much less who my dad was — they were almost completely absent from their lives.

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              • K Taylor May 4, 2018 at 7:59 pm

                I agree with rachel – one of my favorite restaurants is in Tigard, and that’s largely because of this strange parenting divide. It’s a family restaurant, but it’s not shrieking chaos like it would be if it were located in Portland. I also think your comment, Alex, about parents not wanting to create this situation is interesting, in that there is still that decision to go out and impose the kids on others. Going out to a bar isn’t one of life’s necessities, and it can be foregone if your children are under 21 and you can’t find a babysitter. It really does ruin the experience for everyone else, and on top of that, because we are Portlanders, we all have to smile and pretend we think the children are cute – which reinforces the parents’ notion that it’s really no big deal. What I’m hearing from you and Dan is that the smile and shrug are the appropriate response to people like oblivious dad — but tolerance only gets you more of the same, which I (and many others) don’t want…so why should I do that?

                Also, Dan – I agree with you that one very positive recent development is the deeper involvement of fathers in their children’s lives. And Alex – amen to that re: concerts!

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              • Alex Reedin May 5, 2018 at 10:36 pm

                What I’d say is, definitely appropriate (in this, life-threatening case) to stop and give the dad and kid your two cents, or dollar-fifty, whatever it may be. Just keep it to what you actually observed.

                However, what I was reacting against was the generalization from your 30 seconds of observation to “lax parenting” in general. I have seen *WAY* too much off-the-cuff, verbal judgment directed at current parents, generally from other parents (the same age or older). 100% of the times I’ve seen it, it’s been directed at moms. Expecting moms to be supermoms who never have a momentary lapse in attention, never lose their cool, & never fail to “keep their kids in line” is weirdly mainstream.

                Plus, the overall assumption that ‘lax’ parenting is clearly a problem and this is generally accepted… um, I don’t accept that and neither do most of the parents I know? I think it is generally accepted that there’s been a change towards more ‘laxity’ – or, stated from a different perspective, acceptance of kids stating their preferences and parents considering them. But that the change is generally harmful? That generally seems to me like a judgment that splits on a conservative/liberal divide (conservative more likely ‘yes, it’s harmful’, liberal more likely ‘not harmful in and of itself’) rather than a judgment that’s close to universally shared. Personally, I have not seen evidence that more ‘laxity’ is harmful. Parenting is impossible to do controlled experiments on, but the data-based parenting book I’ve read (going off correlation, not causation) said that parents anywhere on the spectrum from adult-control-focused to shared-control with the kids had all had pretty similar distributions of kid outcomes from positive to negative. The book seemed to indicate that, to the extent outcomes were correlated with growing-up conditions, the conditions that mattered were marital health, lack of excessive family stressors, social supports, money, race, neighborhood, etc. N.B. My own personal style is pretty adult-control-focused.

                In non-life-threatening cases where you’re only seeing this family once, my recommendation is to stay silent, sigh, or step in, in a genuinely helpful way, to help (if appropriate). For one thing, your advice may be entirely inappropriate to the family’s actual situation. For another thing, ‘helpful’ parenting advice from strangers to moms is in my experience pretty widespread in our culture so the moms I know are more than sick of it. Seems like you and Rachel B have a diametrically different experience, so I dunno, different stores and parks we go to? Different standards of what is ‘widespread’? Not sure.

                If we’re talking about a friend-family or close-acquaintance family, where you see a repeated pattern of parenting behavior that you believe could be improved in a specific way, I say go ahead and give advice, in an appropriate and sensitive time and manner. If you know them well enough to probably not actively piss them off, you never know what nugget someone will find useful.

                It’s been a long time since I went to Riverview, so I can totally buy the argument that it’s an unsafe place to bring most younger kid cyclists. The hill alone would be enough of a stressor to short-circuit a good amount of bike safety training for most little kids. But there are 8-year-olds who do incredible things. Didn’t a kid around that age complete the whole Ronde de Oeste Portlandia and its dozen+ hills harder than Riverview and I’m sure with some sketchier parts safety-wise? (Although, I guess the obvious response to that is “And that wasn’t a good idea either.” Touche.)

                I can’t say I really buy the disrespect argument (as long as people are traveling through, not playing on graves). Children go to cemeteries to mourn their loved ones, and to funerals too. Death is a part of life, and I think it’s a good lesson for kids. As for the owners of plots, I may be insufficiently skeptical/irritable, but the first thing I thought of when I imagined some kid biking through the cemetery from the imagined eyes of a mourner was a melancholy but positive, “And – there it is – the reminder that the cycle of life goes on. How sweet.” The minority who I imagine might be bothered might be more vocal to management though 🙂

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              • Alex Reedin May 5, 2018 at 11:09 pm

                I guess the last thing I would say, if anyone is still reading at this point, is just a general comment about judging modern parents – read again what I wrote above about societal trends demolishing free time for parents. The shortage of time is the #1 hardest thing about parenting for most parents I know, and it has been for a while. The fact that society at large has been juggernauting down the path of those trends for decades makes it really hard for us.

                I would give up all the Playplaces, kids’ areas in breweries, tolerance/resignation from strangers/staff when bringing a kid into random other places – give up all that in a HEARTBEAT to have the parenting experience my and my husbands’ parents had. (OK, honestly, I never use all that stuff except for Freddy’s godsend of a child-care facility, but let’s pretend that I’m actually giving something up). Let the kids run wild in the neighborhood at a reasonable age (prior to 12!!) and never think once about having CPS called on us. Let my husband quit his job like he wants to, without being strapped financially. Have a half-hour or less commute.

                I really do think this time shortage is the main reason why parents bring kids places where parents didn’t used to. Having friends or family over for a meal at home seemed a lot more feasible for families with a parent with time for meal prep – hence more kids at restaurants now (even IMO it’s such a bad experience as a parent that I just refuse to go and send my husband solo, keeping the kids at home with me). If you’re squeezing in grocery shopping in the one time in the next three days when it works in the schedule, the fact that the kid or two you’re dragging with you is running wild or overstimulated – you hate it, and feel bad for the other patrons and staff, but you still need food. We’re trapped in the hamster wheel. The squeaking wheel is totally irritating, and I sympathize with the pain in your ears, but is the right party to blame primarily the hamster or primarily the system?

                Help us. Bash down the orthodoxy of “protect the children up to age 12+ from stranger danger by keeping them in sight at all times” by joining the free-range kids political movement. Support livable wages and sensible reforms to reduce the cost of housing, education, and healthcare which have driven so many families to become two-full-time-earner. Push acceptance of reduced work schedules in workplaces (Germany’s large council of industrial labor unions already had 7-hour days as the default for everyone prior to their last joint contract with employers. In their last joint contract, they added the ability for anyone to switch to a 4-day-a-week, still 7-hours-a-day, schedule and back at will with reasonable notification without retaliation. We are so far from that in the US, it’s not even funny. Think about how much parent-shopping, socializing, etc. would get done SANS KIDS using that time if it were available to us.) And – bringing it back to BikePortland – support the transportation and land-use reforms we need for people to get from A to B reliably, quickly, healthily, and affordably in our growing, sprawling metro.

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              • ktaylor May 7, 2018 at 3:45 pm

                Hi Alex – I’m at work, but just wanted to say thanks for your thoughtful comments – I will mull and get back to you when I am free.

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            • K Taylor May 3, 2018 at 9:55 pm

              Also, what’s so terrible about criticizing parents if their parenting style is causing problems for others?

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              • billyjo May 4, 2018 at 7:26 am

                of course. When someone’s parenting style prevents you from riding like a madman well over the safe speed it must be bad parenting. Again with the idea that you need to be in control of your bike. So does the other guy. if someone were coming down the hill at a high rate of speed and took out the kid, I might feel bad for them when they get hit with criminal charges and a hefty lawsuit. No, not really. I do question the parenting skills of the parent of the person coming down the hill though. Teach your kids they aren’t the center of the universe.

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              • K Taylor May 4, 2018 at 9:52 am

                I’m not responding to this, as you don’t appear to have read anything I wrote.

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              • rachel b May 4, 2018 at 1:42 pm

                OMG. This would be funny if it weren’t so exasperating.


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            • rachel b May 4, 2018 at 8:38 pm

              [“The whole point of K’s bringing it up relates to the greater problem, the greater issue with parents who fail to properly supervise their kids in public spaces.”
              No it does not. I didn’t read any further. This is a kid riding his bike a bit outside the lines, which is typical of all kids riding their bikes all throughout history. We rode this way when I was a kid 40 years ago.”]

              Dan A–Uh…yes, it does. But I guess you can ask K yourself. The article we’re all commenting on pleads patience and understanding with newbies–a noble goal, we can all agree. But K was pointing out the steadily growing abuse of that social contract–in this case, by parents who refuse to take responsibility for their kids when they may be putting others others in danger (why are you excusing that so blithely and conflating it repeatedly with just any kid generally riding around? as though K would have a problem with a little kid wobbling by anywhere?)–by sharing an incident that begs the question–at what point do you stop expecting people to accommodate buffleheadedness and blatant self-absorption?

              We’re all rolling, those with kids or not, with the modern-day punches you listed. And there is no question in my mind that parenting is devilishly difficult, and that parents feel—more than ever—stressed and desperate for escape. Having kids is a choice, though, and it’s not just ok to truck your kids around to inappropriate places “because you want to go there,” at the expense of others’ enjoyment/peace, determinedly ignoring that last very important bit. No matter the impetus.

              Re: the halcyon factor: my parents and I’m guessing yours did not live in a time when “bring your children everywhere, no space is child-free anymore” existed. That is a HUGE bonus to modern parents and has changed the face of parenting and, well, everything everywhere. In America, at least. It has meant a big gain for families and parents (also in the pocketbook as fewer people feel the need to get a babysitter anymore), and, frankly, a big loss for a whole lot of other people.

              I’m sure parents of the past “wanted to go there…” to a bar, to a nice restaurant, with their less-than-under-control children, out of the same sort of desperation. But the social contract at that time did not allow it. You had to be a real rebel to push that line. Parents rightly assumed in the past that you don’t get to do those things until the kids are old enough and can be among others without losing it. It was a sacrifice parents understood and made—that many still make— with an eye to the happy day not far down the road when their kids WOULD be ready for going to a nicer restaurant. The bonus to that waiting for readiness, I always thought, was that it gives kids something to look forward to and strive for. There’s no more “My first bar!” or “My first concert!” moment for teenagers, now, i.e.. 😉 Sigh. At least, not in Portland.

              All that said–when parents do bring toddlers to adult spaces and they’re the kind of parents who gather up the kid, stat, and get him out of there at the first shriek, I practically want to kiss them. Ditto in grocery stores, etc. When you see a parent actually recognizing that their kid is disturbing others and see them actually caring about it, it makes you want to lift boulders to help them and be their ally, and it literally floods you with sympathy and feelings of warm humanity.

              It’s the trying that matters. It’s the making an effort. When you don’t, it’s just such a colossally presumptuous, selfish FU to everyone around you, sharing that space–no matter how much you need a night out.

              Kudos to you, for recognizing your own and your kids’ limits. You sound like a good parent (not that you want my endorsement, I’m sure!) 😉

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              • rachel b May 5, 2018 at 12:16 am

                (my rather long comment’s being held for moderation. if it shows up days from now, please know I’m not trying to prolong the discussion and did, in fact, respond in early evening of May 4).

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          • Pdxpaul May 3, 2018 at 9:17 am

            That sentiment betrays a gross misunderstanding of parenting an 8-year old

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          • rachel b May 3, 2018 at 12:46 pm

            Parent your child. And quit making excuses and inflicting poorly socialized brats on the world. I cannot believe anyone’s getting exercised over the minimal request in this case–to take responsibility for your own child’s safety in a potentially dangerous area, and to not expect the entire world to take care of your child. I stopped going out to eat because of this parental mindset. Just incredibly self absorbed.

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            • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 1:18 pm

              Ridiculous. If you can’t handle the sights and sounds of children, I honestly just feel sorry for you.

              There are way worse things a parent can do than take their imperfect child on a bike ride in a cemetary on a 15mph road.

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              • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 1:47 pm

                Again – this has nothing to do with the child – why do you keep bringing it back to the child?

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              • rachel b May 3, 2018 at 8:27 pm

                I like kids, most of them. It’s a big leap to assume I “can’t handle the sights and sounds of children.” But, ok–feel sorry for me. I feel sorry for me for having to be around parents who refuse to parent.

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              • Dan A May 4, 2018 at 11:01 am

                Again I ask, how should one parent a child to not make noise in a restaurant, and to ride perfectly 100% of the time, since that seems to be your expectation? You’re the expert – please share. I’d love 100% compliance with my expectations.

                There’s nothing in the single incident reported by K Taylor to suggest that the parent is doing anything wrong in their parenting except not yelling at them in that exact moment, and even that may have been the wrong move. Yell at your 8-year-old while they’re riding a bike and see how quickly they respond and do exactly what you ask. Is it enough time to move out of the way, while riding uphill? If it works for your child, what makes you think it will work for mine?

                All of the insults regarding parenting style are completely unwarranted, unless you know that this particular parent has been doing a terrible job all along. And you don’t know that. He is biking with his son, so clearly he’s already doing a lot of things right already. As a kid my dad rode bikes with us maybe twice, ever. Other than that he mostly sat around reading the newspaper and ignoring us, only stopping to yell at us to shut up if we got too loud.

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            • billyjo May 4, 2018 at 7:29 am

              What mindset do you have that all parents have to control their children so that you are never inconvenienced? They have as much right to be in a public space as you do, but it seems you want them to walk on eggshells so that you aren’t even in the slightest inconvenienced?

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              • Paul Johnson May 4, 2018 at 12:12 pm

                For the restaurant situation, take the kid outside and have a talk. When the situation is back under control, come back in. Probably like how your parents did it.

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              • rachel b May 4, 2018 at 1:56 pm

                It’s common courtesy, and the world will thank you if you teach it to your children. If you know your kid will disturb other diners in a restaurant, or you know your kid lacks the skills to negotiate something, do them and the world a favor and respect your child and don’t take them to the restaurant, don’t take them to the area or space they are not yet equipped to handle, or where they may get hurt or hurt others.

                If you think they are ready to behave in a public place (i.e. restaurant) and you are wrong and they act out or injure someone (or come close to it), immediately pack them up and take them out.

                This is all common sense stuff–that is, it was before the advent of modern parents.

                Also, enough with the absolutes, already. Nobody here’s asking for anything 100% of the time (K’s incident is not about THE incident–it’s about the incident in the context of a culture of laissez faire parenting). Nobody’s expecting to never be inconvenienced–puhleeze. 😉

                And parenting isn’t some sacrosanct thing, with criticism verboten. If you existed in a bubble, sure. But you don’t, and we all feel the fallout of bad parenting, and it’s reached such a peak in places like Portland, it’s gotten truly ridiculous. A whole lot of us have been good little soldiers for a loooooooog while now, re: inconveniencing ourselves, literally giving up favored public spaces, in order to accommodate parents who let their kids run wild, unreprimanded. Maybe you should bend a little in return.

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              • Dan A May 4, 2018 at 2:20 pm

                Also, enough with the absolutes, already. Nobody here’s asking for anything 100% of the time (K’s incident is not about THE incident–it’s about the incident in the context of a culture of laissez faire parenting). Nobody’s expecting to never be inconvenienced–puhleeze.

                And yet, you made this statement, knowing nothing about this child’s overall behavior or the dad’s parenting:

                That dad is definitely of the “Me and mine first, everyone else second” camp. Grrr. I hate flaccid parenting. I don’t want to be your Village, thanks.

                That’s a pretty quick judgment based on a child riding his bike on the wrong side of a 15mph ‘road’.

                Do you ride bikes with kids?

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              • K Taylor May 4, 2018 at 7:39 pm

                @Dan – I’m assuming rachel b was going based on my description of the event. Based on this and your earlier recent comment (about the kid barely wobbling over the line), you seem to have reimagined it somehow to have been less dangerous. Why?

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            • K Taylor May 4, 2018 at 9:56 am

              Eggshells not needed – noisy and messy. Just basic good manners. Thanks.

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    • pruss2ny May 3, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      Just going to throw out all we seem to know definitively is that your commute, which includes a cut thru that we all agree is on private property and is at some times contentious access, was momentarily interrupted by a man and his kid….we have no idea why they were there. in a cemetery. its a greater than non-0 chance that they maybe, u know, actually were in the cemetery for a reason…maybe a bike ride thru its park like setting to make the place where a loved one is buried a little less sad. just saying, greater than non-0 chance.

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  • billyjo May 2, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    On Multnomah at 8th there is a crosswalk. It even has flashing lights to stop the traffic. When I have to walk across I don’t worry about the cars, it’s the bike lane you really have to watch. The bikes are part of the traffic that is supposed to stop, but I’ve had numerous times when the bike doesn’t stop and then screams at me. Those people are out there and they’re everywhere.

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    • Austin May 2, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Same thing crossing Better Naito as a pedestrian or cyclist… Even if you have the walk signal- look out for Better Naito users that don’t care!

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      • Doug Hecker May 3, 2018 at 12:34 pm

        Good reminder.

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    • colton May 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      “the bike doesn’t stop and then screams at me”

      I just can’t help but see this image of a Looney Tunes animated bike screaming at someone.

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    • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 6:57 am

      Yep, that’s the crosswalk that my co-workers regularly give me crap about, for all of the cyclists who don’t stop for pedestrians. I can only think of one single time that a cyclist stopped for me there, and I cross there multiple times a day. Not sure why it’s so difficult — I ride home westward from there and frequently stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk on 6th.

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  • I'll Show Up May 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you!

    I have stopped riding my bike because of the way other people treat me out there. It sucks. I’ve been a bike commuter for 25 years and this year is when I finally couldn’t deal with it anymore. I’ve done everything I can to keep pace, but my body that would be shamed by these elite racers can’t keep up.

    Drivers are being jerks and people on bikes who think they’re on a race track are being aggressive jerks. At least with the car drivers, I can’t hear all of the mean remarks as they pass by. It makes me so sad, but at least I’m getting more reading done on the bus.

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    • Brian May 2, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      Sorry to hear that. That does suck. I’m not sure if it’s a cycling thing, or a Portlander in general thing. People here seem to be very entitled to state their opinion (judgment) about everything compared to where I grew up in the Midwest. I catch myself doing it, as well. Sometimes it’s better to just keep it to yourself.

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      • rachel b May 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm

        People here are all from the Midwest. 😉

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        • Brian May 2, 2018 at 4:42 pm

          “‘were.” I’m seeing less and less midwest plates during the great annual Spring PDX migration, and I seem to be running in to less and less newcomers from the midwest. But that’s just one person’s perspective, of course.

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          • rachel b May 2, 2018 at 5:26 pm

            You’re no doubt right. 😉 It’s just whenever anyone refers to typical “Portlander” behavior anymore, I feel kneejerk compelled to point out to them the behavior is coming almost entirely from shiny newcomers, in most cases.

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            • Paul Johnson May 3, 2018 at 6:26 am

              Pretty much because native Poetlanders are an international diaspora with very few still in Portland.

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              • rachel b May 3, 2018 at 12:58 pm

                There were a lot more. We’re a dying breed. 😉

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 1:22 pm

                Probably because you don’t like kids, ha ha.

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 1:23 pm

                Sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂

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              • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 1:48 pm

                The kids are fine – just not their parents. 🙂

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              • rachel b May 3, 2018 at 8:30 pm

                Dan A– 😉

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    • BradWagon May 2, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      I’m curious what you mean… people treated you poorly because you rode slower than them? Or you just feel ashamed since you can’t keep up and maybe you perceive them passing you as rude? The later is how I read it and that’s unfortunate if so. As someone who does more passing than getting passed and knows many similar folks there is no judgment in riding speed, if anything its encouraging to see folks for whom it’s slower or tougher still opting to ride a bike. This time of year is when I smile the most at new faces on my commute and enjoy the stoplight weather small talk.

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      • I'll Show Up May 2, 2018 at 2:14 pm

        You jumping to a dismissive position is what I’m talking about. As a fast rider, you don’t experience the nastiness that fast riders throw at us slow pokes. I’ve had my handlebars pushed on the Hawthorne Bridge, been told I’m fat and get off the road, and had countless experiences of fast riders splitting hairs between me and pedestrians or me and cars in the adjacent lane just to save some time. Why not try slowing down a second and waiting for a comfortable time to pass? What counts as a safe pass on a race track should not be the same thing as how people are treated in public when they have not chosen to enter a race.

        The only thing I’m “ashamed” of is people who think they don’t need to share the road with people who are in more vulnerable positions then them. Also, I’m ashamed that strong people are pushing people out of having a good, safe time trying to get around on a bike for health, fun, and environmental reasons.

        When you hear about these types of concerns, stop jumping to the conclusion that you’re dealing with a weak, ashamed, coward as you just did in your comment to me. Do you think that person who wrote to Jonathan in the article was doing so because they are just too ashamed to train more and get enough speed to not be called a nasty name and spit on? Really?

        I’m off the road because of the dismissiveness that others have thrown my way on the road. As I said, your comment is a clear example of that.

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        • John Lascurettes May 2, 2018 at 3:25 pm

          On the flip side, I had a coworker once claim I “buzzed” him while passing him. Yet, I know exactly the incident he was talking about and I had given him much more room than most drivers give you when you’re in a bike lane right next to a busy auto lane, and definitely more room than I’ve seen some riders give themselves from the door zone. I think it has to do with suddenly being passed by a silent, fast vehicle — whereas you always hear a car coming at higher speed. I’m not saying some people don’t sometimes (or even often) pass too closely, but that was an incident where I realized his perception was off. I’m regularly passed much more closely by drivers than I am riders.

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          • Kate May 2, 2018 at 4:47 pm

            It can be challenging to know people’s tolerance to space- as you note here. I’ve taken to moving a few feet into the travel lane to pass people now because I’ve seen enough comments here that I’m pretty sensitive to passing folks. It’s a little less safe for me, but less startling to them. Unfortunately some places just don’t really allow for it (like Hawthorne bridge). I’ll admit that it’s also partly my fault that I keep forgetting to my bell back on – though I feel like the bell also comes off as aggressive to some folks. I think I need a more pleasant notifier like chimes 🙂

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            • I'll Show Up May 2, 2018 at 4:53 pm

              Thank you for going out of your way to pass with care. On the Hawthorne Bridge, perhaps just slow down in a crowded environment. Ride to the conditions. If you’re having to figure out how to comfortably tell people to move out of your way, perhaps you can wait until it’s a less stressful place to pass?

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              • Brian May 3, 2018 at 6:22 am

                Yep, I like to hammer the climbs and descents and wide open spaces, but then chill on the Hawthorne and enjoy the view.

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              • Kate May 3, 2018 at 9:29 am

                I meant giving a lot of space to pass pedestrians on Hawthorne who sometimes walk 2 or 3 abreast. It’s hard to give 5 or 6 feet in that situation. But thanks for assuming I’m trying to aggressively pass in crowded environments. I guess I wasn’t very clear in my previous post about trying to cater to peoples comfort level.

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              • I’ll Show Up May 3, 2018 at 9:40 am

                That’s why I thanked you for taking care in how you pass. No assumptions here.

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            • K Taylor May 2, 2018 at 10:32 pm

              Most people seem to appreciate “on your left” – especially on multi-use paths. Especially if you say it in a British accent.

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              • Pdxpaul May 3, 2018 at 9:24 am

                Bike bells are especially designed for just this type of situation. They’re amazingly inexpensive (as bicycling accoutrements go) and make biking sound like angels getting their wings.

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        • BradWagon May 3, 2018 at 1:19 pm

          All I had to go on was your comment that didn’t include any of the specific examples of rude behavior. Just that you “tried to keep pace” but can’t. Led me to believe you feel you have to be a certain speed in order to deserve respect (obviously not true).

          Sorry you felt dismissed by me uh… asking a clarifying question…(?). Jerk behavior happens at all speeds and doesn’t excuse it. Just trying to encourage you that it sounds like your in the right and to not back down from the bad apples.

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          • I'll Show Up May 3, 2018 at 4:20 pm

            Thank you, Brad. I felt dismissed by you going to the conclusion that I felt ashamed. I don’t. If anything, my post was one of sadness and anger about feeling pushed off the road by some aggressive behavior from both car drivers and bike riders.

            I also think that people don’t realize how their choices are impacting others. When faced with that, people can tend to say the problem doesn’t exist. Or, that somehow they can’t control it. Comments about “the infrastructure made me act that way on the car-free bridge” or “I’m on a bike and I’m too small to hurt or intimidate anyone” causes my response as well. You didn’t do that and I appreciate it. Your jump to the shame thing is what led me to my incorrect conclusion. Thank you very much for clarifying.

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  • BradWagon May 2, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Ah yes, another fine post and comments section equating riding fast with being a jerk. Love it.

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    • Gary May 2, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      Actually I think the post equated being a raging homophobic a-hole with being a jerk.

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      • BradWagon May 3, 2018 at 1:20 pm

        Then why bring the speed they were riding into it? Can I be rude at a slow speed and have it not be an issue?

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    • I'll Show Up May 2, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      Once again dismissing the real needs of people who are not as athletic as you are. Are you saying that the people in this report were not being jerks? Do you excuse their behavior no matter what just because they’re on a bicycle? Or, are you just so ashamed of riding so fast that you make other people’s days less enjoyable that you do everything you can to look the other way about the problems others are experiencing? Like you, my assumption is the latter.

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      • dwk May 2, 2018 at 8:20 pm

        You seem so offended, I think you are not real…
        JM can post this or not, but I have never seen the behavior you say you see.
        I think about 99.9% of people cycling are nice people.
        Your “posts’ seem to say the opposite.
        I am surprised you are getting these posted here…

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        • I’ll Show Up May 2, 2018 at 9:12 pm

          That’s because I am offended. And sad that I’m off my bike because of it. Again feeling dismissed because you don’t have the experience. Pretend that you have some muscle problems in your legs. Go slow for a week or two. See what happens.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy May 3, 2018 at 9:03 am

            You have complete control over how you react. You can choose to be offended or not.

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            • I’ll Show Up May 3, 2018 at 9:07 am

              Good point! I agree with your narcissistic comments on this thread. Narcissism is offensive.

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        • Gary May 3, 2018 at 9:08 am

          Like dwk, I’ve never seen this behavior that you’ve experienced, I’ll Show Up. But unlike dwk, I believe you. I’m sorry that you’ve experienced this.

          I sometimes ride slow, sometimes ride fast, and have never had a problem either way. But that sure as hell doesn’t mean you haven’t. Or maybe I have experienced some aggression when going slow, and I just don’t notice. I’m a the type of person that would be completely unphased by some jerk trying to bully or intimidate me. (Unless they spit on me and used a homophobic slur, then they’d be on the pavement.) But that certainly shouldn’t be a required personality for trying to enjoy your bike. And it doesn’t make my experience any more real than yours. Again, sorry you’ve encountered situations which bothered you. I hope you’ll be able to get back out there someday.

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          • I'll Show Up May 3, 2018 at 1:10 pm

            Thank you very much, Gary. I really appreciate your consideration. These conversations are important.

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      • BradWagon May 4, 2018 at 9:23 am

        Sorry you got that impression. Not dismissing the challenges that less athletic riders face… I just don’t know them and from being on the other end I do my best to be as cautious as reasonable and am always mindful of how I pass others. That many still see that as being a “jerk racer” it was tires me.

        We absolutely should root out truly inconsiderate riding, which often probably stems from speed. But just cause a guy commutes in riding kit and likes to push the pace doesn’t mean he looks down on those that don’t (I will admit I’ve internally chuckled at wardrobe choice before or shook my head after an unsafe maneuver). Maybe I am being overly sensitive but there will always be folks that enjoy riding faster and make every effort to do it safely. Better to include them in the infrastructure, conversation, etc… and often I see speed share a strong relationship with unsafe, rude, etc.. on BP.

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    • Jd May 2, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      Yes, if you are riding considerably faster than the majority of the commute traffic you are riding like a jerk. Go with the flow, it will be better for you and the people around you, and you’ll probably get to where you are going in about the same amount of time.

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      • dan May 3, 2018 at 11:10 am

        I’m a disagree with that. Riding fast and riding like a jerk are two different things. Of course, part of riding faster than the flow of traffic means that sometimes you have to slow down (e.g., waiting for a safe spot to pass on the Hawthorne)…or you are riding like a jerk. I’m a dedicated Cat 6 racer myself, but you have to have a sense of humor about it…the really strong riders are not the ones getting into their matching kit and hammering their $5k bikes 3 miles to the office.

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        • soren May 3, 2018 at 3:55 pm

          if you are passing in another lane then you are not in the flow of traffic. the problem on the hawthorne bridge is that people routinely pass people walking and rolling with only a foot or two to spare. this is intimidating and dangerous.

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          • Paul Johnson May 3, 2018 at 4:12 pm

            Really seems like the Tillikum Crossing isn’t really pulling it’s fair share, but then again, with only one bike lane and a narrow, narrow sidewalk on each side, it seems like no lessons were learned from a similarly inadequate design on the (much more desirable because it’s basically flat) Hawthorne Bridge.

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      • BradWagon May 3, 2018 at 1:23 pm

        I pass 2-3 other cyclist my entire 45 minute commute. Would rather not slow down and ride their speed tailing them awkwardly. Moving out into the vehicle lane and going around them is appropriate.

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  • bikeninja May 2, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I am going to be politically incorrect and blame it on transplants. Back in the late 80’s I traveled a lot and would play a game in Ohare on the way back to Portland. I would not look at the gate number or sign and see if I could figure out which one was the gate for Portland. I nearly always could get this right as the folks bound for Portland ( not many tourists in those days, just locals returning home) would be dressed more casualy ( lots of gortex) and were not crowding the gate to get on like those bound for other cities. In fact the Portland crowd would lounge around only ambling up to get on at the last minute. So this, cuss out people slowing you down, thing has been brought to us in recent years like an invasive species.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 2, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Probably in the bilge water.

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      • X May 3, 2018 at 10:05 am

        Two points.

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    • Jd May 2, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      Or just the growing pains of a city that is becoming uncomfortably dense in a very short amount of time. I know plenty of aggressive people who are “from here”.

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    • ps May 3, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      This very well may be the most tired anecdote of “Olde Portland”, like Portland somehow had the market cornered on relaxed laid back folks not wearing business attire.

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    • BradWagon May 8, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      That’s just called being incorrect in a general sense.

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  • soren May 2, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    “This anti-newbie culture, made so apparent in those insults shared by our reader on his ride into work this morning, is much stronger than you think. It’s gross and I wish it would stop.”

    Having seen this kind of bike rage many times over the years, I’ve gradually developed a pronounced antipathy to fast-year-round-cycling-bros. I now view infrastructure that inconveniences or irritates this Portland stereotype to be a positive (in general). Not coincidentally, this same kind of infrastructure also tends to also be preferred by the “interested but concerned”.


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    • dwk May 2, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      Ah yes, lets make life harder for cyclists…
      Nice attitude on a bike blog but some get published no matter…
      So riding bikes for transportation (which is what I do, 25 miles a day) is basically discouraged here. Riding faster than what, 8 mph or what, what exactly is the ‘Courtesy” bike speed?
      Seriously, if I pass people, am I rude?
      How fast should one ride? There is not much room, if I am in a bike lane, do I wait to pass at a stop? At an intersection? I take the lane sometimes at my safety expense. I don’t mind, I did not know that it was considered rude.
      Because maybe one person, yelled at somebody, (I personally never have witnessed cyclists intimidating others) we are lectured that actually using a bicycle for real transportation somehow is out of bounds in the BikePortland world.

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      • resopmok May 2, 2018 at 9:36 pm

        You really have to ask yourself whether it’s worth it. Perhaps as a cyclist you have encountered this situation: A car driver guns it to get around you only to stop behind a line of 3-4 more cars at a red light less than 100 yards down the road. You roll past them again on the right. What was gained by this maneuver for the driver besides an increase in blood pressure? Similarly, while in the city, riding a bit faster than the people in front of you and passing them, aggressively or not, is often just not worth the effort. There are many situations out there and clearly there is not one rule for all of them, but when it comes to traffic, “go with the flow” is about as universal as it gets. Why is that so hard?

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        • soren May 3, 2018 at 8:48 am

          i actually do value speed for my commutes. for example, on a good day i can shave ~10 mins off my commute by safely “blowing” most traffic signals. now admittedly most of my motivation is not the time savings per se but rather the pleasure of demonstrating the freedom and convenience of cycling to people driving. thus, despite kyle’s claims of general misanthropy, much of my cycling behavior is actually motivated by compassion and altruism.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy May 3, 2018 at 9:05 am

            It always amuses me when people go to such great lengths to justify their selfish behaviors. Borderline Narcissistic.

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            • soren May 3, 2018 at 10:23 am

              yes…yes…in oregon my behavior is selfish and narcissistic but in idaho it is righteous rule-following. i can live with your judgment, MotRG.

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    • Kyle Banerjee May 2, 2018 at 10:38 pm

      Dude, you have developed antipathy towards practically everyone.

      What are you trying to accomplish? Using any negative encounter you may have experienced as an excuse to bash entire categories of people accomplishes nothing. Ignoring that an objective of annoying people is simply weird, provoking conflict will keep people from starting cycling.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy May 3, 2018 at 9:06 am

        It’s Narcissistic. He’s doing everyone a favor by being selfish.

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  • Buzz May 2, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    About 6 or 8 years ago, I got hit head-on by another cyclist on the Waterfront path while practically standing still on my bike at the extreme right side of the path; he was all over the path weaving in and out of pedestrians like they were race pylons, and didn’t even stop to apologize, he just kept going leaving me behind bleeding on the path.

    Two lessons I learned from this – (1) stay off the Waterfront path during peak season, and (2) always wear full-finger gloves, even in the summer.

    And then there are the time-trial idjits on the Springwater…I pretty much don’t ride there anymore either because of this.

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  • Paul Atkinson May 2, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    There’s a wonderfully evocative social media post about gatekeeping that I always recall at times like this; it applies to cycling in springtime just as much as to its original topic. I can’t include a photo here of the original post by Matthew Peach, but here’s a transcript with naughty words censored.

    Punk-rock shows are not a f***ing fashion runway. Dressing up in studs and spiking our hair is fun. It’s a lot of fun. We get to joke around and piss off the squares and throw beer-cans and lace up boots. It’s also a great way to recognize people you don’t already know who might have the same taste in music as you. But when that 13 year old kid shows up at the gig with a torn-up pair of Nike’s and a flannel shirt and you give him s**t, you can come answer to me. This kid is just as scared and confused as you are as a grown-ass adult. You were that kid once. You weren’t born with spurs and boots on yer feet. You were nervous at yer first show. That kid yer picking on for his RANCID patch just paid money he scrounged up from couch cushions to see a local band play because it was hard, fast, and loud and he liked that.
    Make that kid feel at home. Wrap yer arm around his neck. Swing him around the pit. Throw him up on the stage and stick the mic in his hand and say “here, freshcut. YOU sing this one!”
    You were that kid once too.

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    • jered May 2, 2018 at 3:26 pm


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  • B. Carfree May 2, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    This is where my inherent arrogance really makes my life better (rare, indeed). Since I always assume that nearly everyone in the world is relatively clueless, I pretty much just expect poor behavior from all road users at all times. Sadly, my expectations are nearly always met. However, since I expect little, I’m rarely upset by what I get. Joggers randomly pulling a wide 180 on a narrow bike path? Expected that. Person on a bike turning left from a right-side bike lane? No worries, saw it coming. People randomly stopping and blocking the bike lane/road/path? I’m happy to see them do their thing and I see a way around that doesn’t involve them (or I put on my big-girl panties and wait patiently, which isn’t much of a challenge either). That person strolling out from between parked vans with their eyes on their phone? Saw them half a block earlier and knew they were coming.

    Now don’t get me started on what I expect from motorized road users.

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    • rachel b May 2, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      I used to be more tolerant of it all. But we’re reaching Peak Ahole in America and in Portland and it’s become intolerable, in the aggregate. We simply can’t handle any more people doin’ their own thing, to the detriment of the community.

      I really think we’re so far up our own hindquarters at this point, Americans (and Portlanders—esp. Portlanders) have no clue just how completely self-centered and dysfunctional we’ve become.

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      • Brian May 2, 2018 at 4:45 pm

        I agree. What do we as a community do about it? How do we get ideas out beyond the BP messageboards? The city is still small enough to make meaningful change from the ground up without the need for the gov’t to step in and “fix” it. I think.

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        • ktaylor May 2, 2018 at 5:20 pm

          What we can do about it is speak up. If enough people do it, it stops being so uncomfortable. There are a lot of people who tell themselves that if people were *really* bothered by their rulebreaking, they’d say something – which is bs, because they know most people won’t. You can also encourage others to speak up through forums like this one or nextdoor, even the dreaded facebook. Normalizing calling people on their bad behavior is really the only way out of this mess.

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          • rachel b May 2, 2018 at 5:30 pm

            “Normalizing calling people out on their bad behavior.” 🙂 Music to my ears! But I’d be a whole lot happier if our community leaders and institutions/businesses did it. It really is just more emphasis on individualism, to expect citizens to shoulder that burden. Every effing thing is DIY in America, anymore. Look at how nice some other countries have it! Their governments and laws and institutions actually look out for their welfare. What an idea.

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            • Buzz May 3, 2018 at 9:01 am

              As I said above, if another cyclist calls me out for something like not stopping at a stop sign, they are going to get a not so polite ‘mind your own business’ in return.

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              • ktaylor May 3, 2018 at 1:57 pm

                And you would be applauded for that by the majority of Americans. We’re all supposed to assume the rules don’t apply to us, which doesn’t take into account that a high proporition of us are either overconfident fools or lack empathy with people who aren’t like us. If you break a rule, you’re imposing one on everyone else – e.g., when I get to an intersection, I should expect any cyclist to blow through his/her stop sign without looking. You may look and you may never make a mistake, but again, lots of fools/narcissists out there. As a stranger to you, how do I know you aren’t one of them – that you’re going to see me and aren’t going to hit me? Because our culture is what it is, you breaking the rules reflects on all cyclists and influences how drivers treat us. This is particularly hard on those of us who are not fast or strong. Everyone breaks or bends rules now and then, but have some humility about it. If someone calls you out and you are breaking the rules, you’re in the wrong. ‘Mind your own business’ makes no sense because what you’re doing affects me. It is my business.

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              • Buzz May 3, 2018 at 5:49 pm

                Man, that’s a lot of wasted words based on an erroneous assumption you are making about whether or not I would blow a stop sign when cross traffic was present, which I would not.

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              • rachel b May 3, 2018 at 8:32 pm

                The words weren’t wasted on me.

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              • K Taylor May 3, 2018 at 9:28 pm

                Buzz – uh…but that’s exactly my point. I don’t know that about you. For all I know, you don’t have the good sense not to blow a stop sign when there’s cross traffic. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.

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        • Paul Johnson May 3, 2018 at 6:36 am

          Oh man you’re about 20 years too late there. If you want someplace functional, you need to go someplace that didn’t give up on progress in 1998. Will the last functional person out of Portland please turn out the lights?

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          • Brian May 3, 2018 at 12:13 pm

            Funny thing is, I actually moved here in 1998.

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          • Paul Johnson May 3, 2018 at 2:53 pm

            Portland had better drivers before the o0s, but SoCal voted their worst off the Southland, and the native Portlanders can’t afford to live in the same time zone as Portland anymore. So, I’d say anyone capabe of keeping two thirds of their vehicle off the sidewalk and right of the orange lines to be doing better than your average Portlander today behind the wheel or handlebars.

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  • Al May 2, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Is there any human activity that does not eventually evolve cliques?

    I’ve been around long enough to recognize that biking is getting better. Still, it’s not at the level of acceptance that motorcyclist have for different motorcycles but it’s getting there and I for one am enjoying this trend.

    That said, I appreciate Jonathan’s voice to push the community in this direction. Thank you.

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    • Brian May 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm

      Funny you mention motorcyclists, as that was my first thought. Without fail, they wave at one another regardless of type of bike/clothing/sub-culture. We as a group in PDX have a long way to go. This isn’t just a conversation about “speed.”

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      • B. Carfree May 2, 2018 at 4:46 pm

        The folks on motorcycles usually wave at me (on my bicycle) when we cross paths. In some cases it’s because I wave first, but not always. Friendly crowd, those motorcyclists.

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        • Granpa May 3, 2018 at 6:08 am

          vulnerable road users, both

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  • grrlpup May 2, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    I’d like to thank everyone (and so far it’s ~100% for drivers AND cyclists) who’s been nice to me for the last two weeks, my first bike commutes after a gap of about 15 years. I’m on 52nd, Clinton, and the Tilikum, I’m slow for a commuter, and the vibe has been matter-of-fact and gracious out there. I would love for everyone to have this experience and am bummed that they’re not.

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  • Paul H. May 2, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    > [H]e surmised. “It’s the elite attitude of this city’s ‘ardent’
    > bike commuters.” I think there’s some truth to that.

    “Elite attitude” — judgy much?

    First, I doubt you have any way of knowing that the rude person is an “‘ardent’ bike commuter.”

    Second, most of us year-round commuters make the transition to crowded roads without resorting to rudeness. (Maybe the polite among us aren’t “elite”?)

    Third, a more accurate (and kind) assessment is that year-rounders grow accustomed to lonelier roads in the wet months and it can be disconcerting to deal with the sudden excess traffic that appears with warmth and sunshine.

    None of this is to excuse rudeness. Politeness is always the best policy, even (especially!) when you’re trying to explain rudeness done to you.

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  • maxadders May 2, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    First of all, anyone hurling homophobic slurs and spitting on people has mental health issues, full stop. (Welcome to Portland!)

    Secondly, let’s remember that many new / fairweather riders are insecure and this causes them to view a lot of perfectly innocent interactions as offensive, mean and specifically targeted at them. I’ve been shouted at for politely ringing my bell or saying “on your left” as I performed a completely safe, routine passing maneuver. The only crime I’m guilty of is being confident in my skills and ability, but to hear them tell it, is something else entirely.

    Sigh. There’s two sides to this.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 2, 2018 at 1:58 pm


      For what it’s worth the person who texted me has lived and biked in Portland for 15 years. And they have biked their entire lives before that. This was far far far from a newbie.

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    • Paul Johnson May 3, 2018 at 6:41 am

      My life experience (and part of why I left) is that if someone’s hurling homophobic slurs, they’re probably from Portland or Seattle. The only thing that kept the Sons of Measure 9 from eventually passing out of persistent retrying was Lon Mabon rendering himself politically irrelevant. When Oklahoma is a more welcoming place for the LGBT community at large (it is, from experience), you’ve got some major, deep seated cultural problems.

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  • John Lascurettes May 2, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Speed is important to me, but only because it’s my twice a day workout. But I’d never call a slow rider in front of me selfish (or any slur). Yesterday, there was a woman blocking the cut through for the diverter at NE Tillamook and NE 16th Ave with her bike while she was staring at her phone at a standstill. I just gave her a simple, “coming through!” the way I’d normally call “on your left” from far enough away and she very promptly moved. Thanks, lady! No need to be rude about anything. I’ve been working and commuting to the CEID for about two months now and at first I was taking the Esplanade. I’ve stopped because I DO want to go faster and I have fewer wanderers and slow people to deal with taking arterials. I’d rather more people ride the esplanade if that’s where they’re comfortable away from auto drivers. Being rude about it only discourages it.

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    • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 7:09 am

      Hard to know how she felt about it though. She could be telling her friends today that some jerk yelled at her to get out of the way. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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      • John Lascurettes May 3, 2018 at 9:48 am

        I can’t control how people feel but I called out from close to a half a block away, meaning that I gave her plenty of warning and time. It wasn’t like I was barreling down on her (there’s still a stop sign there, so I had to slow down after calling out too). If she felt like I was being a jerk for asking her to uncork the narrow intersection (the cut through is less than three feet wide), that’s her issue and I can’t be bothered about it. I did the proper and legal thing.

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        • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 1:21 pm

          Agree, I’m just sayin’.

          Incidentally, my coworkers who often complain about being startled by cyclists when they enter the crosswalk on 8th & Multnomah are the same people who enter the bike lane before looking to their left. Like, OMG, there’s a stupid bike in this bike lane! I am outraged!

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  • Cpt. Obvus May 2, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Y’know, sometimes it’s just culture — and sometimes it’s all about safety, which more easily justifies intervention. Yesterday on 52nd southbound, dude takes off hard and fast across Foster while _still under a red light_. After the light turns green and I get myself across Foster, I ride the brakes so as not to ride up his butt or swerve into motor traffic — because he’s coasting at walking speed in the bike lane.

    To spell it out: One wonders what the motivation was to risk bootlegging the intersection when hurry is clearly so absent as to obstruct the bike lane a few feet later. Silly season indeed.

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    • John Lascurettes May 2, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      That is really super annoying. I will admit it. I’ve buzzed those guys without comment. But I also take the people that are doing the red-light dash as “strong and confident” enough to handle it.

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      • I'll Show Up May 2, 2018 at 3:48 pm

        Please stop “buzzing” people.

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      • John Lascurettes May 2, 2018 at 6:35 pm

        I will when specifically slow and rude people stop shoaling as described by Cpt. Obvious above. I don’t care if a shoaler is a fast rider. But if you know you’re slow, don’t pass others at a red light and then block a lane. It’s flat out bad manners.

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        • I’ll Show Up May 2, 2018 at 9:31 pm

          Go get em Tiger! Two wrongs will definitely make a right here. I wonder if you’ll wind up being that old guy behind me in his car a few weeks ago. He didn’t like that I rode my bike on the street so he used his car to try to “teach me a lesson”. He’ll share the road “as soon as those bike riders start stopping for stop signs”. Rest assured.

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          • John Lascurettes May 2, 2018 at 9:35 pm

            Nope. I guarantee it.

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            • I’ll Show Up May 2, 2018 at 9:40 pm

              How is your thinking here different than his? Beyond The Who’s in a car and who’s on a bike stuff. You don’t like the behavior you see so you physically “buzz” the person so they know you think they have “bad manners”. Same aggressive response, different mode of travel.

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              • John Lascurettes May 3, 2018 at 12:53 am

                There’s about 3,800 pounds of difference.

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              • I’ll Show Up May 3, 2018 at 7:54 am

                Got it. You’re on a bike. So it’s ok to be a jerk by trying to use your vehicle to buzz people. Makes sense…

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        • soren May 3, 2018 at 9:26 am

          so your response to someone safely negotiating an intersection (and probably more safely than waiting for the magic glowing orb to change color*) is to threaten them physically by intentionally buzzing them.

          imo, your behavior is exactly what this piece is about.


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        • Buzz May 3, 2018 at 5:50 pm

          So is passing too closely without any warning.

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      • mikeybikey May 3, 2018 at 1:18 pm

        Buzzing people is harrassment. You may think its cute, its not. Stop doing it.

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  • Dave May 2, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    It’s the damned dry weather–I call it “solar psychosis.”

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    • rachel b May 2, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      I hate the sun. And summer people.

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      • John Lascurettes May 2, 2018 at 6:38 pm

        My favorite riding of the year is when it’s cold but dry around December or January (yeah, not often). Sunny, 33°F, and dry is perfect. It’s cold enough to still keep the fair weather riders home, but the road conditions are superb.

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  • Gerik May 2, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you for this post, Jonathan.

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  • tom May 2, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    The rules of the road state somewhere that the vehicle in front has the right of way. So act accordingly out there folks.

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  • OrigJF May 2, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Ah, commuter race season! Time to take out ye’old dusty chariot and go prove to everyone I still have it after drinking micro brew and eating pizza everyday for the past 4 months! Pedestrian stop signals do not apply to bikes anyway. At red lights I will proceed to the front of the bike queue to show everyone that just passed me I am still around and make them pass me again! Similarly, I will put it in the biggest chainring on downhills, pass everyone, then make them pass me again on the uphill!

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    • Buzz May 2, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Someone could make a lot of money printing up some Cat6 jerseys for these yahoos.

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  • axoplasm May 2, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Hey how about this:

    The problem isn’t newbies or elitists or MAMILs or slowpokes.

    The problem is too many bikes crammed into insufficient infrastructure.

    Why are a recreational path (Springwater corridor) and a private road (Riverview Cemetery) CRITICAL transportation links? Why does the most-used bike bridge (the Hawthorne) devote maybe 8′ to nonmotorized traffic each direction?

    Let’s quit beating our chests that Everyone Else Should Ride Like Me and use that anger to demand, I dunno, 10x more/better infrastructure for ALL of us.

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    • Joseph E May 2, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      Comment of the week!

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    • soren May 3, 2018 at 9:07 am

      aggro behavior towards slower bike traffic is predominantly a chauvinist behavior. lack of infrastructure does not excuse bias and misogyny in our bike lanes

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    • Middle of the Road Guy May 3, 2018 at 9:10 am

      It’s only over capacity (if you can call it that) twice a day during warm days. You’re essentially arguing for more max capacity so that traffic flows smoothly – something people do with highways all the time.

      From a process standpoint, most of the time the infrastructure is underutilized since it isn’t full all of the time.

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    • Kate May 3, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Well said!

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  • Kate May 2, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    I’m sorry your texter received such poor treatment this morning. I can’t imagine the mentality of a person who would hurl slurs and spit on people on their way to work. That’s inexcusable in all contexts.
    To report something positive, I always get a small thrill when vehicles get outraged on my behalf from being cut-off or nearly run over by other vehicles. It’s happened a few times over the years when a van or truck will pull a sudden hook to grab a parking space. This morning I was kind of expecting it, so I braked in time and managed to catch myself on a parked car. But I took pleasure in the other cars who laid on their horns to chastise the driver. Makes me feel like there are other folks lookin’ out.

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  • Daniel May 2, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Things I’ve experienced since it became bike season and the bike routes got crowded (ie, the last two weeks):
    * Two people heading the wrong direction in high-traffic one-way bike lanes (one with a kid on board the back of his Surly Big Dummy)
    * One person coasting hands-free downhill off the Broadway bridge, apparently unworried that he might need to control his bike or use his brakes, because he was holding a cup of coffee
    * Four different pairs of people riding side by side in a lane intended to allow safe single-file passing, so they could have a pleasant conversation
    * Countless (and I mean it, at least 10+ in a week) people who see a line of other bikes stopped at a red light and choose to pass them on the wrong side because they don’t want to lose their momentum

    I’m not interested in yelling at these people or passing them unsafely, because it doesn’t actually help my experience. I just need to get to and from work, I don’t have spare time or energy to argue with people on best practices for bike commuting while we’re both pedaling, and they’re likely to end up only riding a few times anyway.

    Still, I’d like to point out that expecting users who share a roadway to have some basic understanding of traffic flow and safety is hardly some sort of “elite attitude”, it’s a basic prerequisite of being an adult living in an urban area. Those ardent commuters getting blamed for making everybody else’s leisurely commute less serene are the ones who are enabling it in the first place, by using the infrastructure enough to justify its existence year-round. They’re treating it as if it IS infrastructure, if you’d rather it not be then I guarantee you’ll have a lot less of it.

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    • I'll Show Up May 2, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      Hands-free, wrong-way … good points! The strongest survives is how we should think about our infrastructure? Without the strongest riders, nothing would happen? People have the gall to talk with a friend while riding their bikes?!

      This sounds like people who think bike infrastructure shouldn’t exist. “I pay the way. You don’t. Your engine isn’t as big. Why should people care about your experience getting around. You decided yourself to travel that way.”

      I know you mention adults. But, do you think the Hawthorne Bridge will ever be safe for a child to ride across during rush hour? If not, are you OK that a place with no cars is so threatening that children shouldn’t be there?

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      • Daniel May 3, 2018 at 9:11 am

        I’d appreciate if you didn’t put words into my mouth. I clearly referenced the “ardent commuters” comment (and not your replies, incidentally); nothing about being an “ardent commuter” requires you to be elite or strong, you just have to regularly choose to ride to work instead of drive.

        Those people, many of whom are quite slow either by necessity or choice, set the tone for how to ride on city streets just by virtue of actually being on them when everybody else has decided to take their cars to work because it’s wet outside. They also provide desperately-needed visibility and protection for everybody else using the infrastructure, because they’re physically there year-round. Those bike lanes only operate as bike lanes because there’s a bike in them, if they stayed empty for 7 months out of the year they’d become nothing more than some weirdly-placed paint to your average driver.

        And no, I don’t ever think the current configuration of the Hawthorne bridge will ever be safe for children to ride across unattended. Do you think it will ever be safe for a child to drive a car across? We don’t design our cities around making sure that children have free reign to go anywhere they want by themselves during rush hour, we have an entirely separate infrastructure in place (school buses, with their own stringent policy and legal protection) specifically to get kids to and from places safely in busy traffic.

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        • I’ll Show Up May 3, 2018 at 9:25 am

          I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. Just responding to the words as written.

          We don’t share similar goals, Dan. I think it’s a good idea to have a city that invites children to have some, not complete, independence. I’ve seen children with parents have trouble on the Hawthorne because of the racetrack mentality of some who travel on it. I don’t accept this as a fait accompli. My values also include getting kids out of busses and into the world so we can battle problems like obesity, lack of community involvement, and a feeling of being afraid of the world around us. Those experiences those kids have had on that bridge will not be forgotten by them any time soon.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 2, 2018 at 6:19 pm

      Just today I passed a stopped cyclist “on the wrong side” (slowly) because they chose to stop to the right of a stopped car, rather than pull forward into the bike box that was open and lonely and beckoning to them.

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    • soren May 3, 2018 at 9:20 am

      what strikes me about the coffee incident, the side-by-side riding, and the passing at lights is that none of them affected your safety or the safety of others. so my question to you is: why do you care?

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      • Daniel May 3, 2018 at 1:12 pm

        This isn’t about safety, although I would definitely argue that swerving around in the lane while sipping coffee (on some horrid road surface conditions, mind you) or forcing others to cut into car traffic because you’re willfully ignoring the “keep left, pass right” markings on the street in front of you is defeating some of the safety mechanisms built into a bike lane.

        It’s just plain rude. The vast majority of people commuting in these lanes are trying to get to and from somewhere, and someone deciding that their particular style of riding needs to take precedence over others is exactly the kind of jerk attitude being discussed in the original post. Which, if you’ll recall, also wasn’t about safety – it was about people being intentionally rude toward the folks sharing the road with them.

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        • soren May 3, 2018 at 3:04 pm

          the op was about someone shouting bigoted epithets at people. it’s interesting how this has triggered dozens of posts about how people need to be called out instead of some introspection about the negative impact of call out behavior.

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          • Daniel May 3, 2018 at 3:46 pm

            I didn’t disagree with the post condemning someone for shouting epithets at someone else over how they biked, in fact I pretty clearly stated that despite seeing people bike in ways I think are annoying or rude every day, I still don’t take it upon myself to shout at them or do something dangerous to try to “correct” them. I leave it alone, because the time that I’m on a bike is usually much better spent actually, you know, biking.

            I only brought up the bad behavior I saw, anonymized so nobody gets embarrassed, to point out that it really does get messier to bike here once the weather gets nicer. People who don’t usually ride regularly are unpredictable, unstable, and (yeah, I’m gonna go there) often completely self-absorbed. They drive half the year and develop all sorts of bad habits, like bullying their way into traffic with a car or checking their text messages because they’ve got airbags to save them if they rear-end someone, and then they bring those habits with them the first few times they get on a bike. I avoid things like Better Naito because they’re somewhat intended to provide a space for people to get back into the habit, but it also overflows into all the year-round commuter lines at the same time.

            The original post did hypothesize, with no actual evidence, that the reason why someone DID shout nasty things at someone else was because of the “elite attitude of this city’s ‘ardent’ bike commuters”, and Jonathan explicitly agreed – somehow, by biking to work quietly by myself so I can save money and get exercise, I’m participating in some sort of bro culture that ruins things for everybody else. I just want to get to work and not get hit by a car, I’m not racing anybody. I don’t even bother to wear my clipless shoes most of the time! Just like the mayor…

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            • soren May 4, 2018 at 10:49 am

              ” People who don’t usually ride regularly are unpredictable, unstable, and (yeah, I’m gonna go there) often completely self-absorbed.”

              I smell the slightly ripe aroma of adent commuter elitism…

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              • Daniel May 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm

                I never said I wasn’t an ardent commuter, just that being one doesn’t encourage people to stop and scream at people 🙂

                It doesn’t even make any sense – I’m trying to get to and from somewhere quickly, why waste precious minutes stopping to yell? I’m not the bike police.

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        • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 4:39 pm

          Why are you deciding that your particular style of riding needs to take precedence over the riding style of the people who want to have a pleasant conversation with each other while riding? Having a pleasant conversation is really nice – just as nice, if not nicer, than getting somewhere 20 seconds faster.

          I honestly cannot think of any lengthy bike lanes in Portland where a faster person would have to wait for more than like 200 feet behind slower chatty folks. Aside from the Hawthorne Bridge itself, where I actually agree with Soren that the slower chatty folks are doing a public service by preventing aggressive passing from further degrading the pedestrian experience, the longest stretch I can think of is the Hawthorne Bridge Viaduct eastbound between the Bus Stop On The Bridge and the motor vehicle ramp down to 99E southbound.

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          • Daniel Leussler May 3, 2018 at 5:48 pm

            Uh, Williams during rush hour. Almost the entire length of it is a single bike lane with room enough to pass, plus car traffic to the right that will absolutely turn into you the moment you take your eye off it, plus constant drivers sitting in the bike lane trying to parallel park, plus pedestrian islands almost every block that funnel bike traffic down and prevent a safe pass.

            It’s even marked repeatedly that you’re supposed to keep left the whole way, but people still ignore that. The fact is that a single unit of cyclist is one cyclist wide, and that road was built for a single file line with a passing lane; there are plenty of bike boulevards and quiet residential streets with more than enough room to have a pleasant conversation, that’s not one of them though.

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            • Alex Reedin May 4, 2018 at 6:15 am

              OK, I will admit to being a provincial Southeaster; I didn’t think of Williams. I have to admit that I do not know if the bike lane is 3 bikes wide (as shown in the lead photo) or two bikes wide for most of it’s length.

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              • Daniel May 4, 2018 at 8:50 am

                Theoretically, it could be considered three bikes wide IF the pair of bikes ride close together, and IF the leftmost bike decides to stay in the door zone the whole time, and ONLY when not coming up on any intersection with a pedestrian island.

                It’s also rare that you can accurately predict what the car in the lane next to you plans to do, because they’re either going to hop into the left turn lane to speed up and pass someone else on the right, or they’ll cut into it to turn left across the bike lane onto another street. Usually, passing someone on Williams is a game of deciding which car is least likely to hit you, and then putting your butt in front of them and hoping for the best.

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            • Alex Reedin May 4, 2018 at 9:16 am

              Just took a Google Streetview tour of Williams. Seems like it’s mostly 3 bikes wide to me (1 door-zone bike wide at some points). One of the bikes’ worth of width is in the door zone. I see no marked passing lane, rather a bike lane with buffers on both sides. Say people are biking slower than you in the rightmost two potential spaces to bike, and that you don’t want to pass them in the door zone. The choices of waiting and going slower until there’s a wider point / lack of parked cars / red light / whatever, nicely asking the people biking slower if they could help you pass, or merging into car traffic momentarily to pass don’t seem that bad to me.

              Overall, I feel that you are inappropriately applying norms of car travel to bike travel. In mainstream American culture, which carries with it the belief that intentionally slowing another driver down to the speed limit is an illegitimate thing, it’s believed that there’s no good reason for two people to drive cars next to each other intentionally when other people want to go faster. So, there’s a norm against it, which I believe you’re extending to bike travel. However, it seems pretty obvious to just about everyone that there *is* a good reason for two people to bike next to each other – so that they can talk to each other. Therefore, I believe that carrying over the driving norm to biking is not clearcut. Why not carry over the walking norm to biking – two people can walk side by side because it’s nice to talk to each other? They need to yield for oncoming people walking, but if someone behind them wants to go faster, it’s mostly the faster walker’s responsibility to wait for a reasonable spot to do so. They can also ask nicely. That’s my proposal for walking… and biking.

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              • Daniel May 4, 2018 at 9:44 am

                If you don’t see a passing lane, you weren’t paying much attention to the road: https://goo.gl/maps/bfXQQmzAVgA2

                There’s at least two more places where it’s marked like this. You don’t pass people in the door zone, that’s a fantastic way to a) get doored, and b) kill a pedestrian stepping out into the crosswalk.

                You also have never ridden N Williams apparently, so you don’t realize that there are some truisms about riding it during rush hour:

                1) There are no places with an empty parking lane, only empty parking spots with corresponding cars waiting in the bike lane to back into them.

                2) The traffic lane to your right is there so drivers who are angry about the traffic on MLK can floor it past a stopped bus, not for cyclists.

                3) You will almost get hit by a car at least once per trip. The best outcome you can hope for is that they won’t also honk and scream at you while doing so.

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              • Alex Reedin May 4, 2018 at 11:00 am

                Yep, I missed those markings. I still don’t think it’s a slam-dunk. Two people riding side-by-side in the middle and right portions of the lane are riding as far to the left as they can while still having a conversation and also not being in the door zone. People in cars are allowed to have conversations while getting from A to B via the shortest, most convenient route, why not people on bikes?

                I’ll admit that riding on Rodney would probably be my preference for having a conversation, but that’s based on my comfort / inability to hear people in a noisy, busy environment, not the minor inconvenience to someone else. Seriously, in our frenetic, atomized society today, I think two people talking to each other and making/strengthening a connection is way more important than someone else getting to their destination a minute or three faster.

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              • soren May 4, 2018 at 12:54 pm

                “You don’t pass people in the door zone, that’s a fantastic way…to kill a pedestrian stepping out into the crosswalk”

                This exaggerated antagonism is interesting given that many (if not most) people ride in the door zone on Williams.

                Where does this antagonism towards your fellow bike commuters originate? Do you, perchance, drive a car (or a bike)?

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  • SD May 2, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Its bike handling skillz season for everyone.
    Leave the rage to all of the people trapped inside boxes 🙂

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  • Kittens May 2, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Great post Johnathan.

    I just wat to add that a lot the road rage we see (car-car/bike-car etc) is just spillover from the palpable sense of loss of control we feel in our personal and social lives.

    Be it a president who thinks he’s above the law, inability to collectively do ANYTHING proactive on guns or climate change or healthcare, a completely overwhelmed transportation network, exploding cost of living from “other people” moving to Portland and the very real stress from a society on the verge of breakdown facilitated by technology, we got a lot of ragers.

    Also, most people are good and I try to remember all the simple acts of kindness I see every day.

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    • Pruss2ny May 3, 2018 at 5:18 am

      Great post Johnathan.

      I just wat to add that a lot the road rage we see (car-car/bike-car etc) is just spillover from the palpable sense of loss of control we feel in our personal and social lives.

      Be it a president who thinks he’s above the law, inability to collectively do ANYTHING proactive on guns or climate change or healthcar”

      Seriously…trump is to blame for hyper rude commuters? And its not bike/car rage here…its bike/bike….realize that maybe its not the mode of transpo thats the ultimate issue, but rather the people

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      • KristenT May 7, 2018 at 4:26 pm

        That’s not what was said– you took one part of this out of context.

        What was said was that there is a feeling of lost control– people are angry because they can’t control things, and they take it out in inappropriate ways. Either by road rage between people in cars, or people in cars raging on vulnerable road users, or vulnerable road users raging on each other.

        In fact, Kittens post specifically called out a lot of things that are causing people a sense of helplessness that is frustrating– our broken governmental system is one facet of the whole.

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        • Pruss2ny May 7, 2018 at 5:51 pm

          To be fair, i took one part of what kittens said as sufficiently representative of the overall sentiment of what was said. Honestly, if you are too distraught by cosmic injustice to interact in road-share in a safe and human manner, then do everyone a favor and take the bus.

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  • dwk May 2, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    What does it say about a supposed cycling website that it constantly is posting topics bashing “supposedly fast” commuting cyclists?
    This whole article is based on what? One persons bad experience and a lot of posts by someone who has never posted before about how awful us cyclists are?
    Does the owner of this website think we are mostly awful people?
    Is this just clickbait?
    Seriously, I ride 6000 miles a year for years. People who ride bikes are the best people I know.
    I ride across the Hawthorn 600 times a year. I never see the behavior you highlight.

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    • I’ll Show Up May 2, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      If you’re talking about me, it’s not my first time commenting. I certainly don’t comment on every thread. Only the ones that I’m particularly moved by. But, perhaps I need to pay my dues. How many years have you commented here? How long do I need to comment before you’ll take my comments seriously? I’ll confer with my neighbors who like to tell me how long they’ve lived here before trying to dismiss my opinion about creating housing. I’ll be curious which club takes more time to enter.

      If you think 99.9% of any group of people is one way or the other, you’re not seeing the whole picture. I’m not saying everyone on this site or on the road are “awful”. But I am saying that the behavior characterized by fast speeds, trying to get through busy areas first, and being disrespectful toward those more vulnerable than you is “awful”.

      Do you think the Hawthorne Bridge is safe for a child to cross with their friend on a bike during rush hour? I sure don’t. But I do think we owe it to ourselves to strive towards being friendly to all ages and abilities.

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      • soren May 3, 2018 at 9:00 am

        lately i’ve noticed that some people have started riding very closely side-by-side (with style and amsterdam-like skill) during evening rush hour. if this is intentional, it is brilliant, because more often than not there is a “fast-year-round-cycling-bro” trapped behind them due to the flow pedestrian traffic on the right. for me, this is one of those i love portland moments.

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        • Brian May 3, 2018 at 12:16 pm

          I may look like a fast bro (and I am pretty fast, man), but sometimes I am just trying to pick up my son in time. We aren’t always “racing” when going fast. We just aren’t given the most direct roads from point A to B.

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          • soren May 3, 2018 at 12:50 pm

            “I am pretty fast, man”


            “sometimes I am just trying to pick up my son in time”

            and your lateness is an excuse being a **** on the hawthorne bridge?

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            • Brian May 3, 2018 at 1:31 pm

              I’m never a dick on the Hawthorne Bridge, or anywhere for that matter. I do pass people all the time. And I do it in a way that is safe and respectful. I just do it quickly. No need to judge me as a racer boy for simply riding faster than you.

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              • soren May 3, 2018 at 3:36 pm

                my post specifically referred to people who try to squeeze through people biking on the left and people walking on the right on a 10 foot wide shared path.
                imo, that is ****ish behavior.

                “No need to judge me”

                do you behave like a “bro” when you ride on the hawthorne bridge mup during dense rush hour traffic? if not, then my label was not directed at you.

                “judge me as a racer boy for simply riding faster than you.”

                in my experience, most genuinely fast riders who commute tend to be courteous because 1) misbehavior could get them booted from their team or lose them their membership/license and 2) commuter racing is silly (see OP). i would even go as far as to claim that commuters who feel the need to “claim” that they are fast are not particularly fast at all.

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            • BradWagon May 3, 2018 at 1:31 pm

              No but it might be reason to want to ride faster than people blocking the bike lane? I can save 10-15 minutes on my commute spending on my pace. Not insignificant.

              Curious about your “own the libs” mentality when it comes to people you don’t identify with… is it fun to actively wish ill on people because they like to ride a bike faster than you? Very strange.

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              • soren May 3, 2018 at 3:44 pm

                it’s not a bike lane. it is a shared use path with bike traffic on the left…and let me quote my original context…”pedestrian traffic on the right”.

                i have absolutely no problem with people passing on the right when there is ample room on the hawthorne bridge deck. however, during bike rush hour aggressive passing by male-appearing people is incredibly common. so you will excuse me if i enjoy the site of this dangerous behavior being gracefully inhibited by people riding side-by-side.

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              • soren May 3, 2018 at 3:48 pm


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        • Steven Smith May 3, 2018 at 12:30 pm

          I ride across the Hawthorne daily. During peak hours when people are walking across the bridge I stay to the left, as indicated by the markings on the sidewalk/path. I am NOT going to buzz close to pedestrians. While doing this I often have a faster person come up behind me on a bike and say “on your left” or ring their bell, letting me know they want me to move over so they can pass. Where do they think I’m going to go? Into the mass of pedestrians or within inches of them? I’m not. I just ignore them and calmly continue on my way, moving right when there are no pedestrians.

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    • Kyle Banerjee May 2, 2018 at 10:08 pm


      Putting down those who actually ride significant distances for transportation is a staple here. So is disparaging their fitness, even though that’s logically what happens to most people who ride a lot for many years.

      My consistent experience is that winter riders more considerate than fair weather riders — and move faster as well.

      The good news is that if you prefer to avoid aggressive goofball riders and ride more than 8mph, just take busier roads. My experience is that the few cyclists you encounter as well as the drivers play better so you get a more satisfactory road experience.

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      • I’ll Show Up May 3, 2018 at 7:59 am

        Major kudos for riding a bike for transportation. Riding a lot and being in athletic shape does not give anyone a hall pass to be aggressive towards others. It’s the same argument that people mad about reduced speeds for drivers use. I do read this blog and it’s comments. At least you’re consistent, Kyle.

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        • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 8:52 am

          “Riding a lot and being in athletic shape does not give anyone a hall pass to be aggressive towards others.”

          Nobody is saying they do.

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          • I’ll Show Up May 3, 2018 at 9:10 am

            I’m not so sure about that, Dan. None of my comments have said never ride fast or never pass. They’ve all focused on aggressive behavior. A handful of folks have decided that they don’t like seeing aggressive behavior being called out. They do seem to be asking for that hall pass.

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            • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 11:05 am

              Please share the quote that said fast riders are free to be aggressive towards others. Perhaps I missed it.

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              • soren May 3, 2018 at 12:58 pm

                this is what you are defending:

                This whole article is based on what? One persons bad experience and a lot of posts by someone who has never posted before about how awful us cyclists are?
                Does the owner of this website think we are mostly awful people?

                I ride across the Hawthorn 600 times a year. I never see the behavior you highlight.

                do you feel good about this?

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 1:26 pm

                That is not what I am defending. Please see directly above. I take umbrage with this direct implication:

                “Riding a lot and being in athletic shape does not give anyone a hall pass to be aggressive towards others.”

                I don’t see anything close to that hall pass being given out here, sorry.

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              • I’ll Show Up May 3, 2018 at 1:47 pm

                A great example from the conversation above is where John is talking about purposefully buzzing people with his bike if he doesn’t like their behavior. Read that exchange. Buzzing people is aggressive behavior. There’s no excuse for it.

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              • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 2:27 pm

                Thanks. I don’t defend that and I would never do that myself, mainly out of self preservation. The best way to deal with a shoaler is to pass them quickly and leave them far behind.

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              • soren May 3, 2018 at 4:04 pm

                you are replying to a thread that was started by dwk where “I’ll Show Up” explicitly wrote that they were referring to “disrespectful fast riders”:

                But I am saying that the behavior characterized by fast speeds, trying to get through busy areas first, and being disrespectful toward those more vulnerable than you is “awful”.

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 3, 2018 at 9:45 am

          I have been very consistent in my criticism of aggressive behavior and with the abysmal treatment I see of slower cyclists and pedestrians by other cyclists.

          On this forum, just because someone is faster they are somehow labeled as “experienced.” People who are actually experienced don’t do stuff like you’re describing. They don’t care how fast you’re going, what kind of bike you have, what kind of shape you’re in, and don’t give unsolicited riding advice. They won’t think they’re racing some random person who could be recovering from a heart condition or injury, may have much further to go, and doesn’t know they’re racing anyway.

          High speeds are not appropriate on paths and when in the vicinity of peds and unstable cyclists. For this reason and others, many experienced cyclists avoid paths. The sort of behavior you describe comes almost exclusively from insecure people who do these things to try to feel better — a sign of someone lacking experience.

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          • Paul Johnson May 3, 2018 at 11:57 am

            One thing Portland lags well behind on: Cycleways. Tulsa has as many lane miles of bicycle facilities as Portland. The ratio of bike lanes versus cycleways is totally inverted, and around a third of which (and all of the busiest routes) have marked lanes with a clearly seperated sidewalk. Bikes use the lanes, pedestrians use the sidewalk. How is it Portland is losing ground on something that would be a cheap and easy and very welcome improvement to cities with essentially no bicycle culture? Up your game!

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          • soren May 3, 2018 at 1:06 pm

            this is from upthread:

            if you prefer to … ride more than 8mph, just take busier roads. My experience is that the few cyclists you encounter as well as the drivers play better so you get a more satisfactory road experience.

            just ride on busy arterial for a “satisfactory experience”

            frankly, the oregonian comments section is more welcoming than your general tone towards the interested but concerned rider.

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      • Dave May 3, 2018 at 10:47 am

        I’ll happily ride on busy arterial streets to avoid scarily-unskilled beginner riders, myself.

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      • Andy K May 11, 2018 at 8:48 am

        Faster commuters got fast by riding long distances frequently, getting stronger and gaining more experience on the road. I’ll echo what Kyle says – not only are they faster, in many ways they are safer (bike handling, predictable, etc.)

        Because of their experiences and knowing exactly how bad it can get outside the central city, I find them to be even more considerate than the average person. It’s unfortunate that many people group them all together based on the actions of a few.

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    • Gary May 3, 2018 at 9:24 am

      Why are you so bothered that someone had a truly awful experience? The message of this post was simple: there are different types of riders, be nice to one another. You think riders are all nice? Great! Then this post shouldn’t bother you.

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    • Pdxpaul May 3, 2018 at 9:53 am

      > I never see the behavior you highlight.

      Unpack that one. There’s depth to be plumbed.

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      • soren May 4, 2018 at 12:41 pm

        More like something that should be deposited in the plumbing and flushed, ASAP.

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  • Rob May 2, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    I like riding my bike in nice weather with other riders.

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  • Paul Johnson May 3, 2018 at 4:48 am

    Is it anti newbie or just a low threshold for frustration? Portland is pretty impatient and bikes about as well as it drives (so very badly).

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    • dan May 3, 2018 at 11:28 am

      I often see complaints about Portland drivers, but I never see anyone commenting on where the good drivers are…is there such an animal, or are Portland’s “bad drivers” just “normal drivers”?

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      • idlebytes May 3, 2018 at 11:45 am

        I’d say in my typical commute for every 3 drivers who say pass me too closely or unnecessarily (e.g. stop sign in 20 feet, red light) there’s 1 that doesn’t. This is pretty anecdotal though and obviously it’s easier to remember the bad drivers than the good drivers since sometimes they actually give me so much space I barely even notice they’re back there 🙂

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  • El Biciclero May 3, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Haven’t read all the comments, so I hope I’m not restating. But even if I’m restating, I think it bears restating. If ever there were an appropriate situation to act as an “ambassador”, I think this is it. Drivers, for the most part, will not change how they feel about bicyclists regardless of how “good” we might try to be to “earn” their tolerance. Forget them. So-called cycling “newbies”, however, are obviously willing to give the whole “bike thing” a try and it behooves us to be as welcoming and encouraging as possible to these folks. There are no born experts.

    On “fast” riders: This is me, to the extent possible as time goes by and I get older, but my distinct preference is to ride as fast as I can given the current situation. However, I must have the internal conversation with myself to decide what is safe, what will cause others the least anxiety, and how much maintaining my speed is really worth. So far, speed-wise, I haven’t often lost anything I can’t get back in short order. I use a couple of MUPs on my way to/from, and I will ride 30 mph (go ahead, make your comments…) when the way is clear (and I can see that it’s clear), and 3 mph if I come upon pedestrians, especially with dogs or small children. I use my bell and pass with the same amount of room I would expect from a driver. Most of the time, if I am going fast, I’m in the roadway, not even in a bike lane–if one even exists. This is part of my problem with “protected” bikeways; there is no escaping to the roadway if things get slow.

    On “frustration”: Yep. I feel it too. When one enjoys traveling at 15-20 mph most places, 5-10 mph can feel excruciating. Again, protected bikeways are not the friend of someone who rides “fast”. BUT, just as I wish drivers would, I have to ask myself how long the reduced speed will really last. Will I be turning out of the crowd soon? Is there an alternate “fast” route? Will I be able to pass soon (safely and with plenty of space)? Until then, I have to enjoy the scenery and listen to the birds.

    On “rulebreakers”. I don’t care what rules you break, just don’t do anything dangerous. I’m not in the habit of “calling-out” anyone unless they objectively endanger me or someone in close proximity. If somebody has a close call of their own making, I figure that was lesson enough. If someone makes a driver mad at them by breaking a rule, that’s their business, not mine. Plus, there’s the whole pot/kettle thing; I’ve broken plenty of rules myself.

    On fashion/equipment critics: come on, really?

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    • Dan A May 3, 2018 at 11:20 am

      I agree with this post entirely. I’m only saying so because people can’t see who liked your post.

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  • Carrie May 3, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Dan A
    Can some of the wonder parents here share how you’ve been able to get your young children to follow best cycling practices 100% of the time?

    I have not been able to get my kids (who are now teens and ride all over the place regularly) to ride ‘properly’ despite all my exhortations. Especially the ‘keep right’. I really think it’s because they have zero experience driving a car and just don’t inherently get The Rules. I wish I had a helpful hint or trick, but I don’t. I can only join you in the annoying parent camp.

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  • Anna G May 3, 2018 at 9:51 am

    to all those who have, or are thinking about giving up biking due to this bad behavior, PLEASE DON’T !! I know things have changed for the worse in this city as far as biking conditions, overcrowding etc. but like anything one can get used to it, in time. Perhaps changing a route, time of day (if possible), will make it better. Take it from me, I’m old (close to 50), chubby, gray haired, brown and female, but have been quietly commuting year round for over 20 yrs in this city, despite many close calls with cars and buzzing from rude cyclists. The benefits will far outweigh the few bad experiences, given time. Don’t let a few jerks stop you from enjoying your hobby or mode of transport. Remember there are way more of us than there are of them, and not every fast rider is rude. Please don’t give up !

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    • I'll Show Up May 3, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      Anna, thank you so much for this beautiful message of encouragement. I admire your strength! As someone who has stopped riding due to these problems, my attitude took a couple years to change. I’m off the bike for a while, but I promise to get back on it one day. Just not ready yet.

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  • Pdxpaul May 3, 2018 at 10:00 am

    How about a series of guest posts from the most outspoken of the bunch here?

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    • SD May 3, 2018 at 10:10 am

      That would be cool. Also, maybe a “comment cage match” that is confined to a single thread per topic and can simply be referenced rather than played out and often repeated across most articles.

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  • idlebytes May 3, 2018 at 10:59 am

    I generally like to use my riding time as free exercise time so I pass a lot of people and over the years have used the comments from this site to improve my interactions with those I pass, so I just want to say, thanks for all the insights all! 🙂

    One thing I would point out is that some suggestions on here while the commenter might prefer that behavior when being passed I’ve found other people find it confusing or even get angry. For instance I’ve stopped ringing my bell on the Hawthorne because it seems to confuse and anger people more than make getting passed more pleasant for them.

    Pedestrians walking to the right often act erratically sometimes moving to the left cause they think I’m ringing my bell to get them to do something. Cyclists in front of me seem confused too when I ring the bell for both of us looking back at me as if I’m clueless for trying to pass them when there’s a pedestrian.

    So now I just give the person as much space as possible and slow down a bit depending on how much space there is. At the really tight spots I say on the left/right but most of the time people seem to only get it after I’ve already passed or don’t hear me at all (earphones).

    Keep up the great comments and calling people out on their bad behaviors I think if more people felt ashamed for driving/biking selfishly they’d do it less so point it out to your friends and family members when you see it!

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  • PD May 3, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Well if this comment section isn’t a mirror of the diverse attitudes we see on the way to work..

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  • dan May 3, 2018 at 11:31 am

    This thread might be the place to note the increased usage of e-bikes compared to years past…and the behavior some of those riders adopt. I saw one clearly breaking the speed limit and overhauling cars on Lincoln yesterday. Jerks will be jerks regardless of their mode of travel.

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  • axoplasm May 3, 2018 at 11:39 am

    the real problem of course is that many people still stubbornly refuse to behave exactly like me

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  • Steven Smith May 3, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    People are people. Some behave unconsciously and/or boorishly and/or rudely. Doesn’t matter if they’re in a car or on a bike…

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  • Paul Johnson May 3, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    rachel b
    There were a lot more. We’re a dying breed. Recommended 1

    Yup, I hear that. But even by 2010 when I left, seemed like it was easier to find folks from Portland in Tulsa than in Portland.

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    • rachel b May 3, 2018 at 8:33 pm

      Hah! 🙂 And, sigh. 🙁

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  • Kyle Banerjee May 3, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    “calling rulebreakers out”i happily break car-centric rules….

    This “in your face” approach discourages new cyclists in multiple ways. First off, the people who need to be convinced to ride are driving cars. Few people want to be associated with a group they dislike or perceive to be a nuisance.

    Also, when you provoke motorists, some of them play rougher with other cyclists they encounter. People who aren’t used to this kind of thing easily get traumatized by a shouted insult or getting buzzed and quit riding.

    Riding year after year is all about coming to terms with what’s out there. Not too many people are willing to be in a daily battle.

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    • Pat May 3, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      YES. It infuriates me when riders purposely rile up drivers because they’re on some sort of crusade, and then the rest of us have to deal with the consequences. For the love of Pete, take your head out of your a– and think about the people around you!!

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    • soren May 3, 2018 at 9:51 pm

      it is hilarious that you are chastising me out for stating that i always try to stop for pedestrians.

      i guess you’d prefer that i call them out or worse..

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      • Kyle Banerjee May 4, 2018 at 12:10 am

        “calling rulebreakers out”i happily break car-centric rules. for example, i always try to stop for jay walkers. hitting the brakes hard and letting a human being cross the roadway …

        Yah, because you’re all about safety, not about cartoonish Animal House antics against perceived Dean Wormer drivers and cyclists, right?

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  • Rivelo
    Rivelo May 3, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Me, I always welcome the “fair weather riders” and the “newbies.”

    Yep, for a couple of magnificent weeks every spring, I’m NOT the slowest cyclist riding up Williams Avenue. And then the “newbies” build up a little stamina….and I am again.

    C’est la vie sur le vélo à Portland, Oregon.

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  • alex May 3, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    fast cyclist here. and now a brief essay on my riding philosophy:

    i endevour move like water. cars/peds/other cyclist i encounter during my ride are objects (each with their own unique properties/vulnerabilities/hazards) to flow around. when encountering areas of back-pressure i do my best to accept the circumstance, modulate speed accordingly, and then negotiate around. my goal is to move thru a route (problem set) rapidly, but in a manner that is both safe to me and other road users (though they might not always perceive it to be so). sometimes i am a dick, i recognize and i work to correct that behaviour. other times i feel justified in upsetting someone who is acting outside the rule set or is oblivious (again as long as it is safe). i find it abhorrent that anyone would verbally insult people when frustrated by their speed or to insult them personally. i am down with everyone riding, however i think people should know there skill level/speed and ride accordingly.

    if you are traveling on roads i believe there is a general level of competency and awareness that should be expected. your primary focus when riding (in city traffic/commuting) is to ride (not listen to music, look around, converse with friends). below are my primary thoughts and observations on general etiquette:

    -ride a predictable, steady line: if you are all over the place you are dangerous to yourself and others. work to constantly improve you skill on a bike (can you maintain a straight line and look behind you?). traffic is a serious venue and your skill can save your life.

    -ride as far to the right as safely possible: this allows faster cyclists to pass safely when possible (especially important on hills/bridges). i am a fast cyclist and i stay to the right as possible so that i do not impeade others.

    -signal when possible (sometimes it is not).

    -look before you change lanes/make a significant lateral change in position: there may be someone next to you or just behind. this especially applies to greenways where the road can be divided into two/three virtual lanes per direction. turning left from the far right is a dangerous/dick move. look behind you and move as far left as possible as soon as possible.

    -when rolling stops observe right of way and yield to another cyclist that has the right way. respect an automobiles right of way (stopping is usually good too for clear communication).

    here are some other thoughts that fall more in secondary list than the above:

    -if a slower cyclist is riding a predictable line(and after evaluating your riding skill) i will pass you close (if space is tight).

    -i usually do not anounce my pass. most people turn into me. though with the burnside bridge situation i will if needed.

    -i will shoal and intersection because i am typically faster than most. this is better for everyone.

    -there is enough room to pass in lane in the wide green lanes downtown.

    -riding 2×2 slowly and blocking others is a dick move. if you are going to ride 2×2 ride tight. i shoudl be able to pass a 2×2 on the greenway with oncoming traffic driving by on the other side.

    -burnside bridge westbound is awful. if i see other cyclist ahead on the sidewalk i take the lane.

    -burnside bridge eastbound is better but still messed up. ride left, pass middle (like on vancouver/williams). peds walking along the bike side need to move over.

    riding fast/assertive can lead to situations where the person is a dick, but so can riding slow and dangerously.

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    • Daniel May 3, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      I’d agree with almost all of this, except for the shoaling part. Even if you’re consistently the fastest person out of a light, it’s still a terrible practice because it teaches everybody else around you that it’s a good idea, and by definition it can’t scale to more than one or two people before a heavily-shoaled intersection becomes a tangled mess of people, with no clear way for it to spread out through normal passing.

      Case in point – North Williams and Weidler. The bike box there gets fed from both the south, and a weird little jag from the west, which ends up forcing people to either shoal or do some complicated maneuvers to avoid it. The net effect is a terrible traffic jam that happens at every light cycle and doesn’t clean itself up for another 3 or 4 blocks. I can usually just hop in the traffic lane to bypass it, but I don’t envy any newer riders who take it during rush out and find themselves part of an impromptu group ride.

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      • soren May 3, 2018 at 10:17 pm

        i love shoaling and am happy to be shoaled. it’s a sign of a bike infrastructure success!

        this city lab piece captures the puerile elitism of people who are infuriated by shoaling perfectly:


        Perhaps we need another word for a bothersome class of biker. The [jerk] who resents traffic, judges others for their inexperience, second-guesses the people who share the road with him, and maybe even takes it upon himself to chide other cyclists, perhaps sometimes in ways that are more offensive than shoaling or other mild behaviors. We could call such a person a pufferfish. Or, you know, a driver.

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        • Dan A May 4, 2018 at 7:53 am

          Passing and parking in front of other cyclists at an intersection is pretty much the textbook definition of rude.

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          • Alex Reedin May 4, 2018 at 8:58 am

            Um… really? We’re not in a race, and we don’t have protected bike infrastructure that might cause even a 20-second delay from being behind someone slower than us. If someone passes you and parks in front of you, and you end up being faster than them, you just pass them back. Total delay to you: approximately 1 second. Worrying about this seems weird/macho to me. Shoaling seems to me like a fine way for people biking to attempt to sort by speed in order to reduce even the slight inconvenience of passing someone else in motion, even if that sorting is never exactly dead-on.

            *Note: I generally don’t have the ability to shoal or not shoal because I don’t see other bikers at intersections. Which makes me sad, not enough bikes…. Exception: SE Madison westbound at SE Grand, but the bike lane west of there is two bikes wide, so shoaling seems pretty obviously fine there?

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            • Alex Reedin May 4, 2018 at 9:00 am

              Although, at SE Madison at Grand, I usually shoal the cars so that the bus driver waiting patiently with their legally-binding “Yield” blinker on can actually merge in, reducing delay to dozens of bus riders.

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            • Dan A May 4, 2018 at 9:16 am

              Maybe it depends on the situation. The only times I’ve experienced it were when I was going significantly faster than the other rider, then I stopped for a red light, and they pulled up and stopped in front of me. I’m sure Soren thinks this is awesome. I do not.

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              • soren May 4, 2018 at 11:18 am

                I agree that shoaling can be somewhat rude (often unintentionally) as the citylab piece acknowledges. However, since my primary advocacy goal is to get more people riding for transportation, I view the moralistic wrath of the bike commuter police (1st cousins of the vegan police) to be far, far more of a problem than shoaling.

                Apart from the fact that public callouts intimidate and upset many, does anyone believe that callouts will have a significant impact on more trivial forms of “rudeness”?

                For example, back in my “spare_wheel” days, I often subjected myself to the fiery wrath of the bike police (Hi Mia! Hi Jonathan!) because I staunchly defended people who **BLEW!!!1!!** stop signs on bike boulevards (e.g. cautiously rolling them at 3-5 mph). It fills me with pride that these days that I rarely see a person cycling stop at a stop sign on a neighborhood greenway when there is no cross traffic. These days, almost everyone is a black-hoodie-wearing anarchist bike scofflaw.

                I declare victory. And I expect that in the coming decades “shoaling” will also cease to become such a bike culture wedge issue too.

                Hopefully bike portland is around so that I can declare victory again.

                PS: What’s also clear from the comments on this thread is that many view lining up in a wide bike facility/bike box to be “shoaling”. This is tragicomedy.

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              • Dan A May 4, 2018 at 11:50 am

                I don’t view that as shoaling. I’m talking about me stopping in the most forward legal position in the bike lane/bike box/main lane, and then someone who I’ve previously passed coming up from behind and stopping directly in front of me in the crosswalk. Yes, it’s happened on more than one occasion.

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              • soren May 4, 2018 at 12:34 pm

                I know you know but some commenters apparently do not (e.g. extension of shoaling to anyone who jumps a light or passes stopped/slow people at a signal to preserve momentum.)

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        • Daniel May 4, 2018 at 9:06 am

          So wait, we need a word to use to chide people who chide other people for doing something annoying? If I recall, the term “shoaling” was coined in the first place (by Eben Weiss) to describe an abject failure of bike infrastructure in NYC. There, heavy bike traffic and a macho culture with limited space leads to cyclists with something to prove cutting out in front of a group of people to hop into the crosswalk (or even the intersection) and track-stand, presumably to demonstrate their elite bike handling skillz.

          Hardly appealing to a new rider. If that’s something you want to try to emulate here, go ahead – me, I usually have somewhere better to be than watching someone show off.

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    • Alex Reedin May 3, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Overall, I have a very different perspective. Biking for transportation in Portland is a safe, normal activity, like walking.

      “if you are traveling on roads i believe there is a general level of competency and awareness that should be expected. your primary focus when riding (in city traffic/commuting) is to ride (not listen to music, look around, converse with friends).” – The general level of competency and awareness needed is really not that high. Again, safe, normal activity. If I’m paying *enough* attention to not endanger or significantly inconvenience anyone while I’m riding, who are you to tell me my *primary* focus of attention can’t be rocking to my music, looking at the passersby, or talking to my kids, just like it is when I walk around?

      Also, this – “if you are going to ride 2×2 ride tight. i shoudl be able to pass a 2×2 on the greenway with oncoming traffic driving by on the other side” – I disagree, disagree, disagree. Why are only cyclists with strong (as opposed to acceptable) bike handling skills allowed to talk to each other comfortably on greenways? So that fast cyclists don’t have to wait momentarily when an oncoming car is going by? A quick comparison of the goods and ills of this situation comes out strongly in favor of the comfortable side-by-side bikers in my mind.

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      • Daniel May 4, 2018 at 1:47 pm

        It is definitely a safe, normal activity like walking. Like walking, you do it differently depending on the conditions you’re in – if I’m cutting across Pioneer Square I could link arms with 2 other people and nobody would be bothered, if I’m trying to navigate that tiny sliver of sidewalk next to SE Cesar Chavez the same thing would be pretty rude.

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    • Moleskin May 3, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      “I will shoal… this is better for everyone”.

      Sorry, I disagree. It is better for you, yes, but is just rude and aggravating for others (particularly when it turns out someone else is fast too). To me it is pretty much the ultimate “dick move” of which you speak. Pass others when everyone is moving and you are faster – fair enough.

      Otherwise some good points – knowing when to ding or not before passing is an art! As you say, often the dingee will look over their shoulder and veer in that direction as a consequence, which isn’t ideal.

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    • John Lascurettes May 4, 2018 at 12:43 pm

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  • Pat Lowell May 4, 2018 at 6:39 am

    So basically, there are two simple rules of road sharing etiquette (and life in general):

    1. Get your head out of your A—.

    2. Chill the F out.

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  • Takethelane May 4, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Is the Williams 500 back?

    I used to love that! I avoid it like the plague now that they reduced the light synchronization speed to about 15 mph from 20-30 mph shortly after removing the passing lane. I am not in the military. I don’t have to hurry up and wait (at the next light) if I don’t want to. I just take a different route. I would rather have had the city add Sharrows to the right lane, than add a bike path, and feel the same way about streets downtown (the lights are synced so slow that all the lanes could just have Sharrows added to them – I can coast down 4th avenue faster than the lights change!).

    I agree with El Biciclero and idlebytes.

    When passing bikes/peds in congested areas, I use a bell and ding before I am too close and wait for the reaction before passing at a reasonable speed differential. Those with earbuds blaring too loud to hear my bell deserve to get buzzed, usually know it and keep right anyway. I still pass them at a reasonable speed, because, like kids and animals, you never know what they will do, since they are lost in their own little world/not interested in interacting with the world around them.

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  • Takethelane May 4, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Oh! I agree with Pat Lowell too.

    I race for fun, and it is no fun in a congested mixed rider level situation. It’s aggression, like kicking the dog when you get home from a particularly rough day at work. I prefer to vent my anger on inanimate objects like my bike, as I call on my frustration and anger to help me pound up long steep hills free of congestion. I have broken a lot of spokes and worn out a lot of drive trains doing this. I love the West Hills of Portland!

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  • Takethelane May 4, 2018 at 10:19 am

    And to kTaylor and Dan A I would say:

    Kids do tend to ignore their parents after awhile, and like adults tend to learn best by making mistakes. So, please, yell at the kid when you almost hit them. It will have the biggest impact. And the parent can reinforce it by saying something to the effect of “That’s why you need to listen to me and follow the rules.” If the child asks why the person who almost hit them yelled, explain that they were angry and scared (that they could have hit the child), not that they are some whacko who should be blamed for the whole event (which seems to be the most common response).

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    • rachel b May 4, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Parents now will have a conniption if you yell at their child. We’re not in France, after all. 😉 But I sure appreciate your saying this Takethelane. 🙂

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      • Dan A May 4, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        Do you have a child? I wouldn’t ask, but it seems relevant in this case.

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      • Paul Johnson May 4, 2018 at 3:52 pm

        Depends on the region. In the northwest, you’re sadly correct. Now that I’m in Tulsa, people are a little more lax about letting kids freerange a bit, and generally OK with the neighbors setting a kid back straight by dragging them back home if they’re not being civil. Reminds me a bit of how it was when I was growing up in early 90s Portland.

        Worst that’s happened so far was my dash cam catching a rock fight (in the spirit of a snowball fight, so malice was not the motivation, just childhood ignorance) that cracked the windshield of my truck. Now, the fact that my weekend vehicle got caught in the crossfire wasn’t what galled me, it was the thowing rocks at people. I knew who the parents were, and showed them the video.

        That said, the windshield is chipped all over being 20 years old anyway, I was planning on replacing it after I fix up the rest of the truck. At their request, I got a quote so they can put the fear of reality in the kid, but I’m not expecting them to pay to replace something I was already going to replace. I like my reputation as the cool neighbor.

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        • Alan 1.0 May 4, 2018 at 10:03 pm

          I like my reputation as the cool neighbor.

          :+1: 🙂

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  • Daniel May 4, 2018 at 1:19 pm


    “You don’t pass people in the door zone, that’s a fantastic way…to kill a pedestrian stepping out into the crosswalk”

    This exaggerated antagonism is interesting given that many (if not most) people ride in the door zone on Williams.Where does this antagonism towards your fellow bike commuters originate? Do you, perchance, drive a car (or a bike)?Recommended 0

    That’s not true at all, N Williams is a buffered bike lane: https://goo.gl/maps/asRAUQrCxz62 – See the door zone? It’s clearly marked, and a good thing too; people getting out of the passenger side of their car often can’t even check the side view mirror, since it’s usually aimed for the driver’s benefit. I do see people hug the door zone occasionally, generally because they’re scared of the traffic lane, but it’s a dangerous habit to get into.

    I’m not sure where you’re reading exaggerated antagonism into this, staying out of the door zone is biking in the city 101. In fact I don’t even know what you’re arguing for, are you suggesting that people should be spending more time in the door zone?

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    • soren May 4, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      claiming that people riding in the door zone will kill pedestrians (something that has never happened in portland, to the best of my knowledge) is absurd and smacks of “but they kill people too” false equivalence.

      i also ride williams and, just about every time i do so, i see multiple people riding in the middle of the car-sider buffer zone. i’ve asked people why they do this and one of the common reasons provided is that they are reluctant to get in the way of aggressive commuters/riders in the main bike lane.

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      • Daniel Leussler May 4, 2018 at 8:25 pm

        I literally just biked up Williams to get home today, stopped at an intersection to let a line of kids being led by an adult cross at the crosswalk, and someone passed me on the left and almost hit the last kid. She didn’t, because the kid had the presence of mind to speed up.

        I fully agree that it’s sad to see people in the door zone for whatever reason, which is exactly why I’m arguing for people to use it exactly how it’s marked – keeping to the left of the lane and passing on the right, instead of riding side by side.

        You just moved the goalposts on the discussion though, first it was “many (if not most)” people ride in the door zone, and now it’s “multiple” (we’re both on it regularly, you can’t tell me that it’s most). My experience is that the vast majority use it the way it’s marked, a small but not insignificant subset decide to stay in the door zone (I’ll have to take your word that this is because of the other cyclists and not, you know, the terrible drivers), and twice now this year, I’ve seen a pair of riders decide to go side-by-side. This makes one of them have to ride closer to the door zone, and forces others to either pass them less safely. Why are you defending this, again?

        The picture you posted is exactly what I was talking about with the weird bike box on Weidler, by the way: it forces people to pile into the bike box randomly (kind of like if everybody shoaled), and then it takes a few blocks of messy riding before it sorts out.

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    • soren May 4, 2018 at 5:21 pm
      • soren May 5, 2018 at 11:39 am

        And please note the femme-appearance of most of those riding in the car-side buffer in that image.

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  • Melissa May 4, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    I’ve been bike commuting here for about the last 6-7 years and I’m wondering if this is the year that I stop.

    I’m not a fast rider, but I’m not the slowest either, and I’m always happy to be safely passed. I think many “fast” riders who do a lot of passing underestimate how stressful it is to be passed closely, especially on a MUP. Whether it’s the Hawthorne bridge, the esplanade, the steel bridge, if I’m leaving room for pedestrians, and not constantly swerving in and out of the ped-lane, there often just isn’t room to pass safely around me too. Bike + Bike + Peds is more than these paths accommodate side by side, aside from perhaps wider parts of the esplanade.

    I understand it’s frustrating to go slower than you’d like. I feel the same way behind a very slow cyclist, but with the bridges in particular they are NOT THAT LONG. Chill. This is a commute, not a race, and it’s not your personal fitness training track. Even a very slow rider will be across in a very few minutes. In order to pass other cyclists on an MUP, you are expecting/demanding that they ride in the pedestrian lane and continually swerve in-and-out. Dangerous for peds and cyclists.

    Yesterday on the steel bridge was one of my worst cycling moments in recent memory. I’m going to give it the rest of bike-challenge month and see if maybe I’m especially stressed by learning a new commute after moving, but it’s just not fun anymore.

    I can’t convince anyone around me to prioritize safety and the comfort of other road users over their desire to go at a given pace. I’m not aggressive, and don’t often yell unless someone passes me on the right (or non-traffic side). I think I might just give up cycling other than weekends and take the bus instead.

    I wish there were room for cyclists like me to commute without feeling like we’re being put in a race we didn’t sign up for. There are more of us out there, and instead of giving each other a little grace and a little space, many are just getting more aggressive and regarding anyone slower as an obstacle.

    I’m so bummed, but it’s just not worth it anymore.

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    • Paul Johnson May 4, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      Relatable. Can’t say mobility wasn’t a factor in becoming an exPort myself.

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  • Paul Johnson May 4, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    That’s a pretty quick judgment based on a child riding his bike on the wrong side of a 15mph ‘road’.

    What’s the size or speed limit of the roadway have to do with anything? Riding on the right except to pass is something that people teach their kids even on Tulsa’s cycleways. It’s a good habit to get into and gets them into the practice for if and when they start driving. The Dutch, which Portland was happy to try to emulate in the 90s, do this, too.

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  • K Taylor May 4, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    “Riverview Cemetery is also not a path, it’s road, and people drive cars and trucks on it, some carelesssly. For all that’s good and holy, think of the child getting hit by a car if the whole cyclist thing is just too hard to grapple with.” This is well said, rachel b.

    I’m sorry, Alex, but I too disagree that Riverview is a kid-friendly venue, for the reasons rachel mentions. An increased presence of families with little kids and dog walkers (more and more frequently seen) in the cemetery are both bad developments imo, since it is, when all’s said and done, a cemetery, owned by people who are already frustrated with what they perceive as people’s growing tendency to use it like a park.

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    • Dan A May 7, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Somehow I don’t think they are thinking “bike commuters in the park = good, families with children = bad”.

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      • ktaylor May 7, 2018 at 3:16 pm

        Hi Dan – I’ve been busy – sorry for the delay in responding. If it were a park, I wouldn’t say what I did. But it’s not a park — it’s a privately-owned cemetery with a service road through it, intended for mourners and maintenance vehicles. Cyclists are there on sufferance. We could be booted at any time, though thankfully, the people who run the place want to work with us. But they want a tranquil atmosphere suitable for mourners. Unless the children/families in question are quiet and good enough cyclists not to get in anyone’s way, they really shouldn’t be there. If it had been a maintenance vehicle or a car confronting that kid as he came around the corner in the wrong lane, that would have been more fodder for the argument that bikes should not be allowed — for safety reasons.

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        • Pruss2ny May 7, 2018 at 5:45 pm

          You have 0 knowledge why the dad/kid were in the cemetery. While you are deciding who should/shouldnt have access to the pivate property, consider that the people u come across in a cemetery might actually have loved ones in there.

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          • rachel b May 7, 2018 at 6:39 pm

            Doesn’t make a difference why they’re there. The imperative to ride safely remains the same. So that your kid remains safe. So that your kid remains safe.

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            • pruss2ny May 7, 2018 at 6:43 pm

              of course it matters why they were there.
              its private property.
              its a cemetery.
              they may actually have a right to be there, rather than being merely tolerated (like bikes cutting through)

              in some other blog somewhere: “so timmy and i took monday off to enjoy a sunny day in the cemetery where his mom rests….and then this guy on a bike started to yell at us…”

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              • ktaylor May 8, 2018 at 2:16 pm

                That’s not what happened. Does anybody read anymore?

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              • Pruss May 8, 2018 at 2:37 pm

                Ktaylor…apologies if i missed the post where you established why the father/son were in the cemetery.

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              • ktaylor May 8, 2018 at 3:06 pm

                What scenario would have made it ok for the kid to get hit and killed?

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              • Dan A May 8, 2018 at 3:12 pm

                You’ve already established it wasn’t okay for them to be there, because it’s too dangerous.

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          • K Taylor May 7, 2018 at 8:27 pm

            But that’s my point – I don’t get to decide – neither do you. And whatever the owners decide doesn’t have to be fair, by my reckoning or by yours. My hope is just that we don’t try their patience too much and they’ll let us keep riding through there. I worry about anything that might spur complaints – noise, people riding off the designated route, people riding over grass or graves, dog walkers letting their dogs pee on graves, etc. I’ve seen all of that, and it makes me feel like watching someone gaily jumping up and down on the edge of a cliff that’s all scoured out underneath – worse, a cliff many people need to get safely from SW Portland to downtown.

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  • Welsh Pete May 7, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Please see idlebyte’s comment below – there’s a speed limit in the cemetery and I was traveling below it. I was not traveling too fast to stop, but I was worried others would be, and I didn’t want that kid to be allowed to take the same risk again. I think it’s fair to say no one expects to see a child on that route at 7:30 in the morning, and certainly not riding directly into an oncoming lane. A car or maintenance vehicle could have hit him too. This was a clear-cut case of inadequate parenting and needed to be called out.Recommended 19

    And careless cycling by yourself. As a responsible road user you need to be prepared for situations like this.

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    • ktaylor May 7, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      All this was addressed above – was riding very slow. Did not hit kid. A car or maintenance vehicle, or a less attentive cyclist easily could have. What then? We excoriate them for not being more careful? Meanwhile, the kid is dead.

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  • Welsh Pete May 7, 2018 at 11:41 am

    K Taylor
    Most people seem to appreciate “on your left” – especially on multi-use paths. Especially if you say it in a British accent.Recommended 9

    I personally hate that. It often causes more confusion. And which British accent are you talking about, there are hundreds of them…

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    • ktaylor May 7, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      It was a joke, son. And if you don’t have a bell, it’s better than nothing.

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    • ktaylor May 7, 2018 at 3:24 pm

      But since you ask, a posh accent, like the Queen.

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      • rachel b May 7, 2018 at 6:43 pm

        Fine. Let your kid ride wherever they want and never learn how to ride with others. Let them be free of responsibility and veer with impunity. Let them learn nothing. Let them, Blanche Dubois-like, depend upon the kindness of strangers until they’re 109. This conversation has killed my brain.

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  • Dan A May 7, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Right, to summarize:

    * Yelling at novice cyclists is rude, unless those cyclists are children or parents riding with their children, in which case yelling at them makes the world a better place for adults.

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    • rachel b May 7, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      In the case K relates, yelling at them ensures their learning important cues and skills to guarantee their staying alive a little longer.

      Not everyone rides as carefully as K. Not everyone is going to look out for your little angel. You are really really trying the social safety net, here. Just teach your kid. That is far simpler than expecting EVERYONE to magically intuit and react perfectly to your less-than-hands-on parenting style.

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      • soren May 7, 2018 at 6:26 pm

        they came out of no where so i yelled at them.

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        • rachel b May 7, 2018 at 6:44 pm


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      • Dan A May 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm

        Yelling at them ensures no such thing, and this one specific incident says very little about their parenting style. Since you’re clearly not a parent, maybe you can just take my word for it.

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        • K Taylor May 7, 2018 at 8:38 pm

          I’m not sure why you assume that, and anyway, people who aren’t politicians have a right to criticize the government.

          My conclusion came more from what the dad said to me after the incident than the incident itself, which you’re right, could have been a one off. The weary ‘he just won’t listen’ indicated to me the dad knew his kid habitually did not listen to him, which meant that kid should still be taken out only on very safe routes, not in a place where he could easily be hit and killed by a car, maintenance truck or speeding bike. Whether the cars, maintenance vehicles or speeding cyclists should be looking out for him is a moot point, because many of them won’t if he’s in their lane and invisible behind a wall – enough for it to be a bad risk for the parent with this particular child. My impression was reinforced by the kid’s response to my appearance, which was nothing. He just kept coming at me. That indicates to me the kid had been taught, probably through failure to teach him otherwise, that everyone will look out for him, so he doesn’t need to ride defensively. Again, this has nothing to do with who has a right to expect what or what’s fair – it has to do with safety and reasonable expectations.

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          • Dan A May 7, 2018 at 9:02 pm

            “I’m not sure why you assume that”

            It’s pretty obvious from your responses throughout this thread, and I have asked about your own kids more than once. I would be shocked to learn that either you or rachel regularly ride with young kids.

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            • rachel b May 8, 2018 at 11:31 am

              Right. And exactly why have you repeatedly asked about our kids, Dan A? Does it reassure you to imagine we have none and bolster your confidence in your own parenting skills? Remember that show Supernanny? That was a great show.

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              • Dan A May 8, 2018 at 3:19 pm

                You don’t think that whether or not you are a parent is relevant in a discussion about how to properly raise a child. Thanks for the advice, I think I’ll pass. I’m sure there are lots of people who could offer some advice based on real-world experience, so I’ll stick to that.

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              • rachel b May 8, 2018 at 4:47 pm

                My point about Supernanny is that Jo Frost is an example of a—gasp!—childless child expert, one so good at her job she’s an inspiration and resource for countless parents. And that the Hart family were parents, and drove those poor kids off a cliff. So, to answer you, no: I don’t think being a parent is particularly relevant in a discussion about how to raise a child. I do think having knowledge and experience is.

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              • Dan A May 9, 2018 at 8:02 am

                Next up, columns on ‘how to ride a bike’ column from someone with no knowledge of riding bikes, and ‘how to be a real Portlander’ from someone who just moved here. Should be fun!

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              • rachel b May 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm

                Almost everyone can reproduce–wonderful, caring people and fools and jerks alike. Why on earth would you think having a kid magically makes you a good parent? And wise?

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  • K Taylor May 7, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    I can’t speak for rachel, but I’m not answering a straw man. Please stick to the point. Or better still, let’s just wrap this up.

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  • pruss2ny May 8, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    KTaylor…Ahhh…ok…so apparently i did read everything fine…(guess that answers your question whether or not people “read anymore”?) . everyone gets your public safety crusade…u just might want to have a clue before you yell at random families in a cemetery and contemplate putting the “fear of god into them” (see, i read that too) while you trespass. that’s all i’m saying.

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    • ktaylor May 8, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      “I wish I had put the fear of god (or at least that hill) into *that dad.*” Didn’t yell. Wasn’t trespassing. My reaction wasn’t random. I still am not getting a picture of good reading comprehension here, or any purpose in your comments at all. If you think parents should be beyond reproach, just say so. I won’t agree with you, but trying to characterize me as a stereotype you can dismiss doesn’t make you right.

      Ok – I think I’m done picking the scab now. This conversation remains as pointless as it was when I said I was getting out yesterday.

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    • rachel b May 8, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      I’m the one who questioned whether anyone reads anymore. You sorta proved my point, there. 😉

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      • Pruss2ny May 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm

        Rachel b…cmon..stop trying to drop the mike:

        ktaylor May 8, 2018 at 2:16 pm
        That’s not what happened. Does anybody read anymore?

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        • Pruss2ny May 8, 2018 at 6:19 pm


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          • rachel b May 8, 2018 at 7:51 pm

            “Mike” is acceptable, too.
            (drops mic)

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  • ladle24 May 12, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Dan A
    Again, please share your magical parenting style. I’d honestly like to know how to make my kids better riders without nagging them more. They already prefer not to do anything that I already know how to do, lest I try to coach them too much.Recommended 5

    Dan A, I don’t know how how folks in Portland teach their kids to ride, since I don’t live in Portland, but I make/made mine ride IN FRONT of me on the street. I see so many kids just following their parents, and guess what? Those kids aren’t paying attention to what they are doing. The kid riding in front gives the kid a healthy dose of the “fear of God” b/c it’s all on him to make good decisions. In this position, they are MUCH more receptive to coaching. Of course, we only ride on quiet side streets in this configuration. The kid will stop at every. single. stop sign because he can’t see over the parked cars to see if anything is coming. And I can make simple analytical observations that aren’t bossing or nagging–“See that driver? He’s not looking for oncoming traffic.” “See that driver? She WANTS you to go first, even though she has the right of way. Some people don’t want to take any chances with kids around.” “I can hear that that car is going fast enough that it is not going to stop at this intersection.” “See those taillights? We don’t know whether that person is going to open a door, or turn into traffic without looking.” Of course, simple things can be yelled when needed. “Stop!” “Door!” “Take the lane!” “Watch out!” When we used to ride as a family, sometimes one or more children would run into the cycle in front of him, because he was following and not thinking for himself. Riding in front, they have to think and pay attention and they grow in confidence incrementally and eventually ask if they can take well-known routes by themselves. Eventually, they tell you they took a different route because it was better for reasons x,y, and z. The HARDEST part I have found teaching them about riding comes in helping them to find space in their inner person to account for stupid, reckless, or rude drivers. Because they are young, they want JUSTICE and FAIRNESS. They get angry when a driver does something wrong. It is hard to convince them that in the interest of their own safety and well-being, it is best to give such people a wide berth for their folly, to expect it and anticipate it, to have a healthy respect/fear for the dangers of either their own recklessness or the recklessness of others. My oldest son was doored riding solo in a “bike lane” on a main road. (Here, they take away the bike lane at intersections, and there is a vague area where a cyclist re-enters the re-emergent bike lane where a parked motorist looking over his left shoulder will not necessarily see the cyclist pop back out from behind him. Also, a good 50% of the bike lane is in the door zone, and cars driving do NOT give 3 ft space even with a marked bike lane, especially not where the bike lane is re-emerging after an intersection.) He was lucky to have been thrown around the door into the parking lane and only received a black eye. For whatever reason, it did not faze him, and he continues to ride. That said, it is easy enough to give them a “bike safety course” they are required to complete (much like drivers ed) before being allowed to ride on the street (with or without parents). This is completely neutral, and NO nagging is involved. Only discussions and role-playing. (I.e., “What would you/should you do if…?”) Even my 5yo, who is learning to ride on the side walk, rides in front. For her it is almost a game when I say, “Show me where to stop.” “Show me that you know how to use your brakes.” “Show me…” avoids nagging and gives her the chance to prove to me just how much she does know and can do.

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