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New to biking? You’re doing great! Keep it up

Posted by on May 25th, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Enjoy the ride.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

There are plenty of things that keep people from biking in Portland. Shaming them for “doing it wrong” is a terrible thing to do.

Unfortunately there’s a strong gatekeeper culture around cycling that can not only ruin the experience for new riders, it can be powerful enough to prevent fence-sitters from ever taking the plunge.

A story in the Portland Mercury issue on newsstands this week is a good illustration of this problem. “You’re Riding Your Bike Wrong: Great Job Biking! Now Maybe You Can Start Doing It Right!” reads the headline. Ironically the byline, The Portland Mercury Bicycle Gang, only furthers the cliquish vibe.

Thankfully our friends at the nonprofit Bikes for Humanity PDX penned a wonderful response. We’ve pasted it below with their permission:

25 Ways You’re Riding Your Bike “Right”

Too many folks are nervous about riding because they don’t want to do it “wrong.” The truth is, there are a million awesome ways to ride your bike. Here’s a very non-comprehensive list.

You’re doing something “right” if you’re:

1. Having fun

2. Getting where you need to go

3. Going at your own pace

4. Wearing whatever makes you comfortable

5. Paying attention to your surroundings

6. Aware of biking laws, or planning to learn soon

7. A first-time rider

8. Visiting the city

9. Respectful of pedestrians

10. An athlete

11. Riding with friends

12. A fair-weather rider

13. Exploring new neighborhoods

14. Carrying cargo or pulling a trailer

15. Riding an e-bike

16. A fixie hipster

17. Not sure how to fix a flat, but know who to ask (B4H maybe?)

18. A kid

19. Using your best judgment

20. Wearing a costume

21. Riding an unusual or adaptive bike

22. Considering the safety and comfort of others

23. A year-round commuter

24. Starting to get the hang of it

25. Not feeling comfortable but trying anyway

If you’re new to this… Keep on riding! You’re doing great! It gets better every day! If you have questions or need help with anything, just ask us or ask a friend. Or ask the person riding next to you. Chances are they’ll be happy to help.

— 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

89 Comments
  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty May 25, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Your doing it wrong if you’re worried about doing it wrong.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 25, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      You’re also doing it wrong if you misspell “you’re”. As I did.

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  • turnips May 25, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    so much to dislike and disagree with in that article. (and a couple of things to like)

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 25, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      to me the actual content wasn’t as important as the headline and the framing in general. But really, it was a good excuse for me to call out gatekeeper culture and do something to counter it.

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      • 9watts May 28, 2018 at 10:08 am

        Ironic that the only person I can ever recall telling me I was doing it wrong appears prominently in that photo 😉

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        • Alan 1.0 May 29, 2018 at 12:31 pm

          I’m curious who you mean, and the circumstances.

          (My previous post does not sound the way I intended, and I’ve asked Jonathan to delete it.)

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          • 9watts May 29, 2018 at 2:09 pm

            I’m not going to give any more hints, but I will say that during a pedalpalooza ride years ago this person remonstrated me for not having electric propulsion. I’ve developed a special antipathy ever since to the notion that when it comes to cargo hauling the grown up way is with a motor.

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            • Alan 1.0 May 29, 2018 at 3:07 pm

              haha! boy, did he pick the wrong guy to say “e” to. 😀

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      • Kyle Banerjee May 29, 2018 at 12:52 pm

        Agreed. Sadly, gateway culture is alive and well.

        It’s important to recognize that major components of gateway culture include assumptions about what values cyclists subscribe to, their sense of community, and what their vision of cycling is.

        Gateway culture is all about excluding others. This suggests that bashing drivers — i.e. the vast majority of potential cyclists (with special vitriol directed towards pickup and SUV owners) — won’t attract them to cycling. Expecting them to belong to a group and subscribe to a philosophy that demonizes/excludes their family, friends, and those they care about doesn’t help either.

        Expressing contempt for cyclists because of their equipment choices, level of fitness, or the fact that they do actually ride wherever and whenever also won’t inspire new people. People will have different motivations for cycling. Sending a clear message that they’ll be shunned if they are drawn to fast bikes, or become fit/skilled as a natural byproduct of riding isn’t going to make them want to start down that path.

        Telling people what infrastructure they need to start riding also won’t attract new cyclists. I just spent the past 4 days in Glacier National Park. I can’t tell you how many pickups, SUVs, and RVs I saw hauling bikes. There were countless cyclists, practically all of them on the shoulderless scenic roads that also had a lot of RV and other motor traffic. They were overwhelmingly recreational riders (running shoes, MTBs, etc) with a few roadie enthusiasts and people touring by bike in the mix, and everyone seemed to be doing fine. Outside the park there were miles of separated bike path in good condition which was conspicuously devoid of cyclists. People clearly rode where the scenery rather than the infrastructure was.

        I find the criticism of the cliquish vibe amusing as I’ve always considered that to be a defining characteristic of this place 🙂

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        • 9watts May 29, 2018 at 2:27 pm

          “I find the criticism of the cliquish vibe amusing as I’ve always considered that to be a defining characteristic of this place :)”

          You ascribe groupthink to bikeportland commenters a lot. I frequently don’t see what you see.

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      • Kyle Banerjee May 29, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        Couldn’t help but notice my post was deleted.

        Tone was not worse than what a number of posters routinely put out. It did not contain false information. That it was deleted underscores the basic point in the post.

        Don’t kid yourself about the culture that dominates here — it’s as gatekeeper as any.

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  • Julia May 25, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    That Portland Mercury article rubbed me the wrong way definitely and it’s been itching in my mind ever since. Glad to see BP address it so quickly.

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    • Chris May 25, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      I’m glad that the Mercury and Mr. Maus encourage people to learn biking laws. Really getting tired of near collisions with other bikers who seem to think stop signs are optional, especially right in front of a school at 34th & Salmon every morning.

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      • Chris May 25, 2018 at 2:32 pm

        If I’m stopped at a 4 way with my left arm out, don’t pass me on the left!

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      • soren May 25, 2018 at 5:08 pm

        i’ve read the actual ordinance many times and i still think stop signs are optional.

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        • Chris May 26, 2018 at 11:01 am

          Empty intersection, who cares, but when there are bikes, motorists, and kids walking in every direction, that’s just rude and dangerous.

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        • Leif May 26, 2018 at 11:58 am

          There was talk of passing a law allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs.

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          • soren May 26, 2018 at 1:54 pm

            the idaho stop is legal in idaho, delaware, and parts of colorado. given the political climate in oregon it’s extremely unlikely that a similar law here will be considered any time soon.

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            • Chris May 26, 2018 at 5:04 pm

              There are 2,424,955 people in the Portland metro area vs 1.7 million in the entire state of Idaho, I’m guessing there’s a lot less bike and car traffic there.

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              • 9watts May 28, 2018 at 10:09 am

                Those statistics could also lead to the opposite conclusion you’ve drawn.

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              • Mike Quigley May 29, 2018 at 5:49 am

                Been to Boise lately? Bad as Portland for congestion. But weather is better.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy May 29, 2018 at 10:58 am

          You tend to interpret things in a manner than benefit you.

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          • soren May 29, 2018 at 5:43 pm

            the absolute horror of moving *SAFELY* and efficiently through a city on a bike!

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty May 29, 2018 at 8:01 pm

              Who is speaking against safety?

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      • Spiffy May 29, 2018 at 10:04 am

        “Really getting tired of near collisions with other [insert generic vehicle user] who seem to think stop signs are optional”

        yep, all of them, no matter their mode, don’t like to stop for stop signs…

        I don’t mind the ones that aren’t in dangerous huge multi-ton parlors…

        also really tired of the term “near collision” or “near miss” being used too frequently… a “near collision” is a miss… thankfully my day is full of misses… everybody has their own interpretation, don’t assume that most of us care about it… we want to know what happened… just the facts… something like “when I’m stopped at a stop sign and start to go again there are often other cyclists trying to coast through the stop right then”… it may feel like a near miss for you but for the other person it might just be the normal flow of going around slow moving traffic…

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        • Chris Anderson May 29, 2018 at 11:22 am

          Like the time the pedestrian had to hide in my stopped cargo bike’s “shadow” as the peloton of crosswalks-are-optional morning commute cat-6 racers washed over us. Everyone is lucky no-one caught a pedal on my bike or her bag, the entire morning’s commute could have ended up next door at Legacy Emmanuel.

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    • Andy K May 27, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      The title says it all. Great job BP.

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  • Matt Scar May 25, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    You should change #1 to “You’re being safe”. As a year round commuter, there are a host of apparently underexperienced riders swarming the bike lane of late who are a danger to themselves and those around them.

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    • Chris I May 25, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      I’m still far more worried about the people driving cars around me.

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      • turnips May 25, 2018 at 3:36 pm

        yeah. I’m of the mind that even the shittiest bicyclist doing everything wrong is better than somebody in an automobile who doesn’t have a really good reason for being there.

        I do get annoyed by other folks on bikes sometimes, but the stakes are just so much lower when a mistake is made on a bike than in a car. I’ll happily risk being subject to some bicycling mistakes if it means more folks ditching cars. sooner or later, they’ll figure out how to behave well on a bike without being made to feel unwelcome by a local rag that has a fair amount of influence.

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        • B. Carfree May 25, 2018 at 8:42 pm

          Hear, hear.

          My wife came home yesterday with a mild complaint about a handful of folks who passed other riders/pedestrians poorly on a bike path and forced her to take a bit of evasive action. She quickly retracted her complaint and was grateful these episodes happened at the speed of bikes so she had time to avoid collisions (and could hear the apologies) and that the consequences of a collision are generally pretty minimal with the momentum transfers involved, even for an old gal with hip issues.

          I’d rather deal with the worst cyclist than the best driver (wherever she’s been hiding).

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    • El Biciclero May 26, 2018 at 9:49 am

      “Being safe” could be considered an ambiguous and somewhat subjective goal. I much prefer

      5. Paying attention to your surroundings
      6. Aware of biking laws, or planning to learn soon
      9. Respectful of pedestrians
      22. Considering the safety and comfort of others

      These suggestions break down “safe” into actual behaviors that people can learn and do.

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    • Spiffy May 29, 2018 at 10:07 am

      by being on the bike you’re automatically being safe… there’s nothing unsafe about simply riding a bicycle…

      the dangers people are worried about are largely external and come from motor vehicles…

      you’re just scaring people away from a safe and healthy activity for no good reason…

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  • I wear many hats May 25, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you! Everyone needs to chill the ef out and be cool. Having fun is what its all about.

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  • Pat Lowell May 25, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    I reiterate my Two Laws for Successful Biking Around Others:

    1. Get your head out of your a$$.
    2. Chill the F out.

    Happy riding!

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  • Zed Sonder May 25, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    I appreciate this. I’m a huge advocate for buddying up with new riders and helping them understand bicycles are meant to be fun, free and liberating. Often, with many growing cultural movements the struggle is often complicating the simple and become exclusive which is why we need to push forward more rides that create a culture of learning to overcome these difficulties.

    The ride I am helping host this weekend, the BikeShare hour, sets out to bring new people to bicycles and explore new ways to ride.

    If this event interests you and you are an experienced patient rider willing to socialize and help new riders, please contact me. We’re still in need of volunteers to help orient and welcome riders.

    More details are on Facebook if you are interested. Look up Pedal Party Capitol group and then the BikeShare hour in the event listing.

    Much obliged, ride on. z.

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  • soren May 25, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Some additional ways people are doing it right:

    25. Being a fair weather rider.
    26. Biking without a helmet.
    27. Wearing everyday clothing while cycling.
    28. Cycling SLOOOOOOOOOWLY in a bike lane, on multi-use path, or on a neighborhood greenway.
    29. Not being willing to “take the lane”.
    30. Passing someone an an e-bike.
    31. Not feeling the need to “smile and/or wave” at rude people driving.
    32. Not judging or calling out others who are cycling.
    33. Not assuming that people (especially women and femme-appearing folk) need advice on how/where/when to bike.
    34. Occasionally ignoring traffic laws.
    35. Pedestrian cycling.

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    • stephan May 25, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      36. Biking or driving slowly and not caring about “holding” other people up because we all do better if we go slow in a city.
      After the 20mph change rolled out, I felt more embolded to go slow, either while biking or while driving our car, because I know it is the right thing to do.

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    • mh May 26, 2018 at 11:36 am

      What is “pedestrian cycling”?

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      • soren May 26, 2018 at 1:40 pm

        the exact opposite of vehicular cycling. it’s common in east portland.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 26, 2018 at 4:26 pm

          What does that mean? Not riding where drivers can see you, riding in the door zone, not following the signals, positioning yourself such that drivers think they might juuuust be able to squeeze by you, being unpredictable, menacing pedestrians on the sidewalk… what else?

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          • Al Dimond May 27, 2018 at 3:04 am

            If vehicular cycling is “generally moving like you would when driving a car (except usually slower)” then pedestrian cycling would be “generally moving like you would when walking (except usually faster)”. So… mostly using sidewalks, not traffic lanes. This is common in many cities and in many scenarios… even on some streets with bike lanes.

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            • Dave June 1, 2018 at 7:38 am

              And, as a pedestrian, I fucking hate it! If you are riding a bicycle, you are on a road going vehicle whether you like it or not. I’m not a bonkers vehicular cycling zealot, but VC has some good elements–get a book and learn them.

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          • Spiffy May 27, 2018 at 12:29 pm

            it means riding a bike as if you’re riding a bike, as opposed to riding a bike as if you’re driving a car… it means riding on bicycle facilities instead of in the road with cars… it means riding at your on pace instead of trying to maintain the speed limit… it means riding as if there wasn’t a constant threat of death at the slightest mistake…

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty May 27, 2018 at 1:34 pm

              So, what does that mean specifically, besides riding on the sidewalk*? What does a safe “bike rider” do that a “vehicular cyclist” doesn’t?

              *The sidewalk is not your space to ride on — it belongs to people walking or rolling.

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              • Alan 1.0 May 27, 2018 at 1:44 pm

                wheelies, broadies, and bunny hops

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 27, 2018 at 1:46 pm

                I can get on board with more wheelies!

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              • Paul May 28, 2018 at 5:20 pm

                Cyclists have a choice, at any given moment, of behaving as a vehicle, a pedestrian, or a bicycle. If behaving as a vehicle, they ride in the auto lanes. If behaving as a bicycle, they ride in the bike lane. If behaving as a pedestrian, they ride on the sidewalk and crosswalks (at pedestrian speed). There is nothing wrong with any of those.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 28, 2018 at 6:22 pm

                Cyclists don’t have quite that much flexibility. For example, if there is a bike lane, they can’t ride in the (motor) vehicle lane (except for one of several clearly specified reasons), and the sidewalk isn’t an option downtown.

                This whole conversation is rather silly, and I was hoping someone else would say so first. The distinction between “vehicular cycling” and “cycling”, for the most part, doesn’t really exist outside the political realm. It’s really a choice between riding on the sidewalk and riding in the street, with the vast majority of riders opting for the street almost all of the time.

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              • David Hampsten May 29, 2018 at 7:55 am

                Most of East Portland, like most of the Deep South, doesn’t have any sidewalks at all, so “cycling like a pedestrian” presumably involves riding against traffic, as most people walk against car traffic, as on Harold, outer Powell, San Rafael, nearly every local street, etc.

                I’m amazed when I see that otherwise well-informed BP readers like Hello, Kitty still somehow seem completely oblivious to East Portland not having the most basic infrastructure that inner portlanders take for granted, such as sidewalks, diverters, elected city councilors, and local brewpubs. Don’t y’all ever go east of 82nd?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 29, 2018 at 8:15 am

                I’m well aware of the lack of sidewalks in E, SE, and SW Portland.

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              • David Hampsten May 29, 2018 at 3:05 pm

                If you are aware of the lack of sidewalks in those areas, why then did you reply to Soren’s comments about East Portland with, among other things, “menacing pedestrians on the sidewalk… “, when you know full well that sidewalks are rare out there? If you are a pedestrian in a sidewalkless area, how do you walk, aside from moving one foot in front of the other? Do you walk in the muddy trail where a sidewalk should be? Or do you walk in the street? If you walk in the street, do walk in the same direction as traffic, or do you face traffic to dodge the crazy drivers who are trying to kill you and the bus you are trying to catch or avoid? And so why wouldn’t you bike the same way?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 29, 2018 at 7:47 pm

                Plenty of streets in E Portland do have sidewalks, sometimes narrow affairs unsuitable for multimodal travel (like 82nd). Obviously, where there are no sidewalks, it’s hard to ride on them. But are you saying that in that case, one should ride against traffic and “dodge the crazy drivers”?

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              • David Hampsten May 29, 2018 at 10:25 pm

                I’ll not say one should or shouldn’t, but to have sympathy for anyone growing up in an area that lacks sidewalks and adapting to the environment by riding the same way they walk, against traffic. Roughly half of Portlanders live in such areas without sidewalks (EP, SW, Cully, parts of N Portland), so living in such areas is “normal” for them, as it is for most Americans outside of the West Coast and the inner cities of the Midwest and East. Clearly, by your statements, you live in an area where having sidewalks is normal and typical, as with most other BP readers.

                This isn’t in of itself a bad thing, but an increasing number of Americans don’t live in such areas, but rather along streets specifically designed for cars and not pedestrians. They grew up there, they had no choice, that’s where their parents chose to live or could afford to live, and most people have no choice of parents or places to grow up in. So when they move to Portland (and most native Portlanders came from elsewhere), they bring with them their bicycling habits they grew up with. The fact that they are still alive indicates the success of their bicycling strategies for going places.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 30, 2018 at 1:48 am

                I’m sorry that I may not be fully understanding. You are saying that people ride the wrong way on streets because there are no sidewalks? And the fact that people who do so haven’t been killed should be taken as a sign that it is a good practice?

                Many wealthy suburbs are environments specifically designed for cars, and some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Portland have no sidewalks. I rarely see wrong-way riding in those neighborhoods, so I don’t agree with what I think you are saying, that wrong-way riding is a natural, and logical, reaction to the lack of pedestrian infrastructure. Nor, for that matter, that lack of pedestrian infrastructure means an area is poor (or even that E Portland lacks sidewalks for socio-economic reasons).

                I do agree (and have noted before) that wrong-way riding is a marker of class, and, perhaps, culture. I am not sure why. I am sure I don’t agree that it is safe, or should be regarded as a “successful strategy”.

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              • John Liu May 30, 2018 at 6:44 am

                Wrong way riding is a bad idea because it increases the relative velocity of impact. Suppose a cyclist going 15 mph and a car going 30 mph collide. If they are going the same direction it is a 15 mph impact. If they are going opposite directions it is a 45 mph impact.

                You don’t need to wrong way ride to be aware of traffic approaching. Use a mirror or your hearing, swivel your neck.

                I suppose there are unusual cases. No shoulder or sidewalk! inside curve on narrow roadway with heavy traffic at high speed! poor visibility or blind corner or sun in driver’s eyes! Then sure you’d might ride wrong way – and hurl yourself into the ditch as soon as a car appears.

                Or maybe you’d do the logical thing and take a different route.

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              • David Hampsten May 31, 2018 at 2:00 am

                Or perhaps try avoiding getting hit in the first place? If a car hits you, you get hurt. If they hit you hard enough, you will die. In any of the scenarios you listed, the cyclist is either going to die or have life-changing injuries, no matter which direction they are riding on the street, either with traffic or against it. I agree, legally a bicyclist should be riding in the street with traffic in the direction it is going, but is that the safest option in all cases? Do YOU ride on 82nd, taking the lane as is your right and obligation? Or do you ride as close to the gutter as you can, barely avoiding debris and sewer grates? Do you often use the sidewalks instead? Maybe you avoid 82nd altogether and use a parallel street instead, practicing a form of “separate but equal” segregation of modes?

                Now imagine an environment where all streets are 82nd, that there are no parallel streets to use, the gutter is just as narrow and gummed up, with cars moving 20 mph over the speed limit. Welcome to the America that most Americans live in.

                What is your response to using that street?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 31, 2018 at 2:18 am

                If I had to ride on 82nd, I’d definitely take the lane. There is no room for a vehicle to pass you there, so if you ride over at the edge, you’re just tempting someone to try to squeeze by and there’s a good chance you’ll get hit.

                I’d opt for the separate by equal route before doing either of those, or be antisocial and ride on the sidewalk if that weren’t an option. Given how narrow the sidewalk is, though, it’s a choice that’s pretty hostile to pedestrians, and the frequent suburban strip-mall driveways make even that a pretty unsafe.

                Best option would be to take the bus.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty May 25, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    You’re doing it wrong if you clog up the entrance to the bike box so other cyclists can’t get in. Move forward, please!

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    • stephan May 26, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      I noticed that as well and think a good way to address it is to say: This box is for us — let’s all get in here! I’ve done it to good effects and it keeps the conversation positive and productive. Many new or occasional bike riders feel uncomfortable using any but a minimal space of the road. Us regulars can show them how to use the road space in a confident manner. Or they might just not be aware that they block others from reaching the intersection, and we can help them understand that as well.

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  • B. Carfree May 25, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    A list of made-up rules is bad enough, but most of their rules are pathetically wrong. That opening crack about motorists actually being trained was almost too much. Are these people blind? Also, it may come as news to some, but many destinations just happen to be on busy streets. Those streets are also often the most direct and/or safest way to get from A to B.

    Just ride. Do it as often/far/fast as pleases you. Not that it matters, but every body I see on a bicycle brings me joy, so thank you for helping me ward off depression.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu May 25, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    I hate to be the Grinch in this Happyland but it is actually possible to “do it wrong” on a bicycle. We do a disservice to new and not-so-new cyclists if we don’t talk about what is wrong as well as what is right.

    My starter list of “you’re doing it wrong if”

    A. You are riding at night without lights front and rear.
    B. You are riding close to parked cars at speeds that won’t allow you to avoid an opening door.
    C. You are entering an right-turn-allowed intersection with a car or truck on your left.
    D. You are riding among pedestrians on a sidewalk at more than walking speed.
    E. You are listening to music with headphones loud enough that you can’t hear cars.
    F. You are crossing rail tracks at a shallow angle.
    G. You are riding through red lights or stop signs without looking for approaching cars.

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    • Al May 27, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      I’m pretty tolerant of a lot of things but the one thing that gets under my skin is riding the wrong way in a bike lane.

      Just last week, I narrowly avoided a collision with a cyclist going the wrong way in a bike lane when I was making a right hand turn and he was heading straight through the same intersection. There was absolutely zero reaction time for either of us. He didn’t see me pop up at the intersection. I didn’t see him riding the wrong way in the lane I was about to turn into. It was just dumb luck that our wheels missed touching by mere inches. That would have been a bad day for both of us.

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  • mran1984 May 25, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    I ride as fast as I want. I am extremely judgmental of oblivious behavior. Everyone that is new to commuting at work comes to me for advice and assistance. I can’t stick my tongue out far enough when reading a few of these. Where’s Gene Simmons when you need him. BTW, I don’t care how slow you go if you are aware of what is going on around you.

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  • Jim Lee May 26, 2018 at 8:19 am

    I mistook the Merc’s piece for their “Imbecile Parade.”

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  • Beth H May 26, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Jonathan — one of your best posts ever. Thank you so much for spreading the word.

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  • hotrodder May 26, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    I read the headline for the article as tongue in cheek. I read the list and was not offended. I sure didn’t feel like it was trying to be exclusionary or off-putting towards the onslaught of new cyclists. The Merc is a huge proponent and a true evangelist for, among other bike stuff, all of Pedalpalooza. My take was that they were just trying to say, hey, let’s go have fun on bikes, here are some things that you can be aware of that can help. I loved it when they talk about how it’s impossible to look good riding a bike. Pow! Self deprecating humor! Lets have more of that. The world at large is a shithole right now. Do we need to turn every little part of our lives into high drama?
    I love being a part of a huge group of cyclists taking over the streets during the month of June in Portland, not to mention on TNR.
    I love being able to commute to work almost every day in all weather, too.
    I also own and drive a car. A very nice, very fun car, and I enjoy that, too.

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  • Spiffy May 27, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    wow, the Portland Mercury piece was wrong on so many levels… I had to write up a rebuke to nearly every one of their points… are they intentionally trying to scare away new riders? I mean, I know they’re hipsters and it’s their job to tell us how to be cool, but how can they not know how cool people look on bicycles?

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  • Dave May 28, 2018 at 8:10 am

    I liked the Mercury article–sometimes the truth hurts, you know.

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  • X May 28, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Maybe I’m not quite ready to be humorous about riding bikes but thanks anyway Mercury. Too many rules. How about “Treat other people the way you would like to be treated”? Yep, borrowed that.

    And yes, the M has been supporting Pedalpalooza for years.

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  • 9watts May 28, 2018 at 10:13 am

    mh
    What is “pedestrian cycling”?Recommended 1

    Am I the only one who prefers bi-cycling over both emulative alternatives?

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 28, 2018 at 10:20 am

      Bicycular cycling?

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      • 9watts May 28, 2018 at 10:23 am

        Yeah. Something like that. I couldn’t think of a clever way to capture the thing itself in light of all the derivative variants.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 28, 2018 at 10:24 am

          I’ve got you covered. Write it down for next time.

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          • 9watts May 28, 2018 at 10:26 am

            10-4

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    • soren May 28, 2018 at 11:18 am

      *SAFELY* riding a bike in a manner that maximizes its utility almost always puts one in conflict with prevailing attitudes, mores, and laws in the USA. thus, i would also argue that bicycular cyclist is a synonym for “scofflaw”.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 28, 2018 at 2:34 pm

        Driving through a red light when no one is coming is just as safe as doing so on a bike, and improves the utility of driving. It also helps educate other street users about the lameness of older signals that do not adequately respond to immediate conditions.

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        • soren May 28, 2018 at 7:37 pm

          “Driving through a red light when no one is coming is just as safe as doing so on a bike,”

          and, of course, you have no evidence to back this statement up.

          (a person cycling violating car-centric norms often provokes this kind of false equivalency .)

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 28, 2018 at 7:42 pm

          Ok, then adjust my statement to be “When done as safely, driving through a red light…” We can avoid the evidence problem through tautology. I just want to up my driving utility where I can do so as safely as I can on a bike. No harm in that, right?

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          • Middle of the Road Guy May 29, 2018 at 11:00 am

            He won’t be able to apply objectivity to that.

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        • Chris I May 29, 2018 at 9:44 am

          The argument against going through red lights for both bikes and cars “when no one is coming” is, of course, the risk that someone actually is coming, whether that is a pedestrian, or another vehicle. With that in mind, it’s pretty clear that doing so in a motor vehicle is not “just as safe”. It is significantly more dangerous, due to the vehicle’s larger mass, and poor visibility. If you think it is acceptable to do this in a car, is it not also acceptable in a lifted pickup truck? How about an 18-wheeler? You have to draw the line somewhere.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy May 29, 2018 at 11:01 am

            “potentially more dangerous”, but not “actually more dangerous”.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty May 29, 2018 at 11:32 am

            Though I occasionally (rarely) do it on my bike, I would draw the line at “don’t do it.”

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  • Tony R. May 28, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    I recall being harassed many times by other cyclists when I was just starting to ride. New and inexperienced riders deserve our patience. They may seem like a bother but their numbers add to our relative safety.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 28, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      I think it’s safe to say that anyone harassing someone else is simply uncool, for whatever reason. The only exception, maybe, are the people who don’t use the f!@#$%g bike boxes properly. And maybe the people who ride the wrong way on the Hawthorne Bridge. And, possibly, the people who write dumb-assed articles about how people are doing it wrong. But, aside from them, cut the harassment!

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  • Paul B May 28, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Guess I am an odd man out. As a longtime bike commuter and recreational cyclist, I actually did not find too much wrong with the Mercury article. It may have been a bit more in your face than some would like, but there are real problems with how a not insignificant portion of cyclists ride in Portland. Same with the end part about cars. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    • soren May 29, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      “but there are real problems”

      such as…

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  • ps May 29, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Meh, if this article keeps you from riding a bike for either transportation or recreation, you weren’t going to do it anyway. For an activity in which it is easy to endanger yourself or others, sometimes the kid gloves have to come off (ignoring this is the tone of nearly every article in every alt-paper across the country) when discussing conventions. Probably generating plenty of clicks though…

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  • Bill Chin June 1, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Nice picture and article!

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