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Jury’s out on PBOT’s experimental bike-friendly speed bumps

Posted by on November 8th, 2018 at 11:59 am

Experimental bike-friendly speed bump on SE Clinton west of 26th.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

I have a complicated relationship with speed bumps.

“These are terrible, speed bumps have never been an issue for bikes.”

I love them because they slow me down when I’m driving. This means streets are safer and I’m less likely to be in a crash. I like that (and my neighbors do too).

But I don’t like how speed bumps reduce comfort when I’m on my bike. When I’m riding in the city I prefer smooth streets. Even though the angle of the Bureau of Transportation’s speed bumps are relatively chill, I still feel a thump and bump when I go over them (even on my big bike with 2-inch wide tires). If I can, I’ll usually try to veer around the bumps near the curb.

Last week I found myself biking up SE Clinton near 26th when — lo and behold – there was a nice little cutout in the bump that was perfect for my tires to roll through. The nearby sharrow also happened to point right to it as if me and that little groove were destined for each other. I smiled as I rolled through without any bumping or thumping.

Then I posted a picture and glowing review on Instagram. I didn’t think it would be such a hotly debated issue; but it turns out people have many mixed feelings about these. Some say their pedals strike the bump when they go through and the channels are dangerous. Others love them as much as I do. There was also some confusion: Many people (myself included) assumed the cutouts were for emergency response vehicles.

Here’s a sampling of the 70 or so comments our post has gotten so far (a lot for our IG posts):

topramenofficial: You mean the death crevasses? Speed bumps I’m down for but those cut outs are dumber than the 2nd ave bike lane.

icomeoutatnight: Yep, those grooves are great when you pedal hits the speed bump.

liefrunsfar: Those are cool. Can we get them in @fortcollinsgov @bikefc

logangoeswest: Have to disagree with you on those cut outs as well. Not a fan! I usually go around them. If you don’t see one at night and hit it on the edge it really catches you off guard and knocks you to the side a bit. Add rain, cars, pedestrians or any other distraction/obstacle/condition to the mix and I could see a potential hazard. They are just one more you have to watch out for while trying to let your eyes on everything else.

flybytyre: Those things are for sure death traps.

toddbschmidt88: I have bottomed out a crank a few times trying to go through those cuts on NE 28th, so I just go over them now.

Advertise with BikePortland.

gabrielamadeus: These are terrible, speed bumps have never been an issue for bikes, but now these off camber curious are totally a hazard. Not to mention vehicles driving/swerving erratically trying to align their tires.

portlandgypsycab: Definitely opposed to these cut outs. Cars aim for them, bikes can’t really. It’s just easier to go over a smooth bump on the bike.

feministvagenda: When u aren’t expecting those groves they can be quite a shock! I can see how if you know they’re coming u can make them work to your advantage, but they can be dangerous for those who aren’t in the know.

hobotech_: The cargobike bottoms out on them and if you hit them wrong in the dark you’d better hold on. I haven’t had a crank hit yet but I bet that sucks. They’re the new MAX tracks.

jbogli: if I’m driving I swerve to get the smooooth spot – no lie.

geraldfitt: Also not a fan of the cut outs. They are more a hazard than they are a benefit. Glad to see most people agree on this issue. Let’s ban em.

Speed bump on NW Cornell that’s routinely used by auto users — even though a sign says to not cross the centerline.

sarah_iannarone: I find them dangerous and annoying. They’re definitely not designed w bikes in mind. Must be for firetrucks or something.

bike2brews: I came across them for the first time in the dark and almost ate it. Not a fan.

aggieotis: I love them. They allow me to shoot the line and have a smooth ride the whole way down. When carrying my kid on the bike going to school we don’t get tossed up like on a regular speed bump. And I have 200mm cranks on my regular bike (so my pedals are about an inch lower than most peoples) and I’ve checked these bumps and there’s no risk of pedal strike at all. Thanks PBOT for trying something new. I love it!

Turns out I wrote about these bumps before they went in back in January 2017. At that time I reported that PBOT would experiment with a design that would be both bike and fire-truck friendly. The city has installed fire-friendly speed bumps at several locations, including NW Cornell, and has had mixed results: They reduced speeds and emergency vehicles can get through them, but everyday drivers also swerve into the channels, creating a hazard for other road users (see photo).

After the Instagram post spurred such a difference of opinion, I decided to follow up with PBOT.

Communications Director John Brady confirmed this morning that these bumps were not designed with emergency vehicles in mind. “They are ‘bike-friendly’ speed bumps that we are testing out,” Brady shared via email. “They’re specifically designed for people on bikes.”

So… What were the test results?

“We’ve done some field observations and found that the vast majority of bikers used the channel that’s provided and that most cars were not.”

That’s good to hear; but their observations don’t mesh with the feedback we got on Instagram.

I’ve asked Brady for more details on their assessment and whether or not PBOT plans to make these standard issue on all neighborhood greenways in the future. I’ll update this post when I hear back.

Have you ridden over these? Do you like them? Or would you rather change the channels? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

— 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

132 Comments
  • Todd November 8, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    I’ve ridden on Clinton every day since they repaved it, and I definitely use the speed-bump cutouts. I don’t really see how they’re dangerous, except for the fact that they’re fairly full of loose asphalt gravel right now–but I think that issue should ease as the gravel gets strewn about through car/bike use.

    That said, I find the positioning of the cutouts a little annoying. They’re in the middle of the lane, not in the area where I (and I assume others) bike, which is on the right. This means I have to swerve into the middle of the lane to use them. Which is fine if no one is behind me. But still.

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    • Q November 8, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Take the lane, you don’t have to cower in the gutter. FRAPping is not your friend.

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      • soren November 9, 2018 at 12:21 pm

        Unless someone is riding at the normal speed of traffic they are legally required to ride “as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway”.

        https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.430

        Sharrows have no legal meaning in OR and provide a false sense of security, just like crossbikes. In fact, one of the reasons I ALWAYS ride as far right as is practicable on neighborhood greenways is because I’m worried that someone driving will kill me and my family will not be able to sue or get insurance money.

        /s

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 9, 2018 at 12:25 pm

          You don’t need to ride in the door zone, which sort of forces you into the middle of the lane. Sharrows have no legal meaning, but they do generally align with a safe and legal riding position.

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          • John Lascurettes November 9, 2018 at 1:41 pm

            Agree with Kitty. Riding outside of the door zone is riding as far right as practicable from a legal standpoint. And I will not swerve into the parking zone just because there’s a two-car gap — that’s just as dangerous because it winks you in and out of visibility to traffic approaching from behind. Hold the line. Be predictable.

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          • soren November 9, 2018 at 2:14 pm

            The sharrows on Clinton and on many NG’s are in the center of the roadway. This is not a legal riding position for people riding below the normal speed of traffic.

            The disrespect of the law on this issue is shocking and makes us all look bad.

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            • soren November 9, 2018 at 2:28 pm

              Just in case it’s not obvious, the point of my two posts above is to argue that traffic laws are so ambiguous and incomplete when it comes to cycling that it makes sense to be more tolerant of harmless law-breaking by people who bike. As we have seen on multiple occasions, when the law is ambiguous it can be interpreted in a biased manner (irrespective of the disapproval of bike lawyers and advocates).

              The city could pass an ordinance that defines Neighborhood Greenways as bike paths. This would allow people to legally use the full lane according to 814.430 without any ambiguity.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 9, 2018 at 2:32 pm

                I missed that (see post below), but I don’t think there’s much jeopardy from any ambiguity in the law.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 9, 2018 at 2:29 pm

              To you, riding as far right is practicable may be in the door zone, but to others, on a street like Clinton, it is more-or-less where the sharrows are. I will reconsider your interpretation when someone gets a ticket for riding in-line with sharrows that withstands a court challenge.

              Until then, I will continue to use the center of the lane, legally and safely.

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              • soren November 11, 2018 at 7:56 pm

                I just want to note that I personally go out of my way to violate these ridiculous laws in a safe and courteous manner. Traffic laws should apply to behavior where there is genuine risk of harm (e.g. driving) not behavior that poses negligible risk and is a pervasive public good.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 11, 2018 at 9:24 pm

                The point is that when you ride on Clinton (or streets like it), you don’t need to violate any laws to be safe and practical. While this may be bad for your image as a traffic outlaw, it is good for the rest of us.

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          • soren November 9, 2018 at 2:48 pm

            Ironically, I and a few other BikeLoud people were instrumental in pushing PBOT to install those signs on Clinton and Ankeny. They are still advisory signs and, therefore, ambiguous. It’s weird that there has been so much resistance to defining Neighborhood Greenways as bike paths. My guess is that this is due to a fear that people like me would seize on this definition to demand even more aggressive limits on motorvehicle through-access (and they are right!).

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            • John Lascurettes November 9, 2018 at 3:32 pm

              Plain and simple according to federal highway standards:
              White signs are regulatory signs, not advisory signs. Yellow signs are advisories. There is ZERO ambiguity that bikes may use the full lane.

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              • soren November 9, 2018 at 5:39 pm

                It is my understanding that the FHWA does not consider signs that pertain to people walking or biking as “regulatory”; rather, they are simply “Pedestrian and Bicycle Signs”:

                https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/services/publications/fhwaop02084/

                Please notice the theme of ambiguity when it comes to cycling!

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 8, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      You should be in the middle of the lane so you don’t get doored.

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      • alex toevs November 12, 2018 at 9:23 am

        i disagree. riding in the middle of the lane is selfish and restricts the flow of (bike) traffic. ride biased enough to the right to be out of the door zone and give space on the left for others to pass.

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  • John Lascurettes November 8, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    I appreciate the effort and thought behind the cutouts, but I’m really not bothered at all by the vast majority of the speed humps around town (some are exceptions when they have a front edge to them like those in the photo). They’re way more comfortable to take on a bike at speed than in a car (though they’re all just fine at 20mph in a car. Even the more bumpy speed humps are less of a problem than the average cracked-concrete bikeways and potholes around town.

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    • John Lascurettes November 8, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      As far as the cutouts go, when I experience them, I will go through them if they’re convenient — but I’m always looking for the alignment on the rest of the road that avoids the most potholes and rough concrete or pavement and other debris.

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      • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:17 pm

        Have you ridden Clinton?

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        • John Lascurettes November 8, 2018 at 4:41 pm

          I have not. But I have ridden these troughs elsewhere (NE 28th?).

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          • paikiala November 9, 2018 at 9:28 am

            Not the same.

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  • Clicky Freewheel November 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    PBOT yet again shows they have no idea what people who actually ride bikes need. These speed bumps are a death trap. If you take the channel, you risk hitting your pedal or skimming your tire on the side, leading to a crash. Especially at night, since the street is so poorly lit. (another PBOT safety bungle is how dark our streets are!) Now I am forced to ride into oncoming traffic to avoid the grooves and I almost got hit by a car trying to pass me at the same time the other day because of this. PBOT’s utter negligence (and frankly outright hostility at times) is going to get someone killed. Someone needs to sue PBOT and Her Majesty Commissioner Eudaly so that they can get their sh!t together, because I am frankly fed up with it.

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    • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Have you ridden Clinton (since the test bumps went in)?

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      • Clicky Freewheel November 9, 2018 at 10:14 am

        Yes, I ride on Clinton many times per day. I ride outside the door zone down the middle of the lane. I tried riding through the cutouts once or twice but it was too hard to keep my bike perfectly straight and it felt unsafe. I nearly scraped my wheel on the inside asphault and hit my pedal on the bump itself. Not to mention the grooves are full of gravel (wonder what these are going to be like after PBOT lays down the gravel for ice).

        So now I move to the left to avoid the groove, since moving to the right would put me in the door zone. If I move to the left at the same time an oncoming car is passing a cyclist or trying to drive with one side of wheels in the groove (yes I have seen cars do this) then it puts me very close to oncoming traffic; close enough for a potential crash.

        These channels are unsafe because they add more unpredictability to an already chaotic street. Diverters at 12th and 26th would have been a much better solution.

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    • rain panther November 8, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      Forced to ride into oncoming traffic? Sounds familiar, almost like something I’ve heard from certain motor vehicle operators…

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      • maxD November 9, 2018 at 9:03 am

        If I am riding down the center of the lane, far enough to the left to avoid getting doored, and cars in the other direction are swerving into my lane so that one set of their wheels can use the cut-out in the speed bump, then, yeah, I am being forced into on-coming traffic.

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        • paikiala November 9, 2018 at 9:30 am

          Except if CF is relating an experience from somewhere else, not Clinton, since the Clinton layout is unique.

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        • Rain Panther November 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm

          Oh, I thought forced into oncoming traffic meant crossing the center into the opposing lane. My mistake!

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  • TonyT
    TonyT November 8, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    I REALLY don’t like them. Especially at night, if you don’t nail the center of the cut out, hitting the angled side can be pretty sketchy. I imagine it’ll be even worse in the rain. And I’ve observed numerous drivers veering to try to hit them.

    I’d much rather PBOT focus on giving us kid-friendly bike routes that don’t climb every hill in Portland.

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    • John Lascurettes November 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      Yes, drivers swerving to try and use these is a much bigger safety problem than any theoretical convenience they’d give a bicycle rider!

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  • Q November 8, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Agree with Gabe, speed bumps are a non issue for bikes. If you’re actually having trouble with them on 2″ tires your pressure is way too high.

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    • John Lascurettes November 8, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      I’m 100% fine with most of the humps on 32mm tires with high pressure. I really don’t understand the problem here.

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      • Clicky Freewheel November 8, 2018 at 1:29 pm

        I ride with the same tires as you and while it is technically “fine” if you stand on the pedals a bit when riding over the bump, it’s still very annoying. The city should be working to make cycling safer and more comfortable, not “very annoying”.

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        • John Lascurettes November 8, 2018 at 2:19 pm

          I do not find the need to stand on the pedals to lessen the effect of the humps. Our milage varies I guess. I’m really not annoyed by them at all. The bumps on the floating esplanade are far worse annoyances to me.

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          • Clicky Freewheel November 8, 2018 at 2:31 pm

            Oh I totally agree, those joints on the floating path are the worst.

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          • X November 10, 2018 at 4:11 pm

            Again the devil is in the details. The Esplanade is such a sweet run through the city, possibly it’s the only thing we have that really IS world class. It’s both a thoroughfare and a place to go. It serves pedestrians walking and running, it serves people on all kinds of bikes with no lines or signs, people fishing, people boating, bird watching and even swimming. People putting scarves on statues. But those transitions–can’t that be fixed?

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      • Q November 9, 2018 at 3:54 pm

        Once you get over about 50mm or so a high volume high pressure tire starts acting like a basketball, very sproingy. The reason for these widths is shock absorption so they act way better at 30 psi or less. Anyone having problems is probably pumping up to the sidewall max of 40-50.

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  • zuckerdog November 8, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    I thought this style of speedbumps was intended/designed to lessen the impediment to emergency vehicles – like the ones on Cornell Rd.

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    • John Lascurettes November 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      As explicitly stated in the article per PBOT comment, nope.

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    • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      Fire friendly bumps have a narrow section a fire truck can straddle. The Clinton version does not.

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  • zuckerdog November 8, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Those with 175mm crank arms should heed notice

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  • David November 8, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Having seen, and used, a number of these around town I have mixed feelings. Mostly the quality of the channel is mixed. The one pictured for this article is okay quality, there is a relatively wide channel though the lines are not that clean. Meanwhile on NE/SE 28th the channels are absolutely unusable as not enough room was left so even the bottom was paved so it feels more hazardous than just going over the bump.

    These speed bumps are like much of the bike infrastructure – varied. It would just be nice to have a consistent treatment so it’s not necessary to assess each type of treatment as something unique.

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    • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      28th was contractor work.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 8, 2018 at 4:11 pm

        Do contractors need to meet city standards when they do road work?

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        • paikiala November 9, 2018 at 9:30 am

          one would think so…

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 9, 2018 at 9:55 am

            Why are the bumps sub-standard?

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            • paikiala November 11, 2018 at 10:51 am

              The ones I’ve seen appear to be missing the gap between the edge tapers.

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  • AMA November 8, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    I have scraped my pedals on them on 28th. Plus, you get a weird sideways jerk like you’ve hit a rut if I don’t hit them just right. They seem particularly dangerous at night. Not a huge fan.

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  • Nathan November 8, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Cutouts cause unexpected behavior of both cyclists and drivers and increase the wet slip-out factor. I feel like more diverters and just normal speed bunps would be the best route to go for making bikeways a bit more approachable and would be better than increasing the number of speedbumps and using these cutouts.

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  • Moleskin November 8, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    they work for me.

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  • mh November 8, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    I WANT them to be useful, but have not been happy with earlier iterations.

    On greenways, absolutely, put them in the middle of the travel lane. Line the sharrows up with them (they usually are painted right between the wear marks from car tires), and make it obvious that bicyclists will take the lane.

    They should be very visible and well lit at night. I don’t want to accidentally approach one at its edge, rather than in the center. I’ll have to try pedaling through this one, and see if my pedals scrape it.

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  • Caitlin D November 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    I appreciate that PBOT was trying to make things easier for us, but I don’t like the cutouts. Going slowly uphill on Clinton, they can be handy, but the downhill ones make me nervous because I feel like I’m going too fast to line up with them correctly. So now it takes a little extra effort to make sure I’m positioned correctly to avoid them, whereas before I could be positioned anyplace in the lane. I’d prefer regular speed bumps.

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    • Bald One November 8, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      I agree that best practice should be no cut-out on downhill and yes cut-out on uphill. But, uphill cutout needs to be bigger and wider (not wide enough for both sets of car wheels to get through, but way wider than these). If PBOT could manage to put these things far enough apart that no possible dream of getting both car wheels through both of them at the same time was possible, and to make the cut much wider for all bikes to get through safely, I think all problems would be solved.

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      • maxD November 9, 2018 at 9:07 am

        Any cut-out could have a dangerous side-slope and could cause a pedal strike if you ride too close to it. The width of the cutout is only part of the problem. I agree that wider is better, but having them at all creates surprising and unsafe road conditions for people on bikes- not worth it IMO

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  • Jordan F November 8, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    I appreciate the thought, but I don’t like these at all. My night vision isn’t great, so it’s faster for me to just ride over a speed bump I can see than slow down to squint for a gap. I wish PBOT would spend their time and development dollars on improving infrastructure that’s actually dangerous.

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    • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Road users should adjust their behavior and choices based on road conditions, weather and personal capabilities.

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      • Jordan F November 9, 2018 at 8:45 pm

        And… I do. I just prefer to deal with infrastructure that doesn’t slow me way down in certain (common) conditions.

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  • Tom Hardy November 8, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    I much prefer the cutouts. I appreciated them on NW Cornell road a few years ago going downhill. Then they disappeared for a few years. The short white lines in the groove would help a lot in inclement light. It was fun following the motorcycle policemen down the hill on my road bike. It was also fun watching the BMW -3’s going airborne over the bumps and it was nice and smooth for me. The next time the BMW was behind me when he came down crooked when chasing me at well over 35 . He caught the curb and bent a wheel.

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    • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      The NW Cornell Cushions never went away.

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  • grrlpup November 8, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    I don’t use them while cycling because they’re seldom exactly where I want to ride. But they do make the #10 bus ride up SE Harold smoother.

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  • Andrea Brown November 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Not everybody rides a two-wheeled bike. Not everybody rides a bike with standard-sized wheels or with a standard wheel base length. We have kids on tiny bikes with tiny wheels going slowly trying to maintain a straight line and wobbling nervously through the gap instead of looking ahead of them. We have oldies like me who don’t see that well going slowly uphill noticing the gap at the last second and hoping for a miracle. I am in the camp of: speed bumps, early and often, if they keep car drivers feeling disenchanted with this bike greenway, awesome. But I do not like the cutouts AT ALL. In wet, slick, dark conditions, they seem like a death trap. And cars swerving to get into them? Jesus take the wheel.

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  • maxD November 8, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Not a fan. I have 175 cranks and get pedal-strikes. The sides of the cut-outs are too steep and they are very sketchy if you hit the side. When riding 28th, I am often right behind a car with a car tailgating me, and I am focusing on that and cross traffic. These bumps and hazardous cut-outs are an unwelcome obstacle to navigate that takes my concentration off the traffic,

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    • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:14 pm

      Have you ridden Clinton?

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      • maxD November 8, 2018 at 5:54 pm

        I have ridden Clinton. Those are easier to navigate, especially when there are fewer cars so there is more flexibility and comfort when choosing lane position. I still do not prefer them since if you are not paying attention and you hit the side of the cutout it is very jarring and unsettling. Also, the pedal strike potential is present on Clinton. For me, the risk and discomfort far outweighs the slight convenience they offer.

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  • alex toevs November 8, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    i do not like these cut outs at all. way sketch on a fixed gear. I have to move further left in the lane to avoid them. cars like to avoid the bump by swerving thru them.

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    • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      Have you ridden Clinton?

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      • TonyT
        TonyT November 9, 2018 at 12:23 pm

        Why are you responding to so many comments with the exact same question? Clinton isn’t some worm hole of magic that negates people’s negative experiences with these things. I ride Clinton all the time. I really don’t like them. They will take someone out at night in the rain. Guaranteed.

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        • Momo November 9, 2018 at 3:55 pm

          He’s asking because the ones on Clinton were designed specifically with bikes in mind, whereas the others in town were designed for fire trucks.

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      • alex toevs November 12, 2018 at 9:03 am

        only SE 28th from ankeny to glisan.

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  • I wear many hats November 8, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Every speed hump is an opportunity to air it out on your commute. Now we’re all going to have to dodge these cutouts to get rad.

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  • Bill Stites November 8, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Definitely NOT a fan. They depend on too much going right, and not enough accommodation for real-world challenges. I think they are dangerous, and I avoid them.

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    • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Have you ridden Clinton?

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  • Buzz November 8, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I agree with the concept but the execution often leaves a lot to be desired – lots of rough pavement and loose sand and gravel on the road surface in the middle of the cutouts, and narrow cuts and steep sidewalls which can lead to unexpected pedal strikes if your bike has a low bottom bracket or long crank arms and you’re not perfectly centered in the cutouts.

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    • soren November 9, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      I agree that their is too much asphalt pebble debris. Perhaps some sort of angled roller could be used to better compress the asphalt. Some tar sealer might be a good idea too.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 9, 2018 at 3:10 pm

        I think it just needs a good sweeping. What would be cool is a sweeping attachment for a bike to let people clean as they ride.

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        • paikiala November 11, 2018 at 10:53 am

          Sweeping has been requested.

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  • Alan Love November 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    I ride Clinton everyday and I’ve not had a single problem with the cutouts, but that’s my individual use case. Given other conditions (different bikes, etc.) it’s seems prudent for PBOT to call this experiment done. The contiguous bumps on SW Ladd (technically the Harrison/Lincoln Greenway) function just fine with regards to slowing traffic without the potential risks associated with the cutouts.

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    • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      Done after 4 days?

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      • Bald One November 8, 2018 at 6:49 pm

        Right, I’m sure a sewer line connection street cut permit will go in through one of these new devices next month (and another each month for the next 10 years). Plenty of time for this road to return to its previous glory.

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  • Dawn McNeill November 8, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    I also ride Clinton daily and I hate the new cutouts. Regular speed bumps are fine. In addition to dark and/or rainy conditions, I really (really) worry about how people will fare when navigating the cut outs in icy or snowy conditions…both cars and cyclists.

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  • Orig_JF November 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    I am just glad that bike lanes are not that narrow.

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  • Steve B. November 8, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Another member of the pedal scraper club here. Not a big fan.

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    • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Have you ridden Clinton?

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      • paikiala November 8, 2018 at 4:25 pm

        It’s a poll!

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  • rain panther November 8, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Personally I usually avoid the channels. Same with the gutter. Both seem likely to retain debris that might cause a puncture. Never had any problem with the bumps, except when bits of asphalt have come loose at the front edge.

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  • Bald One November 8, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Fantastic story. Thank you for this (and for the photo of the elusive 7′ street sweeper – is that picture for real??). This is why I read BP.

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  • Bald One November 8, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    I wonder if the over-riding theory that drives PBOT to install speed bumps on bike greenways is supported by any useful and timely data. Seems like speeders are going to speed regardless of these devices. I used to have on in front of my house: endless noise of squeaking brakes on the frontside and clouds of tailpipe pollution and roar of engine on the backside. Is the value worth the annoyance to all? Seems like diverters are better.

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    • paikiala November 9, 2018 at 9:34 am

      There is plenty of evidence regarding the efficacy of speed bumps to slow all traffic and especially the fastest traffic, but jerks will be jerks.

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  • Schrauf November 8, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Do people hitting pedals on these gradual humps actually bike often? How do they stay upright consistently? Do they pedal during sharp turns as well? I recommend they pause pedaling when going over or adjacent to minor obstacles. And get up off the seat to absorb the shock with their legs. This is biking 101.

    And being surprised by these speed humps at night – I hope that was before they painted the white stripes, or are they riding with no lights?

    The speed humps obviously have pros and cons, but if these are more of a problem than the typical shredded and cracked pavement in this city, I recommend training wheels, or maybe an SUV.

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    • maxD November 9, 2018 at 9:12 am

      that is pretty condescending! I ride daily and have used a bike as my primary mode of transportation for nearly 30 years in a couple of different cities, small town and briefly in a rural community. I also ride over a thousand miles per year for recreation around the state. And I hate these cutouts and get pedal strikes.

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    • paikiala November 9, 2018 at 9:35 am

      The markings are put in at the same time as the bumps.

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    • alex toevs November 12, 2018 at 9:09 am

      fixed gears require pedaling to move forward 😉 i guess one could stop peddling to go thru but then you would not go thru and this paradox could destroy traffic flow all together.

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  • Al November 8, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    I like the speed bump notches. If they don’t work for you, then don’t use them.

    I first encountered these on NW Cornell years ago. That street has signs indicating that cars may not veer across the yellow lines to use them. They are also useful for motorcycles.

    My guess is that fixie riders have the biggest problem with them.

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    • maxD November 9, 2018 at 9:14 am

      If traffic is light, I agree- they are easy to avoid. If you are riding in traffic, or in the dark, these things can surprise you. If you hit the side of the cut-out if can cause a dangerous wobble or you can strike the bump with your pedal. The risk outweighs the reward, IMO.

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      • paikiala November 9, 2018 at 9:35 am

        Have you ridden Clinton?

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        • maxD November 9, 2018 at 9:44 am

          To repaeat my previous answer to your previous (identical) question- yes. Don’t like the cut-outs.

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  • David LaPorte November 8, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    I ride over them every day in Tigard and Metzger, and I love them! Especially when I’m heading down a steep hill, like going westbound on Pine between 72nd and 80th. Occasionally I see drivers try to straddle them, but the ones out there are pretty widely spaced. I assume they’re for emergency service vehicles. They are also wide and sloped enough that hitting the pedals isn’t an issue. I’ve found they work a lot better on un-striped residential roads. When they are on striped roads with bike lanes (like on Locust between 87th and 90th), you have to leave the bike lane to hit them, which can invoke some suburban anti-bike rage.

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  • Mark Remy November 8, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    I use the cutouts, usually, where they’re available. Never given it a second thought. Also never “scraped a pedal” (?!?), or “bottomed out,” or experienced any of the other horror stories I’m seeing here.

    Other times, I just relax my arms, rise off the saddle a bit, and glide over the bump. Also to no ill effects.

    Maybe my bike is magic.

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  • Eric Leifsdad November 8, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    How do they work on a trike? It would be much better to get rid of the cars and have no speed humps. They could maybe put in some actual bumps, like parking lot triple speed bumps that shake bolts loose, with a cut through. Better to have vertical obstacles so drivers need to worry about scraping their paint, and bigger tires don’t make jersey barriers easier to ignore.

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    • paikiala November 9, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Parking lot bumps don’t affect drivers unless driven over slowly, ironically. The faster you drive over such bumps the better a car’s shock absorbers work to dampen the jolt. The same is true for all bumps, it’s just the speed you have to drive on a roadway speed hump is insanely (reckless endangerment) high.

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  • Mark H. Linehan November 9, 2018 at 5:51 am

    I don’t see the need for these speed bump cutouts. I ride through Ladd’s Addition every work day, and I’m fine with the newly-installed speed bumps on Ladd Avenue. Maybe because I have 35 mm tires. But there are always a bunch of riders during the morning rush hour, and none of us slow down for those bumps.

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    • Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM November 9, 2018 at 7:54 am

      Perhaps speed is not the only important thing? Perhaps it is jolting or unpleasant for some of the people you ride with, or perhaps there are different types of riders out there who also matter? People carting kids or cargo around have different bikes and preferences than commuters, and retirees do as well. Speed bumps were definitely unpleasant for me and my kids on my aluminum box-bike with ~1.75 in. tires. When I lived in Portland, I would stand up out of the saddle because of the jolts, and stop pedaling while going over speed bumps for fear that the bump would jolt my feet off my pedals.

      I would imagine that older or less-fit riders would have more difficult standing out of the saddle than I did. I would also imagine that older riders and people with sensitive limbs/whatever would find the bumps more unpleasant than I did.

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      • maxD November 9, 2018 at 9:17 am

        good points, but the cut-outs will not help bikes with trailers or trikes. I would love to see PBOT commit to making bike streets better for bikes with more diversion, and keep the speed bumps off altogether. If we have to have speed bumps, I prefer them to not have cut-outs.

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        • Alex Reedin November 9, 2018 at 12:12 pm

          We totally agree; see my exchange with Paikiala below.

          The reason I was a little prickly in my comment was that I’m just tired of people blithely ignoring others’ experience on here and saying, “Well, when I bike, that’s no problem for ME, and no one’s ever mentioned it to me in person. (implication: it’s not a problem worth worrying about).” Different people bike differently, have different bodies, different bikes, different needs. Your little world may not include the people impacted, but if there are people on here saying they’re impacted, there are people impacted.

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          • maxD November 9, 2018 at 4:18 pm

            well said, thanks for clarifying.

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  • Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM November 9, 2018 at 7:47 am

    I moved out of town before the Clinton bumps went in. However, I did ride the 28th bumps. Although I feared that the box on my box-bike would scrape the top of the bump, it didn’t end up doing that. Nonetheless, I believe that there are some bikes out there for which the pedals or something else scrapes.

    These bumps may be a modest improvement on normal speed bumps/humps/cushions/pillows/mattresses/whatever. I do agree with the general feedback that speed bumps/humps/cushions/pillows/mattresses/whatever don’t belong on greenways. The metric for greenway speed compliance shouldn’t be a percentage of vehicles speeding at X speed or above, but rather a *number* of vehicles per day speeding at X speed or above. If a section of greenway is out of compliance and chicanes/etc. are too expensive, additional diversion should be a tool in the toolbox to reduce the impact of speeding on people walking and biking. Currently, it’s not, because the metric is defined in a way that doesn’t comport with the actual experience of people walking and biking.

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    • paikiala November 9, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Alex,
      The daily and peak hour volume metrics address your proposal.

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      • Alex Reedin November 9, 2018 at 12:09 pm

        Hi Paikiala – Yes, the totality of the metrics is in my opinion enough to keep vehicle traffic from being uncomfortable. (Well, I think the daily and hourly VPD standards are really too high, but that’s another matter. It’s rather sick IMO that the standard for VPD on adjacent streets impacted by greenway changes – 1000 VPD – is MORE stringent than even the City’s stretch goal for greenways -1500 VPD).

        However, back to the matter at hand. IMO, the greenway report metrics don’t correctly guide PBOT to the right interventions in the right places. If in Segment #1 there are only 100 vehicles per day, and they’re evenly spread throughout the day, the daily and peak hour metrics will be met. However, if all of those 100 vehicles are speeding 30-35 MPH, that fails the speed test and in theory calls for action.

        If we compare that theoretical greenway segment to Segment #2 with say 2300 vehicles per day that are meeting the speed test, as a bike rider I think it’s obvious that the 2300 VPD segment much more strongly calls for action, but the metrics as written certainly don’t make that obvious. The type of action indicated on segment #1 (speed control) vs. #2 (vehicle volume control) differs as well.

        Overall, I would much rather see PBOT use diversion as the #1 tool to address both total volume and volume of speeding vehicles. If there’s a segment where the speed of people on *bikes* is a problem, absolutely put speed bumps there. But in the rest of the greenway, I just don’t think there ought to be any speed bumps. As various people have pointed out above, both normal speed bumps and modified speed bumps are uncomfortable to some people on bikes – and my qualitative judgment from what I hear from people is that the distribution of dislike to speed bumps for people biking is stronger than the distribution of dislike to speed bumps for people driving. IMO, we shouldn’t be using a deterrent infrastructure element on a bikeway that inflicts more discomfort on people biking than on people driving.

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        • paikiala November 11, 2018 at 11:07 am

          In my 20+ years of experience with bumps, the dislike is about the same regardless of mode, a vocal 10%.
          Those two segments in your example, different greenways or the same greenway(?), because it would be uncommon to have very low and very high volumes on the same greenway.
          The standards were drafted based on risk and comfort. The risk of injury and death being struck by a heavy car exponentially rises with the speed of that vehicle, while probability of a crash is related to how many cars are using the street. ‘Safe’ is relative and personal, just like ‘comfort’, but minimizing fatal outcomes is a higher priority to me than minimizing discomfort. Many residents have related that they don’t mind volume as much as speed of cars on their streets, so perhaps this is a carryover from historical norms.

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          • Alex Reedin November 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm

            …and direct fatal physical outcomes are linked to the *number* of speeding motor vehicles, not the *percentage*.

            Personally, to me, reducing the number of trips made by polluting, noisy, and directly physically deadly motor vehicles is the highest priority. The academic literature I’ve read in a number of disciplines makes it clear to me that the health impacts of driving from:
            -Inactivity (both direct – driving instead of walking – and indirect – not walking because all the cars make it unpleasant and inconvenient)
            -Local air pollution
            -Global air pollution (climate change)
            FAR outweigh the direct fatalities from crashes (sadly high though those are).

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  • paikiala November 9, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Have you ridden Clinton?

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    • paikiala November 9, 2018 at 9:32 am

      System is posting to wrong location, again.

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  • mikeybikey November 9, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I would probably give the wheel runs a go as Im not a big fan of the speed bumps. I am wondering about the potential for hazard, particularly in low light conditions. at the end of the day it seems like another case of needless experimentation when better solutions already exist around the world. For example, I believe one tool The Netherlands uses to address the need to balance keeping neighborhood streets calmed w/o impact to cyclists is instead raising the entire intersection to sidewalk level. This has added benefit to pedestrians as well.

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    • paikiala November 11, 2018 at 11:09 am

      The longer the bump, the less effective it is at slowing autos. Raised intersections are just larger versions of speed tables, and less effective at achieving the 20 mph target speed.

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  • PS November 9, 2018 at 11:10 am

    These are the worst, when I am laying down 1200 watts to go for that KOM and my real time segment is telling my I NEED 2 seconds, I get the infamous slim slam shim sham on my dang thing so bad I think I am going to crash on my 31.675c’s at 150 psi. My rack dangler definitely feels like it is going to scratch the slope curb, but usually just gets in some hi jinx with my crank leg attachment. All in all, hope PBOT can install runway lights on these in the future so my cataracts can line up and let me bunny hop the dang gutter rats all the way from Clinton to Cornell, that would be nice.

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    • soren November 9, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      I’m typing this from a hospital bed because my wheel disintegrated after striking one of these DANGEROUS asphalt canyons. I endoed and was thrown 50 feet through the air causing me to slam into a DANGEROUS diverter and be run over by a Mom cycling a bakfiets (also DANGEROUS).

      I’m going to sue the city and force them to replace my Zipp 858 NSW wheel!

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      • PS November 9, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        Bummer town bruh, #ididntchoosethekomlifeitchoseme AM I RIGHT?!? With enough “Floyd Landis CBD Intravenous Drip brought to you by Floyd Landis for Floyd Landis Dispensary” (NOT AN AD!), you’ll be back to slay town in now time. Get whats yours from the city too, urban race tracks are no place for roadway experiments. Highly recommend custom 174mm cranks, as other posters have noted, 175mm is a DEATH wish and 170mm are for children who leave WATTS on the table.

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        • soren November 9, 2018 at 3:16 pm

          Dude! Calfee has a special on custom carbon nanotube hyperfoil cranks! Use my code (CLINTONGRANFONDO) and we each get 10 free boxes of ultra-light banana-caramel energy gels.

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  • DimitriosP November 9, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    From the varied experiences it sounds like it’s very bike dependent. I’m able to clear them when pedaling so I appreciate them. I feel like I’m paying for somebody else’s sins every time I ride or drive over a speed bump 🙂

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  • Todd Boulanger November 9, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    The technical name for this traffic calming device: Speed Cushions.

    They were imported into the NW by the City of Vancouver (WA) from a pilot project in Austin Texas and Netherlands back in 2000 for the Evergreen Blvd. shared bikeway. Yes they are typically very fire truck / EMS friendly as it gets for vertical traffic calming…these tool were a big confidence building measure with the VFD to support traffic calming (and thus traffic safety outcomes) that avoided injuries vs. just thinking about response times for reacting to injuries and fighting fires.*

    And from the photo it looks like it may be an installation problem with the side walls unravelling. It does pavement contractors AND city inspectors time to get used to installing new tools…we had a similar learning curve almost 20 years ago.

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  • bendite November 9, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Someone who’s never been on a mountain bike will crash on these.

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  • X November 10, 2018 at 11:36 am

    I have not ridden Clinton since these were installed so let’s get that out of the way.

    Those little trenches are rideable, sometimes I ride through worse stuff for the heck of it. But, I hate them on first principles: They have rough transitions that could cause a crash if a person inadvertently rides a line that crosses the sidewall. Trikes and trailers, see above. (Fixies are a choice.) They limit the path choices of a bike rider which is a serious hazard on a street with both parked cars and aggressive motor vehicle operation. Some bike riders will choose to ride on the curb side of the obstacle which puts them in the door zone. Et cetera.

    If the proposed fix is a dangerous obstacle that’s not vision zero.

    This is a fail. Put me in the group of “diverters and no speed bumps or it’s not a greenway.” Speed bumps are a way to suggest speed discretion on a street meant to carry lots of cars.

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  • Don't Stop Be-Glenn-ing (hold onto that feeling) November 10, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    I always assumed they were for drainage. Like to let surface water runoff, run off.

    If you’re striking pedals, that seems like a design flaw – perhaps the cutout is too narrow and/or its sides are too steep (rising too high within too small of a lateral distance away from the bike’s centerline).

    On the other hand, I worry about the gene pool a little bit when I hear so many people claiming inability to negotiate one of these. One thing: If you can’t see them at night, you need a light.

    Regardless, I most resent the bump itself, not the cutout. They’re basically car infrastructure, imposed on me as a way of modifying the behavior of drivers of cars. Of course you can argue that it’s also there to keep me safe. Sure, just like the bulletproof vests we’ll probably all be wearing in a few years. I’ll appreciate its protective properties while I lament that it’s necessary at all.

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  • Andrew Kreps November 10, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    I’ll repeat here what I wrote on instagram- I saw a half dozen riders crash because of these bumps in a single pedalpalooza ride last summer.

    They have no visible warning that they are approaching, they aren’t installed in a predictable/repeated manner (take a look at Crystal Springs) and don’t do a damn thing for me biking. I avoid the channel because it’s as likely to throw me off my line due to a sloppy install as it is to let me through unscathed.

    I’ll hit the bump until they figure out how to do it without putting me at risk.

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    • soren November 11, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Have you ridden Clinton recently?

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  • Welsh Pete November 13, 2018 at 8:34 am

    The cut outs are fine. If you ride with any form of competence on most bikes they should not be a problem. I like them but they certainly are not necessary. I’m just as happy to go over a speed bump. Over the last few years, I’ve set my bike up to ride with bigger higher volume (lower PSI tires) because its just more comfortable, safe and fun. If something like a speed bump inconveniences your ride you might be on the wrong bike… (cargo bikes excepted). Side note, speed bumps make a skateboard commute more fun. Get to crack a big old ollie on top.

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  • Chris Balduc November 13, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    The cutouts in the new Clinton speedbumps are situated in exactly the right place for bicyclists to TAKE THEIR LANE in the sharrow road. Genius!

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