Joe Bike

Bike shops can remain open under Oregon Governor’s ‘stay home’ order

Posted by on March 23rd, 2020 at 11:40 am

Most shops, like Upcycles in Woodlawn, have implemented serious distancing procedures already.
(Photo: Upcycles)

Amid a growing number of coronavirus infections and pressure from concerned Oregonians and public health officials, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has issued an executive order to encourage people to minimize physical contact.

The “Stay Home, Save Lives” order clarifies which type of businesses must close and how to go outdoors without violating the order. Bike shops are not on the list of businesses that are required to close. The Governor has also not prohibited or discouraged bicycling. In fact, “biking in your neighborhood” is among the things called out in her official statement — as long as you maintain six or more feet distance between yourself and other riders.

Other states and counties that have issued stay home or “shelter in place” orders included a list of “essential” businesses that could remain open. We’ve been pleased to see bicycle shops explicitly included in that list in places like Delaware and the California Bay Area.

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Portland’s 50 or so bike shops have proven their value to our community in the past week as our streets and paths have seen a marked increase in cycling. As our spreadsheet makes clear, almost all local bike shops remain open. Their owners are staying abreast of coronavirus conditions and health guidelines and are adjusting customer access protocols accordingly.

Tom Martin of TomCat Bikes serving the Brooklyn neighborhood in southeast Portland shared with us that he’ll stay open until he’s forced to close. “I feel a sense of duty to remain open for food and package couriers who are going to be in high demand for the next few weeks. I’m offering discounts for those riders. They deserve it.”

If you plan to ride a bike during the “stay home” period, you should ride solo. Group rides are not recommended because it’s difficult to keep a safe distance and wind-blown bodily fluids could result in infection. Even if you ride solo, keep in mind that you are putting yourself at greater risk of injuries that might require hospitalization and take up vital capacity that will be needed for COVID-19 patients.

Keep in mind that the order comes with the threat of enforcement. Anyone found to be disobeying the order is subject to a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,250, or both.

For more on Governor Brown’s latest order, see her COVID-19 website.

UPDATE, 1:20 pm: To put some teeth behind the order, the Portland Police Bureau issued a statement today explaining how they’ll enforce the new rules:

“Officers will attempt to educate violators of the order first, from a distance, in accordance with the six-foot social distancing guidelines. Every effort will be made to gain voluntary compliance with the Governor’s order and provide a warning,

If community members do not adhere to the officer’s direction, they are subject to criminal citation for Interfering with a Police Officer-ORS 162.247 and Penalties for violation of the executive order-ORS 401.990, which are misdemeanor crimes. Criminal citation is a last resort measure and the public is highly encouraged to be aware of the order and voluntarily comply…”

It’s unclear how the PPB will determine if groups of people belong to the same isolation unit or not.

— 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

52 Comments
  • Avatar
    John Lascurettes March 23, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    One of the ironies of this order is that it makes it an order that we have to give another cyclist at least 6 feet when passing, which is more generous than a driver has to give a cyclist in our conditional and confusing safe passing law. https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.065

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    Jason March 23, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Laurelhurst park was packed Sunday. As crowded as any weekend last summer. Either people don’t understand or they don’t care what’s at stake.

    I think it’s good for bike shops to stay open, it’s a vital industry for those of us whom depend on their bike for transportation. I’m sure it’s a surreal experience, gotta keep reminding yourself there is a pandemic on. But it is a good time to go buy spare items if you can afford it.

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    Tom March 23, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    “biking in your neighborhood”. If you leave your neighborhood while biking for exercise, would you be in violation of the order? I assume then I need to carry proof of address everywhere I go.

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      Jason March 23, 2020 at 1:02 pm

      Hard to say, but maybe she just doesn’t want folks going for long joy rides? Go for a bike ride, but don’t do an unsupported century. If you get my meaning?

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        Jagwire Elite Ultra-Slick March 23, 2020 at 10:51 pm

        I do not get your meaning – what’s wrong with making long rides – particularly if you are doing it alone? Probably about the most healthy thing you can do.

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          Jason March 24, 2020 at 5:52 am

          In the interest of transparency, I am still being called into the office and I commuted 144 miles last week.

          Risk, resources and exposure. A long ride will present more opportunities to require a visit to the bike shop. Require more nutritional resources – trip to the grocery store. Present more opportunities for murder wagons to bite you. Cars. I’m talking about cars. Also, you may inadvertently cross pollinate with an infected person or yourself may be the infected one. Without testing, we can’t be certain.

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            todd.boulanger March 24, 2020 at 2:18 pm

            …or I had to cycle 144 miles in search of a thermometer / TP etc.

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      John Lascurettes March 23, 2020 at 1:18 pm

      I rode with my son up Rocky Butte on Saturday. While technically a “group ride,” but with somebody I’m sheltered with. That felt completely reasonable and safe to me. Up in the park were several couples and family units but with dozens of feet between them. Also seems reasonable.

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      Chris I March 23, 2020 at 2:21 pm

      I’m just glad that Mt. Tabor hill repeats are still part of my “neighborhood”.

      I read this as: recreational riding (WITH SPACE) okay.

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      Pat Lowell March 23, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      I take it to mean, don’t take unnecessary risks that might burden a strained small-town health system, like going on a epic gravel ride that also requires a 2-hour drive to the start. Get your exercise and then get back in your house.

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        Jagwire Elite Ultra-Slick March 23, 2020 at 10:42 pm

        Pat said: “I take it to mean, don’t take unnecessary risks that might burden a strained small-town health system, like going on a epic gravel ride that also requires a 2-hour drive to the start. Get your exercise and then get back in your house.”

        What is wrong with a 2 hour drive to the start? You’re isolated in your car. Also, what’s wrong with an epic gravel ride – you and/or your group will probably be alone, no?

        Here’s one for you: Worldwide, 17 million people die EVERY YEAR from infectious diseases.
        650,000 people die during bad flu years. Over 1 million die in car accidents. Why are we shutting down the entire world economy over 15,000 flu deaths? Yes, it will grow larger, but we’re near the end of the cold/flu season so it will die out soon no matter what we do.

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          Jason March 24, 2020 at 5:37 am

          By driving two hours to your start, you are burdening a different community. Unless you are going to a remote area, in which case you’re taking unecessay risks.

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          dwk March 24, 2020 at 10:59 am

          I am so happy we are getting expert advice on this website….

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    Fred March 23, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    So glad to hear this news, and so glad the guv made the right call. Here’s my logic:

    – My bike is essential for my transportation and health.
    – My local bike shop is essential for allowing me to ride my bike.
    – Therefore bike shops are essential services.

    On point #2: The other day I needed a repair I could not make by myself, so I needed to take my bike to my local bike shop, who made the repair and got me back on the road. Otherwise I’d be walking and unable to get the essentials I need to live.

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      Middle of the Road Guy March 25, 2020 at 8:25 am

      Fortunately, some of us plan ahead and can do 95% of our repairs at home.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 23, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    To put some teeth behind the order, the Portland Police Bureau issued a statement today explaining how they’ll enforce the new rules:

    “Officers will attempt to educate violators of the order first, from a distance, in accordance with the six-foot social distancing guidelines. Every effort will be made to gain voluntary compliance with the Governor’s order and provide a warning,

    If community members do not adhere to the officer’s direction, they are subject to criminal citation for Interfering with a Police Officer-ORS 162.247 and Penalties for violation of the executive order-ORS 401.990, which are misdemeanor crimes. Criminal citation is a last resort measure and the public is highly encouraged to be aware of the order and voluntarily comply…”

    It’s unclear how the PPB will determine if groups of people belong to the same isolation unit or not.

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    Kai March 23, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks for using a photo of my shop Upcycles for your story! I’m taking further steps to reduce in-person interaction with customers, by encouraging appointments and trying to communicate and take payments solely by phone. My sign now reads:

    To minimize exposure:
    1. Knock so I know you’re here
    2. Call me on your cell at 503-388-0305
    3. Let’s talk bikes!

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    Toby Keith March 23, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Will the homeless be expected to follow these rules or will this be something else they are also exempt from?

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      Chris I March 23, 2020 at 2:22 pm

      You’ve clearly got your priorities straight during this crisis.

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      B. Carfree March 23, 2020 at 9:59 pm

      In the invisible ink portion of the executive order are the special rules for homeless violators. They will be removed from the street and put into vacant second homes. Or not.

      Sure, it’s mildly annoying to have to cross a street mid-block in my neighborhood because a few homeless people have decided that the street furniture that creates an unnecessary slip lane is their living room such that there’s no way to use that crosswalk with 6′ of distance between us. Given that there’s literally no place they are welcome to be, I’ll take my mildly annoyed life and get on with appreciating how lucky and privileged I am.

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        Toby Keith March 24, 2020 at 8:01 am

        Lots of stern warnings from our leaders regarding the new rules yet while I sit inside, I see the same rogue band of urban campers roaming my neighborhood, violating the six-foot rule, and doing the usual rounds of trespassing and theft.

        So yeah, it does appear we have some exemptions in place. We can keep looking the other way I guess. Health crisis be damned.

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          Jason March 24, 2020 at 8:29 am

          Clearly, you don’t understand the human condition. You are denigrating a population that – in the best of times for you and I – live in such an extreme state of survival, you can’t imagine the risks they would take just to eat a sandwich.

          I recommend you check out a 1 hour film called Carts of Darkness. I think you will learn something about the homeless that you don’t know now. It may even make you a better person.

          https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIW1_TIJTjbU4RhLVsxI1dhx2TYO2k0po

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            Toby Keith March 24, 2020 at 9:06 pm

            A charming look at some nice Canadian folks racing on stolen property. Doesn’t exactly echo my personal experience of being threatened with a hatchet in my own yard as my terrified wife is frantically calling the police only to have them show up two hours later. All because I confronted a houseless individual for not just taking some cans, but attempting to take my entire recycle bin.

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              Jason March 24, 2020 at 9:09 pm

              Don’t you think there’s somewhere more relevant to talk about homeless than with a bunch of cyclists?

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                Middle of the Road Guy March 25, 2020 at 8:27 am

                That place is about 2 hours outside of town.

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      dwk March 24, 2020 at 11:00 am

      Being obsessed with the homeless population (except to worry about their health) is about as bizarre as it gets in this crisis. What is wrong with you?

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    interested but concerned March 23, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    This is a slightly re-worked post based on my original post in the Monday Roundup comments. I felt like this was a better place for this conversation, so I hope you don’t mind me posting again.

    I’ve worked in Portland as a bike mechanic for the last 16 years. While I appreciate that bike repair services can be seen as essential, it’s work I don’t want to do right now. I don’t want to handle someone else’s grubby grips or bar tape. When I ride in cold weather, my nose runs, gets wiped on the thumb of my glove, and that glove goes right back on the handlebar. Porous cork-style bar tape seems like it would be extremely difficult to properly disinfect with just a quick spray of alcohol and a wipe with a paper towel.

    I feel that the best way we can fight this pandemic is to eliminate contact as much as possible. Our family has been staying at home for the whole last week, getting out once to do all of our weekly grocery shopping, and going for walks and bike rides (while keeping our distance from others) to get exercise to replace my bike commute.

    I’m conflicted. If the bike shop where I work was ordered to close, I could safely stay home and request unemployment assistance until the situation improves. If our business is seen as essential, and we decide to stay open, I can either come in to work each day and risk exposure to myself, my family, our customers and my co-workers, or I can stay home and will not be eligible for assistance.

    I understand that keeping the doors open, even in a limited service capacity, can help the business to survive, but the more that we are all able to stay at home, the more of us can stay alive and out of the overloaded hospitals. I understand that others depend on their bikes for transportation, and are understandably reluctant to use Tri-met. I don’t have a good answer for this, but risking my life for barely more than minimum wage seems like a poor bargain.

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      Chris I March 23, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      Except that soap (yes, just standard soap) is really effective at killing the virus. A very deep-clean with plenty of soap prior to and after maintenance should resolve the concerns. As an additional measure, you could don gloves while performing the work.

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        Steve Scarich March 25, 2020 at 7:19 am

        I have said it before on this forum…but, saying that soap kills the virus is just not true. I wish people who were not scientists would just stop giving public views on important/life-saving issues on which they are not educated. On the bike shop issue, I walked by a shop yesterday in Bend, and it had a table blocking the front door (inside the store), and a sign that said that all business had to be transacted at that point; in other words, no walking around the store. In retrospect, made perfect sense.

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          Jason March 25, 2020 at 8:38 am

          Correct. The CDC differentiates between “cleaning” and “disinfecting”.
          https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.html

          “…
          * Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
          * Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
          …”

          “If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.”

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            Steve Scarich March 25, 2020 at 10:02 am

            Thanks. I did not want to belabor the point, but you are correct. Here’s a sad example of how bad public ‘information’ can have deadly consequences. After Trump started touting Chloroquine as a possible antidote to the virus, several people throughout the world (including the US) dosed on it, and died.

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      Jason March 23, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      To be fair, the greater risk is overburdening the hospitals. It’s very likely that you’ve already been exposed. Without testing, we can’t be certain.

      Unless you’re elderly or immune compromised, you’re probably fine in the long run. Especially if you ride your bike regularly; it’s an immune boosting activity.

      Take a minute to consider how we are putting the economy on hold to protect the health care industry from being overburdened. With the amount of money that flows through the industry, it’s a crime that they can’t handle a pandemic. I’m not blaming the doctors and nurses, I’m blaming the CEOs and lawyers. The ones that keep the bottom line tuned for profit and not for function. But that’s where we are, an under utilized system that can’t handle the true load.

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      Jason March 23, 2020 at 2:44 pm

      Also, thank you for a well written comment. I really appreciate bike shop staff right now and you’ve framed the catch 22 really well.

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    Tom Hardy March 23, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    I have been self quarantined for the last 3 weeks and went through either Pneumonia or CV19 and recovered. wanting to get on the bike in the worst way. Wondering if the 6 foot rule will still be on for WNBR.

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    Tom March 23, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    How will police know who to pull over to investigate a violation of the code? What would constitute probable cause or reasonable suspicion?. Is just being outside a probable cause?

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      Steve Scarich March 25, 2020 at 10:07 am

      Over here in Bend, the Sheriff (who is a known loose cannon) has publicly declared that he will not enforce Kate’s ban, while the Bend Chief of Police has said he will. The Chief has jurisdiction over about 90,000 citizens and the Sheriff about half that number. I used to have a government job, and had two Sheriffs flat out tell me they would not enforce the law that I was operating under. One of them eventually became (in)famous in the Wildlife Center occupation event. Sheriffs in Oregon are essentially a law unto themselves.

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    gtrain March 23, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    I’m confused, a week ago there was a BP article encouraging (to some extent) bike shops to close. Now bike shops are encouraged and applauded to stay open? Bike Farm as a collective decided to close as we did not feel that we could guarantee the safety of our patrons/volunteers. That we would be doing more harm than good as being another potential vector of the virus.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 23, 2020 at 4:18 pm

      Yes it’s true Gabriele. I have had various thoughts about bike shops in the past week or so. Things are changing very quickly and these are unprecedented times. I was scared initially at what I was seeing at shops because I didn’t think owners/managers were taking the health threat seriously enough. But within a day or so of my initial fears, everything changed: the threat became real to a lot more people and local shops followed suit by updating their protocols and started taking the threat way more seriously. There’s also the layer of providing an essential community service because of the need for mobility with so many concerns about public transit and the spike in riding for recreation and activity. Lots to consider! And every shop should make its own choice.

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    Momo March 23, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    I’m very glad that bike shops are staying open because a bike is an essential mode of transportation during this crisis and not everyone has the skills to fix issues with what may be their one and only bike! As long as the right measures are taken, it should be safe. I just hope people stop doing group rides, that definitely makes me nervous.

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      Jagwire Elite Ultra-Slick March 23, 2020 at 10:49 pm

      What’s wrong with group rides – particularly if people are spaced apart? And if they are young, their risk is not very high. For older folks, yes, stay away from other people. I don’t even like riding next to apartment buildings – lot of them have open windows – you can almost see the viruses floating out the windows!

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        Jason March 24, 2020 at 8:45 am

        Sure, it’s fine for you. But it’s harder for an individual to distance them self from six riders than one. It’s a bit selfish to occupy that space right now.

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        Paul H March 24, 2020 at 10:46 am

        Sure, young healthy might be at a lower risk. But young, healthy, and asymptomatic people can still spread to the virus among themselves and then to more vulnerable people.

        And also, young, healthy people are falling victim to COVID-19. So, I actually not sure what’s “right” about a group ride at this point.

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    pruss2ny March 23, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    not related to this story per se, but there are alot of small (bike) business owners on this site:

    in bill currently being debated in us senate there is a mechanism whereby govt will effectively cover your payroll from 3/1-6/30 (if u are <500 employees) via a forgivable SBA loan. Sec1105 of s.3548.

    assuming i'm not messing this up, would like to see every small business on this site get the US govt to cover their payroll for the next few months.

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      todd.boulanger March 24, 2020 at 2:28 pm

      Per the SBA loan…a small business owner / family member just spent yesterday doing this filing…after her accountant recommended that she complete this application now (even thought the legislation and rules are still in process) and get in line. The SMA staff in the NW office warned her accountant that the demand will quickly outpace the funds…

      And if you complete the paperwork (have up to 4 years of rock solid financial files etc) you can always choose to not accept the deal at a later date…

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    Pete March 23, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    Toby Keith
    Will the homeless be expected to follow these rules or will this be something else they are also exempt from?Recommended 9

    You are an ugly person. Being homeless is a real walk in the park, yeah?

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    Dave March 24, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Tom
    I assume then I need to carry proof of address everywhere I go.Recommended 0

    Kinda seems like you’re complaining just to complain, which is not what people need to be doing right now. Shouldn’t you always be carrying your ID with you anyway?

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      John Lascurettes March 24, 2020 at 2:21 pm

      Shouldn’t you always be carrying your ID with you anyway?

      For safety reason (like being IDed if you’re unconscious or dead), sure. But for legal reasons, you are not required to in America except to drive or board a commercial flight.

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