What do we talk about when we talk about bike safety? It’s a topic that is so fundamental — almost trite — to so many of us that we rarely address it on BikePortland these days.
That’s why I was happy that the folks at City Cast Portland asked me about it for the latest episode of their podcast. Host Claudia Meza asked me some important questions that I know I didn’t answer completely, so I figured I’d share them here so you can add to and improve my responses.
The thing that stuck with me from our conversation was how new cyclists feel about the dangers on our streets and what they can do to mitigate them. What I mean is, I always feel uncomfortable when media folks ask me, “Are the streets safe for cycling?” because I know my personal feelings about it are very different than other riders — especially people who are new to cycling and/or Portland.
With Pedalpalooza in full swing, and judging by all the newbies I meet at Bike Happy Hour each week (see you tomorrow, right?!), I know there are a lot of folks just coming into cycling that could really use some tips and advice on how to feel and be safer.
So… Below are the questions Claudia asked me. You can hear my responses by listening to the podcast episode (above). And I’d love to hear your responses in the comments. If any of you take the time to share your thoughts, this post could be a good resource for a lot of people. Here are the questions…
- Have you noticed commuting by bike getting more dangerous in Portland?
- What are some other safety concerns you see while riding?
- How can bicyclists find the safest routes to get around?
- Are there any routes that are way too dangerous for bicyclists?
- Are there any apps or websites where people can plan their trips?
- What are the three things you check for before heading out on ride so you’re not accidentally creating a hazard for yourself?
- What can drivers be doing better to ensure riders’ safety while sharing the road?
Like I said in the interview, even though fatal bike crashes have remained at zero or very low for years now; every time tragedy strikes — regardless of it happens to a walker, driver, or whoever — cyclists feel it on a visceral level. The more we help each other navigate those feelings and share tips and resources, the more confident, safe and relaxed everyone will be out on our streets.
Thanks for sharing your insights and perspective.
City Cast Portland Podcast, 8/15/23: Biking 101: How to Stay Safe in Portland