Comment of the Week: Safety in speed

This comment made me smile. Writing in response to our post about a survey, which noted that Portland struggles with increasing the number of women on bikes, Paige stood a truism about biking on its head.

So many people talk about how riding a bike brings you closer to your environment, whether it’s the cityscape or out in nature. Riding a bike has an immediacy which traveling in a car just doesn’t.

But as Paige noted, sometimes you don’t want to interact much with your immediate environment — and a bike helps with that too!

Here’s what Paige had to say:

I took the survey and I hope it helps! Sometimes when I’m commuting to or from work, I find myself riding with a group of women and I feel such a great sense of camaraderie. We’re out here. And it’s really fun!

Safe infrastructure will go a long way to getting people to just give it a try. When people have a successful first few trips in nice weather, that motivates them to keep at it in less ideal conditions. So make the route connections easy/logical, protect the bike lanes (not just paint!!), and keep the lanes clear. Red light/speed cameras – put them everywhere!! Ultimately we need a road culture overhaul, and that happens slowly.

The last thing I want to say about safety is that I volunteer at Lan Su Garden, so I’m often heading into Old Town by myself. Would I walk around down there by myself? Probably not unless I had to! But I have never, ever been harassed by a person on foot while I’m on my bike, anywhere, in any city where I’ve ridden a bike. People pretty much leave you alone when you’re on a bike! It’s great! It’s very much in contrast to my experience walking in any city. The last thing a man shouted at me while I was on my bike was, and I quote, “Hey, cool boots.”

I want some of those boots.

You can read Paige’s comment and what other ladies had to say about riding in Portland, under the original post.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero is on the board of SWTrails PDX, and was the chair of her neighborhood association's transportation committee. A proud graduate of the PBOT/PSU transportation class, she got interested in local transportation issues because of service cuts to her bus, the 51. Lisa has lived in Portland for 23 years and can be reached at

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1 month ago

So, if going places with a bike means nobody bothers you the way they would without the bike, you could think of bikes as the German Shepherds of the transportation world.

1 month ago
Reply to  qqq

Walking: Golden retriever
Biking: Great pyrenees
Car: Toy poodle
Bus: Border collie

1 month ago

It’s kind of a sad commentary on our society, where women are routinely harassed by men.