Remember: Be courteous when riding on SW Terwilliger sidewalk

This 2013 photo shows why some riders might opt to use the path adjacent to SW Terwilliger instead of the unprotected bike lanes. (Jonathan Maus – BikePortland)

Terwilliger Parkway is an iconic Portland bike route. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the winding road with interesting inclines is shrouded in lush greenery and offers memorable views of the Willamette River. For some it’s a route to and from southwest neighborhoods into downtown Portland, and for others it’s a perfect warm-up to challenging, hilltop destinations in the west hills like Council Crest Park.

The same attraction Terwilliger has for bike riders, it also has for walkers and runners. A sidewalk gives people a perfect way to experience the parkway on foot.

But a nonprofit that oversees the parkway, Friends of Terwilliger, says these two users have come into more conflict in recent years and with spring and summer approaching, they reached out to BikePortland in hopes of sending a message: “Please use the bike lanes that are clearly marked on the road if you are part of a group of cyclists.”

Friends of Terwiller board member Robin Vesey first contacted BikePortland last year when she began to hear reports of what she refers to as “organized groups of cyclists” using the pedestrian path and not yielding to people on foot. She says bike riders, especially those riding together in a group, should use the striped bike lanes on the roadway.

Here’s more from a prepared statement Vesey wants to share with the community:

“There has been a dramatic increase in the use of the sidewalks by bicyclists, going in both directions, even though there are dedicated bike lanes in both directions. Park users have noticed up to 15 riders, participating in a group ride, using the pedestrian path, not the bike lanes. Bikes have overtaken runners, walkers, and children from behind without notification and without slowing, endangering both the pedestrians and the cyclist…

Please use the bike lanes that are clearly marked on the road if you are part of a group of cyclists, young, or able-bodied. Keep the pedestrian path for walkers and runners and our senior community that frequents the Terwilliger Parkway pedestrian path.”

Vesey said a resident at Terwilliger Plaza, a nearby retirement home, is the person who alerting her to the “close encounters with cyclists speeding on the path.” I asked Vesey share that person’s concern: “I have had a close call from an electric-assist bike coming at speed up the parkway from behind me,” the person wrote. “Bikes are increasingly using the pedestrian path in both directions. It’s dangerous for runners, walkers and, especially, those trying to pick up litter on both sides of the path.”

The sidewalk path continues all along Terwilliger for about two miles to SW Capitol Highway, but the two locations of specific concern are where it begins just south of the Duniway Lilac Garden just past the SW Sam Jackson Park Rd intersection. Another trouble spot Vesey shared was an interaction someone had with a bicycle rider near the Chart House restaurant in September. “An organized group of 20 or so, with a leader, were coming uphill and not giving way to pedestrians. They were taking up the entire width of the path.”

I shared the Friends of Terwilliger concerns with southwest Portland cycling advocate Keith Liden (who you might recall from this BikePortland story last year). Liden said he’s one of the people who uses the sidewalk near the lilac garden because the bike lane in that section isn’t safe it, “discourages riding in the street.” It’s also uphill in the southbound direction, which creates a wide speed differential between car and bicycle users.

Other reasons bike riders use the sidewalk is because ivy and other vegetation often spills into the bike lane. In 2018 we shared an incident of road rage directed toward a cyclist that was likely caused by unsafe bike lane conditions.

Despite that, Liden says he hasn’t seen a lot of people biking on the sidewalk path. “Speaking for myself, I find it to be too lumpy and constrained,” he added.

But Liden also said a reminder about etiquette is needed. “Too often cyclists are guilty of coming up fast from behind, not politely announcing their presence, and whizzing by. And in some ways this has gotten worse with electric bikes. We all need to get along.”

If you ride on Terwilliger and choose to use the sidewalk instead of the bike lanes, please use caution, always assume there will be someone on the path, and pass respectfully.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Karstan
3 months ago

I did a count this last week as I was running on that path. More than 60% of drivers drove fully in the bike lane as they were speeding through the curves on Terwilliger. When I bike down the hill, I’m easily going 25mph or over and I’m regularly close-passed by speeding drivers. The city really needs to address this problem BEFORE somebody is killed by a driver (as opposed to their usual half-assed solutions after a tragedy).

D2
D2
3 months ago
Reply to  Karstan

I notice this heavily on Bybee up to Woodstock, people cut off the corners all over to the point the lane paint is gone.

That said, people do tend to tidy up their corners when a cyclist is present, but that just feels like slowing way down once you see a cop.

Fred
Fred
3 months ago

Liden said he’s one of the people who uses the sidewalk near the lilac garden because the bike lane in that section isn’t safe it, “discourages riding in the street.” It’s also uphill in the southbound direction, which creates a wide speed differential between car and bicycle users.

True! – the bike lanes on Terwilliger are usually terrible in this section (covered in debris with encroaching vegetation etc).

I have to say that I find this sort of chiding by JM on BP to be really annoying. Cars do things that are 100X more dangerous than an occasional bike going too fast on a path, yet BP amplifies their concerns and validates them and we all look like assholes.

jakeco969
jakeco969
3 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Arrogant people who don’t respect more vulnerable users ARE a$$holes whether they are in a car or on a bike. Be mindful of pedestrians and don’t menace them in their space. It’s not a hard concept. JM runs BIKEPortland not CARPortland so I imagine that is why he is reaching out to cyclists.

Paul H
3 months ago
Reply to  Fred

I don’t think JM is doing any chiding here. He’s reporting on what a local non-profit, who probably has the ear of people who make decisions, is saying about cyclist behavior on a major bike route.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
3 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Now that it’s pointless to shame people for running stop signs at the Ladd’s Addition traffic circle, JM has resorted to shaming the “interested but concerned” for not riding inches away from cage drivers who constantly cut into the bike lane on Terwilliger’s many curves.

Watts
Watts
3 months ago

No — because there are other people on the sidewalks, he’s asking riders to take extra care when they ride there. As sidewalk riders (perhaps including you) claim they already do.

X
X
3 months ago

That’s just wrong. Maus didn’t say play in traffic, he said be respectful of people walking, like a human, in the place that’s supposed to be safe for them.

Serenity
Serenity
11 days ago

JM doesn’t shame the “interested but concerned.” He reports on people who do.

X
X
3 months ago
Reply to  Fred

This feels kind of like punching down. Car vs bike, I do what I can to save myself. I don’t want to have to live through the day I cause a preventable crash. The irony of riding a bike for years to then be the rare person who clocks a person with their bike–I’d rather walk everywhere with a handcart.

SD
SD
3 months ago

Although I don’t ride on the sidewalk, I agree that the Terwilliger bike lanes in this area are pretty bad most of the time. They are worse now with construction. If I was taking a group of beginner riders on this route, I may be tempted to use the sidewalk.
Instead of fighting over crumbs, the friends of Terwilliger should come together with bike users and address the root cause of the problem; not enough safe space for people outside of cars.

maxD
maxD
3 months ago
Reply to  SD

100% agree! The conflict between bikes and peds is the direct result of very poor design and maintenance by PBOT and a lack of enforcement by PPB.

Ross Williams
Ross Williams
3 months ago
Reply to  SD

Is the problem with vehicles in the bike lane better auto facilities so that motorists can stay out of the bike lane without having to slow down and then bicyclists will stay off the sidewalk without having to slowing down?

Lets be clear, there is no perfect infrastructure that is going to prevent people from putting others at risk. Frankly blaming motorists for the fact that some cyclists are selfishly making the sidewalks dangerous and unpleasant for pedestrians is passing the buck. We need to invest in better bike facilities to get the largest benefit for all cyclists, not because we need to protect a group of pedestrians from a bunch of irresponsible cyclists.

maxD
maxD
3 months ago
Reply to  Ross Williams

Ross,
We already have better infrastructure for cars- Barbur. It might be easiest to just make Terwilliger one-way uphill for cars so there is enough space to have space for people biking and walking.

 
 
3 months ago
Reply to  maxD

OHSU would absolutely never allow that to happen considering Terwilliger is the primary route to and from the hospital for ambulances.

SD
SD
3 months ago
Reply to   

Sam Jackson Park Rd is the primary route for ambulances.

X
X
3 months ago
Reply to  maxD

…Barbur, which is parallel to I-5 for miles. The Terwilliger problem is one of gutless continuation of privilege for car access for decades after there was any necessity for it. People in cars on Terwilliger sat through one or more light cycles to cut off a half mile of travel and not much time at all. Needs diverter.

SD
SD
3 months ago
Reply to  Ross Williams

This comment doesn’t make sense, Ross.

Bike lanes are auto facilities. If drivers drove the speed limit on Terwilliger and stayed within the lanes, and the lanes were kept clear of large debris and vegetation, nothing else would need to be done. The Bike lane, which is actually just a shoulder, would be fine. But, cars routinely speed, as demonstrated by the speed monitor signs. And, the “bike, get out of my lane,” lane is full of obstacles year round.

SD
SD
3 months ago
Reply to  SD

I’ll add that FoT vs. bike riders is classic Portland eating itself-

It’s the “The People’s Front of Judea vs The Judean People’s Front,” while the Roman’s get away with whatever they want.

Pockets the Coyote
Pockets the Coyote
3 months ago

I agree that especially where different modes and different needs intersect we should all practice being as kind, courteous, and understanding as we can with each other.

I’m curious if there has been any meaningful updates regarding plans to repeal the Oregon law (ORS 814.420) which requires cyclists to use the bike lane that Shannon discussed back in August? Cursory googling has given me the articles published here, the law itself and the Safe Lane Coalition site

maxD
maxD
3 months ago

PBOT should remove that striping for the bike lanes on this road and add sharrows so drivers know what to expect. The bike lanes are woefully inadequate and all modes are experiencing conflict. This is not cyclist problem, this is a PBOT problem.

Pockets the Coyote
Pockets the Coyote
3 months ago
Reply to  maxD

I think that forcing all cyclists into the same space is more of the root cause here. We all ride at varying pace, as such we should have access to ride in all three spaces as most appropriate for our use; MUP/Sidewalk, Shoulder/bike lane, and full lane. I also think each option should have the appropriate amount of hardening to allow some transfer between them, median or curb, bollards or wands, and sharrows respectively. Since anecdotes are a favorite, ability to move between the three flavors of infra allows me not avoid being in stuck in traffic if/when I get a flat or mechanical and so that I can climb slow but descend fast as the discrepancy between my fitness and skill allows.
As stated by others, the lane is often unavailable due to high speed traffic and/or obstructions, so further traffic calming will help, but so will legally opening the option to choose where we ride.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
3 months ago
Reply to  maxD

For all intents and purposes, Terwilliger is an historic linear public park with 1930s WPA walls and infrastructure on an even earlier road designed for horse and buggy that in between had streetcar/trolley. Make it a parkway. Remove all lane markings including any yellow center lines and add speed pillows; add regulatory black&white signs that bicyclists can use the full lane; keep any pedestrian crossing lines; 20 mph maximum speed.

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

I think you are confusing Terwilliger with Barbur Blvd. Terwilliger was completed in 1914 and was a newly built road for automobiles. It was opened with a parade of 200 cars.

Slavin Road was the old wagon road. It ran east of where Barbur is now.

Barbur was built in 1934.

maxD
maxD
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris
David Hampsten
David Hampsten
3 months ago
Reply to  maxD

Planned in the 1880s and 90s (before the car was anything more than a toy) in a clear-cut West Hills, imagine that, paved by the city in 1917 when landowners threatened to take back the land if it was ever allowed by the city to develop – cars were still a novelty item in 1917, hence the parade. There’s a version of Terwilliger in Birmingham Alabama that was allowed to develop, with blocks of flats and nice homes from the 1920s and 30s. However, I take back what I said about trolley on Terwilliger, there never was one there, though there was one on Vista & Council Crest (and all over downtown and the east side). Barber had a bus, likely powered by electrical lines like they have in downtown Seattle. Parts of Slavin still exist.

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Olmstead’s plan was presented in 1903 but was not built until the teens. The Terwilliger family donated land for the parkway to the city of Portland in 1909.

Barbur Blvd was built on the old Southern Pacific Red Electric right of way.

Terwilliger Parkway | Portland.gov

dw
dw
3 months ago

While I agree that you should be courteous when riding your bike (get a damn bell ya’ll!!), the real solution here is better bike infrastructure. As others have mentioned, drivers love to speed and drive in the bike lanes here. That “organized group of cyclists” was probably trying to avoid a mass casualty event!

Friends of Terwilliger needs to write the city to let them know how badly separated and protected cycling facilities are needed.

Watts
Watts
3 months ago
Reply to  dw

the real solution here is better bike infrastructure

Given the grade and length of the hill, we probably also need to find a way to reduce the inherent conflict between those riding zippy motorized bicycles (essentially small low powered two-wheeled EVs) and those huffing away under their own steam.

Karstan
3 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I was passed going uphill recently while riding my ebike on Terwilliger. The person passing me was riding a non-electric bike.

Watts
Watts
3 months ago
Reply to  Karstan

That was probably me.

Karstan
3 months ago
Reply to  dw

I agree that FoT should be contacting the city about improving the infrastructure rather than complaining to BP.

That said, I emailed PBOT and Chloe Eudaly (the commissioner in charge at the time) a few years ago when they were repaving that section of Terwilliger. I suggested that then would be a good time to create some separation, similar to what they had just recently done with N Willamette. For example, putting both sections of bike lanes on the East side of the road and adding bollards would do a lot to slow traffic and provide some protection at rather minimal cost (Terwilliger is listed as a high crash corridor by PBOT). Nobody at the city even bothered to reply to me to tell me to go frak myself.

Needless to say, my opinion of PBOT did not improve any. But perhaps FoT can throw around more weight than some random crackpot sending emails.

FWIW, I also agree strongly with you about everyone being courteous to each other. Slow down around others, be kind and give each other space. We’re all victims of the poor infrastructure so taking that frustration out on each other is counterproductive.

Steve C
Steve C
3 months ago
Reply to  Karstan

Having a two way “cycle track” on hills like this is not safe at all. Downhill cyclists can easily, and legally, get up to 25mph on the downhill. I really do not want to be riding uphill within inches of people doing over double my speed. And as a downhill cyclist I really would not like to be hemmed in between a curb or bollards (probable death at downhill speeds) and slow uphill traffic.

The issue I have with Terwilliger is riding uphill around right hand corners where in the past the paint has been warn away by drivers cutting corners. And at certain times of the year, encroachment by vegetation and leaves on the ground. I can see the value of a curb protected uphill section for these turns.

https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5028656,-122.6837558,3a,15y,149.48h,87.74t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sDS6Z7NHXW5Edx3lTN7z37Q!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

Downhill is relatively safe, with my only issues being people exiting their parked cars into the bike lane to access the Marquam trail on the west side of the road. It’s really important for my safety in these situations to have an escape into the travel lane, and not be locked into the bike lane as people step into it without looking. I’m not at all a fan of downhill bike lanes with curbs.

https://www.google.com/maps/@45.4906952,-122.6865568,3a,61.5y,341.15h,77.09t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s-GWF4dGqfmZDfyvqfp2dEQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

Jeff S
Jeff S
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve C

hear, hear, Steve. I find Terwilliger to be a fairly pleasant ride outside of peak commute times, but I do hate those inside curves on the uphill. Something to keep drivers from cutting them would be wonderful,

maxD
maxD
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve C

good point! Maybe PBOT should remove the downhill bike lane and add sharrows, then make the uphill bike 10′ wide and separated with curbs , wands, armadillos or all of the above!

Charley
Charley
3 months ago
Reply to  maxD

I’m digging maxD’s idea for a wide uphill bike lane! I too dislike descending in a constricted bike lane (such as SE 45th, where the wands do not protect me, but do make the downhill bike lane is unsafe).

Terwilliger has a lot of grade reversals, though- climbing those short, northbound uphills without a bike lane might be very uncomfortable.

Phillip Barron
Phillip Barron
3 months ago

The sidewalk path continues all along Terwilliger for about two miles to SW Capitol Highway

Actually, the path crosses SW Capitol Hwy and continues through Himes Park until SW Chestnut. The sidewalk continues beyond Chestnut, but not the path.

Eric Liefsdad
Eric Liefsdad
3 months ago
Reply to  Phillip Barron

And the bike lane ends three times in this stretch, besides being regularly obstructed by fallen branches and other debris which PBOT neglects to remove. Sad that this group turns to Bike Portland and wanting to shoo people off of the path (which was officially recommended over the disjoint bike lanes while the tram was down) instead of directing their energy towards the city to make better use of street space and stop causing this conflict with cars.

Lazy Spinner
Lazy Spinner
3 months ago

Ughhh…e-bikes!

In all honesty, e-bike riders need to be educated and/or licensed. Most of the time I see two wheeled riders doing something dumb, dangerous, or illegal, they are on an e-bike. Riding against traffic in bike lanes, unpredictably hopping between sidewalks, roads, and bike lanes, dangerous overtaking, shoaling at stop lights, cutting through pedestrian paths in parks at high speed – all pretty common issues with e-bike riders. Traditional cyclists seem far more aware of roadway laws and common-sense safety practices.

Jack s
Jack s
3 months ago
Reply to  Lazy Spinner

If education and licensing doesn’t work for car drivers, it won’t work for other vehicles. Bicycles need better infrastructure.

Science Proves Motorists Break Traffic Laws a LOT More Often Than Cyclists (bicycling.com)

mark
mark
3 months ago
Reply to  Lazy Spinner

There are rude people using every transportation mode, but it is specifically illegal to operate an e-bike on a sidewalk. Not that there’s any enforcement, but still…

maxD
maxD
3 months ago
Reply to  mark

are they allowed on the Better Naito bike lanes? I have encountered an “e-bike” rider on Naito who’s bike has not pedal and easily goes 35/40 mph. They fly past me and are significantly faster than the adjacent traffic. IMO, if your electric vehicle has not pedals, keep it in the road with the other motorized vehicles.

mark
mark
3 months ago
Reply to  maxD

e-bikes are allowed in bike lanes, but the vehicle you’ve described is not an e-bike. All e-bikes are required to have operable pedals, and are assist limited to 28mph for a class 3 e-bike. If it doesn’t have pedals, it might be able to be licensed as a motorcycle, but likely doesn’t meet the standards required, in which case it is illegal to operate on any public road.

There are many of these types of off-road only vehicles sold on the internet, and there is no enforcement of any kind to keep them off our roads. Since operators have no legal right to use these in public, they are uninsured, and in the case of a collision, there would be little recourse available to a victim.

joan
3 months ago
Reply to  Lazy Spinner

This sounds like drivers complaining about scofflaw cyclists running red lights. I bike the same on my ebike and non ebike, but I’m often faster (at least on the uphills) on my ebike. So many folks with ebikes are also “traditional cyclists,” and plenty of folks on all kinds of bikes break laws. This is confirmation bias.

Nick
Nick
3 months ago
Reply to  Lazy Spinner

A lot safer than someone doing similar stuff in a car or truck.

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
3 months ago

The problem with people cycling on sidewalks/paths not using a bell is not a problem unique to this location. Everywhere I’ve ridden I barely hear anybody else alerting pedestrians on the sidewalks/paths they’re sharing.

As dw said, get a bell, and also use it.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
3 months ago

When I’m walking on a MUP the two cycling demographics that tend to close pass the most are weekend warriors and dingalings ringing their bells.

In my experience, the less annoying and less threatening way to pass a person walking is to pass SLOWLY with >4 feet of space. If this space is not available, the polite thing to do is to wait until it’s safe to pass (OMG! the person walking slowed me down!!!). If you are late and biking to your partnership-ceremony or something you should really SLOW-the-FUDGE down and let people walking know you are waiting to pass with a POLITE “on your left” or “passing”.

jakeco969
jakeco969
3 months ago

Great comment!! I remember the dingalings glaring at me and occasionally yelling “on the left” as they were parallel to me as they passed since I stayed on the MUP (on the edge of right hand side) and didn’t leap off the roadway at the sound of their bells and cede the entire path to them. The horror and outrage of having to go single file was writ loud on their faces.

Watts
Watts
3 months ago

pass SLOWLY with >4 feet of space

On parts of the Springwater, this would mean no passing, just hovering behind in a way that makes everyone involved profoundly uncomfortable.

maxD
maxD
3 months ago

I use a bell on my commuter and my road bike. About 1/3 of the time, people respond well and move, about of the time I get scowls or shouted at, and about 1/3 of the time there is no response- usually these people are using headphones

Matti
Matti
3 months ago

As a regular user of Terwilliger, my biggest beef (aside from encroaching roadside vegetation) is the poor state of the bike lane paint, especially on the many curves on Terwilliger. Drivers tend to encroach on the bike lane at the inside curves and their tires scrub away the paint after a few months following pavement marking. This erasure of the bike lane at inside curves leaves cyclists at risk of being hit from behind by inattentive drivers at the now invisible bike lane, especially since the topography and vegetation makes seeing bikes ahead in these curves often impossible. I think one solution is to include tactile bike lane striping at the inside curves, to dissuade drivers from cutting the inside curves and scrubbing the paint in the first place. PBOT can you help solve this problem? I know you can. Thanks for listening and making Terwilliger safer for bikes!

Jeff S
Jeff S
3 months ago
Reply to  Matti

I think one solution is to include tactile bike lane striping at the inside curves…” Absolutely. Not sure why this hasn’t been done already, PBoT knows these lines wear off quickly.

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
3 months ago

Are the Friends of Terwilliger keeping the uphill bike lane clear of overgrown vegetation and swept of leaves? 

Max S (Wren)
Max S (Wren)
3 months ago

If the entire parkway is constructed like this (raised curb dividing two areas of equal height), then it seems like a relatively easy fix to just move the divider to the other side of the bike lane.

foobike
foobike
3 months ago

I ride Terwilliger several times a week and always use the bike lane.

I’ve got a question about the stop sign at OHSU, specifically when riding in the bike lane on Terwilliger in the northbound direction. Since there is no cross traffic or anywhere to turn from/onto the right side, does the stop sign apply to bikes in the bike lane? Presumably a car leaving OHSU can still make a left onto Terwilliger heading north regardless of whether a bike in that bike lane is stopped or continues without stopping.

It seems a little weird to stop (even Idaho stop) there especially as you can really fly down this section of Terwilliger. And then I have to consider if I do slow or stop anyone behind me in the bike lane may not be fully expecting it, hand signal or no.

I guess I’ve always been curious about how to handle stop signs and red lights traveling in the bike lane of these T intersections where the only turn is on the left. (similar situation farther south on Terwilliger before it crosses I5, again heading northbound). There’s probably a more technical term for these things, my traffic design/infrastructure vocab is lacking!

Phillip Barron
Phillip Barron
3 months ago
Reply to  foobike

I ask myself the same question when approaching the two intersections you mention. Honestly, what a cyclist should do is made more confusing by the bike lane’s white line going through the intersection unbroken. Following the paint, it looks like we should not stop. 

I usually treat them with a cautious approach, prepared to sto- nevermind the coast is clear, just sail on through. 

EEE
EEE
3 months ago
Reply to  Phillip Barron

Similar situation EB on NE Lloyd at 9th. This is very often a red after starting from a new green at MLK/Lloyd and I don’t think I’ve ever stopped at it. There are clear sightlines, rarely any pedestrians, and no crosswalk at the first part of the intersection.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
3 months ago
Reply to  foobike

Oregon law instructs people riding bikes to treat stop signs as a yields. Considering that there is a trickle of bike traffic coming from Campus Dr, you should probably look for this traffic and yield your right of way if they are turning left.

Unfortunately red lights are not treated as yields under Oregon law but I still treat them as yields because I value safe cycling safety more than I value following the letter of Oregon traffic law.

Watts
Watts
3 months ago

I still treat them as yields because I value safe cycling safety 

Routinely running red lights is not safer than stopping for them. You may be able to construct a scenario where going is the safer thing, but your generalization seems entirely self-serving.

Just say you blow red lights because you don’t like to wait. I’d respect the honesty.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
3 months ago
Reply to  Watts

What I wrote: Treating a red light as a yield (e.g. no visible traffic with a green light)

Your strawman: Just say you blow red lights

Watts
Watts
3 months ago

“Yielding” sounds a lot like “blowing” (but stopping if you’re going to get T-boned). I’m not sure if there’s a technical difference; I can’t find a clear definition in my copy of the driver’s manual.

I too sometimes run red lights on my bike, but I do so for lowly selfish reasons, not some higher purpose.

Karl Dickman
Karl Dickman
3 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Don’t be ridiculous. The yield sign exists, what to do at it is prescribed by law. Substituting emotionally charged alternatives for legal definitions is a great way to generate a lot of heat but little light in a conversation.

Watts
Watts
3 months ago
Reply to  Karl Dickman

Don’t be ridiculous.

Huh? We’re talking about red lights here, not stop signs that can legally be treated as yields, and certainly not actual yield signs. Just some good ol’ fashioned unambiguously illegal red light running.

One person claims to routinely do so “for safety”; I called BS. Why does that make me the ridiculous one?

Alan Love
Alan Love
3 months ago
Reply to  foobike

Yep, totally legal to treat the Stop as Yield, but I always slow down enough that if there is even a chance of someone using the crossings on foot I can stop (as required by law).

As for the main thesis of this article, perhaps a good rule to avoid conflicts with other users would be Don’t Be A Jerk. It seems most of life’s problems could be solved with this solution…

Steven Smith
Steven Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  foobike

ORS 814.414 “Improper entry into intersection controlled by stop sign”
Basically, when you see a stop you have to slow “to a safe speed”. If there’s no observable conflict–and no expected conflict–then the “safe speed” is likely the speed you’re already traveling.

Text of law as it relates to biking:
(1) A person operating a bicycle who is approaching an intersection where traffic is controlled by a stop sign may, without violating ORS 811.265 (Driver failure to obey traffic control device), do any of the following without stopping if the person slows the bicycle to a safe speed:(a) Proceed through the intersection.
(b) Make a right or left turn into a two-way street.
(c) Make a right or left turn into a one-way street in the direction of traffic upon the one-way street.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
3 months ago

I mean that is a pretty shitty bike lane. I’d actually hardly even consider it a bike lane. If a walker wouldn’t feel comfortable pushing their kid in a stroller up that bike lane then they shouldn’t expect others to use it when there is a safer alternative available. That’s isn’t to say that riders should be rude to walkers and runners but I think we can all share just fine.

Mark
Mark
3 months ago

I ride the bike lanes in both directions, but they are a trap for the unwary. In the northbound directions, the catchment basins are deep and could cause an accident. And the painted lane strip disappears just as you get to that basin, on a downhill section where one is going fairly fast.

Karstan
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

It’s unfortunately been in that condition for over 20 years with no attempts to fix it (nor responses to complaints) from the PBOT. :/

Shawne Martinez (Guest author)
Shawne Martinez
3 months ago

The flagging crews encourage biking on the curb protected path through the construction zone near OHSU. As mentioned before, drivers use the painted bike lane to maintain excessive speeds through the curves. I see it every single day. It’s understandable that some people would not want to bike in the painted bike lane. I would like to know, is the curb protected path near OHSU a sidewalk or a multi-use path?

Alexandar Hull-Richter
Alexandar Hull-Richter
3 months ago

Those flagging crews frequently suggest riding on sidewalks. I wouldn’t consider that good advice, and have declined in most work zones I’ve encountered.

Ross Williams
Ross Williams
3 months ago

There are motorists who pay no attention to cyclists or pedestrians, since they own the road. There are cyclists who pay no attention to pedestrians, since they own the road.
There are motorists who drive in bike lanes like they own them.
There are cyclists who ride on sidewalks like they own them.

I think the simple rule is that if you are sharing a sidewalk with pedestrians you need to be moving at pedestrian speeds and they have the right of way. And if you can’t follow that simple rule, stay off the sidewalks and deal with the motorists instead of forcing pedestrians to deal with you in addition to the motorists.

maxD
maxD
3 months ago
Reply to  Ross Williams

So cars should drive biking speeds and simply share the road? Sound sgood!

pendletor
pendletor
3 months ago
Reply to  maxD

That’s a bit of reduction to the absurd, innit? We can want cars to treat other road users respectfully AND expect the same from cyclists. The particular issues this article mentions (large groups failing to yield to other road users and cyclists failing to warn others they are passing) are basic issues of respect and cooperation and have little to do with the infrastructure involved.

maxD
maxD
3 months ago
Reply to  pendletor

The particular issues [creating the situation] this article mentions (large groups [of cyclists being forced off the road by dangerous drivers and inadequate infrastructure][and people driving who routinely] failing to yield to [anyone] [other road users and cyclists failing to warn others they are passing)] are basic issues of respect and cooperation. [This could be partially addressed with a change in driving culture and extensive enforcement of driving laws] and have little to do with [but will also require a reimagining of and commitment to maintaining] the infrastructure involved [to create a street that safely be used by all users].

edited to show how profoundly I disagree with your perspective. The way people drive is the problem. Speeding and distracted drivers have made this and most other roads unacceptably dangerous for people biking and walking. That forces people biking and walking into smaller but more protected spaces which leads to conflict. The source of the conflict is driving behavior that excludes biking and walking. The solution is not behavior modification for people biking, the solution is revise the infrastructure to create more space protected from cars, and to modify the behavior of people driving through infrastructure and enforcement.

jakeco969
jakeco969
3 months ago
Reply to  maxD

“The solution is not behavior modification for people biking,“

Somehow it never is.
I still don’t understand the heavy pushback against the idea the cyclists can and should look out for more vulnerable road users. Worse comes to worse, cyclists can always get off their bike and walk it.
And yes the overall problem is car centric thinking/infrastructure, but for the realities of living in the reality of now, please show respect and support for those on foot.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
3 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

I still don’t understand the heavy pushback against the idea the
cyclists can and should look out for more vulnerable road users.

This is probably not about riding courteously but rather is likely about people who apparently complained to FoT that a group of people were riding in the Portland Park Bureau pathway. It’s likely that a pedalpalooza ride or some other organized ride made the correct decision to use park pathway instead of the curvy and dangerous ersatz-bike-lane and this upset people who do not understand that people biking can also have the right to use park pathways. The tell is that the FoT representative repeatedly states that people riding bikes should use the bike lane. This is not the tone of someone who simply wants people to ride courteously in the pathway but rather the language of someone who believes people riding should not ride on the pathway at all.

pendletor
pendletor
3 months ago
Reply to  maxD

Even in cities with loads of bike and pedestrian infrastructure like Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin, cyclists still audibly warn people they’re coming and need to share the road with other users. I get that you’re in favor of massive, systemic change to the way we use road infrastructure, but even such a massive change wouldn’t obviate the need for communicating with fellow road users.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
3 months ago
Reply to  pendletor

It’s hilarious that you would hold Amsterdam up as an example of needed “communication” with pedestrians given that people walking almost always cede right of way to people cycling there (and for good reasons). The communication I heard from some Dutch cyclists went something like this: Ga uit mijn weg, idioot.

Watts
Watts
3 months ago

Ga uit mijn weg, idioot.

Sounds like Scottish.

pendletor
pendletor
3 months ago
Reply to  Watts

It’s kind of like German with the corners sanded down. It’s can be a very soft language, even when you’re getting cursed out. Haha

pendletor
pendletor
3 months ago

That has not been my experience there. I have found that in places where cyclists and bikes mixed in Amsterdam, cyclists had the good sense to make their presence and desires known by ringing a bell or calling out. In places that are designated bike places, they rightly cuss out dopey tourists and others who intrude.

Bjorn
Bjorn
3 months ago

I am kind of curious what makes something a sidewalk vs a MUP because in that photo it certainly looks like a curb separated MUP rather than a grade separated sidewalk.

Nick
Nick
3 months ago

Remember that this is what happens when we fight over the scraps left after giving away all our public spaces to cars.

I’d prefer Friends of Terwilliger as an ally in getting nicer space for people outside of cars here but I don’t know what their mission is.

Used to commute on Terwilliger by bike when I got tired of Barbur and didn’t mind some extra hills, and it strikes me that many of the cars on this stretch of Terilliger have no business being there, as it’s a large number people trying to take a shortcut around Barbur. Some diverters or local traffic only enforcement would be really nice, especially since there aren’t many nice places to walk around there.

Safe biker
Safe biker
3 months ago

Thanks for the PSA. Just a minor correction to your last sentence:

If you ride on Terwilliger any road in any city and choose to use the sidewalk instead of the bike lanes, please use caution, always assume there will be someone on the path, and pass respectfully.

Chris Lehr
Chris Lehr
3 months ago

Oh man, I have feelings about this one. First off, the bike lanes on terwiliger are super messy, narrow and unprotected. The path is multi use, and deserves respect of others in that multi for sure. I generally use the road when descending and the path when I am climbing, but respect goes both ways here too. I’ve biked up on people ringing my bell incessantly only to find they had headphones in and can’t hear alerts. I’ve also had dog owners let their off leash dog chase and jump at me on that same path. I appreciate the reminder that we all need to be more mutually respectful of our shared space.

Keith
Keith
3 months ago

As one of the interviewees, I’ll explain my limited pathway use. Since moving to SW around 40 years ago, I was a regular bike commuter to Tigard and then to downtown. My downtown commute started with Terwilliger to and from home. I always HATED the SB/uphill Duniway Park segment through the Sam Jackson intersection due to speeding traffic, a skinny bike lane that disappears approaching the intersection, and taking a hairy left to Terwilliger. One afternoon, while picking my way through fist-size rocks in the 3′ bike lane that routinely fall from the hillside, a TriMet bus blew by me no more than 2′ from my shoulder. After my heart returned from my throat to my chest, I’d had it!

I now take other routes home or use the Duniway path uphill to the parking turnout at the curve above the Sam Jackson intersection and re-enter the SB bike lane. I treat pedestrians as I like to be treated when I’m walking. No one should have to risk serious injury or worse from using a totally inadequate and unsafe bike facility.

qqq
qqq
3 months ago

Please use the bike lanes that are clearly marked on the road if you are part of a group of cyclists, YOUNG, or ABLE-BODIED. 

That “young or able-bodied” bike rider might be on the surgical team that’ll be repairing someone’s heart in an hour, and doesn’t want to risk slipping on the leaves in the bike lane or getting frazzled from close calls with drivers.

And regardless of who they are, young and able-bodied riders don’t typically choose to mix with slow walkers and dogs unless they have a good reason to not ride in the bike lane.

And lots of people look able-bodied who are not.

Of course being courteous is appropriate, but telling people who are (or just look) young or able-bodied that they should only ride in the bike lane is wrong.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
3 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Guess the same would apply to that surgical team in a car, they can encroach on the bike lane because they are repairing someone’s heart in an hour. /s

Funny how some cyclists think rules don’t apply to them but does to everyone else.

Afterall cyclists are a god’s gift to transportation. /s+

qqq
qqq
3 months ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

That doesn’t make any sense as a reply to my comment.

What did I say that indicates “some cyclists think rules don’t apply to them”? Or that they think they’re “god’s gift to transportation”?

qqq
qqq
3 months ago

There has been a dramatic increase in the use of the sidewalks by bicyclists, going in both directions, EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE DEDICATED BIKE LANES IN BOTH DIRECTIONS

PARK USERS have noticed…

Please use the bike lanes THAT ARE CLEARLY MARKED on the road if you are part of a group of cyclists, young, or able-bodied.

After reading through the Friends of Terwilliger statement a couple more times, it reads much less like a request and more of a scolding.

A polite request wouldn’t point out twice that the bike lanes are there and clearly marked.

It would also at least acknowledge that people on bikes are as legitimate park users as people walking or running by saying “OTHER park users have noticed…”

We already know it’s telling bike riders to stay off the path–because it literally DOES say that, but it’s also saying bike riders aren’t legitimate park users like people running or walking, and it’s pretty much also saying, “Can’t you read? The pavement clearly says “bikes belong in the road only”.

The real problem isn’t the effect the statement may have on bike riders who read it–they’ll still ride in the lane or on the path (both are valid) for whatever reasons they currently do. It’s that anyone who walks or runs on the path who reads it may easily get the impression that anyone riding on the path is wrong to be there, regardless of their behavior.

Looking at it another way, the whole thing could have been addressed to people who walk and run, telling them that people have a legal right to ride on the path, and if they are there, it’s likely because of dangerous conditions–leaves on the path, bad drivers, etc.–so it’s important to be welcoming and aware while running or walking.

Watts
Watts
3 months ago
Reply to  qqq

legitimate park users

I think you’re parsing too finely. This statement wasn’t written as a diplomatic message where every word carries carefully considered and precise meaning, it was just someone asking our community to be more considerate than some of us have been.

Of course bike riders are legitimate park users, just as people in cars are. But just as some cyclists may see drivers as encroaching and degrading the experience for them, at times introducing an unwelcome degree of hazard, some pedestrians evidently see cyclists riding on the sidewalk as doing the same.

Be empathetic. Just as I want drivers to give me a wide berth, pedestrians need some space to feel safe too.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

qqq
qqq
3 months ago
Reply to  Watts

But it WASN’T just asking people to be more considerate–it was also telling anyone biking to stay off the path if unless they’re old or not able-bodied.

I agree people should be empathetic. That means to me that people riding bikes should be courteous if riding on the path, and aware that–as you say–some pedestrians need some space to feel safe.

But it also means path users should have empathy for bike riders, which means accepting that their using the path is sometimes legitimate even if they’re young and able-bodied. They shouldn’t expect bike riders to stay off the path–especially when, for instance, the path is covered with leaves or gravel.

The request could have been written in a more empathetic way, and it wouldn’t require exceptional writing skills to do that. Anything asking for people to be courteous when they’re riding on the path would be fine.

Steven
Steven
3 months ago

Example #539,618 of how almost all our public spaces have been given over to private automobiles, leaving everyone outside a car to fight over the scraps.

Watts
Watts
3 months ago
Reply to  Steven

Example of public space been given over to private automobiles

Terwilliger was built specifically for automobiles, and there are deed restrictions in place that restrict what can be done with the parkway. This was never a public space separate from vehicular access.

If anything, bikes are more an interloper here than cars are (though I don’t think this is a useful way to think about the issue of traffic/pedestrian safety on Terwilliger).

Steven
Steven
3 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Not true. Land for the parkway was donated “for the benefit and use of the public”, not specifically for automobiles. When the street was opened fully in 1914, there were only 18 cars for every 1,000 people in the US.

Alexandar Hull-Richter
Alexandar Hull-Richter
3 months ago

Something I’ve noticed a lot as I ride is that as many car drivers don’t have respect for cyclists, a lot of cyclists don’t have respect for pedestrians either. It’s ironic that cyclists so used to being abused by car drivers will do it so easily to pedestrians. Even something as simple as announcing yourself before you pass eludes so many people. I have found myself calling out myself and the bicyclist in front of me so that the pedestrian in front of them doesn’t get surprised. Oregon requires that you make audible sound to alert pedestrians before you pass them, and very few people actually do that.

Taking up the entire path is also something that too many groups are guilty of, even groups of two or three. I’ve had to call myself out (bike UP!) for groups coming at me because they didn’t leave room for traffic in the opposite direction, even on huge paths like Springwater or Naito.

We get so up in arms because there has to be room for everybody, including us, but we have to remember that room for everybody includes room for the other people too.

Serenity
Serenity
11 days ago

I hate riding on SW Terwilliger and avoid it.