Author Topic: Portland's Agony  (Read 5034 times)

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Offline OrganicHaus

Portland's Agony
« on: May 01, 2008, 05:43:17 pm »
I'd love to hear what people have to say about the article by John Schubert and the retort by Roger Geller.

While generally I consider myself a vehicular cyclist and feel like I understand John's arguments - after having seen the bike culture and energy in Portland and hearing the hard-to-argue-with data, I take the side of Geller and I would encourage John to visit Portland. It is truly incredible what is happening in Portland and I'm so happy that I live close enough to be able to ride there once in a while. I believe the numbers will continue to grow in favor of cycling and I'd bet the crash data continues to show a safer and more comfortable place to bike for everyone.

Paul Adkins
Bike Friday in Eugene, OR

Paul Adkins
Bike Friday Travel Consultant

Offline HalBallard

Portland's Agony
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2008, 12:46:48 pm »
Where is the article you refer to?

Offline OrganicHaus

Portland's Agony
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2008, 03:38:57 pm »
Here is the article on Bike Portland. Read the AC articles and then read Jonathan's piece too. Then let us know what you think.

Here is the Link to Bike Portland.

Paul Adkins
Bike Friday Travel Consultant

This message was edited by OrganicHaus on 5-2-08 @ 11:55 AM
Paul Adkins
Bike Friday Travel Consultant

Offline dlambert

Portland's Agony
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2008, 12:34:52 pm »
As Michael Deme foretold in this month's Adventure Cyclist magazine, John Schubert's column is likely to generate debate.

I agree with Paul Adkins that Portland is a shining, though of course not perfect, example of successfully expanding options for traveling around the city.  I started a tour in Portland last summer, and was really impressed with unboxing my bike at Union Station, safely riding to my downtown hotel, and actually having the concierge, without smirking or raising an eyebrow, store my bike for me while I endured three days of a conference prior to starting my cross-country ride.  From my first impressions, people act as if bikes belong in Portland.

I have been riding for over 40 years, so far without any accidents (involving cars).  I have a very simple set of safe-cycling rules that have served me well:

#1.  Ride as if no driver of a car sees you.  Ever.
#2.  Your personal safety is your personal responsibility.  If that involves riding outside of the lines (literally and figuratively), then by all means ride outside of the lines.

Simple rules, I know, but sometimes common sense is simple.

Offline bogiesan

Portland's Agony
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2008, 02:19:40 pm »
Perhaps you have seen the roadside memorials for car-related deaths?
You know, those odd crosses/shrines?

Great shrine photography:

See this site for a type of civil disobedience/political/social statement
that is uniquely bicycle-centric:

david boise ID

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline MrBent

Portland's Agony
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2008, 09:42:04 pm »
Interesting topic.  I have not ridden in Portland, so I can't speak from experience.  Overall, the city appears to be fantastic as it embraces cycling like no other city of its size in the country--go Portland.  The vibrant bike culture there makes me want to move.  On the other hand, Geller did not address Schubert's very specific complaint regarding problematical bike lanes as they hit intersections.  Instead, Geller provides a rather general complaint and points to the overall picture of a bike friendly city.  

Geller is not wrong, but his response is weak to me.  Since Schubert has no reason to lie, his criticisms look valid.  Why couldn't Geller concede that some intersections need work and make moves to improve the situation?  Portland can be great cycling city, but that does not mean there is no room for improvement.

On the issue of cyclists' responsibility and vehicular cycling, I'm with dlambert.  I certainly don't count on some strip of paint to solve all my safety issues, and when I'm in traffic, I assume all the cars have got my name on their grills.  The right-hook especially is one I'm always thinking about as I approach intersections.  I was almost creamed by an old lady when she pulled by me, gave a little toot of the horn, then cut me off hard!  The pscyho bitty had somehow convinced herself that a horn toot is universal for I'm about to cut you off you cyclist fool.  I slammed the brakes and almost went over the bars.  I promptly chased her into the parking lot, cut her off and slammed my fist on her hood.  Damn was I scared and angry.  From that point on, I've been hyper aware of such moves.



Offline Bekologist

Portland's Agony
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2008, 01:48:45 pm »
Unfortunatly, john Shubert DOES 'lie' when discussing the 'portland configuration' of bike lane striping to intermediate intersections.

 a 1999 Hunter (university of North Carolina highway safety institute) study found bike lanes that continue all the way to the intersection reduce conflicts over wide curb lanes- a reduction in intersection conflicts.

 additionally, Hunter et al analyzed the same streets for sidewalk/road cycling and came up with more positive stats; streets studied with wide curb lanes alone showed 15 percent sidewalk cycling versus only 2 percent sidewalk cycling on streets with bikelanes.

 If john schubert thinks greater intersection conflicts and a five fold increase in sidewalk cycling represents  'better' conditions for bicyclists....he is far, far off the mark...

Misinformative obstructionists that rally for more dangerous cycling conditions for the general public by calls for 100 percent integration should be disenfranchised from the advocacy community.

 I'm going to rejoin AC - previusly found it too general interest for me - and call for John Schubert's apology and resignation.

more discussion here :

This message was edited by Bekologist on 5-15-08 @ 10:14 AM

Offline John Nettles

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Portland's Agony
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2008, 12:17:20 pm »
Maybe I am just different but I see that both sides have pros and cons.  I think ultimately it is your responsiblility to be safe.  While I strongly support following the rules of driving, I will do what it takes to keep myself safe, regardless of the law.

While the accidents were unfortunate, I think the first cyclist was at fault and the second was not but could have prevented it.  If I have not made eye contact, I assume the driver doesn't see me.

I think the point about if the laws were followed (not turning into a lane while a cyclist is present, not passing on the right), it would greatly help.  However, I could easily visualize his example and thought it was valid.

Both sides must remember that both sides are doing what they think is best.  There is no reason to get personal (bekologist) as I seriously doubt Mr. Schubert lied.  Stongly opinioned yes, but outright lie??

I think ultimately the more cyclists there are in the cities, the better the situation it will be.  No system is or ever will be perfect.  Example:  I was side glanced bumped TWICE by cars in Amsterdam (the presumed mecca of cycling) while in lanes.

I personally prefer separate (curb and all) paths or just plain wider roads but have no issues with lanes, boxes, etc. other than doors opening into them and ignorance (don't know the laws) of drivers.

There are some definate opinions out there and mine is to get back to discussing touring as this is what this organization is about.

Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!