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Is Portland, Oregeon Bike City USA? Visit and Spend Money to Thank Them!

roadskater's picture

Strangely enough, I have something from the New York Times as well.

You know that sick feeling you get when a driver passes you (especially while you are skating or cycling) just before a turn with a right blinker on? It's a killer...a "right hook," some call it.

Worse yet is if you are reaching the intersection at the same time they are, and they may see you or not, and may admit it or not later. You may not even know they're there (so personal stereos don't seem that wise to me, certainly not loud enough to cover the sound of your fingers snapping or some similar test), and they may not see you. And you may never know it, or may simply never be able to converse about it again (so a helmet might help with the brain injury bit), and you might just be too dead afterward to care.

I think Manhattan is a wonderful place to skate in the street, and in general I think the taxi and bus drivers give lots of respect for anyone not driving a car in that place where private cars are so not helpful. There are many more reasons I love skating there...sometimes bike lanes and bus lanes help, but when they're not there, it still seems pretty safe to me and it is tons of fun. Then there's Central Park and the west side path, the bridges, Coney Island, Far Rockaway, and so much more. New York City seems to respect human transportation and provide for safety pretty well (as long as you're not protesting politically, perhaps!).

But Portland, Oregon has truly answered the call of duty and has focused on helping cyclists be able to commute, in particular. After a couple of deaths this year due to "right hooks," they've taken a new step that I believe can have a significant impact on bike safety there for the better...as long as the paint isn't slick! Read more about the bike boxes...painted boxes for cyclists to wait for the traffic light, located between the stop line for the cars and the crosswalk for pedestrians. Huh? The article has a graphic and some nice photos, including the Ghost Bike memorials they seem to put up at dangerous intersections...wow!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/us/10bike.html?ex=1200632400&en=b439dadcaf42654f&ei=5070&emc=eta1 

If they don't already, cyclists should have a PhillyFreedomSkate-like gathering every year to spend tons of money and share the bikeylove! I remember thinking as a youth in the rumbling breezy back seat of a Thrush-mufflered late-60s metal-flake forest green 383 Dodge Charger...

http://www.answers.com/topic/dodge-charger-b-body

...Oregon might be a place to consider for anyone who absolutely loves North Carolina and would dearly miss it most places...rolling mountains, seaside, all in close proximity, with plenty of deep greens and blues. Now with an exercise-friendly approach to automobile traffic, it seems even better. But I wonder, how do they feel about roadskaters? Could we get some love?

I think it is a great idea to have a space and visual reminder to watch for cyclists. I'm sure lots of drivers will not like the effect on right-on-red turns, but waiting on making a turn feels better than killing someone to most people, I guess.

For more info on how much they know about bike safety there, check out this map of Portland overlaid with bike accidents (from last fall):

http://blog.oregonlive.com/oregonianextra/2007/10/bikes.html

No matter what, kudos to the people and politicians of Portland for thinking about this and acting quickly on it! You go, Portland!  

Location

Portland, Oregon
United States
45° 31' 23.1456" N, 122° 40' 13.0512" W
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