I’m a cyclist. I’ve ridden my bike since I was five years old (actually learned during the super bowl since mum didn’t want to watch). I also cycle on the OSU Cycling team, but I’m rubbish. I also enjoy riding in town. I’m not one of those zen cyclists that ride through hilly country lanes. Well… in Oregon, that’s pretty much all we have, but I like to stick to the flats. I’ve nearly been hit by a car four or five times – once by a logging truck, and it’s because our bike lanes in certain areas are rubbish and they don’t see us, despite me wearing ORANGE.
So, Portland has a problem – everyone loves to ride their bike, but it’s a hazard to your health. Every time I ride there, I feel like I’m going to die. Cars swerve in front of you, or there’s the deadly right turn on red (with a truck or something) that doesn’t see you coming, and then you get caught underneath the truck and you die. California has that same problem, but that’s because the bike lanes become dotted about 15-20 feet before the corner, and cars merge into the bike lane to turn on a red. Portland has some corners that do that, but mostly not.
This article explains what Portland wants to do. They really do want people to ride their bikes, and feel safe about it. They’re talking about colouring the pavement blue at the intersections where bikes can go (ahead of cars, mind… like a little staging area). They’re also talking about just colouring the bike lanes and disallowing right turns on red.
All in all, I like the idea of going to bike lanes like in Denmark and Amsterdam and such. They sure do ride bikes, and they’re safe while doing it. Now, if only we were as safe as them…