Reader Story: A call for bikeway etiquette as fair weather floodgates open

Reader Story: A call for bikeway etiquette as fair weather floodgates open

Summer bike traffic-2-2

As temps increase, so do crowds in the bike lanes.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This article reflects on an annual tradition in Portland: Veteran, all-season riders having to adjust to an influx of fair-weather riders at the onset of spring. It was submitted by 31-year old North Portland resident Adam Stone, who requested that I publish it as, “a timely plug for safety and etiquette.”


I am an all season bike commuter who works with other year-rounders and some fair weather folks. It’s all good, I am not an elitist who feels those who do not ride in the cold and rain need to earn their spot in the bike lane; we can even have lunch together. I just wish that those who don’t ride year round (now that they are out) would exercise some caution and common sense that apparently don’t come naturally.

Here are some observations from one day’s worth of commuting with nice weather (3/13/2013):

“Stay right… I AM going to pass you and it would be a lot easier for the both of us if you would just stay right and hold a line.”

— LOOK before your merge, if a car is there, WAIT. Don’t just stick your paw out and start merging across three lanes of traffic on Broadway between Burnside and Alder. Especially if you are the guy that chose headphones over lights for your dawn commute; you just created nine new people that hate sharing the roads with bikes.

— Speaking of lights, if you haven’t used yours since October, they may need a charge or new batteries. Hey, I get that they’re at least trying by mounting the thing, but come on, who likes a pie with no filling?

— Stay right. I understand, people are out getting some fresh air, they feel good, they feel strong; but I AM going to pass you and it would be a lot easier for the both of us if you would just stay right and hold a line. I promise to pass timely and responsibly, giving you a wide berth and a smile. (And don’t grumble at me.)

— If you signal to take a lane, and it is open, take it. Don’t signal, check, ride another block, they merge without re-signalling and re-checking. Cars are way faster than us, and that conversion van almost ended you in front of the Schnitz.

— At Williams and Killingsworth, respect the decision of the first bike in line. If they don’t go on the pedestrian signal, just wait, the green light cometh. Yelling at everyone to “Just Go!” is only make you look like an unhappy soul.

— Lastly, don’t you dare shoal me at a light, then not ride faster than me; you’re just making it uncomfortable for everyone.

Thanks for sharing your tips and perspective Adam. I think this perennial issue will partly fix itself as the quality of bikeway access on our streets rises to meet current demands.

I love to publish reader stories. If you’ve got something you’d like to see here on the Front Page, use the submission form and send it in!

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