Ask BikePortland: What’s the correct way to cross the I-5 bridge?

Ask BikePortland: What’s the correct way to cross the I-5 bridge?

Policymakers Ride-39

There’s no great way to cross the I-5 bridge, but perhaps you can help our reader make it suck a bit less.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Publisher’s note: We’re going to try something a bit different for our Ask BikePortland column. Instead of us bringing in an expert to answer the question directly in the post, we’re going to see if you — our fantastic and smart readers — can help with the answer. Please share your insights and tips in the comments. Thanks! – Jonathan

Today’s question came to us via email from Greg S.:

I have been biking to work from North Portland to Vancouver for about 2 years now and I am still unsure of the “correct” way to cross the Interstate Bridge.

In my head, I should still ride with traffic so when riding North, I ride on the East side of the bridge along with the car traffic heading North and on the opposite side when riding South. But I frequently encounter bikers doing the opposite. I have not seen any signs or publications detailing the correct direction to cross. Does anyone there know?

Also, then, by this same logic, pedestrians should follow pedestrian rules and walk against traffic. This way, bikers would not sneak up on them because they are not hearing our bell or shouting due to traffic and earbuds. And in the situation of a pedestrian/biker meeting, who should yield? I always slow down and make it a point to yield the right of way at least half the time and most pedestrians move over to let me pass. But yesterday, a walker coming at me was not budging so I slowed to a crawl and then timed our passing so i could maneuver in between the girders and around him and was thanked with a shouted “FUCK YOU!!!”.

I am just looking for some advice or clarification about some standards or common understandings about how traffic should flow on those skinny sidewalks on the Interstate Bridge.

Thank you for your help.


I know some of you ride across the bridge regularly. Do you have some advice for Greg? Or some resources you could point him to?

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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