Citation issued to driver who backed into bicycle rider on North Tillamook



(Photos sent in by a reader show the bike completely under the Jeep. Luckily the rider is not believed to be seriously injured.)

On Monday evening a bicycle rider sustained injuries in a collision with a driver on Northeast Tillamook Street. According to photos sent to us by a reader who saw the aftermath, the collision happened at the northeast corner of Tillamook where it intersects with North Williams Avenue.

The photos show a bicycle lodged completely under a Jeep.

Advertisement

We’ve confirmed the collision with the Portland Police Bureau. They say the victim was transported to the hospital with “non life-threatening injuries” (a term that can mean anything from scrapes and bruises to broken bones and/or more serious complications). The driver of the jeep was given a field sobriety test but was not found to have been under the influence. The driver was issued a citation for Careless Driving and was released from the scene.

According to the PPB, investigators believe the driver was backing into a parking spot prior to hitting the bicycle rider.

This is a very high-volume intersection for bicycle users. Tillamook is a popular neighborhood greenway and Williams is the busiest corridor for cycling traffic in Portland.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

The Monday Roundup: Robots in bike lanes, automobile supremacy, play-streets, and more

Welcome to the week.

Here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days…

The deck is stacked: Every once in a while an article comes along that ties all the big threads together. This must-read piece by Greg Shill in The Atlantic perfectly explains why driving is so prominent in the United States and how an inter-connected system of laws guarantee “automobile supremacy”. (Delve deeper and read the academic paper that led to the article.)

Portland subway?: Our local transit expert is happy to see TriMet embarking on a plan that would put transit underground through downtown Portland.

Pros’ pleas: This week we had two former professional road racers — Chris Boardman in the UK and Phil Gaimon in the US — use their platforms to record videos about the need for safer roads.

Mythbusting: The always-worth-reading Peter Walker with The Guardian busts 10 common myths about cycling.

Speaking my language: Volkswagen wants into the personal mobility market amid claims of a “traffic collapse” that will spell the end of traditional cars in cities.

Activism works: Holding signs that read “Stop Killing Us!” and “De Blasio to Cyclists: Drop Dead,” a thousand New York City residents showed up to demonstrate against dangerous cycling conditions.

Advertisement




More on NYC: The NY Times tells the story of why what was once one of the rising stars for cycling in America has lost its shine.

Driving is the new smoking: A major climate change committee in Ireland heard from cycling experts that the country needs not just “cleaner” cars but the political courage to dramatically reduce driving if they want to make environmental progress.

Don’t fear streets, play on them: Streets are for living in, not just traveling through — that idea is at the heart of an inspiring policy in a suburb of Montreal where 48 streets have been designated “free play zones”.

Not so fast: The business model of a new AI startup is to deploy autonomous delivery vehicles into cities using bike lanes. Hmmm.

Tweet of the Week: Our friends at @QAGreenways (an excellent account worth following) discovered one of Portland’s oft-overlooked phenomena.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


Time to look beyond driving cars says Columbia River Gorge leader

How would you rather see the Gorge?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The head of the organization whose mission is to protect the Columbia River Gorge wants fewer people to drive cars through it.

Friends of the Columbia River Gorge Executive Director Kevin Gorman penned an article on the group’s website last month titled, How Much Love Is Too Much for the Gorge?.

“As we approach the summer season of mile-long backups on the Historic Columbia River Highway and full trailheads full by 9 a.m.,” Gorman writes, “more voices are asking what’s causing the congestion and what can we do about it?”

Gorman points to three main congestion culprits: a rise in tourism, booming regional population, and the inconvenient truth that around 99% of Gorge visitors arrive in an automobile.

What caught my eye were Gorman’s thoughts on a “holistic solution” to this nightmare. He says Oregon should look to Utah for inspiration, where authorities banned driving and introduced a shuttle bus service on the main scenic road in Zion National Park during the busy season. “Despite initial concerns, use of buses was a huge success,” Gorman shared. “Congestion on the road disappeared, bicycles started showing up, and the shuttle service provided local jobs.”

Advertisement




Kevin Gorman.
(Photo: Friends of the Columbia Gorge)

As we’ve reported, ODOT has already taken an in-depth look into similar measures for the Gorge. But so far, only a plan has been completed and nothing has been implemented. The state-run Columbia Gorge Express bus service has been a big success, but it’s not enough to lure people out of cars and make a real dent in congestion. At least not without a major boost in funding.

Gorman also plugged his group’s Gorge Towns to Trails project — a proposed 200-mile loop around the National Scenic Area that would create more recreational opportunities and could disperse visitors over a wider area. On a related note, ODOT continues to make exciting progress on the carfree sections of the Historic Columbia River Highway. The latest piece — a three-mile, $18 million segment from Wyeth to Lyndsay Creek — is slated for a ribbon-cutting August 3rd.

How does Gorman intend to pay for projects that will help rid the Gorge of its motorized menace? Charge people money to park their cars. He cites success of a program in Portland’s Washington Park that uses parking fees to pay for shuttles and other TDM strategies.

From the central city to our beloved Gorge, the negative impacts of too much driving know no boundaries. It’s time we set some. And it’s great to know that the coalition to do something about it is growing with people who “get it” like Mr. Gorman.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.




‘Gorge Pedal’ promises a ride and experiences you won’t forget

The ride and the views are just the start of what you’ll get at the Gorge Pedal.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

*Sponsored (but I would have written it anyway).*

Pedaling a bicycle through the Columbia River Gorge is a magical experience — and I say that as someone who usually does it alone without any fanfare.

The Gorge Pedal on July 20th will add not just fellow riders to the mix (and associated safety and camaraderie that comes with them), but also a unique mix of off-the-bike activities that are sure to make it a memorable day.

“The inspiration for the ride is to get people out to the Gorge and see it from a bicycle seat,” says event organizer Jerry Zelada, a dedicated bicycling advocate who once chaired the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Zelada also took cues from former Oregon Governor Ted Kulongowski who sang the praises of cycling through the Gorge during the 2016 centennial re-dedication ceremony of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.

Zelada and his team have worked with a variety of agencies and organizations to offer three events on the 20th: two bicycle rides and one “Celebration for All”. There will be a Family Ride aimed at being a supremely inclusive. Zelada has invited community groups like Cully-based Andando en Bicicletas y Caminando, the Black Girls Do Bike club, WTF Explorers and others to participate. The Family Ride is a completely carfree, 11-mile out-and-back loop with under 300 total feet of elevation gain that begins in Cascade Locks and turns around at the Bonneville Power Fish Hatchery.

Advertisement






Take in the views from Vista House.

Then there’s the Gorge Climb route, which Zelada says will be a geared as a more serious training ride with 46 miles and nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The route will go from Cascade Locks to the Portland Women’s Forum and will pass several waterfalls and stunning viewpoints. There will also be four educational/activity stops and plenty of stocked rest stops along the way.

Mr. Zelada at the 2016 Historic Columbia River Highway centennial celebration.

The big post-ride Celebration will bring it all together with fresh local food and drinks, live music and entertainment. To feed your weary muscles you can choose from Thunder Island Brewing, fresh salmon tacos from Brigham Fish Market, specialities from La Gula Mexican Food, or good, old-fashioned barbeque from Pork, Wind, and Fire.

You won’t want to miss a very special performance from The Sprockettes mini-bike dance team (one of their last, since they are disbanding for good at the end of this year) and artwork and handcrafts by the Tananáwit community of Warm Springs artists.

And there’s even a costume contest that will reward two $100 prizes for the best “Water” and “Forest” costume on a bike.

There’s just too much cool stuff planned for this event to list. Make your plans for Saturday, July 20th and check out GorgePedal.com for all the info. And when you register, tell them you heard about it on BikePortland!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


Interview with Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty: Vision Zero, enforcement, distracted walkers, and more

Commissioner Hardesty at city council yesterday.

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty made headlines last month when she said distracted walkers are a “huge issue” and voted “no” on what was expected to be a non-controversial update to Portland’s Vision Zero program. Her vote and comments raised the ire of the commissioner in charge of that program, Chloe Eudaly.

Eudaly called Hardesty’s views, “Virtually unfounded” and said Hardesty must not have been briefed on the topic properly.

Nearly three weeks after that exchange, I spoke with Hardesty and asked about her views on Vision Zero, traffic enforcement, distracted walkers, and more.

Commissioner Hardesty wanted to set things straight from the outset. “I share the values of making our streets safe for everyone,” she said. “If I left you with the impression that that was not my goal I don’t want you to have that impression.”

“I have to be more mindful of how people hear my words… I in no way want to imply that it’s the pedestrian’s fault if they get hit by a car or a bicycle. Please help me clarify that in the biking community.”

Hardesty also raised eyebrows with her insistence that people who walk while staring into their phones are a major problem. Everyone knows being distracted is a bad idea no matter what you’re doing on the road; but bringing it up during a conversation about Vision Zero — especially at a time when fatal crashes are way above normal — is considered a major faux pas among transportation advocates (many of whom winced when she made similar comments at a candidate forum in 2018).

“Let me say that I understand that was perceived as blaming the victim,” Hardesty said when I asked her about those comments. “That in no way was the intent of that statement. One of those personal little pet peeves of mine is I see people crossing the street without looking to see if the walk signal is on and I’ve held my breath a couple times out of concern that they might be hit. But I’ve realized that in the context of me being a city commissioner I have to be more mindful of how people hear my words.”

“The pedestrian is always right,” she continued. “Let me be really clear: Anybody who is hit or injured or killed by an automobile, they are the victim of that activity. I in no way want to imply that it’s the pedestrian’s fault if they get hit by a car or a bicycle. That was not my intent at all. Please help me clarify that in the biking community.”

It turns out Hardesty has a lot of opinions not just about Vision Zero, but other transportation topics as well. And she doesn’t care if PBOT isn’t in her portfolio. “I did not run to be a commissioner that would be siloed and that would be only focused on the bureaus under my management. My community doesn’t live in silos,” she said.

Hardesty prefers speed reader boards over citations when it comes to changing driver behavior.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Hardesty had the most to say about enforcement. She has two main problems with it: First, she thinks there’s a lack of data being collected about who is getting stopped. And second, she feels like it’s a punitive tool that has potential to hurt people of color and people who live in low-income neighborhoods.

“For me, it’s not that I am opposed to enforcement, I just want to make sure that we’re using tools in a way that are building community and are not having devastating impacts on low-income communities and communities of color.”

According the PPB’s latest traffic stop data, of the 7,654 stops, 65% were white people, 18% were black or African-American, and 9.5% were hispanic or latinx. (Portland is about 73% white, 6% black, and 9% hispanic/latinx.)

Instead of tickets to speeders, Hardesty said she’d prefer to see more speed reader boards. She believes those are a better way to change behavior. She also believes it’s unfair to target enforcement in areas that have inadequate infrastructure. “If our goal is to change behavior we need to invest in the infrastructure improvements that are causing the streets in east Portland to be unsafe.”

Advertisement




“I just don’t want poor people and people of color to pay for the lack of public investment that should have happened 25-plus years ago.”

Hardesty, an east Portland resident who said she’s nearly been hit by drivers while walking to the number 20 bus she takes to city hall, is grateful PBOT is finally spending money east of 82nd. But, she adds, it’s long overdue. “The reason we’re having deaths and traffic accidents in east Portland is because of the failure of the government to actually do what they promised when east Portland was annexed into the city of Portland,” she said. “So I just don’t want poor people and people of color to pay for the lack of public investment that should have happened 25-plus years ago.”

Speed cameras also raise skepticism from Hardesty. She told me her concern is that they’ll be installed primarily in neighborhoods where people of color and low-income Portlanders live. “If we assume people speed all over the city, why would we have an over-preponderance of cameras in east Portland and not have them in the southwest hills?”

To which I responded, “PBOT places the cameras on streets with a history of crashes.” (There are currently five fixed speed cameras in operation: One in southwest, two in outer southeast, and two on Marine Drive.)

“So then you have to ask the question: Why are there a high number of crashes on those streets?,” Hardesty replied. “The reason is because there’s been a lack of investment in those communities so the transportation infrastructure doesn’t exist right? So, talk about blaming the victim.”

Hardesty then compared her traffic enforcement concerns to the PPB’s Gun Enforcement Unit (renamed from Gang Enforcement Unit). “54% of the people stopped and searched were African-Americans in a city that’s 6% African-American and no one questioned that,” she said, “I came in and said how is that even possible?”

“The problem is that once you put the system in place, it’s too late to ask the questions. My goal is to make sure we’re being intentional about what system we put in place and make sure it’s equitable from the beginning. My experience with the city is that once it’s in place it’s almost impossible to shift it so it becomes a more equitable system.”

That thinking explains Hardesty’s position on the Pricing for Equitable Mobility initiative which got rolling today after a 4-0 vote at city council. Despite her concerns about how congestion pricing might impact low-income people who’ve been pushed to the edges of the city due to expensive housing, Hardesty was supportive of the initiative because racial and economic equity were baked into the process from the start.

As for her overall vision for transportation, Hardesty has a lot in common with Commissioner Eudaly. They both want major improvements to transit (Hardesty wants it to be free and run 24 hours a day) and they dream of a Portland where driving is the exception, not the rule.

We might see her in the bike lanes soon.
(Photo: City of Portland)

“I want public transit to be free. Period… If we’re ever going to impact the climate, we need to get people out of automobiles,” Hardesty said. “It’s like, boom-boom-boom right?”

While Hardesty said she has a “wonderful relationship” with Eudaly and that they are “in lockstep 90% of the time,” it’s that last 10% that has lead to icy exchanges at council meetings. The two progressive politicians mostly agree on substance; but they differ in style. “It’s about, how do we get there,” is how Hardesty put it. In a Facebook post last night (posted after our conversation), Hardesty wrote, “I am absolutely committed to working with Commissioner Eudaly and PBOT to talk through these issues. I have no doubt in my mind that our values are aligned in this fight for safer streets for everyone. I just also know that the means to the end are equally as important when it comes to these types of policies, and that in crafting policies we need to hold equity at the forefront, not as an afterthought.”

On a lighter note, I asked Hardesty if she rides a bike. She said no. And in fact, she hadn’t ridden a bike in 35 years prior to re-learning last year to take part in a group ride during her campaign for city council. “I think I’m past the demographic loop where riding a bicycle is going to work for me,” the 61-year-old said. Even so, like many of us, she’s been seduced by the beauty of bicycles. “I found a very cool bike [at a bike shop] last year I think I’m going to buy, and I think I’ll practice in my apartment complex first before I feel brave enough to take it onto the street.”

CORRECTION, 7/11 at 12:49 pm: This story originally shared traffic stop statistics from the PPB Traffic Division only. I’ve updated the story with more current stop data from a bureau-wide sampling.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


Foster Road business owners thank City Council for new bike lanes, safer street design

Here’s something that doesn’t happen very often: Instead of backlash over a transportation project on a major arterial, Mayor Ted Wheeler and his fellow commissioners heard praise.

Business owner Jillian Sevick says the street now works better for all modes.

At this morning’s City Council session, four people who represent Foster-area businesses used the open testimony period to share appreciation for the city’s Foster Transportation and Streetscape Project. Years in the making, the project was completed last month.

A notoriously fast and dangerous “freeway” (a term former Mayor Sam Adams once used to describe it), there was always a wonderful commercial shopping district just waiting to emerge from the din and dust of all that automobile supremacy. Since PBOT changed the lane configuration to create dedicated spaces for cycling and walking and less space for driving, the potential of this street that’s home to over 200 businesses has finally been realized.

Jillian Sevick owns the Hammer and Jacks toy store and play area on SE 64th and Foster. With her 5 and 2-year old in her arms she testified this morning that the project has changed the street for the better. “My family and I regularly travel the Foster corridor by bike, car, transit and foot,” she said. “I have spent many years biking in Portland and I have to say the wide lanes, the green boxes, and the double-white lines have transformed Foster from a road I would have never considered biking on, to a pleasure.”

Advertisement




“Day-in and day-out,” Sevick continued, “families walk through my door who a year ago would not traverse Foster and now walk to shops, out to coffee, for groceries, or simply for fresh air. Creating a more pedestrian-friendly pace has directly correlated into making Foster feel safer, more family- friendly, and more inviting. Thank you.”

Another noteworthy result of the project Sevick called out is how people can now move around after parking curbside without being “pinned against our cars and honked at while trying to retrieve wriggling children.”

Another business owner, Matthew Micetic of Red Castle Games (and a former president of the Foster Area Business Association) planned to testify but was unable to make it. Venture Portland Director Heather Hoell spoke on his behalf. After praising the project, Micetic’s testimony read, “Some car drivers have unfortunately rejected the new safer Foster and we’re seeing increased instances of protest driving in bike lanes and other unsafe behaviors.” Micetic requested a 90-days of increased enforcement by the Portland Police Bureau (Mayor Wheeler said he’d raise the question with the Chief and East Precinct).

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.




PBOT adds more diversion to North Michigan Avenue greenway

The driver of this car was either unaware of the changes or felt they didn’t apply to him.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Making good on a promise made back in April, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has installed new plastic wands, signage, and striping at the intersection of North Michigan Avenue and Skidmore.

Proximity to I-5 makes Michigan a primary cut-through route.

The project aims to reduce the amount of people who drive on Michigan, a neighborhood greenway that’s supposed to be a low-stress, family-friendly street where bikers and walkers have priority. As we reported three months ago, PBOT has concerns about the high volume of people driving on Michigan. And at Skidmore specifically, the rate of crashes also raised a red flag.

The new diverters prevent car users from crossing Skidmore on Michigan. As we’ve seen all over the network, PBOT wants people to drive on larger arterials and neighborhood collector streets (in this case Albina or Interstate/I-5) and stay off of neighborhood greenways unless it’s their final destination.


This project is relatively simple: 10 plastic wands, “No Turn Except Bicycles” signs, and some clever pavement striping force people to turn right off of Michigan. At least that’s the intention.

Advertisement





https://twitter.com/Intersection911/status/1148391409373700096

Unfortunately, the design isn’t robust enough to deter some selfish, scofflaw drivers (as seen in the tweet above). During my 10 minutes at the intersection yesterday I saw three drivers ignore the diverters and illegally continue straight through the intersection. I saw far many others obey the signs and do the right thing. Hopefully compliance improves as time goes on. If not, PBOT will need to come back and tweak the design.

“I think PBOT should be presenting that as a choice: ‘Do you want to see traffic impacted? Or do you want to see parking removed and put in bike lanes?’”
— Reza Farhoodi, Bicycle Advisory Committee member

At the City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting last night, PBOT Neighborhood Greenway Coordinator Scott Cohen asked committee members what they’d like to see on greenways. “Diversion by default” — that is, installing diverters as standard practice, without asking permission and/or without waiting for complaints or conditions to worsen — was the top response.

Diverters have broad support among safe streets advocates. But for PBOT, the mere mention of the term often sends shivers up project managers’ spines. The agency fears backlash from people who think diverters make driving inconvenient and will only lead to more drivers on adjacent streets.

In 2011, PBOT wanted to install a diverter a few blocks north of Skidmore at Michigan and Rosa Parks. But because a few local residents objected, the project — and its benefits to public health and safety — was delayed for over a year.

Thankfully, PBOT has made great strides to overcome their diversion aversion in recent years.

At the BAC meeting last night, Cohen seemed supportive of calls for “diversion by default,” but he was clearly not ready to adopt such a policy. To do that, he said PBOT would need stronger political footing. Some sort of greenway action plan with diversion by default included as an action item would need to be adopted by City Council in order to give PBOT more authority.

Committee member Reza Farhoodi suggested to Cohen that PBOT might find more support for diverters if they told people who oppose it that the other option is a dedicated bike lane. “I think PBOT should be presenting that as a choice: ‘Do you want to see traffic impacted? Or do you want to see parking removed and put in bike lanes?’”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


Join us for ‘Motherload’ film screening and bike parade this Thursday

Eight years in the making, a most exciting film about cargo bikes and family biking is finally here! Fresh off the film festival circuit, the first non-festival showing of Motherload will be here in Portland this Thursday at 7pm at the Clinton Street Theater.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Motherload is a crowdsourced documentary about a new mother’s quest to understand the increasing isolation and disconnection of the digital age, its planetary impact, and how cargo bikes could be an antidote.

Motherload is much more than just the movie. The now 4,400-member-strong Facebook group filmmaker Liz Canning created eight years ago was the first big cargo bike/family bike group I’m aware of. There are others now (including local group, PDX Cargo Bike Gang), but Motherload: a movie, a meeting place, a cargo bike movement, formerly called “(R)Evolutions per Minute” and then “Less Car More Go” as the film title matured was a lifeline for many people looking for family biking advice and community.

Stills from MOTHERLOAD featuring Portland.

Having watched several trailers, extras, and a rough cut, I know I’ll love this final version of the film and I bet you will, too. Liz Canning visited Portland and shot lots of footage and conducted interviews with Portland cargo bike riders and builders so you’ll see some familiar scenery and faces. Watch the trailer here:

Motherload is presented by KBOO @ The Clinton and the suggested admission donation is $7-$10, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. They expect the movie to sell out so it’d be wise to arrive early — the box office opens at 6:30pm.

Advertisement




Biketopia Parade
Obviously a movie of this nature would include a bike ride! Head to Colonel Summer’s Park (SE 17th Ave & Taylor St) at 5:45pm where a representative from KBOO will have free organic ice pops for all and lead a family-friendly Biketopia Parade with theme “Animals Heart Bikes” the flat 1.4 miles to the theater. No cargo bike necessary and all non-car vehicles are welcome to join the parade.

If you’re unable to make this screening, Motherload will be back for the Oregon Independent Film Festival in September and the Portland Film Festival in October.

Will I see you there? Thanks for reading!

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.




Use e-scooters in Oregon? You should read this legal guide

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re a low-car Portlander, you understand that driving around the city is often more trouble than it’s worth. You probably also find shared electric scooters to be a useful addition to the mobility mix. But where do these vehicles fit into the rules of the road?

Now there’s a handy new guide from a local law firm that lays it all out.

Our friends at Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost have released, Oregon E-Scooter Rights: A Legal Guide for Electric Scooter Users (PDF). This is the fifth booklet from TCN&F since their popular Pedal Power cycling guide was published in 2000.

Citing the large number of complaints about e-scooters filed with the City of Portland following the first pilot program last summer, TCN&F says in the guide’s introduction, “e-scooters are getting a mixed reception from the populace.” One reason for that might be confusion over laws. “It is somewhat ironic that the e-scooter,” say guide authors Cynthia Newton, Chris Thomas, Jim Coon and Ray Thomas, “with its simplicity of operation and ease of use is accompanied by a more restrictive set of legal rules than bicycles, e-bikes, non-powered scooters, roller blades and skateboards.”

For example, scooter users are prohibited from riding on sidewalks citywide whereas bicycle riders can ride them anywhere outside of a relatively small no-go zone in the central city.

Advertisement




Here’s what the guide says about scooters and sidewalks:

E-Scooters are prohibited on sidewalks in Oregon except to get across the sidewalk from the roadway to or from an adjacent property… And the e-scooter rider must yield the right of way to pedestrians and provide an audible signal before overtaking and passing… When entering traffic from the sidewalk to the roadway the e-scooter rider is prohibited from moving into traffic that is “so close as to constitute an immediate hazard” which means the rider is required to ease into traffic and not ride out in front of approaching vehicles. E-scooters must be walked, not ridden, in the crosswalk…

And did you know Oregon’s “mandatory sidepath law” is even more restrictive for scooter users than bicycle users?

Oregon has what is referred to as a mandatory sidepath law which means that certain user groups must use a bike lane or path if one is available (ORS 814.514). There are no exceptions to this rule for e-scooters as there are for bicycles and e-bikes… This law requires that e-scooter riders use an available bike lane or path if one “is adjacent to or near the roadway”.

When it comes to the controversial policy of prohibiting scooters from Portland Parks facilities, the guide points out that there’s no exception in the law for people with disabilities. “Indeed, Portland law excludes non-disabled e-scooter use on some of the city’s most convenient, safe, and scenic car-free corridors,” including the Springwater Corridor, Eastbank Esplanade, Waterfront Park, Peninsula Crossing Trail, and so on.

The guide also has a very helpful section on insurance requirements as well as advice on what to do if you’re involved in a scooter crash.

Read the new guide below (download PDF here)…

Oregon-E-Scooter-Rights-A-Legal-Guide-for-Electric-Scooter-Riders

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.




Meet Skip Spitzer; a carfree, climate-change-fighting, single dad

kip Spitzer tows his son’s balance bike behind their trailer.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

This week we’re happy to share a profile of reader Skip Spitzer.

I met Skip on my Bike to School Day bike ride to the ‘Red for Ed’ rally, though I’d noticed his trailer in photos of various bike events around town before. As luck would have it, he was at the Woodstock Elementary play structure a couple weeks later while I was running a bike rodeo and he was nice enough to stick around for a conversation and a few photos…

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Tell me a little about yourself and your family.

I’m a single dad of a super groovy 3.5-year-old son. I’ve been car-free since 2013 and have been hauling him in a Burley Encore two-seat trailer since he was a baby. He rides a glider bike, which I tow from the back of the trailer when he’s done riding. He’s about to get a pedal bike!

Tandem trailers!
(Photo: Skip Spitzer)

Tell me about your bike.

I’ve been riding a Trek 8000 hardtail mountain bike for about 20 years. It became a town bike when it grew up, so it has Schwalbe “Flatless” tires, an extremely loud AirZound bike horn, a Mirrycle mirror, a Thudbuster seat post, Fortified Bicycle antitheft lights, and the virtually always-on Burley (which also has Schwalbe Flatless tires). These mods and accessories have really been great. The bike is ready for a drivetrain overhaul, but it’s still a great ride even with worn sprockets. I added a hitch to the back of the Burley so I can add a second trailer when needed.

My son is getting a Woom 2. Pricey, but with great resale value, so it should come out to about $50/year for him to begin pedaling on a well-designed and light-weight bike.

Going by bike slows down your day.

Is there something you wish you had known before you took your first pedal stroke that would have made things easier?

A really useful thing I learned is that, it seems for at least most people, when you don’t have a car, you get good at going by bike, and used to the physical effort and exposure to the elements. Not only does getting up for going by bike become a non-issue, you miss it when there’s a day without a ride: Being out in the world, listening to audio content (or whatever you do with your bonus free time when riding), the way it slows the day down, moving your body, and the way it makes you feel.

I’d also say it’s a good idea to get serious about having ease-supporting gear and systems, like an excellent flat/repair kit (easy to fix flats) and the Schwalbes (not a single flat since getting them), things like a combination lock so you’re not messing with your keys, having both a down and wool blanket in the trailer (one is super warm and the other insulates even if it gets wet), and having a really functional designated place at home for drying them (and wet jackets and rain pants) when needed. Spend some of the money you’re saving on other kinds of transportation and dial things in.

Trailers are easy to maneuver…usually.
(Photo: Skip Spitzer)

Tell me about an especially memorable ride in Portland.

One day (before the Schwalbes) we got a flat in the pouring rain. We found a great dry spot and, being prepared (including having some buffer time), it was actually easy and fun.

Repairing a flat in this bike room in an apartment building where we saw a house concert was fun too.

My son’s most memorable ride seems to be the time when Google routed us down a right-of-way through an apartment complex and the trailer couldn’t make a sharp turn in the pathway. He still talks about that one!

Advertisement




Have you biked in other cities and how did it compare?

Yes. Portland is a very cycling-friendly city.

This balance biker will soon be pedaling alongside his dad.

What about rain/snow/wind/extreme heat? Do you bike in less-than-ideal conditions?

Honestly, rain feels like a non-issue. I bike in whatever heat we have and deal with the impacts (like probably won’t be having a hard cider or other dehydrating beverage in the evening). I bike in snow, but I leave plenty of time, never put my kid at risk, and don’t necessarily count on getting to my destination.

What’s your best piece of advice to pass along to BikePortland readers?

Upping your reliance on cycling for transportation is a key way to disconnect from the institutions and practices that are quickly ushering in extremely dark times for us, our kids, and all future generations, as well as save money, de-stress, and support great health.

Respond to climate change.
(Photo: Skip Spitzer)

Do you have a social media presence you’d like to share?

Cycling is great, but it’s really just one part of what we need to do to respond the climate and environmental crisis now underway and deepening at alarming speed. At respondtoclimatechange.net you can get a brief, clear, comprehensive, sugar-free, up to date, and science-based overview of the crisis—and ways to respond. It includes an open letter to parents about protecting your children from climate change.

If you pull a trailer and want to help spread a positive message, see my post about how to raise consciousness with a bike trailer billboard.

If you have a 3-5 year old and are interested in cycling-related playdates, feel free to reach out to me through my website: www.skipspitzer.com.


Thank you for sharing your story Skip! And thanks to you all for reading.

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.