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Updated: 15 hours 49 min ago

Bend judge rules bike lane does not continue through intersection

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:15

Bend Bulletin story published yesterday.

A bicycle rider was killed last year in the central Oregon city of Bend when he was involved in a collision with a FedEx truck operator. The collision was a right-hook that took place in an intersection.

The reason I’m sharing this story here and now is because of a Deschutes County Circuit Court ruling that was made in the case yesterday. Here’s the story from the Bend Bulletin (emphasis mine):

A Deschutes County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday ruled a cyclist hit and killed in an intersection by a FedEx truck did not have the protection of a bike lane.

FedEx driver Trenton Derek Sage was found not guilty of the violation of failing to yield to a rider in a bicycle lane. Last November, Sage hit and killed Bend man Jonathan Chase Adams, 31… The case had implications beyond the lives of Sage and Adams. Prosecutor Andrew Steiner said many people today do not treat bike lanes like vehicle lanes, though they are.

“This is cultural,” he said. “Many people just don’t think of them as lanes.”

Steiner attempted to make the case that bike lanes continue through intersections, citing Oregon Department of Transportation guidelines for road construction and recent court cases and legislation in Oregon.

But Tuesday afternoon, Adler announced he did not agree. He said he saw “no authority” to support the contention that bike lanes continue through intersections in Oregon.

If this sounds familiar it’s because we had a similar case in Portland in 2009. In that instance, Multnomah County Court Judge Mark Zusman ruled that a woman who admitted to making a sudden right turn in her car that resulted in a collision with a bicycle rider in an intersection could not be found guilty for “failure to yield… in a bike lane” because — in Judge Zusman’s opinion — there is technically no “bike lane” in the intersection since there are no painted lines.

We spoke to legal and law enforcement experts about that case and they all agreed that Zusman’s decision was unfortunate and/or just plain wrong. At the time I said repeatedly that the law needs to be clarified so as to avoid decisions like this from happening ever again. Well, here we are.

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‘Bicycle lane’ means that part of the highway, adjacent to the roadway, designated by official signs or markings…
– ORS 801.155

Let’s be clear: Even though the legal definition of a bicycle lane (ORS 801.155) doesn’t specifically address intersections, the legal protection of a bicycle lane absolutely does continue through an intersection even if the markings do not. Standard vehicle lanes also don’t continue through intersections — does that mean intersections are a legal free-for-all? No. There are no lines in intersections simply because it would be confusing and impossible to follow them when they criss-cross each other.

But don’t take my word for it.

Former Portland Police Bureau Captain Bryan Parman told us in 2010 that, “We all know that lanes continue through an intersection, we just don’t lay down a bunch of criss-crossing lines because it would be confusing.” He also said, “It’s a poor ruling in an individual case but it doesn’t change the way we do business.”

Keep in mind that the Bend case is much different in one major respect: The bicycle rider was riding relatively fast and one witness said he was “bombing” downhill prior to the collision. In the Portland case, the auto user admitted fault and made a sudden right turn without looking. It’s unclear if the Deschutes County Judge took the bicycle rider’s behavior into account in his interpretation of the bike lane law.

The Portland case ultimately settled out of court with the auto user’s insurance company taking full responsibility.

It’s very frustrating to another Oregon judge make this determination about bike lanes. We had a feeling this could happen if the law was not clarified. In 2010, a former employee of The Street Trust said their legislative committee discussed the possibility of changing the law. “The question hinges on whether this is a one-time fluke,” the employee said, “or if this is something that will spread like a virus.” Given what just happened in Bend, it’s time for the law to be cleaned up.

The law should be changed to explicitly state that bicycle lanes continue through intersections — whether the lane markings do or not.

UPDATE, 12:06 pm: We’ve obtained some of the documents used in the Deschutes County Court trial. In a memo to the court, the driver’s Portland-based attorney, David McDonald, cites the 2009 Zusman decision as evidence that the bike lanes didn’t legally continue through the intersection. McDonald also states, “a bicycle lane is a traffic control device, and traffic controlled devices have to be clearly marked. The fact that the bicycle lane’s markings are not continuous through the intersection, and the point of impact was not with a designated bicycle lane, Mr. Sage [the truck operator] cannot be adjudge liable for a violation of ORS 811.050.”

UPDATE: Here’s a May 2018 memo written by Deputy DA Andrew Steiner that explains why he believes bike lanes continue through intersections:
Memo Re Adams 5-1-18

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

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Despite PBOT’s promise, St. Johns residents plan City Hall rally today – UPDATED

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 08:20

Engineering drawing (by Ty-Lin International) of St. Louis Avenue between Pier Park Place and Smith Street.
(From: St. Johns Transportation Concept Development Project Summary Report – October 2013)

The timing is curious: On the eve of a planned rally from concerned St. Johns residents who’ve been clamoring for years for street safety upgrades, the Portland Bureau of Transportation announced yesterday that a long-awaited project is set to move forward.

Donna Cohen has pushed for this project for over five years.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

PBOT says they now have the official “notice to proceed” from the Federal Highway Administration to begin Phase 2 of the St. Johns Truck Strategy. The project — part of a package adopted by City Council in 2001 (yes, 2001) — aims to create safer conditions and crossings in the neighborhood. It includes buffered bike lanes, caution signs and flashing beacons at three intersections, a new “HAWK” signal (where road users can push a button to activate an overhead signal) at the intersection of Fessenden and Charleston, and other measures to reduce auto user speeds.

As we reported a year ago, activists have become frustrated with PBOT due to what they say is a lack of progress. A group called, Citizens for a Safe and Attractive Fessenden, St. Louis, and Lombard has used Facebook to organize rallies and other events following the lack of implementation of the project. Many people in that group were part of the 17-month public planning process for the project that wrapped up in 2013 with a host of recommendations.

PBOT says construction for the $5 million project will begin early next year. Here’s more from their announcement:

The $5 million Phase 2 will provide a variety of traffic calming tools to discourage cut-through truck traffic and improve safety for people walking and biking on N. St. Louis-Fessenden in the St Johns neighborhood. Phase 2 includes a High Intensity Activated crosswalk beacon (HAWK) at the intersection of N. Fessenden and Charleston. Installation of this signal is a high priority for the surrounding neighborhoods. To meet this community need, PBOT worked closely with state transportation officials to include the HAWK signal as part of Phase 2.

The St. Johns Truck Strategy aims to encourage the use of designated freight routes around the St. Johns neighborhood and discourage use of neighborhood streets as cut-through routes. As funding has become available, PBOT has completed design elements of the strategy. In 2012, PBOT completed three design elements as part of Phase 1.

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Donna Cohen is the leader of the neighborhood group pushing PBOT to make these improvements. She showed up to a north Portland transportation meeting last month with a few other volunteers wearing bright yellow shirts emblazoned with “SAFETY for St. Johns” on the front. Cohen has organized four speakers to testify at this morning’s City Council meeting.

Cohen is tired of waiting. She says PBOT has promised to deliver on this project before. “This project has been delayed three times,” reads a flyer Cohen passed out last month. “We’ve had one hit-and-run death and two hit-and-run injuries on fesenden in the past 1 1/2 years. Would this have happened if the changes had been done? The city needs to move ahead with construction now!”

Despite yesterday’s announcement, Cohen says the rally is still on. “My first reaction is, good.” she shared on the group’s Facebook page upon hearing the news. “My second reaction is – we scared the shit out of them. My third reaction is – I need to see all the features of the plan listed, which they are not. My fourth reaction is – we must do what we planned tomorrow!”

You can watch the testimony here starting at 9:30 am today.

UPDATE, 10:30 am: Here’s how the testimony went down… Four women spoke at the outset of this morning council meeting. They expressed frustration at the years of delays. One woman said, “Portland has a lot of really difficult issues right now, but here’s something that’s been studied, there’s money for it, and everybody wants it. Why don’t we just starting making it now?”

76-year-old Ruth Llewellyn-Dix said she crosses Fessenden at Charleston several times a week to work at the nearby community garden. “At first I would walk,” she said, “But now I’ve resorted to driving [because it’s so unsafe]. But even driving is problematic, I have to turn right and then turn left to get across.” “Please have no more delays,” she continued. “After all, I’m not getting any younger and I wish to enjoy my trips to the garden, especially with my grandchildren.”

At the end of their testimony, PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said a contractor has been chosen and the work is set to begin this coming January. “We’re still skeptical,” one of the women said. “I’m not skeptical,” Eudaly replied. “There’s always potential for other delays, that depends on the contractor, but it really does look like things are proceeding.”

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

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PBOT closes major bikeway on SE Clinton for repaving project

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 13:19

PBOT’s recommended detour routes around the repaving on Clinton.
(Graphic: BikePortland)

Be advised that the Portland Bureau of Transportation is repaving SE Clinton Street from 21st to 26th and the road will be closed to bicycling from today through the 24th.

Here’s the official notice:

The traveling public is advised to expect delays during project work hours, normally 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and expect to follow detour routes. Consider using alternate routes if possible, through Oct. 24.

During work hours, the following detours will direct bicycle and vehicle traffic:

Eastbound travelers will go south at SE 21st, east on SE Taggart St, and north on SE 26th to return to SE Clinton St.
Westbound travelers will go north at SE 26th Ave, west on SE Ivon St, and south on SE 21st Ave to return to SE Clinton St.

For comfort and safety, people riding bicycles are encouraged to use the detour routes at all times, even when work crews are not present. There will be times when the ground street surface is left unattended, and such conditions can be difficult or uncomfortable for people biking.

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During work hours, travelers will need to park on side streets and walk to access businesses and other destinations on Clinton Street. Motor vehicles and bicycle traffic will be kept out of the street to ensure safety for crews and the public. Businesses with specific access needs, such as for deliveries, should contact crews on the scene for safe access.

Crews will repave 0.7 lane mile of street surface. Clinton is a neighborhood greenway, a street with low-traffic volumes and speeds, where bicycles, pedestrians and neighbors are given priority.

The traveling public is advised to expect delays while repairs are being made. We ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all traffic control signage and obey directions from flaggers and other work crew members. Use alternate routes if possible.

This work is weather-dependent and the schedule may change.

Clinton is a very popular neighborhood greenway route so we hope the detour routes remain safe for bicycle riders for the coming week. It will be great to have it all smoothed out! If you ride here regularly, let us know how the project is treating you.

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

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Family Biking: How to get Halloween night right

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 08:44

L-R: Darth Vader in rain jacket, minion in rain jacket, Wonder Woman in rain jacket, Rainier beer can adjacent to her costume in basket.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Do you take your bike trick-or-treating? We do.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Except for last year, and what a mistake that was! Being bikeless led to an incredibly late evening — once we decided to call it a night the kids couldn’t help but knock on every porch-lit door we passed as we hoofed it a mile to get back home, adding an additional hour to the night. In the past I’ve found it a bit awkward to wheel my bike along the sidewalk or street while the kids march from door-to-door, but being able to pedal away when we’re done always makes it well worth it.

Beyond being an escape vehicle, here’s why it’s not that scary to bring the bike along on Halloween:

➤ Carrier of extra layers
It’s usually cold on Halloween, and often wet. There’s no shame in one’s bike acting like a glorified shopping cart — so load it up with hoodies, gloves, and rain jackets to carry along until they’re needed. And if you’ve got an indecisive trick-or-treater, toss a spare costume in it, too!

➤ Wheelbarrow of accumulated candy
Oh how I hate shouldering that increasingly heavy bag of overflow candy as we trudge through the spooky night. We (OK, I) like to visit a candy buy-back after Halloween so it’s lucrative for the kids to grab as much heavy candy as they can and I let the show go on longer when I have my bike along to fill with the spoils.

“Helmets can make costuming easier since they stay put on your head and make a great platform for attaching stuff.”

This year I’m going to try to get the best of both worlds on the 31st by 1) biking to trick-or-treating, 2) locking the bike up while we execute a loop, and then 3) walk the bike back home alongside the kids as they continue trick-or-treating. This works exceptionally well for starting early to do daytime trick-or-treating with local businesses (see PDX Parent: Portland-Area Daytime Trick or Treating for many locations). Last year the mile-plus walk to the business district was a bit of an ordeal, so biking over will be a treat. I’ll leave my bike at a bike rack near the end closer to home and we’ll walk down one side of Woodstock Blvd and back the other to retrieve the bike just when dusk hits. Then it’s time to visit the woman near school who gives out full-sized candy bars and meander our way home.

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I say “bike” singular since all previous years have seen my kids on my bike, initially my little city bike with kid seats and/or trailer, and now my cargo bike. Now they’re old enough that they ride their own bikes most places. And since I don’t want to wheel three bikes around, I’m planning to carry them on my cargo bike to keep things simple. But biking on three bikes to a trick-or-treat destination and locking up while candy collecting and then biking home is a great use of pedal power, too. In fact, I’d like to do this for some of the non-Halloween-Night Halloween events where arriving by bike will probably be much easier than arriving by car. I’m most excited for Tombstone Trick or Treat hosted by Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery 12-3pm on the 27th where historic Portland ghosts will hand out candy and chat about their historical lives. Sugar with a side of learning! Not that Facebook RSVPs are even a rough estimate, but “680 going, 8,800 interested” on the Tombstone Trick or Treat! Facebook event page makes me think biking over is definitely the way to go.

➤ Costumes on the bike

Bike lane icon and green bike box (can you tell?)

Neighborhood greenways personified. (Those are traffic circles on their helmets!).

Are there special concerns for wearing a costume while biking? Seven years later, there’s still no better tutorial than Lady Fleur’s Six Tips for Bike Costume Success. I’ll add that I think helmets can make costuming easier since they stay put on your head and make a great platform for attaching stuff. When my kids were littler and didn’t mind my dictating their costumes I dressed them up as various bike infrastructure every year and affixing traffic circles to the tops of their helmets when they were neighborhood greenways was pretty cute! But back to costumes on the bike in general: basically don’t wear things that will dangle dangerously into the moving parts of your bike, just like on normal days. I have a gory story about a pirate and a sword if you need convincing (he’s fine now, but it wasn’t pretty).

➤ Costumes for your bike

OK, this is pretty clever.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Bike salmon costume.

I haven’t done a lot of bike costuming (and my photo is from Cranksgiving, not Halloween), but bikes make great frames for big costumes. Cargo bikes make it very easy, but even regular bikes can be turned into all sorts of things. Decorations running the entire length of the bike are tricky and may hamper turning, but keeping part of the costume confined to the handlebars and front rack/basket and the rest to the back of the bike, affixed to the top tube, saddle, or rear rack can make for lots of fun possibilities. If you dress up your bike as part or all of your costume this year, I’d love to have photos sent to me at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com and I can post them in my column after Halloween.

Please share your plans and insights in the comments! 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.

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Builders and fans converge at Chris King factory for ‘Open House’ show

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 16:26

Chris King welcomed visitors to his factory on Saturday.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

As Portland’s largest bicycle company, Chris King Precision Components is in a unique position to be an industry leader. With the success of their mini-summit of bike builders and industry movers and shakers that wrapped up with a big open house event Saturday, the 42-year-old company seems to be embracing that role.

The halls of the Chris King factory were jam-packed for the “Open House” show on Saturday. Among massive industrial machines and assembly rooms that put together some of the most respected and sought after bicycle components in the world, hundreds of bicycle lovers got an close-up look at a very special selection of bicycles and the builders who create them.

For the man behind the brand, Chris King, the gathering must have felt bittersweet. A framebuilder himself, King decided to cease production of his Cielo brand just over one year ago so his company could focus more closely on its core business: designing, making, and selling bottom brackets, headsets, and hubs. King, who still spends about three days a week in the shop, is obsessive about quality and his company makes nearly every piece of their products themselves (yes, even the bearings). Manufacturing products in the United States is hard enough without having to constantly react to the whims of product managers and marketers who seem to push a new wheel size, head-tube size or axle configuration every season.

During a conversation with King on Sunday (he was hard to miss, standing near the main entry with a badge on his chest that read, “Hello: My Name is Chris”) he said he thinks product managers need to be more careful when it comes to changing standards, because there could be unintended consequences. “We moved away from 26-inch wheels so fast,” he shared, “That change destroyed the used [bike] market overnight.” “If people can’t sell their old bike, they’re less likely to be able to buy a new one,” he added.

King is far from a luddite. He just wants the industry to be more thoughtful about the changes it pushes out to consumers. Promoting that message was a big part of the reason his company welcomed 18 builders and reps from nine bike brands (including Smith, Quality Bicycle Products, Fox Racing, Santa Cruz Bicycles, and more). There was an industry panel discussion on Thursday, a builder’s summit on Friday (where King hosted the builders at his ranch house off NW Germantown Road), and the bike show capped it all off on Saturday.

While all the bikes were custom, they shared one thing in common: King headsets and hubs in a new matte mango or turquoise color.

Here are a few of the bikes that caught my eye (note that almost everyone brought a drop-bar “all-road/gravel” bike!):

English Cycles: One Off Custom (Frame: $3,200 As shown: $13,100 – website)

Rob English is a builder based in Eugene whose bikes reflect the type of riding he personally enjoys most: Going fast. He brought a gorgeous bike for a customer who wanted to maintain the handling properties of a traditional road bike but have room for wider tires. “If you’re not racing, there’s no reason to have narrow tires,” said English, as he pointed out the bike’s size 35 tires. 35s are big enough for most gravel roads and because English maintained the standard road bike geometry and wheelbase (via a curved seat tube), this bike should have no trouble keeping pace on fast group rides on the pavement. The integrated seat mast is also a nice touch because it creates a convenient place for a third bottle cage — not to mention it looks super cool.

Breadwinner: Find Your Road B-Road Special Edition ($8,620 – website)

Calling it their “most capable and supple 700c gravel bike to date” Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan launched the “Find Your Road” package at the show. Would-be owners have two weeks to order one. Highlights include a Columbus steel frame that can fit up to 45c tires, a custom (strapless!) bag from Andrew the Maker.

Simworks: Doppo (Frame: $1,600 – website)

Simworks is a Japanese brand that now has a full-time office in the Portland (inside Chris King no less). You might recall the profile I did of Simworks president Shinya Tanaka back in 2012. Now I’m happy to report that Simworks has contracted with Portland-based builder Oscar Camarena (Simple Bicycles) to make an all-road “Doppo” frame (Doppo is a Japanese word that means “going alone” or “working on something independently”). The aluminum frame can run 700c or 650b wheels.

Sage: Flow Motion ($9,965 – website)

It’s been over four years since David Rosen launched his Sage Cycles brand and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Rosen launched this gorgeous new titanium mountain bike on Saturday. Named after a popular trail in Sandy Ridge and made in Portland, the Flow Motion is made to “test the limits.” “It’s definitely not a cross-country bike,” Rosen acknowledged, but it can climb just fine. With its tall front end and 150mm fork, this bike was made for fast berms and flowing jump lines.

Co-Motion Cycles: Klatch Pinion CTX ($8,990 – website)

This was one of more innovative bikes at the show. Co-Motion’s Billy Truelove built it for himself to see if he could create a fast, gravel-ready bike around the Pinion internal gearbox drivetrain. Another special feature of this bike is that the shifting is via a lever instead of the usual twist-shift Pinion’s typically require. Co-Motion was able to source brand new levers just for this purpose from German company Tout Terrain.

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Mosaic: GT1 ($14,500 – website)

Speedvagen: Rugged Road (website)

Argonaut: GR2 ($13,200 – website)

Stinner Frameworks: Steel Refugio ($11,145 – website)

Cielo: Mountain Bike 2017

Spooky: Gas Mask Razzle Dazzle ($11,500 – website)

Given the success of this three-day gathering (and the big smile on Chris King’s face while it happened), I have a hunch it will return next year even bigger and better. When it does, there one thing we hope changes: We’d like to see more women and people of color represented in the events. The local bike industry is full of much more than cis-gendered white men. If Chris King wants to be a leader in this space, they should keep in mind that representation matters.

For more photos and insights about bikes on display at the Open House, check out coverage from James Buckroyd over on BuckyRides.com.

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

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Woman has life-threatening injuries after collision on SE 82nd Ave – UPDATED

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 13:19

Looking southbound on 82nd just before SE Henderson (on the right).

The Portland Police Bureau’s Major Crash Team responded to a serious collision involving a bicycle rider today just after 11:00 am.

It happened at the intersection of SE 82nd and Henderson, just a few blocks north of Flavel. The police say someone driving a car southbound on 82nd and a woman bicycling eastbound on Henderson collided with each other. The bicycle rider is being treated for what police refer to as,
“serious life-threatening injuries.”

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Police are conducting a full investigation. Here’s a snip from their official statement:

The investigation is in its early stages and at this time officers believe the driver of a Honda Pilot drove south on Southeast 82nd Avenue as the bicyclist traveled east on Southeast Henderson Street. The bicyclist and Honda collided at the intersection of Southeast 82nd Avenue and Southeast Henderson Street. The driver of the Honda remained at the scene and is cooperating with investigators. There have been no citations issued or arrests made at this time.

This is a “T” intersection. Henderson does not continue eastbound across 82nd, except for a commercial driveway.

This location is also just one block north of where a woman was killed while bicycling in July 2016. Lydia Johnson was in the bike lane riding eastbound on Flavel when she was the victim of a right-hook from someone turning a box truck onto southbound 82nd.

We’ll share updates on today’s crash as they come in. If anyone has information about what happened please get in touch.

If you want to help make 82nd better, the 82nd Avenue Improvement Coalition is hosting an event this Wednesday (10/17) where they’ll share their vision and moderate a panel discussion.

UPDATE, 10/16 at 2:40 pm: The woman has died.

UPDATE, 10/18: Police have confirmed the woman who died is 52-year-old Pamela Seidel of Portland. A commenter below said she was homeless and was fondly remembered by nearby residents.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Scooter laws, ‘War on Cars’ pod, transit subsidy and more

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 10:08

Here are the most notable stories we came across last week:

Silver bullet: You’ve probably heard that electeds and policymakers from Oregon and Washington are eager to replace the I-5 bridge; but did you know there are early-stage talks to build a bullet train between Portland and Vancouver, BC?

Transit subsidy: Seattle is the latest west coast city to pass a local mandate requiring certain companies to allow employees to use pre-tax wages to pay for transit. Why they heck doesn’t Portland do this?!

Climate warning: The new climate change report from the IPCC is very serious and should not be passed over. The question now is: How should we change our existing plans/projects/policies given the dire warnings contained in the report?

Safe streets are the answer: LA-based writer Alissa Walker says the climate report should make it much easier for “climate mayors” to get tough on auto overuse and commit to safe streets.

The ‘War on Cars’ has begun: I could not think of better people (Sarah Goodyear, Aaron Naparstek and Doug Gordon) or a better place (New York City) for the new War on Cars podcast to come from. Give it a listen and prepare to be inspired and informed.

Bicycling makes you a better driver: A UK-based insurance company found that, among policyholders, people who frequently ride bikes make far fewer claims than those who don’t.

Driving ban in London: Another city has proclaimed its intention to prohibit driving in sections of its downtown core and reduce speed limits to 15 mph. London planners believe the policy is needed to create a world-class street scene and “future-proof” the city.

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Scooters, legally-speaking: The Bike League shared a breakdown of key bicycle-related laws and surmised how they might – or might not – relate to scooters.

Corporate mobility hooks another big fish: Scott Kubly (Lime), Caroline Samponaro (Lyft), Nelle Pierson (Jump), Paul Steely White (Bird), and now former US DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx (Lyft). The trend of major transportation advocates/leaders moving from non-profit/public service into the corporate realm continues.

5,000 bikes recovered: Bike Index celebrated a major stolen bike recovery milestone by interviewing a woman whose bike was taken from a rack after someone cut through her u-lock.

Why nobody bikes in LA: Noted writer and activist Peter Flax spread blame in many directions — including hostile drivers and toothless professional advocates — in an essay about why he believes Los Angeles is the worst city for biking in America.

Tech is not your bro: “Don’t let techno-utopianism become a pretext for doing nothing.” Glad to see more people beginning to understand that our transportation problems won’t be solved by high-tech solutions alone.

E-bike pros and cons: Lifehacker shared a great explainer about e-bikes that could help you decide if they’re right for you (spoiler: after the deep dive, the reporter said she’s now a believer!).

Video of the Week: Former Portlander (sniff, sniff) Russ Roca of Path Less Pedaled returned this weekend and posted an entertaining vlog full of shop visits and other bikey adventures around north Portland:

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

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Beaverton traffic cameras caught 94,000 people speeding in one year

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 12:16

PBOT’s speed camera on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway was installed in 2016.
(Photo: PBOT)

One line in a recent Beaverton Police Department press release caught my eye: “Between 07/01/2015 and 07/01/2016 over 94,000 drivers were traveling 11 mph or more, above the speed limit.”

I’m well aware that most people drive faster than they should. But 94,000? That’s a lot of speeders! (And don’t even get me started about the standard practice of only citing for 11 mph or over the posted speed.)

Thankfully there’s a silver lining. The release also announced that BPD would start issuing citations to some of those people this coming Tuesday, October 16th (warnings have been mailed since September 15th). The way they’ll manage this sudden influx of enforcement activity is by using photo radar cameras thanks to a law passed in 2017 that allows them to cite speeders using cameras that have until now only nabbed red light runners.

Portland will take advantage of the same law, but it will likely be at least several months before our cameras are ready. Here’s why:

The City of Portland has been in a leader in using automated enforcement. They started operating mobile photo radar vans in 1995 and put up their first red light camera in 1999. Portland received authority to install its first speed cameras in 2015 and as of February of this year they’ve installed eight of them. Two cameras are placed (one facing each direction) on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway (between Hillsdale Town Center and SW Shattuck Road), SE Division Street (between 148th and 162nd), SE 122nd Avenue (between Foster and Holgate), and NE Marine Drive (eastbound near NE 33rd Drive, westbound near NE 138th Ave). As per the law, Portland can only install speed cameras on high crash corridors.

In the 2017 legislative session, Oregon passed House Bill 2409 which allowed cities to use existing red light cameras to catch speeders as well.

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Beaverton’s 94,000 speeders were counted at just four intersections. Portland has red light cameras at 11 intersections. Will we follow Beaverton’s lead and start using them to cite speeders too?

Unfortunately not.

Eager to see more automated enforcement, I asked PBOT Communications Director John Brady if our red light cameras will take advantage of the 2017 law. Brady said it’s in their plans, but it won’t happen in the near term. “This is because the existing red light camera technology that we have is too old and can’t be adapted to also serve the speed safety function,” he shared via an email today. “We’re working on an RFP for a new contract for these cameras.” That new contract would allow PBOT to upgrade the cameras so they can serve both functions. Brady added that the RFP will be released “in the coming months.”

Hopefully the camera upgrades can be made by next year so they’re up-and-running by the time we see major road design changes as part of the Central City in Motion projects. Unlike the existing speed cameras which are all located far outside the urban core, several of our red light cameras (that will eventually cite speeders too) are in the urban core. The locations include: NE Grand Ave. and E. Burnside St.; NE Sandy Blvd. and NE Cesar Chavez Blvd.; NE Cesar Chavez Blvd. and NE Sandy Blvd.; W Burnside St. and 19th Ave.; NE Broadway St. and NE Grand Ave.; SE Foster Rd. and SE 96th Ave.; SE Stark St. and SE 102nd Ave.; SE Stark St. and SE 99th Ave.; SE Washington St. and SE 103rd Ave.; SE Grand Ave. and SE Madison St.; and SW 4th Ave. and SW Jefferson St.

These cameras work and they’re a potent weapon in PBOT’s arsenal in the war on speeding. The first three speed cameras PBOT installed resulted in an 85% decrease in “top-end speeding” (defined as 10 mph or more over the posted limit).

Stay tuned.

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

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Oregon’s mountain bike advocacy has taken a giant leap forward

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 10:02

A packed room for the OMBC Summit held last weekend in Bend.
(Photos: Gabriel Amadeus.

Oregon is home to some of the best off-road cycling anywhere. From mountains to deserts, the coast, and rivers — the diversity of terrain is matched only by the amount of the hard-working groups that tend the trails and make sure the best places to ride stay open and accessible.

They’ve got our backs. We can’t wait to sign up as a member of this new org!

But up until now, many of those groups focused their work on a local or regional level. With the belief that there’s power in a strong and collective statewide voice for off-road cycling, the new Oregon Mountain Biking Coalition (OMBC) officially launched at a summit in Bend on October 6th. The group is a coalition of 16 different advocacy organizations from throughout the state who represent thousands of riders and trail stewards. Among them are Portland-based Northwest Trail Alliance, the Central Oregon Trail Alliance, and the Salem Area Trail Alliance.

Last weekend in Bend, representatives from 14 member groups came together for a full day of discussions and presentations that laid out priorities and set a course for the coming year. The advocates were joined by regional land managers, the newly appointed Director of Oregon’s Office of Outdoor Recreation (Cailin O’Brien Feeney), and a staffer from Senator Jeff Merkley’s office.

The goal of OMBC is to, “advocate for, create, enhance, and protect mountain biking experiences in the state of Oregon.” “Until now,” reads a press release from the group, “no organization has brought to our state’s policymakers a unified, statewide voice for mountain biking.” Here’s more about the work they plan to do:

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Educate
Misconceptions persist about the sport of mountain biking. We educate policymakers and the public, bringing to light nationally-recognized research and best practices for building, maintaining, and managing mountain biking destinations.

Advocate
At the state level, and in special instances, locally and nationally, we advocate for specific outcomes on behalf of our member organizations, accelerating their mission.

Communicate
We function as a communication hub between our member organizations, sharing information and opportunities while gathering the input that forms our priorities and advocacy positions.

Facilitate
By facilitating the cross-organizational planning, fundraising, permitting, and resource sharing essential for projects beyond the capacity of a single member organization, we enable more ambitious concepts to be considered and delivered.

Get to know more about their work by reading this recap of their recent summit. Notable is a bullet point for next steps that says “bike tax.” I asked NW Trail Alliance VP Matthew Weintraub for more details on their plans and he said they’re working on a strategy to “fix it.” Weintraub points out that since the $15 tax was introduced, 43% of the new bikes sold in Oregon were mountain bikes. The trouble with that is none of the money raised by the tax (about $290,000 through August) goes to dirt trails.

This is an exciting step for mountain biking in Oregon! The people involved in this effort are some of the best and brightest advocates we have and seeing them work together in common cause is very heartening.

Follow the OMBC on Instagram, on their website, and on Facebook.

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

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Jobs of the Week: Bike Gallery, Community Cycling Center, PSU Bike Hub

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 06:01

Looking for a new place to spread you cycling wings? We’ve got three fresh job opportunities for you to consider.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Mechanic – Community Cycling Center

–> PSU Bike Hub Mechanic – Portland State University

–> Experienced Bike Mechanics – Bike Gallery (Westmoreland)

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

Be the first to know about new job opportunities by signing up for our daily Job Listings email or by following @BikePortland on Twitter.

These are paid listings. And they work! If you’d like to post a job on the Portland region’s “Best Local Blog” two years running, you can purchase a listing online for just $75. Learn more at our Job Listings page.

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

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We can’t fix what we don’t know: Why access to information is key to Vision Zero

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 14:47

*Watch how many people drive in front of this man while he waits for a chance to cross.

This post was written by our Adventures in Activism column co-editor Catie Gould.

On the evening of April 7th, Alex Hubert was crossing to the MAX platform to catch a northbound Yellow Line train back home when he was struck by a car. There was no police alert on Twitter. There were no news reports. But I was there.

This post is about my attempt to learn more about the safety issues at the intersection and find out why they haven’t been fixed.

Busy MAX station, narrow crosswalk, conflicting signals. It’s a bad recipe.

The day Alex was hit I was on a southbound train that pulled into the station minutes afterwards. After stepping out on the platform, the reason for the traffic back-up was obvious. An SUV was stopped in the left lane of Interstate Avenue. Alex was down, bleeding on the ground. Paramedics had not yet arrived. Like everyone else, I crossed against the walk light because traffic was stopped.

This intersection serves as a major connection for transit, connecting the MAX Yellow line with other MAX and bus lines in the Rose Quarter. It should be one of the safest locations to walk in our city, but years of injuries have gone unnoticed.

Since the City of Portland adopted Vision Zero in 2015, a publicly accessible map attempts to show all the injuries and fatalities on Portland roads. There are four injuries shown at this location, but due to the way data is collected, it could be another couple years before Alex’s injury is added.

Because of what I saw that day, I wanted to know more about this intersection. Doing that turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated.

PBOT’s Vision Zero Crash Map shows four injury collisions here since 2006. The yellow lines show that Interstate is a designated high-crash corridor.

The Vision Zero map doesn’t contain enough information about the circumstances of crashes to be useful. The Portland Bureau of Transportation collects some police reports, but was not able to share any with me. This meant I had to file public records requests with the Portland Police, a process that takes $30 per report and weeks to months of waiting.

Once I received it, the police report for that April 2018 collision concluded Alex had crossed against the walk signal, and was therefore at fault. When police interviewed him at the hospital, Alex had no memory of the crash. He had blacked out from his concussion, waking up inside an MRI machine. Another driver who had already left the scene and left their contact information with the driver of the car, was the only third-party interviewed by the responding officer. Here’s what PPB Officer Daniel Ring wrote in the report:

“The pedestrian was sprinting from East to West on Multnomah St and ran through Interstate Ave. She [witness] believed he was even outside the crosswalk. Traffic in the slow lane on Interstate Ave was heavy and jammed up. The pedestrian ran through traffic/vehicles in the slow lane, dodging them, before running into the passenger side of the involved vehicle in the fast lane.”

Crossing Interstate Avenue to get to the MAX platform is notoriously difficult and people cross when they can, instead of by the signal. In a similar collision that occurred on the morning of January 11th, 2012, three witnesses told police that a person was struck while walking to the MAX platform by a northbound vehicle who had a green light. According to the crash report, Daniel Whipple did not remember what the walk signal was and said when people started to move, he just walked with them.

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Police cited Whipple for failing to obey a traffic control device and failing to yield to a vehicle. A PPB officer visited him in the hospital and left the ticket in a bag next to his bed with the rest of the his belongings. The officer noted in his report that, “I regularly patrol this area and know from experience that pedestrians regularly disregard the traffic control devices there.”

A PPB officer visited him in the hospital and left the ticket in a bag next to his bed with the rest of the his belongings.

Crossing with the signal is not much safer. Two years later on the rainy afternoon of January 8th, 2014 a man turning right from Multnomah to Interstate struck and knocked over a woman using a motorized wheelchair who was crossing to the MAX platform. In this case, both the driver and the woman in the crosswalk had a green light. Surprisingly, this type of signal timing is common, says Dylan Rivera a spokesperson for the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

In response to my inquiries, Rivera said that, “Aside from the intense public transit use there, this intersection is, generally-speaking, not unique.”

It turns out I’m not the only one who’s been concerned about this intersection. A woman named Erin Moreland reported this signal conflict on a different leg of the intersection to the city’s 823-SAFE hotline in the summer of 2016. Back then she took the Yellow line to the Rose Quarter and walked the rest of the way to her job downtown several times a week. After a few experiences of drivers not yielding to her she filed a safety concern on the website.

“As a pedestrian, crossing NE Multnomah on the west side of Interstate Ave, there is a ‘walk signal’ at the same time as drivers traveling south on interstate have a green light for turning right onto Multnomah- where pedestrians are crossing. This feels dangerous, and several times I have had drivers not yield to me and instead drive through the pedestrian crossing area when technically I should be crossing at the same time.”

Moreland’s 823-SAFE ticket was reviewed two months later and subsequently referred to PBOT’s Signals and Street Lighting division under a new number. From there, the paper trail stops. At the time of this publication PBOT was unable to provide any documentation of an investigation. No action seems to have been taken.

An 823-SAFE ticket that was received by PBOT but never addressed.

The day after the crash I went back to the Rose Quarter and watched how people used the intersection, hoping to settle my feelings about what I’d seen. I witnessed a man using a walker attempt to cross the street. The walk sign turned on. He waited as person after person turned their car right across the crosswalk — eight drivers total. By the time all of them had passed through, the walk signal was long gone, and the man crossed against the light.

Despite the numerous injuries here, this intersection has not been identified for any improvements. Upgrading the signal timing here is complex because of the multiple transit signals and an outdated traffic control system. A spokesperson for TriMet toldme they’ll be replacing the tracks and upgrading the signal controller for the Rose Quarter in 2020. The new signals will allow for increased train movement, but no safety upgrades are planned as of yet. PBOT’s Rivera said on Wednesday they’ve raised this issue with TriMet and staff from both organizations have recently met to discuss the project.

There are probably hundreds of other intersections like this one across Portland. They have a history of close-calls and injuries, but aren’t deadly or sensational enough to be picked up by the media or be the focus of a PBOT initiative. And as I’ve shared in this post, information that can help concerned Portlanders like us take action or follow-up — such as the status of 823-SAFE complaints, or crash details available only in police reports — are hard to come by and not publicly available.

To achieve Vision Zero — to, “eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our streets by 2025” — we’ll need to make information like this easier to come by. Without a doubt we are missing other opportunities, and more people will get hurt until we do a better job of noticing.

Alex is feeling better these days. His broken ribs have healed, but he still has a persistent pain in his knee and still uses the MAX to commute downtown from his home in Vancouver, Washington. When I contacted him this week about the incident he said, “I’m glad I don’t remember it.”

— Catie Gould, @Citizen_Cate on Twitter

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Two drivers arrested after a woman was killed walking across SE Division last night

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 11:23

View looking west on SE Division at crossings of 138th and 139th.

Portland Police have arrested two drivers and are looking for a third in relation to a collision that left another person trying to cross SE Division Street dead last night.

So far the investigation has revealed that an adult female was killed while crossing at SE 138th just after 10:00 pm.

Here’s more from the Portland Police Bureau:

“… officers believe the pedestrian was walking south across Southeast Division Street when she was struck by a vehicle being driven west on Southeast Division Street. Shortly afterwards the woman was struck by a second vehicle that was also traveling westbound on Southeast Division Street. The driver of the first vehicle that struck the victim drove away from the scene. The driver of the second vehicle remained at the scene.

Officers searched the area, but at this time have not located the driver or vehicle that was believed to have first struck the pedestrian. The driver of the second vehicle was taken into custody. The driver of the second vehicle involved in this crash has been identified as 42-year-old Brent A. Klausner.”

So. We have two drivers involved so far. One of them fled the scene. The other (Klausner) was taken into custody. But it gets worse. While officers were investigating the crash, “a driver traveled around the road closure and into the crime scene, narrowly missing a Major Crash Team investigator.”

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The police took that third driver, 31-year-old Angel G. Cardona-Aguilar, into custody.

Both men have since been released. Klauser was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Reckless Driving. Cardona-Aguilar was booked on charges of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Reckless Driving, and Reckless Endangering.

To summarize: Three drivers involved; one of them on-the-loose for felony hit-and-run, two of them arrested for reckless driving and DUII. This is complete madness. Auto abuse is an epidemic and we need much more aggressive actions to mitigate its myriad impacts on innocent people.

This is the 24th traffic fatality in Portland so far this year. 10 of those killed were walking. This is the fourth person to die while walking on outer SE Division this year. On March 11th, 74-year-old Fuk Chan was killed trying to cross at 115th. 86-year-old Dorothy Anderson was killed at SE 169th on May 8th. And on July 23rd, 69-year-old James Deery was hit and killed at 158th.

This is frustrating because we know how bad Division is, yet we haven’t completed the steps needed to fix it. City crash stats show Division ranks No. 1 for motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries, No. 4 for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and No. 2 for bicycle injuries and fatalities.

The good news is PBOT has a big plan to improve safety on this stretch of Division and it’s slated to be completed by mid-2019. Then there’s TriMet’s Division Transit Project expected to bring even more significant changes to the street when it begins construction next year. The bad news is these plans aren’t much solace given all the sacrifices we’ve made already.

And how many more people will be hurt and/or killed before these basic safety updates are completed?

Among these updates is a rapid flash beacon to be installed at 138th. It’s unclear whether that would have helped last night. As we saw last week when a man and young child were hit on 122nd, the presence of a beacon is often a weak countermeasure in the presence of such a massive threat like the one posed by reckless people driving on a high-speed arterial highway that cuts through residential neighborhoods.

I don’t know what else to write at this point.

CORRECTION, 4:01 pm: The headline of this story originally said a man had been killed. It was a woman. I regret the error.

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

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City installs plastic curbs, wands to protect bikeway at I-5 freeway on-ramp

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 10:31

Nothing like the sight of a PBOT maintenance worker installing protection on a bike lane in the morning!
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Something great is happening as I type this: A day after the City of Portland took some heat from Bicycling Magazine about not providing enough protected cycling space, I noticed Bureau of Transportation crews installing some in my neighborhood this morning.

As part of the North Rosa Parks Way paving project, PBOT is adding plastic curbs and delineator wands in the westbound bikeway as it approaches the I-5 on-ramp at N Missouri. This is very good news!

Here’s why: Despite clear painted striping and a large caution sign, many drivers do the wrong thing and encroach into the bikeway at this corner. See it in the photo below…

This is what the curbs and wands will prevent. (And by the way, you’re breaking the law and being rude when you do this!)

As major changes have come to Rosa Parks in recent months, the volume of people who bike on it has risen substantially. This means it’s more important than ever to make sure that all users of the road respect each other’s space.

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The tendency for people to make bad decisions while driving always seems to be more pronounced at freeway approaches. Since Rosa Parks is one of the last places for people to get onto I-5 to head north into Washington, the behaviors on display at this location during the afternoon rush are extremely frustrating. PBOT has made the right decision here. Unfortunately we can’t rely on peoples’ respect for one another to dictate safe vehicle operation so it’s crucial that the design of our streets makes it easy to do the right thing.

In addition to the plastic curbs, PBOT is installing the wands one block east to N Michigan Avenue — a major north-south greenway.

PBOT Communications Director John Brady said these new protective measures were always part of the original plan for the project: “We waited for ODOT to complete the work they were doing in this location, so that we wouldn’t be in the way.”

The roll-out and completion of the Rosa Parks project has been far less than ideal. And it remains incomplete while we wait for more physical protection that’s been promised to come within the year.

Let us know what you think of this new treatment and we’ll update the post with more photos after the installation is done.

UPDATE, 10/12 at 11:16 am: Here are photos of them all installed!

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

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Subscriber opinion: Governor Brown should lose ODOT leadership to win reelection

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 08:49

What is Kate Brown’s transportation vision?
(Photo: ODOT)

This post comes from BikePortland subscriber and contributor Kiel Johnson. He previously wrote about his grassroots effort to garner neighborhood support for the Lloyd to Woodlawn Neighborhood Greenway project.

In the latest Oregon Governor’s race poll Kate Brown is ahead by 4% with a margin of error of 5%. There have been alarms going off that Governor Brown is in trouble and many commentators are pointing to a lack of a compelling vision. Last year she helped push through HB 2017, one of the largest transportation budgets in Oregon’s history. Yet this additional money is not doing her many favors for saving her job. She has hardly mentioned her victory on the campaign trail. As people who spend time reading about the importance of transportation, it is crucial for us to figure out why transportation is not a topic of interest in this race.

I encourage you to leave your ideas in the comments below. Here are a few of my thoughts:

To get such a large transportation budget passed the Governor had to rely on her helmsmen at the Oregon Department of Transportation who do not have a relevant vision for transportation. One of the biggest parts of the plan is the Rose Quarter I-5 expansion that no one really seems to want and has raised significant pollution concerns for the urban voters she needs. And I-5 at the Rose Quarter is one of several major freeway widening projects funded by the bill. ODOT is moving full steam ahead with a plan to add lanes to I-205 and Highway 217.

The ODOT managers Governor Brown oversees have yet to realize it is not 1950 and wider freeways will not solve our transportation issues.

This bill focused too much on automobile infrastructure and not enough on the cheaper and more useful solutions that people in urban areas know work. If she had used a large portion of the money and rebuilt all the ODOT orphan highways to be thriving, human-scaled corridors Portlander’s would be lining up for their “Kate Brown for Govenor” signs. She would also have a compelling success story. Instead she relied on the out-of-touch leadership at ODOT to help her pass a bill with too much freeway spending that does not get at the heart of our transportation problem: There are too many cars in our cities.

Her bill also largely left out the cheapest and best way to get people around, bicycles. Instead, it taxed them. London spends $22 per person per year on cycling infrastructure as they race to catch up to the rest of Europe. What does Portland spend? The replacement value of Portland’s bicycling infrastructure was $60 million in 2008 when we plateaued our 7% bicycle mode share. With Brown’s transportation bill we could have replicated Portland’s bike infrastructure 88 times.

Kate Brown has let the same 1950s leadership that failed on the Columbia River Crossing continue to dominate her transportation department. The current leaders of ODOT apparently only know how to pour cement for automobiles. She could have had a compelling transportation story to tell on the fence urban voters who will decide whether she gets to keep the job. Instead one of her greatest achievements has not helped her. Whichever candidate wins in November if they want to make transportation a winning story they will need to clean house at ODOT first.

— Kiel Johnson, @go_by_bike on Twitter

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Weekend Event Guide: Gladys’ 5th, Chris King Open House, NOISE Ride, and more

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 08:17

Get out there and enjoy our fall splendor.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The weekend is near and we hope you have a chance to escape and enjoy the pleasures of a bicycle ride. If so, here are some suggestions of things to do…

We’re looking for a sponsor for the Weekend Event Guide. Text (503) 706-8804 if you’re interested. Friday, October 12th

Gladys Bikes 5th Anniversary Party – 6:00 pm at Gladys Bikes (NE)
This great local shop is five years old. Let’s help owner Leah Benson and her staff celebrate the spectacular contribution they’ve made to our community. Music, snacks, drinks, limited edition caps, and more! More info here.

Midnight Mystery Ride – Location TBA
You should know the drill by now. Check the MMR homepage today for announcement of the meet-up spot. Get there before midnight. Hang out. Make friends. Then ride into the night! More info here.

Saturday, October 13th

The Lone Butte – Lewis River Valley (WA)
If you’ve been meaning to explore the Gifford Pinchot National Forest just over the river in Washington, this is a great chance to do it. The masters of adventure, Unpaved/OMTM, have three routes around the Lewis River Valley to choose from. More info here.

Casual Group Ride – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at Western Bikeworks (NW)
Just starting out on this road bike thing? Roll over to northwest for free coffee and enjoy the security of a group ride that cares more about socializing than speed. More info here.

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--> **BP PICK!** Chris King Open House & Builder Showcase – 12:00 to 4:00 pm at King HQ (NW)

A must-see gathering of the nation’s top custom bike builders and a chance to tour the Willy Wonka-esque Chris King Precision Components factory. Great food and drink from the on-site King Café also rumored to be available. More info here.

NOISE Ride – 12:00 to 5:00 pm at Fresh Pot (N)
The annual unsanctioned gathering known officially as the North Oregon International Singlespeed Exhibition (or Northern Oregon Inspirational Shredding Exhibition) will be a test of skill, strength, and style like no other. More info here.

Sunday, October 14th

River City Bicycles Cyclocross Crusade #3 – All day at Heron Lakes/PIR (N)
Should be perfect ‘cross conditions at another close-in course that will be as much fun for racers as it is for spectators. Ride out! Bring the fam’! Race bikes! More info here.

Corvidae Bike Club Ride – 2:00 to 5:00 pm at Peninsula Park Fountain (N)
Monthly ride of the Corvidae crew (named after scientific name for ravens). This is a great group of people who know how to have fun on bikes and create a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone. More info here.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar.

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

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City releases $2 million project list that includes cycle-track in northwest, crossbikes, and more

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 14:47

PBOT visualization of new markings coming to NW Nicolai.

You’ve heard of rails-to-trails, how about rails-to-cycle-track?

That’s what in store for a defunct railroad bed on a 0.6 mile section of NW Nicolai Street that’s been paved over in the northwest industrial area. The Portland Bureau of Transportation plans to add some markings and a few other finishing touches to make this a two-way bikeway between Highway 30 and NW Wardway. It’s one of 18 projects that will be built will receive funding in the coming year thanks to $2,085,000 set aside for small-scale projects identified through programs in the city’s Transportation System Plan (TSP).

When the most recent TSP was passed by Portland City Council in 2016 it included 10 programs aimed at addressing small-scale projects that aren’t large enough (below $500,000) to be part of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Think of the programs — which include Safe Routes to School, Neighborhood Greenways, Freight Priority, Bicycle Network Completion, Transit Priority, and others — as buckets PBOT uses to organize projects and to set-aside funding to build them. In the past, if a project wasn’t on the CIP list, it would languish without funding and/or would be starved of staff resources.

At the monthly meeting of the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting last night, city staff shared the 2018-2019 project list and asked committee members for feedback.

The $2.08 million was divided up with 60% going toward “pedestrian” projects, 30% to bicycle projects and the remaining 10% going to transit/freight/signals/demand management.

Here are some of the projects on the list (taken from this PBOT document):

The cycle track already exists, PBOT just needs to add striping and signage to prevent people from parking on it.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Nicolai, Hwy 30‐Wardway: A former rail line running along the corriodor has been filled in with asphalt, creating a 9-foot pathway with a 4-foot concrete buffer along the northwest side of Nicolai. Most of the work is done. This project will address: connectivity at the north end, intersection treatments at two‐three locations and striping and markings. No roadway reconfiguration or parking removal necessary. Funding is for design. $30,000

It’s great to see this project finally moving forward! Back in 2009 I wondered out loud why we hadn’t converted these paved-over railways as bikeways. Perhaps PBOT finally saw the need for this project after Daniel Feldt was killed back in May. Feldt was leaving a parking lot on NW Nicolai when he was involved in a collision with a large truck. This new bikeway would be on the north side of the street so it likely wouldn’t have helpled Mr. Feldt; but any progress for bicycle riders in this heavily industrialized part of town is welcome. (NOTE: This $30,000 will only fund design. Full build-out will require additional funds.)

More on the way.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Crossbikes: CW Install crossbikes at 16 intersections. $80,000

Crossbikes are an increasingly popular treatment PBOT is using to help make the presence of bicycle riders more conspicuous where bikeways cross larger streets. They debuted in 2016 and are now present at many intersections — especially along neighborhood greenways.

PBOT plans for 12th Ave overcrossing from 2011 showing shared sidewalk design for southbound bicycle users.

12th Ave Overcrossing: Improvements to the 12th Avenue overcrossing of the Banfield were made in 2011. Left uncomplete at the time were treatments for people bicycling to access the west sidewalk on the structure to travel southbound. This work will entail designing curb ramps at the north end of the structure for both the west‐ and eastbound approaches, pathway markings on the sidewalk, a redesigned curb ramp at the south end of the sidewalk and relocating a bus stop that is on the structure. $60,000

For a refresher about why this project is necessary, peruse our coverage of the 2011 project. Here’s the PDF of the original plans that show the work on the sidewalk that was never completed.

PBOT concept drawing for updates to NE Prescott & 37th.

37th Ave/Prescott St. Bikeway: Improvements to an intersection for people using the north‐south greenway on 37th Avenue. $10,000

This crossing is notorious. Prescott is a busy collector street and 37th is a popular north-south bikeway. What makes it so awkward is a nearly right-angle chicane that reduces visibility. While signed for 15 mph, not everyone slows enough at the turns and it can be quite stressful to cross on foot or by bike. At the meeting last night, committee members had a robust discussion about PBOT’s proposed fix. PBOT bike program manager Roger Geller said the design will route bicycle users up onto the sidewalk and then have them wait for a chance to cross, “At the one place where it’s possible to see both directions of traffic and be out of the wheelpath [of drivers].”

Committee member Alex Zimmerman strongly urged Geller to consider using plastic posts because she doesn’t think drivers will obey painted lines. Another member (and BikePortland contributor), Catie Gould said, “I don’t want to have to hop on-and-off the sidewalk when I’m using a greenway.” And committee member Sarah Iannarone said she’d like PBOT to consider painting the entire intersection green. Geller took notes and said there’s still time to change the design.

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Willamette Blvd, Rosa Parks‐Interstate: Upgrade local street portion of N Willamette Blvd to neighborhood greenway along the bluff south of Rosa Parks, and then east to Interstate Ave, filling network gaps between bike lanes on Willamette Blvd, Greeley, and Interstate. Improvements primarily include diverters on Willamette Blvd and parallel streets Villard and Atlantic, to prevent cut‐through traffic. Street already has speed bumps, and a crossing/diverter is already funded for the Greeley crossing. $68,000

PBOT has already built a full median diverter on Willamette at Greeley and another one is one the way at Villard and Rosa Parks. Now they’re going to put a down payment on proposals made by a nascent group of neighborhood advocates and the “North PDX Connected” plan created by a group of Portland State University graduate students.

NE 16th Ave plans.

16th Ave: Project will re‐stripe Sandy‐Irving to include a northbound buffered bicycle lane. $50,000

Protected Bike Lane Project Development: $30,000

Simpson St/41st Ave: Add a new neighborhood greenway on NE 41st Ave from Holman to Simpson Ct, Simpson Ct from 41st to Simpson St, and Simpson St from Simpson Ct to 55th. This will connect the existing Holman greenway and the upcoming 54th/55th neighborhood greenway in the Cully neighborhood. Includes traffic calming and an enhanced crossing of 42nd Ave. $50,000

Cully St/Mason St: Curb ramps, medians, crossing. $110,000

SE 130th Ave Sidewalk Infill: Fill in sidewalk gaps on east side of SE 130th starting at SE Stark and working south. $200,000

Foster Rd: at 11540 SE Foster Sidewalk gap infill. $12,000

Holgate Blvd: 102nd‐122nd, Sidewalk infill on SE Holgate between 102nd & 122nd. $180,000

Modular Transit Islands: PBOT will purchase roughly ten modular transit islands that can be deployed where needed to keep buses stopping in lane, reducing merging, and particularly reducing bus/bike conflicts. $150,000

Vancouver/Williams Ave: Russell to Killingsworth: Evaluate, implement and document signal timing changes to improve safety, mobility and wait times in the corridor. Review detection and other signals equipment. Analyze travel times, cycle lengths, traffic counts, crash history and other relevant data. Model appropriately. Make field observations. Replace any failing detection/wiring. $112,500

NE Sandy at 31st, NE/Glisan at 87th: Rapid flash beacons and curb ramps. $343,000

Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy: Safety improvements 39th ‐ 30th (lane narrowing, buffered bike/ped space, ped refuge median w/rectangular rapid flash beacon (RRFB)) $126,000

CORRECTION, 10/11 at 10:40 am: This post has been edited to make it clear that some of these projects are only partially funded. The $30,000 for NW Nicolai, for example, will just pay for design. The full build-out will require additional funds. I regret any confusion.

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

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Subscriber Post: The value of BikePortland as a research tool

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 09:24

Did you know the Hub Building on N Williams used to be a bicycle-making factory?
(Photos: Tom Howe)

This post was submitted by BikePortland subscriber Tom Howe.

Everyone who regularly visits BikePortland knows its value as a source for bicycle-related news in the Portland area. I can’t count the number of things I never would have heard about if not for visiting this site a few times a week. But something that’s easy to overlook is the value of BikePortland as a research tool for bike news that has taken place in the past.

Jonathan has been at this for over 13 years now, so learning about or reviewing anything that has happened since 2005 is as easy as typing a search into the box under the magnifying glass at the top of any page on the site*.

This value was really driven home to me recently when I came to the site looking for some historical information. Not only did I find what I was looking for, but I learned a lot more about a past bike controversy a dozen years ago that I only remembered a little about. I started my search with the word “Kinesis” as I had recently acquired a new bike frame from the Taiwanese company and I remembered these frames were once built right here in Portland. So all I really wanted to know was where that assembly facility was located, but once down the rabbit hole, I learned a lot more.

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The old Kinesis bicycle frame plant on NW Nicolai.

The search of BikePortland revealed that the Kinesis facility was in an industrial building just below Montgomery Park on NW Nicolai Street. But Kinesis was parent company of another facility on N Williams Avenue where bikes under a different brand name were also being built. This was Mountain Cycle, makers of a popular cyclocross model named Stumptown, and this is where the controversy emerged.

The Stumptown had been on the market for a couple years when global bike giant Specialized Bicycle Components learned about it and sued, feeling the name was too close to their own Stumpjumper model. The lawsuit may have been the catalyst that caused Kinesis to sell Mountain Cycle to another Taiwanese bike manufacturer, closing the N Williams facility in 2006. A while later Kinesis left Portland entirely and closed the NW Nicolai facility. BikePortland published a number of articles on the Stumptown/Stumpjumper controversy. To find them, simply search for “kinesis” and read everything published in the 2006 timeframe.

So after learning all this, I decided to ride by both of the old Kinesis facilities to see what happened to them. The plant at 2690 NW Nicolai Street is now Tubular Solutions, Inc., a company specializing in metal tube fabrication and bending. The plant at 3808 N Williams Avenue was a surprise, as it is now the Hub Building, a multifunction dining, shopping, and event space. I’ve been there a number of times without ever realizing its Mountain Cycle past. The building maintains a bicycle connection, being home to Sugar Wheel Works and Sweetpea Bicycles.

And that brings this article full circle, as another search on BikePortland reveals that Sugar Wheel Works once changed their name to avert a potential lawsuit over trademarks, also involving Specialized, but this time over their “Epic” line of bikes.

This is one of the reasons I’m a BikePortland subscriber. The history of our city maintained on these pages is an invaluable resource for our community.

— Tom Howe

*(NOTE: Thanks for sharing this Tom! I love the archives too and we’re working to make them even easier to access. Another tip: Simply add “BikePortland” to any Google search and you’ll find all the posts you need. When in doubt, contact me directly and I’ll help you find what you’re looking for. — Jonathan)

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Portland slips to 5th in Bicycling Magazine ‘Best Bike City’ rankings

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 08:19

(From Bicycling.com)

It’s a frequent topic of conversation in local advocacy circles that Portland has lost some of its swagger when it comes to being a leader for cycling in America.

Today, Bicycling Magazine released its biennial rankings of America’s best cities for cycling and Portland came out in 5th place — our worst position ever.

“Portland has only built 5.2 miles of protected lanes. Seattle and San Francisco built 15 and 18 miles respectively in in that same period.”

Seattle grabbed the top spot on the list this year, followed by San Francisco, Fort Collins, and Minneapolis in the top five. Eugene nabbed sixth with Chicago, Madison, New York City, and Cambridge rounding out the top ten.

For context, here’s how Portland has fared in these rankings in the past decade:

1st in 2008
2nd in 2010
1st in 2012
4th in 2014
3rd in 2016
5th in 2018

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Here’s the methodology they used:

The Bicycling editorial team reviewed U.S. Census and Department of Transportation data on more than 100 cities, consulted with experts and examined data from organizations including People for Bikes and the League of American Bicyclists. The editors looked at the overall percentage of bike commuters in each city and the rate by which that number is growing. They cataloged the amount and quality of cycling infrastructure in each city—including miles of protected bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, and off-street pathways —and how recently it has been implemented. They accounted for transportation budgets, civic and political commitments, and implementation of data-driven policies that make cities safer for cyclists, like lowering speed limits, narrowing lanes, and revamping problematic intersections. The editors also took historical performance and future projections into account and asked each city to explain its plan for ensuring people of all income levels have equal access to safe streets. Finally, the editors hit the streets and talked to local advocates, officials, and everyday riders in each city on the final list, as well as in those cities that did not make the cut.

The blurb about Portland on Bicycling’s website (and that will appear on newsstands in their November/December issue) cited our lack of high-quality, protected bike lanes as the main reason for our slip to 5th. “Since we last put out this guide two years ago,” it reads, “Portland has only built 5.2 miles of protected lanes. Seattle and San Francisco built 15 and 18 miles respectively in in that same period.” The blurb also features a promise from PBOT that between now and 2020 Portland will build 24.4 miles of protected bike lanes citywide.

If we make good on that promise, I’d fully expect Portland to grab the top spot next time around.

(Note: Please keep in mind these rankings are more art than science. While they’re easy to dismiss, Bicycling remains one of one most wide-reaching cycling media outlets in America and a lot of people will read this. They’ve also been doing these rankings since 1990, so they deserve credit for longevity. For a look at a more technically rigorous ranking, check out how Portland did in a recent comparison of 480 US cities by the nonprofit People for Bikes.)

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

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Council date set for $30 million Central City in Motion plan

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 13:24

PBOT concept drawing of protected bikeway on SE Hawthorne at 6th.

October 31st*. That’s when the Portland Bureau of Transportation plans to present their Central City in Motion project to Mayor Ted Wheeler and the rest of city council.

93 percent of respondents said the CCIM projects would make the central city safer, and 85 percent said the projects would make them more likely to take transit, walk, or bike

PBOT made the announcement on Twitter yesterday while explaining that the goal of the project is to, “improve and optimize our transportation system for all users, ensure that people driving, walking, biking and taking the bus know where they are supposed to be on the road and how they’re supposed to use the network.”

Regardless of the diplomatic way they describe it, this could be the most important investment in major bikeways in Portland for decades. With protected lanes as a default and an estimated budget of $30 million, we could finally see a few crucial pieces of the puzzle laid out in relatively short order (the first batch of projects would begin construction next year).

The plan comes into focus as a dire new report on climate change once again raises the stakes of our decisions on issues like transportation. Yesterday on Twitter, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said the report is, “powerful, precisely because it makes clear that we are not yet too late.” “Now is the moment to continue our commitment to transforming our economy,” Wheeler posted, “by embracing low carbon technologies that will create millions of good, local green jobs while providing cheap abundant energy for all and cleaning the air that we all breathe together.”

Wheeler will get his chance to show he’s not scared to lead and make good on those words on Halloween when PBOT staff present the Central City in Motion plan.

The projects

Late last month we reported that PBOT has whittled down the initial batch of projects to 11. Upon closer inspection we know see that the list is 12 projects totaling $33 million. The projects range from a new couplet on SW Broadway and 4th with an estimated cost of $5.8 million to a project that would add safer crossings of West Burnside for around $866,000.

Here’s the list:

Learn more about all these projects here.

Keep in mind PBOT is focused on “1-5 year implementation projects” and just because something isn’t on this list doesn’t mean it won’t get built. There are 18 projects that passed PBOT’s screening process and I could see any one of them moving up the list if necessary (due to controversy, political heat, and so on). What PBOT wants to do is bring a list of “highly implementable” projects to council and use the political endorsement (if it passes) as momentum to push through to the design, engineering and construction phases.

At their most recent (and final) Sounding Board meeting, PBOT revealed results of two recent open houses and an online survey. 93 percent of respondents said the CCIM projects would make the central city safer, and 85 percent said the projects would make them more likely to take transit, walk, or bike. This are positive results, especially given that over 70 percent of respondents said they currently drive into the central city nearly every day or “sometimes.”

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Those open houses also told PBOT that the four most popular projects are: the Broadway/4th couplet that aims to, “create a signature north-south bike facility”; a host of updates to West Burnside including safer crossings and bus priority and protected bike lanes; a permanent “Better Naito; and a project that would create transit lanes on MLK/Grand and safer crossings and protected bike lanes on SE 6th and 7th (note that the MLK/Grand elements of the project have been dropped).

There’s been some confusion around cost estimates shared by PBOT so far. In a presentation to the project’s Sounding Board committee last month, PBOT shared three slides of a potential project on SE Hawthorne Blvd that illustrated a low, medium, and high-cost build options (note: PBOT says current estimates are based on medium-build level):

Girding for pushback

Slide from PBOT staff presentation to Sounding Board committee on September 27th.

PBOT knows this plan is likely to raise more concerns from people and organizations who fear a change to the status quo. Thankfully, the agency has done some homework in anticipation of these sky-is-falling proclamations that are sure to come.

They’ve done the traffic modeling math to show that, in tandem with other policy shifts expected by 2035, the addition of CCIM projects will lower average motor vehicle speeds in the central city by just 1 mph on average. For people who say we don’t have room on our roads, PBOT has calculated that the total right-of-way in the central city dedicated to transit and bikes will increase only 1 percent: from 3 to 4 percent for bicycles and from 1 to 2 percent for transit vehicles. Put another way, PBOT says if they built all 18 of the projects that survived their initial screening process, the additional 2 percent of space on those affected streets would have 61 percent more capacity.

What about car parking? It’s true that the CCIM projects will lead to hundreds of fewer places to park cars. As we’ve reported previously, PBOT is hard at work on a “parking mitigation strategy” document that will outline, “A multi-pronged approach to help ease the transition [to less parking] during and after project implementation.” This strategy will have three priorities: find more spaces where/if they can, use “operational improvements” to make existing spaces more efficient, and reduce demand.

A marketing push

Since we can’t add more streets to the Central City as we grow, we will need to invest and upgrade the existing transportation system to make it more predictable, reliable and safe for residents and businesses to use other travel modes. #centralcityinmotion pic.twitter.com/mvGVstiey6

— Portland Bureau of Transportation (@PBOTinfo) October 9, 2018

Now that we’re in the final few weeks before the council date, PBOT’s communications team has taken to the web to raise awareness of the plan. With the #centralcityinmotion hashtag on Twitter, PBOT is explaining why these street updates are necessary. Their primary argument is that the central city is primed for major growth in the coming years and — since our streets can’t grow along with the population — we must fit more people onto them. “If we don’t take action now,” reads one of their Tweets posted today, “it’s going to become more difficult to travel around the central city – whether you’re on foot, a bike, riding a bus, or in a car or truck.”

This statement echoes Mayor Wheeler’s contention that “We are not yet too late,” to make bold decisions in the face of imminent climate catastrophe. Giving the CCIM plan a strong vote of support would be a good start.

*UPDATE, 5:10 pm: PBOT just announced that the council date has been pushed back to November 14th.

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

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Family Biking: What’s your favorite rain gear? (I asked my kids too)

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 08:09

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

What is your favorite rain gear?
What prevents a wet and shiny nose?
Is it something on your bike like fenders?
Or is it waterproof cycling clothes?

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

We don’t need special gear to bike for transportation, but for a lot of us a couple key things make things a lot more pleasant, especially if we want to bike in all conditions.

I type this with my damp basket-dog burritoed in a towel on my lap as I listen to the soft hum of my glove-and-boot dryer readying my 11-year old’s gear for tomorrow’s ride to school, and I’m trying to decide on my number one favorite piece of rain gear.

My rain skirt keeps my legs dry without overheating.
(Photo: Kathleen Youell)

Today I’m going to vote for my rain skirt. Unfortunately, it’s not commercially available — my friend, Alyssa, made it for me. Before I had the rain skirt and before years of wear had compromised their waterproofness, my rain chaps were my favorite thing. One can get Rain Legs rain chaps here in Portland at Clever Cycles, available in silver and black.

I also checked with a couple kids and friends on Monday, while pedaling alongside them in drizzle to keep things real…

Rijder is stubborn (I have no idea where he gets it!) and forgoes rain gear.

Rijder, my nine-year-old son, laughed and shouted, “Nothing!” Getting wet is a perfectly feasible way to deal with rain. We tend to forget we’re waterproof and skin’s quick to dry so Rijder’s minimal coverage (it was 54 degrees when we left for school this morning) worked well for a one-mile commute in drizzle. Many people who opt to just get wet also opt to change into dry clothing upon arrival, though.

Fenders are fabulous!

Brandt, my 11-year-old son, says his favorite rain gear is “fenders” so I don’t chide him for riding through each and every puddle. Fenders are good for both protecting your bike’s drivetrain from muddy, gritty water and for keeping your clothing clean.

Clever Cycles has many fenders, including ones that fit 20- and 24-inch kid bikes.

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Drape passengers in blankets if they don’t have rain gear.

Pixie, my nine-year-old chiweenie, indicated her blanket keeps her cozy in the rain. As a non-pedaling passenger, she’s prone to getting a little colder than the rest of us so she needs to have an extra layer when it’s cold. Her blanket isn’t waterproof, but it did a fine job of blocking the drizzle for 15 miles to the pumpkin farm on Sunday.

Kathleen Youell’s rain cape provide full coverage.

Kathleen Youell said her rain cape is her pick. It covers arms and legs and doesn’t get as hot as rain jacket plus rain pants.

Armando Luna wears wool and quick-dry fabrics.

Armando Luna (of bike commuting during tram closure and Pedalpalooza fun seeking fame) says, “Wear stuff that dries quickly and wool.” His shorts are quick-dry technical fabric and his shirt is wool.

So what’s your favorite piece of rain gear and why? If you bike with kids, ask them (or decide what you think they should say and share that). Let me know in the comments! 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.

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