Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Step in the Right Direction

While the rest of the Country's towns and cities sits by doing the minimum to be considered "bicycle friendly", Portland Oregon has begun to take an aggressive stance to force cooperation on the road between bicycles and cars. After much attention was given to two cycling accidents that took place at the same intersection the city of Portland has begun to create "Bike Boxes" at intersections to prevent what they call the "right hook"... I found it humorous that they used this fairly innocuous term for a driving technique that has lead to multiple deaths in Portland. If I had coined a term I would have called it something more dramatic like "Death on the Right" or "Right turn to Deadly st." or something like that. Although I've read reports that Portland's Police chief was less then sympathetic to the family of the cyclists who were killed during a rally for cyclists rights, I still applaud the city for it's commitment to bicycle awareness and cyclists rights. Jonathan Maus, whose bikeportland.org has been a focal point for Oregon cyclists commented that "It’s something the city has been talking about for a long time, but these two deaths have certainly given an added sense of urgency. The community has just made it so clear that this is very important, that they’re very concerned following these fatal crashes that things need to change." (nytimes.com)

Why can't more large cities follow Portland's lead? I know the cycling culture in this town is much more mainstream than in other major cities like Los Angeles but with the tide slowly turning away from motorized transportation, and a very obvious need to decrease traffic, carbon emissions and increase the health of it's population you would think, logically, that cities would be jumping on board with efforts like this in an attempt to change the transportation culture and make cycling, or walking for that matter, more desirable.

Well, I'm sure we'll catch on somewhere between now and never; just look at all the stuff Pasadena was doing to make itself more bicycle friendly (for those of you who don't know, Pasadena tried to ban the Tuesday/Thursday ride, known as the "Pack" but continued to court the Tour of California in an attempt to bring the finish to the rosebowl, extremely ironic). I'll keep riding my bike regardless, taking a full lane like I'm allowed when there is no bike lane, and rolling off the line at a green light as whatever pace I feel like.

See the full N.Y. Times article on the Portland issue by Clicking here, riiiiight here.

Here is a Diagram of the Portland "Bike Box" The greatest traffic thing so far.


1 comment:

Dougal said...

That will be nice when we get it installed...there are some ghost bikes on some of the corners...I walk by one a lot...it makes me a little sad every time...