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Biking is safe, without $600 million

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, The Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 aims to get city residents to make more than 25 percent of their daily trips by bike within the next 20 years. Letter writers weigh in on the issue.

We are longtime bike riders and have gotten along just fine without $600 million worth of 'improvements' (City can't afford not to invest in biking, Feb. 11).

For all who say it's unsafe to bike, here are the radical steps my family takes to stay healthy:

• We watch for cars and recognize that they are bigger than we are.

• We always stop at red lights and stop signs.

• When riding at night, we wear obnoxiously bright gear, as well as use lights and reflectors.

• We avoid distractions while riding, like talking on the phone or listening to an iPod.

• We avoid heavy traffic streets as much as possible. Portland is set up as a grid system. Chances are where there is a busy street, there is a quiet street one block over.

• We understand that car drivers aren't clairvoyant. We signal our intentions well in advance.

• We ALWAYS wear a helmet.

There you are, bikers. You can stay safe while riding, and it doesn't cost anything. You're welcome!

Julie Woelfer

Northeast Portland

Biking enriches and empowers

Bicycles are a vehicle of empowerment and a tool for social reform. I'm proud to have a mayor that realizes this (City can't afford not to invest in biking, Feb. 11). Death to cars. Put the fun between your legs.

Hart Ryan Noecker

Southeast Portland

Bicycle plan is responsible

The bike plan is not an outlay - it is a plan. As Mayor Sam Adams stated in his opinion piece 'City can't afford not to invest in biking' (Feb. 11), the city needs a plan to leverage federal funds. Otherwise they go somewhere else. He is doing the responsible thing here.

As for the contention that the only people cycling are government types heading downtown - hogwash. I'm not a government type, and I don't cycle downtown and neither do most of the other bike commuters that I know. You say parking is too expensive downtown? Take the MAX!

Ron Sporseen

North Portland

Protect pedestrians from bikers too

Two years ago, I was run down in a crosswalk by a careless motorist. I have a head full of titanium plates and am terrified whenever I cross a street. I agree with letter writer Geoffrey Kronick that bicycle commuters have as much right to use the road as motorists, and I, too, have seen all the inconsiderate behavior by motorists that Mr. Kronick mentioned (Just like cars, bikes belong on the road, Dec. 31).

But speaking for the bottom of the food chain - pedestrians - I have seen inconsiderate behavior by bicycle commuters as well. Since my accident, I have had numerous bicycle commuters breeze through stop signs while I'm crossing the street, or, if they bother to stop at all, they completely block the crosswalk. With my injuries, getting knocked down by a bicycle commuter would likely be as fatal for me as getting knocked down by another motorist.

Mary Flock

Northwest Portland

Anyone could commute by bike

The front page photo of a bicyclist without a helmet made me wince (Biking, weather or not, Dec. 24). OK, it's not illegal; it just shows a lack of sense and limited instincts for self preservation.

What is illegal is riding on the sidewalk in downtown Portland. That photo (on 2A) does not show a positive example of a dedicated bike commuter. (I don't even want to speculate about what the officer did when she passed him.) When downtown on my bike, I obediently ride in the street and walk my bike when I'm ready to park at a rack on the sidewalk.

I'm a year-round bike commuter, one of the 'enthused and (somewhat) confident.' I ride in the rain and in the dry cold; to get to work any other way only complicates my life and takes longer.

I just keep thinking that if I became a daily bike commuter, most people who live within single-digit miles of their workplace could, too. I'm not in good shape, I'm fearful, I don't have particularly good balance - and even so, it's not difficult.

Marsha Hanchrow

Southeast Portland

With infrastructure comes bike safety

Nice article. Although 25 percent mode split is laudable, it cannot be achieved without a fundamental shift in our infrastructure and legal right of way perspectives (Biking, weather or not, Dec. 24). Hopefully this will happen.

Just a few pro tips on your list of 'suggested' gear: Flashing lights are the worst. Although in vogue, they're actually more distracting to oncoming traffic. Also, helmets - yes, I dare to open that can of worms - are really only window dressing, placating the fear mongers and nay-sayers. Real safety comes from well-designed infrastructure, which we do not yet have, and safer/slower cycling.

Tyler Robertson

Southeast Portland