THE BIG WHEEL
DEAR MERCURY—It's hard to believe this article ["Many Miles to Go," News, Sept 2] isn't a joke. Not enough women and minorities are riding bikes? Jesus Christ Almighty, riding a bike is one of the few areas in society that has exactly zero racial, ethnic, or gender barriers to participation! Any adult or child can pick up a decent used bike for just a few bucks. And every adult and child knows what a bike is because even the poorest or most recent immigrant kid has ridden a Big Wheel. Cultural differences funnel people of different ethnicities into different areas, but to suggest that minorities are somehow being "left out" of bicycling is more than ridiculous.
DEAR MERCURY—I am writing in response to Sarah Mirk's article "Many Miles to Go" [News, Sept 2]. I am a 27-year-old woman who is still recovering from a bike-on-car accident that happened nine months ago on downtown Portland's now infamous stretch of NW Broadway. Nevertheless, I have taken to commuting by bike nine miles to work, most of which is on NE Killingsworth. This is a stretch of road that at one point falls out of the City of Portland's control and into ODOT's territory. While I have had many successful interactions with Portland's bike hotline, my interactions with ODOT have been sub-par. A "foolhardy" bicyclist used to biking on busy streets next to semi-trucks going 30-50 MPH, I have come across a handful of situations where I have felt open and vulnerable to cars and semi-trucks. Each time this has occurred, I have immediately contacted ODOT. Each time, I have felt rebuffed. My voice as a woman bicyclist of limited income has repeatedly been ignored. This is something that needs to change if more people, especially women, are to take to the streets.
Great article ["State of Choice," Feature, Sept 2]! When I was 19 I thought I was pregnant, and despite being reasonably intelligent in other regards, I reacted with an idiotic plan—to make my body as inhospitable to a fetus as possible in the hopes of having a miscarriage. This was back in the early '90s, and maybe most young ladies today are smarter, but I doubt it. Because we have all seen that show or movie. It's the one where the girl accidentally gets pregnant, and considers having an abortion—but in the meantime, all the emotional stress she's going through somehow leads to her having a miscarriage. We are taught that if you can just have a miscarriage, it's okay. When I think of this, I get mad—at my young dumb self—and at society for not encouraging women to choose what is best for them.
-posted by flora
GREEN MEANS GO
DEAR MERCURY—RE: "Stop and Go" by Anonymous [I, Anonymous, Sept 2]. Thank you for penning the letter I have been writing in my head on a nearly daily basis since moving to Portland seven years ago. Spot on. This is the only city I've lived in where driving etiquette has manifested itself as an at best annoying and at worst hazardous social norm. Just today a woman stopped her car at a green light because she thought I would like to pass in front of her on my bicycle. Who does this? Who stops at a green light when they're driving a car? Nursery school kids know better than this. "Green for go, red for stop; be your own little traffic cop." One anonymous note, however well put, is not going to do the trick. Maybe the Mercury can reprint it on the front cover in block print as a public service announcement.
THANKS FOR REMINDING everyone of that handy little rhyme. Hopefully someday the drivers of Portland will manage to memorize and live by it. Until then, walk/drive/bike safely to cash in your prizes: two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish!, where you can eat without stopping for hours.