Track Attack

Cyclists Criticize the Streetcar as Unsafe for Bikes

Comments

1
"Nearly 70 percent of Portland cyclists have crashed on the streetcar tracks," ?

It is actually 67% of the people who responded to an online survey about bicycle and streetcar interactions. I assume that most of the people who would respond to that survey would already have feelings about the streetcar tracks.

I'm not trying to dismiss the hazards of the streetcar tracks. I know someone who has bit it on the streetcar tracks. If you have to use a route that encounters those tracks, it is a hazard. But saying it is 70% of Portland cyclists makes it sounds like a huge public safety problem. I assume that the majority of Portland cyclists (like me) don't ever encounter streetcar tracks.
2
What if they were striped yellow? Like a "Do Not Cross" type of thing.
3
This needs more attention, I looked like the guy in the sign this past November where the track curves on Burnside to head north along i-205. Sliced my hand up pretty bad and could barely make it home given the bleeding. What was more concerning was that I was sprawled out and laying on train tracks (mind you it was raining and i did slow down to take extra precaution but my tire slipped out from under me). Start addressing heavily trafficked areas!
4
Surprise news story of the year: 70% of Portland cyclists are fucking retards.
5
Here's the Alta report in question:
http://www.altaplanning.com/App_Content/fi…

I definitely agree with Gawain5000 that the 67% injury rate is unreliable. But it's high enough that Alta's conclusion seems right: "Bike-track crashes are a major and underreported problem for Portland-area bicyclists."

I haven't personally lost balance because of a streetcar track (yet), but I've feared it and I've seen it happen.
6
"The new loop tracks take over the left lane of streets, for example, rather than the right lane where bikes are legally obligated to ride."

Is this true? They certainly appear to run down the right side on MLK/Grand all the way from Broadway - OMSI. Unless I'm confusing my left with my right.
7
I feel your pain, 67%, for I too have bit the dust on a street car track. However, I learned by mistake and follow this simple rule: Don't bike on street car tracks. Odds are you can alter your route by one measley block and be perfectly safe from the mean old nasty things. Do you also drink hot coffee that burns your tongue? Maybe you should sue.
8
walk your goddamn bike over the tracks
9
Here's a thought - not every aspect of sustainable transportation is reducible to a dependence on bikes. Here's another thought - bikes are not the most important, and will never be the most used mode of sustainable transportation. And yet another of those pesky thoughts - avoiding crashes on rail tracks embedded into streets is easy, and obvious, and doesn't require panic on the part of a hobby community - all it takes is a simple adjustment to the way you ride your bike.

Look. Bikes are great. I love my bike and ride it often, but I don't delude myself into somehow thinking that everyone ought to ride a bike (or is even capable of riding one, duh), or that the rabid interest in bikes in Portland is anything but, say (to throw out a random figure) roughly 75% about being fashionable, hip, and cool, and maybe 25% about sustainability (side note - I'd like to conduct a sociological study on Portlanders comparing the number of bike related tattoos with the number of tattoos that explicitly endorse environmentally sustainable behavior... ok, not really, but still, it'd be kind of interesting to know the answer to that one).

I don't know for sure, but sometimes I get the feeling that the biking community in Portland is ultimately concerned more with obtaining the status for Portland of the most bike-friendly city in the world (since this notion seems rather often to factor into what sorts of urban planning projects and measures they either endorse or decry), rather than actually cultivating a diverse set of sustainable transportation options that can accomodate ALL of Portland's citizens. It's almost like having that recognition is somehow more important than getting things done that actually benefit everyone, and are more tangible than simply having a title like "Most bike-friendly city" or having some favorable dust-ups in hip magazines or blogs or something.

I don't know, am I being a cynical asshole? I kinda feel like I am.
10
Hit the showers spokers. You stink.
11
"The streetcar currently carries 12,000 riders every day, while the US Census estimates that 17,500 Portlanders bike to work daily."

We cannot compare these numbers simply because the streetcar only exists downtown. How many Portland residents downtown bike to work daily?
12
Well maybe spokers should be tested, licensed and insured before hopping on their state inspected bicycle with the required lights, brakes, horns and signals and learn to ride respectfully following all traffic laws.
13
The only time I have trouble with the street car tracks is at 3am, but that might have more to do with me being shitty drunk and less about the nature of the tracks in the road.
14
Now we see left eating left. Bicyclists against trains! Ban them (whichever side you want to be on)! They're a horror to our children and safety! Sometimes I don't think bikers will be happy until every thoroughfare is bike only. Are they simply out to pick a fight with anyone that's not a biker? I'm waiting for them to go after scooter riders, old ladies with walkers and the who knows what's next.

I'm a pedestrian, and I must admit I've had more close calls with bikes trying to squeeze through tight spots near crosswalks and riding down sidewalks than problems with cars recently.
15
Hey, we're in Portland! Let's talk about bikes!
16
Thanks for printing this article. I live on Lovejoy and bike commute and am currently apartment hunting elsewhere because of the total disaster it has become.
On top of the streetcar bullshit, Lovejoy also became partially one-way a few months ago. There were no signs (that were apparent to me) regarding it. Traffic is directed onto Marshall when you cross over the Broadway bridge going west, but I have witnessed cars and bikes traveling north through downtown still making their usual left onto Lovejoy only to find they are suddenly going the wrong way on a one way street. Pretty terrifying if you are on a bike, trying to manuver the street car tracks, pedestrians standing in the sidewalk / bike lane, cars honking at you to get out of their lane (when the curb cuts too close and you have to ride between the tracks) and traffic coming at you going the wrong way.
FORTUNATELY - the city finally paved over the old train tracks on Marshall and 15th that were a horrible bike accident trap so we can adopt it as a better route. Unfortunately, it seems that much of the traffic turning onto Marshall off the Broadway bridge think Marshall is also one-way (going west) now... I have almost been hit a couple times by cars turning left onto it that are cutting way too close to, or over, the opposite lane.
Better signs please.
And a new home.
17
I agree with the above statement of requiring tested, insured, and licensed bike owners...with lights, signals and all the safety extras everyone else has to use, along with annual tags that show the legality of the rider and his/her bike. This would provide the funding that is needed for the bikers here in Portland, paying for their new painted lines that seem to have raised my sewer bill for some reason, and also generating money to help solve any safety concerns. Or we can just go ahead and listen to all the bikers blame everyone else for their stupidity.
18
How many bike crashes happen do to the rain?Plug up the clouds?Fuggit.