Thursday, July 12

Wheels and feet

Hey all you runners and cyclists out there:

Please try to be considerate of those of us who also use the sidewalks and streets. If you're on wheels, get off the sidewalk. There is a perfectly good street right there meant for vehicles - including bicycles. If you're on foot (and this includes you runners), get on the sidewalk and out of traffic - that's what the sidewalk is for.

The only thing worse than trying not to flatten some speed bump in training jogger in the middle of the street is diving out of the way of some homicidal cyclist screaming down the sidewalk.

I'm not a runner, so I don't get the "never mind there's a perfectly good sidewalk 10' away, I'd rather run right down the middle of the street" thing. I walk a lot of places, though, and have been quite pleased with the quality and quantity of Portland's sidewalks. You runners should try them out sometime.

As a bike commuter, however, it really gets on my nerves that inconsiderate cyclists give the rest of us a bad name. If you're not walking your bike, get off the sidewalk. Portland is a very bike-friendly city with lots of bike lanes on its streets - use them!

As a (rare as possible) driver, I don't mind going around bikes in the street. After all, they're legal vehicles, too. But I really get annoyed at joggers who run down the middle of the street and 1) refuse to get out of the way of bikes and cars and 2) get annoyed that anyone else would dare use their street. See that sidewalk? Yeah, that one. Use it.

Is this just a Portland thing? Or is it everywhere?


  1. The worst are the cyclists who decide that they will EITHER follow the laws of the road OR the laws of the pedestrian, depending on what is most convenient for them at that exact moment, randomly switching between the two sets of rules.

  2. Indeed. I am on one hand in awe of the athletic prowess of some of the cyclists in Portland - especially the ones that eschew such effete things as multiple gears and brakes. On the other hand, I am highly annoyed at them when their hyper-aggressive technique endangers everyone else around them - pedestrians, other cyclists, and drivers alike.

  3. It's not random! Oregon law is quite clear: cyclists are allowed to use the sidewalks, as long as (a) we yield right of way to pedestrians, and (b) we move at pedestrian speed in crosswalks.

    I generally stay on the road, because I like to go fast (for a bike) and that's where it's safest and easiest to do so. There are a few places, however, where it feels safer to cross a particular intersection in semi- or full-pedestrian mode, or where there simply isn't a viable bike route. In such cases, I'll happily ride on the sidewalk... but if there are peds in the way, I've become quite good at riding along at a walking pace until there's a driveway or parking lot or someplace I can go around them. If I don't shift gears (which makes a loud clicking sound), I can often trail behind someone without them even knowing I'm behind them. ;>

  4. Sadly, Sam, you're an astonishingly-rare exception. The vast majority of the bikes I see on the sidewalk are in places like downtown and along Hawthorne or Belmont. These aren't riders like you who politely wait until there is room to pass the pedestrians. No, these riders are helmetless, recklessly riding at full speed down a crowded sidewalk who are arrogantly expecting everyone to get out of their way - all in places where there are perfectly good bike lanes and routes.

  5. What Sam said. Because it's awfully hard to cross a street that jogs (that is, picks up about half a block away from the other side of the street that runs perpendicular to it) across four lanes of traffic with a trailer carrying your precious toddler.