Dangerous Suicide Bike Paths of Downtown Portland, OregonFrankly I am scared to death to ride my bike in the city streets of Portland . But frankly If I don't I am subject to an eye popping ticket for riding on the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalks in Portland is strictly illegal. Some bike riders have been fined over $300 for riding on the sidewalks. That is one reason I sometimes dare to ride in the streets and along the designated bike paths . I go slow because I have seen car doors open on the driver's side of parked cars and bike riders go flying with their bikes. I had the fun experience of hitting rail road tracks and flying some 20 feet when my tires got suck in the tracks and I once did a complete flip riding down hill when I only put my front breaks on. Amazingly, mostly because I was not going very fast I suffered no major injury. Then came the warning signs in 2007 with seven bike fatalities and make shift memorials going up on street corners with the remains of smashed bikes on display as a warning and it had become clear that the in street bike bath planning in Portland is a complete disaster. Funny thing is that the bicycle cops in Portland seem to like riding on the sidewalk probably because they know where it is safer to get paid for doing their jobs.
Portland is a city with police on horseback and police officers riding bicycles. It is a city with bicycle polo but fortunately not one where the police on horseback ride around with polo sticks to bash heads of non law observant pedestrians. Not yet though reports are coming out that there is a masked do- gooder who rides a bicycle around town playing super hero! Bike messengers down town are like a circus act. Never saw the bike police try to follow them though red lights with incoming traffic from two separate directions since cars can turn right on a red light and the bike messengers go in the opposite direction of the right way on one way streets. There is a good chance that bike cops have tazers? Ever seen a police bike with a flashing red and blue siren? Portland politicians believe in a police state. The more east German the better and for some reason they call this sort of politician a "liberal!"
The acrobatics of the delivery bikes is yet an other hazard along the bike pathways. They are even a hazard to cars and buses. No wonder there are so many bicycle injury attorneys. Google the key words "Portland Oregon bicycle injury lawyer " and you will see I am not kidding! You may not be aware that Bike Riders in Portland, Oregon tend to be very arrogant about their bike riding because they consider themselves to be courageously peddling to save the earth from the immorality of automobiles and buses. I would have more respect for their arrogance if they balanced a bucket of water on top of their head and walked to home and work with that up there instead of wasting the earth's resources turning on the faucets or flushing the toilets.
The politically correct phenomenology of bike riding has made what I am now saying dangerous speech from a bike riding heretic. In Portland one is supposed to nod one's head like a good fully programmed robot in approval when ever Simon says nod your head in approval. Not all of us robots are well programed. I am convinced that the bike paths are mostly dangerous and stupid especially where the city puts them in the streets to compete with automobile traffic. An even bigger hazard for bike path riders are the city buses that take up more space in a car lane than most cars and trucks. Want to feel sandwiched between a car starting to come out of a parking space and a bus coming down the street at 25 mph then come to Portland and enjoy the experience. I am as likely to try that again as I am to go running with the bulls in that stupid Spanish town.
There apparently were no reported bike fatalities in 2008 maybe because bike riders were getting wise to the dangers having seen the six fatalities in 2007 but then again there is evidence that a lot more were injured because there is now such a thing as a "Bicycle Injury Lawyer" and a "Bicycle Injury Attorney Network of Oregon."!
When you find a lot of lawyers adverting bike ambulance chasing chances are there is a problem? There are some great bike paths in Portland . Those that are completely segregated from street traffic and some side streets are not too bad but get into the downtown gridlock mess and its a catastrophe for leisure riding. Downtown one has to be a fanatic rider like one of those bike messengers. The one's famous for never stopping at a red light! I used to go down to my office where the bike messengers were always delivering and used to see them ride like mad men and crazy ladies. Right across from City hall they zoom right though the red lights swerving across lanes instead of stopping when incoming traffic comes into the intersection.. I once was the witness to a girl riding a bicycle along the street and watched a car veer into her throwing her in one direction and the bicycle in the other direction such that the same car ran over and flattened her elite $7000 bicycle. She was quite lucky and survived unscratched enough to start a nasty shouting match with the car driver when the car driver demanded she show him her bike rider's liability insurance. It is too bad that one of the ambulance chasing bicycle injury lawyers was not around at that moment at that intersection when the fur was flying. Take a look at all the great bike riding paths downtown on the attached map distributed by the city. It is probably not against the law to ride a bike on streets without bike paths but the question is why all the streets are not on the Utopian bikes downtown map? The map says its for smart trips. I would not be so sure? See my article on how nude bike riding became a civil right in Portland. My new theory on that is that those riding bikes in the nude in the official bike lanes on the streets are more likely to be seen by the drivers of automobiles.
If you come to ride your bike in Portland the best biking is on the off street bike paths unless you are a dare devil then the suicide bike lanes are just right for you.