I’ve been cycling for a years off/on which means that I’d run into the occasional idiot driver, but they were very rare it seemed. I thought drivers were pretty mindful of cyclists here, from my once or twice a week rides through the suburbs and bike trails, I felt safe riding my bike.
Once I started cycling near-daily or many times a week, (been doing doordash deliveries), and taking up the road more than a fun cruise through the park, I realized just how unbelievably dangerous cycling is, and it’s mainly due to these 2 problems:
- The Drivers (Lifted Truck A**Holes OR Ignorant (and usually old) People)
- Infrastructure (Even in the most ‘bike-friendly city’ in the US)
I’m seriously counting down the days until I get into an actual incident with a car, it seems very likely that it’ll happen before summer, or at least that’s how I feel. For a start, on a two-way no-bike lane road today, I got passed within a foot or so by some old ladies in an SUV. I pulled up to them at the next light and tried to yell/raise my voice through their window to inform them they were too close back there, but they ignored me. Or so I thought, because when I tapped on their window they jumped with surprise, rolled down their window, and seemed sincerely apologetic like she hadn’t even noticed what happened. This shocked me, and made me realize that some drivers literally don’t even realize they are endangering cyclists’ lives, as well as breaking the law. Up until that point, I thought all bad drivers were just aholes.
As per ORS 811.065, on a road without bike lanes, they’d have to pass me on the left with enough distance so that I wouldn’t get hit by their car if I were to fall over. Take my height (6’5), so make that about 7 feet of passing distance per the law, which I very rarely see even from the considerate drivers. Drivers need to be more informed about the law, and we need more cycling infrastructure, at the bare minimum bike lanes should be required on all roads in Portland and the Metro area.
Seriously though, how many of you have been hit by a car/how often does it happen? Rant over.