I just saw a great little article applauding Portland’s bicycle friendliness in an issue of National Geographic.
It’s a short article in the “Technology” section but it highly praises Portland’s bicycle infrastructure and how tolerant people are towards bicyclists here. The article cites our 171 miles of bike lanes, bike boxes (which allows bikes to be visible to cars at stop lights) and bike-only traffic signals.
A bar graph on the side shows the increase in bikes being put on bus racks in various US cities, with Houston increasing 235%!
The article concludes other cities could become as bike friendly as Portland simply by repainting street to include bike lanes. As interior decorators say, paint is cheap! It’s a little more complicated than that, many bicyclists in Portland prefer to ride on low traffic streets. This is an even cheaper solution, since it costs nothing to simply choose to ride on quiet streets with few cars. However, it’s Portland’s conscious effort to promote bicycling as an alternative to cars and commitment to improving bikes’ access to streets that has given so many people the confidence to ride around the city.
And every little bit of biking counts! Maybe you can’t ride the whole way to work, or want to get out on a bike while you’re traveling. When people see others riding and smiling it’s likely to spread, and that can also translate into more infrastructure, both for the benefit of tourists and locals. If you’re thinking of taking your bike along for your next adventure, or partial commute to work, check out this article about the 9 Best Car Bike Racks.
Now, let’s get riding!