Bike Safety 101 Resources

While “Intersections,” the Willamette Week column that starts their auto section, isn’t posted on the web, here’s the text of this week’s column:

As America’s leading biking and walking city, we have a special pride in sharing the road safely. And with the changing of the weather and the lengthening of the day, Portland becomes even more Portland-ish as the number of bicyclists on the road skyrockets.

As the weather improves, drivers need to be more careful than normal, as fair-weather cyclists tend to be less experienced and have fewer skills than year-round bicyclists. Our fair-weather cycling friends also often lack the lighting and visible clothing more common with die-hards.

By remembering a few pointers, drivers can share the road with other folks safely and easily. Two years ago the Portland Department of Transportation and Bicycle Transportation Alliance studied what factors contributed most frequently to crashes. We found the most common driver errors are speeding and drunk driving, followed by running red lights and stop signs, and turning in front of bicyclists.

Top bicyclist errors are running stop lights and stop signs, wrong-way riding, and entering traffic mid-block. You may have noticed some ODOT billboards that simple state “Speed Kills.� That’s a shorthand way of explaining that only 5% of car-pedestrian crashes at 20 MPH are fatal, while 90% of crashes at 40 MPH are. Similar statistics work for bicyclists.

If your brain can’t cram that all in, try this: drive slowly, and be alert and patient. Your friends, your family, and your neighbors are out there on the road, just trying to get along. If we all stay calm, we’ll get home safe.

The City of Portland has launched an “I Share the Road� campaign to promote road safety. To learn more, visit or

Right now, the I Share the Road website only has a sticker ordering form, but much more is coming — top tips on safety, a personal angle with photos, etc. Jonathan Maus is doing it up right.

As promised– more resources:

Get a treasure-trove of bike safety resources.

PSA Close Call photo
Watch our bike safety PSAs.

Learn about bike safety education classes for kids

Review where to get cheap bike helmets.


Comments (2)

  1. Stagnolia, Shannon L. Permalink  | Jun 12, 2006 11:05am

    Hello I am a SSG in the us army and was wondering if you could send me some safety regulation for bicycle riding in Germany thank you

  2. Jessica Permalink  | Jun 13, 2006 10:20am

    Shannon, I can refer you to German bicycling resources but of course they’re in German. I hope they’re still helpful!

    The general German biking advocacy group
    A biking to work resource site
    German bike tourism page
    The national bike sport / racing group

    Good luck! In my experience, biking in Germany is easy, safe, and a great way to get to know the country.