BikeLoud PDX holds rally to support cyclist safety in Portland

Published: Apr. 29, 2023 at 8:38 AM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Dozens of bicyclists gathered in downtown Portland Friday afternoon for a rally for those “who want to see Portland meet its biking potential and create a safer, greener more equitable city,” according to BikeLoud PDX, which organized the rally.

“We are here for a rally to support all Portlanders who are out there biking and also supporting who are interested in biking,” said Nic Coda, BikeLoud PDX’s Chair. “We are here to gather and get that energy back because right now, there has been a lot of conversation about where has biking gone in this city. We just want to say we are here. We want to make sure you feel empowered to get out there and bike.”

Those who attended say they love biking through the city, but would like to see safer roads for cyclists.

“Biking is the best,” said Jenna Phillips, who documents her bike rides on her social media account @JennaBikes. “I love biking. It’s a beautiful way to see the city and to experience everything it has to offer. The infrastructure does seem very central to downtown where it is safer, there are safer streets. I wouldn’t call them fully safe, but it’s a nuanced conversation. We talk about it a lot, how to get more people on bikes and the reality is not everyone feels safe and that’s a huge barrier of entry: getting out of your car, putting yourself in a vulnerable position on your bike, it’s just not safe, which is unfortunate.”

Phillips says she would like to see the bike infrastructure continue to expand throughout the city.

“I would like access to the places that we all get to drive by on my bike with the same amount of safety, concern, and priority that I get in a car,” said Phillips. “Having the main access road, I would like that for my bike. I would like to be able to bike on Division, which does not exist and see all the cool places you get to see in your car. I would like the equal opportunity to see those places and experiences those places.”

The cyclists rode from Salmon Street Springs to Portland City Hall a few blocks away. There, we spoke to Paul Albrecht, who moved to Portland for the bikeability. He says he was hit by a driver a few years ago.

“My bike is my transportation, it’s my social network, it’s my exercise, and it’s my entertainment,” said Albrecht. “It’s everything. We have a long ways to go, I want it to get a lot better, and safer. Especially safer. That’s what people want.”

Coda says the city has made many strides in safety for cyclists, but there is still a long road ahead.

“We are nowhere near perfect obviously,” said Coda. “PBOT has done a lot to make our roads safer, make more bike infrastructure for all Portlanders, but we still have a long ways to go. The infrastructure is very disconnected, a lot of times bike lanes just end, greenways, which is how a lot of bikers get around, are still very tucked away from the main street so we won’t see them where a lot of the businesses are. A lot of times we end up choosing parking on those streets instead of access for bikes. So we are here to support a connected bike network because that is the key thing. We need to make sure we reach our goal at BikeLoud PDX, which is to get 25% of all trips in the city made by bike. That’s not a crazy bike thing that we are asking for, that is in the city’s plan, in city policy. We are here to support that effort and make sure that doesn’t go away anytime soon. Right now we have had really low bike numbers, bike counts, but with better bike infrastructure, better connected bike infrastructure, we can be that city and we know we can be that city with a group like us.”