Stay In Your Lane

In response to the letter “Sidewalk Rules” (EW, Nov. 29): The letter writer seems to be arguing in favor of cyclists using sidewalks. He writes that, “There is no requirement to use bike lanes citywide,” and that “bike lanes… provide a false sense of security for bikes.”

Both these statements are untrue. ORS 814.420 states that it is illegal to ride on a sidewalk if there is a bike lane “adjacent to or near the roadway.” A 2012 study from University of British Columbia, titled “Bicyclists injuries and the cycling environment,” found that bike lanes (especially protected ones) significantly reduced the risk of accident.

A separate study titled “Safe cycling: How do risk perceptions compare with actual risk?” found that cyclists very accurately perceive the relative safety of bike lanes. I personally think it’s foolish to ride on sidewalks rather than bike lanes — it forces an interaction with pedestrians in which one of you is going to have to move, and cars usually don’t anticipate dealing with something traveling 15 mph on the sidewalk.

Zane Hager


Comments are closed.