Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Portland, maybe not as bike friendly as you might think

Copenhagenize had an interesting post which confirmed what I've suspected for sometime. / Laura Sandt

The post was about the most bike friendly cities in the world. There have been similar articles like this one where Portland comes very near the top of the list, but from my personal experience (living here in Portland and having visited cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam), I thought that while Portland does have a very vibrant bike culture, the bicycle is still not as popular as a mode of transportation as it is in many cities in Europe and other places (Tokyo and Osaka).

Portland didn't even make the list!

I don't own a car, so I ride my bike almost 100% of the time when I go out, but what I see is mostly cars. I might see 10 people (or less) on bikes to a hundred cars. And when I go over a freeway overpass, I often see traffic congestion with literally a hundred or more cars in my sight. I always wonder if people stuck in the traffic jam see me on the bike and think anything of it. Would they think "Oh, it would be so nice to be riding a bicycle instead of being stuck in this car"? I don't know, but I would say that while Portland may be one of the most bike friendly cities in North America, it really doesn't come close to other more bike friendly cities of the world. I think if the list was about the average distance traveled by bicycle, Portland may be one of the top, but as I don't think we have any realistic means of gathering such data, we won't know for sure. I think Portland is a great city though for many other reasons. I've lived in a few other cities in the US including NYC and Davis, California, but I think Portland is definitely the best place I've lived in the US so far.

P.S. I used the photo above from PBIC Image Library. Thanks to Dottie/Let's Go Ride a Bike for writing and letting us know about them. I always like to have picture(s) with my posts, but it's great to have access to a library of images as I don't always have pictures that seems appropriate for them.

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