Port­land streets safer for cy­clists

Vancouver Sun - - Westcoast News -

PORT­LAND — Six bright green bike boxes — des­ig­nated ar­eas where cy­clists stop at an in­ter­sec­tion for a red light — were in­stalled last week, and eight more are on the way. But the big­gest changes in Port­land’s ef­forts to make cy­clists safer are far less ob­vi­ous.

The Port­land Po­lice Bureau changed its poli­cies for in­ves­ti­gat­ing crashes in­volv­ing cy­clists and ap­pointed a li­ai­son of­fi­cer to work with the cy­cling com­mu­nity.

The city is retrofitti­ng its truck fleet with “bike guards” to pro­tect rid­ers. It has also in­vited cy­clists and truck­ers to meet and min­gle on South­east Clin­ton Street dur­ing the evening com­mute tonight.

Al­though the bike boxes and other safety mea­sures were on the draw­ing board for some time, those ef­forts took on ur­gency in re­cent months fol­low­ing the deaths of two cy­clists in high­pro­file crashes in Oc­to­ber.

“Those two deaths were a cat­a­lyst for pos­i­tive change,” said Mark Gins­berg, a lawyer who is chair­man of the city’s bi­cy­cle ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee. “It has def­i­nitely ac­cel­er­ated.”

Capt. Larry O’Dea, who heads the Po­lice Bureau’s traf­fic di­vi­sion, plans to meet with lawyers, judges and cy­cling ad­vo­cates in May to bet­ter un­der­stand lan­guage in sev­eral bike-re­lated state laws.

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