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Where Bikes and Cars Intersect

Pete Springer/OPB

What’s the best way to share the road?

Bikes and cars share the roads in Oregon, but there are some who say that bicycles should be more integrated into automobile traffic. In a recent issue of Adventure Cyclist Magazine, technical editor John Schubert argues that Portland bike lanes make cycling in the city unsafe by keeping bike traffic to the right of cars, where cyclists often end up in drivers’ blind spots. The League of American Bicyclists clearly disagrees. The national organization recently named Portland a Platinum level (that’s the highest) Bicycle Friendly Community, touting the city’s bike lanes as one reason for the honor.Oregon law treats bikes as a vehicle and biking under the influence of alcohol carries the same penalties as driving drunk. A 2007 law puts cyclists and pedestrians in the same “vulnerable user of the public way” category, increasing penalties for reckless motorists who contribute to the serious injury of someone who falls under this heading.

So, should bicycles be treated the same as cars when it comes to where they travel in traffic? Are bike lanes helpful or harmful when it comes to safety for cyclists and drivers alike? What is the best way to share the road?


Photo credit: Jeff Youngstrom / Flickr / Creative Commons

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