Portlanders Want Cycling Status Downgraded

Launch petition to revoke “platinum” rank

Apr 15, 2015
Outside Magazine
Portlanders Want Cycling Status Downgraded

A Change.org petition seeks to downgrade Portland's cycling status because the city isn't making enough progress in improving bike access.    Barry Caruth/Flickr

Some residents of the largest U.S. city to earn platinum status from the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) want that ranking removed. Portland cyclist Will Vanlue has launched a Change.org petition to get LAB to downgrade the city.

The 31-year-old former communications director for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and current SoupCycle delivery rider told BikePortland this week that he doesn’t think enough progress is being made to improve bike access in Portland to merit platinum status, and he hopes that the petition will draw the attention of city policymakers and elected leaders. 

“No one seems to be pushing the city to generally improve the streets that are being built and the policies that are being implemented,” Vanlue said. “I’d like to talk about more positive things, but I just haven’t had a lot of positive experiences to talk about. When I’m out riding around, I’m always watching my back to not get run over … I’m just fed up.”

Vanlue’s petition was prompted in part by the fact that one of his co-workers was hit by a truck last week. The man, Cedar Knoll, says the police didn’t make an official report of the collision, according to BikePortland. Bicycling reports that Vanlue isn’t the first to criticize city officials for not pushing for more bike safety.

LAB determines its rankings based on the “Five Es”: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation. Vanlue addressed these in the petition, saying, among other things, that facilities are degrading, speed limits aren’t strictly enforced, and officials frequently adapt street designs for motor vehicles while ignoring bikes.

It’s not just road cyclists who are having a tough time in the City of Roses. Portland also recently closed the River View Natural Area to mountain bikers.

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