In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner plays a character named Ray Kinsella, a struggling Iowa corn farmer who has lost his way. In the movie, Ray hears a mysterious voice that tells him, “If you build it, he will come.” This inspires him to build a baseball field in the middle of his cornfield, which puts his farm in jeopardy and causes his friends and family to question his sanity. In the end, following this advice works out well for Ray. But that line, “If you build it, he will come” was so memorable that it has become synonymous with the movie itself.
When it comes to bicycle enthusiasts, the city of Portland, OR has taken this advice to heart. Portland did not become the bicycle capital of the United States by accident. They designed and built an infrastructure in the city that is not only bicycle-friendly, but they go out of their way to encourage and accommodate bicycle traffic. Once they built it, not only did it bring in the cyclists, it brought in businesses and manufacturing, too. Bicycle shops and factories moved to the region to take advantage of the popularity of bikes in the city.
Over the last decade, Portland has made a concerted effort to make their city more bike-friendly by building a network of safe, low-traffic bikeways that weave throughout the town, with “bicycle boulevards” that feed into these bikeways. They have made sure biking is convenient for residents, with neighborhood bikeways within a half-mile of over 60% of Portland homes.
The infrastructure of the bikeway is made up of 4 different kinds of roadways.
Cycle Tracks- A cycle track is a bike lane that is separated from motor vehicle lanes by curbs or concrete barriers. The presence of cycle tracks can boost riders by 18-20%. Women and children are especially more likely to ride bicycles when cycle tracks are present.
Bike Lanes- These are lanes on the roads that are separated only by painted lines, with no physical barriers to divide cyclists from the rest of traffic.
Sharrows- These are lanes marked with a symbol that indicate that both cars and bicycles are equally entitled to using this portion of the road.
Bicycle Boulevards- These are residential streets marked for both bikes and cars. They are also called neighborhood greenways and have a 20 mph speed limit.
This network of roads demonstrates Portland’s commitment to cyclists, but it isn’t the only thing they have done to make life easier for them. For instance, traffic signals in downtown are timed so that a vehicle traveling at 14 mph will catch all green lights, and they have brought in experts on bike-friendly street design. In the end, they built it and the cyclists did come.
Unfortunately, even the bicycle capital of the nation is not without accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a bicycle-motor vehicle collision, you may be entitled to compensation. At Berkshire Ginsberg, LLC, our Portland bike accident attorneys will fight to get you the settlement that you and your family deserve. To schedule a consultation, online or by phone at 503-233-6507.