To say that Portland is “bike friendly” is an understatement. Biking is part of the culture and city officials estimate that more than 17000 workers commute via bikes.   That’s roughly 6 percent of the working population, much higher than the national average of 0.5 percent.  The city continues to make strides in improving and expanding the amenities, infrastructure and safety measures it offers cyclists.

Bike Friendly Commuting

People are able to commute in Portland thanks in  to the city’s bike-friendly streets and designated bike lanes.  There are also innovative “bicycle boxes” at 26 busy intersections making cyclists more visible to motorists.  Bicycle boxes  are used to reduce the likelihood of an accident. You’ll notice these bicycle boxes at intersections as they are bright green with a bicycle icon in the lane or the box.  Speaking of bicycle icons, when cycling in the city’s designated bike lanes you’ll notice a Portland tradition, bike lane characters.  Instead of the typical stick figure on a bicycle marking the bike lane, the city has had fun with whimsical hats, crazy hair, scarves and even one reading a book while riding.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation states there are about 320 miles of bikeways in the city.  Furthermore, more than 50 miles are planned for the future. Additionally, there are roughly 5000 publicly installed bike racks.

Generally it’s easier to ride through the city.   Cyclists will find that they can make it over the Willamette River without a monumental effort. The city’s well-known bridges are a big reason for this, as nearly all 11 of them have designated bike lanes.  The  opening of Tilikum Crossing, which connects southeast Portland to the South Waterfront provides another great option for cyclists. The bridge is for bike riders, pedestrians and public transit vehicles.  Bicyclists do not have to worry about motor vehicle traffic as they cross.

In addition to bike lanes,  the city also has about 59 miles of neighborhood bike friendly greenways.   These are residential streets that have lower volumes of automobile traffic, making them safer for bike riders. Greenways often include speed bumps and traffic diverters to dissuade drivers from using these streets unless they absolutely need to.

An award-winning bike city

Due to its accomplishments in promoting cycling and reducing harmful emissions, Portland has won a number of awards for its bike-friendly culture. The League of American Bicyclists gave the city its highest possible “Platinum” rating and Bicycling magazine has named it the number one biking city in the nation several years in a row.

The city also appears regularly on lists of bike-friendly cities in various publications including GeekWire Wired and Forbes among others.

If you would like to reduce emissions,  get more exercise and truly enjoy a reasonably safe urban biking experience Portland is perfect city for you. The city’s infrastructure, strong bike culture and focus on alternative means of transportation have made it a favorite of cyclists.

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