Letters 3/10-3/17 | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

I’d simply like the lights to turn green for me when I’m stopped at a light riding home after work at night. They currently don’t because they are all linked to sensors embedded in the road that don’t detect the amount of metal in a bike.

I’d like the city crews to actually plow the snow out of the bike lane instead of into it, and do the same with street debris.

I’d like all the pedestrian crossings to automatically display the walk sign each light cycle rather than requiring a pedestrian to push the button. People in cars don’t have to push a button to get a green light, why do people on foot or people on a bike have to?

These changes would cost the city virtually nothing, would not inconvenience people in cars, and would go a long way toward making Bend far more friendly toward people on bikes and people on foot.

Seriously Charles Thomas? How are you being held hostage by protected bike lanes on Riverside? Yes, it was designed for cars, and now it’s designed for drivers and cyclists. The “sharp curves,” which aren’t really sharp, but are the same curves that were there before, are now safer because with more narrow lanes and more visual confusion, people drive slower, and the rumble strips help keep people out of the bike lane. Also, there is no risk for drivers getting out of their cars on Franklin if they check their mirror first. I understand change is difficult for some, but you still have all the options on your bike route that you had before.

Chuck Thomas: You are held hostage by a bike lane? Really? You can’t leave your home if a bike lane exists? How is someone so inept allowed behind the wheel? If a bike lane is such a danger, in what cocoon of protective kitten flatulence are you taking part in all of your “avid recreational” cycling?
But wait! Bike lanes are a conspiracy! Yeah, the local government is trying to make you ride bikes. You solved the puzzle. Now that the truth is out, old man Withers is on the wire to every news organization in the civilized world. Our right to drive is safe for another day. Thank you.


The street that passes by your home (like the sidewalk) is not “yours.” Anybody who needs to use a public street is allowed do so in a civilized society. Nowhere is it written that large, expensive (dangerous) machinery has to be purchased in order to travel on public roads, nor should it be.

This may surprise you, Chuck, but lots of people simply cannot drive—the very elderly, anyone on a limited income (Poor people in Bend?! Yes, they’re around), kids under 16, anyone with a DUI problem. Many others who DO drive should not—anyone with a smart phone addiction, people who have killed with their car in the past, the very elderly, kids over 16, and so on. If only there were ways for the inconveniently car-free to go from one place to another without having to rely on uncle Chuck and his “car held hostage” to cart them around.

Was Riverside safer for anybody when there was no bike lane? (I’m psychic enough to know that Chucky just said “yes”.) Safer for who? I grew up here and I’ve been riding (and driving) all over Bend AND on Riverside Drive for over 20 years, and I’m not alone—there were very few days that bikes could not be found riding past Drake Park, trying to split the difference with passing drivers. Now, I have a lane that tells me where I can ride my bike and drivers are able to pass me easily. And when I DRIVE THE CAR THAT I OWN, I’m able to pass bikers at will thanks to this bike lane that is “holding you hostage.” If only it were so easy to pass on all public roads.

If having to be around bikes and the people who ride them are really a problem for you, there are places where “those bikers” are very rare. Maybe you mistook Bend for that kind of place when you moved here. If that’s the case, you were very much mistaken. Events like the Pole Pedal Paddle and the Cascade Cycling Classic have gone on in Bend for nearly 40 years now. That’s not a coincidence.

Bike lanes aren’t new here. There will be more. Bicycles aren’t going away any more than cars are.

Get over it or get out.

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry at Charles Thomas’ letter winning your letter of the week (3/12/15). Alas, his fears expressed actually do show how difficult it is to provide a safe, inclusive transportation system for all users.

First, there is the perception of system safety being compromised by the bike lanes on Riverside when all studies show that if cars go slower the people driving them will be safer (as will be all other users of the roadway). The second opinion is that there are few users of the bike line—an obvious exaggeration—but within that comment is the underlining belief that there are more people driving cars so they should get priority over people riding or walking. And his final point about parking and the risk to people exiting their cars near the Old Post Office misses the important point that it is no different than anywhere else you might parallel park.

Our road system is critically underfunded—has been for years—and there does not seem to be a political solution in sight. That coupled with the reality that we can’t build our way out of traffic congestion makes for a curious challenge. The more we can encourage people getting out of their cars the better we can accommodate a larger population using our system and not clogging it with single occupancy vehicles. And the safer our system will be for everyone.

—JA Roberts

JA: We hope you cry tears of happiness for winning THIS WEEK’S LETTER OF THE WEEK! That means $5 for coffee at Palate! Bike or carpool down to our offices, and collect your prize from us. No hankie included.
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