commuters of Portland...

If you're riding a bike, please stop at stop signs. It freaks people in cars out like nothing else to start going at a stop sign they have stopped at only to have a bike fly through the intersection the other way and to nearly take the biker out. I was biking to work today, and stopped at a stop sign at 34th and Clinton, only to have 5 other bikes fly past me without stopping (they were all in a clump). I sort of caught up with them again, only to have them all blow through the stop at 26th and Clinton as well. There wasn't much traffic at the time, but I have nearly hit bikers before when I've been driving when they haven't stopped at stop signs. It's one of the primary complaints I hear around Portland regarding bikers.

If you're in a car, please use your turn signals whenever you're leaving a lane of traffic (such as at an on/off ramp). It's really aggravating to be walking or on a bike and to not be able to cross roads at certain points because nobody uses their turn signals, so you never know if someone is going to veer your direction or not, and you pretty much have to wait either until nobody is nearby, or someone is nice enough to stop and let you go. Today on my commute, I had just gone over the Ross Island Bridge, and was waiting to cross the street where traffic coming off the bridge can either go straight and head towards downtown, or turn right onto the ramp that goes under the bridge and over to get onto I-5. Not a single car that turned onto the ramp used their turn signal. Since it's hard to tell which way people are going to go, as the ramp is almost directly off the bridge, I had to sit and wait for several minutes, until finally someone who was turning onto the ramp (without using their signal) stopped so I could cross.

In general, just give some thought to other people on the road and how you interact with them. I promise, it won't be that painful, and it will make things nicer for everyone. If we all start practicing, we'll all get better bit by bit, and everyone will be happier and safer. Just try it, really! :)

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