Portland, Oregon, is a bicycling mecca, with a network of bike paths that connect the entire metropolis. Safety programs are offered by many groups, and safety is a key part of the city's ongoing efforts for bicyclists.
The federal government does not make laws for bicyclists, leaving that to the states. Oregon law requires anyone under the age of 16 to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
Cycling organizations and health officials encourage all riders to wear helmets, not just those under 16. Wearahelmet.org says 85 percent of serious cycling accident brain injuries could be prevented by wearing a helmet.
Bicycles are considered vehicles, and have the same rights and responsibilities as automobiles. Cyclists must use hand signals when turning and must obey all traffic signs. At night cyclists must have a front and rear light. Safety officials encourage wearing bright clothing to be more visible.
The most common accident occurs when a car turns right without seeing a cyclist coming up from behind on the right. The Portland Department of Transportation says intersections are the most dangerous place for bicycle and automobile crashes.
The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles has issued a pamphlet on bicycle safety, which can be obtained at any DMV office. It outlines precautions cyclists should take, as well as responsibilities on the road.
Portland is ranked second in the world for being a bike-friendly city by the Virgin-Vacations website. Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, was number one.
Article Written By James Jordan
James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.