Photo Credit: Bikeportland.org - SE Hawthorne was recently rebuilt without safe bicycling access
BikeLoud PDX Lawsuit
On November 18th 2022 BikeLoud PDX filed a lawsuit against The City of Portland for failing to meet its required obligation to install bicycle infrastructure under the State of Oregon Pedestrian and Bicycle Bill. This law requires pedestrian and bicycle facilities when streets are constructed, reconstructed, or relocated, and has been Oregon law since 1971. Adding bicycle infrastructure makes it safe for children and families to get around our city.
In 1995 the Bicycle Transportation Alliance successfully used this law to require the City to include bicycle lanes for the Rose Quarter.
BikeLoud has identified numerous locations where the city has failed to provide safe and adequate places for people to ride and roll. Portland roads need these facilities to reach our climate, community and mode share goals so bikes can be experienced as daily transportation for families, children and all Portlanders.
Please sign up for our newsletter to hear the latest about the lawsuit and become a member of BikeLoud to help us keep the City of Portland accountable.
FAQ on the BikeLoud v. PBOT lawsuit
Why sue the City instead of just asking for safety changes?
BikeLoud volunteers write letters, testify at hearings, meet with elected leaders, and take staff on policy rides because we are dedicated to serving people who are outside of cars who want to go places too. All too often, the people we want to serve are left with streets that do not keep them safe in or out of a car. This is especially true in low income communities of color who are disproportionately affected by traffic violence. We feel change is too slow coming when the need is so great.
How many Portland streets have been rebuilt without safety improvements?
Volunteers with BikeLoud PDX worked for the past year to identify at least twenty two streets that have been constructed or reconstructed since 1971 without safe bicycle access. BikeLoud PDX issued public records request to identify additional locations. The city refused those requests so BikeLoud does not know the total number. Portland roads need safer facilities to reach our climate, community and safety goals for all road users.
How much will it cost to make streets safe?
The Bicycle Bill requires cities to improve roadways by providing pedestrian and bicycle facilities whenever streets are constructed or reconstructed. Our legislators who wrote the Bike Bill in 1971 recognized that governments have limited resources, and that all streets cannot be improved at once.
How many people will benefit from safer streets?
Every life has value. In the past two years, 129 people have died on Portland streets, thousands have been seriously injured, and many thousands more are impacted as they rebuild lives caring for loved ones injured in traffic violence. We are all impacted. Safer infrastructure helps children and their families to get to school; it helps people who cannot afford cars to travel for everyday errands; and safer streets help old people to travel with dignity.
Who makes money on this lawsuit?
BikeLoudPDX is making no money and asking for no money as a result of this lawsuit. Money raised from Healthier Hawthorne will be available to support case expenses.
Please sign up for the BikeLoud PDX newsletter to hear the latest about the lawsuit.
BikeLoud PDX is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) dedicated to holding Portland accountable to its Climate, Bike, and Transportation plans to ensure 25% of all trips go by bike in 2030.
About the Bike Bill:
"On June 19, 1971, Governor Tom McCall, with his usual flair for publicity, stood on the steps of the Oregon Capitol to sign a bill on the seat of a ten-speed Schwinn bicycle. McCall and Don Stathos, the chief sponsor in the Oregon House of what was known simply as the Bicycle Bill, praised the legislation for seeking to make the roads friendly for cyclists.
The Bicycle Bill required the State of Oregon to accommodate bicycling and walking on all new road projects and transportation agencies to spend at least one percent of the state highway fund to accomplish that goal. The first of its kind in the United States, the Bicycle Bill foreshadowed the national Complete Streets movement that began to take hold three decades later to encourage the adoption of policies aimed at providing safe access to the streets for all users.
The Bicycle Bill helped spur the construction of bicycle and pedestrian paths, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes throughout Oregon, although it never had the sweeping impact sought by many cycling advocates. While there have been periodic efforts in the legislature to repeal it, the bill gained new strength after a 1993 lawsuit by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance against the City of Portland led to an Oregon Court of Appeals decision upholding the intent of the law. Local and state officials were put on notice that they could be sued if they failed to provide pedestrian and bicycle access on new and rebuilt roads and bridges."