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Letter from a constituent.
How she perceives LAB is not what we want our reputation to be

Note the second-to-last paragraph and its reference to "the genuine course."

(Also note the last paragraph, which cries for help from LAB on safety literature.  LAB used to have exactly the literature this person asks for.  I suspect it’s now all at the bottom of Baltimore Harbor.)

Subj: [BTI] Intro to BTI List
Date: Sun, Oct 28, 2001 12:58 am EST
From: [address removed] (Kat Iverson)
To:    [email protected] (BTI (E-mail))

Hi everybody,

I am a new subscriber to this list.  Well, I’ve been getting messages for two weeks.  Now that I feel acquainted with the list, I’m ready to introduce myself.  My name is Kat Iverson.  I live in Beaverton, Oregon, a western suburb of Portland, home of the infamous blue lanes and holder of the dubious distinction of being Bicycling Magazine’s Best Bicycling City in North America.

My adult cycling began when I was 20, and I bought a "real" bicycle, as opposed to the single-speed I played on as a kid.  For most of 27 years, my 10-speed, drop bars bike or mass transit has been my principal transportation.  About 5 years ago I bought a very good headlight and since then my bike alone has been my principal transportation.  With the more recent addition of a cargo trailer, very little seems impossible on a bike.  A year ago I got a 24-speed hybrid whose chief attraction was that it was free (from a contest).  I like the 24 gears, but I miss my drop bars.

I have lived and ridden in Boulder, Col.; K.C., Mo.; Knoxville, Tenn.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Portland, and Beaverton, Ore.  As an adult I have always been more or less a VC without having heard the term.  As a kid in suburban K.C., I stuck to my neighborhood streets where street riding was easy.  My first adult riding was in Boulder, a college town where bikes were everywhere and seemed like a normal part of traffic to me.  I followed the traffic rules I learned in drivers’ ed.  When I moved back to K.C.  I lived closer to the center of town, where there is a grid system of roads.  The busy streets made me nervous at first, so for a while I stayed on the parallel neighborhood streets despite all the stop signs.  As soon as I was comfortable on the easy streets, I graduated to busier and busier streets until I was willing to ride just about anywhere.

When I moved to Portland about 10 years ago, I saw more bike lanes than I had seen anywhere before.  Eastern Portland also has a good grid system of roads, so whenever an intended route (one that looked good on a map) took me to a street that had a bike lane, I kept going and turned onto the next parallel non-bike-laned street that looked good.  (There are still some streets major enough to have few stop signs, but which don’t yet have bike lanes) Without at the time being able to articulate why, I felt that riding on bike-laned streets took more skill than I had, so I avoided them.  When I moved west of the river, then further west to Beaverton, I found them to be unavoidable.  Too many creeks in this area and the expense of bridges means that only the major, bike-laned streets go through for any useful distance.  So now I ride in bike lanes, but I’m always very cautious at major intersections.  And I still prefer streets without bike lanes.

At least I had an instructor who became an instructor many years ago when it was probably still the genuine course.

A year ago I took the Road I and II parts of the LAB Effective Cycling course.  The LAB was still calling it that, though it was probably more like their current Bike Ed than the original Effective Cycling.  At least I had an instructor who became an instructor many years ago when it was probably still the genuine course.

For about two years I have been on the Beaverton B.I.K.E. Task Force (Bicycling Interest Knowledge and Encouragement).  It is an advisory committee that reviews "all proposed projects, both public and private, as they may affect bicycle circulation, access and general use." City staff gives us presentations and asks for recommendations on all road projects that involve adding bike lanes, but we’re still having a hard time convincing them that all road projects affect bicyclists.  We don’t have much choice about bike lanes.  There is a state bike law that requires that highway funds be spent on "bicycle trails" on all major road projects.  It rather vaguely states "’bicycle trail’ means a publicly owned and maintained lane or way designated and signed for use as a bicycle route." All the jurisdictions around here interpret this to mean that they must install bike lanes.  I would like to convince them that a WOL on a road "designated and signed" as a bike route would be better and would comply with the law.  Having information from a national bicycling organization that is against bike lanes could be useful and sound more authoritative.

Kat Iverson

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