An Open Letter to Bicyclists Riding on the Streets of Portland, Maine
Dear Bicyclists of Portland,
Let me set the record straight right off the bat. This is not aimed at every single person who rides a bike on the streets of Portland. This is aimed at those that either don't know or don't care about what is required to ride a bike on the streets of Portland
The City of Portland has done a lot of work to make its streets accessible to bicyclists by creating bike lanes all over the downtown area. These lanes are dedicated to bicyclists only and give them the room they need to get from place to place.
In most cases in Portland, when there is no marked bike lane, you may use the same lane cars do. But that comes with its own set of rules.
As I said, this isn't directed at all bicyclists, but on two separate days this week, I almost hit a bicyclist because they ran a red light. One of them was riding in a crosswalk, which is for pedestrians, not bicyclists. Not that it mattered to this person, but the Don't Walk sign was on too, so there was no reason they should have gone through that intersection.
Traffic laws apply to all bicyclists, not just drivers. Here's what the Maine DOT has to say on the matter:
Maine bicycling laws generally give bicyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle operators. Bicyclists may use public roads, and they must obey traffic laws such as stopping at red lights and stop signs, yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks and yielding to traffic when entering a road from a driveway.
There you have it.
So to those bicyclists that I almost hit, be aware of what the rules of the road for bicyclists are. Educate yourself so you can keep riding that bike on the streets of Portland rather than end up on the hill at Maine Med.