Perspective Newsletter
Spring 2015
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Despite bike-friendly ratings, Northwest bike vs. driver tension remains

Washington ranks No. 1 among bike-friendly states, with Oregon coming in a solid No. 6. (See all state rankings here, courtesy of the League of American Bicyclists.) Yet a recent PEMCO Poll reveals there's still tension between drivers and cyclists on our roads.

According to the poll, two-thirds of Northwest drivers (63%) say they're comfortable driving alongside cyclists. But more than half (56%) say cyclists who ride unpredictably cause the biggest problem for drivers on the road. About one-third of drivers say the greatest conflicts occur when cyclists break standard traffic laws (like running red lights or stop signs) and about a quarter say tensions peak when cyclists use a double-standard, following the rules that benefit them most in the moment.

From the cyclists' perspective, driver inattentiveness causes the most angst. Fifty-eight percent said oblivious drivers pose the biggest risk to those on bikes. Twenty-seven percent of cyclists cite malicious drivers (those who purposely pass too closely, cut them off, etc.) as their primary cause of tension on the road.

The poll also revealed an unexpected finding: Too many cyclists still fail to protect themselves with basic safety gear. More than half admitted they don't wear a helmet every time they ride, and 29% of Oregonians fessed up to never wearing one at all.

You can see a summary of poll results here (if you don't immediately see results, try viewing with a different browser) and you can take the poll yourself to see how your responses compare.

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