Cyclists push their limit

Portland prides itself on being a bicycle-friendly city, but a recent incident in a local cemetery has shown that cyclists need limits too.

Portland prides itself on being a bicycle-friendly city, but a recent incident in a local cemetery has shown that cyclists need limits too.

River View Cemetery in Southwest Portland is a common route for cyclists. They use it to connect from the southwestern area to the east side and vice versa. It seemed like a good, safe way to commute because the alternate, Taylor’s Ferry Road, is too dangerous for cyclists.

The road is too steep, does not have enough room for cyclists and is often full of speeding cars. So with the alternate route all is well and good right? Well it was, until a few cyclists’ behavior threatened to ruin it for everyone.

As reported in the Portland Tribune last week, cyclists speed through the cemetery and so the River View Cemetery installed speed bumps. But it appears that the installation of speed bumps is causing more problems, because some cyclists do not slow down enough and fall off their bikes.

Cyclists are also saying that there are no signs warning them of the speed bumps and that they are too steep. Well, here’s a tip: slow down when you reach the cemetery’s property. Speed bumps are there for a reason and by speeding, you caused the installation of them, so solve the problem of the bumps and stop speeding.

Dealing with the loss of someone close is hard enough on people. I feel very lucky that, while saying goodbye to a loved one, I have not been interrupted by cyclists. Seeing what has occurred with a few of the cyclists who take the route through River View Cemetery makes me ask one question: What is wrong with them?

Interrupting funeral processions, as the Tribune article mentioned, yelling at and cussing out people who visit the cemetery is in poor taste. Those who take the route need to be respectful because the site is not a service route for cyclists, it is for people to say goodbye or visit with those they have lost. Cyclists should realize that using the cemetery as a route is a privilege and not a right, because it does not have to stay open for bicycle traffic.

I am all for people cycling where and when they can. And yes, bicycles are not cars. Not every cyclist has steel legs and can keep up with cars. Therefore, a safer route like the River View Cemetery is a top priority for cyclists.
But they also need to take some responsibility. As a general rule of the road for anyone and everyone, cyclists and drivers alike, be respectful of other people. The only way to get it is to give it.

David Noble, the executive director at River View Cemetery, said that a meeting is scheduled for this week with Roger Geller, bicycle coordinator for the Portland Department of Transportation, and Michelle Poyourow of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. They are hoping to find a way to keep the cemetery open to cyclists, while still making the cemetery’s clients a priority.

What it comes down to when sharing the road with anyone, be they pedestrians, cemetery patrons, cyclists or drivers, is being respectful. It is not fair to ruin a good thing for all because a few people cannot handle delaying their progress for a minute to be respectful to others, slowing down so that everyone will have a nice and safe day.