My Letter to Representative Greenlick.

Representative Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland) says that his concern for the safety of children is behind House Bill 2228. The bill, which would make it illegal to carry a child of six years or younger on the back of a bike or in a trailer, has quickly caused an outcry among people throughout Oregon and the country.

-via bikeportland

Representative Greenlick, I am a constituent in your district that has happily voted for you since I was of voting age. I've never been the type to email my representatives directly about particular bills, knowing that they often are read by an intern or generally ignored, but this particular issue caused me enough concern that I felt necessary to respond.

As a resident of the Bethany area, I can certainly appreciate and understand your interest for legislation concerning the safety of people who choose a bicycle for their main means of transportation. I frequently choose a combination of bicycle and Trimet to get to my job, which is located on the central east side of Portland, and I certainly agree that our state legislators should be focused on finding ways to improve the safety of our transportation system for all intended road users. However, as I'm sure you heard from the many of responses to your proposed bill HB2888, attempting to condemn the activity of transporting children under the age of 6 on a bicycle, accuses those who choose to bicycle as the problem instead of the horribly unsafe conditions of our disastrously planned suburban roads.

The state house needs more advocates for safe transportation of all mode types, Representative Greenlick, and as your constituent I would love to see you pursue policy that encourages safe transportation options for all. I applaud your entrance into this discussion, and take you at your word that you had only the best intentions in introducing this bill and that you are interested in promoting bicycling to improve the state of our wallets, the state of our health, and the state of our planet. No doubt, Oregon state legislators have an important role in helping bicycles be a part of the future healthy communities we are attempting to create, but I urge you to get in contact with those interested in the issue. The Westside Transportation Alliance, for instance, is interested in promoting active transportation and transit in Beaverton and other areas near your district, and there's a bevy of bicycle activists located in Portland (the BTA, for example) that I'm sure you are aware of, pending your recent legislation. As a daily commuter, Representative Greenlick, I can tell you now that encouraging Washington County road sweepers to avoid dropping all of the gravel into the Barnes Rd. bike lane, for instance, would be a strong step in the right direction, before I or another commuter slip and fall into four lanes of high speed traffic. I know that you aren't directly responsible for Washington County road services, but the same OHSU report that you cited explained that gravel in the road is a grave danger to those on bicycles, and as you said, "If I thought a law would save one child's life, I would step in and do it. Wouldn't you?"

Thank you for reading my letter, and I hope that you not only kill HB 2888 but that you also use this opportunity to listen to your constituents and activists interested in promoting a safe transportation policy and infrastructure that meets the needs of all intended road users.

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