Portland Newscast Offers Biking Conditions With the Weather Report

Here’s a local newscast that’s getting something right. FOX 12 in Portland, Oregon, has taken to reporting the conditions for cycling along with the weather report.

“They’ve been doing it for a while now,” says Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland. “Just responding to market demand.”

The station reported on June 24th: “Not a bad day to take the bike out for a spin. Roads should be dry most of the day.”

On June 19th: “Looking to get out on the bike? Ideal riding conditions Thursday.”

Is this the future of the local nightly news?

Steven Vance at Streetsblog Chicago reports that local cyclists have been lobbying the local NPR affiliate to broadcast conditions — including construction updates, wind speed, and wave conditions — on the Lakefront Trail, the busiest biking and walking path in the country.

  • Clarence

    I lobbied a few stations in NYC many, many years ago to at least do the weather during Bike Week. None of them called back.

  • Robbie

    For what it’s worth, WORT-FM in Madison, WI (http://www.wortfm.org/) has been doing a Friday morning “Bike Traffic Report” for years. It started as a joke during a pledge drive: “We always hear highway traffic reports. Someone should get on the radio and tell everyone that traffic is flowing smoothly on the paths and bike lanes.” But it became so popular that it is now a regular feature that everyone relies on.

    During the winter, we tune in to find out which paths have been plowed and if there are any particularly bad spots with ice in bike lanes or windrows blocking the paths. In the summer it is often the construction that gets the spotlight. Detours and streets that are passable but torn up are important information!

    I have asked several on-line lists, but so far I don’t think anyone else has a bike traffic report. Weather? We’ll ride in anything! http://bit.ly/1iH3aVS

  • BlueFairlane

    Is the forecast for bicyclists somehow different than the forecast for everybody else? Do bicycles generate their own localized weather patterns? Do bicyclists really need to be told that when it’s raining, roads will be wet?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Just check out the weather forecast and radar from the National Weather Service in your area.

    And remember that a 100 percent chance of rain does not mean rain 100 percent of the day. If you can vary your hours a little, you can generally beat it or wait it out.

  • thielges

    Indeed. NEXRAD is your friend if your commute schedule is flexible. On the California coast rain comes in fairly predictable waves. If a wave is bearing down when you plan to depart, just wait an hour for the dry cycle.

  • BBnet3000

    The needs are more specific hours-wise. Rather than “bring an umbrella with you today” its more like “it will be raining between 8-9am so try to ride before or after that”.

  • BlueFairlane

    The weather reports I watch tell you when it’s going to rain, at least as much as they can pin that down. I don’t need a special weather report to tell me this rain that falls at this time will also hit me if I’m on a bicycle.

  • JDC

    “Get that bike ride in?” “Get out on the bike?” “Take the bike out for a spin?” Are those who commute via car simply “taking the car out for a spin?” Stop treating bicycles as if they’re merely recreational vehicles.

  • Anne A

    Even though detailed info is available from weather.com and other sites, I like the idea that a TV forecast would include this pro-cycling feature.

  • Bacon

    That POS makes me want to go shopping at Kmart and buy a second one after I fold the rim in half riding off a curb. It implies people are riding cheap mountain bikes on the street for exercise.

  • The Chicago Lakefront Trail has different conditions than streets so I think one specific to that path would be very useful.

    They’re disseminating the information in a slightly different way than most weather reports, by highlighting three morning commuting hours and two evening commuting hours.

  • Lois

    A number of the staff at KPTV are regular bike commuters, including weatherman Andy Carson, who rides into work at 3am; I believe his route is about 12 miles each way.

    Whether or not people on bikes consider the forecast in their cycling decisions, it is a wonderful way to message non-cycling commuters to be aware of bikes on the road. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance sponsored drive-time radio “bicycle reports” for the same reason last summer. They weren’t necessarily meant for cyclists to hear…they were meant for motorists as a reminder that bicycles were on the roads.


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