Bike-friendly bumps

Information
A long person biking down a residential street, pictured just before traversing a bike-friendly speed bump
“Bike-friendly bumps” are a new tool being tested on neighborhood greenways to slow vehicles and provide a more convenient trip for people biking. PBOT conducted a public survey and observed their use in early 2023 to inform if and how bike-friendly bumps will be deployed in the future.
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PBOT is dedicated to making it safer, easier, and more desirable to bike around the city and particularly along neighborhood greenways—low-traffic and low-speed streets where we give priority to people bicycling and pedestrians. Speed bumps are one tool to maintain low speeds, but they can also be inconvenient to people biking, potentially discouraging more bicycle trips. “Bike-friendly bumps” are one potential solution. On two-way streets, these bumps have two wide channels—one for each direction—that allow people biking to ride through the speed bump rather than over it.

Speed bump varieties

For years, Portland has been installing (and modifying) speed bump designs for emergency vehicles. These bumps typically have three channels, including one along the center line of the road. Older varieties of emergency vehicle bumps have narrow channels, but newer bumps have 20-inch channels. “Bike-friendly bumps” have just two channels closer to the edge of the road and wide, tapered channels for people biking.

an image showing an emergency vehicle speed bump on the left and a bicycle bump on the right
Note the differences in the two types of speed bumps. The emergency vehicle bump has three channels, as seen on the left, on SE Thorburn Street just west of SE Pine Street. The bike-friendly bump on the right on NE Davis Street between NE 68th and 69th Avenues has two channels.

As a newer design, there is no one standard design for bike bumps and there has been some variety in their design and installation to date. In some cases, the arrows approaching these bike-friendly bumps are aligned with the channel, as seen in the comparison above.

Find bike-friendly bumps

Unsure what type of speed bump is on your regular bike route? Or interested in testing a bump? Locate both types of speed bumps on the map below. Corridors with bike-friendly bumps are highlighted in green while corridors with emergency vehicle bumps are shown in dark grey. (Please note this is not an exhaustive list of speed bump corridors.)

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Survey & observations

PBOT staff expect bike-friendly bumps to improve while still slowing vehicles. To see how Portlanders feel about and use the bike bumps, we conducted a survey of people who have encountered bike-friendly bumps. In-person observations also supplemented the survey results to better understand how and whether people are using the channels. Other factors like the presence of on-coming or overtaking vehicles, tandem riding, and different types of bikes were also be assessed through observations.

Report and Recommendations

In March 2024 PBOT released their recommendation about bicycle-friendly bumps. The key take-away is that PBOT recommends that bicycle-friendly speed bumps be the preferred speed bumps used for neighborhood greenways. There are two main factors that would influence a choice to use conventional speed bumps: relative cost and inability to provide the bicycle-friendly bumps due to a disadvantageous combination of roadway width and on-street parking.

The full report can be read here: 

For more information, reach out to PBOT Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller.