Maine Bike Law Attorney Lauri Boxer-Macomber is active in the Portland Maine biking community and is a passionate legal advocate for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable users in Portland, Cumberland County, and across the state. Lauri has represented racers, commuters, weekend riders, and others who have been injured or lost their lives because of careless drivers or unsafe road conditions.
If you need help after a Portland bike crash, or simply have questions about Maine laws and your rights as a bicyclist, contact Lauri through the Bike Law Crash Report Form. It only takes a minute to complete. You can also find Lauri at Kelly, Remmel & Zimmerman, located at 53 Exchange Street next to the Cotton Garden in Portland’s Old Port.
Biking in Portland
Portland, which is already known for its creative economy, countless microbreweries and hip urban pockets, is becoming nationally recognized as a bicycle-friendly community. Each year, an increasing number of the city’s 67,000 residents commute to and from their homes, workplaces and schools by bike, foot and on the METRO. Students from the University of Southern Maine, the Maine College of Art, University of New England, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, Maine Law and the Circus Conservatory of America celebrate their bicycles, as do Portland’s youngest residents, many of whom participate in the City’s Walking School Bus programs.
Bicycle byways run throughout many of Portland’s neighborhoods. Paved, gravel and dirt trails are integrated into Portland’s working waterfront and circle the city’s well-loved Back Cove. Endless miles of mountain bike trails snake through the city and connect Portland to abutting towns and Sebago Lake.
Thanks to the Back Cove Neighborhood Association and its partners, the City now has “Sundays on the Boulevard”. Every Sunday from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend, Portland closes Baxter Boulevard to motor vehicle traffic, and from 9am to 4pm the Boulevard and surrounding parks and trails become a larger playground and safe haven for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages.
Portland boasts seven bike shops of varying sizes and specialties, a diverse group of bicycling clubs, an active YMCA, several spin centers and a handful of triathlon and racing teams. Many local businesses participate in the Bicycle Benefits Program and have bicycle parking outside their storefronts. During the spring, summer and early fall, Bike Valet Parking is offered by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine at local events such as First Friday Art Walks and the Sea Dogs baseball games. Woodard Curran, one of the League of American Bicyclist’s Bronze Level Bike Friendly Businesses is also based in Portland.
Bicycling Resources in Portland
Portland Bicycling and Pedestrian Advocacy: Portland is home to a number of bicycle, pedestrian and environmental advocacy groups. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine, a leading state-wide bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization, whose mission is to make Maine better for bicycling and walking has its headquarters in Portland. On the Coalition’s website you will find information about bicycling safety and education, policy and legislation and events throughout the state. Portland Trails, a non-profit that “transforms Greater Portland into a healthier community for people powered transportation, conservation, and recreation, by creating a network of trails and green spaces that connect people with places”, is also located in Portland. On Portland Trails’ website you can access trail maps, stories, listings of local events, volunteer opportunities and other resources. Other Portland-based organizations advocating for bicycle access, infrastructure, complete streets, multimodal transportation and healthy communities include the Portland Gear Hub, the Portland Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Council, GrowSmart Maine, the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) and the Conservation Law Foundation.
Portland’s Comprehensive Plan: The Bicycle and Pedestrian chapter of Portland’s Comprehensive Plan can be found here. Note that Portland is in the process of updating its Comprehensive Plan.
Portland City Code: Many of Portland’s ordinances addressing bicycles can be found in Chapter 28 of the Portland City Code. Note that the interplay with state law can be confusing. Contact Lauri if you have specific questions.
Portland Complete Streets Policy: Portland adopted a Complete Streets Policy in December of 2012 and it can be found here.
City Contacts: Transportation Planner Bruce Hyman and Planning and Urban Development Director Jeff Levine are working hard on behalf of Portland bicyclists and are great resources within the City for the bicycling community.
Fix It! Portland: Are you aware of potholes in Portland that need filling or hazards on the city’s roadways that need to be addressed? Report these issues on the City of Portland’s website form or download the Fix It! Portland. mobile app for your smartphone via the Apple or Android App Store. For more information about Maine’s road defects law and its interplay with other Maine laws, contact Bike Law Maine or talk to Lauri.
Access to Bicycles in Portland: The Bikes for All Mainers Program, which provides bikes to new immigrants and others who need them, is run out of Portland through the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Portland Gear Hub with the support of the Maine DOT. Participants are taught basic bicycle mechanic skills and rules of the road. They earn a bike and also pass on the gift by volunteering in their communities.
Portland Bicycling Routes: Visit the Explore Maine by Bike website and click on the Greater Portland and Casco Bay link. Check out trail maps and routes on the websites of Portland Trails, Allspeed and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. The Raymond Hills Loop and the Prouts Neck Loop, which are two of Portland riders’ favorite road rides, are featured in this story in Bicycling Magazine, as are the mountain bike trails at Bradbury Mountain.
Portland Bike Repair and Maintenance Classes: Almost all of the local bike shops listed in the links below offer bicycle repair and maintenance classes. Don’t miss Wrench Night and Open Bench Hours at the Portland Gear Hub, both of which are great opportunities to develop and hone your mechanical skills.
Portland Bike Clubs, Groups & Rides: Many of Portland’s bicycle shops in the links below list weekly rides and other events on their websites. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine also posts a comprehensive cycling calendar on its website, which also lists most of Portland’s weekly rides.
Good Place for A Cold One: It’s Portland . . . there are way too many places to list! Check out the Beer Advocate’s Beer Guide: Portland. Local club riders can often be found at Rising Tide and other breweries in East Bayside. Forest Gardens, next to Back Bay Bicycle, welcomes riders after CCCP’s Monday and Thursday night rides. Almost all of the local breweries support the bicycling community in one way or another.
For the Coffee Ride: Bard in the Old Port makes a mean espresso and is a participant in Maine’s Bicycle Benefits program. Tandem Coffee Roasters sponsors CCCP and its location on Congress Street near Gorham Bike and Ski is as hip as its name. Coffee by Design, located next to CycleMania, is a post-SMR destination with tasty coffee, and of course there are Arabica and the Speckled Ax, both local favorites. Come off the trails behind Evergreen Cemetery to fuel up at Black Cat on Stephens Ave. In South Portland, don’t miss Scratch Baking Co., which has amazing bagels and has been a sponsor of HK2, a non-profit in Yarmouth focused on training junior riders and getting kids on bikes.
Lauri on Biking In Portland
This City has something for every type of rider.
On commuting in Portland, check out the Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Group, which offers the latest in bicycle commuting news and information, including information on traffic tips and road closures. Recently, Maine Public Radio captured Lauri’s daily commute in this Maine Things Considered story.
On mountain biking and trail riding, some local favorites include the Presumpscot River Trail, Baxter Woods, the Fore River Sanctuary, Evergreen Cemetery, Canco Woods, University Woods and the Quarry Run Dog Park. Don’t miss Allspeed’s Monday Night Rides, which take riders throughout the Portland Trail System and beyond. Many of these trails are multi-user trails, so be alert for dogs, runners and walkers. Lauri has represented bicyclists in several cases where off-leash dogs have caused riders harm. She is familiar with this nuanced area of law and the remedies available to cyclists. Contact her for a consultation should the need arise.
On road riding, Portland is a great hub for rides of all lengths and difficulties. Head south for flat coastal riding, north for a rolling coastal farmland mix, and travel northwest to reach Sebago Lake and the White Mountains. Some of Lauri’s favorite rides include the Pineland Farms Loop, which starts in Portland and travels to through Cumberland, Gray and New Gloucester and the Brunswick Loop, traveling through Falmouth, South Freeport, Brunswick and Yarmouth. Lauri also recommends the Women’s Wednesday Night Ride with the Portland Velo Club and CCCP’s Monday Night Ride out to Cousin’s Island.
Portland’s Cyclocross community is growing. Be sure to catch the Casco Bay Cyclocross Race sponsored by Bikeman on the Eastern Prom in the fall. The adult races feature one of the most scenic courses and the funkiest socks in New England. The kids’ race is also a hoot!
If you would like to learn more about bicycling in Portland, have questions about a bicycle crash, incident or case in Portland or would like Lauri to come speak to your club or at your shop, please contact her through Bike Law or Kelly, Remmel & Zimmerman.
PORTLAND BICYCLE ADVOCACY GROUPS
- Bicycle Coalition of Maine: For more than 20 years the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has strived to make Maine better for biking and walking.
- Portland Trails: This organization has dedicated endless hours to creating and maintaining trails and green spaces throughout Portland and Cumberland County.
- Portland Gear Hub: The Portland Gear Hub is a bike and outdoor gear shop operated by a non-profit that collects gently used and new bikes and gear and resells the refurbished equipment to fund programs and activities that actively engage youth in the outdoors.
- Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Council: This is an advisory group that works towards making Portland accessible for all Portlanders, including bicyclists, pedestrians and persons who are differently abled.
- Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG): Provides transportation planning services including support services for the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) known as the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS).
- GrowSmart Maine: GrowSmart Maine works with engaged Maine communities to develop and share new ideas for more livable communities.
If you would like Bike Law to come speak to your club or at your shop, please contact us.