Professor wants to follow you on your bicycle

A Portland State University professor is looking for help to study the travel patterns of a particularly elusive creature: the urban bicyclist.

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Published January 13, 2007 by the Oregonian
By Jeff Mapes 

A Portland State University professor is looking for help to study the travel patterns of a particularly elusive creature: the urban bicyclist.

Jennifer Dill, an urban studies professor, wants to recruit a wide range of cyclists — and lots of them — to tote global positioning system units on their bikes for a 10-day period. She said researchers hope to learn whether cyclists go out of their way to use bike lanes and bicycle-friendly streets and to see how travel habits are affected by such factors as the weather.

The study, designed to follow some 175 cyclists, is financed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is sponsoring a variety of initiatives to encourage people to be more physically active in their daily living. As such, much of the foundation's research focuses on encouraging bicycling for short trips.

Portland is regarded as a promising place to research bicycling because it has a large number of regular cyclists and an extensive network of bikeways.

Cyclists interested in participating in the study can contact Dill through this e-mail address: bikegps@pdx.edu. She said she's looking for bicyclists throughout the Portland metropolitan area, although they have to live on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.

Dill also noted that while the GPS unit will track what streets cyclists travel on, it can't determine whether they're following traffic laws.