Bend has many popular multi-use paths around town. Some of these were built as trails by Bend Park & Recreation but the city of Bend is starting to build many more paths as well.
Multi-use paths are usually asphalt and can be used by walkers, bikers, strollers, dogs, skateboards – pretty much anything that isn’t a motorized vehicle. Sometimes they parallel roads and take the place of a sidewalk. Other times they go places that cars aren’t allowed – like the Deschutes River Trail.
Paths are not one-way; bikes and other users can go in both directions regardless of what side of the street the path is on. Very rarely there will be a painted line in the middle of the path and bikes should stay to the right of that line.
Technically, if a sidewalk in Bend is more than 6 feet wide, it is considered a multi-use path. In practice though, because bikes ride on both types of infrastructure in the same way, it doesn’t make too much of a difference (and nobody is riding around town measuring sidewalk widths!)
Things to love
- Paths feel very safe because they are separated from cars by curbs and/or landscaping.
- They usually don’t fill up with gravel in the winter because the vehicle lanes are far away.
- Some paths are plowed in the winter.
- Wide and safe enough for trailers.
- The asphalt surface is smooth.
- If a path is too popular, it can be hard for bikes to pass people walking.
- Some paths are circuitous and add extra length to biking trips.
- Increased conflicts because users travel in both directions.