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Fatal crash sparks outrage, activism

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 11th, 2006 at 8:26 am

[Mike Wilberding, 1948-2006]
Photo: Dayn Wilberding

The crash in Beaverton last week that claimed the life of Mike Wilberding has sparked outrage and spurred action from citizen activists.

The incident has caused some cyclists to question the priorities of bike advocates and city planners. One commenter asked,

"what is the more important fight at this time: more bike infrastructure or vastly improved law enforcement to protect cyclists?"

Many people are fed up with what they consider just the latest example of too lenient punishment doled out by authorities for fatal crashes that involve cyclists. In the case of Wilberding, the motorist at fault was issued a $242 ticket for "failure to yield to a bicyclist."

[What the driver saw.]

The motorist—25 year-old Aaron Hessel—claimed he couldn't see Wilberding because the setting sun was in his eyes.

This excuse riled up Beaverton resident Susan Otcenas. Otcenas, owner of an online cycling apparel business, decided to do some detective work and returned to the scene of the crash to photograph the sun at the same time the incident occured (see photo at right).

Otcenas sent the photo (and two others) to the Mayor of Beaverton and a representative from the Beaverton Police Department. She hopes to demonstrate that the driver's claim of being blinded by the sun was simply not a valid excuse for his actions. In her email to the Mayor she said,

"As you can see, the sun is quite high in the sky, well over the height of the trees."

And she also cited Oregon law (ORS 166.635) which states that someone is considered "criminally negligent" when they:

"fail to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists."

The last sentence of her email read:

"I would urge the DAs office to pursue this case to determine if criminal charges will be filed. Mike Wilberding, his family, and cyclists who use the road everyday deserve no less."

[Brian Scrivner]

Brian Scrivner—a long-time bicycle activist who recently organized a traffic safety education action at NW 9th and Lovejoy—has decided to organize and rally the community around this issue. He has gotten the ball rolling by establishing an email list to organize future actions. According to Scrivner,

"(this new email list is) for those who want to work to make reduce dangerous motorist behavior to make streets safer...We’re going to find out how to have motor vehicle drivers held accountable for criminally negligent driving, and MAKE IT HAPPEN. We’re going to find out how to create a traffic education media campaign that is so intense, every driver will hear five times per week that:

  • cyclists are traffic
  • cyclists have a right to occupy a lane and in fact should for safety at times
  • cyclists have the right of way in a bike lane
  • driving is a privilege, not a right
  • you should never drive where you can’t see
  • when you exceed the speed limit, or fail to yield when the law requires, or drive while distracted and you kill someone, you are a murderer

As of this morning, Brian's new Traffic Safety list already has 18 subscribers.

Whether you think the motorist in this situation is a murderer or just someone who made a tragic mistake, there are several lessons to learn from this tragedy:

  • driving a motor vehicle is a huge reponsibility that must be undertaken with utmost care and understanding of the serious consequences that can come from a moment of carelessness.
  • as cyclists, we must remain vigilant, aware and defensive at all times.
  • as a community, we must continue to increase the awareness of traffic safety issues and pressure our leaders for new legislation that holds careless drivers accountable for their actions.

I am proud that my community is turning this tragedy into a point of positive action, and I think Mike would be proud too.

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Comments
  • Dom August 11, 2006 at 8:37 am

    How can I help?

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  • Jonathan Maus August 11, 2006 at 8:40 am

    Dom,
    --Stay tuned to this site.
    --Talk about sharing the road and traffic safety with your friends and co-workers.
    --Join the new Traffic Safety email list and get involved!
    --Get your free "I Share the Road" stickers at IShareTheRoad.com

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  • Preston August 11, 2006 at 8:56 am

    I sent a letter to the mayor as well. This is obviously something that needs to be addressed on a national and a statewide level. But we need to do what we can do first. So as a citizen of Beaverton I let Mr. Drake know that I personally would like to work to get someone to replace him or other members of the city council, so that everyday pedestrians can have a voice in the city. Obviously the biggest tragedy here is the death of Mike. That goes without saying. Obviously.

    But moving beyond that, it's very unfortunate that Beaverton can't/won't get its act together in this regard. This is a growing, thriving city. It's not an armpit bedroom community as some believe. It's a great city that houses a wonderful library, the Open Source Development Lab, a terrific farmers market and has a mayor so accessible that I once happened to be sitting right beside him at Century Theaters and I struck up a conversation about the traffic problems pertaining to TV Highway.

    This is a great city. And it has a chance, with the light rail and fairly enlightened and active citizenry, to be one of the better places to live in the metro area. So it's a shame that the city isn't doing more to recognize that Beaverton isn't just a city to speed through. It's a great place to live. But no one deserves to die here. That has to change and it has to change now.

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  • John Boyd August 11, 2006 at 8:56 am

    from law.com:
    "Vehicular manslaughter can be charged as a misdemeanor (minor crime with a maximum punishment of a year in county jail or only a fine) or a felony (punishable by a term in state prison) depending on the circumstances."

    Laws surrounding vehicular manslaughter are formed by our car-centric life. Other types of fatal negligence are more rigorously prosectued, but the ubiquity of driving, and the (mis)perception that it's a necessary evil to maintain a better lifestyle, makes that type of negigent killing less bad. Yet another reason to take a bicycle instead.

    hey, remeber the cyclist charged with vehicular manslughter?
    http://bikeportland.org/2005/09/12/cyclist-charged-with-manslaughter/

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  • Steve Hemminger August 11, 2006 at 9:01 am

    Perhaps we need to have a critical mass in Beaverton. To educate the regular drivers to be awake.

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  • Jonathan Maus August 11, 2006 at 9:09 am

    John,

    Thanks for remembering that story about a cyclist charged with manslaughter. I re-read the post and now I remember how pissed I was at that case.

    I feel like I've got a different perspective now. That cyclist broke the law and was clearly responsible for the death of that pedestrian.

    This case is a bit different.

    The motorist, while careless and clearly negligent, did not break any traffic laws so it's going to be toughter to bring down swift and serious punishment.

    Preston,

    I agree with your comments about Beaverton and this incident has really got me motivated to do something I've been thinking about for a long time....to start covering more stories in that area. If you live in Beaverton and would like to possibly help me do some stories and reporting in that area, please get in touch.

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  • Brad August 11, 2006 at 9:26 am

    I am a Hillsboro resident and by no means a "suburbaphobe". On daily commutes to and from my office in Portland, I pass through a large portion of Beaverton. What astounds me and lets me know that I have crossed in to B'Town is the dangerous glass and debris filled bike lanes. I tend to think that Beaverton's leaders are not very bike saavy when I see the condition of the lanes and hear about a lax attitude towards bikes / traffic enforcement.

    Thanks Jonathan for giving more focus to the 'burbs. No disrespect to Portland riders but there are a lot of us on the urban fringes and the relative affordability of housing vs. the city is creating lots of growth and a corresponding amount of problems here.

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  • John Boyd August 11, 2006 at 9:27 am

    Jonathan,
    I thought about the cyclist's failure to stop and how that doomed him, But I saw that the Beverton driver was also charged with "failure to yield" to Mike. it doesn't look like "stop" vs."yield" falures are the only variable here.

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  • West Cougar August 11, 2006 at 9:38 am

    What was so infuriating about the vehicular manslaughter charge on that cyclist was NOT that is was a cyclist (that's how the media tried to spin our outrage), it was the gross double standard. Car drivers do the same thing: fail to yield because they are in a rush, and charges are never brought.

    This is now the latest case in point.

    Little more sad truth, had Mike died at the scene there would have been a full crime scene investigation to ascertain the driver's speed, the cyclists speed, the prevailing traffic conditions etc. Since he didn't die at the scene it was not a fatal accident to they Beaverton Police likely did not bother to investigate as rigorously as the otherwise should have. And yes, this speculation, if true is an outrage as well.

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  • Preston August 11, 2006 at 9:41 am

    I'll gladly help cover Beaverton more. I do think (no disprespect to Portland as I work here and love the city) that cyclists tend to think of Portland as all that matters sometimes. I've ridden in Critical Mass many times. And there are times (especially when Critical Mass jaunts off into NE or SE Portland) where it's seemed kind of ironic to me. By that I mean that for all the problems cyclists have in Portland, the city (especially on the east side in the gentrified pockets) is a relative cycling paradise. Meanwhile in Hillsboro, Beaverton, etc. on a daily basis we're contending with horrible drivers driving aggressively at speeds approaching 60mph on city streets. We're dealing with the afforementioned glass, hubcaps, etc. in the bike lane.

    When I talked to Rob Drake that day, he said a big reason why Beaverton Hillsdale Highway and TV Highway weren't more pedestrian friendly (it's sometimes miles between crosswalks) and bike friendly was because they were actually highways, technically.

    So we in the burbs do need more attention as we have to content with some pretty bad conditions. I'd love to see Critical Mass in Beaverton someday. It would be really powerful to have hundreds of cyclists riding down Beaverton Hillsdale highway, forcing drivers to go the speed limit instead of street racing as if they were in the Fast and the Furious. It's been a dream of mine for some time, although I don't know if we could ever convince enough people to come to Beaverton to make that show of solidarity.

    Maybe that will change. It would be a wonderful start towards making things safer in the neglected burbs.

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  • SKiDmark August 11, 2006 at 9:46 am

    Why would he have to stop for oncoming traffic to take a left turn? If the car driver got a ticket for failing to yeild while turning the the cyclist was under no obligation to stop.

    The most unsafe thing in Beaverton is actually the fact that most bike riders ride either on the sidewalk or against traffic, so the people in cars don't know what we are supposed to be doing, and don't really expect us to be in the roads in the flow of traffic. I think in a Metro area like Portland and WaCo there needs to some serious bike safety education, maybe in the school, and ther also needs to be some sort of bike awareness ads on buses and billboards, and maybe on the local news, so get the message to adults who drive cars, and the ones who ride bikes.

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  • Preston August 11, 2006 at 9:50 am

    Bike education is all well and good, but in many cases (aside from lack of education on the rights and responsibilities of cyclists) a big reason cyclists ride on sidewalks and the wrong way in Beaverton is because of how dangerous it is. You might ride on the sidewalk as well if you lived here. It takes guts to ride correctly in Beaverton. Guts and a knowledge of where you can safely ride (like 5th Avenue). And then even that road isn't safe.

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  • SKiDmark August 11, 2006 at 9:58 am

    I live in Aloha. My main commute is to Beaverton Transit Center via TV Hi-way. I also ride my tallbike at night (with lights) on backroads the Merlo Rd. station. I ride to the Velodrome on my track bike occasionally too. I take my girlfriends kid to that park.

    This situation affects me and my family directly as it could have been any of us.

    Education is really the key to making the roads safer. Education for the people in cars who don't know the laws of the road as they pertain to bikes, and education for those on bikes who don't know the rules of the road.

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  • Preston August 11, 2006 at 10:17 am

    I don't disagree. I was simply saying (in case you didn't ride in Beaverton) that many people ride the sidewalks because of lack of education, but also many ride them because it's dangerous and you apparently know this. I ride down TV highway to BTC myself sometimes as well. Fun ride, that is. Motorists spazzing out because you're ONLY going 22mph and they want to go 45-60. I live off TV Highway in Aloha myself. So my primary commute is over the top of the Zoo via Milikan, Cedar Hills Blvd. and then that path they built to the Zoo. My secondary commute is to go down TV Highway to the MAX station.

    Anyway, sounds like we're neighbors. Point is that education is all well and good. But especially in Beaverton there are places that I'm positive people ride on the sidewalk in large part because their perception is that the road is suicide. Now those of us who understand visibility, predictability, etc. know that actually the sidewalk is much worse. But given the thugs and idiots who drive their tricked out Hondas and giant SUVs at high rates of speed through Beaverton, I'm not sure that education of cyclists is the full picture.

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  • Mary Bowman August 11, 2006 at 10:24 am

    Amazingly, the Boregonian failed to mention (in their short blurb about another absurd fatality) that Mike Wilberding was on a bicycle. After Patricia Suhrbier ran down two bike-lane cyclists in Forest Grove on Memorial Day, no one managed to convince the Sheriff's Office to press charges. How many deaths will it take. I have always felt safe using 5th going through Beaverton, despite those awful railroad tracks near Western. It is chilling that such an obviously bike-friendly street (and no, Mayor Drake, that is not a "highway") is not any safer than the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. Motorists are careless and clueless, and the officials always side with the automobile driver. I refuse to quit riding but it is very scary now. How do I communicate with the Mayor?

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  • Eric August 11, 2006 at 10:29 am

    I’ll agree that the bike lanes are horribly dirty (I’ve dreamed of renting a street sweeper!). I’ll also agree that the westside appears to be ignored in the greater bike infrastructure debate.

    Were I’ll disagree is on Critical Mass and how in my opinion it is not the answer. As a resident and bike commuter in Beaverton I really don’t feel that this group’s extreme cycling liberalism will have a positive effect on the non-cycling residents and the powers that be. Instead, write, call or visit the mayor at one of the monthly picnics.

    http://www.beavertonoregon.gov/mayor/meetmayor/picnicinthepark.aspx

    I’ve also had a close call at the intersection (mostly during the weekends when traffic is backed up around the farmers market and cars turning can’t see you on the other side). I’d rather see improvements made to Allen Blvd since it feeds into a number of different areas already served by bike lanes (Murray, Hall, and Multnomah Blvds).

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  • Randy August 11, 2006 at 10:33 am

    "The motorist, while careless and clearly negligent, did not break any traffic laws so it’s going to be toughter to bring down swift and serious punishment."

    Actually, Jonathan, he did break a traffic law, and received a citation for it. The question is, under the circumstances, whether that citation was sufficient?

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  • Jonathan Maus August 11, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Yes Randy. My mistake. I was trying to say that "failure to yield" is likely perceived as being less egregious of an infraction than blatantly running a stop sign or red light.

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  • Brad August 11, 2006 at 10:50 am

    I have to concur with Eric. While I believe that the vast majority of Critical Mass riders are there for bike safety reasons, the small fringe of bike riding, self-styled "anarchists" looking to start trouble or fight "The Man" and his police department would harm the image of cyclists in conservative Washington County.

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  • Brian E August 11, 2006 at 11:07 am

    Besides,

    Beaverton near City Hall is already a critical mass.

    I'm a life long resident of Beaverton.

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  • SKiDmark August 11, 2006 at 11:36 am

    I think "failing to yield to oncoming traffic" is pretty serious.

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  • Gaz August 11, 2006 at 11:57 am

    The driver recieved roughly the same fine you would recieve for riding a bike on the bricks or in the bus lane downtown. And Justice For All...

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  • organic brian August 11, 2006 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks Jonathan for the article. The mail list has 33 subscribers now, one just joined in the time it took me to make a small edit.

    I hope everyone who is outraged about the double-standard & lack of enforcement will join the email list. Let's keep the momentum going and get some changes implemented.

    Eagerly waiting to hear more ideas... so far, lots of great stuff on the site here.

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  • Don Park August 11, 2006 at 1:16 pm

    with congestion comes collisions as long as 20lb bikes are mingling on the same road as 2000lb cages with 100hp engines, terrible injuries will happen. i think some roads need to be designated as human-powered vehicles only! Start with SE Salmon, an existing bike route, and close it to cars. close it to cars and open 25% on the right or left side to small vendors who want to sell their wares. i dont have a solution though to the se salmon home owners who want to drive into and out of their property.

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  • Susan Otcenas August 11, 2006 at 1:16 pm

    Should anyone care to see the full text of my letter to the District Attorney's office, along with the rest of the photos I took, the BTA has published the full text here:
    http://tinyurl.com/zgw9o

    Feel free to "plagiarize" the letter to write YOUR letter of concern to the mayor, police dept, and DA as well. Remember that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If enough people write, they will take notice.

    Susan

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  • Brad August 11, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    I have written to Mayor Drake and hope to get a reply.

    Since this took place near the library and Farmer's Market, I think a memorial and educational demonstration (Ghostbike?) on an upcoming Saturday might be effective. Lots of nearby residents, SUV driving soccer moms, and regular car driving folks might be surprised to learn that a man was needlessly killed not 50 yards from where their kids are playing and they are browsing produce.

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  • Jonathan Maus August 11, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    Brad,
    Great idea. You'll be glad to know that a former co-worker of Mike's is already working on a Ghost Bike installation at this location. I'll keep you posted if I hear anything else.

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  • Preston August 11, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    Brad, that's a great idea. Much more effective than my Critical Mass dream. :)

    I'd love to be part of an educational demonstration at that spot. Weeing as I bike through there all the time and frequent both the library and the Farmers' Market myself, I can see how that would be an excellent idea if done right.

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  • jami August 11, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    this might come in handy:
    Oregon's Initiative System

    i'd happily collect signatures on any initiative that either banned cell phone use while driving or made drivers responsible for fatal accidents earn their licenses back.

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  • Cynthia Chilton August 11, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Susan - Great job of demanding the accountability that should be obvious but isn't enforced on motor vehicle operators!

    I've begun some bike advocacy of my own since taking the Transportation Planning course at PSU last winter and it's been eye-opening despite the fact that my partner is a transportation planner… We can't just leave this effort to the professionals and your efforts clearly demonstrate what riders everywhere CAN DO to make a difference in promoting bike safety for all. Thanks for your initiative and commitment.

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  • Randy August 11, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    How about a big demonstration in front of Beaverton City Hall?

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  • tonyt August 11, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    Hey Don,

    My solution to provide access to property owners on bike boulevards is to interrupt the streets (for cars) every 3-4 blocks, making it impractical to use the street as a through street. It also means that any driver of a vehicle that enters the street intends to BE on the street, not just use it as a pathway. In other words, they live there or are visiting there, and there is an inhanced sense of accountability.

    As an example, I really enjoy SE Ankeny, and it is able to reduce traffic dramatically with just a couple of car barricades.

    Tony

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  • Steve August 12, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    Post number 24 said: ".... i think some roads need to be designated as human-powered vehicles only! Start with SE Salmon, an existing bike route, and close it to cars. close it to cars and open 25% on the right or left side to small vendors who want to sell their wares. i dont have a solution though to the se salmon home owners who want to drive into and out of their property....."

    This is an excellent idea - streets where cars are prohibited. The only motorized vehicles allowed on those streets would be driven by people who live there: they'd be allowed to drive less than one block on such streets to get to their homes. I suppose deliveries would be allowed also. I do NOT think "vendors" should be allowed to "sell their wares" on such streets. The streets are residential, not business or commercial. Vendors would be a nuisance. I don't want the noise, smells, trash, and congestion on residential streets that commercial activity would bring.

    I would pay a significant premium to buy a house that was on such a "bike-only" street. I'd do it to get away from the noise of cars and the danger to pets and all humans. Property along such streets would go up in value significantly.

    It is sad that in our country many people are so stupid that they drive vehicles that are intentionally very loud, but that's where we are in our cesspool of a country. It is sad that Harley Davidson engineers are so fu--in' stupid that they cannot design an effective muffler, and that local shops are installing exhaust systems on the cars owned by little asshole runts that make their cars intentionally loud. It is even more sad that our elected officials and the cops that we pay taxes to support cannot muster enough mental power to do something about these serious threats to our peace and quiet. Thus, I want to live on a street where the assholes are not allowed and will pay extra to do so. Let's make 'er happen.

    As far as making the streets safer: ain't going to happen. I'm 48 years old and people have been dying in cars by the tens of thousand every year, many by drunks and all kinds of habitually negligent and unsafe drivers. Every day people with multiple DUI convictions kill people in America with their cars- if our justice system cannot confront such a serious problem there is no hope that they will even try to confront the problem of people "accidently" killing cyclists or other motorists or pedestrians.

    What do I do? I wear yellow and I have 3 rear facing lights - two red and a white one - all flashing. That's about all I can do as a cyclist - that and ride as far to the right as I can and hope.

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  • organic brian August 12, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    Steve, those are a lot of good points, though I don't agree with the pessimistic and fatalistic view in the last paragraph. I'd sure like to live on a car-free street myself.

    Yesterday I played my mobile-traffic-calming-device bit: moved over in front of a car that had peeled out around a corner and was in the process of accelerating beyond 40 MPH on a residential street. It was a hot-rodded Japanese small car, piloted by a teenager. I told the driver what the speed limit is and please don't drive so people's kids and pets perish.

    I wanted to point out that motorcycles especially Harley's are often outfitted by the owners with less-muffling mufflers as a safety feature: if motorists can hear you coming, they're less likely to change lanes into you / pull out in front of you. I think all Harley-Davidson motorcycles are outfitted with fairly good mufflers from the factory.

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  • lianagan August 12, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    I believe the Harley's noise is purely a result of the "antiquated" twin-V, two-stroke engine they use that is so dearly loved by its afficionados. I don't know if there has ever been anything devised, muffler or otherwise, that would make them quieter.

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  • SKiDmark August 12, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    Harleys are two cylinder 4-stroke engines, not 2-stroke. The sound of a Harley is unique because the cylinders fire 120 degrees apart. 2-stroke engine have no valves and rely on a mix and gasoline and oil (usually 50:1) for piston lubrication.

    The whole "loud pipes save lives" thing is true. Motorcycle horns usually make a wimpy little beep-beep that some tuff guy in a truck will ignore whereas pulling in the clutch and grabbing a handful of unmuffled throttle will will get and hold their attention.

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  • mechanic Mark August 13, 2006 at 9:42 am

    The problem with the unmuffled exhaust is that the noise is much louder behind the motorcycle, not in front where you'd need it. I live on upper Hawthorne and I'm really tired of all these wanna-be tough guys revving up and down the street when the bars close to show off their disdain for polite society. These are not times when the noise is needed to alert an inattentive driver, rather it makes them feel like big strong men by pissing everyone off. When I hear them, I don't think, "Wow, that guy is really tough and cool," I think, "Wow, that guy is a big dumb loser who can't express himself adequately."

    I know that motorcycle riders face many of the same problems that bicycle riders face in traffic -- problems of not being seen and of greater vulnerability without a big steel cage around them. Motorcycles have an alternator or generator that can power a small compressor driven air horn. Air horns are loud and effective at alerting drivers while not annoying everyone on the street when not needed. The loud pipe thing seems more closely connected with the image of a motorcycle rider as an outlaw rebel than with genuine safety concerns.

    Sorry to continue to derail this thread, it's just something that's been on my mind.

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  • parker August 13, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    As a fellow cyclist, I'm very sorry about the tragic death of Dick Wilberding.

    One or two of the posts on this thread mentioned a cyclist in Corvallis who was initially charged with manslaughter after an accident that killed a pedestrian. That thread is in the BikePortland.org archives from last September. The charge was reduced, then dismissed entirely. I'll re-post here the last update I posted a few days after that accident.

    September 20th, 2005

    “A Benton County grand jury has deemed a Corvallis cyclist not at fault in the bike versus pedestrian crash that killed 71-year-old Jean Calder.

    Christopher A. Lightning, 51, was released from Benton County jail Friday night, soon after the grand jury returned a “not true bill. …”

    http://www.gtconnect.com/articles/2005/09/20/news/community/tueloc02.txt

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  • parker August 13, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    My apologies! I meant Mike Wildberding.

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  • SKiDmark August 13, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    Yes there are the showboaters. But really nothing will wake up a driver like a big old "Vrrrrroooooommmmmm!!!!" It has literally saved my life more than once.

    Sorry for the hijack, someone had to mention motorcycles.........

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  • organic brian August 13, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    Hey people this is about preventing cyclists and pedestrians getting run over and killed, not noise from motorcycles. Can we bring it back around to the original topic?

    The trafficsafety list has 66 subscribers now, lots of great positive ideas being talked about. If your goal is fewer fatalities from automobiles, and you're not a subscriber already:
    http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/trafficsafety

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  • [...] Given this response and the other recent activism around this issue, I feel like the Wilberding tragedy will be forever remembered as a catalyst for positive change in Beaverton. [...]

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  • Clarissa J August 14, 2006 at 9:44 pm

    Beaverton needs major changes. Beaveton police department has no regards when it comes to those of us that have been hit by motorists. It is unfotunate that this tragedy had to happen to open up the eyes of those in local official offices. I know that after my most recent accident I have made a mental note that I will request the dispatch operator to send a Washington County Sheriff to the scene in hopes that the accident be taken more seriously. I hope that more people get on board to bring awareness to the city of Beaverton!!!!

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  • Steve August 14, 2006 at 10:36 pm

    mechanic Mike in post 37 got the Harley muffler thing right. The only reason I brought up the motorcycle noise issue is to point out a very positive benefit that would come from living on a street where no motorized vehicles were allowed. I could also have used the Harley noise issue to point out that they are illegal because they disturb the peace and that it's another example of a crime that the PPD doughnut eaters don't bother to fight. They'd rather go after girls on bikes for no brake which offends noone.

    I rode a motorcycle for many years and had a muffler so it was not a nuisance to the neighbors. Motorcyles are fun. I like them a lot even though I don't have one now. My car gets better mileage than most of the big ones and it's a lot more comfy - especially in December.

    Unfortunately, the idiots riding the loud motorcycles and driving the loud cars and the "tough guy" monster trucks and SUV's are just that: idiots with an inferiority complex so they need their "tough guy" toy so they can believe they are really tough. They're just proving that they are idiots. If they had one ounce of consideration for other people they would change their behavior - but idiots have no consideration for other people.

    Back to bike-only streets: The only problem with the streets for cyclists only is that the county/city bigwigs will be selecting the streets based on where their house is located - not where it will do the most good for cyclists!

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  • organic brian August 15, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    Steve, motorcycle users who have loud mufflers are not "idiots," it's hardly safe or legal to ride around pressing the horn button constantly (takes a hand off the handlegrip) but a louder motorcycle can often be heard by a driver and yes even from in front of the motorcycle opposite the way the pipes are pointing. You've never been in a car and heard a Harley with modified pipes approaching?

    Why would the county / city bigwigs be the ones to choose where non-motorized streets are? This could come from the community: if a person on a street wants their street to be car-free, and they get the neighbors on board, there would probably be no stopping them with a little support from the transportation authorities.

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  • steve August 15, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    Yes, people who drive loud motorcyles are idiots. There has never been and never will be any safety consideration in the noise. The noise is SOLELY for the "tuff guy" effect. The noise is illegal - it's called disturbing the peace - and if as some claim the exhaust is modified after purchase then THAT is illegal - it is illegal to modify an exhaust system to make it louder.

    If you believe you cannot be safe without the noise, sell your bike and drive a car so the rest of society doesn't have to hear you. Your rights stop where my eardrums begin.

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  • Mike August 17, 2006 at 1:24 pm

    Have to agree with Steve - the noise is purely for the "Harley" rebel image. I believe there are dB limits for all vehicles and it's sad the police department won't enforce it. And no, loudness does not get attention - it tends to be too omni-directional. Flashing high-beams, yellow vests/helmets and other safety gear will get noticed though.

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