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Bike safety press conference at City Hall tomorrow

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 25th, 2007 at 5:44 pm

This just came in from PDOT's communications office:

    Commissioner Adams Leads Community Conversation about Bike Safety

    Portland Transportation to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a bicycle safety action plan for Portland

    WHAT: Press conference

    WHEN: 12:30-1:00 p.m. on Friday, October 26, 2007

    WHERE: City Hall, (1221 SW 4th Avenue) outside the Rose Room

    WHO: City Commissioner Sam Adams' Committee on Policy, Engineering, and Enforcement for Bicycle Safety - representatives from the bicycle and freight communities, safety advocates, traffic engineers, Police, Multnomah County, and other stakeholders

    WHY: In response to the recent bicycle fatalities in Portland, Commissioner Adams is leading a conversation with the Portland Office of Transportation and community stakeholders about how to improve bicycle safety in Portland. Both short-term and longer-term improvement measures will be shared at the press conference.

I expect a huge media turnout, so let's make sure it's crowded. I'll see you there.

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  • BURR October 25, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    \"Committee on Policy, Engineering, and Enforcement for Bicycle Safety\"

    I notice that they\'ve dropped the \'third E\' - Education.

    not a good sign, IMO.

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  • GreggB October 25, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Burr, I agree. Aside from the need for cyclist, in general, to improve their on-road visibility. Educating motorist AND cyclists regarding the rules of the road, should rank at or near #1.

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  • Klixi October 25, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    This is a private, invite-only meeting, right?

    I have work anyway, but I will be reloading this site all afternoon in anticipation of an in-depth report by Jonathan. Let\'s hope this meeting generates some real results!

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  • Greg Raisman October 25, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    I assure you education is a major focus of the conversation. There has been a lot of prep for tomorrow and I think it\'s going to be a quite productive conversation.

    Thanks.
    Greg Raisman
    Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
    Portland Office of Transportation

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  • Allan Folz October 25, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    I won\'t be able to make it, but if someone could, the question I\'d want asked is:

    Given the entire city is now focused on bikes and bike lanes, and given the garabage truck driver is the apparent poster boy of irresponsible drivers, what message does the City of Portland think it is sending to roadway users when Officer Kruger is quoted in the newspapers (mis)interpretting laws in which he has no authority and so far not even a failure to yield citation has been issued by the DA?

    I argue an oppurtunity to clarify, educate, and set precedence is being squandered. Shamefully so. Bicycle lanes are traffic lanes. No motorist would fathom turning right from the center lane on multi-lane streets such as Burnside, Broadway, or MLK, without first yielding to other motorists in those lanes, and yet to do the same through a bicycle lane is rationalized and justified by no less a civil authority figure than Lt. Kruger. What a horrible waste. Now that the entire city\'s attention is focused on the issue of bicycle lanes, all of Portland\'s civic leaders should be denouncing this type of driving and making absolutely clear that bike lanes are traffic lanes, and motorists must yield to cyclists in them just as if it were a lane of motorized traffic they were wishing to cross.

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  • Doug October 25, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Well said, Allan. Even if ultimate result of the full investigations is that one or both of the drivers in these incidents deserves a failure to yield ticket, by that point it will have largely fallen out of the news and a huge opportunity for education will be missed. Looking at the comments list of the Tribune or the Oregonian, many individuals have clearly already made the inference that, because no tickets were issued at the scene, the drivers did absolutely nothing wrong. The result is that these two horrible, unnecessary, tragic events will lead to absolutely no change in the attitudes of most people on the road.

    Someone, namely Sam Adams or Tom Potter, needs to stand up right now, when the media glare is at its brightest, and say in no uncertain terms that failing to yield the right of way to bicycles in designated lanes is illegal, and will no longer be tolerated. Police enforcement stings should begin immediately, and members of the media should be invited to gain maximum exposure.

    I\'ll be at that press conference tomorrow (assuming Jonathan confirms that it is open to more than just members of the press), and I\'ll be waiting to hear something bold and productive said. No more platitudes. Not now, Sam.

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  • cx'er October 25, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    OT:

    thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
    FINALLY, a crosswalk across SE Woodward @ SE 52nd Ave!!

    Franklin High kids + Tri Met + Motor Vehicles + School Buses + Bicycle Commuters + Pedestrians+ skateboarders + Neighborhood Residents walking their dogs + etc. etc. etc. = a much safer intersection of heavily traveled streets.

    Thank you!

    P.S. I encourage all Portland residents to attend their neighborhood meetings!

    Neighborhood Associations are the basic building block of democracy in
    the City of Portland. Participants actively work to increase the
    vibrancy, livability, sustainability and democracy of their neighborhood.

    Neighborhood Associations belong to everyone! Participate in your
    southeast neighborhood association by attending their next meeting.
    To find out when and where they meet

    visit the Southeast Uplift web page at http://www.southeastuplift.org
    or call us at 503-232-0010.

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  • Wendy October 25, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    \"Given the entire city is now focused on bikes and bike lanes, and given the garabage truck driver is the apparent poster boy of irresponsible drivers, what message does the City of Portland think it is sending to roadway users when Officer Kruger is quoted in the newspapers (mis)interpretting laws in which he has no authority and so far not even a failure to yield citation has been issued by the DA?

    I argue an oppurtunity to clarify, educate, and set precedence is being squandered. Shamefully so. Bicycle lanes are traffic lanes. No motorist would fathom turning right from the center lane on multi-lane streets such as Burnside, Broadway, or MLK, without first yielding to other motorists in those lanes, and yet to do the same through a bicycle lane is rationalized and justified by no less a civil authority figure than Lt. Kruger. What a horrible waste. Now that the entire city\'s attention is focused on the issue of bicycle lanes, all of Portland\'s civic leaders should be denouncing this type of driving and making absolutely clear that bike lanes are traffic lanes, and motorists must yield to cyclists in them just as if it were a lane of motorized traffic they were wishing to cross.\"

    I agree. Mr. Maus, is there any way you can pose this question on behalf of those of us who cannot attend?

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  • jerry h October 25, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    What Allan and Doug said!

    Supposedly in writing your supposed to say what your gonna say, say it, then tell them what you said.

    Might it help if multiple attendees present nearly exactly the same thing as Allan and Doug have voiced?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 25, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    I completely agree Allan. This really comes down to respect.

    Bicycles are vehicles by law, but are bike lanes given the same respect in enforcement, budget allocation, and engineering as motor vehicle lanes? I don\'t think so.

    I have a feeling some people see bike lanes as an amenity for cyclists, rather than a part of the transportation mix on the same level as motor vehicle lanes.

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  • erin g. October 25, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    The bigger the crowd of supporters tomorrow the better. Let\'s demonstrate the strength of our feelings and demands in the form of numbers and voices at City Hall.

    Thank you for your relentless work, Jonathan. I\'ll be there tomorrow. I hope that many others can attend, too.

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  • Moo October 26, 2007 at 7:19 am

    It was great to see burning candles and flashing lights at the ghost bike on Interstate and Greeley this a.m. Hope others are keeping the lights and flames going on W. Burnside. Let\'s not let these tragedies disappear and be all but forgotten by the public.

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  • Lenny Anderson October 26, 2007 at 8:24 am

    As I rode to work this morning, my watch words were \"better safe than legal.\" Only aggressive enforcement, education and engineering focused on the lethal side of the transportation mix...motorized vehicles... will start to make it \"safe and legal\" possible.

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  • [...] Biking is like (or as) a metaphor for life (those of you who know me well are aware that lots of things are metaphors for life): there’s always a certain amount of danger involved in doing the right thing, but the reward is a more meaningful existence. I have never felt as alive on the most epic road trip as I feel on my daily commute by bike. That’s well worth the risk, and worth fighting for today at City Hall. [...]

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  • Doug October 26, 2007 at 8:46 am

    Engineering, while certainly a big part of the equation, costs money and takes time. It\'s vitally important, but that can\'t be the focus of the short-term response.

    Enforcement, if properly publicized, will result in education. Two birds, one stone, and it can begin this afternoon.

    About a year and a half ago, Tom Potter acted as a decoy in downtown crosswalk enforcement stings, and invited media to come and watch. I can\'t find the Oregonian coverage (I remember seeing it, so I know they covered it), but here\'s a link to the Mayor\'s personal blog regarding the subject: http://www.portlandonline.com/mayor/index.cfm?a=127239&c=ebjig

    Seems to me that bike lane stings could be a pretty good opportunity for a certain mayoral candidate (you know, the one who claims bikcycle safety as a top priority) to get himself in the news and to help educate the public at the same time. I\'m sure readers of this site could make plenty of suggestions on where to focus these enforcement actions for maximum effect.

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  • Doug October 26, 2007 at 8:48 am

    \'bikcycle\' = embarrassing!

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  • Anonymous October 26, 2007 at 9:07 am

    If you really want to make the pedestrians, drivers, and police pay attention to your concerns, you need to start by reminding all cyclist that there are laws that cyclists need to obey. As a pedestrian that is constantly being hit by cyclists failing to yield or obey traffic signals I have no sympathy for your cause.

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  • Sadder Wiser October 26, 2007 at 9:11 am

    Will somebody pleaes mention that too many cyclists dress invisibly--neon will save your ass a thousand times over. Drivers are blind and stupid; we need to wear \"in their face\" colors to stand out amidst the clutter.

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  • SG October 26, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Great thoughts Doug...But on specifically on Interstate Ave, I think you would find more cyclist getting tickets than vehicles. Last night near the end of a training ride I watched a lady with no helmet, listening to her ipod, blow right through two red lights…then again on my way to work this morning in route to Swan Island via Interstate Ave…two more lights being blown by bicycle commuters. All of these infractions occurred less than a mile away from the man slaughter event of earlier this week. While I was able to catch up to the lady and remind her how much of a stupid fool she was being and how she is making it really difficult for those of us who ride our bikes frequently, there were two others that will continue to be morons.

    Better to be safe than legal…you bet, you’re on your bike, not in a tank.

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  • Jasun Wurster October 26, 2007 at 9:38 am

    The more people the cycling community has at this press conference asking questions, the more we can set the agenda by having our politicians publicly comment on hard questions that the most of the mainstream media will not ask.

    Let this press conference be one in which a lot of cyclists ask hard questions of their elected officials and the press reports it. We are the one who should be asking the questions... not reporters (except for Jonathan)!

    We still have 3 hours to get the word out and mobilize.

    So take the time off of work, call and email all of your friends to be at city hall during lunch.

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  • Paul Tay October 26, 2007 at 9:42 am

    WOW. A Bike Safety news conference. Tulsa, Oklahoma has a LONG way to go, fo\' shure. But, we are certainly taking NOTES!

    Observations: Bike lanes coddle bicyclists into a false sense of security. We already knew that, actually.

    If bikes ARE traffic, by law, traffic will move as fast as the SLOWEST vehicle. So, why not lower the speed limit on ALL city streets close to bike speeds, 25 mph.

    When a city goes all out to put as many people on bikes as Portland has, without the attendent focus on changing the motoring mindset, the cycling inferiority complex, bicyclists\' lives will be sacrificed, with all due respect to the families of the deceased.

    There\'s probably more motor vehicle deaths in Portland. But, they are so common, they are mostly resolved with the out-of-court settlements, not in the court of public opinion.

    The next time a reckless, out-of-control, law-breaking bicyclist runs over a SUV and kills the motorist, ANYWHERE in the world, I\'ll tell Santa to quit bicycling on the Broken Arrow Expressway in Tulsa, Oklahoma!

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  • BURR October 26, 2007 at 11:15 am

    Public safety means you go after the highest risk behaviors. Cyclists don\'t kill 42,000 people a year in the US, motorists do. Why is the level of cognitive dissonance so high on this issue? Why aren\'t more law enforcement officers, and particularly traffic division officers, required to have mandatory training on bicycles and perform routine patrols on bicycles to get a cyclists perspective on traffic?

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  • Doug October 26, 2007 at 11:45 am

    SG, you point out a couple indisputable facts: that some cyclists violate traffic laws, and that laws alone will never provide complete safety. But regarding the need for enforcement of bike lane right-of-way, there is no but. In both of these recent cases, deaths resulted from drivers failing to yield to cyclists proceeding legally in a bicycle lane. Enforcement needs to be focused on reducing behavior that has already been shown to cause death.

    If, during the course of bike lane enforcements, the police also catch cyclists running red lights, then great. We\'d have enforcement of both cyclists and drivers, plus education of both cyclists and drivers. Four birds, one stone. Even better.

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  • Bjorn October 26, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    #16, constantly? really? The way you phrased it it sounds as if you are involved in a collision on a monthly basis, maybe even more often than that. I don\'t like to blame the victim but I\'ve been walking for a lot of years and I\'ve never been hit by a bike. Anyone who is involved in traffic collisions that frequently should probably take a look at their own actions too. I know if I was getting \"hit\" by a car once a month while biking I\'d probably have to stop thinking it was all the fault of motorists...

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  • rixtir October 26, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Lenny, post 12, your zero sum analysis of \"safe vs. legal\" is absolutely wrong, and if you ever have the misfortune to be involved in a collision, you\'re going to find out the hard way why riding legally is smarter than manufacturing a false dichotomy.

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