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Roger Geller explains PDOT's position, plans for bike safety improvements

Posted by rogergeller on November 1st, 2007 at 12:31 pm

Roger Geller
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

[We've heard from the local media, we've heard from the Police Bureau, we've heard from the BTA, and we've heard from the community (through hundreds of comments on various websites and blogs). Now, in this guest article, PDOT bike coordinator Roger Geller shares an in-depth analysis of how the City of Portland Office of Transportation plans to improve bike safety through re-engineering and enhancing dangerous intersections.

Please note, all hyperlinks, callout quotes and some paragraph formatting are the work of the editor (me), not Mr. Geller.]


"PDOT has strongly endorsed the design that enhances separation... similar designs are employed in the world-class cycling cities... whose ridership levels, policies and practices we hope to emulate."

In the light of two recent "right-hook" crashes resulting in fatalities, Commissioner Sam Adams and PDOT have recommended a pilot treatment at 14 targeted intersections to create safer conditions for bicycling. People following this issue -- motorists and cyclists alike -- legitimately have questions about the effectiveness of the proposed design and how we selected the 14 intersections.

Following these crashes, there arose two leading and opposing options for treating intersections. One of these options eliminates the separation of cyclists and motorists as they approach intersections; the other maintains and enhances the separation. PDOT has strongly endorsed the design that enhances separation. Our approach is based on two guiding principles:

    1. To increase bicycle ridership in Portland we need to create comfortable conditions for people to ride. The more people who ride, the better will be conditions for cycling,
    2. Bicycling is safer when awareness and visibility of road users is enhanced and movements are well defined and universally understood.

We are further encouraged in our decision by the fact that similar designs are employed in the world-class cycling cities throughout Europe whose ridership levels, policies and practices we hope to emulate.

Figure 1: Colored Bike Lane/Bike Box
Treatment
All graphics by PDOT
(Click to enlarge)

The design we propose consists of three main elements: a bicycle lane that is colored as it approaches the intersection, a bicycle box at the intersection, and a colored bicycle lane leading away through the intersection (see Figures 1 and 2).

Other elements will include signing that alerts motorists to the presence of the bicycle lane and expected motor vehicle and bicycle movements through the intersection, a prohibition against turning right on a red signal, and, where feasible or considered necessary, flashing warning signing triggered by the presence of a cyclist approaching the intersection.

The primary intent of this design is to increase the visibility of cyclists at the intersections.

Figure 2: Advanced Stop Line
without Bike Box
(Click to enlarge)

We wish to heighten motorist's awareness to the presence, or potential presence of cyclists. We want to remind motorists to look for cyclists who may be crossing their paths as they proceed through the intersection. The blue lanes approaching and leading away from the intersections are intended to be the primary trigger for this awareness. By coloring blue the approach, and especially the trailing lanes through the intersection, we will send motorists a clear message to expect cyclists moving through the intersection.

This practice of using color to define a cyclist's path through an intersection is a common design feature in the bicycle-friendly cities of Denmark, The Netherlands, and Germany. It is also common in those countries to keep cyclists to the right of the roadway -- in their own designated space-and to the right of right-turning motorists. Why? Because, those countries have determined, through the repeated feedback from their citizens and following decades of experimenting and refining their designs, policies, and approaches to managing traffic, that people riding bicycles want to stay separated from motor vehicles.

    [Editor note: Learn more about PDOT's blue bike lanes, and view a study of their effectiveness here.]

It is this separation that creates comfortable conditions for bicycling. It is this feeling of comfort that serves to encourage more people to bicycle. Creating more cyclists, and having fewer people driving cars, makes bicycling safer.

bike safety meeting and press conference-4.jpg
Geller addressed Commissioner Adams' Bike Safety
stakeholders meeting last week.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

Of course, separation without safety doesn't serve anybody well. In this case, safer conditions will be achieved, in part, by clearly and unavoidably making known the presence of cyclists at the approach to and through the intersection. We believe the colored bicycle lanes in Portland, as in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Muenster, and in bicycle-friendly cities throughout Europe, will encourage motorists to stay out of the bicycle lane when approaching an intersection, and look for cyclists before executing their turn through an intersection.

The bicycle box is a separate but related part of the design and is intended to do two things:

    1. It will allow cyclists to go to the head of the line when the light is red so that they are more visible to queuing motorists and allowed to proceed through the intersection ahead of them,
    2. It will allow the entire queue of cyclists to come up to the head of the line, so that when the signal turns green there are none or few cyclists moving through the bicycle lane to the right of motorists.

Additional signing and flashing lights would reinforce to motorists the idea to expect cyclists. We feel comfortable testing these designs in Portland because of their successful use in Europe.

However, there is another approach that encourages mixing motor vehicle and bicycle traffic when approaching and going through the intersection. This second approach encourages cyclists and motorists to share either the travel lane by dropping the bicycle lane before the intersection, or to share the bicycle lane, by allowing motor vehicles into the bicycle lane in advance of their making a right turn (Figures 3 and 4).

Figure 3: Bike Lanes Drop
(Click to enlarge)

This is an approach based on a "vehicular cycling" model, which suggests that bicycles, as vehicles operating on the roadway, should behave the same as the primary vehicles for which the roadways were designed: automobiles. The benefit of this approach is that it takes cyclists who are going straight through an intersection away from the path of a right-turning motorist. It conforms to standard automobile operating rules, in which a vehicle going straight is always to the left of a vehicle turning right.

We believe there are a few problems with this approach.

The main problem is that vehicular cycling is generally best used by those cyclists who are already the most fit and confident. While knowledge of vehicular cycling and the skills it encourages are beneficial to all cyclists, requiring such behavior at each intersection would not feel comfortable to the vast majority of Portlanders -- the very people we are working to attract to bicycling.

Figure 4: Bike Lanes Skipped
to Intersection
(Click to enlarge)

Keep in mind that Dutch cyclists (and motorists) are perhaps the best trained in the world. They are taught throughout elementary school how to ride a bicycle. They generally begin riding a bicycle very young and continue to ride well into old age. Despite this intensity of training, the Dutch have firmly decided that maintaining separation between cyclists and motorists is what creates the most comfortable conditions for bicycling.

The other main problem with this approach is that cyclists and motorists will still cross paths at some point. Either motorists will merge into the bicycle lane (under the California law approach) or cyclists will have to weave across the path of cars (under the dropped bicycle lane approach). In either case, there will still be multiple conflict points. Instead of having one conflict point at the intersection, it is now moved some indeterminate and varied distance back from the intersection. Cyclists can still be in a motorist's blind spot when the motorist merges to the right.

We believe that inviting motorists into bicycle lanes creates three conditions that will be uncomfortable to most cyclists.

First is the merge itself. It is not clear where this merge will occur and it still allows cyclists to be in a motorist's blind spot when the motorist moves to the right.

Second is the blocking of the bicycle lane. One of the advantages of having a bicycle lane-the uninterrupted flow for the bicycle-would be eliminated at almost every intersection where there is a line of motorists waiting to turn right.

"We believe that inviting motorists into bicycle lanes creates... conditions that will be uncomfortable to most cyclists."

Third is the weaving behavior this will encourage of cyclists, who will understandably not be content to stop in a bicycle lane, near the intersection, when the signal is green, and who will instead move left into the travel lane around the right-turning automobiles.

There are places in Portland where we have dropped bicycle lanes before an intersection. We hear many complaints from cyclists where that occurs. We don't do it to create safe conditions for cyclists. Instead, we drop bicycle lanes in order to better serve motorists at the intersection. Typically dropping the bicycle lane in order to add an additional turn lane.

If Portland is to be successful in attracting the general public to bicycling as a main means of transportation, then we need to create conditions where cyclists both feel comfortable and are safe when operating their bicycles. Dropping bicycle lanes shy of an intersection and encouraging or requiring cyclists to merge left into the travel lane, is not the ticket.

We developed the list of 14 targeted intersections from three primary sources:

We have chosen a design approach that we believe will create comfortable conditions for cyclists, improve safety by clarifying what we expect of motorists and cyclists, and continue to encourage increased bicycle use among more of the general public.

We recognize that intersection design alone does not create safe conditions. Appropriate user behavior is crucial to an individual's safety. Being aware, looking out for others, yielding to others, and operating at slower speeds all help promote safety for all. This is true no less for cyclists than it is for motorists.

Roger Geller
Bicycle Coordinator, City of Portland Office of Transportation
(503) 823-7671


Mr. Geller looks forward to reading and responding to your comments...

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Comments
  • BURR November 1, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    1. where\'s the motorist education component?

    2. stop building curb extensions that reduce bicyclist mobility and choice of roadway positioning at high hazard intersections.

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  • bArbaroo November 1, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Roger,
    Thanks for taking the time to provide such a thorough explanation.I\'m supportive of the bike boxes as a pilot project but only if we take the opportunity to collect information about thier affect on safety. I haven\'t seen any information about how you\'ll determine the success or failure of this pilot project. Pilot projects usually have a goal of collecting data and a time period for that data collection. What is planned for this project?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 1, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    \"where\'s the motorist education component?\"

    BURR,

    This article is not meant to represent PDOT\'s comprehensive policy on bike safety. This is merely a look into one aspect (engineering at dangerous intersections) of what they\'re doing.

    bArbaroo,

    From what I know, PDOT did an analysis and follow-up study on their blue bike lane pilot project (it\'s linked in the article above) and I\'m also aware that they have been doing extensive evaluation of their pilot project on sharrows.

    With the sharrows project, they\'ve had video cameras on the streets watching what happens... and now they\'ve got someone going through and analyzing all that video.

    I would expect they would have a similar process in place for evaluating the effectiveness of bike boxes, etc... but I\'m sure Roger can tell you more...

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  • BURR November 1, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    so when are we going to get a comprehensive plan that includes an education component? all we\'ve seen so far is engineering and more engineering - a substantial portion of which up until now has been, in my opinion, substandard - and a misguided police enforcement policy.

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  • Roger Geller November 1, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    We\'re looking at various ways to evaluate how these intersections work. I\'ll be meeting next week with representatives from PSU\'s IBPI (Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation; http://www.ibpi.usp.pdx.edu/) to see how we might cooperate in evaluating these locations.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 1, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    \"so when are we going to get a comprehensive plan that includes an education component?

    It\'s called the Platinum Bicycle Master Plan. From what I\'ve heard, there\'s an entire chapter on education and one on enforcement as well.

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  • Stripes November 1, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    I think one postive thing about the bike box design that hasn\'t yet been discussed on any forums is this...

    It\'s big. It\'s brightly colored. It has an enourmous whopping great picture of a bicycle in the middle of it.

    Thus, it should give motorists who have the green light wanting to make right-turns quite a substantial warning that they are at an intersection where they should be expecting high levels of bicycle movement.

    I don\'t know about you, but if I was at an intersection in a car, and there was an enormous blue section of paint with a bicycle symbol in front of me on the road, I\'d be looking.

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  • BURR November 1, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    and when will that plan be finalized, how will it address education and enforcement for motorists (it\'s a bicycle plan after all), and what\'s to prevent it from sitting on a shelf gathering dust like most of the last bicycle master plan?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 1, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    \"and when will that plan be finalized,\"

    I think by summer 2008.

    \"how will it address education and enforcement for motorists (it\'s a bicycle plan after all)

    good question. I expect some of the educational information in the plan will be created by the Transportation Options division within PDOT. Their messages and programs reach all of Portland, not just cyclists.

    \"and what\'s to prevent it from sitting on a shelf gathering dust like most of the last bicycle master plan?

    funding, staffing, community activism, political and bureaucratic will, public pressure to enact more bike-friendly policies, public education that it exists and that it is an official city document...

    I know one thing, there will be a lot more awareness of the Bike Master Plan (what it is and what it means) this time around than when it was last completed in \'95. .. that fact alone makes me optimistic that it will not become irrelevant.

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  • Elly November 1, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    Roger, thanks for this really interesting explanation. It clarifies a lot of issues for me -- my gut feeling has always been against the California-style right turn merge, but I haven\'t been able to back it up with a very good argument -- and you\'ve presented an ironclad one. Thanks.

    One question: is there any statutory requirement for people to observe bike boxes and advanced stop lines while driving? Or in other words, is the bike box enforceable? I see people pull their cars all the way into the one on Clinton all the time, and always wonder about that.

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  • Roger Geller November 1, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    Yes, the bicycle box will be enforceable as it will include accompanying regulatory signing stating: \"Stop Here on Red\" and \"No Turn on Red\".

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  • peejay November 1, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Burr, you make a very good point. Without education, the best design in the world won\'t work the way it\'s meant to. Our infrastructure right now should be safe, if people understood their rights and responsilities on the road. But many don\'t. The recent tragedies were caused partly by engineering problems, but mostly by motorists unwilling to cede a legally mandated right of way to cyclists.

    So, I applaud Roger for getting the work going on redesign - even if i fundamentally disagree with him about vehicular cycling - but I caution him that the bigger job lies ahead.

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  • Roger Geller November 1, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    \"gathering dust...\"

    Seems like we\'ve implemented a lot of the bicycle master plan adopted in 1996.

    We\'ve got a bikeway network of about 300 miles, we changed the city code in order to create requirements for short- and long-term bicycle parking, we\'ve developed on-street bicycle corrals and bike oases, bicycles are now allowed on all transit (almost) all the time without a special pass, we\'ve created an extensive encouragement program (Smart Trips) that each year provides an individualized marketing outreach to a 20,000 household swath of Portland, we have perhaps the most comprehensive Safe Routes 2 School program in the country, we have a bikeway maintenance program that is the envy of most large municipalities, we have a substantial number of bicycle events year-round, many of which are supported by the City, and we\'ve continued to innovate with bikeway facility design.

    Perhaps most importlantly, we have strong policies, including the lines on our bikeway map, that ensure that bicycle transportation is considered and provided for on classified city bikeways.

    Has the plan been implemented perfectly in every case? Of course not. Show me one that has been. Are we done? Never. But, we continue to make progress in every area identified for action in the original master paln. The Bicycle Master Plan has been a necessary and important element that has led to bicycle trips across the four bicycle-friendly Willamette River Bridge (which was only 3 bridges back in 1998, and will soon be 5 bridges in 2009 once the Morrison Bridge bike ped project is completed) growing from 4,530 in 1996 when the plan was adopted to 14,560 this past summer.

    I don\'t know how the plan can be described as \"gathering dust,\" other than through the tired old jab that that\'s what plans do.

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  • Zach November 1, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Quite an eye opener - for some reason, I thought that Mark Krueger was Portland\'s biggest expert on bicycle traffic planning and intersection design. I guess not. You learn something new every day.

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  • John F. November 1, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Roger, thank you for you well considered explanation. Another problem, as I see it, with allowing auto traffic into the bike lane at a point decided by the driver is such a move essentially gives them the right of way when they decide they want it. Such action increases a bicyclist\'s danger, not decreases it. Applying the approach utilized in California follows the logic of that state, the car is dominant, all others survive as best they can.

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  • Marila November 1, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Roger, thanks for laying out the options in a clear and understandable manner. The images help me understand the blue box idea a little better. It\'s difficult to say if it would be the best solution, but I definitely am against the California law requiring vehicles to enter the bike lane before a right turn. In the last week and a half, I\'ve been using the shared lane approach more often, merging into the vehicle lane at busy intersections with frequent right turns, but this can be extremely difficult and I think even dangerous if traffic is travelling at a higher rate of speed (as they do down the Interstate Ave. hill)--and when cars are following each other very closely as many often do. I also don\'t think this is a very good option for new and inexperienced cyclists. It\'s a very difficult issue to find a solution to. Of course, education for all users is paramount, but certainly more signage and bright colors to alert hurried drivers to use caution is a good thing.

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  • Brian E November 1, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Roger Geller mentions the \"No turn on red\" with bike boxes. Previously, I had missed all mention of this in regards to bike boxes. I think this is an important component.

    I would feel rather uncomfortable if the right turn was allowed. Especially if I rolled-up to the front of traffic and blocked drivers from making a right turn. I imagine this would anger many drivers.

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  • Peter November 1, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Since when does the blue lane keep cars out of the bike lane? The one on hall street in Beaverton doesn\'t have that effect. Motorists ignore it like they ignore just the regular white stripe. It seems to actually decrease safety since when its wet out, the stripe is extra slippery. I always enter the traffic lane to avoid the blue death strip.

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  • Patty November 1, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Roger,

    I am glad to see PDOT propose the bike boxes as a strategy for increasing bike safety.

    However, I have a couple of concerns:

    1)We have a tremendous lack of awareness of the need to yield to cyclists in bike lanes community-wide. Close calls and accidents that don\'t result in fatalities happen frequently. These boxes may solve some of these problems, but I really think driver and cyclist awareness training or an ad campaign(right-of-way laws for drivers and safe riding training for cyclists) seems essential. Funding for street improvements does not address this community need.

    2) These facilities cost money to implement. The money may be well-spent, but how long will it take to implement enough of them to address the safety issues in a meaningful way? How far does this initial proposal go towards addressing the problem?

    3) There are locations where right turn hooks are not the issue, but that would lend themselves to similar or revised strategies to promote safety. Two downtown are the bike lane on the Hawthorne Bridge westbound off-ramp where cyclists go straight and cars and buses need to cross the bike lane to reach the turn lane. This is a frightening place right now, whether or not accidents occur.

    The other is the approach to the Hawthorne Bridge on Madison east-bound. Between 2nd and 1st Aves. the bike and car lanes must shift to the north to allow the bus/right-turn lane in the next block. Drivers do not notice that they must shift left, and buses cross the bike lane without yielding consistently. A bike box is not the answer here, but an answer is needed.

    Thanks for your efforts, and I look forward to hearing more.

    Patty

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  • Good happens... November 1, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Activism involves an interesting frame of mind. For someone to consider themselves an activist, it often means they have a black and white view of one or more topics.

    I live with an activist and have for nearly 20 years. It used to bother me, because I am much more willing to trust topics of importance to time and the inevitable need for consensus building. But eventually, after imagining what would happen in various (certainly not all) situations if my friends views were implemented, and seeing that The Right Thing really should be done immediately, it stopped bothering me.

    This a long way of saying that despite mine and many other\'s willingness to be patient through the long march towards consensus and implementation, if it weren\'t for the activists demanding immediate action, for what is in many cases obviously The Right Thing, nothing much would really ever get done.

    So Roger, your methods are sound, and you and others have built good plans with implementation schedules that fit the timing that is comfortable for the bureaucracy (not meant pejoratively), and I know you are passionate, and truly care about making things better. Left to my own devices, this is all I could or would personally ask of you.

    But, thankfully, the \"activists\" continue to remind us that two young people are dead. They were guilty only of riding their bikes on a part of our infrastructure that is already supposed to be known as a mechanism to keep them safe, as vulnerable users of that infrastructure.

    Yet... No citations... and officials of the Police Department at best claiming that things like this happen, and at worst out-right blaming the victims and spreading misleading and dangerous information...

    Where are the public service commercials reminding motorists AND cyclists to care for each other? Where is the demand for the resignation of Kruger, and his replacement with someone who has ridden a bike and knows well how vulnerable you are, regardless of how defensively you ride?

    If some immediate, tangible actions were taken today, more people would trust that the longer term plans were not only well-intended, but actually likely to be implemented.

    I am angry. I think people should be held responsible for their actions, even if they were mistakes. That\'s all I want. I don\'t think the two drivers were necessarily bad people, but they made mistakes that cost 2 people their lives. And no, living with what they\'ve done is NOT retribution enough. [Completely Reasonable] Laws meant to protect people were broken. They must be held responsible. And we must have a Police force that protects one and all, not just the majority.

    Thank you, sincerely, for your hard work Roger. My hope that justice will be done for Tracey and Brett is all but gone, but my hope for the future of cycling in Portland is alive because of people like you -- AND the \"activists\".

    Ron

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  • Kris November 1, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Jonathan,

    Great to hear that the Bicycle Master Plan has an entire chapter on education and one on enforcement. However, it sounds like it might not do much to address these two key areas in the short term.

    Many of us are alarmed about the recurring pattern in the most recent string of bike fatalities (both in Portland and WA County): motorists - seemingly on a frequent basis - are failing to watch for and yield to cyclists (I think the title of The Mercury\'s article is right on). Even some members of the PPB don\'t seem to fully recognize the right of way of cyclists in designated bike lanes.

    My understanding from last week\'s press conference is that the bike boxes - which I personally am all for - will be put in place well before the Bicycle Master Plan gets rolled out. If the prevailing sentiment is that many motorists aren\'t aware of (or don\'t respect) cyclists\' right-of-way in bike lanes (which have been around for a long time), I share the concerns of many here that the bike boxes could provide cyclists a false sense of protection (at least in the short run). That is unless the installation of the bike boxes goes hand-in-hand with a highly visible motorist education and enforcement campaign.

    I don\'t expect neither Roger or you to address this concern, but I feel it would make all of us a little more at ease (and less impatient) if we would hear more specifics on what will happen in the short term in the area of education and enforcement.

    Of course, we don\'t have to wait for the PPB or the City to take action. At a grassroots level, we should all do our part to educate our friends, neighbors, co-workers about cyclists\' safety, sharing the road, etc. and of course be role models ourselves while riding or driving in traffic.

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  • Hanmade November 1, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Bike boxes work well as long as the light is red. After it has been green for several seconds, and traffic is flowing, what alerts the motorist to the cyclist on his back right, quickly approaching the intersection? We talk of educating the driver, but I believe we must also educate the bicyclist to NEVER trust a vehicle in front of him, regardless of blue boxes or anything other designs we implement.

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  • Donna November 1, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    John F. verbalizes my apprehension about the bike boxes as the predominant engineering solution. I *like* the one on SE Cllinton and SE 39th. It\'s a lower traffic street and I feel comfortable using it. I don\'t actually get to use it all that often because very few motorists actually respect it. I don\'t feel particularly optimistic that motorists will respect other bike boxes, even if they are blue and even if there are more strongly worded signs. There are a few intersections on that list from the press conference that I\'m downright pessimistic about. SE Hawthorne at SE 7th and SE 11th are intersections where I think it\'s got a greater chance of working. SW 14th and W Burnside is one that I don\'t think it will work at all, and my belief is based on the temperament of the motorists when they are travelling through there.

    I was told very specifically by the PPB officer who visited Tracey Sparling\'s memorial ride that there was nothing the police could do about vehicles that are parked in bike lanes. He was *extremely* clear about this when we were conversing and I know a few other people heard it, too. I even repeated back what he said to make sure I understood him correctly. I guess I\'m wondering how these treatments would work since cars can park in them and the Portland Police Bureau is helpless to stop that. I know the ORS states I am allowed to leave them if I felt existing conditions were unsafe, but the Portland Police Bureau *do* issue tickets to people who leave the bike lane for legitimate reasons. Given all of that, it seems like having these treatments would be something of a setup. If I had to leave a bike box/blue lane treatment because a car was blocking it (and the police can do nothing about that), how can I avoid getting a ticket from the police?

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  • Anne November 1, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you Roger!

    As part of the prototype bike box at 39th and Clinton, can we please get some police enforcement of the regulatory \"stop here\" and \"no right on red\" signs? I got honked at again today by a driver in the box, wanting to turn right on red. They seem to think the behavior is optional.

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  • David Auker November 1, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    I\'ve always felt comfortable with the existing blue lanes,and look forward to seeing more. Thanks, Roger for the details...so good to have the City supporting cycling safety!

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  • Donna November 1, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Oh, and thank you to Roger for his explanation and all he does for us. You really are the cat\'s pyjamas, man. :)

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  • rixtir November 1, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    I was told very specifically by the PPB officer who visited Tracey Sparling\'s memorial ride that there was nothing the police could do about vehicles that are parked in bike lanes. He was *extremely* clear about this when we were conversing and I know a few other people heard it, too.

    It sounds like we need an ordinance that prohibits cars from stopping within the bike box, with an appropriate level of fine to discourage the practice.

    Then we need somebody to explain to the Traffic Division that the prohibition does not include the words \"if the driver perceives that the law is being violated.\"

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  • Tbird November 1, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    I\'m glad to hear the \'dropping of bike lanes\" at intersections will end. I think that where we there exists a conflict between parking and continuance of a bike lane we should go with a bike lane ( ie. NW Everett @ 13th)
    Thanks Roger for helping make Portland a better place to ride.

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  • Roger Geller November 1, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Education and enforcement are key elements to safety. I recognize that we (at PDOT) tend to emphasize the engineering component. Perhaps that\'s a western thing--born from the idea that \"science has the answers to everything.\" That said, engineerign is crucial and ideally we adopt engineering solutions that clearly communicate what we expect of roadway users. That\'s the intent behind the colored markings, the depth of the box, and the use of the big bike symbol in the middle of the box. There is research out of Britain on bike boxes that indicates that color, a big bike in the middle of the box, and a deep box are key elements to the box being respected by motorists.

    We don\'t yet know what educational components will be associated with these intersection treatments. There are long-term education strategies (Safer Routes 2 School, changes in the DMV manual) and short-term strategies (billboards, PSAs, articles). We\'re currently very actively considering how to roll out these treatments in a manner so that everybody going through the intersections understands them.

    Enforcement is a key component, as well. What\'s helpful about this treatment is that it shouldn\'t be ambiguous in terms of enforcement: there\'s to be no encroachment into the box on a red--and motorists must yield to cyclists going through the colored bicycle lanes on the green.

    We\'re also aware that these 14 intersections are not the only difficult ones in the city. The city\'s Bicycle Advisory Committee, attendees at the Bike Summit in June 2006 and in the initial bicycle master plan open houses in June 2007, as well as PDOT staff and comments made to PDOT staff have resulted in a long list of intersections that could be improved. The master plan process will identify them all and develop conceptual designs for at least 50 of them, if not more.

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  • Dr. Mark Ross November 1, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Geller sez: \"Stop Here on Red\" and \"No Turn on Red\".

    These are the things that are gonna get motorists to comply. Not more education, not blue paint, not the location of the box.

    By turning against a red light, regardless of whether there is a bicycle near him/her, a motorist commits an OBVIOUS traffic infraction.

    The less confusion among motorists and bicyclists, the better.

    Good planning!

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  • Janice November 1, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Roger -

    How would the development of Bike Boxes have helped in Brett\'s accident?

    How do they help when the light is green and cars are in motion? This is what scares me when driving a car and visibility is flawed.

    Thanks,

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  • Lisa November 1, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    This seems like a set of positive, practical steps; I\'m encouraged!

    One note on blue lanes: until I began bike-commuting last spring, after many years of driving through the same areas, I was not even consciously aware of any blue lanes. Once on the bike, I noticed them, but did not understand what they meant. At first I figured they meant \"bikes yield to buses merging left here\" because that\'s the way the tri-met buses seem to operate at the one on eastbound Hawthorne crossing Grand.

    I don\'t think I\'m *that* much dumber or unaware than the average driver. Driver\'s/biker\'s ed is badly needed.

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  • Elliot November 1, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    This is a bit off-topic, but if you\'re like me you\'ve been wondering about the design of the bicycle and pedestrian improvements to the Morrison Bridge that Roger mentions are coming in 2009.

    You can see all the schematics at the bottom of this page: http://tinyurl.com/28slqk.

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  • Kris November 1, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks Roger for pointing out that engineering solutions - when done well - can have a major educational function. The blue treatments definitely do the job for me, whether I am on the bike or driving my car.

    As for tackling the issue of cars parking in bike lanes, there is always the option to resort to the way they do things in NYC ;o) http://tinyurl.com/38qz2g

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  • Elliot November 1, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Sorry, apparently the site formatted the period into the web address. Here\'s a clickable link to the Morrison Bridge information: http://tinyurl.com/28slqk

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  • Flyingdog5000 November 1, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Rixtir #27:

    There is a statute in place that will cover this. ORS 811.265 \"Failure to obey a traffic control device\" would include any lawfully placed stripe, sign or other device to control traffic. So the law already exists. 811.050 \"Failure to Yield to rider on bicycle lane\" may also come into play as the bicycle box may be viewed as an extension of the bike lane. At least I would venture to issue a citation under that proviso and let the judge tell me I\'m wrong.

    Flyingdog5000

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  • knappster November 1, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Roger\'s efforts are admirable, but the solutions that he and traffic engineers offer are necessarily limited by the human element.  People are not flotsam that can be channeled like a river with \"blue levees,\" so to speak.  As this video from Manhattan demonstrates, even the most inventive barriers are no match for stubborn autonomy – especially in a society that values individualism far more than collectivism.

    Several respondents have mentioned the need for \"education,\" and I agree that it\'s critical.  I also think that the bigger issue is the lack of real community in Portland – notwithstanding the popularity of that word (as if repetition would make it true).

    Two prerequisites for community are shared values and communication.  The people of Portland are deficient in both.  The primary problem is that the city is simply too big.  Like all other large American cities, Portland has automotive hegemony, not community.

    Unlike other cities, however, Portland has thousands of residents who dissent from the American cultural norm.  Many of them are even trying to build alternative culture within the city.

    The critical question is whether there can ever be reconciliation between opposing values and culture.  I don\'t think so.  I expect the conflicts in public space to continue and even escalate – especially as we enter an age of energy and resource scarcity.  I assert that there will never be real community in Portland within my lifetime.  That\'s why I left.

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  • rixtir November 1, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks for clarifying that Flyingdog5000.

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  • jacque November 1, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Roger,
    I\'m curious... in the countries you are sighting as examples of how bike lanes function to make cyclists feel safer... do they put the lane between parked cars and traveling lanes? In all of the pictures I\'ve seen, I don\'t think I\'ve ever seen bike lanes adjacent to parked cars.
    Also, what is the average width of the european bike lanes? I\'ve seen some that are as narrow as ours, but most look considerably wider, making for more of an obvious bike presence, especially when two riders can ride side by side.
    I\'m asking, because perhaps if we really try to emulate those euro bike lanes, the bike boxes will work. But if we are only getting it half right, then what? Are there details in the design of those euro bike lanes, and in the culture, that we are missing? If so, are we compromising the safety? Will there be more unintended consequences that will require another round of debates, and further engineering to go back and fix?
    As to culture, there are some glaring differences:
    Most drivers are also riders and understand what to expect from a cyclist.
    Cyclists always have the right of way.
    Drivers are aware of this right of way, and show courtesy to cyclists.
    And I\'m not sure of the accuracy of these last two... but urban cycling seems to happen at a more leisurely pace, and I have the impression that they follow traffic rules such as stopping for stop signs and signals.
    Thanks, Jacque

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  • Bjorn November 1, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    The biggest thing I noticed about the separated bike lane that recently opened in NYC is that when a car wants to turn across it they first have to move over a lane at a point where the parking area becomes a turning lane. This alerts a cyclist that the car is definately about to turn. Many of the intersections also had separate bike and car signals but I think that any time we can implement this type of move over before you enter the bike lane/begin the actual turn we should.

    bjorn

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  • JCW November 1, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks Roger can\'t wait to see the bike boxes! Might have missed it - when do you expect them to be in place? Obivously lots of opinions outh there obviously - will be great to start seeing how they work in the real world.

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  • bikegrrl November 1, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I\'m putting in my support for bike boxes (including enforcement); no drop bike lanes; and huge amounts of public education, including billboards, bus tails, and pamphlets to all businesses for their employees. Sign me up, I\'ll deliver them!

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  • Stripes November 1, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Would a cycle track like the one Jeff mentioned in #34 work for Hawthorne Blvd for bicyclists coming eastbound off the Hawthorne Bridge, until you hit 12th?

    There is SO MUCH bike traffic coming off the bridge these days, the majority of it staying on Hawthorne in the bikelane until SE 12th Avenue.

    The fast moving Hawthorne traffic coming off the bridge, the cars turning right at 7th Ave & 11th Ave, coupled with the narrow bike lane, and the endless parked cars, makes me nervous as a bicyclist.

    It seems there would be enough room to put one in here, and the modeshare numbers of cyclists using the roadway would justify it.

    Any thoughts?

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  • Lisa November 1, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Err... in my post above I meant westbound, not eastbound Hawthorne crossing Grand.

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  • BURR November 1, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    @ Patty #19

    I concur with your assessment of the problems in both directions at the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge, plus for years there has been some really bad pavement in the eastbound bike lane on SW Main between SW 4th and SW 1st. The new curb extension on the SW corner of SW 5th and Main is also going to make it much harder for cyclists to get through this area during the PM peak, it\'s already one of the most congested streets downtown in the afternoon.

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  • Stripes November 1, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    I just read... bicycles represent 18% of bridge traffic for the Hawthorne Bridge!

    I would hope this data could help justify a cycle track at this location :-)

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  • Roger Geller November 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Jacque,

    On-street parking is much less prevalent in those cities than it is here in Portland. However, they do have standard designs that include bicycle facilities (either cycle tracks or bicycle lanes) adjacent to parking.

    From what I\'ve read and from conversations I\'ve had with planners over there, they\'re also much more willing to remove on-street parking when there\'s a conflict. Of course, it helps that they have about one-third of their trips being made by bicycle.

    They did not achieve this ridership overnight and I imagine that they experienced incremental change over time in their policies, practices and designs much as any city goes through. They just started decades before we did.

    Standard widths for striped bicycle lanes or cycletracks in many European cities range from 2m to 2.2m (roughly 6.5 feet to 7.2 feet) and Denmark is planning to widen their standard to 2.5m (8.2 feet). Safety is not the primary reason for these widths. In The Netherlands they talk about how cycling is a social activity and the 2m allows cyclists to comfortably ride side by side. In Copenhagen they need the width to allow faster cyclists (those traveling, by their estimate 10-11 mph!) to pass slower cyclists (typically children and the elderly, who travel at 4-5 mph).

    Earlier this year we striped a bicycle lane at 6.5 feet on N Vancouver between Fremont and Broadway. We received very positive feedback about that at the bicycle master plan open houses.

    There are clearly cultural differences between Portland and Amsterdam or Copenhagen. But, the culture here is changing--largely in response to the dramatic increase in bicycle use we\'ve seen over the past 15 years. The key is to maintain and accelerate that growth. It\'s a bit of a chicken and egg problem.

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  • BURR November 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    PDOT says they\'ll give bicyclists a whole lane on the bridge deck in each direction when bicycle traffic hits 25% of trips on the Hawthorne bridge.

    [PLEASE NOTE: BURR meant this as a joke. It is not true.]

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  • Roger Geller November 1, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    BURR writes: \"PDOT says they\'ll give bicyclists a whole lane on the bridge deck in each direction when bicycle traffic hits 25% of trips on the Hawthorne bridge.\"

    We did?

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  • BURR November 1, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    sorry, bikeportland doesn\'t have little emoticon smileys or I would have put a little winking one on the end of that last post.

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  • Roger Geller November 1, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Janice (#31)

    The bike box is not meant to help when the light is green--other than to provide a strong visual presence about cyclists coming to/through the intersection. Rather, it is the presence of the colored lanes leading to and through the intersection that would have provided one more visual cue to the truck driver to look for cyclists.

    That\'s also a location where a sensor in the bike lane could be used to trigger a flashing warning sign at the intersection--which might be particularly useful in a downhill, high speed condition.

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  • a.O November 1, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    \"PDOT says they\'ll give bicyclists a whole lane on the bridge deck in each direction when bicycle traffic hits 25% of trips on the Hawthorne bridge.\"

    Sounds like a great idea to me.

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  • Kris November 1, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Roger # 29:

    \"What\'s helpful about this treatment is that it shouldn\'t be ambiguous in terms of enforcement: there\'s to be no encroachment into the box on a red [...]\"

    One situation where encroachment into the box on a red might be ambiguous (at least for motorists) is when they are queuing bumper-to-bumper, at slow speed towards the intersection and the light turns yellow and then red. I know the answer is that they shouldn\'t enter the bike box until passage the intersection is clear - similar to crosswalks - but I think we can expect to see some conflict here.

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  • Steve Brown November 1, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Roger, Great work. You seem to have some wonderful solutions to several problems. Can you speak to the biggest problem I still see of being safe when going through the intersection with traffic. I have adopted the \"no trust rule\". I will not enter an intersection at the same time with a vehicle on my left. I am a \"fit rider\" who uses the vehicular model and supports the California law. With an educated motorist, it forces them to look and take action when crossing the bike lane. While all these safety ideas are very help I still find the biggest component is driver safety and enforcement. I know this is repetitive, but I got hooked in West Linn this summer. Official accicent report and all that said the driver was at fault. But the officer did not issue a citation. He supervising officer also agreed with the report and has refused a request to order the officer to write a citation. Part of a safe plan needs to be enforcement. I want to see numbers on the citations issued for the laws we have now. My guess is that is is close to none.

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  • Doug November 1, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    I know this is straying a bit from the point, but...

    On the topic of enforcement, what can be done in the near-term (as in weeks, not next summer when the Master Plan is published) to get police to beging bike lane right of way enforcement actions? If citizen complaints brought 6+ traffic officers to Ladd\'s Circle this summer for stop sign enforcement, can similar complaints be made to bring police to, say, the intersection of NW 16th and Everett? If so, I\'ll get on the phone right now.

    But back to the topic at hand. Roger, thanks for this report. If they prove useful, and I for one am optimistic they will, is there any timeline for expanding the program beyond 14 intersections? Also, echoing JCW in comment 41, when can we expect to see the initial 14 intersections completed?

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  • Roger Geller November 1, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    JCW #41 and Doug #55:

    I can\'t tell you when they\'ll be complete. We\'ve got some planning and design work to do and we may very likely run into weather that will not cooperate well with us (pavement must be dry and relatively warm to do these installations).

    We also need to secure the funding from City Council needed to implement them.

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  • [...] latest safety push from Portland’s cycling community is for the installation of numerous bicycle boxes [...]

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  • Skeptical November 1, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    What\'s the chance that Lt. Kruger will enforce the law requiring motor vehicles to stop at the stop bar behind the bike box?

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  • Andy November 1, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    Roger,

    Thanks for a through report. It\'s very reassuring to know that people high up take these issues seriously. Thanks again for your work on this and future projects.

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  • BillD November 1, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    A few thoughts on N. Interstate and Greeley:

    There are no intersections or business accesses on N. Greeley between Interstate and Going. Therefore, any destination reached by turning right at Interstate and Greeley can be reached from Interstate and Going.

    Right turns from southbound Interstate onto Greeley should be prohibited.

    Install copious signage on Interstate that says \"No Right Turn Allowed at Greeley and Interstate, Use Going St.\".

    Provide a bail out route for traffic that needs to turn right but has not seen the signs. This could be at Interstate and Larrabee (right on Larrabee, around the pump station to Russell, left on Interstate, north to Greeley and make a left).

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  • Mary November 1, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Right hooks are in the news in the Netherlands, where an October 31 article on \"Fietsnieuws\" (Bike News) points out that 19 cyclists were killed in 2006 by right-turning trucks and that two cyclists (a 73-year-old woman from Alkmaar and a 46-year-old woman from Haarlem) died that way last week. The Fietserbond (Cyclists\' Union) is proposing that truckers in built-up areas be required to carry a co-pilot to watch for dangerous situations. They point out that this type of fatality had fallen to 6 and 7 in 2002 and 2003 as an apparent result of an intense public-education campaign. Wide-angle mirrors were required starting in 2003, but that doesn\'t seem to have reduced the danger of blind-spot (\"dead corner\" in Dutch) collisions.

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  • Anonymous November 1, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    \"keep \'um separated\" The Replacements

    Gosh darn it my kids nearly drove me crazy with that one. Slowly, very slowly, it soaked into my old guy brain. If you separate discordant elements they will only become more discordant. (it is not Dillon, but it is not bad.)

    I do not think that I am a vehicular cyclist, but dang it can\'t we get a discussion going about promoting civility before we simply start throwing money/engineering at perceived problems?

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  • BURR November 1, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    so we\'re planning to institutionalize the worst flaws of the Dutch system??? Unfreakinbelievable!!!

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  • Cøyøte November 1, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Whoops #62 is mine.

    Cøyøte AKA dumbass

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  • danc November 1, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    The suggestion vehicular cycling is \"behave the same as the primary vehicles for which the roadways were designed: automobiles\" is wrong.

    Vehicular cycling, or VC, is the practice of driving bicycles on roads in a manner that is visible, predictable, and in accordance with the principles for driving a vehicle in traffic.

    Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes: like commercial trucks which have big blind spots! Try check out the Wikipedia definition of VC for more details.

    Here is nice history quote: \"riding in accordance to vehicular rules of the road go back to the 19th century when bicycles were invented and began sharing the roads with other vehicles, such as wagons and buggies\".

    Peace Out!

    DanC

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  • Aaron November 1, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Roger;
    Thank you also for your work. I know that you have spent a great deal of time on this. My thinking is that cars ignore lines and strips. Not all drivers, but enough to be dangerous. The bike box at Clinton is ignored. Only once have I seen a car stop beforehand when there wasn\'t a bike in place. I very much like painting intersections blue before and after the intersection. That should do very well. I also consider pulling the bike lane left of the turn lane with a blue stripe just as the eastbound Hawthorne bridge shows. Drivers look carefully there. I also want to see fewer lanes ending before the intersection. Intersections are where they are needed most.
    I look forward to talking with you more on Tuesday.

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  • Andy November 1, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    Burr,

    I don\'t know about you but from my cycling in Holland (Everywhere from big cities to the country side) the riding was easy and felt very safe.
    Also Mr. Geller points out that this is to be a test of these ideas:
    \"In the light of two recent “right-hook” crashes resulting in fatalities, Commissioner Sam Adams and PDOT have recommended a pilot treatment at 14 targeted intersections to create safer conditions for bicycling.\"
    A trial run is not institutionalization.

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  • Mary November 1, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    In posting the note about Dutch cycling casualties, I didn\'t mean to imply that the Dutch cycleways are particularly unsafe. We\'ve ridden them a lot and were quite impressed with the generally good behavior of the drivers and the ease of getting around by bike. But I also follow Dutch and German bike forums and read about the problems in cycling paradise. One real challenge with truckers is that they come from all over. You could have every Dutch truck driver perfectly trained, and then the Spanish, Polish, Slovenian, Italian, and Norwegian drivers could zip across your bike lanes and squash your cyclists. I suspect that\'s what nearly happened to us on one occasion. We had gotten over-confident about having the right of way, and then a truck driver nearly ran over us and blasted his horn at us in an industrial zone in Amsterdam. Any solution for right-hooks has to take into account the fact that lots of truckers come from places with few cyclists or with different rules for cyclists in traffic. You can probably improve the local Portland truck-drivers, but can you design a system that will keep drivers from California out of the bike lanes?

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  • Jason November 1, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Roger,

    Thanks for your hard work and proposal. Although this may not be a silver bullet it will absolutely help the situation at intersections.

    Perhaps the saddest part of all this is that I can be run over and killed in a bikelane and the driver nets a few sleepless nights.

    The point made in #60 should be implemented immediatly.

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  • cs November 1, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    My apologies ahead of time for being so wordy:

    a. I echo the concerns regarding the effectiveness of these designs when the light is green (#22,#31). Bike boxes don\'t seem to help at all and blue bike lanes seem to help but don\'t solve the problem.

    From my experience both cycling and driving, the most dangerous scenerio is when a cyclist is coming downhill in a bike lane (usually fast) and comes up behind a stopped or slowed motorist. The motorist turns right not expecting a speeding cyclist from behind. I do think bike lanes can give a false sense of security in this scenerio.

    As a defensive cyclist I don\'t trust cars anymore and rarely take my right of way at intersections until I make eye contact (even at the blue bike lane on the Hawthorne Bridge). In practice all it takes is one car not to yield for me to die, so even if they are legally required to yield, I am still cautious.

    I know I am not the only cyclist who does this. It seems like this infrastructure (bike lanes on dwnhills) creates a scenerio where defensive cyclists yield to cars anyway but other cyclists (perhaps novices, though not always) get a false sense of security.

    b. So in that regard I am wondering if any thought is ever given to the difference with bike lanes on downhills vs. uphills. I feel they are needed on uphills when I am traveling below the speed of traffic but on downhills I often feel much more comfortable taking the lane as I am traveling at the speed of traffic anyway. It forces me to slow down behind a stopped or slowing car and avoid the above scenerio and I can always pass a turning car on the left. So I guess I am saying I like vehicular cycling on downhills and bike lanes on uphills. Any thoughts on this? Roger?

    c. I also like when the bike lane moves to the left of a designated right turn lane. That could really help an intersection like 16th and Everett (which does not currently have a designated turn lane). At that intersection right turning cars cue. If the bike lane went to the left of them, they could safely pass the cue w/out impeding traffic and inspiring road rage (these are morning commuters after all). A bike box on the other hand would work great when the light was red and cyclists could move to the front of the cue but not when the light was green and cyclists approaching the cue would have to slow down to ensure that right turning cars saw them. Even with the blue there would be that awkward dance in which drivers and cyclists try to read each others mind. One driver is wondering while this stupid cyclist won\'t just go and the cyclist is thinking it is because you are the first car out of five that yielded to me.

    d. All that said, all in all, I love more signage and colors! Anything that can provide more awareness on the roadway, I like. Education is important of course, but any engineering that creates more awareness is a step in the right direction. I want our roads to be clear not just for Portland drivers but also drivers from out of town who are not used to seeing bikes.

    Thanks for all the great info and for addressing this issue so swiftly after these recent tragedies. I cannot tell you how excited I was to see the changes already made to 16th and Everett (my nemesis intersection).

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  • beth h November 1, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    I appreciate the thorough explanation, Roger.

    I am one of those bicyclists who prefer to remain separate from cars, and who prefer to feel safe enough to ride at my own pace, rather than kill myself trying to ride faster so car drivers and bicyclists behind don\'t get annoyed that I go too slow.

    Only thing that\'s an issue is that blue lanes sort of disappear at night. Harder to see. perhaps a little more reflective matieral mixed in with the paint? Dunno. Yes, we all need to be civil to one another, but we also need to engineer some solutions.

    Bravo and keep at it.

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  • Zaphod November 1, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Roger,
    I have a suggestion and perhaps this isn\'t the correct forum but here it is anyway, feel free to contact me directly for free consultancy ;^)

    The suggestion is to identify key routes that would receive a higher level of treatment and infrastructure while continuing with the current growth plan. Here\'s a concrete example of what I mean. To connect NE and SE Portland, possible options include 15th through Lloyd, 21st across, 28th and a few more complex permutations that are all about the same level of safety and comfort. Suppose one of those routes had a higher investment level with wider lanes, traffic calming elements, bike signals, etc. to create a very pleasant, safe and inviting route for those that are intimidated by the narrower faster routes. These specially designated routes would increase ridership and would make an impressive statement about Portland\'s focus on livability and a multi-mode transportation model. If these were well executed and strategically placed, they would support high volumes of bikes and take our city to the next level.

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  • Nuada November 1, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Donna wrote:

    \"I was told very specifically by the PPB officer who visited Tracey Sparling\'s memorial ride that there was nothing the police could do about vehicles that are parked in bike lanes. He was *extremely* clear about this when we were conversing and I know a few other people heard it, too. I even repeated back what he said to make sure I understood him correctly.\"

    That\'s odd, because I was under the impression that it was a ticketable offense and call the Parking Enforcement number when I see it. Does anyone know if the law changed recently?

    Another scary element of the westbound Hawthorne Bridge area is when you have to get into the left-merge lane to ride down First Avenue. Even with my mirror, as soon as you take your attention away from the last car there are others speeding up behind it that you didn\'t see. I have only once been able to make that merge without having to stop first in the bike lane to turn around and look. With the construction there is no room to cross the intersection first before turning left.

    Speaking of scary intersections, I hope the westbound approach to 39th from Davis will also be studied. For a designated bike route, you shouldn\'t have to zig-zag down to Couch just to cross 39th. I would like to see a reduced speed limit sign for cars coming around the traffic circle on that blind turn to continue south on 39th which is made even more blind for westbound cyclists by the cars backed up at the northbound stop sign.

    Motorists should be aware that they will have to watch for cyclists and pedestrians crossing at Couch as well which is marked by crosswalks. I think this would be a great place to have some signage. People drive so fast and recklessly through that traffic circle that even the bus drivers are given extra instructions on how to handle it (I was on a #19 bus the other day with an instructor coaching the driver).

    Several years ago I used to cross 39th at Davis, however I\'ve seen the amount of traffic on 39th increase so dramatically since then that it\'s pretty much impossible. The only way to safely cross at Couch is to use the crosswalks.

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  • bike.commuter November 1, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    Roger, thank you for a thoughtful and well engineered proposal to increase safety through separation and higher visibility.

    Please consider the traction on the blue lanes. As we enter the rainy season it would be nice to put some engineering effort into making sure the blue lanes are both durable and offer increased traction to the cyclist. Since the blue areas are the highest danger it would stand to reason that they should offer the best stopping traction and help prevent slide outs.

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  • janel November 2, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Hi Roger, sorry if this has been mentioned already. Why doesn\'t the blue go through the crosswalk and the whole intersection. It seems like a good idea to have blue in the crosswalk (with bike stencil) to make peds more aware of cyclists biking through. More than once a ped has stepped off the sidewalk to jaywalk, not even looking for cyclists and I have to ring my bell.

    It would also be good to have the blue on the other side of the intersection to make motorists who are turning right more aware of cyclists.

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 7:24 am

    I\'m seriously wondering whether Roger has any proposals for counteracting the continued adverse impacts of bike lane striping (and the yet further easily anticipated adverse impacts of these bike boxes) on motorist (and dare I say police) perceptions regarding their responsibility to share the remainder of the roadway?

    There are already many motorists who do not think that cyclists are allowed(!) on a roadway that has no bike lane striping, as well as motorists (and police!) who believe, in the case of roadways that do have such striping, that cyclists must never leave those striped areas! Clearly this is erroneous, as an elementary examination of the law and consideration of practical necessity would reveal.

    Naturally, it is not any kind of rationality that fuels these conceits, but preexisting intolerance and unwillingness to share the roads.

    However, the notion is further fueled by bike lanes that \"we already gave them THAT piece of the road, so what are they doing over HERE!\", and will only be exacerbated by bike boxes, as far as I can tell. And unfortunately, the people we are currently most dependent on for educating motorists on their responsibilities for sharing the roads, the police, are overwhelmingly exclusively motorists themselves, with little insight into the practicalities of cycling. Experience has amply demonstrated that they are all too often inclined to interpret roadway striping with a punitive view towards cyclist mobility on the roadway.

    There are many, many instances when it is not practical for cyclists to confine themselves to striped areas that have been designated for their exclusive use. Some of them have been described by others here: Coming down a hill, for instance, it is manifestly UNSAFE to attempt to shoot through the narrow gauntlet formed by a bike lane between parked cars and traffic at velocities > 20mph. At those velocities, there is not nearly enough time or space in such a narrow gauntlet to anticipate and avoid potential road hazards. Cyclists moving at those velocities need to take the lane.

    Additionally, cyclists making left turns often need to commence those turns well in advance in order to cross multilaned thoroughfares (in the case of SW Broadway, for instance, it is advisable to plan a left turn several blocks in advance, in order to cross all the lanes starting from the bike lane on the far right).

    Currently, as I say, there is nothing to prevent police from taking a punitive view of the bike lane laws and making these kinds of basic mobility considerations very difficult for cyclists, as they have in fact done on numerous occasions.

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  • anonymous November 2, 2007 at 7:53 am

    it is manifestly UNSAFE to attempt to shoot through the narrow gauntlet formed by a bike lane between parked cars and traffic at velocities > 20mph

    Then why don\'t you slow down? That\'s what you expect drivers to do in unsafe conditions, isn\'t it? Adapt your speed to the conditions at hand.

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 8:14 am

    I should add: I\'m inclined to believe that civility on the road is a much bigger factor in improving cyclist safety than dedicated bike facilities and exclusive rights of way. Exclusive rights of way that aren\'t grade separated foster only an illusory sense of security, but also a very real and potentially dangerous rivalry between different road users, which is directly antithetical to civility on those shared facilities.

    On the other hand, measures such as reduced speed limits and generic educational signage (\"Share the road!\") can foster roadway civility and increase the confidence of cyclists in using the roads in a lawful and predictable fashion, which in turn increases their own safety, whatever their levels of skill or fitness. Such win-win measures have no drawbacks and only benefits in terms of safety, for all parties.

    I\'m no expert in the history of cycling infrastructure or comparative historical and international studies of the same. \"Who are you to argue with the Dutch?,\" one might rightly ask. However, I suspect that there is a fundamental flaw in the reasoning that Roger is using here regarding the European example: I\'m not convinced that the demarcation of exclusive rights of way on shared roadways was a crucial factor in the success of cycling in Northern Europe. There are many other factors, such as reduced speed limits, high gas taxes, and other cultural incentives to increase cycling ridership, to account for that.

    It may well be that the early decision was made in those places to promote cycling by painting bike lanes after our fashion, but that cycling participation improved largely because of other factors little related to that decision.

    In any case, I think one needs a much more compelling argument than this anecdotal and dubious causal inference to justify creating potentially dangerous conflicts between road users such as Oregon law currently does in mandating that motorists must cross over bike lanes to execute turns without merging -- a truly monumental blunder in traffic safety planning, as far as I can see. Indeed, a blunder which is right now precipitating a costly and wideranging scheme for new roadway infrastructure in our city to compensate for the dangers it has created.

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  • k. November 2, 2007 at 9:12 am

    I think the ideal situation is the complete separation of bikes and cars: ie. bike only boulevards, separated bike paths etc. This will allow for cyclists of all abilities and confidence to use the system. I think we all realize though that this is indeed an \"ideal\" and is nothing we will ever see in practice, at least not in our lifetimes.

    Until that day, I think implying that we can design facilities for cyclists of all ability and confidence levels is just impractical, and in fact may promote more unsafe cycling. The bottom line is you\'ve just got to be comfortable mixing it up in traffic if you are going to ride in an urban area.

    I support PDOT\'s efforts at trying new (at least to us) facilities such as bike boxes and more blue lane striping. Anything will help. Such engineered fixes are certainly not going to the answer to everything though, for reasons many have pointed out already.

    One of the major barriers we need to get past is a cycling hostile outlook by the PPD. I find it ironic that the City, through PDOT, will put so much effort and money into improving the cycling infrastructure while at the same time the PDD supports officers ticketing cyclists for such negligible infractions as not having a brake (fixed gears) and not coming to a full stop at residential stop signs, all while refusing to ticket motorists for killing cyclists in the bike lane not to mention things like violating bike boxes and bike lanes.

    The City needs to move past this schizophrenic behavior.

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  • Joe November 2, 2007 at 9:14 am

    As much as I wish for road civility, the prospect of motorists respecting cyclists\' rights to use the road during peak traffic periods seems futile. I try to avoid riding my bike between 7:30am and 9:30am and between 4:30pm and 6pm near business areas. It seems like drivers are racing to get off the road before the traffic builds up. These are drivers that are desensitized and hardened to the conditions they subject themselves to regularly. Can anyone really expect anything to change in this regard? We can\'t just change speed limits or add signs saying \"share the road\". People will drive at whatever speed they feel the road was designed for (and then some). That means wide traffic lanes are conducive speeding and careless turning movements.

    I\'m with Roger. We need greater separation between users. Vehicular bicycling doesn\'t make sense when you have multi-ton vehicles coupled with careless driving behavior (\"road rage\"). Most car drivers can\'t even stand to drive behind other cars and make unsafe passing movements on local streets. Don\'t expect me as a bicyclist to feel comfortable in this \"shared\" environment. Vehicular bicycling is advocated by those that resist spending precious few transportation dollars on bicycle facilities and instead want everything spent on facilities that they can drive on.

    Lastly, I appreciate Sam Adams\' effort to have bicycle safety questions on the DMV\'s written driving test. I think it\'s critical to keep DMV on board, despite the expected bureaucratic roadblocks they will throw up.

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  • Doug Allen November 2, 2007 at 9:40 am

    I ride eastbound through the 39th & Clinton bike box every weekday. Maybe half the drivers do stop at the sign. Many cyclists are not aware that they should move left in the box to make room for later-arriving cyclists. Otherwise, it works reasonably well on a red signal, but could use clarifying signs and paint. Why not fix this one, before doing more?

    If the light turns green before I get to the box, I merge with the cars. Some later-arriving cyclists shoot by on the right, and usually the cars stop. I have to wait through another signal cycle, which is fine, because I am safe and alive. I never trust a car on my left (or right). Have you thought about separate signal phases, as are used at high-volume auto intersections, where bike lanes are to the right of a potential auto right turn?

    Another problem -- bike-lane behavior carries over to inappropriate locations. This morning I was in line (on my bike) behind a westbound schoolbus on SE Salmon which was signaling for a right turn onto 34th. It was waiting for pedestrians (schoolkids) to clear. A cyclist came whizzing by on the right, didn\'t even stop for the safety patrol, and just went through the intersection.

    I have biked in Portland since 1970, and my only crash was in 1970 when I pulled to the right of a right-turning car. If you don\'t educate cyclists about the dangers of bike lanes, you will kill even more. Educating motorists can help, but bicyclists should be given the mental tools to ensure their own survival.

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  • Lisa November 2, 2007 at 9:53 am

    \"Have you thought about separate signal phases, as are used at high-volume auto intersections, where bike lanes are to the right of a potential auto right turn?\"

    This seems to me like such an obviously good solution (and it would clearly be mandatory if the through-going vehicles were cars); why isn\'t it in place? Is it just that we\'re not willing to pay for it?

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Response for anonymous:
    Allow me to answer that one: \"Why don\'t you slow down?\" How about because: I don\'t have to slow down in order to protect my safety. I can usually safely merge into a regular traffic lane and in many cases more than keep up with auto traffic while doing so, when going down a hill most of the time.

    I only need to slow down in order to submit to a motorist\'s imperious demand to shove me off the roads -- a demand that is seemingly justified in their minds by the presence of bike lanes.

    Well, I don\'t really appreciate that snide, contemptuous little question, ill-disguised as some sort of paternalistic concern for my safety. I\'m quite capable of handling my own safety, thank you very much. As long as motorists are willing and able to follow the laws and civilly share the roadway with all users as they are legally obliged to.

    And that actually kind of sums up my problem with bike lanes in their current incarnation, particularly as currently enforced by too many motorist cops. They are NOT an invention that equally serves all cyclists all of the time. All too often, they provide only illusory safety, but present real dangers, while depriving many of us in many instances of legitimate mobility and actually DECREASING our status in the eyes of other roadway users, as well as cops.

    I don\'t have any illusions that we\'re ever going to get rid of bike lanes, given the psychological value they undoubtedly possess for many novice riders, but I DO think we need to revisit the incredibly ill advised Oregon laws, as well as the alignment of many current bike lanes. And I\'m very much afraid that trying to paper over these fundamental defects with more lines of paint is a very dubious project indeed.

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  • Lisa November 2, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Come on, if you are passing cars on the right then by definition you *would* have to slow down to merge with traffic. And if you are passing cars on the right at a high rate of speed in the bike lane, then maybe you are riding too fast for safety in that situation. It\'s a reasonable question.

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Lisa:
    I think someone has to justify a demand for expensive new infrastructure like additional signals by weighing its costs and benefits against other alternatives on a case-by-case basis, such as realigning the bike lane to eliminate the hazard in question altogether. The realignment might not have zero cost, either, but if it would be cheaper, as I suspect it often would, then I think you will have a hard time making the case that your proposal for new signals makes sense.

    From a safety point of view, too, I think the proposal you suggest is not a slam dunk. Having multiple different signals in the same direction is a complex scenario for most drivers, and even where it is used for auto traffic, I venture that it is often an attempted workaround for an unfortunate roadway alignment that is still far more hazardous than if the original hazard hadn\'t been created in the first place.

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Lisa:
    I\'m honestly sorry if this sounds abrasive, but I must say this: It\'s only a reasonable question to someone who is very inexperienced at cycling. However, I\'m happy to answer the question:

    It is quite common to encounter relatively long downhills with sufficiently sparse traffic that one can merge easily into a regular traffic lane from a bike lane WITHOUT slowing. This may well have been the situation encountered by Brett Jarolimek -- it is plausible, at least from a cursory view of both the Google streetscapes for the area near his fatal collision, as well news accounts of the incident. But unfortunately for Brett, he evidently did not do so, entrusting his safety to a poorly aligned bike lane, much to his loss, and everyone who knew and loved him.

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  • Andrew Black November 2, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Roger,

    First, thanks for taking the time to publicize this and to monitor the feedback. I\'ve cycled in many Euopean cities, and am familiar with bike boxes and agree that they are gnerally a good idea and work well.

    But two things are missing from the proposal as presented here. The first is education, for both cyclists and motorists. Most people driving in Portland seem to have no idea what to do with the existing bike lanes, other than parking in them --- probably becuase they learned to drive at a time or in a place wheren there were no such lanes. This aspect of the proposal has been amply commented on already, so I\'ll say no more.

    The second missing item is advance greens for Cyclists. In Cambrigde, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Bern and Berlin, to name just a few cities that use advanced stop lines like you propose, the cyclists get a separate light, which turns green 15 or 20 seconds before the light for the motorists. The idea is to get the cyclists out from in front of the cars and trucks, and back to the side of the road, before the trucks start to roll. Without this period of safe transit, I doubt that many novice cyclists will be willing to move in front of cars in the bike box.

    I don\'t like the idea of banning right turn on red. I agree that right turn on red is a bad idea, but it\'s now common everywhere in the USA except NYC. If you ban it at these 14 intersections, you will just increase road rage in the drivers who like to target cyclists. It also seems unnecessary. If there is a bike in the box, it won\'t be possible to turn right. If there are no cycles present, it causes no harm, or at least no more harm than at present. Presumably the danger that you are trying to avoid is that mororists will turn right without looking for bikes, as they do at present. Yes, they do this right now, on green lights. Your proposal does little to deal with motorists turning in front of cyclists other than paining the roads blue -- which assumes that motorists look for bikes. This brings us back to education.

    The real solution for busy intersections is to provide two bike lanes --- one for straight ahead, and one for turning right. This is done, for example, at the busy Lorrainebrüke in Bern, where the one-way system causes a lot of traffic to turn right. Of course, the brige isn\'t wide enough for two bike lanes, so the right-most bike lane shares space with the traffic lane. The result is that cars have to proceed slowly, behind the bikes Not such a bad idea, when you think of it, compared to crushing the cyclists under their wheels. Compare this solution to the present treatment on E. Broadway in Portland, where the signed bike lane is between two lanes of traffic, both of which are permitted to trun right onto the I-5 freeway entrance ramp. I\'m sure that I\'m not the only cyclist to have had some close shaves here.

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  • Lisa November 2, 2007 at 11:15 am

    So, to any experienced cyclist, the question \"why don\'t you slow down?\" in a situation which you yourself describe as \"manifestly unsafe,\" is unreasonable? I better quit now before I acquire any more experience.

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  • PoPo November 2, 2007 at 11:29 am

    #23 and #73,

    There are hundreds of cops in the police bureau, and thus hundreds of ways to police. Some are very intersted in domestic violence issues and are extremely well-versed in all laws and resources applicable to those types of crimes. Some cops are really enthusiastic about traffic and spend lots of times memorizing the traffic code, which is very thick with laws. Some cops are new and still learning the minutia of bureaucracy and hundreds of laws. Some cops have been working for a long time and are still learning new ways to use laws to help solve problems every day.

    Most cops know a lot about many areas of criminal and traffic law, but still need to check little cheat books to remind them of the smaller details.

    Laws are also changing, as well as bureaucratic rules--can we tow cars for such an offense or not? Are we still enforcing a particular law even though it was recently challenged in court but hasn\'t been appealed yet?

    The officer who said there was nothing we could do about cars in bicycle lanes may have been misinformed or simply didn\'t know.

    I could also be misinformed, as I don\'t work downtown, and who knows what policies might be going on there that are different from Southeast. But it is my understanding that cars parked in bicycle lanes are subject to a parking citation, and I also wouldn\'t have a problem towing one for obstructing traffic. Do I always have time to write a ticket and wait for a tow? Sometimes yes, sometimes no--depends on the assignment I\'m on and the status of other calls. Have I run out of tickets sometimes while out on the street, yes.

    This is not meant to excuse officers for lack of knowledge of the law and minutia, or failure to simply say \"good question, I don\'t know\" or \"I\'m sorry, we just don\'t have to time or resources right now\" when asked about a particular problem, but maybe it might explain why you might hear different things from different officers.

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  • BURR November 2, 2007 at 11:31 am

    @ #67

    I\'d say that it isn\'t the infrastructure in the Netherlands that makes cycling safer, but rather the better training and more enlightened attitude of the general motoring public. Plus an enforcement attitude that protects the most vulnerable road users rather than punishing them further. Paint stripes and colored pavement aren\'t a substitute for good driving habits and appropriate enforcement.

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Lisa:
    I would not belabor this point but for the fact that, if you really are a regular cyclist, it could actually become something crucial to your own safety (or to the safety of other cyclists who might happen to read this, as it was in Brett Jarolimek\'s tragedy). I will try to make this crystal clear, both for you and other cyclists who may not have considered this point:

    If you are going fast down a hill in the bike lane, and you can safely merge into the regular traffic lane to your left, and you anticipate that ahead of you you may soon find yourself sandwiched in a narrow slot formed by the bike lane between the sidewalk and moving cars further down the hill (or anything else), don\'t head into that slot at high velocity!

    At such a moment, you have two safe options: merge into the space to your left, where you will have more room to safely maneuver, and possibly slow down if you catch up to the traffic ahead of you before it starts moving, OR slow down as you have suggested.

    The reason that either of these options is preferable to continuing forward into that slot is that, if you are in the regular traffic lane, the additional width will afford you more ample space and time to avoid hazards that could present themselves which you would not be able to evade inside of a narrow slot. You can also reduce the hazard of that slot by immediately slowing down, as you suggested.

    As to why you might want to continue at your current velocity and move left, instead of slowing down and staying put in the bike lane, I will leave that to your imagination. But I can tell you that, in my experience, long downhills often come in the wake of long uphills, and if you do enough riding you will learn to appreciate the advantages that gravity can afford you in expediting your travels to far off destinations. (It is even sometimes a safety consideration in itself on long road trips through rural areas, to be able arrive at your destination in plenty of time before dark hits, when you would prefer to be safely off the roads.)

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  • Roger Geller November 2, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Antonio Gramsci #78: I\'m not convinced that the demarcation of exclusive rights of way on shared roadways was a crucial factor in the success of cycling in Northern Europe.

    The Dutch believe it is. In a document prepared by the Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat, titled \"Cycling in the Netherlands\", the Dutch find \"a clear link...between bicycle use in a municipality and the quality of the cycling infrastructure.\" (section 1.5)

    The Dutch do not rely solely on separate infrastructure. But, in the Dutch \"Design manual for bicycle traffic,\" published by C.R.O.W., the \"national information and technology platform for infrastructure, traffic, transport and public space,\" it states that \"A bicycle-friendly infrastructure is a necessary prerequisite if the bicycle is to retain and possibly strengthen its full status in the traffic system....Various studies have shown that a good-quality cycling infrastructure actually leads to a higher proportion of bicycles in the modal split.\" It also says that \"...there are other ways to provide cyclists with a safe and comfortable infrastructure than merely separating the various types of traffic. Speed reduction and the introduction of streets with restricted motorised traffic produce the same results in terms of goals.\"

    My read on this is that the Dutch began with separation, expanding their network beginning in the 1970s, achieved an enviable mode split (30-40%), which then provided them the constituency and ability to reduce speeds and restrict traffic.

    When the Dutch talk about reducing speeds (down to 18 mph), they aren\'t just talking about putting speed limit signs on the roadways. They\'re talking about engineering their streets so that cars can\'t easily go faster than that. We talked with Dutch police who said that they will not enforce speed limits unless the roads are designed to support slow speed because otherwise it doesn\'t make sense. That\'s why Dutch police are apparantly often at the table when traffic engineers and planners are designing streets.

    Of course, the Dutch still make ample use of separation with cycle tracks and lanes, while at the same time dramatically expanding their \"30k\" zones (areas of the city where speeds are limited to 30 kph--approximately 18-19 mph) and eliminating cars altogether from some streets. We have neither the constituency nor the funds to do that here.

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  • BURR November 2, 2007 at 11:37 am

    @ #70

    the ability to install a dedicated right turn lane at NW Everett and 16th recently went away because PDOT in their infinite wisdom just installed a curb extension in the exact location a dedicated right turn lane would need to be.

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 11:50 am

    Roger:
    Don\'t get me wrong, I\'m very much a fan of truly dedicated bike facilities. I think they can make for very pleasant outings, and they attract many new riders to cycling, mostly without the disadvantages I\'ve raised in regards to bike lanes (although I think there were some real problems with the infamous \"side paths\" that John Forester inveighed against.)

    I\'m not super familiar with the Dutch infrastructure, but if you told me that Dutch cyclists have responded very favorably to completely separated rights of way, I can certainly believe that. But are we really talking about the same things? There are very few investments in fully separate bike facilities in the US, which a lot of people clamor for, but for which the funding mostly isn\'t there. Instead, we have bike lanes. Please help me on this, as you have obviously studied the European situation much more than most of us.

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Lisa:
    Another factor in this scenario that you might want to consider (the long downhill where you are moving fast in the bike lane with traffic slowed down below you) is that, although you might see no hazards immediately ahead of you, and believe that you will have ample time enough to slow down right before you enter the slot, if you do not take the opportunity to either immediately slow down or merge left, you could potentially soon lose that opportunity, due to overtaking traffic on your left.

    This might have been what happened to Brett, too, ie, rather than deliberately entering it, the \"narrow slot\" might have formed around him, before he even knew it, and no sooner did it form than he encountered a roadway hazard that he didn\'t anticipate and no longer had time or maneuvering space to avoid (ie, the left turning truck ducking into a roadway exit that he possibly wasn\'t even previously aware of the existence of).

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  • Roger Geller November 2, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Antonio #94:
    The Dutch, the Danes, and the Germans, among others, use separation in the form of off-street paths (like the Esplanade/Springwater), streets closed to automobiles, and, more often, cycle tracks and cycle lanes (bike lanes). The Danes, and likley the Dutch, consider cycle lanes to be \"temporary,\" until they can construct true cycle tracks.

    We are not yet in a position where we can wholesale replicate the European systems. Our challenge is to adapt these systems in an American context and make bicycling more attractive to more people. Our approach is based, in part on our understanding of the \"4 Types of Transportation Cyclists.\" If we can create conditions that are comfortable for more people, then we\'ll have more people riding. More people riding means safer conditions for all. It also means that there is then a larger constituency for implementing better--and more expensive--designs, policies, and programs.

    That is essentially what has been happening for the past 15 years and is resulting in the very conversation we are having now. If we hadn\'t seen double-digit growth in bicycle use in each of the past 3 years, if we hadn\'t seen a doubling in bicycle use since 2000, if we hadn\'t seen 11% of trips across the 4 Willamette River Bridges being made by bicycle this past summer, then we likely wouldn\'t really be talking that much about how to make our intersections safe and comfortable for bicycling.

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  • Roger Geller November 2, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Information about increases in bicycle use, mentioned in my last post, can be found in .

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Yes, Roger, I agree with you that we are getting a snowball effect with ridership, and having some growing pains partially as a result of it, and I acknowledge that the infrastructure that has been put in place has accelerated that snowball effect.

    The only point I\'m raising is that, with some of this infrastructure, and with some ill advised laws such as the treatment of bike lanes that has motorists crossing straight over them while executing turns, instead of first merging into them, like they would for any other traffic lane, that we\'ve exacerbated these growing pains, and set ourselves up for some of these problems we now have in spades.

    Could there have been a more finetuned approach, that would have yielded many of the benefits of enhanced comfort levels for new riders and increased ridership, while also minimizing these problems? Could there still be such a balance by revisiting some of these issues and revising such laws, realigning some of these bike lanes, and so on? And could that provide more immediate return on our efforts right now than some of the new infrastructure you are suggesting? Not that these things are all necessarily mutually exclusive.

    I firmly believe, based on my own observations every day, that motorists generally are very successful at executing simple maneuvers such as lane changes. I\'m much less confident of their ability to handle intersections where there are potentially multiple streams of traffic coming at them at once -- a scenario that most traffic control devices are precisely designed to minimize. That is why I think the California treatment of bike lanes -- expecting motorists to first merge like they would into any ordinary traffic lane -- makes much more sense to me.

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  • Roger Geller November 2, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Let\'s try that again, shall we?

    Report on 2007 bicycle counts, also contains historic information.

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  • RyanC. November 2, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    This is my first post, but I thought I\'d put in my 2 cents.

    First I\'d like to say that I am dismayed that Roger is not promoting vehicular cycling (or atleast designing into \"bike facilities\" unrestricted ability to ride in this manner). Almost 100% of the time I ride in this manner and it feels and is very safe. Roger\'s claim that the most skilled and fit cyclists can only ride in this manner is simply false. Whether I\'m riding my 17 lb. road racing bike or hauling grocieres on my 35lb MTB w/ Burley trailer, I ride as a vehicle and it works very well. Even riding at a crawling 10-15 mph with a full load of groceries, lumber, tools, whatever, I am able to briefly overtake cars after signaling, looking back and safely merging to make left-hand turns. I can safely say that many more motorists allow me to make left turns then those that don’t (or blast their horn while speeding past me, although I can almost count that number on one hand, it’s rare).
    I don’t own a car, so everything that an average person does with their car, I do on a bicycle. I need (not just want) mostly unrestricted access to public roadways to continue doing the things any person needs to do (grocery shopping, commuting, etc.). Roads as they are work (mostly) perfectly fine for me, so long as motorists understand my right to use them (they are publicly funded mostly by income and property taxes, not gas taxes and motor vehicle registration.). In return, I can promise motorists that I will ride predictably, use proper lighting at night and follow traffic laws to the best of my abilities. I may have to take a few seconds of their time by taking a lane when it is not safe to share (therefore encouraging/requiring overtaking traffic to pass in the adjacent lane), but I will wait my turn in traffic queues, stop at red lights and stop signs and signal so as to make their driving easier around me.
    The biggest thing I dislike about bike lanes, bike ways and the like is that they separate and therefore discourage cooperation between cyclists and motorists. Cooperation between motorists is the foundation of current motorized transportation; if their was none, there would be gridlock everywhere. VC simply extends the concept to bicycles, which are just another type of vehicle among semi-trucks, motor scooters, motorcycles, minivans, SUVs, farm tractors, equestrians, horse-drawn carriages and other vehicles that the foundational Rules of the Road considers to be users of public roads (with some vehicles of course being more common than others, but nonetheless considered in transportation engineering).
    I also dislike “bike paths” (which are really multi-use paths, MUTs) because they mix bicycles with unpredictable users like rollerbladers, small children, dogs and of course pedestrians. I’d rather ride with motor traffic, at least I can predict more easily what their movements will be. Don’t be fooled into thinking that “bike paths” were built exclusively for cyclists, they never are. They simply throw cyclists into a mix of confusing and unpredictable pedestrian traffic, I find them less safe and more inconvenient.
    Although he is frequently portrayed as a sort of bigot who wants to throw cyclists to the motorized lions, John Forester has probably done the most scientific research I have seen on bicycle transportation and VC. I have yet to see any comprehensive research supporting safety of bikeways, bike paths, bike lanes, etc (much of the few research I have found is fundamentally flawed in it’s statistical evaluation). In my day to day riding, I find they make my travels much more difficult and unsafe, even when pedaling the grocery wagon at 10-12 mph.
    I’ll be moving to Portland in a few months (currently in Eugene), and I hope to see more VC advocacy and design in roads and especially education, although I fear bike segregation is becoming the status quo.

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  • Doug Allen November 2, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Roger, could you answer my questions in the first two paragraphs of #81 above?

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  • Roger Geller November 2, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Doug Allen #81 asks:
    I ride eastbound through the 39th & Clinton bike box every weekday....Why not fix this one, before doing more?

    We intend to fix this one, and also install others along bicycle boulevards, which is what Clinton is. The bike box in this location serves a similar, but different purpose. It is intended to give cyclists priority at this intersection, consistent with its development as a bike boulevard. It also offers safety benefits as would any bike box. It\'s the first one we did (and only one to date). We\'ll redo it to be blue, deeper, and with better signing.

    Have you thought about separate signal phases, as are used at high-volume auto intersections, where bike lanes are to the right of a potential auto right turn?

    Yes, when there is a dedicated right-turn only lane that can be a good treatment. We currently have one at the intersection of NW Broadway and Lovejoy at the head of the Broadway Bridge.

    Many of the intesections we\'ve identified do not have right-turn only lanes, but instead have one lane that combines right turns with straight ahead movements.

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  • Dabby November 2, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    RyanC,

    I tend to differ.

    Roger\'s points on vehicular cycling are right on the mark.

    In my personal opinion, the only real reason to have bike lanes in most areas is to cater to the inexperienced, or more timid of the cyclists, in order to keep them on the road and safer.

    Having a great many years on the road, and a large percentage of those spent daily, all day, on downtown streets, I can see where you are coming from.

    It is easy to think that since you personally can pull off riding in and with traffic, and safely weave in and out of traffic as \"vehicular cycling\" calls for, that everyone else can do it also. I will often catch myself behind a slow moving, weaving cyclist, wondering why they just don\'t pedal faster, go straighter, and move along.

    This is not the case.

    It would be irresponsible to adopt the idea and principles of \"vehicular cycling\" and to expect the majority of our cycling population to pull it off, and actually survive it.

    You think we have deaths on the road now, just wait until the ideas of officers like Ms. Sizer, and Kruger (who appears to be the champion, though it was shut down this year, of this idealism) get implemented.

    I fell very sure that Roger himself realizes this.

    We need to have, sadly, bike lanes everywhere, for everyone to use. ( I am not so into bike lanes at all myself, but I understand why we need them).

    We also need to be able to leave the bike lanes when a hazard, or experience, tells us we should, with no fear of retribution by a police force bent on enforcing silly, personal interpretations of ordinances. (such are the profiling (which could and should be considered racist against cyclists) actions of our police force in regards to ticketing cyclists)

    These two things when combined should not force into dangerous situations unexperienced cyclists, which is what a true \"vehicular cycling \" concept will do when implemented.

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  • JayS. November 2, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Dabby is right on this time.

    I ride a tandem with a child seat so I have myself and two kids on board for over half my 100+ commuting miles a week. We travel straight and stop for signs and lights We travel on bike blvds and residential streets as much as possible. We love bike lanes when we are on busy streets and I think drivers appreciate them in that situation too. We generaly ride 10-15MPH so that travel lane is a huge boon for us. I do ride VC style when forced ie. to make left turns or in places where bike lanes appear and dissapear or when traveling alone in traffic. I know many parents who would ride more if they felt safer Rodgers work is continuing to pave the way. Thanks for remembering that not everyone who rides (or wants to ride) can travel at the pace of auto traffic the more you consider us in your planning the more of us you will see.

    I look forward to the day when the morning and afternoon traffic is trailers, tandems and utility bikes being passed by solo bike commuters traveling alongside auto commuters and transit in harmony.

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  • Lisa November 2, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Roger, why can\'t a phased/differentiated signal work when the auto lane is both turning right and going straight? Couldn\'t you have a signal with a green arrow pointing ahead and a red light pointing right when the bike lane has a green light? If this were triggered only by the actual presence of a bike in the bike lane, then it would not delay any care more than is already required by law (in theory).

    Thanks.

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  • Roger Geller November 2, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Lisa #105:

    The way to handle a situation like that could also be with a bike advance signal, which would allow waiting cyclists to go first.

    The problem with the \"straight-arrow\" \"right-turn arrow\" approach from the same lane is that once you reach a point in line where the person at front wants to go right, then everybody has to stop and wait for them. That\'s not necessarily a bad thing, though it would play havoc with the movement of motorists at an intersection and result in very few motorists being able to get through when the light turns green.

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  • Lisa November 2, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    But that\'s already true now, isn\'t it? The only difference is that instead of the driver who wants to turn having to look for a bicyclist behind and to the right, the red light would signal that the bicylist is coming through.

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  • rekon November 2, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Roger,

    As a very active bike commuter, my commute from Sellwood to Gresham includes the SE Clinton/39th intersection. This has been a part of my route for the past 4 years. I can honestly say that I don\'t recall when the bike boxes were added to the SE Clinton and 39th intersection. Since the time that I finally became aware of their appearance and then my later understanding of their intended purpose I can say that while they are not 100 percent effective in regards to how motor vehicles address them, I will say that they are an improvement. Bring on the bike boxes!

    I\'d like to reiterate my statement about my not being aware of their appearance, and more importantly that for quite awhile their purpose was also unknown to me. While it has already been stated by others, I would strongly recommend that some form public service announcement campaign needs to be launched prior to and in conjunction with the implementation of the bike boxes. I think that a series of brief television commercials that explains and physically shows the intended use of bike boxes, particularly regarding the roles of all users (motor vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians) is needed. Without some form of broad reaching public explanation, I am afraid that very few people will notice or understand the purpose of the new paint and signs on the street...just as I didn\'t.

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  • Lisa November 2, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    I\'m thinking of carrying my own portable \"no right turn\" signal on a pole projecting up and forward from my handlebars by about 30 feet. (Antonio: I\'m slow enough that 30 feet would probably be enough.)

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  • RyanC. November 2, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    In response to Dabby:

    I certainly don\'t think (although I didn\'t convey that in my first post) that everyone can ride as I do, as I admit I am an experienced cyclist. I also realize after my first post (couldn\'t find a way to edit) that I incorrectly stated Roger\'s portrayal of VC cyclists. But what never seems to be discussed when deciding what is most safe for beginning cyclists is education. There isn\'t a whole lot of skills that need to be learned to ride in a VC manner on most downtown streets, a lot of it is identical to driving skills, which most people are accustomed to just fine. On faster, multi-lane roads, of course it requires more skill, but taking a slow approach can certainly make it possible to navigate safely and efficiently. As more people do it, you can certainly count on more motorists becoming more aware and accomodating of it, which will make seemingly complicated maneuvers in traffic a lot easier. Again it\'s cooperation, which already exists between motorists to a degree high enough that motorized traffic isn\'t at a constant gridlock.

    I don\'t \"weave\" through traffic, I change lanes and merge just like other vehicles, signaling and yielding as necessary. I\'m not trying to be pedantic, but words like this have a weasel effect, intended or not, that often portrays VC as more hazardous and difficult than it really is.

    I will often catch myself behind a slow moving, weaving cyclist, wondering why they just don\'t pedal faster, go straighter, and move along.
    Instead of thinking \"why don\'t they move faster or get out of the way\", why not \"how can I pass them\"? Bicycles aren\'t the only vehicles that travel slower than other traffic. Mail trucks, stalled cars, farm tractors and slowly-accelerating triple-trailer semi-trucks all hold up traffic, often more so than bicycles, but I never see a public outcry to get them. Just as it is instilled in faster drivers (mostly motorists) to pass these vehicles appropriately, it can be instilled that cyclists must be treated the same, they are just another type of slow-moving vehicle. Conversely, cyclists can be encouraged to put their safety first, and cooperate as much as possible to facilitate easy passing of faster vehicles. Road design (no bike lanes needed) can make this very easy.

    It would be irresponsible to adopt the idea and principles of \"vehicular cycling\" and to expect the majority of our cycling population to pull it off, and actually survive it.

    Adopting the principles is not irresponsible if the education component and public awareness is first implimented. Otherwise, it\'s not doing really anything, since the VC style of riding requires few special facilities (but does benefit from wide curb lanes). So implimenting VC is actually mostly education and public awareness. Doing it in the manner you seem to imply would probably be more along the lines of anti-cycling advocacy (or lack of cycling advocacy), telling cyclists they\'re on their own or to just \"ride with traffic\".

    We need to have, sadly, bike lanes everywhere, for everyone to use. ( I am not so into bike lanes at all myself, but I understand why we need them).

    Do we need them or do we think we need them? Is it not irresponsible to promote a sense of safety rather than actual safety? Specifically, it has yet to be shown scientifically and statistically that bike lanes improve safety, but it can be argued that they make cycling more dangerous by encouraging motorists and cyclists to violate the foundational Rules of the Road principles. Wide curb lanes provide the same space as roads with bike lanes, and people who wish to ride as if there are bike lanes can choose to do so, but it helps remove the assumption that bicycles should always ride next to the curb \"where they belong\" as some motorists would like to believe and gives plenty of passing room. The ambiguity also tends to make motorists attentively pass cyclists, rather than hugging the white line assuming there is plenty of room, “because the cyclists is in their lane, the motorist in theirs.”

    Take a good look at the two recent fatalities and consider the possibilities. I\'m not trying to use these two tragedies to advance a political position, but consider the design factors of the bike facilities and how they may have contributed to the accidents. Motorists currently are required to yield to then cross another lane of traffic (albiet exclusively bicycles, but nonetheless traffic) to make right turns; cyclists, some easily riding 20 mph (as was likely in Brett\'s case) must overtake on the right. Both these movements directly violate established traffic principles, so it is no surprise (to me at least) that their are accidents occurring, and unfortunately deadly ones. Sure, we have laws that explicitly state motorists must yield to bicycles in bike lanes, but it\'s not what people are used to and not what logically works (traffic principles, including speed positioning with faster traffic to the left have been studied and refined for many decades to correspond to people\'s natural thought patterns and logic, this is a major part of transportation engineering). Because of this, I won\'t ride in bike lanes when I\'m riding at a certain speed (not necessarily at the speed of traffic), I avoid passing on the right and I won\'t use \"bike boxes\". They don\'t make sense in my mind, probably not in a lot motorists minds and make travel for me much more difficult.

    The assumption that you must ride at the speed of traffic to ride as a VC is simply not true. It is driving a slow-moving vehicle, just specifically a bicycle. There are times when a cyclist becomes pretty much a regular vehicle (more fit riders or anyone riding downhill), and bike lanes and MUTs do not facilitate this. I think the more people that do it, the more it will snowball into simply “the right way to ride”, which could quickly make law-breaking and dangerous cyclists both an actual and perceptual minority (particularly the motorists’ perception of the cycling majority), so the education part probably isn\'t as daunting as some people might think. Formal education could simply fill in the gaps and fine-tune cyclists’ riding skills. You can’t say this won’t work until you actually try it, and so far I have yet to see a committed effort to do this, and I will keep my opinions and theories of why this is to myself to avoid unnecessary argument.

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  • RyanC. November 2, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    As stated in
    \"In any case, I think one needs a much more compelling argument than this anecdotal and dubious causal inference to justify creating potentially dangerous conflicts between road users such as Oregon law currently does in mandating that motorists must cross over bike lanes to execute turns without merging -- a truly monumental blunder in traffic safety planning, as far as I can see. Indeed, a blunder which is right now precipitating a costly and wideranging scheme for new roadway infrastructure in our city to compensate for the dangers it has created.\"

    Well said, that\'s what seems to be unfolding as of lately. Bike lanes, assumed to be among the safest way (or only way) or facilitating cyclists, are now simply being fine-tuned to be a little safer in the public\'s view, with nary a glance outside the \"bike box\" (sorry, had to throw in that stupid pun) as to what else might improve safety. An engineering blunder indeed, I wonder when (if?) real science will ever go into bicycle transportation designs.

    Good posts, I realize I might have reiterated some of your points. It is truly a shame when bike lanes and \"facilities\" backfire and actually restrict cyclist access to needed and essential routes simply because a bike lane isn\'t there. No bike lane = no bikes allowed in a lot of people\'s minds, I can\'t see much good ever coming of them. Indeed the only times I\'ve felt a motorist might swipe me or hit me from behind was encountering a militant motorist that truly believed I had no right to be on his/her roads (that his/her gas taxes and vehicle registration of course pay for completely :) ). And that\'s pretty rare.

    I also have to agree that I don\'t expect bike lanes to disappear anytime soon, I\'m more of a realist and pragmatic \"lifestyle\" cyclist. But cars are here to stay, and bicycles are here to stay, we need to find the best way to ensure they all get along with maximum benefit to each party.

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  • Dabby November 2, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    It appears that you have taken certain terminologies I used loosely, and done everything in your power to turn them against me.

    Weaving, in the use of Vehicular bicycling, is changing position within the lane you occupy, in order to move past hazards.

    I do not speak of weaving from lane to lane......

    This is only the start of the problems with what you have typed in response to my response to you.

    I have a fabulous date with a great girl, and do not have time right now to point it all out.

    Perhaps tomorrow I will explain more.

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  • RyanC. November 2, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Response to Dabby,

    I simply stated that the language you used can have certain implications, intended or unintended. Turned them against you? I have done nothing of the sort. \"Weaving\" is not a term I have ever seen in vehicular cycling terminology (anything official); on the contrary VC encourages riding in a consistent, straight line once you\'ve established your correct lateral position on the road. From the context of your post you implied it (at least to me) as a way of changing lanes, as in dodging cars or moving erratically. When I hear people speak of a car weaving through traffic, I think of a reckless or aggressive driver, but that\'s just me. If that\'s not what you meant then just clarify, don\'t sensationalize this into some personal attack, I was very careful not to personally attack/insult anyone. This is the exact problem I speak of, when people use ambiguous or inconsistent terminology, and all the bicycle transportation contraversies are certainly rife with them. The meaning is interpreted differently. I would say this is only the beginning of your problems.

    As for my \"problems\", I simply provided a phrase by phrase response to your post, mentioning a few statistical facts (I\'ll cite some sources if you like, I didn\'t provide any specific statistics for simple brevity).

    I\'m very happy for you and your girl, have a great date! Your personal matters nor you (apparently) taking personal offense to me simply disagreeing with you won\'t change where I stand on these issues. By all means, I await your full response. Please express the same civility and respect I have extended to you. If you have some facts to argue from, then great, bring them to this discussion. Arguments from emotions prove and solve nothing.

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  • gene November 2, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    RyanC,
    Two things:

    1. You state in your message to Dabby to \"Please express the same civility and respect I have extended to you.\" From the previous posts I have read from Dabby over the last year, I would expect nothing less from him.

    2. I do not intend to sound harsh, but may I suggest including more paragraph breaks in your comments (i.e. do not use run-on paragraphs.) Your presentation makes it hard to read and understand your ideas and thus easy for others to ignore.

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  • RyanC. November 2, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    Response to gene,

    Good to know; as far as the layout, I was trying to use the HTML features without success, and the forum doesn\'s seem to allow editing posts, otherwise my posts would be a lot neater. Sorry, you\'ll have to bear with me.

    -Ryan

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    I\'m a lot like Ryan described himself: a cyclist who does not own a car and relies exclusively on a bicycle for transportation. But I was not always so. I started about ten years ago (in San Diego, which altho home to John Forester, is not a place known as well for its bike culture as Portland!), and sold my car seven years ago. I was fortunate to join a bike related internet mailing list and stumble upon people discussing vehicular cycling -- which I was initially very sceptical of, but upon closer examination, I found that it made sense and worked well for me.

    That being said, I\'m not a religious evangelist about these things, only insistent on doing what works and seems to be safe for me, and not being bullied out of it by ill-advised fashions or schemes that come up now and again.

    However, I don\'t see why these things must be made mutually exclusive, and why we cannot have a mix of well planned facilities, some of which cater to recreational riders looking for a respite from traffic, such as multiuse paths, some of which cater to novice cyclists psychologically, such as reasonable bike lanes, and some of which foster civility and efficient and safe use of the roadway for all users, such as sound educational efforts for both cyclists AND motorists.

    Unfortunately, the balanced mix I\'m suggesting is not present right now, and I\'m concerned that the tilt in the current direction towards drawing more painted lines, to correct for existing, ill advised painted lines, and even more ill advised Oregon statutes, is accelerating instead of slowing down.

    My wish list, then, would be for:

    1) A change in the current bike lane law that has motorists turning straight across it instead of using directional positioning as I and Ryan have discussed, which the California law gets right

    2) A funding effort to bring the best proven practices of both safe cycling and driving to the widest public, together with campaigns to improve roadway civility, which could embolden more cyclists to share the roads both safely and lawfully with motorists.

    3) A methodical study and rethinking of existing bike infrastructure, with a mind towards learning what really works and doesn\'t work (and specifically what works and doesn\'t work here, not just in Europe! not that I\'m opposed to learning from others, too). We can then adjust our plans and existing infrastructure according to what we learn from that study.

    I realize that Roger is citing studies here in support of his ideas. However, I\'m not sure that the kinds of studies that I have in mind, grounded in both local anecdotal and statistical evidence on accidents and safety, have really happened.

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  • RyanC. November 2, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Roger,

    As stated in post #65, your mention of vehicular cycling is incorrect. VC is riding according to the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, not motor vehicles specifically. The rules of the road were never specifically designed for motorized vehicles (in fact they came around before cars even existed) and applied to bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, and buggies at the time of their implementation. The basic principles still hold today (tractors, semi-trucks driving up mountain passes, bicycles and other slow-moving vehicles taking the place of buggies and horse-drawn carriages). It may seem pedantic, but it is crucial to acknowledge the differences and specifics, especially when legal concerns come into play (no such thing as pedantics there). I highly suggest you revise your article appropriately, you can easily open up avenues of needless controversy with even modestly incorrect statements like this.

    I have some specific questions, some reiterating previous questions to some extent.

    1. Have you (and to what extent) considered education in and of itself (for both cyclist and motorists) as a means of increasing safety and also encouraging more cyclists?

    2. When taking polls of peoples\' opinions on comfort and what they want in bicycle facilities, have you at least considered the possibility (I am not claiming anything to be particularly true or factual) that people\'s opinions might at least be partially affected or biased from misinformation, social taboos, ignorance of traffic laws, fear of motorized traffic, etc. and could change if shown scientific evidence to the contrary?

    3. As a follow-up question, how much of a role does scientific evidence and statistics specific to the Portland area and the traffic conditions and designs in the designs you are proposing? Also, to what extent are standardized transportation engineering principles being applied?

    4. If, for example, it could be definitively shown that through science and statistics that bike lanes, paths (well, MUTs really) and other facilities markedly increased safety for beginner cyclists, these facilities would still not serve VCs well. There is ample scientific evidence to prove that without a doubt. Given that, do you have plans to accomodate vehicular cyclists, through education, advocacy or whatever means in leiu of these facilities? This is probably the most important question for me personally and likely all other VCs; the possibility of either getting the majority of cyclists to ride according to VC or to definitely prove bike facilities are more dangerous is an unknown as far as I can tell at this point (the willingness for the majority of cyclists to ride as VCs is unknown, and from what I\'ve read, statistically proving the safety of bike facilities in a definitive manner is very difficult). Either scenario could lead to me being able to ride as a VC unrestricted, without me necessarily supporting either. Assuming neither scenario pans out, I see only specific attention given to VCs as a means of allowing us to ride in the way we are accustomed to, which is of course according to existing traffic laws and statistically the safest. Revising laws that require bike lane use and using whatever means to educate motorists and police that we are not restricted to bike lanes (or only roads with bike lanes) seems to be the prominent first steps. I would very much like to know if this is being considered. If people continue to want bike lanes and other facilities, I would at least like to continue riding as a VC without legal ramifications or relentless harassment from motorists or law enforcement. From my point of view, fixation on bike facilities is exacerbating this and deserves considerable attention.

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  • Antonio Gramsci November 2, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Roger: I have the highest respect for a public servant who tries to earnestly improve situations where others are clamoring for changes to improve safety, as I believe you are trying to do right now. I\'m trying to read and reread what you\'ve written, and I realize you\'ve done some extensive study of these issues that I don\'t want to be dismissive about.

    However, I DO think that YOU ARE BEING somewhat DISMISSIVE in your article above in a certain sense, or possibly caving to the immediate passions and pressures which you are understandbly experiencing, when you say things like

    \"There are places in Portland where we have dropped bicycle lanes before an intersection. We hear many complaints from cyclists where that occurs. We don’t do it to create safe conditions for cyclists. Instead, we drop bicycle lanes in order to better serve motorists at the intersection. Typically dropping the bicycle lane in order to add an additional turn lane.\"

    I actually truly think that in such a scenario, it is often much safer for a cyclist to NOT be attempting to run a narrow gauntlet between parked cars and vehicles turning right, and to IN FACT MERGE left into through traffic lanes -- much as some novice riders might complain about that prospect (and as I can recall myself complaining about it once upon a time!) Having those cars lined up to turn can be A GOOD THING, by eliminating this very unwise option altogether.

    I would truly like to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but I\'m becoming more and more of the opinion that you are mostly responding to intense pressures on you right now by attempting to quickly cobble together a series of somewhat novel proposals for fixing or working around the adverse results of other, previously quickly introduced and novel proposals, some of which did NOT work.

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  • Roger Geller November 2, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Antonio #117:

    I would truly like to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but I\'m becoming more and more of the opinion that you are mostly responding to intense pressures on you right now by attempting to quickly cobble together a series of somewhat novel proposals for fixing or working around the adverse results of other, previously quickly introduced and novel proposals, some of which did NOT work.

    Antonio, I think we\'re just going to disagree here, and you should give me the benefit of the doubt. There are no intense pressures on me. I am not quickly cobbling anything together. Rather, I am working to introduce designs, of which I\'ve been long familiar, because they have been proven to contribute to conditions that are both comfortable and safe and thus encourage increased ridership.

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  • danc November 2, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    from Richard Moeur, AZ PE: Bicycle Facility Design, Jan 2007 on Education [slides 94, 95, 96 & 97]

    #94
    • Education can be far more effective in improving behavior and safety than any
    facility type or traffic control device
    • Education programs can be far cheaper than signs, markings, asphalt, & concrete

    #95
    • Education can be effective in reducing high-risk behaviors:
    • Wrong-way cycling
    • Sidewalk cycling
    • Nighttime operation without lights

    #96
    • However, most cyclists do not take advantage of education, even if available
    • Widespread perception: \"I know how to pedal & stop -what else is there?

    #97
    League of American Bicyclists
    • Targeted programs for adults, kids, motorists, commuters
    • Certified instructors
    • Peer-reviewed national curriculum
    • Classroom & \"hands-on\" modules
    http://www.bikeleague.org/

    What is so hard about spending 10 hours of learn how to drive your bike according to the rules of the road and protect yourself? Painting stripes and other engineering \"facilities\" may help a few feel more comfortable but it can not replace skills for handling intersections and dealing with the unexpected.

    Peace Out!

    DanC

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  • RyanC. November 2, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Response to #117
    Rather, I am working to introduce designs, of which I\'ve been long familiar, because they have been proven to contribute to conditions that are both comfortable and safe and thus encourage increased ridership.

    Roger, I have not seen a good, peer-reviewed research paper that supports this. If you could provide a link or reference, I would appreciate it. I have seen only one paper by Prof. John Pucher which attempted to evaluate the safety (and causes of increased bicycling) in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, but suffered from fundamental flaws, specifically the logical and statistical fallacy that correlation does not represent causation. This concept is not specific to this discussion, it is a fundamental aspect of statistical analysis that must always be avoided, or else provide erroneous conclusions. Beyond this paper, I have only seen very basic comparisons of accidents per capita, per miles ridden, per hours ridden, etc. between the U.S. and European countries without any other considerations and naive conclusions that their bicycle facilities must have provided this (no mention of attitudes or cultural implications). Again this is simply correlation that does not prove causation.

    I so greatly emphasize the use of science and statistical analysis with designing bicycle transportation because, quite frankly, modern transportation would not be what it is today without it, as I no doubt assume you probably already know. The very reasons that people can drive their cars, RVs, motorcycles, etc. with only a modest amount of problem solving and thinking is the result of carefully and meticulously designed transportation systems and networks. I see no reason why this cannot be applied to bicycle transportation.

    I also agree with Antonio that bike facilities and VC are not mutually exclusive in all regards, but I think the most scientifically-proven method for safety and efficiency should be given priority. So far, VC has been the only method that I have been able to retrieve good statistical analysis and scientific data from. My own experiences prove at least to me that it is the safest way to ride (I of course won\'t speak for others according to my own anecdotal experiences).

    If the situation is as you say, and there aren\'t external pressures to \"cobble together\" quick fixes to emerging problems (possibly fueled by the emotions of a vocal \"majority\"), I don\'t see how there can be many obstacles to this approach, yet, as Antonio speculated, there seems to be this possibility.

    I would implore you to take all available scientific data and information into account when considering any given design aspect, not just polls of public opinion. Again, if you have good scientific resources to prove your points and intents thusfar (to me proof is a bold and definitive statement, and a lot of people in science or engineering fields will make the same interpretation), please share.

    As others have stated, education seems to be continuely underemphasized. Simple public awareness goes along way, and voluntary classes and lectures are no different than defensive-driving classes, which have proven very effective in their own regard. No tranportation system will ever work if people cannot or will not obey basic traffic laws, so education must always be a component in transportation design.

    -Ryan

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  • Dabby November 3, 2007 at 12:11 am

    Ryan,

    A few things you should know about me.

    I personally really do not give a crap about stats, or scientific research on vehicular cycling, or on much of anything in general. There are enough people paying attention to, cutting and pasting from, and seemingly gleaming all of their pertinent info from these already.

    I do not go to web sites or books, discover info, then come back here and point to it in comments.

    I also very much trust Roger\'s ability to diagnose such information, and to use such stats and research to present the best options for our city.
    I have had discussions with him on some of these same subjects, and trust his judgment, and back him 100%.

    I base what I say on my \"EYE\'S WIDE OPEN\" approach to cycling in Portland.

    I write about what I think, what I see, and sometimes, what I know.

    I know that placing yourself in a straight line,and keeping that consistent, as I believe you put it, is great for racing cars.

    But for riding a bicycle in the ever changing environment that we have to deal with, nothing is more impractical.

    Proper vehicular cycling (not the kind you read about in a book, but practical application) takes movement (which, when thought about, appears a lot like weaving).

    Taking the lane when moving the speed of traffic, if there is no bike lane.

    Pulling to the right as far as safely possible, so as to let faster traffic pass.

    Passing, on the right, slower traffic (which is very legal in our city).

    Passing on the left those vehicles waiting to make a right hand turn, when you are going straight.

    Pulling into and taking command of your space, or making your presence know, when turning right or left, or even going straight.

    Changing lanes legally to avoid hazards.

    Being prepared to get yourself out of an emergency traffic situation.

    HEAD CHECK! HEAD CHECK! HEAD CHECK! All the time, then once again for good measure.

    These are but a few examples of true, non-clinical, on the street, staying alive, vehicular cycling.

    These are also high on the list of things I would hope that no cyclist who has a sliver of intimidation about, or has never experienced, riding in traffic, would attempt.

    I also mentioned that I was with you on the dislike of bike lanes, but that they are a needed thing for the less experienced.

    I am also with you in wishing that more people would ride this way, but that is very impractical, and as I mentioned, deadly.

    I know that my writing style may be hard to interpret, if not sometimes impossible.

    I do not follow the standard rules of english very often. I write nothing to please anyone, half the time I kinda disagree with myself. (Ok, you must admit that was kinda funny)

    I also use \"I\" too much. (the same \"problem\" that Kurt Vonnugut was accused of many many times in his life) and we know where that got him.

    In conclusion, I feel that my many years on our city streets, combined with an open mind and open eyes, have given me a lot of insight into \"Portland\'s\" cycling problems.

    When I hear of more than four cyclists dying (Counting the one in Hillsboro), or having their lives threatened on our city streets within the time span of three short weeks, I feel it is my duty to pass on what I see , hear , and think. And feel.

    No pulling punches, no taking baby steps, lay it out there for all to read.

    As far as me taking personal offense to you, that is unfounded.
    You have certainly merely misinterpreted what I meant.

    Which is not difficult to do.

    All of you, have a good day.

    And ride safe.

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  • RyanC. November 3, 2007 at 1:18 am

    Dabby,

    I will sign off for the night with a final message (I\'ve been working on a website all day, checking this forum periodically; I usually don\'t spend this much time in front of the computer :) ).

    I understand where you are coming from. Science and numbers and statistics can only go so far; I personally think little of the numbers and graphs and whatnot when I\'m actually riding (save for a few counter-intuitive low risk aspects of VC that has given me the confidence to ride in this way, and with the least amount of worries possible).

    Dispensing with the semantics, I think we are on a lot of common ground, but of different outlooks on the situation at large, and that can certainly be attributed to experiences, successes and failures, etc. I tend to have a positive outlook on this situation, but I\'ve also never had a collision with a motor vehicle (knocking on wood) in 6-7 years of road riding/training, fixed gear bar-hopping (many stupid and unsafe adventures), and transportation/commuting. Even when I was riding stupidly and naively, always hugging the curb, running stop signs, whatever, I only had a few close calls. So VC has put a tremendous amount of control and feeling of safety whenever I ride, and for me it\'s pretty fun.

    I speak in scientific (and sometimes overly-verbose) terms in an effort to atleast destroy the assumption that the majority of cyclists are lawless hippies, drunken bums that had their drivers licenses revoked, freeloaders, euro-trash racer wannabes, whatever the assumption of the non-cycling public may be. There are educated, responsible, tax-paying, law-abiding cyclists out their that can make a strong case to atleast set up the foundational structure to allow for safer riding and unrestricted access.

    Of course their are situations where the science be damned and instinct has to take over. If I\'m taking a lane because it\'s not safe for cars to share the lane with me, but there\'s a big gravel truck barreling down the road with no apparent intention to slow down, you be I\'m getting the crap out of the way! For me that\'s common sense, I not going to be \"dead right\", I don\'t ride to make a statement to motorists (or other cyclists), I ride to be safe and to just freaking have fun. For most of my riding time, that\'s in a VC manner (but never truly \"by the book\", I\'m not perfect), but as situations change, so do my actions.

    The science has to be a guideline, but it can only be taken so far. What concerns me most right now is taking the emotional, instinctual or perceptual part too far with the fundamentals of transportation design. It can have such a gripping effect that a lot of rational and critical thinking is lost. You always have to ask questions. All the possibilities of this discussion weigh in on my thinking: social taboos, scientifically-sound designs, appeal to authority, public hysteria, real-world practicality, correct conclusions of statistical data, whether that UPS truck up ahead is going to California stop me into the pavement......!! There\'s probably nothing I fear more than my own ignorance, especially of the ideals and lifestyle choices I value the most. That applies to the scientific discussion as well as the real-world riding (and everywhere in between).

    My personality and thinking process can sometimes be \"too logical\", to the point that people might think I\'m naive, aloof or unimaginative. In practice, I\'m not like this, but my methods of communicating or arguing a point can be my shortcomings, especially in online discussion forums.

    Try to believe that there is more potential for cooperation among cyclists and even between us and motorists, and I\'ll try not to come off as patronizing or condescending, this is never my intention but I sometimes come off like this. You don\'t have to be a maverick constantly battling thundering motor traffic on your own, just trying to stay alive. All those cars are filled with real people, most who would be horrified to kill or maim a cyclist (or any other person for that matter). It\'s not a wild stampede of buffalo or a war zone, each driver has the ability to think for themselves, sometimes we just need to wake them up. The more we put real faces on cyclists and portray them as responsible people just trying to get places or to have fun, the less others will try to portray us as freeloading hippies with nothing to lose but our pride and lives.

    Maybe I\'m too optimistic, or see good in people that doesn\'t exist, but until I see otherwise, I\'ll keep assuming I can work with and cooperate with motorists, cyclists and whoever else needs to use our public roads. Hopefully they can do the same for me. Good night all.

    -Ryan

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  • Kurt Runzler November 3, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Roger: I keep seeing the statement from PDOT that \"more bike riders means safer conditions for all\" but to me its a non sequitur. If there were 1,000 more people bike commuting on Barbur Blvd Monday morning would it be safer than on the preceeding Friday? If there were 2,000 on Monday morning would it be twice as safe? If you are simply dividng the number of crashes into a larger number of bike riders, and concluding that a lower crash rate is the direct result of more people riding, I\'m not sure that follows. I think there is some faulty logic there that PDOT is going to get called on at some point.

    Also, there are many calls here for motorist education, which is sorely needed. But I\'m always amazed by the amount of dangerous, illegal, and downright foolish riding I see daily by bike riders. Its a two way street, so to speak. Thanks for all your hard work.

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  • jacque November 4, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for proving my point WSbob.
    I can just see you now, with your eyes closed, and your fingers in your ears, going la la la la la.

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  • jacque November 4, 2007 at 9:42 am

    wsbob...
    My post 125 was not intended for this discussion but rather the one about the hillsboro crash. Sorry to confuse things here...
    :-)

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  • RyanC. November 4, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    Just throwing this out as food for thought, I\'ll try and make this my last long message:

    My VC experience

    I haven’t been a vehicular cyclist (or aspiring one) for that long, maybe about a year or two. It also wasn’t long ago that I exclusively drove a car for transportation, and bicycles were toys for me. I started mountain biking in high school, slowly upgrading to nicer parts, clothes, etc. and getting more into it. I largely ignored road cycling, I was a mountain biker, which is the “opposite” of a lycra-clad road snob (oh the ridiculous arguments of who is better in Mountain Bike magazine, et al).
    I remember getting my first POS Honda Crapback in high school; everyone drove in their own car 1-2 miles to school including me, causing a mini-traffic jam that required 20-30 minutes for the unlucky few that got out of class late just to get out of the freaking parking lot, probably about twice the time to just walk to school! I road to school maybe a handful of times before getting my car, and oh the 3 miles was torture compared to driving, which was maybe 5 minutes faster, if at all.

    I got my first job at a bike shop when I was 17, and of course I drove to work. After some of my co-workers started heckling me for always driving, I started riding my knobby-tired MTB the 10 miles (one-way) to work, which was quite a chore, but it whipped me into shape. I road in bike lanes all the time, or else hugged the curb no matter what. I had a fair amount of close calls, all the usual stuff: right hooks when passing on the right at intersections, left hooks from oncoming turning traffic, feeling squeezed to the curb (because I always rode within inches of it).

    A year later, I finally saved enough pennies to get a nice road bike, and I had the privilege of employee purchases to get something a lot nicer than what I could otherwise afford. Holy crap, road bikes are fast! Liberating, effortless, efficient. My commute time was pretty much cut in half. I continued riding as I did before, and not surprisingly to me now, I had increased conflicts with cars, though I never had a collision (I attribute this to pure luck and maybe a little more attentiveness, but still a lack of traffic skill). All the above mentioned conflicts were much more frequent. Eventually I started to learn the patterns of when and where (not truly why) these near-collisions were happening. I adopted a “survivalist” riding style with the assumption that I was confined to bike lanes. I assumed (I had to) that every car I passed on the right would flip their turn signal on at the last second and swerve in front of me, so I slowed down considerably at intersections. When riding in a bike lane along a row of parallel-parked cars, I had to assume any given car door could fly open and knock me down, so I tried (in vain) to look in each rear window to see if a person was in the car (pretty much impossible with tinted windows) to anticipate when to dodge a car door (of course ignoring the fact that I would have to dodge directly into traffic to my left without any warning or hand signal). This of course consumed most of my attention, so I couldn’t feasibly pay much attention to the rest of traffic. I simply concluded that this is just cycling; it’s just difficult and I would have to accept that. Cars are an unstoppable stampede of buffalo, and I had better stay out of their way under all costs.

    Like Antonio, when first hearing and reading about vehicular cycling, I was skeptical. I’m supposed to “drive” my bike, bikes are ridden! Drive my bike like a car? How’s that work? The more I read, the more things started to make sense, and the more my experience with driving a car (though not much, I hadn’t been driving for more than 5-6 years) started to connect with my riding. No, don’t drive your bike like a car, as I read, drive it as a vehicle according to the Rules of the Road for drivers of vehicles. It was pretty weird at first, as it contradicted my previous riding style. The wording also seemed redundant and pedantic, but I quickly realized it was intended to clarify an easily confused and politically-spun topic.

    Overtaking cars at first seemed impossibly stupid; they’re just going to smash me into road kill, what chance does a frail cyclist like me have against 2 tons of heartless, unstoppable motor vehicle? The question would later become irrelevant, as the nature of transportation unfolded and the concept of cooperating with motorists became apparent. The more I signaled, stopped at red lights, lined up in the traffic queue according to where I wanted to go, the more motorists seemed to just let me do what I needed to do to go where I wanted to go. People still honk at me every so often, even more rarely yell, but overall I’ve seen much fewer conflicts. I took a defensive driving class in high school (parents required it before I could get my license), and I’m amazed at how much of it carries over to cycling in traffic. Just like defensive driving talks of controlling traffic behind you, VC talks of “taking the lane” as a means of doing this to ensure your safety when road conditions necessitate this (not to needlessly block traffic as some might accuse you of). The amount of hazards and obstacles you have to concentrate on or avoid is considerably less, I never thought riding could be this easy. Assessing and evaluating hazards is actually manageable.

    Lately I’ve been making a concerted effort to follow traffic laws as completely (and probably a little unnecessarily) as possible, in an effort to show motorists that I can and will ride predictably and lawfully, so long as they let me go where I need to go and respect my rights. It seems to be working great. I rode Amtrak up yesterday morning from Eugene to Portland and then from Union Station to Tigard to visit my parents. I rode up fifth street to Terwilleger (construction made it kind of a challenge, but not unmanageable). I was pulling the Burley trailer on my cross bike, so my speed was handicapped, often to about 10-12 mph up some of the short rises in downtown. I signaled every lane change, stopped at every traffic light and lined up in the traffic queue with cars rather than weaving my way through to the front. No honks, no yelling, no confusion. Everyone just let me be. Even riding through suburban Beaverton on Scholls Ferry and into Tigard, no problems to speak of. I avoided a lot of bike lanes crossing 217 on Hall Blvd. in Tigard and lined up with traffic. I would let people merge in front of me when they needed to and when traffic got a little congested, and it worked great. I was patient with other drivers, they were patient with me, it’s just cooperation. It’s sounds cheesy, but I have been amazed at the civility of people when you show a willingness to work with them.

    The times I rode in bike lanes were mostly uphill or when I was moving less than 12-15 mph for extended periods, but they were mostly immaterial. Up Terwilliger, I just thought of myself as a semi-truck moving up a mountain pass, riding as far to the right as reasonable and safe, allowing people to pass me as easily as was practicable. Going down, I would generally use the whole lane, as my speed would get closer to 30 mph and I would need the extra room to maneuver. I’ve gotten better at ignoring bike lanes (as I stated are immaterial to me) and riding where it’s actually safe to ride. I won’t run the “gauntlets” between stopped cars and parked cars, like the bike lanes will direct me (getting “doored” in these situations can be deadly, I’m not joking) and when my speed increases, I’ll generally leave the bike lane or ride further to the left (especially since so many residential bike lanes, i.e. the gutters, are filled with debris, storm drains and other hazards).

    I’ll never go back to riding the way I used to, and I’ll do everything in my power to preserve my right to do so. If people really want bike lanes, then so be it, just let me ride as a vehicle driver. Like Antonio, I don’t want to be an evangelist for VC or force people to ride in any particular way, but I will not ride according to the way bike lanes tell me to ride because it is not safe (for me at least, but in my opinion for a lot of others as well). I want the respect and legal protection afforded to me as a driver of a vehicle and I will follow traffic laws in an effort to maintain this. If bicycle transportation designs on streets continue as they are now, I suggest the following things:

    1. Fully disclose all dangers of bike lanes without any bias. Include all dangers of parked car doors, right hooks, speed limits (most bike lanes cannot be ridden safely at more than 10-12 mph, at least from what I can tell), etc.

    2. Preserve VC riding and awareness that it is a right with appropriate responsibilities. No bike lanes does not equal no bikes allowed. A bike lane present should not mean cyclists always ride there. Make sure the general public and especially law enforcement is fully aware and fully understands this. Also distinguish between true VCs and those that ride in a semi-VC manner or that portray VC as a reckless flouting of traffic laws (it in fact the opposite) that requires superhuman strength, skill and confidence. Ticket those cyclists that break traffic laws, but be even-handed with enforcement between motorists and cyclists. Law enforcement should never harass cyclists, nor be bias against motorists. They must also be careful and unbias when assigning fault in accidents involving motorists and a cyclists, even if (sadly) fatalities occur. Engineering design should also be examined when accidents occur with equal consideration.

    3. Transform bike lane stripes into dashed lines. Current bike lanes contradict normal traffic design (and in so many other ways) by indicating that the line cannot be crossed under non-emergency conditions, as it is solid. This isn’t and must never be true. Realize that this catering to novice cyclists (regardless of how true this is) can be severely detrimental to VCs.

    4. Above all else, promote a cooperative approach to riding among motorized traffic. Segregation is probably not an effective approach.

    5. At least provide the option of VC for cyclists with appropriate education. Again, make it voluntary if people still cling to bike lanes, but provide unobstructed and openly available resources for people wishing to learn the principles, as well as classes akin to defense driving classes for those wanting to become expert vehicular cyclists.

    -Ryan

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  • Portland Bike Lanes « Nothing of use here… November 4, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    [...] Portland bike safety improvements [...]

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  • Dabby November 4, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    Ryan,

    \"Try to believe that there is more potential for cooperation among cyclists and even between us and motorists, and I\'ll try not to come off as patronizing or condescending, this is never my intention but I sometimes come off like this.\"

    After reading this comment by you, and then this one \"I haven’t been a vehicular cyclist (or aspiring one) for that long, maybe about a year or two\", I can understand more where you are coming from in your stance.

    It also makes me realized that your stance on vehicular cycling \"may\" come more from books and scientific reports, than on road experience.

    While there is nothing wrong with that, (we all glean information from somewhere), you have questioned my belief that cars and bikes may work together.

    This is where you are most confused.

    My 3rd job in Portland, in 1985 or so, was running Rickshaws across the waterfront, and through town. Not exactly the thing you want to be doing in traffic at all.

    My next job, in the winter of \'86 to \'87, was as a bike messenger downtown. This was my main profession (albeit off and on) for the next 20 years.

    While considered the red headed step children, or black sheep of the cycling community, messengers are in reality the epitome of cycling. They are also crucial in the day to day workings of any larger city, and especially (though not at all appreciated) in the City of Portland.

    They are also exactly who to go to for non-scientific information as to how to ride in a vehicular manner. The job put me, even within the first month, in the position of having to know, and quickly accept, that cars and bikes can, and must, work together.

    Please do not get me wrong, as I am not downplaying your own personal experience on the road. But you questioned mine, and my thoughts on cars and bikes working together, so I feel you must know a bit about my background before jumping to your conclusions.

    The best thing that the City of Portland could do for itself at this point, would be to garner as much information about riding on our city streets from the working messenger as possible, and use it in working towards safe streets for all cyclists.

    On road experience ten fold out weighs information collected from stats and research, and there is no link in the whole world wide web that could help you out in riding in a vehicular fashion like a messenger can.

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  • Dabby November 4, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    On that note , and especially after reading your last comment, I still do not feel at all that you have any kind of grasp on the dangers of vehicular cycling for the less experienced cyclist.

    Luckily for everyone, we have people like Roger in a position that will help to protect and preserve the lives of all cyclist, experienced or not.

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  • RyanC. November 5, 2007 at 3:11 am

    It also makes me realized that your stance on vehicular cycling \"may\" come more from books and scientific reports, than on road experience.

    It comes from both, I had a reasonable amount of experience riding as bike lane survivalist or a pedestrian on wheels, and now I\'m recognizing the difficulties of it. The last 1-2 years have been the easiest riding years for me in traffic, generally, but when they are complicated it is when there are special facilities that I\'m expected to use and fear of harassment, not accidents.

    While considered the red headed step children, or black sheep of the cycling community, messengers are in reality the epitome of cycling. They are also crucial in the day to day workings of any larger city, and especially (though not at all appreciated) in the City of Portland.

    They are also exactly who to go to for non-scientific information as to how to ride in a vehicular manner. The job put me, even within the first month, in the position of having to know, and quickly accept, that cars and bikes can, and must, work together.

    I really don\'t think bicycle messengers are a good comparison to the average rider or a vehicular cyclist. Their profession compels them to move quickly through traffic, which often means breaking some traffic laws and they have the skill to avoid accidents others would get into. That\'s simply a choice in the name of expediency, and though they may ride as VCs for the most part, they still technically break laws at times which is not VC. Don\'t interpret this wrong, I\'m trying to portray messengers as the black sheep you speak of, but at times they choose to break laws, and they may start facing consequences if police are even-handed with enforcement of traffic laws. I have not worked as a messenger myself, but know two ex-messengers who rode in the early 80s, one in NYC. Both of them regard it as their crazy younger years or something like that.

    While there is nothing wrong with that, (we all glean information from somewhere), you have questioned my belief that cars and bikes may work together.

    This is where you are most confused.

    I think I\'m confused because you don\'t seem to make yourself very clear, but as you said in a previous message, it might just be your writing style. You seem to be a supporter of VC (albiet the bike messenger\'s version), but have some support for bike lanes....I guess I just don\'t see where you stand. I disagree with you that bike lanes are best for beginners, because they have many dangers. You speak of VC dangers for beginners, but don\'t specify. Bike lanes seem to be advocated without education/training, but they present plenty of hazards. How can this be suitable for an inexperienced cyclist? If they make beginners feel better, then ok, that\'s one thing. But fear and actual danger can be two different things. One is perception, the other reality.

    On that note , and especially after reading your last comment, I still do not feel at all that you have any kind of grasp on the dangers of vehicular cycling for the less experienced cyclist

    Then please tell me what they are. And are you talking messenger VC or just VC. If the former, then yes I can see how a beginning cyclist could have problems.

    On road experience ten fold out weighs information collected from stats and research, and there is no link in the whole world wide web that could help you out in riding in a vehicular fashion like a messenger can.

    I guess I have to disagree again with you here, but in a more light-hearted way. The messengers I\'ve ridden with were pretty crazy. Don\'t get me wrong, it was fun riding with them, but I wouldn\'t exactly call it safe. But yeah, part of it was VC, but we were alley-cat racing, cutting through half-block alleys and weaving through traffic (pissing off people all along the way). That\'s not transportation riding for the average person, it\'s reckless fun and games.

    But for the type of riding messengers do, of course experience is more important, they ride in ways that would be deadly for a novice. But most people don\'t need to ride like messengers, so the comparison is meaningless. All the gritty real-world riding technique you talk about is great for messengers, but it\'s not necessary for the average bike commuter and it\'s definitely not how you have to ride to ride with traffic, but you certainly can ride that way if you want.

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  • Dabby November 5, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    \"I really don\'t think bicycle messengers are a good comparison to the average rider or a vehicular cyclist.\"

    First of all, I made no average comparison. I pointed out that they are above the average cyclist in skills, knowledge of riding in traffic, and experience. Absolutely no comparison to the average cyclist. That would not be fair. (to the average cyclist)

    From that point on in your comment, it tends to down slide into more pointing of fingers, and then using your pointing finger to support your own theories. You continue to twist my wording into a puzzle, where the pieces don\'t fit, but are cut and pasted together into a picture that looks nothing like the front of the box.

    As far as riding the fence on vehicular cycling, this is true. While it is the way that I ride, IT IS NOT SAFE FOR MOST!!!!! I will walk across the top of that fence all day if I have to.

    And this should not be applied in a city that has many more cyclists than it is prepared to protect.

    My exchange in these comments with you is done. Unless you are willing to open your mind, you continue to be part of the problem...

    Closed minds do not learn, they erode.

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  • st.John November 5, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Hi All, I\'m very encouraged to read this dialogue and see amount of thought and work going to into bike safety and the new designs for intersections. Thanks Roger for all the work thus far and for the article above.

    A lot of the talk here has been only about \'right hooks\' at intersections though. What about right turns for drivers that exist between intersections that require drivers to cross the bike lanes. i.e. driveways into parking lots or businesses. I find that drivers usually are going faster, turn with less warning (a lot of times w/out a signal) and paying less attention than they do at street intersections. I also feel I have people trying to race around me to beat me to a turn more often in this case.

    Has there been any talk around this? Is there anything that can be done?

    I\'m a firm believer that as cyclists we need to keep our heads up, be aware of our surroundings and know how to ride defensively, but in some cases, there is only so much you can do.

    I also agree with some earlier comments about
    the texture (or lack there-of) of a lot of paint used on the roads. If wet, it can turn into a major hazard and having a wide strip of it that I am supposed to be riding on is a little scary. Especially with cars travelling next to me.

    Also, this is slightly un-related, but Roger, are there any plans for bike lanes on any roads going throught the west hills? A bike lane, or at least a shoulder on the uphill side of Thompson, Cornell, Germantown and Springville would be a huge benefit. These are heavily used by cyclists and in some cases (especially Germantown) I feel they are more dangerous than riding in downtown areas.

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  • danc November 5, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    RyanC #127

    Excellent post! Small verbal quibble on \"take the lane\", no need to \"take\", simply use or control the lane! Cyclists already have a right to the road and it\'s there to use! Knowing where to ride and flow with traffic make cycling less stressful and more enjoyable! No strip of paint is going to tell a cyclist the hazards of failing to understanding the rules of road or the dangers bike lanes (i.e. dooring, etc..).

    Dabby, RE 129

    After reading this comment by you, and then this one \"I haven\'t been a
    vehicular cyclist (or aspiring one) for that long, maybe about a year or two\", I can understand more where you are coming from in your stance.

    It also makes me realized that your stance on vehicular cycling \"may\"
    come more from books and scientific reports, than on road experience.

    from Fred Oswald: \"Learning to cycle properly as the driver of a vehicle is not difficult except for \"unlearning\" the wrong information we have all picked up since childhood. This wrong information causes mistakes that prevent discovering better methods. It is much more efficient to learn through successful experience than failure. Experts estimate that learning to ride effectively in traffic takes about:

    * 10,000 - 20,000 miles to learn by yourself through trial and error
    * 4,000 - 6,000 miles through a cycling club with a good mentoring program
    * 2,000 - 3,000 miles after a good class in bicycle driving\"

    Three years ago I road 1200 miles over 5 months commuting to work, had some close calls, my own mistakes. After a Road 1 class I realize what I was doing wrong, bad habits mostly, picked up some tips and improved my style. I can cycle anywhere safely, there are no \"bike lanes\" in my part of Ohio and most of my commute is rural road. RyanC could easily adapt his vehicular cycling knowledge to roads with winding curves, bends, hills and dips with poor lines of sights. What does a \"bike lane\" rider do when it painted stripe ends?

    While considered the red headed step children, or black sheep of the cycling community, messengers are in reality the epitome of cycling. They are also crucial in the day to day workings of any larger city, and especially (though not at all appreciated) in the City of Portland.

    Hmm I don\'t think I\'ll comment on that but will suggest Robert Hurst, a professional bike messenger, book Art of Cycling. But as RyanC points out bike messenger are not typical cyclists, not in terms of accident rate. I\'d rather save 8 to 17 thousand miles of trial and error.

    Peace Out!

    DanC
    Ohio

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  • Dabby November 5, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    Danc,

    Perhaps you did not notice that I mentioned I am not for bike lanes, but in many areas they are needed for the survival of the inexperienced and or timid?

    What happens when the lane ends you ask?

    You have the ability to answer that as well as I do. It is up to the cyclist.

    But what they do in certain, identified dangerous areas in our city is something we can \"try\" to control, with proper signage, proper bike lanes, and proper enforcement of violations of ordinances, both by cars and by bikes.

    Our police have proven that they DO NOT have the ability (emotional, mental, physical, who knows why), nor do they care to, to enforce the violations that are costing cyclist lives.
    They do however have the time to hand out tickets for violations that, when questioned about, they will quickly admit are false, but a badly written ordinance allows them enough leeway for harassment and profiling. (and a ticket that can be the same as a whole weeks pay)

    So, it is up to people like Roger to put guidelines in place, to help people safely through dangerous intersections.

    I also feel that you missed my point. (as you have tried to direct me to another book, that I actually own, and to some guy who spouts numbers named Fred)

    Once again....

    The real way to take care of cycling problems in our city is to take not only stats and research from paper and books, but also from those with heavy on road experience IN THE ACTUAL CITY where the problems are occurring.

    As to accident rates.... Anyone in their right mind would realize that accident rates will rise within a group, especially when most of that group spends 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week, on the road. (not to mention recreational riding on the side) This is no surprise, it is actually what you would consider common knowledge.

    Many, many more hours than anyone other than a cyclist training either for a semi pro, or pro team, or races. And certainly more even than them.

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  • randy November 6, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    I\'ve been thinking about this pretty hard for the last week or so now. I have very little faith in motorists learning to look for through bike traffic to their right when turning right across a bike lane.

    I don\'t really see how the bike boxes are going to solve the problem of improperly positioned bike lanes located to the right of right-turning motorists, they are just a band aid solution to a very serious problem, and not a very good one at that.

    However, rather than eliminate all bike specific infrastructure, as has been suggested by some vehicular cyclists, I think the solution is to build better bike infrastructure informed by the cardinal principles of vehicular cycling, which are speed positioning and destination positioning.

    How do we do this?

    Most bike lanes are already located according to the principle of speed positioning, to the right of motor vehicle traffic. There are some locations, such as the segment of the N. Interstate bike lane where Brett was killed, and SW Jefferson west of 14th, which are faster downhill sections. In these areas bike lanes should be eliminated in favor of shared lane markings or some other treatment.

    At intersections with high percentages of right turns across the bike lane, where room is available to do so, such as NW Everett and 16th, a right turn only lane should be provided. This would be possible if the (brand new) curb extension at the SW corner of NW Everett and 16th was eliminated and a few curbside parking spaces were removed. I think the safety of cyclists at high hazard locations like this is more important than saving a few steps for pedestrians crossing the street, or the sanctity of curbside parking.

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  • RyanC. November 7, 2007 at 12:55 am

    Dabby,

    I\'m done arguing w/ you and arguing my case simply in the interest of not spending anymore time on this forum than I have to. I still cannot figure out where exactly you stand, but you seem at times to point to my supposed ignorance or lack of experience compared to you for not understanding. I won\'t give in to thought-terminating cliches, but I\'m done arguing with you as well. As far as to who is closed-minded, I\'ll let other people in this forum decide that for themselves.

    As DanC. stated, I think my acceptance of VC and my comfort level of riding with regular traffic is based mostly on not having to \"unlearn\" certain taboos or fears of traffic that are not real. Fitness has little bearing, as I have ridden many times in traffic successfully with my speed handicapped by a trailer or heavy pannier bags. The only thing I ever feared at those times was harassment from motorists and police; so far no problems with police, but a few with motorists, but usually on roads with bike lanes.
    Here’s a contrarian, if not dystopian view of bike commuting from my perspective so far. It contradicts my optimistic view for Portland, but also reminds me of my fears of what could happen to bicycle commuting in Portland.

    To get some perspective of me, I\'ll explain clearly who I am and where I\'m coming from. I don\'t own a car, I sold mine this past May and rely exclusively on a bicycle (one of a few I have, depending on the trip) for personal transport. I pay my taxes, I’ve never committed a crime, I maintain a full-time job and I still have a driver\'s license. I also have a college education and a bachelor\'s degree. I was never forced into selling my car for financial reasons or otherwise, it was a conscious choice, a choice I do not regret, at least not yet.....

    Once I committed to exclusive bicycle transportation I started to realize the extreme difficulties of getting around in Eugene. Eugene is often touted as a wonderful cycling city, but I have experienced the exact opposite. I suppose for the casual commuter that still drives a car a lot, it\'s sufficient. But for me it is difficult, so I am moving (among other reasons). My current commute has two practical choices: a MUT or a main arterial to take me south from around Beltline highway to downtown. The MUT in the summer is clogged with pedestrians, dogs on extendable leashes, children playing and incompetent cyclists that ride without lights at night. Riding is slow and difficult and of course very limited in where I can go. It provides a nice shortcut to Green Acres Rd. or the VRC across the river, but not much else.

    While riding on the MUT is slow and difficult, riding on River Rd. is fast and difficult. The entire length has a trash-filled bike lane that I dare not leave or else get harassed by militant drivers. Motorists know I must and will stay in my special bike lane, so they pass me at full speed in waves (the traffic signal phases seem to concentrate traffic into tail-gating packs for whatever reason). So I must ride out of sight in trash, broken glass and gravel. Left turns are difficult because the right lane traffic travels as fast, sometimes faster than, the left lane traffic and nobody expects that cyclists will need to make left-hand turns. So nobody cares to allow me to merge into traffic, because they know they can drive very fast without having to slow down much. I have to dodge right-turning cars from behind and left-turning cars from the opposing lanes. If the entire right-hand lane were a wide curb lane, I would be ecstatic. Cars would probably make right turns properly by merging behind me (rather than cutting across me) and the ambiguity of not having a bike lane stripe would likely cause people to pass me with much more room. Cars would also likely sweep most of the garbage off the road (because they could use all of it at times when cyclists aren’t there) instead of accumulating it in the bike lane. This will never happen though, because I am one of maybe 3 or 4 cyclists that I ever see using that road for a morning commute. The bike lane will stay there collecting trash, attracting no new cyclists because motorists are encouraged to drive very fast. They have no need to watch for or pass cyclists carefully, so why slow down? The bike lane was never for my safety, it only has made driving faster and more convenient. It’s a shame because it’s direct route south where I need to go, but extremely dangerous, mostly because it has a bike lane.

    As for the MUT, again a handful of bicycle commuters compared to the thousands of southbound traveling cars on River Rd. and gridlock filling Beltline Hwy. at peak commuting hours. Some are responsible, well-equipped and use lights at night. Many are not. Many swerve around in erratic patterns, wear all black and use no lighting, and there are plenty of questionable characters camping out on the sides of the path on portions where there are no street lamps. The paths are filled with leaves and often have sizable amounts of broken glass from drunk bums that isn’t cleaned up very often. There are no traffic laws on MUTs, so if I get into a bike-bike accident (can be very serious), I’m on my own. No possible legal recourse, no matter how well I follow traffic laws or ride defensively, because they do not apply to MUTs. Police would probably laugh hysterically if I ever tried to report a bike-bike accident.

    In downtown, many bike lanes run you within inches of parked cars, while blissful motorists pass you within inches on the other side. Some lanes are clearly marked, so cars know exactly when to harass you for leaving them. Some have good pavement, most are the chopped up pavement that gets ignored when the streets got resurfaced; generally the best pavement is in the “car” lane. A few streets are still bike lane free, and they are generally the easiest to navigate, with fewer motorists honking or confused. I can ride without fear of right hooks or getting doored and its more convenient. Making turns on either side of the road, even 4-lane one ways, is much easier. It would probably be even more easy if motorists were made aware of my right to use the road.

    Many more people advocate bicycle transportation here than actual do it from what I can tell, so facilities are substandard and dangerous, probably designed by people that use them for the seldom Sunday stroll. I’ve seen a much larger surge in hybrid cars driving around, as this probably provides an easy way for people to “go green” with the minimum of effort or imagination. Even at my current job (a bike shop!) very few people ride to work or for transportation, and those that do commute travel less than a mile (my commute is ~6 miles) and can afford to ride like pedestrians without much trouble.

    I’m not trying to make a direct comparison between Eugene and Portland, because the cities are very different. But the Americanized bikeway system (Dutch, German or whatever) here in Eugene has done little to turn people to bicycles. The summer commuting seems to spike a little with novice riders “faithfully” abstaining from driving for a few of their errands or trips, but most year-round (which is very little in the winter) commuting is done by those that probably can’t afford a car or likely got their driver’s license revoked, and they are the least likely ride safely or according to any traffic laws. The rest are the few responsible commuters like myself. I’m not trying to discount those that are dedicated and responsible year-round commuters, but we are an extreme minority from what I can tell and probably looked upon as oddballs or diehard exercise freaks by the general public (a few of my co-workers have even been “amazed” at my dedication to year-round commuting and transportation, almost like it’s a cute little hobby with little practicality).

    All this attention to the supposed special facilities that I “need” has produced some noticeable ignorance to what I really need. Nearly every grocery store, retail establishment or restaurant (save a few historic hole-in-the-wall places) is devoid of reasonable or adequate bicycle parking. The age-old loopy bike racks are often placed out of sight against an unlit portion of the building against the wall (cutting the capacity in half, some only hold 1-2 bikes!), probably just to meet minimum building requirements as cheaply as possible. There are often 2-3 for a large strip mall, compared to nearly a hundred car parking spots. I have to use heavy locks and strip my bike of all removable accessories (mostly lights) lest they get stolen. I have been harassed by a property manager for parking my bike and trailer against a bush because one of two racks in an entire strip mall was unusable (the other of course on the other side of the complex). I sometimes will park my bike in a car parking spot w/ trailer (no difference from a motorcycle right?), but it’s probably only a matter of time before I get harassed for that. So to many people now, my conscious choice has made me a second-class citizen.

    The way I see it things are coming to a fork in the road (excuse the pun) for Portland with bike facilities and transportation engineering. Those that fear traffic or just find it unpleasant demand segregation, and many motorists will love this because the roads will truly become theirs. Those like me fear it like the plague. There is one thing that I can probably say with confidence, and it is that people like me, that consciously decide to live a car-free lifestyle are those that will affect any measurable reduction in car use or traffic congestion (if this in fact would ever happen purely from bicycle use, which is highly debatable). If that is a goal of traffic or bicycle planners (and I consider it a lofty goal), then I think at least some attention should be paid to their riding styles and needs. I don’t think off-street MUTs and the ability of VC riding are mutually exclusive (I will just choose not to use them for the majority of my trips), but bike lanes and VC very much are. If people really want them, then design them so I can safely ride away from them without harassment. Make them voluntary by repealing any mandatory use laws.

    Here’s what I don’t want:

    - I don’t want to ride against normal established traffic laws. That includes most of what bike lanes tell me to do. I don’t want to pass on the right, ride up against parked cars waiting to get “doored”, cut to the front of a traffic queue, or up onto sidewalks (I had to avoid a bike lane in Portland that tried to direct me onto one!).

    - I don’t want to be harassed by motorists or police who think I belong only in my special facilities, presumably for my own safety.

    - I don’t want to be treated as a road user with “special needs”. I know traffic laws, I can obey them, I can ride with traffic to get to the destinations I need to go, so let me do that.

    -For the most part I don’t want or need special facilities, but if others want them so be it. I can follow traffic laws as they are, and I hope I am assumed to be competent enough to know and follow them. Assuming otherwise is an insult to my intelligence.

    Here’s what I want:

    -Legal protection. I want to follow normal traffic laws as a vehicle driver and have legal protection if an unlawful motorist (or cyclist) hits me.

    -Unrestricted access to most (if not all) roads. I need to get to most any destination that a motorist needs to get to within city limits. No bikeway system will ever do that (and I wouldn’t use it anyway if it could), and bike lanes make my travel much more difficult.

    -Real bike facilities like secure parking, changing facilities, etc.

    I honestly hope traffic engineers and planners really listen to requests like this. It’s great that they’re trying to get new cyclists out there, but they really need to consider the consequences of their designs and decisions for people like me that are completely car-independent. Bicycle commuting and transportation for me is not a part-time activity or political statement, it is a conscious replacement of everything I did previously with a car on a bicycle for reasons of simply loving to ride. I can do it best and the most efficiently on normal roads with normal traffic laws applied to me; conversely, it is very difficult and cumbersome when “special” rules or facilities are forced upon me and motorists are given the impression to treat me differently or as an inferior road user. I am most discouraged when people have the means of looking upon me as a second-class road user or even citizen, when I must park my bike in dark alleys, slink along roads in the gutter and ride slowly among playing children and pedestrians. If people want to get beyond the view of bicycles being “toys” and cycling being an “activity”, they must take a hard look at what “special” facilities do to the public opinion. Continued treatment like this could ultimately turn me back to driving a car, and I really hope that never happens.

    -Ryan

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  • G.A.R. November 7, 2007 at 9:32 am

    I searched for \"ORS\" in the foregoing posts and didn\'t find a relevant hit, so here goes. Sorry if this is redundant!

    One. ORS 811.440 says, \"...(2) A person may operate a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane when: (a) Making a turn;....\" Is it the city\'s intent to change this law? This is the \"opt-in\" version of the California law. It allows the dreaded merge before the intersection and runs counter to the doctrine of separation.

    Two. Consider 14th and W Burnside. The non-steering rear wheels of long trucks sweep the bike lane. Again we have the dreaded merge, but instead of being forced off the road sideways, one is crushed from behind.

    Three, and I am sure this is redundant with foregoing posts: As a vehicular cyclist, I appreciate separation when it is excellent. Mediocre separation, though, is worse than none. Give me straight up murder any day over an accidental death I was lured to by the siren song of a poorly designed bike lane. For a good laugh, try going north in the bike lane from SE 122nd Ave and SE Spring Mtn Dr in Happy Valley. I called Happy Valley\'s engineer about it. He doesn\'t see a problem. What a dummy. I should have called Happy Valley\'s attorney!

    Portland rocks!

    Thanks, and I\'ll take my answer on the air.

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  • danc November 7, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Dabby, re #135

    Perhaps you did not notice that I mentioned I am not for bike lanes, but
    in many areas they are needed for the survival of the inexperienced and
    or timid?

    Bike lanes are \"sold\" as helping inexperienced, beginners or child feel
    \"comfortable\" on the road by keeping the \"cars\" away. The ordeals or
    difficult circumstances of novices are based on \"struck-from-behind
    collisions fear\" however most cycling collisions happen at intersections,
    the same as automobile collisions. Fred Oswald also echos to RyanC comments: The very presence of separate bikeways undermines the legitimacy of cycling on the roads. Bike lanes encourage motorist hostility towards cyclists not using the facilities. Many cyclists are intimidated by motorists who are convinced they do not belong in traffic.
    Bike lanes make teaching novice cyclists harder. This is because novices are led to believe they need not learn how to deal with traffic and also because the bike lanes \"teach\" riding in the wrong place (often too far right) on the road.

    What happens when the lane ends you ask?

    You have the ability to answer that as well as I do. It is up to the cyclist.

    But what they do in certain, identified dangerous areas in our city is
    something we can \"try\" to control, with proper sign-age, proper bike lanes, and proper enforcement of violations of ordinances, both by cars and by bikes.

    Sadly, half of car-bike crashes are caused by cyclist error, 90% involve turning and crossing traffic, being \"hit from behind\" (overtaking) is approx. less than 2% and most overtaking accidents occur at night.

    Our police have proven that they DO NOT have the ability (emotional,
    mental, physical, who knows why), nor do they care to, to enforce the violations that are costing cyclist lives. They do however have the time to hand out tickets for violations that, when questioned about, they will quickly admit are false, but a badly written ordinance allows them enough leeway for harassment and profiling. (and a ticket that can be the same as a whole weeks pay)

    Here is where a basic vehicular cycling, Road 1, course grounds the cyclist with their basic rights and responsibility. A VC cyclist threaten by a truck, car, bus or other vehicle they can say with confidence to law enforcement \"this vehicle driver was behaving \"recklessly\", I know how the law applies to me, take the report, cite if necessary.

    Law enforcement officer also need VC training. \"Bike police patrol” training thru the IMBP has a significant VC component but it is not as comprehensive as Road 1.

    So, it is up to people like Roger to put guidelines in place, to help
    people safely through dangerous intersections.

    I also feel that you missed my point. (as you have tried to direct me to another book, that I actually own, and to some guy who spouts numbers named Fred)

    Hope you enjoyed Hurst’s book, he appreciates VC. Engineering “help” is not enough or ensure \"safety\", cyclist need to learn and build it into their behavior (I think Hurst would agree with this point!)

    Regarding your “main point” only people who actually experience the ACTUAL CITY can help solve a city’s cycling problem. I doubt any American city traffic terrain is that unique. By the way, Fred, the numbers guy, is a Professional Engineer, PE like Roger. Fred bike commutes year round in Cleveland, works for NASA and know a little about bike safety. Pardon me I will modestly boast Fred can easily match the road experience of any most anyone (including me) or Portland’s PE\'s, in miles or years of
    cycling experience.

    Peace Out!

    DanC
    Ohio

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  • danc November 7, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    test comment

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  • danc November 7, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Danc,

    Dabby, re #135

    Perhaps you did not notice that I mentioned I am not for bike lanes, but
    in many areas they are needed for the survival of the inexperienced and
    or timid?

    Bike lanes are \"sold\" as helping inexperienced, beginners or child feel
    comfortable on the road by keeping the \"cars\" away. The ordeals or
    difficult circumstances of novices are based on \"struck-from-behind
    collisions fear\" yet, most cycling collisions happen at intersections,
    the same as automobile collisions. Fred Oswald echos RyanC comments: The very presence of separate bikeways undermines the legitimacy of cycling on the roads.
    Bike lanes encourage motorist hostility towards cyclists not using the facilities. Many cyclists are intimidated by motorists who are convinced they do not belong in traffic.
    Bike lanes make teaching novice cyclists harder. This is because novices are led to believe they need not learn how to deal with traffic and also because the bike lanes \"teach\" riding in the wrong place (often too far right) on the road.

    What happens when the lane ends you ask?

    You have the ability to answer that as well as I do. It is up to the cyclist.

    But what they do in certain, identified dangerous areas in our city is something we can \"try\" to control, with proper sign-age, proper bike lanes, and proper enforcement of violations of ordinances, both by cars and by bikes.

    Sadly, half of car-bike crashes are caused by cyclist error, 90% involve turning and crossing traffic, being \"hit from behind\" (overtaking) is approx. less than 2% and most overtaking accidents occur at night.

    Our police have proven that they DO NOT have the ability (emotional,
    mental, physical, who knows why), nor do they care to, to enforce the violations that are costing cyclist lives. They do however have the time to hand out tickets for violations that, when questioned about, they will quickly admit are false, but a badly written ordinance allows them enough leeway for harassment and profiling. (and a ticket that can be the same as a whole weeks pay)

    Here is where a basic vehicular cycling, Road 1, course grounds the cyclist with their basic rights and responsibility. A VC cyclist is threaten by a truck, car, bus or other vehicle they can say with confidence to law enforcement \"this vehicle driver was behaving \"recklessly\", I know how the law applies to me, take the report, cite if necessary.

    Law enforcement officer me VC training! \"Bike police patrol” training thru the IMBP also have a significant VC component but it is not as comprehensive as Road 1.

    So, it is up to people like Roger to put guidelines in place, to help
    people safely through dangerous intersections.

    I also feel that you missed my point. (as you have tried to direct me to another book, that I actually own, and to some guy who spouts numbers named Fred)

    Hope you enjoyed Hurst’s book, he appreciates VC. Engineering “help” is not enough or ensure \"safety\", cyclist need to learn and build it into their behavior (Do you think Hurst would agree with this point!)

    Regarding your “main point” only people who actually experience the ACTUAL CITY can help solve a city’s cycling problem. I doubt any American city traffic terrain is that unique. By the way, Fred, the numbers guy, is a Professional Engineer, PE like Roger. Fred bike commutes year round in Cleveland, works for NASA and know a little about bike safety. Pardon me I will modestly boast Fred can easily match the road experience of any most anyone (including me) or Portland’s PE\'s, in miles or years of
    cycling experience.

    Peace Out!

    DanC
    Ohio

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  • danc November 7, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    Dabby, re #135

    Perhaps you did not notice that I mentioned I am not for bike lanes, but
    in many areas they are needed for the survival of the inexperienced and
    or timid?

    Bike lanes are \"sold\" as helping inexperienced, beginners or child feel
    comfortable on the road by keeping the \"cars\" away. The ordeals or
    difficult circumstances of novices are based on \"struck-from-behind
    collisions fear\" yet, most cycling collisions happen at intersections,
    the same as automobile collisions. Fred Oswald also echos to RyanC comments: The very presence of separate bikeways undermines the legitimacy of cycling on the roads. Bike lanes encourage motorist hostility towards cyclists not using the facilities. Many cyclists are intimidated by motorists who are convinced they do not belong in traffic.
    Bike lanes make teaching novice cyclists harder. This is because novices are led to believe they need not learn how to deal with traffic and also because the bike lanes \"teach\" riding in the wrong place (oftentoo far right) on the road.

    What happens when the lane ends you ask? You have the ability to answer that as well as I do. It is up to the
    cyclist. But what they do in certain, identified dangerous areas in our city is
    something we can \"try\" to control, with proper sign-age, proper bike
    lanes, and proper enforcement of violations of ordinances, both by cars
    and by bikes.

    Sadly, half of car-bike crashes are caused by cyclist error, 90% involve turning and crossing traffic, being \"hit from behind\" (overtaking) is approx. less than 2% and most overtaking accidents occur at night.

    Our police have proven that they DO NOT have the ability (emotional,
    mental, physical, who knows why), nor do they care to, to enforce the violations that are costing cyclist lives. They do however have the time to hand out tickets for violations that, when questioned about, they will quickly admit are false, but a badly written ordinance allows them enough leeway for harassment and profiling. (and a ticket that can be the same as a whole weeks pay)

    Here is where a basic vehicular cycling, Road 1, course grounds the cyclist with their basic rights and responsibility. A VC cyclist is threaten by a truck, car, bus or other vehicle they can say with confidence to law enforcement \"this vehicle driver was behaving \"recklessly\", I know how the law applies to bike, take the report, cite if necessary.

    Law enforcement officer should have VC training! \"Bike police patrol” training thru the IMBP also have a significant VC component but it is not as comprehensive as Road 1.

    So, it is up to people like Roger to put guidelines in place, to help
    people safely through dangerous intersections.

    I also feel that you missed my point. (as you have tried to direct me to another book, that I actually own, and to some guy who spouts numbers named Fred)

    Hope you enjoyed Hurst’s book, he appreciates VC. Engineering “help” is not enough or ensure \"safety\", cyclist need to learn and build it into their behavior (I think Hurst would agree with this point!)

    Regarding your “main point” only people who actually experience the ACTUAL CITY can help solve a city’s cycling problem. I doubt any American city traffic terrain is that unique. By the way, Fred, the numbers guy, is a Professional Engineer, PE like Roger. Fred bike commutes year round in Cleveland, works for NASA and know a little about bike safety. Pardon me I will modestly boast Fred can easily match the road experience of any most anyone (including me) or Portland’s PE\'s, in miles or years of
    cycling experience.

    Peace Out!

    DanC
    Ohio

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  • danc November 8, 2007 at 4:12 am

    Dabby, re #135

    Perhaps you did not notice that I mentioned I am not for bike lanes, but in many areas they are needed for the survival of the inexperienced and or timid?

    Bike lanes are \"sold\" as helping inexperienced, beginners or child feel comfortable on the road by keeping the \"cars\" away. The ordeals or difficult circumstances of novices are based on \"struck-from-behind collisions fear\" yet, most cycling collisions happen at intersections, the same as automobile collisions. Fred Oswald also echos to RyanC comments: \"The very presence of separate bike lanes undermines the legitimacy of cycling on the roads. Bike lanes encourage motorist hostility towards cyclists not using the facilities. Many cyclists are intimidated by motorists who are convinced they do not belong in traffic. Bike lanes make teaching novice cyclists harder. This is because novices are led to believe they need not learn how to deal with traffic and also because the bike lanes \"teach\" riding in the wrong place (often too far right) on the road.

    What happens when the lane ends you ask? You have the ability to answer that as well as I do. It is up to the cyclist. But what they do in certain, identified dangerous areas in our city is something we can \"try\" to control, with proper sign-age, proper bike lanes, and proper enforcement of violations of ordinances, both by cars and by bikes.

    Sadly, half of car-bike crashes are caused by cyclist error, 90% involve turning and crossing traffic, being \"hit from behind\" (overtaking) is approx. less than 2% and most overtaking accidents occur at night.

    Our police have proven that they DO NOT have the ability (emotional, mental, physical, who knows why), nor do they care to, to enforce the violations that are costing cyclist lives. They do however have the time to hand out tickets for violations that, when questioned about, they will quickly admit are false, but a badly written ordinance allows them enough leeway for harassment and profiling. (and a ticket that can be the same as a whole weeks pay)

    Here is where a basic vehicular cycling, Road 1, course grounds the cyclist with their basic road rights and responsibility. A cyclist threaten by a truck, car, bus or other vehicle can say with confidence to law enforcement \"this vehicle driver was behaving \"recklessly\", I know how the law applies to bike, take the report, cite if necessary.

    Law enforcement officers, not just bike patrol) also need VC training! \"Bike police patrol” training thru the IMBP has significant VC component but it is not as comprehensive as Road 1.

    So, it is up to people like Roger to put guidelines in place, to help people safely through dangerous intersections.

    I also feel that you missed my point. (as you have tried to direct me to another book, that I actually own, and to some guy who spouts numbers named Fred)

    Hope you enjoyed Hurst’s book, he appreciates VC. Engineering “help” is not enough or ensure \"safety\", cyclist need to learn and build it into their behavior. I think Hurst would agree with this point!

    Regarding your “main point” only people who actually experience the ACTUAL CITY can help solve a city’s cycling problem. I doubt any American city traffic terrain is that unique. By the way, Fred, the numbers guy, is a Professional Engineer, PE like Roger. Fred bike commutes year round in Cleveland, works for NASA and know a little about bike safety. Pardon me I will modestly boast Fred can easily match the road experience of any most anyone (including me) or Portland’s PE\'s, in miles or years of cycling experience.

    Peace Out!

    DanC Ohio

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  • danc November 8, 2007 at 4:13 am

    Dabby, re #135, pt 1

    Perhaps you did not notice that I mentioned I am not for bike lanes, but in many areas they are needed for the survival of the inexperienced and or timid?

    Bike lanes are \"sold\" as helping inexperienced, beginners or child feel comfortable on the road by keeping the \"cars\" away. The ordeals or difficult circumstances of novices are based on \"struck-from-behind collisions fear\" yet, most cycling collisions happen at intersections, the same as automobile collisions. Fred Oswald also echos to RyanC comments: \"The very presence of separate bike lanes undermines the legitimacy of cycling on the roads. Bike lanes encourage motorist hostility towards cyclists not using the facilities. Many cyclists are intimidated by motorists who are convinced they do not belong in traffic. Bike lanes make teaching novice cyclists harder. This is because novices are led to believe they need not learn how to deal with traffic and also because the bike lanes \"teach\" riding in the wrong place (often too far right) on the road.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • danc November 8, 2007 at 4:14 am

    Dabby, re #135, pt 2

    What happens when the lane ends you ask? You have the ability to answer that as well as I do. It is up to the cyclist. But what they do in certain, identified dangerous areas in our city is something we can \"try\" to control, with proper sign-age, proper bike lanes, and proper enforcement of violations of ordinances, both by cars and by bikes.

    Sadly, half of car-bike crashes are caused by cyclist error, 90% involve turning and crossing traffic, being \"hit from behind\" (overtaking) is approx. less than 2% and most overtaking accidents occur at night.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • danc November 8, 2007 at 4:16 am

    Dabby, re #135, pt 3

    Our police have proven that they DO NOT have the ability (emotional, mental, physical, who knows why), nor do they care to, to enforce the violations that are costing cyclist lives. They do however have the time to hand out tickets for violations that, when questioned about, they will quickly admit are false, but a badly written ordinance allows them enough leeway for harassment and profiling. (and a ticket that can be the same as a whole weeks pay)

    Here is where a basic vehicular cycling, Road 1, course grounds the cyclist with their basic road rights and responsibility. A cyclist threaten by a truck, car, bus or other vehicle can say with confidence to law enforcement \"this vehicle driver was behaving \"recklessly\", I know how the law applies to bike, take the report, cite if necessary.

    Law enforcement, not just \"bike patrol\" should have VC training! \"Bike patrol” officer thru the IMBP also have a significant VC component but it is not as comprehensive as Road 1.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • danc November 8, 2007 at 4:18 am

    Dabby, re #135, pt 3

    Our police have proven that they DO NOT have the ability (emotional, mental, physical, who knows why), nor do they care to, to enforce the violations that are costing cyclist lives. They do however have the time to hand out tickets for violations that, when questioned about, they will quickly admit are false, but a badly written ordinance allows them enough leeway for harassment and profiling. (and a ticket that can be the same as a whole weeks pay)

    Here is where a basic vehicular cycling, Road 1, course grounds the cyclist with their basic road rights and responsibility. A cyclist threaten by a truck, car, bus or other vehicle can say with confidence to law enforcement \"this vehicle driver was behaving \"recklessly\", I know how the law applies to bike, take the report, cite if necessary.

    Law enforcement officer should have VC training! \"Bike police patrol” training thru the IMBP also have a significant VC component but it is not as comprehensive as Road 1.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • danc November 8, 2007 at 4:27 am

    Dabby, re #135 pt 3

    Our police have proven that they DO NOT have the ability (emotional, mental, physical, who knows why), nor do they care to, to enforce the violations that are costing cyclist lives. They do however have the time to hand out tickets for violations that, when questioned about, they will quickly admit are false, but a badly written ordinance allows them enough leeway for harassment and profiling. (and a ticket that can be the same as a whole weeks pay)

    Here is where a basic vehicular cycling, Road 1, course grounds the cyclist with their basic road rights and responsibility. A cyclist threaten by a truck, car, bus or other vehicle can say with confidence to law enforcement \"this vehicle driver was behaving \"recklessly\", I know how the law applies to bike, take the report, cite if necessary.

    All law enforcement, not just bike partol, should have VC training! \"Bike patrol” officer training, yes that\'s right, \"bike patrol\" officer have additional training thru the IMBP. IMBP has a significant VC component but it is not as comprehensive as Road 1.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • danc November 8, 2007 at 4:31 am

    Dabby, re #135 pt 4

    So, it is up to people like Roger to put guidelines in place, to help people safely through dangerous intersections. I also feel that you missed my point. (as you have tried to direct me to another book, that I actually own, and to some guy who spouts numbers named Fred)

    Hope you enjoyed Hurst’s book, he appreciates VC. Engineering “help” is not enough to ensure \"safety\", cyclist need to learn and build it into their behavior. I think Hurst would agree with this point!

    Regarding your “main point” only people who experience RIDE the ACTUAL CITY can help solve a city’s cycling problem, I doubt any American city traffic terrain is that unique, Portands traffic department must work from Oregon\'s adoption of the Uniform Vehicle Code. By the way, Fred, the numbers guy, is a Professional Engineer, PE like Roger. Fred bike commutes year round in Cleveland, works for NASA and know a little about bike safety. Pardon me I will modestly boast Fred can easily match the road experience of any most anyone (including me) or Portland’s PE\'s, in miles or years of cycling experience.

    Peace Out!

    DanC Ohio

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  • danc November 8, 2007 at 4:33 am

    Dabby, re #135 pt 3 (4th try!!!)

    Our police have proven that they DO NOT have the ability (emotional, mental, physical, who knows why), nor do they care to, to enforce the violations that are costing cyclist lives. They do however have the time to hand out tickets for violations that, when questioned about, they will quickly admit are false, but a badly written ordinance allows them enough leeway for harassment and profiling. (and a ticket that can be the same as a whole weeks pay)

    Here is where a basic vehicular cycling, Road 1, course grounds the cyclist with their basic road rights and responsibility. A cyclist threaten by a truck, car, bus or other vehicle can say with confidence to law enforcement \"this vehicle driver was behaving \"recklessly\", I know how the law applies to bike, take the report, cite if necessary.

    All law enforcement, not just bike partol, should have VC training! \"Bike patrol” officer training, yes that\'s right, \"bike patrol\" officer have additional training thru the IMBP. IMBP has a significant VC component but it is not as comprehensive as Road 1.

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  • danc November 8, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Dabby, re #135 pt 3 [fourth try!]

    Our police have proven that they DO NOT have the ability (emotional, mental, physical, who knows why), nor do they care to, to enforce the violations that are costing cyclist lives. They do however have the time to hand out tickets for violations that, when questioned about, they will quickly admit are false, but a badly written ordinance allows them enough leeway for harassment and profiling. (and a ticket that can be the same as a whole weeks pay)

    Here is where a basic vehicular cycling, Road 1, course grounds the cyclist with their basic road rights and responsibility. A cyclist threaten by a truck, car, bus or other vehicle can say with confidence to law enforcement \"this vehicle driver was behaving \"recklessly\", I know how the law applies to bike, take the report, cite if necessary.

    Law enforcement officer should have VC training! \"Bike police patrol” training thru the IMBP also have a significant VC component but it is not as comprehensive as Road 1.

    How about the City of Portaland requiring all fleet operators driver to have bike safety class? Commerical drivers can be held to higher standard, (Ohio commerical drivers licence, CDL\'s have .02 BAC limit, 4 times lower than a regular driver. Any contractors who perform work for the city with large vehicles, > 2 tons must certify all drivers have bike safety class!

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  • BURR November 8, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    danc - I don\'t believe roger is actually an engineer, not necessarily a bad thing, just sayin\'

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  • Dabby November 9, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Ok, so, I now realize that you, DanC, are not from Portland.

    While this is fine, you really cannot have a grasp on the cycling issues we have going on here, as no two cities are alike.

    I stand by my reasoning, 100%.

    Last but entirely not least, when you are trying to \"not argue\" with someone, it is best to actually reference what they wrote, instead of changing the words around into what you want to read.

    \"Regarding your “main point” only people who experience RIDE the ACTUAL CITY can help solve a city’s cycling problem, I doubt any American city traffic terrain is that unique, Portlands traffic department must work from Oregon\'s adoption of the Uniform Vehicle Code\"

    I never stated \"only\", I believe I wrote \"with\"

    Now, when read properly, it makes more than good sense to take \"on road\" experience \"along with\" scientific research and stats. Doesn\'t it?

    I am done.

    I am right.

    I am out.

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  • PeterR January 22, 2008 at 6:13 am

    Surely you are aware of the recent Copenhagen study? The study was a before and after study of the impact of bike facilities added to roads.

    The study found that while the facilities made the bicyclists FEEL safer, they actually decreased the safety of the cyclists. In some cases, quite considerably.

    So I don\'t know if you want to rely on designs from Europe.

    As to right hooks - these are caused by putting bike lanes to the right of right turning traffic. Without doing any analysis at all it is obvious that such designs are going to have problems. Only basic common sense is needed to understand this.

    What is so hard about having bicyclists merge, well before the intersection, into the lanes that are going in the direction the bicyclist is going? This would completely eliminate right hooks and reduce left hooks, as well as make the bicyclists more visible near the intersections, dramatically increasing their overall safety.

    The lanes at the intersection can even be made wide enough to share if there is space. If desired, a narrow \"bike lane\" could be added to the rightmost of each directional lane.

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  • Terry Nobbe February 6, 2008 at 11:52 am

    As a long time effective cyclist and League Cycling Instructor, I believe that the more variables we introduce to street and road traffic control, the more confusing travel tends to be.
    I consider bike lanes away from signaled intersections to be a good idea except that frequently they\'re unuseable due to debris.
    PeterR\'s viewpoint right before my comment is another sensible approach.

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  • [...] offers a terrific detailed post by the coordinator of the bikr box project: “The design we propose consists of three main [...]

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  • Ray February 1, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    "The main problem is that vehicular cycling is generally best used by those cyclists who are already the most fit and confident."

    Cycling of ANY type is generally best done by those cyclists who are already the most fit and confident.

    WTF? Are you smoking rope?

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