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Tonight at 11:00: “Bikes vs. Cars”

Posted by on November 5th, 2007 at 2:57 pm

Last week, the Oregonian published a multimedia web page full of bike-related information, a Google Map, stats and videos. When I pointed out the page, I shared my disappointment at the choice of, “Bike versus car” as the title of the story.

I find this term — which seems to be the phrase-of-choice whenever a bike safety story is in the news — to be unnecessarily divisive and not always descriptive of the real issues at hand.

After several commenters pointed out similar feelings (one of them called it “the epitome of sensationalism”) and some of them emailed the Oregonian to share their thoughts, online editor Mark Friesen wisely decided to change the title to “Bikes and Cars”.

Now, I’ve gotten word from several readers who’ve seen ads promoting a major, sweeps month story tonight (11/5) on KGW-TV with the tagline: “Who owns the road? Bikes versus Cars.”

One reader responded by sending this message to KGW this morning:

“I just saw an add on CNN for an upcoming story billed as “Who really owns the road? Bikes vs Cars” This title is needlessly divisive and only contributes to the feeling of animosity on our streets. While I’m happy to see KGW covering this issue, you would serve us all better by focusing on sharing the road and working together to make Portland’s streets safer, less stressful for all.”

I was interviewed for the story (which incidentally was planned long before our tragic October) and the reporter was smart, capable and genuinely concerned about the issues at hand. Based on what I’ve heard about the story, I have every reason to think it will be good.

Unfortunately, at the major media outlets, the headlines and promo pieces are done by someone completely separate from the reporter who did the original story.

If you’re around a TV tonight at 11:00, tune into KGW (channel 8) and check it out.



UPDATE:
11/5, 11:31pm – Here’s the the story: Safe Streets? Debate continues as cycling numbers hit record high

Did you see it? Let us know what you thought about it…

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NOTE: At BikePortland, we love your comments. We love them so much that we devote many hours every week to read them and make sure they are productive, inclusive, and supportive (heck, sometimes we even fix your typos!). That doesn't mean you can't disagree with someone. It means you must do it with class and respect. This is our business and we do not tolerate mean commenters who add nothing of value to the discussion.

Unfortunately, we are not robots and we don't always catch everything. You can help by notifying us if you see inappropriate comments. Thanks! — Jonathan and Michael

Comments
  • a.O November 5, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    I guess you just don\’t win sweeps week with: \”Tonight at 11: Most people drive and bike around the City of Portland all day, every day WITHOUT INCIDENT. Hear their pleasant tales of quiet satisfaction.\”

    So, the profit motive explains such silliness. But we\’ve got to expect more from our media, especially given how they utterly failed us in the run up to the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq. What about the ethics of journalism?

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  • Dabby November 5, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Ethics of Journalism?

    Jumbo Shrimp?

    Extra small?

    All confusing to me…

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  • Nelson Muntz November 5, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Who owns the roads? The taxpayers of this state do!

    Taxpayers that drive. Taxpayers that use mass transit. Taxpayers that walk. Taxpayers that run. Taxpayers that hardly ever use them. And to the amazement of most people in Oregon, taxpayers that ride bicycles too.

    How\’s that for diversity KGW? I\’m amazed that a medium that has broadcast in color for more than 40 years still only thinks in black and white.

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  • a.O November 5, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    \”Jumbo Shrimp?\”

    Indeed.

    They don\’t have trouble understanding that it\’s probably not fair to publish the names of minors who are crime victims, but my guess is that\’s not their own wisdom or ethical training, but rather because enough people would call and complain.

    Remember, we\’re \”a growing micro-constituency.\” Call and tell them this silliness isn\’t helping anyone and only costs them viewers. Demand more.

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  • Joe November 5, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    The Oregonian staff hit the streets last week to document how cyclists and motorists are managing the daily commute — and what they can do to avoid collisions.

    Thanks Oregonian staff I feel totaly safe now.. wow

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  • Robin November 5, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Hum, maybe I\’ll dig out my tv and find some tinfoil for an antenna. But that is a lot of work to be terribly disappointed. Maybe they\’ll have it on the web late later.

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  • David Dean November 5, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Nelson @ 3,

    Even someone who has never paid taxes still has rights to the public streets. Kids, people from out of state, undocumented workers, even tax resisters…

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  • Joe November 5, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks David very well put..
    reminds me of the day a tax payer
    ran me down on my bike to yell at me and
    tell me the \” tax payer law only he knew of\” said i had no rights to the road.. LOL

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  • brian November 5, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Bet my tax bill is bigger than your tax bill.

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  • Matt Picio November 5, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    a.O. (#1) – Thanks, that headline is the funniest thing I\’ve read this month. Would that all news headlines could be so droll and succinct.

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  • Joe November 5, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    keep betting fool

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  • max adders November 5, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    I wonder if they\’ll interview a driver who\’s \”fed up\” with bikes \”getting in the way\”…and \”being unsafe\”………..LOLZ!

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  • Dan (teknotus) November 5, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Is this the story that they started working on when the bike ridership numbers were announced? I was interviewed on camera by KGW in September, and hadn\’t heard anything about it since.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 5, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    \”Is this the story that they started working on when the bike ridership numbers were announced?\”

    yep.. I think so. like I said, they\’ve been working on this story for several months. should be interesting….

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  • Me 2 November 5, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    I saw a trailer during the 6:30 news. Not a mention of bike vs car. Instead the title was \”dangerous intersections.\” The voice over promised the story would rank PDX\’s most dangerous intersections for cyclists.

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  • Seth Alford November 5, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    I had an idea for responding to stop sign \”running\” in Ladds, or anywhere else that PPB decides to hold their next stop sign sting operation. Go out with a video camera. Videotape a cyclist running the stop sign and getting a ticket. Also videotape a motor vehicle rolling through the same stop sign. Edit the two video clips together in a horizontal split screen. Compare the speed of the car and bicycle. Put up the video on youtube.

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  • SkidMark November 5, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    But it IS bikes vs. cars:

    Car driver \”doesn\’t see\” bike

    Car hits bike

    Bike rider dies

    Car Driver gets slap on wrist

    Sounds like cars vs. bikes to me.

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  • toddistic November 6, 2007 at 12:18 am

    good job kgw. lol way to stick it to the bikes

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  • sibyl November 6, 2007 at 12:20 am

    I just watched the report on TV. They started with saying there were two cyclists killed by cars and that they were investigating who was to blame for bike/car accidents.

    The report went DIRECTLY into how common it is for cyclists to run stop signs and ended right after.

    VERY disappointed.

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  • nerf November 6, 2007 at 12:23 am

    that was the dumbest ****** i\’ve seen in such a long time, i mean ladd\’s addition, come the **** on, you can see the whole **** circle from that spot.
    **** worthless crap.

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  • Disappointed Viewer/Journalist November 6, 2007 at 12:26 am

    Just saw the story – SUCKED!

    Really… they could only catch cyclists slowly running the stop sign? Last time I checked no one died when a cyclist rolled through a stop sign. Also – I resent that they started with two deaths that had nothing to do with running stop signs.

    Has Amy Troy ever even riden a bike around town? As a journalist – that\’s what I would have done. Ride around and when you almost get killed three times in your three mile commute, then do your story.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 6, 2007 at 12:37 am

    I just saw it too.

    I agree it was rough to see the video from Brett and Tracey\’s crashes and then go right into how cyclists run stop signs at Ladds…but overall I think the story was OK (given my expectations of local TV and the limitations inherent therein).

    I felt the lead-in was a bit over the top. Announcer: \”Cyclists dying on the roads…which side is to blame…etc.. etc..\”

    –They ran a video at Ladds Circle for 5 minutes and caught 33 bikes and 6 cars rolling through it.
    –They had \”on-the-street\” interviews with people in cars and people on bikes griping about one another.

    –They had PDOT\’s Greg Raisman saying that they\’ve found a 50-50 fault rate for crashes and that the overall crash rate is going down.

    –They specifically mentioned three intersections:

    • Multnomah & Garden Home
    • Broadway & Flint
    • SE Foster b/w 72nd & 82nd

    At the end they ask for viewer input on \”What\’s the best way to promote sharing the road?\” Possible answers are:
    –Motorists need to be more aware of bikes
    –Bikes need to be better following traffic laws
    –Our roads need to be designed better for shared use
    –All of the above

    The story and poll are now posted on KGW.com.

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  • motorist November 6, 2007 at 12:52 am

    I think both bikes and cars need to learn to use a little patience, even if it makes you slow down or stop, bikers remember that some times we may not see you. It is much safer not to pass on the right at an intersection. You all probably don\’t like that comment but it is true. What do you say?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 6, 2007 at 12:55 am

    hi \”motorist\”,

    thanks for the comment. I agree, we could all be a little more patient out there. no one\’s life is worth a few extra seconds…

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  • wsbob November 6, 2007 at 1:41 am

    I tuned in a little late, so may have missed the first 2-3 minutes. The footage of cyclists cruising through stop signs in Ladd\’s was an eye opener. It would be nice to see the 5 min segment in real time (it was speeded up for tv), but they did show some real time of maybe 5-7 cyclists; they don\’t even slow down for the signs.

    Not absolutely sure, but I don\’t recall seeing that the riders showed indication of hesitating even slightly at the signs, or of even looking (beyond possible use of peripheral vision only) from side to side for vehicles or pedestrians. Really, it was disgusting, and not at all excusable under the circumstances. All of them should have received $200 tickets, the bonehead traffic class, and a heap of community service.

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  • Lazlo November 6, 2007 at 7:24 am

    The Ladd\’s Addition cirlce is a defacto roundabout. I\’d be in favor of removing the stop signs.

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  • peejay November 6, 2007 at 7:39 am

    The dishonest thing about juxtaposing stories of the two cyclists\’ deaths with footage of the Ladds sting is that they had nothing to do with each other, and everybody knows it. This is another case of Kruger manipulating the debate behind the scenes, since I\’m sure he offered the tape to a gullible KGW reporter to deflect any criticism of the PPB for failing to take action against either truck driver. I see even some people here got fooled by this cheap stunt.

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  • heather andrews November 6, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Once when I was stopping at the big circle in the middle of Ladd\’s, a pair of riders were approaching me from behind. The woman in the duo remarked, \”we\’ve got a stopper!\” followed by \”oh, she\’s signaling too…\” They glided past me while I stopped.

    I was both mortified that I was being pointed out as some sort of freak, and angry that my behavior was perceived as so unusual that it warranted comment.

    On the other hand, during the countless times I\’ve stopped when there have been cars present, I\’ve been quite pleased with myself that I\’m doing good PR for bikes. I\’ve actually been complimented by car drivers and other passersby many times for the simplest of actions.

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  • Lisa November 6, 2007 at 8:38 am

    Heather: I\’m with you. Keep it up. This is not a war, it\’s a PR campaign.

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  • spencer November 6, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Where to start.

    1. The stupidity of a stop sign vs a yield sign at Ladd\’s circle. Pedestrians still have the right of way to cross, and the city would promote one of the biggest bikeways in the city.

    2. KGW for cherry picking one of a few spots where people regularly blow the stop sign. Go to any other intersection in the city and you would get the opposite result.

    3. Heather is right, the law is the law. It needs to be followed upto the point we get it changed. BTA priority should be to get a yeild sign to replace the stop sign.

    4. Finally, you can\’t fault a dog for being a dog. Local TV follow the mantra \”if it bleeds it leeds\”. The real intellectual discussion is in print, but unfortunately people remenber the images. Lisa is right, it is a PR campaign and we need to start playing. The question is how?

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  • N.I.K. November 6, 2007 at 9:13 am

    So the report used post-enforcement-action footage of Ladd\’s Circle and totally failed to remark on how it proves that concentrated stop sign enforcement actions are an ineffective use of resources, and also completely neglects to mention that Ladd sees such a high volume of bike traffic because it\’s got very little motor vehicle traffic, indicating that the six cars blowing the sign is a pretty big number as well? Now that\’s what I call a complete lack of insight…

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  • bean November 6, 2007 at 9:14 am

    YIELD SIGNS in Ladd´s, dammit.

    brilliant.

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  • Steve Durrant November 6, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Jonathan
    Please do take credit for helping KGW retitle their report last night to \’Bikes and Cars\’. In the end it really didn\’t say anything, except that cyclists-run-a-lot-of-stop-signs and we-should-all-play-nice-on-the-roads.

    Make full stops folks, show them what its really like.

    Steve

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  • Jason November 6, 2007 at 9:26 am

    Ladds is certainly a cherry-picked example and reveals a possible agenda in the story. I\’ll give my own \”observation\” from last week. I stopped at Skyline and Thompson on the way to work one morning to let my fingers warm back up. In the five minutes I stood there, I counted 33 cars go through the intersection–a 4-way stop.

    A total of 4 cars actually came close to stopping, and that appeared to be because they had cross traffic.

    Of course, that seems to be the norm for NW Portland from the river to the west hills. Bike, car, truck, Trimet bus(!), stop signs and red lights seem to be mere suggestions.

    It\’s a big problem. Perhaps its less a question of bike vs. car, but one of a collective sense of entitlement that pervades our society.

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  • N.I.K. November 6, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Once when I was stopping at the big circle in the middle of Ladd\’s, a pair of riders were approaching me from behind. The woman in the duo remarked, \”we\’ve got a stopper!\” followed by \”oh, she\’s signaling too…\” They glided past me while I stopped.

    I\’ve gotten this a few times myself. Not often, but a few times. Once on 26th, crossing Belmont, this middle-aged woman on a hybrid heading west on Broadway hollered, \”Why are you stopping?!?\” – ridiculous considering I wasn\’t even in the same lane, side, or even same street as her. And twice coming down the hill on Mississippi, right at the sign at the bottom, I\’ve had the same (or a similar-looking) hipster girl sitting at a table out front scream, \”JUST FUCKING GO!\” while her idiot friends laughed their heads off. I\’m convinced that these are the same sort of folks who, put behind the wheel of a car, are similarly bewildered and/or offended by people driving the speed limit or slowing down if they get a yellow before they\’ve entered the intersection – effectively, possessing no sort of understanding that we\’ve got laws which aren\’t arbitrary, but designed to promote predictable and safe flow of traffic. As many of us keep saying, \”It\’s not cyclists, it\’s not drivers, it\’s stupid people.\”

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  • Yoder November 6, 2007 at 9:40 am

    \”2. KGW for cherry picking one of a few spots where people regularly blow the stop sign. Go to any other intersection in the city and you would get the opposite result.\”

    that\’s BS right there. i live in between hawthorne and division and between 20th and 39th. i can say that there\’s a huge minority cyclists that stop for any sign in that whole grid. even fully decked out commmuters blow the intersection at lincoln and 34th.

    when are you all going to realize that we have a huge problem with white, 20-40 year old recreational cyclists blowing stop signs left and right, the sort of aloof, self-righteous hipster type. you\’ve seen it a million times, especially couples on townies, they love to slow roll stop signs while talking to each other. they just don\’t like the challenge of stopping and starting. completely understandable, but completely illegal. i\’m glad they showed the ladds footage. look in the mirror. i agrew with the lady who was chided for stopping, that\’s what i see ALL THE TIME in SE. the numbers are not on our side here, it\’s such bad PR. i mean, stop at the fugging sign.

    everybody bee-yotching about the stop sign in Ladds and how it should be a yield sign has probably blown it, and really can\’t comment any further on bike safety. yes it\’s stupid, as stupid as the one on 39th and Glisan, but its there, and you have to stop each time.

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  • N.I.K. November 6, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Make full stops folks, show them what its really like.

    And note that that doesn\’t mean putting your foot down if you don\’t have to do so – the law doesn\’t even mandate it. If there\’s no perpendicular traffic, all you need to do is cease to move forward, pump your front break for a second after (yes, AFTER!) having stopped (yes, STOPPED!) so as not to topple over, and then proceed on your way. If you can downshift when approaching a stop, pull this maneuver, and clearly see the coast is clear when you look in both directions, it\’s really easy to get back up to speed in a few seconds.

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  • Joe November 6, 2007 at 9:46 am

    story had bad PR.. 2 people died..
    run stop signs come on, This morning
    on my way home from dropping my girls off at school, was at an intersection
    in wilsonville, hit the cross walk for signal. Sure enuff right when it went to
    walk the SUV tried to go first. Whats the problem.. PEOPLE cant wait one sec.
    also on the way to school this car didnt let my girls and i go first, not that it
    makes a diffrence but im tring to teach my kids how things are not correct at this time in our life on the planet..

    people live in a bubble called a CAR..

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  • kg November 6, 2007 at 10:25 am

    It is very disappointing to see story after story talk about bikes breaking laws while pretending drivers of cars do not. 33 cyclists X 200 lbs = 6600 lbs running the stop sign. 6 cars x 3000lbs = 24000 lbs running a stop sign. The bike is silent and can see and hear what is going on, the drivers are in a bubble listening to music, talking on the phone, eating breakfast and reading the paper. Everyone needs to obey the law but if I can only choose one area to use my limited enforcement resources it is going to be with the 24000 lbs.

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  • Yoder November 6, 2007 at 10:40 am

    \”The bike is silent and can see and hear what is going on, the drivers are in a bubble listening to music, talking on the phone, eating breakfast and reading the paper\”

    this holier-than-thou attitude is exactly what i\’m talking about, and exactly what our little internal problem is.

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  • Ron November 6, 2007 at 10:40 am

    As a 100% bike commuter, I\’ll just echo that I thought it was horrible that they picked on bikes running a stop sign in a low traffic area, yet never once mentioned that Brett and Tracey were legally in their lane, and killed by drivers illegally entering the bike lane — those drivers have yet to, and are unlikely to be cited. It\’s really outrageous.

    Having said that, regardless of the logic of the stop sign placement in the round-a-bout, it\’s pathetic that so many cyclists can\’t even be bothered to slow down a little. I rarely come to a complete stop in a low traffic area like that (I\’ve ridden that area many times), but I slow down to under 3mph, and look both ways a couple of times before proceeding.

    And my final comment is to the neighbors in that area — it seems to me that those who complained just want the right to walk around not having to pay attention to the world around them, and be absolved of any responsibility of sensing their own environment.

    It is clear that cyclists need to do some cleaning in their own house, I see the need for it everyday — but to juxtapose the horrible recent deaths against some yahoo\’s on bikes rolling through a low traffic stop sign at 10mph is ridiculous.

    Jonathan, thanks for your hard work in bringing these topics to light, and giving us a place to talk about them.

    Ron

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  • Kristen November 6, 2007 at 11:03 am

    N.I.K, you have the right of it:

    It\’s not cyclists, it\’s not drivers, it\’s stupid people.

    And yes, people are impatient.

    And yes, yes, journalists need a sensational story to get people to watch their news show. Look how much free press we\’re giving KGW by talking about their story.

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  • N.I.K. November 6, 2007 at 11:08 am

    Hmm, apparently there\’s another sting going on in Ladd\’s Circle this morning. Try not to beat that Kruger Conspiracy drum too hard, folks…

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  • Yoder November 6, 2007 at 11:09 am

    \”And my final comment is to the neighbors in that area — it seems to me that those who complained just want the right to walk around not having to pay attention to the world around them, and be absolved of any responsibility of sensing their own environment.\”

    yes, i was wondering why there were any stop signs there at all, it being roundabout, until my last time there… i was stopped at Palio, waiting for the cyclist to my left who had blown the stop sign on the other street,when a jogger jogged up to me on the sidewalk and proceeded straight through the circle so he could jog through the little lawn there… thats when it hit me, that the Ladds peeps are spoiled brats.

    by the way, let\’s go over that scenario again, me waiting at a stop sign while another biker and jogger blissfully blew by me, unawares… it\’s a jungle out there.

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  • Matt November 6, 2007 at 11:27 am

    It\’s really quite simple. Obey the laws and act as if you\’re a piece of traffic (or a car). Don\’t pass on the right at intersections – wait in line. We won\’t be treated fairly until we accept the great responsibility that is ours by having the right to the road.

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  • N.I.K. November 6, 2007 at 11:27 am

    when are you all going to realize that we have a huge problem with white, 20-40 year old recreational cyclists blowing stop signs left and right, the sort of aloof, self-righteous hipster type

    Again: THEY\’RE NOT THE PROBLEM. The problem is that there is a long-standing precedent among many people, whether they\’re irritatingly smug hipsters or soccer moms or lycra-clad race heads or gummy old \”lived in Portland all my life! ***SPITOON PING***\” types or whomever, that traffic laws are arbitrary. \”Oh, it\’s fine to break the speed limit, just don\’t go TOO far over and you won\’t get stopped.\” \”Oh, it\’s a yellow light! I\’d better hurry my ass across that line!\” It\’s a case of choosing the most convenient course of action, because laws are for suckers and of no consequence if you don\’t get caught, right?

    Wrong! These laws are there by design to help manage traffic flow and prevent unsafe behavior. The point of a speed limit is \”this is the fastest rate of travel deemed safe\”, not \”here\’s the rate for pussies and old people, so feel free to do a bit more.\” The point of a yellow light is \”slow down because traffic on the road perpendicular to the one you\’re traveling on is going to get a green in a moment and you need to stop so as not to collide with them\”, not \”don\’t be a stooge, beat that red!\”. The more I think about it, the more I\’m led to believe that years and years of this behavior in car culture has led a lot of people to engage in similar behavior on a bike. \”No cops? Then it\’s convenience!\” behavior is stupid no matter what vehicle you\’re piloting; it\’s just a question of how many people you might take with you in the process of proving your stupidity.

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  • wsbob November 6, 2007 at 11:40 am

    In 5 minutes, 33 cyclists bust into Ladd Circle intersections without slowing or stopping at the stop sign. That\’s one cyclist every 10 seconds. And with the steadily increasing use of bikes for transportation that\’s going on, this frequency will probably become greater.

    I would like to know how any resident of that neighborhood could be regarded as unreasonable for being concerned and offended by that kind of blatant disregard for the important safety measure that stop signs represent. Why should Ladd\’s Addition residents be obliged to to allow their neighborhood to be reduced to a hell created by completely selfish, self absorbed cyclists?

    If you can\’t walk peacefully with your toddler through your own neighborhood without having to fear for being nailed by a spoiled cyclist, life has become something like living next to a freeway. It\’s hard for me to believe that cyclists participating on this weblog consider something like that to be acceptable.

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  • Lisa November 6, 2007 at 11:51 am

    N.I.K.: Yes.

    Heh… On my way to work this morning, waiting in the line of traffic to turn West on Division from SE 21st, two young women zipped up to the head of the line, one passing on the right, the other crossing between the stopped cars and passing on the left. They easily beat me to the Ladd\’s Addition circle, where (after stopping at the stop sign) I easily passed them– as they were stopped, getting ticketed.

    I have to admit to a small Kathy Bates moment (\”face it girls, I\’m older and I have more insurance\”)– not that I\’d ever wish any vehicular violence, or even a ticket really, on those sweet young things, each of whom was pouting adorably as I passed.

    Personally I think those stop signs should be yields, but they\’re not. And further, it seems to me that disregarding them, and the concerns of neighborhood pedestrians in that area, is not much different from the bikes-be-damned behavior we deplore from drivers.

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  • brodie November 6, 2007 at 11:57 am

    when are you all going to realize that we have a huge problem with white, 20-40 year old recreational cyclists blowing stop signs left and right, the sort of aloof, self-righteous hipster type

    ooooooh, now i get it! it\’s the white people\’s fault! And here I was thinking that it was merely cyclists riding in the way that makes the most sense for them, instead of blindly following the rules of the road which are designed for 3,000 pound vehicles with poor visibility.

    I would think that, being a stupid white person. I think I\’m aloof, too, but I\’ll have to check on that. oh, but wait, i\’m not recreaetional, i\’m a commuter. Am I still the problem? Is it more important that I\’m white or a recreational rider?

    Seriously, that\’s an amazingly ignorant statement. We can disagree about the effect of obeying laws not designed for us, but your comment reeked.

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  • Gene November 6, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Jason #36 says:
    \”Perhaps it\’s less a question of bike vs. car, but one of a collective sense of entitlement that pervades our society.\”

    Excellent point! I have begun to look at that in my own life, especially when some on road event makes me angry. Often it is due to some sense of \”entitlement\” that I had been unaware of up to that point. Glad you mentioned it. Wish I knew how to help people become aware of this in themselves.

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  • N.I.K. November 6, 2007 at 11:59 am


    If you can\’t walk peacefully with your toddler through your own neighborhood without having to fear for being nailed by a spoiled cyclist, life has become something like living next to a freeway.

    Those of us living off streets that much more closely resemble freeways in a non-hyperbolic fashion -streets like 39th and 52nd- have similar concerns, albeit about larger, heavier machines. Somehow, though, we\’re not taken as seriously.

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  • Jason November 6, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    I\’m not sure if it makes things better or worse, but when I am at four-way stop on my bike and there are motorists present, I make certain that I come to a full, track-stand stop.

    However, this seems to further enrage motorists behind me, as they have to wait to run the stop sign themselves.

    One recently sideswiped me as she accelerated away, apparently the bike stopping in front of her counted as her stop as well.

    How, again, are we supposed to behave? Damned if you do, damned if you don\’t.

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  • Joe November 6, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Come on LIVE alittle and take the rose
    color shades off.. co-exist we can all
    do it.. i know compassion is hard for
    most, but try it you might like it :)

    \” \”
    when are you all going to realize that we have a huge problem with white, 20-40 year old recreational cyclists blowing stop signs left and right, the sort of aloof, self-righteous hipster type

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  • N.I.K. November 6, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    How, again, are we supposed to behave? Damned if you do, damned if you don\’t.

    Not necessarily. Think about the advantages of stopping at every stop sign:

    1) You\’ll be less likely to be struck by perpendicular traffic.

    2) You won\’t get ticketed in one of these inefficiency tests…er, I mean, enforcement actions.

    3) Motorists with chips on their shoulders get one less anti-cycling bitchpoint in their arsenal.

    4) Motorists get to see how big a pain in the ass it can be for cyclists to pull of full-stop at some intersections and we get more potential individuals to change certain signs to yields, more support for Idaho-style stop sign legislation, and tons more.

    How awesome is that? :)

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  • Jason November 6, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I stop at all the signs for the following reasons:

    1) Trying to follow the rules of the road and be a good citizen.

    2) Extra fitness benefit from all the accelerating.

    3) I enjoy annoying motorists by stopping in front of them.

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  • Matt Picio November 6, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Yoder (#36) said: \”everybody bee-yotching about the stop sign … has probably blown it and really can\’t comment any further on bike safety\”

    That\’s a remarkably ignorant statement, Yoder. A lot of cyclists who routinely violate the law have valuable insights into safety, and not all bike safety comes from following the law. Occasionally, following the law itself is unsafe. (granted, this is the exception rather than the rule in most cases)

    Certainly, you need to be aware of the biases, attitude and behaviors of the commentor, but those facts in and of themselves have no bearing on the strength or wisdom of their argument. Dismissing those people as you do in your statement does everyone a disservice, and cuts you (and those who feel similarly) off from a potential source of valuable insight.

    Then again, it\’s America – that\’s your right.

    In any case, I\’ll acknowledge it\’s difficult to take anyone\’s argument seriously when they don\’t \”walk the walk\”, which I think is why the argument with motorists continues – regardless of how many cyclists blow stop signs, many motorists roll through just as many intersections, and a hit from a 5mph car is going to hurt a lot more than a 5mph bicycle.

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  • Matt Picio November 6, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Jason (#52) – I personally handle that by taking the lane whenever approaching a 4-way stop, so all motorists see me (as much as possible, anyway), and so I am a physical barrier to the motorist behind me. Most of the time, it works great. Unfortunately, every 4-way seems to have at least 1 driver who doesn\’t understand how the 4-way stop works.

    Oh, and in response to your post #55, I do likewise. I don\’t know if it\’s necessarily to annoy motorists, but I do believe in the old adage that living well is the best revenge.

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  • Grimm November 6, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Yeah apparently the PPB watches the KGW evening news as well. I saw a motorcycle cop with a cyclist pulled over. Guess I got lucky with him being busy while I did a slow roll through.

    I treat most low traffic stop sign intersections the same, approach with caution. Watch for both peds and vehicles, yield right of way. With something like Ladds I dont know who I am saving anyone by coming to a complete stop and putting a foot down. Especially with Ladds you have really good view of oncoming traffic that all flows one way, I mostly slow down just in case of peds if there are no cars coming around the circle.

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  • Barbara November 6, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Hi \”motorist\”,

    Agreed. Oregon does not have mandatory driver\’s (or cyclist\’s) education. Having received my license in a state with mandatory driver\’s ed, I know that driving defensively at all times is the single most important thing I learned.

    I have taken that lesson and transferred that to my bicycling over the last 28 years. Bottom line is I don\’t want to get hit! The cyclist observing the driver behaving erratically, thus hanging back as she approached the intersection was behaving defensively, and patiently.

    (A note on biking or driving around large trucks – always assume the driver of the truck can NOT see you! If you can\’t see their mirrors, they can\’t see YOU. If their turn signal is not on, assume the light is burned out. Never pass a vehicle on the right at an intersection unless you are absolutely confident you know what their intentions are. Don\’t count on the presence or absense of a turn signal.)

    As car drivers we have the added baggage of the vehicle around us. We can\’t use our eyes, ears, nose, sense of feel like we can on a bicycle. Bicycles and bicyclists are much more quick to react, make adjustments, AND it\’s far less likely that a bicyclist in error or judgement is going to kill someone else, other than perhaps themselves.

    When a motorist is focused only on getting to point B, (and quickly!)exceeding reasonable speeds, eating, talking on their cell phone, or any way distracted from giving the utmost attention to the task of driving, any error they make could result in killing or injuring another.

    All motorists need to drive with the care and attention that recognizes at any moment, a dog, a pedestrian, a cyclist, or a young child chasing a ball, could dart out in front of them. It is the responsibility that goes with the priviledge of driving.

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  • N.I.K. November 6, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    With something like Ladds I dont know who I am saving anyone by coming to a complete stop and putting a foot down.

    Again: please don\’t perpetuate the myth. Stop != foot on the ground. Stop = a full cease in forward momentum. A foot on the ground is only necessary if there\’s reason for significant delay following the stop (such as cross-traffic with the right-of-way) or if you\’re unable to balance (anything from physical ineptitude to being exhausted to being on an oddly sloping stretch of road). But those are strictly practical concerns, not the letter of the law.

    But to answer your question relevant to a stop: You\’re saving people who are not at that particular moment behind the wheel of a motor vehicle or on the seat of a bike from having to look when they cross the street -this includes anyone from the children of unmindful parents to the visually/hearing-impaired to people who just don\’t believe any sort of safety best-practices exist when they\’re stepping into road infrastructure. Don\’t forget, pedestrians generally have the right-of-way. Even if that means jack to the PPB in some cases, it tends to mean a lot in so many others…

    So yes: safety of the unaccustomed/unaware/plain-stupid, plus you\’re saving yourself from liability should they step in front of you (because you ultimately didn\’t hit them). You\’re also removing the risk of a ticket. And, specifically in Ladd\’s, you\’re avoiding driving that \”damned cyclists ruining our quaint community!\” wild hair further up the asses of a scant couple of super-vocal well-to-dos who can drag the PPB down there at near-whim. Don\’t give \’em any fuel and they\’ll eventually get new hobbies. :)

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  • wsbob November 6, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    How many people commenting or reading here actually live in Ladd\’s? Probably most don\’t. Many of them seem to think it\’s O.K. to zip through this neighborhood without stopping at the stop signs. After all, they don\’t actually live there and have to experience the downside of cyclists behavior in regards to disregarding basic traffic regulations. Just take a dump in someone else\’s yard and go on your merry way, right?

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  • N.I.K. November 6, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    No, wsbob, I *don\’t* live in Ladd\’s. I ride through it occasionally to get to downtown from out here on the edge of Woodstock. And even though I don\’t live in Ladd\’s, I *stop* at the stop sign. You doubt it, let me know, I\’ll tell you when I\’m coming by next, you can come out and take a look. I\’ll even wave hello. Then we can have a nice long chat about how wonderful it makes me feel to know that the PPB are more than happy to irregularly turn up for concentrated enforcement actions which both fail to result in any changes with the scofflaws blowing the signs and divert valuable resources that could be taking care of, oh, say, the cars bombing down 52nd and running a fresh red three, four, five at a time. It\’ll be like our own little roundtable discussion. It\’ll be sweet.

    And hey, while I\’m at it: next time let\’s not play the ever-popular Portland-style \”let\’s talk smack on folks but be highly unspecific so we can\’t get called out on it\” game, huh? :P

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  • BURR November 6, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    I hate to quibble with Greg, but the actual numbers are something like 60% motorist at fault to 40% cyclists at fault, and that\’s only the reported crashes.

    And the numbers we should really be paying attention to are the injury rate of less than 1% motorists to 99% of cyclists involved in reported crashes.

    It\’s really shameful how our society fails to protect its most vulnerable members; and that news story is shameful in its blantant slant, deception and tacit unstated message that cyclists are all scofflaws who deserve what they get on the road.

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  • wsbob November 6, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    N.I.K., how is it you take those comments so personally? I certainly didn\’t have you or anyone specifically in mind when I expressed them. Those to whom the comment applies know exactly who they are, and that they have no reasonable excuse whatsoever for the irresponsible behavior they choose to indulge in disregarding traffic laws in Ladd\’s or anywhere else.

    Rationalizing that police manpower would be better applied elsewhere to bigger problems does nothing to justify irresponsible habits of road users. It also doesn\’t justify abandonment of neighborhoods where they choose to take advantage of lack of deterrents against failing to make safe, conscientious use of neighborhood streets or any other roadways.

    In fact, it\’s the arrogant, self indulgent cyclists and motorists blowing stop signs in Ladd\’s that are responsible for sucking police attention away from situations of greater urgency happening elsewhere.

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  • a.O November 6, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    How many people commenting or reading here actually live in Ladd\’s? Probably most don\’t. Many of them seem to think it\’s O.K. to zip through this neighborhood without stopping at the stop signs. After all, they don\’t actually live there and have to experience the downside of cyclists behavior in regards to disregarding basic traffic regulations. Just take a dump in someone else\’s yard and go on your merry way, right?

    wsbob, I don\’t live in Ladd\’s Addition. I live on the corner of Umatilla and 15th Ave, a four-way stop, in a school zone on the on-road section of the Springwater Corridor Trail. I routinely cross this intersections and see both cyclists and motorists roll through the stop signs here. But very few in either category blow the stop signs in a reckless manner.

    It\’s sometimes a little annoying and it could be considered a nuisance, BUT NO ONE IS DYING. On the other hand, there are many locations where MOTORISTS ARE KILLING PEOPLE IN PORTLAND.

    For God\’s sake, man, please get some perspective here. When human lives are being taken and permanently altered, it\’s time to look at the bigger picture. Please focus your energies accordingly.

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  • N.I.K. November 6, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    I certainly didn\’t have you or anyone specifically in mind when I expressed them. Those to whom the comment applies know exactly who they are, and that they have no reasonable excuse whatsoever for the irresponsible behavior they choose to indulge in disregarding traffic laws in Ladd\’s or anywhere else.

    Absolute nonsense, wsbob. I\’ll save you the exertion of scrolling up – here\’s what you said:

    How many people commenting or reading here actually live in Ladd\’s? Probably most don\’t. Many of them seem to think it\’s O.K. to zip through this neighborhood without stopping at the stop signs.

    Now, if you want to talk about people disregarding traffic laws, we can do that. Instead, you made this generalization about how a lot of people commenting here think it\’s okay to blow the stop signs in Ladd\’s. WOW! What an accusation! It\’s a baseless statement in which you\’re not addressing any particular problem but accusing people here -presumably those who have made any comments at relating at all to the goin\’-ons at Ladd\’s Circle, but I could be wrong, you\’re not particularly clear- but rather accusing a substantial body of BikePortland posters of being law-breaking hooligans. Do you not see the problem here?

    Rationalizing that police manpower would be better applied elsewhere to bigger problems does nothing to justify irresponsible habits of road users.

    Nobody here has used this as justification. Heck, nobody here has advocated irresponsible habits for road users at all. Stop making stuff up.

    It also doesn\’t justify abandonment of neighborhoods where they choose to take advantage of lack of deterrents against failing to make safe, conscientious use of neighborhood streets or any other roadways.

    Lack of deterrents would be pretty much anywhere but Ladd\’s. Unless of course it\’s Ladd\’s on a day where there\’s not an enforcement action, which is…what, about 88 out of 90? I\’m not going to pull up the dates, but the point is that even the well-to-do neighborhood\’s ridiculously concentrated pocket of citations against the law-breakers isn\’t doing any good. And yet this remains the tactic. Anyone who wanted to try to suggest that it\’s making a difference would be hard-pressed to make that argument. Hell, even Kruger would probably have to concede that.

    In fact, it\’s the arrogant, self indulgent cyclists and motorists blowing stop signs in Ladd\’s that are responsible for sucking police attention away from situations of greater urgency happening elsewhere.

    If there are situations that are of greater urgency, it\’s the PPB\’s problem for either doing a crap job of allocating their resources, being incapable or sorting out their priorities, or a mix of the two. Or, in this case, all that plus our lame duck Mayor who refuses to do jack about the whole thing.

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  • Matt Picio November 7, 2007 at 12:23 am

    BURR (#63) said: \”I hate to quibble with Greg, but the actual numbers are something like 60% motorist at fault to 40% cyclists at fault, and that\’s only the reported crashes.\”

    Where are you getting your figures? Greg Raisman is tracking that info as part of his job, and I\’m pretty confident about his sources and his ability to interpret them. How are you coming to the determination of 60% motorist fault? (I\’m not saying you\’re wrong, I\’m just curious about your sources and methodology)

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  • Curt Dewees November 7, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    I live in Ladd\’s Addition, and for those of us who live here, it\’s our neighborhood. We like to walk around here. It\’s nice.

    Our neighborhood exists primarily as a place for people to live and not just to provide a super-fast thru-way for cyclists and car drivers trying save a few seconds by taking the diagonal short cut from Seven Corners down to Hawthorne Blvd.

    Most of us who live in Ladd\’s Addition don\’t want to change the stop signs to yield signs. Ladd\’s Circle is a circle; not defacto roundabout (as an earlier commentor mistakenly posited). If you treat Ladd\’s Circle as a \”roundabout\” by not stopping at the stop signs, you legally deserve to be ticketed, whether you are riding a bike or driving a car.

    Attempting to force Ladd\’s Circle to become a Euro-style roundabout by changing the stop signs to yield signs would reduce pedestrian safety even furthur. It would create even more opportunities for crashes or \”close calls\” between fast-moving cars/bicyclists and pedestrians.

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  • N.I.K. November 7, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Curt, as a Ladd\’s Addition resident, what are your thoughts on the overall failure of these enforcement actions to result in any real change to the number of people -on bikes, in cars, whatever- to stop when entering the circle-proper?

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  • BURR November 7, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Matt #67 – I personally analysed the adult cyclist crash data in the city\’s data base for the four years from 1998 through 2001, provided to me by PDOT staff. The split was consistently 58% motorist at fault to 42% cyclist at fault.

    If Greg is citing a 50-50 split, in all likelihood he is including the reported youth cyclist crashes as well, which would tend to skew the numbers towards a higher cyclist at fault percentage.

    I wouldn\’t read too much into these numbers anyway, as we all know the limitations of the crash data base, most accidents involving cyclists aren\’t reported. If every cyclist dooring and right hook was reported (and in all likelihood very few of them are) the numbers would probably be something like 75% motorist at fault.

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  • wsbob November 7, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Good points made Curt (#68). Your mention of Ladd\’s being used as a \”…super-fast thru-way for cyclists and car drivers…\” or cut-thru, is a thought that occurred to me today. I wonder if this is what\’s really been happening.

    Studies of the area and riders/drivers interaction with it may have already been made. Someone may have the results of such studies if one knew who to ask. It might be interesting to know how many bikes and how many motor vehicles pass through there in a day\’s time.

    It might be very instructive if more video were taken and made available to the public to see for themselves what\’s going on. Seeing the unedited KGW 5 min vid of the 33 bikes and various motorists passing through stop signs without stopping might also tell a something about how they are responding to the situation, and perhaps why.

    One of the things about Ladd\’s that stands out to me, is that it might arguably be one of Portland\’s most unique, beautiful neighborhoods. The quiet and relative serenity of Ladd\’s are probably among the attributes that any resident of Portland would like to have characterize their own neighborhood.

    Nevertheless, it seems that quite a lot of people would choose to subordinate the wonderful experience those attributes help to create in order to shave mere seconds off their commute time. I\’m of the impression that part of the great urge to bring many more people to use bikes as transportation is to enhance livability everywhere. Yet there in Ladd\’s, the behavior of quite a number of people on their bikes seems to suggest that this goal is perhaps not truly understood or supported.

    From 7 Corners/Division diagonal to Hawthorne, what is there?….maybe a total of 6 signs? Give 5 seconds a stop per sign. That\’s only 30 seconds. If people on bikes can\’t stop, or at least slow close to a track stop, and look both ways before proceeding, they are clearly not very interested in allowing bikes to fully accomplish what they could in terms of improving livability for everyone.

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