Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on March 17th, 2008 at 2:09 pm
(Photo © J. Maus)
The City of Portland’s campaign to remake several intersections with colored bike boxes and bike lanes is made up of much more than just markings on the pavement. Along with the new markings comes a significant change to the law; at all intersections slated to receive a bike box, right turns on red are now illegal. Motor vehicles must also stop prior to the bike box when the light is red.
In addition to a bike box advertising campaign (who hasn’t seen one of the new billboards?), PDOT has coordinated with the Police Bureau on an enforcement strategy to complement their outreach and education efforts.
I asked Traffic Division Captain Larry O’Dea to share a bit about their strategy.
O’Dea says he’s distributed 500 bike box flyers throughout several precincts. “We followed up with an electronic version of the flyer via email,” he said on the phone today, “to try and make sure all officers are aware and educated about them.”
The Police Bureau also plans to perform enforcement missions at bike box locations. O’Dea says for “about two weeks or so” after each one has been installed, he and his officers will be at the intersections, passing out flyers and talking with motorists (and I assume cyclists too). O’Dea says they’ll focus their efforts during peak commute hours; “Initially we’ll do these missions only with the intent of education …and unless it’s an egregious safety violation, we’ll just pass out flyers and talk with them.”
Also during this phase, the PPB will work with its public information office in hopes of garnering some local media attention, “to help spread the message even further,” says O’Dea.
But after the initial two-week grace period, it won’t be all warnings and friendly chats. O’Dea says once people have had ample opportunity to learn how to treat the bike boxes, Police will start doing enforcement missions and handing out citations to violators.
O’Dea — who along with his Lieutenant Bryan Parman have been showing up to bike-related meetings lately — plans to rely on feedback from PDOT about where to focus their enforcement efforts; “We’ll try to focus our missions at the intersections where we’re hearing the most complaints about.”
Both of the likely violations — turning right on red and encroaching into the bike box — will be eligible for dismissal upon attendance of the Share the Road Safety Class.
It will be interesting to see how people in cars respond to the new markings. The trickiest situation will be what happens when no bicycles are present.