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Tribune article forces PDOT to defend bike boxes

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 2nd, 2008 at 12:09 pm

more bike boxes springing up-4.jpg
A bike box in downtown Portland.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Portland Tribune has published an article about concerns raised by citizens and the Oregon Department of Transportation over the usage, safety and efficacy of the newly installed bike boxes.

The story's sub-headline reads, "Some cycling advocates are trying to stick a wrench in the spokes of Portland’s new bike box program, saying they’re confusing and inherently unsafe, and should not be approved by the federal government."

The article focuses primarily on concerns raised by Ryan Conrad (a daily Portland bike commuter and mechanic at the Beaverton Bike Gallery store) and concerns about bike boxes (in certain situations) by ODOT's head traffic engineer Ed Fischer.

Conrad -- the same person quoted by John Schubert in a recent article critical of Portland's bike lanes -- has been a vocal critic of PDOT's bike box plans (see comments he left on this site back in March here and here). He thinks the new intersection treatment is unsafe, has not been properly analyzed, and opens up PDOT to legal liability because they have not been officially approved as Traffic Control Devices (TCDs) by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

In a comment left on this site, Conrad wrote that he would not be critical of bike boxes "if they are approved TCDs, [are] properly tested and actually can be shown to effectively mitigate 'right-hook' accidents," but added that none of those points "have been demonstrated to be true."

I spoke with ODOT's Ed Fischer today and he feels his comments were taken a bit out of context in the Tribune story. He wanted it to be clear that ODOT is not against Portland's use of bike boxes.

Fischer also pointed out that ODOT only has jurisdiction over state highways that serve higher-speed and higher-volume traffic (and have less bike traffic) -- conditions that pose much different considerations for bike boxes than city streets in Portland.

KGW-TV (Portland's NBC affiliate) noticed the Tribune article and plans to broadcast a similar story tonight.

PDOT's bicycle coordinator Roger Geller has wasted no time in responding to the Tribune article. He posted a comment below the article on the Tribune's website where he defends PDOT's bike box campaign and explains their "experimental" status:

"Our desire is to evaluate this treatment under federal guidance in order to make it available to cities across the country if it proves to be effective. ...How else are we to demonstrate the effectiveness of a design that, as the [Tribune] reporter and others mentioned is already a standard traffic feature in most bicyle-friendly European cities, if we don't use them?"

Geller maintains that PDOT has employed professional researchers at Portland State University to collect before and after data on the bike boxes. Also -- in an attempt to counter the claim that the bike boxes are unsafe and lack sufficient research -- Geller points out a recent publication by the Transportation Research Board (download PDF here) that concludes bike boxes do improve bike safety (Geller made that research available to Tribune reporter Nick Budnick but it was not included in the story received until after the article was written.)

[For more on PDOT's vision on how to improve bike safety, read this article by Geller I published back in November.]

Now, let's back up a bit.

Hottest Day of the Year Ride
Blue bike lanes did not have federal
approval when PDOT installed them
back in 1997.

PDOT filed a formal "Request to Experiment" with the FHWA back in January . The application is not a mandatory procedure but it was done to share information about Portland's plans with the FHWA in hopes that they would consider adding bike boxes to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) -- an important set of guidelines used by traffic engineers across the country.

Geller and his team at PDOT hope that innovative bike safety measures begun in Portland can be a model that is emulated in other cities -- having bike boxes added to the MUTCD could motivate other city engineers to give them a try.

If the FHWA declines to endorse the experiment, the City of Portland is not obligated to remove the bike boxes, nor would PDOT be running afoul of the law if they left them in. According to local bicycle facilities planner Mia Birk, cities have the jurisdictional authority to install traffic control devices that do not have official federal approval.

A similar situation arose when PDOT first installed blue-colored bike lanes back in 1997. A "Request to Experiment" was filed with the FHWA and in that case, the feds did decline to endorse them. PDOT went ahead with their plans and continued to analyze their effectiveness. They partnered up with researchers from North Carolina and published a study showing that the lanes had a positive impact on bike safety. (The blue bike lanes are still in use today.)

As for the bike boxes, Geller says he and city traffic engineer Rob Burchfield are working with the FHWA to address their concerns. "We hope to get to the point where they approve them. We think we have a well-designed, experimental protocol and our desire is to continue to work with them [the FHWA] so we can have a successful experiment."

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Comments
  • Hillsons May 2, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Great article Jonathan. I\'d go with Geller on this one, if the city has jumped through all the right hoops and the experiment looks to be succeeding, then try it out.

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  • Scott May 2, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Maybe \"Ryan Conrad (a daily Portland bike commuter and mechanic at the Beaverton Bike Gallery store\" should relax. These boxes raise awareness, and bikers can use the help being seen. He Sounds like a real jerk.

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  • Dave May 2, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    What\'s the big deal Conrad/Tribune/KGW? Is it a slow news day, \'cause this sure seems like a non-issue to me. This is a new idea that needs testing and so it\'s being tested. Let\'s wait for the results and see what the numbers tell us before we jump to any conclusions, eh?

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  • steve May 2, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Did you read his comments? He certainly did not sound like a jerk, whatever you think of his ideas.

    You however, definately sound like a jerk. And now, so do I.

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  • Diogo May 2, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Maybe bike boxes are not that effective, but to suggest that they somehow make things worst - that\'s just plain ridiculous.

    Critique is good and all, but people should be careful to not give ammunition to those that oppose any investment for bike transportation.

    Conrad, be careful, don\'t let your ego make you work for those that are against you.

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  • PdxMark May 2, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    This is just more \"vehicular cyclist\" nonsense slinking in under the guise of \"safety.\" Here\'s a quote from the Tribune article:

    \"Conrad said that’s just not the case – he’s motivated strictly by safety concerns. He, like other critics, feels that if bike lanes ended 200 feet from intersections, cyclists would be more aware of vehicles and vice versa.\"

    200 feet? What a coincidence. Much of inner Portland\'s street grid is set up with 200 foot blocks. So eliminating a bike lane 200 feet before an intersection amounts to eliminating all bike lanes. What a coincidence.

    Since Conrad seems to be all about scientific rigor, where\'s the evidence showing that ending a bike lane 200 feet before an intersection is safer? I\'ll bet a pint of beer there isn\'t any.

    This \"vehicular cyclist\" drumbeat is the same as most Republican policy scams. Wrap your goal in the guise of a wonderful sounding goal while you dishonestly hide the real purpose and motivation of your position.

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  • bahueh May 2, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    these bike boxes do nothing to prevent moving right hooks...sorry.

    they do however raise awareness of the situation I think and give cyclists a bit more room when waiting for red lights..I personally still sit in the bike lane...

    Conrad works at the Bike Gallery? all I\'ve gotten from that place is bad mechanical advice and overpriced parts..

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  • bahueh May 2, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Conrad should spend more time riding and less time whining...

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  • bahueh May 2, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    and if he\'s confused by a big green box he should reevaluate his educational experience...

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  • Bradly Fletchall May 2, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    I\'m glad new things are being tried in Portland and I hope they can get the Federal sign off on the bike boxes because the cycling regulations that get enacted in Portland trickle down to other parts of the country very slowly.

    Here in Missouri where I am, streets in many areas are not \"bicycle friendly\" but its slowly, very slowly, changing. So what happens in Portland today has a chance of being enacted here in 5 to 10 years.

    I would be glad to just have a sign the says share the road in many of the places I ride. Sadly we don\'t even have that in many areas.

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  • encephalopath May 2, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I\'ve ridden through several of the green monsters now both before and after the painting.

    My admittedly anecdotal assessment is that I feel much less likely to get right hooked in the intersections with the boxes painted. I HAD been right hooked at these intersections a number of times before, though fortunately not hit, by non-signaling or inattentive drivers.

    Now when painted, I haven\'t gotten the hint of someone right hooking me... not even a feint, no drift rightward, no signal and creep from a stop.

    Drivers are watching now. It\'s nice.

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  • Tbird May 2, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    \"...He, like other critics, feels that if bike lanes ended 200 feet from intersections, cyclists would be more aware of vehicles and vice versa.\"

    This idea is so very flawed I\'m not sure where to begin. The idea of ending a bike lane before an intersection is already in practice at several intersections around the city and it only serves on function: to increase the chance of a dangerous interaction with motorists. Sure Bike Boxes are not perfect, but at least it\'s a defined \'bike only\' space.

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  • PdxMark May 2, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Ryan Conrad seems to do quite well as a mechanic at the Bike Gallery. It looks like he engaged the services of a \"Consulting Traffic Engineer\" to argue his case against bike boxes with a 1700-word tome back in March, 2008.

    Ryan\'s level of commitment to his view on civic issues is commendable, even if I disagree with them. Or, maybe, it\'s not Ryan who is actually behind this flurry of concern about bike boxes. Will the Real Ryan Conrad please stand up?

    \"Ryan Conrad has requested my help in expressing his concerns over
    the bike boxes and colored bike lanes in the City of Portland. \"
    ...
    \"Sincerely,
    Robert M Shanteau, PhD, PE (Calif.)
    Consulting Traffic Engineer\"

    (I can\'t seem to post the link to the site with the letter.)

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  • Joe May 2, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Even though there might not be any sound studies about the bike boxes, I have to say that the new greenies on SW Broadway downtown are fantastic! I used to on a DAILY basis have cars right hook in front of me with nary a blink. Only because I am a wary cyclist have I not gotten hit (at least at these intersections).

    Now it makes drivers so much more aware that there are indeed cyclists on the road, in the bike lane, and the drivers actually do WAIT HERE as the bike box is intended. Thanks PDOT!

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  • PdxMark May 2, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Ahhh.. here it is... Ryan\'s view on bike lanes, as posted in comments at bikeprovidence dot org, as in Providence, Rhode Island. It\'s good to see the Ryan gets around...

    \"From *Ryan Conrad*

    You can’t be serious, bike lanes improving the legal status of cyclists? Even in states w/o mandatory bike lane laws, bike lanes can at least strengthen the side-of-the-road law. Watch out for legislation that may get passed to make bike lanes mandatory after a network of them gets installed.

    Consider Oregon’s legal baited trap with regards to bike lanes: bike lanes are only required if they are deemed safe after review by a means of a public hearing. In other words, if you’re riding on a road with a bike lane in DT Portland (almost always a DZBL) and choose not to use that bike lane because it’s dangerous, you can still get pulled over by a cop for
    failure to use a bike lane. You can fight the ticket, but it’s up to the public hearing to determine if in fact the bike lane was safe to ride in. The jury is usually comprised of non-cyclists, so it’s unlikely they’ll empathize with you.

    Consider another scenario: you’re riding in one of Portland’s deadly “blue bike lanes” that takes you through extremely dangerous conflicts with turning motor traffic. You get hit (and survive) and proceed to sue the city for installing a dangerous mandatory traffic control device. The state and city can just as easily say the use of the facility was voluntary (they would never admit to installing a dangerous mandatory facility, no jurisdiction will
    willingly allow itself to be sued), so you recover no damages.

    Oh, and Oregon’s law requiring motorist’s to yield to cyclists in a bike lane is rarely enforced (is a very strange requirement for motorists, basically elevates bike lanes to the status of crosswalks), so there’s no point in relying on that either. I think PPD is just as confused (or just prejudice against cyclists) by that law as are motorists. It’s a band-aid law with no basis in traffic engineering, so in many cases the yielding action is very
    difficult or humanly impossible for a motorist to perform.

    Although Oregon is somewhat unique with it’s complicated bike laws, it is easy to see that bike lanes are not and never were intended to protect cyclists’ safety or legal standing. They force a cyclist into a catch-22 dilemma with no legal protection whatsoever, all for the convenience of motorists. That’s “bicycle friendliness” I guess. I personally choose to avoid dangerous bike lanes and risk ticketing, since legal protection does not exist anyways. It’s sad how the safest, most efficient form of riding is illegal, but that’s life.

    -Ryan
    Portland, OR

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  • nuovorecord May 2, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I find it laughable how so many people think they\'re traffic experts since they ride a bike...or drive a car, for that matter.

    PDOT has done an amazing job at creating new and innovative ways for cyclists to get around town more safely. Quick, name any other city of our size with \"Platinum\" credentials? How many other cities of our size in America have higher numbers of cyclists? They must be doing something right.

    Bike boxes are a proven technique to increase safety for cyclists. They\'ve worked elsewhere, they\'ll work here.

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  • Nick Budnick May 2, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    To clarify: your blog is correct that Roger sent me a TRB excerpt summarizing the conclusions of two other research papers. However, it arrived after the article was done. As for Ed\'s comments being \"a bit out of context,\" the article described the concerns as his, not ODOT\'s. It noted his caveat where he said one of his statements was his personal opinion. Also, he authored his memo explicitly in response to questions about Portland\'s bike boxes and his comments did not merely address their use on state highways, but on all arterials.
    -Nick B.

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  • PdxMark May 2, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I wonder if Ryan would be the Tribune\'s poster boy if they knew he wanted every cyclist to take a full lane on any street they chose to ride on?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) May 2, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks for that clarification Nick. I\'ve edited my story accordingly.

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  • Zaphod May 2, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Our ridership and accident rate stats say it all. The numbers don\'t lie.

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  • Axe May 2, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Anecdotal evidence is still evidence, and the anecdotal evidence is saying that the green bike boxes are working.

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  • Diogo May 2, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Wow, nuovorecord, that\'s the wrong way of thinking:
    \"Quick, name any other city of our size with \"Platinum\" credentials? How many other cities of our size in America have higher numbers of cyclists? They must be doing something right.\"
    First, you shouldn\'t trust credentials, prizes and titles that much. But beyound that, you shouldn\'t credit the high ridership in town to any engineer or bureaucrat - I would say it\'s the anonymous people in the streets that are making the numbers go high and, in turn, forcing the city to take action.

    I think bike boxes serve the purpose of creating awareness of bikers on the road - and that\'s good.

    BUT, if this turns out to be what Ryan Conrad is saying - that soon authorities will enforce bike riding only on bike lanes - then this whole story will prove to be one big manipulation by city officials and a huge betrayal.

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  • Dave May 2, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Nick #17: \"Roger sent me a TRB excerpt summarizing the conclusions of two other research papers. However, it arrived after the article was done.\"

    So, then the article was just poorly researched? Not sure I\'d wanna lean on that crutch too heavily...

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  • Spencer May 2, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    A couple of points.

    Ryan seems to care about his community (bike riders).

    Ryan is speaking his mind in a constructive and articulate manner.

    For those who retort to his arguments with (to paraphrase) \"his bike store sell expensive and crappy parts\", you are idiots. If you want to debate, debate, but don\'t debase him because he is not lock step with you ideas.

    Actually be as \"progressive\" and open minded as you claim to be.

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  • Bike Commuter May 2, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    I have a question for Ryan or any cyclist that abides by the vehicular cycling rules...

    Ryan stated in a previous post that he avoids \"passing slower motor vehicles on the right when they are able to turn right (very dangerous)\" to save his own life.

    So if he is riding down Interstate Ave, or any busy street during rush hour, and there is a lot of traffic that bikes can pass easily on the right, would he pass these cars if he was following the \"rules\" of vehicular cycling? One of these cars could easily pull to the right to try to sneak up to make a right turn or anything like that.

    I see a lot of good points made by Ryan, but no solution, because 90% of the riding population cannot take control of a lane because they can\'t ride fast enough as to not impede traffic.

    If someone could enlighten me, in hopefully a non-negative way, it would be much appreciated. I currently stand in favor of bike lanes with defensive riding because I don\'t hear solutions from the VC guys, just anger.

    Thanks.

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  • Moo May 2, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I will bet that he uses the boxes too!.. And feels safer in it.

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  • PdxMark May 2, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Re: #24.

    Let\'s all be consistent. Ryan pulled the name of his employer into the discussion. If he did it to add gravitas to his credentials, then people\'s opinions of that topic seem relevant. (For the record, I think the BG does a great job.) Calling someone an idiot is not really an illustration of the point you seemed to try to make.

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  • Stripes May 2, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    ODOT are responsible primarily for rural State Highways, and Oregon\'s freeway system (with the exception of state highways that bisect urban areas) & are possibly not the most well-versed in the designs of urban bike facilities.

    I may be wrong, but I believe their State traffic engineer is based way down in Salem, where it\'s perhaps hard to appreciate some of the unique urban transportation bike/auto/ped conflict locations and issues that a large city like Portland faces.

    I would encourage him to come up to Portland and check out the facilities firsthand (on a bicycle, yeah!) - as I would ask of anybody critiquing a particular facility before having actually used it.

    I have used two of the new bike boxes, and have found them to be extremely helpful. Car drivers are far more attentive to me as I travel on my bicycle through these locations.

    I can actually **see** them looking in their rearview mirrors and craining over their shoulders more before turning right - and that\'s certainly a first!

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  • Broken Halo May 2, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    BTW, Ryan Conrad is the Portland vehicular cyclist quoted in the wacko Adventure Cyclist article Jonathon wrote about on April 30.

    This looks like the popular trick of quoting one source over and over to make it look like there\'s a consensus or some kind of groundswell of opinion.

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  • Cøyøte May 2, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    You know there has been a bike box in Eugene at 7th and High streets for over twenty years. Perhaps Mr. Geller should look at crash statistics for that intersection to see if there has bike/car crash at that site. It might be a good argument.

    Sadly the box has fallen in disrepair along with the rest of Eugene\'s Streets. The maintenance aspect of bike bike boxes is my only reservation for their use. A green bike lane will stay green for a long time. A bike box receives the full weight of traffic wear and needs constant maintenance.

    As far a use goes, it is effective at avoiding conflicts at this intersection. However, most cyclists don\'t know how to use it, and you really have to watch the light. The last thing you want to do is get caught half way to your position in the box and have the light change.

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  • nuovorecord May 2, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Diogo - Thanks for the lecture. I don\'t think there\'s anything \"wrong\" with my way of thinking at all. We can have the \"chicken and egg\" argument all day long.

    But if engineering plays little or no role in increasing the numbers of cyclists in a city, wouldn\'t it stand to reason that you\'d see a similar increase in cycling in other cities? There\'s nothing unique about Portland in that regard...other than the fact that we\'ve been planning and building for bikes for over 30 years.

    I see nothing to make me think that bike boxes are part of a nefarious plot to enforce bike riding only on bike lanes. Why then, the investment in Bike Boulevards, to cite one example? I understand Ryan\'s point; I\'m just not convinced by his reasoning.

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  • Andrew May 2, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    HA! Oh Conrad, as a fellow mechanic I of course applaud and empathize with your own inflated sense of entitlement to speak with a sense of authority about all that is right and that is wrong in regards to everything that involves 2 wheels. However, I think your time might be better spent philosophizing about the relative tinsel strengths between different frame materials while drinking your cup of joe. You are a bicycle mechanic and not a city engineer or policy wonk for a reason, I assume.

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  • IceArdor May 2, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    It sounds like Conrad was mis-informed. I could understand him feeling like a guinea pig, being one of the first cities to try out this plan. Truly, though, the first European city to make bike boxes had the guinea pigs. Bike boxes have already been shown to work in other countries.

    I can\'t help but notice the bright blue painted strips of bike lane. Those alert drivers that they need to be cautious of cyclists. The bright green bike lane leading up to the box is the same thing. People don\'t need to go into the middle of the bike box if they completely object to them. They can be along the curb. For those who are against bike lanes, considering them to be death traps for bicyclists, then they can stay in the lane like a car. There\'s a solution for everyone.

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  • 21 speed May 2, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    This talk about being ticketed for riding outside of a bike lane provokes these thoughts:

    1) Isn\'t it Mayor election season?
    2) Can we get the most pro-bicycle candidate to state that if elected mayor he will demand that the fuzz lay off bicylists? Or is he not really that pro-bicyclist?
    3) Can we get him to say he will make it legal for cyclists to ride in a lane when they need to do so without being harrassed?
    4) Can we get him to say he will direct the cops to NOT ticket cyclists for running signs and lights if they do it safely (as defined by those, such as myself, who know what that is)?

    Just wondering.

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  • Jeremy May 2, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    I refuse to use the bike box when I\'m riding. I don\'t trust drivers right behind me, and some bicyclists would only hold up traffic, causing some drivers to get upset.
    I was at one of the intersections with a bike box this evening and watched a bicyclist almost get right hooked when he was behind the car that was turning, just going a lot faster than the car was.
    He would have been the one to run into the car just like Brett hit that garbage truck, and he was yelling at the car driver.
    Bike boxes aren\'t going to help in most situations and I hope the feds don\'t give Portland the OK on classifying it as experimental. Portland needs to accept responsibility for what they want to try out, not avoid it.

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  • To Clarify May 2, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    To clarify, Nick Budnick cherry-picked information to generate the most inflammatory story possible. That\'s why PDOT\'s Roger Geller called him out on his own website. Check it.

    The Tribune is slipping from two days to one day in print. May it soon slip from one to none and take lazy biased \"journalists\" like Budnick with it into the drink.

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  • Martin May 2, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    I like the bike boxes...however they are turning black after a few weeks of use from being run over by car tires. So here\'s the deal. Is it a sustainable endeavor to be painting and repainting the black streets green?

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  • 21 speed May 2, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Sustainability is the game? Well, I vote for more taxes to pay for more streets for cars. Why? Because oil is running out and when it does, what will those streets be called? BIKE PATHS.

    Remember: 50 years of oil left; 5,500,000,000 years of sunshine left. Choose wisely.

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  • r. May 2, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    in answer to 25, obviously I cannot speak for Ryan or anyone else, but what the \"effective\" cycling people teach is that when you are coming up behind a line of cars waiting to get through an intersection you either get in line behind everyone or pass on the left (assuming it is legal and safe to do so).

    so yes, 18, the ideal would be that the cyclist can take the entire lane where appropriate. the only law in Oregon about impeding traffic with a bicycle is 814.430(2)(e), which has to do with riding two or more abreast. even the operator of a motor vehicle impeding traffic is excused under 811.130(2) if \"proceeding in a manner needed for safe operation.\" to be safe, you have to be in the lane, away from the parked cars and the broken glass and the broken pavement and the edged curbs, etc.

    r.

    (arriving Portland 06.03.08)

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  • Ryan Conrad May 3, 2008 at 1:07 am

    So I\'m happy to participate in this debate if we can keep on the subject and within reasonable and polite discussion. I find it kind of funny that PDXMark \"exposed\" me as a vehicular cyclist as if it\'s some kind of foul language. The post he quotes I think is actually a little inaccurate. I looked over a summary of the State vs. Potter case from 2002 and I think the \"public hearing\" clause was invalidated or however you say that in official legal terms. In any case, suing a jurisdiction over faulty bike lane design is hard to do (so I\'ve heard).

    Jonathon, I don\'t know if you received my e-mail, but I offered to meet with you to tell you my side of this story but I have not received a phone call or even an e-mail response. I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you are not reporting all the facts and you seem to have a very strong bias in favor of PDOT. This article did not \"force\" PDOT to defend itself; they got themselves into this situation, I just helped dig up the truth. As I followed how PDOT was applying for approval, implementing these regardless, and just now resubmitting their RTE I became more and more astonished at what they were doing. It\'s not even about the bike boxes themselves anymore, but the breach in engineering ethics I have observed over the last couple of months and the conduct of our city officials. Honestly, it\'s depressing, the low level of engineering care and consideration I\'ve discovered our DOT is applying to the cycling community especially after the October fatalities. I just can\'t get myself over that, they\'ve certainly betrayed my trust.

    To those of you that wish to vilify, ridicule or misrepresent my intentions, consider this: I\'ve spent a good chunk of my free time following up on this issue, researching (like I said, I\'m not an engineer, so I have read up on this stuff) and corresponding with other knowledgeable individuals. Here I have a stack of work orders sitting on my desk at home (that I had to pay an exorbitant $62 for) for striping these bike boxes, none of which is signed by a licensed traffic engineer in violation of OAR 820-040-0030; practicing traffic engineering without a license. Mia Birk I\'m afraid is mistaken, Portland still has to follow the state MUTCD according to ORS 810.200, and bike boxes are not in it (at least not at the time they were striped).

    I really don\'t know what to say to some of you who think this is a big joke or some media shenanigan. I\'m certainly not enjoying all of this negative publicity, but I expected this to happen if things came to this point, so no real regrets there. I had to pay money out of my own pocket to get the last bit of evidence I needed, so there\'s no economic motive. But this isn\'t so much about my safety but everyone else\'s who has been told these things are safe (I\'ll just avoid them). When I described some of them as \"kind of scary\" the most blatant example I would say would probably be the 16th and Everett bike box. What is that, a downhill, door-zone, right-hook bike lane with a box attached? Just insanity. I don\'t need to explain myself, your DOT does and I think they have some very big questions to answer to the cycling community.

    -Ryan

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  • Michael May 3, 2008 at 7:47 am

    I\'m a bit confused by some of this discussion. Some comments seem to suggest fear that bicycles will be restricted to only riding in bike lanes - and one even suggests that bicycle drivers should be allowed to run red lights and go through stop signs when they deem it safe.

    If you\'ve ever ridden in the top bicycle cities in Europe (I would argue based on my experience those are Copenhagen and Amsterdam) - then you know that bicycles are not allowed outside of bike lanes - you can\'t ride off across a public square, you can\'t decide to fly off into the middle of car traffic - and you must stop at the lights and follow all the traffic rules.

    This kind of rule enforcement on bikes is what happens when bicycle culture is normalized. Motorists can\'t \'ignore red lights when they think it\'s safe\' and we wouldn\'t want them to - and part of making bikes a normal part of traffic is giving them a lane specifically dedicated to them - ideally with a physical buffer separating them from the cars - giving them their own stoplights - their own signs, etc.

    It\'s clear that Portland is moving slowly in this direction - and the conflict about these \'bike boxes\' is a result of an incomplete adoption of \'bikes as real traffic\'. So, yes, the logical conclusion of the direction that Portland is moving is that bikes will only be allowed in their lanes, and cars will only be allowed in their lanes, and pedestrians will be allowed in their lanes.

    This is the only safe way for us to move to a situation where bicycle drivers don\'t need to wear helmets, and where bicycle commuting can become a 100% viable option for everyone, not just \'sport cyclists\' but grandmothers, children going to school, everyone.

    That\'s the model that the city has been moving toward for decades. When you sigh and wish that Portland could be more \'European about bikes\' that\'s what it means. And thank goodness, because that\'s the only way bicycle culture will ever overtake American car culture.

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  • John Reinhold May 3, 2008 at 7:58 am

    It is my personal opinion that the more \"devices\" we have out there making people think about the other types of road users - the more safe all of the other types of road users become.

    It is a well established fact that pedestrians and bicyclists are safer in areas where there are more pedestrians and bicyclists, and the prevailing theory is that the more people there are around force auto drivers to pay more attention and think more about their surroundings.

    Whether or not the actual bike box itself will reduce accidents or conflicts IN THE UNITED STATES (remember, our drivers here are different than those in Europe) has yet to be fully understood. But the *existence* of the bike boxes, I believe helps bicyclists as a whole.

    In fact, I think that these debates are even happening is a sign that they are raising awareness about the different and vulnerable road users out there.

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  • 2ndaveflyer May 3, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Must not try something new until tested out on rabbits and mice. Change is bad. Can\'t everything just stay the same? Current intersections a joy of tested safety. Must recharge my power source. Cheers All.

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  • Vance May 3, 2008 at 8:30 am

    What\'s the difference between, \"Gaming the system.\", to get bike-lanes, and bike-boxes installed, and, \"Gaming the system.\", to get them removed? Of course this most recent criticism of the bike-box is politically motivated. Just as politically motivated as their supporters were when this stuff was installed. This is precisely what happens when you drag this Progressive, Star Trek: The Next Generation, political movement into cycling. Not everybody that rides a bicycle is doing it for the same reason as you\'all.

    The sign on the door says, \"Cycling COMMUNITY\", on it. And here some of you are giving Conrad the high-hat. I mean, he\'s one of YOU/US, folks! No conversion necessary. He didn\'t need a bike-lane, or a bike-box to get him on the road. He\'s a freebie. So am I for that matter, why must these personal attacks persist? Why, in the fervor to get dangerous, inexperienced cyclists on the road, are people so willing to alienate the pros already there?

    Aside: I found myself the victim of a bike-rights preacher recently and noticed something odd. Once I noticed this, I started looking closer. Here\'s what I find - Many of you preaching bicycles, and save the planet, and whatnot, are automobile owners. In fact, most are pretty quick to point this out themselves when it suits them. (Especially when licensing comes up.) What gives? Ya, we all know that the bike is your so-called primary means of transpo. Why not prove it, put your money where your mouth is, and donate your car? Let the excuses commence.

    That makes this a situation where an awful lot of, \"Occasional\", cyclists are dictating to us full-time cyclists what\'s gonna be, and what isn\'t. If the idea is to get numbers up, even at the risk of exposing the public-right-of-way users to unlicensed, and inexperienced cyclists, then why always so quick to light those with a different view on fire? I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I have more saddle-time in PDX than Geller. Do you know how I know this? Because I\'ve been here the whole time, and I have never once, ever, seen Roger Geller on a bike in the city of Portland. As long as the Gellers, with their credentials and fair-speech, design and deploy traffic solutions, instead of people who actually ride a bike, we get what we deserve.

    Bottom line. If it\'s so horrible here, then why did you move here? If it is so much better in Europe, why not move there? Most of all, if you even own a car, what the heck are you doing preaching bikes to me, and Conrad?

    There WERE plenty of things present to help would-be, and pro-cyclists alike already on the books. The problem was that the PPB did not feel obliged to enforce anything. You know, a political message. Instead of addressing this as a one-stop-shop for curing many of the ills of vehicular cycling, more ink was used. Now it\'s a political three-ring-circus with only the lives of human beings at stake.

    Furthermore, I\'ve really come around where Commissioner Adams is concerned. I hope his dedication to this so-called cycling community isn\'t going to end up being the thing that keeps him out of the Mayor\'s Office.

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  • Robert T. May 3, 2008 at 9:05 am

    I visit and bike in Portland pretty frequently, so I\'ve been interested in the bike box controversy. (Oh, and I am an engineer.) And I\'m pretty amazed by the low level of thinking I see here.

    Those in favor of bike boxes seem to think \"Hey, anything special you do for us bikers is good!\" They follow it up with jibes against \"vehicular cyclists\" and anyone who doesn\'t follow their blind faith.

    But in my travels, I\'ve seen LOTS of \"special\" bike facilities that are foolish and dangerous. Bike boxes certainly look like another one.

    This is supposed to be an experiment? If so, you don\'t do it in 14 places. You do it in one or two locations and you control it. You don\'t change multiple factors (like, bike box plus \"no right turn on red\") and attribute any benefit to your favorite factor. And you treat it as an experiment, not as a sales campaign.

    Geller is trying to stack the deck. He\'s advertising in all the bike shops, in the newspaper, and on billboards about how great his idea is. He\'s got all the \"Gee whiz, they love us!!!\" non-thinking cyclists arguing in favor, without any mention of the negatives, and without any data.

    Meanwhile, the real engineers are doing their usual thing: thinking in detail! They\'re saying \"But people will pass on the right just as the light begins to change, and they\'ll get creamed by right hooks, or as they swerve into the box.\" Real engineers are saying \"Motorists can\'t see into their right rear blind spot, and they\'ll hit cyclists.\" They\'re saying \"These are not approved for good reasons!\" But Geller is pushing ahead.

    When I ride in Portland, if a bike lane puts me close to a car door, I\'m out of it. And I do share the road, but if I\'m moving the same speed as traffic - including stopped! - I\'m behind the car.

    In towns WITHOUT mandatory bike lanes, this works perfectly. And that\'s the fundamental point here: If cyclists weren\'t off to the right, they wouldn\'t get right hooked!

    Also, if the road\'s too narrow for safe passing, I\'ll take the lane rather than trust some motorist with my life. I\'ll risk a ticket instead of my life.

    If that makes me a nasty \"vehicular cyclist,\" then I\'m proud to be one - and stay alive.

    And for \"Bike Commuter\" and anyone else who thinks they need multi-colored streets: Google \"Street Smarts\" by John Allen. Learn how to handle traffic.

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  • Todd Boulanger May 3, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Vance,

    I do agree with your point...about \'riding the walk\'...as a transportation planner I go out to where a tool is in use, observe it, look at the data, and then ride it before I work to implement it. In my 9 years working in this area...it typically takes 3 to 5 years of internal discussion to get the approval and funding to do anything new bike related on a public street...and this assumes you have a site and a project where it works. The recent strength in public and political support may be shortening this \'implementation delay curve\' in Portland. (Sam for mayor, etc.)

    I also \'ride the walk\' - if I cannot do what I am telling other citizens to do then what gives.

    I sold my last car back in 1988. Carfree and carefree since.

    Todd Boulanger
    Senior Transportation Planner
    City of Vancouver (WA)

    PS. Try riding between PDOT HQ and SE Portland...you might see Roger riding across the Hawthorne. I have seen him on the street in a bike helmet several times. I can see why you might have missed him...he is pretty invisible unless you know him - no fancy bike or riding gear to standout in among the crowds. ;-)

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  • Michael Poplawski May 3, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I am sad to see that Portland has essentially allowed political correctness to trump engineering when dealing with its streets. Portland looks like it\'s on its way to becoming like a European city, with so many segregationist gimmicks that everyone must deal constantly with conflict and congestion, even with many people using bicycles.

    It\'s also sad to see that the monument to a couple of cyclists\' deaths seems to be a road design which will further convince cyclists to make the mistake of passing vehicles on the right immediately before intersections.

    MP
    Victoria, BC, Canada

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  • tbird May 3, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    \"...if you\'ve ever ridden in the top bicycle cities in Europe (I would argue based on my experience those are Copenhagen and Amsterdam) - then you know that bicycles are not allowed outside of bike lanes - you can\'t ride off across a public square, you can\'t decide to fly off into the middle of car traffic - and you must stop at the lights and follow all the traffic rules.\"

    -exactly! Now behave yourselves.

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  • BURR May 3, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    At this point, since PDOT seems so intent on defending the indefensible, I think PDOT should open their entire \'bike safety\' and \'bike facilities\' programs up to review by a team of independently selected international experts.

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  • BURR May 3, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    The bike boxes are a band-aid solution to Portland\'s inappropriate bike lane designs, and represent the adaptation of one of the worst flaws of the Dutch bike way system - the separated, non-destination positioned bike lane.

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  • Paolo May 3, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Hey Vance, I just saw Mr. Geller a the playground with his daughter last Saturday and yes he was riding a bike, I did not know who he was but a common friend told me.
    On the Green boxes subject now. I love them, I think they are great. Cars see them and I feel safer. I don\'t care what bike mechanics or engineers say, I hope they paint more around the city. There are many more places where it would be great to have them so we don\'t be afraid for the cars to stop a foot from our back wheel or right by our side and turn right as soon as the light turns.
    I also think it was great that they did all that publicity to them, makes people think and realize that a car driver needs to respect a bike rider.
    Ciao
    Paolo

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  • Bill May 4, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    I think the green stripes, as well as the blue ones do great things for cycling in our city. However, this needs to be stated along with the idea that cyclists need to use safe, defensive tactics when they ride. In my experience, the bright colors make drivers very aware there is a possible user conflict in the area. I think it serves the same purpose for the cyclist. when reminded of such things I think we tend to react more defensively as cyclist so as not to be put in a bad situation. I think drivers tend to be more cautious and aware. I agree with some points Conrad makes, but I do discount his thought that bike boxes make the intersections more dangerous. Additionally, I dont think the Federal Highway Administration is necessarily who I would trust in regards to the efficacy of our bike ways. Its like saying the EPA is really on the environment\'s side, when they fail to support many great initiatives and fail to make good progress, but then maybe thats because the head of the EPA is a former Monsanto executive..... My point being that many trusted professionals dont have their head in the right place, so saying that a traffic engineer always knows whats best isn\'t always the case.

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  • Metal Cowboy May 4, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Vance,
    I see Geller on a bike all the time. He pedaled right up to bikeportland\'s social hour a few weeks back. I have yet to meet you at any bike related event - but when I do I expect you\'ll be on a bike...

    BTW - I think discounting anyone who doesn\'t ride a bicycle 100 percent of the time as their transportation choice makes you sound self-righteous, elitist and does not help win folks over to the fellowship of the wheel. I\'m assuming you want more people riding bikes more of the time? I could be mistaken.

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  • 54 May 4, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Metal Cowboy has it. The \"vehicular cyclist\" perspective is ideological. It has no interest in the practical realities of trying to get more people on bikes more often. The numbers speak for themselves: take a city like Los Angeles that has done reasonably little to provide focused accommodation for bikes and compare its ridership to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, or one of those places.

    The city isn\'t interested in focusing its investments and strategies to accommodate Ryan Conrad. It\'s going after the 60% that are more likely to ride with different kinds of accommodation.

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  • Peter W May 5, 2008 at 8:39 am

    I think it is important for cyclists to understand the motivation behind some of the \"vehicular cyclist\" (VC) ideas and know how to be strong and defensive cyclists. This will lead to increased safety.

    However, having infrastructure that results in getting a lot more people on bikes also makes us safer - it would mean less cars on the road, and more importantly, more visibility of bicyclists (so the cars on the road start watching out for us more).

    VC people aren\'t evil or stupid, but neither are those who support cyclist infrastructure. We need to understand each other, stop arguing so much, and start actually talking about the real issues that prevent more people from biking more often in a safe environment.

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  • Metal Cowboy May 5, 2008 at 8:48 am

    What Peter W said.

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  • kg May 5, 2008 at 8:49 am

    I think the point is you can follow the VC ideology now. No one is going to make you use a bike box. So the VC folks have everything they need. VC in an outdated mindset that has been fomented through necessity. It is a great philosophy if you happen to be a strong cyclist but in terms of creating more cyclists, a better community and better world it is simply and obviously completely bankrupt in its\' abilities. So whatever the motivations of the VC crowd the net effect of their advocacy is to maintain the status quo and to carry water for the establishment.

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  • One Less :( May 5, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Look, you all need to realize one thing....we are all cyclists! Sure, we have differencing opinions on this subject but is it really this bad? Heck I bet we could have a year long debate on what component group is better, but we\'d get nowhere fast!

    I know Ryan and I also know other people in the cycling community that are trying to do things to make it safe for us on the road. They may look at the same problem, but have very different solutions. That is how the world works.

    I would leave the personal attacks, attacks on service at bike shops, etc. at the door. This is not really the place for that.

    Personally I ride in a manner that is hopefully predictable to those around me. I SIGNAL turns, I DO NOT run red lights or stop signs, I always wear a helmet, have lights on my bike, and I always make eye contact with potential problems. Sure, I have my downfalls like throwing a loaded water bottle at idiots that try to right hook me or I might yell at someone that is about to door me. I don\'t do stupid stuff like I see downtown all day long, especially those messengers! (I\'m waiting for another one of you to buzz me just right when you\'re running a red light so I can remind you why its not cool to do that!)

    In the immortal words of the Ice Cube \"So chickity check yourself before you riggity wreck yourself.\"

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  • John Luton May 5, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    We have a couple of bike boxes here in Victoria, BC and there are some across the pond in Vancouver. We worked hard to get them in place and most people on the road are quite happy with them, motorists included. They more clearly define road space, indicate where cyclists can and should position themselves at an intersection and for those reasons, make their movements more predictable. Motorists have been positive on the predictability of cyclist movements at bike boxes too.

    Safety is enhanced by all sorts of paint schemes and symbols. They give direction to all road users. No one would argue that a centre-line creates a physical barrier between opposing streams of traffic, but when they were introduced in the \'20s, the had a dramtic impact on road safety.

    Bike lanes, bike boxes, sharrows etc are more of thesame - something that gives guidance on the road and for anyone who cares to do some research beyond the rhetoric, you\'ll find that they have a positive correlation with the comfort and safety of cyclists.

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  • Robert T. May 5, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    There\'s a lot of confusion here about what vehicular cycling is, and about the value of bike lanes, and the problems with bike boxes.

    \"54\" says \"The vehicular cyclist perspective is ideological. It has no interest in the practical realities of trying to get more people on bikes more often.\"

    When I ride, I act as a vehicle operator. Sorry, but it\'s not ideological, it\'s practical. It keeps me from getting doored, or right hooked, or left hooked, or squeezed by passing motorists. Staying in bike lanes tends to do the opposite, plus give me more flats from the bike lane debris. And no matter what you think, bike lanes don\'t prevent hits from behind. A biker is at least as visible as a paint stripe!

    You want to get more people cycling? Fine! But do it in a way that doesn\'t kill us, please.

    \"kc\" said \"I think the point is you can follow the VC ideology now. No one is going to make you use a bike box.\"

    But Oregon makes riding in a bike lane mandatory! Yes, I ignore it when it\'s dangerous - like when they stripe right next to parked cars - but I\'m risking a ticket to do so. That\'s not very bike friendly!

    But more to the point: Why does everyone think the bike boxes are even necessary? If you want to prevent right hooks on red, just say \"No Right Turn on Red.\" And bikers, don\'t be so dumb as to pull up to the right of a motor vehicle, especially a big one.

    If you want to prevent right hooks on green, move to lane center when you go through an intersection. You\'ll be more visible to all motorists, and you\'ll have some escape room if one of them does something really dumb. If they get slowed for five seconds, is it that big of a deal?

    If you think you really have to put magic paint on the asphalt to lure more bikers, how about sharrows? I\'ve seen them on several streets on the east side and the northwest. Aren\'t they colorful enough for you?

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  • a.O May 5, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    \"But Oregon makes riding in a bike lane mandatory!\"

    When are people going to stop spreading this falsehood!? Are you intentionally lying or are you just ignorant of the law?

    Here it is:

    814.420 Failure to use bicycle lane or path; exceptions; penalty.

    (3) A person is not in violation of the offense [of failure to use a bike lane] if the person is able to safely move out of the bicycle lane or path for the purpose of:

    (a) Overtaking and passing another bicycle, a vehicle or a pedestrian that is in the bicycle lane or path and passage cannot safely be made in the lane or path.

    (b) Preparing to execute a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

    (c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.

    (d) Preparing to execute a right turn where a right turn is authorized.

    (e) Continuing straight at an intersection where the bicycle lane or path is to the right of a lane from which a motor vehicle must turn right.

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  • r. May 5, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    if (c) avoiding hazardous conditions includes asserting a space in the lane that deters an overtaking motorist from passing too close, I am there. what is the story on enforcement?

    r.

    (arriving Portland 06.03.08)

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  • r May 6, 2008 at 5:23 am

    and also (e) continuing straight at an intersection where the lane is to the right of a lane from which a motorist might (not just must) turn right.

    r.

    (arriving Portland 06.03.08)

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  • Robert T. May 6, 2008 at 7:36 am

    \"a.O\" objects to my claim that Oregon makes riding in a bike lane mandatory.

    Yes, I know the law states some exceptions. Here\'s the problem with Oregon\'s \"You MUST... (um, except)\" approach:

    First, how many newbie bikers know about the exceptions? More important, how many motorists know about it? I\'ve been hassled by drivers for leaving a bike lane to avoid gravel and glass.

    Second, even if drivers or cops know I\'m allowed to avoid hazards, how do they know when I\'ve got a hazard? When you\'re in a car, a pile of broken glass is nothing. Neither is a pavement crack that can trap my tire. But to me, they\'re big problems.

    Third, why on earth does Portland put down bike lanes that are by definition hazardous? There\'s one downhill street I ride (maybe Everett? I forget - I\'m from out of town) where the bike lane puts me in reach of an opening car door. And I\'ve seen some bike lanes that go all the way through intersections. What\'s the sense of that? Whoever wrote the law must know that bike lanes are especially dangerous through intersections!

    And the bike box thing is more of the same. They\'re being promoted like gangbusters, \"SAFER! SAFER!!\" Yeah, right. Until someone\'s trying to get to the box, riding up past the right side of a truck when the light turns green. Another right turn, another crushed biker.

    Face it: They\'re painting roads to tell bikers what to do, hoping to lure more bikers. But the paint often tells bikers to do what\'s most dangerous.

    \"Here - we\'ll help you out by risking your life.\" Nice policy, eh?

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  • a.O May 6, 2008 at 7:54 am

    First, ignorance of the law is no excuse. I too have been hassled for drivers for leaving a bike lane. They need to be educated, but that\'s not a problem with the way the law works. Those people will hassle you whether or not there is a bike lane.

    And you know what makes for better, more respectful drivers? More cyclists on the road. You know what puts more cyclists on the road? That\'s right, facilities like bike lanes and bike boxes.

    Second, cops in cars aren\'t likely to see where a bike hazard is! But you are. If I were to get a ticket for not using the bike lane, I\'d just go to court and explain what the hazard was and why I needed to avoid it. Maybe even take pictures, if possible. What\'s the judge going to say? It\'s the law and no one can contradict your testimony!

    Third, I agree dooring is a problem with many bike lanes. So is the right hook. Now go back and read ORS 814.420(3)(c) & (e) again and tell me if you think you\'re required to use the bike lane in those situations.

    Face it: You need to learn the law before you start talking about a policy that doesn\'t exist.

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  • steve May 6, 2008 at 9:08 am

    AO said-

    \"If I were to get a ticket for not using the bike lane, I\'d just go to court and explain what the hazard was and why I needed to avoid it. Maybe even take pictures, if possible. What\'s the judge going to say? It\'s the law and no one can contradict your testimony!\"

    I think you just described exactly what people are complaining about. We should not be burdened with having to go to court to defend the safest operation of our vehicles.

    Face it: The law is terribly written.

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  • a.O May 6, 2008 at 9:11 am

    I think the law is pretty clear. And I haven\'t heard about people having to go to court \"to defend the same operation\" of their vehicles...except for the Barnum and Ballsack Circus harassing the messengers. But that\'s about enforcement, not an unclear law. Even when the law is clear it can be abused.

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  • steve May 6, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Which brings us all right back to crappy law enforcement officers with piss poor operating mandates. Sadly, we rarely hear much about that.

    Easier to paint the streets than to reign in PPD. Sure haven\'t heard Sammy boy talking about that.

    Guess there is no money in it.

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  • a.O May 6, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Well, dealing with the issue of public oversight of the PPB is a much bigger issue than this. It needs some serious community involvement and I encourage you to get involved. Frankly, it is currently a political untouchable.

    That aside, you appear to have conceded that the issue is primarily one of enforcement (I\'m sure you will correct me if I\'m wrong). But, again, I haven\'t heard about ORS 814.420 violations being enforced against cyclists other than a few isolated incidents (I call them that because they involved specific PPB officers and a specific group of cyclists in a specific part of town). Please correct me if I\'m wrong.

    And the new traffic division captain has admitted that he and his fellow officers do not have a good grasp of the traffic laws as they apply to bicycles and is actively soliciting community input to understand how they work and where enforcement is warranted. That\'s a huge step forward.

    What\'s still missing is *EDUCATION* of the driving and cycling public on the law, which clearly (IMHO) allows cyclists to not use a bike lane pretty much whenever it would be necessary to stay safe.

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  • Bjorn May 6, 2008 at 9:42 am

    #45

    14 places seems like a low sample size for an experiment to me. If you put in a bike box in only one intersection it would be all extrapolation to say that it was a good idea in other locations.

    You claim that the bike box should be de-coupled from the no right turn on red, which makes me think you don\'t fully understand the concept of the bike box. If right hand turns were allowed on a red light then box would not create a space in advance of cars where bikes can wait for the light. Also in some installations it is not possible for a car behind the line to see if it is safe to turn right, so the car would be required to enter the bike box to check cross traffic. The only way to decouple them would be to compare with other intersections that have only the right on red sign, because you simply can\'t have a bike box and allow cars to turn right on red.

    I am aware of many of your posts on this subject and so I know that your mind is not going to be changed by a comment here, but I would like to know if you have any studies to back up your assertion that installing bike boxes in a US city is more dangerous, or if it is just your opinion? None of your comments seem to cite a study, and I am not aware of any completed study on the boxes which have thusfar been installed in the US.

    I would think you would welcome this study as a way to validate your theory, thus preventing bike boxes from being installed nationwide, unless you are concerned that you are wrong...

    Bjorn

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  • wsbob May 6, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I think it\'s very important to experiment with different kinds of bike infrastructure to arrive upon those that will work best all around. In some situations, bike boxes can definitely offer cyclists some needed protection.

    From the standpoint of efficient traffic flow, they have something to be desired. When I was driving S.W. Broadway at Taylor last week, I found them confusing. It\'s Sunday afternoon, low traffic, and I stopped behind the line at the bikebox. I needed to turn right but couldn\'t figure out if that was permitted or not. There wasn\'t a bike anywhere in the green zone, and none in my passenger side view mirror the couple blocks I could see back.

    I waited awhile and just decided to turn right on red. I just looked on PDOT\'s bike box page via the link above and didn\'t see any policy stated. If someone has a link to it, go ahead and post it.

    I\'m thinking it\'s a good idea to have motor vehicles stay out of the bike box extending across the lane, but if bikes are not in a right lane position in the box, maybe motor vehicles should be permitted to signal, move through that area of the box and make their turn behind any cyclists approaching within 100 feet.

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  • zilfondel May 6, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    \"...if you\'ve ever ridden in the top bicycle cities in Europe (I would argue based on my experience those are Copenhagen and Amsterdam) - then you know that bicycles are not allowed outside of bike lanes\"

    That\'s so not true! There are many, many streets and ped/bike paths that allow free reign for you to ride on. Most of the streets in Amsterdam, in fact, do not have bike lanes, and have slow enough speed limits that you can ride without any fear of getting ran over by a car. There are also a lot of streets in the central city in which cars have been banned from.

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  • Robert T. May 6, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    I mentioned that many bike lanes teach newbies to ride in dangerous places (like next to car doors), and may discourage them from avoiding hazards like broken glass or wheel trapping gaps in pavement.

    \"a.O\" says \"Ignorance of the law is no excuse.\"

    But we\'re talking about more than ignorance here. We\'re talking about deliberately leading newbies into dangerous situations! This is especially true for door zone bike lanes, and for bike boxes!

    It\'s NOT a good idea to put down paint saying \"Ride here,\" then to say, \"Well, you were ignorant if you didn\'t know not to ride there.\"

    It\'s a hell of a way to promote bicycling to newbies. In fact, it\'s immoral. It\'s endangering the most vulnerable to get your rider count up.

    If a facility isn\'t safe, it shouldn\'t be put in place. Period. That shouldn\'t be hard to understand.

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  • a.O May 6, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    It\'s got to be said, Robert T. that it\'s just *your opinion* that bike lanes and bike boxes are not safe. There\'s not really any evidence to support that.

    There is evidence, however, to support the idea that bike boxes, in particular, can prevent right-hooks. And the hazards inherent in some bike lanes can be easily avoided when riding according to the law.

    Do you actually want the State to teach people how to ride properly on the roadway? Yes? Me, too. It\'s an education issue, not a design issue.

    And this whole \"immoral\" thing is a little overblown, dontcha think?

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  • Robert T. May 6, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Bjorn seems to misunderstand me.

    When I talked about mixing the bike box with the \"no turn on red\" rule, here\'s what I meant: One of the two famous fatalities (and many less famous incidents) would have been prevented with a simple \"No Right Turn on Red\" sign, without a bike box.

    When Geller puts in a bike box plus a \"NTOR\" sign, there are probably going to be fewer bad incidents. But many are going to be caused by the sign. Seeing Geller\'s methods, he\'s going to attribute them to the box.

    How could this be resolved? Maybe by taking two intersections and installing only NTOR signs, and comparing with two intersections with bike boxes. Oh, I suppose you could throw in two with both features.

    But 14 with both features? And with billboards, flyers, radio programs, newspaper articles, dancing girls and parades saying how wonderful they\'re going to be? That\'s not an experiment. It\'s a ramrodding exercise.

    If you put the same amount of energy into saying \"Bikers should be in lane center when stopped for a light, or when they\'re moving as fast as cars\" you\'d get results at least as good.

    And by the way, you folks are aware that these bike box things don\'t have the blessing of other traffic engineers, right? That\'s likely because of the risk of getting creamed as you pass traffic on its blind side, trying to get into the box.

    What\'s more likely - that the committees of engineers that examine, discuss and evaluate such ideas are too dumb to see the wonderful benefits, or that the earnest loose cannon Geller can\'t see the detriments?

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  • Robert T. May 6, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    \"a.O\" says:

    \"It\'s got to be said, Robert T. that it\'s just *your opinion* that bike lanes and bike boxes are not safe. There\'s not really any evidence to support that.\"

    For what it\'s worth, I don\'t say _all_ bike lanes are unsafe. Some are fine, although most are just unnecessary.

    But what do you think about a downhill, 30 mph bike lane that skims next to parked car doors? Is that safe?

    What do you think of a bike box that encourages bikers to pass on the right side = blind side, just as the light turns green and a motorist makes a quick right turn? Is that safe?

    \"There is evidence, however, to support the idea that bike boxes, in particular, can prevent right-hooks.\"

    Sorry, but I think the prevention comes from the \"no turn on red\" sign. Any other benefit could be had more safely by telling cyclists \"don\'t stop to the right of cars; stop behind them or in front of them.\" That\'s what I always do. Because of that, I\'ve never, ever been right hooked. And I\'ve probably ridden for more years than you\'ve been alive.

    \"Do you actually want the State to teach people how to ride properly on the roadway? Yes? Me, too. It\'s an education issue, not a design issue.\"

    \"And this whole \"immoral\" thing is a little overblown, dontcha think?\"

    No, I chose my words carefully. How is it moral to paint \"Ride here!\" stripes next to car doors that could fling open? How is it moral to tell newbies \"You\'re safe now, we put down paint!\" when that paint tells them to ride in a dangerous manner?

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  • wsbob May 6, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    I think a lot of people would like the logistics of directing motorists and cyclists along streets to be a more simple than it is. Bike boxes aren\'t going to be able to serve every contingency, but they may help to address problems raised by some. Give and take, and experimentation is going to have enter into the deal if any successful arrangement for bikes and motor vehicles together is to be found.

    If drivers had all the patience in the world, which they don\'t, there wouldn\'t be a need for bike boxes. If not for motor vehicles, bikes could always take the main travel lanes regardless what speed they traveled.

    The bike box and companion bike lanes are an experiment to find out whether this infrastructure can offer relief to motor vehicle traffic congestion and sufficient safety to people on bikes that use them when they can\'t keep up with MV traffic.

    To me, it seems that a big condition to getting the most successful all around benefit from infrastructure like the bike boxes, is that the dynamics of the locations they\'re installed at may have to be studied with more care than they have to date.

    If a bike lane installation in a specific location brings bikes within a door zone, maybe that represents an obvious over-sight that should be engineered out for that location. For the greatest ease of usability, to an extent, consistency of design and engineering is important, but consistency turned to inflexibility sometimes does more harm than good. Maybe some of that has happened with the bike boxes and bike lanes.

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  • a.O May 6, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    You\'re not legally required nor encouraged to do anything unsafe. It\'s as simple as that. I\'ve never seen the words \"Ride here!\" painted anywhere on the roads in Portland. And I\'ve never heard anyone at PDOT or any other agency say \"You\'re safe now, we put down paint!\" And frankly, I\'m not surprised I haven\'t heard or seen that, because it\'s a pretty huge over-simplification of the situation.

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  • Robert T. May 7, 2008 at 6:56 am

    \"a.O\" objects to my language, saying he\'s never seen the words \"Ride here!\" painted on the roads of Portland.

    Of course I was speaking figuratively, not literally. But what does a bike lane mean, if not \"ride here\"?

    Someone newly convinced to ride a bike is not likely to study things like John Allen\'s excellent \"Street Smarts\" guide for a month. (Google for it - it\'s free, on the web.) Instead, they\'ll talk a bit to a salesman at a bike shop, buy most of what he recommends, and bumble out onto the street. When they see the bike lane, how will they interpret it? \"Ride here.\" What else could it mean?

    They\'ll see the downhill bike lane skimming the parked cars, and they\'ll think \"Ride here!\" In reach of the car doors.

    They\'ll see the bike boxes, and they\'ll think \"Ride here.\" Whether or not the light is just turning green. (And how would they know?)

    Hopefully, when they skim past the car doors, none will pop open. Hopefully, when they pass the car on the right, trying to get to the bike box, they won\'t get hooked when the light turns green and the car whips through the right turn.

    Hopefully, they\'ll have some near misses that teach them the dangers before they have a really horrible crash caused by bad engineering.

    This could be done differently, easily enough. The very simplest steps would be to stripe \"DON\'T ride here!\" next to the car doors. And the bike box flyers, billboards, and radio spots should not be saying \"Safer!\" They should be honest, and say \"Warning! Unapproved experiment!\"

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  • Bjorn May 7, 2008 at 7:45 am

    #75

    No Right Turn on Red signs are frequently ignored by motorists in my experience, and I think that may in part be due to the low visibility of a small white and black sign. Bike boxes provide a much more clear visible cue about where the car should not be during a red light.

    I\'m not sure which of the two recent right hook fatalities you are thinking could have been prevented with a no right turn on red sign. As I recall they both occured with green lights. However the one at the crystal ballroom might have been prevented with a bike box since the cyclist would have been in a more visible location. Simply having a no right on red sign would have left the positioning exactly the same as what caused the accident.

    Either way I don\'t think looking at fatalities is a very good way to judge the safety of an intersection and I would think that you would agree as a traffic engineer. Fatalities occur so seldom that they can\'t establish the impact of a change to a statistically significant degree without a very long period of study. We should be, and PDOT is looking at injury rates.

    bjorn

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  • Ryan Conrad May 7, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Robert T. said:

    \"And by the way, you folks are aware that these bike box things don\'t have the blessing of other traffic engineers, right? That\'s likely because of the risk of getting creamed as you pass traffic on its blind side, trying to get into the box.\"

    These don\'t have the blessing of any engineers. The work orders I obtained from PDOT are not signed by a licensed engineer (illegal in Oregon). So there is no way for me to know if a traffic engineer oversaw all aspects of this project. Very scary, especially in light of the very inappropriate locations some of these are being installed in (e.g Everett/16th and Terwilliger/Taylors Ferry).

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  • Ryan Conrad May 7, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Bjorn,

    PDOT should be using risk analysis. You don\'t have to wait for accidents to happen to decide if an intersection treatment is bad.

    One thing I have yet to have explained in detail to me is the traffic maneuvers that bike boxes will encourage and by what mechanisms these bike boxes will reduce right-hook accidents (or any other accidents). PDOT should be analyzing the possible maneuvers of motorists and cyclists for different signal phases and traffic situations and comparing these maneuvers to the causal mechanisms of the most common car-bike accidents in historical accident data (this has all been available for many years).

    One significant causal mechanism of right-hook accidents (the most common car-bike accident type in Portland) is cyclists getting on the right-hand side of right-turning vehicles (which is a strong argument against striping bike lanes right up to the intersection as well). Given that, PDOT engineers should be designing intersections that combat this causal mechanism directly, while also looking at what other types of accidents could be increased by a given measure.

    For example, cyclists could be encouraged to merge with traffic at intersections for straight-through movements (and motorists right for right turns). This largely eliminates the causal mechanism for right-hooks, but increases the cyclist\'s chance of getting hit from behind. However, getting hit from behind while riding in a straight line is extremely rare, a fraction of a percent of car-bike accidents. Compare that to the 9.5% rate of right-hooks, and the design is acceptable.

    Bike boxes will still keep cyclists to the right of right-turning vehicles when the light is green, so their usefulness at mitigating right-hooks is highly suspect. The bike box could also have the undesirable effect of encouraging cyclists to swerve into the box right as the light is turning green (or even during a green light if the cyclist is confused on how to use it). Swerving in front of an overtaking vehicle is one of the main causes of hit-from-behind accidents. Given that, combined with the confusing nature of these in heavy traffic, I think it more likely that they will produce a net increase in accidents rather than a net decrease.

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  • a.O May 7, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Yes Robert T. it\'s clear that you were speaking figuratively. And hyperbolically. But I\'m not buying the hype. It\'s particularly telling in your stretching of the truth to grind your personal axe that you assume new riders are idiots who have no concept of the law or safety. You still haven\'t produced any evidence that these facilities are actually dangerous, and that\'s the bottom line. The only one who needs to be more honest here is you.

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  • Robert T. May 7, 2008 at 11:02 am

    If it was clear to you that I was not speaking literally, you should not have complained that you have never (literally) seen the words \"Ride here!\" painted on pavement.

    But you still haven\'t explained what you think a bike lane (or a bike box) is supposed to tell cyclists, if not \"ride here.\" What do they mean??

    And regarding evidence: Do you really need evidence to prove that it\'s dangerous to skim by parked cars within reach of their doors?

    If that fact isn\'t obvious to you, then you aren\'t qualified to judge whether new riders are \"idiots\" (your word) or not. You need to start your judgment closer to home!

    (I can\'t believe I\'m debating someone who defends door-zone bike lanes!!!)

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  • Schrauf May 7, 2008 at 11:12 am

    \"However, getting hit from behind while riding in a straight line is extremely rare, a fraction of a percent of car-bike accidents. Compare that to the 9.5% rate of right-hooks,\"

    Ryan - maybe because with the current bike lane infrastructure most cyclists stay in the bike lane? Your statement is silly and useless unless a roughly equal number of cyclists take the lane vs. remain in the bike lane at intersections.

    It\'s like saying red cars are more dangerous to drive than yellow cars because there are more accidents involving red cars. Umm, maybe because there are significantly more red cars?

    If everyone took the lane, of course right hooks would go down, but how much would rear-end collisions go up? More important, how many cyclists would stop riding because they are not comfortable riding in the middle of traffic, and then as cycling mode-share decreases over time, how much more dangerous would it become for all cyclists, as drivers no longer expect to see cyclists \"in their way\"?

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  • Ryan Conrad May 7, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Schrauf said:

    \"Ryan - maybe because with the current bike lane infrastructure most cyclists stay in the bike lane? Your statement is silly and useless unless a roughly equal number of cyclists take the lane vs. remain in the bike lane at intersections.\"

    It\'s possible that bike lanes could produce (and are producing) a reduction in hit-from-behind accidents. But they are so rare, that any increase as a result of what I just described above would pale in comparison to the reduction in right-hooks (and other crossing and turning accidents that bike lanes can increase). When the first national accident studies were produced in the 70s, bike lanes didn\'t exist and hit-from-behind accidents were about as rare as they are now. That\'s just risk management; you can never completely eliminate risk, only reduce it. Standard engineering procedure, in whatever field, aims to reduce the risk as much as possible.

    \"It\'s like saying red cars are more dangerous to drive than yellow cars because there are more accidents involving red cars. Umm, maybe because there are significantly more red cars?\"

    We are talking about traffic maneuvers and their relationships to causal mechanisms of known accidents types. The analogy you are trying to draw is incorrect, because you just described a correlation without any causative mechanism.

    \"If everyone took the lane, of course right hooks would go down, but how much would rear-end collisions go up? More important, how many cyclists would stop riding because they are not comfortable riding in the middle of traffic, and then as cycling mode-share decreases over time, how much more dangerous would it become for all cyclists, as drivers no longer expect to see cyclists \"in their way\"?\"

    Rear-end collisions would probably not go up much, if at all, because, again, they are extremely rare and the ones caused by motorists usually involve other unrelated factors like being intoxicated or distracted while driving.

    Also, you don\'t always have to \"take the lane\" at every intersection if you intend to go straight. If you are approaching an intersection at slow speed with infrequent right-turning traffic, then whatever motorist that wants to turn right should merge in front or behind you before turning rather than turning across you. The presence of a bike lane stripe tells them to stay left and cut across. If you\'re approaching at higher speed and/or their is a line of cars with right turn signals on, then you should merge with traffic rather than overtake on the right. If there\'s no bike lane stripe, that line of cars is usually closer to the curb, so there would normally be space within the right thru lane on the left to overtake. The presence of the bike lane stripe keeps cars further left, so you either have to wait or change lanes to overtake while also inviting cyclists to overtake on the right, which is bad.

    As for the comfort part, I don\'t know what to tell you. I certainly don\'t feel comfortable overtaking on the right because it\'s dangerous. If people are comfortable doing this, we need to tell them it\'s not safe and make them comfortable with riding techniques that are safe, right?

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  • Robert T. May 7, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Schrauf, making a wild guess, said

    \"Ryan - maybe [rear end collisions are rare] because with the current bike lane infrastructure most cyclists stay in the bike lane?\"

    But Schrauf\'s guess was wrong. Rear end collisions are rare everywhere, and have always been rare everywhere, bike lanes or no. Look it up!

    It\'s rare for a motorist to run into a biker from behind because, believe it or not, it\'s really easy to see a biker when he\'s right in front of you.

    There may be an exception or two. Lots of ex-drivers who lost their licenses think they don\'t need lights to get home from their favorite bars. They may be hard to see. And I\'d ride different if I were in heavy fog on a high-speed road. But otherwise, we\'re not invisible, guys.

    I\'m getting a strong impression that the bike box and bike lane fans don\'t do a lot of reading about this stuff. Come on, guys, look it up! Get down to Powells and buy _Effective Cycling_. Or hey, have you heard of the internet? ;-)

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  • Chris May 8, 2008 at 9:57 am

    #82

    On nearly any street, merging in with traffic is as good as swerving in front of drivers. There are many cyclists who can not, or will not maintain 15mph, so even on residential streets there is a 10mph difference between the merging bike and the cars.

    I\'m very much for not passing traffic on the right (at least where there is a green, or there is limited visibility) but I do not want to be merged into traffic that is closing at nearly twice my speed. I do not know if the driver is drunk, distracted, or decided that morning to run anyone over who got in his way. We see a post every few months about someone (often a group of teens) that swerves at a bike that \"held them up\" I don\'t want to be directly in front of them when that happens.

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  • Ryan Conrad May 8, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Chris,

    Read the last part of my post #86. You don\'t always have to merge left at intersections to go straight if you are moving much slower than traffic in the outside lane and their is infrequent right-turning traffic. If you\'re moving fast and/or there is frequent right-turning traffic, it\'s best to merge left. Usually at that point on your approach to the intersection, you are going at the speed of the cars (and usually slowed down by them). Good roadway design would make an intersection approach like this easier for a cyclist by providing a right turn only lane (RTOL) so that the cyclist has to do less lateral movement and the motorist instead does the merging, which is separated from the turning action in both time and space; IOW the best way to combat right-hooks. I also like short bike lane segments to the left of RTOLs because they can allow safe queue-jumping in heavy traffic and can help guide straight-thru novice cyclists correctly through the intersection.

    A bike lane stripe painted all the way up to the intersection without a RTOL keeps a line of right-turning cars to the left of the stripe which poses two problems:

    1) It invites cyclists to overtake all those cars on the right, which can be very hazardous, especially if there are trucks preparing to turn right.

    2) Because the cars stay further left, there\'s no room to overtake on the left in the outside lane for people like me that won\'t overtake on the right. So I either have to wait behind the line of turning cars, or change lanes. If the stripe was just ground away, motorists would likely merge further to the curb leaving space on the left for me to overtake.

    One thing I find interesting is when people complain about a line right-turning cars \"blocking\" the bike lane at an intersection. Well, if you think about it, they\'ve left space on the left for you to safely overtake while still in the outside lane. Had they all stayed to the left of the stripe in preparation for their right turns, the space would be on the right (in the bike lane) so you\'d have to brave the right-turning vehicles. Some people I guess don\'t have a problem with this, but I find it much more difficult than overtaking on the left because I have to constantly look over my shoulder and stagger myself along the line of cars to make sure someone will stop and let me through.

    So if traffic is moving much faster than you and their isn\'t a lot of cars turning right, then no, don\'t try and force yourself into a lane controlling position, it\'s not necessary and it\'s aggravating for you and the motorists passing you. However, any motorist that wants to turn right should either merge in front or behind you before turning rather than cutting across you. Oregon bike lane striping and law tell motorists to cut across your path, which I don\'t like. I usually look over my shoulder to make sure someone isn\'t going to cut me off. Grinding off the stripe on the intersection approach wouldn\'t guarantee that they would always merge to the curb, but I suppose PSAs or some form of education could promote, this. Unfortunately, the opposite is being encouraged both by law and our BAC.

    I think too many people think vehicular cycling is all about \"taking the lane\" and aggressively holding your place in traffic. It\'s not, but many roads in DT Portland aren\'t real conducive to the mix of slow bicycle traffic and fast car traffic. All the \"traffic calmed\", narrow one-way streets with on-street parking leave you the only option of occupying a whole lane. Eliminating some parking so that the outside lane is wider and getting rid of some of the annoying curb extensions would help a lot. Unfortunately for Portland\'s anti-car planning paradigm, road design that would truly benefit cyclists would also benefit motorists. The two modes of travel aren\'t all that contrary.

    Vehicular cyclists don\'t oppose bike lanes, just the stripe. Wide roads (and outside lanes) are good, they accommodate the fast and slow traffic really well. Adding a stripe just messes up the traffic pattern in most circumstances. I don\'t mind bike lanes if a) they don\'t conflict with the rules of the road and b) they don\'t accumulate trash. On some of the arterials outside of Portland (e.g. Pac. Hwy. and Barbur) adding a bike lane stripe was really inappropriate. At rush hour, the steep downhills, frequent intersections/driveways and heavy traffic make it pretty much impossible to stay to the right of the stripe the whole time, you have to consciously ignore it. It took me a while to learn this, but through some bitter experience and reading and I figured it out.

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  • kg May 8, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Ryan and Robert:
    I have been rear ended by cars twice! One cyclist two separate rear end incidents. So they certainly are not as rare you claim. I have never been hit in a bike lane.

    Ryan:
    Oregon law does not tell motorists to cross your path it explicitly requires that they yield to the cyclist in the lane.

    Robert:
    You seem to be talking a lot about new cyclists which is ironic in that you are being so critical of an infra-structure which has created so many new cyclists.
    Furthermore the numbers speak for themselves ridership in Portland has gone way way up while accident ratse have remained flat. Those are facts while all you are offering are your personal opinions. Look it up.

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  • Robert T. May 8, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Ryan Conrad wrote:

    \"Vehicular cyclists don\'t oppose bike lanes, just the stripe. Wide roads (and outside lanes) are good, they accommodate the fast and slow traffic really well.\"

    I don\'t quite understand the first sentence, but the comment about wide lanes is good.

    If there\'s not enough space for a car to safely pass a biker, there\'s not enough space for a bike lane. Putting one in usually means squeezing it unsafely close to parked car doors.

    If there is enough space for a car to safely pass a biker, you don\'t need a bike lane. The bike can keep right, the car can pass left. And again, a guy on a bike is at least as visible as a stripe of paint.

    The stripe adds nothing.

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  • Robert T. May 8, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    kg wrote:

    \"I have been rear ended by cars twice! One cyclist two separate rear end incidents. So they certainly are not as rare you claim.\"

    Sorry, kg, but you can\'t judge these things by one person\'s two incidents. Example: I read about a park ranger who was hit by lightning seven times. Does that mean getting hit by lightning is common? No!

    You judge these things by surveying lots of people over significant time periods. You do serious research, and you publish the results. Otherwise, one person with crazy habits might use his own weird problem as \"proof\" that the problem belonged to everybody.

    \"Robert:
    You seem to be talking a lot about new cyclists which is ironic in that you are being so critical of an infra-structure which has created so many new cyclists.
    Furthermore the numbers speak for themselves ridership in Portland has gone way way up while accident ratse have remained flat. Those are facts while all you are offering are your personal opinions. Look it up.\"

    I know that there are a lot more riders. (But I\'d appreciate a link to how they count the riders.) I don\'t doubt that many of those have started riding because of all the promotion, including the bike lanes.

    But wouldn\'t it be possible to do the promotion leaving out at least the unsafe bike lanes, and the unapproved experimental bike boxes?

    I mean, if you think you can\'t ride without a bike lane stripe on a 15 foot wide outside lane... well, I don\'t know why, because there\'s enough room without the paint stripe. But as long as you stop it before an intersection, the stripe might not be too bad.

    But why have a paint stripe guide bikers to the right of right turning cars? Stop the stripe before that, and promote the idea of bikers merging out of that danger! Why have the stripe next to parked car doors? That\'s flat out dumb! And the same holds for the bike boxes. They\'re worse than useless. That\'s why other traffic engineers don\'t approve them!

    I think Portland\'s biking could have increased just as much by using Sharrows instead of bike lane stripes, but using all the other promotion we\'ve seen. And educate bikers and car drivers to avoid having one cross in front of the other, which is most of the problem. We\'d see better bike safety.

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  • Ryan Conrad May 8, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Robert T. wrote:

    \"If there is enough space for a car to safely pass a biker, you don\'t need a bike lane. The bike can keep right, the car can pass left. And again, a guy on a bike is at least as visible as a stripe of paint.

    The stripe adds nothing.\"

    That\'s exactly what I was saying. The stripe defines the bicycle lane, not the strip of pavement. People (not you) seem to confuse that sometimes, as if vehicular cyclists only want narrow lanes so they can \"take the lane\" all the time or something. The stripe is what messes up the traffic pattern (positioning vehicles by type instead of by speed and destination) and causes debris to accumulate.

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  • [...] wield considerable influence over design standards at the federal level, and in Portland, they have consistently opposed steps taken by the city to introduce bike infrastructure that has led to significant gains in mode [...]

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  • [...] wield considerable influence over design standards at the federal level, and in Portland they have consistently opposed steps intended by the city to improve safety and boost bicycle mode [...]

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