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An update on H.B. 3008; bill unlikely to move forward

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 16th, 2009 at 12:02 pm

"Right now, it's not moving...it's not going anywhere."
-- Colleen Krieger, legislative assistant to Rep. Wayne Krieger

As the bike registration bill saga enters its second week, all signs point to the demise of H.B. 3008.

The bill, which seeks a mandatory fee of $54 to register all bicycles in Oregon that are operated on public roadways (except those owned by people under 18 years of age), has created quite a storm of opposition since Oregonians first heard about it on March 6th.

This morning, Ron Frerichs posted a message on the OBRA email list that his representative, Chris Edwards (D-West Eugene), is not only opposed to the bill (citing the exorbitant cost to administer the program), but that he has heard from colleagues that the bill will not be heard in committee (and therefore, the bill is dead).

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I called Rep. Wayne Krieger's office to find out more about the status of the bill. According to Colleen Krieger -- who is Rep. Krieger's wife and his legislative assistant -- the bill isn't completely dead yet. "Right now, it's not moving...it's not going anywhere," she said. However, Mrs. Krieger's sentiments made it clear that the odds of the bill moving forward are not good.

Mrs. Krieger said that their office has gotten, "a lot of rude emails about it." She shared that the bill was simply a concept and that it is typical for ideas to be presented and then worked on and amended before becoming law. Mrs. Krieger feels like the backlash about this bill was unfortunate and that the rude responses her office experienced have hurt the biking cause. "Instead of discussing it further," she said, "these people were jumping down his throat. They should have been asking, what can we do to make it better?"

Mrs. Krieger repeatedly mentioned that it hurts the cause of biking politically when people "just start bad-mouthing" instead of having a productive conversation about an issue. "It was not complimentary for bikers to have their people talking the way they were. If you really want to turn someone against somebody, just start bad-mouthing them."

"We weren't trying to be coarse with them," she continued, "but we had some pretty rotten things said."

Emails in opposition to this bill came into Krieger's office from all over the country. But, on the other hand, Mrs. Krieger said that they've also had many people "begging us to do this bill." "I've had a whole bunch of people say, 'you know, we need to do something about these bicyclists.'"

Instead of leaving rude emails and phone calls, Mrs. Krieger said that people should have gotten together and talk about it with their representatives.

We'll keep you posted if H.B. 3008 goes any further. Barring the unexpected, the bill will likely be remembered for sparking a lot of reaction and education on both sides of the issue.


- What do you think about Mrs. Krieger's characterization of the opposition to this bill? I shared with her that perhaps the broad reach and tone of the bill and Rep. Krieger's past objections to the Vulnerable Roadway Users Bill had something to do with the public's response. The bill and its context, I told her, didn't exactly set the stage for a productive conversation. What do you think?

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Comments
  • bahueh March 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    ah yes, many special interest groups are typically their own worse enemy...

    good bye Idaho stop bill...good bye future funding considerations....good bye vehicular manslaughter legislation...

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  • Hart March 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I hope this is one of those negative experiences we all laugh over and joke to our children about someday.

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  • ME 2 March 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Perhaps Mrs. Krieger should invested in some communications lessons for her husband. When you describe a bill like Rep. Krieger did in such an emotional way, what type of response do you expect to come out of it?

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  • jeff March 16, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    "Instead of leaving rude emails and phone calls, Mrs. Krieger said that people should have gotten together and talk about it with their representatives."

    I elect my representatives and empower them to propose and pass bills that make sense, rather than a knee-jerk reaction to try to "do something about these bicyclists" then let the citizen of Oregon fight it out.

    Mr Kreiger, I will be donating to your Democratic opponent next election, and it will be because of this. Good luck.

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  • Hart March 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    “I’ve had a whole bunch of people say, ‘you know, we need to do something about these bicyclists.’”

    Yeah. And she's complaining about being insulted. Right.

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  • chad March 16, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Looks like we fell for the red herring...look how easily we're now all being painted as rude-mouthed, unconstructive radicals even though just a few of us decided to send angry letters.

    Mrs. Kriegers calculated, and already rehearsed, response gives away the fact that they got exactly what they wanted out of this doomed from birth bill.

    This will come back to haunt us.

    Way to follow the bright shinny object!

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  • Ben McLeod March 16, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    That's the best quote.

    Someone needs to make t-shirts that say, "We need to do something about these bicyclists."

    I'd buy one.

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  • Duncan Watson March 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    The bill was a calculated insult. I hadn't written to the Rep since I no longer live in OR, but I did send an email after this post.

    When a cause gets a lot of attention there will be responses with emotion. Politicians know this, emotion gets results because angry people will vote. They also organize, fight and donate. Emotion is not going to hurt cyclists cause.

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  • R-diddly March 16, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Ohhh Mrs. Krieger. You were already against us, without one rude word being spoken. And your party is a veritable shopping mall of hate speech. So don't play the victim now!

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  • Suzanne March 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    "We need to do something about these bicyclists". Really? Wow, I'm speechless over that one....

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  • Coyote March 16, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    In order to have constructive conversation of a proposal, the proposal must at least be reasonable. This proposal was such an obvious rant, that the Kreigers should should not be too surprised that it inspired rants in return.

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  • patrickz March 16, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    We probably need to do something about some people; bicyclists, drivers, pedestrians, what have you, who are rude and inconsiderate. We need to do something about ourselves when we act that way.
    Preaching aside, I agree w/ #7.
    Have a smooth bikeday

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  • Andrew Holtz March 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Many cyclists fell right into the trap by responding with comments that just reinforced the prejudiced frame of reference that spawned the proposal.

    Every cyclist who screamed, 'Hell, no, I ain't gonna pay a penny,' merely confirmed the ill-informed opinions of those who don't understand us.

    Nevertheless, there were bright spots. For example, the Oregonian's 'right of center' columnist wrote a piece thanking cyclists for lightening the load on our roads.

    And there were opportunities to point out the facts about the massive tax subsidies that motor vehicles get, and the broad benefits that cyclists provide.

    When drivers understand that every bike on the road does indeed mean one less car in the traffic jam... and less wear and tear on our roads and our lungs, etc.... then they will be more ready to support cycling... not just for cyclists, but in their own interest, too.

    There are lessons in this spat over taxes... a key one being: don't let your opponents define the debate.

    To quote the legendary Oregonian Ken Kesey, we must always remember to 'transcend the bulls**t!'

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  • Whyat March 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    We really need to do something about 'these politicians' that resort to name calling.

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  • Hart March 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    We really need to do something about 19th century combustion engines.

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  • Grimm March 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Well Mr. Krieger you insults us with a bill like this then expect to get a bunch of nice discourse? No. What he is suggesting is pissing people off because its the opposite of what this country needs, not to mention completely impractical to create/enforce.

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  • wsbob March 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    “It was not complimentary for bikers to have their people talking the way they were." Colleen Krieger

    Their people? Is Colleen Krieger under the impression that a bike advocacy group assigned people working for them to send Rep Krieger the rude emails he received? I highly doubt anything remotely like that happened.

    Mrs. Krieger seems to be trying her best to turn the negative consequences of her husbands misguided bill proposal back upon the people that have had to take time out of their lives to point out the proposals over-riding weaknesses.

    Rather than conceding the weaknesses in the proposal from a practical standpoint, and indicating receptivity to constructive advice that might have offered some hope of assembling a feasible bike registration idea, she chooses to use the interview above to focus on inevitable rude comments a bill proposal such as the kind her husband crafted.

    I think that this was an irrational bill proposal that entirely relied on for any hope of passage, the strength of overly emotional and misplaced distress on the part of certain motor vehicle drivers related to the faults of today's transportation infrastructure.

    The bill proposal was a no-go from the get-go. I'm sorry that such an uncomfortable process was required in order for Rep. Krieger and his wife to figure that out.

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  • KWW March 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    "We need to do something about these bicyclists."

    That about sums up the Krieger lament.

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  • toddistic March 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Bike politics aside, its very unprofessional to hire one's own kin to work under them. For Rep. Kieger to hire his wife as his legislative assistant speaks for his lack of professionalism and business acumen.

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  • bahueh March 16, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    toddistic...you couldn't be more correct.
    nepotism is NEVER a good thing...either for the people in the relationship or their coworkers....

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  • Jason Penney March 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I agree with the earlier comments that rude and nonconstructive criticism probably hurts our cause.

    On the other hand, suppose Mr. Krieger had put forth a bill charging motor vehicles $1 per pound per year in registration fees (which, in terms of the wear and tear on the roads, is exactly proportionate to what he in fact suggested)....Do you think the backlash would have been considered, polite, and constructive?

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  • Kt March 16, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    I'm not going to go into the nepotism angle; I work for my father, as do two of my brothers and one sister-in-law, and it appears to be working pretty good here.

    What I am going to go into is Mrs Krieger's naivety-- we're in the internet age, where everyone is easily findable with a few clicks of the mouse. Why should we call our representative, when we can make our feelings know directly to the source?

    It is too bad that some people choose to let their emotions get away from them-- not surprising, though, as this issue is freighted heavily with emotion on both sides.

    I'm willing to bet that for every rude phone call and email they got, there was one call and email that was not rude, that was well-thought out and executed. But you won't hear that from them!

    Glad to hear that the bill is practically dead, though....

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  • Duncan Watson March 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I want to say I am glad people were rude. If you are willing to call up a legislator and be rude, when you are likely being taped, then you feel pretty strongly on the issues at hand. I am pretty sure the message got through loud and clear.

    I know that I would be happy to donate to his opponents in District 1 and will in 2010. I know that PERS recipients also want him out.

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  • joe adamski March 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    So the good Rep. got some name familiarity and probably will be a minority party rising star now..

    at our expense. Perhaps enlisting a sympthetic Rep to do a little retalitory smackdown? Maybe introduce a bill to require Coastal counties to do regular cleanup of bike lanes, since they are such a tourism asset? It wouldn't go anywhere,but if a local Rep wants to up THEIR name value.. hey..tit for tat.

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  • kgb March 16, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Maybe the Kriegers should take some of their own advice.

    Every time one of them opens their mouth I decide to donate more money to whomever runs against them in '10.

    It is obvious that their intention from the beginning was to hurt the cause of cycling, all they did was fire me up.

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  • beth h March 16, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    ..."these bicyclists."

    Second the T-shirt. Yeah. Good idea.

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  • T27 March 16, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    In all this talk about being rude - there is never any mention of the fact that cars don't pay for the roads.

    Was my E-mail rude?

    Can you explain why you are sponsoring a bill that would cost families more to register their bicycles than their motor vehicles? Is it because of the number of motor vehicle drivers killed by bicyclists? Is it because of the roadway damage caused by bicycles?

    Are you so misinformed about how roads are paid for that you think gas tax pays for the roads? Who paid for the road in front of your house? If it is like my house, it was paid for in the cost of my home and is maintained through property taxes and it is used to store private vehicles. Any thinking person knows that vehicle user fees don’t even come close to paying for the motor vehicle infrastructure. Therefore, any time a bicycle replaces a car on the road, the lower cost of bike infrastructure and roadway maintenance results in a net taxpayer savings.

    I would strongly support a bill requiring gas taxes to replace property and income taxes currently spent on roads. Targeting bicycles is insignificant and a waste of time and money.

    It may be just political gamemanship to you but, have you considered the consequences of perpetuating the myth that bike costs are paid by motorists. I do, when someone assults me with a deadly weapon and uses your statements as justification for their crime.

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  • John March 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I had a thought similar to what jason said in post #21. But charge all vehicles by the pound.

    Assuming a car is 3000lbs and a motorcycle is 600lbs, they pay about $0.02 and $0.054 per pound every two years. (Why are motorbikes so much more i wonder). And big SUV's are a bargain at about $0.01 per pound. Following that logic and going with $0.05 per pound (nice round number and close to the charge for motorcycles). For me that would work out to $6.75 every two years if I registered all my bikes.

    That's the argument I would have used if I had written to my representatives, along with pointing out that the property taxes paid by my landlord already fund the roads.

    It would be too much to expect our state government to switch to a value based system like some other states (Georgia for ex.) that charge a registration fee based on what the vehicle being registered is worth.

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  • Joshua H. March 16, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Mr. Krieger & his assistant can focus all they want on the negative reaction to the bill from cyclists, but perhaps they should have done a little more research before proposing such a bill? After looking through his past bill proposals it appears that this is simply what Krieger does; propose crazy bills that he thinks will appeal to his constituency. For instance, one of this first proposals was for twice yearly drug testing for State Representatives & the Governor. Great use of time & money, good sir.
    I will be strongly supporting his democratic opponent when election time comes around.

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  • Drew March 16, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Maybe her husband could introduce a bill which would increase the gasoline tax to a level that closer approximates the true cost of supporting motor vehicle use on the road.

    And brace herself for the antisocial (rude) commentary that would pour into her office.

    From that inevitable outcome, perhaps she could determine that motorists can be rude as well. The problem here is that some of us would separate people into groups that can be singled out and labeled in a negative way.

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  • DH March 16, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    I wonder exactly what "something" this bill is supposed to "do about these bicyclists"

    The registration fee for cars hasn't seemed to do anything about these automobileists.

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  • revphil March 16, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    T27, thanks for posting this.

    "Any thinking person knows that vehicle user fees don’t even come close to paying for the motor vehicle infrastructure. Therefore, any time a bicycle replaces a car on the road, the lower cost of bike infrastructure and roadway maintenance results in a net taxpayer savings.
    ...
    have you considered the consequences of perpetuating the myth that bike costs are paid by motorists. I do, when someone assults me with a deadly weapon and uses your statements as justification for their crime."

    perhaps an informational handout for motorists?

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  • Jeff March 16, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    "do something about these bicyclists!"

    Meaning "get them off our roads"

    They weren't looking for discussion. I sent an email outlining my problems with the bill and I was probably lumped in the "rude" category with everyone else. The bill was an attack on cyclists by people who don't want to share the road with us.

    Let's see if people are polite when someone tries to pass a law requiring motorists to pay an obscene amount of money (relative to impact). The redneck that parks his big ugly truck in my driveway (complete with NRA, Sarah Palin, and pro-truck stickers) would probably shoot Mr. Krieger if he tried to pass a similar bill punishing large trucks.

    All I did was send an Email.

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  • SkidMark March 16, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Whne you feel like you are being attacked, you defend. It's that simple. Being asked to pay the same as a car when a motorcycle costs less, and then being relegated to a bike lane or the shoulder of the road is just insulting. It's really not fair to get about 1/4 of the resources, and pay the same amount, while at the same time getting a disprortionate amount of the danger. I'm not going to kill the occupant of an 18-wheeler if I t-bone one with my bicycle, but in the opposite situation I am likely dead.

    The there are those less fortunate than the majority of the people who post here, and those who vacation on the coast riding their carbon fiber road bikes up and down it. They ride a bicycle to work because it's all they can afford, even public transit is too rich for their blood. The bill would end up criminalizing them because they rarely have 54 dollars at once that isn't earmarked for food, electricity, or rent. I've said it before and I will say it again: BICYCLING MUST REMAIN FREE.
    Put that on a T-shirt...

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  • Jebus March 17, 2009 at 12:49 am

    I am glad to see that it is over (again, for now), and that I won't have to jump through more hoops.

    So since a lot of you have mentioned putting things on t-shirts... I did. I picked some of the cheapest of the shirts on a site and threw some things together... bikeportland probably doesn't want me advertising in their comment section, so if you are interested email me at bhinely@gmail.com for any suggestions/comments/concerns/ideas or if you want a link.

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  • Dave March 17, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Maybe he's done us all a favor--sure, a dumb bill, but it could have an effect similar to Ronald Reagan, when he was governor of CA, stating that "If you've seen one tree you've seen 'em all"
    which was just about a dose of EPO for the environmental movement.

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  • mmann March 17, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Ben, (# 7) I'd proudly wear the t-shirt too.
    I wrote Rep. Krieger, as well as my Rep (Cannon) and the BTA. I wasn't rude, but I agree there are times when a proposal like this is so insulting, misinformed, and misguided that maybe some shouting and heckling is called for. Look at the British Parliament and how they do business. Politeness can be over-rated (and ineffective) - sometimes you just have to throw the shoe.

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  • Aaron March 17, 2009 at 9:17 am

    This Bill never had a hope in the world. Thankfully we have a strong community with great political representation. Thanks to all the great people who apposed this bill. Krieger will learn his lesson like everyone else, just too late to make a difference.

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  • Brad March 17, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Contrary to Krieger's idea that we should first try to make the bill better, yelling it out of existence first worked pretty well. I don't know why we all have to first start by acquiescing to some crazy bill as Ms. Krieger supposes and trying to water it down. Instead it's often very good to send massive opposition to something if you have those resources at your disposal.

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  • philbertorex March 17, 2009 at 9:43 am

    I'm one of those bicyclists that contacted my representatives, and didn't send a message to Krieger. But nonetheless, I'm included in a stereotype of cyclists. When a legislator designs a bill based on prejudice, there's not much you can do but fight it.

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  • Lenny Anderson March 17, 2009 at 11:43 am

    We do need to "do something about those bicyclists." We need to start paying them for putting their life and limb at risk, taking another car off the road, reducing air and water pollution, cutting greenhouse gases and reducing demand for health care. I think $54 every two years is about right...a bicycling tax credit.

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  • Christopher Lee March 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    "We need to do something about these bicyclists" sounds a lot like "we need to do something about these negroes" or "we need to do something about these chinamen". Though not as detrimental in it's scope, this bill is the same crap rich, white, conservatives pull every time some thing happens that conflicts with their misguided ideas of the status quo.
    I noticed recently that Portland streets are looking the worst (after the ice storm) in the areas where the majority of trips are by car and public tranist serves a lot less frequently.

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  • She March 17, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you again Jonathan for your reporting and sharing your interview with Mrs. Kreiger

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  • Kt March 17, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    "What do you mean, 'you people'?"

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  • fredlf March 17, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    This bill is pure politics. The actual facts and research don't matter to Krieger because this bill is aimed squarely at getting attention from his core constituents. The (usually right-wing) anti-bike crowd are not interested in facts and statistics and logic and reason. (As Colbert says, the truth has a liberal bias.) The anti-cyclists FEEL mad, and that's all they need to know. This bill has no real purpose other than communicating to Krieger's base that he FEELS mad too and, by God, he's doing something about it.

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  • [...] civil.  The hateful response of cyclists two years ago to the mandatory bike registration bill is partially credited for the failure of the Idaho Stop Law that same [...]

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  • [...] it died a quiet death. What did we learn from the last go-round with the idea? If you read this article from BikePortland from March 2009, not [...]

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