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One hour, 22 citations at Clinton street stop sign (updated)

Posted by on April 14th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

bike stop markings at broadway flint-2.jpg
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Portland Police Bureau sent three motorcycle cops to SE Clinton Street this morning to observe and enforce stop sign compliance at 34th and 21st Avenues.

According to Traffic Division Lieutenant Bryan Parman, the “enforcement mission” (a.k.a. sting) came after his office received a complaint via email last week from a nearby resident. Parman said,

“The email was about poor compliance at the stop signs by everyone, not just bikes. The resident was specifically concerned at people not yielding to pedestrians.” (There are marked crosswalks at both intersections).

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The result? In the one-hour mission, three officers issued 22 citations; five to motor vehicle operators and 17 to people on bicycles. Parman says everyone given a ticket was given the option to attend the Share the Road Safety Class so it won’t affect their driving record (that option can be given only at the discretion of the officer who issues the citation).

Parman says the officers were “focusing on blatant behavior that creates a potentially dangerous situation,” and that “given the results we found, we need to talk about a workable solution.”

What Parman is referring to is his ongoing conversation with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation about how to most effectively enforce laws for bike traffic on popular bike boulevard streets.

Parman — who said he’s already discussed this morning’s mission with the BTA’s Michelle Poyourow* — wants to find a more long term solution on how to best respond to these type of complaints. He said he’ll also be discussing the issue at the Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting tonight.

“I understand that Clinton is a bike boulevard,” said Parman on the phone this morning. As such, Parman said he wants bikes to become the preferred mode of transportation on the street, but he also wants to make sure bike operators are being safe and legal.


UPDATE: 3:23 p.m. A commenter just pointed out a YouTube video (below) uploaded on April 8th by “batboyfan”, who explains it as, “Proof that the majority of cyclists in Portland do not stop at stop signs or stop lights. This is not just a few bad apples, it is the general consensus among cyclists in Portland that the traffic laws do not apply to them.”

*This was a miscommunication between Lt. Parman and I. Michelle Poyourow did not discuss the enforcement activities on SE Clinton.

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Comments
  • Anonymous April 14, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Wow, I would love to see video of how bicyclist especially were treating this stop. I wonder where the line is.. were they just blowing through or yielding and then making sure it was clear and then going without giving up too much momentum?

    Do they have video?

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  • steve April 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I would like to point out that the BTA does not represent me and increasingly does not follow the will of its own membership.

    I am confused as to why the PPD is in dialogue about this issue with the BTA. If the dept is after public opinion, it should be solicited. The BTA represents business owners and not the interests of Portland cyclists. The BTA is concerned about keeping their dollars and access.

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  • Stacy Westbrook April 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    I saw a neighbor videotaping cyclists through this stop last week, so there’s definitely video of people blowing through it. I go through that intersection twice a day and see everyone (cyclists and drivers) do everything from stop fully to blow through without yielding.

    I have to say that I don’t really appreciate the neighbor taping everyone without permission. I’m all for calling in a concern, but some people take it too far.

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  • hanmade April 14, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    The best solution is to adapt the Idaho stop sign law, and then ticket bicyclists who just batently blow stop signs with out any regard for yielding to others.

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  • cyclist April 14, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Anonymous:

    Why are you concerned about how just cyclists were treating the stop? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with whether bikes and cars were treated equally?

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  • Jessica Roberts April 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Steve, sometimes it gets really old that you use every single Bikeportland post as an excuse to bad-mouth the BTA. It is abundantly clear that you loathe BTA and BTA staff. That’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it. But it doesn’t add to the overall discussion to have you shoehorn that into every single comment thread.

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  • jeff April 14, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Meanwhile, I came inches from someones bumper this very morning after they rolled a stop crossing NE 7th. Thanks PPD.

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  • DaHoos April 14, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I ride this intersection everyday and I’ve seen some pretty ignorant riding. I’d have to say 95% don’t “fully” stop. 60% of them go through at cruising speed without even pretending to look in all directions.
    Its a 4 way stop with flashing red lights in all directions so I guess they figure the 3 other direction will do the stopping. But the streets are car-lined cutting your visibility drastically.

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  • Marion Rice April 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Oh sorry my first post was anonymous.. didn’t mean it to be.
    I am intersted in whether or not police were ticketing people for Idaho stop style behavior.
    I wasn’t really interested in cars.
    I was hoping that they weren’t ticketing people who use Idaho style.. just want to know where that line is to get a ticket.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 14, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Marion,

    there is no magic “line” people have to cross to get a stop sign ticket.

    the law says you must cease forward motion. After that, it comes down to the discretion of the officer watching you….which hopefully is influenced by their boss, the Capt. and/or Lt. of the Traffic Division.

    When Lt. Parman says his men are focusing on “blatant” behavior, that means they should be only nabbing people who blow through…not those who safely go through after yielding.

    but then again, cops have the right to cite if you didn’t come to a complete stop… but those type of “ticky tack” violations are not really favored by the BTA, PBOT, etc…

    all of this is why some folks are frustrated by the continuing turnover of leadership at the traffic division. The community really needs to know what is expected of them in terms of how laws will be enforced.

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  • bikieboy April 14, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Anonymous (#1) “I wonder where the line is.. were they just blowing through or yielding and then making sure it was clear and then going…”

    that’s the key issue, for me. I know it requires the police to use their discretion, instead applying the letter of the law (momentary cessation of forward motion).

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  • vanessa April 14, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I wish the same would be done at SE 26th and Clinton. I rarely ever see bikes OR cars come to full stops at that intersection (unless traffic is backed up and they HAVE to stop). Whenever I sit at the coffeeshop on that corner I keep tallies on how many cars fully stop, and how many bikes stop fully, or even mostly stop. It’s always depressing to me — it’s always less than 10% of cars or bikes that stop.

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  • kracken41@yahoo.com April 14, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I see more flagrant violations at SE 21rst and Clinton than any other intersection I ride through. Many of the bikers seem to think that if they are delayed in any way they have the right to go around any vehicle that is actually stopping (and in most cases actually has the right of way). Every week I see bikers pull to the right of vehicles waiting in line to turn east onto Clinton, steal their right of way, and make the same turn onto Clinton after illegally passing several other vehicles. I can’t remember the last time I saw a biker traveling westbound on Clinton come to any kind of stop when making a northbound turn onto 21rst. It sounds to me like the PPD picked a great intersection to enforce this morning. Me, being the dork that I am, came to foot down stops at SE Harrison and SE 21rst as well as Ladd’s circle this morning. Dork yes, but one traffic violation richer.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 14, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Re the guy who set up the video camera at the intersection:

    Maybe we’ll just watch his house until he gets in his car, follow him, and wait for him to commit a traffic violation…

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  • cyclist April 14, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Marion:

    Ah, I see. I think at present you can assume that people who are going faster than walking speed probably get a ticket, and you’re only really safe if you come to a complete stop. You do *not* have to put your foot down for it to be considered a complete stop.

    Jeff: The PPD handed out five tickets to car drivers, if you’d been on that stretch of road the driver would have gotten ticketed. Perhaps you should call PPD and ask them to do an enforcement action on NE 7th?

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  • Marion Rice April 14, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    I want Idaho stops to pass.. I want to maintain my forward motion while being cautious and yielding. I guess I don’t want a cop to be able to stop me for some “ticky tack” violation.

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  • steve April 14, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Jessica-

    Reread the original post by Jonathan. The last several paragraphs discuss the BTA. I did not shoehorn anything.

    If you want unelected lobbyists posturing as representing you, great. I however, do not. Particularly when in discussion with law enforcement and the city government.

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  • Thor Hushovd April 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Jessica, I find that it “doesn’t add to the overall discussion” when you post your “bad-mouth” comments about Steve simply because he has a different opinion than you of BTA(one I see Steve sharing with a growing number of Portland cyclists)…and if you re-read the short article above maybe you would see the relavance as I swear it mentions the BTA.

    At least you said it was only “sometimes” :)

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    “I guess I don’t want a cop to be able to stop me for some “ticky tack” violation.

    that type of sentiment is at the crux of why the BTA is trying to pass the Idaho law.

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  • Bjorn April 14, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    In the past the ppd has ticketed anyone who fails to cease all forward motion, the high number of tickets makes me think this has continued. I really doubt that there were over 30 incidents of high speed/failure to yield non-stops this morning. I would be very supportive of a sting that involved a pedestrian stepping into the intersection in front of a cyclist/motorist and then ticketing for the failure to yield, but these tickets for slowly rolling through an empty intersection have got to stop. This is the bike boulevard where we want people to ride yet there are unnecessary stop signs on the street. These stings only encourage riding a block over on division which is faster, but far less safe.

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  • redhippie April 14, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    It seems like the issue is mostly on Clinton West-bound due to the down hill gradiant. Riders get some speed, mainly look for cars and miss the pedestrians. Perhaps PDOT should install a rumble strip in the bike lane here to get riders to slow down. If they are going 5 or 10 mph, they are much more likely to stop, or pause, than if they are going 15 or 20 mph.
    My 2 cents

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  • Zaphod April 14, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Can anyone describe the sting? How visible were the police? Where was the cruiser(s)? I ask because if we (cyclists) are so nimble and aware, why didn’t we see the police and do a full obnoxious stop in time?

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  • Lenny Anderson April 14, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    What a waste of police resource. Red lights are blown all over town by lethal motor vehicles, speeds on N. Portland arterials like Greeley and Channel Avenues are in the 60 plus range, and PPB responds with three officers to control a relatively harmless behavior to all but the perp? Cut the PPB budget, take out the stop signs and use the money to redesign intersections to cause confusion…and make everyone slow down.

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  • Lenny Anderson April 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    PS Portland has NO Bike Boulevards or at least they are boulevards in name only. Most are overrun with motor vehicles cutting thru at excessive speeds…with no PPB enforcement.

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  • hilsy April 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I travel on the lower stretch of Clinton quite a bit, both by car and by bike, but mostly car. I freely admit to performing “Idaho Stops” quite frequently at 21st. But I find it quite a common sight to see cyclists “blow through” this stop sign without any kind of yielding. Further, I had one incident when I was driving in my car westbound on Clinton and came to a complete stop at 21st, then proceeded forward and then had to slam on my brakes as a cyclist sped right through the intersection on 21st heading southbound.

    So I wouldn’t be surprised if they only ticketed the major scofflaws.

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  • ScottG April 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    My guess is this is the video from the guy videotaping cyclists running Stop signs:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etOjRSIyNus

    He does catch some bad behavior but he also chastises several riders for what I feel is a reasonable and careful slow roll.

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  • Borgbike April 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I keep wondering if, rather than waiting for an Idaho Stop Law to pass (which is dubious at this point anyway), why can’t the BTA advocate for putting in good old fashioned yield signs at a certain intersections.

    Of course this wouldn’t work for four-way stops but it would negate any potential issues with unnecessary loss of momnetum at many intersections on bike boulevards. In the process it would educate the car-driving public better about what the Idaho Stop would mean at intersections with stop signs. Yield signs are pretty rare now as it is.

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  • SouthEast TT April 14, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Wow, one complaint brought out 3 motorcycle cops!! I want THAT email address. I busted my tail trying to get cops out to my street when I lived in NoPo. Calling again and again and getting nothing!

    What is this magical email address that gets 3 motorcycle cops to show up like that?

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  • Doug April 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Bicyclists have to obey the laws like everyone else. I’m tired of seeing some of my fellow cyclists blow through red lights and stop signs. For some reason they believe they are exempt from the law. I don’t know why they think they are special. Some want all of the rights of vehicles on the road but not all of the responsibilities.

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  • commuter April 14, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I ride through 21st and Clinton on my daily commute and I have to admit that there is some confusion when coming to a four way stop. If I’m the only bicycle, I will sit behind a car until it is my turn. If there are more bicycles then it gets confusing because some riders will ride up and go out of turn. Most of the time though, I think cars are really good at yielding to bikes. I’ve also experienced a few times where a car goes out of turn and then has to slam on his breaks when I start to move.
    Most of time though, I default to defensive riding because it when comes to my body or a car, the car is always ‘right’.

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  • wsbob April 14, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I don’t think cops in these kinds of enforcement details should be citing road users if they’re rolling through stop signs at only 2-3 mph and visibly looking both ways as they roll through. Going faster as they roll through…yes, cite them.

    If in the hour period the citations were issued, the 22 people that cops in this detail cited, rolled through faster than that, it seems as though those citations could have been reasonably issued. The people that got them can go to court and explain their side of things.

    If the cops have video of the intersection they patrolled for the hour they issued citations, it might be worthwhile for people to be able to take a look at what what the cops saw that brought them to issue the citations they did. That’s if the video accurately reveals everything the officers saw that led them to issue the citations they did.

    Stacy Westbrook, comment #3: Since the apparent intent of the neighborhood guy was to simply videotape road user compliance with traffic regulations in a public setting, rather than personal details about road users, he probably doesn’t need to have permission for what he was doing.

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  • tonyt April 14, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Okay, against my better judgement I have to weigh in here. That guy who shot that video is the same guy who confronted me from his car and claimed to be an off-duty officer. Read about it in the forums under general discussion. He then proceeded to violate crosswalk law and not signal his left turn, so apparently he does not think traffic laws apply to him.

    And if he isn’t an off-duty cop, I’m pretty sure that claiming to be a cop is against the law.

    If he is a cop, then confronting a cyclist from inside a car while you are not on duty and telling the cyclist to not “f*#k” with him, is hardly professional behavior.

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  • Ethan April 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Bottom line it that this is a PR problem. If you are not a cyclist, odds are you would agree with this guy.

    The fact that this particular intersection is a perfect example of a place where cyclists can safely retain their momentum, that traffic controls like this were really designed with cars in mind, that there is a vast difference between the dangers of a car and a bike rolling through . . . none of this probably outweighs the impression that cyclists are self-righteous law-breakers. That does not bode well for things like the Idaho stop law.

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  • commuter April 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I ride through 21st and Clinton on my daily commute and I have to admit that there is some confusion when coming to a four way stop. If I’m the only bicycle, I will sit behind a car until it is my turn. If there are more bicycles then it gets confusing because some riders will ride up and go out of turn. Most of the time though, I think cars are really good at yielding to bikes. I’ve also experienced a few times where a car goes out of turn and then has to slam on his breaks when I start to move.
    Most of time though, I default to defensive riding because it when comes to my body or a car, the car is always ‘right’.
    As for the video, I like how he nicely edited vehicular stops. From the few that where on there, more than half were rolling stops.

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  • hemp22 April 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    interesting youtube video – i counted at least 3 cars roll the stop sign…

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  • bike_militia April 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Wow, its really great that there is absolutely NO real crime in Portland!

    What a fantastic city we live in, that the Police have nothing more serious to worry about than bicyclists running stop signs!

    Kudos to the Portland Police for solving and preventing ALL serious crime in Portland, and now (finally!) being able to focus on whiny neighbor issues!

    Portland Police Solve 16% of Rape Cases, 2nd Worst in Nation

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  • Tony P April 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    The do-gooder with the video camera pissed me off pretty good, but man, if you’re not going to stop you’ve got to at least slow down and look both ways. That said, one big problem with this video is that it shows the person on the bike and not their line of site or any other context. It’s pretty safe to roll a 4-way stop on a bike. You can expect cars to at least slow down and you can see them approaching long before you get to the intersection. Coming to a complete stop is truly only necessary if there is a cop watching or someone else has taken the right of way. Obviously there are enough people on bikes who lack basic consideration for everyone else, prompting this guy’s response and inappropriate co-opting of impressionable children.

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  • Perry April 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Clearly, the guy has an agenda and some personal issues, but like Ethan #33 says, this is a PR problem. The folks blowing through the stops there made it easy for this guy.

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  • wsbob April 14, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    tony t, #32 Hah! Maybe it’s time to check this guy out, see if he really is a cop and what his true concerns are.

    Following, is the link to tony’s story that he posted on the 8th of this month, over in the forums.

    To the “off duty cop” heading west on Clinton this morning.bikeportland forums

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  • Stu April 14, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    About 3:49 into the video, if you take a close look at the cars they do not come to a complete stop as defined by the law – their wheels are still moving. Even as he says that all the cars come to a stop.

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  • k. April 14, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    I watched his video. It illustrates a few things. Several cyclists make no attempt at slowing and even observing traffic. Shame on them. Most of the cyclists slow, observe traffic and proceed. The video mostly demonstrates how badly we need the Idaho stop law. The videographer’s rigid view of cars and bikes being the same thing is just silly. And yes, to be accurately represent anything, he should have documented auto behavior as well.

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  • Hart April 14, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I commute on Lincoln and Clinton daily and I am far more scared of being hit by another cycling blowing through a stop sign at 34th than I am of a car doing the same. Besides, if you never stop, how are you supposed to meet other cyclists?

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  • old&slow April 14, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I agree with Southeast TT (28) one e-mail gets this reaction? This is BS, the police can just tell us the city needed more revenue today and I will accept that. Quit making stuff up.

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  • peejay April 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Whoopee! Another stop sign thread! The over/under for this thread is 150; I’ll take the over.

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  • Scott E April 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Time for someone to go out with a camera and show us all the cars running lights and stop signs. :)

    As for the enforcement this morning, it’s my usual commute route. I come to a crawl at stop signs myself (I think I would have been considered a ‘stop sign runner’ by the video man) — It’s not a complete cessation of forward movement I’ll admit. Except today since a kindly commuter going the opposite direction warned me of cops at the intersection.

    When I got to 34th the 2 motorcycle police were half a block down with lights on and cyclist pulled over.

    Then down at 21st I saw a westbound cyclist do what I would consider a fairly fast right/north turn (faster than what I’d consider a ‘rolling stop’). Unfortunately for him there was also a startled looking pedestrian crossing Clinton (south to north) at the same time. Then the motorcyclist came out of hiding in the south and pulled the cyclist over.

    So the 1 citation that I witnessed of the 22, it was fairly blatant behavior. For what it’s worth.

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  • KruckyBoy April 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    That video is pretty telling. While clearly biased on the part of the author, it clearly shows a large number of bikers making very little effort to slow down. This is our PR problem. I would bet the majority of those bikers say they are safe and come to a ‘near’ stop. Until bikers understand how our actions are perceived it is going to be tough to say much about a video such as this one.

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  • Jim Lee April 14, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Vanessa #12:

    I see mothers with babes in seats, trail-a-bikes, trailers blow 26th & Clinton regularly–at speed.

    Let’s stir in a little informal enforcement action: hide in the shade at NoHo’s with Super Soakers! I’ll take the fixies.

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  • Hart April 14, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    He seemed pretty reasonable, even when confronted. I’ve seen far worse from middle-aged dudes who think having a camcorder makes them a vigilante.

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  • Grimm April 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I can count the number of times i have stopped on this intersection on my hands, but I ride it twice daily. Its a 4-way stop, visibility is good except for the market on the SE side. Traffic crossing Clinton is minimal. You carry a good amount of speed to the intersection, so its natural not to want to destroy the velocity youve created.

    Ive only had one notable bike accident, happened to be on Clinton I must add, and it was where a car hit me pulling out of a stop sign and I had the complete right of way. Youre not safe just obeying laws, youre safer by paying attention. Simple strict adherence to the law just builds a false sense of safety. Be vigilante out there.

    Are there any statistics to back up the use of police resources on the supposedly bike-friendly streets? Im sorry, im not seeing people get injured, much less dying on these type of streets. Its the fast ones that need to be patrolled, not the neighborhoods. Im sorry that SE residences apparently are so bored that they have nothing better to do than complain about cyclists ‘blowing through’ their area. Seriously. You have it so good thats all you can come up with to complain about.

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  • BURR April 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Meanwhile, who’s enforcing the 25 mph speed limit on SE Division and SE Hawthorne?

    The average traffic speed on these streets is typically >35mph (at least when the traffic isn’t gridlocked at SE 39th) and I’ve NEVER seen so much as a single traffic stop for speeding on either of these streets in the 20+ years I’ve lived in the neighborhood.

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  • commuter April 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    What happened to the rest of the video? I wonder what batboyfan would think if all those cyclists decide to stop riding and start driving by along clinton.

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  • Michael M. April 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Bjorn #20: “I would be very supportive of a sting that involved a pedestrian stepping into the intersection in front of a cyclist/motorist and then ticketing for the failure to yield,”

    For me, that encapsulates so much of the problem with Portland cyclists right there. Pedestrians have the right-of-way. Period. If you see a pedestrian about to step out into an intersection that you have not yet entered, then you better stop, whether you are motorized or pedal-powered.

    Just this morning heading south on NE 15th a few blocks north of Broadway, I stopped for a woman with two little kids in tow because she was at the intersection waiting to cross. I didn’t have a stop sign. But I stopped. Why? Because pedestrians have the right-of-way. Period. She smiled, waved, thanked me … for following the law! Which, I think, is an indication of how belligerently and obnoxiously a lot of cyclists operate in this town.

    Last week an acquaintance asked me, jokingly, if I feel all noble and superior for living car-free. I said whatever feelings of superiority I might be prey too are humbled by the irritating behavior of so many of my fellow cyclists. The video above captures some of that behavior, though the videographer is wrong about the motorists, several of which clearly did not stop.

    Good for the cops. I hope there are now 22 more people who will be more respectful of everyone else on the road. But I won’t hold my breath.

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  • Carl April 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Michael, I’m with you. Right on. Pedestrians have right of way and I love to see cops enforcing that.

    I think Bjorn’s point was that this “enforcement action” failed to make that point. If the complaint was about cyclists buzzing pedestrians, the police should’ve done a crosswalk enforcement action, not a stop sign enforcement action.

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  • tonyt April 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    I would love to see more stings that enforce laws that relate directly to people. Yielding to peds is a perfect example.

    When I drive I try to yield at every opportunity, but find that other motorists’ ignorance regarding crosswalk law often makes it too dangerous for me to yield. I don’t want to get rear ended or passed dangerously when I’m trying to yield.

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  • Tom April 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    4-way stops are a crime against nature. Whoever thought of this idea should be banished from society.

    There is too much confusion of who goes first and when. They just make a criminal out of an honest man.

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  • Concerned about cop impersonating April 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    #32 ok so what we have here is a guy who might be impersonating a cop who is using his camera to meet little girls, and then proceeds to videotape the chest of a woman while talking to her. Anyone else hearing the perv alarm bell pretty loudly?

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  • Oh Word? April 14, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    a little off track here… but the Share the Road Safety Course is great. When I was there, some people complained that they were tired of cyclists riding in traffic (and other cyclist complaints) then a police officer AND judge would tell them they are allowed to… made me feel warm and fuzzy.

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  • Michael April 14, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I usually see this going on before I get there. Not today! I did not come to a complete stop, but quite close, right in front of a motorcycle cop on my right at the 4-way stop signs on Clinton. I rode on trying to figure how I was going to explain the horrible fine to my wife. The cop came up behind me, and then passed on my! Hallelujah!

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  • RonC April 14, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    When I come to a four-way stop, I significantly slow (stop pedaling and apply brakes), until I’m sure no other vehicles or pedestrians are near the intersection. But I then proceed without a full stop if the intersection is obviously clear. If I see a car, bike, or pedestrian at or near the intersection I come to a full foot down stop. That is unless I get the wave-through by a driver or pedestrian. If I see a car approaching the intersection but I am there first, I will usually roll on through the intersection. That way they don’t have to wait for me to get re-started and back up to speed. It’s technically illegal, but drivers usually appreciate that you are just trying to keep the traffic flowing and be out of the way. Could I be ticketed for this behavior? Sure. Should I be? That is what the debate over the Idaho stop law is all about.

    The video that batboyfan shot shows some riders who never even stop pedaling (and no, they are not riding fixies). That’s just blatant disregard for intent of the traffic control sign. If two of these types of riders come to the intersection at the same time there could be a very bad accident. I can also understand how it would be nerve-racking to drive a car around such unpredictable behavior. Presumably the reason we have traffic control signage is to avoid accidents, so I appreciate enforcement where safety is seriously compromised. That said, I do think we need to decriminalize common sense cycling practices that do not compromise safety. So to me, the Idaho stop-law makes very good sense.

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  • Michael April 14, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Re cops, red lights, and peds: I was legally crossing on foot at 39th and Division when a red light runner blew their red and came ever so close to hitting me in the same lane. This happened right in front of a cop with an unobstructed view of the whole thing. I cheered as I thought something would be done. I sighed when the cop did absolutely nothing but sit there picking his nose.

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  • John Lascurettes April 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    @michael

    I also stop for pedestrians on my bike. As I pedestrian I expect bicycles and cars to stop when I cross at a corner, crosswalk marked or unmarked – as you say, it’s the law.

    Recently on NE Regents, I slowed for a pedestrian and said, “go ahead” and he said, “no, there’s a car coming anyways.” Sure enough, the car buzzed right by me already stopped for him (double illegal). I told him the car is supposed to stop for him too.

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  • kgb April 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    The city needs to get serious about its’ bike boulevards. They should use the money from the North Park Blocks cycletrack to remove some stop signs and install through traffic blocking devices ( which also could be the approach in the park blocks).

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  • Coco April 14, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Tony P (#37) “The do-gooder with the video camera pissed me off pretty good, but man, if you’re not going to stop you’ve got to at least slow down and look both ways.”

    Hear hear.

    I think this guy has some perfectly legitimate concerns. Complete stop with foot down at the intersection? Not really necessary. But bicyclists do need to really slow down, and pay attention. Not just blow through at top speed without even looking left or right.

    If I had a child I was walking to the bus stop here every morning, I’d be freaked, for sure.

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  • grimm April 14, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    OMG I just saw a cyclist blow a stop sign out my living room window. Call the coppers!

    But really, back onto subject. in residential areas, like clinton or down here near woodstock cyclists arent blowing stop signs to piss anyone off. But stopping and starting is quite im practical. Honestly I can beat my wife 3.5mi to the store when shes driving and im riding. Because I just stop less and maintain a slightly higher average speed by not sitting at lights on 39th. Dont tell drivers this or they would either be furious, or start driving more recklessly to get to lights faster.

    Sometimes at 4 way stops, a car and I are coming from perpendicular directions but im to the right, and we are going to stop at the same time. If its obvious we are both stopping, I see the driver has noticed me and I feel its warranted I sometimes stop slowing at this point and go through the intersection, this way the car does not have to sit and wait for me to come to a complete stop and start again. And the stopping car is not a threat to me, and I get to continue on my way 1 second quicker.

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  • DC bike April 14, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    The Portland bike community cracks me up! My wife is from NE and we come out every summer. I can’t believe how generally WELL behaved commuters / bike – about – town / athletes are out there as compared to East Coast cities I have commuted / biked in (NYC, DC). I blow through at least 50 4-way stops a day, often in front of 5-0, without slowing down at all, and don’t get a second glance. To see all those bikes stopped at red lights while no one drives through the other way just makes me laugh. One of the reasons I ride a bike is so I can go around cars and NOT have to stop every second. I suppose Portland has reached a critical mass of bikers that raises ire – green rectangles get painted and suddenly bikers are perceived to have attitude when really they’re just taking advantage of being powered by human beings, smaller, and safer for everyone!

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  • Kay April 14, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    So, according to the last bicyclist, if I am driving a Smart car, environmentally friendly, I can roll through a stop sign. If I am driving a Hummer, I must come to a complete stop. So, it’s not a “vehicle” question as much as it is an “I love the environment more question”, Wha????

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  • john April 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    All this faulting others for their lack of rule following is ridiculous. Does a driver not following the law make your “sort of following the law” ok? I don’t think so. Everyone that posts that it is justified to roll through a stop is ignorant to the law and basic safety of yourself and others.
    I say all of this with 15 years of daily bike commuting behind me and a interest in continuing to do so in a non-hostile environment. All this justification of breaking the law is not helping promote a Bike Friendly environment in this city at all.
    Consider the impact of someone from outside the the biking community reading these posts. They will likely get a pretty negative impression of the biking community.

    Lets help change that impression. Stop at signs and lights.

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  • paul April 14, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    “stopping and starting is quite im practical. Honestly I can beat my wife 3.5mi to the store when shes driving and im riding. Because I just stop less and maintain a slightly higher average speed by not sitting at lights on 39th.”

    OK, lets make this fair, ask your wife to habitually ignore the rules of the road during your next competition. I’ll bet she’ll win every time.

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  • paul April 14, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Oh, I forgot. + 1 to the comments expressed by John in post 67.

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  • Anonymous 2 April 14, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    To grimm: and what is it you do exactly with that 1 second you have saved?

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  • Dj Hurricane April 14, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    “OK, lets make this fair, ask your wife to habitually ignore the rules of the road during your next competition. I’ll bet she’ll win every time.”

    Drivers do habitually ignore the rules of the road. They all speed. You can verify that on any street in any place in the nation at any time of the day or night.

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  • bobcycle April 14, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I think one option is for all bicyclists to quit using Clinton and ride legally out on division. Taking the lane when unsafe conditions warrant it. Actually narrow road conditions may require taking the lane all the way into town. My recollection is that there are no stop signs on Division. Which brings up an interesting point. Car boulevards = no stop signs; bike boulevards= many stop signs. Apparently police might prefer to have us bikers out on the main roads and to keep us safe they can do stings to catch cars that pass to close according to Oregon law.

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  • are April 14, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    commuter 30/34. although it is not necessarily “best practice” to filter up on the right alongside cars queued for a stop, it is legal, and the effect is as if there were two through lanes. if you both arrive at the line at the same time, side by side, you both get right of way at the same time, no confusion. the danger of course being a right hook, but on the plus side, if you are both going through or the motorist is turning left, in effect the car runs interference for you.

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  • SkidMark April 14, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    The more these stings happen the more I wonder who the heck runs a stop sign with a Police Officer right there in front of them.

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  • jake April 14, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I say take the lane, everywhere, all the time, single file, stop at every stop sign. there is enough bikes out there to make all traffic move at bike speed, they will be begging us to roll stopsigns again………..

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  • LuckyLab April 14, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    I couldn’t help but notice that of the cars I did see, only the ones where you could see two cars at the intersection came to a full and complete stop. Not that excuses the poor form exhibited by the cyclists filmed or the poor form by the videographer posting online. It’s just an example selective viewing bias.

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  • Efren April 14, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Kay- You sound pretty ignorant about what the real question is.

    I roll by the stop signs but I always slow down and I do not see a reason for a complete STOP. It takes a lot more work to get going than a gas powered car- Some days is better for me, when I have Cuban Black beans, my gas helps me a bit. LOL

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  • Mark Allyn April 14, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I thought the video was quite enlightening and humorous.

    I laughed when the first bike went by and called him a jerk or some other name. It showed the immaturity of the bicyclist.

    I like the scene with the children. That was a nice touch.

    True, the video does put us in a bad light. I am embarrassed with that, but that’s our fault, not the videographer’s fault.

    The only complaint that I have is that, like many You Tube’s videos, it was slightly bit on the unprofessional side. There was a fair amount of shaking the camera. If he had a tripod it would have helped. The pictures of himself were a bit too close.

    However, the opening shot where he noted the ‘stop ahead’ sign was very powerful in its simplicity. It truly demonstrated that there is no excuse for not knowing that there is a stop sign ahead.

    Overall, I would say that it’s a job well done for an amateur. . .

    Mark

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  • Efren April 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    bobcycle #72
    I am with you there! I am going to start looking for less stop signs and main venues from now on. cars will have to pile behind me to wait for my turn to go at the lights. Thanks for the tip

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  • Paul April 14, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    14 months ago I sent an email to the police in regards to cars blowing through stop signs in my neighborhood. NW 25th and Raleigh, next to the Chapman School and Wallace Park. Cars fly through on a daily basis on the way to/from work, very dangerous for kids to cross here. The police have never come by to check this intersection. Myself and neighbors have sent repeated emails and have been told that they don’t have the resources, that this intersection is on a list to get to. So now they can go after the Clinton intersection after one complaint because it is regarding bicycles?
    Portland Police: Let’s see some action. NW 25th and Raleigh-CARS blowing through stop signs on a daily basis.

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  • Seager April 14, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    The guy is obviously biased. I saw several cars roll through at the same speed as the slowed bikes and he claimed they had “stopped.” I don’t think I saw one car come to a complete stop.

    Besides, this video disproves his claim the running stop signs is unsafe. He claims tons of riders run stop signs all the time, and yet we’ve had no accidents. That only supports us and discredits him.

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  • Hart April 14, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Stopping is fun because you get to look around and talk to other cyclists who have stopped, and then you can take off again, thus giving you more of an exercise than just blowing through the intersection.

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  • Krampus April 14, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    The cyclists are clearly in the wrong, but the guy filming things is clearly aggro and the way he paints cyclists by filming them and verbally saying “are they gonna stop are they gonna stop?” insinuates anyone who does stop is only doing so because they’re being filmed. He could’ve got his point across in a much more effective way had he not tried to egg cyclists on. Plus, the fact this is the same dude parading around town pretending to be a cop only makes his antics seem slimy.

    But yeah, I have no regret for cyclists who get busted blowing stop signs. They give us all a bad name. I think an Idaho Stop law would be fantastic, but until it is the law you cannot pick and choose which laws you will follow, and if you break a law be prepared to pay the consequences.

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  • Scott E April 14, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Just remember “legal” and “logical” aren’t the same thing. Or “legal” and “practical” or “safe.” But just because something is the law doesn’t mean it’s right. There have been through time many laws that weren’t “right” but that didn’t stop the powers-that-be from upholding them for as long as they could. Act at your own discretion.

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  • carless in pdx April 14, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    So my girlfriend got her first ticket today during the sting! I’m so proud of her.

    I used to be somewhat of a lawbreaker until I got my ticket last year at 7th and Madison. I can say with 100% honesty that I stop at every stop sign and stoplight. The share the road class is actually a very informative session if you get a ticket on your bike. As a cyclist (I don’t drive anymore), I can say that yes it is annoying to stop, but its even more annoying to see some of your fellow cyclists disobey the law right in front of you.

    On the other hand, on my route I would say that close to 90% of the cyclists obey the stop signs (Ankeny). Not everyone is a bad egg!

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  • SkidMark April 14, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I watched part of the video and the one thing I noticed was besides bicyclists there was no traffic whatsoever. It was a ghost town with the exception of camera guy and a couple of kids. Maybe if he was really concerned about the kids he would tell the little girl that she is supposed to ride in the street with traffic and not on the sidewalk going the wrong way. The way he talks about giving his footage to ‘the state’ made me think he should go back in time and live in the USSR or maybe pre-WWII Germany.

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  • sabernar April 14, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    I love it how some people want the Idaho Stop Law because they already blow through stop signs and they want to stop getting tickets. Here’s an idea: how about stopping at the stop signs and obeying the current law? Why oh why do most cyclists try to rationalize their illegal behavior by saying that they’re ‘being safe’? Then there are the people who chastise cops for not catching the REAL criminals. Well, these guys are doing their job – they’re on traffic duty and they’re ticketing people who break the law. Most people have a poor perception of cyclists, not only because they break the law, but because they’re whiny crybabies who think that laws shouldn’t apply to them.

    Come on people. It’s a stop sign, not a line at the DMV. Stop. It’s not really that hard. You live in a city with lots of cars and people and intersections and traffic signs, yet you still think the world revolves around you and everything should change just because you ride a bicycle. Well, guess what, you still have to obey the traffic laws. I’m glad the cops were giving tickets out. They should continue to perform these stings regularly to keep giving cyclists tickets until the cycling community as a whole can learn to obey the laws and stop at the stop signs. Don’t rationalize the breaking of a law because someone else does it. It’s really not that hard to stop.

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  • Spencer Boomhower April 15, 2009 at 1:03 am

    “I love it how some people want the Idaho Stop Law because they already blow through stop signs and they want to stop getting tickets. “

    Under the Idaho Stop law you would still get a ticket for blowing through a stop, and the penalty for doing so would be even higher than it is now.

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  • Joe Rowe April 15, 2009 at 1:32 am

    There are serious death spots for pedestrians going on with no attention from the cops. While the bikes on shady Clinton St may be technically illegal the cops are biased and in need of serious training. They want to pick on cyclists and ignore prevention stings at the deadly spots for pedestrians.

    I’m gonna video tape a spot near my house where 80% of cars ignore a stop and roll on through at 5-15 mph. I’ve avoided hundreds ( no joke ) of drivers who don’t do a full stop or even kinda slow down at this spot. This spot is deadly to someone who is not from the neighborhood.

    Now let’s compare the place where cops are freaked out about safety to the public:

    Clinton and 34th.

    I really doubt that any danger would come to someone from out of town who was looking up at the trees and not the many cyclists doing Idaho stops at Clinton and 34th. For a whole year I bet you could test Clinton and 34th 5 times a day with well armored actors stepping out and looking up at the trees. You would not get a single serious injury or collision.

    Both cars and bikes do Idaho stops in near equal percentages. It is worth noting that there are many more cars on the road. For every bike sting the cops had better have documented ten motor vehicle stings. Anything less means they could easily lose a lawsuit in court.

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  • Michael R April 15, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Cool video.

    Joe Rowe, why don’t you call or email in a complaint about the “spot near my house” with the stop sign disregard. It was a complaint to the police that triggered the Clinton street actions.

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  • Anonymous April 15, 2009 at 6:51 am

    It is not a sting.

    There’s no trickery or trap involved. The stop sign is readily visible.

    Right now the law requires you to stop at a stop sign.

    Those running the stop have made the decision to do so. If you don’t stop you will get ticketed. Take responsibility for your actions.

    And don’t use the old “cars don’t stop so why should I” excuse. If you aren’t willing to follow the law then you lose the right to complain about those who don’t.

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  • shooter April 15, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Stacy #3,
    Just FYI when you are in public, someone does not need your permission to take your picture or video tape you. It’s how they use that image that matters. If they then used it in a commercial, you probably have a case against them.

    But using the video to demonstrate public behavior, they are completely within their legal rights to video tape and display that video on a site like YouTube.

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  • peejay April 15, 2009 at 7:27 am

    You know, I proposed a Citizen’s Traffic Council a while back, to put some balance in the enforcement priorities. I hate the idea that the PPB can justify a sting by citing a complaint they received, but we have no idea which complaints they ignore. It’s also not very smart to base enforcement actions on a random sampling of complaints (if it is random at all – we just have no idea), and not actual statistical crash data. This is what happens when people feel that traffic safety is about following traffic laws, and not, you know, traffic safety.

    Anyway, good luck to the new PPB traffic chief. He has no idea what he’s got himself into.

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  • Stacy Westbrook April 15, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Shooter & wsbob,

    I know he’s within his rights. Sadly, I missed out on my YouTube debut of a cyclist stopping at that intersection, since he taped me AND I stopped, but it looks like he cut it from his final edit. Nice editing to bias your “data”, buddy.

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  • John April 15, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Are the all-way stop signs warranted per MUTCD standards? Almost none are. Maybe two of the signs should be removed. End of problem.

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  • DC Bike April 15, 2009 at 7:42 am

    When it becomes inconvenient to cruise through stops I am sure the good citizens of (city) will stop. Cops don’t fuss about this in DC because people be gettin killed and all.
    :)

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  • cyclist April 15, 2009 at 7:47 am

    Joe Rowe: Either you don’t know how fast 15mph is, or you have a really serious problem in your neighborhood. You *should* go out with a video camera, videotape the intersection, and email the PPD about doing an enforcement action.

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  • are April 15, 2009 at 8:01 am

    re 78 and the quality of the film. couldn’t disagree more. when he bothers to point the camera at the intersection what you see is zero traffic with the occasional bike rolling through. if what he is trying to show is bikes blowing the stops, he ought to at least point the camera at the intersection. might help if he did it at a time of day when there is anyone there, like for example the school bus he keeps talking about. quite a number of cars also roll through, but he does not mention them, and again, because he is not actually filming the intersection you don’t really see them, much. lengthy interview with kids is creepy, and gets you nothing except kids saying yes to an adult. several cars are parked illegally close to the intersection throughout, blocking sight lines, but he does not mention them. and on and on. very poor film, not designed to persuade anyone to what they do not already believe.

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  • jay April 15, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Hmmm, I think I’ll take my old diesel pick-up and drive up and down Clinton. Maybe I can distract the video camera nut-job with all the noise and fumes!

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  • DJ Hurricane April 15, 2009 at 8:12 am

    “If you aren’t willing to follow the law then you lose the right to complain about those who don’t.”

    Then everyone who drives a car, including this d-bag on Clinton, should STFU!

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  • Argentius April 15, 2009 at 8:49 am

    “This video has been removed by the user.”

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  • teej April 15, 2009 at 9:06 am

    LOL gotta agree most of the big cities around the US cyclists completely disregard all traffic rules to little or no interest by police.

    We have a shortage of problems here if our main concern is some low traffic 4way people ride through when cars aren’t around in force.

    We’ve got to many employed police if they’re wasting our tax dollars on garbage like this. At a time of recession where the states coffers are drying up this ought to be more carefully looked at.

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  • DaHoos April 15, 2009 at 9:07 am

    @ Grimm

    “Sometimes at 4 way stops, a car and I are coming from perpendicular directions but im to the right, and we are going to stop at the same time. If its obvious we are both stopping, I see the driver has noticed me and I feel its warranted I sometimes stop slowing at this point and go through the intersection, this way the car does not have to sit and wait for me to come to a complete stop and start again. And the stopping car is not a threat to me, and I get to continue on my way 1 second quicker.”

    That is what I feel infuriates drivers. For those riders who don’t make the eye contact or non-verbal “go ahead” agreements, drivers don’t see it as courteous way to better both your travel times, but more as if you blew them off and that laws don’t apply to them.
    Give respect, get respect.

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  • One Less :( April 15, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Seriously, what is the problem with obeying the law and coming to a complete stop? This goes for cars and bicycles! I really don’t get a lot of people that post on here. Its the LAW, why not follow it? Do you think you are above it? Do you think since we ride a 20 pound bike, and are more vulnerable on the road, that we should be able to roll through stop signs, run red lights, fail to signal, etc?

    Seriously people, it saves you what, a few seconds here and there? Try leaving the house 5 minutes sooner and then you can follow the law and won’t get a ticket.

    On a side note, I went through the intersection this morning, came to a complete stop, and DIDN’T get a ticket. Imagine that!!! I did get a good laugh out of the car and bicycle that were stopped out of view. I guess it pays to follow the law!

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  • John April 15, 2009 at 9:34 am

    One Less,
    It’s not the time, it’s the energy. Starting from a stopped position is difficult and slow on a bike. Stopping occasionally on a trip is okay, but doing it on every block would be horrible. This is why the point of bike boulevards is – or should be – to provide a low-volume route with minimal stops for cyclists.

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  • jered April 15, 2009 at 9:34 am

    On my bike or in my car I’m equally terrible about stopping completely – every single time I roll a stop sign I acknowledge that I COULD get ticketed because I AM BREAKING THE LAW. If you can’t own up to the decisions to knowingly and willfully break the law, then you should not be biking or driving – end of story.

    an aside is if you’re rolling a stop sign then I would hope you would be looking around enough to notice the police presence and stop… otherwise how will you notice the other cyclist you’re about to hit, the nuns helping children cross the street, or the car you’re about to hit… I’ve made some extra special stops at the end of N.Flint and Broadway… the kind when you know you’re being watched.

    It is the law, that red sign with stop, means stop. Break the law at your own risk. Again, I’m not saying stop, just accept the consequences of your actions.

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  • One Less :( April 15, 2009 at 9:44 am

    John @ 104 – “Starting from a stopped position is difficult and slow on a bike” and that’s an excuse? I understand the idea of a bike boulevard and I 100% support them. Heck, my route to and from home is longer than it should be because over the years I’ve researched by riding and found the route with the least amount of lights and stop signs.

    Its true, I’ve ran/rolled my fair share of stops in the past, but with the PPB wanting to ticket my two wheeled butt any chance they get lately instead of doing better things, like ticketing the 5 people that just blatantly run a red light just because they can’t wait another 2-3 minutes (if that) to have the light turn green is crazy.

    On another note, I’ve called PPB about 10 times in the past 2 months to complain about certain intersections in Portland where there is rampant red light running, but I’ve never heard or seen them do anything, yet they get one call from a concerned citizen about cyclist running a stop sign and they respond with top priority. Makes you wonder where the priority is in the traffic bureau!

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  • John April 15, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Have there been any pedalcyclist (bicycle) crashes at this location in the last three years?

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  • DJ Hurricane April 15, 2009 at 9:50 am

    For those of you who apparently aren’t reading the other comments, there has not been one single post here by someone who received a citation and is now complaining about it.

    People who are posting comments here are complaining about:

    1. PPB’s priorities of focusing on a very low-level safety issue when there are much more pressing traffic safety problems in the city.

    2. The fact that the PPB immediately responds to one complaint about bicyclists yet fails to respond to multiple complaints about motorists.

    3. The fact that the PPB’s traffic enforcement priorities are guided by random citizen complaints rather than a comprehensive assessment of what behaviors are creating the greatest safety risk in the city.

    4. The stupidity of a law that requires a full and complete stop on a bicycle at a deserted intersection on a residential street. Yes, stupidity. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s a good law.

    5. The absolute hypocrisy of drivers, all of whom violate the speed limit law, complaining about bicyclists breaking traffic laws.

    I can make this list much longer. Or maybe you could just actually read the other comments.

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  • bahueh April 15, 2009 at 9:58 am

    hey DJ…SE Clinton is HARDLY a deserted intersection….
    think about it.

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  • jacob April 15, 2009 at 10:34 am

    RE #3

    If the guy making video was on his property, or public property, he does not need your permission to film/photograph you.

    Read this and be enlightened>
    http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

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  • shooter April 15, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Stacy #23 & #94,
    And we have public forums like this to call people out when they document something, then add their own bias to it.

    More than anything I think this video demonstrates the need to pass the Idaho stop. I shows that its not “favoritism” but a safe alternative to having to come to a complete stop.

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  • Michael Ballard April 15, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Ok. I’m confused. STOP means, well, STOP right? I mean, if it meant to slow, wouldn’t it say SLOW instead of STOP? Saying you “slowed” for the STOP sign is still NOT STOPPING! Gee, am I going to get a ticket if I don’t stop shouldn’t enter ones mind. That basically says how much is my life worth. Mine isn’t worth the ticket. Seems to me that you generally DON’T see the car that will hit you when you run stop signs. Now, if you do see the car, then why are you still moving?

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  • jacob April 15, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I wonder if I sent an email to PPB about all the cars speeding in my neighborhood they’ll respond and sit around for 5 hours?

    Based on how many people speed AND blow a stop sign here, they’d make a pretty penny in citations.

    Oh wait, they won’t come out here, I live in a poor neighborhood next to the freeway.

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  • Jessica Roberts April 15, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Call 823-SAFE if you want to request a traffic enforcement action. That’s one of the main purposes of that hotline.

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  • KimJSCP April 15, 2009 at 10:55 am

    This is a public street and the video taper does not need permission. If you don’t want your activities recorded, then do not do them in public.

    I am a cyclist and an auto driver. I was completely wrong. All along I have been defending this sort of behavior by cyclists as the behavior of just a few bad apples, but I was really wrong. I should have realized it, because I see a lot of similar behavior on Harrison and Lincoln (especially around 34th) but always chalked it up to coincidence. How could I have been so naive?

    I really want the Idaho Stop Law passed and feel that one of the biggest hindrances is the overall general negative feelings towards cyclists caused by exactly the behavior documented in this video.

    I can’t even express how angry and frustrated I am that so many cyclists, with their holier than thou sense of entitlement, are screwing it up for the cyclists like me who try to obey the law.

    I do not always come to a complete stop at stop signs, but I ALWAYS slow down to walking speed and never proceed unless I do have the right of way. I don’t believe that this type of stop really annoys anyone – unless they just want to be annoyed on principle, but it is against the law. However, I am pretty sure if all bicyclists behaved like this, there would be no video.

    As a cyclist I am embarrassed by the activity shown in this video and and livid that these cyclists are ruining it for everyone. As a driver, I am outraged at the risks they take, that also put me at risk.

    Either way I really do not like yielding to anyone, car bike or pedestrian, when I have the right of way.

    DJ – yes we are talking about a lot of law breaking activities, but a cyclist rolling through a stop and a driver breaking the speed limit by a few MPH are very different from either cyclists or cars blasting through stop signs. Your comparison of a car exceeding the speed limit and a cyclist blowing through a stop only hurts our cause.

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  • Rixtir April 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

    The day after the Idaho Stop becomes law:

    The PPB conducts a “sting”, citing everybody who blows through a stop sign at speed, or ignores a red light, and people come here to post there outrage that the Idaho Stop law is being enforced…

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  • DJ Hurricane April 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

    There is no common cause here, KimJSCP. I’m fighting for the rights of people who choose to ride bicycles to be free from discrimination in law enforcement and your’re whining about the negative feelings of ill-informed hypocrites.

    Excessive speed by drivers is responsible for many thousands of deaths in this country each year, and bicyclists rolling through stop signs is responsible for approximately 0. Please, get some perspective. When you get it, share it with the PPB.

    You must be very frustrated and angry indeed to know that, when you “slow down to a walking speed” at stop signs, **you are breaking the same law that you are complaining about others breaking.** And the fine is even the same. Why don’t you talk about holier than thou cyclists some more? Congratulations, you’re one of them.

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  • jacob April 15, 2009 at 11:09 am

    @ Jessica #115

    Right after that comment I sent an email to PPB ( safe@pdxtrans.org ).

    Maybe I’ll see them out here (I’ll update if I do), it’d be nice.

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  • iStop April 15, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Anyone save the referenced video? It appears to have been removed from YouTube by the poster.

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  • Bikergal April 15, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I was one of the people who was stopped and ticketed yesterday morning. I wanted to take a moment to give kudos to Sargent Ladd, who did the ticketing. He was very respectful and clearly was there to keep people safe, not to give bikers a hard time. Although it was very frustrating and upsetting to be stopped, Sargent Ladd was very kind and helped me feel more positive about a crappy situation. So thank you, Sargent Ladd.

    I’d also like to thank my fellow biker who stopped to make sure everything was okay. Thanks for checking in.

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  • KimJSCP April 15, 2009 at 11:18 am

    DJ – I think you need to re-read my post.

    Excessive speed is relative and I was referring to cyclists blasting through stop signs and the public’s perception of said infractions, and its impact on the public’s perceptions of cyclists. I think your #118 post backs up what I said.

    I and I think I was clear when I did say that rolling through stops “is against the law.” but thank you for reiterating it.

    As far as “holier than thou” I was referring specifically to cyclists who think they have more rights than others and my example was cyclist who do not yield the right of way when they should (I always yield when I am supposed to). That is what “holier than thou” and “entitlement” mean – sorry you were confused.

    And, I think we do have a common cause here and that cause is respect for cyclists and cycling. While we don’t all fight for that cause in the same way and may not even have the same definition of what respect means, this is after all the “BikePortland” website, so yeah – I think we are all pretty much for bikes.

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  • matchu April 15, 2009 at 11:19 am

    For this reason I bicycle on Division rather than Clinton. There are less traffic control devices and thus it is a more efficient route for me as a cyclist rather than these so-called “bike boulevards”.

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  • KruckyBoy April 15, 2009 at 11:50 am

    #105 Stopping occasionally on a trip is okay, but doing it on every block would be horrible.

    Horrible? Really? I come to a complete stop at all stop signs and somehow I’ve lived to tell about it. Bikes are the EASIEST man powered vehicle to start and stop that I can think of. It’s WAY easier to stop a bike than a skateboard. It’s WAY easier to stop a bike then a pair of rollerblades. It’s easy to restart a bike in a controlled fashion. Let’s really think about this for a second. Are we all in that terrible shape that we can’t handle to rigors of starting and stopping our bikes, most of which have modern, easy to use, low pressure hand brakes? As a chronic ‘stopper’ I can tell you it’s really not that hard. You will build better leg muscles too. How horrible is that?

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  • bean April 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I agree with Post 124. It is a senseless argument to say “it is too hard to stop for every intersection”. What kind of logic is that? Maybe you should drive then if you do not have the strength or brake power to stop.
    The law is the law. Though I find it aggravating that PPD has the time to spend on such things. I suppose I need to personally show them the drug dealers on Killingsworth to get anything done about them.

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  • Dan April 15, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    KimJSCP I completely agree with you.

    “I do not always come to a complete stop at stop signs, but I ALWAYS slow down to walking speed and never proceed unless I do have the right of way.”

    EXACTLY. As a bicyclist, a pedestrian, and an automobile driver, I think the principal problem is people feeling their form of transportation makes them more important than people using other means of transport. It’s called respect, and being considerate and safe for others. I have had an idiot bicyclist blow right past me and through a stop sign, at a dangerous speed when I was walking with my child through a crosswalk. Pedestrians walk right in front of me frequently when I’m biking and I have the green. And cars not respecting bike lanes is a cliche.

    I think the problem, really, is one of respect for other means of transport. When a bicyclist blows through a stop sign at a high rate of speed, they are not considering the possibility of pedestrians outside of their field of view. It IS dangerous. And you don’t have the legal, and more importantly, moral right to do it.

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  • brandon April 15, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I’m confused about this new technique I’m seeing online of including text with a line through it.

    What is the subtext of this device. Are you writing it or not? If you are, write it. If not, leave it out. What are we supposed to conclude from text with lines through it? Is this some underhanded off the record comment? Just curious.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 15, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    “I’m confused about this new technique I’m seeing online of including text with a line through it.”

    sorry for confusion brandon. i’ve added an asterisk and a footnote about this.

    the reason for putting a line through something, versus just deleting and/or editing it, is to leave a “paper trail” for the record.

    on blogs, people might have commented on a part of the story that later needs to be deleted or edited for various reasons… I like to do a strikethrough of the text so that people have a record of what used to be on the page.

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  • brandon April 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks for the follow up Jonathon. Now I know.

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  • Vance Longwell April 15, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    So the question was posed by steve in comment #2, and I’d like an answer to that as well. Why are the police, a public entity if there ever was one, consulting with a private group like the BTA over policy? If the only answer to that is to point out that the city consults with them as well I’d have this to say: Two wrongs don’t make a right. Plus Ms. Roberts, steve and I both are perfectly entitled to have a problem with a group like the BTA, specifcally people like Bricker, and to voice that opposition within this context. You know, the context where they, and their planned actions, are being discussed.

    The BTA is an indoctrination group busily wrapping up my lifestyle in a neat little package of contention. Their blind, and ignorant allegiance, to Nanny State solutions and unwavering commitment to have the rest of the public view cyclists as wack-a-doo environmentalist wing-nuts is infuriating. They do not represent me, therefore I have a serious, and bona-fide, problem with my tax contribution being WASTED consulting with them over anything.

    The BTA most definitely does not represent me, and they never will. It’s long past time to extricate them from our public policy, and return them to the line like the rest of us.

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  • Roma April 15, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    People really need to stop saying cyclists “blow” through stop signs and or lights.

    When I hear that I think of someone not slowing down at all before going through a stop sign or light. I’ve rarely if ever seen that happen.

    The majority of cyclists at least slow down to look for cars before rolling (not blowing) through a stop sign.

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  • Rixtir April 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Roma, do you have any data showing that the majority of cyclists slow and roll?

    I’ve seen both types of behavior, regularly, and occasionally I see a cyclist stop. Unless you actually have data showing that blowing stops is so rare a phenomenon that it’s unworthy of discussion, it’s perfectly valid for people to discuss behavior they’ve witnessed.

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  • Mike April 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    If your route has too many stop signs, use a different route! I ride on Sandy on my way to work; not a lot of stop signs there!

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  • DJ Hurricane April 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    KimJSCP, I understand perfectly well what you’re saying. And I am telling you that it is patently absurd for you to complain about people breaking a law that you are also breaking. In fact, I’ve never seen a better example of self-righteous entitlement.

    If you’re so worried about bicyclists’ negative image, maybe you should start obeying the law. After all, you are the only one you can control.

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  • matt picio April 15, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    DJ (#14) – Go for it! It’s a public street, you have every right. Just don’t film him in his house or driveway, or you might run afoul of privacy laws.

    What difference does it make anyway? The law was still broken whether it was filmed or not. Motorists break the law all the time, and I’m all for them getting filmed and caught too. It’s up to every individual as to whether they choose to follow the law.

    Marion (#16) – I agree wholeheartedly, but were the ticketed individuals yielding to pedestrians? Many cyclists in Portland don’t (and neither do many motorists), and that’s a serious problem.

    That said, many pedestrians need to learn when and where they have the right-of-way, and when/where they do not.

    Bjorn (#20) – “high number”? 22? Previous stings at 23rd & Salmon and Ladd’s Circle have nabbed many more than that. We now have more cyclists and fewer violators – I’d call that progress.

    Lenny (#23) – Have you called the police and complained about a certain intersection? They seem to respond to neighbor calls – let’s make a few and see if they show up, or if this is one-sided enforcement. I agree that police priorities should focus on the lethal intersections, but the department is generally going to respond to repeated calls, if only to placate them.

    SouthEast TT (#28) – That’s a lot more reasonable than in the past, when 6 motorcycle cops would show up. I’d say the new Traffic Div commander has a better handle on things than the previous ones.

    wsbob (#31) – 3mph is the speed of the average pedestrian – that seems a bit fast to me to be an acceptable “roll-through” speed for a car.

    bike_militia (#36) – apples and oranges, beat cops don’t solve rape cases, investigators do. Pull out some statistics about crime rates (not solved, but committed), and you’ve got a valid arguing point.

    peejay (#44) – it was about time for another one, eh?

    Grim (#49) – it’s rarely about safety, but *perceived* safety. Pedestrians feel threatened when they can’t walk out into the street, or when passed closely without warning. People think their kids will get run over by a cyclist. In most cases, I’d say it’s an unfounded fear, but fear is rarely rational.

    BURR (#50) – That’s a very good question, especially on Hawthorne between 37th and 39th. I’d like to see more traffic resources placed there myself.

    Michael M. (#52) – No they do not. If a pedestrian steps in front of traffic, he is in violation of ORS 814.040

    (a) Suddenly leaves a curb or other place of safety and moves into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
    (b) Fails to yield the right of way to a vehicle upon a roadway when the pedestrian is crossing the roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

    Pedestrians do NOT have blanket right-of-way. BTW, Portland currently defines “so close as to constitute an immediate hazard” as 110 feet. (source: Share the Road Safety Class)

    There are lots of road users who ignore the rights of pedestrians, and yes, there needs to be enforcement against them – but pedestrians have obligations as well and they do not have carte blanche right-of-way in all circumstances. If you don’t like it, work to change the law.

    grimm (#64) – 21st and Clinton is *not* residential. It’s a commercial intersection with high traffic much of the day which borders a bunch of residential areas. It’s a major cut-through for cars going from Hawthorne/Division to Powell and vice-versa, and the busiest bike boulevard in the city. And most people riding or driving through it are already stressed a little bit from having just navigated the Seven Corners intersection. A full stop at that intersection is warranted.

    john (#67) – Amen, every person’s decisions are independent of everyone else’s. Really, as always, this argument boils down to “don’t be a jerk” and “do what you will, but if you break the law in front of a cop, don’t be surprised to get a ticket”.

    bobcycle (#72) which bike boulevards are you speaking of? SE Salmon has no more traffic control devices than Hawthorne, and Clinton has no more than Division. For every stop sign on Clinton, there’s a traffic light on Division. It takes longer to wait through a red than to cycle through a stop sign, and the lights on Division aren’t timed for bikes.

    SkidMark (#74) – That’s been my argument in many of these threads – if you couldn’t see the cop, can you honestly say you are aware enough to be yielding to traffic and pedestrians? I’m sure in some of these cases a motorcycle might be hiding behind something else, but that can be true of cross-traffic as well, especially at some intersections like SE 23rd & Salmon.

    Paul (#80) – Get your neighbors, go down to the Police Bureau, and City Hall and complain. Did you document the dates / times of your calls? If not, start now. Go down and present your evidence that they’re willing to respond to bikes but not cars. point out the fact that cars have killed over 100 pedestrians in Portland in the last 10 years, and bikes have killed 0 pedestrians. (1 if you count ALL of Oregon) Ask them to explain why they have the resources to pursue a single complaint against bikes and not multiple complaints against cars. If they say they sent a squad car and saw no violations, ask them to give you the time, date, and duration of the patrol(s).

    If you don’t get adequate repsonses, talk to the news outlets, and give the hard data to Roger Geller at Trasnportation and Jonathan Maus or Elly Blue at bikeportland. Document it, make it a story, hold the people accountable.

    If you want help or advice on any of those steps, I’d be more than happy to assist.

    Anonymous (#91) – sorry pal, nobody loses the right to complain – Free Speech, First Amendment. In any case, how does breaking a law disqualify one from pointing out other laws (or even the same one) being broken? The law is the law – make a choice to follow it, or make a choice not to, and accept the consequences of your decision, including the fact that others might videotape you, report you, berate you, fine you, or do the same thing you do (or the opposite) and get away with it while you do not.

    Life isn’t fair – take responsibility for yours and live with the consequences of your decisions.

    John (#95) – Actually, a traffic light is probably warranted at 21st & Clinton – the 4-way almost certainly is.

    Argentius (#101) – well, that didn’t take long. :-)

    One Less :( – It’s societal. There’s just a LOT of people out there who don’t want to follow the law. You can’t *make* them do it, enforcement doesn’t work – they don’t want to follow the law or don’t believe it has relevance to them. Unless you can give them a reason for it to be relevent and worthwhile to obey it, they’re not going to change.

    DJ Hurricane (#109) – Yep. Stop signs and helmets are the guaranteed 100+ post threads. Best to just skip them if you don’t want to hear the same arguments hashed out. :-)

    Jessica (115) – +1! Yes, call 823-SAFE. Document the date and time of the call. If nothing is done, call it again. Keep documenting. If nothing happens, hit the PPB and City Hall, demand (politely) to know why.

    If that doesn’t work, call the press. Organize a rally. Don’t just BE the change, LEAD the change.

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  • matt picio April 15, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Ack – next time I’ll break that up into smaller comments….

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  • jj April 15, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I am just confused as WHY there is even a stop at this intersection.

    Its a neighborhood street, and when approach from Division across 34th, leads you to nothing on the other side but houses, and some squirrely ways to get through to Powell. Very inefficient, and far more time-consuming than using 39th or 26th (the feeders).

    there isn’t even a 34th on powell…you have to either go 33rd or 36th, and there are stop signs all over the place: its a dis-incentive to cutting across.

    sigh.

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  • Kay April 15, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Efren (#77), No, not ignorant, but really, how many times are we going to say, “Well, they do this ________, so we can do this________. If the law says stop, just stop. If you don’t like the law, work for change.
    I know the woman on tape does not speak for all cyclists, but she does speak for quite a few who seem to believe that environmental superiority gives them the right to live above the current law.

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  • matt picio April 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    jj (#137) – The stop sign is there because of all the traffic that goes from Hawthorne / Division along 34th to Clinton. At certain times of day, the flow makes it make sense. I’d rather see them cut 34th off between Division and Clinton with a traffic diverter, and just allow bikes.

    I’m not sure how bad the compliance was at that intersection – Jonathan, do you have any numbers for how many were at 21st, and how many at 34th?

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  • Dan April 15, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Roma, the situation I mentioned was a bicyclist literally blowing through it – probably 15 mph right by Whole Foods. And I am not exaggerating. When I yelled at him he gave me the finger. Can’t say how common it is, but it does happen.

    DJ Hurricane, I can’t speak for KimJSCP, nor did I follow the thread completely to be honest, but I do not think it is absurd to point out unequivocally unsafe behavior as being more worthy of ticketing than behavior that most would consider safe but still illegal. Not all illegal acts are equally unsafe, and, while we can debate which are more safe, I think it’s intrinsically obvious that slowing down through a stop sign and looking is safer than blowing through a stop sign.

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  • Lenny Anderson April 15, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Its time to bail on the so-called “Bike Boulevards” and their stop signs and take over Division, Hawthorne and other arterials…its called critical mass.

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  • Hart April 15, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Its time to bail on the so-called “Bike Boulevards” and their stop signs and take over Division, Hawthorne

    Really? Just because you can’t stop at a stop sign?

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  • Dirk April 15, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    No, because we want to maintain our efficient pace without having to stop. Why be relegated to the bike boulevard “ghetto”?

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  • El Biciclero April 15, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve never ridden on a so-called “bike boulevard”–unless you count the bike lane on Murray Boulevard–but it does seem rather counter-productive to create a “calm” street that cyclists are expected to use, and then accomplish the calming via stops at every block, which is a discouragement for cyclists. Regardless of someone’s ability or willingness to stop at stop signs, if given the choice, wouldn’t we usually prefer not to have to stop so frequently?

    If a bike boulevard is meant as a place where cyclists are encouraged to ride and motorists are simultaneously discouraged from driving, then it seems something other than 4-way stops should be used as a traffic calming device. Maybe something like bollards at every other cross street forcing autos to turn, but allowing bikes to go straight through. And two-way stops on cross streets to any bike boulevard. Such an arrangement would allow residents local driving access, but would discourage the use of such streets as auto express routes.

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  • RonC April 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Hart (#142)- Maybe I’m reading more into it than I should, but I believe the point Lenny (#141) was trying to make was that Bike Boulevards need to have substantive measures taken, to make them more attractive to ride than the major thoroughfares. Otherwise they are essentially supporting efficient and safe cycling in name only, a farce some might argue. (Ah, the emperors clothes, how magnificent they are!) If the city is unwilling to make substantive changes a reality, they should fully expect some cyclists to shun bike boulevards in favor of efficient direct routes with fewer stops.

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  • RonC April 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Hart (#142)- Maybe I’m reading more into it than I should, but I believe the point Lenny (#141) was trying to make was that Bike Boulevards need to have substantive measures taken, to make them more attractive to ride than the major thoroughfares. Otherwise they are supporting efficient and safe cycling in name only, a farce some might argue. (Ah, the emperors clothes, how magnificent they are!) If the city is unwilling to make substantive changes a reality, they should fully expect some cyclists to shun bike boulevards in favor of efficient direct routes with fewer stops.

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  • KimJSCP April 15, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I contacted (through youtube) the poster of the video and he got so many vicious emails and comments he had to take it down. How can people be so vicious about being shown reality. If you don’t like, it change your behavior – don’t berate the reporter, as he didn’t entrap the cyclists and I think did a fair job of reporting the facts.

    If you are ashamed of what you did, then apologize and stop. If you are not ashamed of what you did (in public), you shouldn’t care that the public sees it. Either way, I don’t think you have a right to complain about the existence of the video or the reporter, but only the actions displayed in the video.

    I am extraordinarily disappointed by this.

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  • peejay April 15, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Kim:

    People are complaining that the video is a biased representation of reality, showing only what the video recordist wanted us to see, and neglecting other realities by either not recording or editing out later. It’s a common practice. I could video anybody on any day, and make a five-minute YouTube that shows the person to be the wittiest, smartest person you’ve ever met, or a complete buffoon. What’s reality? The reality of selectively captured stop sign scofflaws, or another set of scofflaws in cars that were not shown? The video can limit context by zooming in on the bike and not showing the wider view of empty streets. Many tricks can be used to put forth only a portion of “reality” to prove a particular predetermined conclusion.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    That guy will be lucky if all he gets is vicious emails. That’s not a threat, just something to ponder for all you who are saying people need to understand that their actions have consequences.

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  • KimJSCP April 15, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Peejay – It is certainly possible that the videographer was not telling the truth, but that would be easy enough to check out. He gave approximate times, counts and results, and right now would be a good time to head down to a 4-way stop and see how your observations compare.

    Based on my recollection of driving in the area of 34th and Lincoln recently, I suspect that he didn’t edit out stoppers and add in non-stoppers and I believe the videographer was truthful when he said no cyclists came to a complete stop.

    As far as reality in relation to empty streets, I don’t believe that is relevant, as the videographer was pretty specific that he was only documenting whether riders stopped or not and not any other conditions.

    The laws regarding stop signs do not change based on the amount of traffic.

    I believe that viciousness towards the videographer is uncalled for in any circumstance and unless you have some sort of evidence that he is presenting anything other than the truth, politeness is all that should be practiced.

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  • peejay April 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    151! The overs win!

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  • RonC April 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Is there anyone out there that rides with a toe clip or clipless pedal on the drive side, but a platform pedal on the non-drive side, to make it easier to put your foot down at stops. Seems to me that part of the problem with lots of full stops and starts is the clipping and unclipping of pedals, fumbling around with getting your foot into your toe clip. Or if you are riding all platforms, then repositioning your crankset/pedal angle for an efficient send-off after a stop can be an issue. If you had only the drive side pedal firmly attached to your foot, then you could easily reposition the crankset with that foot when stopped, but no fumbling around with the non-drive side. Anybody do with this? Just curious…

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  • Michael R April 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    @RonC

    That’s the way I ride, flat pedals with powergrips. On a commute or around town I usually have one foot in.

    Really though, reclipping was never a problem.

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  • RonC April 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Michael R (#153) – I hadn’t thought about power grips. I was really wondering if anyone went asymmetrical with their pedals to make it easier to put a foot down, but you just go asymmetrical with how you use them. Thanks for that insight.

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  • Dirk April 15, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    @ Peejay, #44 and 151, you da man! But notice that no one was gonna touch the “under”.

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  • Concerned about cop impersonating April 15, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    #147 The reality is that someone recognized him from the video as a person who has been impersonating a police officer. I for one do not believe that he only did that one time. The poster probably removed the video because he was concerned that other people whom he has pretended to be a cop to would see his face and recognize him.

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  • Sean Chaney April 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    I probably won’t ever “get” this conversation we’re constantly revisiting but people, laws are on the books; we all know it and if we break them we have to face the consequences. If you knowingly break the law and get caught, suck it up.

    I ride this intersection every day, sometimes twice a day while accompanying my wife to work. 34th/Clinton is a problem and 34th/Salmon is a problem. I’m personally happy to see some enforcement. When school lets out of SES, it sickens me to see how many cyclists blow the 4-way on 34th/Salmon while children are trying to get across the road.

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  • Rixtir April 15, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    # 156, It’s only a crime if it’s done with intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another person.

    For example:

    1) A guy pretending to be a cop pulls a woman over on an alleged violation, intending to commit some further illicit act. The act of impersonating an officer in this situation is a crime.

    2) A guy is being harassed or threatened by somebody else and says “:back off, I’m a police officer.” Not a crime.

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  • NoPoJoe April 15, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Uhh… if stopping is so problematic that it justifies “Idaho stops”, perhaps an electic assist for your bike might be in order.

    just a suggestion.

    It ain’t ‘pure’ cycling,but it might make it a little easier to get around.

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  • Michael April 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    If you run a stop sign and you are the only survivor of a holocaust, was a crime committed?

    If you run a stop sign at 5 AM Sunday morning and there is not a visible human out, was a crime committed?

    If you run a stop sign at 7 PM Sunday and there is very little traffic, only a car slowly approaching from about 1/2 block away, was a crime committed?

    At some point common sense and the rule of law cross lines of reasonableness. This is a rather arbitrary point. Why is that point set so often so as to rule the event a crime? What is the point of it the law? To protect safety, or proscribe an act of law enforcement?

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  • wsbob April 15, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    “wsbob (#31) – 3mph is the speed of the average pedestrian – that seems a bit fast to me to be an acceptable “roll-through” speed for a car.” matt picio #135

    I’d like to think people rolling through would generally go slower than 3 mph, but 3 mph seems like a reasonable cut-off point for officers deciding whether to issue a citation or not. There’s usually some variance in people’s actions. A bit of latitude helps to allow for reasonable discretion.

    A 3 mph roll-through when the person rolling through is physically turning their head to look both ways and there aren’t pedestrians or vehicles nearby seems reasonable to me. One of the problems I consider to be likely with the Idaho Stop(yield)law, is that people rolling through will interpret the yield requirement to mean that, if there aren’t pedestrians or vehicles nearby, they can roll through at any speed they choose. I think a lot of people would not be happy about this happening.

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  • Rixtir April 15, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    #161,

    The Idaho Stop law requires the cyclist to slow to a “reasonable speed.” There’s no definition of “reasonable speed.” To some extent, “reasonable” will be a subjective determination made by the cyclist. But it will also be a subjective determination made by any observing police officer. If the police officer decides that your roll-through speed is “unreasonable,” you’re going to be in the unenviable position of trying to convince the court that your perception of “reasonable” should be accepted over the officer’s perception of “reasonable”– and the court will be in the position of trying to make an objective determination of what a “reasonable speed” is, and that objective determination will be based on what a “reasonable person” would do in the same circumstance.

    Without attempting to ascribe a specific MPH to what “reasonable” means, I think a good rule of thumb would be that your roll-through speed is “reasonable” if you could come to a complete stop before entering the intersection if circumstances required you to stop; conversely, if you couldn’t bring your bike to a complete stop before entering the intersection if circumstances required a stop, your speed would be “unreasonable.”

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  • Scott E April 15, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I don’t believe you can just dismiss out of hand people who talk about efficiency or convenience when it comes to stopping completely. You might think “oh, if we wanted ‘easy’ we would drive” or “perhaps you should get an electric assist.”

    The fact is that convenience and easy of transportation are legitimate factors/criteria in transportation. As someone else mentioned once, we could reduce vehicular deaths drastically if we reduced US speed limits to 15 MPH everywhere. Of course we don’t because it’s not convenient.

    Why is the convenience argument okay for cars but not bikes? It’s all about the efficient (and safe) transportation of our citizens (workers).

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  • Rixtir April 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    After thinking about it a little more, I think that “walking speed” is perhaps an even better rule of thumb for “reasonable speed.” For one thing, there’s already precedent for walking speed in the law regarding entering a crosswalk. And at every intersection, we cross a crosswalk before entering the intersection, so walking speed seems to be a good rule of thumb from that perspective. For another thing, it’s really easy to brake to a complete stop almost immediately when traveling at a walking speed, so that satisfies the intent of the law that persons controlled by a yield sign must be prepared to yield.

    We also have to consider that stopping distance is going to be a function of mass, speed, and braking efficiency, such that the closer you get to an intersection, the slower your speed will need to be to enable you to come to a stop if necessary.

    There’s also the practical matter of needing to convince a judge that your speed is reasonable, and no traffic court judge is going to be interested in complex physics equations purporting to show the stopping distance of your mass at a given speed- the judge is going to be more easily persuaded by a more simple argument, like “I slowed down to a walking speed.”

    I think if anything, my rule of thumb about traveling at a speed that would allow you to come to a complete stop before entering the crosswalk or intersection if necessary would be at best equivalent to “walking speed, and at worst, would be pushing the outer limit of “reasonable.”

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  • Seth D. Alford April 15, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    re #162: on my ride this evening, I was thinking about this issue. Why not ascribe a particular MPH for a particular period of time? Say 4 MPH for 2 seconds? I also thought about how this could be expressed so it could fit on a bumper, errr, fender sticker, in support of the Idaho stop law:

    2 x 2 = 4

    Read it like this, “if you are a 2 wheeler, for 2 seconds do 4MPH, and that’s good enough for an Idaho stop-as-yield.” Maybe with white numbers inside a red octagon?

    If you don’t like 2 seconds and 4MPH, come up with your own numbers. 2 x 3 = 6, maybe? (“2 wheeler, 3 seconds, 6MPH.”)

    This would also fit nicely on a campaign button, that everyone could wear to the next public hearing to show support for the Idaho stop law.

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  • Rixtir April 15, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    It might make for a good fender sticker, campaign button, or slogan, but…

    There’s case law out there that says that the duty to stop is not met by a merely perfunctory stop, but that the stop must be sufficient to enable the cyclist to observe, look, and listen.

    I think the same principle would apply for a yield– that the purpose of slowing is to enable you to observe, look, and listen, and that duty isn’t met by a merely perfunctory slow down. Applying that principle to a “2 second” rule, I think it would be hard to argue that a 2 second slow down is not “merely perfunctory.”

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  • wsbob April 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Rixter, thanks for the thoughts.

    “…I think a good rule of thumb would be that your roll-through speed is “reasonable” if you could come to a complete stop before entering the intersection if circumstances required you to stop;” rixter #162

    That ought to be tons of fun for someone like a cop, an investigator or a judge to have to figure out. Some traffic and visibility situations might allow a person on a bike to reasonably roll through a stop sign at speed, whether that be 3 mph or 20 mph…or in some situations, even faster. How many people in this state really will be fine with people on bikes blowing through stop signs at possibly high speed where traffic and visibility don’t in themselves present and obstacle to doing so?

    This brings up one of my other favorite considerations regarding the advisability of the Idaho Stop for Oregon: livability. Will neighborhoods like the fact that people on bikes can roll through their neighborhoods stop signs without stopping or slowing to at least 3 mph? I think the law proposed for Oregon makes some provision for exceptions to the Idaho Stop if affected parties want bikes to fully stop.

    Will neighborhoods finding that people on bikes rolling through stop signs in their neighborhoods degrades the livability of their neighborhood have to individually apply to be excepted from an Idaho Stop for Oregon law if one is implemented in this state?

    I can see some validity to arguments concerning street and traffic control design that allow people on bikes to maintain momentum. Ideas that can allow this to be realistically accomplished should be considered and given trial runs. The Idaho Stop law proposal for Oregon seems to be some people’s idea of doing this, but to me, it’s like the wrong tool for the job. It’s overkill, like giving someone a sledge hammer to kill a mouse.

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  • bahueh April 15, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    wsbob…the Idaho Stop law is simple a special interest law for lazy cyclists who can’t seem to be bothered to take basic actions to protect themselves while riding…its disguised under the mask of trying to “increase alternative transportation”…but never once when I began riding, racing, and commuting did I ever think to myself ‘I’m not sure I want to do this because of all those stop signs’…

    if people drove cars like a lot of cyclists ride bikes in this town there would be a LOT fewer cyclists out on the streets of Portland, Oregon for fear of death…

    most individuals need to be hit by a car or hit the pavement at high speed to actually fully realize the consequences of bad riding decisions…its amazing how it “enlightened” many riders I know..

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  • k. April 16, 2009 at 8:55 am

    A good measure of the usefulness and effectiveness of a law is to measure its compliance. Good laws that make sense tend to be complied with by the public. They also tend to make a positive difference on the public welfare. Bikes obviously aren’t complying much with the stop law. The other side of the coin is that there is really not much downside to them not complying with it. It’s not like there’s carnage on the streets because people don’t comply. It’s common sense that the Idaho stop law is simply acknowledging reality. Laws that make no sense don’t get complied with. Remember the 55 mph speed limit on interstate highways?

    The mere fact that almost all bikers don’t come to complete stops at many stop signs and that there are no negative consequences is reason enough for this situation to be examined.

    The argument that “it’s the law!” is just lame. There are dozens of laws on the books that get little compliance: http://www.dumblaws.com/laws/united-states/oregon

    I hope all those people whose best argument for anything is “It’s the law!” are complying with all of these. Because…it’s the law!!

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  • Rixtir April 16, 2009 at 9:12 am

    K., if what you’re saying is true, then speed limit laws are also not “good laws.”

    I think it would be more accurate to say that highest compliance comes with laws that are perceived to be good laws, coupled with enforcement levels adequate to maintain compliance (i.e., even with “good laws,” there isn’t going to be compliance if enforcement is absent, and no matter how “good” the law is, and how much it’s enforced, there’s always going to be somebody who thinks he’s above the law.). Lowest compliance will be laws that are perceived as “bad laws,” coupled with no enforcement, and there will be a continuum of compliance between those two extremes, based on both how the law is perceived, and whether the law is enforced.

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  • Rixtir April 16, 2009 at 9:22 am

    BTW, that “dumb laws” link is right-wing claptrap. It’s easy to say a law is “dumb” of you take it out of context and mischaracterize it in the description.

    It’s not as easy to reach that conclusion if you actually bother to read any of the so-called “dumb” laws.

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  • NoPoJoe April 16, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Unfortunately, the BTA is barking up the wrong tree, wasting time on Idaho stops.

    So subjective,so divisive,even we who would probably benefit from it have a huge disagreement about what is safe or not, what is right or not. Try to codify it in language that is understood and evenly applied,by traffic cops as well as judges.. lotsaluck.

    I wish the BTA had put its efforts elsewhere. this is a non starter.

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  • k. April 16, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Rixtir,

    No, not at all. However, unreasonable speed limit laws are not good laws. The 55 mph limit on interstates for example. Most speed limit laws are complied with because they are resonable and there are measurable consequences and costs to society (and individuals) if they are not.

    I disagree with you that good laws that make sense still have to be enforced to attain compliance. Of course I won’t argure that there are always law breakers with little regard for society. But that sort of thing becomes a statistical argument. I’m talking about compliance as a whole among the general populace.

    Enforcement action of bad laws will never work for more than a short time. The bottom line is people will act in ways (comply with the law) in ways that they feel is fair and reasonable. But the authorities will never be able to force long term compliance with silly laws outside of draconian measures.

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  • Rixtir April 16, 2009 at 9:41 am

    K., it’s a fact: Most drivers do not comply with the speed limit laws. If, as you claim, compliance is a measure of how “useful” a law is, then speed limit laws are at least as “useless” as stop sign laws.

    If you disagree that “good” laws require enforcement, how about providing some examples of laws that everybody complies with, even without enforcement.

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  • k. April 16, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Rixtir, you speak as if without a continuous police presence, society would quickly degenerate into some sort of ‘lord of the flies’ free for all. I’ve already said that few laws will ever see 100% compliance, but that’s a meaningless measure anyway.

    For one thing I don’t agree with you speed limit example. The speed limit on the local street by my house is 35 mph and by and large almost everyone drives pretty close to that, regardless of whether there is a cop on the corner passing out tickets. All drivers I know of drive on the right hand side of the road, not just because they’d get ticketed if they didn’t but because it’s both reasonable and sensible.

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  • Kt April 16, 2009 at 10:33 am

    KimJSCP #150, please re-read the article. The videographer claims that all the cars he saw came to a complete stop (total cessation of movement); however, according to the video, what cars he did catch on tape did not completely stop.

    I didn’t get a chance to watch the video before it went away, but it sounds like the cars performed the “California Stop”, which the videographer claims as a legal stop. So… bike people, perform a California Stop.

    I try to come to a complete stop at all stop signs (and do come to a complete stop at all red lights)– the ones I don’t completely stop at I’ve at least slowed down to 1 or 2 mph or slower. This morning, my bike’s speedometer showed 0mph but I was still slightly rolling forward at one of the stop signs in the parking lot of Bridgeport Village (no cars present, no peds, no bikes).

    Anyway– the point is: the videographer was biased, filmed his bias, and spoke his bias. His goal was to capture BIKES violating the law, not cars.

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  • El Biciclero April 16, 2009 at 10:42 am

    “Why not ascribe a particular MPH for a particular period of time? Say 4 MPH for 2 seconds?”

    I had a similar thought a while back: why not just widen the “stop line” to a few feet to create a “stop zone“, then require the front of a vehicle to spend at least 2 seconds in the stop zone to count as a stop. There are many times I “stop” by doing a creeping “track stand” while I wait for an intersection to clear. I then take the right of way when it is my “turn”, but did I ever really stop-stop? I liken it to slowing way down and creeping up to a red light so that by the time you get there, it is green and there is no need to stop.

    The problem with doing this at a stop sign is that drivers might get confused about my intentions, although I try to “creep” as little as possible to indicate I am waiting. If there were a stop zone, or “wait” zone, and other drivers could see that I was waiting in that zone, would the intention be more clear? I don’t know, but timing how long one’s front bumper or wheel spends in a wait zone would be easy compared to trying to measure speed for a tiny couple of seconds.

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  • J April 16, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Traffic laws are not always qualitatively similar to criminal laws, though they are sometimes — as in the case of intoxicated driving. Signage laws are as much about wayfinding and route building and volume control as about behavior control. They become about behavior control when situations are identified in which lack of compliance leads to a hot spot of conflict or danger.

    If the logic behind an enforcement ‘event’ is that it is a response to frequently occurring situations that result in danger or accidents, that should be different than the idea of a generalized or random surveillance.

    In this case it just seems like a kind of blunt application of the wrong tool for the job — is enforcement that ‘feels like’ punishment the only way to deal with an essentially non-criminal, but rather regulatory situation like this? Probably not, but it seems to be the only thing our ‘enforcers’ know how to do, and that’s unfortunate and it tends to make conflicts worse. As K says, much of the time traffic controls help us self-regulate effectively . . . at least if we’re the privileged users of the roadways.

    Of course as cyclists, we’re not that, and a lot of what happens feels illogical — the policy doesn’t really understand it, so it ends up forcing us into a system that we feel doesn’t fit with how we need to use the system. Reason and sense in this case are tied to the way the system is built and enforced with other kinds of users uppermost.

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  • KimJSCP April 16, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Kt – #176 – Well I did watch the video – a couple of times and saw many cars go through the intersection. While I might not call what all of them did a complete stop, I can’t remember one that I would think registered any speed on their odometer and none did really what I think of as a California Stop (rolling through at a walking speed or more).

    The videographer seemed not only respectful overall, but also approving of the cyclists who did Idaho stops.

    My only complaint was when some young girls got all shy and didnt’ really answer a question he asked, he “led” them to the answer he expected.

    All I can really say though is that you need to see the video before making any judgments about it.

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  • peejay April 16, 2009 at 10:52 am

    rixtir:

    I agree that it’s an oversimplification to say that laws are not good laws if there’s low compliance, and the speed limit laws are a good example. The problem there is that the laws conflict with highway design, and with the overall trend in vehicle design. So, while I agree that speed limit laws are good and necessary, there is a disconnect between these laws and public policy as it relates to highway policy and auto standards. This is why people don’t follow speed limits. Their judgement of what’s safe and not safe is complicated by the level of comfort that surrounds them, the power available to them, and the expanse of asphalt that they drive on. For the average driver, their firsthand experience of the negative effects of excessive speed is limited or non-existent, and the result is catastrophic, statistically.

    I think for the cyclist, it’s different. Most of us have experienced the results of bad decision-making on the roads, but those results, because they happen at lower speeds, are usually minor. Our feedback loop is more human-scaled, and it teaches us to make better judgements. Most of us.

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  • RonC April 16, 2009 at 10:56 am

    J (#178) – Interesting comment.

    k (#175) – You beat me to it. Driving on the right hand side of a two-way road. When people appreciate the utility of a law, they will generally comply without enforcement. The value they assign to that utility varies from person to person, more so for some laws than others. Measuring the utility of breaking a law vs. complying with it is an on-going judgment process that most of us deal with in some way almost every day. If a loved one was dying and we had to break a law to save their life, most of us would have no problem doing so. If a disproportionately large number of individuals judge the personal utility of breaking a law to outweigh the societal utility of the law itself, then the law itself may need to be re-examined, refined, re-written, or rescinded.

    I find it interesting that the Idaho stop law our legislators are considering actually raises the fine for those cyclists that do not slow and yield appropriately at stop sign intersections. I’m surprised that has not been emphasized more. It is not a law that would allow cyclists to cruise through stop signs as if they were not there. Quite the contrary…

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  • Rixtir April 16, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Why does anybody think that driving on the right-hand side of the road is “reasonable and sensible”? Is there something inherent in that rule that makes the right-hand side more sensible than the left-hand side? And if so, shouldn’t we alert the British, the Australians, and the Japanese, all of whom apparently must not have got the memo?

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  • RonC April 16, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Rixter – It is a societal agreement. Better than not having one, no?

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  • Rixtir April 16, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Of course it’s a societal agreement. And the reason it’s better to have one than not is because it provides some measure of predictability, and some measure of prevention of collisions.

    Which is the same reason we have rules about intersections.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 16, 2009 at 11:28 am

    “if people drove cars like a lot of cyclists ride bikes in this town there would be a LOT fewer cyclists out on the streets of Portland, Oregon for fear of death…”

    This is the most ironic comment ever! People *do* drive cars like many people ride bikes in this town! Duh!

    Virtually all of them routinely violate the speed limit laws, and — as I’m sure you remember from your Driver’s Ed class — speed kills.

    The numbers back this up. ODOT and the US DOT both have ample data attributing thousands of highway deaths each year to speeding.

    And, here’s the kicker: What reason do most people cite for why they don’t ride their bikes on the streets more in Portland? That’s right, dangerous behavior by motorists.

    There are absolutely fewer cyclists on the streets than there would be if motorists obeyed traffic laws.

    And people who quibble about this and whine about bicyclists breaking traffic laws are ANTI-BIKE HATERS AND HYPOCRITES (or too dumb to observe reality).

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  • RonC April 16, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Rixter, I couldn’t agree with you more. So what do you think, good idea to raise the fines on cyclists who fail to yield at stop signs? Certainly changes the value equation if enforcement actions are taken on a regular basis.

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  • El Biciclero April 16, 2009 at 11:41 am

    “One of the problems I consider to be likely with the Idaho Stop(yield)law, is that people rolling through will interpret the yield requirement to mean that, if there aren’t pedestrians or vehicles nearby, they can roll through at any speed they choose. I think a lot of people would not be happy about this happening.”

    Not to argue, but if there are no pedestrians or vehicles nearby, doesn’t that mean there is no one around to get upset? Granted, if there ARE pedestrians or others around that a cyclist does not see, I bet they would be plenty unhappy.

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  • Rixtir April 16, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I think that what’s most important is that there’s common agreement about what the rules are. Less important are the specific details (although the specific details should maximize social values like safety, efficiency, environmental considerations, and so on).

    So, it doesn’t really matter if we drive on the left-hand side of the road, or the right-hand side of the road, as long as we all agree which side of the road we will all be driving on. Problems arise when people don’t follow the commonly-agreed upon rule. Similarly, it doesn’t really matter if the rule is we all stop at the stop sign, or we all yield, or some types of vehicles stop, and some types of vehicles yield. As long as there’s a commonly agreed upon rule, people have some means of predicting behavior and avoiding collisions.

    When people decide they’ll follow some private code that isn’t commonly agreed upon, or worse, when they decide that no rules apply to them, problems arise. When everybody makes that decision, it;s a recipe for disaster. Let’s use automobile speed as an example. If everybody is traveling at the speed limit, there’s some measure of predictability for maneuvers like lane changes, and so on, and there’s also virtually no chance of collision due to speed differentials. If everybody is traveling at a faster speed, or a slower speed, there’s still some measure of predictability, and there’s still virtually no chance of collisions due to speed differentials. But what happens when somebody decides to travel at a speed that is significantly faster or slower than everybody else is traveling at? Now there’s less predictability, and a greater chance of collision due to speed differentials. And what happens if most drivers are driving at significantly faster or slower speeds than everybody else? What happens if some decide to drive on the right-hand side, and some decide to drive on the left-hand side?

    Or to put it in the bicycling context, what happens if the law says we can treat stop signs as yield signs, but some cyclists continue to stop at stop signs. Will the cyclists riding immediately behind them appreciate that the cyclists who are stopping are not following the commonly-agreed upon rule that cyclists will roll through?

    I think the predictable outcome of people making up their own rules, in contravention of the commonly agreed upon rules, is less predictability, and more problems. So, as I said, I think what is most important is that we have commonly-agreed upon rules, and less important is the specifics of what those rules are.

    And to that end, yes, i think that enforcement is essential. If the Idaho Stop becomes law in Oregon, I can guarantee that cyclists who currently blow through stop signs and who currently ignore red lights will continue to do so. And I can also guarantee that they will offer elaborate excuses for not following the Idaho Law. So if we’re serious about saying that the Idaho law legalizes safe behavior, then I think we also have to be serious about cracking down on unsafe behavior, and that means I support the higher fines and more enforcement (which is not mutually exclusive with more enforcement for unsafe drivers).

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  • matt picio April 16, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Lenny (#141) – Why? Bike Boulevards have almost no stop signs on them other than when crossing major roads – maybe 1 or 2 per mile, on par with traffic lights on the main streets. Traffic volumes are much lower, noise volume is much lower, and it’s all-around a more pleasant experience. Absolutely those of us who feel comfortable and/or confident riding on Hawthorne or Division should do so, and take the lane when necessary – but I don’t see anything inherently wrong with Bike Boulevards.

    Dirk (#143) – Who’s relegating you? Where’s the law mandating you MUST use Bike Boulevards? If your “efficient pace” is 15-20mph, you won’t be able to maintain it on main streets (due to lights timed for 30mph cars), nor with Idaho stops (because 15mph is too fast in most cases to properly judge if you have to yield)

    El Biciclero (#144) – First, cyclists aren’t expected to use Bike Boulevards, merely encouraged – and no one is discouraging cyclists from using other roads – the purpose of a Bike Boulevard is to provide a place where new or timid riders feel safer, to increase ridership. Second, 4-way stops are not the rule, and most of the stop signs make sense. Let’s use SE Salmon as an example. East of MLK, which has a 2-way stop for obvious reasons, cyclists must stop at 7th, 11th, 12th, 20th, 23rd, 30th, 34th, and 39th (the BB is on Taylor at this point) – that’s 8 stops in 2 miles. That sounds like a lot, but 7th, 11th, 12th, 20th, and 39th are major cross streets with 30mph or higher traffic – some with horrible visibility. Even with Idaho stops, prudent cyclists will come to a complete stop at nearly all of those intersections. 30th is on a blind hill. 23rd has restricted visibility. 34th is next to a school, and has a lot of cut-through traffic from Stark to Division. If you eschew the Bike Boulevard and take Belmont or Hawthorne, you have lights at 7th, 11th, 12th, 20th, 30th, 37th (Hawthorne) and 39th. None of the lights are timed for bikes – they’re timed for 25-30mph traffic. On the occasions where I ride them, I typically have to stop for 1/3 to 1/2 the lights. Each light has at least a 1 minute cycle. I lose more time at the lights than I do at the stop signs. Why would I *want* to use Hawthorne?

    RonC (#146) – in all the existing implementations, the city has done quite a bit to make Bike Boulevards attractive, including “rotating” 2-way stop signs to prioritize movement on the Bike Boulevard. Salmon and Clinton see higher cyclist traffic than any other E-W street in SE (this is mostly anecdotal, but I live at SE 16th & Salmon and use a bike as my primary means of transportation – I don’t own a car). So, something’s working, or the BB’s wouldn’t be so popular.

    Michael (#160) – No, a traffic violation was committed. Crimes are defined as misdemeanors and felonies. You have a valid point, but consider this: If you run a stop sign at 5am, and a cop 3 blocks away sees it, can he ticket you? Yes. The problem isn’t whether the law makes sense, the problem is that we as a society encourage a strict and narrow interpretation of the law, actively discourage cops and judges for using their discretion rather than literally interpreting the law, and don’t have an effective method to hold accountable those in power who exercise selective bias in enforcement. “Common Sense” is forbidden except when it is mandatory.

    wsbob (#161) – The average reaction time to hit the brakes in a car is 2/3 of a second. Triple that to account for looking both ways to see if there is a need to stop. That’s 2 seconds from starting to look left-right-left and hitting the brakes (worst-case scenario under ideal conditions). At 3mph, that car will travel 8.8 feet, plus another 1-2 feet during braking. That’s 10 feet, or halfway into the intersection. A car at 3mph can break bones or taco a bike wheel. The wheels don’t need to stop spinning *completely*, but they need to slow down to about 1mph or less.

    ScottE (#163) – They are legitimate factors. They’re also the same factors that create congestion, obesity, and the distancing of people from each other in society. Convenience, like all tools, needs to be properly used and managed. Convenience for its own sake usually has unintended consequences. And the convenience argument is not okay for cars.

    k (#169) – The 55 mph law DID make sense – cars are most efficient at 55, deaths are lower (proven in studies) at 55, etc. People don’t want to go 55, most if given the opportunity will drive 70. (Daily traffic on the freeway proves this in states with 65+ speed limits)

    k (#175) – correlation does not imply causation. They may drive 35 because that’s what the lights are timed for. Street width, the presence or absence of on-street parking and sightlines will also influence the “set speed” on a road, much more so than the number posted on the sign.

    RonC (#181) – Driving on the right-hand side is observed because the results of failing to do so are immediate and unpleasant. If we had one cop per person on the streets watching each of us to ticket us when we failed to obey, the results would be the same, and compliance of all traffic laws would be universal. (and no, I am most emphatically not recommending that)

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  • bahueh April 16, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    DJ (#185)…..hardly…I rarely see cars running busy 4-way intersections or stop lights at around 20mph while never touching the brakes….and flipping off others when they get honked at for doing so. I witness it by other riders almost weekly…

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  • RonC April 16, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    matt picio (#189) said…”If we had one cop per person on the streets watching each of us to ticket us when we failed to obey, the results would be the same, and compliance of all traffic laws would be universal.”

    But then we’d need someone to watch the cops to make sure they complied, and then we’d need someone to watch the watchers…Hey! I Think we just solved Oregon’s unemployment problem!!!

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  • Rixtir April 16, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Economy fixed, on to health care and global warming. :)

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  • Anonymous April 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I can see how some complain about bike boulevards having too many stops, especially Salmon. Salmon has stop signs approximately every two blocks or so… which, combined with the fact it is one very steep hill (probably a good 50-60 feet higher than Belmont or Hawthorne), is terrible for bikes.

    Clinton, however, really doesn’t have very many stop signs. I can only think of 4 – 34th, 26th, 21st, and near 16th. They hardly slow you down that much, and probably keep cars to a slow pace more than anything.

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  • Bjorn April 16, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    #172, actually the Idaho Style Stop Law has a history of passing when it is allowed to be voted upon in Oregon. Currently more than 1/3 of the Oregon House is on record as supporting it. While the Idaho Style Stop Law may not be implemented in Oregon this year, it also might be and certainly can not be categorized as a non-starter. If nothing else the packet of information compiled by the BTA this year including endorsements from sources as varied as Idaho State Police, the IDOT bike/ped coordinator, and Idaho Senator, a Portland Traffic Court Judge, along with a great FAQ provide a great starting point for other states that are looking to implement this rule change.

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  • wsbob April 16, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    El Biciclero #187

    “Granted, if there ARE pedestrians or others around that a cyclist does not see, I bet they would be plenty unhappy.”

    Yes, even those that the cyclist isn’t imminently in danger of upsetting or causing injury to might not be happy about people on bikes rolling through stop signs at any speed they feel their personal discretion suggests to them is reasonable. I don’t think people like it when road users regard neighborhoods as just a public road that a bunch of people’s houses happen to be sitting next to.

    Rixter #188,

    “Or to put it in the bicycling context, what happens if the law says we can treat stop signs as yield signs, but some cyclists continue to stop at stop signs.”

    Mark Allyn has an interesting story to tell in the general discussion forum about his experience when stopping as signs under the ‘stop means stop’ law.

    Once Upon A Time At A Stop Sign

    He’s had experiences where people on bikes behind him wanted to roll though. When he came to a full and complete stop, they got all pissy, called him nasty names or cast rotten expressions his way.

    With any variation of a full and complete stop as called for by ‘stop means stop’, discretion is a key factor. The discretion is relative to stopping under ‘stop means stop’. Under that concept, people know they must stop, but they might feel it’s reasonable to roll through at a very slow speed.

    When discretion becomes relative to yield, the door is wide open to any speed chosen. There could be some really impatient people rushing to pass people upon approaching a stop sign because the person ahead wasn’t appearing to prepare to roll though at a rate of speed that the met the personal code of the person behind for that traffic maneuver. It would be interesting to hear some examples of how the Idaho Stop has worked out in Idaho beyond the common ‘No injuries or deaths in 12 years related to the Idaho Stop law.’.

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  • matt picio April 17, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Anonymous (#193) – Salmon does not have stop signs every 2 blocks. The Salmon BB route (which jumps to Taylor at 35th) has 7 stop signs and a pedestrian crossing light in 40 blocks, or 1 TCD (traffic control device) per 6 blocks (approximately). Most other streets have a stop sign every 2-3 blocks. Hawthorne and Belmont have a traffic light every 6-7 blocks on average.

    Clinton has stops at 11th, 12th, 15th?, 21st, 26th, 34th, and 39th – the same number as Salmon. It’s odd that you think Salmon has so many more stops when it’s the same number.

    Salmon does have a hill – 6 blocks long from 21st to 27th. It’s not that bad, and easier to climb than the Alameda ridge. It’s definitely steeper than Belmont & Hawthorne (which were built on the easiest grades on that particular hill), but only 20-25′ higher than Hawthorne, and about 40′ higher than Belmont. The hill elevation is still lower than Clinton at 34th-ish, though the grade is easier.

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  • [...] are approaching. The simplicity of this solution is amazing! I remember reading recently that in Portland (of all places!) cops were starting to crack down on bicyclists who performed rolling stops. Could [...]

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  • DJ Hurricane May 5, 2009 at 8:24 am

    And now that 20 days have passed, has the stop sign compliance rate at this intersection improved as a result of the sting? NOPE!

    So, either the PPB doesn’t understand what policing methods actually improve roadway safety or they just have another agenda for the stings.

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  • KruckyBoy May 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    So by your logic, DJ, the police should stop arresting my neighbor for selling meth. I mean, he just keeps selling it after he gets released on bail. Since the PD isn’t actually ‘improving safety’ I guess they should just give up?

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  • DJ Hurricane May 5, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    No, they should keep arresting people for selling meth. It’s working so well at stopping the meth epidemic, don’t you think? Great use of tax money!

    I’m saying the government ought to be responsible for establishing policies that actually WORK, rather than continuing to do the same thing over and over again without any changes to social problems. And that argument is as applicable to the problem of illegal drugs as it is to the problem of roadway safety.

    Does legalizing meth work? I don’t know. But I know what does NOT work: What we do now.

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  • wsbob May 6, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Following the enforcement detail police conducted at this intersection, I think it would have been worthwhile if they or someone else +had done a serious follow-up to determine what changes in road user behavior might have developed as a result of their work.

    What happened to the off-duty police video guy that some thought played a part in having the enforcement detail initiated? Has he been out there with his camera since the enforcement detail?

    I think that if people dismissing the value of such police details were to take the time and effort to sit out at the intersection for selected time slots during the day to make notes and an actual count of how people were complying with the stop signs, their conclusions about compliance might be something that could be given some serious consideration.

    It would be worth knowing if, as a result of the enforcement detail, people were looking both ways more carefully before proceeding through the stop signs. Neighbors might be able to team together to learn something about this.

    Maybe they could even do a test by placing a mock-up of a police car down the street a block away to see whether that made a difference in compliance. In a friendly manner, they could issue ‘reminder certificates’ with a treat to people that seemed not to exercise safe compliance with the stop signs.

    Of course, if nobody in the neighborhood except the off-duty police video guy cares about people failing to safely stop for stop signs there, that message should be made clear to the PD.

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  • DJ Hurricane May 6, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I can tell you what happened since the sting, because I’ve been through the intersection numerous times at various times of day on foot, on bike, and in a motor vehicle. NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

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  • Kt May 6, 2009 at 11:53 am

    WSBob: “In a friendly manner, they could issue ‘reminder certificates’ with a treat to people that seemed not to exercise safe compliance with the stop signs.”

    If they didn’t stop at the stop sign, what makes you think they’ll stop for a person down the street?

    Not to disparage your idea, it is interesting.

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  • wsbob May 6, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    “If they didn’t stop at the stop sign, what makes you think they’ll stop for a person down the street?” Kt

    Kt, I imagine you’re referring to my thought about someone possibly using a mock-up of a police car down the street to get an idea of whether people approaching stop signs and rolling through are actually looking before proceeding through the stop sign.

    Getting people to look and proceed safely before crossing an intersection or making a turn onto another roadway is actually the whole point that a stop sign is intended to accomplish as I understand it.

    Kt, Well, in my above comment, I’m trying to take in consideration many of the points that have been raised relative to compliance with the ‘stop means stop’ law: That though a literal reading of the law is that a complete stop is called for, reality is that many road users reasonably vary from a complete stop depending upon circumstances. My impression is that many cops are aware of this and issue citations with discretion accordingly.

    So, people don’t always have to come to complete stops at stop signs. Sure, in conversation, they disagree about this back and forth endlessly, and probably always will, because outside of passage of something on the order of an Idaho or California stop law, it’s very difficult to precisely write certain kinds of road user procedure into law. For some things, discretion on the part of both road users and law enforcement is the only thing that works.

    My thinking is that the validity of this enforcement detail rested on whether a problem existed with people unsafely rolling stop signs. That would be a baseline of sorts. Someone thought there was a problem, so the cops were sent out. So they came out. Now, is there any change in how people are stopping at the stop signs? That’s seems like a simple enough question. One guy, DJ Hurricane, says “NOPE!”. Maybe true, maybe not. His means of coming to that determination (see comment #202) doesn’t see very reliable to me.

    If there really was a problem in how people were stopping at stop signs, the next question would be whether from the efforts of the enforcement detail in which the police were parked down the street (somewhat visibly to people at the stop signs, I would hope) people approaching stop signs are doing a better job of have being more aware of what might be approaching them from down the street.

    I would think that if they’re looking down the street and they see a police car, they’re probably going to stop completely.

    They might not stop completely for a person in an ordinary car, but if it can be determined that people approaching stop signs are doing a better job of at least looking down the street before proceeding through stop signs that would seem to be an improvement. If such an improvement can be partly attributed to the efforts of the enforcement detail, than maybe it was worth it.

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  • DJ Hurricane May 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    It doesn’t seem very reliable to you because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

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  • peejay May 6, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    DJ:

    +1 for the observation that enforcement doesn’t work!

    It doesn’t change behavior, it doesn’t increase safety, it diverts resources from where police could do some public good, and it leads to 200+ comment threads in certain bicycle blogs.

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  • DJ Hurricane May 6, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks, peejay. All you have to do is visit this intersection and observe for 10 or 15 minutes and you can tell that there is a low level of compliance from all modes. And when you have been going there daily for the past 2+ years, it’s obvious that there has been no change recently.

    I’ve also traveled through other intersections that have been subjected to PPB stings over the past year or two. One of those I ride through regularly. There isn’t any change there, either.

    It’s obvious wsbob doesn’t ride in this area regularly.

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  • wsbob May 6, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    “It’s obvious wsbob doesn’t ride in this area regularly.” hurricane

    Never claimed to have. You’ve offered only your observation, gained as a road user passing through this intersection with some frequency as an indication of how people are responding to stop signs before and after the police enforcement detail. Nothing more.

    Others might exclusively accept your personal observation gained as a common road user to be proof that no change has resulted from the enforcement detail. I see no reason to.

    There may in fact have been no change as a result of the enforcement detail. On this I agree, but I think it’s reasonable to expect more accurate and representative information before expecting as fact, the claim that there has been no change.

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  • wsbob May 6, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    It just occurred to me…Hurricane, have you ever thought to take your concerns about this situation to the neighborhood association for the area in which the intersection in question is located? You never know…you might get more of the reception you’re hoping for there. At the very least, you’d might learn a lot that would help you accomplish ideas you have in mind.

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  • DJ Hurricane May 6, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Huh? I live in the community. You are clueless.

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  • whyat May 7, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    #205It doesn’t seem very reliable to you because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Now if that’s not the pot calling the kettle black…

    BTW DJ- I have a running bet with a friend at work on when you’re going to publish a comment that is positive in any way, shape, or form, and doesn’t disparage anyone who happens disagrees with you.

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  • DJ Hurricane May 7, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Why would I not know what I’m talking about if I observe conditions at the intersection on a daily basis, whyat? You’re the pot.

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  • Matt Picio May 8, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I was wondering about the whole “Huh? I live in the community” comment – wsbob was asking if you (DJ) have ever taken your concerns to the Neighborhood Association (in this case, HAND) – and that’s a good question. Since you live in the neighborhood, the NA will give your opinion weight.

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