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BTA, partners re-launch 'Eye-to-Eye' safety campaign

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 25th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Eye to Eye campaign launch-1
Steph Routh, executive director of the
Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, speaks at the
event this morning.
- More images -
(Photos © J. Maus)

With the summer cycling season in full swing, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) and a host of partners kicked of another year of their Eye to Eye safety campaign at a press conference near the Eastbank Esplanade this morning.

The BTA first launched the Eye to Eye effort last August after a string of road rage incidents involving bicycles back in July put Portland traffic relations in a very bad light.

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Eye to Eye campaign launch-8
Volunteers passed out and
installed free bike bells.

At the event this morning, the BTA passed out free bike bells. Speakers at the press conference included BTA Executive Director Scott Bricker, the new Executive Director of the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition Steph Routh, TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen, and others.

Eye to Eye campaign launch-9
TriMet GM Fred Hansen.

In an interview after the official event, Hansen said they've put in "eye to eye training" into their operator curriculum. When asked what exactly that means, Hansen said they make it very clear to all new and existing bus operators that the policy when bikes are present is to not signal. "If there's a bicycle around," he explained, "operators are not supposed to signal prior to crossing over [a traffic lane] to service a stop. The idea is that you stop in the traffic lane, then when the bikes have cleared you service the stop."

Hansen said that when bikes are present and bus operators turn on their signals, it can lead to confusion for everyone.

In addition to the training, Hansen says they'll continue to run Eye to Eye billboard ads on the sides of their buses and MAX light rail trains.

Hansen also noted that the bikeway improvements through the Rose Quarter Transit Center have been very successful. He chalks that up to "predictability": "The bikes know where the buses go, and the buses know where the bikes go."

Eye to Eye campaign launch-2
BTA Programs Manager Stephanie Noll.

When asked about U.S. Senator Tom Coburn's (R-OK) attacks on TriMet's use of federal stimulus dollars to fund new bike parking facilities, Hansen said it's nothing more than political opportunism. "I'm proud that we used that money to create jobs and to promote sustainable transportation," he said.

BTA leader Scott Bricker said that the campaign is being funded through the Brett Jarolimek Memorial Fund and that it will include several public outreach events in the coming months. Bricker is also trying to get the Eye to Eye message in front of motor vehicle drivers and hopes that a recent meeting with the Oregon chapter of the American Automobile Association will soon bear fruit. He wants them to feature bike safety ads and a letter from their director in their member magazine.

Learn more about the Eye to Eye campaign at SeeingEyetoEye.org.

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Comments
  • are June 25, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    [quote] the policy when bikes are present is to not signal. "If there’s a bicycle around, . . . operators are not supposed to signal prior to crossing over [a traffic lane] to service a stop. The idea is that you stop in the traffic lane, then when the bikes have cleared you service the stop." [end quote]

    wtf?

    is it so very, very difficult to time your arrival at a particular place in the roadway so as to avoid this conflict? as in, don't overtake in the first instance if you are planning to cut to the right immediately after passing? and if it is a matter of a cyclist overtaking a bus that has already stopped, why not pass on the left like normal folks, and tell the bus driver to wait before pulling back into traffic, just as though s/he were being overtaken by a motorist.

    yet another instance of unnecessary confusion caused by having striped bike lanes and a mandatory sidepath law.

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  • Ethan June 25, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    That logo still bites

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  • the origional Aaron June 25, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    HEY! What's with the negative comments?
    This is a valiant effort to improve relations. I agree that it seems simple enough when a bus uses it's right turns signal that you shouldn't try to pass on the right. But lots of other things seem simple but apparently aren't. If this prevents confusion and danger, than I'm fine with that.

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  • Tony Fuentes June 26, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Ahhh...that's what was going on...

    Thanks for the free bell for me and my daughter!

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  • Michael M. June 26, 2009 at 8:45 am

    I confess I am now utterly confused by Hansen's quote about signalling. What is so difficult about a bus driver signalling the intention to pull over for a bus stop? I always watch for that, and slow down if I'm approaching a bus that is about to pull to the right. Now they're not going to signal? I don't get it.

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  • JE June 26, 2009 at 9:32 am

    TRIMET trains bus drivers to use signals?

    Personally, I regard the lights of a Trimet bus like those of a Christmas tree: just random decorations with no discernable pattern.

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  • BURR June 26, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Fred Hansen talks a lot but if you listen closely he never really says anything meaningful

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  • Joseph Miller June 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Recently,I recently purchased directional turn signals for my bike and the 1st day I used them they saved my life at an intersection where a truck was making a right turn.
    It's a no brainer. I purchased mine at http://www.safetybikesignals.com
    Why aren't more riders using them.

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