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Ladds stop sign ‘trip-wire’ incident garners headlines

Posted by on July 22nd, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Live at 11! A plastic wrap booby
trap discovered at Ladds Circle!
(Screen grab from KATU-TV)

What started as a post to the Shift email list at 1:30 am yesterday morning has become the latest headline-grabbing story in Portland’s ongoing fascination with the “bikes versus cars” dichotomy.

It started with this email from Lauren Hudgins:

I just biked through Ladd’s Addition around 1am. Someone had set up clear tape like a trip wire across the road. Another biker and I stopped to dismantle it, assuming it was kids playing a prank and complaining about how dangerous it would be for someone on a bike, but not for cars. As we biked away, we heard a man’s voice calling from the bushes in Ladd’s Circle, “Thanks for stopping!”

The first outlet to pick up the story was The Portland Mercury. Soon after it was covered by The Oregonian and then it got TV coverage last night by both KPTV (Fox) and KATU (ABC).

KPTV led into the story with a “Bike Battle” graphic and announced that, “The battle between drivers and bikers reaches a boiling point…” After the intro, the story was actually quite solid and balanced. Kudos to reporter Andrew Padula for the nice job. KATU’s story wasn’t bad either. Both TV segments included footage of people on bikes and foot rolling through the stop signs without stopping and referred to the plastic-wrap hazard as being a dangerous, unacceptable act of vigilante justice.

Here’s the KATU video:

Unfortunately, just as expected, the online versions of both TV stories are filled with hateful, anti-bike comments. Oh well. I guess some Portlanders have yet to move beyond this nonsensical and unneccessary hatred for other people based solely on their mode of travel.

The issue of people on bikes not complying with stop signs at Ladds Circle has been around for years. A quick look into our archives on this topic shows I first wrote about it in April of 2007. The Portland Police Bureau has carried out numerous enforcement actions (a.k.a. “stings”) at these signs and has issued statements about their reasons for doing so. Interestingly, back in 2007, PBOT engineer Scott Batson revealed that they’d prefer to modernize the circle into a full-fledged roundabout — a change that would include turning the stop signs into yields. Unfortunately, at that time PBOT did not feel the change urgent enough to warrant the $200,000 needed to do the upgrades.

In conclusion, here are my thoughts on this situation:

  • Vigilante actions like this in the public right-of-away should be taken seriously by the police and could lead to someone getting hurt.
  • Everyone knows that stop sign compliance by all modes is much less than perfect. A big reason why is stop signs are often installed as a result of politics (to quiet a citizen complaint for instance) rather than as a result of sound traffic engineering analysis (the example above and the removal of stop signs on Caruthers near OMSI are perfect examples).
  • People riding bikes should take extra care to slow down and stop completely if neccessary when riding through Ladds Circle. There are a lot of people walking in that area, sight lines to the sidewalks are poor (several commenters more familiar with the area than I am refuted this assessment), and quiet bikes don’t give as much warning as car engines do.
  • The illegal use of mobile communication devices while driving deserves much more attention and is a much greater public safety risk.

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Comments
  • David July 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I don’t even know what to say. I always hope that things like this will help bring cyclists together but we always seem to just argue with each other more.

    Same team guys!

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  • OLD&SLOW July 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Why are the stop signs there to begin with? What is the point of circles except to not have stop signs?
    Circles are everywhere in Europe, I don’t know why this country hasn’t used them more. You simply yield the right of way and they work great.
    Has anyone asked the city why they are there in the first place?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Old & Slow,

    i’ve never asked why they’re there to begin with… but as you can read in the PBOT statement linked to in the article, they can’t take them out w/o doing some semi-major changes to the circle itself (to safely deflect traffic before it enters) — and w/o money to make those changes we are left in the situation we are in now.

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  • Adam July 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Why would it cost so much to turn it into a proper round about? Changing signs isn’t that expensive. Right now the design in Ladds is silly. Leave it to PBOT to mess up the perfectly fine design of a round about.

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  • Brewcaster July 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    “People riding bikes should take extra care to slow down and stop completely if neccessary when riding through Ladds Circle. There are a lot of people walking in that area, sight lines to the sidewalks are poor, and quiet bikes don’t give as much warning as car engines do.”

    Isn’t it the law that you stop completely?

    -A daily bike commuter very sick of cyclists not stopping at stop signs.

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  • Burk July 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I have a team that can remove the stop signs for just $100,000!

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  • Spiffy July 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    $200,000 seems like a lot of money to make it into a real round-a-bout like they should have in the first place…

    neither cars nor bikes stop at those signs… when I stop on my bike I almost get hit by other bikers flying past me through the stop sign…

    I wonder if the cellophane was strong enough that it would have bent the poles down if a car had come through there…

    we can only hope that someday all cyclists will obey the laws more…

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  • Dave July 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    For what it’s worth, I rarely see bicycles or cars completely stop at the intersections around Ladd Circle, but I also *very* rarely see any kind of situation where that poses a real risk to everyone, as both bicycles and cars move through there pretty slowly, to the extent that they could stop immediately if necessary to avoid hitting someone. This is one of those spots where I think having yield signs there instead of stops would probably be better, with painted crosswalks across all the intersections that lead into/out of the circle.

    I’m sure it does happen on occasion, but I’ve never seen anyone behaving recklessly here that I can think of, and I ride through quite often.

    As far as the plastic trip-wire goes, it’s just plain violent, arrogant, irresponsible and dangerous. Much more so than any of the day-to-day behavior I see in Ladd Circle.

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  • t.a. barnhart July 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    actually, the sight lines around Ladd’s Circle are excellent. it’s easy to see everything coming in any direction. i stop there as i do at any stop sign: as if the Leg hadn’t effed up & had passed the Idaho Stop law. ie, i slow then go — unless i need to yield, then i do. i yield to pedestrians and cars religiously, but i refuse to come to a dead stop needlessly. (i never run red lights unless they have no way to trip to green & i’m stuck at 11pm in the rain….)

    Adam is right: roundabouts are supposed to keep traffic moving, albeit slowly. the stop signs should be Yields. the City needs to understand the purpose of roundabouts & adjust code appropriately. for now, i’m going to keep riding as if they are yield signs, which means pedestrians and cars will get their legal right-of-way.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Brewcaster,

    yes, it’s the law to stop completely. I’m sick of people blowing stop signs too and that behavior should be cited whenever possible … but slowing to a safe speed and looking all around for other vehicles and people and then moving on — without completely stopping — should be allowed in residential streets (a.k.a. Idaho-style) and the PPB has all but said they feel the same way.

    it’s a matter of discretionary law enforcement, which is something PPB does all the time. they have certain allowances within legal limits of traffic laws that they — under their individual discretion — can choose to ticket for or not.

    the key is threat to public safety. police resources are extremely thin and they must prioritize time to the most dangerous activities.

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  • J.R. July 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    25-30 MPH through Ladd’s?!
    That is VERY unlikely and I think the reporter in the KATU video does a huge disservice by stating that misinformation. I go through there all the time and my computer suggests most riders are going half that speed. Can you back that up with a radar gun? The video intro’s compulsory pleading remark about a bicycle highway right through the neighborhood is dutifully cloying and ridiculous. I wanted to move there BECAUSE of the quiet walkable/bikeable streets and it beats the crap out of having the proposed MT Hood freeway running up Ivon. Be grateful.

    I understand that spending $11,000 for a paint and sign adjustment doesn’t compete well with other needs in a spot with very low collision rates but refinements like this (and those written about here and here are what merit Portland’s reputation as a livable city. They will not cost much in the grand scheme and they will remove a point of contention in this location without actually changing existing usage patterns and safety.
    Provide the yield signs and I can have it done by tomorrow night. Free labor.

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  • Anonymous July 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    “Oh well. I guess some Portlanders have yet to move beyond this nonsensical and unneccessary hatred for other people based solely on their mode of travel.”

    Yet the comments on this blog on the altered Share the Road license plate had to be edited to remove “hatred for other people based solely on their mode of travel.”

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  • MIndful Cyclist July 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    As usual, KATU’s coverage was sensationalized (25-30 mph???) and KPTV’s was actually pretty good. At least KPTV pointed out that plenty of cars run the signs as well.

    Still, I do wonder if this is a prank pulled by some drunk high school kids rather than a booby trap set by some angry driver.

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  • wsbob July 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    OLD&SLOW, Adam, and Dave, and whoever else follows that supports either removal of the stop signs or converting them to yields: Do any of you actually live in Ladd’s? If you did, would you still prefer stop signs not be there. This seems to be an important consideration.

    Also,, I’m not going to quickly conclude that putting up the tape was an act of vigilantism (…Vigilante actions like this …”maus). No suspect has been identified or detained. Despite the account of the witness to the voice, the idea that the tape was put up as an act of vigilantism hasn’t been determined yet. Sounds more like some wiseacre drunk decided to play a trick on bike traffic.

    I haven’t seen the full vid, but a snippet of it I did see last night on KATU showed the tape wrapped around one of the poles to be opaque rather than clear. As extended between the two poles, somewhat closer to single layer, was it clear? This doesn’t seem like the fishing line/piano wire type of malicious act that comes to mind with the word ‘vigilante’.

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  • BURR July 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I completely disagree with your assessment of sight lines at Ladd’s circle; they are excellent for spotting both cars and pedestrians.

    Thanks BURR and others for pointing out your disagreement. You are more familiar with that area than I am. I recalled some low hanging branches but I don’t want to mischaracterize the situation. I’ve lined out that comment and left a note in the story. — Jonathan

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  • Dave July 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    wsbob: I don’t live in Ladd’s Addition, but thinking about the issue as objectively as I can, I think I would still support removing the stop signs around Ladd Circle. They don’t actually function as stop signs currently (for the majority of people), and yet people don’t drive or ride dangerously around there, so I say make them yields, enforce them as yields, and things will probably stay about the same as they are now except a bunch of people who are currently “safe lawbreakers” would suddenly become simply safe users of the roads, which seems pretty good to me.

    Granted, if I lived there, I might see things that would cause me to think otherwise, but with the information I have from my own experience and what I’ve heard about the area…

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  • Shetha July 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Jonathan, I disagree with BURR, actually. I do live in Ladd’s and I stop at these crossings whether in my car, on foot, or on my bike. Full stop. At the stop signs, this usually means I’m getting flown by by people on bikes. Whether I’m on my bike or in my car. If you are SE-bound on Ladds and approaching the center circle, there is a large bush on the right that obstructs your view of oncoming pedestrians. Yield signs wouldn’t improve the situation, that I can see. If someone hits a (leashed) dog or child on a bike or a jogger, it’s still going to just be “I didn’t see them” and end of story. I think the behavior at these intersections all around are a symptom of our collective doubt of the usefulness of signage. In the end, folks need to slow down, consider others, and not always TAKE the right of way. Give it, too, from time to time. And the sign does say Stop. Whether you like what it says or not.

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  • Hart July 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Isn’t the whole point of a round-a-bout to allow traffic to move freely without stopping?

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  • Grimm July 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Are there any statistics to the number of bikers or pedestrians injured at Ladds circle? I would guess of all locations it should be very safe, there are other places that need safety improvements or advocacy from either side. But maybe because it is so safe cyclists freely run the stop sign (which arguably should be a yield sign).

    IMO this intersection seems like the easiest to assess the entire situation easily, the roundabout does its job pretty well. After biking through it very frequently the biggest hazard was pedestrians, which are what I looked out for mostly. Cars were very easy to time and move with at neighborhood speeds. The fact that this rather safe intersection is the hub of so much controversy is just misdirected anger.

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  • Bjorn July 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I used to spend about half of my time staying in ladd’s and during that time I was actively talking to PDOT about removing the signs.

    They told me informally they would need to study if the entries would have to be changed to angle traffic into the circle and then possibly change them resulting in a minimum cost of 50k to remove the stop signs so it was a no go. It was at that point that I began working on Idaho Style stop sign legislation.

    Once stop signs like these go in, even if there is no data to back up a need for them outside of one person complaining to the city it becomes very difficult to get them back out. I’d like to see the city come up with more of a standard for what kind of intersection warrants a stop sign and then use that standard to remove many of the unnecessary stop signs in Portland.

    In the particular case of ladd’s around 10% of vehicles stop at the stop signs, which is probably about the same % of the time that there is either a pedestrian or another vehicle already in the circle which needs to be yielded to. Well over 90% of the users of this traffic circle are already using it appropriately and it is working very well. There are basically no injury accidents in the ladd’s circle, so come on PBOT, get those signs out of there we don’t need to re engineer the circle it is working already.

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  • MIndful Cyclist July 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    wsbob: I agree. Those sign posts are close together making it an easy way to run shrink wrap across the street like that. I think it could have been a drunk prank that could have easily done some damage to a car as well.

    And folks, we could go on an on all day about whether or not stop signs are feasible here or whether yield signs would be better. But, the clear fact is that there is a stop sign there. When you approach it, slow down and check for traffic at the very minimum. Whenever I have biked in Ladd’s I see a lot of cars going over the speed limit and these Stop sings can help with that.

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  • f5 July 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Isn’t it sort of a joke that there are top signs at a roundabout? That’s like wearing pants and suspenders at the same time. I’d be real curious to see other examples of places where there are roundabouts with stop signs. I’m guessing there are little to none.

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  • f5 July 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    …actually that’s like wearing a BELT and suspenders at the same time.

    Buduh-crshsh!

    Thanks, I’ll be here all week. remember to tip your wait-person.

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  • SkidMark July 22, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Are YIELD signs that much more expensive than stop signs? That is all that is needed to make this traffic circle function like a traffic circle should. That is how it is everywhere else in the world.

    Shrink wrap, even a 2″ wide strip like that is very difficult to tear,and it is very likely that it would hurt someone if they ran into it stretched across the street like it was.

    I had to laugh when that one person said that cyclists were riding through Ladd’s @ 25-30 mph. The peloton of the Tour de France might average that speed through a traffic circle, but not the typical cyclist. I guess anyone that estimates a bicycle’s speed to be 25-30 would probably think cars are routinely traveling on side streets at 40-50 mph.

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  • Rol July 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    There’s a stop-sign-infested roundabout at NE 39th & Glisan too.

    I hope this clown is ready to pay some serious medical bills. And lawyer bills.

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  • Tim July 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Until those stop signs are yields the law says stop. Not slow down, not keep going, but stop. Period. I stop at every single one and get shit from the cyclists behind me. Hell, I even got rear ended once. I drive/ride through those intersections every day and I’m shocked at the arrogance and ignorance of cyclists. It’s behavior like that that leads to “battles” between cyclists and car drivers. Maybe if a lot more people actually obeyed the law there wouldn’t be such bad blood. Go ahead and flame away, I’m on the side of safety for everyone on the road.

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  • Elliot July 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I ride though Ladd’s every day, and I always stop. I see very few other cyclists make an effort to demonstrate that they are “stopping” by slowing to 1-2 mph, keeping your balance, and looking both ways (peds come from both directions, natch). The majority of the bike traffic I observe just looks left and cruises through, though most people do slow down a bit.

    My issue with people who do run the stop sign isn’t that they don’t stop… it’s that they don’t yield either! Some people run the stop sign even when there are cars or bikes already in the intersection. The reason there hasn’t been a crash from this is because someone else braked, not because it’s somehow inherently safe for bikes to run stop signs.

    There have been several times when I’ve stopped on Ladd to let a ped use the crosswalk, just to have another cyclist blow by me at full speed. Replacing stop signs with yield signs doesn’t solve the problem of some people being jerks.

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  • Corey July 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Almost nobody stops at those signs (bikes or cars), its a roundabout and should be yields. I happened to come to a complete stop yesterday because there was a crowd of people at the intersection and wound up being interviewed and perhaps foolishly admitted to rolling the stops on camera. We also discussed the speed at which many blew through the stop signs, which I would say is closer to 15mph average, and of course I disapproved of that.

    I will never get the obsession with foot down stops at stop signs. When you get down to it the real source of frustration drivers have with cyclists is that we are slower and steal those precious seconds between them and the next red light. The safety issue is a convenient cover. But I’ve lost count of the amount of times a car will overtake me within 50 ft of a stop sign so they can beat me to it.

    Has there ever been a “Put Your Foot Down” day where everybody does a foot down stop and watches traffic slow to a crawl at 4 way stops?

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  • Not That Guy July 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Man that guy in the white shirt between 1:38 and 1:41 who looked to his left and slowed to a reasonable speed before proceeding sure is responsible!
    -not that guy

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  • mabsf July 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I think the Stop signs are actually not that bad, since nobody – cars and bikes – seem to have a clear, reliable idea who has the right of way when!
    In Europe people coming from your right have the right of way and people who go straight have the right of way before people who turn… Years of experience biking here made me NOT insist of those right, but wouldn’t it be nice!

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  • Luci July 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Rol- the stop signs at the NE 39th and Glisan roundabout make sense considering it is 2 lanes into a roundabout where the outer lane of the actual circle is to be used for only traffic turning out. There has to be some wiggle room for that much traffic to move between lanes and buffer the number of vehicles entering. Ladd’s, however, is very different.

    As cyclists stopping completely- the loss of momentum and the energy needed to get going again on a bicycle would be the same as a auto driver stopping, putting their car in park, getting out, and then getting back in, putting their car in drive and going again. (The book “cycling revolution” has some amazing insights into allowing cyclists to bike with dignity and ease.

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  • Bjorn July 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    @Grimm

    The city had a map that showed where injury accidents occurred over a 10 year period that has been posted to this site before. During that 10 year period there were zero injury accidents involving bikes, yes that is right in one of the busiest biking areas in the city there were absolutely no injury accidents anywhere within the boundaries of ladd’s addition including the center circle.

    On the other hand their were quite a few on the streets that border ladds along with the rest of the city. Hence my earlier comment that if we are having enforcement to improve safety then doing the actions within ladd’s addition is akin to dedicating lifeguards to a desert while people are drowning in a nearby lake.

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  • Brewcaster July 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Luci,

    I love the “It takes too much energy to stop and go on a bike”, it just seems counter to the whole premise of riding a bike.

    It would be more fuel efficient for a car to not have to stop as well.

    I for one welcome the extra effort I have to make on a bike to stop and start again, if it will increase safety while showing drivers that a cyclist can be trusted to follow the laws of the road.

    Too bad if I get a better workout from it.

    Let me know if anyone has gotten out of a ticket for blowing a stop sign by explaining to the judge that it just wasn’t efficient enough to stop .

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  • jeff July 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Folks, the stop signs are there. They’re not changing anytime soon. It’s the law. Coming up with excuses such as “it stops momentum or makes me use more energy” is empty, lazy, and part of the problem in the greater public perception of alternative road users in this town.

    The neighbors are obviously tired of what they are seeing and experiencing.

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  • t.a. barnhart July 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    the UK (i lived there for 5 years) has roundabouts everywhere — even on roads the equivalent of the Sunset Highway. no stop signs: it’s all yield. and guess what? they don’t slaughter one another. they yield, they enter, they exit & traffic flows smoothly. of course they also don’t slaughter each other with handguns either (those are special occasions). not sure what the full moral of that is other than we could do with learning some better ways in this country.

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  • Lenny Anderson July 22, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    The key difference between bikes and motor vehicles is that the latter can, and often do, cause serious harm. Bikes are for the most part harmless to others. Hence the licensing of both motor vehicles and drivers. Coasting thru a stop sign on the bike is a victimless crime not worthy of police resources…or the community’s time.

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  • spare_wheel July 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    “Let me know if anyone has gotten out of a ticket for blowing a stop sign by explaining to the judge that it just wasn’t efficient enough to stop.”

    So you want me to slavishly follow a law designed for motor-vehicles that has no impact on bike traffic safety (hello idaho) and is not enforced?

    Sorry, not going to happen.

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  • Brewcaster July 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Lenny,
    Not sure how you pull me back into this ridiculous argument.

    A cyclist not obeying traffic laws causes uncertainty to a driver on what they will do.

    What if it causes a car to slam on the brakes, veer off the road (onto sidewalk) or other traffic?

    To think a cyclist on the same road has no effect on the drivers on that road is beyond ridiculous.

    Do motorcyclists or someone on a tiny motorized scooter have the same “Harmless” effect on others it shares the road with.

    Seriously, I am done trying to make the point. The laws are laws. The laws are for safety and some sort of understanding about what a car, cyclist, pedestrian, motorcyclist, etc will do at a given point in the road, including intersections.

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  • Brewcaster July 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    spare_wheel

    “So you want me to slavishly follow a law designed for motor-vehicles that has no impact on bike traffic safety (hello idaho) and is not enforced?”

    Such a rebel. Keep fighting the good fight.

    If someone asked me that question, my response would be, “Yes, its the law, and I am sharing the road.”

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  • spare_wheel July 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    “Folks, the stop signs are there. They’re not changing anytime soon.”

    The fact that a vocal minority focuses on cyclists at the exclusion of the majority of drivers who california stop at the same intersections is interesting. I suspect that the fact that a lot of those miscreant cyclists look “different” has more to do with it than real concern over safety.

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  • spare_wheel July 22, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Yes, its the law, and I am sharing the road.

    I bet you share the road just fine without following the absolute letter of the law (speeding, the california stop). I am a courteous cyclist and *always* come to a complete stop at traffic lights and major intersections. But after years of using a bike as my predominant form of transport I know that I am going to occasionally safely roll through residential stop signs.

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  • Corey July 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    When someone says “it stops momentum” or “takes more effort” its easy to assume they are being selfish rather than pointing out the obvious effect on traffic.

    My best guess is that if we all started coming to complete stops complaints would get even worse and cyclists would be in greater danger by autos that view us as too slow to be on the street. I do the slow yield and yet I still have autos and cyclists upset that I don’t just blow the sign completely. I’m not going to follow the law to a T if it puts me at greater risk of confrontation.

    And Portland Police have themselves indicated that the spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law when they trained their officers to only go after blatant abuses rather than those who slow and yield.

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  • Anonymous July 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Quiz: Who’s the criminal here:

    a) Bikes who violate the stop sign law but seem to have no record of injury over many years. These same bikes have prevented many car accidents by putting ewer cars on the roads. The intent ( and result ) is to help everyone and prevent accidents.

    b) Someone with the intent to injure with a trip wire? The intent is to harm.

    hint to the police: Just ask your call data center to pull up records. This person most likely called to report this problem, then got angry when no cops showed up. I’d bet money they live within a block. Profile: Overweight, over 40 years, single, jealous, rich white male in Ladds with no social life. He’s most likely reading this now.

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  • neighbor July 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    “The battle between drivers and bikers reaches a boiling point…”

    …uuuuuhhh… Did I miss the part where the guy in the bushes was driving a car?

    I think the battle between bikers and people who yell things from bushes has been RAGING for a long time. And let’s not get started with our WAR on passive aggressive yet dangerous vigilante action!

    Biker vs. Driver battle? Eh. Mild simmer. More like kids taunting on the playground.

    Love that KPTV pit interview with physically fit cyclist against overweight, out of shape driver- finally some truth in their journalism.

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  • wsbob July 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    “… i slow then go — unless i need to yield, then i do. …” T.A. Barnhart #9

    And that’s just fine, if everybody that chose not to come to a full stop actually did that; but it seems they so frequently don’t, which becomes a problem.

    “25-30 MPH through Ladd’s?! …” J.R. #11

    J.R. …I think that was misjudgment of speeds actually being reached by cyclists through the stop signs. Visually calculating with accuracy, speeds traveled by vehicles isn’t so easy to do. From reporters though, it would helpful if they didn’t just grab a number out of the blue.

    Easily 10-15mph, and perhaps occasionally 20mph though. The short snippet I saw last night showed bikes riding through at 10-15 mph.

    Dave #15 …thanks for thinking about the question and answering thoughtfully.

    Shetha #17 …it’s good to hear viewpoint’s on this situation from yourself and a few others having commented so far that actually live in Ladd’s Addition. It seems to me that neighborhood residents should have some say about their neighborhood’s quality of life as it’s effected by decisions the city makes in regards to traffic infrastructure through it.

    As to problems you’re having in “… getting flown by by people on bikes (some other commenters have also expressed frustration with this problem, described differently). …” when stopping at the signs, I’m wondering if, as you approach the signs when other traffic, and both motor vehicle and bike are behind you, you’re using the ‘stop’ hand signal(left arm extended down and away from body at 45 degree angle)well in advance of the sign to indicate to those road users, your intention to stop. No guarantee it’ll be respected, but I find it works, and have heard from others also that it works.

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  • rigormrtis July 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Oh Lenny……

    The whole point of traffic controls is to have predictability. Having an arbitrary adherence will only lead to more accidents.

    I am sure that a pedestrian who has been hit by a bicycle would have a different viewpoint on your “victimless” scenario.

    I’ve almost been hit several times crossing Miss at Shaver when some hipster decides that the stop sign does not apply to him.

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  • suburban July 22, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Portland doesn’t have traffic circles, yet.

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  • beelnite July 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    The people in Ladd’s Circle who call the police on cyclists are hypocrites as evidenced by the way they drive through their own neighborhood.

    Today a motorist in a mini-SUV sped past me near the east gardens and then proceeded to do his best Le Mans impression by hard breaking and tearing around the various turns to get around the garden… and prove he belonged in front. He put my life in his hands by gunning his engine and squeezing by at 30 mph just so he could…

    Be forced to stop at a stop sign for the very first time since he pulled his little impatient stunt. To much traffic on the circle so he couldn’t blow through this stoplight.

    And I was right on him. Looking in his rearview shaking my head. Window open. “What do you think you’re doing?” I ask.

    A voice from bench in front of the coffee shop, “He’s stopping at the stop sign. You could learn something!”

    From my stopped position behind the a-hole driver I look over at crotchety old man with cane who’s ready for action.

    I hop off and walk us over there.

    “No sir. I’ll tell you what he’s doing…”

    “You can just shut the hell up and stop next time…”

    “I did stop sir – this guy was tearing through the neighborhood and all you can do is complain about me? I’m doing what 12? 13? mph? Seriously?”

    “You people need to learn…”

    He wouldn’t listen.

    “Just so you know Mister – I ALWAYS stop at the stop sign.”

    “Ohhh you do not you sonofa…”

    I left.

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  • old&slow July 22, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    wsbob, you seem to know a lot about the situation since I don’t think you live in the area or even ride a bike.
    The bike traffic in Ladd’s is not dangerous, not that fast and not an inconvenience for the people who live there except some there would prefer that nobody come through their neighborhood.
    I don’t have the luxury of whining about the people who drive or bike down the street I live on.
    It seems the neighborhood there gets extra attention from the city for a non issue.
    “Unsafe” conditions because bikes ride 15 mph around a traffic circle that doesn’t need stop signs to begin with!
    How about you crusade about getting Beaverton to make riding their safe and leave the eastside topics to the people who actually live and drive and ride there.

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  • Elliott July 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    I grew up in Australia and we had tons of roundabouts there, all of them with yield signs. Personally, whether riding a bike or driving I never stop at a stop sign at a roundabout, it’s not my fault they put the wrong signs up. I drive and ride all over town and there are hundreds of places a roundabout could go in to do away with four way stop signs. I always ask myself, what’s the carbon footprint of a four way stop sign?

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  • StevenA July 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    A roundabout is a special type of traffic circle. See these:

    * Kittelson explanation, including contrast with mere traffic circle

    * Tom Vanderbilt (Slate.com), American drivers should learn to love the roundabout

    * ORS 801.451 “Roundabout.” means an intersection characterized by a circulatory roadway, channelized approaches and yield control of entering traffic. A roundabout encompasses the area bounded by the outermost curb line or, if there is no curb, the edge of the pavement, and includes crosswalks on any entering or exiting roadway. [2001 c.464 §2]

    * Portland Bureau of Transportation’s summary and links

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  • sparewheel July 22, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    “not an inconvenience for the people who live there except some there would prefer that nobody come through their neighborhood.”

    *ding*

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  • trail user July 22, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Why can’t we designate the nw to se route through ladd’s a bike boulevard?

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  • wsbob July 22, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    old&slow …do you live there? You don’t know whether or not I ride a bike, so you’re just making assumptions (I ride a bike and I have ridden and driven through Ladd’s numerous times.)

    How do you know that the bike traffic in Ladd’s is “…not an inconvenience for the people who live there …”?

    You certainly do “…have the luxury of whining about the people who drive or bike down the street I live on. …”. I prefer to think in terms of a ‘right’ rather than a luxury, and making efforts in the form of ‘a concern’ or ‘complaint’ rather than whining, but you do have it. Just get over to your neighborhood association meeting and do so. Or get on the phone or internet and contact someone with the city. Do it again and again until they respond. If that doesn’t work, picket.

    As I see it, the situation in Ladd’s addresses the general issue of neighborhood livability, as well as the fundamental issue of safety where road traffic is concerned. That a person lives or doesn’t live in the neighborhood in question shouldn’t have any direct bearing on whether they can express a viewpoint on how the issue of safety and livability is being handled there. I’m not on Hosford/Abernethey’s neighbohood association board, so my viewpoint as a Beaverton resident won’t be determining any resolution to this situation or others in that neighborhood.

    old&slow …not absolutely sure, but I’ve got a strong feeling that most of the people frequenting bikeportland’s front page never bother to check bikeportland’s forum pages. If they did, they might notice that some of us westsiders are actually making efforts such as they are, towards “…getting Beaverton to make riding their safe…”. Come visit sometime!

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  • old&slow July 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    wsbob, I could complain every day to the city and I doubt I would have the pull to “target” by street (I live in Northeast).
    They have had a number of “stings” in Ladd’s, wrote hundreds of tickets, spend countless dollars enforcing some stop signs in a neighborhood with not much traffic and no traffic issues like accidents, etc.!
    They are getting special treatment. I ride through there all the time, a very pleasant area with no real traffic issues except for what must be a few cranks that just have an issue with anybody who comes through the neighborhood.
    This is not an important “safety” issue at all. We have a bunch of busy unsafe streets in this city with all kinds of issues and Ladd’s Addition is not even on the radar for safety issues and traffic issues.
    Just somebody with some pull with the city who is getting inordinate attention for this little area.

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  • Bob_M July 22, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Ladds is part of my commute. I have seen police enforcement in this location before, and I expect to see it VERY soon.

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  • sparewheel July 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    “not an inconvenience for the people who live there”

    i love how this discussion has morphed from traffic safety to “convenience”. i bet its quite “inconvenient” to live in a wealthy neighborhood with thousands of riff raff riding about willy nilly.

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  • suburban July 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I guess a roundabout that costs $200,000 would have a rather large study before it was made, lot’s of signs, explaining where to go, how to yield, and perhaps a flashing light and perhaps a crosswalk with beeping buttons and other flashing lights. Can anyone say why real roundabouts with ped-zebras are not embraced as the low-cost low-tech wonders of traffic flow in Portland? Where has anyone seen a YIELD sign installed in the last 15 years?

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  • Jerry_W July 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    My 17 yo daughter came home from driving the other day shaking, a bike rider ran a stop sign and she came within inches of hitting him. STOP at the STOP signs, stop at RED LIGHTS!!!!!!! Why are we even arguing this ?? We seem to be our own worst enemy, look at todays posts, Trimet driver furious, people setting plastic traps.

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  • trail user July 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Teenage drivers are the scariest. Maybe she should take a professional driving course like ProDrive at PIR before she kills someone.

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  • Perry July 22, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Jerry_W – 100% agree.

    The “tape” is the stretch-wrap material they use to secure freight on pallets – really strong stuff that applied like it was shown on TV would unseat a rider. If the stretch wrap were slightly above the level of yur hands, it could ruin your whole day (like, tracheal trauma). I don’t buy the “trick” theory, this was planned and spiteful. Somebody needs to go to jail.

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  • wsbob July 22, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    old and slow…well…I don’t think there’s any question but that some neighborhoods do not have adequate attention paid to areas within them that need attention.

    The answer to that seems not to be in ignoring or taking away from other neighborhoods that are having issues addressed, but for the city to step up response to the needs of those neighborhoods that aren’t having them addressed. Can it be accurately said that because Ladd’s is having attention directed to stop sign compliance, your neighborhood isn’t getting attention paid to things that need to be done there?

    The police may have written “… hundreds of tickets …” during enforcement details in Ladd’s over the years…I couldn’t say for sure…but “…countless dollars enforcing some stop signs…”? I believe there’s likely a finite number of dollars spent, and one Maus may have reported on in past if you were interested in finding out how much it was.

    Controversy over compliance with Ladd’s stop signs slightly aside, a bigger issue to me seems to be how cities can best introduce for commuting purposes, fundamental changes to the usability by the city’s citizens, of its street infrastructure, without adversely affecting the livability and safety of neighborhoods through which streets pass.

    I’m not exactly sure of the timeline, but I suspect Portland designated Ladd’s as a bike route some time before the idea of commuting by bike took off in a big way. Did the city anticipate before designation, that so many commuter cyclists would take to this route?

    As it turns out, Ladd’s appears to have far more than the occasional recreation cyclist coming through the neighborhood, exercising a level of caution at the stop signs and intersections that’s easily a dubious one. old and slow…what about your own neighborhood? Are streets street within it becoming a major commute route for bikes such as streets within Ladd’s have become?

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  • old&slow July 22, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Yes bob, I live on a designated bike route. Sharrows and everything. Cyclists occasionally run the stop signs, nobody on my street gives a rip, because it is not a big deal. I do stop at most signs and I commute across this city every day (I work in Beaverton, have a 13 mile commute).
    The Ladds people complaining are a-holes, pure and simple. It is just bikes for godsakes, not a bunch of cars whizzing down the streets..
    Not stopping at the Ladds circles is not a big safety issue, not a nuisance, just a reason for some people to complain because they can.

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  • Andy July 22, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Maybe we should fire up our vehicles for a few days of exhaust commuting through ladd’s and someone can study air quality, traffic flow, noise pollution etc??

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  • CaptainKarma July 22, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Weird. Where I lived in Maryland (Columbia), there were many traffic roundabouts, didn’t look like they cost much more than the pavement in a suburban cul-de-sac. Maybe one little sign on each entry way just so everyone knew the obvious – “roundabout ahead, you know the rules”. I think, if anything, they inspired cooperation and civility. Never saw or heard of any problems, bikes or cars or both, back there.

    When I got here and saw the stop signs, I go “huh?!” Totally a monkeywrench deal.

    I do know when laws are unreasonable or stupid, they will not be observed. Nixon’s 55 mph, hemp and alcohol prohibition, motorists using cell phones, all prime examples.

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  • anonymous July 22, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Andy. I like your idea.

    If another trip wire shows up in Ladds I’m thinking of leaving my car parked for 48 hours near that trip wire intersection in protest. If 50 cyclists parked their cars there for a few days the message would be clear: bikes belong, and cyclists own cars too: the residents might get the signal that their nutty neighbor needs to stop the trip wire tricks.

    I’d bet 50 bucks that several local residents of Ladd’s know the name of the neighbor who put up the trip wire. Most likely this person has a long and public hate streak about cyclists.

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  • Pete July 22, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Jerry_W (#59): I agree. I was driving home from an out-of-town race on Sunday and came very close to hitting a girl who couldn’t stop her fixed-gear and blew a stale red light. Being a cyclist I knew why she couldn’t stop, but my worst fear is hitting another cyclist and this was the second and closest time it nearly happened. I wonder if the people behind me saw the irony in my car having “Share the Road” plates and our three bikes on top.

    But yeah, about the plastic trap, I’d consider it attempted assault. I crashed two months ago and broke collarbone, finger, and bruised hip, so I know what even a low speed impact can do. You don’t see this person out there hitting drivers with a baseball bat when they roll stop signs, or cold-cocking pedestrians who jaywalk.

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  • steve July 23, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Slow rolling or blowing through a stop sign is both illegal and a dangerous example to the youth and beginner cyclists.

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  • Red Five July 23, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Entitlement.

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  • Shetha July 23, 2010 at 7:49 am

    wsbob – I do signal my slowing. I signal all my intentions. I’m a weird-o that way.

    I may be a weird-o but I’m not an a-hole, old&slow. I just want people to stop their forward momentum. Signal. Look around. See if anyone’s coming. When it’s clear to do so, proceed. The guy who taped the signs is an a-hole, perhaps. As a pregnant woman, I’m trying to be extra careful not to have stupid stuff happen to me on my bike, so I don’t appreciate those antics in my n’hood. As a mother, I’m teaching 2 future road users the rules as pedestrians. And what they learn by example from everyone funneling through there is 1) stop signs are optional and 2) pedestrians always have to wait until all other vehicle traffic is clear. The examples set are not by people on bicycles but people in cars, too. Once upon a time, people in/on vehicles took seriously their responsibility to using the road. Not anymore. This is why parents can’t just let their kids go visit their friend down the street unsupervised until they are viable road user age. Children aren’t as capable of determining safety or potential dangers at ages younger than that. Seems like a lot of people actually never learned that, growing up. They just learned to move faster and they’d get the right of way.

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  • spare_wheel July 23, 2010 at 8:07 am

    “In the end, folks need to slow down…not always TAKE the right of way.”

    notice the disrespect for the right of way of cyclists. and please explain why i should slow down when i am riding below the speed limit.

    “so I don’t appreciate those antics in my n’hood”

    frankly, i could care less about your desire to keep your n’hood twee. if you want to live in a gated community, i suggest you and your family move.

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  • spare_wheel July 23, 2010 at 8:09 am

    “The guy who taped the signs is an a-hole, perhaps.”

    someone who attempts to seriously injure another human being is *perhaps* an asshole. good grief!

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  • Mike July 23, 2010 at 8:29 am

    It is obvious that this was a stupid way of getting a point across but how about we take it upon ourselves to at least slow down to a crawl at stop signs. Don’t take the “I’m a cyclist therefore I will do what I want”. Respect must be earned and following the rules of the road is one way to gain respect. Again, if you want to ride in a respectfull manner, you must follow the rules of the road, plain and simple

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  • Lostbill July 23, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Post #1 says we’re on the same team, namely cyclists. I beg to point out as others have that I see bikes blow through signs, lights, street directions EVERY DAY on EVERY RIDE. The number of cyclists who do this is vastly disproportionate to the number of drivers who blow through the same (and I’m not talking about rolling stops, which everyone does). Bikers without helmets, without lights, without knowledge of the laws–all the time. If you can’t stop, then you don’t have the patience to be a bike rider, period. and this comes from a daily bike commuter.

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  • ChocateyChocotheChocolateChicken July 23, 2010 at 8:50 am

    25 – 30 miles per hour? Was Mark Cavendish sprinting through the stop sign?

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  • Lenny Anderson July 23, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Any bicyclist without a death wish slows, if not yields at every intersection, regardless of signs or laws. The penalty for not being totally aware on a bike is injury or death.
    Motorists who are afraid of wacking a bicyclist should slow down (most are going too fast…breaking the law) or find another route.

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  • trail user July 23, 2010 at 10:07 am

    #75

    Mark Cavendish can go from 40 to 50 mph in the short distance he sprints…His leadout man gets him up to 40 mph. 25-30 mph is easy for the average cyclist.

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  • andy July 23, 2010 at 10:24 am

    We are lucky to live in a cycling city
    there are kooks behind the wheel and kooks in the saddle
    and apparently in the bushes too
    my bike ways 20 lbs and emits nothing
    my van weighs 2,000 and can easily hurt someone
    ride/drive accordingly
    Idaho stop all the way when appropriate
    it is the novice cyclist that blatantly blasts thru stops/lights etc
    they will learn one way or another
    smile big at drivers

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  • Red Five July 23, 2010 at 10:27 am

    hey was the guy hiding in bushes located and questioned? Has the FBI been called?

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  • Joe July 23, 2010 at 10:34 am

    #1 right on! I hear ya.

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  • sean July 23, 2010 at 10:41 am

    The problem I see at the Ladd circle is that bikers do not always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, and those who do are at risk of being hit from behind.

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  • spare_wheel July 23, 2010 at 10:47 am

    “i am a commuter” = “i have lots of friends who are _ _ _ _”

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  • wsbob July 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

    “wsbob – I do signal my slowing. I signal all my intentions. I’m a weird-o that way. …” Shetha #70

    Shetha…glad to hear you’re using the hand signal for stopping (left arm fully extended towards the ground at a 45 degree angle). All road users seeing you employ that signal sufficiently in advance of the stop you’re intending to make, should be slowing down and stopping with you.

    In your situation, why exactly road users behind your aren’t slowing down and stopping is something maybe you’ll be able to figure out. It seems to me they definitely should be doing so if they’re familiar with and see you using that hand signal.

    All I can tell you is, that when I use it out here in Beaverton, it’s distinctly clear that motor vehicle drivers behind me slow down and even back off somewhat. Just to make the hand signal a bit more conspicuous, I generally move my extended arm 10-15 degrees up and down within the 45 degree angle.

    old&slow …you say you live on a designated bike route with sharrows. Next question: How many people are traveling on your street or through your neighborhood on a daily basis, particularly during a.m. and p.m. commutes? As many as are traveling through Ladd’s?

    Here’s something from your comment #63:

    “…Cyclists occasionally run the stop signs, nobody on my street gives a rip, because it is not a big deal. …” old&slow #63

    Notice you use the word ‘occasionally’ to describe the rate at which cyclists run the stop signs on streets in your neighborhood. Check out any video or news reports showing or describing the rate at which cyclists run stop signs in Ladd’s. In Ladd’s running stop signs isn’t happening ‘occasionally’; it’s happening frequently.

    People that ride bikes aren’t obliged to ride through Ladd’s, if they dislike stopping at the stop signs. There’s S.E. 20th and S.E. 12th on the perimeter of Ladd’s that they have a legal right to ride.

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  • Dave Proctor July 23, 2010 at 11:13 am

    As a daily commuter on Ladd through Ladd’s circle, I agree with Jon’s original assessment that there are some bad sight lines. In particular, when travelling southeast on Ladd, there is a hedge that blocks the line of sight to the sidewalk on the right until you are right at the stop sign.

    Everyone should be slowing down sufficiently to verify that there’s nobody approaching on the sidewalk from the right and to completely stop in time if needed. This is a very popular pedestrian route and I end up stopping here about once a week for a family approaching to cross the road.

    When I slow down I am routinely passed on by other cyclists who cut the corner, in my opinion, close enough to risk hitting or at least startling a pedestrian emerging from behind the hedge.

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  • beelnite July 23, 2010 at 11:13 am

    This smacks the same way the rich people in NW Portland get to raise a ruckus over historic industry that pre-dates their fancy new condos by 100 years.

    I live in outer SE – I don’t get to burn up state tax dollars over bad smells that pre date me.

    Nor do I get the opportunity to harass the Portland Police to set up sting operations on… bicyclists!?!?!… are you kidding?

    People we worry about much more life threatening scenarios in outer SE and we don’t have a bunch of time on our hands or money to throw around.

    So it seems we don’t get quite the attention – our boys are already stretched thin.

    I like 4th of July. I can tell myself those aren’t gunshots.

    Shame on those few citizens of Ladd’s Circle who suck the resources from the disenfranchised. Bikes came first. If those people really want to tackle an issue they should BAN automobiles from Ladd’s, tear up the streets and put in some boardwalks.

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  • Mindful Cyclist July 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Lenny #76: Spot on! Every intersection is a potential hazard. Even if I know the Stop sign is facing the oncoming side, I check to see if it is safe to cross. I have no clue if that car sees that stop sign, is on a cell phone, is looking in the back seat yelling at kids or is changing the radio station. In a perfect world, I would not have to worry about this. But, it is not a perfect world and people are going to be careless and even make a very simple mistake at times.

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  • CommanderZ July 23, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Coming to a complete stop (not necessarily foot down, but stop of forward motion) on a bike at Ladds or any other stop sign, stop light, circle, intersection, etc. is easy. I know this because I do it everyday. It’s not hard, and it won’t slow you down that much. Most cyclists in Portland don’t stop because they don’t feel like doing it, and our local bike culture encourages arrogance. If another cyclist says something to the reckless rider they are frequently greeted back with either silence or an expletive. The ONLY solution at this point is aggressive and vigilant enforcement by Portland PD. Persistent traffic enforcement will a) force rider compliance, thus reducing safety issues b)snag some bad car drivers as well c) demonstrate that the City is trying to get on top of this d) reduce the opportunity and justification for whacky vigilantes.

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  • trail user July 23, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Why didn’t the two that discovered the trip line run towards the voice? What is wrong with you? Fight for you fellow man! I would have been at the guy snapping away foaming at the mouth like a mad dog. “Thanks for stopping”!!! Thanks for stomping on your head(tube)is more like it, snapping pics of the guy to hand over to police. I’m tired of these pansy cyclists who can’t fight for themselves. In ‘nam we’d never tolerate this.

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  • Paul Johnson July 23, 2010 at 11:53 am

    They’re not Portlanders if they’re hating on bikes. Californians, sure, and they need to go back where they came from for the sake of their own sanity and our housing costs and unemployment rate.

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  • El Biciclero July 23, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    “…25 – 30 mph…”

    It’s funny how if a cyclist is on the sidewalk or rolling a stop sign, they are described as going “25 or 30 mph.”, but if they are taking the lane in front of a car, or are anywhere it might slow down other traffic, they are usually described as going “5 or 10″. Which is it? Are cyclists speed demons or slowpokes?

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  • gumby July 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    When you see a situation where there is poor compliance, it means that the traffic control (stop sign) is not matched well with the perceived danger at the intersection. You will find very good compliance at major intersections where the imminent danger is obvious to everyone. People see traffic laws as guidelines and based on their own experience and perception of the dangers present, decide whether or not to obey them.

    Riding a bike is not the same as driving a car. The roads were never designed with cyclist in mind, so lights may not work and traffic controls that are appropriate for cars may not be for cyclists. Cyclists can see and hear better at intersections that cars can. They are traveling at a slower speed to start with, so they have more time to see other traffic approaching the intersection.

    There would be much better compliance if the traffic controls truly matched the dangers at hand. In Ladds, that’s clearly not the case.

    However, with that said, we as cyclists have a responsibility to give cycling the best image we can. We have to convince people who don’t bike (the majority of the city) to spend money and resources to improve bikeways. So, we need to follow the rules as best we can until we can change them.

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  • matt picio July 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Pete (#67) – No argument, but was curious – what’s a “stale red light”? Is that what those of us originally from the midwest would call “very red”? (i.e. it’s been red for quite some time before you get to it)

    Lenny (#76) – That right there is the core argument (1st paragraph), cyclists are by and large a danger to themselves (and very rarely, to pedestrians), but automobiles are a danger to everyone (except sometimes not to other automobiles, thanks to ridiculous amounts of safety equipment)

    Which doesn’t mean that cyclists shouldn’t stop. They should. If you’re not going to stop, at least have the sense to slow down and be very aware of your surroundings, and the courtesy to not blow by a pedestrian at speed within 6′ or less.

    andy (#78) – We are lucky, but your bike doesn’t weigh 20 lbs when you’re on it. The more accurate comparison is a 170 lb bike vs a 2,150 lb van. (assuming you weigh 150, modify that number as necessary)

    It’s an important distinction, since impact damage depends on weight. A car plus driver is typically 10-20x the weight of bike + rider, not 100x the weight.

    wsbob (#83) – Don’t you mean left arm extended at a 90 degree angle? Did it change? (no sarcasm, I learned my hand signals 30 years ago)

    Dave (#84) – Even if the sightlines are perfect, your field of vision narrows as you travel faster, and objects in your peripheral vision with no relative motion are invisible – the brain edits them out. Interesting thing, a car on a collision course with you will have little to no relative motion. Ouch.

    El Biciclero (#90) – Both. It’s easier to define cyclists as scofflaws that way. Seriously, though, most people are a poor judge of speed. This is a major reason why police carry radar guns – even the professionals are not always an accurate judge of motion.

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  • matt picio July 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    gumby (#91) – Sorry, most of the roads out there were designed for horses, carts and bicycles, not cars – freeways being one obvious exception. Most of those roads were later modified for cars.

    We as cyclists have a responsibility to ride as safely as practicable while on the public roads, not to create the best image of cycling possible. Even if all of us obey the law, there will be many out there who will still have a poor image of cyclists, who want us off the road, etc. You may as well say that we as citizens have a responsibility to give sex the best image we can. What is your definition of “best”? Of “image”? You can’t control the perceptions of others, and your fellow cyclists may (and likely will) disagree with what you feel is acceptable behavior. Like sex, some aspects of cycling are safer than others, and responsibilities have more to do with physical safety than with moral or ethical (or aesthetics) perceptions.

    You touch on a really important point – people see traffic laws as guidelines, at least where they themselves are concerned. They also usually see them as absolutes when judging the behavior of others. Again, replace “driving” or “cycling” with “sex” or any other activity, and you’ll see the same thing – people all have different perceptions.

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  • wsbob July 23, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    “… wsbob (#83) – Don’t you mean left arm extended at a 90 degree angle? Did it change? (no sarcasm, I learned my hand signals 30 years ago)…” matt picio #92

    matt…no…left arm extended at a 90 degree angle would be the hand signal for a turn left. The stop hand signal is made with the arm extended downward at a 45 degree angle in relation to the riders body.

    Here’s a link to a website that shows an example of it quick search brought up a visual depiction of the signal as recommended for use by motorcycle riders. As far as I know, it’s the same one Oregon’s DMV advises bike rides in this state to use.):

    About mid-page, look for the ‘STOP’ animation:

    STOP hand signal, thanks to a3hog.com!

    There’s also some other hand signals on the page that are kind of cool, and that might be as useful to people riding bicycles as they perhaps are to people that ride motorcycles.

    (And of course…it being a biker website…there’s also one hand signal depicted that everybody already knows…goes without saying to definitely be careful in using that one.)

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  • Psyfalcon July 23, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    84. The sightline isn’t great, but the hedge is set back a bit. I don’t see a lot of pedestrians when I go through, but if they’re blocked by the hedge as I pass the stop sign, they can’t reach the crosswalk before I’m through, even if I stop.

    Now… inline skates don’t have to slow to a walking pace to cross intersections (and I can hold 15mph for some distance) so that should be considered too.

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  • jim July 24, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Can’t legalize california stops because certain cyclists will interperate that as not slowing down at all and will make things much worse. Best if cyclists go by the rules.

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  • cruiser July 24, 2010 at 4:58 am

    stop means stop. yield means yield.
    a trip wire is a booby trap and is also illegal.
    two wrongs don’t make any of this right.

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  • Duncan July 24, 2010 at 10:22 am

    oh look another stop sign argument.

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  • Velophile in Exile July 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Jonathan, have you asked the DA why this is not being investigated as attempted muder?

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  • Red Five July 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    A chick like that could come from non other than Portland!

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  • efglez July 24, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    #76 Agree with you on that. I never stop all the way, but sure look and make sure the coast is clear before continuing.

    I cannot imagine stopping on every stop sign you see!

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  • esther July 24, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Complete stops by all cyclists would totally impede the flow of traffic. I think a day when all cyclists come to a complete foot down stop at all stop signs would be a great way to demonstrate what a pain in the ass it would be if we all followed the letter of the law instead of doing what we can to go with the flow of traffic.

    I come as close to a stop as I can without unclipping and I can’t do a track stand.

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  • Paul Johnson July 24, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Just deport folks who do the California stop to California. Oregon’s full anyway, this would take care of the surplus population and reduce our unemployment rate.

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  • Duncan July 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    “take care of the surplus population” is a line from Dickens… Great thinking Scrooge.

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  • Pete July 25, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Matt (#92): This was in California (Paul’s favorite state ;). To me, a stale red light has been red long enough for all the Californian drivers who blow the light anyway to go through.

    The young girl actually turned onto the highway and then suddenly cut back the wrong direction toward traffic (straight at me). I was glad I was the first car turning left, because people around here get heavy on the gas when lights change, and I don’t think a non-cyclist would have understood the situation (I ride a Pista sometimes).

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  • Pete July 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    El B (#90): Keen observation – LMAO!

    jim (#96): To me, that’s like saying we should keep highway speed limits at 55 MPH because people generally drive 70 anyway, so pushing them to 65 would be far too unsafe.

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  • jim July 25, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Pete-
    I know if I’m driving 75 mph and someone passes me doing 80 I look over and say “dang he going fast”.
    It seems like every month someone comes up with some sort of new traffic marking system that nobody knows what it means. Who is going to pay to have the sharrows re-painted when they are worn off? That is the question i’ve asked many times and everyone ignores it. We won’t get more federal money for maintenance of this stuff, those hash marks on holgate are much more than a striping truck driving down the road.
    Anybody else think this city has their spending priorities all mixed up?

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  • Paul Johnson July 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Not all Dickens villians were bad people in context.

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  • Pete July 26, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    jim – you’re doing 75 only in a 75 MPH zone of course, right? ;)

    I hear you about the traffic markings. They use sharrows where I live now to bridge bike route gaps where lanes can’t be striped (yet), but they don’t educate motorists that a cyclist is taking the lane because there is no room for the car to get around – all the driver sees is that you’re in the way (usually stuck between them and the next red light). They do get worn rather quickly, just like the blue markings on the downhill side of SW Hall in Beaverton. Around here they get repainted, but I’d rather see that money go to fixing the problem instead of a workaround (that doesn’t lend itself inherently to making new riders feel safe).

    I agree your question about payment gets ignored. Federal funds get allocated to states which distribute them to cities who use them so they don’t lose them (on a fiscal term basis). The answer as to who pays could be “our grandchildren” or “the foreigners who invest in our debt obligations” depending upon who you ask. Take a look at the latest federal highway deficit numbers and the transportation director’s refusal to raise the funds to cover it.

    Of course, the irony with your sharrows example is that the wear is being done almost entirely by car tires. ;)

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  • jim July 26, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    such a waste of dollars that will have to be paid by our children….
    Shouldn’t borrow money from China and just hand it out with no careful consideration of its use

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  • Anthony July 27, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I am an avid biker who tries to follow all of the rules and most bikers are the same way, but the minority of bikers the arrogant god types are the reason for the hatred and retaliation in this city. I hope nobdy gets hurt because of these selfish individuals.

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  • are July 27, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    re comment 111, you are confusing cause and effect. haters are always looking for an excuse to hate. you might as well say the handful of cyclists (myself included) who wear ankle straps are causing everyone else to be targeted.

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  • jim July 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    are-
    you said it yourself, must be true

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  • aaron July 28, 2010 at 12:20 am

    “The illegal use of mobile communication devices while driving deserves much more attention and is a much greater public safety risk”

    How about the epidemic of no-helmet wearing hipsters on poorly-fitting fixies/singlespeeds who text message while riding. Totally ridiculous. They seem to think that the white lines of the bike line somehow make them safe. So self-absorbed.

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  • Paul Johnson July 28, 2010 at 6:28 am

    aaron, that type of person makes me, as a cyclist, want to stick a treebranch in their front spokes…

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  • Anthony July 28, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Have you ever tried to tape something without getting a fingerprint on the sticky side? Obviously this person has limited intelligence and would’nt have used a pair of gloves. The police could maybe lift a print off of the tape;just a thought.

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  • El Biciclero July 28, 2010 at 11:58 am

    “The police could maybe lift a print off of the tape;just a thought.”

    …And they might go to that level of effort if we first change the story to say that the taper was targeting motorists and could have caused thousands of dollars of damage to vehicles. As it is, if the perceived motive was merely to injure/maim/kill cyclists and/or destroy bicycles, no crime worthy of investigation has been committed. Besides, any victims would have deserved it–especially if they weren’t wearing helmets.

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  • Johnny deconstruction July 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Aaron

    Single speed/ Fixed gear/ road bike/ mountain bike who cares? Texting while cycling is careless, although not as dangerous as driving while texting. Helmets = personal choice. It might not be the wisest choice but it is up to the individual and impacts them alone. And as for the ‘hipster’ comment. I’m not sure what a ‘hipster’ is but I’m sure I’m against it.

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  • Marcus Griffith July 28, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I agree–unsafe cycling can pose a danger to one’s self and others; however, due to their limited weight and speed, bicycles are incapable of causing the same magnitude of carnage of a motor-vehicle.

    That being said, setting up a ‘trip wire’ to cause harm to a random person is the act of sociopath.

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  • Paul Johnson July 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Bicycles can and have seriously injured or killed pedestrians in the past in Portland. Just ask that kid whose skull was crushed by some asshole driving a bicycle on the sidewalk in the Rose Quarter a few years ago.

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  • Duncan July 31, 2010 at 11:20 am

    yes Paul.. a few years ago. When was the last time a car killed a pedestrian? yesterday? the day before? I bet its less than a week.

    Moreover when a car kills someone, the worst thing they usually face is a “failure to yield” ticket. Not much of a consequence.

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  • Anthony August 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Paul, stop stringing tape across the road.

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  • Paul Johnson August 1, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Anthony, I don’t appreciate your slanderous comment in the slightest. False accusations of assault aren’t funny, particularly when the person you’re accusing is travelling out of state.

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  • Anthony August 2, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Paul, it sounded like you were mad at all bikers because of one incident. I apologize.

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  • Paul Johnson August 2, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Nope, not mad at all: I’m saying as a utility cyclist who doesn’t own a car that bicycles are vehicles, and as such, require the operator attention as other vehicles. I was also pointing out that state law also considers bicycles vehicles and requires them to obey the rules of the road that apply to motorists as feasibly possible (thus, you can get away without a seat belt, but not driving on a sidewalk).

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  • pixie August 3, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Anthony, Paul Johnson’s assertions about the law are not correct. A bicycle is considered a ‘vehicle’ for purposes of the vehicle code, and subject to its provisions, except in two situations:

    (a) Those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.
    (b) When otherwise specifically provided under the vehicle code.

    Those two exceptions are not the same as “requires them to obey the rules of the road that apply to motorists as feasibly possible.” See ORS 814.400 Application of vehicle laws to bicycles.

    Thus, his assertion that you can not get away with driving a bicycle on a sidewalk is also wrong. If that were true, why do the following laws exist? ORS 811.055 Failure to yield to bicyclist on sidewalk. ORS 814.410 Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk.

    By the way, the Rose Quarter incident referred to earlier happened in July 2003, and in March of 2004, the person riding the bicycle was found guilty but for insanity of felony hit and run.

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  • Paul Johnson August 3, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Given 814.400, I’m pretty sure 811.055 and 814.410 never apply, since bicycles /are/ considered vehicles. They’re simply blue laws left on the books because nobody took the effort to write them out of the books. Kind of like how it’s still illegal to wear skates in a restroom in Portland, or that you must have someone carrying a lantern in front of your car at night.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Paul, once again you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

    811.055 and 814.410 apply whenever you ride a bike on a sidewalk.

    And riding on the sidewalk is legal except where expressly prohibited.

    And blue laws have nothing to do with these laws or anything in the Oregon Vehicle Code. So obviously you do not know what the term “blue law” means. Here’s a hint: The laws you mention about wearing skates and carrying a lantern aren’t blue laws either.

    Maybe you should look up some of this stuff before acting like you understand how it works.

    If you’re so concerned about bike operators riding safely and as someone who purports to be car-free, perhaps you should take some time to learn the basic traffic rules that apply to you.

    Your ignorance of them makes me concerned for your safety and mine.

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  • BumpyTopped August 11, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I live in Ladd’s and am a daily bike commuter. I also frequently walk through the neighborhood with my toddler.

    I agree 100% with Shetha’s statment, “If you are SE-bound on Ladds and approaching the center circle, there is a large bush on the right that obstructs your view of oncoming pedestrians.” I have been almost hit by bikes more times than I can count at this crosswalk due to the above.

    Please, please yield to pedestrians at the crosswalk.

    If you are not going to completely stop at the stop sign when riding SE on Ladd approaching the circle, please at least slow down and check the sidewalk to your right for pedestrians before blowing through the stop sign.

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  • spare_wheel August 11, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    “I have been almost hit by bikes more times than I can count at this crosswalk …”

    I love the inherent contradiction in that statement.

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