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Truck operater cited in this morning’s crash (and other thoughts from the victim’s husband)

Posted by on September 15th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

As we continue to discuss the right hook crash that happened at NE Couch and Grand this morning, I thought I’d share a comment just left by the victim’s husband. He includes new details (which I’ve put in bold) as well as a piece of his mind about safe driving habits.

“As the victim’s husband, I can assure everyone she’s shaken up and in pain, but will hopefully be fine, with only three broken bones in her foot and a few nice lacerations.

Her brand new KHS will need extensive repairs. And one of her socks, a very nice and beloved sock, was also ruined. Miraculously, her shoe was pulled off her foot before the blood started gushing.

The driver was cited for a bike lane violation and the police, in my opinion, did a pretty fair job of handling the case. One was even so kind as to transport the broken bike to the hospital for me, so I could attend to my injured wife.

The driver I found to be apologetic and a nice guy.

But saying that — as a daily bike rider myself who also drives — I’ll also say this to drivers: LOOK IN YOUR MIRRORS BEFORE YOU TAKE A FUCKING RIGHT TURN… especially on Couch.

If everyone did that one, simple, little thing, we wouldn’t have these problems. As for Jill, she did nothing wrong, and had been riding legally in the bike lane.”

Well said Brian. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and keep us posted on Jill’s condition.

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Comments
  • Joe September 15, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    word, get well!

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  • Amos September 15, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Brilliant. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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  • Brewcaster September 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Assuming your mirrors have no blind spots.

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  • scoot September 15, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Glad to hear she’s going to be okay. I hope she has a laptop so she can spend her recovering days on a comfy sofa ordering socks from Sock Dreams.

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  • Anonymous September 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    There is no excuse for right hooking a cyclist. When I drive, I make damn sure I’m clear before making a right turn. If you’re not sure if a cyclist could even potentially be in your blind spot, then re-check and re-check again. If you’re not up to the task as an automobile driver, then park your car permanently.

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  • jim September 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Driving a truck you have to anticipate looking for bikes long before you turn. If this means slowing way down, then do it. if you move your head around enough you shouldn’t have a blind spot, although that is still a posibillity…
    This really shouldn’t happen, perhaps the driver needs to be more attentive, pay more attention to his task…

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  • John Lascurettes September 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    … Check your mirrors AND look over your shoulder. If you have a blind spot, you haven’t adjusted your mirrors properly or you shouldn’t be driving the equipment until you get the right mirrors (there is a requirement for vehicles pulling beds or trailers to have the right mirror extensions).

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  • Rob September 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I’m curious about how this happened: Does anyone know if the truck came up from behind the rider prior to the turn, vice versa, or were they proceeding side-by-side?

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  • John Lascurettes September 15, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Rob, it doesn’t matter where the bike rider was in relation to the truck driver (front, next to or behind). If the truck driver could not complete the turn without impeding the flow of traffic in the next lane (the separate and marked bike lane), he must yield to that lane. That is the law. I explain this over and over to my co-workers that don’t ride bikes and who complain about bikes “passing them on the right.” The same is not true when there is no separate side-path.

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  • Paul Tay September 15, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    #5, Anonymous, not to blame Mrs. Michaeltree, but, maybe bike lanes are way over-rated, and cyclists could help cagjaaaas by rollin’ in front of the vehicle, not in the blind spot? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

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  • old&slow September 15, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Bike lanes in the downtown area are just stupid, ill thought out and unnecessary. Just take the lane and screw the law. IF all the “bike advocates” here would just STFU and stop demanding this stuff, this would not happen.
    Bike lanes are great on 40MPH commuter roads like Barbur, etc. No reason for them in the downtown area.
    Thanks a lot all you “advocates”, I hope she is doing well and recovers from this and next time, just gets in front of the damn truck and stops with this “bike lane” nonsense.

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  • JJ September 15, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    From an out-of-state reader, does Oregon law still require drivers to unsafely turn across a bike lane instead of the much safer merging into the lane for a turn? I’ve read some conflicting reports about whether that law was changed recently or not.

    Requiring drivers to merge into the bike lane eliminates right hooks, unless the cyclist is on the sidewalk, or very unwisely tries to pass in the gutter, instead of going around the vehicle trying to turn.

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  • JJ September 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Here is what California says:

    “When you are making a right turn and are within 200 feet of the corner or other driveway entrance, you must enter the bicycle lane to make the turn. Do not drive in the bicycle lane at any other time.”

    This is, IMO the only correct way. Vehicles of any kind should always been in the rightmost lane for right turns, and the leftmost lane for left turns.

    Cutting across an active traffic lane is madness.

    I find it hard to believe that a supposed bike mecca essentially legally mandates right hooks. If the law hasn’t been changed….why not? Surely there are enough activists willing to shove some common sense into the law books.

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  • John Lascurettes September 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    JJ, unfortunately, that is still the Oregon law (turning across the lane instead of first yielding then merging into it like in California) and even more unfortunately, it’s the BTA’s position that the law should stand. I agree with you, it’s madness and extremely confusing and unintuitive to people who drive who don’t also ride bikes in traffic.

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  • Brad September 15, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    PDX as “Bike Mecca” is very overrated. We’ve got lots of bike users and politicians that say and sometimes do the right things but we have been passed by cities and states that have put real thought into bike law and infrastructure.

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  • John Lascurettes September 15, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    JJ, more info on the Oregon-California difference: http://blog.oregonlive.com/multimedia/2007/10/right_of_way_animation.html

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  • jim September 15, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Well put JJ

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  • tonyt September 15, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    With Paul Tay on this one.

    At major, MULTI-lane intersections like this one, it makes no sense to shove bike lanes all the way over to the right just so they can go straight. It’s like a freakin’ afterthought. It’s lazy design.

    There are a number of options, but one might be that bike lanes should transition into an obviously marked multi car/bike lane similar to the marked lanes one sees on bike boulevards. There should be no separate right turn lane to the left of this lane. For a brief amount of time, bikes and cars move together, they get through the intersection, and if they must, separate into separate lanes again afterward.

    I cross a similar intersection every workday at Broadway and Grand. If there is traffic present I take the lane. The BIG lane. I’m not going to bet my life on someone looking in their mirror AND actually seeing me.

    There needs to be a more honest look taken at major intersections. They have different challenges and a different dynamic. They have higher volume traffic, more commercial (large) vehicles, a larger concentration of visiting drivers, and simply more distractions. There is little room for error.

    If the city wants to seriously offer these sorts of intersections to the more casual rider as a safe route, they need to do a much better job of thinking them through.

    Oh yeah. One other thing. The new bike boxes at Clinton and 39th are slippery as snot. Where’s the texture?

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  • Rob September 15, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    John (#9), while it may not matter legally who was in front, it does matter from a safety perspective. I’ve seen many a cyclist ride up from behind a car with its right turn signal on and blithely cruise right on by. This is putting your life in the hands of an anonymous driver who may or may not be looking out for you. Something that I learned years ago is to never trust the other person and always assume that they don’t see you. (It’s actually something that was drilled into me in a motorcyle course and saved my skin more than once.)

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  • Rob September 15, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    By the way, I’m in no way implying that this cyclist was in the wrong. She may very well have been riding defensively – even when we do everything right we’re still very vulnerable…

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 4:44 am

    RE: “I’ve seen many a cyclist ride up from behind a car with its right turn signal on and blithely cruise right on by.”

    What are bike lanes teaching clueless cyclists?

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 5:21 am

    NOT gonna happen:

    RECOMMENDATION OF THE BICYCLE ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO STOP USING BIKE LANES.

    WHEREAS, bike lanes encourage cyclists to roll in the motorists’ blind spot;

    WHEREAS, bike lanes encourage cyclists to roll in the “door zone”;

    WHEREAS, requiring motorists to cross bike lanes, instead of merging, while making a right turn is unsafe for cyclists;

    WHEREAS, overwhelming evidence across the country indicate bike lanes are unsafe for cyclists.

    IT IS HEREBY THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE BICYCLE ADVISORY COMMITTEE OF THE CITY OF PORTLAND, OR THAT PORTLAND BUREAU OF TRANSPORTATION STOP USING BIKE LANES, REMOVE CURRENT INSTALLATIONS, AND UNDERTAKE A MAJOR CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE CYCLISTS TO ROLL IN THE LINE OF SIGHT OF MOTORISTS.

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  • Red Five September 16, 2010 at 6:20 am

    It is time for BIKE JIHAD! Join me, my brothers and sisters in defeating the 4-wheel infidels! 72 Fixies await you in heaven.

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  • James Sherbondy September 16, 2010 at 7:00 am

    First, REALLY glad to hear that the rider is OK.

    Second, I ride this part every day. My two cents on how to stay safe, take the lane till you’re past Grand. It’s a downhill run the whole way to the Burnside bridge and the lights are timed so that even a mediocre rider can keep up with the flow, barring of course the idiots who gun it from light to light. It’s very tempting to jump into the bike lane when the cars get backed up, but don’t do it. suck a little exhaust and then blast by the cagers AFTER Grand.

    Thirdly, Red Five, I think it’s time to get a new microwave man, yours has become a bit leaky.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 16, 2010 at 8:29 am

    RE: potential for a bike lane law change.

    Back in 2006, the Lt. of the PPB Traffic Division, Mark Kruger, advocated to the Bike Advisory Committee to change our law exactly like JJ mentions above.

    Here’s my story on it:
    Police propose bike lane law change.

    After the death by right hook of Tracey Sparling in October 2007, Kruger was in the media, telling them basically “I told you so” and once again advocating for Oregon to adopt the California style bike lane law.

    At the time, the response from PBOT was that they wanted to protect the power of the bike lane and they felt that allowing cars to encroach upon it would open up a pandora’s box wherein bike lanes would lose some of their standing as safe places to bike (both in a mental and practical sense). There was also the response from PBOT that all the CA law does is move the potential conflict point back away from the intersection.

    hope this bit of history is helpful. A legislative session is coming up and PBOT and the BTA are making lists of things to work on… if enough ppl think a bike lane law change is a good idea than it might be worth a more in-depth discussion.

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 8:35 am

    If PDX BAC renounces bike lanes and declares them UNSAFE, Tulsa, OK and the rest of America, working on our own bike plans and fighting the entrenched cagjaaa mentality, would point your way.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 16, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Paul Tay,

    Can you share some of the evidence you have that bike lanes are “unsafe”?

    I think a much more accurate argument is “some bike lane designs are unsafe”. Bike lanes themselves, i feel, are absolutely great in some situations. However, I agree that engineers need to go beyond bike lanes. They’re really a 1990s tool that, because lack of funds and political will to do major street redesigns, we haven’t given up on.

    ideally, we’d still have bike lanes in some situations where they make sense, but in more high-volume areas we’d have more clear and substantial bikeways — like real bike traffic lanes with their own signage, physical separation, signal phases, etc…

    the problem with some advocates is that “take the lane” and “bike lanes suck” fall on deaf ears of most cities because the bike planning profession is convinced that novice riders they’re trying to reach need places away from cars to bike in.

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 8:41 am

    RE: “the response from PBOT was that they wanted to protect the power of the bike lane…”

    Why would anyone want to protect the power of a proven KILLER?

    RE: “Open up a pandora’s box wherein bike lanes would lose some of their standing as safe places.”

    Were bike lanes safe places to begin with?

    If anyone on the BAC is afraid of losing street space to horsepower happy cagjaaaa, imagine what cyclists would gain, IF you guys would use the spare change to edukate cyclists to take the WHOLE lane and stay in cagjaaa line of sight.

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  • NF September 16, 2010 at 8:46 am

    “…within 200 feet of the corner”

    -just a note that in Portland, this would have the driver in the bike lane for the entire block. Ours are shorter than most.

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 8:49 am

    J. Maus, et al:

    Exhibit A

    Exhibit B

    Exhibit C

    For more, google “bike lanes dangerous.”

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 16, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Paul,

    most reasonable people/planners/engineers etc — even in Portland! — realize that bike lanes are not the best treatment. what I’m saying is that the problem is, we haven’t yet been able to push to the next big solution… yet!

    you’ll note PBOT is working on bike boulevards and other, non-bike lane solutions.

    also, the problem with the exhibits above is that the people who have the biggest “bike lanes are dangerous” voice have usually followed that up with take-the-lane/vehicular cycling solutions… my point is that when the momentum is around breaking in new/novice riders, city’s are simply not moving in the “take the lane” direction.

    So what’s the solution? It’s easy to criticize but harder to work on a real solution.

    saying we need better education is great, everyone agrees with that! but how do we pay for it? how is it best implemented (a license?), etc..

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 8:57 am

    RE: “the problem with some advocates is that “take the lane” and “bike lanes suck” fall on deaf ears of most cities because the bike planning profession is convinced that novice riders they’re trying to reach need places away from cars to bike in.”

    “The fallacy has been to cram ‘good medicine’ down people’s throat because the experts’ thought it was good for them.” Fisher, E. G., and R. Reeder. Vehicle Traffic Law. Traffic Institute, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 1974, 20, 29.

    “Much of what has gone on in highway design and operation practice has represented activity without sufficient thought.” Highway Safety, Design and Operation. Report 93-7. Subcommittee on Investigations and Review. Committee on Public Works, U.S. House of Representatives, July 1973.

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 9:04 am

    RE: “most reasonable people/planners/engineers etc — even in Portland! — realize that bike lanes are not the best treatment. what I’m saying is that the problem is, we haven’t yet been able to push to the next big solution… yet!”

    In the meantime, people die or seriously injured, NEEDLESSLY. How many more Tracy Sparlings does PDX need to just say NO to bike lanes?

    RE: “my point is that when the momentum is around breaking in new/novice riders, city’s are simply not moving in the “take the lane” direction.”

    Cities are not moving simply because the concerned parties, cyclists themselves, are not moving. If the PDX BAC comes out against bike lanes, it will have major results, not just in PDX, but also, here in Tulsa, and across America.

    RE: “Saying we need better education is great, everyone agrees with that! but how do we pay for it? how is it best implemented (a license?).”

    Oh, right. There’s all the money in the world to build more bike lanes, proven killers, but, NOT one dime to include bike driving ed into regular driver’s ed, NOT one dime for 30 second PSA’s, and NOT one dime for bus bench ads? Help me out, people! WHAT AM I MISSING?

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  • ac September 16, 2010 at 9:06 am

    the merge can work, but it needs to be striped so that all road users can expect the crossover…the expectation on the part of all users is key

    example of unsafe situation: no striping for a safe right turn at NW Everett & 14th…traffic coming off 405 slides thru an unmarked parking lane across the bike lane to turn right onto Everett on the red light (lots of vehicles come thru here during rush so it could really benefit from some regulation)

    example of safe situation: striped right turn lane on NE Vancouver south of Fremont, lane dedicated to right turns onto Fremont Bridge…traffic coming down Vancouver makes noted efforts to merge safely with cyclists

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  • rider September 16, 2010 at 9:08 am

    A month or so ago I was riding up Vancouver and at a light a driver rolled down his window and asked the cyclist in front of me how he was supposed to make a right turn with a bike lane, e.g. who yields to who, can he make the turn on red, etc. It was great that he was educating himself, but’s he’s just one of many who doesn’t know how this all works. I wish there was some sort of “The More You Know” campaign that helped educate bicyclists and drivers alike. I think it would reduce much of the tension and accidents.

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  • ac September 16, 2010 at 9:09 am

    i guess my point above is that the CA style right turn leaves a lot to chance, and the immediate situation is a fleeting agglomeration of driver experiences and reactions put into action in an instant

    at least a striped or controlled intersection sets some rules, if not physical barriers

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 16, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Rider wrote:
    “I wish there was some sort of “The More You Know” campaign that helped educate bicyclists and drivers alike.”

    – this is a great idea and something local advocates should definitely push ODOT/PBOT to do more of. They have a safety budget and more could be done to feature bike/car traffic law issues

    Paul Tay, you wrote:
    “In the meantime, people die or seriously injured, NEEDLESSLY. How many more Tracy Sparlings does PDX need to just say NO to bike lanes?”

    – 1) data shows that right hooks usually result in only minor injuries and are comparatively not as dangerous as many other collision types. 2) there have been no other “Tracey Sparlings”

    “There’s all the money in the world to build more bike lanes, proven killers, but, NOT one dime to include bike driving ed into regular driver’s ed, NOT one dime for 30 second PSA’s, and NOT one dime for bus bench ads? Help me out, people! WHAT AM I MISSING?”

    – You’re missing some facts. 1) there’s not “all the money in the world” to build more bike lanes. funding is still a struggle. 2) “proven killers”? i just don’t agree w/ that and feel it’s not a productive label at all. 3) getting bike driving into driver’s ed isn’t about money, it’s about advocacy and political will. 4) there have been bus bench and other bus ads promoting bike safety.

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  • El Biciclero September 16, 2010 at 9:32 am

    “…turning across the [bike] lane instead of first yielding then merging into it…”

    If it is possible to yield before merging, how is it any harder to yield before turning?

    IMO, the biggest advantage of bike lanes is that when other traffic is backed up, I have a legally sanctioned lane of traffic–analogous to an HOV lane–in which I can (cautiously) keep moving while cars are stopped. Allow the California merge, and the main road I travel for 4 or so miles on my way home will change from 2 lanes and a bike lane in each direction to 2 lanes and a right turn lane in each direction. I’d be just as stuck in traffic as any car driver (much to their delight, I’m sure).

    Additionally, my non-scientific anecdotal study of current driver behavior suggests that most drivers are less likely to yield when merging than they are to yield when turning.

    The only advantage I can see to changing this law might be that when cyclists are inevitably run over by drivers “yielding, then merging”, there ought to be zero question about who is at fault.

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 9:37 am

    RE: “– 1) data shows that right hooks usually result in only minor injuries and are comparatively not as dangerous as many other collision types. 2) there have been no other “Tracey Sparlings”

    Is it because of bike lanes or education? Define “minor injuries.” If I had obey Oregon or any other state ride-right statutes and roll bike lanes all day long, I would have died a million deaths.

    RE: “1) there’s not “all the money in the world” to build more bike lanes. funding is still a struggle. 2) “proven killers”? i just don’t agree w/ that and feel it’s not a productive label at all. 3) getting bike driving into driver’s ed isn’t about money, it’s about advocacy and political will. 4) there have been bus bench and other bus ads promoting bike safety.”

    If you guys have put enough cash into education instead for more misguided bike lanes, Mrs. Michaeltree, et al are STILL not getting the memo.

    How many more “minor injuries” of newbie cyclists do we need before “reasonable” people/planners/engineers get the message? Do we really want to teach newbie cyclists the WRONG lesson from the get-go?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 16, 2010 at 9:38 am

    if folks are interested in the bike lane debate… back in August 2006, I addressed the exact issue in a story titled, Bike lanes, a haven or a hazard?

    lots of great discussion that comment section.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 16, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Paul Tay wrote:

    “How many more “minor injuries” of newbie cyclists do we need before “reasonable” people/planners/engineers get the message? Do we really want to teach newbie cyclists the WRONG lesson from the get-go?”

    – Paul, the dominant thinking in urban bike planning right now is that you won’t have any “newbie cyclists” to teach if you don’t have any bike-specific facilities for them to ride in. For as bad as some people think bike lanes are, the big city has the more of them than anywhere else — Portland — also has the highest rate of daily bike use. is that a bad thing? would Portland have as many riders if we didn’t have as many bike lanes?

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  • Joe September 16, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Some bike lanes create right hooks, I feel meaning cars always try and beat you to the turn, even if they just passed you. Im not racing you Mr.Car

    Most of the time I avoid a right hook but feeling/seeing the car movements as they pass me, but thats not always the case.

    Must have wings on my back or just luck.

    be safe enjoy the ride
    Joe

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 9:55 am

    RE: “Portland — also has the highest rate of daily bike use. is that a bad thing? would Portland have as many riders if we didn’t have as many bike lanes?”

    Ok, there’s critical mass, along with some collateral damage and “minor” injuries. With the benefit of hindsight, looking at the whole picture of the PDX culture, I dare say you would have the warm bodies on the road, even if “reasonable” people/planners/engineers took the high road and insisted on education before misguided engineering. Even before bike lanes, there were enough assets on the ground to sound “reasonable” to accommodate newbie cyclists. Those assets belong to TriMet.

    RE: “the dominant thinking in urban bike planning right now is that you won’t have any “newbie cyclists” to teach if you don’t have any bike-specific facilities for them to ride in.”

    Yep. NOBODY likes wiseguys to say, “Why would “reasonable people/planners/engineers discourage “newbie cyclists” with PROVEN killer bike-specific facilities that put meat in blind spots and door zones?

    J. Maus, I GIVE UP. Let’s go get a BEER!

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  • spare_wheel September 16, 2010 at 10:25 am

    “it makes no sense to shove bike lanes all the way over to the right just so they can go straight. It’s like a freakin’ afterthought. It’s lazy design.”

    i agree completely. if we want to encourage cycling it should be cars that are forced to slow down and look before taking a right — not cyclists.

    “striped right turn lane on NE Vancouver south of Fremont”

    i think this is exactly the kind of treatment needed. in the context of a highly utilized route cars should be channeled away from cyclists rather than be forced to compete for space. bike boxes also do nothing to eliminate conflicts when the light turns green. dedicated turn lanes solve this issue.

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  • beth h September 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Paul Tay — what is your solution for, specifically, NEWBIE (and/or older/slower) cycists to help them feel and be safer on the roads?

    In your answers, please formulate how you plan to get motorists on board with your vision, and where the money is coming from.

    Thank you.

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  • h September 16, 2010 at 11:07 am

    if i arrive at an intersection before the front car, the driver may not realize i am at the other side. I wait for the front car to move first before me because I dont know for sure what the car is going next…. that is my basic biking defense…

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  • Joe Rowe September 16, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I feel there is an elephant in the room here. The reason why this woman got hit at this trouble spot is the same reason why we have a lot of trouble spots. Even parked cars win out over bikes.

    I’ll quote another person here: “PBOT has succeeded in stacking the BAC with members who all agree with PBOT’s agenda”

    There’s another spot where this problem has mostly been solved by removing some parking… There’s a big potential for right hooks on N. Vancouver Ave as cars attempt to turn right and get on the Freemont bridge.

    a) Parking spots have been removed to promote bike safety.

    b) There is a bike lane next to a curb side bus only lane. This gives bikes and cars a lot of side to side room over a long stretch. Both bikes and cars can see each other and slow down. The bikes go straight, the cars turn right

    c) The pavement is clearly striped, and the bike lane does not vanish and reappear.

    What can improve Couch and Grand?

    1) The BTA? Hmm. They want to raise funds, but not a fuss. When was the last time they had any call to action.

    2) The BAC? AKA a toothless lapdog.

    3) Join me in the a new group of bike activists.

    http://www.activerightofway.org/

    Click the link on the right to join the discussion list.

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  • GlowBoy September 16, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Sorry Paul Tay, but you ideological VC advocates aren’t going to make bike lanes go away. Selectively citing studies doesn’t make you right.

    I’m a long time rider (and practice VC when I’m not in a bike lane), but you can (figuratively) pry bike lanes out of my cold dead hands! No way am I going to try to share the lane with 45mph traffic out here in Beaverton.

    Getting rid of bike lanes can have one of two possible effects: (1) drastically reducing the number of riders, leaving only those aggressive enough to ride VC, achieving VC’s elitist agenda or (2) if people decide to ride anyway, you’re going to get a whole lot of folks killed. HANDS OFF MY BIKE LANES!

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  • GlowBoy September 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    And by the way, going to the idiotic California law isn’t going to make things any better for cyclists. If drivers can enter the bike lane to make a right turn, then they’re going to sit there BLOCKING IT while they wait for peds to cross.

    Oregon’s rule — and honestly, most drivers get this — is you never drive IN the bike lane; you CROSS it. Turning across the bike lane is conceptually no different than making a left turn across opposing traffic. You wait for traffic to clear, then cross it. You never, ever, ever drive IN it. No way is switching to the California law going to make much of a dent in right hooks. Instead it will force a lot more cyclists out into the higher-speed general purpose lanes. On 25mph urban arterials this might not be a big deal, but on 40-45mph suburban arterials it becomes a much more serious problem.

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  • ac September 16, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    +1 to post #49

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  • JJ September 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    GlowBoy, no, there is no other example where you turn across an active traffic lane moving the same direction. If there are 3 car lanes, then you NEVER turn from the middle lane across the left or right lane. You always merge into the rightmost or leftmost lane for your direction of traffic. Always.

    A right hook doesnt happen with a merge. There is the potential to get squeezed if the driver doesnt look before moving right, but even that is safer than crashing head on into a turning vehicle. And tapping the side of the car can alert the driver to pull back. This happens on freeways too, Im sure youve seen someone try to make a lane change into a space already occupied. The other car honks, and the driver moves back into their lane. Can you imagine if someone on a freeway tried to to a 90 degree turn…?

    And yes, it results in the car blocking the bike lane momentarily. How is that a big deal? You’re in a city, there is traffic. Sometimes you have to slow down to pass them on the left. Are 3 seconds of delay really a problem when the current law essentially mandates right hooks?

    Does anybody know of any other state that requires cars to turn across an active traffic lane?

    I know for a fact that:
    California
    Massachusetts
    New York
    DC
    Maryland

    Require the much safer merging.

    I believe most states simply ignore the issue. I don’t know of another state that requires turning across the lane.

    Bike lanes can be extremely safe if designed right. Stripe the corners to indicate merging, use buffers or wide bike lanes to get out of the door zone.

    There was a cyclist killed in DC this summer because of a right hook. The reason? The truck driver did not merge into the bike lane, and didn’t see the woman when he made the turn. If he would have followed DC law and merged, the woman would still be alive.

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  • pixie September 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    GlowBoy #49 “If drivers can enter the bike lane to make a right turn, then they’re going to sit there BLOCKING IT while they wait for peds to cross.”

    Good. Cyclists are to stop and wait as well when pedestrians are trying to legally cross an intersection.

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    RE: “what is your solution for, specifically, NEWBIE (and/or older/slower) cycists to help them feel and be safer on the roads?

    In your answers, please formulate how you plan to get motorists on board with your vision, and where the money is coming from.”

    1) Leverage TriMet’s OVER-bloated budget to encourage “newbies” to bike to transit stops; ZERO fiscal impact.

    2) Lobby PBOT to include roundabouts, instead of bike lanes and signals, at major intersections during the preliminary design of reconstruction projects; ZERO fiscal impact.

    3) If not already encumbered, redirect funding from bike lanes to comprehensive education program, i.e. transit ads, social media, PSA’s on local MSM, to encourage newbies to a) Roll in the middle of the lane; b) Stay out of the blind spot and door zones; c)Use rear view mirrors. We only care about stuff coming at us, not moving away from at the front. ZERO fiscal impact.

    Mind over money. Behold….the power of the eternal LEVERAGE.

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  • El Biciclero September 16, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    “And tapping the side of the car can alert the driver to pull back.”

    Tapping on a car is a good way to get on the news for being involved in a “road rage” encounter. I ask again, how is yielding before turning any harder than yielding before merging?

    “And yes, it results in the car blocking the bike lane momentarily. How is that a big deal?”

    It’s not. It becomes a big deal when 20 cars line up in the bike lane at a red light because they all want to sneak ahead and make the right turn on the red, or as soon after the red as possible. You can make entering the bike lane X number of feet before an intersection as illegal as you want, but it won’t prevent the bike lanes on many streets from becoming de facto queuing lanes for right-turning cars–and no such provision will EVER be enforced. At all. Guaranteed.

    Repeal 814.420.

    “Good. Cyclists are to stop and wait as well when pedestrians are trying to legally cross an intersection.”

    Not if the pedestrian is crossing parallel to the cyclist’s direction of travel. The case GlowBoy is thinking of is when a right-turning car is pulled to the right into the bike lane waiting for a pedestrian on the cross street. Meanwhile, the cyclist who is NOT turning (i.e., NOT passing through an occupied crosswalk) also has to wait for no reason. I agree any vehicle should stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, but only if that vehicle is going to pass through the crosswalk the pedestrian is using.

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    RE: “Getting rid of bike lanes can have one of two possible effects: (1) drastically reducing the number of riders, leaving only those aggressive enough to ride VC, achieving VC’s elitist agenda or (2) if people decide to ride anyway, you’re going to get a whole lot of folks killed. HANDS OFF MY BIKE LANES!”

    If ya cain’t sell sex, sell fear. ~~~Confused, da cuz.

    If there’s an elitist agenda to save lives, COUNT ME IN ALREADY.

    Hey, how ’bout we RE-edukate EVERYONE, newbies, old ladies, and rednecks to push the “elitist” VC agenda? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. That would be way to hard. It’s easier for “reasonable” people/planners/engineers to count their “successes” with the number of bike lane miles.

    Bike lanes: the institutionalization of putting meat in the blind spot and door zone.

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  • BURR September 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I just noticed today that the bike lane on westbound NE Broadway at NE Interstate has been moved from the left side of the RTOL lane to a curb position to the right of right turning traffic.

    I don’t know if this is a temporary construction change or a permanent change, but it is not a change for the better.

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  • BURR September 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    …what is your solution for, specifically, NEWBIE (and/or older/slower) cycists to help them feel and be safer on the roads?

    the answer certainly IS NOT to install hazardous right hook bike lanes, since newbies are the least likely to understand the risks and hazards of using such a facility.

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  • Anonymous September 16, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    El Biciclero,

    The cars in the bike lane issue is resolved by changing the lane marking from a solid line to a dashed line within a certain distance of an intersection.

    Solid line, means you aren’t allowed in, dashed line indicates to all on the road that the bike lane is now open to all users. As with movement from lane to lane the rules of the road apply.

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  • Vance Longwell September 16, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Can you share some of the evidence you have that bike lanes are “unsafe”?

    I found a link to an article outlining just how unsafe it is to use bike-lanes, pass on the right, and ban bicycle riders from public highways. Is that evidence?

    http://bikeportland.org/2010/09/15/truck-operater-cited-in-this-mornings-crash-and-other-thoughts-from-the-victims-husband-39605

    Have a, “nice”, day. Good grief J.

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  • Vance Longwell September 16, 2010 at 4:58 pm
  • Felix September 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    @Paul Tay What’s a cagjaa, if I can ask? Google gives me no clues…

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  • scoot September 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    How many people who have to ride Barbur Blvd want to banish bike lanes completely? I ignore hinky bike lanes all the time, mostly because staying in them requires me to ride with so much paranoia, I feel like I’ll never freakin get there. I’ve ignored them right in front of the law plenty of times without any trouble (yet). But I’ll keep that Barbur bike lane, thank you very much.

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  • Paul Tay September 16, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Cagjaaaa[Kay-jaaaa] – noun informal a term of endearment used in polite company by people who use two wheels to travel when referring to neanderthals confined inside of monstrosities of glass, metal, and rubber, on four wheels, powered by dead dinosaurs, usually found criminally speeding just to catch a red light.

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  • Felix September 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Ah, I see. It helps if I add what I think of as a southern accent to “cager”. (I’m Canadian. Most everything is south from here, even North Dakota.) Good description of my opinion of the Lexus minivan stopped squarely on top of the only bike box in town just a few minutes ago. Dude, my box!

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  • Joe September 16, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    hahaha Paul Tay, love it

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  • Vance Longwell September 16, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    “Repeal 814.420.”

    Hear, hear, El Biciclero.

    Man, if you guys would help me do this thing, I’d gladly help you do your thing. Heck, if I was assured I didn’t have to ride in the crazy things, I’d paint the damn things myself.

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  • GlowBoy September 16, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I stand by my statement that the anti-bike lane agenda being pushed by vocal VC advocates and led by John Forrester is at its core elitist.

    I’m a pretty strong rider, and there are a lot of roads when I’m comfortable putting the hammer down and taking the lane as needed. But I also recognize that a lot of less aggressive riders aren’t comfortable with that. And frankly, that includes myself, when I’m towing my young child on our trailerbike. I’m a lot slower with him, and it’s a lot harder to mix in with traffic. Not to mention the stakes are just a BIT higher and I’m less willing to take chances with someone ELSE’s life.

    Again, the anti-bike lane agenda says that if you’re not comfortable doing that, you don’t belong on the road. The argument that bike lanes provide a false sense of security takes a tiny grain of truth and blows it up to tree size. There is no question that on balance, bike lanes make things safer. But keep on quoting your bogus studies.

    And citing instances of right hooks does not prove that bike lanes are unsafe. That’s total BS too. Right hooks — faster cars making right turns in front of slower moving bicycles to their right — have ALWAYS been a problem. I’ve been fending off right hooks for decades, since long before we had bike lanes, and most people I’ve known who were right-hooked were NOT in bike lanes.

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  • GlowBoy September 16, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Oh, and to your comment (#55) about an elitist agenda “to save lives”, you might well believe that yourself, but I sure don’t.

    I believe the elitist agenda of which I’m speaking makes bicycling patently MORE dangerous for the less aggressive rider.

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  • Anthony September 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    I hope the lady will be ok. When I got nailed years ago I was in traction for three months and had to learn how to walk again.

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  • JJ September 16, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    El Biciclero:

    “Tapping on a car is a good way to get on the news for being involved in a “road rage” encounter. I ask again, how is yielding before turning any harder than yielding before merging?”

    Tapping is the worst case scenario with merging. With the current example, the worst case is slamming into a vehicle.

    The yielding isn’t the issue, it’s the turning radius of the vehicle. Look at highways, exits are designed so you merge right into them. What would happen if someone in the middle lane made a 90 degree turn across the rightmost traffic lane?

    When a vehicle merges into the bike lane in front of you, you see the signals and the brake lights. If you’re NEXT to the vehicle, you don’t.

    “It’s not. It becomes a big deal when 20 cars line up in the bike lane at a red light because they all want to sneak ahead and make the right turn on the red, or as soon after the red as possible. You can make entering the bike lane X number of feet before an intersection as illegal as you want, but it won’t prevent the bike lanes on many streets from becoming de facto queuing lanes for right-turning cars–and no such provision will EVER be enforced. At all. Guaranteed.”

    It’s not guaranteed because Ive NEVER seen this happen in states that require merging. Worst case, you have three vehicle in the bike lane wanting to turn right. Ok. You merge into the car lane and pass them on the left. Done. Easy. No problem.

    ” Meanwhile, the cyclist who is NOT turning (i.e., NOT passing through an occupied crosswalk) also has to wait for no reason. ”

    Again, no. The cyclist can wait or they can pass the car on the left.

    Same exact movement cars do if there is no dedicated right turn lane, and you want to go straight but someone is trying to turn, you switch lanes. Or if a bus is stopped, you switch lanes.

    It’s not hard.

    Also, here’s one other major issue:

    Most states require merging.

    As far as I can tell, ONLY Oregon requires turning across the bike lane.

    People travel. You know what happens when one state has a rule that is completely different from the other states? People die.

    Imagine if roundabouts in oregon involved clockwise movement, and everywhere else had counterclockwise movement. It would be insane.

    And that’s what the current Oregon law is, insane.

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  • Vance Longwell September 16, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    JL #9 – So what you are saying is that introducing complexity into a system that has been methodically simplified over the course of almost an entire century is a bad idea that only serves to placate a bunch of control freaks?

    I’ll second that.

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  • wsbob September 16, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    If the streets are going to be safe for anyone but the people encapsulated in motor vehicles (I try steer clear of using the kind of mellifluous nicknames for them and other people that# Meeester Taaaay seems to have such a knack for cleverly devising), bike lanes are very important to have, but it definitely takes some experience and wisdom to use bike lanes so as not to have problems.

    It seems to be so easy for many people to ride along in bike lanes, straight up to the intersection, blithely going on faith that…being in a bike lane ‘specially put there for bikes to travel in…all road users in the main travel lanes will naturally be aware at all times, of bikes traveling in the bike lane.

    Doesn’t work that way at all. Motor vehicle drivers are doing their own thing to get where they need to go; they sometimes see you…and sometimes…they don’t. At any rate, bike lanes are mostly there to allow faster vehicles (mainly motor vehicles) in the main travel lanes to go on their way unimpeded by slower vehicles (da bikes). The bike lane is there for bikes to dodge into in order to allow cars to pass them easily, instead of being stuck behind them as if they were behind an old Winnebago on Hwy 26 ascending the coast range before they had those slick RV turnouts.

    There’s no way to simply say all the things that people riding bikes need to keep in mind and be aware of to avoid having problems at intersections or driveways when using the bike lane. There’s no way to somehow automatically learn it by reading it on a page somewhere. All road users should be having some formal education and training in these things.

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  • are September 17, 2010 at 1:39 am

    re comment 67. the problem with the striped bike lane is that the sense of security it provides is false. paint will not protect you, as the present incident illustrates. to tell people who do not know better that paint will protect them is to mislead them and to expose them needlessly to harm. you can put down the paint, and you can forbid motorists to enter the striped lane (but good luck enforcing that), but you cannot make far to right a safe way to ride. unlike forester, i agree that facilities that are to some extent separated may eventually become a workable norm, but we are not there yet. in the meantime, the safe place for me to be is in the travel lane, away from the door zone, away from the debris and the broken pavement, and away from the right hook, more visible to oncoming and cross traffic . . . the list goes on. i do not intend to deprive you of the choice to ride to the right, inside the imagined protection of the white paint, but i also do not intend to be relegated there (and ultimately to the emergency room or worse) myself, either legally or because the motoring public imagines that i belong “over there.”

    as far as the “elitist” argument goes: again, well-designed facilities? go for it. but facilities that actually entice the proles to their death? who is elitist here?

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  • slowneasy September 17, 2010 at 5:09 am

    wow, I’ve missed this for a couple of days and have to not read all posts, but make a comment still. When driving my school bus and planning a right turn I am always in the right lane.I am watching for peds and bikes and stupid car drivers who might be driving up on my right in the bike lane. A right turn is tight and if you do it correctly in a school bus, you are traveling at no more than 5 mph, usually slower. Prior to making the turn you it is practice to look in my left right mirror, left mirro and other mirrors, over my shoulder since we have windows. My practice is error on the side of caution. stopping my bus making a right turn is not unheard of.

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  • GlowBoy September 17, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Bike lane haters are fond of saying the “protection” offered by bike lanes is a myth. True, a vehicle could swerve over and clobber me — regardless of whether or not there’s a bike lane. But removing the stripe increases that danger.

    If you don’t believe me, try riding Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway west of Scholls Ferry sometime — as I did just a couple hours ago. There’s no question that cars come closer to me on the sections without bike lanes, as the appearance of a wider lane causes cars further to the right (not to mention faster), and CLOSER TO ME.

    Forcing cyclists into the road on 40-45mph suburban arterials is a guaranteed recipe for conflict and mayhem. I’ve NEVER had a conflict with a vehicle on the bike-laned parts of BHH. I HAVE had conflicts with vehicles on the sections without — even where there was enough room for a 5′ bike lane and the car had enough room to get by without changing lanes.

    As I mentioned before, right hooks were one the greatest threats to cyclists before we had bike lanes. It’s inherent in the differing speeds between bikes and other vehicles. Bike lanes are not the primary CAUSE of right hook crashes, and removing them will not make them go away.

    Novice riders may indeed be lured into a false sense of security by bike lanes; but as I think wsbob was driving at, the solution to that is not to remove the bike lanes and retreat to the dark ages. It is to better educate the novices. They’re still safer with bike lanes than without, hands down.

    Any reasonably experienced and intelligent cyclist is aware of their surroundings and on the lookout for right hooks, regardless of whether there is a bike lane or not. Defensive riding would have prevented most of the high profile right hooks that have been posed on BikePortland.

    By you folks’ logic, are the stripes on the freeway also a false sense of security? Gee, I suppose it’s crazy that I drive down the freeway, blithely assuming that some little stripes of paint on the pavement are going to keep the next car (or semi!) from swerving into me. Does the fact that crashes still occur sometimes mean that we should remove all the stripes on the freeway too? Kramer?

    The reason I get my shorts in a bunch over this issue is that bike lanes are a big chunk of what we’ve accomplished here in Portland in 15 years, and a big reason why we have 4x as many riders as we used to (and thus 1/4 of the crash rate). From where I sit it looks like you guys are trying to undo all that progress.

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  • are September 17, 2010 at 11:27 am

    i have tried to make it clear that i do not oppose the striping of bike lanes right up to your door. i want to get rid of the mandatory sidepath law because i myself do not want to be forced to use the things. i am not myself personally familiar with the exact road you mention, but i have been on plenty of others just like it, and i am not passed too close, except by jerks, because i am not trying to stay far to the right and encourage close passing. i claim a solid space in the lane, and a motorist who is not a jerk has to make a sensible decision to pass when s/he has room. footnote: the safe passing distance law in oregon, such as it is, would not apply if you did put a bike lane on the road you mention, because apparently the speed limit is 35 or higher. so there you are in your painted lane with cars still blowing by inches away. i certainly agree people need education, but i do not see anyone (by which i mean PBoT) offering any. instead, they offer “education” in the form of behavior modification by putting down these lanes. and what is the education these lanes offer? far to the right, which is exactly the opposite of a responsible educational message.

    i will shut up for awhile now.

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  • SD September 17, 2010 at 11:53 am

    @Paul Tay,
    The a, b, c “evidence” is not evidence for your arguments and does not show that bicycle lanes are more dangerous than other options. No disrespect, but googling and posting links like that is sloppy.

    We all realize that the current bike lane infrastructure is in its early stages and is evolving.

    What many commenters on this blog appear to ignore is the ultimate goal of having a safe infrastructure for children and elderly riders. One of the great things about bike transportation is that it can become a much safer mode of transport than motorized. The best solutions should be as close to being fool proof as possible. Bike lanes are a step toward an adequate biking infrastructure.

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  • El Biciclero September 17, 2010 at 11:58 am

    OK. I think there are some contextual issues that not everybody is thinking about. On streets with slower traffic (<35mph) merging might be preferable to turning across the bike lane, but only marginally. Keep in mind that my responses to the below are in the context of a 45-50mph suburban arterial with long distances between cross streets

    "The cars in the bike lane issue is resolved by changing the lane marking from a solid line to a dashed line within a certain distance of an intersection."

    Have you ever seen cars at rush hour in a signalized left turn lane? The turning lane doesn't start until the yellow center line curves over and opens up into a separate lane. Yet when the light is red, drivers stack up far back behind the actual start of the turning lane–almost to the point of pulling into the oncoming lane. Why? because they want to get around the poor saps waiting to go straight through. Same behavior happens with right turning lanes. Dashed, solid, whatever kind of lines you want to paint will be ignored if a driver thinks they can sneak ahead–especially if others are already doing it. Monkey see, monkey do. I would personally guar-on-tee you that cars would be lined up at least 20 deep in the bike lane on the road I use to get home. They're already lined up 3 deep as it is, even though it is illegal.

    "Tapping is the worst case scenario with merging. With the current example, the worst case is slamming into a vehicle."

    I would actually say that the worst case with merging is being rammed up over a curb and thrown off your bike, either onto the sidewalk or into the street. I had a guy try to "merge" into me just yesterday; I was too busy moving out of his way to tap on his car (I was not in a bike lane in this case, I was in the middle of three lanes and he was merging from my right).

    "Same exact movement cars do if there is no dedicated right turn lane, and you want to go straight but someone is trying to turn, you switch lanes. Or if a bus is stopped, you switch lanes.
    It's not hard."

    It IS hard when the traffic you need to merge into is unimpeded and moving at 45-50 mph.

    I have to say that I am with GlowBoy on this one. The only thing that makes bike lanes dangerous is that some cyclists believe that they are always protected in a bike lane. What we need to do is repeal ORS 814.420 and treat bike lanes more like we treat passing lanes or HOV lanes–they should be there as a place for cyclists to move out of the way or get somewhat out of the exhaust cloud when cars are backed up. Bike lanes should be a refuge for cyclists when needed, but we should not be legally confined to them.

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  • BURR September 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    #67. Speaking only for myself, I do not consider myself to be ‘anti bike lane’ simply on principle, nor do I consider myself to be an acolyte of John Forester, whose dogmatism and rhetoric I usually find quite detestible.

    On your part, Glow Boy, painting me or anyone else into the VC corner in order to more easily dismiss our valid criticism of PBOTs engineering designs is disingenuous at best.

    Therefore, I will reiterate that my strenuous opposition is not to bike lanes per se, but rather to poorly designed and engineered right-hook and door-zone bike lanes.

    Simply put, the bike lanes that I can support are those that are placed on the roadway according to the well understood principles of ‘destination positioning’, which means placing cyclists and the bike lane to the left of right-turning traffic.

    As such, I will continue to vocally speak out against every single PBOT bike lane design or project that ignores the principle of ‘destination positioning’ and instead places bike lanes to the right of right-turning traffic, and then applies band-aid fixes like bike boxes when the inevitable tragedies ensue.

    In summary, the designs that PBOT is promoting reflect very poorly on PBOT’s engineering practices and standards and deserve all the negative comments and criticism they receive.

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  • Paul Tay September 17, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    RE: “The a, b, c “evidence” is not evidence for your arguments and does not show that bicycle lanes are more dangerous than other options.”

    Ok, forget about the links.

    FACT: Bike lanes put newbies in the blind spot.

    FACT: Bike lanes put newbies in the door zone.

    FACT: Newbies are the LEAST aware of these dangers.

    FACT: Bike lanes institutionalize misguided ride-right mentality.

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  • wsbob September 17, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    “… FACT: Bike lanes put newbies in the blind spot.

    FACT: Bike lanes put newbies in the door zone. Paul Tay #80

    I’d put that a little differently, as in:

    ‘ Lack of proper instruction, experience, and use of good judgment put newbies, but also people that aren’t necessarily new to riding bikes in traffic…in blind spots and the door zone.

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  • Rebecca C September 17, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I’m not a newbie– I have been riding for 35 years and I commute ~40miles a week (depending on my schedule) year-round and do prolly another 10 or so a week w/ errands. That said, I am a slow and, after a gnarly door incident in NYC that left me with hip injuries that took months to heal, a cautious and hypervigilant rider. I agree with cyclist and GlowBoy that the bike lanes do give some us a sense of security and what we really need is more bike safety education in PDX. It seems that, in places without dedicated lanes, drivers cut it too close, even where there are sharrows. I had a couple of near-misses on Clay this summer when the paving closed down the Hawthorne/Madison bike lanes and considered taking the bus because I was so freaked out. We need to figure out the right turn thang and some signage/education could help, but I will fight and fight hard to keep the bike lanes. Even though I am very fit, I do not ride quickly enough to take the regular traffic lanes. And I imagine I’m not the only one.

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  • Vance Longwell September 17, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    BURR #79 – Please remember that you are talking about making bicycle riding safer, and the people putting this stuff down have no such desire. Their goal is to impede motorist traffic to the point it’s impracticable. And they’re exploiting people’s paranoia, and hysterical fear, to fund their agenda. Tell me these crazy cross-walks sprouting up in the middle of nowhere aren’t intended more to make people in motor vehicles stop, than to protect pedestrians. When you build on lies, the finished product is almost always false.

    I bought a pick-up a few days ago, and have driven around some for the first time in a very long time. It’s shameful how bad this stupid new yield-to-pedestrians treatment, and bike-boxes, are stacking up traffic. You know, ’cause tens of thousands of cars idling in traffic is good for the environment.

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  • esther c September 17, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    I don’t understand how the CA law would help. All it would do is change the circumstances in which the drivers crunched the bikes. They’d be side swiping us, or pulling over and we’d have to stop short to avoid them. And as others have noted blocking our nice unobstructed bike lanes.

    The best way to avoid a right hook is to ride defensively. Sure, it would be nice if you could just whip down the street at 20mph when you have the right of way but if you really value your safety above all else you need to approach every intersection with caution. Never assume someone is going to yield the right of way to you just because its yours legally.

    If you approach someone making a right turn and they have not just previously passed you there is a very slim chance that they are even going to be aware that you are there, so be prepared to stop.

    Talk to people you know who drive who don’t ride. You would be shocked to learn how many of them don’t even know that you have the right of way at an intersection if you’re in a bike lane and going straight and they’re making a right turn. And you’re going to depend on them to stop and yield to you?

    As someone told me once, you may have the right of way, you don’t have a force field.

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  • Greg September 18, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Okay – so here’s a video from the Netherlands on how they make separated facilities (cycle tracks) safe. I’ve used these kinds of turn facilities in Holland and they work so well that you hardly even notice them – they just seem natural.

    So the next time someone starts talking about cycle tracks you’ll know how they *really* are supposed to work :-)

    http://hembrow.blogspot.com/2010/09/junction-design-for-safer-cycling.html

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  • random_rider September 18, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Vance- I kind of see what you’re saying, but I don’t think slowing motor vehicles is antithical to creating a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians. Yes, crosswalks are intended to make cars stop while there are people trying to cross the street.

    Roads are designed to help people get from point A to B in a safe and efficient manner. They are not the sole domain of motor vehicles with everyone else an inconvenience that should be ignored.

    By the way, congrats on the truck. Your previous posts indicate that it will be really useful for your work and open up a lot of opportunities for you.

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  • are September 18, 2010 at 11:12 am

    re comment 85, thanks for the video. this is the kind of thing i mean when i say that eventually, maybe, separated facilities might work. but of course this is not the kind of design we see PBoT working toward.

    footnote: at the very end of the video, they do show a potential conflict between a cyclist completing a left turn and a motorist making a right on what has become a green signal phase for cross traffic. but i guess nothing is ever perfect.

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  • Alan September 18, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    are #87: “footnote: at the very end of the video, they do show a potential conflict between a cyclist completing a left turn and a motorist making a right on what has become a green signal phase for cross traffic.”

    Not speaking to the specifics but in general, NL’s policy of less vulnerable street users (cars) being responsible to yeild to more vulnerable street-users (bikes, peds) takes care of such situations. When I got to spend a day riding in Groningen I incurred numerous puzzled stares and the occasional “go, go” wave from drivers, leaving me with the sense the drivers were wondering “why isn’t that bike going in front of me? why are they making eye contact with me?” I didn’t sense anger or hostility, just a slightly puzzled look about that foolish cyclist who didn’t know when he should just blast in front of traffic. In that sense, it’s not an engineering or infrastructure solution, but instead education, culture, habit, practice, policy, enforcement.

    BTW, I’m not familiar with the lane markings at Couch and Grand, and maps.google isn’t current, but if those are typical PBOT bike lanes, don’t the lane lines stop before the crosswalk and not continue through the intersection? If that’s the case, what’s different about this collision than the right hook where Judge Zusman ruled against Piekarski? (I don’t agree with that decision, just wondering why the situations are being treated differently.)

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  • JJ September 18, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Alan, thats false. I cant find the video, but at roundabouts, cyclists do not have the right of way to cross at the crosswalk areas, they must wait for all cars to pass who are exiting.

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  • Alan September 18, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    JJ, I don’t mean to say that “cars must always yield” is the law there. It’s just that my ingrained riding habits are SO much more defensive and subservient to cars that it made me conspicuous in Dutch city traffic. You’re correct, there absolutely are situations there where bikes MUST yield, and they do and traffic flows smoothly. But overall, the sort of “right hook/lane cross” problem in this thread wouldn’t occur there both because they wouldn’t use this infrastructure, but also because their laws/habits/policies all give greater recognition to the bike, so if it were used in some odd situation, the car/bike conflict be extenuated.

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  • Winnie Ruth September 20, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I feel funny if cars are “adjacent” to me. My next move is to make eye contact or slow down and get behind them. This strategy evolved because I’ve been almost hooked. So far it’s a good strategy and hasn’t failed.

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  • El Biciclero September 21, 2010 at 10:59 am

    “I feel funny if cars are “adjacent” to me.”

    I’ve told my wife and other “newbie” cycling friends that the sound of a car slowing beside you should set off more alarm bells than almost any other sound on the road, because it usually means the driver is about to make a turn across your path.

    OK, all you CA Merge proponents–I thought about this and came up with the number one reason why CA Merging could be considered safer (but which I haven’t seen articulated yet): relative velocity. If a driver is merging into the bike lane prior to a turn, they will be moving at a speed that more closely matches that of cyclists already in the lane. In theory, that makes collisions less likely or less severe. That’s me trying to be objective. However as esther c points out, sideswipes would become the predominant collision type between right-turning cars and straight-through bikes. Also, I maintain that if merging is allowed, the bike lanes I use will fill up with stopped cars hoping to make a right on red, or just to sneak past the straight-ahead crowd. I also say that if yielding prior to merging is possible, then yielding prior to turning is also possible. I don’t believe that changing when yielding is supposed to be done will improve yielding behavior.

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  • Alan September 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I’m not a merge proponent but I think it’s worth exploring the idea. There are several such bike/car merges around where I ride in Vancouver. Frankly they scare me a bit and I’m very cautious with them even though I don’t recall any particular bad experience. That’s strictly a gut reaction and I’d welcome more analytical data but sometimes gut reactions keep us alive.

    There are physical factors besides relative velocity which come into play. The time/distance it takes for a car to merge over a lane gives a bike time to swerve, slow or otherwise avoid collision (bunnyhop curb – j/k ;) compared to a quick right hook. For the driver, merging is a (more) singular task to focus upon compared to complexities of navigating a right turn (on-coming traffic on left front corner, crosswalk, bike lane behind/right). Simpler should result in fewer mistakes.

    As for cars filling the bike lane near a merge zone, I suppose if I encountered that I’d ride as far forward in the bike lane as I could, looking for an opening to cross between cars (merge) to the left side of the right-turning cars, and proceed on up to the bike lane at the intersection.

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  • BURR September 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I’d much prefer the city to remove curbside parking and create RTOL lanes to the right of the bike lane, so that motorists are merging through the bike lane and into their own lane rather than merging into and remaining in the bike lane.

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  • El Biciclero September 21, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    #94 +1

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  • are September 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    as motorists merge right to turn, i merge left to go around them, bike lane or no. if we have to have paint on the ground to (a) make people feel better and/or (b) educate motorists and cyclists on where they ought to be, why not make the paint conform to what makes sense?

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  • Alan September 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    “…motorists are merging through the bike lane and into their own lane rather than merging into and remaining in the bike lane.”

    Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about, too. The bike lane leaves the curb to become the second lane, the merge zone has broken (dashed) stripes.

    Mixed bike+car…that’s what sharrows are for, no? How about a sharrow’d lane for bikes straight or right, cars right-only [RTOL]?

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  • Pete September 27, 2010 at 6:24 am

    NF (#29): IIRC, the CA law used to be 150′ and was increased to 200′ in the past decade, but I could be mistaken.

    After riding for the previous decade in Oregon bike lanes and the past year and a half in California, I changed my previous views on the subject and the California way definitely seems safer. It also feels like the drivers here are more aware of cyclists; there seem to be many more cyclists here maybe because of the weather.

    And yes, the lines are dashed here on the merges unlike in Oregon, but definitely not dashed for 200′. I often take the lane coming up to them on narrower roads when the light is red, and I find people generally cooperative on these shared turns, though there is a tendency for people to speed up to beat you so they don’t have to wait (same behavior I saw in Oregon).

    I had a driver aggressively cut me off (and a woman waiting to turn right with her blinker on) in the bike lane on Murray in Beaverton years ago. I squeezed next to him and said “you can’t use the bike lane as a turn lane here in Oregon – go back to California!”. He replied “How’d you know I was from California?”. ;)

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  • Pete September 27, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Back on topic: Brian, I’m glad Jill was not more seriously injured, and I think a citation is a good message in this situation. I’m also glad the driver was cooperative and as a sometimes-driver I’m sure he feels bad and didn’t intend harm. I’ve had near-misses with cyclists before and I can better predict their behavior as a cyclist myself, but accidents do happen.

    Another citation I think would be a great message is when drivers fail to signal turns. These have been my most common near-misses and drivers cannot assume they see all in a situation, even when they’re looking. Unfortunately signalling a turn has become optional due to lack of enforcement.

    I agree with your anger that drivers should look when turning, but I’ve also had drivers look right at me and not see me. Cognitively they were looking for other cars, and I think an optimal (but unrealistic) solution for educating drivers to actually see cyclists and peds would be to make them ride my daily bike commute before they could get their license.

    Hope Jill’s back on the road soon!

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