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Effort to ban studded tires moves forward: Signature gathering to start soon

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 27th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Jeff Bernards

Portlander Jeff Bernards, a well-known citizen activist who started the "Get Lit" free bike light program and who won a BTA Alice Award in 2006, has made major progress since we last checked in on his effort to ban studded tires in Oregon.

Bernards is chief petitioner on a forthcoming ballot measure and is the force behind the "Preserving Oregon Roads" campaign. Bernards told us this morning that he has filed with the Oregon Secretary of State and he expects to begin the initial signature-gathering process in the next few weeks. By mid-March, he and his team expect to begin the long road toward gathering the 80,000 signatures he'll need to get a measure on the November 2012 ballot.

Bernards feels strongly that studded tires are simply not needed and that the extreme damage they cause to Oregon roads is an expense we can't afford. "It's pretty simple. We're broke as a state and we can't afford to spend millions repairing our vital infrastructure."

"It's pretty simple. We're broke as a state and we can't afford to spend millions repairing our vital infrastructure."
— Jeff Bernards

The Oregon Department of Transportation estimates that studded tires cause about $75 million in road damage each year. Meanwhile, ODOT devotes about $11 million a year to fix that damage. In a budget where money for transportation (especially non-motorized) is extremely limited, it's in all our best interests to spend it wisely.

Studded tires don't only impact ODOT's budget, they also have a major impact on the quality of our bikeways. How often have you crossed a big arterial street while riding your bike and felt the bumps and ruts they cause? How about those colored bike boxes and bike lane stripes being worn down prematurely?

Efforts to ban or tax studded tires have come up before in the state legislature, but so far every effort has failed. This session, another attempt is afoot. House Bill 2333 would prohibit use of studded tires in Oregon. Bernards is aware of that bill and says if it passes he'll give up his petition effort; but he's not holding his breath.

"History has shown that state legislators haven't been able to pass a ban, or even a tax on studded tires. They've tried three or four times."

To help with his petition efforts, Bernards has hired Portland-based signature-gathering consulting firm Democracy Resources. Bernards has also invested a significant amount of his own money into the effort.

Bernards says his effort is just as much about education the public about the issue as it is about the actual ban. "The truth that nobody really understands is that alternatives to studded tires actually perform just as well if not better in almost all conditions."

"This is about protecting taxpayer dollars and a vital resource," he says, "Our food comes down those roads, so it's in our best interest to protect them."

— To volunteer or learn more about the campaign visit PreservingOregonsRoads.org. Download a FAQ on the issue here (PDF). Browse our past coverage in the archives.

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Comments
  • sabernar January 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Yay! Go Jeff!

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  • Peter O. January 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Ill sign this one in a heartbeat. Just need to when and where, Ill even bring friends.

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  • Allan January 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    If this makes it on the ballot, what are the odds of passing? I'm guessing the majority of oregonians love saving money and don't have studs, but is this predicted to pass assuming 80k signatures?

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  • Alan January 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    What about studded bicycle tires?

    And more seriously, I'm puzzled by the commitment some show to banning studded tires. The studies I've seen indicate that they make a modest contribution to road wear (when you consider the 100,000's of vehicles that use them) while they contribute to the safety of vehicles that travel icy roads. A tax commensurate with their additional wear would be fine, but several items are higher priorities on my list of road destroyers.

    How about a law requiring those who dig up the roads to re-surface relatively smoothly?

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    • davemess January 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      Yet, almost every other state in the US has banned studded tires. There has to be reason, even if you don't believe the damage estimates.

      I'd love to get rid of them from a noise stand point alone!

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    • Seth Alford January 27, 2011 at 9:52 pm

      I think it bans studded bicycle tires, too. I'm not a lawyer. But my reading of the proposal says no studs on vehicle tires, with some exceptions. There isn't an exception for bicycles.

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      • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 4:49 pm

        Not that this is a bad thing, given the nasty ruts on the Springwater Corridor in segments where it hasn't been repaved yet.

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    • kww January 28, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Are you kidding? I have never seen troughs in the road until I came to Oregon and the preponderance of studded tire use.

      Previous posts have linked to scientific studies showing how deleterious studded tires are to the roadway.

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      Alan
      What about studded bicycle tires?

      These exist?

      And more seriously, I'm puzzled by the commitment some show to banning studded tires. The studies I've seen indicate that they make a modest contribution to road wear (when you consider the 100,000's of vehicles that use them) while they contribute to the safety of vehicles that travel icy roads.

      Never mind that...

      Most roads in Oregon are wet, not icy.
      Studded tires reduce traction in non-icy conditions.
      Studded tires on roads not covered in ice or snow are the leading cause of damage to roadways where they are permitted.
      It's just not that hard to chain up when you do need the extra traction, and to remove the chains when you're done. If you're not capable of handling this, then part of being a good driver is knowing when not to drive.

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  • Sean G January 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    This is great news, good luck with the signature gathering. The road to ballot passage I imagine is a long one, with well-funded interests on the NO side, and a public already prone to "defend" against "assaults" on people's "rights."

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  • Dolan Halbrook January 27, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    @Alan

    Your argument would be much more valid if studless snow tires didn't exist as viable alternatives.

    I think this is more about banning the sale of new studded tires, not the use of them, though unfortunately that would just cause people to get them from out of state.

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  • Zach January 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Les Schwab isn't particularly active politically (at least not in public), but it's a massive, wealthy company the probably sells half of the studded tires in this state.

    Even if this idea gets off the ground, it will be powerfully smacked down.

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm

      You'd think that, but most of Les Schwab's business comes from states where studs are already banned.

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  • michweek January 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    The ban of studded tires is also a safety concern. Tires with studs have significatly LESS traction on simply wet roads as compared to studless tires. Users of studs dont install and remove their tires when they see snow, they are generally installed for the duration of the "stud season". This leaves average drivers with studs more exposed to traction issues than those without.

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    • BURR January 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      The stud ruts collect water when it rains and make all vehicles, with or without studs, more prone to hydroplaning in wet conditions on stud-rutted roads, not to mention the increase in road spray which affects visibility for all drivers regardless of the tires they are using.

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      • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm

        That's actually an upside I kind of miss since I moved to Oklahoma...if someone was tailgating me on the highway in Oregon, I'd drive across the ruts a few times to decrease the visibility of the guy tailgating me until they backed off...

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  • Jesse January 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Great, so now the 85 year old woman down the street will be keeping chains on her daily driver November through April...

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    • BURR January 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      winter traction tires without studs are readily available

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      Living in a state that bans studded snowtires and has a surprisingly old population, I can safely say granny will learn to use tire chains appropriately or stay home.

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  • suburban January 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    I ride with my studded tires when it looks icy in the mornings, or occasionally in Forest Park.

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  • Alex Reed January 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Banning sales of studded tires in, say, the Portland metro area and the Willamette Valley seems more reasonable and less controversial that banning them statewide. It seems to me that the cost/benefit calculation is probably significantly different in Pendleton, say, compared to Portland.

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    • sabernar January 28, 2011 at 7:37 am

      Most states ban studded tires. Even northern states. Minnesota, for example, bans them. There's no reason why Oregon would need them when a state like Minnesota doesn't.

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      • matt picio January 28, 2011 at 8:46 am

        To be fair, though - most of those states also salt their roads, and Oregon does not.

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        • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm

          Most states don't salt, and if they do, it's usually only after abrasives fail to work. ODOT would be better off using something other than pea-gravel. OklaDOT uses coarse sand (granules about the size of rock salt) to great effectiveness on most roads here (and yes, we have hills).

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    • ?? January 28, 2011 at 8:47 am

      And what stops me from driving over to Hood River to buy studs?

      Either there's a complete ban or there isn't.

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  • Dolan Halbrook January 27, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    One possibility is to use the money saved from not having to repair the roads more often to subsidize trade-ins of studded snow tires for studless snow tires, at least for a while (say, three years). This would go a long way towards mitigating the complaints for those who actually need studded tires and don't want to replace their existing ones for cost reasons. It would defer any savings, but it would give the bill a much better chance of passing IMHO.

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    • davemess January 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      You can take the studs out of the tires as well. It's not that difficult on some. I'm in the process of finishing a pair. I did the first pair quite quickly, maybe 30 mins.
      I know some studded tires are not actually traction tires, but some are.

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      • Pete January 30, 2011 at 12:09 am

        I drove on studs for one winter and many of them came out on their own. I swear by Blizzaks now (and I lived in the snow for the last ten years, not the metro area). IMO studs are overrated and oversold.

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  • Samuel Stumbo January 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I can agree with Alex. I live in Bend and ride year round. I feel much safer riding with studs myself and I certainly feel better when motorists are not slipping all around me. Would this bill effect cyclists using studded tires?

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    • gumby January 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

      People feel safer with studded tires, but there are very few conditions where they offer better traction - most of the time it's actually worse. Studless winter traction tires perform much better, but they are also more expensive.

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  • Dolan Halbrook January 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I'm pretty sure Alex was joking about studded bike tires. You'd have to ride about a million years over the same patch of ground on a studded bike tires to actually cause some damage, so unless someone is feeling particularly dense I'm pretty sure it would only affect heavy vehicles.

    FWIW, if drivers in Minnesota can cope without studded tires, then we probably can too.

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    • Roma January 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      I get your point, but it's not the greatest argument. As someone who's lived in Minnesota, I can tell you that the winters there are vastly different. It's very dry so it's not nearly as slick when it snows. Also, they have a fleet of snow plows that clear off the roads immediately after a large snowfall.

      I'm not arguing in favor of studded tires, only pointing out that not only are icy winters in Oregon different than dry snowy winters in Minnesota, but they are much more well equipped to deal with the snow.

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  • esther c January 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Studless snow tires have amazing traction. I have driven to and from work on a solid sheet of ice. The most dangerous part of the drive was walking to and from the car.

    I put them on at Thanksgiving and take them off mid March unless I think I'll be up in the mountains or we're expecting late snow.

    http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=94

    Interestingly enough, the ruts left in the ice by the studded tires made driving more dangerous.

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    • Jeffrey Bernards January 27, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      Thank you for the comment, that's the goal of Preserving Oregon's Road, to spread the word that new technology tires perform as well or better than studded tires in more adverse conditions, without destroying the roads

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  • jim January 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    what if we have studded tires by permit only, the cost of the permit would go back to repairing the roads.

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    • John_in_NH January 27, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      interesting idea actually, put a tax of some amount on them, instead of banning them outright. Sounds like a good idea to me! However, do we know the number of auto (or bicycle) operators that use them? Would taxing make financial sense?

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      • BURR January 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm

        I would say less than 10% of motorists use them, and a fee equivalent to the damage they cause would amount to hundreds of dollars per tire.

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        • davemess January 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm

          I think that depends where you live. In the SW, I think there are more studded tires (I'm guessing due to the hills) than most other quadrants.

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        • Pete January 30, 2011 at 12:12 am

          I'd dispute that number out in the Gorge too - way higher than 10%.

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      Why bother allowing them in the first place? People selfish enough to use studs are the same people selfish enough to forge their permits.

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  • John_in_NH January 27, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I may have missed it... but would this affect Bicycle and car studded tires uniformly? I personally don't think either one is really needed... even in the worst conditions I have no real trouble on my bike, however is a ban going to be effective? How about the cost for enforcement...? (I doubt it would come close to 75+million, but idk...)

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  • GlowBoy January 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I would strongly disagree with michweek's argument that studded tires have significantly less traction on bare (whether wet or dry) pavement than non-studded. I've owned many sets of both studded and non-studded winter tires over the years, and I have found that the presence of studs makes absolutely no difference in their grip on wet pavement. That may have been true back in the 70s, but not in the past two decades, where the tires' stud pockets are designed to allow the stud to be pushed back into the tire by the car's weight, so that it just barely sticks out past the rubber (though still enough to grab the ice). I've heard this argument many times over the years, and I find it to be simply untrue.

    That said, I haven't owned studded tires in many years. The newer studless winter tires, while (ahem!) still not QUITE as good as studs, are fantastically better on the ice than ordinary "all season" tires, and I've found them to be more than good enough for my needs living in the Valley and hitting the snow occasionally.

    Still, if I lived east of the Cascades and had to drive on ice daily, I might well still get studs. I sure wouldn't want them banned. The better solution is a TAX on studded tires: $40/tire would more than cover the damage they cause, and would deter most people from getting them unless they truly need them.

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      $160/vehicle wouldn't exactly cover the cost to replace the damage they cause, considering we're talking about digging out an entire lane and replacing it new.

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  • GlowBoy January 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Also, as a fellow native Minnesotan like Roma, I can assure you that winter conditions are FAR different there. Nearly all Midwestern and northeastern states banned them back in the 70s (shortly after they initially became popular), while ALL western states have continued to allow them.

    In the northwest have (1) big mountains with long continuous grades, (2) heavy snowfall in temperatures close to freezing, which is MUCH more treacherous cold dry snow, (3) poorer snow clearing. Not only due to fewer plows, but with only 50" of snow per year, it's relatively rare for Minnesota to have big dumps of 1-2" per hour, which is faster than plows can keep up with; on our mountain passes, those rates of snowfall are common, and (4) we have drivers here who are less experienced driving in the snow.

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    • davemess January 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      I think you're forgetting the biggest difference.

      Use of Salt on the roads!

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  • Scott Ninneman January 28, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Instead of an outright ban on studded tires why not have a fee similar to snow day parking permits used on Mt Hood for a short period of time (let's say one or two weeks), giving the permit owner the right to drive with studded tires. Let's face it, the amount of snow we have is pretty minimal here in Portland and lasts typically one day before melting off. I've lived here for 57 years and seen many winters with next to nothing for snow just like this winter so far. So, a two week window of use is pretty liberal given the circumstances. People can choose to get new permits if they so choose throughout the same season as the current law allows. But if they are caught driving without a valid permit there should be a very healthy fine. Since studded tires are the number one cause of premature road wear i.e. ruts, it only makes sense that the people who use them should be the ones who pay the most for the huge cost of road repairs every spring. What do you think?

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  • velo January 28, 2011 at 8:14 am

    sabernar
    Most states ban studded tires. Even northern states. Minnesota, for example, bans them. There's no reason why Oregon would need them when a state like Minnesota doesn't.

    Minnesota does ban studded tires, I currently live there, and people still manage to drive in the winter. Good non-studded snow tires certainly exist and work well. A studded tire ban is overdue. Toss on your chains when you really need them, drive with regular tires the rest of the time.

    If Oregon is going to ban studded tires the state needs to consider that most states that ban studs spend significantly more on plowing and salting. This is worthwhile, but it needs to be taken into consideration.

    I'd carve out an exception for studded tires on bicycles. A 150-200lbs bicycle-vehicle with studs isn't exactly tearing up roads. As a 12 month a year bike commuter in Minnesota studs are critical. This wasn't a huge issue when I lived in Portland, but there were days when it would have been nice to have studs. Given that a bike with studs does very will if any damage to a road it only makes sense for them to not be covered. Carving out an exception might seems unneeded, but I think it makes sense given the the major differences in the harm caused.

    On balance though I'd love to see a ban on studs pass.

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    • One issue January 28, 2011 at 8:53 am

      There's one reason why, and that's Oregon's non-use or snow melting chemicals, ie: salt.

      Road conditions in Oregon are worse then where I lived in Wisconsin, because Oregon won't salt. You get freeze and thaw causing icy conditions in Oregon, while else where the use of salt keeps it liquid allowing evaporation and drainage into the sewers.

      I'm all for getting rid of studded tires, but there needs to be a move to get rid of the road conditions that make studded tires so popular in this state, and that's snow/ice covered roads.

      And you have to look at the cost of those measures vs the cost of road repair.

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      • f5 January 28, 2011 at 10:47 pm

        I wonder what the Cost of EPA fines would be for the city/state for all the runoff polution if we were to begin salting the roads.

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      • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 5:05 pm

        Salting roads is banned in Oregon (and an increasing number of states) because it kills streams and vegetation. Oregon does use non-toxic chemical deicers (and they work a lot better than the salt based on the days I've seen salt used here in Tulsa), but I don't get the whole pea-gravel versus course sand thing...peagravel makes the problem worse (and studs won't help you when you're driving on marbles).

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        • JM January 31, 2011 at 10:27 am

          Yes, the rocks they put down are bad for bikes as well. If you take a corner on loose rocks you will be on your ass. Very painful.

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  • Steve Brown January 28, 2011 at 8:25 am

    A higher tax on the tires is needed as well as responsible use. If you keep them on a seperate set of wheels it is no big deal to put them on the 4-5 days a year it might snow.

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  • Joe January 28, 2011 at 9:10 am

    YAY ! thank you. some roads just bad, water collectors, and hazard's. my question is why are ppl still driving with them?

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  • Joe January 28, 2011 at 9:13 am

    guys if ppl just slowed down and watched how they drive we all would be much better off. speed kills

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  • mary January 28, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Next weekend, we'll enjoy the third annual ice-bike races at the Minneapolis City of Lakes Loppet (YouTube video of the 2009 races at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1c3K1iUkoc ). In 2009, most of the studded tires were home-made, but now there are huge racks of commercially-produced studded tires at local bike stores, and they've revolutionized winter cycling.

    I ride on three wheels in the winter myself, having taken some spectacular falls on ice in the past. If I were younger, I'd join the crowds of Minneapolis winter cyclists riding on studded tires. There hasn't been a day in the last two years -- even with ice storms -- when cyclists were absent from the streets.

    So yes, ban studded tires on motor vehicles, but encourage them on bikes. Motorists with studded tires just drive faster, pressuring everyone to travel at unsafe speeds, while they tear up the roads. When we banned them in Minnesota, their proponents screamed that accident rates would climb. They didn't. (We do have a history of dry, cold winters in Minnesota, but with winters often stretching from October to April, with occasional snow in September and May, we have plenty of time for all types of winter precipitation.)

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  • john January 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Yeah ! Finally. It is just really bothersome to know the damage and millions of $$ going down the drain because of studded tires for the one or two days of snow or ice in pdx.

    Now I would be for a possible compromise, where you can put them on one day prior to a snow event, but then would be required to take them off one day after. 10 minutes with the lug wrench !

    But really, a front wheel drive car with all seasons is all one needs on snow. (with chains just in case). Thats all i have ever used on mt Hood.. I mean come one they gravel the road ! Now i, doing the speed limit, have been passed on mt hood by suvs going 75 to 80 mph on packed snow... Ok yes then you do probably need studs to stay on the road. Only Once, in 10 yrs here, did i need chains, but that was because i was driving a rwd pickup with no weight in the back (worst vehicle for snow by far ! ) cable chains took all of 4 minutes to put on. Highly reccomend the rubber donuts to keep the cables tight .

    If you think you need studs, what you really need is a driving class !

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    • f5 January 28, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      The cost he cites isn't becuase of the two days a year Portland gets snow, it's the amount of damage done state-wide by people driving to the mountains ever weekend for recreation, every day for work, or just daily life east of the cascades most of the winter.

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Why not just use chains? That's a tool-less operation that you can do while waiting for the car to warm up...

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  • Oliver January 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

    "i have been passed on mt hood by suvs going 75 to 80 mph on packed snow...then you probably do need studs"

    You've made an important point there. People who can afford the cost of those tires and the fuel for those vehicles combined with the cost of a family's worth of lift tickets are not going to be inconvenienced by driving slowly just because of a little snow. The irony of that is the outcry that will surely ensue should we try to impose a tax on them particular to their habits.

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    • Pete January 30, 2011 at 12:35 am

      When I lived in the gorge we'd take informal stats on the SUVs and pickups we'd see off the side of the road, often overturned (Chevy Tahoe won hands down, followed by Jeep Cherokee). There's a spot on I-35S this happened more often than not, and my theory is it was due to acceleration on a slight incline after slowing down for curves. People forget SUVs and p'ups need to be weighted down in the back because they have such a weight imbalance forward of center (let alone high center of mass). Also many SUVs (Jeeps in particular) have higher steering ratios (for true off-road use) so they're prone to over-reaction when counter-steering in an attempt to correct a fishtail.

      More importantly people forget to slow down because they want to go shred the mountain. Joe is absolutely correct.

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      • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 5:09 pm

        How can there be an I 35S when 35 runs north/south? It would have to be E or W...

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  • GlowBoy January 28, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Ten minutes with a lug wrench, John? You're pretty amazing, man. Even with a hydraulic floor jack and a power drill, it takes me 35-40 minutes to switch all four. I believe even my record time is just over half an hour.

    I don't think you're going to get anywhere requiring people to mount and remove the studs for a snow event. "One day before"? Are you serious? The weather forecasters can't predict when it will snow here anyway?

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  • Joe January 28, 2011 at 10:22 am

    some roads like speed bumps from the other direction
    :( but we all know bikes dont cause damage ;-)

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      Ride some of the segments of the Springwater Corridor that haven't been repaved since it was built and tell me there's no ruts...

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  • Ron January 28, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Howdy--

    The big ruts in most roads are from heavy vehicles, not studded snow tires. The damage is caused by the road surface being compressed, not dug up. It would be much uglier if it were the other way around.

    Still, any unnecessary road damage should be discouraged. Personally, I would gladly have signed up for some of those fancy, winter-rated traction tires when I bought some studded tires last year, but the alternative wasn't even presented. The sales staff at Les Schwab went straight for studded snows when I told them I needed tires to go into the mountains in winter.

    I didn't argue, because it's been over a decade since I lived in the mountains. I've been in the desert for a while, so I hadn't bought any snow tires, and I wasn't aware of traction tires.

    My point is that a little consumer education, especially at the point of purchase, could go a long way. The studies I've seen since (the last time this came up on Bike Portland, in fact) have pointed out my error. I think there are many of us who would opt for road-saving tires given an informed choice.

    Personally, I haven't put my studded tires on this year, because I haven't gone up into the mountains. Like most of you (I assume), I don't drive much anyway. So these tires could last me forever, without doing much road damage. To my way of thinking, it's a greater crime to relegate them to the landfill, only to tap another rubber tree for a fresh set of traction tires.

    I'd be more likely to support this if it could grandfather in my old tires.
    Happy Trails,
    Ron Georg
    Corvallis

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    • davemess January 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      The ruts are not from heavy vehicles. I have driven in almost every state in the US (All of which have heavy trucks), and OR is the only place I have seen the two water troughs in each lane that is so common here. Just ride your bike in one of these tire grooves, and you will see that they are uneven and "rocky" feeling. This is not compression. I have actually noticed a difference in these ruts (at least from appearance) from when I moved here in July versus now Jan. I have to imagine that dirt and small gravel can fill in some of these spaces left during the summer months and smooth out the road a bit (at leats until next winter brings more stud destruction).

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    • f5 January 28, 2011 at 10:45 pm

      Weighty vehicles don't compress concrete highways. Studs wear them down.

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 5:11 pm

      So how do you explain that the deep rut damage is car width and narrower than truck width by a substantial margin?

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  • q`Tzal January 28, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Why don't we be fair and offer education on why studded tires are not needed and why the tires are more harm than good?
    Then, in support of that whole freedom thing, we allow people to go on using them IF they pay for projected maintenance costs that will be caused by that tire at the weight of the purchaser's registered vehicle?

    The same group of people that don't like the government telling them what to do also don't like having to pay increased taxes to pay for some other person's private decision.

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      Oregon does that now. Clearly, nobody listens, or they assume, "Oh, it's not my car doing that!"

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  • RyNO Dan January 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I noticed on the TV news that washington county was salting the roads during the last storm. I was hesitant to believe what I was hearing. magnesium chloride.

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    • Pete January 30, 2011 at 12:52 am

      I take two magnesium chlorite pills daily because it's the most bioavailable form and my (and the average American) diet lacks it. Otherwise fresh halibut is a good source. Don't be alarmed because it sounds unnatural; many chemicals that make up our body do.

      A quick Google search shows it's deemed to have one of the lowest environmental impacts (being more readily absorbed in water than popular alternatives), but there's debate on whether it damages concrete chemically or not. Assuming of course you believe what you read on the Internet... ;)

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      • Pete January 30, 2011 at 12:54 am

        Oops, chloride... big difference! :)

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      • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 5:14 pm

        Though Washington County has roughly the same ratio of unpaved to paved roads as it does concrete to asphalt roads (which is to say, unpaved roads outnumber paved roads by about the same ratio asphalt roads outnumber concrete roads).

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  • Joe January 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    same here they are not from heavy vehicles its studded tire wear grooves. I feel it and see it.

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    • dude January 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      Yeah the ruts are from the heavy trucks. This is a well known fact

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      • f5 January 28, 2011 at 10:54 pm

        ...and also only part of the picture.

        Trucks cannot physically compress concrete. many of the interstates, highways, freeways, and city streets people are talking about as being rutted are in fact concrete. Concrete wears from abbrasion (studs, and otherwise), and not from how weighty one's rig is.

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        • lothar January 29, 2011 at 1:23 am

          I believe that the surface being driven on is chip-seal paved over concrete. The only time it seems that I am on concrete is when I am on a bridge.

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      • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 5:14 pm

        So why are the ruts the same track width as your standard car, and about two feet narrower than your standard big rig?

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  • Dolan Halbrook January 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    My personal take is that both heavy trucks AND studded tires cause damage. In fact, the most damage is likely from heavy vehicles combined with studded tires or chains.

    In either case, the WSDOT is pretty conclusive about studded tires causing rutting. See: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/biz/mats/pavement/PavementsStuddedTiresFinalv2.pdf

    "CONCLUSIONS
    Studded tire usage has caused at least $18.2 million damage to concrete pavements as determined by
    detailed rutting measurements. Damage may be similar, or much greater, for hot mix asphalt pavements,
    but determination of that damage will have to wait until software can be modified to perform the analysis."

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    • f5 January 28, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      yes, thank you. the truth, as is generally the case in life, lies somewhere in the middle.

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    • Jeffrey Bernards January 29, 2011 at 10:27 am

      Dolan, I liked your progression's & contributions regarding this divisive issue. Once you've read the articles by WSDOT, you can obviously see that a majority of our road repair bill can be reduced with the elimination of studded tires. You were so good about commenting on this BikePortland posting, are you interested in volunteering with Preserving Oregon's Roads campaign?

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      • Dolan Halbrook January 29, 2011 at 8:37 pm

        Hi Jeffrey,

        Thanks for the kind words. I've been following the issue for a little while. If there's a way I can help that involves very little time commitment (as I have very little free between work and family) I'll see what I can do.

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  • Dolan Halbrook January 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Here is more detail from the study I linked to above:

    "Studded tires damage hot mix asphalt and concrete pavements, wearing away the pavement and
    eventually forming ruts on the pavement surface. This type of rut damage is called “raveling.” Raveling
    on concrete pavements only comes from studded tire wear; raveling on hot mix asphalt comes primarily
    from studded tire wear with a lesser portion coming from general tire wear."

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  • fredlf January 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Just curious, what's the comparison of the cost of damage from studded tires compared to expenditures for bikeway improvements?

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  • mike January 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    When the roads between me and work that range between 12 and 20% grade (not rare in the West Hills) are properly cleared of a week of freeze/thaw ice to allow me to get to work and avoid lost production I will then give up my studded tires. Chains help too, but once out of the hills, must be removed as the valley's have usually melted.

    Althouth studless work nearly as well, the one condition where they are inferior is on ice, on a hill. Hence, we have lots of studs in PDX.

    What's the cost of lost production for the whole metro over 4-5 days per year?

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    • Pete January 30, 2011 at 1:01 am

      I've no problem getting my heavy Audi out of my insanely steep Hood River driveway on sheet ice on Blizzaks. They just cost more than studs because of expensive rubber compounds. They wear quickly on dry pavement though, but there's rarely any of that between November and April.

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  • JR January 28, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    In Portland, the whole Metro area seems to shut down with even the threat of snow/ice. Having studded tires hasn't really helped much because the roads are commonly blocked by drivers inexperienced with the occasional snowfall we get. Yet, the remaining 99% of the studded tire "season" we get studded tires tearing up the road. Seems like all road deterioration and virtually no benefit. Maybe drivers need to learn how to put on chains for those 10 days out of the year..

    I have never signed initiatives before because I typically find them asinine. However, this one actually makes sense. I'm signing this.

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      It'd be nice if we stopped giving licenses to Californians; the number of trapped vehicles in weather would be drastically reduced.

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      • JF January 31, 2011 at 10:53 am

        Get off your high horse. CA has some of the worst snow weather in the country in the Sierras. WAY worse compared to the Cascades.

        It doesn't matter if you are from CA or OR. You are either experienced in snow driving or aren't. If you are not, stay at home. If you are, it is your own decision to go driving and hope that other people are experienced. Being from CA has nothing to do with it.

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        • Paul Johnson January 31, 2011 at 6:39 pm

          JF
          Get off your high horse. CA has some of the worst snow weather in the country in the Sierras. WAY worse compared to the Cascades.

          Sure, in eastern California. It's western California that's clueless.

          It doesn't matter if you are from CA or OR. You are either experienced in snow driving or aren't. If you are not, stay at home. If you are, it is your own decision to go driving and hope that other people are experienced. Being from CA has nothing to do with it.

          Part of being a good driver is knowing when not to drive. Visit any major city in western California, and you'll quickly discover that the number of good drivers can be counted on one hand.

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          • JF February 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm

            Drivers in CA and OR are very similar. There are good drivers and bad drivers. Making the blanket statement that you do about Californians is misleading. Especially in a thread about studded tires, as CA has laws in each county allowing or banning studded tires if you live or your car is registered there.

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  • Kyle January 29, 2011 at 11:36 am

    michweek
    The ban of studded tires is also a safety concern. Tires with studs have significatly LESS traction on simply wet roads as compared to studless tires. Users of studs dont install and remove their tires when they see snow, they are generally installed for the duration of the "stud season". This leaves average drivers with studs more exposed to traction issues than those without.

    I have a pair of just all season radials, with my studs on in the rain I have more traction.

    sorry

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  • Brian January 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    The article says "The truth that nobody really understands is that alternatives to studded tires actually perform just as well if not better in almost all conditions." But when I follow the link to read the studies I see "The studded set of Altimax Arctic tires were clearly superior to any of the unstudded tires with noticeably better acceleration, braking and cornering traction." My van is mainly used to haul the local high school ski team to the mountains on weekends. (I stick to my bike for commuting during the week.) I'm not yet convinced I should give up my studded tires.

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    • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      It takes five minutes to chain up, and there's huge, wide pullouts provided near No. 18 Road on the way up to the slopes, not to mention plenty of parking lots around Rhodedendron and Sandy if you can't make it that high barefoot.

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    • Jeffrey Bernards January 30, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      In that test studded tires were only 10% more effective (10% is clearly superior). My friend runs the ECO shuttle bus in Portland, he said he was driving back on I84 (last week), his van was fish tailing from the ruts because his van is a touch wider than the majority of vehicles that use studded tires. He switched to the Blizzaks from Bridgestone, he said they were far superior to the studded tires he use to use. It's his business and passenger (customer) safety is job #1.

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      • Paul Johnson January 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm

        No doubt. Personally, I've found it's hard to beat the year-round capability of a standard, cheap-ass mud/snow tire that's been siped in terms of both traction and tread wear myself (since the siping allows the tire to both spread out to a significantly larger contact patch in all conditions, and cool itself more effectively on hot days). Not sure you can sipe a studded tire.

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  • Peter O. January 31, 2011 at 9:05 am

    On the flip side they do make hybrids easier to hear...

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  • JM January 31, 2011 at 10:14 am

    They have been banned in Canada for years, which says something. They actually get snow up there, often. The damage they cause is insane. I can't believe how bad I84 looks in just a couple of months, the new pave job they did past Multnomah falls is already wearing out, how sad. If you drive south to Cali, you will notice right away how nice the roads are there compared to Oregon. I would attribute it to studded tires not being allowed there. Besides, let's be honest, only lazy wussies use studs.

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    • Paul Johnson January 31, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      California allows studs.

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      • JF February 1, 2011 at 1:15 pm

        Only on a county by county basis and it depends if your car is registered in a county that allows studs. Example, Sacramento county bans studs. Nevada county allows studs. Sacramento does not get snow. Nevada county does.

        If you have studded tires on, the police in sacramento can pull you over. If your car is not registered in a county that allows studs, you get a fix-it ticket.

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        • Paul Johnson February 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm

          If California didn't allow studs, counties wouldn't be able to decide. Because California allows studs, counties can regulate within that boundary. I'm not wrong, just not specific.

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  • TM February 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I agree that the Bridgestone Blizzaks are superior to studded tires. I have seen Subaru wagons climb steep snowy slopes (40 degrees, 8-10 inches) and not get stuck. I have seen a demonstration with studded tires vs Blizzaks on a skating rink, identical cars, non professional drivers. The Blizzaks were clearly superior.

    The single biggest thing that drivers here in Oregon need to learn is that bald tires and snow are a very bad combination. The perceived advantage of studded tires is because of the deep tread compared to the more worn summer tires. Having driven in New England for over 25 years where snow is a way of life, a good all season tire with good tread depth is more than sufficient for 95% of driving conditions. The only time I have ever driven with tire cables was here in Oregon for a week because so many people drove with bald tires that the streets became ice rather than snow.

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    • Paul Johnson February 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Never mind that bald tires and the law are a bad combination.

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  • Brian February 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Blizzaks climb 40 degree slopes? Yowsa. I need some of those. I rarely even try to ski down a slope that steep.

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  • JF February 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    I am sorry that you want to turn this into a Californian vs. Oregonian debate. Complaining about who you think are Californians causing winter driving problems in Oregon is not the answer. Thinking that it is only Californians who don't know how to drive is ridiculous.

    Don't get me wrong, many of your comments are valid, but blaming CA as the cause of Oregons's problems does not solve anything or provide any valuable insight.

    For the topic at hand, there are plenty of people who put studded tires on their cars just because they can. They do not go to the mountain, they do not drive in snow regularly, but they do have studs on their car for the rare one or two days of snow we receive in PDX. In the mean-time, the roads are getting chewed up by people who do not utilize the tires as the tires were meant to be used.

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