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Studded tire ban now just 80,000 signatures away from ballot

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 11th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

(Photo: ODOT)

Jeff Bernards, the chief petitioner behind an effort to preserve Oregon roads by banning studded tires, says the Oregon Supreme Court has finally issued him a Ballot Title. According to Bernards, that crucial step in the process to put the ban to voters in 2012 means he can print up official signature sheets. Now he and his team of supporters will need to get 80,000 signatures — the final step to get the ban on the ballot.

It took seven months for the Ballot Title to be finalized. That's thanks to what Bernards calls "delay tactics" by a PR firm and a legal team hired by Les Schwab Tire Centers to squelch his efforts. In a post on the BlueOregon blog last week, Bernards wrote:

"There is a strong lobbying effort in Salem by the Les Schwab Tire Company. The company seems to have strong interest in maintaining the studded tire market without fees or restrictions."

Studded tires cause an estimated $40 million in damage to Oregon roads each year. The Oregon Department of Transportation says they spend about $11 million annually to fix the damage, which leaves a gaping hole in the state's already backlogged road maintenance budget.

And, like I shared last year, the more ODOT spends to repair roads, the less they have to make roads better for bicycling.

But the issue isn't about bicycling at all for Bernards (even though he's a familiar face at local bike events and he won an Alice Award in 2006 for his work in starting a community-based free bike light and helmet program). Bernards sees this as an issue of fairness and he thinks Oregon could spend its limited resources in much more productive ways:

"Studded tires are only used by 16% of drives yet cost all Oregonians hundreds of millions of dollars in road repair expense... I own a small landscaping service, and I have no interest in the tire market. I'm just concerned that common sense is being trumped by a company's financial interest in my state. I hope with all my heart that some day Oregon will follow the path of common sense and ban studded tires. We need teachers' not studded tires."

Bernards told me today that the signature sheets will be ready to go in two weeks. A group called Democracy Resources will handle the bulk of the signature gathering; but the initial effort will be done by volunteers.

Bernards and his supporters will need to collect 80,000 signatures to get on the 2012 ballot. The effort is expected to cost a total of $370,000. Bernards is now asking the community to step up and support this effort by making a donation.

Learn more at PreservingOregonRoads.org.

— Read past coverage of this story in the BikePortland archives.

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Comments
  • Scott October 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Studded tires are not legal in the city limits of the twin cities of Minnesota, as well as Chicago. If those highly witntery cities can deal, we should do just fine. Studded tires are some serious snake oil too. There is no provable benefit and outside of the money damage they make drivers think they have dealt with the weather mechanically and do not need to really deal with weather conditions by altering the way they drive.

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    • Spiffy October 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      I think the chemicals most of those midwestern towns pour on the roads to melt the snow and ice are worse than studded tires...

      I'm all for getting rid of studded tires, but I am even more against solvents destroying our vehicles instead...

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      • Scott October 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm

        What chemicals do they use? I was under the impression that salting and spraying by local governments was no longer done.

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        • davemess October 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm

          Yes it's done and it actually works!
          And contrary to what most Oregonians think, the states that use salt (almost every other state in the country) are not ecological waste lands.

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          • A.K. October 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm

            I work in the water quality industry and I'd rather not see more salt added to our streams and rivers through runoff from salting roads during the winter. Salt is awful for freshwater marine environments.

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          • Paul Johnson October 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm

            Oklahoma salts. Oklahoma also got shut down pretty hard last winter. Whatever we use here would have probably worked better than salt on everything larger than a residential side street.

            Keep the bag of salt in your car for when you get stuck, it's great for spot treatment, but for whatever reason, when you do the whole road in it, it just fails to get the job done and leaves the soft shoulder barren.

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          • Greg October 11, 2011 at 11:58 pm

            Well, it rusts your car, and it kills the fish, but kinda works on the roads.

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          • Matt October 12, 2011 at 8:55 am

            It would work great in a city like Portland, where it's only needed 2-3 times per year and it is the environmentally better choice. All of those cinders that are dumped on the roads also wind up in the storm drains and break countless windshields each year, which adds additionally environmental costs associated with energy expended to create thousands of windshields every year. All of the crashes that could be avoided with occasional salt also have big environmental consequences...new cars are made at great environmental cost, people are injured, etc. It's overly simplistic to think that alternatives to salt (cinders or nothing) are environmentally friendlier.

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          • Eric October 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm

            There is a common misconception that Oregon doesn't use salt on roads for snow removal for environmental reasons. The reason we don't use salt on roads is because the water content of the snow we receive--especially on the west side--is too high. It washes away the salt too quickly for it to be effective.

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          • dr2chase October 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm

            @PaulJohnson - re Oklahoma salting.

            I live near Boston. They salt and sand here, and it works decently well (I've had the opportunity to compare roads immediately before and after). It may have something to do with the experience/skill/equipment of the salters.

            The local MUP is NOT salted, so it is much nicer snow (till the dog walkers contaminate it), but after some freezes and thaws it can turn into an intermittent ice rink.

            The environmental arguments w.r.t. salt locally are a bit of a WTF; in bad winters, they get to the point where it would be nice to dump the salty sandy ice piles into the ocean salty sandy ocean, but that is Not Allowed; instead, it must melt, and run into the storm sewers, and make its way to the ocean by approved methods. Oregon, you have a lot of fresh water that ought to stay that way if it could.

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  • jeff October 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    urban areas with ice/snow removal equipment, fine. but this could literally hurt some folks out in E. Oregon, my parents included, who are getting too old to take chains off and on with each storm and need some sort of traction devices on their rural roads - which can be covered in ice for weeks at a time.
    what are the exclusions, if any?

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    • Dolan Halbrook October 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      Studless snow tires are quite good these days.

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      • Paul Johnson October 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm

        They work better in eastern Oregon's climate, too, given that even there gets more rain than snow, and more mud than snow.

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        • jeff October 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm

          actually, no, areas around La Grande and Baker City often don't see any rain at all for the winter months. snow tires I'm sure are great and often do fine on my Subaru, however not everyone uses a AWD/4WD vehicle. Mud? what? Its sounds like you've never been there.

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          • Paul Johnson October 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm

            If you can't hack what the high desert throws at you, you shouldn't live there. Sounds like your parents might have ability issues you might want to address if they can't handle chaining up or driving barefoot; studs aren't the only answer, but they are the costliest.

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      • Steve October 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

        They really are. I have studless traction tires on my rear wheel drive car and they work amazingly well. They are rated traction tires and so I don't have to have chains on them. There are alternatives to studded tires, folks.

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    • Spiffy October 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm

      I've seen many people that just take the tractor to town...

      otherwise, if they're not farmers then they knew they'd be isolating themselves when they moved out there...

      just like people that commute 40 miles to work from their secluded mansion, I have no sympathy for them and don't want laws passed and infrastructure ruined in order to accommodate people that made a choice to inconvenience themselves...

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      • jeff October 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm

        don't be a jackass.

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        • Greg October 12, 2011 at 12:03 am

          you mean, "don't be realistic"

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    • Chris I October 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      Studless snow tires are better in 99% of the conditions your parents will see during the year out there.

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      • jeff October 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm

        so you've never experienced a winter at 4000 feet in E. Oregon, is that correct?

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        • Paul Johnson October 11, 2011 at 8:20 pm

          No, but I've experienced winter at 1500 feet in the center of the continent where studded tires are banned for almost a thousand miles in any direction. People just chained up, stayed home or carpooled with someone they believed to have better winter driving skills and equipment than their own. I was happy to shuttle neighbors around during last winter's Tulsa blizzard, I did fine in unplowed, icy roads with my car "barefoot" without studs or chains in a pretty hilly neighborhood. All about knowing how steep is too steep, how fast is too fast, and how deep is too deep. Beyond that, it's just patience and practice.

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      • jeff October 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm

        are you actuall telling me what my parents will see in any given winter? The smug is strong with you.

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      • EmGee October 12, 2011 at 10:41 pm

        "98% of all statistics are made up on the spot" --A. Nonymous

        Somehow, that meme seems appropriate here.

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    • Lazlo October 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm

      http://goo.gl/mtU0X
      Studded tires were shown to be effective mainly on smooth ice near the freezing point. Otherwise, they were outperformed by studless snow tires.

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    • Lazlo October 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm

      http://goo.gl/mtU0X
      In this analysis, studded tires proved effective mainly on smooth ice near the freezing point. Otherwise, studless tires outperformed them.

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  • oliver October 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I'm all for a studded tire ban. I do worry though that should this get passed, then every other year thereafter we'll have to fight campaigns against the road salt lobby.

    I drive even less in the winter than I do in the summer, but it will be really inconvenient to have to absolutely park my old car for 4 or 5 months a year to protect it from car destroying chemicals.

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    • Paul Johnson October 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      Road salt is already banned by the DEQ, which is why Oregon doesn't salt the roads.

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  • Kasandra Griffin October 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks for the coverage, JM, and for the hard work, Jeff Bernards. Where do we sign up to help collect signatures?

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  • middle of the road guy October 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    so long as it applies to bike tires, too.

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    • Chris I October 11, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      A bike with studs will still impart less wear and tear on a road than a car with studless snow tires. Also, I would guess that there are, what, a few hundred people in the entire state that actually have studded bike tires?

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      • Paul Johnson October 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

        The Springwater Corridor's worn and rutted pavement seems to demonstrate otherwise over time.

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    • Dolan Halbrook October 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      I'm assuming this is an attempt at either humor or sarcasm.

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    • Scott October 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      Maybe the tacks on Williams was an ill conceived idea by Les Schwab to prove the usefulness of studded bike tires.

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  • Paul Johnson October 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Actually needed by 1%, used by an additional 15% that really shouldn't be driving in Oregon anyway.

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  • Ryno Dan October 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    I noticed on a news report last winter that a local agency was utilizing salt on the roads. CaCl2. So I don't think there is a statewide ban. We should keep an eye on that.

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    • Oliver October 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Now that I think about it, it seems I read that somewhere too. Is it something about specific bridges/interchanges? I know they're more prone to freezing due to exposure.

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    • Vinny October 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      ODOT uses magnesium chloride, calcium chloride might be used by local agencies. Both are effective as deicer/anti-icing agents, and much less toxic than sodium chloride.

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    • dr2chase October 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      CaCl2 is a different animal than NaCl. It's much easier on plants. Not sure about other effects. It's also a much more powerful melter; you need much less of it. But also, be careful not to get it on (some) leather winter gloves; it will cause bizarre and permanent leather shrinkage (guess how I know this).

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    • Paul Johnson October 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm

      DEQ would disagree that it isn't a statewide ban; I'd get in touch with them if you hear of a local agency salting the earth.

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  • Psyfalcon October 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    CaCl2 is less harmful to metal, and to salmon, which is why it is sometimes used here. DEQ isn't worried about your car rusting with road salt, its about the salmon.

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  • Babygorilla October 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I'd be surprised if this passed if it makes it to the ballot, given the urban rural divide on most issues in this state and the liklihood that a number of urban voters who would otherwise vote for an "urban" issue would vote no because they don't want to impact their weekly or monthly ski trips.

    Also, a brilliant piece of PR by Les Schwab. If the ban doesn't go through, they are the heroes of the little guy. If it does go through, they get to sell a bunch more new tires. Win Win.

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    • Dolan Halbrook October 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      It makes me really wonder why Les Schwab is against it. What a huge opportunity for them to sell a whole lot of new studless snow tires...

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      • A.K. October 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm

        No kidding. If I was a Les Schwab marketing exec I'd be paying lobbyist to help get this ban passed, then I'd run "special sales promotions" to help everyone with studded tires get switched over to studless snow tires.

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    • Paul Johnson October 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm

      I'd argue that if you're taking weekly or monthly ski trips, as opposed to living in Government Camp year round and commuting to Portland or Madras, you don't need studs, but you should learn how to chain up since chains will give you more grip and more control than studs will, especially if you're not used to driving in it all the time.

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  • lil'stink October 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Still surprised that more people don't realize how good studless snow tires are - studded snow tires really aren't necessary, and they are actually about the worst type of tire one could use when the roads are dry or just wet (which is about 99% of the time in western Oregon). Makes me shake my head every time I hear a car with them drive by.

    My car is hardly a 'snow' car but I have no trouble getting to the mtn in the worst of snowstorms with studless snow tires.

    Of course, seeing as how people in this town freak out whenever a snowflake falls...

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  • Otto October 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Studded tires are unnecessary in the metro area and most parts of the state. They do cause a lot of damage to the roads and there is no benefit to them in the metro area. Some rural towns are different but the Portland area should not be held captive by the "needs" of a relative few in some rural areas or the dumb choices of a relative few metro drivers. That said, perhaps some additional incentive is needed to get people to use snow tires instead. Also, why a popular vote? Shouldn't the legislature take this up?

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  • Hugh Johnson October 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Let's make this happen!

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  • GlowBoy October 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I've had a whole lot of winter tires on my cars over the years - both studded and studless. Personally, I use studless tires, and they are good enough for my occasional trips to the mountain that I don't ever expect to buy studded (car) tires again.

    That said ... while It's true that the new studless tires are excellent on ice, that's in comparison with non winter oriented tires. Believe me, studs are still markedly better than studless on glare ice. Micro-pits, ground walnut shells and temperature-sensitive sticky rubber compounds are great innovations, but they still don't compare with carbide steel bits.

    I think it's silly in Oregon to base an argument on the "only" conditions where studs excel being on ice near the freezing point -- for the most part that's exactly WHAT WE HAVE when we have winter conditions around here. 1. That's one of the reasons most upper-midwestern states (not JUST the Twin Cities proper, but the whole states of MN and WI, for instance) can get away with studded tires. Very often there it's WAYYY below freezing, and ANY tires will have far, far better traction at zero degrees than they do in the 25-30 degree conditions we often see.

    The other reasons midwestern states get by just fine without studs:
    2. Better snow and ice removal. Even minor streets and backroads get plowed within hours of major storms. Around here, unless you're on a major highway you are on your effing own in the snow and ice.
    3. Um, maybe not everyone has noticed this, but it's flatter there. We have lots of local streets with major slopes to them, lots of backroads with 7-10% grades, and even major highways with extended 6% grades. Those kinds of slopes are extremely rare in the northern states that ban studded tires.

    Attempts to ban studded tires have come up time and again in the 20+ years I've been here. I find them counterproductive because they never pass, and they always widen the urban-rural divide. This is a BIG DEAL to people in Eastern Oregon, and widely seen as another example of their values getting trampled by the Willamette Valley. If we are trying to get Eastern Oregon friendlier to cycling with new state-designated routes (as recently reported), please don't push this.

    I have always advocated that if we want to do something about the $40M in wear (aka "damage") to roads, we shouldn't ban the tires, we should tax the hell out of them and let people make up their own minds.

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    • Paul Johnson October 11, 2011 at 8:29 pm

      The irony being that the high desert doesn't get anywhere near the glare ice that western Oregon does, spending relatively little time compared to the western mountains and valleys wet and near freezing, but diving for the teens and single digits and staying there.

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    • Dolan Halbrook October 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Wouldn't folks in Easter Oregon see a tax in exactly the same way? (value trampling, etc).

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    • meh October 12, 2011 at 6:44 am

      ", but the whole states of MN and WI, for instance) can get away with studded tires."

      There are no studded tires used in Wisconsin.

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      • GlowBoy October 12, 2011 at 9:12 am

        Oops, typo. I meant get away WITHOUT studded tires. My intention should have been obvious from the context, though.

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  • mark kenseth October 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    For gathering signatures, perhaps this is an option:
    http://www.change.org/

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  • Joe Rowe October 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Jeff. Nice work so far. If you got 800 people to pledge to get 100 signatures, this would be a done deal. I'm one person. That's only 799 persons left. This shows the power of Bill Sizemore's corruption ring that includes JeldWen and other corporations. Time to reboot wall street.

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  • Daniel R. Miller October 12, 2011 at 12:46 am

    Though a native of Cascadia, I learned to drive in the 8-month a year of potential (and actual) snowstorms of the Colorado Rockies, and I can tell anyone who cares to hear it that studless snow-tires work perfectly fine in the worst imaginable conditions.

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  • Joseph E October 12, 2011 at 8:32 am

    If the cost of studded tires is $40 million per year, why not charge a license fee to use studded tires? That way, people who really need them can pay the fee. If there are 200,000 cars using studded tires each winter, a $200 dollar fee per year would pay for all damage, and would likely greatly reduce the number of people using studs in the city where they are not needed!

    Studded bike tires could be sold with a $10 one-time fee per tire, to pay for the very small amount of damage they cause, to keep things fair.

    Let's use the free market to our advantage. A ban isn't necessary; let's just have the users of studded tires bear the full cost.

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    • Dolan Halbrook October 12, 2011 at 8:42 am

      I'd be pretty interested in finding out just how much damage studded bike tires actually cause. Likely it's about $20 per year... for the entire state of Oregon.

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    • dr2chase October 12, 2011 at 8:45 am

      I'd favor something along these lines, but how sure are you that studded bicycle tires do any damage at all? Ordinary road wear per-wheel occurs at a rate roughly proportional to the cube of the wheel weight; compared to a 2000lb subcompact, a 250lb bicycle does only 1/128th the damage per mile (1/2 the wheels, 1/4 the weight per wheel). If the car is instead a 4000lb truck or sedan (doubling the weight per wheel), that's another 8x (2-cubed) -- the bicycle only does 1/1024the damage. That's for regular wear' I'm not sure about studs, but this does suggest that a fairer tax for studded bike tires might be a lot closer to a dollar, or even less.

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    • Jeffrey Bernards October 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Studded tire users were given an opportunity to pay $3 per tire, but never got a hearing due to special interest blocking it. Also Mark Ford & Associates proposed a study to find the "real" cost of studded tires, that too was shut down by special interest. I talked with ODOT and suggested that studded tires have to cost a couple hundred million per year, their response to me was it's probably closer to 1/2 a billion dollars in road repair. The use the $40 million dollar figure is used because no real study has ever been done. It cuts a road life by 50% to 65% depending if it's asphalt or concrete, that's not $40 million in repair, think about it.

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  • Lazlo October 12, 2011 at 8:43 am

    GlowBoy
    <I think it's silly in Oregon to base an argument on the "only" conditions where studs excel being on ice near the freezing point -- for the most part that's exactly WHAT WE HAVE when we have winter conditions around here.

    It's not that studded tires excel in these conditions, but that they are marginally better at stopping. I don't believe that the road damage created by studs is outweighed by this marginal increase in effectiveness in specific conditions.

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    • GlowBoy October 12, 2011 at 9:16 am

      The difference is far from marginal. With most of the studless tires I've used, stopping traction is very good -- maybe about the same as driving on packed snow, which is far better than non-winter tires. With good studded tires, though, stopping traction improves almost to the point of being like driving on wet pavement. It can be truly amazing. Now does anyone who doesn't drive on icy 15% grades NEED that much traction? Probably not. But the difference is not marginal.

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      • Dolan Halbrook October 12, 2011 at 9:48 am

        Ultimately the question becomes, are studless snow tires *safe enough* and *good enough* for 99% of the conditions Oregonians are likely to encounter driving year round. If they are, then there is good merit for a ban on studded tires. If they aren't then there are definitely issues with it.

        At the end of the day, a ban on their sale in and around metro areas, and/or perhaps a permit to use them at all (with an associated fee), would be a decent compromise.

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        • Paul Johnson October 12, 2011 at 11:43 am

          I believe the answer based on places with similar conditions that don't allow studs is "yes." If you can't drive in this climate without studs and you can't chain up, it's time to get a ride with someone who can.

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      • Paul Johnson October 12, 2011 at 11:45 am

        I wonder how standard mud & snow tires that have been siped stack up against studs. I would imagine comparable in icy conditions, far better in wet, considering studs actually reduce traction on wet, thawed pavement.

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        • GlowBoy October 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm

          I often hear the argument that Studs reduce traction on bare pavement, but I never found it to be true, at least with post-1980s studded tires. Modern studs only barely protrude beyond the rubber, and don't reduce pavement traction one iota. They are noisy and they are destructive, but the idea that they hurt traction in non-winter conditions is a total myth.

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          • Psyfalcon October 12, 2011 at 9:03 pm

            How often were you actually braking for an emergency? Out on Powell, right now, a Semi, my pickup and a sports car all stop in the same distance at a red light. If you were to run an actual braking test, you'd see very different results.

            Anecdotes don't make fact.

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  • Jacob October 12, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Though I've never used them... Green Diamond tires is an interesting concept. AFAIK they imbed silicium carbide granules into the tread.

    Also they are retreads, meaning they're used tire casings with new tread, I thought that was pretty cool.

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    • Scott October 12, 2011 at 10:13 am

      Retreads are wildly dangerous. Whenever you see a huge strip of tire on the road it is from a retread coming off of a tire at high velocity. They have killed many people.

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      • Jacob October 12, 2011 at 10:29 am

        While I agree with you about sub par retread practices, especially when you're talking about the trucking industry, I don't think these guys would have been in business since '95 (or maybe '96) if their tires were killing people.

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  • John Landolfe October 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I'm from upstate New York mountains, where it snows up to four-five months a year and many of the roads are steep and winding. You almost never see studded tires and you definitely never see chains. Salt plays a part but there's something just as important: Portlanders drive MUCH faster in the snow. I'm not entirely sold on a ban on studded tires unless an effective campaign can also teach Portlanders to drive more slowly in the snow. Every year I'm amazed watching SUVs careen blithely down a snow packed street at 30 plus miles an hour and every year I see them spin out of control. Ever year, Portland might see a few hours of snow on a single day and the roads turn to chaos. This is because many Portlanders are not just bad drivers in the snow, many are dangerously arrogant about their driving skills in such weather. Mostly, what they need to do is slow down.

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    • Paul Johnson October 12, 2011 at 11:47 am

      A big problem here is that most of the folks in Portland aren't from here, didn't grow up here, and refuse to adjust to the climate or culture of the region. *glares south!* So the whole "plan around the weather" and "four wheel drive doesn't mean four wheel stop" escapes pretty much everyone but those who have a high school diploma from here.

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    • Paul October 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      Having lived in the Finger Lakes region in NY, I heard alot about how much better the NY drivers were in the snow (including my native NY wife). Not so...lots of cars in the ditches after a heavy snow fall and most of them had NY plates!
      Paul

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  • Lazlo October 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    GlowBoy
    I often hear the argument that Studs reduce traction on bare pavement, but I never found it to be true, at least with post-1980s studded tires. Modern studs only barely protrude beyond the rubber, and don't reduce pavement traction one iota. They are noisy and they are destructive, but the idea that they hurt traction in non-winter conditions is a total myth.

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    So, your evidence is purely anecdotal?

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  • GlowBoy October 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Yeah, so? That's based on multiple sets of tires of all three types (studded, studless winter and all-season). The canard that studs hurt on-pavement traction is often repeated, but I've never seen it backed up by ANY facts, anecdotal or otherwise.

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    • Kristen October 13, 2011 at 9:42 am

      My boyfriend used to run studded tires in the winter. He found that under hard braking, he was more likely to lose traction with studs on wet pavement than with non-studded tires. Since he drives the same route every day on his commute, he has 8 years of non-scientific data about studded tires vs non-studded tires on wet pavement.

      I think the word he used was "terrifying" which is why he doesn't run studded tires in the winter anymore.

      Also, he found that turns at speed (I'm talking about the freeway interchanges here) will see some loss of traction with studded tires in wet weather.

      He's a talented driver and so knows how to keep things from getting out of shape, but most people do not have those skills.

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  • rth October 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    The claim that folks in eastern Oregon need studded tires is completely bogus. I used traction tires (not studded) to drive from Portland to Mt. Hood Meadows 50 days last winter to ski, with absolutely no problems.

    If Les Schwab wants to keep pitching tires that destroy our roads, let them pony up the $40 million to fix them.

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  • Aaron October 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I'm all for this. I've driven a slow slung FWD car with studless snow tires through truly heinous conditions. The slush and ice of Portland, the deep freeze of eastern Oregon, and everything in between on the steep grades of the cascades. Only times I've gotten stuck it has been a ground clearance issue, not traction. Sure studs will be better on rare occasions, but it's a fraction of 1% of trips. If you're worried, carry chains.

    However, this debate is missing a major point.. what REALLY chews up roads isn't passenger cars at all. It's trucks running with chains. Remember how torn up I5 got after that blizzard a few years back? The parade of chained-up semis did more damage in a week than an entire (snow-free) year's worth of studded cars and unchained trucks. Not that there's an easy solution there, but it's something to keep in mind.

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  • Lazlo October 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    GlowBoy
    Yeah, so? That's based on multiple sets of tires of all three types (studded, studless winter and all-season). The canard that studs hurt on-pavement traction is often repeated, but I've never seen it backed up by ANY facts, anecdotal or otherwise.

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    From the WSDOT 2002 study, "An Overview of Studded and Studless Tire Traction and Safety":
    "On bare pavement, the studded tires had
    stopping distances 40 percent and 42 percent longer than the Blizzaks and all-season
    tires, respectively."

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    • GlowBoy October 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm

      Complete and utter bogacity. No one who's actually driven studded tires (since the switch to lightweight studs with recessed pockets that keep them from protruding too far) would find this even remotely believable. 40+ Percent longer than non-studded tires? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm guessing the folks behind that study had an agenda. Oh yeah, it's ODOT. They've been asking for a ban for two decades.

      Look, as I've said before I'm all for a stiff tax on studded tires and using the market to make them rare. But I'm not in favor of the law telling people they can't have them at all. I wish SUVs would go away, but I don't favor banning them either. As with studded tires, I favor taxing the **** out of either SUVs or the fuel they burn, so that they become rare.

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  • Doug Smart October 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    John Landolfe
    ... I'm not entirely sold on a ban on studded tires unless an effective campaign can also teach Portlanders to drive more slowly in the snow. Every year I'm amazed watching SUVs careen blithely down a snow packed street at 30 plus miles an hour and every year I see them spin out of control. Ever year, Portland might see a few hours of snow on a single day and the roads turn to chaos. This is because many Portlanders are not just bad drivers in the snow, many are dangerously arrogant about their driving skills in such weather. Mostly, what they need to do is slow down.

    @ John - +1
    A couple of years ago my family and I were caught in a snow dump right around New Year's. It took four hours to travel I-205 from the Abernathy Bridge out to I-5, running on snow packed to ice all the way. At the end where traffic split to go north and south, what did I see but some idiot seeing open road ahead of him, punching it, and spinning out to block things up for another hour or so.
    Still would like to see studs, if not banned, then taxed in proportion to the damage they cause.

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  • Dave Cary October 12, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Somewhere above someone suggested letting the legislature deal with this problem rather than pitting Eastern against Western Oregon. The legislature has proven themselves impotent when it comes to proposing anything that the lobbyists from Les Schwab are against. I think I've found my reason to find another tire company - one who puts the interests of this state at least on par with their own bottom line. Let the market place decide on that one.

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  • Joe October 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I will be printing out a petition for signatures by my friends and neighbors. This and legalizing pot. The only two initiatives ever worth my time of day so far in my lifetime. The other 200 plus have been bought by rich and powerful interests with selfish motives.

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