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Tomorrow: Legal, law enforcement experts to join rural road safety forum

Posted by on November 8th, 2011 at 11:16 am

Traffic on Skyline Blvd.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Tomorrow night the Skyline Ridge neighborhood association is hosting a community forum to discuss rural road safety issues. Safely sharing high-speed, narrow, and winding rural roads like Skyline Blvd has been an issue for years; but back in August, the issue reached a boiling point when it became clear that many people had been harassed in the same area along Rock Creek Road (which connects to Skyline).

To help calm tempers and perhaps find a solution before someone ends up being seriously hurt (or worse), neighbors decided to air out the issues and give everyone an opportunity to talk. At the forum tomorrow night, organizer and nearby resident Laura Foster has lined up legal experts and a professional moderator from Portland State University to help add structure to the event.

The experts include bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg and Sgt. Timothy Lichatowich of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. Foster says Multnomah County Deputy DA Rod Underhill and DA Chuck Sparks (both of whom have experience with bike-related cases) will also be in attendance.

See the event description below…

    Getting By, Getting Along: Bikes and Cars on Skyline Roads

    Drivers and bikers come together to air concerns and find common ground. Bike law expert Mark Ginsberg and Sgt. Timothy Lichatowich of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office will address questions and issues. The meeting will be facilitated by Stan Sitnick, faculty member in PSU’s Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution.

    Skyline Grange (11275 NW Skyline Boulevard, Portland 97231)
    Wednesday, November 9, 7-9 p.m.

    Presented by Skyline Ridge Neighbors neighborhood association.

Please consider joining us. This is a very important issue.

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  • dan November 8, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Unfortunately, those most in need of understanding users of other modes are most likely not going to attend this meeting.

    I bike there all the time, but have to admit the road is not very suitable for bikes+motorized traffic — too narrow, with too many blind corners.

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    • Art Fuldodger November 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      Dan, narrow roads are the norm for rural cycling —& to my mind is no big deal as long as long the traffic volumes are low. Likewise, curves/blind corners are not necessarily a problem as volumes are low – motor vehicles are going slow, too, and you can hear ‘em coming (if you take your earbuds out) & normally avoid being overtaken in a point of poor sight distance. Yes, it can be a little frustrating in some places for a driver to wait until there’s adequate sight distance to safely pass a slow-moving cyclist.

      The problems come when you combine a rural road (no shoulders) with higher motor vehicle volumes. Opportunities to pass safely are limited by the oncoming traffic, driver frustration at the delay starts to spike, and they start to do stupid things in their haste to get by. Not a good scenario for anyone.

      So what’s the magic traffic volume that makes a pleasant ride an unpleasant one? No definitive answer to that – time of day & day of week make a lot of difference. Also the traffic tolerance of the individual cyclist. But I wouldn’t say that a road like Rock Creek is necessarily unsuitable use by bikes and motor vehicles — a little awareness & tolerance would go a long way here, and on many rural roads.

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      • wsbob November 9, 2011 at 11:44 am

        Poor area planning associated with where people live and work continues to lead increasing numbers of people using their motor vehicles to travel on roads like Skyline.

        The road isn’t a freeway or even a multi-lane highway, and so, has a very finite ability to move increasingly greater numbers of motor vehicles at speeds many people that drive likely believe they need to travel on Skyline.

        Organizer-resident Laura Foster sounds to have put together a good panel. Hoping those of us reading here will be getting some really good, detailed reporting on the event. Skyline Grange is a long way out there, especially on a bike in the dark on Skyline.

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  • Ted Buehler November 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    A suggestion for Jonathan, the BTA or any other attendee —

    Go to the DMV and grab a stack of Oregon Drivers Manuals. Like 20. or 40 of them.

    Highlight the following passages. Put stickies on the highlighed pages so that people can find them easily.

    Pass them out to all attendees as they arrive.

    -

    Whenever someone suggests that drivers or bicyclists behave in a way that is contrary to the instructions in the Drivers Manual, raise your hand and say “that’s contrary to the instructions in the Oregon Drivers Manual, page 52 paragraph 4″ It might be annoying, but it would certainly frame the conversation around concrete directives from the State of Oregon, rather than what any given SUV drivers thinks they have the right to do.

    -

    Here’s the specific passages to highlight:

    P. 35 Following Distances
    To share the road safely, always maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.

    Rear end crashes are very common. The number one cause is drivers following too closely.

    P. 60. Using the Horn
    Use it when it will help prevent a collision, *not* to display temper or irritation.

    P. 60. Road Rage and Aggressive Drivers
    Don’t be an aggressive driver. If you are angry, you shouldn’t be driving. Give other driver a break and share the road.

    P. 61 If you encounter an aggressive driver, make every effort to get out of the drivers way. Put your pride in the back seat. It’s a battle with no winners. Wear your seat belt, avoid eye contact, and ignore gestures and refuse to return them.

    P. 80. Bicycles
    When you are travling at a speed of 35 mph or greater, you may only pass a bicyclist when the passing distance is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall in the drivers lane.

    P. 81. Do not honk at a bicyclist, unless you have good cause to ward the rider you are close by.

    P. 82. Bicyclists must ride in the direction of traffic and as near to the right side of the road or street as is practical.

    Soft copy here -http://www.odot.state.or.us/forms/dmv/37.pdf

    Ted Buehler

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  • Deeeebo November 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    some of these have legal backing. some of them are no more than suggestions for good driving practices. If you really want to avoid ambiguity perhaps the relevant statute would be more applicable

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    • Ted Buehler November 8, 2011 at 9:09 pm

      Deeebo —

      Sure, bring them both.

      But the Oregon Drivers Manual is the de facto law of the land. It’s what you need to read and understand in order to have an Oregon Drivers’ License. Its easily read, it puts the important concepts in bold, its clear, it has nice little pictures.

      Odds are, anyone that operates an SUV on Skyline Blvd can understand the O.D.M. But only 20% of them will be able to pick their way through state law.

      Ted Buehler

      (& I’m sure there’s ways of bringing it up with out being a snarky — like raising your hand and saying “say, uh, it says in the Oregon Drivers Manual on page 60 that you’re not supposed to honk at someone unless there’s imminent danger of a collision. Just sayin’”.)

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  • q`Tzal November 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    At what point can taxpayers motion to have Scott Wheeler sued for waster taxpayer funds in his many, frivolous and misguided attempts to have Ray Thomas censured and/or disbarred?

    At what point do we cut off cost free access to the legal process for those that refuse to behave in a civil manner or are disconnected from reality?
    For reference I include the link to a story about a criminal who has stabbed 3 defense attorneys:
    http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2011/11/joshua_monson_courtroom_psycho.php

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  • dave November 9, 2011 at 9:45 am

    years ago i almost got creamed by a motorbike going very fast in a blind corner. about 3 feet from me as he passed on a tight right hander just before the straight going up to NW Johnson and Skyline…

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