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On-bike video highlights notorious Sylvan/Hwy 26 intersection

Posted by on June 1st, 2012 at 6:33 am

Still from on-bike video showing
a man talking to a woman he just hit
with his car.
-Watch it below-

A man’s on-bike camera filmed a collision between a woman riding her bike in the crosswalk and someone driving a car. The intersection where the collision occurred — SW Skyline where it crosses Highway 26 and the highway’s adjacent multi-use path in Sylvan — is a common sight for close calls and there are numerous videos of it posted online2.

A video taken by southwest Portland resident Andrew Holtz, who goes by “crazytraffic99″ on YouTube caught the bad intersection in the act. The video, uploaded on Wednesday, shows a person in a car rolling through the crosswalk, just as a woman rides through it on her bike. The car clips the woman’s rear wheel. Scared and shaken, the woman yells at the driver and pulls onto the sidewalk. The driver gets out and the two have a conversation — which is all caught on camera and subtitled thanks to Holtz.

Check it out:

It turns out that Holtz has filmed this same intersection many times, including one clip from last September titled, “Drivers behaving badly“.

This intersection clearly has some issues. The multi-use path is a busy and popular route for people riding over the West HIlls, and whenever a sidewalk spills into a roadway, there is potential for conflict.

Holtz has been riding through this intersection for over a decade. He told me yesterday that, “I’m still startled by the number of drivers who apparently don’t see people using the crosswalks and paths.” The most common hazard, he says, is people turning right to enter Highway 26 without yielding to traffic on the multi-use path:

“Day after day, I see drivers staring intently to their left, inching forward, ready to pounce as soon as they spot an opening in the vehicle traffic. Too often, they never glance right to see people entering the crosswalk. The same thing happens when drivers turning right have the green light… too many of them don’t seem to notice when the WALK light gives the right of way to people in the crosswalk.”

“Few parents will allow their children to walk or bike across the interchange now. That’s a sad reality that we should change.”
— Andrew Holtz

The good news is that the intersection is already on the radar of both PBOT and ODOT (fortunately, Holtz also happens to be a very active and engaged citizen bicycle activist). Last summer, Holtz visited the intersection with city and state traffic safety specialists. According to a source at PBOT, one of the reasons this intersection is so dangerous is that it was designed to handle large truck traffic, which means the curbs have a very shallow angle in order to handle a wide turning radius. It’s a design that invites rolling through turns and maintaining speed.

Another issue at play here is the classic tale of dual jurisdictions managing a roadway. With both PBOT (SW Skyline) and ODOT (the multi-use path and highway on-ramps) having responsibility here, finding solutions is even more difficult.

Holtz would like to see a “No Turn on Red” policy implemented here. He says even when he has the light, he assumes that people in cars will violate his right of way because he sees it happen so often. “It shouldn’t be that way.”

The many people who use the multi-use path, adds Holtz, “shouldn’t have to be hyper-vigilant in order to take advantage of one of the premier paths in the region.”

He also points out that the East Sylvan Middle School is less than a block from this intersection. “Few parents will allow their children to walk or bike across the interchange now. That’s a sad reality that we should change.”

It’s great to know that ODOT and PBOT are actively working on a solution. We’ll keep you posted once they’ve made some progress. In the meantime, use extra caution at this intersection.

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Comments
  • PlannerJohn June 1, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Looks like the driver was definitely at fault there. If I’m crossing an intersection and see a car inching forward, I make damn sure they see me before I cross in front of them.

    I’m not familiar with this intersection, but I like the idea of the no-turn on right as a short term solution. Another might be stronger visual cues to drivers like green paint and bike symbols to mark the crosswalk area as a multi-use path with frequent bike/ped traffic.

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    • Jake June 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

      We don’t need more signs, paint and clutter.
      She needed to make eye contact with the driver before proceeding.

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      • brian June 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm

        Yes making eye contact is a good way to protect your own arse for those who can’t be bothered to follow the rules of the road. But the root problem is that so many road users dont follow the basic rules. Are you suggesting mad max style traffic flows are the way to go?? Fix the problems. PUNISH the offenders. Punish offenders in all modes. Otherwise it will never be safe out there. Critical mass will never occur.

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      • resopmok June 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

        Always making eye contact at crossings and intersections is certainly a safe habit to be in. She probably learned that lesson with this experience, however, she had right of way, and it was not her responsibility to avoid that collision. I also agree that we don’t need more signs, paint and clutter. What we do need is safe, attentive and conscientious road operators. I wish the driving test was based on those things, instead of giving a license to everyone who can breathe.

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      • Seager June 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm

        That was likely impossible, since the car driver was probably looking left for traffic. If we go by your rule than bikes will have to stop and yield to all the cars at the intersection that can’t be bothered to look both ways.

        Rather, the driver of the CAR should have looked both ways before proceeding across a bike path.

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        • DoubleB June 2, 2012 at 1:40 am

          How do we know he didn’t. Her bike darted in front of there. He could have looked right, then looked left inching up before clipping her.

          By law, yes it’s the driver’s fault. But you could do everything right as a driver there and still hit the bike.

          It’s the equivalent of a kid darting out in front of traffic between parked cars.

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      • Steve B June 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm

        How do you make eye contact with someone who isn’t looking in your direction, while you have the right of way and signal?

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        • wsbob June 3, 2012 at 10:31 am

          People trying to cross the road in the situation you describe can call out loudly, strongly, politely as possible, wave their arm to get the other person’s attention. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, and consequently…the person attempting to cross just has to wait for the next light cycle and a more attentive or civil road user to notice them and let them proceed. Annoying, but better than getting clipped or run over.

          There seem to be many people on the road whose skills and abilities don’t adequately equip them for the complexities existing there in situations like the Sylvan overpass complex of intersections. This calls for extra reliance on self control on the part of people that do have the required skills.

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          • 9watts June 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

            “People trying to cross the road in the situation you describe can call out loudly, strongly, politely as possible, wave their arm to get the other person’s attention. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, and consequently…the person attempting to cross just has to wait for the next light cycle and a more attentive or civil road user to notice them and let them proceed. Annoying, but better than getting clipped or run over.”

            wsbob,
            now you’re being ridiculous. What happened to the right of way? Are you prepared to ask all that of someone in a car (who, let us remember,did not in this case have the ‘I am going straight-right of way?’

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            • wsbob June 3, 2012 at 11:53 am

              9watts
              “People trying to cross the road in the situation you describe can call out loudly, strongly, politely as possible, wave their arm to get the other person’s attention. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, and consequently…the person attempting to cross just has to wait for the next light cycle and a more attentive or civil road user to notice them and let them proceed. Annoying, but better than getting clipped or run over.”
              wsbob,
              now you’re being ridiculous. What happened to the right of way? Are you prepared to ask all that of someone in a car (who, let us remember,did not in this case have the ‘I am going straight-right of way?’
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              Ridiculous to take measures to be certain the right of way is safely given? I don’t think so. In this particular incident, there’s some dispute on a number of points about to what extent each party…person driving and person riding…sufficiently observed their obligation to each other as road users. …

              … On the most basic premise, the person approaching and entering the crosswalk on the bike did have the right of way from the person driving, but the person on the bike still had an obligation to be certain before proceeding to cross the street, that the person driving was going to yield.

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            • Seth Alford June 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

              I think wsbob was responding to the specific question of “How do you make eye contact with someone who isn’t looking in your direction, while you have the right of way and signal?” A more complete phrasing of the question might be, “I don’t wish to be hit while riding my bicycle by a car with an inattentive driver when I have right of way. So I’m going to swallow my anger and frustration that the other road users don’t do their job, that licensing requirements are too lax, and that by trying to make eye contact I’m also enabling drivers’ inattentiveness, etc. So I’m going to make the extra effort anyway and try to make eye contact. Given all that, how do I make eye contact when they aren’t looking my way?”

              I think that part of wsbob’s answer is correct: yell. I don’t agree with arm waving. That takes your hand off the handlebars, and for most bicycles, the brakes. And if they aren’t looking in your direction, and the movement of you and your bicycle are not sufficient to catch their peripheral vision, arm waving is not going to do it anyway. Your mouth isn’t doing anything else, so use it to yell.

              I still wonder, what to yell? The best option I’ve come up with is, “Car on the right/left,” with emphasis on the direction-word from which the car is coming. “Emphasis” means I bark the word as loud as I can, while trying to pretend to be the drill sergeant I’ve seen in dozens of war movies. Usually it comes out as, “carnRIGHT” or “carnLEFT”. Advantages of saying this over “hey” are:

              * they can’t accuse me of saying something provocative and trying to escalate a situation. After all, it is a car coming from the right or left. The worst anyone can accuse me of is stating the obvious.
              * if the car driver registers it, he may think that I’m warning my fellow bicyclists, and potential witnesses, to a threat. By the time the driver realizes it is just me, I may be past the intersection. The possibility of witnesses may be a deterrent.
              * “hey” could be directed at anyone, whereas “carnRIGHT” is directed at someone driving a car.

              Disadvantages of “carnRIGHT/carnLEFT” versus “hey” are:
              * it takes you an additional split second to decide on which to say
              * a pickup truck driver may be miffed that you refer to his truck as a mere car. Yes, you could say one of “carnRIGHT/carnLEFT/truckRIGHT/truckLEFT” but then you have to make 2 split second decisions instead of one. And maybe he really does think of his pickup as a car, so he won’t think that you are yelling at him.

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              • wsbob June 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm

                “I think wsbob was responding to the specific question of “How do you make eye contact with someone who isn’t looking in your direction, while you have the right of way and signal?” A more complete phrasing of the question might be, “I don’t wish to be hit while riding my bicycle by a car with an inattentive driver when I have right of way. So I’m going to swallow my anger and frustration that the other road users don’t do their job, that licensing requirements are too lax, and that by trying to make eye contact I’m also enabling drivers’ inattentiveness, etc. So I’m going to make the extra effort anyway and try to make eye contact. Given all that, how do I make eye contact when they aren’t looking my way?” …” Seth Alford

                A bit over the top in expressing it, but the above is all fine..I’d call it a somewhat realistic expression of what may at times be involved in handling this particular intersection for safe travel.

                Keeping in mind that part of the specifics of this particular incident, is that…apparently backed up by video…the person on the bike approached and entered the crosswalk at a speed a number of people commenting to this thread have estimated is far above a normal walking speed. Here again is the link to: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.410

                Replying to Esther C’s comment of today, just below, about many bike’s brakes requiring a hand be kept on them, making it difficult to wave an arm and hand to get a road user’s attention: first of all…approaching and entering the crosswalk should be at no greater than a normal walking speed, which is about 3.5 mph. At that speed, one hand off the brakes, waving is probably something most or many people could do with a little practice.

                The safer thing though, if it appears the person driving may be inclined to creep forward into the crosswalk, is to just stop entirely before entering the crosswalk. Once stopped, do the waving, calling out, whatever. Either get their attention or don’t proceed into the crosswalk. That’s just the way it is sometimes. It’s not worth stressing out over. Even if you’ve got to wait for another light cycle to proceed, if because you waited, you don’t get clipped, it’s a good day.

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                • wsbob June 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm

                  hmm…looks like the exception to hand off the brakes/waving was also Seth’s. Sorry Esther.

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      • esther c June 3, 2012 at 2:10 am

        What, cyclists are supposed to stop at every intersection whether we have the right of way or not and yield until all drivers acknowledge us?

        Wouldn’t it make more sense for the drivers to be required to routinely give us the right of way when we have it.

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      • Ron Georg June 3, 2012 at 7:39 am

        Really? Where does that appear in the traffic code? And what signals would be transmitted through eye contact to ensure that each party was sharing the same extra-sensory perception?

        Eye contact is often impossible through the glare of a windshield. Even where it is possible, you can never know what it means to the other person. Some drivers are bound to think, “Oh good, that cyclist saw me. Now I can go, because he certainly wouldn’t dare cross in front of my mighty vehicle.”

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  • Indy June 1, 2012 at 7:21 am

    This happens to me constantly, AS A PEDESTRIAN. Drivers do not look to their right when making right-hand turns at intersections, pulling out of driveways, etc.

    It has gotten to the point where I have to not only make eye-contact with drivers, I have to yell loudly as I cross streets to remind them.

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    • JNE June 1, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Making eye contact is key. Everytime I roll into a crosswalk without getting the driver’s eye I think — I should have waited, s/he could cream me.

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      • 9watts June 1, 2012 at 9:53 am

        “Making eye contact is key. Everytime I roll into a crosswalk without getting the driver’s eye I think — I should have waited, s/he could cream me.”
        I do that too. But does the average driver of a car?
        See what I mean?

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        • Mindful Cyclist June 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

          I do see what you mean. This intersection is on my commute and if the driver is not looking, I just don’t go. Yes, it is a PITA and am giving up my right of way, but better just wait as opposed be being a pancake.

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          • El Biciclero June 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

            Unfortunately, all of this giving up right-of-way also has the side effect of training drivers that all others are subservient and will bow to their mighty power. Not saying that it isn’t still prudent to do, I’m just wishing there were some way to remind drivers of their responsibilities without being a martyr. I’ve heard of this thing called “enforcement”, or something like that, but I’m not sure how to use it or how it works…

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            • Mindful Cyclist June 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm

              I am pretty much in agreement with you that if we just wait and always cede the ROW, we run the risk of being subservient.

              I was referring more to this intersection, however. Not sure if you are familiar with it, but there is a lot of vegetation around it and has pretty poor sight lines. Consider if I am going at a rate of 15 mph and traveling at a speed of 22 feet/second. When I took driver’s ed, I was trained check left, right, left and proceed if clear. Now if a driver does this on this intersection, it is going to seem like I literally “came out of nowhere.”

              I am glad this intersection is on the radar as a potentially hazardous one. I do think striping a third line further back from the crosswalk could help as well as putting a warning sign like there is coming off 26 turning right onto Skyline. But, for the time being, I will just understand the limitations and potential hazards.

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              • wsbob June 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm

                “… I do think striping a third line further back from the crosswalk could help as well as putting a warning sign like there is coming off 26 turning right onto Skyline. …” Mindful Cyclist

                MUP’s are a relatively new addition to public way infrastructure, the laws to which might well be in need of some additions or amendments to require signage clarifying what the legal and safe use of that infrastructure is. At this particular intersection for example, a sign on the MUP declaring: ‘Speed limit 3.5 mph Approach/Enter Crosswalk’, might be of some benefit to both road and MUP users.

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                • El Biciclero June 5, 2012 at 11:18 am

                  Or as an alternative, NO RIGHT TURN ON RED signs could provide some benefit.

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              • El Biciclero June 5, 2012 at 11:17 am

                “Now if a driver does this on this intersection, it is going to seem like I literally ‘came out of nowhere.’ ”

                This is precisely why, if this MUP is intended as a viable “bike path” (I hate that term more and more every day…), Right Turns On Red–as God-given a right as everyone seems to think they are–should be prohibited here.

                Yes, I have been through here a couple of times and agree the sight lines are bad, and there are some lovely, yet ill-placed shrubs that should probably be moved or removed.

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                • Mindful Cyclist June 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

                  While I agree that this is certainly an intersection that needs a NRTOR, I also worry that it is going to give peds and cyclist this false sense of security. Let’s face it, people often do not follow it.

                  Maybe a nice big sharrow with a X-ING

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                • Mindful Cyclist June 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

                  Well, I guess I hit reply on accident or something….

                  To finish my thought, a big sharrow with the letters X-ING underneath it may be a very inexpensive and temporary fix until something else can be done.

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      • Ali June 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm

        Do you realize that there are pedestrians that can’t make eye contact? Because they can’t see.

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        • LoneHeckler June 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm

          Wow. Just as I was silently nodding along with all of the “make eye-contact” comments (my personal policy for this kind of crossing), I came across this excellent point. You’re absolutely right. Touche’.

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          • Seth Alford June 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm

            What LoneHeckler said.

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    • Steve B June 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      The yelling thing is effective! When I see a driver not looking at all, I love to shout HEY YO HELLO!! and they usually turn around and look at me all startled.

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  • LESTER June 1, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I think that intersection needs a RR crossing style gate that drops when the crossing signal is lit.

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    • NF June 1, 2012 at 8:36 am

      I would love to see that!

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    • El Biciclero June 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Or retractable steel/concrete bollards.

      I wonder whether it wouldn’t help at these intersections to move bicycle crossings back from the intersection far enough to allow one or two vehicles in front of it at the intersection. Sort of like a RR crossing, with drivers expected to not stop in the crossing. Rather than a crossing arm, I’d settle for some kind of sensor that would trigger a loud alarm sound if a car remained stopped blocking any part of the crossing for more than 3-5 seconds. Sort of like the alarms that sound when cars are leaving a parking garage. It would serve as a great warning for cyclists approaching that someone was at least partially blocking the crossing, and would be annoying enough that drivers would want to avoid tripping it for fear of being “That Guy” who causes a huge racket for the other drivers waiting at the intersection. I can see the sign: “DO NOT BLOCK CROSSING /ALARM WILL SOUND”. Heh.

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  • jd June 1, 2012 at 7:31 am

    I’ve had close calls on both sides of the wheel at that intersection. The opposite corner with the on-ramp for E26 is just as bad.

    In that situation, there was a pedestrian that crossed in front of the cars, which the driver obviously stopped for. The cyclist came from around a blind corner on the right out of the frame at a relatively higher rate of speed. If he would have creeped into the intersection a little more, she would have went over the hood. It was a bad situation all around, so I’m not assigning blame to either party.

    A no right on red would probably be the best solution for that corner.

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    • matt picio June 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      the cyclist did *not* come from around a blind corner. The MUP in that location is fairly straight for a significant distance.

      Unfortunately for the cyclist, if she’d been seriously injured, the insurance companies could have refused to pay since she was traveling greater than the speed of a walk (3-5mph) while within the crosswalk even though the motorist clearly failed to yield.

      (In addition to failure to yield, the motorist started out with the front of the car and front wheels impinging on the crosswalk, which is also a traffic violation)

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  • John Lascurettes June 1, 2012 at 7:34 am

    This is bad traffic design right there.

    There’s a reason that the law that normally regulates bicycles operating on a sidewalk states that when entering a crosswalk or crossing a driveway, the bicycle operator must slow to a speed no faster than “walking speed”. The reason is that drivers don’t expect something that fast to comet them from the right.

    That said, this is a MUP disguised as a crosswalk. Or is it actually a crosswalk? I’d be curious to know what the law in the eyes of a lawyer would be here. Does the bicycle rider have a responsibility to slow to “walking speed” when entering what looks like a crosswalk to the driver? Yes, the driver is supposed to yield and check to his right, but in a court of law, it might find both people at fault.

    Is there a lawyer in the house? Someone call Ray Thomas. :)

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    • Andrew Holtz June 1, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Yes, cyclists should take it slow and easy in crosswalks. But in this case, the driver apparently didn’t look right at all. The car clipped the bike’s rear wheel… if the woman had been riding more slowly, she would have been right in front of the car when it went forward. She might have been pinned under the car, rather than just getting a scare.

      To your other question, the rider was on a multiuse path, not a sidewalk.

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      • Spiffy June 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

        actually, they were on a MUP, then a sidewalk, then a crosswalk, all within 1 second…

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        • oskarbaanks June 1, 2012 at 8:45 am

          Awesome point of detail! Thanks, Spiffy. I have an opinion on this story, but my brain is scorched from the Scott Stephenson/N. Williams car rage debate! I am taking a pass on chiming in on this one, and choosing to go ride my bike ! peace.

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      • DoubleB June 2, 2012 at 1:44 am

        We have no knowledge of that. He could have looked right, then left and inched forward before making contact.

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    • Oliver June 1, 2012 at 9:41 am

      Also consider that “walking speed” means something far different for active people in a city like New York, Chicago (and likely Portland) as opposed to non-active people in smaller burg like Hillsborough, Des Moins etc.

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    • wsbob June 1, 2012 at 10:58 am

      “That said, this is a MUP disguised as a crosswalk. Or is it actually a crosswalk? …” John Lascurettes

      The part of the MUP that crosses the street is a ‘crosswalk’. Whether the public way in question is strictly a sidewalk or an MUP, where it crosses the street, it’s a ‘crosswalk’. This means that, yes, according to Oregon law, ORS 814.410:

      http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.410

      also, cited in part, elsewhere earlier in someone’s comment, people entering a crosswalk have to reduce their speed to that of a normal walking speed.

      The Sylvan overpass and its intersections on both the north and south of Hwy 26 are complex and busy, but they work fairly well. All points of the complex do require a lot more concentration from everyone using the road than do simpler intersections. Visibility seems to be good. The biggest problem is that the overpass intersection complex is extremely busy. I see no simple fix for that aside from everyone driving deciding to switch to riding buses or bikes…as if that’s ever going to happen in the foreseeable future.

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    • Chris Daniel June 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Bad traffic design, indeed. I have walked and ridden through this intersection along the MUP, and each time have wondered how the hell this got past anybody who has ever walked or biked. This is pretty much standard fare for a pedestrian crosswalk, but for bikes it is sub-optimal. There needs to be at least some signage and green paint here to indicate to drivers that there are probably bikes crossing.

      Ideally, there should be a bike signal/sensors, green paint, and a very emphatic “No Turn on Red” for drivers. The MUP along US-26 is hard enough to use without having to deal with this dangerous intersection.

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  • John Lascurettes June 1, 2012 at 7:35 am

    “come at them” not “comet them”

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    • Rol June 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      I like “comet them.”

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  • Todd Waddell June 1, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Legally, I think the cyclist was at fault. Oregon law requires cyclists using a crosswalk to do so at a walking pace. The video suggests that the cyclist was traveling at a moderate pace. The driver may well have checked right and had the cyclist enter his path in the short time he was checking oncoming traffic.

    Having said that, as a practical matter, I think both drivers and cyclists need to be more aware, and that traffic agencies should word to identify and fix these particularly dangerous intersections.

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    • 9watts June 1, 2012 at 8:34 am

      But wait, ‘right turn on red’ isn’t a requirement. It isn’t ‘must turn right on red’ anymore than the speed limit is a ‘speed minimum.’
      The fact that we sometimes catch ourselves acting as if these were, exemplifies what Alan Durning calls carhead – entitlements that derive from our overwhelming sense that cars belong/are in the right and everyone else doesn’t/isn’t.

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      • Pete June 5, 2012 at 9:18 pm

        Regardless, it wasn’t prohibited, which would (in theory) have prevented this collision (as well as her slowing to walking speed as required by law). She’s lucky he was actually pretty good about it all (full stop before the line and not over it, not hammering the gas when he saw his hole, getting out of the car to check on her, etc.) and we’re all lucky it was nothing more than a learning experience. Thanks Andrew for your vigilance and activism, hopefully the governing bodies will make some improvements here!

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    • Gregg June 1, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Todd, are you saying that the cyclist was at fault AND the driver was not at fault? If the cyclist was not at walking speed, this does not give the driver legal right to hit her. The driver may enter and proceed through the crosswalk when it is safe to do so. Obviously it was not safe to enter or proceed through the crosswalk when there was a cyclist in FRONT of his car.

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      • Spiffy June 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

        we recently went through the walking speed debate when the off-duty cop hit somebody on a bike riding on the sidewalk on Powell…

        I think the bike got the raw deal on that one since amateur witnesses estimated the bike traveling at 9 mph and the maximum known walking speed is 8.5 mph…

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        • Gregg June 1, 2012 at 10:24 am

          I remember clearly. But it was a cop!

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      • DoubleB June 2, 2012 at 1:48 am

        Completely and utterly incorrect. Watch the video again. The driver’s front wheels are in the crosswalk as the cyclist just comes into view a good 15 feet from the sidewalk. The driver has already let a pedestrian through.

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        • matt picio June 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm

          Which means the driver is guilty of rolling past the stop line / crosswalk. The driver is required by law to stay outside the crosswalk until it is safe to turn. The motorist is still not blameless, regardless of the culpability of the cyclist.

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  • J_R June 1, 2012 at 7:53 am

    This is a place for a “sting” operation rather than the stop signs at Ladd’s addition.

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    • Spiffy June 1, 2012 at 8:24 am

      I think all you have to do is call and request enforcement…

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      • Andrew Holtz June 1, 2012 at 9:11 am

        People do request enforcement here. And the police do put some officers here on occasion, but it’s not enough to make a big dent in the red light and crosswalk violations. The intersection is on the city’s list for a special crosswalk enforcement, but I haven’t heard when it might be scheduled.

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  • Rob June 1, 2012 at 7:57 am

    This reminds me of one of the scenes in the video they often show during motorcycle courses. They show scenes, then stop the video and ask “who’s fault is it?” After each of the earlier scenes in the video, most students will respond that it’s the motorists fault (which it often legally is). Ater it’s pointed out what could be done by the motorcyclist to anticipate the collision (i.e., defensive driving) it’s clear that the definition of “fault” and the answer to the question can be quite differeent.

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  • 9watts June 1, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Hurray for helmet cameras. Cars insulate their occupants way too much.

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  • Smedley June 1, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Wow. I always wondered how someone gets the back tire clipped, since it implies that the rider rode in front of the car and the driver is looking through the front windshield. I try to get a look at what drivers eyes to see what their intentions are, the driver here probably does that maneuver everyday. If that happened to me on my Mtn bike I would have wielded it like a weapon on his hood. Specifically using my bike rack as a contact point. It would have made that nice blue paint stand out. He would have got out and yelled, I’d calmly tell him we’re even and rode off. The stupid awe shucks grin is what does it for me. Good thing I never ride out there.

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  • Dave June 1, 2012 at 8:04 am

    A no turn on red is the obvious solution here.

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    • Opus the Poet June 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      Actually a no turn on red national law is what is needed. AFAIK all right-on-red laws have done is very efficiently kill pedestrians while making people think they are getting to their destinations faster than otherwise.

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  • Dan June 1, 2012 at 8:07 am

    I ride that route every day. I won’t go into that crosswalk until I know for sure that the driver in the right turn lane has seen me. And you have to be sure going Westbound too — I think it’s actually more dangerous going the other direction.

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    • Brian June 1, 2012 at 8:23 am

      Both directions are bad and I have had more close calls here than anywhere else in the metro area. I have had people exiting HWY 26 fly around that right turn too. You have to treat the “walk” signal as a “be damn cautious when you walk” signal.

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  • Shetha June 1, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I’m with Holtz. When I pass through here, I pretty much yield even when I have the walk sign. Folks coming from 26 West bound have no inclination to stop at the red light. Folks turning right after coming down Sylvan don’t either. I’m also cautious when headed westbound… if stopped cars are blocking my view, I can’t see if the person in the right turn lane is blowing through or not, so I guess I go a cautious speed (not quite walking speed, though). I guess a no turn on red would be nice but that depends on road users changing their behavior to follow the signage, which they aren’t doing now. Call me skeptical… “I’ll believe it when I see it”

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  • Spiffy June 1, 2012 at 8:22 am

    sorry, but it looks like the car was in the intersection first since he was over the line, which means it’s not safe for the cyclist to enter until the car clears out…

    I’m going to have to side with the driver… they’re already in the intersection and the rider doesn’t slow down to give the driver any time to figure out where she’s going…

    it’s like a pedestrian stepping off the curb in front of a car halfway through a walk signal… yes, the ped has the right of way, if the car has enough time to notice where they’re going…

    just because there’s a walk signal doesn’t mean a car can’t turn right… there was nobody there when the car entered the crosswalk… the bike actually did come out of nowhere, transitioning from a MUP to a sidewalk to a crosswalk in about 1 second…

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    • 9watts June 1, 2012 at 8:28 am

      Spiffy,
      but why is the driver looking left so intently, if cross traffic (in your view) should yield to the almighty driver ‘who’s already in the cross walk’? Speaking of which, why is he ‘already in the crosswalk’ when he doesn’t have the light?

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      • DoubleB June 2, 2012 at 1:52 am

        Let’s remember, he’s already let a pedestrian cross in front of him. That at least implies he’s looked right. He’s inching forward in the car after the pedestrian passes him when the cyclist darts in front of him at a rate much higher than the pedestrian who just passed him.

        The driver is allowed to turn right on red there (which is the obvious answer to this issue in the 1st place) and to do requires him to cross the sidewalk.

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    • SJ June 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Totally agree with Spiffy. A light is a light, paint on the road is paint–they offer a totally false sense of security. If the rider, not to blame the “victim” here, had just slowed and gone to the rear of the car, everything would have been fine. As riders, we can push every situation where in fact we have the right of way, or we can be highly, or even pathologically, in my case, selective about the times when we CAN go but need to just pause for about a second to make sure we’re seen.

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    • Matt June 1, 2012 at 8:50 am

      Explain to me again how a motorist with a red light ever has the right of way.

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      • Dk June 1, 2012 at 9:11 am

        Because it is their road Matt! when are you going to understand that? (end of sarcasm).

        You thing this is bad, read the discussion in the thread before this. It seems that brushing an open car door justifies running someone down with a van.

        Speaking of, it was clear she shouted something at the driver, I’m not sure why the driver didn’t then ram her with his car. It’s clear that the shout gave him justifiable cause. (okay, now I’ll end the sarcasm)

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      • Spiffy June 1, 2012 at 9:33 am

        they had already dealt with the red light by stopping and were already in the intersection… by them already being in the intersection they claimed the right to proceed… anybody else that wants to enter the intersection needs to ensure the intersection is safe before entering it…

        the bike entered before the car finished proceeding…

        I know we generally don’t see a lot of people following the law out there since it doesn’t actually work, but when a collision happens they always revert to the law…

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        • Gregg June 1, 2012 at 10:32 am

          I don’t think you are right on this, Spiffy. It is true that the driver does need to stop before the crosswalk, but he can not enter the intersection until he can clear the intersection. He can not enter the intersection and stop. It is a pet peeve of mine when drivers enter an intersection on yellow only to block traffic from the right and left once the light changes. In the video you can see that he stops partially IN the crosswalk: NOT OK.
          Driver at fault (Or at least he is ALSO at fault.)

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          • SJ June 1, 2012 at 10:49 am

            So the driver was wrong because he actually was trying to be extra careful? By your reasoning, a driver should stop, then proceed as if the driving situation won’t change. It’s perfectly acceptable to creep out after stopping, slowly, then complete the turn. The fact here is that the driver was being careful, looking right (didn’t see anyone), looks left (no one) then, out of the blue, as he mentions in the video, a biker bolts in front of him, during that brief interval when he was scanning the scene. A driver can’t look both ways at the same time. It’s a given that no one is perfect, but man, he was at least trying. And he stopped to continue his efforts to be a good driver.

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            • Nathan June 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

              The driver admitted that he was looking left while driving forward. I don’t want to be combative here, but that doesn’t sound like carefulness to me.

              Order of business for making a right turn:
              1. Stop.
              2. Check for traffic on the left and forward.
              3. Check for pedestrian traffic in both crosswalks that you will be crossing (not every person using a crosswalk is able to follow right-of-way rules or able to cross in a timely manner).
              4. Repeat 2, then 3 until it it safe.
              5. Turn right.

              To reiterate the message from numerous people here: if you don’t see that a car sees you and sees your intention to cross, glare at them until they do. When they see you stopped and staring, they usually make either apologetic (NE Portland) or angry (Sylvan and 26) faces.

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              • John Lascurettes June 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm

                Point being, you do not expect “traffic” except for pedestrian-speed traffic to come from your right. This is why the law exists for bicycles in the crosswalk needing to decrease to “walking speed” (which Ray Thomas says is defendable in court at about 3 mph). Drivers check to the left longer when they make a right on red because that is where the faster traffic comes from (both cars and bikes in bike lanes or sharing the lane) and drivers must must visually scan for that much farther away. Bicycles should not be coming at them, into the intersection at a high rate of speed (even as low as 9 mph). If drivers were expected to be able to scan either direction for higher (than pedestrian) speed traffic, then we’d be allowed to also make lefts on red onto two way streets (guess what, you can’t).

                So, though both participants pulled a boner move in this – in a court of law, I think they cyclist would lose a fight to who was at fault. The driver had stopped before proceeding, scanned right and then checked left. The cyclist entered the crosswalk at well above 3-4 mph and therefore violated the law (even if the driver didn’t check right again).

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                • 9watts June 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm

                  “Bicycles should not be coming at them, into the intersection at a high rate of speed (even as low as 9 mph).”

                  John,

                  I’m certainly no lawyer, but to me the Right Turn on Red is a conditional not a mandate. As such I’m not following your logic that has the person on the bicycle throttling their speed since they have the right of way.

                  I see the person going straight (in this case the person on bike) as having a right of way that trumps the right turning on red driver’s right, which in any case is conditional upon there being no one crossing. If it is hard to determine if anyone is coming from the right then he/she should not proceed. There is never a compulsion to turn right on red.

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                • wsbob June 2, 2012 at 11:59 am

                  9watts
                  “Bicycles should not be coming at them, into the intersection at a high rate of speed (even as low as 9 mph).”
                  John,
                  I’m certainly no lawyer, but to me the Right Turn on Red is a conditional not a mandate. As such I’m not following your logic that has the person on the bicycle throttling their speed since they have the right of way.
                  I see the person going straight (in this case the person on bike) as having a right of way that trumps the right turning on red driver’s right, which in any case is conditional upon there being no one crossing. If it is hard to determine if anyone is coming from the right then he/she should not proceed. There is never a compulsion to turn right on red.
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                  Whether or not RTOR is conditional or a mandate isn’t even something Lascurettes touched on. With regards to this incident, your own suggestion that the person on the bike had the right of way over the person driving, disregards the apparent fact that the person on the bike approached and entered the crosswalk at a faster normal walking speed.

                  Lascurettes remarks help clarify the reason the law requires a normal walking speed approach and entry to the crosswalk, by delineating road users reasonable ability to scan left and right for cross traffic originating from the sidewalk, before proceeding.

                  Road users, whether they’re operating a car, a truck, or riding a bike, are going to have significantly greater difficulty detecting someone approaching and entering the crosswalk from a sidewalk, if the person approaching is traveling faster than the normal walking speed specified in the law.

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          • DoubleB June 2, 2012 at 1:58 am

            Have you EVER driven a car? What is he supposed to do? He’s let a pedestrian in front of him. He’s actually clear–cyclist isn’t in the shot yet. Should he then fully pass the crosswalk and get into cross traffic in order to make the turn? Or do what EVERY OTHER DRIVER in America does–slowly move forward into the crosswalk to make sure that it’s safe to make the turn.

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            • Machu Picchu June 3, 2012 at 11:33 am

              Obviously it’s not safe to turn if a person has a signal that it’s ok to use the crosswalk at that time, and their choosing to exercise that permission puts them in front of you. I agree that it was hard, if not impossible for the guy in the car to execute a right turn ON RED under the exact circumstances shown here, but (and SO) that is why right on red is bad here, if not everywhere. What is he supposed to do? Wait for a green light. I would never ride into a crosswalk the way the rider in this video did, but it’s near impossible for me to defend someone hitting a non-motorized user in a crosswalk while facing a red signal.

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              • 9watts June 3, 2012 at 11:44 am

                precisely.

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            • dr2chase June 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm

              I drive. When I don’t like what I see, I stop. Stopping is always an option. Most red lights will eventually turn green, and then he can proceed. Right-on-red is allowed, not required.

              The problem with pulling forward into the crosswalk is that any pedestrians that arrive STILL have the right of way, but now he is partially obstructing them, and also reducing his ability to see them.

              Furthermore, what if the cyclist had done what I sometimes do in exactly these situations; ride to the edge of the sidewalk, dismount, and keep walking forward. The cyclist is apparently required to enter the crosswalk at a walking speed, but can arrive at the edge of the sidewalk just 5 feet pretty-darn-quick. How can a driver deal with this possibility? They can stop.

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      • Tim w June 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm

        But how did a cyclist have the further right of way? Legally, she should have dismounted. Since that would be a pain while riding on an MUP, she should have at least rolled through at walking speed. The driver was following law more so than the cyclist, at least that seems to make sense to my unprofessional self.

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    • BURR June 1, 2012 at 11:15 am

      motorists are legally required to come to a full stop at the first stop line before proceeding into the crosswalk/intersection to make a right on red.

      In my experience very few motorists actually do this; but rather, they roll as far forward into the cross walk as they can before they stop and wait for traffic to clear before making their turn.

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      • Chris June 2, 2012 at 12:43 am

        Very true. Drivers need to stop behind the line. Then, when there is sufficient time to turn through a crosswalk, they must look both ways before proceeding.

        Look both ways! Isn’t that the first thing we are all taught when using roads? Except…that was self preservation (as a pedestrian).

        Look both ways and re-read your driver’s manual.

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  • Jake June 1, 2012 at 8:38 am

    This is a difficult overpass in general. I live pretty close to here and consistently use extra caution at any point along it where cars could be turning right (onto or off of the freeway) because the hilliness of the terrain and the large number of obstructions (trees, plants, lights, signals, signs) mean drivers 90% of the time roll into the crosswalk and have a difficult time seeing other cars, let alone cyclists.

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  • Aaron June 1, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Even if the driver did look to the right, the biker crossed very quickly.

    I’ve nearly been hit several times crossing this intersection on my bike on the way to work. But those near misses usually just turn into the car blocking my path, seeing me, mouthing “SORRY!” and moving on. And that’s even coming from the East side of that crosswalk.

    Slow down.

    Unsure if (a) applies, but (d) definitely does.

    814.410¹
    Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk
    (1) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person does any of the following:
    (a) Operates the bicycle so as to suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
    [...]
    (d) Operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway or crossing a curb cut or pedestrian ramp and a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp. This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic.

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    • 9watts June 1, 2012 at 8:58 am

      This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic.

      Sage advice but also evidence of carhead (in my opinion)

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      • wsbob June 1, 2012 at 10:33 am

        9watts
        This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic.
        Sage advice but also evidence of carhead (in my opinion)
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        Evidence of ‘carhead’, how? By giving people riding bikes carte blanche to ride as fast as they choose on sidewalks between points where the sidewalk approaches and enters the street? That’s what the excerpt you’ve selected from the law says.

        This part of ORS 814.410 that’s probably due some review for the simple fact that it allows people riding bikes on the sidewalk to legally exceed speeds far beyond a normal walking speed. The law might be better to clarify that people riding bikes on the sidewalk should be obliged to reduce their speed to normal walking speed whenever within a given distance from other people using the sidewalk.

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      • John Lascurettes June 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        Not his opinion. He was quoting the law directly.

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    • Matt June 1, 2012 at 9:07 am

      I do know, however, that the rules are different when the “sidewalk” is also a multi use path and specifically when it’s a designated bike path, which I believe this is.

      There are multiple problems here. Right on red practically encourages motorists to look left as they head right. Right on red should be no more. The position of the bike path is almost like the cyclists are on the wrong side of the road from the motorists’ perspective. Again, speed is a factor here. A motorist might be familiar with a pedestrian at 3MPH coming from that direction but a cyclist moving only nominally quicker is not the norm for motorists. Right on red also encourages motorists to inch out into crosswalks to see if the coast is clear. Another bad idea.

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      • Aaron June 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

        Matt,

        Do you have a citation for that statement? The only information about a MUP/sidewalk/crosswalk being different somehow is from a lawyer in Eugene saying nothing about a MUP crossing is defined well in the ORS.

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  • Quentin June 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I don’t have much sympathy for the cyclist in this case. She didn’t even have both hands on the brakes and she was obviously going way too fast to give the driver a reasonable chance of seeing her before he executed a perfectly legal right turn. I agree that drivers need to look right before turning right, but I would add that cyclists need to make themselves more visible and predictable to drivers.

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    • LESTER June 1, 2012 at 9:35 am

      I don’t think we have a good enough video to determine whether the right turn was legal. Did the motorist come to a complete stop before crossing the crosswalk line? Did the motorist look both ways before making the turn?

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      • DoubleB June 2, 2012 at 2:03 am

        We don’t know. But we do know that the cyclist didn’t come to the speed of an “ordinary walk” when entering the crosswalk.

        The motorist MAY have violated the law. The cyclist DID violate the law.

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    • Matt June 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      It’s not perfectly legal when the motorist had a red light and the cyclist had the right of way. Right on red after stop and if it’s clear you can proceed. IT WASN’T CLEAR.

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  • LESTER June 1, 2012 at 9:37 am

    BTW, hitting the brakes would’ve made for a worse crash in this instance, acceleration might have lessened the impact a bit.

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  • wade June 1, 2012 at 10:09 am

    i’m not concerned with what my legal right is as a cyclist or pedestrian on an everyday level. it may be legal for me to ride quickly on a sidewalk, but it doesn’t mean it’s not stupid and dangerous. it may be my legal right to walk into a cross walk in any number of situations when i could be hit by a car, but i choose to wait or walk around the rear of the car. and it may be illegal for a car to perform a thousand possible endangering maneuvers, but they still do it and although there are ways to mitigate that behavior through design or laws, as long as there are cars driving on the streets, they will be a danger to cyclists and pedestrians. I find it effective to treat ever interaction with a motor vehicle as a potential catastrophe and imagine the worst possible thing the motorist could do in any given moment. it’s a bit spiritually depleting riding or walking this way, but i believe it’s safer.

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    • 9watts June 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

      wade,
      I agree with you if we’re taking a static view of this (kind of) situation. But some of us are interested in the dynamic view; in how to change this deplorable state of affairs, how to call attention to & assert the rights of those not in cars, to demand redress, better enforcement, signage, etc.

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      • wade June 1, 2012 at 10:48 am

        what’s static about riding my bike and walking instead of driving? just because i defer to a dangerous machine that can maim or kill me doesn’t mean my interaction with the urban environment as a cyclist and pedestrian is static. are you saying it’s dynamic to pathologically assert your rights at the expense of safety?

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        • spare_wheel June 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

          many serious bike-car accidents are caused by unavoidable inattention or even criminal behavior. in my experience, hypervigilance at best provides a marginal decrease in risk. moreover, i believe negative judgment of other cyclists because they are more comfortable with risk is divisive and unhelpful. i also believe that much of this judgment stems from a car-centric point of view.

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          • wade June 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

            i’m really not blaming/judging cyclist behavior (or pedestrians) for our vulnerability and the realities of riding bikes and walking in a world filled with cars, nor am i trying to make polar distinctions between cyclists who behave and those who don’t. i totally agree, it’s car-centric/headed, but until transportation projects/urban design catch up to all of our imaginations to create a velotopia, i think these are some important considerations. I would say that hypervigilance and riding proactively (taking “risks”) aren’t incompatible. i don’t think certain risks are worth it but being proactive and making yourself seen is important. i hear what you’re saying about the dangers of not standing your ground. there are many times when being overly cautious is worse than being proactive. anyway, urban riding is very complex, the complexities of which are difficult to parse. there seem to be more exceptions than axioms. ride safely and live another day to stuff an envelope!!!!

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            • spare_wheel June 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm

              nice response. agree with it all.

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        • 9watts June 1, 2012 at 11:38 am

          “are you saying it’s dynamic to pathologically assert your rights at the expense of safety?”

          wade,
          you are not hearing what I’m saying (or I’m not saying it well).

          Static: How can I come out of these deplorable/potentially dangerous but predictable situations with my epidermis intact? By riding very defensively and keeping in mind that those driving cars often don’t pay very much attention to me. Assume death lurks everywhere, etc. –> We’re on the same page.

          Dynamic: This disrespect on our roads for non-car modes is absurd/should not be allowed to continue. I’m going to do something about it* (work to change policy/read up on the laws/make lots of noise on bikeportland/bring this up in conversation/keep this carhead-induced asymmetry in mind always). My suggesting that there is also a dynamic way of approaching this (category of wrongs) is not meant to invalidate or denigrate a static view: this is just how things are but it is I think an important distinction.

          *the ‘it’ here isn’t the situation right here right now as I’m approaching an intersection, but the categorical problem

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          • wade June 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm

            i thought you were referring to riding style

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            • wade June 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm

              and dude, my urban style is quintessentially dynamic, impeccable actually, like each of my movements is an expression of all the wisdom of the bike ever passed along consciously and unconsciously. I deliver myself through the streets like a ted lecture before everyone got a standing ovation. i’m a true believer in cultivating both fear and virtuosity.

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  • Joe June 1, 2012 at 10:23 am

    signage on the side of the road telling drivers look right before turning or maybe better driver tests.. RIGHT HOOKS KILL!

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  • Ethan June 1, 2012 at 10:27 am

    The “No Right on Red” lights don’t always work. A couple of weeks ago I was almost taken out by a TriMet bus violating such a sign at the newly redesigned ramp at N Rosa Parks & I-5 south (mere blocks from the Maus House). The onramp at the north end of NW 23rd has been the site of right on red violations for DECADES.

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    • Reza June 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

      This. The 23rd and Vaughan intersection has been the bane of my existence. There is a reason why cars are prohibited from right turning on red (Vaughan traffic going WB often U-turn to access the Thurman St ramp going EB). I have seen numerous close calls where U-turners almost hit illegal right-turners. Why PPB couldn’t set up a sting operation there baffles my mind.

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      • Captain Haddock June 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        I live in this neighborhood and use the U-turn to jump down to 21′st (to avoid 23rd traffic) and see it happen all the time. I also ride through the intersection on my way home from forest park / sauvi island and have almost been clipped a few times. I simply don’t understand how it is that car drivers (being one myself) don’t see the HUGE “no turn on red” signs posted all over. I think it’s lazyness combined with selfishness and/or my car is my castle behavior.

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        • Jeff June 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm

          there are studies that show signage doesn’t work as well as engineers would like to think.

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          • Machu Picchu June 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

            I think engineers know as well as anyone just how ineffective signs can be, and you will find that add-on signs (like the NO TURN ON RED) being proposed here are generally the suggestions of user/citizens with good intentions but less education.

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  • Rick June 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I don’t know this intersection but it does seem from the camera perspective that the person on the bike does enter rather quickly. If I’m not mistaken, bikes going through a crosswalk must do so at pedestrian speed. Maybe that only applies if there are pedestrians currently in the crosswalk. At any rate, drivers and cyclists really need to take the time and effort to see and be seen.

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    • davemess June 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Yes, it’s a crosswalk, but it’s also an MUP. So it becomes a little more of a grey. area.

      Frankly I think the placement of this path is just ridiculous, it’s poorly marked and very hidden from view in both directions. There have been times on a bike where I have almost missed turning onto it. I know there aren’t a whole lot of other options due to the terrain, but having a path at this location is kind of a losing battle, regardless of what traffic restrictions and signage you put up.

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  • AK June 1, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Thank you so much to Andrew for taking this video and being active in the community. This video, and the proximity to the school, will go along way towards finding a good solution.

    As someone who rides across this cross walk once or twice per day, and never at walking speed, I agree with several of the commenters below. “No Right Turn On Red” for the southbound Skyline Blvd traffic, where the incident happened.

    The WB Off-ramp drivers turning right onto Skyline is the other bad spot, as riders know. I don’t think “No Right Turn on Red” would be that effective since most of the close calls happen on a green light. I would suggest a custom sign like “Watch for Bikes in Crosswalk” in black letters on a safety yellow sign, or “Yield to Bikes and Peds in Cross Walk”…

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    • Joseph E June 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      “The WB Off-ramp drivers turning right onto Skyline is the other bad spot, as riders know. I don’t think “No Right Turn on Red” would be that effective since most of the close calls happen on a green light.”

      The best solution would be “no right turn on green” (!) from the off-ramp. Instead, there could be a red right-turn arrow, which would turn flashing yellow when Skyline had the green. Cars coming off the freeway would need to stop, then turn right onto Skyline when safe. Or the traffic engineers could add a third right turn only phase, to fully separate the movement of cars and pedestrians/bikes.

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  • D_G June 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I was struck by the cinematographer’s riding: INstead of leaving the bike lane and getting in line behind the cars, he is squeezing by on their right. I ride through a similar intersection at NE Lloyd and MLK every day but I do not think it is safe to pass cars on the right in a right turn lane, I always get in line. What do others think about this protocol? Anyone know the law on this point? BTW, I was right-hooked last fall going straight through an intersection, passing a long line of cars, one of which was turning right w/o a blinker! I got smacked down really hard and had some damage to body and bike but was mostly ok. I now take it easy through intersections, even if I technically have the ROW. Also, I am a big supporter of abolishing the right on red.

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    • davemess June 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      If he is planning on turning right at the path (which is before the on ramp where the cars will turn), then I have no issue with this. I run up the right side of cars at lights every day. If you’re careful about it and ride defensively it’s really not that dangerous. In this situation I don’t see any danger to the cameraman.

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    • Alan 1.0 June 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      How safe it is depends on the situation; it looks to me like Holtz was quite safe, in this case.

      811.415 Unsafe passing on right says: “(c) Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaking vehicle is a bicycle that may safely make the passage under the existing conditions.” So, if you crash while doing it, all bets are off.

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      • Editz June 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        I’m a little surprised by that. I thought lane splitting was illegal for vehicles, and since a bike is considered a vehicle…might also explain cases of road rage where motorists feel the cyclist is “cheating” by passing on the right like that. I always get in line.

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        • 9watts June 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm

          “I thought lane splitting was illegal for vehicles, and since a bike is considered a vehicle”

          Those other (motorized) vehicles do it constantly. The law actually is more symmetrical than you may realize. My understanding (from comments here on bikeportland) is that the same rule that allows drivers of cars to pass someone on a bike where there’s a solid yellow line, permits a person on a bike to do the same when conditions warrant it.

          The bike being chiefly on the right isn’t going to be expected to weave around and pass a line of parked cars on the left….

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        • Alan 1.0 June 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm

          Well, passing on the right is a little different than lane splitting, but I’ve looked up that in the past, too, and as I read it, ORS 814.400 “Application of vehicle laws to bicycles” says bicycles are “(1) subject to the provisions [of] any other vehicle…except: (b) When otherwise specifically provided under the vehicle code.” ORS 814.240 “Motorcycle or moped unlawful passing” specifically provides that motorcycles and mopeds are prohibited from land-splitting but doesn’t mention bicycles or vehicles, so exception (b) applies. IANAL, that’s just my interpretation and maybe there is further case law clarifying it, but that’s how it looks to me.

          I’m not saying that lane splitting is (or isn’t) wise or cautious or otherwise advisable, just saying that I am not aware of Oregon law prohibiting bikes from doing it.

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          • dr2chase June 6, 2012 at 4:53 am

            It also varies by state. The Massachusetts laws against lane-splitting are specific to motorcycles (not cars, not bicycles), and though “vehicles” are required to remain within a single lane, it does not prohibit two vehicles in the same lane. We have some poorly-designed (or rather, “just happened”) roads with very wide lanes, where drivers will go two in a single lane, or pass on the right or left in a single lane, and I have never heard of anyone receiving a ticket for this (it happens constantly). There’s an example of this on Google Streetview, “Trapelo and Slade, Belmont, MA”. First view is mid-day, light traffic. Rotate left, one click down Trapelo, and it’s rush hour, and look at the on-coming lane.

            I’m curious about the “must enter crosswalk at a walking speed” rule — that must be an Oregon law, because there is no mention of such a thing in all of Massachusetts law (I just double-checked).

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    • GlowBoy June 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      For a bike to pass on the right, even when there isn’t a bike lane, is legal in Oregon. The law was changed not too many years ago to legalize it.

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      • GlowBoy June 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

        The above was meant as a reply to D_G’s question above. Sorry it didn’t show up in quite the right spot.

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        • D_G June 4, 2012 at 10:14 am

          thanks!

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    • Todd Waddell June 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      D_G, I typically do the same thing.

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  • Kris June 1, 2012 at 11:34 am

    It’s pretty obvious that this intersection would benefit from extra signage to make motorists more aware of two-way traffic.

    Here are two examples of such signs:
    - Netherlands: http://www.unieuws.nl/uploads/image/2010/04/img_u1266_p18725.jpg (note that in this photo, crossing cyclists still have to yield to cars)
    - Belgium: http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/6091/n16laagstraat02.jpg

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  • Alan 1.0 June 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

    The MUP could be better designed, there. It sweeps north at the bus stop, bringing its users in behind the stop line for cars (the north crosswalk line), over the driver’s shoulder and out the side window of cars. If, instead, it continued straight behind the bus stop, parallel with the sidewalk, it would bring bikers and peds on a course facing the driver’s windshield, in a zone where (maybe) the driver would be more likely to see them, and they’d be looking at the front of the car and the driver’s face/eyes.

    Google sat. view: http://goo.gl/maps/1inI

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    • davemess June 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Yes, they could make it like the intersection of Johnson Creek and the Springwater, where the pathway crosswalk is independent of the intersection. This layout usually allows cars to pay attention to the path much more.

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    • Alan 1.0 June 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Oh, and that way bikes would be going up a slight grade rather than down, thus reducing speed entering the crosswalk.

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  • El Biciclero June 1, 2012 at 11:58 am

    To me, this situation represents a clear example of “separation” fail. If this path is an example of a MUP, which are also referred to by many as “bike paths”, subject to required use under ORS 814.420 (never mind that there is just about no other way to traverse W-E through this area), then this is more than a crosswalk, it is an intersection with cross traffic from both directions. The fact that right turn on red is allowed here is a travesty that shows extreme disregard for bicycle traffic and the safety of riders. What has been created here is a British “junction” where traffic should be routinely expected in the “near lane” (MUP) from the right, making RTOR the equivalent of a U.S. LEFT turn on red.

    Those that want to call this a crosswalk, subject to the “no faster than walking speed” rule, may be showing defensive prudence, but it highlights the extent to which we can’t make up our minds how to treat bike traffic. We want it separated, but we don’t want drivers to ever have to think about it. We want bikes to be vehicles, except when they “get in the way” of cars–then we want cyclists to be pedestrians and follow sidewalk rules, but God forbid that cyclists “endanger” pedestrians by ever using a sidewalk! Drivers accuse cyclists of “playing both sides” when they see one divert onto the sidewalk in an attempt to expedite some bit of their trip, yet we have “bike path” designs that instruct cyclists to do this very thing if it would be convenient for motorists by making those on bikes make extra stops, or suddenly be governed by a different set of laws that would give motorists the legal advantage in the event of a likely collision.

    This is why I have very little confidence that we will ever figure out an equitable solution to the “separation” problem in my lifetime. The prevailing attitude–even among cycling commenters here–seems to be “Cyclists Beware! Cars will trample you!” “Caveat Birotatio!” This attitude is what leads to legal and law enforcement bias, roadway and “bike path” designs that maximize the inconvenience to cyclists (in the name of “safety”, of course!) while also maximizing throughput of autos at all costs, laws that put undue burdens on those who would ride, and the continued notion that cars are normal and bikes are “weird”; anybody with real business to conduct drives a car and is inherently More Important than some Peter Pan on a recreational toy.

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    • Paul in the 'Couve June 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      This is GREAT! my new Manifesto! Jonathan should publish this tomorrow on the front page.

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    • Todd Boulanger June 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Yes well put. This is one of the many conflicted “thought” flaws our planning and engineering community creates in the design of bike facilities. We are starting to fix the bikeway links but the bikeway junctions are still bad – either the bikeway ends or it is designed poorly for bicyclist access and safety.

      Also there is the point of route hierarchy. That the traffic movements of the higher order (regional vs. local) traffic would have preference at a intersection. So Hwy 26 traffic would be over Skyline Blvd. If the bikeway MUP performs as the Hwy 26 link for non-motorized traffic (since the ODoT engineers do not want bicyclists operating on it) then the design of the intersection should reflect this in design and operation. But this hierarchy of route tends to break down in this country when non-motorized routes are planned.

      Think of how many regional highway MUP or arterial MUP facility crossings are stop controlled for crossing driveways or local [more minor] streets. Or worse…when a rail line is converted to a regional trail facility and the old right of way priority is flipped to prioritize the side street or driveway traffic over the regional trail traveller on a bicycle. An example of this is the Banks Vernonia Trail or the Wallipa Hills Trail.

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    • DoubleB June 2, 2012 at 2:11 am

      “Those that want to call this a crosswalk, subject to the “no faster than walking speed” rule”

      It IS a crosswalk. Look at it from the driver’s point of view. How on earth would he think that’s it a MUP? There’s no signage or coloring or anything telling him it’s not a crosswalk.

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      • El Biciclero June 4, 2012 at 10:09 am

        My point is that even if it is legally a cross walk, it is out of place as such. If you’ve ever been to downtown Portland, imagine that Salmon street–or better yet, one of the bridge streets like Burnside or Madison–instead of passing over the waterfront, was routed across it on the same level in such a way that drivers suddenly found themselves crossing a wide pedestrian path, having to slow to 3mph until they crossed it and the actual bridge began. That makes as much sense as the crosswalk here.

        Regardless of the fact a driver is responsible for not running over someone that is in a crosswalk right in front of them (looking in the direction you are about to move can be a great strategy), my comment put more blame on the design of this intersection than either of the vehicle operators. You are correct: there is no signage, no special striping, no real indication to expect cyclists who are continuing on their way along this MUP. There was very little regard for bike crossing when the path was built this way. It leads to a situation where unless everyone follows every last nuance of the letter of the law, things like this will happen. I had a math professor long ago whose testing philosophy was that a test should consist of items that students could do “with mittens on”. The same should be true of well-designed roadways. It is highly unlikely that any driver or cyclist even knows all the subtleties of intersection ROW law and safety, and even less likely that such principles would be consistently followed even if they were known. A well-designed intersection should protect travelers by making it obvious what is going on at that intersection. Instead, intersections like this just give everybody enough rope to hang themselves–and supply convenient tree limbs to do it. It’s just very fortunate that in this case, a bumped rear wheel is all that resulted.

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  • mark kenseth June 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Bad road design. It’s good to see that the driver got out and didn’t escalate the situation.

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    • John Lascurettes June 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Indeed. Neither person shouted insults at the other and it was dealt with peaceably. In the words of Kyle Broflovski: “I think we learned something today.” In all sincerity, bravo to them for that. Contrast that with Stephensen’s encounter on N. Williams.

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  • Antload June 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I sure dislike when an MUP utilizes undistiguished crosswalk facilities to cross a road. Crosswalk = sidewalk = walking pace, yet typical convention is to maintain momentum at speeds clearly greater than walking speed.

    Of course the driver in question shoulda looked right.

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  • Jonathan Gordon June 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I think it’s worth pointing out the both the person in the car and the person on the bike handled themselves pretty civilly. Aside from initial, very understandable outburst, it seems both people kept their cool and treated each other with respect. I imagine they both had a few extra ounces of adrenaline in their systems. I commend them both.

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  • Mindful Cyclist June 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Skimmed the comments so someone may have already mentioned this. This path is part of my commute home so I know it well. What I have found works best (though far from fool proof) is to hit the walk button and then scoot up so my front tire is bacially just about out in the roadway. I am making myself the most visible at that point and it will allow a right turning car to possibly see me better. I used to hit the bottom, balance on the bike and go, but noticed I had a more more right turning cars not seeing me at all.

    I do think maybe some green paint in that turn lane may be a good idea. But, for now I am just going to use a bit more caution here.

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  • Mark Allyn June 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    How did you get the good audio? I have two contour cameras on my helmet, one facing backwards and one facing forward.

    My audio is terrible. I can barely hear myself talking or singing to myself; let along someone else talking.

    Do you have an external microphone>

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    • Aaron June 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      If someone figures this out, please tell me! :)

      I have the same problem. All it captures is “WHIIIISSSSSHHHH.” I put a foam windscreen over it and it still does the same, just everything is muted.

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  • Boneshaker June 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I ride through this intersection and take that crosswalk M-F and this same thing happens to me all the time. I usually stop, knock on their window and ask them to back up. It’s not only here though, on the other side of the crosswalk you have to deal with the people getting off 26W and making a right turn. Cars run this light all the time and they’re only looking left to check if traffic is coming toward them… not straight ahead to see if the crosswalk is clear. It really is a tough place to cross.

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  • craig harlow June 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Wow, I love video. It so clearly appears to me that:

    1) there was no cross traffic in front of him heading to the onramp, so…
    2) he was very probably only waiting for the pedestrian to clear the lane
    3) had another pedestrian entered the crosswalk while he was looking left, there would have been car-on-person contact

    **he WAS being considerat of crosswalk users, BUT…
    **he failed in his obligation to look again before proceeding

    4) rider’s faster-than-walking speed does not flag before she enters the crosswalk

    **she failed in her obligation to slow to a normal walking speed before entering the crosswalk

    He was at fault for the contact, and he earns a ticket for failure to yield in a crosswalk, but she gets a ticket for failure to slow for a crosswalk.

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    • todd boulanger June 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      …actually full consideration of the pedestrian in the crosswalk would have been shown by the driver backing up several feet to clear the crosswalk when the pedestrian approached. There was room for this courteous maneuver.

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  • John Lascurettes June 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    It’s the law that cyclists should not enter the crosswalk at a high rate of speed. Simple as that. I imagine the law was set up to serve the right turn on red allowance in the law. Don’t like it? Change the laws. I’m just stating it as it is.

    Because she entered the intersection at a faster than “walking speed” it would be considered in finding “at fault’ that she broke the law. The driver (if he did indeed ever check right) was operating within what is allowed within the law, and he could simply state that he didn’t see her because when he scanned in his near vision to the right, there was nobody approaching before he encroached into the crosswalk space. Had she been going “walking speed” there would be no contest that it would be the driver’s fault, but since she didn’t – it would most likely fall on the cyclist to being at fault.

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    • John Lascurettes June 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      Damn. That was meant to be a reply to 9watts. I guess there’s a nesting limit to this comments.

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    • 9watts June 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      By Andrew Holtz’s interpretation, if she’d slowed down she may well have been run over.
      By my interpretation, had the driver paid better attention he would have yielded the right of way to the person on the bike and all would have been well.

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  • GlowBoy June 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I often ride through this interchange on the way home from work, and it’s amazing how much my experience jibes with the comments of many others on this thread. Like others, I’ve learned from experience that right-turning drivers are often looking the other way, and I make sure to get some eye contact — using my voice if necessary — before proceeding across their path.

    And this is true not only at the spot shown in the video where southbound drivers are heading right (on red) onto WB 26, but IMO is even worse at the other end of the crossing where drivers coming off WB 26 are turning right onto Skyline. Those drivers have a green light, and probably have a stronger legal case against a cyclist who is hit while “crossing” at above a walking pace.

    At an absolute minimum, the crossing of the MUP needs to be treated not as a sidewalk, but as an additional roadway traversing the intersection, and it should have a dedicated green phase, with right turns prohibited on red for any conflicting movements. Banning right turns (and having that indicated by a red arrow) ONLY when they conflict with MUP traffic might get better compliance than a total prohibition of RTOR, which is likely to be widely ignored.

    BTW, for everyone who thinks this interchange is awful for people trying get straight across it on the MUP, try doing what *I* do everytime I cross it … get from the MUP at the northwest corner to Hewett Avenue over at the southeast corner. Talk about dangerous, and a facility absolutely horribly designed for cyclists…

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  • craig harlow June 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Hehe–I’ve probably told this story here before, but…

    I rode fully upon the hood of a right-turning 50′s pickup, laying face-down, for about 15 feet before I finally got the driver’s attention by smacking the hood with the heavy ring on my right hand. THEN he stopped.

    I had been walking eastbound in the crosswalk across NW Park Ave at Burnside by the Firestone store, and the driver had been craning his neck to the left, watching for an opening in westbound traffic.

    Dudes across the street started jumping up and down, laughing and yelling, “kick his ass! kick his ass!”. The driver just buried his head in the steering wheel, shaking it in disbelief.

    No injury. Lucky I hopped a little when I knew I was going to be hit. Now I *never* enter a crosswalk without first making eye contact, and I whistle loud as hell if the driver just isn’t bothering to look anywhere but left.

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  • GlowBoy June 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    BTW, for anyone who wants a clearer picture of this horrible intersection, the “Drivers behaving Badly” video is a great montage. Especially classic is the moment at 1:15 where the driver in the yellow Volvo first runs the red light while crossing the MUP — then lays on the horn when forced to stop for another vehicle still clearing the intersection! Sin boldly, I guess. (BTW you know this guy is the one honking, because 240 Volvos had very distinctive-sounding horns).

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  • Todd Boulanger June 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Looking at the video and Google Earth plus public comment on the problem, there are some quick fixes that should be considered by the agencies responsible for this junction and facility:
    - pull the stop bar back away from the crosswalk, so that drivers have a better field of vision of the trail traffic
    - check if there is any obstructions of stopped driver sight lines at this junctions (why are they creeping ahead?)
    - add advance warning signs communicating to drivers to expect bicycles crossing here
    - in the new space created by pulling the stop bar back, see if adding a marked “bike crosswalk” with ‘elephant footprint’ dashes would help communicate to drivers the presence of bike traffic crossing, one could also add bike stencils at a 90 degree to the driver within the “bike crosswalk” to reinforce this
    - check the signal heads and see if they can be adjusted to fix the creeping into the crosswalk (or investigate option of converting signal head placement to near side)

    And as pointed out before…there should not be any “RTOR” movements at such regional trail crossings. Does there have to be a legislative state law on this or can ODoT/ PBoT/ etc. adopt this practice internally? The RTOR practice is a very “recent” historical addition to traffic operations that should be constrained when it affects traffic safety.

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  • Paul in the 'Couve June 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    This story and all the comments really highlight three issues for me.

    First issue is bikes having to mix in with shared facilities, but forced to travel where drivers aren’t accustomed to look for traffic. This includes bike lanes the encourage or force cyclist to ride close to the curb along minor intersections. Especially during low traffic times, drivers seldom even look far enough to the left to see cyclists on the side of the road.

    Second, the design of freeway / surface interchanges in (particularly in suburban areas) just don’t work for pedestrians or cyclists. I see this repeated in many locations but the MUP trail here brings the problem up more because it is supposed to provide a safe route for cyclists and pedestrians. The Mill Plain / I-205 interchange in Vancouver is one terrible example and you almost never see a pedestrian there – not even pan-handlers – and only rarely intrepid cyclists who assert the travel lane. I can think of many more bad examples. The traffic signals can actually make the intersection worse for pedestrians. The traffic signal installed 2 years ago at Leiser and HWY 14 in Vancouver is an example where the light and crosswalk signal actually put pedestrians in greater danger of getting hit by cars turning right on green than they would be if they ignored the signals.

    Third is the design of MUPs crossing roadways. The real solution here (short of an over/under pass) is to have separate signal phase for the crosswalk which would unfortunately probably require a button activation and bikes usually stopping to wait. When the bikes have the signal for the intersection though, they should be expecting to cross the intersection with the right of way without slowing.

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    • LESTER June 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      If you’ve never been through the area, just imagine Lombard & I-5 but add a NB onramp and SB offramp and more big stores and restaurants.

      No fun for sure!

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      • Ted Buehler June 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm

        And two more lanes on the street, and one more lane on each ramp…

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  • Rol June 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Just like yesterday’s story on Williams, both parties made mistakes. Unlike yesterday’s story, both parties managed to avoid acting like jerks.

    Like yesterday’s story, the area of the incident isn’t a blissful nirvana of perfect utopian bicycle-specific infrastructure, yet nonetheless it’s an attempt that’s partway there, and one can make it through either one without incident.

    And like yesterday’s story, the comments generated mostly make me cringe with embarrassment. Including this one. *cringe*

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  • Joe Rowe June 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Many thanks to Mr. Holtz for the video and Mr. Maus for the story. I’d love a story or workshop on how to buy a helmet cam. I don’t have the time to research all the options. My dream situation would be a workshop that covered some well tested models and then at the end I could buy, install and be on my way.

    Any suggestions from helmet cam owners? I’d like lightweight more than anything.

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  • Jeff June 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    After looking at the Dutch intersection design, I would think there is a technical issue with the intersection. Perhaps one of the easiest solutions would be to move back the stopping area for cars.

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  • Two Wheel June 1, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I like the bicycle helmet camera idea a lot, front and back, it helps keep both sides more honest. If tons of us were wearing bicycle helmet cameras, think what an effect that it would have on traffic awareness. I’m talking about an “Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacree Movement” I’m not talking about a couple of weirdo’s riding bicycles and even though a conspiracy would be much more fun, what I am talking about here, folks!…is…I am talking about a Movement, “The Alice’s Restaraunt Anti-Massacree Movement”‘ of Bicycle Riders of every conceivable type, shape, size and whatever I have forgotten, All Of Us! wearing Bicycle cameras!
    It would change traffic forever.
    Please excuse my reckless literary license.

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  • Kevin Wagoner June 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Good luck getting ODOT to do something about people turning right without looking to the right. I see the same behavior very often at the off ramp from I5 onto SW Terwilliger. ODOT responded to my question, “Is there anything that can be done” back in 2010. I find this no can do attitude very frustrating.

    Sent to Kevin from ODOT back in 2010:

    Thank you for your inquiry to the City of Portland regarding the location that you reference below. As I am the Assistant District 2A Manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation and this area falls within ODOT’s jurisdiction, your message was forwarded to me for reply.

    I took a look at this area today, and I can see where your concerns come from. At this location, you have I-5 northbound traffic exiting the freeway and then proceeding to make a right turn onto Terwilliger Blvd. I can see how traffic would be inclined to only look to the left at on-coming traffic but not to the right, not expecting or anticipating anything coming from that direction. I can understand that as a pedestrian if you were on the south side of Terwilliger going west across the off-ramp in the marked crosswalk, drivers may not expect nor see you before they proceed with their right turn.

    A few suggestions and comments……..

    This is an enforcement issue for local law enforcement (IE, coming to a complete stop, and yielding to a pedestrian). Some things that I might suggest for your own safety is to utilize the sidewalk on the north side of Terwilliger while heading toward Barbur Blvd. Also, you may want to try to establish eye contact with these drivers before crossing this ramp, being safe as to not assume that they see you.

    In the mean time, I will forward your concerns to our Traffic Investigation Staff as well as our Electrical Department to see if there are any feasible measures that we can take. Additional signage on the off-ramp to warn motorists of pedestrians or taking a look at the signal timing for the crosswalk could be potential options to address these concerns.

    I hope that I have adequately given you some feedback regarding your concerns, but please feel free to give me a call directly if you have any further questions.

    Respectfully,

    Oregon Department of Transportation
    Assistant District Manager

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  • Sunny June 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Auto transmissions are more prone to creep than manuals. I never creep with a manual as the operation of the clutch and gas feels weird with my head turned.

    I think I’ve met this young lady on that mup — good to know she’s still riding.

    Cameras seem to keep people honest. In any case the driver seemed like an ok guy.

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  • Kevin Wagoner June 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Just watched his other video. It would be awesome to see a red light camera to add enforcement to the intersection.

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  • Dude June 2, 2012 at 12:23 am

    The driver was looking to his left because that would be the direction of the oncoming car to potentially hit him as he is pulling out. He already checked his right before he pulled out, there was nobody at the corner, the bike burst out in front of him giving him no chance at all to avoid a collision. it’s kind of like when those people jump out in front of a moving car so they can get an insurance settlement, the driver never stands a chance of avoiding him. In court the video would go in the drivers favor. Usually it’s children that ride out onto a crosswalk on their bikes, grown ups should ave a little more sense.
    If the crossing was out in the street side instead of coming off the sidewalk it would be a different story.

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    • Andrew Holtz June 2, 2012 at 8:07 am

      There’s a lot of good advice in this 1995 ODOT document. That’s exactly when this interchange was designed. It’s too bad ODOT apparently decided to disregard their own recommendations about path placement.

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  • AdamG June 2, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Looks pretty clear to me who’s vehicle was in the crosswalk first.

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  • Mike June 2, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Should the cyclists have slowed a little before entering the crosswalk? Should she have made sure she and the driver made eye contact? Of course all fingers(at least as far as opinions voiced here are concerned) point to the motorist as being negligent but I don’t think it is as clear cut as some of you make it out to be.

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    • John Lascurettes June 2, 2012 at 11:38 am

      Wow, what have you been reading, Mike? A lot of people here are holding the bicycle rider at fault too. And I’ve stated repeatedly that in the case of insurance/court, the cyclist would be the found at fault for clearly breaking the law whereas the driver was following procedure (aside from failing to see her).

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      • John Lascurettes June 2, 2012 at 11:47 am

        And let me be clear. I don’t feel the cyclist did anything ethically wrong (she was trying to use the MUP for it’s intended purpose), but by the way the ORS are written, she broke the law when entering the crosswalk at a higher rate of speed. Even though it’s attached to a MUP, as someone else pointed out it’s still a crosswalk at the intersection, MUP or not.

        Like I originally said. That’s some pretty bad traffic design right there. This is bound to happen. There should be any of the following happening to make it better:
        * No turn on red there
        * A specially demarked crosswalk (new highway markings are difficult)
        * Stop line set farther back (and combined with the first bullet)
        * Overpass or underpass for the MUP such that motor vehicles and MUP users never mix it up.

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  • Dude June 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Perhaps they need to put up some signage for the bikes to “Slow Down” before they enter the crosswalk. They don’t need to do this at every intersection, just the ones they screwed up on like this one.

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  • BikeEverywhere June 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I’m not at all qualified to address the legal aspects of this complicated intersection of MUP and road, but as a cyclist and someone who values my own life and safety a great deal, I would NEVER approach an intersection traveling at that rate of speed, through a crosswalk, in front of a car waiting to turn, while on the opposite side of the street! It just isn’t wise, especially if you haven’t established eye contact with the driver. Can any of us who drive and consider ourselves good drivers honestly say that we would have seen her and/or expected her if we had been in the same situation? Having the law on your side is one thing, ending up in the hospital or worse is another.

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  • HC Clayton June 2, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I agree Bike Everywhere, just because we might have the law on our side doesn’t mean a thing if you are hurt. We have to realize that cars are going to be cars and there is nothing we can do but be extra save and make sure we what what a car has planned and if we don’t know then stop or what ever to make sure we are safe. Things will never change as people will always forget or too lazy to look more than once for bicycles and motorcycles.

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  • Jacob June 3, 2012 at 6:17 am

    This makes me glad I live in NYC, where RTOR is prohibited by default. Also, that intersection is pretty huge and clearly designed for moving cars as fast as possible. Pedestrians and cyclists are an afterthought.

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  • Kevin Wagoner June 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Good question asking if the cyclist should have slowed before entering the crosswalk. To stay alive, yep that seems like good practice. Should we have to? I don’t know. When I drive am I expected to slow before they go through a green light? When I drive am I expected to make eye contact with the other drivers at the intersection? We need to figure out a way to make our intersections safe for everyone.

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  • Brian Johnson June 4, 2012 at 8:38 am

    All this talk of right-of-way is ridiculous. I see people run red lights all the time (cars and bikes). No turn on red? If I had a nickel for every time a car behind me honked when I obeyed the signage and didn’t on a red light. I’d also love a nickel for every time drivers illegally turned against a red light. Right-of-way matters very little when you’re injured (or worse).

    Really, what we all need is MORE EDUCATION. Motorists and cyclists. Because people seem to forget everything about the other vehicle when they switch modes of transportation.

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  • Adam June 4, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I think if the crosswalks at intersections like this were striped (you know, like a zebra crossing, as they call them in Europe) they would stand out SO MUCH MORE.

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  • rrroubaix June 4, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Having ridden that crosswalk many times, I can certainly see how this happened. I’ve had a number of close calls there myself.
    For all of you saying “make eye contact”- and typically, I’d agree- but you’re wrong here; that driver was NEVER going to look that direction until under way. Why? Simple- no *car* traffic coming from that direction (freeway onramp).
    I suppose she could have shouted, as I’ve done at that problematic crosswalk. Problem is, people are shut off in their cars, talking, loud music, crying kids, whatever, you’d never get their attn.
    What’s the solution? Honestly, I don’t know. (I would say better driver education, but that’s never going to happen).

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  • El Biciclero June 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I’ve seen lots of comments touting the benefits of yelling to get drivers’ attention. I’ve done that, too–after the driver has shown they are “committed” (however unintentionally) to running me down without evasive action on my part. However, something doesn’t sit right in my mind with preemptive yelling at drivers; not because it wouldn’t work, and not because drivers don’t need a good yelling-at on occasion, but because it makes peds and cyclists look even more “weird” than drivers already seem to think they are. It may well be that to get where I am going safely I will either have to grovel in the gutter, scampering out of the way of oblivious drivers, or else boorishly crash my way along with annoying bright lights and clothing, arriving at my destination hoarse from all the preemptive shouting I’ve had to do to make my presence known to those who would casually run me over because they have no awareness of the full spectrum of road users, but it doesn’t seem that this state of affairs will be helpful long term to the “cause” of foot or pedal travel. Is there really any such thing as “politely shouting” at drivers? Do cyclists need to sit down and come up with a diplomatic repertoire of things that can be shouted in a neutral way that won’t make us appear crazy or militant and rude? Should we do that before or after we’ve done the necessary research to find a route to our destination that would take us (presumably happily) 4 miles out of our way in an attempt to minimize the necessity of shouting in the first place?

    Placing the entire burden of safety on pedestrians and cyclists by expecting subservient yielding, wearing of special clothing, yelling at people, time spent researching “safe” routes, etc., while the safety of drivers is conveniently provided for by automakers and roadway designers–leaving very little for them to do to ensure their own safety–seems inherently lopsided. Isn’t there any way to share the burden just a little?

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  • Unit June 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    There’s a reason many states have stop bars in advance of crosswalks at ALL signals. It reduces the likelihood of these crashes. For some reason the west coast doesn’t use these. But Portland should.

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    • El Biciclero June 5, 2012 at 8:59 am

      Advance stop lines would not have helped this situation. For all we know, this driver stopped well in advance of the crosswalk; it was the creeping forward to make a right on red that created the problem. There’s a reason many cities/countries ban right turns on red…

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      • wsbob June 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

        If the circumstances were as a number of people having watched the video have said in comments to this thread, it was the woman on the bike approaching and entering the crosswalk at a speed well over a normal walking speed…against specific requirement in Oregon law to not do so…that created the problem.

        Approach and enter the crosswalk from a sidewalk or MUP at no greater than a ‘Normal Walking Speed’…about 3.5 mph.

        MUP’s aren’t streets, with equivalent dimensions, signage, signals and use as streets; they’re basically just sidewalks.

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      • El Biciclero June 5, 2012 at 11:00 am

        As others have pointed out, even if she slowed to 3mph when entering the crosswalk, this left-looking driver would not have seen her. Why? Because he was looking left and moving right. Had she followed the letter of the law and slowed, the result would likely have been worse, since she would then have been directly in front of the car when she was hit. So the question then is what should the cyclist have done differently? Slowed? that wouldn’t have helped in this case, except to put her above reproach legally, but she still would likely have been hit–with greater damage/injury. Gone faster? This would have allowed her to escape being hit at all, but would have been technically “more” illegal. Stop for her (assumed) green light rather than proceed because the driver was encroaching into the crosswalk and not looking? I suppose that would have been the “good little cyclist” thing to do; if only she would have known her place, this wouldn’t have happened.

        In this case, had the young lady on the bike done the technically legal thing, it would have likely resulted in the worst possible outcome, yet you agree that her actions were the problem?

        I will continue to insist that allowing right turn on red at this location with the “crosswalk” in its current position is “The Problem”, regardless of the legal technicalities that might exist by happenstance due to the poor design of this intersection.

        So now let’s argue about at what point in the “approach” to a driveway or crosswalk a bike user must slow to no greater than a walking speed. Does a cyclist need to anticipate/divine when a driver last looked in their direction and start slowing from that point on? Should all cyclists slow to 3mph as soon as they have any visibility of stopped cars that might want to make a RTOR? Should they slow within 100′? 50′? 20′? 10′? At the edge of the sidewalk/MUP? What constitutes an “approach” during which if this lady had slowed to “walking speed”, the driver would have seen her? How would she have determined at the time what that “approach” distance should have been?

        Now let’s imagine that the driver pointed his eyes in the same direction as his front wheels when he decided to move. Or that the driver waited for a green light before proceeding. Would either of those options have solved this “problem”?

        “MUPs…[are] basically just sidewalks”. Again, why I, myself don’t want more of them.

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        • wsbob June 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm

          “…yet you agree that her actions were the problem? …” El Biciclero

          If she did approach and enter the crosswalk at a faster than normal walking speed, that may have been the problem; the reason the person driving the car didn’t see her.

          Some people have said the person driving was looking to his left when he entered the crosswalk. I don’t know whether it was on the video or first hand that they saw him look that direction, or whether someone was even able to see him looking either left or right. People have said the person driving didn’t look to his right. Again, were they actually viewing this person in such a way that they could be certain he did not look to his right…the direction the woman on the bike approached from? I don’t know, and I’m not sure anyone knows, except maybe the person driving.

          People watching the video have also said that the person driving stopped before commencing to cross over onto the crosswalk. Reasoning says that before crossing over the sidewalk would have been when he would have looked to his right to the entry onto the crosswalk from the sidewalk/MUP closest to his vehicle on the road; to be certain it was clear of traffic. Then, he likely would have looked to his left to see the sidewalk/MUP was clear from the left to be certain it was also clear of traffic.

          The point of the above is that when road users approach the crosswalk and look up the sidewalk/MUP for people approaching, whether they be on foot, bike, skateboard…my understanding of the law’s wording is that the law considers the approach of people on foot, bike, skateboard at a normal walking speed to be about the fastest they can reasonably be expected to see people approaching on the sidewalk/MUP.

          How far from the crosswalk should people reduce speed to ‘normal walking speed’? Good question. I think it’s correct as you’ve said, that the law doesn’t specify an exact distance. It probably shouldn’t need to either, because the consideration of how far from the crosswalk to slow down to a normal walking speed would seem to fall within ‘due care’ provisions in the law. The entire point of people using the sidewalk/MUP, slowing down to a normal walking speed upon approach and entry to the crosswalk is to help people using the road…road users… to see people preparing to cross the street on the crosswalk.

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          • El Biciclero June 6, 2012 at 10:08 am

            Again, had the lady slowed to 3mph at the point where she entered the crosswalk, obeying the letter of the law, she would have been in a worse position when the driver started moving. The fact that she entered the crosswalk at “greater than walking speed” is a legal technicality that, yes, would likely get her some “fault” assigned in court, but it is a red herring when discussing the actual, physical, real-world, on-the-ground, hard reason she wasn’t seen and was bumped by a car. Compliance with the law on the cyclist’s part would not have prevented this collision. I am not attempting to find legal fault, I am attempting to describe the reason for the collision and figure out how such collisions could be avoided without requiring MUP-using cyclists to go above and beyond the law by giving up all right-of-way to compensate for poor road design, ill-conceived laws, and inattentive drivers–none of which are the fault of the cyclist.

            Your explanation seems to suggest, and I would agree that the only way a “walking speed” approach would have helped this driver would have been if the cyclist had slowed to such a speed the moment she saw the driver approaching the intersection. How far away was she at that point? Is it reasonable to expect cyclists to slow to a walking pace any time they see cross traffic on the horizon? That would be the equivalent of stopping for all green lights to let drivers who wanted to make rights on red do so before proceeding. Or it would require that only those who have queued up at a crosswalk and waited for the signal be allowed to cross; no late arrivals, or else the poor, blind, car driver might be victimized by being forced to hit them.

            The other possibility that comes to mind is that there could have easily been a pedestrian (or another cyclist) coming down the hill (same direction as our cameraman) wanting to cross that same crosswalk. Such an imaginary pedestrian could approach at a walking speed, but because he was coming from behind the driver, and the driver had no definitive reason to believe the imaginary pedestrian was going to suddenly change course and cross in front of him, the exact same scenario as happened with this cyclist could happen in a pedestrian scenario where the pedestrian was following all applicable laws. Now who would be at fault? Regardless of who was at fault, would there still be a problem? Hence my position that the cyclist’s actions were not “The Problem”, the design of the intersection, allowance of Right Turn On Red, and the tendency of drivers to look one way while they drive another, combine forces to create “The Problem”. A pedestrian’s or cyclist’s only defense against this problem, at the moment, is not better compliance with the law, it is going above and beyond the law out of self-preservation instinct and just allowing “The Bull” to continue crashing around with impunity while we try to make sure the china stays locked up in padded vaults.

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            • wsbob June 6, 2012 at 10:54 am

              “Again, had the lady slowed to 3mph at the point where she entered the crosswalk, obeying the letter of the law, she would have been in a worse position when the driver started moving. …” El Biciclero

              Wrong. With the lady riding her bike on the sidewalk/MUP at a normal walking speed approach and entry onto the crosswalk, the person operating the motor vehicle would have been provided with a far better opportunity to see her.

              “…The fact that she entered the crosswalk at “greater than walking speed” is a legal technicality that, yes, would likely get her some “fault” assigned in court, but it is a red herring when discussing the actual, physical, real-world, on-the-ground, hard reason she wasn’t seen and was bumped by a car. Compliance with the law on the cyclist’s part would not have prevented this collision. …” El Biciclero

              The fact that she entered the crosswalk at “greater than walking speed” is a violation of a critical legal provision of ORS 814.410, written into the law to help bring a greater measure of safety into the procedure for crossing a street at intersections equipped with crosswalks.

              This provision is no mere technicality. It’s a critically important safety measure, that unfortunately and likely with some good reason, too many people seem to be woefully unaware of.

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              • 9watts June 6, 2012 at 11:02 am

                El Biciclero: 3
                wsbob: 0

                The way you frame this, wsbob, there’s no winning for the non-motorized. Waiting till the light changes (back to green!)and we can deal with a different driver who is perhaps more attentive (hard to predict) is no strategy I can get inspired by. The woman on the bike and anyone else coming that way at that time HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY, and would likely have been creamed by the driver regardless of speed. Your fixation on her speed to me is a technicality, not because by the letter of the law should have slowed before crossing, but because of all the reasons El Biciclero enumerated several times over. Following the letter of the law but asserting her right of way would in all probability ended worse for her. That is not a trivial matter.

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                • wsbob June 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

                  “The way you frame this, wsbob, there’s no winning for the non-motorized. …” 9watts

                  Wrong. First of all, I didn’t frame the parameters regulating intersections such as the one at Sylvan…the people of this state, through their elected government are those that framed them.

                  Secondly the person on the bike…to whom you seem to be referring to as “…the non-motorized…” would likely not have been involved in a collision had they approached and entered the crosswalk at the safe speed for that procedure specified in the law.

                  If you want to put it into terms of ‘winning’ or ‘losing’…which I’d rather not…the person on the bike might be said to have ‘won’, if they’d approached and entered the crosswalk at the reasonable, safe, specified speed limit, thereby helping to provide the person driving the car with a reasonable opportunity to visually detect their presence.

                  I’m not sure whether a person entering a crosswalk at a speed in excess of the safe limit specified by the law, loses their right of way from road users…probably not…but it would seem they most likely diminish their right of way to varying degree, depending on what the pertinent factors are.

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              • El Biciclero June 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm

                Last attempt:

                I said, “slow[ing] to 3mph at the point where she entered the crosswalk” would have put her in a worse position.

                You said, “…riding her bike on the sidewalk/MUP at a normal walking speed approach…”, which is an entirely different thing.

                I agree that had she slowed to walking speed at some point far enough before reaching the intersection, it would have been the same as coming to the intersection and stopping to wait for the driver to look or turn, and she probably wouldn’t have been hit. The problem is, one never knows how far is far enough before an intersection to slow down. You had no comment on my other plausible scenario of a pedestrian coming down the hill and turning left in front of this driver.

                You said the requirement to enter a crosswalk at no greater than walking speed is “no mere technicality. It’s a critically important safety measure…”

                Another critically important safety measure is for drivers to look in the same direction they are moving or about to move, but there is no law specifically addressing that, so I guess drivers are not legally bound to do it. In this case, even the (IMO likely) possibility that the driver still would not have seen her had she obeyed this “critically important safety measure”, makes it a technicality. If doing or not doing a thing (most likely) makes no difference in the outcome, but only serves to provide something to argue about later, I consider it a technicality.

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                • wsbob June 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm

                  Here’s the sentence from which you provided an excerpt of what I wrote:

                  “…With the lady riding her bike on the sidewalk/MUP at a normal walking speed approach and entry onto the crosswalk, the person operating the motor vehicle would have been provided with a far better opportunity to see her. …”

                  A normal walking speed of around 3.5 mph is the speed limit which a person traveling on a bike on the sidewalk should not exceed when approaching and preparing to cross the street at a crosswalk. Even if they have the ‘walk’ signal, depending on the circumstances, they may have to stop and wait before entering the crosswalk to be certain people in vehicles on the street will yield to those preparing to cross.

                  Part of the knowledge and skill people need to acquire to become competent and safe bike in traffic riders, are the many things touched on in the discussion to this story. Laws can’t tell people everything they need to know or do…they need to use their head, their common sense and experience to figure out and decide various things about how to get about considerately and safely in traffic.

                  “…In this case, even the (IMO likely) possibility that the driver still would not have seen her had she obeyed this “critically important safety measure”, makes it a technicality. …” El Biciclero

                  Sorry, I don’t buy that. I think the law’s provision for a normal walking speed in approaching and entering sidewalks is much, much more than a technicality. It’s a safety measure that addresses a huge potential difference in time and distance between people traveling by bike and people traveling by foot.

                  Greater traveling speed can put the approaching sidewalk user a far greater distance away from the road user that’s obliged to watch for their approach and presence, out of their effective field of vision. A slower approach and entry speed to the sidewalk increases the opportunity for the road user to see people approaching from the sidewalk.

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  • commuter June 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    She came out of nowhere and was traveling too fast. She probably was focused on the green walk signal and didn’t even notice the car! In a situation like that where you have right of way but see a car approaching with its right blinker on..you have to slow down and make sure they aren’t going to gun it around the corner…that is a really dangerous intersection. I lived there for 3 years and have many stories.

    The driver is definitely at fault but collisions like that can be avoided if we ride defensively.

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  • Andrew Holtz June 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Here’s another case at the same intersection from this morning:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNT3kzn8Ah0

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    • todd boulanger June 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      Nice video – that ‘cute’ little car takes up the whole crosswalk when they decide to stop in it at a red light and blocked your legal traffic movement.

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  • matt picio June 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    After reading all the comments, and then ORS 811 and ORS 814, I realize my previous remarks were in error. If the motorist stopped inside the crosswalk when pulling up to the red light, then the motorist is guilty of violating ORS 811.260(7). The cyclist is obviously traveling faster than a “normal walk”, and is in violation of ORS 814.410. Because of this, the motorist is NOT in violation of ORS 811.055 “Failure to yield to bicyclist on sidewalk”, as stated in ORS 811.055(2). In all likelihood both parties are culpable, but since the cyclist did not reduce speed, if the video were used as evidence, the insurance companies could refuse any claim for damages on that basis.

    Someone upstream mentioned that maybe there should be a sign saying to reduce speed at this (and other “problem” intersections), but that’s not really necessary – the law applies at ALL intersections. What we really need is for all road users to have a clear understanding of the law. Since we no longer live in the 1800s, and since everyone uses the roads regardless of mode, this is something that really should be taught in the schools, or by some other means at an early age. And additional education should happen for those modes more likely to cause death/damage – i.e. more for cyclists than for peds, more for cars than cyclists, and the highest amount of education and greatest barriers to entry should be on commercial trucks, busses, and mass transit.

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    • Dude June 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      If we no longer live in the 1800′s, shouldn”t you buy a new hat?

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      • matt picio June 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm

        Not on Talk Like a Pirate Day, no. (which is when that photo was taken)

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        • matt picio June 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm

          Although it might be time to update my Gravatar. ;-)

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  • spare_wheel June 5, 2012 at 8:38 am

    every time we have a post where a cyclist is seen doing something even a tiny bit unsafe there is a litany of commenters proclaiming that they NEVER EVER do this.

    i call BS!

    human beings are fallible —they do stupid things all the time.

    i am so very tired of safety nannies espousing the virtues of superhuman hypervigilance. although these fetishes and ritualistic behaviors undoubtedly make one feel safer (perhaps even SUPERIOR to other cyclists), it takes just one moments inattention by a motorist for these things to become abruptly irrelevant.

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    • El Biciclero June 5, 2012 at 9:29 am

      “Always”. “Never”. Usually wrong. Most of the advice given out is stuff the intended recipient already knows–like saying, “be careful!” after someone stumbles.

      “…it takes just one moments inattention by a motorist for these things to become abruptly irrelevant.”

      This is the heart of the matter right here. We can be ever-so-proud of our [non-] crash record, bunny-hopping skills, safety knowledge, legal knowledge, understanding of drivers and their psychology, fatness of our tires–whatever your thing is–and it won’t make one smudge of difference the day some careless driver does something just unexpected enough to defeat all of our defensive measures, and suffer nothing for it.

      Further, listen to us! “I always yield”, “I move out of the way”, “I let drivers do their thing and stay out of their way”, “I never use that road or any like it”, “I just use the sidewalk there–the street is a nightmare”, “I use a complicated procedure of signaling while slowing down, waving my arms, pointing my 600-lumen helmet-mounted headlight at the driver’s face, and using my Air Zounds(tm) or yelling to get drivers’ attention before I cross any streets”, “I don’t go out without my Go-Pro–it just keeps everybody honest”…and on and on. I’m generalizing/paraphrasing a little here, but listen to what we are proud of: our ability duck and hide–or else take extreme measures far above legal requirements to avoid being injured or killed by unthinking citizens, many of whom can’t be bothered to give half a crap about knowing what they are doing in the first place, let alone care about the consequences of their ignorance and inattention.

      The problem is not that cyclists haven’t honed their street self-defense skills enough…

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      • todd boulanger June 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

        The above things I rarely have to do when cycling in the Netherlands.

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  • spare_wheel June 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    “I use a complicated procedure of signaling while slowing down, waving my arms, pointing my 600-lumen helmet-mounted headlight at the driver’s face, and using my Air Zounds(tm)…”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnJPPaiJG6Y

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  • Pete June 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Regardless, it wasn’t prohibited, which may have prevented this collision (as well as her slowing to walking speed as required by law). She’s lucky he was actually pretty good about it all (full stop before the line and not over it, not hammering the gas when he saw his hole, getting out of the car to check on her, etc.) and we’re all lucky it was nothing more than a learning experience. Thanks Andrew for your vigilance and activism, hopefully the governing bodies will make some improvements here!

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  • AK June 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I read ORS 814.410. It appears that the speed of the crosswalk user is the critical factor in deciding what is safe (legal).

    This MUP is also popular for runners. Hypothetically, if the woman was jogging at the same speed (~8.5mph) as she rode she probably would have got hit anyway…but would she be absolved of blame because she was not operating a vehicle?

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    • wsbob June 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      “… Hypothetically, if the woman was jogging at the same speed (~8.5mph) as she rode she probably would have got hit anyway …” AK

      Why would do think she probably would have got hit anyway?

      People are capable of traveling far faster on a bike than they are on foot, so there is a question of how fast the woman on the bike was traveling before a required slowing down to a normal walking speed for the approach and entry onto the crosswalk. Greater speed equals greater distance away than a lesser speed for the same time period.

      Assuming people arriving at this intersection do look to their left and right for cross traffic approaching from the sidewalk, how far down the length of the sidewalk might they be inclined to look for people approaching?

      You suggested the idea of a jogger traveling a 8.5 mph. That’s more than twice the speed of someone walking a normal walking pace of 3.5 mph. And also, twice the distance away, which would diminish the opportunity of a person driving to see a person approaching at the corresponding speed. The 3.5 mph approach and entry to the crosswalk from sidewalks would seem to have been specified in the law by its writers and those having approved it, to strengthen opportunity road users must have to see people approaching intersections on the sidewalk.

      The whole thing here is about people helping each other to enable everyone to be seen and safely proceed through intersections like this one.

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  • AK June 7, 2012 at 10:42 am

    wsbob, sorry my post wasn’t more clear. I estimated her riding speed to be 8.5 miles per hour from the video. I don’t care how fast normal walking speed is, I just want to know if you all think that if she were jogging at the exact same estimated speed (translates to 7min/mi) would her actions be deemed unsafe and illegal, or just unsafe?

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    • wsbob June 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      AK…I looked here, pg 9:

      http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/bike_ped_statutes_2008.pdf

      I don’t see any law under ‘THE DUTIES OF PEDESTRIANS’ specifically regulating the speed, as the law has done for people traveling by bike, of a person running or jogging on a sidewalk as they approach and enter a crosswalk. But hey…whether people are running or jogging, they’re still on their feet, and that makes them a pedestrian. A pedestrian running, jogging but still a pedestrian.

      ORS 814.410 part (2), refers to “… the same rights and duties as a pedestrian on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.” in specifying the speed people riding bikes must travel no faster than, in approaching and entering a crosswalk: (1)(d) “…an ordinary walk…”.

      That’s saying that among the duties of a pedestrian, are to approach and enter a crosswalk from a sidewalk, at the speed of an ordinary walk. (Sorry, I’ve been writing ‘normal walking speed’.)

      In the Sylvan collision incident, had it been a person jogging instead of riding a bike, approaching and entering the crosswalk under the same conditions…I’d say that was unsafe. Illegal?…It doesn’t seem to be spelled out in the law that pedestrians running or jogging have to make this action at the speed of an ordinary walk.

      Does that give pedestrians a pass to approach and enter a crosswalk at faster than a ordinary walk? I don’t think it does. While the letter of the law may not spell out that pedestrians are required to enter a crosswalk from a sidewalk at no more than the speed of an ordinary walk, I think the same is implied in the phrase “…duties as a pedestrian on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.”. And of course, in actual practice in crossing the street, there’s all kinds of exceptions.

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      • El Biciclero June 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm

        OK, I can’t resist. What about the hypothetical case I mentioned earlier wherein a pedestrian approaches from the same direction as a car, then turns left to cross the crosswalk. No running, no jogging, no exceeding the speed of an “ordinary walk” ever. BUT–a driver sitting there waiting to make a RTOR, staring to the left, having looked to the right prior to creeping forward and seen no one approaching from the right, will still most likely not be aware of such a pedestrian attempting to cross. In that scenario, whose legal duty is it to ensure that the pedestrian does not get run over? If it is the legal duty of the driver to ensure that no previously unseen pedestrian has entered the crosswalk–with a walk signal–between the time the driver has been looking left and the time they decide to proceed forward into a right turn, then how is that different from a driver’s (apparently non-existent) responsibility to check again for cyclists or joggers that may have appeared “out of nowhere” (an impossibility, BTW) during that same time interval?

        Yes, the law states that cyclists (and only cyclists, I guess) must approach (whatever that means) and enter crosswalks and driveways “at a speed no greater than an ordinary walk”. This is presumably to avoid surprising drivers who aren’t paying enough attention at the time they decide to move forward. However, there are any number of scenarios similar to the one I describe above: pedestrian is hidden by bushes, pedestrian was kneeling to tie his shoe behind a garbage can, then stood up to cross after the light changed, etc., where the pedestrian (or cyclist) could follow every written law to the letter and still get run over if they don’t go above and beyond the law to give up their right-of-way out of self-preservation. And we would blame a pedestrian for getting run over in such a case? This is why I find the “speed no greater than an ordinary walk” condition to be a technicality–because there are any number of other scenarios that play out every day in which that condition is met, yet close calls and collisions still happen. Why do those close calls still happen? Because we allow right turns on red practically ubiquitously, we make no requirement that drivers look where they are going before they go there, and we blame cyclists and peds for “coming out of nowhere” and getting themselves run over by poor, hapless drivers who can’t be expected to pay enough attention to what they are doing. I’ll agree–driving is hard; the problem is not enough people understand or acknowledge the gravity of what they are doing when they climb into their command-view, leather-upholstered, soundproof, vision-obstructed, distraction-filled, airbag-equipped, traction-controlled, chrome-plated, 220-horsepower, 5,000-lb. SUVs to casually cruise 6 blocks down to the 7-11 while talking on their cell phones and fiddling with the radio with a dog in their lap. Part of the reason they don’t understand it is because there are practically no consequences for running over people.

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        • wsbob June 7, 2012 at 7:28 pm

          “…What about the hypothetical case I mentioned earlier wherein a pedestrian approaches from the same direction as a car, then turns left to cross the crosswalk. …” El Biciclero

          I didn’t find it clearly enough presented to know what exactly you were describing.

          Assuming the hypothetical pedestrian you’re describing would have been using the sidewalk parallel to the street, traveling the same direction as the person driving that was waiting at the crosswalk for the light to change…that would pose considerably different circumstances, including different opportunities for the pedestrian to be seen by the person driving.

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          • dr2chase June 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm

            wsbob, here’s a not-hypothetical. I ride on a local MUP. It crosses roads. When I am not in a friendly negotiating-with-drivers mood, I ride to the border of path and sidewalk, rapidly dismount (leg over top tube, and down), and continue by walking very quickly into the crosswalk, as a pedestrian with a bicycle asserting my right to the crosswalk. Fast on the path, on foot on the sidewalk. 100% legal, no? Not hypothetical. I do this. I would be roughly in front of the car when it started to move. That driver was not careful, and the only thing that allows you to persistently claim that his actions were not illegal is the technicality (not the law in all states, mind you) that the cyclist entered the crosswalk too quickly.

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            • wsbob June 7, 2012 at 11:29 pm

              “…and the only thing that allows you to persistently claim that his actions were not illegal…” dr2chase

              I’ve never made any claims as to what the driver of the vehicle at the Sylvan intersection did or did not do, whether he stopped or didn’t, whether or where he looked or didn’t look. Other people having observed the video have remarked about various things they thought they saw, and I’ve noted some of those things in my comments.

              Discussion I’ve participated in has been about the speed the law requires people on bikes to travel when using the sidewalk as they approach and enter a crosswalk…and how the required ‘ordinary walk’ rate of speed is superior to faster speeds in terms of providing road users with opportunity to detect people approaching and entering the crosswalk.

              By the way, I think your explanation of how you sometimes approach and cross a crosswalk, dismounting and walking is fairly good:

              “…ride to the border of path and sidewalk, rapidly dismount (leg over top tube, and down), and continue by walking very quickly into the crosswalk, as a pedestrian with a bicycle asserting my right to the crosswalk. …”

              Being on foot doesn’t relieve people with bikes that cross in this manner, of the duties of a pedestrian; they still have to watch for traffic and try to be certain it’s going to stay stopped while they cross. Though maybe somewhat faster than an ordinary walk, this way of crossing might improve the opportunity road people in the main traffic lanes have to see such people using the crosswalk.

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              • wsbob June 7, 2012 at 11:32 pm

                Correction: oh geez…scratch ‘road’ from the last sentence.

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              • dr2chase June 8, 2012 at 5:14 am

                Yes, it is safer for pedestrians to do all that stuff. The law does not require it. It is also safer for drivers to stop at the stop line and wait for a green light before proceeding, even if the law does not require it because it allows a right-turn-on-red. When the pedestrian falls in the gap between safety and the law, the pedestrian himself may be hurt. When the driver falls in that gap, someone else may be hurt. I view taking risks that endanger others as being worse than taking risks that endanger myself.

                Furthermore, the one-sided risk-reduction that burdens cyclists and pedestrians inconveniences them and erodes their rights to (cross) the road. Without cars in the roads there would be much less risk; why isn’t the greatest burden on drivers?

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                • wsbob June 8, 2012 at 10:25 am

                  General figure casually passed around is that more than ninety percent of people traveling the road do so by motor vehicle. If you really believe people would consider elimination of RTOR at the Sylvan intersection appropriate and acceptable for enhanced safety of the relatively few people that travel by bike through this crosswalk, you should pursue that.

                  The way in which you’ve asked it, I can’t really answer your ‘greatest burden’ question. If the type of burden you’re asking people that drive to assume is that of people biking that for one reason or another do not use due care in crossing the street at crosswalks, I don’t think they, the public, would go for that.

                  Eliminating cars from the road for people traveling by bike, to have the road be safer on occasions when they do not reduce their speed when crossing streets at crosswalks, is probably a ‘no-go’ idea.

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  • Kat Iverson June 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    The solution I recommend is to ignore the MUP and to use the freeway, instead. It’s safer and probably faster.

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  • Noel July 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Unfortunately, the biker was wrong. According to the law, she must be moving at a walking pace. The best way to prove that is to get off your bike.

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