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Licensing discussion hits the airwaves Sunday

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 7th, 2012 at 9:30 am

Still image from last night's taping.
(That's Bob Huckaby on the left, KATU's Steve Dunn
in the middle, and some bike blogger on the right.)

UPDATE, 9/9: The show is now posted online. Watch it here.

The potential of two statewide ballot measures that would require a license plate on all bicycles and would mandate bicycle law testing for everyone who doesn't have a driver's license, has once again thrust the licensing debate into the public dialogue. This Sunday morning, our local ABC station, KATU, will air a special segment on the topic as part of their Your Voice/Your Vote program. Last night, KATU News anchor Steve Dunn did a great job moderating a discussion on the issue between myself and Bob Huckaby, the man behind the ballot measure effort.

Before the show, KATU posed the licensing question to their Facebook page and they used a few of the comments during the show (they also used soundbites from on-the-street interviews). Unfortunately the way they present the issue on Facebook it is a little misleading because it reads as though people on bikes don't have any legal training at all, when in fact a vast majority already have an Oregon driver's license. For what it's worth, the post has 403 likes and a large percentage of the 242 comments are eagerly supportive of the idea.

Also yesterday, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) posted their stance on the issue. Under the headline, "Bike Licenses Won’t Fix Oregon’s Roads," the BTA wrote, "Instead of pouring resources into a new government program that would discourage people from riding bikes, Oregon should be educating all road users and promoting safe, healthy transportation options."

So far, I'm very pleased how Bob Huckaby and I have continued to have an open, respectful and candid dialogue about this. He feels as strongly about his perspective as I, and many of you, feel about yours.

I hope you'll tune in to KATU (channel 2 in Portland) this Sunday morning at 9:00 am. The show will also be available on their website a few days later and I'll post it here to keep the discussion going. Thanks to all of you for the constructive and informative comments thus far.


UPDATE, 9/9: The video has been posted online. Watch it below...

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Comments
  • peejay September 7, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I wish we could move on from this. It's definitely a "two steps back" topic, and if that's what absorbs the public's attention when it comes to bikes, it means the bike-related things we WANT to talk about are not getting discussed.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 7, 2012 at 9:46 am

      peejay,

      My feeling is that we haven't moved on because it's never been discussed in a way where both sides have a chance to be heard. In the past it's been each side getting all riled up and there has always been a lot of acrimony, revenge motive (in my opinion), and so on. The topic dies, but it never gets dealt with. I think Bob Huckaby has given us an opportunity to talk about this in a different way. And hopefully, while I too wish we spent time on more pressing issues, this time we'll actually move the needle a bit and educate more people about the issue.

      And this is how it works. Bob went on offense because he's sick and tired of how things are going. You could go on offense too. So could I. So could the BTA. So could PBOT. So could Sam. So could another local biz owner with the financing to pursue a more clearly pro-bike ballot measure. I'm waiting for someone to do that! This underscores my thoughts recently that bicycling plays a lot of defense in this city and state, and we should be playing more offense.

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      • Spiffy September 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

        Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
        peejay,
        <p...with the financing to pursue a more clearly pro-bike ballot measure

        which is why most of us can't get the things done that we feel need to be done... I've got a job that keep me busy the entire time that government offices are open for business... I'll never be able to affect change because I don't have the time and money...

        people with money buy what they want, even if it's oppressive government regulations...

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      • David September 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

        So how do we do that?

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        • Barney September 7, 2012 at 11:01 am

          Don't send the "Bike Swarm" over, that will make certain we lose on this issue!

          Recommended Thumb up 10

      • SJ September 7, 2012 at 10:27 am

        So do it. You're the guy. We'll back you. Seriously, Jonathan. Put up some kind of crowdsourcing fundraiser to make the fine $1000 for driving cell phone users, $2000 for drivers who do not come to a dead stop at signs, $2500 for any driver who does not complete a bike laws course and have a sticker on his/her license plate, right next to license tags.

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        • Craig Harlow September 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

          SJ
          ... make the fine $1000 for driving cell phone users...

          In all seriousness, I think a massive fine is appropriate for anyone using a mobile comm device--talking or texting, handsfree or not--while using the roadway...people on bikes or on foot (crosswalks) included.

          I often see the argument that people on a bike or on foot don't pose the same danger as someone in a car--when in fact they potentially do:

          Imagine: when the parent driving his kid to school swerves to avoid hitting you because you're distracted and you walked into the street (against the crosswalk signal, for example), then you have set in motion a series of events that may result in the driver killing you with his car, or himself, or his passengers, or anyone else within crashing range.

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          • Unit September 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm

            I find it's more useful to focus on the behaviors that are actually killing people (like drivers texting) than imagining somewhat far-fetched scenarios that could conceivably (but don't in any noticeable amount) have the same outcome...

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            • Craig Harlow September 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm

              Data please?

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              • 9watts September 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm

                I cringe at those hypothetical scenarios where someone riding a bike dangerously sets off a chain reaction of carnage. I've never actually heard of this happening, and question the pedagogic value of suggesting the possibility in the absence of data showing what you imagined actually ever did occur.

                It reminds me of Mitch Greenlick's idea about the dangers of cheap child bike trailers he wanted to clamp down on.

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              • 9watts September 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm

                http://www.distraction.gov/
                "In 2010, 3092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver."

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          • Francis Noergaard September 9, 2012 at 11:06 am

            Pedestrians and cyclists are not posing any threats, there could hardly be a dangerous situation without a car.

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        • S. September 9, 2012 at 10:07 am

          What he said, !!si se puede!!

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      • 9watts September 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

        Good work, Jonathan.

        I've already agreed with those who say this is a vindictively motivated distraction. I just want to note that this:
        "it is a little misleading because it reads as though people on bikes don't have any legal training at all, when in fact a vast majority already have an Oregon driver's license"

        is a fine line to walk. The trouble with this argument is that it gives ground to those who still hue to the notion that the car & driver's licenses & the DMV are the standard, the gatekeepers. This sucks the air out of alternative points of view which disagree with the whole premise that it is about this or that flavor of government permission to do something.

        Those who don't have a driver's license, whatever the number (and let's not forget that it was Huckaby who introduced this notion that not having a driver's license automatically disqualified those people in ways he finds important) are not less qualified, less authorized, less entitled to move about our public and private spaces without the assistance of a car than those who have driver's licenses.

        Acquiring skills and even being certified as having acquired them is not the same thing as licensing. Please let's not fall into this trap.

        This larger conversation unfortunately confirms what George Lakoff has been stressing for almost twenty years: don't let others whose politics we may disagree with define the terms of the conversation for us. Don't unwittingly adopt their framings because, well, we'll be sorry.

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    • El Biciclero September 7, 2012 at 11:40 am

      But this IS the biggest topic of discussion amongst those who don't "get it". They want cyclists to be punished and don't believe there is currently enough enforcement of traffic laws against them. Rather than call for more enforcement, they want to implement a blanket punishment of having to pay for the right to use the road. It won't solve any of the problems that cause them to call for this, but at least some sense of revenge might be had by knowing that finally, someone is sticking it to those arrogant bastards.

      As far as what "we" want to talk about, discussion topics in the public forum are usually decided by what the majority wants to talk about--and this is it until they are satisfied that things are "fair". "Level playing field" and all that.

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    • wsbob September 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      Take into consideration the 90 percent of the people on the road traveling by motor vehicle...how they're feeling about people on bikes in traffic. Huckaby's efforts answer long standing and growing issues people that must drive, have where bikes are part of traffic.

      Set aside extreme examples of people opposed to the presence of bikes on the road, such as the 'red pickup guy' from years back, and 'the rock creek road guy' from earlier this year...

      That still leaves many people operating motor vehicles on the road welcoming or at least reconciled to people making use of bikes for transportation in traffic, but stressed out, anxious and fearful of being taken by surprise by erratic actions of people on bikes in traffic, and consequently being party to a collision or close call with someone on a bike due to insufficient knowledge and/or skill of the person on the bike to ride in traffic.

      Tested knowledge and skill to ride in traffic is the minimum the public ought to be able to expect from vulnerable road users on bikes in traffic. That many people biking don't have or display even this minimum skill set as they travel in traffic is what inevitably has drawn the public's attention. Huckaby has just picked up the challenge of answering the public's related concerns.

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      • 9watts September 7, 2012 at 7:54 pm

        "Take into consideration the 90 percent of the people on the road traveling by motor vehicle"

        wsbob,
        I'm curious how you got from 89% of the BTA members said they owned a car to 90% of people traveling on the road are doing so by car?

        Only 77.5% of Multnomah Co. households even owned cars the last time we asked this question (2000).

        Getting back to the BTA survey: http://tinyurl.com/8jvch5t

        'In Northeast and Southeast Portland, 15% of respondents say they don't own a car.'

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        • wsbob September 7, 2012 at 11:29 pm

          9watts...never really considered drawing from the BTA stats for that comment.

          I don't mean to say for a fact that 90 percent of the people traveling on the road do so by motor vehicle. Maybe that's wrong...but it's a figure that seems to be periodically cited in Portland news, for example, the Oregonian and bikeportland. Commute routes like Williams Ave and across the Hawthorne Bridge have been said to have had upwards of 20 percent people traveling by bike.

          I'd love to hear that the bike travel mode share on any road in the metro area actually is greater than 20 percent. Imagine if there was even one heavily traveled thoroughfare in Portland in which 50 percent of the vehicles regularly used to travel it were bikes. That would make for an extraordinary statement of bikes as local urban travel mode preference. Post an example if you hear of one.

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          • 9watts September 7, 2012 at 11:41 pm

            from Geller http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/370893
            Portland commuting, citywide 2005-09
            drive alone - 61.8%
            carpool - 9.5%
            transit - 12.0%
            bicycle - 4.8%
            walk - 4.9%
            other - 0.6%
            worked at home - 6%

            Drivers are closer to 72% (for commuting). Probably the numbers would be somewhat different overall, but I don't know the specifics. There's more (fun) detail in the report.

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      • Kevin September 9, 2012 at 1:23 am

        Regardless of 9watts attempts to distract your original question with a problem of reliability of statistics...I highly agree. On my morning commute to work on Friday I very nearly ran down a bicyclist. i was eastbound on T.V. Highway (into the sun) when a cyclist had crossed the highway from left to right and turned head on into my lane while i was driving 45mph (the posted limit). Barely i swerved out of the way while he flipped me off.

        I cant tell you the last time i nearly got into a head on collision in the right lane of a 4 lane highway (with a suicide lane) with a car. But stuff happens fairly frequently (comparatively) with cyclists.

        I make it a point to stay up on the traffic laws in the area, MAINLY since I have started reading this site. And while I am the first to say that there are crazy drives out there....could you imagine if someone driving a Buick observed the exact same driving habits as your average cyclist?

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        • 9watts September 9, 2012 at 9:17 am

          "stressed out, anxious and fearful of being taken by surprise by erratic actions of people on bikes in traffic, and consequently being party to a collision or close call with someone on a bike due to insufficient knowledge and/or skill of the person on the bike to ride in traffic."

          That is some interesting conjecture, there, wsbob, but I don't think it is borne out by statistics. Among car drivers it is a familiar enough way of framing the problem, but it reflects a very one-sided view of things. People in cars are 'surprised' in part because

          - they weren't paying attention in the first place;

          - they were distracted (not the same thing as not paying attention)
          http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/facts-and-statistics.html;

          - the fact that they are in enclosed boxes and can't hear or always see what is going on around them nearly as well as someone on a bike can (note that I said can - everyone can be inattentive);

          - habit: we all have our familiar routes we travel; after a while we get used to them and to what kinds of things we might encounter. We subconsciously scale back our active mode of looking for the unexpected. When the mix of those things changes, we're not always ready for them. For the person driving a car this tendency can be a much bigger problem because of the dangers their vehicle poses to others, not to mention themselves.

          As for the erratic nature of the movements you attribute to people biking, I have to assume that that perception is often a function of how unaware drivers are of the challenges faced by people who bike. Hank Bersani is said to have behaved this way, but others have noted that if Ford has been passing him at a safe distance or at a lower rate of speed the movement attributed to Bersani may not have led to his death by automobile. Erratic often means I wasn't expecting it rather than inexplicable. Learning to expect the possibility of certain movements (avoiding glass, sunken grates, or other crap left along the edge of the street or road, for instance) is part of the responsibility of the driver.

          No doubt there are highly problematic people on bikes just as there are dangerous drivers, but this
          "could you imagine if someone driving a Buick observed the exact same driving habits as your average cyclist?"
          is ridiculous.

          Drivers are found to have been at fault in the majority of crashes that occur between multiple modes. See http://bikeportland.org/2012/09/05/bob-huckaby-moves-forward-on-statewide-bike-registration-licensing-measures-76881#comment-3206052

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          • Kevin September 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm

            No, i will simplify, I am surprised when I am heading down the road and someone JUMPS IN FRONT OF ME IN MY LANE AND HEADS STRAIGHT FOR ME!

            Get fricken real.

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  • Brian Willson September 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

    This debate is a terrible distraction from the real need to create extensive and separate infrastructure for pedestrians and bicycles. Rome is burning with carbon molecules and we are talking about licensing a 30 pound bicycle on roads with 3,000 pound death machines, a bulk/weight ratio of 1 to 100. Bikes are not contributing to global instability and obesity as fossil fuel burning private autos are. This is ridiculous.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 7, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Brian,

      I share your frustration and the urgency with which we should be promoting bicycling as much as possible instead of trying to add more regulations and barriers to doing it. In fact, this is the exact point I tried to make on the show. I hope it comes through on Sunday. Thanks for the comment.

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    • Andrew K September 7, 2012 at 10:09 am

      I 100% agree.

      I am all in favor of open dialogue and debate. I welcome it and encourage it. But let’s face it, sometimes a stupid idea needs to be called out for what it is and shut down quickly, otherwise it gives validity to something completely unworkable. This is one of those cases. We DO need to debate bicycle safety. We DON’T need to debate bike registration. As I stated earlier, you might as well debate registering jogging shoes with the DMV. The idea is that dumb.

      I’m sorry, I don’t mean to go on a tirade here but I’m really sick of the causes I believe in getting dragged down into these silly distractions. Talking heads like Lars Larson love this stuff because you can go round and round about it for hours and never get anywhere, perfect for filling up air time. However, there aren’t always two sides to every issue. At some point simple reality needs to be acknowledged.

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      • A.K. September 7, 2012 at 10:39 am

        Exactly the same point I made below.

        Round and round we go, with NO IMPROVEMENTS TO SAFETY, which is supposedly what this whole thing is about.

        I believe Mr. Huckaby is being disingenuous with his motivations. This won't improve safety one bit for anyone. What it will do is cause less people to bike, which is exactly what he and many other people want.

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    • Jeffery September 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      I agree. My stance on the topic is that if this licensing were to become law, then in return the infrastructure needs to be built and/or improved to make cycling a viable and safe option on EVERY road.

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      • Charley September 8, 2012 at 12:14 am

        Yeah, how about, if this becomes law, then the budget split of car to bike spending ought to be 50/50. Then see how Huckaby would like that!

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  • are September 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

    privatizing medicare never gets dealt with either, because it is a very poor idea. but then the discussion gets moved to some imaginary "middle," and all of a sudden you find yourself making compromises with what never used to get discussed because it was such a poor idea. look what just happened with the skateboard thing. because of a compromise with a poor idea, we now have fines of a hundred plus dollars for skating on sidewalks downtown. the best thing to do with a poor idea is to identify it as such and flatly state that it is not up for discussion.

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  • Jolly Dodger September 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I have chosen not to ever drive again. Or hold a driver's license. I believe in a world where auto type vehicles are NOT the dominant means of transport on roadways. These beliefs preclude me from participating in the 'drivers' licensing program on moral and ethical grounds. This is almost a religion to myself and others. If forced to obtain validation from the Driver's Governing board, or city council or State Legislation...i will move to another state. Or leave the country, because in my mind....Oregon is the last free place in America. I came here from the deep south to avoid persecution by weak minds of the kind presenting this proposal. A "biker's license" would be acceptable IF - a standardized course for 'driver types' who choose not to bike would be forced upon them as an equal exchange. If we are to be tutored on how to best operate 'our' vehicles in order to be safe in traffic, 'they' should be instructed on how best to control 'their' vehicles by standards not commonly recognized during a common driver's ed test. Maybe an hour on an ODOT maintained fleet of trainer bikes? For all licensee's, not just the bikers...do i need to learn to drive a car to not kill a driver with my bike? See the irony, here, right? Forcing a biker to learn how to not die is the job of Darwin and the shallow end of the gene pool. Not a state agency.

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  • Ben DuPree September 7, 2012 at 9:55 am

    A fair and frank exchange of ideas is a laudable goal. But all the facts need to be on the table first.

    And, if I know anything about politics and policy, they rarely are.

    I'd normally say it's up to us to keep explaining, but I don't think that's the problem. Seems to me we need to find a way to tug at the heartstrings here, a way to connect in the heart as well as the head.

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    • A.K. September 7, 2012 at 10:07 am

      This is key. Huckaby is working without proper facts (I believe he knows them but chooses to ignore them), and it doesn't seem like he's being called on it.

      It's clear that he's working from an emotional place, and doesn't consider the true facts (that most cyclists have drivers licenses, that the burden from this would cost more than the revenue it would bring in, it's failed in every other state that has tried it, we can see from cars that plates do NOT equal compliance with the law, etc.)

      In the last 10 years or so, especially with the rise of all the big cable TV news networks, there is this now-popular idea that "both sides" equal have facts that are worth equal weight.

      That is simply not true in most circumstances, and half-truths and misleading statements are used to confuse people.

      The only thing this tired old debate is doing is making cyclists look like freeloaders, which the lazy media LOVES.

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      • Richard Allan September 7, 2012 at 10:26 am

        Modern telejournalism:
        "So there you have it, Jim . . . some say the Earth orbits the Sun, and some say the Sun orbits the Earth."
        "Thanks so much for that report, Claudia. A fascinating discussion . . . both sides make excellent points!"

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        • are September 7, 2012 at 10:37 am

          meanwhile, absent from the table are advocates for the homeless and for basic civil liberties and for ordinary folks who just want to get around with minimal to zero engagement with the police state. plus one to jolly dodger, who summed it up beautifully.

          what we have on the television is a false dichotomy between one guy over here who has a bug in his ear because his trucks can't come in the way the used to and over there, no offense, jonathan, a guy who is identified by the media as somehow representing a constituency of everyone on a bike, when in fact he is just one guy.

          kill your television.

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          • q`Tzal September 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm

            are
            kill your television.

            Now, now ... that will just release toxins in to the environment.
            If we must resort to violence remember that news corporation CEO's are much more biodegradable than TVs.

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  • Paul Cone September 7, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Way to up the guy on the professional look with the tie, Jonathan!

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    • SilkySlim September 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

      And that double thumbs up move!!

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      • Richard Allan September 7, 2012 at 10:27 am

        The Fonz lives!

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    • Spiffy September 7, 2012 at 10:24 am

      if ti were an election I know who I'd be voting for just on professionalism...

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  • Hart Noecker September 7, 2012 at 10:00 am

    This guy's "strong perspective" is only two weeks old. He wants to punish cyclists for a road closure, and he's going to fail.

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  • Geebs September 7, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I think one of the most frustrating things about this discussion is that a huge portion of it dances backwards to the "cyclists need to pay for roads, too!" argument, which is based on some seriously specious assumptions on road use and payment. 90% of cyclists have licenses, so they're "paying their share" for the roads already (and, in some sense, subsidizing people who spend more time driving). In any case, it's a bit laughable to base an argument on the assumption that gas taxes and licensing fees pay for roads. Federal and state taxes that most folks, licensed or not, pay are what fund roads.

    Most people who ride bikes also pay federal taxes, I'd wager. I certainly do. Even if roads were paid by licensing fees and gas taxes, people who ride bikes but don't have licenses are still paying, albeit indirectly (roughly parallel to how I don't pay property taxes, but my landlords certainly factor their taxes into my rental rate).

    We do need new laws governing how bikes are treated on the road; current law is inadequate for the realities of road users, whether they happen to be jogging, biking, or driving. This proposed law does very little to address that.

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  • Indy September 7, 2012 at 10:04 am

    If getting a license gives my "vote" to putting my transportation dollars directly to bike paths and throughways, I'm 100% on board.

    If it's just a silly way to track and account for bikers actions, well, then I will shrug and not participate in the process. How is a bike license going to keep me or others safe? Licenses for cars doesn't really do that. The process to get a license is a joke, the penalties for infractions are a joke considering the repercussions of death.

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  • Brock Dittus September 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I'll be following up with my campaign to license joggers, rollerbladers and dog-walkers shortly. LOLs

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    • rain bike September 7, 2012 at 10:50 am

      Don't forget to stipulate that these peds must be properly lighted when using MUPs during non-daylight hours.

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      • Nathan September 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

        And each pair of shoes needs a $13 license plate.

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      • q`Tzal September 7, 2012 at 10:08 pm

        $500 ticket for walking 3 or more abreast.

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    • encephalopath September 7, 2012 at 11:12 am

      And baby strollers. Those things are a meanace.

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  • Ted Sweeney September 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Jonathan,

    Thanks for doing that, and I am sure you did a capable job representing the range of viewpoints the pedaling public have presented here on BP. I don't mean this as criticism, but I am curious why it was you on the show and not, say, someone from the BTA. It seems odd to have our (excellent) bike journalist speaking for the community when we have advocates that many of us have "elected" by becoming BTA members. A little background on how the show came about? Did I miss something in twitterland?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Good question Ted.

      I was contacted by KATU and I accepted the opportunity. I also happen to have a working dialogue going with Huckaby ever since I met him out at the Wheeler site a few weeks ago and we struck up a conversation. I think KATU got in touch with me and not the BTA because they realized I've been following this issue closely from day one and I've been covering it a lot on the site and speaking out about it with my opinion and so on. I also have a long and amicable working relationship with KATU (and all the other networks for that matter) given the fact that I've been on their station countless times for countless bike issues over the past 7 years.

      And just so you know, there are many many more people that ride bikes in Portland than who are dues-paying BTA members (they had about 5,000 members last time i checked).

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      • Matt M September 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

        But that sort of reinforces Ted's point - why isn't the BTA front and center on this? There's a reason I perceive you as our leading advocate and not the BTA. But I pay dues to the BTA.

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        • Jeremy September 7, 2012 at 11:07 am

          Reason #1 to support BikePortland. Pretty sure there is a "donate" button somewhere on this page.

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      • Ted Sweeney September 7, 2012 at 11:07 am

        I don't think that's a fair "just so you know." Of course I understand that not everyone is a BTA member. But no one is a Bike Portland member. Again, I'm not trying to attack here. I appreciate the working relationships you have with these entities and you and your work are a huge asset, I think, to my personal safety on the road. I'm just surprised to see, as you put it, "some bike blogger" in a televised debate with those who would limit the accessibility of cycling in our state. BTA is a statewide organization that answers to a membership base and an elected board. They are far from perfect, representative, or as effective as I would like them to be. But they are our bike advocacy group.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

          Ted. Sorry you don't think that's fair. It's just a fact I think people need to understand to see the full context of bike advocacy and activism in Portland.

          You seem to think that a voice representing bicycling on important, high profile issues must come from a professional bike advocacy group that has dues-paying members. Where is it written that it must be like that? I think one thing holding bicycling back in America is that the general public sees it as a "cause" or just another "special interest group". Why do people think that? Because every time a bike issue is discussed in the media, the person talking is usually from a bike advocacy organization that is pushing a specific agenda.

          I think one of the exciting things about my role and about BikePortland is that I'm 100% independent and, while I obviously advocate for bicycling, I am not seen solely as a professional advocate always pushing an agenda. I'm seen as a publisher and blogger who sometimes takes a leadership role in the community and explains bicycling issues and topics to the public using the power of the media. Yes, that makes me an advocate in some respects, but it's a much different role than the BTA can play.

          Thanks for the questions. I appreciate the chance to try and clarify this stuff. Let me know if I've only muddled it even more.

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          • Ted Sweeney September 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

            I understand and respect what you are saying. I hope you are correct about folks' impression of your role. I worry that in a setting like this one, where the network has reached out to you as the "bike guy" to provide counter-point, the broader audience reached by KATU sees little difference between you or someone from the BTA. "Blogger and publisher of Bike Portland" and "representative of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance" probably just sound like members of the same special interest group to an audience primed to hear opinions from two extreme, partisan sides. It's not as though "blogger" really implies impartiality. My concern then is that, within that context, the only way you can identify yourself as more "independent" than a professional bike advocate is to stray from what people would expect the BTA/bicycle special interest to say. I respect your view that there's room for dialogue and maybe a better/final resolution here, but I am worried to see the party line departed from on something as critical as licensing.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm

              Ted,

              for what it's worth, KATU identifies me as "Publisher and Editor" not as a blogger. Also, you and I have different perspectives on bicycle advocacy. I don't believe there's a "party line". I believe there's what's right and what's the truth and what's good for the city and I don't care if it veers from some "party line" held by the bike advocacy industrial complex. I also tend to have a higher opinion of the public (both readers of this site and other outlets) than most people. My sense is that if you expect and treat people like they are intelligent and civil and honest, they are much more likely to end up being so.

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              • Ted Sweeney September 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

                I have a high opinion of the public. When I watch point-counter-point format stuff in the media, I expect the media outlet to have reached out to partisan representatives of the two sides, representatives motivated enough to appear. That just seems to be the norm. I assume others are watching with this in mind as well, and would expect the guy with a connection to "bikes" to be representing people who ride bikes in some sense. I don't read what I wrote as insulting anyone.

                Let me put this another way, without using terms like "party line": I don't want bicycle licensing in Portland. I want people in the conversation representing me who are going to employ effective arguments to shut this thing down, or turn it into a more-ed-for-all-road-users thing. While I respect it, I am wary of the attempt at dialogue in this situation where the opponent is motivated by anger at the city's actions regarding his business. Your pejorative view of people who do hard work in the city and in the legislature related to bike issues (not without considerable fault) doesn't convince me that you are going to be a more effective voice redirecting this. The BTA has a whole staff to consider messaging, a board to oversee it, and members to withhold contributions if dissatisfied. While it's awesome that I can express my feelings to you in blog comments, and you deserve massive credit for your responsiveness, I worry that you can't offer the same accountability as an advocate that the BTA can. And I do want someone to advocate for my point of view in this. I imagine all your readers do.

                I do believe you are working for what's true and good and everything. I'm a BTA member because I think they do the same. I am sad about the impression that I am getting that there are sour feelings or mistrust between you and the BTA. Hopefully I'm misreading that.

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                • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm

                  Ted,

                  i feel like you're bringing up assumptions about me and my views that are simply untrue. I absolutely do not have a "pejorative view of people who do hard work in the city and in the legislature related to bike issues". Where do u get that?

                  And I'm not representing you or anyone. Never said I was. I am representing myself. That's it. But it just so happens that my views are shaped by many people - most of whom care deeply about bicycling and bike safety.

                  you also wrote:

                  I am sad about the impression that I am getting that there are sour feelings or mistrust between you and the BTA. Hopefully I'm misreading that.

                  Yes. You are misreading that.

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                • 9watts September 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

                  "The BTA has a whole staff to consider messaging, a board to oversee it, and members to withhold contributions if dissatisfied."

                  And maybe that is also a liability?
                  I don't see Jonathan cutting the BTA out of the action, or preventing them from speaking up on this issue. You make some interesting and important points, Ted, but in this case I think Jonathan is just quicker on the draw, and a very good shot too. I may not agree with all the nuances of his take on this Huckaby boondoggle, but I appreciate the level of visibility, exposure, critique, and analysis he offers and invites from us.

                  Are there risks in this game? Sure.
                  Is Huckaby exploiting an unfortunately prevalent set of misperceptions held by a part of the public about how traffic un-safety comes about and who's to blame? Sure
                  Is he motivated to improve safety for people who bike? Of course not.
                  Do we need to bury this absurd performance on the political stage? Yes, but the best I can do is hope we hone our arguments.

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          • Allan Folz September 7, 2012 at 12:40 pm

            "I'm 100% independent and, while I obviously advocate for bicycling, I am not seen solely as a professional advocate always pushing an agenda."

            Um, while your distinction maybe true the ~8-12% of Portland residents that are active cyclists, I'm not sure the other 7/8ths are able to appreciate such nuance.

            I rather suspect they see a guy who makes his living riding bikes and writing about them. Implicitly, more bikes == more readers, that hardly seems an agenda free zone.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm

              I never said I'm trying to create an "agenda-free zone". obviously I am a promoter of bicycling. But I do that because I think bicycling is awesome and it works and more people should do it... Not because I am obligated to say it to make a living and to do the work of my paid members and Board.

              another thing to consider is that I could cover racing, business, personalities, fashion, and other, non-advocacy issue stuff here on bikeportland and people would still pay to advertise and I would still make a living. my point is that I am not defined by an agenda or by bike advocacy issues alone. I like bikes. I write about bikes. I talk about bikes. That's it. It's a subtle but important difference.

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              • Allan Folz September 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

                To be clear, I'm not disagree with how you see yourself. But I am suggesting the distinctions in your perspective aren't going to be all that generally shared.

                Non-cyclists, which the vast majority of the public is, don't spend the time or mental effort to make the same distinction between paid advocate and op-ed journalist in their mind as you do in yours. In fact, I'd expect of any thinking about it that they do, it is to fall back to the short-hand: more bike riders == more Bike Portland readers.

                But hey, may be I'm wrong. Good luck with it.

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        • Bike Bend September 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm

          Unfortunately, while the BTA claims to represent all of Oregon they do not. Spend a little time on the BTA website and blog and it's clear that Portland is where their heart is located. Not here in Bend that's for sure. I attempted to contact the BTA's "Statewide Advocate" via email and telephone multiple times but never got a call back. I realize Bend is out in the middle of nowhere but a bit of common courtesy goes a long way.

          By the way - I can only imagine the fun a bicycle licensing law would create in Bend. There are huge numbers of locals and visitors who ride the nearby singletrack who would go berserk if they were required to license their mountain bikes just so they could ride them a few blocks to the trailhead. Go ahead a waste your money Mr. Huckaby - it will ultimately be a lost cause.

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        • Greg September 8, 2012 at 7:36 am

          Your series of responses here don't make me want to run out and join the BTA.

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          • are September 8, 2012 at 8:30 am

            the BTA, or any member organization, is what you make it

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  • Spiffy September 7, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Mr. Huckaby, people already know it's illegal to run stop signs. And people continue to do so in every form of vehicle. If bikes are required to have a license they will still fail to stop at the Flint stop sign just as all other vehicles do at all other stop signs.

    Imposing an additional burden on vulnerable users tells a lot about your character.

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  • Brian Willson September 7, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I have chosen to terminate my driver's license as part of my protest of being so directly a part of king car culture. So I don't possess a driver's license and I ain't going to get one. I will likely disobey any new law to license me as a handcyclist. This after I have driven on the roads with a license for the last 55 years. (I am 71). There needs to be an epistemological shift of radical proportions to stand against our 100 year addiction to private autos as a sign of our "freedom."

    This serious distraction from addressing the serious issues of continued dependence upon private autos makes me want to leave Oregon, maybe even the USA. We already live in the distraction of the theater of absurd of our political economy and its election of twiddle dee or twiddle dum of the 2 war parties sucking money from every town and city.

    Now we have to spend time and energy addressing whether to license 30 pound bicycles with 3,000 pound death machines spewing carbon molecules into the atmosphere as particles of mass destruction. It is surreal! It is going backwards at a high rate of speed. I am sick from a society not willing to address the authentic issues of the destruction of virtually all life caused by industrial civilization. Cannot we have the courage to say please STOP this madness?

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    • Hart Noecker September 7, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Brian Willson, you're a hero to so many. I share your sentiments here exactly.

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    • resopmok September 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Brian Wilson for president!

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  • Oliver September 7, 2012 at 10:33 am

    As if people aren't already riled up enough about the non-stop political coverage we've been getting for the last 8 months. This is going to come down to an 'on the money' straight party-line vote.

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  • was carless September 7, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Andrew K
    I 100% agree.
    I am all in favor of open dialogue and debate. I welcome it and encourage it. But let’s face it, sometimes a stupid idea needs to be called out for what it is and shut down quickly, otherwise it gives validity to something completely unworkable. This is one of those cases. We DO need to debate bicycle safety. We DON’T need to debate bike registration. As I stated earlier, you might as well debate registering jogging shoes with the DMV. The idea is that dumb.
    I’m sorry, I don’t mean to go on a tirade here but I’m really sick of the causes I believe in getting dragged down into these silly distractions. Talking heads like Lars Larson love this stuff because you can go round and round about it for hours and never get anywhere, perfect for filling up air time. However, there aren’t always two sides to every issue. At some point simple reality needs to be acknowledged.
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    Well, maybe they will ban bicycles completely in this state. Make it felony possession! Its that stupid of an idea. Or skateboards, for that matter.

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    • rain bike September 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      If bikes are outlawed, only outlaws will have bikes.

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  • Sunny September 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Bike licensing has never worked historically. Might as well try to bring back slavery while he's at it.

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    • Spiffy September 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      can I have my very own hipster to get me vegan burritos from the food cart via fixie while I sit on my opulent porch couch?

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      • q`Tzal September 7, 2012 at 10:15 pm

        What's the hipster version of a mint julep?

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  • dwainedibbly September 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Thanks for posting this, Jonathan. I normally avoid KATU's steaming pile of news and would not have known that this was going to be broadcast.

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  • Brad September 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

    This will take a year or more to get on a ballot, if ever. If it does, then Huckaby is going to have to raise a lot of cash get the required signatures and to promote the thing so that voters even know that it is on the ballot and worth marking YES or NO. Once the initial attention wanes (when the general election heats up), this will be forgotten by the media and Mr. Huckby's crusade will to.

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  • Jeremy Cohen September 7, 2012 at 11:47 am

    This issue is EXACTLY why the ballot measures are a terrible waste of time and energy--and why, as a concept they should be ended. If the people who dreamed up this country (and thus served as a template for this state) had wanted a direct democracy they could have had one. Instead, they rightly realized that most people, most of the time have neither the time nor energy (and at the time literacy) to be knowledgeable about every issue enough to make a good decision. Thus, REPRESENTATIVE government. Huckaby should use his right as a concerned citizen to alert his city, county, state representatives of his desire to license bikes and those who ride them. The representatives can then launch an investigation into the feasibility of that plan (in this case 4 minutes with an internet connection will suffice) and write Huckaby a letter that reads something like: Thank you for your concern. We too are concerned about the safety of all road users, and we will therefore be pursuing a variety of options that have a proven record to keep people safe. In this case, however, licensing bikes and those who ride them has proven to be both expensive and ineffective.

    I truly believe this measure won't make the ballot, and I also believe it will be defeated if it does make the ballot--but I have seem dumber ideas make the ballot (with strong funding) and I have seen dumber measures pass (with even stronger funding).

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    • Spiffy September 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      shhh! quiet down or people might start realizing that democracy doesn't work and because of that this country isn't a democracy...

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    • q`Tzal September 7, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      Our current system of misgovernance makes me think that being plugged in to a Borg collective would be a marked improvement.

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  • CaptainKarma September 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I propose we call bike licenses "huckabies".

    He shore picked the wrong town to pick the wrong fight in.

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  • Tom P. September 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Hart Noecker
    This guy's "strong perspective" is only two weeks old. He wants to punish cyclists for a road closure, and he's going to fail.

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    And With wording like "All Bikes" and "Mandated Enforcement" it could impact things like Sunday parkways,Safe routes to school,Cyclo cross,mountain biking events,Community centers,bike shops ect.

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  • Scott September 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    This is a perfect time to push for the mandatory bumpers that prevent cyclist and pedestrians from going under the tires on any truck that delivers in the city.

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    • q`Tzal September 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      Require EXTERNAL, 360° full coverage, that deploy just like inside driver bags but bigger and faster.
      Then tax the snot out of those as a sort of bad driver tax. You are exempt if the other driver was found tone at fault but they have no insurance.

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  • Travis September 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I am over this. I'd much prefer to see the BTA in a debate with Bob Huckaby than Johnathan Maus. I'd much prefer lobbying by experts to make sensible changes, where necessary, at the congressional legislative level. Stop stirring the pot. If it makes the ballot then fight it, but it seems all this debating now is only going to fuel an attempt to get it on the ballot. I understand it is a lot of free publicity for bikeportland.org. But still: like others have said, print the facts and move-on. Cover some real news. Maybe start canning a weekly oregon/portland/couve bike special if you want to be on TV. I thought this site stepped a way from sensational stories a few years ago...

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Hey Travis,

      This wasn't a debate. And there's no lobbying to be done because this thing hasn't even been formalized. Right now it's just two citizens talking about an issue that has plagued bicycling for many years. And "Print the facts" is exactly what I've done. I'm putting Huckaby's plans and motivations out for everyone to sift through and be better informed.

      Thanks for the comment. I don't agree with it at all, but thanks.

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      • Travis September 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm

        I had to sit on this for a few days. While I am no stranger to heavy commenting, I guess I feel this isn't an issue that has "plagued cycling for years". Or not in the larger scheme of it all. I trust your insight and commitment to the site and cycling has an acknowledged, common sense mode of transportation. I hope this fizzles (again). I hope you're able to make a positive impression of cycling on this podium. I hope the local news finds a better light to highlight cycling. I hope cyclist learn the larger ramifications of not stopping at stop signs. We brought this on ourselves. I'll consider this drama next time rolling a stop sign seems easier. I guess that's all Bob wants.

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    • David September 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      It's interesting, because the BTA could have just as easily been the voice of cycling in Portland. But they're not. Their blog is very inwardly focused (eg. they basically just write about their own programs, and rarely chime in when there's a big issue). It's simply not interesting to read--it doesn't have personality.

      This blog, however, zooms out and focuses on the bigger cycling picture--the things that we care about.

      Because of that, the dude behind the blog became the voice of cycling in Portland. Of course not everybody agrees with everything that is written, but most of us tend to be on the side of advancing cycling in the city.

      And the press will think, "Hey--we have a cycling story! Who should we contact?" Maybe it'll be Rob Sadowsky, but more often it'll probably be Maus because of this blog. And why should Jon say no?

      I may be rambling here but I guess my point is that nobody in the world sits down and thinks, "Hey! I know a great way to become rich and famous! I'll start a blog on the internet about riding bicycles." So while appearing on local news channels does boost publicity for this blog, it's being reported on because it's important to the future of cycling.

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        • Bike Bend September 8, 2012 at 9:50 am

          A well written and persuasive editorial worth reading. I agree that education (with a dose of appropriate enforcement) - for both motorists and cyclists - is ultimately the answer. But getting the political will, the funding and the actual programs in place are the devil's details. This is where the BTA and its lobby arm should be able to do effective work.

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      • Hart Noecker September 8, 2012 at 1:35 am

        The BTA has made it clear their chief concern is promoting helmets, which according to the ECF is antithetical to the idea of promoting the bicycle as a safe, common mode of transit. It's clear that the BTA will make a few paltry press statements here and there, but their goals are not to promote cycling in the least.

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  • Sunny September 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I would prefer the blog owner wear full cyclist apparel next time -- fluorescent jacket, helmet, sunglasses, arm warmers. How can we be serious when we look like clowns?

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  • dennis September 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I have a proposal. I'll sign his petition, provided he gives up driving an automobile for thirty calendar days. Perhaps He'll get a better idea of why we ride the way that we do.

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    • Opus the Poet September 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      If I thought that would be a true hardship I would agree with you, but I haven't driven since 1995 and I don't have any problems doing the things I want to do that I didn't have when I had a car.

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  • Ben September 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    peejay,
    My feeling is that we haven't moved on because it's never been discussed in a way where both sides have a chance to be heard. In the past it's been each side getting all riled up and there has always been a lot of acrimony, revenge motive (in my opinion), and so on. The topic dies, but it never gets dealt with. I think Bob Huckaby has given us an opportunity to talk about this in a different way. And hopefully, while I too wish we spent time on more pressing issues, this time we'll actually move the needle a bit and educate more people about the issue.
    And this is how it works. Bob went on offense because he's sick and tired of how things are going. You could go on offense too. So could I. So could the BTA. So could PBOT. So could Sam. So could another local biz owner with the financing to pursue a more clearly pro-bike ballot measure. I'm waiting for someone to do that! This underscores my thoughts recently that bicycling plays a lot of defense in this city and state, and we should be playing more offense.
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    Are argument can be as rational as it can be. But unfortunately we live in a democracy. If this thing still makes into the voting booths, cyclists are way out numbered.

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  • Ben September 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    *Our

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  • wsbob September 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    "The potential of two statewide ballot measures that would require a license plate on all bicycles and would mandate bicycle law testing for everyone who doesn't have a driver's license, ..." maus/bikeportland

    I guess I'm not exactly clear whether 'on the ballot' in this case means through the initiative petition process or through the legislature and referred to the public by way of the ballot from there. That's an important difference.

    Definitely good though that registration for bikes and certification/licensing for people riding, would be two separate measures. Plates on bikes is a long shot. With conditions, depending upon what they may be, certification/licensing for people that ride, may be practical and generate enough support to pass.

    People riding bikes for transportation in traffic are most certainly part of traffic. At the same time, bikes in traffic pose significant safety challenges for all road users in keeping traffic flowing safely and smoothly.

    While the majority of people riding today as commuters or even recreational riders, may have a driver's license and some knowledge/testing for road use through that means, it's not currently required for people traveling by bike. That means many people riding may never have had even the rudimentary knowledge to prepare them for use of the road with a vehicle that goes with preparing and testing for a driver's license.

    I think the public probably does have some right to expect that any road user using the road for travel by the operation of a vehicle, be it a motor vehicle or a pedaled vehicle such as a bicycle, has passed at least a basic test for competence in operating a vehicle on the road. Given their unique differences from motor vehicles that represent inherent vulnerability to people riding them, instruction and testing for people riding bikes in traffic should be specific to those vehicles, rather than an assumption that a driver's test is sufficient for instruction in riding a bike in traffic.

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  • Ben September 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I'll tell you what admin, if anymore crap related to this absurd topic. I will just remove this site from my favorites and simply not comeback.

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  • are September 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    if you had declined to appear, would KATU have given huckaby an audience?

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  • Jim Lee September 7, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Yo, biker folk!

    Roll on out to 60th & Mitchell and see the goods that NEIGHBOR BRIAN does for all of us!

    Don't leave us, Brian. Please don't leave!

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  • Joe September 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    my horse needs a lic plate :)

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  • Joe September 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks to all the work bikeportland does.* we are lucky have a fearless leader and countless ridership.. keep riding and enjoying the OPEN road

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  • DJA September 10, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Part of what needs doing is reframing this, as has been mentioned. Ok, so we license. Who do we license? Adults only? 18+? Do we send 5-10 year olds to the DMV take a test before they can get their Christmas bike? Overarching generalization like, license them and let the police figure it out get bogged down in the details. :)

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    • wsbob September 11, 2012 at 12:39 am

      "Part of what needs doing is reframing this, as has been mentioned. Ok, so we license. Who do we license? ..." DJA

      Excellent point. First, consider the key situation that most recently brought the overall question of bike registration and rider licensing to the fore: a busy, big city downtown thoroughfare in 'Bike City USA'...Portland, Ore, and the closing of a street intersecting with that street. This is the type of traffic situation where demands placed on road users can be the greatest.

      To meet that demand, consider the age of the youngest person that typically may ride this thoroughfare by themselves rather than accompanied by a bike in traffic experienced adult. Personally, I think maybe 14 yrs of age. Most people younger than 14 would hopefully be discouraged by parents from riding in especially demanding traffic situations like the above mentioned.

      For a considerable number of young people, that may be wishful thinking, but for discussion, it could be a starting point. 14 yrs seems to like a possibly good starting age to get kids to learn bike specific in traffic skills and be tested for ability to use them in traffic.

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      • El Biciclero September 11, 2012 at 11:48 am

        wsbob-- I still don't think we can characterize any proposed license as a "bike-in-traffic" license. You seem to want to imply that a license would only be needed at intersections like Flint/Broadway/Wheeler, or on certain streets like Sandy, or even Farmington Road through Beaverton. I just don't think that's an accurate picture of what Huckaby is proposing. Everything is traffic. When does traffic qualify as "heavy" for enforcement purposes? If you want to talk about "voluntary" licensing or "remedial" instruction post-citation for breaking some other law, which you have mentioned several times, let's call it "certification" rather than licensing. As has been mentioned by a few others, "certification" shows you at least test well in the knowledge or skill area covered by the certification, but does not imply you need permission from the government to do whatever it is you are certified in. A "license" means that without one, you are forbidden by law to practice whatever behavior is licensed. Cycling "certification" would show that you at least have book knowledge about traffic law as it pertains to cycling, but competent operation of a bicycle shows that too--even without certification. "Certification" could be had voluntarily, for no purpose other than one's own edification--law enforcement wouldn't care whether you were certified or not, as long as you followed the law--or as a remedial measure as part of the disposition of a traffic citation. No need for licensing at all.

        When we look at things in society for which one must have a license, those things are largely either recreational activities (fishing, hunting, etc.) which the government wants to regulate for conservation purposes, or they are dangerous things that can easily harm others (firearm handling, driving, medical practice, etc.) Riding a bicycle just doesn't fall into the category of harmful things that need licensing any more than skateboarding, swimming, jogging, hiking, etc. Moves like this to license cyclists or register bikes are misplaced energy at best, and vindictive revenge campaigns at worst.

        It almost sounds like we agree on how something like this could be managed on a voluntary basis, or "forced" on those that are caught breaking some existing law (which is already done, btw). I just don't think anything needs to change legally as far as regulation of bicycle travel. License plates for bikes is a ridiculous notion, certification of riders is available now via various means, and enforcement of the law is already happening (though not at a high enough rate in the minds of some). Seems to me as though a combination of awareness of existing educational opportunities and continued or increased enforcement of existing laws would have the same net effect as any licensing/registration scheme.

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        • wsbob September 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm

          Re; "bike-in-traffic": that's a phrase I conceived for myself to get to the main or strongest reason justifying that people riding bikes might be encouraged or obliged to get travel mode specific knowledge and testing for competence in riding bikes in traffic.

          Of course it would be great if everyone that rode a bike everywhere, even on side streets, green-ways and bike boulevards were model examples using turn signals, etc, by the book; Good in-traffic riding skills and procedures are certainly beneficial there, but I think there's probably little question that on major thoroughfares such as Broadway, those type skills, and the consistency and quality of their use could use a lot of improvement.

          Being the vulnerable road users, people on bikes should readily pick up those skills and procedures for every safety advantage they can offer. Bikes by themselves aren't particularly dangerous, but bikes in traffic, ridden without sufficient knowledge, skills and procedures for riding in traffic, particularly traffic conditions that are challenging, can be very dangerous for the people riding bikes.

          Re; certification rather than licensing: The choice in terminology wouldn't be of much concern to me as long as the procedure it served as the title of, required 'bike in traffic' specific knowledge, and testing of that knowledge in an on the road test by a state DMV, or DV (as maus suggested calling it) driver's/rider's test examiner. And that once people had been stopped for violating traffic regulations, they could be compelled to learn the material, take the test, and carry documentation indicating they'd done so.

          Concerning current obligations on the part of people that ride, to know and follow traffic regulations and procedures, the status quo isn't cutting it. In order that more people take biking in traffic seriously, bike specific material is needed, as are obligations such as study and testing.

          Enforcement...citing people that don't observe the regulations...can help people be aware there's need for personal improvement, but it can't help much on its own. Accompanied by a licensing/certification procedure providing that people choosing to ride in traffic are equipped with specific knowledge and skills tailored to use of bikes in traffic, enforcement could help to arrive at safer conditions for people traveling by bike.

          In general, rather than outright dismissing ideas that a guy like Huckaby coincidentally becomes the bearer of, people would do better to actively make efforts to think of all manner of variations on those ideas, some of which could possibly be practical, beneficial improvements in road safety for everyone.

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          • Francis Noergaard September 12, 2012 at 12:02 am

            It´s called "ignoring til bull in the chinashop". We can bubble-wrap pedestrians and cyclists, we can force them to wear high visibility vests and helmets etc. etc., but you will still see people getting killed in traffic. Why not lowering car-speeds in cities, and make a better infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists? In Amsterdam wery few bicyclists get killed in traffic, they don´t have helmets, high visibility vests or bicycle-license. Don´t ignore the bull!

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            • wsbob September 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

              "...Why not lowering car-speeds in cities, and make a better infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists? In Amsterdam... . ..." Francis Noergaard

              Some cities and towns in the U.S., such as those in the metro area, are making a change towards infrastructure that's better for pedestrians and cyclists, but that change is, and will likely continue to be very gradual. In the interim, people that ride, more consistently having knowledge and skill necessary to safely ride in typically busy, challenging traffic conditions existing on major urban thoroughfares could be a great, very accessible safety improvement beneficial to everyone.

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              • Francis Noergaard September 18, 2012 at 11:38 pm

                I don´t believe a license for bicycles would ad anything regarding safety, it will only stop more people from riding there bicycle. Less peoples on bicycles = more accidents!
                I live in Copenhagen, Denmark , and we still see some death accidents in our city, fx. right turn accidents. The absurd thing is, that the majority of bicyclists killed by trucks and cars in these accidents, are women and children following the traffic-rules. I don´t hav the exact numbers, but it is a part of the ongoing debate regarding this type of accident.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 10, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Hey folks, if you missed the show on Sunday, you can now watch it online. Here's the link.

    http://www.katu.com/politics/Your-Voice-Your-Vote-Licenses-for-bicyclists-168879536.html?tab=gallery

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    • 9watts September 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

      Is there a trick for watching this once it has loaded? On my less than lightning fast DSL connection I can listen to about one sentence at a time, with a 20 second gap, and then another sentence. On youtube you can just set this to pause so it loads the film, and I can come back later and watch the whole thing, but I can't figure out how to do that on this site. Anyone?

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  • FormerOregonian September 11, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Seriously, I was so proud of my home state until i saw this issue come up. I thought it was a joke. Forcing license plates on bikes is not going to solve the issue of distracted driving. Yes, certain cyclists run stop signs, but so do drivers. So ticket them both. Yes, certain cyclists do not signal before turning, but so do drivers. So ticket them both. Enforce the current laws. Don't create new legislation that will only deprive cash strapped local governments of using those dollars on other issues. Portland is supposed to be the biking capital of the US. Show it and move away from issues such as this.

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