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Another right-hook on N Broadway

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 26th, 2013 at 5:33 pm

The scene this morning.
(Photo courtesy Betsy Reese)

I hate to say it, but there has been yet another right-hook collision on N Broadway.

This morning at around 8:35 am, a woman driving a Chrysler PT Cruiser turned right off of Broadway onto N Ross Avenue and collided with a man riding his bicycle. The man on the bike was traveling west on Broadway toward the Broadway Bridge prior to the collision. The extent of his injuries are unknown, but I have confirmed the collision with the Portland Police Bureau and with two witnesses who saw the aftermath.

According to Krissy Harbert, who was in a car on Ross, waiting to turn right onto Broadway, the bike rider who had been hit was "clearly in a lot of pain." Ironically, Harbert is a resident at the Paramount Apartments and she's been helping the building's owner, Betsy Reese, keep track of the right-hooks that happen near their building. Reese has spearheaded an effort to improve traffic safety on Broadway. Just yesterday Reese sent out an email urging her contacts to "take action now" on the North Broadway Safety Crossing Enhancement Project which is currently under consideration to make ODOT's coveted list of State Transportation Improvement Projects. The project would aim to, "enhance traffic safety and operations along N Broadway St between N Ross Ave and N Wheeler Ave."

Harbert said she sees ambulances on Broadway "all the time" and that just yesterday she saw a cop "busting bikers on Flint" (a reference to the notorious Flint stop sign).

The manager of the Paramount Apartments, Nita Jacura, was meeting with prospective tenants when she heard the commotion and ran outside. She saw the man being lifted into the ambulance and saw the police interviewing the driver of the car.

This area of N Broadway has a long and sad history of dangerous traffic problems. As far back as December of 2006, then mayor Tom Potter was calling out safety concerns (and sticking up for police enforcement of bicycle laws). In 2007, following fears of right-hooks on Wheeler (just one block west of Ross), the Portland Water Bureau prohibited their trucks from turning right. Problems on Broadway persisted for years and following two right-hooks in 2012, Mayor Sam Adams took the big step and installed a median to stop people from turning right from Broadway onto Wheeler.

Even with Wheeler closed, it appears the problem has simply moved to the next block.

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Comments
  • are June 26, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    there. should. not. be. a. striped. bike. lane. there.

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    • Psyfalcon June 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Maybe, but if you remove the bike lane, you have to slow the traffic (at all times).

      If you just remove the lane, you'll have the same situation with people trying to stay to the right of faster cars.

      Faster rides will have better recourse with the mandatory sidepath law, but slower riders will be in the same situation they are now.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • are June 26, 2013 at 9:41 pm

        this is a steep downhill, with signalized intersections at benton and again at larrabee. by the time you hit larrabee even the people with the paint expect you have positioned yourself to the left of a right turn only lane. why are "slower" riders expected to make the merge after ross rather than before? than whom exactly are they "slower" anyway, approaching two signalized intersections?

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        • Pete June 27, 2013 at 9:32 am

          "proper lane placement and sharrows"... Yes! Merging with traffic through intersections should be a natural act for both cyclists and drivers. This is indicated in California with dashed lines in the bike lanes and in certain places colored lanes (green, blue)... unfortunately the solution doesn't lie entirely in infrastructure, though problems definitely can. I ride with a drop-bar mirror, signal and take the lane fully when approaching areas I know are right-hook potentials, and it works VERY well (ignoring the occasional honk). I recognize, though, that it requires knowing the area and being a relatively strong rider to pace traffic movement (actually it's made me a strong rider)... infrastructure and education must also go hand-in-hand with behavior.

          My best wishes to this rider for a quick and full recovery!

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          • Nick Falbo June 27, 2013 at 10:42 am

            "...it requires knowing the area and being a relatively strong rider..."

            Looking to the future, I hope this will not be a requirement for riding a bike in our city.

            Recommended Thumb up 7

      • spare_wheel June 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm

        "but if you remove the bike lane, you have to slow traffic (at all times)."

        sounds like a win-win to me.

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    • Kirk June 27, 2013 at 10:08 am

      There isn't a striped bike lane at the intersection. There is before and after the intersection, just not THROUGH the intersection.

      http://goo.gl/maps/KpIvA

      I absolutely hate how the City of Portland often doesn't place a dashed bike lane line through our major OR minor intersections where people driving cars turn across the bike lane. Why can't the city provide some sort of hint to people driving cars that they are crossing a path? It's pretty darn simple...there are already solid lines before and after these type of intersections...just connect the dots.........I mean lines. Maybe that's too much to ask...

      Many examples to choose from here: http://nacto.org/cities-for-cycling/design-guide/intersection-treatments/intersection-crossing-markings/

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      • Kirk June 27, 2013 at 10:11 am

        And I want to clarify that I wasn't arguing whether there should or should not be a bike lane on that road. I just wanted to point out that if there IS a bike lane on that road (or ANY road for that matter), why not extend the bike lane lines so they connect, such as how crosswalk lines connect sidewalks.

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  • craig harlow June 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    From Betsy's email yesterday:


    To voice your personal support for funding this project, send your email to: STIPEnhanceAppsRegion1@odot.state.or.us Specifiy you are commenting on the "N Broadway Safety Crossing Enhancement Project" in your email.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

    • Julie June 26, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Done!

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  • 100th Monkey June 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    The European-style of corner bump-outs or small islands on corners that have any history of right hooks is the ONLY thing that makes sense. It puts a bicycle continuing through an intersection IN THE SIGHT LINE of a driver making a right turn before they make the turn. See here:
    http://bikesd.org/2013/05/traffic-calming-fresh-bike-lanes-and-more-safety-improvements-installed-in-skyline-hills/ I can't even begin to count in my 50+ years of riding how many times I have narrowly escaped death by right hook. Three times I lucked out when I WAS right hooked to react fast enough (thanks in no part I think from my reflexes honed while racing) to turn and bounce along the passenger side of the car hooking me. Happened on Baseline in Beaverton heading east at the entrance to Reser's Foods parking lot years ago and SO FUNNY! The driver of the brand new Camaro wanted to have me arrested and pay for doing all the damage to her car and called police.... She left with over $400 worth of tickets.. :-D

    Recommended Thumb up 13

    • Sho June 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      How would this be properly installed at this location or most of Portland's intersections? There is a lot of space needed there. Don't really see how your example would help with right hooks for a cyclist continuing through either. The bike lane is still right beside the car lane, therefore not putting the cyclist in the sight line of the driver. Say Cardiff (from your example) continued straight, that buffer offers no help if the vehicle traveling in the same direction on cardiff turns right. That example from San Diego you have is slowing traffic by adding a stop sign instead of it previously being a yield. I was almost hooked from SW Moody Ave to SW River Dr on my ride home today and an improvement like Cardiff wouldn't provide any help their either.

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  • AndyC of Linnton June 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Hello, City of Portland. Hey, how's it going? Yeah. Pretty crazy stuff goin on out there in the world, right? Yeah. Hey Man, hey, listen up for a sec, okay? I was thinking...remember all that new bike infrastructure you put in 10/15/20/25 years ago to encourage more people to bike? Well, turns out, it kinda worked a little bit. Cool, right? Yeah, awesome. Totally bike city USA. Rad.
    Thing is, it did INDEED add a lot more people to those painted bike lines you threw down and now, unfortunately, those kind of treatments can't really keep up with the demands of the bike and car traffic that mixes in 2013. I know. Bummer.
    I was wondering, are you going to keep up with everyone's traffic needs? Be bold again, like you used to, somewhat kinda sorta be? If not, you might as well even go ahead and rip out all those right-side painted bike lanes in places like Broadway here, because at this point they're just not working like in the "good ol' days" with this volume of traffic. Just thought you should know, dude, cuz, y'know, these shenanigans can-literally-kill. Stop being such a jerk!
    Ps-You should totally get the cyclist some flowers or something and probably send an apology to the driver.
    Anyway, thought you might like to know what's going on, in case you didn't know what was up. Later. Keep it normal.

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  • AG June 26, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I turn right onto Broadway from Flint (after stopping, of course!) and always take the lane as soon as possible. Its easy to ride with the flow of traffic since you are going down hill and its just a couple of blocks until the bike lane has moved to between the two lanes of traffic.

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    • JRB June 27, 2013 at 7:38 am

      This. Always take the lane when turning onto Broadway from Flint, although you still get the odd impatient driver who passes you on the right like happened to me this morning. At least in that situation, I am more clearly visible to the driver.

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      • El Biciclero June 27, 2013 at 9:50 am

        That gives me an idea for a different kind of "enforcement action" at this location...

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    • David June 27, 2013 at 10:50 am

      This works for experienced riders or daily commuters like us. But it not conducive to getting more people on bikes. It's obviously not helpful to have signage and lane markings that newer riders follow because they don't know any better, that actually make them less safe.

      We need infrastructure that is safe for everybody--new riders, young people, old people, commuters--AND is self explanatory/easily usable.

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      • David June 27, 2013 at 10:51 am

        Typo--*is not conducive

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  • Robert June 26, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Glad that readers are starting to question in these lanes in certain circumstances. It seemed a couple of years ago that the automatic response was to hang the driver. Not that drivers don't have a moral and legal obligation to use extreme caution, it's just that these lanes deserve to be reexamined.

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  • Donald Newlands June 26, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Closing Flint has concentrated the right-hooks at Ross. I regularly see drivers turning in front of me and other cyclists there now.

    Yesterday morning, a Multnomah County car almost took me out. I had my guard down a little because I figured public employees would be more in tune with the concept of a shared right-of-way... but they didn't even blink!

    I'd like to see the whole right-hand lane from the I-5 ramp to Interstate as a bike and right-turn only lane, or have the bike lane be striped left of the turn lane starting at Flint. It's scary to caught between turning cars and trucks and the curb while going downhill. I feel safer taking the right-hand lane early rather than staying in the bike lane until the designated area where the bike lane moves over one to the left.

    The bike lane cross-over at Interstate is also dangerous. A week ago I was almost flattened by a cement truck as I was following 5 cyclists down the Broadway hill to Interstate. As a group we moved in front of a slow-moving truck, following the bike lane cross-over, but one of the cyclists near the end of the group decided to stop 20' before the signal, forcing me to stop in the auto lane in front of the cement truck!

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    • El Biciclero June 27, 2013 at 10:35 am

      "I feel safer taking the right-hand lane early rather than staying in the bike lane until the designated area where the bike lane moves over one to the left."

      This is something I have learned as well. Not just at this location (I've never actually ridden it, I'm just kibbitzing), but in general my rule is "move when you have the opportunity, not when the stripes say you're supposed to." This rule serves me well, although sometimes I do end up controlling a lane longer than many motorists might think I deserve to--but I don't shed any tears.

      Something for infrastructure designers to consider, though, is how long these "crossover" or "mixing" zones need to be. It often feels as though they are artificially shortened in the interest of either a) extending some "protection" as far as possible, which prevents cyclists from moving over earlier, or b) minimizing the extent to which cyclists are "invited" to merge, in an attempt to keep them out of the way as long as possible; both reasons are wrong in my view. Regardless of the reason, however, artificially short merge zones are dangerous.

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      • Paul in the 'couve June 27, 2013 at 1:36 pm

        It often feels as though they are artificially shortened in the interest of either a) extending some "protection" as far as possible, which prevents cyclists from moving over earlier, or b) minimizing the extent to which cyclists are "invited" to merge, in an attempt to keep them out of the way as long as possible; both reasons are wrong in my view. Regardless of the reason, however, artificially short merge zones are dangerous.

        Yes, we need to come up with a different design, - of course one problem is neither cyclist or motorists will know what to do at least for a while. I'd say make the whole lane from Flint to Larabe a "mixing lane" Maybe keep the bike lane and lay down the green at intersections. But also add signs and paint "bike move left" and the Bike symbol with a left hooking arrow. THEN put sharrows down in the right lane and big bike symbols with "merge" under them.....

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        • dr2chase June 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm

          Seems to me if you marked the bike lane with Jersey barriers, people would figure out that it was a no-mixing, and for the mixing zone you could remove the Jersey barriers. Cyclists might infer that something was up in the mixing zone. People complain about confusion and ambiguity, nothing like a little concrete to make things (ahem) concrete.

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    • El Biciclero June 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

      "I feel safer taking the right-hand lane early rather than staying in the bike lane until the designated area where the bike lane moves over one to the left."

      I don't know why so many of my recent comments are getting flagged for "moderation" (such as my earlier reply here, which you can't see yet), but basically, "Hear, hear!" to this principle of moving early.

      Jonathan: Are there buzzwords to avoid so as not to get myself "moderated" so much?

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  • wsbob June 26, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    I'm hoping parties involved, witness accounts or other investigation will answer whether the motor vehicles signals were activated and when, and where the motor vehicle and the bike were in relation to each other during the 50-100 distance from the intersection as both approached it.

    This info could help give some sense of the opportunity the person driving had to see the person on the bike, and vice-versa. Also, whether bike and car were traveling close to the same speed as they approached the intersection, or whether one one was moving at a relatively faster or slower speed than the other.

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    • Spiffy June 27, 2013 at 8:41 am

      This info could help give some sense of the opportunity the person driving had to see the person on the bike

      I don't understand what you're saying here...

      both vehicles were in plain sight in their own lanes... had the driver properly looked they would have seen the rider...

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • wsbob June 27, 2013 at 10:57 am

        The opportunity people driving have, I believe, to see someone on a bike is less when the person riding is abreast of the motor vehicle, rather than ahead of it or behind it some distance.

        Recognition of this lesser visibility reality by transportation officials, is borne out in one of the graphics of the recently reported on here at bikeportland, 'Cyclists Survival Guide' put out by ODOT. That graphic advises cyclists as they ride in the bike lane and approach intersections (and, by reasoning...driveways and other accesses to the road as well), to work to position themselves some distance either fore of aft of motor vehicles in the next lane over, rather than ride abreast of them.

        Of course, despite some people on bikes making this effort, some people driving, throwing caution to the wind, will nevertheless sometimes try and overtake a bike ahead of them, intending to beat the bike to intersection and make their right turn. In which the person riding in the bike lane has to sense what the motor vehicle is doing, and take evasive action. Despite right of way cyclists traveling in the bike lane, have, using defensive riding techniques is essential.

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        • Help June 27, 2013 at 10:02 pm

          That's why I take the cyclist's lane when making a right turn. Problem solved. And another example of sharing the road.

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          • El Biciclero July 1, 2013 at 9:58 am

            Just remember that when a cyclist takes "your" lane to avoid the same problem--or for any other reason that might not be readily apparent to you.

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  • Doug Reid June 27, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Motorists seems to be really driving weirdly this week. I have had three close calls in the last two days with right turning mortorists. They just don't seem to see cyclists. Hopefully it's just an aberation but always bike defensively just in case its the start of a new trend.

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    • Chris I June 27, 2013 at 7:31 am

      Distracted driving from electronic devices is just going to keep getting worse. I've lost track of the people on Facebook that post about being stuck in traffic, or even post pictures while driving. It's absurd...

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  • tonyt June 27, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Bikers obeying the law get right hooked and injured? Check.

    Cops focused elsewhere with bikes at stop signs? Check.

    I would like to see stats of people hurt by bikes rolling stop signs v. bikers hurt and killed by right hooks.

    The cops are always talking about not having resources with deal with serious traffic issues, yet it seems that this narrative plays out again and again.

    Remember a week after Bret was killed and a woman got right hooked at the same intersection? Where were cops? Nine of them doing a stop sign enforcement in Ladd's Addition.

    Priority of enforcement should be modes of transportation and infractions that threaten, injure, and cost lives.

    And after a year of trying to get enforcement of speeding cars through our neighborhood, blocks from a school? Nothing.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • Spiffy June 27, 2013 at 8:44 am

      cops sit lazily on the side of the road with a radar gun while tailgaters and people not using their signals pass them en mass...

      they target who they want to, instead of targeting the next person they see breaking the law...

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      • Dan June 28, 2013 at 11:11 am

        Or they break the law themselves. I was in my car front of a police car last week, and I signaled right to make a lane change. As I started moving right, the police car then gunned it and swerved around me extremely closely on the right, without signaling or putting on his lights, and then continued on, doing ~20mph over the speed limit. Was he speeding to cover his embarrassment of nearly causing a collision with me? I saw him stopped at the next intersection.

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    • chucklehead June 27, 2013 at 9:09 am

      Nobody is actively trying to right hook riders. Rolling a stop sign is a conscious decision to not obey the law.

      A right hook can happen anywhere (as is much less frequent), whereas it is much easier to watch a stop sign for people who willfully do not adhere to the law (at a much higher frequency).

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      • Paul in the 'couve June 27, 2013 at 11:10 am

        So unconsciously breaking the law and injuring or at least endangering others in your obliviousness, is excusable and shouldn't be enforced by officers?

        How about this: people driving 2 ton machines that regularly maim and kill people need to be responsible and "I didn't see them" isn't an excuse.

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      • tonyt June 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

        "much easier"

        Bingo. There's your standard of enforcement.

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      • El Biciclero June 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

        "Rolling a stop sign is a conscious decision to not obey the law."

        Except for when a driver is paying so little attention they don't even notice the STOP sign--should those oblivious drivers not get tickets?

        I agree though, that the line is crisper between "stopped" and "didn't stop" than it is between "yielded" and "didn't yield"--how far ahead of a cyclist does a right-turning driver have to be to not need to "yield"? Did the cyclist have to brake to adjust to the driver's behavior? Who knows unless a driver actually runs into cyclist, but by then, the damage is done and enforcement doesn't really help anybody.

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    • JRB June 27, 2013 at 9:31 am

      Agreed. Bike stings are not about prioritizing public safety but public relations and law enforcement bowing to pressure to crack down on those @!*% scofflaw cyclists.

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      • Oliver June 27, 2013 at 10:03 am

        I cannot 'second' this enough times.

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    • wsbob June 27, 2013 at 11:50 am

      "...Remember a week after Bret was killed and a woman got right hooked at the same intersection? Where were cops? Nine of them doing a stop sign enforcement in Ladd's Addition. ..." tonyt

      It's a big city. Rather than simply that there were cops working Ladd's, look into whether there also were cops working the intersection...Greely-Interstate where there had been right hooks occurring.

      "...And after a year of trying to get enforcement of speeding cars through our neighborhood, blocks from a school? Nothing." tonyt

      Inquire about and compare efforts you or your neighborhood has made to reduce speeding violations in your neighborhood, to efforts Ladd's residents have made to deal with moving violations occurring in their neighborhood.

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      • tonyt June 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm

        There were no cops at that intersection when that woman was right hooked; I was all over that story when it happened. And seriously, NINE motorcycle cops in Ladd's? This wasn't just an enforcement, this was a chest-puffing display of dominance.

        My street is one of those that was recently set at 20mph. It's a greenway street and at one point is just one block from a school. I and a number of neighbors have been calling and calling and calling for years. A couple of years ago, I for some reason got a call from someone from PBOT. I kick myself for not getting the person's name, but she told me flat out (this was later confirmed in the "I won't deny that" sort of way by Illeane at 823-SAFE) that the cops won't even write tickets unless the drivers are doing "11-14 mph" over the limit. Apparently under that threshold drivers tend to fight the tickets and judges are inclined to dismiss them. This failed court appearance ends up costing the traffic division money. Apparently stop sign enforcements are more acceptable to the judges.

        During one call, Illeane (at 823-SAFE) told me that they might show up for 10-15 minutes and if no one speeds in that time, they'd leave. I don't blame Illeane by the way, she's obviously just passing on what she's told.

        The level of car driver entitlement is so baked into our culture, speeding so accepted as NORMAL, that from the cops to drivers, people can't even see the bias.

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        • are June 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm

          near a school, what you need to do is set up on opposite sides of the street and bounce a large playground ball back and forth.

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        • wsbob June 27, 2013 at 5:47 pm

          "...I and a number of neighbors have been calling and calling and calling for years. ..." tonyt

          My thoughts about this: if you and your neighbors have in fact been trying with some persistence to get the PD's co-operation to help reduce the rate of speed violations on your neighborhood's streets, and the PD hasn't offered an adequate, reasonable response...that's not right...and a request should be made of the department, and perhaps someone higher up, to look at the situation in your neighborhood. Possibly your neighborhood association committee could offer additional support and clout to make a request. If someone with the PD or the city hasn't made a reasonable or adequate response, they should be held accountable.

          There may be different, better info than from "Illeane" (a receptionist?) about the number of mph over the speed limit at which officers or the courts will levy a fine. 11-14 over seems too high. 6-10 sounds more like it. Rather than a live officer sitting and waiting in a car, two things perhaps the city could do fairly easily: Park one of those electronic speed readout trailers on your street. Or, occasionally put a speed limit violation camera van on your street.

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          • El Biciclero June 28, 2013 at 11:18 am

            I've had police officers tell me in person that they tend to ticket only when a driver hits 15 over. In a 20mph zone, that's almost twice the limit.

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  • john June 27, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Is there something in the Air this week.?

    I just learned one of our intern's and his wife, while coming into work (she happens to work in the same building as him) this morning on their bicycles, crossing from the esplanade to SW Clay, they where in the crosswalk with a walk light, a Car Driver did a right turn, evidently while looking left, and put the wife up on the hood and ran over the front her bicycle. Evidently she was "OK". They just got the guy's phone number (hopefully a real number) My reaction was they should have called the police ?

    Is there a resource for this sort of simple collision? What steps should be taken? The driver just kind of stared at them, not knowing what to do either, and said this is rental car, " I don't know about the insurance". They are both very novice cyclists. for example, they don't really know the difference between and aluminum and steel frame.

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    • Pete June 27, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Since I also own an insured car I carry my license and auto insurance information in order to swap information the same way as required in a car-car collision. Never had a collision before, though, so don't know how that would work out, and can't speak for the car-free, but I know that my auto insurance covers me in a bike accident (I worked with my agent to ensure the coverage amounts were appropriate too).

      I think one of the Portland bike lawyers wrote about this in "Bicycling" magazine not too long ago; not sure which month. In my view that mag's a good resource for 'novice' bicyclists.

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    • Mindful Cyclist June 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      While I thankfully have only had close calls with cars on bike, I have had a few minor collisions when driving and the police were never called. And, regardless if I was at fault or not, here is what I asked for:

      1. Driver's license. If they don't have one, why are they driving?
      2. Insurance card. Even if I determined it was my fault, it is required to have so I ask for it so I know they are legally driving.
      3. Phone number and address of person.
      4. I also look for signs of possible impairment.
      5. His or her take on what caused the collision.

      Most people have cameras on them know due to them being standard features on cell phones. Snap some pictures of both vehicles.

      If someone is being cooperative and forthcoming, appears to be sober, damage is minimal and no one is hurt, I see no major reason to call the police. But, if the damage is over $1500, you do need to report it to the DMV in 72 hours. http://www.odot.state.or.us/forms/dmv/32.pdf

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    • are June 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm
  • Pete June 27, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Ironically, Harbert is a resident at the Paramount Apartments and she's been helping the building's owner, Betsy Reese, keep track of the right-hooks...

    Wouldn't this be 'coincidence', not irony? ;-)

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Jim June 28, 2013 at 6:57 am

    The city is clearly to blame for this one. They have created an unsafe situation for cyclists and do not want to admit their mistake. How many more cyclists need to get hurt or killed before the city changes this?

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