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Oregon lawmaker wants to punish people who bike without reflective clothing – UPDATED

Posted by on February 27th, 2015 at 12:11 pm

davis2
Rep. John Davis.

*Scroll down for update with comments from Rep. Davis.*

A member of the Oregon House has introduced a bill that would require all bicycle riders in Oregon to wear reflective clothing. Representative John Davis (R-District 26) introduced House Bill 3255 this morning.

According to the text of the bill, Davis wants anyone caught riding a bicycle, “on a highway or on premises open to the public” without wearing reflective clothing to be punished by a maximum fine of $250. The bill also dictates that the clothing is, “including but not limited to a reflective coat or reflective vest.” The new law would only apply to people riding bicycles at night (between sunset and sunrise).

The new offense, “Failure of a bicycle operator to wear reflective clothing,” would be a Class D traffic violation.

Similar bills have been introduced in California, Wyoming and South Dakota. In California, Senate Bill 192 mandates helmets for all ages and reflective clothing, but carries a maximum fine of just $25.


People on bikes-34
The law would only apply between sunset and sunrise.
(Photo J Maus/BikePortland)

Rep. Davis, who serves as Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development, is serving his second term as a House Rep after being re-elected in November 2014. He was endorsed by The Oregonian in part because they felt he was a, “skilled legislator with the combination of knowledge and common sense necessary to help forge solutions to difficult problems.”

Davis’s district stretches from south of Wilsonville all the way north to parts of Aloha.

We’ve reached out to Rep. Davis’ Salem office and have yet to hear back.

billtet
Bill as filed.

– H/t to BTA lobbyist Gerik Kransky for alerting us to this bill.

NOTE: This story was first published with “hi-viz clothing” in the headline. It has been changed to “reflective clothing.” We apologize for any confusion.

UPDATE, 3:04 pm: I had a phone call with Rep. Davis. Here’s what he shared about the bill:

  • He works in downtown Portland and some of his co-workers ride bikes and have family members that are “avid cyclists.” Davis said many of them, “especially those who ride at dusk, are supportive of this.”
  • Davis referenced a story we published in May 2013 about a study that found people are less visible at night than they think.
  • Davis told me he thought his bill, “Would be an interesting starting point of a conversation,” and added, “I’m interested what cyclists think about this.”
  • When I asked why he chose to focus his safety concerns on a bike-specific measure that doesn’t take into account driving behaviors, he said, “I think it’s a back-and-forth… We all use the road and we all need to be using it safely together.”
  • Davis said he feels that a “significant amount of responsibility belongs with drivers” because of the larger capacity they have to do harm to other road users. “But what is the healthy balance to ensure maximum safety?” he wondered.
  • When I told him I’m aware that many bicycle riders detest this concept and are already against the bill, he maintained that he’s had a “number of cyclists and a number of my constituents who support this idea.”
  • Davis also said he hopes to plan a public hearing in Salem sometime in March where people will have the opportunity to “Come to the legislature and talk about the benefits of cycling.”
  • When I asked Rep. Davis why, if he’s so concerned about safety, he voted against a bill (Senate Bill 9) that increased fines for texting and driving in 2013, he provided a non-answer. “We’re talking about this bill, so that’s what I’d like to talk about.”

NOTE: At BikePortland, we love your comments. We love them so much that we devote many hours every week to read them and make sure they are productive, inclusive, and supportive. That doesn't mean you can't disagree with someone. It means you must do it with tact and respect. If you see an inconsiderate or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan and Michael

243 Comments
  • Christopher Sanderson February 27, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Good luck enforcing that ***portion of comment deleted by moderator — Please no name calling Christopher. Thanks -Jonathan***

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    • Christopher Sanderson February 27, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Sorry Jonathan. It was my gut instinct. I will be more discerning next time.

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    • q`Tzal February 27, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Upvoting.
      I approve of both the moderation and the name calling in this instance.

      In fact the moderation makes the insult more Hitchcock-ian; it leaves the actual content up the imagination of the reader making the insult much worse :)

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      • Christopher Sanderson February 27, 2015 at 6:27 pm

        I felt bad for what I said earlier, and you just redeemed my day. Thanks for the perspective!

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        • q`Tzal February 27, 2015 at 6:33 pm

          Some merely screaming EXPLETIVE DELETED! is catharsis enough.
          For the rest of the time pick up a Klingon dictionary; swearing in Klingon is very rewarding as even something as innocent as asking for directions to the bathroom sounds rude but indecipherable.

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  • Adam H. February 27, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Ridiculous. I don’t see this bill going anywhere.

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    • rick February 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      a bizarre proposed bill

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  • Jack February 27, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Sure seems unnecessary if you have the lights which I believe are already required by law.

    I was almost hit the other morning by a person driving across the street I was riding on (while she was eating her breakfast and after she failed to stop at her stop sign). When I expressed my frustration, she blamed me for not wearing enough reflective clothing. I’m not sure she understood that reflective clothing doesn’t produce light, only reflects it.

    The state should probably require some sort of test to ensure that people are both mentally and physically capable of operating a vehicle on public roads before they are allowed to do so.

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    • Adam Herstein February 27, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Was her car painted in bright yellow and covered with reflective strips?

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      • matt picio February 27, 2015 at 3:56 pm

        Exactly. Many cyclists are struck and killed without ever seeing the car that hit them. Can we mandate cars to be brightly colored as well?

        On the other side of the fence, metaphorically-speaking, I don’t see how this helps – it promotes blaming the victim. “Oh, he/she wasn’t wearing reflective clothing – I didn’t see them, it’s not my fault.”

        Every vehicle operator is responsible at all times to operate their vehicle in a manner where they can stop before hitting something else. Houses don’t wear reflective orange, but occasionally trucks drive into them. Rockslides on 99E in Oregon City, or Hwy 43 north of Lake Oswego don’t wear vests – if a car hits them, is it the rockslide’s fault? Is it the state’s fault since they own the road and they didn’t go out a spray-paint the cliff side?

        Usually, (overwhelmingly) if a car strikes a cyclist or a pedestrian at night, it’s due to the following:

        – Motorist overdriving their headlights
        – Motorist inattentiveness
        – Motorist driving too fast for conditions
        – Motorist has dirty windows/windshield
        – DUI
        – One or both parties has visibility issues due to weather (again, this is usually operating too fast for conditions)
        – Night blindness due to oncoming headlights

        That’s more than half the causes, statistically. Other factors are cyclists and/or motorists disobeying traffic control devices, illegal lane change, right-hooks at intersections, and other factors.

        How about larger fines for exceeding the speed limit? For distracted driving? For failure to yield to a bike in a bike lane? How about mandatory driver training to be more attentive to vulnerable road users? How about a test which includes questions on crosswalks, yielding, etc.?

        There’s an easy answer to this – this bill is politically acceptable, and those things generally are not.

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        • davemess February 27, 2015 at 4:25 pm

          “Many cyclists are struck and killed without ever seeing the car that hit them.”

          Is this true at night though? I tend to be pretty acutely aware of cars around me, which is a lot easier at night since they all have headlights.

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          • J_R February 27, 2015 at 6:32 pm

            No cyclist who’s ever been killed by a motorist has ever testified that he saw the car that hit him. Proof enough for me.

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            • Opus the Poet February 27, 2015 at 8:00 pm

              OK here’s one for you, I did not see the car that killed me in 2001, but that was probably because he was driving without headlights and approaching at 60 MPH after midnight. I did hear him swearing at me, if that is any help.

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              • J_R February 27, 2015 at 8:56 pm

                Sorry. R. I. P.

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            • davemess February 28, 2015 at 9:21 am

              Or testified that they didn’t see the car either.
              Works both ways.

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            • Trikeguy March 2, 2015 at 7:15 am

              Why am I suddenly flashing to the M.A.S.H. episode “you never hear the bullet”?

              Before any law like this, how about a mandatory car headlights on at all times law. Headlights are soooooo much easier to pick out way back in a mirror.

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      • wsbob February 27, 2015 at 6:32 pm

        “Was her car painted in bright yellow and covered with reflective strips?” Adam Herstein

        Here’s a counterpoint question to yours: ‘Are bicycles as big as cars, and do they display the same number of lights of the same illumination level of those on cars?

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    • meh February 27, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      Here’s the law.

      815.280¹
      Violation of bicycle equipment requirements

      • penalty

      (1) A person commits the offense of violation of bicycle equipment requirements if the person does any of the following:

      (a) Operates on any highway a bicycle in violation of the requirements of this section.

      (b) Is the parent or guardian of a minor child or ward and authorizes or knowingly permits the child or ward to operate a bicycle on any highway in violation of the requirements of this section.

      (2) A bicycle is operated in violation of the requirements of this section if any of the following requirements are violated:

      (a) A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator of the bicycle to stop the bicycle within 15 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.

      (b) A person shall not install or use any siren or whistle upon a bicycle. This paragraph does not apply to bicycles used by police officers.

      (c) At the times described in the following, a bicycle or its rider must be equipped with lighting equipment that meets the described requirements:

      (A) The lighting equipment must be used during limited visibility conditions.

      (B) The lighting equipment must show a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of the bicycle.

      (C) The lighting equipment must have a red reflector or lighting device or material of such size or characteristic and so mounted as to be visible from all distances up to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle.

      (3) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prohibit the use of additional parts and accessories on any bicycle consistent with this section.

      (4) This section does not apply to electric personal assistive mobility devices. Equipment requirements for electric personal assistive mobility devices are provided in ORS 815.284 (Violation of electric personal assistive mobility device equipment requirements).

      (5) The offense described in this section, violation of bicycle equipment requirements, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §502; 1985 c.16 §260; 1985 c.69 §5; 2003 c.158 §15; 2003 c.341 §17; 2007 c.821 §1]

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    • Kyle February 27, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      The cross traffic on neighbourhood greenways has definitely increased to an uncomfortable level in recent months.

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      • John Lascurettes February 27, 2015 at 3:25 pm

        As well as the people in cars that insist on passing me while I’m already doing 20 on a greenway and asserting the center of the lane.

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      • Huey Lewis February 27, 2015 at 4:03 pm

        Neighborhood.

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      • lyle w. February 28, 2015 at 1:50 pm

        That’s just the livability factor intensifying. All those people moving here for that great livability that Portland’s so known for, and just living the hell out of the greenways with their lovely automobiles. In fact, living the entire width of it– usually– as they swing around back and forth and attempt to thread the needle of cyclists in both directions coming and going.

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    • Ron G. February 27, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Unfortunately lights (plural) aren’t required by law. You only have to have a headlight. On the rear, only a reflector is required, on the assumption that a cyclist who’s in danger of being hit will be in the car’s headlights. That seems like a big assumption, and it means a rider won’t be seen until the reflector picks up the headlights.

      While I really don’t want to see any legislation which places the onus for not being hit on the victim, I could support stronger lighting requirements. Since the advent of LEDs, there’s no excuse not to have lights front and rear.

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      • wsbob February 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm

        “…While I really don’t want to see any legislation which places the onus for not being hit on the victim, …” Ron G.

        Could you explain what you mean? Who is it you’re thinking would be the ‘victim’? If it’s vulnerable road users injured in collisions with motor vehicles you’re thinking of, are you thinking that vulnerable road users should not bear some responsibility for avoiding collisions?

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    • Art Fuldodger March 2, 2015 at 10:53 am

      Only a front (white) light is required by law; for the rear a (red) reflector is legally adequate. I would support changing the law to require a rear red light. But your point is well taken, Jack; why not focus on adequate lighting requirements rather than institute a dress code for bicyclists, that may not have the all safety benefits that Rep. Davis thinks it may have? And, if Rep. Davis is really concerned about the safety of vulnerable road users, he may want to consider more stringent penalties for using a cell phone while driving…oh, wait, right, he doesn’t want to talk about that – sorry for mentioning that particular 500 lb. gorilla.

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  • davemess February 27, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Jonathan you should have waited until Monday so you could easily hit the 200+ comment barrier with this one….

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  • colton February 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Hi viz or reflective?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 27, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      The bill says reflective.

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    • El Biciclero February 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Does “Hi-viz” include both “reflective” and “day-glo”? Or does “hi-viz” only mean “day-glo” or “fluorescent”? This bill focuses on “reflective”, which is “hi-viz” only at night.

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      • Allison February 27, 2015 at 4:32 pm

        This seems to be the trend of the month! How many states this month have been proposing this now…? The question of hi-viz and/or reflective is a very good one, especially since recent research has shown that hi-viz clothing does NOT make drivers see us better. http://road.cc/content/news/99660-high-vis-clothing-doesnt-make-cars-pass-you-more-safely-says-new-study Other research I’ve read (…somewhere) says as well that only reflective gear is useful if it’s moving. The drivers need the movement to catch their eyes–which makes me think a vest, jacket, etc might not be that much more effective.

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  • davemess February 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Even if it passes I have to imagine it would be enforced even less than the bike light laws.

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    • A Cowbell on a Brompton February 27, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      From my Grand Jury experience, I can tell you that the bike light law is enforced. Enforced as a common pretext to stop and requests searches, especially East of 82nd.
      We even saw a development related to the interpretation of this law. Early in the session we heard testimony that was explicit about whether or not there was a light present and active “on the bicycle”, and later this statement would have to include “on the bicycle OR its rider”. I mentioned this to the DA and asked if there had been an issue and he basically confirmed that evidence was thrown out due to this distinction.

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    • Pete February 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      I would just hope not as much as the turn signal laws…

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  • Psyfalcon February 27, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    I have been thinking of adding more side reflectors to my bike.

    Not to me though.

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  • JT February 27, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Ahhh, the modern Republican party: Violently opposed to more government regulation, except when it can be used to harass groups we dislike.

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    • wsbob February 27, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Having pronounced yourself as a Republican, perhaps you could make an effort to direct your party’s effort in more constructive directions. As to what Rep John Davis’s comments in this bikeportland story suggest about his motivation for introducing this bill is, harassing people doesn’t appear to part of his motivation. He seems to be seeking a more consistent sharing of responsibility for safe use of the road by all road users, including people that use the road with bikes.

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      • Allison March 3, 2015 at 5:17 pm

        That framing seems to suggest that the current “sharing of responsibility” for the safety of road users is inordinately on operators of motor vehicles over vulnerable road users. Could you spend some time talking a little bit more about that and maybe justifying that position?

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        • wsbob March 4, 2015 at 1:02 am

          “That framing seems to suggest that the current “sharing of responsibility” for the safety of road users is inordinately on operators of motor vehicles over vulnerable road users. Could you spend some time talking a little bit more about that and maybe justifying that position?” Allison

          Sure. The word ‘inordinately’, means ‘extreme’. To keep things relatively simple, if you don’t mind, I’ll disregard that word from you intro statement. What I think Davis, and many other people may be thinking with regards to vulnerable road users accepting their responsibility for their own safety in using the road, is that many vulnerable road users aren’t accepting that responsibility.

          They instead, seek to, expect or allow, intentionally or otherwise, people that drive to bear an inequitable burden of responsibility for the safety of vulnerable road users that aren’t using simple, effective means of enhancing their visibility to other road users as a means of protecting their own safety.

          People that drive should not have to be entirely responsible for the safety of people that are using the road as vulnerable road users. To expect this of people that drive, would be imposing an inequitable level of responsibility onto them.

          I see Davis’s bill proposal as having been intended to spark some discussion about ways to possibly increase the consistency with which people as vulnerable road users use measures to enhance their visibility to other road users, particularly people that drive. Not to seriously move toward having this bill actually become a law.

          Increasing numbers of people biking and riding, use hi-vis gear, including the retro-reflective material. Works great, if you know how to use it. Nobody really wants more laws, and I think that likely includes Davis. His friends and associates that bike, most likely don’t want to be legally required to wear retro-reflective gear, and I figure Davis knows that too. Part of the invitation from Davis, to people that bike, I’d say, was to conceive ideas for getting people as vulnerable road users, to on their own initiative rather than by law, more consistently enhance their visibility to other road users. I think it would be a good effort to try conceive some good ideas to accomplish exactly that.

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          • 9watts March 4, 2015 at 7:22 am

            Davis’ bill proposal was floated in the context of the most basic laws related to safety we have on the books going unenforced: speeding and driving without paying enough attention. These behaviors kill and maim people on our streets every day, every hour. To say, as you are fond of: “People that drive should not have to be entirely responsible for the safety of people that are using the road as vulnerable road users. To expect this of people that drive, would be imposing an inequitable level of responsibility onto them.” is needlessly hyperbolic. The problem we have is quite the opposite: People piloting automobiles right now are given a pass, not required to shoulder responsibilities that our laws suggest they do.

            With this as backdrop perhaps you can appreciate that Davis’ proposed bill can appear as a slap in the face, a willful denial of the present imbalance we already experience in the realm of enforcement.

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            • wsbob March 4, 2015 at 11:30 am

              “…People piloting automobiles right now are given a pass, not required to shoulder responsibilities that our laws suggest they do. …” watts

              You’re claim is entirely nonsense. If it weren’t, you would have shown us whatever it is you claim to be a “…pass…”.

              There’s nothing hyperbolic about the statement of mine which you quoted in your comment. If there were, you would have pointed out the hyperbole.

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              • 9watts March 4, 2015 at 11:40 am

                You’re claim is entirely nonsense. If it weren’t, you would have shown us whatever it is you claim to be a “…pass…”.

                Why are you playing dumb?
                * talking on cell phones while piloting an automobile,
                * driving X miles over the speed limit,
                = both are done as a matter of course, and enforcement of the laws which sanction these behaviors is close to nonexistent relative to the frequency with which these occur, and everyone knows that this is just how things are.

                “There’s nothing hyperbolic about the statement of mine which you quoted in your comment. If there were, you would have pointed out the hyperbole.”

                But I quoted you: “People that drive should not have to be **entirely responsible**” Now I’ve given it some extra highlighting since you missed it earlier. This is hyperbolic because the statement is entirely fact free, invokes very nearly the opposite of the present circumstances in which people who drive are **almost entirely not held responsible for any** harms them may cause with their automobile to other not in a car, as noted in the linked Salon article from earlier today.

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  • Kyle February 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Can we require automobiles to feature painted reflective striping as well?

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    • Psyfalcon February 27, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Well, they do have reflectors.

      I would like to see amber turn signals return.

      Reflective door handles would also be nice. Something in the middle of the car.

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      • Joe Adamski February 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

        and perhaps audible alarms every time a door opens ?

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        • Psyfalcon February 27, 2015 at 12:51 pm

          I’d prefer visible.

          A beep when the handle is pulled would be ok, but to make it loud enough to hear over traffic might make things too loud. Loud is one thing I don’t like. Truck back up beeps just make me want to cut the wires on all the trucks that have them.

          We could, at minimum, require reflectors on the rear part of the door. Toss in a yellow LED for every car that has power windows or locks that is visible from the rear anytime the door opens and inch or so. Either where it locks or where the handle is.

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  • Tony H February 27, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    This proposal brought to you by the party that wants less government in our lives.

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    • meh February 27, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      There are many oddities in the political world with regards to science. Republicans who deny climate change, but believe in the science of vaccinations, and Democrats who believe in climate change but deny the efficacy of vaccinations.

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      • soren February 27, 2015 at 1:29 pm

        Support for mandatory vaccination is non-partisan:

        Democrats: 87%
        Republican: 67%

        (Feb 2015 YouGov poll)

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  • Gary February 27, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I hope it passes. Mr. Davis will love it when I bike in front of him with a mirror on my back. This is why lawmakers should generally understand the subject matter for which they write bills, which, had that been the case here, he might have chosen to require retroreflective clothing instead.

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    • colton February 27, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Not bad, I actually run around with a huge white retroreflective front reflector just to pointedly (and passively) let MUP users know their flashing light is kind of annoying. It’s pretty funny to watch them as they realize that the horrible blinking light on my bike is actually just a reflection of their own light.

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      • Eric February 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm

        Genious! I am going to find a white reflector today. Seriously.

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        • Opus the Poet February 27, 2015 at 8:06 pm

          Should be a few available at your LBS from people who had to take the reflector off to have room for a headlight and a computer.

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  • JC February 27, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Laughable. I’m guessing it would be enforced about as much as the ban on texting while driving.

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    • 9watts February 27, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      I wouldn’t assume that for a minute.

      But the deer, what about the deer? Are they going to get fined as well, or just shot?

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  • Charley February 27, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Big government Republican.

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  • Jim mclaren February 27, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I believe we need a law that requires lawmakers wear t-shirts proclaiming that what they do could be hazardous to common sense…and they shouldn’t be allowed out after dark.

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  • Brian February 27, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Great idea! Lets slam those who can’t afford specific clothing with a speedy fine so they can continue to struggle to put food on the table, clothes on their children, buy school supplies, etc. Are these things thought through whatsoever, or do they know the idea is so asinine that it isn’t going anywhere and they are doing it to garner a few bonus points for the next election?

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    • Brian February 27, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      “Spendy.” Not “speedy.”

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  • Bjorn February 27, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I assume all cars will also be required to be painted in high vis colors or driven only during the day?

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  • El Biciclero February 27, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    The intent to punish rather than increase safety is obvious in this bill in that:
    * The fine ($250!!) is exorbitant
    * No standards of reflectivity, e.g., surface area, visible distance, or directionality are defined.
    * An incomplete or ambiguous definition of “clothing” is given.

    Is my reflective arm or leg band considered “clothing”? Is my helmet (helment) considered “clothing”? It has some reflective elements (helements), but are they large enough? Would I be cited for only having reflective helements? Only if an officer had some desire to stop me and needed a pretext. The wording of this bill does not even specify that the reflective clothing must be visible. I could plaster the top of my helmet with reflective stickers, and hide an Illuminite(tm) t-shirt under my black jacket, and still be in compliance.

    Those visibility requirements that are already law have very specific wording (from ORS 815.280):

    “(B) The lighting equipment must show a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of the bicycle.

    (C) The lighting equipment must have a red reflector or lighting device or material of such size or characteristic and so mounted as to be visible from all distances up to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle.”

    Violation of current lighting requirements is a “Class D” traffic violation (presumptive fine amount: $110), but the suggested fine here is on par with a “Class B” traffic violation (presumptive fine amount: $260), an example of which is “failure to obey a traffic control device”. The implication here is that this lawmaker believes (by one measure, anyway) that a bicyclist complying with current lighting requirements, but failing to wear reflective clothing, is posing a danger to the public on par with the driver of a Cadillac Escalade running a red light.

    Ambiguously or poorly-worded bills such as this one are an immediate giveaway that the author doesn’t have the safety of bicyclists in mind one bit. Bills such as this are intended for one purpose: giving drivers an additional excuse for running over vulnerable road users. They create yet one more reason to blame the victim of motorized violence, rather than the perpetrator.

    This bill and the others like it that have cropped up around the country may be intended only as “discussion-starters”, but we will only be able to scoff for so long before the exhaust-fume-addled majority of some legislature somewhere passes one.

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    • eli bishop February 27, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Good comment!

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    • Nicholas Skaggs February 27, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      Comment of the Week!

      Thank you so much for your insight!

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    • Spiffy February 27, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      best response right there!

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    • wsbob February 27, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      bic…Something Rep Davis hasn’t done with his proposed bill, or his comments to bikeportland, is attempt to irrationally inflame beyond potential for constructive conversation as you have with your comment, legitimate discussion of an important road user safety issue.

      Oregon’s current laws addressing visibility of vulnerable road users biking, provide for only a bare minimum requirement of visibility. A front headlight and a rear reflector, is it. I don’t know that I’d support a law requiring use of additional retro-reflective material on the bike or the person riding a bike on the road, but do think in many situations, using that gear is a good idea.

      Impression I get from what’s been reported in bikeportland stories about this bill, is that Rep Davis doesn’t expect his bill to become law. His comments suggests he thinks a constructive conversation about the use of reflective material by people biking, is a good idea. And, if you read the update to this story, he says he’d like to know what cyclists think. That’s a bold statement, considering all the chaff he’s going to have to sift through in comments to this story, to find much constructive to think about.

      When bikeportland publishes a story on a subject like this particular one with its unfortunate choice of editorializing headline word choice, it’s like a cue to some readers here to check their brains at the door, and pile on. Their typical response, is one of the reasons I think, that grass roots advocacy can be so difficult in terms of actually accomplishing anything.

      If you don’t like the way Davis’s bill has been written, give us your version, that stipulates better, what the bill seeks to accomplish.

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      • 9watts February 28, 2015 at 6:56 am

        wsbob,
        you’ve used the phrase constructive conversation a bunch in your posts to this discussion. Can you explain what about Davis’ approach strikes you as constructive? If you do respond I’d be curious for you to address some of the specific criticisms El Biciclero in particular offered, suggesting this bill is anything but constructive.

        Thank you.

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        • wsbob February 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm

          “…Can you explain what about Davis’ approach strikes you as constructive? …” watts

          Sure. Instead of just ranting on and on about some idea, he put his idea into bill form so people could read and think about what the bill proposes. He announced in remarks to bikeportland, that “…“I’m interested what cyclists think about this.” …”. (Refer back to the top three bulleted points on this story’s update.). I think this part of his approach, for sure, is constructive.

          If people reading here, don’t like some or all elements of his bill, or something about them, it sounds as though he’s receptive to alternative suggestions. If they don’t like his bill at all, they can say that too. I think he’s due to at least the respect he’s extended to others in opening a conversation.

          Bic could do better in his comment to which you refer. He’s on attack, doesn’t like Davis’s bill, and tries to nail it, but comes up short on presenting any reasonable, well thought out alternatives to what Davis’s bill provides for. Not to mention the usual inflammatory rhetoric. Keep it simple, state the objections and suggestions plain and clear, without animosity.

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      • El Biciclero February 28, 2015 at 8:39 pm

        “Something Rep Davis hasn’t done…is attempt to irrationally inflame beyond potential for constructive conversation”

        He may not have attempted it intentionally, but I would be quite surprised if he thought the reaction represented here wouldn’t happen. If Rep. Davis really wanted to be “constructive”, his bill wouldn’t be worded in a way that is unmistakably “punitive”.

        “Oregon’s current laws addressing visibility of vulnerable road users biking, provide for only a bare minimum requirement of visibility.”

        That statement will always be true, regardless of how many additional laws may be passed. By definition, the existing legal requirements specify the “bare minimum” to be legal.

        “Impression I get from what’s been reported in bikeportland stories about this bill, is that Rep Davis doesn’t expect his bill to become law.”

        Then why present it as a bill, with pseudo-legal wording in the way that all other bills that are expected to become law are presented? That doesn’t sound respectful. It is comparable to a police officer stopping you for a minor violation and threatening to arrest you—even if he has no intention to—just to “get your attention”.

        “His comments suggests he thinks a constructive conversation about the use of reflective material by people biking, is a good idea.”

        Then host a Town Hall style meeting. Send letters. Post links to a survey. Conduct a telephone poll. Talk to constituents.

        “And, if you read the update to this story, he says he’d like to know what cyclists think.”

        Then host a Town Hall style meeting. Send letters. Email a survey. Conduct a telephone poll. Talk to constituents.

        “…considering all the chaff he’s going to have to sift through in comments to this story, to find much constructive to think about.”

        This maneuver of proposing laws that the sponsor knows will be received this way, “just to start a conversation” is at best tone deaf, and at worst legal bullying. If you want to have a constructive conversation, don’t hold a gun to someone’s head and say “let’s talk”.

        “When bikeportland publishes a story on a subject like this…one…it’s like a cue to some readers here to check their brains at the door, and pile on.”

        With poorly-constructed, non-researched bills like this proposed as “conversation starters”, it seems as though brains have already been checked at the door.

        “If you don’t like the way Davis’s bill has been written, give us your version, that stipulates better, what the bill seeks to accomplish.”

        I noted above several ways in which this bill’s wording is lacking any careful thought whatsoever. Further, I don’t like what this bill is trying to accomplish, which is giving drivers more excuses for running over people. If you cannot drive and pay enough attention to see bicycles that meet current visibility standards, you should not be driving.

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        • wsbob March 1, 2015 at 12:06 am

          bic…you continue to be in attack mode, as though that’s the only way you can think about and respond to the opinion of someone whose views you disagree with. You’re not offering suggestions to Davis, you’re attempting to bully him, just like a number of other people commenting to this story have tried to do.

          Presented conversationally, someone could have asked him why he made the choice of crafting a bill for a law to start the conversation, rather than a town hall process. The question may have brought out some helpful answers. Jonathan Maus of bikeportland had him on the phone, and could have asked him why he chose this particular approach, rather than with a town hall.

          I can’t claim to know a lot about how the legislative process works, but I know some. Part of which, is that a bill for a law introduced to the legislature can go through many changes, before, it has much of a chance of becoming law. What work was done on this bill, and how many people saw it and worked on it before it got put on the legislature agenda, would be helpful to learn.

          This bill could have been a kind of first draft. That may be one of the reasons why Rep. Davis is interested in input from people that bike: to consider and devise various changes to the bill. From a reading of their comments, this doesn’t seem to something many bikeportland readers have thought about. Doesn’t sound as though bikeportland’s staff has thought about this.

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          • 9watts March 1, 2015 at 7:48 am

            “You’re not offering suggestions to Davis…”

            Let’s imagine a member of the Taliban proposes a bill that declares that women may no longer cut their hair, or be seen in public without a male relative. The response I hear you suggesting would be to counterpropose that perhaps women should be allowed to cut their hair in medical emergencies, or perhaps that the accompanying male relative bit be relaxed on national holidays. I won’t speak for El Biciclero, but I reject what Davis is proposing out of hand, just like I reject the things the Taliban decree; I’m not the least bit interested in responding constructively to this punitive nonsense because, contrary to you, I don’t think it was done in good faith. I see no evidence that either Davis’ bill or the Taliban’s ideas were meant constructively.

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          • El Biciclero March 1, 2015 at 9:52 pm

            wsbob. Rep. Davis is a lawmaker; he should at least have as much initiative and common sense as I do to look at existing laws before proposing a bill worded like this one. Does a bill this narrowly focused and low on word count really need a “rough draft”? And I hardly think I have any power with which to “bully” anyone with the ability to introduce bills to the Oregon Legislature and vote on them to become law.

            You want constructive. OK.

            Mr. Davis: You are proposing a new law. Is your proposed bill in response to a problem? I will assume so; what problem is it that you are trying to solve by passing a new law?
            (A) Are too many people on bikes being hit and injured by cars?
            (1) If so, has it been determined that such injurious collisions have been the fault of the bicyclist or the driver?
            (a) If the fault of the bicyclist, and the collision took place at night, then either the bicyclist was not compliant with existing equipment (lighting) law, and a new law would not have helped, or the cause of the collision was due to behavior/positioning/movement on the road, which increased visibility would not have helped.
            (b) If the fault of the driver, then it seems any new law, or perhaps more appropriately, enforcement augmentation, should target drivers, not bicyclists.

            (B) Do you or your constituents or others you have spoken with complain that people on bicycles are “hard to see”?
            (1) Stipulating that such evidence is not really data, but anecdote, when it is noted that a cyclist is “hard to see”, is the hard-to-see cyclist complying with current law?
            (a) If not, then enforcement of current law would seem to solve the problem.
            (b) If so, then what part of the cyclist’s compliant lights or reflectors was hard to see? Why was it hard to see?
            (i) Was it hard to see because the cyclist was riding “as far right as practicable”, hidden by other vehicles in a dangerous road position prescribed by other laws? Perhaps those other laws need to be changed.
            (ii) Was it “hard to see” because the complaining driver was looking in another direction? Perhaps hoping to make a right turn on a red light?
            (iii) Was it “hard to see” because the driver’s vehicle had a dirty windshield or bad windshield wipers?
            (iv) Was it “hard to see” because the driver was blinded by other car headlights that are out of compliance with legal auto lighting standards?
            (2) Again, stipulating that such “evidence” is anecdotal, you can read a few accounts in these very comments from cyclists, myself included, who have been hit by cars while wearing high-visibility clothing, and running fairly bright lights, even in the daytime. Does this support the idea that cyclists aren’t visible enough, or that drivers aren’t looking enough?

            (C) Regarding the wording of this bill, is there any reason why the fine for violating additional visibility standards should suddenly rise to the level of a moving violation, more than doubling from the current presumptive fine amount for existing lighting violations? Is there a reason that the wording is not even as carefully wrought regarding conspicuity and distance of visibility for retro-reflective clothing as that in existing laws which may be easily looked up and could have been used as a model?

            (D) With the exception of helmets, is there any other common mode of travel for which specialty apparel is prescribed by law for “safety”? Why single out cyclists for legally dictating the clothes they must wear?

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            • wsbob March 2, 2015 at 1:22 am

              “…Does a bill this narrowly focused and low on word count really need a “rough draft”? …” bic

              I’d say, ‘why not?’. Got to start with something, an idea, and a rough draft logically follows. Subject to revision. If the idea behind it really was to make the long trek along the process required for it to become law.

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              • El Biciclero March 2, 2015 at 3:19 pm

                “[W]hy not?”

                Well, wsbob, when one has achieved the position of lawmaker, I, myself would expect such a person to keep a rough draft this embarrassing out of public view until such a time as it had undergone sufficient revision to at least be consistent with itself and current, related laws. I’m sure it’s naive, but I would expect from members of the Oregon Legislature a degree of professionalism that would treat the introduction of anything other than an “emergency” bill with the same level of attention as would be given a formal business proposal. Bills introduced into the Legislature and business proposals submitted to clients are both potential legal arrangements that will affect people’s lives and influence the perception and reputation of the government or business.

                The time for drafts this rough is when one is sitting at the restaurant writing on a napkin. The time for consulting with one’s colleagues or constituents about how the wording of a draft bill sounds, or whether the language is even consistent is before submission to the Legislature for consideration as a law. When something this sloppy is tossed out as a “conversation starter”, it reflects poorly on the person throwing it out there and shows that the author took little or no care in considering the lives of the people it would affect should it become law. He loses 95% of all respect for not even doing the five minutes of basic research that would have been required to at least come up with sound wording. Why? Because the level of haste and laziness displayed in writing this bill shows complete disrespect for those the law would affect and makes this “conversation starter” appear as nothing more than a winking jab to stick it to those arrogant scofflaw cyclists. If Rep. Davis does not want subsequent bike-related bills to have this appearance, he should put forth enough time and effort to write something that is at least consistent with the wording of related laws and shows some concern for actual safety, not just piling legal obstacles onto those who use a bike for transportation. The level of care taken in authoring a bill directly reflects the level of care the author really has for the affected citizens.

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    • reader February 27, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      I wonder what “discussion starter” really means. In this case, I think the bill’s author thinks people might “start discussing my name”.

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  • invisiblebikes February 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I would happily back this bill and wear reflcto-dork vests IF they include in this bill, some pork.
    Lets juicy it up a bit… say… any motorist that has a collision with said bicycle reflecto-dork riders and causes any damage to said rider in any way will be charged with a felony, vehicular attempted manslaughter.
    And just for the heck of it all fines from this bill goes towards a pizza party for all bicycle riders wearing reflecto-dork clothing each month at chucky cheese!

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  • Tony H February 27, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    You know, as I, er, reflect upon this, I may’ve been too hasty. I find riding my bike to be an excellent time for personal reflection. Thus, my attire is, by extension, reflective, no?

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  • Buzz February 27, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Timely commentary from Copenhagenize, just replace pedestrians with cyclists…:

    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2015/02/top-ten-ways-to-hate-on-pedestrians.html

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  • Todd Hudson February 27, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    One of the many bills that will never go anywhere! It’s not scheduled for any hearings, hasn’t been reviewed by anyone, and it will never go past the House speaker’s desk. (when learning to track bills, one discovers this is the fate of most of them)

    It’s not worth getting outraged about. Rep. Davis is just looking to chum the waters, and here he succeeded in ticking folks off.

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    • Todd Hudson February 27, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Also, this has been introduced late enough in the session it’ll probably never get to the front of the queue for hearings. The amount of bills introduced is insane, and most of them are introduced shortly before the session opens.

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  • Johnny February 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    People on bicycles would be easier to see if drivers weren’t looking at their phones.

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    • Dan February 27, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Need to design a phone app that sends an alert to your screen when there is an ‘obstacle’ in your car’s way. /s

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    • Brad February 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Cars would be easier for people on foot and bike to see if they were all neon orange.

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  • rick4redelectrictrail February 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    What is going on with these proposed bills and bike/ped backlash in the Oregon legislature this year?

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  • Curt February 27, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    The wording “including but not limited to” seems totally open-ended…

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  • JNE February 27, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Remind me to make a generous campaign contribution to the sensible candidate that runs against this ‘representative’ in 2016 (I don’t care from which party).

    If only we could get Stephen Colbert’s Superpac to take on this cause!

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  • K'Tesh February 27, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I found an another image of the politician…

    http://cdn.gottabemobile.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/head-up-ass.jpg

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  • Dave February 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    More requiring of chastity belts to prevent rape.

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  • K'Tesh February 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I’m all for reflectivity … Case in point, my avatar… But I’m not for mandating that across the board.

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  • Granpa February 27, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    My delicate hand washables are reflective, high viz and illuminated!

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    • Spiffy February 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      now you’ll be forced to wear them on the World Naked Bike Ride…

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  • JNE February 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    BTW, according to Project Vote Smart, in 2013 Rep. Davis voted against increasing fines for talking or texting while driving. Clearly, safety really is his number one priority. Oh wait . . . .

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  • Caesar February 27, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Cui Bono (Who Benefits)??
    Davis must be motivated by something other than sheer malignancy towards cyclists. What political capital will he be gaining by introducing this legislation? Was there some unfortunate event in his district related to a cyclist being struck by a car? There must be something to explain his actions beyond a simple desire to annoy cyclists.

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    • El Biciclero February 27, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      My theory: attempted pandering. He thinks he’s giving the people what they want, even if it’s misguided.

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  • Brad February 27, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Hmm, what could i do with that many unpaid traffic tickets….maybe make a collage as an ode to dumb laws.

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  • K'Tesh February 27, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    I’ve got an idea… Let’s improve motorists ability to see us… Let’s cut the tops off all the cars… A nice open cockpit so they don’t have anything interfering with being able to see what’s going on around you.

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    • Dan February 27, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Yeah, I bet the removal of A pillars would be more effective than this.

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  • David Bosch February 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Jonathan, maybe you could reach out to Rep. John Davis and invite him to accompany you, and select others, on a bicycle commute through the city? Finish your ride with a stop at a coffee shop to discuss the challenges that humans riding bicycles face every day while attempting to get around on two wheels.

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    • David February 27, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      I actually went to High School with John and we were friends for quite a long time. If you do plan this Jonathan I’d love to be a part of it. I was already debating send him a message myself about this bill to express my concern. Though as other have pointed out it’s unlikely to pass.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 27, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Just got off the phone with Rep. Davis and updated the story with this:

    • He works in downtown Portland and some of his co-workers ride bikes and have family members that are “avid cyclists.” Davis said many of them, “especially those who ride at dusk, are supportive of this.”
    • Davis referenced a story we published in May about a study that found people are less visible at night than they think.
    • Davis told me he thought his bill, “Would be an interesting starting point of a conversation,” and added, “I’m interested what cyclists think about this.”
    • When I asked why he chose to focus his safety concerns on a bike-specific measure that doesn’t take into account driving behaviors, he said, “I think it’s a back-and-forth… We all use the road and we all need to be using it safely together.”
    • Davis said he feels that a “significant amount of responsibility belongs with drivers” because of the larger capacity they have to do harm to other road users. “But what is the healthy balance to ensure maximum safety?” he wondered.
    • When I told him I’m aware that many bicycle riders detest this concept and are already against the bill, he maintained that he’s had a “number of cyclists and a number of my constituents who support this idea.”
    • Davis also said he hopes to plan a public hearing in Salem sometime in March where people will have the opportunity to “Come to the legislature and talk about the benefits of cycling.”
    • When I asked Rep. Davis why, if he’s so concerned about safety, he voted against a bill (Senate Bill 9) that increased fines for texting and driving in 2013, he provided a non-answer. “We’re talking about this bill, so that’s what I’d like to talk about.”

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    • John Lascurettes February 27, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Did you point out to Davis that there are already provisions in the law for making the bicycle itself visible – with front lights and rear reflectors. If he’s actually concerned about this, really, he should concentrate on strengthening that alone or the enforcement of it. Full stop.

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    • invisiblebikes February 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Jonathan, all joking aside… He was blowing so much smoke up your _ _ s The FDA is going to make you tattoo a Surgeon General warning on your
      _ _ s!
      This guy is a dirty politician that is driving a bill based on lobbyist and even worse his constituents putting pressure on him to put up “road blocks” to slow down meaningful and relevant legislation for bicycles!

      Please tell me you don’t believe his BS?

      I beg everyone here to write a quick, simple and to the point email to this windbag telling him he is wrong and voters will Not stand for it!

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    • q`Tzal February 27, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
      Davis told me he thought his bill, “Would be an interesting starting point of a conversation,”

      Straight from the Newt Gingrich Conservative playbook: say something so venomously far FAR right wing so that the ½ way point in the ensuing discussion skews towards your side that you win no matter who argues what.

      Remember:
      When you could be a social progressive and a fiscal conservative?
      When compromise was how governing worked?
      When science was respected as real?
      When willful violent ignorance wasn’t considered as valid a way of life as a religion?

      That all ended in the Pyrrhic winner-take-all strategy ushered in by Gingrich and his devotees.
      Rep Davis has simply drunk the kool-aid; it isn’t his fault… much.

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      • gutterbunnybikes February 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm

        That strategy is used by both parties. Back in the early 90’s I did a lot of work with Earth First! especially after the Salvage Rider was ruled upon (I went straight from the Judge Hogans courthouse in Eugene to the woods).

        Not so much because I was totally behind their agenda I knew that it was never going to be a popular group or that their policies would ever see the light of day. I did so because our presence made the Sierra Club and Audubon Society and other environmental groups more palatable to the public and the politicians. Most the smart (granted it wasn’t all of them) ones involved with EF! at the time did so for the same reasons.

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    • Scott H February 27, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Any of the representatives who voted against increasing the fines for texting and driving clearly have zero interest in making our roads safer, and if they try to tell you otherwise, they must be lying to your face. John Davis, you don’t belong in Oregon.

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    • wsbob February 27, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      “…When I asked Rep. Davis why, if he’s so concerned about safety, he voted against a bill (Senate Bill 9) that increased fines for texting and driving in 2013, he provided a non-answer. “We’re talking about this bill, so that’s what I’d like to talk about.” maus/bikeportland

      You were trying to sidetrack him from discussion about the bill he is introducing and was willing to discuss, with you. I don’t blame him for not wanting to discuss his vote on a different bill having to do with safety considerations. If you’re truly interested in his reasons for voting against Senate Bill 9, you may get a different response if you call him to ask about that bill specifically.

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      • 9watts February 27, 2015 at 7:17 pm

        “I don’t blame him for not wanting to discuss his vote on a different bill having to do with safety considerations.”

        Don’t be silly, wsbob. Both bills (ostensibly) have to do with traffic safety, and a vote against something that is demonstrably unsafe for everyone (see distraction.gov if you have doubts) and then turning around and proposing a cockamaimy bill that is absurd on its face begs for someone to ask the question Jonathan asked. Davis’s dissembling speaks volumes. Not sure why you’re defending him. Or are you one of the avid cyclists he invoked as in favor of this?

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        • wsbob February 27, 2015 at 8:29 pm

          Maus was just trying to sidetrack Davis. If he wanted answer’s to Davis’s bill, he should have confined his questions to that bill. I don’t know Davis, never met him, never talked to him, and have no idea how he’s done a legislator.

          I do think though, that despite the possibly questionable means Davis has taken to do it with this bill, when someone makes an effort to respectfully encourage discussion about an important issue of general concern, people ought to at least extend the courtesy of making an effort to respond constructively, to the subject, without throwing in a bunch of basically unrelated partisan garbage accusations.

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          • 9watts February 27, 2015 at 8:31 pm

            “when someone makes an effort to respectfully encourage discussion about an important issue of general concern”

            Anyone we know?

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          • J_R March 2, 2015 at 8:35 am

            wsbob: It’s interesting that when commenters on BP question Davis’ motivation, you have no hesitation in defending Davis claiming his motives are to improve safety and start a discussion.

            On the other hand, when Maus asks Davis about his vote on a previous bill that is also clearly about transportation system safety, you criticize Maus for attempting to sidetrack Davis. Come on, wsbob, it’s just a conversation.

            Challenging Davis to explain what appears to be an opposite approach to transportation safety on two bills strikes me as an entirely reasonable way to have a conversation and to try to determine whether there is something I don’t understand about transportation safety or either of the two bills.

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            • wsbob March 2, 2015 at 7:46 pm

              “…Come on, wsbob, it’s just a conversation. …” J_R

              A conversation that Maus tried to take off topic, which was the bill Davis presented, and turn the conversation to a means by which Maus could try to attack Davis. Davis deflected the effort, as he should. If Maus wants to talk about Davis’s vote on the cell phone bill, he should call up and ask. Davis may agree to talk, though considering the way people many commenting to this story have responded, I wouldn’t be surprised if the didn’t agree.

              Notice that Jonathan did not explain the cell phone bill he hoped Davis would offer some explanation as to his vote on that bill. Maus permitted to happen, something that’s not uncommon in reporting, which is to allow, intentionally or otherwise, readers to assume that somebody thinks something they may actually not.

              Why didn’t Davis vote ‘yes’ on that bill? ( I don’t know whether he did or didn’t except from what’s been reported in this story.). Was it because he doesn’t care about the safety of vulnerable road users, as reporting in this story would have readers presume, regardless of the what the true situation is? Let’s find out what Davis’s reasons for not voting on that bill really were, before deciding.

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    • Parker Knight February 27, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      In Boston, this company makes retro reflective UV stable coating (not laminate), could you pump up the grass root efforts to the State Senator you spoke to about this article and the Bill introduced and to the bicycle manufacturer in Portland Oregon area to carry the retroreflective coating option as bicycle safety purpose, and I hope it would be available as spray can or professional powder coating shop to carry this for after-market bicycle paint service.

      http://bikesafeboston.com/post/37594964359/safestbike

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  • 9watts February 27, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Rep. Davis: “an interesting starting point of a conversation…”

    Where have we heard this before?!%&

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    • David February 27, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Plus it’s just bad logic, we aren’t having a conversation if you are already attempting to pass a bill. The time for a conversation about this would have been before hand.

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    • q`Tzal February 27, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Gingrich

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  • Dave February 27, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    So……….we should dress brightly enough to break into the diminished thought processes and attention span of a motoring primate who is texting, yes?

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  • mikeybikey February 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    The bill is least common denominator thinking. It is the same thing as helmet laws. Even if we assume that mandating reflective clothing results in improved safety for those who would otherwise not wear it, then it does nothing to improve the safety of people who already wear such clothes nor does it do anything to improve the safety of other road users, thos driving and riding in cars included. Americans have something like a 1 in 84 lifetime chance of dying in a car crash. Its the number one killer of children. Everyone should find these statistics alarming no matter how they get around or how many “avid cyclist” friends they have. The Danes have some of the safest roads in the world for ALL road users. They didn’t accomplish that by legislating reflective clothes! We should be copying what people who have had success have done. Not what California and Wyoming are doing.

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  • Barefoot February 27, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    So, if a cyclist, wearing approved dress is hit by car. Will the fines and penatlies be increased?

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  • Adam H. February 27, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Based on the update, it sounds like Rep. Davis is trying to dodge the questions and repeat the same anti-biking mantras of “I have friends who are avid cyclists” and “we’re all responsible for safety”.

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    • q`Tzal February 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Guess it is time to put a permanent “anti-bike” flag on his future political aspirations.

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  • Adam H. February 27, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    “But what is the healthy balance to ensure maximum safety?”

    People driving cars cause all the harm. The only “healthy” balance is to eliminate the agent causing the harm or severely reduce it’s capacity to cause harm. Come back to me when you advocate for stricter yearly driving tests (including mental health tests), harsher punishments for all traffic violations (including minor speeding tickets), automatic lifelong suspensions and possible jail time for people driving who injure or kill people walking or riding bikes, citywide 20 MPH speed limits, and heavy fees for people who choose to drive into the city center. It’s time someone address the “bull in the china shop” instead of repeating the same “helments and reflector” mantra.

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    • davemess February 27, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      “People driving cars cause all the harm.”

      This is unfair and false. You can’t absolve all cyclists all the time, regardless of whether they’re breaking the law (running stop signs/lights or don’t have lights).

      There have been plenty of instances when cars were doing everything correct (and legal) and a cyclist was 100% at fault for their crash.

      A belligerent stance like this is just as bad as the politician pushing this law.

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      • Adam Herstein February 27, 2015 at 5:30 pm

        Whether or not the person driving was doing everything 100% legal is irrelevant. My point was that cars are inherently dangerous and they need to be regulated as such.

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        • davemess February 28, 2015 at 9:36 am

          It’s not irrelevant at all.
          We all don’t have to be anti-car to be pro-bike.
          Cars aren’t inherently dangerous, they’re not weapons. Their main purpose is not to kill or injure. Hundreds of millions of people ride in cars every day in this country without injury/death to them or others.

          You wan to increase driver’s license testing? Fine, I can get behind that. But please stop jumping the shark with hyperbole about how cyclists are never at fault in any crash with a car.

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          • invisiblebikes March 2, 2015 at 2:08 pm

            “According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, car accidents happen every minute of the day. Motor vehicle accidents occur in any part of the world every 60 seconds. And if it’s all summed up in a yearly basis,there are 5.25 million driving accidents that take place per year. Statistics show that each year,43,000 or more of the United States’ population die due to vehicular accidents and around 2.9 million people end up suffering light or severe injuries. In a certain five year period, there had been recorded a 25% of the driving population who encountered or were involved in car accidents.” National Highway Traffic Commission!

            And this one really puts it in perspective!

            “It is also affirmed that car accidents kill a child every 3 minutes.Statistics on the number of car accidents taking place in every state or country is normally based on medical or insurance records filed.”
            National Highway Traffic Commission!

            Davemess I ask you, Cars aren’t inherently dangerous? really?

            The number of people in the US that “die by car” out numbers people who die by plane accidents, gun violence and accidental death put together!

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            • davemess March 4, 2015 at 12:38 pm

              When that is divided by the actual numbers of drivers and miles driven daily: no.
              I agree those numbers are high and unacceptable. But to argue that all drivers and cars are out there crashing and killing people is just wrong. Taking an extremist militant stance isn’t likely to go anywhere or help.

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              • invisiblebikes March 5, 2015 at 9:07 am

                If It Saves Even One Life! Then I’ll stand in front of traffic, I’ll protest by sitting in the middle of the street, I’ll ride in every critical mass if it will save one life!
                An extremist militant view is what makes changes in America! or have you forgotten how our country was founded? Or how Women got equal rights, or how slavery was abolished, or what Martin Luther King died for?!!

                Your narrow view is what is holding back peoples safety and human rights!

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      • wsbob February 27, 2015 at 7:22 pm

        ” “People driving cars cause all the harm.”

        This is unfair and false. …” davemess

        For sure. Recognizing this fundamental reality of road use is an important step towards achieving safer conditions on the road for all road users. Increasingly, I see first hand, people traveling by bike and using a range of visibility gear beyond the minimum required by law.

        Many still do not use the gear, or outright deny a responsibility to enhance their visibility to other road users where conditions call for it. This poses a big obstacle to support from road users that drive, when requests go out for support and funding of road infrastructure that seeks to improve conditions for biking.

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        • 9watts February 27, 2015 at 7:37 pm

          “fundamental reality of road use”
          The only fundamental reality of road use I know is that once we introduced the automobile carnage ensued. In fact you don’t even need any other modes mixing it up to have carnage. Just cars is quite enough. Skateboarders, or people on roller skates, or people biking, walking, skipping = no carnage. I don’t see where the great mystery is, wsbob.

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          • davemess February 28, 2015 at 9:39 am

            pretty sure there would be carnage if we had 2 million people riding around on the Portland metro on skateboards.

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            • 9watts February 28, 2015 at 10:47 am

              Amusing, but I’m not sure about that. How about you explain your thinking behind the skateboard-on-skateboard carnage?

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              • Psyfalcon February 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

                Poor braking unless you really know what you’re doing. Small wheels encourage crashing on pavement irregularities.

                Much easier to squeeze a bikes brakes to go down a hill.

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                • davemess March 2, 2015 at 1:04 pm

                  This about sums it up.
                  Not to mention a varied population of skill and ages using a means of travel that is slower, requires more balance and arguably more work than cycling.

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        • soren March 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm

          Let’s avoid discussing *harm* and switch the topic to motorist’s perception of “safety” (in the real world bike “scofflawery” has litle impact on safety).

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      • soren March 1, 2015 at 12:01 pm

        Its amusing how you switched from discussing harm to crashes mid post.
        Cognitive dissonance.

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    • Mike February 27, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      Cars obviously have the potential to do great harm given their large mass and ability to go very fast but couldn’t a cyclists behavior contribute to a car vs cyclist crash? To say it is always the cars fault is B.S.

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      • El Biciclero March 2, 2015 at 2:26 pm

        “Fault” and “harm” are two different things. If I run as fast as I can into a wall, it’s my fault, but the wall caused the harm.

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  • meh February 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    When you write about laws to improve cyclist safety, that put responsibility on drivers, do you use the word “punish” in those headlines?

    Seems this headline ranks up there with those in the Oregonian use to incite the anti bike crowd.

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    • Pete February 27, 2015 at 4:49 pm
    • El Biciclero February 27, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      This is not a law to improve cyclist safety. It is a law to give more excuses to drivers. If cyclist safety were the goal, the text of the bill would have been more explicit about the “reflective clothing” actually being visible, and would have specified a potential fine at the same level as for violating existing laws for lighting requirements. As-is, this law puts arbitrary requirements on cyclists and fines them for violations at the same level as for failure to obey a traffic control device. If the Honorable Mr. Davis really cared about safety, he would have cared about how his proposal compared with existing law, and would have cared about the implications of the wording of this ambiguous and arbitrary bill. I mean, really—he had existing examples to cut and paste from (ORS 815.280). If he really cared about carefully crafting a bill that really was aimed at safety, he could have at least familiarized himself with the wording of existing law. The depth of laziness displayed here in an attempt to further control and restrict non-motorized road users shows borderline incompetence as a maker of laws. No, I take that back—not “borderline”, actual incompetence.

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  • Slow Joe Crow February 27, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    A bike hater saying “I have friends who are cyclists” is like a censor saying “I support free speech but…”
    I’m still waiting to see a Dutch style law that places implied liability on the operator of motorized vehicle who hits a bicycle or pedestrian.
    Of course if we want to be ridiculous, how about mandating GPS linked speed governors on cars so that they can’t exceed posted speed limits, or bring back the British “red flag law”.

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  • Calwatch February 27, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    California’s SB 192 has a base fine of $25. The actual fine, with penalties, court maintenance fees, processing fees, etc. is closer to $200. It is not an administrative citation like a parking ticket.

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  • Spiffy February 27, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    I’ve only been hit by a car once, and it was pre-dawn, and I had 360° of lights and 360° of retro-reflective material on me…

    this law would not have kept me from getting hit by a car…

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    • Pete February 27, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      I’ve never been hit, but of the two close calls I’ve had, one was at sunset riding home on Murray in Beaverton with lights on the front and back. As the blue Ford Ranger turned right without signaling onto Allen I shouted as I nose-wheelied to a stop. The driver yelled back at me and cut back through the parking lot there so I rode in to meet him in front of that McMen’s where I knew we’d have witnesses. He got out of the truck to threaten me, was clearly a bit drunk (and smelled it) and a couple in a Jeep Cherokee who were watching yelled to him that they were calling the police so he left. Ironically I ended up moving into that neighborhood for a year and asked my roommate (the condo owner and HOA President) about the truck owner. He told me George was a bus driver for the school district who seemed to have drinking and anger issues.

      The other close call (in broad daylight) was an Indian woman in a Honda Pilot who was talking on her cell phone and forced me to test my bike-handling skills by turning into the parking lot with her. Oh, and then there was the guy in the white BMW on Foothill who turned right at the sign saying no right turn after seeing on his phone that he missed his exit… sorry, three.

      But yeah, good thing this lawmaker’s looking out for his “cyclist friends.”

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  • Evan February 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Yet another draconian effort to erase personal freedom by turning the victim into the criminal. Why not a similar bill requiring all pedestrians to wear reflective clothing too?

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    • Adam H. February 27, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      I for one never leave home without my Pedestrian Safety Helment™

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      • soren February 28, 2015 at 3:46 pm

        Ped lighting is incredibly important too!

        I recommend shoes with integrated magnetic dynamos and german StVO helment lights. I don’t even notice the wires running up my legs and I never have to worry about batteries!

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  • Electric Mayhem February 27, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I agree that riders sometimes don’t understand how visible they are. Sometimes I see the tiny little blinkies with the low batteries and I can’t tell they are even on until I’m 15 feet away. I would like to see the light regulations strengthened. But, the reflective clothing requirement is what Ireland has made this their go-to solution for safety. It winds up being way to say “see we did something for bike safety” without doing anything. By puting the onas on riders, it takes the pressure off puting safe infastructure in place.

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    • El Biciclero February 27, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      “…I see the tiny little blinkies with the low batteries and I can’t tell they are even on until I’m 15 feet away. I would like to see the light regulations strengthened.”

      The law states that rear reflectors or lights must be visible to 600 ft. in the light of “lawful low beams” of automotive headlights. Front lights must be white and visible for 500 ft.

      That sounds strong enough to me.

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      • wsbob February 27, 2015 at 7:32 pm

        The problem is that some people let their bike light’s batteries drain down to the point that the illumination produced is a small fraction of what lights designed and manufactured to meet legal requirements, are capable of producing. Today, some of the most economically priced lights that meet the legal requirements, and that can be charged by plugging into a computer usb port, are like, thirty bucks. I realize some people are strapped for cash, but c’mon. Save up a few bucks, get a decent bike light, and it may help avoid a collision.

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        • El Biciclero February 28, 2015 at 10:23 am

          Yes, that’s a problem, but strengthening lighting laws won’t make cheap lights brighter. We don’t need more laws, we need to help people get affordable lights, or for rear-facing application, red reflectors, which can be had for almost nothing. I’ve got several sitting around in my garage—I’d bet any bike shop would just about give them away.

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    • Dan February 27, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      We have lots of joggers in the early morning in my neighborhood who are barely visible. It has the effect of making me proceed very cautiously.

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  • J_R February 27, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    For about the last five years, I’ve worn a construction worker’s vest while commuting even during the day. It’s hard to know for sure, but I think it MAY have SLIGHTLY reduced the close calls I’ve had.

    It did not, however, help the Portland Water Bureau truck driver obey the law when he practiced the time-honored RIGHT TURN ON RED AFTER SLOWING DOWN and nearly struck me in the intersection. I had a nice conversation with his supervisor, by the way. Portland Water Bureau gets a big thumbs up from me for taking this seriously.

    I can tell you one of my co-workers, a surveyor, was struck and killed on a sidewalk by a motorist while wearing his vest.

    Personally, I’m waiting for the vest with the force field and photon torpedoes. I’ll be glad to wear that one!

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    • El Biciclero February 28, 2015 at 10:55 am

      I had flashing lights and a bright orange shirt on the day I got hit (in mid-morning daylight) by a driver doing the same thing: looking left while making a right on red just as I was passing in front of him in a crosswalk. He at least pretended to stop, which is what fooled me into thinking he saw me in the first place. I couldn’t see through his windshield to establish eye contact due to raindrops and reflections.

      (Before anyone gives me a crosswalk speech, it was at Sylvan, where eastbound cyclists must use the crosswalk to cross over Skyline/Scholls Ferry from the MUP along the North side of US 26. Also, I had diligently waited for my signal and had approached the crosswalk at a speed no greater than an ordinary walk).

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  • Dwaine Dibbly February 27, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    The Bill is clearly dead on arrival in this state, but I worry about passage in some of the others. Where is this guy’s District? Any chance this fiasco could hurt his chances of re-election? And what group is pushing all of these Bills in the state legislatures? ALEC?

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    • Chris I February 27, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Lake Oswego / West Linn…

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  • Joe Rowe February 27, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Perhaps *****–moderated–** lawmakers should propose all buildings be cited unless wearing reflective paint at night. ?? Clearly we have a problem with building and vehicle accidents…Out of Control: Cars Crashing Into Homes and Buil…: http://youtu.be/5-jDtZAk9TY

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    • Dan February 28, 2015 at 8:24 am

      The point of that video seems to be that we need more barriers to prevent that. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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  • Chris I February 27, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    I will support this bill if it also bans all motor vehicles made before 1980. Tail lights on most really old cars can be hard to see at night.

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    • q`Tzal February 27, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      How about including all Jeep brand vehicles and any other “off road” vehicle used on paved streets? Off road vehicles with poorly aimed “stadium lights” should be required to stay OFF-ROAD. Of their lights can’t be aimed so as not blind oncoming drivers their vehicle is not road legal.

      As a professional driver I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to see oncoming vehicles in the dark. If you think poorly aimed bicycle headlights are bad drive at a Jeep. Especially the body style that looks kinda like an old army jeep seem to be designed so the low beam headlights aim up like high beams. Same goes for lifted 4×4 and SUV’s of the “over-compensating for something” variety.
      In 3 years of truck driving this “low beams are aimed high too” problem has been exclusively a problem with vehicles driven by young males, always boys, never women.

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      • Psyfalcon February 27, 2015 at 11:31 pm

        Some of the Jeeps are getting over 30mpg now. Not great by car standards, but very nice compared to 5-10 years ago.

        The problem with the wrangler is that the stock headlights suck. So people replace them. They may not be DOT approved, nor well aimed. Combined with the suspension modifications, the front end can ride a bit higher than the rear, pointing the front up.

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        • q`Tzal March 1, 2015 at 10:35 am

          Yeah, no excuse for blinding other drivers.
          If the vehicle is designed so poorly that the low beams can not be aimed low IT SHOULD NOT BE a street legal vehicle.
          Go muddin’ with it all you want but when it increases the danger of everyone around them it is a blatant hazard I’m more than happy to eliminate with military grade artillery.
          Seriously. Some of these are fairly minor, some are the equivalent of search spot lights aimed in people’s eyes for tr0lling’s sake.

          These are the idjits that make me forget I’m a caring liberal utopian type person because the only thing these cro-magnons listen to is naked brute force.

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  • Clark in Vancouver February 27, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    So does anyone else suspect that he’s getting kickbacks from the auto and/or oil industry? I mean it’s been over a decade since peak-car, an entire generation is not enthused into buying a car and cycling is booming all over the world. They can totally see the end of growth in their industries and are likely thinking up all sorts of ways to try and slow down any alternatives.

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    • q`Tzal February 27, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      I suspect he’s clueless.
      I think it more likely that this is a form of hazing for new inexperienced Republican Metro area lawmakers. His colleagues let him do this so they could watch him twist and flail in the wind. Then his Republican senoirs can ride to the rescue of “their beleaguered colleague” from “the ravages of vicious Portland liberal media”.

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      • wsbob February 27, 2015 at 11:51 pm

        …despite what you think of him, according to this bikeportland story, he’s not exactly a freshman legislator any longer:

        “…is serving his second term as a House Rep after being re-elected in November 2014. …” bikeportland

        He’s probably already been subject to some of the colleague fun and games hazing in his first term, which was two years ago by Oregon’s biennial legislature. This year, I haven’t been keeping up with what the legislature does during term, as well as I have in past. Don’t know much about why bills like this one get introduced when they do, by whoever.

        Actually, I think he answered Jonathan’s questions reasonably well. Low key, really. Stayed focused on questions related to the bill, and didn’t allow himself to get sucked off onto a tangent. His brief answers suggests he understands issues of responsibility accorded to both drivers of motor vehicles and people riding bikes.

        Whether people riding bikes in dusk to dawn low light conditions should be required by law to display retro-reflective gear, is kind of a valid question considering the minimum visibility gear presently required. Actually making use of additional reflective gear, a law with a penalty for not using it, is probably going too far for many areas at this point. The more immediate objective of emphasizing the value of using the gear, and of accepting some responsibility for one’s own safety in use of the road whether driving, biking, walking, etc, seems to be what Davis is after.

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        • Dan February 28, 2015 at 8:27 am

          So, do you support the bill as written?

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          • wsbob February 28, 2015 at 9:27 am

            “So, do you support the bill as written?” Dan

            No, I wouldn’t support his bill as written. Did you want to talk about that? If so, shoot some questions, not just to me, but to everyone reading here.

            I’ll start with a question that just occurred to me this morning. If Rep had any serious intention at all of encouraging by law, vulnerable road users riding bikes to display retro-reflective material on their person, why did he

            If Rep. John Davis had any serious hopes of seeing the objective specified in his bill actually become law, why instead of a stand alone law, did he not seek to have an existing Oregon law amended to require that vulnerable road users riding a bike, display retro-reflective material on their person?

            Up thread, yesterday someone posted the text of an existing Oregon law, ‘815.280¹,Violation of bicycle equipment requirements’, that could have been used to do this:

            http://bikeportland.org/2015/02/27/oregon-lawmaker-wants-punish-people-bike-without-hi-viz-clothing-135100#comment-6217729

            Ordinarily, I’d post the link to the law’s text available on oregonlaws.org, but having just checked, I think that site may have changed its use requirements, wants a minimal registration, which I don’t want to deal with right this moment.

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  • Trek 3900 February 28, 2015 at 12:22 am

    They already get punished for not wearing visible clothing. They get run over fairly regularly.

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  • warrior4130 February 28, 2015 at 3:15 am

    It is sad how the ppl who frequent this site are all up in arms over a legislator who would like to see riding at night made SAFER. Yes, safer. I know everyone saw the “R” by his name and immediately went on the offensive. Had a “D” proposed this, I think…no,,,”know” that the comments would be in defense of this legislator. You know….none of us should be upset with things to make our riding experience SAFER….you know…like the protected bike lanes, that are funded with public money…that everyone here loves loves loves. So, what we are all hearing is that safety is a good thing, as long as it is not legislated? Most of you could not be more wrong.

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    • El Biciclero February 28, 2015 at 10:44 am

      “…safety is a good thing, as long as it is not legislated?”

      Pretty much exactly. Do you know how many pedestrians are hit by cars every year? Should we legislate that any time anyone arrives at their destination and gets out of their car, they must put on their fluorescent/reflective hat and vest? Should crossing the street without day-glo colors be made illegal, with a $250 fine for violation? Do you know how many kids drown in private swimming pools? Should we outlaw swimming pools because they’re not safe? Do you know how many drivers crash their cars every year? If we really wanted to stay safe, we’d outlaw driving any faster than about 20, and we’d hand out $250 fines for going 5 over the limit.

      There are already visibility requirements for bicycles (very specific requirements for front and rear lighting); this bill does not even state that reflective clothing must be visible. The fine is totally out-of-proportion with violations of existing visibility requirements (more than twice as much as for not having basic lights on your bike). This bill was not carefully written by someone truly concerned about cyclist safety. It was hastily written by someone who wants to excuse drivers when they run over someone.

      If we start dictating the actual clothing that private citizens must wear to engage in a common activity, it will mark a new low point in governmental interference. Do you really want to have actual Fashion Police?

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    • Dan February 28, 2015 at 11:01 am

      First, there’s no way to prove that this bill would make everyone safer and would not have a negative effect on the number of people of riding (I strongly believe it would reduce riders, which we know reduces safety for those who do ride).

      Second, that’s a slippery slope. You can’t mandate everything that could possibly improve safety.

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      • wsbob February 28, 2015 at 12:53 pm

        There’s no way to prove to the contrary either, and at any rate, that consideration is secondary to the objective Davis has said is his intention with this bill proposal.

        My impression from the bill, and his comments, is that he seeks to encourage discussion about visibility of vulnerable road users to other road users, and, he’d like discussion about the idea of having that visibility become more consistent among vulnerable road users, through the law.

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        • Dan February 28, 2015 at 2:31 pm

          So do you support him introducing this bill? It sure sounds like it.

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          • wsbob February 28, 2015 at 6:32 pm

            Are you asking me if I support him introducing the bill, or are you still wondering “So, do you support the bill as written?”, as you asked in your earlier comment to which I’ve already responded:

            http://bikeportland.org/2015/02/27/oregon-lawmaker-wants-punish-people-bike-without-hi-viz-clothing-135100#comment-6220072

            I think it was an fine for Davis to start a conversation about use of retro-reflective gear by people that ride, and to make an effort to find out what people that ride think about this. And also, to find out whether people that ride, think the bill he proposed, or some variation of it is a good way to accomplish this.

            I’m don’t know enough about how legislature works to say I think that proposing a bill is a good way to to start the conversation he had in mind. Outside of bikeportland’s readership, it may, or may not be a good way.

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    • J_R February 28, 2015 at 6:09 pm

      No. BP commenters do not give a pass to D’s. Check on the opposition to the proposal by Democrat Rep Mitch Greenlick two years ago.

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  • Erik Griswold February 28, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Perhaps someone needs to start a “People John Davis Will Criminalize” blog similar to this one?

    http://peoplecarolliuwillcriminalize.tumblr.com

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  • suicida rida February 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    250$ fine? thats insane! and more than A no light ticket. For A car!
    I wear A firemans jacket. And still they dont see me. day or night.

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  • suicida rida February 28, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    How about A 250$ fine to drivers
    Bike s must have lights already. How about stripes and orange cars?

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  • suicida rida February 28, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Yep. passed in california.
    Only 50$ but over 200$ after court costs etc.
    Would be almost 500$ after costs. Obsurd!

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  • Dave February 28, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    Just got off the phone with Rep. Davis and updated the story with this:

    He works in downtown Portland and some of his co-workers ride bikes and have family members that are “avid cyclists.” Davis said many of them, “especially those who ride at dusk, are supportive of this.”
    Davis referenced a story we published in May about a study that found people are less visible at night than they think.
    Davis told me he thought his bill, “Would be an interesting starting point of a conversation,” and added, “I’m interested what cyclists think about this.”
    When I asked why he chose to focus his safety concerns on a bike-specific measure that doesn’t take into account driving behaviors, he said, “I think it’s a back-and-forth… We all use the road and we all need to be using it safely together.”
    Davis said he feels that a “significant amount of responsibility belongs with drivers” because of the larger capacity they have to do harm to other road users. “But what is the healthy balance to ensure maximum safety?” he wondered.
    When I told him I’m aware that many bicycle riders detest this concept and are already against the bill, he maintained that he’s had a “number of cyclists and a number of my constituents who support this idea.”
    Davis also said he hopes to plan a public hearing in Salem sometime in March where people will have the opportunity to “Come to the legislature and talk about the benefits of cycling.”
    When I asked Rep. Davis why, if he’s so concerned about safety, he voted against a bill (Senate Bill 9) that increased fines for texting and driving in 2013, he provided a non-answer. “We’re talking about this bill, so that’s what I’d like to talk about.”

    Recommended 7

    If he’s that evasive about appropriate regulation of cell phone use/texting, he’s unworthy either of public office or of any respect whatsoever as a human being. I can’t take him seriously either as a person or a politician.

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  • Josh Chernoff February 28, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Don’t Thread on me.

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  • Cliff February 28, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Safe use of the roads for all is a priority, but everything has it’s costs and I doubt the reflective clothing requirement is worthwhile. The solution needs to be evidence-based. I do know that no amount of visibility improvements will be effective against distracted driving. Anecdotally, my girlfriend was rear ended on her bike while stopped at a stoplight in North Portland, dressed in a reflective vest with two rear blinky lights and a strong front headlight. The driving claimed he didn’t see her, and I believe it (best guess was that he was looking at traffic from the left in attempt to make a right turn without stopping).

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  • J_R February 28, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    It’s not true that commenters on BP give a pass to D’s. Just check on the backlash against Democrat Rep Mitch Greenlick when he proposed not allowing kids to ride bikes or ride in trailers. That was another one that was about safety. I think it was two years ago.

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  • suicida rida March 1, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Thx for the pic john
    My new airsoft target.

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  • Edward March 1, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    i feel like this bill is really about “tort reform” from the insurance industry. It is about making sure that bicyclists who get hit at night cannot recover (I.e., they would get nothing for their medical bills, and nothing for their pain and suffering). That’s because there’s a notion in the law about liability when a person is breaking the law. if this bill becomes law, every civil defendant in a dusk till dawn lawsuit is going to respond that the accident was the bicyclist’s fault for violating the law, and they will ask judges to dismiss these suits before the juries get to hear about the facts. That’s what this is really about.

    Defense attorneys will go to court and say, “Your honor, the plaintiff bicyclist wasn’t wearing the required level of reflectivity. Legally, this is the same thing as running a red light. It is so unsafe that we have a law to prevent people from doing this. You have to dismiss the plaintiffs suit, and also, you need to enter judgment on behalf of the defendant for the dent the bicyclist caused to the auto.”

    If our good legislator was really concerned about safety, he would do better to figure out how to get all outer-ware to incorporate reflectivity into the design of the garment. There are so many rain jacket / parka / pea coat, combinations etc., which have zero reflectivity. When it is dark and/or rainy, every pedestrian is at risk of being the “unseen ninja-ghost” to car drivers. That includes drivers who have parked their cars and are crossing the street.

    I’ll also admit to being a little obsessed with reflectivity issues myself. This fall when my wife bought our sons new Columbia rain jackets for the school year I took them into the basement and tested their reflectivity. That white trim a person would presume was reflective — it wasn’t reflective at all. While our kids might have been dry, they were also very unsafe. I purchased after-market 3M reflective stickers and put them on the cuffs and various hems. Now those jackets respond to headlights, whether our kids are pedestrians crossing a street or whether they are riding their bikes. And really, short of military jackets where troops need to hide from the enemy, there’s really no reason every jacket and sweatshirt shouldn’t have at least a couple of reflective parts built into the design. Or maybe people’s shoes. Pretty much everybody wears shoes, and reflective shoes won’t ruin family photos taken with a flash.

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    • wsbob March 2, 2015 at 1:45 am

      “i feel like this bill is really about “tort reform” from the insurance industry. It is about making sure that bicyclists who get hit at night cannot recover (I.e., they would get nothing for their medical bills, and nothing for their pain and suffering). …” Edward

      That’s an interesting idea, though there doesn’t seem to be anything reported, or in Rep. Davis’s comments to bikeportland suggesting he had some nefarious motive such as that in mind. Such a potential consequence would be one to convey to Davis, towards changes to the bill’s text, to prevent such an occurrence from blocking compensation to injured parties for pain and suffering. My admittedly limited understanding of how this might work out, is that a condition could be added to the bill’s text, saying ‘Failure to display required retro-reflective material does not cancel injured parties right to compensation (etc, etc).

      From his remarks to bikeportland, it would seem that Davis believes some of the people he’s talked with, feel that vulnerable road users should accept their responsibility for their safety in using the road. Confronting people with the idea for a potential law that would go some distance towards requiring people by law to bear that responsibility, rather than relying on them to voluntarily bear it, seems to be in that vein of thought.

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  • Christopher Sanderson March 2, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I think I will use Dothraki instead.

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  • Mabsf March 2, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Do you know that there is a law forbidding it to park with 8 feet of a street corner? A law to use turning signals?
    There are a bunch of rules that would improve cycling (and driving) tremendously and would make it safer for all of us… How about we enforce those rules first and then make new ones?

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  • Edward March 2, 2015 at 10:39 am

    They don’t have to advertise it that way nor have nefarious motives. It’s just how the law works.

    Depending on who you talk to they might use terms like “per se negligence” or “comparative fault”.

    But it works like this: To recover after an accident, a plaintiff has to prove that the defendant had a duty of care, which the defendant breached, and which caused the plaintiff’s damages. In an uncomplicated case, a plaintiff usually points to how the defendant broke the law and calls it “negligence per se”. For example, if the defendant drove at night without headlights, drove the wrong way down a one way street, etc.

    If this bill were to become law, then every defense attorney in a night-bike accident case would counter-sue the bicyclist claiming the bicyclist caused the accident as a matter of law, because the bicyclist is the one who broke the law, and is the one who has to pay for the dent in the car. Or they might call it comparative fault (which for our purposes is a different vein of the same thing). But either way, the bicyclist would get nothing.

    I’m pretty sure the attorneys in town who represent injured bicyclists would agree with my analysis and they could also tell you real life stories where the defense has done just that — but didn’t (yet) have a statute to point to.

    Now did our good legislator draft this bill himself? Did he actually have the idea himself? Or was it from some insurance industry sponsored trade group? And does any of that even matter, when it’s such a lousy law?

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    • wsbob March 2, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Except that, Davis’s bill isn’t a law. At this point, it’s just amuses for a law, open to conversation, which Davis has invited, from people that ride.

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      • wsbob March 2, 2015 at 4:55 pm

        That was funny. Unintentionally. Correction: “…just an idea for a law …”

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  • Trek 3900 March 2, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    In industrial employment, employers who care for their employees and want them to go home safely at night, require them to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety glasses, gloves, hard hat, sturdy or steel toe boots, long sleeves, and high visibility clothing. It helps – many eyes have been saved, many cuts avoided, many deaths avoided because of the safety equipment.

    I don’t think a law should be passed forcing cyclists to wear certain clothing. I think cyclists should be mature enough to understand that it is in their best interest do it and should happily use gear that will protect them.

    Quote: “When I asked why he chose to focus his safety concerns on a bike-specific measure that doesn’t take into account driving behaviors,….” Comments such as this display a lack of maturity, and lack of personal responsibility, that is stunning given the number of car/bike accidents in this city alone. Driving behavior is taken into account in every motor vehicle accident and there are laws concerning driver behavior that include prison time, etc.

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    • wsbob March 2, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      “…I don’t think a law should be passed forcing cyclists to wear certain clothing. …” Trek 3900

      And that, in those simple, non scatological, non-degrading terms, is how people commenting to bikeportland that feel similarly, is the kind of way they should have responded to Davis’s idea for a bill.

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      • 9watts March 2, 2015 at 9:39 pm

        “And that[…]is the kind of way they should have responded to Davis’s idea for a bill.”
        Why? Since when do you get to decide the proper tone in which we are to respond? Are you the chancellor of the exchequer, or something?

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        • wsbob March 3, 2015 at 9:45 am

          “Why? …” watts

          So that Rep. Davis would have constructive, well reasoned feedback on the idea the bill he introduced, that he could use to possibly assemble a better bill. That, rather than the mean, hysterical rantings of many people commenting here.

          People on a grassroots level, not with the legislature, but that would like to have an effective hand in the legislative process, I think are likely to have little success in that if they choose to respond with little thought and much hostility to their legislators.

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          • 9watts March 3, 2015 at 10:27 am

            “So that Rep. Davis would have constructive, well reasoned feedback on the idea the bill he introduced, that he could use to possibly assemble a better bill.”

            But, see, I don’t want *any* bill from him. He has shown himself to be acting in bad faith, so why would I waste my time trying to help him fix his foolish conversation starter. I don’t see the problem he apparently sees.

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            • wsbob March 4, 2015 at 12:07 am

              “But, see, I don’t want *any* bill from him. …” 9watts

              Seems like Davis has done fine, regardless of what you want, or don’t want from him. He’s been elected to office, twice. Davis hasn’t acted in bad faith. You apparently don’t like his bill proposal, but that he’s presented it is not an act of bad faith. In fact, the bill he presented, may well be an act of good faith on his part in honor of requests constituents from his district have asked of him.

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      • El Biciclero March 3, 2015 at 9:55 am

        But “that” offers no rationale for why. “I don’t think it should be a law” is a non-reasoned answer. Is law merely a battle of baseless opinions? Should we pass laws just because someone feels like it, or should there be a good reason, based on ethics, data, the Constitution, the Magna Carta, the Code of Hammurabi—something other than “I think that should be a law”. If we expect proposals for laws to be reasoned and thought-out, then shouldn’t opposition to a law come with its own reasoning? If a law is flawed, we shouldn’t just say “your law is bad”, we should say why. That is what several people have been attempting to do.

        By the way, in an effort to not be disingenuous, I have to retract my objection to the fine amount in this bill. I still object to fines for bicycle offenses being the same as for motor vehicle offenses, but this bill states the maximum fine ($250), rather than the presumptive fine ($110), and is therefore at least consistent in its application of the fine schedule for a Class B violation.

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  • KristenT March 2, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    This whole “I wanted to start a conversation” thing bothers me. I know that when I start a conversation with people who are doing something that bothers me, it involves TALKING to them, not introducing legislation to punish them. For instance, when my neighbors are playing loud music after midnight on a weeknight, I’ll go over and talk to them instead of call the cops.

    I would prefer it if our elected officials would “start a conversation” by ACTUALLY STARTING A CONVERSATION, through town halls, public meetings, emails/letters sent to constituents, reaching out through social media.

    As for the bill being introduced here: Until the state and/or federal government does more to regulate the most dangerous road users out there (motorized vehicle users), through increased enforcement, increased education, increased testing for competencies– actually, items 2 and 3 apply to everyone– I can’t take this sort of thing seriously. Unless the state will take the appropriate step of not allowing “I didn’t see him/her” and “he/she came out of nowhere” as excuses for hitting a vulnerable road user, but instead prosecute and fine to the highest amount allowed by law– and increase those penalties, maybe something along the lines of automatic suspension of driving privileges, immediate loss of vehicle, and a minimum $2500 fine immediately assessed on someone who hits a vulnerable road user if this bill goes through. Plus make them pay for all medical bills and lost wages.

    I’m already doing all I can to be more visible as a bike rider and pedestrian. If I put on more reflective and high vis clothing, I’m going to be a public menace in an annoyingly bright and shiny way. Because all the gods forbid that a driver actually take responsibility to pay attention and drive appropriately for conditions.

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    • wsbob March 2, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      “… I know that when I start a conversation with people who are doing something that bothers me, it involves TALKING to them, not introducing legislation to punish them. …” KristenT

      You’re not a legislator down in Salem, Davis is. You don’t speak to your neighbors in legislative language, because that’s not how neighbors communicate with each other. The language of legislation is a big part of how legislators communicate with each other. So, Rep. Davis put together an idea for a law in the form of bill, to do exactly that. He started a conversation, at the very least, with his fellow legislators.

      Was that conversation ever expected to build the micro momentum it has here on bikeportland? Hard to say. Likely wouldn’t have if not for the inflammatory headlining and writing that bikeportland’s owner editor decided to use in his story. And which I’m sorry to see, you have decided to borrow from in your comment as well.

      In contrast, Davis in comments to bikeportland, which he granted in a personal phone call to Maus, was downright civil and even tempered. And thoughtful.

      Here was an open invitation from Davis, to bikeportland and its readers, to, among other things, offer their thoughts about vulnerable road users accepting their responsibility for their safety in using the road. Many bikeportland responding in comments to this story, have blown that opportunity, badly.

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  • Adam Herstein March 2, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    I received the following email response from Rep. Davis’ office:

    Thank you for reaching out to Representative Davis. You can be confident he reviews all constituent emails, and he appreciates your interest in this topic. Currently, HB 3255 is not scheduled for a hearing. You can review the bill at the following link: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Measures/Overview/HB3255

    If you are interested in email updates about this bill, including when it is scheduled for a hearing, please sign up at the following link: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORLEG/subscriber/new?topic_id=ORLEG_2015R1_HB3255

    We will file your email in Rep. Davis’s bill file, and when the bill is scheduled for a hearing, we encourage you to submit your testimony to the entire committee.

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  • Trek 3900 March 2, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Quote: ” Unless the state will take the appropriate step of not allowing “I didn’t see him/her” and “he/she came out of nowhere” as excuses for hitting a vulnerable road user, but instead prosecute and fine to the highest amount allowed by law– and increase those penalties, maybe something along the lines of automatic suspension of driving privileges, immediate loss of vehicle, and a minimum $2500 fine immediately assessed on someone who hits a vulnerable road user if this bill goes through. Plus make them pay for all medical bills and lost wages.”

    So, you want them to lose their car “immediately” with no due process? What if the cyclist did in fact cause the collision by “coming out of nowhere”, but says he didn’t? You want the car driver to walk home 20 miles and make payments on a car that has been taken from them – in addition to paying a $2500 fine – for an accident that wasn’t their fault? That’s what you said.

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    • El Biciclero March 3, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Wait a minute—are you taking issue with a hastily-written idea for a new law that didn’t include fully-thought-out consequences? I’m sure it was only intended to “start a conversation”.

      But seriously…the only real way to decrease the danger that drivers of cars cause to others is to increase the risk to drivers themselves. As a vulnerable road user, I’ll accept the physical risk, if we agree to put much, much more of the legal and financial risk on drivers. Sure, we may not be able to yank someone’s car out from under them on the spot, but a burden of proof on the driver to show that there was literally nothing they could have done to avoid a collision, that they weren’t talking on a phone or composing a text message, and that the vulnerable road user broke the law and actually caused the collision would be nice. If no such proof could be offered, then suspend the license for a time appropriate to the seriousness of the offense. If the driver is caught driving any car (with the knowledge of the registered owner) on a suspended license, then that car should get impounded, sold, or crushed. Just like hackers have parole conditions to stay away from computers, all convicted felons have to stay away from guns, etc., demonstrated dangerous drivers need to stay away from steering wheels, whatever that takes.

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  • Madison Wellington March 3, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I emailed our “representative” with my objections to his victim blaming bill.

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  • Jordan March 3, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Seems like an attack on low income folks.

    If you take a trip through SE Portland you’ll see a common theme, scraggly men aged 20-40 riding BMX bikes while wearing dark clothing at night.

    I’m not here to judge, but it seems like these types are your typical meth heads/metal thieves. These are the folks the bill is targeting.

    I’m of a mixed mind here, I’ve had stuff stolen at night but at the same time it seems like class warfare.

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  • Russ R March 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    wsbob
    In contrast, Davis in comments to bikeportland, which he granted in a personal phone call to Maus, was downright civil and even tempered. And thoughtful.

    Like the part where he blows off Jonathan’s question about why he didn’t support the texting/cell driving bill?
    Seems like a pretty germaine question, assuming the congressman is truly concerned about our safety and not just pandering to a certain subset of constituents.

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  • Noel March 3, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Let’s agree that being reflective at night is a good safety idea and stop feeling picked on. Why stop with bikers however? While riding at night, I have a good 800 lumen headlight. On numerous occasions, I have also nearly hit pedestrians or dogs on leashes that were not reflective, as my neighborhood in Southwest does not feature sidewalks everywhere I commute. Reflective pedestrians, runners and dogs would also be a help.

    I would like to know the definition of “reflective clothing”. One does not need to be in head-to-toe reflectors to pop out of the night. My Showers Pass jacket has reflective strips – is this enough?

    Riding in all the various winter conditions around here requires a selection of layers and outerwear. One jacket for the rain, another for the cold, layers and gloves and such. If the bill were inclusive in its definition of reflective clothing to include stick-on reflectors on bikes and tie-on strips on garments then that is something that I would not feel opposed to.

    If, on the other hand, it prescribes specific garment styles or types to wear, then that would be ridiculously unenforceable.

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  • NWDUC March 3, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    How about passing a law that restricts parking within 20 feet of an intersection.

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    • davemess March 4, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      They actually have that law already (at least for most intersections). Like most things it’s about enforcement.

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  • Allison March 3, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I obviously haven’t done (nor has anyone else, as far as I know) an analysis on this particular issue, but when looking at helmet laws and other equipment requirements for cyclists, there’s been shown to be a relationship between the level of equipment required and a discouragement of cycling (marginal, but measurable). Considering the strongest predictor of cyclist safety is actually the number of cyclists on the road and the fact that although crashes do increase after nightfall, they don’t increase *that* much suggesting that the problem isn’t necessarily visibility – that is the existence of an ability to see a cyclist – but a driver choosing to respect the rights of a cyclist or taking the time to look or being in the habit of seeing cyclists, if increasing equipment requirements may actually result in a wash or even a net-decrease in cyclist safety. I am not positing that is the case, only that it’s possible and so someone who is advocating for a change in policy should be responsible for doing such an analysis and providing evidence that the policy will do what it claims it wants to do. We can put aside whether or not the policy actually wants to do what it ostensibly is for until after we’ve done this analysis.

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  • Trek 3900 March 3, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Quote: “But seriously…the only real way to decrease the danger that drivers of cars cause to others is to increase the risk to drivers themselves. As a vulnerable road user, I’ll accept the physical risk, if we agree to put much, much more of the legal and financial risk on drivers.”

    Your first line of protection to avoid being hit by a car is to be visible. Very few car drivers will hit you on purpose – most car drivers don’t want to talk to the police about why they hit a cyclist, and they don’t like getting sued for it. If they can see you, chances are they will not hit you. It’s easy, it’s YOUR responsibility, and if you fail to live up to it, you increase the odds of getting hit. But, maybe you like the idea of being on wheels all the time – in a wheel chair. Think about THAT because that’s the direction your attitude is pushing you.

    The laws/punishments you mentioned above already exist – people get sued, pay fines, get licenses suspended, and prison time if they are negligent behind the wheel – that’s the law TODAY. How are those punishments working out for you – do you feel safe?

    The law isn’t going to punish people for making mistakes or for hitting cyclists that are hard to see. Sorry. That’s just part of the reality of driving – car drivers cannot avoid hitting objects that they see too late – whether that is a deer at night, or a cyclist in dark clothing.

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    • El Biciclero March 4, 2015 at 11:28 am

      First of all, it cannot be my responsibility to “be seen”. I cannot pry people’s eyes open and force them to look in my direction. As far as being “visible”, I myself use a 600 lumen headlight, two very bright blinking/pulsing red rear lights, a big, 2″x5″ oblong SAE-approved red reflector on my rack, and my panniers have reflective areas on them. My helmet is a garish color and also has reflective trim elements. I usually wear some bright orange/green/yellow shirt/jersey (although this morning I wore black, since I only have one wool sweater suitable for riding in 30-degree temps). That’s for daytime. At night, I switch my headlight to steady mode and usually wear a reflective sash and reflective band on my left wrist for signaling. Despite this, in full daylight, while using all the aforementioned lights and wearing bright orange, a driver attempting to make a right on red knocked me down as I attempted to cross in a crosswalk with the signal. His bumper hit my bright yellow pannier bag. Thankfully, I wasn’t injured very badly and the driver’s insurance company took responsibility. Maybe that helps clarify my “attitude” about being visible.

      Now imagine that my collision had taken place at night. Further imagine that all the circumstances were the same–lights on my bike, traffic signals, clothing—but although my shirt was bright orange, it wasn’t reflective. I am in a crosswalk, crossing with the signal, the driver is making an irresponsible right on red without even looking in my direction, and he hits me. Whose fault is it now? If this law were to pass, I would have no legal recourse because I would have been breaking the law when I got hit. Even with bright lights on my bike, at an intersection with BIKE CROSSING warning signs, streetlights, and a painted and signalized crosswalk (which is really a MUP crossing), and even though the driver was essentially proceeding against a red signal. The proposed law would serve only to let the driver completely off the hook for his irresponsibility that caused me harm—and my own reflectivity would not have helped anyway, since this driver was completely not looking.

      So now, back to why I think drivers need to have more legal responsibility. In my case, was it my responsibility to get the driver to see me before driving into me—to essentially look in the direction he was about to drive? Or should that be the driver’s responsibility? I say it should be the driver’s responsibility, legally speaking. Now, if I want to be sure I get home to the wife and kids later, I have a vested interest in watching out for drivers because they can cause me harm, even though it is their responsibility not to. Why do so many drivers perform the exact same maneuver this one did (looking left while driving right)? Because they are looking for things that will harm them, not things (or people) that they might harm. They perceive a near-zero risk to themselves from doing something that stands a statistically significant chance of being harmful to someone else. This is basic human nature that can only be countered by training.

      But why would anyone train themselves to do something that doesn’t make any difference to their own safety? Out of innate concern for their fellow man? Maybe, but if that doesn’t work, then some fear of “harm” (legal or financial) is the only card left to play. The perceived risk to the irresponsible driver must be great enough to instill the same desire to look for people they might run over as they currently have to look for things that might harm them. In the interest of full disclosure, when I was a kid I once rear-ended a guy due to this exact same behavior (I was looking left and driving right—into stopped traffic), and I have to actively monitor myself even today to be sure I am looking in the same direction I am about to launch my 4500-lb car. Nobody covered these finer points in driver’s Ed. or on the driver’s test (another area that needs to be seriously addressed—much tougher standards for getting a license in the first place).

      Hope that clears up any questions about my attitude.

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      • wsbob March 5, 2015 at 11:14 am

        “First of all, it cannot be my responsibility to “be seen”. …” bic

        It is the responsibility of all road users to be visible.

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        • 9watts March 5, 2015 at 12:45 pm

          “It is the responsibility of all road users to be visible.”

          No, it is not. It is the responsibility of all road users with the potential to visit injury upon another, due to their speed or mass, to look out for them.

          Deer? boulders? children? the blind? You would have them all be lit up like Christmas trees all the time so people in cars don’t have to be inconvenienced to actually look, pay close attention, acknowledge the danger their presence represents?

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          • wsbob April 27, 2015 at 10:15 am

            “…It is the responsibility of all road users with the potential to visit injury upon another, due to their speed or mass, to look out for them. …” watts

            Rationales drawn from “speed or mass” of motor vehicles, do not excuse vulnerable road users from bearing their share of responsibility for their own safety in using the road. Consistent with this, people using the road as vulnerable road users, have the responsibility to be visible to other road users.

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            • 9watts April 27, 2015 at 9:02 pm

              “people using the road as vulnerable road users, have the responsibility to be visible to other road users.”

              If the operators of the motor vehicles comply with speed limits Vision Zero is reviving in cities on several continents, and pay due attention to their surroundings, I don’t really think VRU visibility enhancements which you keep harping on are all that critical. I say this mostly because within the context of VZ no one is crowing for people walking and cycling to take on these extra responsibilities; the focus is consistently on the people piloting cars. I realize that you willfully disregard this, but I’m not sure why. If it makes sense to the people who are seeking to implement Vision Zero, what’s to argue?

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            • Bill Walters April 28, 2015 at 9:57 am

              Which is to say, Bob, that you haven’t yet been able to refute lines of reasoning that ground “share of responsibility” in the amount of destructive force that a road user chooses to wield. This territory has already been extensively covered, beginning right about here:

              http://bikeportland.org/2015/03/26/oregon-house-rep-gives-mandatory-reflective-clothing-bill-136181#comment-6315030

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        • El Biciclero March 9, 2015 at 5:19 pm

          Being visible and being seen are very, very different. Lacking any superpowers, I’m pretty much visible all the time for anyone bothering to look; I’m visible right now! Here are some cases from the past involving perfectly visible cyclists:

          Christeen Osborn was hit when a driver let her vehicle “drift” over the fog line. Ellen Dittebrandt was hit when a driver got sleepy and momentarily lost focus. David Apperson was hit because a driver continued driving at speed into blinding sun. Tracy Sparling was run over because she was following the law by staying in the bike lane and the geometry of the truck that hit her blocked her from view. Bret Jarolimek was hit because he was following the law by staying in the bike lane and the geometry of the big truck that hit him blocked the driver’s view. Kirke Johnson was hit because he was following the law by staying in the bike lane and the geometry of the large truck that hit him blocked the driver’s view. Kathryn Rickson was hit because she was following the law by staying in the bike lane and the geometry of the large truck that hit her blocked the driver’s view. I was hit because I was using a crosswalk as the only sanctioned street crossing for a MUP and the driver was looking the other way awaiting his opportunity to make a right turn on a red light.

          NONE of these collisions happened because the cyclist was “not visible”. They happened because the cyclist was not seen, due to some combination of legal constraints, vehicle geometry, driver behavior, or driver inattention. THESE are the problems that need fixing long before we place onerous responsibilities on cyclists and pedestrians to “be seen”.

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          • wsbob April 27, 2015 at 10:21 am

            “Being visible and being seen are very, very different. …” bic

            And being visible and being seen, is why it’s very important that people as vulnerable road users use aids by which their presence on the road can be readily detected by other road user.

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            • El Biciclero April 28, 2015 at 10:01 am

              Every one of the cyclists mentioned above was perfectly visible. I don’t think any of the incidents happened at night. The point of those examples is that “visibility”, to the extent that it could be created by those riding bikes, did not do any good in the above situations, which include many of the fatalities we’ve seen in the last several years. I would bet that “visibility”—again, to the extent to which it can be put forth by a bicyclist—played little if any role in any of the fatalities we’ve seen in the last several years.

              So, really? In response to a list of collisions, some of which were fatal, and in none of which could the cyclist have been any more “visible”, you again state how important it is to “be visible”. Really?

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  • Trek 3900 March 3, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Quote: “I obviously haven’t done (nor has anyone else, as far as I know) an analysis on this particular issue,…….”

    The particular issue of this BikePortland article (bicycle safety) has been studied ad nauseam. Here is just one study by the CDC – it says to make getting hit while riding less likely, wear reflective clothing – something that any 8 year old should understand. Read ’em and weep:

    http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Bicycle/

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    • 9watts March 4, 2015 at 6:42 am

      That little summary by the CDC looks like it was dashed off in half an hour on a Friday afternoon. It is even worse than PBOT’s campaign in as much as it entirely omits the most obvious cause; never even so much as mentions anything to do with people piloting automobiles. I can’t take seriously anything that purports to be about the safety of one class of road user that proceeds in this fashion, no matter who authored it.

      This is a textbook example of Car-head.

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      • davemess March 4, 2015 at 12:44 pm

        In science you need to have variables and constants to experiment. If it is a study that is looking at a variable (in this case reflective clothing or not), they need to have other factors be constants (in this case the car/driver).

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        • 9watts March 4, 2015 at 1:06 pm

          Except the CDC link wasn’t to a study at all; just some talking points.

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    • 9watts March 4, 2015 at 7:35 am

      “to make getting hit while riding less likely, wear reflective clothing – something that any 8 year old should understand.”

      Interestingly, the 8 year olds in Sweden and many other places will tell you that to achieve Vision Zero (which by all accounts is the most comprehensive approach to ‘not getting hit’) you need to focus on the person-in-the-car, on changing the circumstances that invite and reward dangerous behavior by this group of traffic participant. There’s nary a mention of how people walking or cycling should dress in any of the voluminous publications about Vision Zero I’ve read. Gives one pause.

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  • Trek 3900 March 3, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Quote: “If the bill were inclusive in its definition of reflective clothing to include stick-on reflectors on bikes and tie-on strips on garments then that is something that I would not feel opposed to.”

    I doubt they would mandate a certain type of clothing. There are lots of options for being seen: lights, reflective stickers on bikes/helmets, reflective clothing, reflective vests, etc. Vests are good because they cover any clothing you want to wear – wear all black – no problem if you are wearing a reflective vest over it.

    They might say the reflective material has to be so many square inches and it has to be visible from the rear, the sides, the front, etc. Perhaps lights would satisfy the reflective gear mandate. I like reflective stickers – they can be seen to the side – tires with reflective side walls are nice too. When it’s raining at night, and you are driving a car on a dark street many times you can hardly tell your car lights are on – the wet pavement can be a serious vision hazard.

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    • El Biciclero March 4, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      “There are lots of options for being seen: lights, reflective stickers on bikes/helmets, reflective clothing, reflective vests, etc. … Perhaps lights would satisfy the reflective gear mandate. I like reflective stickers – they can be seen to the side – tires with reflective side walls are nice too.”

      The law being proposed does not give “options”, it says you must do both. Lights are already required, and would not satisfy the requirements of the proposed law. Neither would reflective sidewalls or reflective stickers on one’s bike. You could have a friggin’ TRON light cycle with a glowing frame, “down-low-glow” lights, reflective rims, multiple headlights, flashing/steady/twirling/dancing tail lights, a spinning yellow emergency light on top of your helmet, and a spotlight mounted on your rack that points directly at your back, making you as visible as in daylight, but if you are not wearing reflective clothing, you would be violating this proposed law.

      Boy, I hear you about the wet pavement. I notice my bike light doesn’t illuminate the road quite as well when it’s wet. Know what I do? SLOW DOWN. But that is anathema to most drivers.

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  • Dan March 4, 2015 at 7:44 am

    Trek 3900
    The laws/punishments you mentioned above already exist – people get sued, pay fines, get licenses suspended, and prison time if they are negligent behind the wheel – that’s the law TODAY.

    This cracks me up. Sure, the laws are there, but they don’t seem to be regularly enforced.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/02/22/why_hitting_a_pedestrian_is_a_nearly_un_punishable_offense/

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    • davemess March 4, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      So why is everyone getting so fired up about a bill that is a nonexistent law (that will likely not pass)?

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      • Dan March 4, 2015 at 2:36 pm

        Because we are in favor of good laws that are enforced, rather than bad laws that may or may not be enforced.

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  • Trek 3900 March 4, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Quote: “That little summary by the CDC looks like it was dashed off in half an hour on a Friday afternoon.”

    Actually, the article has 7 footnotes that you probably paid a LOT of taxes to produce. BUT nice try – and let us know what color you’d like for your wheelchair.

    El Biciclero has a point – right on red is a hazard to cyclists – because many drivers have been driving since before most cyclists were born – we’ve developed some habits that are dangerous today with so many cyclists/peds. They worked fine for decades so breaking the habits will be tough. The problem el bicyclero cites can be eliminated by NEVER allowing peds/bikes in the crosswalk when cars are allowed to cross it. IT IS A DANGEROUS SITUATION CREATED BY THE STATE TRAFFIC GURUS. They need to fix it. Either don’t allow right on red, or don’t allow peds to cross on red. Mandatory education for license renewal would help – don’t pass laws to ruin people’s lives because someone makes an honest mistake.

    A similar situation has killed thousands of car drivers – allowing left turns across oncoming traffic with a green ball – people get in their minds that when the light turns green they should go – forgetting that they have to wait for oncoming traffic.

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    • 9watts March 4, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      “Actually, the article has 7 footnotes”

      I am well aware of that. But six of the seven were used to establish the statistical incidence of crashes by demographic group and location. Only the last one, by NHTSA, is referenced in the How to prevent crashes section we’re talking about. Here it is:
      Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasures guide for State Highway Safety Offices, 7th edition.
      The report is interesting, but unfortunately the CDC cherry picked two of the nine recommendations from the Strategies to Reduce Bicycle Crashes and Injuries list in the relevant chapter of this report that fit their preconceived narrative. They didn’t mention any of the other, rather more interesting—and balanced—conclusions. Here is the full list:

      • Increase the use of properly fitted bicycle helmets by all bicyclists, including children and adults, and the enforcement of helmet laws to increase compliance.
      • Increase the conspicuity of bicyclists.
      • Reduce distracted riding or driving behaviors (cell phones, headphones, etc.). See the chapter on distracted and drowsy driving for countermeasures targeting drivers.
      • Decrease riding or driving while impaired. See the chapter on strategies to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. Some of the countermeasures would be applicable to target any type of impaired roadway use.
      • Enact laws to facilitate safe, predictable, and efficient bicycling in traffic, to update and fill gaps in existing laws. Educate the public on any new laws.
      • Increase traffic law compliance by both motorists and bicyclists. Train law enforcement officers in appropriate enforcement strategies. In particular, decrease wrong-way riding, sidewalk riding, and traffic control violations by bicyclists; and decrease speeding, cutting off bicyclists, passing too closely, or blocking or driving in a designated bicycle lane by motorists.
      • Educate motorists and bicyclists on how they should interact safely with each other and what the relevant laws require.
      • Improve bicycle handling skills for bicyclists of all ages.
      • Tailor countermeasures to diverse populations, including groups such as recent immigrants who may not be familiar with U.S. traffic laws, the U.S. traffic environment, or may not speak or read English.

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  • Gary March 4, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    As a bike commuter, I see the biggest danger with all moving vehicles as being distracted drivers. Combine phones, coffee, cigarettes, (but mostly phones) with a large metal object moving at speed, and any smaller mass is likely to lose in a collision.

    I see DOZENS of car drivers daily who ignore the law and text/chat on their phones, and several of them have done stupid and illegal things that have almost caused me injury.

    With that said, I have always done due dilligence on my part by trying to be as visible as possible. Lights, more lights, and always reflective clothing. Being in the right won’t help you heal any faster…

    When I do drive a car, I am always baffled by bikers who (after dark) pedal in dark clothes, or without a helmet. I am really aware of bikers at all times when driving, and still have almost hit a few who are almost invisible due to missing lights or other reflective gear riding after dark. To me this is a Darwinian instinct.

    I would support this bill, but then I see it as common sense. It does not infringe on my rights or individuality. It certainly does not represent any redirection of responsibility placed on drivers to drive safely.

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    • soren March 9, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      My inner SE PDX neighborhood is positively teaming with bike ninja. And…yet…somehow…I manage to see these “invisible” cyclists.

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  • Dan March 4, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    davemess
    But to argue that all drivers and cars are out there crashing and killing people is just wrong.

    Somebody said “all drivers and cars are out there crashing and killing people”? Where?

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  • Trek 3900 March 5, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Quote: “Somebody said “all drivers and cars are out there crashing and killing people”?”
    .
    At the demolition derby maybe?
    :)

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  • ~n March 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I occasionally accept a ride offered to me by friends who own cars (I don’t own a car). I recently rode with someone who held a GPS device (non-phone) in their right hand the entire trip. At the start of it, when I asked (more like begged) if I could hold it for them, they refused, saying they ALWAYS held it and felt more comfortable driving one-handed. I was wishing I had my bike helmet for THAT ride. But that’s not all–this person told me during the ride that they thought bicyclists and pedestrians should wear reflective clothing, because they are “hard to see.”

    Sending Rep Davis’ bill my most discouraging thoughts. Same to any other bills like it around the country that refuse to first address punishing distracted drivers. Steering wheels should be built to detect two hands on the wheel, and any time a hand is gone for more than five seconds, emit a terrible siren so that cyclists can be made aware of that distracted driver.

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  • Beth March 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    This bill is a gateway drug to a helmet law, putting the onus of car-bike collisions on me because I dare to ride a bicycle on roads designed for cars. Helmet laws do exactly the same thing; and all of these punitive measures serve a much larger purpose of discouraging bicycle use on our roadways.
    If this becomes law and I get hit by a car while riding my bicycle, it can be ALL my fault for not looking like a Christmas tree on acid. Never mind any distracted or even criminally negligent behavior on the part of the car driver.
    This doesn’t even qualify as an attempt at meaningful legislation. It’s a mean-spirited attempt to reduce bicycle usage in our state, and little more.

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  • Evan March 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I will only support this if we require the same of pedestrians. Actually that’s not true. I wouldn’t support that either.

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  • Parker Knight March 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    It’s hard to find a helmet that fits my head. How do I find bigger helmets? Motorcycle helmets dont fit either.

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  • Daniel March 10, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Why not introducing a bill that would require all cyclists to use a car? That would be a real republican solution…

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  • Evan March 10, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Response to an email I sent to Rep. Davis’ office:

    Thank you for reaching out to Representative Davis. You can be confident he reviews all constituent emails, and he appreciates your interest in this topic. Currently, HB 3255 is not scheduled for a hearing. You can review the bill at the following link: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Measures/Overview/HB3255

    If you are interested in email updates about this bill, including when it is scheduled for a hearing, please sign up at the following link: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORLEG/subscriber/new?topic_id=ORLEG_2015R1_HB3255

    We will file your email in Rep. Davis’ bill file, and when the bill is scheduled for a hearing, we encourage you to submit your testimony to the entire committee.

    Rep. Davis will be amending the bill to include the presence of a rear light or reflective ankle strips as sufficient. The point is not clothing, but visibility, and currently only a rear reflector is required by Oregon law. See http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/815.280

    In the meantime, you might be interested in this study about cyclist visibility: http://bikeportland.org/2013/05/20/youre-not-as-visible-on-a-bike-at-night-as-you-think-new-study-shows-87044

    Michelle Felton
    Legislative Director
    Office of State Representative John Davis
    House District 26
    (Wilsonville, Sherwood, King City, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Aloha, Tigard, Bull Mountain)
    900 Court Street NE, H-483
    Salem, OR 97301
    Office: 503-986-1426
    Email: rep.johndavis@state.or.us
    Web: http://www.leg.state.or.us/davis/

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