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View Full Version : Right of way and Driver Education


Tbird
10-22-2007, 05:07 PM
After the sad incidents of the last 2 weeks the discussion of cyclist's right of way while in the bike lane keeps coming up. We all know that cyclists 'technically' have ROW while in the bike lane, but do most motorists know this?
I'd think not. It seems many cyclists might not even know the rules. So it's no surprise when Mr./Mrs. Leadfoot are stunned to find you or I cruising along in the bike lane while they are trying to turn right.
The same is true regarding 'bike blvds'; a great idea, but most motorists have no clue that those streets are designated for cyclists and local residents.
This kind of ignorance is the fault of our city officials. Don't get me wrong, I think most motorists are out get us, but perhaps they would behave differently if they knew the rules, and the rules were actually enforced!

I think we need an education campaign based on PSA ads, stronger signage and markings, physical separation in high risk areas paired with better enforcement from the PPB.
Where do we go from here?

zeldabee
10-23-2007, 08:50 AM
Enforcement is the key. If cyclists' ROW in bike lanes (or in any situation where the cyclist would happen to have ROW) is enforced, motorists will have some reason to even store the information in their brains. Otherwise, they just won't, or so it seems to me.

You know, the right-on-red thing still screws me up, both as a cyclist and as a driver. I've been here almost 3 years, and I'm still not used to it. As a motorist, I still sometimes forget that I'm allowed to do it, and as a cyclist, it seems to me that motorists take for granted that they have the right to turn right ahead of me, or to jump the gun on the green light regardless of the fact that I'm there ready go straight. I think the right-on-red rule seems to increase driver aggression. There's this whole entitlement thing going on.

Haven_kd7yct
10-23-2007, 09:58 AM
Speaking of entitlement...

:)

But seriously, folks, what's the problem everyone seems to have with education?? I'm not just talking about drivers here, either. What's the problem cyclists have with being asked to learn and be tested on the rules of the road, same as motorists?

I mean, since we're using the roads with motorists who have, presumably, taken and passed a driver's test, why shouldn't we be tasked with the same sort of requirement?

And I don't want to hear about how "having to take a test and get a license to ride will keep people off bikes" and "bikes are the last piece of freedom we have from the Man" or things like that. I've read it a lot of times here.

Alternatively, what's the problem people have with the idea of all road users being required to follow the same rules, and be educated on those rules before using the roads with the rest of us?

I'm really curious, I'm not trying to piss people off or start a flame war.

Psyfalcon
10-23-2007, 10:19 AM
Cars are inherintly more dangerous to the public. Thats why we have licencing requirements. Before that, it was your legal right to drive you horse, carriage or bike down the road. With the low danger to the public, it would just be inconviniencing bikers. The saftey of the biker flying through the intersection illegally does not really matter to me. I would guess that all know red means stop, and they are still willing to test natural selection (Does the daring biker get the girl or get flattened? )

I do vaguely remember back in school some sort of video telling you how to ride a bike in traffic. We thought it was crazy, why bother ride on the right when 90% of our roads saw only local traffic. More education seems to be good, likely in schools. Add it to HS driver training too, how not to run over bikes since young males seem to be the biggest problem (hormones may overcome training, but it might be worth a shot).

Lastly, as far as licensing, there is much more grey area in bike law. In Beaverton, I can ride on the sidewalk. In downtown Portland I can not. I can in east Portland through. None of this is signed. What about Eugene or Corvallis or Baker City in eastern Oregon? A test would have to be statewide.

Tbird
10-23-2007, 02:29 PM
All good comments above.
I am really at my wits end with this. I love living here, and I know it's better for cyclists than almost anyplace in the US, but that still doesn't means it's good. I came back here from a year in Holland last December. I was stunned to find the city I had loved to ride my bike around was really dangerous. I know it didn't change. I had.
In Holland I saw first hand what life could be like when our society values each other as much as we value our cars. Facts are most Uh'meriKKKans place a higher value on their car than on a stranger or even on their own health. They're whiners to boot. I guess I'm whining now too.
Fortunately Sam's Town Hall meetings are going on this week.
Let's get out there and demand safer streets, more education, accountability for our actions behind the wheel, and above all enforcement by the PoPo!

-patrick
10-23-2007, 03:10 PM
Most motorists are out to get us?

No. Hardly anyone actually wants to run over a cyclist.

I do not believe the two recent unfortunate incidents (THREE, counting the serious injury on Marine Drive) represent any negligence on the motorists' part. Yes, the letter of the law gives us the right of way in the bike lane, but we ARE hard to see, and the solution is to ride defensively and not assume you have been seen.

Do not pull up alongside large vehicles that you know have limited vision at our level. You can wait behind them.

And watch your speed on places like Interstate Avenue. Remember, you need some space and time to react if something does go wrong. It is essentially the same advice as not following the car in front of you too closely when driving.

I commuted on TV Highway in the dark for 3 and 1/2 years. Opportunities to get killed abounded. But I lived because I am alert, cautious, and careful.

My mantra: NOBODY owns my safety but me.

It is an imperfect world, but our own decisions can go a long way to mitigating the danger.

Tbird
10-23-2007, 03:36 PM
whether they even realize it or not, most motorists are out to get us.
Case in point: today while riding to work, my boss was almost right hooked by a motorist who tailgated him along for a while (cars parked on both sides, no place for him to let her by) then sped past only to stop and throw it in reverse for parking space just a few yards after passing him. After he gave her a WTF? She replied, "I put my blinker on, what else do you expect me to do, wait for you to pass?"
They' re out to get us!

Riding defensively is a no brainer, I do it, sounds like you do it, and I believe most folks (not all of course) do it. The problem lies in the mentality of what I call "auto primacy" or cars first. The idea that it is solely our responsibility as cyclists to watch out for the motorist, just because they could kill us by means of sheer mass. The paradigm must shift. Motorists need to be retrained to begin to yield to the most vunerable.

I'm not trying to start flame war here. I want us to begin a discussion on how to shift the pardigm

-patrick
10-23-2007, 04:12 PM
... no, the vast majority of motorists are not out to get us.

Some may be impatient; some may be ignorant; some may be oblivious; but VERY few want to hit a cyclist.

The over heated rhetoric suggesting they are laying in wait for us really does not help anything.

You can ride as if they are out to get you, and that is arguably a GOOD thing; but an US vs. THEM attitude is not going to help.

I believe cycling will continue to get safer over time. Motorists are MORE aware of cyclists than they were a few years ago. They will be even more aware in the future.

But when it comes down to it, I can only control the actions and behavior of one person out there on the streets: Myself.

I am going to do the things which I believe increase my chances of survival.

If that means I occasionally get cheated out of my rightful right-of-way, I can live with that...

I suspect our views are really very close. But I do think how we say things does matter.

Your boss had an unpleasant encounter with a motorist today. How many motorists did he share the road with that he did not have trouble with?

Attornatus_Oregonensis
10-23-2007, 05:17 PM
Is anyone interested in helping draft a petition to Potter/Kruger requesting enforcement of the law that motorists yield to cyclists in a bike lane?

Tbird
10-23-2007, 05:26 PM
a.O hit me a pm.
My partner's an attorney, we were talking about this exact thing last night.
I'll put in what ever it takes as long as there are legal eagles( sorry) to make sure it passes muster.

toddwaddell
10-23-2007, 07:44 PM
Speaking of entitlement...

:)

But seriously, folks, what's the problem everyone seems to have with education?? I'm not just talking about drivers here, either. What's the problem cyclists have with being asked to learn and be tested on the rules of the road, same as motorists?

I mean, since we're using the roads with motorists who have, presumably, taken and passed a driver's test, why shouldn't we be tasked with the same sort of requirement?

And I don't want to hear about how "having to take a test and get a license to ride will keep people off bikes" and "bikes are the last piece of freedom we have from the Man" or things like that. I've read it a lot of times here.

Alternatively, what's the problem people have with the idea of all road users being required to follow the same rules, and be educated on those rules before using the roads with the rest of us?

I'm really curious, I'm not trying to piss people off or start a flame war.

I really believe that there should be a licensing option for urban cyclists. There's a huge difference between riding in one's neighborhood as a kid and riding in traffic, let alone, riding downtown. There should be a highly visible and accessible education program that leads to licensing.

The message should be clear: "Please bike around Portland, but learn how to bike safely and share the road."

jami
10-24-2007, 02:30 PM
a_O, i'll sign said petition in a heartbeat. i'm appalled that rather than do his job and *enforce* the law broken in both these fatal crashes, kruger decided he's a lawmaker who should *change* the law. yes, drivers who kill cyclists are probably pretty sympathetic figures when police arrive on the scene, but their sadness is no excuse whatsoever for breaking the law.

i'd love to see driver's ed improved, more accurate media coverage, and some psa's, but at a minimum, existing laws need to be enforced when a driver breaks them and kills a cyclist.

portland mom
10-24-2007, 05:07 PM
I seem to remember growing up that there are specific rules reguarding bicycle safety riding in the same direction as traffic,obeying traffic signs and lights, walking your bicycle across the crosswalk (not being in the traffic turn lane) wearing a helmet, and you used to be able to get your bicycle safety checked and registered thru the fire department, these rules and in some cases have not changed in 30 years......I am truly sorry for the recent terrible tragidies, needless, but here is also another issue on the flipside, when a vehicle becomes diabled, is pulled over to the curb and is waiting for assistance does that give the right to a cyclist to cuss out the motorist and kick their vehicle because the cyclist would rather ride by the curb than in the bike lane? I really don't think so, and yes my family and I are cyclist in addition to motorist but we do follow the above rules because that's the way we were taught and have taught our son the same.

ephany
10-24-2007, 05:35 PM
I'll sign it.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
10-24-2007, 06:15 PM
We're working on something (petition letter) that we hope to have ready in the next couple of days. Thanks for your interest.

Psyfalcon
10-24-2007, 06:46 PM
I seem to remember growing up that there are specific rules reguarding bicycle safety riding in the same direction as traffic,obeying traffic signs and lights, walking your bicycle across the crosswalk (not being in the traffic turn lane) wearing a helmet, and you used to be able to get your bicycle safety checked and registered thru the fire department, these rules and in some cases have not changed in 30 years......I am truly sorry for the recent terrible tragidies, needless, but here is also another issue on the flipside, when a vehicle becomes diabled, is pulled over to the curb and is waiting for assistance does that give the right to a cyclist to cuss out the motorist and kick their vehicle because the cyclist would rather ride by the curb than in the bike lane? I really don't think so, and yes my family and I are cyclist in addition to motorist but we do follow the above rules because that's the way we were taught and have taught our son the same.

1. No one is talking about disabled vehicles. We're talking about improperly making turns through the bike lane or even delivery trucks who fail to stay out of the bike lanes.

2. As far as I can tell, most "Bike lanes" are right next to the curb, with the exception on those around on street parking (ie SW Broadway).

portland mom
10-24-2007, 08:34 PM
in the North Portland area MOST of all the bike lanes are far enough from the curb that vehicles park at the curb so the bike lanes are to the left of a vehicle.........I didn't mean to ruffle your feathers.........WE all need to be more considerate cyclist too......don't be in the traffic turn lanes (clearly marked left turn lanes) a bicycle cannot go the speed of a motor vehicle.....OLD RULES AND LAWS cross bikes at the crosswalks. CONSIDERATION ON ALL PARTS and yes a vehicle owner DOES have the right to not have their property damaged by a cyclist WHO thinks they're in their way because they CHOOSE not to use the bike lane provided.

donnambr
10-24-2007, 10:15 PM
don't be in the traffic turn lanes (clearly marked left turn lanes) a bicycle cannot go the speed of a motor vehicle.....OLD RULES AND LAWS cross bikes at the crosswalks. CONSIDERATION ON ALL PARTS and yes a vehicle owner DOES have the right to not have their property damaged by a cyclist WHO thinks they're in their way because they CHOOSE not to use the bike lane provided.
How do you suggest I make a left turn then? From the bike lane on the right side of the road? Tell you what, if you can find a police officer that can show me where in the Oregon Revised Statues it states that it is illegal for me to make a left turn - as well as show me where I am required to use a crosswalk while riding my bicycle - I will be more than happy to comply with the law.

For that matter, here are the Oregon Revised Statues Chapers 811 (http://www.paperadvantage.org/ORS/811.html) & 814 (http://www.paperadvantage.org/ORS/814.html). You seem to know so much about Oregon traffic law - why don't you show me where it states I may not use a left turn lane because I cannot match the speed of a motor vehicle. Please also point out exactly where it says I must use a crosswalk to ride my bike across a street.

Haven_kd7yct
10-25-2007, 11:34 AM
ToddWaddell and -patrick, thank you. I was beginning to think all the moderate, considerate, compassionate (as in, willing to see other sides of an issue than one's own) cyclists were hiding and I was going to have to go it alone.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: EDUCATION. And not just for the motorists, but for the cyclists.

For proof of the need of education for ALL cyclists, see the discussion between Portland mom and Donnambr.

Can anyone else answer my question as posed in my prior post?

Tbird
10-25-2007, 12:13 PM
Haven_
I'll try to answer, at least from my perspective.

I am definately in favour of all road users having some education. I think I'd even like to see some form of cyclist lisencing, I know it's not popular, or even do-able given our current state of affairs but I' still think there is a benefit.

Education is key, on both sides of the street(pun intended).

We as the cycling community need to police our own.
If you see someone riding in a dangerous or beligerent way speak up. I don't mean the 'helmet theing' either. I mean running reds, cutting off cars, KICKING a car etc.

Sorry if I haven't seemed so moderate in this discussion. As -patrick stated we are close in views, I guess my emotions have taken my objectivity in this case. I really don't think I can forgive $hitty motorists any longer. We ( all of us ) have excused them for too long.

portland mom
10-25-2007, 03:54 PM
How do you suggest I make a left turn then? From the bike lane on the right side of the road? Tell you what, if you can find a police officer that can show me where in the Oregon Revised Statues it states that it is illegal for me to make a left turn - as well as show me where I am required to use a crosswalk while riding my bicycle - I will be more than happy to comply with the law.

For that matter, here are the Oregon Revised Statues Chapers 811 (http://www.paperadvantage.org/ORS/811.html) & 814 (http://www.paperadvantage.org/ORS/814.html). You seem to know so much about Oregon traffic law - why don't you show me where it states I may not use a left turn lane because I cannot match the speed of a motor vehicle. Please also point out exactly where it says I must use a crosswalk to ride my bike across a street.

I never at any time I said I knew "so much about Oregon Law" if you were able to read I said that these SAFETY RULES had not changed in 30 years and I do feel that, that is unfortunate.........but you cannot travel at a safe speed to be in a left turn lane.....that is a fact

portland mom
10-25-2007, 03:59 PM
Tbird
thank you.........Education is the key for ALL, cyclist and motorist alike, also consideration..........contrary to what donnambr may believe I myself do watch out for and respect cyclists.........my family and I are both

toddistic
10-25-2007, 08:59 PM
get off your high horse Portland_mom

donnambr
10-25-2007, 10:32 PM
I never at any time I said I knew "so much about Oregon Law" if you were able to read I said that these SAFETY RULES had not changed in 30 years and I do feel that, that is unfortunate.........but you cannot travel at a safe speed to be in a left turn lane.....that is a fact
What exactly are SAFETY RULES? Where do they come from? Who exactly determines that they are safe? Where are the statistics that show fewer collisions from following SAFETY RULES as opposed to traffic law? My dad told me when I was a kid that the safe thing to do was ride a bike on the wrong side of the road. Is that what you mean by a SAFETY RULE? What I've noticed works well the vast majority of the time is when I ride predictably and legally. The only exceptions I've found are when I have to face travelling in the handful of dangerous, poorly designed bike lanes in our city and greater metro area. I'm sorry that the traffic laws in this state are so frightening for you. Maybe you should be writing your state representative about introducing legislation to incorporate these SAFETY RULES into the Oregon Revised Statutes. I would suggest that you might be better off driving you car more often since bike riding seems so scary for you, but the thought of what your SAFETY RULES might be for driving a motor vehicle makes my anxiety levels shoot through the roof.