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  #1  
Old 08-21-2008, 08:31 AM
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Exclamation Posting from Ray Thomas We All Should Read

and consider...
http://www.stc-law.com/strategies.html

Last edited by K'Tesh; 08-21-2008 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:59 AM
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Thomas talks about becoming aware of anger on the part of jurists towards people riding bikes that he believes didn't exist in the past. I wonder if he has any idea when this anger first started to significantly appear.

Regarding public irritation with cyclists, reading what San Francisco anti-bike plan activist Ron Anderson has to say about that city's rude, obnoxious, unsafe bike riding people is worthwhile too. district 5 diary San Francisco anti-bike plan activist Ron Anderson

All of this blowing stop signs, ignoring traffic laws and flipping people off sort of thing carries a heavy price. People are fed up with that crap. It's worse when people on bikes do this, because unlike people enclosed in their cars, it's possible to see exactly who the person on the bike is.
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:03 AM
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Exclamation Anger from motorists is real folks...

Here's the same article... linked to from above...

http://www.stc-law.com/strategies.html

Quote:
Strategies Regarding Public Irritation With Bicyclists
By Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas is a Portland bike lawyer.

Examine the letter section of local newspapers or listen in on commentary on a.m. radio talk shows and the emergence of a new group of people becomes visible - folks who openly dislike bicycle riders. As the number of bicyclists (and their perceived political muscle) has increased, more and more citizens have come forward to denounce boorish, illegal, elitist, rude, and/or threatening behavior of bicyclists.

It is a little ironic that in spite of the view of us as bullies on the road, we are still also subject to all of the same old dangers that faced us before we increased our numbers. Oblivious drivers fail to notice our presence, or fail to acknowledge our right to be on the road even if we are noticed, these failures are still the cause of the majority of car/bicyclist accidents.

There is also an underlying shift in popular attitudes toward people on bikes that appears to identify certain shared experiences with bicyclists as emblematic of bicycle riders in general. Blowing through stop signs, giving people the finger, holding back traffic and erratic riding are now firmly planted in the minds of many drivers as the “group personality” of bicyclists. These drivers tighten their jaws as they drive past us, avoiding eye contact or any interaction that may expose them to our critical review or possible abuse.

A strain of resentment that somewhat contributes to this picture is the commonly held view that bicyclists believe they are superior to beings not on two wheels. Some folks view bicyclists as showoffs who wear loud colors and tight outfits to attract attention (conspicuity being at least part of the point), and since bicyclists seem to become so easily upset over the littlest things, it is best to just try and ignore them for the most part.

Unfortunately, this backlash to the bicycle movement has made its way into the jury box. Since jurors are drawn from voter and driver license lists, people on juries tend to include folks who are able to leave their jobs or home routines and serve for as long as a case takes to finish. Juries are composed of people who reflect area demographics and attitudes – the majority of jurors identify with car drivers and do not ride bicycles in traffic.

Lawyers who represent injured people (personal injury lawyers) have been heard to publicly complain about the negative attitudes they encounter within the jury box in bicycle cases. A recent posting to a lawyer list serve included the observation that a Multnomah County jury had recently made every call on the important issues in a trial in favor of a car driver over an injured bicyclist; the lawyer was complaining that the bike rider lost every judgment call – including the ones the bicyclist should have won. He concluded that it seemed like there was a lot of anger “out there” against bicycle riders.

My view is that there was never much anger demonstrated toward bicyclists by jurors in the past; most people identified themselves as former or present bike riders. Ignorance about riding, not anger, was the main impediment to clear understanding of the issues. Present attitudes by jurors are reported to be more skeptical and conservative with analyzing legal issues. Conventional wisdom among lawyers now is to view bicycle cases as being somewhat difficult. Given a choice between a bicyclist client with a broken arm and a service worker or school bus driver with the same injury received in a car accident there is little question that most lawyers would rather represent the non-bike rider in front of a jury.

When trial lawyers report that bicyclists are losing cases that should be won, we must respond or lose the hard won progress that got so many people on bikes in Oregon in the first place. There are many things we can do to improve our image in the minds of people. Not running stop signs, flipping people off, or yelling is a good start. But there are other ways as well. All of us should also become jurors as often as we are called upon to do it. The views of experienced riders give important experience and perspective to the jury.

Third, we must recognize that the law provides legal recognition of rights to the roadway that are misunderstand or otherwise not recognized by many motorists. Our obligation as bike advocates is to use the law to its fullest to obtain legal protection for other bicycle riders. In bike injury cases, one available procedural legal remedy is issue preclusion. Where the law is clear and there is no factual dispute for the jury, the court will entertain a motion for summary judgment which if successful results in an instruction to the jury to accept certain things as proven. Fear that the jury may be prejudiced against a particular party is a good reason to use issue preclusion to clear away potential hurdles to a fair recovery.

Article is too long to fit... Continued in part 2.
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:04 AM
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Default Strategies Regarding Public Irritation With Bicyclists... pt 2

Continued from pt 1

Quote:
Strategies Regarding Public Irritation With Bicyclists pt 2

Portland rider Kat Iverson’s case provides a good example. She was riding and pulling a trailer on NW 143d Street in Portland early one December evening when an overtaking motorist struck her from behind. She received multiple fractures and serious injuries. The driver claimed through his lawyer that the accident occurred because Kat had failed to follow the law requiring every rider to stay as far to the right as practicable on the roadway. Lawyer Rick Klingbeil in our office made a good aggressive move on her behalf in preparing a motion for summary judgment on the issue. Rick’s legal analysis was based on ORS 814.430 (what I have labeled as the “Bicyclists’ Bill of Rights” in the book Pedal Power). The law provides that a person need not ride as far to the right as practicable, even if other vehicles are forced to slow down in order to accommodate the bicyclists’ use of the lane, “to avoid unsafe operation in a lane on the roadway that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side.” Rick reasoned that under the facts of this accident, Kat had no obligation to move her bike and trailer to the far right side of the lane because it would only invite overtaking car drivers to attempt to pass by in an area where there was insufficient room to do it safely. Thus, she had a legal right to maintain her position in the road until the road became wider.

Rick’s concern was that while the law provides a sound legal basis for Kat to take the lane, many people still refuse to recognize the legitimacy of bicycles occupying part of the roadway. Successful use of issue preclusion to reduce Kat’s vulnerability to a wrong-headed legal analysis would remove this issue from jury consideration so that instead their analysis would focus on the real fact and legal issues in the case, such as injuries and damages.

In preparation for the motion, Rick retained a traffic engineer to study the roadway. Measurements established that the lane where the accident occurred was not wide enough for two vehicles to pass safely side by side. Since the road was in a no passing zone, the width of the lane would be determinative in establishing whether there was sufficient room such that the bicyclist could be found to be responsible for failing to leave enough road for the car driver. When the engineer measured the width of the lane, he found it was 9 feet 3 inches, instead of the more usual standard of twelve feet; the measurements conclusively demonstrated that the lane was too narrow for safe side by side travel. Rick’s motion was argued in court and granted by the judge – the defense of improper lane usage was stricken from the case. Now the jury that ultimately hears the case will not be provided with this defense on the jury verdict form and the judge will instruct the jury that Kat complied fully with this law.

Bicycle advocates have a new dilemma. Bicycle advocacy must include a message which addresses the anger felt by many people toward bike riders. While it may be impossible to remove every bad image in people’s memories, there is the opportunity to dilute negative experiences involving bike riders by making positive behaviors greatly outnumber the negative experiences. Every bike rider contributes in his or her own way, and style, to these points of contact with motorists. Until we move beyond the present uneasy balance of power on the roadway, bicycle riders will continue to be viewed with suspicion, fear, and ignorance by some drivers.

814.430. Improper use of lanes; exceptions; penalty.

(1) A person commits the offense of improper use of lanes by a bicycle if the person is operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic using the roadway at that time and place under the existing conditions and the person does not ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.

(2) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is not operating a bicycle as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway under any of the following circumstances:

(a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle that is proceeding in the same direction.

(b) When preparing to execute a left turn.

(c) When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or other conditions that make continued operation along the right curb or edge unsafe or to avoid unsafe operation in a lane on the roadway that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side. Nothing in this paragraph excuses the operator of a bicycle from the requirements under > ORS 811.425 or from the penalties for failure to comply with those requirements.

(d) When operating within a city as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of a roadway that is designated to allow traffic to move in only one direction along the roadway. A bicycle that is operated under this paragraph is subject to the same requirements and exceptions when operating along the left curb or edge as are applicable when a bicycle is operating along the right curb or edge of the roadway.

(e) When operating a bicycle alongside not more than one other bicycle as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

(f) When operating on a bicycle lane or bicycle path.

(3) The offense described in this section, improper use of lanes by a bicycle, is a Class D traffic infraction.


We need to protect ourselves. We need to educate those around us who may cause us harm, either through their actions causing reputation problems, or those that might actually cause physicical injury.

I can't STRONGLY enough encourage all of you to participate in one of the BTA's Legal clinics.

Knowledge is POWER!!!
K'Tesh
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Last edited by K'Tesh; 08-21-2008 at 09:47 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-21-2008, 10:12 AM
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Attornatus_Oregonensis Attornatus_Oregonensis is offline
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Default Feeling's mutual

I'm fed up with motorists who don't understand ORS 814.430. People tend not to be polite when you deny them basic rights to public space and do so by putting them at risk of serious injury or death. As long as motorists continue to do this, they can expect to keep seeing and hearing angry cyclists.

And you folks who think "we" cyclists are all "ambassadors" who "represent" the group of people known as "bicyclists" need to think about whether you'd apply that same logic to other social groups. Do you represent all motorists when you're driving? Does your public behavior represent all white women (or whatever social category you are part of)? Would you like people to give you that obligation? It's poor logic. The only person we are ever, or can ever, be responsible for is ourself.

And here's something else for you to consider: What do you propose to do about the folks who ride bikes and act like idiots? How are you going to stop that? I'd seriously love to hear some ideas for that. The only plausible one I've heard is peer pressure. That doesn't seem to be working.
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:37 AM
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a.O, always the angry self righteous guy. So you're fed up. Based on what the highly upsetting examples having been presented to them daily by people on bikes, the non-biking public is going to think what they think about people riding bikes on city streets despite what you think.

They're not going to concede to a rational, factual explanation that it's only a small percentage of people on bikes that are lawless, rude and obnoxious. Until it becomes clear to them that people riding bikes for transportation are contributing positively to a safe transportation environment, even helping to improve driving conditions for motor vehicle operators, they will hold on the sense that bicycles are an unnecessary aggravation and an unsafe intrusion into a motor vehicle world.

Regardless of their legal rights to the road, it's this psychological and cultural obstacle on the part of the non-biking public that people supporting expanded use of bikes for transportation have to effectively confront.

Look at this SF anti-bike plan activist Rob Anderson for example. His viewpoint might seem knee-jerk reactionary at first glance, but upon reading parts of his blog, it's clear there's more there. He's fairly intelligent. Still, as a pedestrian, when he sums up the behavior of all the people that ride bikes on SF streets, what kind of people riding bikes come to his mind? The dare-devil messengers. The people that blow stop signs, that flip people off and so forth. All the peaceful bike commuters don't even get a mention.

Regardless of what rights people on bikes have to the road, the cold reality is that people driving motor vehicles are the majority. They drive the heavier, more dangerous vehicles. The greatest percentage of public support likely favors motor vehicles over bikes; the people that drive them, the behavior of the people in traffic that drive them and the supporting infrastructure.

The bike riding public has got to improve its public face. Peer pressure applied to help eliminate irresponsible, dangerous and lawless riding in public is one of the tools that can do a better job than it has been, of improving its public face. Toning down the lawless bravado that some people that ride bikes like to display and encourage in others, is part of this; the wholesale disregard of stop signs and signals, improper lane changes, inadequate lighting, U-lock 'self-defense'/vigilantism.

A more effective tool in reducing poor biking behavior will be an increasing self perception amongst people, novice and also veterans to biking as transportation, that it is not their right to flagrantly disregard rules of the road that people driving motor vehicles have been obliged to acknowledge for years by penalty of law exacted through licensing. People have to police themselves out of a sense of responsibility and concern for the safety of other people on the road in addition to themselves. There can not be enough paid police officers to hang around trying to catch lawbreakers on bike and in cars.
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:45 AM
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wsbob, always the pathetic, hand-wringing apologist.

Didn't answer either of my questions, just more name-calling and personal attacks.

Last edited by Attornatus_Oregonensis; 08-21-2008 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:48 AM
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Like it or not, we are representing. We are the minority. Think about perceptions of other minorities in this country. They are representing, too. And probably like it about as little as we do, but there you are.
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:53 AM
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Default Like it or not

Like it or not, I am not representing. I refuse to be held responsible for others' stereotypes. And there is nothing you can do to make me take responsibility for such stupidity. Like it or not.
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:24 PM
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Default I'm with AO on this

My behaviour on my bike is situational and personal

I no more represent married overweight fathers of two than I do the "biking community"

I subscribe to no tribe

Asking me to toe some imagined line of behavior because someone thinks I represent them is more than a bit silly. I think it skirts the borders of naive and arrogant. Naive to think anyone can control with certainty the actions of others and arrogant to think I would accept admittance into any club that would have me.

Everytime I see this argument, I replace "riders" with "drivers" and it becomes obvious to me.

(Odd side note, I was riding home with a visiting Belgian last night and he kept blowing reds. "What's the fine for doing that back home?" I asked. "On a bike?" he scoffed. "Nothing. Where I come from, cycling is a religion.")
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