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  #21  
Old 09-16-2008, 09:29 AM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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Licensing bikes and people that ride them might not be the necessary answer to the most substantial concern many road users seem to feel about the presence of bikes on the road. That concern seems to consist of frequent experiences by road users with people riding bikes that are barely visible, and that demonstrate unsafe and unpredictable behavior in traffic. However the instruction and training could be administered to the people most likely to be producing this kind of behavior with the least amount of government involvement possible, would be acceptable.

Doesn't have to be the government doing this. Doesn't have to be a big complicated bureaucracy. Honestly, I couldn't say whether or not some kids route to school is going to bring them into contact with heavy traffic. It just seems that if there's a chance that a 10 yr old kid, a 12 yr old kid, or (whatever age the person is), is going to find themselves riding in traffic, they should have some solid knowledge and experience that enables them to do so competently and safely.

I just don't think it's reliable to expect every Mom and Dad in Portland to be able to give this knowledge and experience to their kids.
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  #22  
Old 09-16-2008, 10:41 AM
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q`Tzal q`Tzal is offline
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This looks like the right place to drop off this concept:
bicyclists licensed by auto insurance companies not the government.

Pro:
> Voluntary: as is evidenced by reading any thread on licensing cyclists, mandatory cyclist registration is not a politically viable battle for now. Anything voluntary actually has a chance of being implemented.
> Support from insurance company: if you have taken a bicycle / road safety course (say something vetted by someone like League of American Bicyclists AND a local DOT) and are a paying customer then your insurance company is more likely to defend and advocate for you against the opposing insurance company. On a large scale, it is in the best interest of an auto insurance company to have fewer unsafe cyclists and drivers our there to cause liability. Profit motive moves this.
> Police Interaction: perhaps, optimistically, if at the scene of a traffic accident that a police officer responds to and the cyclist shows an insurance training card the office would be less likely to treat the cyclist as just some crack head who got what was coming to him.

Con:
> Not Free
> Training NEEDS to approved and administered : by whom? If this training is through enough it should be able to be funded directly out of money not payed out by the insurance company?
> Identification: This wouldn't make an law breaking cyclist any easier to identify. Realistically, what does being able to ID a vehicle do for a pedestrian, cyclist or a metal cage driver? Police really prefer to witness traffic infractions directly. The only way to really ID every person running a red light is to add red light cameras to every light. With facial recognition software.
> ...
> ...
> ...
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  #23  
Old 09-16-2008, 10:55 AM
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beelnite beelnite is offline
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Default Just can't jump the hurdle

Sorry to those that support this idea, nothing personal, but an emphatic NO WAY!!!!

This is what I think I think:

Licensing is for Motorists. Despite popular myth and 75+ years of building to accomodate motor vehicles - the roadway belongs to more than just cars and trucks.

I think the onus is on the person operating the heavy machinery on the public roadway. More education for drivers on how to ACCOMODATE other types of road users is what's needed.

I'm starting to believe that except for controlled access freeways built for motor vehicles only, it is the motor vehicle that is the VISITOR on my roadway.

I'm not totally there yet, because, you know I live in the real world (most of the time).


More thoughts if you care to delve further:

Echoing others, I know. But it really rang true with me the notion that licensing for motor vehicles was invented to keep them from killing horses, cyclists, cows, pedestrians and themselves --- who are legal road users.

I believe we just have to re-recognize our original intent in this country. It shouldn't be terribly difficult.

In Montana for example - even on a controlled access highway you are liable if you strike a cow and could have avoided it. People get that. Some ranchers run their herds on the highways during seasonal round up! It's what the road is for. Other vehicles are technically the visitor.

The stop sign thing in Idaho - isn't this a recognition that people using the roadway on a bicycle or walking or strolling are entitled to the road and a different set of rules provided they are not a danger to themselves or others?No questions asked? No education required.

Stop signs are for motor vehicles - they need them to keep them under control. All types of traffic control are designed to make motor vehicles predictable, correct?

I think that vehicles need to be predictable because the other things that either are (or used to be or may be one day) on the road are not.
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  #24  
Old 09-16-2008, 10:56 AM
toddistic toddistic is offline
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yep, its about that time again for a pointless thread talking about bicycle licensing. its like beating a dead horse...
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  #25  
Old 09-16-2008, 02:09 PM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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Doesn't the idea behind traffic control have a much broader purpose than to make only motor vehicles predictable? Traffic controls; stop/yield signs and lights, turn lanes, pedestrian signals.... . The intent behind all of those and more, is to make the behavior of all road users more predictable to each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beelnite View Post
Sorry to those that support this idea, nothing personal, but an emphatic NO WAY!!!!

Stop signs are for motor vehicles - they need them to keep them under control. All types of traffic control are designed to make motor vehicles predictable, correct?

I think that vehicles need to be predictable because the other things that either are (or used to be or may be one day) on the road are not.
Beelnite's mentioning of "...support this idea..." meaning the idea of licensing bikes and those that ride them, I imagine. Once again, licensing may not be the important issue so much as achieving a greater level of safe, predictable behavior in traffic amongst those that ride bikes. Of the percentage of people riding bikes for transportation on the road, if there were a greater number of them riding responsibly, predictably, and acknowledging traffic regulations, a lot of the cries for licensing we're hearing might evaporate.

There's always people that will want to whine about something. The Stanfordites might be amongst the primary contenders, but having the people that ride bikes, more consistently acknowledging other road users, and indicating to them clearly and predictably, their presence and intention on the road, would seem to likely undercut their one main point of objection.

Q`ztal's idea about insurance companies taking on bike in traffic instruction sounds fine to me, but would they have incentive to take on the task of instructing and training people below 16/yrs motor vehicle licensing age?

I'm thinking adult people with some experience riding bikes for transportation are less likely to be the people causing other road users traffic violator red flags to be raised. It's just a guess. One reason I think so, is my own personal observation of people riding bikes out here in Beaverton. There are quite a lot of apparently working type people fully equipped with commuter geek safety wear; the helmet mirror...the lights/front/back/....the orange vest or other visibility detailing. These people give full hand signals....no two second flip of the wrist kind of thing. With eye contact, they communicate visually with other road users at intersections; in the lane next to them, across the intersection, and on the cross street.

These are the kinds of things that people new to riding bikes in traffic need to know and have experience in doing before they can do it well.
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  #26  
Old 09-16-2008, 02:18 PM
jami jami is offline
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Wink my pedestrian license

i like ya wsbob, but should we get licenses to walk around, too? cars kill 40,000+ cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers every year -- that is why we require licenses. cars hurt other people. people get hurt walking and cycling, sometimes through their own negligence, but my bike has never once threatened anyone else's safety. i'm no libertarian -- i absolutely think people should be legally prevented from hurting other people. but bicycles pose almost no threat to other people.
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  #27  
Old 09-16-2008, 08:48 PM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jami View Post
i like ya wsbob, but should we get licenses to walk around, too? cars kill 40,000+ cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers every year -- that is why we require licenses. cars hurt other people. people get hurt walking and cycling, sometimes through their own negligence, but my bike has never once threatened anyone else's safety. i'm no libertarian -- i absolutely think people should be legally prevented from hurting other people. but bicycles pose almost no threat to other people.
Gosh jami, thanks for the love! Always good to hear another opinion too.

No, I can't think of any reason why we should have to "...get licenses to walk around, too... ", unless people decide to get it in their heads to move around town by walking in the main lanes of traffic with all the other non-pedestrian road users. Despite the name that I gave this thread (that referred to a suggestion made by someone responding to columnist Phil Stanford's call for licensing bikes/people who ride bikes), I don't personally consider a license for bikes/ people that ride them, to have a lot of merit.

I'm really hoping a way might be found that would go some distance to ensure that people finding the need to ride bikes in traffic, whatever their age might be, would be prepared for that through some kind of readily available, freely accessible program.

I'd like to see the greatest possible number of people that might be inclined to ride bikes in traffic participating in such a program, but I'm not sure what the best way to do this might be. Q'ztal, above, in comment #27, suggested insurance companies might be the ones to provide this service, but I wonder if that would be accessible enough to encourage widespread participation. In past, I've heard of bike clubs conducting safety courses and rides for people...I think some probably do currently....I believe the BTA has something like that going on.

It seems like something neighborhood based would pack more punch; if for example, the local grocery store did it as a kind of promotional effort. To me, that would especially make sense from the standpoint that some of the people to whom some the effort would be directed are younger riders. The grocery store connection would be a logical thing because this is one of the places parents are going to be likely to accompany their kids to on bikes, or allow them to ride alone if they think they've got the skills to do it safely. It shouldn't just be for kids...for young adults and older people too. The instruction trips can be centered around destinations that are more relative to their interests. That means coffee shops and brew pubs could possibly be persuaded to sponsor 'ride in traffic with competence' type courses.

It shouldn't just be a one weekend and forget about it course either. Maybe something like 4 weekends...2 hrs each...with a 1 hr ride making up part of that time; study, with a written test accompanying it. Then, ride-a-rounds with small groups of 4-5, one of them being experienced, to.... . Well I'll have to admit this sounds too complicated to ever work. Something's got to though.

Last edited by wsbob; 09-16-2008 at 09:22 PM.
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  #28  
Old 09-17-2008, 07:30 AM
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beelnite beelnite is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
Doesn't the idea behind traffic control have a much broader purpose than to make only motor vehicles predictable? Traffic controls; stop/yield signs and lights, turn lanes, pedestrian signals.... . The intent behind all of those and more, is to make the behavior of all road users more predictable to each other.
Well - Not exactly wsbob - I'm starting to doubt this notion as valid (in a larger philosophical/historical context) though I probably should agree that that is it's purpose today. I guess what I am suggesting is that the purpose of traffic control was originally to make motor vehicles and only motor vehicles "predictable" so the rest of "us" could keep on using the roadway the way we were. We're talking turn of the last century here.

If we want to jog down the middle of the street, perhaps we should be able to. If I want to saddle up Trigger and ride on into downtown via Burnside maybe I should be able to. It's on the motor vehicle to watch out.

Of course I can have that opinion all I want I guess to no effect, because the limiting factor (besides "reality") is we've passed laws about traffic obstruction.
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  #29  
Old 09-17-2008, 09:56 AM
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djasonpenney djasonpenney is offline
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Talking If Idiots are Outlawed Only Idiots will...ummm...

(No, I'm not referring to you, Bob. I'm talking about people who get themselves and others killed in traffic.)

Re: the idea behind traffic control. Think about it. Did 18th century New York City have traffic lights? Did 16th century London have traffic lights? Did second century Rome have traffic lights? Heck, did nineteenth century New York City have stop signs?

How in the world did these cities manage to thrive? Answer: it was the advent of motor vehicles that made these forms of traffic control necessary. Motor vehicles are heavy, loud, and operate at speeds too fast for human reaction times.

Now, we all recognize the value of motor vehicles. I sure wouldn't want to have my ice cream delivered to the grocery store by horse drawn wagon. However, I still feel that traffic control devices are there to keep motor vehicles from killing us and each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
Doesn't the idea behind traffic control have a much broader purpose than to make only motor vehicles predictable?
<snip>
__________________
ORS 811.065 (1)(a):

The driver of a motor vehicle may only pass a person operating a bicycle by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. For the purposes of this paragraph, a “safe distance” means a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane of traffic....

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  #30  
Old 09-17-2008, 08:04 PM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beelnite View Post
I guess what I am suggesting is that the purpose of traffic control was originally to make motor vehicles and only motor vehicles "predictable" so the rest of "us" could keep on using the roadway the way we were. We're talking turn of the last century here.
Beelnite, when you first brought this point up in an earlier comment, I didn't quite get what you were driving at (no bad pun intended!). Then, with your most recent comment on that point, my first thought was that I agree with you completely....as far as horse and buggy days at the beginning of the last century are concerned.

I got to thinking a little more about that though. It's not just the motor vehicle's inherent potential for harm to vulnerable road users that probably brought about traffic controls. Traffic controls were also likely to have been brought about in part by density of traffic. Ever seen any pictures of downtown Portland streets or other even bigger cities around the beginning of the last century? They had horse and wagon traffic jams back then. Heavy horse drawn rigs killed and injured people then, just like motor vehicles do today, but at a slower high end speed in some cases.

Maybe you or someone else knows history and is familiar with how those kinds of traffic problems were handled. I figure police officers were probably assigned to direct traffic to some extent.

Also, similar in some respects to the demands of driving today, drivers of horse drawn rigs likely had to resort to some form of standardized, predictable way to negotiate their way down busy streets, indicating to drivers of other horse drawn rigs, their intent to turn, stop, go. With the invention of electricity, a lot of the need for indicating intent on the road went by the wayside. I wouldn't be suprised at all if some cities required some form of license from its drivers of horse drawn rigs. If not for safety reasons, for the money honey. Horse drawn rigs, especially on unpaved streets means lots of maintenance someone's got to pay for, somehow.
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