ODOT’s paint policy leaves riders wounded

Posted by on October 25th, 2005 at 2:51 pm

Check out this recent comment to my “Close Calls” post:

“We were riding up the I-205 bike path on the way to the airport. Going under a bridge we both slid and fell on a freshly painted yellow center line. There was NO signs, cones or anything indicating the lines were freshly painted. We didn’t even no what happened until we got off the ground and found we were covered in yellow paint. We headed up the path to find a worker from TriMet who told us the line painter truck from ODOT had just went through about 5 minutes ago.

So far we have got little response from ODOT. The comment of the workers has been, “Normally the paint dries in 10 minutes so we don’t bother marking it with cones”. Well for the first 10 minutes it is like putting 1/8th inch of grease on the road.”

Apparently ODOT keeps referring the riders to the claims department so they can be reimbursed for damage to their bike and their medical supplies…but the riders are more interested in having them change this dangerous policy than getting money. It seems to me like laying down a few cones wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Or is it? Is 10 minutes of dangerously slippery paint on the road acceptable? I wonder what ODOT’s response would be if this accident involved a motorist…

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BikePortland.org » Blog Archive » City-funded audit: Blogs and “bikers” rule the webBikePortland.org » Blog Archive » ODOT’s bike guy moves on after 22 yearsMichael RonkinTony TapayBikePortland.org » Blog Archive » ODOT changes paint striping policy Recent comment authors
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Jessica Roberts
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Jessica Roberts

Did you talk to Michael Ronkin, ODOT’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Program Manager? Give him a call at 503-986-3555 and ask him what he thinks. He’s a great resource for cyclists.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
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Thanks for that suggestion, Jessica. I will give him a call tomorrow or maybe just email tomorrow.

Michael Ronkin
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Michael Ronkin

This was brought to the attention of the head of ODOT maintenance for the Portland area, and she turned around and brought it to the regional manager’s attention right away. I’ve been cc’d on their email exchanges; it looks like they are planning to change their procedures.

Thanks for bringing this to ODOT’s attention; it’s one of those things you’d never suspect would happen. The world of bicycling is intriguing – two skinny tires barely making contact with the earth, and we zoom around like gravity barely existed. Fun and exiting!

In the future, please use my official ODOT email address: michael.p.ronkin@odot.state.or.us

Michael

Tony Tapay
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Tony Tapay

Regarding Michael Ronkin’s comment.

“. . . it’s one of those things you’d never suspect would happen. The world of bicycling is intriguing – two skinny tires barely making contact with the earth, and we zoom around like gravity barely existed. Fun and exiting!”

Is this a thinly veiled slam? Sarcasm? Hmmm.

You’d never suspect that someone would come along within 10 minutes of your painting the lines? Thay might slip? That never occured to you? Perhaps you all need to hire some folks who actually use bikes as a form of alternative transportation. It sure would occur to them.

Michael Ronkin
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Michael Ronkin

Tony, no slam or sarcasm intended. I’ve been on this job for 16 years, have heard of myriad incidences with bicyclists suffering damage or injury because of potholes, railroad tracks, grates, debris, tree branches, you name it, but this is the first time I’ve heard of slipping on fresh paint. We react to such complaints as quickly as we can, and usually get the problem fixed within a few days. And yes we ride bikes, so we’re aware of both the pleasures and pitfalls of bike riding. Just today I got a flat as I rode over a staple, and it P’d me off the think people just throw things on the road without considering what it means for others.

Michael