Order Rev Nat's Cider Today

Cops carry out enforcement mission on morning commuters

Posted by on August 2nd, 2006 at 8:51 am

I have had several phone calls and emails about the enforcement mission being carried out by the Portland Police Bureau on the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge this morning.

I have heard reports of up four cyclists being pulled over at one time.

This was a planned enforcement mission and I remember an email about it from Evan Manvel of the BTA on the Shift list about a week ago.

I called Lieutenant Kruger this morning and he confirmed that they were, “focusing on the downtown core area and citing all modes (cars, bikes, peds, etc…).”

Among the tickets were cyclists cited for failure to use the bike lane (ORS 814.420, however the cyclist I spoke to said he was making a left-hand turn and had to leave the bike lane) and several people on fixed-gear bicycles.

One cyclist told me he was stopped by Officer Barnum (same guy involved with the Holland trial) and that the officer asked him why he chose to ride without a brake. As the rider explained how his bike worked and that it didn’t need a brake lever to stop, Officer Barnum asked, “What if your chain breaks?”

The cyclist has contacted a lawyer and plans to take the ticket to court.

I have also heard from several people that the police are “systematically” pulling over fixed-gear riding messengers in the bus mall. Lt. Kruger denied any coordinated enforcement action at this location.

Whether we like it or not, the police have every right to ticket cyclists for breaking the law wherever and whenever they feel it’s appropriate. In some regards I like when they do these missions because it reminds cyclists that we must follow the rules of the road at all times.

On the other hand, if they are ticketing cyclists unfairly and/or if they seem to be enforcing the law incorrectly, I would like to know about it. If you feel you received an undeserved ticket this morning at either of these locations, please consider sharing your story below.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

86
Leave a Reply

avatar
86 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
34 Comment authors
Louis BartlettBikePortland.org » Blog Archive » Riding along with Officer HoeslyBradBilljohn Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Michael
Guest
Michael

Fair is fair IF they are giving equal weight to motor vehicle violations.

A couple months ago I mentioned that I had never seen any enforcement of the very frequent motorist violations at SE 39th and Hawthorne. Times have changed – a couple months ago I did see a motorist stopped for something at that intersection.

J Price
Guest
J Price

Agreed fair is fair.

My take on the fixie: if you can demonstrate the ability to skid your tire you comply with the law and are good to go. If you do not have that ability you get a ticket.

If your chain breaks? That is an “accident”; people have them all the time. If a cars hydraulics go out? They have a mechanically operated [via musculature] e-brake as required by law based on size/weight. This same statute does not exist for bicycles [motorcycles/mopeds are exempt]. Besides didn’t a car in the area just recently go through the front of a convenience store when “the brakes failed” narrowly missing a shopper? Driver did not even have a chance to think about his e-brake.

They want something different change the law; no interpretation necessary.

Dom
Guest
Dom

Yeah I agree also Fair is Fair. You can get a ticket in a car or on a bike. Laws are made for a reason.

I also agree though sometimes, for whatever reason, tickets may be given unfairly. I feel you should fight that ticket if you feel the need.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

This is from lawyer Mark Ginsberg:

Friends,

If you we one of the people who got a traffic ticket this morning and you would like some legal help, we are going to try and help as much as possible.

Please call my office at (503) 542-3000 and ask for Paige, my paralegal, please have your ticket with you when you call. She will take some info from you and then I will be in touch early next week.

I understand several people were given tickets for not being in the bicycle lane, and for being in the left hand lane on a one way street. We have litigated cases like this and are happy to review those citations as well as others.

Please feel free to forward or pass this email on.

Thanks,
–Mark Ginsberg

Michael
Guest
Michael

Ticketed for not being in the bike lane!!?? In many places it would be better called the suicide lane.

Painted bike lanes can be very dangerous places that provide only an illusion of safety. One place is the suicide… I mean bike lane at the bottom of the Hawthorne bridge viaduct going west. Another is the east bound lane just after the Hawthorne viaduct where it is very easy to keep up with motor traffic, get doored, get cross-lane right turns – scary! Another is the entire length on SW Broadway.

Bill Basso
Guest
Bill Basso

Is this ambulance chaser, Mark Ginsberg, the same lawyer who screwed up the Holland case by comparing her bicycle to a child’s toy and blowing a blatantly easy lay up? Yeah, trust him to fight for you…

Jonathan Maus
Guest

Bill,

Mark is trying to help cyclists who might have been cited for laws that were interpreted incorrectly by the cops.

I understand you don’t agree with his big wheel comparison (I happen to think it worked well). But please try to stay on topic instead of passing negative personal judgements.

Thanks.

joel
Guest
joel

Why not ask the cop what happens when HIS brake breaks, how is he going to stop? The chances are in the same ballpark.

Tankagnolo Bob
Guest

QUICK STOPS AND NO COPS

Damn, I am glad my fixie has a brake for two reasons now.

1-Emergency stopping.

2- Keeps the cops happy.

Brake cost $11 at City Bikes, cheap insurance for quick stops and no cops. Its a minus one for style points, so the bike has 9 style points instead of 10, good enough for me.

dotRob
Guest
dotRob

I find it difficult to believe that a ticket for failure to use a bike lane could be enforceable given the new 2005 ORS revisions (see page 30 of Pedal Power, http://www.stc-law.com/bikepower.html). Where you passing? Avoiding an obstacle? Turning left?

I have taken to leaving the bike lane on downtown Broadway frequently when I feel it is safer to take the lane of traffic — at car speed — rather than dealing with delivery trucks, parking cars, right-hand turns, and slower cyclists (not to mention the normal crop of utter idiots on their cell phones or spelunking their rectal cavities).

It’d be asinine to get a ticket for being out of the lane under those circumstances, and I think those reasons would be applicable almost anywhere downtown.

shhambo
Guest
shhambo

ok now I’m confused. I thought it was legal to not ride in the bike lane period. But specificlly if you ara turning left or getting into the right hand turn lane. What is the law on that?

Brett
Guest
Brett

It’s not really fair to call an opposing view off topic or negative simply because it’s opposing. When we don’t consider other possibilites we shut ourselves off. Look at the way like minded people have posted things on this topic… some of it is harsh and negative towards others but is accepted as being on topic.

I understand this post it off topic. 🙂

Preston
Guest
Preston

I’m utterly confused to. As dotRob said, all over downtown there are good reasons to ride with traffic. Especially as traffic goes bike speeds or lower. How can you possibly get cited for leaving the bike lane when half the time (especially on Broadway) the bike lane has a Taxi, Limo, or someone just not paying attention?

joe (BikingToronto)
Guest

It surprises me that you get tickets there for leaving a bikelane… I don’t think it’s illegal here in Toronto (atleast, I’ve never heard of someone getting a ticket for that…). I leave them fairly regularly to pass people and parked cars, and view them as the best way to get enw cyclists taking up bike commuting. 🙂

Dr. Mark Ross
Guest
Dr. Mark Ross

hmm . . . here we are “demanding” bike lanes from our city fathers and now here we are upset at being cited for not using the bike lane. it seems to me that we’re trying to have it both ways.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Bill Basso,
Once again, your comment is so off mark, it is ugly.
A big wheel comparison, as in a childs bicycle is exactly what we need here.
In the last couple of days, Ihave photographed children riding bicycles, loudly labled “NO Brakes” by the manufacturer.
I grew up, on a very big hill, on a big wheel.
Not only did I learn how to stop, we made a game of it.
Mr. Ginsberg is in the right making these comparisons. These are the exact comparisons he should be making.
I am personally trusting him to fight for me on a entirely unrelated issue as we speak.
I do not have faith in people. I do not have faith in laws, the justice system, I do not even have faith in religon.
But right now, I have faith in Mr. Ginsberg.
Any other lawyer would probably tell you to just pay the ticket. A small, insignificant ticket to most, but to a messenger or other, low paid worker, a ticket that means half a paycheck.
Do you think that there is a mint to be made off of this case?
Is MR. Ginsberg going out this afternoon and buying a yacht?
No, I believe that he is going straight back to his office after his luchtime ride, and going back to work for us, the normal, hard working citizen of Portland, Oregon, who, according to the police, has made the poor decision to ride a bicycle on our city streets.

dotRob
Guest
dotRob

Sorry, my page numbers above should be 25-29 of the PDF.

Preston
Guest
Preston

Dr. Mark Ross, you don’t actually ride a bike, do you? Especially not in downtown. 90% of the time it’s not practical, nor safe to use the bike lane. It’s filled with other cars. It’s safer just to be traffic.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

There is a good reason to be confused about the bike lane thing.

Based on several conversations I had with very respectable sources this morning, the cops have made a big mistake with a lot of these tickets.

It is not illegal to leave the bike lane for a number of reasons.

I hope to hear from people that were cited for this and present the facts ASAP.

If they cited people incorrectly I feel as a community we need to respond appropriately to let them know we will not accept being targeted with bogus law enforcement.

Stay tuned.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Also, on another note, I generally downtown will leave the bikelane to commuters, and slower paced riders. I will ride anywhere else, in any other lane, most times to avoid the bike lane.
A bike lanes is and should be considered a suggested guideline, not a way of life.

Preston
Guest
Preston

Bike lanes are a necessity in the suburbs (where I live), unfortunately. In Beaverton they’re your refuge from 4 lane in the city highways. And even then they’re not very safe, especially when someone inevitably wants to turn right around you. But downtown, because of the reasons mentioned above, they’re close to pointless.

Matt Picio
Guest

ORS 814.420 is the statute governing riding in the bike lane. It’s mandatory if a bike lane is present, unless it’s unsafe to stay in the bike lane, or when overtaking another vehicle (including another cyclist), or when preparing to execute a turn, or avoiding road hazards. It’s also legal to leave the bike lane if you are continuing straight and the bike lane is to the right of a lane where the motor vehicle MUST turn right.

If you got ticketed for not being in the bike lane today, and you decide not to have a lawyer help you in court, I’d note that ORS 814.420(2) says “A person is not required to comply with this section unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.”

Note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice – merely calling attention to that particular statute.

John Boyd
Guest
John Boyd

If there are any connected people out there that have knowledge of any internal police directives that lead up to this morning’s uninformed enforcement actions, Please share. Evan with BTA was apparently tipped off prior. Anything else out there?

Surely the Mayor would have something to say about such heavy enforcement of obscure and poorly understood statutes.

Thanks,
John

Matt Picio
Guest

It was rather nice this morning to see a car get busted for driving in the bus lane. I bike to and from work downtown, but I’m also a pedestrian and ride Tri-Met. It gets really annoying when cars interfere with the bus traffic when you’re on one of the busses.

Quick comment to John Boyd – one reason why the statutes are poorly understood is that drivers and cyclists don’t pick up and read the driving and cycling manuals that the Oregon DMV puts out – which put these laws in an easily-understood format. I’ve even started carrying a copy on the bike, in case I need to prove to the cops that I’m not breaking the law (since many of them understand them as poorly as the rest of us).

Evan Manvel, BTA
Guest

To be clear: this wasn’t one of the locations noted as a planned enforcement place in my e-mail to the Shift list, or in our work with the police. The BTA wasn’t tipped off to this action, and we have serious concerns about what haappened.

We’re gathering information and setting up meetings to express our concerns.

The Mayor’s office, if you’re concerned: 503-823-4120 or 503-823-4127.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

John Boyd;
Even posted information about the police enforcement action to the Shift List (and probably to the BTA blog, and othere lists).

Randy
Guest
Randy

I have repeatedly advocated at the BAC that the City NOT install bike lanes in the downtown core. The City has chosen to ignore this advice and instead install a variety of mostly unsafe bike lanes within the downtown area, the worst case probably being SW Broadway.

The downtown bike lanes are unsafe for the following reasons:

Conflicts with parked vehicles; I am personally aware of numerous dooring incidents and at least one fatality involving the SW Broadway bike lane.

Conflicts with turning vehicles.

Conflicts with delivery vehicles and valet parking operations.

The downtown bike lanes are unnecessary for the following reason: In most cases you can ride at the speed of traffic, since the downtown signals are timed for 12-15 mph.

In my opinion, the safest place to ride downtown is in the middle lane (most North-South streets are three lanes one way), unless you are preparing to turn. On the east west streets, take your pick of the two lanes available, you’re allowed to ride left on a one-way street, on some streets this helps you avoid the busses and turning traffic.

I just wish the cops would get a clue and follow the actual law and not their own personal interpretation or prejudices when it comes to these enforcement actions, it makes them look pretty stupid and they’re not making any points with the bicycling community; in fact I would have to say that they seem to be bent on harassing bicyclists to the maximum extent possible.

Randy
Guest
Randy

Mayor Tom Potter
1221 SW Fourth Ave. Room 340
Portland OR 97204
503.823.4120
503.823.3588 (fax)
mayorpotter@ci.portland.or.us

Bill Basso
Guest
Bill Basso

Daabby,
Big Wheel? Why?

Your predecessors (me included, been riding fixed gear since the 70’s) have worked long and hard to bring the image of the bicycle to be no longer seen as a child’s toy but as an adult’s tool. When you compare your main work tool to a toy in court you might as well be wearing clown shoes in order to be taken seriously after that. All the judge see’s is some dumb kid skidding around on a big wheel, not a skilled messenger that is the backbone of the legal system.

Additionally the Big Wheel is equipped with a hand brake so using it as a defense to not having a hand brake is baseless and illogical. The hand brake was a big selling point since it allowed you to lock up the rear right wheel and spin out.

Maybe you have photos of children riding bikes labeled NO brakes, but I don’t see how this is a defense of you doing the same. Childern’s bikes aren’t intended to be ridden in traffic or at high rates of speed. There are special laws in most jurisdictions giving them special privilge to the sidewalks.

I could just as well go out and photograph kids pointing toy guns at each other, but I don’t think that would be a very acceptable defense of ponting a toy gun at people downtown myself. In the eyes of the court childern aren’t seen as mature enough to make decisions for themselves which is why they are categorized as juvenilles and are bound by a different set of standards.

If you want to be taken seriously in court you have to present yourself as a responsible adult and a serious professional. Dress respectfully, as I said in a different post a clean bicycle jersey would be more presentable than Ms. Holland’s sleeveless undershirt and her lawyer should have told her this if he had any commitment to the case.

But most important, stick to the facts. If you want to win you have to present an air tight case that makes what you are doing seem to appear mature, responsible and in the best interest of the community. The video made of Ms. Holland stopping a track bike and a coaster brake bike in the same distance is great, but maybe she should have made it to use for the trial rather than after. It would have been far more effective than the “Big Wheel defense”.

I have ridden forever and been harrassed by countless officers who had no clue what I was doing riding a bicycle, but I am always polite and self effacing with them and have never been cited. That this Mark Ginsberg could lose such an easy case by exhibiting such poor judgement really makes me doubt his abilities in the courtroom. I don’t believe most lawyers would have suggested simply paying the ticket… to such an easy case against a poorly worded legislature, however if a ticket is out of budget I don’t see how laywer and court fees would be any cheaper.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

I couldn’t find a good, navigable version of the ORS pertaining to bicycles on the web, so I just finished formatting them myself.

You can now read all the bike-related laws on this page.

And each statute has it’s own link so we can direct people to specific ones when necessary.

For example, here’s the law regarding bike lanes.

Get smart…before you get pulled over!

jami
Guest

it seems like there are a lot of exceptions allowing us to legally leave the bike lane — i’d be surprised if none applied to the biker who was ticketed.

but i can think of a reasonable exception that’s not included just off the top of my head. turning south onto broadway, you have to either cross traffic or ride up the left lane until it’s safe to get over to the bike lane. this is not “preparing to turn left,” it’s what you have to do after you’ve made a safe left turn.

except in a few cases, i feel much safer in bike lanes, so i’m not against them. i’m against forcing us to stay in them when it’s dangerous to us.

i’m also against bike crackdowns when there are cars failing to signal and cutting off bikes at every intersection in town. who’s endangering whom?

Kazimar
Guest
Kazimar

I just got a verbal warning this morning from an officer after crossing the Broadway bridge heading west and turning right at the light at the top of the bridge. He seemed to think I was supposed to stop at the green light before turning right. I would support enforcement actions if they were designed to focus on all modes of transport, and only where safety was a concern. It does seem, however, like they are focusing on bicycles, and starting to harass us even if we didn’t break any law.

John
Guest
John

I’ve bike commuted in Portland for 6 years now. I see nothing wrong with the cops enforcing laws. I see cops monitoring intersections for cars, catching people on the max… Everyone always thinks they are being unfairly targeted… when they get caught breaking the law. I think bike rides could use a little more monitoring.

The fixed gear bike issue is a tough one. I’ve seen loads of shitty fixed gear bikers who can’t stop for crap. I think requiring all bicycles to have one functioning brake is a fine standard. Its either that or require licence to ride a fixed gear bike.

Given the Hyper trendiness of fixed gears, more and more yahoos will be riding them on the streets. Soon having gears will be trendy again.

Jonathan
Guest

Is there a list of bicycle lanes that have been found safe at reasonable speeds as mentioned below?

814.420: Failure to use bicycle lane or path; exceptions; penalty.

(2) A person is not required to comply with this section unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.

patrick(db)
Guest

were people really ticketed for riding on the left side of a one way street? The law couldn’t be clearer in regards to this:

ORS 814.430 [….]

(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:

[….]
(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.

Preston
Guest
Preston

I can’t believe that someone could literally be ticketed for riding in the middle lane down Broadway in SW. Broadway bike lanes (NE or SW) are constantly filled with cars, limos, delivery trucks, etc. Heck, the right lane is often taken up by valet parking. As a cyclist you’re constantly making adjustments to conditions on the road. Like getting in the left lane, going the same speed as traffic to avoid having to change 3 lanes when turning left when you get to your turn.

This is spinning wildly out of control. Something has to be done. Critical Mass could be ugly this month. I know I’m more than a little angry hearing all this. After bike commuting in portland for over 6 years suddenly I’m not allowed to make decisions to protect myself from drivers who on a DAILY basis almost miss hitting me because THEY’RE the ones running lights, pausing at right turns, etc.?

Jonathan Maus
Guest

Preston,

I feel your frustrations about this, but I think making Critical Mass “ugly” this month may not be the best thing to do.

Why give them fuel for their fire?

We already have support in thinking the police are possibly making the wrong moves so I encourage you and everyone else to call Mayor Potter (he’s in charge of the cops) and let his office know how you feel.

It only takes a minute.
503-823-4120

john
Guest
john

The law says you CAN ride outside the bike lane if there are delivery trucks, limos, cars etc in your way. So your safe to ride in the road on Broadway when there are things in your way. This is not that crazy. 98% of bike lanes are not on Broadway through downtown on one of the busiest road in town… Its pretty impressive the city put a bike lane on this road. Says alot about the support of bikers in this town.

genec
Guest
genec

How do the police expect coaster brake bikes to stop… The chain is an integral part of that braking mechanism.

Gregg
Guest
Gregg

Sounds to me that the best way fix this problem is to take streets with no bike lanes…

no one in particular
Guest
no one in particular

Jonathan:

It might be helpful to link to the city ordinances, too…

Sections 16.70.00 – 16.70.340 deal with bicycles.

Preston
Guest
Preston

I’m not saying Critical Mass SHOULD be ugly, but rather that it COULD be ugly.

Preston
Guest
Preston

Also, I don’t really think putting a bike lane on SW Broadway was the best idea. Anyone who rides this daily knows that it isn’t just the “occassional” taxi or limo. The bike lane is almost perpetually blocked by any of a number of obstacles. And often the far right lane is as well. Some days it’s like the Airport terminal drop-off zone. And it’s because of the hotels up and down Broadway. So I actually couldn’t think of a worse place for a bike lane, given all the valet parking, shuttles, etc. on that road.

And for the record, the few times I’ve ridden Critical Mass, I’m one of those rare Critical Massers that not only doesn’t cork, but doesn’t ride through a corked stop. So I’m not advocating any kind of particular response. More explaining that if someone like me is a little heated over this issue, I can only imagine what Mass may end up like.

Carl
Guest
Carl

John, your post really helped me to take a step back and recognize just how good we’ve got it in Portland. Try riding in downtown Atlanta or Detroit, where if you lived long enough to be stopped by a cop, it certainly wouldn’t be for riding a track bike, because they’d have no idea what that is. Portland has come a long way. I’m still pissed about some of this recent news and I still think what the cops are doing is crazy, but those emotions are tempered with reinvigorated pride for the trajectory of bicycling in this city.

We shouldn’t tolerate this, but we shouldn’t act as though it will hold us up either. Momentum is on our side. Portland police clearly need a Ray Thomas group training session on “bike law.” If they don’t do it already, I think that’s a realistic goal. Even if we’ve been over all of this already, bike lanes, fixed-gears, track-stands, and rear lights are all issues that still need to be put to bed in this town. The more coherently and cohesively we do that will only help cities like Atlanta and Detroit when it comes time for them to have this conversation.

This is what it’s like to be in one of the cities that is ahead of the curve…lots of patience and explaining in the face of ridiculous bullshit and profiling (though before tossing that term around blithely, keep in mind the percentage of bicyclists issued tickets each year is miniscule compared to the percentage of motorists).

john
Guest
john

I hear ya Preston. Broadway is a zoo, esp during checkout time at all the hotels. Bike lane or not i’ll ride broadway because its the most direct route from NE portland to my office. I used to ride sandy from hollywood downtown… talk about an accident waiting to happen!

Sorry to get off subject.

Dr. Mark Ross
Guest
Dr. Mark Ross

for those wondering, I actually do ride a bike, and downtown too. I put in about 7 miles every day. And yes, when there is a bike lane, I’m in it.

Matt P.
Guest

As a former Detroiter, I can say that in that city, you will almost never get a ticket on a bike unless you cause a car accident or hit a pedestrian. That being said, I can’t remember any time where someone who hit and killed a cyclist had charges successfully pressed against them. Metro Detroit is not merely bike-ignorant, they are bicycle-oblivious.

We have it lucky here, and I agree with the above comments that we can’t let that make us complacent but neither is it the end of the world. The Portland Police Department (or at least the Traffic Division) really does need a “crash course” (forgive the pun) in bicycle law. Also, the city needs to do more to protect cyclists and pedestrians – “Share the Road” would be more effective if there were PSA’s on all the TV and radio stations, not just the occasional bumper sticker. Speaking of, that sticker is supposed to be on the back of every city vehicle and every Tri-Met bus by now, and I’m not seeing it.

Until everyone knows the laws regarding bicycles, we’re going to have things like this happen. Education is the key, and we need to tell the PD and the mayor that we want that education to occur.

I think I’ll go make that call right now.

Gregg
Guest
Gregg

Are you sure that Detroit’s rating as the city with the second highest murder rate doesn’t have anything to do with it? I don’t think it’s that the cops there are oblivious, just BUSY.

john
Guest
john

Crash course for cops would be a good thing.

But lets be serious, how many bikers know all the laws? According to this stream of posts from avid cyclists… not many. And i would assume this is a group of people who are in the know about the bike laws.

Do you know: Can you run stop signs? are lights required? are helmets required? Can you pass on the right? Can you ride on the sidewalk?

How do we educate cyclists about bike laws?

Time to donate to the BTA again…

Preston
Guest
Preston

Can you ride the opposite direction in the bike lane wearing an iPod?

I guess you can, because I see it in Beaverton daily. 🙂