Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) 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.
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.