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One cyclist’s perspective on bike day in court

Posted by on November 7th, 2006 at 9:07 am

The following notes on yesterday’s court proceedings are from local transportation activist and regular Shift volunteer, Carl Larson (photo).

    “These trials really drove the larger point of all of this home to me. These officers hide behind the shield of “safety,” but in many cases, their real goal is to protect the interests of motor vehicle operators. They clearly see bikes as a threat to the flow of traffic and deal with them accordingly.”
    -Carl Larson

    The case of Nerf (nickname of a Portland cyclist):
    Nerf was going north on the sidewalk in front of the Marriot Hotel on SW Broadway. He pled no contest to the sidewalk charge, but Barnum milked the fact that he was on the sidewalk as best as he could. If I heard correctly, though, he actually pursued Nerf by riding his motorcycle on the sidewalk! Insane.

    According to Barnum’s testimony, he asks Nerf where his brake is, and Nerf produces his stick (slung under his bag). The judge asks for exact dimensions of the stick (1″ x 12″). Ginsberg actually let Nerf seriously defend the stick as a means of stopping, even going so far as to point, on a diagram of a bike, to where he would jam it against his wheel.

    Barnum actually tried to submit as evidence a bunch of stuff he’d printed from Wikipedia. The judge put him in his place about the reliability of Wikipedia and its uselessness in a court of law. They probably won’t make that mistake again.

    Tour de Fat '06

    [Nerf demonstrates his stick at
    last summer’s Tour de Fat]

    Barnum on fixed gear bikes:
    Barnum was totally open about the fact that fixed gears can skid, saying that he sees it all the time and has no doubt that Nerf could skid his. He just will not accept that the mechanism being used to skid is a true “brake.”

    He went so far as to show a diagram of a fixed gear bike and ask why the brake(s) wasn’t labelled. Thankfully, that got thrown out.

    [Judge Gregg Lowe listens to lawyer Mark Ginsberg at yesterday’s trial.]

    What upsets me most about this is that, having admitted that this bike can skid, the officer is nitpicking about what makes it skid, suggesting that it doesn’t matter that you can stop your bicycle…the real issue is what you name the thing that stops your bike.

    That doesn’t sound like a safety concern to me. That sounds like semantics.

    Barnum also threw in the ever popular, “what if your chain breaks?” question. I don’t know how to begin to express what a silly and irrelevant question that is. Mark didn’t touch it either. All I can say is, don’t get too excited about that new Electra Amsterdam. As far as Balzer’s logic is concerned, that bike, with its coaster brake, is illegal.

    Barnum’s terminology was sad and worrisome. Fixed gear, single speed, and single gear were used as interchangable terms. Tires and wheels were the same thing. At one point he said that Nerf’s bike wasn’t legal because with its freewheeling front sprocket, there were no cogs or discs designed to stop the front wheel. I still don’t know what that means.

    He also kept pushing the notion that both wheels must be braked and able to skid.

    More thoughts on brakes, skidding and front wheels:
    An excellent argument could be made saying that the only legal bikes on the road are those with just a coaster brake, just a rear brake, or a fixed gear. Any bike with a front brake (the common solution to fixed gear citations) is technically illegal.

    Why? Because the law requires that a rider be able to skid braked wheels on flat, dry pavement. If there’s a brake on the front wheel, it is a “braked wheel’ and must, therefore, be able to skid. Your head will be skidding on the pavement before you skid a front wheel.

    The case of Wayne McCabe:
    McCabe had the line of the day, but it didn’t get him anywhere.

    He explained that the reason he was riding in the middle lane of SW Broadway when he was cited for not using the bike lane was that safety is his top priority and experience tells him that the middle lane is the safest lane to be in. He emphasized that he rides for a living and has a young daughter. In order to work and father another day, safety is clearly his top concern.

    He brought up a friend, Kristine Okins, who was killed on that block while riding in the bike lane. His argument was that the bike lane was inherently unsafe and that he took that as license to avoid it as provided in ORS. The judge disagreed, saying that the law provides for actual threats, not hypothetical or historical ones.

    The judge’s response here was predictable and, I think given the law, just. But it was still a disappointment.

    The stay-in-your-bike-line! law needs to be loosened up, at least in downtown Portland. I ride that stretch of road every day and Wayne is absolutely correct: the safest thing to do is take the lane.

    Perspective and thoughts on the day:
    This trial really drove the larger point of all of this home to me. These officers hide behind the shield of “safety,” but in many cases, their real goal is to protect the interests of motor vehicle operators. They clearly see bikes as a threat to the flow of traffic and deal with them accordingly.

    “So rather than face the fact that their mode of choice is inferior for getting around a dense downtown, motorists scrutinize every move of their faster, cheaper, mostly-younger, healthier foe.”
    -Carl Larson

    Safety concerns justify citing cyclists who run red lights, don’t use lights, or ride on the sidewalk. Safety concerns do not justify giving cyclists $242 tickets for riding safely in traffic lanes. The thinly masked concern there is for the poor motorist who is forced to drive BEHIND a bicyclist.

    The irony here is that the true source of motorist rage downtown is not, I would argue, getting stuck behind bicyclists, but rather, getting passed by bicyclists. It’s an assault on a motorist’s sense of entitlement to recognize the fact that a kid on a single speed bike is making better time than you are in that expensive machine that’s capable of going 100+ mph.

    I think this is why messengers and fast, assertive, urban cyclists fall under such scrutiny. They’re not hurting people and they’re certainly not holding up traffic. If anything, they’re very visibly leaving motor vehicle traffic in their dust…and that makes motorists very very angry. “Not fair!”

    So rather than face the fact that their mode of choice is inferior for getting around a dense downtown, motorists scrutinize every move of their faster, cheaper, mostly-younger, healthier foe. Luckily for them, messengers, already fed up with profiling and having chips on their shoulders, break plenty of laws and just happen to favor a type of bicycle that some judges are willing to label as illegal based on a technicality.

    I don’t hear motorists complain much about about tweakers and security officers weaving their mountain bikes down sidewalks, but when messengers step out of line, Barnum and Balzer step in to put them back in their place, back in their margin, back in their lane, back where it’s “safe.” As such, the Portland Police Bureau, under the flag of safety, serve as protectors of the motorists throne.

    At this point in Portland’s bikey history, the police know just enough to make a mess of things. Police officers from many other cities would be intrigued to see a bicycle downtown. Portland police note which lane you choose to ride in and can identify a fixed-gear bike on sight. We’ve got a ways to go, but that’s a start.

Thank you Carl for this report and your thoughts. I think you bring up some very important issues that the community must deal with in the very near future.

There was a lot more that happened yesterday and I hope to bring you more details and reports ASAP. For now, check out the Oregonian’s coverage.

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

43 Comments
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    Michael November 7, 2006 at 9:28 am

    Has the mandated public hearing, required for bike lane enforcement, been held for the Broadway bike lane? Without this hearing, from what I read in the language of the law, this case is faulty.

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    John Boyd November 7, 2006 at 9:46 am

    Oregonian

    This will be a growing embarrassing fiasco for Lowe, and our city.

    Frustrating when the ones with their head so far up can be in positions of authority. Obviously there are worse examples of this than Judge Lowe.

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    adam November 7, 2006 at 10:11 am

    carl is HOT. go carl, go. anyone who gives up money, time and sleep to help out the bike community is great. beers or whatevers on me when you are ready, carl.

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    adam November 7, 2006 at 10:16 am

    OK, I read the whole thing. I want Barnum fired, immediately. how can we do this? I want to give nerf barnum’s goddamned badge and paycheck.

    Barnum is guilty of the following:
    bringing wikipedia to a court.
    being a moron.
    wasting my money.
    harassing my friends.

    I want him FIRED. NOW. and, I want his DL suspended for a year for making an illegal u-turn on the bridge. if that ***EDITED*** does not have a bike, I will buy him a fixie.

    fire barnum, NOW.

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    Magnum November 7, 2006 at 11:10 am

    Well it is a bummer that most of the tickets were not thrown out but at least Beavis and Butthead were in court all day leaving the rest of us to ride what and however we felt like for a day. Thanks for getting the bad guys off the street if even for one day.

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    Dan Kaufman November 7, 2006 at 11:27 am

    HEAR, HEAR!

    Thank you for the excellent report and commentary, Carl.

    This type of harassment by our city employees must stop before it kills an important service; one that reduces traffic congestion and air pollution while increasing production and efficiency for our business community.

    If these peace officers think their effort is good for our city then it’s time for them to move on.

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    gabrielamadeus November 7, 2006 at 11:38 am

    Thanks for the detailed and insightful report carl. Too bad the proceedings were so frustrating and fruitless, I’m really surprised that it went this way, this time around.

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    West Cougar November 7, 2006 at 11:51 am

    Was McCabe found guilty or innocent? Carl’s piece implies he was found guilty, but the Oregonian reports he was found innocent.

    Thanks.

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    Jonathan Maus November 7, 2006 at 11:56 am

    West Couger,
    McCabe was fighting several tickets. He lost on his fixie ticket like everyone else but he won his “failure to signal turn” ticket on a technicality.

    Ginsberg saved the day when he called Balzer on writing McCabe’s ticket for the wrong ORS. Balzer wrote him up for the vehicle code when he should have used the bike-specific code.

    It was a great move by Ginsberg and resulted in the Judge throwing out the case.

    And from watching Balzer chat with Ginsberg afterwards it was clear he was a bit peeved at the whole thing.

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    SKIDmark November 7, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    “Another Judge, Richard Larsen—who is known to believe fixies are safe without additional brakes—was due to try two of yesterday’s cases, but was “affidavited”, or asked to be replaced, by a traffic cop before the hearings started.”

    Hmmm. interesting. So the Police are allowed to select a judge that rules in their favor. I believe that is refered to as CORRUPTION. I wonder if any money changed hands.

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    SKIDmark November 7, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    BTW that came from Mercury’s Blogtown.

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    Todd Boulanger November 7, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    Given that 2 PDOT transportation employees have testified in court that they choose to not ride in designed bike lanes due to safety deficiencies, will those portions of the street be redesigned to be THE best practice and thus ‘safer’ for all bicyclists? It raises an interesting ethical and professional question.

    OREGONIAN reported today:
    “McCabe testified that he used the middle lane on Southwest Broadway near the Hilton Portland because he considers that stretch unsafe. And Smith said he left the bike lane on Southwest Main Street after the Hawthorne Bridge to prepare for a left turn. The judge found both met the safety and turn exceptions.”

    IMHO: The US practice of designing ‘safe’ intersections for bicyclists is still very poor compared to the best engineering practices in bike friendly communities in Europe. Too often these ‘best practices’ are left out of the design here so the through or turning motor vehicle capacity is not reduced or delayed more.

    This is especially true given that Hawthorne Bridge carries so many bicyclists now (and in relation to the stagnant level of car traffic crossing it) that the existing network and bridge crossing will need to be redesigned to accommodate more commuting bicyclists without reducing pedestrian safety. May be the tipping point has been reached here…more changes should be made to accomodate bike there.

    A place to start: adding bike boxes on the intersections leading up to the Hawthorne Bridge, removing the on street parking on SW 2nd (between Main and Madison) for an 8ft wide contra flow bike lane. (And why do the Police park there when they have a parking structure near by? Traffic safety vs. convenience?)

    Hello County engineers: Perhaps with the next redesign of the Hawthorne Bridge, it is time to close the outside car lanes and convert them to bikes only thus the walkers would have the walkway all to themselves. This would work better than the recent lane striping on the bridge. 😉

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    ben November 7, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    thanks carl.

    one of my favorite quotes from your article:

    “…but when messengers step out of line, Barnum and Balzer step in to put them back in their place, back in their margin, back in their lane, back where it’s “safe.” As such, the Portland Police Bureau, under the flag of safety, serve as protectors of the motorists throne.”

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    Carl November 7, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    Mr. Cougar,
    Sorry for the confusion. I was commenting on Wayne’s ticket for “failure to use a bike lane.” Some defendants were fighting multiple tickets.

    The Oregonian article is a little messed up. It says, “Lowe found both McCabe and Jeff Smith…not guilty of leaving a bike lane.” Jeff was found not guilty (he was preparing for a left turn). The state dropped their case against Dat Nguyen for the same non-violation as a result. McCabe was found guilty of leaving a bike lane in the incident I was describing on Broadway.

    Carl

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    Brad November 7, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    I am happy to be living and riding in G.O.P. dominated, God fearing, blood red Washington County if this is the sort of police state that hip and progressive Portland has become.

    Vote Democrat and drive a big SUV – you’re “good” Portland folk. Ride a bike to ease congestion / cut pollution / stay thin – you are an enemy of Potterville!

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    adam November 7, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    I am an enemy of potterville. His army is slow, fat, expensive and stupid. potters army is about to be reorganized by ME.

    our army is fast, sexy, rich, happy, skilled, etc. our army is unafraid. and, our lawyers love to humiliate their lawyers in court. then, our army documents their stupidity and calls them out as cowards. then, we laugh about it on our bike rides while their army follows us around like neutered sheep.

    we will not rest until Dat is convicted.

    Long Live the peoples republic of portland.

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    ridealot November 7, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    Nice write up Carl. Thanks.

    Sounds like the animosity between the Portland Police and the cycling community is escalating. This is not what we need.

    Why can’t the police get their act together and work on the bigger safety issues? I’m not going to go into those issues because they are numerous and obvious.

    My point is that these tickets seem vindictive. Where is the city leadership? This is a waste of police force time and money.

    *rant on*
    Brad you have it wrong. I live in Washington county. This is the county of ‘I DESERVE to drive a big SUV, talk on my phone and drink my coffee all at the same time. Oops I just ran somebody over. Better give me a $250 failing to yield ticket.’
    *rant off*

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    adam November 7, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    Ridealot – our community just wants be left alone. our community wants the cops to focus on, I don’t know, public safety issues.

    they are escalating it when they drag members of our community away from their work and their families to defend our communities right to ride whatever bike we feel like in the manner that gives us the best chance to return to our work and our families.

    Why can’t the police get their act together? I have no clue. instead of worrying about it, I am getting right in their face and asking them, loudly, why can’t you get your act together, sir? When they ignore me, I set my lawyers on their corruption and I go away to the beach and read books quietly.

    what is your proposed solution?

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    Brad November 7, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    Ridealot – I am being sarcastic. Although, I have had no real problems with bad drivers or ticket happy cops in Hillsboro, Forest Grove, or Beaverton. My only police contact is a WashCo Sheriff’s deputy who…get ready for this Portlanders…gave me a polite warning when I blew an empty intersection. He pulled me over and asked me to slow down at stop signs for “your own safety”. I apologized and thanked him for his concern.

    Maybe hassling cyclists is how Tommy Boy recoups the costs of the tram and pays for police brutality settlements?

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    BURR November 7, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    It’s mostly drivers from the suburbs that the po po are trying to make the roads in Portland ‘safe’ for. I’m willing to bet that the majority of motorized commuters on the roads downtown are from WashCo, ClarkCo, ClackCo or EastMultCo. They should all be required to park their vehicles at the city limits and walk, bike or take transit into downtown, that would make the roads within the city limits a whole lot safer and less crowded.

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    TimmyC November 7, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    Great write-up. Nicely put.

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    Ayleen November 7, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Michael-

    If I understand what you’re asking correctly…

    A case happened some years ago that changed the deal that bike lanes need to be certified before you’re legally required to use them. I can’t recall all the details, but maybe someone else does. I think it had something to do with someone on Critical Mass getting a ticket and attempting to fight it and in the end it would up changing this deal. So it was good he fought and won but bad that now we can’t say “You can’t force us to stay in the bike lane unless it’s certified and none of them are.”

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    Dabby November 7, 2006 at 3:50 pm

    It is not up to the court to decide whether the bike lane is hazardous at the moment you are not in it.
    The court is not there, on the street.
    I am sticking with my “I consider it hazardous, so i don’t ride in it”.
    Has worked so far…

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    Dan Porter November 7, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Great summary – my favorite part:

    “I think this is why messengers and fast, assertive, urban cyclists fall under such scrutiny. They’re not hurting people and they’re certainly not holding up traffic. If anything, they’re very visibly leaving motor vehicle traffic in their dust…and that makes motorists very very angry. “Not fair!””

    I believe this 100%. Ever experienced the scenario where a driver revs up to pass you and then as soon as the pass is complete, has to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of them?

    It is why we get passed and harrassed when we are going the speed limit (on a bike) through a neighborhood or school zone… Some drivers seem to be unable to comprehend that in many situations, a bike is faster.

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    Cate November 7, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    Great write-up, Carl. This makes me sad.

    Theorectically, the City wants Portland to be a great bicycling city, to achieve Platinum status. Yet City employees are being cited, City employees are being used as expert witnesses against bicyclists, and City employees (the Police) are spending their time going after bicyclists.

    It seems like there’s a big disconnect between what the City says they want Portland to be for bicyclists and its actual practices. And our taxes are paying for it.

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    ridealot November 7, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    Adam,

    I’m glad and cycling community is standing up to this type of unfair enforcement. I’m sorry if that was not clear. It just seems to me that people are poking hard at certain a judge(s) and cops who are causing the problem.

    I’m suggesting that community leaders need to get into the mix and get the police to actually protect people like cyclist, pedestrians, and conciensious motorists (sp!) from the real dangers. It is their mandate. They are are doing a poor job at it.

    I wish I had a solution.

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    adam November 7, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    ridealot, I have solutions. you don’t need to do anything but be your beautiful, biking self.

    if you have ideas, I wan to hear them – this blog knows how to reach me. I am poking until I get the problem solved. the problem is not generic, the problem is Lowe, Barnum, Cox, Humphrey, etc etc. they have names and jobs. I will let them keep their tarnished names.

    maybe you can email chief sizer and ask for her help? http://www.portlandonline.com/joinportlandpolice/index.cfm?c=38521

    of course, I have contacted her 12 times in the past 3 weeks and only got a 2 minute meeting after standing on the steps of injustice, being kicked of the steps by the sherif dept and the ppb, then marching to tom potters office and refusing to leave until she got there. Of course, I was wearing a tie so that they would respect ME.

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    SKIDmark November 7, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    Maybe if you are being pulled over for “no brakes” you shouldn’t stop. After all, you have “no brakes”.

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    Cate November 7, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Skidmark, thank you. 🙂

    Back to my government…

    From: http://www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org/Images/bfc_pdf_pages/portland.pdf

    “Thinking about providing for bicycles and promoting increased use of the bicycle is integrated into almost all actions taken by Portland, beginning in the Mayor’s office, right down to actions taken by the maintenance crews on the streets.” I think this was written by Roger Geller, but I’m not sure.

    I don’t understand how this statement fits with the reality of what’s going on downtown. Something is broken…

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    Donna November 7, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    Michael – According to Jonathan’s article “expert witness backfires on DA in bike lane”, Roger Geller testified that a hearing had happened – “Geller testified (and the judge agreed) that the public participation in drafting the 1996 Bicycle Master Plan was adequate to qualify as a hearing that covers the entire bike network without requiring hearings for each segment.”

    I really don’t understand why the city will not admit that this one particular bike lane on SW Broadway is a bad idea. Not all ideas work the way we hope. There’s nothing shameful in admitting it, removing it, and moving on. There is something shameful in stubbornly refusing to admit an error when that error is resulting in death, injury, large amounts of time, money, police time, attorney involvement, hassle, and hard feelings between cyclists and the city.

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    Jonathan Maus November 7, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    Donna,

    Geller feels like the bike master plan should be considered a sufficient “hearing”. However, Ginsberg disagrees and still maintains that no hearings have been held.

    This story was difficult to report without transcripts from the testimony and I did not get every detail exactly right.

    I will follow up with more tomorrow.

    In the meantime, here’s more on the hearings part of it from Ginsberg himself as posted to the OBRA email list a few hours ago:

    “yesterday the State put on a big dog and pony show about the bicycle master plan (hereinafter “BMP’) (this is a city of Portland document- that you dear reader can get online or they will even mail you a copy if you ask).

    Portland Bike Master plan is a nice document, I currently chair the City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee and we are just beginning the process of updating it.

    the BMP has lots of stuff about all the process, workshops, etc that were held.

    Yesterday the prosecution put on lots of evidence about the BMP.

    I asked the very pointed question “can you show us anywhere in the BMP where it says that hearings were held that found the lanes safe for use at reasonable speed?” the answer was all about how much input there was from citizens etc. I asked again and the prosecutors witness (who I know and work with) said “NO”.

    That is to say he stated that nowhere in the BMP does it say they had the hearings to fine Portland bike lanes safe for use at reasonable speed.

    so you think we’d be done right??
    wrong!!

    The judge still found that the hearings were held.”

    Of course this was all made irrelevant somewhat and the case turned dramatically when Ginsberg asked Geller whether or not it was “safe and reasonable” for Smith to leave the bike lane.

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    Elly November 7, 2006 at 10:23 pm

    Hmm, that bit about Geller saying the hearing process was sufficient is based on my recognition, but he may have been a whole lot more impartial about it. Sorry if I got you wrong, Roger.

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    Carl November 8, 2006 at 9:50 am

    Enough with the drama.

    What I saw in court was evidence that the ORS still have a ways to go before bikes are reasonably accomodated. I also saw a judge and some cops struggling to negotiate gray areas, struggling to fit bikes into their vision of “traffic.”

    It was a dark and extremely frustrating day, but some of these comments take this frustration too far by transferring this frustration onto the city as a whole. Sure, there’s a minor shitstorm in the traffic division right now and yes, they’re unfairly targetting the bicyclists who ride downtown the most (messengers), but I think that is more a symptom of Portland’s trajectory, than a serious threat to it.

    As far as I’m concerned, Portland is friendlier, more accomodating, and safer for bicyclists than any other U.S. city its size, and it’s only getting better. Don’t cry wolf, here. That court session was bull, but I see it as a growing pain. With some more patience and persistence on our part, the Lowes and Balzers will either get with it or move on. They’re swimming against the tide.

    I entertain contradictory thoughts on Portland’s bikey status: One says that “Platinum status” is a US-centric joke and that Portland’s bikey superiority complex needs a reality check. The other says we’re way ahead of the rest of the country and instead of crying, “blood in the streets!” we should be proud and continue to catch up with other bike-friendly cities around the world.

    We’ve definitely got some issues to work out in the courts of law and public opinion, but my opinion of Portland as an ever-improving bike-friendly city, though slightly bruised, is still very much intact.

    Carl

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    Cate November 8, 2006 at 10:33 am

    Oh, Carl, thank you for balanced perspective and words of wisdom.

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    max November 8, 2006 at 10:38 am

    It seems like we have 2 cops who are 90% of the problem, has any attempt been made to work up the chain of command to have them directed to stop what they are doing. I know I know this probably won’t work, but maybe if someone talked to either their sargent or diplomatically asked some of our bike friendly city politicians to do the same they can be told to stop targeting bicyclists.

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    Abee November 8, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    It’s been a bike for me for more than 35 years. I’ll ride as I always have – to live another day until a motorist runs me down (but they won’t come up on a sidewalk to get me or over in the gutter) – like they have already done too many cyclists here in “BICYCLE FRIENDLY,
    (he he he,give me a “brake”) Portland – without being held accountable for it.
    And someday when these big bullies and hateful souls can no longer find the fuel to get their loaded weapons on the road, they will find out what it’s like to be ‘small’ and ‘vulnerable’ again.

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    adam November 8, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    if you can get me a meeting with barnum and bailey’s boss’s boss’s boss, I volunteer to meet with her and to explain our case – no blood in the streets nor swear words.

    of course, I will have to hire carl to sit still and watch and then report.

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    Dabby November 9, 2006 at 2:27 am

    Adam,
    After reading your bitching posts,and based on them alone, I think we all would agree that you are the last person we would want to have “explaining our case”.
    Your atacks, here in these comments, remind me of the pictures my neices and nephews bring home daycare.
    Full of hopes and dreams, but, from their young, naive perspective, lacking in reality.

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    Patrick November 9, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    I’d like to know why these cops are waiting downtown to give citations. Meanwhile back on Broadway earlier this week some kid makes a right hand turn in front of me sending me to the ground. No cops around for that?

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    Cecil November 9, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    Carl said “What I saw in court was evidence that the ORS still have a ways to go before bikes are reasonably accomodated.”

    Precisely. And the way to fix that is to work with the legislature. There’s an awful lot of energy (both positive and negative, I must notes) on this blog/listserv – why not put that energy to work by working with local legislators to amend the ORS, instead of pissing and moaning about the system and the Man keeping bikers down?

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    Cate November 9, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    Very well said, Cecil. Do something constructive. Get knowledgable about the laws, volunteer to help the BTA (or whoever), get to know your legislators…

    Bicyclists are victimized sometimes, yes, but the only way to stop future victimization is for well-informed, involved, organized advocates to take action.

    If you want to get indignant, get indignant toward every bicyclist who complains without being willing to productively work for a solution.

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    Dabby November 9, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    Adam,
    I feel I may have been a little harsh in stating what I did above.
    In reality, I am also someone who may not be good for representation, as I let my emotions get the best of me at times.
    My point is this:
    What we have going on here is emotionally charged aggression towards the people we pay to uphold the laws.
    Truly, they are doing what we pay them to do.
    We just do not like the way they are doing it.
    But, sadly, in giving them the power to uphold the laws, we take away power from ourselves.
    The real culprits here are the people who are supposed to be involved in policing the police.
    I think we still have a community policing task force working here, do we not?
    Where are they in the struggle to control a policed force, that, among other things, has earned Portland the Moniker “Home of the Speedloader” due to a handful of incidents in the 90’s alone?
    We need to have a new, community policing force (policing the police), in regard to cycling laws and violations, and many other things.
    of course, as I mentioned, we already have community policing in place (somewhere?)
    Has anyone seen or heard from them, at all?

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    i_r_beej November 9, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    Yay! Someone echoing my sentiments regarding the utter stupidity of bike lanes.

    Bike lanes fill up with tire-puncturing debris kicked over by cars. Cars use them for turn-lanes. For parking.

    Motorists expect bicyclists to stay in bike lanes. Bicycles in the bike lane are all but invisible to motorists.

    I will not ride in bike lanes.

    Wayne McCabe has it exactly right: bike lanes are NOT safe and the best place to be is claiming our space with the traffic (we ARE traffic). I travel with the rest of the traffic– out where motorists can SEE me– and strive to be predictable in my maneuvering.

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