Perceptions of enforcement

Posted by on November 21st, 2006 at 11:20 am

Tour de Fat '06

The issue of enforcement against bicycles is contributing to an increasingly acrimonious relationship between the Police Bureau and some members of the bike community.

In addition to the well-publicized and unresolved fixed-gear bicycle issue, allegations of selective enforcement are still being made, especially by downtown messengers who feel they’re being unfairly targeted for both fixed-gears and other “ticky-tack” violations.

Bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg recently spent an entire day (and then some) in Multnomah County Court trying a slew of bike tickets. Did it really have to come to that?

There also remains a sometimes tenuous relationship between the Traffic Division, PDOT, and some bike advocates over the location and execution of bicycle enforcement actions (like this one), and over how the Bureau sets enforcement priorities given their limited resources.

Questions and an open discussion about the policies of the Police Bureau by citizens and advocates is a healthy thing, but it seems like we’ve moved away from the positive working relationship we enjoyed just several months ago.

The photo below is from a traffic safety meeting led by former Commander Bill Sinnott at PPB headquarters one year ago:

[Former Traffic Division Commander Bill Sinnott leads the meeting. Reps from PDOT, BTA, and others are at the table. (File photo from 10/25/05)]

This downward trend in the relationship between the police and the bike community is unfortunate for many reasons. The Traffic Division writes 80% of Portland’s tickets and they investigate drunk drivers and bicycle crashes. That being said, I feel like a good relationship with them is essential to making this city bike-friendly.

The good news is that this relationship is far from a lost cause and it just needs some tweaking. It’s a work in progress and I’m confident it will improve in the future.

At this point, I’m curious what the perception is about how many tickets are actually being written to cyclists.

Lieutenant Mark Kruger — who I’ve worked hard to maintain a good relationship with as a quasi-spokesperson of the bike community — has given me their citation statistics for October.

Before I publish them I’d like to hear from you how many tickets you think were written to bicyclists in October. As a frame of reference, there were 4,760 total citations written.

Here’s the question:

    Out of 4,760 citations, how many tickets do you think were written to bicyclists in October?

I’ll update this post with the stats in a few days. Thanks for your input.

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Cate
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Cate

What percentage of Portland bicyclists are messengers? What percentage of Portland bicyclists ride fixed gears?

What is a “ticky-tack” violation?

How many of the citations given to bicyclists were upheld in court? Is it a PPD issue or a legislative issue?

Why the guessing game on how many tickets went to bicyclists?

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Spelling Correction:

My guess would be 10 citations maximum.

And this might be a stretch – even counting multiple tickets for a single traffic stop.

IMHO: As a daily all weather bicyclist and transportation planner, there should be a lot more enforcement of basic safety equipment like missing lights/ reflectors/ horns/ bells vs. this whole fixie enforcement issue. Such enforcement would include education and efforts like the get-lit programme too.

There is nothing worse than a wrong way bicyclist riding towards you in the dark without lights in the winter – they can see you but you are left in the dark about them.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

Those are good questions.

Percentage of messengers = very very low.
Percentage of fixed-gear riders = no idea.

By “ticky tack” violation I was trying to capture the feelings of cyclists that have complained to me about stuff like not turning into the proper lane, not signalling a turn, not riding in the bike lane, etc…

How many citations were upheld in court?
Most were upheld, but a few were dismissed.

Is it a PPB or leg. issue?
This is yet to be figured out. In a perfect world I would hope we could come to the table and work it out without going to Salem.

Why the guessing game?
I’m just curious about cyclists’ perception of how many tickets are being written.

What’s your guess?

no one in particular
Guest
no one in particular

Thirty?

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Put me down for 47.

I’d also like to see that number put alongside the number of accidents out there happen because of a bike-at-fault, or maybe how many cyclists have been killed due to their own misdeeds.

How does it correlate? What are the economic comparisons?

But then again, the buttheads that drive down my street at 45mph, flying through an uncontrolled intersection haven’t caused any “economic” damage, yet, but they sure do negatively impact the quality of life in my neighborhood.

Cecil
Guest
Cecil

Is it a contest? What would I win? My guess is 72. But I beg to differ that a citation for not turning into the proper lane or not signalling a turn is a “ticky-tack” violation. Both those manuveours can cause an accident because they require other riders or motorists to try to predict what the turning rider is up to. They also lead to other riders and motorists starting to make assumptions that lead to accidents, like the other rider who almost t-boned me when she turned from my left onto Ladd Avenue from Ladd Circle while I was continuing on Ladd Circle – when I yelled at her to watch out, her response was “I assumed you were turning.” When I asked if she had seen me signaling a turn, she said “No, but no one signals here.” Sadly, she was right. Frankly, a little enforcement at Ladd Circle would not be a bad idea . . . I have yet to see a cyclist stop, or even fake a stop, at any of the stop signs from the feeder streets.

adam
Guest
adam

at least 1.

this is 1 more than the number of people cyclists killed with their actions.

it is 1 less than the number of innocent people that the ppb killed over the same period of time.

the number of tickets written to cyclists is lower than the number of cop hours they waste “patrolling” the mass every month.

it is not a matter of numbers, it is matter of decency.

They don’t want to meet with any of us. All of the work that we have done to work with them has been done by us as volunteers, not by them as PAID public SERVANTs.

cannot wait to hear that important public piece of data. and, why is it not public knowledge anyway?

thank you, jonathan and people like marc for constantly banging your head against this wall. I know, personally, how frustrating it is.

Since you know Kruger, I believe I asked him a few, direct questions on a comment a while ago. does he want to meet with ME about it?

Jasun Wurster
Guest
Jasun Wurster

Oh Jonathan you crafty little minx …

Sorry ‘minx’ is the word for the day and I just had to use it.

My guess for the number of tickets for the past month is approximately .003% of the total traffic citations written. Just to let you know I am playing by the internationally accepted ‘Price is Right Rules’ here.

Though the above number seems small. I feel that numbers are misleading in this case. The reason is that perceptions are based on interactions with the PPB regardless if the officer write tickets. I have gotten tickets, in other cities, when I totally deserved it and walked away from the situation with a high respect for the officer.

On the other hand, especially here in Portland, my perception is formed not by getting tickets but having to repeatedly deal with a police force that has officers who make up laws on a whim. It seems that officers gets very confrontational when I have the civic audacity to question them on the law by simply asking them to look it up in the ORS before writing me a ticket. This is not so much coming from the Traffic division officers … but the precinct officers. These officers are organizationally different than Traffic … but which have more interaction with cyclists.

My expectation is for a police force to build a relationship with the community by being part of it. They should get to know the individuals and educate citizens to provide for a cohesive society. Unfortunately, my perception of the PPB doing this is primarily through compliance-gaining via the motivational appeal of fear … as opposed to reasoning or being a part of the community.

Your reporting is great. However, I think that also asking the following questions are more just as vital:

What is the global PPB ratio of hours last month that were patrolling neighborhoods on foot or bicycle (I know this is not the Traffic division)?

What is the global PPB ratio of officers the live in the area that they patrol?

How many people were stopped last month and the officers went on a ‘fishing expedition’ running warrant checks and illegally searching bags … only to let them go after nothing came up (my guess this is not recorded)?

For the most part my perception of the leadership in the Traffic Division is one of listening to the cycling community. I think the next step is for the PPB as a whole to start listening and start become more of a part of the community as a whole.

The issues with our police force are antiquated policies that are adversely affecting many communities … not just the urban cycling community.

andy
Guest
andy

It might also be helpful to know how many citations were given to motorists in bike-related situations: failing to yield to a bike in a bike line, opening doors into the path of an oncoming cyclists, etc. The perception of a lot of cyclists, myself included, is that the Traffic Division is not enforcing the laws equally.

So: how many of those 4,760 citations were given out to motorists who infringed on cyclist’s rights to legally and safely occupy the public right of way?

And also: what is the ratio of cyclists to motorists on the road, anyway? Let’s have some numbers to compare against.

Rixtir
Guest
Rixtir

I just have to laugh at these cyclists who claim a right to ride as they please and then whine and sniffle every time they get busted for it.

Got a ticket for breaking the law? Good. Now suck up and pay, just like everybody else.

Rixtir
Guest
Rixtir

Oh, and my guess is 337.

dayaram
Guest
dayaram

tickets for bikies? less than 30.
and yes I think that those who ride at nite without lights, don’t stop at lights etc should get tickets and stop acting like “brats’ about it!

Rixtir
Guest
Rixtir

Oops, i misread that– October, not the entire year. OK, for October, I’d say 37.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Hi Rixtir,

Hey man, if I get busted for running a stop sign (which I do but claim no “right” to) and get a ticket, so be it. I know the rules and I take that risk.

My beef is that some yahoo running a red light in an Escalade is given the same ticket that I’d get for rolling a stop sign on my bike.

(and actually, my own experience of getting hit by a truck that ran a red light is that the driver does NOT get a ticket)

That’s not whining, that’s asking that there be some acknowledgement of the difference between a 5,665 lb SUV (yup I looked it up) and me on a bike (sum total

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

sorry half my post got deleted

sum total

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

That’s not whining, that’s asking that there be some acknowledgement of the difference between a 5,665 lb SUV (yup I looked it up) and me on a bike (sum total

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

argh i give up. sorry folks. computer issues

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Rixtir,
What “You” are not understanding here is that some of the tickets are being written for “not” violating the law.
I agree, you break the law, you take your chances, you pay the ticket.
But the police can not rewrite the law on the street.
Nor do we pay them to not understand it to the point of bad enforcement.
Andy,
they do not give a ticket for a cyclist/ car interaction unless there is an injury.
So that answer would not reallly be available, or a valid accounting.

By the way, I say 42 tickets to cyclists in October.

Magnum
Guest
Magnum

Do you have stats on Barnum and Balzer? Lets call a spade a spade most of the traffic division is probably going after high risk offenses such as excesive speed and DUIs. I’d like to see what percentage of Barnum and Balzers tickets were bicycle related and what percetage of bicycle tickets of the total bicycle tickets writen can be attributed to these two.

Bill Larson
Guest
Bill Larson

Im guessing less than 30

ian
Guest
ian

150-
and I bet maybe 2 or 3 are to fixies. the rest are running stop signs or no lights or something else they deserved.

adam
Guest
adam

I would like to know why Kruger is still employed. let’s call a spade a spade, whether he is a nazi or just hates peaceful demonstrations…

http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=34703&category=22101

“In April, the city paid out nearly $1 million in damages and attorney fees after Kruger and several other Portland police allegedly beat up and pepper sprayed anti-war protesters in 2002. This time around, Kruger allegedly grabbed an otherwise peaceful protester at a 2003 anti-Bush rally and dragged her 15 feet by the hair. The plaintiff, Amber Hicks, is seeking an undisclosed amount of monetary damages.”

http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=31818&category=22101

“it’s understandable that the police bureau is sensitive about Kruger’s off-the-job interests. In the course of background research for a lawsuit against Kruger, attorneys discovered a disturbing pattern of behavior, personal interests, and hobbies. One of Kruger’s former friends came forward to say they used to drive around the city listening to recorded Adolf Hitler speeches and shouting racial epithets at people. He also confessed that Kruger had constructed a shrine for fallen Nazi soldiers at Rocky Butte. The attorneys have acquired video footage of Kruger wearing Nazi uniforms.”

Rixtir
Guest
Rixtir

Dabby, I agree, my mistake in forgetting that point.

Tonyt, I hear what you’re saying about the different harms created, but I think lowering the fine creates further incentive to break the law. Bicycles have a right to the road because they’re vehicles; the other side of that coin is that riders have the same duties that drivers of other vehicles have. With the rights come responsibilities. Lowering the fine sends a signal that those responsibilities shouldn’t be taken seriously.

That said, there’s obviously a difference in the harm created when an Escalade runs a red light (although bicyclists can and do damage property, and injure and kill pedestrians, when they disregard their duties.). rather than lowering the fine for cyclists, I would advocate that *if* society wants to acknowledge the difference in harms created, then perhaps the driver of an automobile should pay the fine *and* lose his/her drivers license for a year.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Rixtir,

I’d rather RAISE the fine for the Escalade really.

Rixtir
Guest
Rixtir

Tonyt,

As I said, I haven’t thought out the ramifications (for example, if cyclists are subject to lesser penalties, do they have lesser rights?), but having said that, I wouldn’t be against the idea of raising fines on that Escalade for running red lights, speeding, etc.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Well, I would say that cyclists should have a lesser penalty because we are already at an obvious disadvantage in terms of plain physics AND pose a smaller threat to other public space users. Rights to public space should remain the same.

adam
Guest
adam

Here is another number game.

What percentage of the values of the PPB does the bike community think that the PPB demonstrates?

here are the “values” from Their website:
* Integrity
* Compassion
* Accountability
* Respect
* Excellence
* Service

Uhhhh, lemme think. oh, right.

ZERO

pdxMark
Guest
pdxMark

If the percentage of tickets to cyclists reflected the percentage of vehicle trips city-wide by bike, I would think that the number of tickets to cyclists ought to be about 5. (Clearly I’m guessing on the city-wide total counts for bike trips versus car trips.) If cyclists break traffic laws twice as often as motorists (a far-fetched assumption when speeding is taken into account), there would be about 10 tickets.

My guess is that about 150 tickets were written to cyclists, out of the 4700. In this case, cyclists would either 30 times more likely than a motorist to break a traffic law, or cyclists are being disproportionately targetd by PPB.

Rixtir
Guest
Rixtir

Or maybe more cyclists refuse to stop at stop signs and red lights, while more motorists observe those traffic signals?

Nahh, the PPB is targeting cyclists. Yeah, that must be it. That way, nobody has to take responsibility for the way they ride, because it’s all just one big conspiracy….

Rixtir
Guest
Rixtir

Putting away conspiracy theories for a moment, if a large percentage of cyclists refuses to obey traffic laws that they personally disagree with, and that refusal to obey laws is noticeable by the most casual observer, then it’s likely that the PPB will decide to crack down on that lawless behavior. Especially when they receive complaints about it.

pdxMark
Guest
pdxMark

Rix – I suspect traffic enforcement is like shooting fish in a barrel. A traffic officer can sit almost anywhere and be steadily writing tickets to whoever is passing by. The point is whether they choose to sit along bike routes, where 25 pound bicycles cruise through stop signs in quiet residential neighborhoods, or whether they sit along thoroughfares and ticket 3000 pound cars for speeding or dashing through red stop lights at congested intersections.

It’s all a matter of where they choose to sit, and if they are spending disproportionate time sitting on routes that carry the 1/10% of daily city-wide vehicle traffic that poses the least risk to other road users, then I think they aren’t using they time wisely.

Jasun Wurster
Guest
Jasun Wurster

Rixtir,

Consider (or better yet observe) the following:

1) What is the percentage in a 1 hour sampling during 4:30PM to 5:30PM of automobiles that come to a complete, as in ceasing all forward motion, at stop sign (you choose the busy intersection)?

2) Same condition as above, what is the percentage of automobiles completely stopping before turning right on red?

3) Let’s not pick on just drivers. How many people make illegal mid-block crossings at Pioneer courthouse square?

I reference the following Portland City ordnances:

16.70.210 Must Use Crosswalks
http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?&a=16267&c=28596

16.70.220 Must Cross at Right Angles.
http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?&a=16270&c=28596

After all … there are a lot more pedestrians than automobiles and cyclists in our city. Why is the PPB not they cracking down on these disturbingly massive law violations? Under your logic there should be police enforcement happening to target pedestrians, who are obviously the largest percentage of law breakers in the city.

jasun

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

pdxMark:

It may be shooting fish in a barrel, but your argument is diminished by reverting to propaganda. Cyclists run stpos in “quiet residential neighborhoods” while autos run stops at “congested intersections”?

I’m downtown every day, and that’s where I see cyclists running lights, stop signs, cutting off other vehicles…

I’ve seen cyclists run lights and force others to screech to a halt– downtown, not in “quiet residential neighborhoods.” I saw it last night most recently.

Jasun:

1) & 2) Let’s say you’re right, and agree that at least some autos make a rolling stop. That’s not analogous in percentage or action to the cyclists who blast through without even slowing.

*Cue all the cyclists who claim to slow and look before they blow the stop.*

lennon
Guest

Don’t feed the trolls, guys; Rixtir is putting you on the defensive when you have no reason to be there.

We reduce gridlock, produce less air and noise pollution, and demand *less* expenditure for infrastructure than daily drivers. Simply by choosing to ride instead of driving, we have already shown ourselves to be more concerned with safe, effective transportation, so I absolutely reject any assertion that cyclists are somehow bad “citizens of the road”.

Rixtir
Guest
Rixtir

Lennon:

Chances are good that I’ve been riding for longer than you’ve been alive. I don’t even own a car. I do own 6 bikes. So where do you get off separating me out as a “troll” from “we cyclists”?

ian
Guest
ian

Lennon, the aurgument isn’t about bikes are good vs bad. its about are cops targeting cyclists. I am interested to see these results, because my guess is no. I bet they are higher than the trips ratio, because bikes downtown are visibly breaking the law all the time, my self included. I am guessing a high percentage of tickets, both car and bike, are given close to downtown where the percentage of bikes is higher then outer parts of the city.
I have also been a messenger a few different times in my life, and got tickets for running lights. which I did, and didn’t complain that I was being targeted.
If the cops are watching people who regularly break the law, thats not targeting.

Cate
Guest
Cate

Thank you, lennon. The trolls get too much respect around here.

And thank you, Jonathan, for your response. I get concerned when I read “The issue of enforcement against bicycles is contributing to an increasingly acrimonious relationship between the Police Bureau and the bike community.” I think it’s important to question who you’re implying the bike community is.

Is the bike community represented by messengers and fixed gear bicyclists (especially those without caliper brakes), or does it include all Portland bicyclists? I, for one, don’t have an acrimonious relationship with the PPD.

If you’re going to be a self-designated “quasi-spokesperson of the bike community”, doesn’t the bike community need to include all bicyclists? How many Portland bicyclists actually have an acrimonious relationship with the PPD? I suspect it’s not very high.

Ask OBRA or PWTC bicyclists how many have an acrimonious relationships with the PPD. Or ask the average bicyclist riding on the Esplanade.

I think it’s important to question assumptions before making decisions and negatively judging others.

josh m
Guest
josh m

I always love when people bust the “I have been riding longer than you’ve been alive, so I am better and all knowing”.
I blow lights, signs, etc… I don’t ride in the bike lane, I change lanes and turn without signaling, I don’t have a rear light, i ride a track bike w/ out rim brakes, sometimes I ride on the sidewalk, I ride between lanes downtown, i pass stopped traffic on the right and then cut through to make a left turn, blahblahblah.
However, I can’t kill a car or seriously injure a car.
I’ve not caused any accidents.
Irony is, everytime I’ve been hit by a car, I’ve been in the bike lane.

Macaroni
Guest
Macaroni

I’ll guess 88 tickets.

I could’ve been ticketed once for swinging my bike against a cab whose driver had cut in front of me on SW Broadway (where else), but I wasn’t. The cops were behind me and saw it, darn it. They would not admit that the driver broke the law for turning in front of me when I was in the bike lane, and the driver went away saying, “Ma’am, I didn’t do anything wrong.” In summary, my experience has been that police don’t ticket bicyclists as much as they could and they don’t ticket drivers when they should.

I think it is time we start self-policing. We might risk being at the end of some verbal abuse, but I’d rather we solved our own problems than get the police more involved than they already are.

As more and more people bike accidents between bicylists are going to become more common. As I’ve said in previous posts, if someone wants to be an idiot and ride without a headlight that’s his prerogative, but if I have a head-on with someone because of it, I’m going to be royally po’d, hurt or killed. I actually had a biker yell at me for turning left in front of him at night when he had no lights and I did not see him.
Self-policing in moderation. How about it?

Macaroni
Guest
Macaroni

josh m,
You must be very proud of yourself.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Josh, I think if you read back, it was lennon who was separating me out as a non-cycling troll. You can’t have it both ways: First I’m a non-cyclist who’s trolling, then when that line of “reasoning” doesn’t work, I’m busting out my bogus “I’ve been riding longer than you argument.”

If people don’t want to hear it, they don’t have to make the challenge to begin with.

And while I have no doubt that you can’t kill a car, Josh, I also have no doubt that you can cause property damage to somebody’s car. And let me take a wild guess here: If you caused property damage, you don’t actually have the financial werewithal to pay for that damage, do you? (It’s OK, I don’t have the financial werewithal either, but I also do my best to not be negligent about harming other people.).

And finally, you forgot the greatest harm you are capable of inflicting: You are capable of injuring or killing pedestrians. It’s happened before. And yes, I know cars kill loads of people every year. That doesn’t make it OK for cyclists to do it once in a while.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

Cate,

You said:
“If you’re going to be a self-designated “quasi-spokesperson of the bike community”, doesn’t the bike community need to include all bicyclists?”

I’m not sure why you’d phrase your question like that. Of course I realize the community should include all bicyclists.

Please excuse my use of the phrase “bike community”. I fully understand that different parts of the community have different experiences with the PPB.

I should have said “some members of the bike community”. I’ll go and edit it now.

Brad
Guest
Brad

We should also be looking into the type of tickets written and the percentage of the total driving population. If the percentage of tickets were written to cyclists is greater than then the percentage of cyclists as total traffic, that would be very telling and a problem.

Secondly, the *ticky-tack* violations, should be further scrutinized. For example, as a commercially licensed (class B) driver and a former commercial driving instructor, I have never heard of anyone being only cited for making a turn into the wrong lane. My only experience with this infraction is a driver being cited in combination with other infractions, but never alone.

Many of us drive and have cars, do we ever worry about putting on our turn signals exactly 100 feet before our turn?

My guess is 2% of all tickets went to cylists or 95.2 or just under 3 per day in October.

Jasun Wurster
Guest
Jasun Wurster

Rixtir,

You see unlike you, I provide sources to substantiate my claims and do not resort to logical fallacies. For example:

According to the NHTSA “In 2005, 43,443 people were killed in the estimated 6,159,000 police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes, 2,699,000 people were injured, and 4,304,000 crashes involved property damage only.”

(http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/overviewtsf05.pdf)

Can you show us your data that proves your comment in post #33 that:

“… all the cyclists who claim to slow and look before they blow the stop …”

The reason for my above source is that EVERY DAY approximately 119 people in the United States are killed by automobiles and 739 individuals are injured DAILY in the United States. I could not find national statistics for cyclists but, I suspect them to be much lower. With this line of thinking should not the police emphasis be placed on actions that KILL and INJURE the most people?

Also, if you do not mind can you answer my question #3 in post #32?

I am trying to highlight that the logic to your argument would seem to dictate that the larger number of law violators should get the largest police attention. Since there are more pedestrians than driver and cyclists combined should not the PPB enforce City ordnances to protect their well being? After all a pedestrian crossing the street is the most vulnerable user of this public shared resource.

You see, I respect the readers of this blog by contributing that they can think about and I back it up with facts.

jasun

nerf
Guest
nerf

i think most of them were written to me…

Steve
Guest
Steve

I can’t believe we even have to have a discussion about traffic citations and their merits…It’s quite simple really,…break the law, risk a ticket. Don’t like the law? Work to change it… and not by whining on a forum about being picked on by the PPD. We ask for the same rights as motorists yet complain when treated as such. Its no wonder our credibility is nil with the PPD and the courts.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Jasun:

1) In case you didn’t understand my comment, I said *cue all the cyclists who claim to slow and look before they blow the stop* “Cue.” That distinction is important (and I think you’re aware of that, because you edited that word out), because I wasn’t claiming any set of facts about “a known quantity” of cyclists; I was merely making the observation that when the subject of cyclists running lights without slowing and looking comes up, cyclists inevitably post to claim that they slow first. As far as verifying that cyclists make those posts, they’re somewhere here in the Bikeportland ethernet, and no, I’m not going to spend all night looking for them. It’s not a statistic, Jasun, it’s just an observation about what cyclists say when I point out the easily verifiable fact that some cyclists run lights without slowing and looking.

2)I’m all for a massive crackdown on scofflaw motorists. Make the penalties hurt. Treat driving as a privilege, not a right.

I also believe that the bicycle should be a privileged vehicle, both in Portland, and throughout the U.S. In the city, I believe the automobile should be restricted from the downtown area, as well as from bike boulevards radiating out from the downtown area.

My perspectives on these issues are not mutually exclusive from believing that cyclists should obey the law too.

3) My comment to your point 3, as you requested (even though I didn’t really see the point in responding): I don’t have an issue with the police enforcing crosswalk violations. But the fact that there are more pedestrians than there are drivers or bicyclists– assuming that such a laughable assertion, which you haven’t substantiated, were actually true– doesn’t prove that there are “massive violations” occurring. You need more evidence than sheer numbers of pedestrians to prove your claim that “massive violations” are occurring. And once you’ve proven your claim, if they’re committing violations which are impacting others– and that’s the point of enforcing traffic laws, after all– then yes, they should be cited. If, if, if….

4) I don’t believe I’ve said anywhere that “the larger number of violators should get the largest police attention.” If I had said that, then the police should focus exclusively on automobiles. What I *did* say is that there are more cyclists blowing lights without even slowing and looking than there are automobiles doing the same thing. Do I have statistics to prove that? No, it’s from observation. But if you want to challenge that observation, we can pick a downtown street and observe the traffic, you and I. I’m confident that my observation will hold up.

Now, if a significant number of cyclists are openly and visibly and regularly breaking the law, should the cops look the other way because there are other violators out there? Or should the cops cite cyclists who are breaking the law when they see them breaking the law? I argue that cyclists who break the law should be cited.

I also argue that when everybody else’s attention is focused on the “injustice” of scofflaw cyclists receiving tickets, our attention is diverted from other cycling issues.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I’ve seen several posts that conflate the good things about biking with following/not following traffic laws. To my fellow bikers I say welcome to the mainstream.

I see the fact that traffic police do missions against bikers blowing stop signs, et al as a sign the biking culture has truly arrived. The next time you feel burned think about the poor motorist who got busted in a speed trap going through Cottage Grove – and all of his/her worthy excuses.

Add worrying about getting a ticket to the following other worries about biking in Portland: number of snow days that might keep me off the bike, is one of the hundreds of miles of bike lanes convenient enough or should I take a surface street, damn I got a flat and forgot my spare tube – should I a) wait for a friendly fellow biker to offer me one or b) walk to the nearest of the many bike shops or c) take the bus equipped with the bike rack home, … Anyway, you get the idea – we’ve got it good. (Sorry kids, the world isn’t perfect.)

BTW – there’s a great article about biking in NYC in the November 13th New Yorker. (Also see the article about Lagos in the same issue regarding the world not being perfect.)

no one in particular
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no one in particular

Wurster: for the record, .003% of all October tickets would be .14 tickets. Or, about 1.6 tickets a year.

Maybe you meant .3%? That would be about 14 tickets.

Jasun Wurster
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Jasun Wurster

Yea … I forgot to move the decimal. I did mean %0.3 … but that is the beauty of Price is Right rules … I did not go over!

Thanks,

jasun