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:
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.