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Cops out in force in OMSI construction zone

Posted by on June 20th, 2007 at 10:54 am

Looking north on SE 4th Ave.
(File photo)

Back in February, I shared the word from the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division that the OMSI construction area would be an “enhanced enforcement zone” (see map below).

Now, given the amount of emails and phone calls I’ve received in recent days, it seems like they’ve significantly ratcheted up their efforts to cite bicyclists in this area.

One person — an employee at the Portland Opera who rides through the area every day — called me this morning to vent frustrations about the situation. During our 10 minute phone conversation, she watched four cyclists get pulled over.

Yesterday, I interviewed about the situation on KGW-TV. In the story they ran on their 5 and 6 o’clock newscasts last night, reporter Amy Troy said,

“In two days police handed out at least three-dozen citations to bicyclists who ran stop signs in one area of Southeast Portland (the OMSI construction zone).”

Is this simply bicyclists getting what’s coming to them for breaking the law? Can the engineering of this area be improved? Is it reasonable to expect 100% compliance in an area that is unsafe and confusing to navigate for bicyclists? Is this even an issue we should be concerned about? Do we need to take a closer look at different solutions? Do you care about this issue?

If you ride through this area, I would love to hear about your experiences.

In the meantime, let this serve as a reminder that Traffic Division officers are watching this area very closely.

*Here’s a map of the project area and approximate enforcement zone.

[This is not an official graphic.]
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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

137 Comments
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    Cecil June 20, 2007 at 10:59 am

    I ride through the area almost every day and I watch cyclists blow the stop signs almost every day. I think a lot of the cyclists that blow through the signs, especially the ones at the Portland Opera cul-de-sac and at the intersections of Caruthers and Division Place, do so because there are so rarely any cars in that area (esp. with Water St. being closed at the time). We can question whether stop signs are necessary at the location,, but while they are there it seems to me that you blow them at your own risk.

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    wyatt June 20, 2007 at 11:08 am

    Early last week in the early A.M. (don\’t remember wich day, and the time was probably between 6:15 – 7:30) I saw a biker down on the intersection of 4th and Caruthers. There was a fire truck and police. The cyclist was on some kind of emergency board and looked pretty scraped up.

    It was difficult to determine what had happened, but that stop sign on 4th (heading North) is blown pretty regularly as people turn either East or West onto Caruthers.

    Does anyone have any information on this accident?

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    Greg June 20, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Doesn\’t this enforcement just show that the previous enforcement at this location a month ago or so was ineffective at changing the behavior of cyclists in this area? Didn\’t we already show this at Ladd\’s, another place where coming to a complete stop is entirely superfluous?

    Half of the stop signs in this zone are unnecessary. All should be yields for cyclists. Help make what we are going to do regardless of the law safe and legal!! I\’ll be taking 11th and 12th instead of the esplanade until the cops are gone.

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    silcox June 20, 2007 at 11:24 am

    I have seen this sting location many times.

    A friend and I went through there the other night. He thinks they are giving more citations to bikes than cars:

    Portland Police target bicyclists disproportionately.

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    Bonnie June 20, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Is anyone fed up enough to attempt level headed discussion with Portland Police/Mayor Potter about this? I\’m not talking about having it made to be OK for cyclists to blow all stop signs, but maybe the start is to push for changing the signage in this particular area? Get rid of the stop signs at the exit/entrance for the Esplanade? Signage at the Water detour/4th Ave intersection that says \’Cross Traffic Does Not Stop\’? Request that the PPB also stop motorists who roll through stops in that area? Anyone want to help pursue this?

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    SKiDmark June 20, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Why does it feel like the Police are trying to force a confrontation with us cyclists?

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    Springwater Regular Rider June 20, 2007 at 11:32 am

    I ride this area a couple of times a week, & have a couple of observations –

    I\’ve noticed a couple of unfortunate bikelane issues in this area that do seem to affect cyclist behaviour.

    Firstly, since the area is primarily industrial, I\’ve noticed a lot of trucks parking in the bikelanes. Sometimes they\’re loading & unloading, & other times it seems like they\’re parked there permenantly, forcing cyclists out into the street – particularly a whole line of them on Caruthers.

    Perhaps sharrows could be a possible solution & comprimise between the need for businesses in the area to function, & the need for bicyclists of all ages & abilities to pass safely & comfortably through the area here?

    I feel that the latter point is significant, since a great portion of riders in this section are families who may not be comfortable around traffic, & who may not know all of the rules of the road when it comes to bikes.

    Leading on from the loading & unloading truck issue, I personally get uncomfortable riding in the newly striped bikelane on 4th that leads to the Springwater trailhead. This is because so many trucks use it to load & unload (if you look, their loading bays front the building directly onto the bikelane), there\’s a **lot** of horrible debris in the bikelane – grit, rocks, and lots and lots and lots of pieces of wood, & sections of splinters.

    I worry about riding in the lane and getting a flat tire every time. And I worry about not riding in the lane, and getting a ticket from an over-zealous police officer.

    I don\’t know who has legal responsibility for the bikelane, but I do think it would be nice if the factory could find it in its heart to perhaps volunteer a bit of goodwill towards bicyclists, & sweep the bikepath once a week, (since my understanding is they\’re primarily the ones dropping bits of wood & grit all over it on a daily basis, & not the city, or the bicyclists)

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    tonyt June 20, 2007 at 11:36 am

    What do I need to do to get some of those cops into my neighborhood to deal with the 3,000 lb cars doing 40 in a 25 zone (near a head-start school no less) and blowing stop signs and uncontrolled intersections at near full speed?

    I call them and they tell me they can send ONE cop, and if s/he doesn\’t see anything in 15 minutes, they\’ll leave.

    Yet they can send out the freakin army for this.

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    freddy June 20, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Whaddaya bet the police are trying to fill that share the road class that got invented recently?

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    ME June 20, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Here we are again…let\’s not beat a dead horse… Doesn\’t it register in your bike riding minds that if you blow these particular stop signs – and also those in Ladds, that there is a good chance that you\’re going to be a recipient of a very expensive and time consuming traffic ticket? I say good luck and good riddance. Until something is done on a fair and permanent basis in these areas, stay away or stay smart. I pick and choose my spots as far as running or rolling through certain signs, let\’s be honest, because we all do it on occassion. But those of you getting the tickets in SE quit bitchin.\’ The cops are probably quite familiar with a few of you by now, and I bet they\’re often left scratching their heads.

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    Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 20, 2007 at 11:54 am

    ME,

    I appreciate your sentiments, but I don\’t think this is a dead horse.

    It\’s not just as simple as \”stay away or stay smart\”. Bicycles must have safe and efficient routes to travel through the city. If one of those is taken away, a reasonable alternative must be offered. In the case of OMSI, I\’m not aware of a good alternate route.

    So, given that no viable alternate route exists, we must travel this area.

    Since the area is a dangerous construction zone with lots of truck traffic, haphazardly placed traffic control devices, and bike lanes that leave a lot to be desired, I don\’t think that it is appropriate to expect (and base enforcement practices on) 100% compliance with the law.

    Look at the situation on Mt. Tabor. There were some complaints about cyclists speeding. The result was a stakeholder meeting attended by police, city engineers, n\’hood groups, etc… The response was not to go out and give out tickets. Why not explore that same course of action in this situation?

    Isn\’t Mayor Potter all about \”community policing\”?

    I think we can do better. We need a new approach. While I do think enforcement has some positive educational impact, I remain unconvinced that this is the most effective solution.

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    Michelle June 20, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Springwater Regular Rider,
    Here\’s what you can do about trucks parked in the bike lanes, debris that needs to be swept up, and general traffic safety concerns in that area. Program the following numbers in your cell phone and USE THEM:

    Parking enforcement will come out during business hours and ticket cars or trucks parked illegally including parked in the bike lanes. 823-5195

    Pavement repair and potholes. 823-BUMP

    Lane and path sweeping and plant pruning. 823-CYCL, ext. 1

    Safety concerns. 823-SAFE.

    Michelle

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    Cecil June 20, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    KGW report:

    http://tinyurl.com/2ovfgz

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    Steve June 20, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Dead horse or not, currently the only way to be sure (in theory) to avoid a citation is to not break the traffic laws, regardless of how ineffectual or inappropriate we feel they are. In this particular area we need to push for the city to either condemn or otherwise pressure the owners of the infamous \”SK site\” so that a better connection can be constructed. Statewide, a push for the \”Idaho\” law seems to be the logical way to go but then Ginny would probably screw that up too.

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    Dave June 20, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    The one good thing for me about the Springwater Cooridor being ripe for the ticket harvest is that it has provided me with enough motivation to climb the Riverview Cemetary every morning and avoid the area altoghter. Judging by the increase in cyclists I see in the cemetary now, I am assuming others are doing this as well.

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    Phil June 20, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    I took this photo riding through on Sunday:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7649140@N08/562765404/

    This is what you see if you stop at the stop bar: nothing. I usually roll through this so that if there is a car bearing down on me, at least I have a little speed to swerve and get away. The long-bed articulated trucks that commonly turn here come will actually hit anyone who\’s properly stopped at the sign.

    With the police crackdown, I feel much less safe, since I not only have to dodge cars and cement trucks (and cars trying to get around cement trucks), but I have to worry about following the letter of the law as to avoid $240 tickets.

    Not very diplomatic, but maybe we can get a crew together to go down when they\’re stinging and hand out free bacon and soy bacon samples to cyclists who stop at the signs 🙂

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    N.I.K. June 20, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Phil raises an excellent point. Even for those of us who stop at stop signs, the location of the stop bar at *many* intersections in this city are not at all well planned. I regularly ride on Skidmore between NE 33rd and N Albina, and from about 8th to 20th, there are numerous intersections where I have no choice but to nose out into the intersection (*after* a legal stop, mind you, as I don\’t want to get ticketed) and risk getting hit because I can\’t clearly see traffic coming from both directions otherwise. And Skidmore\’s supposed to be a relatively bike-safe street!

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Jonathan, you seem to be saying that because the area is unsafe, cyclists must blow stop signs for their own safety. And of course, therefore, cops shouldn\’t be ticketing them for taking these innovative \”safety precautions.\”

    What, exactly, is it about these particular stop signs that makes stopping at them \”unsafe\”?

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    SKiDmark June 20, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    I get the impression that Jonathan\’s point is that there are about 8 zillion auto violations going on in that particular area that are being ignored while this \”enhanced enforcement\” is taking place. Things like cars and truck rolling stop signs and trucks and construction equipment blocking the bike lanes.

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    VR June 20, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    I wonder how the police would react if we started video taping their stings.

    Just stand on a corner and inform them that you will be video taping and you will not violate any laws.

    I wonder…

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    If that\’s the case, and the cops are targeting cyclists, and not just all traffic scofflaws in what has been described here as a hazardous area, then of course cyclists need to bring city hall into this, and even investigate the legality of targeting one group of road users.

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    Craig June 20, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    This morning, three of us were stopped and cited by 2 motorcycle officers
    for failure to stop at the stop sign just before OMSI. The officer
    writing the ticket, he could see how annnoyed I was. In fact,
    he noted that he COULD have just referred me to a \’biking education class\’, but due to my behavior he would instead be ticketing me. I told him (in a respectful way) that I was angry and needed a few minutes to calm down, but even after he had my written down my personal information, he continued to try to question me. I felt as if he knew by doing so he was baiting me into escalate the situation into a confrontation. I can certainly see how a simple ticket can turn into an arrest or even worse.

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    VR June 20, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    All email addresses are @ci.portland.or.us

    Commissioner Sam Adams: samadams
    Commissioner Dan Saltzman: dansaltzman
    Commissioner Erik Sten: esten
    Commissioner Randy Leonard: rleonard
    Mayor Tom Potter: mayorpotter

    Be polite, but let them know that singling out cyclists is bad policy, and that we are noticing that it is happening.

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    wyatt June 20, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Enforcing the stop sign on Caruthers, right before OMSI?

    That\’s completely absurd!

    They might as well put a stop sign in the middle of the springwater trail and start enforcing.

    Back to 11th and 12th for me.

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    ME June 20, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    Sorry JMaus, but safe and efficient routes for cyclists throughout the city is a bit farther away then we like to think. Alot of us travel these subpar areas too, and seem to get by with smart and experienced riding. It\’s only when the cop\’s get a lead on what cyclists are doing in certain areas, lawful or not, that they crack down in those certain areas. For now the \”hot spot\” is by OMSI. Who knows where they will be next? But geeeez, how many people have to shout it from the rooftops or write about it in the local news before cyclists get it? \”HEY…THE COPS ARE STAKING IT OUT DOWN THERE!\” I do agree this situation can be handled in the same fashion as Tabor. But until that happens, if ever, we\’re all on our own.

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    Matt Picio June 20, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    I ride this stretch every workday, both directions. My experience on SE 4th is totally different from \”Springwater Regular Rider\” (post #7). I\’ve never seen trucks on SE 4th park in the bike lanes – they always park OUTSIDE them since the new lanes were striped and the bicycle stencils placed. (Carruthers is a different story – the trucks CONSTANTLY park across the bike lanes on that street) There is very little debris currently in the bike lanes on 4th, and what there is is easily avoidable.

    Phil is right on as to the visibility. Yesterday morning, I stopped and still didn\’t see the 2 motorcycle cops that were there beyond the signs, even though they were parked in the middle of the road in (normal) plain view. The placement of the signs actually makes visibility much worse than normal.

    Yesterday, 2 motorcycle cops, today there was one. I saw 4 people ride past me on 4th without riding in the bike lanes, even with the cop right there. Two of them did not stop for stop signs. We can debate all day what *should* be done, but what I\’m witnessing actually *being* done is cyclists, motorists and truckers not following the law. I have no sympathy for those who get tickets when they break the law in front of a cop. Suck it up, and pay the fine. I agree we should have Idaho-style stops, but right now we don\’t – break the law, accept the consequences. That being said, why the hell are they out there in the first place? (the cops, that is?) Where\’s the enforcement on 82nd Avenue? Sandy Blvd? Multnomah Ave.? 122nd? West Burnside? Shouldn\’t these guys be targeting the most dangerous roads and intersections? Why are we paying them to protect a half-dozen construction workers on 4 streets with next to no traffic and no recorded fatalities? How about Powell? 39th? The municipal police departments complain about funding – I can relate, and I know they have funding problems, I\’m a member of a law-enforcement advisory committee (not Portland, though). If they\’re having funding issues, then why aren\’t they using their resources efficiently and targeting areas proven to be deadly?

    The Opera intersection should have the Carruthers side stop sign(s) covered during construction. They only side that needs to stop there at the moment is the Opera and construction traffic.

    Oh, and the end of the Springwater should have a yield sign rather than stop, and the Ross Island S&G should have a STOP sign placed at its end – RIS&G\’s Ready Mix Plant is on a DRIVEWAY, not a road. Drivers are required by law to yield to road users, and the truckers are not doing it.

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    Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 20, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    \”Jonathan, you seem to be saying that because the area is unsafe…What, exactly, is it about these particular stop signs that makes stopping at them ”unsafe”?”

    rixtir,

    I was down there yesterday and my feeling is that for many riders, the area feels generally unsafe. There are trucks parked directly adjacent to the bike lane, trucks coming and going, flaggers, new bike lanes (that are not well designed in my opinion), etc…

    In my experience, when someone feels unsafe (especially on a 20lb bike around cement trucks) they make decisions that will preserve their life and compliance of stop signs and riding in designated bike lanes goes down.

    Is it an excuse to break the law? No.

    But what I have misgivings about is the expectation of compliance when the conditions are unsafe, inadequate and poorly engineered for a particular user group. I realize this is something that will take a while to fix. In the meantime, follow the laws on the ground.

    I could be wrong, but I feel in my gut that there is room for some advocacy and improvement on this issue (and that it goes beyond just telling all cyclists to stop complaining and follow the law). We\’ll see.

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    janel June 20, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    I just got a $242 ticket around 8:30am from officer Roland Hoesly, at the intersection of SE Division Pl and Grand. http://tinyurl.com/32cx8h

    Grand is closed to traffic north of Division due to construction, and cars rarely drive on Grand south of Division. In fact, it almost acts as a T-intersection since Grand south of Division is so far west of the stop sign. So, in effect, right now it is almost like a straight road which would not require a stop sign.

    I ride this every day, today I slowed and there were no cars around, so I continued on. When the cop stopped me I asked him if I was supposed to put my foot down and he said I just had to slow to a rolling stop, which is what I thought I did. I then said the road is closed on that side and the other street is rarely used. After he wrote me the ticket I asked if I could go to the safety class to reduce the fine, and he said he is not giving me that option because he claims I was contesting the ticket. All I was doing was asking questions. He is definitely on a power trip.

    I asked if I could go to court, he said yes. Then he said if I pay the fine upfront the fine would be \”significantly less\” than otherwise, which I took to mean if I go to court. I called the court and they said it wouldn\’t be more if I go to court. I suppose he said this to discourage me from contesting.

    I am going to go to court July 20th at 1pm to contest this, I hope others will be there too. Please e-mail me if you would like to get together on this polkamaster -at- gmail -dot- com

    This is ridiculous, the fines should not be the same amount as motorist fines and punishing cyclists who slowly ride through stop signs when there are no other vehicles around is not what the police should be spending so much time and money on, especially when there are so many more important crimes they should be dealing with to ensure public safety. Perhaps the BTA could help change some regulations since so many people have problems with it.

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    peejay June 20, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    I wonder if we should all just pick up our bikes and carry them through this area during enforcement days. If they ask you what you are doing, tell them that you wish to be a pedestrian in this area as you are unable to safely navigate it as a cyclist and remain compliant in their interpretation of the law.

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    Cecil June 20, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Phil said: \”Not very diplomatic, but maybe we can get a crew together to go down when they\’re stinging and hand out free bacon and soy bacon samples to cyclists who stop at the signs :)\”

    To reward us or insult us?

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    taylor June 20, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Cyclists deserve to be stopped. I watch them run red lights and stop signs every single day and then act absolutely furious when they\’re almost hit by cars. You are not exempt from the law just because you\’re on two wheels instead of four. You are putting yourself and others in danger by breaking these rules.

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    Tammie June 20, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Really, is it so hard to stop at the stop signs? I go through this area at least three times a week on my commute and, while I love to go fast and try to beat my own times, I\’ve never found it a hardship to stop at the stop signs. This area is full of large trucks, lost drivers, and low visiblity turns so why not just stop for a few seconds, take a look, clip back in and get rolling? Granted, I\’ve \”CA stopped\” plenty of times, but completely blasting through the signs is just plain stupid. And, yes, i think the cops ought to be out doing something more productive like stopping the people going 70 on McLoughlin, but since they\’re not… Just be sure to give a heads up to cyclists you see on their way to the area if you see any cops because i\’m sure the fewer tickets they are able to give out, the less likely they will want to stay down there and more likely to do some real work. Seriously though, they should at least have the bicycle cops doing the patrols, not motorcycle cops, talk about overkill.

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    VR June 20, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    No one is complaining about having to stop. No one is advocating blowing through stopsigns.

    The complaint is that the police are expending such a large effort while bicycles rarely kill anyone, yet cars kill every day.

    The other complaint being that they are focusing on areas they know get violations – instead of actually focusing on unsafe areas. I have a map of the most deadly intersections in the city, and they are no where near any of these enforcement actions.

    And the police are being rude and unfriendly to boot, which doesn\’t help matters much.

    taylor: No one has suggested bicyclists are exempt from the law. What we have suggested is that bicyclists are getting more citations than cars because cyclists are \”easy pickings\”.

    Additionally, instead of being hard asses and issuing $250 citations all the time, why not just stop everyone and talk to them about the risks involved with running stop signs, and maybe only ticket the extreme offenders or the rude cyclists.

    If SAFETY was truly the objective, their practices and locations would be completely different.

    There is absolutely ZERO risk to ANYONES safety if a bicyclist slows, looks, and rolls through one of the stopsigns in this area. But the police will issue a $250 citation for that.

    If someone just blows the stopsign, sure – ticket them. But come on, in a bike that is moving 5 miles per hour and slows to look around then creeps through the intersection at 2.5mph – you are not going to cause any accidents or injuries. Just saving a little time and energy…

    Christ, when did we lose the ability to look at the big picture as a society?

    Cars kill people. Lots of people. Cyclists do not kill people (with some extreme and rare exceptions).

    Why should they not have slightly different rules?

    And despite what the law says letter for letter – the police still don\’t have to set up massive sting operations…

    Some common sense should apply to BOTH sides, bikes AND cops.

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    Matt Picio June 20, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    peejay (#29):

    I have to wonder if we did that if we would then get cited for jaywalking.

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    peejay June 20, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    #31:

    Would you please stop talking about irresponsible cyclists who blow through traffic controls and subject themselves and others to danger? If you really read the comments thread, you\’d know that this is not what\’s going on here. Two classes of situations were described: 1) failure to stop at a sign where current construction conditions result in no cross traffic, thus no risk of collision; and 2) failure to follow traffic controls when doing so would increase danger to the rider. Neither is an example of a foolish rider who thinks she\’s above the law, so knock it off with your false comparison.

    #32:

    You do realize that over-zealous enforcement of traffic controls that pose no safety danger is: 1) a waste of finite resources that leads to a lack of enforcement in truly dangerous areas; and 2) dangerous in and of itself, since it conditions cyclists to be more concerned with following arbitrary controls than awareness of their surroundings, thus putting themselves in peril in an effort to get them to comply.

    The well used \”do the crime, do the time\” argument is a gross simplification of this situation. It convinces no more people the more it is used in this comment thread.

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    PoPo June 20, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    For Jenel (#28)
    What Office Hoesley might have been attempting to explain was that sometimes, depending on your driving record, you can get an automatic reduction when you go and pay your ticket without trial. If you go to trial, the judge has leniency to reduce or raise the fine, depending on what he decides, though I\’ve seen it lowered more than I\’ve seen it raised by a judge.

    While you never know what will affect the judge, you will likely be disappointed at court, as all the officer has to do is convince the judge that it is more likely than not (a 51% chance, if you will) that your bike did not come to a complete stop at the stop sign, and you\’ve already admitted that it didn\’t.

    I believe that most officers use some discretion when stopping bikes for running signs, stopping not all slow-look-goers but only the ones who seem to do it an a particularly unsafe fashion. But of course they don\’t have to do it that way, and what looks unsafe to them may not feel unsafe to the bike rider.

    It sounds as if the traffic division is enforcing there in response to complaints, which is simply one of the things that the traffic division does–responds to comunity perceptions about unsafe driving practices. It also seems like in this case the complaints might come from a particularly credible source, as there are few intersections where people stand and watch traffic all day, many days in a row, like those flaggers do. It seems like they would have a better perspective, particularly from a safety standpoint, even than regular commuters, who might only see the intersection a few times a day.

    Regarding the \”better things to do\” argument, it is a very, very common one, as it is easy to refer to all the countless traffic violations happening all over the city at any given time. Of course the police know that too, and the other 10-15 traffic officers working that day probably did spend it all enforcing traffic laws on motor vehicles, and a review of traffic citations for the year would probably reveal that the percentage f citations given to cyclists is less than the percentage of bicycle vehicles on the road (though that is conjecture–I don\’t know for sure–I think the portland police website might have those numbers and I\’m afraid to mess with my unstable brouser right now :)).

    The other thing we can do is call the traffic division with a reasonable request for enforcement on the \”better places\”, and the more particular the place and time and type of infraction, the easier it will be for them to respond.

    It just seems that an enforcement system that responds to the community is better than one that doesn\’t.

    And by all means, if there is a system of signage or traffic control that makes better sense for bikes in that area, let\’s figure it out an propose it reasonably to ODOT or PDOT or whomever is in charge. That is a great idea!

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Jonathan, Post 27 (and VR Post 33, peejay Post 35):

    I think if it were truly dangerous to stop at a stop sign– for example, if stopping at a deserted stop sign after dark in a dangerous neighborhood would have the real (as opposed to imagined) potential to lead to a mugging– then blowing a stop sign could be said to be done for \”safety.\” Blowing a stop sign because you always blow stop signs in every part of town isn\’t done for \”safety.\”

    And yes, VR, despite your belief, many, many people here are advocating blowing stop signs, and complaining about getting caught when the police begin an enforcement campaign.

    Sorry people, but your stop-sign blowing behavior is anti-cycling behavior. The number one complaint motorists have about cyclists is that they blow through intersections as if the law doesn\’t apply to them. And that behavior breeds resentment of cyclists, and that resentment is harmful to cycling. Blowing through stop signs is faux adolescent rebellion, nothing more, and far too many of you should have put your adolescence behind you by now. You are poisoning the cycling environment with your anti-social riding styles.

    It\’s time the cycling community took a good long look in the mirror, and had a dialog with itself, before it calls for dialog with the city.

    As far as I\’m concerned, the city isn\’t giving enough tickets to cyclists, because people have obviously not gotten the message about what everybody else in society thinks about their riding styles.

    I say \”ticket on, PPB.\”

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    Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 20, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    \”Jonathan….Blowing a stop sign because you always blow stop signs in every part of town isn’t done for \”safety\”\”

    rixtir,

    I don\’t \”blow stop signs\”… I\’m not sure why you refer to that.

    And my point was to question whether or not it is appropriate to expect 100% compliance with traffic control devices in an area that is poorly engineered, offers suspect visibility of said devices, and is generally substandard in safety for a particular user group.

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Jonathan, my writing error, I realized after I posted that the entire post may have appeared to be directed at you. It wasn\’t. What I meant, rather inelegantly, it appears, is that I am questioning your statements that it\’s unsafe to stop there. Everything after that was directed at stop sign runners in general, not at you.

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    Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 20, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    \”I am questioning your statements that it\’s unsafe to stop there.\”

    My point is not that it\’s unsafe to stop there, it\’s that when a cyclist feels unsafe (given the conditions I describe above) their compliance will likely go down.

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    I would be more susceptible to being swayed by that argument if compliance was higher in other areas of the city. In my experience, cyclists blow through stops everywhere in Portland.

    Perhaps the PPB received complaints about cyclists blowing stops in this particular area from the businesses running trucks in the area?

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    BURR June 20, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    rixtir – the one cyclist in the city who comes to a COMPLETE stop at EVERY stop sign he encounters.

    IMO, you\’re either a saint or a total hypocrite.

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Burr, I did roll through a stop once, because I didn\’t see it. Do you feel better now?

    I can\’t in good conscience see something that is harming cycling and look the other way. Blowing stops is harming cycling. It has to stop. If people don\’t care enough about cycling to protect it, they should move on to some other fad, because they\’re not doing cycling any favors by riding.

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    peejay June 20, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    rixtir:

    I don\’t know what\’s in the mind of the average motorist. I\’ve heard from a number of them that they resent bicyclists for many things that are perfectly legal, like taking the lane when there\’s no room on the side of the road, or even for occupying a bike lane when the motorsit wished to move through that bike lane. I cannot help them if that\’s what they resent about us. I also cannot help them if they resent us for doing things that don\’t affect them in the least, like skipping a stop sign when there is no other traffic. If they don\’t get it that it\’s easier for them to get to where they want to go because there are fewer cars on the road as a direct consequence of bicycle use, I am not obligated to be concerned for their feelings.

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    janel June 20, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    PoPo I did not know about the automatic reduction, thanks for the info. But I would not go to court to contest that I didn\’t stop at the sign, I would like the option to be able to go to the safety class and get a reduced ticket that way. Now I am wondering if the automatic reduction would be less or more than the reduction for taking the safety class, if I should risk it going to court.

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    N.I.K. June 20, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    rixtir – the one cyclist in the city who comes to a COMPLETE stop at EVERY stop sign he encounters.

    Hey, make that two saints. ;P rixtir\’s heavy-handedness cheeses me off at times but on the whole I agree with him, if not in approach (calling people immature scofflaws is no way to initiate a much-needed conversation) then in principle – I don\’t agree with the way our current stop sign laws work and I agree even less with the inconsistent enforcement, but let\’s none of us pretend for one stinkin\’ minute that blowing a stop, even when you\’re in the clear, is an act of civil disobedience or anything of the sort. It\’s about convenience, plain and simple. You want to change things, write letters and make phone calls and give some support to the BTA (no matter how nannying Mr. Bricker may sound at times, he\’s doing it for the right reasons). Until the law changes, it\’s either follow the law or risk a fine.

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    peejay June 20, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    rixtir:

    Do you advocate stopping at a three-way intersection when you are on the cap of the \”T\”? Clearly, there is no utility in stopping there. But of course, a motorist might resent it, huh? So you would advocate that I stop, so that an ignorant driver doesn\’t think I\’m pulling a fast one on him? That I\’m cutting the line?

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    peejay,

    I\’ve read all kinds of accounts from motorists, pedestrians, and anybody else who isn\’t on a bike. they all say the same thing: cyclists blow through stops as if the laws don\’t apply to them.

    And it pisses them off.

    Then they see cyclists do something that is perfectly legal, but they don\’t know that it\’s legal, such as taking the lane, or even riding in the street, and they assume that, like the red light and stop sign blowing, that the cyclist is once again doing something illegal.

    And it pisses them off.

    Are you really going to argue that pissing off everybody else in society is good for cycling advocacy?

    You CAN help it that you\’re poisoning the cycling environment, even if you deny that you can\’t help it.

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    peejay June 20, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Motorists have not followed the speed limit since the invention of the speedometer, and cops have an unspoken \”margin\” for when they bust you for speeding: generally 10 mph above the posted number. I resnt that. Cars will never earn my respect unitl they drive exactly at or under the speed limit. This continued abuse of the law with the complicit understanding of the police is going to prevent cars from ever being an accepted mode of transportation in this society!

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    N.I.K., post 46: Sorry for cheesing you off, and I must admit, I am being deliberately provocative, but we cyclists really do need to begin addressing our own behavior if we\’re going to work cooperatively with the majority of society in creating a better cycling environment.

    I suppose cheesing people off with provocative statements is similar to cheesing people off with provocative riding styles. In the end, people are just cheesed off.

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    N.I.K. June 20, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Hey, rixtir, don\’t worry about it, just making the old \”hey, he\’s putting it forcefully, but you know, I think he\’s right\” caveat. 🙂

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    peejay, do you really expect the majority of people in society– most of whom haven\’t been on a bike since they were 10– to take your sophomoric arguments seriously?

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    peejay June 20, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Hey, I\’d like to say that anyone who drives a car for trips under five miles who is not transporting anything other than themselves is selfish to the point of contempt. Yet I understand that this disgusting practice is widely accepted by society. If drivers are that blind to the impact they have on their neighborhoods and to this world, I really cannot get too worked up about their fragile psyches. They\’re angry that cyclists exist on their roads. As I\’ve said, unnecessary stop sign compliance (which is the issue here, NOT necessary stop sign compliance) is one of their stated reasons they don\’t like bikes. But it\’s not the true reason. So, let\’s say that cyclists overnight become 100% compliant with all the stop signs out there, including the most ludicrous ones. Will that \”unpoison\” the cycling environment? I very much doubt it.

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    peejay June 20, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    As for my post # 49, sorry I didn\’t add a [snark] label. I thought it was obvious. But I am dead serious about the argument in #53. We will never be accepted by motorists as equal sharers of the road, because they don\’t want to share!

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Anybody can get the outcome they want buy changing the data, peejay.

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    My typo, it should be \”by,\” not \”buy\”

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    N.I.K. June 20, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    So, let\’s say that cyclists overnight become 100% compliant with all the stop signs out there, including the most ludicrous ones. Will that \”unpoison\” the cycling environment? I very much doubt it.

    You honestly think that compliance *wouldn\’t* result in a tremendous drop in cycling-focused stop sign enforcement actions, B&B having so many fewer instances of ticketable offenses by bicyclists to sustain themselves on, and the marginal anti-cycling rhetoric embraced by some Portland motorists declining to a literal scant handful when there just aren\’t any more instances of cyclist law-breaking standing out on a day-to-day basis? Gain, it wouldn\’t happen overnight, but give such a compliance period three or four months and you\’ll have some results for sure.

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    tom June 20, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    A motorcycle cop followed me from his hiding place behind a tractor trailer this morning. I made all of my stops but he followed me to the esplanade entrance, i really felt like he was being antagonistic. I also noted that he didn\’t put his foot down as he stopped. knowing that a friend was ticketed there for not putting a foot down when stopped I found this very interesting.

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    peejay June 20, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Last comment before I quit this thread:

    I think we all agree that bicyclists should be safe. Nobody argues that we should do – or tolerate – unsafe behavior, certainly when it could injure somebody else. My point about speed limits is that nearly everybody in cars still speeds, just as nearly everybody in bikes rolls through stop signs.

    The similarities continue. Drivers say they speed only when the limits don\’t make sense, and when it\’s safe to do so. Riders say they only blow through stops when they have checked that it\’s clear. Both groups continue their behavior in spite of any enforcement measures ever devised by the police.

    Why is this? Well, it\’s partly because of how the police do 90% of their traffic operations: they set traps at precisely the places where it makes the least sense to comply with the letter of the law! They conduct speed traps on the widest, straightest roads, and they bust bikes for running the stupidest stop signs. Their stated goal is to make road users compliant of the law, but their motivations look a lot like they just want to write the maximum number of tickets in the shortest amount of time.

    Cyclists make the same calculations about safety that motorists do: when the law seems to make the least sense, compliance with that law is lowest. It\’s human nature. We need to punish those people who do not follow the sensible traffic controls first. Unfortunately, the police have other priorities.

    And, rixtir, we need to stop pretending that the way to catch bad cyclists (yes, there are those) is to put traps at just the places where bad and good cyclists are likely to be breaking the law. Safety should come before image.

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    Attornatus_Oregonensis June 20, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    100% peejay

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    DJ Razorburn June 20, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    I\’m holding out for the Idaho rule!

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    Donna June 20, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    If some of you who received tickets this morning feel that the police officer was truly abusing his power, then by all means file a complaint with the Independent Police Review Division. It *is* your right to do so.

    http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?a=7372&&c=27067

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    rixtir June 20, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    A.O., hopefully you mean \”100% peejay\” for his last post. Hopefully you don\’t mean \”100% peejay\” when he said, for instance, \”Hey, I\’d like to say that anyone who drives a car for trips under five miles who is not transporting anything other than themselves is selfish to the point of contempt.\” I\’m pretty sure we\’ve all got elderly family members or friends, for example, who can\’t make a 5 mile trip except by car.

    Hopefully, A.O., you\’re just agreeing with the completely ridiculous notion that society should just leave it up to each individual to decide what\’s safe and what isn\’t.

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    bojo June 20, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    A more legible version (where\’s preview?)

    How viable is this in Portland?

    Idaho Statutes

    TITLE 49
    MOTOR VEHICLES
    CHAPTER 7
    PEDESTRIANS AND BICYCLES

    49-720. STOPPING — TURN AND STOP SIGNALS. (1) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across or within the intersection or junction of highways, except that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping.
    (2) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a steady red traffic control light shall stop before entering the intersection and shall yield to all other traffic. Once the person has yielded, he may proceed through the steady red light with caution. Provided however, that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a right-hand turn. A left-hand turn onto a one-way highway may be made on a red light after stopping and yielding to other traffic.

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    wyatt June 20, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    So both cyclists and motorists are likely to defy the law wen the law makes the least sense, but a car defying the law of the road is likely to cause much greater damage than a cyclist doing the same. Why does the law not reflect this? Cyclists are targeted, when cars in fact will potentially cause greater damage.

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    Jen June 20, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    In an ideal world any infraction of the law resulting in a fine would be on a sliding scale based on the income of the law violator, but fines should also be based on the potential damage caused by the infraction, thereby making infractions caused by car drivers significantly more costly than those caused by cyclists.

    The potential damage caused by a law-breaking cyclist is minimal when compared with that of a motor vehicle.

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    Doug June 20, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    I ride this route just about every day, when the sting was announced on this site. I\’ve actually had one of the cops say, \”Thanks for stopping,\” which I thought was pretty cool. I agree that the stop sign at Water and Caruthers is unnecessary, but I see an awful lot of people failing to slow for the one at 4th and Caruthers, which is a dangerous enough intersection that cyclists really should come to a full stop.

    The main point I wanted to make is that anybody who has been reading this site should know that PPD has their eye on this site, regardless of whether you come to a complete stop at most stop signs you should follow the letter of the law in this area, if you don\’t you really don\’t have anyone else to blame but yourselves.

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    Todd B June 20, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    Ok how about:
    1) BikePortland or BTA requesting from PDoT a formal review if these stop signs be reviewed and if they meet stop sign warrants

    2) Also check to see why with the recent trail and road changes there why the exit from the Ross Island cement plant does not have a stop sign before entering into a public street and trail crossing

    3) bike commuters through here carry large pieces of chalk and write on the pavement if a sting is ahead

    4) And…bicyclists who ride through here just try to brake and stop here during the day when this area is active and dangerous…take the lane and legally slow traffic

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    Mr. Know it All June 20, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    I would tell the truth about this situation but the truth would offend the police and those who want to keep this site politically correct.

    Thus you will not read the truth here because YOU CAN\’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

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    Ed June 20, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    Everyone,
    The Traffic Bureau (if that\’s what it\’s called) now has zero credibility for me. I tried to see their side after the first sting operation at that location, in which I got ticketed, when the mayor\’s spokesman said it was due to many observed close calls during the detour. But when the detour was over with the very next week, and they left the signs up making south-bound cyclists think it was still on, I realized that it was all bullshit. And now they\’re back!! In close-in SE, on the best bike path in the city. Where the Oregonian editorial confirmed that cyclists were–and feel–most secure. 2 goddamned motorcycle cops. NOT in outer SE, where cyclists are–and feel–least secure. Ticketing people rolling past a stop sign, next to the Opera HQ, at an intersection where auto traffic is very limited, visibility is very good, and chances of a collision are nil. Come on, people. Does this, in any way whatsoever, enhance safety or advance the–alleged–transportation goals of the City of Portland? Is this remotely a sensible use of resources? If we really have any political clout, we should call somebody on the carpet to answer those questions. Or else we suck.

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    N.I.K. June 21, 2007 at 1:45 am

    If we really have any political clout, we should call somebody on the carpet to answer those questions.

    By all means, yes, call \’em on the carpet. But for !@#$\’s sake, don\’t fuel their argument for why enforcement actions at these relatively safe locations are necessary, or the rebuttal will remain, \”If you guys didn\’t blow the sign, we could be elsewhere,\” which says a lot about how jacked-up priorities are, but still paints the lot of us as a bunch of hypocrites (and a lot of easy tickets).

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    Craig June 21, 2007 at 8:49 am

    When the three of us came to that intersection yesterday, a woman in a dark green minivan waved us on….We tried to explain this to the the officer, but all we got from him was sarcasm. I\’ve been a serious rider for 30 yrs, and for me its always been about FLOW….I not sure what I\’m going to do about this ticket (its so rediculous I feel like fighting it)but I also understand how the justice system works, and I\’ll probably walk out frustrated and having to write a check to the city….So much for \”Bike Friendly\” Portland and their \”well loved\” police dept.

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    Kathleen June 21, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Many of the comments at the City of Portland Master Plan meetings concerned cyclists feeling safe when riding. The main concern was riding in traffic when there is no bicycle lane and how many potential cyclists may be reluctant to use bikes for short trips because of traffic concerns. It seems that what the City is doing now with bicycle stings is extremely counterproductive. Although cyclists should observe traffic laws the enforcement actions recently seem punitive at best (for all the reasons cited above). I\’m not arguing that cyclists should be immune to enforcement but that going after cyclists on designated bike routes is not encouraging more riders to use those routes. I frequently avoid bike routes now just out of fear that maybe I will do something wrong that I can be cited for. Could I be cited for not using a hand signal when making a right turn with no traffic coming? I don\’t know, but by not using designated bike routes I will be less likely to be cited. The bike routes make it too easy for the police to ticket large numbers of cyclists.

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    peejay June 21, 2007 at 8:52 am

    OK, I break my pledge not to post here, because I must answer rixtir\’s post #63.

    First, I should clarify my point about short trip car use, by adding that physically capable people who drive short trips without cargo are contemptible. I stand by that point, and would like to hear what makes it so ludicrous to you.

    As for the contention that I claim we should all make our own laws to suit our individual needs, I never made that claim. I do claim that in an otherwise law-abiding society such as ours, there does exist a relationship between observance of a law and the relative utility of that law. As a population, we collectively assign risk to certain traffic controls, and one that is consistently ignored is one that the majority of citizens have deemed unneccesary. Is this an excuse to break the law? No. But it is a sign that the traffic control should be re-evaluated and redesigned so that it makes sense, and you will find compliance rates go up. My contention is that in such cases, limited police resources should NOT be squandered in an effort to force compliance with such a poorly designed control. As I\’ve stated earlier, it only means that you catch the good with the bad, and do not change collective behavior towards safety, which should be the point of traffic laws and policing priorities.

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    peejay June 21, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Furthermore, bad traffic controls (and an emphasis on enforcing those primarily) make compliance rates of sensible controls go down. If I\’m riding along and keep encountering stop signs where they don\’t make sense, I will start blowing them off. Now, although I try to be a good rider and assume that the next stop sign is a real one, at some point I may say that they\’re all stupid, and get more careless with each succeeding stop sign. If the signs were only where they needed to be, well then, I\’d be more inclined to respect the next one. That is human nature: we make heuristic judgements all the time. If traffic planners don\’t understand this, they are not doing their jobs well.

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    Cecil June 21, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Craig said \”When the three of us came to that intersection yesterday, a woman in a dark green minivan waved us on….\”

    Ah, the over-courteous Portland driver, encouraging cyclists to roll through a stop sign even though she has the right of way. The problem with this behavior is that other drivers (and cops) may not be so \”understanding.\”

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    10e June 21, 2007 at 9:31 am

    I\’m taking my $242 ticket to a judge. Regardless of the outcome, if the officer has to sit in front of a judge explaining enough random bicycle tickets, perhaps they\’ll use better discretion in the future.

    From my experience commuting in this area, this is selective enforcement and has nothing to do with safety. Instead it is about issuing a quota of tickets to bike commuters to service complaints from a few key entities that feel a sense of ownership within the area. I wish we could get this kind of enforcement for the speeding cars within our neighborhood street!

    On a related note, there isn\’t a safe route between Clinton and SWC now that the sidewalk is closed on 11th and Division and barriers have been put up near the RR tracks West of 11th. You can either ride on a narrow, congested Division, or go south towards Ross Isl Bridge where cars blow through stop signs on blind corners to get ahead of traffic.

    I\’ve given up the bike and commuting by car. Unfortunately the City has justified this for me.

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    Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 21, 2007 at 9:55 am

    One of the issues with this whole situation is that the engineering behind the stop sign at Caruthers, (just at the southern terminus of the Esplanade in front of Portland Spirit) is probably not up to snuff. Or, as wonks would put it.. \”it doesn\’t meet warrants for stop sign installations.\”

    I\’d love to dig deeper into this….but in the meantime, here\’s the official City of Portland policy on traffic control devices. might be worth some analysis.

    (and please folks, just because I\’m questioning the engineering behind an existing stop sign does not mean I believe cyclists should disobey it).

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    Craig June 21, 2007 at 10:04 am

    I\’m willing to put my money where my mouth is (so to speak)….If we can form a coalition of bicyclist willing to put some time and energy into dealing with this, possibly an attorney who could represent all those caught in this sting….You can reach me at (503)260-2638

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    Matt Picio June 21, 2007 at 10:22 am

    PoPo (#36)

    \”It just seems that an enforcement system that responds to the community is better than one that doesn\’t.\”

    That\’s the problem – it doesn\’t respond to the public, it REACTS.

    A responsive department would call/write/email the complainant and notify them as to the date, time, duration and results of the enforcement action that was enacted in response to their complaint.

    Since there is NO feedback whatsoever in the process, there is a general sense that nothing is being done.

    I realize that providing feedback would require additional police resources that are hard-pressed to begin with. I hope you see my point. I understand that 90% (or more) of officers are doing their jobs to the best of their ability, but the department as a whole has no real feedback mechanism to give the public the feeling that their concerns were heard and responded to. Until the department addresses that, there will always be a disconnect between what the department ACTUALLY does and what the public THINKS it does.

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    Logan 5 June 21, 2007 at 10:26 am

    \”…if the officer has to sit in front of a judge explaining enough random bicycle tickets, perhaps they\’ll use better discretion in the future.\”

    You do realize that you\’re basically just giving an officer some time off in an air-conditioned building with free coffee, right?

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    Cecil June 21, 2007 at 10:27 am

    For those of you intent on going to court, you should keep in mind that if you did indeed run the stop sign (as in not even bothering to pause), the court probably won\’t care about complaints re: overzealous cops. If it is a question about how long you paused, or whether you put your foot down, you may stand a better chance. In any event, keep your cool, explain your concerns and be respectful of both the court and the traffic officer (who will also be the \”prosecutor) and even if you don\’t get off you may get the fine knocked down 25% (the most the court is allowed to do by statute).

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    silcox June 21, 2007 at 11:19 am

    \”Of course the police know that too, and the other 10-15 traffic officers working that day probably did spend it all enforcing traffic laws on motor vehicles, and a review of traffic citations for the year would probably reveal that the percentage f citations given to cyclists is less than the percentage of bicycle vehicles on the road (though that is conjecture–I don\’t know for sure\”
    -PoPo #36

    Did you even bother to look at this post?

    Portland Police Target Bicyclists Disproportionately

    It may not be complete to the most minute detail, but it does give some insight.

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    Brad June 21, 2007 at 11:23 am

    PoPo – in the interest of fairness, could the PPB also cite all of those Niketown Running Club folks who jaywalk and cross against the signals at that intersection on Wednesday nights? Equal enforcement and all that.

    To cyclists: Wouldn\’t it be fun to get a caravan of several hundred bikes together at Oaks Park for a single file procession through that intersection? We could do it midday, everyone makes a completely legal foot down stop at all signals, and we show complete courtesy and defer to motor vehicles sharing the intersection.

    When a Ross Island cement trucks can\’t leave the yard for two hours I suspect Bob Pamplin will make some angry phone calls to City Hall and the PPB won\’t darken that stretch of road again.

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    Joe June 21, 2007 at 11:44 am

    There are too many posts before me to read them all, but has anyone noticed the sign that says \”Bicycle concerns?\” and includes a number to call and complain? If I was a truck driver, I\’d want ALL bicyclists out of the area because it\’s difficult to see a bicyclist while driving and if I was an industrial property or business owner, I\’d also want ALL bicyclists out of the area because they aren\’t compatible with the industrial operation (the trucks). So it seems to me, there would be complaints about bicyclists in that area regardless of whether cyclists are coming to a complete stop in a couple places (particularly where there are very, very few vehicles).

    While there are probably a few rogue bicyclists cycling too fast in that area, hyperenforcement of stop sign laws does more harm than good because it\’s punishing far more \”good\” cyclists. Why don\’t those bicycle \”complaints\” go to PDOT rather than PPB to see if there\’s a way to improve the safety of that brief on-street connection between two heavily utilized trails?

    Also, why not take down that sign? If someone has a concern, they can look up the number and make the concern known just like anywhere else in town.

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    Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 21, 2007 at 11:49 am

    Joe,

    I wrote about that sign a few weeks ago. see the story here.

    it goes to the ODOT admin office in charge of the project. It was installed by ODOT at the request of a member of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee.

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    Cecil June 21, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Joe, that \”Bicycle Concerns\” sign is for cyclists to call in about hazards to them created by the project.

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    steve June 21, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    3 points:
    Post 77 suggested we ALL go to court with our traffic tickets. I agree. At least the officer will not be out doing more harm while (s)he is in court.

    Post 84\’s suggetion about the bikes riding by the cement yard is a good idea too.

    Lastly, wouldn\’t you like to have a cushy government maggot job where your big concern for the day was over a bicycle running a red light? WOW! THAT would be awesome. Maybe Chief Rosie is right: why do you need a college degree for THAT kind of responsibility?

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    Cecil June 21, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Re \”completely legal\” bike rides. I\’ve got a wacky idea – why don\’t we all do completely legal bike rides every day? Everywhere we go?

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    paul June 21, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    to Brad in #84,

    I like that idea. OR, How about doing the contrary and not stopping but proceeding through the stop sign, in protest. They are not going to ticket a hundred or a couple hundred of cyclists.

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    Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 21, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    \”How about doing the contrary and not stopping but proceeding through the stop sign, in protest. They are not going to ticket a hundred or a couple hundred of cyclists.\”

    paul,

    I think this would be a terrible idea and would be the first stone in an anti-bike jihad the likes of which we\’ve never seen in this city before. We are finally working beyond things like this (Critical Mass)…and I think it would be a major step backwards.

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    Attornatus_Oregonensis June 21, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    \”It just seems that an enforcement system that responds to the community is better than one that doesn\’t.\”

    Better yet would be an enforcement system that actually creates compliance with the law. I repeat my offer of $100 to anyone who can demonstrate a statistically significant long-term increase in compliance at the intersections where sting traps are set.

    As it stands now the \”enforcement policy\” is simply a waste of tax money. It doesn\’t increase compliance and so it doesn\’t enhance safety. It merely squanders resources that are in great need elsewhere. This is the complete opposite of a system that serves the community.

    Definitely some action is needed here:

    #77: Clogging up the courts with hearings for each ticket will put pressure on these overzealous fools to stop this. It will create a burden on the court and it will force these police officers to show up for each hearing. Everyone who gets a ticket should take it to court and be sure to put the officer on the stand.

    Another thing that would stop the overzealous enforcement would be videotaping the sting intersections. Video evidence is compelling and it would show that these cops are not just enforcing the law, they are harassing cyclists (following them on motorbikes?!).

    #84: This would indeed piss off Pamplin, who holds great sway with the City, particularly now as he dangles the island he has destroyed before them as a \”gift.\”

    And you cannot underestimate the value of well-written letters to City officials.

    It\’s time the City realized that this is an anti-cycling policy and is dissuading many people from riding who ride safely and legally. Enforcing the laws (in a way that works) is fine, but this has gone too far. Where the hell is the BTA?

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    Cecil June 21, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    \”And you cannot underestimate the value of well-written letters to City officials.\”

    AO is correct – and I would emphasize the \”well-written\” part. Public officials get a LOT of letters and e-mail. They tend to give very short shrift to those that contain spelling and grammar errors, are disrespectful, or seem to have been cut and pasted from a suggested text. Write from your heart, not from someone else\’s, be polite, and proofread. Then proofread it again. Have a friend read it. Better yet, have someone who disagrees with you read it and ask him or her if they are at all persuaded by it. Hmm, I\’m starting to sound like my old legal writing instructor . . . anyway, to both paraphrase and misquote old Willy S., write on, MacDuff . . .write on . .

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    Qwendolyn June 21, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    \”We are finally working beyond things like this (Critical Mass)…and I think it would be a major step backwards.\”

    Ok, as an analogy, if the above line of thinking is MLKjr. then I take a more Malcolm X philosophy here.

    I always felt that critical mass was the front lines in the struggle for cyclists right to use the public roads.

    If CM is more militant than you are comfortable with, then don\’t ride in it. But you should realize that if there is no one pushing the limits of cyclists right to the road, then the cops are the ones gaining ground in their effort to keep cyclists off the road.

    That is the reality. Just look at all the increased sting operations lately.
    –and the simultaneous decrease in CM riders.

    Also, on a related note:

    It is hypocritical to deride Critical Mass and at the same time ride in things like the Peoples Ride.

    The Peoples Ride is just Critical Mass with a different name. And as Bill S. once wrote \”A rose by any other name….\”

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    rixtir June 21, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Qwendolyn is always good for a laugh back here on Planet Earth.

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    rixtir June 21, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    A.O.:

    Enforcing the law \”is an anti-cycling policy and is dissuading many people from riding who ride safely and legally\”?

    People who ride legally are dissuaded from riding because the police are out ticketing people who don\’t ride legally?

    Wow.

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    Attornatus_Oregonensis June 21, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Rixter, read Kathleen\’s post @ #73.

    And I did not say that enforcing the law is an anti-cycling policy. I said that cyclist-targeted stings that do not enhance compliance with the law is an anti-cycling policy. It is because it (a) does not achieve its stated objectives, and (b) dissuades people from riding.

    Since I know you are (or were) a law student, here\’s a good ol\’ law school hypothetical for you: If a policy had been shown to be ineffective in changing behavior (i.e., solving the problem it was designed to solve) but was popular with a small group of vocal citizens, would the State be justified in continuing to spend public money on it? Should it?

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    rixtir June 21, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    peejay, Posts 74 & 75:
    Consider the possibility that we’re on the same side. I ride (and walk) because I can’t in good conscience contribute to global warming and it’s attendant loss of species, or to continue to pollute the air and water as if it’s OK, or to take part in a system that leads to wars for the last of the oil…
    As a society we have to make some profound shifts, or the world we leave will be a very different and lessened world than the one we entered. The statistics show that most automobile trips—something like 90-95%, I forget the number—are solo trips within 5 miles of the home. There’s no reason that as a society we can’t shift to a less destructive way of living—for example, by riding a bike those 5 miles, instead of driving an SUV. Still, the reality is that some people can’t. My mother, for example, can’t walk very far, because she broke her knee years ago (in an auto accident that almost killed her), and it hurts her to walk far. And because she’s older, she’s lost bone density, and she’s afraid that if she fell off her bike, she’d break a bone. And there’s nowhere safe for her to ride anyway. Really. So some people do need to drive. But most people don’t need to drive, at least for the majority of their trips.
    A shift to the bicycle for most of our transportation needs is an integral part of that societal shift we need to make. That means increasing ridership exponentially. Even here in Portland, where the bicycle is a superstar, bicycle commuters make up 3.5% of commuters. That has to change. 3.5% is nothing to be proud of. A vulnerable road users statute with no teeth in it is nothing to be proud of. We are settling for laws with no teeth and minimal infrastructure, while we divert ourselves with drama about getting tickets because we don’t want brakes on our bikes, or because we don’t want to follow the law. We are being distracted away from what needs to be done to make that essential societal shift. And we are creating enemies where we had none. Every time we blow through a stop, we anger somebody who has to wait at the stop. Every time we blow through a stop, we create the impression that we are scofflaws. And when those angry people see us doing other things—things like riding in a traffic lane downtown, for instance, they assume that we are breaking the law again, and the impression that we are scofflaws is reinforced. Every time some cyclist breaks the law, and then tells the person he or she just endangered while breaking the law to “f-off,” we are creating an enemy. We are creating resistance where we had none. That is not beneficial for cycling advocacy—it is toxic to cycling advocacy.

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    peejay June 21, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    rixtir:

    If your intention is to make cyclists as a whole safer, tell me how that happens when the police target a stop sign that both safe and unsafe cyclists do not follow. Wouldn\’t it be better to target a stop sign that has a high rate of compliance? One where only stupid and irresponsible cyclists run through? That would target those cyclists the most, rather than the utterly arbitrary sample of bikers that are subjected to tickets at this particular trap (a population that includes everyone but you and Cecil, apparently)?

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    Attornatus_Oregonensis June 21, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    \”Every time we blow through a stop, we create the impression that we are scofflaws….Every time some cyclist breaks the law, and then tells the person he or she just endangered while breaking the law to “f-off,” we are creating an enemy.\”

    Absolutely! That\’s ridiculous behavior. The stings do *not* make this behavior less likely to occur.

    If you\’re worried about this behavior on the part of cyclists, and I am sympathetic to your concern, then we need to find another way to address it.

    I appreciate and agree with your perspective on the relative social merits and, yes, morality of riding v driving. I also appreciate and agree with your assertion that the stings are a distraction from more important issues. That\’s why I want our government to stop doing them and start focusing on something that promots this important shift that is necessary in our society.

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    rixtir June 21, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    If a sting is happening in a relatively deserted place, where there are only likely to be cyclists running stops, then yes, that does nothing for traffic safety in Portland, and I agree that traffic enforcement should be happening on streets where safety is of more paramount concern. I also agree that traffic enforcement should be netting speeding drivers as well as stop-running cyclists– stings directed at just cyclists while ignoring the arguably greater danger of speeding drivers would be patently unfair and not very safety-conscious to boot.

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    rixtir June 21, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Jonathan , Posts 78 & 91: I agree completely with your posts.

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    Attornatus_Oregonensis June 21, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    It\’s not just stings in relatively deserted places that do not enhance traffic safety. There is absolutely no lasting effect on compliance from these stings *anywhere.*

    I challenge you to go measure the compliance rate at the intersection a month after this sting stops. Take a good sample so we have a good estimate of what it is. I can help with methods and measuring inter-rater reliability. Then wait until the next sting at the same location and measure the compliance rate again a month after that. If it\’s significantly higher, I\’ll give you $100. I bet you it will not be higher.

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    Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 21, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    An update on my thoughts:

    This is a very multi-faceted and complex issue. I have been thinking about it, responding to comments (here and on other blogs) and I\’ve talked to Kruger, BTA, PDOT, Sam Adam\’s office, etc…. to try and get some clarity and figure out my thoughts about it.

    I feel like I really need to post another story about it but I am fried and not sure I could put together something I feel good about right now.

    I will address this issue again either tomorrow or Monday.

    thanks for all your contributions thus far and please continue to discuss…

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    peejay June 21, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    rixtir:

    IK, I just read #98 after posting, and I do agree we have a lot of common ground. I don\’t want people who physically cannot ride a bike to feel ashamed of driving short trips – your mother and mine are in the same situation regarding mobility. I also understand that everyone who rides today is effectively an ambassador from the cycling world to the automobile world. I do try to avoid antagonizing drivers. However, I\’m not so polite when the driver goes after me first. My real beef is with the professionals who are charged with enforcing the traffic laws in ways that raise the level of safety. They\’re doing a lousy job of it, and I call them accountable. This is a forum that attracts bikers primarily, so I feel that I can complain about the police here in ways that I would not in a forum of mostly car users – although I feel that the police do an equally lousy job of administering justice to the motoring community.

    Most drivers I talk to – even the ones who have mistaken beliefs about whether bikes are allowed in \”car\” lanes – understand the idea of rolling stops based on conditions and visibility.

    Most other countries use stop signs as a last resort, where the default signal is more like a yield. They also have very heavy penalties for crashes, not like here, where the penalty is little more than what it would have been for the same violation had it not caused a crash. This is why I felt safer riding the streets of Tokyo a few weeks ago than I do in bike friendly Portland.

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    rixtir June 21, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    A.O., what you are describing is ineffective traffic enforcement– go out, do a high profile operation once a month somewhere in the city, and then go back to business as usual for the remainder of the month. Of course there\’s no lasting effect on compliance. I have no doubt that if they enforced the laws fairly, every day, there would be compliance. Eventually, speeding motorists and stop-running cyclists alike would grow weary of paying the fines, and they\’d start complying.

    Miracle of miracles, cyclists would discover that they are physically capable of starting and stopping again, and motorists would discover that they can drive 55. We might even have an impetus to make the changes Jonathan is talking about, instead of living with an inefficient system (stop signs at every intersection in NW, for example).

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    peejay June 21, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Jonathan:

    Thanks again for providing this forum, and thanks for letting the discussion get pretty healthy. I think we\’re all learning something.

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    rixtir June 21, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    peejay, post 105: I agree with you, your points are well-made (and I wouldn\’t be nice to a driver who assaulted me, either– I would try to be more lenient with somebody who just made a mistake–we all do that sometimes– but somebody who assaults me is going to have hell to pay.).

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    VR June 21, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    rxiter #98:

    \”because she broke her knee years ago (in an auto accident that almost killed her),\”

    \”she’s lost bone density, and she’s afraid that if she fell off her bike, she’d break a bone.\”

    So she won\’t ride a bike for fear of breaking a bone, and yet she drives when just a year ago she was in a horrible accident where she broke bones.

    Hmm, makes sense to me – or not really.

    Riding a bike is one of the lowest impact form of exercise. It comes highly recommended as we get older. Get a comfortable bike and ride it…

    If we try hard enough we can all find excuses not to ride.

    Here are mine that I struggle with every day:

    1. It takes too long.
    2. It is inconvenient.
    3. Weather is not good enough (it is too hot, wet, cold, etc).
    4. I am too tired.

    I have to fight each of those, and I am glad every day that I do…

    The only time I *really* can\’t ride is when I just have to go too far in too short of time. Because no matter how hard I try, I can\’t sustain 40mph on my bike.

    🙂

    BUT – the police should not EVER target a single demographic. EVER.

    Why is it not OK to target minorities, but it is OK to target bicyclists? It is NOT. Police should ALWAYS be fair and consistent, and in this case they are not. There is ample evidence that they are giving more citations to bicyclists than they are to automobiles, simply because cyclists are easier to catch.

    And secondly, we need to work to get the Idaho style laws implemented. They apparently \”get it\”.

    And of course, I second the \”well written\” letter to city officials. Always try not to hurt your own cause by being an ass…

    Oh yeah –

    w00t! > 100 comments!!!

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    rixtir June 21, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    VR;

    1) “So she won\’t ride a bike for fear of breaking a bone, and yet she drives when just a year ago she was in a horrible accident where she broke bones.”

    No, she broke her knee in 1970, and it’s never healed to what it was before. That happens with serious injuries. Now, 37 years later, she’s lost bone density. That happens to older people. And she’s afraid if she falls she’ll break a bone. How do I know this? Because I’ve encouraged her to ride her bike. She can’t ride from her house to the store, because the road is unsafe. I wouldn’t want her riding that road. She can ride on a trail, but doesn’t have a riding partner and she’s afraid to ride a trail alone. And I wouldn’t want her to. And even then, she’s afraid that she’ll break a bone if she falls.

    2) “3. Weather is not good enough (it is too hot, wet, cold, etc).
    4. I am too tired.”

    I always have to struggle with those.

    3) “The only time I *really* can\’t ride is when I just have to go too far in too short of time. Because no matter how hard I try, I can\’t sustain 40mph on my bike.”

    Yep, I used to commute to work every day, for years, and no matter how fast I spun, it didn’t have the same effect as pushing down a little harder on the gas pedal, and I could never sustain it over the long haul anyway. “I’m late! I’m late! Nothing I can do,….” I like to leave earlier these days, it seems to get me there on time. 😉

    4) “BUT – the police should not EVER target a single demographic. EVER.”

    I agree, traffic laws should be enforced fairly.

    5) “Why is it not OK to target minorities, but it is OK to target bicyclists?”

    As even A.O. will tell you (although I suspect neither of us may agree with the reasoning), because minorities, and almost nobody else, are what the courts call a “suspect class.”

    6) “ Police should ALWAYS be fair and consistent,”

    I agree. I’ll bet PoPo agrees too.

    7) “ There is ample evidence that they are giving more citations to bicyclists than they are to automobiles, simply because cyclists are easier to catch.”

    I’m not a big fan of laziness in police work…

    8) “And secondly, we need to work to get the Idaho style laws implemented. They apparently \”get it\”.”

    Even in Idaho, you have to stop on a red light. 😉

    9) “w00t! > 100 comments!!!”

    And peace, love, dove too! WOOT!!!

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    Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 21, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    \”There is ample evidence that they are giving more citations to bicyclists than they are to automobiles, simply because cyclists are easier to catch.\”

    I think unless we see the official numbers, we shouldn\’t assume this. During my conversation with Cmmdr. Kruger today, he said that Officer Hoesly issued 65 citations on Tuesday and 20 of them were to cyclists (I\’m not sure if all 65 of those were in the OMSI area though).

    I will make a trip to the Traffic Div. headquarters and get the numbers for June as soon as they\’re available.

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    peejay June 21, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    20/65 = 31%. Portland\’s ridership is around 3.5%. This is an unconscionable disgrace.

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    janel June 21, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks for the preview Jonathan. Wow, is this the most responses for a post? It just shows how messed up the system is. I have been thinking a lot about this lately, as I got a ticket yesterday and I was really pissed off, and I was trying to figure out why I was so mad. Then it came to me, giving me a ticket for slowly moving through that stop sign when no traffic was around and when the cross streets are in low to no use, is an insult to my ability to asses a situation to be able to determine the best way to maneuver through the \”intersection,\” especially when the result of my action to \”blow\” the stop sign would harm only myself.

    Also, it seems like when the decision is made to concentrate time/money on cyclists biking through stop signs, some assumptions are being made. Namely, that cyclists biking through stop signs is a problem, i.e. it causes harm to cyclists, pedestrians and/or motorists.

    Is this true? I asked a PDOT employee if we have stats on what percentage of crashes are due to cyclists not completely stopping at stop signs? He has yet to compile those figures, but he is working on it.

    If there are very few crashes caused by cyclists going through stop signs, why are we spending all this effort to charge cyclists, especially those who can not afford $250 tickets. Why are we unnecessarily punishing cyclists who are making this world a better place, we should be rewarding them (which Portland actually does a good job at).

    Instead of reacting to the public (as another poster said) there should be a hierarchy in place ranking locations and infractions and directly correlating it to amount of time/money allocated to them.

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    Craig June 21, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    If the police want to enforce the laws, why don\’t they enforce the tinted window law. I hate it when your riding a thru street, and a vehicle with tinted windows pulls up to stop sign, you can\’t tell if they see you….According to my understanding, Oregon law states the windshield, and both front doors are not allowed to be tinted.

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    judith June 21, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    I got stopped and issued a $242.00 ticket(along w/another gal that I don\’t know her name) for not completely stoping at division and Grand on 05/02. -No chance to take a class- I plaid no guilty, because I want to have a chance to talk to the judge. All this comments are really helpful… My thing is – You don\’t even need a drivers license to ride a bike. I do drive as well I have been driving for more that 13 years and never gotten a ticket… there is not enough information out there about bikes and law inforcement! AND my bike costs 1/4 of the ticket!

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    steve June 21, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    The police are human: they are not perfect. They have NO management. If you had no management you would do EXACTLY the same as the cops. You\’d do as little as possible to get by – you would do things that didn\’t need to be done so you\’d look busy. Just like the cops.

    If Rosie Sizer or Tom Potter had 2 brain cells in their heads to rub together to produce an electron volt of thinking power, they\’d see the stupidity of cops wasting time and taxpayer dollars on cyclists and they\’d put a stop to it, RIGHT NOW!

    Apparently those two, who should be managing the police force are incapable of doing the job.

    The cops are government employees with NO direction, and they do what is easy and safe. Real police work is not as pleasant. They\’re putting in time until pension collection day rolls around. Same with those who are supposed to be their supervisors.

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    Suburban June 21, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    I\’m giving the trail a break for a while. Peace Officers, dogs, humans; the nice weather brings out too many of each. PPD traffic div. is engaging in a distinct kind of gang activity, and as a lowly cyclist, I steer clear of the Portland\’s gangs. There is no civic culture, nor law enforcement this region beyond the power of insurance companies, weapons, and guilt. It\’s part of the arrangement made in the 22 years before statehood was granted to Oregon. Gang members are typically not very clever, but always obsessed with power and acceptance in their group. Sad.

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    Steve June 21, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    **This comment has been deleted**

    Steve,

    Please understand that I have very little tolerance for inappropriate personal name calling, insults, and sarcastic innuendo.

    And this has nothing to do with how your comment called me out for talking to Kruger. I am happy to address that and any other points you have but I am not OK with your tone, or with you insulting other people.

    Thanks for understanding.

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    Phil June 21, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    On my way downtown this morning, there were two people in front of me at the 4th & Carruthers sign. One barely slowed for the sign, and the other cut left across the Millwork loading area and proceeded down the opposite side bike lane while eating his breakfast with his left hand. Overzealous cops giving tickets for safe rolling stops I\’m against, but stupid riding and blatantly blowing signs needs to be corrected.

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    Kathleen June 21, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    Just out of curiosity, I wonder what the difference would be in our responses and changes in behavior (i.e., stopping at stop signs) if police officers gave cyclists warnings instead of actual tickets. It seems to me that since issuing tickets is not changing behavior in the long run, why issue them? It adds to the city\’s treasury, but antagonizes a growing group of citizens. It seems that if officers stopped and gave warnings to offending cyclists and maybe actually discussed with them the legal and safety issues involved some of us might have more respect for the police and think about what we are doing when we are on the road.

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    SKiDmark June 21, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    A little word of advice to those getting tickets at these Police Stings : Look both ways before you break the law!

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    Brad June 22, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Gotta love Commissar Potter. He won\’t allow the PPB to share info with Homeland Security for fear of trampling on citizen\’s rights but has no problem directing the cops to trample on two wheeled terrorists fighting a jihad against congestion, pollution, and oil dependence.

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    Cecil June 22, 2007 at 9:03 am

    This morning, Ladd\’s Addition, 7:56 AM – woman in gray minivan barrels through the stop sign at Harrison without even pretending to pause. Bikey guy in full wonky matching kit barrels through directly behind her, also without even pretending to pause. How he could have seen around the van to ensure he wasn\’t about to barrel into someone (like me, for instance) is beyond me. They both deserved tickets 🙂

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    Matt Picio June 22, 2007 at 9:42 am

    peejay (#112)

    \”20/65 = 31%. Portland\’s ridership is around 3.5%. This is an unconscionable disgrace.\”

    That\’s kind of misleading. 4th & Carruthers has a much higher percentage of cyclists than the city overall due to the direct route between the Springwater & the Esplanade. Your general point is well taken, however – those streets probably don\’t have 31% bike traffic (though I\’d believe 20%)

    I don\’t think the issue is the % of tickets so much as the fact that they\’re patrolling 4th & Carruthers instead of Powell, Burnside, 39th and 82nd.

    (insert social commentary) Then again, we as a society seem to think it\’s better to \”feel\” safe then to actually BE safe. (end micro-rant)

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    Greg June 22, 2007 at 10:15 am

    I doubt anyone will read this far, but if you do…

    FOR THOSE TICKETED:

    I took my only bike stop sign ticket to court. I introduced myself to the officer before going before the judge, and told him politely that I\’d be willing to take a driving safety class or whatever was offered if he could drop the ticket. He said that no such thing was available (seems like it might be now?), but that he could reduce the ticket. The judge is constrained within a range of fines that he can give if you\’re found guilty of a particular charge; so, to go below that, you have to get the charge reduced. My $242 failure to obey a traffic control device turned into a $79 failure to signal. I probably could\’ve plead not guilty to that one but didn\’t want to piss anyone off at that point and was relatively happy to get away with 1/3 the original fine.

    The law is ridiculous. Go Idaho!

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    Ken June 22, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Craig (#114), unless something has changed in the last few years, tinting is allowed. It just is not allowed to be tinted past a certain level of darkness. My experience is that it is hard to enforce unless it is waaaaay too dark as most people just say \”I told the shop to make it as dark as legally possible\”.

    I just made the trip past OMSI yesterday and I will say that of the dozen or so cycists that I could observe heading to and from that area, I was the only one who came to a stop at the stop signs. A few slowed down and a few just blew through it. When I stopped at the end of the trail the trip before I almost got mowed over by two ladies on a tandem who yelled \”Coming though!! We\’re not stopping!\” It would seem to me that the cops could significantly increasing city funding by just hanging out in the area and writing tickets all day long which may indeed be why they are doing this.

    That being said, I\’d like to know if they are also siting the drivers in the area. Yesterday I was on 4th headed to the stop sign when a (I think it was a Mayflower) truck decided he could make the turn across my path safely. He wasn\’t right and I had to hit the brakes to avoid going into the side of his rig. I\’m curious if a cop would have written him a ticket had one been around or if they are only concerned about us cyclists.

    Lastly, to those who say that since the tickets aren\’t affecting the behavior the ticketing should stop: The cops really don\’t care about that and it won\’t be a viable excuse to get them to stop. For 12 years I had to drive a long commute and cops would set up sting operations on the freeways all the time, particularly on 26 headed W out of town. It never stopped cars from speeding, or if it did, it was only one car at a time (the person who got the ticket) and so the total impact was unnoticable. They never stopped setting up stings just because they didn\’t make a big difference. They generate money for the county and they supposedly enforce the law. I\’m guessing as crappy as it is, our case is largely no different in their eyes.

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    peejay June 22, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Ken:

    See my post #59. The police do exactly the same thing to cars as they do to bikes, so their methodology does not prove an anti-bike bias (other things do, however). Until traffic divisions of police departments are evaluated on overall traffic safety rates or other meaningful metrics, rather than citation quotas, this will continue. They are subject to political pressure, so if we make it untenable for them to harrass us longer, they may move on to set up (equally ineffective) traps somewhere else, hopefully aimed at cars.

    As for the political pressure: we should send another blizzard of emails and phone calls to the mayor\’s office. I bet Potter will regret the day he pretended to be a friend of cyclists!

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    naess June 22, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    i\’d like to know why people insist on calling these \”enforcement actions\” \”stings\”? as far as i can tell, there is no attempt by the ppb to \”entice a criminal act by means of deception.\”

    granted, there does appear to be some alleged police harassment and the signage could be a lot better.

    -naess

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    don\'t know squat June 23, 2007 at 1:58 am

    What this issue boils down to for cyclists is that, contrary to the Oregon law, bicycles are not vehicles. Anyone who rides a bike knows that and anyone who also drives a car knows it even better. There are NO similarities between a car and a bicycle. Bicycles can be useful but, for Americans,they are really just toys. Maybe the Chinese see them differently, but to Americans a bicycle is a toy. Why is a bike a toy? Because they\’re fun. Because you got one for Christmas when you were a kid. Because no license is required. Because bicycles hurt very, very, very few people except those riding them. Do idiots driving cars kill thousands on the highways of the US? Of course they do. Bicyclists kill almost nobody. To ask a bicyclist to follow the laws made for cars is to show what a MORON you are.

    So, knowing that bicycles are not vehicles, and having a lifetime of experience riding one, we know What we can safely do on it and what we cannot safely do. So we get on our bikes and go ride. 99.99% of us live to do it the next day and have been doing it since we were kids. So, there is a lifetime of empirical evidence that indicates with 99.99% certainty that we\’re doing things right.

    But the city doesn\’t care if we are doing things right or not. The city is a business with a budget and lots of government maggots to spend that budget: including cops. So they need income. To the city bicyclists are a cash cow. I suspect the police management and the city hall folks are behind the cyclist harassment. It\’s just a money game to them. They don\’t care about cyclists. Cyclist are a tiny minority. If they piss off every cyclist they\’ll still get elected. I\’ll bet money that the cops are asked to harass cyclists to make money for the government maggot machine.

    Do the cycling traffic tickets go on your driving record? Will they increase your insurance rates for driving a car? If they don\’t go on your driving record, why not just throw them in the trash and forget them?

    I\’d be sure to go to court for EVERY TICKET just to tie up the police and the courts with this tripe.

    Get those Idaho laws in place. Do some monkeywrenching to the city establishment. But don\’t get caught. It\’s not illegal unless you get caught.

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    Sasquatch 2 June 23, 2007 at 2:00 am

    What this issue boils down to for cyclists is that, contrary to the Oregon law, bicycles are not vehicles. Anyone who rides a bike knows that and anyone who also drives a car knows it even better. There are NO similarities between a car and a bicycle. Bicycles can be useful but, for Americans,they are really just toys. Maybe the Chinese see them differently, but to Americans a bicycle is a toy. Why is a bike a toy? Because they\’re fun. Because you got one for Christmas when you were a kid. Because no license is required. Because bicycles hurt very, very, very few people except those riding them. Do idiots driving cars kill thousands on the highways of the US? Of course they do. Bicyclists kill almost nobody. To ask a bicyclist to follow the laws made for cars is to show what a MORON you are.

    So, knowing that bicycles are not vehicles, and having a lifetime of experience riding one, we know What we can safely do on it and what we cannot safely do. So we get on our bikes and go ride. 99.99% of us live to do it the next day and have been doing it since we were kids. So, there is a lifetime of empirical evidence that indicates with 99.99% certainty that we\’re doing things right.

    But the city doesn\’t care if we are doing things right or not. The city is a business with a budget and lots of government maggots to spend that budget: including cops. So they need income. To the city bicyclists are a cash cow. I suspect the police management and the city hall folks are behind the cyclist harassment. It\’s just a money game to them. They don\’t care about cyclists. Cyclist are a tiny minority. If they piss off every cyclist they\’ll still get elected. I\’ll bet money that the cops are asked to harass cyclists to make money for the government maggot machine.

    Do the cycling traffic tickets go on your driving record? Will they increase your insurance rates for driving a car? If they don\’t go on your driving record, why not just throw them in the trash and forget them?

    I\’d be sure to go to court for EVERY TICKET just to tie up the police and the courts with this tripe.

    Get those Idaho laws in place. Do some monkeywrenching to the city establishment. But don\’t get caught. It\’s not illegal unless you get caught.

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    geezer June 23, 2007 at 10:37 am

    I think we have a couple of problems here:

    #1.

    How cyclists handle intersections is not just about keeping themselves safe, it\’s also about letting drivers and other cyclists know their intentions.
    For instance, I usually track stand red lights, because it\’s more interesting than just standing there. But if I track stand a stop sign, often an approaching car will stop for me, because they are unsure of what I will do.

    #2.

    When we see a driver do something we don\’t like, we mentally slap a label on them to make them different from us: \”darned out-of-state driver\”, or \”darned minivan\”, but never \”darned person just like me.\” But if somebody does something stupid on a bike, it\’s sure to be \”darned cyclist.\”

    I see \”darned cyclists\” do stupid things in traffic every day, and if I weren\’t one myself, I might complain to PPD too.

    Nobody likes doing \”foot-down\” stops. But maybe if we started doing them in places where it mattered, PPD would leave us alone in places where it doesn\’t.

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    N.I.K. June 23, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    The law is ridiculous. Go Idaho!

    Yeah, go lobbying for a change in legislation. Screw blowing stop signs, though. Why *should* cyclists be given what they want in terms of a change in laws…is it because the present laws are stupid and we\’re deserving of change, or is it just because most of us already break that law and it should thus be null-and-void? You\’ll find that the latter course won\’t do anything except result in the city and PPB looking at us as an opportunity for generating revenue.

    Yeah, I don\’t want to hear it from the bitchier minority of anti-bike motorists either, given all the laws they routinely get to break (an unofficial 10mph buffer riding on top of speed limits? yeah, must be sweet). But I also don\’t want you crashing into me when I\’m crossing an intersection heading downhill and have the right of way. And I also don\’t want any of you folks getting made examples of and slapped with a B.S. but totally legal fine.

    Deny the city and the PPB the opportunity: *STOP* at stop signs. If you find it too hard to get started again after a stop, you either need to learn how to shift gears, or you need to get your gear ratio changed on you fixed/SS rig. Show that we\’re *worthy* of a legislature change.

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    PoPo June 24, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Sorry, at an Ultimate Frisbee tourney this weekend.

    Janel (#45) I think going to the bike class would be cheaper than the best reduction you could get from the court–I think I heard the bike class costs $30 and I don\’t think the judge can reduce a fine that low.

    Todd B. (#68) My guess is that there is no stop sign for cement trucks entering the roadway from Ross Island Sand and Gravel next to the springwater corridor entrance because that is private property, and any driveway from private to public property requires that vehicles stop to check for traffic anyway, regardless of the existance of a sign. I would also guess that most of the truck drivers there are pretty paranoid about bikes–though I haven\’t personally seen their behavior there, so that is just speculation. Also, the chalking the warnings about police traffic enforcement on the path for other bicyclists is a superb idea. In fact, the biking community ought to generate a system of simple symbols we could chalk on the pavement in chalk to indicate enforcement ahead!

    Matt (#80) Point well taken about feedback (or lack thereof) to the people who complain. I don\’t work in the traffic division, so I don\’t know if they typically report about what they did or not, but that is absolutely important.

    Steve (#88) Your \”maggot job\” comment and a couple more following clearly indicate that you are not a fan of the police. That is fine, lots of people aren\’t. Interacting with the police isn\’t usually indicative of a happy day, as we mostly only get called in times of crisis. And it is hard for people to really understand the complicated scope of what cops do. (While at the same time many people believe that they do understand from watching TV and movies!) I will tell you that if you ever have a crisis yourself, and you need our help, we\’ll still come and do our best, no questions asked. I\’ll even risk my life for ya, if I have to, even though I don\’t know you, as will every officer you see in police cars, riding motorcycles or bicycles. Pretty cool that you\’ve got so many helpers ready to go to bat for you at the press of three numbers on a phone.

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    VR June 25, 2007 at 9:06 am

    PoPo:

    I have argued in the police\’s defense in many occasions, because police have a very hard job and are often underappreciated.

    But my basic opinion is that police don\’t HELP THEMSELVES when they are constantly displaying a \”little big man\” type of power-loving attitude.

    Just because a police officer is in uniform and pulls me over, doesn\’t mean that they have to be a bad-ass. They could acknowledge the fact that we are BOTH human, and as long as I am not being rude or something, we could treat each-other with mutual respect.

    But in my experience – that almost NEVER happens!

    Which is frustrating. I have met most of the SE cops at our neighborhood get-togethers, and they all seem nice. So why is it that when we are at a parade all we get is cops acting like they are the supreme rulers of the world when they direct *pedestrian* traffic. Or when we get pulled over for something lame, like 5 over the speed limit, or rolling through a stop on a bicycle – why can\’t they act like THEY sometimes are human probably fudge the rules now and then.

    I have had too many occurrences where I was doing nothing wrong and yet got treated like a criminal – all by cops who think they are better than the average person. I know in my heart that it is not all police – but it just seems like it is all the police who deal with *us*…

    So there is always going to be an adversarial us-vs-them type attitude I think, because most people only ever interact with the police in this way.

    So when they are actively ticketing bicycle riders for doing things that while legally and officially are against the law – cause little realistic harm – all the police really accomplish is push the us-vs-them mentality a little more. The police must know full well that if they were on the bicycle they would probably roll through many stop signs too. Perhaps they might get more respect and cooperation if they showed a little understanding.

    You know, if the police stopped you and said: \”We are out today to let people know that what they are doing is illegal, but more importantly can be unsafe. We really want people to be safe\” and initiate a dialog with the riders. That way they don\’t engender the confrontational attitude.

    Word spreads fast.

    What they have now is \”Police are issuing $250 tickets to bikes, lookout!\” instead of what they could have: \”The Police are helping bicycles be safer, and have been pretty cool.\”

    I think that is the main problem. Sure laws could be changed, and should be. Sure we can write letters and all that… Sure we can all try to put our foot down at every stop.

    But people just want the police to treat them with respect, since the police have the \”power\” so-to-speak. But instead, here lately the PPB has been fairly hard assed anti bicycle.

    Which in my opinion serves no one.

    Police are the people no one wants to see until they need help… It would be nice to see that change.

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    Dan Kaufman June 25, 2007 at 9:33 am

    \”The Police are helping cyclists be safer\” today at the OMSI construction zone.

    Since you must come to a complete stop with your foot down be sure to take some time to \”smell the roses\”, as it were, ride slowly and be sure to smile and wave to all you see.

    Then we, perhaps, we can have a nice safe law abiding cluster f*ck!

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    Mr. Viddy June 25, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    I\’ve experienced it all when it comes to the relationship between cyclists and law enforcement. Everything from whether or not we are allowed to ride on the street to how hand signals should be used and on down to obeying traffic signs.

    Is it possible and even likely that the police would target cyclists in the area surrounding OMSI? Probably. But let us all remember that when we choose to ignore a traffic sign or stop light then we must accept the fact that we just might end up being ticketed.

    Knock on wood but I have never been issued a citation while riding my bike, and yes I have blown through a stop sign or red light on occasion but I have done so knowing that I am running the risk of a ticket.

    A lot of cyclists want to believe that they can take liberties with how they ride, and this is up to them. Just remember that if you choose to violate a traffic law and you get a ticket do not cry foul.

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