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Commissioner Adams to convene “emergency meeting”

Posted by on October 23rd, 2007 at 4:25 pm

[*Updated: 8:45pm]
bike rack at City Hall

(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

City Commissioner of Transportation Sam Adams is convening an “emergency meeting” to discuss what the city can do to prevent bicycle fatalities in light of, “a recent string of tragedies”.

An email invitation sent from his office says,

“The conversation will focus on potential policy measures that could be instituted both in the short term and long run to reduce the number of bike-auto collisions and cyclist fatalities.”


Stakeholders invited to the meeting include PDOT employees from a variety of divisions including bicycle planning, traffic safety, signals and street lighting, and the heads of traffic engineering and the Police Bureau. In addition to City staffers, the BTA, legal experts, and members of the freight and trucking industries will be present.

* I plan to have a full report on what is discussed after the meeting.

I will attend the meeting, but I am not going as a member of the media in order to do a story. What’s important here is that all stakeholders at the table feel they can have a frank discussion about what can be done.

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

52 Comments
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    Jessy October 23, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    I think this posting is appropriate after the previous one, \”From Sadness to Action.\”

    All we can do is try to make things better.

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    C9 October 23, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    When is this going to take place? I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    While I think it is entirely appropriate that freight & trucking be represented, I am nonetheless curious to hear what they will bring to the table.

    My suspicions are that, at least from the viewpoints of many in the cycling community, their input will be \”obstructionist.\”

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    BURR October 23, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    this should be a public meeting, can you share details of the time and location, Jonathan?

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    Allan Folz October 23, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    I suggest very publicly holding the drivers that fail to yield to traffic in a bike lane accountable for reckless homocide would be a good start on something the city can do.

    The number one thing missing to motorists is personal accountability for their actions.

    If the garabage truck driver had waited 10 or 20 seconds instead of rushing to pass a cyclist down a steep hill and turn in front of him, this whole tragic episode would have been averted. Motorist haste needs to be dealt with as completely unacceptable in civil society.

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 23, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    \”this should be a public meeting,\”

    BURR,

    my understanding is that this is not a public meeting.

    however, I do think some sort of public \”Town Hall\” style meeting would be a good thing but I have not heard of one being planned yet.

    Perhaps that\’s something the BTA might organize?

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    Kevin Wagoner October 23, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    This is good news. It will be interesting if to read what they come up with.

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    Dan (teknotus) October 23, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    There are meetings that you can attend. There is one tonight, and another tomorrow night.

    N Portland
    Tonight, 10/23, 7 – 9 pm
    Rosa Parks Elementary School
    8960 N Woolsey

    NW Portland
    Wednesday, 10/24, 7 – 9 pm
    Metropolitan Learning Center
    2033 NW Glisan

    http://www.bta4bikes.org/btablog/2007/10/16/who-says-we-dont-or-arent-willing-to-pay-for-infrastructure/

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    vespa October 23, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    I, likewise, am interested to hear what the freight and trucking industries have to say. I am quite certain that accidents in the transport industry, while \”publicly\” discussed as a tragedy and no doubt hurtful to all involved on the \”street\” level (driver, victim, witness), are, without being too cynical, seen as a cost of doing business. Rest assured, it will be an insurance company that deals with these \”incidents\” from here on out – not the company that employed the driver.

    Whether they come to the table with policy ideas beyond asserting that more limitations need to be placed on cyclists because \”cyclists are bad\” and \”don\’t obey traffic laws\” will be interesting indeed – especially in the war zone that in downtown Portland at the moment.

    Alternatively, it will be interesting to see their openness to other participant\’s recommendations. When was the last time that a driver almost hit you or impeded your lane or did something else that was stupid, but didn\’t get upset at the fact that you were there. I know there are exceptions, but if my experience is any indication, it is always my fault.

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    a.O October 23, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    #1 Policy Change: Begin effectively enforcing existing laws by citing motorists who fail to yield to bicyclists in bicycle lanes.

    (And for Pete\’s sake, will someone in the Media *please* ask Kruger if he feels he can effectively enforce the law while he is lobbying for its change?)

    #2: Implement the engineering changes (e.g., bike boxes, bike boulevards) identified by the BTA and the Safe Streets initiative that have proven to reduce collisions.

    #3: Lobby the Legislature for additional changes to the motor vehicle code that (a) enhance penalties for negligently causing a motor vehicle to collide with vulnerable road users, (b) require motorists to provide cyclists additional room on the roadway when passing and at intersections, (c) prohibit motor vehicles from passing cyclists who \”take the lane,\” and (d) mandating helmet use by cyclists.

    #4: Initiate an education campaign on sharing the road for both motorists and cyclists.

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    John R October 23, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Will someone also ask Lt. Kruger if he has EVER found that a motorist was at fault in a motor vehicle/bicycle crash.

    Lt. Kruger is now blaming the cyclist for excessive speed. I see no reference in ORS 811.050 that forgives the motorist for not yielding to a cyclist in the bike lane if the cyclists speed is high.

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    wyatt October 23, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    \”Lt. Kruger is now blaming the cyclist for excessive speed.\”

    Could you post a link to that?

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    annefi October 23, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Dan (#6),
    Thank you for the link. The one in my neighborhood (Sellwood, Oct. 30) is on my calendar now and I\’m going!

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    tonyt October 23, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Considering that the Mayor is technically the Police Commissioner, I would like to hear something about how it is that when a driver fails to yield and kills someone they are not cited.

    Twice in a week and a half.

    Where\’s the ticket Kruger?

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    John R October 23, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    The quote from Lt. Kruger blaming the cyclist can be found at:

    http://news.opb.org/article/deadly-right-hook-kills-another-cyclist-portland/

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    a.O October 23, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    \”I can\’t say what the bicyclist was paying attention to or wasn\’t. But as far as I can see, as far as our investigators can see. [sic] it appears he, you know was going too fast for the conditions there probably, and may not have realized that the truck was signaling and intended to turn.\” Lt. Kruger

    How is this related, legally, to whether the truck driver violated the requirement to yield to the cyclist? IT IS NOT RELATED.

    If Kruger thinks, based on his investigation, that Brett was going too fast for the conditions, he can issue him a citation for speeding.

    When is someone going to ask him if he is going to issue a citation? When is someone going to ask his boss, the Police Commissioner, if he thinks Kruger\’s public statements have biased his ability to fairly enforce the existing law?

    Jonathan, I\’m tired of hinting: Please ask these questions! Certainly, no one else does. They simply report what they\’re told by Kruger. That\’s nothing less than an abdication of the media\’s responsibility.

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    JHB October 23, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    I was biking home tonight along the Springwater trail from Sellwood to SE. Coming off the trail near the Opera house I saw a cement mixer coming at me. For an instant I was uneasy, but this soon passed.

    I realized the truck was there working into the evening performing a service to the community. The people driving these trucks should be our allies. The drive as a profession and an \”accident\” or \”collision\” or whatever you want to call it is a professional and likely emotional catastrophe for them.

    Granted the \”I\’m sorry\” factor does not excuse negligence, but let\’s realize that these drivers are likely extremely motivated to avoid any kind of collision.

    What can we do to turn these professional drivers into our allies?

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    JHB October 23, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    The drive is a professional and an \”accident\” or \”collision\” or whatever you want to call it is a professional and likely emotional catastrophe for them.

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    Dan October 23, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Echoing tonyt (#12)… I\’m glad Sam Adams is calling a meeting, but we need to hold the police — and that means the Mayor, as police commissioner — responsible for upholding the law by taking action against the driver.

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    Paul Cone October 23, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Jonathan,

    Indeed, Jonathan… in your journalistic role, I can\’t see anyway you can lose by asking that question. Then don\’t forget their answer when the TV crews put their cameras in front of you (again). These are trying times that call for bold action, and I think we\’re all behind you.

    Paul

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 23, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Please note: I have updated the post to reflect the fact that I am not going to this meeting as a member of the media.

    The most important thing is that all the stakeholders around the table feel they can have a frank, honest discussion without worrying about being quoted (or misquoted) in the media.

    I am sure there will be ample opportunities to share the perspectives that come to light at this meeting.

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    Klixi October 23, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    I agree JHB. Cement and garbage truck drivers are not like the typical 20 year olds speeding wrecklessly in souped up Honda Civics. They are on the job, driving slower and in vehicles that greatly increase the size of the blind spot. In both Brett\’s and Tracey\’s cases the trucks were going 5 maybe 10 mph. This is not about erratic driving, it is about fitting large, industrial vehicles with the proper tools necessary to eliminate the blind spot factor.

    If I could ask the police one question it would be: If these vehicles have such large blindspots that put at risk the lives of pedestrians and cyclists, why are they allowed on the road? Should there not be any stringent safety check that qualifies ALL vehicles to legally drive on the streets of Portland?

    Saying \”it was an accident because I didn\’t see him\” is like shooting a gun through the wall of your apt, killing your next door neighbor on accident then saying \”I just didn\’t see him.\”

    What?! Are you kidding me? What about the girl from Idaho who was driving w/out a license and ran over the Velo rider a few months back? A measly $1,200 ticket? Drivers pretty much have a proverbial hall pass to run over cyclists as they please and face, at worst, a slap on the wrist.

    Never EVER act like you have the right of way, even when you do. In this city it could very well get you your own ghost bike. Just sad beyond words.

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    chris October 23, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    a.O, I\’ve disagreed with you silently many times in the past…

    But tonight, I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head.

    Either this town appoints police officals that recognize cyclist\’s rights as roadway users, or it\’s time to try something different with Kruger…by different, I mean legal.

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    a.O October 23, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Jonathan,

    Please consider your role here. You state that you \”updated the post to reflect the fact that I am not going to this meeting as a member of the media,\” but your original post stated: \”I plan to have a full report on what is discussed after the meeting.\” You seem to be playing coy with whether you consider yourself a journalist here or not. You may be a \”stakeholder\” in this, but you also publicly report on your experiences for a living.

    All I\’m asking you to do is speak frankly with Kruger as to whether he\’s properly fulfilling his role to objectively enforce the law. I know you want to stay on Kruger\’s good side, but *SOMEBODY* must start asking the question of whether these obvious legal violations that directly resulted in the deaths of our fellow Portlanders are going to receive the requisite citation under law. I feel strongly that this is a question the cycling community deserves to have answered by its public servants.

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    a.O October 23, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Well chris, please feel free to disagree with me loudly. Most people do, and I enjoy it.

    Chris

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    BURR October 23, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    I\’m with a.O on this, the failure of the police to cite the drivers even minimally in either of these two incidents is horribly wrong and completely unconscionable, sets a terrible precedent, and sends the wrong message to the rest of the motorists out there. the status quo is quite unacceptable.

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 23, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    a.O (#15 and #23) and Paul (#19),

    I hear both of you loud and clear. I have a very challenging role in all this and the journalist/advocate balance is something I grapple with at times like this.

    That being said, take my word, Kruger\’s statements and the circumstances around these incidents have not gone unnoticed.

    All I can say is be patient. I will do my best to shed light on the many very important issues that are swirling around the community right now.

    Thanks for understanding.

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    JaclynJean October 23, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    I have grown weary of the bikes VS cars debate because it only increases the aggression that happens once we\’re all on the road together. The bad attitude of some cyclists, that visible air of entitlement that displays whenever they act reckless or weave in and out of traffic, only fuels the fire. Of course, I have had close calls with motorists who never even realized I was there because they were on their cell phones or whatever, BUT I have also witnessed visibly distressed drivers that have just been cut-off by a cyclist that is willing to take such risks. It\’s true that they seriously do not want to hit, and especially kill, us. They\’re just not used to looking for us, which does need to change. BUT, even if they are looking for us, we\’re very small objects that can be lost in a crowded field-of-vision. I sometimes drive a car and I myself have not seen cyclists (through rain-spotted windows, in the dark, their lights blending with city lights. etc) until they were right upon me. We can\’t start pointing fingers because this goes both ways, and it\’s counterproductive.

    We need to come up with a feasible way to actually SHARE the road. It\’s not much, but I\’d say devoting a MUCH higher percentage of questions on the driver\’s license test isn\’t a bad way to start the youngest drivers thinking about it early.

    SIDE NOTE: These deaths have hit the PNCA community hard. Tracey was a student here, and Brett was a 2003 graduate of the college. Last year one of our teachers was critically injured when a car in front of him swerved into his lane. When I see all the bikes parked outside our school every day it makes me proud, but lately it just makes me scared.

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    N.I.K. October 23, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    It\’s not much, but I\’d say devoting a MUCH higher percentage of questions on the driver\’s license test isn\’t a bad way to start the youngest drivers thinking about it early.

    That\’d be great except for one thing: the written components of the drivers\’ license test aren\’t about ensuring someone understands and adheres to the letter of the law, they\’re about *passing*. Much like a high school history exam, all you need to do is temporarily absorb enough information and get the bare minimum number of questions right. We need to come up with a way to avoid rewarding cramming -which any idiot can manage- and instead encourage application. I wish I had a good suggestion as to what that was, but everything we\’ve got already doesn\’t work. More frequent tests? Sorry, being able to recite something by heart doesn\’t mean you understand it or believe it. Legislation? Sorry, most only consider it to be a punishable offense if you have the misfortune to get caught.

    Seriously, what do we do?

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    Todd B. October 23, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Here is the BTA working for you:

    http://news.opb.org/article/deadly-right-hook-kills-another-cyclist-portland/

    Listen to it…

    By Allison Frost
    Portland, OR October 23, 2007 4:20 p.m.
    Scott Bricker (new executive director for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) has some ideas about ways to keep car and bicycles safe.

    He talked Tuesday with Oregon Considered host Allison Frost.

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    Aaron Weiss October 23, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    BURR, Allan and others,

    I had a conversation with Sgt. Brian Schmautz this afternoon about why there wasn\’t a citation issued for failure to yield to a bicycle.

    He didn\’t go as far as Lt. Krueger as to blame the cyclist in this case, but did say in some cases, \”speed negates right of way.\” He also said the officers made their decision \”based on the totality of circumstances\” at the scene.

    More here.

    I\’ll see if we can dig up some stats on \”failure to yield\” tickets issued to cyclists and drivers who hit cyclists.

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    Jason B. October 23, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    I agree whole heartedly with JaclynJean (#27) above, the solution lies in education, understanding, and mutual respect. Outspoken cyclists who hold negative, self-righteous attitudes towards motorists as a whole, succeed in aggrivating the issues. Likewise, motorists ignorant of the special needs of cyclists, driving distracted and innattentive, create unnecessarily dangerous situations. A movement to require strict education on both drivers and cyclists alike, to HELP US SHARE THE ROAD SAFELY is, I believe, the only realistic short-term solution.

    New laws or admendments, may help, but enforcement will always be lacking. In the meantime, as concerned citizens, we can dedicate ourselves to cycling (and driving) with a greater awareness of our surroundings. A healthty respect for the everpresent danger we all dance amongst whenever we travel on public roads, can go a long way in keeping us alive.

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    Potestio October 24, 2007 at 12:03 am

    A MEETING FOR WHOM, TO DECIDE WHAT?
    I am encouraged to see that Sam Adams has decided to convene an \”emergency meeting\” to discuss bike-auto collisions and cyclist fatalities.
    However, I fear that the results of this meeting(s) will leave all of us cyclists no more safer, and less satisfied with the situation.
    WHO IS INVITED, WHO IS NOT?
    I think that Sam has invited a very narrow list of people from those whose voices should be heard. The list is heavy on bureaucrats, and includes the BTA and members of the trucking industries. I see no mention of the professional cyclists, such as the messengers, or the recreational and sport cyclists represented by OBRA, or even the average commuter whose daily rides have elevated Portland to be considered the best cycling city in America.
    DARE I SAY:
    I would hope that Sam Adams would have the courage to open this up as a truly public forum. It may be risky politically, and may be an unruly event, but it would serve to give voice to the feelings of a community of cyclists as well as others, tired of enduring these senseless deaths.
    WHERE\’S THE PAINT?
    I fear that the discussion, given those invited to attend, will center on a predictable debate over policy and the street version of property rights…based on the arguments (pro and con) that the continued striping of streets into ever more specific classifications based on vehicle type, or dimensions and configurations, will address the problem.
    WHAT WOULD AMSTERDAM AND BERLIN DO?
    Worse yet I can anticipate the idea being offered that separate facilities will solve the problem. I suppose if separate facilities could be established to facilitate bike movement comprehensively through the city to an extent equitable with autos,and satisfying all our needs— a transportation equivalent of the Americans with Disabilities Act— then cyclists would conceivably be happy with that. Unfortunately, I do not see how such a system would ever be achieved. Portland does not have the money to execute such a system, and our streets are already overburdened with auto traffic, therefore there is neither resources in terms of space or finaces to retrofit the city.
    WORKING WITH THE GIVEN CONTEXT
    Therefore to some greater or lesser extent, for the foreseeable future, the roads, streets and alleys of the city will need to be shared by all manner of vehicles. As such, it is behavior that needs to change.
    Motorists need to learn to see cyclists, anticipate their moves, gauge their speeds and stopping distances, know their limitations, and above all, respect their place on the road.
    IN A PERFECT WORLD….
    The best way for this to occur is to get motorists on bikes…to have them learn what biking is. They may chose never to ride a bike again, but motorist training on bikes would give them an idea of the nature of the machine. The next best way is to get motorists to look for and wait for or work with cyclists as they share the road. All the boxes, blue paint, stripes, and other devices will never work if motorists don\’t respond to them, respect them, observe them and above all defer to the cyclist, whether they think they are in the right or wrong. Training, test questions, citations, fines and criminal charges are all means for enforcing the law, and modifying behavior…all may be applicable.
    THE ULTIMATE TEST
    Is not the one a motorist takes at the DMV…it is on the road. The motorist in (name your fatal collision) may have been in the (right?),(wrong?), or in a no fault situation… But is any of this relevant when a friend is laid to rest? Collisions between vehicles and cyclists will most likely result in cyclist injury or death…The motorist may leave the scene free of legal consequences, but does the knowing that the blinker was on ease the guilt that the gas was on as well???
    IN CONCLUSION
    I think that the debate about the circumstances and legalities of this and all such tragic collisions, while necessary in some degree, obscures the basic point: in any collision between two objects, the laws of physics favor mass and velocity…therefore, I believe that the operators of massive, fast moving objects have a greater obligation and responsibility in terms of behavior for the safety of all whom they encounter. Simply stated, no matter what the circumstances or legal rights, the operator of the many thousand pound vehicle did knowingly pass a slower moving 16 pound vehicle and then turn across its line of movement, risking an extremely high probability of a collision…simple common sense would dictate that the small vehicle/operator would not survive impact. This is what happened. In such an equation, there is no factor for the \”speeding\” of the cyclist. There is no factor for the \”timing\” of the blinker, or the \”pausing\” of the driver, before the turn was executed.
    ONE LAST THOUGHT
    If Sam Adams is truly committed to cycling safety, he could start by repairing the potholes, elevating the sunken manhole covers,(and requiring they not be in cyclist line of travel), replacing the remaining tire sized open gratings, redesigning the speed bumps and curb extensions, eliminating the reflectors, widening the shoulders, cleaning the streets of sand and gravel after snow storms, etc. that go with basic street design and maintenance.

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    a.O October 24, 2007 at 7:53 am

    Jonathan,

    I do understand an appreciate that you have \”a very challenging role\” here and I know you will do your best.

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    Crack downs... October 24, 2007 at 7:58 am

    ..go both ways. This \”gotta enforce the cyclist\’s rights\” calls are laughable.

    While the law enforcement in Portland may be heavy handed when dealing with cyclist s, we don\’t make any friends when complaining about getting ticketed for openly breaking the law and endangering ourselves. Don\’t demand behavior from drivers that you yourself don\’t practice.

    Crack down on all road users who break the \”law\”. No rolling stops signs. No turns without signals. No riding at night without lights, etc, etc, etc.

    Regardless of who makes the mistake on the road, the cyclist is going to be the loser every time.

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    BURR October 24, 2007 at 8:21 am

    From the KGW blog: \”I called up Portland police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz for clarification. He said that yielding the right of way, and determining whether a traffic violation has occurred, comes down to a matter of perception. Basically, the driver has to perceive he has to yield the right of way. (\”Perceive\” came up a lot in our conversation.)

    In this case, did the truck driver reasonably believe it was safe to turn? Schmautz said a witness to the crash saw the garbage truck pass the cyclist at the top of the hill, and turn on his right turn signal well before the turn. The truck began its turn around two blocks ahead of the bicycle. The question the investigating officers had to decide: would a reasonable person in that circumstance believe he could safely turn?

    Schmautz noted that in some cases, \”speed negates right of way.\” He brought up a rather odd analogy, noting that if one driver is making a left turn, and an oncoming driver traveling 110 mph crashes into him, the left turn driver certainly isn\’t at fault. So I asked how fast Jarolimek was traveling. Schmautz\’s answer: we don\’t know. So much for that analogy, then.

    The investigating officers made their decision \”based on the totality of circumstances\” at the scene, Schmautz said. In this case, the witness statement and length of the skid mark left by the bicycle led police to decide not to issue any citations so far.

    The case is now in the hands of the District Attorney\’s office. If prosecutors find evidence of negligence or recklessness, they could bring criminal charges, but police aren\’t recommending that. If the DA\’s office doesn\’t file charges, the investigating officers could still issue a traffic citation later on.

    While it appears unlikely anything will happen to the truck driver in this case, the deaths of Brett Jarolimek and Tracey Sparling are leading to a broader discussion about cyclist safety and the rather confusing state of Oregon law when it comes to bike lanes.\”

    there is nothing comfusing about the law when it comes to bike lanes, the only confusion is why the police won\’t enforce the law.

    The police\’s excuse seems to be: If a driver is ignorant of the law, he doesn\’t percieve a need to obey it, so it is OK for him to disobey it. WTF???

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    N.I.K. October 24, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Don\’t demand behavior from drivers that you yourself don\’t practice.

    Fair enough.

    Just so happens that I stop at every stop sign and stoplight, signal all turns, don\’t ride against the flow of traffic, have ridiculously bright lights enabled from dusk-onwards, and always utilize the proper lanes. So you\’d better damn well believe I\’m demanding law abiding behavior from motor vehicle operators. Every last one.

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    VK October 24, 2007 at 9:15 am

    I have an idea. Figure out a way to keep bicyclist from riding on the sidewalk and riding across crosswalks. I ride all of the time…on the street. I also drive quite a bit as well. I can\’t tell you how many times I\’ve had near misses with a bicycle using the sidewalk. SideWALK not SideBIKE. CrossWALK not BikeRIDE. Maybe we should start licensing bicyclist like we do automotive drivers.

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    Cøyøye October 24, 2007 at 9:50 am

    An \”Emergency Meeting\” sounds like grandstanding to me. Is this problem an emergency that will yield to urgent changes? No, this is a long standing problem, which will require thoughtful consensus solutions applied over the course of a generation.

    Perhaps it is time to admit that the lowest of the low hanging fruit has been plucked with regard to infrastructure and legislation. Enforcement has always been a dead end, and I cannot foresee any significant changes. I believe the time has come for a large investment community education. We have new laws, we have new infrastructure, we have more new cyclists than ever, we need to begin to educate all road users of these new changes and the consequences of these changes.

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    Lenny Anderson October 24, 2007 at 10:25 am

    On another string I suggested that we cyclists take the lane where speeds allow…downtown, commercial districts, even down hill, but I admit that when I ride to work on Swan Island and get to N. Interstate & Going, I use the sidewalk. Indeed, the Swan Island TMA, which I manage, has raised funds to improve the Going Street sidewalk as a bi-directial bike/ped facility.
    Once on the \”Island\”, unless its a slow time of day, I am on the sidewalk riding slowly and carefully. Just too many trucks and too much speed.
    And this is my recommendation to other cyclists here, so image my frustration when a Swan Island bike commuter who was hit by a motorists pulling onto busy Basin Avenue got, in addition to a broken leg, four citations from the PPB. It appears to be almost automatic to cite bicyclists when crashes occur.
    Sadly, both of the trucks that took cyclists\’ lives are based on Swan Island.
    Yet, more and more Swan Island employees are getting to work by bike, and thereby making lane space for more trucks.
    I keep remembering my little matra from my motorcycle days…\”Trust No Car.\”

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    Winslow October 24, 2007 at 10:42 am

    there are many good ideas posted here; i think (all)road user education and subsequent REAL enforcement (i.e.- financial consequences for EVERY offense that gets noticed) are the two best ones.

    this sounds kind of like a joke, but i think it illustrates my point: why didn\’t the motorist run the stop sign? because it costs $500.

    apparently, it doesn\’t cost anything to run people over around here…

    i agree strongly with this comment, too:

    If Sam Adams is truly committed to cycling safety, he could start by repairing the potholes, elevating the sunken manhole covers,(and requiring they not be in cyclist line of travel), replacing the remaining tire sized open gratings, redesigning the speed bumps and curb extensions, eliminating the reflectors, widening the shoulders, cleaning the streets of sand and gravel after snow storms, etc. that go with basic street design and maintenance.

    the problems listed make the job of riding safely in traffic much harder to focus on. i wonder what percentage of my attention is devoted to avoiding objective road hazards and how much that increases my risk of making a serious error or missing a potentially lethal situation developing?

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    beanpdx October 24, 2007 at 11:23 am

    I really don\’t think that we will get much legislation from the city concerning the safety of some of the bikeways in town. They are much too concerned about more important things, like, for example, changing the name of Interstate Ave to Cesar Chavez Blvd.
    Just think of all the energy they have spent on such a dumb cause when they could have actually SAVED LIVES by addressing transportation issues! Politics!

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    Mick October 24, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Jonathan:

    I appreciate the tightrope that you\’re walking here but have full faith that you will do the right thing. Why? Because you always do. Great thanks as always.

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    jonno October 24, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    VK (#37)-

    Please read the accounts of the crash. There is no indication that the rider was using the sidewalk. He was in the bike lane.

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    Aaron October 24, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    I think that this is seriously ludicrous. A cyclist was speeding? At the TOP of the hill??
    I\’ve talked to several cyclists who have issues with drivers cutting them off, because they are going faster than the 8-10mph that an average cyclist would be assumed to go. Was the cyclist traveling over the speed limit? I sincerely think not. Plus the driver had a history of reckless driving. Yet he\’s been put in command of XXXXX tons of steel. We need to replace the police command.

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    rixtir October 24, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    I really don\’t think that we will get much legislation from the city concerning the safety of some of the bikeways in town. They are much too concerned about more important things, like, for example, changing the name of Interstate Ave to Cesar Chavez Blvd.
    Just think of all the energy they have spent on such a dumb cause when they could have actually SAVED LIVES by addressing transportation issues! Politics!

    Oh really?

    I had the privilege to meet Cesar Chavez; he was very gracious with his time in granting me an interview. He was very soft-spoken and thoughtful, a genuinely kind and loving human being. I also had the privilege of attending his funeral; it still pains me that we lost him at such a young age.

    Politics to name a street after him? I\’d say it\’s politics to post here about the name-change as if it\’s a zero sum game in which we can only have (a) a name change for Interstate, or (b) bike safety.

    Yes, there\’s politics involved, beanpdx, and you\’re neck deep in it.

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    HWyatt October 24, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    As a cyclist, a driver, and a parent of 2 cyclists these right-hook deaths leave me very sad and disturbed. I too, have my feelings about the culpability of vehicles turning right into a bike lane and claiming they didn’t notice the cyclist. But that is not why I am writing.

    But my real concern is what the bike community can do today to help prevent more deaths and accidents.

    As both a cyclist & driver I realize my attention can wander and I might not be as aware of my own safety or the cyclist I past a block back. It seems it is only a matter of a moment of inattention and we have tragic accidents.

    What I have puzzled about is what would refocus me either in a car or on a bike as I come to these dangerous intersections where bike lanes and right-turning vehicles come together?

    It doesn’t seem to me that re-doing the bike lanes is a solution.

    Instead can we do 2 things that are relatively easy and inexpensive to accomplish.

    First: Paint diagonal yellow caution stripe in the bike lanes at intersections to remind cyclists and drivers these are dangerous areas…

    Second: Make a sign (one of those black and gold traffic signs) that shows a car turning right and a hitting a bike. Now place the red slashed circle over it. Put these signs at each corner where bike lanes and right-hand turn lanes come together, on the traffic poles that already exist in these areas. Paint these signs there also, on the ground. I’m sure someone at PNCA could make a graphic version of the right hook danger to look like all our other traffic signs that remind us of pedestrian crossings, railroad tracks etc.

    We cyclists & drivers need to be constantly reminded (and for some educated) of the danger of right hooking. These changes could be easily and quickly carried out to prevent more tragedies.

    I hope we can see changes made now for the safety of all.

    HWyatt

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    Bill Donohue October 24, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    \”LET THEM HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY AND LIVE TO RIDE ANOTHER DAY\”. (Hollywood cycling)

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    anne daly October 24, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Please forward tima nad location of meetingwith Adams. Would like to attend.

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    Paul Tay October 25, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Yeah. And, make sure EVERYBODY brings BIKES.

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  • […] days a week. Jonathon Maus at BikePortland.org has done great work covering the accident and its aftermath: the cyclist was a competitive racer and Bike Gallery employee; apparently, the driver of the truck […]

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    SAM October 28, 2007 at 10:43 am

    First I want to send my thoughts and prayers out to the cyclist families. I am a Cement Mixer driver. I can\’t speak for all drivers but I am always \”ANTICIPATING\” pedestrians and cyclist not stopping at stop signs and making sudden turns and that has helped prevent accidents. I am not writing this to point blame at anyone, I just want to help educate cyclist and pedestrians to \”ANTICIPATE\” also PLEASE.

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  • […] the meantime, Portland City Commisioner Sam Adams has called an emergency meeting to discuss the matter with relevant parties including representatives from the trucking community, […]

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