Splendid Cycles

When failure to yield, isn’t

Posted by on October 24th, 2007 at 10:58 am

One of the major questions the community is grappling with after the deaths of both Tracey Sparling and Brett Jarolimek is; why were the truck drivers not given a citation for failure to yield to a bicycle in a bike lane?

The law (ORS 811.050) seems clear:

“A person commits the offense of failure of a motor vehicle operator to yield to a rider on a bicycle lane if the person is operating a motor vehicle and the person does not yield the right of way to a person operating a bicycle, electric assisted bicycle, moped, motor assisted scooter or motorized wheelchair upon a bicycle lane.”

The cyclists in both recent fatalities were legally in the bike lane at the time of the collisions.

“The cops are misconstruing the law in a biased way…We’ve got a system that is designed to exonerate the car driver.”
–Lawyer Mark Ginsberg

After the Sparling incident I asked Traffic Division Lt. Mark Kruger why no citation was given to the cement truck driver. His response was something to the effect of, “We’ve determined that there was just no way he could have seen her.”

Then, at the scene of the Jarolimek collision, Kruger once again painted a picture of circumstances that led his investigators to believe that the garbage truck driver did everything he could to avoid the collision, and therefore would not be cited. Kruger told me that not only had the truck signaled, slowed, and checked it’s mirror, but that his team believed Jarolimek’s high speed down the hill “could have been a factor.”

Over the past two weeks, I have been wrestling with this in my head. What I still don’t understand is,

    If a person willingly moves their vehicle into the travel lane of another vehicle and a collision occurs, should that person be absolved of all responsibility (even if an attempt was made to make sure no one was there)?

KGW reporter Aaron Weiss was also perplexed by this. Yesterday, on KGW’s “Talk of the town” blog, he wrote that the law, “seemed cut and dry to me, but Portland Police see a more nuanced situation.”

When Weiss asked Portland police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz for clarification, here’s what Schmautz said,

“..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.”

So now, according to an official PPB spokesperson, “perception” plays a role in determining whether or not someone has violated the failure to yield statute.

This was an interesting revelation to me, so I called Portland lawyer Mark Ginsberg this morning to get his input. He did not mince words.

“The cops are miscontruing the law in a biased way. There’s no mental state requirement [also known by its latin name of “mens rea”] for traffic violations. You can accidentally run a red light, or purposely run a red light, either way you are guilty.

What they are saying is that ‘I didn’t see him’ is a good enough defense. It is not.

They [the police] are coming in to these investigations with a confirmation bias and they’re finding facts that back up that bias. We’ve got a system that is designed to exonerate the car driver.”

Ginsberg plans to bring his concerns about enforcement to the emergency meeting being held by Commissioner Adams. He has also requested the presence of someone from the City Attorney’s office, who play a role in interpreting laws for the police.

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  • bibB October 24, 2007 at 11:10 am

    A friend of mine who was recently struck by a vehicle was told by the police that the driver wasn\’t ticketed because he wasn\’t hurt enough. He was taken to the hospital by an ambulance, and has been told by doctors that he may never recover to where he was. Now two people are dead and still no citations.

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  • a.O October 24, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for this piece, Jonathan. Mark Ginsberg is RIGHT! The text of the law is plain, and the police have no authority to graft other requirements onto it, including perception, speed, or anything else. If you don\’t yield right of way, you commit the offense. End of story.

    Now, in light of these public statements, we\’ve got a serious problem in Portland. The police are refusing to enforce laws that protect cyclists. It\’s time for the entire community to come together and DEMAND citations in these cases. The response of the PPB is UNACCEPTABLE and constitutes a total abdication of its responsibility to enforce the law.

    PLEASE write, call, etc. Kruger and Potter. Tell them we demand the police do its job.

    (As an aside, this is one of the major reason I have in the past stated that police discretion is a very bad thing. And why I don\’t trust the PPB.)

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  • vespa October 24, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Agreed (with Mark). The law is cut and dry. Wonder why that defense didn\’t work the past time I got a traffic ticket? It certainly wasn\’t my \”perception\” that I was doing anything wrong. If I was driving on I-5 and merged into someone in the neighboring lane, I\’m pretty sure it wouldn\’t be a valid defense that I didn\’t see him if a cop decided to pull me over.

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  • Elly October 24, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Thank you Mark and Jonathan for bringing such clarity to this point.

    I don\’t think cycling has to be a civil rights issue, but such studied, glaring bias in law enforcement (compare with the extremely nit-picking enforcement of cyclists at recent stop sign stings) is a great way of making it one.

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  • Doug October 24, 2007 at 11:19 am

    I wasn\’t entirely familiar with that part of ORS 811.050, but it makes sense – if bikers didn\’t have some sort of right-of-way entitlement in a bike lane, what would be the purpose of the lane otherwise? We might as well ride with traffic and take up the space of a car if the bike lane offers no protection.

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  • anon October 24, 2007 at 11:26 am

    can a citizen file suit against the police if they feel the laws haven\’t been properly enforced? especially if the results of a refusal to enforce a certain law in one incident gives the public an impression thats it\’s okay to break said law, and then additional collisions occur as a result?

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  • Caroline October 24, 2007 at 11:29 am

    If I were the truck driver in this exact circumstance, I would BEG for the darn citation to be handed to me.

    And then I\’d quit my driving job.

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  • Steve Brown October 24, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Same thing happend to me in West Linn this summer. Even with witnesses and an insurance company ageeing that the driver was at fault, West Linn police did not issue a citation. I was told they usually do not do so in traffic accidents. It was only the second time it had occurred in West Linn and they saw no reason to change policy. They did however state that Lake Oswego Police would have probably issued one. I really want to know how many bike lane violations and failure to yield citations have been issued by Portland Police and the surrounding communities.

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  • Joe October 24, 2007 at 11:38 am

    I never knew the police could be so empathetic and sympathetic when the law is broken. Every time I or my friends get a traffic violation (while driving), there\’s no reasoning with them (the police). Maybe I just needed to kill a bicyclist to get out of the ticket.. Seems like their priorities are a little backward… i mean completely backward…

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  • perhaps October 24, 2007 at 11:38 am

    a civil suit IS in order, but not against the driver. perhaps portland cyclists can file a suit against the POlice for failure to uphold the law and protect the citizens.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 24, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Ginsberg is not the only lawyer who is questioning the enforcement policies of the PPB.

    At last night\’s transportation funding town hall meeting, someone was handing out this flyer…

    (click to enlarge)

    Also, Portland-based lawyer Robert Mionske, who was at the scene of Brett\’s crash and who also writes a national column on bike law for VeloNews Magazine, plans to make this story the subject of his upcoming column…

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  • Me 2 October 24, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Thank Mark Ginsberg. When I read the KGW blog post I had the same reaction to the PPB\’s explanation of perception. I understand there are laws open to interpretation, but this smacks of bias and I\’m glad we have someone like Mark who can speak up on these issues.

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  • Aaron Weiss October 24, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Just to clarify, the \’quote\’ from Sgt. Schmautz above is me paraphrasing Schmautz based on our phone conversation. I wasn\’t recording the call, so I only included a few short direct quotes that I got down on paper at the time.

    I am somewhat taken aback by the hostile tone coming from commenters over on the KGW talk blog — it\’s clear there\’s just as much animosity from drivers angry with cyclists as there is from cyclists angry with drivers.

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    • 9watts October 1, 2015 at 8:46 am

      “it\’s clear there\’s just as much animosity from drivers angry with cyclists as there is from cyclists angry with drivers.”

      Except in one case the animosity is entirely concocted, has nothing to do with danger to life and limb, but rather more to do with latent hostilities arising from a desire—as a group—to remain owners of the public roads.

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  • max adders October 24, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Every time Kruger fails to issue a citation, it spreads the misinformation that the cyclists were at fault. And to many drivers who are already \”fed up\” with the inconvenience of sharing the road (and operating their vehicles in a safe and reasonable manner), the misconception serves to justify this behavior.

    The last thing we need are more drivers believing bikes lanes are not \”real\” lanes. I\’ve read a lot of depressingly vile and ignorant comments over the last two days about how the victims are at fault for \”passing on the right\” or \”not being seen\”. Who holds the weapon? And what about responsibility that comes with using it?

    That we\’ve had two experienced cyclists killed recently while riding legally, properly attired and presumably aware of their surroundings speaks volumes about what needs to change: drivers.

    Citations are certainly not the civil (or criminal) end to these unfortunate interactions. But they\’ll do plenty to spread word that YES, the driver was indeed in error.

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    • 9watts October 1, 2015 at 8:47 am

      That is my concern as well.

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  • Mick October 24, 2007 at 11:42 am

    I am so glad that this issue has gotten some legs. I couldn\’t believe the excuses that Kruger made in the Sparling case. It\’s been obvious to me for quite some time that the PPD does NOT enforce bike lane law.

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  • tonyt October 24, 2007 at 11:44 am

    I am so angry right now I can barely even contain myself.

    So am I to understand that as a driver, I now have carte blanche to kill pedestrians and cyclists at will, as long as I \”couldn\’t have seen them?\”

    \”Seeing\” doesn\’t happen. It\’s an act. It\’s a responsibility that should be enforced by our law enforcement agency.

    But now I see that Kruger is part of the executive, legislative, AND judicial branch???

    He\’s freakin\’ Dick Cheney!

    I think that the message is fairly clear. As a biker, I am on my own. The law is not there to protect me, only to punish me.

    Is this the sort of relationship we want a large, and growing, segment of the population ot have with the law? How can we argue against calls for vigilante justice?

    To those non-bikers lurking out there. Do you still wonder why bikers are so angry? Is this something even resembling justice?

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  • rixtir October 24, 2007 at 11:47 am

    “..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.”

    So if you fail to keep a proper lookout, you can violate right of way, because you didn\’t \”perceive\” that you were doing so.

    And if you misjudge the approaching vehicle\’s speed and/or distance, you can violate right of way, because you didn\’t \”perceive\” that you sere doing so.

    Uh huh.

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  • Cøyøte October 24, 2007 at 11:49 am

    I believe that DA\’s office has the ultimate jurisdiction here, and the DA should step up.

    In Lane Co. the DA investigates all traffic fatalities. The road is closed, nothing moves, and nobody leaves until someone from the DA\’s office is on the scene to lead the investigation.

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  • Dave J. October 24, 2007 at 11:51 am

    \”Kruger told me that not only had the truck signaled, slowed, and checked it’s mirror,\”

    \”checked its mirror,\” what a joke of a statement. I can\’t tell you how many times I\’ve \”checked my mirror\” (as a driver) and then found, upon RE-checking my mirror, that a bike, pedestrian, other car, etc., had suddenly appeared. If they are relying upon the (25 times previously cited) truck driver\’s word on this, they are bigger idiots than I thought.

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  • jonno October 24, 2007 at 11:52 am

    Isn\’t there a requirement that bicyclists have to ride as far to the right as is \”safe and practical\”? Well, is it safe if the bike lane puts you at significant (and completely foreseeable) risk of a right hook? Sounds pretty unsafe to me.

    By that logic all bike lanes are unsafe, and we should do what Doug (#5) suggests — take the lane, all the time. Anything less sounds suspiciously like a suicide pact with car traffic.

    Not that I think that\’s a solution, but it\’s where logic leads. Something\’s got to change. PPB enforcing the law would be a good start.

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  • Qwendolyn October 24, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Leave a comment with the mayor.


    I just did.

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  • Mike Lilienthal October 24, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    first of all, im glad some people are actually using these cycling deaths to expand cyclist\’s rights, or at least the enforcement of them. i believe the drivers should be cited, as they did not yield right of way. it doesnt matter if they couldnt see the cyclist or not. are cyclists supposed to take the right of way in the bike lanes unless a truck, without mirrors designed to see objects smaller than a honda, crosses their path.
    i am surprised no one has brought this up. its the companys responsibility to equip their vehicles with safety equipment that will allow their drivers to obey the law (and not kill people).
    maybe the companies with class b drivers should be penalized more often or higher penalties due their increased death potential?

    bike lanes are only as safe as their most dangerous points..

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  • Bjorn October 24, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Does anyone have a printable soft copy of the flyer shown above? (#11) I\’d like to print some out but couldn\’t find an email for the attorney to ask for one.


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  • jason October 24, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    The stupidest thing is that a minor traffic citation isn\’t even a slap on the wrist for negligence that leads to someone\’s death, it\’s more like a pat. And the PPD is worried about \”unfairly\” citing drivers? That sounds absolutely ludicrous. Then you can get away with anything in Portland. As long as you think a light is green or you\’re going the speed limit or you\’re not drunk then you\’re just fine.

    Here\’s a shot I took of the memorial to Brett yesterday afternoon. I didn\’t know him, but am deeply saddened by his loss and of all the others lost to careless drivers.

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  • tonyt October 24, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    CALL the mayor\’s office. Phones ringing off the hook will make more of an impact than emails piling up in an inbox.


    As Mayor, he is the Police Commissioner.

    Please be very polite to the woman answering the phone.

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  • rixtir October 24, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Now I\’m curious. A number of cyclists were ticketed last year for equipment violations. They have steadfastly maintained that their fixed-gear bikes DO have brakes. In other words, they \”perceived\” that their bikes had brakes, and were in compliance with the law.

    By Kruger\’s own standards for issuing citations, weren\’t those citations improperly issued?

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  • Jessy October 24, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    I like the very top of the flier.

    Ignorance is the real enemy.

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  • toddistic October 24, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    If the law wont protect me, I will protect myself. This includes disregard for traffic control devices, taking the lane, etc. since I can\’t trust the PPD to protect my rights if I am ever in a situation that warrents an investigation. Server and protect, what a farce!

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  • BURR October 24, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Sgt. Brian Schmautz…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.\”

    When is being ignorant of the law an excuse when you break it? NEVER!

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  • brian October 24, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    I\’m disgusted with traffic enforcement in this state.

    What Ginsberg Said \”We’ve got a system that is designed to exonerate the car driver.” Is spot on.

    What bibB Said – \”A friend of mine who was recently struck by a vehicle was told by the police that the driver wasn\’t ticketed because he wasn\’t hurt enough.\” is preposterous

    What I\’ve seen – In the last month in my commute to work I\’ve witnessed only one traffic stop, it was to a cyclist without a light. And yet I see MANY traffic violations every mile.

    Nobody cares about the 50000 who die on American roads. Most people just try to insulate themselves with a big vehicle and hope fo the best. It is the American way. It is stupid and it sucks and it will change someday. I hope I can help it to change. And I hope I will see it change (but I doubt I\’ll see it).

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  • Matt October 24, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    If the police\’s line of argument is that they will refuse to issue a failure to yield ticket to a motorist because the motorist claims they did not SEE a bicyclist….

    …then logic would dictate the police should also be refusing to issue tickets to bicyclists at stop signs, if all the bicyclist had to say was that he or she claims THEY did not see the stop sign.


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  • rixtir October 24, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    If the law wont protect me, I will protect myself. This includes disregard for traffic control devices, taking the lane, etc. since I can\’t trust the PPD to protect my rights if I am ever in a situation that warrents an investigation.

    That\’s a good way to guarantee that an attorney can\’t protect your rights too.

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  • BURR October 24, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    @ #11 The Mayor\’s contact information should also be on that flyer, he\’s the Police Commissioner.

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  • Aaron Weiss October 24, 2007 at 12:15 pm


    It was Sgt. Schmautz who used the word \’perceive\’, not Lt. Krueger, but Schmautz was clear that he was referring to enforcing right-of-way laws, so the fixie equipment issue doesn\’t really apply.

    To paraphrase our conversation a different way: If a reasonable driver would perceive it\’s safe to turn, Portland Police say it\’s not a violation.

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  • Tristan October 24, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Although I believe both truck drivers should be cited, Kruger\’s decision highlight\’s the insanity of our urban street systems; trucks and bikes are simply not compatable on today\’s urban streets.

    I\’m not the first to mention on this website that it is a rotten idea to have giant trucks and bikes next to each other on noisy, busy, wet, narrow streets. There is no way a truck driver (or any driver) can constantly keep track of everything going on around him in this environment.

    I\’m afraid that until city planners make drastic changes to the urban landscape (i.e. separated bike lanes and alternatives to truck transport), these motorist-bike conflicts will continue to occur.

    Let\’s tell the powers that be to GET er\’ DONE!

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  • J October 24, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    You know, if a police officer was the one on the bike that was hit, this would be a whole different story……

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  • rixtir October 24, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    It was Sgt. Schmautz who used the word \’perceive\’, not Lt. Krueger, but Schmautz was clear that he was referring to enforcing right-of-way laws, so the fixie equipment issue doesn\’t really apply.

    So the PPB is cherry-picking which laws they will enforce?

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  • tonyt October 24, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Aaron #34,

    with at least 25 citations, I think it is reasonable to say that the garbage truck driver was NOT a reasonable driver.

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  • Jasun Wurster October 24, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Make police reform an issue for Sam Adam\’s campaign.

    Another route to create change is to make sure that the police reform is part of the dialog in the upcoming Mayoral elections.

    I am very impressed with Sam\’s actions on transportation. However, I have not heard much on how he will direct the PPB when he is Mayor. The upcoming campaign is the time for citizens to set the agenda of elected politicians by getting them to comment publicly how they will enact change. The bicycle community is a very active part of the voting public and it is our duty to ask hard questions and demand commitment when we communicate with those who seek to be our elected officials.

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  • Matthew October 24, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Let me get this straight, the only way someone would be guilty of committing that offense is if they deliberately crash into a bicycle in a bike lane? Seems like in situations like that, that you should be charged with assault, or murder, or something like that…

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  • Freaked out Motorist October 24, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Let me first start by saying that I am one of those motorists that are extremely conscientious and careful and I look in every direction for cyclists, pedestrians, squirrels, birds, etc. I don\’t ever want to be responsible for the taking or hurting of someone\’s life. I have had enough friends and family members die in tragic circumstances that I realize how great the effects are.

    I believe that there are many good drivers and many bad drivers. I believe there are many good cyclists and many bad cyclists. I believe there are many good pedestrians and many bad pedestrians. I believe that each and everyone of us need to stop the wars and work together to have safe streets for everyone.

    With that said, the thing that freaks me out the most is the possibility of a right hook. I pay attention when I pass a cyclist and I look for them when making a turn. I check my mirrors and I look over my shoulder, left or right. I sincerely feel like I do everything in my power to transport myself safely and in safe consideration of all users of the road.

    I also know that there are times when visibility is terrible. There are places where the road curves prior to where I want to make a right turn. In that instance, I can only see a certain distance back, and if a larger vehicle is behind me it further impedes my ability to see what is coming up behind me on my right side. I am terrified that I will start to make the turn and a fast cyclist will come up behind me and run into my car. Even if it wouldn\’t be my fault, I still don\’t want anyone to get hurt! I am also worried about a right hook at night time – Many cyclists do not have lights on their bicycles and don\’t wear reflective clothing. That makes it incredibly hard – even impossible to tell if someone is coming up on my right at night. I am in touch with a cyclist from this board who I am going to send some sketches to to ask him specific questions about areas that have questionable circumstances, and I really appreciate his help.

    But in general, I am beginning to wonder if the current right of way law really makes sense. I know that I will get flamed for this, but please understand that I do not mean it offensively, or as an attack, I\’m simply wondering if makes sense for something that is behind something else to have the right of way. It is obviously easier to see what is going on in front of you than what is behind you.

    Personally, I would like to see lights, pretty much everywhere. If cars have their own lights, and pedestrians have their own lights, why shouldn\’t bicyclists? Because it\’s expensive and impractical? No! Death is expensive and impractical.

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  • nick October 24, 2007 at 12:36 pm


    if i am not \”injured enough,\” no citation.

    if i die, no citation (i must have done something to deserve it).

    hmm. not much room left there. this is frustrating.

    it appears the only way to stay relatively safe would be to take surface streets where automobile traffic (usually, hopefully!) stays at or below 20mph, and stay away from major roads. a major road being anything big enough to have a bike lane painted on it.

    another solution might be to carry a stick for the purpose of tapping cars in a helpful manner to bring your existence and location to the attention of the driver.

    then i could say \”i don\’t know how he could have missed me, i tapped on his windshield to make sure he knew i was there, and he gave me the finger.\” /sarcasm

    what is a bike lane, if not a place where bikes take precedence?

    i will be emailing the da, sam adams, et al.

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  • nick October 24, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    speaking of lights(41), i am going to get one of those dynamo things with a 10-watt bulb or some such.

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  • rixtir October 24, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Let me get this straight, the only way someone would be guilty of committing that offense is if they deliberately crash into a bicycle in a bike lane? Seems like in situations like that, that you should be charged with assault, or murder, or something like that…

    Kruger is tacking a \”reckless\” standard that doesn\’t exist on to the statute.

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  • BURR October 24, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    @41 bicyclists are required by law to have lights in low light conditions, but bicycle manufacturers have successfully lobbied the Consumer Product Safety Commission to NOT require lights on all new bike sold, because their products \’are not meant to be used at night\’. What a bunch of BS! Can you imagine if you had to buy aftermarket lights for your car or truck before it was safe to drive at night?

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  • Aaron Weiss October 24, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    tonyt said: with at least 25 citations, I think it is reasonable to say that the garbage truck driver was NOT a reasonable driver.

    You\’ll get no argument from me there. It comes down to what police think is expected of a \”reasonable driver\” in any given circumstance.

    rixtir said: So the PPB is cherry-picking which laws they will enforce?

    If not cherry-picking which laws, they are certainly making decisions about how to enforce and interpret the failure to yield law.

    One might argue that\’s the department\’s job. On the other hand, one might argue that it\’s the job of the police chief, commissioner, and city attorney to provide officers with direction for interpreting and enforcing those laws.

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  • toddistic October 24, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Maybe we should just mount air horns on the front of our bikes.

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  • Steve October 24, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Sam Adams\’ first duty as mayor (and thus police commisioner) should be to rid the dept of Kruger and reinforce in the PPB that cyclists do indeed have rights.

    Sam for Mayor !!

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  • Freaked out Motorist October 24, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    @45 –

    I agree that that is complete BS!

    On the motorist side of that – if mirrors exist that can eliminate blind spots, I think all cars should be required to be manufactured with them..

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  • Jim October 24, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    The problem as others have indicated is that the official police statements(Kruger\’s in particular) contribute to intolerance.

    Call the Mayor\’s office and protest.

    And what about other ways to make motorists pay attention? Has critical mass died in this town?

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  • rixtir October 24, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    rixtir said: So the PPB is cherry-picking which laws they will enforce?

    If not cherry-picking which laws, they are certainly making decisions about how to enforce and interpret the failure to yield law. requirement on to the failure to yield law, and choosing not to tack that requirement on to the bicycle equipment law.

    By the way, I don\’t have a stake in the brakeless fixie cases, so this isn\’t about getting ticketed for riding brakeless fixies. It\’s about the police using double standards in the enforcement of laws.

    One might argue that\’s the department\’s job. On the other hand, one might argue that it\’s the job of the police chief, commissioner, and city attorney to provide officers with direction for interpreting and enforcing those laws.

    Yes, it\’s the job of our elected officials to provide direction and to oversee our unelected officials.

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  • rixtir October 24, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    I made an error in #50 above, here\’s what it was supposed to say:

    rixtir said: So the PPB is cherry-picking which laws they will enforce?

    If not cherry-picking which laws, they are certainly making decisions about how to enforce and interpret the failure to yield law.

    Right. They are choosing to tack a non-existent mens rea requirement on to the failure to yield law, and choosing not to tack that requirement on to the bicycle equipment law.

    By the way, I don\’t have a stake in the brakeless fixie cases, so this isn\’t about getting ticketed for riding brakeless fixies. It\’s about the police using double standards in the enforcement of laws.

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  • Jonathan Long October 24, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    rixtir #26 and #37,

    Yes they are cherry-picking which laws they will and will not enforce.
    Mark Ginsberg I am sure is aware of all the laws regarding cyclists that the PPB has gotten wrong in the past couple of years.
    Remember those bike stings? How many of those tickets that were handed out were for things that the PPB thought were illegal but weren\’t at all? Like staying in the bike lane, and the all too famous wording of the \’Brake Law\’, and now this yeild stuff that is worded clear as day but these guys can\’t seem to figure it all out.

    Help us Mark G, Scott B, Jonathan M, and let us know what else we can do to get this changed.

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  • Blue October 24, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    The problem is….if you start to strickly enforce all rules as written where do you wind up…where does the experience of a valuable police officer wind up…and when you start to stickly enforce all laws then they might decide to start to enforce all those laws the cyclist breaks on the odd moment of any day…having a bike lane is not given as a an act of god…it is an act that is granted by well meaning politicians and our citizens….a new tradition that I would like to continue…I think the word to examine in all of this is \”yield\”

    so maybe Mark Ginsburg should put his law book away and bring to the table a compromise that the whole community can live with…and maybe keeping the next person from being hurt.

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  • Joe October 24, 2007 at 1:13 pm
  • Curt Dewees October 24, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    So, basically if a motorist tells the police, \”I didn\’t perceive anyone in the bike lane\” then the police conclude that no law was broken?? This is absolutely outrageous and unnacceptable.

    Here in Portland, we seem to have a real problem with police officers who are biased against bicylists, and it\’s really starting to show. It\’s embarrassing to us as citizens, and it\’s also very dangerous.

    Our City Leaders need to wake up and get back in control of these rogue cops who feel they have the power to rewrite the laws and need only enforce the laws that they feel like enforcing.

    Who is really in charge of this city? The Portland Police or the City Council? I would really like to see some leadership on this problem of bad apples in the Portland Police dept.

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  • Kronda October 24, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    This is a copy of the hastily written letter I just submitted to the Mayor:

    I\’m concerned that the drivers in the recent deaths of Tracy Sparling and Brett Jarolimek have not been cited for moving violations of ANY kind.

    Clearly they are AT LEAST guilty of violating ORS ORS 811.050, failure to yield to a bicycle in a bike lane.

    However, these drivers have not even been issues citations, despite the fact that their failure to follow the law resulted in the deaths of two cyclist who were riding legally in a bike lane. A lane that is supposedly protected by the failure to yield statute.

    The police rational for not issuing the citations seems to be the claims of both drivers that \”Oops, I didn\’t see them.\” Whether that is true or not, the text of the law is clear and nowhere is there any mention of \”perception of the driver.\” By that logic, couldn\’t we all just go out and run red lights and stop signs, claiming that we didn\’t see them?

    But more alarming than the faulty logic and clear bias going on here is the fact that cyclist lives don\’t seem to be worth anything to the Portland Police Bureau who are supposedly there to serve and protect *everyone,* not just people in cars.

    People make mistakes, however when those mistakes KILL people and there are NO consequences (I hear the driver who killed Brett is back on the job with not even a suspension from work!), then that sends a message about the value of human life. In this case, it seems that the PPB are content to write Tracey and Brett off as unlucky saps who should have been more careful.

    PLEASE make sure that the police do their job and enforce the law without the obvious bias against cyclist that is currently in effect.

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  • Moo October 24, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    So why do we even have bike lanes if they don\’t mean anything? There seems to be no punishment for drivers impeding in these \”safety zones\” lately.

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  • Steve L October 24, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Is Lt. Kruger\’s first name Freddie?

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  • john October 24, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    # 41 is right on.

    I really think that making drivers (or even cyclists for that mattter) have to watch out for things behind them on the right is too much to ask. It\’ so damned dangerous. I hate passing on the right, IT\’ just NOT NATURAL, responsibility for MY LIFE now switches to the driver AND I AM not in his field of view! This is crazy. This is nuts. Think about it! But the freaking bike lane forces me to do this. I don\’t like it.

    I mean come on people really logically think this through. If I were directly in the drivers field of vision then I have no problem, i know the driver is going to see me and not hit me. When driving or riding or piloting, the number one rule is to watch where you are going and be responsible for that, not watch where you were!

    We need to change the way the right turning and bicycle lane interact. Wide shoulders without being a \”bike lane\” would be much safer. Having Cars move over into the bike lane to turn is much safer too. We need to do away with laws that give cyclists a false sense of safety.

    We need to do away with laws that BAIT cyclists into dangerous situations. Please simplify, LESS Law = Better.

    The right most lane, needs to be a lane where one can drive or ride without needing to worrying about things passing you on the right. same of course applies to the far left lane, if I were doing a left turn I would hope to God no-one tries to pass me on the left!

    We need to get back to basic common sense traffic laws. ASAP. Please Stop putting lives in danger.

    sincerely, john schmidt,

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  • P Finn October 24, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Does anyone know any details on a vigil/memorial ride being planned?

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  • When does... October 24, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    …a cyclist have to yield? To a car making a turn?

    If a driver is signaling well in advance and has checked to see that the bike lane is clear, then make the turn and a cyclist riding 30 mph hits the car who is at fault?

    The bike lane right of way law is just not a good law as written. You can\’t have lanes that allow a turn to cross over a through lane.

    A driver can perform all the due diligence in the world, checking mirrors, using their signal and checking their blind spot, and still they are required to yield for a cyclist doing 30 mph in a bike lane coming around a corner who became visible in the time between when they checked the bike lane and they turned their attention to the front of the vehicle to make the turn.

    Where is the responsibility of the cyclist to yield to the vehicle.

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  • Renee October 24, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    I have always been told that the police are there to enforce the law and the judge is there to determine guilt. Now the police are playing judge are they not violating thier charter?

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  • Moo October 24, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Might as well plan your own if you\’re a bike commuter ):

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  • Paul Tay October 24, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Yep. Bicyclists are ***deleted by moderator*** of the American roadway, in Portland, OR or Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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  • annefi October 24, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Jeff Mapes\’ article in the Sunday Oregonian (October 21) described a middle-aged Dutch couple he saw in Amsterdam stopping their car and both the driver and the passenger carefully \”craning their necks\” to see whether there were cyclists coming along the cycling lane they were about to turn across. They saw, they waited patiently, and then they went on their way only when they were sure the lane was clear. Sounds like Portland drivers, right? What a difference from the lack of responsibility the PPB expects from motorists. And what an irony that Portland, with its international reknown as a bike city, is hampered by the archaic attitudes of the police in effect encouraging motorists to disregard the safey of cyclists. Sam\’s emergency meeting can\’t happen soon enough!

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  • Jessica Roberts October 24, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Kronda, that\’s a great letter. Maybe you could consider submitting it to the Oregonian too? (letters@news.oregonian.com)

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  • Jenny October 24, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Again – tragic, but the \”car bias\” paranoia is really overblown. More safety for bikes is obviously needed – but not because drivers or cops don\’t want it or don\’t care!

    Think of a similar situation with cars only and see if it still seems biased.

    Your car approaches an unmarked intersection, no stoplights or signs. All vehicles must simply go when it appears clear.

    You approach, see no other cars and proceed through, just as another car comes down that street fast, tries to stop – but can\’t and T-bones you.

    Technically they had right of way – they had no stop sign. But you were already in the intersection, because you too had right of way – the appearance of a clear intersection.

    Who\’s at fault in that crash? The car who crossed thinking the intersection was clear or the car who didn\’t think they might need to stop because they didn\’t have a sign?

    My guess is IF a citation is issued it would be to the car who couldn\’t stop in time.

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  • Thom October 24, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    This concept of \”I didn\’t see him/her\” was discussed a while back:


    Has the PPD actually exonerated these drivers yet? If not, I\’d send everyone back over to Popo\’s comments a while back about jeopardizing a bigger prosecution by issuing a smaller citation:


    Sadly, I hate to admit it, but there are elements of #41 and #57 of this thread I really agree with. Bike lanes put us in a bad spot when we have to count on drivers to yield to us via his/her mirrors. Tiny, rain-covered, fogged up mirrors with tons of glare from the car headlights to the rear.

    Kinda makes you think it\’d be less dangerous to just take the lane, huh?

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  • snapper October 24, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    That flyer posted earlier by Johnathan pointed out some great thoughts.

    I think now is a really really great time to get in touch with city commisioners, the mayor and others involved. Let them see how many of us are concerned about bicycle rights!
    I used to think that writing these kind of letters didn\’t matter but have learned through time that they really do.

    Take the time you would normally use to post in this discussion forum and transfer your thoughts to an email. (I just did)

    Sam Adams: sam@ci.portland.or.us
    Randy Leonard: rleonard@ci.portland.or.us
    Erik Sten: erik@ci.portland.or.us
    Dan Saltzman: dan@ci.portland.or.us

    Portland Office of Transportation bike coordinator: Roger Geller

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  • tonyt October 24, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Jenny #63,

    Actually both cars do not have right-of-way. Regardless of who entered the intersection first, the traffic to the right has the right-of-way. That\’s the default.

    How many out there knew that?

    Did you know that pedestrians have the right-of-way at all public intersections? All public intersections are considered crosswalks, whether or not there are lines on the road.

    I suppose one small thing that we can all do is to take the time to educate ourselves as to traffic law. Not that the law will protect us as we\’ve seen all to clearly here. But perhaps we can just know more, think more, slow down, do the right thing, and help each other out.

    On a daily basis, we can remind each other through our actions that it is public space out there. Lead by example.

    We still do have THAT.

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  • Ron F. October 24, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Personally I take the lane when I feel unsafe.

    What I am not clear on is if I am legally allowed to do so, if I signal and merge appropriately, and at least for short periods of time and in such a way that I don\’t unfairly obstruct traffic?

    Can anyone comment on the legalities of that?


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  • phred October 24, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    I have a video camera, and could take a midweek day off of work, which intersections should i stand at and film to show repeated violations?

    39th and clinton?

    Interstate and Greeley?

    where else?

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  • Me 2 October 24, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    To Aaron Weiss,

    Aaron I would like to thank you for your blog post and participating in the discussions here.

    When incidents with cyclists have been reported in the media this past year, a common frustration is that the media is taking the word of the police at face value. There have been countless times when the police line has been given a free pass without any question from the press.

    It means a lot to me that you, as a reporter, asked this very basic question to the PPB, when none of your peers did. Keep up the good work.

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  • rixtir October 24, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Ron, you can take the lane IF you\’re traveling at the same speed as other traffic, and IF there is no adjacent bike lane.

    If there is an adjacent bike lane, you are required to use it.

    If there is no adjacent bike lane, you must ride as close to the right as \”practicable,\” unless you are riding within one of the exceptions allowed by the statute, or unless you are riding at the same speed as other traffic.

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  • Tim October 24, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Ginsberg is correct, but not for the reasons he states.

    Anyone who read my comments on related posts might recall that I was pointing out a logical fallacy: you can\’t yield right of way if there\’s no one to yield to.

    Unfortunately, I was phrasing it as follows: you can\’t yield right of way if you can\’t see that there\’s no one to yield to.

    So, I was wrong. According to the text of the law, I was wrong, just like Ginsberg says. He mentions mens rea, which can include the mental state of \”knowingly.\” The text of the law doesn\’t consider this, and citations should have been issued.

    I\’d argue that the law should be changed in order to incorporate a mens rea, whether it\’s \”knowingly\” or \”recklessly\” or whatever is suitable, because what happens is that the public conflates the issuance of a citation with establishment of guilt for whatever injury occurred as a result of the infraction.

    But what\’s completely erroneous in this assumption is that homicide law always incorporates a mens rea element. It is, in fact, what separates murder from manslaughter, in some cases.

    I don\’t want to presuppose the logic of the PPB in not issuing a citation in order to prevent branding the driver as guilty of directly and carelessly causing the death of a cyclist, but seeing so many accusatory remarks in the posts reporting the terrible news, I can\’t help but think that might be MY logic if faced with the same decision.

    So Ginsberg is right: \”I didn\’t see him\” is NOT a valid defense to a citation for failing to yield. However, it can be completely exculpatory if offered in defense to a charge of homicide. This distinction, I fear, is lost among a lot of the responses here, but it is a crucial one, and may offer a bit of insight — especially to Ginsberg\’s follow-up comment:

    They [the police] are coming in to these investigations with a confirmation bias and they’re finding facts that back up that bias. We’ve got a system that is designed to exonerate the car driver.

    I don\’t believe this is true at all, because it doesn\’t follow from the factual situation — and it suggests that the distinction I mentioned above is lost on Ginsberg as well. Issuance of a citation for a traffic violation does not automatically establish guilt for any results related to the violation. All it does, at least in this case, is establish a very simple fact: the driver drove in a bike lane and didn\’t yield to someone who was there. As Mr. Ginsberg himself indicated, this analysis has NOTHING to do with whether the driver saw, or didn\’t see, or made any effort to see, the cyclist.

    Let\’s not go too far to burn these people at the stake based on a traffic ticket.

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  • Paul Tay October 24, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    I totally DISAGREE with the last post accounting of Bricker defending bike lanes and bike \”boxes.\”

    All the punitive laws, all the bike lanes, and all the bike boxes you guys can come up with will NOT negate the simple fact that the legal system is BIASED in favor of the motorist.

    What is the Oregon definition of MANSLAUGHTER? I bet an unbiased attorney did an IRAC analysis of this collision, there would be cause of action AGAINST the motorist.

    Until the legal system QUITS treating bicylists as second class users, ***deleted by moderated***, of the roadway, Portland is NO different than Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Portland bicyclists need to quit depending on the legal system to protect them, move out into the MIDDLE of the lane, in front of the motor vehicle, away from the bike lane, and make \’em SEE you.

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  • Paul Tay October 24, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Hey, Kruger, I bet if a bike cop got nailed the same way, you guys would be all over it.

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  • unotache October 24, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    I’m speculating here, but if you look at the picture in the previous post by Bob Mionske of the back of the AGG truck, you\’ll notice the yellow warning sign that says “WIDE RIGHT TURNS” and, I understand that the right turn in this case is more than 90 deg.

    How likely is it that the driver “swung left” before making this turn?

    I know as a cyclist and motorist I’ve been caught off-guard as a large truck moves left, and then ultimately makes a right turn in front of me.

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  • Dave J. October 24, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    \”I have a video camera, and could take a midweek day off of work, which intersections should i stand at and film to show repeated violations?\”

    I see a ton at NE 15th and Broadway. Bike lane right there with a ton of cars turning right onto NE 15th from Broadway. I\’ve nearly been right hooked there several times, and know tons of people who have. It\’s a tricky spot, lots of pedestrian traffic, and autos definitely need to be cautious, but a ton of people just blow around that corner w/o checking.

    If you took one of the tables at Peet\’s Coffee right on that corner and filmed cyclists heading west on Broadway, I bet you\’d film a number of right hooks.

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  • BURR October 24, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    phred #73:

    Eastbound NW Everett at NW 16th

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  • Todd Boulanger October 24, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Is there an electronic witness to these crashes? (I have not heard anyone in the press or at PPB answer this question when I asked it last week on this site.)

    Did either commercial truck have a functioning and intact \’black box\’ that could provide important information on speed, braking, effective and safe signal use (signalling at least 100 feet before slowing and turning per OR law), or problematic driving characteristics immediately prior to each collision?

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  • J October 24, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    These horrible accidents make me extremely grateful to all the large-vehicle drivers who use extra care. Here\’s a big \”thank you\” to the Franz Bakery drivers by Benson HS who have made it clear they see me, even on an otherwise deserted street in the wee hours.

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  • N.I.K. October 24, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Seconded, J. I\’ve been giving twice as hard an appreciative nod at the truck drivers on the lookout lately. My old man\’s been driving a big rig for nigh-on 35 years, and he\’s always been quick to draw the line between the drivers of huge, heavy vehicles who pay attention and drive safely and those who are careless. It\’s always been at the back of my mind for every delivery driver, every construction driver, and so on who has alerted that, yes, he/she can see me and is perfectly fine with me taking my place on the road. But it\’s jumping out a lot more these days.

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  • Kronda October 24, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Paul (#65, 77),
    Why don\’t you find another way to make your point? Your repeated use of the N-word isn\’t helping the situation, it\’s just making me think less and less of your opinions.

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  • Ross Williams October 24, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    If there is no adjacent bike lane, you must ride as close to the right as \”practicable,\” unless you are riding within one of the exceptions allowed by the statute, or unless you are riding at the same speed as other traffic.

    I don\’t believe that is entirely correct. If it is not safe for someone to pass you in the traffic lane, you can take the lane.

    One solution would be for the motor vehicle to take the bike lane to turn and the bike to take the remainder of the lane on the vehicle\’s left as the bike lane. If properly marked the traffic behind the turning car would have to yield to bicycles going around the right turning vehicle.

    Frankly, the blame game is old. The question is how to make it safer for cyclists.

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  • Metal Cowboy October 24, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    We can\’t let Tracy and Brett\’s deaths be blips on the vent and sympathize radar of life in the big city. It needs to be more than a chance for public officials ( ven the most enlightened ones) to get some press time, a community to shudder, grieve, then back to business as usual. The cycling community has a window of opportunity to push for some substantial changes. It\’s a small window but we can make it stay open longer.

    Step 1 Call AND email everyone on the above posted flyer. And every elected official you can think of to voice concern and provide solutions for:
    A) Traffic laws not being enforced/ Drivers not being sited for traffic violations.
    B) A Comprehensive Bike plan that is underfunded and does not give serious consideration or funding potential to bike only roads/corridors in addition to safe bike lanes, signals etc.
    C) Funding for bike safety programs, Driver/biker awareness and education programs, funds for bike boxes,
    D) mirrors on vehicles to eliminate blind spots
    E) Officer training to eliminate bias against cyclists/favortism toward drivers
    F) A Bike Czar Position such as the new one in Boston – that would be part of the mayor\’s office or at that equivalent level.

    Step 2 Keep calling and emailing and staging protests ( civl and nonviolent) and keep pressure up until change takes place. That means writing and calling and being a wave of change for as long as it takes. weeks, , months – so that the electedd officials don\’t get 200 calls this week then 10 next week, then zero next month. This could be a line in the sand opportunity.

    Step 3 Ride Your Bike – ride it through the rain and winter and cold – and get everyone you know out there by showing them some major bike fun and benefits. These two deaths and the other four this year scare people who were considering a lifestyle shift, but we have to show numbers or will only get worse not better. We must embolden the cycling community to be seen, be heard and be out there. Take the lane if it\’s unsafe in the bike lane, form your own bike box at the front of dangerous intersections ( I have been for years) do not think that a change in our laws to a California style of trucks in bike lanes helps. In my experience, after riding all over the world, bike lanes should be for bikes only.

    Step 4

    Try hard to model good cycling behavior out there – even though the roads are built for cars, we should stop, we should signal etc.

    The thing about these windows of opportunity is that they too often act as a T valve for a community to feel better/release anger and falsely believe that something meaningful will come of it.

    The public has a short attention span and right now they are aware that there is a problem. We can\’t let the menory of what the problems are fade before the problems find some remedies.

    Only a sustained effort by all of us, meaning calls and emails and attendence in numbers at meetings and protest rides and education and getting others to ride – not give up riding… all this and keeping the fire hot under elected official\’s seats might give some meaning to these tragic deaths.
    Joe Kurmaskie

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  • a.O October 24, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Great comment, Joe Kurmaskie. Right on.

    \”But what\’s completely erroneous in this assumption is that homicide law always incorporates a mens rea element. It is, in fact, what separates murder from manslaughter, in some cases.\”

    This is simply wrong, Tim. I hope you aren\’t licensed to practice law, or at least aren\’t involved in any criminal cases. Criminal charges always have a mens rea requirement. With common law involuntary homicide, for example, the mens rea is criminal or gross negligence.

    \”Issuance of a citation for a traffic violation does not automatically establish guilt for any results related to the violation.\”

    That\’s right. For a charge related to the driver\’s behavior, such as manslaughter, the State would have to prove a mens rea. There is no such requirement for a traffic citation, which is not a criminal charge.

    You may think the public confuses this distinction, but it\’s important that the public recognize that such behavior does violate a traffic law *and* that, if they violate it, they will receive a fine. That\’s the job of the police department. It\’s time for them to do it.

    Then we can see if the prosecutor wants to bring criminal charges (unlikely here) or if the family wants to bring a civil wrongful death suit (I sure as hell hope so).

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  • Caoimhin October 24, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks for posting the flyer handed out last night. The DA needs to intervene, and if not him, then the state attorney general. If the bike lane right of way law won\’t be enforced, then I suggest that we cyclists take over (a) the sidewalks; and/or (b) entire car lanes.
    How about a Critical Mass Ride once a week? I\’ve never been in one, but I\’m fed up with the lack of law enforcement. These are our streets, too!

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  • 180mm DaN October 24, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Freaked Motorist #41 has a point worth considering about crossing a through lane.

    Instead of the \”Cali Law\”(cars may take bike lane for turning) what if:

    The bike lane simply ends 20ft.(one car/truck length or whatever seems appropriate) before the intersection? (and then would continue on the other side.)

    It *might* visually indicate to all vehicles that the lane will be shared. Then both bikes and 4-wheels know it\’s a shared lane.

    If you think that\’s completely stupid you probably haven\’t ridden Interstate Ave since MAX was constructed. Some blocks have lanes, others don\’t, and the lanes terminate unpredictably. I doubt any cyclist had input on Interstate\’s lane striping.

    Only a suggestion, flame heads.

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  • bobsyouruncle October 24, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    To number 78

    \”Hey, Kruger, I bet if a bike cop got nailed the same way, you guys would be all over it.\”

    That will never happen – the bike cops all ride (illegally) on the sidewalk!

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  • Patrick October 24, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    PLEASE if anyone witness\’s me being hit by a car and Kruger shows up, by God do all you can to have another cop take the report.

    Why is it always Kruger?


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  • Tweety October 24, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    I agree 100% with what Mark Ginsberg said (thank you).

    One of largest problems in our society today, as I see it is – people will not take responsibility for their actions and the results of those actions. \”It\” is almost always the fault of something/someone else and they feel they should be absolved of any responsibiity and go skipping away without a backward glance, let alone fines or jail time.

    \”I didn\’t see him/her\” doesn\’t cut it. Did they really, thoroughly LOOK? \”Thoroughly\”…to those who need to, look it up in a dictionary, if need be. \”Distracted\” also doesn\’t cut it. Turn off the cell phone, stop putting on the makeup, stop reaching for the coffee in the cup holder when you\’re coming up to a \”decision making\” zone. Be COGNIZANT of what you are about to do, your surroundings and the effects your actions could have if you are not fully attentive. Slow the heck down and/or leave earlier, so you aren\’t in a big toot to get some place.

    Yeah… we cyclists have to be very, very cautious out there, but drivers (and I am one) also have give our full attention to safely navigating the potential killing machines that we control.

    When are people going to stop blaming the universe for their own actions? Probably only when it hits them hard enough in the pocketbook to make them give a rip.


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  • Spencer October 24, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    The real rule of law.

    It is obvious that the PPB will not do anything until there is enough public outrage to create a paradigm shift.

    The important law question is \”can the family sue the hell out of the trucking company and the driver?\” This is really the only ruling that counts. If the law says the rider has the right of way, is the driver liable. Get a couple 10 million dollar rulings, and trucking companies will start awareness training for there drivers.

    Unfortunately folks, the dollar is the only real motivator.

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  • Freaked out Motorist October 24, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    @90… I\’m glad you see my point.. As I was driving home tonight (Around 7:30, so it was dark out), Every time that I made a right turn I paid very close attention to the what it took me to check my mirrors, then check over my shoulder, register what I was seeing – especially hard when there is a truck or something else with bright lights that sort of blinds you as you look over your shoulder – Then turn back around, readjust to what was going on in front of me and make the turn. I\’m really surprised that more right-hook accidents haven\’t happened at night. At any rate, I am now further convinced that the way the bike lanes are constructed aren\’t safe for anyone involved.

    As I was driving along tonight, I realized that I would much rather have the bicycle take the \”motorvehicle lane\” – because I obviously cannot accurately judge what is going on in front of me and what is going on behind me at the exact same time. I end up feeling like I have to make my \”best judgement\” – which I fear won\’t always be 100%.

    Because of this realization, I really like your idea of the bicycle lane ending before the intersection. Then both bikes and cars have to share the lane, and it is very clear who is where. Good thinking.

    I wonder what others think – if this seems like a good and viable option. If so, we should all present it to our \”City Leaders\”.

    Further more, if Bicyclists and Motorists and Pedestrians can start to work together to find actual solutions, amazing things could happen.

    I\’d like to start with a \”Ban Cell Phone while Driving\” thing!

    Thanks to those who have responded so far!

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  • Tim October 24, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    a.O (#88):

    Yup, I\’m an attorney, and your correction of my statement is essentially rewording exactly what I said (or meant to say). I\’m glad we\’re in agreement. 🙂

    Perhaps I should have phrased it differently.

    The FTY law doesn\’t consider mens rea. I think the public, however, tends to look at the issuance of a citation for a traffic infraction as clearly establishing liability of the driver for murder or manslaughter, using logic like this: Because he was issued a citation, he clearly was in the wrong; therefore, he is guilty of negligently or recklessly killing that cyclist.

    I meant to express that this logic is incorrect because although this traffic infraction does not consider mens rea, the homicide statute does, as you pointed out.

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  • Kevin Wagoner October 24, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for the good ideas above. I sent this letter below to the emails address provide by Snapper and Jessica above.

    I\’ve been following the news on the recent cycling deaths in Portland. I am an avid cyclist that commutes most days to work. My commute often takes down either Terwilliger or Barber from SW Burlingame to NW 21st avenue. I am fortunate to have never been in car/bike accident. Though it is not uncommon to be cut off while from cars turning right (or left on some way streets where the bike lane is on the left side, like the beginnings of SW 14th). It is also not uncommon on Barber to have cars entering Barber from the right to lurch unexpectedly into the bike lane. Basically I ride extremely carefully and defensively (which should be expected) and this has so far prevented me from experiencing serious injury or death.

    I am really concerned about the message our city is sending to the public related to the lack of any legal punishment for the drivers whose actions recently killed two cyclist. It is my understand that the cyclist where legally riding in the bike lane we as a city provide cyclist to help make their ride safe.

    I work in the transportation industry and I fail to see how this can be viewed as a non-preventable accident. Are the drivers guilty of violating ORS ORS 811.050, failure to yield to a bicycle in a bike lane? Are our police enforcing the law appropriately? What can I do to help make our commutes to work safer?

    Response requested

    Kevin Wagoner

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  • Dani October 24, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Citations, infractions, laws – it doesnt seem like it really matters in light of the deaths that have occurred. I am a cyclist, I dont commute because I dont live far enough away from work (only 2 blocks) but I do a lot of riding in town and around. As a driver and cyclist, here is my plea – cyclists, be aware, take care of yourselves. Despite the recent tragedy, just last night (it was completely dark outside) there was a cyclist riding north on 39th through the Laurelhurst area with NO reflective devices, no light, nothing to make herself visible. There is no bike lane on 39th (there is a great one on 47th) As if that wasnt enough, she blew through a red light at about 10-15 mph (I cna only guess relying on not seeing headlights of oncoming cars). Scary. I see these types of acts all too often. A few moves like this give cyclists a bad name – I hate it when that happens. We ALL have to be responsible…for ourselves, for fellow cyclists and fellow drivers. As many careless drivers there are that arent looking out for cyclists, there are cyclists who are being careless in regard to their own safety. Use the bike lanes if possible, wear reflective clothing and lights, ride defensively (just as you drive defensively)

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  • Jerry H October 24, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Sent to Potter

    Subject: Imminent Civil Disobedience?!

    The PPB is really screwing things up. It is only going to get worse if this type of activity continues with regards to bicycles.

    Perhaps you have read the book \”Blink\” ? Although many people consider themselves to be unbiased, the author proved to himself even that he has subconscious biases that play out.

    I suggest and request that in order to prevent major riots you properly train your police force.

    I don\’t even live in Portland right now but used to and was impressed with the cycling activities and the cycling oriented awareness. Guess I\’m just glad that I had my bike/car wreck in the Dallas Texas area where the laws were upheld.

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  • Jerry H October 24, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Can anybody correct me on this:

    Did the truck pass the cyclist before turning right in front of him?

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  • Aaron Weiss October 24, 2007 at 9:44 pm


    Here\’s my understanding of what happened, from Sgt. Schmautz relaying the account of the witness in the vehicle behind the truck:

    The truck did pass the cyclist near the top of the hill. The truck turned on its turn signal well ahead of the intersection. When the truck began to turn, the cyclist was the equivalent of 1-2 blocks behind the truck. From the skid marks at the scene, investigators know the cyclist hit the brakes hard, but couldn\’t stop in time.

    I don\’t know how long the skid marks were (though I assume accident investigators have that number somewhere), but police don\’t have an estimate of how fast the bicycle was traveling when he hit the brakes.

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  • jp October 24, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    Maybe this is very trite, but what about a protest? Look at this long list of comments. Hell, half of them are people arguing amongst each other! How much is really getting accomplished? How many people are really sending out emails and phone calls?? Sitting around and email bitching is not going to solve anything. Attending Town Hall meetings is great although it does appease a certain persona. Quite honestly, it seems like some good old-fashion picketing would be beneficial. (Also, there aren\’t time constraints.) Just a thought of action….

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  • Dan October 25, 2007 at 6:46 am

    We all know both accidents were caused by a failure to look and aggressive driving. But just the same, I wish I could sit in both the cement and garbage trucks and check the mirrors. I really doubt that they have a blind spot on the right side. Even if they did, that could be fixed with a ten dollar mirror. Why shouldn\’t the drives be citated for having inadequate mirrors?

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  • Joel N. October 25, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Perhaps the \”right hook\” turn needs to be outlawed. In order to make one, vehicle operator has to move out of their lane to the left, often crossing the centerline of the street into the path of oncoming traffic, before they can hook right to run over the cyclist.
    Perhaps they\’re far more worried about the oncoming traffic, and about checking their left mirror to make sure no one overtaking them on that side will hit them.
    Or, maybe require a complete stop before making such a turn.

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  • Paul Tay October 25, 2007 at 8:29 am

    Hey, Kronda(#85), spend some time in COURT, in front of a ragin\’ cagin\’ Judge, with the possibility of facing 12 motoring jurors, busted on some bogus charge of waving the American flag while bicycling, 37 TRO 1007, and you\’ll get the message REAL quick.

    I\’m just telling it like it is. Maybe you guys don\’t think I\’m helping, but, once you guys figure out the REAL deal in the great American, Oregon, Oklahoma criminal IN-justice system, you\’ll make some REAL changes.


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  • Paul Tay October 25, 2007 at 8:31 am


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  • ds October 25, 2007 at 8:38 am

    If Kruger is truly a problem, what about filing formal complaints with the city, and with the state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training? May not do any good, but it might raise some questions.


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  • John Boyd October 25, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Damn I wish I had time to read all the comments before posting, but it seems clear to me that it is the City Attorney’s office who should be providing guidance to Kruger and it is Mayor Potter who should be providing guidance to the City Attorney’s office.

    This gross injustice falls to Mayor Potter.

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  • Joe October 25, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Great flyer. with awareness I sure hope
    change can happen for a better today and future for all..

    be safe all,

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  • Todd October 25, 2007 at 9:49 am

    How about a spot on this site with public officials\’ contact info. so I can contact them quickly and not waste time figuring out who to contact, etc.? I\’m going to send a letter to everyone I can, but I don\’t have time to sniff out every official in the state who needs to be yelled at.

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  • Jim October 25, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Part of the problem, I think, with cars crossing bike lanes is trying to judge the speed of oncoming bikes. Was reading the comment from the rider who said 10 mph was as fast as she could go. You\’d guess that Brett was going a lot faster than that down the hill. Throw in a variety of sizes of people – is the person small because they\’re small or because they\’re further away? – and it seems more understandable.

    Yeah, there are variations in cars but drivers are a lot more accustomed to seeing Minis and semis. And they still misjudge.

    So I\’m trying to be open to the idea that drivers are doing the best they can. Not that I like grabbing the brakes to avoid being right-hooked.

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  • jami October 25, 2007 at 10:52 am

    kruger needs to apologize and issue citations or step down. he\’s not doing his job.

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  • wsbob October 25, 2007 at 10:52 am

    \”The truck did pass the cyclist near the top of the hill. The truck turned on its turn signal well ahead of the intersection. When the truck began to turn, the cyclist was the equivalent of 1-2 blocks behind the truck.\” Aaron Weiss

    Yes, news reports seem to concur that the truck (with two other vehicles) passed the cyclist near the top of the hill, but it\’s never been stated at what point in relation to the crest of the hill that they passed him; before the crest or after. I\’ve been wondering what the distance is between the intersection and the top of the hill. That has to be relevant.

    I\’ve read that the truck made the turn with it\’s turn signals on, but never that the signals were on \”…well ahead of the intersection\”.

    Not sure whether the blocks over in that area are the same size as downtown blocks (200\’square), but if they are, I find it very hard to believe that the cyclist was 1-2 blocks (200\’-400\’) away when the truck began to turn. It\’s not impossible, but unlikely.

    There\’s been speculation about the speed of the cyclist approaching the intersection, but the exact speed doesn\’t seem to have been established with any certainty. 20-25 mph has been suggested though. I guess I\’d have to actually walk the area to be a little more sure, but I think a bike going down what this hill seems to be, could easily stop from a speed of 25 mph in a distance of 200\’.

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  • Jerry October 25, 2007 at 11:23 am

    A decent accident investigation needs to be done for both Tracey Sparling and Brett Jarolimek. Has anyone really qualified been brought in to do a proper investigation to find out what really happened in both cases? I\’ve heard a lot of details and speculation, some of it conflicting, about both accidents but nothing definitive. Hopefully this can be done before the evidence is all gone.

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  • Ron F. October 25, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Obviously, like everyone else, I have been giving this a lot of thought — I have read at least 90% of the comments here, and been swayed one way and the other regarding the effectiveness of our current bike lanes and laws.

    But last night, riding home, it struck me. In Brett\’s death, replace the bike lane with a traffic lane, and put Brett in a car — leave everything else exactly as reported.

    There is no doubt that were the truck to turn right across a car lane and kill another driver, the driver of the truck would be held completely liable.

    So why is our bike lane different than a traffic lane? When I am driving on any multi-lane road, I often pass on the left, and later need to merge to the right to turn or exit. If I strike another vehicle during this maneuver, I am held responsible.

    So I no longer buy the idea that the bike lane is some special construct that makes it much harder for autos to navigate the streets. Drivers do it all the time with regular traffic lanes.

    I feel bad for the truck driver, but based on the currently reported facts, he is responsible and should be prosecuted as if Brett were in a car and the same thing happened.


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  • Jeff TB October 25, 2007 at 11:33 am

    wsbob #113
    I think that John #218 in the \”kgw-cyclist-dies-after-collision-with-garbage-truck\” thread has a good explanation of what likely happened. If speed was a factor, it was due to Brett being \”courteous\” as opposed to \”reckless\”. (I claim all speculation beyond edited quote from John)

    \”He (truck driver)basically had to straight-line brake, THEN turn. This hesitation in turning, was misread by Brett, …At this point I usually spin-it-up to get by as fast as possible, minimize the delay.] Brett probably read the hesitation in turning and the truck moving left…. as a sign that the driver had seen him and was waiting for him to get by. And Brett at that point in time was most certainly NOT in a blind spot. Brett probably even sped up in order to get by and out of the way quicker.\”

    Haven\’t we all seen this before? A car waiting to turn right until we pass in the right bike lane? Honestly, I have (no kidding…drivers aren\’t ALL clueless).

    In these instances, I, like John describes above, spin-up in order to get out of the courteous drivers path.

    This is one thing that bugs me about the whole thing: Brett was likely trying to maintain the flow of traffic and move along as quick and safe as possible after determining that the truck driver was waiting for him to pass. Unfortunatly, the driver wasn\’t waiting.

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  • uma October 25, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Plenty of people asking about the legality of taking the lane versus the safety of it. I\’m well aware that the law states I must use the bike lane if there is one. I\’ve been hit twice in the 5 years I\’ve lived in Oregon–both times have been while I was in the bike lane and the vehicle turning or pulling over \”didn\’t see me\”. Both times the drivers PASSED me and basically cut me off or just pushed me over. I\’m not convinced they didn\’t see me. I think in one case the driver DID see me, and badly misjudged his ability to speed up, pass me and complete the turn. Based on witness accounts, that\’s more plausible than the \”I didn\’t see you\” argument.

    Yeah, you\’ll see me in the bike lane SOMEtimes. But more often than not, I\’m taking the lane, unapologetically.

    I\’d rather take my chances with pissing someone off than not being seen… Again. The likelihood of getting run down by an inattentive driver is greater than the likelihood of being run down out of premeditated malice.

    Sadly, I fear that difference is not as great these days.

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  • Steve Long October 25, 2007 at 11:50 am

    I have a question that maybe one of the laywers on this blog can answer.
    What is the prospect of bringing a class action lawsuit again the fair City and its finest.
    As has been mentioned, enforcement is being applied in a capricious and arbitrary manner for a law that implies no such application of said law.

    As an example, if a driver on a very foggy morning ran a stop light killing a pedestrian that was in the crosswalk and the driver\’s excuse was, I couldn\’t see the light because of the fog, would not the response be, \”it is the repsonsibility of the driver to not only know the laws but to be aware of traffic lights etc.\”
    Under conditions of both of the recent fatalities, it is the responsibility of the truck drivers in the Brett and Tracy cases to be aware that there was someone in the bike lane. And, in a vehicle that large, there are plenty of mirrors on the market that, in fact, eliminate blind spots.
    Therefore, a traffic infraction did indeed occur and a citation should be issued, minimally, in both cases.

    If the person killed in either of the above cases were someone in a wheelchair, I dare say that the situation might be different. But, because there seems to be an odd sentiment concerning bicycles,,, whatever. Right?

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  • Lisa October 25, 2007 at 11:50 am

    Ron F: There is one extremely important difference: there is no situation in which a car is legally *allowed*, let alone *required*, to turn right across a though-going lane. In this case, since the car is not allowed to drive in the bike lane, it can\’t take the \”normal\” approach to the turn. The law is an institutionalized invitation to disaster.

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  • jimmy October 25, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    Hey Kruger – when your kid gets mowed down by a methed out truck driver, will you issue a citation then?

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  • […] This time it’s the cyclist’s fault… which results in a citation, as opposed to when someone gets killed. […]

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  • Paul Tay October 25, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Interesting comment: The law is an INSTITUTIONALIZED invitation to disaster.

    By extrapolation, bike lanes are INSTITUTIONALIZED invitation to disaster.

    Hey, PBAC BTA Bricker, et al, better RE-think the GHETTO-ization of bikes into separate, but, UN-equal PLANTATION treatment of YOUR people.

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  • Lisa October 25, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    It is not my opinion that bike lanes, per se, are an invitation to disaster. I\’m in favor of them, mostly. I think the assumption that drivers can be relied on to see and yield to a small vehicle behind and/or to their left is an invitation to disaster. I don\’t know what the solution is.

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  • Lisa October 25, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    sorry, I meant \”and/or to their right\”. But either way, actually.

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  • JustAPerson October 25, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    I guess I\’m just stating the obvious, but… on the driver\’s side, not \’seeing\’ the cyclist would seem to be an unacceptable defense. If the mirrors or his eyes won\’t do the job, something is wrong. So we are back in the territory of the driver getting a ticket for violating the bike lane and being subject to civil suit etc. And why not negligent homicide or whatever? This raises the question of what about when we are blinded by the sun? I suppose that\’s another subject but… I almost, cycling, turned into a cyclist \’due to\’ the sun being in my eyes. One can say \’well then stop your damned bike or slow way down,\’ but we don\’t always do that.
    On Brett\’s side… *sigh* I suppose it\’s possible he drafted behind the truck a bit, then darted to the right of it because it was slowing down, without realizing it was going to turn? (I dont\’ mean to piss people off with this, I\’m just looking at possibilities). Then there is the probability that he was really flying – that is a steep downhill stretch and he is a fast racer. So the driver might have looked back at one point and not seen anything close then done the whole turn thing. Finally, there is the question of what Brett was doing on the right side of a truck in an intersection. Because, unless I\’m missing something, that\’s not where you want to be – you either stay ahead of or behind cars and truck at the beginning of an intersection to avoid the unexpected right turn. That doesn\’t mean it was Brett\’s fault in the end… we just gotta defend ourselves.
    Any comments welcome. And I am sorry for the community\’s loss.. so many people paid tribute to Brett here.

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  • […] of this is that City Hall is convening emergency meetings to address some of the issues (such as failure-to-yield violations across bike lanes) raised by the accidents.  Still, I wish bicycle safety didn’t […]

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  • Driveabus October 25, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    These accidents will probably continue until people take responsibility for their own safety. Of course you legally have the right to the bike lane and to pass on the right. But you put yourself at risk if you completly trust that the driver ahead and to the left sees you. Or even looked for that matter.

    Every time I have an accident (which is not very often in 21 years of driving bus) it is reviewed by an accident review committee. The sole criteria for judging the accident preventable or not preventable is the answer to the following question: Did the driver do everything that he/she could have reasonably been expected to do to prevent that accident?

    Perhaps if everyone drove and rode in such a manner that the answer would always be yes to that question there would be fewer accidents.

    I am not trying to exonerate either truck driver, or to vilify either bicyclist. I just believe that people need to realize that the responsibility for our own safety rests with ourselves.

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  • Stu October 25, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    All the laws in the land can\’t stop idiots being idiots. See the KATU story at the moment about a cyclist booked for going the wrong way down a one-way street AND running a red light. Way to live up to the bike-haters stereotype. People like him get the rest of us killed.

    Please, if anybody reading this knows \”24-year-old Kyle Egertson\”, on behalf of the entire bike community, punch him and throw his bike in the Willamette.

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  • Mark Petrick October 25, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    I find this very interesting as I was involved in a very serious collision with a car while cycling on September 26. Similarly, the motorist in my case was not issued a citation either, even though he was determined to be completely at fault.

    A few days after the incident I questioned the PPB officer that took the report if the driver was cited for failing to yield. His reply was \”no.\” When I asked why, he replied, \”there were mitigating factors.\” When asked what these mitigating factors were, he replied, \”there was a bend in the road and he didn\’t see you.\”

    Correct me if I\’m wrong, but as a motorist isn\’t it your obligation to be aware of what\’s going on around you? Keep in mind there was no fog, rain or lack of light which could have impaired his vision. It was sunny with full daylight.

    It almost seems like the police give more weight to whether or not the cyclist had serious injuries instead of equal application of the law. I find this completely incomprehensible.

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  • nancy October 25, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    No one wants anyone to be injured or killed biker or driver. Reality suggests that there are all sizes of vehicles whose drivers are having to watch for everything, not just bikes and there are very real blind spots period even for cars.Bikes mixing it up with cars came after the fact and so have all the lanes and rules. If you as biker want to be seen, not because someone is not looking for you, but can\’t, then change the bike lanes if you insist on driving in metro areas that are prone to large trucks and vehicles who\’s drivers have documented inability to see you due to the laws of nature. Given these recent tradegies, if I was a biker, I would find a way not to be side by side with a truck or large vehicle in a potential turning situation. I would sit well back of the truck or large vehicle and once they turned or moved then make my turn after signaling well in advance so the car I\’m probably next too, sees me over a longer period of time and isn\’t guessing what I\’m going to do while also trying to watch the rest of traffic, construction signs, cross walks, and visibility if its raining.

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  • Donna October 25, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    Mark, regarding post #129, if Mark Ginsberg isn\’t already aware of what happened to you, I would recommend contacting him.

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  • Adron October 26, 2007 at 10:34 am

    I\’m commonly a bicyclist on these Portland streets. I also am horrified by these events of late.

    I also ask though, why isn\’t the bicycle lane treated like another lane of traffic when turning? That seems to be part of the problem.

    How are people from out of state, who are already confused by Portland\’s excessive kindness (at least in the average American\’s mind) toward bicyclists supposed to know that you aren\’t allowed to merge into the bicyclist lane in Oregon? How are they supposed to reduce the blind spot issue if they can\’t get to the far right anyway?

    I\’m just asking these questions, because the current \”law/rule/idea\” behind making a right hand turn doesn\’t seem to fit into the traditional law, nor logic of the US traffic flow.

    Some might argue too that ignorance isn\’t an excuse. They would be right, but in the same vein that the truck(s) in question didn\’t have the right of way, it obviously doesn\’t matter in the real world. The rules/laws should match the most effective and logical safe way to flow traffic as is able to be made. Doing otherwise is absurd.

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  • Duncan October 26, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    This issue seemed to be at the heart of my frustrations following a collision I was involved in last July. Biking home, wearing a helmet, all my lights on, I was struck in the crosswalk of 4th and taylor downtown. When the cop came, they put the blame on me because I was in the crosswalk and \”bikes aren\’t allowed to use the sidewalks\”….which apparently means we can\’t use the crosswalks either. He also threatened to cite me for not having an Oregon Drivers Lic. It seemed as though he had a preconception that it was my fault and was looking for evidence to corroborate that bias. Everything seems to have worked out fine, but how the officer handled it seemed less-than-balanced.

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  • Jim in Seattle October 27, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Is it time for a new major & police chief?

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  • Vaclav Jellecicz October 27, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Portland Bicyclists-

    Can it be that NONE of you are aware of vehicular cycling?

    Enforcement of right-of-way laws is beside the point. Bike lanes are inherently dangerous.

    I\’ve never been to Portland, but given the way you seem to have been trained to think that stripes of paint on the street are more important to your safety than the way you ride, I would say that Portland is one of the most bicyclist-hostile cities in the country.

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  • Dabby October 27, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Beyond a simple failure to yield, which is an everyday occurence in our town, there is another problem.

    The though that it is ok to cut the corners and the crosswalks. Meaning starting your right turn eary and dangerously.

    Instead of giving themselves plenty of space throughout the right hand turn, many truck, cars, and TRI MET buses turn early, not only failing to yield, but actually scraping the curbs on the inside on the way by.

    This is horrific for a cyclist moving through the bikelane, but even worse for one standing there at the intersection, waiting to go. You do not even have to move to get hit, it will come to you.

    I must say that Tri Met buses are the largest violators of this, bike lane and crosswalk rights, in our fair city. Along with their tendancy to wait till the light turns yellow before barreling out in traffic, this makes them legalized killing machines, thanks to the all encompassing little triangles mounted on the rear of the bus. (This gives a Tri Met bus the right of way in neary all situations, please correct me if I am wrong.)

    At the east end of the Steel bridge, where buses turn left towards the bus mall, the cut the corner so tight as to push cyclists out of the bike lane on the opposite side of the street.

    There should be a mandatory minimum turning radius, as marked by a swooping half circle around corners, so as to protect pedestrians and cyclists alike.

    This is an idea I have had that is expanded on the bike box ideal, but will serve pedestraians and cyclists alike.

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  • rixtir October 27, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    (This gives a Tri Met bus the right of way in neary all situations, please correct me if I am wrong.)

    It gives them the right of way over any vehicle to their rear.

    But yes, bus drivers are the worst. The closest I came to getting killed while riding was in San Francisco, when a bus driver deliberately pushed me into oncoming traffic.

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  • Mario Linder October 28, 2007 at 8:03 am

    To the cop bashers and those calling for the truck driver\’s head: STOP calling it \”failure to yield\”. The existence of a law does not make all cyclist visible in all situations. Especially when the cyclist is approaching from the REAR. This is COMPLETELY different than a cyclist or pedestrian approaching a vehicle from the side or the front. What would you expect is reasonable for the truck driver to do? He slowed, signaled, looked. He did not see the cyclist. How can he yield to what he CANNOT SEE? The cyclist was flying down the hill at high speed from behind. Prior to executing the turn should the truck driver stop, get out of the truck to look up and down the route first for bikers? Cyclists are hard to see AND are vulnerable, so must ride ultra-defensive and use common sense when it\’s clear they may not be visible. Clearly also vehicles need to always do their best to watch out. In this case, we have a perfect storm of unfortunates. However the cyclist had more control over prevention, since he could see, but the trucker could not. And since he was moving very fast, and the trucker was not. And since he was very small and the truck is very large.

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  • Harry Prothero October 28, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Cops missinterpreting the law! I am never surprized to hear about Portland Cops, but it always makes me mad. Recalling the \”chokem\” or the kid who threated to take his own life with a jacknife, who was shot, I presume to prevent his suicide. They are never held accountable. However There could be the solution here. If cops were all on bikes, they would shootup those car drivers that are always trying to kill me, and make bikeing safer!

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  • rixtir October 28, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    The cyclist was flying down the hill at high speed from behind.

    Apparently, your vision is better than the trucker\’s. Perhaps you should have been driving that day.

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  • Peter October 29, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    This is BS. The lady that hit the motorcycle on 185th a few weeks ago said she didn\’t see him but she is (last I heard) up on manslaughter charges.

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  • Tony (UK) November 6, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Just read after reading about the 2 recent cyclist deaths. Upset me greatly. I commute
    a roung trip of 28 miles and have frequent close calls. I frequently have drivers cutting over to turn. In the UK we have had similar problems were the police adopt a driver defensive attitiude. However in both the the cases above, they would, i belive, have faced a death by dangerous driving/driving without due care and attention. Unfortunately even if found guilty, they would have faced a severe fine only. The value of a life!!! ALL drivers bear a greater responsability, that the law does not reflect, because of the greater damage they may do. Cyclists must treat all drivers as death on wheels!! It\’s survival.

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  • ChipSeal November 18, 2007 at 8:36 am

    Portland is nearly unique in making a death-trap out of bike lanes. The reason is the silly laws that demand cyclists to use bike lanes when available combined with allowing cars and trucks to turn right across them.

    Either allow cyclists to take the lane to protect themselves, even if a bike lane is present or prohibit right turns when bike lanes are present. Anything less is is an impossible situation for the safety of cyclists.

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  • […] ever since. As a driver and a bike rider, I am now acutely aware of the horrific dangers of the right hook, and do everything in my power to avoid it when I’m on the road.  I will ride again when […]

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  • […] not the only one whose ire is up because of Lt. Mark Kruger. Jonathan Maus over at BikePortland.org has a terrific article today about the situation including an opinion with popular Portland “bike lawyer” Mark […]

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