Trucker’s problems should lead to reforms

Posted by on October 25th, 2007 at 11:31 am

As detailed yesterday by the Oregonian (and later discussed on this site), the driver of the AGG Enterprises garbage truck that killed Brett Jarolimek last week had a slew of speeding infractions on his record.

Now, I’ve learned that speeding was the least of his problems.

According to my research and to sources who have requested to remain anonymous, the truck driver’s “checkered past” includes:

  • Felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance in 1997. (He was charged with drug dealing, but pled to this lesser charge.)
  • His Oregon driver’s license was suspended for failing to appear in court for a seatbelt violation. The license had just been reinstated on August 22, 2007.
  • A civil negligence lawsuit was filed against him and AGG Enterprises in September 2006. According to copies of the lawsuit I obtained from the Multnomah County Courthouse, the plaintiff alleged that he “smashed into the rear” of their vehicle after they stopped to make a left turn at NE 15th and Lombard. The complaint (dated August 29, 2006) alleges the truck driver was “driving at a speed greater than was reasonable for the conditions, failing to maintain proper control of his vehicle, failing to keep a proper lookout, and/or following too closely.” The plaintiff claimed the collision resulted in just under $80,000 in non-economic injuries and damages. The suit was settled out of court and was dismissed by the Court on June 21, 2007.

You’ll notice that I’ve left the driver’s name out of this story because this is not about him. My reason for posting this information is to make it clear that if someone like this allowed to operate a large, potentially dangerous vehicle on our roads, something is amiss.

This new information should bring even more scrutiny to the issue of how our city regulates drivers of large trucks and the companies that hire them.

The question now is, what can we do about it?

We need to begin a conversation and partnership with the trucking and freight industries about these key issues:

  • new equipment requirements for trucks,
  • more regulation in the hiring process,
  • more oversight of the companies that operate within city limits,
  • and improved driver safety training policies and practices specifically around bicycles.

The good news — and if there’s a silver lining to our recent tragedies — is that I’ve already spoken to folks inside PDOT and City Hall that are working on these very issues. (I talked about this with Commissioner Adams in a sit-down interview yesterday that I will publish later today).

Large trucks have enough inherent safety issues by themselves, adding derelict drivers into the mix is a recipe for tragedy.

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a.O
Guest
a.O

I think cousin Sue is – and should – come for a visit to AGG and this guy again.

Flyingdog5000
Guest
Flyingdog5000

I hope for their sake that AGG has a whopping big insurance policy, because if I were Brett\’s family I would be suing their pants off. If they didn\’t know about his driving record when they hired him, they should have. If they did know, they are absurdly negligent.

Big Diesel
Guest
Big Diesel

What about the careless riding done by the majority of cyclists in this town…Do some research on that…

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

\”What about the careless riding done by the majority of cyclists in this town…Do some research on that…\”

Big Diesel,

There\’s no need to research that, because I already know it\’s problem. Yes, there are a lot of bicyclists whose riding could use more caution, consideration, and care.

There are also many who ride responsibly.

There are also many careless motorists…and many who drive great.

If you truly care about safety you would understand that this issue is not about who\’s to blame or the \”cars vs. bikes\” garbage some of the local media likes to stir up.

Efforts to educate all road users need to improve dramatically. Perhaps these recent tragedies will help highlight the urgency for that effort. I hope you\’ll be a part of the solution instead of just throwing stones.

Thanks for your comment.

ds
Guest
ds

DMV needs to make changes to keep people with driving records like this out of motor vehicles. This is far beyond bicycle safety, a person with this type of record is a risk for anyone near a road.

Me 2
Guest
Me 2

Big Diesel I actually agree with you. It would be great to have some numbers on that because all I hear now is people saying all cyclists break the law based on their perceptions. Just because you have a bias or perceive of something a particular way doesn\’t necessarily mean that it is true.

I also challenge you to find a habitually dangerous cyclist is is a significant risk to kill someone one of these days, like some of the people we have driving large trucks these days.

Moo
Guest
Moo

I can imagine that AGG was following the hiring practices set forth by DMV. The guy was probably not on the short list… but hey, he\’s a warm body. A crappy driving warm body from what it appears.

kg
Guest
kg

Big Diesel,
I did some research and discovered that all these recent deaths had nothing to do with careless riding but had everything to do with drivers of huge vehicles failing to take the proper precautions. Maybe you can state a SINGLE instance in which a motorists has been seriously injured by one of the behavior you are so concerned about, we\’ll be waiting to hear from you.

Jeff TB
Guest
Jeff TB

Big Diesel #3

There you go again. Try proving the \”majority\” part of your statement (\”careless\” for that matter). After you accomplish that, try suing them for all the death and destruction they\’ve caused.

Also, your statement implyes that you think the driver in question deserves the privilege of a CDL license. Even with his recoerd? Please explain.

JayS.
Guest
JayS.

How about some regulations regaurding CDL Three strikes of any degree and you loss your commercial license!!!

Big Diesel, I think more education for bikes and motorized vehicles alike has been mentioned many times since this discussion began. I hate it when I see bikers blowing lights and sign. I hate it more when I see cyclsts dressed in black riding at night without lights. Some of us are part of the problem some drivers are also poorly educated about the laws regaurding pedestrians and bicycles. WE ALL need to get smarter, more cautious and most of all more PATIENT.

If I was in charge of hiring at a company and I needed someone with a cdl I sure as hell wouldn\’t hire someone with a traffic record like that.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

We may not like Big Diesel\’s comment, but I think he brings up an important point.

Whether we like it or not, bicyclists have an image problem with a significant number of Portlanders.

I think until we can start to win that PR battle and change the perception that too many of us ride carelessly (flipping off motorists doesn\’t help either), transforming our city to be safer for bikes will be a much tougher battle.

Brian E
Guest
Brian E

Here are some disturbing statistics from the Oregon State Police:

http://flashalert.net/news.html?id=1002

Correction: Toxicology Test Results – Operation Trucker Check XIII – 10/11/07
(Note: Cascade Locks Port of Entry is on Interstate 84)

The following are the analysis results of the 468 urine samples obtained:

• 9 (1.92%) drivers tested positive for the presence of amphetamines.
• 2 (0.43%) tested positive for benzodiazepines.
• 1 (0.21%) tested positive for cocaine.
• 19 (4.06%) tested positive for the presence of cannabinoid (marijuana).
• 14 (2.99%) tested positive for opiates (e.g., oxycodone).
• 3 (0.64%) tested positive for propoxyphene (synthetic opiates).
• 5 (1.07%) tested positive for more than one drug category.
• No drivers tested positive for barbiturates or methadone.
• Overall, 42 (8.97%) of the 468 drivers who provided urine tested positive in at least one drug category.

Jim F
Guest
Jim F

I second Jonathan\’s comments. A day doesn\’t go by when I\’m not shocked by the stupid things my fellow cyclists do. It blows my mind how dumb, arrogant and careless many riders are.

That said, the above story is alarming.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

So AGG is a waste hauler, and waste haulers are regulated by Metro, and the Metro council is made up of people like Rex Burkholder, (one of the founder the BTA.) So, if AGG isn\’t acting in the public interest, (specifically, isn\’t hiring safe drivers,) maybe people should complain to Metro, and then maybe AGG will not be hiring any drivers ever again…

Jason
Guest
Jason

AGG and others that employ people to drive / haul as their main job function (UPS, US Postal Service, FedEx, DHL, etc.): How could it possibly pencil out in your line of business to hire individuals that are habitual traffic offenders. What responsible entity would contine to hire you as a hauler given your total negligence. It\’s time to clean house in the trucking / freight industry. These companies better come to terms that these are supposed to be PROFESSIONALS not criminals behind their wheels!

Muddy Curmudgeon
Guest

Thanks for managing this comment page and keeping the focus where it should be. Big Diesel has a point but loses credibility in words like \”majority\” that cannot be backed up.

I love to ride my bike. I have for more than 20 years. I believe cycling makes me a better driver. It breaks my heart to see other cyclists riding irresponsibly and making a poor name for those of us who do try to show/expect respect.

However, those cyclist will in the end only hurt themselves. Poor driving kills and maims people.

ds
Guest
ds

Why do cities such as Amsterdam and Stockholm have such low collision rates? What education and focus do they do for citizens that we can learn and incorporate? There will always be jerks who do stupid stuff, but what can the rest of us who want to be reasonable do?

dsaxena
Guest
dsaxena

\”Felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance in 1997. (He was charged with drug dealing, but pled to this lesser charge.)\”

That someone dealt drugs at one point is completely unrelated to their driving history and should not in anyway be taken into account in this discussion in my opinion. We have a legal system in which once you have served your time/paid your dues, you are technically free and I personally do not want to see that change for the sake of all our security. We\’ve got to remember that \”security\” and \”safety\” are loaded terms that can be used to pass all sorts of regulations that erode at all our rights and we need to be careful to not mix issues in the name of the cause for safer streets for all.

In the end it does not matter how many laws we pass for how people should behave on the roads b/c having a law will not keep someone from doing something stupid and killing another road user. The laws may make it easier to punish them and for the community to feel that justice is served, but that punishment will not make the deceased return to us. Education and economics are the key here. Portland is a city with many modes of transportation and drivers need to understand how to behave around them and we need to have better and regular testing. We then need to hold businesses that hire people who fail the tests accountable and fine them enough that it actually hurts and it is in their interest to ensure all their drivers are well trained and well behaved.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

MC #16,

Unfortunately those riders do NOT only hurt themselves. They contribute to the stereotype of cycling scofflaws which we then have to deal with as here. And there is also a very real, physical backlash against other cyclists. I\’ve dealt with it; we probably all have.

BD #3, okay, we get your point. You\’ve made it. Again and again and again and again. Got something new?

Here\’s something that doesn\’t quite jive with your good drivers/bad cyclists fantasy.

http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2007/10/lookout_for_the_new_downtown_p.html

A new traffic camera in Portland caught 226 drivers running one red light on its FIRST day of operation.

So does that mean that until all those scofflaw drivers get with the program, you, and other law-abiding drivers should get no protection or consideration? Are you responsible for their behavior? How are you supposed to get them on board?

Well, what the hell am I supposed to do about some hardcore wannabe who tries so hard to be too cool for school?

I have as much control over him as you do over this wingnut with 25 speeding tickets.

Big Diesel 43,000 people die every year on the roads.

As someone said around these parts recently, that\’s 2 jumbo jets, falling from the sky – every week.

It ain\’t bikes doing that.

Tasha
Guest
Tasha

I hope Big Diesel wasn’t just writing those words to be inflammatory. I also agree that some cyclists are careless and irresponsible, but that those actions more often hurt the reputations of other cyclists and/or themselves more often then killing another human being (an exception might be if a car skids to avoid a cyclist making a “rogue” move and in turn injures or kills someone). What a lot of car drivers don’t seem to realize is the power they wield with this huge piece of metal they are driving and how much harm it can cause if not used correctly and cautiously (especially larger trucks). I think EVERY SINGLE PERSON should be made to both drive a car and ride a bike (maybe in a controlled environment?) to “be in the other person’s shoes”. I know for a fact I am a better driver because of the fact that I ride a bike, and vice versa. I know the dangers of both, am aware that both are on the road, and know that cars/trucks are indeed necessary from time to time.

That said, I reiterate my thoughts of the need for more education, on both sides. I know there is no funding for such things, but maybe funding should be made a priority, as transportation takes up a huge part of our lives, and why should be we feel unsafe during those parts, whether riding a bike, walking, driving a truck, or rollerblading? This guy obviously should not have been on the road, with his past driving record, yet he slipped through the cracks and the inevitable happened, someone got killed. It could have been a pedestrian, it could have been another driver, this time it was a cyclist.

Steve Brown
Guest

I know the owner and operator of a garbage hauling business in Portland. He is a cyclist and we have frequent conversations about safe riding. He went to the head of his safety committee the morning the story broke. His safety person showed him the notes of the safety meeting last week covering safety regarding cyclists with all the drivers signatures. At least some business owners with fleet operations are taking this item seriously.

benschon
Guest
benschon

Great reporting, Jonathan. But why bother to say your tips came from anonymous sources if you independently verified them? Makes it sound fishy when it isn\’t.

I also don\’t understand the decision to withhold the guy\’s name. Call a spade a spade. To a large extent, this story is about a bad apple, and the way that Oregon DMV and and private company hiring practices are unable or unwilling to throw out the rot.

The important thing is that you got out relevant information that not been reported elsewhere. Scoop!

Philip
Guest
Philip

I\’m happy that BigDiesel participates in this forum because BigDiesel\’s posts illustrate a certain point of view. This point of view sees things not as they really are but through a filter of fear and resulting anger.

When all road users wear 2000 pounds or more of armor, it partially masks the violence that underlies individual motor vehicle operation. But when some road users shed the armor by cycling or walking, the underlying violence becomes more visible. It becomes possible for me (when acting as a motorist) to kill someone completely accidentally. If I can, with no malice at all, merely bump into someone and kill them, I ought to be afraid every time I get behind the wheel of my car. And personally, I am.

I think this fear is why many motorists want bicycles off the road (not me personally, although I think there\’s much progress to be made in how we do shared use facilities). Even when cyclists are following the letter of the law and cycling with utmost awareness, control, and regard for the laws of physics, a concious motorists sharing the road with the bicycle will realize that there\’s potential for disaster if any number of things goes wrong. The physical proximity of the armored and the unarmored and the speeds and physics involved makes this so.

But when motorists see a cyclist flaunt the norms that the law tries to create, the violence of motor vehicles is even more visible for all to see. And I think the resulting fear fuels a lot of anger. Here\’s the thought process for the motorist: \”Hey, that jerk on a bicycle almost made me a killer! I\’m obeying the law, they\’re not, and as a result I almost hit them and if I hit them they could die and I\’d have to live with that for a long time. They and everybody who looks like them must be a real asshole.\”

I imagine that it doesn\’t take many cyclist blowing stop lights/signs or acting erraticly for a motorist to get a warped perception of reality and start substituting perception for data. (This means that you see things as you decided they are at one point in time–usually a time of strong emotion–rather than seeing things as they are continually arising in experience or as they are based on large amounts of data.)

Anyway, none of this is directed personally at BigDiesel, who may not see things from the warped perspective that I\’ve described. But thanks also go to BigDiesel to providing a window into at least one example of a very prevelant viewpoint.

Tim
Guest

Jonathan (#4):

If you truly care about safety you would understand that this issue is not about who\’s to blame or the \”cars vs. bikes\” garbage some of the local media likes to stir up.

With all due respect, I believe the commentary in this blog, and the overwhelming majority of the responses here, stir up more \”cars vs. bikes\” garbage than the local media does.

Lee
Guest

Responding to Matthew\’s (post #14), Metro does not regulate waste haulers. The local governments franchise and or license them, not Metro. Metro is in charge of disposal of solid waste in the region, the local governments regulate collection.

As a bike commuter, I agree that there needs to be better communication and cooperation between our community and drivers. When drivers see bikes ingnoring the traffic laws it only gives them an excuise to dismiss our concerns about safety. Bad cyclists and bad drivers make up the minority of those of us on the roads. The only problem is that we pay a bigger price for their and our mistakes.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

\”I believe the commentary in this blog, and the overwhelming majority of the responses here, stir up more \”cars vs. bikes\” garbage than the local media does\”

Tim,

Thanks for your feedback.

I try to report the news as objectively as I can and offer perspectives from contributors and guest authors with a moderate and reasonable tone.

Please remember, that I do not control how people comment (although I reserve the right to delete or censor them when necessary).

Jessy
Guest

I think this is just more proof that Brett\’s death is the type of \”accident\” that is entirely preventable.

Like I said before, there were zero bicycle-related deaths in 2006… That proves that we don\’t need to accept these tragedies as collateral for living in a city with heavy bicyle traffic.

This guy should never have been allowed to drive such a large vehicle– that has such a supposedly large blind spot. It\’s an irresponsible system (NOT unpreventable circumstances) that allows an \”accident\” like this to happen.

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

The comment about the public perception of cyclist is a critical point. I make a daily point to wave and thank drivers that show me the slightest courtesy or let me have the right of way. I see a lot of other cyclist do the same, but it only takes one A-hole, to undo a lot of positive work.

For example, while riding to the start of the memorial ride for Tracie, I saw a rider blatantly blow a red light, swerve between a few cars causing them to brake and upon arriving, don a mask anarchist style and start decrying the \”death machines\”. I\’ll call him Mr. Mohawk. Mr. Mohawk, single handedly just gave credence to the diatribe of people like Lars Larson\’s and Big Diesel.

If we want to change the perception for the positive, then we as cyclist need to start holding each other accountable. For example, talk to your friends about wearing a helmet, ask people on cell phones while riding in the bike lane to pull over, help educate lane peers about good riding form.

Thanks for your attention

k.
Guest
k.

I\’d still like to see the question of enforcement addressed. The refusal of the Portland Police Department to ticket these drivers is unconscionable. Some sort of pressure needs to be exerted towards this. I know Mark Ginsberg addressed this a bit, but left it a bit open. Perhaps it\’s a bit too early to pursue this but I\’d certainly like to hear how this is addressed at the Sam Adams meeting.

I also realize that this is just one small aspect of the problem. There are many others that need to be addressed as well; riding defensively, riding with safety devices, infrastructure improvements, etc. But enforcement of the law is a critical piece of the puzzle. That goes equally for both drivers and cyclists.

The bottom line is no one has more of a stake in this then cyclists. We are the only ones putting ourselves at such risk of bodily injury and yes, death. I have yet to hear the story of the auto driver or trucker being injured by a cyclist.

kg
Guest
kg

As a cyclist and a driver I have a hard time agreeing with the statement that a minority of drivers are bad drivers, there seems to be an awful lot of them and many of them seem to be resistnat of efforts to curtail their behavior. A perfect example of this is the resistance that has been put up to photo radar and red light cameras. I do know that when I am driving or cycling I am much more concerned with bad drivers, mostly because they can kill me!

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

I think when cousin Sue comes for another visit, the State should be an invited guest. Specifically, the DMV, for issuing CDL\’s to habitual offenders, and the DOT for failure to regulate AGG.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I fail to see how focusing on this one particular individual or the endless cyclist-motorist sniping will do anything to change the situation on the streets significantly.

more education, a refocusing of enforcement priorities and reengineering of poorly designed on-street facilities is what is really needed.

Big Diesel
Guest
Big Diesel

I as a company owner and a CDL holder will never defend CDL holders that violate laws willfully. Those drivers have no place in this industry.

Bike riders need to pay better attention to their surroundings while riding. I have seen countless riders tooling along the streets with their Ipods on and clueless about traffic around them as if they have a force field around them,. I have also encountered riders who run stop signs, weave in and out of traffic and never signal their intentions. And I have also seen riders who are courteous, professional riders who abide by the law.

Sadly it is the bad riders who are causing the problems…..

Tasha
Guest
Tasha

I think there’s a culture of impatience in our “modern times” that needs to be addressed if any traffic issues are going to be discussed. Fast food, multitasking, allowing right (and left on one way roads) turns on red, cyclists and cars blowing through stop signs/lights, even pedestrians ignoring walk/don’t walk signs : it all stems from all road users being impatient and unable to wait for signals that are designed to keep us safe.

Garbage trucks in a hurry to get to their next job, so don’t take that extra second or two to look over their shoulder once more. Drivers want to get home from work 2 minutes sooner, so they weave in and out of traffic to get there. Bike messengers get paid per job (I think?) so they flout laws to get their rush jobs done quicker. And on and on and on. No rules or regulations will do anyone any good if this level impatience continues. I know it’s a deeper issue and not easily solved, but it’s a point that needs to be brought up and not ignored when discussing other options.

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

And I see plenty of motorists who run stops signs, violate the speed limit, park illegally, execute unpredictable manuevers, fail to yield the right of way, etc. And yet this DOESN\’T colors my impression of motorists. It colors my impression of careless assholes. Get the bad drivers on bikes, get the bad cyclists in cars, and you\’re likely to observe tons of law-breaking, potentially deadly behavior from both.

Big Diesel, I\’m going to step up and say it: either unclog your ears or stop trolling. Whichever one the problem is, *FIX IT NOW*.

Tim
Guest

Big Diesel (#33):

It\’s also the bad drivers. Not ALL drivers, of course (and not ALL cyclists, as you point out), but the bad ones. I\’m all for placing responsibility where it belongs, but I\’d love to see every user of the road stop attributing culpability to those that operate a certain type of vehicle (be it gas-powered or human-powered), and focus instead on those who don\’t operate their vehicles safely.

Jeff TB
Guest
Jeff TB

Big Diesel #33 \”I as a company owner and a CDL holder will never defend CDL holders that violate laws willfully. Those drivers have no place in this industry.\”

Glad to hear it.

\”Bike riders need to pay better attention to their surroundings while riding.\” …… \”And I have also seen riders who are courteous, professional riders who abide by the law.\”

I agree that there are cyclists and drivers who need to pay better attention. Also I agree that there are cyclist and drivers who are courteous, professional, and abide by the law.

\”Sadly it is the bad riders who are causing the problems…..\”

And drivers. I think you can probably agree.(?)

So, as a CDL holder maybe suggest what I can do to help make roads safer for cyclist and drivers more aware of cyclists. (in addition to following laws).

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

I see big diesel saying over and over again that it is the bad cyclists causing the problems, but I just don\’t see that bourne out by the evidence. Were either of the two cyclists killed recently by large trucks running stop signs, weaving in and out of traffic, or wearing ipods? No No, and No. In fact of the 4 bike on car incidents this year 3 times the motorist was at fault, and during the 4th which did involve a cyclist riding the wrong way the motorist must have felt at fault as they fled from the scene.

Ipod\’s aren\’t illegal in Oregon anyway and I fail to see how listening to one is any worse than listening to a cars radio with the windows rolled up. It may not be the safest way to ride, but I wonder if big diesel allows his drivers to listen to radios or to have the windows rolled up while driving?

It is clear to me that obtaining and maintaining a CDL is a lot easier than I thought it would be, as amazingly even a drunk driving conviction doesn\’t disqualify you from obtaining one. While it might increase the operating expenses of a trucking company I would like to see a higher bar set for the safety record of anyone allowed to drive such a large vehicle.

The biggest difference I see between driving a bike vs a semi is that on a bike I ride safely to keep from being hurt or killed while a semi driver is driving safely to keep from hurting or killing someone else. If a semi driver can be at fault, and kill someone and there are no consequences then there isn\’t much reason to drive safely.

Bjorn

GregSea
Guest
GregSea

Can we just get rid of one silly idea that comes up again and again on these forums? That\’s the idea that somehow bikers will get \”respect\” when they start \”following the laws\”. If you believe this absurdity, I encourage you to do the following experiment:

Go to a major surface road in your neighborhood – one where there\’s some real traffic and an intersection and things are flowing well. Now watch those cars for 5 minutes or so and keep track of:

* how many of these cars are going faster than the posted limit

* how many of these drivers are in vehicles that are designed without concern to limiting the damage they cause if they hit another vehicle or a cyclist

* how many of them do not signal when turning or changing lanes

These are behaviors (especially speeding and driving high clearance \”buff\” looking vehicles) that are strongly correlated with killing pedestrians and cyclists. Two of them are completely in disregard of traffic laws.

And you\’ll find that almost no one \”disrepects\” these people. Because they\’re perceived as powerful. Respect in the US is about power for a lot of people (I\’d guess that Big D falls in this category, but this isn\’t about one person).

Cyclists and pedestrians are not powerful – so expecting the likes of them to change their attitudes cause we start being all OCD about traffic laws is silly.

Following the law is its own reward – follow the laws cause it\’ll make you feel self-respect. But don\’t expect anyone else, *especially* the problem drivers who you\’re probably worried about, to respect you for it.

If you want respect from them, do what every other despised minority has done on their rise to dignity:

demonstrate the political power to fine them, jail them and make their lives generally miserable if they kill or injure you.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I think we all need to work on our riding (or driving) skills. It definitely isn\’t just motorists being dangerous out there. I do think that it\’s absurd that the driver was able to hold a CDL with a record like that. DMV needs to make more of an effort to teach drivers how to drive cooperatively with cyclists.

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

See Near Miss #422. Almost the exact same event. Has anyone ever done some statistical analysis on the near misses?

http://bikeportland.org/2005/08/09/wanted-your-close-calls/#comment-557905

953
Guest
953

Ok….so this AGG driver has a long long history of moving violations and losing his license.

What gets me is not only that AGG would hire someone with this kind of record, but that they would continue to employ this guy after the incedents within the last year that are outlined in the story above.

If that information is correct, AGG was already tied up in a lawsuit from a previous accident by this guy, and the fact that they settled would lead me to believe that there was at least some merit in the lawsuit.

Also, it appears that the guy lost his license and it wasn\’t reinstated until late August of this year.

So, my question is….if the guy didn\’t have a license prior to late August, was he still driving for AGG during that time?

And I would sure hope that losing your license for infractions committed in your personal vehicle would also mean that he loses his CDL too.

You would sure think that a safe and responsible employer would periodically check to see if their drivers have a valid license.

If there is any good that can come from this tragic situation, hopefully it is that the powers that be take a harder look at the hiring practices and periodic record checks of commercial drivers, as well as what role the DMV or DOT have in oversight.

That is something that transcends the bike vs. car debate. An unsafe truck driver can kill any other road user almost as easily as they can a cyclist.

Tim
Guest

Bjorn (#37):

re: iPods on bikes, at least for me, when riding on a crowded street, I rely on my sense of hearing just as much as I do on my sense of sight, much more so than I do when I\’m driving. When you\’re on your bike, your attention is almost always on the road ahead, because surface irregularities can screw you up more than they would in your car, which also has much less of a tendency to drift if you happen to turn your head — thus, hearing is a lot more crucial to me for safe riding than for safe driving.

Also, on my bike, I don\’t have several thousand pounds of steel to protect me if I don\’t happen to hear something coming.

Jeff TB
Guest
Jeff TB

Bjorn,

I don\’t think that the cyclist victims were to blame either. I think the \”problem\” that bad cyclists cause is the \”image problem\” that we all deal with. the one that results in the automatic \”cyclist was at fault.\” As easy as it is to blame others for this image problem (Lt Kruger, drivers, etc), I would prefer to take steps toward improving cyclists image. For one, I think that I\’ll be more vocal with the few cyclist I see running the red. (That really pisses me off when I\’m following the rules.)

Winter
Guest
Winter

This event was a tragedy and probably could have been avoided. But the driver\’s criminal history is not relevant unless he broke the law or did something wrong as part of this accident. Is there any indication that he did something wrong? If not, then I think this story is off base.

Big Diesel
Guest
Big Diesel

Jeff TB #36, Tasha# 34, and Tim #35

Don\’t get me started on the 4-wheelers the writing space is not big enough. Those drivers are worse than some cyclists. They are jabbering or texting on their phones and not paying any attention.

I would suggest that if a cyclist and truck that are side by side at a light or stop sign, get the truck drivers attention in a \” courteous \” manner so that he/she knows you are there. Or hang back and ASSUME that the truck is going to turn right.

Matt
Guest
Matt

I think consumer power is a powerful, powerful thing.

For instance. One thing that I\’ve noticed when I\’m bicycling is that FedEx drivers are a LOT more courteous than UPS drivers. Both trucks do exactly the same thing, but the attitudes, patience and care of the drivers I\’ve encountered are vastly different. I wonder if FedEx has some sort of safe driver program?

I noticed that a FedEx driver was even featured in the Portland Walks! movie about pedestrian safety that the City of Portlandn Bureau of Transportation put together recently, talking about the need for him as a FedEx employee to take extra care on the road around vulnerable road users when he was making his deliveries.

As a result of how I am treated as a bicyclist on the roadways by UPS, I don\’t use their services at all. I go with FedEx every time.

I think truck companies have to remember that the ONLY thing we as citizens have to judge them by is the way their employees drive.

BURR
Guest
BURR

@ BD #33

Cyclists are human just like everyone else. my guess is that the percentage of \’bad\’ cyclists is almost exactly equal to the percentage of \’bad\’ motorists on the road, do we really need to go into the list of driver distractions and violations that are easily observable anywhere out on the streets?

GIVE IT UP ALREADY, nothing you are saying hasn\’t been heard before and it\’s not constructive.

Kris
Guest

Tasha,

I think you hit the nail right on the head. While better road/bike infrastructure, improved laws and stricter law enforcement are all laudable, I\’m afraid they won\’t make a huge difference and make our streets more bike friendly in a tangible way, as measured by the number of bike/car collissions resulting in injury or death.

What is needed is a wholesale shift in the prevailing attitude and level of responsibility of all users of the road. We can debate how much cyclists should alter their behavior vs. just motorists, but given that motorists are making up the vast majority of road users and driving around in vehicles that can cause much more harm, I think it\’s fair to demand that the strongest effort is made to change their attitudes and behaviors, focused on sharing the road and respecting the rights (and lives) of cyclists and pedestrians.

Big Diesel
Guest
Big Diesel

Burr #44

My guess is that you are one of the outlaw cyclists that give cycling a black eye… Stay in your fantasy world.