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No more right turns at Greeley: “I don’t want another tragedy”

Posted by on November 6th, 2007 at 4:30 pm

interstate_rightHookBeGone-4.jpg

Signs like this have been
placed on the hill approaching
the intersection.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)
interstate_rightHookBeGone-6.jpg

The closure consists of these two barricades.

Calling the intersection, “inherently dangerous” City Commissioner of Transportation Sam Adams had PDOT crews close the right-turn section of N. Greeley Avenue that has claimed two victims in as many weeks.

interstate_rightHookBeGone-1.jpg

Adams with a PDOT employee.

Adams — flanked by PDOT traffic safety guru Greg Raisman and just yards from the ghost bike memorial for Brett Jarolimek — pointed out that Interstate and Greeley was one of the intersections on his “Top 14” that are slated for emergency bike safety improvement measures following the death of two cyclists last month.

At a press conference at the scene about an hour ago, Adams said,

“…with the days getting shorter, the weather about to turn worse, this intersection is inherently unsafe the way it is engineered right now, and so we’re going to close it temporarily to give us some time to figure out what we need to do to make it safer…

While we finalize that [bike boxes and other improvements] and try to get it done in a matter of weeks from now, this is going to be closed, because it’s just too dangerous to keep it open and I don’t want another tragedy.”

See more photos of the closure.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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natallica
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natallica

wow!

thank you sam!!!

pete zlatnik
Guest
pete zlatnik

Thank You!

jami
Guest
jami

awesommme!

i hope when he\’s mayor, cops\’ll give tickets to people in cars, too.

Dan (teknotus)
Guest
Dan (teknotus)

I\’m glad Sam Adams is an impatient person when it comes to safety.

erin g.
Guest
erin g.

Bravo Sam and PDOT! Thank you for hearing us, for giving us your word, and for taking actions that our lives and safety depend upon. Your support of the cycling community is deeply appreciated and, quite frankly, remarkable (glad to see that the NY Times thought so, too!).

Thank you for the excellent coverage and updates today, Jonathan.

I don\’t know about you all, but Sam has my vote for Mayor next year…and Jonathan has my vote for community member of the year!

Dave
Guest
Dave

While I think this is great, I\’m concerned that there don\’t seem to be signs showing a detour. Without a clear detour, cars might still try to turn right, but instead of taking the original route, they will try to take a sharp right turn where the NB left turn lanes enters Greeley. This will be quite a bit more dangerous for everyone, because it will be even more unexpected by everyone around. We\’ve all seen people drive the wrong way down a one way street or turn on a no-turn sign because they were confused, lost, unfamiliar with the area, or trying to follow directions. What is PDOT doing to prevent this sort of thing from happening?

Greg Raisman
Guest
Greg Raisman

Lots going on right now. We share your observation, Dave. There will be one more no right turn sign put in any time now to clarify that the right turn you describe is prohibited. In addition, our engineers are looking at other guide signs to inform people about accessing Swan Island via Going when coming southbound on Interstate.

Thanks.
Greg Raisman
Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
Portland Office of Transportation

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

\”What is PDOT doing to prevent this sort of thing from happening?\”

You make a good point Dave. I was at the press conference and after a person in a car stopped to express their displeasure with not being able to turn right I thought they might try and make that turn you describe.

As for PDOT, Sam Adams made it clear in the press conference and in the official press release where cars should go if they want to turn right… that being said, I agree with you that perhaps some detour signage would be good.

The good news is that Adams\’ staffers and lots of folks at PDOT are likely reading these comments so your idea will be heard.

Thanks.

a.O
Guest
a.O

Same gets it. Sam for Mayor.

I Bike and I Vote.

DT
Guest
DT

Commissioner Adams,

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to you for taking swift action after another cyclist was hit today at the intersection of N Greeley and N Interstate Ave. As a resident of North Portland, I bike through this intersection every time I bike to work, as does my husband, and the thought of getting caught by a right-turning motorist on such a steep hill has unsettled us both. There truly is no reason that people can\’t turn right earlier at Going Street if they need to access Swan Island. Thank you for taking action, and I appreciate your efforts to improve bike safety in Portland, as it is an important component of forward-thinking transportation options in this city.

Write Sam and thank him yourself:
commissionersam@ci.portland.or.us

David Dean
Guest
David Dean

Well done indeed! It is very encouraging to see responsive public officials.

BillD
Guest
BillD

I posted this on another thread on November 1st. I think it bears repeating. Folks at PDOT should look at ways to make it easier for traffic going south on interstate to find their way to their destination without making the right turn. The turn via Larrabee and Russel is one way, there may be others.

From Nov. 1:
A few thoughts on N. Interstate and Greeley:

There are no intersections or business accesses on N. Greeley between Interstate and Going. Therefore, any destination reached by turning right at Interstate and Greeley can be reached from Interstate and Going.

Right turns from southbound Interstate onto Greeley should be prohibited.

Install copious signage on Interstate that says \”No Right Turn Allowed at Greeley and Interstate, Use Going St.\”.

Provide a bail out route for traffic that needs to turn right but has not seen the signs. This could be at Interstate and Larrabee (right on Larrabee, around the pump station to Russell, left on Interstate, north to Greeley and make a left).

ML
Guest
ML

Ditto every thing DT said. As a North Portland bike commuter, I appreciate the city\’s efforts to take swift action following the events of today.

janel
Guest

My letter to Sam

Thank you Sam for the quick response prohibiting right turns at Interstate and Greeley. Taking action for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians at the expense of motorist convenience is a revolutionary act in the US. I hope to see more efforts to make the least polluting modes of transport the safest, most comfortable and most enjoyable ways to get around.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

Will sandbags be used to stay the barriers?

I anticipate a vehicle will fly around the corner & knock them over to get through before the evening is done. Or a driver will be impatient, and physically move them out of their way.

But thankyou for hearing the bicycling community and taking action on this, Sam! It\’s very appreicated!

true
Guest
true

No intersection is as \”inherently unsafe\” as a driver who is comfortable in the knowledge that there will be no citation or investigation for failing to yield to a cyclist in the bike lane, though there be a resulting death or serious injury. No intersection is as \”inherently unsafe\” as CDL holding heavy vehicle operators with a mile long record who are allowed to continue driving after killing someone due to negligence. No intersection is as \”inherently unsafe\” as our car-centric culture of transportation that promotes unsafe driving as the epitome of refinement, from DVD screens to cell phone use to flimsy requirements for licensure.

I know you\’re working, Mr. Adams, and I am glad you\’re taking this seriously and acting quickly, but there is much to do before I am satisfied. Thank you for paying attention.

Darby
Guest
Darby

I commute to work down Interstate whenever weather permits. This morning I avoided it because the fog was still pretty heavy at 7am.

I\’m glad for the temporary closing of the right turn. I\’ll be curious if this is seen as an inconvenience to anyone. There\’s a good chance that this really IS an unnecessary right turn.

But I\’m a little wary that this \”solution\” will only antagonize the relationship between bikers and drivers. I don\’t think that closing dangerous intersections is a realistic long term solution. And I hope this particular closing doesn\’t divert attention/energy from the real issues.

I think the real issues–police failure to enforce existing law, police publicly tainting a crime investigation by claiming \”no fault\” to the press, lack of education for both bikers and drivers–are not being addressed.

But, again, I am glad for the immediate, temporary closing. It\’s dramatic enough to get people\’s attention.

J. Grant
Guest
J. Grant

Thank you Sam Adams!

Kevin M
Guest

Just watched KGW News at 6pm. They covered this story (although I saw it here first). They ran a survey asking how Potlanders can make to roads safer (may still be running), but the preliminary results seem a bit one-sided. According to the results I saw only 3% of respondents thought that drivers should be more aware of their surrounding while 47% said bicyclist should be more aware. Draw your conclusions…

randy
Guest
randy

I\’ve been thinking about this pretty hard for the last week or so now. I have very little faith in motorists learning to look for through bike traffic to their right when turning right across a bike lane.

I don\’t really see how the bike boxes are going to solve the problem of improperly positioned bike lanes located to the right of right-turning motorists, they are just a band aid solution to a very serious problem, and not a very good one at that.

However, rather than eliminate all bike specific infrastructure, as has been suggested by some vehicular cyclists, I think the solution is to build better bike infrastructure informed by the cardinal principles of vehicular cycling, which are speed positioning and destination positioning.

How do we do this?

Most bike lanes are already located according to the principle of speed positioning, to the right of motor vehicle traffic. There are some locations, such as the segment of the N. Interstate bike lane where Brett was killed, and SW Jefferson west of 14th, which are faster downhill sections. In these areas bike lanes should be eliminated in favor of shared lane markings or some other treatment.

At intersections with high percentages of right turns across the bike lane, where room is available to do so, such as NW Everett and 16th, a right turn only lane should be provided. This would be possible if the (brand new) curb extension at the SW corner of NW Everett and 16th was eliminated and a few curbside parking spaces were removed. I think the safety of cyclists at high hazard locations like this is more important than saving a few steps for pedestrians crossing the street, or the sanctity of curbside parking.

toddistic
Guest
toddistic

Thanks Sam, I appreciate your efforts!

David Feldman
Guest
David Feldman

Considering the safety of human powered travellers over the convenience of motorists–does Sam Adams have a twin who could work for the city of Vancouver?

Andy
Guest
Andy

Because of the way Interstate is laid out (high commercial density, numerous driveways, steep downhill curve) is there any benefit to moving the bike lane to the center? (or better yet, turning it into a MUP alongside the MAX line?)

Cyclists would have the opportunity to get out of the center at the numerous crosswalks out of the MAX stops. Yes, we\’d probably have to walk out of the crosswalks, but it seems a small price to pay to get out of line of fire with all those driveways.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

So, after thinking about this today for a while, I have come up with a possible scenario.

Witnesses say the woman had pulled an erratic turn into the hospital lot at the top of the hill, cutting off cyclists, then proceeded down the hill to pull a quick, thoughtless, right hand turn at Greeley.

Appears to me to be obvious that due to the design of the Max line, and limited and difficult access to the Hospital, she must have missed her turn, then tried to turn it around at the top of the hill.

I imagine she realized she could not do this (as witnesses also said she immediately pulled back out from the lot) continued down the hill, and being very frustrated and possibly late for an appointment (?), made an erratic right hand turn at Greeley, not using her mirrors, or her common sense, taking out another cyclist in the process.

While this in no way, in my mind, absolves her of any fault (as everything so far seems to point to her being at fault, please correct me if I am wrong), it does point to one of the growing problems in this city.

Interstate avenue has been entirely changed for the worse since the Max went in. Bicycle and car access is now a night mare. The added frustration of sometimes waiting through two and three light cycles while trains plow on through (or don\’t) has been experienced by myself on a bike, on foot, and in a car. Along with having to go horrendously out of the way to get anywhere.

Add to this the cyclist who got too close to the train at Greeley and Interstate,(where the train goes very, very fast, much too, coming up, and down the hill) and ended up stuck under it, miraculously alive.

And the recent reality that security at Max stations, or on trains, throughout the city is not at all what it appears. (Tri Met it appears was covering this up, due to recent news reports)

This intersection that has been the recent site of three bicycle accidents (at least three that were reported, probably more than that), was \”Horribly\” redesigned as part of the Interstate Max project.

Along with holding drivers, cyclists, the Police and City Hall responsible for their actions, this same attention should immediately be applied to Tri Met, who all over our city, many, many times a day, violate the rights and right of way of cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers alike.

It is no secret that I have a extreme dislike for Tri Met.

It is time to stand up, and force our supposed \”Public Transportation\” to step up, and stand along side the other accused.

Rant over.

I suppose not everyone will agree with me on this note, but once again, I have been around the block a few times.

Clark
Guest
Clark

Bravo, Sam, that was a smart decision.

Kreuger has got to go.

BURR
Guest
BURR

Before I vote Sam for Mayor I want to know what he\’s going to do about reforming the Police Bureau if elected.

I\’m pretty sure Jonathan didn\’t ask this to Sam in his interview, and I think we all have a right to know the answer to this question sooner rather than later.

Mr. Viddy
Guest

This was certainly a good opportunity for Mayor Adams to grab some positive media attention.

John R
Guest
John R

Check the Oregonlive website. A number of motorists think this reaction is unfair to motorists because \”bicyclists caused the last two accidents.\” That can all be traced to Kruger and the PBB comments. I\’m with BURR. I want to know what\’s going to be done to reform the PBB. We\’re trying an engineering only solution to what needs to be addressed by a combination of engineering, enforcement, and education.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I just found out about this latest incident. While I may not be like some and say that Sam will get my vote, I am glad that safety is important. I do hope the reason why this intersection is a problem is figured out and that it gets properly addressed. In the meantime, it does make sense to ban right turns to me. I just hope it is enforced and drivers don\’t try to make a turn where they should not be since that would probably be an even less safe turn.

Disco D
Guest
Disco D

John R:

I don\’t know about using the oregonlive forums as a basis for how the general public feels about anything. Those boards consist of the same 10 wackos who seem to be pretty much anti everything. I get the feeling sometimes that that board is trolled so much that the trolls can\’t tell who is who (as luck would have it I know for a fact that at least one of the posters who come up with some of the more asinine comments is actually a bored Intel employee).

That said, reading those forums too often does kind of give you a sick feeling in your stomach because it makes you realize that there are some people out there who really may feel that way (and I am not even talking about bike stuff, just in general regarding that site).

Crash N. Burns
Guest
Crash N. Burns

Sam Adams for mayor, yes.

How about Jonathan Maus for city council?

Darren
Guest
Darren

In Response to 31, Crash N. Burns

I can\’t support Jonathan Maus for city council. He is doing what the press gave up years ago, i.e. effective journalism.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Kevin,

Those KGW poll results were 47% all the above, 43% bikes more careful. What they showed was that the majority of respondents feel we all share some blame…I\’d have to agree.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I felt the poll was not a correct gauge of the real issue..

Spanky
Guest
Spanky

I\’m not a single issue voter, so Sam may or may not get my vote. Things like this, to me, smack of pandering. I am not however, saying that the interesection at issue was fine and dandy. That whole area, and a lot of Interstate is a nightmare for all users.

I am a bit cautious of hasty \”solutions\” and grandstanding. Did Sam really need to be on site or did he just take advantage, like any politician of an opportunity for a sweet, sweet photo op?

Every user needs to be able to get through that intersection. And every user is entitled to \”convenience\” at a certain level. So hopfully, access will not be compromised and the city will do what is needed to direct drivers to the alternative streets to get to the points to the right of that intersection.

Right turns demand vigilance from drivers. Unfortunately, we are all human, and those of us that driver are all guilty of making ASSumptions about where bicycles are and also of forgetting to check mirrors.

I think awareness of bikes as road users on an equal footing with cars will continue to grow over time, and these problems will hopefully diminish. I hope. When I bike, I try to bike like a car drives.

Using my rearview mirror, I have seen bicycles access the road from a sidewalk within a few hundred feet of an intersection where I was intendeing to make a right while driving a car. I\’ve then stopped as the bike went straight as it was more than entitled to do. These events though, are dangerous because a car driver approaching an intersection, not having passed any bikes may ASSume no bikes are behind him or her, and make that right without checking. Not checking, froma car-centric world view.

In short, every intersection is inherently dangerous, and all intersections demand all due care from all users. No amount of signs or barricades can change this danger. The only thing that will work is due care and attention. And avoiding the \”rush\” we all get in as we go about our daily lives.

No website is going to offer a representative view of what the public thinks of this. Just as this website offers opinions predominantly from daily bicyclists, other sites will offer only opinions from rabid anti-bikers who think bikes belong on the front lawn when the kids aren\’t using them.

The guy that works as a construction laborer and lives somewhere East of 82nd and drives his pickup downtown to a construction site likely doesn\’t read any of this stuff and doesn\’t post plaudits to Sam Adams or Lars Larson or anyone else. He just wants to get to work, and support his family. And I doubt that anyone drives \”confident\” that they will not get ticketed if they seriously hurt or kill a bicyclist. No one, in my opinion, goes through life thinking \”I can drive like I want and if I hurt someone I won\’t feel bad and there won\’t be consequences.\” That\’s a silly assertion, implicit in at least one of the comments above.

Lenny Anderson
Guest

The right turn from s-bound Interstate to n-bound Greeley should have been removed when Interstate MAX was built. There is no need for it. Greeley, Interstate and I-5 all feed into Going Street for access to Swan Island. Someone who missed the turn at Interstate & Going can do legal U-turns at several lights along Interstate or use the \”jug-handle\” at Russell.
This turn is really the exception on Interstate where slower speeds and fewer traffic lanes have made it a safer street for all modes. The two busiest intersections, Interstate/Lombard and Interstate/Going, have had fewer crashes since Interstate was rebuilt for MAX, despite lots of bikers, pedestrians, transit riders and in the case of Going Street, trucks. Slower speeds and fewer lanes are key changes to make streets safe for all.

Moo
Guest
Moo

Where do people who turn there usually go anyway? Doesn\’t seem like a shorter route to Swan Island or Adidas, since they actually back-track when going south on Interstate to get to Greeley.

Paul Tay
Guest

Yep. Ban LEFT turns too. Hey, how \’bout U-turns? Naaaaaaaaaaah.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Spanky –
Though I spoke in anger, never the best idea, I don\’t believe my assertions were \”silly,\” nor do I believe that the drivers \”don\’t feel bad.\” I hope and expect that they do, as I would in their shoes.

With three highly publicized instances within a few short weeks of drivers failing to yield to cyclists in the bike lane – with horrific results to the cyclists and no consequences to the drivers, not even a fine or investigation – the PPB have failed in their duty and they have squandered a chance to educate the driving public on standing code. I don\’t think that this means every driver will be intentionally aiming for cyclists at every right turn, but when a law is not enforced, and that law was intended to increase safety, then the law has no meaning, and safety becomes harder to come by. I believe that makes the situation \”inherently unsafe.\”

brian
Guest
brian

Article Title – No more right turns: “I don’t want another tragedy”. But we are really talking about right turns at a particular intersection. I think the problem is bigger than this one intersection. You can\’t close off all right turns.

Yes this is a very dangerous intersection. And very sad things have happened at that intersection. It needs to be fixed.

But, please keep in mind that that 1000s of portland cyclist DONT go through that intersection every day. Yet every intersection where a car turns right crossing a bike lane presents the oppurtunity for a failure to yield/hooking for everyone of those cyclist.

I would like to hear a call for some broad enforcement. So I\’m calling for it. Let\’s see some very visible enforcement of motorists who fail to respect right of way rules. Lets see some cops on bikes setting up the sting. Let\’s see some meaningful support from the enforcement community.

true
Guest
true

oops – that was me in 39, not mr. anonymous.

Kurt Runzler
Guest
Kurt Runzler

If the right turn as engineered was \”inherently dangerous\” why was done in the first place? Did the safety \”guru\” approve it? One thing you can say about ol\’ Sam Adams, he ain\’t camera shy.

Spanky
Guest
Spanky

True/Anonymous at #39:
Thanks for your kind response. I certainly didn\’t mean to post anything rude here.

I think law enforcement needs to be given time. I also think the entire PPB should not be condemned. I\’ve had good interactions with LEOs both Portland and State. On the other hand, I\’ve dealt with PPB and Clackamas County folks who were the worst of the worst.

I also think one should keep in mind the sometimes glacial pace of the justice system, and the fact that an investigation can be fouled up by moving too quickly.

The facts of these events being publicized at all is a reminder to all users, and particularly drivers. But it will not mean an end to accidents. The positive effect of this publicity (avoidance of accidents due to greater caution and better driving) is impossible to measure.

I agree enforcement is needed (there\’s never enough), but it is impossible for law enforcement to enforce a \”check before you turn right\” violation unless there is a witnessed (by law enforcement or the bicyclist/pedestrian) near miss or an actual accident.

Metal Cowboy
Guest

Metal Cowboy
November 7th, 2007 00:56
132

I\’m reposting this rant of mine from last night – in light of the follow up that no citations will be issued for Doyles \”bumps and scraps, I have decided to organize a series of protests and education rides, press conferences, cyclist\’s civil rights movement – a concerte sustained movement if you will. Anyone – and this includes BTA, OBRA, PUMP, Shift – who wants to coordinate with me – I\’m at 503 239 6985, 408 595 6025, http://www.metalcowboy.com
OBRA has talk of a press conference for tonight but not sure it is going to happen. I want to plan a larger activism ride, demonstration – (thousands of riders) and press conference for next week.

….This case would be a good one to start a \”citizen\’s initiation of violation proceedings\”.

Let\’s do it!

No citations, no penalties, media all over the place calling her injuries \”not serious\”… meanwhile, she\’s in the hosptial tonight. KINK FM followed police and paramedics and TV and The Oregonian\’s lead, saying Doyle was not badly hurt????? WTF?

It all adds up to the larger Portland Public thinking this is how it works around here – we bump and grind a few cyclists in the name of progress. Look, she\’s fine, cyclist have to stay on the sidelines because if not they\’ll be dead right. i\’m livid, have been for weeks, been doing what I can to letter write call etc. wave my helmet in the air but enough\’s enough – I have three small children, a lot of work and living on my plate, all the blah blah excuses, but I\’m gonna have to dust off my activist cap and wade in… it\’s what tracy, Brett, doyle and the rest of us \”accidents\” waiting to happen deserve…

I\’m done – count me in for whatever protests, sit ins, class actions, letter writing, phone call bombardments to city hall, citation lawsuits. I\’ll give money to a law fund to get this rolling. I\’ll lead a ten thousand cyclist pedal around city hall – I\’m tired of hearing people say to me, \”Yep, you and your cycling friends are following the law in these accidents, but they\’ll just keep being dead right if they don\’t let the cars do their thing… we\’ll, if drivers who kill and injure cyclists have NO consequences – i.e still driving trucks and cars after running someone over, then we get the future we\’re will to put up with!

The Oregonian\’s coverage has been milk toast, lackluster regarding her injuries and kit glove regarding Kruger\’s bias, logic, pr flubs, etc. and I say this with seven years experience as a former newsman at a daily AP paper. We need to force their hand with a massive editorial letter writing campaign. I\’ll send me second letter to the ed. on this issue in the morning. Who is with me?

With everything that has happened, the media is so behind the curve…still running lame channel 8 segments about Cars Vs Bikes – sell the sizzle to make the viewership – focused heavily on bikes running stop signs in Ladds while cars are playing pinball with cyclists in North Portland? Again, WTF?

I\’d throw up my hands dodge and weave the front fenders and take the lane when need be like I learned growing up in Florida, business as usual, except that I really think we have a good community that wants to find some answers – which includes cyclists, drivers, some enlightened politicans etc. – we just need to push harder, we have to make more noise, we have to stand up for our rights and not be worried that it might make us targets… we already are – put some demands out there in force – as a unified, large vocal group to get Kruger off the traffic beat, file suits that sting and make statements, demand a ton more funding for education, enforcement, bike infrastructure…. We need to take this moment to act, thoughtfully but decisively – something along the lines of a civil rights movement for cyclists. I pay taxes and don\’t feel like I need to kowtow or apologize for using my streets to get around on two wheels. I follow every traffic law I can on my bike unless it endangers my future. I will not sit idle while potential riders beg off because they think our streets are too dangerous to take up something that cuts obesity, greenhouse gases, saves money, healthcare costs….

I commend Sam A for his quick actions today in closing the turn – let\’s lobby for a permanent fill in of that turn intersection and then keep the movement going on sppots around the city…

I think the time for a timid response on cycling is done – the cycling community needs to show some real outrage, in mass, beyond blogs ( awesome and very effective tools that they are) a calm, measured, intelligently and eloguently put outrage, but more proactive rather than what feels, at times, reactive – call a press conference of our own with a tousand vcyclists on the waterfont and put the entire community on notice that cyclists are not going to just be mowed over so people can get wherever they need to be 30 seconds faster.

I\’m in the middle of writing a cover story for Bicycling magazine about my family adventure across Canada by bike, so I\’ve taken the opportunity of having editor\’s ears to pitch a feature on Portland\’s growing pains as a sustainable bike friendly beacon -I welcome ideas as I get that story into the pipeline – If the world (NYT\’s etc) is going to keep holding us up as an example of how it can be for cyclists – we have to hold ourselves responsible for making it so – by holding police, planners, fellow cyclists, politicans, engineers, drivers, etc. accountable – it boils down to letting the politicans know with our votes, careless violating drivers through stiff penalities, planners by getting a much bigger portion of tax dollar spent on cycling and most important – by pedaling the streets in numbers every day.

My rant is done by my efforts are not.

Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie

DO
Guest
DO

\”it is impossible for law enforcement to enforce a \”check before you turn right\” violation unless there is a witnessed (by law enforcement or the bicyclist/pedestrian) near miss or an actual accident.\”

The same can be said for stop sign enforcement. \’Stings\’ are set up to allow the officers to personally witness the violation. There need to be \’stings\’ for failure to yield violations.

toddistic
Guest
toddistic

I completely agree with Metal Cowboy @43. This is why I am a bit confused at the decline of Critical Mass. I know that Critical Mass in the past has negative attention but what major changes in society weren\’t first precieved as negative? Without large activism there is no catalyst for change and status quo reigns supreme. We can rant about how our rights aren\’t respected and drivers are not ticketed but until the general public and the newsmedia get our take on the issue there is no voice. Sure Jonathon gets his 10 second blurb on TV (no disrespect intended) but that is hacked at the cutting room floor.

erin g.
Guest
erin g.

Re: Metal Cowboy & Toddistic

Please see the below \”Call to Action\” that I nearly posted yesterday, but withheld due to the city\’s swift response. I concur that there are still issues that need to be addressed, as evident in t.v. poles indicating that the majority of their audiences believe that cyclists were to blame in these three recent incidents (this is frightening and insulting to those killed or injured). I, too, feel that action is a great way to demand attention and affect change. Please read the below, and share your feedback, thoughts, and ideas:

****

(Written Tuesday, 11/06, Following Word of Latest Interstate Incident)

CALL TO ACTION

Does anyone else feel that it is time to TAKE ACTION in the form of a
very BIG, BOLD, ORGANIZED DEMONSTRATION? Something unprecedented in
numbers and impact? I cannot bear to read another report of
inexcusable injury or death. I feel that something large and unified
must be done. What do you all think?

Ideas for Consideration

Vision: Massive numbers of cyclists, community leaders, and
friends/families/supporters assemble on the downtown streets as a
unified group with shared goals:

1) Raise awareness about critical shared-road safety protocol;

2) Demand that cyclists\’ lives be valued and protected by drivers, the
system, infrastructure, and by the authorities and their leadership
(note: thank you to the many beat cops who do protect us; I\’ve
experienced this first-hand and am grateful).

We would also demand that protective measures and just protocol be
swiftly determined and immediately implemented.

While some media outlets still propagate counterproductive \”cars vs.
bikes\” language and attitudes, we can take it upon ourselves to lead
the way in educating and engaging those who must begin to listen,
understand, and behave in a way that protects all who use the roads.

Tactics: How could a large gathering make a strong statement to the
public and press in an innovative and thought-provoking way? Let\’s
brainstorm, perhaps looking at past movements in history that affected
change as sources of inspiration. It would be great to do something
beyond standard signage and a fill-the-streets ride.

There are many talented artists in the bike community. Perhaps some
might be willing to lend their creativity in coming up with a unique
way to make the strongest possible statement via unified
demonstration? Are there things that marchers/riders could wear,
collectively carry, or pass out to onlookers, underscoring
demonstration goals?

Messaging: Signs would need to promote forward-moving messages about
shared road safety while debunking common myths (i.e. some drivers
think that bike commuters don\’t pay taxes toward infrastructure. Lord
knows that the sums extracted from my paycheck don\’t go toward tubes
and chain lube…). Messages would also need to promote mutual respect
as opposed to doing anything that might potentially perpetuate further
conflict and negativity between drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Bottom line: In order to reach the audiences that need to
listen/understand, we must engage and educate them, carefully avoiding
the possibility of inflaming or irritating them. Otherwise we are
merely preaching to the choir as opposed to opening new eyes,
prompting thought, and affecting the change that our safety depends
upon.

Outreach: How might grassroots networking ensure that a diverse group
attends the demonstration, representing the many sectors of the
cycling/bike commuting community, plus drivers and pedestrians who
share our concerns and demand solutions?

Timing: By planning a couple of weeks out rather than pulling
something together on short notice, organizers would have time to
avoid overlap with existing events, achieve maximal attendance, and
promote/publicize well in advance.

Code of conduct: It is critical that such an effort be conducted in a
100% dignified, respectable, and law-abiding manner. But one or two
participants could tarnish the cause by doing something aggressive or
illegal, as the t.v. media could turn cameras in their direction. All
participants- no matter how diverse our views- would need to vow to
approach this from a peaceful, unified front.

Well, these are but ideas and possibilities from the limited
perspective of one rider. What do you all think? Anyone interested in
collectively organizing something of this sort? This online community
is powerful and impressive, and in light of the recent tragedies and
consequent actions/inactions, perhaps it is time to see just how
powerful we could be live-and-in-person, out there on the street all
at once, united by one vital cause.

In the meantime, the letter-writing campaigns are a great idea. Great
job, everyone.

hickeymad
Guest
hickeymad

I happened to be riding by the critical mass that occurred son after Bret was killed. Having never seen or participated in the event, I stopped to chat with a few of the folks.

In my mind, I found it really unfortunate that my impression of the group was a negative one. I am a working professional (an engineer), an avid commuter (since I was 14 I might add), a cycle-tourist (pacific coast among others) and a sometimes cyclocross-racer. My impressions of the folks at the critical mass ride were overwhelmingly of distaste; they reminded me of the pan-handling hippies I used to try and avoid during my college days in Humboldt. My conversation with several of them lead me to believe that the group was composed mainly of the \”heart-felt radical\” type. You know the type – those insensitive to reason and unwilling to compromise on any issue.

Like I said – unfortunate. If I had encountered well-meaning and reasonable people with actual real jobs I would have participated. I guess I am tired of progressive politics always getting the rap in popular culture as being full of \’dirty-hippie\’ types.

NO offense to any actual dirty hippies reading this, of course. I just can not relate to you is all…

Metal-cowboy and toddisitic; I would sincerely love to see more activism among a more diverse cross-section of the cycling community. However, as long as the crowd consists mainly of hippies and anarchists, I could not in good-conscious participate as the impression we would give to the public at large is that we cyclists are a radical minority easily ignored. In fact, we are a (growing!) constituency, which includes persons from ALL walks of life. As I am sure you well know…

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

toddistic #45,

I\’d agree that demands for changes in society are often initially perceived as negative, but I would disagree that CM is the way to achieve those changes.

I don\’t want to get into all the whys about CM, but suffice it to say that there are many of us, as immersed in the cycling world as you who respectfully disagree that CM is the way to achieve the changes we need.

erin g.
Guest
erin g.

Hi Hickeymad,

Pls. see my previous post. I think you\’ll find that the outlined ideas match your vision of a more all-encompassing/up-to-date sort of demonstration. I, too, received some negative impressions of Critical Mass when I first moved to Portland five years ago, and opted not to participate, despite being a devout bike commuter and avid cyclist. A couple of people were banging on cars stopped in traffic on a bridge that day, shouting things at drivers. Well, one of those drivers was a (then) pregnant friend, who is also a bike commuter. I was mortified by such actions and their ramifications; such behavior prompts drivers to apply stereotypes toward all bike commuters and cyclists. My above post is designed to prompt thought about a new, more inclusive kind of demonstration. Pls. read the parts about a proposed \’code of conduct\’ and method of reaching diverse set of supporters/participants. Thank you, and thanks for sharing your honest thoughts.