Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

BTA weighs in on enforcement issues

Posted by on November 7th, 2007 at 6:00 pm

Scott Bricker, the Executive Director of the BTA, has posted an update on what he has been doing in light of ongoing community discussion surrounding enforcement issues.

Here are excerpts from his post:

“The community is rightly distressed and beside itself about the recent bicycle fatalities and injuries…There is clear concern about the enforcement practices regarding cyclists, about citations at crash scenes, and about enforcement actions on low-traffic streets while there are deadly crashes happening at documented hazardous intersections.

This issue is complex and I want to ensure you that the BTA is working with elected officials, community leaders, and police on solving these problems.

Last week, prior to the most recent crash, I met personally with Mayor Tom Potter and we held a preliminary discussion about enforcement practices. Today I met with staff at Commissioner Adams’ office to talk about funding a variety of bicycle safety projects including 114 miles of new bicycle boulevards, 14 new bike boxes, and increased safety education. We are scheduled to meet with the Commissioner later this week to drill deeper into the enforcement issues and I am discussing these ongoing issues with the Mayor’s staff…”

See the full post on the BTA Blog.

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  • Robert Dobbs November 7, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    Even though I seem to never be able to get a posting through, here\’s an idea:

    Make bike boulevards like school or constructions zones. Double penalties for traffic violations on these roads, and if we can\’t get a statewide vulnerable users bill with some teeth, put it here instead.

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  • living hood ornament November 7, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Wow! What a stunningly vacant statement…THIS is the best the BTA can do?

    Why not aim for maximum clarity and just say \”The BTA is meeting with uncaring politicos and exchanging platitudes…\” At least it would be honest.

    I\’ll feel so much safer running the gauntlet to work tomorrow, really I will.

    C\’mon Scott how about working on engineering solutions that matter? Say maybe independent signaling of proven dangerous intersections or eliminating deadly right turns? How about working to remove Kruger from his position of (ir)responsibility?

    Oh never mind! Let\’s instead make more bike boulevards where we can be easy prey for lackluster drivers and bike boxes (they\’re soooo European after all) that place us directly in the path of oncoming vehicles. Way to pick the solution of least resistance and hence, obviously the best….


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  • BURR November 7, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    talk is cheap

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  • disappointed BTA member November 7, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    It would have been heartening to see a statement more critical of Lt. Kruger and his followers within the Traffic Division, but I suppose these weasel words should come as no surprise.

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  • kata November 7, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Same here, pretty bland statement from the BTA, IMHO. I wish Mr. Briker the best of luck, but wouldn\’t be suprised if nothing came out of your meetings.

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  • N.I.K. November 7, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Yes, it is BURR. I\’d imagine that\’s why Scott\’s being careful not to throw any B.S. promises our way until he\’s actually explored multiple avenues of action. Critical as I have been of some of his mischaracterizations of the cycling community, I\’d say it\’s actually a fairly wise move.

    \’course, if he hadn\’t said, \”I\’m in talks with the right folks now and tomorrow,\” everyone would be going, \”Gee, where the crap is that newly appointed ED over at the BTA on this mess? What\’s he doing now that he\’s in office – goofin\’ off and eatin\’ candy?\” 😛

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  • peejay November 7, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Gosh, and I thought about donating to the BTA! Scott, you sound like the Democrats in congress right now: they can\’t even stop the most unpopular president in history from getting his way. Thanks BTA for nothing!

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  • Ross Williams November 7, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Oh come on. BTA has always been an effective advocate because they are known for listening, not just talking. That does get stuff done but it doesn\’t create great sound bites.

    I think there ought to be an effort to get police out of their squad cars and onto bicycles. It would get them closer to the community like the old beat cops. And the streets would pretty quickly become safe for bicyclists.

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  • N.I.K. November 7, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    While we all wait on hearing more from Scott, head on over to http://www.commissionersam.com/node/2984 and pitch in your two cents. Terry Parker\’s over there accusing us all of being freeloaders yet again. Don\’t let him get away with it.

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  • BURR November 7, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    I agree with Ross about getting cops out of cars and personally think that the Traffic Squad officers should each spend about 80 hours a month on a bike instead of on a motorcycle or in a squad car.

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  • beth h November 7, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Scott Bricker is doing the best he can. His hands are tied. He is a suit trapped in an outmoded and corpulent system that lacks the political and fiscal will to engineer the kinds of changes that will make driving less attractive and more of a major hassle for private citizens. This bloated system is trying its damndest to keep alive the outdated and dangerous vision of a car in every driveway, for every person who wants one. Through government deals, subsidies for fuel and road materials, and mass-media advertising, we have managed to create a world where the car is king.

    Do we have what it takes to uncreate that world?

    I keep dreaming of five-dollar gasoline.

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  • carlsson November 7, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    re: Burr #10

    I don\’t get 80 hours, but if we agree that 5% of commuting is done on bikes lets put them on bikes for 5% of their shift. One day a month would still open their eyes!

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  • steve November 8, 2007 at 12:10 am

    I am glad that I am not the only one that sees how useless and inept the BTA is. As far as I can tell, all it does is support the salaries and resumes of a handful of useless do-nothings.

    Have a look at their website. It is obvious that they are a front for federal grant writing. Sucking at the teat of \”safe routes to schools\” funding.

    Virtually the entire staff has some sort of title associated with that slogan.

    Scott Bricker is busy dreaming of the next non-profit or government job he can snag with more power and a bigger paycheck.

    Your money is better spent wiping your @ss than being donated to the BTA. But hey, you get a discount at the local bike shop that they get to write off as a charitable donation, right? Maybe the shops owner will win an award and some free advertising. Yay.

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  • Russell November 8, 2007 at 12:43 am

    Endless meetings with ‘stakeholders’ with free coffee and pizza and plutocratic elbow rubbing and endless talk when there is blood on the streets makes me ill. The complete lack of even a hint of rage from the people who claim to represent us is just as demoralizing as the outright hate from the police and drivers. The BTA is bordering on irrelevant. Go talk to some kids about ‘safe cycling’ and stay out of it.

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  • Growing Tired November 8, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Hey look it\’s the BTA hate club (most of the above). Ooooo… you all sound so smart and full of ingeniously colorful commentary. I think from now on, I\’ll just read Jonathan\’s o.p\’s and move on as I feel like I need to bathe MOST of the time after I swim in the tiresome wakes of negativity that too often spews from the same couple dozen or so folks on here.

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  • Peter W November 8, 2007 at 3:19 am

    I think people should cool down, or focus your anger at the Police, not the BTA. The BTA doesn\’t get things done by being overtly pissed off, they get things done by being coolheaded and smart.

    Scott helped pass the vulnerable roadway users bill (of course, that is obviously only a start, especially when the police aren\’t enforcing any laws).

    Also, I think that people are foolish to criticize the Safe Routes to School program, which:

    1) uses money from the government to fund bike advocacy aimed partly at governments (schools and city) which is pretty awesome, its like political jujitsu, and

    2) helps create new generations of cyclists (kids) as well as getting some parents to bike and

    3) decreases the # of cars on the streets (fewer parents driving their kids to schools) and

    4) helps engineer safer roads for everyone (not just kids)

    Remember that a lot of readers here (myself included) are probably most active when they\’re occasionally pissed off, but the BTA is active every day.

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  • Joe November 8, 2007 at 7:42 am

    This is the reason I no longer contribute to the BTA. \’nuff said

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  • pdxrunner November 8, 2007 at 7:58 am

    As a BTA member myself I am quite pissed off at them for not coming out with something concrete that they plan to do about the lack of enforcement. Of course, trying to get the Portland police to enforce traffic laws is hopeless. We need to get Potter and Kruger out of there!

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  • Klixi November 8, 2007 at 8:10 am

    Russell is spot on. The only way to protect yourself on a bike in Portland is to cycle defensively and always pay attention. If you are waiting on Sam Adams, the BTA and driver education to fix things then you might as well sell your bike now because that isn\’t going to happen in this lifetime, and I\’ll put money on that. Sadly.

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  • Carl November 8, 2007 at 8:32 am

    Talk is cheap.
    Commenting on blogs is cheaper.

    The BTA, especially now under Scott, is doing a great job at doing what they\’ve always done: being a cautious, even-handed, long-sighted advocacy organization. A group that has the foresight to see the connection between the Safe Routes to School Program and better infrastructure and ridership doesn\’t get to that point by calling cops Nazis and flying into a perpetual rage.

    You want something more radical? F\’ing DO something more radical. Ever since the day I moved here I\’ve heard TALK about starting a more radical group to do what the BTA can\’t and won\’t – and you know what? It\’s been all TALK.

    Commenting on a blog isn\’t civic engagement, people.

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  • Kevin Hedahl November 8, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Everyone is asking for a major denunciation from the BTA. That will never come. Why? Because it uses up political capital that they rightly should be spending making real changes. If they denounce the City of Portland for its bike work, do you think the mayor and police would be more or less likely to speak with them? Would you want to speak with someone who is publicly calling you a worthless piece of $@%#?

    Scott is doing a great job doing what he is best at, working in the background getting policies examined and changed. However, it is a long and tough process with decades of policies going in a different direction.

    Give him the support he needs instead of tearing apart an important political ally.

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  • Qwendolyn November 8, 2007 at 8:51 am

    The BTA should do what it has to in order to maintain working relationships with people in government. That\’s just smart.

    Meanwhile BTA members should do what they feel they need to to push the BTA in a more radical direction. That\’s also smart.

    Find the Nash Equilibrium, people!

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  • N.I.K. November 8, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Exactly, Kevin. As I commented over on the BTA blog:

    \”If the PPB is so out of whack as for these enforcement issues to exist in the first place, and the Mayor’s office doesn’t consider it enough of an issue to sort it out, there’s a fairly strong chance that saying “the actions of the PPB are unacceptable and the Mayor isn’t holding them accountable” is going to be taken as “nogoodrassafrackinjerkfacedidjuts”. At that point, good luck getting those whom you hold no official power over accountable for much of anything.\”

    Their solution over there is diplomacy. It takes longer and sometimes leaves us feeling that nothing\’s getting done, but it can have good results. However, this is also no reason to sit on our hands waiting for something to be done for us by somebody else.

    I don\’t have the time to organize anything, but folks like Metal Cowboy look like they\’re stepping up to the plate. Hopefully someone will come up with something that can effectively engage the public and the media with the issues at stake while the BTA slowly tries to initiate policy changes at the city and state levels.

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  • Michelle November 8, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Note that Scott supported all kinds of other bike advocacy and activism in his post – \”Please continue to support these changes with your personal action.\” He knows the value of hot, honest, angry outburst.

    But if he gets mad and loud and calls out officials by name, he ruins relationships – and not just with them – that might have helped him get what we all want: postive change.

    I think it\’s fine to have multiple layers of bike advocacy – hotter, more angry protests combined with some cool negotiation. Each one makes the other possible, and more effective.

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  • bike4fun November 8, 2007 at 9:35 am

    All you folks bitching about the BTA OBVIOUSLY know NOTHING about getting change made in govenment, which is what needs to happen. For gosh sakes, now is the time to back the BTA not tear it or Scott down.

    Your talk is cheap, and I don\’t see any of you getting appointments with city leaders to make change happne. If you think Scott going in \”guns a blazing\” is the way to make change, you are more stupid than your post.

    Call the BTA or send a donation and help them to get change, real change, for all riders.

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  • meh November 8, 2007 at 9:35 am

    To all of you bitching about the BTA all I can say is talk is cheap. How about all of you try and organize and meet with city officials and see how far you get with the \”your all a bunch of f—— loser politicos and we are the ones who are right\” attitude. You\’ll really get people to listen that way. Right.

    There is something to be said for diplomacy, and when it comes to working with government it always takes 10 times longer than it should, but change can happen. If diplomacy doesn\’t work then applying more pressure should happen, but the best course is to work WITH them not AGAINST them.

    This attitude most of you have reminds me of George Bush\’s foreign policy, \”screw the rest of the world we are going to war with Iraq\”. That worked out real well, didn\’t it. Notice how the rest of the world now hates the US? Hit City Hall with your attitude and you\’ll get the same result, City Hall will hate you and not work with you.

    Think about it.

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  • Bicycledave November 8, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Scott Bricker is the \”good cop\” and we are the \”bad cop.\” Stay tuned for our chance to play bad cop. Joe \”Metal Cowboy\” Kurmaskie and others are organizing a protest ride probably for next week. We need numbers at that ride. Numbers are what politicians listen to. If wee can get a big crowd it will make Scott\’s good cop role all that much easier. He\’ll be able to say (in effect) \”would you rather deal with that angry mob with pitchforks and torches or talk to me?\”

    It takes both types of action to get things done. I think Scott and the BTA are doing a great job.

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  • Chris November 8, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Posts #20-23 Thank you!
    \”Talk is cheap.Commenting on blogs is cheaper.\”
    \”Commenting on a blog isn\’t civic engagement, people.\”
    \”…Give him the support he needs instead of tearing apart an important political ally.\”

    Thank you for stating what I couldn\’t. Every time I tried to write something to post last night it was simply a string of expletives.
    I mailed in my BTA renewal this morning and plan to follow up with a letter to comm. Sam\’s office. I encourage anybody that is upset to do whatever they can.
    Certainly, I also agree with a lot of comments here that cycling \’defensively and always pay(ing) attention\’ is the best way to protect yourself out there.

    Now get off the computer and get on your bike already!

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  • Paul November 8, 2007 at 10:08 am

    If helmets were required in Oregon, we would save many more lives than we ever would with anything that Tom Potter, Sam Adams or Scott Bricker will ever do.

    Chris Smith may do great things for cycling in Portland, but why is he there with his bike and no helmet. And why do we see a slide show of nearly all helmet-less cyclists when we go to Xtracycles\’ website?

    \”Eighty-six percent of bicyclists killed in 2005 reportedly weren\’t wearing helmets\” (http://www.helmets.org/stats.htm)

    A medical journal reported that “Helmets provide a 63 to 88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists. Helmets provide equal levels of protection for crashes involving motor vehicles (69%) and crashes from all other causes (68%). Injuries to the upper and mid facial areas are reduced 65%.” (http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab001855.html)

    Wearing helmets would also do well for our health insurance premiums:

    • Direct costs of cyclists\’ injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $81 million each year.
    • Indirect costs of cyclists\’ injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $2.3 billion each year. (http://www.helmets.org/stats.htm)

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  • k. November 8, 2007 at 10:11 am

    The advocacy of any cause needs a multi faceted approach. The Irish had both Sein Fein and the IRA. Groups that work within the system, such as the BTA and outside the system, such as Critical Mass, each have a part to play in this cause. The sooner everyone recognizes that, the better off we\’ll be. We don\’t need to be arguing with each other. We\’re all after the same thing, just in different ways.

    However you support the cause, the important thing is just that: you are supporting the cause.

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  • Gil Johnson November 8, 2007 at 10:28 am

    Robert Reid, a criminal attorney, wrote an excellent column in today\’s (Nov. 8) Oregonian Op Ed page. He said the two recent bike fatalities were negligent homicide and not citing/arresting the drivers was allowing all drivers to ignore the law. This is the kind of statement that a strong bicycle advocacy organization should be making.

    The BTA got rolling in the early 90s by taking far more strident position, to the point of taking the city to court on a bike lane issue. Where is that fire now? It\’s not a matter of working in the system or working outside the system, but of not rolling over for the powers that be.

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  • peejay November 8, 2007 at 10:37 am

    \” The Irish had both Sein Fein and the IRA.\”

    Oh, great: a political party that provided cover and financing for a group of cowardly thugs who murder children, and those cowardly thugs themselves. (Before you jump on me for being anti-Irish, or anti-Catholic, or whatever, the other side is full of the same hateful losers, too.) That\’s just the sort of groups we need representing cyclists in Portland!

    I believe that now is the time that the BTA, with all its establishment credentials, needs to make a strong stand against the Police negligence, because it would mean more than any other group. Now is the time to spend some of that political capital you\’ve earned, BTA! I was a little over the top with my frustration at BTA leadership, but the point stands. We can wave \”Fire Kruger\” signs on the sidewalks outside of City Hall all we want, but when someone in a suit says it inside of City Hall, that\’s when it works.

    Maybe the BTA is doing that already, but just not telling us. If so, all is forgiven, when we hear you\’ve gotten the result of a Police Bureau that starts enforcing the laws that protect us, and apologizes to the community for not having done so until this time.

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  • Lenny Anderson November 8, 2007 at 10:37 am

    The BTA\’s Bricker has got the ear of the Big Dog…and he\’s telling him what we want; PPB needs to lay off harassing bikers and start enforcing the law where it will save lives. He probably has Reid\’s excellent piece in his pocket.
    As polite and self-controlled as I know Scott appears, I am sure that he will have an angry edge to his voice in these discussions with the powers that be.

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  • weastsider November 8, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Losers piss and moan about the BTA while daily reaping the benefits of it\’s hard work.

    Maybe they don\’t remember what it was like cycling in Portland in the 1980\’s. Probably because they didn\’t. Then they belittle the importance of safe routes to school.

    So, perhaps they can do better keying cars and throwing bricks at the cops. Best of luck with the temper tantrum.

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  • tonyt November 8, 2007 at 11:38 am

    BURR and carlsson #s 10 & 12,

    Certainly ALL cops should spend some time on a bike for some of their shifts.

    But I would humbly propose an addition to your plan.

    If 5% of commuting is done by bike, then 5% of the PPB should be commuting by bike, without \”POLICE\” on their back. That would be a lot different than them riding around on the sidewalks spinning in the granny gear on their over-accessorized MTBs with their POLICE jackets.

    They should look like any civilian out there.

    Attitudes would change quickly.

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  • Kristen November 8, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Even though I\’m not a member of the BTA, and don\’t ride in Portland, I still see the value of what the BTA is doing right now– just because it\’s not working as fast as you\’d like it to doesn\’t mean it\’s not working.

    Besides, the BTA may be setting the pace for the rest of the west-side of Oregon– or even the whole state– when it comes to advocating for and creating cycling-friendly cities and livable communities.

    Mr Bricker is a diplomat; something the Portland cycling community obviously needs.

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  • Metal Cowboy November 8, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    I\’m off to New Mexico in an hour to entertain our cycling brethren in for Bikepalooza and sundry other cycling parties (I know, tough job, but I\’ve pedaled a lot of steep roads to get here) – so I\’ll won\’t be back until Monday – but I\’ll try to cover the highlights and hope everyone can help us pull off this first rally scheduled for Friday, November 16th. Time?TBA. ( afternoon must be beofre dark to be as effective – perhaps people can end work week early – it is after all something of a Portland tradition to wrap up a bit early on Friday 😉

    1. This Is NOT a critical mass ride. I believe CR\’s have a place in work toward car coexistence/carefree utopia, but this is not one of the tools we plan to use in our Mobility/Cyclist\’s Civil Rights Movement. I support those who do CR\’s, but this movement is shooting for a vibe that the media won\’t mistake for anything but a dignified, sober level of outrage, and grass roots citizen driven with specific outcomes we seek.

    These ARE gatherings of as many cyclists and safer streets supporters as we can muster given the short timeline. Building larger and larger gatherings from there. We want to get people who support these goals there by foot, bike, MAX, skateboards. People who drive should come down and support the ideas of a safer Portland.

    2. We want this Rally/Ride and Press Conference, the first of as many as needed to help Portland become safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers – because many of us truly believe that a lot of drivers out there want to coexist with cyclists, walkers etc., to be a chance to show that it is not us against them, Car vs Bikes – it is, as Peter Gabriel once said, \”only us\”. We will alert all media to our pllans and give them documents beforehand.

    3. We want to invite bike clubs, business owners, bike manufacturers, artists, pedestrians, MADD, OBRA CCC, Clubs from vancouver, etc everyone who feels it their gut that our streets and all of our actions need to improve so that Brett and Tracy, Tim (washington County) and Doyle incidents don\’t keep happening.

    3. Purpose of these rallies and rides:
    A) Unveil Safer Mobility/Cyclist\’s Bill of Rights/Responsibilities and Demands
    B) Correct untruths/mistatements and omissions by police, media outlets that lead public to false conclusions
    C) Demand that enforcement of existing laws be enforced. Demand that Kruger be transfered out of traffic division.
    D) Demand funding increase for cycling from purposed $25 million to $75 million.
    E) Demand education become a priority for all drivers, cyclists, citizens through DMV, BTA, OBRA, PUMP Schools, Workplaces etc.
    F) Help cut through some of the double speak, the manouvering and platitudes that policymakers and directors of various organizations feel they have no choice but to engage in.

    4. Our theme on posters and banners can voice any aspects of outrage because this is America, but specific messages pointing out the problem and solutions and showing media that we are inclusive and simply want safer streets for all will give us a better chance of getting those messages through to the viewing public. Here\’s one we are stealing, with thanks and permission from Hal at Washington County BTC

    “We are family, coworkers, neighbors and friends. Please drive as if you know us… because you do.”

    5. How to make this ride NOT a Critical Mass but still have impact? Some ideas include teaming up in groups of ten or less to ride legally to a selected location, converging on City Hall, or McCall Waterfront Park in a type of reverse CM. Holding the Rally/Press conference. It\’s been suggested that we either get parade permits for future rallies so we can pedal in mass over to city hall or in the short term ride/walk single file
    the short distance to City Hall. It\’s also be suggested that we simply mass in the park with expressions of solidarity, signs, banners, and a show of cyclists, supporters on foot, hold the rally inviting city hall to speak. From there we\’d disperse in groups of five cyclists/supporters to every corner of downtown, every intersection of the east bank as we could occupy, legally and have all five riders standing outside in a ROW, each holding signs that might read “Neighbor, Friend, Grandpa with the last sign reading “And We Bike”. or \”And We All Want Safer Streets.\” We could take all of these signs, banners and, rather than have the police arresting us for being a snake of 1000 riders we could be a 500 spokes of solidarity at all these intersections.

    6. I really do have to go catch this plane, but we want suggestions, ideas, and for everyone who has emailed me wanting to get involved, you can help by getting everyone you know who supports these ideas whether they drive most of the time, walk, ride etc. to come down for this first event. And also know that no movement will ever line up with all of your specific wants, beliefs etc. but we must do something… this is one place to start.

    We are massaging a mobility/cyclist\’s civil rights document right now – please send your ideas for it.

    All of this is a work in progress – help needed, naysayers stick to the blogs. Let\’s see what sort of traction we can get

    Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie

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  • mj November 8, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    I\’ve got to agree with most of the latter comments here – the BTA needs to take measured steps to accomplish their goals. Outrage by the cycling community is great & appropriate, but it comes and goes as unfortunate incidents of the past month are more or less in our memories. But the BTA is there every day advocating for our cause.

    The Democratic Party analogy in congress is a good one – except take it another way. Let\’s not be like them and divide our community over how extreme we can be at the expense of our more common goal!

    We are a minority community fighting for more rights on the road. Stand united with the BTA, stand united for biker rights and advocacy…and get civically active to make sure your points are made too! The BTA is not the only way for change, but they are an entrenched organization representing your/our interests more than any other right now.

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  • Jonathan Long November 8, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    All I know is…I work a frickin lot of hours. I commute just under 25 miles to a night shift job. I don\’t have all the time in the world to be an \”activist\” for all the cyclists out there. That is why I give money to the BTA. Ya know…if you don\’t have time to cut your lawn..you hire someone and you pay them if they do a good job. The only organizations I give money to is the BTA and OPB. I do this cause I think they both do a GREAT job. Maybe I don\’t know, but someone tell me of an organization in Portland or anywhere else that puts as much time and effort toward the rights and benefits of cyclists.

    So I will just keep giving them what little contribution I can and wait till Sam Adams is mayor, cause then you will see the changes we all want in the Portland Police Bureau. No, it won\’t be perfect, never has been, never will be…but it will be better. Just my thought….

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 8, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    \”Talk is cheap. Commenting on blogs is cheaper.

    \”naysayers stick to the blogs.\”

    Please forgive me for getting a bit defensive here… but are either of you insinuating that there\’s something **** and/or not valuable about commenting on this site?

    I take comments very seriously and I feel they have a big impact in many ways.

    Their value varies greatly from one to another, but why generalize or belittle them?

    \”comments are not civic engagement\” ?

    Carl, can you elaborate?

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  • Carl November 8, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    If I thought commenting on your site was lame or without value, I wouldn\’t do it.

    I think your comments sections and forums are extremely valuable. It\’s a tool for communicating with others in the bike community, having a conversation, organizing, clarifying points, and understanding different views.

    I have no doubt that YOUR writing is valuable civic engagement and advocacy, because the media, bureaucrats and politicians look to it and it mobilizes and informs cyclists…but if we are only motivated to comment on your site, that IS lame.

    People who feel that they can lambaste the BTA as \”all talk\” in your comments section disgust me because, as far as I can tell, THEY\’re all talk. If I want to bounce ideas around and add to a discussion that people might look to as a barometer of bike opinion, I\’ll comment on your site. If I\’m seriously pissed about something and want to change it, I won\’t leave it at that. I\’ll directly contact those involved, I\’ll attend meetings, I\’ll organize events, and I\’ll be an engaged citizen. Unless I\’m doing those things, I won\’t criticize the actions of those who are.

    You know I love your site and find your work invaluable. It\’s important to recognize, though, that while YOU\’re doing your part, OUR sending comments to your site is a far cry from sending comments to City Hall.

    I meant absolutely no offense. My apologies if any was taken.

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  • Metal Cowboy November 8, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Jonathan and all,

    Delayed at airport. My naysayers stick to blogs comment was not targeted at bicycling sites or blogs in general or yours specifically – I didn\’t phrase that well – my sentiment was that for this rally, we hope to keep it unified and send a message to the media and public about what we\’d like to see happen for the cycling community and safer streets- and the healthy infighting and debating can and should be left out of the rally for now – I was thinking specificallly of the press conference where a cyclist interrupted sam adams – My apologies if it sounded as a slight to lively spiritedd debate – it\’s how people sort things out- its healthy, messy demmocracy.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 8, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Carl and Joe,

    No offense taken really… but I\’m glad I said something because I thought your responses were interesting and informative.

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  • Matt Picio November 8, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    I think Gil (#30) hits the nail right on the head. I know that Scott Bricker is doing his job, and I\’m sure that he and the rest of the BTA are working with the mayor, the PPB, and the rest of the city to do something about the problem, but we really, REALLY need to make a strong statement here. Still working within the system, but taking them to task and if necessary, threatening legal action against the city. This is 3 serious \”right-hook\” incidents within a month, 2 resulting in fatalities and 1 in serious injury. Yes, I said \”serious injury\”. I don\’t give a damn what the legal definition of \”serious\” is – whenever an ambulance needs to be called, the victim is taken to urgent care, and an overnight stay is required, that\’s SERIOUS. A broken arm and collarbone is not trivial, and Siobhan could easily have been killed.

    The enforcement actions that have occurred over the last few days at Ladd\’s and Salmon do nothing to address the current problem. Yes, cyclists disobey the law there, and yes, those who run the stop signs should get tickets. (sorry guys, if you break the law, deal with the consequences) But let\’s be real here – why the hell is PPB enforcing low-traffic residential intersections when people are getting killed? Isn\’t that a little like stopping shoplifters at Kwiki-Mart when banks are being robbed in downtown Portland?

    The BTA is under the gun here, and this is a fantastic chance for them to either shine spectacularly or crash spectacularly. PPB is likewise under the gun – if they want any credibility in the cycling community, they need to address our concerns – and we (all of us) need to hold their feet to the fire and make them address our concerns.

    Talk to your co-workers, your families, your neighbors. Let them know that their kids, their friends, anyone who walks, skates or rides a bike is endangered when motorists aren\’t held accountable. If they want to start talking about cyclists, skateboarders, etc \”not obeying the law\”, gently remind them that this is hurting the ones that DO obey the law, and is affecting everyone.

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  • a.O November 8, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    This is the point I\’ve been trying to make ad nauseum:

    [W]hy the hell is PPB enforcing low-traffic residential intersections when people are getting killed?

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  • Dabby November 8, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    I am anti Catholic, Anti Thug, and the majority of the time, not in agreement with the BTA.

    And not afraid to state it.

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  • Dabby November 8, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    I am sorry, I did not mean majority, but a percentage of the time.

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  • Qwendolyn November 8, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Wow, Dabby.

    Where in the world did that list come from?

    I mean, you could have said: \”I\’m anti Jew, anti bully, and anti AAA.\”

    …It would have been about as bigoted.

    While we\’re on the subject, let\’s clarify. Are you just anti Roman Catholic, or anti Eastern Orthodox Catholic as well?

    What about BTA members who were baptized Catholic but converted to Shinto?

    What about thugs who only beat up Catholics and BTA members?

    Is there anybody else we should know about who you\’re anti to varying percentage of the time?

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  • steve November 9, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Right there with ya Dabby. You can add anti Qwendolyn to my list as well.

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  • Dabby November 9, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Sorry Qwendolyn,

    I am certainly not bigoted. I was halfway jokingly referring to a above comment regarding thugs, and catholicism.

    It obviously did not come across as planned.

    Sarcasm in print can do that.

    I am anti brussel sprouts and cabbage though.(insert sarcasm here)

    I do wish the BTA was less lobbying, and more to do with the average, local. cyclist, here in town.

    But, their job is really to be lobbyists for cycling issues, so what to do?

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  • Dabby November 9, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Peejay\’s comment #31 is what I was halfway referring to, by the way.

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  • Andrew November 9, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Hey Jonathan, in regards to your comment \” Please forgive me for getting a bit defensive here… but are either of you insinuating that there\’s something lame and/or not valuable about commenting on this site?\”
    I know you are defending your site here, however, as someone with a physical disability when you use the word \”lame\”, it kind of puts me in a really bad place. Considering the relative lack of regard I see for people who are alienated or feel alienated because that are not able to do or participate in certain activities others take for granted (i.e. ride a bike); I feel quite defensive about the language you use and consequences of it. I know it wasn\’t intentional, most stuff like this isn\’t but I just wanted to bring it to your attention. Thanks

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  • rukidding November 9, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Are you kidding me Andrew,I am disabled and the word lame is not offensive at all.
    My husband got hit by a semi truck making a right hand turn in front of him while on his bike, his back is broken in 4 places,and 2 operation later;he can hardly walk,but the usage of the word lame is not offensive to him. Maybe you need a support group or something or maybe you need to lighten up abit and learn that some words today have different meanings then they did 50 years ago

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  • Andrew November 10, 2007 at 8:54 am

    I respect your opinion, however, their was an explicit value judgment placed within how that word was contextualized.
    I don\’t claim to speak for all people who are disabled. I\’m sorry to here about your husband. However, can you imagine that the use of that word \”lame\” in a negative context is going to help people feel empowered or good about themselves. I was just providing Jonathan with a reminder that not everyone takes that word lightly.

    Also, because you would define yourself as \”disabled\” doesn\’t give you the authority to say what is or what isn\’t offensive. I certainly didn\’t intend to offend you, but I think you should have a little more respect for the diversity of peoples perspectives and experiences and that yours is not necessarily the only one or the only right one.

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  • rukidding November 10, 2007 at 10:11 am

    I consulted with my mother,whom is 72 and to the best of her knowledge people have not been tagged with the word \”lame\” since the biblical times.When she was young people said \”crippled\” ,there was even a \”Crippled Childerns Fund\”. When people (at least young or cool people) hear the word lame, today they dont think of someone who is disabled, more likley, something that was not fun or cool or a drag…or sucked, oops hope you dont take that word to heart too.
    I still think you are to sensative.
    You remind me of the time I went to my first support group meeting for the \”disability\” that I have, I roller bladed there,got there everyone was eating doughnuts and soda @7pm, then people starting talking about thier ailments and what they cant do, I asked if anybody there worked out, a lady reached across the table and patted my hand and said \”Oh no my dear we are disabled\” I promptly said I was in the wrong place then, and left, I dont race anymore, but I still ride and work out,and will do so until I am put in the box underground!!
    Anybody can sit around and say oh I\’m disabled and cant do that,but it takes will and determanation to try to do something..anything. I will not be defined by a \”disability\” nor will I let a \”disablity\” rule my life!

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  • Andrew November 10, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    I\’m glad you are living your life, and that you strive not to let yourself get limited. That is great, I love your sense of agency.

    Your examples and experience (as well as your mothers) while valid and important are still that \”your experience\”. You are speaking from a subjective position expecting that it holds some holy authority. Your examples don\’t seem to be particularly relevant to the issue I was addressing.

    I\’ve tried to be nothing but careful and considerate in the words that I have expressed here, so I am confused at what has inspired you you be so antagonistic and disrespectful to me.

    There isn\’t a need to respond. You obviously can\’t hear me. So, we can let this post get back to its intended purpose.

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  • rukidding November 10, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Andrew,you bore me!
    It looks as if you are one of those guys that always has to be right.
    I tire of this conversation,enjoy your pity party

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