“There just has to be some consequences for drivers who plow into cyclists.”
–Julie Rawls, a witness to yesterday’s collision.
The frustration of many people in the community has reached a boiling point. The well over one-hundred comments on this site (and others), emails and phone calls I’ve received, and messages on local email lists leave little doubt that many Portlanders are confused and concerned over how the police have responded to recent crashes.
Frustrations hinge on the policies and practices of the Police Bureau that have come to light following a string of recent bike/car collisions. Many people point out that in three recent collisions (two resulted in a fatality, one led to serious injuries) citations were not issued, even though a law (ORS 811.050; failure to yield to rider on bicycle lane) was violated.
Julie Rawls was driving a car directly behind Lisa Wheeler and watched as Wheeler turned her car into the bike lane and hit Siobhan Doyle yesterday. Here’s an excerpt from a comment she left this morning:
“The fact that there is no citation in this situation is just extremely frustrating. This driver was totally negligent and was not paying attention while driving. There just has to be some consequences for drivers who plow into cyclists. Also, I can corroborate the story that the driver was less than helpful. Maybe she was traumatized too…but she stood around and showed little to no emotion.”
Rawls is not the only one who has expressed frustration. City Council hopeful Chris Smith added his thoughts on his blog this morning:
“Wag of the Finger to the Portland Police Bureau who declined to issue a citation or conduct an investigation despite eyewitness accounts that would suggest the possibility of erratic driving by the operator of the car.”
Local author and nationally recognized bicycling personality Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie is fed up. In the comment he just left, he says he wants to launch a “Cyclist’s Civil Rights Movement” that addresses this and other issues:
“I’m spearheading a Cyclist’s Civil Right Movement so we can channel our frustrations into some directed sustained actions – that would include a large, legal and nonviolent bike ride protests starting next week (before the Thanksgiving Holidays date and time TBA) a press conference at the end or beginning of the ride to read a Cyclist Civil Rights and Responsibilites. and do a short state of the union.
We plan to demand enforcement, more education, more funding, a series of televised town halls on cyclist civil rights, a call to end the slogan Cars vs Bikes, an end to media outlets underreporting injuries and calling these collisons and crashes “accidents” a call for Officer Kruger’s transfer from traffic division….if it’s time to be the point person on rallying Portland to become a safer, stronger cycling friendly place, then so be it.”
Portland lawyer Chris Heaps is also not waiting around for something to be done. Heaps, who has enlisted the help of Kurmaskie and bike lawyer Ray Thomas, has already started a formal process to cite the driver in yesterday’s collision.
That process, known as “initiation of violation proceeding by private party”, was championed by Thomas and has been used successfully by several cyclists since Thomas worked to increase awareness of it back in 2006.
The process utilizes an existing law, ORS 153.058, and essentially allows any citizen to conduct an investigation, issue subpoenas for involved police officers to appear in court, and then make a presentation to a judge. From the ORS:
“A person other than an enforcement officer may commence a violation proceeding by filing a complaint with a court that has jurisdiction over the alleged violation.”
Heaps adds that,
“The PPB’s policy of not investigating or citing drivers who injure or kill cyclists is effectively sending the message that the City of Portland won’t punish traffic violations that make biking more dangerous in Portland. That’s totally inconsistent with the City’s stated policy of making Portland more bike-friendly.”
Following the two tragedies in October, the Police Bureau told the community that it is standard practice to not issue a moving violation citation when the collision involves a fatality (note that both cyclists were in the bike lane when hit). They said doing so would impede the District Attorney’s ongoing investigation.
Then, after yesterday’s non-fatal collision, the police also decided to not issue a citation.
Police Bureau spokesman Brian Schmautz said no citation was issued because the crash did not “meet the criteria for an investigation” and therefore no fault could be found (which means no citation). He also said that investigations are only performed (and citations issued) when the crash involves serious, trauma-level injuries.
Despite these statements from Schmautz, which have been repeated on this site and on TV and newspaper outlets, many people are not satisfied.
Clearly, based on how the community is responding, there seems to be an ongoing issue with how law enforcement personnel are handling these crashes (both in their communications to the media and their protocol).
The amount of anger, confusion, and frustration expressed by many Portlanders following these collisions is not a good thing for our city and it’s a barrier to moving forward that we simply cannot afford to leave as is.
*CALL FOR 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.
When the police do not maintain law and order, the people take the law into their own hands. What other recourse is there. We can not all have attornies doing pro-bono efforts to go after a driver here and there.
A couple of weeks ago a woman on a cell phone in a big lexus SUV almost ran over my wife. When I stopped her, she good give a rats ass. I felt like pulling out of the car. What should I have done if she had hit my wife. Would a jury convict me for dispensing justice, when there is a clear precident of the city not providing it.
This issue is more than the last two fatalities. Remember the rider on Corneillus Pass. What was his life worth?
Unless the city and state step up, this will get ugly.
\”no citation was issued because the crash did not \’meet the criteria for an investigation\’ and therefore no fault could be found\”
it\’s sickening to know that I could be sent to the hospital because of someone\’s witnessed negligence, and the police department would say it\’s not worth their time to hand out a citation.
At the same time it\’s wonderful that Chris Heaps, Joe Kurmaskie,and Ray Thomas are taking it upon themselves to accomplish something the city\’s police department says it will not.
The most dangerous thing about the responses of the PPB to these incidents is the precedence that it sets for futer incidents and the message it send to motorists.
I believe that most motorists understand the value of human life and don\’t want to harm anyone; so they are especially careful around pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-motorized users of the road. However there are a select, small, but loud few who will say \”if you\’re on the road and not in a car, it\’s your choice – *&%# you!\” This blatent disregard for the value of human life is only empowered, emboldened, and legitimized by the lack of action on these incidents.
Hmmm…validation of willful disobedience of the laws by the police. They haven\’t thought of it like that, have they?
Something needs to be done for all traffic. I drove to work this morning and was cut off by a variety of vehicles. I was just lucky that had they hit me, I was in my car. People need to calm down and make driving safer.
I totally understand the police do not have capacity to investigate every traffic crash, even when injuries are involved.
But is it not common sense there should be a lower threshold to initiate investigation when a cyclist is involved? Not just because cyclists are more vulnerable to crashes with other vehicles, but because of the current state of heightened tension and apparent lack of knowledge by many motorists about when and how to yield to vehicles in bike lanes?
If the police have time for seatbelt and other stings for educational purposes, they have time for investigating these crashes. Especially when there is more clearly potential total negligence on the part of the motoriest, as in the last non-fatal crash.
Not to veer things too far off the path of the enforcement discussion, but this bit jumped out at me:
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…).
We need a set of coherent, verifiable talking points for this sort of crap. It invariably comes up almost EVERY time something bad goes down and cyclists raise a stink – some d-bag wanders in and makes remarks to the effect of \”maybe if you guys paid your way instead of freeloading there\’d be a reason to treat you with dignity/respect\”. I\’m sick of having to articulate all the ways we *do* pay, in turn pointing out the business of auto and oil industry subsidies, the notion of secondary and tertiary benefits present that are selectively ignored while others (\”yer damn bike CAME HERE ON A TRUCK!\” etc.) are fired against us, etc.
We need a consistent means of addressing this, because it is only through consistent pushing of the truth that lies become recognized as lies. Anyone?
I don\’t think many folks actually see the legal distinction between a citation for a traffic violation and liability for any injury or other damage caused by it. They\’re certainly related (because a FTY citation establishes a preliminary fact that can be important to establish guilt or innocence in a proceeding related to the injury or death), but they are separate questions.
The cops should do their jobs and issue traffic citations regardless, but if they do, a citation won\’t magically establish the ticketed driver\’s liability for the accident.
Is it my imagination, or are things getting more dangerous out there for us since the \”bikes-Vs-Cars\” story(s) in the local media. I\’ve been commuting in PDX awhile now and it seems like there are more people making PURPOSFULLY dangerous moves (swerving, making eye contact with a cyclist at an intersection who has the right of way and then rolling through the stop sign illegally anyway, moving to the right at a stoplight to block cycle-traffic (even over a bike lane)) in their cars or yelling, honking and flipping the finger at cyclists.
I don\’t mean to sound paranoid, but it is starting to seem pretty ugly out there on my ride to and from work…
EDUCATION is needed:
Operating a motor vehicle is a privilege, Not a right. When someone signs their drivers license, they are agreeing to a CONTRACT. Bicycles, and pedestrians do not have to sign a contract to move about the city. Bicycles and pedestrians do have the right to the roads.
When someone takes possession of a motor vehicle, they are responsible for what that vehicle does. Regardless of who made the mistake, there was a serious violation of the driver\’s contract. Let\’s make this really, really simple:
Samual Adams, I\’d like to see legislation for the city of Portland as follows:
Hit a pedestrian/bicycle, lose your license, forever
Kill a pedestrian/bicyclist, lose your freedom, forever.
I have to drive everyday, for my job. Because of this, I am liable for EVERYTHING that my motor vehicle does. There is no excuse for hitting someone. When I am on the road, by default, I yield my right of way to pedestrians, and bicycles. It is my responsibility to my community. It is the oath that I took, when I signed my drivers contract.
I am willing to sign that contract, even with the legislation that I mentioned.
thank you all, and please be careful out there. I\’ll watch your back.
Thanks, Jonathan for helping to get the word out and for being a positive advocate for people that bike. The tireless proactive work that you are doing is having an impact. Thank you!!!
I appreciated people\’s points of views in this forum as the other forums on this site
The nature of my job does not always let me commute by bike everyday. I hope I can change that some day. Unfortunately, I always just assume that the driver does not see me, or will not yield to the right of way that I do have. I am extra aware and extra defensive when I am commuting.
I have two new co workers from out of state start working in our office this year. In showing them the ropes, I was educating them about bicyclists, their rights on the road and their responsibilities as modes of transportation. Being from upstate New York and Michigan, they were unfamiliar with bike lanes, and the rights that cyclists had. They had no idea.
I think the DMV ( when new folks move in to town) and our media ( TV and print) could also do a better job to EDUCATE drivers on a regular basis about the rules and rights cyclists do have. The media right now is only having a reactionary view. How about doing something that\’s proactive?
Thanks again Jonathan for all that you do!!
Erin, a demonstration is just the thing! Who here would be willing and able to bring their bikes down to the Justice Center at noon on a weekday and ride our bikes safely, legally, and extremely visibly around the block?
Nick, yes, we need talking points. And we need some to put on signs to start with. How about:
– Not Second Class Citizens
– Police: Enforce the Law, Don\’t Invent It
– 5% of traffic and growing
– Lt Kruger, Stop — You\’re Going to Get Us Killed
– We\’re Not Blocking Traffic, We Are Traffic
…not the most brilliant ensemble, I\’m sure you all can top that in your sleep What are your ideas?
So what is the point of a law legally prohibiting motorists not to turn into bicyclists in a bike lane?
How many times are you going to cut and paste the same horrible idea onto this website?
Massing is not the way to handle bicycle issues.
It is however a good way to create many, many more, if that is what you are looking to do.
Here is an email I just sent to Bicycling. Please bring as much pressure to bear. The city officials love the \”bike friendly city\” image. If the image is threatened there will be change.
Dear Editors of Bicycling Magazine,
My name is Spencer ______ and I live in Portland Oregon where I am a daily commuter. I have appreciated you magazine\’s role in promoting bicycling advocacy throughout the country and your specific recognition of Portland for its\’ supposed \”bike-friendliness\”. It is in this interest, that I ask you to take a look into the number of cycle related deaths that have been occuring on the street of Portland in the past few months. Much of this has been chronicled on Bikeportland.org.
To be short, in the last month and a half, two cyclist have been killed and one has been severely injured by drivers who failed to yeild while executing right turns. In all instances, the local police deparment has failed to issue any citations indicating that the drivers were at fault. I urge you to learn more about this issue and report on it, especially since you have listed it as one of the top bicycling cities in the country. I am hoping by bringing both public and journalistic scrutiny to this issue, we can make Portland a safer palce for cyclist.
Thank you for you attention,
I applaud those who are looking at approaching this with a legal protest – I promise you that any rides you do purposely to impede motorists will have an extremely negative effect on the issue – even with the most patient motorists.
I assume that some of you also drive cars and walk. I believe there is a bigger picture here that has not to do with just Bicycle/cars, but Cars/Cars and cars/pedestrians and bicycles/pedestrians.
As a pedestrian I have been hit by a car once. I have been hit by a cyclist once, and nearly hit two other times in the last week, while I was on the sidewalk downtown no less. As a motorist I have been nearly hit by cars on several occasions, fully hit once and was the cause of the accident once.
Transportation is a huge mess in this city – it would probably behoove us all to approach it from a \”Let\’s make this better for everyone\” stance.
That means looking at what really makes sense.
-Does it make sense for one vehicle to have to turn across a lane of through traffic? This may be ok in most cirucumstances if the driver turning looks, but I have great fears about it especially at night or in inclement weather. Being \”Ok\” most of the time isn\’t good enough.
-Does it make sense for anyone – pedestrian, cyclist, motorist to be allowed to break the law? No!
Writing to Bicycling Magazine is a great idea! I intend to do the same.
I will also be writing a letter to the Commissioner, the Mayor, the DMV, and the Portland Police Bureau.
And while it\’s easy to get heated and inflammatory on an anonymous website (myself included, every now and then!) it\’s important when writing to public officials to be polite, coherant, and to state your case factually, accurately, and concisely.
No specific ideas just yet, Elly, but I\’m thinking it\’s important to avoid any messages that frame things in a reductive \”good guys/bad guys\” context, or at least, such a context where cyclists are setup as the shining crusaders of truth while motorists are the dastardly skulking villains of the piece. Your examples don\’t do that at all, but there\’s a substantial amount of pride in the community, and it\’s important to keep it in check a bit. Push the actual message and get attention without the brand of pomposity that frames the lot of us as a bunch of easily-ridiculed players of small violins, you know? 🙂
If you want to see a concrete example of how the current PPB policy constitutes an anti-cycling bias, check out this story at KATU\’s website:
It tells the story of a recent collision downtown between a cyclist and a motorist. The cyclist, according to the PPB, \”was not badly hurt.\” The driver was not injured at all.
The outcome? The cyclist \”was cited for driving the wrong way on a one-way street and failure to obey a traffic control device.\”
How does this square with the PPB\’s policy of not issuing a citation unless someone is admitted to the trauma unit of an ER?
Seems to me like the real policy is: Cite a cyclist who breaks a law, but ignore drivers who break laws, even if they send the cyclist to the hospital in the process.
I hope they don\’t pay a dime toward another streetcar before they workout safety on the transit options we already have.
1) Feet – I can barely walk across the street on SE Belmont & 47th because cars RARELY stop. Where is the education about and enforcement of our current laws? I read about a campaign that is supposed to cover that but haven\’t seen anything yet.
2) Bike – There needs to be a huge wave of change in the handling of bike/car accidents. Others have stated the case better than I could. I would love to have a business cards printed up with information on how our roads are paid for and the legal rights of bicyclists. Those would sure get some use from me.
3) Cars – It is way too easy to get and keep a driver\’s license. When I moved here, I didn\’t study but passed the Oregon test easily. Whether that\’s testament to my brains or the ease of the test, I don\’t know. It\’s ridiculous that you don\’t have to be retested very often, written nor behind the wheel. Consequences would be great too. I believe the majority of people have a disgusting sense of entitlement when it comes to their ability to drive a car. If it were harder to attain and keep that privelege (a term that is losing its meaning), perhaps it wouldn\’t be taken for granted.
4) Mass transit – I ride it almost every day and think it\’s reasonable, but if I think about if my mother were to visit and want to ride the MAX out of the city limits, I\’d be very nervous. Fare checks and security are a joke. I\’ve not experienced any serious problems myself, but the area I ride in is pretty limited.
Send that letter to the NY Times!
I guarantee nothing will be done about this and nothing will change. Not because that\’s what I want to happen, but because we live in America, not Amsterdam. No matter how logical of an argument cyclists present, the cars will always win in the eyes of the law in the U.S. It\’s just the culture here, sadly.
I would encourage any massive rally to focus on the term \”vulnurable roadway users\” rather than specificaly bicyclists. Everyone is a vulnurable user whether a child riding in the neighborhood on a bike, walking from your car across the street to a store, or cycling to work. We need as much support as possible without internal bickering.
Also I would really appreciate if any rally were at 5pm (rush hour) rather than at noon. You have my full support.
a.O (#19) …
I\’m missing the part in that story where the driver did anything wrong. I don\’t see bias in this story. I see a biker going the wrong way on a one-way street AND running a red light, and getting cited for it.
Asking for the PBB to do its job should not involve pointing to where they did the right thing in some circumstances.
On Wilsonville today road cars turn right in front of me, or try to turn
into my rear wheel.. oh and t-bone
why? rage maybe.
I really hope people see we just want
to ride instead of drive an Auto all over.
FWIW, excerpts from a letter I sent to Adams yesterday:
Commissioner Adams, I am writing you, I suspect like many others today, in
reference to the cyclist being hit at the intersection of Interstate
and Greely this morning.
This spot is on my every day commute to work, I know it well, and I am
an every day commuter, driving my car perhaps 4 times a month at the
most (weekends only, never to work).
First, I appreciate the conversation you are facilitating after the
horrible deaths of Tracey and Brett. I believe you to be an honorable
man and a good citizen. I appreciate your work to create better and
safer conditions for motorist and cyclist alike.
However, and I say this as emphatically as possible – I will not vote
for you unless you speak very clearly on the fact that Tracey and
Brett were killed by drivers breaking clearly stated Oregon laws —
and I want to hear you say that those drivers at the very least should
be cited under those ordinances. Our police force is not protecting
the cyclists of this city, and is NOT sending a message that we are an
important and vulnerable user of our infrastructure, and are protected
by clear laws.
Planning for the future is all well and good, and necessary — but
right now we have 3 drivers who have clearly broken the law, resulting
in two deaths, and have to date not even been cited with a simple,
relevant traffic violation — our police officials have in many cases
tried to implicate the cyclists in their own deaths, when they were
doing NOTHING wrong.
I am literally begging you to please speak out about the injustice of
the deaths of Tracey and Brett. Please. I am not asking you to attack
motorists. But if you can\’t speak out for those who were killed by
illegal acts, I honestly can\’t trust you to deal with the more mundane
concerns of the Mayor\’s office.
Agreed with Dabby #14
A massive group of frustrated cyclists together isn\’t going to make things better. You know that thing called Critical Mass? Not effective, move on. Lets not create anymore animosity where there is little room to spare.
Educate people, drivers and bicyclists. Know the rules of the road and how to ride with one another. Share it, not own it.
And just slow down. People that are plowing through the streets are on a mission. Maybe to get to dinner, pick up the kids or watch their favorite TV show. Is it worth taking a few lives on the way because you happened to not be paying attention to your blind spot or paraded through the streets without the extra caution that there may be a cyclist or dog walker nearby?
I sure as hell hope not.
In light of the failure of the Portland Police to issue citations to drivers who have recently killed cyclists in this city, I have filed a complaint against Lt. Krueger to the Independent Police Review Division.
Their mission is to \”help improve police accountability, promote higher standards of police services, and increase public confidence.\”
I don\’t know what good it will do, but I encourage others to do the same. Here is the URL:
Disgraceful is exactly the way to describe the actions of a percentage of the Portland Police dept. ( I know there are some very good officers employed by the PPB, and I applaud them)
And is definitely the way to describe their policies, and the practical application of them.
The real issue is, as we all know, shi#
We need to start at the top, ie Potter, Rosie Sizer, and begin to take out the broken pieces. Then replace them with stable building blocks, so as to prevent future erosion of the system put in effect to supposedly protect us all.
While I applaud Sam Adams for somethings he has done, especially very recently, he has been involved in the broken system for ten years now?
Does this not include him as a big part of the problem? He seemed to be heavily involved in the Vera problem. Now we have the Potter problem….
Why is it just now he is trying to stand tall?
These are questions that must be answered before we jump on the band wagon and elect another mayor long before the ballots are handed out, as happened basically with Potter. (I admit, I was on that bandwagon myself, and am horrified at my mistake)
Here is the text of an email I just sent to Sam Adams:
First, I\’d like to commend you for taking quick action
regarding the recent deaths of two cyclists and the
injury of a third just a couple of days ago. I truly
believe you are dedicated to a safer City and a bike
I\’d also like to add my voice to the increasing calls
that more be done regarding the callous way the
Portland Police Bureau (PPB)seems to be handling these
incidents. The PPB seems to be completely out of step
with the rest of the City on making cycling part of
our progressive agenda. They seem to working against
that in fact.
It\’s time to demand a change in the policies and
practices that the PPB uses in handling cycling
accidents. I\’d like to start by demanding the removal
of Mark Krueger as the Traffic Division\’s spokesman.
His ignorant and callous remarks during the recent
incidents have done nothing but inflame the cycling
community and many others. He needs to go.
I\’d also like to demand that the PPB start citing and
investigating serious accidents that involve cyclists
and autos. By virtually ignoring these incidents, the
PPB is sending the message that they just don\’t care.
It\’s an outrage quite frankly. And of course by citing
I fully mean that cyclists should be cited as well for
egregious behavior. I hope I don\’t need to point out
that doesn\’t mean running stop sign stings in Ladd\’s
Please, let\’s have some balance brought to the Police
Bureau. If some progress in this is not made soon, I
predict things are going to get ugly out there.
I agree that anger misdirected is not likely to help our cause. But I\’m also convinced that healthy anger and action well directed can be a good thing. There\’s a place for radicals in every society. I think maybe it\’s time for them to come to the fore front of ours.
What your missing is the double standard. Yes the cyclist broke the law and should be cited. The question is if no citations are issued unless there is a serious injury (but apparently NOT a death) then why was one issued here? Do you really not understand that?
Dabby, I fully respect your views, including your opting to disagree with mine. If you do not agree that assembly and solidarity has the power to profoundly affect social change, I encourage you to read up on the Selma Marches, NY\’s Gay Rights Movement, lunch counter sit-ins, jail-ins, the Women\’s Rights Movement, draft card burning, and as grand a comparison it might seem, the March on Washington. Why do you feel that assembly would hinder rather than further cyclist\’s demands for justice, protection, and shared- road rights? If done with dignity, creativity, and solidarity, it would work.
To those comparing the proposed demonstration ideas that I framed to critical mass, you might not have read my post thoroughly. The demonstration would NOT be like critical mass: it would include pedestrians, friends of cyclists, families, etc…. not just “frustrated cyclists.” I spoke about the importance of diversity within the crowd of attendees. Please take the time revisit the full concept, as opposed to assuming that it matches preexisting ideas about demonstrations.
This would be something new. Something powerful. It would be what WE make of it. So, we can either claim defeat in advance, or we can choose to take the lead on this and work hard on all possible fronts until the desired changes are affected. Assembly is one of the most powerful tactics in the history of human movements. I am sorry that some people in modern America disagree, and that speaks volumes about the sort of society that we live in today. But I believe in Portland. I believe that most of us would be on board if we do this the right way, and that many would join in on making it a powerful success.
Let’s stop talking about problems and lets join together in taking a concrete, forward-moving, hands-on approach to achieving the solutions that we need and deserve.
kg (#31) …
I think you might be reading a bit too much into my response. Believe me, it\’s hard to miss the double standard. But that story doesn\’t convey it, to me. It\’s simply a story, and carries no bias by itself. I see it as an example of behavior (PPB correctly issues a citation) that should be encouraged.
If I can step in here, the point I take from A.O.\’s comment (#19) is that the police will FREELY cite a cyclist for violating a law, but WILLFULLY DECLINE to cite a motorist when they do the same.
The standard is not being evenly applied. That\’s unacceptable.
Joe Kurmaskie again. I\’m taking on the job with Chris and Ray filing the citation violation.
But I also write for Bicycling Magazine, among other outdoor type publications as well as have a syndicated bicycling column that reaches 1.3 million around the country each month. I will highlight all the happenings in my column next month.
I am pitching a growing pains in the Platinum status Bike Friendly city of portland type article to the editors … Bill Strickland, Steve M and the crew over there. I\’m in the middle of writing a cover story for them so I have their ear.
What I could use is a heap of emails and letters to the editors of the magazine regarding all the issues we are dealing with in the friendliest bike city in america and that a thoroughly investigated piece about the issues should be done – one that frames it so other communites can read and learn and get proactive – It will help get the story on the editorial slate whether I get the assignment or not. Incidentally, I will donate all profits made on the article to help cover law related expenses on the citation filing and the rest to BikePortland.org.
I\’m also spearheading a Cyclist\’s Civil Right Movement so we can channel our frustrations into some directed sustained actions – that would include a large, legal and nonviolent bike ride protests starting next week ( before the Thanksgiving Holidays date and time TBA) a press conference at the end or beginning of the ride to read a Cyclist Civil Rights and Responsibilites. and do a short state of the union. We plan to demand enforcement, more education, more funding, a series of televised town halls on cyclist civil rights, a call to end the slogan Cars vs Bikes, an end to media outlets underreporting injuries and calling these collisons and crashes \”accidents\” a call for Officer Kruger\’s transfer from traffic division. A call to politicans to act fast and decisively on danger spots around portland. I\’d like everyone who wants to get involved contact me and to give their ideas of what else they\’d like to see in this CCRR proclamation. Let\’s see if we can assemble thousands of cyclists for this – the faces of Portland – messengers to families to mountain bikers. I\’m shooting for an after work or weekend protest and press conference. I spent my 20s touring the world by bike while working for nonprofits giving voice and solutions to help the poor, the defenseless and championing sustainable practices – if it\’s time to be the point person on rallying Portland to become a safer, stronger cycling friendly place, then so be it.
email me at email@example.com or call 503 239 6985
Dear Sam Adams,
Thank you for staging a photo op while closing a street. Thanks for rallying a bunch of city insiders and media for a big public show, then doing.. Nothing.
Thanks for doing your best to get your face associated with bicycles, while not actually doing anything to help.
In short, good job! You are behaving exactly like a politician, and I now know that I should not let you anywhere near the Mayors seat. Oh yeah, I vote.
Keep up the good work!
I was just looking at that myself and was also thinking of filing a citizens complaint. I am curious as to what you included in the complaint. Was it against just Kruger, or the whole traffic division? Did you cite media quotes, or witnesses etc…
Anything you\’d like to share about your complaint would be great. I plan on filing one and sending copies to the media, commissioners and mayor. It\’d be great if they received hundreds of complaints on this.
I say we put together a ride through downtown….Im willing to make a website for information, front for posters to post in various bike shops, im also a PSU student so getting in contact with PSU bike club, etc. Don\’t wait for media to get to us, lets go to them. We could even end up in front of the police station. (Dressing up as injured bicyclists/signs etc)
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone is interested.
Regarding the KATU story that is referenced above, I asked the Mayors office about this and was told,
\”The news got it wrong. I confirmed this morning that the bicyclist was not cited.
Jeremy Van Keuren
Office of Mayor Tom Potter
I get it, DO (#34), but I appreciate your clarification. I don\’t think I communicated my point properly. If I see a double standard, I\’ll fight it by focusing on examples of incorrect behavior (not issuing citations in the recent tragedies) rather than pointing an accusatory finger at examples of correct behavior.
And … also, I confess that a double standard isn\’t a foregone conclusion to me in this case. First off, I don\’t have enough data showing that cyclists don\’t get a citation if someone is injured as a result of their infraction as often as drivers do. Second, from personal experience, even though I\’ve seen \”stings\” during which a spate of citations are issued to a series of cyclists running a stop sign, I\’ve seen just as many instances where a watching cop does nothing.
Look: I agree there\’s a problem. The way I fight it is to look only at what I perceive to be relevant to the problem, rather than bringing in what I see as extraneous circumstances. I\’m on the side that wants to see this resolved, even if I see a different route to the solution.
It\’s great to see so many good people taking the initiative when the police won\’t. But we shouldn\’t have to. The failures to enforce the law against bad drivers, coupled with the \”blame the victim\” statements of the police spokesman, need to be addressed in the larger context of police anti-bike rider attitudes as described on this site over the past year or more. And that needs to be dealt with by specific actions by elected officials along with public protests etc. So we need the BTA or someone to draw up a specific list of ordinance changes, policy changes (e.g. prioritizing resources away from stings against harmless bike riders and toward prosecuting negligent drivers, police education classes, etc.), and personnel actions into a five or six point Law Enforcement Safety Reform plan — then put all the city council and mayor candidates on the spot and ask them which points they will support if they win office. Then we should endorse and work on behalf of those who will commit to the most specific actions demanded. Any ideas?
Here\’s the response I got from the mayor\’s office:
If there is no fatality in a collision (bicycle or other), an investigation is undertaken only if there is a traumatic injury involved. The responding paramedic, not the responding officer, determines whether or not a traumatic injury is involved. In the collision yesterday, that is the determination the paramedic made, and so, no investigation will take place. If there is no investigation, there will be no citation issued (unless an officer happens to witness the collision her or himself). When there is no traumatic injury, it is a CIVIL issue, and the police do not get involved except to ensure that insurance information is exchanged.
Thank you, again, for emailing. Let me know if you have further questions.
Jeremy Van Keuren
Office of Mayor Tom Potter
He [Police Bureau spokesman Brian Schmautz] also said that investigations are only performed (and citations issued) when the crash involves serious, trauma-level injuries.
WTF? Broken bones don\’t qualify? A trip to the emergency room doesn\’t qualify? Police will issue a citation for running a red light or failure to stop at a stop sign when no injury occurs. Why is failure to yield held to a different standard?
the response from the mayor\’s office does still NOT explain why both truck drivers who actually KILLED someone were not cited…un-freaking-believable..
Regarding the response of the mayor\’s office given in #43 (and thanks for posting that):
Hypothetically if a driver ran a red light and hit another automobile, but there were no traumatic injuries (but the driver proceeding legally did go to the ER on a stretcher) and an officer did not witness the accident (but other bystanders did), would no citations be issued?
Seems unlikely to me. But is it true?
I received the same response after my initial inquiry. After a follow question I was told the Cyclist wasn\’t cited. So at this point the PPB policy is clear and it is my belief that the policy needs to be adjusted. One of the elements of the policy seems to be that the police have to personally witness the infraction to issue a citation. That needs to change. If it is clear that an infraction occurred then a citation should be issued.
Isn\’t this the frustration that sparked Critical Mass in the first place (SF, PDX and elsewhere)? CM seemed like a Cyclist\’s Civil Rights protest to me. It was met by Vera\’s heavy-handed cops and squashed.
I know Dabby will get his knickers in a twist over even mentioning CM but it seems like it\’s time for one.
After a moment of reflection, and a moment for my anger to grow, I sent the following to The Oregonian, Mayor Potter and Commissioner Sam Adams. It\’s a first action to take, following the many fine ideas listed above. Consider contacting your local paper of record and elected offices NOW.
Regarding the collision that sent Siobhan Doyle to the hospital with broken bones.
Police Bureau spokesman Brian Schmautz is reported to have said that
investigations are only performed (and citations issued) when the crash involves
serious, trauma-level injuries.
What is going on here? Broken bones don\’t qualify? A trip to the emergency room
Police will issue a citation for running a red light or failure to stop at a stop
sign when no injury occurs. In the not too distant past jaywalking would garner
someone a ticket. Why is failure to yield held to a different standard?
The actions of Lisa Wheeler were observed by witnesses and clearly violated ORS
811.050, failure to yield to rider on bicycle lane. And yet again Portland
Police issued no citation.
What will it take to get our police to issue citations for this offense that is
killing and hospitalizing people?
It does not matter if you are going out to do something different.
In case you have not noticed, in Portland, what appears to be the majority does not have the ability to differentiate between a critical mass, or what your are trying to describe. (which, I am sorry,but is a Critical Mass) (no matter how you slice it, it is a bad idea)
They do not even have the ability to see that a broken clavicle and shoulder, or even death, is a serious injury.
I completely understand that what you would \”like\” to have happen is something other than a Critical Mass.
I am well versed in protests, and the effectiveness of some of them.
It is also the case that many of them do more bad than good. Much more.
Yet, as a long term, full time, as in all day, every day, cyclist in our city, I am very well versed in the problems that anything even remotely resembling a Mass cycling event causes.
I could give you a long list of reasons why it is a bad idea, and why, no matter how hard you try, it will do more harm to cycling in our city than good.
It pains me that people cannot see the reality in this, and continue blindly forward with such bad ideas.
The combination of bad enforcement by police, bad journalism, and bad decision making by cyclists, will (and by the way, already has) compound our problems way beyond even what we have now.
I believe the intentions with what you wrote are pure, I just do not think that you either are really looking at the big picture, or even coming close to thinking outside the box.
I, by the way, am looking at the box from many angles.
From inside the box, since, as I have been a cyclist for 37 years. At least 15 of them professionally, on downtown city streets.
From outside the box, as I love German sports cars, and actually drive them. (though not for the last year +)
And from across the street, watching the box roll moronically by, as an open minded citizen, who has seen and felt personally for many years the repercussion from events exactly like the one you describe, yet claim to be trying not to reproduce.
It is a great feeling sometimes to jump right on that bandwagon. Everyone on it is with you, and together, you all feel as one.
It is quite another to ride that bandwagon as it rolls right over the top of the real problems, smashing them down low enough to where they are not even recognizable.