Harvest Century September 22nd

Adams will present bike safety resolution to City Council this week

Posted by on December 17th, 2007 at 4:45 pm

[*Updated 12/19, 9:42 am]

Wednesday night at 6:00pm, (*NOTE: This Council session has been rescheduled) City Commissioner Sam Adams will present a resolution and report about bike safety to City Council that outlines “initial City policy improvements and engineering enhancements undertaken to increase bicycle safety in response to recent bicyclist fatalities.”

The document includes a resolution, a 19-page report titled Improving Bicycle Safety in Portland, a detailed fact sheet titled Colored Bicycle Lanes, Bike Boxes, and Right Hooks, and a page that outlines safety equipment upgrades for the City’s truck fleet.

You can download the entire resolution and report here (links to a PDF on the City Auditor’s website).

Side-underrun guards are in the works
for 12 city trucks.
(Photo: PDOT)

The section on equipment upgrades for trucks focuses on the suggested installation of side-underrun guards (like the one in the photo at right) on 12 trucks in the City’s fleet. The guards would cost $4,500 a piece and the Vehicle Services division is already finalizing design and installation plans.

None of the resolution will become binding city policy. But, according to Adams’ transportation policy chief Roland Chlapowski, getting this information on the Council’s agenda is a chance to, “brief them on on what we’ve done, share what needs to be done in the future and give people a chance to testify.”

Absent from this report and these policy recommendations is anything on the Police Bureau and the enforcement situation. The only mention of enforcement comes in the opening resolution where they wrote,

“discussions continue with the Portland Police Bureau to further refine and improve their internal processes for the most effective handling possible of automobile-bicycle crashes, and Commissioner Adams shall return to Council with a follow-up resolution and report outlining the results of said talks.”

For many in the community, the police and enforcement issue is the most important component that has yet to be addressed.

Even though Chlapowski admits that Adams’ office has “limited clout” on this issue (the police answer to the Mayor’s Office), he maintains that they are working hard. In a recent comment wrote,

“…our office is doing everything in our power to get the police to change the way they have been/are doing business re: cyclist rights and the enforcement of traffic rules…we are pulling out all the stops…While our behind-the-scenes work might not be headline-grabbing, don’t think it isn’t happening.”

Part of what Adams’ office is working on includes; drafting an official Community Policing Agreement, setting more clear ticketing priorities and working with PDOT to determine potential intersections for enforcement actions (a.k.a. stings).

According to Chlapowski, because the enforcement component is taking a bit more time than expected, the plan is to bring it back to Council at a later date.

The Council session is being held in the evening to allow for more public testimony. You can download the entire resolution and report as a PDF from the City Auditor’s website here.

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32 Comments
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    a.O December 17, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    You know, that guy should be Mayor…

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    Paul Tay December 17, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    You guys STILL need to conduct a COMPREHENSIVE bike collision study to prioritize funding, instead of relying on VOODOO.

    Contrary to popular \”knowledge,\” bike-car collisions are NOT the most common bike crash types. A lot of bike crashes happen because of just simply slipping on wet stuff, such as those great big huge blue useless rubberized ink spots.

    The rear-ender is NOT the most common bike-car collision type either.

    SPANK me, if I\’m WRONG, people.

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    a.O December 17, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Mr Tay, with all due respect, what do you know about what is needed in Portland? Do you have any experience with riding in our city other than what you\’ve read about on this website?

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    Paul Tay December 17, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    I know NOTHING about what is really needed in PDX. The problem is PDOT doesn\’t either.

    From PPB study 2002-2006, the number ONE bike-car crash type is the RIGHT-hook, 9.5%. Guess the locations. Ya think they might be at bike lanes? Naaaaaaaah.

    Bike boxes will do NOTHING, except put a big bad blue SLIPPERY ink spot on the road. Just EDUCATE bicyclists to move to the MIDDLE of the lane and make motorists see \’em. Problem SOLVED.

    It\’s just UNBELIEVEABLE the lengths you guys will go to OVER-engineer a PSEUDO-solution to GLOSS over the REAL problem.

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    Kevin December 17, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    $4,500 per vehicle? I do welding/fabrication, even with labor that seems awfully high. I\’ll add that I don\’t think it will work. If a bike gets right hooked it\’s still going to be bad news, smeared across the asphalt or run over by tires still not good.

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    Paul Tay December 17, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    If ya want engineering solutions, NARROW up the lanes, lose bike lanes, mix in MORE peds.

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    Paul Tay December 17, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    As for enforcement solutions, just get the cops to be more EVEN-handed. If a bike is in the middle of the road, or ANY portion of the road, and acting as a vehicle, it has RIGHT of way.

    If motorist nails said bike, the motorist is GUILTY of Class A misdemeanor vehicular assault of bicyclist, O.R.S. 811.060, AND, violation of the basic speed rule, O.R.S. 811.100.

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    Paul Tay December 17, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    And, imagine braking ON the big bad blue SLIPPERY ink spot, AFTER blasting down N. Interstate and Greely.

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    a.O December 17, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    Just so you know Mr Tay, PDOT does not have authority to simply remove bike lanes. And you have no basis for saying that \”[b]ike boxes will do NOTHING.\” No basis whatsoever.

    But since we\’re speculating, both Tracey Sparling and the driver of the truck who killed her were stopped at the intersection at the same time. Tracey came up after the truck driver and apparently stopped where he could not see her. Had there been a bike box, she could have gotten in front of him, where he could have seen her.

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    a.O December 17, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    If a bike is in the middle of the road, or ANY portion of the road, and acting as a vehicle, it has RIGHT of way.

    That\’s wrong in so many ways.

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    Paul Tay December 17, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    SUMBODY should have to AUTHORITY to remove ghost-bike ENCOURAGEMENTS.

    Yes, I have a strong BASIS for saying bike boxes will do NOTHING. How many hundreds of THOUSANDS of urban bicyclists have been getting along WITHOUT bike boxes in the last 20 years, with NO problems?

    Sparling would have done better if she had just gotten in FRONT of the truck, REGARDLESS of the existence of a bike box. That\’s what we have been doing all these years, without the benefit of bike boxes. Also, bike boxes does NOT make ANYONE be where they are supposed to be.

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    Paul Tay December 17, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    If a bike is in the middle of the road, or ANY portion of the road, and acting as a vehicle, it has RIGHT of way.

    \”That\’s wrong in so many ways.\”

    Yes, it IS, if you subscribe to the cycling INFERIORITY complex. I CAN\’T help you.

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    a.O December 17, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Mr Tay, if you think there are \”NO problems,\” then you must not value human life much. And with regard to your statement about right-of-way, I contested your understanding of Oregon law and in no way expressed any philosophy of cycling. You were, and remain, wrong about Oregon law and, in my humble opinion, have provided no reasonable response to my example of a specific situation in which a bike box likely would have saved a life.

    It goes without saying that everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I weight the uninformed ones accordingly.

    And, imagine braking ON the big bad blue SLIPPERY ink spot, AFTER blasting down N. Interstate and Greely [sic].

    Yes, I can. I have actually ridden my bike there, as well as in locations around town that have blue paint. The ones I have ridden, in the Hawthorne area, for example, I have found to be not slippery in the rainy season.

    Since you haven\’t ridden in Portland, I expect that you wouldn\’t really know. But don\’t let that stop you from commenting. Are there any painted blue bike lanes or other paved areas in Tulsa?

    I know there is no \”biketulsa.org,\” but perhaps you could start one. That way you might be able to comment on issues you have some experience or familiarity with.

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    Ahab December 17, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    You people are never satisfied are you? The City of Portland is bending over backwards for you and you still whine and cry about it.

    I know, how about a bike license for those that want to ride on city streets?

    That way instead of whining and crying, you can actually contribute to bike safety.

    Oh not that right?

    – Ahab

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    Tbird December 17, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Maybe Sam should go to Tulsa and see how they do it…
    Until then I guess we\’ll just have to trust the collective experience of the highest urban concentration of cyclists in the US to guide him.
    Go Sam!

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    Dour December 17, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    I actually very much appreciate the discussion here, especially since you both seem to be striving for the same goal but with very different methods.

    Mr. Tay makes some very good points, I might be paranoid but i\’m always super careful on painted surfaces on the road, as well as the taking of the lane; however, I think that for your solution to be reached would require a very fundamental change in the mindset of the general populace in order to allow it.

    a.O. seems to be pleased with the advancement of the bike safety in our city. I for one am extremely happy because I think it\’s an advancement in the way the city is viewing bikes as transportation alternatives. I hope that this will continue to the point where we no longer need bike lanes, boxes, etc. I don\’t think it\’s perfect but it\’s a step in the right direction and it makes me very happy indeed.

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    Russell December 17, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    Ahab (#14),

    Just to point out the only person who seems to really be \”whining and crying\” is Paul Tay, who lives in Tulsa. To clump him in with Portland cyclists (of which a.O has weighed in as supporting these changes) is not accurate. The article\’s only negative point is that there is no information, at this time, concerning future police enforcement. Please, before trolling, do a little background reading and realize that sometimes the most vocal voice does not represent the majority or even anyone else.

    Mr. Tay – I\’m sorry that you are so vehemently opposed to the changes occurring in Portland but all these are experiments. Yes, it would be fantastic if only service vehicles drove around the country, while the rest of us rode bikes and a state-of-the-art rail system, with just a smattering of private automobile use. That way cyclists could utilize entire lanes and just be completely happy without one ton (or more) behemoths threatening to kill us. The current paradigm in the United States does not allow for this utopian vision to exist but maybe one day. Until then, please realize that Portland is at least trying very hard to come up with adequate solutions to a very touchy issue. My guess, however, is that you\’ll just respond with more EMPHASIZED points and a few more big \”Naaaaaahs.\”

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    wsbob December 17, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Not every single thing a person may say here to express an opinion has to be phrased, statistically backed up and footnoted in the manner of a legal brief. At least that has been my understanding. I\’m not going to fault Mr. Tay too much for the casual exuberance of his comments expressed here. I believe most people reading them will be able to get the gist of what he\’s saying without fearing that his ideas are to be directly implemented into law.

    It\’s important that as many people as possible, of different experience and viewpoint are involved in considering the present state our overall transportation infrastructure and how its streets and roads can best be engineered to better, more efficiently and safely incorporate bikes into it.

    At least to me, none of the solutions presented so far seem like perfect ones. All of them have strengths and weaknesses. Probably the only way to find out how well each can work is to put them to a real test in our town where everyone can try them out. Even then, the overall best plan is probably down the road a ways yet.

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    BURR December 17, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    unfortunately, as much as most of you hate to hear his message, Mr. Tay is right on quite a few levels. The city of Portland puts down the bike lanes, and they could take them back up if they were proved to be dangerous. at intersections with large amounts of right turns, like NW Everett and 16th, PDOT should make damn sure the bike lanes are moved to the left of the right turning traffic. it\’s not rocket science, folks, it\’s been done at SE Madison and Grand and it works, and it\’s what will make intersections like NW Everett and 16th safer, not more blue paint.

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    Ahab December 17, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Russell I\’m not criticizing the article, I\’m criticizing the wankers here that piss and moan even when their city government obviously cares about them more than motorists.

    The truth is that you people can\’t be satisfied, partly because it wouldn\’t be as fun for you. It\’s wonderful to have a little cause isn\’t it? You are so brave. 😉

    As far as your comments on Paul Tay, that\’s your obsession not mine. Really my point is that Portland bikers should say thank you to Portland\’s wanker government and if possible, help foot the bill. You\’re all starting to look like spoiled brats and you know it.

    p.s. Feel free to put my posting through a scholarly review.

    – Ahab

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    Vance December 17, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    SW Broadway at SW Columbia. Useless bike lane on the south side of SW Broadway. There has been construction on the lot between SW Columbia, and SW Jefferson. While the south lane of Broadway was blocked, cyclists had absolutely no way to travel straight through this construction. Without walking that is. I have some good video footage of so many near misses there.

    Bike lane full length of SW Jefferson. What happens if you wish to access Safeway from the bike lane? Yup, tough shit. You can walk, or you can take your chances crossing Jefferson.

    How much on-street parking are your ridiculous bike-boxes going to displace? How much good is your graffiti, and your ghost-trash doing anyone? No one, not the investigating officers, not the truck-driver, not witnesses; not one single person can figure out how Tracy S. ended up under that truck. Therefore, concluding that a bike-box would have helped is nothing less than asinine conjecture.

    Bike lanes and bike-boxes strip cyclists of the innate right to use their own judgment regarding their own safety. Adams aint getting anywhere near the Mayor\’s office. Even if he does, for how long? After your stroke job, who is going to stop whom from using all this paint everywhere as a tool to sanction Portland cyclists?

    You all want changes because you have agendas. Some of you want cars off of the road. Some of you want your egos stroked for riding a child\’s toy to work. Some of you are just individualists looking for attention. Your actions are paper thin, your words hollow. Have you got enough attention yet? Pathetic.

    And here is another poster, Mr. Tay, talking some sense. Making some points. And all you\’ve got is more pot shots. Men like he and I don\’t attend your little poser-clubs. We\’re not from California. We don\’t attend because all you do is make arbitrary decisions based upon conjecture, and a personal disdain for the status-quo. You drink soy-cocoa and make sure everyone finishes first place.

    Pathetic. Pathetic. Pathetic. Mr. Tay, thank you for you comments, but you are talking to a bunch of folks that will ride a tinfoil bike around town without so much as a brake on it, deciding what safety is, and how to achieve it.

    Now look. You\’all got me to blather again. Morons.

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    Bjorn December 17, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    I believe that the reason why the underun guards are so expensive is that they are designed not just to protect cyclists but also to prevent cars from underunning the truck which could potentially result in the decapitation of the cars occupants. This is something that I hope will be picked up on by the media but probably won\’t be. These guards protect all road users.

    Respectfully Mr. Tay, riding past the right hand side of a truck and then trying to squeeze into the tiny amount of space between the front of the truck and the crosswalk is not a good idea. If you are that close to the truck the driver may not see you because the hood is in the way. One good thing about bike boxes is that they create enough space between the front of the car and the crosswalk so that a cyclist doesn\’t have to block the pedestrian traffic in order to be safely in front of the vehicle.

    Bjorn

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    Matt Picio December 17, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    BURR, can you please forward me a list of intersections you think need to be improved in this fashion? I\’d like to organize a ride to hit some of these locations so that those of us who don\’t ride them routinely can view them firsthand.

    Until a number of us see for ourselves where the problem areas are, it\’s hard to make requests for changes to Roger Gellar and Sam Adams.

    Thanks in advance,
    matt picio

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  • Portland Cyclist Disunity » VanPortlander December 18, 2007 at 6:24 am

    […] we hear of a bicycle safety resolution being brought before the city council by Sam Adams. You’d think a safety resolution would be […]

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    Todd Waddell December 18, 2007 at 8:07 am

    \”For many in the community, the police and enforcement issue is the most important component that has yet to be addressed.\”

    Hear, hear!

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    Axel December 18, 2007 at 10:37 am

    \”CAUTION! KEEP CLEAR\” seems to imply bicycles and pedestrians are the ones jumping under the trucks … possibly a more friendly label such as \”People saver\” could be used?

    Side-underrun guards not only make sense but they are proven solution. We have all these design rules about keeping people inside vehicles safe it is time people outside are made safe(r) as well.

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    Cap\'n Pastry December 18, 2007 at 11:07 am

    I believe \”Caution! Keep Clear\” refers to staying away from that area of the truck while riding – it\’s a blind spot for the truck driver.

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    Paul Tay December 18, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    #13, Mr. a.O:

    1) I VALUE human life, therefore, there ARE problems.
    2) I read Oregon law as it is written in PLAIN English meaning, with STRICT construction. Imagine if motorist Aden had rear-ended another motor vehicle, and all other factors remain the same. Based on Oregon law, I would STILL come to the same conclusion. Motorist Aden is GUILTY of BOTH the basic speed rule, O.R.S. 811.100 AND 811.060.
    3) I stand to be corrected about the blue bike boxes being slippery.
    4) I AVOID rolling on lane markings painted on the roadway, when wet. But, I do not believe it would have save Sparling\’s life. Though a bike box might have been available at the time of her death, there\’s nothing to suggest that she would have used it.
    5) There are NO such painted bike boxes in Tulsa, or ANYWHERE in America that I am aware of. It seems to be a Copenhagen import. EVEN the BikeSafe Countermeasure Selection System does NOT describe bike boxes as a generally accepted roadway treatment to address right hooks.
    6) The Adam\’s resolution left out where the right hooks are occuring.

    #16, Tbird, I invite Sam Adams to Tulsa to see how we do biking. Just shoot me an email and I am happy to take him on a tour.

    #17, Russell: I\’m sorry that you are so vehemently opposed to the changes occurring in Portland but all these are experiments. Right. You guys are experimenting with people\’s lives. That\’s why I\’m taking NOTES.

    #22, Bjorn: riding past the right hand side of a truck and then trying to squeeze into the tiny amount of space between the front of the truck and the crosswalk is not a good idea. If you are that close to the truck the driver may not see you because the hood is in the way. One good thing about bike boxes is that they create enough space between the front of the car and the crosswalk so that a cyclist doesn\’t have to block the pedestrian traffic in order to be safely in front of the vehicle.

    You are RIGHT. I would ride past the LEFT hand side of the truck to get to the front. Or, on a good day feeling generous, I\’d just wait in line way BEHIND the truck like everyone else, instead of \”splitting\” the lane. Less disel fumes. Why do you feel like you have to ride on the RIGHT hand side of other vehicles ALL the time? You have your rights to the FULL use of the roadway, no?

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    Paul Tay December 18, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    #23, Matt Picio: Until a number of us see for ourselves where the problem areas are, it\’s hard to make requests for changes to Roger Gellar and Sam Adams.

    The Adam\’s resolution that includes the PPB bike-car collision study does NOT show WHERE the right-hooks are occuring. I\’m WILLING to place a bet that the right-hooks are occuring mostly at the bike lanes. 20% of the total bike infrastructure doing 80% of the DAMAGE? Naaaaaaaaaaah. It CAN\’T be!

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    Matt Picio December 18, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Paul (#29) – Um, this ride is specifically to address badly designed bike lanes, not prevent right hooks. Your sarcasm aside, I\’m not sure why you feel the need to piggyback your statement on my observation that firsthand knowledge is a more effective tool to address the issues.

    It certainly works better than studies.

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    Paul Tay December 19, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Matt, #29, Paul (#29) – Um, this ride is specifically to address badly designed bike lanes, not prevent right hooks.

    I CAN\’T believe you made THAT statement. So, when are you guys gonna get around to PREVENTING right-hooks?

    What is a badly designed bike lane? A bike lane that actually EXIST. Naaaaaaaaah.

    Of course, you REALLY don\’t want to associate right-hooks to bike lanes, do you? Naaaaaaaaaaah.

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    Matt Picio December 19, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Paul, we\’re not talking about \”you guys\”, just me. *I* am leading this ride. Everyone else can do what they think is appropriate. Right hooks are still going to happen, even without bike lanes. Cyclists will still be hit, because people don\’t pay attention.

    Right hooks are not my crusade right now. If someone else wants to take that up, they\’re more than welcome to. The purpose of this ride is to point out crappy intersections, get people to see for themselves WHY they suck, and discuss solutions. If the solution is \”remove the bike lane entirely\”, then I\’m all for it. I don\’t have any quarrel with removing bike lanes – what I object to is a \”one size fits all\” solution, because they rarely if ever work.

    I want objective observation and concrete action. If that means associating right-hooks with bike lanes, fine – but let\’s back it up with facts before jumping to conclusions. As you pointed out yourself, the city hasn\’t done a study. That should be addressed. When I have time, maybe I\’ll be the person to address it. Maybe someone else will get impatient and do it first – more power to them, and if I can help them, I will.

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