Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

BTA, TriMet announce bus/bike safety initiatives

Posted by on February 26th, 2008 at 1:40 pm

TriMet GM Fred Hansen

TriMet GM Fred Hansen
is working with the BTA
on bus/bike safety.
(Photos © J. Maus)

In the wake of the tragic death of 15 year-old Austin Miller, who was killed when he and a TriMet bus collided in Beaverton earlier this month, TriMet has issued a press release (full text below) that outlines immediate, near-term, and long-term actions they will take “to make it safer for bicyclists and buses.”

Working in partnership with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), TriMet says in the statement that after the Miller fatality, “it became clear to the leadership at TriMet and the BTA that preventing future crashes like this one would take more than simply admonishing bicyclists and drivers.”

Even though TriMet says their driver was adhering to “safety procedures” at the time of the collision, they write, “It would be remiss if we did not take action to improve road safety in our region following this crash.”

random shots need to edit

According to sources at the BTA, TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen (in photo) called a meeting soon after the recent crash. That meeting was reportedly productive and led one BTA staffer, who in the past has been lukewarm about TriMet’s bike safety efforts to say, “I’m very optimistic about changes at TriMet.”

As for those changes, TriMet says that following the Miller tragedy, trainers immediately reviewed bike-related operating requirements with all 1,200 of their drivers.

TriMet says they will also give operators additional training on driving around bicyclists “above the level of attention it has received in the past,” and that they will work with the BTA to identify dangerous routes and “explore ways to minimize conflicts.”

Under the heading of “long-term action,” TriMet says they will start to consider bike routes when the move, build, or enhance future bus stops and they say they will, “look at developing a pilot project to design new bus stops with a focus on both pedestrian and bike safety along bike/bus routes.”

Here is the full text of the press release:

Sharing the road
TriMet & BTA will work to make it safer for bicyclists & buses

Two weeks ago, 15-year-old Austin Miller died while riding his bike home from his Beaverton high school when he and a TriMet bus collided at the intersection of SW Farmington and Murray. As the police investigated this tragic collision, it became clear to the leadership at TriMet and at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance that preventing future crashes like this one would take more than simply admonishing bicyclists and drivers.

While all early indications are that the bus operator followed TriMet safety procedures, we would be remiss if we did not take action to improve road safety in our region following this crash. With more bicyclists and vehicles sharing the road, a more critical look at general causes is needed, including road and trail design, education for cyclists and drivers, street connectivity (or lack thereof) and traffic volumes in the area.

Just days after the incident, TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen called a meeting at the BTA offices to discuss how TriMet can actively improve its operations and planning for bicycles in the region. Here are the actions TriMet and BTA commit to taking in cooperation with one another:

Immediate action:

–Following the crash, TriMet trainers immediately began reinforcing to every operator (nearly 1,200 of them) the safe operating requirements when cyclists are present, including anticipating bicyclists’ movements, and yielding to cyclists before pulling into or out of a bus stop, or turning or changing lanes.

Near-term actions:

–TriMet trainers will emphasize operating a bus around bicyclists in the 2008 training cycle above the level of attention it has received in years past.

–The BTA and TriMet will work together to identify routes with high levels of bus/bike congestion or conflict and will explore ways to minimize conflicts. Improvements could include more space dedicated to buses and bikes, enhancements to alternative routes for bicycle travel, or moving bus stops or bike lanes to minimize conflicts.

–TriMet will work with the BTA and other regional bike groups to encourage county and local governments to adequately plan for and build safer bicycle infrastructure.

Long-term action:

–TriMet planners will look at nearby bike routes and crossings when bus and train stops are built, moved or enhanced to determine if improvements can be made as part of or concurrently with the project.

–TriMet and the BTA will research designs for bus stops and bike lanes that minimize conflict in areas of bike/bus congestion. TriMet will look at developing a pilot project to design new bus stops with a focus on both pedestrian and bike safety along bike/bus routes.

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

  • bahueh February 26, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    how about some real action…build infrastructure on each bus in the shape of covered wheelwells?

    does this make too much sense?

    ….think of the rear wheel configuration on a Honda Insight.

    Isn\’t the city considering putting similar wheelwell guards on double axeled city vehicles following the death on 14th and Burnside?

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  • a.O February 26, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Make it safer for \”bicyclists and busses? WTF?! Since when have bicycles ever made anything unsafe for busses?

    The only safety risk between the two is to bicyclists caused by bus drivers.

    In my experience on the road (in busses, driving, and biking), the level of care required to share the road when you can kill someone in instant is quite a bit higher than most TriMet drivers seem capable of exercising.

    I\’m tired of hearing about \”emphasis\” and \”training\” and \”planning.\” I want to hear about consequences.

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  • toddistic February 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Interesting, they are already setting the tone that the driver was not at fault par for the course in this region.

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  • kevin hedahl February 26, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    To the top two posters. Please fully read an article before flaming. Trimet is talking about serious infrastructure change and actually considering bicycles in future building of routes and other infrastructure. This is a huge change from previous policies and I applaud them.

    Yes, there are changes they could make to buses. How do you know they aren\’t considering it? If you want something to change, get involved.

    a.O, if that is your real name, I have met many concientious bus drivers. I have also met some that are jerks. Putting both into the same category and generalizing them does nothing to solve the problem; training and cultural change inside of Trimet will solve the problem. Punishment won\’t help those injured or killed, causing change will keep others from being hurt or killed.

    While I don\’t think all comments here should be positive, I do believe that we shouldn\’t flame an article that is about a group making positive change.

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  • One Less :( February 26, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    \”…when he and a TriMet bus collided at the intersection of SW Farmington and Murray.\”

    WTF!!! I\’m pretty sure that he did not collide with the bus. Seems like the bus ran him over. Hmmm, I know they have to be all hush hush about saying they are at fault, but seriously, give me a break.

    I have a sick feeling in my stomach that the police will not find the driver guilty of anything but driving a death trap. I\’ve read on here and elsewhere that there are now conflicting witness accounts of the accident, sounds fishy. Give Austin Miller justice, his life was cut way too short by a bus driver who probably thought that everyone had to give her the right of way.

    Be aware my fellow two-wheeled friends, even after everything that has happened in the past few months, including 3 cyclists hit in the past few days, nothing is being done to back our right to the road. Just look at the Washington county woman was hit and almost killed and the driver is let go with no charges even when the police say she was riding in the correct manner with all appropriate lighting! Oh, she wasn\’t wearing a helmet so it her fault for getting hit right? That must\’ve been the logic used there. Way to go law enforcement!

    Enforcement of nothing leads to more of us laying on the road with no recourse to drivers!

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  • c February 26, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    …the level of care required to share the road when you can kill someone in instant is quite a bit higher than most TriMet drivers seem capable of exercising.

    C\’mon, a.O. TriMet drivers may not all be the very souls of courtesy, but I\’m certainly willing to call hyperbole on your assertion that most aren\’t careful. I\’d argue that most very much are careful. If they weren\’t, you\’d know.

    And as regards the safety of buses in bus-on-bike collisions, no, I doubt any cyclist has killed a bus driver recently. But whether its the fault of the cyclist or the fault of the driver, you can\’t honestly believe that the average TriMet driver is so callous as to walk away from killing someone without it having a profound long-term psychological effect on them. That\’s hardcore. Nobody comes out winning from an accident, no matter who\’s in the right.

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  • SH February 26, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    It\’s a step in the right direction, is it not

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  • bahueh February 26, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    step in the right direction..how many steps need to be taken to get people past simply talking about the problem..or should I ask how many people need to get hit/killed/severely injured before drivers finally get a clue that their actions have consequences? would you like to be one of those people?

    I\’m tired of hearing legislators and county officials talk about it…I\’d much rather see actions and safety devicies put in place above and beyond green paint on the road..

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  • One Less :( February 26, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    SH @ #5
    A step in the right direction for what?

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  • a.O February 26, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    If you\’re interested in helping with a Portland ballot measure that imposes expanded requirements for sharing the road and greater penalties for hitting bicyclists, please contact me at cmheaps [at] gmail. Thanks!

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  • BURR February 26, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    This is just a Public Relations move on the part of TriMet. They\’ve done it before after other bus-bike incidents and it didn\’t help Austin any.

    There is an ingrained anti-cyclist attitude among many TriMet drivers that needs to be dealt with at a deeper level than can be done with press releases and media spin.

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  • Spencer February 26, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Ten years ago when I literally got run off the road and landed in the back of pick-up truck, Trimet did nothing about it other than to grant lip service and bull shit me until I went away.

    Flash forward a decade, and even though I am a synic, I have seen great improvements in the behavior and level of attention that the Tri-Met drivers are exhibiting. My best example is on my daily commute on Williams, where the busses have routinely wait for me to clear their blind spot before pulling over. In some cases they have waited even though I was two or three car lengths behind them. In my book this buys them some credibility.

    Beaverton was a tragedy, and I think it is important to recognize that Tri-Met accepts their responsibility and are working on improvements. Please remember, that even with all the improvements possible, there will eventually be another bus-rider fatality. You can\’t deny physics and the only true answer is totally segregated roadways.

    Until then, lets take the oportunity to work with them on meaningful improvement rather than beating the war drum.

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  • Curt Dewees February 26, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    re: #5 & the meaning of \”collision.\”

    A collision happens when two objects are in motion and they bump into each other. I don\’t know the specifics of this case, but it looks like the police are treating it as a collision, i.e., they belive that both the bus and the bicyclist were in motion at the time.

    If the bicyclist had been standing still, and the bus driver ran him over, then it wouldn\’t be a collision.

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  • Tim February 26, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    I was pleasantly surprised today when a route 67 bus on bethany blvd waited behind me on a tight section before passing and then farther up the road waited again to make sure it was safe before pulling back out from dropping off a passenger. While I still get \”tri-metized\” a bit too often, at least it seems today\’s driver got the message and I am thankful for that.

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  • Joe February 26, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    buses scare me somtimes what happened to yield to peds and other non auto traffic?

    lets start learning something.


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  • el timito February 26, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I applaud TriMet and the BTA working together to improve safety. I also appreciate Spencer\’s (#12) reminder that we can\’t let past disappointments cloud our ability to see positive change.

    Given that TriMet and the BTA have much more influence on drivers\’ training than I do, here\’s my question –
    What can we cyclists do to improve our community\’s safe behavior?

    I have seen bus drivers going too fast, too close, sure. But all too often I see cyclists making really poor choices about passing busses (on the left and the right), ignoring the \”yield\” light when a bus is trying to pull out of a stop, and riding oblivious to the fact that large vehicles have huge blind spots.

    I\’m not blaming cyclists, I\’m pointing out a fact of life – there\’s no training requirement to get on your bike. (And no, I\’m not advocating for one.) What that means is we have seasoned commuters, hard-working messengers, trained racers, and the average joe or jane who noticed it\’s a sunny day, all out there on bikes. More and more every day. It\’s great, but when I see folks taking huge risks around large vehicles, it\’s also incredibly scary.

    We need to continue to advocate for just laws and proper infrastructure, but I\’d really like to get beyond the blame game as the primary response to the dangers inherent in mixing all sizes of vehicle on the same road. (And tempting as it is to look to separated rights-of-way, I really don\’t see that as likely anytime soon – or even preferable to the choice of routes on Portland\’s grid.)

    And really, I\’m seriously trying to hear what ideas folks have for cyclists helping cyclists to learn to be safe.

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  • a.O February 26, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    I\’m seriously trying to hear what ideas folks have for cyclists helping cyclists to learn to be safe.

    More victim blaming.

    Here\’s my idea for cyclists helping cyclists to be safe: Real consequences for drivers who hurt and kill cyclists. That will address the #1 hazard to safe bicycling.

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  • Meg February 26, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    I have actually had pretty good luck with buses, though admittedly a few have seemed a little pissy at my presence. Most are pretty courteous.

    I only had one really hair-raising experience, on Vancouver. I was in the right-turn lane to head over to Broadway (whatever that side street is that leads you by the Cycle Oregon shop), stopping for a red light like a good road user. But I was a little bit off to the right, and a bus pulled right up next to me, and then proceeded to take off as quickly as possible. Those buses have a pretty wide turning zone. I was standing still and it nearly ran over me. I was about ready to jump off if it got any closer. The whole thing was just unbelievable.

    I don\’t do that anymore. When I turn there, I now always take up as much of the turn lane as possible and avoid any buses in the area. I\’ve never seen another one turning there but that was enough.

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  • Scott February 26, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    In 15 years of Portland bicycle commuting I cannot recall a single time when I thought a TriMet driver was driving dangerously around me. That does not mean that it doesn\’t happen, but I do believe that the overwhelming majority of bus drivers are courteous. There certainly are incidents of dangerous and discourteous driving and those drivers should be punished or suffer consequences (ie. lose their jobs).
    On a daily basis, I observe cyclists riding discourteously around buses. This morning at westbound Madison and Grand approaching the Hawthorne bridge, I watched 7 cyclists squeeze by the bus while it was attempting to merge left with it\’s signal on. This happens routinely. This kind of riding does influence the interactions that we have with buses.
    Once again, consider the golden rule while riding.

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  • 49er.. February 26, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    el timito (#16), I couldn\’t agree with you more. We as bicyclists need to improve how we share the road (including following rules of the road as much as possible). We need to do this while continuing to strongly advocate for change in driver behavior and improvement in infrastructure to safely accommodate bicycles. Doing one without the other will see little progress in driver\’s attitudes. Stiffer laws penalizing irresponsible drivers is also a good step, but it will not make much of a difference if the non-bicycling public has little sympathy for a uncivil \”class\” of people. I\’m just telling it like it is outside of the bike community..

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  • Opus the Poet February 26, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I still can\’t believe I\’m reading that TriMet is still asserting that their driver did nothing wrong in running over a cyclist with both sets of right hand wheels.

    And bus drivers not liking cyclists is not confined to PDX, I have had to remind drivers about once a week about TX laws 551 and 552 that tell where cyclists are supposed to be on the roads.

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  • Donald February 26, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Plus one for continued good luck with buses in River City. Over 20 years of biking in Portland and I can\’t recall a single instance where I felt a bus encroached on me or otherwise comprimised my safety. (On the other hand, my over confidence and/or plain disobeyence of statute has gotten me into trouble on several occassions.)

    Same goes for FedEx, UPS and most of the pro driver cadre. Heck, even most of the taxis in town seem to be fairly aware of their surroundings from my experience.

    I\’ll take dealing with Tri-Met over having to guess which way the trolling tweaker with WA plates is going to turn in his search for a fix, which is one of the bigger dangers I perceive in my NoPo neighborhood. Cellphone addicts driving minivans and teens driving their cliques on rounds scare me way more than mass transit drivers.

    Just my dot oh two, fwiw.

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  • Michelle February 26, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    I don\’t think this is just a PR move for TriMet. They are a big organization so sure, they\’re going to move slow, and sure, they\’re press releases are going to be less than juicy. But people who\’ve been paying attention to bike and transit issues in Portland for decades now tell me that they couldn\’t have imagined this level of interest in bike planning by TriMet ten years ago.

    Here are two really constructive responses – 1) applaud them for making good changes, and 2) demand more! and better! and then applaud even louder!

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  • Dabby February 26, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Once again,

    Screw Tri Met and the great white horse they rode in on.

    While this is a step in some sort of direction, it appears to be no different than steps taken in the past. Possibly sideways, or even backwards. As shown by the ideas for fixes in the article above.

    Until Tri Met bucks up and admits to the atrocities committed daily on our city streets, we should not be satisfied.

    I know it is their policy to defend their drivers to the end, and to never disclose any disciplinary action, hence the statement above.( I have dealt with them on a driver issue myself, and at a certain point I was thoroughly cut out of the process, and never contacted again) And unless the city or the police tell us differently, we will never hear the truth. We know how the city and the police deal with bike/ car accidents…
    Or don\’t deal with them is more of a true statement.

    It would be nice to think that a story like Scott\’s above is really the case, how it is really the bikers and pedestrians that cause the trouble, and bus driver\’s are safe, law abiding citizen\’s. And I can see how one could ride around, and not see these things happening.

    Sometimes when you are on your bike, you feel ethereal, all is great, and everything around you is happy happy, joy joy. (I love Ren and Stimpy)

    But we all remember, as children, part of the fun with bubbles is bursting them, watching them pop.

    If the BTA, and the City of Portland really want to deal with the Tri Met Issue, they need to pop the bubble, and watch the soapy truth explode across the city.

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  • Pete February 26, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    I\’ve had generally good experiences in my frequent encounters with buses, but I\’m pleased that TriMet volunteered to do more to protect cyclists.

    TriMet, think about how you could engage other organizations that operate large fleets to join you in this effort–before another Oregon cyclist dies under the wheels of a commercial vehicle.

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  • VR February 26, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    lets start learning something.

    Like basic grammar, spelling, and communication skills.

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  • wsbob February 26, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    \”While all early indications are that the bus operator followed TriMet safety procedures,…\” from the TriMet press release above.

    TriMet doesn\’t seem to have made an assertion that their driver didn\’t do any thing wrong. At least, not yet. When they do issue a final report, I\’ll be very interested in learning what they conclude were the causes of this fatal collision, as some have said they are currently describing it.

    This intersection is such that it could have been very easy to have made a small but fatal mistake; on the driver\’s part, on the cyclist\’s part, or both. That\’s the single thing that TriMet would be very well advised to recognize and work to correct.

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  • C February 26, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    I agree with wsbob. I have witnessed a traffic fatality that was the fault (neglect) of the victim, the \”vulnerable road user\”. News reports don\’t say \”the victim didn\’t look left\”, they say \”the victim was struck\”. It\’s amazing how quickly that spirals out of control.

    Can this be the case here? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We don\’t know.

    I\’m guessing that none of you were there. Keep that in mind before showing up with torches and pitchforks, please.

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  • SH February 27, 2008 at 12:16 am

    \”I\’m tired of hearing legislators and county officials talk about it…I\’d much rather see actions and safety devicies put in place above and beyond green paint on the road..\”

    So take action

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  • JE February 27, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Trimet, start out simple.

    Try using those blinky lights on the bus. They\’re called turn signals. Look it up.

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  • Mike February 27, 2008 at 1:38 am

    Woah woah woah JE that is just plain old crazy talk. Using turn signals.sheesh. Aren\’t the bicyclists supposed to be the law breaking scofflaws? Oh right, usually we\’re the ones being reasonable road users…

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  • peejay February 27, 2008 at 3:21 am

    With more bicyclists and vehicles sharing the road, …

    Right there, they lost me. Can someone please inform TriMet that bicycles are vehicles?

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  • Steven J. February 27, 2008 at 4:19 am

    If Tri-met and the BTA want to sincerely make improvements, then they should be in Salem and Washington.
    The teachings that arise from improving
    Driver/bike awareness should start at the family level and continue to academia (drivers ed) on up to DMV testing.

    It doesn\’t take a rocket scientist to see that both vehicle drivers as well as 2 wheeled travelers at times, need to pay closer attention to their surroundings.

    Apparently there\’s a higher penalty for not picking up your dog\’s poop than running down a cyclist/Pedestrian

    Will the higher level of Saftey education help? absolutely.
    In the long run, I\’d prefer to see groups like The BTA Tri-Met, Kaiser, UPS
    VA, all at least showing solidarity towards educating ALL drivers and potential drivers an education.

    untill then, if the DA won\’t even pursue
    drivers that obviously ignore the laws,
    or influenced drivers that shouldn\’t even be anywhere near a wheel,

    it\’s toothless rhetoric.

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  • peejay February 27, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Steven J:

    You just did it, too.

    It doesn\’t take a rocket scientist to see that both vehicle drivers as well as 2 wheeled travelers…

    How can we expect TriMet to get it right if cyclists themselves forget they\’re operating vehicles? I\’m sure you didn\’t mean it, but words do have meanings.

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  • Vance February 27, 2008 at 8:33 am

    I can\’t believe that I am in agreement with a few of the regulars regarding this post. I just wanted to comment about safety education, though. Many of you post stating that improved education about safety is in order for everyone involved. So just what is, \”Safety Education.\”? I mean doesn\’t, \”Don\’t die.\”, pretty much cover it? What I see you all saying is something entirely different.

    I think instead of actually educating cyclists, and motorists about safety, many of you would like to control personal behavior. These same folks preach safety by rote and tomb. If you think about it, safety is a pretty short topic. But the advocates of safety education seem to think this is some deeply involved long and drawn out process. There is no such thing as safety education. There is such a thing as attempting to control the behavior of your fellow citizens. If I choose to be a type A personality, and cavort about with a frown on my face, all in a hurry and what, that is my choice.

    Furthermore, who is going to educate me about anything, when it comes to urban cycling in Portland, Oregon? With my credentials, I will be doing the educating, fools, not you. Certainly not some Nanny State fascist from the BTA either. And when did the BTA get elected to represent the interests of all cyclists?

    At least Tri-Met is performing the task which they\’ve been assigned. They are indeed getting motorists off of the road. Killing them before they are even old enough to have a Driver License is an incredibly effective tactic.

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  • wsbob February 27, 2008 at 9:55 am

    JE #30, Mike #31, here\’s the deal with this intersection (you might be able to figure out by looking at the overhead photo on the other thread). Assume the cyclist did look left for the bus and indication on the part of the driver to turn. The driver might have turned the signals on at some point in the intersection, but where?

    This is a very wide, fast intersection with gentle corner radius\’s designed I presume, to enable turns that can be made more swiftly than on most streets; keep the traffic flowing smoothly, see? If the driver, intending to turn into the close at hand bus turnout, turns on the signals too soon, motor vehicles waiting in line to turn right will assume they have clearance to make their own right turn on red.

    The cyclist on the other hand, sees the bus with no turn signals on as an indication that the bus driver is proceeding straight ahead, leaving his modest bike lane to the far right of the main lane of traffic open for a right turn on to it.

    Meanwhile, the bus driver has now passed the point at which a turn signal might falsely indicate an indication to turn right to waiting drivers. Perhaps midway into this intersection and still traveling swiftly, the bus driver turns on the turn signals. Except that, by this time, the cyclist has turned his gaze from the left and is himself preparing to turn right into the bike lane that is aligned with the bus turnout located quite close to the intersection. And then, the bus begins to turn right into the bus turnout, right onto the cyclist.

    This is just a scenario, and by no means a definite claim to be what happened. How did the bus driver come to roll over the cyclist? I hope the people studying this incident will be able to figure it out. At any rate, I\’m convinced that this intersection was made for an accident to happen

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  • KT February 27, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Meg, #18: I can\’t tell from your scenario, but were you in the right-hand turn lane waiting to turn right, or were you in the right turn lane waiting to go straight?

    Maybe the bus driver thought that, since you were in the turn lane, you were turning.

    You know, since you\’re a good road user and all.

    Everyone else: I sure hope people from Tri-Met, ODOT, etc don\’t read any of this stuff. They try to change, people get on here and blast their efforts. Where\’s their incentive now? They can\’t make you happy, why should they try?

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  • JayS. February 27, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Don\’t die does not cover it perhaps it is rule number one. But no it doesn\’t cut it.

    Effective safety education? It may be a short topic but some of it can is and should be taught. Not everyone has as much common sense as you or I may have. If I see a car with a right turn signal on at the front of a line at a stop light I will not pull up next to it on the right. Some people do perhaps they could be taught that it would be safer to stay out of the path path the car. Common sense to me, necessary learning for others. Perhaps a better example would be hand signals for turning. They are taught, not something one just knows through intuition. I\’m surprised how many adults don\’t know how to signal a right turn with there left hand (the one that cars following closely will see.)

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  • steve February 27, 2008 at 10:11 am

    From the article-

    “it became clear to the leadership at TriMet and the BTA that preventing future crashes like this one would take more than simply admonishing bicyclists and drivers.”

    Here is yet another in a long line of reasons to tell the BTA to go to hell. I guess we should be happy that they finally understand that admonishing the victims is not effective?

    What a joke.

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  • steve February 27, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Oh yeah Vance,

    You sir, are a total tool.

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  • Jessica Roberts February 27, 2008 at 10:32 am

    The beginning of processes like this is never that exciting, but you have to start somewhere in order to get results at the end. I am optimistic to see TriMet state clearly what they see as problem areas, and make clear commitments to progress. Now we, the community, need to let TriMet know that we are eager to see results, and that we are paying attention to their commitments.

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  • Steve Brown February 27, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Buses and police officers are supposed to be our friends, but bad drivers and bad cops do end up killing us. It is a tough job. I ride the bus enough to know that steering the bus is not the toughest part of the job. And I am not interested in a career change that would have me spending my time dealing with the meth set. Fixing problems with Trimet is not and will not be easy. Stay on them. Write letters, call on the phone or e-mail complaints. BTA may not be for everybody but they do have force in numbers and the contacts with people who can make important decisions. Just do not let up. Let them know how you feel. Make Fred Hansen accountable. That\’s why he gets the big bucks.

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  • Harriett February 27, 2008 at 11:19 am

    I am a Bus Operator. I suppose one could say, \”better late then never\” but the fact that they knew for years there was a serious problem with the internal hatred and harassment of Operators against bicyclists and chose not so much as seriously acknowledge it until this child\’s death literally sends chills up my spine.
    Ellen Fox

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  • Steve Brown February 27, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Harrlett 43, You are bold and brave to make this statement. A few more voices like this and maybe there is enough of a force to push this forward. If this is what you say it is and ca be backed up, it is very serious.

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  • Dabby February 27, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I agree that it is very courageous for Harriet to speak out about this, and even more so to voice her dissent against the actions of fellow employee\’s and the inactions of her employer\’s.

    It gives me hope, even after my many years of \”sharing\” the road with Tri Met, that one day safe passage will not be a dream, or a good idea, but a fact.


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  • a.O February 27, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    I am a Bus Operator. I suppose one could say, \”better late then never\” but the fact that they knew for years there was a serious problem with the internal hatred and harassment of Operators against bicyclists and chose not so much as seriously acknowledge it until this child\’s death literally sends chills up my spine.

    Um, does anybody else think this kind of statement from a TriMet driver is a big deal? It sure explains a lot of what I\’ve seen. Jonathan?

    Thank you, Harriett!

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  • Driveabus February 27, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    I am a bus operator also. I think there are some operators that can\’t stand bikes on the road, but I don\’t believe they are in the majority. Not by a long shot. I also believe that there are some regular motorists who can not stand bikes on the road. I drive as safely as I can around bikes and other traffic. I also ride a bike on the roads. I do resent being blamed for every bike bus accident. And as far as the Beaverton accident is concerned, I have not yet seen the results of the completed investigations, not the police or Trimets. Unsafe people are unsafe whether they are on a bicycle or in a motor vehicle. Some of you should realize that and get off your high horses!!

    PS..To a.O. post #2

    What about the safety of the passengers on the bus when I or some other operator gets cut off by a bicyclist and has to hit the brakes? Causing heads to fly forward; packages to fall and contents to hit someone; or any or all standees to end up on the floor by the front door farebox. Does their safety not count? Think of someone else once in a while!

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  • Tbird February 27, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    The bus /bike lane overlap is a risky one no matter what training Tri Met gives it\’s drivers.
    The only real solution is separation of both modes, concrete berms comes to mind, routes that don\’t rely on the intersection of bike/bus.
    So sad that someone so young and full of life has to be taken from us before we begin to address these issues.

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  • BURR February 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    What about the safety of the passengers on the bus when I or some other operator gets cut off by a bicyclist and has to hit the brakes? Causing heads to fly forward; packages to fall and contents to hit someone; or any or all standees to end up on the floor by the front door farebox. Does their safety not count? Think of someone else once in a while!

    I\’m gonna guess that busses get cut off by motorists a heck of a lot more than by cyclists, and that if the bus drivers weren\’t speeding half the time in order to meet their schedules, this would be much less of an issue.

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  • BURR February 27, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    What about the safety of the passengers on the bus when I or some other operator gets cut off by a bicyclist and has to hit the brakes? Causing heads to fly forward; packages to fall and contents to hit someone; or any or all standees to end up on the floor by the front door farebox. Does their safety not count? Think of someone else once in a while!

    I\’m gonna guess that busses get cut off by motorists a heck of a lot more than by cyclists, and that if the bus drivers weren\’t speeding half the time in order to meet their schedules, this would be much less of an issue.

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  • a.O February 27, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    What about the safety of the passengers on the bus when I or some other operator gets cut off by a bicyclist and has to hit the brakes?


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  • Opus the Poet February 27, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Driveabus #47

    I realize that not all bus drivers are bike haters, the problem is that there are ANY bike haters driving multi-ton guided projectiles with the impact force of a small cannon. All it takes is one driver in a bad mood to kill or permanently injure a cyclist that just happens to be where the driver thinks the bus should be.


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  • Jessica Roberts February 27, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    a.O., chill it with the shouting. I am really glad to have TriMet driver participation in this discussion. Your reaction is likely to discourage future contributions from these allies we so desperately need.

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  • BURR February 27, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    yeah, let\’s keep the discussion to warm and fuzzy girly talk.

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  • BURR February 27, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    those of you advocating for curb extensions are forcing cyclists to share space with busses more of the time, rather than less of the time, doesn\’t help cyclists one bit.

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  • Metal Cowboy February 28, 2008 at 12:18 am

    I really like hearing the bus operator\’s perspective – As with many things in society, it\’s not black or white. I find that a good numberr of busses I pedal behind, near, and in front of, are respectful. I have also had some moments when. if I had not kept to my bike riding stance, prime objective/mantra – that being \”you are invisiible to all cars and busses but not dogs\” – I would have been in trouble. Just because ten busses give me room, hold up turning into me from a stop etc. doesn\’t mean
    # 11 will see me. I\’m not saying that the burden should be on the cyclist, but I put the burden on myself everytime I get on my bike. It\’s my reality and it works for me while I try to improve things for all vulnerable road users. I believe in human error, I also believe there is a meanness in this world as pointed out by the bus operator\’s comments about some of herr/his fellow drivers. It does not negate the good, but I do well to acknowledge and watch for it so that I stay alive and feisty.

    In NYC they have been putting in rubber posts to divide the bike lanes from the other lanes in places. It looks pretty good, but even that doesn\’t keep all cars and busses ( from the video I saw) from crossing over the intersection and pulling into the section completely set aside for bikes. So there\’s human error, meanness and good old fashion stupidity. We have to be watchful on the road for that also.

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  • E February 28, 2008 at 9:05 am

    There are jerks in cars, in buses, and on bikes. This is a fact of life, like taxes, and rain in winter. The only practical way to deal with this is for each of us – cyclist, ped, and driver – to be intelligent, safe, and responsible for our own actions. Cyclists will continue to die on the road as long as there are large motor vehicles. (Many drivers die as well; we are not the only ones killed in road accidents.) Laws, blame, anger, and punishments will not protect us from jerks, idiots, and drunks. We cannot control the actions of others. We can only affect how we conduct ourselves on the road.
    Wear lights
    Be aware
    Report dangerous drivers
    Don\’t be a victim.

    Good luck
    Be safe.

    May I also say, every dangerous thing I\’ve seen a driver do, I\’ve also seen done by cyclists. I\’ve been passed too close, cut off, overtaken without warning; stop signs and red lights run in front of me; turns made without signals, talking on cell phones. You can hold drivers to a double standard, since they\’re handling deadly weapons, but you will not change human beings.

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  • Harriett February 28, 2008 at 11:57 am

    I did not mean to imply,that Trimet or Sandra Mann is responsible for the accident. It is still under investigation. My statement was simply meant in terms of Trimet\’s timing. We are an alternative transportation options company that is in perpetual denial. Considering what I and other operator/cyclists have been through with them throughout the years regarding the rage and blatant harassment and disregard of bicyclists on the streets as well as in house, I am personally \’unsettled\’ by their choice of timing. I and other Operator/cyclists are banging our heads against the wall with what seems like an futile struggle with a company that is just doesn\’t want to deal with these \’toys\’ that everyone is making such a big deal of. For at least five and a half years I, and other Operator/cyclists have repeatedly contacted the company from virtually every floor, every manager on up including the GM asking that someone take a look at the the blatant disregard and harassment of bicyclists on the road. We had huge trucks at night traveling the wrong direction at high speeds through the yard as bicyclists were trying to exit and couldn\’t get anyone to see that something was wrong. Trimet even went so far as to put their community based bicycle advocate on KBOO a couple of years ago giving false information regarding our level of training. We have not had a place to tie our bikes up until a couple of weeks ago and the facility that was built is attractive but non-functional. A couple of days ago Trimet put out two or three copies of a training brochure that is awesome but – as the story goes – it remains undistributed. Because of the weight and size of the two vehicles – the largest and the smallest on the road – we have asked Trimet to use our in-house bicyclists with the BTA to develop training. Bicycle specific training is absolutely essential for commercial Operators when it is combined with defensive driving skills. Because of the public statement yesterday – perhaps they are serious – this time.

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  • Michelle February 28, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Boy did this thread get nasty fast.

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  • Opus the Poet February 28, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Michelle #59

    The thread got nasty because of the seriousness of bike/bus interactions, and the perceived antagonisim of some TriMet drivers and management. And the fact that that antagonism is not limited to TriMet. I live in TX, and I have to speak to drivers I ride with regularly to remind them of TX statutes 551 and 552 for bikes and electric bikes on the roads. Fortunately we don\’t have many bikes on the streets and roads, so there aren\’t many bike/bus wrecks in my county. Now in Harris county they have bike/bus and even bike/train wrecks (one a couple weeks ago) so they have something to work on there.

    Y\’all be careful out there.


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  • Harriett February 28, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    If you\’re referring to my thread I was not getting \’nasty\’ – I was calling attention to what I feel is inappropriate timing of Fred Hansen\’s press release yesterday regarding bicycle/Bus training. As he put it \”in wake of the tragic death of Austin Miller.\” Trimet knew for over five years that there was a problem and they could have chosen to correct it four years ago or last summer or two months ago. Change is good and you get it when you get it. But yesterday was just plain wrong.

    As a Bus Operator/Bicyclist, I do not experience antagonism with management as Opus states. I am someone who questions and asks others to question when something doesn\’t feel right. This is a Transportation Options Company and they are in denial – as are all of us. Our planet is destructing, gas prices are reaching all time highs and there are more bicyclists on the roads then ever before in history. We are all claiming a right to the roads.

    As a Bus Operator I experience the same frustrations as my co-workers. Operating a Bus is like playing a really, really bad video arcade game. You are constantly dodging objects. People suddenly running in front of the Bus. Bicyclists in black without lights zooming past you at lightning speed just as you\’re pulling out from a stop. Bicyclists taking up the entire lane at a slow cruising speed or riding against the light which causes us to slam our brakes and possibly injure our customers. Traffic cutting us off. Traffic does the\’right hook\’ to us as well. We are am amazing group. Stand downtown at rush hour on 3rd and 4th avenues sometime and watch as our Buses ease in and out of unbearable traffic including bicyclists without incident.

    We are also a very stressed, frustrated and angry group. Bus Operators don\’t understand that road debris or pot holes cause us to ride the white line. Bus Operators don\’t understand why wet leaves are treacherous to bicyclists, etc. If someone doesn\’t understand something they will hate it. If someone doesn\’t explain why we do what we do from a bicyclists perspective Buses will continue to hate us. Some act out – the majority don\’t. The ones that do are too many.

    As a bicyclist that works for a Transportation Options company, I have a problem with being treated as a second class citizen. We are appreciative that they finally built a facility to house our bikes but the facility isn\’t functional. They finally provided us with wet gear lockers that aren\’t secure knowing there has been theft problems in the past. There are no facilities whatso ever at Powell or Merlo garages. Operators are discouraged from riding. We are told money is an issue. Money is going for the stripping and paving of commuter facilities all over the City for one person – one car.

    This is denial. The choices Trimet has made in the past has made the lives and safety of others less important than their public persona.

    I am speaking out because I want to see positive change on a permanent, consistent basis and not because a child died.
    Thank you!

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  • Marc Rose February 29, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Thanks for your interesting comments, Harriet. There is no doubt in my mind that bus drivers must, indeed, deal with all kinds of stressful things during the day, especially from drivers but including cyclists too.

    At the same time, it is my perception *touch wood* since moving here from the Midwest four years ago that TriMet drivers are getting better about respecting cyclists and our \’space,\’ so to speak. I assume that something is going on in TriMet to replace drivers that are unfriendly, depressed and/or hostile to cyclists with drivers who like to talk with people and who want to give cyclists more room.

    And \’more room\’ is in many ways what it\’s all about. As Harriet points out, sometimes we cyclists want to ride on the while line to avoid debris, glass, etc., but some drivers still think that just because there is a bike lane, they can drive one or two feet to the left of the line, even if the cyclist is riding near the line. I try to tell drivers sometimes that they need to give us healthy space, maybe 4-5 feet in the case of a bus at the minimum if it is not too hard for them to do so.

    So if any TriMet managers are reading this, keep accelerating your efforts to train drivers to be sympathetic to cyclists and what we have to deal with (as in, possibility of death at just about any time) and to forgive us for those of us who bike like idiots. I have been told my TriMet trainers that bus operators are trained to give \’obstructions\’ safe room, and a cyclist is an obstruction too — but more importantly, a human being.

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  • Michelle February 29, 2008 at 12:00 pm


    Oh no! I\’m sorry. When I was saying \”nasty\” I was referring to very angry comments far earlier in this discussion. I\’ve just demonstrated my own problem problem with widely-broadcast negative messages that get misunderstood and divert the discussion. How embarrassing.

    Now I\’m really getting a lot out of it. I appreciate so much all the dialogue with TriMet operators, particularly you all who have experience on a bike and driving a bus.

    And I am finding your perspective as an internal advocate for bikes and bike-friendly bus operations (am I reading you correctly there?) REALLY interesting. This is something we never really hear anywhere else.

    Why do you think you\’ve had to bang your head against the wall on these issues? Why is TriMet in denial? Do you have any theories?

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  • BURR February 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Simple answer: Fred Hansen is long on feel-good press releases and short on real action leading to change.

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  • a.O February 29, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    I agree, BURR. I think that\’s particularly obvious in the belated and tepid response to the serious violent crime problem out east. Less talk, more action.

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  • Capt.Crazy February 29, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    OK here goes;
    I\’m a Trimess operator, but not a bike rider, that seems to make me an odd ball in this venue.
    As Harriet has correctly stated, we are a harried bunch. Scheduals, created by people that don\’t drive a bus.
    A public that expects these scheduals to have the truth of biblical writings.Even in one of Portland\’s infrequent snowfalls.
    Vehicle drivers, cars, trucks, motorcycles and some bikes, that expect a large vehicle to emulate their particlual vehicle.
    I can speak for no one but myself when I say that I try to always be aware of every bike and pedestrian I\’m near. But I don\’t always manage. But I do try.
    Buses are BIG.
    40 feet long, 45 with the bike rack down.
    10+ feet tall.
    13 and a half feet wide. Most lanes are 15 feet wide.
    A bus weighs 20 TONS.
    It does not go real fast, it does not stop real fast.
    And as an old friend said \”Inertia is a B$&ch!
    What I\’m trying to say is that in the final moment bike safety is a bike riders responsiblity. We drivers can watch for bikes as well as every other thing on the road, and for the most part we do, but if a rider puts themselves in dangerous situations, there is very little we can do.
    Please, please understand that not one driver wants to be involved in an accident, least of all a fatal accident.
    What happened in Beaverton is tragic, and it dosen\’t make any difference who might be \”at falt\”, that it happened at all is bad enough.
    That particular intersection is dangerous, as is Vancouver Ave. between Killingsworth and Stanton, because of bad planning.
    Ride the planners, the Government, the decision makers, to make the changes necessary to make our roads safer for all.
    But in the end, Ride Safe!
    It\’s every riders decision.

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  • Harriett February 29, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks for responding. I have sent this blog to other Trimet Operators and Operator/bicyclists. If you could invite some of the bloggers back I think we could open some doors for discussion. If there is a better venue, let us know.

    Trimet has an in-house bicycle advocate. Eric Hesse. He is actually a community based advocate. Operator/bicyclists are not officially represented but he has made himself available to us for some of our concerns. He holds other positions within the Company as well so he is spread out a bit. Very sweet, gentle spirit.

    I am not officially an in-house advocate for Trimet. We need one but until we form an allegiance that would be company recognized I don\’t mind speaking out. I think we all would like to see a representation of minds from the community in general that would include bicyclists, Operators, commuters, pedestrians, children, taxi drivers, CDL specific drivers, etc. Just a big old town hall type forum that could be televised – perhaps on a monthly basis because I think we all have much to say to each other.

    I got involved years ago because of near misses and being \’buzzed\’ by buses. After I, as a private citizen, called in to report an Operator I realized the manager didn\’t have a clue about what I was talking about and therefore couldn\’t assist the Operator who buzzed me because he thought I was the problem. He suggested that I ride my bicycle on quiet neighborhood streets. I got involved because one of the trainers in a defensive driving class made fun of and validated Operator complaints against riders – basically giving the class permission to hate bicyclists. I got involved because another trainer approached me in the yard one day questioning me about riding. He said, \”When are you going to start driving a car like everyone else?\” I got involved because after a City Bicycle Advisory meeting a Trimet trainer verbally assaulted me by stating that, \”You don\’t hang our skeletons (dirty laundry) out in public!\” They came to the meeting with false and misleading info that assisted in putting bicyclists lives in danger regarding Trimet\’s level of training and I challenged it. He was more concerned with protecting our secrets them protecting lives.

    Several times within the last 5 1/2 years Trimet has committed to training programs and actually printed materials in preparation but continued to not follow through. At one time one of our Operator/bicyclists volunteered his time with new hires because he was so incensed by what was going on out on the streets.
    If we\’re not in denial why else would a company that deals exclusively in transportation options deny their own workforce something as basic as bike racks? Why would a transportations options company not care about the increasing number of bicyclists sharing the roads with their buses – knowing that at times severe stress related problems exist on both sides.

    We are banging our heads against the wall because we have been communicating with a company that denies they have a problem. No one person within the system will commit that a problem exists. One simply cannot make the lives and safety of people less important then a system they have vied to protect.

    If Fred Hansen is serious and his plan as stated above is followed then this will be a start.

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  • Walter Bird February 29, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Concerned about buses squeezing you tight? Take the lane, it is your legal right. But move over once it widens up safely so the bus can pass.

    In many cases, engaging your personal responsibility to provide \’enough\’ protective space around you will go a long way toward preventing problems with buses.

    But probably not those cell phone addicts.

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  • Capt.Crazy March 1, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you Walter!
    Take the lane? Absolutely!!
    As a TM driver, I would much rather any rider would take the lane.
    In comparison, the bike and I are going to travel at the much the same speed, and I would much rather have the bike in front of me than beside me. If nothing else I can keep the idiot in the Urban Assault Vehicle with his/her coffee and cell phone off your ass.
    I very much respect the riders that obey the same rules of the road that I am subject to. For one reason, they\’re helping the enviroment and secondly, they are riding responsibly.

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  • gary March 1, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    gary; I am a retired trimet bus operater
    I drove hawthorn for 10 plus years I had
    lots of experances with bikes , also biked to work so, I saw alot of very
    rude people,on and off bikes. trimet was
    told about their training of operaters
    but didnt address the problems,now they
    are much bigger. the operaters are not at fault most do the best they can because they are always at fault.I wish
    there was a way for some of the narrow
    minded people to drive these very large
    buses thru traffic to see how very hard
    it is,and to see that most operaters are
    hard working people trying to do a good

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  • Zagreus March 6, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    As a bus operator, I have a suggestion. Contact Tri-Met management and arrange to ride along with a driver on line 10, 14, 15, 4, or any other route with heavy proximity between busses and bikes, and see what happens when a vehicle behaves unpredictably. See what happens to passengers during a hard break or maneuver. Remember, a cycle or car maneuvers much more quickly and safely than an oversized vehicle, and has fewer blind spots.

    Any close enounter produces an adreneline spike, and is nerve wrecking.

    I had a great encounter with a bike on my way to work. He was so well lit up that I saw him 1/2 a mile ahead, and plenty of time to move into the left lane and give him plenty of room. I wish that this happened more often.

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  • a.O March 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    As a cyclist, I have a suggestion. Contact anyone at a local bike shop and take a bike ride along line 10, 14, 15, 4, or any other route. See what it\’s like to be on a bike next to a bus.

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  • Anonymous March 6, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Why are you assuming that I have never biked and ridden in traffic?

    I repeat the invitation. How do you think that the MAX operator felt when he was approaching the stop at 18th and Salmon, when a bicyclist ran a red light and cut him and all north-south traffic, and rode off into the day as if nothing had ahppened?

    Bicycles are vehicles, and operating a vehicle on a public right of way is a priveledge, not a right. If I break the law, I can lose that privilege. If I cause damage, I have to have insurance to reimburse the person I damage.

    When the penalties for violating the law are the same, when the road use fees are the same, when competency tests and mandatory insurance are the saem, we will have genuine equality.

    You appear to see the world through your own self interest. Other people exist.

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  • Capt.Crazy March 8, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    This brings up a question.
    Why arn\’t bike riders required to have a license and insurance?
    If a bike is a vehicle, and are to be on the roads along with other vehicles that are required to have license and insurance, why do bike get off for free?
    If a car driver causes an accident, then that drivers insurance pays, if a bike causes an accident…

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  • wsbob March 8, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Bikes don\’t get off for free. They have to deal with cars. In fact, much of the time, they do cars a big favor by making room on the road for an extra car. Bikes rarely kill someone or ruin another\’s property when they run into either of the two. Cars do, frequently, and that, for starters, is why their operators have to have a license and insurance.

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  • Capt.Crazy March 8, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    But if a bike causes property damage through their actions, who pay for the damage if they don\’t have the bucks or somekind of insurance?

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  • zagreus March 8, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    You do, Captain, and so do I. So do our passengers if we have to brake hard to keep from hitting someone (car or bike) runnig a red light or stop sign, or making an illegal turn. We can get the car\’s license plate, though, and call the police to report a reckless driver, and the law of averages will catch up with the motorist and he will lose his license, but the bike is off scot free.

    I was nearly run over in a cross walk while on foot by 2 bikes running a stop sign coming down a steep hill. Don\’t tell me, bob, that bikes can\’t cause real injury or damage.

    Reckless operatos need to be taken off the streets, regardless of their mode of transportation, and need to demonstrate minimal competency.

    I used a bike exclusively in the early \’60\’s on my paper route, and I never considered riding into a truck\’s blind spot when he had his turn signals on, and expected that he would see me. What has happened to common sense, or being responsible for ourselves?

    Licensing and insurance for all vehicles serves everyone well. Cars and drivers were legally required to have licenses and insurance when the sheer numbers of them reached a critical mass. We have reached this critical mass with bikes as well.

    We all need to be careful around one another, but it is not reasonable to expect us to be baby sitters.

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  • wsbob March 8, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    zagreus, I didn\’t say bikes can\’t cause real injury or damage…I said they rarely do. If I have to qualify that claim for it to make sense in the context we\’re discussing this issue, I\’ll add that bikes rarely cause injury real injury or damage relative to that caused by motor vehicles.

    This is a key distinction between the two types of vehicles. Motor vehicles vastly outnumber bikes on streets and roads, dramatically raising the element of danger on those public rights of way, and hastening their obsolescence.

    I respectfully submit that we do not yet have the kind of critical mass of bikes in the streets to justify their riders obligation to carry licenses. That day may come, but it has not arrived yet.

    All a person has to do to establish that there isn\’t a critical mass of bicycles occupying the streets is to take a look during almost any rush hour(except during the notorious \’critical mass\’ demonstration rides. I\’d guess that easily 90 percent of the vehicles there are motor vehicles.

    As for the close-call incident you described in which two reckless cyclists nearly collided with you while failing to stop for a stop sign, this behavior is obviously not limited to cyclists. Also, there is absolutely no guarantee that had it been a motor vehicle rather than two bikes, the motor vehicle would have been caught and cited. I\’d suggest that motor vehicles, on the basis of sheer numbers alone, get off scot free far more than bike riders do.

    If a cyclist was stopped at the scene of a collision he was responsible for, I\’m inclined to think that the cyclist\’s personal information would be recorded. There are others regularly following this weblog that would be more qualified to address your concerns about the public having to bear the burden of cyclist caused injury or damage to other people in a traffic collision.

    Here again though, it doesn\’t seem as though these kinds of incidents are yet occurring in sufficient numbers to produce the \’critical mass\’ necessary to mandate licensing and rider insurance for bicycles.

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  • Capt.Crazy March 8, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    I\’m not sure about \”critical mass\”, but it seems to me that licensing or at least regestering bikes would serve the biking community well.
    I hear about stolen bikes all the time, and a regestered bike might have more chance of being recovered, or identified.
    BTW for any one missing a bike, check with TM, leaving one on a bus seems to be a favorite way to dispose of a stolen bike.

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  • zagreus March 9, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Bob, I believe in equality–one set of rules. Anything less produces second class citizenship for many.

    I once believed as you did about licensing bikes–thought that it would be a boondoggle producing money for the politicians to waste. I have changed my mind due to my own experience on the mean streets of Portland. We need to identify reckless vehicle users, and we need to get them off the streets, period.

    As for bikes not causing injuries, Harriet (another poster) was broadsided by another bike and severely injured. That biker was decent and responsible, stopped, helped, and paid. If he had chosen not to, he would have been off scot free. Hit and run motorists are usually caught–not so hit and run bikes.

    I wish that Tri-Met would publicize all the times MAX and Bus drivers have to take evasive action which can and frequently does cause injury to our passengers–sometimes it is because of a motorized vehicle, but often it is because of a bicycle–far out of proportion to their number. The bike lives to cause another accident. Believe it or not, none of us want to kill bicyclists, even when they act with reckless disregard for their own safety or the safety of others.

    I was driving a 4 apporaching Madison and Grand during darkness when a bike approached me from the left without any lights. I told him that his lights were not working. He told me, so what. I had to tell him the truth–if I can\’t see you, we are apt to have a close enounter.

    Bob, surely you can agree that proper lighting ought to be required.


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  • wsbob March 9, 2008 at 10:26 am

    zagreus, I did not say or imply that mandatory licensing and liability insurance for bikes would be a boondoggle. I essentially said that, numbers of bicycles on the street, relative to the numbers of cars they share them with do not presently call for call for a licensing and liability insurance law comparable such as exists for motor vehicles.

    That day may come, but is it here yet? What would your proposed law specify? What age levels of bike riders would you propose be required to be licensed? Requiring that every person riding a bike on a public street have license and liability, would impose an unnecessary hardship on many people.

    Also keep in the additional bureaucracy that will be required when the day does comes that bike riders must be so equipped; additional employees to process registrations, test for riding ability, issue licenses. Then there\’s the money that insurers will be making for covering the new market created by a mandatory licensing/liability law.

    Cops can\’t even keep up with enforcing safe driving behavior amongst motor vehicle drivers. I can\’t imagine that adding a bunch of bikes to their workload would improve the situation; running plate numbers; that\’s another issue..what are you going to require bikes have? …big illuminated plates like cars have, front and back so cops can see them 200\’ away? Cops already routinely stop bad bike riders. Such a law would have a very hard time doing any better job of keeping problem bike riders off the road than the current situation does.

    Proper lighting is required on bikes. I feel like an actual light rather than a reflector, should be required on the back. Also, bike riders should be obliged to keep the batteries in their lights at a sufficient power level to sustain a standard illumination.

    Some kind of a warning indicator light could be built into even the cheapest lights to indicate when the illumination ability of a light has descended below safe visibility levels. It\’s not uncommon to see bike riders using lights that, if legal, are barely visible, except maybe to cats. Personally, I only hope that lights available continue to get better and more affordable.

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  • zagreus March 9, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Bob, I never said that you called licensing a boondoggle–I once thought of it that way. I thought that I made that clear.

    I began driving in 1958, at the age of 10–country roads, with trucks and tractors considered farm equipment–and I didn\’t need a license. Things have changed. I would not be able to do the same things today as a 10 year old.

    Any means of transportation considered a \”vehicle\” should be licensed and insured. Bicycle activists fought long and hard to be defined as vehicles with the same rights as any motorized vehicle–what is wrong with having the same responsibilities? This is somethiing that the public will eventually demand and it will happen.

    Since, as you pointed out, bikes will do less damage relative to size and power than a car, truck, bus, or motorcycle, it will mean that bike insurance rates would be lower as well.

    Drivers can lose their road use privileges for driving unsafely, and face jail time if they drive while suspended–where is the parity for reckless bicyclists? An unsafe bicyclist can continue on his merry way until the law of averages catches up to him, and then he is a martyr.

    If you don\’t think that adding unsafe bikes to the workload of police trying to cope with unsafe motorists should be the norm, do you think that bikes should be exempt from any legal responsibility to protect the rights and safety of others? I haven\’t picked this up from you necessarily, but from other posters whenever the subject of equal responsibility for equal rights comes up.

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  • wsbob March 9, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    zagreus, police already stop bike riders for irresponsible behavior on the road. The only difference that a license plate on a bike is going to make, from a cops point of view, is that they\’ll be able to single out bikes that aren\’t displaying them, stop them and do the various things they do with cars not displaying license plates.

    If bike riders are also obliged to get a rider\’s license, I suppose a rider could have their license taken away, just like motor vehicles drivers have theirs taken away. Of course, that doesn\’t necessarily keep people from driving cars. It takes a lot of infrastructure to do what you suggest. Personally, I just don\’t think there\’s yet enough bikes, or enough of a need for a bike/rider licensing law. Contact your congressman if you think there is. Write up a proposal for a bike licensing law. I\’m sure they\’d love to hear from you.

    Maybe someone else can answer the liability question.

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  • zagreus March 10, 2008 at 6:15 am

    Bob, I think that we best agree to disagree on the issue of licenses and insurance.

    I do hope that we can agree on the need to get reckless people off the road, no matter what their mode of transportation, and for the need to be mutually respectful and considerate.

    When I see a bike (and visibility is a key word here) operating safely and predictably, I can manauver an oversized vehilce in proximity without endangering anyone.

    I know what it is like to have to react quickly and deal with the adreneline spike afterwards, and I don\’t imagine it is any different for a bike rider.

    I drove the 72 one day, and was servicing the northbound stop at 82nd, and Foster. A bike rode onto the sidewalk to get around traffic and a parked bus, slowly, safely, when a car made a sharp turn in front of the bus to enter the parking lot, and nearly killed the bicyclist.

    I caught up with him, and had him put his bike on the bike rack, and since he had no money, I gave him a transfer, because I could see how shook up he was and that he was in no condition to ride home safely.

    We have the same reactions, too–only we can\’t get out of the seat and do 20 pushups, or walk for 10 minutes to get rid of the adreneline spike–in turns into chloresterol, and we end up very tired when the spike wears off.

    Bus drivers are human, and most of us are doning the best we can to be safe.

    We want to lose unsafe bus drivers–it is in our own interest. I think that losing unsafe cyclists is in your interest as well.

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  • wsbob March 10, 2008 at 8:49 am

    zag, again, if you\’ve got an idea or a plan for licensing and requiring liability for bikes and their riders, start circulating it. Despite your own related personal experiences and concern over the issue, it\’s doubtful that there\’s yet a compelling need for it. That will derail any effort to get one in place.

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  • zagreus March 10, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Bob, you ignored the gist of the post.

    I do not see any reason to treat bicycles any differently than motorcycles. If you listen to people outside of the bicycling community, you will find a lot of support for this.

    An unsafe operator is just that, no matter the mode of transportation, and needs to be taken off the road. Road use for any vehicle is a privilege, not a right–the same for you as for me.

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  • wsbob March 10, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Bikes lack both the mass and speed velocity of motorcycles. The danger potential bikes represent drops accordingly. Kids are permitted to ride bikes on the street, but not motorcycles, because license and liability is required to operate the latter. Would a law requiring licenses and liability insurance for bicycles exempt children from meeting those conditions for bicycle use on streets?

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  • zagreus March 10, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Back in 1966 my friend Warren Hagstrom was stopped by the police in Parkrose for doing 50 mph on his 10 speek Schwinn. Multiple gear bikes are capable of high speeds, and therefore represent a danger.

    In 1966, there were fewer bikes per capita than now. In the Portland Metro area, bikes have reached the critical mass necessary for further regulation.

    Back in 1966 bicycles were not considered vehicles, and therefore there was no need to license them. Thanks to lobbying by bicycle activists, bicycles are now legally vehicles, yet want to be treated as non-vehicles when it is convenient, and as vehicles when that is convenient.

    Since bicycles are considered vehicles, simple fair play and safety require that they have the responsiblities of vehicles as well as the privileges.

    It is a nice set of circumstances to have the best of both worlds, but it makes the rest of us second class citizens.

    This is not an issue that we can solve in this forum. Can we get back to safety and respect?

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  • wsbob March 10, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    \”In 1966, there were fewer bikes per capita than now. In the Portland Metro area, bikes have reached the critical mass necessary for further regulation.\” zagreus

    Then you go to it zagreus, and good luck to you.

    \”Back in 1966 my friend Warren Hagstrom was stopped by the police in Parkrose for doing 50 mph on his 10 speek Schwinn. Multiple gear bikes are capable of high speeds, and therefore represent a danger.\” zagreus

    That is grabbing at straws. If you can\’t do better than that, just forget it, zag.

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  • zagreus March 11, 2008 at 5:19 am

    Bob, you are simply in denial that bikes can and do cause damage and accidents. That isn\’t insight, it\’s tunnel vision. Like it or not, equal respoinsibilty is coming to Portland, and sooner than you think.

    Let me explain in in more graphic detail. Group #1 has responsibilites but no rights (since their presence is a privilege). Group #2 has rights withoug responsibilites. Group #2 has the best of both worlds. Group #1 is the majority–how long do you suppose that this state of affairs will continue?

    The Bushreich has collapsed under the weight of its own hypocrisy and contradictions. So will the current state of affairs in Portland.

    Roland Zagreus

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  • wsbob March 11, 2008 at 8:30 am

    \”Bob, you are simply in denial that bikes can and do cause damage and accidents.\” zagreus

    That\’s simply not true zag, and you should be able to clearly understand this from most every response I\’ve offered to the concerns you\’ve raised. That is if, for a even a few moments, you were able to set aside your preoccupation with what appears to be a single, absolute option for the continuation of bicycle use on public roads.

    Good luck on your plans to require license and liability for bicycles and their riders. Given the present rate of bicycle use in Portland and in the U.S. in general, I don\’t see that I\’d be inclined to support any such plan.

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  • Zagreus March 11, 2008 at 10:47 am

    They are not \”my plans,\” bob, just the inevitable.

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  • DJ Hurricane March 11, 2008 at 11:00 am

    I think you mean \”delusional.\”

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  • zagreus March 11, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Arrogance plus foolishness equal unexpected setbacks. Look into the mirror for \”delusional.\”

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  • DJ Hurricane March 11, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Care to wager?

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  • Capt.Crazy March 12, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I\’ll take some of that bet.
    Safe or unsafe vehicle operators is not necessarly the essence of the question concerning licensing and regestration(sp?). I\’d like to raise the issue of road use and signal/signage cost.
    In \’66 there weren\’t any bike lanes, bike only signs, bike boxes etc..
    All of this costs the individual municipality tax payer dollars.
    I believe that all the things currently being done FOR the biking community is funded by federal and local road taxes.
    While the establishing of the process to license and regester bikes would require an unspecified amount of start-up costs, eventualy, the system would begin to create new funds to pay for and pay back the current costs that the system now has to fund for the bike community.
    So many people seem to believe in \”pay as you go\” politics, maybe it\’s time to try it out?

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  • wsbob March 12, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Capt.Crazy and zagreus, go for it! That\’s right, start getting ready to license your kids bikes and set them up with riders liability insurance so they can ride to school or to the corner market. After all, it\’s inevitable, isn\’t that what you said zagreus?

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  • bdbiker March 12, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    You\’ve probably all seen this… but if you haven\’t try it on for size…It\’s GREAT!!!
    Shortcut to: http://www.dothetest.co.uk/

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  • Zagreus March 13, 2008 at 5:22 am

    BD, interesting observation about the powers of tunnel vision.

    Bob, why do you think that equal rights should not require equal responsibllity? Most adult do.

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  • Scott Mizée March 13, 2008 at 5:42 am

    wow… this is a really interesting conversation. I wish it was recorded on audio so I could listen to it during my commute. no time to read it all right now. Does anyone know of a good website that converts text to voice?

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  • wsbob March 13, 2008 at 10:06 am

    zag, you are devising to read meaning into my comments that they do not convey. At any rate, my opinion doesn\’t have much bearing upon whether or not an idea to license bikes and their riders, and require riders to carry liability insurance could be created and put into law.

    As long as people that desire such a law continue to refuse to acknowledge certain basic realities that would arise with a bike licensing/mandatory liability insurance law, such a law will never happen in Oregon.

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  • Zagreus March 13, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Bob, you have consistently resisted the idea that people who benefit should pay for those benefits, barring circumstances such as disability, or that rights imply responsibilities.

    As Cap\’n pointed out, years ago bikes were not considered \”vehicles,\” and no special provision was made for themm therefore riders did not have the responsibilities of vehicle operators. Those of us riding in those days learned to be careful.

    Are bikes vehicles or not? If so, why the double standard?

    Demonstrated competeny, finiancial responsibility, and compliance with the rules of the road are the responsibility of all vehicles, and the ability of to get unsafe operators off the road with enforcable laws is the responsibility of the government.

    With, it seems, one glaring exception.

    Operating a vehicle comes with built in hardships–that is the real world and how it works.

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  • Opus the Poet March 13, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    zagreus, motor vehicle operators are licenced and regulated based on the destructive potential of their vehicles. Last year motor vehicles directly caused 48,000 deaths in the United States alone. Do you know how many deaths were caused by bicycles, that were not also involved with a motor vehicle? So few that nobody\’s counting them. Should we also licence pedestrians before they are allowed to use the roads and sidewalks, or should we just provide education in the schools about safe practices while walking (and while riding a bike).

    When a \”unprotected\” person (not in a car) is hit at any speed by a motor vehicle they have a non-zero chance of death due solely to the mass of the vehicle, at 20 MPH that chance is 20%, but increase the speed to that of most inner city speed limits, 30 MPH and the chance of death for a cyclist or pedestrian rises to 90%. and the chance of death rises asymptotically to very close to 100% very rapidly from there (you have the odd human being like myself that survives a 60 MPH impact that keeps it from actually reaching 100% at any speed). And this can happen from a moment\’s distraction or tiredness, like the Deputy\’s car that crossed the centerline and killed 2 and injured one cyclist Sunday of this week.

    That is why drivers are required to be licenced and insured, and not cyclists.


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  • zagreus March 14, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Opus, again, road use and gasoline taxes provide millions of dollars annually to provide and maintain bike lanes, bike boxes, bike trails, and the like–one group of people paying for a benefit that exclusively benefits another. What is wrong with paying for what you use?

    Pedestrians are not considered \”vehicles,\” but bikes are. This is a new phenomenon. Perhaps it is time that someone does start counting the accidents caused by bikes–bikes hitting parked or moving vehicles, including other bikes, bikes hitting pedestrians, and the like, as well as the injuries caused by motorists and rail operators who have to take evasive actions or make hard stops to avoid hitting a bike running a red light, a stop sign, or making an illegal turn. This is not a rare occurance by any means, it is happening daily. Bus and rail operators witness these events several times a day–even full time cyclists like Harriet (who does not own a car) have stated this in earlier posts.

    A bicyclist in either Eugene or Salem (I can\’t remember which) killed an elderly woman in a crosswalk when he ran the light and struck her–he was convicted of manslaugter. He had no liability insurance, so his victim\’s family received no compensation. He had no license to lose, and there is no way to keep him off the road once he is released.

    A reckless driver who loses his license and buys a 15 speed will still be a reckless operator, but one who operatoes with impunity. This is completely unacceptable.

    Operating a vehicle on a public street is a privelege, not a right, and bikes are now vehicles. I have no right to operate a car or bus and you have no right to operate a bike on a public road.

    You reiterated Bob\’s point about bikes having less lethal potential than cars, busses, or trucks–which would mean lower liability rates for bikes. It should not mean no liability insurance, no road use taxes, no proof of minimal competency and knowledge of road use laws, and impunity from losing road use priveleges for repeated infractions or reckless or im impaired operation.

    The price of equal rights is equal responsibility. The majority is at present unorganized, so the organized minority (bicyclists) can maintain a priveleged postion for as long as they can exercise superior political clout. Depending on political clout is a temporary expedient, since political alignments change. If the politicans can gain more leverage by catering to anti-bike forces, they will. All it will take is a galvanizing incident, and the inevitable will happen.

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  • wsbob March 14, 2008 at 11:27 am

    \”Opus, again, road use and gasoline taxes provide millions of dollars annually to provide and maintain bike lanes, bike boxes, bike trails, and the like–one group of people paying for a benefit that exclusively benefits another.\” zagreus

    That statement is completely false and misleading. Gradually expanding bike infrastructure is funded because of its effectiveness in relieving the overwhelming burden that excessive numbers of motor vehicles have placed upon street infrastructure traditionally built exclusively for motor vehicles. Bikes are in part, the antidote to the untenable situation motor vehicle usage has created.

    From what I remember from the few news reports covering the incident, the cyclist that ran over the elderly woman in Salem was a drug abuser, probably poor with mental issues. How is a license for riding a bike going to keep such a person off the road? They apprehended the person. What next? Keep him in jail forever on revenue generated by bike licensing? How much money would that revenue have to represent in order to accomplish something like that?

    \”Perhaps it is time that someone does start counting the accidents caused by bikes–bikes hitting parked or moving vehicles, including other bikes, bikes hitting pedestrians, and the like, as well as the injuries caused by motorists and rail operators who have to take evasive actions or make hard stops to avoid hitting a bike running a red light, a stop sign, or making an illegal turn. This is not a rare occurance by any means, it is happening daily. Bus and rail operators witness these events several times a day–even full time cyclists like Harriet (who does not own a car) have stated this in earlier posts.\” Perhaps it is time that someone does start counting the accidents caused by bikes–bikes hitting parked or moving vehicles, including other bikes, bikes hitting pedestrians, and the like, as well as the injuries caused by motorists and rail operators who have to take evasive actions or make hard stops to avoid hitting a bike running a red light, a stop sign, or making an illegal turn. This is not a rare occurance by any means, it is happening daily. Bus and rail operators witness these events several times a day–even full time cyclists like Harriet (who does not own a car) have stated this in earlier posts.Perhaps it is time that someone does start counting the accidents caused by bikes–bikes hitting parked or moving vehicles, including other bikes, bikes hitting pedestrians, and the like, as well as the injuries caused by motorists and rail operators who have to take evasive actions or make hard stops to avoid hitting a bike running a red light, a stop sign, or making an illegal turn. This is not a rare occurance by any means, it is happening daily. Bus and rail operators witness these events several times a day–even full time cyclists like Harriet (who does not own a car) have stated this in earlier posts.\”zagreus

    Note: \”…someone…\”. Why isn\’t that \’someone\’, you zagreus? Why don\’t you start making that count? If the situation is as you seem to think it is, once you have those numbers tallied, the public will be clamoring to have bikes licensed and their riders required to have liability insurance to ride a bike, correct? Is it really \’inevitable\’?

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  • Duncan March 14, 2008 at 11:30 am

    hmmm wonder if the guy was in a car if and hit a cyclist if he would have gotten manslaughter or \”failure to yield\”

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  • Capt.Crazy March 14, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Duncan, probably man 1. A reckless driver is a reckless driver.
    Interesting bent this conversation is taking. Hard like bikes don\’t want to pay for the privilage of using the road, and any suggestion that they should, brings outraged cries of \”we\’re not the problem, we\’re (left hand over heart,right raised to heven)THE ANSWER!
    Again you need to decide if the bicycle, ridden by an of age adult, is a vieicle or a toy. If it is a vehicle, pay your own damn way. If it\’s a toy, stay out of the street, and don\’t go off the block wihout your mommy.

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  • wsbob March 14, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Here\’s a better explanation than I can make regarding how streets and roads are funded by everyone, rather than just motor vehicle drivers, as people such as zagreus have convinced themselves:

    Everyone, not just drivers, pay for roads (thanks Rixter!)

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  • zagreus March 16, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Bob, you have tunnel vision. There was nothing false about my statement that road use taxes pay for bike lanes, bike trails, and bike boxes that are for the exclusive use and benefit of bikes, and that bike riders do not pay for the benefit they receive. Talk about a sense of excessive entitlement. I do not owe you a free ride.

    Who would compile the stasistics about accidents caused by bikes? Who compiles statistics about accidents caused by cars, trucks, and busses? The state and the insurance industry, to name two. Why should bikes be left out? Because you find it convenient?

    If the vehicle operator who killed the woman in the cross walk had been in an automobile or bus rather than a bike, would you seriously state that since requiring the oerpator to be licensed would not have prevented the assualt or kept the operator off the road, manadory licensing of drivers should not happen? If your answer is no, then you are advocting a double standard–one that benefits you. I have the same objection to this reasoning by bicyclist that I when the religious right uses it.

    You and other bicylists are in a good position to advocate for equal responsibility and to have a major inpact on the laws created. If you choose not to, it will be done for you at some point. You can take that to the bank.

    You still have not answered my question–what is your objection to equal responsibilies to go with equal rights? Why do you think that others owe you?

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  • Capt.Crazy March 17, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    well, we\’re waiting???>

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  • Capt.Crazy March 19, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Bob? Hello, Bob?

    All I hear is an echo…

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  • Opus the Poet March 19, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Capt. Crazy and zagreus,

    The horse is already deceased. Bikes already pay far more than their share of the costs to build and maintain the streets, and are in fact subsidising cars. The question has been answered, several times, and is now what has to be considered a straw man, rather than a real question. Go away.

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  • Capt.Crazy March 19, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Ooooooooooooooooooo! I want some of what you got!
    How, exactly do bikes \”subsidise\” cars?
    remember, I\’m new and haven\’t had the benifit of your vast experience.
    I\’m not quite clear on how bikes share the costs of road maintance, let alone cover the costs of such things as bike boxes, bike lanes, public parking facilities, etc..

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  • Capt.Crazy March 19, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Oh, and going away isn\’t EVEN an option.

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  • wsbob March 19, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Cap\’n Crazy: see link/comment #108.

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  • Opus the Poet March 19, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    CC, comment #113 you don\’t even want a tiny piece of what I got. I got 3.3 pounds of stainless steel in my hip. I got one leg 17 mm shorter than the undamaged one. I got daily pain and loss of function in my damaged leg. I got brain damage that prevents me from speaking when I get emotionally upset (doesn\’t affect my typing, however). And I got no income because of the totality of that, you want some of that, too? Or do you just want to troll on a bike board insulting people who are trying to make a difference and protect your environment?

    Now Go Away!


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  • Zagreus March 20, 2008 at 4:00 am

    Licensing serves several purposes—identifying the vehicle operator, maintaing minimum, standards, removing unsafe operators from the road, theft recovery, and paying a proportionate share of road use taxes. My posts have emphasized the safety issues involved, but paying as you go is also important. No one is entitled to a free ride.

    Requiring liability insurance protects other people from negligent or reckless operators–and provides redress for genuine accidents. Anyone who uses the roads has this responsibility–or should have. Public safety also demands removing unsafe operators from the roads–and kept off.

    One duii driver in Tillamook received a Liftime supspenion of his driving priveleges, even though no fatality was involved. He gets no sympathy from me. Any unsafe or deliberately impaired operator should be off the road, regardless of the vehicle they choose to operator.

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  • Capt.Crazy March 20, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    shan\’t go away. I\’m not trolling to insult, but to learn and offer ideas.
    Bob, thank you for the refferal, that\’s info that I\’ve not known how to access, I told you I was new at this.
    Opus, sorry about your medical probs, but I\’m not trying to make trouble, though I don\’t ride, as a TM driver, I\’m involved in the bike life. I deal with bikes every day, and what I observe is that the bikes that make problems for me, make problems for other bikes.
    Watched one bike almost push another off the bike way on the Hawthorn Bridge the other day, That\’s the kind of rider that needs to be at least cautioned by some portion of the system.
    Please believe me, my major intrest is safety for everybody out there.

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  • DJ Hurricane March 20, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Until the government demonstrates that it is capable of properly regulating motor vehicle traffic, it has no legitimate claim to regulating bicycle traffic.

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  • Zagreus March 21, 2008 at 6:10 am

    DJ, that is illogical

    If I said that until the government demonstrates that it is capable of properly regulating nonmotorized vehicle traffic, (witness the numerous incidents in which bikes run red lights and stop signs, etc,) it has no legitimate claim to regulating motorized vehicle traffic, you would see just how illogical that argument is. Look beyond your own narrow self interest.

    Regulating vehicle traffic, making the roads safe for all users, from pedestrians to semis, is a legitimate function of government. If you want to be a vehicle without regulation, good luck, but don\’t expect that this is going to happen, or that increased regulation isn\’t inevitable. Operating a vehicle is not a right, it is a privelege.

    People with their heads in the clouds always return to earth eventually.

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  • wsbob March 21, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Zagreus, whenever you do decide to return to earth, please immediately start assembling your proposal to license bicycles and their riders(don\’t forget liability insurance) for the right to use public streets. If that idea is as good as you seem to think it is, no doubt everyone you share it with will embrace it with open arms.

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  • zagreus March 21, 2008 at 3:41 pm


    If you listen to people outside of your small circle of friends, you will find a lot of support for this. It is going to happen eventually.

    Why do you think that user fees are unfair? I pay taxes for parks, yet still pay a fee when I use one.

    Why do you feel that you should not be responsible or liable for injuries you cause or damage that you do? If you have no insurance, how are you going to pay? What recourse does the victim have?

    Why do you feel that vehicles have responsibilities, unless they are bikes?

    Why do you feel that unsafe vehicle operators should be taken off the roads, unless the vehicle they operate is a bike?

    No one likes double standards, unless they benefit from them.

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  • Capt.Crazy March 21, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Ya\’ know guys, vehicle licenses exitst not to provide an oppertunity to charge fees to use the public roads, licenses and regestration exist to offer some kind of control on the users, and to demonstrate that at least once the person had some knowlege of the rules.
    It may have reached to time that bike riders should have to prove that once, at least once, they knew the \”rules of the road\”.
    Government governs at the conscent, and, in the best of cases, with the assistance, of the governed. If a motor vehicle operator fails to observe the law, then, for that moment, they are law breakers. Now unless the society spends the $$$ to put an officer at every corner, on every street, in every possible place, people Will break the law. That\’s a fact. But that dosen\’t absolve them, or me or you.
    But at this time while I, or you can report a dangerous driver with a call to the police and providing a license plate #, there is no possible way to turn in a dangerous bike rider, unless you drag their carcuss(emphasis on the cuss) in.
    That\’s why licensing and regestration WILL happen, and unless the community involves it\’s self in the process of developing the rules, they will be done for you, probably by people that don\’t know squat about the difficulties and dangers of bikeing.

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  • DJ Hurricane March 21, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    This \”it\’s gonna happen\” schtick is tiring. You let me know when you get a Bill in the Legislature, m\’kay? Until then, it\’s all just idle chatter by anti-cycling zealots with a solution looking for a problem.

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  • Capt.Crazy March 21, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Look, fella, this \”schtick\” may seem tiring, but what I\’m tring to get through to you, is that if the bike community dosen\’t become pro-active in this, they are going to have to play a lot of catch up

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  • wsbob March 21, 2008 at 9:19 pm


    a) I\’ve never said that user fees for bicycles wouldn\’t be fair. What I\’ve essentially said is that neither the time, the need, or sufficient demand for them presently exists.

    b) I don\’t believe I or anybody else commenting on the weblog about the subject has ever said that they believe people riding bikes shouldn\’t be responsible for what they do while on the bike, or for injuries they cause to others while on the bike.

    There might have been people commenting whose statements are a result of lack of awareness related to general responsibility associated with using public streets. That\’s to be expected given that many people reading and viewing on this weblog are people that are perhaps new or unfamiliar with that concept.

    c)I never said that some standard for taking unsafe vehicle operators off the road should exclude people riding bikes.


    I think that most reasonable people wouldn\’t completely exclude the possibility that someday, licensing and liability insurance for bike riders might be a reality, but that day is likely not tomorrow, next year, or even 10 years away.

    I\’m not sure what you mean by \”…a lot of support for this.\”, but I doubt much of that kind of support exists in the Portland Metro area. Vancouver, given their recent helmet mandate, now that\’s another story…. . Anyway zag, feel free to show us all where this great groundswell of support for bike licensing and mandatory liability insurance for bike riders exists.

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  • zagreus March 22, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Bob, point by point:

    a. If neither the time or demand for user fees exists at this time, who do you think should pay for the bike paths, bike lanes, and bike boxes that only bikes can use? Why not bicyclists?

    b. Again, if you are not required to have insurance to operate a vehicle on the road, and you do damage or injury, and the damage exceeds your ability to pay, who does pay? How are victims to be compensated? If you choose not to take responsibility and leave the scene, how will you be identified if you do not have a bike license?

    c. If a bicyclist has no license to lose, how can he or she be kept off the streets if he or she chooses to be reckless or irresponsible? A motorist driving without a license will be incarcerated when he or she is caught–what penalty does a reckless bicyclist face, except the law of averages catching up with him?

    d. Vancouver is part of the Portland Metro Area. Bicyclists are politically organized–those who believe that they should have equal responisbilites for equal rigbhts are not–that is the difference. That will change at some point.

    Regarding the Vancouver helmet law, if I am required to have a helmet to ride a motorcycle, and to use a seat belt to either drive or be a psssenger in a car, why should you be held to a different standard? How is equal responaibility anti-bike?

    Captain Crazy reiterated a good point–the bicycling community can be proactive and have impact on whatever laws are passed, or pretend that it will nexer happen, in chich case it will happen in spite of them, and the laws may not be fair–laws often are not.

    Political winds change rapidly, Bob–remmeber the 2004 elections–how may people today would admit that they voted for Bush? Remember when the liberal wing of the Democratic party once seemed supreme and invincible–until it was Bushwhacked by Reagan.

    DJ, the schtick that is tiring is listening to overly indulged self centered people with a sense of excessive entitlement think that the rest of the world owes them, who seem to think that everyone else should be held to the letter of the law, but that they should be the exception to the rule. It is natural that people who benefit from a double standard should support it–just as it is natural for those who are on the wrong end of that system to fight back.

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  • DJ Hurricane March 22, 2008 at 11:05 am


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  • wsbob March 22, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Brick walls.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 22, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    I just want everyone to know that we are organizing a meetup with bus operators so we can talk about safety issues and other things. Please stay tuned for details.

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  • ian March 22, 2008 at 4:34 pm


    This is getting so tired.
    Who should pay for bike lanes, bike boxes, etc? We should, and we do. Get that into your head. My wife and I own our home, both work close in to town, and drive our car less than 3000 miles per year. We pay income taxes, property taxes, gas taxes etc….
    There is a study done that was linked here on bikeportland a while back that showed that people who drive less spend more within their local economy. So my household spends more supporting local business\’s then you which means more taxes paid by them.
    The General fund is filled by many different taxes, including gas, income, property. and bike stuff gets like 1.5 percent of the transportation dollars.
    And Gas taxes alone dont even come close to paying for roads. No where near it.

    Your argument about user pays in just silly, and when you said you pay for parks twice you are full of it. The parks that charge user fees are state or national. Unless it is for parking. You don\’t get charged to go have a picnic in Washington park. you don\’t get charged to have a swing in irving park do you? Well why not? We should make sure all those people pay since they are the users, right?
    Do you pay for the sidewalks when you walk around? Well maybe you should try to get a pedestrian tax. or a roller blader tax, and a skateboard tax. and make them get insurance. I know I have been run into by those pesky skateboarders, and it hurt. so lets make them pay!

    We have many things in our society that we as that society pay for. I feel good when my taxes pay for things that are in the public good that I may never use. It makes portland a better place.
    You can go on bitching that cyclists dont pay their share, but really how better off would you be in every biker in portland was driving a car.

    How many people sitting in traffic paying almost 4 bucks a gallon are thinking that we should make those damn bikers pay? I guess you think it a lot of them. My guess is they are thinking more and more about riding that bike in their garage.

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  • zagreus March 22, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Ian, have you gone to Blue Lake Park lately??

    Users fees are the fairest way to pay for anything. I can\’t understand the resistance to that idea–or the the ideas of financial responsibility (insurance) demonstrated competency (licensing), or keeping unsafe operators off the road.

    DJ and Bob, yawn and brick wall are appropriate responses to people guided by nothing more than self interest. No one has answered the question as to why vehicle operators should be treated differently.

    Dialogue is impossible with those who believe themselves entitled to special treatment.

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  • nuovorecord March 22, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Go to Blue Lake Park on a bike and you pay nothing to use the park. Go there in a car, and you pay to enter.

    Just sayin\’… 🙂

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  • DJ Hurricane March 22, 2008 at 9:20 pm


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  • wsbob March 22, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Not self interest zagreus…common interest. I doubt that hardly anyone wants to mandate licensing and liability insurance for bicycles except for you and a few of your bitter, irritable associates. Sure, people no doubt consider it from time to time, but I believe if the idea came up for serious consideration, there would ultimately be almost no support for it whatsoever.

    If you believe that\’s not the case, well then get busy man, and prove it.

    I\’ve heard people, (drivers that is), express being frustrated with traffic, irritated and frustrated with other motor vehicle and bicycle behavior, but never do they come up with some nutty idea to license and require insurance for bicycles? Why? Because most reasonably intelligent people can understand without hardly thinking, that such an idea is impractical to the point of not being feasible for the foreseeable future.

    On the other hand, maybe you, Zagreus, are just the guy that\’s smart enough to come up with an idea that can make it work. Why not get busy zag? If you want this, you go and work for it.

    You don\’t have to acknowledge that support for your personal bone to pick doesn\’t exist if you don\’t want to, but don\’t expect to wheeze on and on with your one note drone expecting others to get on board with you on an idea that has nearly 0 support.

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  • Capt.Crazy March 23, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    WS it\’s interesting to note that everyone that share your view of things are \”reasonably intelligent people\” that \”can understand without hardly thinking\”, and anyone else it some kind of nut case.
    I am bored with the egotism of you and your ilk, and shall be persuing legeslation to license, regester and require liability insurand for all riders of legal age.
    As I have said befor, if you all are not part of the process, you may not like the outcome.

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  • wsbob March 23, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    \”…and shall be persuing legeslation to license, regester and require liability insurand for all riders of legal age.\” Capt.Crazy

    For you, there may be no better way to find out if there is enough support for what you seek to formulate and pass legislation. Maybe zagreus will want to help you out.

    Everyone is part of the process of life , just not necessarily part of your personal process. The outcome of that is what you and zag don\’t seem to like very well.

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  • ian March 23, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    The difference between you an me Z, is that i think its a good thing for kids to go to the park, and to ride their bicycles. I dont think we need to pay for each little thing we do. Once again, that is what a civilized society does. It pays for its people to have wonderful things to do that enrich their lives. We should encourage our neighbors to walk, ride, skate, etc…….not scare them.
    I don\’t understand why you live here if you think this way. Maybe you should move to Houston, or So Cal.
    In Poll after Poll, we show that people in portland want a livable community. We don\’t want more cars on the roads. we vote for people who have the same ideals.
    How about, if Sam Adams gets elected then you should leave town. I have to assume that you dont agree with his policies, right?

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  • Suzy Q. May 2, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    If there are conflicting reports than why did the Beaverton Police have to put all the blame on a dead 15 year old teenage bicyclist? It\’s easy to accuse the dead when their no longer around to defend themselves.

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