The Classic - Cycle Oregon

Police “very pleased” with bike box compliance

Posted by on March 26th, 2008 at 10:44 am

Unlike their morning shift, the Traffic Division of the Portland Police Bureau was busy yesterday afternoon at the intersection of SE Hawthorne and 7th.

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The officers positioned themselves across the street.

One unmarked police car and six motorcycle officers were on scene for an educational mission to make sure motorists understood how to treat the newly installed bike box and painted bike lane.

“By and large we were very pleased with how it went. The vast majority of the motorists and the people operating bicycles understood how to use the box…it’s pretty intuitive.”
–Lt. Bryan Parman

According to Lieutenant Bryan Parman, they worked the intersection from 3:30 to 6:00 pm and issued a total of just 10 warnings related specifically to the bike box. Parman told me this morning that the majority of those were for encroachment into the bike box and that “just a few were for [turning] right on red.”

Overall, Parman said, cars performed well. “By and large we were very pleased with how it went. The vast majority of the motorists and the people operating bicycles understood how to use the box…it’s pretty intuitive.”

Bike box enforcement-1-2.jpg

What kept Parman and his officers busy wasn’t the bike box, it was general traffic violations in the intersection. In the same time period, they issued 22 citations for a variety of violations that had nothing to do with the bike box.

It should be noted that people riding bicycles were also pulled over and cited/given warnings for various reasons.

While I was at the intersection there was quite a crowd that had gathered to watch the action. In addition to several TV news crews camped on Hawthorne adjacent to the bike box, just around the corner on 7th were a group of folks that included officer Robert Pickett, City Commissioner Randy Leonard (the bike box is on his commute route), lawyer Mark Ginsberg, and several passers-by that had stopped to weigh-in with their thoughts. Across the street, a group sat outside a brewpub to take it all in.

One guy in the crowd said he has owned a business and lived near the intersection for over 20 years and that he thought, “It was about time they did something to deal with all the bikes around here.”

The Police Bureau will continue to work the intersection and issue warnings for the next week or so. After two weeks have passed, they will issue citations.

The City of Portland will hold a bike box press event tomorrow (3/27) morning where they plan to unveil a new video that will be part of their ongoing public education campaign.

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  • Moo March 26, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I saw all the hoopla from three blocks away, and with the number of warnings and citations to unrelated violations that were given, just tells you how unfocused and absentminded some of our folks behind a wheel really are.

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  • Eric March 26, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    I get so tired of almost getting nailed at an intersection where they are putting one of these in. I ride my bike and skateboard in the bike lane (skateboards are equal to bikes under city code) and people are completely oblivious. They never look and never stop. I\’ve had a skateboard run over once and the driver didn\’t even slow down…really nice. I wish drivers knew skateboards fall under the same laws as bikes in the city of Portland. I\’m tired of cussing people out, just trying to get to work.

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  • John Russell March 26, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    I\’m just curious, but how many cyclists were given warning or citations, and for what reasons were they given out?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 26, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    \”how many cyclists were given warning or citations, and for what reasons were they given out?\”

    I\’m trying not to bug the Lt. too much so I plan to wait until the week is over and then I\’ll do another post with a more detailed and complete breakdown of who got tickets/warnings and why.

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  • Stripes March 27, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Really happy to see this happening! Education & enforcement need to go hand in hand – this project has been a great example of how to incorporate both successfully.

    Look forward to more evening enforcement actions. Thanks!

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  • jami March 28, 2008 at 8:07 am

    i saw two motorcycle cops sitting in a parking lot across from the lovely new bike box around 3:15 pm that day. then i saw a taxi pull not just through the bike box but right into the crosswalk for his first stop. the police didn\’t bat an eye. confusing!

    it\’s nice that they were trying, but um, were they really?

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  • Dwight March 29, 2008 at 12:09 am

    I was on my bike and got pulled over @ 7th & Hawthorne. I was heading east and was in the left lane to take a left onto 7th. I went to take the left but a truck was taking the left so I ducked to my left into the south bound bike lane. I went for a block and was getting ready to cross when an officer blocked my path. He said that I couldn\’t take a left like that and I explained to him about the truck pulling a left on me. He said it didn\’t matter and that I should have gotten on the sidewalk or stopped. The bike box in my opinion should be accross the front of all the lanes (on Hawthorne) at 7th and Hawthorne. I could be in the box and when the light turns green I could then take my left and the cars behind me would know what I was doing. Anyway he let me go with a warning but it left me confused, I thought we weren\’t supposed to be on the sidewalks until after 10th. He said to act like a car or get on the sidewalk. Wierd conversation!

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