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Updated: Police target Ladds for educational mission

Posted by on July 22nd, 2008 at 10:51 am

**See results and a statement about this morning’s enforcement mission from Captain Larry O’Dea below**

Ladds Circle in Southeast Portland.

Officers from the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division were out in force this morning in the Ladds Circle area of Southeast Portland.

This area, which is a traffic circle ringed by streets with stop signs, is a busy bikeway where Police have focused enforcement efforts in the past.

But unlike past enforcement actions, this morning’s effort was an “educational mission” where officers only gave warnings and no actual citations were issued. Commenters have reported that up to 10 motorcycle officers were on the scene and they were told this week will be warnings and next week tickets will be written (carrying a $242 fine).

Traffic Division Captain Larry O’Dea has just released results and a statement from this morning’s “educational mission” (emphasis mine):

“Due to numerous neighborhood complaints of traffic safety concerns, the Traffic Division conducted an educational mission from 0730-0830 hours this morning in Ladd’s Addition. Violators, primarily those who ran the stop signs cold, were stopped and warned, not cited, and the neighbors concerns were discussed with them, as well as recent injury accidents that occurred for failing to stop at traffic control devices. Our goal is to address neighborhood concerns and improve safety and compliance.

This is one part of our plan in working with PDOT and the neighborhood association to improve livability and we all will be meeting with the neighbors in the near future in our continuing joint efforts. Numerous neighbors thanked officers for addressing their concerns during the mission.

The following stops resulted:

Pedestrians – 0 stops
Motor vehicles – 7 stops / 7 warnings & 1 DWS citation
Bicycle Operators – 60 stops / 60 warnings no citation


Stop sign enforcement at Ladds has long been a touchy issue. Residents want more people to stop before entering the circle, some people feel there are other areas (and issues) that should be the focus of police resources, and others feel like the stop signs should be yields.

The issue last came to a boil in April of last year. After that enforcement action, the idea of turning the stop signs into yield signs came up. In response to numerous emails and phone calls, a PDOT traffic engineer issued a statement saying that a larger solution is needed.

That April 2007 enforcement action resulted in 59 citations: 47 for “bicycle moving violations”, 3 for “bicycle equipment violations” and 9 for “motor vehicle violations.”

According to someone at PDOT who I spoke with this morning, today’s enforcement action is the start of a larger effort to finally approach a real, lasting solution at Ladds Circle that will allow for the safe, efficient and comfortable flow of traffic.

In the coming weeks, representatives from the adjacent neighborhood, Traffic Division leadership, and PDOT traffic engineers will sit down and work toward a more permanent solution.

In the meantime, the Police Bureau will increase enforcement at this intersection until a higher rate of compliance is seen.

[Editor’s note: I have changed the title from Police target Ladds for enforcement (again), to Police target Ladds for education mission. I did this to communicate that today’s mission was not about writing tickets, but more about improving safety and trying to raise awareness about this intersection. The new leadership at the Traffic Division (Captain O’Dea and Lt. Parman) have been doing great work to extend an olive branch to people who ride bikes and this is part of that effort. I look forward to reporting more about their efforts in the coming weeks.]

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  • Torfinn July 22, 2008 at 10:54 am

    That\’s funny, I rolled right through the place this morning and didn\’t see anything.

    What a waste of money and time.

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  • Bikergal July 22, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Any chance that commuters can sit in on these discussions? I go through this intersection every day and have been the unfortunate recipient of one of those $242 tickets. When I went through Ladd\’s this morning there were a ton of cops, and I saw at least five of them giving warnings. I\’m just glad that all those bikers weren\’t getting tickets!

    I think that the fact that they stopped 60 bikers in 60 minutes really speaks to the fact that this is an infrastructure issue.

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  • Whiney McWhinerson July 22, 2008 at 11:11 am


    Funny you broke the law or something else?

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  • Carl July 22, 2008 at 11:17 am

    We\’re told over and over again that bicyclists are endangering pedestrians by running the stop signs around Ladd\’s Circle. I\’ve witnessed it and it\’s not pretty. There are definitely some clueless, selfish jerks out there on two wheels. Failure to yield to a pedestrian should definitely get you a serious ticket. Here\’s the thing, though: if pedestrian endangerment is really the problem, why are the stings on stop signs and not crosswalks? Think about it: running stop signs in Ladd\’s is only half the problem. Once you\’re in the circle you have to exit it across a crosswalk and if there are pedestrians in that crosswalk you are required by law to stop and stay stopped just as you\’re required to stop at those stop signs. So why don\’t you ever hear about Ladd\’s residents angry that cyclists EXITing the circle and failing to grant peds right of way?

    If the PPB wants people to take these complaints and the traffic division seriously, they should make these crosswalk stings. They should do the thing where they have a decoy crossing the street and bust those who don\’t stop (entering OR exiting the circle). That way they\’d really be getting the cyclists who are a problem. Stop signs are safe but illegal to run, but who\’s going to say, \”it\’s perfectly safe to blow past pedestrians in the crosswalk!\” when they\’re stopped? I can think of a few people, but they\’re jerks and they should definitely get tickets. C\’mon PPB. Tackle the real issue here. I dare ya.

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  • brewcaster July 22, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Cue the cyclists complaining about getting ticketed for breaking the law…

    Here is solution to avoid tickets:
    Follow the law.

    Here is a solution to changing the law if you don\’t like it:
    Work with the people that have power to change the laws.

    Dis-obeying laws is a way to show your disagreement with the law that will result in upsetting other road users, and sometimes a pricey ticket.

    What else is there to argue here?

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  • Russell July 22, 2008 at 11:27 am

    I\’ve only ridden through this area once (found it incredibly pleasant), but I noticed a few things about the traffic circle.

    #1 – As mentioned above exiting the circle is still an issue for pedestrians and people need to travel this area slowly and be ready to stop. Lots of young children.

    #2 – Pedestrians wait on these weird divisions at some of the entry points and you can\’t tell what they hell they\’re going to do. When I went through, there were two kids looking like they were going to cross, while their parents were looking in the other direction trying to get the attention of a third parent-child duo. I couldn\’t tell what the hell was going to happen.

    #3 – Americans have no idea how to properly use traffic circles. People don\’t properly yield and/or go the wrong way to make a quicker left hand dturn.

    #4 – Americans do not know how to properly design a traffic circle. These stop signs should be yields and the vegetation on the inner round should be cut down (at least along the perimeter) to open up the visibility a little bit. Although at the speeds people should be going through this area the visibility is fine.

    Anyways, turn this stop signs to yields. Add some more speed bumps to slow traffic down. Paint better crosswalks to clearly identify pedestrian right-of-way. Stop wasting time and money enforcing this area.

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  • Spanky July 22, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Funny, I drove through there this mnorning and saw nothing. But I guess I was too early. I pass through twice a day and can not tell you the last time I saw a bike stop at the circle other than mine (although I do not always stop – I do most of the time, really!)

    Bikes entering the circle without stopping ar ea real safety issue on the circle given the close proximity of teh entering streets. Especially Harrison, with Elliott just to the right of it, if bicyclists enter at a high speed. I\’ve had to stop after pulling out from that stop sign due to bicycles entering from Harrison at a relatively high speed, blowing the stop sign.

    Having written all of this, I think the circle as is works fairly well but it is certainly a spot where all users are well served by being very careful.

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  • Bjorn July 22, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Were any of the recent injury accidents in Ladd\’s Addition? No they were not…in fact you can\’t find any info on injury accidents involving a cyclist at the ladd\’s circle because it is probably the safest place in terms of injuries per trip in the whole city. The reason for that probably has a lot to do with that circle having a far higher bicycle mode share than nearly any other intersection in the city. Why can\’t the police focus their efforts in places that have seen an injury accident sometime in the last 10 years? It is great to respond to citizen complaints, but the complaints are not borne out by facts and at this point should be ignored.


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  • Mmann July 22, 2008 at 11:34 am

    I\’m glad just warnings were issued. But I also have to say that in all the times I have been through Ladds I have NEVER seen congestion and never seen bikes impede traffic. I\’m really curious what the basis is for the \”numerous neighborhood complaints of traffic safety concerns.\” Is there really a safety concern or is it just some folks who don\’t like the fact that the cyclist don\’t stop at the stop signs? (which should be yield signs anyway.) Is there a problem that I just have never seen?

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  • Oliver July 22, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Wow. 2 roundabout (traffic-circle) discussions on my 2 favorite websites on the same day.

    Leave it to the americans to take a fantastic, efficient, and low-cost traffic control device (the roundabout) and turn it into a gummed up contrived nightmare simply by the addition of stop signs. Of course the residents probably dont\’ see that intersection as a roundabout, more as a rose garden surrounded by a giant confusing 8 street intersection.

    as I said elsewhere…

    A complete stop (unnecessary and oft-ignored) is inefficient, hard on the vehicle, gas mileage, patience and additionally a nice handy way for the insurance companies and their lackeys (the gov\’t) to reach into your pocket one more time via fines and the resulting increased premiums.

    I\’d like to see more roundabouts and more yield signs, certainly more right turn permitted without stopping, signs. They may be confusing to some, but I say requiring road users to demonstrate a higher level of comptence as the price of admission to the game can only be a good thing.

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  • Jeremy July 22, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I live in Ladd\’s and I think there are a few problems. The first being that out of the five circles, only the largest one, the one in the middle has stop signs. The rest are just yield as they all should be. Secondly, I get the feeling from talking to neighbors that it is a very few vocal group complaining. Most of the neighborhood loves that there is more cycling traffic than car traffic and realizes that the stop signs are just silly.

    I should note that I do stop at the stop signs simply because I see motorcycle cops in there about once a week and I dont want a ticket.

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  • misabella July 22, 2008 at 11:41 am

    what is a \”bicycle equipment violation\”?

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  • Dave July 22, 2008 at 11:44 am

    I gotta say the stops at Ladd used to bug me a lot, as did the enforcement actions. The more I ride through there, the more sympathetic I am to the residents and the more irritated I get with my fellow cyclists. It doesn\’t matter that if the stop seems unnecessary or counter intuitive, it\’s there. The people in the neighborhood obviously want them there, and respecting that is the least we can do in exchange for using their quiet neighborhood streets as a bike freeway every morning.

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  • Ruben July 22, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I got one those warnings this morning. This intersection is on my daily commute, and I went through it the same way as always: brake a bit, look for traffic (none, car or bike or pedestrian), and roll right in. So, no I didn\’t stop, but I approached and entered safely. The Officer was pretty decent about the whole thing. He told me they weren\’t look for a full foot-down stop, but a serious reduction in speed, looking both ways, etc. I was also told an actual ticket would cost $280!!! Yikes.

    What gets me is that this roundabout has stop signs instead of yields. Isn\’t that the whole point of a traffic circle? And as noted above, the other two Ladd \”circles\” (or, diamonds whatever) have yield signs.

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  • former resident July 22, 2008 at 11:52 am

    I used to live in ladd\’s about 1/2 time and requested the removal of the stop signs. The city says they don\’t have the money to fund the study necessary to get them out, or the slight changes to the approaches so vehicles would enter at an angle rather than straight on. Too bad they don\’t count money they could save on unnecessary motorcycle patrols. I don\’t agree that most residents want them, this is much more a case of a couple vocal people screaming really loud.

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  • N.I.K. July 22, 2008 at 11:53 am

    It doesn\’t matter that if the stop seems unnecessary or counter intuitive, it\’s there.

    Actually, it matters in the respect that this morning\’s activity is resounding proof that previous enforcement actions have accomplished nothing long-term. The effect will be the same as before: most folks being more cautious about police presence in the coming weeks, a few starting to stop (but mostly just in Ladd\’s), and the handful who stop almost everywhere continuing to do so. You can shrug off the \”doesn\’t the PPB have better things to do?\” arguments to a degree, but you can\’t ignore the fact that the enforcement actions in Ladd\’s have had little long-term net effect relevant to the perceived problem. *That* is a big issue.

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  • glen July 22, 2008 at 11:56 am

    i\’m with ruben, wondering why there\’s a traffic circle if they\’re going to put stop signs all around it. i\’d think the same thing in a car or if i were just walking by.

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  • Chad July 22, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Noticed \”Cop Stop\” written in chalk at the often ignored N Flint stop sign onto Broadway this morning. If this was in fact a stop sign sting, it does make one assume a city-wide crackdown is currently getting notched up a gear or two.

    I think these \”warning\” stings are a great idea, but I think we\’d all be better served if they were done at dangerous intersections (like Flint and Broadway). It sounds to me the Ladds sting is being done to appease one or two vocal residents and has little to do with public safety.

    I\’m all for a sting on N Flint before I have to watch somebody get killed on my way to work…filling out a witness report would definitely ruin my morning commute.

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  • wsbob July 22, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    I\’m reposting my comment from the \’weekend post\’ since the Ladd\’s stop sign issue now has its own thread:

    \”Look on the Portland By Bicycle bike map, the one put out by the Portland Office of Transportation: Mulberry Street, through Ladd\’s is designated as a \’bike route\'(green and white lines on map), with directional signs and pavement markings. As a result, Ladd\’s is probably going to get an extra heaping helping of bicycle traffic.

    People traveling through Ladd\’s on bikes and failing to fully acknowledge traffic laws in this neighborhood will adversely effect that neighborhood\’s quality of life. That the so called \’stings\’ have been called in should be indication that it already has, and that neighborhood residents are alarmed and have been on the phone to the city for help with the situation.

    A stop sign means stop. Even so, discretion comes into play and where there\’s no one around, a 2 mph rolling stop might be forgivable. Given Ladd\’s status as host of a \’bike route\’, people should probably recognize that rolling stops aren\’t going to work at Ladd\’s in many cases. Maybe late at night after everyone\’s gone to bed, or early in the morning before everyone\’s up, but not otherwise.\” wsbob

    From one side to the other, Ladd\’s has how many stop signs? 3, maybe 4? Do people really believe it\’s a credible argument that being obliged to make those stops is an unreasonable imposition. Maybe what Ladd\’s and the city needs to do in order to effectively deal with this problem is request that through traffic be diverted to 12th and 20th.

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  • Derwyn July 22, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    If they are going to focus on safety in Ladd\’s they should maybe spend some time on \”educating\” vehicles what bike boulevard means and how to pass or not pass at all…especially just before the smaller circles.

    I take the whole lane and while many are courteous there are a few who feel that I should move over, risking being smacked by an opening door.

    Lastly I think the speed limit through there should be 15, that would emphasize the notion that passing a cyclist won\’t get them there faster.

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  • wrnchbndr July 22, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Oh My!! You mean to tell me that the motorists appear to be following the law? Oh the city must have called them all this morning and told them to watch themselves.
    The numbers from both 2007 and today kind of shoot your theory that the bicyclists do no wrong!!
    As a bike rider myself I wish you people would start obeying the laws so that I don\’t have to put up with all the pissed off drivers that you are not willing to share the road with.

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  • snapper July 22, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    this is a repost as well from the previous story:
    the cop that stopped me said that THIS week it was only warnings, NEXT week they\’ll be handing out tickets…
    i am going to start avoiding Ladds addition from now on. i can\’t think of one cyclist ever stopping at that intersection. people might slow, but still never come to a full stop. what gives man. don\’t we have better places to bust cyclists for blowing through stop signs/red lights?
    even half the cars roll through stop signs at Ladds…. i think this morning\’s bust was SO LAME.

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  • N.I.K. July 22, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Just re-read Dave\’s post at #13 and realized the bit I was responding to was referring to the stop *sign* and not the enforcement action. Apologies, Dave – I agree that cyclists should treat the stop sign as intended until the point at which it is removed and replaced with a yield or until the law is changed such that it may be treated as a yield.

    My remarks on the ineffectiveness of the enforcement actions in the neighborhood still stand, though. Some other approach should be considered.

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  • Paul July 22, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Stop signs in a roundabout. And a in a light traffic area. Makes no sense.

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  • curious July 22, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    i agree! how do we sit in on the upcoming meetings that will \”work toward a more permanent solution\”. considering the volume of cyclists through this area, this issue is larger than just the neighborhood association

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  • N.I.K. July 22, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    The numbers from both 2007 and today kind of shoot your theory that the bicyclists do no wrong!!

    Wait, whose theory?

    As a bike rider myself I wish you people would start obeying the laws so that I don\’t have to put up with all the pissed off drivers that you are not willing to share the road with.

    \”You people\”? \”[N]ot willing to share the road\”? Buddy, who the hell are you talking to? Somebody shooting out automobile tires whilst they twirl their villainous mustache and pedal away? I missed that part.

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  • Mike M July 22, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I watched two cars roll through a stop sign in front of a group of cyclists this morning. Cops were on hand stopping cyclists, but both of those cars rolled through without so much as a blink from the cops. To me, that is frustrating. I\’m all for enforcing the law, but it needs to be done equally. To say that only seven cars did not fully stop at a stop sign in ladds is simply unbelievable. If enforcement were targeted towards an ethnic group or an age group there would be no end of outcry. There should be that same outcry when cops are only there to look for cyclists.

    Ladds is the safest part of my commute in the morning, be it by bike or by car. Enforcement here draws staff away from dangerous locations where real problems can be solved.

    I can\’t believe that there aren\’t more dangerous locations where a team of motorcycle cops could be pulling down red light runners and stop sign violaters. Try Powell and 39th or 5oth! Both of those are full of red light runners! That is a real problem!

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  • Mike M July 22, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    @12 misbella
    what is a \”bicycle equipment violation\”?

    Equipment violation can be one of three things as far as I know.
    1. No helmet on a rider less than 17 years old.
    2. No light at night.
    3. No brakes on a fixed gear bike.

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  • OnTheRoad July 22, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    None of the four rose garden roundabouts outlying from the main circle has any yield signs.

    My guess is that the neighborhood complaints derive from pedestrian safety concerns. Those bicyclers not stopping for stop signs probably aren\’t stopping for pedestrians either.

    If that doesn\’t seem like a big issue, try parking the bike and walking this neighborhood. Also try crossing the Hawthorne Bridge on foot to see how cyclers appear from a ped\’s perspective

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  • Anonymous July 22, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Finally some enforcement!

    What no tickets? That is a waste of money.

    Let\’s have broader enforcement on the roadways. But lets see some focus on the most dangerous offenders first.

    Car, bike, or ped, if you do something stupid you should be fined.

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  • JP July 22, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    If the PPB wants to tackle areas of real danger, Ladd\’s is not the #1 spot. Perhaps NW Everette and 14th just before going over the bridge into the Pearl. Bikes are getting flanked or almost flanked every day.

    Are bikes really dangerous in Ladd\’s? I ride through there every week and I\’ve never once thought to myself, \”wow, I should come to a complete stop, because even though I don\’t see one car or person coming and I have a clear view to my right and left, I might cause some serious harm to someone.\” There are about 50,000 other intersections that do make me think about that though. Retarded!

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  • Bike Voyeur July 22, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    The stop signs in Ladd\’s Addition FORCE people to atleast slow down when approaching Ladd Circle. Yield signs would give carte blanche to proceed into the circle at even higher speeds because, as stated by PPB, \”one has to perceive the need to yield right of way to another\” (I am paraphrasing). Ladd Circle is NOT a traffic circle, but a circular street that surrounds a park with low visibility and high car/ped/bike traffic.

    I live in Ladd\’s Addition near one of these smaller diamonds near the large circle. I see bikes zip past my house everyday. I have played \”beat the bike\” on my bike going to my house and I have sat patiently at a stop sign in my car waiting for bikes to stop blowing the stop sign at Ladd Street and Ladd Circle. I have also yelled at cars that fly down my street when kids are playing at the end of the block or in the park. This is a quiet neighborhood that happens to have lots of non-motorized traffic combined with the occasional motorist that gets lost and frustrated.

    The police are there because residents requested that they come. Whether you view it as a waste of resources or not, emergency services function on the \”Call to Service\” philosophy; they do not randomly select their time and location, they go where they are called. If someone is breaking the law in your neighborhood, then you call the city or the police department and they will do what they can to bring people within compliance. The residents in Ladd\’s Addition have done so and if the outcome ends up being that bikes slow down, look, and proceed and cars stop flying down my street endangering kids, then so be it.

    If you don\’t want a ticket, I suggest you stop.

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  • Steve July 22, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Whether we like it or not, we need to follow the traffic control laws, or we face the potential of getting a citation. Think about when (if) you are driving your car. You make a conscious decision not come to a complete stop at a stop sign, even if no one is around and you can see for two miles in all directions. You know you could still receive a ticket if somehow a police officer saw you (maybe a photo enforcement). This is the exact same issue, if you don’t stop, you know you could get a ticket, you choose not to stop, and you get upset when you get a ticket. If you would have stopped, you would not have received a ticket. That is the bottom line. While it would upset many cyclists, I think these actions would be much more effective if they were giving out citations every this morning rather than warnings.

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  • 3-speeder July 22, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    After hearing about the sting last year, one action I took regarding my ride through Ladd\’s Addition is to frequently take an alternate route that avoids the central circle. Although Ladd\’s can be confusing, just a bit of map study will reveal other routes on narrow, low traffic streets within Ladd\’s Addition. One might have to travel a couple of extra blocks, but there is peace of mind not worrying about whether a sting is in progress. There are stop signs on these other streets, but I\’m not worried about stings popping up at these.

    I suspect I\’ll be taking my favorite alternate route exclusively for the next several weeks.

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  • Urbane Naif July 22, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Has anyone considered that we need different rules and thus signage for bikers and motorists? Perhaps cars should be forced to make the stop while bicyclists (whose efficiency is severely undermined by the \”unnecessary\” stops) simply yield to pedestrians by entering the intersection slowly?

    Is anyone at PDOT discussing the idea of separate intersection rules for motorized and non-motorized vehicles?

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  • Whyat July 22, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Anyone who gets a ticket at Ladd\’s circle at this point in tie deserves it. Not because there should or shouldn\’t be stop signs, but because this is a highly enforced bike area. I would be just as worthy of a ticket if I ran all the red lights on SE Grand.

    Here\’s the deal. Don\’t want a ticket? DON\’T RUN THE STOP. Everyone who gets a ticket NEXT week can\’t bitch because you had ample warning.

    I make a point to do a complete foot down stop at Ladd\’s every day because I know that it is the most enforced part of my ride, right or wrong. I have yet to get a ticket.

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  • Urbane Naif July 22, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    One more thing in response to Bike Voyeur who claims \”The police are there because residents requested that they come. Whether you view it as a waste of resources or not, emergency services function on the \”Call to Service\” philosophy; they do not randomly select their time and location, they go where they are called. If someone is breaking the law in your neighborhood, then you call the city or the police department and they will do what they can to bring people within compliance.\”

    That\’s a load of horse shit. I live in Felony Flats off of Foster Road where cars regularly speed down our 35MPH streets in excess of 50MPH. Our neighborhood association has \”called for service\” for years, YEARS, now to no avail.

    This is definitely a class issue.

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  • BE July 22, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I rolled through Ladd\’s Circle right about 8 a.m. and with some luck noticed a police cruiser approaching before I got to the stop sign and was therefore able to avoid a \”warning.\” The number of motorcycle officers was tremendous, at least six or seven, as well as at least three patrol cars and one van. Quite a show of force. I agree with several posters here that this round-about should be posted with yield signs rather than stop signs. Also agree that more enforcement actions, if they\’re really necessary, should be focusing on dangerous intersections where there have been car-bike accidents, not on accident-free Ladds.

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  • Derwyn July 22, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    I think we should review the definition of stopping. A car when it approaches a stop sign has several feet of hood in front of them, windows (dirty or not), and the car frame itself. Their visibility is limited. I rarely ever see a car completely stop. They are almost always rolling even if slight. Because bikes are moving typically around 5 to 10 miles per hour, and have a slower acceleration the concept of rolling through a stop sign is different. Cyclist also pose less of danger to the greater population by virtue their size and the factors mentioned above. So, with better field of vision, and a slower, longer approach to a stop sign I personally feel that I have the ability to make a safe decision to go if the coast is clear. Where as in a car the necessity to completely stop is greater.

    My argument is that drivers want us to obey the law\’s of the road until it is inconvenient like being in their way. Case in point, I was standing on the painted cyclist at 21st and division which is in the middle of the lane. Car pulls up aggressively and yells \”Share the road\”. I say it goes both ways and his response was that it doesn\’t mean I get the whole lane. I mentioned he should review the laws…as we all should.

    Side note: I totally agree that there are cyclist who \”blow\” through stops signs and I think this is unacceptable. Especially considering that the approach to the circle usually curves just enough to hide any pedestrian that might be crossing.

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  • bahueh July 22, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    its funny to me to hear all the complaing and in calling this place a \”traffic circle\” or roundabout..its not. traffic circles have entry lanes which blend into the circle\’s perimeter which allow for a merge with speed…the entry lanes into Ladd\’s are perpendicular to the circle and don\’t facilitate safety entering with any momentum…

    I\’m glad the cops are there…and I\”m glad, until the traffic signals change, that they will start ticketing soon…won\’t affect me whatsoever as I travel through their twice a day…I\’ll have a good time laughing at the guy with a 280$ ticket in his hand..

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  • BURR July 22, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    There are plenty of alternate routes through Ladd\’s Addition, and I know I\’ll be using mine for the next several weeks…

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  • maxadders July 22, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    I wish the police paid this much attention to poor / aggressive driving up in Northeast. It doesn\’t even take a screwed up circle street to make things inhospitable in my neck of the woods! But as usual, the upper-middle-class folks are the ones making a stink and getting the attention.

    I get the feeling some Ladd\’s residents would prefer the safe confines of a gated community. Then they could just send their complaints to the Condo Owner\’s Association and be done with it.

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  • wrnchbndr July 22, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Wait, whose theory?

    All I read from the Portland cyclists is that the cars are the evil ones and that cyclists don\’t break the law. So I geuss that would be the militant cyclists theory.

    I am a cyclist who is tired of other cyclists acting poorly. Thats who \”you people\” are.

    Its simple, if theres a stop sign STOP!!! Your the only one that will get hurt if you tangle with a car so when someone honks at you why don\’t you look at what the reason is before you go into a fit. Chances are that the driver is just trying to warn you that you are in danger.
    I have found that most people that drive cars don\’t mind shareing the road but most bicyclists don\’t.

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  • Mmann July 22, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    In a democracy, the actions of a few will often affect many. Apparently some cyclists through Ladds have been jerks, and a few residents got torqued and complained to the cops about criminals in their neighborhood, and now the rest of us get to pay through silly tickets and diverted police resources. Taxes and insurance work in a similar way.

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  • wrnchbndr July 22, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Sorry should have read:
    I have found that most people that drive cars don\’t mind shareing the road but most bicyclists do.

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  • Steve July 22, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Stop at a stop sign or risk getting a ticket, it is the same everywhere. And the whole, “oh, it takes so much more energy to start up again.” That is true, as it is simple physics. But automobiles can use the same excuse, starting from a stop takes more energy (gas) and it is therefore better to not come to a complete stop at stop signs. I don’t think we want that excuse when you get run over by a car going through a stop sign. Just as others don’t want your same excuse when they get run over by you on your bicycle blowing through a stop sign. Follow the rules of the road or face the fine…

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  • Mmann July 22, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    \”I\’ll have a good time laughing at the guy with a 280$ ticket in his hand..\”

    That\’s just mean.

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  • N.I.K. July 22, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    All I read from the Portland cyclists is that the cars are the evil ones and that cyclists don\’t break the law.

    All you read, eh? You must be skipping over every remark above that says complying with traffic control devices is a really good idea.

    I am a cyclist who is tired of other cyclists acting poorly. Thats who \”you people\” are.

    Then say what you mean. Lumping everyone but yourself into these attacks tends to say \”I\’m better than you!\” more than it does \”Here\’s what I think\” or \”Here\’s what I would like to see happen.\”

    Its simple, if theres a stop sign STOP!!! Your the only one that will get hurt if you tangle with a car so when someone honks at you why don\’t you look at what the reason is before you go into a fit.

    That\’s a poor reason for stopping, because it justifies the \”the only one at risk is myself and I\’m responsible for my actions, so hard cheese on me if I get hurt or killed when I break the law\” myth. The reality is that other people are indeed at risk. You might cause a car to hit someone else when they try to avoid you. You might collide with another cyclist who had the right of way. You might hit a pedestrian. So the reason you should stop is actually as follows: traffic control devices are there to help make using the road a more regular and predictable experience so that people stand a better chance of getting to their destination without getting injured or killed. Scant else to it, really.

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  • bahueh July 22, 2008 at 2:25 pm it \”mean\”…?
    or should I take solace in the fact that someone was financially penalized for putting other people\’s well-being at risk simply because they\’re too stupid lazy to slow down…people don\’t change their behavior without financial incentive/penalty by enlarge…the only way to change someone\’s behavior is to hit them in the wallet…see recent gas price run-up for an example..

    I\’m happy to see the cops there…AND i bike commute every single day, all year long. tired of almost being hit by these stupid summer riders with no regard for traffic control devices…

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  • wrnchbndr July 22, 2008 at 2:26 pm


    No kidding other people can get hurt DUH! The point is the bike rider will not fare well against a car. It\’s nice how you have to try to show that your superior to everyone else

    So the reason you should stop is actually as follows: traffic control devices are there to help make using the road a more regular and predictable experience so that people stand a better chance of getting to their destination without getting injured or killed.


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  • Stacy Westbrook July 22, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    I got a ticket there a few years ago, and the cop really DID use it as an educational experience. She made me a deal: if I went to court and could tell her three bike laws, she\’d drop the charge. That\’s fair!

    Now I\’m sure to stop at ALL stop signs. It is the law, it is for safety, and I can\’t expect special treatment just because I\’m on a bike.

    It\’s time we all grew up and started behaving like the traffic we really are. If you can\’t follow the rules, then don\’t complain when drivers don\’t do the same. Be responsible for yourself!

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  • One Less :( July 22, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Brewcaster @ #5 – I totally agree with you. Follow the law people and you won\’t complain about getting a $242 ticket.

    Seems to me that \”you\” stop sign runners can take your ticket and move to the back of the line. Look, either stop next time or stop complaining that you got a ticket for not obeying the traffic laws.

    I did an experiment the other day on my way to work. I thought I\’d take my normal route to work, but this time roll through every stop sign, cut red lights when I could and see what it did. On my 18 mile commute it saved me about 4 minutes. Seriously people, 4 minutes is nothing. So you that ride less than half of what I do to get to work or where ever you are going are not really saving anytime.

    Come to a complete stop, don\’t run red lights, and obey the laws of the road. Its better for you, for me, and the rest of the users of the road. Hopefully the police will see that we can change our ways and start busting all the TriMet buses, cars, and semis that run stop signs and red lights everywhere.

    Its so simple people!

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  • pdx_jeff July 22, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Looks like Idaho has already solved this problem by allowing bicycles to treat stop signs as yield signs, and traffic lights as stop signs.

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  • Oz July 22, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    I ride my bicycle through the Ladd\’s Circle twice daily and I think the problem is bigger than cyclists running stop signs.

    Americans aren\’t used to traffic circles, as many others have already noted, and one thing that really bugs me as a cyclist is not the stop signs, but the fact that cars don\’t know where to drive on that circle when there\’s a bike sharing the road. The exits/entrances are very close together, and if a car is behind a bicycle (like behind me), too many times drivers will try to pass me (and turn in front of me), cutting me off because they can\’t figure out that they need to WAIT.

    I try riding on the right of the circle — and cars figure I\’m taking the next turn, and they\’ll cut me off. So mostly I ride on the left, because the road is wide enough to let cars go by me on the right — but then I have to be *very* careful that somebody doesn\’t nail me when I move over to take my right turn.

    It\’s just a poorly designed traffic circle and if we had anything resembling a competent traffic bureau, they\’d take a look and see how to improve the entire flow of traffic there.

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  • Shalen July 22, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Bicycling is dangerous. Motorists simply cannot hear or see bicyclist effectively. Simple as that.
    Far more bicyclists are injured and killed by running a green light than a red light or stop sign. This point of this is one that most experienced bikers know: when you let your guard down (whether or not you have the right of way), you get hit. \”You were supposed to yield\” said the dead bicyclist. This is bicyclists burden and I accept it.

    Motorists share the responsibility, of course. In my opinion, motorists do an excellent job of seeing bikes in Portland, especially when considering that facts that cars and the act of driving does not provide the visibility or audible clues to see/hear bikes or pedestrians effectively. Bicyclists simply must accept that they will often be completely invisible in plain sight from behind the wheel of a car. I accept it.

    I believe it is also important that everyone understand that momentum, although taken for granted and often underestimated in a car, is precious on a bicycle. It takes a lot longer to regain momentum on a bike and this affects traffic flow. Given that, when I am faced with the question of whether or not to stop at a neighborhood stop sign, I opt safely to reduce momentum, check to see if continuing would impede the flow of pedestrian or vehicle traffic, and make an informed decision on whether to come to a complete stop. I do this because I have found it to be both safe and because it assists the flow of traffic in many situations. In contrast, I have caused many motorists considerable annoyance and delay at four-way stops by coming to a complete stop and then slowly regaining momentum. It have also also caused many an impatient motorist to speed through the intersection out of turn. So, I have found that slowing and rolling through in turn is commonly a better and safer alternative at low traffic four-way stops. This may be something motorists must begin to accept.

    As a bicyclist, I try my best not to impede the flow of motor traffic. This means moving to the right to yield the lane to the cars behind me. This action is not legally mandated, but is part of the reality of safely operating a bicycle. Although this practice puts me at an increased risk of getting hit by opening doors of parked cars or those backing blindly out of driveways (a fact overlooked by many motorists), I do this in most situations because it is usually safer for everyone on the road than causing the motorist to pass using the oncoming lane.

    I also move over to the left (sharing the right section of the lane) at an intersection to facilitate a right turn on red for any car behind me that is signaling for such a turn. This allows traffic to flow through the intersection better. This is usually only spatially possible with a bicycle, I might add.

    In short, the traffic laws are certainly the structured baseline for all activity on the roads, but safety is the grail. For this reason, I will continue to let safety be my guide while riding my bike. I simply hope that this approach can be seen for what it is rather than what it has been made out to be. I also hope I don\’t get a ticket for an action if it impedes and endangers no one. I don\’t imagine I will, because I have historically draws no attention from the police with my actions. However, had I not been tipped off by a helpful bystander, it might have been me rather than the experienced bicyclist in front of me. He slowed to nearly a complete stop, checked thoroughly for traffic, then continued into the empty circle to receive a warning. A warning issued by a policeman on a motorcycle bursting off a sidewalk and crossing my path. Lucky I was on my bike or else I might not have seen him.

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  • Mmann July 22, 2008 at 3:09 pm


    When someone breaks the law and pays a penalty, that\’s justice, and hopefully the wrongdoer learns and society is safer. I got a speeding ticket once and I deserved it and it taught me a lesson. But to laugh at someone when it happens I still consider mean. Or at least impolite.

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  • Winter July 22, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    So I got one of the warnings this morning and consider myself a fairly responsible bicycle commuter. To me, the City and the PPD has this whole issue entirely backwards.

    First, they place stop signs on a traffic circle. Brilliant idea.

    Second, they come up with an even more brilliant idea of deciding that pedestrians are at risk of injury from bicyclists. How many times over the past two years has a bicyclist seriously injured a pedestrian? How many times has a motorist seriously injured a bicyclist? Right, so now we are spending the PPD\’s resources protecting pedestrians in the urban utopia of Ladd\’s addition from all the reckless and dangerous bicyclists. Brilliant.

    So what if the bicyclists all reported that local homeowners in Ladd\’s were showing a bit of disrespect to bikes on the City-designated bike route? Think the PPD would be \”warning\” the local homeowners/board members/drivers of the NA? No freaking way.

    Third, when will the PPD start protecting bicyclists from the threat posed by motorists? I am the first to admit that bicyclists do some seriously stupid things out on the streets, and they deserve to be cited and to bear the responsibility (get a clue and ride on Clinton instead of Division people!). But I have so far seen the PPD do jack squat to protect bicyclists, and I have seen all number of incredible dangerous and stupid stunts performed by motorists.

    Maybe they should have a cop patrol the east end of the Hawthorne bridge at least once EVER to make sure motorists yield to bikes as they cross over the lane of traffic headed southbound onto 99E from the bridge? Maybe they could cite motorists for not signaling prior to turning right off of Hawthorne onto 7th or 11th? Just a couple of ideas for ways enforcement could look at both sides of this issue.

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  • bahueh July 22, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    well Mmann..I\’ll just laugh to myself, how\’s that? don\’t have special rights as a cyclist..not yet, so motoristis don\’t have to accept anything but the expectation that you will begin to follow traffic control devices…whether your legs can control the physical demand or not. quit trying to openly justify breaking the law for reasons of \’safety\’…I wonder what Karl would currently have to say about such \”safe\” actions…you know, the guy who blew the stop light at 50th and Lincoln and currently resides in a coma…

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  • Andy July 22, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    If you don\’t think those kinds of stings *also* don\’t happen, you\’re mistaken. Just that they hit motorists on the most-often violated laws. aka speeding, plus a smattering of stop sign/redlight stings. At the east end of the morrison bridge, at the bottom of N. mississippi, along the T-curves, red light cameras in hollywood, it happens all the time.

    Just the *cough* payoff isn\’t as good for crosswalk stings because they have to wait for a person to happen to show up before they can make enforcement. (as opposed to a stop sign which is always there) The assumption probably is that once ticketed, a person will be more likely to pay attention to [i]all[/i] traffic laws, not just the one they got busted on.

    Seriously, Ladd\’s Addition is getting to the point that I can\’t see how anyone is surprised the get a ticket. It\’s like blowing the red in front of City Hall and being surprised the camera gets you.

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  • peejay July 22, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Stop signs at Ladd\’s Addition = Broken Design!

    Please read the Atlantic Monthly article on why our whole philosophy of traffic controls is broken by design.

    What a huge waste of time that we have to have a big argument about what to do in an intersection that could be perfect but for some useless signs.

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  • Eileen July 22, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    peejay, thanks for posting that article. It makes a lot of sense to me. I remember living in a foreign country and being struck by the lack of regulation for certain things. For instance, at the edge of a cliff with a sheer drop-off, there were no barriers or signs saying keep away. You were expected to exercise a certain level of common sense. Our over-protective, over-litigated, over-legislated government has babied us to the point that we no longer exercise common sense or have a sense of personal responsibility. If something bad happens, there should have been a stricter law or greater enforcement or better protections. It\’s never that we were just dumb and should learn from our mistakes. I don\’t think we can simply undo this by removing the laws as it is a mindset developed over decades. I know there is a fairly new and controversial movement among parents to give their kids more independence and freedom – allow them to roam a little more and have to deal with a few hard knocks on their own. I have seen parents who do this torn apart by their peers. letting your kids play in an unfenced yard unsupervised is tantamount to child abuse these days. And yet, if not given this opportunity, how do they ever become self-reliant?

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  • bahueh July 22, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Eileen..confuse issues much? you don\’t live in a foreign live in this one…come back to reality, please.

    laws exist to the extent they do in the country because people have repeatedly displayed to legislators that they cannot display common sense…I mean just look at every discussion on this board regarding helmet use…or what happened in Montana was speeding limits became \”reasonable and prudent\”..people started dying in auto collisions because they simply had the right to go faster….people are inherently stupid and will not act in a personally responsible manner if given the choice..
    and they generally do not learn from their mistakes..unless told to by law enforcement or penalized financially.

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  • martin July 22, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I live in Ladd\’s, but I swear I\’m not one of the vocal neighbors that keeps complaining to the city to \”do something about all those cyclists running our stop signs.\” But I will say this: Those stop signs are necessary. If they weren\’t there, I\’m afraid that car traffic would increase about 300% once motorists realize that they could cut 20 seconds from their commute by cutting through Ladd\’s. Also, it is incredibly annoying and dangerous when a cyclist runs a stop sign (say, heading south on 16th) when I\’m trying to turn NW on Ladd–whether I\’m on my bike or in my car makes no difference.

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  • Myra July 22, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    The only way to stop bikers from breaking the law. Is to dig a tunnel and tell them it\’s a bike express way. Let them all get down in there then cork it up. Leave an air hole and a slot for slipping in food and pot and the road will be safe again.

    Look at this story. How many bikers got violations? how many cars?

    No one out there on the road is as bad as bikers are across the board.

    I will take motorcycles, taxi cab, police, ups trucks, tri-met bus and icecream vans over bikers.

    Bikes unsafe at any speed and by your comments. Nothing can make all of you happy short of banning all other forms of transportation.

    you are all idots

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  • danielc July 22, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    The cyclist in front of me today got pulled over. I didn\’t come to a complete stop but slowed down dramatically because there was a car behind me. I usually slow down and look both ways before entering the circle. One poster made a good point, which was stopping for pedestrians when exiting the circle. I agree with another poster that Ladd circle is also the safest part of my commute. The most dangerous route is coming off the Hawthorne right into a sea of cars, buses and pedestrians, and having your bike lane disappear!
    I think PPB should target busier streets with bike lanes AND bike boxes. I\’ve seen my share of vehicles stopping in boxes or not yielding.
    My last point is that I hate to see fair weather riders breaking the law by running RED LIGHTS right in front of stopped cars because those drivers are not going to look too kindly on me when I\’m still commuting in the rainy cold winter. Yes, I do believe that they are indirectly affecting my safety.

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  • wsbob July 22, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    O.K., so I read the article peejay offers the link to as a justification that stop sign enforcement in Ladd\’s is unreasonable, and I say \’bunk\’ in response to the question of its applicability to the situation in Ladd\’s.

    The issue in Ladd\’s regarding people on bikes that choose not to stop at stop signs is one of neighborhood livability as much as it is safety, maybe more. Ladd\’s is being turned into a commuter highway for bikes.

    If the theories supported by the article\’s author were to prevail in a revision of the infrastructure in Ladd\’s, loook to a future of masses of people on bikes everyday, that feel no obligation to stop for the stop signs in Ladd\’s. Sounds like complete nonsense to me. I wouldn\’t wish that on any neighborhood.

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  • Oz July 22, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Bahueh wrote:
    people are inherently stupid and will not act in a personally responsible manner if given the choice..

    That seems a bit extreme, though I don\’t dismiss your point. But even so, by that yardstick, if running a stop sign on a bicycle merits a $250 fine, then hitting somebody (on a bicycle) with your car should merit, proportionately, $$$$$$. And that ain\’t happening.

    So yeah, I\’ll agree that most Americans are stupid. But that doesn\’t mean we can\’t aspire to be at least as smart as the British, don\’t you think?

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  • Oz July 22, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    The issue in Ladd\’s regarding people on bikes that choose not to stop at stop signs is one of neighborhood livability as much as it is safety, maybe more. Ladd\’s is being turned into a commuter highway for bikes.

    Ah, yes, that would be so terrible, hundred of bicyclists suddenly swooping down Ladd\’s Addition because of a lack of six stop signs. I can see that carnage already.

    As far as \”neighborhood livability\” goes, I live just off Division, and this may be news to you, but having cars roar past at 40mph day and night doesn\’t really appeal to my own personal sense of \”neighborhood livability.\” But then, I suppose that\’s why I live just off Division, I can\’t afford a nice, quiet house near Ladd\’s.

    And for the record, as a bicyclist I appreciate the quiet roads I ride down, I search out roads without cars so I don\’t impede traffic, yet I try to ride carefully (full of care) and considerate of pedestrians and others along the route. And several times I\’ve ridden the roads near Ladd\’s and seen people (maybe children?) writing, \”Thank you, bicycle riders!\” in chalk on the street. Warms my heart.

    And research clearly shows that you project onto others your own personality. Which may explain why I think most other people out there are pretty decent, if left to their own devices.

    Of course, your own personal mileage — by bike or car — may vary!

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  • BURR July 22, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    the speed limit on SE Division is 25 MPH as far east as 50th or 60th, when was the last time you saw a police sting on speeders on Division?

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  • wsbob July 22, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    \”Ah, yes, that would be so terrible, hundred of bicyclists suddenly swooping down Ladd\’s Addition because of a lack of six stop signs. I can see that carnage already.\” Oz

    Oz, do you think at all about what you\’ve read before writing a response that has hardly anything to do with it?

    Here\’s a few details of the situation in Ladd\’s to help you out: Easily, \’hundreds\’ of people on bikes are already traveling and commuting through Ladd\’s. I don\’t know that for a fact that I can quote to you, but I\’m fairly certain a fact check would bear this out.

    Again, Ladd\’s is a designated bike route. As numbers of people on bikes expand, many, many more of them will be choosing this route in part because of it\’s designation as such. It naturally makes a great safe route for people on bikes because of the fact that it\’s off the high volume motor vehicle grid, on thoroughfares such as Division.

    As Martin in #63 mentioned earlier, the stop signs in Ladd\’s probably help to discourage motor vehicles from short-cutting through Ladd\’s. All things considered, it\’s kind of stupid for some of the people on bikes to turn around and suggest that they\’re too inconvenienced to stop at the stop signs.

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  • woogie July 22, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    I lived on the east coast and encountered traffic circles regularly in Mass. I\’ve vacationed in the UK a number of times and dealt with them there as well.

    Ladds Circle is not a traffic circle. It\’s a quaint addition to a neighborhood but it\’s not a traffic circle.

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  • zilfondel July 22, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Christ, I didn\’t read the post, but this is exactly why I avoid this place like the plague!

    I would almost rather bicycle down Powell Blvd than through the circle.

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  • Eileen July 22, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    bahueh, I think you misunderstood the fine subtleties of my argument. I do not endorse breaking laws or lack of enforcement for existing laws. Our system exists as it is and our citizens, as I tried to state, are dependent on them. Do they make us safer, well, maybe they make us safer, or maybe it is a way of coddling that prevents us from having to be personally responsible. I tend to believe the latter in some cases. If individuals were to just decide to stop following these laws, it could be disastrous and I don\’t, as a rule, believe in vigilantism or anarchy. I just think that it\’s something for us to think about and a direction to start moving in. If all my thoughts weren\’t connected in my post, they were in my head, and if you need further clarification, I can provide that.

    Honestly, we can\’t pass enough laws to make biking, driving or walking safe. We need to somehow encourage awareness and a sense of personal responsibility. I think the system of rules we have in place would work if they were simple enough to actually remember and follow – but obviously they aren\’t.

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  • John Reinhold July 22, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Lots of self righteous people here.

    Laws are not perfect. Laws are not supposed to be blindly followed just because they are laws.

    One of the worst things we can do as a people, as a society is to say \”Why do we do this?\” and respond with \”Because it\’s the law!\”.

    That is terrible.

    We should be able to say the reason why it is the law.

    Laws are there for the smooth functioning of society. They are not there to be simply followed without rational thought.

    Laws are not laws simply to be laws. There is a reason why something is a law, and it IS possible to disobey a law while still living by the spirit of the law. You can break a law while still being a good person.

    This is why the enforcement type actions are so offensive to myself, and others here. We have real problems that Police should be tackling. The bicycles running the stop signs at Ladd Circle is not one of them.

    Is there no crime in the city? Is there no Meth? Are all the missing people found? Are all the crimes solved? Are there no traffic offenses occurring that endanger life?

    Once we solve all of THOSE problems, then we should tackle bicycles and stop signs.

    Until then our limited police resources are better used where they can do more good.

    Certainly, getting a ticket for running a stop sign on a bike is not something you can blame on anyone but yourself. After all, you made the decision to break the law. However, it is legitimate to complain about or express concern with our priorities.

    But those of you who keep preaching about \”laws\” and breaking them – you should take a good long look in the mirror.

    Have you ever copied a friends CD or Tape? Did you drink before being 21, or allow friends to do so? Have you ever changed lanes in a car without signaling? Have you ever coasted in your car with the transmission in neutral (illegal in Oregon)? Have you ever littered (including tossing a cigarette butt)? Have you ever had an unlicensed dog or cat? Have you ever drank a beer in a park? Have you ever sped in a car? Have you ever jay-walked? Have you ever made a fire in a no-fire zone? Have you ever used a GPRS radio without a license? Have you ever made a prank phone call? Have you ever photo-copied a copyrighted work? Have you ever ditched school?

    If you have truly NEVER broken a law (and I would imagine that there are tons of pointless laws that you have broken) then you can judge others.

    But until then, I consider bicycles rolling through a stop sign in reasonable ways (like slowing and looking) to be a victimless crime that should only be \”enforced\” if someone actually risks someone else.

    And I absolutely agree that \”class\” has something to do with this enforcement action location – because we have never had any kind of response to complaints about people speeding through our neighborhood, and running the stop sign by our house. Never. But complain in Ladd – and we roll out the entire traffic division…

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  • jrep July 22, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Ladd\’s Addition is on my regular commute route. I missed the enforcement or education action this morning because of a hospital visit. The action this morning would have made no difference to me since I stop at the stop signs.
    I agree yield signs would be more appropriate, but until we put in as much effort to get that changed, we should be obeying the sign or paying the specified fines. Who\’s putting in as much effort to try to affect changes (new \”stop law\” changing the stop signs, etc.) as they are to complaining on this forum?
    On Friday, July 18, a Trimet bus cut off at least six cyclists by making a right turn onto 7th at Hawthorne. Did anyone other than me take the time to identify the bus route, bus number and time, AND complain to Trimet? I received a nice response and bet that the supervisor really did follow through with a warning to drivers because on Monday, I saw a Trimet driver wait an extraordinarily long time for bikes to clear at another location on Hawthorne.
    If you want to affect a change, use the available mechanisms. If you don\’t like the mechanisms, work within the system to change it. Complaining on this forum may be good therapy, but it\’s not likely to result in positive change.

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  • Icarus Falling July 22, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    With all the bitching and moaning here about this enforcement action, I feel it is safe to say that:

    This sting by the PPB has been very, very effective, and with only warnings handed out to boot.

    72 comments here alone in less than 24 hours. If that isn\’t getting the PPB\’s point across, I don\’t know what is.

    Kudos to the PPB! I do not hand out compliments much, and rarely ever to an inept Police Dept.

    Didn\’t stop? Got pulled over? Yeah, you are in the wrong, and you got lucky enough to get a warning. You knew this when you didn\’t stop. As a matter of fact, you didn\’t even deserve the warning! You deserved the ticket. And you know it.

    That is what I call an effective enforcement action. One of the few things the PPB has done recently that is actually effective.

    And before you bitch at me about my views, you should know that I am a cycling scofflaw. I am the guy who flies around town in illegal street bicycle races. The guy who flies down between lanes of traffic. (on the legal right hand side generally) The guy who rides across the Fremont bridge, crossing 5 lanes of freeway traffic to win a race. And the guy who sometimes slows, but does not stop all the way at stop signs. I was the messenger you love to hate, for a long time, crossing downtown in 4 minutes, at what would be considered breakneck speed on a bike the uneducated consider to have no brakes.

    And I am also the guy who knows the rules of the road, and knows that when you are breaking them, you deserve the ticket.

    Suck it up Buttercup!

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  • joe July 22, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    how can we get a Parking in a Bike Lane sting going on NE Broadway? I commute to downtown on it several times a week and there seem to be delivery trucks in the bike lane more often than not.

    also, it has been 16 months since PDOT acknowledged that there need be a larger solution here….any progress?

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  • wsbob July 22, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    \”This is why the enforcement type actions are so offensive to myself, and others here. We have real problems that Police should be tackling. The bicycles running the stop signs at Ladd Circle is not one of them.\” John Reinhold #74

    What kind of logic is that? Put enforcement of every utilitarian infrastructural law on hold until the serious crimes you consider to be a priority are all solved?

    Before the quote cited above, you wrote the following:

    \”Laws are there for the smooth functioning of society.\” John Reinhold

    There\’s your fundamental priority; the smooth functioning of society. It\’s the need for smooth functioning of society that explains why priority is distributed over a broad selection of law violations rather than focusing on just one category such as drug use or murder that one particular individual or group considers to be a priority over all others.

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  • BURR July 22, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    the point of bike boulevards is convenient through bicycle travel without impediments such as stop signs; PDOT routinely turns stop signs away from the bike boulevards onto the cross-streets. I still completely fail to see the safety problem PPB is addressing here.

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  • Joe July 22, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    thanks to the few insensitive douchebags on two wheels that caused this and the few overly sensitive douchebags in the neighborhood that complained.. the few have inconvenienced the many..

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  • steve July 23, 2008 at 12:49 am


    If it were effective, there would not be so many people still running the signs. You know there have been numerous other stings in Ladds, right? I would argue the stats show how incredibly ineffective these stings are.


    \”Summer riders\” ??

    You have some special way of picking them out huh? Sorta like the guy who screamed at my wife a few weeks ago, \”WHERE WERE YOU IN JANUARY?\”

    Perhaps that was you? If it was, her answer is that she was riding her bike. Like she has every day here, for over a decade. Who the hell do you think you are? You ride in the winter, big deal. I know a 5 year old who can say the same thing. What a martyr.

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  • Icarus Falling July 23, 2008 at 1:44 am

    I know about the other stings in Ladds for sure.

    It is certainly the case that more cyclists stop completely, or slow to a very minimum at stop signs in Ladds Addition than used to, either from personally experiencing, or even just hearing and or reading about this and past actions there.

    One also must consider, if thinking whether this is effective or not, and if requiring \”stats\” to do so, the large and constant increase in the cycling population in Portland. Even just within the time frame between this sting and the last.

    You would also have to consider the very large amount of cycling traffic that funnels through this area daily, which I would argue would show the ticketed and or warned cyclists are a small percentage of those who pass these stop signs every day.

    In conclusion:

    Have a good day!

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  • Anonymous July 23, 2008 at 7:59 am

    In the event that anybody checks this blog prior to sitting at the desk all day-

    There\’s about half a dozen cops hiding next to the water building at the corner of Broadway and NE Flint. They appear to be waiting for cyclists who don\’t fully stop at the stop sign, when making a right hand turn onto Broadway. Hopefully, this is another verbal warning only mission.

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  • snowshoe July 23, 2008 at 8:13 am

    I was stopped in a similar \”educational\” manner last Thursday at the corner of Flint and Broadway where a cyclist had just prior, been hit by a car. With blood still fresh on the ground, the cops \”chastised\” me for not coming to a complete stop before turning right on Broadway (their cruiser was diverting car traffic away from the lane – so the coast was clear – I did look). Basically, I hardly felt that lecturing me over someone\’s blood (when I had just been in a harry bike accident the day before involving a car door on Broadway and me flying through the air) was the most tactful thing to do. Point taken? yes – but there could be better ways, like when there is not someone\’s blood on the ground. (anyone know what went down last Thursday at that intersection and if there are any developments to handle traffic there?)

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  • Jesus Christ - God of WAR July 23, 2008 at 9:07 am

    I ride through Ladds every workday. Morning and evening.

    These days more cyclists appear to be making a decent attempt to obey the law. I\’m happy about this as it was rough there for awhile worrying as I came to a complete stop that someone would plant their front tire up my arse. I\’ve had too many close calls from fellow bike riders trying to maintain their momentum, or whatever other excuse they\’d like to make for breaking the law.

    I think beercaster said it quite well early in this thread.

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  • brewcaster July 23, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Thanks Jesus, but it is BREWcaster. 😉

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  • Jesus Christ - God of WAR July 23, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Brewcaster it is! Sorry \’bout that, Chief.

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  • KT July 23, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Shalen #55, Bicycling is NOT dangerous.

    Sharing the road with other road users, no matter the mode of transportation, is dangerous… mostly because you just can\’t trust the other guy to follow the same rules (read: LAWS) that you are.

    Society only works when people can trust each other to play by the same rules (read: obey the same laws). And obviously, the road-using society of the City of Portland is broken.

    Shalen, thanks for perpetuating a myth that actually makes it more dangerous for ALL road users… by putting the onus on the vulnerable road user. Driving isn\’t a right, it\’s a privelege and a heavy responsibility; as a driver, you have the responsibility to follow all the laws, drive defensively, and be cautious– and ALL road users seems to have forgotten that.

    Down here in the SW suburbs, it seems like the cyclists and drivers have it all figured out… I haven\’t heard about a police sting on red light and stop sign runners in Tigard, Tualatin, Beaverton, Lake O, West Linn, Wilsonville… must be because it\’s so DANGEROUS to ride that no one does? So how do you explain the hordes of riders out here?

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  • Aka July 23, 2008 at 10:47 am

    So What it an actual stop? Should I put a feet on the ground? or does a track stand for 0.5sec works?

    I don\’t want to get a ticket for not knowing what a good-enough stop is… help me please

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  • Ashley July 23, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Wow. What an intense commentary. I used to take Ladd\’s Addition every day to and from work. I think the primary issue in Ladd\’s is pedestrian safety. I\’d like to see the speed limit reduced to 15 mph.

    I hear a lot of talk about yield signs, but I worry. A percentage of cyclists blow the stop without looking, slowing, or anything. It\’s frustrating to come to a stop and have 4 bikes whiz by me (or almost run into me) as I\’m scanning for cars, bikes, and most importantly pedestrians. There are tons of kids in Ladd\’s, joggers, walkers, dogs, etc. Is a yield sign really going to fix the problem? For pedestrians the circle is like playing froger across the crosswalk-can you make it before a bike cuts you off? Or a car speeds to a stop as they finally see you? I\’d like to see more \’slow\’, \’children at play\’, \’yield\’ to pedestrians signs in the circle, additionally a painted bike circle would be rad, for better car/bike interactions, and also a painted yield to pedestrians sign on the entry and exit points directed and all forms of transportation coming through the crosswalks.
    And I like the area is being used as an education sting. It\’s no surprise to me that pedestrians have a higher injury rate in the area as it seems to be given cart blanc treatment by many people.

    Lead by example, and show kids that being a grown up, means being responsibly awesome, instead of unsafe and uncool.

    I also support the sting at flint and broadway, a really dangerous intersection with the Vancouver right turn traffic, the flint right turn, AND the right turn just west of flint that I see countless cars blow through. I can\’t imagine not looking, stopping, and double checking before going through it.

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  • Robert Dobbs July 23, 2008 at 10:59 am


    Portland has become too stupid for its own good.

    You can blame the SoCal influx. You can blame the trustafarian bike \”advocates\” sticking it in everyones faces every chance they get. You can blame the Greshamites.

    Regardless, it just becomes more and more of a farce every day.

    Enact the Idaho roll-stop law and a vehicular homicide law already, and be done with it!

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  • Lenny Anderson July 23, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Police resources should be allocated based on public safety and health data, not public relations. While a half dozen motorcycle cops were \”teaching\” bicyclists at the behest of some local citizens, hundreds of motor vehicles were speeding (some on \”bikeways!), running red lights, etc. all over town.
    Its damn near impossible to kill, let alone hurt, someone with a bicycle, motor vehicles do this routinely thousands of time a year just in our region. Excessive speed puts children, elderly, diabled as well as bicyclists and other motorists at risk. Enforcing speed limits should be the police department\’s #1 task. Forget bicyclists coasting thru stop signs on poorly designed \”bikeways.\”

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  • Robert Dobbs July 23, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Also, I know someone who did slow to a stop, but did not put her foot down @ Flint and got pulled over.

    This was hardly \”blowing\” a stop sign, and apparently the cop was \”a real a-hole\” about the whole thing. No ticket, but late to work.

    Surprised? I feel more PLATINUM already!

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  • Maculsay July 23, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Keeping my piehole shut on this one… and when I go through Flint/Broadway today around 4pm, I\’ll even execute a foot-down, just for the heck of it. I normally come to a balanced stop.

    I remember during a volunteer stint at the BTA, and we all moaned over the Platinum status…

    Let\’s ride, folks. Keep it simple. Love ya!

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  • Andrew July 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm


    Those Ladds residence need to find a better and more noble hobby than throwing a fit about BICYCLISTS.

    I\’m going to start defecating in the rose bushes.

    Given the already disproportionate reactions from residence and the subsequent police campaign in Ladds circle, I am expecting that at the request of the Ladds residence the Portland police will get a chance to provide me with a water boarding experience.

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  • Maculsay July 23, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    I don\’t know Andrew, after staggering away from the mangorita\’s at Bombay Cricket Club and \”stopping to smell the roses\” a few times, maybe these Laddies are on to something.

    They want free fertilizer.

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  • Graham July 23, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    John Reinhold, #74: really good points!

    Personally, I consider myself an extremely safe cyclist. And personally, I slow-roll through stops if I can do so while following the old road-safety rule of: look left, look right, look left again. If I can be certain the way is clear, I see no need to stop dead.

    In a car, it\’s different. I stop dead in a car. This is because cars pose more of a danger to others on the road, and my visibility is lessened in a car (in which I sit lower, farther back, with a view partially obstructed by windshield frames).

    In a car, once stopped, I have only to twitch my foot on the gas to get started again, so stopping dead is no great inconvenience.

    On a bike, I pose little or no danger to cars on the road (and far less danger to pedestrians than do cars), and my visibility is much better, making it so I can see the way is clear without ever having to come to a complete stop.

    And on a bike, coming to a dead stops destroys my efficiency, because of loss of momentum.

    Is efficiency is a factor in traffic laws? I think so. If traffic laws were only about safety, we could simply eliminate the vast majority of car deaths by setting a blanket 10 mph speed limit and calling it good. But we don\’t. Instead, we accept the risks that come with higher speeds, in the interest of efficiency.

    Stop sign laws don\’t allow for the differences in safety and efficiency between cars and bicycles. That\’s because stop sign law is a solution designed almost entirely for motor vehicles.

    Ideally, the stop sign law would be tailored to better fit cycling, especially if we want to promote cycling as a positive alternative to driving.

    In the absence of a law that better fits cycling, we might hope at least for leniency and good judgment on the enforcement end of things. That kind of good judgment is exactly what the PPD is NOT showing. Instead, they\’re exploiting this ill-fitting law as an easy means of targeting – and extracting money from – cyclists.

    This police action seems predatory to me. After all, what could be easier pickings for traffic cops than cyclists? And hey, $242 a pop, that\’s quite a haul.

    The fact that the stop sign law is such a poor fit to cycling seems unjust, and if an unjust law really is no law at all, I feel no compunction in breaking it – or bending it anyway. I don\’t blow through stop signs at full speed out of a sense of self-preservation and out of respect for the rights of others.

    My safe, slow, controlled roll-though isn\’t endangering myself or others, nor is it violating anyone else\’s rights. Even if it was endangering me, I don\’t want the police protecting me from myself. I got that covered, thankyouverymuch.

    To hell with these little police fund-raisers that target and shake down the safest, cleanest, and healthiest vehicles on the road. That the traffic cops in this town seem to consider me and other cyclists prey to be stalked – regardless of how respectful or safety-minded we might be – that fact destroys my respect for these guys.

    I\’d like to see a shift of focus to safety and good judgment. Both on the part of cyclists – who could stand to be more mindful of how we might seem threatening to pedestrians and startling to drivers – and on the part of the police, who would better serve the community – and garner more respect in the process – by focusing on actual dangerous behavior than on harmless, technical infractions.

    (Whew. I should just get my own blog and save Jonathan the bandwidth.)

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  • OnTheRoad July 23, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Lenny (#92) sez:
    \”Its damn near impossible to kill, let alone hurt, someone with a bicycle…\”

    Bicycles may not kill a pedestrian but they can severely injure a walker especially if it is a child. A neighbor of mine received a concussion from a bicycler who right-hooked her in a marked pedestrian crosswalk.

    To me, that is the issue is Ladds – pedestrians are feeling unsafe crossing at crosswalks when bicyclers barrel through without slowing.

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  • forkthis July 23, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    I can\’t find anywhere in the statutes or regs that require a foot-down stop. Can anyone point me to relevant authority?? Or is this requirement merely urban legend?

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  • Oliver July 23, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Right, this \’foot-down\’ thing is starting to get more and more play. I\’m pretty sure it\’s a California thing, I heard a lot of it on a charity ride down there last year. It may also be a throw back to kid\’s cycling education classes.

    When my wheels stop rolling, I am stopped, simple as that.

    And you are right, it\’s not required in Oregon. Of course that is only the opinion of one police officer that I spoke to.

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  • Kilowatt July 23, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I have been riding (the speed limit 25mph through Ladds for 19 years.This is no more than a bunch of bored people with some new focus for their frustration with life in general.

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  • forkthis July 23, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Excellent. Told some kid the other day to be careful through Ladds (he blew by me as I was stopping). Of course I caught him at the light on Division. Told him it was a $242 ticket and a hot-spot for cops. Just trying to help, you know. He had some snide comment for me that last he checked you had to have your foot down, implying that my stop was no better than him blowing through.

    He was obviously an idiot, but I just wanted to make sure I had the law straight. Thanks for the confirmation.

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  • John Reinhold July 23, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    OnTheRoad, so the issue then is not the bicycle riders rolling through the stop signs – it is bicycle riders not respecting the Pedestrian right-of-way.

    So then why do the PPB not target THAT behavior? They routinely have crosswalk stings at the SW College & SW 4th intersection/crosswalk where a police office in plain clothes walks back and forth across the crosswalk and the police ticket people who don\’t stop.

    Why not a sting at Ladd which targets people endangering pedestrians? I would wager that there are FAR FAR less than 60 people a morning violating pedestrian right-of-way.

    I am *always* extremely courteous to pedestrians, as I walk many miles a week around town and people in cars OR on bicycles who fly by, or cut you off, or don\’t announce themselves, or run through crosswalks – all annoy me.

    And in response to wsbob # 78:

    There\’s your fundamental priority; the smooth functioning of society. It\’s the need for smooth functioning of society that explains why priority is distributed over a broad selection of law violations rather than focusing on just one category such as drug use or murder that one particular individual or group considers to be a priority over all others.

    You mean one particular group, like Ladd residents? And the priority that they consider to be bicycles running stopsigns at Ladd Circle?

    I agree. We should not cater to what that one group considers a priority, and instead take care of the things which the DATA and the FACTS make priority. Like the things that kill people. Or the things that cause severe economic harm to people. Or the things that destroy real property daily. Because to waste 10 officers time and energy to get people on slow moving light weight bicycles to stop at the stop signs at Ladd Circle is a slap in the face to any victim of crime who needed REAL police enforcement.

    How many people in Portland, or even in the USA, are killed by Bicycles every year?

    I didn\’t find the answer with a quick Google but I did find some other interesting safety statistics.

    Bicycle Almanac: Safety, Fatalities, & Injuries

    Drowning deaths far outnumber Bicycle deaths

    I could find some sporadic news articles about Bicycles knocking down pedestrians and some times killing pedestrians. But no statistics, I found about 4 occurances in the last few years (two were in the UK). (And related to the other thread that is going on at BikePortland, ALL of the pedestrians died of head injuries. I think we should require helmets for Pedestrians)…

    But I would bet that the annual number of pedestrians killed by cyclists nation wide would not be more than 10. And far far less than the three or four thousand Pedestrians who are killed by cars.

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  • marc July 23, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    hopefully ppd priorities change a little once adams gets in office and we can move away from these craptacular enforcement actions and work on actually protecting the vulnerable on the road.

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  • Steve (not steve) July 23, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Does anyone know if particular stop signs can be designated for bikes to just yield or would an Idaho-type law have to be applied to all stop signs? Can municipalities \”tailor\” traffic laws to better meet their particular users?

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  • John Reinhold July 23, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Just after my last post, I received a phone call from my family in New Mexico. My sister was hit by a car, and is hospitalized with fairly severe injuries.

    If we had a choice – We would much rather she had been hit by a bicycle.

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  • brodie July 23, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    i was one of the cyclists that got pulled over yesterday morning. i haven\’t read all of the above comments, but i would like to reiterate some of them. there is probably no safer intersection in portland to run because of how wide it is, and yield signs are really the only appropriate controls for that area. that being said, i also believe that portland should adopt idaho\’s walk and roll law so that ALL stop signs are yield signs, and then this debate would be moot, and i would like to cheer ray thomas on in his effort to do just that.
    so one other issue; i was discussing with my roommate the concern that local residents have been complaining, and he pointed out that 99% of portland residents would LOVE to have the Ladd\’s problem; a huge amount of bike traffic. the number of bikes alone precludes a lot of car traffic, and which one would you like your kids playing around? in summation, the local residents complaining about it is kind of like the people in the west hills complaining that all the tiny houses on the bottom of the valley are ruining their view. you all already have the nicest neighborhood in the city, with one of the lowest traffic flows. excuse me if i don\’t show concern for cyclists running stop signs.

    and for the record, i have complete respect for the issue of \”Right of Way\” and cede it whenever appropriate. cyclists coming to a complete stop in Ladd\’s, however, is not the same issue.

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  • Ian Clemons July 23, 2008 at 6:42 pm


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  • Jeff July 23, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    The only reasonable solution is to convert the roundabout into a proper yielding roundabout and remove the stop signs entirely. Bikes and cars. Let\’s get on board with the rest of the world. We are NOT better than the rest of the world.

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  • cyclist July 23, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Until the day the stops are turned into yields or an Idaho-style law is passed, it will remain illegal to go through an intersection without slowing to a stop, regardless of whether or not you think the law is unfair. While I agree that an Idaho-style law makes a lot of sense, I\’m taken aback by how few people are taking responsibility for their actions in this thread.

    If and when I get caught going through a stop sign on my bike I will accept the ticket as the cost of having broken the law, just as I have accepted the consequences of the two speeding tickets I\’ve gotten in my life (6 and 10mph over the limit). Every time you or I break the law, we are risking a fine… if you can\’t afford the fine, come to a complete stop. If you disagree with the policy, work with the BTA and your local representative to change the law. Complaining about getting a ticket in an area that sees regular enforcement reeks of childishness.

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  • William July 23, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    As a \”Car-free City\” visitor this June I enjoyed a wonderful bit of time at Ladd\’s Circle and at the fine Coffee Shop there. I witnessed no bike-ped conflicts. As traffic circles go, an extreme experiece is at UC Davis (CA) at class passing time, when literally thousands of bicycles and a fair number of pedestrians interact without a single crash. Truly a cycling experience!
    If there is a problem with traffic circles it is motor cars! They should be banned from Ladd\’s Circle. It seemed to me there are many other ways for cars to get across town.
    Portland cyclists be proud, you are the envy of us all!

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  • Leat July 24, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    The guy who says it takes only a little extra time and energy to come to a complete stop, the others who say it is the law and that\’s that… Come on…. First, you loose an enormous amount of kinetic energy coming to a complete stop. Second, a bike is not the same as a car, we can HEAR cars coming from quite some distance, and we can SEE cars and peds without obstruction. And if you obey the letter of the law, you WILL get run over.

    Here is some advice. When you approach a stop sign, and there is ANY traffic, then stop. If there is not, then go. Because if you wait, thinking traffic is going to allow you the right of way, you will die. Watch for drivers\’ doors opening, right hand turns, and always be courteous.

    I speak as an elite bicyclist. I have never hurt anyone, and don\’t believe bikes are even capable of the horrendous destruction some people talk about. I have never even seen a ped hit by a bicyclist. Ever. And I have never heard of a bike causing an accident. This is a tempest in a teapot! These things happen, sure, but they are just not common enough problems to warrant a $280 ticket.

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  • peter July 24, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Why does this even need to be an issue? Traffic laws are there for a reason, and apply to all forms of vehicles, so if you don\’t like them, TOO BAD!

    A stop sign is a stop sign, no matter whether there are cars or bikes approaching or not, same goes with stop lights.

    And Leat (#112), you can\’t even consider calling yourself an elite cyclist if you don\’t bother to consider following the rules of the road.

    I just wish PPB would issue tickets rather than warnings, so that people might actually take the laws seriously.

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  • dan July 27, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Meh, taking a lane on Hawthorne next week. I suggest that all Lincoln bikeway users do the same; perhaps this will help re-focus attention on the benefits of having bikers away from main arteries.

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  • BURR July 28, 2008 at 1:55 am

    maybe I\’ll ride Hawthorne too next week…

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