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Water Bureau announces bike/truck safety event

Posted by on September 11th, 2008 at 2:59 pm

The view from a truck mirror.
(Photo: Aaron Tarfman)

The Portland Water Bureau plans to host an event next week that will educate the community about the unique safety concerns of large trucks.

According to a press release from the Bureau, the event will take place in a parking lot near the Rose Quarter (adjacent to their Interstate facility) and it will give “bike commuters” the “opportunity to see the view from a dump truck’s driver’s seat and learn more about blind spots and other dangers of riding near large vehicles.”

Set to debut at the event will be a new video produced by the Water Bureau that illustrates hazards and “tells cyclists ways to help ensure their safety by being visible to car and truck drivers.”

The event is sponsored by the Portland Trail Blazers, the Rose Quarter, and the Lloyd Transportation Management Association. The Water Bureau is teaming up with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) on the event and folding it into their Eye to Eye Campaign that was launched last month.

This event is just the latest manifestation of a commitment to bike/truck safety by the Water Bureau.

Spurred by a constant stream of close-calls and collisions near their Interstate Facility (mostly at the infamous Broadway/Flint intersection), the Water Bureau began looking at solutions over a year ago. Bureau Risk Specialist Jeff Guard has led the charge and his bike/truck safety committee has met regularly ever since.

Back in December, the Water Bureau announced that official vehicles were no longer allowed to enter or exit their Interstate Operations Facility via NE Wheeler Street.

Water Bureau administrator David Shaff says that, “Our field maintenance and construction crews operate more than 270 large vehicles each day, so it’s important that our drivers know a bicyclist is nearby and that riders know they may not be seen.”

    Water Bureau Bike/Truck Safety Event
    September 16th, 4-6:00pm
    Rose Quarter, Benton Parking Lot (N Broadway and N Larrabee)

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T Williams
T Williams

This is a great idea for an event, and in my opinion the best riding defense is not to try to see the driver in the mirror, but to freakin\’ ride like no driver of a big truck can see you.

In otherwords, when coming up on an intersection with a big truck or you see a trucks signal on, don\’t find yourself to the right of it. Take the lane behind it or slow down/stop and let it make its turn.


This has Sarah Bott\’s name written all over it . . .


Take note if you sit in a truck with a long hood that he can not see a bike directly in front of him. This is one thing that is really bad about bike boxes. Many times a truck will stop at a light with nobody in front of him, while he is stopped he may take a moment to look at his paper work- maybe to confirm an address… meanwhile when he\’s not looking a bike can get in front of him in a bike box. When the lght changes there is a possibility that a driver may not see a bike right in front of him and have an accident….
i\’m not griping- just trying to help…


I\’d love to see this go the other way, too.

As in, not only can bike riders see what the view is like from the cab of a truck, truck drivers can see what the view is like from the saddle of a bike.

That way, the onus of safety is on both sets of road users, not just on one set. More fair that way.

Keith Walker
Keith Walker

Props to the organizers at the Water Bureau!

Sarah Bott
Sarah Bott

Ha ha, Ethan, I wish I could take the credit for this great idea. The kudos goes to Peter Nierengarten, a Water Bureau engineer, and our great safety committee at our Interstate facility.

But I will be there today (by bike, of course), pitchin\’ in!

Sarah Bott
Sarah Bott

PS, to Kt,

Our big rig drivers HAVE been coached in the view from the bike saddle as part of their ongoing safety training.

And, I\’ll betcha that the Water Bureau has one of the highest percentages of bike commuters among city bureaus. We have a strong bike culture and a strong \”share the road safely\” culture. That goes for big rig drivers and the rest of us.


Sarah, that\’s great that *your* drivers have been coached in the view from the saddle.

And I think it\’s great that you guys down there at the Bureau are giving bike people the chance to see the other side of things.