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ODOT truck division launches bike safety campaign

Posted by on November 14th, 2008 at 12:34 pm

“As a 30-year cyclist, I feel this message is crucial.”
–Howard Russell, ODOT

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has launched a bike safety campaign.

Word of the campaign comes from ODOT’s Howard Russell. Russell is the safety enforcement manager of the agency’s Motor Carrier Division, which he says is a specialized unit devoted to preventing truck-related accidents. In addition to public education, his division investigates trucking companies and does roadside truck inspections.

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Russell contacted us a few days ago to share more about their new campaign. Here’s the poster that will be the main visual component of the effort:

Russell himself has ridden a bike for over 30 years and told me he feels this message is “crucial”. About the poster, he wrote in an email:

I have seen cyclists make this error and can only assume they do it in the mistaken belief that the truck driver can see them. The rider pictured is in an extremely dangerous spot, especially if the driver suddenly turns right. The cyclist has nowhere to go.

Russell says the posters might be showing up in newspaper ads and inserts, but he said he’d like to get the posters into bike shops. “I want to get them everywhere there are cyclists.”

ODOT’s campaign follows similar bike/truck safety efforts recently launched by Portland General Electric, the City of Portland, and the Portland Water Bureau.

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K'Tesh
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K'Tesh

I’ll take one of the posters… I put them up on my apartment complexes bulletin boards…

Opus the Poet
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In the course of keeping my blog on bike safety I also read news from the UK and Europe. Over there they consider a vehicle with blind spots large enough to hide a bicycle on the passenger side to be defective design, not an operator problem or a problem for the other vehicles on the roads. The thinking there is if you pull up beside a vehicle you should expect the driver to be able to see you and not hit you.

In Oz their HPV endurance series requires racing velomobiles that have demonstrated 360 degree vision with all team drivers for that particular vehicle. I include that to point out that goose gander comparison. The Australian PPGP series has races of 6, 12, and 24 hours with up to 8 team members driving the vehicle, and many of the vehicles built for the series are being sold as street velomobiles.

Michelle
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Michelle

It is a good poster and a clear message.

But I can’t help but think of all the time I far far back from that blind spot and am still clearly not seen by truck drivers – I can only assume they didn’t see me because they didn’t look. Often I don’t have to assume, because I am watching the driver’s face through the mirror and I see it never turn to look.

I’ll never put myself in that blind spot; and I appreciate these good campaigns (see the next story on the Copenhagen bike-lane sticker) to educate cyclists about it; but couldn’t they be paired with similar messages for drivers?

So many people have no idea that they are required by law to look, and see, and yield! I do worry that the predominance of “cyclists be careful!” campaigns over “motorists be careful!” campaigns gives everyone the idea that the burden of care is on the cyclists.

Michelle
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Michelle

To be more specific, I worry that the unbalanced messages we put out there imply that the burden of care is on cyclists and NOT on drivers.

BURR
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BURR

To be more specific, I worry that the unbalanced messages we put out there imply that the burden of care is on cyclists and NOT on drivers.

I would agree, and the same would apply to those Copenhagen right hook warning signs in the following story.

brian
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brian

The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the responsibility of the operator. We have all seen trucks driving like they are in smooth handling sports car, and this behavior has to end with zero tolerance penalties. Posters like this one are insulting and preposterous.

Coyote
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Coyote

The poster is in deed car-headed. I have never understood fed-ODOT’s resistance to more forward mounted mirrors that reduce the blind spot.

That being said, blind spots exist and drivers don’t always look, I don’t mind being reminded of that.

kev
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kev

What a horrible poster!
It leaves the impression that the cyclist is somehow responsible for being put in that position by the PASSING TRUCK that is setting him up for the right hook.
The motion blur on the cyclist instead of the truck is a cynical lie to perpetuate this typical car-centric myth. My experience is that most right hook attempts are caused by the motor vehicle improperly passing immediately before turning into the cyclist’s path. How about a poster to get motorists to modify their behavior instead?

SYK
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SYK

EX-CUSE ME!!!!But How The *^&% is ANY Object, be it cyclist, pedestrian, hey even a car suppose to deal with a truck thet “Suddenly turns right.”
WHERE’S THE DRIVER EDUCATION PROGRAM HERE!!!!!!

solid gold
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solid gold

ya, maybe, just maybe, we could also train truck drivers to PAY ATTENTION, and not be the king of the road, just because “i’m bigger than you”.

jim
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jim

These posters are to help save drivers from boneheaded cyclists like 6,7,8,9,10. Maybe the poster should not say “its the way to go” because of the arogant attitude of certain riders would only make them ride in blind spots because “they have a right to”