Support BikePortland

One hour, 22 citations at Clinton street stop sign (updated)

Posted by on April 14th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

bike stop markings at broadway flint-2.jpg

(Photo © J. Maus)

The Portland Police Bureau sent three motorcycle cops to SE Clinton Street this morning to observe and enforce stop sign compliance at 34th and 21st Avenues.

According to Traffic Division Lieutenant Bryan Parman, the “enforcement mission” (a.k.a. sting) came after his office received a complaint via email last week from a nearby resident. Parman said,

“The email was about poor compliance at the stop signs by everyone, not just bikes. The resident was specifically concerned at people not yielding to pedestrians.” (There are marked crosswalks at both intersections).

Story continues below

advertisement

The result? In the one-hour mission, three officers issued 22 citations; five to motor vehicle operators and 17 to people on bicycles. Parman says everyone given a ticket was given the option to attend the Share the Road Safety Class so it won’t affect their driving record (that option can be given only at the discretion of the officer who issues the citation).

Parman says the officers were “focusing on blatant behavior that creates a potentially dangerous situation,” and that “given the results we found, we need to talk about a workable solution.”

What Parman is referring to is his ongoing conversation with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation about how to most effectively enforce laws for bike traffic on popular bike boulevard streets.

Parman — who said he’s already discussed this morning’s mission with the BTA’s Michelle Poyourow* — wants to find a more long term solution on how to best respond to these type of complaints. He said he’ll also be discussing the issue at the Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting tonight.

“I understand that Clinton is a bike boulevard,” said Parman on the phone this morning. As such, Parman said he wants bikes to become the preferred mode of transportation on the street, but he also wants to make sure bike operators are being safe and legal.


UPDATE: 3:23 p.m. A commenter just pointed out a YouTube video (below) uploaded on April 8th by “batboyfan”, who explains it as, “Proof that the majority of cyclists in Portland do not stop at stop signs or stop lights. This is not just a few bad apples, it is the general consensus among cyclists in Portland that the traffic laws do not apply to them.”

*This was a miscommunication between Lt. Parman and I. Michelle Poyourow did not discuss the enforcement activities on SE Clinton.

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

213
Leave a Reply

avatar
213 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
93 Comment authors
Matt PicioDJ Hurricanewhyatwsbobpeejay Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Wow, I would love to see video of how bicyclist especially were treating this stop. I wonder where the line is.. were they just blowing through or yielding and then making sure it was clear and then going without giving up too much momentum?

Do they have video?

steve
Guest
steve

I would like to point out that the BTA does not represent me and increasingly does not follow the will of its own membership.

I am confused as to why the PPD is in dialogue about this issue with the BTA. If the dept is after public opinion, it should be solicited. The BTA represents business owners and not the interests of Portland cyclists. The BTA is concerned about keeping their dollars and access.

Stacy Westbrook
Guest

I saw a neighbor videotaping cyclists through this stop last week, so there’s definitely video of people blowing through it. I go through that intersection twice a day and see everyone (cyclists and drivers) do everything from stop fully to blow through without yielding.

I have to say that I don’t really appreciate the neighbor taping everyone without permission. I’m all for calling in a concern, but some people take it too far.

hanmade
Guest
hanmade

The best solution is to adapt the Idaho stop sign law, and then ticket bicyclists who just batently blow stop signs with out any regard for yielding to others.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

Anonymous:

Why are you concerned about how just cyclists were treating the stop? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with whether bikes and cars were treated equally?

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

Steve, sometimes it gets really old that you use every single Bikeportland post as an excuse to bad-mouth the BTA. It is abundantly clear that you loathe BTA and BTA staff. That’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it. But it doesn’t add to the overall discussion to have you shoehorn that into every single comment thread.

jeff
Guest
jeff

Meanwhile, I came inches from someones bumper this very morning after they rolled a stop crossing NE 7th. Thanks PPD.

DaHoos
Guest
DaHoos

I ride this intersection everyday and I’ve seen some pretty ignorant riding. I’d have to say 95% don’t “fully” stop. 60% of them go through at cruising speed without even pretending to look in all directions.
Its a 4 way stop with flashing red lights in all directions so I guess they figure the 3 other direction will do the stopping. But the streets are car-lined cutting your visibility drastically.

Marion Rice
Guest
Marion Rice

Oh sorry my first post was anonymous.. didn’t mean it to be.
I am intersted in whether or not police were ticketing people for Idaho stop style behavior.
I wasn’t really interested in cars.
I was hoping that they weren’t ticketing people who use Idaho style.. just want to know where that line is to get a ticket.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

Marion,

there is no magic “line” people have to cross to get a stop sign ticket.

the law says you must cease forward motion. After that, it comes down to the discretion of the officer watching you….which hopefully is influenced by their boss, the Capt. and/or Lt. of the Traffic Division.

When Lt. Parman says his men are focusing on “blatant” behavior, that means they should be only nabbing people who blow through…not those who safely go through after yielding.

but then again, cops have the right to cite if you didn’t come to a complete stop… but those type of “ticky tack” violations are not really favored by the BTA, PBOT, etc…

all of this is why some folks are frustrated by the continuing turnover of leadership at the traffic division. The community really needs to know what is expected of them in terms of how laws will be enforced.

bikieboy
Guest
bikieboy

Anonymous (#1) “I wonder where the line is.. were they just blowing through or yielding and then making sure it was clear and then going…”

that’s the key issue, for me. I know it requires the police to use their discretion, instead applying the letter of the law (momentary cessation of forward motion).

vanessa
Guest
vanessa

I wish the same would be done at SE 26th and Clinton. I rarely ever see bikes OR cars come to full stops at that intersection (unless traffic is backed up and they HAVE to stop). Whenever I sit at the coffeeshop on that corner I keep tallies on how many cars fully stop, and how many bikes stop fully, or even mostly stop. It’s always depressing to me — it’s always less than 10% of cars or bikes that stop.

kracken41@yahoo.com
Guest
kracken41@yahoo.com

I see more flagrant violations at SE 21rst and Clinton than any other intersection I ride through. Many of the bikers seem to think that if they are delayed in any way they have the right to go around any vehicle that is actually stopping (and in most cases actually has the right of way). Every week I see bikers pull to the right of vehicles waiting in line to turn east onto Clinton, steal their right of way, and make the same turn onto Clinton after illegally passing several other vehicles. I can’t remember the last time I saw a biker traveling westbound on Clinton come to any kind of stop when making a northbound turn onto 21rst. It sounds to me like the PPD picked a great intersection to enforce this morning. Me, being the dork that I am, came to foot down stops at SE Harrison and SE 21rst as well as Ladd’s circle this morning. Dork yes, but one traffic violation richer.

DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

Re the guy who set up the video camera at the intersection:

Maybe we’ll just watch his house until he gets in his car, follow him, and wait for him to commit a traffic violation…

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

Marion:

Ah, I see. I think at present you can assume that people who are going faster than walking speed probably get a ticket, and you’re only really safe if you come to a complete stop. You do *not* have to put your foot down for it to be considered a complete stop.

Jeff: The PPD handed out five tickets to car drivers, if you’d been on that stretch of road the driver would have gotten ticketed. Perhaps you should call PPD and ask them to do an enforcement action on NE 7th?

Marion Rice
Guest
Marion Rice

I want Idaho stops to pass.. I want to maintain my forward motion while being cautious and yielding. I guess I don’t want a cop to be able to stop me for some “ticky tack” violation.

steve
Guest
steve

Jessica-

Reread the original post by Jonathan. The last several paragraphs discuss the BTA. I did not shoehorn anything.

If you want unelected lobbyists posturing as representing you, great. I however, do not. Particularly when in discussion with law enforcement and the city government.

Thor Hushovd
Guest
Thor Hushovd

Jessica, I find that it “doesn’t add to the overall discussion” when you post your “bad-mouth” comments about Steve simply because he has a different opinion than you of BTA(one I see Steve sharing with a growing number of Portland cyclists)…and if you re-read the short article above maybe you would see the relavance as I swear it mentions the BTA.

At least you said it was only “sometimes” 🙂

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

“I guess I don’t want a cop to be able to stop me for some “ticky tack” violation.

that type of sentiment is at the crux of why the BTA is trying to pass the Idaho law.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

In the past the ppd has ticketed anyone who fails to cease all forward motion, the high number of tickets makes me think this has continued. I really doubt that there were over 30 incidents of high speed/failure to yield non-stops this morning. I would be very supportive of a sting that involved a pedestrian stepping into the intersection in front of a cyclist/motorist and then ticketing for the failure to yield, but these tickets for slowly rolling through an empty intersection have got to stop. This is the bike boulevard where we want people to ride yet there are unnecessary stop signs on the street. These stings only encourage riding a block over on division which is faster, but far less safe.

redhippie
Guest
redhippie

It seems like the issue is mostly on Clinton West-bound due to the down hill gradiant. Riders get some speed, mainly look for cars and miss the pedestrians. Perhaps PDOT should install a rumble strip in the bike lane here to get riders to slow down. If they are going 5 or 10 mph, they are much more likely to stop, or pause, than if they are going 15 or 20 mph.
My 2 cents

Zaphod
Guest

Can anyone describe the sting? How visible were the police? Where was the cruiser(s)? I ask because if we (cyclists) are so nimble and aware, why didn’t we see the police and do a full obnoxious stop in time?

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

What a waste of police resource. Red lights are blown all over town by lethal motor vehicles, speeds on N. Portland arterials like Greeley and Channel Avenues are in the 60 plus range, and PPB responds with three officers to control a relatively harmless behavior to all but the perp? Cut the PPB budget, take out the stop signs and use the money to redesign intersections to cause confusion…and make everyone slow down.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

PS Portland has NO Bike Boulevards or at least they are boulevards in name only. Most are overrun with motor vehicles cutting thru at excessive speeds…with no PPB enforcement.

hilsy
Guest
hilsy

I travel on the lower stretch of Clinton quite a bit, both by car and by bike, but mostly car. I freely admit to performing “Idaho Stops” quite frequently at 21st. But I find it quite a common sight to see cyclists “blow through” this stop sign without any kind of yielding. Further, I had one incident when I was driving in my car westbound on Clinton and came to a complete stop at 21st, then proceeded forward and then had to slam on my brakes as a cyclist sped right through the intersection on 21st heading southbound.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if they only ticketed the major scofflaws.

ScottG
Guest
ScottG

My guess is this is the video from the guy videotaping cyclists running Stop signs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etOjRSIyNus

He does catch some bad behavior but he also chastises several riders for what I feel is a reasonable and careful slow roll.

Borgbike
Guest

I keep wondering if, rather than waiting for an Idaho Stop Law to pass (which is dubious at this point anyway), why can’t the BTA advocate for putting in good old fashioned yield signs at a certain intersections.

Of course this wouldn’t work for four-way stops but it would negate any potential issues with unnecessary loss of momnetum at many intersections on bike boulevards. In the process it would educate the car-driving public better about what the Idaho Stop would mean at intersections with stop signs. Yield signs are pretty rare now as it is.

TonyT
Guest
SouthEast TT

Wow, one complaint brought out 3 motorcycle cops!! I want THAT email address. I busted my tail trying to get cops out to my street when I lived in NoPo. Calling again and again and getting nothing!

What is this magical email address that gets 3 motorcycle cops to show up like that?

Doug
Guest
Doug

Bicyclists have to obey the laws like everyone else. I’m tired of seeing some of my fellow cyclists blow through red lights and stop signs. For some reason they believe they are exempt from the law. I don’t know why they think they are special. Some want all of the rights of vehicles on the road but not all of the responsibilities.

commuter
Guest
commuter

I ride through 21st and Clinton on my daily commute and I have to admit that there is some confusion when coming to a four way stop. If I’m the only bicycle, I will sit behind a car until it is my turn. If there are more bicycles then it gets confusing because some riders will ride up and go out of turn. Most of the time though, I think cars are really good at yielding to bikes. I’ve also experienced a few times where a car goes out of turn and then has to slam on his breaks when I start to move.
Most of time though, I default to defensive riding because it when comes to my body or a car, the car is always ‘right’.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I don’t think cops in these kinds of enforcement details should be citing road users if they’re rolling through stop signs at only 2-3 mph and visibly looking both ways as they roll through. Going faster as they roll through…yes, cite them.

If in the hour period the citations were issued, the 22 people that cops in this detail cited, rolled through faster than that, it seems as though those citations could have been reasonably issued. The people that got them can go to court and explain their side of things.

If the cops have video of the intersection they patrolled for the hour they issued citations, it might be worthwhile for people to be able to take a look at what what the cops saw that brought them to issue the citations they did. That’s if the video accurately reveals everything the officers saw that led them to issue the citations they did.

Stacy Westbrook, comment #3: Since the apparent intent of the neighborhood guy was to simply videotape road user compliance with traffic regulations in a public setting, rather than personal details about road users, he probably doesn’t need to have permission for what he was doing.

TonyT
Guest
tonyt

Okay, against my better judgement I have to weigh in here. That guy who shot that video is the same guy who confronted me from his car and claimed to be an off-duty officer. Read about it in the forums under general discussion. He then proceeded to violate crosswalk law and not signal his left turn, so apparently he does not think traffic laws apply to him.

And if he isn’t an off-duty cop, I’m pretty sure that claiming to be a cop is against the law.

If he is a cop, then confronting a cyclist from inside a car while you are not on duty and telling the cyclist to not “f*#k” with him, is hardly professional behavior.

Ethan
Guest

Bottom line it that this is a PR problem. If you are not a cyclist, odds are you would agree with this guy.

The fact that this particular intersection is a perfect example of a place where cyclists can safely retain their momentum, that traffic controls like this were really designed with cars in mind, that there is a vast difference between the dangers of a car and a bike rolling through . . . none of this probably outweighs the impression that cyclists are self-righteous law-breakers. That does not bode well for things like the Idaho stop law.

commuter
Guest
commuter

I ride through 21st and Clinton on my daily commute and I have to admit that there is some confusion when coming to a four way stop. If I’m the only bicycle, I will sit behind a car until it is my turn. If there are more bicycles then it gets confusing because some riders will ride up and go out of turn. Most of the time though, I think cars are really good at yielding to bikes. I’ve also experienced a few times where a car goes out of turn and then has to slam on his breaks when I start to move.
Most of time though, I default to defensive riding because it when comes to my body or a car, the car is always ‘right’.
As for the video, I like how he nicely edited vehicular stops. From the few that where on there, more than half were rolling stops.

hemp22
Guest
hemp22

interesting youtube video – i counted at least 3 cars roll the stop sign…

bike_militia
Guest
bike_militia

Wow, its really great that there is absolutely NO real crime in Portland!

What a fantastic city we live in, that the Police have nothing more serious to worry about than bicyclists running stop signs!

Kudos to the Portland Police for solving and preventing ALL serious crime in Portland, and now (finally!) being able to focus on whiny neighbor issues!

Portland Police Solve 16% of Rape Cases, 2nd Worst in Nation

Tony P
Guest

The do-gooder with the video camera pissed me off pretty good, but man, if you’re not going to stop you’ve got to at least slow down and look both ways. That said, one big problem with this video is that it shows the person on the bike and not their line of site or any other context. It’s pretty safe to roll a 4-way stop on a bike. You can expect cars to at least slow down and you can see them approaching long before you get to the intersection. Coming to a complete stop is truly only necessary if there is a cop watching or someone else has taken the right of way. Obviously there are enough people on bikes who lack basic consideration for everyone else, prompting this guy’s response and inappropriate co-opting of impressionable children.

Perry
Guest
Perry

Clearly, the guy has an agenda and some personal issues, but like Ethan #33 says, this is a PR problem. The folks blowing through the stops there made it easy for this guy.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

tony t, #32 Hah! Maybe it’s time to check this guy out, see if he really is a cop and what his true concerns are.

Following, is the link to tony’s story that he posted on the 8th of this month, over in the forums.

To the “off duty cop” heading west on Clinton this morning.bikeportland forums

Stu
Guest
Stu

About 3:49 into the video, if you take a close look at the cars they do not come to a complete stop as defined by the law – their wheels are still moving. Even as he says that all the cars come to a stop.

k.
Guest
k.

I watched his video. It illustrates a few things. Several cyclists make no attempt at slowing and even observing traffic. Shame on them. Most of the cyclists slow, observe traffic and proceed. The video mostly demonstrates how badly we need the Idaho stop law. The videographer’s rigid view of cars and bikes being the same thing is just silly. And yes, to be accurately represent anything, he should have documented auto behavior as well.

Hart
Guest
Hart

I commute on Lincoln and Clinton daily and I am far more scared of being hit by another cycling blowing through a stop sign at 34th than I am of a car doing the same. Besides, if you never stop, how are you supposed to meet other cyclists?

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

I agree with Southeast TT (28) one e-mail gets this reaction? This is BS, the police can just tell us the city needed more revenue today and I will accept that. Quit making stuff up.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Whoopee! Another stop sign thread! The over/under for this thread is 150; I’ll take the over.

Scott E
Guest
Scott E

Time for someone to go out with a camera and show us all the cars running lights and stop signs. 🙂

As for the enforcement this morning, it’s my usual commute route. I come to a crawl at stop signs myself (I think I would have been considered a ‘stop sign runner’ by the video man) — It’s not a complete cessation of forward movement I’ll admit. Except today since a kindly commuter going the opposite direction warned me of cops at the intersection.

When I got to 34th the 2 motorcycle police were half a block down with lights on and cyclist pulled over.

Then down at 21st I saw a westbound cyclist do what I would consider a fairly fast right/north turn (faster than what I’d consider a ‘rolling stop’). Unfortunately for him there was also a startled looking pedestrian crossing Clinton (south to north) at the same time. Then the motorcyclist came out of hiding in the south and pulled the cyclist over.

So the 1 citation that I witnessed of the 22, it was fairly blatant behavior. For what it’s worth.

KruckyBoy
Guest
KruckyBoy

That video is pretty telling. While clearly biased on the part of the author, it clearly shows a large number of bikers making very little effort to slow down. This is our PR problem. I would bet the majority of those bikers say they are safe and come to a ‘near’ stop. Until bikers understand how our actions are perceived it is going to be tough to say much about a video such as this one.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Vanessa #12:

I see mothers with babes in seats, trail-a-bikes, trailers blow 26th & Clinton regularly–at speed.

Let’s stir in a little informal enforcement action: hide in the shade at NoHo’s with Super Soakers! I’ll take the fixies.

Hart
Guest
Hart

He seemed pretty reasonable, even when confronted. I’ve seen far worse from middle-aged dudes who think having a camcorder makes them a vigilante.

Grimm
Guest
Grimm

I can count the number of times i have stopped on this intersection on my hands, but I ride it twice daily. Its a 4-way stop, visibility is good except for the market on the SE side. Traffic crossing Clinton is minimal. You carry a good amount of speed to the intersection, so its natural not to want to destroy the velocity youve created.

Ive only had one notable bike accident, happened to be on Clinton I must add, and it was where a car hit me pulling out of a stop sign and I had the complete right of way. Youre not safe just obeying laws, youre safer by paying attention. Simple strict adherence to the law just builds a false sense of safety. Be vigilante out there.

Are there any statistics to back up the use of police resources on the supposedly bike-friendly streets? Im sorry, im not seeing people get injured, much less dying on these type of streets. Its the fast ones that need to be patrolled, not the neighborhoods. Im sorry that SE residences apparently are so bored that they have nothing better to do than complain about cyclists ‘blowing through’ their area. Seriously. You have it so good thats all you can come up with to complain about.

BURR
Guest
BURR

Meanwhile, who’s enforcing the 25 mph speed limit on SE Division and SE Hawthorne?

The average traffic speed on these streets is typically >35mph (at least when the traffic isn’t gridlocked at SE 39th) and I’ve NEVER seen so much as a single traffic stop for speeding on either of these streets in the 20+ years I’ve lived in the neighborhood.