After tragic week, pedestrian advocates call for “immediate response and change”

“The sheer number of serious collisions between pedestrians and cars this past week demonstrates that our traffic safety deficit is not found in one person’s error.”
— Steph Routh, Director of Willamette Pedestrian Coalition

On Sunday night, two young women were struck by a car while attempting to cross the street at SE 80th and Foster; one was killed and the other seriously injured. Several other traffic incidents in which people on foot were killed or sustained major injuries also occurred in the past week in Oregon.

Portland’s pedestrian advocacy group, the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC), says these incidents demonstrate an acute need for more investment in complete streets. They plan to hold an awareness action at the site of the fatality on Foster Road to bring attention to this issue. Here are more details on the event:

There will be a quiet safety awareness action along SE Foster Rd near 80th Ave. on Tuesday, 10 November 5:00-6:30pm. If you would like to participate, you are invited to bring a homemade sign that asks everyone to watch out for one another and to share the road safely. Please contact the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition with any questions or comments: steph at wpcwalks dot org.

In Oregon, every corner is a crosswalk.
(Photo © J. Maus)

In a statement released this morning (download PDF here), the WPC also expressed serious concern over the state of infrastructure, safety, and awareness of the needs of people walking through public space and called for “immediate response and change.”:

Funding is essential to improving our region’s pedestrian environment. Entire neighborhoods remain without sidewalks. Pedestrian connections to bus stops and business centers are incomplete or absent in many areas. Additional funding is necessary, and our elected officials need to prioritize transportation that is used by everyone, for everyone is a pedestrian at some point in their day. The recent transportation bill that passed the state legislature, for example, did not raise the minimum spending on bicycle and pedestrian facilities from 1% to 1.5%, which would have been a small but a positive step. Instead, we received earmarks for highway projects. This is recessive and needs to change.

The WPC statement also drew attention to the fact that the number one cause of pedestrian injury in Portland is failure to yield to people in crosswalks. Oregon law states that every corner is a crosswalk and that vehicles must “stop and stay stopped” when a person wants to cross whether the crossing is marked or not.

Pedestrian safety issues don’t usually gain as much attention as bike safety issues do in Portland, even though the number of people killed while walking far outpaces those killed while riding a bike. From 1996 to 2007 there were 130 people killed in traffic while walking versus 29 people killed while biking.

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Dave
12 years ago

I think one of the biggest shortfalls of Oregon and Portland specifically is publication and enforcement of laws.

I don’t think most people have any clue that legally every corner is a crosswalk, and I bet that if someone just walked out into the road at an unmarked crosswalk and got hit, they would be held responsible.

Similarly, it’s now illegal to drive while talking or texting on your mobile phone, but it seems like 1/3 of drivers I see everyday are still talking on their phones, and I haven’t seen the law publicized anywhere in public, nor have I seen anyone get pulled over for it.

Speed limits are the same thing. It’s just perfectly normal for everyone to drive 10mph over the speed limit, and I also never see anyone get pulled over for speeding.

In this particular case, I think there isn’t real clear blame on either the driver or the pedestrians, I think it was a bad situation made much worse by poor infrastructure, street planning, and maintenance – but in general, I see almost no publicizing or enforcement of any traffic laws.

Dave
12 years ago

Except of course police stopping cyclists for carefully coasting through stop signs on 21st and Clinton.

How about the three cars at every light cycle that run a red going each way at 39th and Powell? I’ve *never* seen one of them stopped.

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
12 years ago

Dave, I think you’re right in that most people really don’t understand the legal definition of “crosswalk”, and more importantly what their responsibilities are regarding people trying to cross the street in crosswalks. We need more education and enforcement!

E
E
12 years ago

Last night I was on the bus that goes by where that guy was run over by 2 cars. Every time he dropped someone off along that stretch, the driver would say, “Watch for traffic. They don’t care about you until AFTER they run you over.”

Touche.

OnTheRoad
OnTheRoad
12 years ago

Re: #1

I don’t think the driving while cell-phoning law takes effect until Jan. 1, 2010.

The State Legislature also did not take up a bill in the last session that would have allowed peds. to hand-signal their intent to cross a street without stepping off the curb. Currently, you have to step into traffic to telegraph that you are trying to cross.

Dave
12 years ago

Used to live in Lithuania, and there if you just looked like you might be crossing at a crosswalk, traffic would come to a halt for you. No stepping into the road necessary.

In China, you can just ride a bike into traffic and cars will stop or do anything they can to make way for you.

In the Netherlands, the same thing – cars will stop and give you right of way, they will yield for you, and they generally will not do things like fly through crosswalks.

Why? Because legally the more vulnerable road users are given strong legal protection, and it is enforced.

Here it’s the exact opposite. What laws we have protecting pedestrians and cyclists often aren’t enforced, many (maybe even most) people don’t even know about them, and most often, benefit of doubt is given the motorist.

Totally ass-backwards. And we pay the price for it in toll of lives.

Matt Picio
12 years ago

Dave (#1) – is it illegal? I think that statute takes effect on January 1st.
and (#2) – I think they’re getting pulled over for not stopping, not for speeding. 😉

21st and Clinton is a high non-compliance area, and the police also pull over cars that fail to stop. Most of the problem at that intersection, however, is cyclists – the cars mostly fail to stop at 26th and Clinton. 21st has a lot of pedestrians, and cyclists frequently fail to yield to them. If you don’t want to be ticketed, you can always follow the law. BTW, 21st & Clinton isn’t just a stop sign, it’s signalized. The police will always ticket people who run red lights, regardless of conveyance.

Jonathan, technically a corner is *two* crosswalks. A “T” intersection contains 3 crosswalks, and a “cross” or “X” intersection contains 4.

And everyone should remember when walking – you’re only protected if you cross in a crosswalk – if you cross midblock and there are no zebra stripes, your insurance company can refuse to pay for your injuries if you’re struck, and the motorist may not be liable. I’m not saying always stick to the law, I’m just saying be aware of the risks when you chose *not* to obey.

Matt Picio
12 years ago

I’ve heard that in Italy, if you make eye contact with the driver, then you’re responsible for staying out of their way, but if you don’t look, they’re responsible for avoiding you. I don’t know if the person telling me that was telling the truth, but it certainly could explain the driving habits in Rome.

http://www.worldhum.com/features/how-to/cross_the_street_in_rome_20080226/

Dave
12 years ago

@Matt: My point was simply that cyclists (or cars, really) carefully coasting through a stop sign at a quiet intersection like 21st and Clinton should be the least of the police department’s worries. I very rarely see anyone just flying through those kinds of intersections. While police are ticketing people there, they are ignoring people doing much more blatant things on busier roads in much more dangerous situations.

Jeff P
Jeff P
12 years ago

Just yesterday a bit before 8 a.m., I was inbound on SW 4th and was stopped at a crosswalk – as were the cars in the two adjacent outside lanes. A jeep went past me [actually clipping me with his mirror and folding it back] and the lady IN the marked crosswalk had to literally JUMP backwards to keep from being hit.

The driver had no clue – be it why the traffic was stopped or the fact that a women was crossing the road in front of him in the visible crosswalk.

People are in a routine – they are not paying attention on the roads.

Dave
12 years ago

@Matt: It’s the same way in China, actually. If you make eye contact, it’s basically giving the driver the OK to go. Otherwise, if they hit you, it’s their problem. In China, at least, penalties are stiff enough that drivers will go to pretty great lengths to avoid hitting you.

Kt
Kt
12 years ago

This is where the BTA needs to be working with the WPC. Complete streets are good for everyone.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)

No one is safe on our streets as long as our culture treats cars as the supreme beings and acts like they are a right and not a privilege.

A few days ago i came to cross Killingsworth Street at Michigan and noticed an elderly man was trying to cross too. Cars did not stop for him so I pulled my bike right out in front of an oncoming car, pointing out to the person inside that not only was an old man trying to cross the road but that it’s Oregon law that they stop for him.

the person in the car was all surprised as if they had no idea what was going on. so sad that our streets are ruled by things that can kill anyone of us quite easily.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)

as for the BTA working with the WPC…

I think transportation advocacy in this town would be much stronger if we did not have a bike-specific group. that’s what i love about Transportation Alternatives in NYC… they do it all… transit, walking, biking, etc…

The mission is to tame the streets and make them more comfortable and viable for people, not just cars.

Perhaps the BTA should consider changing their name and removing “bicycle” from it so they can be a unified voice for all people-powered movement?

SkidMark
SkidMark
12 years ago

I do find it interesting that when a pedestrian gets killed there is a public call to arms, and when a cyclist gets hit by two drunk drivers and gets killed, that’s just par for the course.

Nick V
Nick V
12 years ago

@ Jonathan #13,

On Killingsworth? Seriously, that took guts on your part.

One note about crosswalks – I’ve seen both peds and cyclists standing right at the cusp and gabbing on their cell phones with no intention of crossing the street. That tends to throw people off. I’ve been thinking about the two young ladies that were hit and it is a VERY unfortunate event, but I have to think that some of the responsibility falls on their shoulders to be aware of their surroundings and how visible or invisible they might have been.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)

skidmark,

i think you’ve got that a bit wrong. first, usually in this town when someone has been killed as a pedestrian there is not much of a response. as for the death of Kipp Crawford on Willamette… he wasn’t actually a “cyclist” because police say he was not struck while riding a bicycle… so that one’s a bit confusing and strange.

MeghanH
MeghanH
12 years ago

As someone who lives a few blocks from this Foster crossing, I will definitely be there Tuesday night.

It’s time someone pushed back against the automobile dominance that’s been allowed to take over Foster Rd.

Matt Picio
12 years ago

Dave (#9) – Acknowledged. My point is that coasting through a flashing red light at an intersection like 21st and Clinton is not “careful”.

I don’t know of many stings at 21st and Clinton. Ladd’s has had about a half dozen in the last 3 years. I agree that the police should have other priorities, but if a cyclist runs a red light and a cop is present, that cyclist is getting pulled over. Stop sign infractions might be ignored, but red light infractions almost never are.

And honestly, if the cyclist is blowing the light (or stop sign) carefully, they’ll see the police officer and stop before entering the intersection. If they are unable to do so, then it’s not “carefully”. Most of us have an inflated view of our skills and our perception. Neither are as good as we think they are.

chad
chad
12 years ago

worst not stopping for crosswalk abuse I’ve seen in Portland: NE Marine drive right east of NE 33rd.

Not only does it have zebra stripes it has big flashing lights and STILL no-one stops.

What is going on here? Crosswalks for crying out loud…we all learned in elementary school what there for.

Why have so many motorists forgotten?

Adams Carroll (News Intern)

Nick V,

I think it’s interesting that whenever tragic crashes happen we all go back and forth about fault. was it the person in the car or the person on the bike or the person walking?

yes, often both parties can share some of the fault (in several bike crashes in recent years the person on the bike is found to be intoxicated, a fact that isn’t always widely known).

However, it’s also very important to think about the fault of our road policies and design. ODOT simply does not put people first when they design/manage streets.

PBOT wants/tries to put people first but they are severely constrained in doing so by everything from politics to budget to adherence to ridiculous federal guidelines to being overpowered by ODOT themselves.

it’s a vast and complex issue. it’s a public health epidemic.. but unfortunately it hasn’t been treated like one… and unfortunately I feel it will never be grappled with by people in powerful positions until we all demand our public spaces are no longer ruled by fear of motor vehicles.

don’t forget.. even in utopian Copenhagen, they were ripping out cycle tracks for cars in the 1970s and the people finally said “Hell no! we want to ride our bikes!” and they kept saying that until their politicians listened and started making changes.

John Lascurettes
12 years ago

The crosswalk at every corner, marked or not, is the same in law California. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t the same in many if not most states.

Just this week, I stopped for a family on Knott that was trying to cross the street. The one car that was coming opposite me had already stopped too. I have a very conspicuous hand signal for stop and yet one car whizzed by me from behind. The family entered the street and the second car behind me barely stopped in time.

Then. A bicyclist says “on your right” and passes me while I’m waiting for the family to clear. For fucking serious?

Ridiculous.

Vance Longwell
12 years ago

“No one is safe on our streets as long as our culture treats cars as the supreme beings and acts like they are a right and not a privilege.”

Maybe overstated just a tad, eh? No? 350 million traffic deaths before quitting time today? It’s pretty rough out there but I’m fairly sure I can prove you wrong by tomorrow morning.

Do you know that deliberately impeding a car like that is a felony traffic crime? Do you know I can likely make a kidnapping beef stick if your a douche about it? Did that old guy ask you for help, or were you just sticking your nose in his business to mess with said car?

Ask yourself again where all the bike-hate comes from J. What do you think a first timer in here, a motorist thinking bike type, first-timer? They gonna join up after reading stuff like that? You jumped my a** before about new riders. Can we add hypocrite to self-righteous now?

Added together these represent a single digit number of injuries amongst how many safe trips those days? Ten thousand? A hundred thousand? A million. You pick. Know what a ratio is? Know how to factor odds? You do the math then and tell me again how, “Nobody is safe until…”.

Get your agenda off my mode! 25 years I’ve been doing this and I’m gonna die under the wheels of a car directed at the Jonathan Maus’s of the world; and all I ever did was just say, “Stop, enough.”. People are trying to kill me out there Maus. Are you happy?

Dave
12 years ago

@Vance: I’m pretty sure Jonathan is not the reason drivers drive recklessly. Maybe you should think a little about how helpful making statements like that is. Not only is it damaging to conversation, but it’s diverting the issue.

rixtir
rixtir
12 years ago

Dave is right, drivers don’t have a clue that every intersection has crosswalks, whether marked or not.

And drivers that don’t have a clue about their duties as drivers should not be in possession of a driver’s license.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)

thanks for that Vance,

what you’re not seeing are the thousands of people who stay home and drive their cars because they are afraid of the streets.

and what is your kidnapping comment about? that makes no sense to me, sorry.

and this site isn’t about having people “join up” to anything.

fact is, cars have way too much control of our public spaces. they scare and intimidate thousands of people on a daily basis. what is wrong with wanting streets that are more sane and calm for everyone?

also, you make classic claim that just because I feel cars are too dominant that that means there should be no cars at all.

the fact is, if we had stronger policies about complete streets and policies that reflected the True Cost of driving, less people would drive. With less people driving, those who still drive would have a much nice experience as well.

Vance, it’s very clear that you bring a lot of personal issues into your comments.. please keep in mind that this is a space meant for topical discussion, not settling personal issues. Thanks.

martina
martina
12 years ago

How about having Crosswalk parties all over the city on Tuesday?
I am going to be at Belmont in front of Zupan’s — a marked crossway that people that people always speed thru…

toddistic
toddistic
12 years ago

Vance,

Real good point, just be quiet and don’t push for change – don’t want to make anyone angry. Don’t try and change the status quo. Stay in line, mind your own business. Screw social responsibility. What a selfish self serving attitude. Oh wait, you’ve been doing it for 25 years – you have way more street cred than anyone else.

SkidMark
SkidMark
12 years ago

Jonathan, you know what I’m getting at. Every time a cyclist gets killed, the public’s reaction is that they caused it or they shouldn’t be in the road in the first place. We’ve seen it time and time again. Never is the majority public opinion that motorists’ need to pay more attention to their driving, they need to actually SEE cyclists, and that penalties should be tougher for killing cyclists.

It is a tragedy that a woman was killed and another injured by a car while crossing the street, but I find this interesting:

“The vehicle was traveling westbound on Foster and witnesses stated that it appeared neither pedestrian saw the vehicle approaching.”

My mother taught me to look both ways before I cross the street. The law is that motorists have to stop but as a matter of self-preservation I assume that someone driving toward me doesn’t see me. It’s obvious that depending on laws to protect us doesn’t always work. I don’t this makes the motorist any less at fault. I just wish similar laws that pertain to bikes were as rigidly enforced and as accepted by the public.

SkidMark
SkidMark
12 years ago

As an example, on the news report about this pedestrian death, the last thing the newscaster spoke about was the potential charges the driver was facing, and on the first news report about the cyclist’s death, before the DUII’s were announced, the last thing the newscaster said was that it was very dark out (an excuse for “not seeing”) while showing footage of the bike on it’s side with it’s taillight blinking.

I’m talking about public perception Jonathan…

fredlf
fredlf
12 years ago

Ironically, I’ve had so many close-calls trying to cross NE MLK at intersections that I cross mid-block for safety. The close-calls always come from people turning right or left who don’t see me (or think to look). When I cross mid-block (illegally) I only have two directions of traffic to worry about.

Cars so dominate MLK that I purposefully (regretfully) avoid neighborhood businesses that involve crossing it. It’s like having a raging river bisect my neighborhood.

Dan
Dan
12 years ago

Cagerland Nightmares

Vance Longwell
12 years ago

Change what, for what reason? If the world scares you, ride the effing bus. It’s what they’re there for. I simply do not accept this as a rational fear not because I personally don’t perceive traffic as dangerous; but because I witness, with my own two eyeballs, everysingledayoftheyar, 5, 6, 7, year old CHILDREN enter into to this activity without fear, and with complete and total success.

If a child can safely do it, want to tell me again what the safety issue is?

And if you just wanna pull a bunch of cars off the road, then I’m with you. But you tell lies, so I wait for the truth. See, I’m for getting stupid, helpless, fearful, entitled, ninnies off the road. I don’t want them in cars, or on bikes, either one. You would saddle them up, compel them to get in over their head, mess with me, mess with cars, all to accomplish what we both purpose; and could just as easily be pointed at mass-transit, and not this mode.

The type of people you are talking about bringing onto the streets are what I’m railing against, not their mode. We’ve spent a century trying to get helpless people out of the way of progress. According to you all, we’ve got world class transit. Let. Them. Take. The. Bus. And leave me, and my commute alone.

I am poor beyond belief. My quickest path to ascending the economic ladder is completely dependent upon paradigms you wish to dismantle. That puts me behind, yet again, because of ideology not born of my hometown, but from somewhere else. That is my only personal issue with you Maus. You move here, and go to advocating arbitrary change, arguably just to have a frickin’ job. You don’t pay, I do. Just like poor people always pay.

Matt Picio
12 years ago

Sorry, Vance (#23) – impeding traffic is NOT a felony – it is a class D traffic infraction: see ORS 811.130. BTW, the kidnapping charge only applies if you physically restrain someone, unless I’ve wildly misunderstood it.

Madeye
Madeye
12 years ago

I agree that the car culture is hurting us all. Our communities would be healthier, happier and safer if more people were out walking and biking instead of driving.

A most interesting point in Jeff Mapes’ Pedaling Revolution is that The Netherlands actually had on the books that driving a motor vehicle was considered wielding a deadly weapon. Even though it’s been taken off the statutes, the culture is still one that considers a 2-ton hunk of metal a weapon, which in our culture, is, sadly, even more the case.

jacque
jacque
12 years ago

A few years ago some of us were staging “protests” against fast driving (I won’t say speeding anymore… because sometimes driving the limit is too fast).
We had MANY pedestrians thanking us. That was on Hawthorne, and I don’t know if the ped crossings and lights were installed yet.
These days I’m always impressed driving down Hawthorne- people drive under the limit and most stop for peds at intersections. Even though it’s a busy thru-street, it is obvious you are traveling IN a neighborhood- with all it’s street life in full view.
I think the congestion, the crowded sidewalks, the marked crosswalks and the slower speed limit have made Hawthorne much more pleasant.

G.A.R.
G.A.R.
12 years ago

Folks who think that every corner is crosswalk have not studied the law. ORS 801.220 says, “Whenever marked crosswalks have been indicated, such crosswalks and no other shall be deemed lawful across such roadway at that intersection.” This means that while “every intersection has a crosswalk” (from the ODOT ped guide)there are still lots of CORNERS that don’t and–what is really bad–they lack “no ped xing” signage. For example, at the corner of SE 34th and Salmon, a pedestrian on the NW corner does not have the benefit of a crosswalk when crossing either street. This is indefensible, given that there is a K-8 school on the NE corner and many children cross at this corner every day. If there were a pair of “no ped xing” signs at this crossing it would generate a lot of reaction! This law is absurdly complex. We need to change it!

Adams Carroll (News Intern)

G.A.R.,

you’re not reading that correctly.

i think that snip of language is saying that if the intersection has a marked crosswalk, you must use it.

it is correct to say that in Oregon “every corner is a crosswalk”.. and if you doubt that, i’ll remind you that PBOT recently put out an education video with that exact title.

peejay
peejay
12 years ago

Yes, Vance, 40,000 deaths a year is OK because so many many more car trips result in nobody getting killed. Now that I understand that, I’ll shut up about it.

I don’t know what to say to you anymore, Vance. I know you’re not here to make friends, but seriously, what do you gain by commenting here?

Vance Longwell
12 years ago

M. Picio #34 – Yeah, that’s state. But there is Federal stuff here too. I’ll post a link in a sec. Look I have been charged with what I’m talking about here, and was hoping to omit that.

Kidnapping can be twisted, and turned a thousand ways. You would know this if you’d been arrested as many times as I have. ‘Free egress’, is the standard. Judges hate that though, and it’s usually pressure to plea deal. I doubt many stretchy type Kidnapping charges see a jury.

I blocked a truck once to let a little girl cross the highway in Mac, years ago now, while on a motorcycle. A city cop saw me do it. I was charged with two federal crimes. Kidnapping and dispossession of lawful right-of-way. I spent a year on probation for that; and had my license suspended for 7 years. I forget that’s a state highway. May be relevant, IDK.

See, and this is my point. Popular area bloggers on a nice bike in nice clothes would get a pat on the back for what Maus did. Me, I get jail. Which brings me back to:

When you are combative with this thing, or overly demanding, or whatever false perception it is that sets the motorheads off, do you think they aim their hostility at pretty young hipster girls on beach-cruisers? Do you think they direct that ire at handsome young bloggers with the Area uniform? No, if they’re gonna blow, they blow on some gnarly looking old-dude like me. The cops, they don’t go after people who can just call BP, get their mug in a post, and sail out of their J-walking ticket. They hit a guy like me that they know full well can’t do sh** about it.

You show me and my ilk zero sensitivity in this, yet bitch at me ’cause I’m on a bent. I just don’t get you people.

Vance Longwell
12 years ago

pee-jay – It’s not an either/or proposition. To me those are odds that I can accept, but I can also see clearly why some people would be intimidated. For them I say, ride the bus, get a ride, walk, Segue, I don’t know, and don’t care. I’m more interested in taking care of my own responsibility than I am policing others and theirs. Which I’ve done. I’m a competent, skilled highway user on all modes.

You seem to feel as though stripping me of my freedom, and my rights, in order to obtain yours, is something I’m just gonna stand for. Which speaks to my motivation for commenting here. Which I do, what, once a month now, maybe?

If a person wouldn’t cross the street and pi** on me to put out the fire, then how in the heck do you think I’d want to call that person, ‘friend’. You guys say you want more riders out there, but have zero compunction about forcing me off of one. Why would I want that kind of a friend?

Again. My position is free to the tax-payer, and is servicing tens of thousands of safe trips an hour. Your position leaves us spending a mint, adding piles of complexity to things that have been simplified, and simplified, over the years; and for what? A ripple on a bar-graph?

If your desires are so moderate why do you not go to more effort to reflect that in the dialogue?

Celeste
Celeste
12 years ago

So… are the kids flagging their school crosswalks after/before school committing a Class D infraction because they are purposefully holding up traffic?

In Utah on busy roads, at the crosswalks, they have buckets with orange flags in them that you can take with you, cross the road and deposit them on the other side.

I think it would be awesome to have something like that here, but I have have a feeling that there would be a lot of asshats just stealing them to be jerks.

jacque
jacque
12 years ago

Jonathon,
I wholeheartedly agree that the push to take back our streets should be coming from the whole community- not just those of us riding bikes.

I’m so sick of people complaining about turning arguments into “us vs them”. It is not us vs them… it is us vs us!

There are very few people out there that ride bikes exclusively. Reducing auto traffic, and minimizing it’s detrimental effects is a goal that the city has taken on for all of us, and for a number of reasons… health, peak oil problems lurking in our near future, and global climate change being three big ones.

Getting more people to ride bikes is one of the ways to accomplish that goal. But it is not the goal itself.

How many times do we have to hear it? As auto use becomes more expensive and more inconvienient people will choose alternatives.

I’d put time into any group focused on:
`city wide reduction in speed limits
`strict enforcement of speed limits
`Strict enforcement of reckless driving
`narrowing of some streets
`reducing the number of lanes in some streets
`Reducing number of on street parking spots
`charging more for parking
`or anything else that specifically works toward the goal of reducing and slowing down auto traffic.

None of these things have anything to do with “making room for bikes”.
But biking would be much improved- as would walking or a game of neighborhood kickball.

GLV
GLV
12 years ago

Vance, you’ve been charged with kidnapping? that’s good to know.

3-speeder
3-speeder
12 years ago

Jonathan – I though your “I think transportation advocacy in this town would be much stronger if we did not have a bike-specific group” comment was interesting. I’m not sure if I agree, but I’m also not sure I disagree. If you expanded this idea into an article, I’d be interested in the thoughts of yourself and the commenters.

Brad
Brad
12 years ago

SkidMark,

Why the disparity between pedestrians and cyclists? Perception is reality.

Do peds stage things like “Critical Mass” or “World Naked Walkfun Stroll”? Do housewives walking three and four abreast on a neighborhood street rotuinely flip the shaft when a car driver asks them to move over? Does the elderly woman waiting to cross look like an angry enviro-warrior or self-important hipster? Do power walkers suddenly just barge into intersections to preserve their momentum? Is there a WalkPortland type blog where walkers gather to bitch and moan about cagers, death machines, polluting bastards, taxing and banning cars, lack of walker only infrastructure and whatnot?

But cyclists (a small minority for sure)do all of those things and seem to demand attention for it. Right or wrong, we have asked for attention and we have to accept whatever attention we get. While not advocating that we get quiet and compliant, we do have to think about the image we portray.

Right now, ask most people to describe Portland cyclists and you will likely get:

Angry rebel
Zoobomber scofflaw
Lycra wearing attention ho’
Lance Wannabe
Slacker
Hipster
Foul mouthed teenager w/ dity bike on MAX
Scruffy looking weirdo on freak bike
Smug jerks at coffee shop
D’bags that don’t pay taxes but want free stuff for their hobby
Whiners

All stereotypes. Some truth but stereoypes nonetheless. That is the perception problem we will face for some time to come.

I’ll also venture that just about everyone who drives also walks. Even if that is from the car to the door across the grocery store parking lot, they have an innate sense of what being a pedestrian is and are more likely to identify with them. Bike rider? Completely alien concept. Couple that with the aforementioned stereotypes and you can begin to see why cyclists are neither understood or particularly tolerated well.

rixtir
rixtir
12 years ago

G.A.R.,

All the law is saying is that there are “marked” crosswalks and “unmarked” crosswalks.

Wherever one street with a sidewalk intersects with another (i.e., at corners and intersections), there will always be an extension of the sidewalk (i.e.. a crosswalk) to the other side of the street or intersection.

TonyT
TTse
12 years ago

Three things.

One – Enforcement should be aimed at UNMARKED crosswalks. Doing enforcements at marked crosswalks only reinforces the notion that those are the only places where one needs to yield. Get people to yield at unmarked crosswalks and compliance at marked ones will go up.

Two – It would help greatly if the police would start acting as examples of the required behaviour and yield to peds at unmarked intersections as well. I have noticed NO greater compliance with police officers than I have with the general public.

Three – I have this idea for a protest/action that would almost certainly get me arrested, but would illustrate the skewed paradigm as it relates to drivers not yielding to peds.

Imagine that I have a baseball bat held to my side and try to cross at an unmarked intersection. Drivers would of course most often not yield. But if I held up the bat as if I were going to strike the next car that did not yield to me, cars would stop and I would be able to cross. And then of course someone would call the cops because some “crazy person” was threatening cars and I would get arrested.

But here’s the thing. How is it that a person with baseball bat fending off cars at legal crosswalk would be seen as threatening and anti-social, yet a driver can willingly not yield (and I’ve had enough encounters to know that there is a disturbingly common willful disregard for the law) and it’s viewed as simply par for the course? It’s just the way it is?

When you get down to it, drivers are threatening pedestrians to stay out of their way. They are wielding a 3,000 lb. “baseball bat” as a weapon of intimidation and no one says a damn thing.

If there was a gang that roamed the streets acting threatening, and killing the occassional person, so that people reasonably stayed at home, would the police tolerate it because not enough people were gettting hurt? No. But with cars it’s much the same thing. There isn’t a massacre (relatively) of pedestrians because most of them are conditioned to wait until there are no cars. It becomes the dog that didn’t bark. More peds don’t get hit not because the system is working, but because they’ve been forced/trained to accomodate a broken system.

The use of cars as weapons of intimidation has become so commonplace that few people see it as such. People who would never bump into anyone at a grocery store without saying, “excuse me” will get behind the wheel of a car and not yield ON PURPOSE. I know. I have had the conversations. It is because the law “is stupid” or “the pedestrian should wait” or some other excuse.

Whatever the justification, it’s still intimidation. Let’s call it what it is.

Yes the design of our infrastructure is part of the problem, but a lot of it is simply learned behavior that must be challenged and changed. We should start with a major push for enforcements at unmarked crosswalks now.

rixtir
rixtir
12 years ago

Vance,

Your interpretation of the legality of helping someone across the crosswalk is just plain wrong. It is not a felony to assist somebody across the crosswalk, nor is using your right of way a “kidnapping.”

Matt Picio
12 years ago

Vance (#40) – No arguments from me. My arguments are based on logic and fact, nothing personal. I’m not apprised on federal law regarding this, and if you have facts that contradict mine, I’m happy to accept them.

In general, I agree with you that anything which marginalizes bicycles and removes them from the roadway is counterproductive, and a bad thing.

Jonathan, G.A.R. – I believe Jonathan’s interpretation is correct. Look at 801.450 for the definition of “roadway”. 801.220 applies in situations where the marked crosswalk is not in the “traditional” location. For example – 801.220 says in effect that the crosswalk ends at the edge of the sidewalk furthest from the intersection (the private property line). If a marked crosswalk were placed just beyond that line, then the marked crosswalk would be the only legal one.

Any attorneys willing to weigh in on that interpretation?

Vance (#41) – sorry, it’s a nitpick, and this isn’t aimed at you personally, it just drives me nuts.

segue is when one changes the subject gracefully, usually with a “bridge” topic that relates to both the current topic and the desired one.

Segway is the motorized product where the operator stands vertically and controls the device by shifting his or her weight.

Using “segue” instead of “Segway” is like saying “cleanex” or “zerox”. I know it’s bad form to point out spelling and grammar issues online, but there it is.