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From the Shift email list: When cars attack (homes, not bikes)

Posted by on December 23rd, 2009 at 7:07 am

When cars attack.
(Screen shot from The Oregonian)

Yesterday, someone posted a message to the Shift email list nominating a “thread of the year”. It was a post from back in June and I thought it was funny enough to share.

The email was titled “Was the house wearing a helmet?” and it was posted by Joe R. on June 22nd. Spurred by a story in The Oregonian about a car that plowed into a house in Beaverton (and a similar story from April), he wondered to the list’s 770 members — “Has anyone noticed the high frequency of cars that hit buildings in Oregon?”

Joe wrote:

“It’s no wonder why the #1 barrier to more people riding bikes is fear of cars. And why don’t the cops and Oregonian prematurely blame the house in the same fashion they blame run down cyclists before all the facts are in?”

Not surprisingly, Joe’s tongue-in-cheek post inspired responses with some familiar themes…

Jim D.:

“Actually the majority of all car/house accidents are the fault of the house for failing to abide by vehicular housing practices. The only possible acceptable way to address this is with education. The League of American Homeowners* offers a League-Certified Instruction curriculum designed to teach houses the proper way to behave.”

Shawn M.:

“I understand we all have choices, and there isn’t a law here in Oregon mandating it, but I always wear my helmet when I’m in my house.”

Chris H.:

“It’s not only sound thinking that people driving cars generalize to the behavior of all houses from the irresponsible acts of a single home, it’s inevitable. That’s why I have wrapped my entire home in styrofoam, to protect it from its own errors in impeding drivers. I suggest you do the same or you will have to take responsibility for making all homes look bad in the eyes of drivers.”

Bryan B.:

“Personally, I will never wear my helmet indoors. It sends the message that being inside a house is a dangerous habit only to be engaged in at your own peril which I feel discourages home occupancy.”

I agree with Robert. This thread was a gem. For more stimulating email exchanges, check out the Shift list and consider signing up if you haven’t already.

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

43 Comments
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    la otra December 23, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Just goes to show that we have to stop mixing houses with cars. If there weren’t all those houses – and their tree-filled yards – near roads, think of how much more convenient it would be to drive.

    I advocate keeping houses in specially designed areas called “cities”, and giving the freeways entirely over to cars. Houses are not permitted anywhere near the freeways, and cars, of course, will willingly avoid the obstacle-filled cities of their own accord.

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    Oh Word? December 23, 2009 at 8:24 am

    This is what happens when striped lines aren’t painted around homes:

    http://bikeportland.org/2009/12/18/judge-woman-hit-in-unpainted-bike-lane-is-not-protected-by-law/

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    bobcycle December 23, 2009 at 8:24 am
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    Brad December 23, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Stop the insanity!!! It’s time for Sam Adams and PBOT to start building house boulevards so interested but concerned potential homeowners will feel safe enough to take out a mortgage.

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    chelsea December 23, 2009 at 9:22 am

    I remember some similarly hilarious comments when someone drove into the CCC.

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    Joe December 23, 2009 at 10:31 am

    classic. LOL

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    Todd Boulanger December 23, 2009 at 11:05 am

    You all have seen it before…one of those 5 year old houses that dart out into the street.

    Or did the driver say…’I did not see the house before the crash.’

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    Bob_M December 23, 2009 at 11:09 am

    There was no striping to delineate the house’s lane, so, legally speaking, the driver was not at fault.

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    Spencer Boomhower December 23, 2009 at 11:20 am

    The problem is these houses painted dark colors at night. How are you supposed to keep from plowing into them?

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    Joe December 23, 2009 at 11:32 am

    #8 busting up!

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    El Biciclero December 23, 2009 at 11:41 am

    From the O story:
    No one was injured in the crash, and the driver was not cited.

    Shouldn’t she have at least been cited for failure to yield to landscaping? Not to mention improper position upon a windowsill.

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    TVcommuter December 23, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Those irresponsible homeowners who haven’t installed a protective ring of bollards are giving the rest of us homeowners a bad name!

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    Stig3 December 23, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    The house was quite obviously positioned in the driver’s blind spot. What did the house expect?

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    Alan December 23, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I bet it didn’t even have a working doorbell. Isn’t it about time we licensed houses?

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    SkidMark December 23, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    “I didn’t see the house!”

    It’s Ok houses are herd to see, especially at night. And so many houses don’t even use lights at night.

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    q`Tzal December 23, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    This is a riot 🙂
    Scoff all you want but the fact that these drivers exist and are allowed to continue driving makes me long for the day when most cars are roboticaly driven.
    This day is close. DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007 (http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/index.asp and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Grand_Challenge) show that this is very possible. I especially like this summarizing quote from Wikipedia:
    “The Urban Challenge required designers to build vehicles able to obey all traffic laws while they detect and avoid other robots on the course.”
    Human drivers aren’t doing this. The average American driver seems to be statistically incapable being safe.

    I welcome our robotic traffic overlords.

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    david....no the other one December 23, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Have we all forgotten the house that attacked the other house that was “just minding it’s own business down the hill”.
    Or is the subaru in the picture the spawn of Christine and the Transformers.

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    Dave December 23, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    It was clearly a house-messenger (just look at it, you can tell from the way it looks), and therefore must have been acting irresponsibly at the time the car hit it. Those house-messengers are a menace to society, keep them out of the way of my automobile! (or don’t, and watch what happens!)

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    Bent Bloke December 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I could keep way more junker cars on blocks in my yard if my stupid house wasn’t taking up so much space!

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    Dave December 23, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Note also the headline: WOMAN’S CAR has run-in with Beaverton Neighbor’s House. Of course it wasn’t her fault, the car took over from her and crashed into the house! (this is what I worry about with computer-controlled cars. When this happens, and it will, who is liable?)

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    El Biciclero December 23, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    LOLz!!!! you house fanatic freeks crack me up! “WAH! my house has a right to be on the street!”, “Boo-hoo! Why can’t you drivers just slow down and go around my house?” HA, HA. Look, any time a car and a living room window meet, guess who’s gonna lose?!?!?! If you want your house to stay alive, you better be watching for me and my car and stay out of the way! Your house loses EVERY TIME!!! Wake up, you house-dwelling loosers!

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    El Biciclero December 23, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Another thing–Why don’t all you hippie, burrito-eating house-dwellers just move into upper-floor apartments where you belong?? If you stay off the street level, guess what?!?!?!? CARS CANT HIT YOU!!!!!!

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    rev December 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    i love it. a fine diversion from the short days of winter

    I really love bikeportland giving awards to other similarly minded websites. could a pdxFixed forum post of the year be far behind?

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    John Lascurettes December 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I don’t seem to recall houses paying any taxes! And before you say that all houses pay property taxes and that their occupants pay income taxes, let me remind you that houses pay NO GAS TAX and no DMV Registration fees. If they want special privileges, get them licensed and registered and start enforcing the rules of the road on them.

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    Joe Rowe December 23, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    It’s the cycling community that makes this post great. The real power in advocacy for non car transportation is the group effort, and being able to see humor in the crazy world of ours. Here are Actual reader comments after a cyclist was run down by 2 drunk motorists.

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/bikevictim8

    explain why someone would be (in a house ) on dark city streets at 230am. I am sure the motorist will be blamed for a poor decision by yet another (house). I am sorry for him and his family just curious why (the house was) on the street. I am sure the drivers were given blood tests how about the (house).

    This is a tragedy and one that could very well have been avoided if we were too:
    1. Require (house) helmets meet the same standard of safety as motorcycle helments (high range of the scale).
    2. Require (homes) to have an endorsement added to their (house) …
    3. Create and enforce standards for (house) lighting and safety clothing.
    4. Require (homes) to carry insurance.
    5. Make additions to the current DMV drivers licensing curriculum. The additions would pertain to safe opporation of a motor vehicle in areas where there is high (home) traffic.

    We are currently living in the dark ages as far as (home) training, standards, licensing, insurance, and safety. There will continue to be tragic accidents such as the one above as long as we refuse to take (home) safety seriously.

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    Joe Rowe December 23, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    “The (house) collided with the deputy’s car”

    See the PDF of the San Jose Mercury News. The cop who fell asleep admitted guilt on the scene for falling asleep, yet the police press release makes no mention, and police spokesmen used the event to talk about cyclits who ride abreast. Early news reports blamed cyclists.

    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/03/10/18484765.php

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    K'Tesh December 23, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Well that breaks it…

    I’m going to have to paint my house fluorescent yellow, with retro reflective trim, and a series of baseball stadium lights to make sure that it doesn’t happen to me *AGAIN*!

    I really was in bed when a pickup rolled through the window of the apartment below me about 13 years ago, when I lived in KFalls.

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    Stig6 December 23, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I bet it was one of those hipster houses with no brakes.

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    Stig6 December 23, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Houses have no business being in traffic. They’re far too slow and just get in the way. Even if the house was in the right and the driver made a mistake, you can be right and you can be dead right..

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    Lazy Spinner December 23, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Don’t forget that Houseapalooza kicks off this weekend with the World Naked House Renovation and Dance Party. There will be beer and a live performance by the Porchettes.

    This annual celebration of house fun features house polo, freak houses, a Housebomb, and Rev. Phil will be showing his latest collection of house porn (rumor is some nasty highrise condo smut!). Plus, don’t forget the Portland House Summit is going on next Tuesday. Local housing activist Joe “Metal Homebuilder” Kurmanskie will talk about his book and Danish home design expert Mikael Colville-Andersen will enthrall us with his presentation about home decor in Copenhagen.

    Elly will file reports from Interhouse down in Las Vegas this coming week and I’ll be covering the action at House Crusade.

    Keep up on all the house fun at HousePortland.org!

    Jonathan

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    Disastronaut December 24, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I needed this. ^_^

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    Jim O'Horo December 24, 2009 at 11:24 am

    But don’t overdo it protecting your house.

    True tale from an east-coast city (I lived nearby): Person bought house across T-intersection @ bottom of hill.
    1. Car drove down hill across intersection, lawn & thru living room.
    2. House repaired. Repeat #1. House repaired. Homeowner asks city to do something to protect him. City says: “Sorry, no can do.”
    3. Repeat #1 – yep, 3rd time! House repaired. Homeowner builds tank trap in middle of front lawn.
    4. City sues homeowner & forces him to remove tank trap because it’s a “danger to motorists.”

    Have a great holiday everyone!

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    Steven Vance December 24, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I put together an article (and a bunch of photos) about cars which “exit the roadway” and attack bike racks.

    http://www.stevevance.net/planning/2009/11/motoring-is-triple-threat-to-bicycling-and-the-environment/

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    Spencer Boomhower December 24, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    At least this time of year *some* houses have the sense to cover themselves in blinky lights. The rest of them… Well, they’re likely to get tased!

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    q`Tzal December 24, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Blinking lights are scientifically proven to entice drunk drivers.
    The use of lights on houses as a misguided attempt to enhance safety in fact makes it more likely that innocent drunk drivers will be drawn in to an accident with the building.

    It is unconscionable to entrap drunk drivers like this.

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    Jim O'Horo December 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Wait a minute! That’s a RED SUV. It must have come down the chimney.

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    jim December 25, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Did they mention in the article that the red car was in persuit of carolers on bicycles that escaped throught the back door

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    Roger Averbeck December 25, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I have lived in a house for 51 years, and spent a lot of time in other houses in many western states. Not once has a car attacked any of the houses that I lived in or visited, so I refuse to wear a helmet indoors like all you newbies and wannabies out there. If we start building houses in the middle of the street, and assert our rights as homeowners, this would slow down vehicle traffic and all the money spent building subdivisions and condos could be saved – or at least spent on filling potholes!

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    matthew December 25, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    isn’t that a subaru? i guess their ads are right, they truely are “the go anywhere all wheel drive vehicle”.

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    Matt December 26, 2009 at 4:22 am

    The former occupant of my apartment located along a busy North Portland street was almost killed by a car while sitting in the living room. I haven’t taken to wearing a helmet but we’ve armored the landscaping out front with boulders to- hopefully- prevent it ever from happening again.

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    matt picio December 28, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Don’t forget that homeowners DON’T PAY TAXES!

    Oh, wait. They do. Well, they DON’T PAY GAS TAXES!

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    Marcus Griffith December 30, 2009 at 5:17 am

    How many collisions like this one will it take before members of the house-living community realize that having the minimal safety equipment on your house just isn’t enough? Do we really need to make a law to mandate better house lighting? We got to give drivers a chance to see our houses…

    On side note, the owner has a great start a making a drive through breakfast bar..

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