Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 15th, 2010 at 2:36 pm
We’ve got more reaction and analysis on the infamous disappearing bike lane decision.
First, a quick review: Carmen Piekarski was right-hooked by a woman driving a car while biking through an intersection. Multnomah County Judge Pro Tem Michael Zusman ruled that the person driving was not guilty of “failure to yield to a bicyclist in a bike lane” because the paint striping of the bike lane was not present in the intersection where the collision occurred (therefore the victim was not “in the bike lane”).
The decision has been criticized by legal experts and has left many riders concerned and confused.
“The judge just got hung up on a very literal definition of the law. It’s a poor ruling in an individual case but it doesn’t change the way we do business.”
— Lt. Bryan Parman, Portland Police Bureau
Acting Captain of the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division, Bryan Parman, addressed the issue at the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting earlier this week. Parman said that despite the judge’s decision, the Police believe that bike lanes continue through intersections, whether they are actually painted there or not.
“We all know that lanes continue through an intersection, we just don’t lay down a bunch of criss-crossing lines because it would be confusing.”
Parman also added that if they become aware of other judges adopting a similar logic, the Portland Police Bureau would meet with them to “have a discussion about it.” In the end, Parman said, “It’s a bump in the road, it’s not what we wanted to see… The judge just got hung up on a very literal definition of the law. It’s a poor ruling in an individual case but it doesn’t change the way we do business.”
There was then some discussion about whether or not the ORS should be amended to clarify this issue in the future. Michelle Poyourow from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance said the BTA Legislative Committee is currently discussing whether or not to take this on. “The question hinges on whether this is a one-time fluke or if this is something that will spread like a virus.”