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Southeast Portland parents raise concerns about speedy bike traffic

Posted by on March 5th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Intersection of SE Clinton and 29th.

A group of parents in the inner-southeast Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood are fed up with what they say are people riding bicycles too dangerously down one of Portland’s busiest bikeways — SE Clinton Street. At issue is a school bus stop near the intersection of Clinton and SE 29th that services Abernethy Elementary.

According to Liz Gatti, a resident and mom of two kids who use that stop, people on bicycles frequently do not stop when the bus’s flashing lights are on. Instead, they zoom around it while children are boarding and crossing the street. Gatti, and other parents who are mobilizing around this concern, are worried that one of their children will be struck and hurt as a result.

The parents have resorted to standing behind the bus “looking like a bunch of thugs” to try and encourage people to stop.

Below is an “Open Letter” written by Gatti and shared with BikePortland at the behest of Portland Police Officer Robert Pickett:

“It is terrifying for me (and I think for all parents) to see cyclists continuing to move in potentially dangerous ways when my children are in such a vulnerable situation.”
— Liz Gatti, concerned parent

An Open Letter to all Cyclists in Portland,

I am a mom of two elementary school-aged children that attend a neighborhood school in Portland. Each morning, we walk about 7 blocks to a school bus stop at SE 29th and SE Clinton. We cross Clinton to the north side of the street and wait with other families for the bus. Each morning, as the bus stops, the red lights at the back of the bus are illuminated and it is clear that the bus is stopping to pick up children.

We have been going to this stop for almost two school years. During that time we have had several challenging incidents with both cars and cyclists relating to the safety of our children. I even heard today that a child was hit at one point (I was not there that day and cannot speak to the specific situation). Sometimes cars come speeding down the road, one once went into the oncoming traffic lane to swerve around the bus. I think that we can all see that that is unsafe behavior and should be stopped. With cyclists, we’ve, sometime frequently, seen them swerve around the bus when it is stopped, sometimes in large numbers.

When a school bus stops, all traffic is required to stop from all directions. Children are permitted to cross in front of the bus to get on and to get off. If the bus does not stop at the curb, the children must walk into the road to the door of the bus. It is terrifying for me (and I think for all parents) to see cyclists continuing to move in potentially dangerous ways when my children are in such a vulnerable situation.

So, I’m writing to ask that you always stop for a stopped school bus. And that you do it as cordially as possible. We stand behind the bus looking like a bunch of thugs for a reason. We want to ensure that our children are safe and we have reason to have concern.

Thank you for your consideration. And thank you for all that you do to make Portland a great place to live.

Gatti tells me that she and other parents have tried verbal warnings to people on bikes and there has been talk of handing out flyers. One parent has called in a complaint to the Portland Police Bureau and Gatti says the officers have been out three times this week giving citations to people who do not stop when the bus lights are flashing. “We hope to continue to have police presence until the issue is resolved.”

Oregon law clearly states that vehicles must wait behind a school bus when lights are flashing. Gatti says the bus stop is just east of where Clinton crosses 29th and that their “biggest fear” is that someone on a bike will veer to the right of the stopped bus and hit a child waiting to board the bus.

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93 Comments
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    Wes Evans March 5, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Liz, thank you for raising this concern. As a daily bike commuter myself, I would like to encourage other cyclists to obey the law and respect school buses. When the lights are flashing, they are flashing for a reason. Act responsibly and stop for the few moments it takes to help keep our streets safe for all.

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    ToddTheWetSprocket March 5, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I don’t always follow the bike rules, but when I bus stops with its little flip out stop sign, I always stop. As we often complain to cars, we cyclists sometime need to remember it won’t kill us to stop either for a moment.

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    She March 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Liz,

    Thank you for this letter, I hope it is effective. As both a parent and a cyclists, I hear your concern.

    Other cyclists – please do not endanger our neighborhood kids!

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    dan March 5, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Who would see a stopped school bus and pass it on the right side? On the other hand, when the bus is loading (I only encounter school buses in the morning) _slowly_ rolling by on the left side seems like a victimless crime.

    I usually stop for a school bus with its sign out, but I must admit that I don’t have a perfect record.

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    Brian March 5, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Me ride bike. Me no care laws.

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    Daniel Miles March 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Hello, Liz. Although I have since moved, I used to live (and commute by bike) in your area and I know the place you’re talking about. Although I was never lucky enough to leave work early enough to contend with school busses on my commute, I’ve often biked on Clinton.

    Cyclists are under threat from cars most of the time. We know it viscerally, we feel the threat whenever we mix with automotive traffic which means that bike boulevards like Clinton give us a heady sense of freedom from fear and a reversal of privilege. On the other hand, I can easily see those feelings leading to this kind of problem but I firmly believe that once we begin to realize that we’re imparting the same threats to pedestrians (and children, at that) on “our” bike boulevards that people driving cars impart to us on all the other roads, it’s going to make us very uncomfortable; with any luck, uncomfortable enough to do something about it. So, thank you for bringing this up, it’s something the cycling community needs to hear and I hope you see the change you’re looking for.

    And to cyclists: You’re a vehicle just like a car. You have the same responsibilities they do. You have to stop at stop signs, stop for school busses (which have big, flashing stop signs on them) and yield to pedestrians. We can hurt them, sometimes even kill them. There’s a lot of energy in a 150lb cyclist even at 12mph.

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    Jack March 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    “…’biggest fear’ is that someone on a bike will veer to the right of the stopped bus and hit a child waiting to board the bus.”

    I would think that the biggest fear would be 3000+ lbs of car hitting a child at 25+ mph and killing that child; not ~200 lbs of cyclist hitting the child and potentially injuring the child.

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    MeghanH March 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    This is a problem — I have seen bikes go around a school bus on Clinton up closer to 39th that stops for a special needs child. It takes a lot of time to load and secure that child’s motorized wheelchair. On one occasion when I was biking and couldn’t wait the extra five minutes, I got off the bike, walked over to the opposite sidewalk, walked around, and then went on my way. I think that’s safe and acceptable.

    But most cyclists that morning just sped past without slowing down…

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    oliver March 5, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Do not pass when Red lights Flash.

    Sometimes the mind reels how simple lessons from childhood are forgotten.

    (looking both ways before crossing the street comes to mind)

    that and what jack@5 said.

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    Marcus Griffith March 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Kids generally are told to watch for cars–and not bicycles even through bicycles can be tough to spot while deboarding a bus.
    Does anyone know what level of bicycle traffic awareness children receive.

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    Minister March 5, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I just slow down, take the sidewalk and proceed. Perfectly legal.

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    Geezer Guy March 5, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    The more we ( as a group ) screw up the sooner the law will force us to be licensed and to carry insurance. I fear our days are numbered.

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    JAT in Seattle March 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    I slowly rolled by on the left once and the driver hollered out the window at me. I stopped, apologized, and haven’t done it since.

    I think the frequent cyclist meme that our transgressions of road rules count less as our potential to do harm is so much less that that of motorists falls apart when the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians – are in the mix.

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    jim March 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    one time years ago in eugene 2 cyclists hit each other head on at night time. They both died.

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    Dennis March 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    If we intend on keeping our freedoms, and gaining others, we must not lose the support of the non-bicycling public. Violating the safety of parents, and children, will not garner much support.

    Remember, each of us is an example. Of what, is completely up to us.

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    neversummer March 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I’m a parent of two young kids and a cyclist (one of those pesky cyclists that stops for signals, signs and buses). I ride Clinton daily and am very aware that numerous cyclists do not adhere to the law. I’m not going to defend them, or the action that Ms. Gatti addresses but I do have a bone to pick with the angle of the letter. The letter is addressed to cyclists and she notes that her greatest fear is a cyclist hitting a child. I agree that a cyclist ignoring a stopped bus and hitting a child would be a terrible thing, but this seems narrowly focused.

    Ms. Gatti points out in her letter that auto’s are also at fault:

    “During that time we have had several challenging incidents with both cars and cyclists relating to the safety of our children.”

    “Sometimes cars come speeding down the road, one once went into the oncoming traffic lane to swerve around the bus.”

    I’m willing to bet that Ms. Gatti would agree that an auto/child accident would be far more horrific than a bike/child accident. So why shine the light directly on cyclists. Let’s focus on the real problem, which is *people* ignoring a law and endangering children. Some of those people are on bikes and others are in automobiles. The goal is to stop the dangerous activity regardless of the transport device (bike, car, motorcycle, skateboard).

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    peejay March 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    1. I stop for school buses — always have.

    2. I do not have the ability to control the actions of people who are not myself but who happen to share a transit mode with me.

    3. I expect that some people will associate me with those other bike riders, especially the ones they remember — the ones doing foolish things.

    4. Life is not always fair.

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    Mark March 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    There is but one correct response to this situation: folks on bikes must follow the law. I commute by bike and ride them for fun. There may be times when rolling through a stop sign is acceptable, but never rolling around a bus whose lights are flashing.

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    Geezer Guy March 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Right On Dennis ! ! ! ( #15 )

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    A.K. March 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Dennis #15:

    I was about to say the same thing, and as more and more people bicycle, this type of issue is going to come up much more often.

    We need to be better at self-policing if the freedom that makes cycling such a joy is to be maintained.

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    peejay March 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    5. Most people are very bad judges of the statistical likelihoods of various risks in their daily lives, and worse judges of those risks when it comes to their children.

    6. This is especially true when something they use and rely on every day is the biggest risk to their and their children’s lives.

    7. See 4.

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    peejay March 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    #18 makes the most sense so far.

    #15. Sorry, I can’t control the behavior of people I don’t know.

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    RyNO Dan March 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I consistently see cyclists that do not stop or yield to pedestrians attempting to cross at crosswalks. There is definitely a problem.

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    Adrian March 5, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    It is worth mentioning that one of the citations handed out at the bus stop was for riding on the sidewalk around the bus. I would think that walking your bike on the sidewalk would not be a problem.

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    SE Cyclist March 5, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    I stop for school buses at all times when required whether I am driving or riding. It will not bother me one bit if PPD cites 200 cyclists for this violation as long as the motorists are treated the same.

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    Marid March 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Just be patient. Seriously, shaving a few seconds off your trip is not worth the risks. Somehow, as a society, we have to educate ourselves that sharing the road means accepting the rules.

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    Bob_M March 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Anyone who gets between a mother bear and its cub is in for an ass whooping. That may come as physical, verbal, legal or political beating, but it will come. If one cyclist knocks down a kid at a school bus (or anywhere else) expect harsh wrath to come down upon you and unfortunatly to other cyclists.

    I agree W/ SE #24, Ticket the violators of this infraction and make em pay.

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    mtmann March 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Many years and many jobs ago I worked as a school bus driver. I can say from personal experience that it’s incredibly frightening and frustrating watching someone blow your lights while unloading children. Even a bike at 20mph can do a lot of damage to a 5-year old stepping around the front of a bus to cross the street. That said, if I’m running a little late on my morning commute, I’ll get stuck by a bus that takes nearly 5 minutes to load about 30 kids at an apartment complex on my route. When that happens, I do like minister (#11) and slowly cruise the sidewalk – on the opposite side from where the bus loads.

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    KruckyBoy March 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I’m willing to bet that Ms. Gatti would agree that an auto/child accident would be far more horrific than a bike/child accident. So why shine the light directly on cyclists.

    Are you serious? A bike could EASILY kill a child. Easily. And are you saying she’d be fine as long as her child was only maimed and not killed? And how many drivers blast the stop signs on Clinton at full speed? I’ve never ever seen a single car come close to doing that. Bikers? All the time.

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    Dave Proctor March 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    #23 nailed one of my pet peeves. The kids are pedestrians, cyclists need to stop for pedestrians. Simple, huh?

    The worst place I see this is where SE Ladd Ave hits Ladd Circle heading southeast. There’s a huge hedge on the right that obscures pedestrians approaching the sidewalk, yet all the commuting cyclists on Ladd blow through the stop sign at full bore. I may not always fully stop, but I always slow down enough to see if there are any pedestrians looking to cross.

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    Steve B. March 5, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Always stop for people. Always stop for school buses. There’s just no other way!

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    Vance Longwell March 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Eh, go ahead and flame me. This bugs me. I’m all bent about school-bus protocol in the first place so I’m especially sensitive, and partially railing at years of frustration over this issue. Some credit please. Also, I swear I’m fed-up up to the gills with what ‘will’ happen, what ‘could’ happen, what ‘might’ happen… When did America become such a bunch of frightened, timid, control-freaks?

    neversummer #16 made a good point about singling out bicycle-riders, but after further consideration I’m not sure. That is one of those bike-boulevard thing-a-ma-jigs, right? So the majority of traffic is bikes, right?

    First and foremost, how do I know this lady isn’t telling lies to control strangers? How do I know she’s not conflating the circumstances out of bike-hate? How do I know her, her kids, and her posse aren’t breaking more rules, regs, and laws than those she’s waving her mommy-finger at? This is one person, one letter, and a bunch of conjecture. Should sound familiar from a recent comment thread here.

    Next, kids don’t have any rights, I do. As such, kids are the responsibility of their parents, not mine. Why can’t you approach me as an adult, instead of always dragging your kids into it?

    This too. I have to wonder about people who take a position like this in the first place. I could be projecting but this lady is acting like it’s just a couple of minutes, what’s the big-deal. Sure just a couple of minutes at that one place, that one day, at that one moment. School buses can, and routinely do, add several minutes to my ride/drive every day. Riding out SE Division I have occasion to be forced into yielding this time, and my patience too, many times or more in one trip, on one street. So, my frustration with this lady is at least partially due to the fact that her kid is just one of thousands eating at my time on this rock; and her position fails to acknowledge that.

    I stopped my bike once at a cross-walk well ahead of some traffic I judged would simply drive through this crosswalk at SE 181st and E Burnside. I stopped to let a lil ‘ol lady cross, no kidding. I don’t buy this ‘take-the-lane’ hogwash, I just decided that if cars were gonna run this ‘ol lady down, they were gonna do it over my dead-body, literally. I’m not even that into it, I was just in the mood. I went to jail for that. Why does this lady and her ‘thugs’ get a pass? Sure they can stand there, but if they interfere with traffic that’s illegal, and if they menace, that’s illegal too. But you can bet a double standard would be applied if something happened. Isn’t this the same type of civil-vigilantism that somebody who’d print an anonymous flier slandering, and libeling, a shop-owner enter into?

    Love yer kids, great, happy for you. Way to have a body-function. Kids are kids though and I’m not in the habit of holding them responsible for anything; and simply must give them special credence. But this special treatment is being abused by a bunch of Nanny State control freaks, and I’m really fed-up. If you don’t want your kids injured in a highway, let’s start first with keeping them out of it. A little cooperation like that would go a long way toward a compromise, yes?

    It was patently illegal for a kid to cross in front of the bus like this when I was that age, when did this change? The whole flashing-red-light, don’t pass the bus thing, came about in the first place because the public attitude was that even though they’re not supposed to, kids will be kids, and occasionally run in front of the bus. Now this lady is stating that not only has this changed, but it is perfectly legal? Outrageous. Kids may deboard a bus onto the sidewalk, and then follow the rules. What? Why is it necessary to have them crossing streets from behind the cover of a stopped vehicle? Folks are quick to speculate about a future accident, but what of a future citizen being instilled with that level of entitlement? Why not utilize the opportunity to teach judgment and consequences?

    Again, when I was that age, a complaint like this would have been met with, ‘well move then.’, at a certain point. Oh but they can’t ’cause the Church of Green says we gotta all cram in and get cozy. K, well, if that’s the mandate we’re gonna re-address this whole school bus protocol thing, ’cause it’s just too big of a hindrance now. The rules we have were built upon a pre-expansion paradigm that has become wholly inadequate.

    I speak to my rights, because that is what mz parent is doing. When I speak to my rights, this includes many aspects that have nothing to do with me. It’s my right to protect the market. It’s my choice. I can do that. When you slow traffic, for whatever just-cause-o-the-day, you also slow the delivery of retail goods, and services. This in-turn impacts the market and effects what I pay for goods and services. Additionally, by decreasing efficiency you expand the consumption of natural resources, all of them, that it takes to keep the apparatus breathing. Everything from energy production to cleaning toilet stalls costs more to happen. Also regardless of the best enviro intentions. Can’t you see this is what’s killing the economy? My self-interest then isn’t so self, and may be quite a bit more than interest.

    No offense really. I’m angered by this is all. I’m angered to be surrounded by people hell-bent on legislating their pet-peeves. What about your kids, lady, what about ’em? If that’s less than charitable, sobeit.

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    Jim Lee March 5, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I’d like to see some very serious enforcement at 26th and Clinton.

    Perhaps even a full traffic signal.

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    Marid March 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    31, the Oregon Driver’s Manual has been pretty clear that you must stop for school busses since at least 1986. Nothin’ new.

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    spare_wheel March 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    “their “biggest fear” is that someone on a bike will…hit a child waiting to board the bus”

    “I even *heard* today that a child was hit at one point…”

    “looking like a bunch of thugs”

    Its a pity that an important message was marred by this kind of hyperbole.

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    michweek March 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    As a commuter cyclist I want respect, especially from motorists.

    I believe the underlaying issue here is that cyclist think they are specal and better than the rest and therefor above the law. Sure we put more effort into our commute and help the enviroment, but if cycling is going to grow as an option of transportation cyclists need to respect the rules of the road to build respect toward cyclists in our communities. Otherwise people think were just a bunch of idiots that need to be run off the road.

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    S E Cyclist March 5, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Thter’s no excuse for failing to stop for a school bus with lights flashing regardless of the type of vehicle one is operating. It won’t bother me one bit if the PPD cites 200 cyclists as long as they cite motorists, too. I’d much rather PPD enforce this than spend time enforcing stop signs in Ladds Addition.

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    sarah gilbert March 5, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    I’m a parent of three kids who’s watched cars on 39th avenue zoom past the stopped school bus so many times I’ve become inured to it. my son took the bus for two-and-a-half years; it stops in front of our house and, because 39th is so terrible for bicyclists, we often have bikes on the sidewalks between the bus’s doors and my son. We’ve never had a collision or near-collision, and although I admit to sighing and shaking my head over the hurry-hurry cars — though I admit to getting extremely frustrated when I see bicyclists zoom through that stop sign in the Ladd’s Addition circle (and so many other stop signs) to the point which I’ve muttered loud sarcastic comments a time or two — I still don’t like the tone of this letter.

    I agree that it’s not bicyclists who are the problem, it’s all people on all conveyances who believe the law only applies if they deem it convenient. How many of us have decided that our own personal need to get someplace at an appointed time is worth more than that stop sign or that pedestrian’s right to cross? Probably, all of us. I have.

    I still have a problem with the tone of this letter. With me, it’s the “biggest fear” bit — my biggest fears are numerous and hyperbolic but they do not involve cyclists hitting my son on his way to the bus.

    I believe that *everyone* should slow down, but the bigger your vehicle, the more careful you should be. I’m looking at YOU, huge truck barreling down 39th a few inches from the sidewalk where my children walk and bike and skip and ride their tricycles. I’m looking at YOU, Trimet bus behind schedule hurry-hurrying between stops. And the guy in the Ford F350 who *just* manages to turn left onto the side street my kids and I bike down, going about 20 MPH faster than anyone should turn a corner. It’s not just the semis and the buses and the oversized pickup trucks: it’s the moms in the minivans, too.

    Bikes *could* kill a child. Cars *do* kill children, a lot. I appreciate the concern for children’s safety, but addressing this to the bike community is probably not going to save any lives. Maybe we need a couple of local news exposes on how vehicles (including bikes) don’t stop for buses?

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    trail user March 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    What’s the law on jumping off the bike and running around the bus, perhaps on the opposite side of the street? What about carrying your bike? Some people are pretty quick at mounting and dismounting on the fly. Would you still be considered a vehicle off the bike but running?

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    sarah gilbert March 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    … on further reflection…

    I can see how *for these parents* in this small part of each school day in this intersection, the problem could seem enormous — and bikes *do* go quite fast along Clinton, even up at 42nd where I frequently cross with my children, I’ve nearly caused a collision a few times, having not seen a bicyclist moving along rapidly.

    but for *all* the parents whose children take buses, walk and ride bikes to school, speeding bikes is a satellite on the very edge of the problem’s solar system, which is essentially that we believe as a culture it’s our right to get somewhere as fast as vehicularly possible, and we quickly rationalize away any ethical or legal shortcuts we take in the pursuit of that speed.

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    JayS. March 5, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    I have seen bus monitors and parents act as crossing guards in situations like these. Safety vest, hand held stop sign, rotating schedule of volunteers. Just a suggestion.

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    carlsson March 5, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    OMG… I agree with Vance….

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    Alexis March 5, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    I tried to post this earlier, but even after reading the comments further I still think it’s weird that her stated “biggest fear” is people on bikes going to the right around the bus. It’s clear from the description that most people are going to the left. Which they shouldn’t be, and I support the effort to enforce the law. Stop for buses. Stop for kids. Duh.

    But why fear most the thing that is never stated in the letter to actually happen? From other comments, there are certain places where the system tends to create bike-ped conflict around buses that does involve the right side (39th), but Clinton doesn’t seem to be one of those places. Indeed, the low motor vehicle traffic makes it even less likely that it would be. I think she and everyone else be better off if the focus stays on the actual problem (which as many people point out is about general lack of respect for the bus signals, not just by people riding) than doing fear-based speculation.

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    wsbob March 5, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    I don’t see a big problem with what Liz Gatti’s has to say in her letter. In it, she doesn’t seem mean or vindictive. She seem nice…appealing to everyone that rides bikes for a simple resolution to a problem she and her fellow parents are faced with in getting their kids safely loaded and unloaded on to the bus.

    If I was going to question anything she’d written in her letter, it would have to do with the frequency of problems as expressed in the following excerpt: “… We have been going to this stop for almost two school years. During that time we have had several challenging incidents with both cars and cyclists… …”

    Several challenging incidents over a couple year period doesn’t particularly sound like a lot to me on the face of it. Maybe there’s more to this story that everyone should hear. I wonder if Maus tried to contact Liz Gatti for a little chat before writing. Might have been productive.

    One technique for dealing with school bus traffic slow-downs that some people commenting have mentioned…taking the bike to the sidewalk. In areas where bike traffic is heavy, I can see how that could get really old for people in the neighborhood day after day. There are better ways to deal with this situation; change of route, time of travel, etc. .

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    wsbob March 5, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    “… Gatti tells me that she and other parents have tried verbal warnings to people on bikes and there has been talk of handing out flyers. …” maus/bikeportland

    Whoops! I see that maus has apparently talked to Gatti first hand. Sorry about that.

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    pedestrian March 6, 2010 at 7:36 am

    I was wondering how long it would take someone to basically state that it isn’t a big deal if a bike hits a pedestrian. Didn’t have to wait too long. Hope when those that feel that way kill or injure a pedestrian, they’ll still feel good about those few seconds they saved without having to obey right of way and stop. But, hey, as long as they weren’t driving a car, it’s all good, right?

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    Red Five March 6, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Why don’t we just come out and say it? Cyclists should not have to follow any rules. Pedestrians and Motorists will always be our enemy. Cyclist will never be at fault. Make that the new Portland Cyclist credo.

    Sigh…is everyone really in that much of a hurry? Even on a bike?

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    Anonymous March 6, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Red five,
    just curious… What percentage of the comments here are reflecting that statement?

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    are March 6, 2010 at 8:39 am

    some stray thoughts.

    (first concurring that of course you should stop when a school bus has its flashers on and that all cyclists should not be tagged with the behaviors of a few . . .)

    if you find yourself behind a school bus and you think you will be trapped for several stops, take an alternate route.

    as has been noted, children should not be crossing in front of the stopped bus. the “biggest fear” there would be that the kid will be taken out by the bus itself. has been known to happen. on some buses they have put a gate out the front to prevent the kid crossing too close for the driver to see . . .

    walk seven blocks to get to a school bus stop? where is the school?

    disappointed to see comments here defending the behavior, but at the same time this particular complaint invites some skepticism . . .

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    Vance Longwell March 6, 2010 at 8:50 am

    sarah gilbert #40 – Bikes can’t go ‘fast’. It’s physically impossible, even more-so uphill.

    “…solar system, which is essentially that we believe as a culture it’s our right to get somewhere as fast as vehicularly possible, and we quickly rationalize away any ethical or legal shortcuts we take in the pursuit of that speed.”

    So then you are a better judge of how I should use my time than I am myself? Who are you, and Ms. Parent here, to even consider what I do with my time, let alone enter into actions intended to control what I do with it? Are you going to enforce your rules, or are you going to reach into my wallet, and make me pay the police-state more, and more, money to follow your rules, I neither need nor want?

    Seriously, let me know. I want to live my life according to your wants and desires. I’ve been thinking all along that it’s my life, my time, but clearly I was wrong. Hurry please, because I have to go to the bathroom, and I’m terrified of stepping on an exposed carpet-tack, the bleach used to make my toilet-paper white, whatever may be lurking in the toilet-water that might splash up and touch my skin, and the emanating radiation from that 60w iridescent light-bulb in there. Leaving my office for a trip to that bathroom is the scariest part of my existence, well, other than for breathing. Don’t get me started on breathing, I just can’t take it and might cry.

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    Anonymous March 6, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Problem solved quite easilly at Beach school. During the times when the buses are there they quite simply put out some cones and close the street, simple. Any traffic just goes on whatever street to get around

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    trail user March 6, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Kids should be riding their bikes to school. The streets would be safer for all if giant Twinkies didn’t lumber along blocking streets for kids to ride safely. Fat kids should lay off the Twinkies anyway.

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    Donna March 6, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I was curious about what the law actually is in Oregon regarding school buses. This is from the 2010-2011 Oregon Drivers’ Manual, pps 89-90:

    School bus drivers turn on flashing amber lights to warn other traffic that the bus is about to stop on the road to load or unload children. You should get ready to stop. When the red lights begin to flash, this means drivers meeting or overtaking the bus from either direction must stop before reaching the bus. You must remain stopped until the bus driver turns off the flashing red lights.

    The school bus stop law applies on any roadway with two or more lanes of traffic.

    Does the ORS state anywhere that people on bicycles are exempt from yielding to school buses when their lights are on? If it doesn’t, then the above applies to people on bicycles. Seems simple enough to me. If you don’t think it’s fair that people have to stop for school buses when their lights are flashing, you can always try to get the ORS changed.

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    solid gold March 6, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    hey, is there some car culture website people can write to complain “to the community” about their behavior?

    i am sooooo sick of “do it for the children” being the rallying cry of every NIMBY housewife who believes the world should roll over for their every wish. i mean, you live on a bike boulevard, if that’s a problem, try any other street in portland, let me know how safe that is.

    that being said, yeah, look out for kids in the street, and parents, you may want to teach your kids how to look both ways before crossing a road. you know, taking personal responsibility for your actions, that sort of thing.

    there, that should piss some people off. 🙂

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    kitten March 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    54 my thoughts exactly. people seriously need to think about relative threat levels. if this is the biggest thing for these parents, great.

    Though I disagree with the 2nd point, We all share the burden of protecting kids. Doesnt matter the circumstance

    Seems to me the BUS is the thing that creates unsafe situations by obscuring sight lines, polluting the air and making kids fat.

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    jim March 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    how do buses make kids fat?

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    Matt March 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Forget the long discussions, just stop for the kids…

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    anonymous March 6, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    “Vance Longwell” (if that’s even his real name) is really beginning to Harsh My Vibe whenever I read anything at BikePortland.org. He sounds like a bitter, lonely man who has nothing left to do with his obvious erudition but hurl righteous invective at whomever will listen.

    Railing against people for wanting the world to be a little safer for themselves or their kids — and then pissing on them for having kids? For heaven’s sake.

    If you can’t stand humanity that much, then please move to another planet and quit bleeding your depression all over everyone else’s coffee table. It’s a drag. Stop tossing flames and begging people to flame you back. It only makes you look really, really sad and adds nothing at all useful to the discussion.

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    Dan March 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    When I come to a school bus that’s stopped w/ red lights flashing, and especially if it could be there for a while, I sometimes just get up on the sidewalk, where I have substantially pedestrian status, and therefor not required to stop 🙂

    School bus drivers in my area are evidently trained to *never*, *ever* cross the center line to accommodate a bicyclist. (A few of them have retained their own good sense about it, though.)

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    wsbob March 6, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    “…you may want to teach your kids how to look both ways before crossing a road. you know, taking personal responsibility for your actions,…” solidgold #54

    sg…are you suggesting the parents resorted to this letter as an excuse for not having taught their kids to look both ways before crossing a road, or taking personal responsibility for their actions?

    Do you seriously imagine that while parents are personally standing with their kid on the sidewalk waiting for the bus, they’re deciding for some reason not to instruct their kids in these basic survival skills?

    Kids having been properly taught these things is by no means a guarantee that they’ve at the same time somehow acquired the maturity to apply them without fail. Adults have to look out for kids. People need to look out for each other.

    There are far better ways to save travel time than ignoring basic common sense relative to the realities of loading and unloading of kids on school buses. Anyone that can’t understand this probably shouldn’t be operating a vehicle of any kind on the road.

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    are March 6, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    well said 59

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    William Bendsen March 7, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Am I reading all of this right? Are children allowed to run across the road when there’s a stopped schoolbus present, completely disregarding traffic-laws and common sense?
    And are children allowed to leave the bus and go around _the_front_ of the bus before crossing the road?

    Really? Nevermind the sarcastic tone. Answer me please, is this really how it is?

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    Vance Longwell March 7, 2010 at 5:57 am

    anonymous #57 – Thanks for sharing your personal judgment of me. Uh, did you care to refute something I’ve actually written? Perhaps you’d like to comment on the article? Maybe you would rebut a particular statement I’ve made? No? Your diatribe states implicitly that I am wrong about something, have erred, or made some other mistake. If that is the case, surely it should be a simple matter to prove this, no? Nothing? Just, waaaaa? That’s it?

    “Erudition”, is an odd choice of words. I’ll bet Maus will laugh his rear off at that one. You do know what that means, don’t you? I like that one almost as much as, “provocateur”.

    Rather than train her kid(s) to never cross a street from behind a parked vehicle, this lady wants me personally to alter my behavior instead, to paraphrase. As long as people continue to try and make their problems mine, I’ll probably go right on sounding like, well, whatever it is you say I sound like.

    As far as me v. the world kid, lemme tell you. I’m a heterosexual, white, male who’s single never married, no kids, and I’m a died in the wool atheist. That makes me a member of the smallest minority on the face of the Earth. Interesting you should perceive me as threatened by that.

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    Barney March 7, 2010 at 10:19 am

    anonymous #57 (even if that’s you real name).

    Bummer about your vibe. My advice to you if you dont like Vance’s comments is this. At the top of the post will be the commenters name, if it says “Vance Longwell” then don’t continue reading. That should spare your vibe a little harshness.

    I for one enjoy Vance’s unique and sometimes unpredictable responses to issues that come up here. If you can’t take a little diversity of perspectives then perhaps you are the one who should changes planets.

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    Anonymous March 7, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I actually hit a child with my bike many years ago after they stepped out from behind a van into my path. I had no time to stop. I thought I broke the kid’s neck and I was doing less than 10mph. My handlebars struck his face. The impact drove his teeth through his cheeks.
    It is nearly the same situation as a child crossing in front of a bus to the other side of the street. You can’t see them until it is too late.
    You better believe that the force of my 175 lbs at 20 mph is going to mess you up real good if I hit you while you are walking. And there are areas on Clinton where it is easy to go well above the speed limit on a bike. That is a lot of force.
    I can remember a case of a cyclist hitting an adult pedestrian and killing her several years ago. It happens. Why take a risk with children?

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    a March 7, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I actually hit a child with my bike many years ago after they stepped out from behind a van into my path. I had no time to stop. I thought I broke the kid’s neck and I was doing less than 10mph. My handlebars struck his face. The impact drove his teeth through his cheeks.
    It is nearly the same situation as a child crossing in front of a bus to the other side of the street. You can’t see them until it is too late.
    You better believe that the force of my 175 lbs at 20 mph is going to mess you up real good if I hit you while you are walking. And there are areas on Clinton where it is easy to go well above the speed limit on a bike. That is a lot of force.
    I can remember a case of a cyclist hitting an adult pedestrian and killing her several years ago. It happens. Why take a risk with children?

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    Mac March 7, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Vance,

    You are welcome to share your opinions with all of us, whether on the mark or not. The more vitriolic your comments get in railing against “the police state”, however, the more you have in common with the men who have recently flown a plane into the IRS and attacked guards at the pentagon subway station. I’m sure that the oppression you suffer as a single white male is unbearable, but recognize the company that you put yourself in with your comments.

    A stop sign mounted to a bus is just as much of a stop sign as one on a post at an intersection. It’s there for a reason, to protect the safety of those who are sharing public resources (the streets). In this case, protecting children who are still learning how to protect themselves. If you choose to use the public resources, then you must follow the rules set down by those who so kindly provided them to you. If you don’t wish to follow those rules, then you need to find private land somewhere where you can make your own rules.

    But that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun, because then there wouldn’t be anything to complain about.

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    wsbob March 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    “Am I reading all of this right? Are children allowed to run across the road when there’s a stopped schoolbus present, completely disregarding traffic-laws and common sense?
    And are children allowed to leave the bus and go around _the_front_ of the bus before crossing the road? …” William Bendsen #61

    Mr. Bendsen…The answer to this part of your question…:

    “Are children allowed to run across the road when there’s a stopped school bus present, … .

    …is correct. Check out the Oregon Driver’s Manual pg. 89 and 90. Kids are allowed to cross the road in front of the bus. That’s why traffic “…meeting or overtaking the bus from either direction…” has to stop when the bus turns on the flashing lights indicating kids will be loading or unloading. It’s to let the kid cross the street safely without being hit by a vehicle.

    The remaining part of your question:

    “…completely disregarding traffic-laws and common sense?…”

    …is not correct, with the exception of some parents that may not exactly be on the ball with respect to their kids supervision.

    Your second question:

    “…And are children allowed to leave the bus and go around _the_front_ of the bus before crossing the road? …”

    If you’re asking specifically why kids would be allowed to cross in front of the bus rather than the rear of the bus, it’s possible an answer may not be found in the standard Oregon Drivers manual.

    I’m guessing the reason kids would be instructed to cross the street in front of the bus rather than the rear of the bus is so the bus driver knows where the kid is in relation to the bus, in the event the bus for some reason had to reverse direction. A school bus drivers training manual would probably have information that would answer that question.

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    wsbob March 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    “…”Are children allowed to run across the road when there’s a stopped school bus present, … .

    …is correct. … . wsbob#68

    I don’t think there will be a confusion here, but just in case, ‘yes’ is probably more suitable than ‘correct’.

    Note: The page numbers I referred to are for the online version of the manual, in case it and the print version happen to be numbered differently.

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    jj March 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    “And are children allowed to leave the bus and go around _the_front_ of the bus before crossing the road?”

    Thirty years ago when I was riding a school bus, we were always taught to ALWAYS cross in front of the bus, NEVER behind. I can’t imagine much has changed. Why would you cross behind where the driver can’t see you?

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    Sigma March 7, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    “Vance Longwell” = page down (often twice). I solved that problem a long time ago.

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    MJ March 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    How can there be any debate when it comes to the safety of children? If you are a cyclist then follow the rules of the road for crying out loud. It is apparent that cyclist are very good at bitching about cars, etc but when the tables are turned the attitude that pisses most people come out. And to the people that ride on the sidewalk, stop it!!!

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    Dan Hawk March 7, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    I have to throw one out there for Vance Longwell. To the “Anonymous” critique of him:
    Vance is a regular around here and posts quite regularly. He always has an interesting, if controversial opinion, but is a member of the community who is not afraid to put himself out there.
    I don’t have a lot of use for “Anonymous” critique and suggest that you put your name on it if you are going to be a part of things.

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    William Bendsen March 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    68, 70, wsbob and jj, Thank you for your answers.

    After thinking about this for some time, I can imagine that because it’s too difiicult to enforce something like “cars must pass carefully” it’s easier and simpler to simply enforce “everybody must stop completely, all the time, everytime the bus loads and unloads passengers”. I can’t really condemn it, It’s just foreign to me, so I had to be absolutely certain.

    But I was shocked by the idea that the kids can go in front of the bus. Maybe I’m used to higher busses? I’ve never stood next to a school bus, but from this image
    http://sunflowerstate.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/bus_e.jpg
    My initial feeling was that if those kids were in front of the bus, the driver wouldn’t be able to see them, and the bus would squash a couple of kids at every stop.
    (It’s why I’ve always been told to go the long way around the bus, before I cross the street.)

    So… What happens the first time a schoolchild disembarks a normal city-bus? I’m imagining a lot of near-misses.

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    jj March 7, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    William, most school buses (though not all) have a crossing arm on the front bumper that flips out when the bus stops, to show that the children where to walk in front of the bus and putting them in the field of vision of the driver.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_bus_crossing_arm

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    wsbob March 7, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    William Bendsen…I noticed from a comment of yours on another thread here, that you’re across the pond in Copenhagen. I don’t know if or how that relates to the questions you’re having about how it’s been determined that kids are best advised to travel away from the bus once they’ve disembarked, but the thought occurred to me it might.

    Look closely at the picture you provided the link to and you’ll see the bus is equipped with those funny mirrors that are intended to allow the driver to see objects that aren’t possible to be seen directly from the drivers seat.

    It’s part of the driver’s job to keep track of where the kids are once they’ve disembarked from the bus and until they’re safely away from the bus and other traffic on the street. Here’s a section from the Oregon Dept of Education’s 2006 Oregon Pupil Transportation Manual:

    “b. By turning off the bus safety lights only after students are safely across the highway or are safely loaded or
    unloaded, then driving slowly on the shoulder of the highway, if feasible, to permit following traffic to pass.”

    Oregon Pupil Transportation Manual

    I have to note that I did not find anything in that manual which specifies whether students are advised to cross the street in front of the bus rather than behind it or vice-versa. Makes sense to me that they should cross in front, allowing the driver to keep a better eye on them as well as allow the bus to function as a safety barrier.

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    matt picio March 8, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Jack (#7) – I’m sure it would be, if the cars weren’t stopping. It’s not cars that are the problem in this instance, it’s hugh-speed bikes.

    neversummer (#16) – Are you serious? Let’s focus on the real problem – the real problem at 29th & Clinton for this mother is cyclists disobeying THE SCHOOL BUS LAW. They’re not having a problem with motorists driving around the bus. It seems narrowly focused because it is – this is a child who goes to school by bus, the biggest issue for her is the bus stop by her house. I’m sure the tone and focus of the letter would change if the threat were cars. (and at some point, it probably will be)

    peejay (#22) – That’s true, but you can apply peer pressure when you see it in action, or hear people talk about it. I think this is one issue where being a busybody is warranted. That said, you’re correct – you can’t control others’ behavior.

    Adrian (#24) – in theory, neither would riding the bike on the sidewalk at the speed of a pedestrian.

    Vance (#32) “How do I know this lady isn’t telling lies” – the police conducted enforcement actions, and issued citations. There is a paper record to back up her story.

    “kids don’t have any rights” – that’s false. They have all the rights common to US citizens, except for those conferred at a certain age. Many of the rights don’t apply until they reach the age of majority, but they still have rights. (and responsibilities, though those too are limited below the age of 15 in most states)

    “people hell-bent on legislating their pet-peeves” – where in this thread did someone propose legislation?

    spare_wheel (#35) – if that’s the criteria, we’re all in trouble. hyperbole is pretty common among all people. The message is still important, and parts of it are backed by facts.

    sarah gilbert (#38) – in the larger context, you’re right of course, as is neversummer (#16) – and I don’t doubt that it’s an important discussion. It’s obviously an issue on 39th. But in the context of this story, and in the context of 29th & Clinton, the issue is largely bikes, and the letter is appropriate. We can acknowledge the local problem while still acknowledging the greater issue. Turning this into a larger discussion is like posting about genocide in Rwanda in a discussion about a homicide in NoPo. Yes, genocide is a larger issue, but while we’re also dealing with that, let’s deal with the local issue also.

    Alexis (#43) – that’s a very valid point, and cyclists with the street experience to feel comfortable blowing around a school bus are not going to go right, because that’s the obvious conflict point. That said, children (and cyclists) can be unpredictable, and all it takes is for either party to do the unexpected, and a tragic event could happen.

    Vance (#50) – what?!? I’ve been on that stretch, and I’ve easily done 30 on that downhill. (granted, not around a schoolbus) How do you quantify “fast”? a cyclist at 30mph could easily kill a pedestrian.

    anon (#57) – Vance can come off as abrasive, but he usually raises valid points, and as much as he and I argue on various forums, we actually agree some of the time. I value his contributions, even while questioning many of his conclusions. In any case, he’s not going away, so either get used to him or ignore him.

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    Lenny Anderson March 8, 2010 at 10:42 am

    The greatest risk for a child getting safely to school is from parents who drive their kids to that same school.
    Let’s put energy where the data leads us, not where fear leads us.

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    El Biciclero March 8, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Regarding flashing red lights on the school bus and kids crossing the street in front of the bus:

    This is what I, too, was taught in the 80’s as the safe way to cross after getting off the school bus. It is the law in Oregon. As to why it is the law in Oregon, I can only guess it is because we don’t trust kids to exercise good judgment in crossing streets on their own, and we don’t trust drivers to look out for kids who need to cross the street. So, as we do here in the U.S. when we can’t trust people to pay attention to what they are doing, we add Big Flashing Lights and make another Law. As far as little kids are concerned, this slightly counter-intuitive method of street crossing after getting off the school bus has worked pretty well; it only fails when other vehicle operators don’t understand or follow the law and fail to realize why the red lights are flashing–to let kids cross.

    The only lasting problem it causes is that kids who grew up riding the school bus don’t always manage to get out of cross-in-front-of-the-bus mode when they grow up. I almost ran over a lady in her 20’s or 30’s a while back as I was riding past a city bus (on the left) and she came confidently striding right out into traffic from in front of the still-stopped bus (she even gave me a friendly smile as I emergency-stopped to avoid running into her). Tri-Met rider instructions tell you to NEVER do this, but after years of conditioning from riding the school bus, it must be hard to unlearn.

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    Anonymous March 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Just close the street when the busses are there

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    jim March 8, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    El Biciclero
    Whenever a bus or any other vehicle is stoped you have to expect someone to come walking (or rolling) from in front of that vehicle. It WILL happen that sometimes a driver has stoped to let someone cross

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    wsbob March 8, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    “… Tri-Met rider instructions tell you to NEVER do this, but after years of conditioning from riding the school bus, it must be hard to unlearn.” El Biciclero #79

    You might have a point there Biciclero. Maybe that unlearned conditioning is partly why, on 80th and Foster a few months ago, those two women walked out past the front of the trimet bus into the path of the car that failed to stop for them.

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    Paul Johnson March 9, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Surely arguing the case of obeying traffic laws could have been made without resorting to the “for the children” strawman: That tactic is reserved exclusively for those whose ideas have no reasonable merit whatsoever. Unfortunately, obeying worker transport and school bus flashers is rather important (hitting a pedestrian with a bicycle is likely to take you out as well as the pedestrian, for example).

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    Paul Johnson March 9, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Another point: If a bus is stopped for an extended period of time, the driver is obligated by law to stop impeding traffic and pull out, not sit there in the middle of traffic while they secure a passenger. Surely they can let people pass while they’re doing that.

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    Paul Johnson March 9, 2010 at 1:53 am

    @Adrian #24: More likely for driving on a sidewalk than passing the bus. bike=vehicle, not pedestrian, after all.

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    middle of the road guy March 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

    This is rich.

    Someone dictating the law to cyclists, who are usually busy dictating the law to drivers.

    “B b b b but cars do it too!”
    So now you are justified?

    “They should worry about cars first”
    Cars usually stop for buses…a smaller percentage of bikes do. this is not about cars – it’s about the cyclists.

    “You can’t trust what she says”
    But if it comes from the mouth of a cyclist it must be Gospel.

    “My being on a bike trumps public safety for pedestrians (kids) – they should change their behavior”.
    Goose, meet gander. Pedestrians are arguably more vulnerable than cyclists..one would think greater consideration would be given to the pedestrian. The same argument if used by cyclists against drivers.

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    El Biciclero March 9, 2010 at 9:55 am

    “Whenever a bus or any other vehicle is stoped you have to expect someone to come walking (or rolling) from in front of that vehicle. It WILL happen that sometimes a driver has stoped to let someone cross” –jim

    This is true in the general sense of the somewhat oxymoronic driving advice to “expect the unexpected”, but should I stop in the middle of traffic beside every Tri-Met bus I see stopped at a bus stop just in case somebody has decided to walk out from in front of it? That’s a sure-fire way to get myself run over. Remember that on multi-lane one-ways, I’m not always riding behind the bus–sometimes I’m already a lane or two to the left of the bus with cars behind me that are not expecting me to just stop for no apparent reason.

    My point was not that we don’t have to pay attention to all the potential traffic dangers out there, but that we teach children to perform a common activity in a way that becomes dangerous when done outside a very narrow context. Drivers (vehicle operators) are required to stop and let children cross after getting off the school bus, but not after getting off the city bus. This inconsistency creates a hazard for kids or young adults who ride (or have ridden) both kinds of bus. Getting off the city bus on “autopilot” and immediately crossing in front–out of school bus habit–can get you killed. It occurs to me just now that this may be the reason that Tri-Met drivers prefer riders to exit through the rear door…

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    jim March 9, 2010 at 10:30 am

    El Biciclero
    Technically if the tri-met bus is stopped at an intersection, and you are coming up in the lane next to the bus, than you do have to do what you must to yeild to those crossing. If that means stopping, than yes. The bus is like a big wall that you can’t see who or what is going to step out from it. It is your legal duty as a driver or cyclist not to run them over.

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    Noelle March 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Cars are more dangerous than bikes. Period.
    That being said when I stop for pedestrians (on my bicycle) most seem shocked and or confused, not a good sign. Pedestrians need to know and proudly proclaim their rights. People first!

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    William Bendsen March 9, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks for the clarifications regarding schoolbusses and normal busses, everyone.
    wsbob, yeah, I forgot to include that I’m from Copenhagen (will you believe it was there when I drafted the comment?)
    It’s been really informative – there was a lot there I didn’t know.

    One last question, though:
    How many busses are typically in service for each school district? 8-10 busses or so?

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    Paul Johnson March 9, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    @William #90: Beaverton School District has 315 busses. Portland’s fleet is almost as large judging by the number of routes per school, but they don’t seem to have a published number saying how many busses they have. I can’t remember the names of the four other school districts serving the Portland area.

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    wsbob March 9, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    William…glad some of us could be of help to you. Seeing how this thread is now in the archives, I don’t now whether you’ll run across this answer to your question, but here it is anyway.

    “…How many busses are typically in service for each school district? 8-10 busses or so?”

    I’m going to leave you on your own on this one. Do some web searching for Beaverton School District $48. I’m sure they use way more than 8-10 buses. More than 50, I would think. Same with Hillsboro school district too. Portland, being the big city, does things somewhat differently….uses some private contractors, plus…more kids use city bus.

    With all the school bus transportation going on around here, road users really don’t have a good excuse for not being familiar with the correct response to the flashing lights of the bus.

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    Paul Johnson March 9, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    @wsbob #92: With at least a thousand school busses in the Portland Metro region, I don’t think we can hold school bus operators themselves blameless. Reading the Oregon Pupil Transportation Manual, it appears that school bus operators are failing to comply with state guidelines in two key areas that is likely the root cause for a lot of the contempt from both cyclists and motorists alike:

    1) Impeding traffic after concluding a stop. School bus operators are required to pull out of traffic and allow traffic behind the bus to pass when there is only one lane in the same direction as the bus. Every school bus driver I’ve seen in the Portland and Salem areas fails to do this.

    2) Stopping traffic when doing so is not required. Drivers are only required to stop traffic if there is no room to pull to the curb and no students need to cross after disembarking or before boarding. Drivers frequently stop traffic and stop in the traffic lane apparently out of laziness when there is ample space to perform a curbside stop.

    School districts need to schedule more time into their timetables and remind drivers of their obligations to other road users if they expect to get equal respect from other road users.

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