Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Citizen activist moves forward on push to ban studded tires

Posted by on April 2nd, 2010 at 10:04 am

Jeff Bernards is getting tough
on studded tires.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Remember Jeff Bernards? He’s the citizen activist I wrote about in early March who wants to push the state legislature to finally do something to curtail the use of studded tires. Since that story published, Bernards has been busy.

After many years of writing letters to the editor and testifying about the issue at City Council, Bernards is finally going to do something about it. Why? Studded tires do about $50-60 million in damage to Oregon roads each year (and ODOT spends about $11 million on repairs because of them — money that could be spent on other things).

As reported yesterday in the Daily Journal of Commerce, Bernards has moved forward with his plans to file a ballot initiative. He’s even consulted noted initiative expert Bill Sizemore.

From the DJC:

“Bernards, a citizen activist, is pushing a ballot initiative to ban the use of studded tires in Oregon. He’s received advice from veteran initiative backer Bill Sizemore and hopes to make the ballot in 2012.”

Bernards tells me he’s also purchased the domain name banstuddedtires.com and plans to build a website soon. He’s got his work cut out for him. According to the DJC, Bernards has to raise at least $250,000 to get enough signatures to get on the ballot and he’s also got to woo the AAA. As initiative expert Sizemore told the DJC, “They [the AAA] have a huge mailing list… They could put this on the ballot in one mailing… If AAA opposes it, it’s dead.”

Stay tuned.

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Effort to ban studded tires moves forward: Signature gathering to start soon | Dinosaur Tires & WheelsPeteFrank Selker007StuddedStupid Recent comment authors
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Matt Haughey
Guest

Honest question here: if you don’t live on a rural, unpaved hill, why do you need studded tires?

I hear the buzz from them in Portland all winter and wonder why people use them on pavement. Around Bend or out in the rural parts of the state, I can see their use, but Portland proper it seems silly.

brewcaster
Guest

Please pass my info on to him. I would love to volunteer my time and services for making a video to get the word out.

Amos
Guest

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Sizemore?!?!? No better way to lose respect in the community than to add his name to your project. So sad, it’s a great idea, too. God… imagine if that guy was seen as a spokesperson for the bicycling public! He was just indicted for tax evasion, for Pete’s sake!!!

ryanknapper
Guest

Does anyone have any information about winter accidents with and without studded tires? Maybe they shouldn’t be allowed regularly within urban environments, but maybe they are saving a lot of lives.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

I agree 100% with Amos #3, I’m not backing any ballot initiative (no matter the cause) that is supported by that bloodsucking piece of excrement. Sizemore makes his living by suckering people into paying him to make the public’s life a living hell.

Consider me a “no” vote.

Amos
Guest

Okay, let’s say that this thing grabs the public eye like Mr. Bernards is hoping… I can see it now: “Cyclists and Sizemore push to ban studs on cars” or worse yet: “Anti-tax and Anti-Car team up”… Sorry, I’ll calm down here in a second. It’s just that this is such a terrible idea for so many reasons.

Burgshire
Guest
Burgshire

I bet the insurance companies will love this! The one snow, couple of feezing rain incidents that occur in Portland will send you Californians and your lack of driving abilities into a claim frenzy.

I personally back the idea of a ban on studded tires. Now if they could get this passed and get a portion to go to alternate transportation thru out the state is another matter.

Thomas Le Ngo
Guest
Thomas Le Ngo

With people who live, work and play in steep areas, a ban is stupid. Tax or add a fee at the point of purchase.

Scott Mizée
Guest
Scott Mizée

I’m with #4 and #1 with the exception that an urban paved hill is also a valid use of studded tires. I ran studs all my growing up years in MT & ID and will not hesitate to put them on if I live somewhere that justifies their need.

Where I live in Portland? not needed…

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Good work Jeff, I’m on board on this.

David
Guest
David

All it says is that he consulted Sizemore. I despise Sizemore as much as anyone — he’s done a lot of damage to Oregon — but he does have experience getting stuff on the ballot, so I’m not going to react just based on a consultation.

However… I’m wondering if a better alternative to a ban on studded tires would be to tax the sh*t out of them in areas where they are clearly inappropriate.

It’s ludicrous that studs should be whining around the streets of Portland all winter, but if someone really wants to run them then they should be free to pay for their folly.

The tax idea might also work better for folks with the pay-your-way outlook, as well as the crowd who will inevitably froth about their “right” to studded tires. Fine — you wanna tear up the roads, you can pay for it.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Mr. Bernards seems to be getting quite a hard rap from some people commenting so far. Maybe he deserves it, maybe he doesn’t …I couldn’t really say one way or another.

On the other thread Maus provides the link for above, there’s a number of good ‘back and forth’ comments about the effectiveness of studs/snow tires/traction tires and damage to the road. Check out comments 14, 15, 28, 37, 55.

Earlier in the week, I was riding Fairmount around Council Crest. Not a lot of car on the road, but one with studded tires did pass me. Amazingly noisy.

Portland’s high elevation neighborhoods frequently get snowy and icy conditions that neighborhoods in the city’s lower elevation areas don’t. OHSU is on the hill too. Will non-studded traction tires do the job for all the people that need to get to and from these high elevation places in the city?

Saying, ‘Tough luck…you live there, you got to use chains to get down, and take em off when you get downtown’, could be a problem unless the other road friendly alternatives really can work for those conditions.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I’m interested to know where the $50-$60M figure comes from. I believe it, but what would I tell someone who doesn’t? $11M is the only figure I’ve heard admitted to publicly. How does ODOT know they are spending $11M on studded tire damage and not normal wear? Again, I have no problem believing the numbers presented, but I know people who would…

Shetha
Guest
Shetha

I think one important point to make is that snow tires are sufficient for MOST cases and studded tires are just old technology for extreme (icy) cases. Even outside of Portland proper it’s probably appropriate to just tax the studded tires directly, and ban them outright in the valley floor areas.

jon
Guest
jon

read the article, sizemore says he’s against it if it exempts half the state.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

How do you impose a tax based on where the tires are installed? I install them at Les Schwab in Gresham, but if I drove to Sandy I would be exempt?

And how do you ban the tires in the valley floor areas? Does a driver from Bend have to remove the tires to drive to Portland?

jordan
Guest
jordan

Couldn’t they ban them in a city or locality? Or maybe ban the sell of them? That would seem to make more sense. Because they could still be of use in rural areas as a safety item.

I too, because of the connection to Sizemore will not support this.

Loren
Guest
Loren

Not that there’s piles of money lying around anywhere these days, but if we ban the tires, how about a tax credit to help the people out with the expense of buying a new set of studless tires?

Brian
Guest
Brian

Studed tires are a crutch for lazy people. I’ve lived in several places with climates worse than Oregon, and people get on just fine without them. Ban them.

Steve B.
Guest

Way to kick some ass, Jeff!

This is not a Sizemore ballot initiative, he just consulted with the guy.

Canvassing against some of Sizemore’s measures last year, I concur that if it somehow gets his name on the measure, lots of people will automatically vote against it. Certainly the bigger monster to contend with is AAA and Les Schwab.

Bent Bloke
Guest
Bent Bloke

Sounds like Mr. Bernards only consulted with Bill Sizemore on getting a measure on the ballot, not on the measure itself.

There are alternatives to studded tires. Bridgestone makes the stud-less Blizzak, which has a porous rubber compound that seems to work in the same manner as cross country ski wax. These provide better grip on ice than regular stud-less winter tires, but not quite as much grip as studs. But on just snow, and on bare pavement, they perform better; at least according to reviews. And let’s face it: most driving in Oregon in winter is on bare pavement, not ice. So Blizzaks would be a better choice for most conditions.

There is a review at http://www.trucktestdigest.com/TTDfeatures/featureBlizzakReview.htm

Scott Mizée
Guest
Scott Mizée

Bent Bloke #18 said:

And let’s face it: most driving in Oregon in winter is on bare pavement, not ice. So Blizzaks would be a better choice for most conditions.

I don’t think that is a fair statement. Perhaps most driving in the Willamette Valley–or other PARTS of Oregon in the winter are on bare pavement.

again… don’t apply the blanket to the entire state.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Applying a tax to the tire equal to the damage it causes will fail in Portland because people will just drive over to vancouver to buy their studded tires. An outright ban is the way to go as it would also prevent people living in Washington from tearing up the roads on the way to Mt. Hood.

Carter
Guest
Carter

Studded tires help people get around in the ice and snow. And in Portland, sometimes you don’t know when there will be ice.

Damage from studs is one cost of driving on highways. They make driving safer. So fixing the highways is just one cost of maintaining roads.

This is not an suitable subject for a ballot measure. Issues such as this are best left to state highway officials. They can carefully evaluate all aspects of the issue, examining studs’ effectiveness, and looking at alternatives such as the tires mentioned in comment 18, and make a decision based on their research.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I can understand in some cities, say in Portland, MAINE, studded tire usage is warranted for six months of the year.

But here in Portland? Where we get snow and ice for one day a year? And it melts by the next MORNING?

I would totally support this bill. I would like to see my tax dollars better spent than on repairing such needless damage of our roads.

Equal treatment for Cyclists
Guest
Equal treatment for Cyclists

I’d support this if it also bans studded tires on bicycles, and not just cars.

f5
Guest
f5

Seeking advice from Sizemore on the ins and outs of ballot initiatives is one thing, public stating that you’re doing so just going to end up coming back to burn Bernard later on. Talk about giving the opposition a can of gasoline and a lighter…

jim
Guest
jim

Why not use studs on a permit basis, so much a day. That would recoup money for repairs and people would only use them when they need them.

jered
Guest
jered

with or with out studded snow tires Oregonians can’t drive, merge, use turn signals, or move to the right as a faster vehicle approaches.

Studdless snow tires work great for the weekend warrior treking up to the hill from PDX.

SteveD
Guest
SteveD

I’m on board with this, however, its gonna be really hard to get this one to pass. After all, they are needed in rural areas and east of the mountains. I say there should be a hefty tax for studded tires, pay it and they give you a license plate sticker just like license plate renewals. If you have studs on and don’t have the sticker its a hefty fine. Pay $200 for the studded tire license tag, or $500 if you’re caught without it.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

I’m all for banning studded tires… they’re more dangerous than studless on anything but ice, which most of the state doesn’t have all winter… so all these people using studded tires in the metro area are making the roads more dangerous 95% of the time they’re on their car…

I grew up in the Sierra Nevada range and we had to use chains when it snowed… when you were done driving in the ice and snow you took them off on the side of the road and kept going…

people put on snow tires to drive in the slush or on their 4×4… and we didn’t have problems with grooves worn into the road causing hydroplaning…

I just sign sadly and shake my head at at the cars going by on a warm sunny day with their dangerous studded snow tires clicking away on dry pavement…

and who cares what name is attached to an initiative? if Hitler wanted to give me $5 I’d let him… although I agree this shouldn’t be a voter decision, it should be based on science and studies by ODOT…

f5
Guest
f5

carter #21: Studs provide traction in ice ONLY — they do NOTHING to provide traction in snow/slush/sleet/frost.

They actually DECREASE traction in conditions other than ice (think: cars sliding through stop signs because metal grips the road less than rubber does during a light snowmelt…which is usually what we have to contend with in town, even in the hills.)

Icy conditions warranting the use of studs in Portland are so very, very rare I just don’t see why we shouldn’t update our laws to minimize or entirely ban their use seeing how much damage is caused by them. There are so many great snow tires now that provide traction in ice. Even just having your all-season tires siped improves your traction in ice.

solid gold
Guest
solid gold

Great idea Jeff! And for all those “omg, I saw the word “Sizemore”, mentioned somewhere in an article I barely scanned, thus I’m voting against it”, have you heard about cutting off your nose to spite your face? Because that’s what you’re doing. Jeff just asked advice from Sizemore, that’s it, because if someone in Oregon knows how to push through measures, it’s that guy. Occasionally enemies have a shared goal. Think before you react.

Michael M.
Guest

Last week I was behind a car downtown with studded tires. Then I noticed it was a state-owned car, I forget which department. I think this initiative will have a tough time gaining traction (so to speak) when even the state uses studded tires on some of it’s vehicles.

Meanwhile,
studded tires: expensive and damaging
Sizemore: damaging and radioactive

*^*head explodes*^*

Blah Blah Blah
Guest
Blah Blah Blah

Why is the bike community so up in arms over studded tires? I know the effect on the roads, but why take on this cause?

BURR
Guest
BURR

Go Jeff!

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

“Why is the bike community so up in arms over studded tires? I know the effect on the roads, but why take on this cause?”

probably because those are transportation dollars that could be better spent on bicycles?

we all use the roads… some people even put studded tires on their bikes…

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

solid gold #33: What Jeff did was pay Sizemore to help him figure out how to get his ballot measure on the ballot. Yes, Sizemore is just a consultant, but why would I want to support Jeff when he’s helping Sizemore make a living?

Let’s put it this way: Sizemore being a relevant figure in this state is worse people rolling 6 months a year on studded tires. I’d be surprised if anyone who has lived here for 15+ years would disagree.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Blah– Another connection between studded tires and bikes is all the hoo-ha from the “pay-your-way” crowd. We have people outraged that bike usage isn’t regulated and taxed in some way, yet those same people don’t give a second thought to some of their own “freeloading”, such as the $11M gift studded tire users collectively get each year (even though they supposedly cause $60M in actual damage).

beth h
Guest

@ #8: I’d prefer a ban over a tax. Proposing another tax on ANYthing at the polls when the economy is in the toilet is a sure-fire way to kill a measure.

Frankly, banning them outright seems a more effective fix than assigning their use to certain counties and/or times of year — an already impossible set of circumstances to enforce.

Jeff Bernards
Guest
Jeff Bernards

I had an ODOT official tell me that studs cause $500 million in unfunded road damage. There’s currently $4-$7 billion in unfunded road and bridge repair that needs to be done. Stopping the damage is the first step in repairing the damage.
Regarding Sizemore, I’ve talked with him once on the phone and once by email. He knows the initiative process in and out. He passed unpopular ideas, say what you want. He gave me good “free” advice. I’ve been researching the initiative process, it’s very complicated, maybe because they want to discourage us?
Studs are used by maybe 50% east of the Cascades and 10% West of the Cascades. If studs were so vital the users would require that everyone use them because it’s sliding chaos out there, it’s not. I was in Bend last month, I talked with several people who felt that Studs were unnecessary.
I have to pay $25 to park my car in the snow (Snow Park Permit) I cause no damage. Yet the legislators can’t even pass a $10 studded tire fee even though they cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. There’s a fine for using studs pass the April 1st deadline, when I contacted the state they had no records of anyone ever receiving a ticket.
Our state is broke, asking a small minority of people to forgo using studded tires is a small sacrifice. We should do all we can to protect the roads that bring us our food.
Sapporo Japan banned studded tires because of the fine dust it created and the public inhaled. It’s more than road damage it’s a health issue.

I hope to have the website up soon and volunteer opportunities will abound.
Thanks for your support.
Jeff Bernards

jgadamski@gmail.com
Guest
jgadamski@gmail.com

I have known Jeff for years and know him be be a person of conscience whom I respect greatly. You may have met or worked with Jeff in his volunteer activities at CCC, his ‘get Lit’ program that provides lights at low or no cost( Working with the Portland Police, I recall) and fitting helmets at the Mult Co Bike Fair. He is no gadfly.
While I don’t particularily like the Sizemore connection, it does not reflect on Jeffs motives, only on his methods. Jeff knows to make this happen will require a good knowledge of process. Sizemore has gotten this far without being imprisoned because he KNOWS process.
I wish Jeff the best on this and will carry water if needed.

f5
Guest
f5

Jeff, I hope a ban or at least a hefty user tax is enacted. Thanks for your efforts.

Andy
Guest
Andy

This will be an uphill battle because people in Oregon truly believe that there are common conditions where studded tires are necessary. Witness all the people above who think they are needed in rural areas. This simply isn’t true.

Kman
Guest
Kman

Studded tires make it safer only for the drivers who use them and only on a limited basis. They make roads less safe for everyone else. The ruts created by them make driving dangerous in rain for everyone – (much higher risk of hydroplaning) and make it tougher and more dangerous for our two wheeled cousins- the motorcycle. Les Schwab will blame trucks- but the ruts are the width of car axles.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Why does there need to be a ban? How about we just ban anything that costs money to fix or replace? Studded tires allow drivers to not hit people on bikes when Portland gets its 1 or 2 “Arctic Blasts” a year.

We all live in Oregon and the Northwest to take advantage of the incredible landscape. Some of us dont live in the City, and in the Winter we need to get to work. Some of us work on Mt Hood, or in the Gorge, or we live in the Gorge and commute to Portland. Studded Tires give some of us without 4×4 and AWD the ability to live live safely in the winter.

If you ban studded tires, they the EPA and the rest of the people that want to save the environment are going to block sanding or salting the roads to provide traction in icy conditions.

People need to get their heads out of their asses and just recognize that the tires should have a tax that 100% goes to repair the roads. ONLY TAX the tires. Easy solution.

k-dub
Guest
k-dub

A haiku I thought up many years ago:

Winter in Portland
“clack clack clack” go studded tires
on bare dry pavement

S E Cyclist
Guest
S E Cyclist

Personally, I’d be OK with banning studded tires since I don’t use them and seldom drive in icy areas. I’ll probably sign the petition. But, what I’d prefer is a “user fee.” It could be like a snowpark permit. You pay a fee, say $30 for the season, put a “studded tire sticker” on your car’s rear window and you’d be “authorized” to run studded tires. Without the sticker, you’d be subject to a fine of, say, $40. As several have pointed out you can hear the studs. The cops could listen, look for stickers, and cite as necessary. Set the cost based on the amount of damage. The snowpark permit price is set to recover the cost of snow removal. Same principal.

greenkrypto
Guest
greenkrypto

Tax the sale of and re-mounting of studded tires. Then, apply an official tax certificate to the rear window of cars in compliance. Any driver using studded tires without the certificate pays a fine…simple.

michweek
Guest
michweek

Metal studs don’t work as well on bare pavement as they do on ice. Studs are infact more dangerious during 99% of portland’s winter climate. Ban those tires! Loud, distructive, saftey hazard, and plane stupid! For all you out of towners, when it snows for that breif 24 hour period, just don’t go out, stay home and spend time with your family.