The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Rep. Jules Bailey works to amend Greenlick bill – Updated

Posted by on January 13th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

State Representative Jules Bailey has just told us that he has been in touch with Rep. Mitch Greenlick about HB 2228, the controversial bill that would create a new Oregon law making it illegal to transport a child six years or younger on a bicycle or in a bike trailer.

Bailey says that the two lawmakers have agreed that the bill will be amended if and when it comes up in committee (it has not been assigned to one yet). Here’s more from Bailey:

“I have spoken with Rep Greenlick and convinced him that we should amend the bill to remove the violation portion and instead ask for a study on child safety in bicycles and the best way to improve that safety. I plan to make that amendment at the first opportunity if the bill is heard and worked. He agreed to support the amendment as a friendly amendment.”

According to Bailey, Greenlick has said he will support and advocate for the amendment on his own bill. Bailey adds that, “I can’t guarantee the whole committee (whatever that is) would go for it, but it’s likely if the sponsor [Greenlick] wants it.”

Earlier today, Bailey weighed in on the issue via Twitter, saying, “The desire to address child safety is good, but HB 2228 doesn’t help. Better to protect vulnerable road users.”

Greenlick confirms that he has talked with his colleagues and that he has told them, “if they submit an amendment to change the bill to a study bill I would likely support that amendment.”

From here, it becomes a waiting game. It’s likely that the bill will never even come up in a committee. If it does, we’ll see how Greenlick and the other committee members respond to Bailey’s amendment. To track the bill, use The Oregonian’s handy bill-tracker website.

— Full coverage and background on this bill here.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • todd January 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you, Honorable Representative Bailey! We can perhaps help recruit a large sample of car-free/car-lite families using a wide range of purpose-built equipment for such a study.

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    • Travis A. Wittwer January 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      Yep. As that would be the largest users of said made-for-kids bikes, it would make sense that those people and families show how it is done safely.

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  • John Lascurettes January 13, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Too bad his other proposed bill (headphones while operating a bike) is not also following the same path.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

      John, the headphone bill is completely separate and is the work of a different legislator (Rep. Schaufler).

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      • John Lascurettes January 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm

        Totally didn’t catch that it was a different legislator the first time around, thanks.

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    • RWL1776 January 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

      isn’t it against the law to operate a motor vehicle while wearing headphones? If so, the same law applies if you are operating a bicycle on the street. Besides, being aware of your surroundings, using ALL of your senses, is the safest way to ride. Being able to hear that car bearing down on you may be the sound that saves your life.

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  • Zoomzit January 13, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Logic wins! A study is a much more intelligent starting point for a conversation. There are two other things that I think Greenlick should do:

    1. Proactively reach out to the cycling community. If a calm conversation was the intent all along, now that hostile legislation is off the table, we can start one.

    2. Give a mea culpa. Greenlick stepped in it and did damage to the biking movement for no good purpose. Fess up and apologize.

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  • BURR January 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    as much as I appreciate Rep. Bailey’s efforts, this doesn’t need amendments, it needs to die in committee

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  • sarah gilbert January 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I’m relieved to see such a quick turnaround. I too would like an apology, and asked for one in my email today. Starting a conversation in the manner he did had me hurt and angry: essentially, his actions called we parents who ride with kids out as abusive of our parental role and reckless with our children’s lives. I’d like to think I’m not sticking my fingers in my ears, lalalala-I-can’t-hurt-them! I’m making a rational and agonized decision about living my values.

    I’ll happily volunteer to be part of a study. Perhaps it shouldn’t be conducted by OHSU.

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    • Travis A. Wittwer January 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm

      That is indeed what he called you and me.

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    • justoneguy January 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      It’s too late to control things Sara. For too long the ‘majority’ has given government the power to “label” activites “unsafe” or envirementally damaging (along with those that engage in them) and then go ahead and pass a law creating ‘instant negligence’ due to ‘dangerous/damaging’ activities. More than likely you’ve unwittingly enabled these people to have all this power. Just a few things:

      1) Forbidding people (IE teen hobbiests) to launch model rockets without permit.
      2) Outlawing AWD 6 tire ATVs.
      3) Removal of rights for owners of business to allow/dissallow smoking indoors.
      4) Outlawing “loitering” by individuals in incertain parts of PDX.
      5) Requirements that all motorists wear seat belts.
      6) Requirements that all boaters have floatation devices.
      7) Requirements that no one texts/talks on cell phone whilst driving.
      8) Forbiding teens under 18 to work (in most circumstances).
      9) Requirement that all motorcyclists wear helmets.
      10) Requirement that bicyclists wear helmets.
      11) Special Fees/tax for:
      a) snow park useres
      b) scenic area users
      c) income
      d) tobacco
      e) gas
      f) utilites/communication
      g) property/business
      g) (and more)

      I personally have no special interests at heart, but stay tuned for:

      1) Requirements that all have health insurance.
      2) special fees/tax for:
      a) studded tires
      b) internet use
      c) fatty foods
      d) MORE income
      e) MORE gas
      f) sales tax
      g) (and MANY more)

      Once you get the ball rolling, you can’t pick and choose which ones you agree with or not. Surely all of the above has put other citizens in the same huff that you’re in now.

      What’s fair for the goose….. (and it’s already cooked)

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  • Allan Folz January 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    So Rep. Greenlick wants the state to waste money on a study of an absolute non-problem so he can save face?

    How about a study on elderly drivers killing innocent children?

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    • Ian Cooper January 14, 2011 at 6:36 am

      Just what I was thinking.

      Let’s not let an apparent turn-around blind us, folks. We already know what the study is going to find – bike trailers safer than car seats. That might be shocking to the non-drivers out there (which may be reason enough to do the study), but in the end, it’s a waste of tax dollars, and the bill is still focused on outlawing trailers.

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  • Marcus Griffith January 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    When it comes to a lack of supporting data, this bill takes the cake.

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  • Random_rider January 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Any study on safety should include a longer term health aspect showing the benefits of ingraining a healthy lifestyle early on. While they’re at it they should look at the dangers of exposure the the multitude of carcinogens in materials used in the manufacturing process of an auto compared to a bike. And while they’re at it figure out the increased risk of being involved in a foreign war protecting oil supplies.

    Or they could just drop the whole stupid time and money wasting proposal and work on something meaningful

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  • Evan Manvel January 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Congrats to the honorable Representatives for finding a workable solution, and to the bike community for acting quickly to make our concerns known to Rep. Greenlick.

    To share concerns about the bill about wearing headphones, it’s time to contact Rep. Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley and Portland). As with all such communications, a respectful tone will be much more successful, and referring to the bill by its number is very useful – House Bill 2602, in this case.

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  • Noelle January 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    If he’s a public health prof at OHSU, would the study have to be done through another university to avoid conflict of interest? Otherwise it smacks of using your legislative position to funnel research fund to your own department.

    Of course, we could just do things we already know increase safety of all riders.

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  • 3-speeder January 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I feel this episode is an outstanding example of the enormous value and impact that Jonathan and BikePortland have.

    I commend readers and more active participants as well, but we would be less informed and have a more difficult time participating if BikePortland was not available.

    Although this particular story is not over, the original storm seems to be settling into a calm drizzle. And this took less than 2 days! A decade ago, depending on the political climate, this sort of bill might have gained a great deal of momentum over several months that could have been difficult to slow.

    I’ve been aware of many examples over the years where the vigilance of BikePortland has created a significantly better outcome than would have been realized without it. With this being yet another such example, I want to explicitly express my appreciation.

    Thank you Jonathan. And thank you to your entire staff.

    I look forward to reading more about how this particular story plays out.

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    • todd January 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      Huzzah for Jonathan the Phenomenon at!

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    • Katie January 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

      Hear, hear!

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    • Sean G January 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      Here here. Not only did it mobilize us, the regular followers, but BikePortland also served as the point person for Portland media coverage. Congratulations go to Jonathan and the entire BikePortland community for making this mainstream news and getting a quick result from the legislation.

      Now, if only the silly headphones bill will also die… I’ve yet to receive a response from any legislator regarding that bill.

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    • KJ January 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      Word, thank you for your awesome reporting, activism and advocacy.

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    • Jackattak January 14, 2011 at 7:56 am

      Hear, hear!!

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    • Kt January 14, 2011 at 11:05 am

      This. Definitely.

      Thanks, JM and your whole staff for tracking this down in the first place and giving us a place to learn more (by you contacting the Representative and other key players and then updating and posting) about both the issues and how to contribute– as well as giving us a place to air our thoughts and discuss the issues.

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  • Katie January 13, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    This is, without a doubt, a positive development. However, many of the comments made to the press over the last day have set an unquestionably hostile tone from Rep. Greenlick toward the cycling community: saying cyclists “feel immortal” and that the response has been “hysterical” shows, at the very least, a distinct lack of empathy for those he is trying to “dialogue” with.

    Like Sarah, I feel wounded by this whole business. The bill’s introduction started this conversation from an adversarial and accusatory position, and I will need to see some genuine acts of good faith before I am able to view this “amended” bill with anything but suspicion. (Will it “amend” the unlawful riders law? How does that even make sense as a place to put a call for study?)

    It seems to me that our next step, if the bill moves forward, is to engage with what gets studied, and how, and by whom. I agree with Random_rider @5:28 that an appropriate study should include risks and advantages of transporting kids by bike. It should also include some analysis of the consequences of forcing alternative transportation: i. e. if the kids on bikes were to be in cars instead, what would be the consequences for traffic accidents? For their own health and fitness and that of their parents? For car-free families that would be forced to buy cars to get around?

    One thing that would make me feel significantly better would be to see this “ban” business taken entirely off the table. I feel like the current state of things is: if we do the study, and it shows bikes are dangerous for kids, then we will discuss a ban. What I want to see instead is: If we do the study, and it shows bikes are dangerous for kids, then we will take measures to improve kids’ safety while they ride.

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  • dwainedibbly January 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Hopefully the amendment will pass, then the bill will fail. And Rep Greenlick will decide against running for reelection.

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  • Bjorn January 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I was hit and injured pretty badly while riding my bike to school when I was 12. The “safe route to school” which I used involved riding on highway 99 for 3 miles. I biked because it was 3 times as fast as the bus since we were the last stop, and because my dad biked to work so it just seemed like the thing to do. The bike lane was narrow and somehow I got clipped, I don’t really remember what happened. Regardless my reaction in life has not been that I shouldn’t have been riding my bike to school but that the facilities for doing so should have been safer. In my case the driver was on his way to work but statistics show that more than 1/2 of the time that a student is hit traveling to or from school it is by the parent of another student. When you bike your kids to school you eliminate the chance that you will be the parent hitting someone else’s kid, and in my mind that is what safety should be about, not protecting only yourself, but also minimizing injuries overall.

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    • Elliot January 14, 2011 at 9:41 am

      Actually, it came out recently that no one can find the original study that produced that statistic. See this Oregonian article:Politifact | False: Half of children struck by cars near schools are hit by parents driving children to school..

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      • Ian Cooper January 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

        That doesn’t necessarily mean that the statistic is wrong. It only means it hasn’t been verified. It actually makes a lot of sense that a high proportion of kids are going to be hit by parents driving kids to school. Bring a bunch of cars and a bunch of children together at the same time on the same street and eventually there’s bound to be a collision. My daughter’s school becomes a virtual Bedlam at drop-off and pick-up times. With cars competing for parking spaces, it’s a wonder I’ve not seen an accident yet.

        Outside of the immediate school area, traffic is light at these times. Personally, I’d be surprised if 50% isn’t on the low side.

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        • Elliot January 14, 2011 at 11:02 am

          Ian, one of the main issues about the Greenlick bill that people have commented on is that safety concerns about young children in bike trailers are just perceived, and haven’t been verified.

          A statistic that hasn’t been verified isn’t really a statistic – it’s just a guess or an opinion, even if it “feels” right. So if we’re going to jump on Greenlick for proposing policy without a basis in facts, we should walk the talk and strive to make our arguments more fact-based as well.

          (Nothing against Bjorn for citing that figure – it’s been widely disseminated for several years, and the news that it is flawed is just getting out.)

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          • Ian Cooper January 14, 2011 at 11:26 am

            A statistic that hasn’t been verified isn’t really a statistic – it’s just a guess or an opinion…

            The fact that the study has been lost doesn’t mean it never took place. We are told by someone who has no reason to lie that it existed. A study is not a guess or an opinion. What if the study turns up tomorrow? Will it still be merely an opinion? Surely not.

            What Rep. Greenlick is doing is basing a law proposal on his own bias, and not even attempting to precede it with a study. What we’ve been doing is citing a study on which we’re basing mere opinion. There’s a huge difference in terms of potential impact of what Rep. Greenlick is doing and what we’re doing here. This is a cycling blog, not a governmental body that can pass a law, yet we manage to find more basis on which to base our opinions than Rep. Greenlick finds on which to base state law!

            I have every right to voice my opinion here with no basis in fact or evidence. To suggest we should hold ourselves up to a higher standard, when this is merely an internet blog is, frankly, in my opinion, ridiculous.

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  • Joe Rowe January 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    The bike community needed a wake up call. I’m hoping that the bike community stays active as individuals in pro-active mode. We can’t be car mats anymore. We can’t think the BTA is able to act as watchdog without our help.

    We need to recruit the 10,000 bridge pedal riders that the CRC freeway needs to be killed ASAP, and a new Unified Common Sense Alternative plan be made to promote rail, freight, and bikes up/down the West Coast.

    We can’t lay back and take this. We should have an Oregon ammendment to Greenlick giving a tax break to people who don’t own a car or take their kids on a bike. We are not the problem to study or solve, we’re the solution to promote.

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  • Jason Penney January 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Children under the age of 6 should not ride in cars; look at the numbers!

    “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

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  • J_R January 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    We don’t need a study to tell us what’s wrong. It’s drivers who don’t obey the law or pay attention. It’s bicyclists who don’t obey the law or pay attention. It’s inadequate and ill-maintained facilities.

    I’ve written to Rep. Greenlick and Rep. Tomei (my rep from SE Portland and Milwaukie) asking that it be withdrawn.

    I had a list of eight other traffic-related actions that could help provide for child safety on the roads, beginning with more actions against drunk drivers. That’s where real progress can be made.

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    • Duncan January 14, 2011 at 6:05 am

      The letter I sent said pretty much the same thing- along with requiring that the DMV start emphasizing bicycles right to the roadway.

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  • Joel Birchler January 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    I have contacted Jules and several other representatives asking to add an amendment that would expand the bill (and therefore the discussion) to motor vehicles. Please help me by emailing your local representatives as well.

    1. The bill will definitely not pass if it outlaws kids in cars.

    2. It makes more sense to outlaw kids in cars.

    3. You can’t have a discussion about deadly bicycle accidents without talking about cars.

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  • resopmok January 14, 2011 at 12:32 am

    This story has been ongoing for long enough now that Greenlick has had the opportunity to admit he was wrong and apologize for bringing the issue up in a rather insulting way for families who transport children via bicycles. He has failed to seize it and, at least in my mind, lost face and respect as a result. There’s still some time, though, let me help with an opening to the press release.. “I have taken all your generous and thoughtful feedback into consideration and concluded that my original bill was a bad idea. I plan to a, b and c as a result..”

    And a second note on the whole lack of evidence supporting Greenlick’s position: if the state were to pay for a study and that study did conclude children under six shouldn’t be on a bike/in a trailer, it would _still_ be a case of the tail wagging the dog. If there was already an independent study which backed Greenlick he might’ve been right in introducing the bill, but I find it hard to justify spending public money to manufacture facts because he is unwilling to admit he is wrong.

    Greenlick’s stated goal has been achieved: the discussion took place, and there is no translucence or opacity in the outcome. His continued stubbornness only continues to sully his reputation.

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    • robert January 14, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Rep Greenlick as reported in other souces has been famous for his bullheaded style of legislating which is famous for not caring what other folks think. Don’t believe for a minute that he has been taken off his original track with his grand idea for child safety and banning kids on bikes. He still is intending on bringing this forward. I think with the input of Rep Bailey he may be working at dodging all the initial outcry but still has his original intent in his sights. I wouldn’t trust this guy for any change of heart, only change of tactics. We should all remain vigilant on this when it comes up in committee to see what really happens. I for one believe this Rep is as squirrely as they come and despite good work from him in the past he appears on some other trend starting this session and it definately isn’t bike user friendly from what we have seen thus far. Even if this goes nowhere it has sucked a lot of energy from everyone and will continue to do so. Also we should all strongly protest that any study he proposes not come from OHSU due to his past association with them, could be a slight conflict of interest issue if trying to have truly impartial data. It would be possible for him to call up old cronies and say “here is what I want to prove, now find me some data”.

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    • BURR January 14, 2011 at 11:54 am


      exactly, thank you!

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  • Steve January 14, 2011 at 7:23 am

    As a dad who travels by bike with three kids, I would like to have better information about the relative safety of different types of trailers, tandems and seats, and of course the child operating their own bike with me. But given the infrequency of crashes and the need for an adequate data set, shouldn’t the CPSC or FHWA lead such an effort? It’s hard to imagine this bill accomplishing such a goal. Unfortunately, this bill casts bicycle transportation as a reckless activity and accuses parents of child endangerment, when instead the government should focus on empowering parents to bike with their kids to their destinations of choice with greater safety and efficiency.

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  • Julian January 14, 2011 at 7:53 am

    It’s interesting to think about how to design a study that might capture external (healthier/happier parents, reduced/calmed neighborhood traffic, etc) and future (child preferences for active transportation, reduced obesity, improved school performance) impacts of cycling with young children, as well as the risks.

    But we’d probably just get a study like the OHSU one, but with families. This could shed some light on relative merits/risks of various seat/cargobike/trailer setups, weather, time of day, route choices.

    But given Greenlick’s childish “if it could save one life” standard for interfering with our role as parents to weigh such risks for ourselves, and his exageration of both the numbers and findings of his own school’s study, I don’t trust him to have any role in publicizing or legislating in response to it.

    Think about it. What if, in a study of 50 young families over 1 year, there was a 15% higher chance of “trauma” (AKA a “booboo” not requiring medical attention) in a child seat versus a trailer, mostly from loading/unloading tipovers.

    Outlaw child seats?

    No. Educate parents (use a trailer or cargobike if risk-averse, get a burly double-kickstand for your child-seat-equipped bike, use extra caution when stopped, etc …).

    But keep your clumsy legislative hands far far away from our parental responsibilities. In the past several years of obsessing about family cycling, I have not heard of a single case of death or serious disability resulting from this activity. Lacking such an epidemic, I see no role for even a proposed ban.

    This whole drama was so unnecessary, and I’m singularly unimpressed with Greenlick’s responses to it. I would have been better-prepared for a PTA meeting on the topic, let alone proposing state-wide legislation with obvious media interest.

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  • Jackattak January 14, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Glad to see this turnaround, but I echo others’ sentiments in that an apology would be nice.

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  • Mark January 14, 2011 at 8:27 am

    The Oregonian article is blowing up with comments. It’s really telling that most of the commenters seem oblivious to the elephant in the room. Many people are worked up and emotional, outraged that a parent would endanger their children by riding on a street where they could be hit by a car. Lots of vitriol and name-calling, but few will admit that it’s the motor vehicle traffic that’s the real danger that needs to be addressed, not the bike or bike trailer. Our culture has taken for granted that streets are dangerous and people get killed by careless drivers. It’s become an acceptable tradeoff for our automobile addiction. It makes me sick.

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  • Julian January 14, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Slightly offtopic, but was anyone else peeved about the totally self-interested Burley rep’s response in the O?

    “”This is big,” said Garrett Barnum,  spokesman for Burley Design. “Child safety is a concern on bikes. There are a lot of products that aren’t as safe as trailers.”

    He’s like to see the ASTM standards become law rather than banning young children on bikes.”

    Which, I believe, would outlaw most European options like Bobike and Yepp seats, and cargo bikes like bakfeitsen. Not to mention xtracycles and other longtails with stoker bars.

    Is this really the official Burley position on the issue? Where’s your data, besides your obvious bias? And if it exists, do we need a law, or better standards and education?

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    • Ian Cooper January 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

      The guy’s just doing his job.

      Personally, if you can get beyond his bias and spin and get to the real point he makes, I agree with him – that standards should be tighter and trailers can be safer. As an engineer I’ve spotted some serious issues with Trail-a-Bike style trailers and even with the more stable two-wheel varieties. It would be nice if government had some idea how to make better laws so that these things were safer. Sadly, it seems that, due to complete ignorance of cycling and about what is safe and what isn’t, they can only make daft laws like the one Rep. Greenlick came up with.

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      • wsbob January 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm

        “… – that standards should be tighter and trailers can be safer. As an engineer I’ve spotted some serious issues with Trail-a-Bike style trailers and even with the more stable two-wheel varieties. It would be nice if government had some idea how to make better laws so that these things were safer. …” Ian Cooper

        Yes! Improvements to bike trailer design and construction could provide a safer ride for children being transported in them. Simple things, such as an bit of added body structure that has at least some rebound capability against modest impact from other vehicles. And also, something standardized in the way of equipment or design, to visually elevate the profile of bike trailers to other road users, (particularly with that of motor vehicle operators in mind.) plane of vision.

        Given his comments on the subject to date, to bikeportland’s staff, Rep. Greenlick’s motivation for sponsoring 2228, seemed to have been centered on his perceived sense of general dangers of cycling indicated by the study he referenced. For the purpose of formulating the basis for an Oregon law seeking to arrive at greater safety for children being transported by bike and bike trailer, confining efforts to such a general reference point isn’t very constructive.

        In this instance, the result was the bill proposal text Rep. Greenlick sponsored, which, if, by some far stretch of the imagination…it had survived the lengthy scrutinizing process required for a bill proposal to become law…would have been something like ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’.

        More people are wanting, and needing to meet many of their transportation needs, including carrying their children…by bicycle. This is just a simple, undeniable reality. People need bike trailers and other kinds of bikes that are safe to transport kids with. No legislator can seriously seek to enact a law that would prevent them from using this very fundamental piece of transportation equipment. And, observant of this…I don’t believe Rep. Greenlick, with this bill proposal that’s become very controversial, ever had any intention of preventing kids from being transported by bike and bike trailer.

        I don’t personally know Rep. Greenlick. Never met him. I was first aware of him indirectly…seems like it was four or five years back…when he was doing community meetings for a health care initiative, which I believe he either authored, or was closely involved in creating.

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  • kww January 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

    This should be a vehicular child safety study, not just confined to bicycles, but include automobiles as well.

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  • David January 14, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Due to this bill, for the first time in my life I sent a letter to a political representative. My family uses a child trailer for a portion of our transportation needs and I felt it important to contact Rep. Greenlick with our thoughts. He actually replied and thanked me for my “calm” tone. Although I experienced some feelings of disbelief and anger after reading about this bill, I worked hard to communicate my thoughts kindly and with positivity. I believe this will take ‘us’ a long ways in our advocacy work. Thanks BikePortland for getting me and others involved!

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  • calliope January 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I’d like to see the emergency rooms to chime in with data on how many bike/kid related injuries they get each year.

    And even though car traffic seems slower in Portland than other major cities, it worries me greatly to see very small children out there on bikes with only a scrap of plastic (helmets) on their head.

    I realize this is a very “hipster momma” thing to do but it really seems as if you are putting your kids in danger when you ride on busy streets with your small children.

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    • Ian Cooper January 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      I’d like to see the emergency rooms to chime in with data on how many bike/kid related injuries they get each year.

      So would I. It would help us in getting poor drivers off the streets.

      And even though car traffic seems slower in Portland than other major cities, it worries me greatly to see very small children out there on bikes with only a scrap of plastic (helmets) on their head.

      It worries me to see bad drivers who have kids in their cars while they weave in and out of traffic at 70mph on the freeway. But that doesn’t mean I think they shouldn’t be able to transport their kids as they see fit. I just wish they would be able to get the help they need to drive more safely. I do not ascribe to your apparent view that you know better how to take care of my kids than I do. I’ve looked into bicycle safety statistics. You, clearly, have not. Otherwise you’d realize that it is as safe as driving, if not more so.

      I realize this is a very “hipster momma” thing to do but it really seems as if you are putting your kids in danger when you ride on busy streets with your small children.

      Then you need to look at the statistics (see Because you’re wrong.

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    • Ian Cooper January 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      I realize this is a very “hipster momma” thing to do but it really seems as if you are putting your kids in danger when you ride on busy streets with your small children.

      And by the way, how do you think I ought to get my child around? I don’t drive. I don’t own a car. I don’t live within walking distance of a grocery store, and I cannot afford to be spending extra money on food delivery services.

      What sort of arrogance does it take for people to judge when I choose an option for transportation that has been shown to be perfectly safe for over a century?

      If you’re afraid of killing my daughter due to your apparent lack of belief in your ability to overtake a bicycle safely, maybe you should not be driving.

      The bicycle is a safe mode of transport. The car is clearly not, as it kills tens of thousands of people per year. If you’re so concerned about the safety of kids in bike trailers, maybe you should first do some research on whether it’s even a problem (it isn’t). Then, if the one or two kids who are killed in trailers every decade still bothers you, maybe you should direct your ‘concern’ towards the people in motor vehicles who are killing them, rather than demonizing the innocent parents of the victims, who are just trying to use the streets they have a right to use.

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    • CaptainKarma January 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm

      Don’t forget the car drivin mama probbly has her cell phone demanding her attention at high speeds, rather than her children, thus endangering not only hew own kids, but others as well.

      When my kids were little, they went in a car seat in the trailer. At 12 mph, in a car seat, in a trailer with a roll cage, that kid was far safer than I ever was as a kid. I was tearing up the streets at age 5 and no one seemed to be too worried back then. “Just be home for supper!”.

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  • random rider January 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    The time, energy and money that will be used to attempt to pass this bill, that is now slightly less boneheaded than initially proposed, or implement it if it becomes law could be better spent elsewhere. It would be interesting to see a robust statistically valid examination of risks/rewards regarding transporting children by bike compared to automobile. To be valid, it would have to account for all of the externalaties associated with vehicular transport. Of course, such a study would be prohibitively expensive and take years worth of data collection since it would need to track the health of the kids in the study and a control group for a long time.

    How about spending these resources on something that would have a definite concrete benefit, such as a vulnerable roadway user law or fighting to give cities control over speed limits within their jurisdiction? If they really want to conduct a study, I would think examining the efficacy of traffic calming methods, including consistent enforcement of existing regulations, would point towards much more beneficial legislative options rather than banning kids from a commonly used transportation method.

    I’m glad Greenlick is backtracking and is willing to change his grossly irresponsible waste of resources proposal to a merely highly irresponsible one. But it’s still a waste and it ticks me off since there are so many obvious and beneficial things he could be doing that would address his stated concern: safety for child transportation.

    This is an extremely misdirected proposal at best or pure patronizing emotionally charged politicking at worst.

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  • J_R January 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I just received the message from Rep. Greenlick’s office thanking me for my comments. Comments that obviously were not read.

    Instead I received the one-page response others are obviously receiving, too.

    For those of you who haven’t written or read Rep. Greenlick’s response, let me quote two sentences from the final paragraph:

    “This bill is not an anti-cycling bill. In fact, it is a pro-cycling bill that will focus on creating a safe cycling experience for Oregon’s children.”

    This is complete BS. Now, I’m pissed. How can one possibly suggest a “safe bicycling experience for Oregon’s children” is created by making it unlawful for them to ride on a bike or in a trailer until they are more than 6 years of age?

    I conclude that one need not bother to provide Representative Greenlick with thoughtful comments. Just make your opposition known and be done with it!

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    • wsbob January 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      “… Instead I received the one-page response others are obviously receiving, too. …” J_R

      Would that response be Greenlick’s official statement that Maus has posted on Bikeportland ‘Page Two’ ?

      From that official statement, here follows the entire paragraph, out of which you have quoted two of Rep. Greenlick’s sentences:

      “… I introduced HB 2228 to begin what I hope will be a rational discussion to assure we were doing everything possible to improve the safety of bicycle transportation in Oregon. This bill is not an anti-cycling bill. In fact, it is a pro-cycling bill that will focus on creating a safe cycling experience for Oregon’s children. There is so much we don’t know about this topic. I hope this process will reduce the heat in the debate and increase the light. …” Mitch Greenlick, Oregon House Reprentative

      I urge everyone reading here, to go to bikeportland’s page two, and read Greenlicks official statement regarding HB proposal 2228, before drawing further conclusions about his intentions with regard to child safety while being transported by bike.

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  • robert January 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    wsob, are you seriously defending anything in the Reps statement and yes even the longwinded, blowhard bit about doing this under the guise of genuine concern for our childrens safety.?———

    Have you not been following all the citizen responses on this for the past two days. We all saw Rep Greenlick’s official response but the rub is you don’t propose a law to outlaw something in the hopes of creating a study and positive dialogue for any reason. I truly don’t care what the Rep’s rationale is or his concerns, his thought process is assbackwards and archaic not to mention malicious if his antics go unchecked which fortunately they did not. This troll of a Rep should be admonished and publicly humilated for such a ridiculous way of approaching safe cycling. So what is your point, we all saw the official statement which was a total cover your x@@ job and his agreement to ammend his original law revision. The biking community is fortunately not so easily fooled by the illusion of “This is how you get a conversation going in Salem”. On this point of child safety the real culprit is vehicles but he is not addressing this instead he goes right after the end user on a bike with his child. This is chicken piddle politics at best, and don’t you be fooled for a second, this Rep is a seriously old dude who probably fully knows he could drop any day and is out to leave some “legacy legislation” that shows how much smarter he is than the populace. A professor at OHSU, oh my gosh we should all be so grateful for his tremendous wisdom on issues such as bike safety. The Rep did not show any class or evidence that he has a clue about bike safety for children or he would not have proposed such ridiculous legislation in the first place. We all should not have to play nice when poked with a sharp stick especially when it hits so close to home for those of us who regularly transport our children by bike, or for those whose only form of personal transport is by bike.

    I have drawn my conclusions, feel free to draw your own but don’t expect everyone to go along with a bunch of clever backpedalling by Rep. Greenlick, I personally don’t believe he is to be trusted at this point in time, and he has shown that he is no friend of the bike community despite all the great hope that he can be educated. This rep is famous for bullheaded thinking and not listening to others. I can guarantee you that when he walks in a room no matter how large or informed the crowd he truly feels himself the smartest one in place and the rest of us somehow just don’t get it. I have been around old, educated, top down thinking smart guys like this for years and the behaviour is not a mystery nor a surprise at all. Keep your wits about you when dealing with this sort, they don’t like to get found out. He knows more tricky legislative slights of hand than any of us could ever imagine and unfortunately he is the one some citizens sent to Salem to do our bidding.

    A special thanks to Rep Bailey and others perhaps not known for trying to rope in the fellow before he goes runnin amock in the legislature.

    Stay calm, hell no!

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  • M. Jane January 14, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    REALLY, a study. Please ask Bailey to save our money and use on other pressing matters. This is a non-issue.

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  • KJ January 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    So, there have been no cycling deaths in Portland for the last two years…? and most of the injuries in the OHSU study were not cause by cars and were caused by infrastructure issues like pot holes, in addition to most being pretty minor. Hmm. Yet all the naysayers call out cycling as dangerous. It seems to me it’s gotten a lot safer.

    I hope this study, if it happens, is done well.

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  • wsbob January 16, 2011 at 1:31 am

    robert; your comment of January 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm:

    My guess and impression from some of the remarks in his official statement about the bill proposal, is that to Rep Greenlick, HB 2228, was the equivalent of a rhetorical question about children’s safety when being transported by bike and bike trailer.

    It may have been capricious for him to sponsor a bill with the specs that 2228 has, but, unless he really is completely detached from reality, I don’t think he had the slightest expectation that Oregon legislators would actually vote into law, this bill, or any bill prohibiting people from transporting kids under 6yrs by bike. Maus had him on the phone. He could have asked Rep. Greenlick as much.

    Here’s the last two paragraphs from his official statement on HB 2228 as posted by maus on bikeportland Page Two:

    “…I introduced HB 2228 to begin what I hope will be a rational discussion to assure we were doing everything possible to improve the safety of bicycle transportation in Oregon. This bill is not an anti-cycling bill. In fact, it is a pro-cycling bill that will focus on creating a safe cycling experience for Oregon’s children. There is so much we don’t know about this topic. I hope this process will reduce the heat in the debate and increase the light.

    I urge the bicycling community to be patient and to engage the process calmly and productively if the bill gets a hearing in a house committee, as I hope it will. Let’s try to keep the discourse civil and trust we all want to do what is best for the children of Oregon. ” excerpt from Official statement on HB 2228 from Rep. Greenlick

    So, sure…at the least, I’d certainly defend Greenlick’s right to say what he’s said in that statement. It seems to me he’s saying some good things in the excerpt of his statement above. Another way to look at it, is that he could have done nothing…not have sponsored any cycling related bill at all. (Another thing; Prior to this big blow-up over 2228, had local ‘bikes as transportation’ advocacy individuals and groups approached Greenlick with their own ideas for cycling related bill proposal that would have been more practical and constructive than HB 2228?).

    Ask some people that know better than I about how bill proposals in Oregon, pass muster and become law, but, again, I think Greenlick knew this one was a ‘no-go’ before he even decided to sponsor it, and that he decided to sponsor it anyway to get the public’s attention and start a discussion.

    It’s good for people to be vigilant in terms of keeping track of what their legislators are doing, but they also need to be aware that just because a legislator proposes an outrageous bill for a law, doesn’t mean it’s going to survive any of the long process leading up to actually becoming law.

    This is Oregon, and Portland…not Black Hawk, Arizona.

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  • wsbob January 16, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I’ve kind of cobbled up my first paragraph above, so I hope everyone can grasp what I’m trying to say with it; simply that, on the face of it, what HB 2228 specs called for were preposterous, even as they do raise the question of children’s safety, and that Greenlick most likely understood this when he decided to sponsor the bill.

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    • Robert January 16, 2011 at 9:57 am


      So what you are saying is that the process is so screwed up that instead of proposing a well thought out and researched bill that actually addresses the real issue we are forced to endure a capricious and malicious shot across the bow of Portland Cyclists? Doesn’t this strike you as b bit crazy that in order to do something right we have to start out doing something very wrong? I still dont’ believe for a moment that the intended direction of this Rep is to make child biking safer, instead I would propose that it was a huge mistaken attention grabber that he knew full well would get everyone riled up and eventually fail, so for what end? Is this Rep so starved for attention in Salem? This was by no means a conversation starter as it is a conversation ender. This really stupid first try loses Rep Greenlick any momentum he hoped to create by distancing other legislators who know anything related to this topic is too hot to handle and likely won’t even allow it out of committee no matter what language in the ‘friendly ammendment” gets inserted. The other thing it did was so piss off the cycling public that now Rep Greenlick has no credibility on this issue. I hope that every single parent withi children under six who cycles with them remembers these last few days and consideres voting this legislator out the door next time his district comes open. If Rep Greenlick is this out of touch on bike safety, imagine what other issues he is also sponsoring that are also this preposterous but are not getting any press and are running under the radar? It would be folly to think that this was some unique direction he took on a whim. Maybe his productive legislative time is up and he is just plain worn out?
      In my district we voted J. Bailey into office, I am sure distict 33 is ready for some new ideas that don’t penalize citizens trying to do the right thing with their families. I find it incredibly amazing that with a impressive on the first read bio like this
      that Rep Greenlick could defend for a moment the line in the first paragraph that is he is out to defend personal freedoms by his actions this week? I also find it equally amazing that for such a learned person who claims to have travelled the world that maybe he never made it to or is aware of Copenhagen or Amsterdam and what a modern, green, bike friendy atmosphere those cities have created for parents and children under six. I seriously doubt that any politician or civic leader approached the infrastructure evolutions of those cities in such a sloppy manner.
      Note to Rep Greenlick: (like you would be reading this blog anyways but maybe one of your aides is plus I will send a copy of my inflamed comments to your office) if you are as wonderful, accomplished and so good for Oregon as your bio reads then find a way to prove it to the cycling community in postive/productve ways instead of just messing with us for some other bizzare, crazy reason. And if the legislative process in Salem is this bad that only the most radical, nuts ammendments to laws get momentum built for the right reasons, then perhaps make that your legacy that you helped or attempted to right that process.

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  • wsbob January 17, 2011 at 12:27 am

    “… Doesn’t this strike you as b bit crazy that in order to do something right we have to start out doing something very wrong? …” Robert

    Yeah, I think it seems a bit crazy that Rep. Greenlick decided to sponsor this particular bill proposal. Maybe Greenlick thought the session was getting off to a slow, boring start, and this is way he thought he could liven things up.

    But…unlike some other people (not implying yourself…), I don’t want myself to, or think it’s a good idea, or constructive for other people to respond to what he’s done by simply saying he’s nuts, or clueless about biking’s role as transportation because he’s overweight, doesn’t ride a bike (read the Portland Mercury story for details on that.).

    Truth is, despite Rep. Greenlick’s official statement, which explains some of why he came to sponsor this bill proposal, I still have questions regarding how he came to sponsor it, and how it came to be in the first place. I still have not run across anything that details whether this bill proposal was entirely Greenlick’s idea, or whether some other people were involved with coming up with it. This is a question I think more people than myself are probably wondering about.

    I’m not saying the process of making laws in Salem is screwed up, because I don’t feel I know enough about how the process works to say one way or the other. A few things I’m aware of about the process, which I’ve mentioned in past comments; it takes more than one guy, and more than a day or a week to make a bill into a law.

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  • Ian Cooper January 17, 2011 at 11:29 am

    “… it takes more than one guy, and more than a day or a week to make a bill into a law.

    I’m sure they said that about a lot of bad laws. The worst laws that get passed always start with one guy proposing them. All it takes after that is a bunch of congresspeople not to be conversant with the issue. How many people in the state legislature cycle? Maybe three or four – a few more if we’re lucky?

    The only thing giving me confidence that lawmakers will do the right thing is the level of outrage we’ve been able to bring to the issue.

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    • wsbob January 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      “… How many people in the state legislature cycle? Maybe three or four – a few more if we’re lucky? …”

      Ian …Rep. Greenlick is proposing a bill for a state law, not a federal law. The Oregon Legislative Assembly has 90 members; 30 in the Senate, 60 in the House of Reps.

      Wikipedia has a page for the Oregon Legislative Assembly with a little info. The official link for the assembly is there too.

      No way would enough of the assembly members have agreed with Greenlick’s bill proposal to try actually make it into law.

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      • Ian Cooper January 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm

        Ian …Rep. Greenlick is proposing a bill for a state law, not a federal law. The Oregon Legislative Assembly has 90 members; 30 in the Senate, 60 in the House of Reps.

        I realize that. I was saying that only a very few of them cycle.

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        • wsbob January 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm

          I don’t know why, but I didn’t understand through your use of the word ‘cycle’, that you were wondering how many people in the assembly ride a bike.

          Actually, I also wonder how many of those 90 people do ride a bike; not that their not riding a bike necessarily impairs their ability to objectively recognize the important role bikes play in the answer to Oregon’s overall transportation congestion problems.

          At any rate, I think the question of just exactly how Rep Greenlick came to sponsor 2228, or whatever greater role he may have had in the bill proposals coming to be, is yet to be fully answered.

          Even here in Beaverton, I see people using bike trailers such as the bright yellow and red Bell brand fairly often. The sight of them very clearly suggests that they’re very practical transportation, even indispensable for some families. Closer in parts of Beaverton’s neighborhoods surrounding Central Beaverton, look like they could be very bike-able, with bike trailers, to and from Central Beaverton and its shops and whatnot.

          I wonder what Rep Greenlick’s answer would be, if a question was asked of him , as to whether he realized the importance of bikes and bike trailers as transportation for some Oregon families.

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  • Dan O January 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Prosecute negligent parents. Leave the others alone!

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  • robert January 18, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Dan O,

    Can you claify what “negligent parents” means? That is a pretty broad definition. I think in Rep Greenlicks mind this means anyone with a child under six on a bike. The whole danger of getting the state involved in the parenting regulation business is that it can go in all kinds of crazy places like we have seen this week. There are already quite a few safety laws on the books that if enforced/prosecuted would make cyclists a bit safer or at least would make car drivers more paranoid when in the vicinity of cyclists. The really sad truth is that car drivers are not heavily penalized for incidents with cyclists like they are in for instance France, Denmark, Holland, etc If we had those kinds of laws on the books then you would see seriously fewer bike/car accidents/incidents with kids and without kids onboard. These kinds of laws ony only come about when a public is really intent on making cycling safer, but that is a whole cultural attitude shift and we are not there yet. This other business like Greenlicks proposal last week are just really malicious legislative masturbation.

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  • Paul Souders January 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    This whole episode sickens me. Whatever Greenlick’s intentions, he has poisoned the well on the topic of kids and bikes. Before last week it was basically noncontroversial in Oregon that parents could safely tow their kids in trailers, tagalongs, kid seats etc. Now we’re seeing op-eds, blog comments, letters to the editor, etc. accusing such parents of nothing short of child abuse.

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    • Ian Cooper January 19, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      I don’t know if it’s so much a case of poisoning the well, so much as it’s that it’s given all the road ragers a forum to vent their feelings. After all, we knew these idiots were out there, and surely we knew there were a lot of them.

      The fact is, there are a lot of ignorant people out there, and this is just one of the many topics they’re ignorant about. This is why I think LAB’s strategy is foolish, in that it completely fails to educate the public about the fact that cycling on the road is a smart, legal and safe way to travel.

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    • Tacoma January 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      As well, it takes little effort to spread misinformation but much effort to correct it.

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