Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Friday Cartoon: Watch those turns

Posted by on March 4th, 2011 at 9:53 am

Artwork copyright Mark Markovich
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– Illustration and Concept by Mark MarkovichRelated story
– See past cartoons here.

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  • jim March 4, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Why dont they just make an announcement inside the bus for the driver to check his mirrors, look left, look right….

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  • Dave March 4, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Seems a bit militant/inflammatory, no?

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  • john March 4, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Yeah that’s a bit mean. I love our buses and bus-drivers. Especially during this yucky weather when i didn’t feel like riding. And its great that Tri-met is looking into some sort of warning system.

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  • DT March 4, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Sorry. I think this one is a bit much.

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  • JR-eh March 4, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I think we have a great transit system and the most polite drivers of any city I’ve ever lived in but I still think this is funny. It’s just a cartoon…lighten up.
    Please keep them coming!

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    • thefuture March 4, 2011 at 10:29 am

      Agreed on all points and for the record I thought the Portlandia sketch making fun of bikes was funny too.

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    • rigormrtis March 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      Would you feel the same way if it showed an oblivious cyclist menacing pedestrians?

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  • jamesapdx March 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

    It’s over the top. Offensive. I loves me my Trimet drivers. They are _the_ most watchful of peds and the bikelane on my commute route. Plus the gal who has been driving the 67 of late – Hot!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Thanks for the feedback folks. I love TriMet and buses and bus drivers too! This is a cartoon meant to offer a new perspective on the week’s news. Hopefully people can appreciate this for what it is. If not, that’s OK too.

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    • slowneasy March 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      It is all fine and well to love your Tri-Met drivers, but depicting them eating and texting while driving is misleading. The job is stressful and if we are going to co-exist on city streets it would be better to depict the unseen stresses of the job instead of
      what many of us drivers regularly see people in cars doing.

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  • Jeff March 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

    wow, nothing like fanning the flames, eh?
    for a website that claims to believe in “sharing the road” and creating an even transportation system, the posting of such an image seems a bit counterproductive.

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    • Mike Fish March 4, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      Would you rather the cartoonist be censored?

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      • rigormrtis March 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm

        I would rather that there be no cartoons at all…..or that EVERYONE can submit one.

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  • Max March 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I love that we live in a place where people consider themselves “politically enlightened” and sometimes generally enlightened, but they still don’t understand what a political cartoon is, or the history of political cartoons….let alone the simple fact that humor is used to help further understanding and make light of these things we argue about so intensely sometimes.


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    • Alexis March 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      Second this. The cartoon made me laugh ruefully – not because I think the pictured scene is a frequent occurrence, but because it captures the issues at hand in a humorous-because-partly-serious way. Which is what political cartoons do.

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    • rigormrtis March 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Max, in order to use humor acceptably you also have to accept being the target of such humor. If there was a comic depicting the stereotypical (or even hyperbolic) cyclist I doubt it would be given the same leeway as the one depicting a trimet driver.

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  • Tomas Quinones March 4, 2011 at 10:30 am
    • slowneasy March 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      I had no idea about this. However, this driver (operator) is more the exception than the rule. It is to bad we have bad players who get more attention than all the good players. It is no wonder then that our industry is so under paid for the responsibilities that we are charged with.

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  • h March 4, 2011 at 10:34 am

    hope our bus drivers are hating us more…

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    • h March 4, 2011 at 10:35 am


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  • matt March 4, 2011 at 10:36 am


    I’m also with the “it’s too much” crowd when it comes to the illustration part but also want to THANK YOU for being so great to provide a place to share stories such as the Turn Warning System testing.

    I’m not sure where else I would turn to in PDX to get all the info I get from here. Keep up the good work!

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  • q`Tzal March 4, 2011 at 10:41 am

    No, no, no.
    You’re seeing this all wrong.
    There is not a single bus driver that is guilty of all the infractions or hazardous behaviors in this cartoon.

    This is obviously meant to be a game:

    List all driver infractions visible in the cartoon (bonus points for pedestrian and cyclist law violations) and …

    Post links to BikePortland.org or Mercury stories on that particular offense with a note as to the official consequences for the offender!

    GAME ON!

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  • Caroline March 4, 2011 at 10:48 am


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  • Matt Haughey March 4, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Yeah, that’s kind of gross. I mean, it reminds me of those really coarse right wing political cartoons that paint something in the worst possible light. I see what it’s is going for humor-wise, but it’s unnecessarily rough on the mostly good work done by the drivers.

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  • Spiffy March 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

    hilarious twist on current news! love it… also love my TriMet bus and my MAX train…

    hate the idea of the new turn warning system though, so that’s mainly why I find it funny…

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  • Bob_M March 4, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Agree with all posters. This one is not serving cyclists well. This forum has provided many windows into the heads and hearts of people driving buses. This cartoon pretty much disregards the insights and good will that this blog has tried to foster.

    Without question there are bad and dangerous bus drivers, but the great majority are serious professionals getting paid too little for a difficult job that entails huge responsibility.

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  • Tomas Quinones March 4, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Not crazy about the cartoon. But I do wish that Trimet would pull this warning system. There’s already enough noise pollution between all the motor sounds, the loud diesel of the bus, sirens, back-up beeping, construction, loud stereo, excessive exhausts, and squealing brakes.

    Now I’m going to have a bus yelling at me? Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrgh.

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  • jamesapdx March 4, 2011 at 11:06 am

    @Tomas – now THAT would have been fodder for a proper political cartoon. Awesome!

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  • Tomas Quinones March 4, 2011 at 11:24 am

    20-second cartoon…my envisioning of the new turn signal.

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  • Steve B March 4, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I appreciate the political cartoon as a new channel of provoking thought on BikePortland. While we might not all agree on the underlying premise, I hope those who are deeply moved take some time to better understand why they are activated and how that in turn can further the conversation.

    I’m activated because while this is an unfair portrayal of our trimet drivers, it does represent a much bigger issue of who we blame and who gets the right of way in tense situations. I don’t see many distracted trimet drivers, but I certainly see many, many distracted SOV drivers who scare me much more than a well-trained bus driver.

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    • ambrown March 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      I wanted to write a big response, but i think Mister Steve B got to the heart of it. +1.

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      • Steph Routh March 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

        +1 Steve B. and ambrown.

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  • RyNO Dan March 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Not fair.

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  • Jeff P March 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    It’s great.

    And it could be easily followed up for the next month with a cartoon depicting the same of each and every one of our transportation modes – pedestrian, cyclist, motorcycle, car, skateboard/in-line. It would be fun and I hope it happens

    And don’t forget the doctors racing up Terwilliger to get to Pill Hill – all while trying to generate patients [i.e. running over other along the route].

    I generally appreciate Tri-Met as well.

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    • Nick V March 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      Is Terwiliger really a problem? That’s one of my favorite roads. Very few cars whenever I’ve climbed it.

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      • Jeff P March 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm

        It is a nice ride and was one of my main routes when commuting into DT from Hayhurst. On a daily basis, numerous high-end cars exceeding the speed limit and cutting the apexes [part of the cause for no bike lane paint] would whiz past on the morning or evening commute – I gave up thinking there was an emergency due to the sheer daily volume during rush hour. The speed limit is 25 – it is a rare occasion when that is followed.

        Is it a priority – no. Did I ever get hit – yes, on more than one occasion.

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    • Jeff March 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      MD’s racing up Terwilliger? Are you suggesting some physicians are somehow endangering your life in some weak attempt at humor? how do you know exactly who these drivers are and what they do for a living? juvenile comment, bro.

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  • ilikeyournewhaircut March 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    If we didn’t have drivers reading kindles at the wheel, video-blogging while driving, or striking pedestrians and cyclists (remember the ‘button hook turn”?) this cartoon would have no relevance. Since we do, it does.

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  • Dave March 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Relevance != Taste

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  • Rick Risemberg March 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Hey, in Tokyo even garbage trucks have turn-signal voices. It’s nothing new. And 14% of Tokyo trips are by bike (with most of the rest on buses and trains–the Shinjuku train/bus/subway station sees 4 million boardings per day). IOW it’s nothing radically new. It’s like 4G smartphones–they were in Japan six years ago. We’re just catching up.

    When we visited Portland last year, with our bikes (via Amtrak), we found the bus drivers far nicer than they are in LA.

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  • Dennis March 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I could see the driver depiction as being a gross generalization, and could be seen as offensive.

    However, having a “turn announcer” is just one more case of “ignoring the bull”.

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  • pdXO-2 March 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Satire is sarcastic. It’s criticism and with that comes opinion. It works if there is a reaction. Personally enjoyed it.

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  • Mike March 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Where’s the hipster on the fixie blowing through stop signs seemingly oblivious to his or her surroundings?

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    • rigormrtis March 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      That would be “offensive and unfair”.

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  • perry March 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    “whut up” “work sux, dat up” is definitely evocative of speech patterns predominantly used by African Americans.

    is this some kind of **profanity deleted** commentary on black bus drivers? even if the bus driver in the picture is supposed to be white, we all know trimet bus drivers are often people of color.

    go ahead, call me politically correct, but if someone used language i associated with jews, asians, or queer people, i would flag that too. even if it’s not intended to be racist (and given that whiteness always passes as unmarked in this world) it’s definitely thoughtless. not helping.

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    • Tomas Quinones March 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm

      You’re not just politically incorrect, you are also ignorant of today’s youngsters and how they really text.

      Poor spelling in text messages has no ties to racial types at all.

      Please stop being stupid, it’s hurting us all.

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    • Duncan March 5, 2011 at 10:15 am

      I know plenty of very lily white folks who use “text speak” such as that. It did not evoke any images of any ethnicity in my miind… that it did in your seems to say that YOU have the issue… IMHO and all

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  • matt picio March 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    It’s a great political cartoon – well-drawn, tasteless, inflammatory, on-topic, and illustrative of actual occurrences in the news. Political cartoons are SUPPOSED to be like this – they inspire/incite discussion of the issues. If they don’t cause comment, they’re not doing their job.

    Sure, we can debate whether political cartoons are appropriate on bikeportland, but if you’re going to argue that it’s a bad political cartoon, I’d advise you to look into the history and other examples of poitical cartoons – this one is pretty representative.

    As for the appropriateness, that’s ultimately up to Jonathan, though I think it’s great that readers are voicing their opinions rather than just moving on.

    I’m not sure how I feel about the feature personally – this particular cartoon calls into question Trimet’s focus, and I think that’s a good thing – they spent $46,000 on this pilot program. What would $46,000 worth of driver training / additional mirrors / cameras have done? Without question, there are still drivers on the Trimet system who are doing things that are unsafe, and I think this cartoon illustrates that well. That said, I think the vast majority of Trimet’s staff and drivers are dedicated, conscientious folk who are trying to do their job, feed their kids, and stay safe on the roads – they’re professionals, and they’re legitimately trying to make a difference. Many of them will/would be offended by this, and I think they have a right to be.

    I also believe that it should be posted, not only because it’s free speech, but also because it brings a lot of those feelings and conflicts out into the open where they can be discussed and resolved.

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    • slowneasy March 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      I accept this response as being one that is informative and diffuses my distaste in my previous comment to JM for posting it.

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    • Carl March 7, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Precisely, Matt.

      This isn’t a critique of Trimet drivers.

      It’s a critique of the thinking behind this new pilot project: “People keep ending up under our busses. Let’s just tell them to get out of expecting our drivers to obey crosswalk laws.” It’s a top-down lowering of standards for drivers with a little victim-blaming thrown in.

      This is a satirical depiction of the extreme potential end-result of lowering those standards…not a peek into the way our bus drivers currently drive.

      I want a big speaker on my bike that constantly blares, “Bike is ignoring all traffic control devices!”

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      • Carl March 7, 2011 at 9:42 am

        Should’ve read, “Let’s just tell them to get out of the way instead of expecting our drivers to obey crosswalk laws.”

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    • rigormrtis March 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      Except that this is not a free speech forum. Things are moderated.

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  • annefi March 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm


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  • Oh Word? March 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    almost fell out of my chair when i saw this!

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  • aaronf March 4, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I’m cool with satire, and I’m not going to cry about someone making fun of TriMet drivers, although I have had mostly good interactions with them.

    A good political cartoon has a message though, right? The message I draw from this is “Your attempts to increase pedestrian safety are stupid. Stop it.”

    I think we should be encouraging TriMet for making an attempt to do something, and offering constructive criticism. Unless we want them to just not do anything.

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  • Alex Reed March 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Funny! Good job BikePortland!

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  • Wendy H March 4, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I realize you’ve gotten a lot of flack for this but as a regular transit rider, and a regular pedestrian, I have to say I find this amusing as hell. I’ve never seen a bus driver be that completely reckless, and I sincerely believe that most are not, but I have seen drivers reading kindles, books, and texting while the bus is moving. It never happens for very long, and I’m sure the driver feels that they are doing it safely, but I am always nervous as hell that it will result in the next Trimet accident. It is however not just the drivers distracting themselves but also riders feeling they need to spend 20 minutes clarifying something to the driver while he (or she) is trying drive through rain and heavy traffic.

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  • Mike Fish March 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Another great cartoon – this feature is becoming the highlight of bikeportland for me and I look forward to reading it every Friday!

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  • Duncan March 5, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I thought it was very funny. I laugh when people poke fun at aging roadbikers like me too… lighten up everyone

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  • driveabus March 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    This is a pretty cheap shot Jonathan. As a bus operator who has not run over any pedestrians, or bicyclists, and does not text or talk on the phone while driving (and that would be by far the majority of Trimet bus operators) I find this cartoon offensive and demeaning to hard working conscientious people. I guess the the PPB are not the only ones capable of profiling!! Only a simpleton would find this funny. And judging from the comments above there are quite a few simpletons to be found on this blog. There are some of you that were less than thrilled by it. Are they the profile of all PDX bicylists? Or should I go with the ones with their heads up their ass?

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    • Duncan March 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      your feelings were hurt?

      Makes me want to move back to NY where people could take some flack. Nice job name calling like 3rd grader by the way.

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    • Alan 1.0 March 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      Only a simpleton would find this funny. And judging from the comments above there are quite a few simpletons to be found on this blog. There are some of you that were less than thrilled by it. Are they the profile of all PDX bicylists? Or should I go with the ones with their heads up their ass?

      By that standard, all bus drivers use ad hominem arguments and vulgar language, disobey the site owner’s policies, and have no sense of humor. As those conditions are obviously not true, your strawman is also false.

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  • was carless March 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    hahahaha, that was awesome!

    *nominate for Best of BP

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  • Rafa March 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    +1 for sense of humor.

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  • Vladislav Davidzon March 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    This cartoon makes a brilliant point, and te fact that it’s generating this level of discourse makes its effectiveness very clear.

    The ethical and moral responsibility for not running over anything and anyone lies strictly with the bus driver. Period. No ifs, buts or maybes — and this system, while worth an experiment, must not displace the responsibility. It is probably a good idea — but not if somehow responsibility for safety shifts from the driver to the pedestrian.

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    • No No no March 8, 2011 at 7:48 am

      the responsibility lies with all users of the road.

      A pedestrian cannot simply step into the road in front of a vehicle legally traveling 30mph without a thought to the distance that vehicle requires to stop.

      A cyclist cannot simply move into another lane of traffic without that lane being clear for them to do so.

      A driver cannot simply pull into a driveway without the cross walk being clear of pedestrians.

      All users are responsible for the safe use of roadways.

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      • Vladislav Davidzon March 8, 2011 at 9:50 am

        I should have clarified this with the limiter of the specific types of crashes that this system is intended to prevent. Looking out for pedestrians in the crosswalk is strictly up to the bus driver. Keep in mind that we’re paying them money for that specific job.

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        • No No no March 8, 2011 at 10:30 am

          And pedestrians entering a crosswalk still have the responsibility to ensure it is safe to enter the crosswalk.

          Just because it is a crosswalk does not mean it is automatically safe to enter without due diligence.

          As someone who walks to work everyday I take my safety very seriously and know that I have a responsibility to act in a safe manner. The speed limit is 30 MPH at my first crossing. It is not a controlled crossing, no lights, no stop signs, just a painted cross walk at an intersection. I know that I have to step into that crosswalk giving drivers enough time to stop safely to let me cross. Even though I have the right of way, common sense says a driver cannot stop his vehicle in 20 ft.

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  • Butch Laika March 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I think these comics are great and they should continue!

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