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PBOT announces location of first distracted driving enforcement action

Posted by on July 14th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

The City of Portland has announced the first location for enhanced enforcement of distracted driving. PBOT will work with the Portland Police Bureau to conduct an “enforcement mission” at the intersection of SW Barbur Boulevard, SW Taylors Ferry Road, and SW 41st Avenue this coming Wednesday (7/20).

The effort is part of the “StreetSmart: Go Safe” campaign, that PBOT launched last month.

PBOT data shows that this intersection is a high-crash location. It was also selected because of citizen complaints of motor vehicle operators disobeying the “No Turn on Red” and driving in bike lanes to maneuver around stopped cars.

The enforcement action will take place from 5-7:00 pm. PBOT has also unveiled a new website for the StreetSmart campaign.

This heightened enforcement effort comes as a just-released Federal Highway Administration study showed that two distracted driving enforcement — when coupled with an awareness campaign — showed significant reductions in cell phone use and texting while driving.

See PBOT’s new StreetSmart website for more details on this campaign.

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Bike RightPaul JohnsonwsbobPeteRoger Averbeck Recent comment authors
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Chris I
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Chris I

Is there a law or policy saying they have to announce these activities? Seems like it ruins the element of surprise…

marshmallow
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marshmallow

Someone should be standing at the previous corner with a phone strapped to their head with a giant rubber band and swerving all over the place as a pantomime driver.

Hugh Johnson
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Hugh Johnson

I’m just glad they are doing SOMETHING. I still see so much phone abuse in cars.

captainkarma
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captainkarma

The only way for this to be effective is for it to happen regularly, like at least once a week every week. That’s not even enough. People will just play the odds if they don’t believe they will be busted consistently. It’s just so hard to give up that constant chatting about who said what to who, what are you going to wear tonight, and such more important stuff than my life or permanent injury. Sigh. Cell co’s need to go back to charging by the minute, that *might* help, a little.

simon
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simon

ride your bike by to show support

Jeff
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Jeff

“…and driving in bike lanes to maneuver around stopped cars.”

In Portland!? Never, I refuse to believe it.

are
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hey, i am going to be biking through that very intersection tomorrow afternoon. a few days early, but maybe someone will be driving with a cell phone just for me.

Jack
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Jack

The idea of an announced enforcement action just seems to reinforce the idea that on any other day, you’re probably not going to get a ticket for breaking the law.

Still glad they’re doing something, but I’ve yet to have anyone explain to me why we can’t greatly ramp up enforcement of all traffic laws at all times. Shouldn’t the enforcement effort pay for itself through citations? And if not, shouldn’t we just raise the price of the citations to accurately reflect the crime’s cost to society?

bumblebee
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bumblebee

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
No law, it’s just their adopted policy. They say the point isn’t to give out a bunch of tickets, but rather, to raise awareness of the issue.

Then the whole thing sounds like a publicity stunt. “Raise awareness”? How many car owners have been living in a cave?

Spiffy
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Spiffy

So a cop will be sitting on their butt waiting for somebody to come by them breaking a specific law that they feel like enforcing at the time?

Business as usual.

I wish I had a car so I could drive by with a candy cell phone to my head just to prove what a waste of their time this is.

brian
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brian

The FIRST enforcement action for distracted driving. the FIRST! Disgusting. Distracted driving is something that kills many more Americans than terrorism. Wish people would take this more seriously.

david
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david

why don’t they ever do sting operations for bike theft.

Roger Averbeck
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Roger Averbeck

Anybody posting above actually visited or rode through this intersection lately? If not, come on out to my neighborhood this Wed. July 20, 5 – 7 pm, or any weekday pm peak rush hour, let me know, I’ll meet you there and we can have a good discussion.

For more info on the enforcement action:

http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=40390&a=355663

For a closer look at the intersection:

http://www.portlandmaps.com/detail.cfm?action=Photo&propertyid=&state_id=&address_id=&intersection_id=74834&dynamic_point=0&x=7632831.132&y=659614.514&place=SW%20BARBUR%20BLVD%20%26%20%20BARBUR%20TC%20&city=PORTLAND&neighborhood=MULTNOMAH&seg_id=150950%2C194519&Year=2010&Size=2%27&StreetAnno=no&AddressPoint=No&Taxlots=No

This is right next to the Barbur Transit Center and the excellent Barbur World Foods market, within the “West Portland Crossroads”, a Metro designated town center that remains auto centric; not far from Capitol Hwy, where a fatal pedestrian crash occurred in Sept. 2010.

ODOT & PBOT are cooperating on a safety evaluation of the area, some improvements are complete, others are ongoing or planned such as a curb extension or the location in the air photo (white van using the bike lane as a right turn lane).

roger.averbeck@gmail.com

wsbob
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wsbob

Okay…after having posted, and looked at the ORS again, let me step back a bit from what I just wrote.

ORS 811.440 in part, says: “A person may operate a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane when:
(a) Making a turn; …”

So that wording is vague enough to perhaps allow people to interpret that it allows people operating motor vehicles in the process of right turns, to cut a radius across the bike lane where it meets the intersection.

Personally, I’d disagree with such an interpretation. If there’s a solid line, motor vehicle operators are supposed to stay out of the bike lane in a road-to-road turn. Interesting: (a) may be associated with another vague element of Oregon law having to do with the presence/question of existence of bike lanes in intersections, where bike lanes don’t have lines indicating presence.

So if, as I imagine many people do, it’s assumed that bike lanes exist in intersections, motor vehicle operators could “…operate a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane when: (a) Making a turn; …”, in a road-to-road situation…in the intersection itself. Not though, across the solid line of the bike lane on the road they’re traveling prior to the intersection.

Paul Johnson
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Paul Johnson

Glad to see they’re finally doing something about driving while Californian, even if it does seem a tad bit “too little too late”