Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Citing safety risks, City to step up enforcement of sidewalk bicycling law

Posted by on December 7th, 2011 at 11:02 am

Commissioner Amanda Fritz speaking at a sidewalk safety press conference in front of City Hall this morning.
(Photo courtesy PBOT)

This morning in front of City Hall, City Commissioner Amanda Fritz led a press conference to stress the importance of sidewalk safety during the busy holiday shopping season. The event was also a warning that the Portland Police Bureau will begin a series “sidewalk enforcement missions” to reduce bicycling and skateboarding on downtown sidewalks.

Bike share demo-8-7

City reminds us that sidewalk
riding is illegal and poses
a safety risk.
(Photos © J. Maus)

“Fast moving bicycles on sidewalks pose a real safety risk for pedestrians, particularly seniors, children and people using mobility devices,” read a PBOT statement about the event.

The event was also meant to remind people of the sidewalk bicycling exclusion zone which extends south to Jefferson St, east to Naito Parkway, west to NW 13th and north to NW Hoyt.

Attending the event were Bicycle Transportation Alliance communications staffer Margaux Mennesson, Billy Meiners of PDX Downhill (a skateboard group), PPB Traffic Division Lt. Eric Schober, and Vicki Herson with Elders in Action.

In a statement, Mayor Adams explained that crowded sidewalks are a “safety concern” and that, “We’re working with the community to issue a friendly reminder that Downtown sidewalks are for pedestrians and not people on bikes and skateboards.”

Portland City Tour ride -10

Proper sidewalk bicycling technique.

Commissioner Fritz has already garnered headlines for her concerns about sidewalk bicycling. In August, she told us she would vote for the City’s federal funding request for a bike-sharing system only when, “I see bike riders using downtown streets and sidewalks in a safe manner.” She said she regularly sees “cyclists… endangering and harassing pedestrians” on the sidewalk and that, “The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”

This morning’s press event and announcement of enforcement actions seems to be Fritz’s way of taking the matter into her own hands.

Vicki Herson with Elders in Action urged that people who ride bikes and skateboards downtown “stay on the roadway” in order to give seniors their own space.

The BTA’s Margaux Mennesson said it’s important to “be considerate, obey the law and ride safely in the road… It’s just the right thing to do.”

The PPB plans to begin their sidewalk bicycling enforcement missions tomorrow (December 8th). The location has not been released.

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  • 9watts December 7, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Is that a Hazmat suit she’s wearing?

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    • Brian E December 7, 2011 at 11:51 am

      It’s a dirty bike detector.

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  • Evan Manvel December 7, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I’m all for getting bikes off the sidewalks downtown.

    But as far as focusing our limited police resources on the largest safety problems, I’m curious if this a data-driven effort or a perception-driven effort?

    Are there good data from PBOT about this problem?

    What are the number of crashes on sidewalks downtown, and how serious were they, compared to other high-crash areas?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 7, 2011 at 11:21 am


      From my perspective, this looks like more of a political play. The Mayor can appease Commissioner Fritz and get some goodwill from her in return (since it’s obvious that sidewalk bicycling scofflaws are a pet peeve of hers) and he can score some points with the Portland Business Alliance and other business owners because he’s talking about the sanctity of the holiday shopping season.

      I would not be shocked if doing this press conference and the police actions were part of a deal between the Mayor and Fritz in order to make sure she voted in favor of the bike share grant.

      But that’s just my opinion.

      As for police resources… I’m sure there are complaints made to the city about people biking and skateboarding on the sidewalk so it’s justified. The City also has a track record of doing enforcement missions as behavior-change/marketing tools to remind folks about laws.

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      • wsbob December 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

        “…This morning in front of City Hall, City Commissioner Amanda Fritz led a press conference to stress the importance of sidewalk safety during the busy holiday shopping season. …” maus/bikeportland

        The “busy holiday shopping season”, is the reason for the press conference, emphasizing the importance of keeping Downtown’s sidewalks safe for pedestrians.

        Maus….you’re probably right that there’s at least a little political intrigue accompanying the press conference…but that would most likely be a secondary concern at best.

        Downtown Portland has struggled for years to compete with outlying malls for business.

        Downtown has quite a rep for having various nasty slices of human nature that shoppers have to deal with. Even if it happens there isn’t a lot of truth to stories that skateboarders and people biking on the sidewalk are common, the word gets around that this is the situation.

        The press conference mostly seems to an effort to counter negative word of mouth stories.

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    • Paul Johnson December 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      I’ve been hit by bikes getting off the bus a few times now, once on State Street in Salem, and more times than I can remember on 5th across from Pioneer Place, and twice on Murray by 26. I dunno if I’m a bike magnet or what, but there’s really no reason to be driving on the sidewalk, motorized or not.

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      • Scott December 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm

        I am actually surprised that you allowed yourself to be hit. Assuming the bikes don’t have warp capabilities, the egg is on your face for not looking left or right.

        It could have just as easily been a jogger, one of those segway Trimet dudes, a skateboarder or a person in a wheelchair.

        Look left and right. Way easy man, waaaaaaay easy.

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        • are December 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm

          i think i would be surprised if someone was flying right by the open door of a bus that was obviously stopped to let passengers on and off

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        • middle of the road guy December 8, 2011 at 9:40 am

          yeah, let’s continue to rationalize the cyclist having no responsibility. next time a cyclist gets hit by a car, I hope you admonish them for “allowing themselves to be hit”.

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      • Paul H December 8, 2011 at 8:31 am

        I hate riding on sidewalks, but I’ll do it on busy roads when wide motor vehicles block the bike lane. Riding on 99E, I encounter all manner of delivery trucks parked in the bike lane. Traffic can be fast and thick enough that taking the lane is sometimes not an option. So the sidewalk it is…though I’ve never come even close to hitting a pedestrian.

        Usually I don’t mind stopping for TriMet buses, but I wish they had some way of signaling when they’re going to be stopped for more than the typical 30 seconds. It’s frustrating to want to wait patiently for the bus, only to find out that it’s going to sit in the bike lane for a couple minutes (however valid the reason).

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  • Tony December 7, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Let’s beat a dead horse here:

    “The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”

    could very well be…

    “The driving community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate drivers or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”

    When I see a front page (of Metro) article about a cyclist’s reckless behavior I wonder how many pages the paper would be if every reckless action by an automobile driver that injured someone would take up. For that matter, I’d love to see EVERY DUI reported on with a mug shot printed.

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    • Frank December 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm

      This argument appears a lot here on Bike Portland. I commute every day on my bike and annually I ride about as much as I drive. Yes there are bad drivers as well as cyclists, but the simple fact is: I see a LOT more ignoring of laws among us cyclists. Why? Because our chances of getting a ticket (including a DUI) on a bike are minimal compared to when we are driving cars. The cops just don’t apply the laws to cyclists as often. Take red light running, which I see cyclists do almost every day (sometimes many times) on the way to and from work. It would stop instantly if the cyclist faced the same risk and penalty for running red lights as drivers do. They do not. I hardly ever see a car run a red light.

      That’s just the reality. I don’t claim to be a saint. I NEVER run red lights. Ever. Not even northbound on Naito. But a stop sign on a quiet residential street? Well… at least I slow down…

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      • dan December 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm

        I have had the good fortune of getting nabbed for running a stop sign downtown on my bike. I got the same ticket as a driver would have; I think it came to $240 or so. Highly educational, and I admit it has changed my behavior…now I look for cops before running lights. 🙂 (Just kidding – I have toned it down quite a bit, though I’m still more likely to roll stop signs than come to a full stop.)

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      • Mike Fish December 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm

        Consider the speed limit. Don’t most vehicles drive 1-5mph over the speed limit? Isn’t that breaking the law? Yes and yes.Since most drivers do it though, and since most people are drivers, no one cares. I don’t particularly care. Seems like a double standard though. Most cyclists never break the speed limit.

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      • Matt December 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm

        You’re way off Frank. Motorists routinely speed and speed in residential neighborhoods. Motorists routinely roll through stop signs to the point I’m amazed when I see a motorist actually come to a dead stop. Motorists routinely floor it when the light goes yellow and many run red lights. Motorists routinely ignore pedestrians in crosswalks. I see it all the time.

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        • Frank December 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm

          Really? Huh. That’s funny, because this morning I saw a bike cruise up past a line of stopped bikes and blow though a light. Deliberate, pre-mediated red light running in a routine fashion that I see cyclists do all the time. I have rarely (if ever) seen a car do that. I’m not talking about a stale yellow light (which bikes also run) or a few miles over the limit: this practice is more common, more blatant and more dangerous. And it makes all of us look bad.

          That recent PSU study on red light running seemed bogus but I would be very interested in a peer -reviewed study done objectively at a fair intersection. I suspect the results would not be popular in the we-can-do-no-wrong cycling utopia that sometimes is this blog.

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          • El Biciclero December 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm

            Well, OK then–on my daily bike commute I see motorists routinely do the following illegal things:
            – Drive in the bike lane
            – Make right-hand turns across my path (the bike lane) without so much as signaling, let alone following the right-of-way laws or yielding
            – Speed
            – Talk on hand-held cell phones
            – Block intersections because they proceeded into the intersection before there was space to proceed out of it
            – Speed
            – Pass unsafely, including on residential streets with a speed limit of 25 while I am going at or above 25.
            – Fail to stop when exiting a driveway
            – Speed
            – Fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
            – Exceed the speed limit
            – Run red lights, especially left turn signals and when making right turns on red (fail to stop before turning)

            The fact is that all road users break laws. Those using different vehicles tend to break different laws, and the law-breakers never seem to think that they are doing anything dangerous or out-of-the-ordinary.

            The trap we fall into is thinking that lawbreaking on such a huge scale as to make us think “everybody does it” isn’t really lawbreaking. Since cyclists are a minority of road users, any lawbreaking on their part stands out and is held up as an example assumed to represent all cyclists.

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            • middle of the road guy December 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

              Well I guess that justifies lawbreaking on your part.

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              • El Biciclero December 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm

                “Well I guess that justifies lawbreaking on your part.”

                Which law-breaking are you talking about? That’s your conclusion, not mine, since you obviously don’t know me at all.

                The accusation that by mentioning motorist’s much more dangerous offenses people are attempting to justify their own lawlessness is unfounded. What I am doing is asking the media/authorities/public at large to justify the clamor and outcry over cyclist offenses while completely ignoring the death and destruction wreaked by lawless motorists.

                Why is there no press conference announcing a crackdown on failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks? After all, the Holiday shopping season is going to see a major up-tick in crosswalk population. Why not announce an “education campaign” on the dangers of “jaywalking”? You don’t see these kinds of things trumpeted very often. The choice this time was to hold a press conference and then crack down on cyclists riding on sidewalks; Let’s count how many people are injured or killed in traffic from now until January 15th and see how many were taken out by reckless, sidewalk-riding cyclists vs. reckless, speeding, non-yielding drivers.

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              • wsbob December 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

                “…What I am doing is asking the media/authorities/public at large to justify the clamor and outcry over cyclist offenses while completely ignoring the death and destruction wreaked by lawless motorists. …” El Biciclero

                The the media/authorities/public doesn’t ignore the death and destruction wreaked by lawless motorists. Demands that attention be directed towards dangerous use of the road by people that drive is a constant, ongoing thing. This subject seems to be in the news regularly, at least once a week somewhere.

                Maybe some people reading here are upset simply because there isn’t a specific campaign against that sort of thing directly partnered with the city’s campaign addressing illegal sidewalk use in the Downtown area by people that bike and skateboard.

                Illegal, poor judgment use of Downtown sidewalks by people with bikes and skateboards gets comparatively far less attention than motor vehicle use of streets, which is I suppose, part of the reason the city has come out over the holidays to draw attention to this problem.

                Portland periodically has ‘failure to comply with traffic signal’ enforcement details. In Portland, I’m not sure about about ‘motor vehicle operator failure to yield to pedestrian’ details, but within the last couple months, Beaverton has had exactly that type of detail.

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          • Randall S. December 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm

            You’re trying to single out a specific violation: red light running.

            Yes, I’ve seen cyclists do it. No, I haven’t ever seen a car do it. Red light running is not the only traffic law on the books.

            I have to cross Everett on 13th to get to the grocery store. Cars are required by law to stop for pedestrians attempting to cross. Guess how many actually do so?

            On my ride home, I cross SW 6th & Broadway. Blocking the intersection is illegal. Guess how many motorists I see blocking it every single day?

            Let’s also not forget the following, which are also all illegal: speeding, failing to signal, rolling stops, following too closely…

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        • Jonah December 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm

          I actually don’t really see cyclists run red lights often at all. I’m much more inclined to see a car floor it and run through the light after it turns red. I also get frustrated when people (Drivers and cyclists) complain about cyclists running stop signs when I hardly ever see cars come to a safe stop in residential areas (Even on bikeways like Going). At least cyclists realize they’re vulnerable and check for other traffic. Cars, on the other hand, tend to notice me after they’re already in the street and have to slam on their brakes (Instead of actually looking at the stop sign).

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      • BURR December 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm

        If you never see motorists run red lights, you’re not paying attention. I typically see anywhere from one to three motorists running red lights downtown during my half hour lunchtime walk, on a daily basis.

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      • ME 2 December 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

        Frank those are good points and it is worth mentioning that a lot of those instances are bikes violating laws designed specifically for motor vehicles. I’m totaling willing to commit that I break a lot more traffic laws when riding my bike than driving my car. Running stop signs namely, but in my defense, as a cyclist my sightlines, focus, and awareness of my surroundings is a 1000x better than when driving a car, not to mention I’m approaching at a much slower speed and can react much quicker in stopping a 25lb bike versus a 2000lb vehicle.

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    • Glen Bolen December 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      I saw this same quote and thought, huh?, “Is she telling us to form a posse and go enforce the law?”

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  • Andrew Seger December 7, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Riding on downtown sidewalks is just a symptom of the lack of high quality separated bike facilities, eg the terrible Broadway bike lanes. I wish Commish Fritz were more cognizant of barriers to cycling in the CBD.

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    • Paul Johnson December 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Is that really necessary? Old Town, Chinatown, Downtown and University districts are 20 MPH on all streets except Naito and Burnside, and the traffic lights are timed to 13 MPH these days (they were 15, but I noticed they’ve been slowed down recently). Most people can sprint on foot faster than car traffic goes in downtown.

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    • bikeyvol December 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      Would have to agree with Andrew. I myself have been known to ride, albeit at walking pace, on the sidewalk to get to the next intersection as cars lining up for the right hand turn are so close to the curb I couldn’t pass them. And it’s pretty unhealthy to sit in traffic for 10 mins or more waiting for my turn to get one block to the traffic light before making the right (Madison is the next block with it’s bike lane).

      If ever I’m on the sidewalk it’s *always* really slow, no faster than walking speed. Isn’t that part of the law? You can ride on the sidewalk, only if your speed does not exceed that of pedestrians using the facility?

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      • are December 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

        you are allowed to pass on the left

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  • cold worker December 7, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I’m downtown everyday. I don’t recall a close call with a sidewalk cyclist. This isn’t to say I’ve never seen someone riding on the sidewalk, but I’ve never found this to be any sort of risk. I’m much more concerned with the cars I watch run red lights. Everyday. All over the city.

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    • John Lascurettes December 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      … as well as the cars that encroach on pedestrians as they attempt to use crosswalks (marked and unmarked).

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  • Justin December 7, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Strange to realize that you can ride on the sidewalk downtown south of Jefferson Street. So you could leave this press conference, cross the street, and ride away on the sidewalk legally. Seems like they could have drawn that line at Interstate 405 or something.

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    • daisy December 7, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      I wonder if this has to do with PSU and the area around the Keller fountain, where in some places sidewalks are more appropriate for bikes than the roads are (like right on the park blocks at campus).

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  • k December 7, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I’m curious… if the bike rack is on the sidewalk, can I ride up to the rack or do I have to get off and walk to the rack? It’s a little odd to me that it’s illegal to ride where we’re supposed to lock up (although I understand why it is).

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    • Scott December 7, 2011 at 11:37 am

      I think that you are allowed to stop on the corner roll up, but if you get more than needed to remove your bike from the street you may be ticketed.

      It is still officers discretion though so if the officer wants to give you a ticket, he will find a way. Have you evr recieved the ticket for a scuffed rear tire? It falls under the unsafe vehicle clause. I think I paid $170 for that one.

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    • Paul Johnson December 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      Nobody’s going to bust on you for rolling onto the ramp before dismounting.

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    • Andycigarettes December 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      Yeah, It’s interesting, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately. I routinely have to drive onto a sidewalk, at least for a second, to get to a place to tie my bike. Wouldn’t it be better right on the street? Just as the bike-corrals are placed on streets? Seems odd to have bike parking on sidewalks, where you’re not supposed to drive your bike.

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  • q`Tzal December 7, 2011 at 11:47 am

    On one hand:
    I believe that inequitable enforcement of low impact traffic violations (hazardous cycling on sidewalk) while ignoring higher impact traffic violations (failure to yield to smaller road user) is basically criminal.

    On the other hand:
    As part of PBOT’s new “active transportation group” concept public transit to downtown is a major component. By extension people need to feel safe walking the streets AND sidewalks. There might be a statistically insignificant number of rude cyclists endangering pedestrians but there is a psychologically significant impact of the few that have ruined it for everyone else. To get non-urbanites into downtown areas and to generally decrease automotive load in down town areas PBOT has to pay lip service to this (sarcasm)”major public hazard”(/sarcasm).

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  • J-R December 7, 2011 at 11:53 am

    When PPB does a crosswalk enforcement action they put out signs in advance to warn motorists what’s ahead. Same thing when they use photo radar. Will they be putting out signs warning of sidewalk enforcement actions? Fair is fair.

    I’m all for keeping fast-moving cyclists off the sidewalks. When I worked downtown I’d roll up the ramp and coast to the bike rack or building at 7:30 am and have the sidewalk to myself. With the enforcement action I wouldn’t dare do that.

    It’s really disappointing that discretion isn’t used often enough by road users, sidewalk users, enforcement personnel, and our politicians.

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    • Paul Johnson December 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      I’d rather they didn’t post signs for enforcement at all. Catch people in their natural course of action.

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    • matt picio December 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      When did they start doing that? I’ve seen a number of enforcement actions with no signage, and I can’t recall a single time signage has been used with the photo radar vans.

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  • michael December 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

    To say that bikes on pedestrian right of way aren’t a problem is shrugging off responsibility as a rider. As a bike commuter, I’ve seen powerful, accomplished cyclists cut through pedestrian traffic in a very irresponsible manner. Maybe the cyclist (or boarder) feels confident, but to look at the reactions in their wake, it’s obvious people are intimidated. Just because there is no blood doesn’t mean people are not harmed.
    I am a disabled person (missing parts of both legs). I ride as well as most, but on foot, I’m slow and vulnerable. To look at me, you would not think so, but I can’t shuffle out of the way of a vehicle that appears menacing, which causes me a lot of anxiety in parking lots and along city streets.
    It seems the comments here are often combative, which doesn’t help create an environment of cooperative tolerance. I suspect that is the real issue Amanda is trying to address. Politics are nothing more than people interacting. Everything we do is political.

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  • Jeff P December 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    How about stepping up enforcement of drivers using cell phones? Walkers jaywalking? Camping in parks?

    How about stepping up ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS?

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    • Frank December 7, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      Drivers using cell phones are a menace to society. Their phones should be immediately taken away and thrown as far as possible.

      Free-thinking pedestrians everywhere should be free to just plow right ahead into the street and jay walk. I do and its worth it every time, all the time, so long as I don’t interfere with traffic. If get killed that’s my problem.

      Camping in city parks… well yes or no but lets not be selective. Its all or nothing. If I’m homeless or if camping in a city park is just my idea of a fun staycation, then I either can or can’t. I shouldn’t be exempt from the law just because I have a sign or something.

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    • Mindful Cyclist December 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      The problem is that whenver a city passes an ordinance or a state passes a law, we simply expect it to get enforced with the existing police force. Sure, it would be great if every law was enforced, but until we hire a lot more LEO’s, there is only so much that can be enforced.

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    • matt picio December 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm

      Are you ready for a tax hike? If we want the laws enforced, we need more officers, and more overtime. That all costs money, money that the PPB doesn’t currently have in the budget and for which no revenue stream currently exists.

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  • Spiffy December 7, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time downtown on foot in the last month and this seems like one of the city’s least important safety issues…

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    • Chris I December 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      The greatest concern downtown, IMO, is turning drivers no yielding to pedestrians, or blowing red lights. I very rarely see anyone riding on the sidewalk.

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      • Paul Johnson December 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm

        I agree. Though seems like I’m really good at attracting Clean & Safe and private bicycles running into me.

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  • Oliver December 7, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I work downtown and am outside on the sidewalks an average of 5 times a day.

    Besides the police and the occasional bike courier, the people I see riding on the sidewalks are obvious tourists.

    But, this is aimed at skaters too, and there are a few of them around. The provincials definitely don’t like skateboarders.

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    • Oliver December 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      Of course going out for coffee today I would run into someone riding on the sidewalk.

      But derelicts on mountain bikes are in a league of their own, outside of the “cycling community’s” purview. Also, if Commissioner Fritz is withholding support for some community initiative pending a behavioral change among the changeless (surely not so), we could be waiting some time.

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  • Tony H December 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    One of the ironies here is that, IMO, the people most likely to be riding on the sidewalk are the newer, timid riders. These folks probably aren’t even aware of the law (not an excuse, of course). These aren’t the brash, reckless people Ms Fritz has in mind.

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  • jenn December 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I live downtown and regularly see police and security patrols riding on the sidewalks. Ive also seen some of the sidewalk ambassadors on bike on the sidewalk. Ive heard these groups have some kind of permit for doing this. Why cant they use the street like the rest of us?

    If you want people to stop riding on the sidewalk stop handing out special privileges to do so; besides being unfair it is confusing to people who don’t know about the law.

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  • JRB December 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I work downtown and from what I see, bikes on sidewalks are a minor annoyance. If they want to tackle a real problem, they could take on jaywalking. Not the jaywalkers who stop, look both ways and cross when the way is clear, but the many jaywalkers who ignore signals and walk out in front of cars,bikes, MAX trains etc.

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    • Paul Johnson December 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      Yeah, i get nervous that I’m going to get knocked off my bike by a kamikaze pedestrian or roll one with my car just about every time I’m downtown (which is daily lately).

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  • was carless December 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    You really shouldn’t ride a bicycle on a sidewalk downtown.

    However, the city needs to step up and stripe some bike lanes downtown. It can be fairly hazardous to ride a bike in mixed traffic, and there are very few bike lanes.

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  • Ryan Good December 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I have to agree with Jenn. I pretty much only see police and security officers riding on the sidewalks downtown. I very rarely see “civilians” riding on the sidewalks, unless they are very new to cycling. And if they are very new to cycling, it seems logical to me that they would assume it to be legal after seeing uniformed officials doing it.

    As someone who works downtown, and is therefore downtown at least five days per week, I also agree with the several commenters who expressed the opinion that this one of the least pressing safety issues downtown. I see people running red lights, texting while driving, and otherwise driving dangerously all the time- but sure, let’s focus our already (supposedly) over-committed police resources on those dangerous sidewalk cyclists!

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  • jeremy December 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I’ll admit to riding on the sidewalk downtown. HOWEVER, here is the actual situation. I work in a building bounded on all sides by one-way streets. To avoid the sidewalk, I would have to ride an additional 6 blocks (there are some gnarly bus/MAX lanes that severely reduce my ability to make turns LEGALLY on the obvious streets) to enter the loading dock (and protected bike parking) of my building. NONE of those streets have bike lanes, so to remain safe I would have to take the lane. On the other hand, I could get off my bike and walk it–like in the picture shows. Instead, I almost always slowly coast around the corner with one foot nearly on the sidewalk, the other on a pedal, two hands on the brakes. I would hardly call that a dangerous situation. In fact, I believe my bike shoes make walking my bike on a slick sidewalk much more dangerous. Go figure. I guess I’ll have to be extra careful now.

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    • Ryan December 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      Jeremy, I think we might work in the same building. Or if not, it’s similar enough. I sometimes do the same thing for about twenty-five feet. Like you said, pedestrian pace, ready to stop on a dime if necessary.

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    • Paul Johnson December 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      It’s too bad there’s not a thumbs down button anymore.

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      • wsbob December 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm

        Hey! No kidding! If so, then I would have gotten lots of ‘points’ for my comments over at the stolen trail machine story last week. Whoo-hoo!

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    • Spokesy December 13, 2011 at 6:30 am

      I almost got a $200 ticket when I first moved to Portland for “scooting” my bike in the way you’re describing, with both hands on the brake, one foot on the pedal and one foot on the ground, over in the Rose Quarter on Trimet property.

      There were a lot of people waiting for the bus, so I was navigating slowly by scooting myself along and a Trimet inspector began yelling at me that I couldnt ride through the Max area. I informed him very clearly by example that I wasn’t riding at all. (Let it be noted that I had two heavy panniers and stuff piled on top of that, so I was on my bike to keep it centered instead of next to it where it would be tippy)

      He began arguing with me that it was a fine to ride through the station and I asked where it was posted. (Next time you go through Rose Quarter, check it out. The signs are posted WAY, WAYYYYYY back on the barn or whatever it is. They’re about 3′ tall and barely visible from the platform)

      I informed him that I didn’t see them, had no idea and that I was almost to the street and wasn’t even taking the bus.

      Not downtown, I know. . . but as far as SIGNAGE goes, there’s not a lot of it delineating that you can’t be on the sidewalks. I’ve always known and it’s irritated me only because cops are the only ones I get plowed over by, but pay attention to the lack of signs you see. . .

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  • Mindful Cyclist December 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    What I honestly see happening is a cop standing on some corner and stopping a few cyclists that are riding. Maybe hand a ticket to one or two of them and cite the others for warnings. It will make for good PR coverage. YAWN!!!

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  • Paul Johnson December 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Can we expand this city-wide?

    Can we start getting enforcement of this to Clean & Safe and PPB officers not responding to an emergency?

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  • browse December 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Fritz held a freakin’ press conference for this? Clearly, she has too much time on her hands. I look forward to getting some people on the council with a better sense of priorities.

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    • Randall S. December 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      Didn’t you hear? All of Portland’s actual problems have been taken care of, so they’re starting in on the inconsequential stuff.

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      • Scott December 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

        Violent crime 0%
        Drugs 0%

        Cool. Let’s tackle this “cyclists on the sidewalk” issue head on.

        Oh yeah, I also forgot that Amanda Fritz got everyone living wage jobs, healthcare, eliminated domestic violence, eliminated hunger, sent me a free kitten, and made government fair and balanced. I usually find politicians distasteful, local politicians ignorant, but Amanda Fritz really set the bar during her term.

        Sea Cucumber for City Commissioner!

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  • deborah December 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Mike Fish
    Consider the speed limit. Don’t most vehicles drive 1-5mph over the speed limit? Isn’t that breaking the law? Yes and yes.Since most drivers do it though, and since most people are drivers, no one cares. I don’t particularly care. Seems like a double standard though. Most cyclists never break the speed limit.

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    I agree with you on almost all your points. Except that I DO care that on most neighboorhood streets the posted speed is 25 miles an hour, and for appropriate reaction times it should be 20 or less. Add the all to common scofflaw auto-driver behavior of 5 mph over the speed limit, and you’ve got somone barreling down narrow neighboorhood street at 30 miles an hour. At that speed with parked cars, pedestrians and bikes to contend with, it becomes a lot more understandable when you hear of horrible accidents in which the car driver didn’t even see the person that they hit.

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  • A.K. December 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Let’s beat a dead horse here:
    “The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”
    could very well be…
    “The driving community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate drivers or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”
    When I see a front page (of Metro) article about a cyclist’s reckless behavior I wonder how many pages the paper would be if every reckless action by an automobile driver that injured someone would take up. For that matter, I’d love to see EVERY DUI reported on with a mug shot printed.
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    I saw the very same article today. I hope in the future instead of “car accident closes I-5” (for example), they instead right “Reckless car driver’s behavior closes I-5, injuries innocent people”… but we all know that sort of loaded language will never be used, rather it’ll be reserved for those the newspaper wishes to character assassinate.

    (I do think the bike rider’s actions were selfish and he should be liable for the injuries if identified, but I don’t like clearly-loaded language being used for a certain set of folks when it isn’t used for other, equally as reckless topics.)

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  • Shane December 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I’m curious about this quote:
    “Vicki Herson with Elders in Action urged that people who ride bikes and skateboards downtown “stay on the roadway” in order to give seniors their own space.”

    It is my understanding that skateboards are not allowed on the road so if there is a “no biking or skateboarding zone” on downtown sidewalks (like we have in Eugene as well) then those boarders have to walk and are not allowed to ride in the road. Right?

    It’s interesting to see that there is a “skateboard” group there, I’d like to see one happen locally and I would encourage them (and any group in the state) to work on the subject of boards on roads. I personally think they should be allowed to use the roadway, especially bike lanes, cycle tracks, etc. It just makes more sense than sidewalks, for the same reason it does for bikes, plus it’s often more smooth than sidewalks with gaps. With the increased prevalence of boards (with the increase in long boards for commuting), especially around campuses, I think this is an issue active transportation folks should be working on.

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  • BumpyTopped December 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I work north of the Steel Bridge on NW Naito. I’ve always wondered if it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk on Naito north of the Steel Bridge. NW Naito does not intersect Hoyt, so it has always been unclear to me if that area is part of the Forbidden Zone. I’d love to see a map of the Forbidden Zone, if it exists.

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  • daisy December 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I don’t generally bike on sidewalks, except on the park blocks at PSU, but I cannot figure out how I’m supposed to go from PSU to the Broadway Bridge. In the mornings, I take Broadway and then cut over to the Park Blocks. But going north home means my choices are pretty bad:

    1. SW/NW 6th with Max tracks – no way
    2. The Park Blocks – going downhill mostly but having to stop every block – nope
    3. SW/NW 10th – the way I usually go, but I have to take the left or middle lane because of the streetcar tracks (I don’t mind, and traffic signals match bike speed, but drivers seem to prefer I go elsewhere, ahem); this route doesn’t have a bike lane.
    4. Waterfront – not connected by good bike lanes to PSU, and then a hassle with all the runners and walkers, even this time of year, especially on the narrow part near the Steel Bridge

    My point is that this city has good bike infrastructure, but some pretty big holes. This is one reason folks might be hopping onto sidewalks.

    Or maybe this is just my pet peeve that has nothing to do with this issue.

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    • Oliver December 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      Take Hall or Harrison down to 4th. And take the middle lane.

      You’ll have to ride your brakes, but if you time it right you can go all the way down to NW without stopping. Once down there take Couch or Davis to Naito, or go west on Flanders to Broadway.

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    • BURR December 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      It is legal to ride on the sidewalk in the south park blocks, it is an exception to the downtown sidewalk riding ban in city code.

      16.70.320 Operating Rules.
      (Amended by Ord. No. 165594, July 8, 1992.) No person may:
      A. Leave a bicycle so that it obstructs vehicle or pedestrian traffic on a roadway, sidewalk, driveway, handicap access ramp, building entrance, or so that it prevents operation of a parking meter or newspaper rack;
      B. Leave a bicycle secured to a fire hydrant or to a police or fire call box;
      C. Leave a bicycle on private property without consent of the owner or legal tenant. Consent is implied on private commercial property;
      D. Leave a bicycle on a street or other public property for more than 72 hours; or
      E. Ride a bicycle on a sidewalk, unless avoiding a traffic hazard in the immediate area, within the area bounded by and including SW Jefferson, Front Avenue, NW Hoyt and 13th Avenue, except:
      1. On sidewalks designated as bike lanes or paths;
      2. On the ramps or approaches to any Willamette River Bridge; or
      3. In the area bounded by the west property line of SW Ninth Avenue, the east property line of SW Park Avenue, the north property line of SW Jefferson and the south property line of SW Salmon Street.
      4. For police or special officers operating a bicycle in the course and scope of their duties; or
      5. For employees of the Association for Portland Progress and companies providing security services operating a bicycle in the course and scope of their duties. These employees must have in possession an identification card issued by the Chief of Police certifying the rider has completed a training course in the use of a bicycle for security patrol.


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      • matt picio December 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm

        I think we as private citizens should all start requesting from all private security on bikes that they produce their card which certifies they’ve taken the bike safety course. For that matter, how about PPB having an enforcement action to check that? When they did the recent action, did they verify that the “rent-a-cops” were all properly certified? Because they should be doing that – if those folks do not have their card, they are in equal violation of the law.

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  • Psyfalcon December 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Does Portland’s skateboard law contradict the Oregon one?

    The no sidewalk law for Portland is the same as bikes, except it also appears to include the park blocks, which are an exception for cyclists. State law, however, seems to treat skateboards and inline skates as pedestrian implements, to be used on the sidewalk.

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  • Jeff December 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Remember cyclists, you need to interpret the law as you see fit with an eye towards maximizing full use of the lane… prevailing speed, passing, safety, etc. Use all of 814.430 to your advantage. Take the full lane as much as possible in the downtown zone. Do not cow-tow to motorized vehicles.

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  • Andrew Holtz December 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I sent Comm. Fritz a link to a video of drivers running red lights and almost hitting pedestrians in Portland. She replied that transportation is Mayor Adams’ department, not hers.

    People on bicycles downtown should be on the street, not the sidewalk. Still, it is noteworthy how Comm. Fritz is so eager to act on some transportation safety issues, while saying others are not her concern.

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  • Charley December 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Are they going to do something about the biggest group of people who disobey this law: PBA’s rent-a-cops? I see them riding on the sidewalk EVERY TIME I AM DOWNTOWN. I’ve never once passed one or been passed by one on the street, actually. I think they ONLY ride on sidewalks. If it’s safe for them to do it, why can’t I. Or, if it’s unsafe for me to do it, why are they allowed to? It’s not like they’re always rushing to an emergency call. They’re just toodling around all the time on the sidewalk.

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    • BURR December 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm

      it’s legal for them

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      • matt picio December 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm

        It’s only legal if they have their ID proving they took the safety course.

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    • are December 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      ordinance 16.70.320

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  • Kevin December 7, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I grow tired of the “screw what byciclists do, here’s what motorists do” deflection. The fact is bike riders DO this. Its illegal. Please stop. Car drivers, you are A**hats who do things. Its illegal Please stop.

    What you are doing is a deflection to justify law breaking. Its a strawman at best, its a deadly precidence at worst. Just frickin follow the laws that apply to you at the time its appropriate to do so and stop always waiting for everyone else to stop first.

    Holy crap people.

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    • Psyfalcon December 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Its not always brought up as a justification, but also to highlight that cyclists are often expected to police their own, while motorists are not expected to do the same.

      We do have a responsibility to keep everyone safe, and following laws is part of that, but remember, this official is on record saying we should not be spending money on cycling projects until we all cycle according to the law. How often is that said about motorists?

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    • El Biciclero December 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      “What you are doing is a deflection to justify law breaking.”

      I guess I can’t speak for others, but what I am doing in mentioning these things that car drivers do is asking the question(s):

      “Where are the press releases about crackdowns on scofflaw drivers?”

      “Where are the front page stories about drivers running red lights that cause pedestrians to jump out of the way or cyclists to wipe out, causing injury or damage without necessarily making contact?”

      “Where is the outcry over speeding drivers passing cyclists unsafely?”

      “Why are there no threats to block implementation of car-sharing or rental businesses or the building or maintenance of infrastructure until drivers ‘shape up’ and start obeying more of the laws?”

      “Where are the calls for drivers to start ‘policing their own’ to try to coerce them into driving the speed limit or quit jabbering away on cell phones while driving?”

      “Why are cyclists who run stop signs or red lights, or ride on sidewalks a ‘menace’, while drivers who run red lights or stop signs, or drive the wrong way, or crash into buildings, or run over people ‘normal’?”

      If there is any deflection going on, I believe it is being accomplished by drawing undue attention to a small segment of the traveling public that–despite having a few outlying incidents over-sensationalized by the media–poses a negligible threat to society at large, while ignoring the so-called “bull in the china shop” that is automobiles and their law-breaking drivers.

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      • 9watts December 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm

        “If there is any deflection going on, I believe it is being accomplished by drawing undue attention to a small segment of the traveling public that–despite having a few outlying incidents over-sensationalized by the media–poses a negligible threat to society at large, while ignoring the so-called “bull in the china shop” that is automobiles and their law-breaking drivers.”
        Well said!

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    • spare_wheel December 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      laws are not absolute principles they are fluid and changeable social contracts. in a democracy citizens can choose and should choose which laws they support or even follow.

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      • wsbob December 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm

        “laws are not absolute principles they are fluid and changeable social contracts. in a democracy citizens can choose and should choose which laws they support or even follow.” spare_wheel

        Citizens can choose which laws they support. Citizens not following social contracts…so to speak…that the public has allowed to be made into law, would be breaking the law. Generally, it’s better to look at conditions laws provide for and decide if they should be changed, and how best to change them, rather than individuals deciding to just randomly break laws they don’t support. If that’s what you’re thinking.

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      • El Biciclero December 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm

        Whether or not this is how the law should work, it is how it (traffic law, anyway) does work. The law says that we should drive 35 in a 35mph speed zone. The “social contract” says that if you aren’t driving at least 40 in a 35mph zone, you are holding me up and I will tailgate you to try to intimidate you into speeding up. There are all kinds of situations where we just expect everyone to break the law for the sake of “efficiency”. We don’t think it is harmful because we always think the expected infractions are minor and “safe”. Often when someone doesn’t break the law, they are considered the oddball.

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        • Paul Johnson December 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm

          I slow to 30 and set the cruise control. If they hit me, well, it’s their insurance premium…

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        • wsbob December 14, 2011 at 6:15 pm

          “…The “social contract” says that if you aren’t driving at least 40 in a 35mph zone, you are holding me up and I will tailgate you to try to intimidate you into speeding up. …” El Biciclero

          Paul Johnson has it figured out: Legally slow to 5mph under the posted limit and allow the tailgater opportunity to pass. Even pull over after awhile after having them hold the pace for some time, if it’s safe and convenient to do so. Most people driving will either pass at the first opportunity or back off once they figure out the tailgating strategy isn’t working.

          Intimidation can be harder to combat for a person walking down a sidewalk and approached by someone in a hurry on a bike. Helps to be big.

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  • JF December 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    The bicycle exclusion zone is law. There is nothing wrong with being reminded that riding a bike on the sidewalk is illegal in that zone.

    That being said, it is legal to ride your bike on sidewalks, unless posted. However note that if you are in an accident, legally allowed to be there does not shield you from the possibility of being held liable.

    Just use common sense if riding where pedestrians are. Me personally, I just assume that every pedestrian can do something wierd at any moment, so go slow and gives lots of room. If that is not possible, then I just get off and walk.

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  • BURR December 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    What really gets me about this is that they’ve been doing regular crosswalk stings for a while now, and they’ve done a bunch of stop sign stings on cyclists in the past, and now they are doing sidewalk riding enforcement; but they have never, despite promises in the past to do so, performed any sort of enforcement action against motorists who violate cyclists’ rights.

    This could be as simple as setting up on a corner like NE Couch and Grand and citing motorists who turn right on red or don’t yield to cyclists, or it could involve putting a plainclothes cop on a bike and having him ride up and down a street like E 28th, taking the lane, and issuing citations to motorists who don’t yield to the cyclist, or who pass too close, or who attempt to harass or intimidate the cyclist, etc.

    The silence from the city on this issue is deafening.

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  • are December 7, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    use of the phrase “the cycling community” loses my vote, almost regardless of context.

    i do not spend a whole lot of time downtown, and my observations are anecdotal at best, but what i see when i see someone on a bike on a sidewalk downtown is usually someone very, very far down the economic food chain. is this who fritz intends to target? what happens when someone literally cannot pay the fine? are we going to be confiscating bikes?

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  • Alex December 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    She’s such a buzz killer. The worst school librarian ever.

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    • Brian December 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

      Agreed. She seems to act as less of a representative of the people and more as someone looking to push her personal agenda. For example, I had multiple email conversations with her about the issue of trail riding in Forest Park and she was less than willing to listen to ideas that were counter to her own. She regurgitated the usual emotional arguments (people will get hurt, there isn’t room for hikers and off-road cyclists, trails will be destroyed, etc), and seemed very unwilling to listen to logical counterpoints. She reminded me of those who would prefer to maintain the status quo and selfishly keep the trails to themselves.

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  • Pete December 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Jonathan nailed it in his post.

    This is internal City Hall politics and it doesn’t count for much. Commissioner Fritz has a bee in her bonnet about cyclists on downtown sidewalks. Keep in mind that she’s the candidate who’s had to loan her own reelection campaign $25K.

    It’s not worth the amount of ink that we’ve collectively spent on it.

    Breathe deeply…this, too, will pass:)

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  • Brett December 8, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Agreed that riding on sidewalks is a bad idea and so is running red lights. I also agree with daisy’s comment that when a cyclist is using a sidewalk, it’s usually, though not always, because inadequate cycling infrastructure exists in that area.

    What I object to is Comm. Fritz holding a good idea — bike sharing — hostage in order to score political points with Neanderthal anti bikers. It’s like saying ‘I’m going to oppose every defense budget until the pentagon stops wasting a good percentage of it on fraud, waste, sweetheart deals to contractors, etc. ” Actually, that might not be a bad idea; ok, maybe it’s like voting against every auto safety project until no drivers are speeding or running stop signs, or against all public transport until every single TriMet driver is safe and courteous. There’s no logical link between the two actions , so it looks like Jonathan is right that Fritz is grandstanding and willing to dishonestly cater to the worst of Portland haters instead of drawing the obvious distinction between a bike sharing policy that offers many environmental and economic benefits, on one hand, and a few scofflaw bikers, who don’t represent anything near the majority of bike riders, on the other. Both involve bikes, true, but then both head lice outbreaks and educational opportunity involve schools; do we oppose school funding because we hate head lice?

    Commissioner Fritz is up for re-election against progressive Democrat Mary Nolan, who I know advocated for some good policies in the Legislature. Let’s have Bike Portland or BTA send them a questionnaire regarding their stands on bike related issues the city council can affect, and see who “the cycling community” and anyone interested in efficient and environmentally superior forms of transportation should support. Politicians who disingenuously advocate bad public policy and demagogically foment misleading stereotypes should be held accountable at the polls. Based on this move, I would prefer another , more honest or intelligent representative in that slot on the city council.

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  • Kirk December 8, 2011 at 12:58 am

    As several people have mentioned, odds are it is the newer folks that will ride along the sidewalks as the sidewalks ‘appear’ to be safer for those that aren’t comfortable taking the lane yet.

    So with that, will this enforcement action offer an educational class in exchange of waiving/reducing the ticket – just like they offered during the Williams crosswalk enforcement earlier this year?

    ……on a separate note, the law is black and white – however, for those that aren’t accustomed to the boundaries of the rule it is impossible to realize that you are in the ‘no sidewalk riding’ portion of town. It’s as if they expect bicyclists to be able to see these imaginary boundary lines that are on the ground.

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    • wsbob December 8, 2011 at 11:26 am

      “…it is impossible to realize that you are in the ‘no sidewalk riding’ portion of town. It’s as if they expect bicyclists to be able to see these imaginary boundary lines that are on the ground.” Kirk

      It’s true that within the ‘no biking, skateboarding on sidewalks’ area of Downtown, there aren’t signs posted that explain to people about biking and skateboarding not being allowed downtown, but in various ways, the word gets around.

      Someone new to town might know the law, but I’d be surprised if there are many instances where people new to town and riding or skateboarding on the sidewalks, don’t hear within a couple days… ‘Hey…did you know that riding and skateboarding on the sidewalks downtown is illegal?’.

      Side note: all those security and police bike guys that ride their bikes on the sidewalk: It’s not just legal for them to ride their bikes on the sidewalk; they need access to the sidewalk, at times astride their bikes in order to do their job.

      Right at the moment, I’m not thinking of a particular situation where this would be the case, but if were downtown seeing one bike security-enforement people, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask one of them about this, if I had the time, and it appeared they also had the time.

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      • Kirk December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm

        Yes, most will be informed of the law by word of mouth – but most is not all, so are you going to tell the person that does get a fine that they just weren’t talking to the right people about bike laws? What happens when the bike share system starts up, and summertime brings tourists from all over……are they expected to just hear about this law from word of mouth?

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  • Kirk December 8, 2011 at 1:06 am

    It just seems so silly that we want 8-80 year olds out there biking, but we provide very little separated facilities for those that may be concerned. So what do we do? We ticket bicyclists (and skateboarders) that aren’t mixing with cars, telling them they are obviously in the wrong place.

    I am sure car drivers will be thrilled to have skateboarders in front of them, too. No risk of injury or road rage there!

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    • wsbob December 8, 2011 at 11:31 am

      Do you find something silly about not undertaking extremely expensive, major re-design and construction changes to Downtown’s street infrastructure to provide separate facilities for biking and skateboarding along Downtown’s streets, when all people need do is walk their bikes and skateboards along the relatively small area of central downtown?

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      • Kirk December 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm

        I do find it silly that we as a city are trying to achieve 25% of trips made by bike, and we aren’t politically bold enough to provide basic safety features on major downtown streets. Take a look at Chicago’s new cycle track, take a look at New York’s cycle tracks. Yes, these aren’t cheap – but for being ‘bike highways’ they are sure a heck of a lot cheaper than car highways. To me, that is a sustainable outlook for the future – and not one hindered by looking ONLY at upfront costs. The payoffs are huge in the long run.

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        • wsbob December 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm

          Good points for installing separate bike in situations that allow for them. Many situations don’t. Many locations in Downtown Portland, the subject of this story…seem as though it would be difficult, maybe impractical to install separate from main travel lane cycle tracks for bikes.

          Cycletracks though, are an idea worth reminding people about from time to time.

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  • Drew December 8, 2011 at 3:17 am

    How about the sellwood bridge sidewalk? Most people are too scared to ride the roadway. They try to share a narrow sidewalk with walkers, inches away from constant 30mph+ traffic. If Ms Fritz needs to get excercised about a sidewalk issue, she could press for sharrows and a 15mph speed limit, so bikes could use the roadway where they belong.

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  • Gracie December 8, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I agree with getting bikes off the sidewalks in downtown, which is the point of the story. I also agree with the posters who complain about drivers who break laws and intimidate riders (that behavior seems to be increasing–and I am a very law-abiding rider who uses lights and wears a helmet–but that is a different issue, and maybe should be taken up elsewhere since it is a “preaching to the choir” issue here.

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  • BURR December 8, 2011 at 11:54 am

    The worst part about this ‘campaign’ is that once again the city is holding a press conference to slam cyclists as scofflaws.

    That’s not support for cycling, that’s rocket fuel for all the anticycling yahoos and cars and peds vs. bikes pundits.

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    • wsbob December 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      “The worst part about this ‘campaign’ is that once again the city is holding a press conference to slam cyclists as scofflaws. …” Burr

      The city did not hold the press conference it did to “…slam cyclists as scofflaws. …”.

      They city’s campaign and press conference was apparently conducted to promote safe use of the sidewalk for people that need them to be safe to travel about downtown by foot.

      They city’s campaign and press conference didn’t even take the occasion to in any way fault people that bike or skateboard for not complying with traffic use laws. It simply appealed to visitors to Downtown to observe the policy of not riding bikes or skateboarding on the sidewalk out consideration for the safety of people that use the sidewalks for walking.

      Despite this, bikeportland editor-publisher maus, and some other people commenting to his story, seem not to be able to resist creating an opportunity to attack the city’s efforts to have the city’s sidewalks be safer.

      It’s apparently almost completely lost on editor-publisher maus and some other people commenting here, that the city might have the safety of downtown people on foot using the sidewalks in mind. Instead, with this story, he spends a lot of time speculating political intrigue, referencing an earlier, distantly related one or two line general comment Commissioner Fritz expressed about her impression of the frequency of people on bikes downtown not using bikes on streets and sidewalks in a safe manner.

      After the first of 2012, there most likely won’t be any “sidewalk enforcement missions” or related press conferences. When people no longer have a need to do holiday shopping, pedestrian traffic on Downtown sidewalks gets kind of sparse until about March.

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    • spare_wheel December 9, 2011 at 8:09 am

      trying to remember the last time fritz held a glitzy press conference on jay walking. fritz should be ashamed for her cynical political dog and pony show.

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    • wsbob December 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      It was posted yesterday afternoon at the O’s site, but I didn’t post the link to that story here, thinking someone else reading and commenting to bikeportland might. Here’s the link:


      For anyone that doesn’t want to go to the O’s site, here’s most of the text from that story:

      “…Staff: 17 Officers from Traffic, Transit, and Central Precinct.

      Hours: 2-4 p.m. Thursday.

      Activity: 91 contacts. Mostly bicyclists (only 4 skateboarders contacted).

      Written warnings: 49

      Citations ($182 for bicyclists, $122 for skateboarders): 7. City Code allows a fine of up to $500 for riding a bike on a downtown sidewalk.

      “Education contacts”: 33

      Other: 2 warrant arrests (Imagine the jailhouse conversation: “How’d they finally catch you?” “Riding my bike on the sidewalk.”)…” as posted by Joseph Rose/Oregonian

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  • q`Tzal December 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    To solve bicycles on sidewalk problem:
    Institute a congestion pricing scheme (like London’s) for the area in downtown Portland where cyclists are prohibited on sidewalks.

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  • Athiholic December 11, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    These politicians should be fired for going after bikes. There are over 100 car break-ins a month downtown and they worry about bikes on side walks?

    It is very difficult to ride bikes downtown, give cyclists a break. It seems to me portland is increasingly becoming a bad place to ride a bicycle.

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  • Athiholic December 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Sorry, I meant to write 100 car break-ins a week downtown.

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