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On-bike video highlights notorious Sylvan/Hwy 26 intersection

Posted by on June 1st, 2012 at 6:33 am

Still from on-bike video showing
a man talking to a woman he just hit
with his car.
-Watch it below-

A man’s on-bike camera filmed a collision between a woman riding her bike in the crosswalk and someone driving a car. The intersection where the collision occurred — SW Skyline where it crosses Highway 26 and the highway’s adjacent multi-use path in Sylvan — is a common sight for close calls and there are numerous videos of it posted online2.

A video taken by southwest Portland resident Andrew Holtz, who goes by “crazytraffic99” on YouTube caught the bad intersection in the act. The video, uploaded on Wednesday, shows a person in a car rolling through the crosswalk, just as a woman rides through it on her bike. The car clips the woman’s rear wheel. Scared and shaken, the woman yells at the driver and pulls onto the sidewalk. The driver gets out and the two have a conversation — which is all caught on camera and subtitled thanks to Holtz.

Check it out:

It turns out that Holtz has filmed this same intersection many times, including one clip from last September titled, “Drivers behaving badly“.

This intersection clearly has some issues. The multi-use path is a busy and popular route for people riding over the West HIlls, and whenever a sidewalk spills into a roadway, there is potential for conflict.

Holtz has been riding through this intersection for over a decade. He told me yesterday that, “I’m still startled by the number of drivers who apparently don’t see people using the crosswalks and paths.” The most common hazard, he says, is people turning right to enter Highway 26 without yielding to traffic on the multi-use path:

“Day after day, I see drivers staring intently to their left, inching forward, ready to pounce as soon as they spot an opening in the vehicle traffic. Too often, they never glance right to see people entering the crosswalk. The same thing happens when drivers turning right have the green light… too many of them don’t seem to notice when the WALK light gives the right of way to people in the crosswalk.”

“Few parents will allow their children to walk or bike across the interchange now. That’s a sad reality that we should change.”
— Andrew Holtz

The good news is that the intersection is already on the radar of both PBOT and ODOT (fortunately, Holtz also happens to be a very active and engaged citizen bicycle activist). Last summer, Holtz visited the intersection with city and state traffic safety specialists. According to a source at PBOT, one of the reasons this intersection is so dangerous is that it was designed to handle large truck traffic, which means the curbs have a very shallow angle in order to handle a wide turning radius. It’s a design that invites rolling through turns and maintaining speed.

Another issue at play here is the classic tale of dual jurisdictions managing a roadway. With both PBOT (SW Skyline) and ODOT (the multi-use path and highway on-ramps) having responsibility here, finding solutions is even more difficult.

Holtz would like to see a “No Turn on Red” policy implemented here. He says even when he has the light, he assumes that people in cars will violate his right of way because he sees it happen so often. “It shouldn’t be that way.”

The many people who use the multi-use path, adds Holtz, “shouldn’t have to be hyper-vigilant in order to take advantage of one of the premier paths in the region.”

He also points out that the East Sylvan Middle School is less than a block from this intersection. “Few parents will allow their children to walk or bike across the interchange now. That’s a sad reality that we should change.”

It’s great to know that ODOT and PBOT are actively working on a solution. We’ll keep you posted once they’ve made some progress. In the meantime, use extra caution at this intersection.

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PlannerJohn
Guest
PlannerJohn

Looks like the driver was definitely at fault there. If I’m crossing an intersection and see a car inching forward, I make damn sure they see me before I cross in front of them.

I’m not familiar with this intersection, but I like the idea of the no-turn on right as a short term solution. Another might be stronger visual cues to drivers like green paint and bike symbols to mark the crosswalk area as a multi-use path with frequent bike/ped traffic.

Jake
Guest

We don’t need more signs, paint and clutter.
She needed to make eye contact with the driver before proceeding.

brian
Guest
brian

Yes making eye contact is a good way to protect your own arse for those who can’t be bothered to follow the rules of the road. But the root problem is that so many road users dont follow the basic rules. Are you suggesting mad max style traffic flows are the way to go?? Fix the problems. PUNISH the offenders. Punish offenders in all modes. Otherwise it will never be safe out there. Critical mass will never occur.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

Always making eye contact at crossings and intersections is certainly a safe habit to be in. She probably learned that lesson with this experience, however, she had right of way, and it was not her responsibility to avoid that collision. I also agree that we don’t need more signs, paint and clutter. What we do need is safe, attentive and conscientious road operators. I wish the driving test was based on those things, instead of giving a license to everyone who can breathe.

Seager
Guest

That was likely impossible, since the car driver was probably looking left for traffic. If we go by your rule than bikes will have to stop and yield to all the cars at the intersection that can’t be bothered to look both ways.

Rather, the driver of the CAR should have looked both ways before proceeding across a bike path.

DoubleB
Guest
DoubleB

How do we know he didn’t. Her bike darted in front of there. He could have looked right, then looked left inching up before clipping her.

By law, yes it’s the driver’s fault. But you could do everything right as a driver there and still hit the bike.

It’s the equivalent of a kid darting out in front of traffic between parked cars.

Steve B
Guest

How do you make eye contact with someone who isn’t looking in your direction, while you have the right of way and signal?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

People trying to cross the road in the situation you describe can call out loudly, strongly, politely as possible, wave their arm to get the other person’s attention. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, and consequently…the person attempting to cross just has to wait for the next light cycle and a more attentive or civil road user to notice them and let them proceed. Annoying, but better than getting clipped or run over.

There seem to be many people on the road whose skills and abilities don’t adequately equip them for the complexities existing there in situations like the Sylvan overpass complex of intersections. This calls for extra reliance on self control on the part of people that do have the required skills.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“People trying to cross the road in the situation you describe can call out loudly, strongly, politely as possible, wave their arm to get the other person’s attention. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, and consequently…the person attempting to cross just has to wait for the next light cycle and a more attentive or civil road user to notice them and let them proceed. Annoying, but better than getting clipped or run over.”

wsbob,
now you’re being ridiculous. What happened to the right of way? Are you prepared to ask all that of someone in a car (who, let us remember,did not in this case have the ‘I am going straight-right of way?’

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

9watts
“People trying to cross the road in the situation you describe can call out loudly, strongly, politely as possible, wave their arm to get the other person’s attention. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, and consequently…the person attempting to cross just has to wait for the next light cycle and a more attentive or civil road user to notice them and let them proceed. Annoying, but better than getting clipped or run over.”
wsbob,
now you’re being ridiculous. What happened to the right of way? Are you prepared to ask all that of someone in a car (who, let us remember,did not in this case have the ‘I am going straight-right of way?’
Recommended 1

Ridiculous to take measures to be certain the right of way is safely given? I don’t think so. In this particular incident, there’s some dispute on a number of points about to what extent each party…person driving and person riding…sufficiently observed their obligation to each other as road users. …

… On the most basic premise, the person approaching and entering the crosswalk on the bike did have the right of way from the person driving, but the person on the bike still had an obligation to be certain before proceeding to cross the street, that the person driving was going to yield.

Seth Alford
Guest
Seth Alford

I think wsbob was responding to the specific question of “How do you make eye contact with someone who isn’t looking in your direction, while you have the right of way and signal?” A more complete phrasing of the question might be, “I don’t wish to be hit while riding my bicycle by a car with an inattentive driver when I have right of way. So I’m going to swallow my anger and frustration that the other road users don’t do their job, that licensing requirements are too lax, and that by trying to make eye contact I’m also enabling drivers’ inattentiveness, etc. So I’m going to make the extra effort anyway and try to make eye contact. Given all that, how do I make eye contact when they aren’t looking my way?”

I think that part of wsbob’s answer is correct: yell. I don’t agree with arm waving. That takes your hand off the handlebars, and for most bicycles, the brakes. And if they aren’t looking in your direction, and the movement of you and your bicycle are not sufficient to catch their peripheral vision, arm waving is not going to do it anyway. Your mouth isn’t doing anything else, so use it to yell.

I still wonder, what to yell? The best option I’ve come up with is, “Car on the right/left,” with emphasis on the direction-word from which the car is coming. “Emphasis” means I bark the word as loud as I can, while trying to pretend to be the drill sergeant I’ve seen in dozens of war movies. Usually it comes out as, “carnRIGHT” or “carnLEFT”. Advantages of saying this over “hey” are:

* they can’t accuse me of saying something provocative and trying to escalate a situation. After all, it is a car coming from the right or left. The worst anyone can accuse me of is stating the obvious.
* if the car driver registers it, he may think that I’m warning my fellow bicyclists, and potential witnesses, to a threat. By the time the driver realizes it is just me, I may be past the intersection. The possibility of witnesses may be a deterrent.
* “hey” could be directed at anyone, whereas “carnRIGHT” is directed at someone driving a car.

Disadvantages of “carnRIGHT/carnLEFT” versus “hey” are:
* it takes you an additional split second to decide on which to say
* a pickup truck driver may be miffed that you refer to his truck as a mere car. Yes, you could say one of “carnRIGHT/carnLEFT/truckRIGHT/truckLEFT” but then you have to make 2 split second decisions instead of one. And maybe he really does think of his pickup as a car, so he won’t think that you are yelling at him.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“I think wsbob was responding to the specific question of “How do you make eye contact with someone who isn’t looking in your direction, while you have the right of way and signal?” A more complete phrasing of the question might be, “I don’t wish to be hit while riding my bicycle by a car with an inattentive driver when I have right of way. So I’m going to swallow my anger and frustration that the other road users don’t do their job, that licensing requirements are too lax, and that by trying to make eye contact I’m also enabling drivers’ inattentiveness, etc. So I’m going to make the extra effort anyway and try to make eye contact. Given all that, how do I make eye contact when they aren’t looking my way?” …” Seth Alford

A bit over the top in expressing it, but the above is all fine..I’d call it a somewhat realistic expression of what may at times be involved in handling this particular intersection for safe travel.

Keeping in mind that part of the specifics of this particular incident, is that…apparently backed up by video…the person on the bike approached and entered the crosswalk at a speed a number of people commenting to this thread have estimated is far above a normal walking speed. Here again is the link to: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.410

Replying to Esther C’s comment of today, just below, about many bike’s brakes requiring a hand be kept on them, making it difficult to wave an arm and hand to get a road user’s attention: first of all…approaching and entering the crosswalk should be at no greater than a normal walking speed, which is about 3.5 mph. At that speed, one hand off the brakes, waving is probably something most or many people could do with a little practice.

The safer thing though, if it appears the person driving may be inclined to creep forward into the crosswalk, is to just stop entirely before entering the crosswalk. Once stopped, do the waving, calling out, whatever. Either get their attention or don’t proceed into the crosswalk. That’s just the way it is sometimes. It’s not worth stressing out over. Even if you’ve got to wait for another light cycle to proceed, if because you waited, you don’t get clipped, it’s a good day.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

hmm…looks like the exception to hand off the brakes/waving was also Seth’s. Sorry Esther.

esther c
Guest
esther c

What, cyclists are supposed to stop at every intersection whether we have the right of way or not and yield until all drivers acknowledge us?

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the drivers to be required to routinely give us the right of way when we have it.

Ron Georg
Guest
Ron Georg

Really? Where does that appear in the traffic code? And what signals would be transmitted through eye contact to ensure that each party was sharing the same extra-sensory perception?

Eye contact is often impossible through the glare of a windshield. Even where it is possible, you can never know what it means to the other person. Some drivers are bound to think, “Oh good, that cyclist saw me. Now I can go, because he certainly wouldn’t dare cross in front of my mighty vehicle.”

Indy
Guest
Indy

This happens to me constantly, AS A PEDESTRIAN. Drivers do not look to their right when making right-hand turns at intersections, pulling out of driveways, etc.

It has gotten to the point where I have to not only make eye-contact with drivers, I have to yell loudly as I cross streets to remind them.

JNE
Guest
JNE

Making eye contact is key. Everytime I roll into a crosswalk without getting the driver’s eye I think — I should have waited, s/he could cream me.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Making eye contact is key. Everytime I roll into a crosswalk without getting the driver’s eye I think — I should have waited, s/he could cream me.”
I do that too. But does the average driver of a car?
See what I mean?

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

I do see what you mean. This intersection is on my commute and if the driver is not looking, I just don’t go. Yes, it is a PITA and am giving up my right of way, but better just wait as opposed be being a pancake.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Unfortunately, all of this giving up right-of-way also has the side effect of training drivers that all others are subservient and will bow to their mighty power. Not saying that it isn’t still prudent to do, I’m just wishing there were some way to remind drivers of their responsibilities without being a martyr. I’ve heard of this thing called “enforcement”, or something like that, but I’m not sure how to use it or how it works…

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

I am pretty much in agreement with you that if we just wait and always cede the ROW, we run the risk of being subservient.

I was referring more to this intersection, however. Not sure if you are familiar with it, but there is a lot of vegetation around it and has pretty poor sight lines. Consider if I am going at a rate of 15 mph and traveling at a speed of 22 feet/second. When I took driver’s ed, I was trained check left, right, left and proceed if clear. Now if a driver does this on this intersection, it is going to seem like I literally “came out of nowhere.”

I am glad this intersection is on the radar as a potentially hazardous one. I do think striping a third line further back from the crosswalk could help as well as putting a warning sign like there is coming off 26 turning right onto Skyline. But, for the time being, I will just understand the limitations and potential hazards.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“… I do think striping a third line further back from the crosswalk could help as well as putting a warning sign like there is coming off 26 turning right onto Skyline. …” Mindful Cyclist

MUP’s are a relatively new addition to public way infrastructure, the laws to which might well be in need of some additions or amendments to require signage clarifying what the legal and safe use of that infrastructure is. At this particular intersection for example, a sign on the MUP declaring: ‘Speed limit 3.5 mph Approach/Enter Crosswalk’, might be of some benefit to both road and MUP users.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Or as an alternative, NO RIGHT TURN ON RED signs could provide some benefit.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“Now if a driver does this on this intersection, it is going to seem like I literally ‘came out of nowhere.’ ”

This is precisely why, if this MUP is intended as a viable “bike path” (I hate that term more and more every day…), Right Turns On Red–as God-given a right as everyone seems to think they are–should be prohibited here.

Yes, I have been through here a couple of times and agree the sight lines are bad, and there are some lovely, yet ill-placed shrubs that should probably be moved or removed.

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

While I agree that this is certainly an intersection that needs a NRTOR, I also worry that it is going to give peds and cyclist this false sense of security. Let’s face it, people often do not follow it.

Maybe a nice big sharrow with a X-ING

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

Well, I guess I hit reply on accident or something….

To finish my thought, a big sharrow with the letters X-ING underneath it may be a very inexpensive and temporary fix until something else can be done.

Ali
Guest
Ali

Do you realize that there are pedestrians that can’t make eye contact? Because they can’t see.

LoneHeckler
Guest
LoneHeckler

Wow. Just as I was silently nodding along with all of the “make eye-contact” comments (my personal policy for this kind of crossing), I came across this excellent point. You’re absolutely right. Touche’.

Seth Alford
Guest
Seth Alford

What LoneHeckler said.

Steve B
Guest

The yelling thing is effective! When I see a driver not looking at all, I love to shout HEY YO HELLO!! and they usually turn around and look at me all startled.

LESTER
Guest
LESTER

I think that intersection needs a RR crossing style gate that drops when the crossing signal is lit.

NF
Guest
NF

I would love to see that!

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Or retractable steel/concrete bollards.

I wonder whether it wouldn’t help at these intersections to move bicycle crossings back from the intersection far enough to allow one or two vehicles in front of it at the intersection. Sort of like a RR crossing, with drivers expected to not stop in the crossing. Rather than a crossing arm, I’d settle for some kind of sensor that would trigger a loud alarm sound if a car remained stopped blocking any part of the crossing for more than 3-5 seconds. Sort of like the alarms that sound when cars are leaving a parking garage. It would serve as a great warning for cyclists approaching that someone was at least partially blocking the crossing, and would be annoying enough that drivers would want to avoid tripping it for fear of being “That Guy” who causes a huge racket for the other drivers waiting at the intersection. I can see the sign: “DO NOT BLOCK CROSSING /ALARM WILL SOUND”. Heh.

jd
Guest
jd

I’ve had close calls on both sides of the wheel at that intersection. The opposite corner with the on-ramp for E26 is just as bad.

In that situation, there was a pedestrian that crossed in front of the cars, which the driver obviously stopped for. The cyclist came from around a blind corner on the right out of the frame at a relatively higher rate of speed. If he would have creeped into the intersection a little more, she would have went over the hood. It was a bad situation all around, so I’m not assigning blame to either party.

A no right on red would probably be the best solution for that corner.

matt picio
Guest

the cyclist did *not* come from around a blind corner. The MUP in that location is fairly straight for a significant distance.

Unfortunately for the cyclist, if she’d been seriously injured, the insurance companies could have refused to pay since she was traveling greater than the speed of a walk (3-5mph) while within the crosswalk even though the motorist clearly failed to yield.

(In addition to failure to yield, the motorist started out with the front of the car and front wheels impinging on the crosswalk, which is also a traffic violation)

John Lascurettes
Guest

This is bad traffic design right there.

There’s a reason that the law that normally regulates bicycles operating on a sidewalk states that when entering a crosswalk or crossing a driveway, the bicycle operator must slow to a speed no faster than “walking speed”. The reason is that drivers don’t expect something that fast to comet them from the right.

That said, this is a MUP disguised as a crosswalk. Or is it actually a crosswalk? I’d be curious to know what the law in the eyes of a lawyer would be here. Does the bicycle rider have a responsibility to slow to “walking speed” when entering what looks like a crosswalk to the driver? Yes, the driver is supposed to yield and check to his right, but in a court of law, it might find both people at fault.

Is there a lawyer in the house? Someone call Ray Thomas. 🙂

Andrew Holtz
Guest

Yes, cyclists should take it slow and easy in crosswalks. But in this case, the driver apparently didn’t look right at all. The car clipped the bike’s rear wheel… if the woman had been riding more slowly, she would have been right in front of the car when it went forward. She might have been pinned under the car, rather than just getting a scare.

To your other question, the rider was on a multiuse path, not a sidewalk.

Spiffy
Guest

actually, they were on a MUP, then a sidewalk, then a crosswalk, all within 1 second…

oskarbaanks
Guest
oskarbaanks

Awesome point of detail! Thanks, Spiffy. I have an opinion on this story, but my brain is scorched from the Scott Stephenson/N. Williams car rage debate! I am taking a pass on chiming in on this one, and choosing to go ride my bike ! peace.

DoubleB
Guest
DoubleB

We have no knowledge of that. He could have looked right, then left and inched forward before making contact.

Oliver
Guest
Oliver

Also consider that “walking speed” means something far different for active people in a city like New York, Chicago (and likely Portland) as opposed to non-active people in smaller burg like Hillsborough, Des Moins etc.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“That said, this is a MUP disguised as a crosswalk. Or is it actually a crosswalk? …” John Lascurettes

The part of the MUP that crosses the street is a ‘crosswalk’. Whether the public way in question is strictly a sidewalk or an MUP, where it crosses the street, it’s a ‘crosswalk’. This means that, yes, according to Oregon law, ORS 814.410:

http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.410

also, cited in part, elsewhere earlier in someone’s comment, people entering a crosswalk have to reduce their speed to that of a normal walking speed.

The Sylvan overpass and its intersections on both the north and south of Hwy 26 are complex and busy, but they work fairly well. All points of the complex do require a lot more concentration from everyone using the road than do simpler intersections. Visibility seems to be good. The biggest problem is that the overpass intersection complex is extremely busy. I see no simple fix for that aside from everyone driving deciding to switch to riding buses or bikes…as if that’s ever going to happen in the foreseeable future.

Chris Daniel
Guest

Bad traffic design, indeed. I have walked and ridden through this intersection along the MUP, and each time have wondered how the hell this got past anybody who has ever walked or biked. This is pretty much standard fare for a pedestrian crosswalk, but for bikes it is sub-optimal. There needs to be at least some signage and green paint here to indicate to drivers that there are probably bikes crossing.

Ideally, there should be a bike signal/sensors, green paint, and a very emphatic “No Turn on Red” for drivers. The MUP along US-26 is hard enough to use without having to deal with this dangerous intersection.

John Lascurettes
Guest

“come at them” not “comet them”

Rol
Guest
Rol

I like “comet them.”

Todd Waddell
Guest
Todd Waddell

Legally, I think the cyclist was at fault. Oregon law requires cyclists using a crosswalk to do so at a walking pace. The video suggests that the cyclist was traveling at a moderate pace. The driver may well have checked right and had the cyclist enter his path in the short time he was checking oncoming traffic.

Having said that, as a practical matter, I think both drivers and cyclists need to be more aware, and that traffic agencies should word to identify and fix these particularly dangerous intersections.

9watts
Guest
9watts

But wait, ‘right turn on red’ isn’t a requirement. It isn’t ‘must turn right on red’ anymore than the speed limit is a ‘speed minimum.’
The fact that we sometimes catch ourselves acting as if these were, exemplifies what Alan Durning calls carhead – entitlements that derive from our overwhelming sense that cars belong/are in the right and everyone else doesn’t/isn’t.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Regardless, it wasn’t prohibited, which would (in theory) have prevented this collision (as well as her slowing to walking speed as required by law). She’s lucky he was actually pretty good about it all (full stop before the line and not over it, not hammering the gas when he saw his hole, getting out of the car to check on her, etc.) and we’re all lucky it was nothing more than a learning experience. Thanks Andrew for your vigilance and activism, hopefully the governing bodies will make some improvements here!

Gregg
Guest

Todd, are you saying that the cyclist was at fault AND the driver was not at fault? If the cyclist was not at walking speed, this does not give the driver legal right to hit her. The driver may enter and proceed through the crosswalk when it is safe to do so. Obviously it was not safe to enter or proceed through the crosswalk when there was a cyclist in FRONT of his car.

Spiffy
Guest

we recently went through the walking speed debate when the off-duty cop hit somebody on a bike riding on the sidewalk on Powell…

I think the bike got the raw deal on that one since amateur witnesses estimated the bike traveling at 9 mph and the maximum known walking speed is 8.5 mph…

Gregg
Guest

I remember clearly. But it was a cop!

DoubleB
Guest
DoubleB

Completely and utterly incorrect. Watch the video again. The driver’s front wheels are in the crosswalk as the cyclist just comes into view a good 15 feet from the sidewalk. The driver has already let a pedestrian through.

matt picio
Guest

Which means the driver is guilty of rolling past the stop line / crosswalk. The driver is required by law to stay outside the crosswalk until it is safe to turn. The motorist is still not blameless, regardless of the culpability of the cyclist.

J_R
Guest
J_R

This is a place for a “sting” operation rather than the stop signs at Ladd’s addition.

Spiffy
Guest

I think all you have to do is call and request enforcement…

Andrew Holtz
Guest

People do request enforcement here. And the police do put some officers here on occasion, but it’s not enough to make a big dent in the red light and crosswalk violations. The intersection is on the city’s list for a special crosswalk enforcement, but I haven’t heard when it might be scheduled.

Rob
Guest
Rob

This reminds me of one of the scenes in the video they often show during motorcycle courses. They show scenes, then stop the video and ask “who’s fault is it?” After each of the earlier scenes in the video, most students will respond that it’s the motorists fault (which it often legally is). Ater it’s pointed out what could be done by the motorcyclist to anticipate the collision (i.e., defensive driving) it’s clear that the definition of “fault” and the answer to the question can be quite differeent.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Hurray for helmet cameras. Cars insulate their occupants way too much.

Smedley
Guest
Smedley

Wow. I always wondered how someone gets the back tire clipped, since it implies that the rider rode in front of the car and the driver is looking through the front windshield. I try to get a look at what drivers eyes to see what their intentions are, the driver here probably does that maneuver everyday. If that happened to me on my Mtn bike I would have wielded it like a weapon on his hood. Specifically using my bike rack as a contact point. It would have made that nice blue paint stand out. He would have got out and yelled, I’d calmly tell him we’re even and rode off. The stupid awe shucks grin is what does it for me. Good thing I never ride out there.

Dave
Guest
Dave

A no turn on red is the obvious solution here.

Opus the Poet
Guest

Actually a no turn on red national law is what is needed. AFAIK all right-on-red laws have done is very efficiently kill pedestrians while making people think they are getting to their destinations faster than otherwise.

Dan
Guest
Dan

I ride that route every day. I won’t go into that crosswalk until I know for sure that the driver in the right turn lane has seen me. And you have to be sure going Westbound too — I think it’s actually more dangerous going the other direction.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Both directions are bad and I have had more close calls here than anywhere else in the metro area. I have had people exiting HWY 26 fly around that right turn too. You have to treat the “walk” signal as a “be damn cautious when you walk” signal.

Shetha
Guest
Shetha

I’m with Holtz. When I pass through here, I pretty much yield even when I have the walk sign. Folks coming from 26 West bound have no inclination to stop at the red light. Folks turning right after coming down Sylvan don’t either. I’m also cautious when headed westbound… if stopped cars are blocking my view, I can’t see if the person in the right turn lane is blowing through or not, so I guess I go a cautious speed (not quite walking speed, though). I guess a no turn on red would be nice but that depends on road users changing their behavior to follow the signage, which they aren’t doing now. Call me skeptical… “I’ll believe it when I see it”

Spiffy
Guest

sorry, but it looks like the car was in the intersection first since he was over the line, which means it’s not safe for the cyclist to enter until the car clears out…

I’m going to have to side with the driver… they’re already in the intersection and the rider doesn’t slow down to give the driver any time to figure out where she’s going…

it’s like a pedestrian stepping off the curb in front of a car halfway through a walk signal… yes, the ped has the right of way, if the car has enough time to notice where they’re going…

just because there’s a walk signal doesn’t mean a car can’t turn right… there was nobody there when the car entered the crosswalk… the bike actually did come out of nowhere, transitioning from a MUP to a sidewalk to a crosswalk in about 1 second…

9watts
Guest
9watts

Spiffy,
but why is the driver looking left so intently, if cross traffic (in your view) should yield to the almighty driver ‘who’s already in the cross walk’? Speaking of which, why is he ‘already in the crosswalk’ when he doesn’t have the light?

DoubleB
Guest
DoubleB

Let’s remember, he’s already let a pedestrian cross in front of him. That at least implies he’s looked right. He’s inching forward in the car after the pedestrian passes him when the cyclist darts in front of him at a rate much higher than the pedestrian who just passed him.

The driver is allowed to turn right on red there (which is the obvious answer to this issue in the 1st place) and to do requires him to cross the sidewalk.

SJ
Guest
SJ

Totally agree with Spiffy. A light is a light, paint on the road is paint–they offer a totally false sense of security. If the rider, not to blame the “victim” here, had just slowed and gone to the rear of the car, everything would have been fine. As riders, we can push every situation where in fact we have the right of way, or we can be highly, or even pathologically, in my case, selective about the times when we CAN go but need to just pause for about a second to make sure we’re seen.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Explain to me again how a motorist with a red light ever has the right of way.

Dk
Guest
Dk

Because it is their road Matt! when are you going to understand that? (end of sarcasm).

You thing this is bad, read the discussion in the thread before this. It seems that brushing an open car door justifies running someone down with a van.

Speaking of, it was clear she shouted something at the driver, I’m not sure why the driver didn’t then ram her with his car. It’s clear that the shout gave him justifiable cause. (okay, now I’ll end the sarcasm)

Spiffy
Guest

they had already dealt with the red light by stopping and were already in the intersection… by them already being in the intersection they claimed the right to proceed… anybody else that wants to enter the intersection needs to ensure the intersection is safe before entering it…

the bike entered before the car finished proceeding…

I know we generally don’t see a lot of people following the law out there since it doesn’t actually work, but when a collision happens they always revert to the law…

Gregg
Guest

I don’t think you are right on this, Spiffy. It is true that the driver does need to stop before the crosswalk, but he can not enter the intersection until he can clear the intersection. He can not enter the intersection and stop. It is a pet peeve of mine when drivers enter an intersection on yellow only to block traffic from the right and left once the light changes. In the video you can see that he stops partially IN the crosswalk: NOT OK.
Driver at fault (Or at least he is ALSO at fault.)

SJ
Guest
SJ

So the driver was wrong because he actually was trying to be extra careful? By your reasoning, a driver should stop, then proceed as if the driving situation won’t change. It’s perfectly acceptable to creep out after stopping, slowly, then complete the turn. The fact here is that the driver was being careful, looking right (didn’t see anyone), looks left (no one) then, out of the blue, as he mentions in the video, a biker bolts in front of him, during that brief interval when he was scanning the scene. A driver can’t look both ways at the same time. It’s a given that no one is perfect, but man, he was at least trying. And he stopped to continue his efforts to be a good driver.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

The driver admitted that he was looking left while driving forward. I don’t want to be combative here, but that doesn’t sound like carefulness to me.

Order of business for making a right turn:
1. Stop.
2. Check for traffic on the left and forward.
3. Check for pedestrian traffic in both crosswalks that you will be crossing (not every person using a crosswalk is able to follow right-of-way rules or able to cross in a timely manner).
4. Repeat 2, then 3 until it it safe.
5. Turn right.

To reiterate the message from numerous people here: if you don’t see that a car sees you and sees your intention to cross, glare at them until they do. When they see you stopped and staring, they usually make either apologetic (NE Portland) or angry (Sylvan and 26) faces.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Point being, you do not expect “traffic” except for pedestrian-speed traffic to come from your right. This is why the law exists for bicycles in the crosswalk needing to decrease to “walking speed” (which Ray Thomas says is defendable in court at about 3 mph). Drivers check to the left longer when they make a right on red because that is where the faster traffic comes from (both cars and bikes in bike lanes or sharing the lane) and drivers must must visually scan for that much farther away. Bicycles should not be coming at them, into the intersection at a high rate of speed (even as low as 9 mph). If drivers were expected to be able to scan either direction for higher (than pedestrian) speed traffic, then we’d be allowed to also make lefts on red onto two way streets (guess what, you can’t).

So, though both participants pulled a boner move in this – in a court of law, I think they cyclist would lose a fight to who was at fault. The driver had stopped before proceeding, scanned right and then checked left. The cyclist entered the crosswalk at well above 3-4 mph and therefore violated the law (even if the driver didn’t check right again).

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Bicycles should not be coming at them, into the intersection at a high rate of speed (even as low as 9 mph).”

John,

I’m certainly no lawyer, but to me the Right Turn on Red is a conditional not a mandate. As such I’m not following your logic that has the person on the bicycle throttling their speed since they have the right of way.

I see the person going straight (in this case the person on bike) as having a right of way that trumps the right turning on red driver’s right, which in any case is conditional upon there being no one crossing. If it is hard to determine if anyone is coming from the right then he/she should not proceed. There is never a compulsion to turn right on red.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

9watts
“Bicycles should not be coming at them, into the intersection at a high rate of speed (even as low as 9 mph).”
John,
I’m certainly no lawyer, but to me the Right Turn on Red is a conditional not a mandate. As such I’m not following your logic that has the person on the bicycle throttling their speed since they have the right of way.
I see the person going straight (in this case the person on bike) as having a right of way that trumps the right turning on red driver’s right, which in any case is conditional upon there being no one crossing. If it is hard to determine if anyone is coming from the right then he/she should not proceed. There is never a compulsion to turn right on red.
Recommended 4

Whether or not RTOR is conditional or a mandate isn’t even something Lascurettes touched on. With regards to this incident, your own suggestion that the person on the bike had the right of way over the person driving, disregards the apparent fact that the person on the bike approached and entered the crosswalk at a faster normal walking speed.

Lascurettes remarks help clarify the reason the law requires a normal walking speed approach and entry to the crosswalk, by delineating road users reasonable ability to scan left and right for cross traffic originating from the sidewalk, before proceeding.

Road users, whether they’re operating a car, a truck, or riding a bike, are going to have significantly greater difficulty detecting someone approaching and entering the crosswalk from a sidewalk, if the person approaching is traveling faster than the normal walking speed specified in the law.

DoubleB
Guest
DoubleB

Have you EVER driven a car? What is he supposed to do? He’s let a pedestrian in front of him. He’s actually clear–cyclist isn’t in the shot yet. Should he then fully pass the crosswalk and get into cross traffic in order to make the turn? Or do what EVERY OTHER DRIVER in America does–slowly move forward into the crosswalk to make sure that it’s safe to make the turn.

Machu Picchu
Guest
Machu Picchu

Obviously it’s not safe to turn if a person has a signal that it’s ok to use the crosswalk at that time, and their choosing to exercise that permission puts them in front of you. I agree that it was hard, if not impossible for the guy in the car to execute a right turn ON RED under the exact circumstances shown here, but (and SO) that is why right on red is bad here, if not everywhere. What is he supposed to do? Wait for a green light. I would never ride into a crosswalk the way the rider in this video did, but it’s near impossible for me to defend someone hitting a non-motorized user in a crosswalk while facing a red signal.

9watts
Guest
9watts

precisely.

dr2chase
Guest
dr2chase

I drive. When I don’t like what I see, I stop. Stopping is always an option. Most red lights will eventually turn green, and then he can proceed. Right-on-red is allowed, not required.

The problem with pulling forward into the crosswalk is that any pedestrians that arrive STILL have the right of way, but now he is partially obstructing them, and also reducing his ability to see them.

Furthermore, what if the cyclist had done what I sometimes do in exactly these situations; ride to the edge of the sidewalk, dismount, and keep walking forward. The cyclist is apparently required to enter the crosswalk at a walking speed, but can arrive at the edge of the sidewalk just 5 feet pretty-darn-quick. How can a driver deal with this possibility? They can stop.

Tim w
Guest
Tim w

But how did a cyclist have the further right of way? Legally, she should have dismounted. Since that would be a pain while riding on an MUP, she should have at least rolled through at walking speed. The driver was following law more so than the cyclist, at least that seems to make sense to my unprofessional self.

BURR
Guest
BURR

motorists are legally required to come to a full stop at the first stop line before proceeding into the crosswalk/intersection to make a right on red.

In my experience very few motorists actually do this; but rather, they roll as far forward into the cross walk as they can before they stop and wait for traffic to clear before making their turn.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Very true. Drivers need to stop behind the line. Then, when there is sufficient time to turn through a crosswalk, they must look both ways before proceeding.

Look both ways! Isn’t that the first thing we are all taught when using roads? Except…that was self preservation (as a pedestrian).

Look both ways and re-read your driver’s manual.

Jake
Guest
Jake

This is a difficult overpass in general. I live pretty close to here and consistently use extra caution at any point along it where cars could be turning right (onto or off of the freeway) because the hilliness of the terrain and the large number of obstructions (trees, plants, lights, signals, signs) mean drivers 90% of the time roll into the crosswalk and have a difficult time seeing other cars, let alone cyclists.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Even if the driver did look to the right, the biker crossed very quickly.

I’ve nearly been hit several times crossing this intersection on my bike on the way to work. But those near misses usually just turn into the car blocking my path, seeing me, mouthing “SORRY!” and moving on. And that’s even coming from the East side of that crosswalk.

Slow down.

Unsure if (a) applies, but (d) definitely does.

814.410¹
Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk
(1) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person does any of the following:
(a) Operates the bicycle so as to suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
[…]
(d) Operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway or crossing a curb cut or pedestrian ramp and a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp. This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic.

9watts
Guest
9watts

This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic.

Sage advice but also evidence of carhead (in my opinion)

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

9watts
This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic.
Sage advice but also evidence of carhead (in my opinion)
Recommended 2

Evidence of ‘carhead’, how? By giving people riding bikes carte blanche to ride as fast as they choose on sidewalks between points where the sidewalk approaches and enters the street? That’s what the excerpt you’ve selected from the law says.

This part of ORS 814.410 that’s probably due some review for the simple fact that it allows people riding bikes on the sidewalk to legally exceed speeds far beyond a normal walking speed. The law might be better to clarify that people riding bikes on the sidewalk should be obliged to reduce their speed to normal walking speed whenever within a given distance from other people using the sidewalk.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Not his opinion. He was quoting the law directly.

Matt
Guest
Matt

I do know, however, that the rules are different when the “sidewalk” is also a multi use path and specifically when it’s a designated bike path, which I believe this is.

There are multiple problems here. Right on red practically encourages motorists to look left as they head right. Right on red should be no more. The position of the bike path is almost like the cyclists are on the wrong side of the road from the motorists’ perspective. Again, speed is a factor here. A motorist might be familiar with a pedestrian at 3MPH coming from that direction but a cyclist moving only nominally quicker is not the norm for motorists. Right on red also encourages motorists to inch out into crosswalks to see if the coast is clear. Another bad idea.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Matt,

Do you have a citation for that statement? The only information about a MUP/sidewalk/crosswalk being different somehow is from a lawyer in Eugene saying nothing about a MUP crossing is defined well in the ORS.

Quentin
Guest
Quentin

I don’t have much sympathy for the cyclist in this case. She didn’t even have both hands on the brakes and she was obviously going way too fast to give the driver a reasonable chance of seeing her before he executed a perfectly legal right turn. I agree that drivers need to look right before turning right, but I would add that cyclists need to make themselves more visible and predictable to drivers.

LESTER
Guest
LESTER

I don’t think we have a good enough video to determine whether the right turn was legal. Did the motorist come to a complete stop before crossing the crosswalk line? Did the motorist look both ways before making the turn?

DoubleB
Guest
DoubleB

We don’t know. But we do know that the cyclist didn’t come to the speed of an “ordinary walk” when entering the crosswalk.

The motorist MAY have violated the law. The cyclist DID violate the law.

Matt
Guest
Matt

It’s not perfectly legal when the motorist had a red light and the cyclist had the right of way. Right on red after stop and if it’s clear you can proceed. IT WASN’T CLEAR.

LESTER
Guest
LESTER

BTW, hitting the brakes would’ve made for a worse crash in this instance, acceleration might have lessened the impact a bit.

wade
Guest
wade

i’m not concerned with what my legal right is as a cyclist or pedestrian on an everyday level. it may be legal for me to ride quickly on a sidewalk, but it doesn’t mean it’s not stupid and dangerous. it may be my legal right to walk into a cross walk in any number of situations when i could be hit by a car, but i choose to wait or walk around the rear of the car. and it may be illegal for a car to perform a thousand possible endangering maneuvers, but they still do it and although there are ways to mitigate that behavior through design or laws, as long as there are cars driving on the streets, they will be a danger to cyclists and pedestrians. I find it effective to treat ever interaction with a motor vehicle as a potential catastrophe and imagine the worst possible thing the motorist could do in any given moment. it’s a bit spiritually depleting riding or walking this way, but i believe it’s safer.

9watts
Guest
9watts

wade,
I agree with you if we’re taking a static view of this (kind of) situation. But some of us are interested in the dynamic view; in how to change this deplorable state of affairs, how to call attention to & assert the rights of those not in cars, to demand redress, better enforcement, signage, etc.

wade
Guest
wade

what’s static about riding my bike and walking instead of driving? just because i defer to a dangerous machine that can maim or kill me doesn’t mean my interaction with the urban environment as a cyclist and pedestrian is static. are you saying it’s dynamic to pathologically assert your rights at the expense of safety?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

many serious bike-car accidents are caused by unavoidable inattention or even criminal behavior. in my experience, hypervigilance at best provides a marginal decrease in risk. moreover, i believe negative judgment of other cyclists because they are more comfortable with risk is divisive and unhelpful. i also believe that much of this judgment stems from a car-centric point of view.

wade
Guest
wade

i’m really not blaming/judging cyclist behavior (or pedestrians) for our vulnerability and the realities of riding bikes and walking in a world filled with cars, nor am i trying to make polar distinctions between cyclists who behave and those who don’t. i totally agree, it’s car-centric/headed, but until transportation projects/urban design catch up to all of our imaginations to create a velotopia, i think these are some important considerations. I would say that hypervigilance and riding proactively (taking “risks”) aren’t incompatible. i don’t think certain risks are worth it but being proactive and making yourself seen is important. i hear what you’re saying about the dangers of not standing your ground. there are many times when being overly cautious is worse than being proactive. anyway, urban riding is very complex, the complexities of which are difficult to parse. there seem to be more exceptions than axioms. ride safely and live another day to stuff an envelope!!!!

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

nice response. agree with it all.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“are you saying it’s dynamic to pathologically assert your rights at the expense of safety?”

wade,
you are not hearing what I’m saying (or I’m not saying it well).

Static: How can I come out of these deplorable/potentially dangerous but predictable situations with my epidermis intact? By riding very defensively and keeping in mind that those driving cars often don’t pay very much attention to me. Assume death lurks everywhere, etc. –> We’re on the same page.

Dynamic: This disrespect on our roads for non-car modes is absurd/should not be allowed to continue. I’m going to do something about it* (work to change policy/read up on the laws/make lots of noise on bikeportland/bring this up in conversation/keep this carhead-induced asymmetry in mind always). My suggesting that there is also a dynamic way of approaching this (category of wrongs) is not meant to invalidate or denigrate a static view: this is just how things are but it is I think an important distinction.

*the ‘it’ here isn’t the situation right here right now as I’m approaching an intersection, but the categorical problem

wade
Guest
wade

i thought you were referring to riding style

wade
Guest
wade

and dude, my urban style is quintessentially dynamic, impeccable actually, like each of my movements is an expression of all the wisdom of the bike ever passed along consciously and unconsciously. I deliver myself through the streets like a ted lecture before everyone got a standing ovation. i’m a true believer in cultivating both fear and virtuosity.

Joe
Guest
Joe

signage on the side of the road telling drivers look right before turning or maybe better driver tests.. RIGHT HOOKS KILL!

Ethan
Guest
Ethan

The “No Right on Red” lights don’t always work. A couple of weeks ago I was almost taken out by a TriMet bus violating such a sign at the newly redesigned ramp at N Rosa Parks & I-5 south (mere blocks from the Maus House). The onramp at the north end of NW 23rd has been the site of right on red violations for DECADES.

Reza
Guest
Reza

This. The 23rd and Vaughan intersection has been the bane of my existence. There is a reason why cars are prohibited from right turning on red (Vaughan traffic going WB often U-turn to access the Thurman St ramp going EB). I have seen numerous close calls where U-turners almost hit illegal right-turners. Why PPB couldn’t set up a sting operation there baffles my mind.

Captain Haddock
Guest
Captain Haddock

I live in this neighborhood and use the U-turn to jump down to 21’st (to avoid 23rd traffic) and see it happen all the time. I also ride through the intersection on my way home from forest park / sauvi island and have almost been clipped a few times. I simply don’t understand how it is that car drivers (being one myself) don’t see the HUGE “no turn on red” signs posted all over. I think it’s lazyness combined with selfishness and/or my car is my castle behavior.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

there are studies that show signage doesn’t work as well as engineers would like to think.

Machu Picchu
Guest
Machu Picchu

I think engineers know as well as anyone just how ineffective signs can be, and you will find that add-on signs (like the NO TURN ON RED) being proposed here are generally the suggestions of user/citizens with good intentions but less education.

Rick
Guest
Rick

I don’t know this intersection but it does seem from the camera perspective that the person on the bike does enter rather quickly. If I’m not mistaken, bikes going through a crosswalk must do so at pedestrian speed. Maybe that only applies if there are pedestrians currently in the crosswalk. At any rate, drivers and cyclists really need to take the time and effort to see and be seen.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Yes, it’s a crosswalk, but it’s also an MUP. So it becomes a little more of a grey. area.

Frankly I think the placement of this path is just ridiculous, it’s poorly marked and very hidden from view in both directions. There have been times on a bike where I have almost missed turning onto it. I know there aren’t a whole lot of other options due to the terrain, but having a path at this location is kind of a losing battle, regardless of what traffic restrictions and signage you put up.

AK
Guest
AK

Thank you so much to Andrew for taking this video and being active in the community. This video, and the proximity to the school, will go along way towards finding a good solution.

As someone who rides across this cross walk once or twice per day, and never at walking speed, I agree with several of the commenters below. “No Right Turn On Red” for the southbound Skyline Blvd traffic, where the incident happened.

The WB Off-ramp drivers turning right onto Skyline is the other bad spot, as riders know. I don’t think “No Right Turn on Red” would be that effective since most of the close calls happen on a green light. I would suggest a custom sign like “Watch for Bikes in Crosswalk” in black letters on a safety yellow sign, or “Yield to Bikes and Peds in Cross Walk”…

Joseph E
Guest

“The WB Off-ramp drivers turning right onto Skyline is the other bad spot, as riders know. I don’t think “No Right Turn on Red” would be that effective since most of the close calls happen on a green light.”

The best solution would be “no right turn on green” (!) from the off-ramp. Instead, there could be a red right-turn arrow, which would turn flashing yellow when Skyline had the green. Cars coming off the freeway would need to stop, then turn right onto Skyline when safe. Or the traffic engineers could add a third right turn only phase, to fully separate the movement of cars and pedestrians/bikes.

D_G
Guest
D_G

I was struck by the cinematographer’s riding: INstead of leaving the bike lane and getting in line behind the cars, he is squeezing by on their right. I ride through a similar intersection at NE Lloyd and MLK every day but I do not think it is safe to pass cars on the right in a right turn lane, I always get in line. What do others think about this protocol? Anyone know the law on this point? BTW, I was right-hooked last fall going straight through an intersection, passing a long line of cars, one of which was turning right w/o a blinker! I got smacked down really hard and had some damage to body and bike but was mostly ok. I now take it easy through intersections, even if I technically have the ROW. Also, I am a big supporter of abolishing the right on red.

davemess
Guest
davemess

If he is planning on turning right at the path (which is before the on ramp where the cars will turn), then I have no issue with this. I run up the right side of cars at lights every day. If you’re careful about it and ride defensively it’s really not that dangerous. In this situation I don’t see any danger to the cameraman.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

How safe it is depends on the situation; it looks to me like Holtz was quite safe, in this case.

811.415 Unsafe passing on right says: “(c) Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaking vehicle is a bicycle that may safely make the passage under the existing conditions.” So, if you crash while doing it, all bets are off.

Editz
Guest
Editz

I’m a little surprised by that. I thought lane splitting was illegal for vehicles, and since a bike is considered a vehicle…might also explain cases of road rage where motorists feel the cyclist is “cheating” by passing on the right like that. I always get in line.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“I thought lane splitting was illegal for vehicles, and since a bike is considered a vehicle”

Those other (motorized) vehicles do it constantly. The law actually is more symmetrical than you may realize. My understanding (from comments here on bikeportland) is that the same rule that allows drivers of cars to pass someone on a bike where there’s a solid yellow line, permits a person on a bike to do the same when conditions warrant it.

The bike being chiefly on the right isn’t going to be expected to weave around and pass a line of parked cars on the left….

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Well, passing on the right is a little different than lane splitting, but I’ve looked up that in the past, too, and as I read it, ORS 814.400 “Application of vehicle laws to bicycles” says bicycles are “(1) subject to the provisions [of] any other vehicle…except: (b) When otherwise specifically provided under the vehicle code.” ORS 814.240 “Motorcycle or moped unlawful passing” specifically provides that motorcycles and mopeds are prohibited from land-splitting but doesn’t mention bicycles or vehicles, so exception (b) applies. IANAL, that’s just my interpretation and maybe there is further case law clarifying it, but that’s how it looks to me.

I’m not saying that lane splitting is (or isn’t) wise or cautious or otherwise advisable, just saying that I am not aware of Oregon law prohibiting bikes from doing it.

dr2chase
Guest
dr2chase

It also varies by state. The Massachusetts laws against lane-splitting are specific to motorcycles (not cars, not bicycles), and though “vehicles” are required to remain within a single lane, it does not prohibit two vehicles in the same lane. We have some poorly-designed (or rather, “just happened”) roads with very wide lanes, where drivers will go two in a single lane, or pass on the right or left in a single lane, and I have never heard of anyone receiving a ticket for this (it happens constantly). There’s an example of this on Google Streetview, “Trapelo and Slade, Belmont, MA”. First view is mid-day, light traffic. Rotate left, one click down Trapelo, and it’s rush hour, and look at the on-coming lane.

I’m curious about the “must enter crosswalk at a walking speed” rule — that must be an Oregon law, because there is no mention of such a thing in all of Massachusetts law (I just double-checked).

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

For a bike to pass on the right, even when there isn’t a bike lane, is legal in Oregon. The law was changed not too many years ago to legalize it.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

The above was meant as a reply to D_G’s question above. Sorry it didn’t show up in quite the right spot.

D_G
Guest
D_G

thanks!

Todd Waddell
Guest
Todd Waddell

D_G, I typically do the same thing.

Kris
Guest
Kris

It’s pretty obvious that this intersection would benefit from extra signage to make motorists more aware of two-way traffic.

Here are two examples of such signs:
– Netherlands: http://www.unieuws.nl/uploads/image/2010/04/img_u1266_p18725.jpg (note that in this photo, crossing cyclists still have to yield to cars)
– Belgium: http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/6091/n16laagstraat02.jpg

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

The MUP could be better designed, there. It sweeps north at the bus stop, bringing its users in behind the stop line for cars (the north crosswalk line), over the driver’s shoulder and out the side window of cars. If, instead, it continued straight behind the bus stop, parallel with the sidewalk, it would bring bikers and peds on a course facing the driver’s windshield, in a zone where (maybe) the driver would be more likely to see them, and they’d be looking at the front of the car and the driver’s face/eyes.

Google sat. view: http://goo.gl/maps/1inI

davemess
Guest
davemess

Yes, they could make it like the intersection of Johnson Creek and the Springwater, where the pathway crosswalk is independent of the intersection. This layout usually allows cars to pay attention to the path much more.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Oh, and that way bikes would be going up a slight grade rather than down, thus reducing speed entering the crosswalk.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

To me, this situation represents a clear example of “separation” fail. If this path is an example of a MUP, which are also referred to by many as “bike paths”, subject to required use under ORS 814.420 (never mind that there is just about no other way to traverse W-E through this area), then this is more than a crosswalk, it is an intersection with cross traffic from both directions. The fact that right turn on red is allowed here is a travesty that shows extreme disregard for bicycle traffic and the safety of riders. What has been created here is a British “junction” where traffic should be routinely expected in the “near lane” (MUP) from the right, making RTOR the equivalent of a U.S. LEFT turn on red.

Those that want to call this a crosswalk, subject to the “no faster than walking speed” rule, may be showing defensive prudence, but it highlights the extent to which we can’t make up our minds how to treat bike traffic. We want it separated, but we don’t want drivers to ever have to think about it. We want bikes to be vehicles, except when they “get in the way” of cars–then we want cyclists to be pedestrians and follow sidewalk rules, but God forbid that cyclists “endanger” pedestrians by ever using a sidewalk! Drivers accuse cyclists of “playing both sides” when they see one divert onto the sidewalk in an attempt to expedite some bit of their trip, yet we have “bike path” designs that instruct cyclists to do this very thing if it would be convenient for motorists by making those on bikes make extra stops, or suddenly be governed by a different set of laws that would give motorists the legal advantage in the event of a likely collision.

This is why I have very little confidence that we will ever figure out an equitable solution to the “separation” problem in my lifetime. The prevailing attitude–even among cycling commenters here–seems to be “Cyclists Beware! Cars will trample you!” “Caveat Birotatio!” This attitude is what leads to legal and law enforcement bias, roadway and “bike path” designs that maximize the inconvenience to cyclists (in the name of “safety”, of course!) while also maximizing throughput of autos at all costs, laws that put undue burdens on those who would ride, and the continued notion that cars are normal and bikes are “weird”; anybody with real business to conduct drives a car and is inherently More Important than some Peter Pan on a recreational toy.

Paul in the 'Couve
Guest
Paul in the 'Couve

This is GREAT! my new Manifesto! Jonathan should publish this tomorrow on the front page.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Yes well put. This is one of the many conflicted “thought” flaws our planning and engineering community creates in the design of bike facilities. We are starting to fix the bikeway links but the bikeway junctions are still bad – either the bikeway ends or it is designed poorly for bicyclist access and safety.

Also there is the point of route hierarchy. That the traffic movements of the higher order (regional vs. local) traffic would have preference at a intersection. So Hwy 26 traffic would be over Skyline Blvd. If the bikeway MUP performs as the Hwy 26 link for non-motorized traffic (since the ODoT engineers do not want bicyclists operating on it) then the design of the intersection should reflect this in design and operation. But this hierarchy of route tends to break down in this country when non-motorized routes are planned.

Think of how many regional highway MUP or arterial MUP facility crossings are stop controlled for crossing driveways or local [more minor] streets. Or worse…when a rail line is converted to a regional trail facility and the old right of way priority is flipped to prioritize the side street or driveway traffic over the regional trail traveller on a bicycle. An example of this is the Banks Vernonia Trail or the Wallipa Hills Trail.

DoubleB
Guest
DoubleB

“Those that want to call this a crosswalk, subject to the “no faster than walking speed” rule”

It IS a crosswalk. Look at it from the driver’s point of view. How on earth would he think that’s it a MUP? There’s no signage or coloring or anything telling him it’s not a crosswalk.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

My point is that even if it is legally a cross walk, it is out of place as such. If you’ve ever been to downtown Portland, imagine that Salmon street–or better yet, one of the bridge streets like Burnside or Madison–instead of passing over the waterfront, was routed across it on the same level in such a way that drivers suddenly found themselves crossing a wide pedestrian path, having to slow to 3mph until they crossed it and the actual bridge began. That makes as much sense as the crosswalk here.

Regardless of the fact a driver is responsible for not running over someone that is in a crosswalk right in front of them (looking in the direction you are about to move can be a great strategy), my comment put more blame on the design of this intersection than either of the vehicle operators. You are correct: there is no signage, no special striping, no real indication to expect cyclists who are continuing on their way along this MUP. There was very little regard for bike crossing when the path was built this way. It leads to a situation where unless everyone follows every last nuance of the letter of the law, things like this will happen. I had a math professor long ago whose testing philosophy was that a test should consist of items that students could do “with mittens on”. The same should be true of well-designed roadways. It is highly unlikely that any driver or cyclist even knows all the subtleties of intersection ROW law and safety, and even less likely that such principles would be consistently followed even if they were known. A well-designed intersection should protect travelers by making it obvious what is going on at that intersection. Instead, intersections like this just give everybody enough rope to hang themselves–and supply convenient tree limbs to do it. It’s just very fortunate that in this case, a bumped rear wheel is all that resulted.

mark kenseth
Guest
mark kenseth

Bad road design. It’s good to see that the driver got out and didn’t escalate the situation.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Indeed. Neither person shouted insults at the other and it was dealt with peaceably. In the words of Kyle Broflovski: “I think we learned something today.” In all sincerity, bravo to them for that. Contrast that with Stephensen’s encounter on N. Williams.

Antload
Guest
Antload

I sure dislike when an MUP utilizes undistiguished crosswalk facilities to cross a road. Crosswalk = sidewalk = walking pace, yet typical convention is to maintain momentum at speeds clearly greater than walking speed.

Of course the driver in question shoulda looked right.

Jonathan Gordon
Guest
Jonathan Gordon

I think it’s worth pointing out the both the person in the car and the person on the bike handled themselves pretty civilly. Aside from initial, very understandable outburst, it seems both people kept their cool and treated each other with respect. I imagine they both had a few extra ounces of adrenaline in their systems. I commend them both.

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

Skimmed the comments so someone may have already mentioned this. This path is part of my commute home so I know it well. What I have found works best (though far from fool proof) is to hit the walk button and then scoot up so my front tire is bacially just about out in the roadway. I am making myself the most visible at that point and it will allow a right turning car to possibly see me better. I used to hit the bottom, balance on the bike and go, but noticed I had a more more right turning cars not seeing me at all.

I do think maybe some green paint in that turn lane may be a good idea. But, for now I am just going to use a bit more caution here.

Mark Allyn
Guest

How did you get the good audio? I have two contour cameras on my helmet, one facing backwards and one facing forward.

My audio is terrible. I can barely hear myself talking or singing to myself; let along someone else talking.

Do you have an external microphone>

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

If someone figures this out, please tell me! 🙂

I have the same problem. All it captures is “WHIIIISSSSSHHHH.” I put a foam windscreen over it and it still does the same, just everything is muted.

Boneshaker
Guest
Boneshaker

I ride through this intersection and take that crosswalk M-F and this same thing happens to me all the time. I usually stop, knock on their window and ask them to back up. It’s not only here though, on the other side of the crosswalk you have to deal with the people getting off 26W and making a right turn. Cars run this light all the time and they’re only looking left to check if traffic is coming toward them… not straight ahead to see if the crosswalk is clear. It really is a tough place to cross.

craig harlow
Guest
craig harlow

Wow, I love video. It so clearly appears to me that:

1) there was no cross traffic in front of him heading to the onramp, so…
2) he was very probably only waiting for the pedestrian to clear the lane
3) had another pedestrian entered the crosswalk while he was looking left, there would have been car-on-person contact

**he WAS being considerat of crosswalk users, BUT…
**he failed in his obligation to look again before proceeding

4) rider’s faster-than-walking speed does not flag before she enters the crosswalk

**she failed in her obligation to slow to a normal walking speed before entering the crosswalk

He was at fault for the contact, and he earns a ticket for failure to yield in a crosswalk, but she gets a ticket for failure to slow for a crosswalk.

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

…actually full consideration of the pedestrian in the crosswalk would have been shown by the driver backing up several feet to clear the crosswalk when the pedestrian approached. There was room for this courteous maneuver.

John Lascurettes
Guest

It’s the law that cyclists should not enter the crosswalk at a high rate of speed. Simple as that. I imagine the law was set up to serve the right turn on red allowance in the law. Don’t like it? Change the laws. I’m just stating it as it is.

Because she entered the intersection at a faster than “walking speed” it would be considered in finding “at fault’ that she broke the law. The driver (if he did indeed ever check right) was operating within what is allowed within the law, and he could simply state that he didn’t see her because when he scanned in his near vision to the right, there was nobody approaching before he encroached into the crosswalk space. Had she been going “walking speed” there would be no contest that it would be the driver’s fault, but since she didn’t – it would most likely fall on the cyclist to being at fault.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Damn. That was meant to be a reply to 9watts. I guess there’s a nesting limit to this comments.

9watts
Guest
9watts

By Andrew Holtz’s interpretation, if she’d slowed down she may well have been run over.
By my interpretation, had the driver paid better attention he would have yielded the right of way to the person on the bike and all would have been well.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I often ride through this interchange on the way home from work, and it’s amazing how much my experience jibes with the comments of many others on this thread. Like others, I’ve learned from experience that right-turning drivers are often looking the other way, and I make sure to get some eye contact — using my voice if necessary — before proceeding across their path.

And this is true not only at the spot shown in the video where southbound drivers are heading right (on red) onto WB 26, but IMO is even worse at the other end of the crossing where drivers coming off WB 26 are turning right onto Skyline. Those drivers have a green light, and probably have a stronger legal case against a cyclist who is hit while “crossing” at above a walking pace.

At an absolute minimum, the crossing of the MUP needs to be treated not as a sidewalk, but as an additional roadway traversing the intersection, and it should have a dedicated green phase, with right turns prohibited on red for any conflicting movements. Banning right turns (and having that indicated by a red arrow) ONLY when they conflict with MUP traffic might get better compliance than a total prohibition of RTOR, which is likely to be widely ignored.

BTW, for everyone who thinks this interchange is awful for people trying get straight across it on the MUP, try doing what *I* do everytime I cross it … get from the MUP at the northwest corner to Hewett Avenue over at the southeast corner. Talk about dangerous, and a facility absolutely horribly designed for cyclists…

craig harlow
Guest
craig harlow

Hehe–I’ve probably told this story here before, but…

I rode fully upon the hood of a right-turning 50’s pickup, laying face-down, for about 15 feet before I finally got the driver’s attention by smacking the hood with the heavy ring on my right hand. THEN he stopped.

I had been walking eastbound in the crosswalk across NW Park Ave at Burnside by the Firestone store, and the driver had been craning his neck to the left, watching for an opening in westbound traffic.

Dudes across the street started jumping up and down, laughing and yelling, “kick his ass! kick his ass!”. The driver just buried his head in the steering wheel, shaking it in disbelief.

No injury. Lucky I hopped a little when I knew I was going to be hit. Now I *never* enter a crosswalk without first making eye contact, and I whistle loud as hell if the driver just isn’t bothering to look anywhere but left.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

BTW, for anyone who wants a clearer picture of this horrible intersection, the “Drivers behaving Badly” video is a great montage. Especially classic is the moment at 1:15 where the driver in the yellow Volvo first runs the red light while crossing the MUP — then lays on the horn when forced to stop for another vehicle still clearing the intersection! Sin boldly, I guess. (BTW you know this guy is the one honking, because 240 Volvos had very distinctive-sounding horns).

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Looking at the video and Google Earth plus public comment on the problem, there are some quick fixes that should be considered by the agencies responsible for this junction and facility:
– pull the stop bar back away from the crosswalk, so that drivers have a better field of vision of the trail traffic
– check if there is any obstructions of stopped driver sight lines at this junctions (why are they creeping ahead?)
– add advance warning signs communicating to drivers to expect bicycles crossing here
– in the new space created by pulling the stop bar back, see if adding a marked “bike crosswalk” with ‘elephant footprint’ dashes would help communicate to drivers the presence of bike traffic crossing, one could also add bike stencils at a 90 degree to the driver within the “bike crosswalk” to reinforce this
– check the signal heads and see if they can be adjusted to fix the creeping into the crosswalk (or investigate option of converting signal head placement to near side)

And as pointed out before…there should not be any “RTOR” movements at such regional trail crossings. Does there have to be a legislative state law on this or can ODoT/ PBoT/ etc. adopt this practice internally? The RTOR practice is a very “recent” historical addition to traffic operations that should be constrained when it affects traffic safety.

Paul in the 'Couve
Guest
Paul in the 'Couve

This story and all the comments really highlight three issues for me.

First issue is bikes having to mix in with shared facilities, but forced to travel where drivers aren’t accustomed to look for traffic. This includes bike lanes the encourage or force cyclist to ride close to the curb along minor intersections. Especially during low traffic times, drivers seldom even look far enough to the left to see cyclists on the side of the road.

Second, the design of freeway / surface interchanges in (particularly in suburban areas) just don’t work for pedestrians or cyclists. I see this repeated in many locations but the MUP trail here brings the problem up more because it is supposed to provide a safe route for cyclists and pedestrians. The Mill Plain / I-205 interchange in Vancouver is one terrible example and you almost never see a pedestrian there – not even pan-handlers – and only rarely intrepid cyclists who assert the travel lane. I can think of many more bad examples. The traffic signals can actually make the intersection worse for pedestrians. The traffic signal installed 2 years ago at Leiser and HWY 14 in Vancouver is an example where the light and crosswalk signal actually put pedestrians in greater danger of getting hit by cars turning right on green than they would be if they ignored the signals.

Third is the design of MUPs crossing roadways. The real solution here (short of an over/under pass) is to have separate signal phase for the crosswalk which would unfortunately probably require a button activation and bikes usually stopping to wait. When the bikes have the signal for the intersection though, they should be expecting to cross the intersection with the right of way without slowing.

LESTER
Guest
LESTER

If you’ve never been through the area, just imagine Lombard & I-5 but add a NB onramp and SB offramp and more big stores and restaurants.

No fun for sure!

Ted Buehler
Guest
Ted Buehler

And two more lanes on the street, and one more lane on each ramp…

Rol
Guest
Rol

Just like yesterday’s story on Williams, both parties made mistakes. Unlike yesterday’s story, both parties managed to avoid acting like jerks.

Like yesterday’s story, the area of the incident isn’t a blissful nirvana of perfect utopian bicycle-specific infrastructure, yet nonetheless it’s an attempt that’s partway there, and one can make it through either one without incident.

And like yesterday’s story, the comments generated mostly make me cringe with embarrassment. Including this one. *cringe*

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

Many thanks to Mr. Holtz for the video and Mr. Maus for the story. I’d love a story or workshop on how to buy a helmet cam. I don’t have the time to research all the options. My dream situation would be a workshop that covered some well tested models and then at the end I could buy, install and be on my way.

Any suggestions from helmet cam owners? I’d like lightweight more than anything.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

After looking at the Dutch intersection design, I would think there is a technical issue with the intersection. Perhaps one of the easiest solutions would be to move back the stopping area for cars.

Two Wheel
Guest
Two Wheel

I like the bicycle helmet camera idea a lot, front and back, it helps keep both sides more honest. If tons of us were wearing bicycle helmet cameras, think what an effect that it would have on traffic awareness. I’m talking about an “Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacree Movement” I’m not talking about a couple of weirdo’s riding bicycles and even though a conspiracy would be much more fun, what I am talking about here, folks!…is…I am talking about a Movement, “The Alice’s Restaraunt Anti-Massacree Movement”‘ of Bicycle Riders of every conceivable type, shape, size and whatever I have forgotten, All Of Us! wearing Bicycle cameras!
It would change traffic forever.
Please excuse my reckless literary license.

Kevin Wagoner
Guest
Kevin Wagoner

Good luck getting ODOT to do something about people turning right without looking to the right. I see the same behavior very often at the off ramp from I5 onto SW Terwilliger. ODOT responded to my question, “Is there anything that can be done” back in 2010. I find this no can do attitude very frustrating.

Sent to Kevin from ODOT back in 2010:

Thank you for your inquiry to the City of Portland regarding the location that you reference below. As I am the Assistant District 2A Manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation and this area falls within ODOT’s jurisdiction, your message was forwarded to me for reply.

I took a look at this area today, and I can see where your concerns come from. At this location, you have I-5 northbound traffic exiting the freeway and then proceeding to make a right turn onto Terwilliger Blvd. I can see how traffic would be inclined to only look to the left at on-coming traffic but not to the right, not expecting or anticipating anything coming from that direction. I can understand that as a pedestrian if you were on the south side of Terwilliger going west across the off-ramp in the marked crosswalk, drivers may not expect nor see you before they proceed with their right turn.

A few suggestions and comments……..

This is an enforcement issue for local law enforcement (IE, coming to a complete stop, and yielding to a pedestrian). Some things that I might suggest for your own safety is to utilize the sidewalk on the north side of Terwilliger while heading toward Barbur Blvd. Also, you may want to try to establish eye contact with these drivers before crossing this ramp, being safe as to not assume that they see you.

In the mean time, I will forward your concerns to our Traffic Investigation Staff as well as our Electrical Department to see if there are any feasible measures that we can take. Additional signage on the off-ramp to warn motorists of pedestrians or taking a look at the signal timing for the crosswalk could be potential options to address these concerns.

I hope that I have adequately given you some feedback regarding your concerns, but please feel free to give me a call directly if you have any further questions.

Respectfully,

Oregon Department of Transportation
Assistant District Manager

Sunny
Guest
Sunny

Auto transmissions are more prone to creep than manuals. I never creep with a manual as the operation of the clutch and gas feels weird with my head turned.

I think I’ve met this young lady on that mup — good to know she’s still riding.

Cameras seem to keep people honest. In any case the driver seemed like an ok guy.

Kevin Wagoner
Guest
Kevin Wagoner

Just watched his other video. It would be awesome to see a red light camera to add enforcement to the intersection.

Dude
Guest
Dude

The driver was looking to his left because that would be the direction of the oncoming car to potentially hit him as he is pulling out. He already checked his right before he pulled out, there was nobody at the corner, the bike burst out in front of him giving him no chance at all to avoid a collision. it’s kind of like when those people jump out in front of a moving car so they can get an insurance settlement, the driver never stands a chance of avoiding him. In court the video would go in the drivers favor. Usually it’s children that ride out onto a crosswalk on their bikes, grown ups should ave a little more sense.
If the crossing was out in the street side instead of coming off the sidewalk it would be a different story.

Dude
Guest
Andrew Holtz
Guest

There’s a lot of good advice in this 1995 ODOT document. That’s exactly when this interchange was designed. It’s too bad ODOT apparently decided to disregard their own recommendations about path placement.