car up onto the bike path in the middle of the I-205 bridge.
(Photo: Paul Anderson)
On Sunday around 10:30 a.m., Half Fast Velo teammates Steven Basden and Paul Anderson were pedaling along on the Glenn Jackson Bridge/I-205 bike path when they made a suprising discovery: a woman in a car was headed right for them.
“She was panicked so I called 911.”
— Steven Basden
For those of you not familiar with the area, the Glenn Jackson Bridge connects Oregon to Washington across the Columbia River and there’s a biking and walking path that runs in the middle of the north and southbound freeway lanes.
Basden said at first the woman (who was driving a small Chevrolet sedan) started to pull over to let them pass, “But we made here stop.” Here’s more from Basden:
“… all of a sudden we see a car coming at us heading southbound around Government Island area. The woman, along with 2 kids in car… thought she could make it off on the South end until we explained construction had the lane restricted and told her about all she could do was reverse it all the way back up.”
Basden said the woman was “panicked” so he opted to call 911. He waited until a Portland Police Bureau officer arrived before continuing on his ride.
According to the Portland Police Bureau, the woman mistakenly drove onto the path from the Washington Side of the river. PPB Sgt. Pete Simpson says there was no damage and she was not given a citation. “Apparently she got confused… and got on the bike path.” To help get her off the path, several officers walked in front of her and she slowly made her way off on the Oregon side.
When asked why the woman wasn’t given a citation, Sgt. Simpson said, “Officers exercised discretion with someone who clearly made a mistake.”
I was curious how easy of a mistake this would be to make, and I’m not familiar with this area myself, so I spent some time on Google Maps. Thankfully, Google has taken their Streetview bike on this path. From what I can tell, she must have entered the path via SE 23rd Street (there’s a fence up that would have prevented her from accessing the path directly from Highway 14). The path itself is about 10-12 feet wide, which is the same width of many vehicle lanes in Portland. At the SE 23rd entrance, Basden said the metal bollard that is normally in the middle of the path had been removed (it’s also not there in the Streetview images).
Here are a few images to give you a sense of what the woman driving the sedan would have seen:
The entrance on SE 23rd looking from the path toward the street
And here’s an image sent to me by ODOT Transit and Active Transportation Liaison Jessica Horning that shows the entry to the path:
The path is surrounded by trees
Here’s the path alongside Hwy 14
Here’s the path as it begins its climb up to the freeway level
And here’s what it looks like where the woman eventually stopped and met with police
If the woman entered the path at SE 23rd as I expect, she would have traveled nearly two miles on the path before Steve Basden and Paul Anderson stopped her. Below is a map showing where she might entered and where she stopped…
Basden said he thinks the path could have better signage and adds that this isn’t first time this has happened to him. We’ve heard about it in the past as well. Back in 2007, we reported on a man who claimed a full-sized Nissan truck drove up onto the path as he rode home from work at night. The man on the bike claimed he was hit by the truck; but the PPB never pressed charges after the driver plead innocence.
Readers who sent me the story and our followers on Twitter have reacted with shock and surprise that the woman drove away without consequence.
“I can’t believe she wasn’t cited,” wrote reader Paul Deming. “Either she is lying or she is so cognitively impaired that she should have her license revoked. I wonder if I could get away with the same excuse if I got pulled over for biking on 205?”
Another reader, Bob McKibben, emailed us to say, “How can the police not cite the driver? How I ask you? That is nuts. She is a danger to all and should not be driving anything anywhere! Where she was is very hard to get too with a vehicle from either end. Unbelievable! The bicycle community needs to make a point here.”
But Eric Lanners shared via Twitter that he likes the PPB’s decision. “You don’t always need consequences to learn… glad to see portland [sic] police don’t just see there job as implementing consequences but teaching and learning.”
Others have pointed out the irony of the situation after a letter to the editor was printed in The Oregonian yesterday from a man angry at people who ride bikes on arterial streets. “And where are the police to at least educate these rude, inconsiderate people, or ticket them?” wrote Gary Gorowski from southeast Portland, “I say get these radicals off the arterials by ticketing them. And reduce the frustration for the people in cars.”
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“I say get these radicals off the arterials by ticketing them. And reduce the frustration for the people in cars.”
Funny, I’ve never met a frustrated car.
I made a mistake once missed a stop sign obscurred by vegitation, you know what I got a ticket for that innocent mistake.
I feel safer now – now I know we can get an ambulance up there.
q`Tzal, thanks for the clever presentation of a silver lining to this story. 😉
Well, I am sure people are going to say a bazillion bad things about this confused individual, who more than likely thought this strech was some type of alley or whatnot. I encountered a motorcycle along the path, (as he turned up the ramp to head south) one time, but he was young and on a thrill ride. If she had been driving a SmartCar, she might have made it !
And if you are easily annoyed, skip the link to the Oregonian letters page Jonathan put up. It will only reinforce any misanthropic tendendies one may have. Have a good week everyone!
..btw, I have ridden this many, many times. It is poorly marked, and I can understand that the popo’s let her go without a hassle. just my 2cents.
Poorly marked? There are bike signs on both ends directing you to the 205 path/bridge. I guess it doesn’t explicitly say no cars, but a one lane path through dark trees, where the only signage is for bikes seems pretty no-brainer to me.
If it is so poorly marked, how is it that this “confused” woman managed to find her way onto it believing it would get her across the bridge to Portland.
As you know, if you have indeed ridden it, it is at the very end of a 1/4 mile long, very minor residential street that is clearly signed a dead end. Further, you can’t see the path until the very end of the street. Once you get there however, it is obvious that it is a bike path and there is a bike route finding sign right there.
On the Ellsworth end, at the turn onto the street there is a Giant Bicycle sign, with small letting at the bottom pointing out I-205 Path / Portland.
So which is really more likely, that this “confused” driver get there by accident because it was “poorly signed” and she just happened to leave a major arterial within sight of clear freeway entrance and exit, and because of lack of signage though driving down a random dead end street might get her on the freeway? OR that she saw the very visible signs for a bike path and chose to try to drive on it?
Because when givin the option, all car drivers are evil maniacs who purposefully want to kill people. And all bike riders are obsessive rule followers.
“A one way path with dark trees” seems just about like every back alley in the Pacific N.W., esp. the Portland area, to me. And is your vision/awareness so utterly sentient, that you never make a wrong turn or see EVERY single sign you pass ? Have you ever driven with screaming child in a car with foggy windows ? Do I try
Last summer I was coming home on the Springwater after a long ride, and passed someone going the other-direction on a Japanese-style sport bike, with a full-face helmet. This was out near Gresham somewhere.
I gave him the “neck throat” cut it out gesture while shaking my head, but I don’t think they cared.
“Japanese-style sport bike”
We talking Fuji or Kawasaki?
Haha, sorry – motorcycle sport bike.
…didn’t know we were “radicals”..Anyway, I’m about to “radicate” toward town in a few secs and hope I don’t frustrate anyone. Safe riding, everyone.
Did she have a “Share the Road” bumper sticker?
“She was panicked so I called 911.” — Steven Basden
Most likely the responding police officers also had their own impression of the emotional, psychological, physical state the person driving happened to be in, that may or may not have factored into her somehow driving onto the bike path. Sgt.
Simpson alludes simply to the officers having concluded the driver made a mistake. If that’s all this incident was, fine, but she does seem to have driven a very long way into a situation it seems most people would have recognized much sooner, was wrong. If the driver was DUI, the police most likely would have jumped right on that. They didn’t, so she apparently wasn’t DUI. Maybe then, it was something else, that warranted looking in to.
Something seems to have been very wrong here; much more than simple confusion. I believe their have been incidents where confusion arising from various non-DUI causes has had people driving down the freeway against traffic.
I’ve gotten into heated debates with people about this. It seems absurd to me that we so readily cite people for DUI, but let people off for driving recklessly while sober. Isn’t it even more dangerous if they drive that way all the time?!
Giving thought to considering more carefully, possible reasons beyond, or other than DUI, especially for some of the collisions that occur for which there aren’t any obvious explanations, may be a responsible thing to start doing.
Maybe an obligatory physical, or mental evaluation for people involved in these types of incidents. In addition to this particular incident, I’m thinking as well, of a few of the collisions that occurred last year in Oregon, between people operating motor vehicles and people riding bikes; collisions in which, in the absence of the driver being DUI, it never was exactly determined why the car the person driving, came to collide with and kill the cyclist.
I don’t think many people would dispute that mental distress…even periodic, temporary mental distress, can affect a person’s ability to perform complex tasks, like driving. People having serious, ongoing issues with panicking, or other kinds of mental distress, if it stands to interfere with their ability to drive safely, need to be made aware of this in some way. Just letting them go on driving because they’re not DUI, and 20 minutes after an incident, they calm down, may be overlooking a threat to everyone else on the road.
If you required these tests, you would be appalled at how many of your fellow humans would fail… You do know that most mental illnesses generally go untreated, right?
This ties in with my frustration that the only time the “failure to maintain a lane” rule is enforced is as a pretext for a DUII stop; the only time I’ve ever heard of someone cited for this is after passing the field sobriety test.
I will shamelessly suggest someone measure the bollard dimensions and put up a temporary post at least!? Why is it missing? It’s a simple fix?!
Actually, as one who rides this at least a couple of time a week, at night, I prefer the post gone. You come around that corner, just 10 or 15 feet before the entrance, and the bollards were not reflective, and the space between is narrow…. I know, I never hit them and ride with caution and all, but it seems much less hazardous to me (for cyclists) without the middle bollard and I prefer cruising around that last curve without having to remember to slow down to navigate the exit. Also, I really fail to see how anyone gets on this by genuine mistake (meaning they actually think it is a freeway entrance). I’m convinced that even this lady was confused initially because either she exited HWY14 on Ellsworth accidentally instead of the next ramp for 205 or she was on Ellsworth and realized there is no ramp to 205 or west bound 14 there and THEN decided to try to cheat using the bike path. She may have thought she’d be able to find a way into the main travel lanes once she got up to the bridge, but I suspect she attempted this deliberately.
i agree keep the post out. This path is on such a quiet dead end street, there really is not much doubt that this is a bike path.
Apparently there was enough doubt that a motorist drove her car up onto it and halfway down the bridge.
And we didn’t get any information as to whether she was high or drunk (which is the only way I could imagine someone taking that not even one lane ramp up into the middle of a freeway). What about that possibly says “I was built for cars”?
You are seriously underestimating the amount of stupid on the roads. Sometimes I think I’d rather see a smart individual driving under the influence than a sober idiot.
That is assuming that she really, actually did not know it was a bike path, and believe me, or go look for yourself, but anyone that can’t figure that out in a glance should not only not be allowed access to a car, but shouldn’t be allowed out of the institution without a guardian.
bicyclists are occasionally injured or killed striking bollards on paths
So? They’re necessary, as is the need to slow down and be aware of your surroundings before you hit something.
Apparently “going to fast for conditions” only applies to drivers and not cyclists.
Striking a bollard and night because you don’t see it may be one of those conditions.
Try putting a solid 4 inch square metal post in the middle of a few streets and see how that plays? You would acknowledge it is ridicules to place a very dangerous hazard in the middle of, or even near a auto lane! Certainly cyclists must ride with caution and control speed and so should drivers.
Note the only reason for these Bollards in the first place is to keep cars off the path! They don’t do anything for cycling. Further, the bollards have been gone for at least a couple of years. We aren’t demanding their romoval, just suggesting that if someone wants to put them back, it be thought through and properly designed to minimize the hazard.
The real story here is the pattern of negligence on the part of the entity responsible for the bollard. A bollard which was absent in this case AND at some random time in the near past when the Google image was recorded.
I’d prefer a “pinch point” a bit further up the path, on the stretch parallel to the HWY 14 – maybe about 40 or 50 feet in. I’m thinking a bit of a widening of the path but with two or three bollards and a good 4 feet between them – just narrow enough to keep out cars (unfortunately not vespas or motorcycles) but plenty wide enough for bikes and at a place where bicyclists can see them well in advance and have time and room to maneuver, even in the dark. The current bollards are in the darkest area possible and for north bound cyclists, come right after a fairly tight left turn. A Cyclist barely has time to recover from the turn when forced to maneuver for the bollards – in the dark.
Agreed the lighting is very poor here and if bollards go back in they need to be painted very brightly. During the darker months the bollards were more of a danger than they were worth.
Bollards are not a good solution — they’re a well-documented hazard to cyclists, and no bollard spacing wide enough to meed ADA access requirements can keep out smaller motorized vehicles.
A more effective approach, if there’s room, is to braid the trail around an island, so that each half of the trail is physically too narrow for a car to pass, yet still wide enough for intended trail users. A landscaped island is nice, but even a big ugly concrete ecology block will do. That’s also much harder to steal or vandalize.
FHWA has some excellent design guidance for preventing this sort of motor vehicle access without creating hazards to intended users of the trail.
Thanks Josh – that is some great stuff!
Quite possible the bollards were intentionally removed — from the Google images, it’s clear they don’t come anywhere close to meeting safety standards for bollard installations on multi-use trails.
Improperly designed and located bollards routinely maim and occasionally kill even attentive cyclists.
What was the resolution of the 2007 pretzeled wheel incident? Did he get a new bike or pursue the lawsuit?
Who’s more stupid, the driver or the police? Did they even run a DUI battery of tests?
I read the article more closely, I think the lack of proper signage is a major problem, as well as the missing bollards.
Jonathan, have you honestly not been on this section of path? Got to get out more man!
This woman should have been ticketed. Ridiculous that she did it with kids in the car to boot, she had to have been inching along at 5 mph.
Hey Dave. This is BikePortland… That section of path isn’t in Portland. 😉 Kidding. I know. I do need to do a bit more exploring!
I thought you did a ridealong within the last year, where the group went over the I-5 bridge and back on the 205?
I would wager what happened was that she drove the first section, saw the ramp, drove up it thinking she could merge into the freeway from the shoulder, and then realized it didn’t connect, and was too scared to back down the ramp (I would be too, considering that there is a 150′ drop if you accidentally leave the ramp, and only chain-link fencing preventing it).
She then likely tried to drive it, thinking going forward was better than the alternative and not realizing ODOT has a major construction project blocking the south end.
Jonathan – have you verified the fencing along SR-14 is still in place? If a section is missing, then accessing the ramp from the highway is possible without driving the trail.
No. I have not verified if the fencing is out on SR-14. I agree with you though. If it’s missing, she could have just drove right off the highway onto the path… But that would seem even less feasible than entering the path from a side street in some ways. Oh well. We may never know since I’m sure the PPB didn’t question her much about how it happened.
Well there are those concrete barriers on either side of the ramp. So it’s not just chainlink fencing.
That fencing was still up when I was on the path last Sunday. I can’t imagine someone coming off the highway over grass to get to the narrow bike path.
I rode it both ways last evening. I wasn’t looking super closely for that, But I didn’t see anything out of place or any sign of were someone drove across from Hwy 14.
Onsite inspection this afternoon, with tape measure:
The cyclone fence is continuous between Hwy 14 and the path; there’s a locked service gate under the 205 overpass.
The asphalt path is between 8 and 12 feet, mostly about 9, and has moss growing anywhere from 8 to 16 inches in from each edge. The brush is trimmed back to the edge of the path, but a few branches stick into that space a little bit, and some overhanging branches come down to below 8 feet above the path. There’s a dashed yellow line down the middle, so “lanes” are between 4 and 6 feet (the non-mossy traveled part is less). It does not look anything like a street that cars would commonly travel.
There’s easily enough space and a flat, gravel surface to do a 3-point turn under the overpass, near the service gate, even with a full size pickup, let alone that little sedan. I could clearly see the ramp while still in the area where one could turn around. It is an obvious place to turn around if one had messed up so bad as to get there.
The ramp up to the 205 bridge is 9′-9″ wide at the bottom and 9′-3″ at the top, and the concrete sides are 2′-6″, with cyclone fence on top of that. Up on the bridge, the freeway light post bases intrude about 16″ into the path, so actual clearance along the MUP is under 8′. Driving a car or truck through a gap that size gets any driver’s attention.
There are three square, steel holes for bollards a few yards from the street but they are filled with debris and obviously have not been used for a long time. There is no way to lock a bollard in place; the hole flanges have been cut flush with the asphalt. (I think a center bollard there would be a good indicator, but it would have to be well-marked with yellow reflective material.)
I agree that she might have freaked out about backing up at some point and thus kept going, but I can’t accept that she accidentally got onto the ramp in the first place. She was out exploring where she could go in her car, common sense be damned. That’s pretty stupid but probably not a threat to life or limb if she went slowly (as I think she did). What bothers me about her not even getting a ticket is that with all the publicity and no consequences, more jokers are going to try that and not be as cautious about their speed.
Stupid car tricks.
Well that’s a first — police responding to an obstruction in the bike lane.
I feel bad cyclists here refuse to understand this woman was confused and demand she be ticketed. Makes me a bit embarrassed for the bike community here.
Sweet, so bikers can now claim confusion on any road they aren’t allowed?
Or, pretty much any group that commits crimes or misdemeanors? One wonders what land you live in where this application of the law is conveniently used per the favor or mood of the police!
What about manslaughter. Is that just “whoops, I killed someone, my bad, won’t happen again!”
Anyone who can get THAT confused SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING anywhere anytime much less with kids in the car. Pixelgate, have you looked at this path? Can you agree that there is no reason any reasonable aware person could mistake it for a freeway on ramp?
Where are the demands that you mentioned?
I see one person saying she should have been cited in the comments alongside two people expressing disbelief in the article. If this makes you embarrassed, I’m glad to hear that you survived middle school.
So you are perfectly comfortable with this woman operating a 3000lb vehicle around neighborhoods, where children might be crossing the street, or at high speeds on local arterials? Maybe she should lose her license until she passes the driving test again? Maybe? Would that be a tragedy?
Should that level of confusion really go uninvestigated? With two kids in the car, she’s lucky it wasn’t a wrong-way freeway on-ramp. This time.
Remember that when you are ticketed for riding (slowly) through a stop sign at a deserted intersection.
People get lost, but this is not acceptable behavior. If the police stopped me while riding on a hiker only trail in Forest Park, I think I’d be ticketed.
It’s not easy to get a vehicle that size into a place like that. Alan pointed out earlier that she drove right by a space with ample room to turn around, choosing instead to virtually squeeze her car into a tube of concrete that was clearly made for tiny vehicles.
Any way we look at it, for this woman to take this kind of mistake as far as she did, she must lack a certain ability to reason.
Why do we let stupid people wield deadly machinery?
Welcome to America. The car lobby is very powerful, and it’s quite easy to manipulate the Police bureaus of the country until press starts to complain.
Oh, that’s right, the press has massive advertising by the car industry. Say, Oregonian? KATU? etc?
Good luck with that.
Thanks, Steve Basden and Paul Anderson, for stopping the driver, calling 911, and staying on the scene until the police arrived. I’m sure that isn’t the ride you were expecting when you started out yesterday morning.
This situation, like many others, points out the need for a different *kind* of traffic citation — no fine, no license points, but immediate license suspension until the driver can pass the licensing exam again.
Many of the hundreds of thousands of drivers who send people to the hospital every year aren’t intentionally violating the law, they’ve simply forgotten the Basic Speed Law and whatever defensive driving instruction they had when they first got licensed. They don’t need punishment, they need training and testing before they kill someone by accident.
It’s not about forgetting, it’s about ego.
“I am more important than everyone. It’s more important if I get there a little quicker than the safety of others.”
This is car driving mentality in a nutshell. We’ve all done it. I do my best to Cruise control my driving at the speed limit, but even then you are passed by 100% of cars on the road, usually aggressively. It’s actually less safe to drive the speed limit or below on U.S. roads.
Last time a driver wizzed by my nose while running a stop sign and speeding, the car had Oregon plates and a plate frame from Ron Tonkin. And she wasn’t even wearing a helment . . .
I’ll concede the point that she may have been “confused”. But, if she was driving on this path at a speed to avoid collision with the sides, it would’ve taken her quite a long time to get to Government Island from the entrance. Why didn’t she notice, say, 20 yards in and then decide to back up? You know, like a rational person. Where was she intending to go? Was she really trying to get to the Oregon side of the river?
The honest answer to these questions can only be answered by these possibilities:
Impairment due to drugs or alcohol, either acute ipairment from recent consumption or residual/long lasting systemic damage from habitual abuse of drugs or alcohol.
Mental impairment due to injury or illness.
Metal impairment due to congenital reasons.
Any of these possibilities should result in either temporary (if its a temporary impairment) or permanent revocation of their drivers license.
Can anyone pull her record? Sounds like its unlikely its her first offense.
..Well, well, well, as I predicted, we now see people calling to see her driving record, along with speculation as too her mental state.
I really try to pick my battles when commenting here at BP.org., but I have to say that what never ceases to amaze me is the lack of compassion people have for one another anymore.
If you guy’s cannot for second stand back and see for yourselves why so many cagers hate cyclists, than I am truly at a loss.
I think the greater story here is that two cyclists, assisted a person who for what ever reason pulled a FUBAR move. Jeez, even the cops helped her out, and they chose not ticket her. BFD.
None of you, I assume have ever preformed a traffic violation? All of you are flawless in your daily outings, havent Cali-rolled a stop, or darted down a one way somewhere of Alberta one night on your way home? None of you have done something assine behind the wheel? ….Oh, I guess you havent.
I find many of my cycling brethren to be a bunch of self-rightous baffoon’s, really.
Grow up. No one was hurt here. Treat it for what it is.
This path needs to be fixed/modified so this cannot happen. That’s all.
Actually, compassion for people extends to ALL people, not just motor vehicle operators. It is clear to me that a person who makes this type of mistake should be evaluated as to whether they can safely operate a motor vehicle for the safety (compassion) of everyone else.
Also, my transportation activism is largely motivated by the fact a many people can not, should not, or can not really afford to be driving automobiles. Transportation equity is about compassion for people who for reasons of health, visual or physical impairment, age, cognitive decay, or financial limitation can not realistically function in our modern urban environment DUE to the domination of motor vehicles.
The very fact that you think out of a misguided compassion we should feel sorry for her and excuse her stupidity, actually argues for our point! We need to build a city where people DON”T need to operate destructive, expensive, dangerous vehicles in order to live a normal life.
Where would I begin plugging all the holes in the hopeless sieve of that reply?
I am way too tired for that, SOOO… I am going to Google search ” nude women on bicycles”, instead and put a smile on my face. see ya.
That’s actually not a half bad idea…
If you feel compassion towards her and her safety, wouldn’t you feel better if she had to take a licensing test again? What about the safety of her children? What if this had been a wrong-way trip up a freeway onramp?
…To each of your questions..
No.2. What about her children, Dr Laura ?
No.3 It wasnt, and it didnt, so there.
Please do not ask me any more silly questions.
People like you that preach “compassion” towards careless and reckless drivers are the reason that over 30,000 people die every year on roads in America. Compassion, indeed.
i hope you give yourself this very same lecture when you speed.
lack of compassion? Yes she made a mistake (whether it was intentional or not, we don’t know), but the vast majority of people would have a). corrected it, by realizing you clearly were on the wrong route (again there is NOTHING inviting about going up that relatively steep, incredibly narrow ramp to the freeway level), and backing up or b). accepted they made a huge mistake and accepted a reasonable punishment.
If I make a mistake that big (and this was a pretty big one) that I haven’t bothered to correct, I would expect and hope that the police would do their job and ticket me.
This has nothing to do with compassion, this has to do with someone who made some very, very bad choices and was trying to get away with them.
Thanks for this. Yea, it was a bonehead move, but the sky isn’t falling here. Kinda glad these armchair cops and psychologists aren’t running the city or in charge of anything.
I did this once in Madison by the lake. Not for very damn far, for sure. Cut her some slack, I’m sure she’ll NEVER do it again.
exactly not for over 2 miles!
She didn’t make *A* mistake. A mistake would’ve been her pulling onto the path and then realizing she made a mistake and then correcting the mistake by backing out.
People in cars turn onto one-way streets accidently all the time. I don’t think that they should have their licensed revoked. If someone drives for two miles+ the wrong way on a one-way street, then yes, I think its worth digging into more.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions here.
Ahhhh, really ? Please re-read your response slowly to yourself. I believe it needs a little review.
What did they say that was incorrect?
I’m starting to think maybe it was you on the bridge.
mainenance vehicles drive on this path as well, so anything that is designed to discourage cars needs to still allow the maintenance vehicles.
Three thoughts, but I’m pretty incensed, so I’m not going to expand on any of them.
From Washington, so she was probably high.
Thanks for posting the license plate.
Somebody could have very easily been killed. Doesn’t that cross the threshold for some sort of ticket?
Remember the drunk who, trying to return to Clark County early one Sunday AM, drove nearly a mile into the west-bound MAX tunnel?
“But GPS said to turn right!”
Funny that so many people would want to pile on a woman who was panicked and remorseful. Posting the license plate, saying that she was high because she was from Washington. Slander if it isn’t true- so be careful.
As someone who bikes to work, this blog makes for some depressing reading.
I don’t think that believing she should have been ticketed is piling on. You’ve got to be “confused” to the point of being a dangerous driver to do what she did.
Well, I am sorry more law enforcement experts from the cycling community weren’t there to insist that a lady, maybe a lady who did not look rich, got an expensive ticket.
Wait, did I miss something? The cops are psychic? Or does my net worth pop up on their screen when they scan my driver’s license?
So only rich-looking people should get tickets?
As others have said, she had opportunities to turn around, or back out, of the bike path but instead, she drove 2 miles– TWO MILES– on a very narrow pathway between the North and Southbound freeways. Panicked or not, confused or not, rich or not, some sort of ticket is appropriate.
This is not piling on, or slandering– this is me pointing out that someone did something stupid and illegal and should get ticketed for it. If it had been me, I would have expected a ticket– but it wouldn’t have been me, as I pay attention while driving even with kids/dogs/etc in the car.
I commute this route from Washington on my bike about 50% of the time, and in my Mini the rest of the time. Just Friday in my car-commute, I was looking at the Oregon end of the path from Alderwood, and thinking how much I wanted to drive my Mini across the bridge on the path, and wondering what the fine would be. Never dreamed it’d be a free ride!
Hey the lady was lost. She stopped for the bicycles. Waited for police. Thank God for Steven Basden and Paul Anderson who took the right course of action instead of a lynch mob mentality that would disgrace bicyclists.
Both gentleman can still file a civil citation with the court if they so chose. It was well documented.
I am glad that the two gentlemen cyclists made the driver feel safe enough to talk.
“A one way path with dark trees” seems just about like every back alley in the Pacific N.W., esp. the Portland area, to me. And is your vision/awareness so utterly sentient, that you never make a wrong turn or see EVERY single sign you pass ? Have you ever driven with screaming child in a car with foggy windows ? Do I try have to keep making up,… oh never mind..
She wasn’t high and she wasn’t drunk. She got herself into a jam and, instead of stopping, she kept going. Good idea? No. Most people don’t make good decisions when they’re panicking and that’s what happened here. Could a cyclist have been killed or injured? Yep. Did it happen or was there a close call? Nope. (Thankfully.) Would she have been cited had that been the case? Of course. BTW: I’ve never cited a cyclist for blowing a stop sign and I see it ALL THE TIME. If I can, I’ll pull alongside the cyclist and remind them of how dangerous that is and I have yet to receive anything less than a grateful response. Cyclist doesn’t get a ticket and I get the feeling that the rider will think twice about doing it again. As far as I’m concerned that’s a win-win. Same here.
My two cents,
It sounds like you are a law officer? If you were involved I’d love to here what you saw, but I assume it wasn’t you, and you may not even be an officer in Portland, or Vancouver…. Have you ever ridden this bike path?
I might agree with you in general. However, this case strains credulity. Yes she might have panicked once she got up there, but for me, knowing just how obscure and far from any actual freeway onramp the entrance to this path, I am extremely incredulous that she panicked before she got onto the path. You want to excuse her bad decision to being panicked. I can believe she panicked once she ended up stuck up on the bridge, but I really can’t imagine how in a panic she managed to drive right past the freeway, turn down a dead end, quite residential street, drive about 1/4 of mile into what quickly becomes very clearly a dead end, and the happen to notice a tiny alleyway that looks nothing like even a minor road, much less a freeway entrance, and mistake that for the way to get on the Bridge.
Take a good look using google maps, and the streetview feature and see if you think it is realistic that she just “got lost” and panicked.
Stories like this are sadly why state DOTs insist on putting like 12 ” do not enter” signs on highway off ramps.
A new line of thinking here.
First, I have been vocal here, and to those who disagree with me, let me be clear. This story just doesn’t make any sense. I really suggest you thoroughly examine the are with Google Satellite and street view, and if possible cycle the route. This doesn’t just “happen” and it isn’t just a wrong turn or a simple mistake. Either the woman was at that time really incapable of safely driving OR she did it on purpose.
My new line of thinking come from closely looking at the Satellite image and my knowledge of the area. In this image https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=SE+23rd+St&daddr=SE+23rd+St&hl=en&ll=45.605275,-122.560784&spn=0.001436,0.002095&sll=45.605245,-122.560333&sspn=0.00203,0.00419&geocode=FV_etwIdj9yx-A%3BFTHetwIdtfGx-A&mra=dme&mrsp=0&sz=18&t=h&z=19 you can see A DIFFERENT bike path – not the 205 path, but an old access for riding the shoulder on Hwy 14 which is still a (bad) legitimate bike route. Almost no one, except tourists following bad guidance actually ride this. You can see this entrance in streetview, it has bollards, but it would be easy to drive down the shoulder through the grass to get on this path, and it would put you onto the onramp for 205.
There is required context here. There is no east bound onramp to hwy 14, and no onramp for 205 at Ellsworth Road. When I first moved to Vancouver, at least twice I went down Ellsworth thinking I could get on Hwy 14 east or onto 205 from Ellsworth. Also, the off ramp from east bound 14 to Ellsworth is only 200 yards before the 205 offramp and it actually immediately after the sign for Portland/Seattle exit 1/2 mile. I have accidentally exited early a half dozen times over the years. It is necessary to either go back north to Mill Plain, or get on 14 west bound, go to Leiser Rd 1 mile back, and turn around.
So my theory. It is probable that people have in the past used this other bike path to get on 205. This woman may have heard that it is possible, or even called someone for directions and been told “you can get on 205 from the bike path.” However, she followed the wrong bike path.
Just a theory, but to one who knows the area well, it makes a lot more sense than either she “wasn’t paying attention” and accidentally drove on a bike path (1/4 mile down a dead end street from the ramps).
(continued) or that she was somehow so impaired that this seemed like the way to get on the bridge. It even makes more sense to me than she actually intended to drive the 205 path. That she intended to drive on a bike path as a short cut and mistakenly followed the signs to the 205 path actually makes for a reasonable explanation.
(Sorry hit the post button on accident.)
Ok, I’m going to be easy on you, but here goes: PEOPLE DO NOT MAKE ANY SENSE. WE ARE TOTALLY IRRATIONAL BEINGS.
Fact-free theorizing about one of your fellow citizens. The rush to punish a lower income woman with kids and a car is not becoming. BTW- that is a working class car in the picture. Court resources are not unlimited. If that lady was working class, the arrest and fines
could really wreck the family finances.
Why is her income level relevant, again?
Because rich people can absorb big fines and court time, but the same ticket can sink a working class person. For me, the possibility of damaging a working class family is serious. Had she been drunk, no sympathy. But she was remorseful. Did the cyclists say that she was abusive? Maybe their were mitigating circumstances that you don’t know about.
In the car versus bike wars, I see that some cyclists are advocating for actions that would seriously punish someone for a mistake that
she repaired (by backing out and showing remorse). This gal is a civilian.
So, again, only rich people should get tickets and poor people should always be let off with a warning?
Laws should be applied equally to everyone, and should be income status-blind. I would expect to get a ticket regardless of my economic status. So should everyone else.
i personally think rich people should get more than just tickets…
So if the driver had been 30-year-old male with a high income, you’d be okay with citing him?
How do you know for a fact that this woman is “low-income”? Isn’t that Subaru roughly a $25,000 car? Fact-free theorizing indeed.
Leaving out her perceived level of income (which is irrelevant in the first place), she endangered HER fellow citizens through willful ignorance and neglect. She had to have driven through multiple blind curves in close quarters in order to get to where she WAS FORCED TO STOP due to a complete lack of space.
She got caught trying to take an illegal and potentially dangerous short cut. At a minimum, this deserves a written warning. Really, though, someone this “confused” should not be driving anything.
I would not second guess the people that were present. You know, the longer this discussion goes on the meaner some folks seem.
Your insinuation that I would favor fining someone because of gender is deliberately untruthful. I just argued for mercy.
Tell me again how the lady should be punished. I think that further elaboration should get us a ultra diamond award for great relations in the community.
A citation or some form of punishment wasn’t necessarily in order for the driver that drove way down the I-205 bike path. Finding out, by looking more closely at the reasons she drove her car so far onto the bike lane, may have been in order.
Why was she panicked to a degree that the cyclist happening upon her, felt compelled to call 911, the emergency number, rather than the regular police number? Apparently, Basden the cyclist, found her so panicked, that she was incapable by herself, of putting the emergency flashers on, the car in reverse, and slowly backing the 2 miles she’d traveled forward onto this bike lane across the bridge.
As a result, she sits in her car, probably for at least 45 minutes while the cyclist patiently waits with her, until the police can arrive (curious: was it bike cops, or did they have to drive out on the bridge bike path to meet her?), so they can escort her off the bridge.
It’s important first, not to jump to a determination to condemn or punish, but to find out why a person in a situation like this one is becoming so panicked or stressed out, that they’re having difficulty making rather simple, judgments having the potential to adversely affect the safety of others.
Seriously a “working class car”. I wonder what you would classify mine (ie. that car looks like a Mercedes compared to mine, and is probably about 10 years newer).
I turned down that path the first time I took the 205 bridge to vancouver. It’s pretty deceptive. BUT like a reasonable person, I realized I had gone the wrong way when I hit 14, and turned around returning to the street from whence I had come.
I think this is likely right. Not certainly right, but likely.
>[…] Almost no one, except tourists following bad guidance actually ride this. […]
I’m slightly sympathetic because I was that tourist the first (only) time I biked the I-205 bridge south to north and I also kept getting deeper and deeper in to the rabbit hole, but my incredulity only grew for each “Bike Route” sign I spotted. Some planner deserves a swift kick in the shins for each of those signs. I exited at the first safe place, which is what this driver should have done.
In this day and age we should be able to alpha and beta test every highway design with real users. Ooo, there’s an open source project for that: http://opends.eu
I’m sorry for your experience. I haven’t really given much thought to signage in Vancouver in a long time. I know when I go elsewhere that way finding and route selection is a huge hassle. I promise you, I am already taking this up locally with the cycling clubs here. I think we do need to do something and give options so people can figure out if Hwy 14 is really where they want to ride. The options aren’t perfect either, but I’ve seen some very scared looking cyclists on hwy 14.
I guess the I-205 path entrance has been modified in light of the growing local craze for wide freight bicycles. 😉
And will there be a 2013 Pedal Palooza ride taking a lane on the I-205 Bridge?
I hope the PPB will show similar deference to the [future] errant bicyclists whom would also “accidentally” ignore warning signs upon entering the restricted bridge facility.
Hmmm….at least it was a Washington licensed vehicle (not sure if it was an Oregonian or Washingtonian though). Will have to wait for further police reports. Stay tuned.
Are you sure they weren’t just filming Portlandia and got caught?
I don’t think she needs a ticket, she won’t make this mistake again.
I don’t see any “Do Not Enter” signs or any “No Motorized Vehicles Allowed” signs in any of those pictures. They sure put signs on the on ramps to warn vehicles to not go the wrong way.
The time I got caught riding my bike through a park after hours, I had entered via a gate that had no “Park Closed” signs, and no other prohibitions to entry were present. I didn’t get a ticket either, but the nice policeman who stopped me threatened to arrest me on the spot.
She would have been ok in a smart car, unless there was another one coming from the other direction.
IF the police had ticketed her; as they probably SHOULD have done; at least to get her into a courtroom to answer a judge as to how and why she let this happen, the ticket alone would have ‘dinged’ her insurance. This one simple act could have probably ensured that in the future; to prevent having her monthly rates increase again; avoidable, life endangering mistakes may not be repeated.
And setting this as an example for others in the area and having the story be “news worthy” enough to be in the main-stream press would show the rest of America just how much Oregon/Washington really are great bike communities in which to live, work and play. In the process building bridges of a different, significant sort.
Try putting a solid 4 inch square metal post in the middle of a few streets and see how that plays? You would acknowledge it is ridicules to place a very dangerous hazard in the middle of, or even near a auto lane! Certainly cyclists must ride with caution and control speed and so should drivers.
I also drive. And, when I drive down E Burnside or Sandy, I “run” into 4 feet concrete barriers so pedestrians can cross the street easier. So, yes. Even in a car, I have to pay attention to my surroundings.
Haha oops! Poor lady, she needs to remember that “reverse” comes standard in most motor vehicles these days…
Re: riding on major arterials… Mr. Gorowski should use Powell or I-84 to go East-West. What? He uses Hawthorne because he needs to stop at businesses along the way? Well, so do people on bikes. Use your brakes, change lanes when safe to do so, take some deep breaths, and share the road, Mr. Gorowski. I promise you’ll get to your destination eventually.
I’m shocked at the large percentage of commenters (or maybe it was just repeat commenters) expressing an idea that people shouldn’t suffer consequences for bad choices. We live in a society, if you fuck up, you pay the price. I’m not saying put her in jail and throw away the key, I’m not saying fine her into economic oblivion. I’m saying this: she obviously, at least temporarily, can not make good decisions while driving her vehicle and should have to prove that she has the ability to drive it unsupervised. Ticket her for wreckless driving, suspend her liscense for 6 months, then instead of reinstating her full license, administer a written “learners permit” test, 6 months later she can then retake her written and driving test. Sounds more than fair.
This phenomena is actually kind of interesting, and possibly a demonstration of just how much car centric thinking is ingrained in our culture. Someone above even compared our commenting here to a “lynch mob” mentality!!!! – I am sure that was hyperbole, but…. it illustrates. Threatening one’s driving privileges, the possibility of increased insurance rates making it harder to driver, are considered extreme punishments and akin to lynching, or piling on.
Essentially our culture has adopted the drivers ethic of anything that doesn’t kill someone should go unpunished. As long as you aren’t drunk, you should get off.
Excuse me, but it seems Paul, that perhaps the most hyperbolic person here is you, besides those with truly low slanderous remarks.
I carefully read each and every single post you made to find one that didnt presume something to disgrace this woman. Or one that did not question others to rationalize your narrow world veiw of how,why and what a motorist shouldnt do.
I never once said that she didnt deserve a ticket, nor did I imply some cockamamie notition that I have a pro-car/entitlement slant.
People who have read my posts in the past, know I care little for cops in general.
If you feel ,(as so many like minded people here do) that this person got away with something,then go to the station and start demanding justice.
While you are at it perhaps you might wish to involve the DFS?
Then you and “FauxPorter” can rally on imposing the appropriate justice that certainly seems to have been alluded by masterful workers of the “Anti-Bike Pro Car Authority League”!!
Your claim to work as a “bicycle activist”, (what ever that is, because I cannot find your name associated with anything at all, let alone something positve on the interwebbies.) seems nonexistant to the world.
So if you believe ranting and raving on BP.org is activism,then I say to you “Power On”, bud.
Your idea of bike activism seems like plot material for “South Park”.
Now, I am going out to ride, Maybe I will have a chance to do someone some good while I am out there today? Hmm we’ll see .
I never claimed to “work” as a bicycle activist, and if I gave the wrong impression by my choice of terms I apologize. I am sure I don’t meet you standards of idealism, what ever that is. I am active in cycling and involved in a small way with local groups (including actual activists) in Vancouver. Personally, I try to advocate for cycling and safe streets. That’s all. I have no ambition to be a professional “activist.”
You are right. We should never show mercy. If I offended you with my comments about the harm your position might bring about, please accept my complete and radical apology.
You and I aren’t that far apart. We both want a better world for people who are struggling. The problem as I see it is that the auto dominated environment of our urban areas harms the less well off in a myriad of ways. Health (asthma and exercise), financially ($9,000 per year to operate 1 car), and in community and neighborhood. I see promoting active transportation and multi mode transportation options and ending automotive dominance as a critical component of making life easier for lower middle class and below people. I don’t know, but I think you are likely to agree with me on some of that.
As part of that, it is becoming increasingly clear that safe streets, infrastructure are importants. So too are driver education and enforcement of safe driving especially regarding vulnerable road users. Also, and this is difficult, ultimately it will require increasing some of the costs of driving. Cities will need to stop subsidizing parking so heavily. We are going to see more tolls and user fees for motorists. Driving will have to get more difficult, less convenient and more expensive. Unfortunately, much of the burden of that is going to fall on the people who are most vulnerable – the people who are almost, or barely making it. As usual, the better off will be able to use their spending power, education and work options to avoid some of the worst disruptions. This is unavoidable. I think we are better off working actively towards that future NOW rather than waiting until the circumstances are forced upon our cities by natural economic consequences. I think the people of Portland are better off, and will continue to be much better off than the people of say Cleveland that is taking the opposite approach and building more roads.
So regarding having penalties and enforcing them for drivers who fail to drive safely and according to the law, yes I think enforcement should be stepped up and that it is far to lax. And I acknowledge that means that some people will suffer disproportionate consequences. However, we need safer roads for pedestrians and cyclists and that is for the benefit of everyone. Unfortunately most of the drivers on the road aren’t in the 1%. At least 30% of people on the road are working stiffs trying to get by. However, we need them to drive safely and if they can’t drive safely, we need them off the road.
We definitely are “that” far apart. One of us has a cruel position. We can’t both be right.
How is fining someone for doing something illegal a “cruel position”? Seems to me that’s how the civilized, law-abiding social contract works.
This is a serious issue. Do car subsidies and making driving cheaper (for everyone) help the poor or hurt the poor? There is no doubt that it hurts the POOREST of the poor – those who are disabled, those who don’t work and don’t drive. But they don’t really help the folks right on the edge either. Car dominance actually really hurts the people just trying to get out of poverty. Instead of building wealth and security they end up sending money to big oil companies and Dick Cheney.
I suggest you read this recent article, directly addressing this question at hand regarding automobile populism and poverty: href=”http://www.streets.mn/2013/04/23/what-to-do-with-pro-car-populism/?” > “What To Do With Pro-Car Populism”
utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Streetsmn+%28streets.mn%29 “What to do with Pro-Car Populism” http://www.streets.mn/2013/04/23/what-to-do-with-pro-car-populism/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Streetsmn+%28streets.mn%29
I am grieving Kik’s death. Jonathan has had to delete some highly toxic attacks on me, and it might be a kindness to him to end this thread. Let’s have a moment of silence.
when it comes to fines, jail time and taxes, imo, the richer you are the more you should pay.
What would Dick Cheney do?
Shoot someone in the face? I don’t understand the question.
and then start a war with Vancouver!!!!
I agree with Cruiser…
Uh oh, what’s up with the compassion and justice, E=MC? She committed the sin of driving while procreating. She must be punished with fines and community service and her license suspended because she had to have been high (being from Washington). (This is a summary of some other posts) As you know, I have re-canted my earlier pleas for mercy. We must be strict! Kristin is so right. And working class people should not indulge in privately owned vehicles. They must take the street car or bicycle to their early morning jobs unpacking organic produce. Cars are bad and all car infractions must be punished regardless.
This happened the day after 4/20….jus ‘sayin
What are you saying? Are you accusing this driver of driving under the influence with children in her car? Should we have a DHS investigation based on the date (the day after a pot holiday) and the state of residence (Washington)?
This story is Hilarious, love it! She must have been pretty freaked out as she went further and further down the rabbit hole. A few months ago, I was on the Hawthorne bridge towards SE, & watched a driver try like hell to make her car fit into the bike lane, which she thought was a turn lane — she looked a little embarrassed when she realized
You make a mistake and the cops catch you in the act, you get a ticket. That’s the way the system is supposed to work.
It’s just a ticket, not a felony conviction, for Chrissakes. It’s not like a ticket would cause her to lose a job, force her to find someone else to take care of her kids, or prevent her from getting another job. So what if she was confused? She can still pay the fine, and she should be grateful it didn’t turn out worse.
What ORS would this fall under?
hey sunny… . Link to the applicable law: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.435 . Note the link on that page to ‘440, as well.
The intent of those laws would seem to be only to serve as a straightforward effort to dissuade people from driving in the bike lane. They don’t offer measures to help establish why people may happen to have driven in a bike lane, outside of legally allowed use of bike lanes for driving.
Oregon law also has ‘Reckless Driving’ and ‘Careless Driving’ laws:
Officers could have maybe cited her for 811.135. Would doing so have done any good? I don’t know…probably not; at least not by itself. The officer or officers that showed up, probably had some ideas about that. Read the text of the law yourself. Only (1) probably applies to this incident. Its intent is simple and straightforward, similar to 811.435 .
Spoken like someone from a rich background.
Cars aren’t exactly cheap to operate. If she can’t afford to risk getting a ticket, don’t drive.
ever been poor and red-lined into some far away neighborhood with no bike lanes and few public transportation options?
Fortunately not, but what you describe is a feature, not a bug. Because the poor must drive, driving must be kept cheap, and anyone who says otherwise must hate the poor. In this case, poor=pawn (which is not not not to knock anyone who is poor, this is just how the game is being played — raise gas taxes? You must hate the poor. Limit oil drilling? You must hate the poor.)
Absolutely. Let’s punish the driver severely. Let’s punish everyone who commits a driving or biking or jaywalking error because court time is unlimited.
Spoken like someone poor who hasn’t gotten a ticket they can’t pay for. There is always the option of community service if you cannot pay a fine.
Yes. Community service. Make her do community service. I love your pro-liberty position. Let’s protest outside the police station and demand justice for … I’m not sure’ She stopped for the cyclists and listened to them.
If someone makes an error while driving and then panics so severely they can’t remedy the situation, then maybe they need more driving education. A panicked driver is a dangerous driver.
Absolutely. Dick Cheney would agree.
Welcome to Portland.
I was born here. I’ve been riding a bike here since I was a child and driving here since I was a teenager. I have earned zero traffic infractions for either. I’ve received warnings for honest mistakes (taking a right on a red when an unnoticed sign disallowed it for example). I’ve been hit by cars (while cycling and driving) by distracted or downright unskilled drivers.
I don’t think its “Portlandia” thinking to want drivers of vehicles to have to prove their skill at driving. I haven’t had to take a written or driving test in nearly 20 years (I’m in my mid 30s). That’s just plain weird. Good driving habits erode, laws change, memory fades.
“Mistakes” like the driver on the bridge made are proof of this.
Regardless of what people think her punishment (or not) should be, I still really want to know what she was TRYING to do. For, that the entrance of the path it absolutely does not look like a freeway on-ramp. Was she just tooling down some neighborhood streets and didn’t want to flip a u-ey when she hit a dead-end?
Glowboy, your support for the police inspires me. Let’s enforce Oregon pot laws too. Leash laws. Public indecency. Drunk cycling.
Rock on, or maybe not.
Again Mamacita, we’re JUST talking about a citation here! NO ONE is saying we should penalize the driver any further than that. Do you understand what a ticket is?
I guess I didn’t grow up in Oregon, where you don’t have to take Drivers Ed and you can drive across the whole state without seeing a single cop. So I guess some people here think its some horrible, WEIRD thing to get a ticket. OMG! A ticket! My life is over!
Guess what … in most parts of the USA, which have several times the patrol density and you see a patrol car in every other town you drive through, most drivers (even good ones) are going to screw up in front of a cop every few years and get a ticket. It is NOT THE BIG DEAL that you seem to be making it out to be. Normal people pay the bail, don’t see a bump in their insurance if it’s an isolated incident, and move on with their lives.
No good reason to give a citation to the lady involved in this incident, is apparently what the officers responding to the call, decided, having evaluated the situation first hand.
Maybe she can use the money and time their decision saved her, to help figure out how and why she happened to make such a supremely bizarre mistake. Put the money to child care…give her a break from the kids if she needs that, a medical checkup, counseling.
Cruiser…noticed your comment: http://bikeportland.org/2013/04/22/riders-discover-woman-driving-car-on-glenn-jackson-bridge-bike-path-85780#comment-3968565
You said you read the police report on the incident. Good. Three police respond, and walking ahead of her, escort her off the bridge bike lane. She must have calmed down enough for them to trust her not to run them over…and they got some exercise in on the deal.
What agency manages the I205 path? I think my comments would be best served instead contacting them, and asking for the metal pole that prevents motorists from entering the bikepath in the first place to be re-instated.
It’s an ODOT facility on our side and a WashDOT facility on the other side. ODOT is already looking into it and I’ll keep you posted. As for the metal pole, they are reluctant to replace it because of its potential to harm people on bikes who might hit it by accident. I’ll keep you posted if I hear any further updates.
WSDOT sent out an inspector Monday afternoon after the KGW reporter followed up with them http://www.kgw.com/news/Confused-drived-gets-stuck-in-center-bike-lane-on-I-205-bridge-204006961.html
The pole or “bollard” was never an issue when it used to be in place even on my night commutes and an easy solve in place of gates or other obstruction that affects cyclists access too.
“the woman (who was driving a small Chevrolet sedan) started to pull over to let them pass”
a panicked woman in a very weird situation where no one was at risk and portlandia is in an uproar.
a subaru/prius with an obama/coexist sticker doing 30 in a 25 zone is not only illegal but far more dangerous. i would love to be able to post my feelings about the hypocrisy of casual speeders lashing out at the non-citation of a panicked woman but maus would edit out all of the relevant 4, 5, and 7 letter words.
But she was driving while fertile. That’s an infraction in some people’s minds.
A ‘effin men!!
This comment section makes The Oregonian look sensible.
the “uproar” if you can remotely call it that (I and most have posted that we simply think she should have been ticketed) is to the fact that this person made a long line of VERY bad decisions, refused to correct them, and in the end did something very nonsensical and illegal. Personally I don’t want her to do jail time, but a fine does not seem like a harsh punishment for this bizarre situation.
this was clearly a case of a woman who got stuck, panicked, and proceeded slowly trying to seek a way out. no one was hurt and no one was threatened. its a sad fact that many people are uncomfortable backing their cars up. if we raised taxes on the upper quintiles i am sure we could afford increased driving education, enforcement, and testing.
got stuck? She made a string of just really bad decisions. She didn’t get stuck in the mud on a road somewhere, she made a conscious decision (whether it was understood or not) to put herself in that situation. Yes no one was hurt, but she clearly made some bad choices (and most likely knew she was driving on the bike path). The cops were already there, and they should have just written her a ticket. Again it should be stressed how nothing on that bike path at all indicates it to be a way to get on the 205 bridge (the fact that this apparently hasn’t happened in 6 years should prove that).
Tickets, by in large, serve as a deterrent to stop a repeat of a behavior. They are there so people will be warned not to do an infraction again. If I get a ticekt for gunning it through Grand and E Burnside when the light is changing and I have my picture taken, I am going to know not to do it again unless paying that (pretty hefty, IMO) fine and having my insurance increase is of no consequence.
This is not the case in this situation. She is not going to do it again. Lesson learned. I can only imagine the embarrassment (and not undeserved, necessarily) about this incident.
Remember this part of the story: “”Officers exercised discretion with someone who clearly made a mistake.” And, please remember that if you ever get pulled over for doing a rolling stop or bike home without lights because you were stuck later at work than planned.
Tickets also serve another function that you did not mention. The tickets provide the government record, go in a data base shared by the states and count points towards one’s licensee. This is how the government (crudely) keeps track of and identifies people who need further education on safe driving or need to lose their license.
I hope she has learned her lesson, but there are more questions than answers regarding her fitness to drive and now this event will not appear on her record one piece of information that potentially could identify a dangerous driver is lost. She may get on the freeway heading the wrong direction next time, or mistake the gas pedal for the brake and kill someone.
I sincerely hope you are right and this was a one time serious lapse in judgement and she has learned her lesson. The cops should have cited her for something and she should have points on her driving record and her insurance company should know how she drives.
And, the officers invloved may have looked at her driving record and saw that is was clean as a whistle. We don’t know that as it was not reported.
We disagree. I believe that police should be able to use discretion when pulling someone over and not be tied to the letter of the law. I am guessing you live in Vancouver, right? If you forgot to put your helmet back on after doing a test ride after a minor repair, you can get a ticket. Would you like to just take the ticket and have to go to court to fight it (or simply just pay it) or tell the officer you realize you do not have your helmet, but I am just doing a quick test ride of 200′ to see that my bike is working properly?
I agree that police should be able to use discretion, and never said otherwise. In this case, I don’t see how such an egregious series of errors and incredibly stupid result warrants leniency on the part of the officers.
You are also correct that we don’t know if she has a perfect record otherwise. We assume, hopefully correctly, that the officers did run her license. However as citizens we are certainly well within our rights to ask for accountability from the police department.