Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Our August podcast: Is carnage worth coverage?

Posted by on August 21st, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Carnage ruins lives, and coverage of carnage helps fix streets. So we write about it.

Two months ago, after returning from a country that transformed its streets in the 1970s after a mass protest movement about street safety, Jonathan kicked off what he described as a “mini advocacy campaign” by BikePortland to raise awareness of the traffic carnage on our streets.

This is a delicate line for our little news operation to walk. People read posts about crashes because they find them relevant, but they’re the opposite of enjoyable to read. We received emails and comments from people who thought covering collisions too closely was sensationalism and would only scare people away from riding. Also, there’s a widespread misperception among non-bikers that, hour for hour, biking is a generally dangerous way to get around. It isn’t. (See p. 27 of this PDF for Portland’s latest numbers.)

But carnage ruins lives, and coverage of carnage helps fix streets. So we write about it. This month, podcast producer Lillian Karabaic, Jonathan and I devoted the full half-hour of our monthly podcast to discussing this decision and the factors around it.

As usual, the podcast (which is shorter than the average time it takes a Portlander to get to work) also offers a low-car tip of the month — and an invitation for your feedback. Let us know your thoughts here, or email them to

To follow the show, you can subscribe for free on iTunes or by RSS or even sign up to get an email notification each time we upload a new episode.

We’ll even forgive you if you like to listen on the couch.

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Scott August 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Call it “un-sustainable transportation related urban organic detriment” and Portland will demand more coverage.

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  • Joe Rowe August 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    The carnage coverage has allowed Michael Anderson to spread his bias about helmets. He used his power when a bike was mowed down by a truck and cited. Mike refused to offer an apology and said his mention of no helmet was appropriate. The law does not require adults to wear helmets, and Mike and reporters justify the power of the pen because they think “hey it might have helped”.

    Hey Johnathan, Until you resolve this I’m asking people boycott all vendors on your site until you address the questions. Should reporters use their power to suggest the following things “might have helped” human or other victims?


    a) Should houses wear helmets? A lot of homes get hit by cars. Hey…It might help.

    b) Should reporters make notes about helmets when adult cyclists are mowed down by illegal car actions? Hey it might have helped.

    c) should reporters suggest make notes about what women wear when they are attacked in an illegal sexual act? Ugly clothing might have helped. But clearly a reporter is unprofessional in this regard.

    ? Please respond Michael or Johanthan.

    I’d like to know what others think. I wear a helmet, but I’m sick of the Oregonian and cops using any excuse to blame victims of cars gone wild.

    Posted at 3:50 pm after Scott’s post #1 at 2:53PM

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Hi Joe,

      I’m not sure I follow what your concerns are. As for our decisions about whether or not to mention if someone was wearing a helmet, it just depends on the story and the context of what happened. Most of the time we don’t mention it, but if we do, it’s by no means something we do to “spread bias about helmets.” Do you really think Michael and I are pushing some sort of pro-helmet agenda here? That couldn’t be further from the truth.

      Thanks for your comment.

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      • Joe Rowe August 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm

        Jonathan. Thanks for the reply. You did not respond to my questions, and instead pretended there’s a claim you have a helmet agenda.

        I do not think you are pushing a pro helmet agenda. That’s a myth you invented to avoid my question.

        I do think there was bias in that one article. That’s one too many, and it is a slippery slope.

        Blaming a victim sends a message that 1 out of 40 articles on BikePortland can blame a cyclist who followed the law but had no helmet. It opens the doors for cops and the Oregonian to continue their pattern.

        As you claim to be a resource for cyclists and a journalist, the public holds you to a high standard. You can do it. Just say you are sorry for the helmet mention and you will not do it again when bikes are legally riding, and cars mow them down in blatant disregard for the law.

        You make no mention of helmets on 2 hood bomb accidents, so why the heck would you justify the jab about helmets when a truck mows down a cyclist?

        Please answer the question rather than inventing a new question that does not exist.

        posted 8:57pm in reply to Jonathan at 4:25

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        • Caleb August 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

          I would have avoided answering some of your questions, too, if I were in Jonathan’s position. Were you not, after all, asking them more rhetorically than anything? I believe you were, because I don’t believe you find helmets for houses a practical solution. Also, it seems to me your second and third questions posed yes/no situations to suggest Jonathan and Michael already worked under one – were you not just being suggestive?

          You did not say Jonathan had a helmet agenda, but you did claim Michael has a helmet bias and that he uses his article writing privileges to promote it, which sounds to me like you were saying Michael has a helmet agenda. So again, yes, you did not say Jonathan has an agenda, but When you threaten boycott promotion against vendors listed on his site in response to Michael’s unstated agenda, I think it reasonable that Jonathan may not have been inventing any myth for the purpose of avoiding your questions, and instead that he might have just been trying to figure out what you were getting at.

          Who was blaming the victim? I read that article you mentioned the day it was published, and continued to follow the discussion for a while. I thought it clear Michael mentioned the helmet only because it was in the police report. I thought it seemed he only mentioned it so that readers could be made aware of any helmet bias the police officer may have. That was my take, which is clearly different than yours. Neither one of us is Michael, though, so we have no way of knowing who is correct, if either of us. No matter what Michael were to say was his motivation, would you be able to trust his word?

          Even if Bike Portland articles blame victims, that would not send the message that blaming victims is correct, permissible, or whatever else you suggest. The cops and Oregonian have to act on their own conscience’s, after all. What would send the message you propose is if a Bike Portland article stated, “BikePortland can blame a cyclist who followed the law but had no helmet. This opens the doors for cops and the Oregonian to continue their pattern.”

          Why are you speaking for people other than yourself? I don’t want Jonathan or Michael to apologize for the helmet mention. That’s not a requisite for any standards I have for journalist integrity.

          Telling journalists what to say does not promote their integrity.

          I’m not sure which Zoo Bomb incidents you’re talking about, but would I be correct in assuming no police officer filed a report on either one? That’s my initial guess as to why Bike Portland did not mention helmets.

          Questions exist when people ask them. If you claim Jonathan invented a nonexistent question, do you also think your questions do not exist?

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    • Kirk August 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm


      I read the article that Michael wrote, and didn’t pick up on a pro-helmet bias one bit. I like to keep an eye out for people/agencies that push the pro-helmet agenda too far, as I see people without helmets as advocates for a safe mode of transportation encouraging others to ‘just jump on a bike’ without first worrying about hitting your head – it is more important to get people biking than it is to get them suited up with body armor before their first ride, and if a helmet is their main barrier to entry then maybe we shouldn’t put as much emphasis on it. Not to say that I discourage people from wearing their helmets – not at all, it is a personal choice. Sometimes I wear my helmet, sometimes I do not.

      Don’t look too deep for controversial stories, stick to issues that actually need people fighting for or against them (e.g. the CRC).

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    • David August 21, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      Joe, if we’re being honest with each other, it sounds like you might want to consider removing your tin-foil helmet and drop these helmet conspiracy theories of yours.

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      • Joe Rowe August 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm

        Classic name calling David.

        And what is your point? My concern and question is clear, should reporters make notes about helmets when adults on bikes are run down?

        Let’s not redirect from the simple question. The Oregonian often mentions helmets when bikes are run down by drunk drivers. The Oregonian reporter’s excuse it the same as Jonathan and Michael’s – “it was in the police report” Asking Johnathan to address this concern is not a conspiracy. Jonathan states he does not know my concern and then paints an agenda myth. The concern is clear, he just does not wish to address the concern. That’s his choice. It’s my choice to ask. It’s your choice to paint it as a conspiracy.

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        • Caleb August 26, 2013 at 11:44 am

          Jonathan very clearly stated the choice to mention helmets or not varies with each incident.

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  • Anne Hawley August 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I wear a helmet pretty much 100% of the time after that one stupid time I just…sort of tipped over and hit my (helmeted) temple on the sidewalk during a very low-speed parking maneuver. That’s me–my choice. I agree that mentioning the helmet status of a crash victim usually amounts to victim-blaming, and I get tired of it. I’m always glad, though, when the victim asserts that the helmet saved their brain.

    And, to be fair, it’s important to hear of cases where the much-vaunted helmet did nothing to prevent injuries. Helmets only save lives sometimes. People can choose.

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    • spare_wheel August 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      I’ve crashed hard dozens of times and have retired many helmets. That being said I do not wear a helmet for casual utilitarian cycling because the risks of injury and death are so incredibly low — especially in Portland.

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      • meh August 22, 2013 at 6:13 am

        But, but , but …. there’s CARNAGE on the roads.
        You contradicting St. Jonathan and the entire premise of this series of articles.

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    • Kristi Finney-Dunn August 22, 2013 at 12:25 am

      In the collision that killed my son, he was not wearing a helmet and one would have done nothing to help him (I confirmed with the medical examiner who performed the autopsy because so many people did blame Dustin even though he was hit by a drunk speeding in the bike lane), but I am positive a helmet prevented severe injuries to the other cyclist who was side swiped immediately afterward. I am glad you have chosen to wear a helmet.

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  • Anne Hawley August 21, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Oh, and Michael, I’m downloading the podcast now. Looking forward to it.

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  • Sho August 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Its good to hear about the accidents and necessary information, the issue with reading it here is bias coming from it. It is mainly a repetition of what the news has already reported on and none of the stories have ever directly stated the circumstances without turning it towards how the cyclist isn’t at fault or if we adjust these laws (in which they may have been in clear violation of) they would be ok. It is also pretty comical at times seeing what makes the news here including car accidents. Larger cities rarely report upon accidents and even murders (i.e. Chicago, LA, etc) unless there is a necessary reason for all the public to know. I haven’t met anyone who was gracious for websites and news reporting on their loved ones death, especially since the majority of the reports are done before knowledge of the situation is complete.

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    • Kristi Finney-Dunn August 22, 2013 at 12:18 am

      I have been very thankful for the coverage of my son Dustin Finney’s death two years ago. He died from a very preventable crash -not accident- that can and does continue to happen to tens of thousands of innocent people every year. I think we need to make MORE noise and the consequences of lost and destroyed lives need to be MORE visible because most people either don’t understand, don’t know, or quickly forget that traveling our roads is the most dangerous thing we do every day.

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      • A.K. August 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

        Thanks again for the continued work you do! It can’t be easy.

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        • Kristi Finney-Dunn August 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

          Thank you so much. I work full time in addition to speaking an average of 6-9 times per month, so I get tired but otherwise I love it and would love to make a difference full time. However, I wish I hadn’t had to lose my son to get here.

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      • Sho August 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

        I haven’t met you and your son I believe was killed by a drunk driver correct?
        That is an issue we need address not only relating to cyclists but everyone. This could be a necessary case. You are also correct in this not being an accident, the subject knowingly got into his vehicle while intoxicated however I dont think he intentially hit him but he (the subject) could have taken preventative steps to avoid the incident.

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    • Anne Hawley August 22, 2013 at 10:30 am

      There’s plenty of bias coming from mainstream media, too. And besides, I don’t use mainstream media. I appreciate the coverage here: BikePortland is where I get most of my active-transportation related news for Portland, and on the whole its bias is the bias I prefer: pro-bike and pro-safety.

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      • Sho August 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm

        I prefer no bias, why can’t you come to conclusions yourself. Also pro-safety is not being properly represented when it is okay for cyclists to not stop at intersections or yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or cross I-205. All examples of discussions from here that show disregard for safety, since there was no message behind it holding the responsible parties accountable. But yes everywhere has bias, the problem with many reports from here is that they are originating from mainstream media so that bias is already built into it (granted there are a few in which he has beat the media and thats good but his bias still remains). You weed through which ever report has the least to make your own conclusion.

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  • wsbob August 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    “…Also, there’s a widespread misperception among non-bikers that, hour for hour, biking is a generally dangerous way to get around. It isn’t. (See p. 27 of this PDF for Portland’s latest numbers.) …” andersen/bikeportland

    For people traveling by bike, on roads alongside motor vehicles, biking is generally dangerous. I suppose though, numbers Andersen is referring to, give some people a sense of confidence that they won’t be the one hit by a motor vehicle.

    I consider good coverage of collisions between motor vehicles and people walking, biking, skateboarding, and so on, to generally be a good thing. There is a need for people to be aware of how well or poorly their roads are working, and problems some of the people using the roads, are creating. In depth, follow through coverage of collisions can help towards this awareness, leading to broader participation in arriving at solutions to the problems.

    If it’s hoped that people will support advances in active transportation infrastructure in the Portland Metro area, and more extensive, more effective than exist now, remedies to the problem of bad driving and generally bad road use, they have to know, so to speak, the ‘shape of the beast’.

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    • Caleb August 22, 2013 at 10:03 am

      I think what he meant by “generally dangerous” and was trying to refute was the perception that bicycling is generally much more dangerous than driving and other such transport modes.

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      • wsbob August 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm

        I don’t think it’s realistic to appraise the relative danger of a give mode of transportation without considering the circumstances. Outside of the possibility of somehow falling off a bike, biking in situations away from motor vehicles isn’t dangerous. Biking becomes dangerous in situations where motor vehicles are traveling alongside or near to them.

        Some people seem to want to attempt to counter the reality that biking amongst motor vehicles is dangerous, by noting that motor vehicle travel also has danger associated with it. Motor vehicle travel does have danger associated with it, but of a different, more manageable type than is presented by motor vehicles traveling alongside people on bikes.

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    • dr2chase August 22, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Biking is far safer than riding a motorcycle (25x, figures I saw, either per-trip or per-hour) and only slightly more dangerous than driving per-trip (1.5x – 2x, various figures) and less dangerous per hour (dated figures from FailureAnalysisAssociates/Exponent). And with good infrastructure (physical, legal, cultural — i.e., the Netherlands) cycling can be 5x safer than it is here.

      That’s the shape of the beast — as it exists today, cycling is not much more dangerous than something most people think is safer, and is far safer than something that most people think is dangerous, yet is much more common among adults. And further, there is an existence proof that cycling can be very safe — much safer than the activity (driving) that we think of as safe.

      Furthermore, though we think driving is safe, if we look at mortality rates we discover that it is not — non-cyclist commuters have a 39% higher risk of death in a given year (in Denmark — our higher crash rates make the margin smaller in this country, but still over 30% by casual arithmetic).
      That’s a part of the beast that someone people tend to ignore.

      If you’re going to talk about risk, it makes sense to provide numbers.

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      • gumby August 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        The safety question people should really be asking is am I more likely to be live longer and healthier if I bike?
        Here are the leading causes of death in the U.S. from the CDC:
        Number of deaths for leading causes of death
        •Heart disease: 597,689
        •Cancer: 574,743
        •Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
        •Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
        •Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
        •Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
        •Diabetes: 69,071
        •Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
        •Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
        •Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364

        Regular excercise like cycling can reduce most of these risks.
        A Danish study found that in their study group, people who biked to work were less likely to die by all causes than people who didn’t, even less likely than people who were physically active.

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  • spare_wheel August 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Jonathan, Michael, and Lillian, I really enjoyed the podcast. The fact that no one on city council commutes by bike is saddening. Until we elect more “people who cycle” for transportation we will stagnate.

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  • kittens August 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    While it is hard to read, stories about bike-car crashes help me assess risk and understand what times and places are most dangerous.

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  • dwainedibbly August 22, 2013 at 4:32 am

    The carnage coverage can only help to put more pressure on law enforcement to do their job. Keep it up!

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  • TOM August 22, 2013 at 8:11 am

    I’d say “continue the coverage” , but would like to see followups on individual stories in the Monday roundups.

    ie: we read a lot about the guy hit by the white F-250 crew cab, but have no idea of the current status of the investigation or riders condition. Kinda leaves an incomplete feeling.

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    • Alain August 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      I agree here with Tom. I like the follow-ups when they have occurred, and think they are part of the story… I too have wondered about the fellow hit by the F-250, the young fixed gear guy who was hit on NE Llyod some years ago, and many others.

      As I mentioned in another post, in the stories on hit and runs, or any other pedestrian/bike and car collision, I’d like to see numbers for the year, and over the last 3-5 years. I think these figures can be very useful. I hate to quantify everything (all the time), but it’s hard to deny the usefulness of this information.

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  • SilkySlim August 22, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I think you guys have been doing a stunning job reporting on “carnage,” downplaying the sensational aspect of these rare (wish they were rarer!) events and placing it in proper context to help us understand the grander transportation issues at hand.

    My only suggestion would be to give some play the incredible track records of some of our best infrastructure, including our simple greenway route system. I know, the feel good news can seem a bit silly (“1000s Quietly Commute By Bike on Calm August Morning!!”), but I’d like to be reminded a bit more frequently of how streets have indeed been improved.

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    • El Biciclero August 22, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Again, if we could quantify such “improvements” and note the investment that was required to achieve them, we could show what kind of return on investment we get for such spending compared to, say, the investment required to widen/repave a freeway.

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  • deborah schultz August 22, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I appreciate the coverage of bike-car crashes. I feel it helps me avoid areas that have proven traffic pattern pitfalls and be an informed advocate for safer streets.

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  • Ethan August 22, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I’m not sure a charge of helmet bias can stick, be it BikePortland-wide or a specific article. Having traveled to cities where almost nobody wears a helmet, and covering the realities on the streets here for so many years, I tend to trust that BP has the perspective to parse the real-world implications of helmet use (or non-use) on our streets AND the potential we have to become the first American city where helmets become a rare sight … but we’re a long way from that on many fronts.

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  • El Biciclero August 22, 2013 at 10:05 am

    What I think would be interesting is a periodic update on all the CAR-nage wreaked on our streets, sidewalks, storefronts, and front yards. Highlighting just the incidents where bikes are involved does somewhat create the impression that riding a bike is what’s dangerous, not driving cars. Or worse, that cyclists are the ones causing all these wrecks–if only they could be removed from the street, all these crashes would stop!

    BUT, if we could see property damage, time lost, pedestrian injuries, AND injuries and damage to property (cars) of drivers–even in car-on-car collisions–it might wake people up to the destructiveness of cars. Something like that might even go a ways to stifle the “bikes are a menace and should be registered/licensed/insured!” mantra I hear so much of in, ahem, other forums. Compared to cars and their destructive capacity, bikes are diddly. The problem is, we focus too much on just the fatalities, and the old 25-30k deaths a year figure we always hear doesn’t really bring it home. As far as most people are concerned, those deaths all happen “somewhere else”–the U.S. is a big place. We need to see the big picture of auto-destruction.

    I mean, look at the traffic report on any given morning–one minor rear-ender, or even just a stall, on 84 and traffic is backed up for miles, with commuters trapped on the freeway and time being lost for thousands of drivers. The amount of damage done by one single drunk driver launching off a flyway onto MAX tracks causes untold delay and time lost for hundreds of people, and tens of thousands of dollars of damage. That’s not even to mention the human toll of injuries and fatalities that happen with no bikes involved. I have to think that seeing the sum total in dollars, time, pain, suffering, grief, etc. that is caused by cars being operated poorly would get more people to agree that “something” needs to be done–better-engineered roadways, removal of cars from known incompetent drivers, something.

    The comprehensive view of explicit destruction (i.e., not even the incremental environmental damage caused by normally-operating cars) caused directly by cars is what I think warrants attention. Of course, getting your hands on that data could prove daunting; you might need a couple more interns.

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    • Alain August 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      I find myself in agreement with much of what you are saying, and a great deal of what you mention above is highlighted in the book Asphalt Nation (published over 15 years ago), but these figures can sometime create a numbing effect, overwhelming the reader/receiver of information.

      The figures are truly staggering, yet I could never recall them in a conversation unless I had read a passage from the book the previous day.

      I guess the question for me has been, when are the figures helpful or effective (in motivating action), and when are they simply overwhelming. Really, it’s not a clear either/or as I presented above, it can be both, but for myself when the story or information presented becomes a bunch of number crunching, I start to glaze over.

      But perhaps I am missing your point?

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      • El Biciclero August 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        I guess my point(s) are a) Cars are massively destructive, b) people don’t care that cars are massively destructive and many would rather blame anything but cars and drivers for the destruction that cars and drivers cause.

        So, while I appreciate the coverage of car-bike and car-ped crashes, I think the only people outraged by them are those that have a fair bit of experience at non-motorized travel. To others, it serves to either scare them away from non-motorized travel or confirm their belief that such crashes happen because a) bikes don’t belong on the road, b) cyclists who do operate on the road are helmetless scofflaws, which is why they keep getting themselves hit by cars. I think that people mostly tell themselves, “as long as it’s only cyclists getting run over, I’ve got nothing to worry about; I’m not stupid enough to ride a bike in traffic”.

        I guess my thought is that rather than highlight what appears to be “look what those cars are doing to us (cyclists/peds)”, it might be more helpful to highlight “look what our cars are doing to everyone, not just those cyclist weirdos”. I hadn’t thought about it, but you are right that when people hear that “2.8 kajillion dollars were wasted due to a combination of externalities including but not limited to roadway trauma, fish off-kill due to slickened run-offiness, emergency and non-emergency responder pro-rated unionized schedule 8-classified time fractionated by incident type and causality based on road surface anomalies both with and without hands-free passive restraints and series-4 crumple-regions…Oh, and 34,000 people died and stuff”, the statistics-speak and sheer numbers are so incomprehensible as to be meaningless. But that’s if they are aggregated for the entire country. It could be more understandable if it could be kept local–by city or county. Just a simple list of car-related “incidents” with type of incident (car-car, car-bike, car-ped, car-truck, car-motorcycle, car-building), location, number of vehicles and people involved, level of injuries or dollar estimate of property damage incurred. I just wish there was some way to wake people up to the real consequences–to themselves or others like them–of irresponsible driving.

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
          Michael Andersen (News Editor) August 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm

          FWIW, a bit of my own perspective on the carnage-coverage-scares-people problem (and something I’ve had to explain like six times to my mother since I started covering low-car transportation): I don’t think the primary mission of BikePortland is to write articles that will get people to ride bikes for the first time. I think our mission is to make biking better for people who already choose to ride, and to empower those people with information that helps them better stand up for themselves when they need to.

          By doing those things, we’ll be helping increase the number of people who ride. But if all we ever reported was “bikes are great” over and over again, we wouldn’t have many readers, because we’d never say anything unexpected.

          I know this isn’t the argument you’re making, and that our framing of biking echoes through the city in lots of indirect ways. I’m just sharing another of my thoughts in this great discussion.

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          • Hugh Johnson August 22, 2013 at 5:35 pm

            The sensationalism is bullshit. Reading BikePortland you’d think it was all out war on cyclists in this city. How many people drive, bike, walk, or whatever with no incidents in this city every day? Wow anything for headlines and stirring up a frenzy. This site may as well become part of the Oregonian.

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            • Caleb August 23, 2013 at 9:16 am

              I’ve been reading Bike Portland for years, but never have I thought it portrays life in Portland as involving an “all out war on cyclists”. Keep your own “sensationalism” in check, please.

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        • Alain August 22, 2013 at 6:50 pm

          I agree with your idea of keeping the numbers local, this indeed would make them more useful, more effective, and part of daly discussion in some cases.

          Makes me wonder if someone is actually keeping a running tally of at least some of the things you mention above, some researcher at PSU perhaps? Or one of the local or state environmental groups?

          One of the complications of dealing with our car culture is that we’ve adapted ourselves to the car, and once we adapt to something, we hardly manage to give it much thought. Me typing this blog post right now is a good example of that (I wasn’t doing this in 1996). The keyboard is now an extension of my daly existence/habits.

          Seeing cars as destructive, as opposed to freedom, or opportunity or an injection of youth, is going to be difficult for a lot of people. And right now, it runs our economy. The auto industry was bailed out, not those with student debt or bad mortgages.

          Let me know if you find a place where are those number are stored?

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        • dr2chase August 22, 2013 at 7:07 pm

          Well, there is always my favorite new blog:

          It’s also a bit amusing (in a nasty, sick way) to think about how people would react if all the deaths from CV disease were reported with the little snippy remarks of “didn’t get enough exercise” in the same way that the helmet status of bicycle crash victims is so often reported. Do you suppose they would think that was insensitive?

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  • Caleb August 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Please keep reporting on collisions, crashes, accidents, crimes, etc! I’m thankful for the reminder that complacency in our every day routines takes all kinds of tolls on society.

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  • TOM August 22, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I just got back from Chicago ….WOW, about 20% helmet wearing by riders , lots of wrong way down 1 way streets , many,many Walmart/Target bikes and bikes locked up on the sidewalks at night. My mid-zoot touring bike would be high end/exotic over there. That sure IS a different culture , made me miss the ‘ole PDX that I complain about frequently.

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  • Steve B August 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I agree more noise needs to be made. I appreciate the continuing coverage of crashes involving people walking and biking. Thanks, Bike Portland.

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  • AndyC of Linnton August 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Excellent. I just put the podcast on my iTunes, and cannot wait to take a listen . I also appreciate your coverage of the carnage on the streets, I think it’s important to highlight these things.

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  • GlowBoy August 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I agree with others above that this coverage is a good thing. It not only raises awareness of what we’re up against, but raises awareness of specific dangerous routes and prompts productive discussions here of how to solve some of our transportation problems. I think the total effect is overwhelmingly positive.

    If people are walking away thinking all this says cycling is dangerous, it’s MISUNDERSTANDING THE MESSAGE. It’s not that cycling is dangerous: it’s that CARS ARE DANGEROUS. The average person on the street doesn’t think of driving as an inherently dangerous act every time they get behind the wheel, especially here in Oregon where proper driver education is still not required, decades after it was mandated in other states.

    The focus on cyclist carnage is just a lens onto the bigger problem that CARS (and bad driving) KILL thousands every year, in fact victimizing many more times vehicle occupants than cyclists and pedestrians. It is my hope that the focus on cyclist carnage helps direct attention to the greater problems of dangerous drivers and driving behaviors, and the roads that exacerbate the dangers that they pose.

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  • gutterbunnybikes August 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    I appreciate the collision (I refuse to call any of it accidents- there is always a fault) coverage. I particularly like the follow ups both in the way of the trails and punishments and the recoveries. Those follow ups are what is often missing in most media reports of such accidents, unless of course it had some sort of weird twist in the story.

    Of course if you really want to bring the problems with cars you should also carry articles on auto/auto collisions, oil spills, oil company death squads in Africa and the such. I have “oil spill” as a tag on Google news, and it’s incredible how much is spilled, stolen or fought over. There is multiple updates to the news feed daily, unlike the tag “commuter bicycling”.

    And I feel pretty confident in saying that the most destructive device ever invented by man has been the internal combustion engine. It’s destroyed more land, killed more people, and has caused more harm than anything else EVER on this planet….and it continues to do so. People will look back at the ICE. like we look back at dark age medical procedures. Though hopefully sooner than too much later.

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    • wsbob August 22, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      Internal combustion engines have been abused by mankind on a scale that’s produced much destruction, but in and of itself, engines aren’t a particularly destructive device. They’re a great invention, as are electricity, and telephones, and in fact, a lifesaver for many people. Correct some of the key failings of mankind…good luck on that…and problems arising from abuse of this invention and similarly marvelous inventions can be resolved.

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      • gutterbunnybikes August 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm

        Same thing could said of guns, or nerve gas, or atomic bombs……

        But I don’t disagree, that the failings are human (even within my own life), but really if you look at the entire cycle of the ICE, it leaves nothing of value behind. Be it old abandoned roads, pollution, abandoned cities (Detroit), abandoned cars, wars (since WW II), oil spills, people killed in collisions, people killed/injured while manufacturing or maintaining the ICE or it’s required infrastructure.

        Given enough rope humanity will always hang itself. But the rope of ICE is unlike any other ever invented, if only because the people like yourself will talk of it’s relatively few virtues compared its much greater failings. It’s sneaky, not like a gun or an A bomb, it’s an illicit drug, makes you feel good while it is really destroying you and everyone around you.

        Besides, the ICE isn’t nearly as remarkable of a machine as the bicycle, which is still -despite all the amazing technology of the last say 150 years- the most efficient machine man ever invented.

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  • jim August 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    For some reason Bikeportland has fealt the need to propagate the bikes vs cars mentality in Portland. It wasn’t the best choice of moves.

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  • dbrunker September 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    The interesting thing about this podcast is all the answers you’re looking for are right in your remarks.

    Yes, bicycle accidents should be reported, but framing is everything. If you try to report an accident with too much neutrality then you leave too much to the reader who will will jump to the conclusion that bicycling is dangerous and stop riding.

    Here’s what you should do:

    * Report the tragedy
    * Explain that we do not have to accept accidents as inevitable, bike vs car accidents are preventable
    * Explain how the accident could have been prevented and if possible give examples of how it’s worked elsewhere

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