Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

‘Can’t you read?!’: When one rider calls out another for rolling through a stop

Posted by on April 18th, 2014 at 8:48 am

bike stop markings at broadway flint-1.jpg

Bike stop markings at North Broadway and Flint.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

Is it out of line for one person on a bike to aggressively criticize another for pedaling through a stop sign in a safe situation?

That’s the opinion of local writer and rider Diane Yee, who writes about biking and other subjects at her Tumblog Citymaus. Here’s an excerpt of her story, posted Thursday:

there’s this one awkwardly, possibly misplaced stop sign in the middle of the hilly stretch of SE Salmon*. since I’m coming from uphill, i have a better view of the cross street, and there was no traffic as usual (small residential street, and four-way stop), so i just keep riding through the stop sign as usual…

except then a white guy in his 30’s wearing a helmet and sunglasses riding uphill the other way shocked me by yelling at me loudly, CAN YOU READ???…

yeah, cyclists are the only group of people who self-regulate themselves so well they’ll call out fellow cyclists for blowing through red lights, etc., because they don’t want to be one of those “SCOFFLAW CYCLISTS”, to keep up a good image in order to get more bike infrastructure. …

PDX—not as bike-friendly as you’d think!

Yee, who’s pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning from Portland State University, also mentions (accurately) that the rules of the road as we know them were written with cars in mind, not bikes, and that Idaho allows people on bikes to treat stop signs as yield signs with no apparent ill effects (unless you count the nation’s fourth-highest statewide rate of bike commuting).

“This guy, does he insult people when they ‘JAYWALK’?” she wrote. “If he drives, too, does he yell and honk at every driver who doesn’t use turn signals?”

Yee also mentions the possible race/gender dynamic that may have motivated this bit of mobile mansplaining.

On the other hand, I don’t know about her notion that people who ride bikes are the only ones who call each other out. I’ve been in plenty of cars where people, including me, have had angry words for fellow drivers. What’s different about biking is that when one of us gets teed off while riding, the other person actually hears it.

Which in my book is a pretty big mark in biking’s favor.

*The stop sign in question is quite notorious and has been the subject of quite a bit of coverage and debate here over the years. – Jonathan

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  • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Great Suns!

    Like the great Shaquille O’Neal says, it may be a stupid law, but you still have to follow it.

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    • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 10:50 am

      some “laws” are trivial, silly or irrelevant and this is why they are:

      1) not enforced
      2) classified as “infractions/violations” (e.g. not even a lowly misdemeanor)
      3) subject to derision

      some example of silly illegal acts in portland: performing a wedding ceremony at a skating rink, passing through a congested thoroughfare more than twice per night, possession of small amounts of marijuana, jaywalking, rolling a stop sign on a bike (this is correctly treated as a serious offense for a motorvehicle).

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      • Bill Walters April 18, 2014 at 10:57 am

        No, it is not treated that way for a motor vehicle. Should be, but isn’t — except maybe as an inconvenient side effect during Ladd’s stings.

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        • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 11:04 am

          unfortunately you are correct. it’s still considered a more serious offense than a ped or cyclist violating a triffic control signal.

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          • El Biciclero April 18, 2014 at 11:38 am

            But isn’t the fine still the same? Wasn’t Dallas Smith issued a $110 (!) fine for riding [barely] outside the bike lane? I’ll bet that silly law isn’t enforced ever from the other end (drivers encroaching on bike lanes).

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  • Bjorn April 18, 2014 at 8:58 am

    4 way stops should be illegal, they are virtually never the best choice for traffic control at an intersection.

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    • Indy April 18, 2014 at 9:09 am

      Blind Intersections where visibility in the two directions to your side would be one valid use of a 4-way stop.

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      • are April 18, 2014 at 7:03 pm

        the two “blind” approaches should have “yield” signs

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    • wsbob April 18, 2014 at 9:14 am

      Of the two lane road variety, I find four way stops to generally work excellent. People get very good at watching carefully for who arrives at the stop sign first, allowing that person to proceed first. More than a single lane in each direction, vastly complicates the action, and makes a good case for a signal light.

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      • chickeee April 19, 2014 at 10:52 am

        except when nobody actually stops

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    • PNP April 18, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Actually, they can be very useful, but in Oregon, it seems that people don’t know how to use them. When I lived in Colorado, they worked great. People here seem to think that the rules regarding right of way change at a four way stop. It’s a mystery. So I try to avoid them when I can, just for that reason.

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      • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 11:29 am

        actually, the rules of right-of-way do change at a four-way stop, they go away…

        at an unsigned intersection the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way… at a four-way stop nobody has the right-of-way…

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        • Sho April 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

          Not quite, if you come to the intersection at the same time the right-of-way remains

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          • Spiffy April 21, 2014 at 3:40 pm

            if 2 vehicles come to a 4-way stop at the same time none of them have the right-of-way no matter what direction they’re coming from…

            I wish we had a law about letting the person to your right go first, but we don’t…

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        • Sho April 19, 2014 at 8:37 am

          The right-of-way also pertains to whoever came to the stop sign first is able to go first, in which applies to all vehicles.

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    • MaxD April 18, 2014 at 10:36 am

      I think 4-way stops work well. Skidmore between Vancouver and Interstate has 2 and I have never had problems. I encounter a lot more problems with people turning right on red!

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    • dr2chase April 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      What’s your plan if there’s a lot of pedestrian traffic, especially (just an example) kids walking to/from school? (Drivers in our town are not so good about plain crosswalks, so you’ll need to come up with something better than that.)

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  • John Lascurettes April 18, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I don’t know about the stop sign in question in the article, but the one in you photo is a routine rude rider spot. Just Thursday morning, there were three of us in a line headed for that stop, I’m in the back so I see all this go down. The guy in front comes to a full, foot-down stop, the guy in the middle squeezes around him to the right without stopping to almost be nailed by a cargo bike delivery-messenger coming down Broadway at high speed. Insane.

    Later on down Broadway approaching the bridge, guy #1 did actually reprimand guy #2 – totally justified.

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    • Mindful Cyclist April 18, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      When that intersection was part of my commute 3 years ago (going WB on Broadway), doing a panic stop because someone off of Flint did not stop was at least a bi-weekly occurance. A couple of times I kindly asked them to check the bike lane next time. One time, the guy apologized and other time the guy told me he didn’t need to stop “because it is a bike lane to a bike lane!!” I just had to let that one go….

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      • John Lascurettes April 18, 2014 at 7:36 pm

        Yup. Some of those pedaling to Broadway from Larabee do that too, going on to the bridge’s MUP. I guess they think the “Yield to bikes” sign only applies to drivers making the right across the bike lane approach – despite the peleton of bikes coming straight at them at high speed with a fresh green light (right of way) at Larabee.

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  • Blake April 18, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Pet peeves:
    1) People who pass on the right.
    2) People who blow red lights/stop signs and pass me dangerously to do so when I stop
    3) People who pass closely without vocal or bell warning

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    • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Pet peeves:

      1) Bread that has raisins in it. 2) Having to ask for soy milk at Starbucks.
      3) Food Fight closing early.

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    • aaron April 18, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Do we get a prize when all three occur at once? Happened to me yesterday waiting to cross the Broadway Bridge heading downtown…

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  • El Biciclero April 18, 2014 at 9:12 am

    If somebody else wants to break laws when they ride, it’s fine with me. I tend to reserve “call-outs” for when somebody–driver or cyclist–encroaches or infringes on my right-of-way. I’ve watched the cyclist in front of me blow past a pedestrian starting across the street while I stopped, and had the pedestrian comment to me, “well at least you stopped for me–he sure didn’t!” That probably makes for more of an “image improvement” than yelling at another cyclist. Even if I yell at someone for violating my right-of-way, it probably won’t change their behavior much; it just gives me the self-righteous satisfaction of knowing they know I know they screwed up. Besides, there isn’t much I can yell at people about without being a hypocrite…

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    • GlowBoy April 18, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Agreed, I’ll only yell if someone violates my right of way or does something that seriously endangers someone else. I used to yell at red-light and stop-sign runners, until two incidents happened in short succession:
      1. The person I yelled at turned out to be seriously mentally ill, resulting in a very bizarre exchange I would rather not repeat, and
      2. More critically, one evening shortly thereafter I had my life threatened by a couple of young punks who looked capable of carrying out the threat.

      I’m not a big guy, and don’t have very favorable odds of winning a physical confrontation, compared with some of the ostensibly tough-talkers on this blog. I realized it’s not worth it, and it probably accomplishes little anyway. There plenty of a-holes in the world, and it’s not my mission to try to fix them all. I just try to do the right thing myself, and otherwise MYOB unless someone is putting someone else in danger.

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      • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 11:33 am

        every time I ride I have to stand up to bullies (drivers) that are threatening my life… it’s made me much braver in the face of things less dangerous, like punks with knives…

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        • GlowBoy April 18, 2014 at 1:56 pm

          Hey, you wanna take on even more pointless risk in your life, go ahead.

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        • Aaronf April 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm

          A group of people making death threats is less dangerous than your bicycle commute? Mkay

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          • Spiffy April 21, 2014 at 2:46 pm

            sadly, yes…

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            • GlowBoy April 21, 2014 at 3:36 pm

              Wait, wait, wait … Is the Spiffy who is unconcerned about hoodlums making threats the same Spiffy who is complaining about the Hawthorne Bridge speed bumps as “extremely jarring”?

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    • are April 18, 2014 at 7:07 pm
    • lyle w. April 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      It depends on how open minded someone is, how willing they are to process and accept criticism, and also how new they are to cycling. Human beings will go to great lengths to avoid feeling self-conscious or embarrassed, and if more cyclists self-policed, it would definitely cut down on the bad, unsafe, stereotypically ‘scofflaw’ cycling that happens. Screaming at people and using abusive language probably isn’t the way to do it, but being loud and making a direct point about how someone is being unsafe or putting other people at danger in most cases works with people.

      In the same sense that bad driving would be improved if more people called other drivers out on poor driving. If, for instance, texting/talking on your phone was something that provoked loud and obvious signs of disapproval from other people on the road, and if you knew that by trying to text you were very likely to get mocked, harassed, shouted at within short order, we’d see a lot less people with that familiar head shooting down to their lap over and over while driving that we see now.

      But it’s still completely acceptable, despite the numerous injuries and deaths it has caused, so someone getting in their car today and texting the whole time they’re behind the wheel can feel safe and secure in the knowledge that nothing is going to push back against their behavior, including the police.

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  • Indy April 18, 2014 at 9:13 am

    From what I can tell 90% of the way this country operates comes down to:

    Car driver: MEMEMEMEMEMEME!!!!


    Pedestrian: I’m going to die, aren’t I?

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    • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 9:34 am

      How many pedestrians have been killed by a cyclist in PDX?

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    • wsbob April 18, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Or wind up in the hospital with bills, bills, bills. Maybe permanent damage from being crashed into by a road user not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, because said road user is trying to conserve a bit of their energy by not stopping at a stop sign, or indulge in some other traffic regulation disregard.

      Complying with traffic regulations isn’t just a functionality consideration. Failing to comply with traffic regulations also can affect livability of any given area where people live or otherwise frequent. Most people would likely not deny the existence of a strong connection between area livability and personal wellness.

      It’s not just the risk of being killed or injured by someone that may not comply with traffic regulations, that’s at issue, but the resulting stress as well, imposed on people by others that play fast and loose with traffic regulations.

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      • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 11:42 am

        the idaho stop law was associated with no negative consequences. in northern europe similar laws were also associated with no negative consequences.

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        • maccoinnich April 18, 2014 at 12:37 pm

          At least in the UK, stop signs are exceedingly rare. Most un-signalled intersections have lines painted to indicate who has to yield, meaning there’s no need for Idaho style stop laws.

          As a pedestrian, I actually prefer the US approach, because I know that a car is going to stop at the end of the street.

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        • Case April 18, 2014 at 6:04 pm

          I’m surprised to agree with wsbob here, but he’s right. You may be right too spare, about the efficacy of the Idaho Stop law, but it’s not the law here and users of the right of way have a right to expect other users to abide by the law. I have had a number of people almost run up my butt when I stop at a sign on my commute, only to curse me as they swerve and blow said sign. Blowing lights and signs doesn’t really get someone anywhere any faster, it just makes them look like a jerk.

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  • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 9:15 am

    That Tumblr post is a straight up joke, i’m sorry. She has gone fully on tilt here over not that big a deal. Massive overreaction.

    See here’s the problem with this all. She is the one over analyzing the situation to compensate for her behavior. She can run the stop sign because:

    1. She has a better view of the cross street
    2. There was no traffic
    3. She knows how Idaho treats stop signs
    4. The rules of the road were’t made for bikes
    5. The 4 way stop is superfluous
    6. It should have a circle instead
    7. Sign is awkward and possibly misplaced

    This makes her sound like Jake Blues when he’s trying to make excuses for leaving Carrie Fischer’s character at the altar.

    Meanwhile the other person riding his bike who saw the stop sign thought:

    1. Stop sign means stop.

    And for this he’s an “A-Hole”

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    • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Hi P-Funk, Was that you I saw calling out the lady jaywalking on Hawthorne the other night?

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      • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

        Ah, not to my knowledge. I tend to follow El Biciclero’s train of thought and reserve my callouts for anybody who’s up in my right-of-way business.

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    • Esther April 18, 2014 at 10:21 am

      No, it was for yelling at someone unecessarily that he’s an a-hole.

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      • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 10:31 am


        Hypothetical here:

        Let’s say you’r just chilling on your front lawn in front of a four way stop. Two cars approach the intersection. The one going downhill blows the stop sign while the one going uphill stops. The uphill driver honks his horn as the other car drives through the intersection.

        Do you label the driver that honked their horn as an a-hole?

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        • JAT in Seattle April 18, 2014 at 11:06 am

          I love your hypothetical, and yes!

          I’m chillin On my front lawn, in my quiet residential neighborhood and some jerk who has no idea how loud that horn is outside of his car (and it’s loud, he’s totally disturbed my chillin reverie) honks?

          What an A-Hole!

          Luckily I never chill on the lawn without my Glock, so justice served!

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          • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm

            Fair enough, but you live in front of a 4-way, so it’s not a quiet intersection.

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            • Spiffy April 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm

              they picked their house due to the high number of quiet hybrid vehicles in the neighborhood…

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        • dr2chase April 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm

          So, first of all, consider the reasons you listed yourself. How many still hold?

          1. She has a better view of the cross street
          – nope, cars can’t see as well, nor can they hear as well.

          2. There was no traffic
          -nope, two cars facing each other, therefore there’s traffic

          3. She knows how Idaho treats stop signs
          – Idaho stop rules apply to bicycles, not cars.

          4. The rules of the road were’t made for bikes
          – These are cars, not bikes.

          5. The 4 way stop is superfluous
          6. It should have a circle instead
          7. Sign is awkward and possibly misplaced

          5, 6, and 7 might still be true.

          Furthermore, depending on the state and how strictly the law is interpreted (I’m a big fan of literal interpretations) that use of the horn might even be illegal. e.g.:

          “horn or device .. but shall not be used other than as a reasonable warning”


          “when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation give audible warning with his horn but shall not otherwise use such horn when upon a highway”

          It’s a bit of a stretch to claim that the guy honking his horn (or the guy harassing the stop-running cyclist) is doing anything to ensure safety.

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          • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

            not a stretch at all to say that somebody honking while somebody is blowing a stop sign is ensuring safety.

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        • Esther April 18, 2014 at 2:39 pm

          They weren’t approaching each other. they were going the oppositer way. From my reading of her blog post, she was not going to run him over, cause an accident, or threaten anyone’s bodily harm. He was just policing her, not reacting to actual conflict or danger.

          MIchael has a good point that bikes are the one mode where disagreements can actually be heard, consistently. That is NOT always a positive dynamic as a woman, when you experience very real bodily threats on a daily basis, even more so for women of color. I have been assaulted on my bike. I don’t like to get too close to people in the road and I DON’T like to be yelled at when I’m alone on a street with a random guy.

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          • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm

            “5pm yesterday, heading downhill from SE Salmon toward downtown to go to campus… since I’m coming from uphill, i have a better view of the cross street, and there was no traffic as usual so i just keep riding through the stop sign as usual…”

            OK, so she is heading downhill, towards town, Yes?

            “except then a white guy in his 30’s wearing a helmet and sunglasses riding uphill the other way shocked me by yelling at me loudly, CAN YOU READ???”

            So he is heading uphill, away from town, Yes?

            “hopefully my face looked confused enough that maybe he was thinking that I actually didn’t know english (i could be an asian exchange student who’s never seen a stop sign?!), as he restarted up the hill after he stopped at his stop sign.”

            Her face looked confused, as they faced each other and she saw him go through the intersection, Yes?

            You are wrong.

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            • Spiffy April 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm

              you’re both right!

              they were going in opposite directions towards each other and were never approaching each other…

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    • A.K. April 18, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Most tumblr posts/blogs are jokes.

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    • JRB April 18, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Yes, you forgot to add “Locusts!!!” to her list of excuses 🙂

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    • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 11:37 am

      your thoughts don’t make you an asshole…

      trying to force those thoughts on others makes you an asshole…

      yes, she makes it into a big deal because for her it’s a big deal…

      and I’m in favor of nonviolent civil disobedience when it comes to oppressive bicycle laws…

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      • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 11:57 am

        dude, all he said was “Can’t you read?”

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        • pixie April 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm

          “Can you read?” is what Dianne Yee reported, unless she made a typo.

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          • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 3:36 pm

            No, but Michael did, sorry.

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  • anon April 18, 2014 at 9:19 am

    As an Asian female, it makes my blood boil when people fling accusations of racism or misogyny to cover up their own misdeeds. It’s hard enough to have real issues taken seriously without a-holes crying wolf. If you want to do something stupid, OWN IT and don’t get all butthurt when you get called out.

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    • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 11:40 am

      what if you want to do something that’s not stupid but is still illegal? such as rolling through a stop sign with no other vehicles on a collision course? shouldn’t you justify your actions when the sheeople demand compliance?

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      • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

        Well, there was another vehicle at the intersection.

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        • Spiffy April 21, 2014 at 4:39 pm

          who cares? they weren’t going to cross paths… I did specify collision course…

          and you validated my comment by ignoring the part of it you didn’t like… so thank you for that…

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  • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Recently I was shouted at and very aggressively cut-off by an angry female cyclist who was upset that I refused to use the bike lane on the Hawthorne bridge (it’s IMO an incredibly dangerous facility for a fast cyclist). Increasingly, I see more bike on bike rage than I do car on bike rage in inner PDX (outer PDX is vice versa). The rage is usually directed at trivial infractions like rolling a stop sign, jumping a light, or not using a bike lane. I think the idea that “scofflaw bicyclists make us look bad” is a major motivation for this bike rage. I also think that the BTAs misguided bike ambassador program was a major contributor to this negative trend. Speed shaming and judgement of people who wear lycra is a related issue (e.g. they also make us “look bad”).

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    • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 9:39 am

      can you explain this scenario a tad more? how did the cutoff work? did she leave the bike lane too?

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      • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 10:40 am

        i was riding in the far left lane on hawthorne heading to my left turn at se 12. the very angry female rider cut to the left across 3 lanes of traffic and forced me to emergency stop as she entered 9th.

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        • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm

          I’ve also been yelled at for not riding in a bike lane as I was approaching my left turn… I was yelled at the second after I made my turn from the rider that was behind me…

          I circled back and told them I was making a left, they retorted that I still needed to be in the bike lane…

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          • John Lascurettes April 18, 2014 at 7:25 pm

            Well, he was wrong. Any cyclist making a left turn from a right hand bike lane is asking for a shorter life span.

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          • lyle w. April 20, 2014 at 12:19 pm

            I had a guy out in east portland harass me for sitting in a light-signaled turn lane on my bike as he was waiting at the light to go straight.

            Rolls down his window and starts harassing me about getting back in the bike line back that other way over three lanes.

            It was so surreal that someone could be that comically misinformed about basic road laws that I just laughed at him and soaked in the surreality of the world we live in. Would be unbelievable if almost every single time I’ve been lectured/harassed by a driver wasn’t also under the same premise– that is, completely and totally wrong about whatever law they think I’m breaking.

            Human nature amazes me, it really does.

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    • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 11:46 am

      IMO the Hawthorne bridge has a MUP and not a bike lane/path and you are therefore not required to use it…

      I’m guessing you’re talking about the approach ramps to the bridge which have real bike lanes on them…

      you’re absolutely allowed to ride outside the lane if you’re passing slower riders…

      but, if you’re going fast and not in a bike lane, how did somebody who was in a bike lane cut you off aggressively?

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      • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 11:51 am

        He was actually talking about heading east on Hawthorne after the bridge.

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  • Granpa April 18, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Do you want to initiate a confrontation? Are you the police? Miss manners? George Zimmerman? Even if you are in the right are you prepared to find out that the scofflaw is an aggressive asshole who has had a bad day and who considers your criticism as an intrusive petty, priggish harassment?

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    • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Blowing a stop sign in front of another road user is initiating a confrontation.

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      • spare_wheel April 19, 2014 at 9:06 am

        not really. jaybiking is incredibly common in pdx.

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        • lyle w. April 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm

          There’s california rolling on a stop where you have full visibility and are 100% aware that there is no cross traffic in either direction, and then there’s blowing through a stop where you have limited visibility and are putting other people in direct danger. You know it when you see each, let’s not pretend there’s no difference.

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          • spare_wheel April 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm

            unless you are a witness to the event i think it’s fair to take diane’s word that she performed a rolling california stop with full visibility.

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            • lyle w. April 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm

              Yeah, I know… I just think it’s worth pointing out that there’s a wide-spectrum of what would fall under ‘stop sign running’. I don’t have a problem with some (and in fact endorse it in certain cases and in certain intersections).

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  • Dan April 18, 2014 at 9:26 am

    You know that scenario where you ride up to a 4-way stop where a car to the side has arrived first? Then they wait for you to roll through in front of them, even though you’ve slowed all the way down and are waiting for them to go so you can continue without putting your foot down? Then you put your foot down, and they are STILL WAITING?

    This happens because so many cyclists do roll straight through 4-way stops with little consideration for crossing traffic. We reap what others sow.

    That said, I have a few stop signs on my commute that are utterly ridiculous to stop for, especially at 5am when there’s nobody on the road. Like a 3-way stop on a right-turning T intersection where there is no possibility of traffic coming from the left, in a residential neighborhood. It’s stop sign overkill.

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    • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Word to that!! LOL, happens all the time. I see cars with their left turn blinkers on a hundred meters in front of me as I’m coming to the intersection and I just know they’re waiting to see what I do, afraid that if they turn they will run into me as I blow the intersection.

      THANKS DIANE!!! Geez.

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    • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 11:50 am

      all the time! I hate this…

      it was so bad downtown a few months ago that I ended up having to come to a complete stop at every intersection because the cars were just waiting for me to blow through the stop sign… they simply would not leave the stop sign until they knew I wasn’t going to break the law…

      so what did I do? I started blowing through stop signs… but I would act like I was turning right, then they would start rolling and I’d switch back to my original course… and it made my commute much smoother…

      so annoying… how do these people live in such a constant state of fear?

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      • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

        on second thought, maybe this is drivers policing us and forcing us to stop…

        our fear and uncertainty at their actions cause us to stop…

        of course it also causes us to focus on them (and them on us) instead of other surroundings that may be important…

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      • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm

        I’m not following this. How many four way stops are downtown?

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        • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm

          that’s the worst part, most of them the cars didn’t have a stop sign at all… they saw me approaching my stop sign from a side street and stopped for no reason on their street…

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          • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 12:09 pm

            That contradicts what you typed in your first comment, “they simply would not leave the stop sign until they knew I wasn’t going to break the law,” and leads me to believe you are lying or exaggerating the problem.

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            • Spiffy April 21, 2014 at 4:43 pm

              I stated “most of them”… and no, that doesn’t completely explain it…

              I was trying not to type a novel but it seems that I should have so that I could have covered the multitude of different colors of vehicles that I encountered…

              I didn’t ask you to believe me, I was simply stating what happened…

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        • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 12:05 pm

          also, I meant NW… it’s all downtown to me west of the river until it hits the hills…

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    • gutterbunny April 18, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      That is not the result of bike riders blowing stop signs. That’s the result of people not understanding how right of way works. Those that are the most guilty of it will do the same for other cars, even in areas where they clearly have right of way like dramatically slowing down on highways for the benefit of merging on ramp traffic.

      Many driver in Portland are too polite.

      Personally I loath anyone giving up the right of way. Even when I’m the one who might benefit from it. Because a lot of traffic collision and slow downs are the only real end result.

      Having lived off Division where the diet occurred this last summer. I can honestly say the biggest cause of pre diet auto related collisions were cases where the driver in the inside lane would give up right away for cross traffic while being completely unaware that the outside lane of traffic unknowingly hit what ever the “polite” drive let go.

      Of course they seem real nice, but they get all pissed off when you don’t take the gap they provide because you are aware of the potential danger going on behind them.

      As the old saying goes “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Just take you’re freaking right away and get out of the way. I’ll deal, being on foot, bike or car.

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      • Spiffy April 21, 2014 at 4:44 pm

        “Personally I loath anyone giving up the right of way”

        me too, because it’s not legally possible…

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  • wsbob April 18, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Most people across the nation apparently don’t think Idaho’s stop sign idea hasn’t been one they’d like having to to live by in their own state. As long as Idaho’s law has been in effect, not a single other state, county, or city in the nation, has adopted that idea, that I’m aware of.

    Diane Yee blatantly blows a stop sign, causing another road user on a bike to have to use extra attention to watch out for her, and then she gets ticked about him yelling at her for not being a responsible road user. It’s people like her that pull the kind of stunt she describes herself doing at this intersection, that aren’t bike friendly.

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    • wsbob April 18, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Correction: “Most people across the nation apparently don’t think Idaho’s stop sign idea has been one they’d like having to live by in their own state.”

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    • Dan April 18, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Most people don’t think about how the Idaho stop sign law would benefit them as drivers, and I’d hazard a guess that people generally vote for things that are good for them.

      Adopting this law would clear intersections quicker, and reduce the time that cars have to wait for us bikes to cross the intersection when we’ve arrived first. We already allow this with pedestrians (though it would be amusing to force pedestrians to come to a complete stop before turning right on a sidewalk).

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    • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 11:56 am

      Diane Yee blatantly blows a stop sign, causing another road user on a bike to have to use extra attention to watch out for her

      that’s your assumption… she didn’t do anything that would be cause for concern from a cyclist stopped on the opposite side of the intersection… unless that other cyclist was there first and was signalling a left turn across her lane…

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      • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

        In my experience, those who blow stop signs also do not signal their turns. Like at Clinton and 21st turning right from Clinton to 21st to get to the light on Division… (side note, you people are the worst)… same with the peeps who sidle up next to you after turning onto Clinton by blowing a stop and not signaling making you go “Geez where did you come from ghostrider?”

        Which is my roundabout way of saying that you are wrong, and those of us who are paying attention to others will make the assumption that a person on a bike blowing a 4-way have a 33.3% chance of turning any direction, which causes us concern.

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        • Spiffy April 21, 2014 at 4:47 pm

          you’re right… since bicycles aren’t legally required to signal their turns a bicycle could be turning at any time…

          when I’m turning on a bike without signalling I take all the responsibility of my turn… I would never yell at somebody else for being in my way when I didn’t signal my turn…

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  • mikeybikey April 18, 2014 at 9:40 am

    the streets are not the place for lecturing other people on how to conform to your view of what is right/wrong. it generally does not end well.

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    • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Is it my opinion that I have to stop at a stop sign?

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      • Jane April 18, 2014 at 9:49 am

        It’s your opinion that others should think and act just the same as you.

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        • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 9:59 am

          This is getting weird, but i’ll respond to this.

          Yes, it my opinion that in any mode of transportation that’s regulated by laws, people should follow the same laws as me.

          This way, I can do crazy stuff. Like, here’s something crazy, Jane:

          When I’m driving or walking or biking or scooting or skateboarding down a street and I reach an intersection that has a two way stop going the other way, I can just keep on going because I am under the strong opinion that one cannot ignore the stop sign.

          But that’s just like, my opinion man.

          Really, what are you trying to say in your post?

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          • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 10:42 am

            “I can just keep on going because I am under the strong opinion that one cannot ignore the stop sign.”

            the wizard of oz is calling and wants his strawman back.

            no one is arguing that cyclists should “ignore the stop”. i treat stop signs and pedestrians walk signals like yields. can you understand the difference?

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            • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 10:57 am

              You’re missing the point. If traffic laws are all opinion-based, then the whole system falls apart.

              You don’t follow the stop sign law because of your opinion on the matter.

              I happen to share your opinion, but I stop anyway.

              Can you understand the difference?

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              • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 11:16 am

                wow…you’ve convinced me. i certainly don’t want the whole system to fall apart so i pledge to henceforth obey every stop sign i encounter.

                *clenches fist and salutes*

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              • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 11:22 am

                Good, that’s one more person who won’t pull in front of (or i guess I should say, awkwardly alongside me) me when I’m biking home.

                Baby steps…

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              • El Biciclero April 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

                “If traffic laws are all opinion-based, then the whole system falls apart.”

                Sit down, because the system has already fallen apart. How many drivers have the opinion that they can handle using cell phones while they drive? How many drivers have the opinion that speed limits are advisory and really indicate that they can drive 5-15 mph over them–‘cuz everyone else does. How many drivers are of the opinion that making a right on red doesn’t really require coming to a full stop first if they determine that they can squeeze in before that approaching vehicle arrives at the intersection? How many drivers are of the opinion that they wouldn’t have been able to stop at that yellow light, so they gun it and blast through just as it turns red? I’ve seen plenty of drivers who seem to share the opinion that the bike lane makes a great right turn lane. I’ve seen plenty more drivers (in fact, I’ve been hit by one) who have the opinion that stopping at the sidewalk when leaving a driveway is optional. Upwards of 85% of drivers (my own spitball estimate) seem to be of the opinion that they don’t need to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk unless there is a signal–further, they seem to share the opinion that there is no such thing as an “unmarked” crosswalk. Many, many drivers in my daily experience have the opinion that turn signals are optional, and if used, are there to indicate what they just did, rather than give advance notice of future intentions. I could probably think of some other examples, but you get the idea. Yes, there are some traffic laws which have more egregious consequences if blindly ignored, but again, if people have the opinion that they can get away with breaking the laws of physics, they will try.

                So you see, compliance with the law is very often governed by what a person, in their opinion, believes they can get away with, rather than on blind obedience. The point spare_wheel is trying to make, if I may be so bold, is that just as blind obedience isn’t practiced by most, neither should blind disobedience be the norm. If spare_wheel saw you approaching, he wouldn’t blindly ignore a stop sign, but might rather slow down so that you could pass before he rolled through it–yielding to you, rather than stopping for stopping’s sake.

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              • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 12:22 pm

                thanks…that was very well put.

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              • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 12:22 pm

                It’s OK, while you were typing all of that I convinced him to stop.

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              • Karl April 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

                Exactly. “Follow the law” is a rhetorical cudgel that you use to make yourself out to be superior to everyone else. In practice, no one actually cares what the law says.

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              • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

                I don’t say “Follow the law!” to people I see doing dumb stuff, I say “Watch your f’ing s!” or “Get the f out of my way a-hole” after blatant infractions lead to my bizness getting disturbed.

                And you can bet I feel superior because I know i’m doing everything right and they are doing everything wrong. That’s the definition of superiority right, being better than the other person?

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              • Karl April 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm

                Everything right? You follow every single law, without exception, all the time, even the ones you don’t know about? I bet you’ve broken six different laws just in the last 8 hours.

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              • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 1:06 pm

                please feel free to be pissed at me if i break a law that affects your reasonable assumption of a carefree day, which is what i am talking about here. I’ll shake my head and think you are a doof for doing dumb stuff in front of me, but if you run a stop sign that I am waiting at, i will call you a doof to your face and explain that you have to wait for me to go first, as we both awkwardly pedal next to each other for the next three blocks until you run the next stop sign while flipping me off.

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              • Karl April 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm

                I never run stop signs. And I don’t care what laws you break. What I care is that you break laws all the time and then say “Look at me, I’m so great, I follow the law!”

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              • Karl April 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm

                I’m sorry, you claimed to be superior, not great. Mea culpa.

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              • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm

                You’re not listening to me Karl… this is not about me being lily-white, which I am, by the way. this is about reacting to others doing dumb stuff. When I say, “Watch your F’ing S!” I don’t feel superior, i feel robbed of an assumption of safety in in the street. I feel bummed… sad. angry.

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              • Karl April 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm

                I’m on board with that, I hate it when any vehicle operator pulls a dumb or unpredictable maneuver. But “stop means stop” proscribes maneuvers that are neither dangerous nor unpredictable. If you are not perfectly still while trackstanding at a stop sign, you have technically broken the law, but have robbed nobody of their assumption of safety.

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        • JAT in Seattle April 18, 2014 at 11:16 am

          It absolutely IS my opinion that while operating a vehicle in traffic other should think and act the same as I!

          Tow it: prudently, in observance of valid laws and regulation, in a predictable defensive and cooperative manner and with the overarching belief that traffic is a system that operates for the benefit of all participants and privileges no individual (and particularly me) above all others.

          If you’re not thinking and acting that way I sincerely hope you’ll get off the road.

          Here’s a quiz: four way stop – a cyclist, a police car, a fire truck, and a postal van arrive simultaneously at the intersection. neither emergency vehicle is responding to an incident. Who has the right of way?

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          • JAT in Seattle April 18, 2014 at 11:17 am

            to wit, not tow it – dang linguistic ostentation!

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          • Alan 1.0 April 18, 2014 at 11:56 am

            The pedestrian.

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          • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm

            It absolutely IS my opinion that while operating a vehicle in traffic other should think and act the same as I!

            that’s the opinion of most commenters on OregonLive… the problem is that they all think that bicycles have the same laws as motor vehicles…

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            • JAT in Seattle April 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm

              I don’t think that is the problem with most commenters on OregonLive, actually. I think their problem is that they think roads are for cars and other users should stay out of the way.

              Clearly that’s not what I think – I think roads are for people. (But I think roads work best when we all behave predictably)

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          • El Biciclero April 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm

            Assuming you mean an intersection with a 4-way stop: Are they all going straight across, or is anyone signaling a turn? Are there any pedestrians waiting to cross? If all are going straight and there are no pedestrians, no one has the right-of-way. If there is a pedestrian as well, then they have the right-of-way, and the first vehicular move may be decided among those who are not crossing the pedestrian’s ROW. In the absence of any pedestrians, If anyone is turning right, I argue they are making the least obstructive (to the others) move, and should go first, followed by the person on their left, and so on. If anyone is turning left, they are making the most obstructive move and should wait until the others agree on who goes first, then take their turn in counter-clockwise fashion based on who seizes their turn first. If multiple vehicles are indicating turns, then it is up to everyone to decide whether any of those turning maneuvers, if made simultaneously, would be safe to execute without crossing anyone’s path, using the right-turn/left-turn heuristic described above. Unless one subscribes to the theory that priority should be given to the most vulnerable user first, in which case the cyclist should go first, but does not necessarily possess any legal “right-of-way”. But there may be obscure statutes/ordinances that dictate government vehicles take priority over non-government vehicles, in which case the mail van would have first priority (being a Federal vehicle), followed by the local emergency vehicles, whose priorities may be determined by some hierarchy of which type of emergency might be considered most important.

            If you mean an intersection with a roundabout, everyone goes at the same time.

            Or it’s a trick question because a cyclist who stops at stop signs is a mythical creature who doesn’t exist…

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            • El Biciclero April 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm

              Oops, I see you state it’s a 4-way stop. No roundabout option.

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            • Dan April 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

              It’s a trick because the cop flashes his lights so he can go through first, if he stops in the first place.

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              • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

                best comment here

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              • JAT in Seattle April 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm

                yeah, that was a good one. and indeed i should have spelled out they were all proceeding straight through but yes it’s a trick question – federal vehicle trumps local jurisdiction… there are a couple teenagers in my household studying for their drivers license so it’s salient right now.

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              • Alan 1.0 April 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm

                federal vehicle trumps local jurisdiction

                If you can back that claim up you’ll prove Snopes wrong.

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      • Karl April 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm

        Do you actually stop? Every single time? Full and complete stop? Behind the white line?
        Do you always, without fail, yield to pedestrians at crosswalks? Do you wait for them to clear the entire lane and six feet of the adjacent lane before continuing, as required by law?
        Do you drive or bike at exactly the speed limit?
        Do you signal all your turns with 100 ft of advance notice, as required by law?
        Most people I know who emphasize following the law are trying to puff up their own virtue.

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        • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm

          To be honest, yes, and it drives my friends crazy. I am pretty pedantic when it comes to operating vehicles for various reasons.

          But it’s ok, you know why? Because stopping and starting so much on a bike gives me super-cut pistons and rock hard fast twitch muscles. I own the hole shot.

          I go home and stare at my legs in the mirror and say “Oh yeah baby, that’s what following the rules looks like!”

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          • Karl April 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm

            I am not really sure how signalling your turns and lane changes builds up your legs, but okay.
            But seriously, I don’t believe for a minute that you follow 100% of the rules 100% of the time. No one does.

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          • Bill Walters April 18, 2014 at 1:42 pm

            Right there with ya, P-Funk. And Karl, it’s the resuming of speed from a dead stop that does it. If you’ve heard of “interval training,” the acceleration after a stop is a moderate form of it.

            And if you haven’t heard of it, then the cool paradox that “stopping makes you faster” just won’t make any sense.

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            • Karl April 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

              I ran track and cross-country for eight years, so you don’t need to explain interval training to me. I would argue that stopping a lot has more in common with weight training or plyometrics than interval training, but getting to deep into training theory would derail this conversation a bit…

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              • Bill Walters April 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm

                So then, why the play-dumb act up-thread?

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              • Karl April 18, 2014 at 2:16 pm

                Apparently I wasn’t as clear as I could have been. I will try to do better.

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  • J_R April 18, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I make comments to scofflaws regardless of mode. I’ve gotten more cautious about my personal safety over the years and make fewer remarks as a result.

    It certainly does annoy me when cyclists blatantly ignore the laws because, yes, I do believe that every time a motorist sees cyclists disregarding the law it does hurt all of us when it comes to getting better infrastructure and good settlements for injured cyclists in court.

    Whether it is fair or not, you have to admit that the majority of voters and the majority of jurors are not cyclists. They will tend to be less sympathetic toward cyclists when they have seen so many disregard the laws. You can bet the juror who’s seen a cyclist blow through a stop sign in the last week is pretty unlikely to find in the cyclist’s favor when he seeks compensation for injuries caused by a motorist even when the facts are clear.

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  • Dan April 18, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Diane, why do you need to tag ‘white men’ on your blog? Weird.

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    • Dan April 18, 2014 at 10:07 am
    • A.K. April 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Traffic control devices are a construct of the patriarchy, used to hold others down. Duh.

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      • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
        Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 18, 2014 at 3:38 pm

        I don’t know, but I think part of her point was that he might not have been so comfortable shouting insults at another white man.

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        • Aaronf April 18, 2014 at 5:33 pm

          And she was comfortable with reading his mind to make her assumption. Because white men aren’t all just bullies, we’re also cowards! End of mansplaination.

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        • Aaronf April 18, 2014 at 5:43 pm

          I think dan’s point was that Yee might have a bias against white men. If I had a tag on my blog “black men” which linked only to negative stories about black men, would that make you wonder about my evenhanded perception at all re: the awful reason that black guy probably did that?

          It’s more to go on than just “Can you read?” IMHO.

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  • Adam Gnarls April 18, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Call people out if you must, but make your best effort to not condescend. I think that was Ms. Yee’s main point, yeah?

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    • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 10:15 am

      No, her main point is that if you are insulted, then you get to hurl back four insults to make up for it.

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  • daisy April 18, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Sometimes I don’t fully stop at stop lights when I’m on my bike. Sometimes I have my dog off-leash in Forest Park. Sometimes I drive my car over the speed limit.

    I engage in these law-breaking behaviors when I judge them to be safe or acceptable, but, knowing that I am breaking the law, I also understand that I risk getting a ticket and being subject to negative judgment of other people. Sometimes (but not usually) those other people yell at me.


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    • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 10:44 am

      I would rather read your blog than Diane’s.

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  • wade April 18, 2014 at 11:02 am

    i respectfully blow many things, including stop signs.

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  • JRB April 18, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I’ve pretty much given up criticizing other’s behavior in the moment unless it is an immediate and direct threat to me. It is never well received. When I make a boneheaded move and someone calls me out, my first reaction is to get defensive. It is only after a little time to reflect, sometimes just a few seconds, that I realize I’m in the wrong, but by then it is usually too late to apologize.

    Would I have rolled the same stop sign as Ms. Yee? Maybe. Would my first reaction be to get defensive if an anonymous rider had said the same to me? Probably. Would I still be angry and defensive enough to post a tirade about later. Absolutely not.

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  • Joe April 18, 2014 at 11:34 am

    wow this thread is blownin up.. TGIF ppl, careful when 5pm hits.. haha

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    • Nick April 18, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      I know, right? Meanwhile the post about PBOT’s road fee and its effect on transportation issues is…crickets. Hard to read these threads when the next article reports some town hall attendees who believe portland’s road problems are a result of lightrail and bike lanes. Our collective energies can be better spent. And wow, I just got suckered in too.

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      • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm

        bike portland receives generous sponsorship for periodic bike scofflaw and ladd’s addition articles from bike snob nyc.

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        • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm

          That’s funny. Unfortunately he’s on vacation for a while.

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  • LLD April 18, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Today I encountered two different cyclists on my commute that rolled through a stop sign only looking for cross traffic in one direction. Neither one looked my way and continued on right in front me, one causing me to swerve and one causing me to dead stop to avoid collision. You’re absolutely right I said something to each of them.

    I’ve always been all for the Idaho Law (as I think it makes far more sense), but you can only do this if you are sure the coast is clear. As I find myself trusting other cyclists less and less, I can easily side with the guy who called out and wish more folks would just stop and pay attention.

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  • Mick O April 18, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Someone yelled at her? Who would possibly….

    “a white guy in his 30’s wearing a helmet and sunglasses”

    A helmet huh? Ahhhh now I get it. Say no more. He should be castrated for his impudence. /sarc

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    • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Read her other “White Men” tagged post, linked in the comment a few above yours.

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  • spare_wheel April 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    IMO the Hawthorne bridge has a MUP and not a bike lane/path and you are therefore not required to use it…
    I’m guessing you’re talking about the approach ramps to the bridge which have real bike lanes on them…
    you’re absolutely allowed to ride outside the lane if you’re passing slower riders…
    but, if you’re going fast and not in a bike lane, how did somebody who was in a bike lane cut you off aggressively?
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    she was turning left across east bound hawthorne and i had come to a stop when traffic backed up turning left at 7th. when she cut me off we were both in the low 20s.

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  • Gumby April 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I was driving with my 4-year-old son in the car and he asks “Dad, what does f#@cker mean? Drivers swear at other drives probably a lot more than cyclists do. Still, when I got called out for not stopping for a pedestrian by another cyclist, I briefly thought about various forms of violence.

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    • dr2chase April 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      Oh, I talk at the other drivers like they are small children attempting a difficult task. “Oooh, it’s a stop sign. Do you think you can work the brake pedal? Good for you, you almost stopped, and you really slowed down a lot! Such a big boy you are, driving a car like that.”

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      • Dan April 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm

        We have a speed display sign frequently set up about 100 yards down from my house. I sit out on the corner with the kids and comment on the drivers speeding when the sign lights up (pretty much all of them), and as it continues blinking when they don’t slow down (half of them).

        Watched a school bus this morning going 28 in a 25 by our crossing today, and then passing dangerously close to a cyclist who was trying to go around a parked car. We had some funny commentary for him.

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    • dan April 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Not stopping for a pedestrian on a crosswalk when cycling is roughly the same as a motorist who doesn’t give you 3 feet when passing and then says “It’s not like I hit you.” If we don’t respect more vulnerable road users when cycling, how can we expect consideration from motorists?

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      • Dan April 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        Yeah, pretty easy to stop for peds in crosswalk. Don’t cost you nothing to be nice, except a few seconds. Most peds are drivers too, and they remember.

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        • dr2chase April 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm

          Judging from my experience today, it’s also easier to stop for peds when you’re on a bicycle; several cars passed me after I had stopped at crosswalks for pedestrians.

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  • Jason April 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    The premise of the original question “Is it out of line for one person on a bike to aggressively criticize another for pedaling through a stop sign in a safe situation?” is the actual problem- by asking whether the actions of one person (the “criticizor”) are right or wrong, we’re actually doing the same thing to them that they did to the biker who rolled the stop- we’re judging them and their actions. Fortunately we live in a country where we’re free to choose whether we obey the laws or not and if we choose “not” then we do so knowing there may be consequences including possibly hearing disapproval from others (especially when our actions negatively impact them) but like I tell me kids all the time “what somebody else does is their choice, how you choose to react to it is up to you.” Regardless of whether I think I’m right or wrong, I’ve never seen aggressive criticism, defensiveness, or being argumentative result in a productive or behavior-altering result. And back to the original question, if we think the criticizor was out of line, what’s our best response- yell back at him to not yell at us (seems pretty counter-intuitive), or smile and wave and continue on our way?

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  • Spiffy April 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    if she had just yelled back “No!” I think he would have been happy…

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  • dr2chase April 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I did something like this twice, years ago — both times riding after someone who had run a stop sign to tell them that they were making us all look bad (*). I realized that (1) doing this a third time would begin to fit the definition of insanity and (2) I had never heard of a car driver ever doing something like this for a similar accident-free infraction (and they occur constantly) and (3) I had been scrupulously obeying traffic laws for about 40 years, and it did not change how I was treated on the road *at all*, and if I had to wait for my “respect” for 100% rule compliance by 100% of cyclists, that would never happen (and this is also a double standard — drivers break traffic laws constantly, how often do we hear them hand-wringing about “those guys are making us all look bad”?)

    Since then, I’ve been performing the other experiment and often riding in my own private Idaho, and the apparent attitude of drivers has not changed a bit. I’m not doing this for my own convenience, it is a sociology experiment :-).

    (*) in my 40s, on a cargo bike, not running lights myself, thank you very much. And these guys were not running lights in “no traffic”, they just sort of threaded their way through/around the scrum of cars.

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  • Kristi Finney-Dunn April 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    She knowingly broke the law for her own convenience and now is not only refusing to take responsibility for doing it but is publicly trying to justify why it was okay for HER and not only not okay, but wrong, for anyone to notice. And this is why sometimes in my continuing grief, I feel hopeless and helpless and angry at everyone. Can’t we all just get along and stop being so self centered? I wouldn’t even care so much that she did it, if she’d just shrugged, “I was caught.”

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    • dr2chase April 18, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Why do you think the law is so important?

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      • Bill Walters April 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm

        Kristi is the mom of a rider killed by a drunk driver. Her name is linked; click it.

        (Though likely too late. You’ve kinda stepped in it.)

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        • dr2chase April 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

          Problem is, cyclists stopping for stop signs doesn’t do a damn thing to help with drunk drivers.

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          • Bill Walters April 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

            Where you heading with that goalpost, “doctor”?

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            • dr2chase April 19, 2014 at 5:16 pm

              Not sure what you’re getting at. I think it is darn peculiar that people claim such reverence for “the law” when most people (i.e., drivers, most of them) disobey traffic laws almost continually, and I think it is doubly peculiar that people get so exercised about cyclists breaking traffic laws. Can you find, anywhere, a post on a driving website where they worry that people who speed, roll through stops, fail to stop at crosswalks, etc, “make us all look bad”? Heck no, they’re all ranting about traffic light cameras and speed traps, even though mistakes made while driving kill thousands of (other) people every year. I’ve seen trivial lawbreaking contribute to an accident, and because the driver was only partly at fault, she didn’t even get a ticket (I was the witness) even though she 100% broke two traffic laws (stop at the stop line; do not obstruct a crosswalk). The *policeman* didn’t think the law was that important, even when it contributed to an accident, even though it is against the law all by itself with no accident.

              Conversely, obeying the law on a bicycle doesn’t keep you safe. Didn’t keep me out of the hospital (hit and run, left in the ditch). Didn’t keep my friend from being run off the road and having his knee trashed. Didn’t save the life of a guy near here (Boston) who got turned into road kill last week when a truck turned right across a bike lane (there are rules that can make that safer. They’re not laws.).

              So why do we think the law is so important? How is guilting cyclists into obeying the law not a tremendous waste of time, given how much more common and deadly lawbreaking drivers are? And why are people so offended at that utterly rational calculation?

              If it’s necessary to have lost a family member to idiots in cars to have your opinion be considered worthy, fine. It happens to a lot of people. Cars kill, after all: http://dr2chase.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/fuvs/

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          • scott April 18, 2014 at 4:58 pm

            Not stopping doesn’t either. Your post is ridiculous.

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    • tnash April 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Kristi, I’ve very sorry for your loss. In this particular situation, the author is doing the equivalent of jay walking when no cars are coming. I don’t think that yelling at people on the street is the answer, it isn’t civilized behavior.

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      • Sho April 19, 2014 at 9:05 am

        Breaking the law then continuing to make a large deal of how she was caught is civilized?

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        • Citizen April 19, 2014 at 1:46 pm

          Screaming at people who do the equivalent of jay walking is not civil behavior, in my opinion

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  • tnash April 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I refuse to open up myself to being Yelled at, especially by self-righteous ding-dongs on bikes, which is why I wear headphones on my commute. Yell away, I can’t hear you. 🙂 …and yes, I know that wearing headphones on a bike is Dangerous and Scary.

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    • scott April 18, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      This post is incredibly self-righteous. IRONY.

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      • Tnash April 19, 2014 at 8:55 am

        I know, right? I’m a hypocrite. 🙂

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  • Frank April 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Meh. Stop sign shmop sign. I tend to blow through them with gleeful abandon in residential areas but am more respectful on busy streets. But I never, ever run red lights and give unrestrained grief to idiots who do, AFTER I easily catch up to them on my slow commuter bike, which illustrates how they are idiots for running them… its pointless and gives us all a bad name. Stop signs however… running them is simply the right thing to do.

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  • P-Funk April 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Time for an experiment on the way home…

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  • Mindful Cyclist April 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    “PDX—not as bike-friendly as you’d think!”

    From the sounds of it, the author nornally just “Idaho stops” every time she goes through this intersection.

    And, one time she gets called on it.

    Therefore, PDX isn’t that bike friendly?

    To use her term, WTF?

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  • tnash April 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    helpful advice: when you hear a biker yelling at you, the Quickest comeback is to yell back & mimic the rise and fall of their voice patterns (but exaggerated), and using nonsense sounds. “Can’t you READ???” …”Myueh myueh MYUUEHHH????” 🙂

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  • Georgia April 18, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    As a long-time bike commuter and a woman, there is definitely a gender dynamic at play. I can’t tell you how many times I’m stopped by men who want to concern troll. “You were a little to close to that car back there, you were going a little fast, I’m just concerned for your safety.” It happens ALOT. So much so, that I dread the summer months and prefer cycling in the winter when the roads are emptier. I am a safe and experienced cyclist who follows the rules of the road, so it’s not a problem of me being reckless or rude.

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    • Sho April 19, 2014 at 8:55 am

      If you follow the rules of the road, how are you reckless? Are these rules you have made up or the law?

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  • scott April 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Truth be told: I would rather have every single civilian in Portland yell at me for days on end about things I did wrong/laws I broke then have talk to a Portland cop for one second.

    Some polite policing of our fellows in all aspects of our lives should be better received. People should not be so offended by an outside perspective.

    Sure the yeller in this story could use some sugar on that delivery but who knows what kind of a day was had by said yeller.

    Conversely, the yellee should have just taken a chiding in stride.

    Sticks and stones. If Diane Yee really felt as though she had done no wrong, would we have heard about this?

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    • Tnash April 19, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Some polite policing of our fellows in all aspects of our lives should be better received????? LOL

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    • spare_wheel April 19, 2014 at 9:27 am

      my commute passes the main portland police building and a courthouse. as such, i roll traffic signals and split lanes in front of law enforcement on a near daily basis. i’ve never been called out by law enforcement but i’ve had busy body “bike ambassadors” admonish me for my high speed cycling antics on multiple occasions.

      riding in traffic at high speeds is something i enjoy greatly and since this behavior is ignored by law enforcement you can be sure that some fred screaming at me from the bike lane is going to have zero impact. the really ironic thing is that motorists almost never protest my rolling, jumping, splitting, and weaving. in fact, i’ve received far more complements from motorists than criticisms. so much for the idea that i am “making us look bad”.

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      • spare_wheel April 19, 2014 at 10:04 am

        i should also note that most of the time i’m called out for things that are not necessarily illegal (splitting lanes*) or arguably legal (refusing to use a bike facility due to obstructions or debris).

        *sharing lanes is illegal for motorized vehicles

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        • Karl April 19, 2014 at 11:40 am

          I read more Oregon Live comments than is healthy, and I’ve noticed that lane splitting is often cited as yet another illegal activity of scofflaw cyclists. It’s not clear to me that even 100% compliance with traffic regulations would improve our image if motorists insist on holding us to account for traffic regs that don’t actually exist. (Not that there aren’t many, many, many other good reasons to obey the traffic regs.)

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        • Mike April 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm

          You seem to make up your own rules and get upset when a car gets close to your unpredictable movement so are you one to offer advice? Probably not

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          • Karl April 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm

            I’m not sure what advice you thought I was offering. I never lane split, because it is incredibly dangerous, and no one else should, either. It’s a great way to get killed or maimed.

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            • Karl April 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm

              Just because it is legal doesn’t mean it is safe or okay.

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            • mike April 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm

              I was referring to genius boy spare wheel. He seems to think social norms don’t apply to him as long as he is on a bike

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              • spare_wheel April 20, 2014 at 2:43 pm


                considering that compliance at the ladd’s addition stop sign was ~10% (and not much better elsewhere, ime) i think you might want to retract your “social norm” comment.

                the trend in portland has been for less compliance over time, not more. it simply amazes me that the people who call out even bother wasting their time and breath.

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          • spare_wheel April 20, 2014 at 9:28 am


            how am i making up my own rules?

            when did i complained about motorists getting close to me here?

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  • Adam April 18, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Bicyclists running stop signs are the biggest reason motorists hate us all.

    Trust me, I hear it all day long. As soon as people find out I ride a bike, the first thing out of their mouths is usually something along the lines of we are all assholes that run stop signs 24/7.

    You might not THINK you are doing anything wrong by blowing the odd stop sign, but people are noticing, and in the long run, it does little-to-nothing to advance the cause (for that, read FUNDING) of bicycling.

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    • Karl April 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      The single biggest reason why, as you say, “motorists hate us all,” is because they don’t want us on the road. They may say they care about stop signs, but that’s just a totem. PBOT did a study for several months in the mid ‘aughts, and measured 78% failure to stop at stop signs for cars and 90% failure to stop for bicycles. If bicyclists achieved “only” 60% noncompliance, I really doubt that your interlocutors would give us any credit for being twice as law-abiding as motorists. As I said before, even if we achieved 100% compliance we would still get dinged for failing to follow imaginary regs like “don’t split lanes,” “always yield to cars turning right,” “never ever ever leave the bike lane for any reason ever,” and the big one: “don’t wear lycra or do trackstands.”
      I’m not saying that following all the regs will have no effect on the reputation of the cycling community, but the reputational boost would be minimal at best.

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      • Karl April 19, 2014 at 2:04 pm

        For all the rhetoric about the importance of stopping, I have been honked at multiple times when I’ve stopped at stop signs on neighborhood greenways. I have no trouble doing 20 on the greenways (or 25 in Ladd), so it’s not a speed thing. I’ve also been honked at in downtown for stopping at yellow lights when I had not chance of making it through before the red.

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  • Adam April 18, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Also: what has the race of the person who quite rightly told her off got to to with anything? Why do we need to be informed by Yee that he was white?

    If you had replaced that with black, it would have sounded hella’ racist in my view.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 19, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Hey, Adam, I agree that that would have been racist. But in my view you can’t just flip those situations so smoothly. Black people are victims of vast and continuing disadvantage. White people, by comparison, are not.

      Without meaning to either defend or criticize Yee’s more general (and IMO interesting) take on what happened here, I think mentioning the dude’s race is fair and relevant here because it may have informed his decision about whether to confront a stranger on the street about her behavior.

      Just my take.

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    • daisy April 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Acknowledging race is not inherently racist.

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  • Paul April 18, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    …except then a “white” guy…
    Now that’s an important distinction.

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    • jim April 18, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      What color is she?

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  • Buzz April 18, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    my thoughts? – MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!

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  • jim April 18, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    If the guy riding uphill can stop, she can stop. She will have an easier time getting started than he will.

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  • Sho April 19, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Feeling Entitled? If you are gonna blow a sign or signal at least acknowledge the fact you are in the wrong instead of making excuses. If you break the law know you are doing so and understand you might have to deal with the consequences (or someone calling you out on it) not that it somehow doesn’t pertain to you since you are somehow better than everyone else. There are plenty of intersections in which motor vehicles could probably run according to what someone’s personal opinion of safe is.

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  • Mike Murray April 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I think that one of the things that keeps people from breaking rules is the perception that someone is noting them breaking rules. This is often a greater motivator than potential penalties. Lack of this perception tends to encourage rule breaking. Driving over the speed limit is an example. Nobody really sees you. Nobody will be able to complain to you about doing it most places. Why not do it? Many people do.

    I think that it is important to let people know when you see them breaking rules. When you see someone litter tell them you saw that. When a person on a bike runs a stop sign or a light tell them you saw it.

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    • spare_wheel April 20, 2014 at 9:48 am

      people only see law breakers when they are out of the ordinary. jaywalkers and speeders are not out of the ordinary so no one cares.

      cyclists appear to many motorists as a weird “out group” that violates the way things used to be (e.g. they get in they way of the all-important personal motorized couch). it’s naive (at best) to believe that aggressive self-policing by self-appointed bike ambassadors will have any impact on this negative impression.

      jaybiking is here to stay and if anything it’s prevalence has been steadily increasing. and, imo, this is a very good thing.

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  • was carless April 20, 2014 at 12:15 am

    People really need to chill out and just ignore comments from other people. What is this, grade school?

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  • Michael M. April 20, 2014 at 11:24 am

    People keep talking about “rolling” through a stop sign without stopping, but it’s not clear to me that most understand that the Idaho Stop law (which a lot of folks seem to support, including me) requires that you slow down before you proceed through an intersection controlled by a stop sign. It’s also not clear from Yee’s account of her own behavior that she slowed down at the intersection in question — actually, she kind of implies that she didn’t because she emphasizes that she was travelling downhill and says she “rides” through the intersection “as usual.” It sounds like she blew through the intersection without slowing at all.

    Tom Vanderbilt’s Traffic (highly recommended!) has some great information about human perception and how the shortcomings of our perception influences expectations and behavior. When day after day you have experiences at a particular intersection along your route, it’s almost impossible not to presume that you are going to continue to have those same experiences. One day there will be a pedestrian crossing at that intersection that you won’t see because without realizing it you’ve conditioned yourself not to see. You’ve rationalized that the rules don’t apply to you because they weren’t written with you in mind. You’ll be momentarily distracted, or thinking about the day ahead (or the events of the day that is winding down), your brain will register that the intersection ahead is “safe” and you think you’ve looked for cross-traffic and anyway you don’t need to worry about the stupid stop sign, and you’ll ride through without slowing “as usual,” cutting someone off, clipping them or plowing into them. The majority of close calls I’ve had with bikes and cars have resulted from this dynamic, whether I was on a bike or on foot.

    Yee’s entitled scofflaw cycling style (if my understanding of her behavior is accurate) is one of the reasons cycling has plateaued in Portland. I gave up daily bike commuting because I grew tired of dealing with it and because I have a fast, direct commute on TriMet. It just isn’t worth the stress of dealing with so many disparate cyclists who have so many varying interpretations of how they should behave in the right-of-way.

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    • spare_wheel April 21, 2014 at 8:10 am

      the statute only requires slowing to a reasonable speed. were you an eyewitness? if not then you have no way of judging whether yee slowed down or whether her speed was reasonable.

      I gave up daily bike commuting because I grew tired of dealing with it…

      how very o-live of you.

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    • P-Funk April 21, 2014 at 8:49 am

      this is spot on. best comment here. the reason my knickers get in a twist about all this is because I myself am worried about getting hit by people who aren’t paying attention.

      I have been in a head on bicycle crash… not an easy thing to orchestrate, unless one of the parties involved disregards inconvenient traffic laws, and then you come “out of nowhere”.

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    • El Biciclero April 21, 2014 at 11:43 am

      Yeah, well, stopping is no guarantee of paying attention or using common sense, either. I’ve been crowded at stop lights and stop signs by motorists who thought they should be able to cruise up next to me and take their turn first (obviously, duh, I automatically get to go first, ‘cuz I’m in, like, a car, dude!), drivers who had been stopped at a side street then jetted out in front of me, cutting me off because they weren’t paying enough attention to judge my speed very accurately (or more likely just didn’t “see” me), drivers who were stopped waiting to make a right on red, who then go just as the light turns green without checking the crosswalk or bike lane, etc.

      It’s hard to tell who’s who by looking, but I’d rather share the road with “scofflaws” who pay attention to what they are doing than automatons who might do what the sign (or signal) says, but aren’t really paying attention to anything else–such as what they are actually doing between signs or signals.

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  • Reggie April 20, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Stops signs are a traffic control device. Not stopping Places all users in unsafe position. Motor vehicle to bicycle collision, Motor vehicle wins, bike losses ( minimal physical damage to motor vehicle). Bicycle to pedestrian, bicycle Wins, pedestrian losses. Respect and sharing the road does not include disobeying stop signs. Safety is everyone responsibility, Informing a person that there actions are unsafe is a way to obtain a injury free society.

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    • Dan April 21, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Some of these are true.

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    • Spiffy April 21, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Informing a person that there actions are unsafe is a way to obtain a injury free society.

      that’s pretty hilarious… as if drivers have never heard before that motor vehicles kill people… how many people know that drinking and driving is unsafe? how many people keep doing it? how injury-free is that making us?

      also, telling a cyclist that they didn’t stop for a stop sign is not informing a person that their actions are unsafe… as Idaho, and millions of cyclists, already know, there’s nothing inherently unsafe about not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign while riding a bicycle…

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  • Fred April 21, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Keep Portland passive aggressive.

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