Harvest Century September 22nd

Friends remember Kirke Johnson, identified as man killed in Cedar Mill collision

Posted by on November 21st, 2014 at 9:06 am

Kirke Johnson.
(Photos: Portland Community College)

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of the man who was killed yesterday while bicycling on NW Cornell Road in Cedar Mill (just west of the Portland city boundary).

The victim is Kirke Johnson, a 70-year old former employee at Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus. He worked in the school’s IT department for over 20 years and just retired last week. People who knew Johnson remember him as being a prolific and very experienced rider who logged thousands of miles a year on his recumbent (which he was riding at the time of the collision).

He was also a regular commenter here on BikePortland. Under the screen name “bikesalot” he published about 100 comments dating back to early 2009.

The Sheriff’s Office has also released an update about the collision, saying that their investigation shows, “the truck turned into the path of the bicyclist causing them to collide.” Investigators have also determined that “inattentiveness” was likely a contributing factor in the collision and that citations might be possible after the investigation is completed.

“Over the years Kirke was very involved in community action involving improving bicycle safety on NW Cornell Rd. He went to numerous meetings involving the county and other groups concerned with Cornell Rd. infrastructure.”
— Deborah Hartman, a friend who knew him for over 30 years.

According to friends and those who knew Johnson, he was “obsessed” with logging his miles on BikeJournal.com, a site that ranks users based on how far they’ve ridden. Johnson was also a member of the Oregon Human Powered Vehicle Association and he was the leader of PCC Sylvania’s Bike Commute Challenge Team. An internal PCC email sent out Thursday night and shared by BikePortland commenter Marc Rose said that Kirke, “was a careful cyclist who had been commuting by bike to work for the past 10 years, and had been planning a cross-country bicycle trip with his wife this winter.”

Commenter Pat Franz knew Johnson and told us that he was “very experienced, very visible, and very careful.” He was also very familiar with the Cornell/Barnes intersection where he was hit and he lived nearby. Franz also said that Johnson always rode with lights and usually had a bright yellow fairing wrapped around his long wheelbase recumbent.

“He routinely rode over 10,000 miles a year on his bike,” Franz wrote, “He knew about lane positioning, blind spots, and how to stay safe. That this still happened to him is a real shock… If the truck had given any indication it was doing anything other than going straight, Kirke would not have let himself be anywhere near the danger zone, I am sure of that. It is sobering and beyond sad that he was struck anyway.”

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This photo was posted to Facebook by Kirke’s daughter Heather Johnson.

In 2007, Johnson was featured in an article on the PCC website:

He got into biking as a kid where he rode a three-speed on dirt mining camp roads in New Mexico. Johnson said he never took biking seriously until his daughter entered the Seattle to Portland cycling event a few years ago. Seeing how much fun it was for her, Johnson started looking for the right kind of bike to suit him. He didn’t like traditional cycles because they weren’t comfortable for him so he turned to recumbent bikes where the rider sits back as if in a chair. When he found the right cycle, he fitted it with a body sock to get a streamline effect. Johnson has been commuting to the Sylvania Campus from his home on Skyline Boulevard in northwest Portland several times a week ever since.

“I spent winter learning how to ride it,” he said. “You don’t want to know how many hills I walked up with the recumbent before I got into good enough condition to ride up all the way. The long wheelbase is not ideal for congested areas, but is good for the open road. You have to make an allowance and choose proper routes. Most of my crashes have been where I’ve been stopped and I lose balance.”

Johnson was well-known among recumbent riders in the Pacific Northwest. A post in the popular BentRiderOnline forums laments his passing and points out how, coupled the recent passing of Marilyn Hayward, “the Portland recumbent community has been hit hard in the last couple weeks.”

A longtime friend of Johnson’s left a comment last night saying that he was actively involved in advocating for bicycle safety on exact same road he died on. “Over the years Kirke was very involved in community action involving improving bicycle safety on NW Cornell Rd,” a commenter named Deborah Hartman wrote, “He went to numerous meetings involving the county and other groups concerned with Cornell Rd. infrastructure.”

“This is simply tragic,” she continued. “He worked all his life to live his dream of cycling in his retirement… I am heartbroken.”

We haven’t heard anything about a memorial service but will update this post if we do.

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100 Comments
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    peejay November 21, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I used to ride through that intersection daily when I worked in the area from 2006-2011. Bike wide bike lanes that do not feel in the least bit safe, heavy traffic that was not alleviated by a big road-widening project in ~2009, and car-dependent development that just connected one parking lot to the next. I never felt comfortable there, and had quite a few near-misses on that stretch.

    Frequently, the traffic backs up on Cornell, and right-turning cars try to sneak by in the bike lane to get to Barnes. He only way to prevent this is to finally realize that we need fully grade-separated bike facilities. I’m not holding my breath.

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      spare_wheel November 21, 2014 at 11:47 am

      separated facilities *alone* often exacerbate right hook risk. bike-specific signals and/or channelization which improves visibility are the preferred approach to right hook mitigation. both treatments are expensive. if you want to see these changes implemented then support the increases in revenue needed to build them.

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        Capizzi November 21, 2014 at 4:55 pm

        I was hit in St Johns in a similar situation…it comes at you like a wall–fast. Kirke might have thought the truck was going left or straight, or might have at least given him some room.

        It is difficult to anticipate the shift from a normal part of a commute, an intersection you travelled many times, to a death zone. Sometimes it is only really dangerous at certain times of day or if a complex traffic situation starts distracting drivers from what is around them.

        Sometimes it is better as a bicyclist to come to complete stop and wait for the next green light…you would probably feel stupid standing there, but it is opportunity for a drink of water and wait out the chaos.

        There could be some design feature that might alert drivers that pedestrians/bicyclists might be near that corner. The corner could be re-engineered so drivers would have to take the corner slower. The light-signals could be re-designed if freight needs to more more efficiently. As for visibility, it is really hard to be any more visible than Kirke.

        I spoke to Kirke before about riding on Cornell. He was a cool guy. I am tired of hearing about good cyclists getting killed for no reason. More people are going to injured or die at this intersection, and every time there is a collision, the cost of doing nothing, of not redesigning the intersection, goes up. Is it one of those political things where someone wants to appear like they are saving tax-payor money, when their inaction is really costing us a lot more?

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    spencerr November 21, 2014 at 9:30 am

    It is complete and utter bullsh_t that our society and roadways allow people to be killed or maimed due to negligence. Its time for vision zero to come to fruition. RIP Kirke. My wife and I shed a tear although we only knew you on the road.

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    TOM November 21, 2014 at 9:52 am

    would a flag on Kirke’s bike have made much difference ? ie: more visible to the truck.

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    Dan November 21, 2014 at 10:01 am

    An 18-year-old was killed walking on 119th in broad daylight a few years ago, just a 1/4 mile from there. No changes have been made to the road or signage since then. The bike lane on Cornell completely disappears a block from this location, after Saltzman, though there is plenty of space there to widen the paving there and restripe. There doesn’t appear to me to be any commitment to fix this area.

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      hemp22 November 21, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Actually, they installed a sidewalk for the stretch of a few blocks where that occurred, connecting the pre-existing sidewalks at the bottom and top of that hill. They have also installed the automated flashing radar speed limit signs on both the uphill and downhill sides of the street right there.

      Obviously far too late, but at least in retrospect the county eventually does make efforts to improve things.

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        Dan November 23, 2014 at 8:57 am

        Ah, sorry, I was just picturing the thin shoulder on the east side — didn’t notice that the sidewalk on the west side was new.

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      Felicia November 22, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      Actually, they did finally put in sidewalks on 119th, but it shouldn’t cost a life to make these changes happen!

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    onegearsnear November 21, 2014 at 10:02 am

    RIP Kirke. So sad about his passing and sad that the first line in KPTV’s “newscast” this am stated that he was “on a recumbent without a flashing light or apparent flag making him difficult to see”. Always blame it on the cyclist…

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  • John Liu
    John Liu November 21, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Flags don’t help if the driver doesn’t look in the mirror or if the truck cab is positioned so that the mirror doesn’t show the bike.

    Many drivers don’t look in their right outside mirror (or, for cars, over their right shoulder) when turning right from the curbside lane. They know no car can be between them and the curb, and they overlook the possibility of a bike. I think professional drivers are often better-trained, but not always.

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    Trikeguy November 21, 2014 at 10:19 am

    TOM
    would a flag on Kirke’s bike have made much difference ? ie: more visible to the truck.
    Recommended 0

    I use a flag because I’m lower and don’t have the massive visual footprint of a fully socked LWB bike. That said, I really doubt that, if you miss the big yellow blob you’ll see the couple of square feet of flag that’s basically edge on to anyone looking down the bike lane.

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    Champs November 21, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I have bad memories of riding at that intersection, but nothing quite like this.

    Safety tip: trailers make wide turns, and the turn signals are pretty pathetic, especially for their size. A slow-rolling semi in the opposite lane is not something to filter out of your attention. Check its signals, because that truck can quickly become a very large thing right in front of you.

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    daisy November 21, 2014 at 10:56 am

    If driver inattentiveness is the problem, then it doesn’t really matter what we do, all. Let’s be careful not to suggest a small piece of metal and plastic flag could have presented a tragedy we know few details about.

    My condolences to Kirke’s family. It seems especially sad to me that he just retired — so many miles not biked!

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    KAT November 21, 2014 at 11:09 am

    This makes me sick! What an awful way for him to go. Especially since he was a passionate and devoted bicyclist. In addition, he was a strong advocate who encouraged others to consider riding as opposed to driving to work.

    I remember seeing him once as he left the dentist office. It was spring time and the rain was coming down thick with big fat drops. There he was, suiting up with meticulous attention to his armor.
    Then I saw him climb on the strangest contraption I had ever seen. Knowing he was an avid bicycle rider, I connected the dots. There he was, riding away in the traffic with only his head poking out of what looked like a large yellow banana that served as a body canoe. I laughed out loud in awe of his vehicle. What a genius and practical apparatus. Since then I saw him riding all over the place. He impressed me with his dedication to riding his odd looking piece of fruit. I appreciated his remarkable endurance as well as a healthy, strong and slender individual. I cannot say my big and fat old butt would be able to endure the same.

    Thank you Kirke for all your patience with me. You were always benevolent and had unflappable kindness with my ignorance of technological abilities. You truly earned my esteem as an intelligent “Geek”, where I can only call myself “Nerd” and may one day aspire to a ”Geek Wanna-be.” Many people will always remember you. Genuinely Kirke, you will be missed.

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    Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 21, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    TOM
    would a flag on Kirke’s bike have made much difference ? ie: more visible to the truck.
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    Probably not. The most likely scenario is the truck passed Kirke, then slowed in preparation for the right turn. As the truck slowed, Kirke caught up with the truck and began passing it on the right, in the truck driver’s blind spot. This happens to me too, with regular cars that don’t have to slow as much, much less with trucks, except I don’t like my front wheel go past the rear of bumper of the vehicle. I slow down and get behind the vehicle; often passing on its left. Never on the right!

    Did you get the memo? Read the memo, please! Here’s the memo:

    http://iamtraffic.org/resources/interactive-graphics/what-cyclists-need-to-know-about-trucks/

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      Paul November 22, 2014 at 11:12 am

      The scenario you describe seems to assume that the truck driver did not activate his turn signal. There would have been a turn signal on the rear of the trailer obviously, but most tractors also have a turn signal on the side of the cab visible from both the side and rear. That’s why I like that some newer cars have a signal light built into the side view mirrors, warning you of their intentions if you’re beside them, possibly in their blind spot.

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      The Odd Duck November 23, 2014 at 1:45 am

      This is about the best scenario so far. The one thing I leaned from my motorcycle days; don’t assumed you have the right of way even if you do, its cheaper that way

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    Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 21, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    daisy
    If driver inattentiveness is the problem, then it doesn’t really matter what we do, all. Let’s be careful not to suggest a small piece of metal and plastic flag could have presented a tragedy we know few details about.
    My condolences to Kirke’s family. It seems especially sad to me that he just retired — so many miles not biked!
    Recommended 5

    As long as we keep thinking the problem is motorist inattentiveness, we’ll never solve the problem.

    Please study this carefully. All bicyclists should. Our lives are at stake.

    http://iamtraffic.org/resources/interactive-graphics/what-cyclists-need-to-know-about-trucks/

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    Bill V. November 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I live in the neighborhood and saw this cyclist around often. I’ll never forget the first time I saw him, many years ago. My exact thought was, “that’s not safe, and he’s going to get killed doing that.”

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Bill V.,

      It’s all about perspective — and too often in this country the perspective is entirely from the non-biking point-of-view.

      Case in point.

      I think what Kirke was doing was completely safe. What’s truly not safe, in my opinion, is driving huge trucks with known safety issues through the middle of a Town Center where people walk and bike and live their life.

      It’s the operation of large and heavy and dangerous vehicles that is dangerous. Pedaling a bicycle is not.

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        wsbob November 23, 2014 at 8:43 pm

        ‘..I think what Kirke was doing was completely safe. …”maus/bikeportland

        Obviously not. A guy riding a bike in traffic, gets killed, and obsessive deniers still insist that riding a bike amongst motor vehicle traffic is completely safe.

        Every vehicle on the road, other than bicycles, are larger, heavier and more dangerous to vulnerable road users than are bikes.

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          Opus the Poet November 23, 2014 at 8:59 pm

          And in that same day almost 100 other people were killed by motor vehicles more than 80% inside the protective confines of a safety shell surrounded by airbags and seat belts and shoulder harnesses, it is obviously driving in cars that is not safe, people riding bicycles are just that much more collateral damage…

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            wsbob November 24, 2014 at 6:14 pm

            Opus…no disagreement from me, that driving and riding in motor vehicles is not “…perfectly safe…”, either. Better designed road infrastructure, with more emphasis on active transportation specific road infrastructure, bike in traffic instruction and training, and community design and planning, all could help reduce chances of collisions occurring.

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    Brian Johnson November 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I live in a different neighborhood and see people driving cars around often. My exact thought is always the same: “That’s not safe, and they’re going to either get killed or kill someone else doing that.”

    Bill V. what are you talking about? What’s not safe? Walking? Riding a bike? Driving a car? Smoking? Playing American Football? Sunbathing?

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      Bill V. November 21, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      When I moved here I tried riding my mountain bike in the same area one day, and never again. I felt like I was unnecessarily putting my own safety at risk. “This is not a safe place to ride,” I thought. Believe me, I’d love to ride if I thought it was safe. I used to love cycling. As a kid, I won trophies at the annual bike races in my hometown. However, my mountain bike has been sitting in the garage for 15 years.

      When I saw the recumbent bicycle, I felt it was unsafe on that road because it’s busy, there’s a lot of traffic, and the bike is very low to the ground, making it difficult to see, especially for the driver of a large truck. It is a business district. There are supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants and many other businesses. When the road dividers were installed a few years ago, it forced car traffic to use parking lots to get around, making the traffic issues much more complicated. Since there are businesses everywhere, large trucks come and go all the time. It’s just not a bicycle friendly place.

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        esther2 November 22, 2014 at 9:36 pm

        There is a bike lane there. If the trucks can’t see what is in the bike lane they shouldn’t be on the road.

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    PJT November 21, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    “The Sheriff’s Office has also released an update about the collision, saying that their investigation shows, “the truck turned into the path of the bicyclist causing them to collide.”

    “the truck turned into the path…”

    “them”. It doesn’t seem like there is any “them” involved. How about “…the path of the bicyclist hitting (or striking) Mr. Johnson.”

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    Peter W November 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Noooooooooooooooooo.

    Michelle Poyourow put me in contact with Kirke back in December of 2006 and he gave me advice on bike advocacy I was doing at PCC. The Rock Creek campus used to have basically non-existent bike parking and before long they put in more racks and some lockers. That was years ago, but I don’t think that would have happened without Kirke’s advice and support. I recall that he was a very nice guy.

    Such a tragic loss. My heart goes out to his family.

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    Opus the Poet November 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Kirke was my Facebook friend and a frequent contributor to my bicycle safety blog. I have never met him in person, but nobody else has ever contributed as many safety links to my blog, so I think it is a valid judgement to make that he was a safety-conscious rider. If nothing else that gawds-awful bodysock on his ‘bent (last one I saw a picture of was the same ugly yellow-green color as my jersey in my gravatar picture) should have made him visible to anyone even glancing in his direction.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I just realized that Kirke was also a regular commenter here on BikePortland. He has left about 100 comments going back to 2009. Some of you might recall his screen name of “bikesalot.”

    I’m considering doing a post about his comments early next week. I think they’re a neat and important way to remember his dedication to bike advocacy, his involvement in the community, and his willingness to help others.

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      rick November 21, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks for the tribute. Cornell and Barnes Road need overhauls. I often walk on Barnes.

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    Barbara Chapnick November 21, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Investigators determined that inattentiveness was likely a contributing factor in this crash, Ray said, noting citations may be issued after the investigation is completed.

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      esther2 November 22, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      Citations! Traffic citations for killing someone. Not criminal charges but traffic citations!

      Perhaps if criminal charges were filed for killing people, people would start paying attention. How can it not be considered reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter to not bother to look in your side mirror when making a right turn while driving a semi-trailer next to a bike lane???

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        Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane November 23, 2014 at 7:10 am

        In a democratic country where 100% of the legislators and 99% of the juries and voters are motorists who know they are capable of making mistakes there is no way that crashes caused by such mistakes is ever going to become criminal, even if the results of the crash are fatal.

        Every time there is a right hook fatality in Portland the comments are full of fanciful “solutions” about making such mistakes criminal and creating more separated infrastructure for cycling, instead of anyone looking seriously at what could actually be done to prevent these tragedies.

        1. Stop tolerating the placement of through bike lanes to the right of travel lanes that allow right turns. End the bike lane stripe at least 100 feet before the intersection and replace with sharrows and bikes may use full lane signs.

        2. Read and study the causes of right hooks and other crash types and how bicyclists can avoid them. Practice and adopt the corresponding defensive practices. Get other cyclists to do the same.

        These are two simple real solutions that are immediately available. #2 is more important and requires nothing of anyone outside of the bicycling community.

        Why not focus on this instead of engaging in all the pointless hand wringing that will not save a single cyclist life?

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          Paul November 23, 2014 at 10:04 am

          I see a glaring problem with your point #1. It doesn’t protect against vehicles turning into driveways or alleys between intersections. The only sure-fire solution would appear to be your moniker above. Perhaps bicycles need to be prohibited entirely on any street/road where the speed limit is over 25 MPH.

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            Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane November 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm

            Well, there are two definitions of “intersection”. The more common is more narrow and specific: it means the literal intersection of any two roadways. The more general definition include the intersection of any two places where there can be vehicular travel, and their approaches. This includes where streets intersect with driveways and alleys.

            I would start with street-street intersections and then continue with alley-street and driveway-intersections. This would chop up most bike lanes so much that it would make them obviously impractically. Currently that impracticality is obscured.

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          spare_wheel November 24, 2014 at 11:36 am

          1a. Bike-specific signals and intersection restructuring can largely eliminate right hook risk.

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    Barbara Kilts November 21, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Kirke was a friend and role model, patient and fiercely dedicated to leaving a small footprint. He will be missed in our little group of unconventional bike riders. My heart goes out to his family.

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    Recumbent Guy November 22, 2014 at 8:28 am

    I’ve heard good things about this fellow from folks that knew him.
    Hopefully taking advantage of this thread to say something about
    right hooks will not dishonor his memory or provoke other people to do so:

    Having almost killed (when behind the wheel) and been killed (when on a bicycle) I’ve thought deeply about this as others have. It seems to me that it is a very tragedy prone and illogical design to arrange that there is a “through lane” that a driver must yield to, to the right of a driver making a right turn. I can think of no other situation where a driver is expected to do this, and drivers perform as you would expect: imperfectly. As a driver, I am entirely supportive and respectful when a bicycle takes the lane in front of me at intersections like this.

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      Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane November 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      “It seems to me that it is a very tragedy prone and illogical design to arrange that there is a “through lane” that a driver must yield to, to the right of a driver making a right turn. I can think of no other situation where a driver is expected to do this, and drivers perform as you would expect: imperfectly. “

      That’s exactly right. Routing through traffic to the right of right turning traffic is inane. Criminal, arguably. Any traffic engineer who put allowed right turns from a normal travel to the left of another normal travel lane would be fired, and rightfully so. But since it’s only bicyclists being put at peril, it apparently doesn’t matter.

      To make matters worse, much worse, bike advocates support these death trap designs with great aplomb, like lobsters fighting each other to jump into the pot of water first. Oh, but it looks so nice and inviting, doesn’t it? Well, yes! And that’s the problem! They are mind-numbing inviting! Bike advocacy seem mostly to be about making bicyclists feel, not actually be safe.

      Bike lanes should end 100 to 200 feet before any intersection. Instead there should be Bikes May Use Full Lane signs, and sharrows, right smack in the middle of the lane.

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        spare_wheel November 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

        “Bike lanes should end 100 to 200 feet before any intersection. Instead there should be Bikes May Use Full Lane signs, and sharrows, right smack in the middle of the lane.”

        Wait a sec…why even bother having a bike lane? Ohhh…now I understand your post (and motivation for posting).

        There are a host of infrastructure options that allow a bike lane to continue through a lane while mitigating right hook risk. From best to worst (off the top of my head):

        1. Separation/channelization and separate signal phases.
        2. Bike lane with separate signal phases.
        3. Channelization that places vehicles in a position where they can better see oncoming cyclists.
        4. Painted and/or textured transition/bike lanes that circumnavigate the turn lane.
        5. Painted and/or textured mixing zones.
        6. Legal change that requires a vehicle to enter the bike lane prior to making a turn that crosses a bike lane.

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          Paul November 24, 2014 at 3:24 pm

          Your point #6 would be by far the easiest to implement, not requiring any infrastructure changes at all. It’s already the law in CA. Somehow the OR biking lobby convinced the legislature to turn bike lanes into bicycle expressways, so now we have the OR right hook. Since fatal right hooks almost always involve a large truck, perhaps the law could be changed so that vehicles of a certain size, certainly semis, be required to come to a complete stop before turning right in the presence of a bike lane. All vehicles have to yield to a pedestrian in the adjacent crosswalk, so why not make them always stop as an added measure of safety?

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          Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 6:11 pm

          Why even bother having a bike lane? Don’t shoot the messenger. That’s just an obvious question. Glad you recognized it. This is the logical result of channeling through traffic to the right of right-turning traffic. That’s the problem with bike lanes. It’s not some rationalization to argue against bike lanes for some other reason – that is the reason.

          Separation/channelization and separate signal phases.
          Bike lane with separate signal phases.
          Expensive. Impractical to do at every intersection. Impossible at non-signaled intersections, not to mentioned alley/driveway crossings.Worsens intersection throughput for all users. Don’t forget no right on red.
          Channelization that places vehicles in a position where they can better see oncoming cyclists.
          If you’re talking about channeling the cyclists and motorists away from each and then back together at more of a right angle, that takes space often unavailable, it’s expensive, and slows cyclists down significantly as compared to proceeding in the traffic lanes.
          Painted and/or textured transition/bike lanes that circumnavigate the turn lane.
          This is already done with mixed results at many places with dedicated right turn lanes, but it can’t be done at intersections without dedicated right turn lanes, let alone crossings with driveways and alleys.
          Painted and/or textured mixing zones.
          This is a variant on my idea – sharrows and BMUFL signs in mixing zones. Good one, but are you really winning to chop up those precious bike lanes so much that their danger and impracticality will be so obviously exposed?

          Legal change that requires a vehicle to enter the bike lane prior to making a turn that crosses a bike lane.

          Definitely an improvement, but hardly enough to eliminate right hooks, as proven in California.

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            spare_wheel November 26, 2014 at 11:15 am

            “Expensive. Impractical to do at every intersection.”

            If it can be done for peds at many intersections, it can be done for cyclists.

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    Josh G November 22, 2014 at 9:29 am

    It’s hard not to see a pattern when we are losing so many of our best advocates: http://bikeportland.org/2014/08/27/fatal-collision-highlights-gap-historic-columbia-river-highway-state-trail-110428
    I suppose they often put in as many or more miles as the non involved cyclist. I remember when an amazing, strong advocate had to choose between being doored and going under a bus in Cambridge, MA. My first but not last exposure to losing a role middle this way.

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    Skid November 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Bright yellow everything and a giant windshield and people are saying that he should have had a FLAG on his recumbent? It’s not like it was a tadpole trike with your rear end 2″ off the ground, the seat height looks about the same as on a motorscooter.
    I am so tired of “I didn’t see him” being an exoneration of any wrong-doing when hitting and killing a cyclist. It is an admission of negligence. You should have your license suspended when using this as a defense. And you should be prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter when you hit and kill a cyclist.
    He was traveling in the bike lane and was right-hooked by a semi. The truck driver should have yielded. I have a very hard time believe that he tried to pass the truck on the right, he was likely overtaken by the truck on the way to the intersection and then the driver turned in front of him. I guess those guards they installed on the sides of trailers don’t do anything either, except maybe increase the chance of being caught and dragged to your death.
    There are a lot of older recumbent riders on the West Side, and they generally ride in the safest and most courteous manner possible. They aren’t wingnuts (like me) taking chances. And I think that’s why this gets to me, it would be one thing if I ended up under a truck, we’d all know why, but this guy?

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      Alan 1.0 November 23, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      It’s not like it was a tadpole trike with your rear end 2″ off the ground…

      I agree with your overall point but not the implication that somehow someone on a tadpole trike (or even a fully-reclined racing ‘bent, for that matter) is too small to see. Heck, a cigarette pack or pop can or squirrel are easy enough to see to avoid them at city speeds, and so are things like ‘bent riders which are many times larger than those, IF THE DRIVER IS WATCHING CAREFULLY.

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        Skid November 27, 2014 at 6:01 pm

        Not too small, but too low. They are below the hoodline of many vehicles, therefore below the line of sight. In that a case a flag would be a good idea, and most of the tadpole trikes I have seen have a flag.

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          Alan 1.0 November 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm

          No objection if they want to use a flag but I’m still not buying that a driver can’t see recumbent trikes if they look. Anyone that can’t see the road has no business driving. Basic rule and all that.

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    Skid November 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    If the rear wheel is 27″ then I would estimate Kirke was about 54″ tall while seated on his recumbent. They are plenty of cars, people on bikes, and pedestrians that are less than 4 feet 6 inches tall, are they “difficult to see” as well?

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      HJ November 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      The rear wheel is 700c.

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        Skid November 22, 2014 at 10:21 pm

        And it is roughly 27″ tall.

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    Bill V. November 23, 2014 at 4:38 am

    It’s fascinating to see how the cycling community has responded to this event. I would have to say, generally speaking, a lot of you are wildly confused about road safety.

    The accident should be a wake-up call for cyclists, especially considering who the rider was.

    Rather than arguing about how cyclists are constantly wronged by the rest of society, maybe it would be a good idea to heed the people who are saying, “it’s not safe to ride there.”

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      tnash November 23, 2014 at 9:59 am

      IMHO, this website (arguably) doesn’t represent the Portland cycling community as a whole, it represents a subset of them: the committed Portland bike advocates. And advocates are coming from a very different perspective than the average Portland cyclist. I love that Portland has many bike-safe paths and roads, and I vote for pro-bike politicians, but I stay off the roads that I consider to be dangerous (which I define as: “Either the road design or the drivers or the other cyclists aren’t safe around here, therefore it is dangerous for me to bike around here”).

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        Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane November 23, 2014 at 3:46 pm

        By all accounts Kirke Johnson was bike safety conscious and aware. So this crash and his death hits particularly hard – I mean, if a guy like that is unsafe on a bicycle, who can be?

        The problem is that Kirke developed his ideas about bike traffic safety in a culture steeped in taboos against bicyclists using, not sharing side-by-side, but making full use of, the travel lanes of the roadways. Using roadway margins, which are often decorated specifically for bike use as “bike lanes”, is the norm. This is what everybody thinks of as “safe cycling”. And also by all accounts, he was riding in accordance with those ideas when he was hit.

        That doesn’t mean it is not possible to ride a bicycle safely on these roads. It could mean the prevalent ideas of what is safe are wrong, and I’m sure they are. In particular, the idea that bicyclists are safest near the road edge is exactly backwards.

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          spare_wheel November 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm

          No one here has stated that it’s best practice to pass large motorized vehicles on the right in a narrow bike lane as they approach a potential right turn. We don’t know what happened and it’s possible that Kirke made a mistake. It happens. People make mistakes and we should have intersections, traffic signaling, traffic speeds, and infrastructure that accommodate mistakes!

          It’s, IMO, ridiculous to ask the vast majority of people who cycle to exit the bike lane and pass on the left on a busy and overly high-speed arterial. I mean FFS, my partner feels uncomfortable taking the lane to set up a left turn on Hawthorne (in a neighborhood with 20% bike mode share). Moreover, the idea that “taking the lane” is the only safe option is nonsense. Most transportation cyclists could simply wait behind a large vehicle and ensure that they are visible to vehicles behind them (a wave of the arm and/or a waggle of the bike is often effective.)

          I also vehemently disagree with your “handle”. I don’t belong in the traffic lane. I belong wherever I can pick the safest and most efficient line through and around motorized traffic. When it comes to my personal safety, lane markings, traffic signals, the hypothetical emotional state of drivers, and “the law” can kiss my behind.

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            Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm

            “we should have intersections, traffic signaling, traffic speeds, and infrastructure that accommodate mistakes!”

            You’re catching on. We have those intersections. They’re called… (wait for it) INTERSECTIONS! Yes, they’d be even better if we got rid of traffic signals and replaced them, all, with roundabouts, but that’s another topic. Still, intersections work reasonably well, until you introduce a stream of through traffic to the right of right traffic (a.k.a bike lanes) – that’s when the whole system that makes intersections reasonably safe falls apart. Then you get into this patch on top of patch mode (see your list of 6), which doesn’t work until you’ve spent the kind of resources that Netherlands has and our society has no chance of spending, at least not for a very long time.

            Of course you don’t have to exit the bike lane and pass on the left – unless you want to, you know, get somewhere pretty fast. The option to slow and wait behind the slowing or stopped vehicle that can and might turn right is always there, if you want to spend the time waiting. What must end is this idea that it’s fine to just proceed passing on the right, and counting on the motorist to remember to look for traffic passing on the right. You might get lucky, and you usually will, but sooner or later your luck will run out.

            I see you disagree (vehemently) with my handle. Apparently you’ve bought into the main theme of motordom which has now been co-opted by the Bicycle Infrastructure Industrial Complex – that the roads are primarily for cars, and bikes don’t belong in the traffic lanes.

            The first step to safe and comfortable cycling in all kinds of traffic conditions is to ditch that belief, once and for all. Please visit our page on Facebook.

            https://www.facebook.com/BicyclistsBelongInTheTrafficLane

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      Skid November 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

      There is no question in my mind that as you are slowing and approaching an intersection that an automobile or even a semi could overtake you and make a right turn in front you. There is only so much you can do about this. Even if you do manage to stop in time you could still get pinched between the curb and the vehicle.

      But this entire situation could be avoided if the people operating the motor vehicles would obey the law and yield to bicycles continuing through the intersection when they are turning right. They could also maybe pay some more attention to the side of the road where bicycles often are and therefore be prepared to yield at the intersection. They should also be considering the possibility of a pedestrian in the crosswalk that they are going to cross as they attempt to beat the cyclist to the corner to make their right turn.

      If I am approaching an intersection and I see vehicles with turn signals on I take the lane when I am going straight. Traffic is usually slow enough for me to do this without impeding the flow of traffic. It does create the possibility of me being rear-ended, but sometimes with cycling you are just creating a less-dangerous situation out of a more dangerous situation.

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    Atbman November 23, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Bill V.
    It’s fascinating to see how the cycling community has responded to this event. I would have to say, generally speaking, a lot of you are wildly confused about road safety.
    The accident should be a wake-up call for cyclists, especially considering who the rider was.
    Rather than arguing about how cyclists are constantly wronged by the rest of society, maybe it would be a good idea to heed the people who are saying, “it’s not safe to ride there.”

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    By and large, cyclists aren’t that confused about road safety. They see failings pretty often.

    As for it being “a good idea to heed the people who’re sying it’s not safe to ride here”, you seem to be making the assumption that, (a), they’re right and (b) that there’s nothing you can do about the kind of driving standards which lead people to ignore the existence of someone riding a brightly coloured object the size of the victim’s recumbent while turning right.

    What was unsafe was not the riding, but the driving, in other words, “Drivers aren’t safe round here”

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      Bill V. November 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      The confusion lies in the essence of the idea that it is safe to ride bicycles on commuter roads.

      It’s not safe, in my opinion.

      Making roads safer, or as safe as possible for cyclists, won’t make bicycle commuting a safe idea, it’ll just make it a slightly less unsafe idea.

      Even though I can see how users of this forum do not represent the whole cycling community, I have a feeling my point may not be fully appreciated here, or even fully understood.

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        Dan November 23, 2014 at 3:12 pm

        Bill V.
        Making roads safer, or as safe as possible for cyclists, won’t make bicycle commuting a safe idea, it’ll just make it a slightly less unsafe idea.
        Even though I can see how users of this forum do not represent the whole cycling community, I have a feeling my point may not be fully appreciated here, or even fully understood.

        Nope, I don’t understand your point. How is bicycle commuting inherently more dangerous than car commuting? Assume that you could drive in a place without bikes (say, a highway) or bike in an area without cars (say, a MUP). Are you saying that being in the car is safer?

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        Alan 1.0 November 23, 2014 at 5:37 pm

        It’s not safe, in my opinion.

        You are certainly entitled to your opinion but facts show that biking is quite safe: http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=4413

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        tnash November 23, 2014 at 5:42 pm

        Ok, now you’re starting to sound a little like an internet troublemaker — the kind of people who go on cat boards and talk about how cats make bad pets. I don’t bike on roads where I think I could get hit by a car, but I do bike on “commuter roads”

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        Chris I November 23, 2014 at 9:52 pm

        It isn’t safe to do anything on american roads. Over 30,000 people die every year. But, by all means, continue harassing people on bike forums with victim-blaming BS. I guess that makes you feel good about yourself.

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        Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 4:34 am

        Bill V.
        The confusion lies in the essence of the idea that it is safe to ride bicycles on commuter roads.
        It’s not safe, in my opinion.
        Making roads safer, or as safe as possible for cyclists, won’t make bicycle commuting a safe idea, it’ll just make it a slightly less unsafe idea.
        Even though I can see how users of this forum do not represent the whole cycling community, I have a feeling my point may not be fully appreciated here, or even fully understood.

        Well, yes, pointing out that cars or bad car driving is what makes bicycling unsafe is missing your point.

        That said, of course there is confusion in the essence of the idea that it is safe to ride bicycles on commuter roads. The word “safe” is too vague. How are you defining it? If you define it as “guaranteed to be harmless”, the idea is wrong. But by that measure almost nothing is safe. Driving a car to the gym or to work is not safe. Swimming is not safe. Getting out of bed is not safe. Since you say improving safety can only make it less unsafe, but not “safe”, this seems to be the definition you’re using. You’re not equivocating, but that is not a very useful definition, is it?

        The only useful discussion is in terms of relative risk. And then there is the safety of the ephemeral “average” cyclist vs. the safety of any given cyclist, which depends much more on the behavior of that cyclist (like the safety of flying airplanes largely depends on the behavior of the pilot, and motoring safety largely depends on the behavior of the driver) than most realize.

        Which brings me back to my point. A cyclist who adopts defensive cycling practices so that they’re habitual is “safe” in any kind of traffic condition on any kind of road by any reasonable risk assessment.

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          Bill V. November 24, 2014 at 9:39 am

          As amusing as it is to be continually called back here to explain things such as what the word “safe” means, I prefer to let you ride in traffic because ultimately you will find out for yourself just how safe it really is. Like Kirke Johnson did. Only one request: ***portion of comment deleted due to insensitivity***

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            El Biciclero November 24, 2014 at 10:34 am

            Glad you’re amused. Although I haven’t seen where you actually explain what “safe” means, I think I understand your point quite well, as it seems to represent the opinion of the majority of drivers out there. If I may take a stab at it, what I hear you and many other drivers saying goes something like this:

            Roads are “dangerous”, because drivers crash their cars into things all the time. If you are not also in a car, and one of those drivers crashes into you, you are going to suffer major injuries or die. If you take to the roads on foot or on a bicycle—or even on a motorcycle—you are doing something “dangerous” because other people might kill you. They won’t even necessarily do it on purpose, but most likely by “accident” because they just weren’t paying attention, and who doesn’t lose their focus once in a while, right? Therefore, whereas you should know the dangers posed by irresponsible drivers, you, as the vulnerable road user, are knowingly taking your own life in your hands by daring to use the roads outside of a motor vehicle. Because you know the risks and do it anyway, you have a “death wish”, and pretty much deserve what you get. Some of the metaphors I’ve heard used are “moth circling a flame”, or “swimming with sharks”.

            Is that about right?

            So then among road users, drivers are “safe”, while anyone not in a car is “not safe”.

            Let’s consider some other safety situations. It’s that time of year, so let’s pretend there is a natural area that has two kinds of users: hunters and hikers. Who is doing something dangerous in that natural area? The hunters, who are shooting guns at things, or the hikers who are just walking around?

            Or here’s one that’s near and dear to many people’s hearts—say a bicyclist is riding on a “bike path”, which is really a “multi-use path” that allows pedestrians, and the bicyclist is going 20 mph and approaching a group of pedestrians. Who is doing something “dangerous”, the bicyclist or the the pedestrians?

            Or we could pretend that a little league team was having practice at the local sports field when a bunch of giant guys decided to play an impromptu game of football on the same field. Let’s even say the field was striped for football and the little leaguers were just “borrowing” it for their practice. When the football players start throwing passes and running plays through the “outfield”, who is doing something dangerous, the kids who are standing there, or the football players charging into them?

            What you hear folks here trying to explain is that there are two sides to safety: there is risk that you incur, and risk that you pose. The flip side of “safety” is that you, as someone who creates risk and endangers other people by operating extremely dangerous machinery—capable of killing other people, as we see here—among your fellow citizens should do so with the utmost gravity and meticulous attention, because YOU are doing something dangerous.

            P.S. This philosophy that drivers are like wild animals who can’t be controlled has a corollary. What do we do with “nuisance” animals who harm humans? I’d rather we all just be responsible humans.

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              Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 26, 2014 at 2:39 pm

              Great post, EB. Glad it was found and posted!

              What it’s really all about is anti-cyclist bigotry. People think it’s normal to go hiking in the woods, for kids to play Little League baseball on a field, to go for a walk on a multi-use path. So when others do something that endangers those engaging in those normal activities, the blame falls on those causing the endangering.

              But with bicyclists not really being accepted on the roadways, the tendency is to blame the victim for even being there, because they’re being there is not accepted as right and normal.

              Again, this is one of the reasons we created our page on Facebook. To help cyclists spread the word to others… Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane!.

              Have you liked our page yet?

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            El Biciclero November 24, 2014 at 11:20 am

            Wow. I can’t believe this comment stands while my earlier reply to it got moderated. I’ll try the condensed version:

            You haven’t really explained what “safe” means, but here’s what it sounds like:

            Roads are dangerous because you could get run over. The only responsible thing to do is avoid getting yourself run over. Drivers are being responsible and “safe” by wrapping themselves in insulating cocoons of metal, non-motorists are being irresponsible and “unsafe” by being on the road outside of any such protection. Therefore if you know you could get run over, but venture onto the road without a car anyway, you have a “death wish” and deserve what you get. But even though you deserve to get run over, you shouldn’t victimize the poor motorist who you “force” to run over you by subjecting them to the emotional trauma of maiming or killing you.

            About right?

            What you find amusing is folks trying to explain the flip side of safety, which is that if you are operating a two-ton piece of machinery, which is capable of killing people, and you are doing it among your fellow citizens, you’d better undertake it with the utmost caution and attention, because YOU are doing something dangerous.

            My previous reply had some examples of “safe” vs. “dangerous”, but they were apparently too offensive.


            Hi El Biciclero,

            For some reason the comments you mention above got marked automatically as “spam.” That happens sometimes and it appears to be a random software thing (although one of your comments was quite long so that might have been a trigger.) I found them in the spam folder and have pushed them through. Thanks for your contributions. — Jonathan

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            spare_wheel November 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm

            “Only one request: please don’t ride into the path of my vehicle. I don’t want to be held responsible for your death wish.”

            Only one request: as I blow by your vehicle please don’t get mad at how efficient cycling is in comparison to motoring. I don’t want to be held responsible for any increased cardiovascular stress to those who use such an incredibly sedentary transport mode.

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              Bill V. November 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm

              You forgot the part about you getting rained on… 🙂

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            Dan November 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

            Well, I was going to try & share the road with you until I learned that you and your unwillingness to operate a vehicle safely around non-drivers might kill me and, even worse, ruin your day.

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            Skid November 24, 2014 at 8:39 pm

            Whatever you don’t try to overtake me and take a right in front of me! Follow the law and yield to a bicycle going straight when you are making a right turn.

            Also don’t threaten cyclists with hitting them with your car.

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            Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 25, 2014 at 9:41 am

            Bill V.

            I’ve edited your comment due to its lack of sensitivity.

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    Martin Pion November 24, 2014 at 7:12 am

    I agree entirely with the views and sentiments expressed by “Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane.”

    They echo those of the overwhelming majority of another Facebook group “Cyclists are Drivers!” to which I subscribe at tinyurl.com/qcdyngb. It now has 5,737 members and was started by Dan Gutierrez.

    Dan and another highly competent and skilled on-road cyclist, Brian DeSousa, formed Dual Chase Productions some years ago which has posted some creative video on-line. Among their most viewed, which I thoroughly recommend, is “Rights & Duties of Cyclists,” on their website at tinyurl.com/5ovlj4 as well as on YouTube.

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      Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Thanks, Martin. Please “LIKE” our page!

      https://www.facebook.com/BicyclistsBelongInTheTrafficLane

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      spare_wheel November 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Passing vehicular cyclists riding slowly in the middle of the traffic lane breathing vehicle exhaust makes me sad. Don’t you guys worry about lung disease?

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        Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 1:12 pm

        That makes no sense. Because we’re slow, there is nobody in front of us. And because we’re using the full lane, most cars passing us are about 8 feet from us; we’re not wishing for a mere 3 feet like most edge riders dream about.

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          spare_wheel November 24, 2014 at 1:51 pm

          It’s called living in a city with peak hour congestion, signal calming, and arterials signed at 25 mph. Come for a visit and I would be glad to show you how “vehicular cycling” often makes absolutely no sense in Portland.

          And if you are interested in learning how to cycle more “effectively” in an urban setting I would strongly recommend Hurst’s The Art of Cycling.

          http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9780762790050-0

          IMO, it should be mandatory reading for all vehicularists who try to “take the lane” in a city.

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        Peter November 24, 2014 at 8:07 pm

        Where does the air come from that the drivers of motor vehicles breathe?

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    Jason Bietz November 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Bill V.
    It’s fascinating to see how the cycling community has responded to this event. I would have to say, generally speaking, a lot of you are wildly confused about road safety.
    The accident should be a wake-up call for cyclists, especially considering who the rider was.
    Rather than arguing about how cyclists are constantly wronged by the rest of society, maybe it would be a good idea to heed the people who are saying, “it’s not safe to ride there.”
    Recommended 2

    I used to live atop Sylvan Hill and rode though that area every so often trying to get out past West Union and quieter roads. I recall the feeling of the intersection being especially hectic and very dangerous. I would advise anyone cycling near there be hyper-vigilant if you must pass through.

    The sad thing is, I assume Kirke’s death was avoidable had both he and/or the truck driver been more aware. It’s NEVER safe to assume ANYONE who could turn right across a cyclists path of travel will see you. We all have to ride accordingly, adjusting our attitudes and riding patterns to minimize risk- irregardless of laws, lines painted on the ground, or traffic signals.

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      Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Jason Bietz
      The sad thing is, I assume Kirke’s death was avoidable had both he and/or the truck driver been more aware.

      Actually, the crash was probably avoidable had eitherKirke or the truck driver been more aware.

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    Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    spare_wheel
    It’s called living in a city with peak hour congestion, signal calming, and arterials signed at 25 mph. Come for a visit and I would be glad to show you how “vehicular cycling” often makes absolutely no sense in Portland.
    And if you are interested in learning how to cycle more “effectively” in an urban setting I would strongly recommend Hurst’s The Art of Cycling.
    http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9780762790050-0
    IMO, it should be mandatory reading for all vehicularists who try to “take the lane” in a city.

    Well, Hurst’s stuff on taking responsibility and the pointlessness of assigning blame is spot on, but he simply does not get full lane use and its role in mitigating risk and not having to rely on paying attention so much. Not that paying attention isn’t very important – of course it is – but bicyclists are human too, and are just as prone to lapses. That’s why it’s important to develop practices and habits that give you an extra cushion of safety. He touches on that here and there, but it’s not a dominant theme like it is in Cycling Savvy.

    In the first edition Hurst’s example of doing everything right and still getting hit due to lack of attention involved making the error of being distracted by an attractive woman on the left, and thus not noticing a Mercedes pull out backwards from an alley in front of him. But he openly admitted riding far right in a door zone bike lane, rather than using the full lane in the left tire track where he would have had more space and time to notice, be noticed and for all parties to maneuver in a way to avoid the crash.

    So, I’ve read the book you recommend. Now you take the class I recommend. It can save your life. Deal?

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      spare_wheel November 24, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      “an extra cushion of safety”
      “It can save your life. Deal?”

      And I’m more concerned about breathing vehicle exhaust than I am of being injured by slow moving traffic during my commute.

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        Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 5:21 pm

        spare_wheel
        “an extra cushion of safety”
        “It can save your life. Deal?”
        And I’m more concerned about breathing vehicle exhaust than I am of being injured by slow moving traffic during my commute.

        Why do you speculate that full lane use results in more exposure to exhaust?

        Edge riding gets you closer to cars than does full lane use. Riding at the edge or in a bike lane results in close passes just a few feet away. When you’re using the full lane they change lanes to pass and are a good 8 feet away from you when they pass.

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          El Biciclero November 24, 2014 at 9:58 pm

          “Why do you speculate that full lane use results in more exposure to exhaust?”

          It’s not speculation if you’ve ridden home at rush hour when motor traffic is going 5 to 12 mph. Sitting in the lane behind this traffic is going to get you much more exposure to exhaust than passing the jam in a bike lane or “cautiously” on the right and getting home 15 minutes earlier. Not all full lane use puts the cyclist ahead of the platoon.

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            Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane November 25, 2014 at 5:35 am

            Bicyclists belonging in the traffic lane does not mean they don’t belong anywhere else. It’s simply a counter to the notion that bicyclists don’t belong in the traffic lane, which many people seem to believe.

            Just because you feel like you belong at your school or work doesn’t mean you don’t belong at home. But if you’re made to feel you don’t belong at your school or work, that’s a problem.

            Similarly, we don’t want anyone to treat bicyclists like they don’t belong in the traffic lane. But if you think our point is that means you have to sit in 5 mph traffic you’re totally missing it. If you’re made to feel you belong at work that doesn’t mean you have to sleep there. If society accepts you as a bicyclist in the traffic lane that doesn’t mean you’re stuck there either.

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              spare_wheel November 25, 2014 at 8:07 am

              “It’s simply a counter to the notion that bicyclists don’t belong in the traffic lane, which many people seem to believe.”

              Lanes were created for and by motorists and have little impact on my ability to move through space efficiently and safely. IMO, *obsession* with lanes, rules and driver respect is a form of bike stockholm syndrome.

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              Dan November 25, 2014 at 1:51 pm

              “Bikes Belong On the Sidewalk!” — shouted from car

              See how that might lead one to believe that they don’t belong on the road? We’re not dumb — your moniker is misleading.

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                Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 25, 2014 at 2:11 pm

                Dan
                “Bikes Belong On the Sidewalk!” — shouted from car
                See how that might lead one to believe that they don’t belong on the road? We’re not dumb — your moniker is misleading.

                Well, I guess, but that’s in a very specific context – when a bicyclist is riding on the road. So the “Bikes Belong On the Sidewalk!” bark can reasonably be interpreted to mean, “Bikes DON’T belong on the road (where you are)!”.

                We’ve had the page on Facebook with this name for over two years now with almost 4,900 page Likes and nobody has ever said anything suggesting that they interpreted it as meaning “Bicyclists belong ONLY in the traffic lane AND NEVER ANYWHERE ELSE”. At any rate, that is certainly not what I’m saying or trying to convey.

                https://www.facebook.com/BicyclistsBelongInTheTrafficLane

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                Dan November 25, 2014 at 10:43 pm

                How can we know? You’ve been rather vague about when it IS acceptable to be in a bike lane.

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                Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm

                Dan
                How can we know? You’ve been rather vague about when it IS acceptable to be in a bike lane.

                The only time it’s especially important to not be in a bike lane is when approaching a place where right turns can be made, and there is traffic that can and might turn right on your left. But even there slowing down but remaining in the bike lane, is often good enough to avoid to avoid the situation of being to the right of right-turning traffic.

                That said, thousands of cyclists all over the US have discovered that bike lanes are generally best used only when necessary, to “release” faster traffic when safe, reasonable and necessary to do so, and to (cautiously) pass congested traffic, safely.

                Is that clear?

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          spare_wheel November 25, 2014 at 7:55 am

          “When you’re using the full lane they change lanes to pass” and are a good 8 feet away from you when they pass.”

          It’s kind of hard to use a “full lane” when one is only ~400 mm wide.
          Riding in “full lane” VC style invites close passes in urban areas with dieted/calmed narrow lanes.

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            Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 25, 2014 at 10:33 am

            No way. Well, if you ride in the right tire track, yeah, you’ll get close passes. But if you move out to the center of the lane, or slightly left of center, that will practically eliminate close passes.

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              El Biciclero November 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm

              See some of the videos posted by Cherokee Schill. Ms. Schill was convicted of traffic violations in Kentucky for using the full lane (I’m sure you’re familiar with her case). Many of her videos show drivers using the shoulder to pass her on the right at speed, since she’s using the full lane.

              Officers citing her claimed “The Violator” (Ms. Schill) was endangering drivers because they were forced to brake and swerve to get around her. There’s just no magic formula for coercing drivers to treat bicyclists with respect when there is apparently so much deep-seated entitlement on the part of drivers who believe they have a “right” to a free and clear path at all times. Never mind the other cars blocking their way, heaven forbid a bicyclist with a “death wish” dare to enter upon their sacred roadway. Intensity might vary region by region in the U.S., but the general attitude seems to be pervasive.

              Behavior such as Ms. Schill’s, as seen by the driving public, very likely could serve in some jurisdictions as justification to legally ban bicycles from certain roadways, as has been attempted

              The comparison I made a while back (long ago, different story) was that many drivers tend to treat a cyclist as they would a plastic bag blowing down the street in the wind. They don’t really want to hit it, because it might impair their vision or get stuck somewhere they don’t want it to, but really, if a plastic bag doesn’t blow out of the way, and they do run into or over it, it’s no big deal; certainly nothing to actively watch for. Not all drivers, but many. Regardless of the position a bicyclist takes on the road, an impatient driver WILL find a way around which is just as likely to be neither legal nor safe as it is the opposite.

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                Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm

                Yeah, I’m familiar with that atypical extreme outlier case which bears no resemblance to any experience I’ve had in over 10 years of using the full lane by default.

                But even so, Cherokee’s situation exemplifies the need for fostering acceptance of full lane use in our society, not capitulating to and colluding with motordom and the bicycle infrastructure industrial complex by advocating for separated infra that will take decades or centuries, if ever, to create.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 25, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Hi everyone.

    I appreciate all the comments, but I don’t like how far off-topic they’ve gotten so I’ve decided to close this thread.

    Usually I am fine with comment threads that take a different direction… But when someone dies and the post is about how people are remembering that person, I just feel like we owe it to them and their friends and family to have a more sensitive and focused discussion.

    I hope you all understand.

    I’m happy to hear feedback on this via email – maus.jonathan@gmail

    UPDATE: Based on feedback I’ve received, I’ll consider posting a new story about the topics brought up in this thread. It will be an opportunity to present the graphics about truck movements, ideas about “lane control” and “driving” your bike, and so on. Thanks and stay tuned.

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