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Bill in legislature would legalize safe crossings against unresponsive red lights

Posted by on March 13th, 2015 at 1:14 pm

stuck on red

Many Portland bike users don’t realize how to use
detector loops like the one at NE Tillamook and
MLK Boulevard.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Though a bill as seemingly uncontroversial as state Senate Bill 533 isn’t the sort of thing we’d usually bother covering, some coverage today that originated in The Oregonian certainly has people talking.

As the O correctly explains in the seventh paragraph of the web version of its front-page story, SB 533 would make it legal to “proceed with caution” through a red light that is trying, but failing, to detect one’s bicycle or motorcycle. This would only be allowed after someone has waited through a full cycle.

Here’s how Oregonian reporter and columnist Joseph Rose and his editors chose to explain this bill:

Oregon Senate passes bill allowing bicycles, motorcycles to run red lights

In the Portland area, few things stir road rage as much as bicyclists running red lights. So how would you react to an Oregon bill making the practice legal across the state?

Well, there are probably the obvious snide observations. (“Pfft! A lot of bicyclists apparently already think blowing a red is legal.”) Sorry, pedaling commuters, but that’s deserved.

Or there’s the shrug, chuckle and head-shaking response: Sounds like another crazy bill with no chance of passing in the Legislature. Right?

Wrong.

Earlier this week, the Oregon Senate unanimously approved SB 533, permitting a “bicyclist or motorcyclist to proceed at stop light under certain conditions.”

Actually, let’s back up: The bill, now headed to the House floor with bi-partisan support, wouldn’t give bicyclists and motorcyclists the freedom to just zoom through stop lights willy-nilly.

The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene, is designed to bring relief to bikers who constantly find themselves at stop lights that won’t change.

Similar “safe on red” or “dead red” laws exist for bicycles and/or motorcyles in 14 other states, The Oregonian says in paragraph 19 of its story. (The correct number of states, we’re told, may actually be 13.)

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A 2013 study by Portland State University found that between 53 and 84 percent of bikes at three signalized intersections failed to stop over the in-street detector loop, presumably because their riders didn’t realize how the loops work.

blow that light

The print version of the Oregonian
story, in its entirety.

The print headline, in case you’re wondering, is “Bikes likely to win right to blow that light,” but the print version is only a tease to the newspaper’s web site, not a complete article.

Rose also writes that “law enforcement agencies across the country have opposed similar proposals in other states, saying the new laws are vague, hard to enforce and give too much discretion to bicyclists and motorcycle riders.” To illustrate this point, he links to a 2011 newspaper article from Kansas that mentions the opposition of the state’s police chiefs and officers associations.

A month after that news story, the Kansas bill passed that state’s legislature by votes of 107-13 and 23-14 and was signed by Gov. Sam Brownback.

Oregon’s state senate approved SB 533 on Tuesday. That vote was unanimous. It now proceeds to the state House.

The Oregonian turned heads around the country last year when Willamette Week reported its plans to tie its reporters’ compensation in part to the amount of traffic their posts receive on the Internet.

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60 Comments
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    Mitch March 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Favorite part of this blog post is the last paragraph. Such laughable “journalism” from the O.

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    Editz March 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    From the O article:

    “Edwards said the goal is to make sure riders don’t get stuck in perpetuity at intersections because their rides aren’t big or heavy enough to trigger sub-pavement sensors that tell red lights when to turn green.”

    Is Sen. Edwards suggesting that signals are triggered by weight and not by inductive loops? It appears that KATU has taken it a step further.

    “A lot of traffic light sensors are triggered by the weight of a car, which lets the system know someone is waiting for the light to turn green.”

    http://www.katu.com/politics/Bill-would-give-bicylists-motorcyclists-the-go-ahead-to-run-red-lights-296215411.html

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      Pete March 13, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Wow, say hello to Miss Information for me…

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    Rick Nys March 13, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    If this does pass and especially if it doesn’t pass, please continue to call your local government friends and ask them if the detection can be improved!

    Rick Nys
    Clackamas County
    503-742-4702

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      soren March 13, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      I was amazed to see a carbon commuter bike on sale at river city for 1500 recently. As bike technology inevitably continues to move away from metal (composite is more sustainable and fatigue resistant) many of these older inductive loops will become useless.

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        Pete March 13, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        Some of the loops our city uses can be triggered with just the metal from an SPD cleat, but that’s not the norm for most of the `70’s technology that’s out there. We also updated 40 camera systems last year that are used to detect bicyclists and pedestrians at and in intersections; the sensitivity in low and high lighting conditions on the new camera model is radically better than the old one! But you’re right though… if you talk to some technologists, the day is coming where you’ll have to ride with transponders in order to be recognized as a legitimate road user.

        My main squeeze is a carbon/titanium wunderbike that signals just about NO lights at all, so I would love for my legislators to ‘start this conversation’ down here in Cali. (Not in the manner that the O did, of course).

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        gutterbunnybikes March 13, 2015 at 5:05 pm

        In what way is Carbon more sustainable? The resin is an oil based product (like all industrial adhesives). The forms are typically made using oil based foam as well.

        So lets see carbon is more sustainable unless you factor in the it’s shelf life. You can’t drop the bike it will likely crack the frame. Also it degrades when exposed to sunlight (like all oil based plastics do). Plus there is the age factor as well, most adhesives get brittle with time as well – carbon fiber has been in wide use on bicycles for very long so who knows how long the real shelf life is. And keep in mind Mosburg (spelling??? the gun manufacturer) made the first carbon fibre bike in 1971 yet there are few if any “vintage” carbon frames out there…I’ll admit that there might be some but few ever hit craigslist or ebay.

        I just picked up a steel frame bike made in 1937-39 and it rolls like new despite it’s obvious use over the years and it’s age. With minimal care, it will last easily another 80 years at least. With constant care it can last for centuries. Forks and stays can be rebent into shape, individual tubes can be replaced, and the entire frame can be melted down and recycled (as can aluminium though it wears out faster than steel).

        None of that applies to carbon, in fact when your carbon bike is done it’s only good for the landfill.

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          Editz March 13, 2015 at 5:15 pm

          There are recycling programs for carbon bikes:

          http://www.specialized.com/us/en/news/latest-news/12700

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          soren March 13, 2015 at 5:28 pm

          you are discounting how much energy it takes to extract, shape, and aluminum, most steel, and…gulp…titanium. also, the idea that cf is fragile or easily degraded is mythology. (composite airplane parts are exposed to an awful lot more stress and uv than the typical bike frame.) and finally, cf is recycled for free no questions asked by multiple manufacturers and can often be cheaply and sustainably repaired (not true for metal).

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            gutterbunnybikes March 14, 2015 at 9:43 am

            The exact composition of carbon fiber is usually considered a trade secret by the manufacturers. There usually are multiple plastics involved, various gas elements/processes, heat processes that rival that to the manufacture of steel, and a lot of machinery. To claim that virgin carbon fiber has less of an impact than steel does is really hard to say. And as oil becomes more scarce and we resort to things like fracking, the environmental impact get worse for carbon fiber as oil becomes more scarce.

            Recycled carbon fiber can not be reused in the same way as it was used originally. The fibers have to be cut down and its the length of the fibers that give the material its strength. Ie ..You can not recycle a carbon framed bike to make another carbon framed bike.

            The recycled fibers cost roughly twice as much as the virgin materials and as noted above don’t have as many potential applications available as well. The epoxy is burned off and not recyclable, and likely that process is pretty similar to burning plastic (since it is in essence) which isn’t good for the atmosphere.

            And yes you can fix a break on carbon fiber bike, but the fixes aren’t anywhere near as strong as the original frame and at that point you can pretty much kiss your resale value (ie it’s extend life) goodbye.

            Throw in the fact that carbon fiber is now being used for such a large number of products it’s most likely that it will end up much like other plastic products, to where it has limited reuses and ends up floating in the oceans and sitting in landfills where the fiberglass won’t degrade. Steel will eventually rust, chemically break down (Iron, nickel, and manganese) and and get absorbed into the soil where it becomes a nutrient for plant life.

            So yeah you can recycle carbon, your bike will make a nice phone case, but what after that?

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    invisiblebikes March 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Well, there are probably the obvious snide observations. (“Pfft! A lot of bicyclists apparently already think blowing a red is legal.”) Sorry, pedaling commuters, but that’s deserved.

    NO! it is in no way “deserved”! I haven’t run a stop sign, red light, right turn light or even a cross walk (with ped in it) since I’ve lived here! And I ride every day!

    And after reading that last sentence (from Michael) I won’t visit his article page either because I refuse to let this A _ _ Hat get paid for it!

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      soren March 13, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      “I haven’t run …since I’ve lived here!”

      I try to run/roll every one that be violated *safely* in order to set a good example for my fellow commuters.

      “right turn light”

      In OR it’s legal to treat a right turn signal as a yield (unless otherwise indicated). (Left turns on red are also permitted on one way streets.)

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        invisiblebikes March 13, 2015 at 2:38 pm

        In OR it’s legal to treat a right turn signal as a yield (unless otherwise indicated). (Left turns on red are also permitted on one way streets.)

        Not if there is a Pedestrian or vehicle traffic entering the intersection, The light at Terwilliger and Sw Sam jackson Park Rd is a prime example of running/rolling a red right where a stream of cars are going through the intersection. I’ve seen a few people roll that light thinking “there is room to merge into traffic and into the immediate bike lane” there is not, and it’s illegal.

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          soren March 13, 2015 at 2:57 pm

          true. and i never support violating anyone’s right of way.

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          El Biciclero March 16, 2015 at 9:33 am

          “Not if there is a Pedestrian or vehicle traffic entering the intersection…”

          Right, that’s the definition of “yield”: Go, unless there is someone else coming.

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        meh March 13, 2015 at 3:41 pm

        No a right on red light is not treated as a yield. A yield does not require you stop. Right on red requires that you have to stop.

        811.360¹
        When vehicle turn permitted at stop light

        • improper turn at stop light
        • penalty

        (1) The driver of a vehicle, subject to this section, who is intending to turn at an intersection where there is a traffic control device showing a steady circular red signal, a steady red bicycle signal or a steady red arrow signal may do any of the following without violating ORS 811.260 (Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices) and 811.265 (Driver failure to obey traffic control device):

        (a) Make a right turn into a two-way street.

        (b) Make a right or left turn into a one-way street in the direction of traffic upon the one-way street.

        (2) A person commits the offense of improper turn at a stop light if the person does any of the following while making a turn described in this section:

        (a) Fails to stop at the light as required.

        (b) Fails to exercise care to avoid an accident.

        (c) Disobeys the directions of a traffic control device or a police officer that prohibits the turn.

        (d) Fails to yield the right of way to traffic lawfully within the intersection or approaching so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

        (3) A driver who is making a turn described in this section is also subject to the requirements under ORS 811.028 (Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian) to stop for a pedestrian while making the turn.

        (4) The offense described in this section, improper turn at a stop light, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §628; 1997 c.507 §7; 2003 c.278 §7; 2005 c.746 §3; 2011 c.168 §2]

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          Paul March 13, 2015 at 4:48 pm

          You are absolutely correct, and thanks for posting the actual statutes. Soren was totally wrong!

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            soren March 13, 2015 at 5:30 pm

            i new someone would correct me — i meant stop and yield.

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              davemess March 13, 2015 at 11:05 pm

              big difference between the two.
              glad to hear you at least know you’re supposed to stop before turning on a red.

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        KristenT March 16, 2015 at 11:01 am

        It isn’t legal to treat a red right turn signal as a yield. You still need to come to a complete stop first, which you don’t necessarily have to do on a yield (traffic load notwithstanding).

        Even if this bill passes, you still need to treat red lights as stop signs, which means you STOP just as you would at a STOP sign.

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          davemess March 17, 2015 at 7:32 am

          I don’t read the bill that way (which is more of a portion of idaho stop law).
          I read it as waiting for a “cycle” of the light and then going.

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            KristenT March 17, 2015 at 10:05 am

            You still need to stop, and wait– it’s not like you can pull up and treat it as a yield. You still need to stop, and wait for a cycle of the lights, and then go cautiously if it’s clear to do so.

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    soren March 13, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I’m an Idaho stop advocate and I practice what I preach regardless what the unenforced law says. The reason I’m mentioning this is that I ran a light once and someone that looked like Joe Rose shouted “[something] making us look bad” at me.

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      shuppatsu March 13, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      I’m with you, but it does make it look like what we are, which is scofflaws. I’ll start feeling guilty about it when I stop seeing drivers violating the motor vehicle code on a routine basis in ways that are far more dangerous to other people than anything I could do on my bicycle. But that’s not going to happen any time soon.

      Also, for the “you should obey the rule of law regardless of whether it makes sense or whether ‘the other side’ does it because adherence to the rule of law is the foundation of a functioning society” crowd (and I know you’re out there, though I’m sure you have a pithier way of identifying yourselves), remember that you must always use hand signals for every turn AND STOP for 100 feet CONTINUOUSLY. ORS 814.440. I know that 90% of us already do that in all circumstances, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for you remaining 10%!

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        invisiblebikes March 13, 2015 at 3:23 pm

        I’m one of the “you should obey the laws…” guys but I think my justification doesn’t really match your perception.
        The only reason I stop at lights (that I could obviously roll) and stop signs (where no one is within sight) is that it creates a bad habit and once you’ve got that habit it Will lead to that one slight miscalculation (or inattention) on your part and then your in the hospital (or god forbid, dead) and the driver that hit you gets off scot-free because you were “the one that ran the stop sign” even though 9 out of 10 times that driver barely (if at all) stops at stop signs themselves.
        I have been sitting at lights and watched many times as a scofflaw runs it and has a closer than close call. Or at a stop sign (two way) that a cyclist rolls through just as the car (I was stopped and waiting for) enters the intersection (with the right of way) and the scofflaw didn’t see them because of the parked cars or just poor judgement (or both).

        I’ve seen at least 50 people riding along and get so close to being hit because their riding habits are reflective of that “bad habit”.

        So yes I speak up when I see people run a light, or roll a stop sign, pass on the right in the green paint at an intersection (couch and Grand is perfect example) and almost get right hooked. Not so much because I think they are giving “us” a bad name… but because I am very concerned for their safety (and mine) It’s just not a safe habit.

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          soren March 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm

          And despite your “close miss” perception:

          “…according to Mark McNeese, Bicycle/Pedestrian coordinator for the Idaho Transportation Department… Idaho bicycle-collision statistics confirm that the Idaho law has resulted in no discernable increase in injuries or fatalities to bicyclists.”

          http://velonews.competitor.com/2009/01/news/legally-speaking-with-bob-mionske-stop-as-yield_86786

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            KristenT March 16, 2015 at 11:05 am

            That’s because the Idaho Stop law requires you to STOP at red lights, and SLOWLY go at stop signs IF there is no traffic to steal the right of way from.

            In no case is it allowed for a cyclist to run a red light or a stop sign if there is other traffic with the right of way.

            It seems like most people interpret this wrong.

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          shuppatsu March 13, 2015 at 6:08 pm

          I believe a safety-oriented scofflaw is as safe or more safe than a rule follower, though I could be wrong. I haven’t looked into it enough to be strongly convinced of my opinions.

          I’m too lazy to find links, and I could be cherrypicking studies that support my beliefs anyways, but there have been studies showing (or at least theorizing) that:

          1. Pedestrians get hit in the crosswalk, with the signal in their favor much more than they do while crossing mid-street or with the signal against them. Possible reason is that people think they are safe because they are following the rules, and assume erroneously that drivers will obey the law. But jaywalkers know that their life is forfeit, so they make certain to check very carefully and assume that drivers will not stop for them. The article I read about this did not say how many pedestrians obeyed the law vs. jaywalked, so I can’t draw too many conclusions on this one.

          2. There are fewer accidents, and far fewer vehicular fatalities in European cities. There is a popular argument which I tend to believe (without having thoroughly examined the data and arguments on both sides) that the reason is because European cities are older and less rationalized. You can’t just follow the lights and speed on your merry way. You have to stay alert or you might get into an accident. Thus, the theory goes, you drive much more alertly rather than just zoning out and becoming a rule-following automaton. This can be analogized to the safety-oriented scofflaw.

          Also, there are normal scofflaws and bad scofflaws, just as there are with drivers. It’s one thing to go 5mph over the speed limit; another thing to go go 20mph over. I’m not talking about bad scofflaws. Treat each stop like a yield. That means, slow way the heck down, make sure you can see both directions, and yield the right of way. Wait out most traffic signals, but if you’ve come to a full stop, checked each direction, and nothing’s in sight, then why the heck not?

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            Editz March 13, 2015 at 6:18 pm

            I think #2 is more related to the fact that at least in the Netherlands, the regulatory burden is placed upon the motorist first.

            http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/11/cycling-v-cars

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            Opus the Poet March 17, 2015 at 12:27 pm

            There is evidence that in certain situations running the red is safer than waiting for the green To wit the disproportionate number of female cyclists killed by HGV at intersections in London after stopping for the red. When one of those pulls alongside a male rider the male rider typically runs the red as soon as it is clear to do so, but female riders almost always wait for the green. As a result despite female riders only making up 25% of the cycling share in London they are extremely over-represented in the most deadly mode of wreck (more than half of London cycling fatalities are collisions with HGV, and almost all of those are females). The other thing is HGV are only a 3% mode share in London but cause more than half of the cycling fatalities.

            The usual traffic movement that ends up with a dead cyclist is the HGV making a left turn across/through the bike lane where the female cyclist was going straight. The next most common is a right turn where the HGV driver fades left to get a better line into the street being turned into. And remember they drive on the wrong side of the street in the UK, so everything is backwards to what we have in the US.

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        Spiffy March 15, 2015 at 8:32 am

        there’s an exception to hand signals… there’s no exception to a stop sign…

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        Spiffy March 15, 2015 at 8:35 am

        a cop giving a ticket to a cyclist rolling slowly through a stop sign is like showing up to a gunfight and arresting the person with the knife… I’d certainly file a negligence complaint against the cop…

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      invisiblebikes March 13, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      I always enjoy a good laugh at the Scofflaws that run/roll the lights going up Broadway DT as they “run the light” by me sitting at the first light and I leisurely roll up (and pass them) at the next 4 lights in a row they “get stuck at” as I never need to stop pedaling.
      I guess “they” just don’t get it… the lights are timed and match a moderate pace.

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        soren March 13, 2015 at 3:12 pm

        heh. justified.

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        Trikeguy March 16, 2015 at 8:52 am

        Right around 11 or 12mph. When everything works out well I can go from 2nd & Jefferson all the way to 18th without having to do more than coast the last 30ft to the light at 3rd, 4th and 5th.

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      Bjorn March 13, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      I wish more Journalists would yell something similar at Rose.

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    Chris March 13, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Joe Rose attempts to defend his outrageous headline in the comments section of the article with excuses including, but not limited to, the difficulty of crafting a headline that does not exceed 12 words, despite the fact that many of the headlines on O-Live exceed this amount.

    The headline of this BikePortland article perfectly captures the story in 11 words.

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      Andyc of Linnton March 13, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Perhaps the headline is worded such so that you can quickly scan it on your smartphone while you’re driving.

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    Tait March 13, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I’m confused by the “has waited through a full cycle” language. That implies the light is changing, and if it were changing then the cyclist wouldn’t be stuck behind a red in the first place.

    I’ve waited >5 mins at times behind lights that simply did not change at all, but it sounds like cycling through that intersection would still be illegal under this bill…?

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      Editz March 13, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      I’m thinking this may apply more to left hand turn lanes, where they don’t change at all unless something’s detected. In those cases, you could sit there undetected and watch the other “straight through” lights cycle.

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      Pete March 13, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      Presumably by standing at the stop line in the middle of the lane you can see 1) the through-traffic cycles for your travel direction if you’re in a left lane, or 2) the signals perpendicular to you. You’ve definitely pointed out a built-in assumption there.

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      Bjorn March 13, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Lights with sensors often never turn green if no one is over the sensor, especially left turn signals.

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      Beeblebrox March 14, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      That’s actually a really good point. There’s no way you could know the actual cycle length without asking a signal engineer at the city. They should just define a length of time, like 2 minutes, at which point you could proceed. Most cycles in the City of Portland are 70 to 90 seconds, by the way, but some cities are more like 120 seconds.

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      El Biciclero March 17, 2015 at 10:13 am

      I used to have three unresponsive lights on my way to/from work, now I only have two, due to taking a different route. Of the three, two of them (the two I still have) had me waiting for left turns for over three minutes on occasion—on those occasions I’ve turned against the red so I don’t know how long I would have waited for a car to come up behind me. One is a typical four-way intersection with straight-through traffic in all directions, and on one memorable occasion I waited through about three cycles before making my left turn. The other is a “tee” intersection, where I am waiting on the “stem” of the tee (the exit from Sunset TC). There are no cycles to speak of other than the one that would include me in the rotation, so I can’t tell when a full cycle has happened. Both of these unresponsive signals are at intersections with 5-lane (two each way plus center median/turn lane) roads (seven lanes if you count bike lanes), making a left turn very difficult to time “safely”.

      I used to get stuck at a straight-through light as well, which seemed to use camera detection that would not ever “see” me sitting there, but the second a car pulled up behind I could watch the cross-street yellow change immediately.

      I don’t wear a watch, so I can’t really time my waits, so I find myself in a conundrum most days—should I:
      a) Just go as soon as it’s clear, because I know this signal won’t detect me
      b) Wait just another few seconds/minute to see if maybe it worked this time
      c) Wait just another few seconds/minute to see if somebody in a big, shiny car will rescue me from the pickle I got myself into by pretending my little toy bicycle was a real vehicle

      It really creates a bad situation, since more times than I can count, I get all set to make my “safe” turn and I see a car coming up in my rear-view. So then do I still go? The driver in that car will see me “running” a red and think I’m a terrible, kitten-throwing scofflaw. Will the car coming up behind me pull into the left turn lane and trip my signal sensor, or will it pull up beside me wanting to go straight or right, being of no help whatsoever? Even if the new proposed law passes, will an officer be able to claim that if only I had waited for the car he saw approaching me from behind, that car would have tripped the signal and I could have waited for a green? Is there ever a time an officer would view turning left across 5 lanes of traffic against a red light “safe”? Will an officer claim I should have moved to the sidewalk to push the beg button (in one of my cases, this would involve moving left through a planted median and the opposing lanes of traffic to get to the only walk signal)?

      …And yes, I know how to find the optimal position on an induction sensor loop of any shape—as long as it is visible, which in one of my cases it isn’t. I’ve also tried using lens flare to my advantage by lifting my handlebars to point my very bright light at the camera sensors, but that hasn’t worked, either.

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    encephalopath March 13, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I rarely ever see a bicyclist go through a red light. When it does happen it’s of the roll up, look and go through variety.

    Most red light runs I see look like this:

    https://youtu.be/PuFIIsLg_AA

    At evening commute time, once you get to a moderate amount of congestion almost every light cycle has somebody driving through the red like this.

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    Bjorn March 13, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Idaho has had this law for years, and it was passed at the request of their State Police with bipartisan support.

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    davemess March 13, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    “give too much discretion to bicyclists and motorcycle riders.”

    Ha. Like anyone on the road isn’t trusted highly already. The only way our transportation grid works is for the faith we’ve put in other users to use their best judgement.

    I thought this already was the law in Oregon. I’m shocked it’s now (not as shocked at the ridiculous O article RED MEAT RED MEAT).

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      El Biciclero March 17, 2015 at 10:21 am

      RE: “give too much discretion to bicyclists and motorcycle riders.”

      IMO, this is a demeaning and prejudiced stance to take. As if bicyclists and motorcyclists don’t realize a lack of “discretion” means death in many cases. It treats two-wheeled vehicle operators like children, assumption being that grown-ups drive cars.

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    sw resident March 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    There is one of these left turn intersections/lights on a route I use daily. Neither my bike nor motorbike trigger the signal.
    So if I can say yes to the following two things then I go: 1. is it safe for me and other road users? 2. are there no police officers?

    Sometimes I don’t even wait for a full cycle (because at this intersection the light will only trip if there is a car behind me and at some times of the day and on the weekend that takes a while to happen) – if there is no oncoming traffic I go.

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      Trek 3900 March 17, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      You are doing exactly what you should do for your own safety; and the law should be changed to make it legal for bikers making any turn at an intersection or for going straight.

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    SW March 14, 2015 at 9:04 am

    MA says: Many Portland bike users don’t realize how to use
    detector loops like the one at NE Tillamook and MLK Boulevard.”

    are you talking about vehicle loops or bike loops ?

    OBTW: the new bike lanes on outer Powell have loops in the bike lanes about 30 feet before the light …must be a “roll over” detector , not a “stop & sit” one ?
    And those lanes have horizontal bump strips the entire left side of the bike lane.

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      Beeblebrox March 14, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      The ones at Tillamook and MLK are vehicle detectors, but there are bike stencils to show cyclists where to land to get the most detection. In practice you can roll up onto any of the round vehicle detectors and it usually works. The other thing I like at that location and several others is that a blue light turns on near the signals when you get detected, so you don’t have to wonder. That should become a standard treatment, in my opinion, at least for bike routes.

      The ones on Powell might just be bike counters for data collection, but they might also be the kind of detectors where you roll over it and it locks in a call to the signal to change. The idea is that it will hopefully turn green by the time you get to the intersection, or shortly thereafter.

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    Christopher Sanderson March 14, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    The headlines and language framing this issue are simple vile and biased. There have been many times where I am in a left turn lane (with bike trailer full of materials and tools), and I do not get the left turn signal. What am I supposed to do? Ride the sidewalk? Left turn it in the crosswalk to get to the corner? I have no choice but to proceed with caution. Sorry to “blow that light.”

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    Trikeguy March 16, 2015 at 9:03 am

    encephalopath
    I rarely ever see a bicyclist go through a red light. When it does happen it’s of the roll up, look and go through variety.
    Most red light runs I see look like this:
    https://youtu.be/PuFIIsLg_AA
    At evening commute time, once you get to a moderate amount of congestion almost every light cycle has somebody driving through the red like this.
    Recommended 3

    All you have to do to see multiple red light runs by motorists *every cycle* is go to Canyon and 117th on a weekend afternoon and watch the people turning left from southbound 117th.

    If I start across the x-walk as a pedestrian on the walk signal (1-2 seconds after the red goes for the left turns) and cross *4* lanes, 1 bike lane and a center median and the left turning car is still crossing the oncoming traffic lane and posing a threat to me, how red a light did he run?

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    KristenT March 16, 2015 at 11:13 am

    My objection with this article is that it implies that motorcyclists and bike riders get to blow through a red light without even slowing down. In reality, the proposed bill says that you’d get to go, after stopping and sitting through an entire light cycle.

    Which means you’d have to come to a stop.

    It always irks me when people talk about bike riders “blowing” red lights and stop signs, when they really mean “they slowed down a lot, waited until it was clear, and then went through”. “Blowing” it means you went through at full speed, damn the torpedoes.

    I thought JRose would have a better handle on the terminology, but since it’s in the O, that may be asking for a lot.

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      Editz March 16, 2015 at 11:19 am

      He has a handle on the terminology, but instead chose to create a click-bait title as per the requirements of his employer.

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    Joe March 16, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    downtown is getting clogged with cars! lights do not motion for bikes in most stops, cars running reds much worse than a bike if u ask me.

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    Trek 3900 March 17, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    The bill would be an improvement but it is inadequate.
    Bikes should be able to go when it it safe. It is unsafe for a bike to be at an intersection even if just waiting for a light to change. If there are no cars around, the bike should be allowed to roll thru whether the light works or not – without waiting. GET AWAY from intersections.

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    Opus the Poet March 17, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I can’t tell you how many times I have sat 5 minutes or longer at a red light that won’t change and there was too much cross traffic to cross safely. How about doing something about that?

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