(Image: Google Street View)
In Oregon and Washington as in many states, every corner is a legal crosswalk, and all vehicles are supposed to stop for someone trying to use it.
But good luck getting people to stop for you at corners like Southeast 82nd Avenue and Cooper Street.
A preannounced police enforcement action at the crosswalk on March 25 resulted in 61 citations and four warnings, the most ever issued during one of Portland’s periodic crosswalk enforcement events.
“My guess is people just didn’t see me. That’s just my guess. But I don’t really know.”
— city employee Sharon White, who walked back and forth for two hours as part of enforcement action
“Sometimes they go in the lane in front of me and sometimes they go in the lane behind me,” said Sharon White, the Portland Bureau of Transportation employee who has, for 10 years, served as one of the people crossing in more than 80 such enforcement actions. “My guess is people just didn’t see me. That’s just my guess. But I don’t really know.”
Cooper Street is close to Portland’s southern border, south of Duke and north of Flavel. Though 82nd Avenue long ago ceased to be Portland’s eastern border, it remains a state highway, so infrastructure there is the responsibility of the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The previous record, set last June, had been 55 citations in 3.5 hours at Southeast Powell and 31st Avenue. (Powell, too, is a state highway inside city limits.) The city has been conducting the exercises at various locations since at least 2005.
Third place: last August, when police issued 52 citations in four hours at NE 82nd Avenue and Pacific Street. Like the recent March 25 action, that one was unusual because it was one of the few times the city has chosen to enforce the law at an unmarked crosswalk.
In all such actions, the number of citations depends not just on the number of violations but on the number of police officers available that day to participate. There are often more violations than the available officers can keep up with.
Many of the citations issued by police during these actions aren’t about the crosswalk itself. On March 25, the tally included 27 counts of failure to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian, 17 people talking with a phone handset, six people driving with suspended licenses, five people passing a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk, three people failing to display license plates, one person driving uninsured, one seatbelt, and one simply cited for “careless driving.”
People are required to yield at crosswalks while using bikes as well as cars. (And yes, it’s also legal for someone on a bike to choose to cross the street using a crosswalk, and they have the right of way while doing so as long as they enter it at the speed of someone walking.) During these actions, police have regularly issued citations to people for failing to yield while riding a bicycle.
Gabe Graff, operations and safety manager with the Portland Bureau of Transportation, said that on a four-lane road like 82nd Avenue, a button-activated crosswalk beacon would be an effective way to improve crosswalk compliance — at the crosswalks where such beacons are installed, at least.
“The rapid-flashing beacon is a good tool for those multi-lane roadways,” Graff said. “Not everyone’s aware of Oregon law that if you see a car stopped at a crosswalk then you also have to stop. But if there’s a flashing light there, then that’s more of an indication.”
ODOT has been putting substantial money into 82nd Avenue in the last decade, and more work is planned, including rapid-flash beacons at Division and pedestrian islands at Salmon/Harrison and Ash as well as various traffic signal replacements, sidewalk work and federally mandated curb ramps. The pedestrian island at Cooper was installed between 2007 and 2009. ODOT doesn’t have any current plans to further upgrade the intersection.
The police could finance their entire budget plus give every employee a raise by enforcing (with hefty fines) only crossing and cell phone violations. Plus, they wouldn’t have to drive around to do it.
Quite the opposite, actually. Any one of those tickets that get challenged in court costs about $200 in labor costs for just the officer alone. Add in the rest of the court staff and these enforcement actions go into the red when even a small percentage of the violators challenging the citation.
Cops get paid overtime for court appearances, and usually get at least 2 hours, regardless of whether they are in court for the full 2hours or 10 mins. That’s why you shouldn’t bank on a cop no showing up to court to get out of a ticket.
My neighbor is a police officer and has explained this to me a few times.
Which is why all traffic violation fines need to be tripled. You think gas taxes haven’t increased much, I’m will to bet they’ve skyrockets compared to traffic ticket fines.
Which is why these costs need to be recouped as a function of a LOST court case where the defendant wasted the public’s money because they think they are always right.
As long as judges continue to liberally give out fine reductions, many guilty people will waste a ton of resources to save a few bucks. Of course, if it swings too far the other way that’s an even bigger problem.
Relative is a cop. Anytime they have to go to court outside of their scheduled work hours (the traffic unit works swing shift) they get 4 hours of OT. No matter if the case is dismissed or they have to spend 3 hours on the stand. The traffic unit that works these enforcement actions is extremely desirable (ton$ of OT, less chance of getting killed), which in unionland means those jobs go to people with lots of seniority. And because your pension is based on your last job, that is the job everyone wants to retire from. I can’t say for sure but I’d imagine a 20 year veteran of a high risk, union job makes $40ish an hour. 4 hours of OT would be $240.
82nd is the “Cascade hwy” ?? who knew ?
Isn’t it also the avenue of roses?
Where are the enforcements for the outer parts of SW?
The traffic division of PPB reports 42 officers total of 51 sworn personnel for 2013. http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/518831
42 officers for the entire city is not much. 21? for each shift (AM/PM) since I don’t think they have an overnight traffic division shift.
Probably one reason there are more fatal crashes in Portland than murders.
Vision Zero includes better enforcement.
I think it is 4.
My guess is they’re using their car to intimidate you, to keep you from slowing them down. I wish there was a precedent for citing drivers under the “menacing” statute when they use their cars to physically intimidate people in these conditions.
I walk places often in Portland and part of the issue seems to be ignorance of the law (specifically at unmarked crosswalks), but also the fact that a significant portion of drivers *choose* to ignore and intimidate pedestrians so they don’t have to slow down and stop for a few seconds. I’ve been honked at, flipped off, and had drivers rev their engines and literally try to run me down because I’m already crossing “in their lane” in an unmarked crosswalk as they come flying through.
I’ve requested crosswalk installation at several intersections on SE Ankeny – notably at 20th and 12th – but the city refuses, arguing that marked crosswalks somehow make pedestrians more vulnerable. Crossing streets in this city will continue to be dangerous until either the city aggressively marks a majority of intersections with crosswalks OR begins an aggressive education and enforcement campaign.
Marked crosswalks are so much safer. I cross MLK at Going and cars stop almost every. single. time.
…eventually. Usually takes a good long stream of vehicles before one decides to stop.
Marked crosswalks are not safer than unmarked crosswalks. This is the fallacy PBOT wants to discourage. Paint on roads never stopped a car, ever.
Kyle, marking the crossings of higher classified roads is current standard practice when a neighborhood greenway is created/updated. Ankeny has not had the upgrade yet.
Lastly, those thermoplastic ladder bar (aka, continental) crosswalks cost about $300 apiece.
Paint on roads never stopped a car. Even in bike lanes.
I think drivers can see you just fine in the periphery of their vision, but make a conscious effort to avoid eye contact. They want you to think they cannot see you, so that you will not attempt to cross. And that is intimidation. If you try to cross, that where the “he came out of nowhere” excuse is used.
Absolutely right on. I caught up to an older woman on Sauvie Island who passed me way too closely. I used my hands to show her she was about a foot away from me while I kindly asked for more space, and that was that. I rode away. About 30 seconds later a supercoolmegamachodude in a truck passed me even closer at a high rate of speed while his even cooler passenger flipped me off. Intimidation with something that kills so easily needs to be dealt with. Now.
I’ve had several occasions where pickup trucks (particularly on the north end of Sauvie Island Rd) cross the center line and drive directly at me.
The funny thing is that I didn’t realize what was happening until the 3rd or 4th time it happened.
feel glad it was only a finger, the last time I fell while riding a bicycle was when instead of the finger it was a hand held air horn.
There should be at least one enforcement action EVERY WEEK until the number of citations or warnings drops to fewer than 5 per hour!
they should hire for specific enforcement quotas for such things as traffic safety. the city would be much safer, and sane.
Ooh I don’t know. When I lived in NYC police had to fill quotas pretty often, so you just avoided them. It was terrible. It’s very easy to find someone breaking the law pretty much everywhere. Jaywalking, for example. But I do see your point. Vastly expanded enforcement at pedestrian xings is sorely needed.
hope that includes cyclists running stop signs.
“hope that includes cyclists running stop signs.”
Why? Just to get even?
Because, like jaywalking, I don’t really see the harm, especially when they do the Idaho thing, which your comment does not distinguish from the didn’t-look-either-way-and-went-flying-through, which in my ten years on portland’s streets on a bike suggests is a rather rare thing.
From what I’ve been able to discern over the last decade or so, about 1% of the driving public knows what an unmarked crosswalk is. If they tagged 61 people, they must have only been there for about 30 minutes. My guess is, about 2 cars actually stopped. And when there’s more than one lane, one car stopping does zero good.
Another reason for more road diets.
“And yes, it’s also legal for someone on a bike to choose to cross the street using a crosswalk, and they have the right of way while doing so as long as they enter it at the speed of someone walking.)”
I didn’t know that. Thanks!
At an intersection with 4 lanes, I think most drivers would sense that it is more dangerous to stop and let the pedestrian cross, the fear being you would stop, the pedestrian will begin to cross, but drivers in lane next to you continue on. Enforcement like this will help educate drivers, but I think the blame is more on infrastructure. Hope more improvements come once 82nd is under PBOT.
PBOT standard practice when the 82nd crossings were installed was to include advance stop bars with the ‘stop here’ regulatory signing. If the road belonged to PBOT the crossings would have also been marked.
Current practice is to also include at least a rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) for multi-lane crossings, even if NCHRP 562 indicates it is not needed. The south of Francis Z-crossing (another safety feature) used RRFB per ODOT’s request and is marked because it is not at a statutory location.
The 82nd Avenue crossings were installed in 2009, except the south of Francis location installed in 2010.
I’m in complete agreement with you. 4-6 lane roads are far too wide to have these kind of crosswalks without lights. The refuge island is nice, and provides good coverage for people to get across half the road at a time (which isn’t that hard to do at most hours of the day). But I really don’t have an expectation for cars to stop for me at this type of intersection (even if it is the law). For 2 lane roads, I think these kind of facilities make sense, but not here on 82nd.
Police resources are not needed for City crosswalk enforcement actions. ORS 153.058.
I love the idea. But how do we get the driver’s name and address, which is required to initiate?
You need photo/video documentation of the car and the driver’s identity. Then you need assistance/involvement of a PPB officer who can look up the plate, cross-reference to the registered owner, and do a face match to their driver license. Not a simple matter.
Holy cow – you could have a 20.082 field day with this thing.
“not a simple matter” – and I’m guessing neither is getting a sympathetic and cooperative officer to help you do it.
they could easily set up a camera and mail tickets to the people they didn’t catch while they were busy writing tickets to the others…
You do know that photo enforcement is only allowed for speeding and red-light running, yes?
Driver distraction, their lack of knowledge about ORS 811.028, and the disrespect for pedestrians at crosswalks are the reasons why I never stop for peds while cycling in a shared lane. Getting rear-ended by a car could be fatal.
So they’re ignorant and you just willfully disregard the laws that you know so much about? What does that say about you?
I stopped for someone at the crosswalk on Glisan & Park and was nearly flattened by a large truck that was tailgating me.
I still stop for people in the crosswalk, but I wonder if it won’t be the end of me someday.
so, both of you… your fear of something that hasn’t happened to you yet leads you to not stop at crosswalks, perpetuating the perception for other road users that you do not have to stop, which further increases the chance of you getting hit in the future… solid plan.
When you’re taking the lane, how do you signal your stops to a large truck directly behind you? Is it the normal way, putting your hand down by your side, below the drivers view?
I not only stop for pedestrians in unmarked crosswalks but I will come to an abrupt halt for jay walkers. Pedestrians should always have absolute priority, IMO.
While driving I’ve given a quick blast of the horn at blatant jaywalkers who weren’t looking before darting out, but I will always prioritise human life even if their actions are illegal. It seems silly not to.
If you are so afraid of motorvehicles that you are willing to endanger other human beings perhaps it would be best to avoid riding in the lane (whenever possible).
I’ve been wanting a decent bicycle brake light (operated by front brake lever) for a long time, but until they make good ones I guess I’ll keep using my right hand to signal when I’m stopping in the lane. It’s worked just fine so far (in the daytime anyway).
if I’m riding a bike I probably have a helmet on… and the driver likely already sees me…
so I’m probably in better shape to be hit by a car than the pedestrian is…
First, 35+5 is not safe in an urban setting period. Braking takes at least 120-200 feet at that speed with NO DISTRACTIONS.
Second, PBOT has taken to adding solid lines between lanes prior to pedestrian crossings, prohibiting lane changes (Googlemaps does not show a line here, or even paint at the crossing). Does ODOT do this? Does ODOT mark their crossings with paint?
I see no traffic counts on the PortlandMaps site for most of 82nd. Counts are not readily available at ODOT. Does ODOT have counts for this part? This is on of the least traveled parts of 82nd. Perhaps a redesign should be considered.
ODOTs recent effort to acquire public input seems a bit empty when these best (can we say minimal) practices are ignored. PBOTs acquisition of 82nd cannot come soon enough.
Under 150ft at 40mph, so to say 200 feet is a gross exaggeration when talking about an undistracted driver.
200ft estimation based on wet pavement.
That is for “new passenger cars.” Older cars? Trucks? Vehicles with trailers? I don’t have data handy, but I seriously doubt 200′ is a gross exaggeration.
bringing a vehicle to a stop involves two things, the perception/reaction time and the stopping time. see table 3B on page 23:
Traffic count maps for urban areas (2013): http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TDATA/tsm/docs/Enlargements_2013.pdf
SE 82nd has between 23,400 and 26,500 vehicles per day on average (AADT)
For comparison, Foster Road (with a future road diet planned) has 24,000 ADT.
So based on the above information (ODOT doc) where 82nd has less than 24k it might make sense for PBOT to study the feasibility of a road diet. Both areas are South of Flavel and North of Fremont fill this requirement.
Interesting to note also that Lombard from MLK West is less than 20k the ENTIRE way.
My understanding (and correct me if I’m wrong Nick) was that Foster was very strongly pushing the upper limit of road diet eligible. Since 82nd is higher than that (on average) might be a very tall order.
You are correct. This is one of the reasons it’s such a big deal in Portland – they’ve never done anything this aggressive before.
Seattle has done successful road diets up to 26,000 ADT, but more conservative engineers generally put the limit 20,000 ADT.
Nick, do you know which street that was in Seattle?
peak vehicles per hour is the more important measure. The rule of thumb is 1,000 vehicles per hour per lane (vphpl).
Except neighborhoods are more interested in designing roads for more than just 10-15 hours/week. We have to live around these roads the rest of the time besides a couple of peak hours a day.
Daily totals are not what will make or break a road diet. It is the peak hours. The rule of thumb is 1,000 vehicles per lane per hour in urban environments.
Older standards for controlled access roadways used 1900 vplph, but in some places up to 2400 vplph have been measured.
“Second, PBOT has taken to adding solid lines between lanes prior to pedestrian crossings, prohibiting lane changes”
a solid white line does not prohibit lane changes, you need a double white line for that…
2009 Edition of the MUTCD, Section 3B.04, page 362, line 20: “Where crossing the lane line markings is discouraged, the lane line markings shall consist of a normal or wide solid white line.”
You’re thinking of centerlines for opposing traffic.
yes, “discouraged” is the key word… same as the ODOT Traffic Line Manual I read before posting my comment… MUTCD 3B.05 for you… the section/paragraph right after describes a double-white line “shall be used when crossing of the line is prohibited”…
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always stop for pedestrians on corners with no crosswalk indicated…
just this morning I was riding on Broadway going east and a pedestrian stopped at the corner on NW Everett st to cross. I saw her stop and look to wait for cars to stop but I had a driver on my tail and I really didn’t think it was a good idea to suddenly stop (on my bike) to allow her to cross. because I was positive the car behind would not, and of course as I passed her the car behind me did not stop either.
I felt bad because I know how hard it is to get cars to stop for me when I’m in well marked crosswalks.
But my question is when on a bike crossing a street with out a cross walk indicated and I move to the corner to cross, do cars have to stop?
There are a few crossings like this on the Burnside greenway like Caesar Chavez and NE 60th ave that are usually busy and cars will never stop for a bike or pedestrian crossing there.
Yes, road users have to stop for all [unmarked] crosswalk users.
Yes. if you’re in the crosswalk, you have the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian.
ORS 811.028 “For the purposes of this section, a pedestrian is crossing the roadway in a crosswalk when any part or extension of the pedestrian, including but not limited to any part of the pedestrians body, wheelchair, cane, crutch or bicycle, moves onto the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed.”
If a person is just standing at the corner, you don’t have to stop. Only when they have entered the road.
Haha, I often stop for people waiting at a corner bus stop pole. They look at me, I look at them, WTF?
what do you care? you don’t stop either…
“In Oregon and Washington as in many states, every corner is a legal crosswalk, and all vehicles are supposed to stop for someone trying to use it.”
Is that really true? What about corners with lights? If the above statement is true every car needs to stop at ever block downtown if someone if standing there.
Crosswalks are legal, statutory things, not the markings on roads. The markings on roads, if there, can identify a non-statutory crossing the local authority deems safer than an adjacent crossing defined by the statues.
A crosswalk exists inside of and defined by imaginary lines extending from the property line and edge of pavement, or curb line, of the cross-street. At skewed intersections, as might occur on Sandy or Foster, the statutory crossing is longer than a perpendicular crossing of the main road.
All such statutory crossings are legal crosswalks unless closed by posted signs to prohibit pedestrian use.
Only marked crossings at non-statutory locations are legal crossings of roads, with associated rights and responsibilities.
The vehicle operator is not required to stop until the ped enters road. So standing on the corner doesn’t count. If they do enter the road, at any crosswalk (as paikiala aptly describes), the vehicle has to stop. Whether the pedestrian is proceeding against a traffic control device (a signal) should be a separate issue. In other words, if a vehicle failed to yield to a ped that was doing so, they are both breaking the law, but the driver doesn’t get to just run them down.
The vehicle is required to stop if any part of their body is in the road. Even the tip of a pinky.
Uh, no, not the pinky. Unless you put your pinky in the road.
And there are pedestrian requirements as well:
814.040 Failure to yield to vehicle; penalty.
(1) A pedestrian commits the offense of pedestrian failure to yield to a vehicle if
the pedestrian does any of the following:
(a) Suddenly leaves a curb or other place of safety and moves into the path
of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
“when any part or extension of the pedestrian”…”
“…moves ONTO the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed.”
Are you suggesting waving your pinky in the air over the sidewalk as a way to signal that you are crossing? I don’t understand your point.
I misread “on” as “in” so pinky is not accurate but a toe would work…
I really hope that some day OR gives pedestrians the same legal status as in California.
I agree with toe!
at lights everybody has their own traffic control device to obey…
Not sure whose jurisdiction it is, but along with crosswalk stings, a few distracted driving stings out in Washington County could be very lucrative for a department out there.
Couple good spots to start: Walker Rd between Murray & Koll, 4 to 6pm. Stand in the Nike berm behind a bush and settle in. If distracted drivers were zebras, and you were a lion, you’d be eating the rest of your life.
Another spot: NW 158th and NW Waterhouse Ave. Lots of chatty drivers (often with Washington plates) stop for a gas fill-up, then turn left from Waterhouse onto 158th, on route for the 26 perhaps, cell phones in hand at the wheel. Common between 3 & 6pm.
These crosswalk stings are so good they should do them every day, multiple times per day. You can shoot radar before them and have the same backup pick them up. You get the crosswalk violations and any speeders actually in the trap (even though most are signed as an enforcement in progress) and then you get the bonus of finding out which of these dangerous drivers are uninsured or unlicensed.
The police are too busy tracking down the mallard killer.
Still haven’t quacked the case.
Kind of a win-win, I agree. Po po needs to do this as often as possible with the resources they have.
And you can avoid racial profiling… hopefully. One thing I noticed today is that the city has 20mph business zones (Fremont in the teens, 20s and 40s and parts of division) in predominantly white neighborhoods, and 25-30 in business zones elsewhere.
Why is N Killingsworth 30mph, and NE Fremont 20mph? That is so unbelievably dangerous and nonsensical. Anywhere there is a business district, Division, Mississippi, Alberta, even Broadway, PBOT should mandate a 20mph zone. That would be an excellent step toward vision zero.
PBOT does not control speed limits in Portland. The State does. The State has specific rules regarding what is a business district and how large it needs to be to change a street to 20 mph.
How do we go about requesting a change in speed? Mississippi, for example, is a much larger business district (and less a through street) than Fremont. Are the rules systematic and predictable in your opinion?
You can request it to be studied by PBOT (who will then recommend it to ODOT if they agree with you after their study).
Best to contact your neighborhood association and get their endorsement (or have the suggestion come from them).
So far that has worked in my neighborhood (fingers crossed that ODOT will agree with all of us).
PBOT does one enforcement a month, maybe.
I also challenge the truthfulness of them claiming this as one of their VERY rare unmarked enforcements. This intersection has 3 yellow signs and an island. Pushing the definition of unmarked crosswalk to be sure.
Engineer-speak. the crossing is signed, but not marked.
I’m all for vigorous enforcement of traffic laws, but I am very nervous about the idea of the police “raising revenue” via enforcement actions. I want the police to have no financial motive coloring their judgement about what laws to enforce when against whom.
Portland only gets a small portion of citations written, even when the judge does not reduce the fine.
I was responding mainly to those above who suggested raising revenue by issuing traffic citations. It seems appealing, but is a bad idea.
Unfortunately, we’ve all heard the argument made that they cannot enforce, say, distracted driving laws, because they cannot afford the personnel to do so. And we have an infestation of distracted driving. I think all that’s being suggested is, if they just do the enforcement, they can pay themselves. Maybe that’s not how it works?
I don’t think anyone wants a situation like in the Chuck Norris flick Breaker, Breaker; now that was a pretty crooked operation…
They have the resources and priorities that they are given to them by our elected representatives, and that is how it should be. A police force that can generate its own revenue by selecting which laws to enforce sounds like a disaster!
“And yes, it’s also legal for someone on a bike to choose to cross the street using a crosswalk, and they have the right of way while doing so as long as they enter it at the speed of someone walking.”
i know this will be an unpopular P.o.V. here, but this is one of the things that will have to be changed if we are to expect people to treat us as legitimate road users. this whole “am i a pedestrian? am i a vehicle? who knows?” attitude does nothing to improve the safety of cyclists on the road, in fact it could be argued that it actually endangers cyclists.
I don’t understand. Bikes will never be equal to vehicles or equal to pedestrians. Why would we want to pretend that they are?
How about eight-year-olds cycling on the sidewalk to get to school. Are they less deserving of the legal protections of an (unmarked) crosswalk?
Of course not. Was this for me?
I was just making the point that bikes do not equal cars, and should not be treated like cars. That is carhead talk.
No, Dan, it was for naess.
Gotcha, thanks for clarifying.
actually dan, that’s vehicular cyclist talk. let’s get our derogatory terms correct shall we?
no one ever said that, but thanks for playing.
the idea that a cyclist should be treated the same as other traffic until they reach the intersection then magically they turn in to a pedestrian, if they want. where as a car would have to wait until it’s clear to cross the street, oh no. not the cyclist, they are now a pedestrian and cross traffic has to stop to let them cross.
sometimes I use the main lane
sometimes I use the bike lane
sometimes I use the sidewalk
sometimes I use a crosswalk
sometimes on a greenway
sometimes on a trail
sometimes on the Tilikum
just make sure they add a ‘rub rail’
trying to make the safest choice
and get back home alive
wonder why my wife doesn’t worry
on the days when I drive?
Want to be a vehicular cyclist? Great, go to town, I envy your boldness. Doesn’t work for everyone.
naess, you’re mistaken. The idea is not about a bike in the roadway reaching the intersection, it’s about anyone (including people on bikes) who are using the sidewalk and then crossing from the corner.
and yet i still say the same thing. if you want to be treated as a pedestrian then be one.
i realize special vague laws and confusing infrastructure are the norm in portland, still doesn’t make it right.
again, not what i said, but also, thanks for playing.
but to use your analogy anyways… when on the road there’s the “bikes uses full lane” mentality, yet when crossing at an unmarked intersection there’s the “i’m a pedestrian now” mentality.
Where are you suggesting that the commitment to mode-impersonation begin and end? Is it from my house to the grocery store I get to be a vehicle, but then on the return trip I can be pedestrian? Or when a road I feel comfortable riding on transitions into one I don’t feel comfortable being on? Too soon?
i can’t even, wow. really?!?
how about trying for the easy answer. when you want to be treated as a pedestrian, be one.
A person in a car is a person. A person in shoes is a person. A person on a bike is a person. A person on a skateboard is a person.
When a person approaches a crossing that consists of a crosswalk going over a road, the person using the crosswalk has the right of way over a person approaching the crossing using the road.
There is no magical transformation. A person using the crosswalk has priority over a person using the road.
So you don’t want a bicycle ridden in any pedestrian-like way/facility or just the crosswalk scenario? I don’t understand why it matters that I may be on top of my bicycle rather than alongside it in the crosswalk scenario. I will clear the intersection faster than walking it. Sorry, I’m a practical person here. I don’t put much in symbolic gestures.
Yes I ride that way, it is the greatest advantage that bicycle travel has over automobile and pedestrian as far as route options.
I get to choose the circumstances in which I will be treated which is determined by the environment I am in at the time, So yes, I’ll ride in the street, hit the sidewalk, ride a cross in a pedestrian zone (at the appropriate speed), or walk my bike across.
If done correctly, it’s more efficient travel and safer for everyone. The idea of “separate but equal” is great in theory, but never really works out too well in the end.
who said anything about having to use the whole lane? when commuting during rush hour i often only use a few feet of lane. but it’s also true that sidewalks can be useful for bypassing slower car traffic. (hi amanda!)
How about, “I am on a bicycle. Different rules affect me different ways, just like cars, bikes, scooters, motorcycles, horses, skateboards and pedestrians.”
like for example the rule that motorcycles can be two across at stop signs.. .there’s a lot of nuance out there. one law for all users will not work.
In the motor vehicle code there are special rules applicable to different vehicles according to:
Number of Wheels
Driver medical conditions
Driver, driving record
Passengers (number of)
Time of Day
Road speed, size, capacity
and various combinations of a number of these + undoubtedly some I’ve missed.
You can’t address all possible outcomes with 1 or two rules, and I honestly can’t imagine a scenario where trading away your rights while operating a bicycle in order to gain respect of people that hate you is actually going to get you that respect.
I hear what you’re saying, and I usually dismount when using the crosswalk at a multi-lane or busy crosswalk for the clarity’s sake (“yes, I AM a pedestrian”), but legally speaking, it’s legit and there are already all kinds of laws that make bicycle riders unique users of the roadway, separate from being motor vehicles or pedestrians.
this! this is exactly what i was talking about yet no one was able to understand for some reason.
You want people to push their bikes across the road? That’s weird. Maybe drivers should push their cars too – that would make intersections safer.
There’s an ambiguity to riding your bike in a crosswalk to most drivers, particularly around unmarked crosswalks: are you operating as a vehicle operator or a pedestrian? Most drivers might think you’re a vehicle operator and legally it’s dependent on whether you are *in* the crosswalk and entered it as a “normal walking speed” as to whether you’re operating as a pedestrian. Heck, most drivers are probably ignorant of the law (as many do not bike and many bikers don’t know it either).
So, yeah, I sometimes elect to get off the bike simply for clarity’s sake because it removes their perceived excuse (they think I’m being a scofflaw) to be aggressive toward me using the crosswalk.
PS: cars drivers don’t get to operate their vehicles at pedestrians, so no, I want them neither driving their cars nor pushing their cars through a crosswalk to cross an intersection.
* “as pedestrians” not “at pedestrians” (freudian).
Wow. 10% had suspended licenses? That seems way too high. What is the point is in suspending licenses if the chance of being caught is so low that 10% of the population can drive around even though they are suspended. These are the worst of the worst drivers. Why not use the plate scanners on the patrol cars to catch suspended drivers, with visual verification or driver before pulling them over. You supposedly cant drive more than a few miles before being picked up by a plate scanner. This would get the most dangerous drivers off the road in a hurry.
Suspended license? Take the car.
they do, unless its your first warning…
I would guess that people driving with suspended licenses is a self selected group that doesn’t know how to or refuses to follow the rules.
You wouldn’t find 10% of a random sample of people driving with suspended license, but it’s not so surprising that crosswalk violators are people who do whatever suits them, everyone else be damned, including driving while suspended.
I don’t know. I could also imagine the opposite, that those whose license was suspended would be extra vigilant, would want to do what they could to not draw the attention of the police. DWS comes with consequences, I think. Though they do get to keep the car as we keep (re-)discovering.
What we need then is the actual % suspended but still driving, to compare to the % suspended and caught not yielding. The number of suspensions caught at sobriety checkpoint could be used maybe, because everyone is checked, not just the violators. This data should already be available.
What is the percent of licenses ever suspended by the DMV? I’d guess its well under 10% unless you start counting never licensed.
in my previous life when I was a driver my license was suspended when I got in an accident with no insurance… I was driving my dad’s car and was driving him to work because his license was suspended… I didn’t know to check to ensure that my dad’s vehicle was insured before helping him out by giving him a ride to work…
then I continued to drive like a normal driver and got pulled over for mostly speeding, which kept my license suspended… I was ticketed at least 12 times for driving while suspended… usually they dropped the actual traffic violations and only charged me with DWS… I was so bad that I eventually served jail time for it because I didn’t show up to court…
I wasn’t the worst of the worst, but I was bad… I was just the one that was caught time and time again… I thought I was the best driver I knew…
I know, it’s shameful…
What would you have done if they had impounded your vehicle after the 3rd violation?
I did… all you need is a licensed driver to pick it up for you and then you’ve got your car back… had to do that a couple of times… only a couple hundred dollars if you don’t let storage fees accumulate…
it’s just way too easy to keep driving while suspended…
The Portland Police Traffic Division reports about 50,000 annual traffic stops for an average of about 140 per day. Compare that with about 15 million miles of travel daily within Portland. That works out to about one traffic stop per hundred thousand miles of driving in Portland.
One hundred thousand miles of driving is about ten years of driving for an average motorist.
Basically, there’s almost no chance of being stopped for a traffic violation and the amount of the fine, even if it’s assessed, is not much of a deterrent.
Can you provide sources? Those stats are chilling indeed.
Portland police statistics are found on page 7 of:
Metro region VMT can be found at:
I’ve always wondered the costs of traffic enforcement as a percentage of overall police budget. In Santa Clara County I’ve heard estimates that it’s about 50%, but we also fly a Sheriff’s helicopter overhead several times daily, and I’m told it’s primarily to check on the roads. That can’t be cheap… it’s no wonder the county has little money for bike/ped safety.
those are scary good odds…
How much were the fines?
““Not everyone’s aware of Oregon law that if you see a car stopped at a crosswalk then you also have to stop.”
in what state is this not a law?
I don’t know, but many fellow cyclists also act like it doesn’t apply to them. I was going down N Broadway the other morning and a car and a bus were stopped at the zebra crosswalk at the streetcar stop (just west of Wheeler), clearly stopped for a pedestrian crossing from left to right (in other words, about to cross the bike lane). The lady ahead of me on a bike just blew right through it even after I yelled at her before she reached it “there’s a pedestrian coming!” She narrowly missed the pedestrian that was just about to step out from in front of the bus.
There have been many other times where I’ve stopped for a pedestrian actively crossing the road (not even “just stepping out” but in the road) only to be buzzed on one side by cars and on my right by other bike riders that can’t be bothered to show a little of the same courtesy we always clamor for.
The only pedestrians that I don’t stop for are the ones that fail to assert their right to cross. When they stand at the corner, especially if they don’t make eye contact (because I’m already looking at them to see what they’re going to do), and just waiting for traffic to either clear or come to a stop before they start crossing, then I don’t bother stopping – legally, they haven’t established, nor even communicated intent, as to what they’re doing. I work downtown and assert my right to cross at un-signaled and unmarked crosswalks all the time – by stepping out and looking directly at the approaching traffic that has plenty of time to stop. Yet I have co-workers that will hang back and wait for all traffic to come to a complete stop before they’ll even put a foot off the curb.
Totally agree with you on all points. I work in the Lloyd district off Multnomah where there is the big mid-block crossing just east of 7th. I’ve seen maybe one cyclist EVER stop for a pedestrian at that crosswalk, and probably 100 go through it without stopping when I’m walking across it. I stop for peds who are using the mid-block crossing a little bit west of there, but I’d have to guess I’m about the only one.
I generally wait for walkers to assert themselves in the crossing (and I assert myself as a walker), but if I see someone walking quickly TOWARDS a crosswalk I will stop too, assuming that they will continue on through. Usually I have to come to a complete stop, wave them through, and then wait a couple more seconds before they realize what’s happening and start moving again.
What I see in the picture is a road design that screams, “The main road has priority!” The way people behave on the road has a little to do with their understanding of the law and a lot to do with the way the road is designed. In this case the road design contradicts the law in spirit. Road designs frequently contradict the law explicitly: some minor residential arterials even have signs posted at intersections indicating no crossing and directing pedestrians to “use the crosswalk”… well, they’re in a crosswalk! And even if that crosswalk is void, there’s bound to be another 10 feet over at the nearest driveway (which surely isn’t what the sign means)!
Now imagine an arterial road designed to carry significant through traffic but also designed to draw drivers’ attention to all the unmarked crosswalks where they might have to yield. It’s an absurdity! In practice many such roads have specific places where attention is drawn to a specific crosswalk by road markings or signs, and even there (as in the picture) that message is overwhelmed by the other design elements of the road!
In the end I feel like the unmarked crosswalk law is a crutch. A DOT in a state with such a strong unmarked crosswalk law can claim there are many places to cross a major road, and even enforce this fact occasionally. But in practice almost none of these are actually safe and convenient places to cross the road, and in practice they’ll go unused. What we need is a focus on crosswalk design, not enforcement of a broken law.
IMO you’re being overly simplistic.
A driveway does not establish a crossing area for a crosswalk. Sidewalks (or shoulders of roadways where there are no sidewalks) that come to an intersection with another roadway establish the unmarked crosswalk (unless there is a sign that asserts no pedestrian crossing allowed at that corner). This applies to T-intersections as well. But a driveway? You’re reaching.
It may be worth mentioning that according to Walk Score Portland hits the top ten cities in Transit (#10) and biking (#1!?), but comes in after Baltimore, Minneapolis and even LA in walkability. We have a long way to go.
Walkscore is based almost entirely on density and proximity to amenities though (i.e. Portland will never touch many of those cities). Not on safety.
Which code is this?
Does this mean that after the crosswalk clears if the driver in the other lane zones out and doesn’t start driving it is illegal to pass them simply because they are stopped at a crosswalk?
“stopped to permit a pedestrian”
() place: SW TV Hwy & SW 178th ave. This used to have a HAWK signal but was upgraded to a full traffic light and a speed zone reduction (which REALLY needs consistent enforcement stings). Any place like this will do.
() pedestrian waits at multi lane highway style cross walk
() all cross traffic stops – I know, suspend your disbelief
() pedestrians clear all of the crosswalk and none wait to cross from either side
() one drive in a single lane is busy goofing off with an electronic device or food or children and doesn’t start driving.
At THIS point is everyone held hostage by the inattentive driver while we wait for an empty crosswalk to clear?
What if their vehicle breaks down and DIES right there?
What if a corrupt cop decides to milk the letter of the law for… whatever?
After stopping, if the crossing is clear, road users can continue.
Where in 811.020 does it say that?
That bit of legal code seems to be completely inflexible and intolerant of any deviation.
I’m riding a bike and they are waiting at the ramp. This is not a dangerous situation.
A good way for a pedestrian to commit suicide is pictured in the photo at top of this article. Here’s how to do it:
Ped: stand on sidewalk on right side of the photo at the “invisible crosswalk”. Wait for vehicle traffic to come to a halt so you can cross the street. Walk across (right to left in photo). Traffic isn’t too bad so the last traffic lane (on the left in the photo) doesn’t have a car waiting. You walk right across, and as you cross the last traffic lane past that noisy, stinky diesel truck, BOOM, you are now flying thru the air OVER the phone lines above.
What happened? A driver, seeing the stopped traffic, noting that there is no light, assumed the texters have taken over the world (it’s true) and are causing traffic to be bogged down. But this particular driver is in a hurry and is smarter than the rest of the texters – he’s found an open path past those texting idiots. Then, all of a sudden as he passes a stopped diesel truck on his left, BOOM, some pedestrian has ruined his car.
It’s OK though, the driver was in the wrong so he’ll get a ticket or worse. But the ped is dead because he thought the law, and those invisible lines on the pavement, would stop a speeding car. WRONG.
Be careful in trusting these “invisible crosswalks” – they’re deadly.
Yes, I seem to recall there was a death or serious injury in the last year or so due to exactly the scenario you described. As the squishiest and lightest thing out there, we pedestrians always need to _look_ before stepping out from in front of that truck or whatever else might be blocking motorists’ view.
Marked crosswalks are not particularly safer.
Though I like the stings. Am I the only one wondering why PDOT is footing the bill for something the PPD should be doing anyway?
Why isn’t the PPD doing this everyday in multiple locations with fewer cops? And why is it taking funds which could be going elsewhere from the the just as strapped PDOT?
footing what bill? Sharon is a PBOT employee while the officers are PPB employees. They are all city employees helping to make Portland safer.
I’m pretty sure that in previous articles on these stings that PDOT foots the bill on them.
This is part of the problem, and hopefully something Vision Zero will address on the user education point of attack.
Pedestrian right of way in a multi-modal environment should not be something to guess about or roll the dice on.
Outside of the central core of the city though, I don’t have a problem with it (central city mentality does not really permeate to outer Portland, like some might think). I was in Ohio last week and had to recalibrate myself that I was no longer in “enlightened” Portland and actually had to assume drivers wouldn’t stop.
I do think there should be some better guidelines though about what roads eligible for stopping for pedestrians. As I stated above, I think 4-6 lane roads are not the place. Pedestrians need signaled crossings there. The road is just too wide to assume safety for the pedestrian. So no pedestrians shouldn’t have to roll the dice: they should have a signal.
It would cost a lot less if road users just obeyed the law. We can’t afford a signal every block on any of our 4-5 lane roads.
“It would cost a lot less if road users just obeyed the law.”
We could say this about so many different expenditures from our government.
“We can’t afford a signal every block on any of our 4-5 lane roads”
No we can’t and that’s why I think they should be every 4-5 blocks (for many sections of major streets they already are). This particular intersection could use a signalized crossing, but I don’t think there would need to be another one between Duke and Flavel.
I think one of the problems here is the difficulty for road users to distinguish between those pedestrians who wish to cross and those who just happen to be standing on a corner, especially downtown. This is made doubly difficult due to the fact that many of us with an enlightened sense of self preservation are not about to step even a toe off the sidewalk to try and get a driver’s attention. Having seen drivers that drive right against the sidewalk I know I sure won’t, I’d rather wait.
Perhaps we could help everyone out a bit with this conundrum by painting a small portion of the edge of the sidewalk at crosswalks and designate it as the spot for a pedestrian to stand/put a foot to signal they wish to cross? This would preserve the safety of being on the sidewalk while still giving drivers/cyclists a cue that they need to stop.
You may indicate your intent to cross and activate your right-of-way by placing any part of your cane, crutch, bicycle, body, or very large hammer into the roadway.
Thank you, Thor.
Unpainted yes. Unmarked no.