Comment of the Week: What if there were a national campaign to shame people who drive illegally?

Posted by on May 29th, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Busted!

Busted.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Sex crimes are horrific, and — despite the concerns of some about civil liberties — many states respond to their horror by publicly shaming people who commit them.

Maybe traffic crimes should be punished similarly, BikePortland reader invisiblebikes suggested in a comment Wednesday beneath our post about the newly launched Vision Zero PAC, which aims to put a spotlight on politicians who defend unsafe driving. As invisiblebikes describes it, the government wouldn’t even be involved.

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These might be a little outside what you are thinking but I think we could aggressively combat #baddrivers by implementing the following;

– Public notification of convictions. i.e billboards showing a driver’s identity after being cited and/or convicted of aggressive driving or traffic violence.
– Social media releases of above perps.
– PSA on social media, billboard media and news outlets on safe driving and its importance.
– Marketing media (posters, pamphlets, stickers) placed in all DMVs raising awareness of the importance of safe driving and the responsibilities a driver assumes when getting behind the wheel.
– push for cameras on Greenways with prominent signage stating “traffic cameras record aggressive irresponsible driving”

on a more grassroots (maybe slightly illegal) note;

– Stickers (that are hard to remove) to stick on cars windows shaming drivers after being seen driving aggressively or irresponsibly

Given the many problems and inequities of law enforcement, many people would definitely be uneasy about such measures. But the problem we face in trying to remake cities is that — unlike in the 1920s United States or 1970s Netherlands — almost no one alive today remembers a time when people weren’t routinely killed by motor vehicles. Whatever you think of these suggestions, they’re the sort of things that could plausibly lead to resetting our expectations about what is and isn’t acceptable behavior.

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136 Comments
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    Bjorn May 29, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    To a certain extent there is a shaming campaign but it only extends to one kind of bad driver and that is the drunk driver. I think having an interlock placed on your vehicle is probably somethign that most people would be ashamed of, but we don’t consider any similar action for other types of behavior. For instance a device that would prevent a car from functioning unless your cell phone was locked inside a box if you were found to be texting while driving…

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    LC May 29, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    I’m all for public shaming but this is such a pervasive problem that there aren’t enough billboards or time for tv spots to do this, much less public money available to fund it. If we can identify the people causing these problems accurately enough to shame them we should be able to also immediately revoke the automobile they were using in this manner, plus any additional cars attributed to them and immediate family. Not impound, revoke and auction. Threaten someone with a car – Revoke and auction. Seven other cars at home? Revoke and auction. Borrowed car? Revoke and auction. Ever had a car revoked and auctioned and you’re caught in possession of another one? Revoke and auction. Zero tolerance, no driving rights again for the rest of your life. Period.

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    q`Tzal May 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    As we discussed not too long ago (Posted by Taz Loomans (Subversiveness Columnist) on April 27th, 2015) on this very site (Column: Fellow bike lovers, we need to talk about car shaming) Shaming has its drawbacks.

    Rather than reiterate every cogent point from that long and productive discussion let me just suggest some automated way to “rat out” bad drivers to their automobile insurance providers.

    Our smartphone and GoPro cameras are more than good enough to capture license plates and faces. While this often isn’t good enough for a legal conviction insurance providers don’t operate by the same rules.

    There is no reason for All State not to harvest every recognizable licence plate from YouTube, match it against their customer database and then have someone watch the videos to determine if their customer was driving in a manner that would increase future insurance claims against All State.

    Or every other automobile driver insurance company.

    Sure, you can try to shame people but before you invest vast amounts of energy in it ask the vegetarian and environmental movements how well decades of shaming has progresses their movements.

    Money, on the other hand – sadly, speaks.

    Label/tag your helmet cam videos with at least the licence plate and basic human demographic descriptors: “white”, “male”, 35-45″. Anything that will help the insurance companies when they figure out data mining.

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    LC May 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    What is the name and license plate number of the person shown talking on the phone while driving? Home, work addresses? Number of that phone?

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    Burkaroo Bonsai May 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Yeah, please expand the Police State even further. Maybe we should have the government arrest people before they commit crimes, too. And let’s get the citizens involved, instead of calling it mob justice, we can call it Earth Friendly Pre-crime Lynching.

    If you’re that afraid of your own shadow, stay in your bunker.

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      Glenn May 29, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      I like the mob justice angle, thanks for the tip. And if you’re afraid of it, YOU stay in your bunker.

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      A.H. May 30, 2015 at 7:24 am

      Do you use this enormous strawman to feed horses, or…?

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    wkw May 29, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Shaming is one thing, but how bout a volunteer citizen citation committee where these videos and proof can be submitted and it would end up with a court appearance as well?

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      Paul Atkinson May 29, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      If there were a place I could upload a few seconds of GoPro video with a date, time, and license plate number and expect a citation to be issued I’d have fifty drivers a week getting fines in the mail.

      The BTA has provided documentation of the exceptionally laborious process for writing a citizen citation; perhaps if there were a way to collectively expedite that process — make it user-friendly for the reporting person — we could get enough volume to start making a difference.

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        are June 1, 2015 at 5:00 pm

        paul has the right idea, eric and spiffy still locked in conventional mindset where everything has to be monetized and/or done by “someone else.”

        the citizen citation process exists — thanks in large part to the efforts of people who did not get “paid” to put it there. and while the process is somewhat cumbersome, it should be possible for a group of like-minded people to put together a mechanism to make it much easier.

        yes, i know your time is “worth money,” but if you never do anything except where you see a personal advantage, nothing ever gets done for the community.

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          Eric June 2, 2015 at 11:07 pm

          As a parent of young children, *some* things have to be done by someone else because there just isn’t enough time. In this case, I think our enforcement and leadership is failing and one of the things we need to do is fix that. Do drivers speed 10mph over the posted limit because they don’t think they’ll get caught or don’t think it matters?

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      Eric May 30, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      If only we had some professional, highly trained public employees who could write some sort of citations to drivers who violate traffic laws…

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      Spiffy June 1, 2015 at 11:57 am

      I would love to do this for a living if I could just figure out how to get paid for it…

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    invisiblebikes May 29, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    I will happily and excitedly be paying it forward to Chris Anderson’s Vision Zero PAC, and I’ll double it on top of the $60 I’ve already pledged to donate.

    Thanks Michael.

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    Cervelo May 29, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    If cyclists will be able to cause car drivers to get tickets, then it will be a requirement that all bicycles AND trailers have license plates front and rear so they can get the same treatment they want to give car drivers.

    Of course, you could put a youtube video of bad driving up today.

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      soren May 30, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      “If cyclists will be able to cause car drivers to get tickets,”

      Do you live in Oregon (or Portland), Cervelo? All Oregonians have the legal right to pursue a citizen’s traffic citations.

      http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2010/03/a_citizens_traffic_ticket_in_f.html

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      paikiala June 1, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Such videos already exist.

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      El Biciclero June 2, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      As long as car drivers are able to cause bicycle riders to get injured and/or killed, it will be a requirement they take proportionally extra care to watch what they are doing.

      If two guys are walking down a crowded sidewalk, one juggling steak knives, and the other juggling chainsaws (that had been started and were running), who do you think people are going to be more concerned about? I’m a little unsure on the legality of juggling either one, but suppose “juggling cutting tools” was illegal in general. Should we devote equal resources to cracking down on both, or would a greater benefit be had by concentrating more attention on the greatest danger? I know that goes against a lot of folks’ notions of Law and Order (kong-kong), and following the law because it’s the law, and lawbreakers ought get what’s coming to them whether they’re murderers or dirty, rotten sidewalk-spitters, but we have to think about how to benefit society the most and protect the most people from harm. Is that going to happen by sticking it to those scofflaw bicyclists, or reining in dangerous motorists?

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    Glenn May 29, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    These people are already their own, walking shame campaign.

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      Glenn May 29, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Or no wait, not walking, because that would require actually walking.

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        Tait May 30, 2015 at 11:49 am

        Because people who drive (even badly) clearly never walk. Or ride a bike. Or have lives anything like what all of us genteel, civil bike-riders do.

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          Glenn May 30, 2015 at 4:30 pm

          Touched a nerve there? Glad you feel ashamed enough to comment.

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    Ward May 29, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    They have something called the “Stop a D-bag” movement in Russia. http://www.vice.com/read/we-talked-to-the-guy-behind-stopxam-206

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    Ward May 29, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    And we need one for cyclists as well. These days, I have more near-accidents because of other other cyclists than cars.

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      soren May 30, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      Funny that…in over a hundred thousand miles of commuting I’ve only had one near-miss accident due to another cyclist (that I can remember).

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        ric June 1, 2015 at 7:49 pm

        I actually have far more near misses with pedestrians who walk into the street without looking up from their phones.

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    JMak May 29, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Uh, you don’t mean shame, you mean to bully, plain and simple.

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      Glenn May 30, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      That’s a great idea! Especially since bullying and threats have worked so well in your favor for so long!

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        JMak May 30, 2015 at 9:29 pm

        Wow, what an absurd comment. You know nothing about an anonymous poster here, yet, you feel compelled to claim that they have benefited from threats and bullying themselves. Pathetic behavior, if not also so common among many of the posters here.

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    JMak May 29, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I will be photographing all bikers that don’t stop at stop signs, fail to wear helmets, don’t use lights, etc., and I will be printing them and posting them. This goes both ways.

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      Bill Walters May 29, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      No, it really doesn’t. Tremendous speed with immense mass — the components of enough kinetic energy to efficiently kill and maim others, even those in other cars — are our grave responsibility when we’re in our cars, not on our bikes.

      In terms of making travel safer for your loved ones, you would be barking up entirely the wrong tree. But you would have your false symmetry, and maybe that’s what matters most to you.

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        JMak May 30, 2015 at 12:12 am

        Bill, Im not sure what you’re disagreeing with. I don’t think I dismissed the size and danger of vehicles, did I??

        Look, if these bullies are going to shame drivers, then we ought to be shaming bicyclists who also break the rules. I’m not sure why you’re defending riders who break the rules in order to shame, er, bully, drivers.

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          A.H. May 30, 2015 at 7:31 am

          Bad drivers kill people. Bad cyclists kill themselves. How is shaming a driver “bullying,” given this?

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            JMak May 30, 2015 at 10:08 pm

            Bad drivers don’t always kill people, hell, they don’t always injure someone else. All this movement is about is shaming, er, bullying those that you don’t like. The irony here is that I don’t any of your shamers are not also checking your texts while driving, lol.

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              Spiffy June 1, 2015 at 2:07 pm

              the movement is about shaming dangerous behavior…

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            middle of the road guy June 1, 2015 at 10:55 am

            Bad cyclists cause accidents. They do impact others.

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          J4son May 30, 2015 at 7:32 am

          . . . JMak May 30, 2015 at 12:12 am: “Look, if these bullies are going to shame drivers, then we ought to be shaming bicyclists who also break the rules. I’m not sure why you’re defending riders who break the rules in order to shame, er, bully, drivers.”

          The reason shaming automobile drivers is considered a priority is due to the higher stakes involved (e.g. death, dismemberment) when a auto driver is negligent. If you want to record and shame bicyclists who break rules that is fine, but any reasonable person looking at this without bias would focus on the highest risk “rule breakers” first.

          Bill Walters explained this, but he should have assumed your logical reasoning abilities were less advanced.

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            JMak May 30, 2015 at 10:06 pm

            Nope, I’ll be shaming cyclists who fail to wear helmets, who ride on sidewalks, who (as one here already admitted) will ride the wrong way on streets, and who otherwise put themselves and others at risk. Because that’s what this is all about, right…shaming people who others at risk.

            It is about that, right? Right?

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              Bill Walters May 30, 2015 at 11:14 pm

              Sorry, no; you still don’t quite get it. Note the phrase “traffic crimes” in the original post. That implies the scope is people who _broke laws_ intended to minimize the risks we pose to each other on the road.

              You can find the laws here, to define what “traffic crimes” are in Oregon: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/chapter/811 .

              Spoiler alert: You won’t find adult bike-helmet use or a prohibition of sidewalk riding among those laws. (The sidewalk-riding ordinance is local and pertains only to downtown.)

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                JMak May 31, 2015 at 2:35 pm

                Bill Walters
                Sorry, no; you still don’t quite get it. Note the phrase “traffic crimes” in the original post. That implies the scope is people who _broke laws_ intended to minimize the risks we pose to each other on the road.You can find the laws here, to define what “traffic crimes” are in Oregon: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/chapter/811 .Spoiler alert: You won’t find adult bike-helmet use or a prohibition of sidewalk riding among those laws. (The sidewalk-riding ordinance is local and pertains only to downtown.)Recommended 6

                My threshold is not whether they are breaking laws, it is whether they pose a risk and I will shame every single cyclist I see putting themselves and others in danger.,

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                Bill Walters May 31, 2015 at 2:54 pm

                You didn’t ask about your own threshold. You asked “what this is about.” You received an answer quoting from the original post and linking to quality reference material. A relevant response to that bit of service might be, “Thanks!”

                As it is, you’re portraying yourself as a rabid animal, cornered and lashing out. Are you sure this forum is giving you what you need?

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              invisiblebikes June 1, 2015 at 10:03 am

              JMAK,

              Feel free to shame me for anything that you feel I do wrong as a cyclist, I take constructive criticism very well.
              I agree that there are cyclists that break “rules of the road” and sure if you feel like shaming them will change things I’m all for it.

              I don’t see anything wrong with complete and total transparency in this action. But remember that the basis of going as far as shaming people publicly for their actions on the road is to increase awareness and prevention of #trafficviolence i.e. harm to vulnerable road users.

              It’s not a new idea either, MADD and other organizations against drunk drivers have done it for over a decade.

              One thing I do disagree with you is what you refer to as “Bullying”. This is not Bullying in any way, shape or form. Holding people publicly responsible for breaking traffic laws and endangering other road users is definitely not “bullying” its accountability and upholding the laws not just of traffic but human rights and protection from harm.

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          A.H. May 30, 2015 at 7:33 am

          Bullying a driver is taking a u-lock to a mirror, smashing a window, spitting, yelling, etc. Taking a picture of some damn fool talking on their phone, fiddling with their hair, weaving into other lanes… that’s just prudent journalism.

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          Clark in Vancouver May 30, 2015 at 9:40 am

          There already is a movement to “shame” cyclists. It’s part of the car-centric culture we’re in.
          The difference here is that the former is a blanket thing against all cyclists regardless if they’ve done something wrong or not while a shaming of drivers would likely be to an individual.

          What really needs to be done is to deconstruct the whole way things are described. No more mentioning of transportation modes being an identity. Only talk about activities. Never use the word motorist, driver, cyclists, “biker”, etc. Reconstruct the sentence to refer to the activity of driving, cycling, walking, etc. (In fact if mode of transportation is irrelevant to the discussion, just use “going”.)
          So how this would work in any shaming campaign. Not say that drivers are bad because “they’re all texting and not paying attention”, but that the activity of texting while driving is bad.

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          soren May 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm

          Have you or anyone you know been injured by a cyclist because they were not wearing a helmet or because the “rolled” a stop sign?

          PS: Riding without a helmet is entirely legal in the state of OR.

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            JMak May 30, 2015 at 10:13 pm

            No one suggested anyone else was harmed by a cyclist not wearing a helmet. The point is that wearing a helmet is exercising common sense. If you cannot exercise simply common sense to wear a helmet, then you should be shamed, just as you demand that drivers, simply for driving be shamed.

            Oh yes, I see the real intent here on your part…driving in and of itself must be banned according to many here. You are fanatical.

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              soren May 31, 2015 at 12:29 pm

              JMak you have found me out!
              I am, indeed, a secret member of the All Powerful Bycicle Lobby/Cabal (also known as “the fanatics) whose secret agenda is to ban cars and shame all motorists.

              The car I bought last weekend (and payed taxes and fees on) was merely an insidious part of my disguise.

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                soren May 31, 2015 at 1:08 pm

                eeek. bicycle.

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              9watts May 31, 2015 at 10:38 pm

              JMak – you and Help, who used to post exactly the same breathless accusations here, would get along fabulously –
              “Oh yes, I see the real intent here on your part…driving in and of itself must be banned according to many here. You are fanatical.”

              Or perhaps you used to post here as Help?

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              9watts May 31, 2015 at 10:59 pm

              JMak May 30, 2015 at 10:11 pm
              “…wearing a helmet is simply an exercise in common sense. If you cannot apply a little common sense sufficient to wear a helmet, then you’re a danger to everyone as you ride your bike around others.”

              JMak May 30, 2015 at 10:13 pm
              “No one suggested anyone else was harmed by a cyclist not wearing a helmet.”

              Maybe slow down a little?

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      Ward May 30, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Please do. Not only are they dangerous, the increasing number of rude, self-absorbed cyclists in Portland make the rest of us look bad.

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        Ward May 30, 2015 at 1:35 pm

        This was supposed to be a reply to to Jmak, not sure what happened…

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      Glenn May 30, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      I hope no one sees a picture of my helmetless head and inadvertently gets the idea that cycling is a safe activity.

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      soren May 30, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Fixed it for you:

      I will be photographing all bikers that don’t stop at stop signs, fail to wear helmets…without harming anyone.

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        JMak May 30, 2015 at 10:11 pm

        Sorry, but wearing a helmet is simply an exercise in common sense. If you cannot apply a little common sense sufficient to wear a helmet, then you’re a danger to everyone as you ride your bike around others. I will shame you from now on. I will take joy in being newly empowered to shame those who fail to apply common sense and wear a helmet.

        You’re right, not wearing a helmet does not harm anyone else. On the other hand, simply driving a car does not harm anyone else, either. Yet, don;t let you stop you from harassing drivers.

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          soren May 31, 2015 at 12:32 pm

          JMak, I’m trying very hard to understand how my not wearing a helmet causes me to harass drivers.

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          9watts May 31, 2015 at 10:40 pm

          “If you cannot apply a little common sense sufficient to wear a helmet, then you’re a danger to everyone as you ride your bike around others. I will shame you from now on. I will take joy in being newly empowered to shame those who fail to apply common sense and wear a helmet.”
          but a moment later:
          “You’re right, not wearing a helmet does not harm anyone else.”

          Stop making no sense.

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          Robert Burchett June 2, 2015 at 8:41 am

          Why, were you meaning to run over my head?

          The hazards you perceive are my very strong motivation for operating my bike safely. I can’t hurt another person without great danger to myself. My self-interest actually helps keep the public safe when I am on a bike.

          A person could describe my profession for the last 17 years as ‘using my lungs to scrub motor vehicle exhaust from the air of Portland.’ So yes, I am harmed by people driving cars.

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    tnash May 30, 2015 at 1:27 am

    This forum is getting too bike militant for my taste. Supporting protests that cause traffic congestion, always exaggerating the faults of drivers and minimizing the faults of cyclists, suggestions of becoming narcs. This is turning into the flip side of those anti-bike news articles and snarky anti-bike comment sections–from a distance, it could be the same people, just arguing about different things….and come on, am I the only person on this site who thinks that just because it is legal to bomb through busy intersections, it might be stupid and dangerous to do so? Where is the story on “Should we maybe not bomb through busy intersections?” Can we get a call action to create a law that lowers the speedlimit of cyclists, in addition to everything else we are pushing for?

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      A.H. May 30, 2015 at 7:29 am

      Sure, but maybe not after a month(ish) window where 3 publicized car-on-bike collisions were caused by inattentive drivers, 2 of which were at the same intersection, one of which resulted in a limb amputation and another in a fatality? If you can’t understand why this community is a little bit upset right now, maybe take a step back.

      Chew on this: what’s making you so focused on cyclists “bombing through” an intersection after these 3 incidents where a DRIVER failed to yield? And what’s the difference between a bike “bombing through” and a car traveling through?

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        Oregon Mamacita May 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm

        AH, don’t rush to judgment on the tragedy involving the the poor man who lost his leg. It was not his first serious wreck, and, if the insurance companies fight (I hope they don’t) there may be evidence that he was a fast rider and a bit aggressive as a rider. There could be contributory negligence in that case. Until we know what and wear the bike dented the truck we should be careful. If you attack the truck driver, you may not be helping the cyclist.

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          Oregon Mamacita May 30, 2015 at 12:36 pm

          Bad spelling! Where and how deep the dent is in the truck. Anyway, it pains me to discuss this issue, but I would prefer that we get the facts before we pass judgment.

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          davemess May 31, 2015 at 9:48 am

          Has there been any definitive conclusions in that case? All the reports said the cyclist hit the rear of the truck, meaning the truck was already through most of it’s turn, and there was some suggestion of the light already being yellow.

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        JMak May 30, 2015 at 9:34 pm

        “If you can’t understand why this community is a little bit upset right now, maybe take a step back.”

        Wow, feel free to lie more about what others say (well, in this case, what they have not said).

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      Oregon Mamacita May 30, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks for bringing up the word “narc.” A bunch of little spandex-clad George Zimmermans has emerged, and BP should be called on it.

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      • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
        Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 1, 2015 at 3:57 pm

        Nuked an entire thread here that got needlessly personal on both sides. Please, everyone, be courteous and disagree about ideas rather than throwing insults. I promise it will not help.

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          q`Tzal June 2, 2015 at 9:13 pm

          How about a certain minority here not lead with a broad spectrum verbal assualt against everyone on bikes?

          It’s one thing to bring differing, uncomfortable and shocking opinions; it is wholly another to lead with the equivalent of “yOu’Re A gAnG oF bAbY kIlLeRs!!l!l!! MAY THE LAWD SMITE YOU!!!!!”

          We invite differing opinions and points of view; we are not required to accept lovingly in to our homes angry juveniles with flamethrowers.

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        Spiffy June 1, 2015 at 4:14 pm

        George Zimmermans is not a narc, he’s a vigilante… was somebody here talking about murdering law-abiding drivers?

        reporting illegal drivers? yes, absolutely something that everybody should advocate be done…

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      Alan 1.0 May 30, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      Can we get a call action to create a law that lowers the speedlimit of cyclists, in addition to everything else we are pushing for?

      How about a law that’s more equitable across all modes, say a limit on joules? (kilograms-meters squared per second squared)

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      SD May 30, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      I can see where you are coming from tnash and can see how this article in this context looks like a way for cyclists to take revenge on motorists. But, we can also look at this in a manner that leaves cyclists out of the equation.

      I feel fairly confident that the biggest danger almost every Portlander faces each day is being in proximity to motorized vehicles. We have gone to great lengths to reduce the risk and harm done by cars and trucks because of the benefits that they provide, but irresponsible use of and overuse of motorized transport continues to create a significant threat and we all live in its shadow.

      I desperately want to see safer driving practices partially as a cyclist but primarily as a parent. We can measure the harm from bad driving by counting the morbid events that happen daily and focus on them as a marker of failures of our system. However, the far greater impact of irresponsible driving is more insidious. It is the fear of our children or our friends being hit by a car. It keeps us from walking, riding our bikes, or letting kids play outside and have autonomy in our neighborhoods.

      Restricting active transportation weakens our neighborhoods and our communities. Many people live inside their houses or inside their cars with brief moments spent at the places they traveled to in their cars. This type of living undermines the social cohesiveness of communities. Being outside, seeing each other, talking to each other is very valuable and much harder to do when you are inside your car.

      We are all very lucky that there are so many people in Portland who want to walk and bike on public streets. Although there is risk, there is also the realization that our streets are not only for cars and that a culture that normalizes irresponsible and inattentive driving is not acceptable.

      With traffic, there is a risk, and there is a tendency to escalate precautions in a manner that also escalates risk. Many places in the US, the conversation about traffic safety isn’t about how it is unsafe to ride a bike, it is about how it is unsafe to drive a small fuel efficient vehicle. The argument is often made that if you are driving a small car and are hit by an SUV then you are partly responsible for the harm caused to you because you weren’t driving an SUV. It is frustrating to see this same logic applied reflexively to cyclists. Essentially, the argument is if you do anything that makes you vulnerable you are responsible for the harm done to you by others, even if the harm was caused by someone acting illegally or with malice.

      This argument undermines our liberties and our quality of life and it normalizes and empowers bad actors, in this case irresponsible and inattentive drivers. Cycling safely is very important and something that we should all embrace, but it is not a solution to dealing with bad drivers and poor infrastructure. As far as I am concerned, it is a separate conversation and it is disingenuous to tout it as an antidote to the 3 left hooks and red light incident over the past 3 weeks. It is similar to blaming people who are physically or sexually assaulted for the way that they dress or for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. It is also an argument to maintain the status quo.

      There will always be vulnerable road users who may be operating legally but not perfectly on infrastructure that sometimes can be confusing. I make every effort to drive in a way that allows people not to be perfect, but still safe. I had to learn how to drive like this after moving to Portland and I was highly motivated because I cycle and I have children living in a dense urban area. The more productive safety conversations are those that imagine everything the operator of a deadly force could do to prevent harm instead of normalizing the deadly force and focusing on its victims.

      If we want Portland to be the city we all know that it can be, we have to deescalate the danger that surrounds us. This doesn’t mean staying inside our houses or our cars. This means more active transportation and creating a culture of thoughtful driving, that is cooperative instead of selfish and honors the people on our roads who chose to leave their cars at home; that respects the fact that we are driving where people and their children live and play.

      Fortunately for all of us in Portland, there is no going back and there are fantastic dedicated people who believe in community and quality of life. We should all be them/ help them.

      P.S. I would be concerned about the lack of due process in the “shaming” approach and that it could ultimately cause more problems than it solves. But, I would also love to hear suggestions on how to stop cars from speeding and running the stop signs next to my house that is on a low traffic, residential road with lots of families.

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        Bella Bici May 31, 2015 at 2:26 pm

        Gosh. I wish that this could be posted on every door in Portland!!!

        So well written/said.

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        Spiffy June 1, 2015 at 4:22 pm

        comment of the week right there… pure safety gold…

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      bendite May 30, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Commenting on differences in social shaming isn’t militant. If I see a drunk driver get into his car and get ready to drive off, but I reach in his car and take the keys before he can go, I would largely be applauded. If I saw a driver yapping on their phone and reached in the window and took their phone, I would likely be arrested and labelled a militant cyclist.

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      soren May 30, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      Victim blaming.

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        JMak May 30, 2015 at 9:32 pm

        Hardly…and what a pathetic, nonsensical comment.

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          bendite May 31, 2015 at 12:21 pm

          Not pathetic or nonsensical. When s/he said “bomb through” intersections, it suggests that cyclists need to go at some certain speed in order to stop in time for a driver who isn’t looking, and if they are bombing through, that the collision is the cyclists fault.

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            JMak May 31, 2015 at 2:39 pm

            I’m not sure what he was trying to say, but it hardly amounted to “victim blaming”…

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              bendite May 31, 2015 at 4:48 pm

              It did. That’s why I broke it down for ya.

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      davemess May 31, 2015 at 9:45 am

      It does seem like this site has a taken a pretty drastic turn to militancy the last 6 months. It’s really turning me off as well.

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        q`Tzal May 31, 2015 at 11:28 pm

        It comes down to this:

        John F. Kennedy
        “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

        It has become increasingly evident that we (everyone NOT an automotive or heavy freight user) are not a voice that is being listened to even when we die repeatedly in horrifically gruesome ways.
        We want violence no more than we want injury and death at the bumpers of autos but nothing we do seems to affect change.

        This is the psychological cauldron that brews violent extremists: the constant threat of unpredictable death, a dash of violence and a long simmer over institutional apathy. Serve when people in Guy Faukes masks appear singing of “gunpowder treason”.

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    Tait May 30, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I vehemently disagree with everything about this article and the nature of many of the comments it’s engendered. I’m not going to waste my time and emotional energy on this one, but I did want to put out a note of my displeasure on it.

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      soren May 30, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      so you are willing to disagree vociferously but are unwilling to explain why you disagree. that’s a classic indicator of cognitive dissonance.

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        JMak May 30, 2015 at 9:32 pm

        Uh, the only cognitive dissonance here is among the cyclists who ignore the other cyclists break the law and put themselves and others in danger when doing so. For most of you, it appears, sharing the road is a one-way street and, further, if you had your way (and, trust me, I know you’re oh so disappointed that you can’t simply demand that the state confiscate our cars) there’d be no cars at all…

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          Oregon Mamacita May 31, 2015 at 9:24 am

          Yup. Cognitive dissonance plus class-based/and or white entitlement = this blog.

          I like to go back to the picture of the white activists fighting with a female black motorist they have “shamed” on SE Powell. That picture was worth a thousand words.

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            Alex Reed May 31, 2015 at 9:54 pm

            Mamacita, sometimes reality is more complicated than a picture. The account I read (I was not at that protest) was that the black woman was talking on her phone while driving. The white activists called her out for that – and I’m pretty sure that was not because she was black or female, but because a boatload of research says that talking on your phone while driving is quite dangerous. I don’t think that being part of a marginalized group exempts you from being asked to consider how your own behavior may be unethical.

            I’m gay, and I would hope that if I kicked a puppy while walking down the street holding hands with my husband, someone would call me out for it. Even if they were a “puppy activist,” and even if they were a white, straight, cisgendered, wealthy male with every other privilege in the world. And no, I am not attempting to equate being gay with being black and female in lack-of-privilege-ness.

            Do we need to be aware of privilege? For sure! Do we need to make sure that our activism on one issue doesn’t have undue negative effects on other issues! Definitely! Do we need to be especially careful dealing with issues that may be in our blind spots due to class, race, sex, location, or what have you? Certainly! But your implication that the activists were invoking race-based privilege in that instance seems off the mark to me.

            For that matter, your implication that this site has an unusually high level of privilege-induced cringe-inducing commenting seems off the mark to me as well. I agree that there are certainly instances, but I think there are fewer and less-egregious ones than on other news sites that allow commenting (e.g. Willamette Week, Oregonian). But it’s hard to gauge comment sections as a whole, I admit.

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            q`Tzal June 1, 2015 at 8:01 am

            Being a disadvantaged and/or oppressed minority of any variety does not give one the right to endanger everyone else with impunity.

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              Oregon Mamacita June 1, 2015 at 10:34 am

              Law enforcement should be left to sworn officers. The people surrounding the driver were also breaking the law.

              We have cops for a reason. How would you like me to punish you for every infraction I saw you make?

              Would you have appreciated her family and friends enforcing the law against non-officers stopping traffic and blocking people?

              Great empathy on this blog.

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                Spiffy June 2, 2015 at 8:14 am

                “Law enforcement should be left to sworn officers.”

                then why do they have the Citizen Initiated Citation? I’ll tell you: so that ordinary citizens can help enforce the law…

                don’t want ordinary citizens to be able to write you a ticket? get working to change that law… good luck…

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                Oregon Mamacita June 2, 2015 at 9:18 am

                Sworn citations are given to sworn officers to enforce. They are rarely used, but no reason to abolish them.

                It’s mob enforcement actions that will get the bike activists in trouble.

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          bendite May 31, 2015 at 12:17 pm

          Cyclists breaking the law and drivers breaking the law fall into different categories, therefore it isn’t cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is holding two opposing viewpoints at the same time. An example would be me being outraged at scofflaw drivers while I’m one myself.

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    Rich Fox May 30, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Step 1: Local government installs cameras at intersections (even just a few popular ones) that can capture illegal driver activity (like texting) and associated car license plates.
    Step 2: Ticket by mail. Nice, hefty tickets.
    Step 3: Use the $$ for useful things like improving the funding of our schools.

    Nice byproduct: Folks will start to realize that it’s against the law to use your phone in the car without a hands-free device.

    It’s not that tough.

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      JMak May 30, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      And hopefully we will see bicyclists aso being ticketed when they break the law. Funny how so many of you clearly blind yourselves to the dangerous situations that cyclists create not only among vehicles, but among pedestrians, too. Why the blinders? Why the self-delusion that cyclists bear zero responsibility in violating the law, too?? Curious…

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        Rich Fox May 30, 2015 at 9:49 pm

        No blinders or delusions here. I agree that cyclists should follow the rules and laws of the road. I also believe that most people participating in this forum feel the same. If the system I proposed also netted cyclists, so be it. The purpose of my proposal is to increase safety for everyone.

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          paikiala June 1, 2015 at 9:37 am

          State law determines MV fine amounts, not local governments.
          Portland gets about 60% of the final adjudicated fine amount before the vendor gets paid.
          Each camera install costs about $35k.
          The cameras work by tracking the movement of the vehicle – not the activity of the vehicle operator. Your proposal requires video that then has to be reviewed by human eyes. A time consuming, and expensive task.

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            Rich Fox June 2, 2015 at 12:34 pm

            Thanks for the numbers and specifics. I don’t have the time to do the detailed math, but, in broad strokes, it could be both revenue generating and safety enhancing. Here goes with some ballpark numbers:

            Infraction value: $100 (cost of a ticket, I’m guessing, it’s probably more)
            Hardware installation: $35k (your number, one-time cost)
            Human to Watch a Screen: $60k (maybe more when you roll in benefits, etc.)

            With those numbers…

            Hardware Costs: ticket revenue would take about a week to pay for the hardware at a busy intersection. I honestly think a system like this would easily catch 350 people per week at an intersection like NE Broadway and Grand (350 x $100 = $35k). Hang out there for a single light cycle and you’ll see several violators.

            Human Reviewer Costs: about 2 weeks of revenue from tickets (600 x $100 = $60k.)

            Seems reasonable to me.

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        q`Tzal May 31, 2015 at 1:48 am

        Please provide evidence to back up your assertion that bicycle riders are just as dangerous as automobile drivers.

        Not your yelling,
        or opinions,
        or personal anecdotes,
        or TV news interviews of other angry people that despise bikes with the fire of a thousand suns,

        But, real, factual, numerical DATA that proves your divisive opinion. The burden of proof is upon the accuser and you are accusing ALL OF THE BICYCLE RIDERS IN PORTLAND OF BEING AS DANGEROUS AND LETHAL AS MULTI-TON AUTOMOBILES.

        YOU prove that YOU aren’t just an angry bag of bike hat!ng hot air. Otherwise you might just as well be finger painting in cow manure.

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          Oregon Mamacita May 31, 2015 at 9:34 am

          q”Tzal, I believe in the laws of physics, and agree that cars cause more carnage.

          But the bike incidents are not reported. If there was a way to identify aggressive cyclists there would be more reports.

          The U-Lock throwing incident has never been solved- I am sure that a certain group knows who the tall bike rider is but keeps their mouth shut.

          I know of a case where a cyclist in NW sent an older woman to the hospital and was not held accountable. No article for her. And no help with her hospital bills even though the police questioned the cyclist.

          Maybe I’ll just have to get a go pro and post bad cycling on you-tube.

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            q`Tzal May 31, 2015 at 5:54 pm

            You really need to “go pro”.
            As in fully professional journalist.
            We need ALL bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities and injuries published, not just those that bicycle riders get away with but the vastly greater number that automobile drivers are able to hit & run away from.

            We have insufficient data tracking due to a “meh, whatever” police attitude towards collisions in which the paperwork isn’t handled by the automobile insurance companies of all involved parties.

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            paikiala June 1, 2015 at 9:39 am

            The current reporting threshold for property damage crashes means most of those type, likely a majority of all crashes, go unreported to the state. This means whole patterns of crashes are not even available for analysis to find system problems before they become deadly.

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              q`Tzal June 1, 2015 at 11:21 am

              The complete LACK of data is a root problem. Without it it is difficult to prove anything to anybody, especially people with no knowledge of life outside an automobile or those with an axe to grind against bicycles.

              Unfortunately, like taxes in Oregon, it will be near impossible to legislate new bureaucratic oversight such as would be necessary to record EVERY collision due to a vocal portion to “The Bike Community” that rides bikes instead of cars because they don’t like laws.

              Any collision data collection system is birthed by laws. A new system of data collection that gathers data from collisions as mundane as Segway vs Pedicab or Pedestrian vs Light Pole is a litter of cute baby laws that grow up in to ugly creatures with careful guidance that our political system seems incapable of these days.

              I absolutely think we need the data collected I just don’t know how to go about doing so without a system that will turn in to a draconian political mess.

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            invisiblebikes June 1, 2015 at 11:27 am

            Oregon Mamacita,

            You’ve brought up a good case study that reinforces the issue. The public shaming that was done for the “U-lock throwing tall bike rider” has very clearly made an impact on the bicycle community and the Portland public in general.
            Don’t you think “the tall bike” guy feels pretty shamed? has the shaming brought more awareness of how unacceptable such “actions” are in our immediate community?
            The fact that “the other rider” had to reach out and tell his side of the story speaks volumes of how affective public shaming of traffic violence and unsavory behavior has worked.

            Yes of course there should be some justice served to all parties involved, what ever that may be. But I think the awareness of how such actions makes a person look is much worse than the fear of getting a ticket and staying pretty anonymous.
            That anonymity is what people rely on while driving a car, if we take that away I bet we’ll see some if not a lot of change in how many people act while driving (and riding bikes)

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              Pete June 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm

              One point being that a license plate on a car identifies the vehicle’s ownership, not necessarily its driver, and for certain classes of traffic infractions an officer must prove who was driving the car at the time and committed the infraction. Same would apply for bicycling – nothing prevents police officers now from issuing tickets to bicyclists that they stop upon witnessing infractions being committed.

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          JMak May 31, 2015 at 2:41 pm

          Who alleged that cyclists are just as dangerous as car drivers? Perhaps you should pay closer attention to what is actually said, rather than demanding that other address a strawman that clearly lives inside your head.

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            q`Tzal May 31, 2015 at 3:27 pm

            you

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            El Biciclero June 2, 2015 at 2:44 pm

            Who alleged that cyclists bear “zero responsibility”?

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              q`Tzal June 3, 2015 at 12:47 pm

              That’s implict in his, and other Car Heads®, core belief structure:

              Binary Absolutism
              “If any person says my group or myself is to blame for ‘X’ it EXPLICITLY means that the 1st person MUST believe that they and/or their group is COMPLETELY blameless.”

              It seems that for some people any shades of grey in an issue is a paving stone to #3LL.

              I find it amusing that those of us most prone to binary absolutism are very often the same people afraid of computers. The philosophy they adhear to is the philosophy of SkyNet and despotic computer overlords of SciFi everywhere.

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          JMak May 31, 2015 at 2:41 pm

          The funnier thing is that 6 people “liked” your comment, I guess they are unable to read as well.

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            q`Tzal May 31, 2015 at 3:27 pm

            The “funnier” thing is that while EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US HERE believes that we need to be safe and that we should ALL obey traffic laws YOU seem to be the only one putting ALL OF THE BLAME ON BICYCLE RIDERS!

            THIS is why you are getting zero to very few up votes while anyone that dares respond to your invective bloviation gets popularity.

            We all need to be safe but you are determined to blame EVERYTHING on bicycle riders.

            OVER 30,000 AUTOMOTIVE RELATED DEATHS HAVE OCCURRED ANNUALLY SINCE 1946 (According to NHTSA and displayed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year)
            Show me ONE. SINGLE. DEATH. that ACTUALLY OCCURRED that was caused by bicycles in real life.

            ANYTHING.

            And then we might have some point to start talking about reality.
            Until then please go back to your dystopian Holodeck fantasy and lock yourself in.

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              Bill Walters May 31, 2015 at 4:07 pm

              Eh, there have been one or two per year nationwide in several of the past few years. Let’s see how many J can find.

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                Dan May 31, 2015 at 4:55 pm

                Yeah, and when they have happened, they have made national headlines. Should be easy to find examples of the few incidents per year.

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            Chris I May 31, 2015 at 4:56 pm

            You are really bringing down the standards in the comment section here. I can’t wait until they ban you.

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        Spiffy June 2, 2015 at 8:23 am

        “Funny how so many of you clearly blind yourselves to the dangerous situations that cyclists create not only among vehicles”

        what are the situations in which a bicycle is dangerous to a motor vehicle?

        I’m coming up blind on this one…

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          middle of the road guy June 3, 2015 at 10:06 am

          unpredictable behavior, ignoring signs that cause a car to react in a quick, unsafe manner, etc…

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    ryan May 30, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    how about all of the bikers that ride without hands on their bars at all so they can text and ride? Or stop and glance before blowing through a stop sign. I see tons of equal bad behavior from drivers as cyclists. Going after poor drivers is half the battle but I see equal number of cyclist that deserve tickets and when was the last one someone got a text for reckless cycling.

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      bendite May 31, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      Going after drivers is more than half the battle, because the outcomes of drivers breaking the law is much more severe than cyclists.

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      q`Tzal May 31, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      Some people disobeying the law on a bicycle in no way legitimizes the illegal behavior of automobile drivers NOR is that equally irresponsible behavior equally destructive.

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        middle of the road guy June 3, 2015 at 10:08 am

        it’s only destructive if something destructive happens.

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          q`Tzal June 3, 2015 at 8:27 pm

          Lawbreaking is A-OK as long as you don’t get caught?
          Rule by Harry Morgan’s Law is what you are saying?

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          Spiffy June 4, 2015 at 2:23 pm

          what you’re saying is akin to saying that we should give every person (let’s start with the middle-east) their own personal bomb and only ban them from using/owning bombs if they prove irresponsible with it…

          but if those people happen to kill over 30,000 of their fellow citizens with bombs it’s not because the bombs are dangerous and need to be regulated, it’s simply that some of them were careless…

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    chris May 30, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    if Apple can make an app that lets the police block anyone from using their cameras as they beat people, why can’t they make one that uses gps to disable any phone moving more than 5 mph? maybe with exception only for 911 calls?

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      Oregon Mamacita May 31, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Because you can use a hands free device- that’s why. Because you can’t tell if it is a passenger or a driver using the phone. And sometimes (1% of the time) the driver is justified in talking on the phone due to an emergency. amber alert, following a drunk driver and calling him in).

      Having said that, my office overlooks a busy street and I can look out my window and watch the cars below. Many people are texting or yacking.
      What we need is a sting where cops write big tickets for texting while driving. We don’t need Chris I, we need the mayor to order sworn officers
      to write big tickets.

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        Dan May 31, 2015 at 4:59 pm

        It would be easy, too…just hang out on foot at a busy intersection. When I’m waiting to cross Burnside at NW 24th, I typically see 5-10% of drivers stop at the intersection while on the phone.

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        Tom May 31, 2015 at 9:10 pm

        (1) Only screen functions need to be blocked, which does not block hands free use.

        (2) Blocking passenger from using their screen is just the price we would pay for safety. They can still use hands free also. What is worth more, chatting on the phone, or less victims of road violence?

        (3) If there is an emergency, just pull over at the next safe location before using the phone.

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        paikiala June 1, 2015 at 9:44 am

        It’s not the phone that is unsafe, it is the conversation. Hands free is not safer.
        http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2014/04/15/326289.htm

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    The Odd Duck May 31, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    He without sin let them throw the first stone.

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      Dan May 31, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      So…justice is in God’s hands? We don’t need to do anything? I guess that will save us a lot of money in law enforcement.

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      soren May 31, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

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    JMak May 31, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Bill Walters
    You didn’t ask about your own threshold. You asked “what this is about.” You received an answer quoting from the original post and linking to quality reference material. A relevant response to that bit of service might be, “Thanks!”As it is, you’re portraying yourself as a rabid animal, cornered and lashing out. Are you sure this forum is giving you what you need?Recommended 2

    Yeah, you must have been reading someone else’s comment as I didn’t ask that.

    The only rabid people here are those calling for a shaming campaign.

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    9watts May 31, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    SD’s long comment above gets my vote for comment of the week!

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    Pete June 1, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I guess I’m unclear on “shaming.” A few weeks ago I rode up next to a minivan marked as a children’s taxi service (Kids Kab, or something like that). The older woman driving was using her reading glasses to text – which isn’t the first time I’ve seen that. Her window was open and I asked her if she texts while driving kids around. She replied that there were no kids in her car right now. I said, “Oh, so texting is legal while driving without kids, then?”. Was I “shaming” her?

    Frequently while riding I position myself in the center of the first lane when I come up to certain intersections I know to be dangerous (such as followed by abrupt lane drops). I can name 7 of these off the top of my head that have well-marked bike lanes on the right, and by staying out of them I prevent right-hooks as well as let drivers make their right turns on red. Here in California I’m legally allowed to do that under CVC 21202 exception 4, but I’ve often been honked at or yelled at by drivers to “Get in the bike lane!!”. Were those drivers “shaming” me?

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      invisiblebikes June 1, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Good example of “shaming” vs “bullying”

      Bravo.

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