Harvest Century September 22nd

Woman driving wrong-way on SW Stark hits bicycle rider, several cars, then tries to flee – UPDATED

Posted by on June 5th, 2015 at 10:14 pm

This just in from the Portland Police Bureau:

Central Precinct officers received a call of an accident with the driver attempting to leave the scene, driving the wrong way on S.W. Stark Street from S.W. 3rd Avenue. During the attempted flight from the scene the driver struck several parked vehicles, at least one bicyclist and some construction scaffolding.

The driver was stopped and responding officers took custody of her pending an investigation into the incident. The accident is being investigated and it is believed that alcohol is a factor. At this time it appears that there were no serious injuries.

The Portland Police Bureau would like to remind motorists that drinking and driving is both dangerous and illegal.

SW Stark east of 3rd Avenue has two active travel lanes and an auto parking lane on both sides of the street. One of the two travel lanes is a bicycle-only lane that has been treated with green color to designate it as such. The paint is pretty faded these days, but it doesn’t seem like any type of paint or treatment would have prevented what this woman did.

We’ll share more details when we can.

UPDATE, 6/6 at 3:00 am: Here’s the latest from the PPB:

The driver, Claudia Garcia, a 23-year-old female, was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Jail for this accident. Charges include Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants as well as multiple charges of Reckless Driving, Fail to Perform the Duties of a Driver and Assault IV. 

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149 Comments
  • Avatar
    9watts June 5, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    “The Portland Police Bureau would like to remind motorists that drinking and driving is both dangerous and illegal.”

    What would a police bureau in a city or country that had adopted Vision Zero say or do instead of this finger wag?

    Hm. …..
    “The legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers in Sweden is one-quarter of the American threshold, and random breath tests, carried out by the police, are common. According to a recent study, 99.76 percent of drivers were found to be legally sober.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/14/nyregion/a-safety-plan-with-swedish-logic-and-city-smarts.html?_r=0

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      pixelgate June 5, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      Are you really suggesting police pull over drivers and administer random breath tests?

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        J_R June 6, 2015 at 7:24 am

        Yes!

        Either that or require that all motor vehicles be equipped with a device for testing alcohol in the driver’s breath before the car can be started.

        On one day in 2001, three thousand people were killed by hijackers. We are now all assumed to be terrorists before we prove otherwise when we board a plane. We spend an extra hour at the airport and pay $5 for the privilege of being screened by TSA.

        In contrast, 1500 people are killed every month by drunk drivers and we basically DO NOTHING.

        Random sobriety stops would be worth it.

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          Adam H. June 6, 2015 at 8:32 am

          I second the breathalyzer in every car idea.

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            9watts June 6, 2015 at 8:53 am

            If you read the NYT article I linked, it turns out that in Sweden nearly all government vehicles and school buses are already equipped with these.

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          maccoinnich June 6, 2015 at 8:55 am

          Unfortunately courts have interpreted the Oregon Constitution as prohibiting random sobriety checkpoints. The police need to have probable cause before they can require someone to take a breathalyzer test. Changing this would require amendmening our Constitution.

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            J_R June 6, 2015 at 9:34 am

            Then let’s amend the Oregon Constitution!

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              Joseph June 6, 2015 at 8:53 pm

              The larger problem is incompetent driving, which is not cured by allowing police to wastefully concentrate resources in one location under the guise of protecting us from drunk drivers. Better approach to DUIIs is to allow patrols to spread out. Drunk driving is a problem but vast majority of dangerous drivers are not drunk or high, they carry insurance and valid registration and keep current licenses, but don’t pay close enough attention when driving nor keep up with new laws like they should, and their dangerous behavior is not corrected by driving through a DUII checkpoint; they continue their dangerous behavior after leaving the checkpoint. Police need to be out doing their jobs, pulling over drivers who are behaving dangerously, not harassing the occupants of each and every vehicle traveling down one stretch of one street during one short time period. Oregonians are better served by preventing law enforcement agencies from wasting resources in this manner.

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                was carless June 7, 2015 at 11:05 pm

                …or better yet is to make the driving test harder, so incompetent people fail.

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                Joseph June 8, 2015 at 8:37 pm

                I do see that as being absolutely essential, but solving that problem would not change my opinion about how best to allocate scarce law enforcement traffic division resources in the field. Before we start subjecting random Oregonians to identity checks, interrogation, and possibly worse we should work to transform the perception that traffic safety enforcement is a revenue-grab and change the culture of law enforcement to actually enforce observed violations of traffic safety laws and see what impact that has on the social acceptance and frequency of dangerous driving.

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                ~n June 8, 2015 at 9:34 am

                I just read this in a PCC class schedule: “Oregon DMV will waive the Drive test for all 15-17 year old students who successfully complete this ODOT approved Driver Education course.”

                I don’t know what qualifications people must have to teach a PCC driver ed class, but the DMV is a totally different testing environment than a community college course. Why is the official DMV Drive Test being waived?

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                gutterbunnybikes June 8, 2015 at 4:18 pm

                Moved to Portland in 92.

                The only testing DMV has given me was multiple choice questions on a screen when I transferred my Michigan licence to Oregon licence. (and they were all very easy common sense questions as well.)

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            9watts June 6, 2015 at 9:55 am

            If it works somewhere else, produces results we probably would agree we’d like to see here, then you’d think it would be worth at least exploring how to change the rules here to make this possible.

            Especially when compared to, say, House Bill 3233 – [which] would shorten amount of time a driver’s license would be revoked following three or more DUI convinctions.
            from here:
            http://bikeportland.org/2015/05/14/legislative-update-dead-red-passes-rear-light-bill-might-not-143231

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              paikiala June 8, 2015 at 10:08 am

              Worse laws won’t get us to Vision Zero.

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            bendite June 6, 2015 at 10:46 am

            Random checkpoints aren’t more effective, therefore I’d rather maintain the probable cause that’s required by the Constitution.

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              Bella Bici June 6, 2015 at 12:41 pm

              No where in the constitution and it’s amendments is there stipulated a right to drive. If so, please, correct me.

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                are June 6, 2015 at 8:27 pm

                this may be where the correct answer is embedded. the problem with an unwarranted search is it collects evidence for a criminal prosecution. if instead we were looking only at withdrawing a civil privilege, we might not have the search and seizure issue.

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              9watts June 6, 2015 at 1:01 pm

              Or a right to drive drunk if you can manage to evade law enforcement.

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                bendite June 6, 2015 at 7:24 pm

                You don’t have the right to break the law regarding any behavior, but there has to be some sort of evidence, i.e. probable cause, before you can be stopped by police. It’s why I have issue with the Patriot Act, as well.

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                Tom Hardy June 6, 2015 at 8:06 pm

                Dui if it is extended beyond being guilty of something more than a misdemeanor, and since it is premeditated, (or the driver would not have drank ANY alcohol more than a single beer in 24 hours) could be found under the Patriot act of Terrorism and sent to Cuba. but none of the local prosecutors or judges see it that way and let them off with a wrist slap.

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                Pete June 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm

                So what? If drinking and driving doesn’t cause an accident, who has been harmed??
                http://bikeportland.org/2015/05/29/comment-week-national-campaign-shame-people-drive-illegally-143705#comment-6406720

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                9watts June 7, 2015 at 1:14 pm

                I’ll invoke the quote from this morning.
                “An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before first arrest.”

                That suggests to the putative drinker that he’ll probably not be caught. That is a problem, wouldn’t you agree?

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                Pete June 7, 2015 at 4:35 pm

                ‘Nuther thing we’re seeing around Cali these days are stoned drivers carrying medical cards who seem to actually believe it’s legal to use while driving… because a ‘doctor’ prescribed them the card.

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            BicycleDave June 7, 2015 at 1:35 am

            You can amend the Oregon Constitution with a ballot measure.

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              maccoinnich June 7, 2015 at 8:04 pm

              That is considerably easier said than done.

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            Random June 8, 2015 at 7:54 am

            “Unfortunately courts have interpreted the Oregon Constitution as prohibiting random sobriety checkpoints.”

            Yeah, because nothing is more fun than having to wait twenty minutes in line and be subjected to an interrogation by the cops because you had the temerity to drive down a public street.

            Thanks, but I prefer Oregon law to the law in most states.

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          Tait June 7, 2015 at 3:35 am

          pixelgate: Are you really suggesting police pull over drivers and administer random breath tests?
          J_R: Yes!
          Either that or require that all motor vehicles be equipped with a device for testing alcohol in the driver’s breath before the car can be started.
          On one day in 2001, three thousand people were killed by hijackers. We are now all assumed to be terrorists before we prove otherwise when we board a plane. We spend an extra hour at the airport and pay $5 for the privilege of being screened by TSA.
          In contrast, 1500 people are killed every month by drunk drivers and we basically DO NOTHING.
          Random sobriety stops would be worth it.

          It would not be worth it! (And no, the TSA isn’t worth it, either.) Although if you are so anxious to ensure safety through intrusive monitoring, why the focus on alcohol? What about other drugs? What about sleepiness? Lots of things are just as dangerous as alcohol. This logic is dangerously close to the argument that “if you’re not doing anything illegal, you have nothing to fear from government watching you” and we have proven over and over, that is just not true.

          Even setting aside the privacy and civil liberties concerns, this is a hugely inefficient use of limited public resources. It may save lives, but the same resources spent in almost any other area would not only save lives, but save *more* lives. Portland has a notoriously bad backlog of untested rape kits, to name one example.

          And for all that, the 99.76% number is surprisingly low. Consider that Portland sees in excess of 75k vehicle per day just on I-5. Are 200 of them drunk? Every day? That would be pretty worrying, and certainly not a number I would tout as an exemplar of success. And to characterize the extensive efforts of legislators and law enforcement alike to fight drunken driving as “nothing” is just plain ignorance of and disrespect for the efforts expended.

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            Tait June 7, 2015 at 4:19 am

            Why did that comment get blocked for moderation? Other comments don’t.

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            9watts June 7, 2015 at 8:03 am

            “And for all that, the 99.76% number is surprisingly low. ”

            I don’t know, Tait.
            Did you catch the panoply of issues that floated to the surface in the crosswalk enforcement on Powell? I don’t think DUII was among them, but the police were, after all, only stopping people who didn’t stop for people in the crosswalk. My guess would be that if we used the Swedish limit and tested people here the number would be considerably higher than 1/4 of 1 percent.

            The civil liberties issues are real; I am not suggesting otherwise. But the safety issues from treating casual remarks—as the cops made in this case—as sufficient rather than actually doing something about this, as the Swedes are, are also real. We’re not going to make headway by allowing the issue to ping pong back and forth between civil liberties and car-head.

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              Joseph June 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm

              They were only pulling over drivers who committed traffic safety violations, not checking identities and asking other questions of every vehicle that traveled that stretch of Powell. This is far more targeted and far less resource intensive than a DUII checkpoint.

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            9watts June 7, 2015 at 8:34 am

            Tait,
            check out these statistics from the CDC and MADD. Looks like a whole lot more than 0.24% to me:
            “In 2010, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.3 That’s one percent of the 112 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.4”
            http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

            and from MADD:
            “An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before first arrest.”

            “Each day, people drive drunk almost 300,000 times, but fewer than 4,000 are arrested.”
            http://www.madd.org/statistics/

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            9watts June 7, 2015 at 8:55 am

            and one more, Tait:
            “The National Roadside Survey, which in 2007 found that 2.2% of drivers on the road on Friday afternoon or Friday or Saturday night had a BAC of ≥0.08 g/dL”[1]

            Even without accounting for the *much* lower Swedish limit this suggests a 10-fold higher rate than is apparently found in Sweden.

            [1]Lacey J, Kelley-Baker T, Furr-Holden D, et al. 2007 National roadside survey of alcohol and drug use by drivers: alcohol results. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 2009. Available at http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Traffic%20Injury%20Control/Articles/Associated%20Files/811248.pdf

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              Tait June 9, 2015 at 11:11 pm

              good links (esp. that last one)… thanks.

              If we’ve reached the point where alcohol is the next-biggest obstacle to tackle, then maybe it’s time for a debate about what solutions are available, effective, and that balance the public interest in safety. I would be immediately skeptical about how effective ignition interlocks really are. (But unlike search-everyone style checkpoints, the interlocks are one that I don’t see as being unreasonably intrusive, so long as they’re reliable.)

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        • Chris
          Chris June 8, 2015 at 11:54 am

          I take my civil rights fairly seriously. I would not consent to random traffic stops for any reason. The fact that the TSA is both invasive and incompetent is not justification for other authorities to be equally invasive.

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        tilman June 6, 2015 at 7:55 am

        TIL: America doesn’t have random breath tests

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      tony k June 7, 2015 at 7:23 am

      Good chance she is an illegal alien as well.

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      • Tony T
        Tony T June 8, 2015 at 9:14 am

        based on?

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        Bryan June 8, 2015 at 9:36 am

        So someone drives drunk, hits cars and gets arrested. And that is evidence they are here illegally? Or is everyone whose last name is Garcia suspect?

        There’s a good chance her family has been here for several generations. Maybe even longer than yours.

        This story is not about immigration.

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      Trikeguy June 8, 2015 at 10:29 am

      They wouldn’t call a collision caused by a drunk driver acting recklessly an “accident” for one thing.

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    John R. June 5, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    “Central Precinct officers received a call of an accident” That’s no accident…

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      Kristi Finney-Dunn June 6, 2015 at 12:41 am

      I tweeted about that to them. I thought they were past that kind of minimizing language.

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      Eric June 6, 2015 at 9:15 am

      It sounds like there was some minor collision which preceded all of this wrong-way crashing into people and things? But yeah, the word choice could be better.

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    rick June 5, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Sad. I was riding today on the bike lanes on SW Oak street..

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    bendite June 5, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    There was a glare and she couldn’t see the cyclist, cars, and scaffolding.

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      Bill Walters June 5, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      And I bet the parked cars and scaffolding were not painted in high-viz. And maybe they were going too fast as well.

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        J_R June 6, 2015 at 7:25 am

        Was the scaffolding displaying a license?

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          Eric June 6, 2015 at 9:17 am

          The scaffolding did not stop at the stop sign or give a turn signal and appeared to be traveling at a high rate of speed.

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            Lyle w. June 6, 2015 at 11:46 am

            I have some good friends that are scaffolding, and i own scaffolding , but I saw one run a stop sign today on my way to work this morning. It also wasn’t wearing a reflective jacket.

            Not saying they’re all like that, but I’m just trying to start a conversation.

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              I Share the Road June 6, 2015 at 2:05 pm

              Yes–this is why I always tell scaffolding to carry insurance. Also, do we have any education for scaffolding and parked cars in Oregon? Clearly, we need to.

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                Dwaine Dibbly June 6, 2015 at 6:50 pm

                Was the scaffolding wearing a helmet?

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                LC June 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

                Took you guys long enough.

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        • Chris
          Chris June 8, 2015 at 11:56 am

          Was the scaffolding wearing a helmet?

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          • Chris
            Chris June 8, 2015 at 11:57 am

            Dang, Dwaine, you beat me to the punch two days early!

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        Pete June 6, 2015 at 10:01 pm

        I finally found this link I’ve been dying to point to with all these hi-viz ‘conversation starters’ – it’s a funny one I think we can all appreciate:
        http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2007/12/03/cyclists-furious-as-council-paint-everything-else-luminous-green/

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      • Tony T
        Tony T June 8, 2015 at 9:16 am

        What we really need to know is whether the parked cars and scaffolding were wearing a helmet!

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      Mindful Cyclist June 6, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Well, and so many of these scaffolding think they own the road!

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      Nate Young June 6, 2015 at 9:30 am

      And not a single one of those parked cars was wearing a helmet.

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      El Biciclero June 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Hey, if parked cars are going to just sit in the road with all those moving cars going by, they deserve what they get. Anyone who parks their car on the street is practically begging for it to get smashed. Why don’t they stick to parking garages? Why do we pay good money for parking garages if cars aren’t going to use them?

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      Glenn June 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      And they don’t pay a DIME for parking past 7pm!

      MAKE THEM PAY

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        Glenn June 6, 2015 at 2:02 pm

        I’m sick and tired of these freeloading scofflaw elitists sponging off the honest hard work of taxpayers! When will they pay their fair share?

        Well I thought this would make me laugh inside, but instead it turns out to be LITERALLY TRUE.
        Freeloading: Storing their vehicles in the public right-of-way for free.
        Scofflaw: Somehow they kill 30,000 people a year. I doubt that occurs within the confines of the law.
        Elitist: If you can’t afford a many-thousand-dollar car like *I* can, screw you, what the heck’s wrong with you?
        Sponging, see freeloading

        So, not as funny.

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        • Chris
          Chris June 8, 2015 at 11:59 am

          To be fair, don’t you often leave your bike in the public right-of-way without paying? I know I do!

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            Dan June 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

            Not a bike I care about. The weak penalty for stealing a bike is not a deterrent.

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      Matt June 8, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      I bet that scaffolding doesn’t pay road tax.

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    PaulaF June 6, 2015 at 12:16 am

    The headline and PPB information seem in conflict. My understanding reading the PPB release is that they responded to a call of an accident (of some kind). The driver was attempting to flee, while fleeing additional carnage ensued.

    The headline indicates the driver did all this, then attempted to flee. Am I reading that right?

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    9watts June 6, 2015 at 8:25 am

    pixelgate
    Are you really suggesting police pull over drivers and administer random breath tests?Recommended 0

    I’m noting that Sweden uses this as part of their—apparently successful—approach to reducing the problem of drunk driving. I am also aware that we probably have a less reliable, more racist police culture in this country and that this could be another avenue for profiling, but sooner or later we’re going to have to face all these demons, not just sit on our hands because everything (car-head, police bias, elected officials who lost their spines) is so screwed up.

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      Tait June 7, 2015 at 3:51 am

      The story I hear from friends is that the US is probably less racist than most places, including Scandinavia. Our view of those countries is a bit more rosy than reality. (Oregon isn’t a good example of this, but…) In the US, people are confronted daily having to interact with people of other nationalities, ethnicities, and religions. And it’s not so bad; the world doesn’t end. In countries without the same diversity, one might go for years without ever meeting someone from a different ethnic background, and that lack of interaction allows divisive and unfounded beliefs to take hold and grow, unchallenged. Or at least, that’s how it’s been described to me, in between tales of “you wouldn’t believe how racist my mum was; one time she … etc.”

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        9watts June 7, 2015 at 8:07 am

        Well until we know or have evidence for how untenable the Swedish approach to minorities is I’m going to side with Vision Zero, with actually taking steps to crack down on this scourge. It isn’t as if we had any trouble recognizing the type and scale of the problems (DUII, speeding, etc.).

        I hear most of the pushback here as excuses, as mild variations on car-head. Is it really inconceivable that we could challenge ourselves as a society to come up with an approach to safety at least as good as what Sweden is doing? Really?

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        Paul June 9, 2015 at 10:19 am

        My experiences with the Swedish police are that they are very different than the police in the US. Firstly, they don’t intimidate and play tough guy with citizens generally. They become part of the crowd when a music festival takes over a city. You can swear at them without them taking it personally and rouging you up (I haven’t personally done this, but witnessed many times). They somehow are able to display tolerance and restraint in situations that seem to make police in the US unnecessarily aggressive, defensive and short-tempered. This is not measured data, just casually observed from my point of view.

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          9watts June 9, 2015 at 7:51 pm

          Fascinating. Thanks for that description. Doesn’t surprise me a bit.
          cf Christian Parenti: Lockdown America.

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    resopmok June 6, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Who are these people that we give driver’s licenses and allow to operate vehicles on the public roads?

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 6, 2015 at 10:48 am

    UPDATE, 6/6 at 3:00 am: Here’s the latest from the PPB:

    The driver, Claudia Garcia, a 23-year-old female, was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Jail for this accident. Charges include Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants as well as multiple charges of Reckless Driving, Fail to Perform the Duties of a Driver and Assault IV.

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    A.H. June 6, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Wrong charge, IMO. Assault IV is a misdemeanor, but a felony Assault III fits just fine: “Recklessly causes serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon…” If 2 tons of steel projected at 30mph (I’m being generous here) isn’t a deadly weapon, I don’t know what is. Felony charges and license revocation, please.

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      Chris Anderson June 6, 2015 at 11:32 am

      If she was bullying and agressing with her car I support felony.

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        A.H. June 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm

        Well, she apparently didn’t cause any “serious injuries,” so it’s a moot point — just regular injuries, I guess. However, you don’t need to be bullying or acting aggressively to be charged with Assault III; just recklessly causing serious injury to another person by using a deadly or dangerous weapon (ORS 163.165).

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      Spiffy June 8, 2015 at 10:33 am

      “Recklessly causes serious physical injury”

      “At this time it appears that there were no serious injuries.”

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        A.H. June 8, 2015 at 11:59 am

        … as acknowledged by the above comment I left two days ago.

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          9watts June 8, 2015 at 2:58 pm

          Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m having so much trouble following these conversations now that the subscribe button went away.

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    Tom June 6, 2015 at 11:30 am

    DUI that results in injury needs to result in permanent licensee revocation. Driving is a privilege. DUI has a very high rate of repeat offense and society should just not tolerate continued risk from such known ticking time bombs.

    Personally I don’t care much about DUI convictions getting fines and jail time, I just want to prevent another DUI collision by removing their license. The DA could do a lot to protect road users by offering DUI suspects a deal….no fines or jail time but you need to give up the drivers licence for good.

    I suggest to write your representatives and let them know you want the opposite of House Bill 3233. We need legislation that will enable permanent license revocation for repeat DUI, DUI with VRU injury, and hit and run.

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      ~n June 6, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      We probably need to take their weapons away, too, if crosswalk enforcement actions are any indication. Impound all vehicles that were used for drunken travel for at least a year at the owner’s expense.

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        John Hart June 6, 2015 at 9:03 pm

        No, don’t impound the vehicle, SEIZE the vehicle and sell it, using the proceeds to offset the victim’s medical expenses and other damages. Does the driver/owner still have to pay off money owed on a car loan? Yes.

        This is the only way to change the behavior. Drunk driving? Take the car away and sell it, and put the driver (and owner, if it’s a different person) in jail. Hit a bicyclist with a car or truck – same penalties. Ride a bicycle on the wrong side of the street – take the bicycle away.

        Think that sounds harsh? Try being the victim.

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      Eric June 6, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      Driving should require a license, but the reality is only if there’s anyone stopping them to check it. Nevermind the technology to automatically read license plates and match that registration to a suspended license or lack of insurance…

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      Tait June 7, 2015 at 4:01 am

      Sometimes I worry about how punitively-minded the comments get here. Recidivism rates for all crimes in the US are high. That reflects a failure of a criminal justice system. The answer isn’t to impose life sentences or death penalties on all crimes; it’s to fix the system so it actually rehabilitates.

      This case, if there ever was one, justifies a less severe approach. Nobody was seriously injured, and yet still there are calls to permanently revoke driving privileges.

      DUI is serious, and should be treated as such. But simply imposing ever-greater penalties has failed the US. We need a different approach.

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        9watts June 7, 2015 at 8:13 am

        Tait, I’m with you on the excessively punitive approach to crime here in the US and its futility. But I think you’re forgetting that driving represents this curious exception: the penalties, by and large, for doing egregious things while sitting behind the wheel, are slaps on the wrist. You can get seven years for stealing a candy bar, but what must you destroy with a car to get that?

        http://www.alternet.org/life-prison-stealing-candy-thousands-prisoners-sentenced-die-behind-bars-nonviolent-crimes

        We do need a different approach, but your posts here excoriate the different approach we know (or think we know) works in Sweden, how it could never work to transfer their approach here. If there are actual problems with how Sweden does this, or institutional reasons we can’t be trusted to apply their methods you should identify them.

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          El Biciclero June 7, 2015 at 3:24 pm

          The other problem is that traffic “incidents” also represent another curious sort-of counter-exception: they are mostly thought of as just bad luck, unfortunate accidents, weather-related events—nobody’s faultreally—just wrong place/wrong time. We refuse to acknowledge the true extent of the responsibility/liability one incurs by turning the ignition key (or pushing the button). I’m sure I don’t fully appreciate how much destruction I could wreak with my car every time I happen to drive it.

          In a way, we can’t fully contemplate the responsibility of driving because those of us who aren’t sociopaths might get too freaked out to do it. Since we’re all inured to driving as a default, a basic “necessity”—including cops, judges, and juries—there is too much of a kind of good-ol’-boy effect wherein drivers seem to agree that there are a few taboos, like drunk driving, or intentionally attempting to run someone down, but for everything else we pretty much look the other way, ‘cuz, you know, traffic boo-boos are so easy to make that next time it could be me, and I don’t want to pay too high a price for an “innocent” mistake!

          On the other hand, nobody “accidentally” steals a candy bar. Those candy-bar thieves are dirty, rotten, premeditatin’, candy-thievin’ bastards!

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            gutterbunnybikes June 8, 2015 at 4:32 pm

            Which is funny because the very first thing (and I mean right after the introductions and initial paperwork) they teach in defensive driving classes is that 99% of all traffic collisions are preventable. The insurance companies know this, it’s who demands DD classes for professional drivers to begin with.

            Though the insurance companies also make a lot of money off bad drivers with the increase in rates and SR22’s. I suspect they make much more money on bad drivers than they save on good drivers, so they try keep this information quiet.

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          Tait June 9, 2015 at 11:53 pm

          I thought I already did…

          Just because we need a different approach doesn’t mean that Sweden’s approach is the one to take. There are some good ideas to be taken from that part of the world. Norway’s prisons have received attention lately, for example. But the US isn’t Sweden, and our culture and history show that we don’t handle executive discretion well. The executive branch has repeatedly taken the the discretion it has and abused it, claimed discretions it arguably didn’t have, tried to keep secrets it shouldn’t, aggressively tried to shut down oversight via the courts, and other behaviors that justify citizens’ lack of trust in executive discretion of the sort that’s widespread in Sweden.

          Here’s another popular link that describes some of the problems with becoming involved with police, even if you’ve done nothing wrong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc. And those issues are especially relevant any time someone suggests, absent probable cause, forcing citizens to interact with police. Sweden’s legal system is not as adversarial a system as the US legal system. That alone means we won’t be able to transplant law enforcement ideas from Sweden to the US. I’m all for looking around to cherry-pick good ideas, but it needs to be done carefully and with understanding of the soil into which such ideas will be planted.

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            9watts June 10, 2015 at 6:43 am

            “Just because we need a different approach doesn’t mean that Sweden’s approach is the one to take.”

            Of course. But your stock response here is to list the many reasons why it won’t work, why Sweden is different in ways that preclude us adopting (it sounds) anything that they’ve done. I don’t see you offering any constructive suggestions, any ways we might copy some other approach that has worked. When I hear this dismissal of ideas that seem to work other places I hear others’ assertions that the gas tax won’t work here, that we’re somehow different, that no one would go for it here, etc. All this talk of how we’re so exceptional, so stuck in our ways, doesn’t strike me as very constructive or necessarily even accurate.

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              Tait June 11, 2015 at 1:25 am

              I’m trying to stick to the topic of the discussion. My constructive suggestions aren’t about trying to solve drunken driving because I don’t think that’s the most-important problem we need to tackle right now. So my “constructive suggestion” is to do nothing, for the time being, and visit this particular issue later. So what might we do, later? I haven’t done the research and worked out in my own head what I think those answers will need to be. But one thing I do know is some things those answers should not be, and unprecedented and unconstitutional expansion of police power is one thing it should not be.

              So what is constructive now? We could talk about how to reduce deadly/injurious interactions between different transportation modes. I think we need to give greater consideration to separated infrastructure, and more deliberate design of streets to both hasten and slow traffic (of all types) so that people can efficiently and safely move where they want to go. We might look at traffic routing to reduce turns, which are a big part of collisions. Let’s make better use of real estate in the core to improve livability. Eliminate street parking, move it to higher-density parking alternatives, and reclaim that space. I have other ideas, but none of them relate to drunken driving, and so they aren’t part of this discussion.

              Maybe this is an optimist vs. pessimist thing. Pointing out the flaws of a proposal IS constructive. It allows the proposal to be made better. It might highlight a viewpoint not yet considered. It’s hardly a dismissal. Rather the opposite, because one has engaged with the idea and considered it enough to see potential obstacles to its implementation.

              As for accuracy, I would not be surprised if I have lapsed there at times. I try to graciously accept correction and do better. Research to re-find articles and papers is time-consuming though, and time is one thing that always seems to be in short supply. Which is to say, I sometimes write generally from (imperfect) memory.

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                9watts June 11, 2015 at 8:36 am

                Thanks, Tait. All reasonable points of view.
                I guess where I was getting stuck was with what to me seemed like a little to quick rejection of an approach that by most accounts seems to have worked somewhere else, contributed to a (by my quick calculations) dramatically lower incidence of drunk driving on Sweden’s roads. I was questioning the view that this simply can’t work here because our institutions are incapable of carrying this out without bias. In the larger scope of trying to find solutions to these sometimes intractable seeming problems this one seemed like it deserved a bit more airtime than your characterization—“unprecedented and unconstitutional expansion of police power is one thing it should not be”—allowed.

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        Tom June 7, 2015 at 11:07 pm

        Permanent revocation of a driver license is not punitive since there are easy alternatives, and driving is a privilege. Removal of a drivers license does not require you to pay anything or spend any time in prison, both of which are actual penalties, and could be done instead of those penalties. The purpose of removing the drivers license is not to punish, but to protect society and prevent further victims.

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    Tom Hardy June 6, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Garcia HMMM! Any relation to the one in Hillsboro that had the accident on Barnes?
    ALL! DWI should be considered pre-meditated. It was the decision of the charged (or the person consuming) to drink and drive and commit the assault. There is no such thing as “Not guilty in a DWI charge”.
    Just a rant of anger from going to court and seeing one DWI after another get off with nothing while parking tickets are hammered.

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      El Biciclero June 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      I believe Mr. Garcia was the victim in the Barnes/Miller crash.

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        Tom Hardy June 6, 2015 at 8:12 pm

        I stand corrected.

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    HJ June 6, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    One of the scariest parts to me that’s not mentioned here is that the police released her within 8hrs of the incident. What do you want to bet she’s going to be right back behind the wheel of a car this week, if not today?
    I also agree with A.H. She should’ve been charged with Assault 3, not 4. Seems pretty clear to me reading over the law that her actions qualify. What do you want to bet the cops intentionally picked 4 to avoid her getting a felony? Would they still have done that if she’d plowed into a couple tents of folks camped out instead of 2 cyclists and some parked cars?
    I was just a few blocks north of there last night with most of my coworkers. What if she’d gotten a few blocks further and hit us? She could have single handedly (from her actions maybe no handedly?) shut down a successful PDX startup and injured and/or killed a member of a family that already lost a member in the last year to a bad driver in addition to the rest of her mayhem.
    Kudos to the cops for at least pressing a bunch of charges immediately but also shame on them for softballing with the charges at the same time. Bottom line is stuff like this will continue to happen until people get the message that they will go to jail for a very long time for such behavior.

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      Tait June 7, 2015 at 4:04 am

      What if… what if…

      It’s entirely possible that if those things had happened, she would have gotten assault 3. Or maybe even something worse.

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      Gary June 8, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      “One of the scariest parts to me that’s not mentioned here is that the police released her within 8hrs of the incident.”

      Seriously! I mean, who the hell decided to require a trial and a guilty verdict before punishing someone? Show me where THAT is written down.

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    Tom Hardy June 6, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Absolutely! but no tickets. Impound car and haul them off to jail until they pay damages + turning over title.

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    was carless June 6, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Can’t wait for self-driving cars, TBH…

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      Tom Hardy June 6, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      At least self driving cars are programmed to yield and look for cyclists. The google car got confused and just stopped when it encountered a group of cyclists:) 🙂

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    Ben B June 6, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    J_R
    Yes!We are now all assumed to be terrorists before we prove otherwise when we board a plane. We spend an extra hour at the airport and pay $5 for the privilege of being screened by TSA.In contrast, 1500 people are killed every month by drunk drivers and we basically DO NOTHING.

    I have to say this sounds like an argument *against* random sobriety tests. I’m not a terrorist, and I don’t appreciate being treated like one. Equally, I have never driven drunk, and never will, and I would find it obscenely annoying to be treated as if I might. Also, the TSA arguably doesn’t work, much like sobriety checkpoints.

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      ~n June 6, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      I am not saying this includes you, Ben, but I consider any driver who drives while using their cell phone a terrorist. Seriously. Whether they’re drunk or not.

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        Tait June 7, 2015 at 4:11 am

        I debated just ignoring this… but can you explain that logic? Even assuming they’re using the cell phone in an illegal manner, how does inattention and poor judgment equate to deliberately acting to spread terror* among a population?

        * extreme fear, dread, or horror; trembling, alarm, and/or panic

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          Tom Hardy June 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm

          It is the result of the inattention of the driver continuing down the road while occupied texting or talking on the cell phone is where the harm lies.

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          ~n June 8, 2015 at 10:01 am

          Tait: “but can you explain that logic?”

          I’ll try to. If it’s “logic” maybe it’s similar to the logic a government capitalizes on to convince its people to go to war against an assumed “enemy.” However, I don’t think that’s the kind of logic it truly is. It’s much more rational & clear-cut than that.

          About drivers on phones, I’ve felt all those terror symptoms you listed due to the knowledge that “those people” have already killed many innocent bystanders, walkers, bicyclists…drivers should be terrified themselves, to attempt using a phone while driving a car. It’s terrifying what can happen: http://www.startribune.com/man-who-was-making-a-bank-payment-on-his-phone-and-killed-a-biking-mom-speaks-out/305763401/

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    soren June 6, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Thurs. evening on my commute home a Portland motorcycle officer pulled me over while I was slowly filtering though a very large stationary traffic on SW 4th. After he pulled me over he shouted at me: “this is why you cyclists are being killed”. After about 20 minutes of intermittent aggressive behavior and several calls on his mic he finally handed me a $260 ticket for unsafe passing.

    You would think that enforcement of dangerous and/or reckless driving would be a greater PPD priority than harrassing cyclists trying to slowly negotiate their way through dowtown traffic jams –especially given the absence of northbound bike facilities and an ordinance law that bans riding on the sidewalk.

    #platinum
    #visionzero

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      El Biciclero June 6, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Were you between two travel lanes? Or all the way to the left or right, between a travel lane and parking?

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        soren June 7, 2015 at 12:06 am

        i was to the left of the right-most lane because the narrow space between the parking and the travel lane was unsafe on that block.

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          Dave Thomson June 7, 2015 at 6:43 pm

          Sounds like you deserved a ticket.

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            9watts June 7, 2015 at 8:53 pm

            I’m genuinely curious what you would have given soren a ticket for?

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              q`Tzal June 8, 2015 at 1:38 pm

              Lane splitting is legal in California, not Oregon.

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                soren June 8, 2015 at 2:20 pm

                There is no law that makes lane-splitting by people on pedal cycles illegal in OR.

                Likewise, there is no law that legalizes lane-splitting in CA.

                CHP guidelines:
                Lane splitting in a safe and prudent manner is not illegal in the state of California.

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                Pete June 9, 2015 at 9:19 am

                “Likewise, there is no law that legalizes lane-splitting in CA.”

                Maybe soon, but not for bicycles:
                http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB51

                Note that this is coauthored by Kansen Chu, who also proposed a mandatory bicycle taillight bill that my friend wsbob may appreciate:
                http://www.cyclelicio.us/2015/kansen-chu-amends-his-infamous-bicycle-safety-bill/

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                9watts June 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

                Someday we’ll learn the legal differences between lane splitting (everyone is moving), and filtering forward (I am moving but the lanes of cars on both sides are not.

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                Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 9, 2015 at 12:57 pm

                The problem is that the lane splitting/filtering laws — at least how they pertain to bicycling — are very vague. What if you are filtering, then the light turns green… does it become splitting? And unfortunately we know what happens when vague laws exist… the users lower on the totem pole of respect (bike riders) get impacted most negatively.

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      Kyle June 6, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      If you were passing traffic within the right or left lane (assuming this was a one-way street) then it was legal anyway.

      The lack of bike facilities downtown makes it awful and stressful during rush hour – one of the reasons I bike to work is to avoid the congested rat race with other drivers (among a host of other benefits). But when I can’t get around a bunch of traffic from the suburbs that reason becomes moot.

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        9watts June 6, 2015 at 7:01 pm

        “If you were passing traffic within the right or left lane (assuming this was a one-way street) then it was legal anyway.”

        The crucial factor in determining legality in this instance will boil down to whether the judge believes that your passing under the circumstances was safe. This is or can be frustratingly subjective, but depending on the circumstances you may have a very good case to get this dismissed. I’d be happy to talk about it, Soren (and sent you a PM).

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          El Biciclero June 6, 2015 at 7:26 pm

          “…whether the judge believes that your passing under the circumstances was safe.”

          Yes, and “safe” for whom? The level of infraction (Class B) is frustratingly punitive for a bicycle violation. I can understand why unsafe passing in a car is at the “Class B” level, because it is unsafe for everybody, but subjectively unsafe passing on a bike is about as dangerous as jaywalking; the $260 fine amount is oppressively ridiculous.

          It’s funny; it seems lots of folks want to treat bicyclists—and prefer they act—as pedestrians, but then want to punish them like SUV drivers if they stray over the very fuzzy legal line. Someone used the term “false symmetry” in another thread; I think that applies to citations and fines for violations committed (or imagined to be committed) while riding.

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      ~n June 6, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      This cop being aggressive and shouting “this is is why you cyclists are being killed” is utterly unacceptable, regardless of the reason for the ticket. It needlessly inflicts additional trauma on a person already being disrespected, just because of their mode of travel. When most city streets and public spaces are being devoted to dangerous cars, many of which are driven carelessly, that is disrespectful to people’s need to be active.

      City of Portland, would you please explain this cop’s abusive behavior to us, would you mind? In the 20 minutes that cop took to shout & behave aggressively, per Soren’s description, I bet 50 drivers in cars nearly struck people walking & biking through crosswalks & intersections. Ridiculous and shameful.

      That reminds me, how soon will the drunk driver from last night be using her car?

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        9watts June 6, 2015 at 7:04 pm

        “This cop being aggressive and shouting ‘this is is why you cyclists are being killed’ is utterly unacceptable”

        I got a slightly milder but no less paternalistic speech when I was pulled over Feb 20th and given the same ticket for essentially the same maneuver. I’m starting to assume that violent communication is part of the protocol for motorcycle cop:bicycling human interactions.

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          El Biciclero June 6, 2015 at 7:13 pm

          The Beaverton motor officer who pulled me over in my car a while back was very polite and professionsl. Only a Salem cop has stopped me while riding, and he was very aggressive/threatening.

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            El Biciclero June 6, 2015 at 7:16 pm

            …I mean, “professional”…

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        Tom Hardy June 6, 2015 at 8:22 pm

        I think his attitude is called “Threatening” This is against the law in Oregon. Calls for a countersuit.

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          paikiala June 8, 2015 at 10:19 am

          No one can know what the officer was thinking to have that reaction. You can assume all you want, but you cannot know. Alternatives might include current personal issues, or perhaps the officer was at a recent fatal crash and is still working through PTSD. Check out the book ‘Crucial Conversations’.

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      Tait June 7, 2015 at 4:13 am

      Did you get a name or badge number? This is another reason I’d encourage a GoPro.

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        9watts June 7, 2015 at 8:17 am

        The ticket the officer prints out of the motorcycle’s hard shell pannier includes the officer’s name as well as lots of other mumbo jumbo.

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      Dwaine Dibbly June 7, 2015 at 5:34 am

      Comeback for the next time: “With all due respect, Officer, the reason cyclists are being killed is because the police would rather look for stupid, technical violations that don’t matter instead of going after distracted drivers and enforcing speed laws.”

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        q`Tzal June 8, 2015 at 1:39 pm

        Do not try this if you are not very white.

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      Dan June 7, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      He probably passed multiple drivers on their phones on his way to nab you.

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    Kenji June 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    soren
    Thurs. evening on my commute home a Portland motorcycle officer pulled me over while I was slowly filtering though a very large stationary traffic on SW 4th. After he pulled me over he shouted at me: “this is why you cyclists are being killed”. After about 20 minutes of intermittent aggressive behavior and several calls on his mic he finally handed me a $260 ticket for unsafe passing.You would think that enforcement of dangerous and/or reckless driving would be a greater PPD priority than harrassing cyclists trying to slowly negotiate their way through dowtown traffic jams –especially given the absence of northbound bike facilities and an ordinance law that bans riding on the sidewalk.#platinum #visionzeroRecommended 1

    Please contact PPB with the name of the officer and your recollection of what happened.

    ““this is why you cyclists are being killed””- that is unacceptable.

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      soren June 6, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      I filed a complaint online and am going to follow up in person.

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    chasingbackon June 6, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I agree with many of the commenters here about inappropriate and dangerous use of a motor vehicle and the subsequent impounding of the vehicle and license revocation. However, i’m sick of seeing it as comments only on bikeportland and want to see some changes in the laws that govern the state of oregon.

    Any ideas how to actually change the laws and provide the accompanying enforcement to change roadway behavior that threatens VRU’s? This includes but is not limited to distracted driving, cut through speeding and menacing.

    I’d like to see changes in the law and also in the car culture before there needs to be a law named after my 9 month old son. Just saying

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      Tom June 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      A broad based tight coalition of advocacy and other groups that would have interests in road safety could provide a unified front and agree on specific targeted legislation, communicated through a lobbyist to a carefully chosen Representative, and backed by a PAC funded by big donors that would be motivated by the list of coalition members. This requires lots of cooperation, negotiation, and money…which is the hard part. And someone with rockstar leadership ability.

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      Tom Hardy June 6, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      I have been CC’ing many of my comments from here to a bike friendly state Representative and Senator, along with the reasons for the comments.

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    B. Carfree June 6, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Sadly, this disgrace of a human being who drove drunk through people and objects will receive barely a slap on the wrist for her actions. In Oregon, the first DUII is wiped from a drunk driver’s record upon completion of a remedial education course. The second one typically involves nearly no punishment at all. Even the third conviction, which comes with a “suspension” is almost useless because the license suspension allows the motorist to drive (go figure). Little wonder we see so much recidivism with this crime: we train them to continue this behavior.

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      Tait June 7, 2015 at 4:18 am

      If we got our infrastructure to the point that driving wasn’t a necessity, the suspension hardship exemption wouldn’t be needed anymore and could be removed.

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        9watts June 7, 2015 at 8:19 am

        Yes, sure. But the hardship, as El Biciclero has often pointed out here, is actually potentially at least a big part of the disincentive to engage in the dangerous behavior in the first place.

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        Tom June 7, 2015 at 11:07 am

        Criminal convictions usually lead to some kind of hardship. Prison is a hardship, especially if you get killed before you make it back out. A criminal record is a hardship if you can’t get a job. Why not trade these hardships for a much more minor one…that of giving up the drivers license in order to prevent more victims. With so many options these days, its not really that hard anymore to piece together a multimodal way of getting around. Its not 1975 anymore. You just need to put a little more thought into it, vs just brainlessly jumping in the car. Is needing to think and be a little creative really a hardship?

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          Tait June 10, 2015 at 12:26 am

          It’s never so simple.

          There’s been discussion recently about housing prices within bike-able distance of downtown. By the time one can find affordable housing, especially for someone with a criminal background (i.e. likely below-median income), they’re outside of the area well-served by public transit. Or they’ve moved (and everything that implies) somewhere with a low cost of living, like a rural town that doesn’t have public transit to speak of and where it’s 30 miles from home to the grocery store. And that means they can’t reliably get to work, the store, their kids to school and activities, etc. without other transportation. It’s much harder than just rethinking and being creative. It’s borderline impossible currently, unless one gets a couple of lucky breaks somewhere along the way. And at least in theory, that’s why the exemption exists; upon showing the court that your choices are to cease being a productive member of society, the public interest in safely relents enough to keep one productive. If the approach is to throw them in prison, then we’ve already given up any hope of being a productive member of society (for the duration of the imprisonment).

          If courts are being overly lenient in granting exemptions, then maybe only a small adjustment to that leniency is needed to set the course right again.

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      jd June 7, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Is that the case when she hits a bunch of things/people?

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    Breath tests June 7, 2015 at 12:14 am

    I’d welcome checkpoints for alcohol testing for drivers and cyclists alike.

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      Andy K June 8, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      Not happening. Those are illegal in Oregon per our state constitution.

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    AG June 7, 2015 at 10:33 am

    “accident”? Getting behind the wheel while you are UII is no accident and neither are the results of that behavior.

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    Jessie June 7, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I bike down Stark every day, various times. Not a day goes by that I don’t see at least one driver with that sudden look of “Oh, shit! I’m in one of those weird bike lanes! Now what do I do!? I can’t turn there, it’s one way! I can’t turn there, it’s a bus lane! OMG!” (weaving & lurching all the way) until they suddenly turn down a side street and speed away. Put that together with a young out-of-town tourist for a sunny Rose Parade, Saturday night on the town & a few drinks with pals. . . and you have a disaster. The “infrastructure” (signage? lane bumps?) on that bike lane needs to improve.

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    Random June 8, 2015 at 8:03 am

    If you want to know what the real problem is, Ms. Garcia was released on her own recognizance by Multnomah County the next day.

    She didn’t even have to post bail.

    Rather than talking about doing dragnet mass stops of drivers, why don’t we ask why Multnomah County treats such offenses in such an offhand fashion?

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      9watts June 8, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Because Car-head reigns. Stuff happens. She’s sorry.

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      Gary June 8, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Is she a flight risk? Bail is not a punitive measure. If she was properly judged to have minimal risk of skipping her court date, then she should have been ROR. I presume you don’t have any information to know whether that determination was proper or not. Furthermore, why should she not have been released? Did I miss the part about the trial and guilty verdict? They booked her and held her until she sobered up. Here in the USA, her punishment will have to wait until after her day in court.

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        LC June 8, 2015 at 2:43 pm

        She’s obviously a flight risk.. she committed a crime and has already tried to escape once and caused a serious amount of mayhem in the process. Giving her even more chances to flee the outcome of this situation is pretty short sighted.

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  • Tony T
    Tony T June 8, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Hey, Portland Police Bureau. NOT an “accident.”

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    Ben Schonberger (@SchonbergerBen) June 8, 2015 at 9:35 am

    The report says SW 3rd and Stark, but the photos from the crash scene show the car is wrecked into the old Greek Cusina building, which is a block further south at SW 3rd and Washington. http://koin.com/2015/06/05/wrong-way-driver-hits-biker-cars-in-sw-portland/

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