Question: What’s one way to know when people don’t feel safe riding bicycles? Answer: When a growing number of them feel like they need to ride with an on-board video camera.
Here in Portland (and nationwide), we’ve noticed a strong uptick in the amount of people who equip themselves with a camera every time they ride around the city. This trend is the result of three main things; the advent and availability of smaller, cheaper and higher-resolution cameras, the epidemic of distracted driving that has resulted in more dangerous and illegal driving behaviors; and a growing sense that the police can’t (or won’t) do their part to enforce the laws.
With video evidence, the thinking goes, if something does happen, at least someone will have a greater chance at justice in court.
A lot of these videos never end up in court, but they are ubiquitous around the web. I quickly forget most of them; but every once in a while one will give me pause.
Yesterday a friend and long-time BikePortland reader (and commenter) sent in one such video. It really touched a nerve.
Tony Tapay was riding on a narrow and (usually) quiet residential street (SE 34th) with his pre-school aged son on the back of his longtail cargo bike. Here’s what happened next (video contains profanity):
And here’s his description of events:
“Heading home on the longtail with my son on the back when I can hear this guy absolutely flying up behind me. Notice in the video that when he passes me, he’s almost fully in the other lane and there’s another person on a bike coming the other way. The video doesn’t really capture how dangerous it was. I then proceed to catch up with him at the light and ask him if it was worth it, to which he responded “yup!”
The guy then proceeded to go straight toward hang a left on Clinton, and then go east for a few blocks and take a right. It seemed pretty clear by how he was driving that he was cutting through and using these back streets to avoid traffic.”
Tony said this happened around 5:00 pm, hence his assumption that the person was using 34th as a cut-through.
The video highlights an issue Portland is struggling with right now: As our city grows and changes, many people choose to drive on backstreets in order to avoid congestion on larger arterials. That’s the issue that has forced the diverter conversation on SE Clinton and other neighborhood greenways.
In fact, Tony says he bought his camera about nine months ago specifically for this reason. “I wanted to start documenting my experiences with the dangerous driving/cut through traffic on Clinton,” he said, “because that’s the route to/from my son’s pre-school.”
For people who don’t ride around our city on a regular basis, it’s hard to put the urgency and outrage about bicycle access into context. The “bicycle community” probably sounds like a bunch of whiners. And hey, ‘Aren’t we the #1 bike city already?!’ they must think.
But unfortunately, the reality is often different than the rhetoric and the tourism brochures. Like Tony says in the video description he has up on Vimeo (where he has also posted the car’s license plate number), “Mayor Hales, this is what we deal with. Enforcement now.”
Hopefully this video will lead to justice in the courtroom — and a greater sense of urgency to take back our streets. Now!
If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
Where the hell are the police!?
The police respond after a crime is committed. They cannot be everywhere all the time. That’s why we have that thing libs hate called the 2nd amendment which states that the God-given right of each individual to own the tools necessary to defend his life shall not be infringed.
As far as traffic cops go, most are in patrol cars. Do people drive like the dude in the video if a patrol car is nearby? NO.
If you want traffic policing to improve, put the cops in unmarked cars – preferably small cars. They will not be able to go 1 block without writing a ticket for something. Put them in a big patrol car with lights all over it and they suddenly morph into the donut eaters that are so familiar to us; and all the drivers within sight morph into little old grandmas.
That’s why we have that thing libs hate called the 2nd amendment which states that the God-given right of each individual to own the tools necessary to defend his life shall not be infringed.
God wants us to own guns? Interesting. I just checked God’s Twitter and Instagram feeds saw nothing about her supporting concealed-carry legislation. And the guy that answered the phone at the NRA said there’s nobody named “God” on their member list. Did you read that somewhere or was it a personal communication?
“Unalienable” rights are mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and listed as the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution in the “Bill of Rights”. They are rights given to all humans – that is according to the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence.
This article explains it.
Here’s the Declaration of Independence:
Oh, so the Founding Fathers = God.
OK, got it.
Sorry to hear about your but t hurt.
You do see the irony in learning about “rights” from the owner of many slaves, yes?
Only a moro n would bring up something such as slavery which has absolutely nothing to do with the topic under consideration. Nice try though. Sorry about your but t hurt.
Is this what you call getting the last word?
No, you and EB did that.
Maybe not last word, but name calling is last resort.
Well, now, wait a minute—who made reference to gun rights in a traffic safety story? Besides learning about human rights from Thomas Jefferson is at least as good as learning about pedestrian and bike safety from Drivey McDriverton.
There are only about 12 or 13 per shift for the entire city.
Has that staffing level kept pace with population growth?
I suspect it’s actually dropped over the years.
Can confirm. That used to be the staffing level for just the Northeast precinct when I was growing up there.
I’d guess that the pension costs of retirees are eating them alive – forcing a smaller active force so the budget will balance.
Let’s get the license plate and wait for this crazy f—tard to do the same movement – same time and place. Perhaps someone could discreetly, or not so discreetly throw a rock at his side window while he’s speeding and endangering lives.
In my house, the main ‘tard’ word that’s acceptable is mustard. This driver was a f—wit.
Maybe he’s referring to the “flustard” of Dr Suess fame. . .
You should petition Dr. Who to rename his vehicle then…but maybe in the future people won’t be so PC, either.
I feel like we could have avoided this whole neighbourhood greenway mess if the city had focused on protected bike lanes on the arterials from the beginning. Instead of direct, separated routes for cyclists we now have a network of parallel streets with endemic dangerous cut-through traffic. With all the cross-traffic as well, I’m starting to wonder if diverters will really cut it. There’s also the issue – especially on Clinton – of drivers using the greenways for parking, dangerously slowing down randomly and zipping in and out of spaces.
Perhaps the city will ultimately spend far more money making the greenways safe – through diverters, parking reform, signals, speed bumps, and more – than they would have spent by simply building proper cycling infrastructure on the arterials.
Your comment may be true, but it shows a lack of history.
Protected bike lanes have been banned in the US since the late 70s, and it took 40 years before they were reestablished as a viable type of bicycle facility. Yes, it would have been great to be building these on our streets since the 90s, but they literally were not an option.
But what we could do was build bicycle boulevards, and the results have been amazing. The bicycle boulevard system has been responsible for the bicycle boom in Portland, and is these streets, (not bike lanes, or protected bike lanes) that are the reason inner neighborhoods have over 20% bicycle mode share.
Today though, you’ve got a good case. Protected bike lanes should be the new normal on our busy streets. The 2010 Bike Plan for 2030 agrees with you too, by way of quoting the Copenhagen Cycle Policy:
“…cyclists prefer to ride on shopping streets where the pulse of the city can be felt and where they can shop on their way home from work. So-called ‘back street’ solutions have therefore been dropped as a planning principle in Copenhagen.”
They staff at the city get it. They understand it. But that doesn’t mean they can just do it.
Neighborhood streets are the vast majority of the network on Amsterdam, but they have diverters everywhere and 18mph (or lower?) speed limit.
We need more diverters like Holman park. Just have a path for bikes to get through and a separate path / paths for people to walk through. On offset junctions, you can make a four way bike / pedestrian only crossing with lots of extra greenery.
Sadly, this type of thing still happens on Holman, but I agree the park diverter works pretty well. I’m anticipating Rodney will be the same way in just a short time.
Well articulated and thoughtful response, Nick.
One problem with diverters is, they only work if people obey them. I see people illegally turning at 53rd and Burnside almost every day I walk through there.
The key to diverters is to make them non-optional.
This is why I ride right up the middle of the street on any neighborhood bikeway. Screw these a-holes wanting to use them as shortcuts!
that just means that they pass you within 3 inches once there’s a hint of space…
Warning lots of f bombs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFsZBpAslx8 Clinton St.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6_G3_vW7lQ Clinton St.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KH7j_EMfElU Clinton St.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxAggKz3XPo Sandy St
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQeNpaROh_k Clinton St.
I don’t think it amounts to anything even if you post videos, The Portland PD wont do anything unless a major crime was committed. This city leaders are only interested in pacifying the complainers who poses to reflect negativity on their next campaign.
At the end of the day I see this kind of thing at least once a weeks and I don’t think it will ever stop.
As a fellow judge and jury, I applaud your honesty. F’in people. They’re the worst.
We cover much of the same ground apparently (bottom of Gladstone, 21st, Clinton, etc.). And I’ve had pretty much the exact same experiences. I’m done with confronting anybody though, at least in such a direct form. Instead I just bike in the position I feel safest, which makes it pretty darn obvious while passing in a car that they are being completely ridic.
Pretty much the same route for me. I come from top of Gladstone to downtown. I see all the same. Thanks for capturing.
You know Josh, I’ll bet the Audi guy who threatened to run you over would have gotten all bent out of shape if you told him you were going to shoot him in the face.
It blows my mind how casually people will threaten murder by motor vehicle.
Just to see the other side, in a couple of your videos might the drivers been annoyed or felt antagonized by your lane position…as a cyclist I assume I should ride to the right as far as reasonably possible. And to look for opportunities to work with drivers to let them pass safely or go ahead. As a motorist, I feel cyclist create unsafe road situations when the ride with grips/bars/ beyond the white line in bike lanes or double abreast, leisurely claiming lanes while cars are expected to drive half the speed limit.
Frankly, I would prefer the bike-centric world, but given the current near term reality I’m not always sure how to share the road with with people that have so many different ideas and feelings about transportation. New infrastructure and Vision Zero are great, but I simply wish we’d have an education campaign regarding what is currently in place. Not pamphlets handed out at Sunday Parkways, but radio PSA’s, Trimet, billboards, etc. I doubt most drivers have a clue how to share the road in Oregon. I suspect most just follow their character regarding patience, kindness, etc.
Look at how that vehicle bounces over the speed bump. Notice the cyclist coming in the other direction. The two together with clearance would equal the width of a standard car.
Would that driver have attempted to shoot the gap with an oncoming car???
Depends what you mean “by as far to the right as safely possible”. For me and many others that means 3-4′ away from parked car to stay out of the door zone even if there is no car (predictable riding).
And yes a few drivers do get mad over that position – most don’t – many older drivers actually like this because the “bikes act like cars” method was what use to be the norm.
It is much safer than bopping in and out of the parking lane and around cars as many people ride – that is how bikes often “come out of nowhere”.
MIddle lane/street position increases your visibility to traffic, is predictable, you can see and be seen by crossing traffic farther back from the intersection (particularly blind ones), and should an you need it you have room for evasive measures, and it eliminates right hooks too.
I’ve been told by the POLICE to ride in the middle of the lane
First and foremost I stay to the green ways were I belong remember we are not talking about going down the middle of Hawthorne, Burnside or Powell. Gladstone happens to have a bike lane were I will happily ride. Sadly there are not bike lanes on all the green ways. On Clinton for example there are signs, LOADS of signs showing that bikes are expected to be in the road. They placed the sharrows in the middle of the road to show the cyclists how far out to the left to ride.
Bottom line if you need to pass slower moving vehicles go take Powell or try your luck on Division. Don’t go driving aggressively on through NEIGHBORHOODS. If its not me someone is passing recklessly its one of our family members or fiends.
Sorry, I just won’t empathize with someone who puts their driving inconveniences over my safety. Let them be mad.
Yes there is a bicycle path on the greenways. Those bikes painted in the middle of street with the arrows are the intended path for bicycles to ride. You should be riding directly over those painted bicycles.
Here is a link to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices written by the Federal Highway Administration which clearly states it’s purpose.
It’s at the bottom of the page by Figure 9C-9.
Here is the text quoted for those too lazy to click:
1) Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist’s impacting the open door of a parked vehicle,
2)Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane,
3)Alert road users of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way,
4)Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists, and
5)Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.
Time to save this comment for future cutting and pasting, I’m getting tired of typing it out each time.
6) Grant bicyclists right-of-way….oh, right—only a bike lane does that.
Without an actual bike lane, and at speeds under 35, there are no safe passing requirements. On further reflection, it may well be that if the driver in the example video was going 35 or under, the only law that was broken was the speed limit. The laws we have that are “designed” to protect bicyclists are very weak. They appear to be actually designed to give drivers who hit a bicyclist an out in all but the most egregious circumstances. Further, interpretation and application of the law many times seems tilted against a bicyclist even when the driver was the lawbreaker.
Should passing this close at 35 mph on a street with sharrows be illegal? Yes! Is it?
Bike lanes have legal meaning and provide statutory protections for cyclists riding in said lanes. On the other hand, sharrowed greenways have no legal meaning in the state of Oregon and provide no statutory protection. I think we need to lobby the city and the state to change this!
In the meantime, BikeLoudPDX has asked the City to implement one quick fix:
Install “Bicycle may use full lane” signs throughout the city on neighborhood greenways (and other bike infrastructure) where cars and people biking are in close proximity. This would prevent future tragedies by educating all road users on how to safely “share the road” (and correct the misconception that bikes belong in the door zone on neighborhood greenways).
Link — MUTCD Figure 9B-2, Section 9B.07_07
I don’t see anything that indicates gratuitous traffic-blocking by any riders in any of Josh’s videos. What I see instead are impatient drivers who believe they are More Important Than Others and have some kind of right to go as fast as they want. They are probably driving down a neighborhood greenway because the cars were going too slow on some arterial. Tell me how this makes sense: if cars are going too slow, the answer is to go drive on another street where you know you are going to encounter lots of bicyclists. If the bicyclists are going slow, the answer is to intimidate them and endanger their lives. Why is the answer not just to realize that traveling through a city is likely to be slow?
Pandering to ignorance and emotional immaturity is not the path forward.
As a cyclist, you should know that there are all kinds of reasons why you take the lane– and as a motorist, what often looks like leisurely riding along is actually going as fast as they can to get out of your way.
Hey, there’s that phrase again: EVERYONE expects people on bikes or on foot to GET OUT OF THE WAY.
If I’m in the center of the lane, it’s because
A) there’s no bike lane, or shoulder, or what is there is too narrow or too choked with glass, car crash debris, garbage, etc to ride there;
B) the regular lane is NOT wide enough for someone in a car to pass me while giving enough room to pass me safely
C) the lane isn’t wide enough for me to ride outside of the door zone and allow a car to pass me safely.
Besides, OR DMV says I’m supposed to ride in as straight a line as possible and not swerve in and out of empty parking spots.
I agree… I feel the person on the bike is way too far to the right and should be riding over the sharrows more often…
You assume wrongly then. The law states as far right as practicable not as far right as possible. This means that when it creates and unsafe passing situation (as in, tempts people to pass), the more appropriate lane position is in the middle of the lane. “As far right as possible” would mean always riding in the gutter and hugging parked cars’ doors.
When I ride up through Washington Park now, I make a point to occupy the center of the lane whenever I’m approaching a blind corner, and then move back to the right side of the road afterwards. I’ve had too many cars pass me on the corners there and nearly hit someone going in the other direction.
The crime committed was passing too closely. Unfortunately, you’d need evidence showing the exact distance, plus in Oregon the cyclist’s height…
This is a challenging subject. I recently had an issue where a driver was being really aggressive pulling out across a busy cross walk. He was obviously in a hurry and didn’t want to wait for the pedestrians so was using liberal speed hoping to get people to stop and stay on the curb. I dealt with it by stepping in front of him, stopping him and just sat there for a minute. If people get called on their behavior in a non-violent and non-hostile way they’ll correct their behavior. BTW- he was a Rose City Cab Driver
If it were illegal to pass on n’hood greenways and folks started enforcing with videos like this, this problem could go away over time. I don’t see why its legal to pass a bike in that sort of environment. Just make everyone in cars slow down and they’ll get back on the main streets
Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner.
I agree with you Allan. I am a big fan of using “no passing zones” as a way of creating more safety for people riding bicycles. If we have already agreed that 20 mph is max speed on n’hood greenways, and most bikes are traveling at 12-14mph or so, why not say that if a person on a bicycle is present there is no passing allowed? Who could be against this idea? On narrow n’hood streets there is absolutely no reason someone in a car should squeeze past someone on a bike.
Properly enforced “safe passing distance” rules get at this with fewer unintended consequences. If I want to bike slowly and don’t want a car (or line of cars) on my tail, I can move over and/or wave them by and we’re both happy.
I thinks it’s actually a lot harder to enforce a safe-passing-distance rule because it’s not as easy to tell when it’s being violated. I’ve never heard of anyone getting a ticket for passing too closely even though it happens all the time. The last time I saw it happen, it was a Portland police officer.
Long as they don’t hit me I consider it a successful pass. I’m not worried about the actual distance – of course, if the car speed is high, a little more room feels better.
Speak for yourself. I want to be passed safely, and I want the same for my wife, my kids, my friends, and my neighbors.
I don’t believe you are for real.
That’s not at all safe. Imagine if your crank arm broke and you fell into the path of the car right as it was passing you (this has actually happened to me, btw). If the driver doesn’t give you much room, you might end up dead or with some nasty wounds.
If I read it right, our current safe passing laws are meaningless for autos travelling under 35 MPH:
You read that right.
They are also meaningless in the presence of a striped bike lane, regardless of speed. The wording of this exception (A) is especially troubling for me, since I may have reason to be close to the left edge or even outside the bike lane, but as long as the driver is operating “in a lane that is separate from and adjacent to a designated bicycle lane”—irrespective of any bicyclist’s position relative to either lane—there are no safe passing requirements.
In many bike lanes, the right 80% is covered in flotsam.
Or dotted with below-grade storm drains, or lined with poorly-jointed gutter pans, or longitudinally half-paved with severely washboarded pavement…
I wonder what the ruling would be in a hypothetical close-passing case in which the bike lane stripe was completely worn away by car tires—does the bike lane exist or not?
“… and most bikes are traveling at 12-14mph or so, why not say that if a person on a bicycle is present there is no passing allowed? Who could be against this idea? …” maus
Unless to accomplish this on given streets, you’re thinking of using just the standard yellow diagonal ‘No Passing’ sign, let’s see some ideas of yours, or those of anyone else that would want to venture an idea of such a sign should look like.
I think the ‘cut through’ is among the worst things that can happen to neighborhoods, so to my mind, the basic idea of effectively attempting to regulate with bike traffic, the character of motor vehicle traffic through neighborhoods, has some merit.
There most likely would be obstacles encountered as efforts were made to actually make it happen. If the idea was passed around to the broader public, I’m sure there would be people objecting to the efficiency of their route being additionally impacted by bike traffic. For a variety of reasons, I believe the appeal of the ‘cut through’ strategy of dealing with traffic, can be great.
These drivers are already operating their vehicles illegally. Changing laws to make their behavior even more illegal probably isn’t going to change anything, but I do support doing that as part of a plan.
So true, more laws doesn’t change anything when
1. The existing laws aren’t enforced.
2. The new laws add to confusion as to which law takes precedence.
3. Can anyone know every law.
If drivers were tested every time they had to renew their license with a test that highlights all the recent changes in law and markings. They might not know all the laws, but they’d know most of them.
And considering most changes don’t happen at the highway level, frequent stringent testing (preferably with medical exam waver too) would make the streets much safer.
This is actually the law for pilots. There is a thing called the Biennial Flight Review, where a pilot who has not upgraded his ticket in the previous 24 months must take a check ride with a designated instructor pilot preceded by an oral exam of any changes in regulations since the last BFR. Given that rate of change to driving laws this could be extended to every three years with drivers.
The biggest problem with this approach is probably education, at this point most drivers don’t even seem to have a handle on the fact that they need to stop for pedestrians crossing at intersections even if the crossing isn’t marked with white paint. Enforcement is spotty at best and enforcement actions on the greenways always seem to end up focusing on cyclists more than cars, and I don’t like the idea of putting up no passing signs every block either…
Bike or no bike, I think there’s no such thing as safe passing on a 20 mph street. The speed is 20 because of conditions that likely make all passing maneuvers inappropriate for those conditions.
I’ll second that, even if you do spell your name wrong.
it’s already illegal to pass on most of them because they’re so narrow…
the pass in the video is illegal on a couple of counts, passing to close and not yielding to oncoming traffic…
they need to write the drive a citizen initiated citation…
Would it still be legal for a bicyclist to pass another bicyclist?
I was wondering the same thing.
Looks like pretty much every day on Clinton.
And the Everett/Davis/Couch bikeway.
I’m amassing a nice collection of close calls with my Contour cam, and soon will have enough for a nice montage set to music. Can’t decide which tune though….
Highway to Hell?
And NE Siskiyou/Klickitat, and NE 7th north of Broadway.
Probably something in the “death metal” genre…
That psychopath needs to be off the road immediately.
If the police don’t do it, this kind of behavior and attitude is going to lead somewhere.
This is not uncommon behavior on greenways, unfortunately. NE 7th is terrible for this. Oftentimes, I’ll be passed within 50 feet of a traffic circle.
Every street in SW, s/traffic circle/blind corner or hill/.
Kids these days, huh? What a little twerp. Behavior like this makes me get behind closing streets to everyone but residents, their guests and emergency vehicles.
What would it take to turn a neighborhood like this into a “gated” community?
Just FYI, the dude was in his late 60s early 70s.
Wow. I sincerely hope I never act this way now, at 32. Euthanize me if I act this way at 60.
Don’t worry, Obama’s death panels are a ‘lurkin in the shadows. Won’t have to wait till 60.
License plate number please?
Tan Kia Soul – Oregon plates 331-ERS
Driver – thin white male with beard in his late 60s or early 70s
You have enough information for a z cite. Obviously speeding and passing too close two cases with both cyclists.
It will cost you the time to appear in court, but with the video, you have a good case.
One thing I’d like camera users to start doing is to zoom in on license plates. Video Dad had a perfect chance when he caught up to the car but didn’t.
I did get the plate and it’s in the description of the video. I’m currently looking into whether I have any legal recourse.
citizen initiated citation for not leaving enough passing distance…
See how to issue a z cite and get your day in court.
would be nice if video like this could substitute the presence of the person issuing the citation in court. The biggest problem with civilian citations is just that.
Do I take a day off work to appear at court so someone will be fined less than the money I lose taking the day off.
There needs to be some work around on that – or fines need to be able to be adjusted for compensation to the citation writer without having to take it to small claims – which I don’t know would be possible.
“One thing I’d like camera users to start doing is to zoom in on license plates.”
I think you need the plates *and* a visual ID of the driver, and he got both. Maybe a legal expert can weigh in, but it seems like he did the right thing to me. I hope a citation is issued, at the least.
Yep, as I understand it, when you go through the process, the police (or whoever) make you pick the guy out of a photo lineup. Combined with the clear video of his car, and that is rock solid evidence.
Please do it, Tony.
In the last week I have witnessed a large motorcycle charging up the bike lane “lane-splitting” for > 150 metres @45 mph to bypass waiting traffic. Same thing with an isane “Qube” car driver. Outer Sandy Blvd…never any cops around to witness the clowns on their “last chance power drive” as Springsteen would say.
Had a guy get out of his car and threaten me after I yelled at him for almost hitting me. Happened on NE 9th north of Tillamook. A-hole. Which is what I called him and probably why he stopped, oh well, he proved he is one several times in our 30 second interaction.
I’ve given up on confronting drivers. I used to, but it was sapping all the joy out of riding – and I get close-passed effectively every time I get on my bike. Think cut through drivers on Clinton are bad (and I do)? Try SW Virginia when Macadam is backed up….suburbans in suburbans if you catch my drift.
I made a rule: if I do something meant to confront a driver, either by yelling, gesturing, or staring, I get no beer for that evening or the evening after that. I like beer a lot more than I like confronting drivers.
Illigitimi non carborundum, I guess.
Yes yes and yes. I was DEEP into a negative loop at one point, with the only thing on my mind while riding being impending confrontation. It was terrible, and massively addictive. No more, all smiles and sunshine and humming songs for me. And frankly, I think showing joy while biking (even if sweating bullets) will do more for the cause than anything.
Dang, you’re so right — I’ve never been honest enough with myself to admit that waiting for the next (inevitable) confrontation is really… addicting. Yikes.
I don’t really know what helps “the cause” more — confronting bad drivers or just letting them all pass you by, but I’ll be thinking about your idea of just “showing joy while biking” a little more from now on.
I would submit that with nonconfrontation, the very worst thing that can happen is that the driver goes merrily on his/her way oblivious to anything s/he did.
With confrontation, that’s one of the BEST things that can happen. More likely, you’re just giving them (even more of) a reason to be angry at people who ride bikes. Things can just get worse from there.
I think that, occasionally, confrontation can have a good outcome. However, I find it too emotionally taxing and have made a conscious decision to stop. I think my time and energy are better spent changing the system than trying (often unsuccessfully) to convince each individual road user to change their ways.
I could not disagree more. I’d estimate that ~70% of my attempts at motorist education were a positive experience. Most close passes, cut offs, hooks, or crosses are not malicious and in my experience it’s important to let the person driving that the person cycling felt endangered.
If that’s your experience, then by all means, carry on. I’m clearly at the other end of the bell curve (no sarcasm intended by the way – I’m truly impressed.
I can restate: When ‘I’ confront a driver, no good can come of it…
I know that Soren has good diplomacy skills. That may account for his 70% success rate.
I don’t have such good skills on the road, so I avoid confrontation.
Yeah, mixed bag for me, but definitely some positive. And one very embarrassing interaction when I was cut off on a dark, rainy night, chased down the driver to chastise them, and he pointed out that my light (low battery) had turned off.
i’d consider that a positive interaction. 😉
“…More likely, you’re just giving them (even more of) a reason to be angry at people who ride bikes. Things can just get worse from there.” Jeff
There logically, on the road in motor vehicles, are people intent on taking advantage of any opportunity to make a public display of how they’re the baddest boy or girl for miles around. So, the ‘one-upmanship’ can factor in to what they do when they get an opportunity.
It’s worth it to me personally to choose routes where I can reasonably depend on people using the road to be mellow. Unfortunately, not everyone riding has that luxury. For people having to ride in intense road situations, I think that riding defensively is the first and foremost procedure to rely on. People riding and making sure they’re doing everything right as far as following road use procedures are concerned, is part of that; depriving the bad guys of any justification for their wrongdoing.
If people can effectively use go-pro cameras to slam some of the bad road users out there, more power to them.
Just curious but what is “ride as defensive a possible” entail?
This phrase has been popping up more and more, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it laid out into any kind of method or technique.
It seems pretty vague, and likely for every rider that would vary. I’d consider middle lane position defensive because I can see and be seen better, and have more room to react should evasive maneuvers need to be taken. Unlike hugging parked cars/curbs, where your visibility suffers, your attention is split between traffic and trying to see if someone is in a car about to open their door, you can’t be seen/or see blind intersections until you enter the intersection and you have no where to go should you need to.
“…Just curious but what is “ride as defensive a possible” entail?…” gutterbunnybikes
You’re quoting someone, but looking in my comment to which you’re responding, I don’t see that statement. Nevertheless, you ask a good question. Because bikeportland’s staff is taking so long to moderate my comments (four or five of them from yesterday still waiting… .), I don’t know when you’d be able to read any answer I might write to your question. It would be good if someone else would answer the question.
Smart man. It ain’t worth getting your teeth knocked out, or getting charged with a crime -even though YOU were not the aggressor. It’s sad but many times the person trying to defend themselves will be charged with a crime – that would be a big bummer for a long time. So, because of this, a lot of bad behavior isn’t called out by someone who might otherwise say something. Aholes are allowed to get away with being aholes.
I’ve had issues in that same area. I generally take 7th home, but lately it’s too frustrating to be in near misses every single day, so I go about 1-1.5 miles out of my way for a better route and it’s still not safe (Vancouver/Williams).
And keep in mind I’m only on 7th in the first place because the most direct route (NE 15th) has parked cars but no bike infra. And apparently parked cars are worth more than the lives of people on bikes.
I meant to say that I was taking 9th for a bit, but ran into the same problems (and a park).
I had the same thing happen to me on NE 28th just north of Glisan. Tan Ford Ranger, last 3 plate digits were 551. That incident convinced me of two things: one, that confrontation just isn’t worth it, and two, that the cops don’t give a flying f* even if you have it on video, which I do.
It isn’t just Clinton and urban streets that these unsafe passes happen.
I bike commute on Willamette Falls Drive between Oregon City and the Stafford triangle. Yesterday during the evening rush hour there was solid traffic in both directions with no shoulders and a double yellow line. A white van with a kelly green utility trailer passed me with all of 1.5 inches between me and the trailer. When the traffic speeds dropped below 10 MPH, I took the entire lane and stayed in traffic instead of passing the stop and go cars on the right (I personally feel that is safer than passing the cars so they can pass me a second or third time). The ugly unsafe passing saved the guy in the van zero time on his way through West Linn as I sat in traffic 4 cars behind him.
I am always hopeful that people will realize that my presence on my bike means that there is one less car blocking traffic ahead of them. The response of the police office I called and spoke with was that the guy was probably “just distracted and really didn’t mean to pass that close”. It felt a lot like someone saying “Sorry, I didn’t mean to kill you”.
Welcome to Willamette, I guess. I used to live there and wouldn’t ride to work from there on a million-dollar bet.
Wack-a-mole has begun.
Happens to me almost every day. Today riding through Ladd had a driver dangerously pass me. Thats why I take the lane now.
I was taking the lane, and he passed me at that speed anyway.
Another example of this craziness: Yesterday afternoon about 5:40 while riding east on NE Tillamook in between MLK and NE 7th, there was a woman driving a purple boxmobile (maybe a Toyota or Scion?) that floored it to try to pass a group of commuters on bikes, only to run out of room before the stop sign. She then slams on the brakes and “merges” in to the middle of the bikes. I followed her through the right and left turns to continue eastbound on Tillamook, and watched her do the exact same pass-then-slam-on-the-brakes to another bike rider at the next stop sign – then she pulls over and parks! She was driving in the most selfish and dangerous manner imaginable on that street, just to get to her parking space 10 seconds earlier. Best part: her license plate is LUV SELF.
I was directly in front of her at the stop sign at NE 7th, and witnessed the same behavior. Saw her car parked on the North side of ***Location information of car has been deleted by moderator due to privacy concerns*** this morning on my commute in…
Yep, I saw it there this morning too.
Does she imagine herself is in a video game? If so who is driving her? Would that defense hold up in court?
Well, it sounds like a lot of people know where she parks her car. That’s too bad for her.
I think I’ve seen that same driver pulling a very similar move in that location as well. That area is notorious for that kind of pass. And it’s gotten worse because people are avoiding MLK, Broadway/Weidler and Fremont.
In that situation, you should pound on, kick, hit her car. She is assaulting you and you have the right to self defense.
Wonder if she was running when she got out. I assume so, since she was in a massive hurry.
Given the other comments on this woman, I suggest getting together, along with BikeLoudPDX maybe and first sending a diplomatic delegation (documenting all) to her residence and presenting her with a letter or grievance – maybe a lawyer along to – legal notification that her driving is hazardous and the bike community knows, and that if she does hit anyone the lawsuit / criminal prosecution will have more evidence.
If she predictably acts like an idiot, video to the TV news, and a protest ride just for her around her block, hopefully with news coverage.
This would be much for effective than any nefarious night time activity.
it’s time to take a different route. All the cameras, crossing lights, green paint, signs is just visual pollution. Take the technology and install speed limiters using GPS, camera recognition, ground sensors. With the coming of self driving cars speed difference will become a real headache with associated road rage. Limiters could initially be installed in public vehicles, then public utility vehicles (buses, gas, cable trucks) and finally in all vehicles. The area could be governed by metro, density or numbers.
Retractable speed bollards only retract if your speed is below 20. Every 50yd.
Speed detection can be used to discourage speeders by modifying light timing real time so as to take away any advantage of speeding. Upon detecting the speeder approaching an intersection, the light turns red and stays red longer than it would normally. Then reward drivers driving near the speed limit with a green they would otherwise not get, or a shorter red. Drivers would soon figure out it is more advantageous to drive closer to the speed limit.
Car free streets! We need car free zones, restricted access, retractable bollards, all of the above. I’m still mad they gave in and mingled all the traffic in the downtown bus mall. Stupid chaotic and dangerous.
I think there may be some value in reporting these incidents here: https://nearlykilled.me/. It is my understanding that the reports are compiled and delivered to the CIty every month. The CIty needs a way to prioritize safety projects, this kind of information may be enough.
This happens every. goddamn. day. on Clinton
I’ve considering attaching pool noodles, hanging over 3 feet on each side of my bike, to make safe passing distance more apparent. Bonus – they’re bendable if you need to get through a tight squeeze somewhere and they don’t damage paint.
I don’t know if this would help some people. I had a guy pass me way too close on NE 47th yesterday (where there are no bike lanes), probably 6-12 inches), he then proceeded to continue to drive as far to the right as possible (I”m assuming to keep me from thinking of passing him), and lightly clipped the mirror of a parked car with his mirror! I was dumbfounded (but still had enough space to pass him while he sat at the Burnside light).
He was also an older dude.
I have seen way more bikes out this week, and am wondering if that his having an effect on more crazy drivers.
So, you witnessed a hit and run? Did you call 911?
Didn’t actually do any damage to the parked car that I could see rolling along at 20 mph (this was a very light graze). So no, didn’t even think of it, was more worried about myself and car erratically trying to hit me.
“He was also an older dude.”
Get off my lane! Whippersnapper!
In my very anecdotal experience the closer calls I have are more often than not “older” drivers. I often wonder if this is because bikes are somewhat of a newer thing on US roads, and they didn’t grow up or start driving with them? Or maybe they’re less likely to see themselves as a cyclist?
The van looked, as if it was travelling about 40/ 45 mph…from the van’s bouncing over the speed hump and its rate of forward progress when passing a bike traveling swiftly (~15 mph) on a 25 mph street. Definitely an aggressive speeder.
OK. One thing about this video is that the camera is handlebar-mounted. The footage is good, but _the passing driver can’t tell that he’s being filmed._
Instead, consider a classic boxy GoPro mounted atop your helmet. It’s visible from front, back and sides, and it’s totally the wrong shape to be a light.
Doing mine that way, I notice a definite calming effect. People in cars tend to take more care, they often point and wave as if they think I’m the Google Streets vehicle … and when they screw up, they gesticulate profusely in apology (especially if I silently, gravely shake my head like the ghost of Christmas past).
Sure it looks a little silly, but the effect is worth it. Plus, the camera sees something closer to your own POV — so you can get plates and faces more easily.
Sounds like somebody could make some money selling lightweight GoPro decoys that everybody can attach to their helmets.
I’ve always wanted to make a cycling jersey with the classic yellow smiley face that says ” you’re on camera!”.
“Questions: What’s one way to know when people don’t feel safe riding bicycles? Answer: When a growing number of them feel like they need to ride with an on-board video camera.”
Society in general is becoming a bit more paranoid, and at the same time accepting of being filmed everywhere.
Many more people these days have video cameras on and in their house, but in many (most?) areas of the city crime has seen a steady decline over the last few decades.
I’m just saying I don’t know if this phenomenon is specific to bikes.
Need to wear a t-shirt like this:
police officers say it’s a good way to end up dead… cops are targets for gang members…
I designed a polite shirt with a passing request.
If anyone can tease a license plate number out of that video I would be pleased to do a follow up report if they send it to me at rthomas@stc-law. com.
Tan Kia Soul – Oregon plates 331-ERS
I live in SE where this one happened, on a dead end off 34th. I bike commute to work 5 days a week, but also own a car, which, by definition, involves driving on 34th whenever I use it.
Obviously the dude in this video was ridiculous, but my question is, what IS the right way to pass a bike on a street like 34th? Whenever I do it, I wait for there to be no oncoming traffic of any kind, and wait for a spot where there aren’t parked cars either, and even then, giving a huge berth, I still feel like I am coming off as aggressive to the person in the bike.
Is there a consensus on the right way to do this? I really don’t think the answer can or should be “you can’t pass.” Again, this is coming from an avid biker that uses SE greenways all the time, so don’t shoot.
Personally, I think cases are rare in which it’s polite/courteous/good practice to pass people biking on 34th, particularly if the people biking are taking the lane (which is the safe way to bike on streets like 34th with on-street parking). 34th is not very wide, and it’s generally at least partly parked up on both sides. This means that any pass is going to feel stressful to a significant percentage of people biking.
Assuming you’re somewhere between Belmont and Division, you’re never further than 5 or 6 blocks from Belmont, Hawthorne, or Division. It doesn’t seem crazy to me to ask people to drive at a biking pace for a minute or two when they’re on one of the few streets designated as biking thoroughfares.
you can pass if there’s enough room for the rider to fall over and not get run over by you…
on 34th this is usually never because it’s usually packed full of parked cars leaving 1.25 lanes for traffic… it’s hard to even pass oncoming cars…
Open your windows at least partway, follow 3s behind and check their speed, calculate the distance required to pass without excessively revving the engine and conclude it’s not necessary. It’s not legal to interfere with the operation of the overtaken vehicle, which takes a lot of planning ahead at even 10-15mph to avoid cutting them off at the stop sign or turn.
Rev as much as you want, but you’re still bound by the speed limit, even passing. Going from 10 to 25mph makes that pretty much a non revving event anyway.
Many combinations of driver and transmission appear to be unable to make an easy pass without unnecessary downshift.
How about this:
Don’t pass, and be a blocker for other cars behind you that might want to make an unsafe pass.
Now you’ve done your good turn for the day!
The answer is “You can’t pass.”
There is no safe or courteous way to do it. The inconvenience is miniscule. It takes, 2 minutes, to travel from Hawthorne to Division at bike speeds. (source: https://goo.gl/maps/03cpF) Is it worth terrifying somebody or teaching other drivers bad behavior to shave off 10 or 15 seconds?
As I hinted at above, if the answer to being stuck behind slow cars is to move to a parallel street, the same answer should apply if there are slow bikes.
A large part of the problem between drivers and bicyclists is that most drivers assume they have a Right to Pass bicycles immediately, and they further assume that bicyclists have a duty to immediately Get Out of The Way. Neither assumption is true.
Rode SE 41st from Belmont to Division, and noticed two cars in front of me using the greenway to get to Division to turn east. Not sure why they were using this route, which parallels SE Cesar Chavez, and they probably could have used that route to make it to their destination more quickly. If we are talking diverters on Clinton, then why not other greenways? I hope the city can take a good look at the greenways, and provide an infrastructure that will deter thru-motorists, and reserve these routes for bicycles, skateboards, pedestrians, and neighborhood traffic.
Neighborhoods and groups need to organize for them.
Currently I know what is happening on Clinton of course and Going,
North Tabor will have a full diversion plan by the end of the month. Want to take on 41st or Salmon? I know the board in Sunnyside is very bike friendly, but the locals need to be on board. I personally HATE 41st…..I always take 45th as it does not meander and is just as flat….since neither of them have diversion, 45th has less aggressive traffic as it is more narrow.
The advantage of 41st for me is travel to Eastmoreland/Reed College and Woodstock area is more convenient than 45th. I agree that 45th meanders, and has many stop signs (should be flipped!). I would love to tackle 41st between Belmont and Division!
Same thing happened to me this morning at about 8:45 AM, I was northbound on NE 28th at NE Wasco, taking the lane to avoid the parked cars and traffic exiting the Freddy’s parking lot. Guy was in a company car with a young teenager on board. When I caught up with them at the signal at NE 28th and Broadway the driver and I exchanged some choice words and the teen flipped me off.
I think the heat is melting the motorists’ brains.
Jonathan, I know you’re always conducted this blog and your advocacy efforts with a spirit of collaboration and mutual understanding. But this shows that the solution isn’t diverters, white lines of paint, or “awareness”. It’s time for bikeportland.org/bikeloud/BTA (I know, fat chance) to start demanding biker only streets.
If you saw a pedestrian walking down the middle of the Banfield, you’d say “What the hell!?” If you saw a car driving on the sidewalk in the Pearl, you’d say “WHAT THE HELL?!”
Tell me where the (non-scenic) transit paths are in Portland where if you saw anything but a bike, you’d say “WHAT THE HELL?” Nowhere.
That’s what gets us over 6% adoption of primary transit by bike. That’s what gets us back to #1 Bike City. And that might be one of the things that can keep PDX International, Sauvie Island, and every property North of the Fremont ridge from not being marshland when the Pacific rises 25 feet.
Excellent point. Cars have non-shared spaces (freeways). Pedestrians have non-shared spaces (sidewalks in a large part of downtown, trails in Forest Park). Bicyclists must share at all times. Even in spaces which are supposed to be exclusively for bikes (striped bike lanes are the only legal space reserved exclusively for bicycles—oh, and also motorized mobility assistance devices), we must share with car doors, pedestrians, delivery vehicles, etc. Most people think absolutely nothing of blocking a bike lane, but if I stopped my bike in such a way as to completely block a sidewalk or a lane of I-84, I’d be considered deserving of death on the spot.
Likewise, I’ve been saying that the Willamette Greenway, Eastbank Greenway, and Springwater Corridor have needed four bike lanes (plus turn lanes at high congestion locations like approaching the Hawthorne Bridge interchanges) and seperate sidewalks for 15 years now. 25 years for Willamette Greenway.
am i hearing correctly that the driver responds “yep!” to the question “was that really worth it?”
i am *very* steadfastly in the “its not worth confrontation” department – 2 decades as a bike messenger has shown me that its just not worth it – but that there is the moment it becomes *very* difficult not to put something through his window.
It made me think that the driver has been confronted regarding his behavior before. He was ready to answer.
I like putting discarded lit cigarettes and other trash thrown from their car back into people’s windows…
In his mind the thing that was ‘worth it’ was intimidating and threatening a cyclist, not making it to wherever he was going faster (which obviously is nullified by talking with the cyclist stopped at a red light he just sped past).
He did it to make someone feel threatened and to get a rise out of them, and by the simple act of being asked the question he was asked, he got confirmation that, Yes, it was definitely worth it.
I had the weirdest experience today. My business took me from Clever Cycles on 9th and Hawthorne, due north almost all the way to Columbia Blvd., then back home to Sabin. I rarely go into NoPo, so this was a new route for me.
I used mostly 9th and then Rodney the whole way north. As soon as I crossed from NE to N (using Tillamook) it was like I entered a world of patient, polite, friendly drivers. People yielded to me everywhere except Lombard. On narrow little one-car-width streets, drivers waited in a parking spot for me to go by.
Seriously, I don’t know when I’ve ever waved thank-you to so many drivers on a single ride. What gives? What’s the magic of North Portland? Was I just having a lucky day? Or have others noticed this effect?
My very biased, unscientific theory? Closer in = more traffic + more affluent transplants + more tourists = worse driving.
You haven’t spent much time riding in East Portland, have you?
No. When I have, I’ve found it generally terrifying.
I know you’ve hinted before that you let your hair out in the wind when you ride…
There have been studies that show drivers give less room while passing to those who ride with helmets on, than those that don’t. Not enough to say that it is a fact, but there are definitely indications that this may be a factor – if it is your case.
Hey! That might be it! I specifically took off my helmet as soon as I was out of the traffic/industry/truck areas south of MLK. Very interesting insight. You might be right.
no, I believe there has been one study and it was something like 5″ on average. believing that is some kind of panacea of personal safety is ridiculous.
I wasn’t saying it causes safer cycling conditions I plainly said it was a possibility – not a fact.
And when you’re talking about being overtaken by a car 5″ can be a huge difference.
And if you want to get technical that same study long hair gave more the rider more room than short hair too.
Or instead of 5″ you could say it is 14% more passing room if 3′ is considered a safe passing distance.
At least this didn’t happen to ya:
Maybe the area is improving?
This is a really interesting observation. I think that it reflects the kind of traffic moving through a neighborhood. In my totally-non-scientific experience, it’s commuters (especially longer distance commuters) who are the most dangerous offenders. There’s an accumulation of stress and drive time that makes cyclists appear as obstacles instead of people, and any option to shave time off a commute (even if the difference is only in “perceived” time) is worth taking.
People incidentally driving within their 20 minute neighborhood seem much more polite to both cyclists and peds – perhaps because they are more likely to be peds or cyclists themselves.
Anne I live in North Portland and that’s been my experience as well. I thought it was just my imagination !
So yeah, thanks N/NE Portland drivers.
I bike in outer Southwest Portland every day and have found drivers here to be universally friendly and patient here as well. The space given to me by cars on the many two lane roads out here continues to pleasantly surprise me!
I mostly agree with you – N. Portland is less dense, less traffic, less cyclists, less problems. This part of N. Portland is a little bit of an island, so less people driving through it trying to get from one end of city to other – other than those folks living there. But, there are exceptions: try riding N. Willamette Blvd on the section North of Portsmouth to the St. John’s bridge. A great piece of road, but cars like to pass cyclists at >30 mph without giving an inch. Bike lane, where it still exists in this section, full of storm drains and is a very narrow 3 feet – with a situation of the road curving and winding provides many places where drivers cut into the bike lane while they shorten a curve. Happens to me while I am also trying to use the bike lane – since no on-coming traffic in other lane, why did they leave me so little room as they zoomed past? I try to be non-confrontational for reasons cited above by others (riding angry is no fun!), but when driver is a professional (Tri-met, delivery truck, etc), then it’s good to let them know they cut it too close.
That could definitely be part of the magic: that island effect, not much to cut through to. Whereas in my area, though pretty low-traffic between Broadway and Fremont, is seeing more and more cut-through traffic on the quiet side streets of Irvington. It’s still a nice place to ride, but I’ve noticed a downturn in politeness lately that I hope isn’t a trend.
I also see a heck of a lot of out-of-state plates around the close-in NE area, and I won’t swear to having noticed a single one in North. Correlation? Confirmation bias? IDK.
Always thought 34th should be closed to cars between Belmont and Hawthorne. At least. Simple solution, but there’s like 12 parking spaces, so…never mind. Save the children, unless save the parking. Cynical F***ks. Pardon the language. These things are tiresome.
Bet if we put in some “sharrows” there everything will be hunky dory, huh?
You hit the real issue perfectly: “The video highlights an issue Portland is struggling with right now: As our city grows and changes, many people choose to drive on backstreets in order to avoid congestion on larger arterials.”
The cut-through problem goes beyond biking. I don’t’ think it’s hyperbole to say that it’s damaging the fabric of the city. It’s hard to feel neighborly when you need to keep an eye out for speeding vehicles when you’re just walking down the street.
Aggressive, random enforcement is absolutely necessary, right now. Otherwise “quiet side streets” will no longer exist in SE Portland…
Another option, I think we need to actually encourage safe slow drivers to focus on driving on the main cut through routes, even if pointlessly driving. Get the old grandpa drivers like myself out there. I understand completely from so many long term perspectives that is counter productive, but as a short term stop gap I think it makes actual sense. I have made choices in life w/ kids that are difficult to unravel that force me to drive much more than I want but I take my favorite bike routes and drive 20 and never pass a cyclist unless I can give them 6 feet and not exceed the speed limit. I notice more people seemingly doing the same and it seems to be reducing car traffic on my certain streets. It only takes a few cars to increase the probability that the cut through drivers will get slowed down too much on the side streets enough that they calculate better odds sticking to the arterials.
I can’t help but laugh to myself at the vision of organized bands of grandpa drivers, carefully and systematically cruising the side streets of Portland, a mobile traffic calming measure. Anyone that volunteers to take on this duty should get a special flag to attach to their car.
I love the flag idea
What about a lit sign on the back of my car that displays the speed I’m currently driving?
Actually an idea regarding driverless google cars… Not that I am totally sold on the, but with access to smartphone data about travel times and routes people take, computer algorithms could predict where cut through traffic was going to form, see where speeds were too high on bicycle routes, and actively control traffic speeds by sending driverless cars every 10 minutes down select streets at reasonable speeds and adapting real time to where the cheater and speeders are going.
For example the algorithm might route cars taking passenger or even empty cars down Clinton 1 every 5 to 10 minutes and if as days progress drivers react by shifting Lincoln move some or all of the cars to that route.
I should patent this idea… but I won’t you can have it for free. I see it happening somewhere within 10 years but not Portland, because that would be platinum. Great thing is it could be implemented, theoretically, without the cooperation of any gov’t agency.
“Bicycle May Use Full Lane”
signs on our neighborhood greenways.
See Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Design Guide, page 1-21, Figure 1-22.
In years past, PBOT was not enthusiastic about using this sign.
Now, behavior has changed, and many people driving cars feel entitled to pass people on bikes on quiet streets, this message needs to be driven home with unambiguous signage.
All of you folks citing specific instances where your safety was compromised by a person in a car engaging in a dangerous passing maneuver — send an email to email@example.com and ask them to install a “R4-11” sign in that location.
How about cars not allowed to pass bikes on greenways. (example::large)
I’ve got a RidEye mounted and running 100% of the time I’m on my trusty 2-wheeler. I love that the camera has built in crash detection and automatically saves-off video for later analysis, in case you’re incapacitated after a serious collision… Having a camera has also allowed me to quickly deescalate verbal harassment incidents. Once a harasser realizes they’re on an episode of Candid Camera they start whistling a different tune, ah real-quick…
Please be very careful about confronting people. It’s very easy to get a concealed carry permit in this state, so you never know who is packing (including people on bikes).
Sorry…but having someone pull a gun on me because I am letting them know that a close pass could have injured me (or worse) is not something I worry about.
You keep being a coward. I won’t.
when did SE 34th become a quiet street? the last decade I’ve been riding it has been a constant game of dodge-a-car… I was surprised to only see 2 cars driving on it in the video…
If Portland Police cites this guy, it will be a huge victory for the cycling community.
We’ve all had to deal with the same issue, but how about all the positive interactions we have on the road?
This morning’s commute I had three drivers wave me through at 4 ways when it wasn’t my right of way. This is a daily event and far out numbers the negative interactions.
Much as we hate being grouped together due to those who ride without consideration for the law, drivers deserve the same consideration. They aren’t all out there trying to run us off the road, and in fact in my experience the majority treat me very well.
That’s not what this story is about. It’s about a motorist out there that is endangering people’s lives and they need to be taken off the road.
And that’s all we ever hear about. Makes it sound like homicidal maniacs all over the roads.
It doesn’t hurt to actually look at what is going on and realize that the majority of drivers out there aren’t trying to kill us.
The problem isn’t that all drivers are homicidal maniacs, not even that some drivers are homicidal maniacs. The problem is given the horrendous lethality of motor vehicles that any drivers are homicidal maniacs.
The firearm equivalent for a motor vehicle is BB gun @ 20 MPH, 9 mm Parabellum @ 23 MPH, 20 mm cannon @ 30 MPH, with ever- larger cannons above 30 up to a 155 mm @ 60 MPH, all with unlimited amounts of ammunition until someone gets hit.
I had someone try to do this to me this morning, and it actually REALLY annoys me. It’s a four way stop, I’m a vehicle and I’m legally required to make my stop. All the wavers-through do is hold every up, and create an unsafe situation. The rules are there for predictability and trust.
Just follow the rules of the road.
Maybe we need a law that all bikes have the right-of-way at any 4-way stop sign if cars are not already rolling after having stopped? And simultaneous greens 2x/cycle at any 4-way stop light.
What is wrong with the current 4 way stop sign laws?
Ok, OK. Everyone settle down. I have the solution. And I will share it with you now…
Public Shaming!! Get these drivers names, post the videos using their name as a tag, share on U-tube/Insta/FB/whatever. That is the only way to take down each ones of these terrible drivers one by one. They are most likely on their phones anyway…so wouldn’t it be ironic for them to discover this shaming for bad driving on their phone (while in the car probably).
(Costs a few bucks, but isn’t it worth it!?)
I feel fortunate that I have the privilege to use MUP’s for 90% of my 18 mile commute.
Yeah… let’s put them in stocks in the town square and throw rotten produce at them…
Shame is not a deterrent, nor an appropriate form of punishment.
It’s been drummed into my head that while self defense is legal, fighting is not. When emotions run hot, situations quickly escalate. If a situation becomes physically confrontational, and you are (justifiably) defending yourself, it’s easy to get carried away and keep attacking even when the “attacker” has been subdued. Suddenly, the roles are reversed and now YOU are the one facing assault charges. The aggressive driver is already amped up. Don’t waste time attempting to “engage them in a meaningful discussion”.
I grew up here and have been riding in Portland since 2002. Cut-though driving is becoming a massive problem as the city densifies. We have a policy of not expanding existing road capacity for cars but where is the symmetrical expansion in bike, ped, transit necessary to support all the new density?
This is just the logical outcome of a city who for years was not doing the hard work. Making clear it’s priorities. Work which will involve a coordinated and vigorous policy. One in which cars are actively discouraged.
Additionally, I might add that in the past drivers seemed more accepting and polite with the concept of “share the road” when there were few bikers. But today it feels like just another exertion of the culture wars. These drivers are militant vigilantes who bully and hurt people because they see them as OTHER. They are a blight and must be stopped through law and education.
Is this video proof of a crime? If so then I assume the police could take action?
I’m kicking around purchasing this device from Garmin and capturing some threat level reaction on my commute. I’m guess roads like Barber are off the charts.
Crime video? Yes, he said he’s pursuing it.
Doubt the Garmin device would help you much unless it records the speed and records a photo/video adequate to get a license number (in case of hit & run). It’ll just make you scared is my guess. Sounds like the “threat level” is based only on speed and that’s not a good indicator of actual threat IMHO.
For my money, I’d prefer to have a camera and/or a really good flashing light (or 2).
Greenways/bikeways are not working, esp. as people move here who have no intent to reduce vehicles miles traveled and the associated air pollution. Time for “One More Bike” on “Bike Only Lanes”…
If anyone knows the rider who is in the other lane as the driver makes the pass, please have them contact Jonathan so he can put them in touch with me. I’m pursuing this via the courts.
FWIW using the Google Maps “measure distance” function, I get about 160ft from the south sidewalk projection of Grant @ 34th (where he passed you) to the south sidewalk projection on Sherman @34th. It would probably be easier to get the time difference from the original video, but I clock about 3.2 seconds == 34Mph.
People who bike with cameras: if you don’t file a Citizen Intiated Citation when the camera captures illegal driving, what is even the point of having the camera? From what I’ve seen in these discussions, it seems to rarely ever happen. If I had a helmet cam, I’d be in court every couple of months getting another bad driver whacked with some consequences. Word would spread about it. Streets would be safer.
If you’re willing to make that commitment, I’ll happily donate a few bucks to a GoFundMe or similar project to set you up with a GoPro. I doubt I’m the only one.
I could think of two things off the top of my head…
Preventing people from escalating the situation once they notice you have a camera on you that they have to assume is recording their behavior…
And also documenting things if the worst-case scenario happens and you’re hit and incapacitated. So if this guy managed to hit the poster and then claim that he was swerving on his bike and riding unpredictably, there will be immediate proof that he was lying (on top of driving recklessly).
Not only that, pursuing this case would be impossible (at least through the ‘Citizen complaint’ option) if the rider hadn’t caught the guy at the stop sign. Because you’re forced to visually pick the driver out of a photo line up to prove that they were behind the wheel of the car, and I assume the OP wouldn’t have been able to do that from the first pass.