Americans have become sadly accustomed to so-called “safety” campaigns that scold people for being insufficiently cautious while obeying the law.
A more sensible approach, of course, would be to help everyone understand what the law is and (if you have to scold anyone) stick to scolding people who actually break it. That’s why this new campaign from the Oregon Department of Transportation is such great news.
ODOT regional active transportation liaison Jessica Horning said the campaign followed “a bit of a non-traditional approach to developing safety campaign materials”: it was developed by ODOT itself in collaboration with its Portland-region Ped/Bike Safety Working Group, a team of local and national institutions and government staff.
“The group’s goal was to develop new educational materials to increase awareness of pedestrian and bicycle safety issues using a ‘positive community norms’ approach (e.g. improving behavior by building community identity/culture, no fear tactics),” Horning said. “This initial campaign message has been very well-received so far and you should start seeing it popping up across the region over the coming months. We handed out 3,000 water bottles with this message/graphic printed on them at Bridge Pedal and our partners are getting rolling on additional materials.”
There’s also a web URL, OregonianCrossing.org, which leads to the agency’s pedestrian safety website.
Some of the archived materials on that page reflect the different approach to pedestrian safety that ODOT’s safety advocates could have pursued with this campaign, but didn’t. For example, four of the five “social media” images there urge people to take extra precautions while walking even when the law is on their side, and only one of the five urges people not to break the law while driving.
Since we can probably all agree that Oregon’s unmarked crosswalk law is one of the most little-known and rarely followed laws on the books, let’s celebrate the state’s choice to stick up for its laws and its residents by using this new campaign to tell it like it is.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.
This is the very same odot that refuses to fix Powell and the very same odot that wants bike lanes removed?
Yes. And no.
ODOT has a lot of factions within its structure. There are people who sincerely want to “do the right thing” but are limited by those who don’t. This represents a win for those ODOT employees who are “on our side.” Don’t undermine their success just to make a snarky comment on a blog. Yes, ODOT still has a lot of work to do to create trust, but the people who want to do that are not terribly likely to continue trying to make change happen from within if their reward for the things they do right is this.
I extend my bicycle into the roadway at this crosswalk all the time, and it’s rare when a driver stops for me. https://goo.gl/maps/9Dmp0
They do generally stop for pedestrians though.
I had a drive waggle his finger at me when I was attempting to cross at an unmarked crosswalk while walking my bicycle. This was in the upper 40s blocks of Hawthorne where there are no lights and few marked crosswalks (also complicated by offset corners).
I’m glad to see ODOT making some effort to (re)educate drivers of their responsibilities, especially at unmarked crossings. So few people seem to be aware of this law.
Offset corners = more unmarked crosswalks!
Offset corners = more crosswalks!
I had the Vancouver southbound morning commute peloton blow past me when I stopped for a bicyclist at the crosswalk south of Fremont. I yelled “she’s using the crosswalk” and hurry guy yelled “she’s on a bike” so I yelled “read the ORS”.
Oh, well cyclists don’t stop for people in the crosswalk. In 99% of my experiences.
When I stop for people in a crosswalk, they give me a really confused look, and a sheepish ‘thank you’.
I had a ped say, “Don’t rush me!” when I stopped for her at an unmarked crosswalk andand told her, “Go ahead!” I’m convinced you can’t win as a cyclist no matter what you do.
I smile and tell them that they have right of way.
I don’t wait for them to stop. I walk into the street and they slow down or move around me. Americans are so used to order and rules. We need to take a page from other countries in pedestrian/cyclist areas. Both modes can move dynamically and safely in a shared space. No need to make someone come to a complete stop.
I don’t mind stopping. Good cyclocross practice.
I can’t say I’ve shared that experience. Maybe 1 in 50 motorists stops for me. If there’s a stop sign, sometimes they’ll stop though, but even that’s pretty rare.
It’s wonderful to see ODOT embracing a people-first approach!
I completely agree. This is wonderful. A new ODOT?!
I found the scare quotes in explanation below a bit surprising, though:
“The group’s goal was to develop new educational materials to increase awareness of pedestrian and bicycle safety issues using a ‘positive community norms’ approach (e.g. improving behavior by building community identity/culture, no fear tactics)…
I’m very glad to see ODOT adopt a positive community norms approach. But am scratching my head a little: what took them so long??!
ODOT is a large organization with the bureaucratic infighting that comes with that territory. Don’t expect sunshine, roses, and road diets from the rest of ODOT just because one group put this out. But at least one internal group with enough clout to push this through exists now!
Put it on a t-shirt, I’ll wear it.
Love it. Especially the disarming effect that comes from the little bit of humor (sasquatch, donut eating guy). Sure beats “Stop – It’s the LAW”
I couldn’t decide at first whether that was sasquatch or Chewbacca.
Maybe bigfoot *is* a wookie.
Always let the wookie walk.
Oh that’s a donut? I was trying to figure out what the magnet had to do with anything.
Great. Next step, get law enforcement to actually press charges when people break the law and hurt/kill cyclists. Lookin’ at you WashCo!
Ran a red light and killed 3 children in a crosswalk who had the light. $435, 200 hours of service and a driver’s safety course. Ridiculous.
Would have liked, and appreciated, if they mentioned bicycles (and had them in the graphic image) were also included in crosswalk participants.
Don’t think that many auto drivers are knowledgeable of this.
Seems like they intentionally simplify things for the PR campaign because deep down, they realize that the law is too nuanced to convey in a way that people can understand easily.
Also, it’s even more complicated in that a bicycle operator (to earn the rights of a pedestrian) must slow down to no more than “a normal walking speed” per the ORS before entering the crosswalk when vehicles are present. Try explaining that one to most drivers – or cyclists.
How does this work at the water exit ramp at the east end of the Hawthorne bridge? The bike lane continues straight, but the exit lane crosses it. They took out the “turning cars yield to bikes” sign and replaced it with the “ped/bike crossing” symbol sign. Does that mean all bicyclist must stop and proceed at walking pace? Since they changed the signs, I’ve seen more close calls of car drivers not yielding to people in the bike lane.
No idea (not familiar with the area) but it sounds like a good case to make an augment to the city or PBOT to put it back.
I’ve also been frustrated with the “improvements” to that crossing. It’s also been my experience that it is now worse than before since the sign is completely ambiguous. When I have to ride through there, I ride to the left of the bollards where I’m in plain sight and it’s clear that I’m proceeding straight through.
“Also, it’s even more complicated in that a bicycle operator (to earn the rights of a pedestrian) must slow down to no more than “a normal walking speed” per the ORS before entering the crosswalk when vehicles are present. Try explaining that one to most drivers – or cyclists. …” John Lascurettes
Though a number for mph may not come to mind, I figure most people have a general idea of what speed a normal walking speed is. It’s not so complicated for people to know when called for, to restrict the speed of their vehicle to the speed people normally walk.
question on this….i thot bicycles were included only when being walked?
with the rider in the saddle, i understand them to count as road traffic.
i’ve stopped for bikes before only to be waved on so figured this was verification of my understanding thx
No, not in Oregon. You may earn the rights (and responsibilities) of a pedestrian by operating on a sidewalk (of which the crosswalk is an extension) provided you slow to a “normal walking speed” each time before crossing a driveway or a crosswalk if vehicles are present. You must also always yield to pedestrians and give them some kind of audible when passing them. http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.410
Also note, if you’re in the road (like stopped for a stop sign), you are a vehicle and are obeying the law properly. I’ve also had people on a through street (no stop) try to wave me through in that situation thinking they must yield to me because of the cautionary sign that bikes will be crossing there. I usually refuse to go because that’s a recipe for getting nailed by another car from the other direction or other lane and then I’d still be in the wrong for not yielding to them.
I’ve given up fighting this, although I used to refuse the courtesy. It seems like it’s become the de facto spirit of the law, so in the interest of goodwill on the roads if someone stops I’ll wait for cross traffic to stop as well and then go through, waving to the stopped drivers if I can. Helps keep my blood pressure down 🙂
If I really can’t go because other drivers aren’t stopping (often happens at Ankeny and Chavez) I’ll shrug my shoulders as if to say “sorry dude, but thanks anyway”.
That intersection gets a little different though. I have always felt like the bikeway and MUP crosswalks are different regarding stopping for regular bike riders than a more pedestrian oriented sidewalk.
A bikeway (I assume you mean a greenway) is still a road, and if I’m operating my bike as a vehicle, I’m sticking to the rules (especially at something like Sandy and Ankeny), but as jonno says, if I’m confident all lanes are stopped I will go.
Only if they legaly cross walking there bike otherwise they are under the laws of the cars
Sorry, this is incorrect. In Oregon you may cross a crosswalk while riding a bicycle as long as you don’t exceed the speed of an “ordinary walk.”
It is also clearly described in the Oregon Bicyclist’s Manual, which you can get from your local DMV.
Yeah and most intersection has stop signs that get ignored.
They’re going to have to do something drastic to improve compliance at the worst case crosswalks: unmarked crosswalks on busy 4+ lane arterials. I have to cross North Lombard almost every workday at an unmarked crosswalk and it makes a laughing stock of this law. First off, showing intent by stepping into the street is a non-starter, because traffic is so fast and so close to the curb that it feels dangerous to do so. It doesn’t work anyway. So I stand back a foot or two, watching, waiting for a clearing. No one ever stops. Ever. If they set up a sting here, they could keep the whole police force busy processing violators. It’s like the law doesn’t exist.
Without a BIG education effort, people will continue to treat crosswalks based on their gut instincts. Sure, marked crosswalks, or unmarked ones on slow/narrow streets will get decent compliance, just based on politeness, but unmarked crosswalks on wide busy roads make a complete mockery of this law, and they need to do way more than a forgettable PR campaign to fix it. People just think they don’t possibly need to stop for a random pedestrian when they’re in a sea of cars all going 35+ mph.
It would be nice if they would bring traffic laws back in line with reality, in general. If 90+% of people routinely and casually violate a given law, it undermines the legitimacy of the system. If they want to change behavior to match the law, then they need to do a lot more than a PR campaign. They need to increase education and testing of drivers, for example.
Try turning on the flashlight mode of your phone and waving that in your hand? And remember, “make sure vehicles moving in both directions have stopped before proceeding.”
Considered the flashlight thing, thought better of it because it seems like a plain invitation to “I couldn’t see because he waved a flashlight in my eyes and I was blinded, causing me to run him over” defense.
That’s valid. I’ve used the flashlight when walking with a baby and a dog on the side of rural highways, and it usually prompts lane changes from passing vehicles, which is a nice courtesy.
“…First off, showing intent by stepping into the street is a non-starter, …” Nick
I should find a link to the law, and review the law before writing this, but Oregon law doesn’t oblige people crossing a road or street on foot to step into the street to show intent to across. All that’s needed is to extend a part of themselves past the curb in the direction they seek to travel.
In a range of road and street situations, one example being on big multi-lane thoroughfares though, I’ve got a lot of doubt about the wisdom of people on foot creating their own impromptu crosswalk point. There’s too much risk involved in that situation.
Once, many years ago, not yet a driver with a lot of experience, daytime dark dreary weather, I was driving westbound on Pacific Hwy/99w just east of Tigard. A very busy, fast four lane road even back then. Two crazy girls southbound wanted to cross the highway on foot, absent a designed intersection. Concerned for their safety, I slowed in my lane to let them cross, thinking people in the adjacent lane would follow suit, which they did.
Out of fear that someone wouldn’t stop for the girls, my friend sitting next to me, up from California, was alarmed that I would do that. Never have done that since.
Which is to say their are practical limits to the provision of Oregon’s law about people on foot having the right to designate their own crosswalk points. Due care on the part of all road users regardless of their mode of travel, is a responsibility all road users are obliged to embrace as a condition of their right to use the road.
Where do I get lawn signs to leave at the troubled crossings of my commute??
That’s a great idea!
Hallelujah! I spend so much time trying to explain this to people. Including the guy that tried to intimidate us for being “rude” because we crossed a corner a block away from a corner that had a crosswalk.
Now if we could only get crosswalk enforcements to happen at unmarked crosswalks with more frequency.
The VAST majority of crosswalks in Portland are unmarked, yet only about 10% of enforcements happen at unmarked/unsigned crosswalks. This only serves to reinforce the public’s erroneous perception that crosswalks = marked.
That most of the public is so ignorant of this fact speaks to a failure on the part of the powers-that-be to educate via information and enforcement.
Maybe we could get crosswalk enforcement every day instead of every month at SOME location in Portland!
I just noticed that in the graphic that is intended to enlighten people about how ALL intersections have crosswalks, they show a marked crosswalk. A bad design for a graphic with this intent, IMO.
A side note: while walking my son to school the other day, the woman supervising the children who were learning how to be crossing guards, she admonished one of them to not cross at an unmarked crosswalk, saying, “That’s not a crosswalk!”
ODOT’s campaign should reach out to schools and the parents who drive their kids to school everyday.
Oh good gawd! Please go back and find that woman and hand her a printout of one of these postcards.
I’m actually going to talk to the principal about it. She had a lot going on at the time and I didn’t want to add to the overload.
While you’re at it make sure they know bicycles go with traffic. I distinctly remember being taught as a child that bikes go against traffic. Confused the daylights outta me for a long time until I learned how the roads really work.
I’m pretty sure Safe Routes to School has this covered. I highly doubt ANY school in Portland is passing that misinformation along. Although, I will inquire about how kids are taught about cycling at that school.
Safe routes to schools in my neighborhood got hijacked a few years back. Now they are taught that helmets are not necessary and to ride against traffic like pedestrians and to cross streets go to a “button crosswalk” and ride on the sidewalk after crossing not on the bike path.
More kids are riding properly to school correctly until after the “coaching session” once a year. Then they quit riding or follow the instructions.
Now let’s see if we can’t get PBOT to do the same, bury their thinly disguised wag-fingers-at-pedestrians campaign:
can i dissent without getting flamed too much?
roadways need more clarity, less confusion.
having some xwalks marked, and others not is illogical and easily creates confusion among certainly out of town drivers and pedestrians, not to mention undereducated locals.
i’ve been trying to cross intersections with no driver ceding way…i’ve also been a driver stopping to let someone cross only to have them stare blankly at me.
mark all intersections as recognizable crosswalks.
lower inner city speed limits
i know there are perhaps bigger fish to fry, but side benefits of increasing roadway clarity likely make it a safer road for all
It’s a good point that many of the people trying to cross have themselves little understanding of the relevant laws. Basically — no one knows what the hell to do, so they do what seems right to them.
I agree. I’d almost prefer that there were no marked crosswalks at any corners (because I’m sure ODOT/PBOT’s excuse is that it would cost too much to mark them all) with the following exceptions:
1) in school zones, near senior centers, or any other special needs areas – this way the crosswalk serves as an extra special warning to road users that people who deserve extra respect are in the area. These are already special crossings because they use the zebra-stripe style markings.
2) mid-block crossings, mainly because this an explicit allowance to cross mid-block where it’s not normally allowed – unlike at every corner where it it is implicitly (and with marking explicitly) allowed.
This is basically true. Enjoy your crosswalks, suckers! The law is written one way, but the design of essentially every arterial road contradicts it completely. Putting the onus of this contradiction on drivers rather than more vulnerable users in an ad campaign doesn’t create more locations where it’s actually safe and convenient to cross major arterials. It doesn’t change the fact that if someone is hit in an unmarked crosswalk, and by some miracle they’re prosecuted or even ticketed, they’ll probably manage to beat the rap one way or another.
The only way the state can really make a dent is by setting standards for safe crossings of urban arterials (i.e. their design and spacing, ped/bike-friendly interchanges or ways to bypass them), following those standards (in their own projects), backfilling the standards (onto existing roads), and enforcing those standards (for local projects). An ad campaign around the existing law merely does the typical state thing, shirking accountability for its design and planning choices, putting the onus on someone else. I’d give up the “every intersection is a crosswalk” law in a second for a serious attempt at high-quality crosswalks, visible to drivers, accessible to all sidewalk users, with whatever degree of traffic control is necessary for safety, at regular intervals (often somewhat wider than every block, but every few blocks certainly) on urban arterials. That would cost money, but it would actually accomplish something.
How about fixed cameras?
Those cost more than painting the crosswalk in the first place.
But they do have the added benefit of “teaching” the motoring portion of the public through fines.
I very, very strongly believe that the law would be much better understood if we adopted California’s pedestrian crossing law.
Pedestrians should always have priority and should have the right to cross as any (unsignaled) portion of the road!
Finally, somebody said it! Priority for all peds everywhere. Roads are for people, dogs, cats and chickens. Soccer balls.
It is weird how ‘person in large metal box’ arbitrarily gets to claim priority over all other people.
Not confusing at all, the rule is basically pedestrians have the right away.
Love it – ODOT is using my likeness in their campaign
have to admit…10yrs ago, after moving here from NYC, i WAS THAT GUY who likely thot u were rude for trying to cross 1block away from a marked crosswalk.
I spent 10yrs driving in manhattan/nj and had 0 problem w/ jaywalkers but frankly 95% of “professional” jaywalkers aren’t trying to usurp right of way…and if they do then its not uncommon for a horn blast or perhaps words.
moving here seeing all the crosswalks marked etc, it never occurred to me that EVERY intersection was a crosswalk…its just illogical…mark some, not others….are the marked ones crosswalk-ier? 🙂
then…like others who are frequently impassioned by what they view as injustice, i realized i was in the wrong.
You know, if the cops left peds alone, I honestly wouldn’t care so much. But considering that cops will ticket you for crossing mid-block, when there are NO CARS around, well, then dammit, they really need to haunt every driver who doesn’t yield, which I might add, would include the many cops I’ve seen driving and not yielding to peds at unmarked intersections.
As a fellow New Yorker now living in Portland, in general I’ve found Portland drivers to be very accommodating to pedestrians. Portland drivers are so much more aware of pedestrians than NYC drivers that it’s not even a contest. However, crossing at an unmarked crosswalk still feels dangerous here–lot of education to be done. I walk along the South Park Blocks pretty frequently and it boggles the mind why the only crossword are midblock.
That said, I’ve had my share of attitude from Portland drivers… like the guy who lamely told me to “cross faster” at Naito and Clay (he was coming off the Harbor clusterfuck.) I’m going to be a bad mood one of these days and my New York pedestrian rage is going to come out and the poor driver won’t know what happened or how to respond. Yes, I will stand in your way/stare at you/hit your car/hit the driver side window.
It has never been clear to me how this applies to intersections where there is a walk signal. My intuition is that if there is a walk signal and it says don’t walk, then a pedestrian does not have the right of way and should not attempt to cross. However, all the promotional materials have this blanket statement saying that pedestrians signalling to cross have the right of way at EVERY intersection. I think it would cause chaos if this campaign worked and actually educated people into thinking that they should be able to cross busy 4 lane roads against a no-walk signal. Maybe I’m being overly pedantic, but I feel like this should be clarified.
Frankly that’s why I feel that the law should be changed. Pedestrians should not have the right of way. Mind you I say this not because I’m anti-pedestrian, I’m actually for pedestrians. The problem is the confusion the current law creates.
Even if you’re aware of the law (which many aren’t) if can be hard to decide what to do. Nick’s comment about trying to cross N Lombard is a great example of the conundrum as a pedestrian. As a cyclist or driver the problem is trying to figure out what a pedestrian is doing, assuming you can see them at all which can be difficult at times if there’s on street parking. Are they planning to cross? Just standing around? It can be very hard to tell, especially with the cell phone zombies that wander around any more. I can think of more than twice I’ve had pedestrians put a foot out, I stopped, only to have them not cross.
Far simpler would be to have the law match the rule of tonnage. The smaller object yields to the larger. This is how I’ve always operated when I’m a pedestrian and really it works great because it removes the guesswork from the equation. The cars are bigger and faster so I yield to them and don’t need to worry about whether they’re paying attention or not. The only problem with this of course being the likelihood of victim blaming when a collision happens. Which brings me back to my old litany of the need for harsher prosecution when a motorist injures or kills a vulnerable road user (ped, cyclist, skater, etc.).
“The smaller object yields to the larger.”
You’re kidding, right?
That has been ODOT’s raison d’être for eons. And they’re finally creeping away from this!
IMO, pedestrian movement is the default transport mode and should always have absolute priority. This type of transportation hierarchy works well in California and in most of the developed world. Only in the USA do we make walking across a road illegal (or in some cases a criminal offense).
Sorry, I’m gonna have to challenge you on this one. What happens on the roads in California and on paper are very different things. In SoCal you get jaywalking tickets trying to cross anywhere but in a crosswalk, and in NorCal you just get run over. Also, technically you’re not allowed to enter a crosswalk if the walk signal has entered a countdown, which is usually mere seconds after it cycles through “Walk.” (I’ve also witnessed senior citizens and Asians standing confused at lights during the countdown phase, which is actually not well understood here – we’ve debated it in BPAC with public works and law enforcement present).
While I absolutely agree with your sentiment, in my experience drivers in Oregon treat pedestrians with far more respect than drivers here in silicon valley, at least. (We’re working to get my city, Santa Clara, to officially adopt Vision Zero like San Jose just did, but crosswalk stings have been made a priority this year, though funding for them still has to come through special grants).
Vision Zero FYI: http://bikesiliconvalley.org/2015/08/view-download-the-vision-zero-toolkit
How many drivers have recently moved here from there?
Good question/point. Anecdotally, most of the time someone doesn’t stop for me when I’m up there, it’s a Washington plate.
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.235 their law is not much different, except you have to be in the road (which is how our law used to be written.)
This is prototypical pedestrian experience for me in Portland: After numerous attempts to cross, a vehicle finally stops in one lane. I cautiously move forward but traffic in other lanes fails to stop (and sometimes even speeds up).
Those intersections (or mid-block crosswalks) with walk/don’t walk signals are intersections that always have marked crosswalks. I’m not sure what you’re wondering about. You are not permitted (legally in the strictest sense) to start to cross when it says don’t walk. I’ve never seen an intersection with a walk signal without a marked crosswalk.
Additionally, there is no need to assert your intention to cross if you have the green walk signal (short of the limitation of not moving in front of a turning vehicle without enough time the driver to stop) because cross traffic has been halted and you have right of way over turning vehicles. You just cross.
Cross walks and crosswalk signals are great for Peds but a motorist and a cyclist must remember that most lights for ped crossing are relatively short and often times the crosswalk at the corner with the light is occupied by someone with a walker that, as best they might, may take a full 4-way light cycle to cross the intersection. Of course they are trying to go to the opposite corner and they will take another cycle to cross that corner as well.
ODOT should be mailing this out to all license holders.
Yes! Mail it out with every DMV registration or license renewal.
…and then testing them on it.
I’m really happy to see this campaign.
A few months ago, my three year old was biking himself to preschool every day (!!!). Then a thoughtless driver blasted by a foot away from him as we slowly entered an unmarked crosswalk (on NE 7th).
Now he won’t ride his bike at all.
Hold on, your child barely out of diapers… Is dicing it up with traffic? Yeah . . that doesn’t sound right.
What doesn’t sound right? Nick’s kid’s independence or his kid’s getting scared of his bike?
A young person who can capably ride a bike shouldn’t be crossing a street from sidewalk to sidewalk with a parent in tow?
I absolutely hate NE 7th now. It’s become too much of a rat race of Clark County commuters driving way too quickly, passing too closely, throwing things, yelling, honking, shouting obscenities, etc. I think it’s even worse than Williams now.
I have offered the mayor to do a ride along with me on my way home so he can experience it first hand (I even offered to cook some delicious gluten-free, vegetarian food if he was hungry). He didn’t respond.
After counting plates a couple of times on NE 7th, I’d say half of those ‘citizens’ are of Oregon. Be fair!
Of course, there is a 43% chance my results were random. Small sample.
Most of the problem drivers are from up North, in my experiences. But it could also be the times that I’m riding. I’m usually going through there right when rush hour is at its worst.
This is probably the biggest news in transportation this year. Not a joke.
Have you ever waited to cross, let’s say, SE Morrison near the bridge, say at 10th or so, or maybe near the Bowling Alley? ALL 50 cars that pass by you are liable for fines and points on their records, and whoever’s jurisdiction that is can bank helluva cash by regular enforcement… enforcement which never comes.
Sadly, automobile operators, and the public in general understand neither enforcement nor information awareness campaigns. The time to teach is when testing and issuing operator permits. And then HIT HARD with actual punishment, like jail time, for violators. I would guess that if every block was staffed by police, half the city would be in jail by the end of the day. I’d say by the next day, after billions of dollars in fines, some folks may stop for squirrels crossing the road.
Oregon drivers’ thought process while NOT stopping at crosswalk:
“They can wait, they’re on foot and not in a hurry”
“I don’t want to get rear-ended”
“I only have to stop at marked crossings, stop signs, or traffic lights”
People are surprisingly good at stopping for me on my bike at the Willamette and Rosa Parks crosswalk. That’s a marked one though, with an island, and by good I mean about 1 in 5 cars will stop. Still feels like it’s getting better.
If you’re on your bike, you should NOT be in a crosswalk (because those are for pedestrians), and NOBODY should stop just for you, except to avoid collision.
Traffic control devices are half the problem here. Have you ever seen the combination bike crossing/pedestrian crossing signs? They serve to contradict law and confuse automobile operators and cyclists alike. A cyclist does not have the right of way to cross a road like a pedestrian enjoys, because as cyclists, we are also roadway users.
Except that in Oregon, you can legally operate a bicycle and be considered a pedestrian if you are following the rules: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.410
So there is no, “should not use the crosswalk” here except for the downtown cores of Portland and Eugene where it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk (and by extension, the crosswalk).
For the record, the no-sidewalks zone of Portland is bound by NW Hoytt, SW Jefferson, NW/SW 14th, and NW/SW Naito. All other sidewalks are fair game.
You mean to say that a good sized portion of the Pearl District is considered “core downtown?”
“If you’re on your bike, you should NOT be in a crosswalk (because those are for pedestrians), and NOBODY should stop just for you, except to avoid collision.”
No, you are wrong.
Thanks for the pro-tip!
But that doesn’t change anything. When I’m on my motorcycle and encountering an intersection with no stop sign (when intersecting traffic does have a stop sign), I will not stop for bicycles alone. Morally, I have a problem with it, and I think the law is clear as mud.
In Germany, and probably elsewhere in Europe, there are very clear markings giving or taking away right of way, and in Portland, traffic signs are DIY. Did you know that yellow markings are just suggestions (with some exceptions), while white markings are obligatory (with some exceptions)? I bet there is some spillover in signage here in Portland, and crosswalk signs come to mind. “Share the road” is another good example of a useless sign. Don’t even get me started on the stop signs on roundabouts!
I say all this and folks probably think I hate bicycles, but it’s exactly the opposite. I don’t think activists have the most objective point of view, and I think it’s about time the government itself showed objectivity in how it administers transportation pathways, rather than defer to the automobile 100% of the time. Keeping laws unclear and contradictory is how the 4000LB automobile wins.
It’s not as confusing as all that. The only time it becomes murky is when there is no sidewalk.
If a bicyclist is waiting to cross a street, and they are in the roadway portion (e.g., shoulder, bike lane, or The Lane), of the street on which they are traveling, they are acting as a vehicle and have no pedestrian/crosswalk ROW—especially if they are facing a STOP sign.
If a bicyclist is waiting to cross a street and they are standing on the sidewalk of the street on which they are traveling—whether astride their bike or beside it—they are acting as a pedestrian and should be given the same ROW preference as a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
It is not a matter of whether a cyclist is riding or walking, it is a matter of whether they are traveling on the sidewalk or not.
What a cyclist should not expect to be able to do is pull up to a stop while in the road, then veer over into the crosswalk in an attempt to seize ROW for crossing, then veer back over into the roadway. However, if a bicyclist wants to pull up onto the sidewalk prior to reaching an intersection, and wait on the sidewalk (assuming it is in an area where sidewalk riding is legal), then they become a pedestrian with crosswalk rights.
Isn’t the law that a person has to put their foot in the road?
I think “including but not limited” leaves many creative options which are safer and more effective than a foot. Hi-viz hammer with hardened steel point, i.e. “stop or surrender your windshield”? As long as you clearly leave them time to safely stop, that seems fair. Granted, you’ll need video and probably backup because exercising your rights outside of a vehicle is perceived as criminal.
This campaign lacks any information about bikes as pedestrians in crosswalks.
I get off my bike. Stand there. They stop, I get on it and cross. I dunno what the point is or why people haven’t made the connection…
I don’t want to get off my bike any more than a driver wants to get out of his car.
True, but as a rider, and if I’m operating my bike as a pedestrian on the sidewalk, I’ll still dismount if it’s a busy street just to make it all the more clear, “hey, I’m walking here!” 😉 And the only major place I do that is downtown, where it’s illegal for me to be operating as a bike as pedestrian anyway. I ride north on SW Park Ave in the road, dismount at the corner of W. Burnside and walk assertively across the marked crosswalk. I wouldn’t expect a single car to stop for me there if I was still in the saddle (which by the strictest interpretation of the law I probably can’t do legally in the no-sidewalks downtown zone).
Here’s an idea: drivers must get out and push their cars through any crosswalks (marked or unmarked), sidewalks (especially driveways!) and anywhere it’s legal to cross or be in the road while walking (practically everywhere).
Keep in mind that these are situations where drivers don’t have the right of way – yet they are allowed to remain in their car and continue driving. Meanwhile, the same people driving do not respect people walking or biking, even when we have the right of way, unless we conform to their notions about where and how we should cross.
The sheriff’s deputy who DID NOT STOP for me trying to cross SE Bybee at 19th just yesterday (& I was clear on my intentions being partially off the curb) needs some training….
Can we make sure the Trimet drivers get this information!!
The last few times I’ve been honked at (when driving) while waiting for peds. at an unmarked crosswalk it was a bus driver.
Where I live, Willamette Drive is a state highway with heavy traffic and almost all intersections are unmarked. Cars never stop for pedestrians even if you are fully into the street. The bus stop is on the other side of the street so the bus is unusable unless you are willing to make a dash for it. I have been there when law enforcement has seen it and does nothing. Without enforcement, this law is meaningless.
What I don’t understand is why on key unmarked intersections under its jurisdiction ODOT won’t mark intersections. Does anybody know why?
I have the same problem on Upper Boones Ferry Rd here in Durham. I’ve asked the City why ODOT didn’t put in crosswalks at the unmarked intersections (at least at Findlay and Afton) when ODOT did their big re-working/sidewalks/street lights/burying the overhead lines, and they said that ODOT would have made them pay for it and they didn’t have the money.
So for the people who live in the neighborhoods between Rivendell and Durham Rd, they have to walk at least a quarter mile if not half a mile out of your way to cross Upper Boones Ferry Rd, and then walk a quarter mile/half mile back to get to where you would have crossed if there was a marked crosswalk.
Because these intersections are T-intersections, no one knows that they need to stop when someone is trying to cross the street. I’ve walked out, slowly, into the bike lane, and stood at the edge of the car lane, waiting for someone to stop so I can cross, and usually end up waving wildly and doing an exaggerated goose-step to get people to stop. I shouldn’t have to do that.
While I do my best to stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks. (Sorry for those I don’t notice in time). Bikes are the most difficult. Bikes are vehicles under the law. Allowing a vehicle to claim ROW while stopped on a side street with a stop sign when through traffic doesn’t have one is confusing for all.
Especially when a rider is positioned to the far right of the travel lane, how is it reasonable to expect a driver to recognize that a cyclist is in the crosswalk and not the road. A matter of a couple inches can mean the difference between it being perfectly legal to proceed or not.
You’ve nailed the precise problem with the muddiness of the situation. It’s why I do dismount for clarity’s sake if I’m using the crosswalk on a heavy-cross-trafficked road. In general, I cycle in the street; but there are rare occasions where the sidewalk is the shortest path from A to B. If I cross a low-trafficked street, I’ll enter the crosswalk at no more than walking speed, often doing a brief little track stand as I look right-left; but I’ll dismount for a heavily-trafficked cross street. Ironically, I’m much more assertive as a pedestrian walking a bike, than I am as a bike operator acting as pedestrian because there should be no doubt to other vehicle operators that I’m a pedestrian and not a vehicle at that point.
“A matter of a couple inches can mean the difference between it being perfectly legal to proceed or not.”
If you unsure, stop.