Joe Bike

At open house, City hears overwhelming support for diverters on Clinton

Posted by on September 25th, 2015 at 9:05 am

Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-9

After all, it is a bike street.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Not everybody likes the city’s proposal to add traffic diverters to Southeast Clinton Street at 17th and 29th Avenues. But just about everyone who rides a bike on Clinton seems to.

Fortunately for the proposal, just about everyone who’s currently interested in the issue seems to ride a bike.

Out of 123 comments gathered at last week’s open house, 84 percent of people said they support the city’s proposals and just 16 percent opposed them. Supporters include 84 percent of the people who said they live directly on Clinton and 95 percent of people who bike there — including those who both bike and drive.

The city proposal, which also included speed bumps between Chavez and 50th, wasn’t a hit among the 13 open house attendees who said they drive on Clinton but never bike there. Only three of those people (23 percent) supported the concepts.

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The city had advertised the open house with a mailer to every nearby residence and business. Half of the people who left comments at the open house gave addresses in the 97202 ZIP code; the other half lived elsewhere.

The support was not tepid. Of the people present, 71 percent said they “strongly support” the proposal. Another 9 percent said they “strongly oppose” it.

The numbers came Thursday from city project manager Rich Newlands, who added that open-ended comments are still being transcribed, and that online comments are still being collected on the city’s website.

Of the 250 online comments that have been received so far, Newlands said they “appear to mirror very closely those from the open house — we’re hearing mostly from bicyclist users of the greenway, with support for the proposed recommendations at above 80 percent.”

You can read more about the project on the city’s website, or browse our coverage of Clinton’s traffic troubles.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

59 Comments
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    Laura September 25, 2015 at 9:23 am

    The City needs to remember that Clinton, east of Chavez, is 97206 zip, and that our interests matter just as much as 97202! I’m curious how many of those “lived elsewhere” are still Clinton +/- a block or 2. Many of our neighbors (43rd to 45th, Ivon to Woodward) were at the open house, and I would hate to see our ideas and opinions discounted because we are 206!

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      Adam Herstein September 25, 2015 at 9:42 am

      As fellow 97206 resident and daily Clinton rider (my house is one block from the greenway), I agree!

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      Spiffy September 25, 2015 at 11:10 am

      I’m also in 97206 and it’s my main route to downtown/work… I’m sure they got a lot of feedback from 97206…

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      shirtsoff September 25, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      I too live within 97206 and use Clinton daily via my bicycle. I left comments on the website that I strongly support the proposal to add diverters on the greenway!

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    soren September 25, 2015 at 9:51 am

    If you use a Greenway or live near a Greenway and want to advocate for traffic calming please join BikeLoudPDX and/or attend our next meeting.

    http://bikeloudpdx.org/index.php/BikeLoudPDX

    https://groups.google.com/forum/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer#!forum/bikeloudpdx

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/293708270840115/

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    Dawn September 25, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Count me in as a 97214 supporter from just north of Division. The Tilikum bridge opening has relocated my commute from Lincoln/Harrison to Clinton and I am appalled at the difference. Drivers rarely are a problem for me on Lincoln. Sure, every few weeks or specifically during the back-to-school time of year, I would encounter one or two jerks. But on Clinton it is a DAILY occurrence that drivers are going way too fast and swerving unsafely around bikes to pass. Combine that with a street that is in generally worse repair (potholes and cracks) and the confusion that is 11th/12th and Clinton and I’m still not sure if this route will work for me long term. Despite the direct access to my office on the south waterfront.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) September 25, 2015 at 10:05 am

      Sounds like a pretty valuable anecdote, Dawn. You might consider submitting it to the city’s online open house if you haven’t.

      https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KJ8MZ93

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        Dawn September 25, 2015 at 10:16 am

        Yes, I did submit this feedback as an online comment. I wasn’t able to make it to the meeting, but I’m glad to hear that there is support for the diverters.

        I’d be interested in knowing if or when there are plans to do another bike count on Clinton given the traffic pattern changes with the new bridge. Have regular Clinton commuters seen an uptick in bike traffic (or car traffic, for the matter)?

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      soren September 25, 2015 at 10:31 am

      I also live in 97214 close to division and took these images of cut-through car traffic last week:

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/29960840@N07/?

      Lincoln-Harrison also has a huge problem with car traffic around 50th so it’s also a candidate for more diversion.

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        Psyfalcon September 25, 2015 at 11:31 am

        Lincoln always seemed too wide to me, up by 60th. Drivers are pretty quick unless there is heavy on street parking.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty September 25, 2015 at 10:48 am

      The diverters will do a lot of good for the areas west of 17th and east of 26th. Unfortunately, Clinton gets a huge amount of morning commute traffic spillover from Powell, via 26th and 21st, and this proposal does nothing to tackle that. I predict the section from 26th to 17th will remain problematic.

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        Psyfalcon September 25, 2015 at 11:33 am

        Wont they have to exit at either 17th or 26th? Would most people use it for 9 blocks?

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        Daniel Costantino September 25, 2015 at 11:42 am

        It’s all interrelated. The City can’t really put any more restrictions on incoming Clinton traffic between 21st and 26th as long as Trimet runs the no. 10 bus on Clinton for that stretch. At the same time, the right-turn radius at SE Division & 26th is insufficient for buses (I believe). So until the City purchases and reconfigures some of the parking lot space at the SW corner of Division & 26th to allow for wider right turns and Trimet agrees to re-route the no. 10 down Division, there’s a serious constraint on how much can be done on Clinton.

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          Adam Herstein September 25, 2015 at 12:07 pm

          TriMet should get smaller buses for that route.

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            Daniel Costantino September 25, 2015 at 12:14 pm

            In an ideal world, maybe. But if you look at it from Trimet’s perspective, that’s just adding a maintenance headache (new type of bus used only one 1 route) that won’t actually reduce the cost of providing their service (most of the cost is labor), in order to solve a problem (safe attribution of streets among modes) that belongs to someone else (the City). Why would they do that? This is the City’s problem to fix.

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              Peejay September 25, 2015 at 1:13 pm

              It’s a shame that the value of an underused surface parking area on Division is greater than that of a high foot traffic area in front of the Clinton St Theater. The greater good should prevail and this should be resolved with eminent domain, but I really doubt this will happen.

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              Adam Herstein September 25, 2015 at 1:55 pm

              TriMet has no business running massive buses on narrow bike routes. Either move the route or get smaller buses.

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                shirtsoff September 25, 2015 at 4:45 pm

                I love your comments, Adam. They echo everything I’m already thinking. <3 🙂

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                Daniel Costantino September 26, 2015 at 8:36 pm

                I appreciate how on message you are. I still don’t think that will work from Trimet’s perspective. I would personally vote for having the no. 10 cross over the rails at Holgate and take 17th up to Tillikum, avoiding the whole issue. Loss of service would be a minor annoyance to everyone involved. Every single neighborhood between Holgate and the Hawthorne Bridge already has a different bus providing more frequent service to downtown than the no. 10.

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                Corgy September 26, 2015 at 10:23 pm

                The 10 bus is well used by residents in neighborhoods south of Holgate. It’s also filled on school-day mornings with students heading to Cleveland HS. Re-routing to Division might make sense, but going over the Tilikum via Holgate does not.

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                paikiala September 28, 2015 at 12:07 pm

                Adam,
                The ‘narrow bike route’ on Clinton is the same width as Division. 36-foot wide streets are common in Portland.

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          Bald One September 25, 2015 at 1:14 pm

          I guess it’s like some kind of act of congress to pickup and move one power pole. Always an excuse to not do the right thing.

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            GlowBoy September 28, 2015 at 7:54 am

            Incredible to me that 26th/Clinton is too tight for buses to make the turn when it’s one of the worst intersections in the city for excessive amounts of pavement, inordinately long crossing distances and (due to its irregular shape) confusion around the 4-way stop scheme. Seems like there’s enough currently wasted space to reconfigure the intersection and solve these problems.

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              paikiala September 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm

              It’s only too tight if the bus also picks up at the corner. If the 26 turns from the through lane, no right of way is needed. The pole is not a problem either, it’s to support the span wire for the signal, so it is easily moved.

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      Alan Love September 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      I’ll echo those same thoughts. My commute has shifted as well since the bridge opened. I’m coming from the West, heading East in the am. While I’m occasionally passed by impatient cut-through-ers, those heading Westbound have to deal with FAR more in the morning. If I were riding with my kids to school, Lincoln/Harrison is comfortable (though not perfect). Clinton? Nope. A combination of infrastructure (diverters) and a heavy dose of communication (BIG signage with “Bikes May Use Full Lane” and SLOW DOWN, etc.) is needed.

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        Dawn September 25, 2015 at 1:19 pm

        My 6 year old is ready to start riding to school but the hill on Harrison intimidates him and the cars on Lincoln scare me.

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          Alan Love September 26, 2015 at 9:54 am

          Your comment is exactly why we need some sort of communication campaign from the city and even home grown signs to foster the idea that Neighborhood Greenways are NOT the place to be driving with the intent to get somewhere fast. Drivers can be jerks on the major streets (though I wish they wouldn’t), but when on a Greenway, speed is not a priority.

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        GlowBoy September 28, 2015 at 7:55 am

        Having formerly lived on Lincoln, I’d agree it’s wayyyy less stressful than Clinton. Diverters are long overdue.

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    9watts September 25, 2015 at 10:41 am

    What is the protocol about riding at a decent clip two abreast on a bike boulevard/greenway with the sharrows and 20mph signs?
    My take from comments here in the recent past is that this should be o.k. even with a car behind.

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      Dave W September 25, 2015 at 10:52 am

      Riding “Two Up”

      When is it ok to ride side by side? ORS 814.430 (the Bill of Rights statute) provides that riders who are traveling “at less than the normal speed of traffic using the roadway at that time and place under the existing conditions” must ride “as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway” EXCEPT:

      (e) When operating a bicycle alongside not more than one other bicycle as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
      The statute seems to indicate that riders may ride as many abreast as they want so long as no other traffic is impeded.

      Once overtaking traffic is being slowed then riders must travel no more than two abreast, so long as “the normal and reasonable movement of traffic” is not impeded.

      Does this mean that riders on a roadway may ride two abreast even when going slower than overtaking traffic? It seems reasonable that the riders may maintain their
      side by side position or double pace line so long as overtaking motorists are able to safely go around the group.

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        soren September 25, 2015 at 11:11 am

        Clinton is getting “bikes may use full lane” signs which will make the discriminatory vagueness (“normal and reasonable”) of this statute moot.

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        Spiffy September 25, 2015 at 11:23 am

        I think it could be argued that “the normal and reasonable movement of traffic” on a Neighborhood Greenway is however fast a bicycle is going… that could be 5 mph or 20 mph…

        also, if one person is riding in the door zone then the person riding next to them more towards the center of the road has no obligation to move over a form a single-file door-zone line… therefore you can always ride 2 abreast if one of you is riding in the door zone…

        but I’m no lawyer, that’s just how I see it…

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          soren September 25, 2015 at 11:39 am

          a neighborhood greenway designation and/or sharrows have zero legal meaning in OR. this is why i and others argued for BMUFL signs (“cars are guests” signs would be ideal but the city was not going to go for those).

          imo, the city also should pass an ordinance giving people cycling and pedestrians right of way priority on greenways.

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        Adam Herstein September 25, 2015 at 11:23 am

        “normal and reasonable movement of traffic” is completely subjective and thus this statute is meaningless.

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          soren September 25, 2015 at 11:32 am

          if a law enforcement officer cites you based on his opinion of what is “normal and reasonable” the $260 citation you will receive is very…um…objective.

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            Adam Herstein September 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm

            True, but what does “normal and reasonable” even mean? How am I supposed to follow the law when it’s not even stated clearly? People will just do whatever makes them feel the safest and hope it’s legal.

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          gutterbunnybikes September 25, 2015 at 3:37 pm

          And you could also argue that “normal and reasonable” by definition on a greenway is the pace of a person riding a bicycle (say 10mph).

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        Spiffy September 25, 2015 at 11:25 am

        “It seems reasonable that the riders may maintain their side by side position or double pace line so long as overtaking motorists are able to safely go around the group.”

        on Clinton there is no place for a car to safely pass a cyclist that’s not riding in the door zone… so riding 2 abreast is not even a concern on narrow streets since cars can’t legally pass you if you were only 1 bike…

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        gutterbunnybikes September 25, 2015 at 3:33 pm

        I would argue that since the path for bicycles to take is spelled out (and is part of code per MUTCD) with the painted bicycle symbols on the street, where everyone (yes everyone) is supposed to riding directly over them that is sufficient room to ride two abreast on the Greenways for it’s entirety.

        Pretty sure (or it at least could be successfully argued in court – as if anyone ever gets a ticket for this) that these clear and legal markings supercede ORS 814.430.

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    Dan September 25, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Clinton is covered with yellow pointers here. Bizarre.

    https://nearlykilled.me/

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      Spiffy September 25, 2015 at 11:29 am

      off that the first marker I clicked on (34th/Clinton) was a complaint about a fast cyclist passing too close…

      and unfortunately misreported by falsely stating “The driver broke a traffic law” and “Passing without sufficient space”…

      but the form probably isn’t set up well enough to describe the legal and illegal actions of cyclists…

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    Dan Sr. September 25, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Hmm, it’s almost as though the motorists who drive on Clinton didn’t receive notification about this meeting because they don’t live in the neighborhood. Imagine that.

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      Daniel Costantino September 25, 2015 at 11:44 am

      Well, it’s not a regional arterial like Powell or a minor arterial like Division, so why should anyone beyond a half-mile or so receive notification? Also, why assume that people who live within a half-mile don’t also drive on Clinton?

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        Dan Sr. September 25, 2015 at 12:24 pm

        Here’s some background to help you understand my comment. The general perception here is that most of the heavy motor traffic on Clinton is spillover commuters who are (inappropriately) making Clinton a substitute for an arterial. So, while there are plenty of motorists who would likely be up in arms over the ideas of diverters on Clinton, because they all live out of the area, they weren’t notified and weren’t represented at the town hall. People on Bike Portland tend to feel that the residents of the area / users of the bike boulevard should have the largest role in determining how traffic infrastructure on this street is developed in the future, so we are pleased that the Vancouver commuters won’t be chiming in.

        “Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.”

        -E.B. White

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          Aaron September 25, 2015 at 9:45 pm

          Dan. I think that you are right in the underrepresentation. I believe that’s a good thing. Drivers who are cutting through local neighbrhoods do not contribute anything positive. Don’t shop on the street, etc.

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            paikiala September 28, 2015 at 12:15 pm

            Aaron,

            You have no data to demonstrate the last part of your assertion.

            PBOT provided license plate data at the open house. 50% of the license plates were registered in the zip codes bounded by the river, Burnside, 82nd and south boundary. the rest were from outside that area. You also should expect some of those from outside the large neighborhood would be business owners and local workers.

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    soren September 25, 2015 at 11:44 am

    the lack of a passing lane means a slow cyclist who wants to follow the letter of the law on clinton would need to move aside to let “real traffic” pass.

    http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.425

    ridiculous!

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      Adam Herstein September 25, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      We’re second-class citizens!

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      are September 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      i think what the phrase “clear lane” in that statute means is there is no oncoming traffic. so a cyclist would not inevitably have to fade right just because there is an overtaking motorist.

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      Alan Love September 26, 2015 at 10:00 am

      ORS 814.430 would seem to support that argument as well (must stay as far to the right as practicable), but subsection C gives a long list of exemptions. Riding in the door zone with oncoming traffic with a driver behind wanting to pass triggers the examption in that there isn’t enough room to safely pass in that situation, so someone on a bike is NOT required to ride on the right, i.e. take the lane. I don’t know which law supercedes the other (slow vehicle vs. the right to take the lane), but in the world of common sense (stop laughing, I know, I know) it would seem a person’s safety supercedes a matter of convenience.

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      Eric Leifsdad September 26, 2015 at 11:31 am

      No. I think “safe turnout” is different from the door zone.

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    Mark September 28, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Alan Love
    ORS 814.430 would seem to support that argument as well (must stay as far to the right as practicable), but subsection C gives a long list of exemptions. Riding in the door zone with oncoming traffic with a driver behind wanting to pass triggers the examption in that there isn’t enough room to safely pass in that situation, so someone on a bike is NOT required to ride on the right, i.e. take the lane. I don’t know which law supercedes the other (slow vehicle vs. the right to take the lane), but in the world of common sense (stop laughing, I know, I know) it would seem a person’s safety supercedes a matter of convenience.Recommended 0

    Given the government has a poor track record of holding drivers accountable for bike injuries or fatalities, that law is largely irrelevant to me. I measure the use of a bike lane, or moving to the right in the larger context. Does it make me safer or not? If a car is going to run me down, I would rather they do it with me right in front of their hood then when they hook me coming around…in some cases.

    I think that’s your point. If a cop wants to cite me, who is going to stop them? Under Oregon law, a cop can basically lie and be found to be truth in court. This is the same state that could not understand a fixie is an integrated brake and propulsion at the same time. Only natural law applies to riding.

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      paikiala September 28, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Poor record compared to what?

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        9watts September 28, 2015 at 12:20 pm

        well, for starters, compared to holding just about any other category of person accountable. Driving seems (in the majority of cases) to bequeath immunity to the person behind the wheel when he or she is observed to have been responsible for running into, over, maiming, killing someone on a bike. Why is this, do you think?

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          paikiala September 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm

          9,
          I prefer to evaluate facts, not opinions. Can you cite any, at all, not anecdotes, but statistics?

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            9watts September 29, 2015 at 1:57 pm

            fact: Frank Bohannon kills Kerry Kunsman with his F350. Shrug.
            fact: Wnd Crts all but kills Chrstn Osbrn with her minivan. Shrug.
            fact: Marvin Frank kills Hank Bersani with his pickup. Shrug.
            fact: John Taylor kills Dave Apperson with his Dodge Ram. Shrug.
            fact: James Nguyen kills Brett Lewis with his car. Shrug.
            fact: Fred Moore kills Steven Dayley with his pickup. Shrug.

            I could go on.
            The point is we seem to have a curious exception to penalties-for-killing when it come to sitting behind the wheel. If you can list six people who killed someone while engaged in a different behavior than driving where the authorities similarly shrugged I’ll take back my belief, my impression, that driving comes with a special immunity.

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              paikiala September 29, 2015 at 4:19 pm

              Still only anecdotes. What were the settlements in those cases? How do those six examples and their outcomes compare to the 25-30 total fatals last year in Portland and about 300 in Oregon?
              You’re going to have to change the Oregon, if not US, legal system to automatically blame the person driving for every crash event and define such events as crimes. People crashing cars into other cars don’t even get that definition.
              I wish you luck.

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                9watts September 29, 2015 at 4:25 pm

                Fine I’m making no headway with my examples. If this is so murky that we never even get to see anyone’s hand slapped, What then is the point of having law enforcement even show up at these sites of death? Just to burn up some more taxpayer dollars?

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                9watts September 29, 2015 at 5:45 pm

                JATinSeattle said it better than I seem able to:
                http://bikeportland.org/2012/04/02/collision-on-99w-outside-monmouth-claims-life-of-wou-professor-69758#comment-2729268

                JAT in Seattle
                I disagree, Harvey. Is the commentary here biased toward supporting the possibility that the cyclist, a daily commuter familiar with the route, did nothing wrong? Of course. It’s a pro-biking site. Is it deplorable, are people making unwarranted libelous attacks on the driver and police? Not really. What’s happening here is that people are pointing out the fundamental flaws in a crash investigation system overwhelmingly skewed to support drivers and marginalize cyclists.The language is almost always cast in terms of anomalous cyclist behavior bringing them into harms’ way. If a school bus pulled over to drop off some kids you wouldn’t plow your pick-up truck into it, because you know from experience that school buses do that; we even have laws to protect that on-road behavior, even though it can be “unpredictable” and inconveniences us all. Cyclists, however, are continually portrayed as at fault be behaving the way anyone with a lick of experience knows they behave (they make small moves out of their otherwise straight line for a variety of road-surface reasons that passing motorists can’t see and probably wouldn’t be bothered by – standing water, potholes, pavement joints).As for the guy who killed the cyclist, maybe he feels horrible, but what the criticisms here are emphasizing is that given a media and policing system (to say nothing of the comment thread on SalemPick-UpTruckDrivers.org) that continually blames the more vulnerable road user, we can’t know what he feels – rather than making a habit of slowing down or giving a wider birth, he may feel he is the victim of an unavoidable tragedy, since those flighty unpredictable “bikers” can’t control themselves.Recommended 8

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