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People in Portland are driving cars where they don’t belong

Posted by on October 28th, 2015 at 1:58 pm

carsinbadplaceslead

What’s wrong with this picture?
(Photo by Howrad on Twitter)

Is it the full moon? Or maybe Halloween? For some reason there have been three incidents in the past three days where someone drove their car into a place usually reserved for other types of vehicles.

I know what you’re thinking: “People constantly drive their cars into places they don’t belong, like bike lanes, sidewalks, buildings.” That’s true. For some reason (distracted perhaps?) many of us who drive seem to be having trouble these days keeping our cars on the road where they should be.

But these three incidents I’m thinking of are different. They all feature people trying to drive their cars in places specifically set aside for either transit, walking or biking.

I figured I should share them all together here on the Front Page so we can get in front of any serious trend that might be forming. And maybe we can do something about it before it gets out of hand (like the cars-into-buildings thing).

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The first one we heard about was on Monday when someone managed to drive up onto the big curbs that protect the streetcar right-of-way on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (over I-84 south of the Convention Center):

Then on Tuesday there was a (uncomfirmed) report of someone trying to drive their car across the Tilikum Bridge:

And then today around noon someone driving a small SUV jumped the curb on the Hawthorne Bridge and got themselves right up on the biking and walking path:

Sheesh. Sometimes I wonder if we humans should really have ever been given the ability to operate these cumbersome personal motor vehicles.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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

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q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

<insert profanity here>

Because really…. it’s the most productive and cathartic response to these superb examples of humanity not being measurably smarter than wild animals.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Now there is no need to insult wild animals

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Thank you!
Served and returned. I swear half the jokes I make are so someone will make the better version.
The world needs more levity; ask Captain Hawkeye Pirece.

oliver
Guest
oliver

Levity is good, it relieves tension and the fear of death.

Fat Spandex Dude
Guest
Fat Spandex Dude

I bet if these poor confused souls had bikes they’d try riding on the Willamette. I hope that nobody got hurt!

alankessler
Subscriber
alankessler

It’s pretty rude to leave the door open like that.

Howard Draper
Guest
Howard Draper

Since I stopped to take a photo, the driver (still seated) saw me and pulled it closed. But yeah, at first I was a little surprised it was open. As a courtesy he did fold in his mirrors, fwiw.

The thing I don’t understand is… if it was functional enough to drive up that tall curb and onto the sidewalk, how was it not functional enough to make it forward in a car lane and off the bridge?

The flatbed tow truck showed up right after I took the photo, and they towed it off the side and up onto the truck.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Going up that big of a sharp lip likely destroyed the linkages.

…or maybe we’re finally removing licenses of people that do stupid and dangerous acts like this?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

What happens when you take away a driver’s license? Is it like smart key, where you have to have it in your pocket to operate the vehicle? That would be neat.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

+10 That would be SUPER-neat.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Cars of the future will communicate with each other (Vehicle-to-Vehicle, or V2V) and with traffic lights, drawbridges, etc. (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure, or V2I), and in fact many cars today already use 3G and 4G comms to report operational data to their automakers. (Incidentally the recent transportation budget has a big chunk of funding for this R&D). Just like the chips in credit cards that we’re (finally) starting to use in the US, driver’s licenses could use this exact same technology to start the car, and even broadcast the driver’s ID to authorized listeners. Having personalized chipped keys paired to cars is not really a stretch, as pairing them creates another service opportunity for car dealers, and it could radically reduce auto theft which insurers would likely endorse.

Cue privacy arguments in 3, 2, 1…

And yes, if you’re thinking technology could be created to remotely stop a car that’s being pursued, it’s really already there. Some security researchers that I know exploited vulns in older BMWs to be able to brake and accelerate the car remotely over the internet, initially through a controlled environment (i.e. access to the OBD/CAN bus), but later by playing an MP3 inserted on USB or CD.

Some links FYI:
http://www.safercar.gov/v2v
http://www.its.dot.gov/factsheets/v2v_factsheet.htm
http://www.its.dot.gov/factsheets/v2isafety_factsheet.htm
http://www.its.dot.gov/factsheets/pdf/ITS_MiniFactBooklet_V11.pdf

P.S. If you read between the lines in some of the V2I vision statements, cyclists will likely need to carry mobile wireless ‘beg buttons’ of our own to compete with vehicular traffic for green lights. I say this because I already have a helluva time getting greens at some intersections that I know are equipped with video or microwave detection.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

Perhaps their temp gauge indicated high temperature and imminent engine failure so they wanted to get it out of the way of traffic and shut it down before the engine seized. With no shoulder, what can they do?

9watts
Subscriber

special pleading?

Howard Draper
Guest
Howard Draper

You mean “get it out of the way of *car* traffic.” Mult county blocked off the car line as well, so really the whole debacle blocked both bike/ped and car paths.

Also, the car was past the crest of the hill, so it seemed like maybe he could’ve just coasted the rest of the way off the bridge. Who knows.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

How much weight can the pedestrian decks on the Hawthorne even hold? The lift section seems to have thin composite panels of some kind. I could see that ending very badly.

Emily G
Guest
Emily G

I saw someone driving into Peninsula Park the other week- they just drove up and over the corner cut and onto the gravel path by the rose garden. I was pretty flabbergasted. That can’t be legal, right?

Matt
Guest
Matt

The maintainers of the park do this pretty often. Hopefully it was one of them?

Emily G
Guest
Emily G

Well, it looked like a black Lincoln town car, so unless that’s the new park vehicle, probably not.

brian
Guest
brian

I’ve seen people driving through Arbor Lodge park and when it snows drivers do severe damage to St. Johns park.

Dan G
Guest
Dan G

I’m wondering if the car on Tillikum was a Trimet security vehicle. I’ve seen them crossing Tillikum a couple times.

onegearsnear
Guest
onegearsnear

People can be clueless unfortunately like the time I encountered a car on the I-205 bike path… 🙂 http://bikeportland.org/2013/04/22/riders-discover-woman-driving-car-on-glenn-jackson-bridge-bike-path-85780

davemess
Guest
davemess

That one still blows me away.
I can’t believe the driver didn’t get a ticket!

PNP
Subscriber

“Small SUV.” Now there’s an oxymoron if there ever was one.

Snark aside, I wonder if this is a combination of motorhead entitlement and a lack of attention.

Yeah, I’m in a crabby mood today.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Good old blazer. Just a pickup with an enclosed back end.

Kristi Finney Dunn
Guest
Kristi Finney Dunn

At the very least (where I’m concerned), there should be continuing education. Teachers, construction workers, medical personnel, even restaurant workers have that requirement. It’s ridiculous you can get your license at 16 and never have to do anything else unless you get caught doing something wrong and by then it’s often too late.

BeavertonRider
Guest
BeavertonRider

What else do you propose?

Opus the Poet
Guest

When I was flying we had to do a biennial flight review, oral test on the regulations that had changed in the last 2 years and demonstration of emergency responses to a certified instructor/inspector. I suggest something similar for drivers.

Captain Karma
Guest

And a medical.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Whatever they do in Germany. I’ve heard it’s not easy to get a license there.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I would propose similar to the other comments here: make initial obtainment of a license much more of an intense process. Require a certificate from an accredited driving school. Any driving school seeking state accreditation would need to show that simulator demonstrations of distraction impairment (e.g., texting and other phone/gadget use while driving) are a part of its curriculum. Include a wider variety of specific questions on the written test—and increase the passing score to at least 85%. Include some simulator testing of responses to emergencies and testing of attention. Then make renewals more than just an address and photo update and collection of additional fees—re-test. Focus the renewal test on recent changes to laws. Re-take at least the simulator portion of the test. Have a specific section of the test devoted to distinguishing between the gas pedal and the brake pedal (heh, just kidding—this could be included in the simulator test).

Make the difficulty of getting and keeping a driver’s license commensurate with the actual difficulty of driving safely. Treat safe driving as a specialized skill that requires practice and ongoing training to keep up.

Spiffy
Subscriber

a Chevy Suburban is a small SUV? looks like a huge station wagon to me… but people can call it an SUV if it makes them feel better…

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

That’s a Blazer/TrailBlazer/Equinox, not a Suburban. Still, two wheels good, four wheels bad.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

That’s more like a GMC Jimmy. Suburbans are much wider.

rick
Guest
rick

It is far to easy to get and obtain and driver’s licence in the usa.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

“Can you fog a mirror?” — 50 state driver’s exam, in its entirety.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Oregon’s is like 35 multiple-choice questions that you only have to get 80% right, once in your life.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I thought it was 75%.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

I love when we have pictures of these events- it shows how inattentive/clueless/WTF the drivers must be.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I don’t know if it’s a new kind of very fast, very aggressive damn-the-torpedoes-I-AM-a-torpedo! driver surging into town or if it’s just existing drivers here flipping their lids and becoming increasingly impatient as traffic thickens and sickens…but I feel more and more like they see me as one of those water-filled barriers and less and less as something that can be hurt by them crashing into me. One thing I’m noticing more is cut-through drivers speeding at me—never letting up on the gas–as I cross the (inner neighborhood) street in front of them. Like they’re thinking “She’ll make it. No need for me to slow down even a notch.” I turn my head and scowl directly at these drivers and that usually makes them slow. At least for now.

Anne Hawley
Subscriber
Anne Hawley

Just wanted to compliment you on “damn-the-torpedoes-I-AM-a-torpedo!” because it made me laugh. Kind of a horrified laugh of the all-too-familiar, but a laugh.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

🙂

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Not-so-smart-missile.
The more this sort of stuff happens the more I think Skynet would be an improvement.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Blame a decade worth of Mario Kart style racing games where the player has to drive over power ups.
Or Katamari Damacy like xkcd#161 said:
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/accident.png

Todd Shank
Guest

I saw that today expecting to see the driver cuffed for being inebriated as we passed over the bridge. You could see where they drove over the curb.

Adam
Subscriber

The reason? 20% stupidity and 80% selfishness.

J_R
Guest
J_R

These wouldn’t have happened if they’d been licensed and insured. Oh, wait, wrong website. Time for some enforcement action in Ladd’s Addition.

Endo
Guest
Endo

The real question is why we let cars drive anywhere at all. The streets are meant for the public, but the public can’t be in the streets because we allow murder machines nearly exclusive access to them. This is totally backwards. There should be specific infrastructure just for cars, and the remainder (and vast majority!) of our streets should be left for bikes and peds.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Have you read ‘Bicycle Diaries’? That topic is nicely addressed.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Also sounds like the opening to “Roads Were Not Built For Cars”, a thorough history book by Carlton Reid.

http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Yeah! I helped Carlton Reid connect with the Velo Cult peeps so he could do the book tour here 🙂 #brag

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Endo,
People in cars are not part of the ‘public’?

JRB
Guest
JRB

Because the vast majority of people still travel by motor vehicle. Until more people walk and bike, saying we should substantially reduce the public space where cars are king is fruitless handwaving.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

Yesterday, Tuesday, two white utility vans were crawling down the Eastbank Esplanade. It appeared they were driving down the MUP to access the ramp that spirals up to the Morrison bridge. Why.. I couldn’t tell you.

Ann
Guest
Ann

when I saw them they were parked and painting benches.

Ann
Guest
Ann

well, people were painting benches, the vans were parked. 🙂

Captain Karma
Guest

Not one, but two! Why not some cargo bikes or trikes? Seems appropriate.

Kittens
Guest
Kittens

Pretty sure some of these are not accidental. More like a dare or something. I know because I used to do such things when I was a dumb kid

peter haas
Guest
peter haas

I wonder if any of these clowns were drinking soda pop? You know you can choke on that sometimes.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I love hearing complaints about cyclists not ‘staying in their lanes’.

Meanwhile drivers, even with stripes, planters, bollards, armadillos, railings, fences, curbs, rumble strips, stability control and lane departure warning systems are unable to stay on the road itself.

Pete
Guest
Pete

I would call it Darwinism if not for the potential for collateral damage.

LC
Guest
LC

If you can’t survive other peoples stupidity, that’s Darwinism too.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Depends what they’re lobbing at you…

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

If only there were some way to make bad drivers pay increased insurance premiums. We might have to setup some kind of policing force to spot risky behavior and record the license and registration info.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Start a web site for video posting. I bet most insurance companies would troll it for information about their liabilities, sorry, premium payees.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Throw these examples up on the latest Oregonian rant.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

How the *eff* does someone even get their car on the Hawthorne Bridge path?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

I thought about that and then figured it out. Given the driver was going eastbound, assuming they came from Naito northbound, there’s a bicycle-width ramp onto the sidewalk. Once you get to the merge area there’s a handicap-style ramp.

Either way it’s non-intuitive to do so, and could be easily discouraged with bollards. This is different than “driving” across the Tilikum, which can’t be done without using technology for disappearing bollards.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

not those dangerous bollards!!!

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

I wonder where @timetscanner gets their info. Emergency vehicles and just about any police department vehicle is allowed to use the Tilikum aren’t they?

Mollie
Guest
Mollie

Something in the air indeed… today on SW Broadway, between Burnside and Taylor, three vehicles at three separate intersections decided to use the bike lane as their right turn lane. At SW Oak the biker in front of me stayed in the bike lane to go around the car on its right side and potentially put himself in the path of the vehicle. I opted to veer left into the car lane, having checked first for cars behind me.

At SW Taylor, a right turning car (red hatchback Subaru, new-ish) almost swiped the same biker in front of me (shout-out if you read this, I noticed your BTA sticker!). We both saw it coming; I yelled “watch out!” and fortunately he was able to avoid a collision. I wonder if a less experienced commuter would have been so watchful.

Broadway is notoriously dangerous, but one of the few direct southbound bike routes. I’ve experienced and witnessed many similar instances on Broadway, but today definitely took the cake for the sheer number of instances of vehicular ignorance and/or endangerment.

Mollie
Guest
Mollie

I forgot to note that this was around 8:45 am.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes
Guest

I’ve often been told I’m not saying anything when talking, but wow—-

(my bad) should have read…insert your favorite “infrastucture is gunna save us all” joke.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Claymore pop-up bollards?

Opus the Poet
Guest

Speed-sensitive anti-vehicle mines.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

speed sensitive mimes?

Opus the Poet
Guest

No, I couldn’t stand the constant silent sobbing.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

“Sheesh. Sometimes I wonder if we humans should really have ever been given the ability to operate these cumbersome personal motor vehicles.”

I think the problem these days is that people are too impatient, too distracted, and just don’t pay attention.

As an example, when someone misplaces something here at our office and claims to have looked for it “everywhere”– but dollars to donuts, I’ll find it usually someplace obvious, like on their desk, or something got put on top of it (works best with file folders). We call it “looking like a teenager” (looks in two in-sight spots without lifting up anything and throws up their hands “it’s lost” “I’ve looked EVERYWHERE”).

Now, as a human who drives, I have very minimal distractions– I listen to music, but I don’t look at my cell phone, I don’t eat, I don’t drink, I don’t put on makeup or read a book or look through my purse. I drive. Because that’s what you do when you get behind the wheel.

Scott Kocher
Guest
Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

“The report ultimately concluded that only 62 total Americans are intelligent and thoughtful enough to operate a motor vehicle.” — but most of them mainly walk or ride bikes of course.

Robert L
Guest
Robert L

Thankfully that “small SUV” didn’t injure anyone on the Hawthorne.

Forum Law Group LLC - Bicycle Law
Guest
Carl
Guest
Carl

I was hoping someone’d post that. Definitely deserving of an update to this post. Such insanity!

Carl
Guest
Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

“Celine DeClercq was behind the wheel when her car fishtailed, crashing through the barrier on the Ross Island Bridge off-ramp heading westbound.”

Her car has a mind of its own!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Someone needs to work on their car-wranglin’. Whoa nelly.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Impressive. That’s the southbound (Naito/Barbur) ramp off of the west end of the Ross Island bridge. She would have just passed a 20mph advisory sign going into the tunnel. Probably felt the need to burn some extra fuel when looking at a rare empty stretch of road and get up to 50mph (in a 40) as fast as possible. This stretch would be a good place for a speeding ticket dispenser.

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

What’s sad is on the news report last night they interviewed a guy from an office building that over looks that over pass/ramp and he stated they see people “testing their luck” in that spot every week. So much so that they have an emergency kit at the ready for when someone gets hurt crashing there!

Wow! just wow

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Yes! I raised my eyebrows at that too. I’ve been noticing that our local news is making rain the new big bad weather monster, now that we’ve become as dry as CA. It’s like they’ve completely forgotten what our weather should be and now seem freaked out if it’s anything but sun, sun, sun (bleaagh).

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I grew up near the Terwilliger curves on I-5. It was basically guaranteed that someone would crash on those curves when we had a measurable amount of rain after a multi-week dry spell. People suck at driving, and no one seems to care enough to do something about it.

lop
Guest
lop

First rain after a dry spell leads to dangerous conditions for driving (and biking)

http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2012/10/oregon_commuters_get_ready_fir.html

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

“As a bicyclist, you probably want to be treated equally on the road. And in the eyes of Oregon law, you are indeed equal to a car, truck or TriMet bus on the road.” Joseph Rose should know better. Bikes are similar, not equal.

Anne Hawley
Subscriber
Anne Hawley

Drivers running their cars into buildings? Meh. Nothing new. Seems to happen every day. But marijuana becoming currency? Now that is interesting!

Pete
Guest
Pete

The first time I saw this, I thought I was reading The Onion:
http://www.storefrontsafety.org

(And there are a slew of lawyers’ sites with this very theme…)

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

1/2 dozen cars where they aren’t supposed to be. 2,000,000 where they are supposed to be. Not an issue.

9watts
Subscriber

OK, then. Got something more pressing you’d like us to focus on, Mr. E F?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

99% of statistics are made up.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

88.5%

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

88.49% ±5%

J_R
Guest
J_R

No. Just a few of with such blatant failures of being where they were supposed to be that they couldn’t get away. Just this morning I saw two cars drive in the bike lane to squeeze past stopped cars to make a right turn; one motorist use the left turn lane to get around a bus stopped at a bus stop; one motorist blow through a light that had changed to red a full second before he entered the intersection; and half another half a dozen that were probably exceeding the speed limit by 10 mph. Those who have ended up stuck where they don’t belong and were never intended to be in the first place (and who you think are of no consequence) are the “tip of the iceberg.”

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

It is legal to drive in the bike lane to make a right turn. BUT probably not if you get in the way of bikes wanting to use it at the same time. See 2a here: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.440

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

@Dead Salmon. Yes! That’s what I say every time I bicycle down I-5 -not an issue!

My Magic Hat
Guest
My Magic Hat

2 million cars in Portland? Really? Leaving out that there aren’t 2 million licensed drivers in the Portland metro area (and there won’t be in your lifetime – these are the s#itty dirvers who were caught. I’ve seen cars go airborne on MLK boulevard in heavy traffic. I’ve watched a Nissan Sentra roll because the driver thought an immediate 90 degree right turn at 50 mph was an option.

Never have figured out how to drive onto a sidewalk “accidentally”.

lop
Guest
lop

2013 ACS says Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metro area has 1.55 million vehicles available.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

I did exaggerate a tad – there are only 1.64 million for the 3 county area per ODOT. That does not include Clark County which would put the total close to 2 million.

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/docs/stats/vehicle/2014_Vehicle_County_Registration.pdf

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

That’s more than enough. Bleaggh. 🙁

dbrunker
Guest
dbrunker

Here’s another one for your article
https://twitter.com/dbrunker/status/589201787950739456

Duncan Watson
Guest
Duncan Watson

rachel b
I don’t know if it’s a new kind of very fast, very aggressive damn-the-torpedoes-I-AM-a-torpedo! driver surging into town or if it’s just existing drivers here flipping their lids and becoming increasingly impatient as traffic thickens and sickens…but I feel more and more like they see me as one of those water-filled barriers and less and less as something that can be hurt by them crashing into me. One thing I’m noticing more is cut-through drivers speeding at me—never letting up on the gas–as I cross the (inner neighborhood) street in front of them. Like they’re thinking “She’ll make it. No need for me to slow down even a notch.” I turn my head and scowl directly at these drivers and that usually makes them slow. At least for now.Recommended 4

My standard thing in this case is to make noise. “HELLoo”, emphasis on the HELL, long O. Or I say “Please don’t kill me” I also run with a camera on about 50% of the time.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

🙂 That’s great–I’m a firm believer in speaking up! And the camera’s a really good idea.

Tony
Guest
Tony

It’s not just in Portland. This happened last year in SF:
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/3192543-181/man-drives-into-golden-gate

oliver
Guest
oliver

Seems like I remember that mustang driver was seriously impaired.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

I think it’s one thing to make fun of people’s foibles, but I have a friend who was seriously injured when he crashed after driving off the road just blocks from his own house (very recently). He can’t remember what happened because of crash-induced amnesia, there seems to be no one who saw it happen, and his phone record is clean. He is frankly very lucky to have survived. The point is, accidents _do_ happen, even to those whose judgements and skills we generally trust. Some of the above were not really accidents, but I think it’s important to keep a compassionate heart within reach as we laugh at what we perceive as stupidities.

9watts
Subscriber

You make a good point. But I think it is also worth noting that given these human frailties cars are still a bad fit. The dangers to life and limb are massively increased by the speed and mass of cars. If you black out while biking you can still kill yourself by riding off a cliff, but my hunch would be that (absent a lot of cars around you at that moment) that everyone’s chances of being o.k. are improved by not being at the wheel of a car.

Mark
Guest
Mark

There are no accidents only crashes. Perhaps if a whale landed on your hood from dynamite…or an elk running right at you…. Amnesia doesn’t make it right or an accident

davemess
Guest
davemess

Is it an accident if you are driving legally along pass out unexpectedly at the wheel or have a seizure?

J_R
Guest
J_R

Yes. But only if you surrender your license – permanently.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

There is a 99.9% chance that he did something wrong and caused the crash. Amnesia doesn’t make it an accident.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Is your friend getting medical attention? Is he still driving?

Mike Reams
Guest
Mike Reams

I’m just curious, all the calls for banning cars, calling them the most horrible thing mankind has ever created, questioning whether they should even exist. Are these serious comments or, just frustrated hyperbole?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Can you quote where you read that, please? Or is your comment just frustrated hyperbole?

Mike Reams
Guest
Mike Reams

“The real question is why we let cars drive anywhere at all.”

“Sheesh. Sometimes I wonder if we humans should really have ever been given the ability to operate these cumbersome personal motor vehicles.”

“But I think it is also worth noting that given these human frailties cars are still a bad fit.”

If cars were a new product in the market, they’d be banned and recalled when their danger became apparent. People would shake their heads and say “What were they thinking?”

Just from this article’s comments.

9watts
Subscriber

Well, what do you make of those statements, Mike Reams?

Can you acknowledge that those who uttered them may be referring to actual circumstances, may have fundamental concerns with how we regulate/fail to regulate the automobile? Let me ask you this, can you point to any other common object which is implicated in the deaths of some 33,000 people every year in this country that we treat as you (apparently) would have us? As beyond reproach?

lop
Guest
lop

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/07/Preventable_causes_of_death.svg

It’s not like motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of preventable death.

9watts
Subscriber

Interesting list. Thanks (as always).
Interesting to me that motor vehicle collisions are listed as preventable.
Unlike motor vehicle collisions, the top three are (by and large) done to oneself.
Alcohol and motor vehicle collisions have a large degree of overlap.

Toxins surprised me. I wonder how that is parameterized?
And Obesity? Wow.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

9watts,
Here’s another graph for you. These are for injuries, not necessarily deaths, I belive:

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/lifestyle/smart-living/the-most-dangerous-products-in-america/ss-AAe90bO#image=22

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Why were automobiles left off that list? They have “Stairs” as #1 on the list, which are responsible for 1.1 million injuries and 329 deaths annually, whereas automobiles are responsible for 2.31 million injuries and 32,719 deaths in 2013. Are automobiles not a product?

9watts
Subscriber

That list (ostensibly) from the CPSC strikes me as questionable to say the least. It may be that the CPSC has no jurisdiction over cars and guns and that they are therefore omitted, but some of the little advice texts next to the ‘most dangerous’ products are full of hooey. Walls and Ceilings?! Please.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

lop,

Good list. Not sure what their definition of preventable is – that could be debated for a long time. When I was growing up bicycles were considered the most dangerous consumer product – they’re still on the list but maybe not at the top. Not sure when this article was written but it says bicycles are the 3rd leading cause of accidental death for children, behind automobiles and drowning:

http://www.parentguidenews.com/Articles/SevenDeadlySinners

Most dangerous consumer product:

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/lifestyle/smart-living/the-most-dangerous-products-in-america/ss-AAe90bO#image=19

lop
Guest
lop

>bicycles are the 3rd leading cause of accidental death for children, behind automobiles and drowning:

Really?

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/leading_causes_of_injury_deaths_highlighting_unintentional_injury_2013-a.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/images/lc-charts/leading_cause_of_nonfatal_injury_2013-a.gif

I don’t know how everything gets classified. If you fall off a bike is that ‘unintentional fall’ ? Or if you get hit by a car is that ‘unintentional MV traffic’ ?

9watts
Subscriber

Thanks for breathing some sense into this subject, lop.
The msn digest of cpsc info makes me queasy.

But as you say the CDC’s classifications are themselves somewhat curious, or at least involve unintuitive terminology.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

I think they must have meant 3rd leading cause of accidents, not deaths. Your chart says bikes are #6 & #5 leading cause of injuries for children ages 5-9 and 10-14, respectively – that sounds more reasonable. Here is a chart similar to yours for unintentional-only non-fatal injuries:
http://webappa.cdc.gov/cgi-bin/broker.exe

Some definitions for the cdc charts:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/nonfatal/definitions.htm#nonfatalinjuryreports

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

AH HA! I found a good chart.

9 watts, the reason guns aren’t on the CPS chart is because there are only 17K non-fatal-unintentional gun injuries so the chart did not go low enough – guns are # 20 on the list per CDC. Bikes are #11 with 474K injuries. This is a good chart:

http://webappa.cdc.gov/cgi-bin/broker.exe?_service=v8prod&_server=aspv-wisq-1.cdc.gov&_port=5099&_sessionid=ai7ZhBFEO52&_program=wisqnf.dd_nfipercents.sas&_service=v8prod&age1=.&age2=.&agetext=AllAges&intent=1&_debug=0

9watts
Subscriber

Link doesn’t work for me. Can you try again?

“only 17K non-fatal-unintentional gun injuries”

something about that phrase is unintentionally humorous.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

When a product injures you bad enough to kill you, it isn’t tallied? This list is a complete diversion & waste of time.

lop
Guest
lop

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/nonfatal.html

Click on “Leading Causes of Nonfatal Injury 2001-2013 ”

Then customize your report.

Mike Reams
Guest
Mike Reams

I make of those statements that they sound like frustration and hyperbole. I’m open to the possibility that people actually believe the automobile is a terrible thing that does more harm than good.

I do acknowledge the people who wrote them have fundamental concerns which is part of why I asked the question. I can’t point to any other common object that causes 33,000 deaths per year.

I don’t know what gave you the impression I hold automobile drivers beyond reproach. I don’t, that’s all I have to say about that.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

Since you brought it up, how about “doctors”? Kind of a stretch to call a doctor an object, but they do accidently kill 400,000 per year:

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/deaths-by-medical-mistakes-hit-records

By comparison, when you consider that people use cars every day – yet rarely see a doctor, cars appear to be about as safe as staying in bed under the covers.

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

Several cars now driving and parking with regularity on the bike path on N. Greeley by Interstate. These are not “full moon” events, but people associated with the growing homeless camp there at the Greeley Forest Garden (Near the Interstate Ave and I-5 ramps intersections) just parking their cars there on the bike path and driving on it.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Have you requested enforcement? 823-SAFE.

peejay
Guest
peejay

If cars were a new product in the market, they’d be banned and recalled when their danger became apparent. People would shake their heads and say “What were they thinking?”

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

The same could be said for aspirin. The benefits clearly outweigh the costs. It is the costs we continue to work on.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I think the head-shaking disbelief was present back in the 1910s and ’20s, but the ban never materialized. It is now a matter of dependence and majority use. Restricting cars would be like restricting smart phone use. Sure, I can get along without a smart phone, but so vastly many people “can’t”, that any such restriction would be cause for civil unrest.

9watts
Subscriber

Dan A wins the cookie for best riposte!

9watts
Subscriber

meant to go a few posts up – didn’t nest.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Sweet! I will claim said cookie from the counter when I get home.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Actually I give the Hawthorne Bridge “Parker” extra credit for planning ahead and bringing a traffic cone to put out (perhaps event 2 if there is one in front). As this is so rarely done for some smaller work zones and other illegal double parking / loading events. Safety first!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I’m thinking that wasn’t their first rodeo.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Around circa 2005-ish, I saw a car that had crashed on the stairs of the Portland State University Urban Plaza.

I thought it was hilarious at the time. Apparently handrails meant something else to the driver, who was an utterly confused elderly.

Joe
Guest
Joe

on your left.

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

A hundred years ago car makers said they’d be a boon to society. No one would ever be killed by a team of runaway horses again; because automobiles would always be under the complete control of rational human beings.

Well, I haven’t heard of anyone being killed by a team of runaway horses in any U.S. cities recently. Now about the other half of that…

Opus the Poet
Guest

Motor vehicles did solve what was a huge problem for cities, the waste products of draft animals left to ferment in the streets. Fly borne diseases used to be a major health problem in the world’s cities before motor vehicles took over for draft animals. Now people die from chemical pollution rather than diseases caused by microbes (whether there has been any net gain is beyond my data).

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Electric streetcars and bicycles were already solving that problem.

estherc
Guest
estherc

Driving onto the Max tracks at the Kenton stop seems to be a daily occurrence but its such a weird intersection its almost understandable.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

It was clearly deficient infrastructure. You can’t blame the driver.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

You’re right. We should modify the Hawthorne bridge to give it one vehicle lane in each direction. That will provide a sufficient breakdown shoulder.

Ben
Guest
Ben

These events are amusing (and frightening), but the half-dozen cars I saw on a recent drive from Seattle that had obviously been driven right off the road and into barriers by distracted drivers were really unsettling. If they aren’t paying enough attention to stay on an eight-lane freeway, they surely aren’t watching for cyclists.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

You are just a squishy thing to lube the guide rails.

Kevin Wagoner
Guest
Kevin Wagoner

How do I get it to stop on SW Spring Garden St? UPS and Fedex continue to park on our sidewalk creating a dangerous situation for anyone trying to walk around here. I’ve called the city lots and opened up several complaints at UPS.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Have you photographed the vehicle and complained directly to the company?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Otherwise, those service providers follow a regular route and show up at about the same time each day. Parking enforcement during that time would be one strategy. 823-SAFE.

Pete
Guest
Pete
9watts
Subscriber

JRB
Because the vast majority of people still travel by motor vehicle. Until more people walk and bike, saying we should substantially reduce the public space where cars are king is fruitless handwaving.Recommended 1

Your proposal seems kind of backwards to me. If everyone’s (a lot more people have) already jettisoned the car for something else what would be the point of making that suggestion?

Katie Taylor
Guest
Katie Taylor

Agreed, 9watts! And anyway, it was not actually all that easy to get people to embrace cars. That’s why steel and rubber concerns bought up municipal streetcar lines all around the country, shut them down and paved over the tracks. In Portland in the ’50s, you could ride the streetcar anywhere – Council Crest, NW industrial district, Sellwood. It would take years and billions of dollars to replace what we stupidly let private concerns wipe off the map. People always talk about social engineering as if it’s an unthinkable evil, disregarding the fact that it happens all the time – just usually (in the US anyway, and anywhere free market Friedmanism has been allowed to rampage unchecked) in the interest of somebody with a lot of money and power who wants more of both. A carfree city is something that could and should be heavily incentivized into existence. The downside is that it would make even more people move here (despite all the kvetching that would happen at first).

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Very good point, K. It’s not that people were clamoring for cars so much as they were shoved down everyone’s throats. Ugh. No foresight at all. I want to tear my hair out when I hear that Portland history recounted. Just imagine if we still had that streetcar infrastructure (intact, I mean).