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Police write 35 tickets on Clinton Street during 7.5-hour traffic enforcement

Posted by on December 16th, 2015 at 2:36 pm

clinton speed

Coexistence on Clinton.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

A one-day enforcement of traffic laws on Clinton Street Tuesday handed out 35 citations and 25 warnings to people driving and biking on the major neighborhood greenway.

It’s the first time the Portland Police Bureau has engaged in an action described as being related to Vision Zero, the city’s policy that the public bears partial responsibility for every traffic death or serious injury.

Here’s the tally of offenses recorded by police during the two shifts, one in the morning (from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.) and one in the afternoon and evening (from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.).

26 Fail to Obey Traffic Control Device
17 Equipment Violations
6 Driving Uninsured / Fail to Carry Proof of Insurance
6 Turning and Lane Violations
2 Driving While Suspended
1 Felony Warrant Arrest
1 Hit and Run investigated (west end of mission area – 12th and Main)
1 Speeding
2 No Seatbelt
1 Illegal U-turn
1 No License

A news release from the Portland Bureau of Transportation said that 45 of the stops were of people in cars, and 15 were of people on bikes. It didn’t break down the violations further.

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There was also one citation or warning as part of investigating a hit and run that was reported at 12th and Main, near the west end of the targeted area.

Everyone stopped by police also received a “Vision Zero pamphlets with information about safe travel.”

This is a component of the city’s Clinton Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project, which is looking to improve safety and comfort on the important bikeway by adding speed bumps east of Chavez, two experimental traffic diverters west of Chavez and several other measures such as a recently installed set of signs.

“PBOT has also scheduled the installation of two traffic diverters on SE Clinton Street at SE 17th Avenue and 32nd Avenue,” the Portland Bureau of Transportation said in its news release about the enforcement. “Weather permitting, the diverters will be installed during the first week of January 2016.”

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Nathan Hinkle (The Bike Light Database and NearlyKilled.Me)
Guest

Do we know what portion of the citations/warnings were delivered to people biking vs. people driving? It looks like the majority were for “Fail to Obey Traffic Control Device,” did they report what the specific violation was?

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

Generally that’s running a stop sign / stop light.

Justin Carinci
Guest
Justin Carinci

They caught someone not opping, apparently.

scott
Guest
scott

OP plz….

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

So 6 of the 45 people stopped in cars were driving without insurance! We have to figure out some way to fix the broken system we currently have around mandatory insurance for drivers. The minimum coverage levels are way too low to begin with but the fact that such a high percentage of drivers have no insurance puts everyone at risk of being bankrupted if they are injured by one of these people. At a minimum the vehicle in question should be towed and impounded until the owner can prove they do have insurance.

berger
Guest
berger

It says uninsured/failure to carry proof of insurance. From my experience working in automotive service where rental vehicles were available that many many drivers forget to have up to date insurance cards in their vehicles. I’m positive that most of those cited were likely insured but lacking proper credentials. Don’t take this as a sign that a huge amount of people are uninsured, but rather don’t have current insurance cards on them.

brian
Guest
brian

The IRC (insurance research council) estimates about 10% of Oregon drivers are uninsured.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Well stated. I got cited for that once two years ago…because I had recently factory reset my phone and did not have the app loaded with that information.

Officer let it go when I showed proof of my insurance coverage at the courthouse.

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

If you show up in court with proof of valid insurance at the time of the citation, the ticket is dropped.

reader
Guest
reader

If you are cited for driving without insurance when you actually are insured, they will often drop the charge to failure to carry proof of insurance rather than dismissing the case altogether.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I got a ticket when I was about 17 for no insurance/no carry in Washington state. It was really dark (no dome light maybe) and I had barely looked for the card for 5 seconds and impatient cop told me never mind it and to stop looking. He told me to take the insurance card to court and it would be dropped. It was indeed in my wallet as I found it later that night, and I took the proof of insurance to court and the judge didn’t believe me and upheld the fine. Hundreds of dollars if I remember.

Pete
Guest
Pete

This is where technology could come into play, but the furthest we’ve been able to get is the ability to display your printed insurance card on your smartphone. Most of the rest of the world uses chip+PIN credit cards, but in the US we’re barely able to get chip+signature running. Well, the same “back end” technologies that enable chip+PIN could enable a chipped driver’s license to 1) identify the driver with utmost certainty (along with information on their car registrations), and 2) allow the same computers that the police and DMVs use to get real-time account status directly from the insurance companies’ computers. To my knowledge, DMVs only check insurance status when you first register a car (and it’s done using paper, which one could easily duplicate with a scanner/printer and some software).

Problem is, it would cost money that nobody is willing to spend.

PNP
Subscriber

Only one for speeding. I’m a bit surprised at that.

Dan A
Guest
Dan A

The threshold for a speeding ticket is exceedingly high. I doubt they changed that threshold just for today.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

What does “threshold for a speeding ticket” even mean?! I know, I know what it means, I know it means 11mph, but I’m not ok with it, definitely not on a greenway.

J_R
Guest
J_R

It goes back to the old days when radar and speedometers were not very accurate. Police using radar got tired of having judges believe motorists who claimed the police radar was not accurate. It’s BS with today’s technology, but there you have it.

Dan A
Guest
Dan A

We have neighbors who borrowed one of those speed display signs and took on the task of writing down people’s license plates as they sped past. WashCo would not even mail a warning note to drivers unless they were going 10+mph over the limit (25mph).

pk biker
Guest
pk biker

I’m not surprised. there are sections of Clinton with 25mph speed bumps and diverters. you cannot go much faster in these stretches unless you want to mess up your car.

alankessler
Subscriber
alankessler

The fact that they nabbed anyone speeding on the Greenway, with the leeway they give drivers, is downright terrifying.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

If someone is caught driving with a suspended license or without insurance, what happens? Do they get a ticket then proceed on their way, or is the vehicle impounded?

Spiffy
Subscriber

here’s my experience…

the first time you’re caught driving on a suspended license they make you sign a form saying that you know it’s suspended… they will often then let you drive home, on the assumption that you didn’t know it was suspended… if they catch you after that they ticket you, and they tow your car unless there’s a friend that can drive it/you home…

driving without insurance basically works the same, they will ticket you at first, then if you don’t get insurance they suspend your license… they will also often require you to set up a special thing (in California it’s SR-22 form) that makes it so your insurance provider has to notify the DMV if you lose coverage… then the DMV will mail you to prove you have insurance again or they’ll suspend your license… then the process starts over from my first paragraph…

Adron Hall @ Transit Sleuth
Guest

PNP – I’d bet that it is because it’s super hard to actually get a reading over/under accurately on the neighborhood greenways like that. It’s much easier just to bust people for all the other nefarious things motorists are doing (and sometimes cyclists, albeit they aren’t threatening anyone with death)

Bjorn – I was wondering the same thing. Do the police currently just let people go off with their uninsured car and continue to risk others on the road? If anything they should call a tow truck company and impound the car, that would be the SAFE thing to do. I mean, they don’t let a drunk driver just keep driving along drunk right? Probability says a huge cost to the system is uninsured drivers, those vehicles shouldn’t move until insurance is proven, without insurance the vehicle should be impounded until proof is provided.

brian
Guest
brian

From the DMV:
Driving without liability insurance could result in fines, suspension of your driving privileges, and your vehicle could be towed. If your vehicle is towed, you are subject to the towing and storage fees. This is in addition to any fines you may have to pay.

If a judge convicts you of driving uninsured, you will need to file proof of future responsibility (SR-22) with DMV for three years, or your driving privileges will be suspended. This is in addition to any fines you must pay the court.

If you are driving uninsured and are involved in a crash, your driving privileges will be suspended for one year. After the suspension ends, you can reinstate your driving privilege by filing proof of future responsibility (SR-22) with DMV for three years. Otherwise you will remain suspended.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

In practice I don’t think PPB tows for no insurance, but according to city code they are authorized to do so if they believe a driver doesn’t have insurance. Would be interesting to know the stats on how often they tow vs citing and allowing the driver to drive away.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Though the ex-Oregon driver could always flee to another state DMV for a license …at lease in the old days.

Spiffy
Subscriber

currently no state will give you a license if it’s suspended in another state…

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

L.A. used to tow the vehicles of unlicensed motorists. Due to an outcry of people who don’t ride bikes, they ceased doing that if the owner/driver can find someone with a valid license to drive the thing away from the stop.

This car-entitlement syndrome is a real barrier to getting butts into saddles.

Endo
Guest
Endo

I think it’s laughable that their “Vision Zero” plan involves handing 25% of the tickets out to cyclists. They should be focusing their effort on the murder machines and leave the cyclists to make Portland a better place to live.

jeff
Guest
jeff

yes, because everyone knows cyclists are special.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

We should focus our limited enforcement resources on the things that create danger for the public.

Bombing Puerto Rico wouldn’t do much to combat ISIS, for example. Similarly, writing tickets to cyclists for rolling stop signs is not going to keep anyone from dying in Portland, because no one has died after rolling a stop sign on a greenway.

jeff
Guest
jeff

plenty of pedestrians have been hit by cyclists thinking the rules don’t apply to them. what you think the police should be doing is irrelevant. they enforce current laws. break them, expect to be enforced. you’re not special either.

Dan A
Guest
Dan A

“they enforce current laws”

Uh, sometimes. The ones they want to enforce.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

As pointed out upthread, they don’t enforce the speed limits until the driver is waaaaay over it. They are being selective, but their judgement is being called into question if they are going to be consistent with Vision Zero as opposed to Zero Vision.

jeff
Guest
jeff

you have zero idea as to whether anyone on Clinton yesterday was exceeding the speed limit in front of police. false premises will always be false.

Dan A
Guest
Dan A

Hmm, well, I have personally witnessed enforcement action at the Bethany-Oak Hills intersection, which we requested for the safety of kids walking to school in the morning. The police admitted that they weren’t pulling people over unless they were speeding significantly, and instead focused on cars who failed to get all the way through the intersection on red lights.

GreenTrax
Guest
GreenTrax

Until the school bus stop was moved off of Clinton, there was an epidemic of cyclists blowing pasted the stopped bus with red lights flashing. Zero regard for the fact that a bunch of K through 5th graders are trying to safely board a bus.

Cyclists break the laws just like drivers do, and are also given a lot of leeway.

Also, didn’t the city council just vote to allow cyclists to roll through stop signs at unoccupied intersections, and only make quick stops at red lights?

9watts
Guest
9watts

“plenty of pedestrians”

O.K.

Marco
Guest
Marco

one of plenty.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Plenty? Do you have data to back that up? Since you seem so doubtful that people were speeding on Clinton yesterday, I’m going to need you to post data on pedestrian injuries.

Of course, we both know that people speed on Clinton every day. And we both know that a small amount of pedestrians are injured each year in Portland by cyclists. What we do know for sure is that about 10-15 pedestrians are killed by cars each year in Portland. Do you really think that the police should use resources to enforce stop sign violations by cyclists when this many people are DYING each year?

Marco
Guest
Marco

If you need the data, look it up, my experiences are my reality.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Good for you.

GreenTrax
Guest
GreenTrax

There have been a total of “around 100” traffic accidents OF ANY KIND on the Clinton Greenway over the last 15 years.

How ya like them datas?

soren
Guest

“they enforce current laws.”

on every commute i see drivers breaking laws that really matter to safety (speeding, passing closely, and running red lights at high speeds). and yet some continue to fixate on cyclists rolling a stop sign at 1 mph. have they no shame?

“plenty of pedestrians have been hit by cyclists thinking the rules don’t apply to them.”

hundreds of pedestrians have been killed by drivers in portland over the past few decades. i want law enforcement to focus on critical threats to pedestrians, not perceived threats based on irrational prejudice.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

“murder machines?” No, they are cars. When you speak with such hyperbole you come across as a zealot.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I like to think of my bike as a well-honed murder machine.

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

it was you then!!…I remember that I saw Hello Kitty cycling down the Vera ‘KATZ’ trail on the hunt for tourists walking or Segwaying last summer… ;0

Endo
Guest
Endo

More than 30,000 people each year get murdered on the streets by cars in this country each year. And that doesn’t count the number of people who die because of the pollution pumped directly out of the tailpipe, or the people who die pumping oil out of the ground to fuel the beasts, or the people who fight wars to keep our access to oil secure. I think the name fits, and plenty of other people agree.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

People killed in auto crashes are not “murdered”. Murder implies intent, usually premeditation. Crashes are the exact opposite.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I won’t accept it — it doesn’t work as well when making absurd rhetorical statements:

“More than 30,000 people each year get negligent manslaughtered on the streets by cars in this country each year!”

or

“They should be focusing their effort on the negligent manslaughter machines!”

or

“Cyclists don’t destroy tens of thousands of families a year by negligent manslaughtering innocent people on the streets through so-called accidents!”

Just doesn’t sound right. “Splatter” might be a better substitute.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“More than 30,000 people each year get negligently slaughtered on the streets by drivers in this country each year!”

or

“They should be focusing their effort on the people that negligently slaughter!”

or

“Cyclists don’t destroy tens of thousands of families a year by negligently slaughtering innocent people on the streets through so-called accidents!”

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Maybe not First Degree Murder in all 30,000 cases, but I don’t think intent to kill is necessarily an element in the law when it comes to 2nd or 3rd degree murder.

I think in some cases it is sufficient to demonstrate the intent to perform the action that ended up killing somebody, so most traffic deaths might still be murder under the laws of some states … IF one remembers that motor vehicles are deadly weapons. Ignorance of cars’ deadliness is no excuse.

And regardless of how we define murder, all of these deaths are homicides. So “Homicide machines” is accurate.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Do I need to have intent to drive, or intent to kill to be culpable? Or are those really the same thing in your mind?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“Do I need to have intent to drive, or intent to kill to be culpable? Or are those really the same thing in your mind?”

I’m not GlowBoy, but in my mind, murder means you intentionally tried to kill someone. In contrast, if you intentionally do something that you know is risky, without intending to hurt anyone, but that results in someone’s death, you are culpable, but not necessarily a murderer. Driving itself could fall into this category of risky things we do intentionally, but if we want to get specific, here is a partial list of things that, if undertaken while driving (moving), should confer culpability on the driver:
1. DWI (already confers culpability)
2. Phone use (of any kind, currently only handheld use confers culpability, and then only if Law Enforcement decides they want to “investigate”).
3. Speeding (only confers culpability if it is outrageous, e.g., at least 15 mph over the limit)
4. Disobeying any traffic control device, including when making a right on red, i.e., failing to come to a complete stop prior to turning.
5. Aggressive acceleration
6. Rubbernecking
7. Playing with/adjusting controls (radio, AC, heater, etc.)
8. Eating or drinking
9. Driving with a known, un- or under-controlled medical condition, e.g., poor eyesight, epilepsy, diabetes, that affects your ability to control your vehicle or maintain a proper lookout.
10. Transporting unrestrained pets
11. Making unsignaled turns or lane changes, especially sudden ones
12. Driving with fogged or dirty windshield, mirrors, or headlights
13. Driving in rain with ineffective wipers
14. Driving while angry
15. Smoking
16. etc.

Absolutely anything other than controlling your vehicle should be considered grounds for culpability/carelessness in the event your seemingly innocuous non-driving behavior results in the injury or death of someone else.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

The emissions deaths are estimated at about 50,000 per year, IIRC. Considering we’re creeping up towards 40,000 on the direct deaths, we’ll top 100,000 annual deaths in no time.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

If you want to kill Americans, just lower the price of gas.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

You can’t demand equal treatment regarding funding and infrastructure while decrying equal treatment when it comes to obeying traffic laws.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

But I think you can reasonably ask the police to focus on those violations that are most likely to cause injuries. It makes no sense to not ticket drivers going 10MPH over the limit while also ticketing cyclists who roll (slowly) through a a flashing stop light when there are no other vehicles in sight. And yes, that is what happened with at least one of the bike tickets issued yesterday. To, ah, a friend.

canuck
Guest
canuck

If they can’t see the police and their vehicles when they roll a stop sign, are they truly cognizant of their surroundings?

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Yes. Or so I hear.

jeff
Guest
jeff

seems you may be wrong. I saw each of the officers on Clinton in both the morning and evening at each of the intersections they were enforcing. so you’re just whining because you got a ticket, is that it? want to know a secret to avoiding those?

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Who’s whining?

James Sherbondy
Guest
James Sherbondy

Yes, they are. The human eye is mush better at detecting movement than it is at detecting a stationary object. The ear also hears a moving car much better than one that’s parked. So, yes, it’s quite easy to “yield” at a stop sign and be certain there’s no moving (dangerous) cars but be unaware of the details of one that’s parked.

meh
Guest
meh

That would explain the inability to see a stop sign or red lights, or pedestrians.

jeff
Guest
jeff

the police are there to enforce laws. period. you can reasonably ask anything you want, but it doesn’t mean the police are going to listen.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

Right, and the traffic officers are focusing on those dangerous areas, hence the crosswalk stings, hence the Clinton stings. But you can’t ask law enforcement to spend time on Clinton, looking for vehicular traffic violations, but look the other way when it’s a bicycle that fails to obey a traffic control device. That’s not their job, their job is to treat everyone equally.

Part of advocating for bicycle safety is convincing the police and the general public that bicycles are a legitimate form of transportation, and that means following the rules of the road. So put your adult pants on, stop trying to have your cake and eat it too, and stop at stop signs.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“That’s not their job, their job is to treat everyone equally.”

Hahahahahahahahaha

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

When I worked on trying to pass Idaho Style stop sign laws in Oregon one of the obstacles was that legislators who weren’t from Portland didn’t really believe that anyone on a bike was being ticketed for slowly rolling through a stop sign, even though it happens here all the time, often by the same 2 officers who seem to focus an inordinate amount of their time on it.

soren
Guest

“and that means following the rules of the road.”

statutes created for and by drivers that discriminate against people walking or cycling by design. i intentionally and safely violate these statutes every time i walk or bike. moreover, i applaud the many other portlanders who also safely jaywalk and jaybike.

lop
Guest
lop

Safely isn’t enough. Comfort matters. Delay matters. If this wasn’t true then nobody would be asking cops to work on clinton, which has a good safety record. The call would be for them to focus on the actually dangerous streets like 82nd. A pedestrian can jaywalk or walk in a bike lane without directly endangering themselves or others, but still cause discomfort and delay for people with the right of way, whether in cars, trains, buses, or on bikes. The same applies to cyclists. Pass a red light after taking the time to make sure nobody is around? Fine. Assume nobody is around because it’s quiet (so no cars) and go through without looking for pedestrians, then when one steps out into the crosswalk place a higher priority on preserving momentum than pedestrian comfort and time? Not so much. A stopped car in a bike lane will never kill or injure anyone on its own. Should they be ignored? Usually are. Just like most ‘harmless’ infractions by pedestrians and cyclists are almost always ignored.

soren
Subscriber

Allowing people walking and cycling to cross empty roads increases comfort and decreases delay.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

And as long as it’s done safely, I don’t disagree with you at all. I just wish we could convince everyone to do it safely and inconspicuously. It would be so gratifying for the handful of officers who seem to enjoy ticketing cyclists to not be able to find any cyclists to ticket. They would have to give up and start focusing on motor vehicle violations.

The head guys make bail, sure. But the mid-level guys, they can’t, and they can’t afford to be off the streets long enough for trial and appeal. They’ll cut deals that include some jail time. Think of all you could do with 18 months of clean streets.

Endo
Guest
Endo

People who operate cars deserve harsher treatment because they make the world a worse place to live. Cyclists don’t cost us billions of dollars by destroying our roads, cyclists don’t destroy tens of thousands of families a year by murdering innocent people on the streets through so-called accidents, and cyclists don’t destroy our environment in ways too numerous to count.

Cyclists (even those who blow stop signs) are doing their part to improve their community. Why would you want to treat those two groups equally?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

‘murder’ implies intent. very few of those who kill someone with their vehicle set out intending to do so.
you conflation of the two groups is why your words are described as hyperbole.

Mark S
Guest
Mark S

So, you think all cars are evil & all car operators are evil? Well, today I used my car to transport my 82 year old father to a doctor’s appointment. You think this is evil? I also used the same car to transport the same father to his surgery appointment last week. Still evil? How about when I used the same car to transport my 83 year old mother to the grocery store to restock their larder because the same father is unable to drive & do the shopping himself? Still evil? I wouldn’t mind transporting these folks by bicycle, but their bicycling days are long past.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I’d say it somewhat depends on whether your father is evil.

Mark S
Guest
Mark S

Some of the kids he suspended for various enfractions, including possession of a handgun, from the various schools where he was an administrator, might think so.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Hello K: this is the fourth time you’ve made me crack up in these comments. 🙂

eddie
Guest
eddie

I have a friend who is a single mom raising both her boy and her sister’s kid, she works in NW and lives in SE and she has no choice but to drive a car.

I have another friend who dances at various strip clubs for a living and there is no way in hell she’s not driving a car to and from work.

I have yet another friend who works the night shift in a dodgy neighborhood, ditto for her.

And then there are those who are helping the elderly, etc. such as Mark S.

All these people get off the hook IMHO.

The people who are the problem are those who have a choice in the matter and choose to pollute the environment and endanger people’s lives by using a car to do things they could easily do with a bike or on foot or by public transit.

I imagine most reasonable bike people feel the same way I do.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Who is the judge of whether a particular person’t reason for driving is good enough to “get off the hook”?

In all those situations, one could argue that the person put themselves in a position where they “have to” drive, and that by making different choices, they could drive less. Who decides where to draw the line?

GreenTrax
Guest
GreenTrax

I bet you can tell the difference just by looking at them, right?

Spiffy
Subscriber

why didn’t you call a pedicab?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“So, you think all cars are evil & all car operators are evil?”

I didn’t really see the word “evil” anywhere in the post you are replying to. Just fire up an internal combustion engine and you’ve made the world a worse place—you’ve added pollution to the air, exacerbated climate change, helped kill an American soldier somewhere, and probably funded terrorists. Cars deceptively appear to make life better for their drivers, but they definitely make life worse for everyone else. If I drive my car, I even make life worse for other drivers by helping clog the roads.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

It’s not deceptive to note that cars are widely regarded to improve quality of life by increasing personal mobility, something most people agree is good.

The costs listed in your main paragraph could apply to almost any aspect of participating in modern society. Buying a bike has all those same impacts, as does eating anything you didn’t grow yourself, or taking the bus.

If you were arguing for internalizing the costs of a range of activities in our society, I’d be on board. I’m not on board if you’re arguing that driving is bad, but eating a hamburger is OK.

9watts
Subscriber

“Buying a bike has all those same impacts”

Oh, Please! What utter nonsense.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Where do you get your climate-neutral steel and aluminum and rubber? How does your bike get to the shop without trucks clogging our highways, and burning oil?

There is certainly a question of degree, but the fact is that there is very little we can do in our modern, intertwined society that does not carry with it plenty of negative impacts. Pretending otherwise is just… pretending.

9watts
Subscriber

“Where do you get your climate-neutral steel and aluminum and rubber? How does your bike get to the shop without trucks clogging our highways, and burning oil?”

Every economic choice we make falls along a spectrum, from greatest to least impact. I can pull a bicycle from a dumpster and fix it up using bits that others have discarded, or I can buy a new bike every X years. With a car the range at first appears similar: new car vs. used, discarded version, but largely because of the fuel required the situation is not really similar at all. Soren’s claims notwithstanding there is no zero or near zero impact automobile choice I could make. Probably a wood-gasifier hand-me-down car would be the closest I can think of. While I may benefit from tiny (relatively speaking) amounts of aluminum and rubber to replace my brakepads or rims, suggesting an equivalence to the automotive realm is a real stretch, suggests a need to stick it to the smug bikey folk, more than an honest exploration of the life cycle costs.

“There is certainly a question of degree, but the fact is that there is very little we can do in our modern, intertwined society that does not carry with it plenty of negative impacts. Pretending otherwise is just… pretending.”

This strikes me as an iffy proposition. If these choices, these decisions don’t really matter then why bother at all? Why not live it up, buy the SUV, , the big screen TV, the McMansion… since they all have emissions associated with them and we’re probably screwed anyway??

I subscribe to a very different view of these decisions. I think all of these decisions matter, just like it matters whether someone driving is paying attention.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I do not claim that biking and driving have an equivalent impact. However, I do think that with an honest look at the numbers involved, there is nothing anyone reading this message can do to make any meaningful impact, positive or negative, from an emissions standpoint.

What can make a difference, the only thing that can make a difference, is to try to change the industrial processes that underpin modern living, especially those related to energy production, or those that consume huge amounts of energy (manufacture of metals, fertilizer, cement, etc.) In other words, political action. Anything short of that just doesn’t mean much.

So the decision about whether to ride my bike to work or drive really doesn’t matter.

And yet… I always ride.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“the only thing that can make a difference, is to try to change the industrial processes that underpin modern living, […]Anything short of that just doesn’t mean much.”

I guess we disagree (again).

To me this is also profoundly disempowering. If we decide that the only thing that matters is what experts somewhere else need to do it doesn’t leave anything for us to put our energy toward. It reminds me of the dreadful, obeisant plea I think the Sierra Club trotted out some years ago: a letter writing campaign to the CEO of General Motors to please make a fuel efficient car so we could buy it.
Yuck.

Riding your bike is a net gain for not just you but society. Not only is it possible to imagine everyone doing this (and I am including being ferried by bike if you are too young or old to ride yourself), but the collective result would be a major improvement over the present in just about every way I can think of. Driving a car, as El Biciclero put it, is a net negative, even if in the short run it seems so convenient to you who are inside. It is inconceivable on several dozen fronts for all of us to do this, biophysically, emotionally, financially….

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

If you could zero out your emissions totally and completely, what would change? Nothing.

You could see it as disempowering, or you could see it as a road map directing you to funnel your efforts and energy into political action. Either way, the fact remains that the direct impact you can have on emissions are so far to the right of the decimal point as to be effectively zero.

And the impact your driving (or even a whole city’s) can have on the life (or death) of an American soldier (one of Biciclero’s other points) is probably even less.

9watts
Subscriber

I disagree with two of your points:

(1) “The only thing that can make a difference, is to try to change the industrial processes that underpin modern living, especially those related to energy production, or those that consume huge amounts of energy (manufacture of metals, fertilizer, cement, etc.) In other words, political action.”

Since when is changing industrial process the definition of political action? What about the thousand other actions we could enumerate? What about leading by example? What about the idea that if our City Council actually got around by means other than a car they might see the world differently and might go about the City Council business with different priorities, the whole walk in my shoes thing? I happen to think that riding a bike every day, not owning a car is a great way to discover how the world is put together, for whom, and why. Driving a car doesn’t really offer many lessons of that sort.

(2) “the direct impact you can have on emissions are so far to the right of the decimal point as to be effectively zero.”

Your (implicit) theory of social change strikes me as pretty uninspired. Do you agree that social change, the possibility of social change, has to start somewhere. Alex Reed started BikeLoudPDX one afternoon right here on bikeportland (or so I have understood). If he hewed to your view of the world, sat on his hands, figured what the heck it all amounts to a hill of beans anyway, how much better off would we be? I don’t think the emissions are the (chief) point of my not driving a car; I think the experience of learning what it takes to eschew a car, though, is invaluable, to me, and to anyone who may be curious, tempted, afraid that it is not possible, now or in the future. And the more of us there are, who have gained that experience, discovered that it is not a sacrifice but a huge boon, the easier it will be for those who have not yet tasted freedom from automobility to come around.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

“Since when is changing industrial process the definition of political action?”

It’s been this way for a century or longer. See phase out of CFCs for one of hundreds of examples. Political action -> change of rules/laws -> change of industrial process.

You absolutely should lead by example; if you gain enough followers, you might become a political force for change. But your example alone will have such a tiny impact that it is not even measurable. If all cars in Portland suddenly disappeared, the impact would be so tiny as to be essentially unmeasurable. That’s how big the numbers are.

I highly encourage you to ride your bike; it’s what I do. But I don’t do it because I have a rational belief that I am making a dent in emissions. I have an irrational belief that I am, but it really only serves to make me feel better.

My theory of social change is that to impact a global problem like climate change, you need sweeping changes in things most individuals have no direct control over: power generation, heavy industry, national/international rules and laws. These are things that can only be changed via political action.

I have only been addressing the big issues in this thread (since that’s how the message I initially responded to framed it). There are lots of other reasons to choose to ride vs. drive, or to lead a less materialistic lifestyle. But if your decision is based on the idea that doing so will spare the world from the looming catastrophe, you are deluding yourself. Political action (and technological progress) are the only things that will work.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“It’s been this way for a century or longer. See phase out of CFCs for one of hundreds of examples. Political action -> change of rules/laws -> change of industrial process.”

Most of the examples I can think of proceeded rather differntly: Someone speaks up -> Popular uprising -> Spineless leaders capitulate -> eventually laws are changed, but typically this lags the shift in consciousness (Gay Rights, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, the 8 hour work day, Trade Policy, Climate Change, etc.) The reason I object to your insistence on industrial processes is that this is many steps removed from what most individuals can understand, get exercised about, can affect. We live our lives every day, and to think that our chief strategy is to hope for some pencilneck to sort out the technical details is just a terrible motivator.

“You absolutely should lead by example; if you gain enough followers, you might become a political force for change. But your example alone will have such a tiny impact that it is not even measurable. If all cars in Portland suddenly disappeared, the impact would be so tiny as to be essentially unmeasurable. That’s how big the numbers are.”

You are completely focused on counting tons of CO2. I’m not talking about tons of CO2 but a shift in consciousness, a realization that there is another way to conduct our affairs. This is all about behavior, conversation, social change. When you say ‘it doesn’t matter’ because my emissions or the emissions of all the citizens of Portland don’t amount to very much you are skipping right over the power of a solution—at any scale. Why should the scale matter so much? Of course, climate change is a huge global problem, but that doesn’t mean that kayaktivists interfering with plans to send icebreakers into the arctic don’t make waves, can’t make waves that (could) swamp what seemed impregnable.

“I highly encourage you to ride your bike; it’s what I do. But I don’t do it because I have a rational belief that I am making a dent in emissions. I have an irrational belief that I am, but it really only serves to make me feel better.”

I am not talking about emissions.

“My theory of social change is that to impact a global problem like climate change, you need sweeping changes in things most individuals have no direct control over: power generation, heavy industry, national/international rules and laws. These are things that can only be changed via political action.”

But how do you get from here to there? We’ve already tried that for several decades and it doesn’t seem to work, doesn’t lead to anything useful, and change in course. Those in charge have shown themselves to be completely useless, have no clue, so they try to think of reassuring things to tell each other and us.
I find bottom up, figuring out how to live without or with minimal fossil fuels to be precisely what is most lacking in our present moment, and most salutary when it comes right down to it. I believe that the biggest hurdle right now is that no one has a clue how to actually ramp down our reliance on fossil fuels. And in the absence of a strategy, a plan we do nothing.

“But if your decision is based on the idea that doing so will spare the world from the looming catastrophe, you are deluding yourself.”

Straw man. I don’t think I ever said or implied this. But I challenge you to point to examples where changing industrial processes trumped bottom up social change on the biggest issues of the day (The Montreal Protocol excepted: that was a singularly effective political moment and set of negotiations, but largely because technical substitutes already existed, which can emphatically not be said of Fossil Fuels).

“Political action (and technological progress) are the only things that will work.”

Not persuaded. But I’m ready to learn where I have erred.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

The process of how political action leads to change you described is not different than the one I described.

I focus on industrial processes because that is where the emissions are. Ignoring them would be fatal to any effort to slow climate change. They are not the only thing that needs to be addressed, but they are critical, and there are strong economic forces opposing change that need political action to counteract.

“I challenge you to point to examples where changing industrial processes trumped bottom up social change on the biggest issues of the day.” Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act. Those all solved problems that were beyond the reach of individuals.

I know I can’t convince you, and I’m not even sure I want to. I support your ideas about leading by example, it’s what I try to do as well. But you just can’t solve a global crisis by quietly leading a lower impact lifestyle.

I would love for you to demonstrate I’m wrong by succeeding.

soren
Guest

i believe our current lifestyle is deeply unethical — in an arendtian banality of evil way. nevertheless, i think an evidence-based approach is critical to doing something about this ongoing 6th mass extinction. the average car-owning bikeportland commenter would almost certainly lower their CO2e more by switching to a grain and legume-centric diet than by going car-free.

i find it disappointing that those who ostensibly support a low carbon or carbon negative lifestyle criticize simple choices that can result in a significant reduction in CO2e. it’s especially disappointing to see such vociferous criticism of “cars” from people who often eat an omnivorous diet. those who live in glass-slaughterhouses should not cast stones at those who drive, imo.

*assuming a typical omnivorous diet

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I hope you don’t think I was criticizing any choices made by 9watts, because I was not.

soren
Guest

not directed at you at all. my point was that the tribal approach to a low-carbon lifestyle is counterproductive (no-car, primitivist, vegan etc) because there are many paths to a carbon negative lifestyle.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I would agree, except to note that I think there are no paths to a carbon negative lifestyle while still remaining part of modern society. Society itself has to change.

Dan A
Guest
Dan A

There is nothing “equal” between cars and bikes.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“You can’t demand equal treatment regarding funding and infrastructure while decrying equal treatment when it comes to obeying traffic laws.”

I don’t want equal treatment, because cars and bikes aren’t equal…

Pete
Guest
Pete

Now now, if those cyclists are foolish enough not to read about an upcoming enforcement on bikeporland.org then they get what’s coming to them… 😉

alankessler
Subscriber
alankessler

I *told* y’all to put your foot down. *ducks for cover*

sabes
Guest
sabes

If they are doing traffic stops, they cannot ignore cyclists breaking the law. If one blows the stop sign, they have to pull them over.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

If a car drives 8MPH over the speed limit, they should be pulled over too.

Spiffy
Subscriber

they are not obligated to pull anyone over… it’s up to them to decide who to ticket… so yes, they could have decided to not ticket cyclists…

armando
Guest
armando

more info here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/557208
says 15 bikes were stopped.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Please tell me that’s 15 warnings for “15 equipment violations”. If they were really ticketing people for slowly rolling a stop sign on a bike, “… was on the lookout for violations that threatened the safety of people walking and biking” would be a lie.

ethan
Guest
ethan

If you can drive 11mph over the speed limit and have the cops not bat an eye, maybe they should not worry about people on bikes going through stop signs at less than 11mph.

“I didn’t run the stop sign officer. I was just riding slightly over the 0mph speed limit.”

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

I should try this one….

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

So either Barnum or Balzer was working the evening shift. Those two have a hard on for cyclists like you wouldn’t believe.

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

Or perhaps bike commuters are smart and choose not to use this route (too slow, too congested, or too dangerous)…in the AM.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

The police are kinda sorta required to cite or warn all the violations they see in these enforcement actions. Targeted enforcement implies bias in policing that starts getting them into equal protection trouble, so they ticket all the things.

But I also get the impression that police don’t know how to look for and evaluate the things that are a danger to people on bicycles even when they are out there doing enforcement on the greenway. Windshield perspective prevents them from even noticing close passes, dangerous opposing traffic overtakes, early cut ins, tailgating, etc.

They just go out there and ticket all the usual stuff that they already know.

jeff
Guest
jeff

really? I saw at least 3 motorcycle officers. I’m pretty sure they have an acute awareness themselves due to their vulnerability.

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

What enforcement “does the most good”? In my opinion, unsafe passing of bicyclists by motor vehicle drivers is the most important behavior to enforce on the Clinton Greenway.

I feel officers should be directed:

1. Where to post up (NOT at stop signs. Instead, on the uphill section eastbound from 27th to 29th, for example, where bikes are travelling more slowly and drivers are impatient and passing aggressively and unsafely), and

2. How to recognize unsafe passing. (Drivers think they can create a “3rd lane” down the middle of the two-lane street when the lanes in both directions are already occupied, either by two bikes, or a bike and car. They then pass bikes too closely and/or at excessive speed.)

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

Last night I asked Officer Erick Thorsen if he had seen unsafe passing and he said no. Earlier he had said something like ‘too many people wanting to be in the same space’, but this did not translate to him as cars crowding into a non-existent passing lane down the middle of the street.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Exactly… I was about to write (see Betsy Reese below), then you came upthread and expounded.

Unless police officers are trained to see this sort of thing, they will look right at it and say, “No harm, no foul,” whereas if cars did the same thing to each other, they would immediately recognize it as dangerous driving.

reader
Guest
reader

I saw (former?) Bike Portlander Adam on the 6 o’clock news story about this event last night.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I miss Adam’s “early and often” comments. I come from a different perspective, but I always enjoyed his passion. I hope he forgives and comes back.

scott
Guest
scott

Failure to obey a traffic control device is a $135 ticket. That’s around $3500 they can use TO PAY THEIR INTERN.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

except that you just can’t use fees any way you want.

scott
Guest
scott

Or sarcasm apparently.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Sure, but Portland doesn’t get $135 from a $135 citation. Maybe $15-$20.

scott
Guest
scott

*sigh*

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

The presumptive fine for a Class B violation is $260. Minimum is $130.

daisy
Guest
daisy

I wonder if the felony arrest was a person traveling via car or bike.

daisy
Guest
daisy

Yeah, I knew that. Thanks, though. ?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Curious how police site cyclists if they don’t have identification on them? I may be wrong, but I don’t believe you are required to carry an official ID on a bike. If not, and you are stopped for an traffic violation without an ID, do the police just have to hope you are honest when you say who you are and where you live?

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I have been stopped for speeding on a bike. Fortunately a woman in front of me (stuck in traffic at the stop) and a man in a car behind me was also stuck in gridlock when the Policeman cornered me. I told the officer that I was unaware that a license was required for a cyclist. I gave her the number and she said “You are not a 20 something!” I told the officer that I wanted the ticket to post on my wall in a frame. The sargent in the car about split a gut laughing. He told the officer that they needed to go.

Nate Young
Guest
Nate Young

I think you could, in that case and if you didn’t have much cash on hand, be cited and held for vagrancy. I believe the threshold is something like $20.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Vagrancy laws were found Unconstitutional several decades ago.

Captain Karma
Guest

You can verbally ID yourself. If they care enough, they can verify it online. They will ask you trick questions like your height, birthday, address. Otherwise, they can take you to jail until you can be vouched for or otherwise Identified, can hold you up to 3 days. Of course, they can always cook some charge up if they feel the need. But nothing says you gotta have a d/l or state ID. It would be good to have something with info in case you get knocked out or worse, for medical attention.

Dave Thomson
Guest
Dave Thomson

You don’t have to carry ID, but you can be detained until the officer can verify your identity.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Is this only in the event the officer intends to charge you with something? Or can any officer stop anyone and demand they identify themselves on a whim?

Pedal PT
Member

Wow- I was unaware that the PD were cracking down on bicyclists too on Clinton.. Anyone have any info on the specifics of the bikers getting pulled over? My guesses: 1) No lights on, and 2) running stop signs . . I guess take note — be careful out there gang, and pass this info on to your friends and fellow cyclists!

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

get used to it. memory serves it’s about 1-2 times per year they run the sting in this neighborhood. usually at Ladd Circle, but it has certainly been done at 21st and Clinton 4-way stop in the past. no doubt it will be done there and also at 26th/clinton, 34/clinton in the future, also. after the diverters go in, and enough car-centric folks have time to lodge their complaints about cyclists running the stop sign at the diverters, I’m sure there will be stings at those locations, also. these stings usually work to catch cyclists running stop signs and other dragnet type violations – the above comments explain how that is.

sabes
Guest
sabes

Ugh. Come on people, the police cannot allow cyclists to break the law while they are pulling over cars. They. Cannot. Do. It. A cyclist is a vehicle just like a car. They get equal treatment. If you want to bitch and moan about cyclists getting pulled over, maybe you should ask why cyclists are breaking the law.

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

If a police officer actually enforced every law every second they would never get more than a block away from the station. Cops use discretion in what they do and don’t enforce every second of every day.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Thank you for that!

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Indeed, Betsy is rad.

soren
Guest

“A cyclist is a vehicle just like a car.”

I am not a vehicle just like a car.
My neighbors are not vehicles just like cars.

Language often gives insight into how people view others.

Spiffy
Subscriber

a bicycle is not equal to a car… a bicycle is a vehicle, but not a car… they are different and have different laws applied to each of them… they do not get equal treatment…

an officer has the discretion to cite somebody or not, it’s up to them… they don’t have to ticket cyclists…

cyclists break the laws because the laws weren’t designed for them and are oppressive with no safety gain…

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

jeff
really? I saw at least 3 motorcycle officers. I’m pretty sure they have an acute awareness themselves due to their vulnerability.Recommended 0

No, they don’t.

On the motorcycle you are the fastest thing on the road. There is some crossover between the two, but there are things in riding a bicycle that motorcyclists never experience.

jeff
Guest
jeff

so now you’re speaking for police offers you don’t know to advance your personal agenda? awesome.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

And you’re doing what exactly by claiming certainty of their acute awareness?

Spiffy
Subscriber

as a motorcycle rider I agree with encephalopath…

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

A comparison of motor vehicle dangers to motorcyclists and bicyclists.

I was thinking about this more and decided to write them out. There are likely ones that I’ve missed. Please add more.

Left Cross–

Roughly the same for both modes. A strong lane position might make the left cross less likely on a motorcycle, but the speed are higher resulting in less time to react and potentially a higher impact speed. The motorcyclist is wearing more and better protective gear, though.

Bicyclists are most often farther to the right in the roadway, making them less visible and increasing the possibility of a left cross.

For both modes the window for successful evasive action closes quickly. Once the angles narrow beyond a certain point both stopping and evasive maneuvers become impossible.

Right hook–

Only a threat to bicycles. It’s not often that someone will attempt whip around a motorcycle and make an immediate right turn.

Perpendicular pull out–

A problem for both modes, but a higher threat to motorcyclists. Due to the higher speeds this one is harder for motorcyclists to avoid. Nothing in motorcycle riding make me more nervous than 35 to 45 mile an hour roads with side access.. except maybe free range cows. On lower speed roads motorcycles have the option to full stop in the event of a left cross or perpendicular pull out. High speed roads tend not to have side access or at least not as much of it. It’s those medium speed roads that are the biggest problem for the pull out.

On a bicycle you have more time to assess the intentions of the driver and the slower speed gives you the option of a full stop or an evasive maneuver since the angles don’t close down to nothing like a left cross.

Close pass–

Bicycle only. Almost no one attempt to overtake a motorcycle in the same lane. A strong lane position by the motorcyclist can prevent this almost entirely.

A strong lane position by a bicyclist will prevent an uneducated squeeze through by a motorist between the bicyclist and oncoming motor vehicle traffic that will often occur when the bicycle is a a weak lane position.

But a strong lane position by a bicyclist seems to actually increase the likelihood of a close pass. Nobody executes a punishment pass on a motorcycle. A strong lane position by a bicyclist, however, makes driver’s lizard brains go crazy and even is there is a fully open adjacent lane they will squeeze close to the bicyclist anyway just to, you know, “send a message.”

Bike lane close pass–

Bicyclist only, of course. Narrow bike lane and you’re trying to ride out of the door zone when some large vehicle passes six inches off your bar end while squeezing the bike lane instead of the center line and you wonder, “How did the mirror not hit me in the head?”

Early cut in on overtake–

This can happen to a motorcyclist on a multi-lane highway if the motorcyclist take a weak lane position. Overtaking cars may cut into the same lane early on overtake. A strong lane position eliminates this almost entirely.

Changing lane position does nothing to stop this from happening to bicyclists, however. As soon as a motorists gets that right front fender up next the bicyclist, they are just fine with pushing you to the curb. This might be a variation of a punishment pass or general cluelessness. I can’t tell.

Dangerous opposing overtake–

This happens to both and is particularly deadly to motorcyclists. When it happens to bicycles, the driver is more like to have seen the bicyclist but thinks you can just get out of their way.

Swoop and squat–

Bicycle only, unless we’re talking about a road rage incident.

This happens mostly at stop lights and stop signs where a car will whip around you late approaching the stop and then brake. This upsets bicyclist’s stopping routine, changing the stopping distances and unsights the road surface in front of them. The bicyclist is emergency braking into god knows what.

Tailgating–

This happens to both and which it poses a greater threat to may be a tossup.

For motorcycles this happens often in stop and go traffic where inattentive motorists gauge their spacing and stopping distance on the big solid object two vehicles ahead instead of the small two wheeled one directly in front of them. This a a rear ending risk for motorcycles and the reason why lane splitting is safer.

For bicycles this happens to cruising speed when the motorist want to go faster or pass. They drive a quarter second behind the bicycle waiting to pass and also as a bullying, get out of my way gesture.

Stationary squeeze through–

Equal problem for both. You’re stopped in traffic or even in a bike lane when some impatient person drives inches away from your person in order to make a turn instead of waiting in line for a few seconds.

General bullying–

For the most part this only happens to bicyclists. No one drive right up the backside of motorcyclist and lays on the horn only to execute a close pass seconds later.

Dan A
Guest
Dan A

Wow, great list. I wonder if motorcyclists face less of these for another reason: they can actually catch up to the driver and get their plate or ‘counsel’ them on their bad behavior.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Yes… speed and the legitimacy is lends as an accepted, valid road user explains much of the difference, I think.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Adding…

The things that are only a danger to bicycles are often not noticed at all by anyone who doesn’t also ride a bicycle.

When it comes to enforcement and crash investigation, the things that are equally dangerous to both modes often get different treatment from the police. Less so in Portland than other places, or so the internet tells me, but still.

An overtake that pushes an opposing direction motorcyclist onto the shoulder will be immediately recognized as dangerous and cited. The overtake that splits the middle on two bicyclists traveling in opposite directions gets a shrug.

Left cross a motorcycle, cited. You get left crossed on a bicycle, well I guess you get going too fast for the conditions.

Spiffy
Subscriber

great list!

but “close pass” and “early cut-in” are very real problems on a motorcycle… I don’t exceed the speed limit and I get plenty of irate people trying to make a point by bullying me with their cars… it happens when I drive a car too but it’s scary on a motorcycle and in response I hit the brakes to instantly create distance and then speed back up to the speed limit when I have that distance, which further irritates drivers hehind me, which leads to multiple instances of close passing and intimidation in one short stretch…

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…There is some crossover between the two, …” enceph

Relative to most motor vehicle traffic, the majority of which tends to cars and trucks with passenger compartments people sit within, motorcycle riders are vulnerable road users, exposed to surrounding motor vehicle traffic, quite a lot like people riding bikes. If people riding motor bikes don’t an awareness of their vulnerability that’s more acute than for driving a car, they should have. Getting their license to ride involves more study and testing than does a simple driver’s license.

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

Last night at about 6 PM I chatted with Officer Erick Thorsen who was conducting traffic enforcement near 17th on SE Clinton. I thanked him for helping educate people about Clinton a picked up a brochure from him. When I asked what kinds of infractions he was seeing and who he was stopping he said mostly bicyclists running stop signs. When I asked if it was people blowing through, he said ‘yes, blowing through, or slowing down, but either way it is a stop sign and they must make a complete stop’.

I mentioned to him the Portland Police Bureau Training Division’s September 2009 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKmwKP5ZRtQ titled Bicycle Traffic Enforcement. Michelle Pouyourow, of the BTA at the time, and Officer Robert Pickett collaborated on the video, along with PBOT, the Bicycle Advisory Committee, and “a group of bike-savvy police enforcement officers”, including Officer James Powell, who narrated the segment on Stop Sign Compliance as follows:

“Much like speed enforcement, the questions is, how to spread our enforcement resources in a way that does the most good.

ORS 811:265 gives you clear authority to cite when a bicycle or a car doesn’t come to a complete stop, just like the speed laws allow a citation for 36 mph in a 35. With stop sign running, the danger obviously increases as the speed increases. In addition, damage is done to the confidence of all road users in their ability to safely share the road.

The group feels that a bicyclist’s speed and apparent care should guide you in deciding whether to cite. If a cyclist approaches an intersection at walking pace or less, and is attentive, enforcement resources may best be used elsewhere.

There should be significant enforcement interest, once the speed is above a walking pace, or if the cyclist is not looking.

An enforcement should be a very high priority when stop signs are blown at high speed or in a reckless manner.”

(See Stop Sign Compliance from 8:10 to 9:10. Coincidentally, this is partially filmed at SE 26th and Clinton.)

Officer Thorsen told me he had only issued warnings to the cyclists (except for one, who was also riding without lights, and so was issued a ticket). Nevertheless, given the stated purpose of this call for enforcement, I feel that “enforcement resources could be better used elsewhere” – namely, stopping more motor vehicle drivers to educate them that the Clinton Greenway is not to be used as a cut-through.

I’m not advocating for more citations being issued to drivers. I am advocating for more drivers seeing flashing red and blue lights in their review mirrors, and having a uniform walk up to their window and explain to them their error and educate them about Greenways. If officers are too busy at the stop sign with cyclists, they don’t have time to do this. And THIS is the whole point of PBOT’s police officer-aided education campaign in preparation for diverter installation on Clinton.

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

Exactly, it is a waste of the limited resources we have for safety enforcement on greenways for the officers to be hanging around talking to cyclists who are treating stop signs as yield signs. This is not what is creating a dangerous situation on Clinton and unless the city has unlimited resources for enforcement that enforcement needs to be prioritized to target the most dangerous infractions.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…The group feels that a bicyclist’s speed and apparent care should guide you in deciding whether to cite. If a cyclist approaches an intersection at walking pace or less, and is attentive, enforcement resources may best be used elsewhere.

There should be significant enforcement interest, once the speed is above a walking pace, or if the cyclist is not looking.

An enforcement should be a very high priority when stop signs are blown at high speed or in a reckless manner.” …” betsey reese

When someone riding a bike, is visibly looking carefully from side to side and ahead as they roll through a stop sign at a normal walking speed, approx 3 mph, cutting them some slack in deciding to cite, could be reasonable.

On the other hand, if they obviously see a cop on detail, or an approaching motor vehicle, and fail to stop: cite them. Same, if they roll through the stop sign, not visibly looking around for approaching traffic and pedestrians.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

I do this trick frequently when it is clear’ish and the vehicle coming needs to slow down, some. Assuming there is clear visibility it is perfectly safe and seems legal.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I think what you’re saying is that the next time they do enforcement every rider should go up on the sidewalk and use the crosswalk so they never have to stop…

this would seriously confuse the officers and really make them think about the safety aspect of a cyclist going the same speed through the adjacent stop sign…

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

“Maybe we set up fake construction zones on greenways as diverters. The city rarely questions fences in the streets. ;)”

You just got my vote for Comment of the Week!

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

Speeding on a greenway should be a special circumstance and come with increased penalties and a lowered threshold for ticketing.

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

Everytime I read about this type of education/ enforcement “stings” either for bikes or peds or puppy dogs…I wish that the agency collecting the data would report on the total number of events / size of data set. It helps to put the number of infractions into perspective…video of the intersection would help collect this information along with any incidents that should have been ticketed but are not…due to enforcement officers being busy / overwhelmed by a high number of events (it happens).

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Yes. How many drivers and bicyclists weren’t cited? And were they not cited because they were operating safely and legally, because officers used “discretion” and decided against a citation, or because all available officers were busy writing other citations at the time of an offense?

Kevin Wagoner
Guest
Kevin Wagoner

This is great. I’ve asked for enforcement on SW Spring Garden for years and would love to see the city show up like this out here. Recently our Principle asked the local officer to step up enforcement at SW 17th and other adjacent streets. No extra enforcement yet, but if they showed up like this it would really make an impact.

ethan
Guest
ethan

This is a bit off topic for this discussion, but I think the safety on Clinton would be vastly improved if there was no direct car access to 39th from Clinton. Near that area is where the majority of alterations I’ve had with drivers happen.

alankessler
Subscriber
alankessler

Hopefully the diverter at 32nd will substantially reduce that crowd.

JD
Guest
JD

I got hit by a car last month by a car driver making an illegal left-hand turn from a *center* traffic lane and without looking and broke two bones (lucky not worse). When the cops came they declined to write the offender a ticket even with a dozen witnesses. But somehow they have time, resources, and intention to stop 15 bicyclists for minor infractions where nobody was hurt? How can they call it a “vision” when they’re doing selective enforcement? If you’re going to ticket bicyclists slowing at stop signs not hurting anyone, how about you ticket drivers who illegally drive and hit and hurt people like me? Selective enforcement indeed. The pricks.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Hey….he didn’t have a choice but to drive.

Mark s
Guest
Mark s

jeff
yes, because everyone knows cyclists are special.Recommended 20

We only need laws because of cars.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

But we did need people to clean up the poo and dead horses.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Your point being?

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

My point being that the halcyon days before cars never were. The streets were more dangerous as well.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“The streets were more dangerous as well.”

Oho! Do tell.
More dangerous? Than today? For horses? What are you talking about?

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

Probably From Horse Power to Horsepower: “…the fatality rate per capita in the horse era was roughly 75 percent higher than today.” That’s not including the health problems of flies, manure and carcasses. I’m sure the numbers are debatable but the point is that today’s problems come on the heals of yesterdays, and unlike Mark s’ statement, I expect we’ll still need laws tomorrow.

9watts
Subscriber

Thanks for that reference, Alan 1.0.
I learned a lot reading Eric Morris’s article: http://www.uctc.net/access/30/Access%2030%20-%2002%20-%20Horse%20Power.pdf , to which your link directed us. I don’t agree with Morris on all counts, but clearly in congested, rapidly growing cities like NYC a century ago the horse density was a disaster of epic proportions. Gives one pause.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

“Comparing fatalities associated with horse-related accidents in 1916 Chicago versus automobile accidents in 1997, he concludes that people were killed nearly seven times more often back in the good old days. The reasons for this are straightforward…”

from the following, which is an interesting read:

from http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/03/29/the-horse-manure-problem/

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Horses… the original negligent manslaughtering murder machines.

Spiffy
Subscriber

to the glue factory with those murderers!

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Foo on those fiendish four-legged felonious fillies!

Jeff J.
Guest
Jeff J.

Imagine parked cars rearing up on their back wheels when something spooks them.

lop
Guest
lop

https://books.google.com/books?id=wkVRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA492#v=onepage&q&f=false

Some old tables from the dawn of the automobile era.

Transportation used to be a much more dangerous business.

Mark
Guest
Mark

eddie
I have a friend who is a single mom raising both her boy and her sister’s kid, she works in NW and lives in SE and she has no choice but to drive a car.I have another friend who dances at various strip clubs for a living and there is no way in hell she’s not driving a car to and from work.I have yet another friend who works the night shift in a dodgy neighborhood, ditto for her.And then there are those who are helping the elderly, etc. such as Mark S.All these people get off the hook IMHO.The people who are the problem are those who have a choice in the matter and choose to pollute the environment and endanger people’s lives by using a car to do things they could easily do with a bike or on foot or by public transit.I imagine most reasonable bike people feel the same way I do.Recommended 1

Drive your car all you want. Just don’t be a jerk doing it. That’s the real problem.

Props to you for knowing a legit person who dances at strip clubs.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I think most people dancing at strip clubs are legit…

the junkies don’t last long…

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

It is true. All my many male strippers are legit.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Too legit to quit.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Just by chance, I ended up on Clinton during the evening enforcement period. Chance again, I saw one of the 15 people on a bike who got ticketed.

Maybe it was flashing police lights in the night keeping things in order, but that was easily the most pleasant rush hour I’ve experienced on Clinton in some time.

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

Does Waze flag Focused Oregon Revised Statutes Enforcement (FORSE)?

J_R
Guest
J_R

I really wish the cops would try riding bikes on Clinton supported by motorcycle cops to observe and cite the dangerous, aggressive motorists who are present all too often.

Flashing lights or even the presence of a police car improves most peoples’ behavior. I’d like the support cops to be out of sight. That’s lots more likely to be the way they’ll catch the aggressive motorists doing truly dangerous stuff.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Holy cow, this LEGITIMATELY scares me.

In just one and a half hours, on a supposedly quiet residential sidestreet, there were

Adam
Guest
Adam

6 uninsured
2 driving while suspended

This petrifies me as a cyclist on a street that is supposed to protect me.

And let’s not even mention the 1 without a driving license.

Laura McMullen
Guest
Laura McMullen

I would love to see this happen on Ankeny, which my son and I use as a bike route to his school (btwn Laurelhurst Park and closer in to the river). It seems like some cars don’t have any idea what the bicycles painted on the streets mean. Would be awesome if there were some “bike street” signs too.

Spiffy
Subscriber

and not a single violation for the 2 things that always happen and scare me the most on Clinton:
* tailgating
* passing too close

at least to me those are the biggest safety issues (along with speeding, but that usually happens between cyclists)…

Skid
Guest
Skid

So 6% of the motorists cited were uninsured and one did not have a license. You think that’s on every street, not just Clinton?