Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Southeast Portland elementary warns parents about unsafe cycling near school

Posted by on March 1st, 2016 at 2:59 pm


Approaching the intersection of Ladd Circle and Harrison, where a local school principal says people are riding fast and not following traffic signs.

One of the most bicycle-oriented neighborhoods in America has a problem with unsafe cycling.

“We have contacted security services and they have contacted the Portland Police’s Traffic Division for support.”
— Melissa Dragich, assistant principal at Abernethy Elementary

The Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood surrounding Ladd Circle is home to thousands of daily bicycle riders. Many live in the neighborhood and many more ride through it on their way in or out of downtown and other destinations. The circle itself is controlled by stop signs and has a long and controversial history that we’ve been covering since 2007. To make a long story short, the stop signs at the eight streets that come into the circle are often disregarded by road users. Combine that with an area that has a lot of foot traffic and you can understand why tensions sometimes mount.

Remember that one time in 2010 when someone was so upset over the stop sign running they installed a trip-wire across the intersection? Despite gestures of goodwill in the form of fresh baked cookies, an appearance by a traffic calming sasquatch (seriously), and grassroots efforts to fix the problems, it appears that as long as their are stop signs up at Ladd Circle (something that even City of Portland traffic engineers admit is not an ideal design) people will run them.

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And that brings us to the current front in the Ladd Circle stop sign war: Abernethy Elementary School. In the school’s “Monday Mailer” sent to parents yesterday, Assistant Principal Melissa Dragich included this message:

“The office has received several concerns about bicyclists moving through the neighborhood at fast speeds and not abiding by traffic signs. There appears to be a problem at Ladd Circle and Harrison. We have contacted security services and they have contacted the Portland Police’s Traffic Division for support. This week I have noticed increased patrols in the neighborhood surrounding our school. Hopefully that presence will help slow all vehicles and ensure that our students can walk or bike to school safely.”

Just for context, Abertnethy Elementary is one of the most bike-friendly schools you’ll find anywhere. They held the “Tour de Ladd” bike-a-thon back in 2008 that was put together by none other than urban cycling pioneer (and local resident) Mia Birk.

So what gives? Maybe folks just need to slow down and ride with a bit more consideration for other road users. This isn’t the first time inner southeast Portlanders have shared concerns about unsafe cycling, and it probably won’t be the last. Keep this in mind if you ride in the area.

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

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  • Jeff March 1, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I’d like to issue an all points emergency bulletin regarding automobile drivers in the proximity of Portland schools. Rampant parental driving, often accompanied by a false sense of the importance and well being of YOUR children over EVERYONE ELSE, has resulted in rampant driving on streets around Portland schools. Beware of drivers who double park, block driveways and crosswalks, open doors into traffic and pull in and out without signals. All modes of transportation adversely affected by these selfish operators. You have been warned.

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    • Oliver March 1, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      You forgot to mention running stop signs and speeding. Of course that problem could be limited to my neighborhood, and folks on the school run elsewhere in town always leave on time, and obey the speed limits and all traffic control devices.

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    • Jeff March 1, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      way to go full ‘glib’ and childish.
      maybe, when you become an adult, you’ll be able to understand the concerns of a neighborhood you apparently don’t care about.

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      • Mark Smith March 1, 2016 at 10:42 pm

        Yes, bikes..the new mass killer.

        Cars, the new happiness machine that extends everyone’s life.


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        • Jeff March 1, 2016 at 10:45 pm

          who’s saying that? is it so difficult for you to validate the concerns of the people who live in the area?

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          • Mark Smith March 1, 2016 at 11:12 pm

            The same neighborhood that parks right next to a corner in violation of the law?

            Consider yourself validated. Ladd. Validated.

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            • Mao March 2, 2016 at 10:53 pm


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      • JeffS March 1, 2016 at 11:12 pm

        I don’t know who the principal is purporting to speak for, but it’s not the neighborhood.

        Best case, it’s a couple of people who think the school is the appropriate place to complain about traffic infractions.

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    • Tim March 2, 2016 at 8:42 am

      The worst part of my daily ride is past the Elementary School where parents driving the children a few blocks to school turn in and out of the school without regard for traffic rules. If schools were serious about the safety of the children on their way to school they would ban driving children to school. Over half of injuries to students on their way to school are from parents driving to school.

      As for rude cyclists. Darwin has a plan for you.

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    • mike March 3, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      It must be hard to deny the fact that there are cyclists who ride dangerously. Sure a car can and will do much more damage but please don’t tell me that running into a child while on a bike isn’t dangerous. This school official is responsible for the children’s safety and I bet the issues with driver’s behavior has also been addressed but you wouldn’t find that on this website. I have, while walking with my kids, had some close calls with both cars and cyclists. A-holes exists in both populations.

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  • resopmok March 1, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Yield signs seem to be the logical and appropriate traffic control device at these intersections. As someone will doubtless have on more authority as this thread grows, I recall there being some specific legal hurdle which forbids their installation.

    I’m curious what data this principal has to back up the assertions of danger? Have there been multiple reported collisions involving bicycles and children recently? Or is this another hyperbolic claim made by a “concerned” (read: anti-cycling) neighbor? Let’s be realistic, this is a highly trafficked bicycle transportation corridor, and while the safety of children is a prime concern, maybe it’s appropriate to bring actual concerns to the table instead of perceived ones.

    Pointing fingers and making baseless accusations are non-starters for conversation, especially productive ones.

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    • Todd Hudson March 1, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Or, people could just stop. I swear that people here act like stopping at signed intersections will kill them….

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      • dwk March 1, 2016 at 5:43 pm

        Or choose busier streets (seriously) is you choose to go fast.

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      • Tom Hardy March 1, 2016 at 7:35 pm

        guaranteed a cyclist stopping will likely be run over by a minivan or SUV that is not going to stop.

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        • Dolan Halbrook March 1, 2016 at 7:37 pm

          Hell, I’ve nearly been run over by other _cyclists_ who didn’t want to stop 🙂

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 9:31 am

          Yep. I was rear-ended by a driver that assumed I was going to run a stop sign.

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      • Rob Chapman March 1, 2016 at 8:43 pm

        Stopping at stop signs hasn’t killed me yet, whether I’m riding or driving.

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      • Mark Smith March 1, 2016 at 10:43 pm

        When stop signs don’t make sense, add more stop signs. Right?


        Put in yield signs. Stop signs are evil. And only make old people happy.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 9:32 am

          Drivers don’t even stop at stop signs. Sit at any intersection on Clinton Street: 99% of the drivers pull a rolling stop even if there is cross bike traffic. A few even roll right through at speed.

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        • Anne Hawley
          Anne Hawley March 2, 2016 at 10:44 am

          Can we please, please, PLEASE dispense with the ageism? Even tongue-in-cheek, these generalizations are demeaning, not to mention inaccurate. I’m old. I’m here. I ride a bike. I don’t love stop signs.

          Is it that hard to pause before mentioning some monolithic group of people who are not-you, and say, “Let’s see now. How about if I insert some other not-me group in this sentence? ‘Stop signs only make autistic people happy.’ Nope. ‘Stop signs only make women happy.’ Nope. ‘Stop signs only make fat people happy.’ Nope. Hey, maybe I should leave that thought out of my public discourse.”

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    • Scott March 1, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      Replacing stop with yield signs will not increase the probability of a cyclist yielding to a pedestrian.

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      • Clark in Vancouver March 1, 2016 at 5:34 pm

        I disagree. And I say this from experience and evidence. I’ve seen at many parkettes where there is a stop sign on the cycle path, that the stop sign will get ignored. Then the signs were replaced with yield signs and people cycling then yielded when someone was walking across.

        The reason a stop sign doesn’t work is that people are more connected to reality than unreasonable rules (and this isn’t a cyclist thing, this is universal human nature.)
        If you go the same route every day at first you’ll stop each time but after awhile you’ll realize that it’s rare for anyone to be crossing so it’s okay to ignore the stop sign. (And you’d be right, it is okay, and harmless but technically illegal.)
        If there’s a yield sign then you tend to continue when no one is crossing and stop when there is. This is more connected to reality and to the reason to even have some regulation at a crossing.

        You see the same thing with drivers who go down a street where every intersection has a four-way stop even in low traffic areas. After awhile they stop a little less fully, then it leads to a rolling stop and then to just going through. Too many stop signs in places where they’re not needed just makes a stop sign lose it’s power. Then when there is a busy intersection or blind corner, people don’t have any sense that it’s different than the quiet places.

        If it doesn’t make sense then the sign is just teaching people to ignore signs. It creates contempt of the rules and the reason the rules were made in the first place is not served.

        The simple reason that yield signs work and stop signs don’t is because they make sense.

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  • Paul Atkinson March 1, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    When you’ve lost these folks, maybe it’s time for a little introspection.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu March 1, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      Drivers and cyclists both sometimes fail to fully stop at stop signs. But the offending drivers are usually doing “rolling stops” at low speeds. It is uncommon for a driver to blow through a stop sign at full speed. The offending cyclists, on the other hand, include many who do, in fact, routinely blow through stop signs at full speed, without slowing.

      Cyclists often trot out the old line “a bicycle can’t kill a pedestrian”, like we are all butterflies or something. But a 200 lb bike+rider at 20 mph packs quite a wallop. Easily enough to badly injure a child, or an adult for that matter. Remember the lady who was smashed at full speed by the cyclist on the Tilikum Bridge? She was significantly injured. So much for the harmless butterfly argument.

      Just stop, or pause, at stop signs, already. If there doesn’t seem to be anyone nearby, at least slow to walking speed and look carefully right and left. If you won’t do that, don’t be surprised when the neighborhood gets upset, motorcycle officers are waiting, and residents start blocking the creation of new bike greenways.

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      • Mark Smith March 1, 2016 at 10:44 pm

        Bikes…the new mass killer.

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        • Eric U. March 2, 2016 at 12:17 pm

          Bikes certainly can kill. In the U.S. it happens as often as once or twice a year. But if there are so many lawless, dangerous cyclists in Portland, you would think there would be some pedestrian fatalities to show for it. Instead, there are no such examples. I’m sure these dangerous cyclists are avoiding running over people. On my drive to work, I get brake-checked by lawless motorists nearly every day. For some reason, that doesn’t rise to the level of danger required to enter people’s consciousness. They spent over $100k to put in a traffic light that is needed only because of morning rush hour traffic at a school. It’s still very dangerous to ride or walk nearby at that time, but at least the car crashes have stopped.

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          • Mark smith March 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm

            Thak for opening my eyes.

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      • Slug March 3, 2016 at 6:33 am

        I was initially bothered by the article because it seems so unfair to focus on cyclists when cars are more dangerous. However, as you point out cyclists can hurt people too. My coworkers 8 year old child suffered a traumatic brain injury after being struck by a cyclist in a crosswalk a few years ago. Slowing to pedestrian speed as you suggest is the least selfish option for cyclists who are choosing the Idaho stop method or approaching a blind intersection. Chasing that feeling of the wind in my face or a new strava record to work is the equivalent of motorists placing more value on their Facebook update or waze app commute optimization than safety of other road users. Will my selfishness kill somebody? Probably not, but if I break somebody’s arm because I wanted to go fast on my bike am I any better?

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  • Dolan Halbrook March 1, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I’m guessing this is directly related to an incident I witnessed (along with a number of other people) last week. I was commuting in on my normal morning route, passing the intersection shown in the photo above. There was a car parked right up next to the crosswalk, obscuring visibility for the first few feet. Another rider was cat sixing about 100m behind me on a beat up old mountain bike. When I approached the crosswalk, I slowed way down and looked over as I wanted to make sure it was clear. There was a dad walking his young son to school, and they were about three seconds from stepping out in the crosswalk. I made eye contact with him to make sure everyone was clear I was coming through, then proceeded on.

    As I entered the roundabout I heard a bunch of shouting. The rider behind me had nearly plowed into the dad and his son. Despite the mitigating circumstances (poor sightlines) he hadn’t seemed to have slowed down one bit. The dad was furious and nearly assaulted the rider, shoving him, and picking up his bike at one point and throwing it. Luckily nobody was hurt, but pretty soon a crowd congregated, including one particularly unhelpful guy on a scooter. Eventually cooler heads prevailed, but not before quite a bit of shouting. I left shortly thereafter.

    On reflection, several things could be done about this. First and foremost, for the love of all things holy, SLOW DOWN OR STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS, ESPECIALLY IN CROSSWALKS. That should go without saying. Second, recognize when you might have to stop, like when a car is obscuring a crosswalk entry. Third, traffic circles should not have stop signs… period. That is just flat out lame and it’s half the reason there’s an issue. Fourth, the city should really paint curbs red where visibility is a problem. Parking availability should never trump safety.

    Anyways, that’s my account. Fire away if you have any questions.

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    • Todd Hudson March 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm


      I started being mindful of this, and it results in puzzled looks from pedestrians. I respond with light-hearted heckling: “the law says I have to let you go first!” and “this is a standoff!” get chuckles. That (and counting cats) breaks of the monotony of my ride home.

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      • Joshua March 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm

        Yes, this. We can’t rightfully lecture drivers on treating cyclists dangerously if we do the same to pedestrians. **It is always your responsibility to watch out for more vulnerable users.**

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      • BB March 1, 2016 at 4:24 pm

        I love cats.

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      • Aaron March 2, 2016 at 8:59 am

        The law doesn’t say that. If you read the law, it talks about intent to cross (putting a foot/etc. into the roadway). I have stopped trying to “let peds go first” because half the time they won’t take the opportunity. In fact, I’ve had people “scold me” for telling them to go. I now only stop if someone is *clearly* crossing or about to cross. Too many indecisive peds out there.

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      • Cory P March 2, 2016 at 10:42 am

        I’ve had many peds break into laughter when I stop at an intersection on my skateboard in insist that they go first. It’s good to spread joy.

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        • Kath Youell March 3, 2016 at 1:33 pm

          Right on!

          I usually get wide-eyes and, “No, that thing must be hard to keep going!” At that point I’ve already stopped so they might as well go.

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    • wsbob March 1, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      Ladd’s Addition needs stop signs at its intersections around the rose garden parks in order to help sustain the neighborhood’s quiet residential character, as well as for safety considerations.

      People in favor of having the stop signs removed, have not offered strong arguments for why they believe removing the stop signs would improve safety in interactions between road users of different modes of travel at the intersections.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 1, 2016 at 7:05 pm

        Wsbob, if you follow the links to our previous stories you’ll see that PBOT traffic engineers themselves say the stop signs should be removed and replaced with yield signs.

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        • J.E. March 1, 2016 at 7:34 pm

          As someone who lives in the vicinity, this baffles me. Even without cars parked up to the intersections, trees, bushes, and other obstacles make visibility extremely poor at the intersections. If the pedestrians had curb bulb-outs (there’s totally room) that would be one thing, but at Harrison (the cross-street in question) pedestrians approaching the crossing are extremely hard to see unless you’re really close to the intersection, at which point it’s too late to stop at full speed. The tree canopy also plays tricks on the eyes, because the circle is well illuminated (by sun during the day and by streetlamps at night) but the sidewalks are under a heavy tree canopy and very dark by comparison.

          Considering you only ever encounter a stop-sign ENTERING the circle and never when leaving it, and considering that the rose gardens have no stop signs, Ladd from SE Division to SE Hawthorne is almost 3/4 of a mile with just one stop sign; Harrison from 20th to 12th is 1/2 mile with only one stop sign. Considering this is a major intersection, busy with all modes of traffic, why would encountering a single stop sign be inappropriate or a hassle?

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        • wsbob March 4, 2016 at 10:02 am

          Maus…a day and a half ago, I posted a response to your mention of city traffic engineers view on the stop signs in Ladd’s. Why have you still not released that response from moderation?

          It’s an amazingly shallow display of consideration for other people, on the part of people biking through Ladd’s Addition, that repeatedly try to contrive rationale’s for proceeding through that neighborhoods intersections in a manner consistent with a reasonable standard of livability the neighborhood works to sustain.

          Do any of the traffic engineers to which you refer, live in this neighborhood, walk in it, or visit it firsthand, to get some sense of the experience from people biking that neighbors are objecting to? If this occurrence of people biking and driving through the neighborhood was just a relatively occasional, uncommon one, there probably would not have been near the objection that’s been raised. Commonly known fact is though, and one fairly well known, is that traffic from people riding bikes through Ladd’s is far more than occasional, and largely from people not living in the neighborhood.

          Somewhat informally and gradually over a period of many years, the city, and people that bike, have effectively re purposed one of the neighborhood’s central streets, as a standard bike throughway. That decision, should carry with it, a responsibility recognized by people such as city traffic engineers, to uphold reasonable standards of livability for neighborhoods affected by their decisions.

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      • Dolan Halbrook March 1, 2016 at 7:25 pm

        See Clark in Vancouver’s post at March 1, 2016 at 5:34 pm for a good summation of a strong argument.

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    • canuck March 2, 2016 at 7:06 am

      It’s not a traffic circle. It isn’t designed as anything more than landscape architecture. The incoming and outgoing streets do not merge into and out of the circle, they connect at 90 degrees. It was not designed for traffic flow.

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      • J_R March 2, 2016 at 8:43 am

        True; it’s not designed as a modern roundabout, but it doesn’t need to be modern roundabouts are designed to handle high volumes of traffic – the same volumes as handled by a signalized intersection. A modern roundabout is not needed for the low volumes of traffic at Ladd’s. It would work just fine to install yield signs and would accommodate the pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles if people yielded as required by law.

        The problem with changing to yield signs is that more motorists would use this short-cut.

        What I find interesting and distressing is that when an auto rolls through a stop sign at 5 mph, there is barely a whimper. When a cyclist rolls through a stop sign there is outrage. That said, I stop at stop signs as a cyclist and motorist. When I stop in my car, I really piss off the motorists following me.

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    • Mark M March 2, 2016 at 11:14 am

      Yup I was there as well, I was the one that got between the cyclist and the very pissed off Dad (reasonably so). I was able to calm down the Dad/pedestrian and make him realize that the cops will not do anything (or even show up for that matter) But… if he proceeded on his intended action to assault the cyclist, he (the Dad) would end up in jail.
      And your right the guy on the scooter was making the whole thing worse and I was able to get him to leave while I calmed everyone down.

      The cyclist was mortified and once I was able to calm the Dad down and ask them to talk to each other he (cyclist) immediately apologized for his mistake and bad judgment. He said he usually stops there but he was late for work and in a hurry and just made a bad choice.

      I would guess this incident is what sparked the letter from the Principle to the community, as I would assume the Dad (and probably mom) complained to the school.

      What is ironic is the Dad told me he is a cyclist as well.

      The reality was that the cyclist didn’t even come close to hitting the little boy (thankfully) he stopped in the middle of the cross walk right in front of the two pedestrians, and that is when the Dad lost it and grabbed his bike and threw him to the ground. Which I don’t blame him because the cyclist probably gave him quite a scare.
      The crazy scooter guy was spewing anger at the dad for “assaulting” the cyclist and was yelling He was going to press charges against the dad and would call 911.
      I really felt sorry for the Dad because he probably scared his son with his bout of rage.

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      • Dolan Halbrook March 2, 2016 at 11:33 am

        Thanks Mark for the rest of the story. Were you the rider on the Big Dummy? I made the assumption based on the Dad’s reaction that it was a near miss, but perhaps he was just ready to blow his top and this was the last straw.

        I, too, felt really bad for the kid to have to witness all that.

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        • Mark M March 2, 2016 at 11:58 am

          yup that was me, on the big dummy

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 11:37 am

        Had this been someone in a car rather than on a bicycle, things could have gone WAY worse for the dad and his kid.

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        • Dan A March 2, 2016 at 12:04 pm

          Well, you should never address someone in a car regarding their bad behavior. You are just asking to be punched in the face.

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        • Mark M March 2, 2016 at 12:10 pm

          My thoughts exactly but in reality I don’t think the dad would have stepped off the curb if there were a car coming. I think one of the larger issues is that cyclists are invisible at intersections like that where people park right to the corner and pedestrians are forced to “poke their heads out” to see if its clear to cross.
          It was kind of an exceptionally busy morning, with lots of pedestrians, drivers and then all of us cyclists and it just came to a head at that moment.

          But of course this morning as I rode through there two cyclist came flying out of that street completely blowing the stop sign at full speed.
          It’s really embarrassing how often I see other cyclist/commuters completely blow a stop sign. It makes me feel like a total hypocrite when I am constantly giving drivers the stink eye for rolling rights and rolling stops.

          I stop for every stop sign and that portion of my commute from 52nd down Clinton and over to Ladds is really an embarrassment to law abiding cyclists in this city as I see about 90% of other cyclists don’t stop or barely even slow down at any of those stop signs.
          I used to try and politely ask others to stop but its always in vain.

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          • Mao March 2, 2016 at 11:13 pm

            Hanging around in Corvallis, Oregon, the closer you are to the campus the more you see peds cross against signals. This is reasonable because the light cycles are pretty long. However, the peds will also ignore bicyclists which is annoying when I’m traveling along at 15mph with the green and they step out at the last moment.
            Also if you are on campus proper, 95% of people get confused when you stop at a stop sign 10mins before the hour.

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  • Dan A March 1, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Are those cars parked illegally?

    Places where stopping, standing and parking prohibited:

    (17)Within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection. Exemptions under ORS 811.560 (Exemptions from prohibitions on stopping, standing or parking) (2) and (4) to (7) are applicable to this subsection.

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    • John Lascurettes March 1, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      Since every intersection is a crosswalk (marked or not) in Oregon and the law itself does not specify 20 feet from a marked intersection, then I’d vote yes.

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      • Mark March 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm

        Good luck getting anyone to enforce this law.

        But, but, but, where will I be able to store my private property if I can’t leave it in the right-of-way?

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        • Paul Atkinson March 1, 2016 at 3:37 pm

          Get the PDX Reporter app for your phone (if you can). After creating an account with the city, it allows real-time reporting of parking problems (among others) that can get a response during normal business hours.

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          • Gerald Fittipaldi March 1, 2016 at 4:07 pm

            I’ve had issues getting the PDX Reporter app to work properly. Instead I tweet to @PBOTinfo and @PBOTactive. They are pretty responsive. Alternatively there’s 823-SAFE or safe@portlandoregon.gov.

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          • John Lascurettes March 1, 2016 at 5:08 pm

            The PDX Reporter app was outdated and pretty buggy for a while (on iOS), it’s been updated in the last year and is much better.

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      • Allan March 1, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        The city of Portland does not enforce this rule, and as a result gets 1 extra parking spot per end of a block (not insignificant. However if there are specific dangerous spots you will sometimes see no parking signs blocking parking near corners

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        • J.E. March 1, 2016 at 7:19 pm

          I can confirm this. I asked a certain PBOT employee well-versed in parking issues point-blank why this is not enforced, signed, nothing, despite being state law. This employee answered, point-blank, that it is not enforced to provide more on-street parking. The “no vehicles over 6 feet tall” law, however, is enforced, but sight-lines can be blocked by much shorter vehicles, especially when children are involved.

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          • Dolan Halbrook March 1, 2016 at 7:21 pm

            Ugh. I wouldn’t be shocked to see some vigilante curb-painting for sanity’s sake.

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        • Steve B. March 2, 2016 at 4:47 pm

          Correct. I asked the city to consider removing some parking at the intersections of Mississippi + Shaver to allow visibility of pedestrians crossing – right now you have to step out from behind whatever vehicle is parked right up to the edge of the intersection. They sent an engineer and everything and 12 weeks later my request was denied and it was explained to me the city really prefers to maintain as much parking in the district as possible. 🙁

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          • Matt S. March 2, 2016 at 5:21 pm

            This is especially bad on Williams and various cross streets…

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      • Mark Smith March 1, 2016 at 10:45 pm

        These are wealthy home owner. Cops ain’t gonna do jack.

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    • Dan A March 1, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      Not to get too sidetracked, but this is just baffling to me. Is this not an illegally-painted parking spot?


      This creates a significant visibility issue, as does the parking right up to the intersection in Ladd’s. Isn’t that the reason for the law in the first place? Seems to me that free vehicle storage ranks higher than Vision Zero in Portland.

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      • ethan March 1, 2016 at 4:43 pm

        As someone who rides the 8 on average of 3+ days a week, this intersection has always bugged me. Why can’t the deliveries be made in the parking lot? Of course, the bus drivers always drive through here cautiously, but most other drivers don’t. I used to get off at 9th and zig-zag through the construction to get to my office. I had about a 25% success rate of getting cars to stop here. Eventually, I switched to getting off at Grand, which took a little bit longer, but with better sight sightlines.

        Now, I work downtown again, so I rarely walk across those crosswalks, but I would love for them to get better. IIRC, they still haven’t fixed the storm drain in that area that’s sunk under the roadway a little bit. I called BES and 823-SAFE after my mom tripped on it and almost went headfirst into an oncoming car.

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      • paikiala March 1, 2016 at 6:15 pm

        A parking bay = a curb extension.

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      • Ali March 1, 2016 at 6:27 pm

        From the photo, it doesn’t look like it to me. Assuming the pedestrian walks up to the curb, pauses, looks, then crosses. The driver or cyclist doesn’t need to see the pedestrian coming, just standing on the curb about to cross, right? I might be misinterpreting the photo, tho. I haven’t seen this place in person. Pedestrians don’t have the right to cross without stopping but when standing there ready to cross, drivers and cyclists have to stop. Correct me if I’m wrong
        But I agree with your vision zero observation. Also, check out the freakanomics episode Parking is Hell

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        • Dan A March 1, 2016 at 10:36 pm

          If you’re crossing from north to south, it’s easy to step right into the bike lane before you can even see a cyclist coming. A number of my co-workers have nearly been hit this way. The ‘bulb out’ does nothing to fix the poor visibility right at the crosswalk.

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        • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 1:19 pm

          Pedestrians most certainly can cross without “stopping” (whatever that means for a ped), and pedestrian right-of-way isn’t triggered by law until the person steps or extends a cane, bike tire, stroller, or other “extension” into the actual roadway. Drivers who stop for waiting pedestrians are being nice, rather than strictly obeying the law. Also, no road user is ever absolved of the duty to exercise “due care”, meaning a pedestrian cannot step out in front of any vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

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      • Steve B. March 2, 2016 at 4:54 pm

        Unfortunately it is not illegal because this is a signed legal delivery/parking zone. The City understands the state law and can pre-empt it by marking the zone as close in proximity to crosswalks/intersections as it pleases.

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        • Dan A March 2, 2016 at 5:11 pm

          Safety vs Parking. Someone was killed in this crosswalk around 10 years ago.

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          • Steve B. March 4, 2016 at 1:47 pm

            I completely agree, I want to see the pendulum swing back toward safety over convenient car storage.

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    • Matt March 1, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      Exactly what I was thinking about.

      The first time I went through the pictured intersection, I was driving my car, and I ran the stop sign–because a tall vehicle was parked right in front of it, so I didn’t see it until I was already entering the circle.

      I see terrible parking everywhere I go in Portland, and no enforcement whatsoever. Seems like it would be an easy way to drum up some revenue to pay for pothole repairs and what have you.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Yes, they are absolutely in violation of Oregon Law. However, PPB willingly chooses not to enforce this law so we can squeeze a non-trivial amount of additional parking spaces out of our streets in exchange for reduced safety.

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      • Steve B. March 4, 2016 at 1:49 pm

        No, they are not in violation because this is a signed loading spot and this has little to do with PPB selective enforcement. It’s on PBOT and Parking Enforcement.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. March 1, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Hopefully that presence will help slow all vehicles and ensure that our students can walk or bike to school safely.

    PPB will be issuing citations to aggressive and dangerous drivers too, right? After all, cars are the leading cause of injury death in children aged 5-18. At any rate, it’s really not that hard to slow down on your bike if you see kids walking or riding.

    As for Ladd’s Circle, just remove the stop signs. It’s already built like a roundabout, which by definition require people to yield (not stop) to traffic already in the roundabout.

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    • Scott March 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Any how will replacing stop with yield signs improve cyclists failing to yield to pedestrians?

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. March 1, 2016 at 3:50 pm

        Roundabouts don’t have yield signs either.

        The solution here is to remove the parking spaces leading up to the circle to improve visibility and stripe more visible international-style crosswalks. Only Ladd Avenue has this treatment currently.

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        • paikiala March 1, 2016 at 6:16 pm

          All roundabouts in the US have yield signs. Ladd is a traffic circle, as is Coe Circle at Chavez/Glisan.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 9:41 am

            Ah yes, my mistake. You’re correct about the yield signs.

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        • J.E. March 1, 2016 at 7:21 pm

          You wanna cut down some trees too? Because even without cars, visibility coming into the circle is pretty poor for reasons other than cars.

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          • Dolan Halbrook March 1, 2016 at 7:28 pm

            The particular incident I witnessed which very likely propogated the warning was very directly due to a crosswalk sightline obstructed by a parked car.

            What’s worse is on my commute home today, that same spot was filled by a different vehicle.

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            • Dolan Halbrook March 2, 2016 at 9:08 am

              Just to clarify, the spot in question is the one in the picture above where the blue truck is parked. At the time of the incident, there was another car parked behind that one as well.

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        • Jeff March 1, 2016 at 10:52 pm

          Ladds is not a roundabout. sorry. just repeating the term over and over doesn’t change that fact.

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          • BIKELEPTIC March 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm

            What about a “rotary” as they’re called in New England?

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      • Tim March 2, 2016 at 8:47 am

        A simple tap of the foot on the front wheel of a cyclist who fails to yield to a pedestrian works. Try that with a car.

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    • David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC March 1, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Technically, Ladd’s Circle is not a roundabout at all, nor ever was. It is either a rotary and is designed for much higher pass-through speeds, more like 55 mph; or it is an architectural feature, a “square” or “circus” in British English, as being part of a “garden city” community (more likely used that way, anyway.) If it is a rotary, then stop signs are a definite “no”, while yield signs are a “maybe”, but no signage and better pavement markings would be better. If it is meant to be a “square”, then 3-way stop signs at 4 or more intersections would be more appropriate, with crosswalks, and park-like features in the park itself.

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  • Paul Manson March 1, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    We had a murder next to our school. Can we get some extra help too?

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  • Lester Luallin March 1, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    They should really consider marking the crosswalks there and enforcing 20′ from crosswalk parking law. That’s gonna help pedestrian safety there more than anything else, IMO.

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    • Mark March 2, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Except the way the law is currently written, it applies to all crosswalks, not just marked ones. I really wish they would enforce that law. It would makes things much safer for all modes.

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  • Scott March 1, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    This is my daily commute.
    We can argue ad nauseam about whether this intersection should be controlled by stop vs yield signs.
    However, far too many cyclists approach this (and many) intersection with the assumption that they will be able to ride straight through the stop sign. They only stop or slow once they see the pedestrian. This behavior is dangerous regardless of whether it is a stop sign or a yield sign. Yield still needs to be the default assumption. Proceed only when you verify that the intersection is clear.
    Also, in this case, all traffic comes from the left. I commonly see cyclists totally miss that there is a pedestrian coming from the right.

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    • dan March 2, 2016 at 1:55 am

      I also make a point to stop for pedestrians at signed and unsigned crosswalks. I tell them “Under Oregon law, every intersection is a crosswalk.” Seems to be news to most…and people are generally amazed that I stopped. It bums me out that people on bikes will brush aside pedestrians just like people in cars muscle aside bikes, but most people are relentlessly self-involved / self-centered, so watcha gonna do?

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      • Kath Youell March 3, 2016 at 1:42 pm

        I’ve had too many people pass me while I’m stopped at a stop sign at the circle and am looking right for kids walking home from school, people on bikes and people in cars. Once I had a driver pass me on the left at the same time that a cyclist passed me on the right, all while I stopped at the stop sign and looked left-right-left. It is INSANE. This is why I stopped using 21st/Ladd to get to Abernethy and stuck with our beautiful Neighborhood Greenway until 17th, along with all the parents racing their kids to school in their cars. :-/

        We now avoid the entire issue by having our daughter ride the bus to school and I bike our son out to a different elementary school.

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      • soren March 8, 2016 at 1:54 pm

        i’ve had multiple pedestrians become very upset when i proceeded forward at SE ladd when they were walking well within the large traffic island. once someone has crossed my lane and entered the island i am under no obligation to stop (and for once i agree with the ORS).


        (3) This section does not require a driver to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian under any of the following circumstances:

        (a) Upon a roadway with a safety island, if the driver is proceeding along the half of the roadway on the far side of the safety island from the pedestrian;

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  • rachel b March 1, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Can we please get some traffic cops on SE 26th near Cleveland H.S., between Powell and Clinton? PLEASE??? Our problem is speeding and careless drivers (including school buses!) and an increasing E-W cut-through problem. Thanks.

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    • J_R March 1, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      I see westbound motorists on Powell blow through the red signal at 26th almost every day. Once when taking my child to practice at 6:00 am, I saw three cars go through on red, one after another. The signal had been red for 4 seconds by the time the last one went through.

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      • rachel b March 1, 2016 at 11:34 pm

        Ugh. 🙁 I don’t get the sense anyone cares much about the kids at Cleveland and their safety. Is it because they’re high schoolers? I never see traffic enforcement on SE 26th. ODOT and PBOT, as I recall, had some convoluted reasoning for not allowing a school safety zone (with attendant signage and–I would expect–the much-needed enforcement).

        SE 26th is gradually being allowed to become the reeking, ear-splitting drag strip of the neighborhood, more and more harrowing to cross as a pedestrian or cyclist. Drivers LOVE IT. I feel like it’s the sacrifice zone while efforts are being focused on streets all around it.

        Before settling in this spot, I did my research and read about the original 20s plan–you know, the one where they were talking about calming SE 26th and widening the bike lanes, making it more of a green street? It was plausible. It felt like a natural progression, a relative of the Division Street calming. I believed it, more’s the pity. I feel like a colossal idiot now.

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    • anonymous_coward March 1, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Rachel, you can call the city’s safety hotline 503-823-SAFE. I did recently about the cut through traffic on Woodward – it took about a week to get a call back, but the woman whom I spoke with was very kind and said she’d contact PPB to have an officer come out one morning in the following weeks (apparently the time delay is due to scheduling on PPB’s side). Hasn’t happened yet, but hopefully soon.

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      • rachel b March 1, 2016 at 11:21 pm

        Hi anonymous– I’ve called and emailed them too. They are very nice. Yet I never see a cop on our street. The proof is in the way drivers drive on SE 26th–with an increasingly obvious sense of impunity. We’re now attracting loud car and motorcycle enthusiasts who like to race along 26th, esp. late at night.

        The folks driving 25mph are in a very small minority, now. Some big rigs are using jake brakes at the Clinton intersection, they speed up on it so fast–no matter the size of the vehicle, everyone dashes up to that intersection like they’re in a race. It’s getting louder and louder and louder, everyone in a hurry, more tire noise, more revving engines. The big trucks don’t even fit in a single lane on SE 26th. Why the hell are they there at all?? Where’s the effing enforcement?

        I’m tired of having to beg for services I thought came with the meal. Feel completely hopeless about matters here. I hope you get some results from your call, anon.

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    • Mark Smith March 1, 2016 at 10:46 pm


      Bikes are the real danger here.

      Just ask the principal.

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  • buildwithjoe March 1, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Several Portland area k-8 students were walking to/from school in the last 2 years and mowed down and killed by cars breaking the law. I’ve not seen one school send a public response or request for enforcement of the illegal and deadly cars. What I do see is school admin hype and scapegoating of cyclists. Today is more hype and less closer to stopping the real problem.

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  • Joshua March 1, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    How in the world is removing stop signs going to improve the problem described at this intersection? They are two different issues. While I agree there shouldn’t be stop signs at rotaries, that requires drivers and cyclists to properly approach and **always yield**. If many won’t do that with stop signs there, why would they suddenly start with an unmarked intersection?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if half the reason there are stop signs is to combat behavior like this in the first place.

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    • Mark Smith March 1, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      Do you fear yield signs?

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  • Joshua March 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    And why is it every time there’s a complaint about cyclist behavior, most of us automatically yell “cars do it too?!?”? Why don’t we start taking responsibility for our own behaviors? It’s totally acceptable to blame drivers for their shitty actions, but deflecting our own because “cars are worse” just makes us sound like petty children…

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    • Dan A March 1, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Bring it up for a vote at the next meeting.

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    • El Biciclero March 1, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      Why is it that if bicycle operators and drivers both disobey some law, and the danger posed by drivers is astronomically higher than the danger posed by bicyclists, ‘concerned citizens’ seem to only complain about bicyclists?

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      • Tom Hardy March 1, 2016 at 7:41 pm

        “Concerned citizens” only drive cars.

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    • Clark in Vancouver March 1, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      It’s because cyclists are currently under attack from a multifaceted propaganda campaign and are therefore defensive. It’s a real drag that hopefully one day will be over but in the meantime a better response would be to deconstruct the whole concept of collective guilt.
      It’s better to respond to the accusations by agreeing that it’s bad but refusing to hold those who did not do something guilty of the actions by others. Then the conversation hopefully can be led in a more productive direction.

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    • Mark Smith March 1, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Umm…you know cars are bigger and kill..right?

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      • Joshua March 2, 2016 at 9:57 am

        Again, deflecting by blaming cars. This *specific* issue has nothing to do with cars. Bicycles are big and fast and can be a huge danger to pedestrians. That’s the point of this article.

        I’m sure cars drive through Ladds dangerously too, and I’m all for us uniting to have them treated as part of the problem. But pretending like we aren’t also part of the problem is never going to win over any “concerned citizens”…

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 9:59 am

          By riding a bike instead of driving, we are reducing the problem of traffic violence. So no, we are not “part of the problem”, in fact we are the solution.

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          • Keviniano March 2, 2016 at 11:54 am

            Adam, I really don’t understand you here. Unsafe use of a bicycle is part of the problem of traffic violence, no?

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 12:02 pm

              Sure, people riding should do so with care for other people walking and cycling. However, we as a culture need to be addressing the real cause of traffic violence, which is free and unfettered use of motor vehicles. Focusing on bicycles is a red herring and distracts from the real issue.

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            • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 2:14 pm

              I think it works like this:

              Imagine you have two kinds of explosives, anti-personnel mines and large (e.g. “M-80”) firecrackers. Any of them could explode if mishandled, and they are distributed across some area somewhat randomly. Within that area, there is the potential for some total amount of destruction if everything blew up. Now, if you got rid of some of the anti-personnel mines and traded them for M-80s, the potential total amount of destruction possible would decrease. On the other hand, if we traded in the M-80s for anti-personnel mines, the whole area just got a lot more dangerous.

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    • Ian March 2, 2016 at 9:59 am

      I like how almost every reply to this comment is essentially proving your point. I for one absolutely agree, and it’s refreshing to see somebody else voice this argument for a change.

      Of course lawless drivers are generally more dangerous than lawless cyclists, and of course we should prioritize directing our limited resources at enforcing the more dangerous behavior. But none of that excuses us from our responsibility to be mindful of our own behavior and to avoid hypocrisy as a matter of principle. Our attitudes and actions affect others’ perceptions of the entire cycling community, and threads like this make it pretty clear why so many drivers (and pedestrians) regard us as smug, entitled jerks.

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      • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 3:19 pm

        Well, now we can point to equal hypocrisy from both sides as well. Why is the “driving community” not shamed as a whole for the misdeeds of a large number of drivers? How hypocritical is it to lean out the window of your speeding car while unsafely passing a bicyclist and yell at that bicyclist, “Hey! Quit endangering people!”

        The responses here are not meant to excuse bad bicyclist behavior. Of course all vehicle operators, drivers or bicyclists, need to appropriately yield according to the rules of right-of-way; there is no excuse for running down a pedestrian that you had time to stop for, or buzzing a pedestrian because you don’t feel like slowing down.

        However, when it comes to unsafe and scofflaw (two different things, BTW) vehicle operation on the road, why do we mostly hear complaints about the least dangerous of all vehicle operators?

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  • Sio March 1, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Let me start by saying that people are my number one priority. Their safety is important to me. That being said, peds need to look before they cross. End of story. Too often, peds proceed into the intersection without looking. It’s a problem for me in Ladds as much as it is in the Pearl or on the Springwater. And what is this horse puckey about cyclists moving at unsafe speeds? The speed limit is 25 mph and I’m usually going 15-18 in that neighborhood.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. March 1, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      People walking have the right of way. They shouldn’t have to look before crossing because everyone else should stop for them.

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      • Joshua March 1, 2016 at 4:13 pm

        Absolutely true.

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      • Dolan Halbrook March 1, 2016 at 4:16 pm

        Should being the operative word. They shouldn’t *have* to look, but if they value their safety at all, they *should* look. I file that under common sense.

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        • BB March 1, 2016 at 4:28 pm

          “If you value your safety you should change your behavior to suit the actions of the people causing the danger” is an often repeated sentiment that does nothing but normalize traffic violence in our society.

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          • Dolan Halbrook March 1, 2016 at 10:54 pm

            If you know a situation has risk, and you choose to ignore the risk, then it is at your peril. That line of reasoning is often sadly used for victim blaming, but that doesn’t make it unsound reasoning, and that doesn’t make the risk magically disappear.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 9:45 am

              There is a school shooting nearly every day in the US. Does that mean it is our responsibility to force our kids to wear bullet-proof vests whenever they are in public? See how this logic doesn’t make sense? Solve the problem, don’t just put a bandaid on it.

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              • Brian March 2, 2016 at 9:54 am

                Should we also stop doing emergency drills in case of active shooters? Of course not, we look at all possible solutions and do our best to implement them. Actions we take are a continuum, based on a variety of variables.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 9:57 am

                Of course not. This is the sad reality of our society. Telling kids how to prepare for a school shooter or telling them their streets are dangerous is a serious problem and fosters a society based on fear. A scared populous is willing to listen to anyone who will calm their fears.

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              • Dolan Halbrook March 2, 2016 at 6:02 pm

                Adam H.
                There is a school shooting nearly every day in the US. Does that mean it is our responsibility to force our kids to wear bullet-proof vests whenever they are in public? See how this logic doesn’t make sense? Solve the problem, don’t just put a bandaid on it.
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                I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you don’t have kids, because if you do then I doubt you’d find something as straightforward as “look before you cross the street” to be controversial.

                Just because you want people to be vigilant doesn’t mean you don’t also try to fix the causes of their vigilance. You’re making it out to be a binary choice when in reality it’s not. Some folks may paint it that way, but that is also something that needs fixing. It doesn’t make the vigilance unnecessary.

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              • Dan A March 3, 2016 at 6:57 am

                As a parent, I teach my kids to be vigilant.

                But, I’m also tired of hearing the message of safety at our schools only being directed at our children: “Wear your helmet.” “Look both ways before you cross.” “Be seen be safe.” “Watch out for cars.” Classes for kids on how to walk & bike safely.

                This is good stuff, but where is the message directed at parents? Why are we afraid to demand that drivers near schools be more vigilant?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. March 4, 2016 at 9:04 am

                Dan A got it right. Sure, you should tell your kids to be careful. But the bulk of the education efforts and the sole responsibility of safety must be directed at the group of people most capable of causing harm, and not on the potential victims of said harm. The latter is how we end up with a victim-blaming society.

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              • wsbob March 4, 2016 at 9:43 am

                “…Why are we afraid to demand that drivers near schools be more vigilant?” dan a

                Who are these people you seem to think exist, that are afraid to demand that people driving near schools, should be more vigilant?

                Kids have introduced to them in school, procedures and measures for taking their part in safeguarding their own lives when crossing or near the street, because they are kids, with perhaps little or no prior knowledge and experience of that kind. Most kids will grow up to be the adults, more than a few of which will likely eventually use the road more, as people on foot, on bikes, skateboards, and driving motor vehicles; they can benefit greatly, on a personal level, from introduction to safe road use procedures…now.

                If you’re going to try make a case about disparity you feel exists, in terms of expectation of safe procedures used on the road, from kids and from people that drive, a bit more attention to general points making up the current situation with regards to safe road use conditions around schools, should probably be paid.

                If you’re prepared to support such things as, for example, higher taxes specifically designated for hiring more police officers to conduct traffic management near schools…more intensive driver education and continuing driver education programs…more frequent and intensive media public relations campaigns designed to promote safer driving around schools…that might be a worthwhile effort.

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        • Paul Atkinson March 1, 2016 at 4:29 pm

          Agreed on the surface of it, but their regard for personal safety is none of our business. They might go BASE jumping in their spare time, and it’s not ours to judge.

          Endangering yourself is your right, but you have a societal responsibility not to endanger others. Break that societal taboo and that’s when your peers need to call you to account.

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          • Dolan Halbrook March 1, 2016 at 11:00 pm

            Someone’s regard for personal safety is *everyone’s* business if it’s done in a public setting with a high risk for accidental injury. One’s actions are not in a vacuum.

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            • Paul Atkinson March 2, 2016 at 10:10 am

              True enough, again, yet we have a publicly agreed-upon set of rules for determining the boundaries of acceptable risk-taking in this kind of scenario: right of way. If you’ve taken enough care to stay within the rules and you have the right of way, you’ve taken enough care to satisfy the public good. The person not respecting the right of way is in the wrong.

              This is the same standard of respect we demand in driver-cyclist interactions.

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      • El Biciclero March 1, 2016 at 5:08 pm

        Well, let’s temper that a bit with a recognition of the legal requirement that a pedestrian not step into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. Nobody can be expected to stop instantly if a pedestrian literally walks into them.

        This is why the most important step that could be taken here is not STOP sign enforcement, but parking enforcement. If other road users can clearly see that a pedestrian is entering or obviously about to enter a crosswalk, then they are legally obligated to yield, given that they have time to slow or stop.

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      • lumpy March 1, 2016 at 8:49 pm

        I disagree. I nearly hit a pedestrian who immediately stepped out into the street without looking when they got the walk signal. I had stopped at a red light and saw the pedestrian, and began making a right on red when the signal changed. I was able to stop in time, but if I had been farther into the turn I wouldn’t have had time to stop. Or was I at fault? Should you never make a right on red if there’s a pedestrian?

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        • John Lascurettes March 2, 2016 at 7:59 am

          You were absolutely in the wrong. You can only make a turn on red if it can be done safely. That includes checking risks before proceeding, such as said pedestrian waiting for the green. YOU on the hook there to check for the risk, not the pedestrian. Don’t like it? Don’t turn on red.

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        • Tim March 2, 2016 at 8:50 am

          Yes – you must wait for the pedestrian. I suggest becoming a pedestrian until you learn and can follow the traffic rules.

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          • lumpy March 2, 2016 at 5:13 pm

            This still seems extreme. No one would be able to make a right on red at any intersection in most cities, most of the time because pedestrians are on the sidewalk and could potentially begin crossing after they get a walk signal. If you arrived just as the light turned red and you knew it was a long light it would be silly to sit there for several minutes.

            Clearly you can never turn right while looking left.

            I agree that you should use extra caution and make the right on red very slowly in the situation I described above.

            Where I lived on the east coast cars exercised the same caution and wouldn’t enter an intersection after getting a green until verifying that there wasn’t cross traffic still trying to beat the red since there was often someone doing just that.

            What I didn’t specify in the situation I described above was that the pedestrian was a kid, probably 5 years old or so all by himself on a bicycle with training wheels, his feet on the pedals aimed diagonally across the intersection so I couldn’t tell which way he was going to go. Also, I was on a bicycle as well. I had time to stop because I went very slow because he looked unpredictable, but if his parents were nearby I might have considered having a word with them, because he was in too much danger of getting hit by a car. If I were in a car and saw this I would have waited.

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            • El Biciclero March 3, 2016 at 1:55 pm

              “No one would be able to make a right on red at any intersection in most cities”

              I hear that’s what NYC does on purpose. Unless otherwise signed, all rights on red are illegal in the city.

              It does make a bit of a difference that you were not in a car, since you can clearly see what’s going on around you and will generally accelerate much more slowly. This sounds like a case where asking the kid which way he intended to go, or giving him some kind of “go ahead” instruction when the signal turned in his favor might have worked.

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            • BIKELEPTIC March 5, 2016 at 3:11 pm

              Commuting isn’t a game. It’s not about “beating a light.” If you think it’s OK to run red lights, maybe it’s time to walk for a while. See how the other side lives.

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            • El Biciclero March 7, 2016 at 8:34 am

              “If you arrived just as the light turned red and you knew it was a long light it would be silly to sit there for several minutes.”

              The longest wait time I have ever encountered (per video evidence) in the Portland metro area is 90 seconds.

              The only time I’ve had to wait for “several minutes” is at a signal that did not detect my bike.

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          • soren March 4, 2016 at 8:48 am

            traffic rules exist only for the benefit of people driving. in a pedestrian world there would be no traffic rules.

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            • are March 6, 2016 at 1:01 pm

              there would still be a need for courtesy and empathy

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        • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 9:30 am

          “Should you never make a right on red if there’s a pedestrian?”

          Probably not. For certain, you should never begin a right turn while you’re looking left. This is a classic trap drivers fall into, and I see every single day I ride to work. I’ve been hit by a driver doing very similar to your example: my walk signal changed to WALK, the driver, coming from my left and whose path I would be crossing, appeared to be stopping, but really was looking to the left as he rolled through the crosswalk I was using. He completely didn’t see me coming from his right and knocked me down.

          The most basic rule of driving is literally “look where you are going”. Don’t look in one direction and drive blindly in the other.

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      • Buzz March 2, 2016 at 9:57 am

        BS, peds have to look before crossing, just like every other user of public streets. About the worst thing for traffic safety these days is pedestrians that cross the street looking down at their stupid phones instead of paying attention to their surroundings. Pedestrians are not exempt from having to play their part in contributing to their own safety or that of other road users.

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        • BB March 2, 2016 at 2:26 pm

          Walking down the street is a safe act. If other people are doing things to create a hazardous situation the onus is on them to not to effect others with that hazard.

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        • Dan A March 2, 2016 at 5:53 pm

          Blind people should never cross the street at all, I suppose.

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    • Lester Luallin March 1, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      I think more responsibility is with approaching cyclists and cars than pedestrians.

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    • Joshua March 1, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Well, 15-18 is entirely unsafe when you’re blowing through a posted stop sign. That’s not how the Idaho Stop works…

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      • soren March 1, 2016 at 7:12 pm

        nice strawman.

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        • John Lascurettes March 2, 2016 at 8:01 am

          Explain. It sounds accurate to me. There’s no straw man here.

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          • soren March 2, 2016 at 8:22 am

            This is what the commenter wrote:

            The speed limit is 25 mph and I’m usually going 15-18 in that neighborhood.

            Do you see any reference to blowing stop signs in that statement?

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            • John Lascurettes March 2, 2016 at 8:38 am

              No, but I did not see any statement that he was accusing any particular person of that — except what Dolan described in the event he witnessed where the cyclist blew the sign behind him at high speed nearly hitting the father and his five-year-old.

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              • Dan A March 2, 2016 at 8:48 am

                You shouldn’t approach a stop sign at any speed where you are unable to come to a complete stop should you need to.

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              • Chad March 2, 2016 at 7:50 pm

                It’s a STOP sign. You need to.

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              • Dan A March 3, 2016 at 7:14 am

                Well played.

                That said, let’s say you are approaching this intersection at 5:30am to make a right turn. In 200+ trips, you have never yet seen another person or car near this intersection at that time of day.


                Do you come to a complete stop here?

                Or this one, heading uphill at a 9% grade going straight though the intersection.


                Who are you yielding to by stopping?

                Incidentally, this is a fun one because people like to park in the intersection on the right side of the street just past the stop sign.

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              • Robert Burchett March 6, 2016 at 8:12 am

                It seems to me that many vehicle operators approach a stop sign thinking of going rather than thinking of stopping. My perception is that the rate of change in their forward speed will leave them well into the intersection before they reach a complete stop. Also, if the vehicle happens to be a car, the engine RPMs will be over 2000, as opposed to 800-1000, a typical idling speed. Such people get the look that my father used instead of swearing.

                It’s kind of crazy that I actually felt somewhat safer on NE Going before the city turned the stop signs. At a controlled intersection I knew what I was going to do, and it did not include crossing in front of a vehicle whose operator’s intentions were not clear. Almost daily I see people projecting their rig well past a stop sign before becoming aware of me.

                Stop thinking about how fast you can go through an intersection. Start thinking about controlling your path through an intersection, and where you can stop if there is a conflict.

                I regularly see cyclists who, judging by their posture and manner of pedalling, have decided that since they cannot hear a motor vehicle it’s safe to roll a stop sign at cruising speed without even the quickest glance upstream. They don’t endanger me but still I encounter this as rudeness.

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    • Jeff March 1, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      funny I’m typically doing 25-28mph…but I also stop at the signs. peds shouldn’t have to look as they cross if cyclists and drivers are obeying traffic signage.

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  • zurich07 March 1, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    I’m a year round bike commuter and I don’t stop for all stop signs. But if I can’t see the cross traffic — car, other bike, pedestrian — I at least slow down until I know what’s there (for self preservation, if for no other reason). And if there’s something there and I have the stop sign, I stop.

    I’ve been nearly slammed into by both cars and bikes running stop signs — neither very often. Face it, there are idiots piloting all modes of transportation.

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  • J_R March 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I stop at the STOP signs in Ladd’s addition. Every. Time.

    It doesn’t make sense to me to have STOP signs there. It appears to me that they are their in an attempt to reduce cut-through auto traffic.

    That said, all vehicle operators should absolutely yield to pedestrians in any marked or unmarked crosswalk. I’d like to see more enforcement of that issue in preference to the stop sign enforcement action against bicyclists that will be the result of this latest incident.

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    • soren March 1, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      I personally try to set a positive example by Idaho stopping every time I can do so safely. After all, coming to a complete stop is no safer than Idaho stopping.

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      • wsbob March 1, 2016 at 7:01 pm

        ‘…After all, coming to a complete stop is no safer than Idaho stopping.” soren

        Unless of course, the idaho stopper, fails to adequately see or estimate the rate of speed approach of oncoming traffic.

        That may be what’s happening with regards to the intersections at the rose garden in Ladd’s Addition. A bunch of people biking, are cruising through this neighborhood, thinking they’d just as soon give the stop signs the Idaho Stop treatment, so much so that they lose sight of people trying to cross the street, if they’re even bothering to look for them in the first place.

        This neighborhood is little…literally just eight blocks square, with it’s unique diagonal configuration that has provided the several landscaped parks in its center. People not wanting to stop at the stop signs in the neighborhood, should ride the streets just outside the neighborhood.

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        • Matt March 1, 2016 at 7:45 pm

          Uh, but coming to a complete stop is similarly useless when the stopper “fails to adequately see or estimate the rate of speed approach of oncoming traffic”. This is a problem that’s not unique to the “Idaho Stop”.

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          • are March 4, 2016 at 10:58 am

            and if anything the full stop makes it more likely you will be in the intersection when cross traffic arrives

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        • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 9:38 am

          Anyone over the age of 12, traveling at bicycle speeds (20 or less on approach to an intersection), with a clear view of the intersection, not confined inside a glass cage, and who still has two eyes, is very likely going to have no trouble whatsoever with adequately judging the speed of any approaching cross traffic. Plus, if there’s any doubt, the Idaho stop law (or just a YIELD sign) still permits one to actually stop. There is no rule that forces anyone facing a YIELD sign to plow through.

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          • soren March 2, 2016 at 12:02 pm

            if there is cross traffic the idaho stop requires a stop. i tend to give *any* cross traffic a huge amount of leeway.

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            • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 4:26 pm

              Right. A YIELD sign also requires a stop if there is other traffic with ROW. I get tired of Idaho stop opponents seemingly assuming (or at least making it sound like) such a law requires barreling through intersections without a care in the world, when it doesn’t even allow that.

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  • TonyJ March 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Half the turns at the circle (the ones leaving) have no stops. It would seem that for pedestrian safety that there should be a turning lane around the outside of the circle and a stop sign at every intersection on the circle.

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  • Carrie March 1, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    I wish the principle had been there last Friday to witness myself and another cyclist make the car that was tailgating us stop at a mid-block cross walk and then at a Ladd’s circle crosswalk for parents and children (and a few dogs on leashes). And then witness the car zoom around us and fly around Ladd’s. Would she rather have all the cyclists in cars instead?

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    • Brian March 1, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      My guess is she would rather that the cyclists AND motorists behaved appropriately.

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      • Matt March 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm

        Then why is she not castigating the people recklessly driving two-ton machines too?

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        • Eric Leifsdad March 1, 2016 at 8:57 pm

          Because they drive the same way she does.

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        • Brian March 2, 2016 at 5:30 am

          I can’t answer that. Perhaps parents aren’t sending emails/making calls about drivers?

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        • Rob March 2, 2016 at 8:54 am

          Perhaps she has done so in previous communications. Do you know that she hasn’t? Many of these comments have mentioned something similar to “why isn’t somebody doing something about the cars?”. In my limited driving, I see numerous neighborhood signs begging people to slow down, regardless of transportation mode. Come on folks, we can be smarter than this. I ride a bike regularly, but I don’t get all butt-hurt whenever somebody asks cyclists to slow down and be more careful. Especially for the children. I mean, come on. Seriously.

          Once again, BikePortland comments disappoint.

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      • soren March 2, 2016 at 8:32 am

        The new principle apparently cancelled “safe routes to schools safety education”. This suggests a strong bias against people cycling.

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        • Brian March 2, 2016 at 9:59 am

          Perhaps. There are other possible reasons. We won’t know, and shouldn’t assume, unless someone asks.

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    • wsbob March 1, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      “…myself and another cyclist make the car that was tailgating us stop at a mid-block cross walk and then at a Ladd’s circle crosswalk for parents and children (and a few dogs on leashes). …” carrie

      Excellent! Complying with the stop signs and offering consideration for vulnerable road users, as you described your friend and yourself having done, helped to manage other traffic.

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    • Jeff J. March 2, 2016 at 10:12 am

      The last time a driver seriously road raged at me was when I stopped for a dad and little kid crossing the street to get to school. He nearly mowed them down while close passing me.

      The only thing drivers hate more about people on bikes not stopping for stop signs/pedestrians is people on bikes *stopping* for stop signs/pedestrians.

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  • Adam March 1, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    But they don’t have a problem with the *thousands* of cars that cut through the Ladd Avenue bikeway every single day that should instead be on SE 20th or SE 12th, many of whom roll through the stop signs at the circle too.

    The school also pretty much voted down all bike safety projects when they had Safe Routes to School funding a few years’ back. They apparently shot down speed tables on Ladd. The only thing the school wanted was for their playground to have different paint markings to enable parents in cars picking up and dropping off their kids to line up in their vehicles easier (for real), and curb cuts. You can’t make this stuff up.

    Seriously BikeLoudPdx, your presence here in Ladd’s Addition cannot come soon enough.

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    • J.E. March 1, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      The problem with any efforts in Ladd’s Addition is they always elicit cries of “what about equity!” Whether those efforts are made by police, PBOT, or activists…

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      • J.E. March 1, 2016 at 7:27 pm

        Even though, I should add, there have been plans on the books for DECADES on how to make Ladd’s circle more accessible and active-transportation-friendly, which would likely solve a LOT of these issues, but the city refuses to spend a dime of parks money in a “wealthy” neighborhood like Hosford-Abernethy. Again, “equity!” Which is utter bullshit, since Ladd’s Circle is the closest “park” for a mile, and many of its users are lower-income renters who have no backyard to enjoy.

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        • Adam March 2, 2016 at 4:42 pm

          I don’t think the HAND Neighborhood Association cares much about bikes. Not from the few of their meetings I attended of theirs when I lived on SE 21st & Brooklyn. Their idea of environmentalism was shoot down every transit or bike-friendly project proposed, but ve “environmental” by having a yearly “bring all your junk to donate to the school once a year for National Cleanup Day”. It was pretty awful.

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        • Adam March 2, 2016 at 4:45 pm

          I don’t think it needs any grand plans. Just diverters at either end of Ladd Ave.

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  • Buzz March 1, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    So we should count on seeing Barnum, Balzer and the rest of the PoPo motocircus in Ladd’s any day now, correct?

    Will there be a warning like for the crosswalk stings? I doubt it.

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  • SE 34th March 1, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Abernethy was a model walk-and-bike school for several years, winning statewide awards for high participation. A new principal arrived a few years ago who promptly canceled the annual Safe Routes to School ped and bike safety training that thousands of fifth graders take across the region, saying the weeklong training was a “hassle” for teachers. I’m not sure the school–or the neighborhood–is all that bike-friendly anymore. It would be great to figure out how to turn that around.

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    • Tom Hardy March 1, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      In all probability the principal arrived in a Suburban and has never ridden a bicycle.

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    • soren March 2, 2016 at 8:25 am

      A new principal arrived a few years ago who promptly canceled the annual Safe Routes to School ped and bike safety training that thousands of fifth graders take across the region

      This is pathetic.

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      • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 9:51 am

        Seems to me a good principal would want to do anything he or she could to teach and foster independence in the students at their school. It is pathetic indeed that we appear to be raising a generation of kids who won’t know what to do if they ever find themselves outside a building, car, or fence. Canceling a program to teach kids how to safely handle the freedom of independent biking or walking in their neighborhoods is not helping.

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  • dwk March 1, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    This is why, as a dedicated long distance commuter I choose to take busy streets (like Barbur, etc.) because I am in a hurry to get to work and I actually avoid “neighborhoods” if I can. There is a need for all cycling infrastructure for all levels. If you are a daily commuter with a short commute, STOP at signs or take busier streets. If you are in a hurry, then you are stuck on high volume traffic streets.

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  • SE 34th March 1, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Abernethy was a model walk-and-bike school for several years, winning statewide awards for high participation. A new principal arrived a few years ago who promptly canceled the annual Safe Routes to School ped and bike safety training that thousands of fifth graders take across the region, saying the weeklong training was a “hassle” for teachers. I’m not sure the school–or the neighborhood–is all that bike-friendly anymore. It would be great to figure out how to turn that around.

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  • Tee March 1, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    There have been a number of occasions where I have seen cyclists make poor decisions in terms of running the Ladd Stop signs and getting too close to pedestrians during my bike commutes through that area. It misses the point to single out cyclists in that area. How many cars blow through stop signs and speed around that area? Based on my commutes in the area, it is safe to say a lot. I guess a bulletin to cyclists to stop at stop signs there really agitates me, as my fiancé was hit (rearended) by a driver at a stop sign in Ladd last spring while stopped. So yeah, scofflaw cyclists?

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    • Jeff March 1, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      so you don’t think they actually exist? the neighborhood is just complaining for something to do?

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      • Dolan Halbrook March 1, 2016 at 7:23 pm

        Jeff, see my earlier post. I’m pretty sure the incident I witnessed directly caused this.

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      • Tee March 1, 2016 at 9:50 pm

        focusing on cycling rather than encouraging everyone driving or biking through the neighborhood to slow down/stop is rather short sighted. I travel through that area a lot by bike and on foot. Some people could bike more safely, but I think the way people drive there is more dangerous.

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        • Jeff March 1, 2016 at 10:57 pm

          thats just it, it doesn’t matter what you think. it matters how the residents feels in regards to the problem. accepting responsibility can be a tough thing for some. why try to divert culpability onto another user group?

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    • Clark in Vancouver March 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      So, if so many people, regardless of mode, are ignoring the signs, that tells me that the area is of bad design. (Or outdated design at least.) Let’s stop blaming people who are just wanting to get around and are struggling to navigate within a poor design but instead start pointing the finger at the design.

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  • Brian March 1, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I’m a little dismayed at the vitriol and even victim shaming hurled at the school and assistant principal for an internal communication within a school community that is generally very pro-bike. This is clearly about some specific incidents and is based on safety concerns, not about blaming the cyclist community.

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    • Jeff March 1, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      this is bikeportland you’re talking to. these folks complain about most everything they can and don’t like hearing opinions contrary to their own.

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    • JeffS March 1, 2016 at 11:17 pm


      What are you basing this assumption on? If you have more information please share it. Otherwise, it’s just a blurb in the newsletter.

      Shaming car drop-off parents in a newsletter might accomplish something. I have no clue whatsoever what the purpose of this was.

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    • kittens March 2, 2016 at 3:43 am

      Because it manages to touch on several culture wars simultaneously: Lads Circle, Bikes, Parenting, Kids “Safety”, and Moral Panic~!

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    • soren March 2, 2016 at 8:30 am

      As noted by a commenter below the new principle apparently canceled “Safe Routes to School ped and bike safety training”. It appears that the new administration is unfriendly to people biking.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT March 1, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    I will gladly trade all of our diverter violating and speeding drivers for all of their scofflaw cyclists. As the parent of a 6-year-old, there is no contest in my mind as to what mode of transport is the greater threat to life and general quality of living in our neighborhood.

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  • Opus the Poet March 1, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    To simulate getting hit by a bicycle in a d20 RPG takes 3 rolls for the pedestrian. If the first roll is a 1 or 20 the cyclist has hit you the pedestrian. If the roll was a 20 the cyclist was injured and has to make saving rolls against serious injury or death. If the roll was a 1 you the pedestrian was injured or killed and a second roll was required. Anything over a 1 and you have sustained minor injuries. Roll another 1 and you have serious injuries or death, for which you have to roll again. Roll anything 2-20 and you have serious injuries requiring a trip to the hospital, but a 1 means you die.

    Getting hit by a car is a d6 roll, roll once for speed in tens of MPH, roll again for survival, you have to roll higher than your MPH roll to live. If you roll a 6 on your MPH roll you die automatically.

    This was taken from a Roll Playing Game set in Modern Times. i.e. NOT Dungeons & Dragons.

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  • Eric Leifsdad March 1, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    Bikes “at fast speeds” — really? How many bikes are moving over 20mph? How many cars are moving under 20mph? Bikes make less noise and corner more quickly, so people who don’t bike or think about bikes get terrified by them, even while surrounded by the bigger danger of speeding cars.

    Responsible riders cover their brake levers and look for the kid about to step from behind the illegally parked car. Responsible drivers slow down in neighborhoods and fully stop at stop signs. Ticket actual dangerous behavior, but telling everyone on bikes to “slow down” and “stop at stop signs” is a good way to get more people to drive cars, especially if they’re allowed to freely ignore stop signs in a car. We should have passed the idaho stop years ago. Can we get some “except bicycles yield” signs and some stop sign stings for cars?

    How long does it take to stop a bike from 20mph? About 15-20ft?

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  • Mark Smith March 1, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Eric Leifsdad
    Bikes “at fast speeds” — really? How many bikes are moving over 20mph? How many cars are moving under 20mph? Bikes make less noise and corner more quickly, so people who don’t bike or think about bikes get terrified by them, even while surrounded by the bigger danger of speeding cars.
    Responsible riders cover their brake levers and look for the kid about to step from behind the illegally parked car. Responsible drivers slow down in neighborhoods and fully stop at stop signs. Ticket actual dangerous behavior, but telling everyone on bikes to “slow down” and “stop at stop signs” is a good way to get more people to drive cars, especially if they’re allowed to freely ignore stop signs in a car. We should have passed the idaho stop years ago. Can we get some “except bicycles yield” signs and some stop sign stings for cars?
    How long does it take to stop a bike from 20mph? About 15-20ft?
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    I am seriously shocked with the vast numbers of children terrified by bikes.

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  • kittens March 2, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Oh my gosh. People need to get a grip. What is it about having a kid that turns some otherwise normal people into quivering paranoids?

    So someone on a bike was rude to you and your kid. So what. World is not fair. I do my part to try to be a good example as much as the next responsible grownup but this is not what this is about.

    Life is about trade offs and having a cyclist disturb the air around you accidentally is a hell of a lot better than a car do *anything* to you.

    In an ideal world we would all stop completely, every time. All infrastructure would be designed around peds and cyclists. No one would drive and everyone would be courteous.

    In the meantime, I would rather conserve my limited energy attempting to preserve my forward momentum as much as possible. Which, yes, does include safely rolling through Lads stops 98% of the time.

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  • Dolan Halbrook March 2, 2016 at 6:46 am

    The incident I saw that was the likely cause of all this wasn’t mere rudeness, but a very near miss. Most of us lose it when a car nearly hits us, so when an adult cyclist nearly hit a five year old kid, I completely understand why the dad got angry. Just like a car, that cyclist could have very nearly killed or seriously injured that boy. Check my original comment for context.

    This isn’t to say we should make full stops at every Ladd’s stop sign every time, but an earlier commenter pointed out, if we expect drivers to treat us would courtesy and respect, the least we can do is attempt to extend that courtesy and respect to pedestrians.

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    • Dan A March 2, 2016 at 7:18 am

      Part of the problem is that there is no ‘we’. There is you and there is me. I stop at nearly every stop sign on my commute, with one or two that don’t require it because the visibility is so good, and there is nobody around at 5:30 anyway. I definitely stop for every pedestrian, and I am as courteous as possible at intersections and crosswalks. Just trying to do my best to set a good example and get along.

      I hope that drivers take note, and perhaps pass on a bit of that civility to you, but it probably takes 50 courteous cyclists to make up for that 1 rude/careless cyclist making everybody else look bad. I hear about the rude cyclist all the time from my coworkers — I’ve never once heard them acknowledge the good behavior of the other 50. But still, where is the ‘we’ to control this behavior?

      If we’re going to devote police time to controlling this rampant problem, I’d like to know that we are devoting our resources appropriately. Where does this fall among other traffic priorities? Is this as bad as driving while impaired? Driving without a license or insurance? Speeding? Phone use? Failing to signal? Aggressive driving? Vehicular intimidation? Hit and run? Parking in a way that blocks the view of the crosswalk? Could we perhaps figure out a way to penalize drivers a bit more when they kill or maim someone? Maybe rank the threats to our lives, and deal with them by priority. Some of the ones on my list here are not even addressed by the police currently.

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      • Jeff J. March 2, 2016 at 10:22 am

        When a cyclist is doing everything right, s/he usually goes completely unnoticed.

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        • Ian March 2, 2016 at 10:53 am

          I think the same could be said of drivers. I mean, I know that cars are generally much more apparent to cyclists than bicycles are to drivers, but for every driver you see acting irresponsibly, how many respectful and lawful drivers have you actually noticed? This isn’t to excuse or downplay irresponsible driving, of course; I’m just saying that the statement that we tend to disproportionately notice bad behavior goes both ways.

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          • Eric Leifsdad March 3, 2016 at 12:57 am

            I notice a car driven below the speed limit. Not every day, but I always notice.

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            • Dan A March 3, 2016 at 7:15 am

              People sure notice me when I do it, ha ha. They make sure I see that they’ve noticed too, by tailgating and (the other day) throwing their hands up in the air.

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            • soren March 3, 2016 at 1:53 pm

              i believe 20 is plenty so i typically drive at or below this speed regardless of the posted maximum….and boy do people notice me on 35 mph speed limit burnside, 30 mph speed limit 20th, 25-35 mph speed limit hawthorne, 30 mph speed limit chavez etc.

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          • El Biciclero March 3, 2016 at 9:37 am

            What I tend to really notice is when drivers treat a bike lane like an actual lane. I notice when they appear to intentionally avoid stopping in it, when they yield to me before crossing it—especially when they choose to slow down and merge across behind me instead of racing ahead and cutting over in front of me. I also notice general safe yielding behavior in the absence of a bike lane, such as waiting to make a right turn instead of overtaking and near-right-hooking, etc.

            Other than ubiquitous speeding, among drivers that actually alter their behavior (e.g., slow down, speed up, move laterally, wait longer, etc.) in interactions with me, I would guess that it ranges anywhere from 70/30 to 50/50 good/bad, depending on the day. The drivers I really worry about are those that don’t alter their driving behavior one iota either out of ignorance or inattention. These are the only drivers that have ever hit me.

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          • Jeff J. March 3, 2016 at 2:50 pm

            Thought about this a while. Like the others who have commented, I do notice whenever someone driving is directly being courteous to me while I’m biking.

            I came up with one major exception: the majority of drivers actually *do* drive on freeways and arterials to the extent they can and *do not* use neighborhood streets and greenways as cut-throughs. We don’t notice this and it is a big help.

            This of course results in the irony often discussed in these comments over the years: the way the greenways are set up, they are highly attractive to the type of driver you *least* want on a street that cyclists and pedestrians are encouraged to use – basically, those who want to get to where they’re going as fast as possible no matter the consequences.

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      • Ian March 2, 2016 at 10:47 am

        I generally agree. It seems to me that there are two distinct points here that tend to get conflated in these discussions: the perceptions of/consensus within the cycling community, and how to prioritize enforcement given limited resources.

        To briefly touch upon the latter point: I entirely agree that, given limited enforcement resources, we (as a society) should prioritize enforcement that curtails the most dangerous behaviors, which generally means punishing unlawful driving more rigorously than unlawful cycling. As I’ve said before (and will probably say again), though, I believe this issue of pragmatism is distinct from our responsibility (as cyclists) to comply with traffic laws to the same extent that we demand drivers obey the laws.

        This then leads to the former point. I’d argue that there is in fact a “we”: there is a cycling community in this city, if an informal one; and as you mentioned, it only takes a few bad apples to push public perception of that community in a negative direction. And I believe we all suffer from such negative public perceptions.

        Sure, “we” don’t have meetings where we take votes on which laws we’re going to obey this month, nor do we have any other direct mechanism by which we can affect each other’s behavior. But we do have forums like this, in which we discuss these sorts of issues (even if we don’t exactly have quorum). And in the context of a forum like this, I think it’s perfectly appropriate to encourage each other to follow the laws we expect drivers to follow, out of a common recognition that our individual actions affect public perceptions that in turn affect our entire community.

        At an individual level, I agree that all we can really do is try to set a good example and to get along. I guess I’m just arguing that I think part of setting a good example and getting along includes using forums like this to respectfully make a case for encouraging lawful behavior.

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        • soren March 2, 2016 at 12:16 pm

          i am not a “cyclist”.

          i am not a member of “the cycling community”.

          the actions of other people do not reflect negatively on me.

          i have little interest in being an “example” to some unspecified “them”.

          unsolicited *opinions* about how i should dress, speak, eat, walk, or ride are not of particular interest to me.

          my goal is to get from point A to B — safely and courteously. the mode i use is irrelevant.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 12:26 pm

            I will also add that just because I happen to be commuting by bike doesn’t mean I am personally responsible for the perceptions of all other people that also commute by bike. The onus is upon the person making the stereotype, not the member of the stereotyped group.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty March 2, 2016 at 5:11 pm

              You do apply this standard to drivers… right?

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              • are March 4, 2016 at 11:09 am

                my experience of motorists is one by one, no need to generalize. except of course in approaching a situation in which a motorist might fail to yield or make an unsignaled turn or lane change, etc. my default mode is to assume the worst because this allows me to prepare for whatever evasive action is necessary. very often my prejudice, if you want to call it that, pays off. but the point is to get through the situation unscathed, not to assign blame.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. March 4, 2016 at 11:15 am

                Of course. However, they do all happen to be operating a machine that is deadly if misused, so I judge their behaviour accordingly.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Why is it that when one incident with a person cycling occurs, cries of “all bikers” rally, but when it’s a motorist, we hear “well, not all drivers!” Even though it’s basically true that every single driver breaks the law by driving above the speed limit or rolling though stop signs.

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      • BB March 2, 2016 at 2:45 pm

        No joke – I ride daily, and I see people driving cars run red lights at almost every intersection I come to. I can go days without seeing someone in a bike do the same thing.

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  • Jack March 2, 2016 at 8:47 am

    I, for one, am sick of the far-too-common headlines about yet another death or serious injury of a child due to dangerous bicycling in Ladd’s Addition.

    When will someone step up and do something about this epidemic that is plaguing our city?

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    • Buzz March 2, 2016 at 11:18 am

      And where are you seeing these headlines? And how many children have been killed or seriously injured by cyclists in Ladd’s Addition? I would guess the former is zero and the latter is vanishingly small.

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      • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 11:25 am

        I think that was sarcasm.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 11:34 am


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        • Eric Leifsdad March 3, 2016 at 11:37 am

          (sound of scofflaw cyclist blowing through stop sign at high speed)

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  • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Part of me wonders whether the skewed view of bicyclists as posing the greatest danger (i.e., more dangerous than cars!) is not because bicycles are more dangerous in the event of a collision, but because cars are so much easier to detect and defer to. If I’m a pedestrian approaching a crosswalk at a corner where the visibility is blocked by parked bikes cars, I won’t necessarily see a car coming, but I’ll probably hear it coming, and instinctively wait to be sure the driver is going to stop. Whether the driver stops and yields or blows right past doesn’t really register as any kind of event because thanks to my self-preservation instincts, I was safely well out of the way.

    Bicycles pose a different kind of “danger” in that they are not as passively detectable as a car. They are smaller and more easily hidden behind parked shrubs cars. If out of sight, they aren’t as easily heard. They often operate much farther to the right of their lane, meaning they are closer to the sidewalk from which a pedestrian would set out to cross the street; there is not as much time to react if the realization hits that I have just stepped out into the path of a bicyclist. This aspect of stealth likely results in more close calls, which are remembered as terrifying events caused by…scofflaw bicyclists.

    This brings to mind a few mitigating measures that could be taken:
    * Do everything possible to keep the view of crosswalk entrances clear: remove cars or trim shrubbery blocking this view
    * Bicyclists stop or slow to crawling at crosswalks where there is not a clear view of crosswalk entrances
    * Bicyclists ring a bell when slowly approaching a “blind” conflict area.
    * Traffic permitting, bicyclists move farther left in your lane, even if planning a right turn. This gives earlier visibility behind obstructions, and allows more reaction time in the event you find yourself failing to yield (shame on you).

    As much as we like to pick apart excuses made on behalf of drivers like “did not ‘perceive a need’ to yield”, or a bicyclist could not “objectively be seen”, we have to be careful not to use this type of excuse ourselves. Yes, STOP signs are a blunt instrument intended to coerce safe behavior from all vehicle operators, and from comments made here seem to merely be mitigating the problem of cars parking illegally close to intersections, and I’m not saying that all bicyclists should always stop at all STOP signs, but, if you intend to roll through a STOP sign at whatever speed, you are assuming all risk and responsibility for any collision that might result, and you’d better be darn sure there is nothing or no one there that you should be yielding to.

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    • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Bah. Stupid HTML. You can guess where the strike tag should have ended…

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 2, 2016 at 11:02 am

        fixed it for you El Biciclero ;-).

        (Yes. Not only do I read the comments and make sure everyone is being nice and productive… I will also correct major typos and mistakes as I see them.)

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        • El Biciclero March 2, 2016 at 11:13 am

          ¡Muchas gracias!

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    • Sio March 2, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      I love your advice since it touches on some of the things I adhere to: taking the lane, slowing to no faster than 10mph at crossings and singing while I bike as much as possible. I shout OI OI OI I”M COMING THROUUUUUUUUUUUGH at the sprigwater dip on the east bank between Oaks Bottom and the Ross I 😀

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    • Eric Leifsdad March 3, 2016 at 1:03 am

      make sure they hear you coming with turbospoke https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDafMzo4HO8

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  • Jonathan Radmacher March 2, 2016 at 11:28 am

    The Tour de Ladd continues …

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  • Carrie March 2, 2016 at 11:48 am

    This isn’t funny, but it was ‘funny’ that one day I was running through Eastmoreland and saw one cyclist get completely NAILED by another one as the first one came to a rolling stop at an intersection on Reed College Place and the trailing cyclist didn’t even slow down.

    Safe Routes to School teaches the kids to slow down at every intersection (not stop, but slow down and look). For 6 months after my son took the class, I swear I nearly rearended him at least once on each ride. Completely my fault. It was amusing and a good lesson for Mom.

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    • CaptainKarma March 2, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      I’d love to have reliable, no-fuss brake lights on my bike.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. March 2, 2016 at 1:11 pm

        Busch & Müller makes a rear light that gets brighter as you slow down. Requires a dynamo though.

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      • Pete March 6, 2016 at 2:01 pm

        This is something I’ve written to Shimano and Garmin about in the past. For Di2 systems it should be a no-brainer, and even for mechanical systems to have a microswitch in the brake lever. I’ve seen some out there that make use of accelerometers, and I’ve played with some of the switch-based ones (that are less than perfect) that run off of cable pull. Recently I built a disc-based bike with compressionless housing and I’ve ordered another switch-based solution to experiment with. (The problem I’ve seen is the cable-actuated switch solutions usually have crappy switches, or good switches mated to crappy lights).

        Yes, a reliable, closed-loop brake light system would be quite welcome for those of us who mix with traffic on a regular basis! (Just ordered the Garmin Vario lights to play with turn signaling on our tandem…).

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      • Eric Leifsdad March 6, 2016 at 2:46 pm

        I have one, except for the fuss of AA batteries (which last much longer than tail light batteries.) The switch is in a small lever which clamps to the brake cable. You need a place where the cable pulls into the housing and this one probably works better with short-pull brakes. With my disc brake, I had to add a bit of cable (or leave it long) and tape a bit of tube to the frame behind the brake — just figure out how to make the cable pull through a stop somewhere. Hydraulic brake levers will need something else.


        The turn signal, horn, and headlight are all useless. I clipped that wire off entirely. As a $6 brake light, it’s pretty good.

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    • Mark smith March 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Guessing both walked away. No? I’ll take that over getting rear ended by something named after an article of war (Nissan armada)

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  • Kath Youell March 3, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    If I can stop and lose momentum on my 90-pound bike then no one else gets a free pass. Just stop. It’s not that bad.

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  • are March 3, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    If you arrived just as the light turned red and you knew it was a long light it would be silly to sit there for several minutes.

    just wow

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  • Mark smith March 3, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Sugar is the killer, so blame salt and fat. Cars are a killer, so let’s blame bikes.

    See how that works? Blame the completely benign for the obvious dangerous.

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  • Mark smith March 6, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    My buddy was hit at speed by a cyclist. Full tilt, top gear, on the pedals. My buddy took a hard hit, a year to recover and is mostly ok now. Fyi, he walked in the bike lane without looking. My buddies fault.

    Bow, imagine if he had been hit full tilt by an suv? Or even 25 mph?

    All the carping about bike violence just goes to show how car culture had infected every on of us.

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  • Andy K March 8, 2016 at 9:34 am

    This was a good comment thread (243 comments as of today) but not quite The Great Blinking Light Debate from two years ago (259).

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