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Yikes! Bikes almost roll in the way of buses, trains in close-call videos

Posted by on April 25th, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Sometimes we all make mistakes. TriMet wants more people to think about the fact that some mistakes can be fatal.

It can be difficult to talk about this subject without blaming the victims of traffic violence. To its credit, the video TriMet released today focuses on examples of people who are acting both illegally and at least a little recklessly rather than (as the New York City transit union did recently) condemning people simply for not being cautious. There’s a big difference.

“These aren’t meant to shame anyone, but to show how dangerous a lack of awareness is,” TriMet wrote on its website.

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The next question, of course, is what to do about such behaviors. Unfortunately, there will always be people who act recklessly, even around (not to mention with) giant motor vehicles. That’s why transit agencies need experienced and well-trained operators like the ones in these videos.

But it’s also why we need to remember, when we build our streets, that design shapes behavior.

The reason people too often disregard the bike signal on SW Moody is that TriMet ordered it to be red at times that don’t make any sense.

One of the clips here is on the west landing of Tilikum Crossing, where TriMet staff have personally insisted on having the north-south bike signal turn red even when people are merely walking across Moody Avenue east-west without crossing the bike lanes. The result is that for many people biking north-south on Southwest Moody, the red bike signal often seems meaningless — which encourages people to disregard the red light when it actually matters.

This was a decision TriMet made. Does TriMet accept its consequences?

In another clip shown above, people nearly walk their bikes in front of a train at what looks like an Orange Line MAX station. If TriMet had installed swing gates that force people to dismount from bikes before crossing train tracks, that’d probably makes people less likely to bike thoughtlessly in front of trains — but it’d also makes people less likely to bike, and it seems unlikely that the mediocre bike traffic across Tilikum Crossing is good for TriMet in the long run.

Close-call videos can be perversely interesting to watch. But let’s hope TriMet’s managers are putting a little more thought into this problem than just hitting the “repeat” button and shaking their heads.

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

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

184 Comments
  • Avatar
    JJJJ April 25, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I dont get the very first clip, its obviously not filmed by a rail vehicle. Is it a bus doing a normal movement?

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      Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      I was confused at first as well… it’s a bus coming off the new Tillicum bridge…

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      Jack G. April 25, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      Yep, both the 9, and the 17 travel on the Tilikum crossing, and onto the harbor drive viaduct.

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    Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    if TriMet really wants to stop people from proceeding into trains they’ll put up automated gates like they do with cars…

    if TriMet wants to get into a war of showing videos of illegal behavior I can have at least 20 clips a day of illegal TriMet driving ready for their viewing pleasure…

    now, what are THEY doing to make these situations safer for those vulnerable users around them? the only thing dangerous in these videos are the huge vehicles in close proximity to people…

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      Alistair Corkett April 25, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Spiffy, you’re missing the point of this video entirely. Its about safety and raising awareness, not calling people out. Comments like yours are exactly why the car v.s. bike conversation remains stagnant.

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        Alex Reedin April 25, 2016 at 1:35 pm

        I don’t doubt that the conscious motivation of the person at TriMet who posted this was safety and awareness-raising (and likely a good chunk of organization-wide PR CYA/”I told your so” for when a serious bike/walk accident with transit next occurs). However, given the huge (relative to the risks created) amount of safety and awareness-raising done by government entities about dangerous behavior by people biking and walking and the tiny (relative to the risks created) amount done about dangerous behavior by people driving, I have to wonder if our government agencies and their funders and decision-making bodies have a culture that enables victim-blaming if the victim was walking or biking.

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          Al Gorp April 25, 2016 at 6:35 pm

          Quote: ” I have to wonder if our government agencies and their funders and decision-making bodies have a culture that enables victim-blaming if the victim was walking or biking.”

          The culture problem is crystal clear. Cyclists, at least the majority of those who post on BP, have a rabid and unreasonable culture of driver-blaming, no matter what the cyclist might have done to contribute to an accident. In no circumstance can most envision steps the cyclist could have taken to help avoid an accident – it is always, 100% of the time, the responsibility of the car driver and the law should show no mercy toward any car driver. That’s the culture here. No reply can change that so don’t bother.

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            Paul Wilkins April 26, 2016 at 11:57 am

            Umm… Most of us aren’t absolutist, in fact I’d be hard pressed to find a single one of us who is.

            On the other hand, death is pretty absolute, which is what we’re trying to avoid.

            My small mind puts a burden of care on the individual wielding the instrument of death. The mindset we’re up against is one that mows us down without due care. And of course we’re going to be vocal about it.

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              Ted Timmons (Contributor) April 26, 2016 at 12:15 pm

              not a single one of us is absolutist.

              heh, sorry, continue on. I just enjoyed that 🙂

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              JH April 27, 2016 at 3:13 pm

              My small mind would place the burden of personal responsibility on anyone willing to assume the significant risk of personal injury and death by riding a bicycle (even with a helmet still mostly unprotected) next to a 2500-3500 lb object moving at speeds of 10-45 mph.

              Rationally, one must assume the operator error for any complicated task (such as driving) is non-zero, and so there is a small but inevitable risk you will die for having decided to commute by bike.

              Like it or not nearly everyone else still utilizes the public roadways in a vehicle that outweighs you 10-30:1.

              I would love to commute to work by bicycle from downtown portland to Lake Oswego for work (or by motorcycle, or anything other than a car), but for me it’s not worth the small but significant risk of personal injury or death I could experience.

              I’ve witnessed so many egregious incidences of driver inattention and dangerous behavior by motorists on my daily commute, I know it is not worth the risk.

              With that said, sometimes people simply make a mistake and in the car vs. car world most of the time people make out okay (thank you seat belts and air bags). In the car vs. bike world, if the speeds and kinematics are unfavorable, it will never work out well for the cyclist.

              I’m very skeptical driver awareness measures will ever be effective in mitigating this risk. Separating vehicles with widely disparate kinetic energies is probably the only viable method for dramatically reducing fatal accident risks, but does the future really include bicycling as a viable method of quick/efficient transport?

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                Ted Timmons (Contributor) April 27, 2016 at 3:54 pm

                My small mind would place the burden of personal responsibility on anyone willing to assume the significant risk of personal injury and death by riding a bicycle (even with a helmet still mostly unprotected) next to a 2500-3500 lb object moving at speeds of 10-45 mph.

                TLDR: if you’re dumb enough to take a mode other than car, it’s your fault.

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          Alex Reedin April 25, 2016 at 8:12 pm

          That’s just not accurate. I’d say that the discussion on here (esp. on particular crashes) does veer towards blaming drivers somewhat more than the facts end up supporting. I think that’s probably a natural response to this being a place for people who bike to discuss things in a larger culture that wildly and inappropriately favors driving, in money, social norms, jury decisions, knee-jerk reactions to news about crashes, and myriad other ways. But I think the “veering” is not too intense, and calmer heads are a strong voice here, unlike on some other local online news outlets I could name.

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            Damon April 26, 2016 at 9:42 am

            Actually Alex, I believe that it is accurate. I have been reading BP for a few years now and really do enjoy much of the content. I have always felt a pretty high anti-car bias in the comments, but am now feeling that move into the actual content as well. As someone who rides everyday, I am well aware of the failings of our infrastructure and the countless ways in which motorists drive dangerously around me. Just because those situations exist, does not mean that cyclists are the absolute victim in every traffic encounter. Every example shown in the Trimet video shows negligence at best by the cyclists and pedestrians. Despite what ever design flaws exist that led to the situations in the video, none of those people even bothered to look before they crossed an intersection. The knee jerk reaction by so many on this site to always blame motorists for every collision or near miss shows complete bias and we are never going to be respected as a form of transportation as long as we are unwilling to respect other forms as well.

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              Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 26, 2016 at 10:00 am

              Hi Damon,

              I’m the publisher of the site and wanted to weigh in about your perception of bias in our stories.

              You are absolutely right that we are biased against driving. “Anti-car” isn’t the best way to say it though. As publisher of the site I am anti-car overuse. Meaning, I think cars have their place (I own a mini-van myself and I’m enough to only have to drive it a few times a month). I also think, however, that we need to be honest about the facts. Too much car use is killing us and I think it’s OK to be honest about that. I will not shy away from being critical or clearly “anti-car” when I feel it’s appropriate. That said, I never want to present a one-sided view of the news or issues. If you see us doing that here on BP, please let us know. Thanks.

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                JH April 27, 2016 at 3:23 pm

                I find it very difficult to believe your primary concern is about motorist fatalities, which as of 2014 in the U.S. occurred at a rate of 1.07 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. No initiative to reduce car traffic can possibly meaningfully impact that statistic.

                In my opinion (an avid cyclist) you will be much better served by simply stating your primary motive of making bicycling a more viable and widely available (and safe) transportation option. Leave the logical fallacies behind.

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                Dan A April 28, 2016 at 7:30 am

                Acceptable losses then.

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                Alex Reedin April 28, 2016 at 6:12 am

                Most of the deaths attributable to car overuse are from inactivity (diabetes/heart disease/etc), local air pollution, or climate impacts, not direct crashes.

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              9watts April 26, 2016 at 10:17 am
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              soren April 28, 2016 at 8:42 am

              “and we are never going to be respected as a form of transportation”

              i have never once actively sought the respect of someone walking, running, or boarding when i cycle. i wonder what makes people who drive so “special” that i should ride around worrying about how i can achieve their respect.

              people walking, cycling, running, or skate boarding do not spew air toxics into the air i breathe on my commute. i very much prefer not breathing pollution that increases my risk of disease and/or sudden death.

              i have also never once been threatened with imminent injury or death by a person walking, running, or boarding. call me weird but i think “sharing the road” with people driving is a very, very bad deal for non-drivers.

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                El Biciclero April 28, 2016 at 1:40 pm

                “i wonder what makes people who drive so “special” that i should ride around worrying about how i can achieve their respect.”

                I think it’s partly the notion that we (bicyclists, pedestrians) use the streets at drivers’ pleasure, and at any second, if one of them deems a bicyclist not worthy of respect, the punishment that can be swiftly dealt is life-changing (or -ending). In this case, being “respected” means drivers allow that people not in cars have an equal right to use the road, and don’t deserve any kind of “punishment” for doing so in a legal fashion.

                I think it’s partly that lots of people think riding a bike is a childish pastime for the mentally deficient and view harassing or even attempting to injure bicyclists with their cars as a fun game. In this case, being “respected” would mean that road users not in cars would be taken seriously and not thought of as side-show freaks who were less than human.

                I think it’s partly because many people believe that if you’re going to “swim with the sharks”, you’re taking your chances and you get what you deserve. Why would you be stupid enough to wear yourself out riding a bike when you could just make life easier for everyone by driving a dang car? They may not actively attempt to mow you down, but if you happen to get brushed by a motor vehicle, hey, you knew the risks—you’re lucky you’re not dead! Being “respected” in this case looks like drivers who can empathize with or admire the physical (and often mental) work a bicyclist is willing to put in to avoid adding to the polluting mass of motor traffic; such drivers would do everything they could not to add fear and further discomfort to a bicyclist’s “burden”.

                Many bicyclists, wanting to avoid being “punished”, toyed with and harassed, or contemptuously dismissed and put in needless danger, figure the only way to avoid those things is to somehow “earn” the respect of drivers.

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        Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm

        75% (3 of 4) of the videos show a situation where TriMet failed to install proper controls…

        what are they raising the awareness of? how dangerous their vehicles are? yes, we already know that… this example video raises the awareness of how dangerous it is when TriMet fails to install proper controls…

        it’s like their “be safe, be seen” campaign to “raise awareness” by blaming the victim of the environment… they continue to blame the victims while doing nothing…

        TriMet calls out these specific incidents and people (except the blurred one) and holds them as an example of bad behavior… it would be the same if I posted a video of TriMet employees driving illegally…

        who could easily fix 75% of the issues in the video? one company (TriMet), or 600,000 individual residents (Portlanders)?

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          Alistair Corkett April 25, 2016 at 3:04 pm

          At the end of the day, if people don’t understand that a red light means stop, whether they be driver, cyclist or pedestrian, no amount of “proper controls” will help in the end.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. April 25, 2016 at 3:18 pm

            Many of the crossings (especially along the Orange Line) have audible warnings that seem to go off every few minutes. (Just sit at the OMSI station for a few minutes and you’ll see what I mean).They also stay on far longer than after the train has left the crossing. This trains people to ignore the warnings because they’re going off so frequently that people subconsciously learn to ignore them. The MAX trains already have two levels of audible warning on the trains itself; the wayside alerts are just overkill.

            I’m curious to see the data – if it exists – comparing LRT crashes involving a person walking or cycling with wayside warnings vs. none. People seem like they can handle walking near MAX trains downtown where there are no warnings other than the train horn. So why the light and sound show for the Orange Line?

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              Alistair Corkett April 25, 2016 at 3:29 pm

              Im sorry, but I don’t see people ignoring do not cross warnings out of habit as an excuse.

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              Al Gorp April 25, 2016 at 6:42 pm

              ***Comment deleted by moderator.

              Al Gorp, you are now on automatic moderation. None of your comments will be published unless you change your town and treat others with respect. Thank you. – Jonathan ****

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                Alan 1.0 April 28, 2016 at 7:40 pm

                … unless you change your town…

                Now that’s some serious moderation!

                BTW, has the dead salmon sock wandered off with its cervelo and trek buddies?

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            paikiala April 25, 2016 at 4:35 pm

            Alistair,
            your attitude is part of the problem. It is true that eliminating fatal and serious injury crashes will take multiple points of attack to have an effect, but road design can compensate for road users making mistakes. Mistakes will always happen, that is a tenant of the Safe Systems/Vision Zero program ( at least outside the US).
            As mentioned, automatic gates are one identified solution that is used in other situations, like bridges that lift. Separated bike lanes, protected by a physical barrier, might have prevented the 1 of 4 in the video not under Tri-Met’s control.

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              Al Gorp April 25, 2016 at 6:47 pm

              p,
              So, since you are incapable of taking any responsibility for your own safety and must rely on engineered controls at all times, what’s next? Foam-padded streets and sidewalks so when you fall down you don’t get hurt? Big foam pads on the front of all moving vehicles so you don’t have to look before you cross a street or train tracks?
              roflmfao

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              Al Gorp April 25, 2016 at 7:07 pm

              ***Comment deleted by moderator.

              Al Gorp, you are now on automatic moderation. None of your comments will be published unless you change your tone and treat others with respect. Thank you. – Jonathan ****

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                Alex Reedin April 25, 2016 at 9:32 pm

                Don’t worry, I upvoted it an extra time to make up for your phantom upvote 🙂

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                Peejay April 26, 2016 at 9:10 am

                Me too.

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            soren April 28, 2016 at 8:26 am

            in idaho a red light means stop and go! since i prefer idaho’s law that is the one i choose to follow in oregon.

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          Pete April 26, 2016 at 4:14 pm

          What do you consider “proper” controls? There are stop signs and stop lines pictured, as well as signage in the one stop where the fellow shoulders into the oncoming train without turning his head to look across the tracks first. In that case, what kind of control would have prevented the fellow from walking into the train, yet still allow the freedom of movement that pedestrians enjoy at that mall (and accommodates the volume of people using it)?

          In the first clip there is a white stop bar and signs saying to look both ways for traffic that the cyclist might have seen if he wasn’t talking on the phone while riding. In the second clip the audio isn’t on but MAX sounds bells to tell people walking around it that it’s departing. I can’t tell from the video but the guy might not have heard them due to listening to music. In the third clip you can actually see the “controls” flashing alternate red lights, and I know from experience they’re accompanied by audio bells. Why the woman didn’t look before crossing (with all that warning from the controls that are installed there) is beyond me. The guy next to her even attempts to grab her, and from the wave she clearly knows she lapsed in judgment.

          The best controls I can recommend for the fourth clip are cyclist education (and maybe a good mirror to augment the rider’s situational awareness).

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      soren April 25, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      And when its operators endanger others Trimet is infamous for refusing to release video short of a court order.

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        Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 1:38 pm

        still waiting on that Richard Krebs video…

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      JeffS April 25, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      Why should we care about saving people who have no interest in saving themselves?

      I’m off to the grocery store. Without crossing gates are every intersection I’m not sure how I’ll make the walk.

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        Brian April 25, 2016 at 1:44 pm

        Bubble wrap. LOTS of bubble wrap.

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        Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 2:06 pm

        “Why should we care about saving people who have no interest in saving themselves?”

        apparently we shouldn’t, otherwise we’d all have paid health care…

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          Al Gorp April 25, 2016 at 6:50 pm

          From what I hear, if you need care to save your life they are required to give it to you, so you DO have care. Then you have to pay for it. So be careful – Mercedes for doctors are spendy.

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      Mike April 25, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      At what point does responsibility fall on the shoulders of the cyclist/pedestrian? Obviously you seem to think that it is zero. Trains are not small. If you need a gate, blinking lights, loud noises to alert you that danger is coming perhaps you should stay home. Just so you know, a cyclist can be at fault.

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      Al Gorp April 25, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      Right. It’s not dangerous to walk in front of a train and let it hit you. Or to ride your bike half way across the track when a train is 20 feet away and moving toward you. Right. Got it.

      🙂

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    JJJJ April 25, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    By the way, if you enjoy watching people make idiotic left turns in front of trains, this classic compilation from Houston will brighten your day.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV2rdGX4JYc

    Point is, not noticing trains isnt something limited to people on bikes

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    Jim April 25, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Gates aren’t such a bad idea. If anyone says they’ll stop cycling because they have to get off their bike and push open a gate once or twice a day, they’re likely not cycling anyway.

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    Ted Timmons (Contributor) April 25, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Notably missing: all the “close calls” with car drivers. I’d guess there’s an average of one “car blocking MAX” per week that delays the MAX system.

    Of course, we accept that drivers are doing their best, and we can’t see that they are on the phone or have their radio turned up, right?

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      J_R April 25, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      You forget that auto drivers are not expected to look for anything except other cars. They have the “I didn’t seem them excuse” to fall back on. It’s just like a get out of jail free card.

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      Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      every time I read about one of those incidents I wonder why they cheaped out and build a system that was primarily operated at the same level as private automobiles… a good system is mostly sealed with very few crossing at grade level…

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    Pat Lowell April 25, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    I’m sorry, but rolling out onto train tracks without looking for trains is just plain dumb. Your common sense is not TriMet’s responsibility, nor will they ever be able to completely idiot-proof their train crossings no matter how much money they pour in. Not to mention the backlash against attempted idiot-proofing in the form of gates. It appears there are no limits to human stupidity nor cyclists’ complaining.

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    KristenT April 25, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Those videos are hard to watch– they definitely point up problems, but I think this article does a disservice by blaming TriMet or the infrastructure.

    For instance, in the one where the guy on the bike signals left as he’s swerving in front of the upcoming bus, it’s fairly clear that he never checked behind him to see what traffic was doing before diving over. If he had a mirror, or had turned his head, he would have been able to see that the bus is coming up, and that he wouldn’t have time to make his lane change.

    Infrastructure would not change this. Training and education of cyclists would.

    The person (woman?) who pushed their bike out in front of the Max and then pulled back is with two other cyclists who obviously knew the train was coming, and probably tried to get her to not roll forward, it’s clear she knew she was in the wrong by her apologetic hand movements when the train hits the brakes. Would a swing gate have helped? Maybe, but in this video, 2 out of 3 cyclists had no problem stopping for the train. Again, this is a behavior problem, not necessarily an infrastructure problem.

    Probably some sort of barrier like an arm or gate would have helped in this situation, and the one where the oblivious man walks into the moving train and gets knocked down. It’s naive to suggest that manual gates are the thing that will keep people from riding their bikes, though.

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      yashardonnay April 25, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      In the first example you chose, infrastructure absolutely would have made a difference. If he was riding in a cycletrack, he would either have to ride to the nearest intersection to cross or dismount his bike to get it over the physical separation between the cycling lane and the road forcing him to pay attention to his surroundings.

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      John Lascurettes April 25, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      The guy that changed lanes in front of the bus also gave about .25 second (5ft?) of hand signal before starting his lane change. Law says 100 feet before the turn or lane change. And WHY did he not do a shoulder check before changing direction? Crazy.

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          Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 2:11 pm

          http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.440

          I’m usually too busy controlling my bike to use a signal…

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            John Lascurettes April 25, 2016 at 3:23 pm

            Got less of a beef with not signaling than I do not checking the lane before moving into it.

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          Eric Leifsdad April 25, 2016 at 3:19 pm

          To be fair, the video only shows him maybe 100ft prior to his turning. He might have already looked and signaled once. Maybe he wasn’t expecting a speeding bus, or he thought he could cross before it (he *was* in the center lane before the bus hit him.)

          Why swerve left? What if someone had been driving or biking the other way?

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            John Lascurettes April 25, 2016 at 5:34 pm

            The bus didn’t hit him at all (see the reverse angle shot that follows). Fortunate for him the alert driver swerved (into an empty oncoming lane) to completely avoid the cyclist. Otherwise, that guy on the bike would have been severely maimed or dead.

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            Damon April 26, 2016 at 9:51 am

            1. You have no evidence that the bus was speeding.
            2. He swerved left into an empty lane to avoid running over a reckless cyclist.

            Are you really defending that cyclists actions?

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              Eric Leifsdad April 26, 2016 at 4:04 pm

              Check the video and tell me how fast the bus covered that 260ft block. At 5-6seconds, that’s 35-29mph — it’s possible this trimet bus wasn’t exceeding the posted speed *and* did not violate any speed-related law.

              Sure, the guy on a bike made a mistake. But, this is not a forgiving design and our engineering can do better.

              What if it had been a 10 year-old? Same discussion, or slightly different? Parent blaming?

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            El Biciclero April 26, 2016 at 1:21 pm

            “he thought he could cross before it”

            That’s my guess: the bicyclist thought he could swerve all the way into the center and still let the bus continue straight. I don’t know if we can say the bus didn’t hit him; I can’t tell how far aft the rear-view camera is placed. It’s possible the front of the bus or the side mirror clipped the bicyclist before he comes into the frame. It’s also possible the cyclist swerved and wiggled enough to fall over.

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      Charley April 25, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      I agree on the whole, but there are some details that make the situation with three cyclists a little more believable. I ride through here on the way to work, so I’m familiar with this intersection. The clue, I think, is the flashing lights/bell noise. What you can’t observe on the video is those audio/visual cues that a train is coming.

      So why does that matter? Because those lights and bell noises sometimes run the entire time the train is at stopped the nearby station, not moving. So. . . you see the train, hear and see the warning signals, see that the train isn’t moving, and automatically ignore subsequent signals. Because, if those warning signals are going while there is *no danger whatsoever*, those warning signals become, to the lizard brain, extraneous background information. They’re worse than useless: they encourage not paying attention.

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        Pete April 27, 2016 at 10:10 pm

        But… without looking? I think the common thread in all four clips is that the perpetrators didn’t actually check the ‘lane of travel’ they were traversing before stepping or riding into it. The fundamental teaching is simple: “Look both ways before crossing.”

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 26, 2016 at 11:53 am

      Hey Kristen and others – I think the article was pretty clear in saying that every person depicted here was acting “illegally and at least a little recklessly.” I don’t think saying infrastructure was partly to blame in one or two of these cases is the same as saying that individuals don’t share responsibility for these incidents where they were nearly killed. They do.

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        KristenT April 27, 2016 at 8:50 am

        Agreed, but this article (and others dealing with infrastructure problems) often excuse ped and cyclist behaviors due to the infrastructure problems.

        I’m not saying the infrastructure in the Metro area often is inadequate, because it is, but at some point people do need to use their brains when getting around– whether on foot, on two wheels, or on four (or more) wheels. And I think it does a disservice to the discussion to automatically blame infrastructure or Tri-Met without looking at all sides.

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    Craig Gifen April 25, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    The guy on the bike clearly is at faul…OMG VICTIM BLAMING!

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    Dan G April 25, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I’d guess that Trimet doesn’t focus the message on motorists because they don’t see motorists as their clientele. It might also be that auto collisions with Trimet vehicles are much less likely to be fatal. Or it might just be that they consider all those cars flying around to be an immutable force of nature.

    If any of these are true, Trimet needs to change their thinking.

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      9watts April 25, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      “I’d guess that Trimet doesn’t focus the message on motorists because they don’t see motorists as their clientele.”

      This has been suggested before in discussions of Trimet’s Get Lit or whatever they used to call their campaigns. I call BS. Why would someone on a bike-at-that-moment be any more or less likely to be a future or past Trimet customer than someone driving-a-car-at-that-moment?

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    Eric Leifsdad April 25, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    #1 Person on bike was in no actual danger. That red light is bad. Crossing arms?
    #2 Ouch. Good thing train was slow-moving. Crossing arms.
    #3 Crossing arms.
    #4 30mph bus + door zone bike lane. 20 is plenty.

    So many at-grade crossings… why bother?

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      John Lascurettes April 25, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      #4, you sure the bus was doing 30? The cyclist definitely did not give a 100′ before lane change signal. He barely put out his hand before changing direction less than a split second later. That’s not enough time for anyone in the lane next to him to react at any speed. And, I’m sorry, it was idiotic and irresponsible of him not to check over his shoulder BEFORE moving into the lane. That he did it after you can bet he had to change his shorts after.

      http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.335

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        Eric Leifsdad April 25, 2016 at 4:17 pm

        Obviously people should look where they are going. Clearly bike lanes on 30mph bus streets aren’t very forgiving.

        Assuming ~270ft blocks, it was at least 30.

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      Eric Leifsdad April 25, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Anyone recognize the location of #4? It looks similar to SE 7th.

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        lop April 25, 2016 at 5:45 pm

        SE 7th and stephens, the red awning is conrey electric.

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    Bald One April 25, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Orange line (inbound) at 17th/Powell/Pershing street is the video with 3 bikes at Max tracks. That crossing is poorly built.

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    David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 25, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    “…and it seems unlikely that the mediocre bike traffic across Tilikum Crossing is good for TriMet in the long run.”

    About the bike traffic link, if you slide the left-hand slider just past Sept 27th, the numbers no longer look so mediocre, and there is a more obvious seasonal variation. 3,000 per day isn’t bad for April. One should not compare the crossing numbers of the Tilikum to the Hawthorne – the Hawthorne Bridge will always have much higher crossing numbers, as it is a more direct link to downtown – but rather to the Broadway or Morrison.

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      dwk April 25, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      If they had continued a bike lane on the raised bridge/track section that continues to Naitto, the bike numbers using the bridge would double. As it is, it is a bridge to nowhere for bikes. Why they did not do that is beyond comprehension……

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        David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm

        It boils down to money and that for all the “biketown” rhetoric, Portland still seems to opt for expensive car and transit bridges. Why Eugene, with a small fraction of Portland’s population, should have no fewer than five giant concrete dedicated bike/ped bridges, and Portland none, is beyond me.

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          lop April 25, 2016 at 5:49 pm

          What about the bridge for the springwater corridor over 99E? How’s that compare in size and bike/ped traffic to the bridges in Eugene you’re talking about?

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            David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 25, 2016 at 8:11 pm

            They are similar in length, especially the one over McLaughlin/99E. 4 of the Eugene ones are reinforced concrete, built during the interstate days; the other was added later, with more design. I’ll grant that crossing the Willamette at Eugene is easier than at Portland, since Portland has barge traffic and the river is twice as wide and much deeper, but I’ve seen bike/ped bridges in other cities where the crossing was much greater.

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            ethan April 26, 2016 at 10:32 am

            That’s technically a viaduct, as it does not ho over water.

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          Ted G April 26, 2016 at 7:02 am

          The river is a lot wider.

          In Portland bridges must pass large commercial boat traffic

          In Eugene, in the area where the foot bridges are, there is one arteril bridge able to carry ped/bikes. In Portland there are 7 bridges able to carry both. A ped bridge would be stupidly redundant.

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            David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 26, 2016 at 8:39 am

            North of the Tilikum, I agree, the bridges would need to be either tall, or draw/swing type, to allow tall sailing boats and the annual naval fleet. South of it, the bridges would need to be no taller than the Tilikum, apparently. The span is longer, but hardly insurmountable. A bike/ped river tunnel, as in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, & London, is another option. A dedicated bike bridge may be redundant, but not stupidly so, judging from all the complaints I see on this blog about sharing bridges with cars and transit (or being excluded from the 2 interstate bridges.)

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              Ted G April 26, 2016 at 9:50 am

              Spiffy

              The fact is that people sometimes do careless things and get hurt, and that includes people on foot and on pedals

              and what is the city doing to prevent it? when it happens in a car the auto makers and city both react with changes… seat belts, airbags, traffic lights…
              but when it’s a vulnerable user? oh, you just better be more careful next time…
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              Seat belts and air bags reduce injuries when accidents occur. They do not prevent them. Traffic lights are primarily for facilitating efficient movement of vehicles through high volume intersections.

              If a car, bike, or less crosses the tracks when there are sign, flashing lights, and a train approaching, then they may have a higher tolerance for risk then I do, maybe do not understand the risk, or maybe they just aren’t paying attention. I do not know, and nether do any of you. What seems to be the root of this discussion is whether a design can, or should, anticipate all of the possible behaviors that a human being might consider. In other words, what is safe enough? I do not believe high-cost design elements meant to protect a few people from making poor decisions is the best approach.

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    Bald One April 25, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    They should publish the videos of the #35 passing cyclists on N. Interstate under the Larabee St overpass. You could count the hairs on my left elbow in the video as the mirror nearly touches it, everytime. If I had a video montage of all the near misses of being passed by a Tri-Met bus going 35 mph while I’m riding in a 2′ wide bike lane on a short stretch of road under the overpass, it would be several minutes long. I sometimes try to have conversations with the driver at the next stop light:

    Me: “you could have slowed down and waited to pass me until after the overpass, you nearly hit me.”
    driver: (shrugs shoulders).

    I do try to take the lane here, but it is difficult to cut into the line of 35 mph vehicles going into this pinch point.

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      shirtsoff April 25, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      @Bald One, I’ve had the exact same response when I’ve attempted to point out the dangerous passing albeit “legal” along that stretch of road to TriMet operators.

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      Charley April 25, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      Make the video!!!!!!!!!

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      Ted G April 26, 2016 at 7:15 am

      I understand that being passed in that location is uncomfortable and improvements could be made. But if you have ridden though there that many times and are expecting a different out come, then at some point you have to take responsibility for your decisions.

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    jeff April 25, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    those aren’t mistakes. those are bad decisions.

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      paikiala April 25, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      Jeff,
      how are they different? A bad decision isn’t a mistake?

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  • John Liu
    John Liu April 25, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    If your worldview is that cyclists and pedestrians are never at fault, and that any mishap is always the fault of motor vehicles or infrastructure, then you end up creating the tangled knots of illogic that I see in this discussion.

    The fact is that people sometimes do careless things and get hurt, and that includes people on foot and on pedals. Not every injured cyclist is a victim. Some are just dumb.

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      9watts April 25, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      True, of course, but so are the in some cases quite specific findings here in the comments about how some of the interactions could have been scripted better through design cues.

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        Middle of the Road guy April 25, 2016 at 2:11 pm

        Nothing is foolproof, because Fools are so ingenuous.

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      Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      The fact is that people sometimes do careless things and get hurt, and that includes people on foot and on pedals

      and what is the city doing to prevent it? when it happens in a car the auto makers and city both react with changes… seat belts, airbags, traffic lights…

      but when it’s a vulnerable user? oh, you just better be more careful next time…

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        Random April 25, 2016 at 3:52 pm

        “seat belts, airbags, traffic lights…”

        It’s the drivers who have to pay for the seat belts and airbags, of course.

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          El Biciclero April 26, 2016 at 2:23 pm

          And the cyclists who have to pay for the helmets, reflective clothing and aftermarket lights of varying brightness. It’s also often the cyclists who have to pay for poor driver licensing standards, airbags that reduce drivers’ visibility (by enlarging things like A-pillars), streets that favor speeding cars over all else, and laws and enforcement that oftentimes impose a wink and a nudge as the only consequences of bad driving—only they literally pay an arm and a leg sometimes.

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        paikiala April 25, 2016 at 4:49 pm

        Safe routes to school.
        Neighborhood Greenways.
        Traffic calming.
        Refuge Islands.
        Rapid Flash Beacons.
        Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons.
        Signals.
        Diverters.
        Countdown pedestrian signals.
        Leading pedestrian intervals.
        Protected left turns.
        Speed limit reductions.
        Fire friendly speed bumps.
        Access management.
        ADA curb ramp retrofit program.
        Pedestrian enforcement actions.
        2030 Bike Plan.
        Vision Zero.
        Alternative Speed Zoning Methodology (OAR 734).
        5 mph reduction to statutory law.
        Shared roadway law.

        And when you say ‘the city’, do you include yourself, or is the concept of being part of the whole too difficult to grasp?

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          Random April 25, 2016 at 10:26 pm

          “Safe routes to school.
          Neighborhood Greenways.
          Traffic calming.”
          Etc…

          You forgot mandatory bicycle helmets – the bicycle equivalent to seat belts and air bags on cars, only much, much cheaper.

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            AJ_Bikes April 26, 2016 at 8:08 am

            Aha, but you forgot mandatory driver helmets! And passenger helmets! And let’s not forget walking helmets!

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              paikiala April 26, 2016 at 10:04 am

              people driving are inside a steel enclosure, with mandated seat belts they are mandated to wear, and more frequently with multiple air bags and anti-lock brakes.

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                BB April 26, 2016 at 11:32 am

                Yet the motor vehicle operators and their passengers still keep dying from head injuries that would be mitigated by mandatory helmet usage.

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                soren April 26, 2016 at 6:18 pm

                once driving becomes a very expensive personal choice car-helmets may become mandatory. if so, i plan on enjoying the site of people wearing mandatory helmets as they drive their mid-life crisis sports cars.

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          ethan April 26, 2016 at 10:41 am

          About that 2030 bike plan. There’s still no bike infrastructure on all 4 of the major roads in my neighborhood.

          When I ask the city about them, they say they can’t do it. When will it go from “we can’t do it” until it’s built? It’s 2016 now. I don’t think they’ll reach their goals by 2030.

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    Steve B. April 25, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    The driver of that last bus deserves a commendation. My thanks to all of our quick-thinking bus drivers out there.

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      Charley April 25, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Except, did you notice that they didn’t slow down? If someone rides out in front of you (no matter how bone-headed that may be), shouldn’t you slow down and swerve? Or, better yet, see the cyclist up ahead and slow down to pass safely and pass at a safe distance? Some of their wild swing into the oncoming traffic lane could have been avoided if they hadn’t been going so fast at the moment that cyclist swerved.

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        Steve B. April 26, 2016 at 1:47 pm

        I hear what you’re saying however buses don’t exactly stop on a dime. I think the swerve was the only move to avoid a crash in this instance.

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      dan April 26, 2016 at 1:02 am

      Even if he couldn’t be bothered to look over his shoulder, couldn’t that cyclist (#4) hear the bus coming up behind him? He’s lucky to be alive.

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        BB April 26, 2016 at 11:33 am

        Being able to hear is not a legal requirement for operating a bicycle.

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        CaptainKarma April 26, 2016 at 12:42 pm

        Buses are hard to hear from the front.

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    Kyle Banerjee April 25, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    The area around Tilikum strikes me as more confusing than it needs to be. But there is definitely not a generalized problem with Trimet infrastructure or their drivers being cycle unfriendly even if there are a few specific points that could use improvement.

    The reality is that everyone needs to walk/bike/drive defensively at all times because people sometimes screw up.

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      Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      The reality is that everyone needs to walk/bike/drive defensively at all times because people sometimes screw up.

      the reality is that I refuse to live my life in fear… and I shouldn’t have to… it should be extremely safe to walk or bike to the store…

      there’s only one thing making it unsafe…

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        Alistair Corkett April 25, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        Its about coexistence dude. As the vulnerable user that you describe yourself to be, you don’t need to live in fear. You need to be smart. If that’s what your refusing to do, which seems to be the case, then don’t ride a bike. That’s not to say that either party is faultless, but its a shared burden buddy.

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        Ted G April 26, 2016 at 7:20 am

        And how do you define “extremely safe?”

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    oliver April 25, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    1st incident.

    If you’re too stupid to put down your telephone (look closely) while riding your bicycle against the traffic signal, sans helmet, into a train/transit crossing; I don’t think society at large ought to be going that far out of its way to keep you from doing it.

    If that comes across as uncharitable, good. I’m fed up to my ears with people using their phone while operating a vehicle/conveyance in the public right of way.

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      Middle of the Road guy April 25, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      The infrastructure should be designed so that I can do all of those things…

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        paikiala April 25, 2016 at 4:52 pm

        Middle,
        Are you willing to slow down to 15 mph? How does the road design achieve those things?
        Sounds more like the automated vehicle fantasy, or maybe letting someone else drive you around, like…..Tri-Met?

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    Todd Hudson April 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Riding across the MAX tracks when a train is visible and REALLY close is a great way to get nominated for a Darwin Award.

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      Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      it’s only possible to do because TriMet thinks the cost of the possible lawsuits are lower than the equipment costs…

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        Ted G April 26, 2016 at 7:38 am

        I do not get how pedestrians and bikers are obsolved of any responsibility when they disobey signals. Does this mean when a driver runs a stop sign and hits someone they should say “there should have been a gate there to keep me from entering the intersection”?

        There are examples everywhere of things that are designed for a reasonable person, acting resonably. For a ped/bike saying they did not see/hear a signal telling them to stop should hold no more water than a driver saying they did not see a cyclist.

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    Matt F April 25, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    “the video TriMet released today focuses on examples of people who are acting both illegally and at least a little recklessly rather than (as the New York City transit union did recently) condemning people simply for not being cautious. There’s a big difference.”

    I’m not getting you here…what’s wrong with calling out people who are not being cautious?

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      9watts April 25, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      El Biciclero & dr2chase have made similar distinctions very effectively in my opinion here in the past.
      Remonstrating someone walking for not being cautious usually is a cheap way to shift blame from the driver who should have yielded the right of way in a cross walk or been paying attention. I don’t know the specifics Michael is referring to, but can well imagine the circumstances where the distinction would be real.

      Here’s are some links: http://bikeportland.org/2014/12/12/think-encouraging-high-vis-gear-115550#comment-6016038

      http://bikeportland.org/2014/12/12/think-encouraging-high-vis-gear-115550#comment-5986787

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      9watts April 25, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      Another, perhaps even better, example from the discussion linked to in my previous response:

      dr2chase
      But inaction is usually relative to laws not obeyed that contributed to the crash, or actions not taken to avoid an obviously imminent collision — i.e., if there is someone standing in the road, even though they are jaywalking, if you have time to stop, it is against the law to run into them. Dinging cyclists for not being more visible than the legal standard is like dinging drivers who skid for not using a car with ABS brakes. And the legal standard for cyclist visibility is 100% utterly silent on clothing choices, so there is no possible law that dressing in flat black breaks.
      In practice (especially in places like NYC) drivers are not even expected to obey all of the laws — most recently, a driver seen on video driving over a little girl legally in a crosswalk with her grandmother escaped all prosecution and had his tickets voided.
      Again — and this is phenomenally irritating to me — admitted driver failure to conform to the basic speed law, “I didn’t see him in time”, “the sun was in my eyes”, etc, is considered exonerating, but failure to obey imaginary dress code laws is considered to be contributory. This is a wee bit of a double standard if you ask me.
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      wsbob April 26, 2016 at 10:02 am

      I think Trimet offering video as proof of people biking carelessly, recklessly, or irresponsibly, rather than if the transit agency had only verbally expressed alarm at people biking in such ways, as he says NYC transit union recently did, may be the important difference Andersen is trying to point out.

      Video can help eliminate doubt that road users have done something wrong they’re accused of.

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    Spiffy April 25, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    The fact is that people sometimes do careless things and get hurt, and that includes people on foot and on pedals

    and what is the city doing to prevent it? when it happens in a car the auto makers and city both react with changes… seat belts, airbags, traffic lights…

    but when it’s a vulnerable user? oh, you just better be more careful next time…

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    Eric April 25, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    OK, I will take the bait. I will blame the “victims” in all of these. Situation awareness people! Dont ride your bike, one handed, while talking on a cell phone and breeze through a train crossing! Look up! When stepping onto tracks, look up and down the tracks first! Simple basic stuff here. Don’t dart out from the bike lane into traffic without so much as a glance over your shoulder first.
    No matter how many gates/signs/paint/buzzers/fences and warnings you install, you can’t fix stupid.

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    bikeninja April 25, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    I ride both max and the streetcar daily. The foolish behavior by motorists and cyclist’s pales in comparison with that of motorists. In the areas of downtown where max and streetcars share streets with cars and there is no gates seperating them( almost everywhere for streetcars) the foolish driving happens nearly every few blocks. Drivers seem to think that it is a good idea to cut in front of max and force it to come to a rapid stop. Biggest surprise to me is that they don’t have to haul away crushed cars on a daily basis. Given the way both systems are designed there is no way to completely seperate them from cars, bikes and peds. But make no mistake the biggest danger at any any Max stop are the cars whizzing by waiting to mow down unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists.

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      David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 25, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      In downtown Salem, Oregon, there is a section of main line rail track between and parallel to two streets, with frequent gated crossings. About 15 years ago, the local police ran a sting operation whereby a police officer was stationed in a single slow-moving locomotive with its drivers, with video equipment, to record the large number of car drivers who illegally did z-crossings past the swing-arm gates. Meanwhile, there were numerous cops nearby to pull over the motorists crossing illegally. According to their stats, about 25% of motorists who were at the crossing, crossed illegally (the other 75% waited), and of those who were ticketed, 90% either had no current license or no current insurance (or both.)

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        wsbob April 26, 2016 at 10:28 am

        “…According to their stats, about 25% of motorists who were at the crossing, crossed illegally (the other 75% waited), and of those who were ticketed, 90% either had no current license or no current insurance (or both.)…hampsten,NC

        I hope your recollection of those stats is accurate, because if it is, those numbers may offer a dramatic indication of the types of person that could be contributing to traffic and collision problems for all other road users.

        Kind of sounds like people that, not being licensed or insured, and for various other reasons, may feel they’ve nothing to lose by driving irresponsibly.

        Other less extreme examples of bad road use, such as those of people biking, apparently offered in the Trimet videos, likely are more due to some people just being sloppy and lazy in their use of the road. I’m glad to have been reading a good number of comments to this discussion, encouraging people to ride responsibly in traffic.

        Vulnerable road users’ first line of defense of their own safety, is situational awareness, knowing basic road use laws well, and developing the skills to use them effectively.

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    Kyle Banerjee April 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Eric
    OK, I will take the bait. I will blame the “victims” in all of these. Situation awareness people! Dont ride your bike, one handed, while talking on a cell phone and breeze through a train crossing! Look up! When stepping onto tracks, look up and down the tracks first! Simple basic stuff here. Don’t dart out from the bike lane into traffic without so much as a glance over your shoulder first.
    No matter how many gates/signs/paint/buzzers/fences and warnings you install, you can’t fix stupid.
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    Look on the bright side. Just be glad these people aren’t driving cars, buses, or MAX trains. Though for their own safety, it might be better for them to walk.

    We like to complain about the drivers, but things could be sooo much worse.

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    soren April 25, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    I had no idea that so many bike portland commentators never cycle incautiously, never make an error, and never break the law. With this kind of perfection it’s surely only a matter of time before we earn the unanimous support of drivers for bike infrastructure!

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      David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 25, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Those of us who are crazy, error-prone, and/or ride illegally eventually end up living in East Portland, or like me, leave town altogether…

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        Ted Timmons (Contributor) April 25, 2016 at 5:02 pm

        Technically you live in east Portland, David. Just far east Portland.

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          David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 25, 2016 at 8:16 pm

          True, that. East Portland is a relative term – the more east you go, the cheaper it gets…

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      jeff April 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Really love the new sarcastic Soren! Much better debate!

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      Granpa April 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Some drivers kill cyclists and pedestrians with wanton disregard, and some cyclists and pedestrians display wanton disregard and get themselves killed. Life is so much more interesting when one pays attention, it has more duration also. In the same forum where drivers are vilified for inattention why are cyclists and pedestrians not expected to be sufficiently alert to stay alive. All hazards can not and should not be eliminated. Pavement can not be glass smooth, Hills will not be flattened, dogs won’t bite with rubber teeth. Life has some risks, and cycling has more than its share. If people choose to float through their day in a waking dream, and step in front of a train, is that infrastructure’s fault? The train operator’s fault? One does not need to have the focus of a ninja or zen master to be enough in the moment to look both ways.

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        soren April 26, 2016 at 7:56 am

        Granpa, I salute you for you perfect attention and perfect caution. This is why they like us!

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          Granpa April 26, 2016 at 7:59 am

          ! Thanks !!

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    Jeff April 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Would be interesting to know how many of the westbound Tilikum cyclists are turning left at Moody towards South Waterfront, or right towards PSU/Downtown. Riding over it weekday mornings myself, it seems only about 10% are turning right. So it looks like few have switched from the Hawthorne to the Tilikum. Makes sense since your choices where Moody ends are to ride in the car lane up the steep and busy Harrison, or take an out-of-the-way detour to use the bike lanes on Lincoln.

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      lop April 25, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      If you’re going to PSU. If you’re going further north you have the new MUP/sidewalk whatever it is along Harbor drive to the low traffic Harbor way to waterfront park.

      http://portland-hawthorne-bridge.visio-tools.com/

      March 2013 ~127k bikes
      March 2014 ~120k bikes
      March 2015 ~143k bikes
      March 2016 ~94k bikes

      Think some people have shifted to the new bridge? Were all of them heading to South Waterfront/OHSU?

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        soren April 25, 2016 at 6:26 pm

        lop, the counter on the hawthorne bridge has been plagued with problems and was not registering riders in march.

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          lop April 25, 2016 at 6:43 pm

          By March 2nd it was recording bike counts in both directions again. I was assuming that meant the counter was fixed and the ~1500-2000 riders it missed in one direction that day was not enough to make a difference in the monthly count. Was it not fixed at that point? Has it been fixed yet?

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            soren April 26, 2016 at 7:53 am

            i noticed that the counter was not registering some of my trips mid march. i believe this evident in the drop in counts for the week of 3-20 even though it was warmer than at the beginning of the month.

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    SD April 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I don’t see how this advertising campaign will “raise awareness.” However, it clearly reinforces the narrative that individual mistakes made by the injured are the primary cause of injuries. This is disingenuous, and belies a lack of sincerity on the part of Trimet. I would rather see an advertising campaign highlighting their efforts to build smart and safe infrastructure. Or, admitting there are design flaws with Tilikum crossing and correcting them.

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    todd boulanger April 25, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    I want to see the “B reel” with Trimet interactions with motorized vehicles…or when cars drive through the MAX tunnels

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    Sio April 25, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    These videos have two things in common. They are one-side to the story and they are scary. The fact is that speed is a problem, and unfortunately not speed-ing. There is already some research out there regarding how speed impacts our ability to judge. If we’re going to continue to integrate cars and trains with pedestrians and cyclists, we need to be diligent in our approach. It can’t be reactionary (insert a gate at a crossing) and must be fact and statistics based. In the first segment of the video, what if the person thought they could make it across the intersection based on the speed the vehicle was going when it first left the stop but then it sped up?

    I want to recognize some things that were said earlier. When I first read this, I recalled all the dangerous maneuvering Tri-Met has pulled on me as a passenger and as a cyclist and wanted to rage about it. I am grateful to have perspective like that of Alistair’s because it reminded me that no matter what, we all gotta live with each other. Why make it worse? Use logic to sort it out so we can live long and prosper.

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    Al Gorp April 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Do we have some tech savvy folks here who can start a “Go Fund Me” web page that can get donations for massive quantities of bubble wrap for all those who have commented above that it’s Tri-Met’s responsibility for their safety?

    And we need also to get funds to pave the streets & sidewalks with several inches of foam rubber for cyclists and pedestrians who fall down. Should muffle the sound of tires on rough pavement as an added bonus. But, because the cars will be harder to hear, we will need to put a 6 foot thick chunk of foam rubber on the front of all motor vehicles so when they hit a cyclist or ped, they will not suffer serious injury.

    Time to invest in foam rubber and bubble wrap!

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    Kyle Banerjee April 25, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Spiffy

    The reality is that everyone needs to walk/bike/drive defensively at all times because people sometimes screw up.

    the reality is that I refuse to live my life in fear… and I shouldn’t have to… it should be extremely safe to walk or bike to the store…
    there’s only one thing making it unsafe…

    Actually there are two things. Cyclists who expect everyone except themselves to take responsibility for their safety aren’t the only cause of accidents. Some drivers are pretty bad too.

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      SD April 25, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Ahh yes… The “Cyclists who expect everyone except themselves to take responsibility for their safety.” While some may claim to have observed them in the wild, they exist mostly, if not exclusively, in the lore of internet blog comments.

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    Adam Leyrer April 25, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    I can’t read transportation articles in any local medium anymore without feeling as though I’m in Jane Eliot’s 3rd grade class discussing the obvious superiority of brown-eyed children… or blue-eyed children.

    Misbehavior in our us group is always situationally excusable, misbehavior in the them group is always personally convicting. If we can’t proceed with caution around a well-known temptation to identify and judge groups as a mental shortcut for understanding individual people, how can we ever hope to recognize facts when we see them?

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    Kristi Finney Dunn April 25, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    I find it VERY insensitive and offensive that Tri-Met chose the 6th anniversary of their deadliest Tri-Met driver caused crash to air this video. Did they think seeing this would not matter to the families of the two women killed by their driver who mowed them down in a cross walk? Did they think those families have forgotten the date? Did Tri-Met forget, themselves? Maybe they remember the date they were ordered to pay $ millions for the tragedy instead.

    Anniversaries of the day your child was killed are horrendously difficult. I feel for the Sale and Hammel families today and hope they didn’t see this news coverage of Tri-Met choosing this day of all days to lay all the blame for crashes at the feet of people walking and biking.
    http://www.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2010/04/25/trimet-bus-crash-kills-two-pedestrians

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      Al Gorp April 26, 2016 at 1:00 am

      Quote: “….this news coverage of Tri-Met choosing this day of all days to lay all the blame for crashes at the feet of people walking and biking.”

      They did not lay “all the blame for crashes on peds/cyclists”.

      They’re pointing out that SOME peds/cyclists are putting themselves in harms way. From the videos, it’s clear that their concerns are justified.

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        Kristi Finney Dunn April 26, 2016 at 8:29 pm

        I’m not at all saying they don’t have an important message or that I don’t agree people walking, biking, and, yes, in cars need to pay attention. But I know for a fact that the families of the two young women killed by a Tri-Met bus driver 6 years ago yesterday were really grieving already and for Tri-Met to choose that particular day to high-light what they did was tasteless and insensitive. They had 365 other days to release that video. And if their argument is that they forgot what happened that day six years ago, shame on them. People forget all too quickly the actual people who die and are seriously injured in collisions. Even those people who kill them.

        I hope this video helps people to behave more consciously and safely; that it helps to save lives. I also wish the people already hurting hadn’t had to be more hurt because the agency responsible for their hurting in the first place couldn’t delay the release one more day.

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    Al Gorp April 26, 2016 at 1:03 am

    ***Comment deleted by moderator.

    Al Gorp, you are now on automatic moderation. None of your comments will be published unless you change your tone and treat others with respect. Thank you. – Jonathan ****

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    Mike Quigley April 26, 2016 at 7:26 am

    ***Comment deleted by moderator.

    You are now on automatic moderation. None of your comments will be published unless you change your tone and treat others with respect. Thank you. – Jonathan ****

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      Chris I April 26, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Classy.

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    Kyle Banerjee April 26, 2016 at 10:00 am

    SD
    Ahh yes… The “Cyclists who expect everyone except themselves to take responsibility for their safety.” While some may claim to have observed them in the wild, they exist mostly, if not exclusively, in the lore of internet blog comments.

    Try riding PDX streets sometime — you’ll see cyclists doing crazy stuff that would be suicidal in any other environment.

    Also read some of the comments here. Anyone who blames the infrastructure for crashes should definitely not attempt riding anywhere else. Cycling infrastructure is some of the best you’ll encounter anywhere. I’ve been commuting 35 years and it’s the easiest I’ve been in by far.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. April 26, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Cycling infrastructure is some of the best you’ll encounter anywhere.

      You clearly have never been to Europe then. Portland infra is not even remotely close to the standard in much of Northern Europe.

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      SD April 26, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Taking a risk or being careless is not the same as expecting others to take responsibility for your safety. I doubt that the people in those videos would blame the transit operators for the close calls. I also don’t think anyone arguing for safer transit systems denies the fact that people sometimes make mistakes and sometimes act carelessly.

      I ride almost everyday and I rarely see careless behavior from pedestrians and cyclists, but when I do it stands out. If I didn’t have many years of experience cycling, I would probably think that careless behavior was more common than it is. When people watch these videos, many of them who only drive, they will likely believe that the behavior in the videos is more common than it is. These videos could easily embolden aggression towards vulnerable road users.

      I can see why it appeals to Trimet to show videos where it is clear that the pedestrian or cyclist is at fault. However, ultimately I think that it is irresponsible and will not advance safety. Instead, it reveals reactionary thinking on the part of Trimet and probably a lack of a real long term plan to improve safety between mass transit and vulnerable users.

      Arguing against the straw-man idea of “perfectly safe infrastructure” leaves a lot of good ideas that could improve safety out of consideration. Saying that our current designs are “as safe as they need to be, the rest is up to the users” serves no purpose.

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      GlowBoy April 26, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      It’s not about blaming the infrastructure, it’s about making relatively low-cost changes that would lead to a substantial reduction in deaths and injuries. Purely practical, rather than practically puritan.

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    Peejay April 26, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Ahem.

    I think it’s funny how people here say “Why don’t people just pay more attention?” It’s human nature not to. You can yell at people all you want, but you’re not going to change human nature. What you CAN do is see where people get in trouble, and try to figure out why some spots are more dangerous than others. Why is one crosswalk safer than another? Why do cars go off the road at that curve? Why do people on bikes and foot wind up in a lot of conflict on that section? Why do bike riders try to beat the train here but not there? Take individual behaviors and who’s right and wrong out of the equation, and look at statistics. What designs make people smart? What designs make people appear stupid and reckless? I really doubt the designs that are safest are the most expensive to build, by the way. The whole Orange Line is a testament to that.

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    Granpa April 26, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    You are sure correct that the Orange Line is an expensive, mistake riddled maze of confusion. Too many examples in this fluster cluck cite just one. That said, human nature is what the human makes it to be. The human rise to global dominance is a result of outsmarting mega-fauna including fast carnivorous predators. Human nature at that time put a premium on paying attention. This is in us and humans are better at being humans when that ability is exercised. Is that not part of why we ride bicycles, to be immersed in our world? I know infrastructure design is flawed and could be done better. There are tragedies too frequently because of interactions facilitated by bad design, but in the world as it is, the transportation system as it now exists, the autonomous decisions of individuals define our how we move. If one does not trust the myriad strangers with whom one shares the road, then pay be alert. I frequently reference Richard Adams book “Watership Down” about a migrating band or rabbits. They travel with speed and wits through a world where everything wants to kill them. It is a good book.

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    Jessie April 26, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Check out the crossings for the NE 7th Avenue MAX station – the crossings at 7th, 8th, & 9th aves. I walk across them 3 (or more) times a day (walking my dog, going to work, etc). I have begun to realize there is something oddly hypnotic about them that causes people (including me, and I’m being REALLY careful) to just drift across the street gazing at the train that just passed. . . and then step right in front of the train coming from the opposite direction. I see people do it EVERY DAY!!! They stop, look for cars, look at the first train, and then step towards the oncoming train, and leap back when the horn sounds and other pedestrians start screaming and waving. There are bells, whistles, flashing signs, zig-zag bars. . . it doesn’t seem to matter. I can’t pin it down, but I can sense that someone is going to get whacked there and it has something to do with the design.

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    GlowBoy April 26, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Sorry, not going to read all 149 comments but I will say this: TriMet hasn’t installed active warning devices at its pedestrian crossings. Just crossed the tracks at Millikan Way twice today, and nothing.

    In Minneapolis where I now live, we have lights and audible warnings at pedestrian crossings to indicate when a train is actually coming, not just that tracks exist. You know, like cars get. This makes a huge difference, and there’s NO excuse for not having it.

    One really common problem is that if you cross in front of a stopped train at a station, it can be hard to tell if it’s about to pull out or not. Especially if you’re crossing from the other side and can’t see whether the doors are open, with passengers still boarding.

    If a train’s closed its doors and is about to roll, drivers at nearby crossings get lights and bells 10 -15 seconds ahead of time, but pedestrians don’t. And if there isn’t a car crossing in the nearby vicinity, then there’s absolutely no warning except the MAX operator (hopefully!) dinging a bell 1 or 2 seconds before proceeding.

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    Kyle Banerjee April 27, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Since there appears to be a consistent theme that the design is so bad, particularly near Tilikum, how about some ideas that would make it better/safer?

    Granted, that area is confusing and a lot of features are suboptimal, but given a need to have rail, bus, car, bike, and large numbers of peds in both directions, how could it be improved?

    I for one would not favor crossing gates. That area is already hopelessly gummed up and gates would make that worse.

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      Granpa April 27, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Now that it is built, any improvement would be a band aid. The failure of TriMet to even try to understand how cyclists move and to incorporate that understanding into design should be an embarrassment that will trouble designers for the rest of their lives. They completely dropped the ball for a major component on what is likely the biggest job of their careers.

      Sure gates and/or lights will make it safer but the lack of “flow” and the confusion of multiple crossings is cast in place.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. April 27, 2016 at 8:55 am

        And they designed “cycle paths” with utility poles in the middle and sharp right angle curves.

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          Granpa April 27, 2016 at 9:26 am

          You ever wonder why one of the detector loops is about 15′ back of the intersection? There are TWO poles blocking line of sight to oncoming traffic if one were to stand near the curb. Too many miscues to list.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. April 27, 2016 at 10:16 am

            The primary problem with the path is that TriMet built a sidewalk, then allowed people to cycle on it. Had it instead been designed to cycle path standards, then allowed people to walk on it, these problems would not exist.

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          Bald One April 27, 2016 at 1:20 pm

          I think these design features are intentionally positioned in order to “calm” the cycle traffic. The more off-set ramps, poles, signs, and protruding obstacles they can add to a cycle path, the better designed it is as they attempt to control to the slowest possible speeds on these MUPs.

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        dwk April 27, 2016 at 9:11 am

        Where was the BTA or any other cycling advocate during the process?

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          soren April 27, 2016 at 9:55 am

          http://bikeloudpdx.org/index.php/Tilikum-Clinton_Album_of_Issues

          BikeLoudPDX was all over this but many bikeportland commentators were dismissive of our concerns (e.g. comments about how no infrastructure is ever good enough for cycling advocates who hate cars). This is a recurring theme on bikeportland, btw.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. April 27, 2016 at 10:12 am

            Can’t upvote this enough. It’s not that nothing is ever good enough for us, but that we’re using cities that have already accomplished our cycling goals as the example to live up to.

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      SD April 27, 2016 at 8:48 am

      This has been discussed extensively in BP posts about the Tilikum crossing. I don’t know if trimet has any interest in making improvements. The lack of change or outreach and an advertising campaign where they search their video archives to show vulnerable users making bad decisions or being inattentive makes me think design improvements are not a priority. And, I have to agree with granpa that the initial design, including the east side extension from the bridge, was shockingly bad for a city with plenty of cycling expertise to draw from. To fix those initial mistakes would probably take more than point by point compensatory modifications.

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      El Biciclero April 27, 2016 at 11:19 am

      I actually rode over this bridge for the first time a couple weeks ago. I came down from Sheridan and turned right onto the “cycle track” along Moody, then made the left turn crossing up onto the bridge. It wasn’t too bad getting onto the bridge from here. Once on the bridge, I was pretty disappointed in the very narrow “lane” appointed for bike use. There is zero room for passing in that lane, and as it was 80 degrees, and I was on my way to meet people, I wasn’t racing up the slope. Three other guys on bikes were racing up the slope. I saw them coming up behind me and rode the right-hand line of the bike lane and they passed by on my left, but very close. I suppose I could have stuck to the middle of the bike lane and anticipated them going around on my right, using the pedestrian space, or I could have fully moved over into the pedestrian space to make more room on my left, but I was testing things out. To a certain extent, I felt more “confined” in this bike lane than in anything painted on a regular street. The quiet of this bridge is what was most enjoyable, and the ability to slow down and look up and down the middle of the river—something I have almost never done in Portland.

      On the east end, since I was headed to the ‘splanade, I found it pretty easy to peel right and down to the path toward OMSI. On my return trip, the connection from the Esplanade to the WB bridge was also very easy and straightforward. Then I got back to the west end of the bridge. With visions of pedestrians being nailed by signal-ignoring bicyclists in my head (thanks to the prompt release of another tri-met video showing this a few months ago), I was diligently scanning for signals that might be mine to scrupulously obey. It is sort of a weird double-signal situation where there is the crosswalk just before the end of the bridge, then the street crossing at the bottom. While I was waiting for the bike signal at the pedestrian crossing (I really was being extra-diligent, since there was a motor cop parked in the middle of the bridge watching both ends of the crosswalk—I don’t think he was waiting to bust MAX operators…) I guess it turned from solid red to flashing red, which I didn’t immediately notice. A very nice man on a very nice city bike (He looked an awful lot like the pictures of Roger Geller I’ve seen on this site) explained that I could go now, since the signal was flashing red (side note: are there any “car” signals that change from solid red to flashing red? Or just from red arrows to flashing yellow arrows?). So then we both proceeded to the next signal, where we waited to cross Moody. Here is where the design transitions to less-than-optimal.

      A) Two-way cycle tracks: don’t like them. I should have been able to make my right turn and be on my way rather than having to wait for a very long signal to cross the street first.
      B) Since I was ultimately headed back up to 1st, I should have just been able to keep on cruising along the viaduct, ending up on Lincoln and avoiding the crummy two-way cycle track (with poles in the middle, as noted elsewhere) and the long signal wait altogether.
      C) since I can’t ride the viaduct and I must cross Moody to make a right turn and hook up with the sidepath that runs under the viaduct I should be on, I had a tough time figuring out how to get southbound on 1st. I cranked up Harrison, and then saw a chance to cross the rails into the left turn lane onto Naito, so I grabbed it, but then discovered there is no bike lane on Naito here (no big deal for me, but it made me think I was somehow “doing it wrong”—am I expected to ride on the sidewalk here?) I took a right on Lincoln, then the two-stage left onto 1st, and I was home free!

      I haven’t ever approached this bridge from the actual east (only from the Esplanade), but I hear it is just as bad, if not worse over there.

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    Ben S. April 27, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve been following this website for over a decade and never commented, because internet comments, yuck. I commute by bike, though we have a family car.

    I feel like I should speak though because this article (and many like it in recent months) is so infuriating to me. No infrastructure is perfect, you said it yourself – put swing gates there and people will not be inclined to bike through them (personally, I skip that crossing and stay on the road, there is a bike lane and a nice ramp). Heck, you recently painted in a positive light when vigilantes propped open a gate.

    Are you seriously calling out Trimet’s (lame) infrastructure decisions because they’re showing what almost happens when infrastructure is not what would’ve helped then & there at that moment? Like the woman about to bike in front of orange line. Feel free to put yourself in her shoes: after that encounter would you not feel “whoa! stupid of me. I got off easy and will never do this again!”? That’s what her face is saying, if you ask me.

    Things are moving fast around, if you don’t watch where you’re going and think about what you’re doing you’re eligible for serious trouble, even with the most pristine infrastructure (ever see a video of someone falling into a subway line?). Have you ever, ever published an article about that?

    Please, stop, or at least address both sides. You sound worse than SJWs. Yes, work toward good infrastracture, but give the “oh they’re victim blaming and not accepting responsibility” thing a rest. I really think it hurts your credibility because it’s whiny nonsense that doesn’t offer any answers, and also very far from working together toward solutions that work for everyone.

    Share the road, and share road safety. I love good infrastructure (been to Zurich :->), but no amount of infrastructure will ever help people who don’t move around responsibly.

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      peejay April 28, 2016 at 12:06 am

      “No amount of infrastructure”? Not so sure about that. Good thing we can subject this all to some data analysis. If there are some parts of Trimet’s layout that are statistically more dangerous than others, would it be fair to conclude that those locations aren’t safe enough, or would you say that more irresponsible people just happen to congregate there?

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    GlowBoy April 27, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Agreed that we can’t do automated gates, as TriMet has pointed out. But we can do flashing lights and audible warnings. Here are examples, from the Twin Cities, of warning devices installed at non-street pedestrian crossings of light rail lines.

    https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9204923,-93.2195588,3a,75y,243.35h,84.41t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sjgZGZb4E0xCitLvYgNO3RA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e3!6m1!1e1

    https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9544245,-93.0977408,3a,75y,245.5h,82.24t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sHbfGUywItYmPLUVXgOG2kA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e3!6m1!1e1

    The first example, 46th St Station on the Blue Line in Minneapolis, has a Don’t Walk light (TriMet only does this if there’s an adjacent roadway). The second example, Robert Street on the Green Line in St. Paul, includes an alternating-flashing crossbuck just like car crossings. Both include audible warnings too, IIRC, something TriMet also doesn’t do.

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    lop April 27, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    The first clip showed someone biking through a red bike light in front of a bus while talking on his phone. The third clip crossing had warning lights/sounds, the crossing is at a right angle to the tracks, and is offset from the crossing of the adjacent street to try to prevent people from approaching either faster than is safe. They’re similar to the two examples you give in Minneapolis. Whatever infrastructure is put in there will be a learning curve. Sometimes people die during that process. Many of the commentors on this blog didn’t seem all that supportive of trimet’s work to manage that learning period safely by having all the crossing guards set up at some of the crossings.

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      GlowBoy April 27, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      Yes, that’s true. People will still make mistakes, and will die. People have been killed by Metro trains in the Twin Cities too. But nowhere near as many as have been killed by MAX.

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        Ted G April 27, 2016 at 2:57 pm

        Metro in MN-Opened in 2004 and has 12 miles of track and 19 stations
        MAX in Portland-Opened in 1986 and has 60 miles of track and 90 stations

        You are thinking the injury numbers are comparable?

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          GlowBoy April 27, 2016 at 4:39 pm

          Even adjusting for that, yes. MAX has killed dozens over the years.

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          GlowBoy April 27, 2016 at 4:40 pm

          Also, your figures for TC Metro only include the Blue Line.

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