Sasquatch returns in state’s new crosswalk safety video

Posted by on July 20th, 2016 at 9:40 am

A sasquatch signals an intent to cross in the latest ODOT safety video.

When all else fails, turn to sasquatch. That’s the thinking from the Oregon Department of Transportation when it comes to educating people about crosswalk safety.

The fabled, hairy creature plays a starring role in a new video from the agency (made in partnership with Metro) released this morning. “Sasquatch stars in a new video spot illustrating the law and the importance of everyone being alert, be they drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists or mythical furry forest creatures,” reads the official statement.

In the video Sasquatch approaches an intersection only to get scared as someone approaches in a car. Then another person calms his fears by reminding him that in Oregon, “every corner is a crosswalk.” It’s a fun video, but it highlights a very serious issue: The number of people who were killed while walking in Oregon was up 50 percent statewide in 2015 (compared to the previous year). 10 people were killed while walking in Portland last year.

Check out the video below:

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Sasquatch, aka Bigfoot, is a big deal in Oregon. And this isn’t the first time he’s appeared on BikePortland. ODOT has already used it in their “Oregonians Crossing” campaign (see bumper sticker below) and “Seski” the sasquatch popped up at a Pedalpalooza ride in 2009. And who can forget the time in May 2007 when a traffic-calming sasquatch named Zozo mysteriously appeared in Ladd Circle.

Bumpersticker

And while we have your attention, here’s the Oregon law relating to crosswalks. Bottom line: Every intersection is a crosswalk whether it’s got a painted crosswalk or not. However this doesn’t mean you can just walk or roll into the street and expect people in cars to stop for you. In order to trigger your legal rights, you must “show intent to cross” by extending a part of your body or bicycle (or cane, wheelchair, etc…) into the roadway. And you must do it in a way that gives people enough time to react and stop for you.

To make sure this video actually gets seen, ODOT and Metro have purchased online ads in partnership with KGW (a Portland NBC affiliate). The ads will be targeted at people who search online for things like traffic, public transit, maps, driving and walking directions, and so on. A Metro spokesperson also tells us they play to buy mobile ads that target people who live in designated high-crash corridors around the region. And of course we can all spread the word by sharing the video (or this post!) via social media and other channels.

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

53 Comments
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    Spiffy July 20, 2016 at 9:55 am

    “online ads in partnership with KGW”

    does this mean it will be on TV? or is it only online?

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    Dan A July 20, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Sasquatch hasn’t indicated his intention to cross.

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      nuovorecord July 20, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Sure he did…he extended his arm. And howled.

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        Dan A July 20, 2016 at 11:22 am

        Only after the driver stopped. Before that he was just swaying on the curb.

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      Robert Burchett July 20, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Wait, can Sasquatch cross where there is no Sasquatch crossing sign?

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    bikeninja July 20, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Is there a sequel to this commercial where Sasquatch is almost run-down by a scoflaw and he chases them down and administers some street justice at the next intersection?

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      Dan A July 20, 2016 at 10:12 am

      Maybe the scofflaw is eating jerky? I think you’re onto something…

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    Josh G July 20, 2016 at 10:17 am

    “So I came down outta the mountains, because the cars were no longer dangerous. Safer to bike now.” https://vimeo.com/12798616

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    Tim July 20, 2016 at 11:06 am

    I winder if they have ever seen Sasquatch. This looks more like some guy in a hairy Klingon costume.

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      nuovorecord July 20, 2016 at 11:27 am

      Maybe you could share some of your pictures of a creature that doesn’t actually exist?

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      Andrea Brown July 20, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      He has a very strong resemblance to one of my neighbors. Mark???

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. July 20, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Cute, but what we need to do is install infra to force drivers to slow down at crosswalks, rather than relying on education efforts.

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      nuovorecord July 20, 2016 at 11:27 am

      Yeah. I mean, there’s only about 10 billion intersections in the region. So infrastructure at each of them seems feasible.

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        Kyle Banerjee July 20, 2016 at 12:15 pm

        A lot of people don’t bother to cross at a crosswalk anyway, so need to cover those areas too. But like you suggest, it doesn’t sound too hard.

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          Stephen Keller July 20, 2016 at 6:47 pm

          Governing all motor vehicles so they max out at some comfortable speed, say 15 m.p.h., whenever they are within city limits would do the job. Of course the first thing that would pop up on the internet would be d.i.y. kits to disable municipally installed speed-governors. On the other hand, that’d be a dark-side cottage industry. Maybe it would siphon off some of the bike thieves.

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            Dan A July 20, 2016 at 7:26 pm

            Funny that radar detectors aren’t a dark-side cottage industry. They are sold as safety devices! What a world.

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    eawrist July 20, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Does this mean Sasquatch is the same genus as a Chewbacca?

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    Jonathan Radmacher July 20, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    What’s the law with regard to marked crosswalks that also have a light, e.g. at 16th and Hawthorne? Should cars be stopping at green lights if a pedestrian is showing an intent to use the crosswalk?

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      bikeninja July 20, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      I think this one is clear( no) ,but the more interesting question is what if a pedestrian enters on a walk signal and fails to clear the intersection before the cars get the green. This last week I saw an elderly pedestrian intiate her cross on a walk signal but could not make it across in time, and a cab (taxi) came zooming down the street honking their horn with no intention of slowing down or stopping but certainly thinking they had the right of way and could run down grandma if she did not hop to it and run out of the way.

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        rachel b July 20, 2016 at 1:40 pm

        Well…clearly, she was in the way! 😉 I see this more and more from drivers on SE 26th. We have a lot of foot traffic and bike traffic between Powell and Clinton, lots of street crossing with ZERO crosswalks and a seriously self-entitled set of drivers. I think SE 26th is one of the last crosswalkless bastions for frustrated drivers. It’s 25mph but absolutely unenforced and man, do they step on in it through here. Anyway–lots more honking lately at pedestrians crossing. I’ve seen old, infirm folks and parents with kids driven up on and honked at. Cede a street to drivers and they WILL feel ownership of it. As they do on SE 26th, now.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. July 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm

          26th and Clinton is screaming for a redesign. Get rid of those slip lanes, install crosswalks and maybe even a protected intersection or diversion. In an ideal world, Clinton between 25th and 27th would be closed to cars entirely and become a pedestrian plaza with a bike cut-through.

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            rachel b July 20, 2016 at 3:17 pm

            Yes! But….SE 26th always gets left out of these discussions, and it’s in real need of traffic calming. I’m in favor of “your speed is” signs (like the permanent one on SE Holgate near the Oddfellows Home), crosswalks, planters. But not speed bumps. Our whole house already shakes every time a semi, bus or other (increasingly) massive truck goes by. No complaints about the buses–glad to have ’em. But the rest? Seriously–it’s a residential street. Weren’t huge trucks from UPRR banned here only a short while ago? Are they still banned? Who cares? No one’s enforcing anything. Sigh.

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            Kyle Banerjee July 20, 2016 at 11:31 pm

            There are places that deserve a lot more attention than this intersection. I have been through that intersection countless times and it’s as easy as it gets. Aside from the low speeds on both streets, everyone plays nice and I have yet to see anything even close to resembling a close call there.

            There are so many roads where the cars are WAY faster, there is zero shoulder (let alone a bike lane), and you’re bordered by a curb so bail options blow. There are plenty of hairy intersections, but this isn’t one of them.

            If we want to make cycling more attractive, we need to quit dinking around with areas where it’s already crazy easy and make it friendlier to wider areas where people live. Downtown is very covered. We need to make cycling a viable alternative for people who don’t live in crazy expensive areas.

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              rachel b July 22, 2016 at 6:47 pm

              Uh…I live on SE 26th and I would love to meet these “low speed” folks you praise! At the intersection, I grant you, you can be left with the impression that stopped traffic is “good” traffic. Seconds earlier, though, that “nice” stopped car that’s not bothering you came hurtling past my house at 40mph in a 25mph zone. That, in my opinion, is a serious problem (x many many drivers here) that deserves attention! Pedestrians are taking their lives in their hands crossing SE 26th, at present.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. July 22, 2016 at 7:08 pm

                I agree there is a speeding problem on 26th, and also agree that speed bumps are generally a bad idea. They’re a lazy solution to slowing traffic speeds as they degrade the cycling experience. Narrowing the roadway would be far more effective at slowing traffic down and would have no negative effect on cycling. Raised cycle tracks would be a good solution for 26th. Also, don’t allow motor traffic to turn onto Clinton in either direction.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. July 22, 2016 at 7:10 pm

                Also, your street sounds a lot like my street (SE 52nd) in that it’s a residential street that the city uses as a car sewer. Lots of people speeding, loud motorcycles at 5 am, and heavy (even stopped at times) motor traffic during peak hours.

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                rachel b July 22, 2016 at 11:40 pm

                Good thoughts, Adam–and wow, but our streets sound like twins! The loud vehicles this summer have been driving me and mine nuts, all hours of the day and night. It seems both SE 26th and SE 52nd are magnets for noise cars/motorcycles and speeders–there’s little enough to discourage them.

                What you said— “a residential street the city uses as a car sewer”—captures it perfectly. Because that’s what it feels like, alright.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. July 23, 2016 at 1:39 am

                Yeah, and it’s gotten bad with the Franklin HS construction. Lots of large trucks all day. I hear there’s been some work being done at Cleveland, so I’m sure you’ve experienced the same issue.

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                rachel b July 23, 2016 at 2:13 pm

                We get SO much heavy construction truck/freight truck/delivery truck/moving truck traffic now, I worry about the road holding up to the weight. It’s a lot. And yes–Cleveland’s fenced off for construction. Good luck over there w/ the Franklin work!

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          bikeninja July 20, 2016 at 2:07 pm

          Darn “Jaywalkers” ( not really as it’s legal at intersections). As per the 1950’s video posted on this blog a month or so ago, perhaps it is time to end this name and assign blame where it is due with new terminology. Instead of a name for pedestrians crossing streets to the dislike of drivers we should instead label the drivers who endanger pedestrians and cyclists and the planet with their own name. Perhaps: Perp-Drivers, or Demon Drivers or Motor Monsters, or Car Criminals etc. It is amazing that not that long ago a human could walk nearly everywhere on the earth without fear for their life. But we unwittingly let the tyranny of the motorcar convice us it was ok to cover the earth with death lanes where Adults, Children and animals could be mowed down at a moments notice and with little or no recourse. If a futurist in 1900 had predicted such a thing they would have been laughed out of town.

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        Robert Burchett July 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm

        Use your batphone. Taxis, real ones, have a plate on the trunk with a 3- or 4-digit Portland medallion number on them, also fleet vehicle numbers, and conspicuous dispatch numbers. Call their dispatcher. Call PBOT and say “I just saw something disturbing”. PBOT actually regulates taxis, and their rates do not merrily change from time to time. Tip from a friend: If you depend on taxis, get a driver’s number.

        Was the taxi yellow, or green?

        This is one thing I don’t like about lyftubers: it’s way harder to track them down from outside the vehicle. Some few of them do not drive badly but mostly they are rookies.

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      Gary B July 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      I believe they are required to stop. ORS 811.028 says the driver must stop if the ped is “crossing the roadway in a crosswalk,” which means “any part or extension of the pedestrian … moves onto the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed.” 801.220 defines crosswalk, including both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Nothing in either statute explicitly distinguishes between the ped crossing against a traffic control device. So it’d seem that in your question, the ped is in the crosswalk and the vehicle is required to stop.

      Of course that doesn’t mean the ped isn’t ALSO breaking the law (they are). And regardless of whether the driver has to stop, they sure as hell can’t run the ped down–they can still commit murder/manslaughter/reckless driving/etc. even if the ped is not obeying a traffic control device.

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        Robert Burchett July 20, 2016 at 3:14 pm

        They can be in clear violation of a well-known ORS and not get a ticket from an officer who is actually on the scene.

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    B. Carfree July 20, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Actually, every intersection in Oregon does NOT have a crosswalk. We’ve had a rash of “Crosswalk Closed” signs put up in Eugene over the past four years, even next to schools and in quiet residential areas.

    This is a tool in a traffic engineers box to discourage walking that should be removed or at least require a full-notice public hearing before it is installed (and repeat hearings every other year to see if it should remain), imo.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. July 20, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      Portland, too. ODOT prioritizes highway on-ramp traffic over people.

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    Teddy July 20, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Is a Bicycle legally allowed to be pedaled across a crosswalk since it is a vehicle? While riding I always dismount my bicycle and become a pedestrian so I can more easily and comfortably cross certain intersections.

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      ethan July 20, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      “Is a Bicycle legally allowed to be pedaled across a crosswalk since it is a vehicle?”

      Yes.

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      • Jessica Roberts
        Jessica Roberts July 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

        If you use a crosswalk while bicycling in Oregon, you are required to slow to a walking speed.

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        q July 21, 2016 at 12:21 pm

        Related to this–if you’re a pedestrian walking your bicycle, drivers are required to stop for you to cross. What if you’re riding your bicycle on the sidewalk instead of walking it, and wanting to cross. Are you still a pedestrian that drivers must yield to?

        At least under this definition (and I’m not sure this is the relevant one) you’re not a pedestrian if you’re on your bicycle, because you’re not “afoot”. Or are you “afoot”, if your feet are on the ground while you wait at the curb?:

        http://www.oregonlaws.org/glossary/definition/pedestrian

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. July 21, 2016 at 12:23 pm

          Drivers should be required to yield to everyone all the time, regardless of location.

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        Mike Sanders July 21, 2016 at 1:57 pm

        In Holland, there are usually separate crosswalks for bikes & peds placed side by side, each with its own stoplight. They’re usually set to allow bikes to cross the street first, then peds. Both are marked separately across the intersection.

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    Todd Boulanger July 20, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    … I am glad ODOT did not have Sasquatch wearing high-viz gear, though I can see the crash report / DOT press release now…hairy ‘pedestrian’ in an accident by hit by a driver. The pedestrian was wearing dark fur in an unmarked cross walk…no tickets issued.

    or…Sasquatch hit by driver in crosswalk…driver says he “never saw” the pedestrian…since Sasquatch do not exist.

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      Dan A July 20, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Police unable to determine whether or not Sasquatch could have been seen.

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    Josh G July 20, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    “The ads will be targeted at people who search online for things like traffic, public transit, maps, driving and walking directions, and so on.”
    Maybe they should target the ad’s toward searches on anything other than these topics! I think a large portion of people looking for these keywords already know Sasquatch’s rights in OR. As for the truly ignorant, I bet they’ll ignore/skip the ad, no matter how eye-catching, as most do. Paying for these keywords seems like preaching to the choir compared to the IRL ad.s

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      Chris I July 20, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      I’m thinking people that search for SUVs or pickups, people that live in Vancouver, or Tigard, or Wilsonville…

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    q July 20, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    I’m not sure how effective the ads will be, but at least they’re a step forward for Metro, compared to the radio ad they did promoting their recycled paint, using lyrics set to “The Girl from Ipanema”. When I told Metro how impressive it was that they’d got the rights to such a famous song for their paint commercial, they immediately pulled it.

    T

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    q July 21, 2016 at 12:07 am

    There’s an odd twist to this law on streets that have signaled crosswalks at some intersections, but not all. If pedestrians cross at the signalled intersections, they have to wait–sometimes a long time–for lights to change. But if they cross a block away at a non-signaled intersection, they now shouldn’t have to wait much at all.

    It’s been academic up to now, since the reality has been that at non-signaled intersections few drivers would stop. I doubt there’s going to be much change, but it at least has the potential to give pedestrians less incentive to cross at signals.

    Examples would be downtown on say, SW Taylor, where all intersections are signaled except at SW Park and SW Ninth, or on any busy street that has signals only every 2nd or 3rd block.

    Not criticizing the law, just making an observation.

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    Roger Averbeck July 21, 2016 at 4:21 am

    Looking forward to the next video of Sasquatch on an orange Biketown cruiser…

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    David Lewis July 21, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Why did the daughter have to point out that there was a pedestrian wishing to cross the street? This PSA does more harm than good, because it humorizes inattentive driving. That fact that ODOT produced it scares me.

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      q July 21, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Good point. Is the commercial saying it’s fine to drive distractedly through intersections, waving your hands around and not holding the steering wheel, as long as you snap back to attention if there’s a pedestrian waiting to cross? Probably not the intent, but it might as well have been.

      The recent Multnomah County bike safety commercial’s intent probably wasn’t to say it’s fine to blow through stop signs, either…

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        Dan A July 21, 2016 at 5:38 pm

        I think a neat feature would be a car stereo that plays static noise whenever your hands aren’t 10 & 2.

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    q July 21, 2016 at 10:35 am

    They could have combined this video with the recent Multnomah County one on bike safety, and showed the Sasquatch being run over by that video’s bikers blowing through the stop sign.

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