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Traffic civility in Portland’s new era of congestion

Posted by on August 24th, 2016 at 10:18 am

Portland bike traffic-1.jpg

It’s not just Portland’s freeways that are crowded these days.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Please welcome back Sarah Gilbert. She’s written for us in the past about a cargo biking adventure and the psychology of anger.

Crystal was egged one day coming back from a bike tour, her guests trailing behind her on their bicycles. We don’t know why; just, bam, splat. The assailants only got her.

We’re both tour guides for the same company and I heard the story when I got back to the shop that afternoon. It’s busy work, with the tourist industry on the same upswing as everywhere-to-Portland immigration.

gilbertheadshotI didn’t remember about the egging when, a few days later a woman walking on the Hawthorne Bridge path intentionally shoved me off my bike. I was riding next to a tour guest from New York, chatting. I almost knocked my guest off her bike too, into the car traffic. My crime, as far as I can tell: being where she thought I shouldn’t, in that murky middle of the busy biking/walking pathway.

How did we come to this?

Hours later I remembered how these things had happened in succession. It seems at first as if we’ve lost some kind of civility, but maybe that’s not it, maybe it’s somehow the opposite. Certainly there is an unhinging… it’s as if we’ve all got the pieces, the doors and walls and windows, but we’ve lost half our hardware and we’re swinging wild.

I’ve been that way too. And my instinct after I recovered from shock was to run after this woman, hold her accountable. We love that phrase, don’t we? It’s so simple and full of judiciousness. “Accountability.”

Only I have a practice of not holding anger after years of it being directed toward me. I’d had enough of letting that simmer; it’s a force, yes, a powerful one, but I’m not sure how useful it is. Anger is for fighting and my analysis says we need empathy, that winning battles loses everything. War on drugs/war on poverty/war on homelessness and all I see is collateral damage.

I couldn’t chase her anyway, it wasn’t practical, I’d have had to ride my bike the wrong way down the Hawthorne bridge and I had a group of tourists who didn’t know their way back without me. I led them back and thought.

The thing is that I broke her rule. I don’t know exactly what her rule was: something about where bicycles should be. Here, not there; I was probably the nth-plus-one person to do it and I was riding slow and not paying attention to her. Violation, opportunity. She’d been brought to the brink.

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This is what happens when people move to a place that has such a reputation for passion and anarchy as Portland. We all come here with our unique contexts and childhood education. I’ve taken drivers tests in Virginia and North Carolina and Oregon but Oregon law is home to me. There might be two dozen home laws on that bridge sidewalk on a Friday afternoon and we’re all pretty sure ours are the most civil.

Is it still civility when we take the law into our own hands? Probably not, but can you blame anyone for doing it? Any mode of transportation can seem dangerous if you’re smaller or slower.

Is it still civility when we take the law into our own hands? Probably not, but can you blame anyone for doing it? Any mode of transportation can seem dangerous if you’re smaller or slower. I’ve seen some runners who put fear in my heart.

I’ve been at the receiving end of a few collisions with bicycle riders while I was walking. I got a lot of apologies and didn’t “hold them accountable” — but fuck it hurt. I get it.

“Have you ever imagined killing anyone?” a close male friend asked another in my presence. “Every day, every day,” came the response.

“Me too…” said the questioner.

“The only thing that holds me back is my rational brain,” said the other, almost ruefully.

I know traffic is causing lots of those fantasies. Traffic is bad and getting worse in every mode. An Oregonian columnist said it has a “chokehold” on our city.

There are intersections that terrify me as a driver, into which I pull with certainty that one day the right distraction will mean I’ll plow into something. I came within inches of running into a family of tourists one day because I saw a coworker on the sidewalk and was wondering what he was doing with that bike trailer. “Hello!!!!” said the mom in the crosswalk with the doughnuts, as I said “sorry sorry sorry sorry” because I couldn’t think of anything else to say. It was totally 100% my fault.

Maybe that woman who pushed me off my bike was doing that to me. We jump to blame people of “mental illness” but if she’s afflicted maybe we all are. Is mental illness endlessly pervasive? Or could it be a state to which we slip in and out? Maybe most of the time this woman acts in a rational manner, serving as we all do: judge and jury but not executioner.

We don’t believe (at least not most of the time) in a black and white human state, that there are good and evil people. Yet we mete punishments out this way, both on a judicial level (look at the way convicted felons all but lose citizenship) and a social one (look at local hoteliers accused of funding a Trump event).

As I was working on this piece, I took several groups of tourists to ride the Gorge historic highway. The ride we do isn’t long and is popular with bike riders, but car operators have been getting more and more impatient. It used to be a rare complaint: people laying on their horn behind us (or shouting at us to get off the road). Many of our riders have reported people blasting their car horns to show frustration. And often, passing our riders only to sit in a 45-minute backup for parking at Multnomah Falls less than a half-mile away, (a problem for which I never, ever hear horn blasts).

Video of Historic Columbia River Highway by Ted Timmons shows how congested the Gorge has become.

“Why is this?” a tourist asked me. She was from Manhattan, and had been having a lovely time up until the last mile.

“It’s mid-August,” I replied. “They’re realizing summer is almost over and they’ve barely done half of what they want to do.”

They had now all heard my story about the woman pushing me off my bike; I told them as a way of explaining this sense of angry urgency. “What did you do?” asked the tourist from Manhattan and the older couple from Calgary and the young couple from the Bay Area.

“What could I do?” I replied. “I am just glad to have not been hurt. And now that I know more about what mood we’re in here, I can be more prepared.”

That’s all I have. That’s my only solution. Beyond telling the story I can only just know, how people are feeling, and if I’m lucky, why.

Next time I’m on the bridge I’ll give everyone more space. I’ll save conversation for later. I’ll keep both hands on my handlebars and take a deep breath and watch for the inevitable anger and just hope it doesn’t take anyone else, anyone more vulnerable and less ready, dangerously off guard.

– Sarah Gilbert, @sarahgilbert

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252 Comments
  • Avatar
    Todd Boulanger August 24, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Portland’s “problem” is one they have been working 50 years on to create…”vitality” in the city center…the solution with such success is to comprehensively ration (reallocate) public space.

    So in some places this means…removing on-street car parking for bicycle lanes (etc.) or moving bikes over for more pedestrian MUP space (etc.)

    The photo of the Hawthorne Bridge apt…for this discussion…the MUP has been undersized for its current success even though its only 14 (?) years since it was widened…now is the time to close the outside motor vehicle traffic lanes and convert that space to cyclist traffic. This would then clear the path of cyclists for pedestrians. A much better solution for safety.

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      Todd Boulanger August 24, 2016 at 10:30 am

      PS. Sarah’s comment about getting pushed/ bumped into traffic has been one of my greatest anxieties about riding in Portland…that is riding across the Hawthorne during peak hour…since 2008.

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        Kate August 24, 2016 at 11:43 am

        Yes, I consider myself a safe, but pretty fearless rider on Portland streets. But I have — what I considered an irrational — fear of someone tweaking and pushing me right off the Hawthorne Bridge directly into traffic. It just seems to easy. I tend to give folks a lot of space when I pass.

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          jeff August 24, 2016 at 2:42 pm

          Just wait until someone tackles you on the Eastbank. You won’t trust anyone you ride by after that.

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            Adron Hall August 25, 2016 at 11:55 am

            *Sort of* happened to me on Springwater. Hawthorne worries me and I generally won’t bring anyone on the bridge riding during the rush hour… actually won’t bring anyone anywhere then because of the few angry people out there that cause problems. If I’m by myself I just *push back* and don’t take nonsense from people… but even then, sometimes I feel like I’m getting to old for this and why am I still waiting for Portland to get firm on dealing with these extreme and aggressive persons/behaviors?

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        Lester Burnham August 24, 2016 at 11:56 am

        Try riding the Halsey/205 overpass right next to 50 mph traffic and a really high curb. Some very sketchy looking folks walking around out there.

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          Chris I August 24, 2016 at 12:53 pm

          I ride this 3-4 times per week and have to pass sketchy people about 10% of the time. I employ three strategies:

          1. If there is enough room and passing from behind (and they are holding a straight line), do it without saying anything.
          2. If they are coming towards you or using the entire space, give a verbal warning. A few times, I have had to basically yell several times because they had headphones on (or the traffic was too loud).
          3. Last resort: if the individual is really out of it or dangerous looking, hop off the curb onto the roadway (only while going westbound, and if it is clear).

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      B. Carfree August 24, 2016 at 10:58 am

      And yet the proposal for the new bridge over the freeway calls for the same plans for failure: six foot bike lanes. Those will work as long as we DON’T actually get people riding and walking. If we succeed, the bridge fails to have the capacity to handle success.

      Reallocate where necessary, but for goodness sake don’t build new infra that assumes no progress.

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        John August 25, 2016 at 4:42 pm

        I would love wider lanes as well, but the bridge will be relatively short (about one block in length) and car free. Unless you have a burning need to pass someone in that short span, it’ll be tolerable and way better than the current conditions on Everett/Glisan. We got the money and I’m trying to be grateful for what we got. =)

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm

          Maybe you’re right, but I’d love to see some price estimates for making it wider. The benefits seem clear; let’s see if it’s worth the cost to get them.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. August 25, 2016 at 4:53 pm

          “Tolerable” seems like a low bar for a brand new bridge, though. If we’re spending all the money now, why not make it more future-proof, rather than fixing it later? It will be cheaper to make it wider now.

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    rick August 24, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Portland needs a subway system. There is rampant car speeding on SW Terwilliger Blvd.

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      Chris August 24, 2016 at 10:43 am

      I agree about Terwilliger and just about every other 25mph road I either ride or drive on. With very few officers enforcing speed limits, it seems to bet getting worse.

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        rick August 24, 2016 at 11:23 am

        One Portland police officer cited the few car spots to pull over a speeding car on the Terwilliger Parkway. Perhaps more people would ride on the parkway if the rarely-used parking spots on were removed to make for floating, protected bike lanes along with more vegetation.

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        Dan A August 24, 2016 at 12:16 pm

        In my experience, very few officers obey the speed limit.

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      I wear many hats August 24, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      I wont ride on Terwilliger during commute times. People routinely drive 35-40 mph. I know because they do it while passing me at the speed sensor. They often drift into the bike lanes because they are driving so fast.

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        Chris I August 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm

        Where else can they test out the handling on their finely crafted German luxury vehicle? When you work 80 hour weeks at the hospital, you need to let of some steam from time to time. Get out of my way, poor people!

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    bikeninja August 24, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I think that living in the hamster wheel of industrial civilization has driven a certain percentage of the population partialy insane. In a perfect world we would figure out a way to get them out of automobiles so they can do less damage.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 24, 2016 at 11:27 am

      I love this comment. thanks bikeninja. lots of truth in it imo.

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      longgone August 24, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Yes, because we all know that until the Industrial Age came about, not one human being was ever categorically insane. Lots of truth, yes lots of truth.

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        BB August 24, 2016 at 12:31 pm

        That was not remotely what was said. You can’t just make things up and claim that your made up stuff is why someone is wrong.

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          longgone August 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm

          What was said,…. “the industrial era has made a segment of society partially insane”…..could also be read as something, someone is just making up. What’s the point you wish to make, that I apparently missed?
          Humans have been coping with their reality in varying degrees since the dawn of our existence.
          One might remember, that the bicycle ( a most wonderful invention) is a product of the industrial era. You can turn yours in to the people at the metal recovery plant, if you wish to make social amends…
          This article is focused around one incident involving two people on a crammed multi use path. Neither one was in a car.
          People are always going to suck, whether driving cars, walking, or riding bicycles.

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  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley August 24, 2016 at 11:02 am

    I rode eastbound across the Hawthorne yesterday for the first time in ages and was struck both by how much more danger I sensed and, paradoxically, by how aware everybody seemed to be.

    It was crowded, of course – this was afternoon rush hour – and I was mentally prepared for that. I’m pretty slow, so it’s my practice to use the pedestrian side of the path when it’s empty, to let faster bikes pass.

    And pass they did, zoom zoom zoom, putting me in a bit of a squeeze between them and the walkers. It’s not a leisurely MUP. It does require a driving-like attention on a summer day at rush hour. I avoid it, and other super-bike routes, for those reasons. But I was impressed by the sense of “educated cooperation” throughout the crossing.

    I got down to SE 7th without incident, and gratefully made my way to quieter streets.

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      rick August 24, 2016 at 11:24 am

      If I had to use the Hawthorne bridge frequently, I would opt to take the Morrison instead.

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      Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      I’m also a slow rider and when taking the Hawthorne I always stay on the bike side and never “pull over” into the pedestrian area…

      if the people behind me are that fast and skilled then they’ll be able to pass me way easier than I’ll be able to merge back into the stream…

      also, it’s the pedestrian side so we shouldn’t be riding there, we should only be passing there when needed…

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 12:52 pm

        The Hawthorne Path is simply too narrow. Even the Tilikum path isn’t great – I often find myself riding in the walking lane on the uphill portion. My thinking being if I don’t ride there slowly, another cyclist will use the walking lane to pass me as a faster speed.

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      • Anne Hawley
        Anne Hawley August 24, 2016 at 2:46 pm

        I’m not comfortable holding up the show for the approximately 99.9% of riders who are faster than I am. Call it pathological, but if I feel like a nuisance to others, I feel less safe.

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          Travis August 25, 2016 at 6:11 pm

          As a somewhat fast cyclist, I’ve ridden behind folks like yourself who are obviously apprehensive, riding in the pedestrian path to allow faster cyclists to pass. For other people who feel the same way, and reading this: remember that a) it’s the fast cyclist’s responsibility to wait for you to provide safe passing space and b) it’s your responsibility to signal clearly.

          If you feel unsafe allowing a cyclist to pass you (even if you’re clearly in the left lane) signal a palm out to indicate they need to wait to pass. There are both too many fast cyclists passing unsafely on Hawthorne and slower cyclists not making their intentions clear.

          In short, slow folks: don’t be afraid to claim your lane, fast folks: slow down and stop freaking out people by passing too close and fast!

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            Richard August 25, 2016 at 10:25 pm

            I just want to add that, for me, it’s more difficult and nerve-wracking to pass cyclists on Hawthorne bridge who are unpredictably weaving in and out of the bike lane and the pedestrian lane. I’d rather someone ride slow in the bike lane and allow me to pass safely on the right, certain of their trajectory forward, rather than pass when they swing back over and potentially throw me off into the car lane. I agree with Travis and fully support everyone riding at whatever pace feels comfortable to you. I also respect your boundaries around feeling safe while crossing the bridge. I just wanted to share mine as well. ✌️

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        James August 24, 2016 at 3:29 pm

        ME TOO! And I’ve been yelled at for it by other cyclists, even though I’m not a slow rider. It’s like they’ve taken the worst lessons of car driving and applied them to bicycles.

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    soren August 24, 2016 at 11:05 am

    There are intersections that terrify me as a driver, into which I pull with certainty that one day the right distraction will mean I’ll plow into something.

    There are virtually no intersections that terrify me because I drive at speeds where I’m unlikely to kill or maim someone. Yes…that incredibly annoying person driving 20 mph on a bridge or on MLK is me. I’ve also gotten very good at ignoring people having childish fits (e.g. laying on their horn or screaming) because I *dare* to prioritize the safety of my family, friends, neighbors, and animals over the convenience of others driving potentially-lethal heavy machinery. Lately, I’ve noticed that when I drive slowly others often tend to slow down as well. This has made me wonder whether a change in attitude — a change in culture — could be just as effective as spending hundreds of millions of “enforcement”.

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      dan August 24, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Me too! There are certain intersections in my neighborhood (I live on a greenway) with horrible sight lines, and I’ve dealt with them by looking two or three times, then creeping out at a few mph. For neighborhood distances, the time difference between 20 mph and 5-10 mph is negligible anyway.

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      Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      I’m considering getting some “student driver” signs so that people will stop honking/yelling and just assume I’m still yet learning to be an irresponsible driver like them…

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      Kristi Finney Dunn August 24, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      There was a brief discussion in the Vision Zero Task Force meeting regarding pace cars. I’ve thought a lot about those lately.

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        Dan A August 25, 2016 at 2:55 pm

        The police used to do that. Now they set a faster pace.

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          lop August 27, 2016 at 7:28 am

          For me what’s most frustrating about knowing they drive that way is seeing them wait for walk signals downtown before crossing the street. I’ve jaywalked in front of PPB officers more times than I can count. Never had a cop say one word to me about it. But they follow the rules. On foot. There’s no way they aren’t instructed to walk that way. Why aren’t they instructed to drive analogously?

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        Zaphod August 26, 2016 at 8:31 am

        Damn good idea. It would be free too. Maybe (or not) some bumper stickers or similar indicating that its a pace car. Having this mission would give the driver a sense of empowerment to roll at 25 when it’s a 25 zone etc. Volunteers would come out of the woodwork in droves!!!

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      Justin August 25, 2016 at 8:09 am

      Even driving carefully and slowly, I still understand the author’s fear. So many intersections in Portland are blind, because of the presence of car parking right up to the very edge of the intersection. I inch forward slowly, slowly, slowly, petrified that I’ll either be t-boned when I pull out, or a child will run in front of my car from a blind spot just as I am ready to pull out.

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      Dave August 25, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Bravo, Soren, you are setting a good example.

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    longgone August 24, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Hawthorne bridge, East Bank Esplanade, North Williams, Springwater corridor…all places I rode over a decade ago. All places I pedal around, and never use now.

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      rick August 24, 2016 at 11:24 am

      How so? What would you want to see?

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    tedder August 24, 2016 at 11:12 am

    My contribution to traffic civility is to let pedestrians cross. They typically see a bicyclist and freeze on the sidewalk. It’s okay! We’re not surrounded by a cage, we can talk and negotiate the road space.

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      RMHampel August 24, 2016 at 11:23 am

      Thank you. You are a rare breed of cyclist: actually stopping for pedestrians. I’ve had to warn my young son to be aware that bikes probably won’t stop for him as he tries to cross the street and having to say that makes me just a bit sad.

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        Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 11:34 am

        Yeah, totally get that. I slow down and then chat to them. “that’s the great thing about being out of cars, we can talk!”

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        meh August 24, 2016 at 12:16 pm

        This is what vision zero is about. Civility on the roads. Thinking safety before self. Vision zero doesn’t work if everyone doesn’t sign on to the tenets of the plan. Pedestrians don’t jay walk, drivers come to a complete stop before the cross walk and bikes stop for stop signs. The system only works when everyone plays by the rules and the rules apply to all.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 12:19 pm

          That is not at all what vision Zero is about. It is primarily about road design and designing our facilities to be forgiving to mistakes.

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            paikiala August 24, 2016 at 2:54 pm

            both wrong.
            Look it up. It is a systemic approach to road safety involving multiple points of attack.
            page 114 of the Towards Zero document from the OECD depicts the multi-pronged attack http://www.itf-oecd.org/towards-zero
            Better roads, yes, but also better road users (education), better laws, better enforcement, better adjudication, and better vehicles.
            Depending on one aspect of the program will never get us close to the results achieve in Scandinavia (fatals per 100k population in the 2-4 range versus Portland’s 6 and the US 10).

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            meh August 24, 2016 at 3:40 pm

            Infrastructure alone doesn’t solve the problem. You can have painted cross walks and traffic lights at ever intersection, but without everyone knowing what to do and expecting everyone to follow the same set of rules, that infrastructure doesn’t fix the problem. And that problem is people.

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          Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 12:39 pm

          I never fault a pedestrian for “jaywalking” because like them I don’t obey laws created by corporations for the purpose of oppression in the name of greed…

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      Dan A August 24, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Just be careful stopping if you are taking the lane on a bike. I was nearly creamed by the driver of a large pickup truck behind me on Glisan who was unprepared for the possibility that someone might want to use the crosswalk there. It’s my natural instinct to stop for people in the crosswalk, but I’ve learned that there are times that maybe I shouldn’t do that.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 12:27 pm

        Agreed. When Clinton used to be much worse before the diverters were added, I would often stop at intersections only to have drivers zoom around me mid-intersection. I will usually either stop or slow down and pass behind the person walking, as long as there isn’t an impatient driver breathing down my neck.

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      soren August 24, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      I believe that pedestrians rule our roads and I will do whatever it takes to avoid hitting or injuring a pedestrian regardless of what our car-centric laws say. I will lock up my brakes with traffic behind me to let people “jaywalk”. I will ditch my bike and crayon pavement to avoid hitting “jaywalkers”. And if I see traffic refusing to stop for pedestrians I often cork the crosswalk. IMO, pedestrians always have absolute priority and I will not hesitate to put my body and bike in the way of people who disagree.

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      Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      I’ve had several conversations with such pedestrians about how cars (and bikes) are not stopping for them while I’m stopped and they’re still trying to cross fast traffic…

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    • Anne Hawley
      Anne Hawley August 24, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      People on foot waiting at a corner almost invariably look astonished when I slow way down, tilt my head, and say “Go ahead!” to them with a cheerful smile. It shouldn’t be that surprising.

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    I wear many hats August 24, 2016 at 11:18 am

    That historic highway right is great, just not on a weekend. Its sad to see so much congestion. There isn’t enough space for every person to drive to the same wonderful places at the same time anymore.

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      Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 11:35 am

      If only there was a wider road and a bigger parking lot for Multnomah Falls.

      (wait, there is)

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        I wear many hats August 24, 2016 at 12:32 pm

        The exit is closed when the parking lot is full. ODOT encourages scenic highway tourism despite the attractions being WAY over capacity. They should require a shuttle from Troutdale or Rooster Rock. The Grand Canyon eliminated SOV’s, and we need to do that here.

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          Chris I August 24, 2016 at 1:42 pm

          I think they need to shut down Historic Highway lot for Multnomah falls on weekends during the summer. Use the space for shuttle and bike parking, and shuttle folks from between Troutdale and Rooster Rock. If no parking is allowed, the traffic will evaporate.

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    bikeninja August 24, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Enough to make one wish for $20 per gallon gas prices.

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      Lester Burnham August 24, 2016 at 11:58 am

      And anger the low income folks even more who depend on their cars?

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        bikeninja August 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm

        Driving 4000 lbs of steel, plastic and rubber down the road burning up 50 million years of stored sunlight has never been a low cost way for anyone to get around. Only by shifting the real costs on to the general public and the future can we pretend that such an arrangement makes economic sense. All of us ( especially low income folks) are trapped in an environment that was built around the private automobile ,which Ivan Illich described as a radical monopoly, because it squeezes out competing forms of transportation. As petroleum, steel, and space become more dear it is inevitable that the cost of driving will go up as well. The only answer is for everyone ( especially the low income) to get away from the motorcar monopoly as fast as they can.

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          Jim August 24, 2016 at 2:09 pm

          Typical of the bubble some cyclists live in. Assume everyone lives in the same world they do. A world of no disabled, no infirm seniors, no people who have legitimate problems pedaling a bike.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 2:17 pm

            All these problems have solutions that are not “a car”.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 2:18 pm

              A truck?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 2:24 pm

                You know what I meant.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 2:25 pm

                You meant a truck, right?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 2:26 pm

                I did not.

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                paikiala August 24, 2016 at 2:57 pm

                Then explain.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 2:59 pm

                Quality public transport, for one.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 3:25 pm

                Or trucks.

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                soren August 24, 2016 at 5:00 pm
              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 5:07 pm

                They’ll all be tied up ferrying the disabled, infirm seniors, and people who have legitimate problems around the city.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm

            Also, if we’re going down the disability argument route, keep in mind that there are plenty of disabilities that prevent one from driving an automobile. So the argument that we need car access because of people with disabilities makes no sense.

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              lop August 24, 2016 at 10:06 pm

              > So the argument that we need car access because of people with disabilities makes no sense.

              Could you explain why? I’d see your point if you had said “so the argument that we only need car access because of people with disabilities makes no sense.”

              And quality public transit is either a misnomer, or wildly impractical in much of Portland.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 10:37 pm

                Sure. Having a disability does not mean you need a car to get around, and in fact many disabilities make it impossible to drive a car. There are plenty of people with disabilities that a bike is the easiest way they can get around. Many others rely solely on the bus, MAX, or LIFT service. Therefore, I find the argument that we need car access because “disabilities” to be missing the full picture.

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    Ian August 24, 2016 at 11:22 am

    So… we’re cool with crossing a double yellow line to pass traffic around blind corners now?

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      Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 11:43 am

      That’s my video, I’m happy to give you the date, the time, and enough contact info if you want to call me in to the police.

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        Ian August 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm

        Taking a cue from the article’s author, my point isn’t to try to hold you accountable. Rather, given that we agree that the video shows you willfully, repeatedly, and arguably irresponsibly violating a clear-cut traffic law, I’m legitimately curious if you can offer a defense of those actions that doesn’t rely on an assumption that the rules don’t apply to cyclists? (Preferably, a defense that doesn’t rely on a sarcastic or dismissive tone.)

        In other words, would I be incorrect to assume that you believe cyclists are free to break traffic laws as they see fit? (As a follow-up question, can you see how that might be problematic?)

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          Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 12:34 pm

          I’m not willing to reply to a slippery slope argument.

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            Ian August 24, 2016 at 1:05 pm

            If you’re not willing to engage in a mature discussion with me, I’ll just go ahead and make my point, even though it’s a point I’ve raised several times on this forum:

            I think it’s inappropriate to treat traffic laws as optional for cyclists. I recognize and respect the argument that cyclists who break traffic laws generally are less dangerous than drivers who break traffic laws, but that doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility to abide by the same laws that we demand that drivers follow. Indeed, asserting that it’s reasonable to hold ourselves to lower legal standards than drivers–in some cases, sometimes–strikes me as an excellent example of a slippery slope argument.

            To me, it’s a matter of principle, though I recognize that it’s a principle that not many BikePortland commenters share. Whether or not you agree with the principle, I feel that dismissing the topic with a tone of moral superiority is a bit immature–and indeed, is representative of an attitude that characterizes cyclists in the view of drivers, making these discussions unnecessarily adversarial.

            I think there’s value in being willing to call out our fellow cyclists for irresponsible and illegal behavior, and in being able to accept such constructive criticism. Not incidentally, the fact that I have a hard time voicing such an opinion on this forum without getting ridiculed and shouted down is a big part of why I generally stay out of the discussions. If you think ignoring dissenting opinions within the cycling community is good for the community, I would just caution against interpreting a lack of *vocalized* dissent as consensus.

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              Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 1:16 pm

              I’m happy to engage in a discussion. Just not when fallacies are rapidly invoked. Please don’t imply that your previous questions were part of a “mature discussion”.

              Yes. Crossing the double yellow is against the law. I’m not endorsing it. I’m also not hiding that I do it in that location. I’m unwilling to wait an hour behind cars that are waiting for parking. How am I different than a car? I’m narrower.

              Personally, I dislike the “see, cyclists should obey ALL the laws” argument for a few reasons. First, drivers disobey their own subset of laws- at a higher but similar rate to cyclist scofflaws. Second, drivers typically argue this only when it’s convenient to them, yet are outraged if a cyclist takes the entire lane, or a long line of cyclists individually come to a complete stop at a stop sign, or .. you get the point.

              I’m sure we could each come up with a dozen examples of how one or both of these groups either consistently ignores a law or has a reputation for doing so. I generally ride like I’m on a bike, drive like I’m in a car, ride a moto like I’m on a moto. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

              I’m more than happy to chat and not “shout down”. Bikeportland commenters don’t come to a consensus on anything, even when it seems obvious.

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                Alan 1.0 August 24, 2016 at 1:54 pm

                http://bikeportland.org/2013/12/11/get-legal-with-ray-thomas-passing-around-centerline-myths-and-riding-two-up-98483

                Thus, while a driver is prohibited from driving “on the left side of the roadway in a no passing zone” by ORS 811.420(1), the exceptions in ORS 811.420(3)(b) allow the driver to “drive to the left of the center of the roadway” for a “condition” that makes it “necessary”.

                Could it be a similar argument for bikes?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 1:58 pm

                As in “I didn’t want to wait in line with the suckas in their cagermobiles, so crossing the center line became ‘necessary'”?

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                Alan 1.0 August 24, 2016 at 2:14 pm

                So, you’re saying that drivers call bicycles “cagermobiles.” Huh.

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              soren August 24, 2016 at 4:03 pm

              To me, it’s a matter of principle

              and for me too.

              i violate motorist-centric traffic statutes that have no impact on my safety as often as possible as a matter of principle. 7% traffic mode share deserves statutory equity, not the current faux-equity.

              the absurdity of cycling-specific traffic laws is even more apparent when we consider that they actually require people to ride in a less safe manner. for example, it is illegal to make use of leading pedestrian intervals as a cyclist even though doing so is unambiguously safer than not doing so.

              i aim to misbehave.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VR3Av9qfZc

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          Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 12:44 pm

          “would I be incorrect to assume that you believe cyclists are free to break traffic laws as they see fit?”

          I would say that cyclists are free to protest traffic laws that have no safety application to cyclists… such as passing stopped cars on any side, and not stopping at stop signs…

          are you saying that all laws should be followed no matter what? there are too many oppressive laws for that to ever happen…

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 1:52 pm

            I’m not sure what I think in this case, but I do think calling Ted’s actions a “protest” is a bit rich.

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            Ian August 24, 2016 at 2:10 pm

            Leaving aside our apparent disagreement over what counts as an “oppressive” law, no, I’m not necessarily suggesting that cyclists (or drivers) need to follow all laws at all times; I’m just suggesting that cyclists should follow at least those laws that they expect drivers to follow.

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              Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 2:23 pm

              I expect drivers to follow at least those laws that they expect cyclists to follow.

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              Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 3:00 pm

              “I’m just suggesting that cyclists should follow at least those laws that they expect drivers to follow.”

              that’s an argument I see a lot of drivers throw out, but isn’t even true among drivers… depending on your vehicle you follow different sets of rules… one road, different rules… bus, car, semi, bike… all different vehicles that share SOME of the same laws but for obvious reasons do not share all the laws…

              I’m for following all the laws that are in place for safety… however, many laws that cyclists are required to follow are created for motor vehicles and do nothing to make things safe when applied to cyclists… they only exist because of lazy lawmakers and therefore seem unnecessarily oppressive when applied to non-motorized vehicles…

              I know I’ve seen plenty of discussion about this here in the past…

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                Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 3:12 pm

                Just like cyclists don’t have to exert all of their rights. I’ll make sure cars can pass if I’ve been in an area that causes a backup. In fact, in the video above I pulled entirely off the road so the RV could pass.

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          Chris I August 24, 2016 at 1:44 pm

          And you would have done, what? Turned around and gone home? Or sat in traffic sandwiched between idling cars for 20 minutes?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 1:51 pm

            What would you have asked another road user to do? Say, a motorcyclist, who would also have the option to dodge between cars?

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            Ian August 24, 2016 at 2:06 pm

            If you’re honestly wondering, yes, I would have done either of those before I crossed double yellow lines to pass dozens of cars around blind corners, while reinforcing those (already perturbed) drivers’ perceptions of cyclists as entitled scofflaws.

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            Kyle Banerjee August 24, 2016 at 2:24 pm

            There is always the option of dismounting and walking/jogging along the side of the road. I sometimes do this when the roads are hopelessly gummed up and there’s no reasonable way through that doesn’t involves lane splitting or obnoxious behavior.

            From a practical point of view, this may appear functionally equivalent to cycling by, but motorists react completely differently — I’ve *never* had anyone yell/block/whatever. I suspect it’s because they see you as a ped along the side of the road rather than a road using cyclist.

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              Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 2:28 pm

              There is no side of the road, though. It’s HCRH. Walking is an option, I’m just unwilling to walk for a mile.

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                Kyle Banerjee August 24, 2016 at 10:45 pm

                Believe me, I get it. I’ve gone on foot on far worse.

                I personally won’t ride HCRH because of the traffic. It’s a beautiful road that should be awesome to ride but even when it’s not totally clogged, the cars move so slowly that the descents are no fun.

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              Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 3:13 pm

              “There is always the option of dismounting and walking/jogging along the side of the road.”

              I’ve had to do this multiple times downtown to get off a clogged street…

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    N August 24, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I’ll save conversation for later. I’ll keep both hands on my handlebars and take a deep breath and watch for the inevitable anger and just hope it doesn’t take anyone else, anyone more vulnerable and less ready, dangerously off guard.

    I don’t think anger is *inevitable* at all. Our transport systems (all of them) are under strain, and that makes people angry. People are rude and careless, and that makes people angry.

    Strain, rudeness, carelessness – these things aren’t inevitable. The anger that results from them is also not inevitable.

    I had an encounter with someone on the Hawthorne about a week ago – eastbound, where the path is quite wide and uphill, just before the ramp that puts a rider at street level to go over the viaduct. There was a rider in front of me, we were both on the left (in the bicycle right of way). A woman was walking towards us. She swerved over to stand in front of him. He weaved around her. She put our her arms and walked towards me. I rode towards her slowly and pointed at the ramp to indicate where I was going, but she was clearly aware she was in my way. I swerved around her and kept going.

    It was very unsettling. There were no crowds, no pressure on either of us that would push her into my space. I was riding to the left, where I am supposed to. I don’t know why she was unhappy (honestly, I’m just assuming she was unhappy, I really don’t know).

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      dan August 24, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      I had a funny experience with a bodybuilder type awhile back who was deliberately jogging facing bike traffic in the bike right of way on the Hawthorne. I waited long enough to make sure he wasn’t moving, then went in the ped lane to go around…guessing he was short on validation in other areas of his life 🙂

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        pruss2ny August 25, 2016 at 2:22 pm

        the more i follow this site, the more i’m convinced its not the mode of transportation thats the problem (car v bike v pedestrian), its just simply the people.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 11:38 am

    >>> I was riding next to a tour guest from New York, chatting. <<<

    There is NO justification for pushing a cyclist.

    When you are on the Hawthorne Bridge, passing a pedestrian riding two abreast can be an uncomfortable and intimidating experience for the pedestrian, especially if you are approaching from behind.

    Please give walkers the same space you want drivers to give you. I often see cyclists cut it close to pedestrians on the bridge, and I can see why some might get angry after this happens for the 100th time.

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      Maybe August 25, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      The suggested pushing could have been a defensive reaction to being hit by a cyclist. What justification is there for hitting a cyclist??? We only have one side and her story dies not paint the cyclist in the best of lights

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    Adam August 24, 2016 at 11:41 am

    The Columbia Gorge is getting RIDICULOUS lately.

    Who else thinks the Historic Highway from Vista House to Ainsworth should be closed off to car traffic?

    Before you all scoff, there are plenty of other tourist destinations that do exactly that.

    I’m thinking of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon – one of the top tourist destinations on the PLANET.

    They have a free hop-on, hop-off shuttle service that you have to take to get to many of the trailheads. It’s the only option.

    Why not a free shuttle in the Gorge? It could run every 5 minutes, and drop people off at every tourist stop – Vista House, Shepherd’s Dell, Latourel Falls, Angel’s Rest, Wahkeena Falls, Bridal Veil, Multnomah Falls, Oneonta Gorge, Horsetail Falls, Ainsworth….

    I don’t see how sitting in traffic for 40 minutes to claim a parking spot at Multnomah Falls is doing anything for Oregon’s tourism industry.

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      Adam August 24, 2016 at 11:42 am

      Also, who owns the Historic Highway? Is it ODOT? I’m curious. I want to write to them to ask them why their roadway is so poorly managed.

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      Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 11:42 am

      It’s a no-brainer, really. It should be even less controversial because there is direct car access to Multnomah Fall even with HCRH shut down.

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        Adam August 24, 2016 at 11:45 am

        For real. It’s a shame the roadway is being managed with that 1950s mindset. This is 2016, and it is too congested to function.

        If closing it is not an option, I think closing the Multnomah Falls parking lot that is accessed via the Historic Highway should be undertaken, stat.

        I think the only access to Multnomah Falls should be via I-84. That ALONE would cut out about 60% of the congestion, I would estimate. People are driving miles and miles on that highway, just to park at the Falls parking lot.

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        Adam August 24, 2016 at 11:47 am

        I mean, think about it. It’s the way it works at Cascade Locks, and Eagle Creek, and the world is still turning!!

        You want to visit Eagle Creek? If you have a bike, you bike along the car-free Historic Highway.

        If you want to drive, you get on I-84, and drive to the dedicated exit for that trailhead at Eagle Creek!

        Why this can’t work for Multnomah Falls is beyond me.

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          Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 11:52 am

          Perhaps removing car access to some sections would be less controversial: Vista House to Latourell Falls as one segment, and Bridal Veil Falls to Oneonta Falls as another. That makes the vast majority of the non-Multnomah Falls falls and trails accessible by car, but removes both through traffic and Multnomah Falls traffic.

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            fourknees August 24, 2016 at 1:24 pm

            I’ve thought that a good (and easy) solution would be to make the road one way (eastbound) for vehicle traffic at a minimum between the bridal veil exit 28 all the way until you can get back on I-84 at exit 35. Since the entire road wouldn’t be needed, there could easily be a a walking/biking lane westbound, ideally protected. Bikes could of course go east bound too. (A two way cycle track would be great too.)

            There are some stretches of the road where two small cars can barely squeeze past each other going in opposite directions already.

            Maybe I’m missing major drawbacks to this. The only negative impact would be drivers coming from the direction of Hood river would have to go to exit 22 to then comeback on the one way, but that seems minor. And of course there are a few homeowners that live along that stretch that would be impacted.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 12:10 pm

        ODOT is running a shuttle bus from Gateway to Multnomah Falls. If this service was expanded to increase the amount of stops along the HCRH (more waterfalls, Vista House, etc.), and the frequency were expanded, then less people would drive. We should ban cars from the entire highway, but if we can’t we should at least impose a steep toll to be used to fund the shuttle bus.

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          Chris I August 24, 2016 at 1:47 pm

          Very few people are going to switch to the shuttle bus if it is stuck in traffic with everyone else.

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          Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm

          as we see with transit in the city it’s not enough to have the option, you have to force people to use it by making driving VERY invonvenient…

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 3:31 pm

            That’s defeat talking.

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    Eric Leifsdad August 24, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Police on bicycles would make quite a difference. What few police we have are either stuck in traffic or speeding past with the windows rolled up. Electric bikes for law enforcement use don’t need to be so limited in power and speed — the technology is there if we want to use it.

    The most dangerous part of this encounter was the automobile traffic. $10/gallon gasoline and higher parking prices would be a good start. It’s not like the world is ending or the fabric of civilization is crumbling, right?

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    dan August 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Um, if you’re riding abreast with another bike, there really isn’t room to have 3 feet from outside bike to traffic lane, 3 feet from outside bike to inside bike, and 3 feet from the inside bike to the pedestrian. It’s possible the woman who shoved you felt crowded, as we would if a motorist drove within 3 feet of us.

    I won’t say that I never do it, but I try to avoid passing on the Hawthorne MUP when it will lead to 2 bikes abreast with a pedestrian. It feels like a squeeze, and when one cyclist is less-experienced (e.g., tour participant), it seems like a potential risk.

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    Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    My favorite “ugh the pedestrians are blocking the entire Hawthorne path” moment:

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      “Where are you from?” I love it.

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        Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 12:38 pm

        I was ticked they were blocking the path, even with me dinging like Hector in Breaking Bad. Then they moved and I saw the wedding dress and that they were trying to take some pictures on their phones. Aw.

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          Kyle Banerjee August 24, 2016 at 12:57 pm

          I’ve bunny hopped onto the roadway when the path gets too congested. Definitely would have for a wedding party since traffic looked like a nonissue.

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          andrew August 24, 2016 at 2:54 pm

          Lololol! I was reading this while eating lunch in a restaurant and it made me bust out laughing!
          Lol hector

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    Kyle Banerjee August 24, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I find Portlanders very civil (almost to a fault) compared to dwellers of other cities. Sure, there are isolated incidents, but people play well overall.

    Having said that, I think that as a group, cyclists here don’t play as well as in other locales, nor do they work very well with others as other groups. From the article itself, “.. a woman walking on the Hawthorne Bridge path intentionally shoved me off my bike. I was riding next to a tour guest from New York, chatting…”

    Two bikes shouldn’t be riding side by side near a ped there.* The ped needs more space as well as an unambiguous signal that everyone is paying attention and going to make a safe pass. Every day, I see large numbers of cyclists passing way too fast and too close to peds — particularly on bridges.

    That doesn’t excuse the shoving. No telling what was going on — you never know what’s going on in someone’s head or what might be altering their reality. Fortunately, the author deals with hostility in a constructive way.

    * Actually, that’s a bad place to ride side by side in general since it blocks people behind you. I understand that people want to talk with the guide, but this kind of riding won’t make friends.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      I would normally agree with you, however I am often forced to ride in the walking lane (or straddling both) for fear of slowing down impatient cyclists behind me. There are too many ONYERRLEFT scorchers on the bridge.

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        Kyle Banerjee August 24, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        You’re absolutely right. On this and every other bridge, the ped lanes also get used as bike lanes. This works fine so long as people are being safe and considerate.

        Even when there is only one ped and one bike and each has their own lane, I still think it’s dangerous and inconsiderate for riders to go so fast as they pass. Peds could suddenly move unpredictably for reasons that have nothing to do with the cyclist.

        Speed aficionados need to take the traffic lane rather than blast by peds and riders who don’t want to feel like they’re in a race. For faster riders, the Hawthorne traffic lane is very bikeable even if the grate feels weird.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm

          Yes, I will ride in the walking lane, but I will always yield to people walking in it, by merging back into the cycling lane well ahead of time. I’m also riding slowly, especially on the westbound uphill lane, so this is rarely a problem, and I have yet to have a person yell at me for passing too closely. This is the same approach I take on the Tilikum – there is more room, but even with the six-foot bike lanes, there is not much passing room. If the walking lane is treated as a walking/slow cycling lane, the path becomes much more reasonable.

          However, I would never recommend anyone ride in the Hawthorne car lanes. Those open grates are death traps, especially in the rain. What we really should do is ban driving in those lanes and put down non-slip plates throughout.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 1:02 pm

            To all of you… when you change lanes on the bridge, please signal!!!

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              Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 3:27 pm

              you can’t change lanes on the bridge, the metal structure of the bridge is between the lanes…

              and if you’re talking about the sidewalk there are no lanes…

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              John Lascurettes August 24, 2016 at 8:59 pm

              I’m pretty sure Kitty is referring to signaling when you’re changing sides of the MUP of the bridge (e.g. from the pedestrian side out to the bicycle “lane”).

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 10:45 pm

                Yes, that. Signal whenever you do anything. Signal, signal, signal.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 10:58 pm

                I rarely if ever signal. I am not a car.

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                lop August 24, 2016 at 11:10 pm

                I’m not a car either. But I’ve found when I quickly signal when I’m on a bike that I have fewer bad interactions with other cyclists and pedestrians. It’s almost as if other people knowing what I’m trying to do is helpful.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 11:19 pm

                I generally don’t have a problem either. Though I still can’t get that bent-arm thing down: I always think someone is waving to a friend.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 24, 2016 at 11:25 pm

                Just point left when you are turning left, and point right when you are turning right. Signaling is not just for cars; it’s for everyone. Just do it.

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            Kyle Banerjee August 24, 2016 at 1:23 pm

            In all honesty, I was a bit concerned about the grates the first time I rode it in the rain since I don’t even like to ride on paint when it’s dry because grip is lacking.

            While definitely not much fun, I don’t think it’s particularly dangerous. It’s a straight line with no need for braking/turning and traffic doesn’t move fast even when the road is clear. When the road is gummed up as it often is, it’s faster to take the congested path. Steel Bridge has similar dynamics — improvements would be even more welcome there IMO.

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            soren August 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm

            someone riding slowly on the left does not bother me in the least; rather, it is people who ride on the right and then abruptly move into the left without any indication or even a glance. i would personally prefer that slower riders just stay left and leave it up to the “scorchers” to pass politely on the right. (this is, after all, the proper flow on a left-side facility).

            PS: i’m aware that there are numbnuts who will try to pass unsafely between bikes and peds but most people don’t do this. and there will always be numbnuts.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 1:38 pm

              Honestly, the reality of the Hawthorne Bridge path is that is is simply not wide enough for the amount of bike and foot traffic it sees. This requires everyone cycling to be careful and courteous to other road users at all times. In practice, this does not always happen, but there is rarely a problem as the majority of people realize it is crowded and act accordingly.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. August 25, 2016 at 9:07 am

              Soren, I tried it your way this morning and got angrily ONYERRLEFTed by an impatient cyclist. I think I’ll go back to my way. 🙂

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                soren August 25, 2016 at 9:16 am

                *sigh* — thanks for trying.

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                Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 25, 2016 at 9:41 am

                how do you distinguish between angry ONYERLEFT and normal ONYERLEFT? I mean, it’s possible, but it’s hard to say it loud enough without sounding like a jerk- at least with a deeper maleish voice.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 25, 2016 at 9:58 am

                Considering I was already as far to the left as possible, I assumed this person meant “move over for me”. At any rate, I find pretty much all ONYERRLEFTs to be obnoxious. Just pass me in silence, I’ll know you’re there when I see you.

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                Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 25, 2016 at 10:40 am

                You want silence, yet others are outraged by being passed in silence. Seriously, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 25, 2016 at 10:45 am

                Just slow down and pass safely. Works every time.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 10:53 am

                I like to whisper it in the ear of the person I’m passing. Usually scares the crap out of them!

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 10:57 am

                But seriously, folks… if there’s room to safely ride over to the right without crowding a pedestrian or getting blocked, just ride over to the right. When you’re ready to get back on the left, perhaps to pass a pedestrian, simply signal and go. It’s really easy!

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                lop August 25, 2016 at 10:57 am

                Unless the rider is on an ebike the onyerleft is probably coming from someone a bit out of breath. It’s not easy to sound calm in that position.

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                soren August 25, 2016 at 11:20 am

                people ride far too fast on the hawthorne bridge (myself included) and slow riders who move to the right enable this behavior. there is plenty of space to cat 6 on the east and west-bound ramps. it’s just a few minutes people!

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      Rob August 24, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Completely agree. Entitlement is rampant in this town. On four wheels and two.

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    Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    here’s my angry-at-congestion driver story for the day, since I drove today and was out in it…

    narrowing of NW Front due to construction is down to one lane heading NW from the waterfront… any large construction truck turning across commuter traffic has to wait to turn, thus backing up traffic like this morning…

    one motorcyclist passed on the right into the construction zone… there was no room to pass legally in the lane to the right of the turning truck and left of the cones, otherwise I would have passed there…

    right as the truck is about to turn left another motorcyclist passed over the double yellow on the left, quickly coming about 4 seconds from illegally crashing into the truck…

    I could hear multiple horns being sounded far behind me…

    who are they honking at? what are they expecting? why can’t people accept that traffic exists and that you will be delayed? especially in a construction zone!

    as a cyclist I’m not used to getting stuck in traffic with no way out… but when I drive I just accept it as something that happens… it’s the reason I try not to drive much…

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    Abide August 24, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Portland slowly slides into the pit that Chicago calls “normal.” Nearly every day, I wonder what it would be like to buy a house on Mackinac Island. No cars allowed.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. August 24, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      Mackinac Island is great, but I would not want to live there in the winter where you are trapped on the island for months.

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    rachel b August 24, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    (…testing…having trouble posting…)

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    Teddy August 24, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Wow, people bike the wrong way on Historic U.S 30!? Good to know since I worry about hitting a bicyclist or pedestrian while driving around.

    I almost never bike during peak commuter hours so I have not encountered too much hostility, but good to know it is out there. Personally, having grown up in a rural area I try to be as polite to pedestrians, Bicyclists, Amish buggies, tractors, etc as much as possible since the road design is not meant for all these different modes of transportation.

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    Steve August 24, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Seems the anger/frustration is also affecting TriMet drivers. Yesterday I was waiting to cross a Zebra-striped crosswalk and the car in the inside lane stopped well back. But as I started across a TriMet bus in the outside lane continued forward right up to the very edge of the Zebra stripes. The driver leaned out the window yelling cyclists have to walk their bikes through crosswalks, in effect violating one traffic regulation to inform me about a non-existent one.

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      Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      doh! Yep, driver is wrong. You didn’t happen to get the bus number, did you? It’d be an interesting one to report.

      I feel bad for people who have to spend the majority of their day driving. It’d be easy to get frustrated. Not excusing it, though.

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      Spiffy August 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      TriMet would get a complaint from me for that one…

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    rachel August 24, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    test

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    Sarah Gilbert August 24, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I’m on tours all day so my apologies for slow response! But I wanted to clarify my riding behavior. When I have tourists with me I encourage them NOT to ride all the way to the left. Fast cyclists often pass outside and tourists tend to be unpredictable; my hope is not to end up with a fast cyclist inadvertently tossed into traffic. I was watching behind me for other cyclists and trying to model for her NOT riding on the way left, it makes me terribly anxious… the pedestrian passing us had ample room, but had decided to walk right in the center instead of on the right side. I might have said something to her but she’d just asked me about the homeless and I was in the middle of a delicate conversation. Wrong behavior; wrong response.

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      dan August 24, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      I may not be understanding the situation, but if your tourist/client was comfortably back from the left edge, you were abreast with her, and the walker was in the middle of the lane rather than by the rail, didn’t you have to pass the walker within inches? I understand this wasn’t your intent, and the pedestrian likely was spoiling for a fight if she was in the middle of the lane, but it sounds like you were way too close.

      I do think that encouraging tourists not to ride all the way to the left is good practice, but I think it’s also appropriate for groups to ride single file on the Hawthorne MUP, unless they are to the right and there are no pedestrians.

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      Skippy August 24, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      Great Article Sarah! (As evidenced by the rolling scroll of comments:) Welcome back!

      Having commuted around for parts of the last 20 years, I’ve found that the proliferation of smart phones and headphones has caused more and more “surprise” angry moments.

      I’ve had curses hurled at me a few times by walkers who simply can’t hear my bell before I pass. (And no, I don’t think Screaming that I’m about to pass them will have a calming effect. 🙂

      It’s obviously worse in the summer when more people are out and they don’t have the visible “headlight” warning that I’m approaching.

      I know it’s not my fault, I do try to warn them, but they don’t know it. I wonder how many encounters people can have before, perhaps like the “Hawthorne Pusher,” they just reach a limit and strike back, whether or not it is warranted.

      [And yes, I’ve experience a few cyclists who also wear earbuds when riding who are scared by fellow cyclists, cars, trucks, trains, etc. It’s illegal in many states for a reason folks. Ride aware. Ride Safe.]

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        Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 24, 2016 at 3:16 pm

        The research appears to indicate earbuds for a cyclist are less dangerous than music in a car. FWIW.

        The magazine concludes that “a bike rider with ear-bud earphones playing music at a reasonable volume hears much more outside noise than a car driver, even when that driver has no music playing.”

        Furthermore, “a bike rider with in-ear earphones playing music at a reasonable volume hears about the same outside noise as a car driver with no music playing, but more than a car driver playing music.”

        Maybe the correlation is incorrect. Maybe people have gotten angrier as climate change has risen. (or as incidents of pirates at sea has declined, fsm)

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          Skippy August 24, 2016 at 3:32 pm

          The correlation may be correct, but the consequences of getting into an accident because you can’t hear something are dramatically increased outside the protective metal cocoon of the car.

          In any case, I’m also simply pointing out that I’ve, personally, seen more than a few shocked and surprised looks from folks – mostly pedestrians admittedly – who are listening to music. Perhaps they aren’t listening “at a reasonable volume.”

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            soren August 25, 2016 at 11:14 am

            So you are in favor of banning music and conversation in a car?

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              rachel b August 25, 2016 at 2:23 pm

              Yes.

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      Kyle Banerjee August 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Leading tours has to be tough as tourists can really act like stray chickens.

      I wouldn’t worry about fast cyclists being tossed into traffic. It is the job of the overtaking person to do it safely so they should be ready for erratic behavior. I say this as a fast cyclist.

      A small number of peds with attitudes and/or issues seeks conflict for whatever reason. “Don’t bark at dogs” is a motto I live by. Even if you get some kind of satisfaction by engaging, all it does is rile them up and it rarely leads to anything good. BTW, my motto works with actual dogs too… 🙂

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        lop August 24, 2016 at 10:32 pm

        >A small number of peds with attitudes and/or issues seeks conflict for whatever reason.

        Same with drivers and cyclists of course.

        >“Don’t bark at dogs” is a motto I live by. Even if you get some kind of satisfaction by engaging, all it does is rile them up and it rarely leads to anything good.

        The satisfaction in the short term is real. But it is not without consequence, and not just the risk of escalation from the other party.

        From the article.

        “my instinct after I recovered from shock was to run after this woman, hold her accountable.”

        Every time you get the satisfaction from engaging someone who you feel did something wrong, that instinct becomes more powerful. And your engagements tend to escalate over time. It’s not the only path to shoving a cyclist off their bike who passed too close, but it is one of them.

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    Bill Walters August 24, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Sarah: OK, but both sides of the Hawthorne are pretty clearly marked for where folks should be on bikes and on foot. Your article is a little disingenuous because it seems to ignore that long-standing, objective standard and replace it with postulations of people’s diffuse internal standards.

    Not that judging by the markings would excuse the push, but it might help all of us to understand it better. So — are you willing to describe for us, as accurately as you can recall, how you were positioned relative to the bike and ped markings?

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      Sarah Gilbert August 24, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      There are little symbols but no line to demarcate the pathways. I was somewhere to the immediate left of the center of the imaginary line. “Two abreast” is extreme; she was a little behind me and I was attempting to keep her from getting too close to traffic by not crowding her. The pedestrian, who was alone, was insisting on walking on the very center, in the imaginary line. We were close but I WAS paying attention to her; I was mystified as to why she didn’t move over a little, as she had plenty of room.

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        lop August 24, 2016 at 10:52 pm

        Isn’t the path 10.5 feet wide? If she’s in the center, then the space between the woman on foot and the roadway edge is 4-4.5 feet. In that situation riding away from the roadway edge to pass at more than a modest speed seems impolite, if the two of you are spreading out somewhat and the leftmost rider is off the edge somewhat it seems dangerous. Are you sure the walker wasn’t a little further to the right? If she was not, are you sure there was no broken glass, or dog waste she was trying to avoid? Are you sure she is not afraid of heights and is trying to stay a bit away from the edge? As you said, a bit of empathy is what is needed.

        Remember, while you might have been paying attention, the walker is in no better position to know that or the limits of your bike handling skills than you are to know the intentions and capabilities of a driver maneuvering in a manner that makes you uncomfortable.

        When a driver is mystified as to why I am doing something, whether I am on foot, on a bike, or in a car, I would ask them to slow down. That doesn’t mean slamming on the brakes. But slowing modestly is often the safest course of action.

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          Maybe August 24, 2016 at 11:44 pm

          She doesn’t seem sure if she was paying attention or not. She does not seem sure if she was riding next to in front of the other rider. I always like to hear the other person’s side and this story is a good example of why that is important

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      Bill Walters August 24, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Actually there are lines on a portion of the bridge; see http://bikeportland.org/2005/11/21/hawthorne-bridge-gets-new-markings-673 . That portion offers clues about the little symbols, which are pretty consistent in appearance all over the bridge. That is, the arrows in the little symbols may be intended to define the center of each lane.

      It sounds like you both were pretty close to the invisible dividing line, in a sort of no-person’s land, where it would be easy for each of you to perceive the other as crowding. Maybe a possible lesson here is that single file is the way to cross the Hawthorne, especially with noob tourists?

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    Maybe August 24, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    “The thing is that I broke her rule. I don’t know exactly what her rule was: something about where bicycles should be. Here, not there; I was probably the nth-plus-one person to do it and I was riding slow and not paying attention to her. Violation, opportunity. She’d been brought to the brink” so you were riding two abreast, talking to the person beside you and not paying attention to her. Since there is speculation going on, maybe you almost ran into her and she took defensive action to protect herself. I say that as someone who was hit while walking well within in a crosswalk by a cyclist who then started yelling at me in accusatory language. Since maybe is maybe, you maybe were in the wrong.

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      Sarah Gilbert August 24, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      I didn’t almost run into her.

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        Maybe August 24, 2016 at 11:20 pm

        Maybe

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        Maybe August 25, 2016 at 12:43 pm

        Maybe the title could read: Self-entitled cyclist tries to bully pedestrian in to moving, instead ends up falling. Sub-title: Privileged individual then uses blog to bash under-privileged individual in uncivil manner

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 12:47 pm

          How do we determine the correct level of privilege to assign to the author and the pedestrian? Is there a chart somewhere we can refer to, or maybe a handy reference card?

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            rachel b August 25, 2016 at 2:24 pm

            There’s an app.

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            Maybe August 25, 2016 at 6:32 pm

            The author is the only one privileged enough in this story to have such unfettered access to such a well read blog and the other party did not have a chance to respond. So I used access to blog as being the privilege and no means to respond as not privileged as the main weight for my app. My app the factored in what I interpreted as the author’s identifying the other party has living with a mental health issue that appeared to impact that person’s activities. Lastly there was a muddled comment from the author that may have suggested the possible victim was experiencing homelessness. All those factors, plus a kind of response to the over dramatic nature of the article, lead to my app approving the above word chose. That you phone apps!

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              Sarah Gilbert August 25, 2016 at 6:46 pm

              She was not, as far as I know, homeless. She seemed well-dressed, and her only evidence of mental illness was that she pushed me off her bike. You’ve got me on the blog privilege though: I acknowledge my voice as privilege.

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                Maybe August 25, 2016 at 8:26 pm

                So after reading everything you have said, I think it is fair to suspect there was a good chance this individual was acting in defense of a vehicle hitting her.

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                SD August 25, 2016 at 9:18 pm

                Sarah, I enjoyed your article. Sorry you are being harassed.

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                Maybe August 25, 2016 at 9:52 pm

                May I ask what you deem as harassment?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 9:24 am

                A woman said something on the internet and hordes of men rushed to tell here she was wrong about her experiences. Sounds harassing to me.

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                maybe August 26, 2016 at 9:57 am

                “A woman said something on the internet and hordes of men rushed to tell here she was wrong about her experiences. Sounds harassing to me.”

                Adam H. I understand your comment in general…When I read “Hordes of men rushing” I think is actually more inline with the “aggressive” nature associated with harassment. I myself am using a gender neutral name and am trying to focus on the participants gender as little as possible. I believe one should be able to constructively, criticize. I find it disturbing when constructive feedback is not follow-up with a comment with the same level of thought but only responded with words like “hordes” and other language that are more name calling than helpful dialog.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 26, 2016 at 11:20 am

                Adam H., you are using your privilege to assert that Sarah Gilbert is in fact a woman. Until they ask to be identified as such, I do not accept your judgement of them based solely on your assessment of their visual appearance and choice of appellation. The same applies to your gender-value judgement on the other commentators.

                A person said something on the internet, and hordes of other people rushed to tell them they were wrong about their experiences. Sounds like a normal day on the internet.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 26, 2016 at 1:38 pm

                After rereading my comment, I think I should clarify that it was meant as satire. I did not intend to poke fun at people struggling with the traditional gender binary, but I was instead trying to ridicule what I see as the general absurdity of this whole discussion, including suggestions that the responses constitute harassment, or the idea that this conversation has any connection to “privilege”. The use of PC language as a weapon to silence others deserves to be satired, and, fear not BikePortlanders, I will continue lampooning those who take themselves too seriously.

                That said, I do agree that the parsing and dissecting and second guessing of what really amounts to “just something that happened” could be off-putting to Sarah, but it falls far, far short of harassment, as anyone who has experienced real harassment will recognize.

                Now that I’ve said that, I’m going for a bike ride.

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          Maybe August 26, 2016 at 8:05 am

          I believe this maybe considered an aggressive so I wanted to clarify that I am describing aggressive action without internet to attack anyone. For example the self-entitlement comment. It is pretty clear that both parties were on or near a shared space. There are also posting in that general space about cyclists yielding to pedestrians. My use of “Self-entitlment” and “bullying” stems from the authord seemingly using her speed as a means to have the pedestrian leave share space when apparently both parties could have moved away from the car traffic to avoid one another or stopped and safely sorted it out. Since cyclist are directed to yield to pedestrians on shared paths, I feel the author had a greater responsibility to relinquishing the centernof thebpath or stopping until it was safe to proceed. The author spent a lot of time in the blog talking about concern for the safety of fellow cyclists, but I could only find mention of just watching the pedestrian when it came to the Walker’s safety. Again, I was describing aggressive action, but I hope describing something accurately is not taken as I’ll intent.

          The privilege portion was acknowledged by the author and I think it is pretty apparent the author is being pretty harsh in writing towards the pedestrian. I hope that clarifies my writing a bit more.

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    Pat Franz August 24, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Not patrolling Terwilliger because there aren’t enough places to pull people over? That’s lame!

    Add some designated “Driver ticketing areas” and keep them busy! Wouldn’t take long for the commuters and cut throughs to get the message.

    I’d even go for loudly signed roving ticketing areas on all major streets. Pop up the signs and start enforcing!

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    lop August 24, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    “Have you ever imagined killing anyone?” a close male friend asked another in my presence. “Every day, every day,” came the response.

    “Me too…” said the questioner.

    “The only thing that holds me back is my rational brain,” said the other, almost ruefully.

    Out of curiosity, is your friend’s gender relevant?

    >We jump to blame people of “mental illness” but if she’s afflicted maybe we all are. Is mental illness endlessly pervasive? Or could it be a state to which we slip in and out?

    PET and FMRI scans have shown that when people are revisiting past traumas, and subjectively are experiencing them as they had when they first occurred, that activity in the ‘rational brain’ decreases. And the rational brain is all that holds us back sometimes, isn’t it? We are all capable of actions we would not be proud of. What is normal, what gets pathologized as mental illness, and what gets criminalized can seem rather arbitrary sometimes. Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score is a good read if you haven’t been through it before.

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    rachel b August 25, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Testing again.

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      rachel b August 25, 2016 at 12:51 am

      [Would like very much to post but apparently can’t, except very shortly! Apologies for the digression (I enjoyed the read, Sarah! Very thought provoking). Anyone here ever repeatedly receive the “error” message when attempting to post? Tips? Troubleshooting?]

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 1:36 am

        I’d suggest doing a lot of test posts. It’s the only way to know if things are working.

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          rachel b August 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm

          🙂 Hah. Well, one of those was Jonathan’s (I think?), on my behalf. The chevrotainless one.

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        Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 25, 2016 at 2:25 am

        It’s random, basically only related to time, not something you are doing. Save your message text (on the clipboard), if it fails try again a few minutes.

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          rachel b August 25, 2016 at 12:21 pm

          Thanks, Ted. Haven’t tried again today–will give it a whirl…

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            rachel b August 25, 2016 at 12:46 pm

            Nope. It (the error message) is very particular to my one poison post, evidently. It seems to accept my other blats just fine… ???

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              Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 25, 2016 at 3:12 pm

              Feel free to drop me an email, ted at timmons.me.

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                rachel b August 25, 2016 at 6:12 pm

                Thanks, Ted. 🙂

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    kittens August 25, 2016 at 1:27 am

    Two reactions to this:

    Contrary to most commentators here, I rather enjoy the invigorating hustle & bustle of the bike commuters during rush hour. I think it is fun to see everyone and also watch them pedal balls-out up to the Rose Quarter and Williams, as I pace the lights and catch up with the pack. Its sort of a sport for me 🙂

    Second, perhaps Mrs. Gilbert was not experiencing some kind of weird bike-rage as she was anti-tourist rage. I have to admit to being one of the bikers who likes to “teach” tourists little lessons in how to not be an ass on a bike while visiting Portland. So much of what I love about Portland has been turned into a new-age tourist Disneyland with all things “Portland” being hot commodities. As a bonafide curmudgeon, I hope people stop moving here and ruining it.

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      Bill August 25, 2016 at 3:03 am

      Please see my comment below on why I do not suspect rage on behalf of the pedestrian, but the likelihood of a cyclist playing chicken with a pedestrian, the results of which was someone crashing to the ground.

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      dan August 25, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Pshaw, north Portland bike commuting=polite and mellow. If you want to see real Cat 6 in action, I invite you to visit the SE Portland bikeways and bike lanes. 😉

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    Bill August 25, 2016 at 3:01 am

    I tried to read as many comments as I could, but there are quite a few. So if I am missing anything, please let me know.

    As best I can understand, the cyclist in this instance was riding to the side of a fellow cyclists who was close enough to engage in a meaningful conversation with her. As stated by the author, she was riding in or near the middle of the path which also was occupied by a pedestrian heading towards her. It seems that both the pedestrian and cyclist were headed towards each other in a matter that would have resulted in a collision if one party did not change course. In other words, it was like they were playing chicken.

    Before I continue down that train of thought, I would first like to mention how I prefer to action while riding on the Hawthorne bridge. First and foremost, I acknowledge that I am the riding a vehicle and pedestrians are more vulnerable than I am on a bike (I typically have more mass and more speed). So I yield to pedestrians. It is also my opinion that the walking and biking symbols are not equal distance from the center. I believe that the walking symbol suggests that walkers should have more space in the multiuser path. If I am riding directly in the path of a pedestrian on the Hawthorne bridge or elsewhere, I either slow down and move around the pedestrian or stop. I think that is the safe, civil course of action.

    Since I cannot find anything to indicate that the cyclist in this case tried to stop or move around the pedestrian, I am not surprised that insanity ensued.

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      Sarah Gilbert August 25, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      I just wanted to reiterate that nothing about this encounter made me believe that I had acted with complete innocence; and that I attempt not to ride side by side on any bridge. I ride over this bridge with tourists a LOT… hundreds of times in three years… and to date this is the only time I’ve had such an encounter. Every time a guest pulls up next to me to talk (unless I’m on a quiet street without traffic) I try to encourage a shift in position by shifting my own; when it gets to the point where a tourist id obstructing others or endangering themselves, I call out. When something bad happens it is *always* a teaching moment for me and I then will try to deliver instructions that will lead to it not happening again (I hope!). Of course I haven’t ridden two abreast since and have instead instructed guests to ride in single file.

      Was I “playing chicken”? No. It is certainly true that I expected the pedestrian to behave like all other pedestrians who are clearly paying attention (she was); move to the right side of the sidewalk when bicycles approach, because we’re moving faster and are near the cars and that’s scary. Yes I fell off my bike. After she shouted at me and hit me. She went on to shout at the 12-year-old daughter of my guest who was not riding two abreast.

      I’m in a position in which I have to attempt to model good behavior, instruct tourists who are often uncomfortable on bikes, and try to be friendly enough to receive gratuities and good reviews while at the same time delivering what I hope will be a consciousness-shifting expository about the city and the world at large. I often make mistakes.

      Usually the worst I get, in response to my mistakes, is heckling. This went farther.

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        Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 25, 2016 at 3:17 pm

        You didn’t do anything wrong, Sarah. We are all trusting in others to do the right thing to some degree. The Hawthorne Bridge can be negotiated by pedestrians, cyclists, crazy pedestrians, and crazy cyclists. Especially because can (and do) communicate with other road users who are nearby and not surrounded in a glass bubble (or audio bubble).

        Sometimes trusting others bites us in the ass.

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          William L Moore August 25, 2016 at 6:44 pm

          How do you know she did not do anything wrong? We do How do you know the author did nothing wrong? Especially since we have not heard the other side of the story. Additionally, since I was not corrected, I think it is pretty likely the cyclist did not move or stop for the pedestrian who was directly in front of her. How is that a correct action?

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        soren August 25, 2016 at 3:55 pm

        i think there is clearly more to this story. you were, after all, riding a *BIKE* and, therefore, have a duty to dress well, smile, wave, apologize, and offer gifts. as people cycling it’s entirely up to us to make sure that people driving and walking have positive feelings about us. use a helmet, wear high-viz clothing, stay out of the way (preferably over there), and always ride as if you are a bike ambassador. anything else makes us bad, is the reason they hate us, and is why we can’t have good stuff.

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        rachel b August 25, 2016 at 6:11 pm

        Gud. I resent for you your feeling you even needed to address that, Sarah. 🙁 Probably best just to ignore the baiting. For what it’s worth, you were very clear in your post and the last thing in this reader’s mind was the idea that you somehow brought this on yourself.

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    Bill August 25, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Follow-up, when there are lines on Hawthorne path, the seem to favor pedestrians – http://www.sellwoodbridge.org/files/phase3/online-open-house-1/bikepedlanes.jpg

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    Dave August 25, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Want to get a laugh from a pedestrian on any MUP? Just, when you are politely, slowly passing them after a polite warning, thank ’em for not walking or running with earbuds.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. August 25, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Why shouldn’t people walking or running wear headphones? When cycling on a MUP, it is my responsibility to not hit them, not theirs to hear me coming from behind them.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 11:02 am

        You have really interesting ideas about safety.

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          soren August 25, 2016 at 11:09 am

          I’m pretty sure that pedestrian headphone shaming is not part of Portland’s draft vision zero plan. But if I’m wrong … I stand corrected.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 11:11 am

            I would hope Vision Zero would encourage all road/MUP users to be aware of their surroundings.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. August 25, 2016 at 11:16 am

              How does Vision Zero aim to help people who are hard of hearing? After all, they are, as you say, “not fully aware of their surroundings”.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 11:19 am

                That’s right… those people have no idea what’s going on.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 25, 2016 at 11:22 am

                So they should never use a MUP then?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 11:26 am

                We need a special trail for people with difficulty hearing, and also those who are oblivious to their surroundings.

                Isn’t this conversation ridiculous?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 11:28 am

                Let me just sum it up this way: be an active participant in your own safety.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 25, 2016 at 11:28 am

                No. I find the notion that a city government telling vulnerable road users that they need to pay attention or get hurt to be insulting and not conductive to positive change.

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                dan August 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm

                I don’t think HK said that the hard of hearing are not fully aware of their surroundings at all. It appears that you’re implying it though, which is really sad.

                And completely untrue.

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            rachel b August 25, 2016 at 2:26 pm

            It’s not shaming to expect some personal responsibility and awareness of one’s surroundings in shared spaces.

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              soren August 25, 2016 at 3:57 pm

              call me crazy but i would like the people doing the injuring, maiming, and killing to practice personal responsibility, not someone walking in a dense urban areas listening to a podcast.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 3:59 pm

                Shouldn’t everyone practice personal responsibility?

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                soren August 25, 2016 at 4:19 pm

                absolutely. we must fight the tyranny of the militant cyclist who oppresses and harms poor motorists.

                all traffic modes matter!

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                rachel b August 25, 2016 at 6:05 pm

                Call ME crazy, but I’ve about had it up to here with constantly having to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge around the now-ubiquitous self-absorbed checker-outers in public spaces. Have you never been plowed into by a phonebot? On foot, I mean? Or had to navigate around seas of bumbling, up-their-own-hinds boors? We’ve normalized that kind of rude, antisocial behavior to a truly awful extent. I’m not handing out any further passes.

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                SD August 25, 2016 at 7:49 pm

                Pokemon Go!!!

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                rachel b August 27, 2016 at 1:09 am

                Yikes. Yes. I’ve started saying “look up!” as I walk Portland. It’s like navigating through a bunch of toddlers.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I love this story! One of my favorite hobbies is second-guessing people and trying to get inside the head of drivers (including Adam H., who I am sure I saw in a Camero blasting down Powell at what must have been at least 14MPH last night) who have offended me in some way, to figure out what they were _really_ thinking when they neglected (willfully?) to signal or were driving a bit over the speed limit (which is already way too high), and then rehashing it over and over with my good friends from BikePortland, using the story to prove whatever inane point I feel like making. Was the car trying to reclaim territory it thought has been seized by militant cyclists? Were they asserting their power over other road users, perhaps compensating for something lacking “downstairs”? What was the connection with VZ, VC, and VRUs? Were they being deliberately miscompetent? Was it a just a stupid cager being a typical carhead? Was the driver Australian, perhaps having learned to drive in the hellish wastes depicted in the Mad Max documentary series? Was I being racist for even considering the possibility? Were they playing chicken? Were they eating chicken? Were they trying to usher in a new age of apocalyptic hell, hastening the day when we will be ruled by brain eating amoebas and robot cars?

    I think I know what _really_ happened on that bridge that day with that cyclist and that tourist and that pedestrian and that shove. I recalculated the geometry and timeline, and I am certain there is no way it could possibly have unfolded the way the writer describes. Think about it: why would she come here and take all this time to explain what happened if it was wasn’t an attempt to deflect us from the real truth? I re-read the story, reading carefully both what was said and what was not said, the insinuations, the implications, the stuff between the lines. I re-enacted the likely causes, as well as researched various mental states that may have possessed the various participants. I reviewed over three dozen Oregon traffic statutes, and referenced fourteen articles by Ray Thomas and two YouTube videos (one of which was about a really cute cat chasing a laser pointer, crashing into a baby on a cellphone). I’ll explain it all in great detail, and reveal the real truth about what happened in a subsequent post. Let me just say all is not what is is purported to be. This one runs deep, folks. Wake up! Vote Trump!

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    Bill August 25, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Did you catch the earlier comments on listening to headphones? I think you may find them useful. Side note while I am thinking of it, of the the manuals the author referenced, I did not see the Oregon bike manual mentioned. That is where I got my open to the public guidelines on how to bike. It was much easier to find than the possible dozens of hidden local codes. Using it allows you to have a laugh like your above reference rather than a cry.

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    dan August 25, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Hello, Kitty
    I like to whisper it in the ear of the person I’m passing. Usually scares the crap out of them!
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    For the win…

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    rachel b August 25, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Interesting read and scary incident! While I’d prefer more active enforcement against jerkery in this city in general, I do think looking in the eye and confronting people like the Pusher is important. People are so uncomfortable with confrontation, it tends to stick in the mind when it happens and she may think twice about ever doing it again. I’d also avoid trying to understand her, or extend too much unwarranted compassion in the aftermath. There seems to be a real reluctance to label and tackle bad, antisocial, self-centered behavior in this city, and an unfortunate tendency toward what I think of as wan, conspicuous (FB postable) compassion, which only fosters more self-centered bad behavior. What I feel Portland needs more than ever is a spine, starting with enforcement of existing laws and rules. At present, it’s a parody of “it’ll work itself out” laissez-faire lassitude, cultivating a giant petri dish of bad bacteria run amok.

    Mainly, people don’t do well in crowds. I imagine so many here moved here to get away from teeming humanity. What a laugh. I (again) curse our officials and Travel Oregon/Travel Portland for their relentless, disastrous pimping of our city and state. Has to stop, and now.

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      dan August 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      It’s too late! Portland is done for, and that genie is not going back in the bottle. All the people that made this town a good place to live are moving to Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Boise. On the fence myself about which way to jump.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. August 25, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      people don’t do well in crowds

      I, for one, welcome crowds. They seem to work fine in Europe.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty August 25, 2016 at 3:16 pm

        The advantage they have is their crowds are filled with Europeans.

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          rachel b August 25, 2016 at 5:57 pm

          There is a lot of truth to that, Kitty, hah. 🙂 But seriously, Adam: Europeans are complaining about overcrowding and tourism, too. Places like Barcelona and Venice are doing something about it.

          It is not healthy for people to live on top of one another. Kowloon Walled City!

          http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/tourist-go-home-why-youre-no-longer-welcome-in-spain/news-story/4febc459dcd721f25bc113eab6c509e5

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. August 25, 2016 at 6:04 pm

            Sure, my comment was mostly tongue-in-cheek. I don’t think Portland is at risk of becoming overcrowded any time soon. Personally, I welcome more foot and bike traffic in my neighborhood. Especially along Foster: it can be so desolate at times but has so much potential!

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              rachel b August 25, 2016 at 10:06 pm

              Adam, it’s overcrowded. And I don’t even want to imagine what it’ll be like 5, 10 years from now. Ugh.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 9:20 am

                It’s all subjective, I suppose. I lived in the Lake View neighborhood in Chicago for five years, and I find most of Portland’s east side to be empty by comparison. One of the reasons I like my neighborhood is because of how crowded Division is.

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                rachel b August 27, 2016 at 1:04 am

                Why’d you leave Chicago? Maybe because of all the people and the attendant problems that come with all the people? We never EVER wanted to be Chicago, here, and it’s not Chicago people who moved (and move) here want. What makes Chicago great is not what makes Portland great. Apples and oranges. Not all cities are meant to be Chicagos.

                Subjective–true. 🙂 Though I think you’d be hard pressed to find a whole lot of people who think humanity crowding in on them is The Life. Especially here in Portland.

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    pruss2ny August 25, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    “I’d also avoid trying to understand her, or extend too much unwarranted compassion in the aftermath.”

    I don’t understand this…I have built a career on confrontation and understand its benefits, but giving the other person here at least a chance to try to defend their action is really a great way to de-escalate such a situation. The confrontation will stick in their minds for the future, like you suggest, but either they will become apologetic in trying to defend their behavior, or you might find out they actually had a point that you hadn’t considered. I’ve definitely had occasion to rethink my behavior when someone (shockingly) came up with a valid defense.

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      rachel b August 25, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      She aggressively pushed Sarah off her bike. Potentially, into traffic. Where she may have been run over by a car, truck or bus. And killed.

      “…but giving the other person here at least a chance to try to defend their action is really a great way to de-escalate such a situation.”

      ?????????????????

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        rachel b August 25, 2016 at 10:09 pm

        p.s…this is precisely the misguided, conspicuous compassion to which I refer. It helps exactly no one and just makes it worse for all of us.

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          pruss2ny August 26, 2016 at 7:21 am

          compassion is no where in my bloodstream…I honestly just didn’t understand your concept of confrontation: “look her in the eye”!

          if in that situation you want to wrestle the woman to the ground and hold her until police arrive, cool…thats “confrontation”…but absent that, force her to explain herself…force her to blurt out that she thinks that pedestrians have right of way on the sidewalk and she’s “tired of having to move out of the way of entitled jerks on bikes”. Then you can correct her ignorance (altho i suppose MUP row is confusing at best).

          Your goal was a lasting impact on that person, so they wouldn’t do it again…so go ahead and engage…get them to open their stupid mouth and say something stupid and maybe they’ll hear how stupid they are… the great thing is you don’t have to be 6’5″ 250lbs to pull this “confrontation” off…but the the mean stare-down is a part of the passive-aggressive playbook i’ve never understood.

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            rachel b August 27, 2016 at 12:59 am

            Hi pruss2ny–I think we may have a double misunderstanding, here. i think I misunderstood the gist of your post (apologies!), and you latched onto a much-edited-down part of my post (looking in the eye): I had had trouble trying to post all day and finally just edited the hell out of it (resulting in success!). My original post went into a little more detail in that bit.

            My point was that saying anything is better than saying nothing at all—better than letting pass or making excuses in your head for antisocial, violent behavior. A simple calling out can have potentially lasting value. I only mentioned the eye contact because people like the Shover try to avoid it, and it does make it harder for them and their ilk to pretend you’re not talking to them when you look them in the eye. It makes for discomfort and hence is more likely to make an impression.

            I’m not for starting up a conversation or debate at all–a waste of time, and I’m not interested in understanding them or edumacating. I just want them to know “I saw what you did, it was wrong, and you are an arsehole.” And while wrestling someone to the ground would be satisfying, probably not a good idea. 😉

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              pruss2ny August 27, 2016 at 11:58 am

              i hear you…just i have been the “arse” before who has been set straight by someone verbally challenging me to defend what I was doing, when I thought there was absolutely 0 chance that I was in the wrong. Had she stink-eyed me, we’d have both left thinking the other was an idiot.
              I do agree with you, sociopaths create different situational responses, I just tend to assume true sociopaths are a small%
              ….I’m.Just.That.Compassionate. 🙂

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                rachel b August 28, 2016 at 12:07 am

                Hah. 🙂 For what it’s worth, I never meant giving the stink eye, absent a few clear, choice words. WAY too much passive-aggressiveness in Portland already.

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    Dave August 26, 2016 at 7:49 am

    soren
    absolutely. we must fight the tyranny of the militant cyclist who oppresses and harms poor motorists.
    all traffic modes matter!
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    Hey, Jonathan, here’s a candidate for post of the week!

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    BB August 26, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    dan
    Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Boise. .
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    LOL!!!

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