Big sale at Community Cycling Center

Portland area teenagers to learn safe driving skills at Ford-sponsored event

Posted by on September 8th, 2016 at 8:20 am

(Photo: Ford Motor Company)

(Photo: Ford Motor Company)

Nearly 3,000 teenagers die every year in motor vehicle crashes in our country — it’s the leading cause of death in the 12-19 year age group and represents nearly half of all teenage fatalities.

As a bicycle rider (and father of a teenager), it’s quite unpleasant to think about sharing the road with these inexperienced and often distracted young people. That’s why I’m happy to share that this weekend Ford is sponsoring a series of free “Driving Skills for Life” clinics that will teach teens from around the region how to drive safely.

The event is part of a national tour that Ford Motor Company has been organizing for 12 years and it’s being promoted by the Oregon Department of Transportation as an element of their Vision Zero plans.

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There are four clinics scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday (9/10-11) that will take place on Port of Portland propery in northwest.

Here’s a promotional video to give you a taste of how the clinics are run:

Some of the skills taught in the clinics include: safety of vulnerable roadway users, driving while impaired and/or drowsy, speed management, hazard recognition, and handling. Ford will supply a special drunk driving suit that mimics impaired conditions — and hopefully scares the teens from ever feeling that way while behind the wheel. The teens are paired with professional drivers and parents are encouraged to attend.

If you are the parent, friend, or caregiver of a newly licensed teenage driver, check out the resources and register for the free Portland clinics at DrivingSkillsForLife.com.

Our driver’s education and licensing system is woefully inadequate so it’s good to see a private company step up and provide this type of education and training.

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

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46 Comments
  • Avatar
    Dave September 8, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Please, let them scare the hell out of kids regarding texting and other phone abuse behind the wheel–if they don’t send some teen to therapy over it they won’t have done their job. Also, hope there is at least a teeny little bit of discussion aimed specifically at teenaged boys to try and de-link our society’s sick and twisted connection between driving and masculinity.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 8, 2016 at 9:37 am

      I agree Dave! I hope that there’s a big scared straight element to this training where kids are shown graphic images of crashes… but I doubt Ford would go there.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty September 8, 2016 at 10:37 am

        The might go for it if the crash photos all showed Chevys.

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        Spiffy September 8, 2016 at 10:55 am

        most of us saw graphic films like Blood Flows Red on the Highway yet we’re still horrible drivers…

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        JeffS September 8, 2016 at 6:30 pm

        I hope there’s not.

        The BMW plant in SC had regular driving events on their test tracks where people, you know… could actually learn how to control a car. One of the local track day groups did something similar as well.

        If your kid is going to drive, teaching them to do so competently should be a given. Showing them pictures of dead people is absolutely pointless.

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          JeffS September 8, 2016 at 6:35 pm

          BTW, go find someone who races or does track events on a car or motorcycle and ask them whether they drive faster or slower on the road as a result.

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    endo September 8, 2016 at 8:53 am

    This is going to come out wrong because this is the internet, but I want to ask anyway…. is this a sponsored post? It’s weird to me that you would be mentioning Ford so many times in this post. Ford’s business is convincing people that they all need to own their very own killing machine. Touting them as somehow being part of the Vision Zero solution seems odd. This post seems really out of character with your other posts.

    If this is a sponsored post you should really say so. If it’s not, well, I guess it seems like an odd choice to have five mentions of Ford and a Ford promo video in a 350-word post.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 8, 2016 at 8:55 am

      No. definitely not sponsored. I realize it might have sounded like that but that’s just how it came out. I think the Ford sponsorship of the event is part of why it’s newsworthy. I realize it seems out of character but I like to surprise you every once in a while. Thanks for the feedback.

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        Spiffy September 8, 2016 at 9:23 am

        to me the Ford sponsorship makes it less newsworthy since it’s just a marketing ploy… thus why this as seems like product placement…

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          Dave September 8, 2016 at 5:26 pm

          Bike companies sponsor cycling events, car companies sponsor driving events.

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      wsbob September 8, 2016 at 10:36 am

      “…killing machine. …” endo

      That’s overdoing it with the rhetoric, and tends to rank people that use it and related terms, with the sort of fanatical people that refer to bicycles in terms such as ‘suicide machines’. Difficult to expect such people to be willing to work together, or with anyone else, to have use of either bikes or motor vehicles on the road, be a safe means of travel.

      Ford’s “Driving Skills for Life”, safe driving event directed towards young people, is of course, a promotion for the sale of motor vehicles, or as spiffy refers to it, “…a marketing ploy…”, but I would say, not ‘just’ a marketing ploy, because working to promote responsible use of their products to support safe conditions for travel on the road…is very much in the interest of companies that make and sell motor vehicles.

      Bike manufacturers and bike shops use marketing strategies to connect with people that are or might be people that ride, buy, and have bikes repaired. If or when, because some probably already do…bike manufacturers and shops put together events that have a ‘Biking Skills for Life’ type focus, I’m willing to bet most people are going to think of such events are a good thing. I think most people want people that bike to have skills necessary for riding safely as possible, whatever conditions they’re presented with.

      People already are interested in cars, pickups, what have you…that’s a given, just as is the likelihood they’ll buy them. Ford wouldn’t have to do this safe driving event to get people to buy, but by doing it, maybe they’ll be helping to pique people’s interest in things they can do to drive safely.

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    Champs September 8, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I am sorry to say that this comment is the first instance of the word “phone” in this article.

    One thing I notice when I’m watching rush hour traffic on busy streets is that *lots* of people are texting. Another thing is riding on SW 2nd/3rd/4th and waiting for the driver in front of me to look up from their phone to notice the signal has changed.

    …and yet I’m so sorry anyone lost a few precious seconds trying to drive around me. After all, they are much more measurable than the weeks, months, and years of life they don’t seem to care about.

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      Eric Leifsdad September 8, 2016 at 10:01 am

      This course should have a phone/distracted component, where they coordinate throwing a dummy out from behind a van with a phone notification.

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    Dan A September 8, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Um….donuts??

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. September 8, 2016 at 9:06 am

    This is so America… Big business doing what the government refuses to do or lacks the funds for. Still, can’t argue against more driver training.

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    Chris I September 8, 2016 at 9:11 am

    A DMV version of this should be required for all drivers, every 10 years.

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    Spiffy September 8, 2016 at 9:18 am

    “Ford DSFL free hands-on clinics help newly licensed drivers (teens with a permit or license) improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60% of vehicle crashes, including: Hazard Recognition, Vehicle Handling, Speed and Space Management. There also is a comprehensive section on Distracted and Impaired Driving.

    where are you getting “safety of vulnerable roadway users” from? it’s not listed on their agenda for the course…

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    • Avatar
      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 8, 2016 at 9:35 am

      they mentioned “pedestrian safety” in the promo materials… And think about it… if they are helping teens drive more safely than it automatically helps safety of vulnerable users.

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        Spiffy September 8, 2016 at 12:11 pm

        there’s nothing about pedestrians in the video you highlighted or the driving clinic page you linked to…

        yes, I did a search on their site and I see the term pedestrian frequently, although usually in statistics and not conversation…

        from the search:
        1st result: distractions from attractive pedestrians…
        2nd result: reprint of NHTSA tips, pedestrians tips first, then driver tips…
        3rd result: guest article from kkad25.org about keeping pedestrians safe…
        4th result: reprint from Governors Highway Safety Association stating to Share The Road with them…
        …etc, etc, more reprints…

        so I’m still not seeing a direct connection to the safety of vulnerable road users and this hands-on clinic… you seem to infer that because there is some second-hand information on their web site that they’ll be covering it in the clinic…

        their site is also rife with the term “accident”…

        so yeah, I’m still not buying into all the PR BS like you seem to be…

        and we all know that in general when somebody teaches a driver to “drive safely” is rarely includes anything about vulnerable roadway users other than to stop for them in crosswalks or, if possible, when they dart out in front of you… and society only enforces the first, sometimes…

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        • Avatar
          Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 8, 2016 at 9:19 pm

          Spiffy,

          You seem quite determined with this conspiracy theory that I am secretly pushing the ford agenda for some huge payout.

          Geez. Fwiw I said they used the words “safety around pedestrians” in a media advisory that was sent to me via email – and it’s not online.

          Fact of the matter is that Ford is giving away free safe driver training for teens. Call it “PR BS” if you want. That’s your choice.

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            Mike 2 September 9, 2016 at 8:23 am

            And finally Jonathan shows his true nature! I knew it! Secretly working for Ford the entire time.

            Very tricky, Mr. Maus.

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              Chris I September 9, 2016 at 10:47 am

              I’ve seen him driving around town in a lifted F350.

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                Jayson September 9, 2016 at 12:29 pm

                A diesel modified for rolling coal by chance?

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            Dave September 9, 2016 at 2:03 pm

            It’s especially good that Ford is doing this since many school districts have had to or chosen to cut driver education. Sometimes car companies can do good things, you know.

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    Spiffy September 8, 2016 at 9:20 am

    car companies are really scrambling for some good marketing in the face of a declining market…

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      J_R September 8, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Really? A declining market? Total vehicle sales in the US were 9 million in 2009 and are 18 million now. All the graphs I can find indicate a pretty consistent upward trend since 2009. Sales are now about what they were in 2000 to 2005.

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        B. Carfree September 8, 2016 at 12:14 pm

        That’s just beyond cherry-picking. From 2003-2013 we saw declining per capita miles travelled and over much of that time frame we also saw declines in total miles travelled. Since 2009, a nadir for auto sales because of both the breaking of the economy by the banksters and a noticeable rise in fuel prices, we have had cash-for-clunkers, a massive decline in fuel costs and an economic recovery that allowed for those who would have replaced cars in 2008-9 to do so.

        I’m not saying that the current trend isn’t for increased car sales, it is. Sadly, we’ve also been seeing rises in per capita and total miles driven, with even larger rises in roadway deaths and injuries. What I am saying is that one should not pick the nadir and peak to assess long-term trends.

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          J_R September 8, 2016 at 1:22 pm

          Beyond cherry picking? What’s YOUR data source for a “we also saw declines in total miles travelled?”

          My source is FHWA’s June 2016 Traffic Volume Trends. The table on page 2 indicates 2016 is the highest value for all years 1991 to 2016.

          https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/16juntvt/16juntvt.pdf

          Per capita VMT may be falling but total VMT definitely is NOT.

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          Mike 2 September 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm

          Cherry-picking. Hmm. Statement about a declining market is refuted with data from multiple credible sources. That’s cherry-picking?
          So you counter it with a “we saw” (anecdotal fallacy) statement citing no source what-so-ever. I’m not saying that there wasn’t a decrease in capita miles traveled, but if you are going to call someone out for a logic fallacy, you should probably have your sources in line. Further, the original statement had nothing to do with miles traveled, but was about the sales market (straw man fallacy).

          I do like that you mentioned a 30 day program (C.A.R.S.) from 7 years ago as some sort of a major boon for the auto industry. Less than 700k vehicles were sold from that program, almost about how many vehicles are currently sold in a one month period.

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      Mike 2 September 8, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Interesting that you call it a declining market. 2015 was a record breaking year for auto sales in the US and 2016 is on track to beat it. I guess it is declining from the standpoint that is is not expected to break the record as soundly as it did in 2015.

      Of course these are only two sources, so I am sure there are others that will refute this data. And this data is a couple months old, so maybe July and August were incredibly terrible for auto sales (certainly not indicated by my place of work – lots of new temp tags on shiny autos).

      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2016/07/usa-auto-sales-brand-results-june-2016-ytd.html
      http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html

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    Lester Burnham September 8, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Please hang up and ride.

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      Zimmerman September 8, 2016 at 11:40 am

      Do your blankets ever dry out?

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    Dan A September 8, 2016 at 9:39 am

    I like the idea of these kinds of courses. Funny that they show lots of speeding, swerving & drifting to make it appear more fun.

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    Eric Leifsdad September 8, 2016 at 11:41 am

    “Every year in Oregon, 25,000 6th graders take their traffic test.”

    https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/bicycle-training-in-the-netherlands/

    Nobody in the car is wearing helmets either.

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      B. Carfree September 8, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      Good point. If we want to make a dent in teen deaths on the roads, we need to get people to wear proper motoring helmets in cars. It’s a two-fer: It both protects their brains and makes driving so uncool that they will be less inclined to do it.

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        Eric Leifsdad September 9, 2016 at 1:05 am

        At 16, you can drive a 1hp e-bike without a license or a 600hp car with a license. Maybe requiring helmets for drivers under 18 would help that (let’s “start a conversation”), but how about a 100W e-bike permit for 10yo kids?

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    Carrie September 8, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    My bike-riding-everywhere teen is taking this course on Saturday. We’re all really curious to see what it entails — I’ll report back. I’m super excited for her to get some good training on distance estimation and travel speed — it’s pretty amazing as the parent of a new driver who has talked and demonstrated about vulnerable road users how bad she is at really knowing how fast she’s going and how long it takes to stop. I do wish this was part of school curriculum and think it should be, but since it isn’t I’m grateful for the opportunity.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 8, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Would love to hear your thoughts about it Carrie. Please do report back.

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        Carrie September 13, 2016 at 3:05 pm

        Reporting back 🙂

        The kids and parents all spent time going through the skills course in four different cars and in four different scenarios. I didn’t even think about the driving different cars part of the equation, but it was great to feel the difference between driving a sedan and driving the Mustang.

        They practiced accelerating and stopping and got to viscerally experience the difference between stopping at 20mph and stopping at 80mph. The also drove the course ‘normal’, then while actually texting, then while texting and doing other stuff like playing with the radio or rolling down windows. Every single kid ran over things — my daughter said it did really drive home that when driving a car you should be Driving A Car.

        For impaired driving they had the kids (and adults) wear weird goggles and suits that slowed their reaction times. My daughter ran over a child 🙁 and said that she wouldn’t have even known she did it if the instructor hadn’t told her. My husband said it was a great reminder to him as well — especially the start contrast between being sober and being impaired.

        So I wish EVERYONE could take the texting while driving test. And observe first hand how Every Single Person hit something while texting. Or didn’t brake in time. Or something.

        And yes there was marketing, but she also didn’t come back asking for a car, so I figure that was fine! And I have noticed a difference in her spatial awareness and general car handling skills (for the better) since the course.

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    Matt S. September 8, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Maybe Trek should teach a course on how to respond to an approaching stop sign or how to travel safely down Williams St.

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      Mike 2 September 9, 2016 at 8:25 am

      I hate it when stop signs move – let alone towards me. Fight or flight kicks in big time.

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      jered bogli September 13, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      I would love to know how to travel safely down Williams, bikes everywhere, slow and all over the place, cars are even slower… at least with two lanes of car traffic I was able to auto pace home and not get all tangled up with other bikes and static traffic and pesky islands strewn about every block slowing me down even more. Disaster! BUT it is much slower now – for everyone.

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  • Mike Gilliland
    Mike Gilliland September 8, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I am fully in support educating more pavement users. Only wish they could expand this for any driver, any age, and that they include intermingling with pedestrians, bikes, motorcycles, semi-trucks, scooters, etc., in the syllabus.

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    Jayson September 9, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Just saw this. Ford is getting into the bike share business:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2016/09/ford_makes_bike-share_ride-hai.html

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    Todd Boulanger September 9, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Too bad Trek et al does not do something similar for BTA in May or SRTS in Fall.

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    JV September 12, 2016 at 8:07 am

    My daughter (got her learner’s permit about 2-3 weeks ago and driving pretty well already) took this course and had a great experience. I was prepared for some heavy-handed Ford marketing, but she said that didn’t happen. She said they were pretty heavy-handed (appropriately, IMO) about distracted and chemically-influenced driving. My take away: a good opportunity to explore the limits of your skills and the machine in a controlled environment with professional instruction.

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