Oregon State Police blames vulnerable victims while driving deaths spin out of control

Posted by on November 4th, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Just some of the Oregon driving carnage of the past two weeks.
(Photos: Oregon State Police)

This is an editorial.

The Oregon State Police issued a relatively rare safety message to the media today. In light of three collisions in the past nine days that resulted in the death of someone trying to walk or roll across a state highway, they included the following message in a press statement (emphasis theirs):

***This is the third fatal crash involving pedestrians that OSP has investigated in the past week***

OSP urges pedestrians and bicyclists to wear bright colors, have reflective material and use extra caution when there is limited visibility due to hours of darkness or inclement weather. Also be knowledgeable of the laws pertaining to biking or traveling near and on highways. Please visit the Oregon Department of Transportation’s pedestrian safety [web] page for further information on pedestrian safety.

(Note: In at least two of the three collisions, the stretch of highway was not well lit and didn’t have any place to cross.)

The message was picked up by The Oregonian a few minutes ago with the headline, “State police urge pedestrians to be careful on highways.” The lead paragraph states, “Three people have died within eight days after crossing in front of moving cars on state highways, the Oregon State Police said Friday afternoon.”

The way that reads, it’s as if these people willfully put themselves in harm’s way and were asking for it.

While I appreciate the OSP’s concern for safety — their focus on “pedestrians and bicyclists” in this context is misplaced and troubling. They are blaming victims in collisions where we’ll never know what truly happened (because we can’t ask the person who was hit). That being said, this isn’t about blame. The State Police play a huge role in our transportation culture and we need them to set a great example for other agencies, the media, and all Oregonians. Dividing road users into unhelpful labels like “pedestrians and bicyclists” — especially in the context of blaming victims — is simply not in line with best practices and it needs to stop.

Thanks for reading BikePortland.

Please consider a $10/month subscription or a one-time payment
to help maintain and expand this vital community resource.

What’s also troubling is how the OSP treats these deaths to people outside of motorized vehicles so much differently than fatal crashes that involve only people driving cars.

While OSP felt the need to issue a special message about “pedestrians and bicyclists” safety because of three fatalities in nine days — they issued no such blame or special notice when seven people died and two were seriously injured in five separate collisions in the five days between October 21st and the 25th. That doesn’t include a 10-year-old girl who died Tuesday when the car she was in “drifted off” Highway 78, rolled several times, and ejected her from her seat.

Look at these headlines from the Oregon State Police in just the past two weeks:

  • OSP Continuing Fatal Crash Investigation of a Child Passenger on Highway 78 – Malheur County (Photo) – 11/03/16
  • Two Killed In Collision On I-84 Near Boardman – Morrow County – 10/25/16
  • Three Killed In Highway 211 Crash North Of Molalla – Clackamas County (Photo) – 10/23/16
  • New Mexico Man Killed In Crash On Highway 26 Near Madras (Jefferson County) (Photo) – 10/23/16
  • California Couple Seriously Injured In Friday Morning Crash Near Sisters – Deschutes County (Photo) – 10/23/16
  • Coburg Man Killed In Crash On Interstate 5 – Lane County – 10/21/16

That sounds like a huge crisis! Where is the special safety message from the OSP imploring people to use more caution while driving, slow down, and be extra careful?

The OSP is going out of their way to blame our most vulnerable road users while ignoring driving deaths. This not only shifts the agency’s safety resources and policy attention away from where it should be, but it results in an unnecessary fear of walking and biking and a corresponding lack of fear about the dangers of driving. This is the opposite of what we should be doing to get more people to walk and bike and fewer people to use cars.

OSP’s messaging needs to improve if the State of Oregon is going to reach their stated goal of zero deaths by 2035.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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

124 Comments
  • Avatar
    Eric Leifsdad November 4, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Don’t be a victim. Carry a 4000lb hammer.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Wade November 4, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Thank you for writing this.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    John Lascurettes November 4, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    I want to scream.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Bikeninja November 4, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    When humans found petroleum and invented the motorcar they were presented with a Faustian bargain. They had the choice of convenience vs sanity and a long future on the planet for thier children . They choose to make a deal with the devil and it appears we will not be able to entangle ourselves before we are destroyed.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      9watts November 5, 2016 at 8:33 am

      And continue to choose, every day.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Middle of the Road guy November 6, 2016 at 7:40 am

      That’s not really a Faustian bargain. I don’t think they were aware of the impacts (short and long term) at the time. It seemed like all positives.

      “To “strike a Faustian bargain” is to be willing to sacrifice anything to satisfy a limitless desire for knowledge or power. “

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        shawn November 10, 2016 at 12:52 pm

        In the early days of the car, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone took amazing car camping vacations in the central and eastern US as a way of promoting car travel. One of their solutions was that the car would make for clean cities as it eliminated animal waste and the associated health hazards of living around it. Trading one ill for another.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Jim Lee November 4, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    VZ in Sweden was intended to protect motorists from each other.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Andrew N November 4, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Maus for City Council! (Seriously.)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      B. Carfree November 4, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Perhaps the state assembly would be better, although how are we going to replace him here? Better still, governor so he can fire the ODOT management team along with all of its traffic engineers.

      Time to ramp up that cloning project.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    B. Carfree November 4, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    I’m not surprised at OSP’s anti-bike/ped views. A couple of years ago I was being harassed by a trooper on a road with one nine-foot lane in each direction and obstructed sight lines. When we pulled over to the side of the road at a patch of gravel, I listened to him, understood that this young officer was just repeating what he had been told in his training, and then unloaded on him by quoting several items from the vehicle code by the numbers. To his credit, he retrieved his copy of the vehicle code, confirmed that I had told him true, and apologized.

    Oddly, even after I explained to him the reasons why it is much safer to take the lane on such narrow lanes, he still believed that it would be safer for me to hug the edge. I guess it’s tough to undue months of indoctrination.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Jim Lee November 4, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    If we can get Chloe in, then JM…

    A reminder:

    The original Council presentation for VZ was cancelled because of the protests at City Hall. It’s been rescheduled for December 1st, Thursday in the afternoon.

    I am counting on BP (and others) to cover it well…because I’ll be on…Maui.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Andy November 4, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    This will only change when it becomes a political issue that matters. There isn’t a single politician in Oregon whose prospects are affected by this OSP attitude. Even in Portland, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick is headed for reelection and the only time he has talked about this issue during the campaign is to say that it is often safer for pedestrians if the City doesn’t mark crosswalks.

    It’s the same with ODOT. When I first got involved with advocacy, I was told by the Assistant City Manager where I lived that “ODOT only cares about ton-miles and throughput.” I did not believe her and was astonished when she was proved right. There is no reason for them to care about anything else. Look at it as rational cost/benefit calculation based on self-interest.

    If cyclists want this to change, they will have to get organized and active. Otherwise, look forward to more of the same.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Gerald Fittipaldi November 4, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    This is a very well thought out editorial. I would love to hear a response from someone who doesn’t think that OSP is engaging in blatant victim blaming.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Dave November 7, 2016 at 9:31 am

      And, why is the OSP seemingly afraid to blame drivers. Cars don’t “drift off” a road-they are driven carelessly, inattentively, or in a state of distraction or intoxication. The car has no will of it’s own but the driver does.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Kristi Finney November 4, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Are police doing thorough investigations in these deadly or injurious instances? (Rhetorical). What is the status of the driver’s headlights, for example? “Man walking killed: driver had cloudy headlights.” “Woman on bike struck on rural highway: driver did not have headlights on bright.” I just thought of this because poor headlight illumination was featured on 20/20 last week. http://abcnews.go.com/US/report-raises-concerns-effectiveness-car-headlights/story?id=38018199

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Spiffy November 7, 2016 at 7:56 am

      I wish we were allowed to have the same lights as Europe does… less glare and more detail visibility…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Angel November 4, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Fantastic editorial.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    q November 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Although it’s victim blaming, it also isn’t respectful to drivers, because it takes the position that drivers are incapable of doing anything to reduce their likelihood of killing somebody. It’s telling drivers that they’re screwed if they have the misfortune to encounter a pedestrian or cyclist that hasn’t taken all these special safety measures.

    Or, maybe they just think all drivers already do everything possible to prevent collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Jackson Flanders November 4, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      Maybe they realize it’s mostly hopeless.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        q November 4, 2016 at 11:36 pm

        Good point.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      El Biciclero November 5, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      “Or, maybe they just think all drivers already do everything possible to prevent collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.”

      I think it’s more along the lines of thinking that most drivers do everything I would do, therefore, it must be enough, otherwise, I don’t do enough, either.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        rachel b November 7, 2016 at 12:55 pm

        Bingo.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Jackson Flanders November 4, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Is it victim blaming when the (local) police warn residents to avoid car break-ins by keeping their car “showroom clean”? Is it victim blaming when the NPS warns visitors to keep clear of bears (and other animals) for their own safety? Is it victim blaming to warn people that crossing certain streets can be dangerous, and that they should take extra caution when doing so? Is it victim blaming when the police suggest replacing your cable lock with something more robust so that your bike doesn’t get stolen?

    If you think the OSP should be doing something specific (and that is realistically within their power) to address these issues, please post it, and let’s present some proposals. Just complaining about “victim blaming” when there may not be much the police can do other than warn people to be careful does not help build a case for forward movement.

    That’s the best response I can muster.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Jackson Flanders November 4, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      This was intended as a response to Gerald, who wanted a defense of OSP’s statement.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Gerald Fittipaldi November 4, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      There is a lot our state and local agencies could be doing other than blaming pedestrians and bicyclists. For one thing, they could follow Jonathan’s suggestion: “While OSP felt the need to issue a special message about ‘pedestrians and bicyclists’ safety because of three fatalities in nine days — they issued no such blame or special notice when seven people died and two were seriously injured in five separate collisions in the five days between October 21st and the 25th … Where is the special safety message from the OSP imploring people to use more caution while driving, slow down, and be extra careful?”

      OSP could be issuing statements imploring motorists to drive more carefully. Below is a PSA that one agency has distributed:

      “Share the Road – Slow Down. Most people agree that driving 100 miles per hour in an urban environment is not a good idea. The problem is that few people realize exceeding the speed limit by only 5 miles per hour can be just as dangerous.

      The fatality rate on local streets is more than three times that on interstates. Studies show that 9 out of 10 pedestrians can survive being struck by a car going just 20 miles per hour, however, that number decreases to 5 out of 10 at 30 miles per hour and just 1 out of ten at 40 miles per hour.

      ***Speeding is a choice – a deliberate and calculated behavior where the driver knows the risks but ignores the danger.*** [emphasis mine]

      Make a pledge to slow down and share the road.”

      Now, there might be something like this buried in OSP or ODOT’s material, but the point is that the overwhelming majority of their material and PSAs directs messaging at walkers and bikers, not motorists.

      According to wikipedia, “Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially responsible for the harm that befell them.”

      Oregon is the first state I’ve come across where the police regularly state that a pedestrian killed by a motorist was “wearing dark clothing.” This is a disgrace.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        wsbob November 5, 2016 at 6:26 am

        “…Below is a PSA that one agency has distributed: …” fittipaldi

        By name, what agency would that be? The stats it gives are interesting and maybe helpful, though the 5mph difference may be stretching things a bit.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 5, 2016 at 10:35 am

        Issuing messages is unlikely to change much of anything. That also applies to implorations towards pedestrians, but at least there, a pedestrian can (often, not always) take steps (that they ideally shouldn’t have to) to prevent being struck by a vehicle.

        I am not saying that if drivers behaved differently, some of these precautions wouldn’t be necessary. Dirvers _should_ behave differently. But until they do, the burden of safety rests more heavily on VRUs than it should. I think the OSP statement simply reflects that reality.

        I do hope that this incident will lead them to do more traffic enforcement, but Oregon is a big state and the police can’t be everywhere.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      q November 4, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      Your examples aren’t good comparisons. When police give advice on how to avoid car break-ins or bike thefts, it’s done with the understanding that the people doing the stealing are criminals. There’s no attempt to tell people, “Don’t steal” because there are already laws that tell people that.

      Park rangers warn people about bears because they can’t tell bears to not harm people, plus people in danger of being harmed by bears are typically the cause of the bears attacking.

      With pedestrian and bike safety, the danger is caused in large part by drivers. So what OSP should be doing is telling drivers things to do to avoid endangering others, and enforcing the laws to get unsafe drivers to change their behaviors, and get them off the roads if they don’t.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 5, 2016 at 10:42 am

        There are also laws that tell people not to drive over the speed limit, and not to do other things that put other road users at risk. The police also do a fair bit of enforcement. Where things may differ is people driving dangerously may not think they are doing anything wrong, whereas a thief definitely knows he or she is.

        We’ve had a generation worth of “drive safely” PSAs, and the problem still persists, so I’m not sure another round will make much difference.

        I think the real critique of the OSP is not that they blame victims, but that they don’t do enough enforcement.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Gerald Fittipaldi November 5, 2016 at 12:42 am

      I just read a comment by Chris I on the October 13th article, “Sheriff’s office blames deceased victim …” that really hit home in terms of how OSP reports on fatal crashes:

      “If we turned the tables a bit, I wonder how most drivers would react to these statements:

      Around 6:30 a.m., this morning, deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office were called to a motor vehicle operator versus cyclist crash on Shaff Road SE near Rainwater Road SE near Stayton. When deputies arrived they found that a vehicle operator had struck a cyclist, resulting in fatal injuries.

      Early indications show that the cyclist was traveling east on Shaff Road when an eastbound minivan struck the bicycle. The area the crash took place has very little shoulder and no lighting. At the time of the crash it was dark and rainy. The officers noted that the vehicle in question was an older model, with poorly maintained headlights and a windshield that had not been cleaned recently. Additionally, the van was not equipped with a collision avoidance or automated stopping safety system. It is not know whether or not the operator was devoting their full attention to the roadway in front of them, given the adverse weather conditions. Police suspect that the vehicle operator was driving too fast for conditions.

      The cyclist was equipped with a rear reflector, as is required by Oregon law. Identities of those involved will be released once the appropriate notifications have been made. Shaff Road was closed for 2 hours while investigators processed the scene, Shaff Road has now reopened for regular traffic.”

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        wsbob November 5, 2016 at 6:38 am

        Within 2 hrs after a collision occurs, is it reasonable to expect a police department or sheriff’s dept to prepare the kind of detailed collision report chris I suggested in his comment, which you have posted here?

        Brief as it was, I would guess Marion County Sheriff’s got their statement out as promptly as they did…out of alarm and concern for other vulnerable road users that might be going out unprepared for bad conditions they may encounter…and as a reminder to people driving, to make efforts to anticipate the presence on the road, of ill equipped and consequently poorly visible vulnerable road users.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          q November 5, 2016 at 10:34 pm

          Nice try, but the report read like a criticism of the cyclist, not a warning to drivers.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            wsbob November 7, 2016 at 8:03 am

            I think some vulnerable road users are defensive about note made…by public agencies or anyone else…of vulnerable road users involved in collisions in low visibility conditions, and that had not equipped their bike or themselves with at least some hi-vis gear.

            After a collision has occurred, it’s too late to be defensive. The time for someone going on the road, walking, biking, skateboarding, etc…to be defensive, is before going out on the road on foot or bike…through the use of something, anything, to enhance their visibility to people driving.

            When a mere two hours after a collision occurred involving someone as a vulnerable road user and someone driving, a public agency issues a statement noting the lack of use of lights by the vulnerable road user on a bike, and the wearing of clothes that defeat efforts by people driving in seeing the vulnerable road user…this is an alarm sounded.

            You may feel the sheriff’s report read like a criticism of the guy riding the bike. I don’t feel the report read like a criticism, but instead as I said…as an alarm…a plea to vulnerable road users to benefit themselves, their friends, family and loved ones, and to other road users…by using at least some hi-vis gear when going out in low visibility conditions.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              Dan A November 7, 2016 at 8:31 am

              I think it’s weird that you don’t appear to be concerned with the lack of similar messaging regarding the basic speed law.

              I’ll say again, if everyone obeyed this law, bright clothing would not be necessary.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              Greg Spencer November 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm

              No doubt the OSP’s warnings are well intended — the problem is the mindset behind them. They’re putting the onus on cyclists and pedestrians to adapt to unsafe roads. And when you look at the death stats, it’s clear that well-intended safety warnings are next to useless. What’s needed is reduction in traffic speeds, street lighting, marked and signaled crossings, etc.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 5, 2016 at 10:46 am

        The thing I like about your report is that it explores the possible reasons for the crash a little deeper than seems to happen (though, to be fair, I haven’t read many real incident reports, so I’m basing my statement mostly on characterizations I have read here). I think we need to “officially” understand the causes of these crashes to know how to prevent them.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      9watts November 5, 2016 at 8:40 am

      You are here comparing people piloting automobiles with bears and thieves, two categories to which we are inclined to assign a lower level of responsibility, or in the case of the bear culpability due to, shall we say, compromised social norms. I get where you are going with your devil’s advocate(?) pitch, but I think we can and should hold people who are exercising the responsibility to pilot an automobile to a higher standard, and your equivalence attempt does a disservice because it reifies this idea that there was nothing drivers could do in those cases, when we know there were plenty of things they could/can do, and would if the penalties were stiff enough (forfeiture of auto, fines in the $1,000s, jail time, etc).

      We aren’t in the habit of licensing bears or thieves.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Dan A November 5, 2016 at 9:36 am

      I, for one, think it’s time to make sure bears have licenses. Plus, they don’t pay for wilderness permits.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 6, 2016 at 9:09 pm

        Hell, they don’t even pay the Arts Tax. The deadbeats.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        rachel b November 7, 2016 at 12:58 pm

        🙂

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Kyle Banerjee November 5, 2016 at 12:02 am

    Fault is a useless concept when people get killed/hurt. Right or wrong, the laws of physics trump everything else.

    The only way to survive is to ride/walk/whatever like everyone is trying to kill you but not take it personally. Stepping in front or passing on the right of turning vehicles assumes drivers will do what they should.

    No one has as great an interest in your own safety as you, and if you refuse to own that, it’s not going to work out well.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Toadslick November 5, 2016 at 2:29 am

      “Fault is a useless concept when people get killed/hurt. Right or wrong, the laws of physics trump everything else.”

      I’m assuming that if you saw someone get shot with a gun, you wouldn’t throw your hands up in the air and say, “Whelp, physics, what can you do? No point in assigning fault here!”

      “No one has as great an interest in your own safety as you, and if you refuse to own that, it’s not going to work out well.”

      Who is this statement even directed at? Who is “refusing to own” their own safety? Are you seriously telling this to vulnerable road users, the vast majority of which are all too aware of just how vulnerable they are?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Kyle Banerjee November 5, 2016 at 8:06 am

        I am saying you must take all reasonable measures to ensure your safety and not trust anyone to do the right thing. As a ped, this means you must look for cars when crossing and assume none will stop until you have direct evidence that indicates otherwise.

        I regularly see peds step in front of cars. The cars are legally obligated to stop, but this is extremely dangerous. Unless a vehicle does something unpredictable like leave the lane of travel or move at an unreasonable speed that a normal person couldn’t estimate properly, there’s no reason to get hit.

        I have no issue with OSP’s messaging. Even if even if 99.9% of motorists are awesome (and we know the real odds will never be that high), some will still be inattentive/drunk/whatever. No one should bet their life that a driver will do what they’re supposed to.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          9watts November 5, 2016 at 8:47 am

          “As a ped, this means you must look for cars when crossing and assume none will stop until you have direct evidence that indicates otherwise.”

          Why does this belong in this discussion? Perhaps you are unaware how statements like this are based on presumptions of fault or potential fault, and by focusing as you are on what pedestrians should/could have done differently while (like ODOT) making no mention of actions the person behind the wheel could/should have taken you are reifying this same extremely unhelpful messaging you say you have no problem with.

          These problems (death, dismemberment) arise in I think every case where an automobile is driven at speed and with an unknown amount of driver’s attention/perspicacity/ability to see clearly everything in his/her path. If we clear up those issues, I think the problem will, for all intents and purposes, go away.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Kyle Banerjee November 5, 2016 at 9:08 am

            Like I said, fault is a useless concept.

            People need to focus on what they can do to achieve the best outcome regardless of who is responsible. As a ped, this means looking both ways before crossing the street and proceeding with caution. Most small kids get this, but many adults in Portland struggle with it for some reason.

            There is no benefit to being “dead right.”

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              Stephen Keller November 5, 2016 at 10:14 am

              I would say that fault is a useless concept to the dead. It is a very useful concept to those among the living who wish to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of similar events in the future.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              Chris I November 5, 2016 at 10:21 am

              You talk like it is impossible to practice safe habits around traffic while also advocating for more driver responsibility… why can’t we do both?

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Kyle Banerjee November 5, 2016 at 10:29 am

                We must do both.

                One thing that I think is missing from the messaging for the drivers is how killing/hurting someone could affect them.

                For example, even if they have no conscience and don’t care whose parents/kids they killed, they could still have all their assets seized and wages garnished for the rest of their lives.

                I believe insurance companies that put gizmos or software to monitor driving helps encourage responsible behavior. Some people run cameras and on board telemetry independently which I also think is a good thing.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Spiffy November 7, 2016 at 8:42 am

                “For example, even if they have no conscience and don’t care whose parents/kids they killed, they could still have all their assets seized and wages garnished for the rest of their lives.”

                that will just create more people living on the fringe with no real assets and no long-term employments… already too many of those people…

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Adam H.
                Adam H. November 5, 2016 at 10:44 am

                While I say that the responsibility of safety falls on the party most capable of causing harm, that does not mean that I advocate for riding the wrong way down burnside in-between cars. The difference is between personal safety (which is a human survival instinct and does not need to be taught) and societal safety. The latter does need to be taught and that responsibility falls on drivers not to kill other people.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 5, 2016 at 11:14 am

                Personal safety most certainly does need to be taught, and always has. Humans have some innate protections “built in” (fear of snakes, for example), but most of what we know about safety has been learned. This is doubly true in the modern urban environment.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Robert Burchett November 5, 2016 at 1:10 pm

                Risky behavior is dangerous and it annoys other people, but so far when I’ve been hit it was in my model citizen mode. Riding legal, good conditions, daylight, no low angle sun. It’s a small sample of one person, but over 20 years on Portland streets, thousands of hours, tens of thousands of miles.

                A MV operator doesn’t need to be acting out to hurt other people. It just takes a moment of inattention. I’ve been fortunate. My damage so far amounts to one crushed rear wheel, some paint and a little skin.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 5, 2016 at 10:54 am

                We can, and should do both. But there are those here who get all riled up when TriMet, for example, issues any message reminding pedestrians of ways they can increase their own safety.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                9watts November 5, 2016 at 11:42 am

                Count me in. Especially since Trimet’s messaging is never symmetrical, never includes comparable column inches devoted to what people in cars, trucks, buses should be doing.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm

                I am sure Trimet spends considerable time and money on driver training about how to avoid striking pedestrians. Their interest in pedestrian visibility is so that their drivers can see pedestrians and thus avoid them. Accusing Trimet of not doing private automobile safety PSAs is silly… That’s just not their job.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                9watts November 5, 2016 at 4:40 pm

                “Accusing Trimet of not doing private automobile safety PSAs is silly… That’s just not their job.”

                Your attempt at exonerating them is silly.
                Why is Trimet in the business of wagging fingers at pedestrian (attire) at all? The point I’m trying to make here (and El Biciclero has argued this better than I can here in past conversations) is that the exhortation to pedestrians to go above and beyond legal requirements, while remaining silent about drivers who habitually fail to meet the legal requirements that accompany the privilege of piloting an automobile (basic speed rule, full attention, to name just the two most obvious) is what irks. That Trimet takes rhyming, sing-song whacks at pedestrian clothing aligns with and reinforces this bias and as such does all kinds of work that is counter productive and they should be held to a higher standard.

                If, given those misgivings, Trimet can’t figure out a way to speak to pedestrians without reinforcing these biases, then it would be better to skip wading into this pond altogether.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 6, 2016 at 9:12 pm

                They want their drivers to be able to see pedestrians. That is their interest, and it seems legitimate. If people routinely drove without lights, causing crashes with buses, I would expect TriMet to do PSAs about that as well.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Spiffy November 7, 2016 at 8:50 am

                I’m one of those that gets riled up because what TriMet is really saying is “drivers can’t be bothered to look, so wear something that makes you impossible to miss”…

                their interest in pedestrian visibility is selfish and only intended to help shift some of the blame away from them… if they want their drivers to avoid pedestrians then they need to train them to look at the road and ensure that the road is clear… not seeing things that are there is a huge training/negligence problem…

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 7, 2016 at 11:13 am

                I don’t think I would characterize many TriMet drivers as “can’t be bothered to look for pedestrians”. I don’t get why you think they don’t train their drivers about pedestrian safety. If people are easier to see, there is less chance of human error. Vision Zero is about building redundancy into the system to make human error less likely to have catastrophic results.

                Like any life-critical system, redundancy is the key.

                If you want to wear black at night, no one is saying you can’t. Just do it. It’ll be fine.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 5, 2016 at 10:57 am

                We can, and should, do both. But there are those here who get all riled up when TriMet, for example, issues any message reminding pedestrians of ways they can increase their own safety.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                9watts November 5, 2016 at 11:50 am

                For me it has never been a problem to be reminded to pay attention as a person who happens to be walking or riding a bike – that is common sense and useful to hear every so often; the problem arises for me when such admonitions are either (a) the only admonition forthcoming (as in Kyle Banerjee’s or ODOT’s case), or (b) that any admonitions to folks piloting motor vehicles come across as afterthoughts (PBOT). We have a widespread and persistent problem that Jonathan’s excellent editorial highlights, and we’ve had ample opportunity here in the past to discuss: asymmetrical a priori fault assignment to anyone not in a car.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                wsbob November 5, 2016 at 1:16 pm

                Messages advising vulnerable road users to prepare themselves for low visibility conditions they may encounter while walking and biking, also help remind or raise awareness of people that drive…to the likely possibility they may encounter on their driving trips, people on foot or bike that may not be readily visible in low visibility situations.

                I doubt that only people walking and biking, are reading the various safety messages from the police, trimet and so on, specifically addressing the vulnerability on the road, of people not traveling by motor vehicle. People that drive, may well have family and friends that walk and bike, leading their thoughts about people walking and biking, to be raised when they read those messages.

                The messages are a general reminder of road safety, directed to all road users, despite specifically referring to the vulnerability of people walking and biking.

                More messages could be written and distributed to advise people to drive slower, etc, but just in terms of what I see in my own travels about, there is a greater need to emphasize to vulnerable road users, the importance of their making at least some preparations to enhance their visibility to people driving motor vehicles.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          9watts November 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm

          “I am saying you must take all reasonable measures to ensure your safety and not trust anyone to do the right thing.”

          But this is not (or should not be confused with) a war zone. How much responsibility, in your view, does the pilot of the automobile bear? You realize that some of us on whom you would shoulder so much responsibility are blind, deaf, walk very slowly (old), or dart out into traffic (kids). How do you account for them? And if people piloting cars are on the hook to notice them under all circumstances, why flip things when we’re talking about merely vulnerable road users, without any of those limitations?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Kyle Banerjee November 5, 2016 at 5:16 pm

            Unless there are extenuating circumstances, I believe the vehicle operator bears all of the responsibility. The difference between a good driver and a bad one is that a good one can respond to a situation that couldn’t have reasonably been predicted and a bad one will blame circumstances.

            However, this is not much consolation for the victim. As you point out, many have no ability to mitigate the situation. I think passers by have an obligation to assist when they see a situation unfolding. Roads are dangerous, and minimizing injury/death requires everyone to do what they can.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              9watts November 5, 2016 at 6:08 pm

              “However, this is not much consolation for the victim.”

              This is a curious rhetorical move you keep making. How is this ex-post view useful? The whole point (I thought) of having these discussions here on bikeportland is that by figuring out what went wrong we can proceed to right some of these injustices, biases, misconceptions, and help reduce the chances of this happening in the future. This would include (in my view) exhuming the perspective we last saw in the 1920s, where cars were understood to be a menace, and everyone else was understood to have a (prior) right to the road free from this (then new) threat.

              “As you point out, many have no ability to mitigate the situation.”

              …. and so therefore we should do what? Remind the blind person to look both ways before crossing?!

              “I think passers by have an obligation to assist when they see a situation unfolding.”

              Please explain. Your focus on responsibilizing those not in the car is leading down these rabbit holes. Why exactly are we having this particular discussion?

              “Roads are dangerous, and minimizing injury/death requires everyone to do what they can.”

              Roads are dangerous because some (a lot of) people pilot automobiles on them without taking the necessary precautions related to speed and attention. Your ex-post view keeps suggesting (or implying) that there is nothing to be done about this so lets focus on everyone else’s behavior/clothing/perspicacity. I reject this approach categorically. I think it is morally, legally, and socially wrong-headed.

              Roads are emphatically not dangerous because people fail to wear day-glo or cross the street without looking. The danger only arises once you add autos that are drive too fast or without proper attention of the surroundings into this situation. Since it is the cars that introduce this danger I think we should look to the operators to mitigate that danger and not everyone else who has the misfortune to be in their way.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Middle of the Road guy November 6, 2016 at 7:57 am

                All users have a responsibility to the other users to make themselves visible. So yes, even the most vulnerable users have actions they should take.

                It’s possible to be a victim but to have also made decisions that resulted in one becoming a victim.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Kyle Banerjee November 6, 2016 at 10:44 am

                9watts
                “However, this is not much consolation for the victim.”
                This is a curious rhetorical move you keep making. How is this ex-post view useful? The whole point (I thought) of having these discussions here on bikeportland is that by figuring out what went wrong we can proceed to right some of these injustices, biases, misconceptions, and help reduce the chances of this happening in the future.

                Thinking you’re doing much to correct the injustices of the world by posting to an echo chamber on the internet is probably a misconception. So is that you have much chance of correcting the behavior of more of a handful of people.

                Even if every driver had the perfect attitude, they will occasionally make mistakes so people should take all these measures even in the perfect world where all injustices have been corrected.

                9watts

                …. and so therefore we should do what? Remind the blind person to look both ways before crossing?!

                How about focusing on what you can do to help rather than what others do wrong? For example, a few weeks ago I saw an elderly blind man wander into a busy intersection. Cars were acting like he wasn’t even there and passing close by at full speed — I couldn’t believe it. I rode my bike right into the middle, planted myself firmly in front, and recruited others other people to totally shut down movement until we could get him off. His wife just about had a heart attack but was thankful. I’ve helped other people and rescued animals from busy roads on numerous occasions.

                Doing things like this does not antagonize motorists, but it does sometimes shock a few people out of their normal complacent state. Most importantly, it helps those who need it in the moment.

                9watts
                Roads are emphatically not dangerous because people fail to wear day-glo or cross the street without looking. The danger only arises once you add autos that are drive too fast or without proper attention of the surroundings into this situation. Since it is the cars that introduce this danger I think we should look to the operators to mitigate that danger and not everyone else who has the misfortune to be in their way.

                In other words, totally ignore the reality of the roads we have and concentrate efforts on correcting an entire population of drivers rather than helping people learn to manage risk in the environment we actually have.

                If you really want more cyclists out there, focusing on how dangerous the cars are and how vulnerable the cyclists isn’t going to help. What reasonable person allows to have their life controlled by some arbitrary danger?

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                El Biciclero November 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm

                9watts
                Roads are emphatically not dangerous because people fail to wear day-glo or cross the street without looking. The danger only arises once you add autos that are drive too fast or without proper attention of the surroundings into this situation. Since it is the cars that introduce this danger I think we should look to the operators to mitigate that danger and not everyone else who has the misfortune to be in their way.

                In other words, totally ignore the reality of the roads we have and concentrate efforts on correcting an entire population of drivers rather than helping people learn to manage risk in the environment we actually have.

                If you really want more cyclists out there, focusing on how dangerous the cars are and how vulnerable the cyclists isn’t going to help. What reasonable person allows to have their life controlled by some arbitrary danger?

                I don’t want to speak for 9watts, but I don’t get the same interpretation of what you quoted here. Recognizing where the danger comes from does not mean we should ignore it. Indeed we should pay it more attention than it currently receives. The danger of autos should be recognized implicitly at the scene of every incident, where trained traffic investigators should ask themselves first and foremost, “what was the operator of this monstrously destructive machine doing that they were unable to foresee or avoid this incident?”

                “What reasonable person allows to have their life controlled by some arbitrary danger?”

                I’m sure you wrote this in a hurry, but this response is problematic. Reasonable people assume different risks every day; using the road—in whatever mode—is one of them, it doesn’t make anyone “unreasonable”. Also, thinking of motor traffic as “some arbitrary danger”, falls into the trap of assuming traffic is a force of nature, an unstoppable hurricane which can only be mitigated by boarding up the windows, piling up sandbags, and hiding in the basement—or just evacuating the area. Or maybe it assumes the other popular comparison of drivers to wild animals—bears or sharks—that absolutely cannot be expected to exercise moral judgment over their own behavior; they merely “do what drivers do”: run over people. Traffic is not “arbitrary”; the vehicles that make up traffic are operated by, we assume, “reasonable” people who most certainly can exercise moral judgment to govern their own actions. Furthermore, even if we take the “force of nature” as a valid comparison, we, as a society have provided and sanctioned the claws and teeth for these wild animals, we’ve sponsored the warm ocean to foment the hurricane—the “arbitrary danger” is of our own making, and could be dismantled if the will were there to do it. By “dismantled”, I’m not talking about the assumed “ban all the cars” strawman, but merely about taking steps to de-claw nuisance bears, cage the sharks (instead of the other way around, as we attempt to do using “protected” bike lanes), or cool the ocean a bit (perhaps via more automated enforcement of traffic violations or by putting more assumed legal responsibility on drivers in motor vs. non-motor collisions).

                None of this is to say we should merely cast our fate to the street and hope for the best, but it currently appears that traffic incidents are increasing, poor driving is on the rise by an increasing number of unlicensed and/or uninsured drivers, and all we do is shrug our shoulders and say, “maybe some day-glo?” We can do better on all fronts, I think.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 6, 2016 at 9:19 pm

                No one is suggesting adding autos to the urban environment; they are already here. Even if you start from the POV that drivers are 100% responsible for what happens when they drive, it is still in pedestrians’ interest to do everything they can to avoid being struck. If wearing dark clothing leads to more crashes (that are 100% the driver’s fault), then wearing dark clothing is quantifiably dangerous. Educating people who may not realize that seems defensible; we educate people about other hazards as well, even ones that cause far fewer deaths and injuries (like gas leaks).

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                wsbob November 7, 2016 at 7:21 am

                “…If wearing dark clothing leads to more crashes (that are 100% the driver’s fault), then wearing dark clothing is quantifiably dangerous. …” h kitty

                I wouldn’t say that wearing dark clothing leads to the occurrence of crashes, but I would say that vulnerable road users, not equipping themselves with at least some hi-vis gear, reduces the ability of road users driving motor vehicles, to avoid collisions with vulnerable road users.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Spiffy November 7, 2016 at 8:56 am

                sounds like you’d be in favor of educational outreach to get young attractive women to stop wearing revealing clothing in order to prevent them from being sexually assaulted…

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Dan A November 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

                The problem is that we are nowhere close to considering drivers to be 100% responsible for things they hit. I’m not even sure we’re at 50% responsible.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 7, 2016 at 11:34 am

                I am definitely in favor of educating drivers about safety, and doing a much better job about identifying and calling out factors that lead to crashes. 100% in favor. I just don’t understand the objections to reminding people of things they can do to increase their personal safety. It’s not either-or.

                If you think the (minimal) resources that are spent on pedestrian education would be better spent on driver education, then make that be your rallying call. I would totally support that. Your rallying cry seems to be “Don’t tell me what to wear! Don’t blame the victim!” That seems less compelling.

                The outcome I want is fewer people dead and injured.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Dan A November 7, 2016 at 11:48 am

                Yes, I think the (minimal) resources that are spent on pedestrian education would be better spent on driver education.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Kyle Banerjee November 7, 2016 at 11:32 am

                @Spif — Are you seriously saying vulnerable users should not avoid being invisible to motorists? I strongly recommend that you never ride rural highways at night. It will likely cost you your life if you do if for long.

                I do not understand the resistance to using common sense. If you ride prepared for the dangerous drivers out there, you have decent protection against all of them. People who do this can ride safely almost anywhere.

                If you ride the way people would be able to if all drivers were responsible and alert, you don’t have to worry much about that group. People who ride like this are in danger wherever they are.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                BB November 7, 2016 at 12:12 pm

                There is no such thing as “being invisible”, if so the department of defense would be involved pretty quickly. If a motorist doesn’t see someone or something that is outside of their vehicle, they were not paying adequate attention and/or operating their vehicle in a manner unsafe for the conditions at hand. Period.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Dan A November 7, 2016 at 12:43 pm

                I saw multiple people wearing black this morning at around 6am, though I did have a significant advantage: I was looking for them.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              wsbob November 7, 2016 at 7:39 am

              Some might say that a vulnerable road user, not using hi-vis gear to alert their presence on the road to people driving, and that become involved in collisions with motor vehicles…is an extenuating circumstance. That word ‘extenuating’ goes too far though, if it does mean what the online dictionary I use, says it does:

              “Partially excusing or justifying” wordweb

              Someone, by the fact they were walking or biking without lights or at least some hi-vis gear, and that came to be involved in a collision with someone driving, doesn’t excuse or justify the person driving of having collided with the person walking or biking.

              An absence of use of hi-vis gear by people walking, biking, and other vulnerable road users, aggravates the potential existing for collisions to occur: ‘aggravates’ is the operative word. Absence of the use of hi-vis gear, depending upon the visibility conditions…such as country roads before the sun has risen, and with the rain coming down…allows the difficulty existing in being able to see a vulnerable road user, to worsen, increasing the potential for a collision to occur.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Dan A November 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm

                Especially when the driver doesn’t slow down to account for the conditions.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Middle of the Road guy November 6, 2016 at 7:45 am

          Well stated.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Spiffy November 7, 2016 at 8:31 am

      you sound like the typical bully… might makes right, yes?

      what may seem like a reasonable measure to you is extreme overkill for many others… people are sitting quietly in their living rooms when cars come crashing through their house… is it their fault they’re dead for not taking reasonable measures to ensure that no cars can break through their house?

      it must be horrible to live in your constant world of fear…

      my reasonable measures are to make sure I’m doing everything legally required of me… and yes, I expect that drivers are doing the same… to expect anything else is to invite lunacy and paranoia…

      stop bullying vulnerable road users… I refuse to live in your paranoid world…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 7, 2016 at 11:44 am

        “Taking reasonable precautions” is not the same as “it’s your fault”.

        Locking your bike with a U-lock is a reasonable precaution. If use a cable lock and it gets stolen, it’s not your fault. The thief is still 100% to blame.

        Taking the precaution doesn’t shift blame; it just makes it less likely you’ll have to deal with the fallout.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Kyle Banerjee November 7, 2016 at 12:05 pm

          Curiously, when the cops were handing out U-locks, everyone here was saying how great it was.

          No howling about shifting all responsibility to the victims who would be blamed by people even here if they used a cable lock, how it sent the message out that cyclists should expect to be robbed yada yada.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Adam H.
            Adam H. November 7, 2016 at 12:25 pm

            Handing out better locks to people who can’t afford to get their bike stolen – let alone a good lock – is a good idea. U-locks are demonstrably better than cable locks. It’s just a good idea to have a bigger deterrent for would-be thieves. Handing out helmets and hi-vis, however, is not the same thing. For one, helmets and hi-vis don’t necessarily increate your safety. Two, handing out U-locks to defer criminals is taking personal steps to preventing crime. Last time I checked, driving is not a crime and not all drivers are criminals.There is a difference between crime by negligence and deliberate larceny. Telling drivers to drive safety is not equivalent to telling people not to steal bikes.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            El Biciclero November 7, 2016 at 2:35 pm

            There is one key difference in the two situations: we don’t give known bike thieves the tools they need to steal bikes and then send them off with a pat on the back, hoping they won’t steal any more bikes. If a thief is caught, we take away their tools and there is some restitution to be paid, either monetary or in time served. Drivers, on the other hand, since they are licensed (supposedly) and driving is a permitted activity on our roads, should be expected to perform to a very high level of competence and responsibility. More often, though, bad drivers are merely excused and let go to scamper off and continue being a menace. Being a “victim” is pretty much the only outcome one can expect if one has an encounter with a bike thief. Being a “victim” of a driver should be far, far outside the norm.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          El Biciclero November 10, 2016 at 5:17 pm

          But things are curiously different when it comes to road use. Yes, if my bike gets stolen while using a cable lock, it is still 100% the thief’s fault. But imagine if the thief were caught wheeling your bike down the sidewalk, you were called to reclaim it—stripped-down as it may be—and the police officer present tells you that they basically can’t prosecute the thief because the officer didn’t see them steal it, and really, you shouldn’t be leaving your bike laying around locked up with only a cable lock. I mean, what do you expect? “Sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Bike Thief; I hope you’ve learned your lesson, Mr. Cable-Locker—you’re lucky you even got your bike back”. Nearly this exact same thing happens every time a driver operates his/her vehicle illegally and hits a bicyclist or pedestrian. Unless there is incontrovertible evidence that the motorist committed some egregious violation of the law or can be shown to be impaired, it’s usually “tough luck, bicyclist—next time stay off the road!”, while the motorist is dismissed from the scene with apologies.

          Every time we tell pedestrians and bicyclists to “be seen”, or we call out the lack of above-and-beyond precautions some VRU “failed” to take to avoid a collision—while not issuing a single helpful hint to motorists—it sends the message that drivers can’t be expected to live up to their legal obligations to maintain reasonable speed and pay attention to the roadway if VRUs won’t take a single shred of responsibility for their own safety by wearing approved bright/reflective clothing or using lights of an acceptable brightness, or forfeiting their right to walk or ride altogether. Now such implied messages wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, except that Law Enforcement—the very institution obligated to fairly uphold and enforce the responsibility requirements of all road users—is the one issuing these subtle messages, and then turning around and enforcing the law accordingly.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Mike November 5, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Be careful. It’s dangerous out there. And as America becomes more unhinged it’s gonna get dangerouser.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Kittens November 5, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Bravo Johnathan.
    I think it is also worth pointing out that their “suggestions” are made out of sincere concern but are nevertheless misguided.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      B. Carfree November 5, 2016 at 7:53 am

      I’m not so sure that there is sincere concern for the well-being of non-motorized users of our roadways by OSP. It seems to me that they view us an an annoyance and would prefer that we go away. I believe this is part of what motivates the victim blaming on their part.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Dave November 5, 2016 at 9:52 am

    OSP is run by our do-nothing governor. I’m not a Bud Pierce fan but we really need a more hands on governor than Kate Brown. She’s a caretaker governor who has no agenda that I can find.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      dwk November 5, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Nice try…
      Here is Bud’s agenda from his website. Cars, Cars, Cars……

      -Stop favoring out-of-state companies at the expense of Oregonians. Repeal the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard law so ordinary Oregonians will not have to spend an extra 19 cents to a dollar per gallon of gasoline in a hidden gas tax whose proceeds will go to state-favored, out-of-state, green energy companies.
      -Pass a multi-year transportation package designed specifically to reduce highway road congestion, especially in the Greater Portland Region.
      -Build a system of north-south arterials in Washington County to deal with the problems that the Westside Bypass was supposed to address in order to reduce 217 gridlock and spillover congestion in Clackamas County.

      You should probably disclose if you work for the campaign?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Mike November 5, 2016 at 10:15 am

        Yeah. But you left out the fact that ol’ Bud wants to cut everybody’s taxes, including the gas tax, to pay of all these new highways. Just let the magic hand of the free market work its wonders.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Adam H.
        Adam H. November 5, 2016 at 10:50 am

        multi-year transportation package designed specifically to reduce highway road congestion, especially in the Greater Portland Region

        Actually, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s build a regional express train service!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Dave November 5, 2016 at 1:25 pm

        If I lived in Oregon, I would NOT be voting for Bud Pierce! Your current gov’s husband had a SE Portland to Sandy bike commute for a long time. She should take road safety personally. There’s times where detachment is not a good thing, no?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Robert Burchett November 5, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Somebody put the OSP action on the governor’s desk. We all know where the buck stops, but Kate Brown didn’t invent the culture of the OSP. At a reasonable guess, patrol officers drive 50,000 miles a year. Their lives are shaped by time they spend in a car.

    I rarely leave my house without getting on a bike. If I even walk someplace it’s an adventure. And yet, on the rare occasions that I drive a car it’s easy to fall into driver mode. The point of view, the lack of visibility, the isolation from the environment, and the expectation of speed all shape the experience.

    Cars are seductive and driving cars gets in your head. Our police officers, from whatever agency, spend a lot of time in cars before, during, and after their other official activities. It’s no surprise that this attitude shows up.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      9watts November 5, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      Well put.

      But I think we, as a society, can, while acknowledging all of that, also recognize the problems that come from this sort of worldview, and take steps to counteract it.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    wsbob November 5, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    “…The message was picked up by The Oregonian a few minutes ago with the headline, “State police urge pedestrians to be careful on highways.” The lead paragraph states, “Three people have died within eight days after crossing in front of moving cars on state highways, the Oregon State Police said Friday afternoon.”

    The way that reads, it’s as if these people willfully put themselves in harm’s way and were asking for it. …” maus/bikeportland editorial

    Say…’To me, the way that reads…’, and the summation would be reasonable. The headline is likely not going to, so to speak, ‘read’ the same for everyone reading it.

    For me, the lead paragraph of the Oregonian story, does not read as though the writer Tony Hermandez, is implying in any way, that people as vulnerable road users, injured or killed in collisions with motor vehicles, to use your words: “…willfully put themselves in harm’s way and were asking for it.”. He appears simply to be making a statement that by nature of the subject it addresses…the deaths of people having attempted to cross a road…is alarming.

    Most of the rest of his story, consists of his reporting personal details about the persons involved, details about the collisions, and about citations, and so forth. It’s just straight reporting…there isn’t any editorializing, implications or insinuations made in that story.

    The OSP message included in the Oregonian story, is just the last paragraph of that 10 paragraph story.

    The language of that OSP message does not appear to me to offer any indication that police from that agency are blaming vulnerable road users for their deaths, as the headline from this bikeportland editorial claims they do.

    To me, and I would believe, likely many more people in the state, the message would read as simply a plea to people out walking and biking, to take care to be prepared for the low visibility conditions they may encounter: No blame implied, or intended.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Kevin November 6, 2016 at 12:58 am

    Nice job on highlighting how the OSP’s rhetoric influences perception and discussion of roadway safety.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Tony Rebensdorf November 6, 2016 at 6:07 am

    Well stated. All you have to do is wear a helmet and high-vis; and you won’t get raped by a car!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 6, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      I’m not even sure how that would work. Can you recommend any manga that might illustrate the procedure?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Mossby Pomegranate November 6, 2016 at 7:43 am

    The only crisis here is that nobody wants to assume personal responsibility for their safety.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Spiffy November 6, 2016 at 9:23 am

    one VERY important piece of blatant misinformation:

    “Troopers, in all three cases, determined the drivers were operating their vehicles lawfully”

    most likely all three people were speeding… hard to determine if there’s enough time to cross the highway when everybody exceeds the speed limit on them…

    why do we make the assumption that no laws were broken? it seems like the police are just covering up for drivers all the time… all. the. time.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      q November 6, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      Good point. It’s impossible to know if any of the drivers were operating lawfully. Speeding, not speeding over the limit but going too fast for conditions, texting or talking on a phone, taking your eyes off the road…sometimes there’s evidence that some of these violations may have occurred, but there’s no way to prove none occurred. Saying, “Troopers found no evidence of violations” would be more accurate.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Dan A November 6, 2016 at 1:39 pm

        Hitting someone is evidence that the driver may have been driving too fast for conditions, or committing some other violation. So they can’t say there was no evidence.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          q November 6, 2016 at 7:53 pm

          You’re right. I was being too charitable.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Spiffy November 7, 2016 at 9:06 am

        I would expect something more like “Troopers, in all three cases, were unable to determined if the drivers were operating their vehicles lawfully before the collision”…

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    bradwagon November 7, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Saw a new Toyato Commercial that, in this same vein, shows people singing and dancing while driving and a lane detection system warns them they are veering into oncoming traffic. Essentially “you don’t have to pay attention while you drive, the car will do that for you!”. It seems that OSP is treating cars like they have a mind of their own as well and it’s just bad luck that the Car Gods decided these drivers were going to be in a fatal accident. I hate the flippancy with which we treat driving.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Dave November 7, 2016 at 9:32 am

      That’s why law enforcement needs to make all drivers, not just those with dark skin, feel genuine fear while driving. Drivers are an uncontrolled apex predator with no natural enemies–the police very much need to be that enemy.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Russ November 7, 2016 at 9:48 am

    I hear a lot of criticism about wearing hi-viz clothing on this site, and out on the road, because it’s either uncool, or incites victim-blaming. “Why should I have to wear bright colored clothing? The drivers should be looking out for me!”. “It’s pretty dorky to show up to my destination in such a bright jacket”.

    Come on people! Put on bright colors. Turn on your tail light. Use hand signals. It’s your life, quite trying to put the onus on drivers. Protect yourselves!!
    Yes, I’m a cyclist.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Adam H.
      Adam H. November 7, 2016 at 9:55 am

      I prefer to put the visibility on my vehicle, not my clothing. I always use front and rear lights (with dynamo, so I never have to worry about batteries) and tires with reflective sidewalls.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Kevin November 7, 2016 at 12:03 pm

        Those tires with reflective sidewalls are great! I’m eagerly awaiting the need to replace my current tires.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      bradwagon November 7, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Bright colors do nothing for you at night (no UV light to reflect bright color). Reflective panels on a even black clothing would be a better choice now that we are heading into winter.

      Also, even during the day the thing that gets drivers attention is contrast between a cyclist and the background environment. Cyclists cross over varying types of backgrounds as they ride, because of this even black clothing can be an effective visibility tool as it is not likely you will be riding past solid black objects, even more so outside of an urban setting. White cycling clothing (cringe) is also a high contrast option.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      El Biciclero November 7, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Much of what you hear as “criticism of wearing bright colors” isn’t what it sounds like. I would be the first to say, “No, I don’t think bright colors or helmets should be legally required“, as I zip up my bright yellow jersey and turn on my front and rear lights, while strapping my reflective chartreuse helmet on my head—none of which helped me the one and only time I’ve been actually hit by a real car.

      The issue is not with wearing bright colors or using lights. The issue is that we cannot let lack of bright colors be an excuse that lets drivers off the hook in the event they run over a law-abiding pedestrian or bicyclist. It is a driver’s duty to be on constant lookout for anyone else that might be using the roadways according to their legal right. We cannot foist a duty to “be seen” (which is an impossible requirement, BTW) onto every non-motorized road user.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        El Biciclero November 7, 2016 at 10:43 am

        …and yes, I’m a driver (as well as a bicyclist).

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        wsbob November 10, 2016 at 4:06 pm

        “…The issue is that we cannot let lack of bright colors be an excuse that lets drivers off the hook in the event they run over a law-abiding pedestrian or bicyclist. …” bic

        Relieving people that drive, of their responsibility to avoid collisions with vulnerable road users that for one reason or another, have not made efforts to have themselves be reasonably visible to people that drive, is not what has been and is happening.

        What has been and is happening, is that some of the people walking, biking, and other vulnerable road users, are not using measures to have themselves be reasonably visible to people that drive: colors and tones that won’t allow motor vehicle headlights to distinguish for the person driving, a vulnerable road user from the background, so that people driving their motor vehicles with care, able to see the vulnerable road user, and take measures as needed to avoid colliding with them.

        There is no Oregon law specifying that people walking, biking and so on, and not using the benefit of hi vis gear when on the road, relieves people driving, of their responsibility to drive safe and avoid colliding with them. Safety campaigns encouraging people as vulnerable road users, to use various means to have themselves be visible to people driving motor vehicles…are not orders from the government, backed up by the force of citation, fine, or other penalties.

        The campaigns are simply a somewhat urgent appeal to all road users, those that drive, and those that walk, bike, etc, to have a heightened awareness of the inherent greater difficulty in seeing vulnerable road users when visibility conditions are not good…but particularly to vulnerable road users themselves…because they have the choice to avail themselves of options to accomplish improvements to their visibility on the road to people that drive. Society so far, chooses not to require by law, that vulnerable road users equip themselves with hi-vis gear when traveling the road in poor visibility conditions…for reasons similar in some ways to why society has chosen not to require people that bike to display a tail light on the rear of their bikes.

        The safety benefits of hi vis gear used by people using the road as vulnerable road users, are there, but society chooses to leave the discretion to use such gear to the individual.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Dave November 7, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Bravissimo!!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Tim November 7, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Dozens of great comments hear. How many were sent to to OSP, elected officials and various agencies? If OSP got half as many E-mails as comments posted here, we may start to see some change.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    El Biciclero November 7, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I haven’t analyzed all the comments, but I see a few things that many of them have in common:

    * OSP is “anti-bike/ped”
    * Messages don’t do any good, so it doesn’t matter who they’re aimed at.
    * Many bicyclists are “anti-visibility”, or don’t take their own safety seriously.

    I would be careful about labeling agencies like OSP as “anti-bike”. What I often perceive is that some agencies tend to treat pedestrians—and especially bicyclists—as children. The attitude isn’t so much “anti” as it seems to be parental. “Now look, young man—I want you wearing that reflective clothing or the bike goes away!”, as my dad might have said (though he never actually did). I imagine, probably unfairly, that when police agencies get a call about a traffic incident involving a bike, they might roll their eyes and immediately start thinking of all the things the silly bicyclist might have done to get themselves run over, while not imagining any motorist involved could have done anything to avoid it. The results of an attitude like this do indeed have anti-bike outcomes, but until we treat the “disease” of assumptions that drivers are rational adults (with important places to be, NOW!) and bicyclists are petulant children (who are just “playing” on the road), things will probably remain as they are.

    Messages may indeed not do much good, but they do reveal the attitude of the messenger. As I theorize in the previous paragraph, the nature of messages and the target audience reveal who the message-maker believes to be in need of “shaping up” and being more diligent in their responsibilities. When the non-motorized get scolded (or “reminded”) for not doing enough “for safety”, it tacitly lets the motorized know that law enforcement has their back. I mean, what driver today can possibly be expected to see a bicyclist on a rainy night unless the bicyclist is lit up “like a christmas tree”, right? Don’t worry, motorists, we understand it’s hard—that’s why we’re telling “them”—once again [eyeroll]—to use some common sense and stay off the road; or at least wear reflective clothing and use bright lights. It would be a much different message if it were aimed at getting drivers to slow down, scan the edges of your path, look for silhouettes against other lights, keep your windshield clean, look in the direction you are about to move—even when making a right turn—etc. The current form of messaging sends the unspoken message that when it comes to safety, it’s all on the non-motorized to protect themselves; there is nothing more motorists need worry about.

    On the third point, I’ve already responded to another comment, but anyone who believes that bicyclists are trying to foolishly frolic about in the street while purposely trying to be as invisible as possible, probably has it wrong. It isn’t about what might be prudent for bicyclists to do, it is about what we believe lets motorists off the hook for not being as prudent as they should be when driving.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Todd Boulanger November 7, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Too bad OSP / PPB does not issue similar safety statements [notifying all drivers of the risk that chronic bad drivers present] every time they pull over drivers for missing [basic] safety equipment and missing insurance etc:

    Like in the case of Mr. Schrantz, KGW reported:

    Schrantz’s history of driving infractions also includes:
    – eight convictions for driving without insurance,
    – two for speeding,
    – two for operating without the required lighting equipment,
    – two for failing to signal on a turn or stop,
    – one for unauthorized use of a vehicle,
    – one for failure to renew auto registration,
    – one for failure to obey a traffic control device,
    – one for operation without a rearview mirror, and
    – one for failure to drive within a lane.”

    Just sayin’ – these bad drivers create unsafe streets for ALL roadway users…the majority of whom are other drivers AND their passengers…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    rick November 7, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    insane. It needs to become very difficult to obtain and keep a driver’s license.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    q November 8, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    One thing I think nobody’s mentioned after all these comments…of all times of the 24-hour day that the cyclist could have gone out–assuming he sleeps at night–he may have chosen early morning as the safest time. Although it’s dark, traffic would likely be lighter than at any other time, except maybe late evening. And late evening brings drivers who’ve been drinking, plus it’s just as dark at 7 pm as it is in early AM. It’s not unreasonable that someone would choose darkness over traffic, especially on a narrow road.

    So while the typical driver or sheriff may view cycling in darkness as yet more proof that the victim was acting unsafely, it could be evidence of the opposite.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    BikeEverywhere November 9, 2016 at 9:40 am

    While I agree that the responsibility for those accidents falls on the drivers, I have to say that in the last two weeks I have been surprised by both a pedestrian and cyclist after dark who were each wearing dark clothing and darting out in front of cars and other cyclists (me). The cyclist had no lights. There’s just no excuse for making it nearly impossible for cars to see you.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar