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People driving out of control: Daycare damaged, schools delayed, bike rider burned by downed power pole

Posted by on November 23rd, 2016 at 9:30 am

What happened this morning. Be thankful you weren't in that car, in that daycare or under that power pole. (Images: Portland Police, Tigard Police)

What happened this morning. Be thankful you weren’t in that car, in that daycare or under that power pole.
(Images: Portland Police, Tigard Police)

The amount of daily destruction and disruption in our region caused by peoples’ inability to control their cars and trucks is staggering.

Between 2:00 am and 6:00 am this morning there were two incidents that illustrate what has become an all too common occurrence on our roads.

Around 2:00 am on Hall Boulevard in Tigard (adjacent to the skatepark and Burnham Street) a man who had been drinking while driving failed to maintain control of his van and he struck a large power pole. According to the Tigard Police Department, the power pole fell over and a woman riding a bicycle became entangled in the wires. She sustained life-threatening injuries and burns and was taken via ambulance to the hospital.

The man who crashed his van into the pole was not injured and is under suspicion of DUII (Update: Mark Hunter has been charged with Assault IV, Criminal Mischief, Reckless Driving and DUII). The man’s actions caused not only life-threatening injuries to another person and endangered his own safety, they led to the power being knocked out for several hours. School buses were trapped inside a nearby parking lot and the entire Tigard-Tualatin school district is on a two-hour delay. The Tigard City Hall campus is also without power. It’s also important to note that this happened in a section of the road that has tricky chicane and a 40 mph speed limit despite being near a public park, city hall, library and residential areas. Just a few hundred feet south is a signalized crossing of the paved Fanno Creek Trail, a popular cycling and walking path.

All of this happened because one man made a series of dangerous, selfish, and irresponsible decisions while behind the wheel of a large vehicle. Do I know exactly what happened without a full investigation? No. I don’t know precisely what led to this crash, but I’m confident in saying it wouldn’t have happened if this man was driving at a safe speed without any distractions or impairments.

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A few hours later on the other side of the region, another person failed to maintain control of their car and it careened through an intersection. According to the Portland Police Bureau the person allowed their car to leave the road, jump up a curb and slam into the side of a daycare at SE Stark and 60th. Thankfully no one was inside. The police say the person behind the wheel fled before they arrived.

The amount of illegal, drunk, distracted and careless vehicle operation on our roads is at an all-time high while our efforts to mitigate those threats aren’t coming close to keeping up.

All this destruction and disruption comes just one day after we drew attention to the fact that 21 people died in Oregon roads in the past 12 days, notching our yearly toll up to 431 people — 75 more than the total in 2014 (latest year complete data is available from).

These crashes (and the many others like the one on November 8th where someone backed into a building and killed a pregnant woman in Beaverton) are very unsettling on many levels. The amount of illegal, drunk, distracted and careless vehicle operation on our roads is at an all-time high while our efforts to mitigate those threats aren’t coming close to keeping up. The incremental steps we are taking to improve safety through traditional advocacy (government and nonprofit), infrastructure design, transportation policy, and enforcement are no longer working. We must be more fearless and bold.

Another problem here is how the media and the police frame these incidents. There is rarely if ever any mention in their coverage or statements (which are often one in the same because media usually just publishes police statements verbatim) about the human and cultural factors at play. “The car missed the intersection” on Stark and a “van crashed into a power pole” on Hall. It’s as if the cars were driving themselves!

These crashes are not aberrations. They are expected outcomes of a broken system and a cultural epidemic of disrespect for the privilege of driving. If we want to see fewer of them, we must change driving culture as well as driving infrastructure. Honest and direct language about the role vehicle operators play in these crashes would be a good start toward creating more awareness of the immense consequences and responsiblity that come with driving.

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

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

141 Comments
  • MaxD November 23, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I would add that people driving have very little expectation of enforcement. This is exacerbated when the City makes an announcement saying they will not being using enforcement to achieve VZ goals. Also, what little enforcement we have leads to consequences that are too meager

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    • rick November 23, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Yes.

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  • J_R November 23, 2016 at 9:43 am

    We need much more enforcement and some serious penalties for violations of the traffic laws. Even the penalties for DUII are a slap on the wrist. All the DUII drivers involved in multiple crashes are evidence that the penalties are not stopping the carnage.

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    • rick November 23, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Yes.

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  • Spiffy November 23, 2016 at 9:46 am

    class-action lawsuit against the NHTSA by everybody involved in a motor vehicle crash…

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 23, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Update: The man who allowed his van to hit that power pole has been charged with reckless driving and DUII.

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    • rick November 23, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      I hope the lady riding that bike is recovering very well.

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  • Anna G November 23, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Thank you for pointing out the role of the media in this, I’m more annoyed that they don’t even bother to report most crashes or accidents because its so commonplace its not even news anymore. No one’s death or injury should be “business as usual” when caused by misuse of a vehicle. It would be nice if there was a local media source (hello Portland Tribune) that would be willing to list all vehicular crashes, with the summary including cause and location. This might help break the shell of complacency that surrounds most drivers, ie if they know their child or other loved one was in the area and therefore could have been the one injured or worse. I don’t know of any local online media outlet that does this, didn’t mention the “O” since I neither read, like or trust their news.

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    • Pete November 23, 2016 at 10:44 am

      I wonder if decades of television news being sponsored pervasively by car makers and insurance companies, and newspapers drawing income from used car advertisements may have something to do with it.

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    • B. Carfree November 23, 2016 at 11:15 am

      What if a group of dedicated volunteers put together a weekly report for a local rag to publish? Perhaps said group could also raise funds and publish it as an ad so the paper actually gains revenue with it?

      I’m thinking of a thing that used to appear (and for all I know still does) in the SF Chronicle. It was a weekly item about infrastructure issues that documented the defect, noted who was responsible for fixing it and gave regular updates with the time since the first report and any follow-up from the responsible bureaucrat. The public shaming felt by the officials resulted in a lot of action that otherwise would not have happened, all from one four inch by six inch bit of space once a week. I think it was on the front page below the fold, but it might have been in the metro section.

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    • fourknees November 23, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Other states I’ve been in been (Michigan comes to mind) posts the number of traffic fatalities Year to Date on their information boards over the free ways. (the signs that say how long it takes to get somewhere)

      I also wish like ghost bikes, that ghost people cutouts could be posted everywhere there was a pedestrian or motor vehicle fatality. I know that was attempted and I think ODOT was the one who took them down. Seems like these would be even more effective campaigns than listing a number of deaths somewhere.

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      • rick November 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm

        Doesn’t Georgia have an updated electronic sign like that?

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    • Ted G November 30, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      So you want a write up of every fender bender?

      The media does report on accidents, they make a decision on which are newsworthy. If you are suggesting that every incident involving a car is newsworthy, I would strongly disagree.

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      • Dan A December 1, 2016 at 7:24 am

        They could just make a daily list. I recall seeing something similar in some newspapers from the 1800s. It was like this:

        B.Jones injured, pistol exploded in hand
        J.Johnson injured, pistol exploded in hand
        A.Williams injured, pistol exploded in hand
        T.Kendricks injured, shot in foot by A.Froman for cheatin at cards
        S.Carvey injured, hit by wayward shot from T.Kendricks
        S.Carvey injured, shotgun exploded in hand

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  • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 10:13 am

    If we expand the time frame to 12 hours there was also a fatality on Hwy 99 in Tigard Tuesday evening. Reports follow typical script: Man crossing hwy not in crosswalk, raining and poor visibility, driver “cooperating” and was not cited. Reminder to vulnerable road users: Your life is not even worth a traffic ticket if someone didn’t see you.

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    • Pete November 23, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Since the driver stopped at the scene and cooperated with police, it was obviously the pedestrian’s fault…

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      • El Biciclero November 23, 2016 at 10:58 am

        Duh. An at-fault driver would have fled the scene, silly.

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        • Pete November 23, 2016 at 12:10 pm

          Not if it was the infrastructure’s fault! 😉

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    • still riding after all that November 23, 2016 at 10:58 am

      “Man crossing hwy not in crosswalk, raining and poor visibility, driver ‘cooperating’ and was not cited.”

      That driver could easily be me or any other person who drives carefully. The fact is, sometimes it’s a pedestrian or cyclist or skateboarder who does something wrong. There are people on this forum who have an agenda to blame drivers for all crashes, but that does not reflect what really happens in the world. That’s why police conduct investigations – to determine what actually happened and who is at fault.

      I very nearly crashed into a teenager last winter because he ran across a street, nowhere near a crosswalk or intersection, at night, in the rain, while wearing black clothing. It would not be my fault if he’d gotten himself killed by running out in front of my car.

      Can we please wait until we know the circumstances of Tuesday night’s fatality in Tigard before assigning blame?

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      • Spiffy November 23, 2016 at 12:25 pm

        “I very nearly crashed into a teenager last winter because he ran across a street, nowhere near a crosswalk or intersection, at night, in the rain, while wearing black clothing. It would not be my fault if he’d gotten himself killed by running out in front of my car.”

        were you going 15 mph under the speed limit?

        5 mph for it being dark…

        5 mph for it raining…

        5 mph for being in a dense environment where you can’t see past the side of the road…

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        • mran1984 November 24, 2016 at 1:01 am

          Ridiculous “argument” from the perspective of someone who commutes five days a week in the dark. Oblivious folks on foot who move about with headphones, telephones, dark clothing have to make a better effort when choosing to walk between two cars to cross in the middle of a residential street with little to zero lighting. I run 800 lumens for commuting and the occasional cigarette smell is the best indicator of a pedestrian with the current example of what is out there. Yeah, go ahead and blame who you want. Reason has no place when you simply do not approve. Be responsible for yourself. Too many people anyway…

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        • Eric Leifsdad November 25, 2016 at 8:00 pm

          Forget the speed limit, sounds like anything over 15mph is reckless in those conditions.

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          • Middle of the Road guy November 27, 2016 at 4:02 pm

            Reckless is running into a street wearing black clothing at night. The driver could have been behaving as a reasonable driver would in those conditions, but it someone else makes an unreasonable decision, they would be the ones at fault.

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            • Eric Leifsdad November 28, 2016 at 8:38 pm

              I agree about the running. A person walking into a crosswalk has the right of way. A reasonable driver would expect that and more.

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            • Dan A November 29, 2016 at 9:55 am

              That hypothetical scenario gets in the way of holding non-drunk drivers accountable for running people who are already in the road, and not ‘darting into it’.

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      • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 12:57 pm

        My intent wasn’t to blame the driver but more criticize the regularity with which we see these types of statements. As Jonathan has written about before… maybe we should wait to say anything about either party before things are known. Speculation about visibility and pedestrian action was given but no speculation about driver speed or alertness.

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    • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Not that his has much to do with this specific incident but worth noting that the Bus Stop on SB 99 in this area is directly between lighted intersections on 64th and 69th. All other stops in the area are at lighted intersections with crosswalks…

      Except for this bus stop and crossing just north on 99 across I5 which I consider criminally negligent planning… https://www.google.com/maps/@45.4443507,-122.7366657,3a,75y,226.61h,64.57t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sEx2I3Q5DQy7cLVlzqsAJDg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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      • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 11:19 am
        • rick November 23, 2016 at 11:22 am

          Pacific Highway does have a bike / walk path parallel to the highway that connects from approx. Bull Mountain Road to Beef Bend Road.

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          • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 11:38 am

            That area has been improving but… I just don’t see going out of your way to access short little off highway sections like this as a real improvement to bike infra… Anyone riding on that road to begin with won’t waste their time… may help peds though provided they don’t need to continue further than the path goes.

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          • KristenT November 23, 2016 at 12:23 pm

            The picture shows an area way North of that intersection, up where 99W becomes Barbur.

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            • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 12:46 pm

              Correct. My Post states that I am talking about the general area and that these images are from further north on the highway.

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        • Spiffy November 23, 2016 at 11:46 am

          I can’t see that being used for anything other than water runoff…

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          • rick November 23, 2016 at 4:16 pm

            What spot?

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        • Pete November 23, 2016 at 12:14 pm

          What exactly is that, and how is one expected to use it?

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          • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 1:00 pm

            Dangerously…?

            Far safer route is to take right turn prior to merge and then immediate left at light to access offramp bike lane. Not cross two lanes of freeway off ramp that are merging onto another two lane highway.

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            • rick November 23, 2016 at 4:18 pm

              People driving from I5 north need to stop at the traffic light by Barbur there.

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              • BradWagon November 28, 2016 at 9:12 am

                When the light is red, yes. But I understand your point, traffic won’t be flowing from both the offramp and barbur at the same time… still though. Very dangerous style of crossing for a bike here.

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    • B. Carfree November 23, 2016 at 11:21 am

      If we go a bit further afield to the south end of the valley, Eugene had both a pedestrian killed while crossing a five lane stroad (hit after successfully crossing three or four of the lanes) and a motorcyclist seriously injured by a left cross Tuesday evening.

      Of course the police said speed was not a factor in the slaughter of the ped (who was noted to have been wearing dark clothing; nothing like a bit of victim blaming). If you’re hitting people who have been in the open for over half a minute, you’re clearly violating the basic speed law. Silly me, I always thought the safe speed when a human is right in front of me is 0 mph.

      To add a bit more salt, the police did say speed was a factor in the injury to the motorcyclist. However, it was worded as though they were blaming the motorcyclist. Of course when a cyclist was killed by a speeding motorist while making a left turn, there was no mention of the motorist’s speed. One would almost think our police have a windshield bias…

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      • shirtsoff November 24, 2016 at 12:16 pm

        Absolutely. If a person is in front of my car I don’t care if it is the middle of the interstate, but I have an obligation as a member of humanity to fully stop regardless of the law so as to not injure them. Once a person is in the roadway, even if they are “wrong” under the law and lack the right-of-way, I as the car-operator have to stop even if someone is riding my ass and following illegally behind too closely.

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  • bikeninja November 23, 2016 at 10:17 am

    The injury and destruction caused by automobiles driven by criminal or willfully negligent drivers is just a part of it. Many people are just not up to the task of piloting a motor vehicle safely even if they are well intentioned. My son’s dentist had his legs crushed while looking in his trunk by an elderly driver who put his foot on the wrong pedal, and and friend of the family was mowed down ( survived but injured) while sitting in an out door cafe by another elderly driver who jumped the sidewalk in a parking lot. We need to do our best to make sure driving is optional and not considered a necessity by society, which will help us get these dangerous folk off the road.

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    • Pete November 23, 2016 at 10:49 am

      My friend had just survived breast cancer when she was backed over by an SUV driver in Hood River.

      My favorite is a news story I heard when I first moved to California about a woman who crashed into the DMV in Los Gatos, rupturing the gas line and prompting evacuation. It was on her fourth attempt at passing the driving test…

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    • B. Carfree November 23, 2016 at 11:25 am

      Sadly, our state seems to take a quasi-official stance that driving is a necessity. Note that drunk drivers who have their licenses suspended can apply for an automatic relaxation of said suspension that allows them to drive to and from work and shopping.

      “I was just going shopping for some fresh crab at the coast, officer.”

      The more of us who meet our transportation desires without cars, the harder it will be for our legislators to continue to allow these nonsuspensions to be issued.

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      • El Biciclero November 23, 2016 at 6:01 pm

        This seems to be a vicious cycle of not investing in viable alternatives, so more people “need” to drive, so we have to invest in car-only amenities/infrastructure, which makes it harder to invest in alternatives (due to less space and less money), which means more people “need” to drive…

        Plus the real clincher, our unshakable notion that cars = freedom, so no cars = no freedom. Try thwarting that one.

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  • Lester Burnham November 23, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Legalizing weed has not helped.

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    • Spiffy November 23, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      I don’t think that made a difference on the roads… people were already driving high before it was legal… studies are still mixed… we don’t collect enough information to make an informed statement…

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    • jeff November 23, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Did you expect it to help? Do you have any data to back up that it has made things worse? I’m not buying your assumptions.

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  • rick November 23, 2016 at 10:19 am

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

    The Tigard crash on ODOT’s Hall Blvd was approximately 1/4 mile within the Fanno Creek Trail, Tigard Library, and the Tigard skatepark.

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    • Stephen Keller November 23, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Not to put too fine a point on it, but the need for a license doesn’t seem to register with many offenders. What we need to do is make it very difficult to start a vehicle and keep it running.

      Perhaps if all cars were human powered, we’d have fewer issues.

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    • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Another dangerous area on Hall is a bit further south from here where there are no sidewalks and several “blind entry” driveways. I have to negotiate with people walking on the shoulder / bike lane because of this on nearly a daily basis. Often it is kids during the morning school commute hours. And of course, 40mph which translates to 45-50 along here.

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      • rick November 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm

        Hall Blvd in Metzger is awful.

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  • SilkySlim November 23, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Both of these are at tricky parts of the road, where you have to use the steering wheel to keep your car on the road.

    Sorry, getting all my sarcasm out in advance of Thanksgiving dinner table conversations….

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  • rick November 23, 2016 at 10:22 am

    40 mph is insane for Hall Blvd. There are numerous floating bike lanes and sidewalks in both the Beaverton-controlled and ODOT-controlled sections of it. Thankfully, Tigard sees some of the light and has installed a new public trail just to the SW of Metzger Elementary’s all-new bike lanes on SW Locust.

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    • KristenT November 23, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Hall Blvd is an ODOT-owned highway through Tigard. Tigard has no control over this road, up to and including sweeping the road/bike lane or debris; sidewalk construction; or striping.

      I’ve spoken with Tigard’s Streets guys and they say that they wish they could have control over Hall.

      Locust is a Tigard street, controlled by Tigard, therefore you’ll find more sidewalks there than you will on Hall.

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      • rick November 23, 2016 at 4:26 pm

        I knew that about Hall and ODOT. I just wish the entire corridor received a safety overhaul.

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  • Dick Button November 23, 2016 at 10:28 am

    TIL:

    chi·cane
    SHiˈkān,CHi-/Submit
    noun
    1.
    an artificial narrowing or turn on a road or auto-racing course.
    2.
    dated
    (in card games) a hand without cards of one particular suit; a void.
    verbarchaic
    1.
    employ trickery or chicanery.

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  • ed November 23, 2016 at 10:28 am

    One aspect not often mentioned is the absurdly low threshold we have in the US for getting a drivers license. In many countries it’s not only quite expensive but also requires in depth, long term preparation and education as well as rigorous testing of both driving skills and knowledge. This doesn’t guarantee 100% of drivers will be informed and drive responsibly of course. But large time and monetary costs involved in getting a drivers license tell the society that this is a complex and difficult skill that requires study and extended training not some inherent right that any adult can assume to have by playing at a silly random written test and driving around the block with a state employee.

    Jonathan rightly points out often the grave responsibility inherent in driving a large motor vehicle; how easily it can go wrong and the importance of it being done with full attention and mastery of the process. There’s little in the process we have in place for obtaining the license to do this that insures or even communicates that. Baseline assumption here: driving is an inherent right of every adult in the nation and should be given almost as default unless the prospective motorist proves themselves unworthy. The attitude should be inverted: driving is a high skill high risk activity and unless one can prove exhaustive competency one should not be expected to or expect to be licensed to do it.

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    • Spiffy November 23, 2016 at 11:58 am

      London drivers seem to have a 1st time fail rate of over 50%…

      if more than half of drivers are failing the test the first time around then you know it’s got to be a decent test and they’re taking it seriously…

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      • B. Carfree November 23, 2016 at 2:49 pm

        Back when California required retaking the knowledge test for renewals, more than half of licensed motorists failed the test on their first go and only slightly over half passed on the second try. The youngsters taking it for the first time did much better.

        Of course the DMV recommended dumbing down the test to raise the pass rates. In the end, they went a step further and eliminated the test for renewals altogether. Needless to say, that hasn’t been working out so well in California nor here in Oregon where we have made the same mistake.

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    • Kevin November 23, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      It’s because we’ve built our communities around the necessity to drive. I don’t disagree with your statement, but I think implementation of more stringent licensing and harsh penalties is a long way off.

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    • rick November 23, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      Yes !

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  • Tom Hardy November 23, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Personally I think that no one should be able to obtain even a class “C” drivers license before the age of 21. Then, only after riding a bicycle for a minimum of 6 years for day to day transportation. This would also include riding in busses to school for elementary and high school students. No Soccer mom transportation allowed.
    Walk or ride bicycle only!

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    • LOTCP November 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Old enough to be married, have children, fight/die in a war, buy firearms, and old enough to know better. Your idea is assinine. I was flying airplanes at 16 (soloed on 16th birthday) and quite a capable driver at 16. Training, discipline, and respect for machines is what it will take. Banning under-21 drivers is a ridiculous idea. My life would be completely different if I were banned fron driving until 21. There should not be a minimum age for obtaining a DL. One should be placed through a rigorous training regime then an equally rigorous testing regime. Similar to obtaining a pilot license.

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      • Spiffy November 23, 2016 at 12:17 pm

        if I were banned from driving until I was 21 my life would be a LOT better…

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      • bikeninja November 23, 2016 at 12:32 pm

        Ok you get the rigorous training and testing regime in place throughout the 50 states with proven compliance and you can have your no required drivers age. I would be ok if we certified about as many drivers as we do private pilots every year. I think that is a system I can get behind

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. November 23, 2016 at 10:34 am

    It must be a holiday weekend.

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  • Todd Boulanger November 23, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Jonathan…here is another one for the list…a single operator crash from this week…which killed a pregnant pedestrian…:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/tualatin/index.ssf/2016/11/driver_mistakes_gas_for_brakes.html

    http://www.kgw.com/news/local/car-smashes-into-tualatin-restaurant/353874983

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    • bikeninja November 23, 2016 at 11:14 am

      Just a week or two earlier a pregnant pedestrian was mowed down ( and killed) on the sidewalk next to a parking lot in Beaverton
      http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2016/11/police_identify_pregnant_woman.html

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      • Tim November 23, 2016 at 11:36 am

        The story says it was a mistake. Does any reasonable driver accelerate backwards with such force that they ram through a wall and kill someone. Looks pretty deliberate, maybe not the murder, but the acceleration was deliberate and reckless, I think that makes it manslaughter.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 23, 2016 at 2:29 pm

          Of course it wasn’t intentional.

          Have you ever been in the wrong gear in a car? Cars are powerful, people are fallible, mistakes happen, and the consequences can be severe and tragic.

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          • Tim November 28, 2016 at 9:21 am

            yes- that is how I know that accelerating 30 feet backwards, hopping a curb and striking a building hard enough to bust through the wall, can not be done by accident.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 28, 2016 at 10:22 am

              You’re probably right that it was impossible.

              But… what if the car was backed up against the curb, being unexpectedly in reverse, and when the car didn’t move with a little gas, the driver pressed the pedal harder trying to figure out why the car wasn’t moving, and then the car jumped the curb and shot backwards.

              I’m just armchair accident analyzing here, so I may be wrong and it may indeed have been an intentional act of a homicidal maniac.

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              • Dan A November 29, 2016 at 10:02 am

                Sounds like we have a serious design flaw with cars, having their forward/backward and accelerate/brake controls being too confusing. I’ve never had that issue on a bike, but 20 times a day in the US somebody presses on the wrong pedal or accidentally has their car in reverse and crashes into a building (https://www.ameriprise.com/auto-home-insurance/learning-center/insurance-tips-for-drivers/safe-driving-tips/car-crashes-into-building.asp).

                So, since we can’t possibly hold car makers responsible for fixing this flaw, or drivers responsible for managing their confusing vehicles with the appropriate care, we probably need a campaign to remind people to hide in their bunkers.

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              • El Biciclero November 29, 2016 at 3:02 pm

                #buildingHelmets

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  • KristenT November 23, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Jonathan, Hall Blvd is actually 30mph at this point. It doesn’t go to 40 until you get just past the driveway to City Hall and just before the Fanno Creek Trail crosswalk.

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    • KristenT November 23, 2016 at 11:12 am

      But your point is well taken– it is a tricky chicaine, people coming Southbound can get up a good head of steam heading downhill from Hunziker and across the railroad tracks. Add in very wet roads and you have a recipe for stupid people with faulty equipment causing big problems.

      Another correction: The pole didn’t land on the cyclists, the live wires did. Current update from PGE is that a main wire carrying 7200 volts of electricity fell on her. Either way, very terrible. It sounds like she’s got some serious electrical burns.

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    • rick November 23, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Yes. However, Hall Blvd is 40 mph in Metzger near a big public schools and the bus stops near Oleson.

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    • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 11:29 am

      Correct. Unfortunately there is little that changes about the street between these areas except for the number on the sign. It does lose it’s center turn lane over the tracks but nothing else about the physical nature of the road gives the impression of a need for reduced speed (obviously turn should convey that but “all those car commercials show how great my new car can handle fast corners!”). I negotiate a left turn onto Burnham from NB Hall every day and more often then not cars are moving faster than 30mph in this area, both directions.

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      • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 11:32 am

        Should note than many sections of Hall further south have no center turn lane but 40mph speed. Entire road should be 35 based on similar roads in area but needs to be 25 for truly safe environment.

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  • Disastronauticus November 23, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Taking people’s driving priveleges away does nothing to deter them from driving. Repeat offenders need to be locked up for our own safety. Joel Aaron Schrantz was driving on a suspended license when he killed Mitchell York last month, after all.

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    • bikeninja November 23, 2016 at 11:18 am

      See the article in mondays roundup about enforcement of drivers who pass too close too cyclist. After two incidents they confiscate and crush the car. We need to tie buying and registering a car to having a valid drivers licence then if an invalid driver is caught, the car they are in is crushed, no matter who owns it. That cut down on people loaning their cars to scofflaws.

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      • Spiffy November 23, 2016 at 12:04 pm

        no need to loan a car to somebody when they can buy one… currently 1302 listings on craigslist for cars $500 and under… even if half of those don’t run that’s still a lot of disposable vehicles…

        we need background checks on car sales…

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    • rick November 23, 2016 at 11:28 am

      It might get a conversation started.

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  • Paul H November 23, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Just thinking out loud here…

    The desire of the justice system to identify malice is important. There should be a difference between manslaughter and first-degree murder.

    There are a whole class of behaviors that are dangerous but not on their face malicious: walking while distracted, relying on an untrained person to cut down a tree close to your neighbor’s house, skiing too fast on a bunny slope, digging in your front yard without checking with utility companies, biking through an intersection without respecting the right of way, falling asleep while smoking, “playing” with firearms, etc. including DUI.

    Like I said, I respect the desire to identify intention. I certainly think judges should be able to use that identification in sentencing.

    At the same time, there’s obviously a big distinction between walking into someone on the sidewalk and plowing your car into someone.

    Perhaps the courts could devise punishments based on the force multiplier. If you for instance set the force multiplier of distracted walking at one, then perhaps distracted biking is a three, etc. The force multiplier of an automobile at highway speeds would be 50 (or whatever, I’m not really interested in the exact number).

    Then we train people to think that way. Being stupid with a steak knife and being stupid with a rifle are both stupid, but the force muliplier means the punishment will be higher for the rifle incident. Same thing with transportation: stupidity deserves a citation, but with great force comes great punishment. A $75 for jaywalking becomes a $3,750 fine for running a red light.

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    • dan November 23, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Skiing too fast on a bunny slope is right up there with driving 40 mph down a bike boulevard in my book…and I say that as an experienced snowboarder who can keep up with pretty much anyone on the mountain. There’s nothing interesting or skillful about going fast in a straight line, that’s why racers have gates.

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    • Spiffy November 23, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      except that they’ll still be stopping scofflaw cyclists instead of scofflaw motorists…

      I don’t understand why they continue to cite cyclists when there’s always a motorist breaking the law nearby that they could cite instead…

      cops are allowed personal bias in what they enforce…

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  • fourknees November 23, 2016 at 11:23 am

    I think everyone needs to try to provide objectivity to the individuals we interact with on a daily basis to help change the culture.

    It seems all too often that if a bicycle or pedestrian is involved that they are somehow automatically to blame too. I hate that I had to defend the burned cyclist in Tigard with a co-worker this morning.

    My conversation:
    Co-worker: What was a bicyclist doing out at 2am?
    Me: They were not the irresponsible person. What was a driver doing out at 2am? And why were they drunk and clearly speeding? Clearly the bicyclist was not at fault for riding. I didn’t see a report that they were drunk, speeding or destroying property and impacting other people’s lives.
    Co-worker: Yeah, I guess you’re right.

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    • bradwagon November 23, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      Heard the same response in my office… And we have swing shift operators in our plant that sometimes work till 1:30am.

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    • Eric Leifsdad November 25, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      It wasn’t “a bicyclist out at 2am”, it was a person on a bicycle. The flawed thinking is to assume that a cyclist is engaged in recreation, so they should do it at a safe time and place.

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    • Dan A November 26, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      At some point it became unacceptable to say things like, “What was she doing wearing a dress like that?” I’m hopeful that someday it will be unacceptable to talk about people on bikes in a similar vein.

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  • bikeninja November 23, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Societies acceptance of the danger of automobiles is clearly a form of madness. This is obvious if we just step back and look from an objective perspective. Lets just suppose that Apple added a feature to its phones that allowed you to externally microwave your lunch by pointing your phone at it and pressing a button, but if you aimed it poorly, or accidently pushed the button while walking down the sidewalk, or standing in the elevator an innocent bystanders head would explode. Would the FDA, FCC, Etc. ETC. allow such a device to be produced and sold to millions of people?

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    • todd boulanger November 23, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      …or butt dialed your lunch…while in the elevator…

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    • CaptainKarma November 23, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      Like guns.

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  • bikeninja November 23, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    The societal attitude that we have adopted to enable this destruction and mayhem to continue is pervasive and seeps out in to all realms of how we think and behave as a society and individual people. Once we justify ( in our minds and our laws) that it is acceptable for a few pedestrians, cyclists and playing children to be mowed down to enable the comfort, convenience and profit of happy motoring then it is easier to justify other things in the name of keeping business as usual running. Invade and destroy middle east countries to keep the oil flowing (check), tolerate thousands of houseless folk camping in highway medians to keep rents and real estate values propped up ( check), Tolerate militarized cops beating, macing, tazing and freezing native americans protecting their water and land so more oil can flow ( check). Maybe even the outcome of this last election has a bit to do with our willingness to compromise what is right ,for what will land a bit more change in our pocket.

    Nicely summed up in the last line, from the last song on the Eagle’s ,Hotel California Album.

    ” We satisfy our endless needs, and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of god”

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    • Eric Leifsdad November 25, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      Shutting off the gasoline would be one answer, but that’s a bit outside of Portland’s control.

      Throttling down the lane space to 8ft or so would be the sort of bold move a city can make and easily afford. Rich or poor, some concrete and steel on each side would tend to keep speeds down or at least shave off some momentum before they hit something important. Why aren’t there any substantial vertical obstacles on our city streets? Only vulnerable users and private property are being hit by cars, not guardrails, barriers, and bollards.

      A traffic light on Terwilliger and Capitol Hwy got taken out by a car not long ago too, costing many people time and money. Presumably, the car had a driver but maybe we really should focus on the vehicles since we need to aggressively defend ourselves against the vehicles regardless of what their drivers are doing at the time. It might also make this approach more palatable to drivers: nothing personal, but your car needs to be kept in line. Nobody minds being hemmed-in by barriers on the interstate where we’re only protecting cars from each other, why not take similar measures to protect our city and its inhabitants from cars?

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  • Random November 23, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Good thing that we aren’t going to make enforcement a priority for Vision Zero in Portland.

    One thing that the Vision Zero advocates here seem to miss is that VZ Scandinavian wonderlands like Sweden have enormous, enforced penalties, for driving drunk.

    You blow .02 in Sweden, and you are DUI (six months maximum in prison) – blow .10, and it is two years maximum in prison. The cops check 2.5 million people a year for DUI (in a country with 10 million people).

    But we’re not going to do that here, because imprisoning people is bad and expensive and stuff.

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    • soren November 23, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      We also need progressive income-based traffic fines.

      http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Speeding-fines-being-linked-to-income-in-Europe-3275939.php

      >Germany, France, Austria and the Nordic countries also issue punishments based on a person’s wealth. In Germany the maximum fine can be as much as $16 million compared to only $1 million in Switzerland.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 23, 2016 at 1:37 pm

        Is there any evidence that some drivers are ignoring the rules simply because they are wealthy and the fines are not high enough?

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        • BB November 23, 2016 at 2:36 pm

          You don’t need to cite a study of people with high incomes to know that rich people are happy to pay the drive however you want fee that the rest of us call tickets. It’s obvious, and fingers-in-your-ears-eyes-closed-humming-“I cant hear you” denial that you continually claim is an obvious put on.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 23, 2016 at 6:56 pm

            Sure, it’s obvious, but is it true?

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            • Dan A November 28, 2016 at 8:31 am

              Not exactly related, but I thought this was interesting:

              In the current Washington County transportation survey, one idea they have proposed to reduce congestion is a ‘toll express lane’. Maybe they can mark it with a dollar sign and call it a ‘rich lane’.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 28, 2016 at 11:13 am

                This is the Shoupian approach to congestion. Adjust the tolls until you get the right level of lane availability. Except in this case, they’d be providing a way for people who don’t want to pay to opt out.

                Would it be better if everyone had to pay?

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              • Dan A November 29, 2016 at 9:31 am

                It would be better if the gas tax was $4 a gallon. Pay for the amount of usage, rather than preferential lanes for the wealthy.

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        • Alex Reedin November 30, 2016 at 8:36 am

          I’d say the better reason to advocate for this policy is that it (in my imagining) would decrease fines on the low end of the income spectrum. That helps address an equity problem with increased enforcement (note, it still doesn’t address differential enforcement likelihood based on class/race, differential abilities to take time off to appear in court, etc. etc. – but it’s a start).

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  • Pete November 23, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    If I was a betting man and placed odds based on observed driver behavior around here, I’d reckon to wager in the affirmative.

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  • Glenn November 23, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I have been noticing some new speed limit signs going in around some different areas all with higher speed limits..kinda disconcerting…

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    • Dan A November 26, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Have to wonder if it’s more ’85th percentile’ shenanigans….

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  • SE November 23, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    RE: Out of Control Drivers ,
    WW has excellent article

    “Portland Officials Begged State Lawmakers for Authority to Erect New Speed Cameras. They Installed Them Very Slowly.
    Slowing drivers down could reduce traffic deaths by 25 percent. Why isn’t it the city’s first priority?”

    http://www.wweek.com/news/2016/11/23/portland-officials-begged-state-lawmakers-for-authority-to-erect-new-speed-cameras-they-installed-them-very-slowly/

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    • rick November 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Very sad

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    • David Hampsten November 25, 2016 at 2:33 am

      I was at a meeting in 2015 where PBOT traffic engineers identified 4 locations where they wanted to put speed cameras on non-ODOT city streets, one set each on BH Highway and 122nd, and two sets on Division east of 82nd. Basically the police and the US Dept of Justice nixed the 3 East Portland locations because they expected that the motorists cited would be disproportionately visible minorities or immigrants. Based upon experiences in other cities in the US, they also expected that a disproportionate number of white drivers cited would contest their citations in court and get them dismissed, while blacks and Hispanics would more likely be fined or imprisoned, for the same or similar offenses. Essentially, it boiled down to a conflict between traffic safety versus social justice.

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      • Tim November 28, 2016 at 7:57 am

        The sad thing about this conflict is that minority children are disproportionately being killed by drivers. Where is their social justice.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 28, 2016 at 11:17 am

          I agree — if people in some communities are better able to avoid punishment for their actions, it is other people in those same communities that will pay the price. Your conclusion about what is fair depends on whether you focus on violators or victims.

          I want strong traffic enforcement in my neighborhood, and I do not want violators to escape punishment.

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  • Chasing Backon November 23, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    I had 2 close calls yesterday, a first for me. A right hook by a driver who, when i indicated driving and talking on the phone was both illegal and risked my life told me, you risk my life and it’s your responsibility to see if my turn signal is on. Don’t really know where to start with that. 122nd and Market area. I just left because I felt nothing was going to come from the conversation.

    Later around 5:30, when it was dark and rainy, had a women blow the signal on Powell at 74th, phone in hand, missing me as I turned from 74th onto Powell, with the green light. She did open her passenger window and profusely apologize while i screamed angrily and justifiably, i feel, but being the 2nd time in one day, it was too much. I don’t want her apology, i want her to drive safely in mixed conditions, scratch that, in all conditions, and when her kid is in the car.

    Does anybody actually have any concrete ideas to change this pattern or do we continue to complain in the BP echo chamber? It’s pretty clear something needs to change, but what and how to actually make that happen?

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    • rachel b November 23, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      Glad you are ok, first of all. Awful. Second (and I know this comes off as too simplistic)–disable people’s phones when they drive. With the much-vaunted tech braintrust at our doorstep, there must be someone that can invent The Disabler…

      Or, we could just stop making cars (and trucks and SUVs) living rooms on wheels and make them vehicles again, with no power steering, no power brakes and manual everything–transmission, windows, controls. It is next to impossible to operate a cell phone when you’re having to actually DRIVE a car. With your own two hands and two feet.

      As things are, we’re never going to get people to voluntarily stop checking their cell phones while driving (“I may have gotten a ‘like!’ I may have been retweeted!…”), and enforcement’s so lax here, it’s not even worth mentioning.

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  • David Lewis November 23, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Honestly, I think it’s a mistake to even include impairment in public reports. Death and destruction is no less a tragedy when dealt unimpaired.

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    • El Biciclero November 23, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      I think we should start considering rain and darkness impairments and expect appropriate speed adjustments.

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      • still riding after all that November 23, 2016 at 10:46 pm

        We have the technology to do that. Speed limit signs don’t have to be constant, they could have sensors and display limits that make sense for conditions. Bright sunny day with very little traffic, higher speed limit; dark and rainy with heavy traffic, lower speed limit. In fact, we already have signs like that in a few places.

        Yes, that would cost more money than a steel sign with a number painted on it, but it might be worth spending a little money up front to prevent some deaths and injuries. I would quote Jonathan’s road death toll of 431 year-to-date in Oregon, but fear that the number may increase before anyone reads this comment. So sad.

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        • El Biciclero November 24, 2016 at 10:02 am

          I was thinking even simpler, something like compliance with the basic speed rule, which can be done by drivers and enforced by officers. But we’ve come to expect that speed limits somehow grant drivers the right to go at least that fast, regardless of conditions. Plus again, the incompetence of drivers who believe their all-wheel-drive, traction-controlled SUVs with ABS have been imbued with magic that makes it possible to drive 10-over regardless of slick roads or low visibility.

          On the spectrum of full manual everything (I kind of agree with rachel b above) all the way to full robot car, it’s almost as though today’s cars are the worst of both worlds: we’ve removed enough of the required skill and attention one must use to actually operate the vehicle, yet we still give 95% of the control of the vehicle to these under-skilled, inattentive operators. In my business we would call that “abstracting away too many of the implementation details”. I’m waiting for the names of the parts to change to the “Go” pedal, the “Stop” pedal, and the “Turny thing”.

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          • Dan A November 28, 2016 at 8:33 am

            I was driving in the rain yesterday on Hwy 26, and was passed by an officer driving ~10mph over the speed limit.

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            • wsbob December 1, 2016 at 8:04 pm

              Over the speed limit, legally for officers of the law on duty and for emergency vehicles.

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              • Dan A December 3, 2016 at 7:28 pm

                Since I keep bringing this up, can you cite the source for me?

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              • El Biciclero December 4, 2016 at 1:51 pm

                To lawfully exceed the speed limit, the driver of an emergency vehicle must at least have their emergency flashers on:

                820.320¹
                Illegal operation of emergency vehicle or ambulance

                (1)(b) The driver of an emergency vehicle or ambulance must use a visual signal with appropriate warning lights when the driver is exercising privileges granted under ORS 820.300 (Exemptions from traffic laws).

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        • Let's Active November 25, 2016 at 11:54 am

          Yes, variable speed limit signs are already being used on ODOT’s hwy 217 and I5/I405.

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  • El Biciclero November 23, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    It may be my faulty memory, but in the 15 years I’ve lived in the metro area, I cannot recall a year with so many daily crashes. Since school started this year (and even before) I’ve been flabbergasted at the number of daily crashes that at best snarl traffic for hundreds of person-hours per day, and at worst are destroying property and injuring and killing people. I’ve been driving to work an unfortunate amount in the last several months (due to medical issues), and every night when I get ready to head home and I check the Google traffic map, it’s just red, with little crash icons all over it (all reported by waze, which I’m hoping doesn’t cause more crashes).

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    • Chris I November 23, 2016 at 8:35 pm

      At least when they crash while using Waze, the app will be open and they can quickly report the crash so other users can avoid the area.

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  • Christopher Sanderson November 25, 2016 at 8:00 am

    I have a client, who lives at Burnside and 65th area. I rebuilt her fence, because she had not just one, but two separate cars over a three month period drive through her fence. The first driver drove off, but his license plate was tangled up in cable that supports a transmission line post, so they could track him down.

    My clients have lived in the house for 8-years, and never had anything like this happen. I know that there was a recent story about Thorburn, where residents have have cars careen off the road, and end up in their yards, and apparently, the people, who live on that road, raised $30,000 to have the city install speed bumps. The car crash into the YMCA Early Childhood Development Center is disturbing to read about, and crazy to think it happened in the same vicinity where other cars are going off the road.

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    • B. Carfree November 26, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Time for a three feet thick rock wall.

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      • Pete November 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm

        Make Mexico pay for it!

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  • SE November 26, 2016 at 8:00 am
    • Eric Leifsdad November 26, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      SE 160th and Stark – Rapid Flash Beacon with 28ft from curb to refuge island for 2 lanes (because free curbside parking) http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=17755 oregonian is just copying the police news.

      Later that night at 112th and Sandy (another 64ft wide street with nothing in it) a drunk crashes into a police car proving that if you put something in the street, drivers will crash their cars into it. I think a post or barrel would be a better use of public funds. It would also be more efficient, as the police could just make the rounds and write DUII tickets (or deputize tow truck drivers?)

      http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=17758

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  • Opus the Poet December 3, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    If motor vehicles were weapons of war they would be classified as WMD for their lethality and their ability to take multiple victims at once. That’s why I keep mentioning to my state rep that driving without a license should be the same as illegal possession of a machine gun. I’m not getting much traction on the idea, but that guy who killed nearly 100 people with a truck in Nice happened since the last time I contacted her soooo…

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  • Kdh January 11, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I think personally the media should get facts straight and not assume what may have happened. It’s sad that it focuses on everything but the truth, and being a victim does not exclude you from being part of the incident either.

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