The Monday Roundup: the ‘City of Tomorrow’, legalizing murder, the end of bike share in Seattle, and more

Posted by on January 16th, 2017 at 9:47 am

Ford’s “City of Tomorrow.”

Welcome to a new week.

It’s a national holiday, and given the state of our nation we can’t think of a better time to reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We do our work because we believe knowledge is power. But knowledge without action is powerless. Like Dr. King did, like Congressman John Lewis did (and does) and like President Obama reminded us in his farewell speech, now is the time to get out in the streets and do the work it takes to make the change you want.

On that note, here are the best bike and transportation stories we came across last week…

Car culture at work: A horrifically bad law proposed in North Dakota (in response to Dakota Access Pipeline protests), would shift the burden of proof for collisions away from motor vehicle operators and toward vulnerable road users if the person was “blocking traffic.” This is sick and we hope it loses steam quickly. At least the online poll accompanying the article is overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.

More excuses for reckless driving: A lawyer in Washington said it’s not a crime to make an error in judgment when driving — even if that error happened during a risky maneuver that lead to multiple injuries.

Ford CEO knows the truth: Unveiling their concept for the “City of Tomorrow” at a major auto show the CEO of Ford Motor Company said bikeways should take priority on roads and that, “The answer to more cars is not to have more roads.”

Major victory for people over cars: After received tens of thousands of comments the Federal Highway Administration has ruled that traffic should be quantified by the number of people, not the number of motor vehicles.

Peak car in Seattle: The director of Seattle’s DOT says people need to stop driving so much because the city can’t handle any more cars.

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Bike share dead in Seattle: Unfortunately for Seattleites, bike share is no longer an option to driving — because their Mayor decided to put a nail in the coffin of the program.

How to bankrupt a city: Strong Towns breaks down why investing in new roads that encourage sprawl makes no economic sense in the long run.

Freeways cause dementia: Beyond simple math, another one of the many reasons that bigger roads are a bad idea is a new study that shows living near them increases your risk of dementia (in addition to heart disease, cancer, and asthma).

Nobody walks in Florida (and here’s why): Eight of the top 10 most deadly metro areas for walking are in the state of Florida.

Portland -> Copenhagen -> NYC: Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman — who used to live in Portland and now lives in New York City — shares cultural insights about why Manhattan’s bike infrastructure works.

See that little green light?: Some Citibikes will now come with a green bike lane symbol projected in front of them by an LED light.

Billion dollar budget: California Governor Jerry Brown has proposed $1 billion for biking and walking projects over ten years.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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120 Comments
  • Avatar
    Chris I January 16, 2017 at 10:15 am

    If Seattle wants to attempt bike share again, they need to abolish the helmet law.

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      soren January 16, 2017 at 10:54 am

      e-bikes would also be a good option too. i’m glad to see that portland is thinking about e-bikes in this far less hilly city (at least in central areas).

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      BB January 16, 2017 at 11:09 am

      Nobody actually cares about the helmet law and the helmet law isn’t why bikeshare in seattle failed. It’s not even the hills or the weather. The reason bikeshare in seattle failed is hinted at in the previous story about peak car in seattle – The riding environment in the part of the city where the bikeshare stations are located is so hostile that anyone casual enough to be a customer of the bike share is too scared to ride in traffic with impatient drivers all trying to fight their way to I-5, and the existing infrastructure is too sparse to actually get anywhere without riding with aggressive motor vehicle operators. This coupled with heavy, uncomfortable bikes and sparse stations and prices higher than taking a taxi, it’s amazing that enough people thought that this would be a good idea that it was even implemented in the first place.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 16, 2017 at 11:25 am

        I agree with this diagnosis. I wanted to use the bikeshare on a visit about a year ago, but the insane prices drove me away.

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          Middle of the Road Guy January 16, 2017 at 12:12 pm

          It’s nice that people can actually point to flaws in the program rather than direct attention away to non-issues, like helmets. Sometimes programs are just not well planned or thought out. They’d likely fail no matter what.

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          RH January 16, 2017 at 12:47 pm

          How much was it compared to Portland bikeshare?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 16, 2017 at 3:36 pm

            As I recall, to take a bike for 2 hours, was on the order of $20. I think Biketown is too expensive (for the occasional rider), but it is a screaming bargain compared to Seattle.

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        Chris I January 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm

        But the helmet dispensing system is a waste of money that could have been spent on better station density. It was just one more nail in the coffin that was completely unnecessary.

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      GutterBunnyBikes January 17, 2017 at 9:57 am

      I’m curious as to what is going to happen to the bikes themselves. Are they going on sale to the public? Or is it possible that this could become a quick and cheap 50% expansion to Portlands bike share?

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    B. Carfree January 16, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I’m not a legal beagle, but one fine day I took a walk with a local judge. She assured me that in Oregon one can already legally murder someone with a car if that person is blocking traffic. As long as the motorist has the right of way (traffic blocker not in a crosswalk or some such), then one can simply drive right through that person. I guess Oregon is already as car-centric and morally challenged as ND.

    Small supporting evidence that this is indeed the case: About a year after than conversation, we had a cyclist run down by a motorist. He mistakenly thought he had the right of way and paid with a nominal punishment. However, this same sociopath motorist had previously run into someone who was merging onto the freeway. When the cop asked him why he didn’t take evasive action to avoid the collision, he said it wasn’t his responsibility to do so since he had the right of way. Apparently, that was sufficient for that cop.

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      Kyle Banerjee January 16, 2017 at 11:23 am

      Unfortunately, Oregon removed last clear chance to avoid an accident as an offense some years ago.

      Even if failure to act to avoid an accident does not constitute an offense, the civil system is still relevant. Thinking you have right of way and claiming harming others was unintentional may carry more weight than it should, but it’s still not a free pass.

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      Middle of the Road Guy January 16, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      I find myself in agreement with you. There is the mindset that if it is in the roadway then it should be run over.

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      Spiffy January 16, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      I thought I read here somewhere that in Oregon you do have an obligation to avoid obstacles in the road, and other states don’t have such laws…

      can’t find the reference…

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        Dan A January 17, 2017 at 10:47 am

        Nah. Cyclist run down while stopped in the middle of the road, driver was not cited.

        http://bikeportland.org/2011/02/12/man-killed-while-bicycling-on-tv-hwy-in-beaverton-47839

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          Gary B January 17, 2017 at 11:09 am

          Your “source” is very misleading. The driver there claimed he didn’t see the bicycle rider until it was too late. You (or I) may be very skeptical of the driver’s account–or whether he was driving at a safe speed–but the police, wrongly or rightly, accepted his claim. That a driver failed to see and proceeded to kill another road user is VERY different than it being legal to *knowingly* run down another road user.

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            Dan A January 17, 2017 at 3:46 pm

            Do we have an obligation to avoid obstacles in the road? That’s what Spiffy brought up and what I responded to. Based on what happened in this specific case, I’d say that if there is any such obligation, we certainly do not enforce it. We also don’t enforce the law requiring people to drive slower in adverse conditions, or hold people accountable for failing to see obstacles directly in front of them. Michael Bret Lewis was stationary in the road and was run over. How the police found nothing to cite the driver for is beyond me.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 17, 2017 at 3:55 pm

              Not commenting on any specific case, but I can see plausible situations where it would be possible to be driving safely and yet still strike an object in the road. That such a collision happened is not prima facia evidence that the driver was negligent.

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                Dan A January 17, 2017 at 8:01 pm

                Can anyone recall a single incident reported in our area where a person in the road was run down by a sober & cooperating driver where the driver was charged with anything significant? I sure can’t (but maybe that just demonstrates my bias).

                It seems to me that our LEOs start with an assumption of pedestrian guilt and driver innocence. When murders happen, the police look for evidence to convict. When vehicular homicide happens, the police look for ways to exonerate.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 18, 2017 at 10:36 am

                Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah? Joel Schrantz?

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                Dan A January 18, 2017 at 11:06 am

                Sorry, should have clarified what I was picturing in my mind. Let’s say a sober & cooperating driver who was otherwise driving normally and wasn’t speeding, driving recklessly, or ignoring a traffic device and their only crime was that they didn’t see someone directly in front of them and ran them over.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 18, 2017 at 11:50 am

                Is not seeing someone actually a crime? If the driver has not committed a crime, does that mean that the pedestrian did? You are applying digital thinking to an analog situation.

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                q January 18, 2017 at 12:13 pm

                That (not seeing people) is the heart of the issue. It’s not a crime, but the reasons for not seeing them may be, and the reason is probably going too fast for the conditions. Think of what people are telling police after they hit someone they didn’t see: “The sun blinded me”, “I was blinded by headlights”, “There were no streetlights”, “He darted out from behind a parked truck”, “It was raining so hard”…All of those are reasons to slow down, but most drivers don’t even slow down for the most obvious–darkness and rain or fog. Who slows down when driving into the sun? And how likely is it a police officer would say the driver was going too fast for the conditions when driving into the sun, when they seem to be reluctant to say it for heavy rain, or for an old driver driving at night?

                I hope that will change. Right now, it’s like if we said, “He was driving well for someone who was intoxicated”. It’s like the reasons people don’t see someone–glare, pedestrians where you don’t expect them, etc.–are powerful forces against which drivers can do nothing but keep at the posted speed limit and hope they not unlucky enough to hit someone. So when someone does hit someone, other drivers (including law enforcement) think, “That could have been me driving” and feel sympathy towards the driver.

                Telling a driver, “Driving into that low sunlight, you should have been going 10 mph below the speed limit” doesn’t seem like anything anyone is going to hear (or think) anytime soon.

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                Dan A January 18, 2017 at 12:24 pm

                Not seeing someone directly in your path while operating a motor vehicle ought to be a crime. “I didn’t see them” is usually an admission of guilt. Our standards for driving are too low.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm

                I disagree. Human cognition often fails, and we’ve all experienced it. “Not seeing” is neither a criminal act nor a moral transgression.

                Not taking care once having seen a pedestrian might well be both.

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                Dan A January 18, 2017 at 10:16 pm

                Do you consider pilots the same way? Sorry, didn’t see that building in my path.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 19, 2017 at 12:07 am

                Despite things like mountains being rather larger and easier to spot than pedestrians, and despite the fact that airplanes have lots of sensors designed to avoid it, even highly trained and experienced pilots do occasionally hit one.

                And when we do, we don’t accuse those pilots of being criminals.

                Humans are simply not capable of driving (or doing much of anything) without making the occasional error. On rare occasions, those errors are very costly. As a society, we’ve drawn a balance between efficiency and safety; I welcome a reassessment of that balance, but way you have framed the issue is probably not the most effective way to start it off.

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                Dan A January 19, 2017 at 6:28 am

                “Criminals” is a bit of a loaded word, don’t you think? I’m not calling them criminals, but I do think running someone over who is standing in the road directly in front of you is worthy of some punishment, whether you saw them or not. Failure to yield is a moving violation. Failure to avoid hitting someone standing in the road is not.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 19, 2017 at 1:35 pm

                I think the circumstances of how that event came to pass are highly relevant to whether punishment is warranted.

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            wsbob January 19, 2017 at 1:35 am

            “…The driver there claimed he didn’t see the bicycle rider until it was too late. …” gary b

            He said that because…re-reading the bikeportland story on the collision out in Beaverton, the weather that day at the time of the collision, was a torrential downpour. Does his not having seen the person astride a bike, stopped in the middle of the lane, automatically mean he was driving too fast for the conditions? Some of you might say so. I wouldn’t, necessarily.

            In some kinds of conditions, it can be very difficult to know exactly what is visible to basically good, responsible road users operating motor vehicles. Their visibility of the road, in for example, stormy or foggy situations, is going to be the indicator for the speed at which they feel they can safely travel.

            When somebody on the road is less visible than the road itself, that opens potential for good, responsible road users operating motor vehicles to not see such a person, with collisions sometimes being the result.

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        wsbob January 18, 2017 at 9:32 am

        I doubt there’s an Oregon law with the level of generalization as to object in the road avoidance obligation you’re suggesting. As long as it’s not a living person or creature, or someone’s property, road users probably aren’t restricted from running over any junk object on the road they choose to. Good luck with flat tires, vehicle damage, and worse.

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          Dan A January 19, 2017 at 5:03 pm

          I think you’d get in trouble for running into someone’s property, like a parked car or a mailbox. But you won’t necessarily get in trouble for running over a person standing in the road.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 19, 2017 at 5:15 pm

            If a car were parked in the middle of the street, you probably would not get in trouble for hitting it if you could make a reasonable argument that you didn’t see it.

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              Dan A January 19, 2017 at 7:20 pm

              Sorry, that’s just silly.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 19, 2017 at 9:35 pm

              As is the notion that the law values property over human life.

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                Dan A January 20, 2017 at 7:13 am

                Not sure about the exact details, but someone mentioned in a comment a month or two ago a story about their uncle(?) hitting an abandoned car in the road on a dark night, and getting a citation for failing to obey the basic speed law. Had it been a person in the road I doubt they would have been cited.

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      q January 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      I remember this coming up a few months ago–someone said (as I recall) you have to avoid hitting a pedestrian in Washington no matter what, but in Oregon you don’t have to yield to them if they’re not in a crosswalk. It sounded nuts, and someone posted a general rule that said something to the effect that regardless of what other laws say, the driver still has an obligation to avoid hitting someone.

      I found this, which seems to say that, but I’m not sure it’s the law that someone found in that earlier discussion:

      https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.005

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      wsbob January 18, 2017 at 11:48 am

      “…a local judge. She assured me that in Oregon one can already legally murder someone with a car if that person is blocking traffic. As long as the motorist has the right of way (traffic blocker not in a crosswalk or some such), then one can simply drive right through that person. …” b carfree

      Which Oregon law or laws did the judge you walked with, say allows people driving to do what you recall her saying? That is, with their motor vehicle where they have the right of way, legally murder someone on foot that’s crossing the street, but not in a crosswalk, or is simply standing in the middle of a lane of the street, preventing the lane from being used for travel.

      Here’s a link to the text of the law about stopping and remaining stopped for people on foot in the street:

      https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.028

      Note that while that law does say that people driving don’t have to stop for someone on foot trying to cross the street outside of a crosswalk…or just standing out there on the street…it does not say that the person driving is legally allowed to run over the person.

      Some people are in far too big of a rush to jump to the assumption that the law allows people driving motor vehicles, to legally murder vulnerable road users. That the law inadvertently contains loopholes some people contrive to use to escape accountability for avoidable mistakes they’ve made while driving…is an unfortunate reality it would seem.

      It’s difficult to come up with a law that fairly holds those people to account, without sweeping up also, people not having made mistakes or committed offenses and crimes while driving and involved in collisions. Some people in response to reports of collisions involving people driving motor vehicles, and people on foot, bike, etc, seem to suggest that a presumption of guilt on the part of someone driving and involved in a collision, is a good thing to have.

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        q January 19, 2017 at 9:57 pm

        Per my earlier comment, it seems like this law can be used against anyone running over a pedestrian in cases where the pedestrian is somewhere they shouldn’t be:

        https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.005
        None of the provisions of the vehicle code relieve a pedestrian from the duty to exercise due care or relieve a driver from the duty to exercise due care concerning pedestrians.

        It seems like running someone over if you can avoid it is NOT “exercising due care”.

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        Dan A January 19, 2017 at 10:52 pm

        Suppose I’m riding my bike in a bike lane and I crash into a person who was standing in the bike lane the whole time. What circumstances might exist where I’m not to blame for running into that person?

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          Dan A January 21, 2017 at 8:38 am

          Can I say that I didn’t see them and be absolved of all responsibility?

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            Pete January 21, 2017 at 6:07 pm

            Depends whether the vehicle you’re driving has two wheels or four.

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          wsbob January 21, 2017 at 11:24 am

          Fog, heavy rain, snow, just to name a few, are factors that can contribute to collisions occurring. Poor visibility of vulnerable road users relative to painted lines on the road, reflective signs, etc, designed to be seen in poor conditions while driving, also are factors.

          Society chooses to limit itself by law it puts together to try to be as fair to all as reasonably possible. So we have ‘innocent until proven guilty’. By that basic principle, we try not to conclude people are guilty, without having the facts to back up the conclusion.

          The meaning of the word, ‘absolve’ isn’t the same as ‘proven innocent’, or ‘proven not guilty’. The word ‘absolve’, means to not hold someone responsible for something criminal it’s known they’re guilty for having deliberately, recklessly or carelessly done. Even more, it means actually forgiving them for having committed a crime.

          If we can’t know by the facts that someone didn’t deliberately act recklessly or carelessly, we don’t find them guilty. No need to absolve them of something it’s not known they’re guilty of.

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            q January 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm

            All interesting, but I didn’t see that anyone above was having any confusion between “absolve” and “proven innocent”. Also, “absolve” has a broader meaning than what you said, so the other commenter saying “absolved of all responsibility” is a perfectly fine phrase that doesn’t imply that he’s done anything criminal, as you assert.

            Also, your, “If we can’t know by the facts that someone didn’t deliberately act recklessly or carelessly, we don’t find them guilty” doesn’t quite make sense. Acting recklessly or carelessly can be enough to be found guilty. It makes no sense that a defendant would be able to get off by saying, “Granted, I was reckless, but I wasn’t DELIBERATELY reckless. I was only UNINTENTIONALLY reckless”.

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              wsbob January 22, 2017 at 5:59 pm

              “All interesting, but I didn’t see that anyone above was having any confusion between “absolve” and “proven innocent”. Also, “absolve” has a broader meaning than what you said, …” q

              The word absolve has a particularly religious meaning, associated with the conclusion that a sin…a sin…has been committed, and that somebody or some government, court, etc, has decided to forgive the person for that sin.

              That’s not what happens in the case of collisions where at the scene of the collision, or sometime thereafter, due to an inability to come up with facts indicating an offense or crime by law occurred…a person driving and involved in the collision, isn’t cited for having done things that may have caused the collision.

              I think some people knowingly, or maybe unknowingly, use this word because it’s loaded terminology that can influence people’s emotions, which is not good when that has them neglecting to stay focused on understanding what were all the factors that contributed to a particular collision having occurred.

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                q January 22, 2017 at 8:21 pm

                The other commenter said, “Can I say that I didn’t see them and be ABSOLVED of all responsibility?”

                The dictionary I looked at has this as the second definition:

                “to set free or release, as from some duty, obligation, or responsibility”

                He used it exactly the way it was used in that definition. So as I said, his use of “absolved” is perfectly fine. I understood him, and I think most other people here probably understood him.

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                Dan A January 23, 2017 at 7:24 am

                Yes, thank you. The officers at the scene absolved the drivers of any responsibility for running these people over.

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                X January 23, 2017 at 7:13 am

                I think we have needlessly become lost in the letter of the law when the clear intent of it is to not have people wielding massive instruments in a loose fashion and killing or injuring others. What’s the first duty of a driver? To not cause harm. Moving a high rate of speed through a hypothetical fog to get my cigarettes is clearly secondary.

                I’m pretty tired of the special pleading about the unknown mental state of a driver when we have the very clear material fact of a dead person, or a maimed person, who need not have suffered. I believe that taking away driving privileges for a long time is a minimum response from the community. If the person wants them back, let them go to some kind of ethical boot camp, or volunteer in an emergency room for a year. If they want absolution then go to a priest.

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            Dan A January 22, 2017 at 2:07 pm

            Drivers are not even going to trial for the incidents I mentioned above. They drove into somebody and were let go with no charges filed.

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              Pete January 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm

              In the case of Melanie Souza killing Stan Wicka while texting, she did end up at trail – because drivers followed her to a coffee shop and confronted her, saying that they will testify what they witnessed. Despite tough talk from the DA, she was released with minimal community service, but never once given the obvious punishment: revocation of her driver’s license.

              http://patch.com/california/campbell/cyclist-killed-on-san-tomas-expressway-was-a-cautious-rider

              http://www.mercurynews.com/2013/05/17/woman-set-to-be-charged-in-hit-and-run-killing-of-bicyclist-in-campbell/

              (I used to have a third link where Campbell Patch asked the Police Chief a question that many readers wrote in: is it legal to even ride a bicycle on that expressway? You can guess how he responded, and many of us in the cycling community replied with contradicting quotes from the CVC. Now it seems the article is no longer available, though I’m sure it’s on archive.org or the wayback machine).

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                wsbob January 22, 2017 at 6:13 pm

                Give us your short summary of what you know from following the story down there, what the DA said as to why he was unable to stick the person driving with more severe consequences.

                I think I have a fairly good idea what his answers were, or would be if asked. I think the law enforcement and justice system aren’t just letting these people off, if they’ve got the evidence and testimony that will stand the test of law, to exact some serious consequences. The blame game, arbitrarily accusing people of absolving other people of ‘sins’, isn’t helping to make roads and streets safer to bike or drive or walk on.

                It’s loopholes in the law that places high priority on protecting the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, that inevitably allows some people to escape consequences for bad things they’ve done. So the question becomes, how to handle this, still protect that principle and how it protects people in good ways, and not have it be exploited by people that have done bad things.

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                Dan A January 23, 2017 at 7:39 am

                Let me go back to my initial question, which has been ignored:

                Suppose I’m riding my bike in a bike lane and I crash into a person who was standing in the bike lane the whole time. What circumstances might exist where I’m not to blame for running into that person?

                Can I say that I didn’t see them and be absolved of all responsibility?

                When Bret Lewis was killed, Sgt Shumway explained why a citation was not given to James Nguyen:

                “Given the circumstances, it seems like issuing a citation would probably not stand up in court. Any person could go in and say, ‘It’s dark, rainy, there’s this little red light in the road’. I think any judge would toss that citation out’.”

                Would I as a cyclist be absolved for crashing into somebody? Or do I need to be behind a windshield and driving 50mph on a dark, rainy, windy night to get off the hook?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 23, 2017 at 10:28 am

                It’s just like anything else: How credible is your story? Is there any evidence that you’re not telling the truth?

                But I’m curious… do you think the main reason people don’t run other people down with their cars is a fear of criminal punishment?

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                Eric Leifsdad January 23, 2017 at 1:52 pm

                It would help to have escalating consequences starting with failure to signal a lane change, 5mph over the posted speed, running a stop sign, etc. When you ignore all of the minor violations until someone is dead, then we’re having an argument about whether someone “deserves” a manslaughter charge and the truth is that most drivers deserve a good many tickets for far lesser violations and their daily driving habits put them closer to that line than they know.

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                Pete January 23, 2017 at 4:16 pm

                I’ve been over this in detail here before, but unfortunately searching bikeportland I don’t seem to find text in comments, only articles. Driver following Melanie watched her drive onto the wide shoulder, catch him with front fender, drag him 20′, then swerve back and continue to coffee shop where she was texting her friends that she was running late. (I know that because our other neighbor is a detective privy to the cell phone records that were subpoenaed). Driver confronted her in parking lot to explain the seriousness of the situation, to which she replied, “Yeah, I suppose I should call my Dad.” Several witnesses gave corroborating testimony that she swerved off the road and ran him down and kept going.

                Blame can’t be placed on the DA (or DAs) alone, but the whole system. Since she had no serious record and was only 19 years old, court essentially considered it an accident and learning experience. I was unable to attend hearings but later came across this photo from my friend Richard, who did not know Stan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/16256522061

                I tracked down Mr. Borquez who had only known Stan through the coffee shop and had actually gifted him his old bike that reignited Stan’s passion for riding. Mike followed the trial and it was his opinion that Ms. Souza seemed to lack remorse, like this was all a big annoyance and she should be forgiven for such a minor mistake. Another friend of Stan’s who I was also able to contact, agreed with Mike.

                I think the criminal proceedings were influenced by Stan’s lack of family here in the US, and Ms. Souza had strong sideline support I’m told. There were civil proceedings, though, in which Stan’s surviving elderly mother in Poland was awarded ~$1M from Melanie’s insurance company, just short of her son’s 60th birthday.

                The Ides of March this year will mark the 4th anniversary of our loss; a neighbor I had just randomly met and went on a few rides with but was looking forward to building a continued relationship with. He was infectious, and I’ve vowed never to let his memory die on these interwebs. I’m hoping to get my act together finally this year and put together a memorial climb up Hicks Road and Mt. Umunhum, but I’d better start organizing soon as we’ll have to build Stan-worthy legs and lungs.

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                wsbob January 24, 2017 at 4:28 pm

                “…But I’m curious… do you think the main reason people don’t run other people down with their cars is a fear of criminal punishment?” h kitty

                No. I think it’s that most people have a sense of morals, conscience and ethics that does not allow them to commit crimes. Fear of criminal punishment undoubtedly strengthens many people’s resolve to not commit crimes, but a sense of morals, conscience and ethics is fundamentally the stronger motivation, I think.

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                wsbob January 24, 2017 at 4:40 pm

                “Let me go back to my initial question, which has been ignored: …” dan a

                I answered your question. Refer back to my earlier comment.

                People have to be found guilty of having done something wrong before they can be forgiven for having done something wrong. If a cop doesn’t issue a citation to a person driving, involved in a collision with someone riding a bike, I think that’s generally going to be because evidence doesn’t exist to suggest or prove that an offense or crime has occurred.

                A vulnerable road user having been injured in a collision with a motor vehicle being driven by someone, doesn’t necessarily mean that the person driving, did something wrong to warrant a citation.

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                Dan A January 25, 2017 at 6:28 am

                If I’m riding my bike in a bike lane and I kill a pedestrian who was standing in the bike lane the whole time, do you believe the police would let me go without punishment? Would not seeing them be a good enough excuse for them to let me go? Should it be?

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                wsbob January 25, 2017 at 9:24 am

                “If I’m riding my bike in a bike lane and I kill a pedestrian who was standing in the bike lane the whole time, do you believe the police would let me go without punishment? Would not seeing them be a good enough excuse for them to let me go? Should it be?” dan a

                I think a relevant question a responding officer has to consider when they arrive at a situation such as you describe, is, under the conditions at hand, whether the vulnerable road user was visible to a competent, non-DUI road user.

                Not sure why you thought to suggest an example of someone riding a bike in the bike lane, colliding with a pedestrian, since earlier, you referred to the collision out in Beaverton some years back in which someone driving in poor weather conditions, collided with someone stopped on their bike in the main lane of the road.

                I think you’re getting ahead of the situation police officers face, when you assume people involved in collisions for which evidence and facts aren’t available at the scene to show that they’re guilty of offenses or crimes, are being excused of having done something wrong. I think the situation isn’t that the cop takes in all the indications available and says ‘you’ve done something very wrong which caused this collision…here’s your citation, go to court and hash it out with the judge.’, …but that the cop looks around for something that would be grounds for a citation, and finds nothing…so no citation. Not excused…just no citation.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 25, 2017 at 9:36 am

                If they knew how much you’ve been talking about doing this, they’d be convinced it was premeditated and you’d be arrested for sure.

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                Dan A January 25, 2017 at 10:11 am

                Fine, I’ll summarize:

                Accidentally speeding is ILLEGAL.

                Accidentally crashing into somebody’s property is ILLEGAL.

                Accidentally killing a pedestrian is LEGAL, unless you are guilty of some other moving violation.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 25, 2017 at 10:31 am

                For me to accept your somewhat surprising conclusions I’d really need to see some actual law. Your thought experiments do not suffice for me.

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                Dan A January 25, 2017 at 12:09 pm

                “the cop looks around for something that would be grounds for a citation, and finds nothing…so no citation” –wsbob

                Exactly my point. There are other accidental moving violations, like speeding, which require no additional evidence of wrongdoing and are automatically grounds for a citation. But accidentally running somebody over with your car is, by itself, NOT grounds for a citation. The fact that we need additional evidence for the officer to even give the driver a ticket is ludicrous.

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                q January 25, 2017 at 1:51 pm

                Dan–I like your questions and am glad you’re continuing with this. I CAN envision cases where a driver could hit someone in the road in front of them and not have it be their fault, or be so little their fault that they shouldn’t be found guilty of anything. But it would have to involve something fairly extreme–someone suddenly running into the road, etc.

                However (I think this is similar to what you think) the fact that someone hit something or someone in front of them is a telltale sign that they may be at least partly at fault, and there should always be at least an investigation. It should be routine to check their phone record (for calls or texts) check car (do wipers work if crash was in the rain, do headlights work, are tires worn) note age of driver if it happened at night (night vision) check sun angle, etc.

                It’s one thing to say “innocent until proven guilty” but another to assume lack of guilt without doing more than taking the driver’s word or making a decision against guilt based on a cursory check of the circumstances–especially when there’s the fact someone drive right into someone or something.

                As a related example, look at a driver rear-ending another car. The fact that the collision happened is viewed as proof that the collider was driving poorly, even if the car ahead stopped suddenly. It seems like the excuses a driver would make for that (sun in my eyes, etc.) aren’t viewed well, whereas they seem much more quickly accepted when someone hits a pedestrian, which needs to change.

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                Pete January 23, 2017 at 4:23 pm

                Dan A, consider this precedent:
                http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Bicyclist-sentenced-for-fatal-S-F-crash-4736312.php

                It seems to depend upon surrounding circumstances and supporting evidence. If you were to show remorse, cooperate with investigators, have video evidence showing reasonable due care on your part and inattentiveness on the part of the pedestrian… I think we know the issue. There are laws there to protect the “vulnerable road user”, but we continue to mount anecdotal evidence that they don’t appear to be interpreted to communicate as effective a message to the motoring public as we’d like.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty January 16, 2017 at 10:37 am

    I’m not — in any way — defending the ND law, but your characterization is incorrect. The law does not permit murder with an automobile; it only addresses responsibility for accidental deaths by shifting the burden of proof in some cases.

    To be clear, it is a terrible proposal that I hope goes nowhere fast.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 16, 2017 at 10:40 am

      thanks Hello, Kitty. I am purposefully editorializing with my characterization.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 16, 2017 at 11:02 am

        I understand that, but when you use language that is false on its face, it doesn’t influence people’s perception of the proposal.

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          Stephen Keller January 16, 2017 at 4:45 pm

          Agreed, when I read the article, it seemed clear to me that the bp.org headline was nothing more than senarionalist click bait. I expect better from our editors.

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            Stephen Keller January 16, 2017 at 4:57 pm

            Sigh…, “sensationalist”

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      BradWagon January 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      “I don’t know what happened officer, better see what proof they have. I promise it was unintentional *wink wink*.”

      Sounds entirely plausible that someone with intent to injure or kill would no longer have to show proof to the contrary. When the laws permit an action it is common to say that the action is being legalized.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. January 16, 2017 at 10:40 am

    That “city of tomorrow” is ridiculous. Look at how much of that space is still given over to automobiles. Who is going to want to walk next to six lanes of motor traffic, or cycle down the middle of an expressway? Not to mention the massive rut the highway carves through the city. And a monorail? Seriously? This looks like something a car-headed planner in the 60’s came up with. If that’s what the future of transport looks like, I’ll have no part, thank you very much.

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      BB January 16, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Agreed, the only thing “future” about this is swoopy lines on the buildings. Amazing that they didn’t suggest flying cars as a solution as well.

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      Spiffy January 16, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      it’s even less multi-modal than the renderings from the 1950’s… those usually showed very few individual vehicles and focused instead on mass transit of some kind in tubes…

      you have to go back another decade or two to see the renderings where they still thought the future was for lots of private cars…

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        Kyle Banerjee January 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm

        How do we know this picture wasn’t drawn decades ago?

        Two things immediately jumped out at me. One is that the cars look like yesteryear’s models. The other is that those pullouts (which I presume are for parking since you can’t drive through make no accommodations whatsover for people with disabilities and therefore must have been designed pre ADA.

        Weird that they’d paint it with a dotted line as if it were a through lane with a usable passing zone….

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      Doug klotz January 17, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Ford CEO Mark Fields noted that: “a traffic jam with no emissions is still a traffic jam.” I would add: A traffic jam with driverless cars is still a traffic jam, too.

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    B. Carfree January 16, 2017 at 10:58 am

    I’m not sure where the spokesperson for Seattle gets his 30% mode split for single-occupancy driving. For commuters, the American Community Survey pegs Seattle at 48.5% SOV and the metro area at nearly 70%.

    Granted commuting is only about a fourth or fifth of all trips, but I’d be shocked if the mode share for commuting is significantly different than the mode share for all trips. Who drives to work and then takes public transit for shopping?

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      Lisa January 16, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      I’m fairly certain the number he’s quoting is the mode split for commutes into downtown, not citywide.

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    B. Carfree January 16, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Regarding the higher dementia and other brain damage near freeways: In 2009 a study was conducted in Boston that concluded that particulates caused IQ damage in children comparable to that caused by lead paint chips. Their model for what was going on was that small particles not only go deep into the lungs but also find their way into the brain where they cause inflammation that damages it. This is a likely model for what was found in this latest study.

    By the way, it apparently doesn’t matter what the source of the particulates is. In the Boston study, they were also looking at tailpipes as the source, but stovepipes put these nasties out as well. It frustrates me that we allow so much unregulated nonenzymatic oxidation. We’re literally making ourselves stupider.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      Wood smoke is a big source of these particles in Portland.

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        rachel b January 17, 2017 at 1:01 am

        One of our near neighbors reeks-out our neck of the woods all winter long and I can feel myself getting stupider by the minute.

        (…and now in summer the beat just goes on, what with the accursed fire pits and chimineas. i figure in five years or so i’ll be lucky if i know my A B Cs…)

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    B. Carfree January 16, 2017 at 11:20 am

    A closer look at Gov. Jerry Brown’s active transportation proposal shows he still has that bike hate he developed while mayor of Oakland. The funding is a small fraction of already existing demand. It is not from a source that currently exists and is likely only being proposed as a way to get cap-and-trade to have more backers. It is a vanishingly small fraction of what will be spent enhancing the driving experience.

    Let’s not forget that this is the man who vetoed a three-foot passing bill and only signed it once it was watered down to meaninglessness.

    Jerry Brown was once a champion of cyclists. He even created a bike division at CalTrans during his first terms as governor even though he was famous for the car he used. Something changed him, and not for the better.

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      David Hampsten January 16, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      I’d give Brown some credit for recognizing that California has the same infrastructure bankruptcy issues that Lafayette La has (or Portland for that matter), writ large. The California highway system has not only encouraged sprawl, but the current replacement cost for such highways is far greater than the revenue it can raise from federal and state gas taxes and vehicle registrations. This is true everywhere, but especially in any community actively encouraging the use of vehicles using less gas or even electricity, and California is the national leader in such policies and trends. Highway revenues relative to growth in traffic and continued inflation are in a long-term decline nationwide, but especially in California. So securing such a chunk of revenue for bike projects, instead of highways, is pretty gutsy of him.

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    B. Carfree January 16, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I’m not sure what to make of the piece on NYC. While the claim that NYC saw a doubling of cycling in the last few years is a bit dubious (flat from 2013-2105, but it did double from 2009-15 to get to, drum roll, twice our anemic national average). It’s just really hard to claim awesomeness with such numbers, or at least it seems so to me.

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      Todd Boulanger January 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Yes the % of all trips is low…its the total number of bike commuters that sets NYC a part in the USA

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        Chris I January 16, 2017 at 1:41 pm

        Why does that matter at all? Per capita comparisons are the only fair way to compare cities.

        Is it newsworthy that NYC has the most head lice of any city in the US? How about the most rats? Garbage cans?

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          David Hampsten January 16, 2017 at 5:42 pm

          The most Trumps, too.

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            BB January 17, 2017 at 8:49 am

            This comment caused the Make America Kitties Again plugin on my browser to convert the thumb-up icon in this post to a tiny photo of a kitten.

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    Tom Hardy January 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Going to have to go shopping for some of those green laser bikelane headlights. Too bad that some agency will have them banned because they are visible.

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      Kyle Banerjee January 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

      I am skeptical of the laser projector. I’m sure it’s better than nothing, but if people fail to notice properly deployed head and tail lights of decent quality, I doubt they’ll see a dim image cast on the ground, particularly in bad conditions.

      Also, these things could be a nuisance in crowded areas when you have to move slowly by toddlers and animals who might have their eyes in the path of the beam.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. January 17, 2017 at 8:53 am

        I agree — I really don’t see how a green laser can improve safety. Unless of course, the laser is strong enough to slash the tires of aggressive drivers. 😉

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          Kyle Banerjee January 17, 2017 at 11:09 am

          You might have gotten a kick out of my old highway commuting light set up. I had a bright 750 lumen HID on the bars and a 900 lumen LED on my helmet.

          Most people play well on rural highways, but some people don’t dim their brights for oncoming cyclists. Normally, I’d blip them twice, 2-3 seconds apart just in case they forgot.

          If the second blip failed, I figured it was undoubtedly because they couldn’t see the switch, so I’d illuminate the cabin to help them out. 100% of the time, they’d find that switch in less than 2 seconds 🙂

          I don’t use either of these lights for commuting as they are overkill.

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          B. Carfree January 17, 2017 at 12:53 pm

          A good friend from Lawrence Livermore Lab told me he had a simple plan for just such a laser if I wanted it. There have been times I when I was sorely tempted, but so far I’ve resisted.

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    Champs January 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Even stronger than Florida or postwar suburban-style development in general, I’d say that aging populations are the common thread between communities on that list. As my friend in Gainesville would point out, many in Florida have impairments that barely get them as far as the driver’s seat.

    There is an inverse correlation between bike/walk trip share and safety. The ceiling on active transportation is already low, and with so many ill-qualified drivers, few are inclined to push against it. It’s a vicious cycle.

    Besides the link between share and safety, there may be an inconvenient truth about the correlation between share and any number of demographics…

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    wsbob January 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    I read the article in The Columbian, about people in court trying to determine whether the actions of someone driving, were a crime. Got to give him some credit for it, his lawyer is trying hard to discern a rationale that may relieve his client of being subject to that conclusion. To no avail, I expect. This could be an easy one for the jury.

    Granted, his client may have come up behind a stubborn person using the left lane, whom for one reason or another, was slow or reluctant to move to the right lane and let faster traffic proceed ahead in the left lane.

    Passing on the right wasn’t such a no-no, but doing so at 13mph over the 55 posted speed limit, and then proceeding to cut off the slower vehicle when both were closing in on a bridge….was a big no-no.

    Sounds like the person driving the faster vehicle may have been trying to bully the driver of the slower vehicle, and lost control of their temper before losing control of their vehicle shortly thereafter.

    It’s helpful that the client’s pickup had a data recorder that was able to leave no doubt whatsoever about how fast his vehicle was traveling just before the collision.

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      Chris I January 16, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      “No-no” is a term I use with my toddler. Your use of this to describe the defendant’s actions greatly diminish the recklessness of his behavior.

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        wsbob January 16, 2017 at 9:57 pm

        What am I supposed to think about your response? Do you not understand the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’?

        Do you not see in my comment about details of the collision covered in the news story, expression as to the gravity of actions the person driving is said to have taken that contributed to the collision?

        I choose not to use a more unequivocal reference than ‘no-no’ in reference to what this person apparently did…because the guy is still on trial…he has yet to be convicted of the charges, as such is innocent until proven guilty. The court hasn’t heard all the evidence presented against him the prosecution has, nor any evidence in his favor his attorney may have. Keep in mind I also used the word ‘bully’ in speculating what this person may have done.

        The story in The Columbian was published on the 10th of this month. Unless all sides have been presented, the jury convened and come back with a verdict of guilty…he’s still innocent by law, and everyone that cares anything about justice should not let this be forgotten.

        Go ahead and write your own thoughts about the collision and what you think about the persons involved and what they did. Use whatever terminology you think, before he’s been convicted or found innocent as the case may be….fairly describes the actions of the person driving faster.

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          Dan A January 17, 2017 at 10:54 am

          If I walk into Lloyd Center and fire off some shots in random directions and hit a few people, would you consider me innocent until proven guilty?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm

            I might not, but the courts would.

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            q January 17, 2017 at 12:17 pm

            I’d consider you definitely guilty at Lloyd Center. But not at Jantzen Beach Mall, because there’d be the possibility you were aiming at a Target.

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              Dan A January 17, 2017 at 3:58 pm

              Hey, I’m just having fun! Can’t blame me for accidentally killing someone, since I couldn’t say with any certainty that my reckless shooting would hit someone.

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            wsbob January 18, 2017 at 9:13 am

            Yes, of course: innocent until proven guilty, in a court of law. Do you have a different approach to justice you’d prefer?

            It’s a natural, justified reaction to be upset about something bad or horrific having happened, and to promptly suspect key persons somehow connected with or having initiated the event, to be guilty, evil, malicious persons. A more careful, closer look at all the details, often reveals something entirely different, and ultimately may find that a person on the surface, appearing to be guilty, actually was innocent.

            Lacking such a process, leaves us with the old ‘swift justice’ way of doing things…conviction by public opinion, social ostracizing and worse…beatings, burning, lynching. Not to make a joke, but also, ‘shoot now and ask questions later’, which seems to be a rationale that can be very susceptible to confusion that can get innocent people killed.

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            Pete January 21, 2017 at 6:09 pm

            Depends if you’re Dick Cheney or not.

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      Dave January 17, 2017 at 7:12 am

      This is why we need psychological testing of drivers license applicants and electronic monitoring of all motor vehicle use. My favorite phrase–the US Constitution does not contain the word “automobile” in it anywhere, not even once.

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        Middle of the Road Guy January 17, 2017 at 10:47 am

        Or bicycle.

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          GlowBoy January 17, 2017 at 11:21 am

          No, but automobile use is clearly defined as a privilege granted by the state, not a right. And in states that mandate Driver Education (NOT Oregon!) everyone knows it.

          The same is not true of bicycling. Traveling under your own power HAS been recognized as a right, and bicycling arguably qualifies.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 17, 2017 at 11:51 am

            It is defined as such, but is, in fact, a defacto right. Can you think of any examples of how driving is actually treated as a privilege?

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              GlowBoy January 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm

              The fact that you must pass a driving test and obtain a (potentially revocable) license would indicate that it is a privilege.

              And as I mentioned, in states that mandate Drivers Ed, EVERYONE KNOWS it’s a privilege. Ask the average person in Minnesota whether driving is a privilege or a right, and you are likely to get the correct answer. Probably not the case in Oregon.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 18, 2017 at 12:40 pm

                Gun ownership is a right that requires a license. I know what the state says, but the evidence suggests that, in practice, it is treated as a right.

                Can you think of any example of where the state actually treats driving as a privilege? The closest I can come is the revocation of license for refusing a DUI test.

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                GlowBoy January 19, 2017 at 9:07 am

                Gun ownership per se does not require a license! Depending on the state, concealed carry and/or handgun ownership may, but you certainly do not need a license to own a hunting rifle or shotgun, for example.

                Driver licenses get revoked (and suspended) all the time, for reasons other than DUII. A pretty significant percentage of drivers at any time are cruising around with suspended or revoked licenses. The state could do a far better job of enforcing DWS/DWR laws (criminalizing it, perhaps?) but it IS illegal.

                Again, driver tests are another example where the state clearly treats driving as a privilege. Not everyone passes! Those who fail don’t get to drive, and they know it. know lots of people who failed their first test, then studied up and did a better job on their second try. But during the interim when they didn’t have a license, they didn’t drive.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 19, 2017 at 1:57 pm

                Maybe I’m unclear on the specific differences between a right and a privilege; it is my understanding that privileges can be arbitrarily revoked, whereas withdrawing rights generally requires due process. By that definition, driving is a right. Do you know a better definition?

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                Pete January 22, 2017 at 4:38 pm

                Smart sensors have been proposed for gun ownership, and the technology exists and is effective and affordable right now. The NRA is a powerful lobby which actively makes sure they will not become legislation, though.

                The reason driving requires insurance and licensing is not due to whether it’s a right or a privilege, it is due to an evolution of damage and reimbursements and political persuasion between insurance companies and automobile manufacturers. Regardless of which way an administration or house or congress has leaned, how much cost of safety features built into automobiles has always been a tug of war between these two parties and the winds of economics (car sales, inflation, technology, etc.).

                I can start many modern automobiles remotely with a cell phone application. They are already connected to the Internet. The same security controls surrounding that feature can be used with smart-chip-based driver’s licenses just as they’re used with credit cards (overseas, that is; in the US we still use non-centralized authentication known as “chip-and-signature”).

                But it all comes down to monetization. An infrastructure like this would be expensive and need a return on investment, but the short-term goals of minimizing costs are what shareholders are focused on.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 17, 2017 at 10:48 am

        The word “bicycle” is in it at least 3 times!

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        Gary B January 17, 2017 at 11:28 am

        Or privacy. Or abortion. I think we can all recognize there is no right to drive an automobile without reverting to the tired, meaningless–albeit catchy–notion that the word doesn’t appear in the Constitution.

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    Gary B January 17, 2017 at 11:33 am

    The lawyer in Washington is doing his job, attempting to defend his client. For him not to claim his client was innocent (which is what he is doing by claiming it was a mere mistake–negligence–rather than reckless) would be a breach of the lawyer’s duty. For better or for worse, we rely on an adversarial prosecution system that necessitates each side stating their claims and a jury to sort it out.

    If you want to completely revamp our criminal justice system, that’s a fine position (one I’d probably agree with, but simply stating a lawyer shouldn’t perform his legally-mandated duty because you don’t like his side is short-sighted, at the least.

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    Mike Healey January 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    2013 Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 population according to Wikipedia
    UK 2.9 (5th lowest)
    USA 10.6 (=60th with Lithuania_

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    X January 23, 2017 at 11:27 am

    . . .>When Bret Lewis was killed, Sgt Shumway explained why a citation was not given to James Nguyen: “Given the circumstances, it seems like issuing a citation would probably not stand up in court. Any person could go in and say, ‘It’s dark, rainy, there’s this little red light in the road’. I think any judge would toss that citation out’.”

    This is a case of a person deciding to replace the prosecutor and the judge. Let an elected official make that choice after reflecting on things like the intent of the law and the value of a life. When somebody is dead you shouldn’t throw the case away, standing on the shoulder of the highway.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 25, 2017 at 10:33 am

      For better or worse, this happens all the time, in a wide range of cases, not just in crash investigations. There may be an argument for sending every potential case to the prosecutor, but there is also one for only forwarding those which stand a chance of a favorable (to the state) outcome.

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    X January 25, 2017 at 10:46 am

    So an incident that involves loss of a person’s life does not suggest to you the need for investigation or consideration.

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