Harvest Century September 22nd

City of Portland: There’s no funding for truck side guards, yet

Posted by on February 7th, 2017 at 2:21 pm

side underrun guards on PDOT truck-2.jpg

A Portland Water Bureau truck in June 2008.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The dangerous combination of right-hooks and large trucks have been one of the most pressing bike safety issues in Portland for the past a decade. We have lost far too many people because of this deadly combination.

So why aren’t we doing more about this well-known hazard? Like so many of Portland’s bike-related projects, the solution is in the city’s plans, but not in the city’s budget.

We were once again shaken out of our complacency with this issue when a man died while bicycling on North Interstate Avenue yesterday. Official details are still sparse, but it has all the trappings of a classic right-hook.

That horrible tragedy is just the latest in a long line of them.

In 2007 Brett Jarolimek and Tracey Sparling were killed within two weeks of each other when a truck operator failed to see them, turned right, and ran over their bodies. It happened again in 2012 to Kathryn Rickson on a busy bike lane just one block from City Hall.

After all three of those tragedies one of the main responses from the community was the need for safer trucks.

Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-16

Sign at a memorial and rally following the death of Kathryn Rickson in May 2012.

But for some reason we haven’t made enough progress. There have been tiny steps here and there, but the deadly duo of large trucks and intersections still looms ominously above us all.

If you use our streets on foot or on bike, the danger is palpable. You can feel the rumble of a large truck and watch with foreboding as its wheels and undercarriage pass you by.

(Graphic: Seattle DOT)

The crash almost immediately led to the discussion of one specific truck safety measure: side guards. The simple and cheap technology simply attaches a shield of material (or steel rails) between the front and rear axles. The idea is that if a human — in a car, on a bike, on foot, or any other conveyance — comes into contact with the side of the truck they’ll be pushed outward and away, instead of under the weight of the truck’s wheels. The research of their benefits (which also include fuel savings thanks to improved aerodynamics) are conclusive. According to a U.S. Department of Transportation-funded Volpe initiative, use of truck side guards in the United Kingdom led to a 61 percent decrease in bicycle fatalities. In 2014 the National Transportation Safety Board issued a recommendation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that all trucks should use them (but unfortunately it’s non-binding and Congress still hasn’t taken up the cause).

Other cities like New York City, Boston and San Francisco have jumped on side guards as a way to make streets safer and fulfill commitments to Vision Zero. And just six days ago the Seattle Department of Transportation announced they will equip all trucks in their city fleet with side guards.

What about Portland?

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“Currently, there isn’t funding, but PBOT and BPS [Bureau of Planning and Sustainability] have been working on identifying resources to retrofit all fleet vehicles and for opportunities for education.”
— John Brady, PBOT communications director

In October 2007, as an emergency response to two deaths, the Portland Bureau of Transportation offered three “potential equipment solutions” for large trucks: one of them was side guards. That initiative led to at least a few side guards being installed on Portland Water Bureau trucks. (The Water Bureau has been a leader in truck safety. They held a bike/truck safety event in September 2008 and released a bike/truck safety video in October 2008.)

Other than that, I’m not aware of any major equipment initiative at the City of Portland to improve truck safety.

After yesterday’s fatality, we took a look at the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s recently passed Vision Zero Action Plan. Truck equipment upgrades are mentioned as one of seven action-items in the Dangerous Behaviors section.

Here’s the text of action D.7:

Develop and implement safety measures on heavy trucks owned or contracted by the City, including but not limited to truck sideguards, sensors, additional mirrors, educational messaging and enhanced driver safety training.

Phase I: Education outreach for all and City fleet upgrades;
Phase II: City contractors and service providers install truck upgrades

The above measures are listed as actions to be taken within five years (as opposed to two years for higher priority actions).

Asked about the status of the action, PBOT Communications Director John Brady wrote via email, “Currently, there isn’t funding, but PBOT and BPS [Bureau of Planning and Sustainability] have been working on identifying resources to retrofit all fleet vehicles and for opportunities for education.” In a follow-up question, Brady said PBOT doesn’t have an official cost estimate yet. However, in their contact with other agencies they have heard the costs run about $3,000 per vehicle.

Brady said PBOT is also working with other city bureaus and with truck operators who drive in Portland, “because we recognize the increased risk associated with crashes that involve heavy trucks.” As an example, Brady cited a driver safety program in the Bureau of Environmental Services’ construction division. That educational program teaches drivers about road hazards and safe driving practices. “They have compiled a list of the 120 contractors, subcontractors and suppliers that are working on their $75M in construction projects and are traveling throughout the Portland metropolitan area to present this driver training course and distribute Vision Zero safety tips, hard hat stickers and bumper stickers that remind drivers about right hook risks,” Brady shared.

Keep in mind that absent a new federal law, the City of Portland can only require equipment options on their own fleet vehicles.

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

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*Infographic on side guards below is from Volpe/USDOT

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

98 Comments
  • Avatar
    Kyle Banerjee February 7, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Strikes me as a good idea.

    However, I’d prefer if they go with a solid color (i.e. yellow or white) maybe with reflective accents. Actual tigers have striping to help break up their outline to make them less visible. Besides, visually noisy things make it harder to tell what’s going on in an already visually noisy environment.

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  • Adam
    Adam February 7, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Replace “funding” with “political will”.

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      Eric Leifsdad February 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Vision Zero Political Will doesn’t have the same ring as Vision Zero Funding.

      How about citing / charging the driver and/or company? Make the insurance companies sit up and take notice at the growing cost of lawsuits.

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    Chris I February 7, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    I’m okay with an unfunded mandate. They need to start now, since any measure would probably not be retroactive.

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    • Adam
      Adam February 7, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      PBOT loves “unfunded mandates”. Having things on the books is important, but it means absolutely nothing if it is not implemented – which past history has shown PBOT to be guilty of.

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    bikeninja February 7, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    I am constantly amazed at how strict workplace safety laws are compared to safety precautions on the roadways. Maybe we can declare the entire highway and roadway system subject to OSHA regulations including safety equipment on cars and trucks. Last time I was involved with an OSHA inspection they did not ask if you had the money in your budget to correct a safety hazard. They gave you 2 weeks to correct it then they started the fines.

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      Spiffy February 7, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      in no other job are so many people allowed to die while on your facilities…

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      Chris I February 7, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      When my company launched a major workplace safety program, they quickly realized that the parking lots and transportation aisles were the most dangerous things on site. Within a few years they completely reconfigured the roads on site and built miles of new sidewalks.

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      rick February 7, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      Yes

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    Scott H February 7, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Side guards on city vehicles alone isn’t enough. I’m guessing the unmarked van in yesterday’s incident probably isn’t a city vehicle. Require them on all trucks based in the Metro area.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      yes. thanks for making that point Scott. I added something to the end to clarify.

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        Tom Hardy February 7, 2017 at 3:55 pm

        City funding has very little to do with it. Merely create a city ordinance (council action) with substantial fines for users, drivers, owners for not having the side shields/guards/skirts. Then order PPB to enforce it. It will be done!

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          Adam L. February 8, 2017 at 7:20 am

          To not be torn to shreds in the press, the City of Portland would have to have all their trucks already outfitted. The Oregonian would have a field day ripping into the council about them requiring them on other vehicles, without having them on their own.

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            Chris I February 8, 2017 at 9:11 am

            This is true, but I think the city should be able to find funding for a requirement like this on all new vehicles. The slight added cost would be rolled into the purchase price. This way they could mandate it on all newly purchased private trucks in the City.

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    soren February 7, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    “Currently, there isn’t funding, but…”

    I challenged Novick at an open house about the absence of funding commitments or even an outline of potential funding sources in the draft Vision Zero plan. I told him that I was afraid that this plan would end up like our unfunded bike plan and he flat out dismissed my concern. I and others repeatedly shared these concerns at open houses, forums, and city hall and, yet, here we are today without a single @#$%ing cent of dedicated funding (1).

    Portland’s 2030 bike plan has become a cruel joke (25% mode share by 2030!!!). Without substantial dedicated funding Portland’s Vision Zero plan is in danger of being even less funny.

    http://bikeloudpdx.org/images/5/59/BikeLoudPDXVisionZeroletter.pdf

    (1) Successful funding of Vision Zero infrastructure and reforms is essential to its success. Funding estimates for full implementation and a list of potential funding mechanisms/sources should be included. In particular, the draft should outline funding sources for 2 year actions.

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    Todd Boulanger February 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    A moment of sadness…realizing its been 10 YEARS…since Ted and Tracey were killed AND this priority seems even less of a priority now…other than the VZ discussion…

    [Perhaps a PSU/ UO student can look up how many new trucks that CoP has bought in the last 9 years that coulda-woulda-shoulda had these (and other) vulnerable roadway user safety features added at time of purchase.]

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    Todd Boulanger February 7, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    And additionally, back in 2007 there was a recommendation to require that all contractors on CoP funded projects utilize these safety features …any idea if this has been looked into…it is another way of implementing this outcome.

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    mh February 7, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    How about requiring those contracting with the city to install and use the things? Cost the city itself nothing, and the contractors would shame city departments to follow suit.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty February 7, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    It is ridiculous that the city hasn’t taken this commonsense safety measure.

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    Allan Rudwick February 7, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I don’t understand why there can’t be rules just stating:
    any truck running in the State of Oregon (or Mult Co or City of Portland) must have side guards. Otherwise stay out or face a large ticket.

    while we’re at it, make sure they meet the 2007 air pollution standards

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    • Adam
      Adam February 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Because that would cost the freight industry money and we all know how strong the freight lobby is in this state. Always follow the money.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 7, 2017 at 3:52 pm

        No — it’s because vehicle safety standards are set at the federal level. The freight lobby is active there as well, but Oregon is not a player in this issue.

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          Bjorn February 7, 2017 at 4:20 pm

          It seems to me that there are examples where states have control over what safety equipment is required and when. For example Oregon is able to decide when chains are required to be either carried or installed on tires in order to use the roads. If you can legally require a truck used in interstate commerce to chain up in order to drive on a federal interstate within your state I don’t see why you couldn’t legally require that same truck to have underrun guards installed…

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          Racer X February 8, 2017 at 10:55 am

          I guess Portland missed that window of opportunity…after the current “administration” is done (2028?) with transportation and safety rules…we might be lucky that they still require seatbelts and unleaded fuel at the federal level. ;-(

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    Spiffy February 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    pass a rule requiring side guards and people will find the money and lives will be saved…

    talk about how you can’t afford it and nobody will take action while lives continue to be taken…

    loved ones of victims don’t care about your budget issues… if you can’t do something safely then you shouldn’t be doing it… if doing it safely puts you out of business then you shouldn’t have been in business…

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    Buzz February 7, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    I don’t know where you got that caption from, but I’m almost positive that isn’t a Portland Water Bureau Truck, I don’t know of any tankers like that owned by the Water Bureau and I don’t know of any Water Bureau trucks with side guards on them.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 7, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      It’s one of the huge fleet of tankers Portland uses to transport water between Bull Run and the Powell Butte Reservoir. They started using them after the great Water Train Disaster of ’42.

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    David Lewis February 7, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    This has nothing to do with the truck. It’s the driver.

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      Chris I February 7, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      And you think it is realistic to expect all drivers at all times to avoid this situation? How do we get there?

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      fact_check February 8, 2017 at 9:25 am

      I can’t believe that people are asking for yet more onerous government regulations. If everyone was a highly-skilled driver, traffic signals, lights, mirrors, crumple zones, roll bars, seat belts, air bags, non-rear gas tanks, and ABS would also be completely unnecessary. I personally drive a ford pinto with sharpened stakes pointed at me to prove this point.

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      paikiala February 8, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      People using the road make mistakes, always have and always will. The result of those mistakes need not be fatal or serious injury crashes. Vehicle design is another point of attack to achieve Vision Zero.

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    bendite February 7, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Chris I
    And you think it is realistic to expect all drivers at all times to avoid this situation? How do we get there?
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    If people did jail time for killing someone while making an illegal maneuver, we’d see drivers make changes really fast.

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      Bjorn February 8, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Not sure that I agree, studies show that human behavior is not changed that well by massive penalties that occur rarely. I mean jail time for drunk drivers who kill hasn’t really made that big a dent in drunk driving. I also wonder what the cost of jailing every truck driver involved in a right hook collision would be? It might be more than the cost of installing the underrun guards, and it would be born 100% by the taxpayer. Why should the cost of safety be borne either 100% by the employee, or 100% by the government but 0% by the business that creates the danger?

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      Chris I February 8, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Driving is already the most dangerous thing that people do, statistically. If the ultimate price (death) is not enough of a motivator for change, why would jail time do anything?

      Human nature is funny. People think “that will never happen to me”, “I’m a safe driver”, etc until it happens to them. Even after the crash, most drivers will find something, anything other than themselves to blame (sun, rain, other driver, etc).

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        bendite February 8, 2017 at 10:28 pm

        If laws don’t effect behavior, why is anything illegal?

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      Dan A February 9, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Start with separating them from their vehicle. We don’t even do that.

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    Jan February 7, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Another tragic incident that shouldn’t have happened. No one ever mentions that maybe cyclists need to watch out for their lives also. This goes for pedestrians too. The proliferation of bike lanes seems to have given cyclists a sense of protection. The only advantage to being dead right is for the lawsuit. Passing a truck on the right, even in a bike lane, at an intersection should raise a cyclist’s alertness. I see way too many that are intent on where they’re going fast and take many risks with traffic. And if they have a close call due to their carelessness they curse the drivers! I used to commute by bike and these cyclists were just as scary as the drivers.

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      Spiffy February 8, 2017 at 7:33 am

      nobody mentions it? sure they do, it’s called victim blaming… it’s the attitude of a bully; might makes right, your fault for being in the way, etc… what about the responsibility of those piloting 2 ton weapons at dangerous speeds? shouldn’t they have more responsibility?

      bike lanes give different feelings to different people… many here hate them and avoid roads with them because they feel they’re dangerous due to right-hooks… many feel safer because they signal to drivers that bikes belong on the road (even though they belong even without their own lane)…

      you seem to know that the bike passed the truck… can you give us the crash details on what exactly happened?

      of course cyclists are more aware at intersections… you need to look out for pedestrians, and possibly be ready if somebody has a turn signal on and isn’t yielding to you…

      do you realize how quickly a vehicle can turn directly in front of you without warning? about as quick as you realize you’re slamming into the side of said vehicle…

      take risks with traffic? everybody, wherever they are, takes a risk from the threat of motor vehicles… it doesn’t matter if you’re a pedestrian, cyclist, driver, or sitting in your living room watching tv, you’re able to be hit by a motor vehicle piloted by a careless driver…

      when you’re driving and approach a green light do you stop and make sure no cross traffic is running the red light before you proceed? no, you don’t… you have to assume that people are acting legally and at the same time try to be away of your surroundings (which is easier on a bike than in a car)…

      don’t try to put the onus on the vulnerable (dead) user while giving irresponsible drivers lame excuses…

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        David Hampsten February 8, 2017 at 8:59 am

        Your use of the term “victim blaming” is a great way to kill any sort of useful dialog on this issue.

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          Chris I February 8, 2017 at 9:15 am

          Given the ridiculousness of Jan’s assertions, I believe “unsupported victim blaming” would be a more appropriate term.

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        wsbob February 8, 2017 at 11:37 am

        Use of the phrase ‘victim blaming’, seems increasingly popular in some of the comments to stories on bikeportland, and I think that unfortunately, the effect of that use threatens to draw away some of the essential emphasis that must be maintained on every road users’ need to be knowledgeable and competent in how to use the road…if they hope to do so safely.

        “Another tragic incident that shouldn’t have happened. No one ever mentions that maybe cyclists need to watch out for their lives also. This goes for pedestrians too. The proliferation of bike lanes seems to have given cyclists a sense of protection. The only advantage to being dead right is for the lawsuit. Passing a truck on the right, even in a bike lane, at an intersection should raise a cyclist’s alertness. I see way too many that are intent on where they’re going fast and take many risks with traffic. And if they have a close call due to their carelessness they curse the drivers! I used to commute by bike and these cyclists were just as scary as the drivers.” jan

        jan…is in at least a significant part of what she writes; all road users, including people that bike, or walk, or skateboard, have a need and an obligation to learn, know and use, road use procedures that will help them be safe in their use of their road, and minimize their chances of being involved in collisions.

        Far too many don’t. Too many people on foot, will walk right out in front of cars that are moving towards them. Too many people biking, place far too much confidence in the ‘right of way’ at intersections, that their use of the bike lane technically gives them by law, over road users in the main lane adjacent to the bike lane.

        Are their people on the road driving scary? Of course…this being a bike weblog, more than the average number of people reading elsewhere, probably already know this well. Are their people on the road walking and biking scary? Through no fault whatsoever of people driving responsibly and safely on the road? Of course…but this being a bike weblog, there seems to be an excessive amount of unwillingness to consider that many people biking and walking on the road are not doing so using road savvy, knowledgeable and safe procedures.

        Very difficult to reasonably expect aspirations to the objectives of ‘vision zero’ can be achieved if all road users of all modes of travel aren’t encouraged to recognize and accept, their personal need and obligation…to use the road safely according to the mode of travel they choose to use, whether that travel be by bike, by foot, or by motor vehicle.

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          wsbob February 8, 2017 at 11:39 am

          Edit: “…jan…I believe, is correct, in at least a significant part of what she writes;

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    Mark smith February 7, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    The city of Portland charges delivery companies using commercial trucks thousands of dollars. Look it up. Where is that money going?

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    wsbob February 7, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    From a bikeportland story on the collision at 3rd and Madison involving Kathryn Rickson and a right turning truck, I seem to recall a report on the final investigation of the collision, that found it was the front of the truck that she collided with, rather than the side of the cargo part of the truck behind the cab. None of the side protection on trucks being discussed, seem to mention side protection around the front of the truck.

    Where side protection on trucks are used, I wonder how collisions involving vulnerable road users, particularly people on bikes, work out. Realizing the side protection keeps people from sliding under the cargo part of the truck and likely its wheels, people being knocked off their bike or crashing into a truck because of right hook collisions, is still a bad collision. Wondering whether places where trucks have such side protection has helped to raise awareness of the potential for right hooks, and consequently may have helped to reduce rates of collisions with vulnerable road users.

    Looks like lots of square inches of visible area on the sideguard of the truck in the picture….that possibly could be used for advertisement…to get ad revenue to pay for the sideguards.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 7, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Maybe it’s just me, but I think I’d prefer to crash into the side of a truck than to crash into the side of a truck then get crushed under its wheels.

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        David Hampsten February 8, 2017 at 9:04 am

        I prefer riding very cautiously in any location where big-rigs are likely to be, especially downtown, near freeways, and near suburban shopping districts. Big-rigs make those awkward right-turns by turning left then swinging right. Even cars back up out of the way. Go slow and move carefully. Crashing sucks – cars are the real enemy – trucks are dinosaurs to be cautious around.

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        wsbob February 8, 2017 at 11:01 am

        You’re not alone in that thought, but it’s better to not crash at all…and avoiding crashes can only happen if people do a better job of watching what they’re doing, whether driving or riding.

        Even a simple fall down from a bike onto a hard surface, or while walking and with no collision with a vehicle…can be very physically traumatic. This alone ought to be enough for everyone on the road that cares, to do whatever they can to minimize what they do, being the cause of a collision.

        No competent motor vehicle should allow how they’re operating their vehicle to be the cause of someone on foot or biking, crashing into their vehicle and falling down. No competent road user, walking or traveling by bike, should allow how they’re using the road, to find themselves in a situation where they’re crashing into poorly operated motor vehicle…because it’s no secret there’s a number of them on the road that are being operated poorly.

        As commendable as the use of truck and trailer side guards may, they’re only a band-aid at best…if people aren’t going to wake up and learn the road use skills necessary to be safe road users and reduce the occurrence of collisions.

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      HJ February 8, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      The side guards help. But they are not a perfect solution. People still end up under wheels and die. (Cedar Mill Nov 2014 anyone?) The answer is to stop the collisions from happening. IMHO blind spot detection systems would be far more useful.

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    bendite February 7, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Jan
    Another tragic incident that shouldn’t have happened. No one ever mentions that maybe cyclists need to watch out for their lives also. This goes for pedestrians too. The proliferation of bike lanes seems to have given cyclists a sense of protection. The only advantage to being dead right is for the lawsuit. Passing a truck on the right, even in a bike lane, at an intersection should raise a cyclist’s alertness. I see way too many that are intent on where they’re going fast and take many risks with traffic. And if they have a close call due to their carelessness they curse the drivers! I used to commute by bike and these cyclists were just as scary as the drivers.
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    Are you saying a close call on a right hook is due to rider carelessness? It seems like you’re dismissing driver responsibility.

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      David Hampsten February 8, 2017 at 9:05 am

      A bicyclist (rider) is also a “driver”. Both share responsibilities.

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        soren February 8, 2017 at 9:38 am

        i am not a “driver”. i am a vulnerable human being and i would really appreciate it if people operating potentially lethal heavy machinery stopped killing people like me.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 8, 2017 at 9:46 am

          I share your lament. Traffic deaths take too many.

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        bendite February 8, 2017 at 7:21 pm

        Both share responsibilities, but the mindset that it’s 50/50 leads to deaths. The greater responsibility lies with the person who can do more damage, which is the driver. I have a little knife on my keychain, and it can do a little damage. But compared to the person carrying a concealed gun, I don’t have equal responsibility for our joint safety when we’re in a shared space.

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          HJ February 8, 2017 at 10:52 pm

          Yet the law is clear in this situation. Cyclist in a bike lane has right of way. The driver of a motor vehicle is required to yield to them. That means stop and wait until it’s clear. Very simple. Driver’s fault.
          ORS 811.050 (https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.050):
          A person commits the offense of failure of a motor vehicle operator to yield to a rider on a bicycle lane if the person is operating a motor vehicle and the person does not yield the right of way to a person operating a bicycle, electric assisted bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, motor assisted scooter or motorized wheelchair upon a bicycle lane.
          Under Former Similar Statute:
          A party in viola­tion of a motor vehicle statute is negligent as a matter of law unless he introduces evidence from which the trier of fact could find that he was acting as a reasonably prudent per­son under the circumstances. Barnum v. Williams, 264 Or 71, 504 P2d 122 (1972)

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            bendite February 9, 2017 at 7:17 am

            I always put the legal responsibility for right hooks on the driver.

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      Todd Boulanger February 8, 2017 at 11:00 am

      The best plan [for all] is to wait for more specific factual information…such as the PPB crash report and any findings (or independent witness(es) statements or perhaps even the operator to publicly accept fault, etc.) – then we can discuss the finer points of this tragic event…

      The discussions on larger/ broader safety measures and design protections and CoP policies is still an effective discussion.

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      Jan February 10, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      I think that wsbob did a better job of saying what I meant. I was not blaming the cyclist, legally the driver was at fault. The point was that it doesn’t matter if you’re right if you’re the one that’s most likely to die. And everyone – drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians – need to stop trusting strangers to look out for their lives.

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    Tom February 7, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Sideguards are in investment. They pay off in less than one year from gas and insurance savings. After you buy the first one, the 2nd year you have saved enough money to buy one more. The 3rd year you save enough to buy two more. The 4th year you can buy four more. The saving grows rapidly after that such that they could already have a large fleet outfitted over the last ten years.

    Its hard to believe they could not scrape up enough money for a single set of them. Its not a black hole for money, unlike the 100s of tons of gravel they dumped on the roads just to increase driving speeds for a few days, then spending weeks/months cleaning it all up. How many sideguards could we have had for all the money they spent playing with gravel.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 7, 2017 at 10:37 pm

      This is the magic of compounding. After a few decades, the city could have literally millions of these. Think how many we’d have now if we’d bought just one in 1990. Hell, we could even put a few of them on the sides of trucks!

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      Steve Scarich February 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      False economics. They save no money for a local delivery vehicle, because they only deliver a savings at highway speeds. And, due to weight added to vehicle, they reduce gas efficiency (not a lot, of course). I don’t know about insurance savings, but I’m guessing it is not significant.

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    Doug February 8, 2017 at 5:04 am

    If you are riding a bicycle on a road with semi-tractor trailers you are just riding on the wrong road. Find another road. If you are trying to commute in Portland Oregon by bicycle you are on a fool’s errand, buy a bus pass before you get killed. I’m done with trying to ride in cities, because I ride for fun and exercise and I don’t get either dodging trucks, sucking exhaust and sitting at stop lights.

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      Kyle Banerjee February 8, 2017 at 6:00 am

      Riding with trucks is not especially dangerous nor is commuting in Portland.

      Granted that stop and go riding is not particularly fun nor does it get you much exercise. But it’s way more fun (and better) than any other way of getting around.

      Urban rec riding opportunities aren’t great. But the west hills aren’t bad.

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      rick February 8, 2017 at 6:26 am

      Um, there are a zillion dead-end roads on the west side with no trail / path access to the next side. Therefore, many people are forced to take the busy roads.

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        I wear many hats February 8, 2017 at 12:47 pm

        Where there’s a will there’s a way. I live in SW and there are many options home. Some road, some trail, some gravelish. I agree that riding next to trucks is dangerous, but I try to avoid ALL car/truck traffic on my commutes. I even resort to riding urban trails if means that no car will hit me.

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          HJ February 8, 2017 at 11:01 pm

          While one can do that in SW, in NW not so much. For me there is no option but to ride Cornell. It is the only way to get to my neighborhood just west of Skyline. Which means if I’m coming from downtown I have to ride on something big, busy, and hostile to bikes. There are zero alternatives. If I were to take Newberry, I’d have to ride Hwy 30 to get to it, then Skyline to Cornell to get to my neighborhood. Germantown I refuse to even drive. Cornell/Thompson is what I usually pick simply because it’s direct, if hostile. Any of the more southerly options require riding Barnes/Miller/Cornell. So no, it’s not just a matter of having the will. We have an infrastructure problem.

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            Kyle Banerjee February 9, 2017 at 5:33 am

            Options in that area can be challenging and it takes a significantly more dedicated than average cyclist to ride Cornell. But it’s not just lack of bike infrastructure that dissuades out in this area — you need the legs as well. The cyclists I encounter out there are very different than the ones I see closer to downtown. There are a few other areas that are are tricky and it gets worse as you move further out.

            My comment was not directed as these types of places. Rather, it was at areas that have some sort of bike infrastructure such as Interstate where the cyclist was recently killed. Interstate is not particularly dangerous nor do the trucks there represent a particular threat.

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            Dan A February 9, 2017 at 9:56 am

            I ride 8 miles out of my way to avoid Cornell. I sure wish it could be improved.

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              HJ February 9, 2017 at 11:48 am

              Oh it could no problem. Frankly it was better 7 years ago before they repaved it and decided to adjust the striping so there wasn’t even a shoulder to climb in anymore. The spot at Cornell and Ash (in front of Cedar Mill Elementary) makes me cringe every time. Seems like every time WashCo touches it they make it worse. Honestly I’ve seen more willingness to actually do something with it on the MultCo side of the hill. The striping adjustment by the Audubon Society for instance.
              I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve given up on fighting for it. Been to CPO meetings. Sent emails. Made phone calls. Heard many promises from many different people and organizations. Seen none of them happen. Leads me to the conclusion that WashCo really doesn’t care.

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      Spiffy February 8, 2017 at 7:13 am

      that’s very demeaning of those with no other transportation options…

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      Spiffy February 8, 2017 at 7:14 am

      when I ride it’s fun and I get exercise… but I never ride for those reasons, they’re just side effects…

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      Chris I February 8, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Riding a bicycle on high-speed rural roads is a fool’s errand. Buy a car before you get yourself killed.

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        Dan A February 9, 2017 at 9:03 am

        Alternafact: People don’t die in cars.

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      NW_Runner February 8, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Semis drive down Michigan Avenue. It’s a residential “neighborhood greenway” with sharrows. WTF am I supposed to go to avoid semis if every road in town is fair game for them?

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        Doug Klotz February 8, 2017 at 11:49 am

        Federal regulations, i understand,say local jurisdictions must allow 18 wheelers on streets within a certain distance (1/2 mile?) Of any interstate freeway entrance or exit. Beyond that distance, I think a city can “advise” that a certain road is “Too narrow” or too right a turn, etc. so trucks are “advised” not to enter. I suppose diverters fall in that category.

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      Todd Boulanger February 8, 2017 at 11:10 am

      Doug – you do bring up a good point…perhaps there should be arterials that restrict large commercial trucks along critical bikeways…either exclusively or temporally.

      As a consultant that studies parking design and the history of parking policy…I have seen that there has been a very recent change in retail/ commercial deliveries from “city sized” trucks to larger “suburban” long haul trucks in the last 10+ years…this is a jump from a 25 foot length to over 60 feet in length.

      (Few if any marked on-street loading zones in the central city accommodate this new “mega” class of delivery vehicles. I know that the CoV PAG has struggled with this change…I assume the CoP parking has too.)

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      Dan A February 9, 2017 at 9:02 am

      How many roads don’t allow big trucks?

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    rick February 8, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Fatal crash scenes also prevent people from driving to adjacent stores (the death-grip-on-the-steering-wheel type). Safe streets are needed.

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    Doug Klotz February 8, 2017 at 9:12 am

    We should be clear that we are asking for “Side Guards” for protection from collisions, not “Trailer Skirts”, which are solely for reducing wind resistance.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trailer_skirt

    The two look similar, but the Trailer Skirt (or “Aerodynamic Side Panel”, or “Side Panel”) does not come down far enough, and may not be located in the same place. The Trailer Skirt apparently qualifies the owner for a federal tax break under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (the idea being that reduced wind resistance saves fuel and, thus emissions).

    Perhaps that Act could be modified so that the Trailer Skirts could also meet the specification for Side Guards. I know the new administration is eager to promulgate new regulations.

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      todd boulanger February 8, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Good clarification.

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    Doug Klotz February 8, 2017 at 9:15 am

    I note in the graphic that “Boston passed the nation’s first Side Guard Ordinance” in 2014. This would imply that, in fact, local jurisdictions can indeed require vehicle equipment beyond what is required federally. Is this true?

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 8, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Yes and no Doug. The City could equip their own fleet, and then pass an ordinance saying that anyone who works on a city contract must have side guards on their trucks. They can also do education campaigns and try to persuade/strong-arm (through political and public pressure) even more local companies to use them

      But of course there are many trucks who simply pass-through Portland and have zero connection to official city business of any kind and who have no official headquarters here. If we want 100% of trucks to have these then we need the federal mandate.

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        Bjorn February 8, 2017 at 10:20 am

        Hey Jonathan, can you explain why it has to be a federal mandate rather than a state level one? Is there some difference in how a under run guard is classified vs other safety equipment like tire chains? I don’t understand how the state can require one but not the other. My understanding is that the fed’s set a minimum but that states can go further if they wish. Another example would be the requirements for side and rear view mirrors on vehicles which vary from state to state.

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          Travis February 8, 2017 at 12:09 pm

          State can more mandate registered vehicles; not vehicles passing through, registered in other states.

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            Bjorn February 8, 2017 at 2:56 pm

            That doesn’t seem to be the case for tire chains which can be required of all vehicles regardless of state of origin in a snow storm? Can you explain why there is a difference?

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          paikiala February 8, 2017 at 12:14 pm

          sort of like some states that permit triple trailers, and some that don’t, or some states that have tougher emissions standards, or higher minimum wages.

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    pdx2wheeler February 8, 2017 at 11:04 am

    So we’re waiting on the current congress to pass one new regulation to make us safer? We’re going to need a good supply of body bags!

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    J_R February 8, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    I’m not convinced that the guards would prevent death or serious injury. Ok, maybe in a few cases, but it’s not as if they will always sweep the rider away from the track of the rear wheels.

    Retrofitting trucks with guards seems to me to be the equivalent of welding cross braces on drainage grates – something that will improve ones ability to ride across the grate if one has to. We know that the real solution to the drainage grate issue is to have curbside inlets (no grates).

    Another example relating to bikes is exemplified by Eugene’s decision 30 years ago to place push buttons on posts next to the curb making it really easy for bicyclist to push the button to activate the signal. Those posts were constantly getting knocked down by motor vehicle, especially trucks. The better solution turned out to be better, more sensitive detectors and better placement of loops to locations where they pick up cyclists. Video or radar detection has also proven successful.

    To solve the right hook problem, especially with trucks, it seems to me we’d be better off with a technological solution than spending lots of money on guards. Maybe it’s a video or radar-based blind spot detection device with both audible and visual warnings for the driver.

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    CaptainKarma February 8, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Though technically, when the truck is crossing your travel lane, it’s crashing into YOU.

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    Steve Scarich February 8, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I wonder if sideguards will have an unintended consequence; more accidents. I recall research (that might be apocryphal), that when cyclists wear helmets, they tend to use less care while cycling. The thinking being that they feel invulnerable. Would truck drivers have the same mentality (e.g. ‘I have sideguards, so I’ve done my bit to protect cyclists’).

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      Kyle Banerjee February 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

      I doubt it. Aside from the research showing they help, sideguards marked with warning signs can help encourage safer behaviors by cyclists in addition to improving protection.

      By definition, being hit by a huge metal thing is very bad. What these guards do is give people one last chance to avoid going under the wheels.

      On an aside note, someone hitting the guardrail will make noise that gives the driver a chance to realize what’s going on and stop rather than continue rolling over the ped or cyclist.

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        X February 9, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        I plan to keep not letting people hit me with vehicles as opposed to hoping they will hear the sound of me hitting their vehicle and quickly stop 🙁

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    John Schmidt February 8, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Stop killing people ! Oregon needs to adapt California rules on bike lanes: “A right-turning vehicle is supposed to move into the bike lane before the intersection, anywhere from 200 to 50 feet before, first s
    ignaling the lane merge, then merging right to the curb lane, then finally making the actual turn when safe”

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    Mossby Pomegranate February 8, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    I blame Kate Brown.

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      Racer X February 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      Looks like you have a new election period number sticker slogan.

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    soren February 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    VISION ZERO PROTEST RIDE
    Dawson Park, 101 N Stanton St Take Trimet
    Wed Feb 15 4:30pm – 6:30pm

    https://www.facebook.com/events/392353741121786/

    On February 6 another person was killed by a right-hook collision while cycling in Portland. Four out of six of the last cycling deaths involved preventable right- or left-hook collisions. This type of collision has been a major safety issue for decades but the city continues to drag its feet on funding laws and infrastructure that can prevent tragedy. We will ride to the location of this recent death to protest the city’s inaction and demand that it fund its committment to Vision Zero (the goal of working towards zero traffic deaths). Please feel free to bring signs, messages, flowers, candles, and/or other symbols of outrage.

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