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Oregon House passes anti-speeding bill that still allows speeding

Posted by on March 24th, 2017 at 12:49 pm

New bikeway on NE 21st Avenue-13.jpg

Is it unreasonable to expect people to drive at or below the speed limit in our cities?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon House Judiciary Committee passed a bill by a vote of 9-1 yesterday that will give cities the authority to issue speeding tickets to people who are caught on red light cameras. But it only applies to people driving 11 mph or more over the speed limit.

Lawmakers and law enforcement officials included that minimum threshold in the bill because they didn’t want the measure to seem unreasonable to drivers.

The aim of House Bill 2409 is to address an enforcement gap that exists in Oregon: Red light cameras have speed sensors but the speed data isn’t part of the citation process; and photo radar vans that watch for speeding aren’t allowed to cite for red light infractions. This bill combines those two technologies into one system.

“Just normally driving through a city it is not uncommon to have your speed creep up a little bit. Technically you’re violating a traffic law; but is it reasonable to issue a citation?”
— Jim Monger, Beaverton Police Chief in testimony for the House Judiciary Committee on February 16th

Because of the traffic safety implications, the bill has broad support from law enforcement personnel and it’s supported by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation. PBOT — who operates 11 red light cameras at 10 intersections — sees the bill as a part of their Vision Zero efforts.

While the law new will encourage safer and slower driving behaviors, one of its provisions is troubling: People will only be cited if they are going 11 mph or more over the speed limit. While this approach is standard practice from police bureaus (they do it because traffic court judges often side with drivers and dismiss tickets for driving just a few miles over), to ignore this type of unsafe driving behavior in state statute seems like a step in the wrong direction. Especially for a state where nearly 500 people were killed in traffic crashes in just one year.

There’s a strange dichotomy at work here. On one hand, our leaders want to improve safety by creating a new enforcement tool. And on the other, they don’t want to cause too much trouble for the people whose behaviors cause the unsafe conditions.


When the bill was discussed by the House Judiciary Committee on February 16th, Beaverton Police Chief Jim Monger urged lawmakers to support it. When one of them asked him why the bill won’t ticket people until they go 11 mph over the speed limit, here’s how Chief Monger replied (emphasis mine):

“The idea of issuing a citation of someone traveling at a lower speed of 9 or 8 miles per hour… frankly, I feel like you’d be very hard-pressed to find an officer — or even a deputy or a state trooper — that would issue a citation for that minimal amount. Just normally driving through a city it is not uncommon to have your speed creep up a little bit. Technically you’re violating a traffic law; but is it reasonable to issue a citation? So it gets to that reasonableness…. that’s why that particular number was selected.”

Wait. What?!

Tell people who have lost loved ones from speeding about what’s “reasonable”.
(Graphic: PBOT)

According to PBOT (above) there’s four times the likelihood of death or injury when someone walking or rolling is hit by a person driving 30 mph instead of 20 mph. And the risk doubles again from someone driving 40 mph instead of 30 mph. There are major safety implications to driving even 10 mph over the speed limit.

Chief Monger and the lawmakers who agree with him are normalizing extremely dangerous behavior. Common practice or not — why one earth would the state endorse driving “double digits above the posted speed limit” — especially while driving through a city?

Another provision in the bill says that law enforcement cannot deliver two citations “from the same criminal episode.” In other words, if you are cited speeding, you cannot also be cited for running the red light — even if you are guilty of both (unless your speed is 21 mph or more over the limit).

Judiciary Committee member Representative Jeff Barker (D-Aloha) said he likes that provision. A former Portland Police Bureau lieutenant, Barker said during the February hearing that when he was at the PPB it was standard practice to only issue one ticket even if two violations were committed. “We didn’t want to double-barrel people,” he said.

Do we want to make streets safer? Or do we want to appear reasonable and friendly to people who are making them unsafe?

From here the bill will make a brief stop at the House Revenue Committee before moving over to the Senate.

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

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

  • J.E. March 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Is there anything that could be done about making this bill sane, or are we stuck with the 11-over and one-or-the-other provisions (else risk losing the bill entirely) now that it’s passed the house?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 24, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      The bill could be amended in the Senate Judiciary Committee… then it would have to come back to House to be reconciled and voted on again.

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    • Smokey Bear March 24, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      11 MPH over on a photo ticket is reasonable. If you want that to be the equivalent of 6 mph over instead, then get the city to lower all speeds within city limits by 5 mph. Fixed it for ya.

      Could be law by Monday COB.

      But would not apply to freeways – speeds are OK as they are on freeways.

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      • Dan A March 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm

        36 in a 25 is in no way reasonable.

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      • Chris I March 25, 2017 at 8:20 pm

        So, you have no problem with people driving 35mph down a neighborhood street? Would you care if it were your street?

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      • Todd Boulanger March 26, 2017 at 7:13 pm

        Transportation safety professionals typically define on of the characteristics of “aggressive driving” as 6 MPH and higher over posted “limits”.

        Now for purposes of implementation I could see a “compromise” by which a jurisdiction sets an initial higher trigger speed (say 11 MPH for the 40 to 50 mph arterials / lower on slower arterials) and then tighten it up to a lower trigger speed once the enforcement has been in place 6 months to a year (with posted notice of change) and so forth. Other factors could influence this would be either spike in injuries/ crashes or a high incidence of faulty speedometers, etc. I have often thought that neighbourhood associations/ districts should be able to vote on having a stricter speed enforcement (lower threshold = zero tolerance)…like already done when setting 200% fines for work zones etc.

        The 5 to 10 mph buffer in speed enforcement is as much a legacy of older analogue speed measurement equipment (car speedometers, ‘radar guns’, etc.) as the politics of strict policing of speed limits/ traffic safety.

        [Any future plan of enforcement should be careful so as to not seem to target ‘driving while black/ brown” avoided by strict monitoring of the data so as to not undermine the traffic safety outcomes.]

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        • paikiala March 28, 2017 at 9:17 am

          Citation for that definition, please.

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  • rick March 24, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    What else to expect from a Beaverton government ?

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    • El Biciclero March 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      There isn’t a single representative from Beaverton on this committee. I assume you are intending to disparage the Beaverton Police Department and its chief for expressing a view that is pretty much common to all municipal police departments—including Portland. As much as we probably agree there is a little too much of a wink-and-nod attitude inherent in this lenient view of driving offenses, there is nothing uniquely Beavertonesque about it. This is the Oregon Legislature we’re talking about, not “a Beaverton Government”. It sounds like something happened to you in Beaverton once, and you’re still angry about it.

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      • rick March 24, 2017 at 7:55 pm

        Heck yes. Cleaning up the road flares and debris from an unsolved fatal hit and run. Harley is the second person known to have died on this short, 30 mph section of Laurelwood. Beaverton has done nothing for the safety of this section near where Harley was killed. I won’t make an excuse. It is located by 3 giant schools that have over 2,000 combined students.

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        • Dan A March 24, 2017 at 9:14 pm

          I suppose those double yellow lines on the road are supposed to help, but they make that stretch look like a highway. Right through a neighborhood.

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        • Dan A March 24, 2017 at 9:16 pm

          BTW, that road does not appear to be in the Beaverton city limits, from the map I’ve seen.

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          • rick March 25, 2017 at 8:33 am

            SW Laurelwood Ave is a Beaverton Road. Many adjacent properties are unincorporated Washington county. The road itself is a Beaverton Road. 30 mph without street lights or a safe shoulder connecting Scholls Ferry to BH Highway.

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            • Dan A March 25, 2017 at 10:55 am

              Thanks for the clarification.

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        • El Biciclero March 25, 2017 at 10:16 am

          Well, that does indeed leave one with a bitter taste and significant, understandable outrage, no excuses necessary. Did you know Harley?

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  • John Lascurettes March 24, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    So if we want people to drive 20 on greenways, can we start then posting 10 mph speed limits on those streets? I mean, if we’re not going to enforce that limit as a limit, let’s go ahead and use the effective limit to compensate.

    Oh, and in rare cases where a speed limit is set to 5 or 10 MPH, do we then set the posted speed limit to -5 or 0 MPH?

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    • paikiala March 24, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Little known fact(?), 10 mph is possible under current statutes and very specific conditions:

      A. narrow residential roadways – 2-way travel width of 18 feet or less in a ‘residential district’ can be posted for 15 mph, by statute.
      B. streets identified for bike use can be posted 5 mph below statutory.

      The definition of a road is the portion used for vehicle travel. If (big if) you can depave, design, or clearly otherwise clearly designate the space used for vehicle storage, i.e., the shoulders or parking lane, and the remaining space for vehicle travel is 18 feet or less, you would meet the narrow residential roadway definition.

      Most of the residential roads in Portland could achieve this set of criteria with little change.

      Of course, just modifying current law to permit cities to post any streets in residential districts at 5 below statutory would be simpler.

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      • q March 25, 2017 at 1:38 pm

        Is that new? PBOT and County staff and consultants working on the SW Miles Place revisions that were part of the Sellwood Bridge project didn’t know that. People living on the street were pleading for a lower-than normal speed limit, since the street is also the Willamette Greenway Trail, but were told by PBOT staff that that was not possible legally. That was about 3 years ago.

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      • Todd Boulanger March 26, 2017 at 7:15 pm

        Please share the link or code #…so that others can find it easily.

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    • El Biciclero March 24, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Sure-fire way to get people to drive 5-10 mph. Paint a white line perpendicular to the direction of travel, and erect a sign that says “STOP HERE”.

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      • J_R March 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm

        It works even better if the white line is painted on top of a speed bump measuring 4 to 6 inches in height and 18 to 24 inches horizontally.

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  • longgone March 24, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Have none of you rolled an orange light? I see how the lawmakers are trying to focus on people blatantly throttling through a red. I received my first speeding ticket in 19 years last summer from a radar van. My speed? 11 over. So you will know the van was on Yeon going SE into downtown. It was parked 15 feet past the entirely too tiny sign that indicated the speed drop from 45 to 40. I try diligently to drive within the law, thus my lack of tickets. I for one would hate to get a ticket for rolling on an orange light turning red if there was no time to stop without endangering those around me INCLUDING cars behind me.
    Also, @ rick… Where does it say the bill was launched by reps in Beaverton? I realize it states a policeman there supports it. I’m sure several Portland police, and residents might as well. Ridiculous .

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    • J_R March 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Your comment sounds like excess rationalization to me.

      I seriously doubt the speed posting was a “too tiny sign.” I am certain it complied with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The minimum size on a multi-lane road such as Yeon is 30 x 36 inches.

      If you were actually obeying the 45 mph posted speed in the prior section of road, you would have been only 5 mph over the limit where the speed dropped from 45 to 40.

      The use of a speed van requires the placement of a warning sign 300 feet in advance. I guess you were going so fast that you didn’t see that either.

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      • longgone March 24, 2017 at 3:00 pm

        I’ll be happy to go there and show you how small the sign is. Speed limit signs around town in many places are too small. Take for instance the same size sign that used to be posted on south bound Grand head towards Milwaukee. Same scenario. Four lane traffic. No sidewalks. Light industrial. The city used that area as a ticket trap for years.

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        • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 3:06 pm

          “The city used that area as a ticket trap for years.”

          I see at least two logical flaws in that statement.
          (1) how exactly is it a ticket trap? Are you saying people were being tricked into driving faster than the posted limit + 11mph? Can you explain?

          (2) if it was what you suggest for years then I think that predictabilyt of enforcement invalidates the trap claim since you (and likely others too) were clearly aware that this stretch experienced speed limit enforcement.

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          • longgone March 24, 2017 at 3:18 pm

            I’m saying that police sit in areas ticking people mostly where it is easy for them to do so, and in areas that are truly not a big threat to traffic disaster. EI : my child’s friggin school zone. Don’t piss me off, you know what I mean. Ha.

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            • BB March 24, 2017 at 3:59 pm

              Don’t piss you off or what? You’ll hit someone with your car?
              Police ticketing for driving infractions isn’t a “trap” and attitudes that express that sort of thing represent the normalization of irresponsible automobile usage that results in 40,000+ Americans dead every year. If you’re taking part, you’re complicit.

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      • longgone March 24, 2017 at 3:07 pm

        No warning in advance whatsoever. You are incorrect. I’ll be more than happy to show you where I was, the speed I was traveling and the whereabouts of the van. I don’t have to justify it for you, but I will . I have a photocopy of the event. In addition, as I said I was 11 over, which would put me in the “slippery zone of the law” on slight speed over. I was clocked at 51. I’m sure if you drive, my record is cleaner than yours. I’m willing to bet you a pint.

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        • J_R March 24, 2017 at 3:13 pm

          My only citation was 49 years ago. And, yes, I still drive. I think you lose.

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          • longgone March 24, 2017 at 3:24 pm

            49 + 16 = 65, which would represent the age you are now if you began driving at 16. Your telling me you haven’t had one ticket since 1968. Not buying it.

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            • J_R March 24, 2017 at 3:32 pm

              Your math is correct. I guess you are so attuned to breaking the law when operating a motor vehicle you can’t imagine that there are some of us who actually abide by the law more often than you do. I have received exactly one citation during my driving career.

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            • paikiala March 28, 2017 at 9:30 am

              I’m 53, and have only had one speeding ticket, maybe two or three parking tickets.
              Maybe your social norm meter is off?

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        • Dan A March 24, 2017 at 5:14 pm

          I’ve gotten one ticket in 27 years of driving, for making a U turn. I don’t do that anymore.

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          • rachel b March 24, 2017 at 9:20 pm

            Only one for me, too.

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          • q March 24, 2017 at 10:31 pm

            I would have got several, but every time I was able to successfully bribe the officer with some emergency cheese I keep in my glove compartment for those situations.

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            • rachel b March 25, 2017 at 2:02 pm

              Emergency cheese!!! Yum! 🙂

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    • Huey Lewis March 24, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      A yellow light, sure. An orange light? No, none of us has.

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      • longgone March 24, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        I believe you are intelligent enough to understand my colorful illustration.

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        • Paul Atkinson March 24, 2017 at 3:12 pm

          To be sure, your illustration used color effectively, but it didn’t very well support your assertion that you endeavor to obey the law.

          In Oregon we have to stop for yellow lights — not just red. So the stop needs to be initiated when green turns to yellow.

          If you’re running the light as yellow turns to red, you’re blatantly in violation and putting others at risk. Minimizing that as “rolling an orange light” is a colorful way to say you don’t try all that hard to obey the laws…even laws that are directly related to protecting other people’s lives and health.

          Have I *ever* done that? Yep. I was a young idiot once. Now I’m a middle-aged idiot, and I don’t do that at all.

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    • rick March 24, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Jabra Khasho from Beaverton public works refuses to install a lower speed limit on deadly SW Laurelwood Ave, rebuild the SW Vermont trail, install bike lanes and sidewalks during the Jamieson sewer project, or install a painted crosswalk on SW Laurelwood at Laurel street.

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      • J_R March 24, 2017 at 3:48 pm

        It’s not up to a city public works employee to implement a lower speed limit. The authority for setting a speed zone falls to the Oregon Department of Transportation – even for city streets. Your complaint may, perhaps, be justified, but it is directed improperly.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm

          The request to ODOT usually has to start with a city employee.

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        • rick March 24, 2017 at 7:58 pm

          Beaverton has done nothing for the safety of that part of Laurelwood. Not asking ODOT for a lower speed limit. Not building even a goat trail.

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      • wsbob March 24, 2017 at 11:03 pm

        Give us the details on Laurelwood Ave. I don’t personally know that street, I don’t think.

        Khasho is an ok guy. I’ve talked with him, he knows the bureaucracy, what’s going to work and what isn’t. I’d say he’s the sort of person that’s not going to make waves in an effort to try to get things done, where the consequences are a good chance of fail.

        But why should he take that all on his shoulders? It’s not like there’s much of a crowd in Beaverton, vocally and physically expressing their desire for dramatic changes to the city’s infrastructure for walking and biking. Beaverton makes steady progress towards better conditions for walking and biking, and it seems to me, he is helping that progress along.

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  • colton March 24, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Say what you will, but this is an improvement over what we have today.

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  • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    “strange dichotomy at work”

    = Car Head

    (excuse, normalize behavior by someone in a car that is dangerous or even illegal, because, well, everyone does it/no one’s really going to ticket someone for this, wink, wink)

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  • Dave March 24, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Who the hell wrote the bill–Joseph Heller or Kurt Vonnegut?

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  • Pete March 24, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    I’ve commented several times previously how easy it is to “creep” over the speed limit in modern, quiet, powerful cars. Trying to drive 25 MPH (or less) on a residential street takes consistent concentration, and it may even move your focus from the roadway to the speedometer itself.

    That being said, driving 36 MPH in a 25 MPH zone is dangerous and noticeable, both to driver and to other motorists and road users. You quickly come upon people driving in compliance, and can’t help but to realize your speed. In a 40 or 45 MPH zone (most of the roads I ride in Class II bike lanes and shoulders on), driving at 51-56 MPH is highly noticeable, dangerous, and allows motorists to carry surplus speed into slip lanes that feed (typically) 35 MPH roads.

    Very disappointing to see this tolerance justified by law enforcement and public officials. 5 MPH tolerance would have been quite reasonable, and far from an ‘injustice’ to our poor, poor American drivers who are already having their ‘rights’ taken away by potholes, narrow highways, road diets, and having to share the road with all those “special interest groups.” (Sorry, particularly sarcastic today).

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    • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      “Trying to drive 25 MPH (or less) on a residential street takes consistent concentration, and it may even move your focus from the roadway to the speedometer itself.”

      OK but how did we get cars that made keeping below the limit (LIMIT) so difficult?

      “5 MPH tolerance would have been quite reasonable”

      I disagree. we’re talking about a LIMIT, not some handwaving, a range, an idea about speed. The speed you’re supposed to drive is not what is posted on the sign, but the upper limit, for crying out loud. If it is hard to keep to *exactly* 25, then stay as much under as necessary so as not to inadvertently creep past it. This is not hard, but rather habituation.

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      • Paul Atkinson March 24, 2017 at 3:15 pm

        I want to recommend this a hundred times.

        Say it with me, drivers: it’s a maximum, not a minimum. If your speed varies then you should vary it under the limit, not over.

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      • wsbob March 24, 2017 at 4:14 pm

        “…“5 MPH tolerance would have been quite reasonable”…pete”

        I disagree. we’re talking about a LIMIT, not some handwaving, a range, an idea about speed. …” watts

        Disagree all you want…be an island unto yourself if that makes you happy, but the question of speed limits being reasonably adhered to, is a concern of the public as a whole, rather than some small contingent hoping to impose their very narrow viewpoint onto the public. I think the majority public is going to expect some latitude, and 5mph sounds about right to me, as I’ve earlier expressed.

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        • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 5:42 pm

          “I think the majority public is going to expect some latitude…”

          I don’t necessarily disagree. People understandably get used to how things have always been, but I’d like to ask what weight you think we should assign this imagined resistance to treating speed limits at their face value, and why?

          We could similarly expect people used to spanking their children, or beating their wives, or kicking their pets to think they should continue to be granted some latitude as well, because that is how it has always been. But to what end?
          Just because it has become a habit—and in this case one sanctioned by law enforcement, at least if you’re white—is no good reason to continue deferring to this arrangement as a guide for policy going forward, especially if as Jonathan noted in the article, we understand the consequence of additional speed for safety.

          “…and 5mph sounds about right to me”

          Seems entirely arbitrary. Why not five mph below the posted limit? Neither of these logically follow.
          As I said above, I feel the burden should be on those who seem to think that a posted limit isn’t an actual limit but a vague gesture on the subject of speed to explain and justify this curious stance.

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          • Pete March 24, 2017 at 8:42 pm

            ““…and 5mph sounds about right to me”

            Seems entirely arbitrary. Why not five mph below the posted limit? Neither of these logically follow.”

            11 MPH seems arbitrary to me. Speedometers are marked in 5 MPH increments, with 10 MPH increments longer than the 5 marks. Glancing down from the roadway at a dial that’s typically ranged for a top speed well over 100 MPH (why?), the variance between 20 MPH and 30 MPH is a very small area to the far lower left of that field of view (speedometer).

            Your eyes have to refocus from scanning your trajectory and periphery (roadway) to a few square inches much closer (and with different lighting) – and older eyes don’t refocus as quickly or sharply. Driving on a long span of road, your speed will easily vary, especially if you 1) have cars on front and behind you driving faster, or 2) have no other traffic as a fixed point of reference and have wide lanes with few intersections.

            By the way, what either of us is talking about here is not logic, it’s justification.

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            • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 8:45 pm

              “By the way, neither of us is talking here about logic, but justification.”


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          • wsbob March 24, 2017 at 11:35 pm

            “…and 5mph sounds about right to me” wsbob

            “Seems entirely arbitrary. Why not five mph below the posted limit? Neither of these logically follow. …” watts

            The 5mph latitude over posted, before citation, that I’ve suggested, isn’t arbitrary at all. I base it partly on what seems to be a rather well accepted public recognition that people are busy, and they want to get places fast… rather than slower than posted, as you’re suggesting they should.

            Good chance most people know and recognize they need to moderate their mph speed of travel, but many more than do now, probably wouldn’t if it weren’t for posted speed limits, specifying exactly what speed they should not be exceeding. But lots of people want to travel fast, whether they’re traveling by motor vehicle, or by bike. And they do, and we as society let them…give them a little latitude on speed, because generally, 5mph is not a big, dangerous excess of speed.

            (Unless we were to talk about some area where the posted speed limit is actually 5mph, or 3.5mph…normal walking speed. In which case, 5 mph would be twice or more the posted speed limit.)

            Claims that it’s so difficult to maintain vehicle speed within no more than 5mph over posted speed limit, just don’t wash, from what I notice from my own experience driving. My vehicle is nothing special, just an old import pickup truck. I just set the accelerator pedal with my foot, and it cruises right along, basically holding the same mph speed…a little more pedal depending on the upgrade, a little less for downgrade. Making those adjustments is where the speed can increase too much until a correction is made…which is another reason for modest latitude given on speed.

            I don’t have to look at the speedometer much at all. A brief glance once in awhile. The rate at which outside surroundings pass by, helps to give a good sense of whether vehicle speed is steady, slowing, or speeding by faster.

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            • Pete March 25, 2017 at 8:01 pm

              I have a ’92 Ford with a wired accelerator (like yours), and it’s generally hard to vary its speed, but very different response than in our newer cars. At lower speeds it’s pretty easy to vary – unless, as I said, you pay attention.

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              • wsbob March 26, 2017 at 12:28 am

                You mean a cable, mechanical throttle? I’ve got a 95 Nissan, and it’s very responsive to pedal change, but holds well enough at a desired position too. I travel between Beaverton downtown, and west of the Nike campus fairly regularly, cutting through on Jay St rather than going around the block via Jenkins/158th. Nike being a bundle of energy, and Jay a very busy street am/pm, people coming and going to work…there happens to almost on permanent basis, be one of those ‘mobile’..but not really in this particular situation location….speed reader boards.

                It seems very accurate. Late at night, going home when almost no other vehicles are using Jay, I watch the display as I approach and pass by. Corresponds very closely to my speedometer reading. I can easily change and hold the pedal position for a mph or two, faster or slower.

                …excessive mph traveled, over the speed limit, as in ‘way over’, or grossly in excess, happen I think, because some people like to horse around with their cars, ‘gun it’, and all that. There’s nothing really wrong with that, in some situations, but it needs to be impressed upon people that they need to use their heads on deciding when and where it might be ok to do a little horsing around with their vehicle. Somebody else’s neighborhood, is not that place…neither are school zones, or downtown streets busy with people on foot, bikes, skateboards, and so on.

                And responsible, adult police officers, police chiefs somewhat amazingly…telling people it’s ok, reasonable to be driving more than 10mph over the posted speed limit, is not helping to impress upon people that driving at speeds way above the posted speed limit…horsing around with their car, isn’t ok.

                Unlike some people commenting to this discussion…I’m willing to cut people a little slack, latitude, on mph in excess of posted. Allow too much, and it’s almost like there’s no speed limit at all. Couple that with the weird ’85th percentile’, for setting speed limits, and the result is almost like not even making an effort to constrain vehicle speeds on any basis, except what speed it is, ‘people feel like driving at…heck with people on foot, heck with kids and little dogs, phooey on people riding bikes, and peace and quiet in general’…that most likely everyone wants maintained in their neighborhoods.

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        • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 5:59 pm

          Speaking of which… just last month a protracted trial was concluded in Berlin, in which two men who had arranged to race their sports cars through the streets of Berlin at top speed in the middle of the night, running any lights that happened to be red in their path, were accused *and convicted* of murder of a man who had the misfortune of crossing their path (on a green).
          They received lifetime imprisonment, and lifetime forfeiture of their drivers’ licenses. This charge was a first for Germany, and was explicitly understood as an opportunity to deter this kind of behavior in future.

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        • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 6:38 pm

          You build it.

          That is how Sweden’s version of ODOT went about it.

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      • John Lascurettes March 24, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        ” Habituation”: perfect word, as in habituation has led to America’s complacency in perfectly preventable automotive death.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 24, 2017 at 5:04 pm

          The problem is that many of these deaths are not “perfectly preventable” without huge changes in our means of transporting people. Theoretically preventable, absolutely, but very difficult to do in practice without changes to human nature.

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          • John Lascurettes March 24, 2017 at 5:21 pm

            The vast majority of traffic deaths are directly related to speed and distracted driving. These are the driving habits of the average American driver. You can’t get them to stop because no one sees it as not normal.

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            • John Lascurettes March 24, 2017 at 5:25 pm

              I wasn’t saying you’d cut all deaths, but if we could at least break people of their assumptive stance that 5-10 MPH over the speed limit is perfectly normal and acceptable, then we’d cut out a huge, huge swath of deaths.

              I see posts and hear conversations on a fairly regular basis of people apoplectically complaining about someone else doing the speed limit at the posted limit — because that is seen as abnormal and aberrant; some even ague that the speed observer is making everyone else unsafe.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 24, 2017 at 5:42 pm

                So they come down to human nature and human nature. People aren’t “habituated” to being distracted, it’s just plain difficult for people to concentrate on a single complex task that is, at most times rote, dull, and routine, so they are easily distracted. I do not believe that can be “taught” away. Certain things like turning off your phone can be conditioned out, but the underlying cognitive difficulties will remain.

                Driving is, and will remain, inherently dangerous because it is a difficult task, with tiny margins of error, and rare, but potentially huge, costs associated with a momentary lapse of focus.

                Even where people are unusually “good” at driving (northern Europe, for example), and the roadways are unusually well designed and maintained, lots and lots of people die driving.

                In my year or so reading this forum, I’ve heard lots of simplistic solutions (“just make everyone drive slow and pay attention!”), but very few that I think would be both practical and effective.

                Except robot cars.

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              • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 5:47 pm

                “People aren’t ‘habituated’ to being distracted”

                But they are habituated to getting away with being distracted.

                “underlying cognitive difficulties will remain.”

                Some sure. But we’re not really debating that here. We were—or I thought we were— talking about the need to roll back the generally lax attitude with which drivers are held to the laws already on the books, specifically so as to reduce overlapping cognitive burdens so they can more readily focus on those related to driving. And the threat of real by-the-book enforcement of 25-if-it-says-25 will I am quite sure help with that goal. If they can do all of this in Sweden why are we spending so much time discussing why we can’t manage to copy their successes?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 24, 2017 at 6:25 pm

                I don’t oppose enforcing the laws as written. I’m just arguing that doing all it would take to get to Sweden’s level of road carnage (still pretty high) would be very difficult here. Hand waving won’t change that.

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              • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 6:32 pm

                That seems unhelpfully defeatist to me. Unlike us here in the US, Sweden is not resting on its laurels but moving full steam ahead. By the time we catch up to Sweden -in-2017 we’ll still have plenty of catching up to do.
                I’m not saying this will happen overnight or without effort; I’m just reacting to your insistence that the glass-is-half-empty-and-will-never-be-full retort which sounds sometimes an awful lot like an excuse to do nothing.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 24, 2017 at 6:34 pm

                Widespread legal and cultural change can’t happen without popular support. Do we have that?

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              • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 6:40 pm

                comment didn’t nest properly.

                You build the support. it doesn’t just exist out there separate from everyone.

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              • Pete March 24, 2017 at 10:58 pm

                Man, this is so crazy common now! Just the way so many people behave when you drive at the speed limit on a residential road – even passing through a school zone… I wish I had a dollar for the times I’ve been honked at, flashed at, flipped off. People wonder why I love biking so much, and they ask me how I can ride around cars so much like I do… because I have so fewer negative interactions with cars when on a bike. People find that so hard to believe.

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              • Dan A March 25, 2017 at 9:59 am

                I’m hearing reports of people in our neighborhood passing other drivers. Nice.

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          • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 5:28 pm

            “Theoretically preventable, absolutely, but very difficult to do in practice without changes to human nature.”

            Your view that human nature is hard to change colors your appreciation for how (or whether) we might advance on these fronts. Consequently you imagine it to be far more difficult than it will turn out to be.

            You wrote: “many of these deaths are not ‘perfectly preventable’ without huge changes in our means of transporting people.”

            The prevalence of that misconception was the reason I copied the passage above, suggesting that some countries are already not only achieving *much* better road safety, but are doing this specifically through strategies that yield human behaviors which contribute to these results (rather than technologies, which you imagine to be more likely to produce this outcome).

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty March 24, 2017 at 6:13 pm

              Much better, yes, but still not very good.

              Should we rebuild our highways to better standards, and maintain them better? Yes! Should we train drivers better? Yes! Should we change the culture around driving to make people take it more seriously? Yes! Should we find ways to reduce the need for driving? Yes! Should we impose strict safety inspections on vehicles? Yes!

              Those ideas (and others) will certainly help, but think about what each would take, and how much they would help. Even after doing all of those, we’d still have a high death toll on our roads.

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              • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 6:28 pm

                the difficult we do immediately; the impossible will take a bit of time.

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              • paikiala March 28, 2017 at 9:40 am


                One third of the US per capita rate seems very good to me.

                The fatal crashes per 100,000 populations in the UK, Iceland, Norway and Sweden is about 3. The fatal crashes per 100k population in Australia, France and Canada is about 6. Poland is at about 9. The US is in excess of 10.

                “When the infrastructure cannot be upgraded, at reasonable costs, to the standard required for the existing speed limit, the appropriate action is to reduce the speed limit.” Page 83, “Speed Management”, OECD, 2006.


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      • Tom Hardy March 24, 2017 at 7:30 pm

        I also drive 9watts. Thank goodness for 5-6 speed automatics. In 30-35 mile zones I routinely drive in third gear. Everything is happy at the lower speed and I do not have a creep problem of following too close. 40+ fourth gear is fine at 2,000 RPM. Over 45 and 5th is fine or 6th. Much smoother than running in top gear at 12-1500 RPM.
        I also prefer to spin on the bike. Much easier to cruise easy at 17 for long distances than try to lug it at 6 on the flat.

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      • Pete March 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm

        How we got here is irrelevant. That most cars on the road NOW very easily accelerate from 20 MPH to 30 MPH with very light (drive-by-wire) pedal touch and absolutely no discernible cabin noise is more normal than not.

        You’re ignoring one thing: this is a bill. It doesn’t become law on its own, as we readily saw with “repeal and replace” today.

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        • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 8:16 pm

          “How we got here is irrelevant. ”

          Perhaps, or perhaps not.
          There was a reason I asked that question. Design priorities for cars have for a very long time now favored power, acceleration, isolation, protection for those within. (The entitlement to) speed and acceleration are the core truths of the automobile, and these are I think a constituent of the Car Head phenomenon. It is no accident that cars deliver exactly the kind of drift toward speed without any negative feedback.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty March 24, 2017 at 8:29 pm

            Maybe it is… Every car I’ve ever owned will slow and eventually stop if you remove your foot from the gas. Even automatics will slow except at very low speeds. I’ve never driven a car that goes faster than a crawl without application of the gas or activation of the cruise control.

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          • Pete March 24, 2017 at 10:29 pm

            No argument from me on that, but as to future adaptability, cars won’t get less responsive, powerful, or quiet. What we can influence are not only the rules around them (like this attempt), but other technologies less focused on distraction and comfort and more on safety. One example I’ve come to really appreciate is the blind spot warning light – as a cyclist this will protect me in far more cases than automatic braking systems, and I suspect it’s cheaper to build in. Daytime running lights another easy win.

            Now that infotainment platforms are the norm, it’s a smaller jump to knowing speed limits and warning the driver when exceeding them, as in the example I gave elsewhere about the entry-level Mercedes I was given.

            Would I have been speeding when driving those roads in Atlanta’s burbs? Yes, absolutely, and I wouldn’t have even known it. The limit variances were likely caused by how many little towns I drove through that set them historically, as the road itself was consistent in width and density (both visual and residential). I was also one of the slower drivers on it, which matters because unless you watch your speed you’ll find faster cars easily become a moving point of reference. (My point was, without looking, it’s very difficult to sense the difference between 25 and 30 MPH… that, and when having to look, you’re taking your attention from the roadway).

            As far as power goes, I live in the land of Tesla, and they are incredibly quiet and insanely quick. I’ve grown to get on elevated alert around them because I think their drivers have no idea that they’re piloting a bullet car. (Twice they’ve been aimed in my direction with potential left hooks in traffic breaks). Nice cars, but to your point, safety in a car refers mostly to its occupants.

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        • paikiala March 28, 2017 at 9:44 am

          Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – Santayana

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    • soren March 24, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Trying to drive 25 MPH (or less) on a residential street takes consistent concentration…

      Why would anyone *concentrate* when they are operating multi-ton machinery that can easily kill a human being or animal.

      PS: I personally find it incredibly easy to drive *less* than 25 mph on roads posted at 30, 35, or 40 mph. I must be special.

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      • Smokey Bear March 24, 2017 at 3:25 pm

        Same here. When I’m on a residential street, particularly if it’s narrow, and I’m passing parked cars which may hide kids, I drive slowly. Lot of folks aren’t very safe drivers.

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      • Pete March 24, 2017 at 11:34 pm

        Are you really asking if driving a car requires concentration or not? I guess I misunderstand your point, other than to contradict me which you seem to like to do here.

        It’s difficult for humans to maintain concentration. Trying counting silently to 100 at an even cadence without a distracting thought. (Yes, some people are better than others, but not often without practice).

        To put it a different way, if we drove on an empty, straight stretch of road with the cruise control set between, say, 18 and 27 MPH, I doubt you could guess our exact speed, and I don’t believe you can maintain the speeds you say you can without attentively checking your speedometer. (Cruise controls can’t even keep a constant speed without adjusting undershoot and overshoot – they just do it faster than we do).

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      • mh March 25, 2017 at 7:06 pm

        You, Soren, are not afraid to piss people off. That can be useful.

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    • wsbob March 24, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      “…Trying to drive 25 MPH (or less) on a residential street takes consistent concentration, and it may even move your focus from the roadway to the speedometer itself. …” pete

      If there’s a reason it’s more difficult to focus on keeping vehicle speed at 25mph or less, than it is to keep vehicle speed at (add the 11mph proposed latitude..) 35 or faster, I’d like to know what that reason is…and it should be a better reason than ‘my car is so powerful, quiet, and smooth riding.’.

      The priority for people driving should be: driving safely, with consideration for the people whose neighborhood they’re driving through. Getting to destination faster and more efficiently, and enjoying the attributes of fine cars, should be lower priorities.

      It’s going to be awfully hard to expect high standards of road use from legislators and law enforcement officers, if people making up the public, don’t have, or aren’t interested in high standards for road use.

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      • Pete March 24, 2017 at 10:45 pm

        In my (anecdotal) experience, a 5 MPH variance is less perceptible than an 11 MPH variance, and the power curve of a gas engine invariably favors torque. Even a less ‘fine’ car will tend to accelerate from 20 to 30 MPH more quickly than from, say, 40 to 50 MPH (and it trails off above that, unless augmented with turbo or superchargers). You probably won’t feel a lot of that thrust at the lower speeds, and at the higher speeds you’ll probably have to give more human input than at lower.

        Physics aside, though, I’ve always thought that people have natural velocities that they’ve grown to be comfortable driving at (which probably vary between day and night, and adjacent traffic). Test yourself driving on an empty road to see if you can guess how fast you’re going. If you were right, speed up or slow down by 10 MPH, consciously hold that speed for a while, then ask yourself if it feels ‘too fast’ or ‘too slow”. My guess is you’ll creep back towards your ‘comfort’ speed, and if you’ve spent significant hours driving highways with cruise control you’ve probably noticed this behavior as people leapfrog you and then slow back down (especially when talking to others in their cars).

        As to your other points, we vehemently agree, as usual.

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        • Dan A March 25, 2017 at 10:03 am

          It takes time to acclimate to a new speed. I started driving 20 in our neighborhood 8 months ago, and it felt really weird at first, even though I regularly bike at that speed on the same roads. But now it feels normal, and I can definitely tell when I’ve gone over.

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          • Pete March 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm

            Testing nesting again. I think this is also why non-cyclists regularly refer to bicyclists as having been “going too fast”… they have no real point of experience or reference. As traffic has increased and general speeds have crept up, collective consciousness rationalizes that we’re not speeding if we’re only doing 5-10 over when everyone else is 10 over. Not unlike the behavior of a closet addict… they tend to surround themselves with others they can be comparatively “normal” to in terms of consumptive behavior.

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          • Chris I March 25, 2017 at 8:27 pm

            This has been my experience. I live in NE Portland, and have become used to driving 20-25 on all neighborhood streets. I don’t have to think about it anymore, I just focus on not hitting things that might appear in front of me.

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            • paikiala March 28, 2017 at 9:46 am

              Be a ‘cool’ driver, drive five below posted.

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              • Dan A March 28, 2017 at 11:17 am


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  • Dan A March 24, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Wow, this is the first time I’ve seen a chief of police quoted anywhere with a specific number given for allowable speeding. Unconscionable.

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    • Smokey Bear March 24, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      All drivers know you can usually get away with 5 or 6 over – particularly on a freeway. 11 over is pushing it I’d say.

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    • rick March 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Awful !

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    • Kristi Finney March 26, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      During the press event for turning on the camera at 151st block of Division, Captain Crebs was asked what the leeway would be before a ticket would be issued. He said he would not answer that, that every driver was at risk of a ticket anywhere for going 1 mph over the posted limit. He was insistent that he would not allow anyone to think anything more is okay. And I knew that he knew, as I already did, that the legislators had already mandated 11 and over. This 11+ mentality solidifies my belief that no one understands the true devastation of losing someone in a collision until it happens to them. Police officers are killed in crashes more often than any other way, see the tragedies first-hand, and yet many still don’t get it because it wasn’t THEIR loved one. (This is my own personal opinion).

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      • Dan A March 26, 2017 at 4:37 pm

        Agree. I think it will take the death of a high-profile policy maker before that changes.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 24, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Lowering speeds is as much – if not more – about culture as it is about enforcement. And this bill seems to be one step forward for enforcement, two steps back for culture.

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    • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Reminds me of the abandonment of the National Maximum Speed Law (NMSL) in the late eighties which, after all, had been enacted not for safety reasons to conserve gasoline. Thirteen years later those same biophysical facts still obtained but our wise authorities preferred to smear honey in their constituents’ ears by raising the speed limits all over the place.

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      • John Lascurettes March 24, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        Reagan at work. I remember it on the news. It was not the purview of the Federal government to regulate the speed on Interstate highways (y’know, the ones they built). Sigh.

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    • longgone March 24, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      For the record.. I am very much FOR lowering speed limits everywhere in the city. People do drive too fast much of the time.

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    • wsbob March 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      How allowing what to apparently quite a number of people, seems to be an unreasonable amount of latitude for excessive speeding before issuing a citation…benefits law enforcement, I’m not sure. Perhaps you should explain.

      We the public, hire these people…the police dept personnel, the judges, the highway dept personnel. If we the public, want vehicle speeds traveled, to stay within limits that are reasonable for safety and livability, it should be no more burden to police officers to issue a ticket for 6mph over the speed limit, than it is to issue a ticket for 11mph over the speed limit.

      A remark like the one from Beaverton police chief Jim Monger, about “…reasonableness…” relating to the question of how much over the posted speed limit should be allowed before citation, is a mystery to me. Who or what, led him to believe that citation for 11mph over, is reasonable, but citation for 6mph over, is not?

      One of Beaverton’s biggest road use problems, I think, bigger than excessive use of motor vehicles for travel and related congestion…is excessive speeds posted, and even more excessive speeds traveled by what is probably a minority of the people driving. This problem has been out of control for some time…and the problem is aggravated by population increase, and corresponding increase in numbers represented by the minority of total road users driving.

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  • wsbob March 24, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    It seems to me that 11mph over posted speed limit, is giving people that drive, too much latitude for excessive speeding. This is something I’ve expressed a number of times in past comments here at bikeportland. I have written as a preferable alternative, that 5mph over allows people sufficiently reasonable margin for excessive speeding, and 6mph over should be grounds for citation. Actually, on that basis, people would get up to 5.9mph latitude before citation, which to me seems very lenient, and while for safety and livability, it’s not as desirable as staying closer to posted speed limit, I think it makes for a reasonable compromise.

    Maybe…with highway/freeway speeds of 60mph and 65mph…11mph over before citation, might be reasonable…but even there, speeds traveled seem to have gotten out of control. It doesn’t to me seem particularly difficult, even at 60 and 65, to keep the vehicle speed from exceeding more than a few tenths over an additional 5mph.

    In less populated areas of the state, maybe the public sentiment tends to lean towards the 11mph before citation latitude…but here in urban-suburban valley towns and communities, I have to wonder whether the public generally does favor so much latitude for excessive speeding. Danger from excessive speeding aside…the noise alone, from vehicle wind noise and tire on pavement scrub, gnaws away at community livability quality. Between for example, 25mph and 35mph, there’s a big difference in amount of vehicle noise produced.

    I’ve never met Beaverton’s police chief…maybe not have even heard him speak in public. Have met some of the city’s other officers, and heard them speak. If you go to a neighborhood meeting, or a traffic commission meeting, an officer is often there to give a presentation. The impression coming across, is that they’re professional, reasonable people that care very much about their community.

    With that in mind, this 11mph over posted before citation from Chief Monger, mystifies me. It’s my feeling that this is way too fast for many of Beaverton’s streets. A 20mph school zone effectively becomes a 30mph school zone? Wow…that’s a head shaker. Same with the 40mph (5mph reduction app proposal pending.) zone on Baseline Rd between Jenkins and 158th: effectively 50mph. Jenkins between Murray and Cedar Hills Blvd…the mall, Tek, lots of apartments, two gyms, two day care centers on a mile and half or so stretch of road, is posted 45; the proposed latitude would make that a 55mph road…beyond the pale.

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    • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      “5mph over allows people sufficiently reasonable margin for excessive speeding”

      nice turn of phrase, there.

      I still think anything over the posted limit is just plain silly. In fact, I guarantee you that if we had a zero-over policy (Amity, OR did for a long time where 99W passes through town and the speed limit rapidly drops from 55 to 25mph) and it were enforced, all of those folks we think we know who have trouble sticking to the posted speed limits would figure out right quick how to/have exactly zero difficulty staying below the limit so as to avoid a ticket.

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      • wsbob March 24, 2017 at 3:56 pm

        Your belief and wish for a 0 mph over the speed limit citation point, probably wouldn’t have a chance of being approved by the public, except for by a very small minority. I think Beav Chief Monger in mentioning being reasonable about issuing citations for speeding, does make a good point…it’s important to have the public on board in terms of supporting road use safety measures…being too stringent about speeds traveled over posted, likely wouldn’t gain the public’s support…I just think the chief’s idea of what is reasonable, allows to much latitude for maintaining safe roads and neighborhood livability.

        Sarcastic remarks, we don’t need.

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        • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 4:12 pm

          “too stringent”

          how are we to make that determination?
          On its face a limit that is not treated as a limit is what I think needs interrogating here, not what you are suggesting.

          “sarcastic comments”

          again, how do we decide who is making sarcastic remarks? I think the quote questioning whether a citation for exceeding the speed limit was reasonable is arguably a finalist for a sarcastic comment though the speaker obviously didn’t intend it that way.

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    • Paul Atkinson March 24, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Why is staying under the limit so hard?

      You have a bank balance, and if you spend more than that you get a big penalty from the bank — immediately. That helps young people learn not to spend money they don’t have, so that as older people they’re responsible.

      You have a speed limit, and if you drive faster than that you should be penalized — consistently. That will help younger drivers learn that it’s a maximum and not a minimum, so that as older people they’re more responsible.

      The cultural norm that lets people so easily rationalize this kind of dangerous driving needs to change.

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    • rick March 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Huh? Has Beaverton asked for a lower speed limit on Baseline?

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      • wsbob March 24, 2017 at 3:45 pm

        Yes. I’ve written some time ago, about the application the city traffic commission has made to ODOT, to have the posted speed limit reduced by 5mph on the section of Baseline I referred to.

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        • rick March 24, 2017 at 8:04 pm

          When was that ? When is an answer expected?

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          • wsbob March 24, 2017 at 10:42 pm

            A couple months ago. Takes a year or so for the ODOT speed limit review board to get around to all the requests and make their decision.

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  • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    I’ve always wondered about the 85th percentile rule in relation to setting speed limits.

    Well, here’s some copy on that question from wikipedia:

    “The speed limit is commonly set at or below the 85th percentile operating speed (being the speed which no more than 15% of traffic is exceeding)[45][46][47] and in the US is typically set 8 to 12 mph (13 to 19 km/h) below that speed.[48] Thus, if the 85th percentile operating speed as measured by a Traffic and Engineering Survey exceeds the design speed, legal protection is given to motorists traveling at such speeds (design speed is “based on conservative assumptions about driver, vehicle and roadway characteristics”).[49] The theory behind the 85th percentile rules is, that as a policy, most citizens should be deemed reasonable and prudent, and limits must be practical to enforce.[50][51] However, there are some circumstances where motorists do not tend to process all the risks involved, and as a mass choose a poor 85th percentile speed[citation needed]. This rule in substance is a process for voting the speed limit by driving; and in contrast to delegating the speed limit to an engineering expert.[52][53]”

    As I’ve noted here in the comments in the past, people cycling through Ladd’s Circle are not given the same kind of latitude, the same deference, that interprets their 85th percentile behavior automatically as reasonable and prudent, and adjusts the rules to match that behavior.

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  • Glenn March 24, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    only way to really eliminate speeding to to take a human out of the equation(s)..
    all vehicles should have either, a camera that can read speed signs and automatically govern the max speed…or a database and gps (that can be updated) the automatically governs the max speed…or both…

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    • longgone March 24, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      Yes so our systems can be hacked and our control of the vehicle as a weapon or rouge malfunction can ensue. Sure, that’s awesome. Good thinking.

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      • Glenn March 24, 2017 at 3:22 pm

        Yeah because people are so much better…and our current system is working great…

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty March 24, 2017 at 4:32 pm

        Better a rouge malfunction than a vermilion one!

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        • q March 25, 2017 at 11:00 am

          DMV could reduce rouge malfunctions by requiring more make-up tests.

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      • Pete March 24, 2017 at 8:47 pm

        Cars have been drive-by-wire, and even connected to wireless networks, for many years now. “Hacking” of vehicles is not new, but remains a specialized skillset. Most of what you currently read about the subject requires physical access and reverse engineering – it’s research, actually intended to improve security. The computer (or especially smartphone) you’re typing on has a radically larger and far less protected attack surface than any car you’ll ever drive (or not).

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    • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      “Only way to really eliminate speeding to to take a human out of the equation(s).”

      No dice.

      “Furthermore, drivers who live in a country with fewer road traffic fatalities (i.e. Sweden), compared with drivers who live in a country with more road traffic fatalities (i.e. Turkey), reported a more positive attitude towards complying with the speed limit, a more positive subjective norm, a higher perceived behavioural control, a higher intention and a larger proportion of the time spent complying.”

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      • Glenn March 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm

        why no dice..I don’t really see a bad side for having a speed limiting system in a vehicle..

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        • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 4:13 pm

          No dice because you said “the ONLY way.

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          • Glenn March 24, 2017 at 5:46 pm

            What are the other ways to prevent a driver from speeding?

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            • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 5:50 pm

              Since the example from Amity is so close to home I guess I’ll trot that out again. For years the local cops were authorized or charged with enforcing the 25mph limit through town. Although this practice ended years ago, to this day *everyone* drives exactly 25mph through town. It is quite an impressive thing to behold.

              This is not mysterious in the least. There are many ways to do this, and they are all well understood. The point is not lack of means to accomplish this but our cultural preference for looking the other way, taking a boys-will-be-boys attitude that has no place in a Vision Zero full world of 2017.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 24, 2017 at 6:26 pm

                Why did they stop enforcing the limit strictly?

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              • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 6:43 pm

                I don’t know. Perhaps they knew from studies of this sort of thing that after a certain period their public had internalized this lesson and they could move on to other tasks.

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              • rachel b March 24, 2017 at 10:02 pm

                “The point is not lack of means to accomplish this but our cultural preference for looking the other way, taking a boys-will-be-boys attitude that has no place in a Vision Zero full world of 2017.”

                Hear, hear, 9watts! The ‘boys-will-be-boys’ thing is directly responsible for a whole slew of social miseries, some more serious than others. One of the less serious but INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING ones I’ve been grappling with recently is the proliferation of modified cars and motorcycles–the sweet sweet legacy of the Fast ‘n’ Furious franchise. SE 26th is becoming a favored cruise spot for these aholes. Our nextdoor neighbor boy’s ‘hobby’ is modifying cars. We wake up frequently in the wee hours to his delightful earth-rumbling roars around the neighborhood with his car gang buddies. Just try to convince the cops this is a problem.

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              • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 10:06 pm

                “Just try to convince the cops this is a problem.”

                Perhaps that is what these boys become when they grow up? That way they can keep rumbling around at night making noise with their cars….and get paid to do it.

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              • wsbob March 25, 2017 at 10:47 am

                If you’d like to have your example of absolute no latitude speed limit tolerance have some credibility, maybe you should explain to us all a little more about the town of Amity. Lacking that, I’ll offer a few details for people to get a sense of the situation themselves. Very small town, according to wikipedia’s report of the 2010 census, only around 1600 people.

                Town is situated right on 99W, one of the main routes from Portland and cities between to the coast. I’m guessing about 20 miles west of Newberg. 99W may be the town’s main street. I’ve been through, but so long ago, nothing I can remember about the town, stands out.

                In simple terms, this is a town through passed through by many people that likely don’t spend much time there, if any at all. With the boom in wine country popularity of this area, that may be changing. I’d be willing to read some about Amity’s experience using a the zero tolerance for any mph over posted speed limit; how many traffic stops the town police made per year or month, or however long they used the policy. How many citations the police issued. What amount of fines the town collected.

                If the town did what you have said in the briefest of terms that it did…that sounds like ‘speed trap’.

                Unreasonably stringent speed limit enforcement used mainly out of animosity towards out of towners, and/or to pull in some revenue from the same. If you had said the town police did not issue citations unless the mph traveled was 6mph or more over the posted speed limit….that would be credible, and reasonable for the town to have done. But the zero tolerance for any mph over posted? No, doesn’t sound credible, or if the town did it for awhile, not a good idea.

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              • 9watts March 26, 2017 at 8:58 pm

                “Unreasonably stringent speed limit enforcement ”

                Are you listening to yourself saying that?

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              • K Taylor March 27, 2017 at 9:01 pm

                “That sounds like a speed trap…”

                What’s wrong with speed traps? This is one of those weird ‘you must slap a gentleman’s face with a glove to challenge him to a duel’ sort of things that motorists often bring up. You hear the same thing about speed cameras – like they’re not sporting, don’t you know, old chap.

                People still have to be breaking the speed limit to be caught. If speed traps and cameras proliferate, the worst that could happen is that everyone would be afraid of going over the speed limit and probably try to stay a little under it – a win, as far as I’m concerned.

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              • q March 27, 2017 at 9:24 pm

                “Speed trap” to me is legitimate (as a term) if cops are exploiting poor signage or something that confuses or tricks drivers. But it’s become common to use it to refer to anywhere people get caught speeding–such as a place patrol cars can hide as people speed by. People being tricked in the former don’t deserve tickets, people being caught in the latter do.

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              • wsbob March 28, 2017 at 10:56 am

                ““That sounds like a speed trap…”

                What’s wrong with speed traps? This is one of those weird ‘you must slap a gentleman’s face with a glove to challenge him to a duel’ sort of things that motorists often bring up. You hear the same thing about speed cameras – like they’re not sporting, don’t you know, old chap.

                People still have to be breaking the speed limit to be caught. If speed traps and cameras proliferate, the worst that could happen is that everyone would be afraid of going over the speed limit and probably try to stay a little under it – a win, as far as I’m concerned.” k taylor

                Are you saying you’re agreeable then, to the idea of ‘0 mph’ tolerance for speeds traveled in excess of the posted speed limit? How might you anticipate that such an idea would be successfully implemented into state or city police speed limit enforcement?

                You and anyone else that thinks it could be successfully implemented and used on the street to cite people exceeding posted speed limits by any amount, might consider taking your idea to city council, or to your state legislator. With their assistance, maybe you could have an ordinance or a bill written up to put the idea into law. Get the law on the books and send the police out to issue citations for as little as one mph over the speed limit. Does this idea still sound to you like ‘a win’? Keep us posted on the response you receive upon presenting your idea.

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              • 9watts March 28, 2017 at 1:52 pm

                so I was curious: how is the speed limit enforced in other countries? Do they round up by large amounts like we do here?

                Exhibit A:

                Speed cameras in Germany allow a 3km/h (2mph) buffer below 100kmh and give a 3% buffer above 100kmh.

                And for the really geeky, here’s a calculator that supplies all the penalties (financial, length of time your license will be revoked, etc., based on how much you exceeded the speed limit):
                Exhibit B:

                Exhibit C:
                The lowest speed bracket for which a ticket is awarded is 1-5km/h over the limit!
                And here’s a table with all the various buffers itemized based on speed range and visibility conditions:

                Exhibit D:
                In 2013 Salzburg and Steiermark instituted a ‘Zero-tolerance’ policy for speeding. After they instituted this rule, crashes declined by 25%(!) The zero-tolerance translates to a 5km/h buffer (for speeds below 100km/h) rather than the 16km/h buffer that obtained previously.

                Anyone else have knowledge of how this is handled in other countries?

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        • Pete March 24, 2017 at 8:19 pm

          Even in-vehicle speed alert systems would make a big difference. I once got a nice Mercedes (rental) working in Atlanta, and drove on unfamiliar roads where the speed limit varied frequently between 35, 40, and 45 MPH. Having the car politely tell me what the limit was and when I went over it was quite helpful. I really didn’t see many speed limit signs while paying attention to other drivers and intersections on unfamiliar roads. (Frankly I’ve always had the impression that signs are invisible to modern drivers anyway).

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          • paikiala March 28, 2017 at 9:50 am

            My COSTCO portable GPS mapping unit can do this already.

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  • B. Carfree March 24, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Based on proposed laws like this one, and the current crop that are equally lenient towards speeding, the state of Oregon should create an official “Vision 500” plan. The state can then justify whatever steps are necessary to continue allowing the slaughter of 500 people per year on our roadways statewide.

    Sure, it’s not as catchy as Vision Zero, but at least it’s closer to being honest. Who knows, maybe this would reduce our epidemic of cynicism towards government.

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    • Dan A March 24, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      The police have already decided that a certain number of deaths are acceptable. It’s fair to ask what that number is.

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  • soren March 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    “Just normally cycling through a city it is not uncommon to roll a stop sign. Technically you’re violating a traffic law; but is it reasonable to issue a citation?”

    fixed it for you.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. March 24, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Yes for drivers, no for cyclists.

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      • soren March 24, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        my comment specifically referred to people cycling but from a vision zero perspective the statement works for drivers too. the california stop has little, if any, risk associated with it. driving 5 mph over the speed limit on a dark and rainy night, on the other hand…

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        • Paul Atkinson March 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm

          I have literally watched, with my own eyes, a driver perform a California stop / right on red and destroy a woman’s ankle in the crosswalk he was passing through.

          Anecdotes aren’t data, but I’d love to see data about this if you’re going to call that practice “harmless.”

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. March 24, 2017 at 3:49 pm

            I have been rear-ended by someone who attempted to roll though a stop sign.

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            • X March 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm

              Same here. Cost them $375 for bike repairs.

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          • soren March 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

            vision zero only addresses serious injuries and/or death. as a utilitarian i strongly endorse this approach.

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        • Dan A March 24, 2017 at 8:02 pm

          The crosswalk that connects the MUP at Skyline & Hwy 26 is significantly more dangerous because of drivers turning right on red. They roll through the crosswalk while only looking left for oncoming cars, completely ignoring the double white lines of the crosswalk.

          A study of Connecticut’s right-turn-on-red law over an 8 year period found 2 pedestrians and 2 cyclists were killed as a result of the passing of this law. So a half a person killed per year, and who knows how many people injured or seriously injured. And that’s with requiring drivers to stop first.

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          • soren March 25, 2017 at 1:56 pm

            some areas ban right on red entirely. we should too.

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            • Pete March 27, 2017 at 9:59 pm

              Wikipedia says it’s required by the federal government as an energy conservation measure:

              “Each proposed State energy conservation plan to be eligible for Federal assistance under this part shall include: …(5) a traffic law or regulation which, to the maximum extent practicable consistent with safety, permits the operator of a motor vehicle to turn such vehicle right at a red stop light after stopping, and to turn such vehicle left from a one-way street onto a one-way street at a red light after stopping.”

              I think their definition of consistent with safety and mine differ, though.

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              • soren March 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm

                “All turns on red are forbidden in New York City unless a sign is posted permitting it.”


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              • Dan A March 29, 2017 at 6:45 am

                I don’t have a problem with right turn on red, or even right turn on left when going onto a one-way street (which is also legal in Oregon). There was a suggestion that cars shouldn’t need to come to a complete stop before doing so, and that’s what I disagree with. Many drivers already take too much license with turning right on red and throw safety for VRUs out the window. You still have an obligation to stop, behind the painted line, before initiating your turn. You still have an obligation to yield to people in the crosswalk. You are not required to turn right on red, and if you don’t want to, drivers behind shouldn’t honk at you for waiting for a greed light (which I have seen).

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              • Dan A March 29, 2017 at 11:16 am

                ‘green light’

                Sorry, I’m stuffed up.

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            • Pete March 28, 2017 at 4:02 pm

              I saw that – good to know. Much like we ban sidewalk bicycling through city ordinances, a city truly committed to Vision Zero may want to consider banning RTOR as an ordinance. Good way to override the threat of losing federal funding (which is how mandatory seat belt laws were pushed onto states when I was a kid… some things never change).

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            • q March 28, 2017 at 9:29 pm

              Not saying they’d outweigh benefits, but there could be drawbacks. For instance, consider drivers heading through a neighborhood to a busy street, onto which they want to turn right once they get there. Do they take a street through that neighborhood that ends at a signaled intersection, where they know they’ll have to wait to turn right, or do they take another street that will allow them to turn right at a stop sign?

              Since signaled intersections happen where two busy streets come together, that means there’s now an incentive to avoid the busier street, and take a quieter cut-through street.

              That wouldn’t be an issue downtown, where almost every intersection is signaled, but could be in some other areas with signaled intersections–say, along SW Macadam or SE Tacoma, where there are signals only every few blocks.

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              • Pete March 29, 2017 at 10:22 am

                I think you’d find Waze sending them down the non-signalized intersections based on waits during certain times of day anyway. Then, when people get in the habit of taking a bypass they often stick with it.

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              • q March 29, 2017 at 10:26 am

                I hadn’t even thought of waze, but yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

                It could also generate negative responses to proposals to add signals. It creates the drawback for drivers that a stop sign that allows right turns whenever the road is clear will become a signal that only allows them when the signal is in your favor.

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            • wsbob March 29, 2017 at 9:22 am

              People supportive of the ‘no turn on red’ idea, seem to think it’ll be a cure-all for right and left hooks. I doubt it can do much of that, if any, in a world where some people feel it’s just fine to roll red lights and stop lights.

              Something very much lacking on the part of way too many vulnerable road users using bikes for travel, is a familiarity with good, basic, defensive road use procedures. ex: right of way of people using bikes in the bike lane, over people driving motor vehicles in the main lanes, does not make people riding bikes, invulnerable to bad driving. Stay back from the intersection, enough to be out of the turning radius of any motor vehicle at the intersection.

              Use of that basic procedure by people riding, achieves for them, a greater level of defense against right hooks and left hooks, than any law on the books can.

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              • q March 29, 2017 at 12:23 pm

                My biggest problem with people turning on red is that they’re looking left for traffic to clear, then shoot out and run over pedestrians who are stepping off the curb next to them into where they’re turning, or heading into their path in the crosswalk from the other side of the street.

                Or, they pull out so they can see, and then block the crosswalk their car is now in while they’re waiting to turn. Again, they’re looking left, so if you try to cross in front of them, you have to walk around the front of their car and risk getting hit when they shoot out. I cross to the rear of cars for that reason.

                It’s all also why I often don’t try to turn right on red downtown. I’m likely to just end up blocking the sidewalk. And whoever said people behind you will honk if you don’t turn on red are 100% right.

                For all those reasons (including the last which benefits me as a driver–avoiding wrath from drivers behind me) I wouldn’t mind no-turn-on-red downtown, or other places with lots of pedestrians.

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              • q March 29, 2017 at 12:26 pm

                And that all reminds me–the places that are currently signed “no-turn-on-red” are signed that way where the turner may have a hard time seeing other cars coming into the space they’d be turning into. The turns are almost never prohibited for the sake of protecting pedestrians.

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              • Dan A March 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm

                This is a good spot for a ‘no turn on red’, where NW 24th meets Burnside.


                Not because of pedestrians crossing 24th, but because it’s hard to see cars coming from the left, and as a driver you have to completely block the crosswalk in order to see for sure. It also creates conflict with cyclists who are trying to cross Burnside to get to Washington Park, and should get the right of way when the light turns green, but who are often blocked by drivers trying to turn right on red.

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    • chris March 25, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Let’s see, 180 lb man (plus weight of his burly mountain bike) who doesn’t even touch his brake levers goes through a 4 way stop and T-bones a 150 lb person on a small 110 lb motorbike just pulling away from a complete stop. The laws of physics do not care if your 2 wheels are powered by legs or dead dinosaurs, the person on the motorbike is going to get injured because some people here think biking through stop signs is no problem at all.

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      • Dan A March 25, 2017 at 2:55 pm

        Interesting fantasy scenario. How many times do you suppose this happens?

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        • chris March 25, 2017 at 7:23 pm

          oh it nearly happens to me at least once a week at 72nd & Center, 67th & Woodward, and 34th & Salmon, all 4 way stops, luckily i have good reflexes (so far). I’m out there on 2 wheels 5 days a week, not every motorist is piloting a 2 ton death machine.

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          • Dan A March 25, 2017 at 8:25 pm

            So how many times a year is a motorist killed or injured by someone on a bike? Sounds like an epidemic. It might be the biggest threat to vision zero that we face.


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      • El Biciclero March 26, 2017 at 1:50 pm

        “…some people here think biking through stop signs is no problem at all.”

        That’s a bit of a straw man. I would say most people here think treating a STOP sign as a yield is no problem at all. The problem is when people don’t STOP and don’t yield. Some people here might indeed think that blasting through STOP signs without slowing or yielding is less destructive when on a bicycle than when in a car, but I don’t think that equates to “no problem at all”.

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        • Dan A March 26, 2017 at 3:03 pm

          I pretty much always come to a complete stop at 4-way intersections when I’ll be going straight afterwards, unless I’m moving very slowly already and the visibility around the intersection is wide open. Sometimes I’ll do a slow roll when turning right at a T-intersection with no road on the left. I never just roll through a stop sign, and I think that behavior is terrible. But even as terrible as that behavior is, there are still bigger fish to fry. Let me know when automotive deaths are below 30,000 per year in the US, and then perhaps I can be persuaded to care about scofflaws on bikes.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty March 26, 2017 at 5:05 pm

            What is the difference between “slow rolling”, which you do, and “just rolling” which you never do?

            In your judgement, I’m sure your actions are safe. Others do things, like drive above the limit, which they deem safe. Why is your judgement better than that of others?

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            • Dan A March 26, 2017 at 6:17 pm

              I’m talking with slow rolling a right turn at 5mph on my bike when there is nobody else near the intersection. If you can find me a single example of that act causing the death of another person, I’ll stop doing it.

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            • El Biciclero March 29, 2017 at 10:50 am

              “In your judgement, I’m sure your actions are safe. Others do things, like drive above the limit, which they deem safe. Why is your judgement better than that of others?”

              It depends on which direction “safe” is aimed. Most people do what they think is “safe” and convenient for themselves. If I can take a shortcut, such as not stopping completely at a STOP sign, speeding, making a right on red without stopping, passing on the right—and I think it’s safe for me, I’ll probably do it*. From a “safe-for-others” standpoint, I think taking any shortcut in any reckless fashion one chooses—while on a bicycle—is inherently “safer” for those around than doing so in a car. So when it comes to judgment in this example, and whose is “better”, I think the better judgement, safety-wise, is exercised prior to leaving the driveway by making a choice of vehicle that has a near-zero chance of killing anyone else, even if operated in what could be considered a reckless fashion. One could also argue that on a bicycle, the operator has a keener sense of his environment, so that even if judgement, per se isn’t any better than a driver’s, judgement calls made by bicyclists are made with much better data than those made by drivers.

              * for example purposes only. Not representative of actual judgement.

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              • Dan A March 29, 2017 at 11:18 am

                I really should just wait and let you answer ALL questions asked of me, ha ha.

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              • El Biciclero March 29, 2017 at 12:38 pm

                Sorry. But I also left out the part where, as a bicyclist, the range of potential actions that are safe-for-me is much narrower than for someone in a car. A driver in a Fordillaru Expeladack could drive 30 mph down a sidewalk and likely suffer no risk to their own safety. The same driver could make an unsignaled right turn across (or merge into) a bike lane without checking blind spots, and suffer naught with respect to their own safety. A bicyclist, on the other hand, will think twice before plowing into a crowd of pedestrians or making a sudden turn or lane change because they, themselves could be injured or killed by such a maneuver.

                Before it is pointed out, I should also note that yes, there are limits to what a reasonable driver will do in the name of convenience. Plowing down a pedestrian-laden sidewalk, for example, is not likely to be undertaken by any sane motorist. The example is extreme, but the point is that attentiveness tends to be replaced by assumptions when one’s own safety is assured by being enclosed in armor.

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              • Dan A March 29, 2017 at 1:30 pm

                It’s even as simple as forcing your way into a lane when you want to get over, or pulling out into traffic in a way that demands oncoming drivers to slow down. As a cyclist, I’m not going to just bully my way into any gap I see. But this is a very common action in a car.

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  • Dan A March 24, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    As I mentioned in a previous story, a Multnomah County sheriff’s deputy ran over a disabled veteran last April at 4am while driving 33mph in a 25mph zone with his lights off, and dragged him 95 feet. He died in the emergency room.

    He had a much better chance of living had the deputy been driving under the speed limit with his lights on.

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  • Eric Leifsdad March 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    PBOT and PPB need a plan to address that 10mph if Vision Zero is going to mean anything less than 30 deaths per year.

    Maybe a citizen citation party on 20/25mph streets. Take 1000 8mph-over tickets to the traffic court and see how many people show up to contest them.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 24, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      It’s a great idea… has anyone ever actually successfully completed one of these?

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  • Todd Boulanger March 24, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    From the photo accompanying the article – it looks like the bicyclist is speeding too (was that the message?)?

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  • Kevin Wagoner March 24, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Terrible. So 36 mph on SW Spring Garden between two schools and a day care is ok? That gets close to 80% chance of fatality…assuming that is higher for little ones. Why not just post a 36 mph sign?

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    • rick March 24, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Plus, the TriMet bus 43 has been approved for removal from that road.

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    • Chris I March 25, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      Of course, it will be a “tragic accident” when it happens.

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  • Matt Meskill March 24, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    And we’re supposed to take Vision Zero seriously?

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    • 9watts March 24, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      Vision Zero? What’s that?

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    • rick March 24, 2017 at 8:08 pm

      When government and police take it seriously.

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  • Peter W March 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Clearly, what this says is that all posted speed limits should be reduced by 11mph.

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  • q March 24, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    The idea that it’s unfair to “double-barrel” people by counting speeding through a red light as two violations instead of one isn’t logical.

    What that’s really saying is that IS fair to charge someone who runs a red while NOT speeding–which even conscientious drivers can end up doing, even when not trying to–the same as someone who runs one while going 20 mph over the speed limit. Or, it IS fair to charge someone going 10 mph over the limit on a straight stretch of empty road the same as someone who speeds through a red light at rush hour with pedestrians in the crosswalk.

    I think it’s much fairer to all drivers to count the double violation as two violations, instead of counting it the same as a single violation. It sounds almost silly to need to say that.

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    • El Biciclero March 26, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Indeed. Regardless of the argument over how much leeway is permissible before issuing a speeding citation, dropping a deserved citation because, come on, it’s no fair to be cited for two things you were doing wrong at the same time, that’s an even greater head-scratcher. We really are applying the wild animal/force of nature philosophy that says most drivers just can’t help breaking multiple laws (I mean, it could happen to any of us, right?), and it isn’t fair to fine a bear for eating salmon and pooping in the woods. Same as you wouldn’t fine a hurricane for blowing your house down and flooding your neighborhood, right?

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      • 9watts March 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm

        My vote for simile of the week!

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      • q March 26, 2017 at 9:04 pm

        Yes. Imagine if other violations were treated this way. “Hit and run” would become “Hit OR run”. Once you did the “hit”, there’d be no reason not to try the “run”, since you’d already maxed out your penalty. Or once you did the “breaking” you might as well go ahead with the “entering”…

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        • 9watts March 26, 2017 at 9:09 pm


          Is there a way to sack these people? I think that unhelpful, problematic, misleading statements like this should lead to consequences for the utterers if they have fat taxpayer funded salaries and pensions.

          In a system that functioned well the rules (if there are in fact such rules) would be changed and those who defend them reprimanded (or if they invented these on the spot then they should be sacked).

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        • El Biciclero March 29, 2017 at 12:41 pm

          Aiding OR abetting, assault OR battery…

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          • q March 29, 2017 at 12:50 pm

            I thought of those. Has a jury ever said, “We find the defendant guilty of aiding, but not of abetting”? I guess by and large, it’s neither here nor there, and probably null and void.

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  • Tim Roth March 24, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    For what it’s worth, as someone who has been cited for a red light violation while speeding, the judges are not forgiving at all in these cases. So they at least ensure that the penalty is as full as it can be. Not exactly a preventative measure, but they seem committed to educating drivers on how stupid it is to be reckless.

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  • KristenT March 25, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Stupid– The Beaverton Police Chief should have said that as speedometers in vehicles aren’t recalibrated on an annual basis, it’s difficult to be able to ticket someone for 5-10 over because there are too many factors that could change the speedometer.

    For instance, my speedo reads fast when I’ve got my snow tires on my car; read spot on with the original tires; and reads 2mph slow with my newer street tires on.

    I’m basing this on my non-scientific observation driving through multiple school zones, and this is all based on 25mph or less. It could be different at higher speeds, but I haven’t found a speed camera outside of a school zone, outside of school days, to check.

    My speedo also reads differently if I’ve got taller tires on (such as rally tires or mud tires), so I could argue a speeding ticket based on that technicality.

    Maybe if the vehicle renewal process included a speedometer calibration check, you could ask for a tighter tolerance on the ticketing threshold.

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    • J_R March 25, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Time yourself using the mile markers along the interstate. All it takes is your wrist watch and basic arithmetic.

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    • soren March 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      i’m pretty sure it is legal to drive well below the speed *LIMIT*….

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    • wsbob March 25, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      I have read that dating from the fifties, post war hot rodding enthusiasm, guys would try beat speeding tickets by giving the ‘explanation’, that their speedometer might have not accurately reflected actual speed of their car, because of the larger than original spec tires they were running in back. That’s good, maybe, for one time. Anyone switching around tires ought to automatically be thinking about whether that may reflect on their speedometer’s reading.

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      • GlowBoy March 27, 2017 at 10:39 am

        Most cars I’ve driven in the last 15 years (including rentals) have speedometers that overstate speed by 2-5%, with stock tires. Our VWs even did this while accurately counting miles on the odometer.

        Anyway, the speedometer-error ploy is one of the oldest in the book. Cops don’t buy it, especially from anyone who’s modified their vehicle.

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        • paikiala March 28, 2017 at 9:54 am

          I complained to the dealer my cars’ speedometers (all same brand) were reporting 2 mph faster than the variety of speed reader boards I passed. They said they were ‘within factory specs’.

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  • Pete March 25, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Bingo. My point is we’re outliers here, and despite seeming to disagree with 9 Watts, the only point he and I really disagree on is that 5 MPH is a much more feasible (unwritten) rule than 11 MPH over. The argument for strict enforcement of speed limits is what we already have, and we see how well that’s working.

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  • Mark smith March 25, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    If cars can, under the law, speed 11 over…why then is a bike who rolls through a stop sign a clear threat? What’s good for the goose…

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  • James C. Walker March 26, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Wherever posted limits are arbitrarily and less-safely set 11 or more mph below the safest 85th percentile speeds of free flowing traffic under good conditions, a high percentage of the camera tickets will go to safe drivers who endangered no one – for the purpose of profits. But enforcement for profits is 100% wrong, 100% of the time.

    NOTE: these will be the places that most cameras are located, because only in such places will they produce profits.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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    • Dan A March 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Disclaimer: “The National Motorists Association is a membership-based organization dedicated to protecting the rights of the motoring public.”

      Emphasis mine.

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    • q March 26, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      One reason speed limits may be set lower than the “safest 85th percentile speeds of free flowing traffic under good conditions” could be that traffic engineers know that people view the posted limit as meaning that they can go a few miles faster than that no matter how bad the conditions.

      And on many streets that have traffic cameras, the amount of time that traffic is free-flowing under good conditions isn’t that great, so those speed limits he claims are arbitrary really aren’t, meaning that the tickets are not going to safe drivers endangering no one, meaning the purpose is not profit, but safety.

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    • Dan A March 26, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Your organization advocates for rolling right turns and higher speed limits, and doing away with red light cameras, speed cameras, school bus stop sign cameras, speed traps, cell phone bans, road tolls, and physical traffic calming measures in neighborhoods. You’ve come to the wrong place to sell your propaganda. We are no longer giving up our rights as humans to the almighty automobile.

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    • q March 26, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      I bet 99% of drivers who get cited for speeding THINK they were driving at a safe speed, but most were not.

      That’s one reason so many drivers are unhappy with bicycles in the roadway, pedestrians crossing at corners that aren’t signaled intersections, pedestrians or cyclists not wearing reflective suits with bright lights…All of these people can be hard to see for drivers driving at the speed they THINK is safe. So when they hit one, they view it as some tragic bit of bad luck at best, or as the victim’s fault–not as something normal that they need to take into account when they’re choosing how fast to drive.

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    • Pete March 26, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      This is such a perpetuated myth. Both red light and speed cameras frequently operate with little to no profit to the governing entity, if not a loss. Yes, we know there are private agencies contracted to operate them at their profit, but your organization (and the AAA) love to paint the picture that the cops are out to fleece the poor motoring public.

      Where have you established that 85th percentile speeds are “safest”? I call BS on that. States and cities frequently battle calls for setting limits based on 85th percentile, and I’ve watched both public works and law enforcement officials argue with (AAA-backed) ‘traffic engineers’ on that subject.

      We’re also onto that other lovely myth your organization loves to perpetuate, that red light cameras cause more rear-end collisions because drivers have to break hard or get penalized.

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    • wsbob March 26, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      james…’well ‘the times, they are a changin’…”. A little reminder once in a while, can be helpful.

      I’ve been around a few years, thought a fair bit about the speeds some people are routinely driving in their motor vehicles…and have come to realize that perhaps those people are oblivious to or indifferent to the negative effects their excessive vehicle speed is having on other people peacefully using the street, upon the neighborhoods they pass through, whose residents, like most people likely are, are trying to preserve some kind of peaceful and safe environment in which to live.

      Even without collisions, the ill effects of motor vehicles driving unnecessarily fast on streets, through neighborhoods and on highways between neighborhoods as well, is pervasive. The only real explanation that makes sense to me as to why a city police chief, and staff of a state transportation dept would accept a rationale that an unnecessarily large amount of latitude given for speeding in excess of posted speed limits…and for the 85th percentile formula itself…is that they have unwitting allowed themselves to be conditioned to believe this is acceptable.

      It may just be my opinion, but I feel that their allowing that to happen, is lackadaisical. We the public, hire them for their professional ability and experience, to help us sustain the safety and livability of our cities, and of that across the entire state, as well as working to have the roads and streets function as efficient travel infrastructure. In that respect, they’re not helping when they consistently regard excessively high mph vehicle speeds above posted speed limits, as acceptable.

      By the way…I clicked on the link included in your weblog name. Visited the site. Is that really you? Amazing site, I’d have to say. Didn’t dig deep into it, but browsing over some of the article headlines gave me the impression so far, that the general viewpoint expressed there, is that interests of people driving are paramount, to the exception of all others. Would you say that’s a fair impression?

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      • q March 27, 2017 at 2:55 pm

        wsbob–good comments. “Oblivious” and “indifferent” are apt words. I believe James Walker doesn’t understand or care how drivers affect others. A car going fast may not be causing a crash, but (as one example) it may be preventing someone from seeing a pedestrian waiting to cross at an intersection in time to stop for them. The pedestrian then has to wait and wait, and no driver notices this impact unless the pedestrian finally, desperately, dashes across as soon as there’s a minimal break. Then they blame the pedestrian for behaving dangerously. There are dozens of other examples I could have used.

        The idea that there are no impacts–safety or otherwise–as long as there are no crashes is nuts.

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        • wsbob March 28, 2017 at 10:41 am

          “…A car going fast may not be causing a crash, but (as one example) it may be preventing someone from seeing a pedestrian waiting to cross at an intersection in time to stop for them. The pedestrian then has to wait and wait, and no driver notices this impact unless the pedestrian finally, desperately, dashes across as soon as there’s a minimal break. Then they blame the pedestrian for behaving dangerously. …” q

          That scenario seems to correspond with my own personal experience using the road on foot and with a bike and observation of others doing so as well.

          In fact, if you’ve noticed some of the discussion about the collision last fall out in Beaverton on Baseline Rd between 158th and Jenkins, I suspect it’s a related scenario that characterized the collision in which a pedestrian was killed while in the process of crossing the street.

          I’m just a layman, casually considering possible contributing factors to the collision, so I can’t really say. There were though, some easy reasons to emphasize fault of the person killed, for the collision occurring; allegedly, headphones, looking down instead of down the street for oncoming traffic, not crossing at a signalized crossing just 30′ or so away. These reasons may have made it very easy to deflect emphasis away from the fact that what wasn’t at one time not so long ago, but now is, essentially a residential neighborhood street, is posted for what I feel many people would consider an excessively high posted speed limit: 40mph.

          Couple this high posted speed limit with the fact that the collision location is on the far side of an outside curve (if you can visualize that from my description), impairing long distance view of people poised at the curb, waiting to cross the street. What happens regularly I suspect, is that people on the thoroughfare Jenkins-Baseline, from a signalized intersection, turn onto the old section of Baseline. Immediately, 50′ away or so, they see the 40mph sign, and often as not, probably hit the accelerator to get up to 40mph. Then, they begin to enter the curve. Around the curve another 100′ or so, is the collision point. There’s a small number of trees and poles which contribute to impairment of long distance view for people driving.

          It’s certainly possible to drive this approximately half mile long section of Baseline Rd, at 40mph…most of the section is straight. Many people driving maybe feel their abilities at driving make them very safe drivers at that speed. For people using the road on foot, with bikes, just living in housing next to the road with vehicles speeding past at 40, as opposed to 20 or 25…the effect of the high posted speed limit…is terrible.

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        • Pete March 29, 2017 at 3:07 pm

          This is an important factor that I think is often overlooked. Traffic light timing is usually based on anticipated speeds between them, and the breaks in traffic allow cars (and pedestrians) to flow through non-signaled intersections. Logic would follow that motorists driving at 85th percentile speeds increase collision risks as well as traffic congestion on non-arterials.

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  • Mark smith March 26, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    ” it takes concentration to keep a car at 25″.

    Wow…To think people utter this out loud. First off, every vehicle I have owned, cruise control works at 25. Learn it….Use it.

    Second, if you can hold a car to 25 to 25 or less, get out of the driver seat. You are unfit to drive.
    Third, the max anyone should be driving in a residential​ is 20moh tops.

    Twenty is plenty.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 26, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      You don’t use​ cruise control when driving in areas where you need to stop or frequently adjust your speed. You use it when you want to cruise.

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    • q March 26, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      It’s scary to think there are people out there using cruise control on 25-mph streets. It had never occurred to me that anyone would do that.

      It does explain a lot of awful driving behavior, though–not letting others merge into a lane, driving up behind someone and not braking until the last second…Using cruise control outside a highway or freeway means every normal situation requiring slowing down–which may happen every block or more in urban driving–becomes an imposition requiring action by the driver.

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      • Pete March 26, 2017 at 7:25 pm

        I doubt HIGHLY that people use cruise control at 25 MPH. I frequently drive highways using cruise control and you can tell most people don’t use it there. I think Mark was trying to make the point that it’s a tool to use if you’re having trouble maintaining a steady speed or speeding.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 27, 2017 at 5:08 pm

          Except, in this case, it isn’t.

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    • Pete March 26, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      As two other commenters pointed out, they had to work at driving at 20 MPH when they first started. It absolutely takes attention and even concentration to drive a car – you are controlling momentum based on many inputs, both static (lane width, on-street parking, number of intersections, crosswalks, stop signs) and dynamic (lighting, weather, other cars/trucks, pedestrians/cyclists, traffic lights).

      Experienced drivers will have a much better sense of their speed, and their risks while driving (same with cycling). This should be no surprise. People who bike or walk a lot around cars will also tend to become more empathetic to vulnerable users as they drive. You can say “Twenty is Plenty” all you want (and I agree with you wholeheartedly), but that is definitely not the consensus of most drivers, and clearly not even lawmakers or law enforcement if they’re willing to write an 11 MPH tolerance into a bill.

      It may be unpopular, but I stand by my point; unless you have actually spent time consciously driving at lower speed limits – and you’d tend to do so because you’ve developed empathy as a vulnerable road user yourself – then you will not always have the easiest time maintaining low speeds (steadily), especially when surrounded by many others drivers exceeding posted speeds.

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      • wsbob March 26, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        “As two other commenters pointed out, they had to work at driving at 20 MPH when they first started. It absolutely takes attention and even concentration to drive a car …” pete

        Driving a car, or any motor vehicle, does take attention and concentration…but, to borrow from an old phrase: nothing even remotely approaching the attention and concentration required for high mental capacity efforts, like..rocket science.. . Concentration and attention is required for riding a bike too…or walking…or riding a skateboard.

        Having become habituated to driving fast, does not mean some kind of major mental adjustment is required in order to drive slow when the circumstances require it. Driving slower: easy…set the accelerator pedal, look at the speedometer, hold the pedal position/don’t move it. Not rocket science, not brain surgery.

        As some may recall I’ve mentioned in past…one of my informal test driving labs, is a small neighborhood near where I live. Cut through route for a lot of residents not from the immediate neighborhood, which caused huge speeding problems for the neighborhood. Posted speed limit 25 was followed by bi-sected speed bumps and those funny concrete planter dividers. This on a street that’s already narrow by dimension. Guess what? Because of the combination of all those ‘excessive speed’ deterrence factors, people routinely drive the street 15-20 mph. And doing so does not seem to be an overwhelming burden on the mental capabilities of the people driving.

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        • Pete March 27, 2017 at 2:36 pm

          I’m willing to bet that before those speed-reducing aids went in, most folks on that road had no idea they were speeding, and subconsciously felt they were doing the proper speed for the roadway and conditions (regardless of the limit). This is pretty much the reason 85th percentile speeds are typically higher than speed limits – not that speed limits are intentionally set lower than 85th percentile speeds and that those speeds are “safer”, as the gentleman from asserts.

          Again, I think we’re vehemently agreeing as usual; I never claimed driving was rocket science or brain surgery, but my point is a cultural shift starts with individual behavior, much like people protested plastic bag bans when I lived in Portland and now that they passed (without public vote) you never hear people protest anymore.

          Funny, I just returned from dropping my wife’s bike off at our LBS, and was driving at 35 MPH on a 50 MPH expressway that’s temporarily speed-limited to 40. Driver behind me races around me because I’m going too slow, cuts in front of me then brakes hard at the red light I knew we’d hit, then pulls out his phone and starts playing. Light turns green and after waiting and flashing my headlights, I eventually give a quick honk. He whips around the right onto a 25 MPH street I was signalling for. Ironically, now that he thinks I’m an impatient driver, he holds 20 MPH for the entire long duration of this road – I’m guessing to piss me off since he was just doing 60 in a 35. I had to laugh because not only do I always do 20 on this road, it was this same long stretch drivers frequently speed on that prompted my original (apparently-contentious) comment about requiring concentration to maintain a static speed. (Maybe “attention” was a better word than “concentration”).

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          • wsbob March 27, 2017 at 8:01 pm

            “I’m willing to bet that before those speed-reducing aids went in, most folks on that road had no idea they were speeding, and subconsciously felt they were doing the proper speed for the roadway and conditions (regardless of the limit). …” pete

            Maybe they were oblivious to the fact they were speeding, pre-speed reducing aids. This goes back years now…a couple decades maybe. It’s obviously a neighborhood street. You can check it out on google maps: it’s 123 ave, between Center St on the south, and Walker on the north. The mall is a couple blocks west, which, in addition to being able to avoid taking Hall and Cedar Hills Blvd, is why it’s tempting as a cut-through. From 123rd, people go west at Denfield, to the mall. Oh-h-h….traffic management must be a fun job.

            My nissan’s speedometer goes to 100. Second owner as far as I know. I hope that pickup has never gone that fast. I’ve never driven it that fast, guaranteed. Has a tachometer though. Helps the dash display look purty. Marketing is such a big thing with motor vehicles. Never had the money for a really exciting car, but appealing to the excitement many people have for cars, is how manufacturers sell a lot of them. Sometimes, I get a little pleasure out of rolling along in my four wheel drive import pickup, in slow moving traffic next to porshe’s, corvettes, camaros, lamborghini’s, at very close to the same speed they’re moving along at. All that power and performance, and they can’t do much with it. Might as well have a minivan.

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        • Pete March 27, 2017 at 2:52 pm

          Also, in reply to your previous comment, I’m curious as to the top speed on the speedometer of your 95 Nissan. My 92 Ford is at 85 MPH with individual MPH increments. Our two wagons are at 160 MPH with only 5 MPH increments marked. A 5 MPH variance with very little pedal input is easy on the newer cars, but my van takes some effort to change pedal pressure (and thus speed) due to mechanical feedback (and cable friction that doesn’t seem to improve with repeated soakings of chain lube). So my point is that it was newer, more powerful and responsive cars that I had in mind (that I think many drivers are used to speeding in) when I said it takes some attention to maintain lower speeds; I should have specified.

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  • 9watts March 26, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    “We didn’t want to double-barrel people,” he said.

    If we’re going to use a shotgun metaphor, can we keep in mind who is holding the ‘gun’ here? Someone is caught speeding and running a red light, and yet the cop here is not concerned about the two barrels out of which the speeder/light-runner is firing, but the issue of saddling the poor schmuck with more than one citation?!

    If this is not Car Head I don’t know what is.

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    • q March 26, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Good point.

      I remember when Bill Russell coached the Seattle Sonics, and a reporter asked him if the hardest part of coaching was cutting players in training camp. Russell said (as I recall) “No, I don’t cut them. They cut themselves. I just tell them about it.”

      The police aren’t “double-barreling” anyone. Bad drivers are doing it to themselves.

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  • SE March 27, 2017 at 7:52 am

    So the new speed cameras on 122nd and on Division have a “grace 11 over” feature ?
    OR is this another example of uneven enforcement ?

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  • random_rider March 27, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    I’ve commented several times previously how easy it is to “creep” over the speed limit in modern, quiet, powerful cars. Trying to drive 25 MPH (or less) on a residential street takes consistent concentration, and it may even move your focus from the roadway to the speedometer itself.

    I agree. That’s why I try to stay at 20 mph on a street posted for 25. That way if I creep up a couple mph, I’m still within the law. Of course, that’s assuming that the conditions are safe to go 25. On a street like NE Alberta between MLK and 33rd I am closer to 10-15 mph.

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  • Rain Waters March 28, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Another tiny step in a century long process of training motorists that continuously driving “OVER” the digits posted on the sign is “IMPERATIVE”. An hour spent driving at the number posted on the sign on any freeway demonstrates this fact. Higher speed = greater petro company profit, decreased service life of auto, decreased frequency of loans etc etc. .

    Until this de-facto “imperative” is acknowledged, addressed and eliminated driving will continue to be practiced as recreational. Until any so called “traffic flow” is capped at a reasonable speed limit by strict enforcement or electro-mechanical goverance pedestrians and cyclists are subject to an out of control meat grinder.

    Until people learn to live together by respecting such a simple thing as a number on a sign talking about this is a waste of time.

    I believe compromising on such has already failed.

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  • Not gulity January 25, 2018 at 1:06 am

    How about we use GPS in all vichles and phones and give people tickets anytime they speed, that way we can all pay hundred, thousand and millions of dollars to the government

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    • Andrew Kreps January 25, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      I’ll take it one more step- build cars that can’t speed. We’ve had the technology to do this for many years now, and I have yet to see one manufacturer putting this on their todo list.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 25, 2018 at 1:04 pm

        Who would buy such a car?

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      • q January 25, 2018 at 1:52 pm

        But one manufacturer DID build a car that couldn’t speed. Yugo.

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