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Oregon has a driving problem and we all need protection

Posted by on March 27th, 2017 at 11:12 am

In just six hours on Sunday morning three separate incidents showed just one aspect of the vast negative impacts driving has on our state.

Traffic safety issues are often framed in a way that makes them seem like it’s all about “bicyclists and pedestrians”. But the reality is that dangerous driving (and driving itself, but that’s another conversation) is a menace to everyone and no person — or thing — is safe as long as our roads and culture normalize this behavior.

Over the course of less than five hours Sunday morning (between 2:30 and 8:30 am) here’s what my inbox looked like (emphases mine):

From Albany:

Linn County Undersheriff Jim Yon reports on March 26, 2017, at 02:49 a.m. Deputies responded to 3725 SE Spicer Road, Albany, for a reported crash of a vehicle into a house.

The investigation revealed a white 2015 Subaru WRX 4-door sedan, was northbound on Three Lakes Road when it failed to negotiate a curve in the road where it intersects with Spicer Road. The vehicle left the roadway, crashing through a yard, into a power pole and then struck the front of a house before coming to a stop.

The operator, Joshua Pairan 33-yrs-old of Albany, told deputies he was out for a drive to show his friends his new car.

The passengers were identified as Noah Padilla, 33-yrs-old, and his wife Danielle Padilla, 31-yrs-old both from Albany. Danielle Padilla was sitting in the rear seat of the car and had to be rescued by the Albany Fire Department using the jaws-of-life to extricate her from the crushed vehicle. Danielle Padilla was transported by ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis for non-life threatening injures.

Joshua Pairan was arrested and charged with DUII, Reckless Endangering, Reckless Driving, Criminal Mischief II and Assault III. He was lodged at the Linn County Jail. Alcohol and excessive speed appear to be contributing factors to the crash.

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From Salem:

On March 26th, 2017 at about 3:00 am, a black Ford F150 intentionally crashes into the side of the building of the Star Market at 9005 River Rd NE and steals the ATM. The vehicle is described as a 2004-2006 year and having a leveling kit, running boards, black fender flares and black rims. The rear of the vehicle now has damage from ramming the building, twice.

After the described suspect vehicle crashed into the building and left another subject entered into the business and stole several packs of cigarettes. His photo’s are attached. It is unknown if they two incidents are connected with each other.

And from northwest Portland via KATU News

A car landed on top of a boat Sunday morning after a driver crashed in a Northwest Portland neighborhood, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said.

Fire crews rushed to stabilize the car so paramedics could start treating the injured driver. No word on that person’s current condition.

The boat’s owner, Tim Brown, was home doing the dishes when he saw the car coming towards his house.

“Catapulted across the street, landed on our driveway and bounced up on the vehicles,” Brown said.

Brown says he’s had a car totalled before, after a previous incident where a car crashed in to his driveway. He didn’t have much time to be surprised by what happened Sunday morning. After seeing what had happened, he had his wife call 911, then Brown jumped in to action.

“I had just taken an EMR class. Fortunately it was still fresh in my mind,” Brown said. “I grabbed my bag, I jumped on top and tried to make contact with the person in the vehicle.” Witnesses said the driver lost control, drove up a berm and traveled through some trees before landing on the boat.

Emergency responders at the scene said it’s possible the driver suffered some sort of medical issue before the crash.

People failing to control their cars and/or purposefully using them to create havoc are more common than you think — and this goes far beyond simply a “bike and pedestrian safety” issue.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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rick
Guest
rick

I take medication for seizures and I’m comfortable with more strict state and federal laws for medical conditions. Remember that fatal soda pop sidewalk crash on the Burnside bridge? Obtaining and keeping a driver’s license needs to become much more difficult.

jonno
Guest
jonno

One thing I’ve started looking for on my rides around town are the telltale signs of drivers failing to control their cars. Bent street signs are good one – also damaged parking strips, deep scratches and rubbed-off paint on retaining walls, broken plastic car bits in intersections. The marks are everywhere! At 38th and Tillamook in Hollywood, both the stop sign pole and the street sign pole are bent over – and that’s only occurred in the past few weeks. How does someone lose control on what should be 25mph neighborhood streets??

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

If one had just arrived here from another planet and looked at the way humans use motor cars you would assume that we were insane.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

Agreed, in the current world cars don’t lose control, drivers do (assuming they ever had it in the first place).

9watts
Subscriber

“Alcohol and excessive speed appear to be contributing factors to the crash. ”

Let’s be careful not to double barrel him, the police offer said.

PS Jonathan, I want to applaud your use of the word menace.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I guess negotiations must have broken down.

– “Hey, Curve, could you bump up your radius a bit?”
– “No.”
– “Well, then maybe consider adjusting your apex a little?”
– “No.”
– “Steeper banking?”
– “No.”
– “Ok, well, since you are stubbornly unwilling to alter your geometry, and I can’t see how compromising on speed is in any way fair, it appears we are at an impasse.”

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Another aspect of the misframing of road safety as pedestrians and cyclists versus motorists is that the vast majority of our roadway injuries and deaths are to motorists. As much as ODOT and other road owners fail to adequately design and maintain the roads for cyclists and pedestrians, they are also failing motorists in a big way by always prioritizing maximum speeds over all other issues.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Someone ran over the 25mph sign on the way up to the Sunset Transit Center a year ago. It has yet to be replaced. Does that mean the road no longer has a speed limit?

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

A car landed on a boat in 2 Fast 2 Furious but that was a movie. No – a film.

rick
Guest
rick

The road from SW Barnes Road?

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

The problem is far more complex than just road design. Automobile design is often fueled by racing initiatives. Consequently cars are ofter far more performance capabilities than roads or good judgment allow. New roads are rarely ever designed from whole cloth. We build upon existing and inadequate infrastructure with insufficient budgets and conflicting goals. Into this we throw inadequately qualified drivers fed on media reprentations that frame exteme driving as normal. It’s a wonder more people don’t die from it. As an earlier reader put it: insane.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

The problem is far more complex than just road design. Automobile design is often fueled by racing initiatives. Consequently cars are ofter far more performance capabilities than roads or good judgment allow. New roads are rarely ever designed from whole cloth. We build upon existing and inadequate infrastructure with insufficient budgets and conflicting goals. Into this we throw inadequately qualified drivers fed on media reprentations that frame exteme driving as normal. It’s a wonder more people don’t die from it in traffic. As an earlier reader put it: insane.

bendite
Guest
bendite

Good drivers are able to manage sub par design and conditions. We need to get the bad ones off the road with more enforcement and higher thresholds to earn and keep a license.

Dave
Guest
Dave

A small help would be for media to talk about bad drivers in a less mild and neutral way. Instead of “alleged speeders,” say “street racers” or “speed maniacs.” Instead of “suspected intoxicated driver” say “booze fiend.” Stuff like that.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Mandatory licensing for bicycles NOW!

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

And I thought “Death Race 2000” was just a movie from the 70’s. Now it’s real life thanks to happy motoring.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

All this carnage is like the death spasm of a dying monster. As unlikely as it may seem to many, both the auto industry and and domestic petroleum industry are in a financial death spiral due to costs well above what the customer can afford. A bursting subprime auto loan bubble, and lease return avalanche are causing double digit sales declines ( or massively increased incentives) in auto sales since the begining of the year. The tight oil business has racked up over 2 trillion dollars in debt drilling and pumping oil below cost while even the majors ( exxon, etc) have seen their profits drop to near zero while having to borrow to pay dividends. Most of us thought happy motoring would end when the oil ran out, but it looks like it will end when everything from new cars, to insurance, to auto caused health care to petroleum to road maintenance will just cost more than consumers or society can afford.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Mandatory IQ tests and psychiatric evaluations should be a requirement for a drivers license. A drivers license does not imply proficiency or qualification to operate a multi ton vehicle moving at a high velocity in a reasonable or safe manner.
It’s a shame that the built environment in the majority of North American cities virtually requires vehicle ownership, or at the very least strongly encourages it. A 6 lane suburban arterial fronted by vast parking lots and drive-through convenience services is urban design that is built for motor vehicles, not people. Walking through a parking lot to get to a store can be a harrowing experience.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

I apologize for my duplicate posts. I’m not sure what happened or how I managed to send the same message three times. It wasn’t anything I set out to do deliberately.

Todd Boulanger
Guest

LOL – when reading this story on roadway safety…up popped a paid ad placement for a doggy bike seat on the top of BikePortland’s article page…

https://ebikestore.com/shop/buddyrider-bicycle-pet-seat/

q
Guest
q

Exactly, but good luck. These are the people who brought you “an officer-involved shooting”, or even “the officer was involved in an officer-involved shooting” (i.e. the officer shot somebody) and “at that point in time, the firearm discharged” (i.e. the officer fired his gun). It almost makes you wonder whether any people were around while all these things were taking place.

Merlin
Guest
Merlin

Look at how cars are marketed. Most TV spots have the caption “professional driver on a closed course”.
We should have a law that says any vehicle advertised this way is only legal for a “professional driver on a closed course”.
Doesn’t that seem logical?
That’s just a small step in changing our culture – but it’s something!

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I’d dearly love for the Nazgûl to swoop down and take away all the overcompensating-for-their shortcomings road rattling “car enthusiasts” in Portland now, starting with the unemployed and living with his parents engine tweaking exhaust-spewing neighbor brat boy across the street. And his friends. 🙂 Sigh. I dream about it… Come, oh Nazgûl! Come!

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I really can’t tell if the Ford Escape ad at the top of this page is a prank!

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

For years, I have lamented the lack of ped/bike law enforcement in Bend. Well, last week, for the first time, I witnessed a driver getting busted for ped law violation, and I triggered it! I was walking across a two way street in the crosswalk. The near car stopped to allow me to pass, and I warily watched the guy crossing the intersection from my right to see if he would yield to me. I always judge to see if it is safe to continue by driver’s eye contact and actions. He looked at me and accelerated as if I wasn’t even there. I stopped as he blew in front of me, and gave him the upturned palms WTF? gesture and not two seconds later a traffic moto jets out of nowhere and nails him. Wahoo!

Matthew in Portsmouth
Guest
Matthew in Portsmouth

How dumb were the Padillas for getting in a car with someone who was evidently impaired? Did they have a death wish? Or were they similarly impaired?

Smokey Bear
Guest
Smokey Bear

2 million Oregonians went to work today in cars and trucks without incident. They paid taxes that support schools, parks, roads, law enforcement, military protection, etc. They earned income, some of which they will use to buy products from many businesses in Oregon. They may have saved a little of their earnings so that some day when they are old and can’t work, perhaps the young people will not have to pay to support them.
.
Are those the “vast negative impacts” referred to in the article?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

El Biciclero
Well, if passing on the right is allowed, why is there any need for a “keep out of the passing lane” rule? If somebody is going slow in the “fast” lane, just pass them on the right. Unless passing on the right is outlawed as well (i.e., changing lanes to pass someone on the right, not just driving along in the right lane and coming upon someone going slower in the left lane), then it’s really hard for someone to know what to do when they realize a speeding driver is closing on them quickly—are they going to expect me to move over, or are they going to just whip around on the right? You don’t want to guess wrong in that situation. Why would you be against banning passing on the right, with all the same exceptions given in this law for going “slow” on the left?
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Because even when the law mandates Slower Traffic Keep Right, they often don’t. If you don’t allow passing on the right, then the faster vehicles just get bunched up in the left lane behind the inevitable slower vehicle who doesn’t move right. Sometimes it still makes sense to allow people to pass on the right, even if ideally they wouldn’t have to.