Splendid Cycles

Governor Brown signs bills to reduce speeding, increase penalties for negligent drivers

Posted by on June 15th, 2017 at 4:51 pm

A day in Salem-6

Three bills signed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown this week will enact new regulations on motor vehicle use.

Two of the bills focus on speeding and one aims to get justice for victims of negligent automobile use.

House Bill 2682 gives the City of Portland the authority to lower residential speed limits by five miles per hour. The new law, which goes into effect on October 1st 2017, means that around 3,000 miles or over 60 percent of all the streets in Portland are likely to get speed limits reduced from 25 mph to 20 mph. The bill was strongly supported by the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation as a key step in their commitment to Vision Zero. It passed by a margin of 55-1 in the Oregon House and 18-10 in the Senate. Learn more about the bill in our most recent coverage.

House Bill 2409 allows cities to issue speeding citations to people caught on red light cameras. This bill closes an enforcement gap. Previously, cities in Oregon weren’t allowed to ticket people for running a red light while using speed radar cameras and they couldn’t cite people for red light running while using speed enforcement cameras. As per the bill, citations will only be issued if someone is going 11 miles or more over the posted speed limit. Another provision states that people cannot be issued two tickets at once (for running red light and speeding) unless they are going 21 miles per hour or greater over the limit. This new law goes into effect 91 days after the end of the legislative session, which is currently scheduled for June 23rd. This bill passed the House 45-15 and the Senate 18-10.


The Governor also signed Senate Bill 493 into law this week. This bill will make it easier for victims of traffic violence to receive justice. Pushed for by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office, it allows prosecutors to charge someone with assault if they cause serious physical injury to a vulnerable road user. Existing laws around compensation for victims and harsher sentencing are only triggered when negligence by motor vehicle operators results in death. This new misdemeanor crime (the DA tried to make it a felony last session but it failed on grounds it was too harsh) comes with a maximum of year in prison and a fine of $6,250 or both. In some cases a maximum sentence of five years and a $125,000 fine could be enacted. This bill was inspired by the case of Alistair Corkett, the man who lost his leg in a collision with a motor vehicle operator while bicycling across SE Powell Blvd in May 2015.

In addition to the big transportation bill (HB 2017-3), we’re still tracking two other bills that have a chance of passing: HB 2355, a.k.a. the anti-profiling bill would require police officers to capture more data about who they pull over in traffic stops. The bill had a public hearing yesterday but remains in committee.

And HB 2597, the big distracted driving/cell phone bill that has garnered a lot of attention, has passed the House by a vote of 46-13. It also passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 1st but is still stuck in the Rules Committee.

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

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  • John Lascurettes June 15, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    “Another provision states that people cannot be issued two tickets at once (for running red light and speeding) unless they are going 21 miles per hour or greater over the limit.”

    What sort of garbage rule is that? Ugh. So anyone, in any type of vehicle, can run a red light on NE Sandy at NE Caesar Chavez doing 50 mph and not get ticketed for both if caught by the camera there? Wonderful. What a load of toothlessness.

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    • wsbob June 15, 2017 at 11:43 pm

      The provisions of bill proposal 2409, with regards to excessive latitude for mph over posted, and against citations given together for both excessive and running red lights, would I think, work against the effectiveness this bill as law, should have in reducing unsafe road use.

      I realize that while there likely are some practical rationales that legislators thought were of sufficiently serious concern, that led them to introduce these two provisions into the law proposal, but I think that probably all of those rationales could and should be brought out here and countered, to allow this bill to help become a law that will do what is needed to have streets be safer infrastructure for everyone to use.

      Some ideas of mine, of what are likely rationales that led to what to me seems excessive latitude for mph over posted before citation issued:

      The old rationale about motor vehicle speedometers somehow being incorrectly calibrated. There’s no good excuse for having an incorrectly calibrated speedometer. Have it checked for accuracy. If it’s incorrect, have it adjusted.

      The old rationale that unless the mph latitude over isn’t some huge margin like 11mph or 21 mph over, traffic court judges will have people that have been cited, coming in to traffic and quibbling, claiming that they were hardly in excess of the posted speed limit. Don’t spoil these people. Get the word out loud and clear: anything more than 5 mph over the limit, you get a citation and a fine. If you’re worried that your speedometer isn’t accurate to a tenth or two of one mph, then don’t let the speedometer rise to no more that 4mph over.

      I have no idea, except possibly some strange notion of not imposing double jeopardy, why legislators would not be willing to take the step of discouraging both speeding and red light violation, by issuing citations for both, if both occurred at one time at a red light.

      In Beaverton, those of us living here or traveling much back and forth north-south on foot or bike across the twin urban highway nightmares of Canyon Rd, know well enough how frequently some people driving do their best to turn those roads into a private speedway. Speaking for myself, I want to see the bad traffic on those roads, brought into check. This bad traffic undermines safety in using the road, and attacks livability of the surrounding neighborhoods, both residential and commercial. I want to see 2409 be written so it can be effective in helping the city to better manage this traffic.

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      • Matthew in Portsmouth June 16, 2017 at 9:05 am

        I agree with you. In my experience, most car speedometers are accurate (mine is) and the speed cameras can easily be calibrated to measure a driver speeding at even one mile per hour over the limit. I frequently pass those “your speed is …” signs in my car or on my bike and the speedometer on both is accurate.

        Personally, I am well aware of my tendency to allow my speed to creep up, particularly on longer drives. To address this tendency, I use my cruise control anytime I am driving more than 20 mph and it is practical to do so (i.e. not in stop-start traffic). I am frequently sitting in the right hand lane of I-205 with my cruise control set at 55 mph and I have people tailgating me or passing in the left lanes at significantly higher speeds. On other streets its the same story, whether the speed limit is 25 mph or 45 mph, I do the speed limit and people pass me by.

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        • CaptainKarma June 16, 2017 at 12:11 pm

          I do the same, and get the same results.

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        • wsbob June 16, 2017 at 2:53 pm

          I don’t get on the freeways much, but I know for example, that I-5 south of Tigard can be a madhouse. That’s a different type of driving behavior happening there, I think, than is happening on for example the major thoroughfares connecting neighborhoods to downtowns, and on neighborhood streets themselves which likely often have some traffic consisting of people from outside the neighborhood, using the neighborhood streets as cut-through routes.

          Thoroughfares and neighborhood streets have tended to be posted for speeds 35-40 mph, and 25, respectively. It’s at that speed range rather than freeway speeds of 60mph and higher, that I’m suggesting it should not be a big deal for most everyone driving on the road, to easily keep their vehicle speed within 5 mph of posted, relying on the speedometer’s accuracy and by familiarity of the person driving, with the vehicle’s unique driving character and the general sense of road and wind noise. This idea of 11mph over being acceptable latitude given, doesn’t seem constructive.

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      • David June 22, 2017 at 11:37 am

        A good compromise, perhaps, would be to give citations at 5 mph (or maybe less, why codify how much someone can break the law) with the ability to receive a 1 time determent by going to a certified shop and having your speedometer calibrated. If exceeding 11 mph, then no offer of determent by having your speedometer calibrated.

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  • rick June 15, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Enforcement of 20 mph law is needed. So excited to breathe cleaner air when riding a bike or walking on certain roads in SW !

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    • Kittens June 15, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      No one will enforce it. I still see cars going 30-40mph on 28th between Burnside and Sandy despite being 20mph.

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      • rick June 16, 2017 at 6:52 am

        Oregon has a citizen’s arrest law. bikeportland.org has reported about it.

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        • Mark June 16, 2017 at 8:56 am

          I think you mean citizen issued citation. I don’t think speeding is usually an arrestable offense.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 16, 2017 at 10:44 am

          To date, I don’t know of anyone who has successfully followed the citizen citation process through to the end. If anyone has, I’d like to know about it. Until the process is “proven”, I think using it remains only a theoretical possibility.

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          • Eric Leifsdad June 19, 2017 at 3:07 pm

            Maybe spend a few hours with a group of witnesses, some cameras and stopwatches, and try it at scale with 1000 tickets?

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      • Todd Hudson June 16, 2017 at 9:35 am

        I see 50+ on 82nd, 40+ on Fremont. Had a close call on Wistaria/43rd yesterday when someone came racing around the curve there.

        “Passing this law will result in people talking about this” won’t make motorists slow down.

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    • Dead Salmon June 16, 2017 at 12:26 am

      How will a 20 mph speed limit make the air cleaner than a 25 mph speed limit? You’ll likely spend more time closer to the tailpipe you are following.

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      • Dan A June 16, 2017 at 9:08 am

        Or you’ll be passed less frequently.

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    • poopsmith June 16, 2017 at 9:27 am

      yeah that’s not how air pollution works. you’ll get the same exhaust at either speed.

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      • paikiala June 16, 2017 at 10:02 am

        Similar exhaust, but distributed 29 feet per second instead of 36 ft/sec.
        If pollutant emissions are measured in x g/sec, and you divide by the speed, for 20 mph you get x/29 g/f (time cancels out) versus x/36 g/f at 25 mph.
        BTW x/29 > x/36.
        Dimensional Analysis.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 16, 2017 at 10:49 am

          Emissions are almost certainly dependent on engine load, which on level ground corresponds to speed. There will be an optimal speed at which emissions per mile are minimized, but it is probably not at either the low or high end of the range of speeds, and will probably differ by vehicle.

          One thing I can say is that if the vehicle is not moving, its emissions-per-mile will be near infinity.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 16, 2017 at 10:51 am

            Actually, acceleration is probably an even bigger factor, so stop-and-go traffic, with lots of acceleration and braking, and lots of time per mile, is probably pretty bad from an emissions standpoint.

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          • Pete June 16, 2017 at 8:45 pm

            They are also dependent upon whether someone changes their oil often enough to maintain their engine properly.

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  • MaxD June 15, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    This is great news! I hope Portland really does lower the speed limits across town. I am really hopeful that the distracted riving law passes- it is out control out there!

    pet peeve [HB2409] “as per” is redundant- just use “per”

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  • rick June 15, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Ban the cell phones !

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    • Dead Salmon June 16, 2017 at 12:27 am

      And electricity, cars, beans, central heat and air conditioning! Let’s make Portland green again!

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 16, 2017 at 10:53 am

        I can get behind the air conditioning… residential air conditioning is really not needed in this climate. Sorry, Californians… it’s just not. Turn it off!

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        • Brian June 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm

          Agreed, but screw the bean ban.

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          • Trikeguy June 16, 2017 at 2:09 pm

            I don’t know – you’ve never had to ride behind me ………..

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        • Pete June 16, 2017 at 8:42 pm

          “residential air conditioning”

          ‘this climate’ – I assume you’re talking about Portland? Because east of the cascades it can get REALLY hot, and if you work from home, sitting in front of a laptop in 90+ degrees indoors isn’t necessarily conducive to productivity. Solar panels can help offset that (and smart building practices for newer construction), but not everyone works in an office where commercial air conditioning takes care of things for them.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 17, 2017 at 3:02 am

            Fortunately, Portland is west of the Cascades.

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            • rachel b June 17, 2017 at 2:16 pm

              Uh…but it’s gotten really hot in Portland for the past four summers (well, ok, barring the last). Hence, the drought. I was worried that was the new normal–may be, but we’ll see.

              I don’t want to use a/c but as a redhead, I think I’d burst like a baked potato in a microwave if I didn’t have it these days. We have a high-efficiency heat pump and near-Passivhaus insulation now but have used the double-hung window trick in previous homes.

              I agree that in the past (growing up here) the idea of needing a/c was ludicrous. Our weather’s gotten warmer though, and our summers longer. The nights are the worst thing–I used to rely on things really cooling down at night. That doesn’t happen so much anymore.

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          • David June 22, 2017 at 11:43 am

            I spent a lot of time in Taiwan, and our general rule of thumb was we don’t turn it on until it hits about 86F, and then we set the dial to 80F. I’ve lived in Hillsboro for 4 years now and never once had to turn the A/C on as indoor temps never reached past 82F. This includes the heatwave from last year, and the year before that.

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  • B. Carfree June 15, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    I would say that House Bill 2409 actually encourages speeding by further enshrining the windshield perspective that 10 mph over the posted limit is acceptable. While I support getting much more automated traffic law enforcement, I am bitterly disappointed that steps forward in automation are being coupled to steps backwards in safety. Considering the steepness of the survival vs speed curve at speeds that are near the typical urban posted speed limit and it is clear that this bill will cost lives.

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    • wsbob June 16, 2017 at 8:38 am

      As currently written…(it could, and may be changed)…House Bill 2409 as law, wouldn’t really change the status quo in terms of whether people feel like traveling in excess mph than is reasonable, over the posted speed limit.

      Basically, it enables people that have the bad habit of excessive speeding, to continue doing what they’ve been doing, which aggravates the negative effects traffic has where people walk, bike, and generally try to safely enjoy themselves while they go about their day.

      Legislators will hopefully reconsider and lower the mph criteria for citation that they’ve written into the bill. And re-write the bill so as not to let people off from getting a citation for speeding, if that’s what they were doing when they ran a red light.

      It’s just silly to not cite people for speeding when they’re caught running red lights, knowing it’s common for people inclined to red lights to punch the accelerator as they approach an intersection to see if they can get through the intersection before the yellow turns to red.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate June 16, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Will there be any additional enforcement in Portland? Right now it’s abysmal.

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    • Chris June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am

      I’ve seen three traffic enforcement efforts in five years of biking to downtown for work. Two at Ladds circle and the one last week at Clinton & 21st. Have not seen a car pulled over ever in that time frame anywhere in Portland.

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      • paikiala June 16, 2017 at 10:06 am

        It’s not possible for anyone to know what’s going on everywhere:

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        • Tim June 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm

          The list goes back over a dozen years. I can observe more violations at a single location in a single day than this list shows for a decade of enforcement actions. The list proves the practical non-existence of enforcement of the laws intended to protect pedestrians. The odds of winning the lottery are better than being cited. Not a deterrent.

          Has the City of Portland (or any jurisdiction) ever cited a driver for driving in the bike lane?

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          • paikiala June 16, 2017 at 12:52 pm

            So what? The list is for a specific form of enforcement that PBOT tracks, not all enforcement. It was a specific response to an unjustified claim.
            The list does not show anything but crosswalk enforcements. To imply it supports your theory is without merit.

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  • Pete June 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

    HB-2682 is Portland only? Would be nice if 1) got rid of that “11 over” that B mentioned, and 2) all Oregon cities could establish lower speed limits. Mayor and Council of Hood River established 15 MPH limits on State Street where peds cross at the library and cars were speeding downhill and many cyclists use it to avoid Oak Street, but I notice that was short lived – probably due to it being illegal(?).

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    • rick June 16, 2017 at 8:37 am

      McMinville wanted this bill, too.

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    • Dan A June 16, 2017 at 9:17 am

      Other cities can establish 20mph neighborhood speed limits under these conditions, per HB3150, which was made effective in 2012:

      (10) A road authority may establish by ordinance a designated speed for a highway under the jurisdiction of the road authority that is five miles per hour lower than the statutory speed. The following apply to the authority granted under this subsection:
      (a) The highway is located in a residence district.
      (b) The statutory speed may be overridden by a designated speed only if:
      (A) The road authority determines that the highway has an average volume of fewer than 2,000 motor vehicles per day, more than 85 percent of which are traveling less than 30 miles per hour; and
      (B) There is a traffic control device on the highway that indicates the presence of pedestrians or bicyclists.
      (c) The road authority shall post a sign giving notice of the designated speed at each end of the portion of highway where the designated speed is imposed and at such other places on the highway as may be necessary to inform the public. The designated speed shall be effective when signs giving notice of the designated speed are posted.

      Basically, if they have low-traffic neighborhood streets, they can mark them to indicate the presence of pedestrians/cyclists, and then lower the speed limit.

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      • Pete June 16, 2017 at 8:49 pm

        “1, 2, 5…”
        “No, three, sir.”
        “15 is right out!”

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  • bikeninja June 16, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Another problem with the not giving two tickets for those speeding through red lights ( unless 21 mph or more over) is that in my observation many of the red light runners ( which are rampant and growing) stomp on the gas and accelerate to fool themselves that they are not really running a red light. This “speed up” behaviour makes the red light running twice as dangerous ( and deadly). So hopefully it would be a deterent if these scofflaws could get two big tickets instead of just one. It would serve society well if these ‘double offenders” were bounced off the road by the insurance industry for an excessive number of tickets.

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    • Mark June 16, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Nah, they would just drive uninsured.

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  • poopsmith June 16, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Enforcement of 20 mph law is needed. So excited to breathe cleaner air when riding a bike or walking on certain roads in SW !
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    yeah that’s not how air pollution works. you’ll get the same exhaust at either speed.

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    • rick June 16, 2017 at 9:30 am

      The giant clouds of diesel smoke have been reduced on BH Highway by the safety camera signs since the electronic safety gear was installed. I’ve rode on BH Highway since 2013.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty June 16, 2017 at 10:56 am

      >>> yeah that’s not how air pollution works. you’ll get the same exhaust at either speed. <<<

      That's not how it works either. See my earlier post.

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      • wsbob June 16, 2017 at 2:12 pm

        “…See my earlier post.” h kitty

        I think I figure out which of your earlier posts you’re referring to…but which one? You know, you can put a link to your past comment or comments, in a new one if you want to help people more easily find the one you’re referring to.

        Someone with technical knowledge of internal combustion engine emissions likely would be able to answer well, at what kinds of operation these motors burn the leanest, and at which they emit the most bad emissions.

        Rule of thumb: these kind of engines, at least the early designs in the era of carburetors rather than fuel injection and more than two valves for each cylinder and various pollution controls…used to burn fuel most efficiently at cruising speed…so say for example, a consistent motor speed of say 2000-3000 rpms, which could be a vehicle mph speed of 50-60 mph.

        Slow speed idling of 500-700 rpm used to be very inefficient and rich in un-burned gasses in the exhaust, because that speed range wasn’t the speed the car, etc was designed to operate at. Idle speed is just a ‘wait’ speed the engine is designed to be able to maintain so it’s ready to go when the person driving is ready to go. Racers know a lot about this too…much more than me.

        I don’t know what levels of emission, IC engine cars cruising at 20 mph are producing. Modern on board pollution control equipment may be having them burn gas very efficiently at those speeds, as well as minimizing emissions. Cars in very slow and stop and go traffic, idling and not moving much if at all, still is probably one of the greatest pollution contributors associated with motor vehicle operation.

        Major pollution producing action: Punching the the accelerator for a fast blast of power and speed. If you’re on the road and behind someone that does this, unless you have no sense of smell whatsoever, or superman’s lungs, the polluting effect of this can be readily noted. The ‘blowing coal wiseguys’ know all about this.

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  • bikeninja June 16, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Automobiles have created a law enforcement catch 22. For many years traffic stops have been viewed ( and rightly so) as one of the main tools in law enforcement. Unfortunately, persons of interest, etc. are often found and apprehended during routine or focused traffic stops. The danger and legal complexity of stopping unknown motorists requires the use of trained and sworn law enforcement officers. But this is also the main tool of traffic law enforcement ( except for very limited use of cameras). Warrants the reality is that law enforcement budgets are not getting bigger and sworn officers are not getting cheaper to equip and employ. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that if we primarily rely on traffic stops to gain compliance with traffic laws that affect all of our safety then those stops will inevitably decrease and compliance with those laws will decrease over time. The only solution is get over our hangups ( legal, privacy, technical, tradition) and create a fair, efficient and comprehensive system of automated enforcement of traffic laws. If we have the technology to create autonomous vehicles in the near future we certainly have the technology to gain compliance with traffic laws for everyones safety.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty June 16, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Privacy is not a “hangup” any more than free speech or fair elections are. It is a fundamental protection in a free society.

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      • Tim June 16, 2017 at 12:51 pm

        There is no constitutional protection of privacy for people breaking the law in a public place. No warrant is needed or should be needed to observe someone running a red light.

        By drawing a connection between true constitutional concerns and protecting people running red lights, we undermine true constitutional and human rights.

        Another way to look at it is our human right to move about is under attack from the state sanctioned use of high speed vehicles that prevent us from safely crossing the public road.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 16, 2017 at 1:07 pm

          Exactly what I was not talking about.

          I am concerned abut the capture of information about people who are not violating the law. Does this happen? I don’t know, but it probably does — the police use scanners to capture license plate data on a routine basis. We need laws that clearly outline what data the cameras can and cannot collect about people who are not violating the law, and data collection and retention practices need to be routinely audited.

          Think of it this way: do you want Trump to have access to information about who is traveling to the Democratic precinct offices, or who attended a demonstration, after he gets indicted and goes off the deep end trying to root out and exact revenge on his enemies?

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      • paikiala June 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

        I often wonder how many ills of society might have been averted if privacy were not a thing.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 16, 2017 at 1:10 pm

          We’d probably be better off without free speech as well. We could clamp down on racists and communists much more easily without it.

          Respecting civil rights is sometimes inconvenient for the government.

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      • bikeninja June 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

        Privacy is certainly important, but the issue

        If you really want privacy, walk or ride a bike. If you choose to hurtle down the streets in a two ton death machine that threatens the lives of all around you expect to be subject to the inspection and judgement of society at large.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 16, 2017 at 2:12 pm

          When I drive, I do not threaten the lives of people around me.

          The real issue is not whether or not I have privacy, but whether or not we all do.

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        • Kyle Banerjee June 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm

          Walking or riding doesn’t give you privacy. It’s amazing how easy it is to figure out who people are. When you ride/walk, some people recognize you and know where you appear and what you’re doing.

          I’ve recognized cyclists who live in other states that I met online at rides who I’d never seen photos of simply based on what I knew about their riding habits. Other cyclists have similarly recognized me. The world is much smaller than many people imagine.

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      • resopmok June 17, 2017 at 6:44 am

        Privacy is also not so easy to delineate in the information age. Is it a violation of privacy to collect information about you which cannot readily identify you? Is it okay for private entities to collect information but not government agencies? What sort of information about you is actually private? Is a car an extension of your private domain into the public sphere, into which none may peer without fear of reprisal, or does privacy only extend to real property?

        It’s certainly reasonable to expect you wouldn’t be recorded by someone shoving a camera into the window of your private home, but why should you expect not to be observed when you are out in public for all to see? Whether you are doing something illegal is irrelevant; you are in view of people in the general public, and they may observe, record, paint, photograph, or draw you however they like with or without your consent.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 17, 2017 at 10:22 am

          Being observed, being visible, and being casually seen in public are very different than being monitored, followed, and recorded by the government.

          Data collection by private companies is also problematic, but is indeed a far more complex situation. Fortunately, the history of corporations locking up and killing potential enemies is much less storied than that of governments.

          I will say that even as our current president is starting to see the walls fall in on his presidency, the institutions of our government seem to be working appropriately. That is a good sign. Most people around the world and through history have not been so fortunate.

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  • bikeninja June 16, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Ignore the extra Unfortunatly inserted before persons of interest, darn grammer checker.

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  • AE June 16, 2017 at 10:11 am

    20 mph on the streets will further enhance the surface street gridlock. well done. this only adds to the tension between drivers and cyclists. It is getting increasingly impossible to get around the central east side, this will only worsen things as density further increases. I spend a lot of time in-city, on-bike, I don’t see this making me feel more secure.

    The things which will get me killed minding my own business while riding around(and I do a lot of riding- commutes, shopping occasionally, racing, off road stuff etc): distracted drivers. distracted drivers. intoxicated drivers. distracted intoxicated drivers.unanticipated road hazards due to poor road maintenance. aggressive drivers distracted by all of the above.

    further reducing speed limits to crawling when the city is fairly gridlocked? dont get it. Yes I understand (I work in trauma occasionally, I see what it literally looks like) the direct connection between velocity/increased tissue damage/lethality. But the issues are really distraction and aggression. Slowing traffic further increases distraction. When people are crawling is when they start fidgeting and checking that text/email/score. When they get angry because they are late and stop and going is when they do aggressive/menacing maneuvers.

    So I cringe every time every one rallies around dropping speed limits even further. One caveat is the tiny side streets in residential areas, I do believe 20-25 isnt unreasonable.

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    • Dan A June 16, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Since we’re providing anecdotal evidence, I have been driving 20 in my neighborhood for at least a year now, and am no more prone to distraction now than I was before. In fact, I notice a lot more of my surroundings now, and it’s easier for me to stop when somebody appears at a crossing.

      Are you under the impression that Portland will be able to apply 20mph speed limits to all surface streets? They won’t. This only applies to residential roads.

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    • SE Rider June 16, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      “One caveat is the tiny side streets in residential areas, I do believe 20-25 isnt unreasonable.”

      That’s what this bill covers. This isn’t going to make all major arterials 20mph.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. June 16, 2017 at 12:59 pm

        This isn’t going to make all major arterials 20mph.

        It should, though.

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        • wsbob June 16, 2017 at 2:40 pm

          ” This isn’t going to make all major arterials 20mph.

          It should, though.”

          In some but not all thoroughfare situations and locations, maybe so. Because I know a fair number of bikeportland readers are familiar with the handful of main thoroughfares and highways stretching through town, I’ll offer as an example, both Beav-Hillsdale Hwy, and Canyon Rd. Both of those roads originate out of downtown Beaverton, and pass directly through downtown. Not exactly sure for the whole length, but they’re posted for 40mph. I think that speed is for the section of the roads, right through downtown too.

          These are either county or state roads, so the city and people living here, more or less have to put up with the traffic and speed it travels, upon the wisdom of the state board setting speed limits. It’s a big deal, putting up with the ferocity of the traffic on these roads through downtown. The city knows it, many people living in this part of town, know it all too well.

          20 or at least 25, might be better. People driving could be given advance notification way up east and west of downtown that they were approaching a reduced speed zone area, allowing them to adjust their vehicle speed accordingly to better avoid traffic backups.

          What the city and whatever government jurisdiction having authority over these roads have done gradually over the years to better manage vehicle speeds on these roads, outside of major reductions in mph posted speeds are:

          … more traffic light signals, and coordination of them to support a moderate cruising speed at which people driving are able to clear a series of intersections. Some people, but less than used to I think, on the section of road I have in mind, still punch the accelerator to try clear an intersection on a yellow, even when they can see a series of yellows ahead, changing to red. The signal light coordination has helped to moderate this kind of driving though…just my impression.

          Red light cameras over on the Beav-Hillsdale Hwy at Griffith Dr point of the road. Maybe elsewhere too along the roads, that I’m not aware of.

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    • paikiala June 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Since were in hyperbole land, have you actually tried crawling to work to compare it to 20 mph?
      Those who complain about slowing to 20 mph on residential streets should have to walk everywhere for a month. Gain a little perspective.
      BTW, IMO putting your wants (less delay) ahead of other’s needs (safety) is excessively selfish.

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      • Aaron Even June 16, 2017 at 6:01 pm

        Hyperbole land, wow. As I said,small residential side streets, I agreed with. Tl;dr much?

        And the point you make about wants vs needs, you miss the mark. I want to be safe as a vulnerable road user- I ride around 3000-5000miles/ year. The people close to me ride. Things that people do to aggravate drivers and increase grid lock put vulnerable road users at increased risk. Attacking me for being honest rather than lining up and automatically saying “yay, we will for sure be safer on the Portland streets with a slower speed limit!” Is pretty unfortunate.

        Changing rules to alter human behavior don’t always have the intended effect.

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        • Dan A June 19, 2017 at 8:36 am

          I don’t think the drivers in my neighborhood who are going 35mph by my house are less aggravated.

          20mph is a much more appropriate speed limit on roads in front of people’s houses. Studies have shown that elementary-aged kids can’t judge vehicle speeds over 20mph, and are more likely to step out in front of a car that’s moving a lot faster than they think it is.

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    • Chris I June 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Wow. I don’t even know where to start. Please slow down and pay attention when driving on neighborhood streets.

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  • Ryan June 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I’m sure I’m in the minority on this, but I actually prefer riding next to traffic going around 35mph rather than 20-25mph. At the slower speed, cars don’t have to brake as long (if at all) if they suddenly decide to make a right turn, so it gives me less time to react to avoid a right hook (the couple times I’ve come the closest to getting hit was when traffic was slow next to me). When I’m commuting on my road bike, I’m usually going around 18-20mph on flat ground, and it just feels more likely for someone to forget I’m there if I’m riding in their back-quarter for more than a few seconds (since I never assume drivers check that area before turning across a bike lane). I’ll usually coast to let a car get further ahead of me when in this situation. Again, might just be me, but I find it easier to anticipate that a car is about to turn when they’re moving a bit faster.

    To be clear, I’m not against the bill at all. If enforced, it will make roads safer for all road users, even the ones driving.

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    • Kyle Banerjee June 17, 2017 at 11:53 am

      You’re not the only one.

      Faster vehicles do more damage than slower vehicles when they hit things. It does not necessarily follow that slowing things down is safer even if that is certainly the case in many situations.

      Traffic moving at the same speed as cyclists is harder to read and and respond to for the exact reasons you give. In addition, slowing traffic down causes it to get bunched up, and if you look in the front seats, you’ll notice a lot more multitasking.

      Bunched up traffic affects the ability of drivers and cyclists to see anything (including each other) as well as their ability to time interactions.

      I’m not against the law and think many of the side streets do need to be slowed down because there’s very little space and sight lines are terrible. But I definitely don’t favor slowing everything down.

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      • wsbob June 18, 2017 at 7:22 am

        “… In addition, slowing traffic down causes it to get bunched up, …” banerjee

        It’s not lower posted mph speeds that causes motor vehicle traffic to bunch up. People know how to pace the speed of their vehicles well enough, and slow moving traffic on any major highway or freeway is clear evidence of that. It’s infrastructural interruptions to the flow of traffic that leaves people not prepared sufficiently in advance to regulate the speed of their vehicles, causing traffic to bunch up.

        Things like excessively high posted mph speed limits, poorly timed lights at intersections, excessive and unnecessary lane switching are big factors playing their parts in causing congestion.

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