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Editorial: Portland held hostage by motor vehicle menace

Posted by on July 14th, 2017 at 11:36 am

One of 10 deaths in the past three weeks.

Another person was killed in a collision involving an automobile user just after midnight this morning. It was the 20th 24th fatality on Portland roads so far this year and the 10th in just the last three weeks.

Portland Police say the latest tragedy occurred on Southeast Powell Blvd east of 50th. In a statement they wrote that,

“Preliminary information learned from the investigation suggests the pedestrian crossed southbound over Southeast Powell Boulevard east of Southeast 50th Avenue and was struck by a vehicle. The pedestrian reportedly made an unexpected movement in front of an oncoming vehicle while crossing… The pedestrian was not in a cross-walk at the time of the collision. The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene, contacted 9-1-1 to report the crash and is cooperating with the investigation. At this time it does not appear the driver of the vehicle was impaired while driving.”

While the PPB includes a boilerplate paragraph about Vision Zero in all their traffic crash statements these days, the statement fails to live up to the spirit of that goal.

A city committed to zero traffic deaths by 2025 should not publish blame-oriented statements about a traffic crash so soon after it happens. Especially when the victim is a vulnerable road user. That type of tone and framing is speculative, unnecessary, and makes the culture change we need much harder to accomplish.

Beyond this death on Powell, it’s clear that Portland isn’t doing enough — fast enough — to achieve Vision Zero.

PBOT’s ‘High Crash Network’ is basically every major street in the city.

The Bureau of Transportation is working hard, evidenced by yesterday’s City Council support for their impressive list of 105 “Vision Zero projects.” But those projects won’t be built fast enough.

The Portland Police Bureau is working hard, evidenced by their focused enforcements missions, support of Vision Zero and partnerships with PBOT. But it’s not enough.

Activists are working hard, evidenced by rallies in the streets and lobbying to give Vision Zero more political and policy heft. But it’s not enough.

The inconvenient truth is that the scale of the threat we face is growing much more quickly than our efforts to stop it.

The motor vehicle menace is out of control. That’s not a “bike advocate” talking, that’s just an acknowledgment of reality. Large steel vehicles and people inside them imbued with a feeling of invincibility fueled by a pervasive culture of selfishness and speed mixed with a systemic acceptance of its consequences has led to nothing short of chaos in our streets.

I have a good perspective on this issue because I regularly walk, bike, and drive. I also follow police alerts from around the region very closely, constantly scanning them in case they involve a bicycle rider. That means I’m much more aware of the daily insanity taking place on our streets than most people — and it’s why I’m so outraged by it.

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve seen in my inbox in just past few weeks (taken directly from PPB statements, emphases mine):

June 26th

…the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division conducted a mission aimed at the street racers that congregate on Marine Drive and perform illegal races and other stunts out in public.

On Sunday night, officers in the area of North Marine Drive and Ledbetter Street witnessed individuals racing and driving recklessly. Officers came into the area and were able to stop several drivers and issue a total of nine citations covering 27 different charges. Two drivers were arrested on 15 separate charges. A motorcycle rider sped away from officers, crashed, and ran away on foot. That driver was not located.

June 27th

… North Precinct officers attempted to stop a driver for a traffic infraction in the area of North Vancouver Way and Middlefield Road. The driver stopped near Jubitz Truckstop, but as officers exited their patrol vehicle, the driver sped away towards I-5.

Officers pursuing the driver attempted a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) on I-5 northbound approaching Hayden Island but were unsuccessful. During a second attempt, the driver rammed into the patrol car, resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle and crashing into a jersey barrier.

The driver got out of the vehicle and was taken into custody without incident. A 47-year-old female passenger suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was transported by ambulance to a Portland hospital for treatment. Neither officer suffered injuries that required immediate medical treatment.


… East Precinct officers responded to the report of a single vehicle crash at Southeast 68th Avenue and Duke Street. 9-1-1 callers reported that a driver crashed into a power pole causing significant damage and that the suspect was attempting to drive away… The driver, 38-year-old Aaron Dennehy, was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII), Reckless Driving, and Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (Hit and Run).

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June 28th

Portland Police Bureau officers arrested the driver of a stolen car after she rammed into a patrol car to evade capture. Two others in the vehicle were arrested on unrelated warrants.

… As officers approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, the driver put the car into gear. Officers discharged pepper spray into the vehicle, but the driver was able to ram her way past an unoccupied police car, and sped away northbound on 10th Avenue. Officers could see that the vehicle was occupied by the female driver and several male passengers.


… Investigators have learned that a 29-year-old female was driving a silver 2001 Mercedes 500 westbound on Columbia Boulevard and initiated a left turn across the eastbound lanes of traffic.

A 29-year-old female was driving a gray 2001 BMW 330 eastbound on Columbia Boulevard at the time the driver of the Mercedes turned across the lanes of traffic. The driver of the BMW collided with the passenger side of the Mercedes. In the Mercedes were two passengers, a 22-year-old male and a 23-year-old male, both of whom were killed in the crash… Preliminary indications are that the driver of the Mercedes was impaired by alcohol while the driver of the BMW was driving with a suspended license.

June 29th

Drunk Driver Crashes into TriMet Bus Shelter on Powell Boulevard… an East Precinct officer responding to an emergency call was driving on Southeast Powell Bouelvard near Southeast 50th Avenue when the officer saw the driver of a white truck driving at a high rate of speed eastbound on Powell Boulevard. The officer saw the driver crash into a TriMet bus shelter and concrete barrier.

The driver got out of the vehicle and started walking away from the crash, along with a passenger who also got out of the vehicle.

Officers stopped the driver and determined that he was impaired by alcohol. The driver, 28-year-old Andrew McLaughlin, was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII), Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (Hit and Run), and Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree (two counts).

June 30th

Major Crash Team Responding to Fatal Crash on Marine Drive

… Tomlinson, driving a 2005 Jeep Cherokee, began turning westbound on Marine Drive from 148th Avenue when he was struck by 69-year-old Richard Ramsay of La Pine, Oregon, driving a 2015 Max Semi tractor trailer. Ramsay was driving eastbound on Marine Drive. Tomlinson’s vehicle crashed over the embankment on the northside of Marine Drive and came to rest on the bike path. Good Samaritan’s pulled Tomlinson from the vehicle and attempted CPR but their efforts were not successful.

After colliding with Tomlinson’s vehicle, Ramsay had a slower speed collision with a 2013 Audi Q7 being driven westbound on Marine Drive. Neither Ramsay nor the other driver were injured in the crash.

July 1st

…East Precinct officers responded to the report that a pedestrian was struck by a driver on Southeast 122nd Avenue near Liebe Street… The victim was transported to a Portland hospital with traumatic, life-threatening injuries (victim died in the hospital).

The driver did not stop at the scene and continued traveling northbound on 122nd Avenue. Officers located the vehicle in the area of Southeast 140th Avenue and Holgate. Two people associated with the van have been detained. The driver, 35-year-old Fernando Cuevas Jr. of Vancouver, Washington, was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (Hit and Run) and Recklessly Endangering Another Person.

July 3rd

Two Officers Receive Minor Injuries in Hit and Run Traffic Crash

… two East Precinct officers working in a partner car were driving eastbound on Southeast Flavel Street at 72nd Avenue… As they crossed through the intersection with a green light, they were struck on the driver’s side by another vehicle that was being driven southbound on 72nd Avenue though a red light. The marked police car came to rest on the sidewalk, south of the intersection. The other driver’s car came to rest in the street just south of the intersection.

The two occupants of the vehicle, both females, got out of the car and ran southbound on 72nd Avenue but were contacted and detained by a third officer who was also responding to the call on 82nd Avenue… Following the crash investigation, the driver of the other car, 24-year-old Laquonda Fuller-Hudson, was issued traffic citations for Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (Hit and Run) and Reckless Driving.


Fatal Crash on Southeast 96th Avenue

Officers and medical personnel arrived and learned that a driver crashed into an unoccupied parked car and was ejected from the vehicle. Medical efforts to save the driver were not successful and he died at the scene… Traffic investigators learned that Wescott was driving northbound on 96th Avenue from Division Street at a high rate of speed, swerving and spinning his tires. Just prior to the crash, Wescott made a sweeping turn towards the east curb line and struck a parked 1980 Volvo. Wescott was ejected and died while his passenger, 44-year-old Mary Ann Heuer, suffered a non-life-threatening ankle injury.


Fatal Crash Investigation Underway on Airport Way

… North Precinct officers responded to the report of a traffic crash involving a driver striking a tree in the 13000 block of Northeast Airport Way.

Officers and medical personnel arrived to find the crash scene and one person deceased outside the vehicle. Officers learned that the deceased was a passenger in the vehicle and was pulled out by passersby due to the vehicle being on fire. A Good Samaritan extinguished the fire and others attempted CPR on the passenger but were unsuccessful.

Traffic investigators learned that Burton was driving westbound on Airport Way and failed to follow the curvature of the roadway, striking a tree in a center island of the roadway.


Pedestrian Critically Injured in Crash on Southeast 122nd Avenue

… The pedestrian critically injured in last night’s crash died shortly after arriving at the hospital for treatment. He’s been identified as a 23-year-old male.

The involved driver, 55-year-old Eric Sebastian Oman, was arrested and booked for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII).

Traffic investigators learned that the 23-year-old male was with friends and was exhibiting strange, paranoid behavior just prior to the crash – behavior consistent with either a mental health crisis or drug psychosis, both of which is not normal for the young man according to friends… Friends attempted to restrain the 23-year-old man as he tried to run into traffic but he broke free and ran into the path of Oman’s truck, where he was struck and eventually died as a result of his injuries.

July 4th

Bicycle Rider Seriously Injured in Crash in Northeast Portland’s Cully Neighborhood

The bicycle rider … remains in a Portland hospital with serious injuries.

Investigators learned that Benton was driving eastbound on Killingsworth Street in a 2004 Honda Accord. As Benton was entering the intersection with Cully Boulevard, he collided with Canche-Mukel who was riding his bicycle northbound through the intersection.

July 7th

Drunk Driver Arrested After Crashing onto MAX Platform, Injuring One Person

East Precinct officers responded to the report that a driver crashed into a pedestrian at Southeast 122nd Avenue and Burnside Street and that the driver fled the scene.

Officers followed a debris trail from the scene and located the suspect and vehicle a few blocks away from the crash location. Traffic officers determined that the suspect was turning east from southbound 122nd Avenue and drove onto the MAX platform, injuring Olson, before driving away from the scene. Through the investigation, officers determined that the suspect was impaired by alcohol.

July 11th

Hawthorne Boulevard Closed 20th to 24th Due to Multiple Injury Crash

Central Precinct and Traffic Division officers responded to the report of a crash involving three vehicles on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard and Southeast 22nd Avenue.

Officers and medical personnel arrived and determined at least one person had potentially life-threatening injuries and other persons involved received serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

July 13th

Fatal Crash in Lloyd District

North Precinct officers responded to the report of a traffic crash involving a driver striking a pole near the intersection of North Broadway and North Benton Avenue.

Officers and medical personnel arrived to find the crash scene and one person in the crashed vehicle. Fire and medical personnel extracted the driver from the vehicle in order to render him medical aid; however, the driver died at the scene.

speed is believed to be a factor.

This is utter madness. All this irresponsible, incredibly selfish and dangerous behavior. All these lives ended. All these lives changed forever. All in just three weeks.

Our inability to moderate our use of motor vehicles is wreaking havoc on our daily lives. What’s not captured here are all the people held hostage by our auto-centric city — those who are too afraid to use our streets they way want to. The way they need to. Those who sit in traffic on buses stalled by too many cars on the road. Those who breath the toxic fumes emitted from our engines. Those who constantly worry about friends and family being in one of these police statements.

And these are only the incidents reported by the Portland Police Bureau. There are numerous other serious traffic crashes that never make it into the news.

How would our city respond to any other issue that resulted in this much chaos, fear, injury, and death?

How are PBOT Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, ODOT Director Matt Garrett, and other leaders reacting to all this? Are they doing enough?

No

How are The Street Trust, Oregon Walks, AAA Oregon, Oregon Trucking Association, and other transportation advocacy organizations reacting to this? Are they doing enough?

No

Are we all doing enough?

No.

The game has changed. The motor vehicle menace is getting worse much faster than our ability to mitigate it. We must use new approaches. Stronger regulation of motor vehicles (a.k.a. “car control”), more carfree spaces in our city, more protection for vulnerable road users, more modern street designs, and more aggressive measures are needed. ASAP.

And please don’t tell me about politics. This is about people. We can either make a city that works well for cars or for people. Not both. The choice is ours.

SE Division Takeover-20.jpg

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

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192 Comments
  • Gena G July 14, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Jonathan,

    Please also include the crash on June 22nd at 3pm on a residential street (SE 80th Ave off Stark) in Montavilla, where Erin Brenneman, manager of the Hungry Heart Bakery, was struck by a hit & run driver. Erin is still in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury and, from what I understand, no driver has been found yet.

    https://www.gofundme.com/weloveyouerin

    Thank you for your continued coverage on this. I’m just sick over the carnage on our streets.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 14, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Gena,

      Thank you for flagging that incident again for me. Erin’s family and friends have my sincere regards.

      As for the post above, I wasn’t trying to make an exhaustive list and I wanted to focus on the three-week timeframe. And your comment validates the points in the post more effectively than me adding it at to the list at this point.

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      • Gena G July 17, 2017 at 9:30 am

        Thanks, Jonathan. Erin passed away over the weekend due to her injuries from the hit and run. My thoughts and sincere sadness for her family and friends.

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    • rick July 15, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that Erin has just died.

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  • Donovan Caylor July 14, 2017 at 11:44 am

    “Large steel vehicles and people inside them imbued with a feeling of invincibility fueled by a pervasive culture of selfishness and speed mixed with a systemic acceptance of its consequences has led to nothing short of chaos in our streets.”

    THIS

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    • David Hampsten July 14, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      I would add to that a heady combination of a mix of drugs and alcohol, plus a national myth of Oregon’s culture of permissiveness.

      Here in NC, especially among the poorly educated white youth (of all genders) in the poorer cities, there is a pervasive myth that Oregon is a place of unlimited jobs, no sales tax, easy living, easy access to all kinds of cheap drugs, pure drinking water, and a mild climate. Portland, with its bike culture and Nike, is THE place to move to. They move with their cars and their ideals of what Oregon should be and will be. They are often naturally disappointed but that won’t stop them from driving and taking various drugs.

      I try to persuade otherwise when I can, but people won’t hear what they don’t want to hear, and moreover, I tend to “mansplane” more often than not, so my myth-busting gets nowhere.

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      • wsbob July 14, 2017 at 11:18 pm

        Is the per capita incidence of bad driving in Oregon, worse than it is in NC? How about in some of the nation’s other states, like California, NYC or DC? How about the incidence of bad road use practices by vulnerable road users? Or is it the contention of bike and pedestrian advocates that there aren’t any vulnerable road users using bad judgment and making bad choices in their use of the road?

        There are some really bad road users, of all modes of travel on the roads. This is no big secret. Is everyone reading here, doing their best to not be one of those bad road users? For example, such as, not making the excuse that’s it’s ok to get stupid drunk or high, and then try ride a bike home, or walk home.

        Or fool around while driving, biking, walking on or across the street with a pet dog, cat, or any number of other tempting distractions. Or disregarding most if not all caution while crossing a street on foot whether at signaled intersections or not. Or using extremely bad and dangerous road use procedures for turns, lane changes, and intersection crossings at stop signs and stop lights. All of these things and more on roads and streets known to be used also by bad road road users of all modes of travel…motor vehicle, bikes, foot, skateboard, etc.

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        • David Hampsten July 15, 2017 at 10:58 am

          According to one rating (http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-worst-drivers-in-america), Oregon is one of the safest states (43rd/51) while NC is in the middle (22/51), which is why I find this rant by Jonathan rather ironic – Portland as Oregon’s largest city (by far) is going to have the most crashes, the most fatal crashes, and the most murders, but it’s rate per population of crashes, fatal crashes, and murders will not necessarily be particularly high. Welcome to the big city.

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        • David Hampsten July 15, 2017 at 11:04 am

          From CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/states/occupant_death_rate.html

          Oregon is the 13th safest state, NC is 30th, ND is the most deadly, per population. California has the most deaths, but is considered the 7th safest, while NY is 3rd.

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        • David Hampsten July 15, 2017 at 11:25 am

          On the other hand, according to Allstate Insurance (https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/americas-best-drivers.aspx), metro Portland is the 187th safest city (out of 200) in the USA (or the 13th most dangerous), just below Oakland and San Francisco. Boston is the worst, Kansas City is the best.

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          • Chris I July 17, 2017 at 9:47 am

            Their methodology is flawed. Deaths/injuries per VMT is by far the most important statistic. That study is focused more on collisions and property damage. Portland is relatively safe. The rural parts of the state are deadlier per mile traveled.

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            • paikiala July 24, 2017 at 5:04 pm

              As VMT does not account for non-auto travel, the OECD also uses fatals per 100,000 population as a comparative metric.

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        • David Hampsten July 15, 2017 at 11:47 am

          DC is especially interesting. According to government statistics, it is the safest “state” in the USA, but according to Allstate Insurance, it is among the most dangerous “cities” in the USA. Either a lot of crashes are not being reported to the right authorities, or else there are a lot more incidents of insurance fraud there. Another factor might be that the number of people who reside in DC is 2-3 times the census population – that is, many people who live there full-time claim residence in other states or countries.

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        • El Biciclero July 15, 2017 at 4:58 pm

          Does it really make a difference which city is the most dangerous? There is no need to play “quien es mas peligroso”—as long as people are getting killed, it’s too dangerous. Most of the incidents listed in the article for the last three weeks were drivers crashing into poles and jersey barriers, ramming police cars, running red lights, driving off the road, driving onto MAX platforms—only one involved a pedestrian and one other involved a bicyclist. Have we examined the poor habits of poles and jersey barriers? Should they be made more visible? Are we sure that MAX platforms are behaving defensively enough to prevent being crashed into? Do we need to remind police officers to “be seen” to avoid being rammed by criminals in stolen cars?

          The focus on non-motorized (bicyclist or pedestrian) victims of motor vehicle-involved crashes is misplaced. There are too many people operating deadly machinery that have no idea how to do so safely. Or worse, they know full well how to do so safely, but refuse to do so out of impatience and selfishness. No, pedestrians can’t jump out in front of cars that are “so close as to constitute an immediate hazard”, but too many drivers fail to pay enough attention so that even with plenty of time to stop for pedestrians (in crosswalks or not), they don’t stop in time to avoid running over people. That’s something that never comes out in police reports, because unless the driver admits it, there is generally no way to tell how far away a car was when a pedestrian entered the street. My bet would be that if the drivers in such cases had been paying attention and scanning for pedestrians, there would be far fewer “darted into traffic” or “came out of nowhere” police reports.

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          • wsbob July 15, 2017 at 9:43 pm

            In part, I was responding to David Hampsten’s report of some of the NC residents he encounters, being under an impression that Oregon is a kind of utopia where everything is wonderful, or at least, much safer for road use than NC is (david…thanks for all that research and the links!). Seriously, I kind of doubt Oregon and the Portland area has a much greater incidence than elsewhere in the nation, of people driving badly because they’re either ignorant of the law, how to safely operate a motor vehicle, or just don’t care and are some kind of sociopath when they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

            In the U.S., it’s very easy to abuse opportunities available to operate motor vehicles. Functioning used cars can easily be had for under 1K, even 500 bucks or less. I haven’t checked to be sure, but I don’t think a valid driver’s license is required to buy an old heap that looks pretty good on the outside. Almost any adult with the money can go buy one and go driving off. If the vehicle looks good, the lights all work, and the person driving it toes the line, doesn’t do any crazy driving, odds are they won’t get stopped, even if it’s tags are expired and the vehicle is uninsured.

            Maybe they’re even generally good drivers. Obviously, not everyone driving a motor vehicle, are consistently good drivers, even if they can pass the written and road test, and successfully pass the routine battery of tests sometimes administered in traffic stops. So now we’re getting down to the significant minority of people driving, that have lapses in their otherwise competent driving ability and manner, those people that cause the range of crazy episodes of driving and collisions, wounding and killing people, causing property damage, wasting the public’s time and money in police and emergency calls, investigations, and on and on.

            These I think, are the people that at some point or another, depart from normal responsible driving, go off and do some thrill driving, get intoxicated, lose control of their vehicle and drive into people and things. I think they’re going to be very hard to catch. Even when they do get caught, some of them just go and drive anyway. Even when their vehicle is taken away.

            Most of the traffic incident examples Maus cites in his editorial, seem to me to have arisen from that very small minority of people as road users that on occasion, disregard for thrills and fun, most of the care and responsibility required to safely operate a motor vehicle where vulnerable road users are present and where general neighborhood livability can be severely affected by their bad driving. I don’t think they represent all or even most of people’s road use with motor vehicles. Still…how to contain them, is a problem.

            And with common awareness that these people operating motor vehicles badly are on the roads, I think that people as vulnerable road users needing to be aware that they do have some responsibility to look out for their own safety in using the road…through certain safe road use procedures, should not be forgotten, and should be repeated and emphasized regularly. Vulnerable road users looking out for their own safety, rather than relying entirely on other road users for this, is their first and foremost reliable form of self defense against traffic collisions.

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            • El Biciclero July 16, 2017 at 10:18 am

              First, congratulations on proper spelling of “toe” the line; second, thank you for a well-reasoned response.

              I think you’ve highlighted a large part of the problem. It’s fairly easy to catch bad-apple drivers after they’ve stopped themselves by crashing into something, which also pretty much takes their car away (depending on their insurance situation). So in that sense, extremely bad drivers are somewhat self-limiting. The problem comes long after such an incident when the offending drivers have recovered and they get back to driving a “new” car, even if their license has been suspended as a result of previous offenses. Then the problem is as you say, there aren’t enough enforcement eyes on the street to catch unlicensed drivers or drivers engaging in “minor” offenses that nonetheless indicate a predilection toward disregard for safety of others on the road.

              Maybe part of the enforcement answer is to put a higher emphasis on certain violations that are largely ignored today. What if we had some kind of variable registration scheme wherein drivers with “to work and back” privileges had a recognizably different kind of reg sticker on their license plates? What if other restricted drivers were required to also have a “please pull me over and check” registration sticker? What if certain moving violations were much more likely to result in restrictions than they are today? Then, what if traffic officers paid much more attention to expired registration stickers (in case restricted drivers were attempting to circumvent consequences by failing to register with a special sticker)? I think in some states, cars are required to change to a whole different license plate for restricted drivers. Maybe that sounds a little broken-windowy, but if we had a “stop-and-check” policy for drivers that were “on probation”, so to speak, would it be any easier to prevent trouble before it happened?

              Also, yes, VRU would do well to watch out for drivers who aren’t watching out, but I still believe we strain a bit too hard to put the blame for pedestrian- and cyclist-involved motor vehicle crashes on those who can’t give their side of the story. We need more of a cultural shift (nearly impossible, I know) toward ascribing a proper degree of gravity to damage arising from incautious use of motor vehicles.

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              • wsbob July 18, 2017 at 8:47 am

                “…Maybe part of the enforcement answer is to put a higher emphasis on certain violations that are largely ignored today. What if we had some kind of variable registration scheme wherein drivers with “to work and back” privileges had a recognizably different kind of reg sticker on their license plates? What if other restricted drivers were required to also have a “please pull me over and check” registration sticker? What if certain moving violations were much more likely to result in restrictions than they are today? Then, what if traffic officers paid much more attention to expired registration stickers (in case restricted drivers were attempting to circumvent consequences by failing to register with a special sticker)? I think in some states, cars are required to change to a whole different license plate for restricted drivers. Maybe that sounds a little broken-windowy, but if we had a “stop-and-check” policy for drivers that were “on probation”, so to speak, would it be any easier to prevent trouble before it happened?

                Also, yes, VRU would do well to watch out for drivers who aren’t watching out, but I still believe we strain a bit too hard to put the blame for pedestrian- and cyclist-involved motor vehicle crashes on those who can’t give their side of the story. We need more of a cultural shift (nearly impossible, I know) toward ascribing a proper degree of gravity to damage arising from incautious use of motor vehicles.” bic

                What I think from reading comments to bikeportland stories, is that some readers work way to hard at trying to read malicious, biased, unfair intent towards vulnerable road users on the part of reporters, police and other people, into even the briefest accounts of traffic collisions involving people driving and people walking and biking, etc.

                The people reading here, making and trying to encourage acceptance of those kinds of presumptions, are wasting energy and maybe misleading other people away from the recognizing the importance of vulnerable road users, whether they’re walking, biking, running, skateboarding, taking at least…their part in looking out for their own safety in using the road…instead of trying to essentially shift full responsibility for their own safety, onto people that drive because motor vehicles are heavier, faster, etc, etc, etc.

                On more effectively managing bad or restricted drivers, some of the ideas about that, that you’ve come up, sound interesting. It’s just a matter of thinking them and others like them through, and working out the kinks to where they could be feasible and accepted by people of the community, and the people that would have to administer the ideas in the form of working laws. And of course, figuring out how to pay to get all of that in place and working.

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              • El Biciclero July 18, 2017 at 12:59 pm

                “What I think from reading comments to bikeportland stories, is that some readers work way to hard at trying to read malicious, biased, unfair intent towards vulnerable road users on the part of reporters, police and other people, into even the briefest accounts of traffic collisions involving people driving and people walking and biking, etc.”

                Well, speaking for myself, I don’t particularly ascribe to police or reporters malice or much of any kind of intent to be unfair (not that those things aren’t there sometimes). Mainly, I think it is what we’ve seen referred to as “Car Head” that comes out in reports. The notion that “normal” people drive, roads are for cars, car use must not be restricted, and anything other than a motorized vehicle doesn’t really belong “in traffic”. If you roll out on the road not in a car, well, you’re taking your chances and what happens, happens. The fact that in many VRU-involved crash reports, focus will be placed on things that aren’t legal requirements when describing the VRU (e.g., wearing dark clothing, using an unmarked crosswalk, not using a helmet) or on conditions (e.g., “poorly-lit”, dark, rainy, sun glare, etc.) while making no mention of anything in a long list of items that could be suspected about the driver or vehicle in question (e.g., use of electronic devices, dirty windshield, bad wipers, no turn signal used, “over-driving” headlights, lane position, time of last eye exam/wearing required corrective lenses, condition of brakes, etc.). The items listed as potential “causes” of the “accident” tend to sound more like a list of excuses for why the driver just couldn’t have done anything to avoid it than real conclusions reached after an unbiased investigation. The apparent assumption in most cases is that the driver must have been doing everything right, minding their own business, enjoying their “right” to drive anywhere and everywhere, and that a bicyclist or pedestrian just should have been more careful, should have worn brighter clothing, shouldn’t have been on that dangerous road, must have “darted into traffic”, shouldn’t have been in the driver’s blind spot, or otherwise should have self-restricted their freedom or taken extreme measures to avoid getting run over. The only exceptions are when a driver is obviously impaired, or exhibited outrageously egregious behavior immediately prior to an incident.

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              • wsbob July 20, 2017 at 2:38 am

                bic at: El Biciclero July 18, 2017 at 12:59 pm

                In your comment, you’re calling people names with specific reference to the writing of people reporting about collisions involving motor vehicles and vulnerable road users. You seem to be implying that if their manner of reporting on these collisions doesn’t conform to particular rules of your own, outside of journalism principles, ethics and standards, then your name calling is justified.

                On a related idea, readers that don’t follow bikeportland stories regularly, might be interested in reading an opinion piece by this weblog’s owner-writer, about about a collision involving someone driving a motor vehicle and someone riding a bike in the early hours of the morning, some six months ago on a country road near Silverton, Ore.

                http://bikeportland.org/2016/10/13/sheriffs-office-blames-deceased-rider-in-early-morning-fatality-near-stayton-193395

                In that opinion piece, Maus, the owner-writer, doesn’t call people from the sheriff’s dept, names, but as the opinion piece headline states, does accuse the sheriff’s office of blaming the person that was riding the bike, for the collision. Read the piece, and you will find, that the accusation, near as I could learn from the piece and comments to it, was based entirely on the writing of the brief, initial report on the collision by the sheriff’s office public information officer, Lt. Christopher G. Baldridge. No mention was made in the opinion piece, that anyone from the sheriff’s dept was called by staff from this weblog to confirm their position on who of those involved in the collision, was responsible for it having occurred, to what extent, and why. No report was offered in this weblog, that a request for the full sheriff’s dept collision report was made.

                With the exception of one slip in professionalism in the sheriff’s dept initial report on the collision, I thought the report was fair. Many of bikeportland’s readers didn’t agree. They wanted a fuller account, with an inquiry into what oversight or mistakes the person driving may have made that may have contributed to the occurrence of the collision. If they really wanted such an account though, why does it seem that none of them have pursued a copy of the sheriff’s dept full investigation of the collision?

                bic, sorry, but I don’t feel your name calling is justified, nor are your conclusions based on brief news stories about collisions involving people biking and people driving, that the writers of those stories, intentionally or not, are putting vulnerable road users in an unfair light.

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              • El Biciclero July 24, 2017 at 9:55 pm

                “bic, sorry, but I don’t feel your name calling is justified, nor are your conclusions based on brief news stories about collisions involving people biking and people driving, that the writers of those stories, intentionally or not, are putting vulnerable road users in an unfair light.”

                You’re misunderstanding the use of “Car Head”. It isn’t name-calling, as in “you big, fat car-head!”, it’s a description of a “condition”, if you will. “Car-head” refers to an implicit, unrecognized bias in how most people think about different modes of transportation: driving is normal, any other way of getting around must be due to some unfortunate circumstance that has befallen you. It’s probably the same circumstance that makes you a second-class citizen—you know, like being a drunk, or uneducated, or poor (maybe homeless)—you know. Or, if you are riding a sporty bike or running along a road, you’re one of those crazy “exercisers” who probably grooves on “extreme” activities because you crave the adrenaline rush—why else would you play in the road? Either way, to venture out any way other than by car means you are taking your chances and you shouldn’t be too surprised if you get run over—I mean, drivers? Huh? C’mon, amiright?

                Also, I’m not necessarily reaching any “conclusions” based on brief news stories; I’m criticizing the actual brief news story. Your example makes my exact point perfectly; let’s look at that “brief news story”:

                “Early indications show that the cyclist was traveling east on Shaff Road when an eastbound minivan struck the bicycle. The area the crash took place has very little shoulder and no lighting. At the time of the crash it was dark, rainy and the cyclist was wearing dark clothing and no light on the bicycle.

                The driver of the vehicle remained on the scene and is cooperating with investigators. Identities of the involved will be released once the appropriate notifications have been made. Shaff Road was closed for 2 hours while investigators processed the scene, Shaff Road has now reopened for regular traffic.”

                In that brief news story, what is reported? The road was dark and rainy (conditions) there was little shoulder and no lighting (conditions), the bicyclist was wearing dark clothing (there are no legal clothing requirements), and had no light (the only actual legal violation by the bicyclist, although a light could have been knocked far away and destroyed; we’ll never know). There is no mention of a rear reflector, which is the only legal requirement for the rear of a bicycle, and as both vehicles were traveling east, this must have been a hit-from-behind collision in which a rear reflector should have been visible if there was one, but no mention one way or the other on that.

                About the condition and behavior of the car and driver, let’s see…stayed at the scene and is cooperating. Nothing about the assumed speed of the van, the brightness of the headlights, the quality of the wipers, condition of the tires or brakes, the radio being on, evidence of distraction—not one single word. What I note is that given the brevity of the story, the things police, reporters—whoever—choose to use those precious few words to describe are a) what the bicyclist did “wrong”, b) how conditions made it impossible for the driver to avoid tragedy, and c) how cooperative the driver is being. That, my friend, is a list of excuses presented in a way that can only be read as a declaration of guilt against the deceased bicyclist, and of tragic innocence on the part of the poor, cooperative driver.

                Now again, I’m not saying the story was presented that way on purpose, but the bias is clear. We no more concern ourselves with the behavior of the driver than we would worry about how the ocean was acting when somebody drowned in it, or how the sidewalk might have contributed to the death of someone jumping from a building. We take the driver’s behavior as absolutely inevitable as the laws of nature; we start with an unshakable assumption that the driver was “doing everything right”—so much so that we don’t even ask questions, let alone find fault. Only in cases of obvious impairment or witnessed egregious behavior—like I said—do we begin to wonder whether the driver might have had something to do with a collision.

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      • oliver July 16, 2017 at 7:15 am

        Also, we have a high minimum wage and we’re one of the very few states where gratuities are not allowed to be counted toward the minimum wage.

        Thus, service industry jobs (tipped one’s at any rate) pay significantly higher here than in the rest of the country, this is another reason Oregon is so popular with young people.

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        • David Hampsten July 16, 2017 at 11:07 am

          I had no idea, thank you for the info. The Jimmy John’s delivery riders here are paid $2.35/hr plus tips, have no insurance, and frequently crash. No wonder they are eager to get to Oregon.

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  • Adam
    Adam July 14, 2017 at 11:58 am

    That “high-crash network” map is hilarious. At first, I though it was just a regular map of Portland with major streets highlighted, or maybe a bus network map. Our high crash network is basically every major road in Portland. If that map isn’t a testament to the fact we’ve given up, I don’t know what is.

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    • JeffS July 14, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      What did you expect a “top 30” crash map would look like? It’s a map of the designated driving routes.

      Crashes could half next year, then half again the following and the map would look exactly the same.

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      • Alan 1.0 July 14, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        27 of the worst 30 intersections on or east of 82nd – I’ve read that the outer east side has street problems but I wasn’t expecting that much skew.

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        • David Hampsten July 15, 2017 at 1:27 pm

          The outer east side has a system of super-blocks like what you see on the map, whereby even local traffic is pushed out onto the main streets. Unlike inner Portland, there is no regular grid of parallel streets (except in parts of Lents), but rather a system of dead-end and no-outlet local streets that were originally designed by the county to have parks and schools at the center, with bike/ped connections only, but then Portland annexed the area in the 80s and proceeded to screw it up. 30% of Portland now lives east of 82nd.

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        • Kevin July 17, 2017 at 10:05 pm

          It’s the Wild West out there. It’s terrible.

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      • Eric Leifsdad July 14, 2017 at 3:35 pm

        I we made those the only driving routes (rather than letting anyone cut through anywhere at any speed) the number of crashes would be cut in half much sooner.

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        • JeffS July 14, 2017 at 3:39 pm

          I’m curious to hear how you think putting more cars on the roads with the most crashes is going to reduce crashes. Please. Elaborate.

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          • David Hampsten July 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm

            Massive congestion tends to slow traffic down. More crashes, yes, but fewer fatal or life-changing ones when speeds drop below 20 mph.

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        • Adam
          Adam July 14, 2017 at 8:43 pm

          Those 30 streets contain probably 90% of the businesses I frequent. Maybe we should just install protected bike lanes and bus-only lanes on all of them so that everyone can have easy access to them.

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          • Eric Leifsdad July 14, 2017 at 11:33 pm

            Do residents the next block over want a neighborhood smogway? Even with forcing through traffic onto arterials, it doesn’t need to be fast. That’s what the freeway is for. The important thing ASAP is to cut the induced demand from all of those wide-open lane miles throughout the grid.

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            • David Hampsten July 15, 2017 at 1:31 pm

              On the east side, there are no through-ways one block over/down, only in inner Portland do you have that.

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    • rick July 14, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      I’d like to know how many crashes take place on SW Vista. I think the sharp turns and architecture do move some people driving cars and riding motorcycles to slow down compared to other 25 mph streets in SW.

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  • SD July 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    If only engineers were more like scientists and asked important questions.

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    • SE Rider July 15, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      The problem is that they can’t be like scientist because there are way too many variables to make conclusive statements about almost anything (this is true for most social sciences). They also are somewhat at the whims of politicians who have to at least try to balance a lot of diverse groups with different interests and goals.

      As a scientist, the traffic data and studies I see have so many caveats it makes my head spin.

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  • Keviniano July 14, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    It’s so interesting what counts as worthy of notice and action. For instance, motor vehicle-related violence is much worse than the opioid crisis, and substantially greater than gun violence. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/overview/key_data.html
    http://www.vpc.org/regulating-the-gun-industry/gun-deaths-compared-to-motor-vehicle-deaths/

    Insanely, in that CDC link, after the appalling statistics, they say they “know what works” when it comes to preventing motor vehicle injuries. It’s “improving proper restraint use, including seat belts, child safety seats, and booster seats.” I mean, really? Not a single word about speed, defensive driving, or road users who aren’t in cars? !

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    • GlowBoy July 17, 2017 at 10:52 am

      This is not inconsistent behavior for the CDC.

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  • Christopher of Portland July 14, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I usually won’t go outside during the peak hours of rush hour. It’s like some kind of weird horror movie where the zombies breaking down my doors to eat my brains are instead drivers popping out of every residential intersection at ridiculous speeds with zero concern for my brains.

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    • Gena G July 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      Yes. I won’t let my son play in our front yard during evening rush hour because I’m afraid of someone barreling their car thru our fence. What the serious fuck is going on.

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      • Lester Burnham July 14, 2017 at 1:18 pm

        I won’t ride bike lanes during rush hour for fear of some silent e-bike ninja taking me out doing 30 mph.

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        • Paul Atkinson July 14, 2017 at 2:20 pm

          Bicyclists in a bike lane killed by silent e-bike ninjas: SURVEY SAYS —

          Oh. Huh. None. Why does this concern you again? We’re talking about real dangers, and real people who have died.

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          • Mossby Pomegranate July 16, 2017 at 9:11 am

            Sarcasm?

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        • jeff July 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm

          you should learn to ride faster.

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      • Adam
        Adam July 14, 2017 at 1:21 pm

        I live on a fairly busy street (SE 52nd) and it seems to get worse every day. I also don’t think the construction at 50th that routinely stops traffic helps at all – people seem to have moved to 52nd. 52nd is a city-designated bikeway even, but has in excess of 6,000 cars per day! I get really nervous walking my dog or taking my daughter on the street because of all the cars. Even outside of rush hour, people often fly down the street at excess speeds. I wish the city would actually implement some sort of traffic calming when they install cycling facilities.

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    • bikeninja July 14, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      I think the same thing when I am waiting at the long light to cross canyon on Hall in Beaverton. The light for the auto traffic on Canyon will turn red, then every time as if by clockwork, a motorist who is 20 or 30 yards away from the intersection will plow right through the solid red light staring straight ahead like a zombie, uncaring as to the potential consequences of their actions. These auto zombies seem to disregard danger to others, danger to themselves and any modicum of social responsibility in exchange to getting to the big box store or oil change shanty 2 minutes quicker.

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      • rick July 14, 2017 at 8:40 pm

        The red light runners are very sad on bike routes in Cedar Hills, Beaverton, and Raleigh Hills.

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        • Big Knobbies July 17, 2017 at 10:51 am

          r,
          Good idea to wait a couple seconds after you get the green to let the red light runners pass thru. If you’re approaching a stale red, knowing it will likely change to green any second, SLOW DOWN, so you don’t enter the intersection immediately after it turns green.

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    • rachel b July 15, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Thank you. That’s the most accurate, evocative summation of the situation, Christopher.

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  • Dave July 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    If the city gave a damn about Vision Zero, they would not prosecute auto theft or vandalism and would instruct police to have no regard whatsoever for the rights of anyone in a motor vehicle.
    Start by being less encouraging toward the group with the worst behavior.

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    • JeffS July 14, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      You think simply owning a car is worse behavior than theft and vandalism?

      Seems that the anarcho-communists have arrived at BP.

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      • Dave July 14, 2017 at 5:44 pm

        I’m merely expressing a wish that the powers that be have no more consideration for motorists’ property than motorists have for the lives of other road users. Let them clean up their acts if they want said property protected, that’s all.

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      • Big Knobbies July 15, 2017 at 3:26 am

        JS,
        You just now noticed? They’ve basically been rioting since Nov. 8, 2016.

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    • Mike Reams July 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      I’m assuming someone will chime in here about the dangers of collective punishment/blame.

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      • Lester Burnham July 14, 2017 at 1:08 pm

        Nope…the “car-hate” blinders are on nice and tight.

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        • Dave July 17, 2017 at 10:18 am

          Blinders my tush–the more you see of the world and the more you see the effects of too many cars in too little space, how fucking stupid do. you have to be to not hate them?

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    • Adam
      Adam July 14, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      I’d rather not live in a police state, thank you. Let’s just re-engineer the streets to be safer, yeah?

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      • Gary B July 14, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        Umm, what the commenter described was a non-police state.

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        • Adam
          Adam July 14, 2017 at 1:09 pm

          Semantics. As much as I dislike cars, I’d rather not start arbitrarily stripping people’s rights based on the behaviors of a few.

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      • Dave July 17, 2017 at 10:19 am

        That would be a good “phase 2. My idea is Phase 1.

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  • jonno July 14, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve been feeling similarly for a while now. It’s like the War on Cars is over, and the Cars won.

    I have felt it worst in the east side neighborhoods experiencing meteoric growth, mostly along the Ankeny and Tillamook greenways. So many cut-through drivers blowing stop signs at speed to avoid the crippling congestion along all the major roads and highways, angry and believing that saving 1 minute is worth putting everyone else at risk.

    Aside from Vision Zero failures, this is just eating up what’s left of Old Portland’s vaunted livability. How can you settle into your home when your formerly quiet street could become a cut-through at a moment’s notice? I left Hollywood/Rose City Park for that reason. Car access trumps all other considerations, and it’s only going to get worse.

    We should have done more back when we still had the space. It can be so bad that I feel like I’m the irrational one every time I get on my bike. Might as well just take the car so I can have A/C and airbags, even if I’m just idling on I-5. There’s no room left to expand the network and precious little will, since who wants to put themselves at risk in this melee? And it’s not like it costs much extra, just a little cheap gas.

    Oddly enough, my new commute on Vancouver/Williams, while it took some getting used to, has dropped my Anti-Car Anger level significantly. It’s almost as if the addition of infrastructure that says my mode has parity, if not priority, actually means something. Might be too late to do more in the rest of the city.

    I take heart in all the wobbly Biketown tourists, though. It’s still so much better here than it is nearly everywhere else!

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    • Adam
      Adam July 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      Comment of the week.

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    • Chris I July 14, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      I love Hollywood/Rose City for a lot of reasons, but the RCPNA is run by people that only care about “accessibility”, which to them, means car accessibility. They hide behind the elderly/disabled issue, and oppose any low-car development in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, our quality of life continues to degrade due to cut-through traffic. They are so blind to the real issues.

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      • jonno July 14, 2017 at 3:31 pm

        Wholeheartedly agree. I went to a few of their meetings and it went beyond hiding behind accessibility – I witnessed outright bike hatred from at least one member. And so the tide of traffic continues to eat the place up. Somebody’s going to die on that Tillamook bike lane through the 40’s – it was nearly me too many times. Halsey is and always will be a traffic sewer. Just like it has been since most of the RCPNA first got their driver licenses, back when gas was a shiny quarter a gallon and Clyde’s was Coon Chicken Inn.

        It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy – massive congestion means we can’t invest time, money or space in other modes for fear of making the congestion worse, so they do nothing and it just gets worse anyway.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu July 14, 2017 at 8:58 pm

          Get involved, get elected, change things. It’s not hard to get elected to your local neighborhood association.

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    • Eric Leifsdad July 14, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Let’s make some automated wobbly biketown tourist dummies that just go around crashing into cars all day and zipping out into crosswalks the instant their walk light comes on.

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      • JeffS July 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm

        “the instant their walk light comes on.”

        If this would stop the 2 or 3 cars turning left on red at some intersections I’d be all for it.

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    • Phil Richman July 14, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Agreed, comment of the week less the last one. Assuming BikeTown is wobbly or for tourists is false.

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      • jonno July 14, 2017 at 3:47 pm

        Hey, I purposefully wobble when Biketowning…

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        • Phil Richman July 14, 2017 at 5:11 pm

          Pedestrians get super confused when I wobble around them in low gear almost track standing in the process. All in an effort to yield to them.

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  • colton July 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    “should not include blame-oriented statements about a traffic crash so soon after it happens”

    up voted, but also applying to commenters on this site.

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  • mran1984 July 14, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    The city needs to ban people walking in front of moving vehicles. Too many people anyway, oh well. This is ridiculous. I ride everyday and clueless people on bikes(orange ones especially) and pads on the phone are a far bigger issue.

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    • Adam
      Adam July 14, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      Amanda?? Is that you?

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    • Paul Atkinson July 14, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      I do not suspect you came to this hypothesis based on data, and I strongly doubt any reasonably representative data set would support that.

      For example, I ride with a helmet cam. Now it’s true I overwrite old footage constantly so I don’t have all of history on there — only a couple weeks’ worth at a time — but it represents one common commuting corridor during commute hours. I’d be happy to share it with you. As much as you have time to watch. We can go through it together and count the people endangering other people, classify them, and see what behavior is the biggest issue if you like.

      Hint: I’ve looked back through a couple weeks’ worth recently and never saw a pedestrian nor a cyclist leap willy-nilly in front of a car. I did see several instances of cars executing blind turns into bike lanes, blowing through stop signs while cyclists were riding on the arterial or greenway, and using the bike lane as a passing lane — while the bike lane was occupied. I wish I had downloaded the footage of the police officer who did that in my field of vision a month-ish ago, but I let it get overwritten.

      Honestly: watch the unedited footage and let’s count who endangers whom. When’s good?

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    • Chris I July 14, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Your vision of how a city should operate at the street level is terrifying.

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  • mran1984 July 14, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Peds, not pads…

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  • bikeninja July 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Bravo Jonathan, This is a crisis that can not be solved without a healthy dose of indignation. I think the fundamental principal that has to be addressed is the concept that one has a “right” to drive a motor vehicle. I think the idea that everyone has a right to drive a 4000 lb death machine wherever they want with only the most minimal of rules and enforcement is an idea that is past its sell date. We must prioritise sanity and the right to move about the earth under ones own power over the right of some to careen from the frypit to the nfl stadium at mad speeds while spewing greenhouse gases. We must not let the auto, petroleum, and commercial real estate industries to dictate the terms of life and death on the planet. We need to apply the kind of strict and comprehensive training, operating and compliance standards to motoring that the FAA applies to flying if we are to escape this madness.

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  • Bill Stites July 14, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks Jonathan, for bravely exposing the situation for what it really is. Sharing actual police statements lends credibility to what many of us are feeling … it has gotten really dangerous out on the streets.

    Everyone I talk to agrees that traffic has increased to a critical point – even in just the last 18 months. Not only does the system start to break down relative to its intended purpose – moving people and goods from point A to B – but that it has indeed given rise to frustration, anger, and more dangerous behaviors. Running red lights is routine now – how the hell did that happen? Clearly way more enforcement of the existing rules is needed.
    Since we want to take bias out of the equation whenever possible, I think the answer lies in more automation of enforcement. We should take advantage of hi-tech solutions that exist now – more red light cameras, more speed cameras, phone-jamming tech. With a concerted effort to enforce existing laws, this general bad behavior can be reigned in.

    And the cost of driving needs to be much much higher, commensurate with investment in public transportation – congestion pricing and tolling are obvious solutions that have been proven to work at reducing driving in many places around the world. Why not here?

    I do believe that this is a situation where we can put the beast back in the cage … but it’s going to take some serious will.

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    • JeffS July 14, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Sure, in theory. We must remember that Portland and Multnomah county are moving the other direction as fast as possible. Less enforcement of laws seems to be the goal, which is the root cause of many of our problems.

      Any mention of law enforcement queues up a line of people parroting an equity spiel about how it’s unrealistic to expect some people to obey the law. I don’t really understand it, but it sounds like they have pretty low opinions of these people.

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      • rachel b July 15, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        Decreased (and, yup, planned, as JeffS points out) enforcement of laws and the rules is the root of all this evil. Tired of begging for services and of being constantly told (in so many words): You’re On Your Own.

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  • MaxD July 14, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    I rode to Cornelius form Portland last evening. For the most part, the people I encountered on the rural roads were patient and courteous, but there were a disconcerting number of people driving who passed too closely or passed dangerously (when on-coming traffic was present. There were also a lot of jacked up trucks and cars with loud mufflers. When I grew up, I spent time as a kid on rural roads in Michigan on my bike, on a horse or driving a tractor (or on the hay wagon). It is my recollection that people driving were occasionally annoyed, but also seemed to understand that these were people using the road to the extent they needed to, and that all road users need to be accommodated. It struck me yesterday that things are different now. More people driving seem to have zero patience for other road users and even take their presence as a personal insult. I am not sure how to change that culture or mindset, but I think we could start by taking a tougher stance on things like loud mufflers, dieseling, and jacked-up trucks. Tampering with your emissions to the extent that it is visible or audible is (I think) something one can be ticketed for- I would love to this enforced. Raising your vehicle endangers other road users. I would like people who want to drive modified vehicle be required to get a license endorsement so they are made aware of these risks. They also have to carry more insurance. Just a thought.

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    • JeffS July 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      You seem quite willing to use the law to dictate the behavior of others. Be careful. Open that box too far and you might get banned from those roads instead. Of course, it doesn’t sounds like you regularly ride them anyway which I’m sure contributed considerably to your comfort level.

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      • MaxD July 14, 2017 at 4:47 pm

        I am not sure why you think that, JeffS. I ride throughout Portland Daily and get out on the surrounding country roads at least once a week. I agree that the danger of asking for tighter restrictions could wind up with people on bikes/horses/tractors getting banned from more roads- that is a good point. Also, I never said I was uncomfortable being on the road, only that I observed some pretty unsafe driving, and some of it seemed intentional (as if to make a point that I didn’t belong). What I was trying to say is that it seems like there has been an on-going cultural shift away from patience and forbearance and toward self-entitlement and territorialization.

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        • wsbob July 15, 2017 at 12:02 pm

          “…What I was trying to say is that it seems like there has been an on-going cultural shift away from patience and forbearance and toward self-entitlement and territorialization.” max d

          Something like that. I do believe that as population increases and demands on the road system to meet everyone’s travel needs, more people are under pressure and having difficulty not succumbing to elevated levels of tension and anxiety arising from difficult road situations.

          This morning, I was presented with an example of this, in Beaverton on Hall, 2nd Ave, two blocks from 4th, a main entry point for the farmer’s market. I was going to ride into the market at 4th, so rather than in the bike lane, I was in the right main lane. Traffic stopped. Lady in passenger seat of car abreast of me rolls down window ‘Why aren’t you in the bike lane?’ Me: because I’d rather be here…would you like to know why? Lady: ‘Why’ Me:…because shortly, I’m going to be turning into the market just ahead…but thanks for the tip! Lady: ‘I didn’t mean to give you a tip…we’re bikers too…we just wanted to get over to the right’ Me: …you want to move over? Move over. At which point, I gladly moved ahead six feet or so they could move into the right main lane. Once the incidental Q & A was over and they explained to me what they really needed, I was more than willing to help them out. Why didn’t the lady just save time and ask me right from the start, if I would move ahead slightly so they could signal and get into the right lane? I expect they were tense, trying to find curbside car parking for the farmer’s market. So much driving to the market has brought traffic intensity on Hall, to borderline nightmare proportions.

          Road user tension during commute hours seems to me to be notably higher than off hours. Even as bad as road user conduct can be during commute hours, I don’t think the people not managing that situation well, are the source of the cavalcade of collisions to which maus’s editorial addresses. The people causing the kinds of collisions maus has assembled for his list, I think are the truly bad, 1 to maybe 10 percent of all road users which probably take road use for granted, and whom are very difficult to effectively manage in ways that can put a stop to the havoc they create.

          I think the idea of generally regarding a mode of transportation unfavorably, (if that’s what’s going on), in this case motor vehicles, that so many people must rely on for travel, and whom by and large use them very considerately and safely, is not great. It seems to me the “…motor vehicle madness…”, aren’t the motor vehicles, but rather the extremely poor manner in which some people casually abuse opportunities they have to use them. How to get these people under control? That’s a tall order for which I’m at a loss to come up with any simple effective answers.

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          • Dan A July 17, 2017 at 8:08 am

            Hall BLVD at 2nd is northbound-only, heading away from 4th ave.

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            • BradWagon July 17, 2017 at 10:50 am

              Maybe Watson..? And make all the rights lefts instead… haha. Or make 2nd 5th… 4th 3rd and again all the rights lefts.

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            • wsbob July 17, 2017 at 11:59 am

              Thanks…yes you’re right…southbound Watson is what I should have written. It’s part of the Hall-Watson couplet from the light rail tracks to just north of Allen Ave.

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          • Dan A July 17, 2017 at 2:33 pm

            So, if you had been sitting in a car instead of on a bike, what would you have done? Or do you suppose they wouldn’t have asked you to move out of the way then?

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            • wsbob July 18, 2017 at 9:55 am

              “So, if you had been sitting in a car instead of on a bike, what would you have done? Or do you suppose they wouldn’t have asked you to move out of the way then?” dan a

              In stop and go traffic, I’ve had it happen while driving, that someone rolled down their window and politely asked me if I could allow them to slip ahead of me so they could get over into a parking spot, or a turn lane. If I can do it, I’ve got no problem doing so.

              In the encounter last Saturday, I’m not sure, but I kind of doubt the person would have called out to me if I’d been driving. As I wrote, I think this person and the others in the vehicle, were worked up about having difficulty finding parking near to the farmer’s market. The first words out of this person’s mouth to me were, and I quote “Why aren’t you in the bike lane?”. Not ‘Excuse me, but could you just pull ahead slightly so we could move over and grab that parking spot?’.

              So, it was hard for me to not feel the person was wanting to blow off some animosity towards someone biking. Completely unjustified. Literally, vehicles were not moving when the person called out. It should have been obvious to the people in the vehicle, that I might be in the right main lane as part of a transition to the left main lane so I could turn into the market on 4th. And without describing much more about the people in the vehicle, because I don’t think that would be very helpful, I will say that these people seemed to be healthy, clean, not poor, intelligent, not intoxicated, or otherwise fatigued, bigoted. To me, they just seemed like ordinary suburbanites. Nothing really would have them stand out in a crowd of people in Beaverton, or in Portland.

              My own form in conversing with this person could have been just a little better. After a strong 90 minute ride, I needed a snack, so I wasn’t feeling top drawer exactly, but did feel I was mostly polite and cooperative, which is what I think people need to be in these kinds of situations.

              When the person said “…we’re bikers too. …” that’s when I got a strong impression that, sure, they may ride a bike…occasionally…off road in some park on some paved trail where there’s no motor vehicle traffic. Odds are though, that they don’t know diddly about actually how to ride a bike in busy traffic, safely, efficiently and in compliance with Oregon road use law.

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              • Dan A July 18, 2017 at 11:23 am

                Thank you, that’s my point exactly. I don’t think of every person who occasionally gets on a bike as a cyclist, just like I don’t think someone who has tried surfing is a surfer. Someone sitting in a car and suggesting that a cyclist legally occupying a main lane doesn’t belong there is not, in my mind, a cyclist. Calling themselves “bikers” is a pretty good giveaway.

                Also, I highly doubt they would attempt to verbally coerce a driver to move out of their way in a similar situation. That would be an interesting conversation, especially if they tried it with this guy:

                https://bikeportland.org/2017/07/11/rider-calls-police-after-being-forced-off-i-205-path-by-truck-driver-234385

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              • wsbob July 19, 2017 at 9:41 am

                “…Also, I highly doubt they would attempt to verbally coerce a driver to move out of their way in a similar situation. …” dan a

                Well, they, or at least the person that spoke to me, wasn’t trying to coerce me to move out of their way. As I said, I think they spoke up to me in big part because of the general frustration of traffic due to the big draw that the farmer’s market has become. They were just excited, as people can be in such situations, to get the car parked so, my guess… they…could go walking around the market. (Nutty as that seems; how far away from the market were they coming from, I’d be curious to know. Some people bike and walk to it, but not near enough of all attending.).

                So I think the person’s question at the moment was short sighted and was intended to be a bit insulting, but not mean or bullying. Near as I could tell, they basically were nice people having a difficult time dealing with the mess that traffic has become due to the huge popularity of the market. They didn’t swear or call me names, throw stuff or threaten me.

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    • rachel b July 15, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      Agree with you, MaxD. Among all the other inexplicable hells raining down on Portland anymore, I’m completely floored by the huge (and every day increasing) numbers in SUPER LOUD modified vehicles. Where there used to be a handful, now there are dozens a day on our street. And, of course, there’s zero enforcement. So, hey! Come on, everyone! The more the merrier! WTF? Why are we attracting so many aggressive, various turdpeoples in such abundant numbers now?

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      • Adam
        Adam July 15, 2017 at 10:22 pm

        Seriously. What is up with those loud cars and trucks? It’s super fun when they are constantly driving my my house at midnight and waking up my baby…

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      • Big Knobbies July 15, 2017 at 11:28 pm

        rb,
        PDX, and the state of Oregon have come out openly saying they will not enforce the law with their sanctuary city/state status. This sends a signal to some folks that the law is not a serious thing here. Our government has put us all at higher risk. When’s the next election? That’s when you can do something about it. 😉

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        • dwk July 18, 2017 at 10:58 am

          Enough of this *****!
          What the hell does sanctuary cities have anything to do with the topic?
          Your moderation sucks as has been pointed out by a number of people.
          Knobbie injects his Trumpness in every post…..
          Fine with you.

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          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 18, 2017 at 11:17 am

            thanks for the feedback dwk. you should see the comments from that reader that I don’t let through. It’s a fine line. I don’t want to kick anyone out and I want this space to be as open as possible. I appreciate your input.

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  • rick July 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    I’m still waiting for an answer from PBOT about when they will paint the bike lanes on the repaved SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. People are driving so fast lately on SW Scholls Ferry Road and through Metzger.

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  • Scott Kocher July 14, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    It feels bad to see the advocacy organization I volunteer for (and others I care about and support) called out by someone I respect for not doing enough when we’re working hard and growing and doing more all the time. But, advocacy groups are occupying the “space” and need to be pushed, too.

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  • K Taylor July 15, 2017 at 1:27 am

    “The inconvenient truth is that the scale of the threat we face is growing much more quickly than our efforts to stop it.” Very well said, Jonathan, and dismaying, and depressing. Thanks very much for this article. I knew it had gotten much worse, but seeing that list of Police blotter items really made it stark how things have changed.

    It crept up on me, the end of my desire to ride my bike in this city. I used to ride everywhere at any hour of the day or night. It was so easy and pleasant to get around that way that I let my driver’s license lapse when it came up for renewal. Now, it’s really hard for me to get myself to bike in Portland.

    My last refuge was the Council Crest ride. It was the only city ride I could do that was still as lovely as it had always been, still as low-traffic and still as free of sketchy dudes and aggro drivers. The last couple of times I did it, though, it was almost impossible to cross Patton at Montgomery – too many cars moving way too fast – – and traffic on Fairview has gotten denser and crankier – and new construction is happening all over the place. It was still pretty, but gradually I found myself not wanting to ride there either.

    It was always necessary to be alert as a cyclist in Portland, but it used to be possible on longer rides to slide into that lovely, meditative mode, where you’re just riding along, not constantly dodging things or fearing for your life. I really miss that.

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    • David Hampsten July 15, 2017 at 11:40 am

      “constantly dodging things or fearing for my life” is one of the things I missed least about Portland after I left a year and a half ago, that and the rapidly increasing rents. In Portland, I was nearly hit every other day, mostly right hooks; here in NC it’s about once per month, mostly left hooks. In Portland, the streets were rarely swept; here, the city does it monthly on all streets without fail. I’ll grant you that we have very few bike facilities and fewer bicyclists, but I still feel a lot safer.

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      • Kyle Banerjee July 15, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        If you’re getting hooked anywhere near that often, you’re doing something wrong.

        People make mistakes and occasionally act aggressively. But close calls should be rare, so if your experience is otherwise, you need to adjust your style to riding conditions.

        There may be better places to ride than Portland, but it is still comparatively very easy and the streets are good — one can reasonably commute on race tires.

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        • David Hampsten July 15, 2017 at 2:06 pm

          I don’t know where you live, but I lived on the east side from 2007-2015, where those 27 high-crash intersections are (at 105th & Stark). It was different world there then, and apparently still is, according to this blog. I generally confined myself to bike lanes when I was on major streets. You oughta try riding there sometime, but don’t forget to bring your last will and testament, plus your organ-donor card, with you.

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          • Kyle Banerjee July 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm

            I’ve been out there before and don’t remember anything remarkable about it. But I don’t go out that way often and will ride out sometime and check things out again. I ride pretty much everywhere. Few places are that bad.

            I wouldn’t trust this blog for road reports. I am very familiar with most of the areas discussed here, and both the roads and the drivers are consistently described far worse than they actually are. Rather, those looking for routes would probably get better info from a local shop or cycling club.

            I would still say you’re doing something wrong. To get hooked, you have to fail to recognize a hook situation, fail to mitigate a situation you recognized, or be incredibly unlucky. Once in a long while, everyone gets caught by the third. But one or both of the first two will be at play for anyone who finds themselves in jeopardy on a regular basis.

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            • Adam
              Adam July 15, 2017 at 5:56 pm

              You are a self-proclaimed athlete cyclist who can maintain 20 mph. Forgive me if I don’t trust “road reports” when they’re coming from your perspective.

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              • wsbob July 16, 2017 at 10:45 am

                Adam…what kind of cyclist are you, if you’re not someone that can maintain 20mph at least for short periods of time? You ought to have volunteered that info since you feel moved to dismiss advice offered by someone that likely has some reliable tips for safely managing traffic conditions on busy streets and roads which many people are using with motor vehicles.

                How are you on properly preparing for turns and lane changes, and displaying hand signals? The skill and knowledge to do those things, doesn’t require riding 20 mph, but even so, plenty of people as vulnerable road users riding bikes, seem to throw to the wind, the caution and assurance of an enhanced level of safety that those procedures can help provide.

                Yes of course, there are some people on the road that are very bad drivers. This is commonly known. There also are far too many people as vulnerable road users walking and biking, that do so, even knowing of the danger to them that motor vehicle use represents, as if they have very little awareness of the safety of the manner in which they’ve chosen to use the road. Are people preparing to cross the road on foot, looking to be certain traffic is not approaching at a rate that won’t allow them to safely cross? Before they step out onto the road, in front of an approaching motor vehicle, are they making certain the person driving the vehicle, actually is going to stop the vehicle to allow the person on foot to safely cross in front of it? This is basic stuff that everyone as a vulnerable road users should know and consistently use.

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              • Kyle Banerjee July 17, 2017 at 6:03 am

                The reason I wouldn’t trust them is that they don’t express threats properly and can make riding more rather than less dangerous even if the intent behind the descriptions is good. Conditions vary widely, but the range of descriptions for these conditions is narrow.

                Overstating threats is a disservice and undermines safety in two ways: 1) It makes it impossible to adequately express them in more challenging environments because the description is too similar; and 2) It gives people the idea that if they can handle an easy environment with a scary description, they’re ready for one of the harder ones that has practically the same description.

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              • VRU July 17, 2017 at 9:36 am

                “Adam…what kind of cyclist are you, if you’re not someone that can maintain 20mph at least for short periods of time? You ought to have volunteered that info…”

                IMO, the bike portland comments section has become a macho “vehicular cycling” fustercluck. I don’t know why you bother, Adam.

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              • Adam
                Adam July 17, 2017 at 9:50 am

                I’m not sure either… I’ve tracked my rides before, I average about 8-12 mph. It’s not as if I don’t have “bike handling” skills as many people here love to claim – I’ve been riding in cities for years. I’m just slow – especially uphill – and because of this I have a vastly different experience than the people here that love to dole out unsolicited advice. I mainly stick to flatter, quieter streets or streets with protected bike lanes or sometimes with halfway decent painted lanes if I have to. I also often ride on the sidewalk – especially on streets like 82nd or outer Division.

                I feel like it should be obvious by now that different people have different abilities and comfort levels, but apparently many individuals here still haven’t gotten the memo.

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              • David Hampsten July 17, 2017 at 10:48 am

                Adam, like you, I also “ride 8-12 mph”, and also sometimes I use sidewalks, even if they do give me a false sense of security (cars backing out, traffic at intersections, etc.) In my younger days, I would have likely fully agreed with John and Kyle, who I respect even when I strongly disagree with them, as I do you. But now I’m nearly 50, grossly obese, unemployed and uninsured for the last 9 years, and I’ve gotten much more cautious in my riding style. I dare say a major collision with a car would not only kill or maim me, and even worse damage my bike, but also likely it bankrupt me. I’m bike-dependent and transit-dependent, as I never learned to drive, and have been riding for 45 years, with a helmet since I was 18. So, yeah, I’m pretty observant, I watch drivers, other cyclists, pedestrians, dogs, and even the odd squirrel.

                And I’m a bike advocate, both here in Greensboro NC (I have to pick up a bunch of petitions today and present them to Council tomorrow) and when I lived in Portland for 18 years (see all those newish sidewalks on outer Glisan, 162nd, outer Stark? That’s my doing. In all, I can boast immoderate of about $197 million in new projects for East Portland, plus $8 million in sidewalks for SW, by working with, rather than against, the local community.) My motto – If you aren’t willing to lay down your life for what you believe in, then you ain’t gonna get anything out of life. So I live dangerously – I ride.

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              • Kyle Banerjee July 17, 2017 at 11:33 am

                It is true that motorists treat faster cyclists who move legally and safely better than slower ones — particularly in areas where traffic is fast.

                However, there are very specific things you can do that totally change the way you’re treated. For example, it’s really important to constantly communicate with motorists using hand signals, eye contact, your own movement, etc. It’s important to work with motorists — i.e. manage encounters to help them get where they’re going at the same time you make things easier for you. And it’s important to show courtesy and appreciation for kindness. I thank motorists many times on every single ride. BTW, good drivers do all these things with each other so there’s no Stockholm Syndrome dynamic at all.

                Demeanor is important. Rules for dealing with motorists are the same as hostile dogs — you need to be calm and confident, and doing otherwise causes problems. I realize that is much easier said than done, but practice in progressively more challenging environments can help.

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              • wsbob July 17, 2017 at 11:52 am

                “I’m not sure either… I’ve tracked my rides before, I average about 8-12 mph. It’s not as if I don’t have “bike handling” skills as many people here love to claim – I’ve been riding in cities for years. I’m just slow – especially uphill – and because of this I have a vastly different experience than the people here that love to dole out unsolicited advice. I mainly stick to flatter, quieter streets or streets with protected bike lanes or sometimes with halfway decent painted lanes if I have to. I also often ride on the sidewalk – especially on streets like 82nd or outer Division.

                I feel like it should be obvious by now that different people have different abilities and comfort levels, but apparently many individuals here still haven’t gotten the memo.” adam

                8-12 mph is a good enough rate of speed for a fair bit of riding on for example, Downtown Portland streets, mainly in the bike lane on busier streets like say, Broadway, or out in Beaverton, on streets like Hall Blvd. 12mph certainly should be ok for brief periods of time on busy main lanes, for lane changes.

                In using urban streets, more important than top end speed, I think, is ability and conditioning to do well, all that’s involved in basic road use procedures such as transitions from lane to lane, sometimes across big thoroughfares requiring multiple lane changes to go from for example, the bike lane, across a couple same travel direction main lanes and into the left turn lane. There’s much involved in doing this well…advanced thinking and planning, looking around, flexibility if mirrors aren’t used, and effectively used signaling. Many road users don’t seem to have this basic knowledge and skill down well. Vulnerable road uses that don’t have it down, can get hurt far more easily than people driving can.

                On busy streets, well conditioned and basically peppy road riders definitely benefit in terms of faster travel times from quickness and a fairly easily attained and maintained 20mph and higher top end. Drop bars, low riding profile helps the rider really scoot. Reality though, is many people riding may want to stay as far away as they can from drop bars and the clip-in pedal. They want to be riding in an upright position with upright bars and more relaxed geometry bikes at speeds slower than 20…and for basic urban riding, that’s just fine, if they get out there and do it right. No funny business with sloppy road use habits.

                8 mph out of the bike lane and in the main lane is kind of slow, but 12 should be able to work much of the time. Reason I think so, is that many of the people driving, I’d even say the majority, easily, are generally supportive of people on the road biking. For every hothead, incompetent, lazy person driving, there’s probably 90 people that are looking out for vulnerable road users. Many out of all those people, will slow down the traffic behind them to allow a slow rider that’s signaling well, to transition from bike lane across multiple lanes of traffic to the left turn lane. To promote more of this happening, more people biking have to get out there and do the best job of riding they can imagine.

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              • Adam
                Adam July 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm

                Sorry, that’s just not gonna happen for me. When riding on busier roads, I am far too caught up in maintaining my own safety (watching for potholes, stop-sign-running drivers, car doors, etc.) to be able to “constantly communicate with motorists”.

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              • Kyle Banerjee July 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm

                Communication really is key.

                You absolutely have to watch out for all the things you mention, but if you’re not finding enough bandwidth for communication, my first guess is that you’re not planning far enough ahead. Potholes don’t move, you should be looking in cars far ahead for occupants (and maintaining as much distance as you can anyway just in case you miss one), and whether drivers are speeding or rolling through stops, that should be apparent before you get to the intersection.

                The whole point of communication is it reduces the number of potential conflicts and things you need to react to in first place. If communication doesn’t occur, things will just happen, and that’s not a good thing.

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              • wsbob July 20, 2017 at 1:28 am

                “Sorry, that’s just not gonna happen for me. When riding on busier roads, I am far too caught up in maintaining my own safety (watching for potholes, stop-sign-running drivers, car doors, etc.) to be able to “constantly communicate with motorists”.” adam

                You don’t have to ‘constantly communicate with motorists’. I don’t know whose words those are, but they’re not mine. I did in part say it’s important for people riding in traffic to looking all around for the expected and the unexpected, and to prepare in advance for, and correctly make lane changes. Communication with other road users in various ways, is important as needed, but it’s not something that constantly needs to be going on. Much of the time you should find yourself being able to just ride along, looking for the usual static hazards, avoiding them.

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              • Adam
                Adam July 20, 2017 at 8:19 am

                Again, I never asked for advice on how to ride a bike.

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            • Dave July 17, 2017 at 2:41 pm

              Knock on wood, using a mirror may help avoid right hooks.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu July 16, 2017 at 8:56 am

            Right hooks are easy to avoid. When you approach an intersection, don’t let a car be next to you or immediately ahead of you on your left. Speed up or more likely slow down if necessary, to adjust your position relative to the car. If a car is slowing or stopped at the intersection, assume the driver is preparing to turn right and doesn’t see you. Slow further or stop if necessary.

            Have been riding on Portland streets for ten years, zero right hooks and only 1 close call.

            Left hooks are harder to avoid, but rarer. Drivers have better visibility of things ahead of them than of things behind them.

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            • David Hampsten July 16, 2017 at 1:16 pm

              What you write makes no sense to me. The frequent right-hooks I encountered while living in East portland most often occurred when a driver in the left of the two one-way lanes suddenly wanted to turn right, abruptly crossed the right lane (scaring the shit out of other drivers), then my bike lane, into the parking lane, then turned right, talking on their phone the whole time, for example on 122nd, outer Division, outer Stark, outer Glisan, etc. What you seem to describe sounds like inner Portland, with busy two-way streets, which are not as common, nor as busy, in East portland.

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              • Kyle Banerjee July 17, 2017 at 5:53 am

                I agree that the driving threats in inner Portland are totally different than outer Portland, that hook dynamics there are different, and that things that work near the core don’t necessarily work there. Each environment presents its own challenges that must be adapted to.

                Based on your description, it sounds like you’re not recognizing situations unfolding. It’s not a matter of how fast cars are going, how busy the road is overall etc. It’s a matter of being able to operate in a specific environment. While drivers doing things that you describe are common in some areas, truly sudden movements are very rare — there are other things in their movement that should tip you off. Many drivers also don’t pay attention which is why they also get surprised.

                Some areas require greater levels of awareness — virtually all areas require greater levels of alertness than inner Portland where cars in most areas go very slowly, cycling infrastructure is good, and drivers actually look for cyclists. That still does not change the basic need to adjust to the conditions wherever you are. Only a tiny fraction of my own experience comes from riding in Portland, and I worry that riding here too much might make me complacent on the roads.

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            • VRU July 17, 2017 at 9:48 am

              “Right hooks are easy to avoid.”

              Not for the young person who suffered a traumatic injury when an overtaking vehicle right hooked her at 11th and Hawthorne.

              I hope that you continue to be lucky enough to maintain the illusion that you control your cycling destiny as you ride next to inattentive people driving multi-ton vehicles, John.

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  • Big Knobbies July 15, 2017 at 3:37 am

    We’re all guilty of being careless at least occasionally – cyclists and drivers. In this case it appears that the pedestrian was the most guilty, based on what the police have reported so far. Doubt they have any reason to lie about it. If you ride without making yourself very visible, then you are not doing your part for vision 0. Being visible is no guarantee of safety, but you’ll have a slightly better chance. So, what color will you be wearing on your daily rides? Will you use flashing lights front and rear?

    Many car drivers are unsafe – I see them every day, maybe even most of them, looking at their phones. Many are speeding, driving recklessly, etc. They are many – cops are few – and cops are in clearly marked vehicles so everyone knows to be on their best behavior until they are out of sight.

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    • Pete July 15, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Like these kids – wouldn’t have been hit if they’d been wearing hi-viz clothing.
      http://abc7news.com/news/video-5-year-old-2-others-survive-being-hit-in-oakland-crosswalk/2219522/

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      • Big Knobbies July 16, 2017 at 4:26 pm

        Yup, very possible that hi-viz would have made a difference in that case; although few details are given in the story.

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        • Pete July 17, 2017 at 1:25 pm

          I would argue that street lighting, and a repainting of that crosswalk (which is worn almost completely off), would have been a better mitigation. My guess (from the video) is that the driver was exceeding the 25 MPH speed limit there, as well.

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  • El Biciclero July 15, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Confiscate cars. In any other type of *-control we don’t just temporarily turn your *’s license invalid, the thing goes away.

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  • Andrea Capp July 15, 2017 at 10:08 am

    It’s much too easy to get and keep a driver’s license. I’m constantly worried about my husband and babies whether we’re walking down the neighborhood sidewalk (we avoid sidewalks on 30+mph streets whenever possible), riding our bikes, or in our van. I’m sick of the selfish people in vehicles. We need more enforcement, stiffer penalties, impounded vehicles, revoked licenses and better public transportation to support all the people whose licenses will be suspended/revoked…and we need it YESTERDAY.

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    • El Biciclero July 15, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      It’s even easier to get and keep a car, license or not. License suspended? Don’t drive. Get caught driving suspended? License revoked and car confiscated. Not impounded, sold at auction or crushed. Try to buy a car with no license or knowingly sell a car to someone without a license? [Insert consequences here]. We need to start regulating cars, not just drivers and licenses.

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      • Pete July 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm

        Especially since all the ‘accidents’ we see on the news are caused by ‘cars.’

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      • Andrea Capp July 15, 2017 at 2:32 pm

        Oh yeah, I meant confiscated, not impounded. Exactly, stiffer penalties all around. Make it harder to get and keep a license and vehicle.

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      • bikeninja July 15, 2017 at 3:48 pm

        Maybe when they finish renovating Pioneer Courthouse Square they should install a giant steampunk style car masher there, and have weekly public car crushings as an example to the auto miscreants.

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        • Dave July 17, 2017 at 2:42 pm

          “Giant steampunk car masher”–I love it!!

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  • SE July 15, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    I have noticed during this spell of nice weather that many testosterone heavy drivers of large pickups “flooring it” from stoplight to stoplight. It would be funny to watch them accelerate without looking at the looming light and then having to “jump on the brakes” (if it weren’t so dangerous) . 🙁

    Are they just turned on by their own noise ?

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    • rachel b July 15, 2017 at 9:49 pm

      Yes. Yes, they are. And they are LEGION. I honestly think that word has gotten out to “car enthusiasts” that you can be an utter ahole here, with impunity.

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      • q July 17, 2017 at 12:04 pm

        Along with that–and it’s every type of vehicle–a thing I see more now are people in the front of the lane at red lights who move forward several feet in anticipation of the green light coming.

        The one I hate is at the crosswalk I often cross at rush hour. I’m waiting for my walk light to turn green. 3 or 4 seconds before it turns green, cars waiting at my crosswalk move forward 10′ to block the crosswalk, in anticipation of their light turning green.

        The problem is, it’s my light that’s going to turn green next, not theirs. So I end up having my crosswalk blocks for 3 lanes, and I have to cross in front of their bumpers in the intersection.

        Half are on phones.

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    • Kyle Banerjee July 17, 2017 at 11:57 am

      I’ve also been seeing more of this lately.

      I gotta say that nuthin’ says “Tough Ass Dude” putting a few ounces on a pedal. The speeds some of these guys achieve are impressive. I’ll bet some of them hit 25mph before they have to hit the brakes — whoa!

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  • Carter Kennedy July 15, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    The common element in all of these incidents is driver error, usually alcohol impairment. Dan Saltzman, the Street Trust, and other local organization have no power over drivers. We should be targeting our efforts on the state to make driver licensing more rigorous and testing more frequent. Driving while suspended must result in serving real time. Maybe some kind of electronic monitoring can be devised to notify the law if a suspended person is trying to drive.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu July 15, 2017 at 11:10 pm

      I disagree, because drivers are not at fault in all of these deaths. In most of them, I’d wager, but not all.

      We know that 50-60% of traffic deaths involve DUI, so start there. Most of the time, the person has had DUIs before. So increase penalties for first DUI to 1) suspended jail sentence of 1 year, with active monitoring, and during that year of suspended sentence 2) license revocation, 3) forfeiture (permanent) of all cars owned, 4) prohibition against buying, owning or possessing a car, 5) prohibition against purchasing or consuming the intoxicant 6) mandatory successful alcohol or drug treatment, and 7) if person fails to comply with #2-6 then jail sentence will be served.

      For subsequent DUI, jail sentence is not suspended, and length of jail term, license revocation and prohibition against car possession increase exponentially with each DUI.

      Convicted persons also flagged in databases if they try to register a car, their identification card should be marked to show they are a DUI convict and may not be sold or served alcohol, other drugs, or sold a car. I’d also require their car, for some period after they regain driving privileges, to use a special license plate (maybe a distinctive color) identifying them as a former DUI convict.

      By the time someone has several DUI convictions, they should be serving a multiple year long jail sentence and be quasi-permanently ineligible to drive, buy a car, etc.

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  • q July 15, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    It is crazy. I cross a busy street around rush hour several times per week, at a signaled intersection. You have to press a button to get a “walk” signal, so I ALWAYS am standing for several seconds at the curb, looking across the intersection at the front car in the left-turn lane that will also be getting a green light when I get my “walk” light.

    The signal changes, and from experience I expect to get hit by a left-turning car that speeds right into my path as I step off the curb. It happens at least once or twice per week. Almost invariably, the drivers have shocked looks as they either slam on their brakes or swerve when they see me. These are people who’ve been sitting at the front of the turn line, looking right at me standing on the curb, for 30 seconds or so before the light changes.

    And again, this is crossing in a crosswalk at a standard signalized intersection, with perfect visibility in daylight.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu July 16, 2017 at 9:05 am

    K Taylor
    “The inconvenient truth is that the scale of the threat we face is growing much more quickly than our efforts to stop it.” Very well said, Jonathan, and dismaying, and depressing. Thanks very much for this article. I knew it had gotten much worse, but seeing that list of Police blotter items really made it stark how things have changed.
    It crept up on me, the end of my desire to ride my bike in this city. I used to ride everywhere at any hour of the day or night. It was so easy and pleasant to get around that way that I let my driver’s license lapse when it came up for renewal. Now, it’s really hard for me to get myself to bike in Portland.
    My last refuge was the Council Crest ride. It was the only city ride I could do that was still as lovely as it had always been, still as low-traffic and still as free of sketchy dudes and aggro drivers. The last couple of times I did it, though, it was almost impossible to cross Patton at Montgomery – too many cars moving way too fast – – and traffic on Fairview has gotten denser and crankier – and new construction is happening all over the place. It was still pretty, but gradually I found myself not wanting to ride there either.
    It was always necessary to be alert as a cyclist in Portland, but it used to be possible on longer rides to slide into that lovely, meditative mode, where you’re just riding along, not constantly dodging things or fearing for your life. I really miss that.
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    Well, we chose to live in a busy, dense city. You can’t usually drive in a city in “that lovely, meditative mode”, and you can’t usually ride a bike in the city in that mode either. Nor can you usually cross the street as a ped in a lovely, meditative mode. That’s living in a dense city among 600,000 other people. To meditate on a bike, go to a MUP or ride Leif Erickson or Skyline, do laps up Mt. Tabor, or ride out to less crowded areas. City riding is about alertness and traffic skills.

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    • Adam
      Adam July 16, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Portland is neither busy nor dense.

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      • David Hampsten July 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

        It’s not as dense as Seattle, SF, nor LA, let alone NYC, but more so than San Diego, Tacoma, Sacramento, Houston, Dallas, and Charlotte. Gresham is slightly more dense than Portland.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population

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        • John Liu
          John Liu July 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm

          Gresham vs Portland density – need to adjust for parks (Forest Park etc), commercial and industrial areas without much resident population (downtown, Swan Island, the Port area, etc).

          Comparing residential areas only, I’d be surprised if Gresham were denser than Portland.

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          • David Hampsten July 17, 2017 at 8:41 am

            Prepare to be surprised then. Gresham has large areas of industrial, commercial, and open space land too. Density is a function of where people reside, including children and the elderly, not where there are a lot of housing units available. Gresham and East Portland both have lots of older woody-walkup type apartments that are packed with families looking for an affordable place to live, while inner Portland has a lot more of individuals, DINKs, and Air-B’n’Bs in its new medium-rise apartments and townhomes.

            Portland 145 sq mi; 639,863 people; 4,413 people/sq mi (2016 est)
            East Portland 29 sq mi; 179,161 people; 6,178 people/sq mi (2016 est)
            Gresham 23.43 sq mi; 111,523 people; 4,760 people/sq mi (2016 est)

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            • John Liu
              John Liu July 17, 2017 at 1:18 pm

              Hmm. I guess we’d have to figure out the square miles zoned for residential in each city. Maps here. I can figure out the color coding for Portland easily enough, about 1/3 is not residential (is industrial, commercial, open space). The Gresham map is harder to figure out.
              https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/59265
              https://greshamoregon.gov/Land-Use-District-Definitions/

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              • q July 17, 2017 at 3:07 pm

                The overall density info in some respects (not others) isn’t very important. When someone talks about density that they experience–for example the neighborhoods they travel through from home to work–the city’s overall density number isn’t that relevant. What’s relevant is the density in the immediate area.

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      • SE Rider July 17, 2017 at 7:50 am

        Wait haven’t you been complaining in multiple posts on here about how your street is too busy?

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        • Adam
          Adam July 17, 2017 at 9:16 am

          No, I’ve complained that there are too many cars on my street. Since when does “busy” mean cars? I wouldn’t mind if it was busy with people walking or cycling.

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          • SE Rider July 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm

            “I live on a fairly busy street (SE 52nd) and it seems to get worse every day.”

            So you didn’t mean that “busy” means cars here?

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            • Adam
              Adam July 17, 2017 at 12:50 pm

              Good catch. 😉 I did mean cars there but I wouldn’t exclusively use the word “busy” to refer to motor traffic.

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    • wsbob July 16, 2017 at 10:22 am

      Well, the oft cited, or used to be oft cited here, counterpart to busy, dense U.S. cities, are the busy, dense European cities such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen, some cities in Germany, where many more people than in the U.S. ride about and walk about with abandon, having somehow shifted responsibility for their safety on the road, to people that drive. Maybe in neighborhoods in Portland that gradually are being intensely subjected to population densification and supporting development, this will become the new standard for big U.S. cities.

      I used to read in comments to bikportland, people claiming that the rate of bad driving in the aforementioned cities, was far less than it is in U.S. cities. I don’t know how reliable those claims are. The fact is though, U.S. cities are yet far from the philosophical and infrastructural framework that would really allow a much higher rate than occurs now, of urban and interurban travel by means other than motor vehicle.

      My experience in Beaverton and Portland, is that it does take a lot of concentration to safely ride or drive in these cities. Not that they aren’t or can’t be safe to ride or drive in, but traffic conditions and road infrastructure configuration, and accompanying amenities like bike lanes, MUP’s, and traffic signals, don’t allow the kind of relaxed, absent minded, meditative type of road use that many people understandably like and probably need.

      Yesterday, around 10am, riding Hall Blvd, Central Beaverton, I would like to have been able to ride care-free, oblivious to traffic around me, and I even kind of tried to do that from the light rail tracks, south to 4th Ave. Very quickly though, I realized there was way too much happening on this street, and so I had to revert to my usual, standard habit of being on full time alert, constantly looking all around me for the expected and the unexpected. This…on a Saturday morning, in our compared to Portland, small burb city center, where population density is still low. New apartments on Farmington, 1st Ave, and on some blocks in between, plus the major Saturday destination of the farmer’s market between 4th and 5th, is dramatically changing the dynamic.

      It’s very much harder for the nutty, bad drivers to let loose their restraint, when traffic is boggled up by routine, persistent traffic congestion, which also unfortunately, does require a lot of concentration from all road users to safely negotiate their way through it.

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    • K Taylor July 16, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      A meditative state isn’t oblivion – it’s actually substantially more attentive than the kind of phone-dazed fog people wander around in most of the time now. All that I’m saying is that the amount of dodging and fearing for your life that was necessary 10 years ago was tolerable. The amount required now verges on not worth it. I’ve lived here all my life – I didn’t choose to live in a dense, congested city, it turned into one around me. All I’m saying is that it used to be a much nicer place to get around by bike.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu July 16, 2017 at 9:15 pm

        There have been quite a lot of bike lanes and greenways built in the last ten years though. That’s got to be something.

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        • K Taylor July 16, 2017 at 10:59 pm

          It’s not enough to counter the number of cars being added though – – I would prefer being able to easily navigate neighborhood streets over having more bike lanes on busy roads, which often wear off quickly anyway. Sorry – I’m just not up to looking on the bright side here! If you’re happy with the direction things are going, I envy you.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu July 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm

            No, I’m not actually happy with the direction of things.

            It feels like the city is so frantic to accommodate growth and moneyed interests that it is sacrificing so many other things that matter. No matter how precious something is, if it stands in the way of a developer’s project, it is getting run over.

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            • VRU July 17, 2017 at 5:21 pm

              the laurelhurst neighborhood certainly needs fewer twee single family home and more low-income housing and shelters. it’s a pity that you and others are using exclusionary zoning to prevent this from ever happening.

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              • K Taylor July 19, 2017 at 9:34 pm

                I’m saying this as a person who grew up poor and has never been rich – if I have no money, why should I expect space to be made for me in one of the most expensive historic neighborhoods in town – one that was out my reach even in the ’80s? ‘Twee’ bungalows that are torn down in Portland aren’t replaced by affordable housing and shelters, they’re replaced by bloated lot-line-to-lot-line Renaissance McMansions or luxury apartments. Beauty has value, even if I personally can’t afford to own or rent it. I still benefit from being able to ride down those beautiful, shady un-dense streets past those pretty, un-dense houses with their un-dense gardens. We won’t see building of that quality again. We don’t have the wealth of high-quality materials or the will to create anything that takes time. It’s ridiculous how cavalier we are about destroying the kind of beauty we are way too cheap to create anymore. And anyway, we don’t have to make a choice here. We can have beautiful, historic neighborhoods AND affordable housing/shelters built in locations previously occupied by ugly crap, like the legions of defunct strip malls out on 82nd – plenty of warehouses to be converted – plenty of unsightly, cheap and tawdry cookie-cutter buildings from the ’80s and ’90s with sagging frames and peeling plastic Cape Cod trimmings.

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              • Adam
                Adam July 19, 2017 at 9:45 pm

                Can’t we have it both ways by splitting those large old homes in closer-in neighborhoods into duplexes, triplexes, or more? It’s been done before when housing supply was tight. I’ve heard people oppose internal conversions before but they don’t ever seem to offer a good argument why, other than they just like single-family better.

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              • KTaylor July 20, 2017 at 8:20 am

                Sure – I think that’s a great idea. But I doubt it would result in low-income housing or shelters in those neighborhoods, which is what VRU was advocating for.

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      • wsbob July 17, 2017 at 11:13 am

        “…All I’m saying is that it used to be a much nicer place to get around by bike.” k taylor

        Not to hurt your feelings, but that’s not saying much. Portland, Beaverton, Aloha, used to be much nicer places to drive too. Either adapt and introduce new ideas and ways to do things, or give up what you want to do.

        The street example I introduced earlier in this discussion, Hall Blvd in Central Beaverton, can be ridden reasonably well by people at 10mph, and surely 15mph, if they commit themselves to the moderate level of concentration and effort involved in devising safe road use procedures for the varying traffic conditions on streets they need to travel. Instead of safe road use procedures, there are road users, on foot, on bikes and driving, that seem to habitually use sloppy, inadequate and unsafe road procedures for no apparent good reason other than perhaps they don’t want to be bothered, and they’d rather be off in their own personal daze.

        If you and people that think similarly about the challenges of biking in the urban environment, give up urban biking under pressure you’re feeling from motor vehicle traffic congestion, that offers no help towards improvements in the spirit of cooperation among road users of the range of road travel modes.

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        • KTaylor July 17, 2017 at 1:04 pm

          Hi wsbob…I feel like I’m in some weird feedback loop in this thread. This is a story on the increase in terrible driving and accidents, and how much less safe Portland streets are with the massive increase in cars and decrease in enforcement. I was just agreeing and saying it used to be better. And the level of investment in bike/ped infrastructure, though increasing, is still way lower than what we need to keep up with population growth and the tremendous influx of cars. Here, since you ask, are some ideas that could fix this situation – first and foremost, something needs to be done to keep Wayz and other apps from directing traffic through neighborhoods. Parking and gas need to cost market rate and we need a lot more public investment in providing clean, safe, reliable transit. Our local government needs to decide that it is a positive net good to discourage people from driving in urban areas and start getting serious about disincentivizing it. All of these are issues of city, county and state government. I wish I had the time to get more involved and try to make one or more of them happen. I do, to the limited extent my schedule allows.

          I’m not really sure what the point is of insisting there is no problem, that things are just fine and that I just need to man up and pay better attention, and share the road. If I offended people by using the term ‘meditative state,’ please understand I was not talking about a preoccupied fog. I was talking about that pleasant zone you get into walking or biking when you are attentive, but not constantly reacting to cars. I’ve been a bike commuter for 24 years in the Portland area, and the only time I’ve been hit was by a woman who didn’t stop at a flashing red because her drink was stuck in the cupholder. If I was really riding around in a daze, I don’t think my record would be that good.

          Incidentally, here is my personal solution – I moved out of downtown. My commute to work can be done almost entirely off-road now on trails. I now back to mixing with traffic very little, and riding a lot more. Not all of us can be road warriors.

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          • wsbob July 18, 2017 at 9:23 am

            K…your mention of cut-through routes people are being advised to take by their device apps is interesting. I don’t have a cell, but it’s nearly inevitable to hear about some of the apps people are using. It’s amazing how caught up people can get in the marvel of their new gadgets at the expense of other people as well as themselves. Cut-through abuse, I think is a problem that can have a huge negative effect on neighborhood livability. People should stop doing it if at all possible, and at the very least, make an effort to be more conscious when they’re driving through someone else’s neighborhood, to have their driving reflect that they realize people living there, need and are trying to have their neighborhood be a good place to live.

            On the question of how streets today have become for riding, if you feel from reading what I’ve written, that I’m saying there are no problems for people riding, I’m not sure how you’ve come to that conclusion. There are big problems in using the street by people riding. Major challenges, which surely need to be addressed, but which can definitely be dealt with on a personal level by more people biking equipping themselves with the knowledge and skills about riding in traffic that will allow them to do so with a greater level of safety for themselves.

            I think people biking shouldn’t allow themselves to feel their personal safety while riding, can rely on waiting until bike infrastructure, enforcement against bad driving, mass transit, community planning and so on, is optimized for the level of safety while riding, that’s idealized in some European cities where walking and biking is said to represent a greater road use percentage than it does here in the U.S. . People biking, walking, and traveling by other modes of travel as vulnerable road user, I think, really need to do for themselves, now, the simple easy low cost things they can do to right away have themselves be safer in their use of the road. K…don’t ride less…ride more.

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            • K Taylor July 18, 2017 at 9:29 pm

              I am riding more, ws! Just not in Portland. 🙂

              I am sorry if I misread your position on the state of Portland’s bikeability – I was reacting to this: “Either adapt and introduce new ideas and ways to do things, or give up what you want to do.” and now this, “People biking, walking, and traveling by other modes of travel as vulnerable road user, I think, really need to do for themselves, now, the simple easy low cost things they can do to right away have themselves be safer in their use of the road.”

              I just question how much leverage I, as an individual cyclist, have to improve this situation, aside from getting more engaged in bike activism or politics and hoping to (eventually, in the long term) effect change. I didn’t make a decision one day to stop – it happened gradually. I noticed I was putting on weight, and eventually, it dawned on me that what used to be a perennial habit of biking everywhere had dwindled to a weekend ride now and then and finally almost nothing. Sure, I can ride more defensively, but I can’t get back that pleasurable anticipation that used to get me out on my bike in the first place. There’s no amount of innovating, cooperating or defending I as an individual can do that will improve my or anyone else’s experience of riding Portland’s streets post-boom without getting rid of at least half of the cars – preferably more.

              At the root of the Wayz problem is the assumption that a motorist has a right to get where he/she is going as quickly as possible using any road available, no matter how it impacts anyone living, walking or biking on those roads. Anyone or anything that interferes with this commonly-accepted right is in the way. I don’t see how we can improve this situation until our cars-first mentality is publicly and unequivocally called into question by our leaders and we deal with the epic whining and belligerence that will inevitably follow, like pus running out of an old, hard cyst (sorry – that was gross – – but, I think, accurate).

              I wish I had the moxie — or, more accurately, the hope for positive change — to get out there and represent — I realize that dwindling numbers of cyclists on the road in Portland is a serious problem – but I’m fat and almost 50 years old. I’ve done my time being the rare cyclist on a dangerous, challenging route, and I don’t want to do it anymore. Increasingly, our bike infrastructure in Portland requires cyclists to fall into that 1% ‘fast and fearless’ category. Sure you can do your best to be a more defensive rider, but a 50 or 70 or 90 year old on a heavy commuter can’t muster the agility or reflexes of a 25-year-old on a road bike. I’m worried I’m not going to be quick enough to dodge that distracted driver one of these days. And I think it’s a serious problem that I need to be in order to really be safe riding Portland’s roads on a daily basis.

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              • wsbob July 19, 2017 at 9:31 am

                “…At the root of the Wayz problem is the assumption that a motorist has a right to get where he/she is going as quickly as possible using any road available, no matter how it impacts anyone living, walking or biking on those roads. …” k taylor

                I guess it’s maybe just my own theory from what I gather from bits of info picked up from the news about today’s societal needs, government, economy, and a heap of other related factors, but I believe the prioritization of road and resources for motor vehicle travel and transport arises from much more than a right, perceived or real, that people driving have to get where they want to go quickly, despite negative consequences.

                Economy, the health of and hoped for health of, is a big part of it all, from local, state, and the federal government, with the support of the population. Local governments compete for federal money, making a case for the great growth in economy those monies could help produce…and then make more money, etc.

                On a personal level, things change. Maybe for a lot of people, over time and with maturity, it gets less fun to deal with lots of motor vehicle traffic in order to use some busy streets. I think the value of and need to know and be able to use good, solid skills to be able to manage traffic while riding a bike though, still exists for the occasions when it’s necessary to take a route that involves travel on a road that’s busy with motor vehicle use. It’s obvious to me that too many people riding, don’t have these biking basics.

                I like to think that…and I really think it’s true…that increasingly, more people in my area out here in Beaverton, just west of Portland, with each year, become more conscious of the negative impact of excessive use of motor vehicles for travel within town and surrounding neighborhoods. And the negative effects of insufficient prioritization of superior infrastructure for biking, specifically to and from neighborhoods to key destinations in town, close, and some distance away. It’s a grassroots, general public appeal that this change has to come from. We don’t have dictatorships in the U.S., so local leaders just can’t up and build a lot of things for biking and walking they might think are a good idea, if they don’t feel they’ve got the necessary public request and support.

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  • Big Knobbies July 16, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    In Parade Magazine today, Marilyn Vos Savant, certified smarty pants, discusses distracted driving. In this article there is a photo of a female driver at the wheel of a car – first thing I’d point out is that she is sitting WAY too close to the steering wheel. Her arms and legs are very bent indicating she probably could move back several inches. Stay as far from the air bags as you can – they are going to hit you like a baseball bat if they deploy. AND keep hands low on the steering wheel so your arm isn’t smashed into the drivers side window which normally results in some severe broken glass injuries – do NOT do the 10 & 2 position in a car with a steering wheel air bag – keep ’em lower at 9 & 3 or 8 & 4.

    https://parade.com/586272/marilynvossavant/doomed-to-be-a-distracted-driver/

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    • Bikeninja July 16, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Maybe the mighty thwack she will get from the airbag is Karmic justice for being a distracted, driver inattentive to safe driving position.

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    • q July 16, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      Anyone who learned to drive in the last several years knows that. Anyone who learned before only knows it by chance. It seems like a real hole in our driving/licensing system that once you get your license, there’s no system for learning anything new, or for DMV to check if someone has kept up with driving knowledge.

      You learn by chance–having your kid take drivers’ ed, and telling you you’re holding the steering wheel wrong, happening across an article about a new regulation…

      A high percentage of drivers passed their test long before bike lanes were common, before most bike-related symbols and markings existed. Even if there’s no mandatory retesting or continuing ed for drivers, you’d think that DMV could at least have some sort of organized outreach/updating of knowledge.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu July 16, 2017 at 9:10 pm

        There should absolutely be periodic retesting for licensed drivers. Every ten years, perhaps. It doesn’t have to be a big hassle, or to rehash stuff like how to parallel park. It could be an online class that takes about an hour, then an online test. With a booklet and DMV test alternative for those without a computer.

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        • Stephen Keller July 16, 2017 at 9:20 pm

          I’m a little more draconian: I think drivers should be tested every two years and the tests should include both knowledge of the law and proof of skills, with focus on defensive and safe driving. It should be costly. In other words, treat vehicle pilots more like aircraft pilots (or more stringently than aircraft pilots, even, given the risks). It should also be a felony to operate a motor vehicle on public highways without a license, akin to unlawfully discharging a firearm.

          Ideally, permission to drive should also easily lost, but losing it not terribly worrisome because of viable alternatives in the form of mass transit.

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          • David Hampsten July 17, 2017 at 8:49 am

            Didn’t California do that for a while?

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            • q July 17, 2017 at 10:04 am

              I’d guess yes, and all the people who failed moved here.

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            • Pete July 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm

              I moved here in 2009 from Oregon and took my DL exam only once.

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        • Big Knobbies July 17, 2017 at 11:03 am

          JL,
          Agree. They should focus on testing new driving situations and situations that are recurring problems. Things like bike lane markings, bikeway etiquette, meaning of green paint on the street, using a cell phone in your car, watching for pedestrians and cyclists, how to bob and weave your head so when you turn you can see pedestrians hidden by the windshield support post, on a green ball in a left turn lane wait to turn left until there is no oncoming traffic, back away from airbags and keep hands/arms away from them, costs of DUI, criminal penalties for various driving offenses, stop for pedestrians at an intersection, etc.

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    • Dan A July 17, 2017 at 8:19 am

      Interesting. I see a lot of people driving with their knees these days. Need both hands for typing.

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      • Big Knobbies July 17, 2017 at 11:04 am

        Same here.

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      • Dan A July 17, 2017 at 7:39 pm

        Saw a driver of a white pickup truck with a big “Alumarail” logo on the side of it driving south on NW 16th while using both hands to type on his phone, and presumably steering with his knees. I called the company’s number and left a voicemail. As is common in these sightings, there was a passenger in the seat beside him. What is wrong with this passenger that they aren’t capable of doing this critical job of boop-beep-booping on the phone? Or maybe the passenger was doing the steering, I don’t know.

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  • Bjorn July 16, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    I heard yesterday that the girl injured in the hit and run in montavilla last month passed away this weekend.

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    • Alan 1.0 July 17, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      RIP Erin Catherine Brenneman, and condolences to her family and friends. PPD posted a picture of a vehicle model similar to what the hit-and-run person was driving: mid-1990s F250 pickup, dark color, four door (crew cab), four wheel drive.

      https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=68232

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  • John Mulvey July 17, 2017 at 12:03 am

    Beautifully said, Jonathan. Thank you.

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  • Deke N Blue July 17, 2017 at 1:38 am

    As always, excellent job describing the madness of Portland traffic. It’s frustrating that so many of these collisions involve people who are impaired. I welcome those, who after having a few too libations, choose to ride my bus rather than chance driving in that condition. Usually, they’re jovial and fun-loving. It’s nice to deliver them safely to their destinations. Spending $2.50 for bus fare, they’re being responsible. It’s those who think they “drive better drunk than sober” who endanger us all on the road, especially pedestrians and bicyclists.

    Please, also seek alternative transportation if you’re using a bike and have had too much “fun” at a party or bar. I’ve seen some cyclists weaving along our busy and dark streets who shouldn’t be riding. If you spent all your money at the pub, don’t worry… we’d rather have you on our bus than endangering your life, or someone else’s.

    Thanks Jonathan, and congratulations on being named WW’s Best Local Blog.

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  • Dan Kaufman July 17, 2017 at 11:57 am

    And how much of billions of investment in the 2017 Oregon transportation bill that will address this health crisis? The answer, precious little. This, even though communities across the state begged the transportation subcommittee for safety and relief.

    If ever the analogy of the frogs in the boiling pot of water applied it is with cars. The vast majority of the society does not see the problem and/or mistakenly believes that we must accept these life changing wrecks and deadly pollution as the cost for a functioning transportation system and healthy economy.

    But we can (and must) make the case that the automobile health crisis is more damaging than any other when you add air-pollution deaths, wreck fatalities, oil-war casualties, and climate change disaster. But will anyone listen? Will there ever be a tipping point?

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  • John Liu
    John Liu July 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    After DUI, I’d suspect that excessive speed is the next biggest factor in traffic deaths.

    HB2621 (2015) permitted the city to install speed cameras on its high crash streets. On how many such streets have speed cameras been installed, in the two years since HB2621? I can find reference to only four. Can this rollout be accelerated?

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    • Dan A July 17, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Here’s a free idea: If a driver hits somebody while going over the speed limit, even by 1 mile per hour, charge them with violating the basic speed rule.

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  • Mike Caputo July 18, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Some incremental improvement can be made through better system design, but most places I look I am not seeing it happening.

    One example that drives me mad: curb extensions. It should be standard city code to have big, generous curb extensions on *every* corner and not have parking on the corners of intersections. Recently I’ve seen a lot of new curbs being re-constructed, and I eagerly hope to see a curb extension for safety. But I almost never do.

    If we can bake these sort of improvements into the standard DNA of our city’s design, that will go towards improving safety in our city.

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    • Dan A July 18, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      Are curb extensions an improvement for cycling, or a detriment? That point has been debated a lot here.

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      • Adam
        Adam July 18, 2017 at 3:27 pm

        They are most certainly a detriment – especially on streets that have low parking utilization and no bike lanes, as people will often ride in the parking lane, then be forced to merge back into moving auto traffic at intersections. Prime example is Division near Tabor – no bike infra at all, and an often empty parking lane. Riding downhill at night, I nearly crashed on a curb extension by the elementary school because there are no retroreflectors of any kind along the curb and that area can often be dark.

        However, we could just design curb extensions with a cutout for bikes, to get the best compromise between bike and ped safety.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu July 20, 2017 at 9:05 am

          Yes, the cutout that allows bikes to travel through the cutout seems like a solution.

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          • Adam
            Adam July 20, 2017 at 9:13 am

            As usual, there is a good example of this from the Netherlands.

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      • David Hampsten July 18, 2017 at 8:46 pm

        They are also apparently a detriment for for police cars running with their lights off at night at 90 mph. In 2012, BES & PBOT put in a series of curb extensions along NE Glisan between 122nd & 136th, for both traffic calming (PBOT) and to plant trees and bioswales (BES), but not for pedestrian crossings. They stuck out about 8-10 feet from the curbs, especially on the north side, complete with signage, yellow temporary curbs, and reflectors. They were effective in getting normal traffic to slow down. But they also got hit, repeatedly, by Portland police cars. And why were the police cars racing down Glisan, late at night without either headlights on nor flashing lights or siren? The police gave no explanation. Of course.

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  • Dan A July 18, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Are curb extensions an improvement for cycling, or a detriment? That point has been debated a lot here.

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    • Dan A July 18, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Oops.

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