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New crossing safety PSA by Portlandia producer pits ‘pedestrians vs. cars’

Posted by on August 8th, 2017 at 9:44 am

“Look first, walk second” is the main slogan backing up a new safety PSA campaign that aims to raise awareness about the “unsafe behaviors of today’s pedestrians.”

The video was created by Portlandia executive producer David Cress as part of a partnership spearheaded by Oregon State Representative Jeff Reardon. Reardon, whose district includes Happy Valley and east Portland, was partially funded (with $12,000) by the Portland Bureau of Transportation in partnership with the Clackamas County Commission, Clackamas Community College and marketing agency 3/Thirds.

Graphic that displays at end of video.

The film and companion website has a darkly humorous take on the issue. Five characters who are meant to represent typical walkers are portrayed as being part of a sporting event that takes place on an automobile race track. The walkers are introduced as irresponsible caricatures and are given nicknames like: “The Autopilot” who is “rarely paying full attention to the traffic”; the “Social Justice Walker” who, “assumes they have the right of way”; the “Walk & Roller” who is “distracted by phones, friends, kids, etc”; the “Logically Impaired” who “is intoxicated or high, and not thinking clearly”; and “The Jaywalker” who, “crosses against red lights or in places without crosswalks.”

“Stand on any city intersection for a period of time,” the website says, “and you’ll see a recurring set of dangerous and/or unknowing behaviors that can potentially lead to pedestrian-car collisions.”

The video ends when “the drunk guy” is run over by a black Ford Mustang Chevy Camaro that squeals its tires and speeds down the racetrack prior to the collision. Then the screen flashes with this ominous stat: “Every 8 minutes a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle… The car always wins.”

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Still from the video.

Putting the blame for roadway injuries and deaths on people who use feet to get around is very controversial in transportation reform circles. After Honolulu passed a distracted walking law last month, Streetsblog wrote:

In some quarters it’s almost become an article of faith that pedestrian deaths are on the rise in the U.S. because of “distracted walking.” The victim-blaming impulse allows policymakers, opinion shapers, and the broader public to conveniently avoid honestly confronting our car-centric transportation system and the horrific volume of death and misery it generates… If the Honolulu bill passes, it could simply serve as a pretext for arbitrarily harassing pedestrians. And as Systemic Failure notes, it could even increase traffic risks by creating a more permissive atmosphere for driving behaviors that pose a greater threat.

We’ve asked Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry for her response and will update the story if we hear back.

*Note: Since this story was posted, the LookFirstWalkSecond.com website has deleted all references to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. We just received this statement from PBOT Communications Director John Brady about why PBOT is no longer mentioned on the site:

“Representative Reardon has been a very strong supporter of Vision Zero and he asked us if we would help fund the Clackamas Community College’s public service announcement. The PSA represents the vision of the filmmakers. As just a funder, we wanted to step back and not play a central role in the campaign. We’re very grateful for Representative Reardon’s support for traffic safety.”


Brady says he misspoke about Clackamas Community College’s role in the project. He and a CCC spokesperson have asked me to edit his comment to make it clear that CCC was not directly involved in creation of the video or the campaign.

UPDATE, 4:41 pm: Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry shared this comment about the video and campaign:

“It’s an attempt to bring a youthful/comedic take on a really serious issue, and it completely misrepresents why there are so many pedestrians that are hit by cars – and the humor diminishes the extreme tragedy that comes with traffic deaths. Even in the video it shows completely legal behavior by pedestrians, and reckless driving – it shows the walk sign go ‘on’, and the ‘drunk guy’ in a perfectly legal position in the crosswalk when the car comes roaring through. It might get people’s attention, but doesn’t do anything to tackle the two largest contributors to pedestrian deaths: drunk driving, and speed. Pretty disappointing use of funds, when professional videography could go a long way in creating meaningful communication efforts around Vision Zero. We’d appreciate being consulted in the future!”

UPDATE, 8/15 at 2:30 pm: Reardon will pull down the campaign.

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

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billyjo
Guest
billyjo

Somebody’s gotta say it…..

Where is the PSA to teach drivers that they need to stop for pedestrians in intersections? Where is the PSA to teach drivers that pedestrians in the crosswalk have the right of way? Where is the PSA to teach drivers that they actually have to stop when pedestrians are in a crosswalk with flashing lights? Where is the PSA to enlighten drivers that they are in control of a machine that can kill and they need to step up to that responsibility?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Don’t get your knickers in a twist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olYDbzX5qOI

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

how about people learn to not run into sh_t when they are driving 5000 lb hunks of metal

Paul Peterson
Guest
Paul Peterson

That’s asking a lot. It’ll never happen.

Mike
Guest
Mike

First one out of the gate, wow. You can scream and yell all you want about the crappy drivers and their killing machines but being right isn’t going to preserve your life. Not that a lot of focus shouldn’t be put on drivers behavior but come on, is it so bad to remind people that looking both ways before crossing is a good thing? I’m not going to assume that just because I am in a cross walk the car is going to stop, so far so good. I realize I am in the minority but it is exhausting walking around getting pissed at every knuckle head driver. I watch my P’s and Q’s and enjoy the time spent walking around

oliver
Guest
oliver

Stepping out into traffic without looking is stupid.

Having to wait because a driver, despite seeing me and who has plenty of room to stop but still elects to blow me off just because you “are not going to assume that a car will stop” and the driver knows that people agree that “in a collision a car will win every time”

Is unacceptable horse hockey.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

It’s one thing to say that it’s a good idea to look first, just in case. But this PSA seems to portray the idea that the pedestrians were asking for it. If there happened to be one time that you didn’t check all directions before crossing and got hit by a car running a red light would you just shrug your shoulders and think, “well, I guess I deserved that”? While I doubt it was the intent of the video, it perpetuates the idea that no matter what a driver may have been doing wrong/illegal, if the vulnerable user even had the slightest possible chance of avoiding it then they should share the blame. It’s like telling the kid that got beat up by the playground bully that they should just find a different place to play. Sure, it may help that one kid not get beat up again, but it doesn’t solve the actual problem, and it reinforces the bully’s behavior.

rick
Guest
rick
TonyT
Subscriber
TonyT

Created by people who drive and don’t like that they are expected to drive a car like the multi-thousand pound machine that it is. God forbid that they have to look out for people who walk and actually think and be aware. They want ALL the responsibility to be put on the walkers.

Where’s the person who’s walking and crossing at a legal crosswalk getting screamed at by a driver because the driver doesn’t know the law?

Terrible.

Skip
Guest
Skip

Countdown to the follow-up PSA — cyclists, it’s totally your fault if you dare share the road with distracted drivers.

(Of course, I get that the pedestrian PSA is trying to be ironic. I just think it totally misses the mark.)

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Clearly a matter of perspective, but to me it’s a matter of controlling what you can control. You can hope for follow-up messages to drivers, but a good message isn’t ruined by not covering all parties. Seems this is a case where the perfect is the enemy of the good.

JR'eh
Guest
JR'eh

Public Disservice Announcement.

JR'eh
Guest
JR'eh

This is so maddening. Who is paying for airtime and where? How do I keep it from broadcast?

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

I would prefer a world where even an irresponsible PSA would have to end with the following tag line,” Remember, hit a pedestrian and go to jail for 20 years.”

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

I love the sentiment but I’m not sure it’s true. The two times I had cars ignore stop signs and hit me while crossing the street (with the legal right of way) I’m confident that they did not serve jail time. Are you saying that if criminal intention (i.e. purposefulness) can be proven that 20 years is a common jail term?

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

No just that I would prefer a world where it did.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

Ah! Me too. Thanks for elaborating. 🙂

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Wow.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

A valid point hidden in a poorly delivered message.

Everyone needs to watch out whether they’re behind the wheel or not, but I don’t see that video having that effect on peds or drivers.

Even when over the top humor is the vehicle (no pun intended — wait, who am I kidding), people still need to be able relate to the characters and the situation.

grrlpup
Guest
grrlpup

I’m side-eyeing Clackamas Community College– cool that their students got to work with pros and a big name, but do their film classes ever address the ethics of what films they make and how they’re used?

And what is the PBOT connection? They’re listed as a partner and have a link at the bottom of the website. I really hope they didn’t contribute resources that could have gone to something worthwhile. (Message aside, who’s going to watch a six and a half minute PSA?)

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Literally over half of the 6 and a half minute PSA consists of credits including 5 (yes, five) executive producers.

I’d suggest doing a spoof on creating PSAs, but reality is nuttier…

9watts
Guest
9watts

“And what is the PBOT connection? ”

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone there agrees with this wholeheartedly. A faction within PBOT has for a long time taken this stance against pedestrians. I’ve argued with Sharon White about this in the past.

alankessler
Guest
alankessler

It’s interesting that the PBOT link is now gone. It used to go here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/594866

Matthew in Portsmouth
Guest
Matthew in Portsmouth

Actually a PSA needs to highlight the role that all road users play in road safety. We all have to be aware of our surroundings and to use the road in a responsible, safe manner. As operators of vehicles e need to maintain our vehicles (whether motor vehicles or human powered), operate them only when sober, focus on the task at hand, obey all road rules, yielding when appropriate, driving/cycling at a safe speed (even if that is lower than the posted limit), and being aware of other road users. Pedestrians also need to be aware of their surroundings, cross only at crosswalks, avoid distractions, and look out for other pedestrians and road users.

We need to share our public resources in a safe manner. These are not my roads, or your roads, these are our roads.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“These are not my roads, or your roads, these are our roads.”

I’d be careful. The roads belong to us, sure, but the ones endangering them bear primary responsibility for watching out. Let’s keep the history of who belongs in the street in mind: c.f. Peter Norton’s Fighting Traffic.

Blind pedestrians belong; distracted drivers do not. That would be where I’d start any investigation of this topic.

rick
Guest
rick

Will gov. Kate Brown condemn this? The video and message it shows is disgusting.

fourknees
Guest
fourknees

Anyone else notice the car who hits the Pedestrian at 1:20 is running a red light?

At least get the details right for the message you’re targeting.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

I was going to say the same thing! But yeah, being intoxicated while walking through a marked crosswalk while you have walk signal is the problem…

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

I think that’s the message they were trying for. Seems pretty clear.

Another Engineer
Guest
Another Engineer

Not only that but the walk indication facing the driver is incorrect for a typical signal as well.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

I normally believe my safety is my own responsibility. I try to act as safely as I can while walking, running and biking on the roads, but this campaign is truly harmful. Look at the actual hit. The guy driving is obviously going too fast (he did a burn out right before) and the guy that got hit was standing directly in the middle of the road. You can’t get more visible than that. Why are we shaming the guy walking with a walk sign instead of the guy speeding and not using his eyes.

Also, take a look at the “Stats” page of their website. I am going to ignore the fact that there are few stats on that page and look at their “PEDESTRIAN Unsafety TOP FIVE:”

1) Under the Influence – It is true it’s unsafe for you to walk while drunk, but it’s unsafe for everyone else on the road if you drink and drive. Also how do you go anywhere to drink and not walk at all? Should we close all bars and brewfests?

2) Speeding – as a pedestrian in have no control over how fast a car that is going to hit me drives.

3) Jaywalking – Do they have any data on their assertion? I jay walk frequently because cars act predictably away from crosswalks and am more likely to have good sight lines and engage in my surroundings more when Jaywalking.

4) Secondary Threat – Agreed be aware of your surrounding while doing anything.

5) Winter Warning – What am I supposed to do about the weather? Also did anybody consider that 5-7pm in the winter is also probably the time that most people are on the driving?

What are they trying to convey here? How do these “stats” make anybody safer?

m
Guest
m

They are going for the “a moral victory is not a victory” message but this is terribly done. Pretty awful.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

A red light, an active pedestrian walk signal, and an intentionally accelerating car.. This sounds like the start of a BAD JOKE and not the end of a “PSA”.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

I watched this three times to make sure, but this shows that the “careless” pedestrian crossed at a marked crosswalk and then waited for the walk light before crossing and was then mowed down by a car that was running a red light. So is the message that even in such a clear cut case of negligent and illegal behavior on the part of the driver it is still the pedestrians fault? They should add to the PSA that the driver in this example better hope they don’t have a house or a bank account because the family of the deceased pedestrian should be able to sue this wretch in to the stone age.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Fault is totally separate from the issue of being hit. The work with the lights in the video is sloppy — although the light is clearly red, you can also clearly see the walk sign which is not possible in a normal road configuration.

Whether the light is red or not, the point that you need to look is still valid. It is not hard at all to spot something as large as a car or tell from the movement that it’s not going to stop in time. The driver will be 100% at fault, but why would anyone advocate anything other than looking every single time? Cars can turn right legally on red after stopping, and hooks are something to watch out for at all times. In addition, some drivers are under the influence, driving tired, or simply make mistakes.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Whether the light is red or not, the point that you need to look is still valid. It is not hard at all to spot something as large as a car”

are you forgetting that it is perfeclty OK for someone who is blind to cross the street, and that those piloting a car have the legal responsibility to yield to them, to treat any pedestrian crossing as if they might be blind?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

That’s obviously a special circumstance and a rarity. Pragmatism suggests anyone crossing the street should be aware of their surroundings and make informed decisions according. A phone zombie crossing the street failed in their responsibility to be an alert pedestrian.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“That’s obviously a special circumstance and a rarity.”

Its rarity has no bearing.
The point is it is on the driver to notice whether the pedestrian is blind. If he isn’t paying enough attention to distinguish these/pick out the blind person we have a problem – and it is not the pedestrian’s.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

It is overwhelmingly the pedestrian’s problem. S/he will suffer more than anyone else if hit.

I promise that if I’m ever hit, you will never hear me say, “Not my problem!” I don’t care if the driver is assigned 100% responsibility, thrown in prison, and I get given millions of bucks. You only get one life.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Curiously you seem fixated on the outcome while I am far more interested in the a priori responsibility to avoid any sort of collision. I reject the idea that the driver does not bear any special responsibility to keep his or her auto from colliding with someone else, in this case someone walking. I have tried but have not been unable to wrap my mind around why you would hold this view.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

9watts
Curiously you seem fixated on the outcome while I am far more interested in the a priori responsibility to avoid any sort of collision. I reject the idea that the driver does not bear any special responsibility to keep his or her auto from colliding with someone else, in this case someone walking. I have tried but have not been unable to wrap my mind around why you would hold this view.

We are in 100% agreement on this last post. I agree that the driver has a special responsibility. But ultimately, everyone has a responsibility to avoid any sort of collision. The rider and ped has a special interest in protecting the only life they have. This means look both ways before crossing the street and bike defensively.

Since BP is into the language of victimization, keep in mind that a certain percentage of the population are mentally ill and/or challenged in some other way. There are vulnerable individuals in our population including the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, those who are ill, or who struggle with the side effects of prescription drugs. Some of these groups are preyed upon in our society while others are physically unable to be outside in weather like we’ve been having a lot of lately or in winter yet they need to get to medical appointments and other places essential for their well-being. Many of them are of limited means so hiring every ride is not practical.

In addition, there are many irresponsible people on the road. You need to be ready for all of them because it is a statistical fact you’ll encounter them. If you aren’t, it’s just a matter of time before you pay a very dear price.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“I agree that the driver has a special responsibility. But ultimately, everyone has a responsibility to avoid any sort of collision. The rider and ped has a special interest in protecting the only life they have. This means look both ways before crossing the street and bike defensively.”

We were talking about a blind person crossing in a crosswalk…

I used this example to highlight the fundamentally asymmetric responsibility of the two parties. And yet you insist that, no, everyone (including the blind pedestrian) must look both ways and take responsibility.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I am not forgetting that at all.

Regardless of where blame belongs, the first rule everywhere on land, sea, and air at all times is to avoid collisions. This is everyone’s responsibility.

Blind people, kids, etc. have less ability to perceive and avoid situations. This makes them more vulnerable. But everyone should do what they can to reduce their profile to threats.

If you’re alert, you can be reasonably safe almost everywhere. If you’re not alert, you’re in danger almost everywhere.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“If you’re alert, you can be reasonably safe almost everywhere. If you’re not alert, you’re in danger almost everywhere.”

I still don’t think anyone is advocating for VRU’s to be intentionally oblivious. Here’s another way to think about it: PSA’s like this sound (to me) like the good and worthy advice to be careful with guns. Especially don’t point them at yourself. Pointing a loaded gun at yourself is dangerous. Now imagine pounding this advice into the heads of people who don’t own guns (or at least aren’t carrying them very often). Then, these PSA’s tend to become advice like “don’t point other people’s guns at yourself, or force them to point their guns at you”. Insisting that it is the pedestrian’s “responsibility” to avoid getting run over (even though, yes, that is excellent advice!) implies that there’s nothing drivers can do; they’re just like wild bears that can’t be controlled, so…don’t get eaten. I think I’ve said before that I don’t believe we would ever consider treating bad drivers like “nuisance” bears, so why do we think of them in that way?

9watts
Guest
9watts

Listening to Kyle in these comments I am reminded of Hans Monderman’s ideas and his approach to traffic.
Let’s recall that he advocated creating a system in which it was possible for a pedestrian to walk out into traffic with eyes closed (he did this to demonstrate his method) and not be hit. It is difficult to think of a scenario as diametrically opposed to what Kyle would have us practice than this. Monderman’s is the kind of world I find inspiring, and the fact that he was able to achieve it in certain locales explodes Kyle’s problematic zero-sum thinking, his dogged focus on responsibilizing anyone not in a car. Let’s figure out how to work toward that, than frighten everyone not in a car into thinking they are taking their lives in their hands if they don’t WATCH OUT!

“The main agenda behind Monderman’s theory was to create safer, shared streets through the deliberate removal of conventional street paraphernalia such as traffic lights, curbs, road markings etc. This strategy creates a higher level of perceived risk of accident, and corresponding increase in risk-mitigation behaviour. It works to ‘exploit the natural skills of humans to negotiate movement, resolve conflict and engage not only with each other but with their context.’”
https://streetswithoutcars.wordpress.com/tag/hans-monderman/

Pedestrian Rick
Guest
Pedestrian Rick

…and also, she shouldn’t have been wearing that–she was asking for it.

Anyone else seeing a similarity between the “it’s on the pedestrian to be safe” argument and the typical “she must have been asking for it” rape argument? “Cars will be cars…” Disgusting.

Maybe the “first rule” everywhere should be “don’t be an asshole”.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I disagree about it not being hard to tell if a motorist is going to stop in time. Far too many motorists leave their feet firmly on their accelerators as they approach red lights and stop signs and then slam on the brakes at the last moment. I don’t know if they are trying to send a message to anyone considering crossing that this is not a good time or if they simply have poor driving skills.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

The driver who hit me the one time I’ve been actually hit had stopped at his red light, waited for me to cross in front of him, then accelerated into me, apparently attempting to make a right on red.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Many drivers do this — including ones that see me and intend to let me pass — and it drives me nuts. There is a variation of this same dynamic for cyclists where the car overtakes or drives next to the cyclist who can’t tell if they’re going to turn.

In a best case scenario, this delays everyone because the only thing to do is not put yourself in the path of the car until you can resolve the ambiguity. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before you find a car bearing right down on you.

wsbob
Guest

“…So is the message that even in such a clear cut case of negligent and illegal behavior on the part of the driver it is still the pedestrians fault?…” bikeninja

The message is that persons using the street on foot…the vulnerable road users…for their safety, must go beyond what is their legal right to the road..

They’ve got to use extra caution in using the road, being wary for those instances when people driving or biking, for whatever reason, aren’t adequately looking out for the safety of people using the road on foot.

Fault is an after the fact thing. Assigning fault doesn’t reverse injuries people as vulnerable road users sustain during collisions. It’s like many people seem to have an excessive preoccupation with fault assignation. Walking down the street, or driving, or biking, is not being in the courtroom or sitting in an interview with an insurer. Using the street, fault for a collision that hasn’t happened yet, should be down on the list of concerns…way down. So many people are in such a big hurry, but top of the list probably should be: staying out of trouble, avoiding problems and complications, misunderstanding, miscommunication, close calls and worst of all, collisions.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Since the message seems to be that pedestrians can’t trust a traffic light controlled intersection to keep themselves safe, and must only cross when looking to make sure no cars might drive through the light, doesn’t it follow that all motorists should also not trust lights and as people drive cars up streets like MLK or Broadway they should come to a stop at each green light and look both ways to determine if another motorist is intending to run the red? After all getting t-boned at 45 mph in your prius by a cement truck is just as hazardous to your health as a pedestrian getting hit by a car. Why the double standard?

wsbob
Guest

“…doesn’t it follow that all motorists should also not trust lights and as people drive cars up streets like MLK or Broadway they should come to a stop at each green light …” bikeninja

No…if does not follow, at least not logically or as a rule, that people driving should stop at green lights before proceeding through intersections managed by such lights. As they approach and pass through light managed intersections, they do though, have to be watching for traffic approaching from side streets and from the opposite side of the intersection. As do people using the road as vulnerable road users.

And sometimes, yes, people do have to stop at green lights, stop signs and ‘walk’ crosswalk signals, because you know, there are road users that don’t stop at red lights and stop signs. Some people using the road, don’t do a great job of watching for other road users. Everyone using the road, has to be watching out for them, to try avoid being snared into a collision with them.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“And sometimes, yes, people do have to stop at green lights, stop signs and ‘walk’ crosswalk signals, because you know, there are road users that don’t stop at red lights and stop signs.”

This reminds me of the joke I heard about the Russian taxi driver:

A tourist gets in a Russian cab and notes the driver appears to be very reckless, driving right through red lights. When asked, the driver says, “because I am vyery brave man”. Later, though, the driver stops at a green light. When the passenger asks about this, the driver says, “myaybe there is other vyery brave man”…

wsbob
Guest

bic…I’ve heard the joke before, but thanks, it’s funny, and apropos to the discussion.

rick
Guest
rick

Ironic that shopping mall car parking lots and the like killed Riverside Raceway in southern California.

wsbob
Guest

“Putting the blame for roadway injuries and deaths on people who use feet to get around …” bikeportland

“Putting the blame…” : What’s that? Blame…at least in part for collisions involving motor vehicles and people on foot using the street, correctly and rightfully falls upon people on foot either declining to or failing to use due care in crossing any street where motor vehicles are in use.

This a fundamental reality and fact of road use some people seem unwilling to acknowledge, accept or use to check the soundness of their personal use of the road on foot. Although of the people using the road with motor vehicles, I would say most are reasonably, even very good drivers, not all are, and people using the road foot, cannot rely for their own safety, entirely on everyone driving to be watching for people on foot, all of the time.

I’ve never watched Portlandia. Of course, I’ve heard about the show over some years. Sounds like something created by and for people that think everything has got to be a big funny. Satire and social commentary is fine…but all of the time? Occasionally, it’s essential to get serious about serious issues. I’ve not watched the PSA either, and probably won’t. On this weblog story, just seeing the still from it of the racetrack and the title, and descriptions in comments so far, suggest to me the introductory concept of this safety PSA is not a great idea in a number of ways. Scratch the racetrack setting as a set for use of the road by people on foot and people driving motor vehicles. Tone down the irreverent humor.

Kristi Finney Dunn
Guest
Kristi Finney Dunn

Car won against Dustin… Among other things, this video shows extreme insensitivity to the thousands of people walking or rolling who were hit by drivers even in their right of way. Our loved ones are already lambasted unmercifully and the promotion and justification of this attitude in this way by people and governments who should know better makes me livid.

rick
Guest
rick

livid

Stephan
Guest
Stephan

What gets me is that the video depicts mowing down a pedestrian as something that’s fun. Everyone should concerned about avoiding traffic injuries and fatalities. I would think that everyone with a right mind would be devastated if they drove into a pedestrian or other road user and killed that person.

joan
Subscriber

Kristi, thanks so much for all your work and your on-going advocacy. It means a lot to have your voice in these conversations.

Mick O
Guest
Mick O

I, too, was angered when I first saw this. However, if we want the PSAs to actually have an effect, this might be the better way to go about it.

Drivers view themselves as heroes of their own stories and a PSA that urges them to be heroically vigilant for all the dopey “others” (pedestrians) is possibly more likely to resonate than a PSA that scolds drivers as unenlightened, error-prone menaces. The latter might be much more technically accurate and realistic but also easier for the average driver to immediately tune out, thinking “Oh this isn’t about ME, I’m one of the good drivers.”

I don’t know. Is the goal of the PSA to signal values or to actually change behavior? If you disagree with me, I won’t object too hard, but I don’t think it is as simple as I first thought. I know I’d rather a driver slow down and curse me out* than maintain speed and wipe me out.

*wrongly

Carl
Guest
Carl

Little detail: all of the cars have multiple passengers (if you count dogs) and none of the drivers is distracted by a phone. Kinda weird considering that the most typical roadway threat is the single occupancy vehicle with device-distracted driver.

emerson
Subscriber

Doesn’t fit their narrative.

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

the murderer in the muscle car was alone.

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

Yeah, they showed him as Sleepy Guy at 0:40 in the intros with hotrod stickers on the left glass, then from the outside as the Camaro revs up at 2:45 (Oregon 932 Foxtrot Victor Yankee at 2:47), then they did the usual video cuts to fake the collision.

The whole thing is disgusting and very badly considered, but to me the stereotyping is spread across the whole cast of characters, pedestrians, drivers and journalists. I agree with you, John, that the crash scene – with its same-old same-old editing style – supports the human vs. machine meme.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Who thought this up and for what purpose?
I can see it now, somewhere deep in clackamas county some locals gather around the potbelly stove. ” Hey Merl, every time I take the rig in ta little Havana them durn kids keep trying to walk in the road. Heck one of these days Im gonna run em over and scratch my paint.” “Yea, why can’t they just drive, like we do ,instead of walking cross the road like possums,” replies Merl. ” I gotta an idea lets get our pal Jeff to make one of them advertisements and put it on TV to teach em some manners,” his friend replies. ” We can put it on some of them popular tv shows the kids watch like the Brady Bunch and Matlock.”

mikeybikey
Guest
mikeybikey

I’m more shocked that not one person along the chain of command that brought this video into existence stood up and said no this is completely inappropriate and offensive.

Daniel Johnson
Guest
Daniel Johnson

Counter PSA video. https://youtu.be/vxopfjXkArM

Clarence Eckerson
Guest
Clarence Eckerson

When I saw the set-up at the start I thought this was going to be bad,but not that bad!!! Why not just use excerpts of “Death Race 2000” it’d be better than this sludge.

rick
Guest
rick

very sad

Skid
Guest
Skid

Well, now you all know what it felt like when I was lampooned as “Militant Bike Guy”.

Can we just kick these d0ucheb4gs out of Portland now?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I heard they didn’t lampoon you, but rather one of the many other PDX cyclists that are like Spyke (Militant Bike Guy)… 😉

emerson
Subscriber

This is a terrible video and a horrible idea. I can’t believe this garbage was made, let alone released. It’s not funny at all and doesn’t highlight where the danger and responsibility lies — the driver not to kill. Awful, just simply truly awful.

TonyT
Subscriber
TonyT

I would like PBOT to tell us which of these cliches, the many killed pedestrians have been? Please, list the name and tell us. There are real people, turned into caricatures, being killed by thousand pound vehicles, operated by people who are absolved by filth like this.

SD
Guest
SD

I felt sick watching this. If they wanted to be accurate, they could have included the elderly and children being killed by hit and run drivers also. Whoever, put thought into this “PSA” is clearly emotionally distant form the vulnerable road user traffic deaths that have happened in the Portland area. This “PSA” is a better representation of the general societal ambivalence toward inattentive driving and deaths than a message to promote safe behavior.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Helmet laws for pedestrians. Problem solved! /s

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Disgusting. “The car always wins.” Completely disgusting. Instead, we need saturation broadcasting of PSAs reminding drivers of their responsibilities.

ed
Guest
ed

Unfortunately the trope of “the car always wins” is a reflection of the Darwinian struggle narrative our culture so loves; survival of the fittest”. (or the fattest, to be more accurate) Fat cars, oversize everything is best, as bigger is better! And of course “aggression always wins” is the other plank in this foundation.

So we see the outcome here – and that’s why law in The Netherlands is so noteworthy. There if a vulnerable road user is struck, the driver is ALWAYS 100% responsible regardless! No “I didn’t see them” or “they came out of nowhere” or “they weren’t wearing a helmet” arguments considered. Crazy you might say; what if someone were to jump in front of your car or otherwise blatantly “cause” the collision? The realization there is given the one sided nature of such “accidents” the only way to level the playing field is to make the motorist unequivocally to blame. Amazing what an equalizing affect this law has there; obviously the struck ped or cyclist will still be worse off for the impact but amazing how the mandatory liability tames Darwinian motorists who otherwise see themselves as top of the food chain. Such accountability curbs motorist aggression and foolishness and would go a long way towards vision zero – in fact may be essential to it.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

You mean culture matters?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

ed
Unfortunately the trope of “the car always wins” is a reflection of the Darwinian struggle narrative our culture so loves; survival of the fittest”. (or the fattest, to be more accurate) Fat cars, oversize everything is best, as bigger is better! And of course “aggression always wins” is the other plank in this foundation.

This has neither to do with survival of the fittest or aggression/size being better. Rather, it is about physics.

On the waterways, this is informally referred to as “The Law of Tonnage.” Unlike the other rules of ROW, this one cannot be broken.

Mick O
I, too, was angered when I first saw this. However, if we want the PSAs to actually have an effect, this might be the better way to go about it.

I have my doubts about this particular PSA, but agree with the basic premise. PSA’s need to reach the general population which is very different than the readers of BP. I’ve always suspected the reason that Portlandia is so unpopular here is that the cycling stereotypes hit a bit too close to home…

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

I am so sick of this “it’s about physics.” That’s not just wrong it’s offensively wrong.

If the car were an inanimate object — like an asteroid getting captured by Earth’s gravity, becoming a meteor, and striking the pedestrian — that’s physics. Cars move because PEOPLE MOVE THEM, and they hit and kill people because of the choices made by the people driving them.

It’s not about physics, it’s about the drivers who are in control of their cars.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

It is about physics. When a couple tons of steel hit flesh and bone, the results are very predictable. That you find reality offensive does not change it.

Even the best drivers make mistakes and some people are bad drivers. Whether you’re in a car, on a bike, or on foot, you should do your best to be prepared for that.

One thing I can’t fathom is why so many people here trust their safety to strangers in cars they have outright contempt for.

The truly absurd thing is that people are angry and offended at the suggestion they look both ways before crossing the street. Not because it’s so dаng obvious, but rather because they think they shouldn’t be doing it. No wonder they canceled Portlandia. BP reality is far wackier.

9watts
Guest
9watts

But we are not talking about physics; we are talking about who has responsibility to avoid the collision in the first place.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

That would be everyone.

The driver has legal responsibility plus the responsibility to peds. The peds have a responsibility to themselves.

9watts
Guest
9watts

But your need to set these equivalent to each other is what I see as not just problematic but as based on a misunderstanding of how responsibility is distributed.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

There is no misunderstanding of how responsibility is distributed.

There appears to be a significant misunderstanding on the importance of not getting into life changing situations requiring assignment of responsibility after the fact.

9watts
Guest
9watts

person walking + person walking collide = no appreciable danger to life and limb;

person biking + person walking collide = slightly higher risk, but still pretty low risk, and I think everyone would tend to agree that the person going faster/with the heavier vehicle is the one who should be paying special attention, bears responsibility for the extra risk;

person driving + person walking collide = significant risk of serious injury or even death… the increase in risk and seriousness here have everything to do with the speed and mass of the vehicle that has been added into the mix. While the pedestrian should be paying attention – no one ever said they shouldn’t – the extra measure of danger the car has introduced does not in any logical way translate into an extra responsibility on the part of the pedestrian but rather into an extra responsibility of the one piloting the automobile.
Since you seem to disagree, can you explain your thinking?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“The peds have a responsibility to themselves.”

Trouble is, “PSA”s like this and others send the message that peds have a responsibility to drivers to not somehow “allow” or “force” the driver to run over them. If my responsibility as a pedestrian is really only to myself, then why does government or anyone else care to hammer home my responsibility? I and every other pedestrian out there very well know that if we get hit by a car, we’re toast. If I know the penalty is already death or dismemberment, why do I need to be further shamed into not harming myself?

“Safety” campaigns like this one appear to be (intentionally or not) aimed at shaming pedestrians and bicyclists into not causing any kind of perturbation to motor traffic—even when the motor vehicles in said traffic are being operated recklessly or indifferently. The clear message in the video here is, “even if you have the right-of-way, don’t get in my way.” Further, the implication of only showing the consequences for pedestrians is that drivers may knock you out of your shoes with impunity; you should have looked more carefully, you dumb pedestrian.

emerson
Subscriber

Stop being pedantic. Ok, fine – “getting hit by a car is not fun and sucks a lot, don’t get hit by a car.” Happy?

Yes, everyone should be aware of their surroundings. And yes, everyone has a say in their safety. But just as a cyclist yeilds to a pedestrian, a driver yields to both.

Oh, and BTW – we are taking roads and highways, not navigable waters. She was the last time a ship or boat pressed a cross walk button to pass? Let’s not confuse the two.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“The truly absurd thing is that people are angry and offended at the suggestion they look both ways before crossing the street.”

Kyle,
you seem to be willfully missing the point. The PSA showed someone in the crosswalk, who had the light, the right of way, was in full view of the driver, had entered the crosswalk well before the car was anywhere near the crosswalk, and his only evident offense was to stop in the crosswalk rather than proceed across. Why are you so hung up on the looking both ways trope? Why are you so steadfast in your refusal to notice that *in the scenario/example/video we are discussing* the behavior of the person-in-the-car is blatantly illegal in at least three different ways?

Looking both ways is (if you are sighted) obviously good practice and no one here has suggested otherwise, but what the driver did was ILLEGAL. The framing of the abominable video ‘there you have it: we have a bunch of pedestrians that have no clue what they’re really up against’ gives the game away.

9watts
Guest
9watts

thank you, Paul Atkinson.

wsbob
Guest

“My understanding is that the driver in the Netherlands is always at least 50% responsible and assumed to hold up to 100% blame unless proven otherwise. …” lascurettes

You’re citing ‘strict liability’, which concerns itself with liability and not necessarily responsibility or fault, or guilt. We hear word of mouth about how liability for collisions involving people driving and people as vulnerable road users is assigned over there in the Netherlands, Copenhagen and ?? what other European countries.

Don’t know, doesn’t matter. Point made for me by those references, is that strict liability applied to road use here in the U.S. as some people’s road use habits presently tend to be, the effect would be to not have vulnerable road users using the due care they need to be taking. A likely problem would seem to be people as vulnerable road users, presuming that people driving will be watching out for them, because of a greater burden of liability for collisions, generally having been placed upon people that drive. With a result being, vulnerable road users taking less caution for their personal safety in their use of the road.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

A lawyer with a learning disability and no filter.

wsbob
Guest

“A lawyer with a learning disability and no filter.” chris I

Is that you? Because it sure isn’t me. And by the way, maybe you could be so kind as to explain what the heck you mean, if it might be of any value to people reading here.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I feel personally attacked.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Contrary to the popular media meme, I don’t think we have a widespread epidemic of VRUs failing to take sufficient responsibility for their own safety.

wsbob
Guest

“Contrary to the popular media meme, I don’t think we have a widespread epidemic of VRUs failing to take sufficient responsibility for their own safety.” glowboy

Just what is it you think is required before people that are vulnerable road users, and that don’t take sufficient responsibility for their own safety, should be subject to serious encouragement by various means, to start watching out for their safety in using the road? Do you think this subject…the idea that people are concerned, and have been for a long time, that too many people as vulnerable road users are not taking sufficient responsibility for their own safety in a known, busy traffic environment, is funny?

By the way, since you used the word, I’m curious whether you really know what the word ‘meme’ means. It barely fits in the one line comment you posted in response to my earlier comment. It’s one of those words that enjoys a certain trendy usage for awhile, with a bunch of people using them without knowing what they mean, and then when the trendiness evaporates, they stop using it. Use of the word sounds like something the portlandia tv show writers came up with.

I realize you’re trying to be satirical, or sarcastic or funny…something like that…but nobody here has claimed that there is “…a widespread epidemic of VRUs failing to take sufficient responsibility for their own safety.”. People as road users, not taking sufficient care for their own safety in using the road, has been a long standing problem. In a sense, maybe the problem is heightened as population, resulting density and traffic on the roads, increases, during which time many people using the road on foot, bike, continue on using the road in the same old easy going care free way they got accustomed to when traffic on the road tended to light.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

That’s not the definition of meme.

BB
Guest
BB

“over there in the Netherlands, Copenhagen and ?? what other European countries.”
Copenhagen is a city. It is the capital of Denmark, which is a country.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Expect a 2-page response about the nuances of countries vs. cities.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

From Sarah Palin.

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

John Lascurettes
My understanding is that the driver in the Netherlands is always at least 50% responsible and assumed to hold up to 100% blame unless proven otherwise. That is to say, the burden of doubt is put on the motorist. And the motorist is never more than 50% absolved.

Just to clarify a little: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strict_liability#Bicycle.E2.80.93motor_vehicle_collisions

“Bicycle–motor vehicle collisions

“A form of strict liability has been supported in law in the Netherlands since the early 1990s for bicycle-motor vehicle collisions. In a nutshell, this means that, in a collision between a car and a cyclist, the driver is deemed to be liable to pay damages and his insurer (n.b. motor vehicle insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands, while cyclist insurance is not) must pay the full damages, as long as 1) the collision was unintentional (i.e. neither party, motorist or cyclist, intentionally crashed into the other), and 2) the cyclist was not in error in some way. Even if cyclist was in error, as long as the collision was still unintentional, the motorist’s insurance must still pay half of the damages, though this does not apply if the cyclist is under 14 years of age, in which case the motorist must pay full damages for unintentional collisions with minors.[3] If it can be proved that a cyclist intended to collide with the car, then the cyclist must pay the damages (or his parents in the case of a minor.).”

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

I’ve been fortunate to visit the Netherlands a few times. Contrary to what some people imagine, driving under those laws is not appreciably different than driving here, at least for folks like you and me who are normally careful drivers. From my perspective, it really only affects the edge-case drivers who aren’t careful, the ones who cause collisions.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

My first reaction to this video is not appropriate for a family blog.

But seriously, “infuriating” does not even hint at beginning to describe the emotions elicited by the abject wrongness of this public disservice announcement. Worst of all, IMO, is that one of the pedestrians portrayed as “distracted” says she “waits for the chirp”, i.e., the signal/right-of-way, then crosses—apparently she’s still in the wrong for crossing in a signalized crosswalk with the ROW—and the pedestrian that we are supposed to assume gets creamed at the end is “crossing” with the signal, while the driver of a muscle car virtually drag-races through a red light—and the pedestrian is still wrong, especially ‘cuz he was “drunk”, duh! I don’t know why they didn’t go ahead and show the aftermath in which the driver stays at the scene and cooperates with police after explaining that the pedestrian came out of nowhere and was the light red? I don’t recall officer, but the pedestrian was definitely not in a crosswalk, so….

I reckon we’re all supposed to go along with this perspective because the Ordinary, Every-Day Drivers just couldn’t help “accidentally” drag-racing through red lights. But pedestrians who wait for the signal and expect drivers to stop? Well that’s just willful recklessness!

Clackamas County needs to take this video down immediately and retract it from re-broadcast. They owe all VRUs an apology and need to replace this video with a monologue by Jeff Reardon about how incredibly hateful and wrongheaded this entire concept is; reinforcing the power/responsibility connection and speaking to the wrongness of glibly dismissing the extreme gravity of operating a motor vehicle, and the criminality of operating a motor vehicle while impaired, distracted, or just reckless.

NH
Guest
NH

I just tried calling Representative Reardon’s office (503-986-1448) to leave a comment. Not surprisingly, nobody answered, but I left a voicemail expressing my dissatisfaction with this misguided PSA.

Manville
Guest
Manville

Hillarious and so true. The guy in all black is just about everyone in NW Portland.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Isn’t it convenient how a bright red light tells you when they are crossing and you’re supposed to stop?

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

“Jeff lives in East Portland” He also was a teacher at David Douglas High
https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/reardon/Pages/biography.aspx

Reardon’s district covers a substantial amount of Lents and Brentwood-Darlington (in Portland). But yes the majority is in Clackamas county.

SD
Guest
SD

Instead of calling the PSA “The car always wins,” it should be called “These people deserve to die.”

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

Agreed! I have tried looking at this from the perspective of the creators, and wondered what reaction they are hoping to elicit? Something like, “that is hilarious! That guy just died because he tried to legally cross the street! He should been looking for awesome drivers in rad cars, but he didn’t so the laugh is on him- he is dead!!”

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

A thought that came to me while watching, is that while not making it as blatant, they seemed to also show how many drivers aren’t fully paying attention. So I’m thinking possibly that perhaps the intent here was to point out, “hey, a lot of drivers aren’t going to be looking out for you, so do yourself a favor and look out for yourself.” That’s an idea a few on here frequently put forth, typically with a bit of… shall we say, negative feedback? 😉

I think in isolation, the idea of looking out for your own safety and not assuming anyone else will be is prudent. I’ll frequently check for cars possibly about to blow through the light before I start through an intersection. It only takes a second and doesn’t really slow me down. But, this PSA makes it seem like they’re giving up and accepting the fact that a lot of people could be driving irresponsibly near you at any given time. And it’s just too hard to change that behavior, so we’ll give you some tips to hopefully lower your chances of being hit by one of them. Can still be argued that it’s helpful (superficially), but it ignores – if not normalizes – the larger problem of distracted/unsafe driving.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

Sorry, what kind of “tips” does the video offer to pedestrians? Don’t act like a caricatured stereotype that is unlike any real person? Be deathly afraid to leave your house because you might get run over? Make sure you drive your own car so this doesn’t happen to you? I get that you want to defend the “good intentions” of the video’s makers, but those intentions are sorely lost in a one-sided, misleading, and ethically repulsive narrative.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

You may not have read my whole comment (it was a bit long-winded), but I wasn’t trying to defend the makers of the video at all. I do try to see things from other perspectives, and was just relaying what I thought could have been their intent for making it. However, I went on to say that even if in their minds they were genuinely trying to help pedestrians be safer, the result of their efforts could ultimately make things worse.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“hey, a lot of drivers aren’t going to be looking out for you, so do yourself a favor and look out for yourself.”

Yeah, but I didn’t see “Drag-Racing Camaro Guy” in their lineup of Ordinary, Everyday Drivers. Was that Sleepy Guy after he lost consciousness and dropped his foot on the pedal? He sure kept it straight for being asleep.

J_R
Guest
J_R

I wish the next PSA segment showed the Camaro-driving motorist who was intentionally speeding up to hit a pedestrian legally occupying a crosswalk during a WALK signal being given a lethal injection as the penalty for his murder of a pedestrian. Of course from what we’ve seen in Portland, the actual segment would involve the motorist writing a check for $242, licking the envelope, and dropping it in the mail box. Disgusting video.

Peter Hass
Guest
Peter Hass

Of all the recent pedestrian fatalities the one that really shook me to the core was the senseless death Fallon Smart. (I wonder which stereotype she was represented by in this video?) There’s just nothing remotely humorous about this issue. Just sad.

alankessler
Guest
alankessler

It sounds like you should take my fun poll: https://twitter.com/alankesslr/status/895032080328937472

Tom
Guest
Tom

In order to increase the future monetization of recently rolled out car infotainment systems, the automotive industry needs to create a perception that distracted driving in general is somehow acceptable, normal, and unavoidable, without calling attention directly to infotainment related distraction or the closely related phone distraction. This piece is a cleverly disguised attempt at such. The automotive industry has billions to spend on such disguised PR campaigns.

TonyT
Subscriber
TonyT

For those who keep defending this PSA, I have to ask you this:

If Abdulrahman Noorah, the man who killed Fallon Smart on Hawthorne while driving at a high rate of speed, saw this PSA, would he would see something that disapproves of how HE behaved, or would he see something that blames his victim?

I asked Representative Reardon this in the email I sent him earlier today. I would really like to hear his answer.

rick
Guest
rick

Has anyone located Mr. Noorah? Was Fallon even able to see Mr. Noorah before the crash?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

This wasn’t for Noorah (are you suggesting the right PSA would have altered his behavior and prevented the tragedy). It was to give others a better chance against people like him.

TonyT
Subscriber
TonyT

PSAs are often about helping establish culture, each in a little way and over time. No single anti-drunk driving ad caused the cultural shift that means we no longer regard driving drunk as a sitcom punchline. And none of those ads blamed people for getting hit by drunk drivers. None of them created cliches of victimhood. They dealt with the drunk driver.

Certainly there are people on foot who are egregiously careless. But they are rare and they are NOT what is going on out there on the road.

This PSA supports a culture that views people on foot as inconveniences. It others people on foot and dehumanizes them to the point that their death is amusement. It buttresses the view that public space is there for speed and anyone who gets in the way of that is the problem. It absolves drivers of the consequences of operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner by putting the blame on the person injured, not the person in control of a multi-thousand pound vehicle.

The point I was making, as you are well aware, was not some strawman that Noorah would see any one PSA and suddenly stop driving like a sociopath. I asked a question and you conveniently avoided answering it.

“If Abdulrahman Noorah, the man who killed Fallon Smart on Hawthorne while driving at a high rate of speed, saw this PSA, would he would see something that disapproves of how HE behaved, or would he see something that blames his victim?”

This PSA is crap. You disagree. We get it.

Good PSAs?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgV9Oa6z5wY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gCDZD9wVEY

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I think the PSA is poorly done. I have never suggested drivers have any less responsibility than they have.

But I agree with the basic premise. That it’s even controversial that peds and cyclists take the most basic measures to protect their own safety is ridiculous.

That people here encourage people to not be aware of their environment and take every measure to protect their own safety is a severe disservice to all and makes cyclists a pathetic joke in the eyes of most normal people.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“That people here encourage people to not be aware of their environment”

You keep coming up with straw men. No one here to my knowledge has said this.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

That is exactly what people here consistently advocate.

The most cluеless behavior by peds and cyclists alike is consistently justified or at best ignored. People consistently pile onto me for suggesting cyclists and peds take any responsibility for their own safety.

It’s always about assigning blame to drivers who have legal/moral responsibility rather than actually keeping people safe. That is precisely why people are up in arms over a poorly conceived PSA that says “look both ways before crossing the street.”

Cycling is way more fun if it’s safe. But people here seem to be hеll bent on encouraging practices that make it as dangerous as possible. I’ll never ride like most people do here. That’s friggin’ suicidal.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“It’s always about assigning blame to drivers who have legal/moral responsibility rather than actually keeping people safe.”

Aha. Now we’re getting somewhere.
Where we may have diverged is that I believe clarifying responsibility (what you call assigning blame) is a crucial step toward establishing conditions where people will be safe. After all, how do you think it is that in the Netherlands people cycling (without helmets) are many times more likely to be unharmed than in this country. The priorities, the legal structure, the attitudes toward not hitting other people arise, develop, concretize through many small acts like these.

Of course in this case the PSA (that would never see the light of day, much less be conceived in the Netherlands) points in the exact opposite direction.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I am also 100% in agreement with this statement. We should always look to create conditions that minimize conflicts and clarifying responsibility is part of that.

But people make mistakes, and you need to be ready for that because that has a greater impact on safety than anything else.

I see pedestrians just step in front of cars all the time, and that is really, really stupid. Not that long ago, I was riding home at night behind a car which was moving maybe < 15 mph — I was annoyed it was going so slowly since I like to ride faster. The lighting conditions were tricky and it was very obvious the driver who was clearly trying to be cautious failed to see a ped. It was also equally clear that the ped did see the car. Ped steps right in front of the car and the driver notices her when they were only a few feet away. Due to the very low speed, the driver stopped with barely an inch to spare, ped yells at the car and bangs on the hood, driver apologizes, and everyone continues.

Had the driver not seen the ped at the very end or been going any faster, the ped would have been hit for certain.

A situation like that would have made a better PSA for a message like this.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I would hesitate to accuse anyone of advocating abdication of “personal responsibility”, but there is a difference between “responsibility” and actions taken out of self-preservation. Rather than accuse people of being “suicidal”, why not consider the question of why pedestrian behavior is considered “suicidal”, but driver behavior is not considered “homicidal”. A pedestrian wearing black at night is “suicidal”, but a driver driving too fast to react to what shows up in his headlights is…? “Ordinary, Everyday”? “Just doing what drivers do”? A bicyclist making an unsignaled turn into the path of a moving car is “suicidal”, but a driver right-hooking a bicyclist riding in a bike lane is…? “Just not paying attention”?

Why do we describe peds and bicyclists who make mistakes (even “mistakes” that aren’t illegal) as somehow wanting to die, but we don’t describe drivers who make much more egregious mistakes as having intent to kill?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

9,

“The priorities, the legal structure, the attitudes toward not hitting other people arise, develop, concretize through many small acts like these.”

So, culture is important?

9watts
Guest
9watts

Please explain what exactly are you driving at with your frequent invocation of that word in your comments here? What do you mean by culture?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Ach. That NZ PSA is so well-done. Having the conversation about what’s about to happen and why, and the irony of realizing what could have prevented it, in the face of the inevitability of what’s about to happen—if only people thought about such things sooner and more frequently. “I’ve got my boy in the back”…could be true for me whether driving or riding. And while I try to avoid “mistakes”, there’s no accounting for every single possibility out there.

BB
Guest
BB

So if Fallon Smart had been able to watch this video before she was murdered, things would have turned out ok for her, is what you’re saying. How disgusting.

Tim
Guest
Tim

I am bruised and road rashed today because a driver would rather use their horn than slow down to the posted speed. Police actually caught the guy but couldn’t do anything to him because he didn’t actually hit me. Why is it OK to use you vehicle to threaten your neighbors?

This PSA makes it look like I should have been looking out for the speeding driver passing with no sight distance on a 25 MPH residential street. My fault again.

TonyT
Subscriber
TonyT

That’s BS. One can be held responsible for causing a crash even if they did not hit you. The cops didn’t WANT to do anything. Get the guy’s info from the cops and pursue a citizens initiated citation.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Tony is correct. Contact is relevant, but not required to be responsible for a crash.

For example, if someone does an unsafe pass on a blind curve and the oncoming car goes over the embankment into the trees rather than hitting the bad driver head on, the person who initiated the unsafe pass has still caused the crash.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Except in the case of Frank Bohannon killing Kerry Kunsman with his F350 in an equivalent scenario.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

There is no guarantee of a “fair” outcome. And what possible outcome would do justice to Kunsman’s death? Even if Bohannon is sentenced to life/death and Kunsman’s kin receive 100 million in compensation, there is nothing that can make things right for Kunsman.

9watts
Guest
9watts

What do you think would be fair?

All Kunsman’s family got was the runaround, and, ultimately, a shrug.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I would hope there would be significant legal consequences — I’m don’t know the particulars so I don’t have an opinion on what criminal/civil penalties would be appropriate.

But what was done cannot be undone, and no outcome could be fair to Kunsman.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

9,
“All Kunsman’s family got was the runaround, and, ultimately, a shrug.”

you know this, or are you presuming?

9watts
Guest
9watts

His daughter Tara posted at length here about the process and the miscarriage of justice. Do you have information that contradicts her detailed descriptions?
https://bikeportland.org/2014/09/26/driver-hit-kerry-kunsman-issued-citation-careless-driving-111488#comment-6634508

alankessler
Guest
alankessler

If I understand the facts correctly you can probably cite under https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/815.225

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“One can be held responsible for causing a crash even if they did not hit you.”

Maybe causing a crash—if a bicyclist “falling over” is considered a crash—but not vehicular assault. Vehicular assault requires contact.

Tim
Guest
Tim

Thank you all, I could and the police could probably have taken this further, but the chance of success may be slim. Possible outcome would the driver would find vindication in court for using his horn rather than his brakes. The whole incident and similar incidents get me down.

We need a cultural shift from emphasizing rights and entitlements to our responsibility and civility to our neighbors.

Andrea Capp
Subscriber
Andrea Capp

Would this ad have worked if the person driving and the person in the cross walk were the same, or identical twins?

Andrea Capp
Subscriber
Andrea Capp

Nah, it would still have the same problems. But at least it might leave the impression that the person behind the wheel is the problem rather than the one in the crosswalk, crossing legally.

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

Thank you for posting about this. I saw a Clackamas County tweet with the video yesterday and felt it was really off-base. Even the little things, like the guy who says “I’m wearing all black,” are problematic victim blaming.

Have you contacted the County at all or heard any response from them?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

You wouldn’t like what I did yesterday — got a new safety flag. My old one is just an ordinary blaze orange one. The new one has SOLAS reflective material sewn into it. Figured that would improve my visibility at night.

Who here would let a kid dress in black and step in front of cars? I sure wouldn’t. Strikes me as totally irresponsible. Stands to reason it wouldn’t be a great idea for anyone.

Michael Andersen (Contributor)
Editor

My letter to Rep.JeffReardon@oregonlegislature.gov and hello@think3thirds.com:

There are many problems with this alleged road safety campaign. Most notably, I think, it criticizes people for doing things that are legal. Instead of reinforcing the norm that people who dare to travel their community on foot should be everywhere and always frightened for their lives, these thousands of tax dollars might have been better spent undermining the norm that it is okay to risk the lives of others because you want to get to the next red light several seconds sooner.

As a factual matter, I thought you might be interested to know that even wearing earbuds with music playing, people on bikes are able to hear their surroundings better than people in cars who are listening to nothing. Perhaps these thousands of tax dollars could have been spent on a campaign to get people to roll their windows down; that would be more likely to save lives.
http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/cyclists-with-ipods-hear-the-same-as-motorists-listening-to-nothing/013329

A few days ago I was walking my son in his stroller from the grocery store to the bus stop when a man in a car took advantage of the wide radius built into the street corner and turned right across a live intersection at 25 mph while looking left. If we’d been a few steps further ahead, my son’s body might have been crushed.

Tens of thousands of Americans every year, overwhelmingly low-income folks, are less lucky than we were. Har har!

What an embarrassment.

Michael Andersen
Portland, OR 97213

alankessler
Guest
alankessler

Dear Representative Reardon:

I am angry and sickened by the victim-shaming website you released today.

I challenge you to assign each of the seventy two people who died while walking in Oregon last year to a “pedestrian category” from your Look First Walk Second campaign.

I am certain those who loved the decedent would be thrilled to know whether you view them as a “Social Justice Walker,” an “Autopilot,” or just plain “Logically Impaired.”

If you are not willing to do this work—if you think my challenge is absurd—I would ask you to explain who you think you are helping with this production.

Sincerely yours,
Alan Kessler