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At vigil, Tamar Monhait’s family remembers their ‘angel’ while activists demand changes

Posted by on August 26th, 2017 at 6:15 am

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Mourners gathered at the cramped intersection where Tamar Monhait’s life was cut short.
(Photos by Pat Rafferty for BikePortland)

Story by Patrick Rafferty

Dozens gathered on the cramped corner of SE Taylor Street and Water Avenue to mourn the loss of Tamar Monhait on Friday evening.

Vans full of Hood-to-Coast runners breezed through the intersection throughout the vigil, which only further hammered home the recurring theme of the evening: infrastructure pushed past its limits in a growing city.

“Water Avenue is currently classified as a city bikeway, but the road design does not meet the needs of this changing part of the city.”
— Emily Guise, Bike Loud PDX

Emily Guise, co-chair of Bike Loud PDX, spoke at length about how the City of Portland should improve its cycling infrastructure, specifically calling attention to the Central Eastside Industrial District.

“Water Avenue is currently classified as a city bikeway, but the road design does not meet the needs of this changing part of the city,” Guise sad. “There are more people biking, walking and living here and they need a safe and protected street.”

Building on Guise’s comments, Matt Milletto, owner of Water Avenue Coffee (who we met earlier this week), spoke with emotion and called on the City of Portland to accelerate its goal of Vision Zero before there are any more deaths in our streets.

“This is too late to start thinking about what to do on this street,” said Milletto. “Moving forward, it’s true negligence on the city’s behalf not to take action.”

Tamar Monhait’s stepmother, Sue Monhait, focused more on family when speaking to the crowd. Tamar worked as a bike messenger for some time back home in Chicago, and Sue never understood the draw of Portland until this week.

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Emily Guise with Bike Loud PDX speaks to the crowd.

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“This is too late to start thinking about what to do on this street. Moving forward, it’s true negligence on the city’s behalf not to take action.”
— Matt Milletto, owner of Water Avenue Coffee

“Something just kept her here always, and now I see what it is,” Sue Monhait began. “A lot of friends have come out who we didn’t even know, and for that I thank you because it helps us understand how much she was loved here so far away from Chicago, but now we know that she had a really really wonderful life here.”

As the train crossing on Taylor Street backed up automobile traffic all the way up to the vigil, the crossing bell ringing out, Sue Monhait continued: “We lost someone really really really special, and heaven gained a really beautiful angel on Monday.”

Just a few hours before the event, Portland Bureau of Transportation Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera released a statement to BikePortland. “We are aware of the freight conflict with growing bicycle and pedestrian traffic in the Central Eastside and we’re working closely with the community on improvements that could address those safety needs,” he said. “In light of the fatal crash that took the life of Tamar Monhait earlier this week, are going to review our design for the intersection to see if there are any adjustments that should be made based on the Police investigation.”

An existing PBOT project will bring new crosswalks, curb extensions and signage to the intersection later this fall.

— Patrick Rafferty

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160 Comments
  • Avatar
    B. Carfree August 26, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Sad, angry, sad, angry, sad, angry… numb.

    Dammit, I want to be able to think about the direction our roads are taking and feel some hope and joy for a change.

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    JeffS August 26, 2017 at 11:16 am

    There are a lot of people using this death to advocate for safety agendas that have nothing to do with this death, and would not have saved Tamar’s life had they been in place. I think less of the groups they are associated with as a result.

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      9watts August 26, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      Why?

      I don’t think that is necessarily problematic. After all people on foot or on a bike die from inattentive or speeding people piloting autos under a great many circumstances. Why should the fact that this was a left cross in the wee hours of the morning prevent folks from raising the issue of being hit or killed by someone in an auto in a right hook on Main, speeding on Chavez, or texting on Burnside?

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        B. Carfree August 26, 2017 at 1:28 pm

        When people call for so-called protected bike lanes, which put cyclists even further out of left-turning motorists’ visual scan area, in response to a left cross it is problematic. They are effectively asking that a bad situation be made worse.

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          Zach August 26, 2017 at 5:55 pm

          That’s where protected intersections come in.

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            Kyle Banerjee August 27, 2017 at 10:38 am

            So the ideal people are shooting for is that every intersection, including relatively low use ones like the one at hand, is a huge and expensive monstrosity that no one including bikes can go through at any speed? Count me out.

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              Al Dimond August 27, 2017 at 11:13 am

              Beyond even the speed, every meaningfully “protected” intersection requires either a signal or a roundabout. Both are expensive and one takes a lot of space. Look around countries celebrated for urban cycling and you’ll see these designs are far from ubiquitous — there are plenty of intersections where people are expected to use good judgment to make turns from arterial streets.

              One important difference is that a driver that either judges poorly or, worse, abandons all caution approaching a turn, will be held responsible for any resulting collision. In the US we focus on vilifying particular behaviors like drunk driving and cell-phone use. In countries that really care they say, “You’d better not hit someone, or it’s on you!” That’s more than just an enforcement thing, it’s a cultural thing that has to be built over years.

              There are some relatively simple street layout changes for smaller arterials like this that will typically cause drivers to slow down near intersections and when turning.

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            • Adam
              Adam August 27, 2017 at 11:51 am

              No, that’s hyperbole. Protected intersections are only used at high volume intersections — think Hawthorne/Chavez, Foster/Powell/50th, or literally any intersection in East Portland. Such a design would be overkill on Water. What I’d like to see on Water is simply a design that prioritizes people over the movement of vehicles. That means closing the highway ramp, widening sidewalks and bike lanes, removing parking, and removing cars entirely from busier blocks such as the one fronting the coffee shop. There is simply no need for this area to function primarily as a conduit to connect motor vehicles to MLK/Grand from the highway.

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                billyjo August 27, 2017 at 8:58 pm

                That’s what it was long before the coffee shop opened, and long before the bikes filled that street. We build streets that are amazingly bike friendly and then we open shops in other locations because the streets with the good infrastructure have high rents. You can’t have both affordable rent (on homes and businesses) and have all the bells and whistles.

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                Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 6:23 am

                If you want bikes to be separated out, motorized transit needs routes too. How would you suggest they get to MLK? This is a high traffic area as is MLK. If that offramp were closed, a major redesign would be necessary — and they’d have to condemn a lot of property.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 28, 2017 at 7:50 am

                Ross Island Bridge? I dunno. They’ll figure it out. I honestly don’t really care how cars get there. We already allow car excess to literally every part of the city — we need to start taking back our public space from motor vehicles rather than worrying about how cars are going to get somewhere.

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                Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 10:18 am

                Ross Island Bridge is severely overloaded as it is, even if we were to ignore that’s a really long way from Morrison. Strangely enough, if you want to go in that direction from Morrison to Ross Island Bridge, the best and most logical route to take is Water…

                In any case, if you really want an idea to go nowhere, make sure that driver interests are totally ignored since drivers do the overwhelming bulk of the voting. There are ways to get bike infrastructure in even in partial replacement for car infrastructure. But if their needs are basically dismissed as being irrelevant, the idea will get shot down before it gets off the ground.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 28, 2017 at 10:27 am

                No, my point was to ignore driver’s needs because they are already being adequately taken care of by literally everything else. I don’t care about their needs because they already take priority at every single level of the planning process, get the bulk of funding, and are still seen as the “default” transportation mode by pretty much everyone, with every other mode being an afterthought. Compromising with automcobility simply has never proven itself to work. For once, I’d like to see cycling and public transport prioritized, with auto access being the afterthought.

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                Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 10:41 am

                They’re seen as the default mode because that’s how practically everyone gets around. Ignore the vast majority of the voters and you’ll get nowhere.

                Bicycles work well for relatively healthy people who need to go short distances but don’t need to carry much, and can handle the logistics between cycling and what they need to look like. A lot of people who are driving could potentially use bicycles right away if they wanted.

                But many can’t. And frankly, even many people who cycle won’t as soon as the weather turns.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 28, 2017 at 10:50 am

                “Not everyone can ride a bike” is a red herring. It’s also equally as true to say that “not everyone can drive”. Literally no one is saying that everyone should ride a bike. Besides, you chose to ignore the entire point of my comment, which was that we need to be prioritizing non-car travel – which includes buses and trains – over the interests of those who erroneously think that they should be able to drive wherever and whenever they want.

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          soren August 27, 2017 at 1:01 pm

          I attended this vigil and did not hear a call for a protected bike lane from the speakers. Can you provide evidence for your claim?

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        Pete August 26, 2017 at 2:53 pm

        Even PBOT pointed out these are opportunities to reflect about impact.

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        Kyle Banerjee August 26, 2017 at 5:22 pm

        Call me old fashioned, but I think the focus of vigils and memorials should be on the deceased. To use an event like this to advocate for anything that wouldn’t have helped is using a tragedy as a sales platform.

        This is where a driver awareness PSA campaign could actually make sense — and have real impact because greater awareness would have prevented someone they know about from losing their life.

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        • Adam
          Adam August 26, 2017 at 7:53 pm

          I see no problem with talking about how to fix things at a vigil. It’s on the same note as calling for police reform at a memorial for someone killed by police, or discussing how to fight white supremacy at the vigil for the MAX stabbing victims, or calling out problems with guns after a school shooting. Any time a death could have been prevented by systemic change, I see no harm in talking about how to prevent future deaths.

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          q August 26, 2017 at 8:56 pm

          When someone dies, it can help those who are grieving to have a cause to focus on.
          Then they can feel that at least the death may result in some good–making future deaths from the same cause less likely, usually. It’s common–someone dies from cancer, grieving friends and family focus on raising money for cancer treatment, etc.

          It does get a bit different than typical with a more higher-profile situation like this. I’d guess many people may have been there who may not have known her well, but may have been drawn by the fact that it was the death of someone riding a bike, so the safety aspect may have been higher than the personal one. But it sounds like that may have been seen positively by the family.

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            q August 26, 2017 at 9:01 pm

            Incidentally, going back to the issue from other columns about the police putting bike safety advice into their reports, even when the advice isn’t relevant to the case, and even though they don’t give similar advice to drivers—to me that’s like someone from the police department showing up at a vigil and giving a speech about using rear lights in a case where the rear light was irrelevant, admonishing drunk driving at a vigil where a driver died from mechanical failure, admonishing drug abuse where someone died from drowning, etc. It’s totally the wrong place, and gives the wrong impression about the victim.

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          Chris I August 26, 2017 at 9:06 pm

          If I die while riding in Portland, I would hope that my death would at least result in some kind of infrastructure improvement that might save someone else’s life in the future. Road fatalities are an indication that something is wrong. If we don’t act, nothing will change.

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            Kyle Banerjee August 27, 2017 at 8:24 am

            If I manage to get myself pulped, I hope people don’t build a general purpose circus around it — and that errors in judgement, execution, maintenance, etc. on my part that were contributing factors get called out in the hopes that people won’t repeat those same mistakes.

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              J_R August 27, 2017 at 1:37 pm

              I like the part about “execution” though that may not be appropriate in all cases.

              However, there should be some penalty for drunken, insured motorists who willfully violate the law and those who are complicit in encouraging that behavior by failure to cite, prosecute, penalize and promote victim-blaming.

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              BB August 28, 2017 at 8:16 am

              Your term “getting pulped” to refer to this or any other death on the road is disgusting and offensive, and reflects your nature as a disgusting and pathetic person. I think less of the people who run this website for allowing comments such as yours to see the light of day.

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              soren August 28, 2017 at 9:48 am

              “If I manage to get myself pulped”

              This piece is not about you. Please show some sensitivity.

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                Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 4:20 pm

                I thought about that exact issue before posting but offered an alternate perspective to someone who already raised the topic. No one complained almost 12 hours later, so I figured it was not off base.

                I agree that tragedies should be about the victims and those they cared about. But let’s be real. When people make these situations about their outrage and agendas, they’re making it about them, so maybe that should be called out too.

                In any case, the post before yours referred to me “a disgusting and pathetic person.”

                Some of y’all should look in the mirror, look at what goes on here, and think about playing an even standard.

                BB, no hard feelings. You should be aware that your words reflect more on yourself than on me — I wouldn’t want to take ownership of my ideas if I were you either 😉

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            billyjo August 27, 2017 at 9:01 pm

            One takeaway might be to use a light? No matter the moral argument, you need to do everything you can to be seen.

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              9watts August 27, 2017 at 9:05 pm

              “One takeaway might be to use a light?”

              Pedestrians too? Kids? Blind people? How are these powered? Are you going to require everyone to carry a spare set of batteries too in case they go dead? What about the guy whose car breaks down and he unexpectedly finds himself walking along the road, suddenly a pedestrian, without a light?

              This seems like a never ending upgrade, arms race, exercise in futility, all to avoid having the hard(?) conversation with the source of all the danger: the fellow or gal behind the wheel who, it seems, can’t be held to account, to look, to slow down enough to react in time to the unexpected but entirely predictable.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 27, 2017 at 9:29 pm

                You can’t react to what you can’t see.

                Let’s just lower the speed limit to 10mph after dark and be done with it. Because safety is the only value, right?

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                9watts August 27, 2017 at 9:36 pm

                What happened to https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.100 ?
                (Too Fast For Conditions)

                Of course it isn’t enforced (at all), but don’t you think the spirit that animates it is valid, important, true?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 27, 2017 at 11:20 pm

                I do support the spirit of that law, but I also believe it is difficult to enforce because it relies on one person’s judgement against another’s. Laws need to be objective, otherwise they are totally open to abuse.

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                wsbob August 28, 2017 at 1:03 am

                “You can’t react to what you can’t see.

                Let’s just lower the speed limit to 10mph after dark and be done with it. Because safety is the only value, right?” h kitty

                Are you speaking with regards to the circumstances of this collision? Monhait was estimated by this weblogs’ owner-writer, who viewed and wrote about the collision as recorded on video, to be traveling at right around 15mph. The garbage truck driver making a left turn, might have, in your estimation, been traveling at what mph speed? Faster, or slower than 15 mph, do you think, and by how much?

                In some street situations, street infrastructure and traffic management controls such as signage and posted speed limits can be designed, configured and assigned to help manage traffic to a level that has it be safer for the street to be used by vulnerable road user. Often not though. I’m asking myself, ‘What reasonable, realistic steps could be taken in the form of the aforementioned measures, that would reduce the hazards relative to this particular collision?’.

                Better, brighter street lighting? Possibly. But practical? You should see the new parking lot lights at the Beav Town Sq…almost have to wear sunglasses. Wasn’t likely much other vehicle traffic in this area at 2am in the morning besides Monhait and the garbage truck. Some freight semi’s maybe, and other people riding, walking and driving home from bars. A lot of traffic congestion wouldn’t seem to have been a factor in this collision.

                The person driving, if he was picking up in the area, likely had a lot of stops to make in a small area. Could he be reasonably expected to get his pickups done at 10mph? How about people riding bikes home at 2 in the morning? Is it reasonable to expect them to keep their speed at no more than 10 mph.

                billyjo drops the lead balloon in this discussion. It’s not certain of course, that the driver of the garbage truck, possibly very busy and making many stops at 2am on streets with not much traffic, was doing everything he needed to be doing to be on the watch for and be able to avoid a collision of any kind, particularly with a vulnerable road user. Stands to reason though, that people biking at night with a front light on their bikes, does present some likelihood that other road users stand a better chance of seeing such a road user, than they would that type of vehicle user not having a front light on their bikes.

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                Dan A August 28, 2017 at 8:28 am

                Okay, set the speed limit on non-highway roads to minus 10mph from dusk to dawn.

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                wsbob August 28, 2017 at 7:52 pm

                ““One takeaway might be to use a light? billy jo”

                Pedestrians too? Kids? Blind people? …9watts

                Depending on the road situation, the light level present, yes, definitely a good idea for people on foot to have with them a few accessories to pull out and in display to road users in the event they walk into a low light situation. Many people already do this. Many bike lights are very compact, fit into the palm of a hand, are bright, don’t cost an exorbitant price.

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              Dan A August 28, 2017 at 8:28 am

              First, do you believe the driver did everything he could do to SEE? I don’t.

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                billyjo August 28, 2017 at 8:52 am

                Did the bike do everything they could to be seen? It has already been pointed out that she did not have a light on the front.

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                9watts August 28, 2017 at 9:00 am

                I think we need to interrogate this need for equivalency, this urge to view people on bikes and in autos as fundamentally equally responsible in situations like this. It is perhaps worth recalling that in some countries (strict liability) they don’t approach this situation like that, and we, generally, admire the things they do there, the solutions they’ve come up with.

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          Kyle Banerjee August 27, 2017 at 8:17 am

          If the family is on board for whatever reason, that’s a different.

          The way this is being handled is an excellent example of what’s wrong with bike advocacy in Portland. A tragedy occurs, an enormous amount of energy get dedicated to the specific location whether or not it is that much more dangerous — meaning that more serious places get neglected.

          It appears that two major factors contributed to the crash: 1) driver not paying sufficient attention; and 2) visibility of cyclist. A third factor — an attentive cyclist may or may not have been able to anticipate or mitigate the garbage truck’s turn — could be relevant.

          None of the infrastructure people are advocating right now would have helped her. And if the issue is really about keeping people safe, I’m really unclear on why there is so much resistance to discussing measures individuals can protect themselves since that has an enormous impact on outcomes.

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          • Adam
            Adam August 27, 2017 at 10:19 am

            why there is so much resistance to discussing measures individuals can protect themselves since that has an enormous impact on outcomes

            You say that as if no one rides defensively. I guarantee you that nearly everyone already does all the things you are always telling them they need to do to be safe. Everyone has self-preservation instincts and no one wants to crash their bikes. The way you always put it, sounds like you assume everyone rides around not looking, running lights, and generally riding dangerously. Virtually no one rides like this. Everyone takes personal safety precautions because you literally have to.

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              Kyle Banerjee August 27, 2017 at 10:56 am

              This is not what I see on a daily basis.

              Most people ride reasonably for conditions. But an especially high percentage of riders here do things that are outright dangerous as well as not taking basic precautions. Before I knew BP existed, I often told others the cyclists here are nuts — I’d never seen anything like before it in my life.

              Examples of things I see regularly that you’ll never see me do: passing on the right of vehicles when you don’t know what they’ll do, operating cell phones, not making “reasonable” efforts to be visible, riding the wrong way, riding too close to unknown cyclists, even passing other cyclists. I promise that if we ever meet on the roads, I’ll pass you cleaner than 95% of the others so you can swerve without signaling and it won’t even be a close call for either of us. I frequently see completely unnecessary and dangerous conflicts on my commute.

              Why we shouldn’t try encourage people to be the best and safest cyclists they can be is beyond me. That people take offense at the suggestion we do this is bizarre.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 27, 2017 at 11:41 am

                We’ll see. Most of the “competent cyclists” pass me way too closely and take me by surprise, or attempt to force me into the door zone so that they can pass. It’s streets like Clinton that have more “everyday riders” where I generally have no issues with being passed by other cyclists.

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                Kyle Banerjee August 27, 2017 at 12:43 pm

                These people are not competent — they are a menace to others (including you) and themselves. My guess is you encounter a bunch of these people every day, including on Clinton where I’m guessing they squeeze you at intersections like 31st or 23rd, when threading groups of cyclists, or when catching up with you close to parked or moving cars.

                Some good cyclists are strong, some are not. And some really bad cyclists are surprisingly strong — they’re the most dangerous kind. The head, not the legs, is the most important part of being a good cyclist.

                My point is that we should all try to the ride the best we can in the situations we are handed. And maybe if we made cyclist behavior a more explicit part of an equation that motorist behavior and infrastructure are also important components of, you’d also experience less trouble with pedal powered nimrоds.

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                wsbob August 28, 2017 at 1:17 am

                “…Most of the “competent cyclists” pass me way too closely and take me by surprise, or attempt to force me into the door zone so that they can pass. …” adam

                The part where you say competent cyclists attempt to force you into the door zone so they can pass, interests me. Maybe you can explain what means they use to attempt to make you ride in the door zone.

                Are they lapping and physically contacting your wheel or pushing your as they come up from behind? Yelling at you to ‘Move over!’? There’s very easy ways to deal with this type of situation, that are exactly the type of knowledge all people biking ought to have familiarity with in order for them to make the best, most effective and enjoyable use of their streets. Next time someone tries to pull a trick like that, yell at them to ‘Knock it off!’. Or wave them around you into the main lane if they want to pass. Hold your line outside the DZ, wherever that may be relative to the bike lane, if there is one.

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                soren August 28, 2017 at 7:01 pm

                As someone who has admitted to a strong vehicular cyclist (the belief that people cycling should behave like drivers) bias it’s no surprise that you believe almost everyone in Portland cycles in an unsafe manner. After all, most of us prefer to use bike lanes (the horror!) and/or traffic-calmed neighborhood greenways (more horror!).

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                Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 9:47 pm

                I understand that many people are uncomfortable in traffic and don’t want to ride anywhere near it.

                All the more reason why they should never pass on the right of a vehicle unless they know it’s safe, ride with the flow of traffic, take basic measures to be visible, and not take risks they can’t manage.

                Hello, Kitty
                You can’t react to what you can’t see.
                Let’s just lower the speed limit to 10mph after dark and be done with it. Because safety is the only value, right?

                Not exactly. Based on what I read here, managing your personal safety isn’t and shouldn’t be important.

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      soren August 26, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      The absolute horror of traffic safety and Vision Zero agendas. Those people only make them hate us more.

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    • Adam
      Adam August 26, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      No, we’ve been arguing for safety agendas well before this death. Our agenda is that no one should die on our streets and someone died on our streets. Accusing people of using an event to push an agenda is exactly the same tactic Republicans use after a shooting.

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        JeffS August 26, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        It’s not an accusation. It is a fact.

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

          I think that under the circumstances, using this terrible incident to advocate for safety in general is not unreasonable.

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            Pete August 26, 2017 at 9:03 pm

            Heck, PPB used it as an opportunity to advocate for helmets, which likely wouldn’t have prevented Tamar’s tragic death. I still find it a condescending message in this context, which seems to have manifested itself in the KGW post, where so many compassionate individuals found opportunity to talk about all of the cyclists they’ve seen run stop signs.

            My condolences to Sue on the tragic loss of her beloved angel.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty August 26, 2017 at 9:11 pm

              How do you know a helmet wouldn’t have helped? I’m not saying it would have, but what basis do you have for your assertion?

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                Chris I August 27, 2017 at 12:52 pm

                I’m sorry, but the burden of proof is on the PPB here. What you are seeing is a reaction to their comments. Their comment implies that the lack of a helmet contributed to her death. Some of us are questioning that statement.

                If this had been the case of a cyclist crashing into the pavement/curb, their statement would be completely justified. However, we all know that large trucks like this can kill you in many different ways, many of them are so forceful that a helmet will make absolutely zero difference.

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                wsbob August 28, 2017 at 2:05 am

                “How do you know a helmet wouldn’t have helped? I’m not saying it would have, but what basis do you have for your assertion?” h kitty

                Thank you for asking those questions. People never know how severe a collision they’ll be involved in, if they’re so unfortunate as to be involved in a collision. They don’t know in advance of a collision, what level of impact that parts of their bodies will be subjected to, or which parts will impact.

                Just by wearing a one pound, mainly foam helmet, protection against a blow to the head equivalent to a 6′ drop onto a hard surface sounds like a deal to me, even if the impact is incidental to getting knocked over or run over by someone driving a motor vehicle, and having a range of injuries to more body parts than my head.

                In general, including following a collision involving a vulnerable road user person riding a bike, in which the person riding sustained serious injuries, I feel the police have some moral obligation to speak to the public in an appeal for everyone riding and thinking of riding, to avail themselves of basic equipment that enhance the safety of their ride.

                I have no idea whether or not Tamar Monhait was wearing a bike helmet on the night of the collision, and I don’t think whether she or any other person riding a bike and involved in a collision was or not, changes the moral obligation the police dept has to remind the public of the importance of people riding bikes and using the basic safety gear that a bike helmet is.

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                Pete August 28, 2017 at 10:02 pm

                Those short, thick skidmarks well into the intersection. Police estimated 15-MPH impact. I know how little it’s taken to split helmets in some of my crashes. Think about the trajectory…

                Purely anecdotal, I know.

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                q August 28, 2017 at 10:43 pm

                wsbob–you wrote, “I have no idea whether or not Tamar Monhait was wearing a bike helmet on the night of the collision, and I don’t think whether she or any other person riding a bike and involved in a collision was or not, changes the moral obligation the police dept has to remind the public of the importance of people riding bikes and using the basic safety gear that a bike helmet is.”

                If that’s true, then don’t the police have a moral obligation to warn drivers in every report of a driver’s death not to drive while drunk? After all, it’s good advice, and if followed it would save a lot more people (by 100x? 1000x?) than helmet wearing by cyclists. Or is it only important to try to keep cyclists safe, but not drivers?

                And what about cases where a cyclist died, but was killed despite wearing a helmet? Don’t the police have a moral obligation to warn people that wearing a helmet may not be effective, so cyclists shouldn’t rely on them?

                What about the misleading impression drivers may get when they read a report about this case? It sounds like the driver may not have signalled, and may have cut the corner when turning. Don’t the police have a moral obligation to cyclists (in the interest of keeping them alive) to warn drivers to signal and not cut corners?

                And since taking that care with turning might prevent a driver from having to live with the fact that they killed someone that might still be alive if they–the driver–had been more careful (which to most drivers would be an awful burden to carry around) don’t the police have a moral obligation to save drivers from having to deal with that for the rest of their lives?

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                wsbob August 28, 2017 at 11:52 pm

                “Those short, thick skidmarks well into the intersection. Police estimated 15-MPH impact. I know how little it’s taken to split helmets in some of my crashes. Think about the trajectory…

                Purely anecdotal, I know.” pete

                Trajectory? Why mention that, and what do you think it’s got to do with the protection helmets are able to provide their wearer? The only thing it seems has been reported to the public about Monhait’s injuries, was that they were life threatening, and then of course, she passed away. Not to get into heart wrenching details, but the design function of bike helmets, is to protect the wearer’s head against impact: basically equivalent to a 6′ drop onto a hard surface.

                Someone riding, having to hard brake, skid and fall to the ground in a slide, and managing to avoid contact with a big truck, could quite possibly wind up with injuries short of life threatening. Injuries that could include a bang to the head. The skid marks possibly made by Monhait’s bike on the pavement, don’t necessarily mean she flew some long distance at a fast speed through the air before crashing. Estimation is that 15mph was her speed on the bike before braking, so with hard breaking, probably much slower.

                This was a terrible collision. I don’t like thinking about how Monhait came to sustain whatever injuries she did, but it’s kind of clear to me that they didn’t come about simply by crashing into the side of a truck after hard braking from a speed of 15 mph. This collision reminds me too much of the collision out in Beaverton some 8 or so years ago. Young guy, name Austin Miller if I recall, riding home from school, somehow got mangled by a bus.

                I just think it’s the wrong message to be telling people, that if they come to be involved in a collision and sustain life threatening injuries, a bike helmet can’t protect them from all the injuries…so don’t bother to wear a bike helmet while riding. If that’s what you’re essentially saying. Bike helmet’s are just head protection, maybe relatively modest compared to all the bad things that can happen to people in a bike crash. Much better protection than none at all, I think.

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                9watts August 29, 2017 at 6:50 am

                “don’t the police have a moral obligation…”

                Why not go a bit further? Perhaps it is also on the police to warn those within automobiles that they too should wear a helmet, even though like for adults cycling there is no rule that requires this, but statistics seem to bear out that many (hundreds? thousands?) would still be alive today, would have survived their crashes, had they been wearing one.
                And what about the police themselves or drivers of emergency vehicles? Should they warn their law enforcement colleagues about the dangers they face from all the distracting equipment packed into their vehicles? We know that some die every year from injuries sustained from crashes caused or exacerbated by being distracted by this equipment. Not to mention those who had the misfortune to be in the way of those drivers when they crashed.
                http://www.cji.edu/site/assets/files/1921/distracteddrivingandthepoliceofficer.pdf
                http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Distracted-Emergency-Drivers-Cause-Crashes-182900891.html

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                Pete August 29, 2017 at 12:13 pm

                wsbob wrote: “the design function of bike helmets, is to protect the wearer’s head against impact: basically equivalent to a 6′ drop onto a hard surface.”

                Yes, this is exactly my point.

                “I just think it’s the wrong message to be telling people, that if they come to be involved in a collision and sustain life threatening injuries, a bike helmet can’t protect them from all the injuries…so don’t bother to wear a bike helmet while riding.”

                Not sure if you think I said that, but that message would never come from me. Helmets have saved my skull at least twice. I’m a strong proponent of them, just not as vocal an advocate because of the prevalence of false equivalence. They do little to protect heads in even low-speed car collisions, and *nothing* to prevent them. They have absolutely nothing in common with seat belts, which is a common car-head comparison (threw in that word cuz I know you love it :)).

                I was asked how I came to the conclusion that a helmet wouldn’t have kept her alive in this collision. The way I read it (i.e. my opinion) is that the shortness and thickness and location of that skid indicates (to me) that she was taken by surprise by the truck’s turn. This leads me to believe the driver cut the corner short and didn’t signal. Note where the skid starts. Look at John Liu’s video of turning down that street (*properly*), the brake marks start halfway under his car! As experienced as said she was, she wouldn’t have locked up her rear wheel unless completely startled. She never viewed the truck as a threat and therefore never slowed in caution upon seeing it (even if its driver didn’t see her).

                What I have a strong issue against is the double-standard of using this tragedy as an “opportunity” to ‘educate’ bicyclists, and worse, painting Tamar in light of being negligent by projecting the assumption that proper lighting would have prevented the driver from turning in front of her, and unforgivably, insinuating that she would be alive today if she had been wearing a helmet.

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            • Adam
              Adam August 26, 2017 at 9:16 pm

              Talking about helmets is not the same as talking about street design that prioritizes people over motor vehicles. Our American culture loves to put the emphasis on personal responsibility but that rarely is the right solution. Systemic change is what really works but it’s much harder to come by.

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              billyjo August 27, 2017 at 9:07 pm

              While here it seems that everybody took the opportunity to talk about all the trash trucks that drive like they own the road. reading here It amazes me that a trash truck doesn’t kill someone every single hour. All that was posted here was how it was obviously the drivers fault because the poster has seen trash trucks drive before. 2 sides of the same ugly argument. One side is condemned and the other is sold as fact. Depends on what side you’re on, but they’re both wrong.

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                9watts August 27, 2017 at 9:14 pm

                “2 sides of the same ugly argument.”

                Both sides?
                Seems a popular refrain these days.

                Too bad it is so demonstrably false. How many people are killed by people riding bikes every year? By folks walking? You tell me. We know for a fact that many people biking and walking who are killed by someone in a car were doing *exactly nothing wrong*. So even if it turns out that Tamar was solely at fault here (who knows, right?) the preponderance of the evidence suggests that in the majority of cases the person behind the wheel is at fault, the world over. Or do you know otherwise?

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                billyjo August 28, 2017 at 7:46 am

                I stand by my point. Until you get past the “bikes do no bad” argument, you will be ignored in the larger argument. You might score high points on a bike blog, but in the real world where policy is made, an argument like you just made gets flat out ignored.
                Portland Police point out that bikes should wear a helmet and have a light. Outside of bike Portland where a comment like that sends people into hysterics, the general reaction is “duh”

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                Dan A August 28, 2017 at 9:14 am

                Where did you quote “bikes do no bad” from?

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              • Adam
                Adam August 28, 2017 at 9:54 am

                Portland Police point out that bikes should wear a helmet

                Again, I’d like to remind you that there is no helmet law in Portland for adults. If the police’s job is (supposedly) to enforce laws, then they should not be giving advice for things that are not actual laws. That and the efficacy of bicycle helmets is not a cut-and-dry issue – their protective value is not an absolute. But the primary issue here is the giving out of advice that is not a law and before a formal investigation has been completed.

                On your other point, you simply cannot argue against numbers. Far more people are killed by cars than by bikes – that much is an indisputable fact. No one ever said that “bikes do no wrong” but it is certainly worth pointing out that bicycle riders are far more vulnerable and cars are far more dangerous, so it makes sense to base policy on this fact, rather than the false idea that both modes are somehow “equal”.

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                Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 10:25 am

                I disagree that they should only advise you to follow the law.

                For example, why not only advise people lock their bikes, but specify what kinds of locks they should and should not use? Why should we lock our doors? Why shouldn’t we walk anywhere we want flashing large sums of cash? There is no legal requirement to lock your bike or abode, nor any restriction on where you can display money.

                That so many cyclists are killed by vehicles is precisely why vulnerable road users need to take the threats they face into account when making riding and equipment choices.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 28, 2017 at 10:33 am

                That so many cyclists are killed by vehicles is precisely why vulnerable road users need to take the threats they face into account when making riding and equipment choices.

                This is victim-blaming mentality. Those making the threats are the ones who need to take responsibility, since they are the ones causing the harm. Don’t drive a large garbage truck at unsafe speeds at night without signaling. That’s far more irresponsible than forgetting to use a front bicycle light. You are making a false equivalency, and it’s attitudes like yours that prevent our society from adequately addressing the traffic violence epidemic.

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                Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 10:47 am

                So if I follow correctly, it’s good to advocate for locks because it’s common sense protection against theft, but but bad to advocate for taking common sense measures to keep safe on the roads…

                Call me nuts, but I’d rather lose my stuff than my life or health.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 28, 2017 at 10:55 am

                advocate for taking common sense measures

                You just contradicted yourself. If these measures are indeed “common sense” then there is no need to advocate for them because everyone already knows to do it. That’s the definition of “common sense”. I guarantee you that everyone who rides a bike is already taking all the measures they can to avoid crashing because literally no one wants to crash their bike. It hurts. But there is only so much you can do as an individual and ultimately it is up to the people capable of causing harm (i.e. those driving motor vehicles) to be safe.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 28, 2017 at 10:55 am

                >>> Don’t drive a large garbage truck at unsafe speeds at night without signaling. <<<

                Has anyone argued that this is OK? This smells a bit like herring.

                Just as we tell people to lock their bikes and also punish those who steal them, we can advise people on safe riding while punishing those who drive dangerously. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 28, 2017 at 10:56 am

                Sorry, wrong analogy. The scent is more like straw.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 28, 2017 at 10:59 am

                No one said dangerous driving was okay. The issue is that the PPB mentioned nothing about dangerous driving but felt compelled to “remind” cyclists to wear a helmet (not a law) and use lights at night. That is the issue here. Their statement attempts to take the blame off the dangerous driving and place it onto the victim.

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                9watts August 28, 2017 at 10:59 am

                “That so many cyclists are killed by vehicles is precisely why vulnerable road users need to take the threats they face into account when making riding and equipment choices.”

                It seems important to me to distinguish between (a) what I might instruct my 12 year old daughter to watch for, anticipate, and (b) how we as a society prioritize admonitions to groups of road users. In the latter case I think doing as you say sends exactly the wrong message, which is that by focusing on rider behavior we are specifically *not* recognizing the far greater responsibility properly assigned to those behind the wheel.

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                9watts August 28, 2017 at 11:06 am

                “it’s good to advocate for locks because it’s common sense protection against theft, but but bad to advocate for taking common sense measures to keep safe on the roads… ”

                Kyle,
                did you read q’s recent post that bears directly on this? Good stuff.

                https://bikeportland.org/2017/08/21/bicycle-rider-dies-after-collision-with-garbage-truck-driver-in-central-eastside-239577#comment-6822739

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                Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 11:06 am

                Common sense doesn’t mean everyone knows something — it just means there is a common understanding about it.

                For example most people would agree that it’s common sense for cyclists to choose gear and lights that make them visible on the roads, to wear helmets, and to ride defensively.

                A lot of people on BP will take issue with one or more of those concepts. But they’re still common sense, and in fact are regarded as such on most other cycling forums as well as in the general population.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 28, 2017 at 11:11 am

                >>> The issue is that the PPB mentioned nothing about dangerous driving but felt compelled to “remind” cyclists to wear a helmet (not a law) and use lights at night. <<<

                It's good advice, that despite it's common sense nature, is ignored by many (including, at times, myself). Meanwhile, they continue to investigate and, I hope, will pursue any appropriate charges against the driver of the truck. I'd prefer punishment to admonishment.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 28, 2017 at 11:16 am

                You’re missing the point. Yes, it’s good advice to use a light at night. It’s also good advice to use turn signals. PPB mentioned the former and not the latter. That is the problem.

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                Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 11:53 am

                That is something we agree on.

                This is an excellent time to remind drivers of the importance of using turn signals and looking for cyclists, pedestrians, and obstacles in their path. This thread may have been prevented had this happened.

                PPB should be called out if the investigation reveals that actual factors were not called out, especially if nonfactors were implied to be at play.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 28, 2017 at 12:14 pm

                I fully agree. I believe the PPB made their initial statement before evidence reflecting a lack of a turn signal came to light. I hope they update it.

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                wsbob August 28, 2017 at 12:29 pm

                “I fully agree. I believe the PPB made their initial statement before evidence reflecting a lack of a turn signal came to light. I hope they update it.” h kitty

                I think it’s a fair guess you’re correct that in the dept’s initial statements, rather the eventual full police investigation report, the police may not have known whether the person driving signaled for a turn, properly, or not. Definitely, the dept should include in its full report, as many details as the police can that may help everyone understand everything that contributed to the occurrence of this collision.

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                wsbob August 28, 2017 at 12:40 pm

                “…Portland Police point out that bikes should wear a helmet and have a light. Outside of bike Portland where a comment like that sends people into hysterics, the general reaction is “duh” ” billyjo

                This being a bike weblog, of course many people reading and commenting here object to the police making such recommendations. The bigger question for me is, when the police make such a recommendation following a collision or anytime, is it the dept’s intent in doing so to ‘blame the victim’?

                I don’t think so. Unless someone can offer something more substantial than advice given, to show that the PPD really does as a matter of policy, blame people that don’t wear bike helmets while riding, for injuries they sustain in collisions they’re involved in.

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                Dan A August 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm

                There IS evidence that the driver cut the corner:

                http://kptv.images.worldnow.com/images/14713465_G.jpg

                No mention in the police statement.

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                wsbob August 28, 2017 at 7:43 pm

                “There IS evidence that the driver cut the corner:

                http://kptv.images.worldnow.com/images/14713465_G.jpg

                No mention in the police statement.” dan a

                Sure, the truck driver might have cut the corner. That a garbage truck driver, or the driver of a longer truck and trailer would do that, especially at 2am in the morning when there’s likely not much traffic on the road, shouldn’t come as much of a surprised to anyone with any experience in using the road.

                If the skid marks are Monhait’s, it would seem she was watching the truck and tried to stop once she realized the truck was going to turn in front of her, after she already was halfway through the intersection.

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                wsbob August 29, 2017 at 12:15 am

                ” Portland Police point out that bikes should wear a helmet

                Again, I’d like to remind you that there is no helmet law in Portland for adults. If the police’s job is (supposedly) to enforce laws, then they should not be giving advice for things that are not actual laws. That and the efficacy of bicycle helmets is not a cut-and-dry issue – their protective value is not an absolute. But the primary issue here is the giving out of advice that is not a law and before a formal investigation has been completed. ” adam

                The job of the police is more than simply law enforcement. Part of their job also is community service and community protection as the community servants they are. Of course the police should be advising people to take safety precautions in using the street. That’s what recommendations to wear bike helmets and use lights and other visibility gear are. It’s also what encouraging kids to wait, watch, look and listen before crossing streets is.

                In their its statements to the public on this collision…apparently still all that’s presently available to the public..the police did not say whether or not Monhait had lights on her bike, or that she was using a bike helmet. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but they didn’t. The dept was seemingly very careful to offer as a general appeal to the public in the followup initial statement, the advice about helmets and lights. It went out of its way to avoid being accusatory and insensitive to the person that died as a result of injuries sustained in this collision. As well as to her families and friends, and anyone that cares about the lives of their fellow human beings.

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                Dan A August 29, 2017 at 7:15 am

                “That a garbage truck driver, or the driver of a longer truck and trailer would do that, especially at 2am in the morning when there’s likely not much traffic on the road, shouldn’t come as much of a surprised to anyone with any experience in using the road.”

                I’m not surprised by this sort of driving. I’m very familiar with it. But are you attempting to explain it away as acceptable behavior? I don’t understand the point you’re making. What does ‘not much traffic on the road’, legally speaking, have to do with how people should drive on a city road in the dark?

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                q August 29, 2017 at 9:43 am

                If it’s common for trucks to cut corners at night, don’t the police have (in your words) a “moral obligation” to warn people about that in their police reports? After all, it seems like that behavior was far more likely to have contributed to this death than the lack of a non-required rear light on the bike. And that warning would protect other drivers and pedestrians also, whereas the warning about bike tail lights isn’t nearly as likely to do that.

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                Dan A August 29, 2017 at 11:13 am

                I saw a garbage truck this morning on NW Couch, between Park & 9th, parked on the wrong side of the road with its lights on and the engine running.

                Are garbage trucks regularly driven on the wrong side of the road?

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                Kyle Banerjee August 29, 2017 at 11:35 am

                Every car you see parked facing the wrong way has been and will be driven the wrong way.

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                Pete August 29, 2017 at 5:59 pm

                Last night I saw on the (SF bay area) news where a pedestrian was killed by a garbage truck. I tried to look that up for you, but holy crap, there are so many search results of people killed by garbage trucks that I couldn’t find it.

                So instead I’ll leave you with yet another cycling blog sharing the same sentiment as many of us hear after a garbage truck driver killed a cyclist in NY and fled the scene last month:

                http://nyc.streetsblog.org/2017/07/24/nypd-defends-perp-and-tickets-cyclists-after-garbage-truck-driver-kills-neftaly-ramirez-and-flees-scene

                And no, we don’t just think it’s garbage truck drivers who drive like they own the road…

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      shirtsoff August 26, 2017 at 7:09 pm

      What? Any death is too many and if safe infrastructure could prevent another it is well worth being discussed. To not speak about improvements and then for another death to occur would be shameful. Silence and inaction are always inappropriate when future lives are on the line due to the status quo.

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    Kristi Finney August 27, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    I spoke to Tamar’s father at length and he was very interested in safety measures and Vision Zero, etc. My sense was that the family was very appreciative not only of the caring displayed for Tamar but of the work being done around safety for others/the future as well.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu August 28, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Tamar was somewhat well known in Portland. I didn’t know her, but turns out that some of my friends did. Given that, I was surprised that so few people who knew her came to the vigil. One of her family members did, and she spoke, but AFAIK she was the only one with a personal connection to Tamar. Why was that? The vigil was reasonably well publicized. Is there any chance that any of her friends might have been turned off by something about the vigil? I thought the vigil was respectful.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu August 28, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Adam

    That so many cyclists are killed by vehicles is precisely why vulnerable road users need to take the threats they face into account when making riding and equipment choices.

    This is victim-blaming mentality. Those making the threats are the ones who need to take responsibility, since they are the ones causing the harm. Don’t drive a large garbage truck at unsafe speeds at night without signaling. That’s far more irresponsible than forgetting to use a front bicycle light. You are making a false equivalency, and it’s attitudes like yours that prevent our society from adequately addressing the traffic violence epidemic.
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    So it is verboten to suggest that cyclists can learn to ride more safely? A generation of Portlanders should grow up without knowing the basic precautions and skills of urban cycling, because any mention of the topic is shouted down as “victim blaming”?

    Who volunteers to go to the families of dead cyclists and say “Despite that driver’s gross negligence, your loved one might still have escaped harm, if he’d used lights and reflectives, worn a helmet, learned defensive riding tactics, etc. But we, commenters on the mostly widely read cycling blog in Portland, actively oppose discussion of these topics. We’d rather see your loved one not know about or take those precautions, than sacrifice our activist ideology. Here, sign our petition for a protected bike lane.”

    When your kid starts riding on Portland’s busy streets, will you carefully teach him/her to use bright lights, reflectives, wear a helmet, ride defensively, etc? Or will you send him out, unlit, unhelmeted, and untrained, to serve as yet another tragic example of why we need more infrastructure and slower speeds (but, per you, not more enforcement)?

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    • Adam
      Adam August 28, 2017 at 11:14 am

      Again, and I can’t believe I keep having to repeat this – riding skills can only go so far. You can still be killed by an inattentive driver. Hell, the winner of the f*cking Tour de France was injured by a distracted driver. No amount of bike handling skills can save you from a two-ton machine being operated by someone more concerned with their face book feed than the road.

      You are presenting a straw man argument. Of course I will teach my kid bike handling skills. No one is saying that these things should not be taught. The issue is when we as a society place more responsibility on cyclists than we do drivers. Cars are objectively far more dangerous, yet we act as though driving is an inalienable right and constantly absolve drivers of blame, while postulating that if only that cyclists had better skills, they could have avoided being killed by a distracted driver.

      My point: teach the bike skills, but hold drivers to a far higher standard of safety and training because cars are the more dangerous vehicle.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty August 28, 2017 at 11:19 am

        I, like everyone else here, am fully on board with the need for better driver training. But how do you hold people to a higher standard of safety without better enforcement (which you oppose)?

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          9watts August 28, 2017 at 11:21 am

          At this moment I don’t think we’re talking so much about enforcement, though that is of course a key component going forward. Mostly we’re arguing here about the framing of the subject, how we divide up responsibility in our public utterances.

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        • Adam
          Adam August 28, 2017 at 11:28 am

          Yes, this is more about framing the issue from a sociological standpoint. And I am not against enforcement per se, only with how we currently do enforcement. I think there are plenty of enforcement tactics that don’t unfairly target minorities. Requiring stricter and more frequent driving exams would be a good start. There are even ways to lessen impacts to lower-income individuals, such as reduced fines for traffic violations. Hell, even dense affordable housing located close to job centers (something you frequently oppose) can help lessen the burden of car ownership for vulnerable communities.

          Point is, there are plenty of tactics to improve safety that don’t involve more cops that we need to be taking, but aren’t.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 28, 2017 at 11:43 am

            We agree that we need better driver training and education. I’m not sure I would support reduced fines for traffic violations, as that directly contradicts the point of punishing bad behavior. Also, I am not sure if driving exams are the answer, since it is everyday behavior that matters, not the ability to perform under “best behavior” circumstances. But there are probably other measures (black boxes in garbage trucks, for example) that would help and we would both support.

            For the record, I do not, and never have, opposed dense affordable housing near job centers. For example, I would (and do) fully support much more density and affordability in South Waterfront, the Lloyd district, Gateway, and other locations. What you’ve heard me oppose is achieving that goal by disrupting existing communities and destroying existing affordable housing, and the sheer folly of believing that the market, freed from regulation, will somehow solve our housing problems.

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        Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm

        Adam
        Again, and I can’t believe I keep having to repeat this – riding skills can only go so far. You can still be killed by an inattentive driver.

        Absolutely true.

        But they can take you much further than most people imagine.

        It is super dangerous to develop habits that work only in certain locales. The faith I see cyclists place in motorists here is absolutely astonishing. A lot of common practices here are suicidal in many other areas of the country — which is very bad for people who start cycling here and move elsewhere.

        It’s great that riding here is safer than in many venues, but aside from some people being bad drivers, people move/visit from other places where they just think differently.

        The ticket to safety is having the best drivers, cyclists, and infrastructure possible. Currently, all need substantial improvement.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu August 28, 2017 at 12:20 pm

        You say this in the abstract, but when anyone actually posts about safety practices and riding skills, you and others immediately shout it down as:
        – “victim blaming”
        – discouraging the interested-but-apprehensive would-be cyclists
        – distracting from your agenda of placing every bike lanes behind a concrete barrier

        You may say “teach the bike skills”, but you’re actually working against that aim.

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        • Adam
          Adam August 28, 2017 at 1:00 pm

          No, what I have a problem with is the mansplaining attitude of “everyone needs to learn proper riding technique” as if everyone doesn’t already possess these skills. You have no idea if Tamar had these skills or the lack thereof contributed to her death, yet here you are making the claim that skills could have prevented her death. It does absolutely no one a service to offer unsolicited advice about how to properly ride a bicycle.

          Not everyone wants or needs to learn Tour de France bike handling skills to go to the grocery store. To imply they do is insulting and condescending.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 28, 2017 at 1:04 pm

            Can you think of a way of expressing your point without using sexist shortcuts?

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              Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 2:08 pm

              HK, I think he means to say one can only dream 😉

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          • John Liu
            John Liu August 28, 2017 at 3:34 pm

            Surely you don’ think “everyone” riding a bike in Portland has good defensive riding skills?

            If “unsolicited advice” is prohibited, what about all the unsolicited advice to remove parking, protect bike lanes, and so on?

            And not all the comments in this thread relate specifically to the accident that killed Tamar.

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            • Adam
              Adam August 28, 2017 at 3:54 pm

              The very nature of riding a bike requires one to be defensive – unlike driving a car, which has seat belts, airbags, crumple zones, etc. designed to keep you safe in a crash, you have little to no safety features to speak of. The psychological effects of being exposed on a bike (compared to being surrounded by class and steel) cause a self-preservation instinct. The effects of this are well-documented – basically the more safety features you have, the more risks you take, and conversely, the more exposed you are, the more defensively you act. Yes, of course some people ride like crazy people for the sheer thrill or adrenaline rush. But I’d be willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of cyclists do not want to crash or take unnecessary risks, and therefore, ride defensively.

              The comparison to removing parking, protecting bike lanes, etc. makes no sense to me. Giving out personal advice to someone who not only didn’t ask for it, but is perfectly capable of riding a bike is not the same thing as expressing ideas about how city officials should build infrastructure. One is personal; and the other is public involvement vital to a functioning democracy. Surely you can see the difference between “you should never drive a car” and “the city should prioritize non-motorized travel”.

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            • Adam
              Adam August 28, 2017 at 4:14 pm

              Another point: I’d be willing to bet that most bike share riders lack the racing-inspired bike handling skills many people here think all cyclists need. Yet, fatalities and injuries on bike share are exceedingly rare. Why is that? Likely because the bikes force you to ride slowly, generally without a helmet (see the psychological effects of this above), and most of all, drivers appear to be more careful around bike share riders because they look amateurish. Looking like a drunk tourist makes drivers more careful around you because you seem unpredictable. I postulate that getting drivers to be more cautious is far more important than having “the proper skills”, since cars present by far the biggest risk to cyclists.

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              • John Liu
                John Liu August 28, 2017 at 8:33 pm

                No-one has mentioned “racing-inspired bike handling skills”. (Other than your post.)

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                Kyle Banerjee August 29, 2017 at 11:44 am

                What I find amusing is that I believe that comment was at least partly directed at me.

                Hard core roadies regard me as a total Fred and sometimes refer to me as such. Fair enough, I pretty much nail the image. That I enjoy riding ‘bents nets me a place just barely above “court appointed cyclists” in the eyes of many.

                Only here could I pass for an elitist 🙂

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              • Adam
                Adam August 29, 2017 at 12:04 pm

                I honestly don’t care if you want to kit up and ride expensive carbon fiber bikes. If you enjoy that then go for it. What I have a problem with is using racing to influence utility cycling. The two have literally nothing in common save for the bicycle. It’s also why I laugh at the people who kit up and ride clipless only to commute for a few miles because they think that’s the only proper way to ride a bicycle. Those people also probably laugh at me for riding folding bikes with tiny wheels and heavy Dutch bikes, and I’m fine with that.

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                Kyle Banerjee August 29, 2017 at 1:20 pm

                FWIW, I own 5 bikes, none of them carbon. I’m not sure if I’ve ever kitted up for a ride of less than 20 miles, and I don’t bother no far how I’m going if all I’m doing is tooling around town. But I do use clipless pedals in town (except my hipster bike has rat traps) because being mechanically attached is a significant safety advantage — your feet won’t slide off the pedals when performing emergency handling or acceleration.

                I haven’t seen anyone using racing logic on utility cycling — it’s a different beast entirely. The suggestion did give me a chuckle though. Sometimes people who do a lot of tight group riding put a hand on your butt to tell you they’re there. I don’t imagine you’d care for that 😉

                No one cares (not in a derogatory sense, but in the sense they don’t worry about it) what kind of bike you ride, how fast you go, and the like. But everyone wants to see everyone else be safe and not get into trouble.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 29, 2017 at 1:39 pm

                That’s fine, but I just really hate unsolicited advice. Just because I am complaining about something, doesn’t mean I want someone to come in and tell me how to fix it. Everyone’s needs and abilities are different, and sometimes you just want to vent because it feels good.

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              • Adam
                Adam August 29, 2017 at 1:42 pm

                …Especially because I don’t really need the advice to begin with. I’ve been riding in cities for seven years – three of them in Chicago winters. I do know how to properly handle a bike, and the assumption that I don’t because I complain about certain things is what really irks me the most.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 29, 2017 at 1:43 pm

                Do you ever offer unsolicited advice?

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              • Adam
                Adam August 29, 2017 at 1:48 pm

                I try not to.

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                q August 29, 2017 at 1:53 pm

                I never do, and my advice to others is not to, either.

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            wsbob August 28, 2017 at 7:34 pm

            Interesting. Something that concerns me about the range of people’s manner of biking in traffic, is that many apparently lack the knowledge of how to use even basic road maneuvers such as lane changes and preparing for them sufficiently in advance of their transition into the lane they’re going for, or for turns. Other skills many people biking seem to lack: situational awareness, anticipating hazardous situations ahead, being prepared to divert around the unexpected hazards.

            Those kinds of things are all I’m hoping most people using bikes for basic transportation will pick up on. Strength and racing bike handling skills can come in handy for quicker transition through congested traffic conditions, but people riding city bikes, cruisers and whatnot, don’t really need racing bike skills.

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        wsbob August 28, 2017 at 12:48 pm

        “Again, and I can’t believe I keep having to repeat this – riding skills can only go so far. …” adam

        Riding skills, that is, skills good for riding defensively in traffic, can do a heck of a lot to enhance the safety of riding a bike in traffic…if people that ride have and actually use those skills. Either not having, or having and not using those skills is a serious and dangerous omission of road user responsibility.

        Adam…keep on repeating that advice, because even people experienced in riding and using good, safe road use techniques and procedures can benefit from being reminded about their importance. Even the best, safest road user occasionally makes mistakes for a variety of reasons, fatigue being one of them.

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    billyjo August 28, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    What would be easier? putting on a helmet and a bike light, or teaching every person in the world how to drive and getting them to put their full attention on driving every second they are driving?

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      q August 28, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Telling people to put on a helmet and bike light is obviously much easier. That’s why police and other agencies do it. That doesn’t mean it’s the right approach, it just means it’s the easiest.

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      q August 28, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Why are you saying, ” teaching every person in the world how to drive and getting them to put their full attention on driving every second they are driving?”

      Do you think anyone here (or anywhere) is saying we should teach everyone in the world how to drive?

      And is there something wrong with thinking people should have their full attention on driving while they’re driving?

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        wsbob August 28, 2017 at 7:22 pm

        “…And is there something wrong with thinking people should have their full attention on driving while they’re driving?” q

        You can say think that, though it’s important as well to keep in mind what lengths of time it’s reasonable for road users to sustain their full attention on the road when using it. I think most people’s concentration fluctuates in most of the activities they participate in. People aren’t computers, and even computers make mistakes. Keeping that in mind can save your bacon when using the road.

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          q August 29, 2017 at 3:09 pm

          Everyone realizes drivers often don’t have their full attention on driving. That doesn’t mean it’s unreasonable to think that they should. Everyone knows 100% attention by 100% of drivers will never be achieved.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 29, 2017 at 3:36 pm

            We all think they should, we all know they won’t. The only solution is to ride/drive defensively.

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              9watts August 29, 2017 at 7:40 pm

              insufferable.

              That (individual prescription) is pointedly *not* the only solution.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 29, 2017 at 11:11 pm

                It’s the only solution until your solution gets implemented.

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                9watts August 29, 2017 at 11:28 pm

                Well, I guess the problem I have with that approach, familiar though it is, is that the fact that we’ve abandoned any pretense of doing this right (interim) sucks all the air out of the efforts to actually do it right (eventual).

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 29, 2017 at 11:32 pm

                So I’m clear… are you arguing against riding defensively?

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                9watts August 30, 2017 at 7:13 am

                Of course not.

                The distinction I’ve been flogging here is between cyclist-to-cyclist advice (ride defensively, wear reflective material, be prepared for the unexpected), and PSAs, public pronouncements by cops, PBOT, ODOT, Trimet, etc. (those in cars bear a disproportionate share of the responsibility, must abide by all laws; we as a society need to do much better than our lackluster commitment to enforcement has historically suggested). For a public entity to single out responsibility by individual so-called vulnerable users, skipping over the larger picture, the asymmetry in traffic violence culpability is not acceptable.
                It matters who is speaking and who the audience is.

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                Dan A August 30, 2017 at 7:48 am

                If the goal is Vision Zero (and the city voted to adopt this in 2015), then you need to do a whole lot better than PSAs for foam hats.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 30, 2017 at 9:02 am

                I thought you were complaining that *I* recommend riding defensively.

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                9watts August 30, 2017 at 9:08 am

                policy prescription vs. peer-to-peer advice. How about that?

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    • Adam
      Adam August 28, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      It is easier. That’s why they do it. Doesn’t make it the right solution, though. It’s easier to just dump all my garbage into the river; does that mean that’s the best idea for society as a whole?

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      Dan A August 28, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      There were about 40,000 vehicle deaths in the last year, and around 800 of them were cyclists. 29% of those cyclists were hit by a car (232), and for the sake of discussion I’ll be generous to your point of view and blame half of those deaths solely on the cyclists who were killed (116). So if you had a massive campaign and somehow turned every cyclist into a perfect cyclist, you’d still have 39,884 deaths to deal with.

      What I want to know is, when are we going to start doing a better job of training buildings of the importance of helmets and lights? In the US, 60 buildings per day are hit by cars.

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        bikeninja August 28, 2017 at 2:08 pm

        I agree with you Dan, since cars so frequently run in to buildings and trees and light posts, this must somehow be the fault of these non-moving objects. We should clearly assume that motorists will frequently collide with anything less obvious than a july 4th fireworks show. We must cover every object with within ramming distance of the roadways with flashing lights, buzzers and spinning reflectors. Since this will obviously be expensive ,we should cut down the number of roadways accessible by motorists and leave the rest as they are for the use of walkers, cyclists and skateboarders.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 28, 2017 at 4:10 pm

          You have to admit that if an unlit building or tree were in the middle of an intersection, it would be a problem.

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            Dan A August 28, 2017 at 4:21 pm

            For who? I actually look in the direction that I’m traveling.

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            q August 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm

            This type of thing came up a few years ago when a standup paddleboard group was discussing what type of lights are required when you paddle at night. While that discussion was going on, a guy in a 40′ motorboat hit an island in the Willamette going so fast that it launched his boat completely out of the water and it landed in the middle of the island. The owner/operator later said he just didn’t see it.

            The island was the nautical equivalent of a building in the road.

            So we all got the point–you paddle with your required light, but understand it’s not going to make a difference to the boaters who are out there running into islands. But actually, come to think of it, the Coast Guard seems to focus huge amounts of its safety messages to motor boaters. Of course it tells human-powered craft operators to be prepared for cold, currents, falling in, etc. but when it comes to collisions (rare) between those and motor boats, I don’t recall any reluctance to focus on the motorboat operator’s behavior.

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            • Adam
              Adam August 28, 2017 at 7:13 pm

              I personally will never ride without a bright light but that’s more a testament to how unreasonably dark Portland streets are. The pavement quality is absolutely horrid — especially so on many bike routes — so being able to see that giant crack or pothole before your right on time of it is important to me. I’d prefer it if the city fixed the lighting and pavement issues but I have very little faith that will happen so super bright light it is!

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            Dan A August 29, 2017 at 7:10 am

            I rode on an unlit road this morning at about 5:15am. I came around a 90-degree corner and there was a black garbage can sitting in middle of the bike lane, about 20 yards up the road. I had no trouble seeing it.

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        Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 2:20 pm

        Given how many millions of vehicles there are on the roads at any one time, that’s hardly shocking.

        What is more surprising that out of 800 cycling deaths, only 29% of those were due to being hit by cars. What caused the majority of them and what source are you working from?

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          Dan A August 28, 2017 at 4:20 pm

          Oops, 29% of cyclist injuries are due to collisions with cars. Still, the point remains.

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        q August 28, 2017 at 3:03 pm

        Not to discount helmets and lights, but so many times people here are hit by cars in broad daylight and/or on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk. I cross a busy street at rush hour almost daily, and almost get hit (or would if I wasn’t watching) once every week or two by left-turning cars who peel out into the crosswalk right where I’d be, then look shocked when they see me.

        With many deaths happening in perfect visibility conditions, telling people to use lights will only make a difference in a small percentage of cases.

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          q August 28, 2017 at 3:12 pm

          Forgot to say, my comment was inspired by the statistics about how many buildings are hit.

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          Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 3:53 pm

          They obviously wouldn’t help then. And sometimes there’s nothing they could have done to change the outcome.

          Then there are times when looking both ways before crossing the street, even though they were in a crosswalk or had a light/sign clearly giving them right of way, may have helped.

          What distinguishes a good driver from a bad one, is a good driver is prepared when someone else scrеws up and doesn’t settle for just fulfilling their own legal obligations. The same applies for all road users.

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        billyjo August 28, 2017 at 4:38 pm

        And this is why people ignore so many bike enthusiasts. This is such a ridiculous argument that if you pulled it in a public hearing or talking with an elected official, everything you want to get across would be tossed and you’d be labeled a crackpot.

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          Dan A August 28, 2017 at 5:29 pm

          It’s crackpot to be fanatical about ways to possibly reduce the body count by 1%, completely ignoring the other 99%.

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          Dan A August 28, 2017 at 7:09 pm

          And was it not our elected officials who adopted Vision Zero?

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          q August 29, 2017 at 2:58 pm

          You do realize that the commenter wasn’t actually advocating training buildings, don’t you?

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    Joe August 28, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    wreckless driving needs to stop and blaming.

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      Kyle Banerjee August 28, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Wreckless driving never stopped. That’s the problem…

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    Joe August 28, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    q
    Why are you saying, ” teaching every person in the world how to drive and getting them to put their full attention on driving every second they are driving?”
    Do you think anyone here (or anywhere) is saying we should teach everyone in the world how to drive?
    And is there something wrong with thinking people should have their full attention on driving while they’re driving?
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    I watch ppl drive like complete idiots almost daily and its like some type of get out of my way or else method really sad if you ask me 🙁

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    Dan A August 28, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    I was thinking today that it would really help if we treated driving like we do a big round of layoffs. If we could just remove the low-hanging fruit, the bottom 10% of all drivers, we would make the world a much safer place.

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      Kyle Banerjee August 29, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Those would be the ones driving without a license or insurance — i.e. the hardest ones to get off the roads.

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        Dan A August 29, 2017 at 2:11 pm

        When found, remove them from their cars, and crush their cars.

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          Kyle Banerjee August 29, 2017 at 4:34 pm

          They still find a way. RIP Mitch.

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            Dan A August 29, 2017 at 6:26 pm

            Keep going. Eventually all of the crap cars will be destroyed and there will be nothing else for Joel Schrantz to buy.

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      • Adam
        Adam August 29, 2017 at 2:11 pm

        Too bad our “progressive” state shot down by a huge margin the ballot measure that would have allowed for undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses and insurance.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 29, 2017 at 2:25 pm

          While I actually support issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants, I totally see why most people do not. It is a bit akin to issuing criminals gun permits to bring them “into the system”. I am NOT comparing undocumented immigrants to criminals (especially not the way our current president does), but the situations are not completely dissimilar.

          It may be good policy, but it is terrible politics.

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    Kyle Banerjee August 29, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Adam
    I try not to.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XsuY3qzDfY

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    • Adam
      Adam August 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Hey, I never claimed that I was perfect. 😉

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