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Driver, student collide in crosswalk in front of Harriet Tubman Middle School

Posted by on October 17th, 2018 at 11:54 am

Looking southbound on N Flint at Russell. The school is on the right.

Many of us had bad feelings about the chaotic traffic on North Flint Avenue during school drop-off. Now those concerns appear to have been very warranted.

Less than two months into the school season, a young student walking to class was injured by an auto user as she crossed the street in front of Harriet Tubman Middle School yesterday morning.

Several readers contacted us about the collision and we were eventually forwarded this email from the school’s principal, Natasha Butler:

Dear Harriet Tubman Families,

I wanted to inform you that one of our students was involved in a car accident this morning. She was crossing the intersection of Flint and Russell with her brother when she was struck by a car. The student’s family was informed, and after her mother arrived at the scene, she was taken by ambulance to a hospital. The student suffered some scratches, but was talking and coherent.

Police were at the scene and took a report. The driver of the car was not speeding and was not on a cell phone, and no charges will be filed. If your child witnessed or has knowledge of this accident and is in need of support, please contact our School Counselor, Ms. Drew.

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Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Christopher Burley confirmed the collision with us today, saying the girl was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment of her injuries. “The girl was in the crosswalk at the time of the crash according to witnesses,” Sgt. Burley shared, “At this time there have been no citations or arrest.”

One school parent who emailed me about this collision said, “There have been a lot of concerns from families about walking to [school].”

Another source who contacted me about this said he thinks, “They should ban cars on that street in the morning and afternoon.”

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

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pkulak
Subscriber
pkulak

Umm, is it not a crime to hit a child with your car in a crosswalk???

Kem Marks
Guest
Kem Marks

You would think if nothing else, careless driving. It is time to change the police mentality about this and if necessary, the law.

Allan Rudwick
Subscriber

no charges will be filed — why?

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Because Auto Über Alles and “I didn’t see her” get out jail free cards handed out like candy.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Because the driver did not see the girl in the crosswalk.
That is all, and all you have to say. You need no excuse except to say you just
did not see the person in front of your car.
Simple as that.

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

When I used to drive a cab I once got distracted messing with my radio and rear-ended another car. Nobody was hurt but I basically had to pay the cab company’s insurance deductible, plus a fine. When the incident was later reviewed by the cab company’s governing board, one of the questions they asked me was “Is there ever a time when you’re not responsible for ascertaining what is in front of your vehicle.” The answer was “No, I can’t think of any.”

David
Guest
David

Good question. If someone hit or pushed the kid without help from a car it would probably be a different story.

Driving a car insulates you from the environment and negative consequences.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If someone hit or pushed a kid accidentally, it would end up much the same, but without someone calling an ambulance. I’m just glad she wasn’t seriously hurt.

WylyQuimby
Guest
WylyQuimby

To be successful in court, a prosecutor has to prove intent to commit a crime. Breaking a law is not enough.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

You can get a speeding ticket without intending to speed.

WylyQuimby
Guest
WylyQuimby

If you want to talk traffic infraction and not crimes, the burden of proof is pretty low. But go to court and challenge your ticket. The policeman who wrote the ticket will testify to the judge that you were speeding and present evidence. You will have to convince the judge that you did not intend to speed. What will you use as your defense? My speedometer is broken? He will say, “Do you have a functioning speedometer?” “Yes, your honor.” Or, “No, your honor.” The Judge will then say, “Why not?” Either way you are stuck with negligent behavior.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Who would claim their speedometer is broken? The same person who has a kid claimed the dog ate their homework?

“I hereby find you guilty of using a cliched and lame excuse! Get this bozo out of my courtroom!”

WylyQuimby
Guest
WylyQuimby

Well, exactly. If you were speeding, it’s going to be hard to convince a judge that you were not aware that you were speeding. Intent is pretty clear.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Ummm… really? I’ve can think of tons of believable varieties of “I spaced out for a little while – I didn’t realize I was going that fast!” or “I didn’t know that was the speed limit in that area, I must have missed the sign!” I know I’ve heard a couple of them in real situations, even though the police actually giving out speeding tickets seems exceedingly rare nowadays.

The underlying problem is that, in general, Americans don’t regard driving as a deadly serious activity that requires an adult’s full attention, 100% of the time, without impairment of any sort. In fact, I would submit that there are adults without recognized impairments who in an ideal society shouldn’t be driving because they (we?) are too distractible just by our thoughts and things we see out on the road.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

>>> Americans don’t regard driving as a deadly serious activity that requires an adult’s full attention, 100% of the time, without impairment of any sort <<<

I believe this is an impossible standard than no one here could live up to.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

I don’t think we’ll get to 100%, but that ought to be the goal. Judging by the number of people I see using mobile devices while driving, eating while driving, doing personal hygiene while driving, etc., and the negative reaction I receive when I tell my friends, “Hey, how about we just wait a minute while you do that, then we can get going again?”, my belief is that most people don’t set 100% full attention on driving as their goal. All those other things can and should be done while not driving.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

On that we totally agree.

9watts
Subscriber

You say you agree. And yet your comment to which Alex is responding doesn’t allow for, anticipate, or suggest his far more useful, constructive, engaged perspective.

Confused.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Well then let me lay it out for you. I do not believe that most people are capable of giving a complex cognitive task such as driving their complete 100% attention at all times.

I also don’t think people should be putting on their makeup while they’re driving.

9watts
Subscriber

And yet you are reluctant to craw any conclusions, suggest any changes that might reduce the potential consequences of this ubiquitous misalignment.

Except of course wait for micro-chips to take over…..

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I have suggested many changes, here and elsewhere. Some in this very thread.

9watts
Subscriber

I recall the M&Ms.

9watts
Subscriber

Besides M&Ms.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Killing someone ought to be, at the very least, a traffic infraction.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Regardless of circumstance?

9watts
Subscriber

If it involves a motor vehicle, yes!

Can you explain why you would be concerned about this?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I think intent and circumstance are foundational to any system of justice.

And yes, I fully agree that currently many people who commit misdeeds are going unpunished, and that this too is unjust.

9watts
Subscriber

“intent and circumstance are foundational”

OK, but why cast the net so narrowly?

Intent: I am going to infer that you are inferring a narrowly conceived intent want to get kid dropped off in time for school but there is no reason not to conceptualize intent to include others my intent must include not hurting, maiming, killing others with similar objectives. If I fail at that more broadly conceived intent then I should be held accountable.

Candice Palmer looking straight ahead instead of tending to her dog in the back seat while driving on Multnomah Blvd would have made it far less likely she would maim Reese Wilson with her car.
https://bikeportland.org/2011/04/05/grand-jury-no-criminal-charges-for-woman-in-sw-multnomah-blvd-crash-50826

Circumstance: adding a car into the mix changes the risks, the potential for harm. Everyone knows this. And there is no need to pretend otherwise.

Marvin Ford riding a donkey instead of driving a pickup would have been incapable of killing Hank Bersani on Hwy 99W.

https://bikeportland.org/2012/04/02/collision-on-99w-outside-monmouth-claims-life-of-wou-professor-69758

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Yes. Let them go to court and contest the infraction if they feel there are circumstances that made the killing unavoidable.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That’s the whole point. There could be no contesting, regardless of circumstance.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

I don’t understand how there are not zebra crossings across Russell at Flint when the property of the school is literally right up to the corner there (as seen in the right of the lede photo). How is that not a school zone priority for PBOT to mark?

Ted G
Guest
Ted G

Uh, well, would you rather encourage students to cross there, or have them cross at the traffic light that is 50 yards to the east of Flint? The answer is not always more infrastructure.

joan
Subscriber

Kids are crossing there because it’s convenient. If you know a way to get middle school kids to cross at the “right” intersection rather than another legal but unmarked intersection, I think we parents of middle school kids would love to hear it!

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

From a strictly legal standpoint, if there is a marked crosswalk 50 yards from where this happened, would that invalidate the unmarked crosswalk, and make it not a legal crossing?

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Can you cite this Hello, Kitty? I thought the same at one point, but I’ve looked and looked and cannot find an ORS that corroborates this. The only ORS I can find is that every corner is a crosswalk in Oregon — marked or unmarked. I’d really like to know if what you state is codified anywhere by any authority.

idlebytes
Guest
idlebytes

Oregon law only requires you to use a pedestrian tunnel or bridge 814.060. Portland law requires you use a crosswalk if within 150′ it doesn’t not say you’re required to use a marked crosswalk over an unmarked one 16.70.210 and their definition of a crosswalk is the same as Oregon’s.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

That is my understanding as well; otherwise, it would take three crossings just to “legally” cross the west sidewalk of SW 9th Ave across SW Washington St. because of the marked crosswalk across the east side of the intersection. That is, if Kitty’s interpretation is true (again, for which I can find no legal corroboration).

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’m sure I’ve seen it, but cannot find it now.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

See what I posted here. I think it might have to do with guidelines of when to mark a crosswalk, not what counts as a legal crosswalk.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

i thought u guys resolved this in 2016 w/ the scholarly input of famous legal mind:

q
October 7, 2016 at 9:28 pm
Yes, it looks like marking only one crosswalk instead of both at an intersection is the equivalent of marking one, and putting up an “illegal to cross” sign and barrier at the other one.

Today, after becoming aware of the laws, I saw examples all over of single marked crosswalks, including ones where the nearby (less than 150′ away) unmarked crossing had curb extensions and ramps. According to the law, that’s absurd, since it means money is being spent all over the city to encourage people to cross illegally.

q
Guest
q

I don’t trust that guy (q) so I looked up the article that comment came from:
https://bikeportland.org/2016/10/04/activists-and-pbot-spar-over-unsanctioned-crosswalk-in-southeast-portland-192665

It was John Lascurettes who deserves the credit for finding this:
https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/801.220
“Crosswalk.” “Crosswalk” means any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere that is distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface of the roadway that conform in design to the standards established for crosswalks under ORS 810.200 (Uniform standards for traffic control devices). Whenever marked crosswalks have been indicated, such crosswalks and no other shall be deemed lawful across such roadway at that intersection.

Then look here–same thing:
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/citycode/article/16353
Whenever marked cross- walks have been indicated, such cross- walks and no other shall be deemed lawful across such roadway at that intersection.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

It still seems this is somewhat ambiguous to me and we still haven’t gotten any lawyer types to weigh in on it, but I’m going to boil just this part down of that statute:

Whenever marked cross- walks have been indicated, such cross- walks and no other shall be deemed lawful across such roadway at that intersection. Where no marked crosswalk exists, a crosswalk is that portion of the roadway described in the following:

A. Where sidewalks, shoulders or a combination thereof exists, a crosswalk is the portion of a roadway at an intersection, not more than 20 feet in width as measured from the prolongation of the lateral line of the roadway toward the prolongation of the adjacent property line, that is included within: …

Reading just that part again today I read it as this: where a crosswalk is marked, no area defined by the unmarked definition of a crosswalk comes into play, the crosswalk for that corner is then defined only by paint for that extension of sidewalk. The painted crosswalk at one sidewalk intersection does not nullify the de facto crosswalk on the other side of the roadway intersection. We’re making the mistake of thinking of the intersection of two roadways when we say the “other side” is now prohibited. But what the statute is defining is the intersection of one roadway and the sidewalk. The opposite sidewalk and roadway are a different intersection. I could be 100% wrong on this and would love to see someone with some clout weigh in on this.

I bring up this area in support of my theory. NE Grand at NE Everett/I-5 onramp. The west side of Grand’s sidewalk has a marked crosswalk across Everett. The east sidewalk does not. However, it also has a “no pedestrian crossing” sign (hard to make out in the Google view) in addition to a retaining wall at the intersection there (though none in the reverse approach). They are explicitly prohibiting crossing there (whereas I don’t see it explicitly stated in other places discussed here and elsewhere). I discovered this when walking up Grand one day. It was the third time coming from near Hawthorne that I was forced to the east side of Grand to the west side — talk about pedestrian hostile — I was walking up Grand while watching transit tracker to see if a #6 bus would ever catch up to me and wanted to be on the east sidewalk for it.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

When two streets cross in a “+”, how many intersections are there? Most people would say 1, but it sounds as if you are suggesting there may be 4. Am I reading you correctly?

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Exactly. And based on the previous comments conversation that q linked to above, where the PBOT implied as much (because he said the other unmarked crosswalks are not negated), this is what I posit: there are three to four sidewalk-roadway intersection at every roadway-roadway intersection, dependent on whether it’s a T or X roadway intersection. However, that “intersection” has a formal definition in the ORS, not including the sidewalk, it might poke a big giant hole in my theory.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

The marked crosswalk takes precedence over the statutory crossing *at that location* when the marked crossing differs from the statutory. An intersection can have a marked and unmarked crosswalk on opposite sides of the cross street and both are legal crossings.

q
Guest
q

“An intersection can have a marked and unmarked crosswalk on opposite sides of the cross street and both are legal crossings.”

I think that’s how it should be, but how does that jibe with Oregon’s: “Whenever marked crosswalks have been indicated, such crosswalks and no other shall be deemed lawful across such roadway at that intersection”

or with Portland’s, “Whenever marked cross- walks have been indicated, such cross- walks and no other shall be deemed lawful across such roadway at that intersection”?

Your answer sounds the opposite of those. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I just want to understand why you are right, if you are.

9watts
Subscriber

What?!
I’ve never heard of there being a hierarchy of cross walks. A cross walk is a cross walk, regardless of how much paint there is. I have a hard time understanding why this should not be so.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Well, I’ve answered my own question as to why PBOT would not ordinarily put a crosswalk there despite it being directly adjacent to school property: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/594899

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

* marked crosswalk that is (it’s still a legal crosswalk by virtue of being a corner).

q
Guest
q

I’m curious about the minimum pedestrian volume requirements for installing crosswalks. Is there any negative about installing them, other than cost? Perhaps an idea that if there are too many people will ignore them?

It seems like a school is a special case. There may not be a high (4,000 per the chart) daily volume of people crossing, but twice a day there’s high demand for it, and the people crossing are especially vulnerable.

When nobody’s using a crosswalk, it creates no inconvenience for people driving. It’s not like a stop sign. Why not mark all the crossings near schools?

q
Guest
q

Oops, I read that wrong about the 4,000. I still wonder, though, why not do lots more marked crossings at schools. Is it the “false sense of safety” argument?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

John,
You probably shouldn’t believe everything you read. The school’s property ends about 350 feet south of Flint. The crash did not occur “..in front of Harriet Tubman..” as stated. PBOT places school zones up to 100 feet from school property, and school crosswalks are typically marked only near schools, or where schools agree to patrol those marked school crosswalks. Standard pedestrian crosswalks can be marked, but since all intersections have crosswalks, marking can be redundant. Also, I believe the student was struck crossing Flint. PBOT would encourage pedestrians to use the Vancouver signal controlled crossing to cross Russell.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Do you mean “south of Russell”? Because Flint is aligned with longitudinally, not latitudinally, so “south of Flint” does not compute! How’s that for not believing what I read? 😉

Eric Longstaff
Guest
Eric Longstaff

They just added zebra stripes at Flint and Page fairly recently too. I’m all too familiar with this busy street since I live off Vancouver Ave in between Russell and Page. I frequent Ex Novo and bring my dog to the park across the street. In fact my dog was almost hit 4 years ago and that prompted me to write PBOT about N Flint. I let them know it was craziness not having striped crosswalks or speed bumps so close to a school and park. That and it’s a busy bike greenway.

So years later the speed bumps go in, but little has changed. People fly down this street. And yes, this includes occasional commuters on bike going too fast when there is congestion.

Spend a half hour having a beer on the patio at Ex Novo and you’ll be audibly reminded too often hearing the undersides of cars scraping against the street because they are going too fast over the speed bumps.

Ted G
Guest
Ted G

“Many of us had bad feelings about the chaotic traffic on North Flint Avenue during school drop-off.”

I followed the link you provided and did not find any comments specific to this issue. In particular, I did not see where anyone was expressing concerns about children trying to cross Russell at Flint. Being that there is a traffic light at Russell and Vancouver, about 50 yards east of Flint, it would seem the student chose a riskier place to cross. Is it now PBOT job to “do something about this” so that kids can cross safely here rather than at the traffic light?

joan
Subscriber

Yes, it’s the job of PBOT and people who drive cars to make this intersection with a legal, unmarked crosswalk safer for vulnerable users.

joan
Subscriber

It turns out that my son, a Tubman eighth grader who walks to school, witnessed this collision. I don’t have any extra information to add about the collision itself, though I do know he gave a witness statement to police.

But I do know that parents have been talking about that particular intersection quite a bit because of the potential (and now realized) danger. Faubion was at Tubman for a while, but more of those kids were taking the bus to school. Tubman mornings seem much busier, likely because more kids are walking and biking from home to school. There also seems to be a lot more car traffic than with Faubion. I asked other parents to please consider carpooling if they weren’t already.

There are almost six hundred kids attending Tubman. It’s a large population going to one place in a very short window of time.

I’d encourage folks who bike through that area in the mornings during drop offs to consider staying on Vancouver for a few blocks more and turning right onto Tillamook and then left onto Flint, and bypassing the school area completely. This is a change I’ve made in my morning route. It’d be much better if there were fewer cars on Flint, but reducing commuting bike traffic might help reduce the volume overall. It’s also a lot easier to bike if you don’t have to dodge kids and cars.

I’d also ask folks who drive cars down Flint who aren’t going to Tubman to stay off of Flint. But I’m not sure those folks are reading BikePortland.

We need PBOT to step in and look at the safety situation for a few blocks around the school.

9watts
Subscriber

“Faubion was at Tubman for a while”

Can you explain? Who is Faubion?

joan
Subscriber

(Sorry, replied as a comment below, not reply to this question.)

Rich
Guest
Rich

I believe Faubion was a school name.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

I think it was a typo; she meant Fabio, who is well known for turning heads and causing distraction.
https://www.bookstr.com/ode-fabio

9watts
Subscriber

🙂

Rich
Guest
Rich

My son is also an 8th grader at Tubman. He thought that the student that was hit was on a bicycle. Does that jibe with what you heard?

joan
Subscriber

No, my understanding is that she was walking. My son didn’t mention a bike. I’ll check with him later.

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

I’m confused why you would advocate for reducing bike congestion. Wouldn’t more vulnerable road user “traffic” help increase caution on the part of drivers or at least slow them down? I’d rather see the street fill up with pedestrians and bikes than to suggest we send them elsewhere. But tell me why I’m wrong.

joan
Subscriber

Yeah, I hear you, but many folks on bikes are commuting to downtown and not looking out for middle school aged kids, not always the most attentive pedestrians, who are crossing Flint from east to west to get to school. I’m not suggesting bikes are the problem. However, as a person on a bike, I have found it’s faster and less stressful for me to continue a few blocks down the quiet part of Vancouver south of Russell and then turn onto Tillamook.

We folks on bikes aren’t used to thinking of this as a school drop-off zone because the school was closed for many years. It’s a change. It’s okay for us to think about changes to our routes that don’t have us biking through a school zone.

There are 600 kids all going to same place within about 30 minutes. If they’re on bikes, great. If you’re commuting through, maybe choose a different route.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Bikehead?

X
Guest
X

Apologies to all the kids here, in particular the one who was walking to school and got slammed by a motor vehicle operator. No ticket? That’s appalling. If the child had been found to be in error (walking to school, what were they thinking?) no doubt the “officer” would have followed the ambulance to drop off the ticket. Of course the driver “feels bad”. But let’s be clear: “feels bad” is when you salt your coffee or drop your phone in the toilet. Bang a child with a large machine? –no adequate expressions for this, rest of comment cancelled.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

I ride Flint past Tubman, and in my opinion diverting cyclists off it would make it much *more* dangerous. Drivers rarely care that much about speed bumps by themselves, and will often accelerate more erratically when they’re around. With regular cycle traffic added to the mix, most drivers end up driving slowly behind a bike in front of them until they have a speed-bump free stretch long enough to pass in the opposing traffic lane, which doesn’t happen on Flint until you clear the school and reach the bridge.

On top of that, the primary reason why there aren’t even more cars taking Flint during rush hour is that us cyclists are forcing drivers to go more slowly (and actually follow the school zone speed limit). Almost nobody would choose Flint simply by looking at a map, the people on it are most likely routed there via wayfinding apps, which take into account traffic on the adjoining routes and average trip times of users to determine where to route. If the few cars that do take Flint can shorten their trip time by doing so, the apps will just route more on when traffic is busy on Williams/Vancouver or Interstate. Slowing them down limits that, and since bikes aren’t generally routing via wayfinding apps they don’t increase traffic if their trip times are shorter.

joan
Subscriber

I think folks in cars choose Flint because you can’t turn right onto Broadway from Vancouver, heading south. So, if you are west of MLK and want to take the Broadway Bridge, you can either drive east to get onto MLK to Broadway, or, really, the most obvious route is to take Flint.

I actually contacted the Portland police to complain about the speed of cars on Flint a few years ago. Folks drive way too fast down Flint. It’s not an arterial but they are treating it as such.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Ah, but that’s my point. if I look at a map of the area and want to get from anywhere north of Legacy-Emanuel to the Pearl, without *already knowing* that I can’t turn right at Broadway and Vancouver, I still wouldn’t pick Flint as a cut-through street because a map implies that I *can* stay on Vancouver and turn right at Broadway. There are no visual indicators to let me know a right turn is prohibited there unless I look up a Google Street View of the intersection.

So the people who do use it as a cut-through fall into two categories – they either know the route because they know the area (and therefore probably also know it’s a school zone), or they don’t know the route but are being routed onto it by a wayfinding app because *it* knows that they can’t turn right on Broadway. That second set of drivers are by far the most dangerous, they’re driving with one eye on their phone to tell them where to go and they have no idea there’s a school on their route until they get to it. Wayfinding apps will also route drivers exiting I-5 at Broadway to take Flint north instead of Williams, if they’re heading for the Mississippi area.

The road is tacitly endorsed as a cut-through by the city currently, even if they did toss some speed bumps on it to “encourage” people to cut through slowly. Bikes on that street actually force drivers to drive slowly and discourage wayfinding apps from routing them to it; if all the bike commuters started following your advice, you’d quickly see a huge influx of cars taking their place. Many of them would probably be the ones that almost hit me every day heading south on Vancouver while they’re trying to pile into an already-full freeway entrance lane – they can’t fit, give up on the freeway and continue heading south on Vancouver hoping to cross the river later on. If they’re using a wayfinding app to pick the shortest route to work, guess where it will route them…

joan
Subscriber

Yes, sorry! Faubion PK-8 was temporarily relocated to the Tubman building during a big renovation/construction project. That’s a different neighborhood, and many of those kids took a school bus. Since Tubman is the middle school for the neighborhood, my sense is that many more kids are walking and biking there and getting dropped off by parents, versus when Faubion was using that building.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

On a different but related subject, I regularly walk by Harriet Tubman during the school day and routinely see several dozen or more student bikes locked to the railing along Flint in front of the school.

They just spent a bunch of money retrofitting this building, why didn’t that work also include new, upgraded bike parking for as many students who want to use it?

The old bike racks at this school were pathetic in type, weather protection and number of spaces available, and I believe they are currently inaccessible because they are inside the ongoing construction zone.

MTW
Guest
MTW

We do not need to continue to allow minimally (at best) trained amateurs to operate killing machines. We hand out drivers licenses to minors after a laughable written and “behind the wheel” test with no continuing education requirements. Would you tolerate that from your dentist? CPA? Electrician?

And suggesting that modifying/ending car culture would amount to limiting people to 20 mph travel is the strawman. Commercial pilots and train engineers go through rigorous training. But when people end up injured or dead in collisions with motorists the internal defenses within the public kick in which says ” I could have made a mistake like that.” Because we all know it; we all know that very few of us possess the skills and concentrated effort needed to safely operate such powerful machines.

And yes, this is my fiercest anti-car rant which I know isn’t practical. But on a news item which can best be summed up with “middle school student hit by car operator while walking to school (in a crosswalk!) and city police shrug”, I’d rather go full “war on cars”

SD
Guest
SD

Slow your roll, everyone. According to the unofficial, but fully binding manual of Portland street safety, we should wait for a fatality before making a small incremental change.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Great, another Vision Zero success! (It was not a fatality.) Pats on the back all around city hall!

Sarcasm!

Marked crosswalk; sunny day; taken by ambulance to hospital. Zero Consequences.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

It is not just Tubman. more than once I have been pinched to the curb on 26th at Cleveland High. the last time, I used my “outside voice” to draw attention to myself, and the embarrassment I imparted on the “little darling” in berating the oblivious haus frau may have a more lasting effect on the driver than a ticket.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Cleveland is terrible for many reasons. One them is pedestrians behaving badly. I’ve wanted to use my outside voice for the pedestrians while biking past there.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

All children are bad pedestrians. That’s why we have school zones and take special caution around schools. You’ve broken a very basic principal of driving if you hit a kid.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I love your enthusiastic certainty, untainted by the ambiguities of life! With this approach we could greatly simplify our traffic law!

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

I love sitting at Ex-Novo enjoying a beer watching the madness unfold. N.Flint is madness at that school.

Toby Welborn
Guest
Toby Welborn

Even if there is not a fine the citation/warning, the process is needed to collect data and prevent these accidents in the future.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Medical transport triggers a police report and legally compels a DMV report.

john prentice
Guest
john prentice

My car has been stolen twice, and each time when recovered, the police did nothing other than remove it from the stolen vehicles list. My bicycle was stolen, internet sleuths helped me identify the perpetrator. Police helped me recover the bike, but did nothing else. A group I was dining were accosted while seated outdoors at a restaurant, police were called, individual was asked to depart by police.

In each case, a law was broken and perpetrators identified. Police did nothing.

“Car culture at work” is a glib way to overlook the fact that the Portland Police don’t issue citations or pursue charges all the time on what are deemed to be low level incidents, crime, thefts, etc.

Get over yourself. This isn’t car culture. It’s a city that is groaning under the strain and no one is going to write tickets over minor offenses. And yes, this one seems minor, as much as you see it symbolic of a larger problem, police seldom write tickets to support symbolism.

9watts
Subscriber

I am going to guess you are white and have a roof over your head.

You might sing a different tune if you were poor, homeless, a protester, or a person of color. Our police stay busy, just not with situations you notice.

john prentice
Guest
john prentice

Nice to throw out the racial stereotyping, that’s a great way to keep a conversation going.

But you’re right, I am. And I don’t expect the police spend much time with me since you are right, they are busy with issues in areas with poverty, with homelessness, with higher crime rates. And you just made my point. This isn’t about car culture.

9watts
Subscriber

“The police are busy with issues in areas with poverty, with homelessness, with higher crime rates.”

Actually it doesn’t work quite like that. The crime rates have nothing to do with it; the police just look harder, spend all the time harassing people in those sections of town, and eventually find pretexts.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

White guy gets his car stolen; police do nothing. White guy gets his bike stolen, finds the thieves, the police do nothing. White guy accosted at a restaurant, police do nothing.

SD
Guest
SD

I guess I don’t see hitting a child with my car as a minor offense. Any number of variables could have resulted in a much worse outcome. You would probably feel different if it was your child.

The examples that you mention would require much more effort from the police than writing a traffic citation.

Police give out traffic citations for much less than driving into a child walking to school in a crosswalk all of the time.

john prentice
Guest
john prentice

You are right, I probably would. Any number of variables could have, but they didn’t. The cop had to make a decision, and the decision was not to ticket one parent when there was no sign (yet) of serious injuries, or another parent demanding action, at a busy street corner in a busy part of the morning.
And of course police give out citations all the time for less minor offenses.

But that demonstrates the opposite of a claim of “car culture” right?

The issue is does this demonstrate some sort of “car culture” where offenses by cars are given a free pass. And I think nothing about this incident demonstrates that, instead is demonstrates a cop given a middle class parent a pass for screwing up and bumping a kid with a car.

It’s stupid for sure, but if anything it demonstrates middle class privilege, or busy cops, or whatever. But “car culture,” please.

q
Guest
q

“Bumping a kid with a car”?

Article says kid was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. That’s quite a “bump”.

SD
Guest
SD

“But that demonstrates the opposite of a claim of “car culture” right?”

Not really.
One of the main tenets of car culture is that only cars should be on the road or at least that roads are for cars and anyone using them without a car is infringing on space designated for cars . Through the lens of car culture a child that is walking is less entitled to that space than a car.

Tickets given to cars for tail lights, speeding, parking, illegal u-turns etc. are to protect drivers from other drivers, so they are not evidence of the non existence of car culture.

This is car culture if a ticket is not given because not yielding to a pedestrian in a cross walk is a traffic violation and if the driver hits someone they are either negligent or intentionally harming someone.

The officer was already there, it would have been easy to give a ticket, but they did not. The most likely reason is that like you, they think its no big deal to hit children with cars, potentially believe that the child should not have been there anyway, and they are not aware of their bias against people using the road without a car.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Do you really think anyone thinks “its no big deal to hit children with cars”?

I mean, really.

q
Guest
q

A few comments up, someone referred to this incident as “bumping a kid with a car”, even though the kid was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That statement was made in the context of a specific incident where the consequences were known to be minor. I interpret that much differently than accusing the police of being part of a culture that sees hitting children with cars is no big deal. I do not believe that culture exists.

q
Guest
q

You did ask, “Do you really think ANYONE thinks “it’s no big deal to hit children with cars”? And the answer is that at least one person commenting does seem to believe that, at least if the injuries are minor.

But yes, I agree there’s no “culture that sees hitting children with cars is no big deal”, and I’d guess just about everyone would agree it’s a big deal no matter how minor the injuries, perhaps because people realize that once a child is hit, whether they end up with a bruise vs. broken bones or worse comes down to almost to luck and chance.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I guess you were technically correct. Which is, of course, the best kind of correct.

SD
Guest
SD

Not a big enough deal to give a citation is “no big deal.”

Based on the bias demonstrated by some officers over the years, I don’t think it’s too far out to think that if the injuries aren’t severe some would look at it as “no harm, no foul” and tell the kid to be more careful; in a manner similar to the way that the above commenter continues to frame this incident.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You really have no idea what the officer was thinking, or why he or she decided not to issue a citation. You have no knowledge of what happened besides third-hand accounts of the incident reported in the media.

You mention that some officers have demonstrated bias over the years. While I don’t doubt this is true, I do reject the notion that that provides any evidence of what this officer was thinking under this set of circumstances.

Assigning presumed “group attributes” to an individual is the essence of profiling.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Assigning presumed “group attributes” to an individual is the essence of profiling.”

But you keep committing something worse in my opinion. In your eagerness to individualize the situation, make this about the judge’s mindset, you disctract from the PATTERNS we all recognize, and which are far more consequential when it comes to justice, and the reasons why our society seems so unable to deliver it.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Aren’t “patterns” just what police who profile claim to be looking for?

9watts
Subscriber

You tell me.

Power is very unevenly distributed in this country. Patterns involving state violence concern me a whole lot more than putative patterns those same actors invoke as justification for their actions. The Rampart division of the LAPD also tried to claim they were doing important work. Right.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rampart_scandal

Your attempt to shift the focus , suggest equivalence reminds me of the phony claim by certain groups about voter fraud. 31 cases have been identified **out of 1 billion votes cast** since 2000 in this country. Meanwhile millions who should have been allowed to vote are kicked off the voter rolls, disfranchised, suppressed by those same interests crowing about their made-up bogeyman voter fraud.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’m not “shifting blame” at all. I’m saying that concluding this police officer thinks it’s no big deal for a car to hit a child is an example of the same sorts of thinking that leads to profiling.

SD is not saying that we need to carefully monitor the police for possible bias because they have great power, a statement with which I would agree. SD is instead saying that this officer, in this case, thought something outrageous because other police have demonstrated bias in other situations. It’s not about right and wrong, it’s about drawing faulty conclusions about people without evidence, based solely on the idea that group membership means a person thinks or behaves a certain way.

If you want to understand what happened in this situation, you really need to start with some facts, of which we have few.

9watts
Subscriber

“If you want to understand what happened in this situation”

What would specifics we don’t already know add? I think we know plenty without any more forensics.* I’d be much more interested in taking three steps back, reflecting on what is going on all around us; how the pieces fit together; why justice is almost never served.

* Person driving car smashes into child in cross walk; child is transported to hospital in ambulance; law enforcement shrugs (as they tend to do, even in cases far more consequential, and for reasons we’ve already learned and discussed here in these pages thousands of times over).

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Shrugged? How can you possibly conclude that? Do you have even the tiniest iota of evidence to support that possibility?

Perhaps the child stepped in front of the car in such a way that the driver had no opportunity to stop (kids get distracted too). Perhaps the officer was unable to ascertain with certainty what happened (writing tickets that aren’t supportable is abusive). Maybe the officer suspected the driver was at fault, was anguished about what happened, but just couldn’t figure a way to make a ticket stick. Maybe the officer and the driver had a good chuckle over the thought of some kid in the hospital and met later for cocktails.

We just don’t know. And when I don’t have facts, I try to withhold judgement. And when I can’t do that, I try not to start with the most outlandish conclusion, which is, in this case, that this officer sees children getting smashed into by a car as something to just shrug about.

SD
Guest
SD

HK, I agree with most of what you are saying, but it would make more sense if it were directed at someone else’s comments. You’ve attributed extraneous meaning to my comments and made assumptions from what I wrote that I didn’t make. No worries, we can continue this thread the next time a driver kills or harms someone and doesn’t receive a citation.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

My fundamental point, and one that applies to your comments as well as those of others, is that we need to know the facts before drawing a conclusion.

You wrote:

>>> The officer was already there, it would have been easy to give a ticket, but they did not. The most likely reason is that like you, they think its no big deal to hit children with cars, potentially believe that the child should not have been there anyway, and they are not aware of their bias against people using the road without a car. <<<

Maybe you meant something different, but your conclusion seems to be that the driver deserved a ticket, and that the officer did not do their duty by failing to issue one. Maybe that's not what you meant, but if it is, I would ask what basis you have for believing the driver violated a law, and which one, and is it likely that the officer had sufficient evidence to make it stick? As far as I could see, no facts or allegations are presented in the description of the event that would suggest any particular ticket should have been issued.

SD
Guest
SD

ORS 811.028 Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian.
Maybe I am missing something, but how do you hit a pedestrian with your car without violating this law? The same law where officers ticket people in safety enforcement actions.

As far as what I meant; I think that it is more likely and definitely not unreasonable to consider that the reason the officer did not issue a citation was due to a perception that it wasn’t a serious offense. It is also possible that the officer was not aware that this was a possible citation or that they thought the driver learned their lesson. As far as making it stick, this seems unlikely if there were witnesses and the driver did not deny hitting the person with their car. If there were mitigating circumstances that cleared the driver, I would expect those to be in the O article or be brought forward by people who are closer to the situation. I don’t think anyone is waiting to see if there is a bigger better citation that can be issued, but maybe this is possible.

I am not claiming to know what happened. This explanation is the simplest and is consistent with the way that non life threatening injuries to people driving, walking and biking are treated all of time.

X
Guest
X

Did I miss something? Where does it say what street the student was crossing? If they were crossing Flint at Russell, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. People making the left onto Flint: quit passing aggressively in the corner!

If they were crossing Russell at Flint, that is _still legal_, although more risky because of rampant disregard of well-known crosswalk traffic laws, but just the sort of thing a human operating Any Vehicle should expect near a school. Expect, prepare for, and defend by slowing their own vehicle. I will drop my bike in front of you if I see a small pedestrian in the corner whilst you are, like, hitting your apex. Take it to the track.

bendite
Guest
bendite

Hello, Kitty
Like driving blindfolded?Recommended 2

Not looking and blindfolded are almost the same thing.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Almost.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

10 over-get a ticket. Hit a kid, off the hook.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Hell, you can intentionally shoot someone and not even get arrested. It’s almost like we live in a complicated world!

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

I understand that you’re trying to show that there’s nuance to life and every situation can be different, but it’s not like this person bumped the kid in the crosswalk because they were fleeing someone with road rage who was threatening them or they had a swarm of bees suddenly fly into their car.

Years ago I got caught in a crosswalk sting operation and cited for a failure to yield. I was in the left lane on Powell and my view of the pedestrian was truly blocked by two large vehicles in front of me in the right lane (who were also pulled over). By the time I had a view of the pedestrian starting to walk out I braked hard but knew I couldn’t stop completely so rolled through as slowly as I could. Keep in mind the pedestrian wasn’t even halfway into the right lane yet, so there was technically no real risk of me colliding with her at the time. I still got a ticket. How is what I did worse than this driver who actually hit someone in the crosswalk, in an area with lower speeds and where they should have arguably been expecting more pedestrians?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You probably got a ticket because a traffic officer witnessed the event, and so knew specifically what law you had violated, and was able to provide evidence to support the allegation.

In this case, I don’t know whether a law was violated and a ticket was due. I don’t know how much evidence the responding officer had. And that’s the point. People here are second guessing what happened based on zero details about what occurred, and drawing ridiculous and unsupportable conclusions such as the responding officer thinks it’s no big deal for a car to crash into a pedestrian.

It would be far more productive, in my opinion, to focus on figuring out how to make this crossing safer, rather than looking for ways to demonize people with zero evidence of their motives or mindset. Some commenters have done just that, and that’s where I think we should focus our conversation.

9watts
Subscriber

“I don’t know how much evidence the responding officer had. And that’s the point.”

Reasonable enough.

Except.

Some years back I received a $260 ticket, not for something the office witnessed (he pulled a guy over for running a red light, who convinced him I had made him do it – by passing him on the right with my bike). It was a circus, took endless time and hassle to sort out on my part, eand the officer didn’t even know the language of the statute for which he ticketed me. My point is, when someone is ticketed for something as conjectured and dubious as I was, and then someone else (in a car) violates actual laws and bumps/smashes/hits someone in a crosswalk who is then transported to a hospital, with witnesses, and yet receives no ticket you can perhaps see why folks come to these conclusions which you are saying are premature.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

So… you got a dubious ticket from a different officer at some point in the past. What does that tell us about this situation?

You mention witnesses. What did they say happened?

9watts
Subscriber

“What does that tell us about this situation?”

I figured I would leave that for anyone to interpret as they see fit.
But since you asked me: The arbitrariness/bias when it comes to being ticketed.
-> Person on bike easy to ticket/teach a lesson/waste their time for dubious nonsense;
-> Person in car who not only breaks a law but sends someone to the hospital, no ticket.

“You mention witnesses. ”

…in the situation we’re discussing/Flint/crosswalk

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

But you see, what many of us are railing on about for this specific case is how it relates to that general “culture” thing that’s been mentioned many times. Obviously, different situations need to be looked at individually, but when instances similar to – or even worse than – this start to feel predictable in the outcome, it’s quite justifiable for people to feel a bit incredulous about the situation.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Yes, tickets can be issued in an arbitrary manner. And since we know nothing about what happened or what the witnesses said, we can conclude nothing about what happened in this particular situation.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Ryan — feeling incredulous or skeptical are rational reactions. I would totally support people digging in a bit and trying to discover the facts about what happened, that might allow us to conclude whether the outcome was reasonable given the circumstances. It may well not have been.

I’m arguing that in the absence of any information, it is not reasonable to draw rather extreme inferences about the mindset of the responding officer.

9watts
Subscriber

“we can conclude nothing”

You (and the long-not-heard-from wspob) are fond of saying this.

I continue to be perplexed by this. I think the facts we do know are more than enough to draw conclusions, make sense of the situation, proceed. Especially when we take into account the range of situations in which tickets *are* issued. That was my point in bringing up my case.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You draw a connection between a BS ticket you once got and this situation. I contend you have established no such connection, and are (perhaps unintentionally) disguising that fact by using the passive voice.

It’s like what Soren said in the Holzmann thread… you are stereotyping one individual (s/he doesn’t care about kids getting run over) based on what another did (issued a BS ticket). That is invalid thinking.

9watts
Subscriber

Gobbledygook.
I am stereotyping no one.
I am questioning your we (always) need more facts before anyone can get cited stance.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’d be happy to start with some facts. The police are biased? Fine. What did the witnesses say?

9watts
Subscriber

The VRU law has now been on the books for almost eleven years. People not in cars have been killed and seriously injured in Oregon by those in cars at comparable rates before and after passage of this law as far as I know.
Here’s a case in which it was applied (immediately I will note): https://bikeportland.org/2013/07/11/careless-driving-to-blame-for-death-of-woman-in-se-division-crosswalk-90164

I have no idea (I asked at the time but never got an answer) why it was applied here and yet not in dozens of other superficially similar cases before and since. And I realize that in this case on Flint no serious injury was sustained by the child in the cross walk, but I’m pretty confident that the probability of the VRU law being applied if that child had been seriously injured or even been killed is extremely low. There is an arbitrariness about when this law is invoked, due largely to our cultural reluctance to mete out severe consequences for acts of carelessness committed with the auto.
You will no doubt say that the particulars matter, are all important. But while I appreciate the risk of jumping to conclusions, the basic risks, vulnerabilities, responsibilities in these situations are crystal clear. Which is why in other jurisdictions they have Strict Liability.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Yes, I say the facts matter. Prejudice is not enough.

9watts
Subscriber

How is the concept of Strict Liability = prejudice?

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

sikoler
“prioritizing the safety of PEOPLE over the convenience/mobility of CARS”this is a false dichotomy…and it speaks to the core of why the “kill all cars” paradigm is actually counterproductive**we can do both simultaneously**

“False dichotomy”? You’ve obviously made your mind up and aren’t bothered to see what’s actually going on, but whatever…

You conflate what I said about making safety for people a higher priority than car mobility/convenience as a “kill all cars” mentality. Hardly. As I’ve gotten older and have been able to experience many different countries/cultures/transportation environments all over the world, I can totally understand where people come from who are in the “kill all cars” camp, but stating that car convenience should be a lower priority is not the same as wanting them all gone. You think that we can increase safety for all people while simultaneously keeping car mobility at the top of the list of priorities, yet history is not on your side. While on the other hand, prioritizing alternate transportation modes has actually been shown to also increase safety for ALL people, strengthen local economies, reduce health care and insurance costs, reduce instances of preventable diseases…. But yeah, I’m just some wacko with no common sense that wants to destroy all cars.