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Bend judge rules bike lane does not continue through intersection

Posted by on October 17th, 2018 at 11:15 am

Bend Bulletin story published yesterday.

A bicycle rider was killed last year in the central Oregon city of Bend when he was involved in a collision with a FedEx truck operator. The collision was a right-hook that took place in an intersection.

The reason I’m sharing this story here and now is because of a Deschutes County Circuit Court ruling that was made in the case yesterday. Here’s the story from the Bend Bulletin (emphasis mine):

A Deschutes County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday ruled a cyclist hit and killed in an intersection by a FedEx truck did not have the protection of a bike lane.

FedEx driver Trenton Derek Sage was found not guilty of the violation of failing to yield to a rider in a bicycle lane. Last November, Sage hit and killed Bend man Jonathan Chase Adams, 31… The case had implications beyond the lives of Sage and Adams. Prosecutor Andrew Steiner said many people today do not treat bike lanes like vehicle lanes, though they are.

“This is cultural,” he said. “Many people just don’t think of them as lanes.”

Steiner attempted to make the case that bike lanes continue through intersections, citing Oregon Department of Transportation guidelines for road construction and recent court cases and legislation in Oregon.

But Tuesday afternoon, Adler announced he did not agree. He said he saw “no authority” to support the contention that bike lanes continue through intersections in Oregon.

If this sounds familiar it’s because we had a similar case in Portland in 2009. In that instance, Multnomah County Court Judge Mark Zusman ruled that a woman who admitted to making a sudden right turn in her car that resulted in a collision with a bicycle rider in an intersection could not be found guilty for “failure to yield… in a bike lane” because — in Judge Zusman’s opinion — there is technically no “bike lane” in the intersection since there are no painted lines.

We spoke to legal and law enforcement experts about that case and they all agreed that Zusman’s decision was unfortunate and/or just plain wrong. At the time I said repeatedly that the law needs to be clarified so as to avoid decisions like this from happening ever again. Well, here we are.

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‘Bicycle lane’ means that part of the highway, adjacent to the roadway, designated by official signs or markings…
– ORS 801.155

Let’s be clear: Even though the legal definition of a bicycle lane (ORS 801.155) doesn’t specifically address intersections, the legal protection of a bicycle lane absolutely does continue through an intersection even if the markings do not. Standard vehicle lanes also don’t continue through intersections — does that mean intersections are a legal free-for-all? No. There are no lines in intersections simply because it would be confusing and impossible to follow them when they criss-cross each other.

But don’t take my word for it.

Former Portland Police Bureau Captain Bryan Parman told us in 2010 that, “We all know that lanes continue through an intersection, we just don’t lay down a bunch of criss-crossing lines because it would be confusing.” He also said, “It’s a poor ruling in an individual case but it doesn’t change the way we do business.”

Keep in mind that the Bend case is much different in one major respect: The bicycle rider was riding relatively fast and one witness said he was “bombing” downhill prior to the collision. In the Portland case, the auto user admitted fault and made a sudden right turn without looking. It’s unclear if the Deschutes County Judge took the bicycle rider’s behavior into account in his interpretation of the bike lane law.

The Portland case ultimately settled out of court with the auto user’s insurance company taking full responsibility.

It’s very frustrating to another Oregon judge make this determination about bike lanes. We had a feeling this could happen if the law was not clarified. In 2010, a former employee of The Street Trust said their legislative committee discussed the possibility of changing the law. “The question hinges on whether this is a one-time fluke,” the employee said, “or if this is something that will spread like a virus.” Given what just happened in Bend, it’s time for the law to be cleaned up.

The law should be changed to explicitly state that bicycle lanes continue through intersections — whether the lane markings do or not.

UPDATE, 12:06 pm: We’ve obtained some of the documents used in the Deschutes County Court trial. In a memo to the court, the driver’s Portland-based attorney, David McDonald, cites the 2009 Zusman decision as evidence that the bike lanes didn’t legally continue through the intersection. McDonald also states, “a bicycle lane is a traffic control device, and traffic controlled devices have to be clearly marked. The fact that the bicycle lane’s markings are not continuous through the intersection, and the point of impact was not with a designated bicycle lane, Mr. Sage [the truck operator] cannot be adjudge liable for a violation of ORS 811.050.”

UPDATE: Here’s a May 2018 memo written by Deputy DA Andrew Steiner that explains why he believes bike lanes continue through intersections:
Memo Re Adams 5-1-18

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

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9watts
Subscriber

What I don’t understand is the asymmetric implication of this. Why is it the person on a bike (the more vulnerable users) who apparently lose(s) her rights in the intersection?
Since as you said it would be silly for all intersections to be legal free for alls, what gives?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The result is asymmetrical because the underlying law is asymmetrical (in that it specifically protects several classes of users). If the law is invalid (as the judge found, incorrectly in my opinion), then the result will reflect that underlying asymmetry.

9watts
Subscriber

We haven’t heard much about the VRU law here …. in years.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

It’s on the same dusty shelf as the basic speed rule.

9watts
Subscriber

I must have missed it. Would love to know more.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Driver charged under VRU law (see update at end of article)

9watts
Subscriber

Thanks!

Travis Ryno
Guest
Travis Ryno

I think they are trying not to open up a can of worms regarding traffic laws. Intersections are where many people are killed in auto accidents every day-with turns being a major factor. In your car, you must watch for cars (and pedestrians) on a left turn, which is where many people are killed, but to also scan for bicycles moving onto then across the road at a wide range of speeds could add alot to that. Then right turn vehicles, who now just need to check a small area around their intended path for pedestrians will be required to effectively look behind them to avoid hitting a fast approaching bicycle…which complicates things quite a bit as well- at the biker’s peril, followed by the peril of any cross traffic approaching in adjacent lanes which they then forgot about trying to avoid the bike…. Just the simple addition of red light cameras, which change no rules cause quite an increase in accidents in many areas. Driving needs to be as simple as possible for everyone’s sake.
I can easily see a bike lane right-of-way law leading to many more bicycle deaths…and legal trouble/felonies/prison time for alot of decent people who just got overwhelmed with the demands once in their life and had an accident.

Imagine if all right lanes were for going straight, and only the middle lanes were for right turns. Thats very similar to one of the aspects of this….So Idk…this article must be leaving something out I guess.

Anyway so what’s at stake here? This article talks like people just dont want to have to stop at intersections, like its some big issue…they ought to clarify, because its frankly insulting to imply that people who commute on bikes are so “first world problems” and petulant….like we are too hopelessly spoiled to wait at the intersection…. Now I’m not from Portland, so can someone fill me in on what the article left out?? Are there places where you just can’t cross and this is the only way to fix that in places? Are there no crossing signals? If not, can’t they just put those in?
Is it something about how the roads are laid out in Oregon?

?

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

Just to give a little local context from Bend. In his argument for the defense, the attorney emphasized that the cyclist did not take ‘due care’. This intersection is a bit tricky: first of all, the bike rider was very unlikely ‘bombing’ because it is a flat road, with just a slight drop as you approach the intersection. He was going straight. The truck was turning right into a relatively narrow, and more than 90 degree turn, so was likely going less than 5 mph. So, there could have been as much as a 15-20 mph speed difference.

9watts
Subscriber

If the rider is going straight, what would ‘due care’ have looked like? Did he break the speed limit? Did he pass the Fed Ex truck driver on the right? Did the Fed Ex truck driver pass him earlier?

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

That’s a good point. I think there should be an enhanced expectation on a driver who has passed a cyclist in the past few seconds.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

That sounds like it might have been a bait-and-hook situation. The turn is more than 90 degrees so the truck driver tries to set up the turn by moving left. The bicyclist sees the truck moving left and thinks, “He sees me and is giving me room,” only discover too late that he has not been seen and the truck is pulling across his path leaving him nowhere to go.

I haven’t seen the video. Maybe that’s what happened, maybe not.

Andrew Kreps
Guest
Andrew Kreps

That’s exactly what happened to me in better naito a couple of years back, except it was a van towing a trailer that wasn’t signalling their turn. Or looking. Or really paying any attention at all. I survived by the grace of my 8″ disc brakes.

PeaDub
Subscriber
PeaDub

My rule is I never pass a vehicle on the right if their turn signal is on. Even if they stop dead for me; I merge and pass on the left. I know this confuses some drivers, but the number of times I’ve been certain and also absolutely wrong that a driver knew I was there is high enough that I just don’t do it anymore.

Modern cars have enormous blind-spots due to high door-lines and huge window pillars for safety (their safety, not mine).

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

This illustrates one of the fundamental problems of asking people to turn across going-straight lanes.

Why do we keep doing this???

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

We keep doing this because people keep asking for it. JM and many on this blog applauded the placement of a plastic gutter that confined cyclists to a right-hook trap just last week and lambasted the notion that it would be better to force motorists to merge half a block earlier.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I guess I’ll just have to start merging into the vehicle lane every time I go through an intersection now. Just to be safe.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

This is exactly what you should do if there’s any ambiguity at all.

Al
Guest
Al

I agree that the ruling is not consistent with reality. However, treating the bike lane like another vehicle lane, to make a right hand turn a driver would need to “change lanes” to occupy the bicycle lane prior to the intersection in order to turn. Otherwise, it would be like making a right hand turn from a left hand lane in a two lanes going straight situation. Note that lane changes are not permitted within intersections. Is this what we want drivers to do?

Personally, and I just had this happen Tuesday, if a vehicle is making a right turn in front of me and I’m still behind the end of the vehicle then I immediately take the lane behind them and pass them on the left rather than risk getting right hooked. This sometimes confuses the driver as they wait for me to proceed ahead on the right but I’d rather not be in the turning danger zone. Drivers who never even acknowledge my presence don’t know the difference and it’s way better than slamming on the brakes and then having a “No, you go first” contest with the driver.

There have been several instances where the driver turning wasn’t far enough ahead for me to do this and I had to follow their turn right in order to avoid a collision.

Finally, in heavy traffic, passing a right turning vehicle on the left may not be possible due to the vehicle behind being too close so it’s very much up to situational awareness at that point.

Q
Guest
Q

Motor vehicles merging into the bike lane to make a turn is often called a “california turn” or something similar on this blog when in fact it’s the law in more states than not, including Washington, so Oregon is the west coast outlier for bike lane turn merging. Always always pass a turning vehicle on the left, even if you have a bike lane, even if you think they’re yielding to you.

q
Guest
q

I didn’t realize I had a bigger relative.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Only Oregon and Arizona do the “turn right from the left of the bike lane” thing, and Arizona’s law is somewhat ambiguous. We’re the outlier, and it’s not working well at all. Sure, it’s inconvenient to have motorists clog a bike lane two hundred feet before the intersection, but it sure beats a right hook.

9watts
Subscriber

What would Utrecht do?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Drink a Heineken.

USbike
Guest
USbike

More likely a Vedett or one of the 100+ Belgian brews. Even amongst the Dutch, many consider Heineken to be piss water. It almost has the same reputation as PBR or Nati Lite.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Seriously. They’ve been working on this very design for years now.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Was that the only offense the driver was charged with? That failure to yield charge is a Class B traffic violation.

Honestly, it seems like barking up the wrong tree. A right hook seems to be surefire “vehicular assault” (ORS 811.060), a Class A misdemeanor. The elements of that crime are recklessness, contact (ped/bicycle/motorcycle), and injury. Reckless means “a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur.” In a right hook the driver passed the bicycle rider and then turned in front, and thus is necessarily aware of and disregards a substantial risk by making the turn–ipso facto reckless.

I’m aware of the difficulty in such prosecutions due to a tilted “standard of care” for drivers. But that’s my point–rather than fixing the failure to yield law, how about we (prosecutors, the legislature) focus on fixing the real legal shortcoming. Save failure to yield for non-injuries.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Among many awful things about this is the Bend Bulletin including the following details about the person riding, and failing to mention that none are legal requirements for an adult riding in broad daylight: “He was not wearing a helmet or reflective clothing or a light.”

stephan
Guest
stephan

And note that the crash occurred at 11:20 am, so during daylight. To mention that the person did not have a bike helmet is enraging enough, but to state that he did not have a llight during daytime is just nuts.

Phoenix
Guest
Phoenix

BUT newer cars have daytime running lights that are always on… you know for visibility & general safety… idk maybe it’s time to start with bikes too??

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Why stop there? Mandatory lights for all pedestrians too.

/s

Tom
Guest
Tom

What if they dashed the bike lane through the intersection. Would it still not count, or would it need to be a solid line? Don’t the Dutch use dashed bike lines through intersections?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

From the wording of the court ruling it sounds as if the bike lane would have counted as existing in the intersection if the line were dashed across the intersection.

The reason we don’t dash every lane separator across intersections, as alluded to above, is it is makes for a confusing visual mess. Normally it’s done only at intersections with nonstandard geometry or multiple parallel turn lanes.

But I guess we need to put pressure on PBOT to dash every bike lane separator across ALL intersections, given this absolutely senseless ruling.

If a bike lane exists on both sides of the intersection, how does it not continue through the intersection? If I’m in a car crossing an intersection and swerve into the other car lane, bumping into another car, didn’t I make an unsafe lane change regardless of whether the lane was marked across the intersection?

9watts
Subscriber

That is what I mean about the asymmetry, the anti-VRU bias in this ruling, this interpretation. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It’s only biased because the underlying law is biased.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I’m curious how one might know that the judge is not biased against VRUs. Does he bicycle for transportation? Does he have a Share The Road license plate? Is he an “avid cyclist”?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’m not asserting the judge wasn’t biased, only that the ruling appears lopsided because it invalidated a law that was itself lopsided.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

” If I’m in a car crossing an intersection and swerve into the other car lane, bumping into another car, didn’t I make an unsafe lane change regardless of whether the lane was marked across the intersection?”

Failure to Maintain Lane (811.370) requires they be clearly marked. Failure to Signal (811.375) requires that there be a lane. So they would have to charge you with a generic law like careless driving. But then that might be hard to prove when there’s no traffic control devices (lanes) for you to violate.

9watts
Subscriber

All of you who champion protected bike lanes here, I’m curious for you to explain to us how intersections, and specifically this legal matter, would be handled in that situation?

Jprepsw
Guest
Jprepsw

Separated and signaled. Driver would have ran a right on red, or failure to yield if they were both green. This is also legally solvable with strict liability for drivers.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

This ruling effectively turns multi-lane intersections into a free-for-all. The potential issues from this would apply to all lanes. For example, what would prevent someone from changing lanes without signaling in the middle of an intersection? Someone could even go straight from a left-turn lane, under this logic. Once they enter the intersection, their turn lane no longer exists.

9watts
Subscriber

I don’t think it is that broadly problematic. Cars – the mode apparently rightfully present in these intersections – don’t suffer under the ambiguity revealed here. Isn’t it pretty much confined to the fact that bikes are found to the right of motor vehicles that might turn right?
The ruling that would I suspect have made more sense was to recognize the special danger someone on a bike in this situation faces, and to modestly restrict right turning movement by said motor vehicles because of the disproportionate risks faced by those in the bike lane. Clarifying who has the right of way in these situations (it used to be the person going straight had the right of way) would be a useful complement.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It used to be that the person going straight was to the left of the turner. The problem arises when we create “special” rules that make this no longer so. When one of those special rules falls down, the legal structures built on them suffer as well.

younggods
Guest
younggods

Why not enormous signs at every intersection that say “motorists yield to bicyclists” or something of the sort?

X
Guest
X

Seems the retina can’t actually take them in.

“Car crushings, video at 11”

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

We already had laws that could have dealt with this. Instead, someone decided to create a new one and lowered the standard of protection.

Bike advocates sell riders out every time they advocate for a bike lane. Increasing overall ridership at the expense of us all. If they cared about cyclists, they never would have put them to the right of potentially right-turning cars going into an intersection.

Ben Hubbird
Guest
Ben Hubbird

That stretch of 12th / Sandy is a fucking nightmare of trucks parked in the bike lane, aggressive driving, freight companies blocking multiple traffic lanes (and associated frustrated auto users). Really bummed that the repaving & restriping of Sandy west of 12th seems to have very little, if any, separation in most places for the bike lane, and forces bikes to swerve around traffic and parking rather than making the auto lane veer & slow traffic accordingly.

Ben Hubbird
Guest
Ben Hubbird

Also very bummed that 11th & 12th have been taken off the project list for Central City In Motion, which presumably would have helped with some of the conflicts on 12th.

Tom
Guest
Tom

If bike lanes don’t exist in an intersection, then going through the intersection at the same time as a car would be lane sharing, which is illegal. So in many cases using a bike lane through an intersection would be illegal, not just unprotected. The only legal way would be for the 2nd vehicle to merge behind the first.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Who would be “sharing” the lane? It seems if a car approaches a cyclist from behind, they would be guilty of starting the lane sharing arrangement. Maybe they have the duty to merge over to where cyclists are. The possibilities are endless!

TAJ
Subscriber
TAJ

“Given what just happened in Bend, it’s time for the law to be cleaned up.”

I couldn’t agree more. What do we do?

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

Someone should talk to Floyd Prozanski, cyclist, State Senator, and force behind 6′ Rule.

oregonbicyclelawyer
Guest

This just isn’t correct under the law. Bike lanes aren’t striped through intersections because the state of Oregon says not to. See the 2011 Bicycle & Pedestrian Design Guide page 6-1: https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Engineering/Documents_RoadwayEng/HDM_L-Bike-Ped-Guide.pdf

q
Guest
q

If you read the laws and definitions strictly, I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody is in a lane. Their tires are, but the driver, pedestrians, vehicles, etc. might technically be above the lane. But if so, that doesn’t mean judges should make rulings based on that.

q
Guest
q

Going one step further, if that were true, then the cyclist was above the lane when hit, so therefore not in the street but above it, so since the vehicle hit them it means the vehicle must have left the street, so the driver should be cited the same as if he’d hit someone on a sidewalk.

That’s crazy, but no crazier than the actual ruling. If laws are read strictly enough, and judges don’t use common sense, many would become meaningless.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

And really, only the bottom couple of mms of the wheels at that. And think about it… part of the car (the top of the wheels) is actually traveling backwards in (above) the lane! Totally outrageous!!! Won’t someone please stop these monsters~~!!!!!

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Not really… now we need to involve the FAA.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

I can’t find any laws stating specifically that there are unmarked lanes through intersections.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

So when is this activist judge up for reelection?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I wouldn’t get your hopes up. He ran unopposed in 2016 and got 99.31% of the votes.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

They’re only activist judges if they’re on the left.

TAJ
Subscriber
TAJ

“His speed carried him outside the protection of the bike lane,” Adler (the judge) said.

Bullshit. The fact that he had to get across the street carried him into the intersection.

Andrew Kreps
Guest
Andrew Kreps

So, here’s the question I have- who do we sue to make the law better before more people die this way?

The list of right hook deaths is deafening. I fear there will be one at the east end of the burnside bridge before the construction is complete.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You convince the legislature to act, or elect a new one.

TAJ
Subscriber
TAJ

Or his family sues the city for leading him into that hazard with warning that the bike lane ends. But I don’t think there’s any more justice for cyclists in civil court than in criminal. The judge and jury are drivers and don’t want to be held accountable for making the same mistake. I get it. I drive too and unless you ride a lot, you are the exception if you are always looking out for cyclists.

q
Guest
q

Good point. When presented with an interpretation that doesn’t make sense, instead of arguing against it, it can be helpful to accept it, but then point out all the craziness that would ensue if it’s true.

It’s like an old urban legend about a guy who smoked his collection of expensive cigars, then filed an insurance claim because they’d been destroyed in a series of small fires. So instead of saying that’s crazy, the insurance company agreed with him, then sued him for arson.

TAJ
Subscriber
TAJ

That’s funny : )

…also I think I meant to say “without warning” above, but you got the point.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

I expect that the City of Bend will be settling a lawsuit for dangerous infrastructure design. Clearly the cyclist was lured into a dangerous situation with a forward lane to the right ending at an area where vehicles to the left are allowed to turn right into traffic proceeding forward.

soren
Guest
soren

Our legal system and laws are hopelessly biased against vulnerable road users. And when the courts illustrate this sad reality, the response of bike advocates/enthusiasts is to quixotically insist that the law is still on their side.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

It’s open season on cyclists now. Right hooks are perfectly fine.

TAJ
Subscriber
TAJ

You’re right and I felt newly exposed on the ride home tonight. What’s to prevent a driver from cutting me off at the intersection when the courts say that’s where my LANE, my RIGHTS, and my SAFETY end?

This after almost getting hit riding to work this morning by a driver at a stop sign who couldn’t or wouldn’t see my flashing front light and bright yellow coat with the clear of way crossing in front of him as I turned left and he blindly looked ahead. I haven’t shouted “whoa!!!” that loud at a driver in a long time.

Then I read later in the day that my lane ends at every. single. corner.

It’s absolute bullshit.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You say that as if all those people looking for their chance to right hook a cyclists have finally got their shot.

Nothing has changed. The sky is still up.

bendite
Guest
bendite

I ride everyday in Bend, and generally drivers are either polite, or inattentive and clueless. I can easily imagine a few drivers seeing this ruling and knowingly proceeding into a potential right hook situation because they think it’s condoned by the law now.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Exactly! Because, as usual, it’s the cyclists fault for being there in the first place.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

The are absolutely people looking for their legal chance to take out a cyclist.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Why would they need to look? You can already get away with it, if that’s really what you want.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Has this judge really unleashed an unholy army of drivers looking for their chance to run down a cyclist while fully complying with the law? That sounds like a pretty niche hobby.

bendite
Guest
bendite

I’ve had drivers intentionally threaten and try to intimidate me with their car because they feel justified legally, and were under the impression what I was doing was illegal. Examples: I took the lane prior to a roundabout. A guy behind me guns his Mercedes minivan and pulls up alongside me on my right, while I’m going about 20mph, and proceeds to tell me “I don’t think you should be here”. We exchanged words at the stop. 2. A woman passes me by about 10 inches even though she had plenty of room in the lane to take a wider berth. She glares at me in her review mirror at the stoplight. 50 yards later she wants in the lane I’m in and starts yelling at me to “get on the sidewalk’ (which is illegal downtown). 3. A woman buzzes me by about 12 inches as I exit a roundabout. She guns it through the school zone. At the red light, I give her the ‘wtf’ look with hand gesture, and she gestures a motion that I need to be over to the right.

In all of these incidents, the drivers felt validated legally to try and intimidate me with their car.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Has the president really unleashed an army of hate?

The answer to both of these questions may (not) surprise you.

stephan
Guest
stephan

Do you send these clips to the police? Just curious.

stephan
Guest
stephan

One thing we do not discuss here is that these intersections with bike Lanes would need to be configured completely different. Even if there was a law saying that the bike lane goes through the intersection, right hooks are bound to happen with the current design. I think one solution that exists in Copenhagen or Amsterdam is to guide the bike lane not directly through the intersection, but curved outward. This way, the person driving is more likely to see the person biking when making a right turn. Of course, we will never implement such an expensive infrastructure design here consistently, so that makes bike lanes dangerous at the most dangerous spot, crossings.

USbike
Guest
USbike

The solution you mentioned is very common throughout the Netherlands, but is not very commonly used in Denmark. Many bicycle paths in Denmark end before the intersection, become a bike lane + right-turn lane for cars. In practice it works alright, because there are so many cyclists in cities like Copenhagen and most drivers are use to dealing with that. But I prefer the Dutch intersection treatment much more. The latter also allows cyclists to make right turns irregardless of the traffic lights whereas this is practically not possible anywhere in Copenhagen.

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

This will have to be appealed up to the state for review. Additionally, Portland *is* treating bike lanes at higher risk intersections with dashed green thermoplastic due to this issue of articulating where the bike lane “continues” through intersections. Change is coming but not soon enough!

soren
Guest
soren

“This will have to be appealed up to the state for review.”

A very bad idea. If it’s appealed it could become legally-binding precendent. For example the critical mass citation of Potter for “impeding traffic” became legally-binding precedent after appeal. Now anyone who bikes in OR and is “impeding traffic” is legally required to move their bike “off the main portion of the roadway” inorder to let faster traffic pass (yes, even on a Neighborhood Greenway).

https://www.tcnf.legal/oregon-bicycle-passing-laws/

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Would you please point out the section in the referenced document that says bikes that are legally riding on the street have to get off to make way for cars that want to pass?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Found it. Right at the top. It’s not clear this applies to an unstriped greenway, but I’ll deal with that when I get a ticket.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

From the article:

>>> The Potter case serves as a warning for riders that unreasonably failing to yield to traffic or overtaking vehicles may trigger a traffic citation. What the Potter case does not change is bicyclists’ right to take the lane when reasonable necessary for safety, even if it means slowing down overtaking vehicles. <<<

It appears that the way I ride, at least, does not leave me exposed to getting ticketed.

Charley
Guest
Charley

This has got to stop. This judge is either not competent, or clearly biased. We can’t have this kind of nonsense endangering our lives.

HJ
Guest
HJ

The big problem here as I see it is that we keep giving drivers that right hook people a free pass. Bike lane continuity issue aside whatever happened to the whole “it’s the turning party’s responsibility to make sure it’s safe before proceeding” thing? This has become a cultural epidemic with drivers, particularly of late. Twice now (in about rhe last 2 months) I’ve had hair-thin near misses with cars turning left in front of me at Cedar Mill Elementary, as I’m coming down the hill at roughly the 40mph speed limit. Scary to say the least.
Frankly I think we need to take a hard look at driver education. Licensing requirements need to be much stricter. Including testing every few years. Because clearly drivers don’t seem to understand the rules of the road any more.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Oregon could start looking at driver education by first having mandatory driver education. It does not.

Many (most?) states require driver training for license applications under 21. Oregon does not require this.

A very cursory look at Oregon law might lead one to believe driver education is mandatory. But the “requirement” can be waived by a completing a number of hours of “supervised driving” while accompanied by any licensed driver over the age of 21. Ridiculous.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I believe 50 hours of time behind the wheel are required with driver’s ed, 100 without, though that may only apply to people under 18.

Also, you can skip the practical exam if you’ve taken the class.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Kudos to you for calling out that A-hole. You’re fighting the good fight.

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

My citizenship persists in and through the intersection.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I don’t think anyone’s citizenship is in question here; just their right to live.

q
Guest
q

One would think.

J_R
Guest
J_R

I think the judge has opened the door to the intersection free-for-all.

We know that vehicle operators are supposed to use a left turn lane when making a left turn, correct? It’s specified in ORS 811.345 as follows:

2017 ORS 811.345¹ Failure to use special left turn lane
• penalty

(1) A person commits the offense of failure to use a special left turn lane if the person is operating a vehicle where a special lane for making left turns by drivers proceeding in opposite directions has been indicated by traffic control devices and the person turns the vehicle left from any other lane.

(2) The offense described in this section, failure to use special left turn lane, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §625; 1995 c.383 §61]

Since, according to the judge, there are no bike lanes in an intersection, there must not be any lanes in an intersection. Thus, a vehicle operator can’t be guilty of failing to make a left turn from anywhere once you are in the intersection.

This judge’s ruling is truly bizarre.

9watts
Subscriber

a vehicle operator can’t be guilty of failing to make a left turn from anywhere once you are in the intersection.

Except that might explain why Jolene Friedow could kill Mark Angeles in exactly this manner and face no punishment.

https://bikeportland.org/2015/11/09/why-jolene-friedow-only-got-a-traffic-ticket-in-the-collision-that-killed-mark-angeles-167881

soren
Subscriber

the assumption that the motoring majority will apply the law equitably is naive. judges and juries will happily interpret the law in a discriminatory fashion that puts those scofflaw bikers in their place (dead or alive).

why were they riding there anyways?

no sane/normal/productive/decent/normal person would ride in the roadway!

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Except that 811.340 requires you to be as far left as possible when approaching the turn.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Mistrial. Attorney not looking out for the best interests of their client.

Andrew Steiner, you’re fired.

You argued that “The cyclist did not appear to be exceeding the speed limit.”

But then you stated that “In this case, the cyclist arguably did not exercise due care when he approached the tractor-trailer quickly from behind as the tractor-trailer approached the intersection.”

This is illogical. You’re blaming your own client for not exercising due care by proceeding legally at the legal speed in a legal lane.

You should not be representing cyclists.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

The Bend, OR Bicycle and Pedestrian System Plan (TSP) shows that the bicycle lanes all continue through that intersection. There is no gap on their map.

https://www.bendoregon.gov/services/mapping-services/map-library

ann
Guest
ann

Chris I
I guess I’ll just have to start merging into the vehicle lane every time I go through an intersection now. Just to be safe.Recommended 30

I was thinking the same thing, but then we may be found to be in violation of ORS 814.420 by failing to use the bike lane without an explicit exception to do so. In which case, do we have any legal protections if we are involved in a collision when it’s determined that we are in violation of that statute? I think it appears to me that legally we are damned if we do, damned if we don’t. That does ignore the obvious fact that right hooks are significantly less likely to occur when cyclists do control the travel lane.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Luckily that statute provides 2 exceptions that would apply to allow you to legally leave the lane:

(c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.

(e) Continuing straight at an intersection where the bicycle lane or path is to the right of a lane from which a motor vehicle must turn right.

serious question
Guest
serious question

so, last night going NB on Naito, a fedex truck had decided to occupy the squinchy little bikelane provided to us alongside the McCormick Pier Condos by the city, so i felt obligated to move out into the lane to continue on my transit home.
a vehicle that had been driving a far distance behind me proceeded to wail on their horn in protest.

so, am i expected to stop prior to the blockage created by the truck, look behind me and wait for when the road is clear of any and all other traffic before i can proceed?
am i not allowed, in this instance, to “take the lane” for the sake of saving those motorists a precious few seconds of their rush to stop at the red light awaiting them at next intersection?

please, i really would prefer to follow proper traffic laws!
thanks so much for any help!

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I’m curious to know what The Judge would think if I were hit in the WB bike lane on Cornell between Barnes and Murray which becomes completely de-striped annually due to drivers driving on the line. It literally disappears to the point that there are not even paint chips left and stays that way for a few months until it can get re-striped. Does the bike lane cease to exist then?

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Since there are no markings the judge would find that you weren’t in a lane. That a lane once existed there in the past doesn’t matter.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Yes, that’s exactly the case. You aren’t the only one who reads articles. People with bad intentions and then they go to the bar in their f350’s and tell their friends ” hey Bob, you hear that truck driver got over for killing a bicylist?!, Turns out, biken lanes don’t exist in intersections”.

(Basic Bros slap eachothers back)

It’s exactly that ugly and that straight line.

Hello, Kitty
You say that as if all those people looking for their chance to right hook a cyclists have finally got their shot.Nothing has changed. The sky is still up.Recommended 1

q
Guest
q

This whole thing has me wondering–aren’t the “markings” that designate a bike lane bicycle symbols on the pavement, and not just the white stripes? If so, will someone right-hooking a bike between intersections be able to claim the bike lane didn’t exist because there were no “signs or markings” anywhere in sight?

Many bike lanes don’t have signs or pavement symbols closer than several hundred feet apart, so there are countless places where a vehicle could, say, turn right onto a street with a bike lane, driver several hundred feet, then turn right into a driveway, without ever seeing a sign or pavement symbol.

Where this issue has come up before is in articles about people parking in bike lanes, especially new ones. While the stripes alone should make it clear, people parking either are clueless, or else they park with the idea that if ticketed, they can claim there were no signs saying it was a bike lane, and/or that the lack of those meant it legally is not a bike lane. Certainly someone will eventually use that argument if facing charges for running someone over. It’s a less extreme argument than”bike lanes don’t exist in intersections”.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

The white stripe is one of the markings. If the stripe is 4″ then it’s not a bike lane on the other side of the stripe. If it’s an 8″ stripe then there’s a bike lane on the other side.

Quiz every non-cycling driver you know and see how many of them know this. I’m putting my money on zero drivers knowing it.

q
Guest
q

I agree, pretty much nobody outside people reading here knows that. The newer lanes that have two parallel stripes might make things worse, in that people may think bike lanes have two stripes, so a single stripe must not mean a bike lane.

I still wonder, though, if the stripe alone is enough to count for legally designating a bike lane. Given the judge’s decision in the article, I wouldn’t be surprised by a judge saying “markings” means bike symbols, not just stripes, so it’s not a bike lane unless it has stripes PLUS either pavement graphics or signs.

Blackcatprowl
Guest
Blackcatprowl

This is why the new “green lanes” should be treated as a yield situation / proper lane. It, also, points out that cyclists need to be both assertive and cautious in their riding.

Assertiveness in taking the lane to show that they intend to keep going through the intersection, as well as cautious in realizing that in a car(truck)/bike, the car will win, that sometimes a cyclist has to abandon the cyclist’s intention, abort and protect oneself.

It brings up the faulty infrastructure offered. In such a situation, an out should be given to cyclists, where, usually, the infrastructure forces one to not be able to get off the road, endangering the cyclist just as much.

It is time for a serious revision in road design and regulations to better accommodate cyclists on the road and in the offering of alternates to the road. Present efforts have, generally, only increased the dangers to cyclists, while limiting access.