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A tragic realization about a BikePortland reader and supporter

Posted by on December 6th, 2018 at 11:49 am

Not just another headline.

Two days ago I received a strange email. It was simultaneously matter-of-fact and tragic.

“Hi folks,” it read. “My dad was killed by a truck (he was walking at a crosswalk). I would like to stop his autopay subscription of $10/month.”

It only took me a few minutes to realize this man’s father was 82-year-old Charles McCarthy, who was hit and killed by a truck driver as he walked in the crosswalk of East Burnside and 55th on October 11th.

I wish it wasn’t true, but when people die while walking I don’t usually pay as much attention to the case as I would if they were cycling. That’s an intentional editorial and mental health decision. (Reacting to traffic deaths takes a toll and I have limited professional and personal capacity to do it. I also don’t want to set the expectation that I will cover walking deaths with the same attention and depth as cycling deaths).

Even though I didn’t look too deeply into this case initially, I now wanted to know more about Mr. McCarthy. So I did what I often do in situations like this: I emailed the District Attorney’s office to find out if there were any updates on the case, I looked up his subscriber information, entered his email address in the “search comments” field of BikePortland’s admin dashboard, and checked to see if he’d ever emailed me.

Turns out Charles McCarthy was a big supporter of BikePortland. He’d sent in several one-time contributions over the years and he was one of our first subscribers in 2015. He would also email us from time-to-time with link suggestions for the Monday Roundup.

He had also commented here about 30 times between 2009 and 2016. I was amazed how much those comments revealed about him.

In a comment about the Tilikum Bridge he posted in 2009, Charles shared that he spent more time as a “pedestrian” than a “cyclist” and wanted physical protection between those two modes.

He lived in Minneapolis in the 1970s and once got a stolen bike recovered because it had been registered with the police. “My point: bicycle registration can be a good thing,” he wrote.

In 2011 we learned he was an active volunteer in the community who used a combination of modes — buses, bikes, walking and driving — to reach his many destinations. When TriMet service no longer met his needs, he reluctantly started to drive more often, but still purchased a monthly bus pass because, he said, “I think it is a civic duty to support public transit.”

Charles was one of many people who invested in the Kickstarter campaign for those Conscious Commuter e-bikes that never materialized.

The last comment he made on BikePortland, in 2016, stopped me in my tracks for how it related to his own death. It was in response to a story we did about a group of neighbors in north Portland who held a vigil for an elderly man who was killed while walking across a street. “When driving and stopping for a pedestrian who is crossing, I put on my 4-way emergency flashers, and if possible stick my hand out to flag the drivers in the lane to my left,” he wrote. “It sometimes seems to help.”

As a driver, it appears Charles was exceedingly safe around walkers. It’s too bad he wasn’t afforded the same level of respect.

I’m sorry our system failed you Charles. Rest in peace. And thanks for all your support.


16 of the 32 fatal traffic crashes in Portland so far this year are to people who were walking. Since Charles was killed on October 11th, seven other vulnerable road users have died. Five of them were on foot, one was motorcycling, and one was using a bicycle. You can see an updated tally with basic details on each of them at BikePortland.org/fatality-tracker.

Note: I’ll update this post if I get any substantive updates from the DA’s office. UPDATE, 12/7: The DA’s office says the crash is still under investigation by the PPB Major Crash Team and has not yet been submitted to the DA’s office for review.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

69 Comments
  • David Hampsten December 6, 2018 at 11:56 am

    What is the current 2018 pedestrian death toll in Portland? I’ve lost track.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 6, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      16 of the 32 fatal traffic crashes in Portland so far this year are to people who were walking. Since Charles was killed on October 11th, seven other vulnerable road users have died. Five of them were on foot, one was motorcycling, and one was using a bicycle. You can see an updated tally with basic details on each of them at BikePortland.org/fatality-tracker.

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  • Esther December 6, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Wow, this is incredibly sad. Thank you for doing this Jonathan. My heart goes out to his family.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 6, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    a thought that didn’t really fit in the post itself but that I still want to share… I wish I didn’t think about this stuff all the time & could just be normal (my family does too). But when you feel such a frequent connection to so much of the carnage wrought by driving abuse & the car-centric systems that feed it, it’s hard to ignore. It’s hard to be reasonable about possible solutions. And it’s hard to be satisfied with incremental progress that these days isn’t really progress at all.

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    • Bob December 6, 2018 at 8:57 pm

      To me it’s all about maintaining a balance between the tragic/senseless & the positive/uplifting events that surround us. Too much either way leads up to being angry, bitter or ignorant of what’s going on.

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    • soren December 7, 2018 at 8:51 am

      “16 of the 32 fatal traffic crashes in Portland so far this year are to people who were walking.”

      10 of 16 pedestrians were killed in East Portland (which represents only a fifth of Portland’s land area) .

      Despite this chronic and continuing crisis, PBOT and the much of the advocacy community are fixated on inner-PDX new-urbanist projects like Better Naito and the Green Loop while multiple East Portland facilities that were funded years ago have been repeatedly delayed. Moreover, this immoral and, frankly, biased neglect is directly relevant to E. Portland’s road violence crisis because many of these projects would have created signaled intersections close to the locations of multiple pedestrian deaths.

      A Bike Portland piece lauding the impending construction of the 130s Neighborhood Greenway in the fall of 2014 (please note the many intersection improvements):

      https://bikeportland.org/2014/06/11/north-south-lifeline-130s-greenway-coming-soon-107128

      This Neighborhood Greenway has still not been built and, to the best of my knowledge, the build date is still up in the air.

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      • soren December 7, 2018 at 2:21 pm

        this was supposed to post under the fatality tracker post above.

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  • Dylan Howell December 6, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    RIP. It’s incredibly sad to know we’ve lost a good person who looked out for his community. I wish we would have shown him the same respect.

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  • SCOTT MIZEE December 6, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    oh my….. that takes my breat away. RIP
    So sad. Especially sobering to read his final comment on BikePortland.

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  • Middle of the Road Guy December 6, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I’m wondering how many of those people were restricted from driving or were distracted drivers.

    While anecdotal, it seems that time and time again many of the accidents are caused by folks who should not be behind the wheel…and that there would be a disproportionate improvement in safety of they were actually prevented.

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    • B. Carfree December 6, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      There are very successful programs that go out and mentor/support young urban males who are in circumstances that indicate they have a higher than normal probability of shooting someone and/or being shot. These programs are based on the notion that a small number of people on the edge do tremendously more damage than the average person.

      I suspect the same is true of scofflaw motorists. It takes a lot of poor driving to get a license suspension or revocation considering our very low levels of enforcement, and you have to wonder how many other motorists are influenced to drive poorly because of contact with these folks.

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      • M December 6, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        I think that’s likely true with a lot of crime, but it would be real interesting to see which crimes in particular are recidivist versus very common across a large population.

        I have to imagine something that people are so dependent upon (or believe they are) such as driving while restricted would be one of those disproportionate behaviors as compared to speeding which is likely far more common.

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    • Kate December 7, 2018 at 6:21 am

      More anecdotal evidence, but to further prove your point about getting dangerous people off the road who shouldn’t be there, let me offer my own. Currently my grandmother who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is living with her extremely senile husband. She can at least recognize his driving is terrible, though she does ride with him when she must. They live in tillamook and frequently hear from family friends who drove logging trucks about how he obliviously pulls out in front of them on the highway. My mother has inquired with their doctors about having their licenses revoked given the danger they pose to themselves and others but have been told that it’s virtually impossible unless they physically harm themselves while driving and become incapacitated. That seems absurd but perhaps not surprising. Either way, it’s terrifying to think about the danger to themselves and every other roadway user out there.

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      • Chris I December 7, 2018 at 7:51 am

        We need mandatory written/practical testing every 10 years. No exceptions.

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        • q December 7, 2018 at 8:16 pm

          As it is, there’s not even a system for giving people new information once they’ve got a license. Informing license holders about something new–bike pavement markings, for example–is done through they’ll-see-it-by-chance public relations campaigns. Someone who got their license in 1956 hasn’t been required to open a driver’s manual since then, let alone take another test.

          In fact I don’t even know of a simple way people who want to voluntarily update themselves on traffic law changes or other driving-related changes can do so. DMV certainly could send out a yearly update–it’s not like they don’t know drivers’ mailing addresses.

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    • soren December 7, 2018 at 8:18 am

      “it seems that time and time again many of the accidents are caused by folks who should not be behind the wheel”

      it’s always convenient to blame bad individuals when one wants to ignore the systemic cultural failure.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 7, 2018 at 2:42 pm

        Maybe we can revoke culture’s license.

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  • Chris I December 6, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    This is horrible. I actually drove by this scene shortly after police had started their investigation. Seeing it close-up, and knowing this intersection well, it is very clear that the driver of this pickup accelerated quickly and turned into Charles in a reckless manner. The bag of groceries he was carrying landed at least 10ft past where the truck ended up stopping.

    It is troubling that these incidents are not prosecuted more seriously, and that certain people in our society feel the need to use massive pickup trucks as commuting vehicles. The number of large pickup trucks and SUVs driving dangerously in this neighborhood has noticeably increased over the past decade.

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    • Terry D-M December 6, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      I live six block East on Burnside and walked to QFC just after the collision since I investigate myself every time I see an investigation, which is a common occurrence corridor wide. Burnside needs a remodel now. I am currently finishing a plan which could cheaply, using a Rosa Parks model, be implemented in the next grind down.

      https://bikeportland.org/2014/04/02/neighborhood-group-will-gather-support-for-burnside-road-diet-near-mt-tabor-103876

      The article is four years old, and I would make the eastbound lane in the 50s parking protected now, but the main design I still think is the best possible during a repaving project.

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  • Caitlin D December 6, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    This is so sad–what a loss.

    Also, I so appreciate the reporting work you do for our community. I wish you didn’t have to carry the emotional burden that comes along with it.

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  • Alan Love December 6, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    This is horrible. I knew Charles professionally (not at all claiming to be a close friend), and he was a really great guy. He was a careful guy, and didn’t move quickly, and any defense the driver might give while hitting someone in a marked crosswalk is indefensible. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

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  • bikeninja December 6, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    When I think of the culprit in this horrible “accident” I keep flashing back to that early 90’s Chevy Chase movie “Nothing but Trouble” complete with a ride through “MR Bone Stripper”.

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    • Johnny Bye Carter December 6, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks for reminding me about that. I could never remember the name of that movie.

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  • Terry D-M December 6, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you for covering this sad event, which occurred in my neighborhood six blocks from my house. I have lived on this four lane stretch of East Burnside for 15 years and have seem more collisions than I can remember.

    Five years ago we talked on Bike Portland about needed safety improvements to East Burnside after it was included in the first batch of high crash corridors. Nearly five years later, nothing has been done east of Caesar Chavez, in contrast to the Kern’s and Laurelhurst modernization.

    https://bikeportland.org/2014/04/02/neighborhood-group-will-gather-support-for-burnside-road-diet-near-mt-tabor-103876

    His death, which may have been prevented with a road diet similar to the one discussed, has motivated me to return to this project. The pavement is nearing the end of its life cycle and with Vision Zero and the new comprehensive plan we are ready for a New East Burnside.

    It is time to remodel this death trap. Anyone wanting to help advocate for complete bike lanes on East Burnside 41st to 68th as part of a safety road diet, please contact me. I particularly need local residents and commuters from East Portland who commute through.

    Thank you Jonathan

    Terry Dublinski-Milton , East Burnside Resident and life long activst

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    • Alex December 6, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Terry,

      I live around 70th and Ash (above Thorburn and just east of 68th and Burnside, and that whole area of East Burnside/North Tabor (Burnside/Thorburn/Gilham/Stark) is just awful for bikes and pedestrians. I bike every day from 70th and Ash to N Portland, and the amount of speeding drivers and careless driving I see in that area is truly horrific. I’d love to be involved with any road diet/traffic calming advocacy you’re working on. You can contact me through my website, which I believe should be linked to my user name above. Thanks so much.

      -Alex

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      • Terry D-M December 7, 2018 at 1:52 pm

        Hi Alex,

        I sent you an email. We should chat,

        Terry

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  • Tom Howe December 6, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    I’ll emphasize that Charles was being quite careful at that intersection. He had the walk signal when struck by the left-turning car. He was retired as Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota School of Mathematics. Here is his bio there:

    https://math.umn.edu/directory/charles-mccarthy

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  • Johnny Bye Carter December 6, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    It’s great that although he didn’t bike as his main mode he still recognized it as part of the plan to better transportation and made an effort to support it.

    He’s a real hero of the people.

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  • Pete December 6, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Jonathan, I understand how you feel about these tragedies. We had one near my house last week (https://abc7news.com/pedestrian-killed-in-santa-clara-crash/4801265 – that’s me in hi-viz walking our dogs) and I wrote a letter about it after reading some pretty heinous online comments: http://windluvr.com/WhyBlameTheVictim.pdf.

    My condolences to Charles’ family and friends. I think we all feel bonded as fellow VRUs when these happen, as we’ve all had our close calls which so often are easily prevented. Pedestrian deaths are frequently children and elderly, as we know… it’s crazy that people even feel the need to put up “Drive Like Your Children Live Here” signs. (Or your grand/parents!).

    🙁

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  • Dave December 6, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. Drivers need to feel a constant fear of law enforcement in order to behave like human beings. Go ahead, Maus, censor this, but 60 years of walking and 50 of cycling tell me that this is an absolute bedrock truth. Drivers aren’t people and the law has to stop treating them as if they were.

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    • Chris I December 7, 2018 at 7:53 am

      Most here would support more enforcement. Just for clarification, though. Drivers are people. There’s really no debate on that.

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      • Johnny Bye Carter December 7, 2018 at 8:26 am

        I think there is a debate.

        People generally face serious consequences when they kill somebody.

        You can’t really substitute the word “driver” in that sentence in place of “people” and have it still be true.

        But on that note, we need to start treating drivers like people and hold them accountable when they end the life of another person.

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        • 9watts December 9, 2018 at 4:29 pm

          “People generally face serious consequences when they kill somebody”

          It is my understanding that while this is true if you are caught, and if you used something other than a car to effect this outcome, since we are here talking about cars as the object with which death is accomplished, I don’t think you are correct. Many, many people who kill others with their cars in the US face no meaningful consequences at all. This is widely documented and discussed here frequently.

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          • Pete December 13, 2018 at 10:17 am

            I think part – but not all – of that problem stems from the ‘individuality’ endemic in our culture. In other nations, the owner of a car used to kill someone is culpable, but here you have to prove the “killer” was the person driving the car at the time of death.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty December 14, 2018 at 9:06 pm

              I think knowing who was involved in the crime is kind of important in determining who to punish. It seems fundamentally unjust to hold someone who may have had no responsibility for an incident criminally liable with the intent of using that as leverage to gain cooperation. I don’t think that is as much a question of “individuality” as it is basic fairness. I mean, why not incarcerate the owner’s kids to further increase the pressure?

              If you are talking about financial liability, that is another thing entirely, and I would totally support the owner’s insurance being the first port of call for compensation, regardless of who was driving. In fact, I’d be surprised if this isn’t how it works already.

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    • Terry D-M December 7, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      Traffic Division’s Headquarters is on 47th and Burnside just 8 blocks west. They drive Burnside all the time yet speeding is constant. Last winter a speeding driver hit smashed into the house kitty corner to the Police Station.

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    • q December 7, 2018 at 8:44 pm

      I have the opposite view. Drivers ARE people, and pretending they are not isn’t helpful.

      I base that on Ted Bundy’s views of evil. He said, “We serial killers are your sons. We are your husbands. We are everywhere.” He elaborated–warning people to give up the fantasy of “evil” and “monsters”. He thought that labeling killers with those terms lets people pretend that they are something outside of society’s responsibility or control. And thinking of them as monsters lulls people into a false sense of security, because monsters are identifiable and thus can be avoided.

      The point isn’t to compare drives to serial killers. It’s that the drivers who are killing people are not maniacs, people from somewhere else, or people you don’t know. They are the people you work with and live with. They can be you. Nobody (almost) ever wants to run over someone, or imagines that they or someone they know ever will. But that’s who’s doing the driving that’s killing people.

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      • 9watts December 9, 2018 at 4:35 pm

        “Nobody (almost) ever wants to run over someone, or imagines that they or someone they know ever will. But that’s who’s doing the driving that’s killing people.”

        Correct, and I agree that intent is not the most interesting thing to know about people in cars. Carelessness, overconfidence, impunity, poor skills and even poorer judgment are all I think far more important.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 9, 2018 at 4:57 pm

          Intent is important in determining appropriate consequences for an action.

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          • 9watts December 9, 2018 at 5:20 pm

            Except I think most of us agree that in the majority of cases we’re dealing with the list I just wrote out, rather than intentional acts of malice. How do you address those if your focus is on intent?

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          • 9watts December 9, 2018 at 5:36 pm

            Put another way, how do you propose handling culpability in the absence of malicious intent? Someone is dead or maimed because someone else in/with a car caused this through gross negligence or simple carelessness?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty December 9, 2018 at 5:51 pm

              We have well established legal principles for answering just those sorts questions.

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  • Frank Selker December 6, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    It troubles me that these are treated as “accidents.” It also troubles me that I looked at the police reports for these killings (deaths is too passive a description) and drivers often face little or no consequence, so long as they aren’t drunk. The consequences are completely out of scale with the harm.

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  • Andy December 6, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    This is tragic and sad. I don’t know the details of this accident but I am very conscious of this risk when I am driving, try to drive defensively and nevertheless have had some close calls with pedestrians. Part of this is us not driving responsibly and another part is that in many cases the infrastructure is just not safe, visibility restrictions being a prime issue where I live. I don’t know this crosswalk so I don’t know if that was an issue here. I agree that there should be enforcement but I don’t think it alone will solve the problem. We need to care for one another and try to anticipate danger before it results in injury or death. I try to do this regardless of whether I am driving, walking or biking.

    It would be nice if some infrastructure improvement could be made in honor of this fine man.

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  • X December 6, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    This is hard to read. Nobody should have their life end in a violent way like this.

    When these stories come I always think, what is to be done? And the answer is always, walk more. Bike more, while I’m able.

    This should be a Vulnerable Road User case, open and shut. A person, walking in a marked crosswalk with the right of way, is killed. Why do we even have a District Attorney, and how is that person spending their time?

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  • Jason Van Horn December 7, 2018 at 11:07 am

    This so messed up. If you kill someone with your car there should be a mandatory punishment of some kind — at least financially — to the dependents.

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  • Joe kurmaskie December 7, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing Charles’ snapshots that give us a better idea of his choices and path in life. Life’s a ride, I’m sad that his is over.

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  • Brian December 8, 2018 at 8:47 am

    I vividly recall reading his final post. My condolences to his family if they happen to read this. I just signed up as a monthly contributor (something I should have done long ago) in his honor. RIP.

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  • Enough December 8, 2018 at 11:01 am

    “when people die while walking I don’t usually pay as much attention to the case as I would if they were cycling”

    And there it is, Maus finally admits he only cares about able-bodied white males.
    Have you looked at the demographics of cyclists in this city?

    You don’t deserve to have a voice in this city.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 8, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      Hold on, that is completely unfair. This is a bicycling blog; of course Maus pays more attention to bicycling deaths than others. Why do you make an unsubstantiated jump to call someone racist when a much more likely and obvious explanation is available?

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      • Enough December 8, 2018 at 10:32 pm

        And yet you don’t refute my claim that most people who bike in this city are white males.

        I think I once saw you post “Bike lives matter”.

        It is a bicyclist blog and yes, most people profiled on this site are white. If you admit you care more about people who ride bikes in this city, then I’m going to start having questions.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 9, 2018 at 1:17 am

          I believe it’s true that most cyclists in Portland are white, just as most drivers are white, most pedestrians are white, and most bus riders are white.

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    • q December 8, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      So do doctors who treat prostate cancer not care about women? Do people who adopt cats not care about children? Do financial reporters care more about money than about humans? If Maus paid as much attention to deaths of people walking here than biking would he be racist for not paying as much attention to deaths in Asia?

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      • Enough December 8, 2018 at 11:08 pm

        I don’t expect him to post something every time someone passes away.
        His site is called BikePortland, what does Asia have to do with anything? And he also said he only cares about people who died while riding a bike. Basically I see his quote as is if someone who bikes everyday and gets hit by a car while walking and dies, he will not care. That just seems wrong to me.

        If the media wants a quote about something that has to do with bikes, he gets quoted.
        But this site has made people who own cars a villain ( yet he owns one himself).

        Using a bike as a main opinion is awesome and should be used by more people. But this is not an option for a lot of people on this city. There needs to be more pressure on Tri-Met to get their act together. The street corner preacher approach is getting

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        • q December 9, 2018 at 11:52 am

          You wrote, “His site is called BikePortland, what does Asia have to do with anything? And he also said he only cares about people who died while riding a bike.”

          You’re not getting the irony of what you’re saying. Yes, his site IS called BikePortland, and the “Portland” half of that is why he’s not writing about Asia. So if you understand that, why don’t you understand that the “Bike” half of BikePortland is why he’s not writing as much about pedestrian deaths. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care personally, it just means that’s not the focus of this site.

          I also haven’t seen evidence that this site villainizes people who own cars. If you know he owns one, that means you probably know that because he said it, which isn’t the behavior of someone who villainizes cars.

          I see you’re criticizing this site, but that doesn’t mean it would be correct to assume you’re fine with all the other websites in the world and what the people running them are saying.

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        • 9watts December 9, 2018 at 4:48 pm

          “Using a bike as a main opinion is awesome and should be used by more people. But this is not an option for a lot of people on this city.”

          This is certainly an opinion we hear from time to time, but I’ve never understood how the person suggesting this has come to that conclusion. It is my belief that the vast majority of people could bike just fine. There is nothing about the weather or their physical condition or age preventing this. We know this by looking at how biking is distributed in other societies. Although we have plenty of differences (above all that ours is a more unequal society than all with which we tend to compare ourselves), we also have plenty in common. What is preventing this are:

          Habit,
          Experience,
          Confidence,
          Motivation,
          Infrastructure,
          Social approval,
          And a few other factors.

          Any of these could shift in pretty short order, and we could find ourselves surprised to learn that, 80%? of our fellow bipeds are using bikes to take care of business. Not all business right away, but habit is a powerful variable often overlooked or misunderstood.

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          • Enough December 9, 2018 at 8:29 pm

            I’m all for getting people to change their habits so they would see riding a bike is a great option. I’m just not for the Street Corner Preacher approach of shaming people into riding a bike and shamming then for using a car.

            I even biked to work everyday for two straight years when I was lucky enough to have a job close to where I lived with a very safe bike route. . That was until I got a job in Lake Oswego (I love in North Portland). It was possible to go there by bike but I’m was not brave enough to ride my bike there (and this is a big infrastructure issue that you mentioned$.

            I agree with your list common preventions for people to bike more except for Social Approval. Going by bike in this city is seen as being cool. Look at the murals, T-shirts, events ( and much more) in this city and then point out anything that has to do with public transportation on the same level (it may exist, but I have not seen it). Portland is a very white city, but when you ride the bus you will now see more diversity, this is a concept that does get in people’s head in this city.

            Being in a two income household comes with many complications. What works for one of these people may not work at all for the other person.

            Shaming people sucks, you might change what people say but you are not going to change how they thinks about something unless they have a personal example to associate it with. It sounds cliche, but actions do speak louder than words.

            When you say “other societies” are you talking about ones in the US (where cities were designed with driving a car as the main option) or European cities where they have an adequate train system?

            I appreciate the difference on opinion and willingness of discussing this.

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            • 9watts December 9, 2018 at 8:40 pm

              “I’m just not for the Street Corner Preacher approach of shaming people into riding a bike and shamming then for using a car.”

              Do you have a specific instance of this in mind? I’m not thinking of one just now.

              “I agree with your list common preventions for people to bike more except for Social Approval.”

              While you’ll get free donuts once a month if you cross the right bridge, and can have fun during Pedalpalooza, most of my neighbors are not inclined to bike-for-transport, and I suspect it has to do with the fact that in their social circles most don’t bike-for-transport, most instead have and habitually use their cars. They are not per se inclined to seek out, recognize, appreciate the social approval from those who already bike; they are interested in the social approval of their peers.

              “Shaming people sucks…”

              You clearly have something in mind. Can you tell us what it is?

              “When you say ‘other societies’ are you talking about ones in the US (where cities were designed with driving a car as the main option) or European cities where they have an adequate train system?”

              Anywhere besides the US: Europe, Africa, Asia are the continents for which I know that biking has at times and in circumstances favorable to it represented a very significant mode share.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 9, 2018 at 9:13 pm

                Most of those places do not have a built environment that resembles the US; and where they do (the less urbanized parts of Germany, for example), people have driving habits that closely resemble their American counterparts.

                If Portland had a dense, medieval core, we’d drive there less. If we had the train system and narrow streets of Tokyo, we’d drive less.

                Our transportation patterns are driven by our built environment, which is in turn driven by when our cities came of age, not the sort of cultural or character failings some like to suggest.

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              • 9watts December 9, 2018 at 9:20 pm

                Not necessarily. As has been told many times, the Dutch mostly had taken up driving by the seventies, but thanks to a social movement (I know, your favorite!) which demanded the almighty car make way for human transport, things changed dramatically.

                Context is certainly important, but to suggest that because of land use or cheap gas we are doomed really sells us all short., takes an unhelpfully static view of the matter. We could (could have) pursue plenty of substantive changes that could facilitate more bicycling. Making gas incrementally but dramatically more expensive would be just the most obvious strategy. And plowing that money (as many societies have done) back into alternatives would make up most of the rest. None of this is written in stone, so to speak.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 9, 2018 at 11:31 pm

                I’m all about better alternatives and more expensive gas (carbon tax!!). And my view is hardly static; I think we’re on the doorstep of the most radical transformation of our transportation systems in generations, perhaps ever.

                I just find the “if we were only more like Europe” trope so tiring, especially since most people saying that seem to think “Europe” is made up of a number of northern European cities that are structurally different than our own, and ignore the vast swaths of the continent where things are remarkably similar.

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              • 9watts December 10, 2018 at 8:19 am

                “I just find the ‘if we were only more like Europe’ trope so tiring, especially since most people saying that seem to think ‘Europe’ is made up of a number of northern European cities that are structurally different than our own, and ignore the vast swaths of the continent where things are remarkably similar.”

                What I find tiring is the assumption that we can’t learn from, emulate the things others have done to solve basic problems (wherever they are) such as the transportational ones we tend to focus on here.
                As for cities vs countries, Portland is also a city, so why can’t we allow that it/we can learn from any city that has solved these problems elegantly? You seem to think that the things that make Utrecht or Muenster so successful have no or little bearing on our situation here in Portland. Just because Portland can’t transform itself into Utrecht overnight surely doesn’t mean that we can’t move in that direction through concerted effort. If it takes twenty years, then the time to start down that path was yesterday, no?

                As for the vast nonurban swaths where things are supposedly remarkably similar, I think the assumed physical similarity may be obscuring your ability to appreciate the habitual, attitudinal, behavioral differences of the people, the societies found in those two locations.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 11, 2018 at 8:29 pm

                Seeing German parents driving their kids 1 km to the village soccer field or the school bus stop in the morning, or being the only one riding a bike to the grocery store while everyone else drove may also have obscured my appreciation of the habitual, attitudinal, behavioral differences of the people, the societies found in those two locations.

                I’m not saying things are the same; I’m just saying you are cherry picking examples and waaaay over simplifying your comparisons.

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              • 9watts December 11, 2018 at 8:38 pm

                You may well be right. My experience in Germany is mostly from the eighties. Things may have changed _ a lot _ since then.

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        • q December 9, 2018 at 6:15 pm

          You wrote, “There needs to be more pressure on Tri-Met to get their act together”.

          If only there was someone locally who’d write about TriMet and cycling-related issues!

          Even better would be if that person could create a forum where other people could get some exposure for their own thoughts about TriMet’s shortcomings, like this:
          https://bikeportland.org/2018/03/21/guest-post-candidly-trimet-part-one-of-two-271148

          or this:
          https://bikeportland.org/2018/03/22/guest-post-candidly-trimet-part-two-272088

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          • Enough December 12, 2018 at 8:00 pm

            Thanks for the links. To be honest, I’ve stopped reading this site on a daily basis because I was getting tired of all the whining, name calling (do adults feel better about themselves calling people who drive a car Cager), and posts focusing on cars being evil. When Michael Anderson was posting on this site he was constantly posting interesting articles. But once he stopped it was posts only to get clicks and to preach to the echo chamber.

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  • Enough December 11, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Is this the first time you ever read BikePprtland and it’s comments?

    All I’m seeing is people being more defensive than wanting to admit people who bike in this city are mostly white guys. This can change. I’m tired of seeing how it’s wrong to say anything negative about bad behavior by someone using a bike in this city.

    You want examples? Look at how the Portland Mercury handled Hart Noecker. They wrote plenty of articles praising that guy and not one single mention after the truth came out. This site acknowledged this, the Mercury never did

    It’s frustrating to see this city act as if riding a bike will solve all the congestion issues while people are getting priced out of this city. Ride the bus for a month. Maybe you will see what I see and then look at how people on this site “Hi Kitty” think riding a bike solves everything and how the rest of us see this perspective is not as binary as it’s made out to seem.

    By the way: Copenhagen became established in 1167.
    Portland: 1851

    A lot can happen on 700 years.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 11, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      You got me. First time.

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    • q December 11, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      Who were you aiming your comment at?

      I see the opposite. Articles and comments here often mention how many people riding bikes here are white men, and often discuss how to change that.

      I also don’t ever see articles or comments saying it’s wrong to say anything negative about people who bike. Criticism of bad biking behavior is common here.

      I also don’t see people here saying biking will solve all congestion issues, let alone will solve “everything”.

      I’m also not sure what your point is about when Portland and Copenhagen were established.

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