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Rider’s letter to PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly calls out conditions on N Williams

Posted by on February 21st, 2020 at 11:40 am

Video still from Chris H’s camera shows a man driving in the bike lane on North Williams.
Watch it below.

[Note from publisher: I was CC’d on the letter below to Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly this morning. It’s from a reader named Chris H.]

Dear Commissioner Eudaly,

Last night, as I was riding down N Williams, I noticed a motorist move into the bike lane and start driving down the bike lane because they felt that they didn’t need to wait in the motorist-only lane. I frequently have to correct motorist on how to use bike infrastructure and out of my interactions with motorist, I’d say a good 80% either don’t know they are doing anything wrong or at least pretend that they don’t know they are doing anything wrong, and they correct their course.

As you know, N Williams, purported by PBOT to be the most heavily used bike route in the city, doesn’t have a contiguous bike lane, nor does it have a single foot of evidence-based protected bike lane.

When I stopped to let the motorist know that he wasn’t allowed to drive in the bike lane, this is what happened;

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This rolling ball of toxic masculinity felt so comfortable breaking the law that not only did he continue driving down the bike lane after being notified he was on camera, he decided to assault me by spitting on me.

“This rolling ball of toxic masculinity felt so comfortable breaking the law that not only did he continue driving down the bike lane after being notified he was on camera, he decided to assault me by spitting on me.”

N Williams has some of the worst conflicts between vulnerable road users and motorist of any bike infrastructure that PBOT has built and it comes down to one issue. PBOT has prioritized the parking on N Williams over the health and safety of the people walking/scooting/cycling on the street. Without street parking on the left-hand side of the street, PBOT could install physically protective barriers like the ones that exist on N Rosa Parks that would prohibit bike lane infractions like the one in the video. Additionally, the lack of daylighting on N Williams makes it hard for motorist and vulnerable road users to cross the street.

When you are in leadership meetings and everyone is shaking their heads trying to figure out why non-car modes of transortation are shrinking, maybe show them this video. Motorist in this city act with impunity. About ten minutes later, I almost got hit by a motorist who ran a stop sign, which is also on video but I didn’t bother to post it because it’s so incredibly common. PBOT needs to prioritize the health and safety of vulnerable road users over the parking needs of the bars on N Williams. Additionally, PPB needs to enforce traffic laws. Even a mild amount of traffic monitoring will improve the behavior of Portland’s motorist. I live near a four-a stop. I’d say maybe one out of ten cars actually come to a complete stop. I came home on Wednesday and a police officer was sitting parked, looking towards the four-way (Police in St. Johns if you can believe it!). while he wasn’t actually doing traffic enforcement, just his presence caused almost every single car to come to a complete stop. We need enforcement. I’ve been cycling as my main form of transportation for a decade and I’ve never felt less safe on the road than I do today.

I urge you to start investing, really investing, in non-car centric infrastructure. Climate change is real, and even if it wasn’t, a car-centric approach to road management will not work here just as it hasn’t worked in every other major city.

Sincerely,

Chris

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

Jersey barriers please.

Tad Reeves
Guest

Jonathan – why is it that these major arterials don’t have some measure of non-paint separation? Is it really only just cost and/or laziness or is it something else like wanting to be able to have emergency vehicles pass stopped traffic or something like this?

Even if it’s not full-height jersey barricades, even those little 10″ concrete ziggurats would stop all except jacked-up pickup trucks from wandering over.

Mike C
Guest

Ran home (from downtown) up Vancouver last night. Literally jumped out of the way of three different vehicles nearly running me over. Made contact with one. Two blowing stop signs, one blowing a red light.

In hindsight, the usual “run against traffic” rule likely doesn’t apply to one-way streets; nobody was looking my direction. Luckily, I didn’t experience any of the “toxic masculinity” (why is it always a Dodge? I was hit and run by one last year, the incident posted here a week or two ago was, this one). Two of the drivers appeared apologetic and one, a commercial driver, seemed indifferent.

Anyway, yeah, the corridor in both directions is an absolute nightmare. I have close calls near every day. I think it would have been wise to better build out Rodney as a greenway.

Our streets are the Wild West. 50% design, 50% lack of enforcement and the IDGAF mentality that ensues.

Hoping something will happen to this driver, but won’t be surprised when it doesn’t.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Traffic jam from 4-6 that is only going to get worse.

Alain
Guest
Alain

I live/work on N Williams near Killingsworth. These days, week-day traffic starts to pick up around 3pm, sometimes earlier on Fridays. And yes, it’s heaviest between say 4:00-6:30pm. If I happen to be return home at these times, I usually avoid N Williams, opting for Rodney, which has its own set of problems, though I find this route has fewer conflicts. That being said, given the changes which have taken place on Multnomah and Rosa Parks, seems like N Williams could stand for some of these newer, proven changes.

pdx2wheeler
Subscriber

Two things are going to happen to that driver… 1) Jack 2) Squat

David Hampsten
Guest

I won’t say my community is safer or more dangerous than Portland when it comes to bicycling interactions with car drivers, but when I lived in Portland I would curse car drivers and their shenanigans every other day without fail, usually for right-hooks. Here, I curse them only about once per month. No doubt my standards have fallen…

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

“Why is it always a Dodge?”

Have you seen any Dodge commercials lately?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I think some “Dodge” drivers get confused when people don’t follow the instructions that are clearly visible right on their grille.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Last week it was “always the BMW drivers”.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Dodge – In a couple of years it will be the getaway car in a convenience store robbery.

“I’ll be taking these Huggies and whatever cash you got”

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

We released ourselves on our own recognizance.

jeff
Guest
jeff

95% sure this is the same vehicle/driver that did the same to me a couple weeks ago, taking the bike lane for the same left turn.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Actually I’m fine with drivers taking the bike lane to turn, I’d rather pass them on the outboard side of their turn than the inboard side; but it’s unacceptable if the driver is harassing or endangering a cyclist in the process, there is absolutely no need for that.

jeff
Guest
jeff

This was from Dawson Park to Fremont with other cyclists also using the lane.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Sadly, ‘we all’ could see this coming when the roadway design was done (compromised)…no one wins with a half measure. I hope PBoT is able to make the changes that were – for a best practice – needed to accommodate the highest used bike highway in the City (if not state). The redevelopment of this corridor was built on its bike access and the vitality that bicycling brought for pennies on the dollar (and quicker) compared to Interstate’s investment in light rail. [In addition, PBoT needs to clean up the bikeway network compromises – aka gaps – in the year 2000 Interstate Corridor too…Interstate Bowling Lanes, Disjecta, 76 Filling Station, etc.]

Joe A Fortino
Guest
Joe A Fortino

same driver yelled and followed me yelling get the f outta the lane.. haha that street is a mess now agh

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

when I see that someone like this is a repeat offender it does kind of make me want to sign up for one of those services where you can look up who owns cars by license plate and look plates up for folks.

One
Guest

Portland is a small town. One of you know this d-bag. Please send this video to his mom and his supervisor.

johnny burrell
Guest
johnny burrell

I’ve had this happen to me SO MANY TIMES. Williams is an absolute mess. They prioritized two full lanes for cars to not move in so it is no wonder traffic is slow.

Chris, please call the Portland Police and file a complaint for assault against that driver.

Brent
Guest
Brent

It appears the driver was trying to get to the left turn lane about 25-50 feet before the designated mixing zone. I’m sure he felt like there was nothing wrong and that he was actually being extra careful with that early merge because he was coming in behind the cyclists now when it was “safe”, instead of later. As a driver, those mixing zones can be really stressful because it’s hard to see if a cyclist is in your blind spot, hard to tell how quickly a cyclist is approaching from behind, and any seconds spent looking and being careful holds up the line of traffic behind you.

I can almost imagine the thoughts running through the diver’s head in this situation:
– “I was trying to be safe and avoid the stress of the mixing zone by merging just a little early and now this entitled bicyclist is lecturing and shaming me. I don’t want to hurt you, but I’m losing my patience and getting tired of putting up with the inconvenience of your presence here. Don’t you know I’m bigger and faster than you? You should be watching out for me, not the other way around!”

All this to say, other than the spitting, I would say I don’t think it’s toxic masculinity driving this conflict so much as the very narrow, car-centric, street view of the driver which is common among men and women. Perched high up in their enclosed, climate controlled, and powerful vehicle, they feel entitled to take whatever space is available to get where they want to go as fast as they can. Anyone else, other cars, but especially smaller, less power beings on foot and bike, is a nuisance to tolerate. And if that nuisance gets to be too much, or if I see an opportunity to use my bulk to get my way, well then might makes right.

I think the only way to change that kind of car-centric street view is to regularly become one of those less beings. Short strolls between car and shop in controlled situations like parking lots or commercial districts isn’t the same as trying to get from A to B in more typical traffic. It’s whole walking (biking) a mile in my (bike) shoes things to get a different perspective. Literally.

Until then, I completely agree with the letter writer. We have to force the “car-goggles” to do the right thing (not take up every inch of available space, not force everyone else to watch out for them) with physical barriers and/or social barriers in the form of consistent enforcement of laws.

Jason
Guest
Jason

How does spitting on the cyclist enhance safety?

Brent
Guest
Brent

Huh? I don’t think I said that. I do see several typos in my comment, but I don’t see that.

What I meant was that the spitting is toxic masculinity. A car-centric entitlement street view is not.

Jason
Guest
Jason

The motorist in this instance spat on the cyclist. Pretty clear that the driver didn’t have safety in mind.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Maybe try listening to what Brent is saying, Jason.

Jason
Guest
Jason

“I’m sure he felt like there was nothing wrong and that he was actually being extra careful with that early merge because he was coming in behind the cyclists”

This is undermined by the fact that the driver spat on the cyclist. One cannot be “extra careful” while exhibiting such disdain for the one you are being careful towards.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Attitudes can shift during an encounter. You can start calm and end up angry.

9watts
Subscriber

I agree with MotRG here.

Brent
Guest
Brent

Hi Jason,

Based on your other comments on this story, it seems you have a zero-tolerance attitude toward this situation, especially due to the spitting. I get that. The spitting is not defensible in any way. The driver should not have entered the bike lane. Ok.

My comment was merely my attempt to read into the situation my guess as to what was going through the motorist’s mind in this situations. (What was going through the bicyclist’s mind is clearly shown in his letter). I was not attempting to defend or justify any action. However, I do think it’s better to consider the way people see themselves when we respond to their actions. In doing so, we can perhaps build understand and reconciliation instead of just righteous indignation.

That was my point later on in the comment from the other side. Drivers need to be better at seeing the road and their interactions with bicyclists and walkers out from behind the wheel. There is a place for rules, consequences, and righteous indignation. I would say perhaps this situation wasn’t one of them. But then I have been accused of being a little too “moderate” at times, so I’m open to your zero-tolerance point too.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

about 10years ago my wife was recovering from surgery and we went out with friends for a quick dinner…parked curbside and blocked bike lane with car door for about 25 seconds as i helped her gingerly get out of the car..not a heavy traffic night, and only one bike was within sight the entire time, and he came up upon us as we were shutting the door.

he blasted an airhorn as he whipped by and shouted BIKE LANE!!!!!

was world really ending with this driver just trying to use 25 feet of empty pavement to get into the turn lane? was he riding the bike lane for like 5 blocks and i’m missing something?

Jason
Guest
Jason

That is the logic used by non-handicapped people parking in handicapped spots; “what’s the harm in using this unused spot for a quick five minute stop?” When we stop respecting the right of ways and designated use of our transportation grid, we demonstrate a lack of respect for each other as citizens. This might be what you’ve missed.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

thats a big jump to usurping handicapped spaces.

it is, though, almost entirely similar to being 3 cars back at a light where traffic is going straight and you are turning right so u filter forward on the right side b/c no cars are parked along the curb….and then some dude shouts at you “hey…that space is for PARKED CARS! you’re on camera….”

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

“When we stop respecting the right of ways and designated use of our transportation grid”

Surely this applies to all citizens. And thus, we are in agreement about not allowing ANTIFA members to block traffic.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I think any form of protest is entitled to obstruct traffic. I mean, it’s not like smiling and handing out free ice-creams will agitate people to change.

Now, as far as ANTIFA, no comment. This isn’t Facebook.

Asher Atkinson
Guest
Asher Atkinson

I don’t see the need for confrontation in the video. In all due respect Jason, the only lack of respect I see initially is for lane striping on pavement and not for Chris as a citizen. Or perhaps from Chris to the driver, as he chose to impede the driver to deliver a lecture. Don’t get me wrong, I’m typically a stickler for obeying the law and adhering to our transportation designs, but under certain circumstances I exercise judgment, violate norms, and accept consequences. The leeway I give myself is the same I give to other individuals. In the video the driver’s action is of no consequence to Chris. He choose to signal and enter the bike lane after Chris passed and for a few car lengths in advance of a mixer. Again, not the end of the world. Had it been me on my everyday Williams commute, I’d have just pedaled on to avoid confrontation and the needless escalation that will typically ensue.

Jason
Guest
Jason

“That escalated quickly”

My line in the sand and bedrock to my comment is that spiting on people is disrespectful. The adherence to safety is an expression of respect.

Do all the mental back-flips you like, but to me those two concepts are not coherent.

If things escalate to the level of spitting on people, then it cannot be said that respect was ever truly in the moment.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

the spitting is bad, but i think a fair number of people have allowed here that the confrontation was instigated by cyclist in a situation where many people likely would have chosen not to instigate confrontation.

and in regards to your comment:
“When we stop respecting the right of ways and designated use of our transportation grid, we demonstrate a lack of respect for each other as citizens”

did u notice cyclist blew consecutive yellows at the end of the video? ..one in which a pedestrian was waiting to cross? as a responsible road participant he could have easily stopped at either. personally, i’m not going to chase him down and chastise him while waving my camera in his face.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Are you saying the cyclist got what was coming?

“did u notice cyclist blew consecutive yellows at the end of the video? ..one in which a pedestrian was waiting to cross?” No, tell me the time index.
I observed:

@1:40 cyclist traversed a yellow light that had turned at about 1:39
@1:49 cyclist traversed a ped crossing, no peds waiting
@2:01 cyclist traversed a yellow light that had turned at about 2:00
@2:18 cyclist traversed a ped crossing, no peds waiting

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

“Are you saying the cyclist got what was coming?”

of course not..like a number of other commenters i’m just pointing out that its a more nuanced situation than pretending that the only action that occurred here was that the driver assaulted a cyclist.

u noted the 2 yellows he went thru. the 1st one he had just started accelerating so could have easily stopped….the 2nd one had a pedestrian on far corner. BOTH had flashing DONT WALK signal countdowns that anyone who is observant and frequents the road would know are timed with light change.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

He did not “get what was coming”, but picking a fight with a random dude in a car is always risky business, especially when the issue at hand is so minor. Proceeding to commit similarly minor transgressions of one’s own immediately following such an encounter just feels, at the very least, unseemly.

VS
Guest
VS

Why not stop in the vehicle travel lane, then? If you’re not worried about blocking bike traffic because they can just “go around” then why not block the regular vehicle lane, since they too can just go around?

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

Too bad those are Washington plates. With video evidence of the plate number and a face to match it with, you’d think law enforcement (if motivated) could do something about this specific driver. But as per a previous BP post, apparently neither jurisdiction would be willing to do anything about it. WA says the event happens in OR so OR needs to take care of it, OR says it’s a WA vehicle so WA needs to take care of it….

broMan
Guest
broMan

Rodney is a good way to go, lately.

Shimran George
Guest
Shimran George

” I personally won’t ever get upset or beef at black drivers even if they do crazy stuff that bothers/scares me”

And if you or your child is injured or killed as a result of this dangerous behavior… will you rest easier if the dangerous driver was non-white? All people, regardless of color, know right from wrong and should be held to a similar standard of safety for the greater community. It is not something I feel warrants this level of navel-gazing.

I know you mean well JM, but I just want to point out that people of color are also uneasy when they are treated differently to the point that they are not held accountable for their actions, and others go out of their way to not seem racist–which is an extremely common occurrence here in Portland (and yes it’s obvious).

Communities of color are awesome! But don’t tangle the greater community with the actions of an individual, that need to be called out. I don’t think you are going to find a single person of color that will be any less angry if they were, or a member of their family was, hit by a fellow person of color.

I think you can be respectful to the community at large (and rightfully so, as the black community in this area has had to suffer through over a century of racist planning and marginalization) but be rightfully indignant at someone as an individual for performing dangerous behavior.

FWIW I did really like your anecdote about reconciling with the driver. I hope he is more cognizant of bikes on the street and we can have this sort of trend happen more often!

Fred
Guest
Fred

Like Chris, I have stopped in front of cars to tell the driver to obey the rules (get out of the bike lane, yield to a bike at an intersection, etc). Not once has any driver thanked me for doing it! In fact, the reaction has been universally negative.

I think the reactions have a lot to do with the power asymmetry of the individuals involved: the cyclist is standing in the road next to a 25-lb bike, completely unprotected; the driver is surrounded by a very strong steel cage and shatter-proof glass, with 200-300 horsepower to drive the chariot ahead at great speed.

Let’s face it: drivers feel empowered and emboldened to do whatever they want. They rule the roads, and everything about our roads in Portland reinforces that impression: rare, almost nonexistent law enforcement; 19th-century road design in most places; and a culture of car dominance.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if drivers felt chastened to obey the rules? – if they felt that driving were a privilege that could be taken from them for doing something stupid like driving in a bike lane and spitting on a cyclist? But no. The driver in this situation will get away with it, like 99.99% of the drivers many of us come in contact with every day, and feel emboldened to do it again – or do something even more egregious – because he got away with it.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

If we were to adopt an approach to liability that laid all of it on the driver of the larger, more powerful vehicle, I expect the insurance companies would sort it short order.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I thought drivers were already held liable for injuries/damage they cause, and that drivers with multiple claims have to pay higher rates because their insurers do, in fact, take notice. Is this belief incorrect?

Angelo Dolce
Guest
Angelo Dolce

In my experience, this is only consistently applied to damage they cause to other motorists. I’m no longer in Portland, but when I’ve been hit on my bicycle elsewhere (i) motorists leave without giving information if there aren’t other witnesses (ii) Police never cite them for leaving the accident without giving information and (iii) in one of the accidents the police wouldn’t even use the license plate to give me the driver and insurance information.

Fortunately damage was minimal (bruises but no hospital, cheap bicycle), but the police clearly that they saw no reason to cite the driver or get involved just because the motorist hit a bicyclist waiting at a red light and drove away.

Pat Franz
Guest
Pat Franz

Drivers with insurance that get caught for a collision get their rates increased, yes. But drivers without insurance or that don’t get caught don’t get their rates increased. There is no consequence for dangerous driving until after a serious collision, and then only if the person responsible is actually tagged for it. All the dangerous and socially damaging behavior up until that point is not sanctioned at all, since we basically don’t have traffic enforcement. The only sanctions we seem to have is letting such drivers know we won’t put up with it- not a very satisfactory situation.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I wish Portland had more late 19th Century hardscape roadways…then they would have wider sidewalks and slower design geometries…to restate the statement Portland has too many mid 20th Century roadways…especially those developed out in the “county” / “country” before annexation…no sidewalks…large turn radii etc. etc.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

“I think the reactions have a lot to do with the power asymmetry of the individuals involved”

i think the reactions have a lot to do with people not really liking it when other people call them out (rightly or wrongly) and then (figuratively) jam a camera in their face. gonna guess there are plenty of instances where people on bikes/walking have reacted aggressively after being confronted even tho they are on wrong end of power asymmetry.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

“Wouldn’t it be refreshing if drivers felt chastened to obey the rules?”

Not just drivers, man.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Ah yes, fine people on both sides…

John Noyes
Guest
John Noyes

Sounds like the (I realize partly discredited) Stanford Prison Experiment. Give one group power, tell them another group is inferior, and voila! Instant conflict and unabashed aggression.

Roberta Robles
Guest
Roberta Robles

Just close the Rose Quarter ramps. Significantly reduce traffic on William’s. Put all the Vancouverites on busses. If you saw there mornin gbb commute and the reverse commute, it’s insanely long commutes for them. That would be reconcile past inequities.

z
Guest
z

Knew it was WA plates when I read the headline. Put in the tolls already.

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

Yes, I agree bridge tolls please. (But I suggest letting WA collect them for both states since WA state has an existing system and long experience to do it at likely less cost than if Oregon set up a new parallel system.)

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

As long as they use the revenue to pay for an extension of LRT into Vancouver.

Ron Richings
Guest
Ron Richings

I have long been appalled by various aspects of Williams as it has in theory evolved over the years. That hasn’t changed with its latest version. Since no one has mentioned it, near the end of the video in the block past Fremont the bike lane places riders squarely in the ‘door zone’ – something that a bike lane should never do. A clearly and unambiguously dangerous ‘feature’, and a trap for unwary bicycle riders. So how did it get there? Who approved it? What were they thinking? When will it be fixed? Fortunately in Vancouver BC we have gotten rid of most (but not all) such hazards. If Portland is going to regain its previous cred as a bike friendly city it really needs to pay attention to such stupid bits of infrastructure.

Skid
Guest
Skid

Big surprise…a Washington plate.

It’ll tell you where we need to build a wall: between Portland and the Couve

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Big surprise, geographic elitism.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Very Portland reply. S/?

Skid
Guest
Skid

Almost every time I encounter an aggressive driver especially someone yelling at me out their window they have a Washington plate.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Sometimes I wonder if bicycles need a speed limit on Williams? Cars are suppose to do 20. Imagine if a bike couldn’t go more than 10. I remember when I rode Williams regularly back in 2009-11. Sometimes I would hit a sustained speed of 25 mph for a couple minutes. I definitely utilized the Idaho stop law long before it was approved in Oregon, talk about being unsafe!!! Now I just cruise at a moderate pace, anticipate car movement and rarely have any issues, let alone confrontations…

9watts
Subscriber

“Cars are suppose to do 20. Imagine if a bike couldn’t go more than 10….”

Why would I want to imagine that? That is some weird Stockholm Syndrome sh!j.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

I’m suggesting that maybe some conflict on Williams is due to Bikes going to fast. Crazy…

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

Matt, I don’t get it. So what exactly would be the rationale for letting cars go twice as fast as bikes?

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

The speed limit for cars is set at 20. There’s no limit for bikes unless you follow the 20 set for cars. All I’m saying is I see bike commuters (including myself) doing more than 20 in such an unsafe corridor. Then we complain about right hooks and near misses, probably can agree that the system would work if everyone slowed down. Shoot, cars can do 15, bikes 10, but ANY vehicle doing more than 20 is too fast in my opinion.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Left hooks on Williams.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I don’t want to be rude or dismissive, but no. One of the biggest problems I have with our “system” is the additional restrictions placed on bicycles to allow drivers of cars free movement at our expense. The entire system, and even the dream of so many for a “better” system, involves nothing more than keeping bicycles “out of the way” of drivers. It doesn’t make bicycle trips any faster or more convenient then car trips—it forces any inconvenience onto bicyclists because we’ll take it and like it if somebody says it’s “safer” (even if it isn’t). If anything, we need more examples like our (thankfully!) recently-passed stop-as-yield law. Restrictions should be relaxed for less powerful, less impactful, less dangerous means of travel—not increased. If vehicular travel is deemed to be safe at 25 mph, then why would we ever restrict the vehicles/operators with better visibility, better maneuverability, and the highest awareness of their vulnerability to something less than for vehicles whose use we want to discourage in the first place, and whose operators have MORE of a burden to operate safely rather than blindly?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

What “additional restrictions” are you referring to? The only one I can think of is the mandatory sidepath rule, which I’ve never experienced as any kind of problem (the law provides exceptions for most of the instances where I don’t want to be in a bike lane).

9watts
Subscriber

I think El Biciclero is responding to the absurd persistence of Matt S’ suggestion that bikes should be required to move slower than cars.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Legally speaking, mostly that one, but I used “system” in quotes (perhaps too enigmatically) because I also include practical restrictions that are “enforced” by physical reality and by unchecked aggression, by which I mean intimidation without repercussions to the aggressor.

There are streets and roads on which any bicyclist is, of course, legally allowed to travel, but would experience such aggressive, menacing behavior that they are practically prohibited from using that route, and nobody—not even most fellow bicyclists—will defend their right to do so. Most of society agrees that, well, you’d be stupid to get in the way of “cars” on such a busy road…can’t you just ride somewhere else?

There are expectations that bicyclists will behave in a certain way (the “good” ones, anyway), which includes such extra-legal requirements as daytime flashing lights, hi-viz apparel, always wearing a helmet…and not traveling “at a high rate of speed”. None of these are legal requirements (unless you’re under 16 or are literally exceeding a posted speed limit), yet bicyclists are bound by most of public opinion to follow them or run the risk of being treated with a shrug and head shake when they are injured or killed by a motorist who is actually breaking the law.

That’s a little bit of a tangent, but in general my belief is that we need to normalize the ideas that a) bicyclists travel from and to destinations that are every bit as important and schedule-sensitive as drivers in cars, and they don’t want to be forced into slow infrastructure or a bunch of detours to get there, and b) There are some bicyclists (an ever-increasing number now, with e-bikes) that can and do travel over 15 mph—up to 40 mph on certain descents—and drivers should not expect all bicyclists to keep it under 10, or blame a bicyclist for traveling “too fast” when the bicyclist was perhaps exceeding the general couch-potato notion of how fast a “bike” should go, but not in any way exceeding an actual posted or statutory speed limit.

9watts
Subscriber

What is particularly perplexing to me about Matt S.’ demand for a speed differential is that everyone traveling at approximately the same (modest) speed works a lot better for everyone than if we specify/require (factor of two) speed differentials(!)

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Go ahead and ride 25 down Williams at 5 in the afternoon, I don’t care. I just know you’ll have more problems, I always did. But it’s cool, just complain about them on here.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Remember, it’s only 20 down Williams for cars. I scan do that in my sleep on a road bike.

9watts
Subscriber

You keep see-sawing between higher than and lower than speeds… why?
What is wrong with bikes and cars going twenty+/-? That is currently how the rules work. Let us recall that it was you who started demanding we on bikes cut our speed in half. Play the slow poke, handicap ourselves.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

What’s the speed limit for bikes on Williams?

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Do you ever ride Williams? There will be times when you have a bus merging into traffic, a person trying to cross the road, a car trying to make a left, a cyclist going 12 mph, and another passing on the right doing 20 — all within a 20 foot radius. Don’t try and tell me it’s not a safety corridor. The turn for NSM, my god what a nightmare. I’ve been both a driver and biker right there, not fun. Only thing I can think of to make the situation better is slow everything down.

9watts
Subscriber

“Think of to make the situation better is slow everything down.”

Except that is not what you started out with here in this conversation.

9watts
Subscriber

Hello, Kitty
What’s the speed limit for bikes on Williams?<em class="re

Hello, Kitty
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The posted speed limit applies to everyone I think. Am I wrong about that?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“Go ahead and ride 25 down Williams at 5 in the afternoon, I don’t care. I just know you’ll have more problems, I always did. But it’s cool, just complain about them on here.”

Nobody is saying not to use a sensible speed for conditions. I’m only arguing for “equal” treatment with respect to posted speed limits. Of course, if motor traffic is crawling at 7 mph, it doesn’t make sense to fly by at 20, but there is likewise no sense in creating any kind of 10 mph speed limit for bikes at all hours.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

eschewing anything like a helmet or hi-viz clothing, and swathed in all the safety features of a lime scooter, it’s a fair question as to whether a bike should be allowed to go 45mph in a 45mph zone.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

I think the slow down part was inferred from the very beginning…

ronald503
Guest
ronald503

this seems a little thin….

Jason
Guest
Jason

9watts
I agree with MotRG here.Recommended 0

You condone spitting on people. Understood

9watts
Subscriber

You appear to understand very little, actually.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Personal attacks are a substitute for facts. Lol.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

To be accurate, it was really more of a counterattack.

Jason
Guest
Jason

How so?

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

If someone told me “You condone spitting on people” I’d interpret that as being a pretty combative statement – more of an accusation, even. Especially if I felt the accuser was taking my words out of context.

To recap…

Middle of the Road Guy: Attitudes can shift during an encounter. You can start calm and end up angry.
9watts: I agree with MotRG here.
Jason: You condone spitting on people. Understood

Jason
Guest
Jason

Not at all combative. We were discussing the behavior of spitting and if it was an acceptable or unacceptable thing to do. What I said was merely a clarifying statement, sharing my understanding of what my counterpart was saying *about the subject matter*. He chose to take a personal dig about my *ability to understand things* which had no basis in the discussion. Therefor, it was a personal and unwarranted attack.

9watts
Subscriber

Thank you, rain panther.

You understand.

Not sure why Jason is so bent on putting words in other people’s mouths.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

I tend to choose my battles. By which I mean I save my loud verbal admonitions for when motorists are not only technically breaking the rules, but also creating an immediate impediment or danger – like actually blocking the bike lane, or passing unsafely, or tailgating.

I realize it’s a judgment call, and everyone’s gotta decide for themselves where to draw the line, but personally I would’ve let this slide and gone about my business. To be clear, the spitting tirade was definitely an out of bounds and completely unacceptable overreaction, but in general an angry response must have been the expected outcome.

Jason
Guest
Jason

pruss2ny
u noted the 2 yellows he went thru. the 1st one he had just started accelerating so could have easily stopped….the 2nd one had a pedestrian on far corner. BOTH had flashing DONT WALK signal countdowns that anyone who is observant and frequents the road would know are timed with light change.

If the light turns yellow 1 second before you cross the intersection, you are not obligated to stop. No foul there.

Those ped crossings don’t even have yellow flashers installed. No foul their either.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

“If the light turns yellow 1 second before you cross the intersection, you are not obligated to stop.”

show me the 1-second rule in Oregon law. its not there.
any astute road user knew the light was about to cycle from seeing the crosswalk count down hit 1. He could have stopped. He didn’t…its not the end of the world.

i get your points…they are pretty simple and repeatedly argued. i’m just saying, with a slightly different spin, this video goes viral as “Cycle Cop Chris berates DoC trying to get home to family”

idlebytes
Guest
idlebytes

I think you’re being a little overcritical about those yellow lights. First you aren’t required to anticipate a light turning to yellow and begin stopping before the light turns yellow. The first yellow light he may have been able to stop before the line but maybe not. His speed certainly isn’t reckless. The second yellow light he was in the crosswalk so he definitely shouldn’t have stopped and the pedestrian waiting across the intersection has no bearing on this.

“If a driver cannot stop in safety, the driver may drive cautiously through the intersection.”

https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.260

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

agreed. above (where this back/forth started) i intro’d the yellow light issue as a tedious issue not really worthy of complaint. even in my line u are responding to u’ll notice i mention that he “could” have stopped…he didn’t…and that it’s “not the end of the world”.

Jason
Guest
Jason

“Steady Yellow – A steady yellow signal warns you that the signal is about to turn red. Stop before entering the intersection. If you cannot stop safely, drive carefully through it.”

https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Forms/DMV/37.pdf page 13

Who among us would be looking at the traffic signal when you’re in the intersection? I wouldn’t, I’d be looking for other vehicles. As I approach the intersection, I check if it’s green. If it is, I transit the intersection. I’m more concerned with other vehicles than knowing if the light turns yellow when I go through.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

honestly i drive that way…and i teach my kids to do so.
as a road user u should always be scanning the corners for potential cross traffic/hazards, and using the crosswalk flashers as a heads up that the light is about to cycle gives u a moment to consider if there is anyone on your tail or not (ie can u stop or no?)

anyway…apologies if i came off as a prick or too obsessive…enjoyed the back and forth…and had nothing else going on today

Jason
Guest
Jason

Brent
I do think it’s better to consider the way people see themselves when we respond to their actions.

I can see how that is an emotionally intelligent thing to do. I might have dug in my heels a little deep on this issue.

When I put myself in the driver’s mind,”I” am entitled and think all cyclists are scofflaws; bike infrastructure is a waste of money; cyclists steel my tax dollars for wasted space like Better Nato and bike lanes on busy roads.

Speaking as “me” now, I would never do what that driver did. Because it would mean driving in a bike lane. Maybe it’s an emotional blind spot for me, but I think motorists that do that are entitled. These are the kind of people that go to town hall meetings to gripe about how much money is spent on cycling infrastructure. Did I say spent? I meant wasted. These are the living, breathing institution of car users that are so entrenched in their habits, they think it’s a right and not a privilege to use motor vehicles.

While I agree that empathy is under practiced in our society, I really can’t empathize with someone that is the living embodiment of traffic toxicity.