Joe Bike

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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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

114 Comments
  • Avatar
    Jason February 21, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Jersey barriers please.

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      Tad Reeves February 21, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      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.

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        Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 21, 2020 at 12:33 pm

        AFAIK the reason this isn’t physically protected is due to a mix of reasons including cost and the need for access to the parking lane. Worth noting I think that during the process of planning this project there was a sense from advocates and people on the stakeholder advisory committee that the painted bike lane was just a first step and that we were “taking the space” so that we could go back and make it more protected in the future.

        Squeaky wheel gets the grease. I don’t think PBOT/Eudaly is looking forward to re-engaging on Williams given the tremendous amount of difficulty they had there last time around, so it would take a massive effort (or cataclysmic environmental/economic/social catastrophe or sea change in our culture) to make this happen IMO.

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          David Hampsten February 21, 2020 at 6:10 pm

          Yes well…

          If you are waiting for PBOT to “do the right thing” and implement miles of barrier-protected bike lanes on Vancouver/Williams, then yeah, probably ain’t going to happen.

          But…if you are willing to sell your soul and engage in slimy back-room deals…

          I-5 is the main car corridor for Oregon, especially for Oregon legislators and your governor, most of whom are pretty naive. They apparently believe that if you add capacity to a busy section of freeway, specifically near the Rose Quarter, that it will relieve congestion. We all know that it won’t, it will only make traffic worse, etc, but they don’t believe that. They are also willing to spend $500 million – $750 million to “fix it”. Even though there’s lots of local opposition, including some by the City of Portland, let’s face it, the state will probably still build it.

          So this is where you sell your soul and make a deal with the Devil: The expanded highway will add a clearly specified number of lane miles designed to carry so much capacity, so many cars per day. While we all know each of the cars will have only one person in them, we could argue they are capable of holding 4 people each, so theoretically the added personal-mobility capacity quadruples. To mitigate the inevitable negative environmental consequences of this expansion, the state should pay the City of Portland to reduce capacity by a similar amount, but not by area or cars removed, but by the number of people moved in cars. So basically the city would remove a certain amount of roadway capacity for cars along the same 2-mile-wide corridor by removing traffic lanes and parking, adding bus-only lanes (Rose Lanes?), and implementing barrier-protected bike lanes, but at state expense rather than local expense.

          But of course no one on this blog would ever stoop so low…

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            was carless February 24, 2020 at 10:10 pm

            If we make a deal on I-5, then it will only make biking on the rest of NE 10x worse. So it would be counter-productive to do it.

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              David Hampsten February 25, 2020 at 1:09 am

              I have no doubt you are correct in your assessment. What I’m saying is that Portland’s collective efforts to prevent this project will inevitably fail, not from a lack of effort, but because Portland’s dominance of the rest of the state doesn’t extend beyond the city’s boundaries; and since the state owns and controls the Rose Corridor, they will ultimately overcome the city if they are so determined (and I think they are.) Your choices are: Do you want to passively wait for the state to ruin your lives and fail to gain anything from this project? Or would you prefer to do a deal with the Devil (ODOT, the governor, and the state legislature) and try to get something positive out of this project?

              It’s not any easy choice; compromise never is.

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                Matt S. February 25, 2020 at 6:16 am

                I’m part of the carpenter’s union and certain reps support this project 100%. Now I don’t know if I completely support it, I’m rather neutral really, but everyone at the hall is excited for the work it will bring. Interesting perspective.

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    Mike C February 21, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    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.

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      Matt S. February 21, 2020 at 12:29 pm

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

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        Alain February 21, 2020 at 5:22 pm

        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.

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    pdx2wheeler February 21, 2020 at 12:22 pm

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

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    David Hampsten February 21, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    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…

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    GlowBoy February 21, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    “Why is it always a Dodge?”

    Have you seen any Dodge commercials lately?

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      El Biciclero February 21, 2020 at 3:10 pm

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

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 22, 2020 at 11:45 am

      Last week it was “always the BMW drivers”.

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      Granpa February 22, 2020 at 3:06 pm

      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”

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 22, 2020 at 4:56 pm

        We released ourselves on our own recognizance.

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    jeff February 21, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    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.

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      Buzz February 21, 2020 at 9:32 pm

      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.

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        jeff February 24, 2020 at 8:21 am

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

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    Todd Boulanger February 21, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    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.]

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    Joe A Fortino February 21, 2020 at 12:38 pm

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

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      Bjorn February 22, 2020 at 6:30 pm

      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.

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    One February 21, 2020 at 12:39 pm

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

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    johnny burrell February 21, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    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.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 21, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Worth noting for folks who aren’t aware: North Williams Avenue was once a bustling majority black neighborhood that has been severely gentrified and many black families have been pushed far away. The process to build this bikeway was very bruising and was a racial reckoning for many involved (including myself). I bike here a lot and – it might seem odd to some of you – but I personally won’t ever get upset or beef at black drivers even if they do crazy stuff that bothers/scares me.

    A lot of people asked me to cover parking violations that blocked the bike lane near Dawson Park (major hub for black friends and families) and I never did it. Let them park wherever they want. We’ve taken enough from them over the years, I thought.

    One time years ago I flipped a guy off (he was black and had almost run me off the road) and then we met at the next block and talked to each other. We ended up shaking hands and sharing our perspectives on what had happened. He grew up in the neighborhood and said he didn’t understand why white people biked in the street. He and his friends always biked on the sidewalk. That’s just a little anecdote.

    But in general, white people – intentionally or not – have caused massive wounds to black people in this neighborhood. Please keep that in mind as you bike around and consider giving folks a bit more space to live.

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      Johnny Bye Carter February 21, 2020 at 6:47 pm

      I had to go back to the video to see if he was black. Just looked dark inside the vehicle. If he’s from the area then he got pushed all the way out to Washington state. In Washington you’re allowed to drive in the bike lane when approaching a turn.

      Nowhere are you allowed to spit on people, no matter your skin color.

      Police should be contacted and he should be charged.

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        Toby Keith February 21, 2020 at 7:15 pm

        I can’t believe what I’m hearing. We should excuse menacing with a motor vehicle and assault if the person committing the acts are black? Sorry Jonathan, people should get called out no matter what shade they are. This is way beyond “giving a little more space to live”.

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      Middle of the Road Guy February 22, 2020 at 9:56 am

      He had Washington plates, JM.

      You’re assuming he has some claim to the area that you just can’t prove.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 22, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      I can see having some sympathy/affinity for someone who has a personal or familial connection to a place, but no longer lives there. It’s harder for me to extend that to a person simply because of their race. By going even further, and tolerating dangerous behavior on that basis, I feel like you are defending having different standards of conduct for different racial groups, depending on location.

      I’m just not comfortable with that, and I don’t think that’s how we build a more equitable and just society.

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      BradWagon February 24, 2020 at 10:42 am

      People wanting to safely ride bikes, no matter their race, in no way “wound/wounded” people wanting to selfishly drive their cars, no matter their race. No question development and transportation infrastructure HAVE damaged this area, but losing parking lots/surface street quasi-highway lanes ain’t part of it. Sorry, but hard pass on minorities being allowed to continue environmentally devastating and socially dangerous behaviors.

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    Brent February 21, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    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.

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      Jason February 21, 2020 at 1:44 pm

      How does spitting on the cyclist enhance safety?

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        Brent February 21, 2020 at 1:51 pm

        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.

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          Jason February 22, 2020 at 7:26 am

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

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            9watts February 22, 2020 at 8:34 am

            Maybe try listening to what Brent is saying, Jason.

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              Jason February 22, 2020 at 8:53 am

              “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.

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                Middle of the Road Guy February 22, 2020 at 9:59 am

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

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                9watts February 22, 2020 at 2:28 pm

                I agree with MotRG here.

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                Brent February 24, 2020 at 1:02 pm

                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.

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      pruss2ny February 22, 2020 at 6:40 am

      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?

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      • Avatar
        Jason February 22, 2020 at 6:52 am

        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.

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          pruss2ny February 22, 2020 at 7:12 am

          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….”

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          Middle of the Road Guy February 22, 2020 at 10:01 am

          “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.

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            Jason February 24, 2020 at 9:27 am

            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.

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          Asher Atkinson February 22, 2020 at 1:47 pm

          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.

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            Jason February 24, 2020 at 9:24 am

            “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.

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              pruss2ny February 24, 2020 at 10:34 am

              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.

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                Jason February 24, 2020 at 10:48 am

                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

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                pruss2ny February 24, 2020 at 10:59 am

                “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.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 24, 2020 at 11:06 am

                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.

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        VS February 27, 2020 at 9:16 am

        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?

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    Alan Love February 21, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    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….

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    broMan February 21, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Rodney is a good way to go, lately.

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    John Lascurettes February 21, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    I have avoided N. Williams ever since the redesign. I take NE Rodney if I have to be in that area now.

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    Shimran George February 21, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    ” 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!

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 21, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      Shimran,

      I take every situation in context and I don’t find hypotheticals very useful in some cases. I don’t feel like this is “navel-gazing”. Obviously I would get really upset and angry if a black person was responsible for hurting my kid, but the history I spoke of in my first comment would definitely be a part of how I react overall. That mindset is baked into me and it doesn’t just shut off.

      I would also just point out that I’ve found these issues to be tremendously personal and complex to the point where we shouldn’t tell other people how to behave when they come up.

      I appreciate your comment and will let it inform my perspective going forward.

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    Fred February 21, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    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.

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      Stephen Keller February 21, 2020 at 3:27 pm

      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.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 22, 2020 at 12:07 pm

        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?

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          Angelo Dolce February 22, 2020 at 10:37 pm

          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.

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          Pat Franz February 23, 2020 at 9:57 pm

          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.

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      Todd Boulanger February 21, 2020 at 8:42 pm

      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.

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      pruss2ny February 22, 2020 at 7:22 am

      “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.

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      Middle of the Road Guy February 22, 2020 at 10:02 am

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

      Not just drivers, man.

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        9watts February 22, 2020 at 2:00 pm

        Ah yes, fine people on both sides…

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      John Noyes February 22, 2020 at 10:06 am

      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.

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    Roberta Robles February 21, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    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.

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    z February 21, 2020 at 6:05 pm

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

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      todd boulanger February 21, 2020 at 8:45 pm

      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.)

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        Hello, Kitty February 22, 2020 at 12:09 pm

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

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    Ron Richings February 21, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    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.

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    Skid February 21, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Big surprise…a Washington plate.

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

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      Middle of the Road Guy February 22, 2020 at 10:03 am

      Big surprise, geographic elitism.

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        Granpa February 22, 2020 at 3:08 pm

        Very Portland reply. S/?

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        Skid February 22, 2020 at 4:55 pm

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

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    Matt S. February 22, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    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…

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      9watts February 22, 2020 at 4:52 pm

      “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.

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        Matt S. February 22, 2020 at 8:08 pm

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

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          rain panther February 23, 2020 at 12:23 pm

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

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            Matt S. February 23, 2020 at 3:24 pm

            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.

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              Matt S. February 23, 2020 at 3:25 pm

              Left hooks on Williams.

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          El Biciclero February 23, 2020 at 3:36 pm

          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?

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            Hello, Kitty February 23, 2020 at 3:46 pm

            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).

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              9watts February 23, 2020 at 3:50 pm

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

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              El Biciclero February 23, 2020 at 6:17 pm

              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.

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                9watts February 23, 2020 at 6:23 pm

                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(!)

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                Matt S. February 23, 2020 at 7:17 pm

                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.

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                Matt S. February 23, 2020 at 7:20 pm

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

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                9watts February 23, 2020 at 7:26 pm

                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.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 23, 2020 at 7:28 pm

                What’s the speed limit for bikes on Williams?

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                Matt S. February 23, 2020 at 8:09 pm

                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.

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                9watts February 23, 2020 at 8:11 pm

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

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

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                9watts February 23, 2020 at 8:12 pm

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

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

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                El Biciclero February 23, 2020 at 9:20 pm

                “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.

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                pruss2ny February 24, 2020 at 6:29 am

                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.

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                Matt S. February 24, 2020 at 4:17 pm

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

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    ronald503 February 22, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    this seems a little thin….

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    Jason February 22, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    9watts
    I agree with MotRG here.Recommended 0

    You condone spitting on people. Understood

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      9watts February 23, 2020 at 12:24 am

      You appear to understand very little, actually.

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        Jason February 23, 2020 at 3:41 pm

        Personal attacks are a substitute for facts. Lol.

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          rain panther February 24, 2020 at 9:55 am

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

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            Jason February 24, 2020 at 10:21 am

            How so?

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              rain panther February 24, 2020 at 12:38 pm

              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

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                Jason February 24, 2020 at 1:11 pm

                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.

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                9watts February 24, 2020 at 1:14 pm

                Thank you, rain panther.

                You understand.

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

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    rain panther February 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    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.

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    Jason February 24, 2020 at 11:28 am

    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.

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      pruss2ny February 24, 2020 at 12:51 pm

      “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”

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        idlebytes February 24, 2020 at 1:08 pm

        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

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          pruss2ny February 24, 2020 at 1:29 pm

          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”.

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        Jason February 24, 2020 at 1:38 pm

        “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.

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          pruss2ny February 24, 2020 at 1:42 pm

          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

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    Jason February 24, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    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.

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