BikeLoud’s City Hall rally on Wednesday will demand safer streets

Safe streets advocate Ted Buehler played dead while PBOT Commissioner Mapps made a speech at a press conference at Portland City Hall on August 7th. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

A phalanx of street safety advocates wearing the color of blood will gather on the front steps of Portland City Hall on Wednesday (9/6). Led by nonprofit BikeLoud PDX, the event aims to raise awareness and urgency to remedy what they feel is an “epidemic” of traffic deaths brought on by “streets designed to prioritize speed and capacity over safety.”

The rally will coincide with an event planned by climate group 350 PDX who will be at City Hall to confront “reckless” city councilors they say are responsible for a “backdoor deal” with Zenith Energy, an oil company that operates on the Willamette River.

“We ask participants to wear red to represent traffic violence,” says a statement from BikeLoud. “We will stand alongside our allies at 350PDX who also will wear red to bring attention to the City Council’s negligence in allowing Zenith Oil to harm Portlanders by operating highly dangerous oil trains through our neighborhoods.”

To put a finer point on the protest, BikeLoud has set out a list of four demands:

1) SAFE STREETS:

Our streets are failing us. We Demand the City to respond to every crash with a commitment to implement physical protection that protects our lives. The Safe System Approach is a USDOT program to rethink the planning, design, and operation of our road system  to be forgiving of inevitable human mistakes, so that serious-injury outcomes are far less likely to occur. Implementing the Safe System Approach demands decision-makers do the right thing – to always choose to keep all people safe on our streets, whether they are walking, rolling, wheeling, or driving. 

2) FUNDING:

The money is here. We demand our leaders fund safety first.   Portland needs to fund programs that support Vision Zero, instead of forcing PBOT to cut programs and projects  that keep us alive. A huge proportion of Portlanders do not have access to a car and have no choice but to be left unprotected on our roads. Ultimately: the most inequitable action is the City’s lack of action allowing this harm to continue.

 Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility (POEM) has a thoughtful menu of  smart revenue building mechanisms that are linked to reducing traffic deaths and injuries. Another funding source could be to use liquor/cannabis sales to tax a fund for victims of DUI-involved crashes. We demand Portland reprioritize where our transportation money goes and support safety first. 

3) AUTOMATIC ENFORCEMENT:

Short-term: Provide a detailed memo of what is delaying the implementation of roadway traffic safety cameras throughout High Crash Corridors (HCC). Use your positions as leaders to elevate this critical piece of planned infrastructure to state and federal supporters to remove barriers in procuring traffic cameras. 

Long-term: Implement automatic enforcement as a standard on Rose Lanes/enhanced transit corridors that will be placed on many high-crash corridors in the next 10 years per the current METRO RTP. Outline clear goals for future expansion of traffic camera locations, including speed enforcement for all schools on arterial streets.

4) VEHICLES:

Large cars are killing us. Oversized, overpowered cars and pickups are 90% more likely to seriously injure or kill people walking, and 50% more likely to injure or kill people in other cars. While there’s no way to completely limit the size of vehicles permitted on Portland’s streets, the City can discourage their use with registration fees and parking permits tied to vehicle size.  As vehicles have gotten larger, it’s become more critical that we consider limiting their size as they have a profound impact on roadway users outside these vehicles. Use your roles as city leaders to work with the US Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to rein in oversized vehicles on our roads. 

This rally comes one month after protestors shouted-down Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Mingus Mapps at a press conference back in August. Mapps held that event after a record 13 people were killed using Portland roads in just one month. After a fatality-free August, there have been two traffic deaths so far this month, bringing the annual total to 47.

Despite telling protestors in August that he shares their rage and frustration, and that the current state of our roads is a “dire threat to public safety,” Mapps has revealed no new plans or further statements about how he’s going to turn things around.

In the past 10 days, we’re aware of at least two horrific cases of drivers showing complete disregard for human life and using their vehicles to badly injure unprotected road users. On August 26th, a woman intentionally drove into a teenager who was walking near NE 72nd and Lombard in the Cully neighborhood. The victim was sent to the ICU with life-threatening injuries and the driver was arrested for attempted murder. And last Thursday, a person drove their car into a bike lane on NE 21st Avenue and slammed into a bike rider going the opposite direction. The rider was injured and is on the road to recovery, while the driver was arrested Sunday (and then released yesterday) for felony hit-and-run.

On August 18th, BikeLoud was one of six local advocacy groups that signed onto a letter to local leaders calling for more action to make streets safe. Following the protest tomorrow, current BikeLoud Chair Nic Cota and another volunteer have signed up to testify in front of Mayor Ted Wheeler and other council members. That testimony is part of the coordinated plan outlined in the 8/18 letter where local groups say they’ll do more lobbying at council each week to make sure leaders hear their voices.

The BikeLoud protest will take place on Wednesday morning from 8:30 to 9:30 am (to coincide with City Council meeting) at City Hall. More info here.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Arturo P
Arturo P
16 days ago

Wait a second. Bike Loud is one of the groups calling for LESS police in Portland. How does this square with their stated efforts to improve safety in a city in which traffic enforcement is virtually nonexistent and just recently started re-deploying a reduced number of traffic officers. Have they rescinded their prior demands for less police? If not, I don’t get them.

Austin
Austin
15 days ago
Reply to  Arturo P

Might have something to do with those traffic cameras they noted in the article?

eawriste
eawriste
15 days ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Yes, traffic cameras like those (point 3 above). Here is an article containing a study that suggested cameras “had decreased the expected number of fatal and serious injury crashes by 15 percent citywide between 2015 and 2017.” That result is consistent with the body of evidence collected on other speed camera programs around the country/world.

There are certainly problems with any means of enforcement. For example, black and latino citizens in Chicago are more likely to live in neighborhoods near highways and wider streets, which result in more frequent speeding. Those street designs must also be addressed (see point 1 above), while implementing a speed camera program.

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
14 days ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Is it possible that groups of people who have been victimized by the system might not trust the system enough to obey it?

Shouldn’t we expect people who get screwed over to behave more poorly than those the system serves?

eawriste
eawriste
14 days ago

Can you give readers a specific, substantive example or research to support your argument? I’m not sure what you are saying.

Arturo P
Arturo P
15 days ago
Reply to  Austin

Huh? I’m all for traffic cameras (they work on those running red lights) but they are not a panacea. They don’t work on those without license plates and have minimal impact on those driving under the influence or many forms of reckless driving such as street racing. Traffic police are a needed entity if we want to have any chance of expeditiously reducing the record levels of traffic violence in Portland. To think otherwise is naïveté.

bjorn
bjorn
15 days ago
Reply to  Arturo P

It is almost as if the answer to your question is in the article, they are clear about the 4 things they want and none of them involve biased policing.

  1. Design streets for safety, with physical protection where needed (NOT PLASTIC WANDS AND PAINT)
  2. Prioritize spending by PBOT on safety not motor vehicle throughput and travel time.
  3. Automated enforcement which will be unbiased and active 24/7 unlike traffic police.
  4. Nudge people into smaller vehicles that will do less damage when involved in collisions through fees.
Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
14 days ago
Reply to  Arturo P

Traffic cameras, better infrastructure, discouraging driving and incentivizing other means of transportation. Those are a few ideas. I don’t think Copenhagen or Amsterdam improved street safety by hiring more cops.

Arturo P
Arturo P
14 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

You’ve never been to the Netherlands have you? There is robust police traffic enforcement.

https://swov.nl/en/fact-sheet/traffic-enforcement

eawriste
eawriste
14 days ago
Reply to  Arturo P

Thanks for the link Arturo. Look at the section titled “Which traffic enforcement methods do police use.” 5 of 7 categories on that site rely on automated enforcement of various types. Again, this is not to say that actual manned police are not needed (e.g., see “Breath test”). But manned police are relatively ineffective (compared to automated enforcement) at systemic and consistent enforcement in both objective and subjective categories as reference by the site above.

“The objective probability of detection (the actual chance of being caught when committing an offence) and the subjective probability of detection (the assumed chance of being caught derived from the road user’s personal judgement) largely determine the success of traffic enforcement.”

Bjorn
Bjorn
16 days ago

Seems odd to have no bail required in a hit and run case, we know she is a flight risk, she already fled once…

John
John
15 days ago
Reply to  Bjorn

we know she is a flight risk

No we don’t. I don’t think people who say nonsense like this know what it means to be a flight risk. It’s not some panicked response like you might get after the crash itself. It’s a life ruining action to flee and you’re not going to do it unless you’re ready to completely try to detach from society, maybe escape to another country, live in the underground out of the rest of society for the rest of your life. Do you have any compelling evidence that she is willing to do that other than you’re just angry she’s not starting her prison sentence now?

Bjorn
Bjorn
14 days ago
Reply to  John

You sound like the lawyer for Abdulrahman Noorah saying that she will certainly show up for court. She fled the scene leaving the victim lying in the street without making any effort to render aid. This woman clearly has no moral compass whatsoever, I don’t think we can count on her to return for a court date without any incentive to do so. Since she got lucky and the victim lived she has less motivation to flee than if the incident had resulted in someone’s death but a $0 bond for hit and run is inappropriately low.

BB
BB
14 days ago
Reply to  John

The vast majority of car heads that drive drunk/reckless and kill and injure people are repeat offenders.
I am surprised they have supporters on a bicycle website because they scare the hell out of me and I want them off the road immediately.
I don’t think most people here who cycle want them behind the wheel ever again after these incidents.
Being out on bail is being free to drive again and try to kill me.
No thanks.
I guess you like to take chances while biking in the city, I don’t.
Most people have remorse for the victims but apparently you sympathize with people driving cars recklessly and dangerously.

John
John
14 days ago
Reply to  BB

Being out on bail is your actual constitutional right you absolute goofball. You are innocent until proven guilty. That’s just the way things work in this country and I’m tired of explaining this third grade level concept to people who fancy themselves intelligent people.

BB
BB
14 days ago
Reply to  John

I appreciate the name calling… Here is the actual legal ruling.

Although the Eighth Amendment protects against excessive bail, there is not an absolute right to bail, as noted in The Bail Reform Act, 18 USC Chapter 207. Section 3142 of the Act denies bail to certain defendants pending trial, specifically denying bail to defendants likely to flee or pose a danger to society.

There is only the 8th amendment ruling against EXCESSIVE bail.
There is no right in the constitution for bail.

Maybe you should hold off the insults and educate yourself.
Did you pass the 3rd grade?

John
John
14 days ago
Reply to  BB

Right, so there has to be an actual, special reason why bail should be denied or why it should be very high. In every criminal case, there is going to be a defendant who is extremely unsympathetic and your reason for saying they should be held in jail can’t just be “I’m mad because I don’t like the crime they’re accused of”. You can’t just stamp your feet and give a big frown and say “but dayw da bad gwys”. Just let the process play out, they’re not a flight risk according to people way more qualified than you, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

BB
BB
14 days ago
Reply to  John

So not admitting you had no idea what you were talking about and called me a goofball and other names apparently is the normal in conversation here.
Thanks for the word salad reply. I will take any other comments from you on this website with a grain of salt.

John
John
14 days ago
Reply to  BB

I wasn’t wrong. That’s why I didn’t admit I have no idea what I was talking about. I know very well that there is discretion in bail setting. There has to be a good reason to deny bail and for various reasons, it can be set very low or not at all. It’s up to the judge I believe. Being held in jail pre-trial and bail itself for that matter is not supposed to be part of the punishment. It’s purely a practical matter, because you are assumed innocent until trial happens. You are held if it is likely you will try to flee or cause harm to other people while awaiting trial. I don’t believe you personally have the right experience or education to know if either of those things are true. You’re just some keyboard legal expert.

Maybe calling you a goofball was unnecessary. I think you’re acting like a goofball, a child. You’re having an understandable emotional reaction because you, like me, take vehicular violence seriously and personally. But that’s particularly why your opinion on what bail “should” have been must be taken with a grain of salt (and mostly ignored). You don’t know what you’re talking about and you’re mad. You’re not being reasonable, and your opinion on how bail “should” have been set in this case, if applied to everything else in the criminal legal system, would be draconian. It would be a step back and it would be bad.

BB
BB
14 days ago
Reply to  John

I never said bail should be denied in all cases.
I think bail should not be given to hit and run drivers since they have already shown they have no respect for human life and they attempted to get away with.
You clearly stated bail is a constitutional right which is COMPLETELY wrong.
Again you called me names, is something wrong with you?
Judges are simply political appointees and if you believe they are always correct in their opinions you must LOVE our Supreme Court.
You insulted my intelligence when I simply cited the actual constitution…..
Have a nice day, I am surprised you get away insulting people who post here as often as you do.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
14 days ago
Reply to  BB

I think bail should not be given to hit and run drivers since they have already shown they have no respect for human life and they attempted to get away with.

It’s frightening how easily you are willing to throw out a presumption of innocence.

I’m a socialist but illiberalism is still very bad. We can’t build a socioeconomic based on equitable human flourishing if we can’t even agree that basic human rights designed to protect people (and society) from authoritarianism are important.

BB
BB
13 days ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

You can have a presumption of innocence and get your day in court but there is simply NO “right” to be held without bail.
Mass shooters and murderers are held without bail all the time because they are a risk to the public.
Hit and run drivers like the examples in the article are in the same category. Not everyone, but people who are caught at the scene fleeing have NO presumption of innocence, they can still have their day in court for mitigating circumstances but they have already shown a propensity for violence against vulnerable people and should not be allowed to kill and injure more while waiting a trial for a heinous act.

BikeSoft
BikeSoft
15 days ago

I generally like BikeLoud but this is amateur hour activism..

8:30 am is too early
Council will be in session already, will only observe it after the fact, cannot be engaged directly
Coinciding with another protest and wearing the same color as another protest is an odd way of calling attention to your issues
Relatively short notice
There’s no crescendo here..

Instead they should..
* beat the drum with a real message over several months
* prepare their base for action
* pair the rally with a petition and letter/postcard campaign to increase impact
* then after priming the pump schedule a rally with some real notice at either lunch or 5:30pm

Even better if it occurs in an election cycle (next spring). That will get attention from anyone trying to win votes and hopefully get media coverage as part of the election cycle.

BB
BB
15 days ago
Reply to  BikeSoft

This is pretty unfortunate.
Bikeloud is going the way of the Street Trust. You muddle the message so badly that no one cares.
Combining Cycling advocacy with Oil Trains is so on par with these groups.
Even if both are worthy causes, Bikeloud is sending a message to me that cycling is just “one” of their issues and it is no more important than a lot of other issues.
I will cross them off my bicycle advocacy list just like I do The Street trust, it’s not that important to them or maybe they get better fundraising by co-opting another issue.
Not with me they won’t.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
14 days ago
Reply to  BB

BB & Bikesoft, do you usually actively advocate because it’s fun and entertaining? Or do you advocate passively by joining whichever group is most convenient and matches your mood of the moment? Or do you advocate actively because you are passionate about your concerns and wish to work with other like-minded folks?

Guy
Guy
14 days ago
Reply to  BB

Ahh yes, completely unrelated. In which case, I wanna see the fantasy world where elected leaders sell their city to oil companies for a fistful o dollars, and yet, paradoxically, are full of the milk of human kindness for kids (not their own, mind you!) trying to ride their bikes to school – or librarians waiting at bus stops, for that matter!

nic.cota
14 days ago
Reply to  BikeSoft

Hey BikeSoft: Nic Cota here! Chair of BikeLoud.

I’m really proud of this rally, and the work our volunteers pulled off getting to this point. While there’s some points I could argue (turns out Portlanders die on our roads in record-breaking numbers outside of election years) I agree there’s a lot we are learning as we get back into rallying and regaining a base. Sometimes things don’t go to plan and other times: we have to level with the amount of work this all takes.

But I just want to make clear for everyone reading:

We are ALL volunteers. No staff. No big donors. No time outside what we can commit to outside of our jobs or taking care of loved ones. While I wish we could be the huge sprawling coalition that I see BikeLoud being someday and folks who bike in Portland deserve and expect: we are not there yet. We are still a very young organization.

We are quietly working behind the scenes with what time we have to grow this organization, and equally: listen to our members as we go along. In that process we are committed to working with other organizations to help elevate their concerns and create a coalition of like-minded groups to bring attention to City Hall. Partnering with Oregon Walks, Families for Safe Streets, 350pdx, Breach Collective, and countless other groups take a lot of work/time. All of which: I’m really proud of. At the end of the day: we’re not alone in our passion to make Portland a more safe, equitable, and sustainable city.

Proud of the work our members do, and how much we engage and accomplish. I’ll take your notes and if you feel so inclined: we encourage folks with good ideas jump in and help commit to those ideas. It always starts with showing up.

BikeSoft
BikeSoft
14 days ago
Reply to  nic.cota

Remember the rally at City Hall following the report BikeLoud wrote on the status of the 2030 BikePlan in early 2020 just before the pandemic hit? The Birthday Party Rally.

https://bikeportland.org/2020/02/11/bike-plan-birthday-rally-celebrates-past-with-eye-toward-future-310873

That was the culmination of months of work by BikeLoud volunteers.

The postcards flooded commissioners offices.

Candidates showed up at the rally. The press, including BP covered it.

Mark Lear was called into Chloe’s office just following the rally and asked “What can we do?”

That rally built moment, worked toward a clear message and goal.

I appreciate the effort of BikeLoud and your passionate leadership. Thank you for doing it.
It’s generally a thankless job. Yes it takes time and patience. I’m glad someone is doing it.

I’m sorry to ask you to be more strategic. But you’re the leader so you get to hear it.

With the bike advocacy landscape already fractured with the BTA no longer being the BTA (oh Rob, your Chicago mindset should have stayed there) it’s important to rally the base with more care than ever.

It’s going to be hard enough to get Mingus Mappss’ (or whoever ends up being mayor) attention with the total reorganization of the City that’s about to be instituted. The institutions of the bureaus and their entrenched fiefdoms are going to be difficult to wrangle. But there’s an excellent opportunity to have our voice at the table during these adjustments.

But we’re not going to get that kind of attention with random “red shirt days”.

We need someone banging the drum and leading the revolution. I don’t have a better candidate for that than you. Please be better.

p.s. I love the lawsuit. You fundraise on that. I’ll write a check.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
14 days ago
Reply to  BikeSoft

Please join BikeLoud! Sounds like you have plenty of ideas.

qqq
qqq
15 days ago

Not sure about the idea of taxing cannabis sales to fund a DUI victim fund. It’s already taxed heavily, and some cannabis products may not impair driving much or at all. And if cannabis is taxed for that fund, why not prescription drugs? And is driving impairment from cannabis use much of an issue compared to alcohol-caused impairment? (I don’t know.)

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
14 days ago
Reply to  qqq

17% isn’t a heavy tax.

As a distributor we work with products where >2/3rds of the price to a retailer is FET and SET (and in many cases SET *on* the FET)

Some alcoholic beverages exceed 17% many are lower. Unfortunately, increasing taxes on alcohol is a complete non-starter politically.

Increasing costs of products that are harmful has been shown to reduce use. But it also produces a massive black market. Go into just about any independent convenience store and most of the disposable vape products on the shelves are illegal and haven’t had their taxes paid.

The biggest problem facing the ~820 recreational pot shops in Oregon is the glut of cannabis driving the price so far down.

Cannabis is so cheap in Oregon that it’s almost comical. When a vendor rep from an out of state manufacturer tours our warehouse the topic almost always comes up and they’re astonished by the prices here.

De-scheduling it and allowing it to be sold across state lines would normalize prices across states a bit (it is several times more expensive in Montana as a for instance)

(we sell a variety of items from packaging to vape batteries etc. to dispensaries so I get a chance to talk to the owners quite a bit too)

In my past I’ve handled all the DOR (taxes) and DOJ reporting for our company (and will likely do so again next year until I can train a new person). Also a member of the RAC for a couple of laws.

Rams
Rams
15 days ago

What are they doing for their own safety?

Are they demanding mandatory helmet use?

Are they demanding that they have to follow the rules of the road; stop signs, traffic lights, etc

DMS shoud re-test drivers every 2 years
DMS shoud re-test drivers every 2 years
15 days ago
Reply to  Rams

0/3 on Oregon traffic LAW!
.
It’s obvious that like many drivers you don’t have a clue what the rules of the road are and should be immediately re-tested by the DMV.
.
It’s the LAW that adult people cycling are not required to wear helmets.
https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_814.485
.
It’s the LAW that people cycling are allowed to treat stop signs as yields.
https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_814.414
.
It’s also the LAW that people cycling are not requires to use lights (plural) but only one front light and a rear reflector.
https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_815.280

dw
dw
15 days ago
Reply to  Rams

On yeah my helmet will definitely save me when someone driving lifted F350 creams me going 50 in a 20.

John
John
15 days ago
Reply to  Rams

How many bicycle deaths or injuries had anything to do with someone not wearing a helmet? A helmet is nice but it’s not a sci-fi forcefield. I wish.

I’m 95% sure the “rules of the road” you think cyclists aren’t following aren’t actually rules of the road. They’re rules for cars, which are not the same as the rules for bicycles or pedestrians. They’re different modes of transportation and have different rules. The real danger is drivers not following the rules. Every single time a driver hits someone, every case I can think of, was a driver not following the rules of the road. This is partly why we need physical protection that will destroy your silly truck every time you break the rules by driving into a bike lane.

qqq
qqq
15 days ago
Reply to  Rams

What are they doing for their own safety?

Read their list. Those things will all help their own safety.

BikeLoud members (and other people) already are able to control their own individual actions such as those you mention. I assume they’re asking for action on their listed items because they realize the actions of individuals when they bike, walk, or even drive aren’t enough to keep themselves safe.

Also, requiring other people who are biking to wear helmets, stop at stop signs, etc. will have little impact on the safety of others using the streets.

Bjorn
Bjorn
14 days ago
Reply to  qqq

Data continues to show that Idaho Style Stop Sign laws improve safety outcomes.

qqq
qqq
14 days ago
Reply to  Bjorn

I’d expect that, but it doesn’t seem relevant to anything I wrote.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
14 days ago
Reply to  Rams

Are you aware of the hierarchy of safety controls? Your suggestions are PPE, at the bottom of the list. We are pushing to try to get some of the higher-up ones implemented.
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hierarchy/default.html