Update: There will be a number of bike rides from sites of fatal crashes to the Saturday rally. I will be leading one from NW 23rd and Quimby where Sara Cogan, a pedestrian crossing NW 23rd, was killed in 2006. We’ll assemble at 11:10am on Saturday for that ride.
The bicycle community is responding in what I think is a VERY positive way to the challenge of perceived bias in enforcement by the Traffic Division. Seeking to reshape the “cars versus bikes” message portrayed by some of the media, a press conference has been scheduled for Friday at 12:30 PM at City Hall, to be followed by a major rally at Noon on Saturday. I will be participating in both and encourage Portland Transport readers and all transportation advocates to get involved.
You can download the flyer (PDF, 420K), and get updates at the central information page on BikePortland.org.
From the press advisory:
“We Are ALL Traffic.” – Concerned citizens make public appeal for action and change.
Portland, OR – Spurred on by the recent string of traffic collisions resulting in cyclists’ deaths and injuries, and alarmed by the response and reactions by some elements of law enforcement, the media and the public at large in the wake of these tragedies, we are making an appeal for a commitment by all levels of government and law enforcement, by the media, and by all citizens to come together and work for a positive change in our communities and on our streets.
Friday, November 16: Press Conference
When: Friday, November 16, 2007, 12:30pm
Where: City Hall (1221 SW 4th)
Who: The speakers will consist of 4-5 “concerned citizens” who will voice a number of shared concerns that have arisen in the wake of the recent string of bike/car collisions, and make an appeal for action and positive change with all levels of government, law enforcement, media and all users of the road.
Saturday, November 16: Community Rally for Justice, Equality, and Respect for All Users of the Road.
When: Saturday, November 17, 2007, start at 12:00 noon
Where: Waterfront Park – Salmon Street Springs Fountain (between Hawthorne and Morrison Bridges)
Who: Speakers from a variety of backgrounds will address the crowd about the concerns at hand and make an appeal for change and action. All parties involved will be asked to make a strong commitment to make our streets safer for all road users, and for everyone – whether driving or riding – to share the road in a responsible, safe and courteous manner.
29 responses to “REMINDER: We Are ALL Traffic”
My concern, with respect to all those involved, is what will the bikes do to make themselves more visible and protected.
I hate to see bad things happen to bikes, just like I hate to see bad things happen to drivers of all vehicles.
Perhaps I will get some black adhesive letters and write that slogan on the back of my fluorescent yellow-green jacket, for the next time someone honks at me because I’m in “their” lane.
This is a great, positive message. But the sympathy it raises will be wiped out for most people the next time they have a near miss with cyclists blowing through red lights or stop signs, riding with dark clothes and no lights in the dark, etc. And anyone who isn’t a bike fanatic will know that the enforcement issue is nonsense. Bike riders get a HUGE pass for all their illegal maneuvers compared to vehicle drivers.
I’m glad the City blocked that right turn on Interstate, and all these injuries, etc, are tragic, but as long as cyclists behave as if their safety was everybody’s responsibility but their own, the sympathy that you want from the driving public is not going to arise. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! That’s all anybody asks.
a.s., even as a pedestrian, I patiently wait for crosswalk signals while the pedestrians around me, many of them people who surely abide the lights when in their cars, jaywalk. And I have the same patience while on a bike. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to control other cyclists. Perhaps you can think of something quick and informative I can yell at other cyclists when they blow lights, such as “Hey, red-light runner! You give us all a bad reputation!” … nope, too long. Anyway, in the mean time, I’ll still expect to be treated the same way I treat others. And motorists should treat me the same way they’d like me to treat them.
The City has to make riding legally safe. Today it is not. I will ride in a safe manner whether it is legal or not. My well being is more important to me than whether I offend someone in a big deadly box. Had Tracey run the red at Burnside, she might still be with us. She was riding legally, now she’s dead.
To Dave’s question about making bikes more visible – please join us for a Bike Light Parade on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 6 pm, starting from W Burnside & SW Park Ave. We’re kicking of PDOT’s SEE & BE SEEN campaign to encourage cyclists to use lights and to encourage motorists to use extra care.
We’ll have throngs of well-lit bicyclists (there’s a contest for Best Lit Bike, with prizes), Sam Adams riding along, and snacks at the end. Get more info at http://www.GettingAroundPortland.org .
Portland is full of great people – let’s all Watch Out for each other!
Justice is bicyclists accepting the behavioral responsibility for their own actions by NOT blowing through red lights and stop signs, by NOT weaving in and out and in between cars downtown, by following all traffic laws and rules of the road they expect drivers to follow, and by NOT racing other vehicles down hills or to intersections and then being unable to stop in an to avoid a slow turning big rig. Justice is also NOT routinely attempting to blame others for their own failures and bicyclists accepting any penalties when receiving citations for traffic violations The only enforcement bias is in the mindsets and egos of bicyclists themselves. Furthermore, justice is also accepting the financial responsibility by supporting bicycle registrations, bicycle licenses and fees, and direct bicycle taxes to pay for bicycle infrastructure.
Gee Terry, a group gets together to promote the idea of all users of the road working together, and here you go again with another rant aimed squarely at bicyclists.
So much for olive branches, I guess.
– Bob R.
Unfortunately doing what Terry suggests can be harmful to your health. Better illegal than dead, if you ask me.
The problem is not with bicylists…we do little harm to anyone, but ourselves…it is vehicles with weight and speed sufficient to kill that should be the issue. And kill they do on a regular basis. Let’s make our pubic spaces safe.
Question: what is the safest way to cross a street? with the light at the corner? or J-walking in the middle of the block?
No more harassment of those commiting victimless crimes…let’s go after those who maim and kill others.
“Gee Terry, a group gets together to promote the idea of all users of the road working together, and here you go again with another rant aimed squarely at bicyclists.”
>>>> Why shouldn’t he (Terry) rant? I think we should have pedestrian demonstations against bike riders who ride aggressively on sidewalks. Some of them do the same things that they accuse motorists of. What hypocricy! But there seems to be a lot of that in this town.
If a group of pedestrians wants to protest against bicyclists, nothing is stopping them from doing so. The fact that groups of pedestrians aren’t organizing such demonstrations does not prove disproportionate hypocrisy among cyclists.
This post is originally about a group who is trying to get all users of the road to come together to discuss safety and behavior. Instead of talking about how that might best work, or what such a group might hope to accomplish, we get a rant (now two rants) against bicyclists.
I say we take this new group at their word, at least initially, and try to engage in a mutually beneficial discussion. As a user of many modes of road-based transportation (car, bus, rail, bike, foot) I welcome such a group.
– Bob R.
Are you aware that it is legal for cyclists to pass motorists on the right when conditions are safe to do so? Stopped traffic at a light downtown certainly would qualify as such a situation.
The problem is that “We are NOT all traffic.” Pedestrians are not dangerous. Cyclists are largely not dangerous. And people standing on a corner waiting for transit aren’t dangerous. Motor vehicles are dangerous and they need to be operated safely with the complete attention of the driver.
Stop apologizing and making excuses for motor vehicle operators who kill people by speeding, driving drunk, running stop signs, ignoring who has right-of-way, talking on the phone, turning where it is prohibited, etc. There simply is no parallel between those things and a violation on a bike, jay-walking or fare jumping. Those motorists endanger other people’s lives. They kill close to 40,000 people every year and injure millions of others. There is simply no comparison. We are not all traffic.
Motor vehicles are dangerous and they need to be operated safely with the complete attention of the driver.
Pedestrians and bicyclists are dangerous to themselves when they walk or ride in front of a moving vehicle, which happens. They’re dangerous when they don’t pay attention, are drunk, jaywalking, ignoring who has right-of-way, talking on the phone, jaywalking in front of turning cars, etc.
There simply is no parallel between those things and a safe and legal driver.
Stop apologizing and making excuses for motor vehicle operators who kill people
No one’s apologizing, but we are trying to seek cooperative solutions rather than perpetuating a “bikes vs. cars” division.
No one’s apologizing, but we are trying to seek cooperative solutions rather than perpetuating a “bikes vs. cars” division.
I understand that Chris. Unfortunately, they are the same thing in this context. Pedestrians, cyclists and transit users don’t have the same responsibilities that motor vehicle operators do because they are not lethal to others. You can see in some of the comments here the result of a “cooperative approach” that treats them as equivalent. There is no legitimacy to the argument that a cyclist running a stop sign or a pedestrian jaywalking is similar to a truck making a right turn across a bike lane. And legitimizing that argument in the name of “cooperative solutions” takes us further from a real solution, not closer.
They’re dangerous when they don’t pay attention, are drunk, jaywalking, ignoring who has right-of-way, talking on the phone, jaywalking in front of turning cars, etc.
No, they aren’t. They are only dangerous to themselves. They are not endangering everyone who gets in their path. The problem is the failure of motorists to accept their responsibility to operate their potentially lethal vehicle safely. And that is what accounts for over 40,000 people dying every year in motor vehicle accidents.
Pedestrians and bicyclists are dangerous to themselves when they walk or ride in front of a moving vehicle, which happens.
Has it ever happened to you? It has to me. I hit someone with my car, head on. He stepped out from behind a parked truck and I didn’t see him until he was rolling across the hood. I didn’t even touch the brake.
Fortunately, I had slowed down because the street was slick and there was a crowd of people moving around outside the bar the guy came out of. After lying in the street for a while, he told the police he was fine and walked away. Had I been traveling close to the speed limit, or assumed that everyone in that crowd was going to look out for their own safety, the guy would have been dead.
I’m not patting myself on the back. On a different day, had the road been less slick, I probably would have killed the guy. But the reality is that operating a motor vehicle safely requires a level of caution few of us really use consistently. And we are sending the wrong message when we suggest that walking or riding a bike should require that same level of caution.
I don’t have much enthusiasm for paternalistic rules designed to keep people from doing foolish things that can only result in harm to themselves…in effect “victimless behavior.” All of our limited resources…engineering, enforcement and education…should focus on those behaviors that are a threat to others. Note: J-walking is the safest way to cross a street. Waiting in a bikelane for a green light is not necessarily safe as we now know.
Interesting comments here, and illustrative of the work that we need to do. Yes, there is a pretty ugly situation on the roads — 43,000 motor vehicle deaths a year in this country, from crashes alone (ignoring statistics about pollution-caused mortality), which are somehow not widely seen as a problem. And then there is the widespread culture of “me first” and disrespect on the road, which we all share to some extent, no matter whether we’re driving or riding a bike or trying to cross the street. This is exactly what we’re trying to address at this rally — a culture of disrespect, and also societal biases against anyone who isn’t in a car at the time.
And to the gentleman who thinks we’re excusing dangerous behaviors by motor vehicle drivers — that is so far off the mark I’m not even sure how to respond to you. I’m not sure what you mean by equality, but to me it means actually taking pedestrian and bicycle mode share into account — not just in the present but ten years out — in funding decisions, street design, and education initiatives. Bicycling represents well over 5% of all trips in Portland — and in some places as many as 20% — yet we have to pull teeth to get less than 2% of the funding. That’s inequality, and it’s discriminatory.
If you’ve got an inconquerable beef against cyclists, think about it in terms of pedestrians — we are all, 100% of us, pedestrians at some point in our day. And yet there are major streets with barely any safe crossings, grossly inadequate pedestrian safety enforcement, and whole neighborhoods (including near elementary schools) with no sidewalks. That’s inequality, and it’s more than discriminatory, it’s self-destructive.
I know a lot of you have an axe to grind and you use the comments section here to grind it, but try to step back for a minute and think about how we can actually work together to make public roadways less of a war zone. Thanks for reading, and hope to see many of you out this weekend, Elly
And to the gentleman who thinks we’re excusing dangerous behaviors by motor vehicle drivers — that is so far off the mark I’m not even sure how to respond to you.
Its really very simple, the suggestion that “we are all traffic” and have equal responsibility minimizes the responsibility of motorists. In simple terms, the implication is that we are all equally responsible for our own safety. But in fact, creating safer streets requires motorists to take responsibility for the safety of people who aren’t protected by a ton of sttel.
Ross, “we are all traffic” also means we enjoy equal rights, which I think is much more the point of this rally. There is a deliberate choice here to build bridges rather than be confrontational.
Ross, “we are all traffic” also means we enjoy equal rights,
But that just isn’t true. Try walking down the middle of a busy street. The problem with building bridges is that you assume people are on different sides. The reality is that most cyclists drive and most drivers are pedestrians. The question is how do we create conditions where people drive in a manner that is safe for cyclists and pedestrians. And you don’t get there by pretending cyclists and pedestrians have an “equal” role in accomplishing that.
Did it ever occur to anybody that one solution to this problem might be to designate the sidewalk as the bike lane, the bike lane as the sidewalk.
The problem is the bicyclist creates the hazard because they are impeding traffic flow by being in the flow of traffic.
The bikes need to be removed completely from the traffic flow.
What works in Europe cannot work in an American city.
Pedestrians do not impede traffic flow because they move so slowly.
Get the bikes off the road completely.
Let them use the sidewalk.
How’s that for a novel solution!
“Pedestrians do not impede traffic flow because they move so slowly.”
>>>> That’s my biggest gripe about bike riders: a lot of them ride very fast on sidewalks, while pedestrians walk slowly. And most times there are no separate lanes. Keep the damn bikes off the sidewalks!
Nick, you missed my point,
Switch lanes! Use the now designated bike lanes for pedestrians and the pedestrian lanes for bikes!
“What works in Europe cannot work in an American city.”
Indeed. Roads, Public water systems, Sewer systems, Zoning, we got it all from Europe and it has caused us nothing but problems. We need to get rid of it all, and try something different.
Ross, yes, I completely agree with your response to Chris about rights, and I’m still not sure where we diverge here — have you been to our web site for this rally, read our publicity materials, or did you just look at the flyer and jump to conclusions? One of the main stated purposes of this rally is to stop all the talk of bikes vs cars and motorists vs cyclists — since we are as you point out by and large the same people. We just need to figure out how to educate, design, engineer, and change the culture of disrespect and me-first on the roads that causes so much carnage. And that does, as you point out, put a much greater burden on people driving cars. Who are, as you point out, many of us also cyclists. And 100% of us also pedestrians at some point in every day. So the inclusiveness of our message — wanting actual equality — is between all *people* not between all modes.
To the person suggesting we “get the bikes off the road completely” — come down to the waterfront today at noon, and see how many people would be clogging up our roads driving cars if they weren’t able to use the bicycle facilities that we already have, inadequate as they may be. The traffic nightmares would be legion.
Actually, there’s talk of having a “Drive to Work Day” to make that exact point. Stay tuned…
…there’s talk of having a “Drive to Work Day…”
Don’t do it! That’s EXACTLY what the anti-bike people want! A better way of making the point would probably be a ‘call in sick to work to support alternative transit rights day.’
“Indeed. Roads, Public water systems, Sewer systems, Zoning, we got it all from Europe and it has caused us nothing but problems. We need to get rid of it all, and try something different.”
What? Would you mind being a tad more specific?
Europeans do not have the car ingrained in their psychology as part of their “status”.
Gas in Europe is prohibitive so having a car is not practical for many Europeans.
HENCE, the bicycle is actually the main form of transportation in many cities, unlike America.
NOW WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SEWERS, ZONING, AND WATER SYSTEMS?
did you just look at the flyer and jump to conclusions?
I read the flyer and jumped to conclusions. Isn’t that what most people who see the flyer will do?
Instead of “We are all Traffic” how about holding a rally for responsible motorists with a picture of someone behind the wheel of a truck saying “Their Safety is Our Responsbility!” You might even get the Teamsters Union and Freight Operators to sponsor it.