WPC Wishes You a Call-Free New Year

A suggested New Year’s resolution from the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition:

If you’re still racking your brain for New Year’s resolutions that will make you the toast of every neighborhood, allow me to suggest one of my favorites: “I resolve to share the road.”

It’s a simple resolution, really, but it has far-reaching consequences for everyone. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for all age groups from 1 through 34 years, and almost half of these fatalities are alcohol-related,” according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control. “New Year’s Day has the greatest relative increase in traffic fatalities compared with all other holidays.”

Your road-sharing resolution can begin New Year’s Eve, when you decide how to bring in 2010. If you know you’ll be drinking, pocket those car keys and take transit or a cab. Think there’s no such thing as a free ride? TriMet offers free service New Year’s Eve after 8pm, and Yellow, Blue, and Green MAX lines run until 3am. RideOn Portland (503.235.RIDE) is also a useful service from a great nonprofit for those who find themselves drunk and with car. They’ll drive your car and you for a bargain $10 from SE Portland or a number of sponsoring bars.

Then start 2010 off right by complying with the new cell phone. As you may have heard, on January 1st, 2010, Oregon’s new distracted driver law takes effect, which prohibits driving while dialing, texting, or talking on a cell phone, with fines starting at $90. While a person who is 18 years or older can use a hands-free device, studies have shown that hands-free provides the same mental distraction as holding a cell phone. Save the call for the destination.

Here are a few other resolution ideas from WPC:

If you drive:

  • “Stop and Stay Stopped” for pedestrians in crosswalks until they have cleared the driver’s lane and the adjacent lane
  • Remember every intersection is a crosswalk, whether it is marked or unmarked
  • If a car is stopped at a crosswalk, you must stop, too
  • Keep intersections and sidewalks clear so that people can walk safely by
  • Be alert for people walking during low-light conditions, especially in areas where they are likely to cross the road, or you might not see them until it is too late to stop

If you walk:

  • Allow cars time and opportunity to stop before crossing the road
  • Make eye contact with other road users, and continue to look as you’re crossing the road
  • Don’t assume that because one car stopped, the car in the next lane over sees you
  • Remember to cross only at legal crosswalks and with the light

Here’s wishing everyone a happy, prosperous and SAFE New Year!


7 responses to “WPC Wishes You a Call-Free New Year”

  1. If you drive: ……
    If you walk: ……
    If you bike:
    Obey the law and stop at red lights.
    Obey the law and stop at stop signs.
    Obey the law and DO NOT EVER pass a car on the right, unless in a bike lane.
    Obey the law and have a headlight at night. ALWAYS.
    (DO NOT assume you don’t need lights because you are nimble — I need to see your light in my rear view mirror so I don’t open my car door into you. I need to see you so I don’t pull out in front of you.)

    Use common sense:

    NEVER, whether or not it is legal, get to the right side of a motor vehicle with their right turn signal on.

    ALWAYS assume that vehicle beside you is going to turn in to your path when the light changes.

    Have lights far in excess of the legal minimum so that motor vehicle can see you as easily as they can see a car.

    Remember if the car is wrong and your are right, it is still YOU who ends up in the hospital or dead.

  2. Passing on the right is generally legal for bikes:

    811.415 Unsafe passing on right; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of unsafe passing on the right if the person:

    (a) Drives a vehicle to overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle at any time not permitted under this section.

    (b) Drives a vehicle to overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle at any time by driving off the paved portion of the highway.

    (2) For purposes of this section, a person may drive a vehicle to overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle under any of the following circumstances:

    (a) Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if:

    (A) The overtaken vehicle is making or the driver has signaled an intention to make a left turn;

    (B) The paved portion of the highway is of sufficient width to allow two or more lanes of vehicles to proceed lawfully in the same direction as the overtaking vehicle; and

    (C) The roadway ahead of the overtaking vehicle is unobstructed for a sufficient distance to permit passage by the overtaking vehicle to be made in safety.

    (b) Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaken vehicle is proceeding along a roadway in the left lane of two or more clearly marked lanes allocated exclusively to vehicular traffic moving in the same direction as the overtaking driver.

    (c) Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaking vehicle is a bicycle that may safely make the passage under the existing conditions.

    (3) The offense described in this section, unsafe passing on the right, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §638; 1987 c.158 §169; 2005 c.316 §1]

  3. I was mainly addressing safety, not legality – often different things and I was a bit over adamant on the never ever, But be damn sure that guy you’re passing isn’t going to turn right as he probably won’t know you’re there until he hits you.

    And I wasn’t aware that a bike can legally pass on the right, but it looks like if the bike gets hit, it wasn’t a situation where the bicycle“may safely make the passage under the existing conditions.”

    Reading the above, it looks like you can pass on the right just about anytime that you don’t have to drive off the pavement!! (But legal does not define safe.)


  4. If you drive:

    Remember that the speed limit is an upper maximum. Exceeding the limit by even 1 mph is a violation of the law, even if it is not usually enforced.

    I would like to see speed limits enforced as an absolute upper maximum. People would generally travel 5 mph below the limit to avoid tickets, as opposed to generally traveling 5 mph above the limit because of the implicit buffer.

    Be safe in 2010, – JHB

  5. JHB,

    One reason the speed limit isn’t generally enforced as a “brick wall” maximum is doing so invites disputes regarding the accuracy of radar guns, speedometers, and other speed-measuring equipment–by having a buffer between the posted speed and the speed-that-gets-you-a-ticket (one which in excess of the margin of error of such equipment), the ticket is more likely to be immune to “but I was going 55, not 56” arguments.

  6. Which is one reason why bicyclists are not entirely pleased with calls (from some quarters) for an absolutist perspective when enforcing laws regarding bicycle operation. :-)

  7. Some violations are based on parameteric measurements (such as speed limits–to determine a violation requires measuring the speed).

    Other violations are more black/white–either you did, or you didn’t; and determining such doesn’t require a radar gun be in calibration.

    That said, I hear you Bob–bikers should be said to the same standards as motorists; no more and no less.

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