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Updated: 1 hour 58 min ago

Bike lane bill passes Oregon House 48-12, now heads to Senate

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 08:14

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

House Bill 2682 passed the Oregon House of Representatives by a vote of 48 to 12 last week. The bill seeks to amend Oregon’s statutory definition of bike lane to clarify that, “A bicycle lane exists in an intersection if the bicycle lane is marked on opposite sides of the intersection in the same direction of travel.”

Despite what’s simply a basic, legal clarification, some lawmakers think it makes cycling less safe and they want to send a message of concern to Oregon Senators as they take up the bill this month.

Bicycle lanes have always maintained legal standing even when unpainted inside intersections; but because two Oregon judges ruled otherwise, advocates felt it necessary to make this fact crystal clear.

As we shared when the bill passed the Joint Committee on Transportation on April 15th, some lawmakers think this is a bad idea.

Out of the 12 no votes* in the 60-member House of Representatives, 11 came from Republicans. Two of them felt the need to publish official explanations with their votes.

Rep. David Brock Smith said:

“I voted NO on HB 2682 for the following reasons and more… It does not make it safer for a bicyclist, gives them a false sense of security and could cause increased litigation. The bill needs to me amended and I hope my no vote assists in having those amendments occur in the Senate.”

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Rep. Denyc Boles said:

“I believe this legislation makes bicyclists less safe. This bill needs more work in the Senate and my “No” vote is to help give pause and support for additional amendments in the Senate. Safety is important. We need to make sure the legislation gets this right.”

It’s unclear what type of amendments these lawmakers would like to see (neither responded to requests for comment in time for publication). It’s also unclear why they feel this legislation would make conditions for bicycle riders less safe. The bill doesn’t give bicycle riders any more rights or privileges than they have today. All the bill does is adds a line to the definition of a bicycle lane in Oregon law. The intention is to make the legal right-of-way of bicycle users more ironclad when right-hook and unsafe lane change cases are presented in court.

The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler says she and Advocacy Director Richa Poudyal lobbied House and Senate offices on this bill last week. “Urban legislators get it,” she wrote in a comment posted below. “My meeting with Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scapoose) was the most animated. She is convinced cyclists are out of control in the urban areas. I don’t think we will have her vote, but I think I made a little progress.”

For more on why this law makes sense, read this article from legal expert Rick Bernardi.

The bill has had its first reading in the Senate and now awaits further action. Stay tuned.

*No votes were filed by Rep.s Barreto, Boles, Bonham, Boshart Davis, Findley, Lewis, Post, Reschke, Smith (David Brock), Smith (Greg), Wallan, and Witt. See full results here.

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

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‘Gravel Epic’ on Oregon Coast kicks off Triple Crown series this weekend

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 10:06

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon’s gravel riding season is in full swing and this weekend it gets even better with the seventh annual Oregon Coast Gravel Epic, the kickoff event of the Oregon Triple Crown Series.

If you’re on the fence about this one, I have three things to say: 1) See my recap and photos from last year; 2) Come out and pedal a few coastal forest miles with me; and 3) I can help a few lucky readers with a free registration!

The routes and support are top-notch. Mudslinger Events is one of Oregon’s oldest and most respected event promoters and you can rest-assured they’ve covered everything so all you have to do is ride your heart out. They’ve mapped out two adventures: “Abomination” is 61 miles with 6,780 feet of climbing and “Son of Abomination” is 38 miles with 3,900 feet of climbing.

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Oregon roads. Oregon bike.

The forecast for Waldport is sunny and mid-60s. Come out and make it a weekend by exploring nearby Yachats before/after the Gravel Epic.

You can register online until this Friday (May 3rd). If you want a free entry, just email me (jonathan@bikeportland.org) a few sentences about why you deserve the prize. I’ll let you know if you won right away.

I can’t wait to get out there! If you head out, look for the special Oregon Triple Crown-edition Co-Motion Klatch. You’ll find me and this awesome bike at Yachats Brewing from 4:00 to 6:30 pm when you pick up your ride packet.

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

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No school on Bike to School Day, let’s rally with ‘Red for Ed’ instead

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 09:21

Celebrating Walk to School Day earlier this school year.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

National Bike to School Day is Wednesday, May 8th. Here in Oregon that falls on the May 8th Day of Action, a teacher walkout that has led to a decision to close Portland Public Schools.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I was initially dismayed there’d be no party and parade at school; but I’m going to channel that energy into a much longer parade to a much bigger party that will be even better.

So on would-be Bike to School Day, join Kidical Mass PDX for Ride, Rally, and #RedforEd. Here are the details:

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
9:45 a.m. – Bike Train leaves Clinton City Park (5576 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206)
10:15 a.m. – Bike Train leaves plaza at south end of Eastbank Esplanade (SE Caruthers St & Eastbank Esplanade, Portland, OR 97202)
11:00 a.m. – Fund our Future, Fund our Schools Rally in Tom McCall Waterfront Park
12:00 p.m. – March for Our Students
Wear red!

Parades can be hard to walk with bikes so some families may choose to lock up at the park. The parade route hasn’t been released yet so we don’t know if it will be a loop and return to the park (keep an eye on the rally/parade Facebook event for march info).

Not coming from the Southeast? You should still bike to the event! Use the bike train Facebook event discussion area to gather a bike train from your quadrant. This featured bike train is my attempt at collecting company as we bike to the event from home, and I’d love to add additional rides to the Kidical Mass PDX website and Facebook event page if additional bike train conductors materialize.

Hope to see you out there! For background on the state of Oregon schools, learn more at May8ForStudents.org.

Thanks for reading.

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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The crisis continues: 6-year-old injured by driver while walking across SE Division

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 07:10

The driver sped around stopped cars and struck the girl in the bike lane on the left. (Note that the westbound bike lane on the right is protected.)

Another person has been hit trying to walk across a notoriously dangerous street in Portland. This time it was a six-year-old girl who was walking with her mom on Southeast Division Avenue.

According to the Portland Police Bureau it happened yesterday evening just after 6:00 pm at the intersection of 107th and Division:

Preliminary information suggests the child and her mother had activated the lights for the marked cross walk in the intersection and cars had stopped. As they started crossing in the cross walk, the suspect vehicle passed the stopped vehicles on the right hand side, in the bike lane, then struck the child. The vehicle continued without stopping. The mother was not hit.

The girl was transported to a hospital with what PPB describes as “non life-threatening injuries”. If you have any information about this collision, and/or if you’ve seen the white sedan that committed this crime, please call the police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.

The opposite side of the street has a protected bike lane that might have prevented the driver from swerving around stopped cars.

As the police statement suggests, this collision took place at a crosswalk that has a rapid flashing beacon. The crossing at SE 107th and Division was upgraded by the Portland Bureau of Transportation in 2015 with median islands, caution signage, a flashing beacon, and a protected bike lane. The project was part of PBOT’s East Portland Rapid Flash Beacon initiative that added similar crossings at 17 intersections.

The flashing beacons are not enough. When placed on untamed arterials with high driving volumes and high speeds, they can offer a false sense of security. Last October a man and young child were hit in a similar type of crossing on SE 122nd outside Midland Library. Less than one month before that collision, we reported that, “It will take much more than flashing lights to tame 122nd.”

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From the photo you can see that last night’s collision might not have happened if the bike lane was protected on both sides of the street. Police say the suspect driver was headed eastbound and that the two general traffic lanes were occupied by other drivers. If the driver was going westbound, a concrete median would have prevented them from zooming around the stopped traffic.

This dangerous behavior of using bike lanes to swerve around stopped traffic is rampant across Portland. I see it almost every day on North Willamette Blvd and Rosa Parks Way. It happens because we’ve made our bike lanes wider in recent years (a good thing), but we’ve failed to do anything to protect them (a bad thing). Making it possible for people to use bike lanes to go around stopped traffic is dangerous, illegal, and it forms bad habits that — as we saw with last night’s tragedy — can and will lead to serious injuries and deaths.

We must build more protected bike lanes and implement more aggressive measures to control driving behavior and rein in the inherent deadly power of automobiles.

Last night’s crash is just the latest illustration of Portland’s transportation crisis.

Signs being made for a protest and memorial march in St. Johns on Friday.
(Photo: Citizens for a Safe Fessenden)

While electeds and bureaucrats try to justify their support of $500 million for an unnecessary freeway expansion at the Rose Quarter, Portlanders continue to pay with our lives for the lack of progress on road safety.

Last week PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly stood on the corner of Northeast Broadway and Grand — another notorious high-crash arterial where safety upgrades have languished and just feet away from where Lori Woodard was killed in a crosswalk — and said, “These recent tragedies show us it’s time to do more of this work and to do it faster.”

This Friday, St. Johns residents will march to demand safety updates on North Fessenden where there have been two people killed and three others seriously injured while walking in the past three years. Other north Portland residents are so desperate for safer streets they’ve resorted to placing plastic cups on unprotected bike lanes.

Commissioner Eudaly’s sense of urgency is a good sign. It’s unfortunate however, that Mayor Ted Wheeler didn’t even mention transportation safety during his (invite only, and BikePortland was not invited) State of the City speech last night.

We need to defend our streets from the menace of people driving dangerous vehicles.

When a six-year-old is hit in a crossing with flashing lights that PBOT touts as “safety improvement,” we need to stop and look at ourselves in the mirror. Are we doing enough? Who will die next? Could we have done something to prevent it?

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

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Bike shop burglar also suspected in fatal hit-and-run

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 13:58

PPB officers wrangle Nolan Harris inside Metropolis Cycle Repair early Wednesday morning.
(Photo: Metropolis Cycle Repair)

The suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash that took the life of 85 year-old Ortrud Vatheuer on March 19th is now behind bars. But strangely, it wasn’t the hit-and-run that led police to him.

Last Wednesday, under the cover of darkness, 30-year-old Nolan Harris broke into Metropolis Cycle Repair on North Williams Avenue. When shop owner Brad Parker received an alert on his phone via his store’s security system, he immediately called police and they arrived within minutes. Harris was apprehended red-handed with a bike and other products (including the crowbar he used to break in).

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The Portland Police Bureau later identified Harris as the man they believe hit and killed Ortrud Vatheuer as she took part in her morning walk near her home in the Multnomah neighborhood of southwest Portland. The van police think Harris was driving in that collision was found on April 10th, 180 miles north of Portland in in Tukwila, Washington.

Police have booked Harris on charges of Burglary I, Possession of Burglary Tools, Escape II, Criminal Mischief II, and Failure to Perform Duties of a Driver (with Injury Resulting). The case has been forwarded to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office.

Reached last week about the burglary, Parker said, “This guy is bad news, good to get him off the streets.”

Parker also said his investment in a new security system has paid off. Metropolis has been hit by thieves three times since 2013.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Activism in D.C., memorial signs in L.A., progress in the U.K., and more

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 12:28

Welcome to the week. Getting a bit of a late start; but hold on to your hats because we’ve got an exciting week ahead.

But first, here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days…

Sponsored by:

Distraction up: Latest results from distracted driving survey conducted by the Institute for Highway Safety is not great.

Just a mix up!: The mayor of Yakima, Washington drove her SUV 30-feet into a Rite-Aid because she claims to have simply mixed up the brake and gas pedals.

Enough is enough: D.C. cycling advocates have moved from grief to action following the death of a well-known activist.

Memorial signs: The city of Los Angeles has a new program that will erect permanent road signs at the location where people riding bicycles were killed. (There was a bill in Oregon for a similar program in 2008 but it failed to gain necessary support.)

Framing matters: New research how people perceive traffic problems and potential solutions from a U.K. sociologist finds that, “Cycling stigma combines with the weakness of anti-car narratives to reinforce controversy obstructing active travel policies.” Yep.

Chalk it up: A federal appeals court ruled that when parking enforcement officers use chalk on peoples’ car tires it’s a violation of the fourth amendment.

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Phoenix likes deadly streets: Cities often deserve criticism for not living up to lofty Vision Zero proclamations. But in Phoenix, elected officials don’t even care enough to make the proclamation in the first place.

Not so clean: A research institute in Munich, Germany has found that the (coal-powered) production of batteries used in electric vehicles creates more CO2 emissions than diesel-engine cars. (UPDATE: A commenter says this study has been debunked.)

It’s the infrastructure, stupid: Another week, another example of “build it and they will come.”

Too much brake: About 1,000 electric Citi Bikes have been pulled off the streets of New York City after reports of front brakes that were poorly adjusted and caused crashes. Some people have lawyered-up to recover damages.

Tweet of the Week: Did you hear what happened on an I-205 overpass?

Folks, @OregonDOT maintains a couple of pedestrian/bike ONLY bridges over I-205 in the precinct. Shaking our heads over this one. This is at SE Steele St between 92nd/96th. Please honor the crime scene tape and avoid the overpass until @OregonDOT can assess. #pdxtraffic pic.twitter.com/A54RbWUQ8I

— PPB East Precinct (@ppbeast) April 28, 2019

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Trail work parties, Randi Jo show, levee tour and more

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 10:00

The trails at Gateway Green need our help.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Looks like this weather should hold (for the most part) through the weekend, so I hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy it. Might want to pack a jacket and knee warmers for tomorrow.

Below we’ve put together a selection of rides and events that might suit your fancy…

Saturday, April 27th

Ride to End Veteran Suicide – 9:00 am at East Portland Moose Lodge (E)
This event will help raise funding and awareness of veteran suicide. $20 registration covers food, drink and a prize raffle. More info here.

Sponsored by:

Our 2019 Gravel Guide partners!

Gateway Green Cleanup – 9:00 am at Gateway Green (E)
Work before your ride! Come on out to your favorite local bike park and put some sweat equity into the trails and jumps that give you so much joy. More info here.

Free Adult Riding Lessons – 10:00 am at PCC Cascade Campus (N)
Want to join the pedaling masses but need a confidence boost? Come out for this free class taught by Bikes for Humanity PDX. More info here.

CCC Bike Hub Work Party – 10:00 am at New Columbia Bike Repair Hub – (N)
If you ever needed an excuse to check out this great neighborhood and its wonderful, community bike shop and skills/pump track, this is it! More info here.

Randi Jo Fabrications Trunk Show – 12:00 pm at Rivelo (SE)
Browse the latest handmade bike bags, cycling caps and shop aprons from Randi Jo. Rivelo will provide the coffee, cookies and other tasty snacks. More info here.

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Bike the Levees – 9:00 am at Multnomah County Drainage District (NE)
Learn about the levees as you explore our region’s amazing network of bike paths built on them. Ride is led by Columbia Slough Watershed Council. Registration required. More info here.

Sauvie Shootout – 9:00 am at Ovation Coffee & Tea (NW)
The season is here and you need to get those legs moving! Show up and roll out with the premiere group training ride in Portland. All abilities welcome. The pace at the front is faaaast, but slower groups form along the way. More info here.

Women/Trans/Femme/Non-Binary Track Racing Clinic – 1:00 pm at Alpenrose Velodrome (SW)
Make this the year you experience the thrill of the track. This clinic will be an inclusive, fun space for track newbies or veterans who want a refresher course. More info here.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar.

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

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Portlanders set out red cups to push for more protection while cycling

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 09:10

People are so desperate for protection they’ve placed red plastic cups between the lanes on Willamette Boulevard.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Paint is not protection.

That’s the message from people across America today who are taking part in the Red Cup Project. Inspired by the tragic death of Washington D.C. cycling advocate Dave Salovesh (@darsal), the red cups are a quick and cheap way to define space and show how relatively little effort it takes to create safer conditions for cycling.

“I want these cups to become planters, cement bollards — things that actually prevent people form swerving into bike lanes and force drivers to pay more attention.”
— Sam Balto, north Portland resident

North Portland residents Sam Balto and Reed Buterbaugh were out at on North Rosa Parks Way and Willamette Boulevard this morning with a jug of water and dozens of cups. They focused on two spots where people frequently drive their cars into bike lanes.

At the corner where those two streets converge, nearly every driver cuts into the bike lane (see photos below). As Balto and Andrews placed cups on the bike lane stripe, most people immediately slowed down and took the corner more cautiously to avoid running over them. But as you can see in our photos, the cups were often not enough.

As peoples’ car tires rolled over them, the crunching sound and water splattering onto the street made my hairs stand on end.

“There are people all over this country where mayors have pledged Vision Zero,” Balto said as he watched the tiny cups sacrifice their lives, “but they believe that paint is enough to protect people. It’s not.”

(*Encroaching into the bike lane like these drivers are doing is illegal, dangerous, and it creates unsafe habits. Please don’t do it.)

Asked what he wants the red cups to become in the future, Balto said, “I want these cups to become planters, cement bollards — things that actually prevent people form swerving into bike lanes and force drivers to pay more attention.”

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“PBOT believes they’ve improved North Willamette. They haven’t. They’re not done here. They need to properly protect this. This is just paint, and paint is not protection.”

Balto’s comments are supported by recent research showing that paint-only cycling lanes are inadequate and often encourage drivers to pass with less caution.

On North Rosa Parks Way, it’s been nearly a year since PBOT created new protected bike lanes. But they never finished the job. The vast majority of the bikeway is still unprotected. In June of last year, PBOT said neighbors had objected to having more white plastic posts installed. We learned last week that cement curbs are on the way and should be installed by this summer.

Similar red cup demonstrations are taking place today in New York City, Seattle, Michigan, Austin, Washington D.C., Boston, and many other cities. Follow the #RedCupProject hashtag on Twitter for all the action.

UPDATE, 1:17 pm: Just saw on-board video of the Rosa Parks/Willamette pinch-point from reader @harv_mushman (via Instagram):

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

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Sullivan’s Crossing Bridge will be named in honor of Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 07:53

(Graphic: City of Portland, Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Yesterday evening Portland City Commissioner of Transportation Chloe Eudaly announced that the soon-to-be-built carfree bridge over Sullivan’s Gulch and I-84 will be named in honor of U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

“To have my name associated with that bridge will be a great honor.”
— Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Congressman

Currently known as the Sullivan’s Crossing Bridge, the $13 million project is slated to break ground this summer and be completed by the end of 2020.

Congressman Blumenauer is a transportation icon in the Portland region for the legacy he created as city commissioner-in-charge of transportation from 1987 to 1996. His vision for transportation — one that favors public transit, bicycling and walking over driving — has left an indelible mark on our city and his work continues to influence people, politics, and projects today. Rep. Blumenauer is by far the loudest and most effective voice for bicycling on Capitol Hill (he’s currently pushing a major overhaul to the tax code so it does more to encourage commuting by bike). He’s co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus and his legendary Traffic and Transportation Class at Portland State University has churned out well over 1,000 graduates.

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People who’ve taken that class include many of the planners, activists, elected officials (including Commissioner Eudaly) and policymakers who will take this bridge project over the finish line.

Asked this morning for his response to this major honor, Rep. Blumenauer said (via text message):

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly announcing the honor at an event last night.
(Photo: Commissioner Eudaly’s office)

“To have my name associated with that bridge will be a great honor. I have been agitating for and dreaming about that pedestrian bike crossing for decades. It makes so much sense to connect Lloyd District with that rapidly changing area on south side of the freeway.

It will add an important dimension to the walking and cycling experience, and be a powerful visual reminder of our commitment to transportation connectivity and the bike and pedestrian experience.”

Speaking about the bridge in a story published by the Willamette Week earlier this month, a Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesperson said, “It’s going to really be a postcard-worthy bridge that marks a key entrance to Portland. As people arrive in the city and either drive or take light rail, one of the first times they’ll see the downtown skyline, that view will be framed by the new, modern Sullivan’s Crossing bridge.”

Make that the Earl Blumenauer Bridge.

Actually, Commissioner Eudaly’s office says the official name is yet to be determined. What do you think it should be?

(Note: This story will be updated soon with a comment from Commissioner Eudaly.)

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

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TriMet’s new buses come with three-bike front racks

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 11:05

New bus with new racks today in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
(Photo: TriMet)

It’s taken 12 years, but TriMet has finally added capacity for three bikes to their buses. Well, some of them at least.

We learned today that the design of the agency’s five new electric buses allows them to use a three-bike front rack. The new rack made its debut an event in Pioneer Square today.

This is a big deal because the existing two-bike racks often fill up and there’s plenty of public demand for more room. And it was way back in 2007 that we first reported TriMet was interested in finding a three-bike rack that would work.

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The new rack is the “Trilogy” model made by Sportworks(the same company TriMet uses for other racks). According to them, the rack’s support arm will fit bicycles with wheel sizes from 20 to 29 inches. The trays can support bikes with a wheelbase of up to 44-inches and tires up to 3 inches wide.

Back then, the agency said the problem was that the added width of a third rack would make the turning radius of buses (a.k.a the “dynamic envelope”) too wide.

A source at TriMet said the key to making this work on the new buses is the nose design — which affects the turning radius. The length between the operator’s steering wheel and the forward edge of the two bike rack (while in use) is the same length as between the steering wheel on the electric bus and the front edge of the three-bike rack.

Just one of TriMet’s new buses is in operation (on Line 62 in Beaverton). A second one is due to be in service by the end of the month and the remaining three are still en route to Portland. It remains to be seen if the five additional electric buses will work with the new racks.

Hopefully TriMet can figure out how to fit these racks onto more buses in the future.

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

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At memorial rally for Lori Woodard, PBOT releases new crash response protocol

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 21:51

Broadway and Grand earlier tonight.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

We’ve done this too many times before. Someone is killed. We grieve. We pressure the city to do more. We show up on the street with signs and candles and flowers. Speeches are made.

But this time there was something different. The City of Portland acted before we even showed up.

On Friday, Lori Woodard was killed as she walked across Northeast Broadway on Grand. A delivery truck driver turning left failed to see her and/or failed to prevent the collision (police are still investigating). It happened in a very unforgiving place where drivers dominate and stress runs high for everyone — especially people not protected by a steel cage.


We’ve seen the City of Portland react to deaths like this with infrastructure changes in the past; but never this quickly. This morning, just five days after Woodard’s death, the Bureau of Transportation installed plastic wands and temporary traffic cones to narrow the intersection. They also plugged in a message board sign that flashed the words: “Traffic Death April 19 – Travel With Care”.

As dozens of people gathered for a rally and memorial event at the scene of this tragedy Wednesday evening, PBOT announced signs like this would be the new normal.

“This was a priority before this horrible thing happened. But it underlines how urgent this is. It feels like the climate change issue. We just have to take our work to a different level.”
— Marshall Runkel, Chief of Staff to Commissioner Eudaly

In a directive released today (PDF), interim PBOT Director Chris Warner introduced a “crash response protocol.” “After every fatal crash,” reads the directive, “PBOT will provide an immediate update with all available information to the Commissioner of Transportation. The bureau will then install prominent electronic Variable Message Signs (VMS) at the crash location to mark the tragic crash sites and raise awareness of the traveling public about specific dangers and the overall importance of driving safely in our city.”

The changes installed at the crash location were already vetted and planned through the Central City in Motion plan. PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly signed off on them and Director Warner says he’s pushing PBOT to finish the project “on an expedited timeline.”

Commissioner Eudaly’s Chief of Staff Marshall Runkel lives near the area. He rolled up to the event today on his bicycle. “It’s just such a tragedy,” he shared with me. “We’ve got to respond at some point. It’s too bad it takes something so horrible to happen to get our stuff together. But I’m hoping we can make our actions match our rhetoric. Make our budget match our rhetoric. Make the way we organize our work match our rhetoric.”

“This was a priority before this horrible thing happened,” Runkel continued. “But it underlines how urgent this is. It feels like the climate change issue. We just have to take our work to a different level.”

Runkel’s words come at a time when Portlanders are reeling from a spate of traffic fatalities. Commissioner Eudaly spoke to that in a speech on the street corner at tonight’s event. “This has been a brutal, heartbreaking month on Portland streets. Nine people have died in crashes in less than two weeks.”

So far this year, Portland is averaging about one fatal traffic crash per week.

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Commissioner Eudaly speaking at the event.

Eudaly oversees a bureau that is committed to Vision Zero, an initiative that aims to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025. “These recent tragedies show us it’s time to do more of this work and to do it faster,” she said. (Read her full statement on her Facebook page.)

While PBOT works on systemic fixes and safety projects citywide, Interim Director Warner said they will “accelerate” the following measures citywide:

Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) will become our default practice at new or upgraded traffic signals on High Crash Network streets. A proven tool to improve pedestrian safety, LPIs give people crossing the street a head start at a crosswalk, making them more visible to drivers and reducing potential conflicts. PBOT will add at least ten LPIs each year to existing signals citywide. (*Note: An LPI has already been implemented at Broadway and Grand)

Protected left turns will become PBOT’s default practice at new or upgraded traffic signals on High Crash Network streets. We will install at least three protected left turns each year at existing signals.

Left turn traffic calming, originally slated to begin this summer, will start immediately. This treatment slows vehicle speeds through large intersections and protects pedestrians at high-conflict turns. It has shown promise in New York and we are excited to evaluate its impact here in Portland.

And when fatal crashes occur, Warner says he will instruct PBOT to do an emergency assessment of the site and, “deploy a range of possible ‘rapid response’ safety improvements that include: interim design changes; signal improvements; and public education. PBOT will apply this protocol to fatal crashes that have happened in the past 12 months.

These are positive measures; but we know it will take much more substantive changes — like reconfiguring lanes, reducing driving space, and creating physical separation between drivers and walkers/bicycle riders — to prevent more deaths.

Below are more images from the event.

Oregon Walks Executive Director Jess Thompson.

Catie Gould from Bike Loud PDX.

Thanks to Bike Loud PDX for pulling this event together and to The Street Trust, Oregon Walks and Community Cycling Center for showing up and offering support.

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

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With velodrome saved, track fans prep for big season

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 13:19

Time to hit the banked walls of Alpenrose!
(Photo: Leonard Johnson/HotFoot Photo)

It wasn’t until our community was faced with losing the Alpenrose Velodrome for good that many people realized just how much love exists for this facility.

We recently heard from Jim Graves of the Portland Velodrome Committee and Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Membership Director/Alpenrose Velodrome Director Jen Featheringill about what’s in store for 2019.

How to speak track
  • Keirin – A 6 lap race with riders starting from a standing start.
  • Point-a-Lap – First racer across the line every lap receives one point.
  • Snowball – Mass start race run over a set distance.
  • Points Race – A predetermined number of sprints occur at set intervals.
  • Scratch Race – All riders race for a set number of laps.

With that major scare now behind us, and with spring’s drier skies in front of us, the focus now is on using it. Local track racing organizers are eager to turn this renewed sense of gratitude for the velodrome into race participation and support in the coming season.

Graves said one big change this year is they’ve moved the popular Track Development Class for Beginners to Tuesday evenings. This was done so up-and-coming junior racers (many of whom would opt to race the Tuesday PIR series at Portland International Raceway) could compete in the weekly Alpenrose Cup Series which now takes place on Wednesdays.

If you’re track-curious and want to try Alpenrose for the first time, Tuesday nights are for you. The Track Development Class is a prerequisite to get you certified to compete. Because track bikes have fixed gears and Alpenrose has tricky banked walls, this isn’t a sport you just hop on and do (like cyclocross for instance). Tuesday track class ($20 for adults, $10 for juniors) will get you sorted with experienced instructors. The first class is April 30th and the series runs weekly through August 28th. You can’t ride your regular bike on the track, so they’ll provide a free bike if you need one. Show up at 5:30 to get signed in and set for the 6:00 pm start.

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OBRA’s Featheringill said they had a 30% increase in the number of racers/day last season and, “All of that starts with getting folks out to the beginner classes on Tuesdays so we can get new people hooked on the sport.”

Watching is fun too!
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re a woman/trans/femme/non-binary racer and interested in racing, local team BattleKat PDX recently raised enough funds to cover 150 race entries. (Contact them for more information.) On a related note, there’s a track clinic for W/T/F/NB racers this Sunday (4/28).

Another thing worth noting this year is the upgrade to the Thursday Night Track (TNT) series. Every Thursday night from May 5th through August 29th, there’s serious racing and every last Thursday of the month is a special Spectator Night with a BBQ and podium/prize ceremony.

With the Fast Twitch Friday series, there are events happening at Alpenrose four nights a week.

And I haven’t even mentioned the big weekend races like the Alpenrose 4-Day, the Black Cat Omnium, Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge, and more. For more information, see the full OBRA track schedule and check out the official Alpenrose Velodrome website.

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

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PBOT unveils design concepts for 12 projects that could transform northwest Portland

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 10:32

Currently a one-lane road sandwiched between two lots under construction, PBOT wants make a section of NW Savier into a signed and colored two-way bikeway.

After kicking off about a year ago, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has released a major piece of their Northwest in Motion Plan (NWIM).

As we reported back in November, the goal of this plan is to create a detailed and prioritized list of shovel-ready projects that can be built in the short-term (1-5 years). PBOT’s work in northwest mirrors the East Portland in Motion and Southwest in Motion plans (we’ll likely see similar efforts in southeast and north/northeast soon).

The Draft Tier 1 Projects Overview (PDF) includes 12 projects broken down into three categories: neighborhood greenways; transit improvements, and corridor safety.

Similar to recent work we’ve seen from PBOT on NE 7th and in southwest, the designs in this plan push the envelope for active transportation. Staying true to our myriad lofty planning goals, the Northwest in Motion proposals put walking, biking, and transit firmly atop the modal hierarchy. With a variety of traffic calming measure, right-of-way adjustments, and lane reconfigurations, PBOT is showing us the potential of our streets when we don’t make driving the top priority.

Below is a look at a few of the nuggets in the draft project list:

Beefing up NW Johnson with major changes near REI

The most stressful segment of Johnson would become one-way only for drivers and get dedicated space for cycling.

The plan calls for updated the existing greenway on Johnson between 9th and 25th. This is a crucial east-west biking corridor that connects the Broadway Bridge to the west hills and provides access to many high-value destinations.

PBOT wants to make it better for biking by removing old train rails at 15th, installing significant traffic diverters to lower driving volumes, adding speed bumps, turning stop signs to improve cycling efficiency, adding crossing upgrades, and smoothing out broken pavement.

The section between 14th and 16th (REI) is the most stressful today. PBOT wants to make it better by turning NW Johnson into a one-way for drivers and adding a separated, two-way bikeway through the entire section. To get the space, they’d remove an existing lane used for on-street parking. New diverters would prevent cut-through drivers.

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Separated bike lane on Overton at Fields Park

Overton provides a nice connection to NW Naito Parkway, Fields Park, and more. Currently it has no dedicated cycling space and people parked their cars on both sides of the street. PBOT’s plan would provide a buffered bike lane eastbound (using space currently used as auto parking) while maintaining a shared lane westbound. To reduce the amount of drivers on the street, PBOT would install a full diverter at NW 9th

Serious diversion on Marshall

The proposal should significantly reduce the amount of drivers on NW Marshall. A full diverter at 15th (under I-405) would prevent through auto traffic and a neckdown between 20th and 21st would limit cut-through drivers.

Diagonal diverter at 20th and Pettygrove
A thing of beauty isn’t it? PBOT wants to do this to reduce driving traffic at the confluence of two neighborhood greenways and create new green/public space.

24th getting its due

As the westernmost through street at the base of the west hills, 24th is a key connector to the Lovejoy-Cornell corridor, commercial district on NW Thurman, Highway 30, and much more. I’m most excited about the treatments proposed at NW Vaughn, an industrial collector that is very stressful to cross and ride on. PBOT wants to restrict turning movements from Vaughn onto 24th with a full median and make the crossing safer.

The existing bike lanes on Vaughn would also be improved. PBOT wants to beef up striping through intersections and install “protected left signal phases” at 25th and 27th. These would separate the biking/walking movements from the driving movements so that dangerous left-turns would no longer be a source of collisions.

No more leapfrogging buses

New transit islands could be coming on Marshall and Flanders at 18th and 19th. PBOT’s design have the bikeway go behind the bus stop. Bus operators would save time and have less conflict with bicycle users by stopping in the travel lane instead of right next to the curb. I’ve been pushing for this design for years and would love to see it used citywide.

While these designs look promising, northwest neighborhood resident and NWIM Community Advisory Group member Reza Farhoodi said advocacy will be needed to make them a reality. “I think the draft plan overall does a great job of shifting the Overton window on bicycling and safe streets in northwest, but it’s not a done deal,” he shared with us via email today. “Effective outreach is critical for engaging people who want to see real improvements to bicycle facilities in northwest and help advocate for this plan at City Council.”

What do you think about these designs? Stay tuned for announcement of dates for open houses next month.

And keep in mind, this isn’t everything PBOT is planning for northwest. The Flanders Crossing bridge and Flanders Bikeway are both slated for construction next year. Portland Streetcar is also planning a major northwest expansion that will come with additions and changes to the bike network. Stay tuned for more on that project.

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

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Two more reasons we need more dedicated cycling space in the central city

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 11:40

Streets like NW 10th are very intimidating to ride on — especially when you have a streetcar operator harassing you.

In the past week I’ve heard about two incidents that illustrate an often overlooked reason why we need more dedicated, protected bikeways in the central city.

“Then [the streetcar] got very close to me and was continuously honking and I realized it was directed at me.”
— Nate M.

For years, Portland bicycle riders have been forced to share the same roads with car, truck and transit operators. PBOT has timed the signals for around 12 mph, which keeps most people in check. But the shared environment only attracts a tiny percentage of people. To move the needle for ridership, we must give people a more comfortable place to ride. We recently passed a detailed blueprint, the Central City in Motion Plan, that should hasten development the protected network we desperately need. Now we need to implement it.

So far this year two people have been killed on central city streets where safety projects are already planned but have yet to be built.

In the past few days, readers have contacted me about two incidents where a transit operator behaved in an unsafe and rude manner toward a bicycle operator. In both cases, the bicycle user was left scared and confused. And in both cases, if the bicycle users had dedicated space to ride — or if there was a better route option nearby — they could have avoided the situation.

Below are the first-person accounts of what happened…

From reader Nate M.:

“Yesterday I left work on my bike getting in the lane of NW 10th Avenue (north of Burnside) in the middle of the tracks in front of no traffic as I have to turn right eventually on Hoyt. I cycle here as I do not want to cross the tracks multiple times in the 6 blocks I commute on 10th… The streetcar was picking up people at the Couch stop. The lane was clear so I got back on my bike clear of no traffic. The Streetcar was approaching behind me and was directly behind at the red traffic signal at NW 10th and Davis. I then proceeded to go at the green light and then the Street Car honked its horn. I was not sure what it was at. Then it got very close to me and was continuously honking and I realized it was directed at me, this was when I decided to go over the tracks left into the lane.

Nate might have opted for these planned protected bike lanes in the nearby Park Blocks.

I had no idea why I was being honked at and directed to move left by the streetcar? This is dangerous for me as a cyclist crossing the tracks in the first place. I was forced to move left, the streetcar drove by me… So after going left, I had to wait for traffic to go by to go right over the the tracks again for me to turn right on Hoyt. I was just confused and the streetcar added danger to my ride.

Nate figured he was doing something illegal by riding in the streetcar track lane. He wasn’t. Bicycle users are allowed to ride in streetcar lanes. He reported the incident to Portland Streetcar and they are following up with the driver.

There’s no project on NW 10th in the CCIM plan, but there is a project (#16) a few streets over that would create a protected bike lane couplet on NW Park and 8th. That might become Nate’s preferred route… if it ever gets built.

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I’ve ridden 12th a lot. It can be very stressful.

The next case came in today from Jessica S. She witnessed a scary situation involving a bike rider and bus operator on SE 12th between Stark and Ash:

Plans for 12th will give bicycle riders their own lane.

“A bike was traveling north in the right lane (there is no bike lane or extra space, so the cyclist was in the middle of the lane). The bus passed unsafely. Instead of occupying the whole left lane that was available to the bus, the bus only moved half way into the left lane, keeping the other half of the bus in the right lane. This means the bus was dangerously close to the cyclist as it passed. The bus then moved back into the right lane after barely passing the cyclist, keeping an unsafely close proximity to the cyclist.

The bus driver honked during this unnecessary and dangerous move, both startling the cyclist, leaving this cyclist to wonder if the driving thinks they are right in with this dangerous behavior.”

Jessica is worried about this bus operator’s behavior and has filed a report with TriMet.

On 12th Avenue, just like on 10th, there is no dedicated space for cycling. Thankfully, CCIM project #4 will change that. PBOT wants to reconfigure the existing roadway on 12th and create a wide, dedicated lane for bicycle users. If that design were in place today, this dangerous interaction would not have happened. Unfortunately, the is on the 6-10 year implementation list.

In the meantime, we can’t just hope that all transit operators will drive safely and with respect for others 100% of the time.

Incidents like these happen with much more frequency than most people realize. They are one reason why many people will never dare to try bicycling in Portland. If we want to reach our climate/planning/bicycling/vision zero goals, we must give people their own place to ride. And plans on shelves is not enough. We need to move more quickly and re-design our streets in a way that prevents these kind of interactions from happening in the first place.

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

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Students at Tubman Middle School wore masks to protest toxic air from I-5 drivers

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 10:22

Students from Harriet Tubman Middle School on the N Flint Ave bridge yesterday. Their classrooms are just 50 feet from freeway lanes.
(Photos: Aaron Brown/No More Freeways PDX)

The kids know.

On Earth Day yesterday, Portland-based nonprofit Neighbors for Clean Air organized a protest on the Flint Avenue Bridge. Dozens of students from nearby Harriet Tubman Middle School joined them. They wore masks, donned “No Dirty Diesel” t-shirts, and chanted, “Diesel is dirty! Diesel is dumb!”.


From their perch on the bridge, the students could see thousands of people driving fossil fuel-burning cars and trucks below. They could also see their classrooms. Tubman is just 50 feet away from I-5 and has a well-known history of bad air quality because of it.

The kids were there to support House Bill 2007, a proposal that would create stronger regulations for diesel emissions. But they were also a visible symbol of what’s at stake with the I-5 Rose Quarter freeway project.

The Oregon Department of Transportation and the City of Portland want to to expand the freeway so it — and the toxic driving it encourages — will be even closer to the lungs of these students. Despite their claims to the contrary, ODOT’s freeway expansion will lead to more drivers, more exhaust, and dirtier air. The plan is so harmful that the Portland Public School Board is vehemently opposed to it.

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“The potential impacts of the proposed project to Harriet Tubman Middle School are particularly troubling,” the School Board wrote in a letter outlining their demands for a more thorough environmental analysis.

The widening of the freeway would also require that ODOT demolish and remove the bridge the students stood on — a move even the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s own Bicycle Advisory Committee said is a bad idea. “The removal of the Flint Ave crossing… would have a negative impact on bicycle travel that cannot be replaced by any of the facilities proposed in the Build alternative,” the BAC wrote in their letter opposing the project. Currently about 3,000 people ride bicycles over the Flint Ave Bridge every day.

These Tubman students deserve better. We’re grateful for their courage in speaking out and we hope our local elected leaders take heed.

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

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300 people turned out for the annual Kidical Mass Easter Ride!

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:41

Kidical Mass PDX Co-director Sara Cowling Davidson prepares to lead the ride.
Photos: Madi Carlson

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

With the Easter bunny hopping onto the scene so has arrived biking season! Like myself, you may feel that biking season never closed to begin with, but I still like celebrating the first big Kidical Mass PDX kids-of-all-ages family bike ride of the year on Easter. Also, with Pedalpalooza rides appearing hourly and Sunday Parkways details filtering in, bikey things really are picking up all of a sudden.

Our “season opener” was the biggest one yet with about 300 participants. We enjoyed cool but dry weather and had a wonderful egg hunt at the end. We even made the local TV news! Scroll down for some fun photos and the video coverage from KOIN…

Kidical Mass taking the lane by Dog Bowl for our three-mile ride.

Bike helmets make terrific Easter egg baskets.

No need for an Easter bunny when you’ve got an Easter pug. Hi Rando!

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BikePortland subscriber and Gorge Pedal organizer A J Zelada shared these wonderful photos with me:

If you’d like to join the next Kidical Mass PDX ride, it will be Sunday, May 12th (Mother’s Day) at 10am starting at Sewallcrest Park to celebrate CycloFemme, a global event to “Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Empower the Future of Women in Cycling.”

That’s for reading!

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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‘No More Deaths’ rally planned following recent fatality

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 12:29

A woman was killed on Friday afternoon while walking across NE Broadway. Local advocates have now planned a memorial event to highlight the inherent dangers at this section of Broadway and encourage the City of Portland to do more to mitigate them.

“I hope that this memorial will seriously open the eyes of the people who need to fix this.”
— Victim’s daughter (via Facebook)

“We are devastated to hear about this tragedy and frustrated that this street is so dangerous for people that walk and cycle. We are coming together on Wednesday April 24 at 5:30PM to honor her memory,” reads a statement about the event from BikeLoudPDX, a grassroots, all-volunteer group that responded to collisions on SE Division Street in 2016 by installing hay bales to tame fast drivers.

The plan is to meet at the intersection on NE Broadway and Grand at 5:30 pm this Wednesday evening. There will be a moment of silence at 6:00 pm and then a group bike ride to City Hall.

Here’s more from BikeLoudPDX:

“As a city we uphold values that no one should die on our streets. In 2016 city council approved a Vision Zero resolution to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025, but we are already falling short of this goal. This is the 17th death on our streets this year.

NE Broadway ranks as the most dangerous corridor for biking and fifth for walking. 4 other people have been injured crossing this intersection since 2007.

Redoing this section of Broadway is part of planned safety updates in Central City in Motion, which was passed unanimously by City Council in November 2018. This project is on the 1-5 year implementation plan but there is no date scheduled for when any changes might come to this corridor.”

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BikeLoudPDX says there are several things that could be done quickly to make this street safer. They want a protected left turn sign from Grand to Broadway, a temporary narrowing of the street with construction materials, a protected bike lane, and a “leading pedestrian interval” (LPI, where walkers get green while drivers see red).

The Street Trust and Oregon Walks are also supportive of this event and are helping out.

The victim’s daughter is aware of the event and fully supportive. “Seeing someone bring a memorial together like this touches me so deeply,” she shared on the event’s Facebook page. “I hope that this memorial will seriously open the eyes of the people who need to fix this.”

As we reported over the weekend, an eyewitness to Friday’s fatal collision said the woman had the right-of-way prior to being run over by a “huge delivery truck” that was turning left, “and they didn’t even slow down.”

According to our fatality tracker, this was the 16th fatal traffic collision of 2019. There was yet another one yesterday, bringing the total to 17. That puts us five fatalities over our year-to-date total from 2018.

Get more details on Wednesday’s event on the BikePortland Calendar or Facebook.

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

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Here’s why I think we should change stop sign laws for bicycle users

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 09:32

KATU’s Steve Dunn and I in an interview that aired over the weekend. Watch video below.

Bicycles and cars are vastly different types of vehicles and our laws should do more to reflect that.

That’s just one of many reasons I strongly support Senate Bill 998 currently working its way through the Oregon Legislature. The bill would allow bicycle users to treat stop signs and flashing red signals as yield signs (also known as “Idaho Stop” for a similar law on the books in Idaho for over 30 years). In other words, you’d only have to come to a complete when it was necessary due to oncoming traffic or some other safety-related condition. The law does not allow dangerous behavior and specifically requires bicycle users to slow to a “safe speed.”

As per usual, this reasonable concept causes many people to freak out. I went on local TV to try and calm some nerves and explain why I support the bill.

This is the third time the idea has come up in Oregon and it feels like there is less freaking out this time around. But with Americans’ deeply embedded sense of driving privilege and related bias against bicycle riders — and a media culture that loves stoking us/them divisions — you can never be sure.

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Last week I was invited to the studio of our local ABC-TV affiliate (KATU) to talk about this on their Your Voice, Your Vote public interest show with longtime news anchor Steve Dunn. Just like I did in 2012 when someone wanted to make licenses for cycling mandatory and after Oregon passed a $15 bike tax, I happily accepted the invitation.

In my experience we have much healthier conversations about these sensitive topics the more we get beyond the sensationalism, soundbites, and shouting matches. It would have been nice to debate someone with an opposing viewpoint; but KATU wasn’t able to find anyone who was against the bill and willing to show up. Thankfully, Steve Dunn did a great job asking questions and I think it was a helpful conversation.

Watch the video below and tell me what you think:

As for SB 998, it passed its Senate committee 6-1 and now awaits a committee assignment and vote on the House side. If you support the bill, please contact your representative — especially if your rep is on the House Judiciary committee.

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

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The Monday Roundup: A thief’s remorse, sorrow in DC, and more

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 08:44

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic, coming to beautiful Waldport on May 4th.

I hope all your weekend dreams came true! Judging by the photos I’ve seen it looks like the spring weather was loved by all.

Here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days…

He fought against what killed him: Our friends who fight for bike safety in Washington DC are reeling after fellow advocate Dave Salovesh was hit and killed by a reckless driver on an unsafe street.

Biking, the wonder drug: A Specialized-funded brain research study is showing how cycling helps kids focus and improves their brain muscle.

A more inclusive cycling scene: Ayesha McGowan (@AyeSuppose on Twitter) is a racer, but she is quickly gaining attention for her work in giving voice to people of color by calling out the bike industry’s blindspots.

“Unsafe Uber? Lethal Lyft?”: City Observatory wants researchers to dig a bit deeper in efforts to show a correlation between increased crash rates and more people using ride-hailing services.

A bike thief’s remorse: Crazy story from California where a repeat bike thief tried to return a high-end road bike to the shop he stole it from.

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Camera enforcement: The State of Washington has one-upped Oregon with a law proposal that would allow Seattle to use cameras to issue citations to people who block crosswalks and bus lanes with their cars.

Find rides: National nonprofit People for Bikes has launched a new app called “Ride Spot” that aims to help you find great routes.

Greenlight for Idaho Stop: Legal expert Rick Bernardi explains why it’s time to mainstream the Idaho Stop.

Climate emergency: The City of Vancouver BC wants to take action against climate change with a series of big policy proposals — several of which are directly related to getting people out of cars and onto bikes and transit.

Scooting drunk: If we figure out how to detect drunk scooter riders before drunk car drivers I am going to be pissed.

Cars kill: Forbes has a breakdown of how to deal with the global pandemic of road traffic deaths, which are now the top killer of people aged 5 to 29.

How low can they go?: Bike Snob has thoughts to share about why some Americans are so anti-bike they don’t even make sense.

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

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Police investigate fatal collision at NE Broadway and Grand

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 14:08

NE Grand northbound at Broadway.

NOTE: Please see updates at end of this story. It was originally reported as a bicycle fatality; but we have since confirmed that the woman killed was walking prior to being hit.

Portland Police say someone has been hit and killed in the area of NE Grand Avenue and Broadway.

We don’t have any details at this time other than the victim is a woman.

From a photo of the scene provided by reader Tom Cooney, the woman’s body came to rest on Broadway between Grand and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This is a very unsafe place for vulnerable road users. The road design and land-use pattern at this location strongly prioritizes driving above everything else. Broadway is one-way (westbound) and has five lanes for drivers (four through lanes, one parking lane). There’s a narrow, unprotected bike lane on the right curb. On the block prior to Grand the bike lane moves away from the curb to allow for drivers to turn right (north).

This past November, City Council passed the Central City in Motion Plan. Project #18 — which is among the high priority projects slated for construction within 1-5 years — would create a protected bike lane on this section of NE Broadway.

PBOT rendering of Central City in Motion plan that would improve biking facility at same location where this woman was killed.

By our tally, this is the 16th fatal traffic collision so far this year and the ninth involving a person on foot.

If you have any information about this collision, please get in touch. We’ll update this post as we know more.

UPDATE, 4/19 at 10:45pm: I’ve heard from a woman who was at the scene. Here’s what she saw:

“She was crossing Broadway holding her groceries, I know she had the right of way because I was also about to cross the road. A huge delivery truck was turning left, northbound from Grand onto Broadway and they didn’t even slow down. They hit her, she fell to the ground and they ran over her body with the front and back tires. I was 10 feet from her and I cannot get it out of my head.

The passenger of the truck yelled out something to her along the lines of “What the hell lady?!” before he realized what had happened and a man who was walking behind me (and ended up running to help her) yelled back to tell him.”

Based on this eyewitness account, below is a diagram showing the movements of the truck driver (red arrow) and the walker (green arrow).

(Note: This is an estimation and is not intended to show exact location of vehicle.)

KGW TV’s Mike Benner snapped this photo of the large delivery truck that was driven into the woman:

Portland Police have not issued any further information. Stay tuned.

UPDATE, 12:58 pm, 4/20: PPB have issued an update:

The investigation is continuing into yesterday’s fatal traffic crash. It appears a commercial delivery truck was on Northeast Grand Avenue turning westbound onto Northeast Broadway Street when the truck collided with a pedestrian. That pedestrian, a female in her fifties, died as a result of her injuries.

The driver of the truck remained at the scene and was cooperative. Speed and alcohol do not appear to have been a factor in this collision.

The Forensic Evidence Division and the Multnomah County Medical Examiner also responded to the scene. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office was consulted during this investigation as well.

If anyone has information relating to this crash, they are asked to contact Investigator Dave Enz at 503-823-2208.

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

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