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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 2, 2008 1:17 PM. The previous post in this blog was And he bowled a 39. The next post in this blog is Have a great weekend. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Second thoughts

"The utility of (bike boxes) is dubious, and the fact that that’s not really being acknowledged, that there’s just wholesale support for these without any real discussion – that’s what concerns me," he said. "Some of these bike boxes (are) kind of scary. I don’t use them, and they’re confusing."

And wait until someone gets hurt in one of them. The lawyers will do well.

Comments (39)

He has no evidence that bike boxes have dubious utility. It's more of a generalized sense of discomfort with something new. "Kind of scary", "they're confusing."

Advocates point to evidence from other countries that they work, and PDOT is collecting before-and-after data on the bike boxes to see how they operate. Isn't that how you are supposed to innovate?

Get thee behind it.

So I was wondering this morning what good it does when you *still* have to make sure bikes aren't approaching on the right *after* the light has changed.

These things seem like a feel good tactic on the city's part -- "Dang it, we're going to look like we're doing _something_ about it"

He has no evidence that bike boxes have dubious utility.

nobody has evidence that they *do* have utility.

Advocates point to evidence from other countries that they work

based on what causal evidence? careful, because you'll notice that it's not causal at all, really.


and PDOT is collecting before-and-after data on the bike boxes to see how they operate

really? i'd be grateful for any info on that--because given that they're in only a few locations, basic statistics tells me that even if accidents at those intersections fell to zero, it doesn't prove a darn thing.

installed in a few hundred statistically meaningful locations? more interesting.

Advanced statistics says you could determine the effect of the box on the intersection and even figure out its statistical significance. The population is not comparing the intersections, but comparing the intersections to the historical data for the intersection. Pre-box as control; post-box as experimental.

Heck, with decent GIS software, you could map the effects of the boxes onto other intersections, comparing pre- and post- data. I, personally, am interested to see if the boxes will have effects on nearby intersections; I see the primary value of the box as a reminder to "look right" for cyclists.

Advanced statistics says you could determine the effect of the box on the intersection and even figure out its statistical significance.

basic statistics says the exact opposite.

The population is not comparing the intersections, but comparing the intersections to the historical data for the intersection.

wrong for a number of reasons. you can't "prove" that an intersection is statistically safer by simply counting up incidents from before and after.

Pre-box as control; post-box as experimental.

nope, still not going to prove anything that way, using either math or logic.

to be fair, i should add: i haven't seen any hard information on bicycle use of the intersections that boxes were painted on.

does it exist?

I cross three intersections that have bike boxes everyday on my commute to work (by bike) and I hate them.

I felt safer before the boxes were put in place. In my opinion, both drivers and cyclist are lulled into false sense of security by some green paint and aren't as attentive at these intersections as they were before.

The boxes are probably more for show and not for a legitimate safety measure. Kind of like airport security.

The boxes are probably more for show and not for a legitimate safety measure.

Ya think?

Unfortunately, whatever it does take to satisfy the "biking advocates" (i.e. the shrillest little minority group in town), will undoubtably be much more expensive than painted bike boxes.

Dedicated bridge over I-405 anyone?

How did this 5% of the population get so much damn attention?

I forgot to add that the eventual solution will not only be more expensive than bike boxes, but also more of an inconvenience for motorists as well.

(That would be the other 95% of us. Or is it presumptuous of me to assume we have a say.)

Come to think of this, the boxes and accompanying billboards are just "Adams for Mayor" campaign ads.

C'mon guys, how much could this be costing? Not much a couple thousand at most. Give it a chance. PDOT, or whatever it is, is trying to make the city safer for cyclists. They are trying to encourage more than just the hard core bikers to get out of cars and drive. More bikes on the road means fewer cars, less pollution, less wear and tear on the roads etc...

I think I saw a price of about $1200 for the boxes. I would rather have the money going towards repairing/maintaining the streets that I ride on than the campaign posters for VeraSam.

PDOT, or whatever it is, is trying to make the city safer for cyclists.

I recall something about roads and being paved with good intentions. I'm pretty skeptical about inviting cyclists out of their bike lane right in front of the traffic light, only to force them back into their lane immediately thereafter. It might work. It might not.

To be clear, the cyclist quoted in the article has generally advocated that most bike infrastructure is a mistake. (Just google the name Ryan Conrad and his comments at BikeProvidence.org (Rhode Island)). Ryan Conrad's bike riding philosophy is generally referred as "vehicular cycling," in which cyclists should always "take a lane" rather than be shunted off to the side of the road in a bike lane.

While on some roads and in some situations it can work, particularly for strong, confident, experienced riders, vehicular cycling is generally not a panacea for all cyclists. If the goal is for anyone from ages 8 to 80 to be able to ride a bike and feel safe while doing so, expecting all those riders to "take a lane" on NE Broadway or SE Hawthorne is viewed as cycling extremism, even by many cyclists.

Mr. Conrad's opposition to bike boxes are based on his belief that cyclists should have a full traffic lane, every time, every place. In contrast, many riders see bike boxes are a design compromise that increases safety and awareness at intersections where there is a higher probability of conflict between right-turning cars and bikes in a bike lane.

Who still wants the Ryan Conrad style of bike riding implemented in Portland?

C'mon guys, how about layin' off the bad karaoke. Cars aren't going away - the weather here is too fickle to elevate the bike to main transportation status for 95% of folks. Maybe some yuppie progressives and bureaucratic elites have the luxury of changing rooms and lockers, most of us workin' stiffs don't.
I've got to agree w/Jack about Adams Billboards - should there be some financial disclosure here?

To be clear, the cyclist quoted in the article has generally advocated that most bike infrastructure is a mistake. (Just google the name Ryan Conrad and his comments at BikeProvidence dot org (Rhode Island)). Ryan Conrad's bike riding philosophy is generally referred as "vehicular cycling," in which cyclists should always "take a lane" rather than be shunted off to the side of the road in a bike lane.

While on some roads and in some situations it can work, particularly for strong, confident, experienced riders, vehicular cycling is generally not a panacea for all cyclists. If the goal is for anyone from ages 8 to 80 to be able to ride a bike and feel safe while doing so, expecting all those riders to "take a lane" on NE Broadway or SE Hawthorne is viewed as cycling extremism, even by many cyclists.

Mr. Conrad's opposition to bike boxes are based on his belief that cyclists should have a full traffic lane, every time, every place. In contrast, many riders see bike boxes are a design compromise that increases safety and awareness at intersections where there is a higher probability of conflict between right-turning cars and bikes in a bike lane.

Who still wants the Ryan Conrad style of bike riding implemented in Portland?

I'm pretty skeptical about inviting cyclists out of their bike lane right in front of the traffic light, only to force them back into their lane immediately thereafter.

If they are in the bike lane at all. I have more issues every day downtown with cyclists on the sidewalk than on the street.
The other day I saw one leave the sidewalk and go out into a crosswalk, stop halfway and get off his bike, then turned his bike 90 degrees so he could start in front of traffic when the light turned green.

They inconvenience cars, they're painted green, and they pander to bike nazis.

Who cares if they don't make anybody safer?

Sam gets another photo-op in his bike helmet: mission accomplished.

"The other day I saw one leave the sidewalk and go out into a crosswalk, stop halfway and get off his bike, then turned his bike 90 degrees so he could start in front of traffic when the light turned green."

So?

Why do you gave an issue with this?

How did this affect you?

Are you jealous because the biker is getting fresh air, exercise, not spending $4/gallon AND has the freedom to move from the sidewalk to the street without leaving his vehicle?

"stop halfway and get off his bike"

He is following the law of downtown. What is the problem?

What a bunch of whiners. God forbid that anyone in a a car should be inconvenienced for any purpose by any other person with or without another type of vehicle. Bike boxes may or may not be a good solution; but those of you who feel personally threatened by their adoption should get back on your meds.

I agree. People who have even the slightest inclination to ride their bikes in traffic, consider the laws of the road only to apply to drivers of cars and not to them, and perceive themselves as entitled to make up their own rules on the fly NEED TO GET OUT AND RIDE NOW!!

Darwinism at its finest.

Are you jealous because the biker is getting fresh air, exercise, not spending $4/gallon AND has the freedom to move from the sidewalk to the street without leaving his vehicle?

No, I am tired of nearly being run down on the sidewalk. And I am getting "fresh air and exercise" by walking too.

And I believe the law says they are supposed to stay off the sidewalk downtown.

They bitch all the time about being able to ride along with cars on the road. So get out there and let us walk on the sidewalk.

"No, I am tired of nearly being run down on the sidewalk."

Oh, you were nearly run down? If so that is terrible. I hope you are OK.

You didn't mention that in your earlier post. You described observing a guy ride a bike temporarily on the sidewalk and then dismount and position himself to rejoin vehicular traffic. I say, unless he is endangering pedestrians, BFD and MYOFB.

"And wait until someone gets hurt in one of them."

Plenty have been hurt and killed already without those green boxes because motorists forget about bicyclists' presence on the road.

To me it is better to have those green boxes painted on the road than not, because it reminds motorists of bicyclists' presence.

A motorist who hits a bicyclist that is riding in one of those green boxes is being very careless indeed, similar to a motorist who runs down a pedestrian in a cross walk.

For once, I didn't come close to accidentally killing a scofflaw cyclist last night...what a relief. Last Friday a few of 'em blew through the light on Sandy and 21st, wearing all black with no headlights, and when I skidded around them and honked, guess what ? Middle finger, that's what. Oh well, that kind of idiotic attitude is nothing a snapped pelvis or fractured skull won't improve, it's only a matter of time, really.

But not tonight...it's the small things that keep professional motorists in PDX out of the rubber room...

I consider that I am a reasonably alert and defensive driver. (no major accidents, ever, or tickets in 25 years). However I have recently come perilously close to smooshing several downtown bike riders who insist on cutting by on the right, inches from the rear bumper of my car as I turn right.
One signals, turns around, looks, and seeing nothing starts to turn, and boom! there they are, banging on the car with a closed fist.
I now am extra careful so these idiots do not have the opportunity to collect from my insurance company.
Why do so many of these people think the rules of the road are for others?

AND has the freedom to move from the sidewalk to the street without leaving his vehicle

last I heard, it's illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk if you're over 16.

Riding on the sidewalk was a firing offense at Transerv, the city's largest bike courier company.

Moreover, Anyone who thinks it is a good idea to approach from behind and pass on the right a vehicle that has the option of turning right is exhibiting behavior that Darwin would have taken note of.

The number one problem I have with bikes is lack of visibility. Dark clothing, no lights. Spells death wish.
We drivers don't stand a chance on a rainy night when some chucklehead in black hoodie comes popping into intersection. Know how hard it is to see through the places on windshield that the wipers don't reach, when covered in raindrops? Add some light glare to it. Why don't bicyclists understand this? It's not like drivers are intentionally trying to kill them. We just can't effing SEE them!
I say its time for law that bicyclists must wear light clothing or reflective vests and have real lights on bike. Not those worthless little blinking red things.
Wear white at night, fools!

ecohuman

I don't know why you think "basic statistics" shows that you cannot do a pre-post test on the bike boxes. This seems to me a valid quasi experimental situation.

As the poster suggests, it also seems quite valid to me to find highly comparable intersections where bike boxes were not installed and use those as a further comparison group.

"last I heard, it's illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk if you're over 16."

Where?

Got a cite?

“Oh, you were nearly run down? If so that is terrible. I hope you are OK”.

Hope this person wasn’t being sarcastic(and hope he doesn’t get a fractured spine from a bike careening into his back on a downtown sidewalk).

But if so, this is fairly typical of what I’ve encountered with bike riders around here. Besides their snarkiness, they’ve got an annoying sense of moral superiority and entitlement and are cavalier toward fellow bike riders who consistently ignore basic traffic rules-attitudes which are unfortunately bolstered by City Hall, our Dopey Mayor and the Local Media.

I’ve had so many near misses with bikes on downtown sidewalks. At the very least the city needs to pass a simple rule-no bikes on city sidewalks-anywhere-unless you walk your bike or you’re under 12.

It’s fine for our fair city to try to emulate European cities like Amsterdam. But a large portion of Portland bike riders need to start riding their bicycles in a safe, orderly manner as the safe, orderly Dutch do(and most of these do it without wearing those ridiculous outfits that say: “hey, like, look at me, like, I’m a bike rider”).

A bit of context here:

I own a bike and before living in Portland and before all the faddism set in I was very positive about bike riders. When I was 15 I cycled around Germany and two years later cycled around Western Europe, England(sans spandex even-back then-in the summers of ’63 and ’65, about the only bike riders in the U.S. were kids). And for almost a year in the mid-70s living in Marin a bike was my only means of transportation-although admittedly, I didn’t get many dates during this period.

"So I was wondering this morning what good it does when you *still* have to make sure bikes aren't approaching on the right *after* the light has changed."

If you think through your example a bit it will come to you. No matter the color most cars will take a right turn without stopping, so this removes this danger when the light is red. Not bad for a bit of spray paint, eh?

Yes, it is confusing that some bikers are mentally retarded sociopaths but most share the road a lot better than the average car driver.

Personally, I don't get mad at the mouth-breathing 35-year-old on a BMX bike on Burnside at 10:15pm, I save my anger for the Lance Armstrong types coasting down Hawthorne at 9:15am going 12.5mph wondering why Portland drivers are such pricks (hint: bike routes are only a block or two away). You know, the people who should KNOW BETTER but don't give a shit because they are better than us.

Then again, I know some joggers who will take up an entire lane on Front Street during their lunch time run, so I don't think it's only bikers that have this mental issue. (Also: any driver in a Mercedes or BMW)

"“Oh, you were nearly run down? If so that is terrible. I hope you are OK”.

Hope this person wasn’t being sarcastic(and hope he doesn’t get a fractured spine from a bike careening into his back on a downtown sidewalk)."

That person:

No this person was not being sarcastic.

Whether this person is snarky and/or has an annoying sense of moral superiority and entitlement is a matter of opinion.

This person thanks that person for his kind wishes regarding this person's spine. This person likewise hopes that person doesn't get a fractured spine from a careless biker on a downtown sidewalk.

Hey, I take offense! I drive a Mercedes and I am a very courteous and safe driver...and I don't have "that mental issue". I have to drive to work and I like a nice car. I So sue me.

The bike boxes are a nice, feel good idea, but I predict it won't help a thing regarding safety. Bike vs car = bikes lose.

Why do so many of these people think the rules of the road are for others?

This comment refers to cyclists; but in real life, it has more general application. In my neighborhood, pedestrians and drivers are no less frequently seen disregarding traffic laws: jay-walking, turning without signals, running stop signs, opening car doors into the street without checking for traffic, speeding, etc.

pedestrians and drivers are no less frequently seen disregarding traffic laws: jay-walking, turning without signals, running stop signs, opening car doors into the street without checking for traffic, speeding, etc.

I see cyclists run stops (including lights) every day downtown, and I have never seen a cyclist use arm signals to turn or change lanes.

Bicyclists often display a sense of entitlement that is inspired by their privilege: they are temporarily able-bodied. TAB privilege is insidious and widespread.

I have an office overlooking a major Portland intersection. Without looking very hard or very long, I can usually spot at least one or two bicycle riders blowing through a red light or slowing down just enough to miss hitting a vehicle. And don't even get me started on riders who have NO LIGHTS AT NIGHT AND WEAR DARK CLOTHES. Do these knuckleheads all have death wishes?
Anyone want a bumper sticker that says:

" I DON'T SHARE THE ROAD"?


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Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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