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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Another bicycle fatality

This one in the "Reach the Beach" event. Condolences to the loved ones of the deceased.

We hear that designer Joshua Berger of Plazm magazine is also laid up with serious biking injuries. Along with a guy who works across the hall from us, who's been out of work for a month after taking a swan dive off his two-wheeler one night. Surgery to insert pins, plates, the whole works.

When cyclists preach to us about the health benefits of their chosen means of transportation, we nod silently. It's not worth trying to question the Portland orthodoxy. As long as people understand the risks, let them ride.

Meanwhile, the stage is being set for what could well be some more tragedy on Williams Avenue. "Let's try something completely new that motorists won't understand, and see what happens." Well, what do you think is going to happen?

Comments (23)

That proposal for a bike lane on the LEFT side of the street may be the FIRST non-idiot thing the bike planners at PDOT/PBOT have done.

At least we are used to having cars pass on the left and it is easier to see behind you on the left. And we are inherently more careful when turning left.

Now all they have to do is have the bikes pay for the road are they are stealing from cars.

And start ticketing them for the same offenses they ticket cars.

And requiring insurance for when they mow down a pedestrian.


Hey Jim, wanna bet you won't be allowed to make a left turn from the right lane across the bike lane? Cars will need to make 3 right turns, around the block to accomplish left turns, more gridlock, be still my beating heart.

Uh, Phil, I think the left lane is a shared bike and left turn lane (at least based on the picture in the link).

And we are inherently more careful when turning left.

Except for buses.

The bike boxes work so well that I'm sure this will be seamless. While we're at it, let's just make both lanes of Williams available to bikes since there are 4,000 of them. No word on how many CARS are on the road during the same period...

Damn cyclists. Stealing our pavement, getting in our way and costing us precious minutes as we hurry home, and then dying too (in this case on the shoulder on a dry Saturday afternoon). God help us.

I've long thought that it was kind of stupid to have bike lanes on the right-hand side of the street, fighting buses and whatnot. Left lane makes a lot more sense - assuming they get some decent signage as well. On a one-way street, putting bikes on the left makes a lot of sense, and is testament to the old adage that even a blind hog, in a forest of oaks, will uproot the occasional acorn.

Contrast the wisdom from the City of Portland and that found in a dusty old book . . . . .

"There is also a funding challenge: The city has $250,000 set aside, but it will likely take twice that much to complete."

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?
29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,

I think the Portland version would have Jesus finishing the lesson with, " . . . But be re-elected in spades."

Vehicle drivers in Portland have long had the road to themselves. Bikes were thrust upon a generation not used to sharing the roadway. In time, most drivers will adjust and learn. Until then, bicyclists will be hit often enough to make us wonder what the heck they are doing riding along side moving cars. Sharing the road with bikes is not new here, but it will be a while yet before all drivers are fully aware they are there.

Bikes on Williams with this new left scheme should not be allowed to make right turns, but required to make only left turns, going three blocks to go left. It will be suicide for bikes to go across two traffic lanes to make a right, right?

It will be suicide for bikes to go across two traffic lanes to make a right, right?

No more than currently making a left.

Damn cyclists.

No, damn local government, promoting cycle commuting as a healthy transportation option without mentioning that it's inherently quite dangerous.

the bike riders might die with less frequency if they started obeying traffic laws...
And the laws of physics...

I am not sure how cyclists violate the laws of physics without divine intervention.

Driving is quite dangerous, too, against others, so much so that we require liability insurance. For an economics blog, has anybody found what bicycle liability coverage would cost and versus car liability? By extrapolation of weight and comparing to motorcycle coverage I made an estimation that most of the coverage if it were mandated would be in uninsured motorist coverage, which would be similar to motorcycle coverage, where at least on my coverage is around half. Divide bicycle weight out and maybe it is five to ten dollars a year liability and fifty dollars a year for uninsured coverage.

What if the city decided since the market fails to provide the ability to buy this insurance, if the city created an universal coverage for cyclists that it could choose to subsidize as an incentive to cyclists moving here to cycle where they can be insured? This would also address the argument that cyclists are needlessly causing liability for themselves upon unsuspecting pedestrians. Have the city revoke insurance for those who receive citations.

Certainly there is a workable solution that doesn't involve penalizing cyclists who are freeing up asphalt space on roads for cars.

Hey Drewbob, I doubt the driver was hurrying to get home. He was a young driver (24) and probably part of the massive line of cars heading to or from the coast on that winding highway.

Neither Hwy 240 or 18 (the routes taken on that event) should be considered a safe cycling route in dry or wet conditions. The "shoulder" as you put it is typically 6-9 inches wide on hwy 240. In addition to it endangering their lives, they too endanger driver's lives by choosing to insert themselves on a roadway ill equipped for them and the other anxious drivers also on that road.

Sticking 100's of cyclists in the middle of the most used route to the coast and casinos is madness. There are so many other roads that are less traveled that could be utilized.

Why anyone would insert themselves into such a situation, right or wrong, is beyond me. I drive those roads often and the other drivers scare me and I am in a car!

I feel for the individuals who are killed, and equally for their families and loved ones for their loss. BUT....cyclists and pedestrians remain extremely naive when it comes to the inherent danger of riding bikes on heavily traveled roadways; and stepping out into moving traffic expecting motorists to stop on a dime.

Neither is safe. Conduct yourself at your own risk. Messing with a Prius, an SUV or a semi if you are cycling or walking is suicidal. You can't compete.

It is what it is...try to understand it, and live longer. No rules, sustainable practices, share the road mantras, lanes, crosswalks, boxes etc. will save you. Only you can prevent the inevitable.

Ride and walk responsibly. Remain naive and suffer the consequences. It ain't up to the other's up to you.

just sayin'

So if someone is driving a motor vehicle they are basically tiny babies mashing at the fun little levers and wheels in front of them, and it's everyone else's responsibility to get out of their way as they careen down the road, sidewalk, front yards, or through your house?

If someone on a bicycle gets killed because a driver decides that it's unmanly to slow down when the rest of the traffic jam does, the person on the bicycle is not the one at fault.

It's not reasonable to think that cars can stop on a dime. It *is* reasonable to think that cars can obey the traffic laws.

Look, I don't hate bicyclists but I don't understand why there are all these green boxes and bike lanes when ped crossings are so badly maintained. Have you tried crossing 52nd & Foster lately? Complete death trap for a ped and there are many more. Also, in my neighborhood, it is ironic, there are bike lanes but the sidewalks are pitted, potted and unsafe to walk in, dry or wet. I'm able bodied, but forget the disabled citizen in a wheelchair, scooter, walker, etc. We all use the bike line to get up and down the street because at least it is an even surface. It is not right and it is not fair. Sidewalks and ped crossings should be properly maintained first. If people are walking it is because they don't have a car or are getting to their bus stop, seriously.

the person on the bicycle is not the one at fault.

It's not about fault. It's about survival. Urban cycling is inherently dangerous. So is cycling on Route 18. So is being on Route 18.

cycling on Route 18

Dangerous? Yes, manifestly. Inherently? Not so much, as long as there is so much room for improvement in driving skill and licensing standards.

When the motorist is in the wrong, does the cyclist automatically go to heaven?

I did Reach The Beach two years ago. If my memory serves me correctly the Hwy 18 stretch was a very short segment of the route. Most of the route winds through bucolic farm country on two lane roads. In fact cars are so rare on most of these rides that the riders yell "car back" when they hear cars coming from behind so the riders ahead can get over to the right while on narrow roads. I distinctly recall being very nervous along Hwy 18 because the cars were blowing by us pretty fast on their way to Spirit Mountain, and as I road along in fear of my life, I was thinking to myself "who was the idiot who laid this thing out", because I knew at any minute one of the cars could cross the fog line and take one of us out. I stayed way over to the right...almost in the gravel. Yes, there a risk component when you are on a bike, and you can get killed or seriously injured through no fault of your own by a distracted or impaired motorist. Fortunately, I am spoiled and 85% of my bike commute is on a dedicated bike path. It adds about 15 extra minutes to go that way, but it's worth the piece of mind, and I can use the extra exercise anyhow.

When the motorist is in the wrong, does the cyclist automatically go to heaven?

I thought Portland WAS heaven - for bicyclists...

’ Certainly there is a workable solution that doesn't involve penalizing cyclists who are freeing up asphalt space on roads for cars.”

Huh. The vast majority of bicycle lanes are added at the expense of drivers. Either motor vehicle travel lanes are removed or narrowed, or on-street parking – now considered by some a commodity that should require a metered fee – is removed. That is the opposite of freeing up pavement for cars. Moreover, new city standards for bike lanes have them so wide that two bicyclists can ride side by side.

On Williams Avenue, there are twice as many cars as bicyclists that use the street, yet there is only one planned through lane for each mode where the cars must travel single in their lane while the bicyclists can ride two a breast. This seems backwards. The bicyclists pay nothing for this luxury. If anybody is being penalized it is the drivers who pay the fees and gas taxes that are being poached to pay for some freeloaders. Maybe somebody on this blog should start a petition to require bicyclists to pay their own way for bicycle infrastructure.


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