Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vicious Cycle

We've been saying we want to be respected on the roads and treated as equals, well it works both ways. You have to give it to get it. I know there are a lot of sensible and responsible cyclists out there and then there are also a few that ruin it for the rest ... such as the guy I saw riding on the parkway, the wrong way, at night, and with no lights. I think that motorists have a lot further to come (our errors usually dont kill someone else) but the rest of us need to start (or continue) leading by example. I myself need to be better about certain things. Anything that happens in Portland is always of interest because they are already so far ahead of the rest of us in terms of bicycle legislation:

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Editor), April 14th, over at Bike Portland

"The Portland Police Bureau sent three motorcycle cops to SE Clinton Street this morning to observe and enforce stop sign compliance at 34th and 21st Avenues.

According to Traffic Division Lieutenant Bryan Parman, the “enforcement mission” came after his office received a complaint via email last week from a nearby resident. Parman said,

“The email was about poor compliance at the stop signs by everyone, not just bikes. The resident was specifically concerned at people not yielding to pedestrians.” (There are marked crosswalks at both intersections).

The result? In the one-hour mission, three officers issued 22 citations; five to motor vehicle operators and 17 to people on bicycles. Parman says everyone given a ticket was given the option to attend the Share the Road Safety Class so it won’t affect their driving record (that option can be given only at the discretion of the officer who issues the citation).

Parman says the officers were “focusing on blatant behavior that creates a potentially dangerous situation,” and that “given the results we found, we need to talk about a workable solution.”

What Parman is referring to is his ongoing conversation with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation about how to most effectively enforce laws for bike traffic on popular bike boulevard streets.

Parman — who said he’s already discussed this morning’s mission with the BTA’s Michelle Poyourow — wants to find a more long term solution on how to best respond to these type of complaints. He said he’ll also be discussing the issue at the Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting tonight.

“I understand that Clinton is a bike boulevard,” said Parman on the phone this morning. As such, Parman said he wants bikes to become the preferred mode of transportation on the street, but he also wants to make sure bike operators are being safe and legal."

Also, please stop pressing the issue to pass the right-hand right-turn turn signal! There are three standardized hand signals that have been in place for years. By changing the rules for cyclist, you are saying "we get special treatment" and causing more us-them mentality. Motorists can't signal a right hand turn with their right hand so why should cyclists? Maybe we can start using blue lights on the back of our bikes too?


clintpatty said...

Motorcyclists can use the right hand. And I'm all for ticketing cyclists who dangerously run red lights/stop signs through occupied crosswalks. But when I have a green light I don't wait for pedestrians who didn't have a walk signal to get through the crosswalks downtown. I just go around.

beardsarefun said...

Actually motorcyclists can't use their right hand, how do you figure? also, Alabamians have a hard enough time counting to threee let alone memorizing one more hand signal in addition to the three they already don't know. Yet I promise you they know how to sync their iphone to their car stereo and play on the internet while driving by me. I am also for ticketing cyclists. Pedestrians are typically the most oblivious. I've never hit one but there's been times i thought about it > : )

Tim D. said...

It is legal in MO to use your right hand to signal right turns. Even though the turn/stop hand signals are on the driving exam, most motorists don't know them. They understand when I point right with my right hand that I'm going that way. Making a right angle pointing up with my left hand just confuses most.

clintpatty said...

Ok I haven't ridden a motorcycle. But on a motorized scooter you can use your right hand just as well as left.

marshmallow said...

I think i heard that one of the reasons for trying to get the right hand turn thing done was so kids could learn it easier? Isn't it harder for vehicles to see if the cyclist is riding close to the shoulder, thus more dangerous?

beardsarefun said...

if kids or motorists are too retarded to remember three simple hand signals, maybe they have other problems and dont need to be on the road anyhow. Consistency is the key to learning anything -ask a trainer or teacher - and making differents rules for those too dumb to learn makes no sense. By keeping signals to the left hand, it keeps the right hand free to do anything like scratch your nose or point to a pothole. Nobody is going to mistake a left-handed right turn for someone pointing to an airplane!

clintpatty said...

They mistake it for stretching. Which I don't understand because why am I going to look this goofy when I'd rather have both hands on the handlebars for the turn.

Tony P said...

Who is advocating for "allowing" right arm signals? It is already in the Oregon Bicyclist Manual:
For a while I always tried to stick with the left arm, right turn signal, but years of shoulder injuries make it difficult for me to raise my arm straight up. I've also found that most drivers don't understand this signal anyway (just as they don't understand what a "Yield" sign means) and that the right arm signal gets the point across much more effectively.