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SHARE THE ROAD! Bicycle thread

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Ben Beckerich, May 7, 2014.

  1. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Oh man, I think this is gonna be a fun thread.

    What does "share the road" mean to you?? Please do tell- that's not a rhetorical question (though we're sure to get plenty of rhetoric!)

    How do you share the road with bicyclists?
    How do you share the road with motorvehicles?
    How can two things occupy the same space at the same time?
    How can it be "sharing" the road when the bicyclist is hogging the whole damn lane?
    How can it be "sharing" if bicyclists are expected to somehow not be in the way of any and/or all motorvehicles?

    I'm both a car driver and a bike rider. I have seen it from both perspectives. I've also studied the law, and have even written my own quick-reference guide to Oregon bike law, which I call the Oregon Bike Code - and am happy to give free copies to anyone who would like one. It's a work in progress, constantly being updated as new statutes and ordinances are written and/or interpreted to be important with regard to bicycling or driving around bicyclists. I can tell you one thing: Motorists, you're going to be surprised at some of the myths you've been holding onto regarding what "share the road" means. It's actually pretty simple.

    Share the road means that both vehicles have a right to use and be on the road, and it means both have the same duties and responsibilities to each other. A bike is defined as a "vehicle" by the ORS - meaning that it's subject to ALL traffic code that can apply, with the exception of those rules that cannot apply due to the nature of being slow, non-motorized, open-cockpit vehicles (laws regarding opening doors can't apply to bikes, but also things like waiting for traffic signals ALSO don't always apply to bikes, because bikers generally aren't heavy enough to trip in-road sensors- you might sit there for an hour, if that's how long it took for a car to come up behind you, etc).

    This means a bicyclist has as much right to ride on the road as you do in your car. If they are riding in a lane that's only wide enough for one vehicle, they own the lane, and you are not allowed to "squeeze" past. This is unsafe. Whose fault is it that it's unsafe? Motorists often blame bicyclists when they behave in unsafe ways around bicyclists......... obviously that's defective reasoning. What's a better way to handle it? Well the law provides a safe solution for everyone: Wait until it's safe and legal to pass, then execute a safe and legal pass. Just like any other slow-moving vehicle. Even if you have a solid center line, if you pass in a safe fashion- fully exit the lane/fully enter the opposite lane, proceed at least a couple of car-lengths ahead, and then re-enter the lane- you're NOT going to get a ticket, and you don't risk any serious bodily injury or death to the cyclist, civil/legal liability to yourself, or damage to your vehicle.

    Some otherwise rational (we hope!) people absolutely lose their minds when they have to reduce speed for a cyclist in the lane. If they have to ride at 20mph for 10 seconds, they're ready to run the cyclist over. If they have to wait for 30 seconds, at reduced speed, they are at risk of aneurysm. What if a car had to ride at reduced speed behind a cyclist for 60 seconds? Some people would absolutely short circuit. HOW DARE THAT DAMNED SONUVABICH TAKE THE WHOLE GD LANE AND HOLD UP TRAFFIC ITS A DAMN CRIME!

    But look at the math..... If you have to reduce speed by as much as HALF.... drop to 20mph from 40mph for a full 60 seconds... you've only lost 30 seconds out of your life by patiently waiting for either an opportunity to pass, or for road conditions to change enough that the cyclist can move onto the shoulder. You're losing your mind for 30 seconds of lost time? You'll floor it and pass in the lane (split the lanes, passing within a few feet of the cyclist), scare the hell out of the rider, risk causing a crash that will not cause you any bodily harm but is quite possible deadly for the rider, and risk going to prison for reckless endangerment and possibly manslaughter..... for 30 seconds of lost time?

    That's just one common example (probably the most common complaint by both cyclists and motorists), but there are countless other disputes.

    Like I said, I ride and drive. I drove long before I rode, and I used to be an ignorant, indignant driver who didn't have any idea what "share the road" meant. I thought a cyclist in the road was HOGGING the road, not sharing it. But he actually has equal entitlement to the road.

    Oregon is great for bike riding. We are one of the only states I'm aware of that actually has a Bike Lane Board- a legislatively mandated council of legislators, legal professionals, and bikers, who oversee all bike lane issues in the state. They oversee ALL bike lanes in the state and ensure they're safe and appropriate for the areas they're being designated. As such, we also have an ordnance that requires bicyclists to use bike lanes, where present. Only council-approved bike lanes apply (just because it's painted into the road doesn't mean it meets the approval criteria and has to be used, but by and large, if it's painted in, it's approved). Exceptions are - any condition that makes riding in the bike lane unsafe, i.e., gravel, glass, vegetative debris, vehicle debris, etc.; when cars are parked immediately parallel to the bike lane (a carelessly opened door can, and sometimes does, kill cyclists); when preparing to navigate traffic, such as when making a cross-traffic turn (usually a left turn); and, a big one: when proceeding forward through an intersection that has a right turn option. Drivers.... when you're making a right turn, it's your responsibility to watch for cyclists. You will be found at-fault if you turn into the path of a bicyclist proceeding straight, or turn into a bicyclist that's already there.

    Another common problem I see is drivers assuming a bicyclist doing something unexpected does not know the law. It might be the case... but I can tell you that most bicyclists who log a decent amount of miles per week generally have a really good working knowledge of the bike laws in this state. We are completely at the mercy of people driving cars that could completely wipe us out, deal with near-misses and irate drivers almost every time we go out, and take it upon ourselves to be sure we know what each others' duties and responsibilities are.

    So....

    What questions do you have regarding duties and responsibilities of motorists and cyclists, according to state law and city ordinance in Portland and surrounding, in this great state of ours? Bikers riding right on the fog line piss you off/make you nervous? Why the hell do they do that?? Why do they cut across right turn lanes instead of just following the fog line?? Why the hell do they filter through to the front of the pack at red lights??? Why don't they wait for red lights????? Why DON'T they go ahead when I WAIT for them before making a right turn, but instead stop behind me and yell angrily at me to GO, when I'm just trying to share the road and let them go first????????? I can tell you why.

    What comments do you have about dangerous/inconsiderate bicyclists do you have?

    What experiences have you had?

    Has anything changed your mind regarding how you deal with motorists or cyclists on the road?

    I'm definitely no lawyer, but I have an education in criminal justice and am very familiar with the Oregon Revised Statutes, how to navigate them, and will support any and all legal opinions I have with references from the ORS, for anyone to examine and disagree with, if he can.

    And don't forget - if you want a free copy of a summary of Oregon's bike laws, I'm happy to give. Just PM me with your email addy or post here. It's possible my inbox here is full... I don't actually really know how to use it. If you can't get me that way, email at benjaminbeckerich@gmail.com

    Here's ODOT's manual for bike riding in Oregon: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/hwy/bikeped/docs/bike_manual.pdf

    Let 'er rip!
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
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  2. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If I had a buck for every time I've seen a bicyclist blow through a stop sign without even
    slowing down I could retire a wealthy man. And the ones that thing they have the right of way in a
    crosswalk when they are RIDING the bike? You want to use a pedestrian crosswalk get off of the bike
    and WALK----OK. I'm done for now. You DID ask.:)
     
  3. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    That's totally legit. Blowing through stop signs is illegal, and cops, ESPECIALLY Portland PB, will cite your bubblegum for it. And yes- using crosswalks/sidewalks, you're generally supposed to get off the bike. ORS says bikes can actually be ridden on sidewalks and crosswalks provided it doesn't cause any kind of hazard- but most city ordinances ban it completely. Portland city ordinance bans all bikes from all sidewalks, except for a select few specifically called-out sections of town. My own home town of Saint Helens doesn't make ANY exceptions- if it's for people walking, bike riding is prohibited.
     
  4. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Keep in mind, some "sidewalks" are actually multi-use paths, though- for walking and bike riding (or skateboarding, or roller blading, or.....)
     
  5. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    I can't wait for bicyclist to actually "share" the road by having to get a tag/license and carry insurance! Why should motorist flip the bill for bike lanes/ paths and their maintenance? I also think that they should be ticked for every infraction a motorist would be ticked for including riding under the speed limit.
     
  6. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Well you're certainly entitled to these opinions, but I don't think you're looking at things very rationally. Car drivers have to register and buy insurance because car accidents can easily cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars and do seriously bodily injury. A bicycle running into a car might cause up to a few thousand dollars if it's a really nasty crash, but that's within most peoples' ability to just pay out (if the cyclist even survives). Cyclists causing injury to other people is rare.

    As to the bill for bike lanes - we all pay for that (and they don't cost much anyway). I pay it with the same gas taxes you pay. Most cyclists have cars and drive them, and have the same property taxes you have. But how can you complain about cyclists taking up a lane AND complain about bike lanes? If you have bike lanes, you don't have a cyclist taking up the main lane. If don't want to pay for bike lanes, then you should be perfectly OK with cyclists taking up main lanes. Logical, no? Unless you think banning bikes is a likely or good idea.

    As to going under the speed limit.... how exactly do you propose bikes increase their speed to meet higher-than-bike-speed speed limits? If you DO have a plausible solution- believe me, I speak on behalf of all cyclists.... do tell!

    Otherwise.... we have provisions for slow moving vehicles. Slow trucks, slow tractors, slow bikes. They're entitled to use the road, and there's no legal avenue for ticketing them, so long as they're following the rules. The only people who get cited for going under the speed limit are those who are obstructing traffic and have the ability to go faster.
     
  7. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    Your math is lop sided if you think that bicyclist/property owners are paying their share of bike lanes/paths (that vehicle owners do not have the right to use) There are far more vehicle owners paying for you to be out of the way of vehicle traffic than you give credit for.
     
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  8. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Would you rather pay for some paint striping on the road, or have cyclists in your lane? Driving in a bike lane isn't the advantage bikes lanes give you: as a motorist, you benefit from bike lanes because you hate cyclists in your lane.

    It would be interesting to see exactly how much money is spent on bike lanes and development. I'll see if I can find some free time to poke around. It could be more than I would guess, but I suspect it's less than you think. I have a 60 mile bike commute, and I only get about 5 or 6 miles of bike lane out of that. Not much, for supposedly being the Mecca of bike riding that Portland is credited as.
     
  9. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    And the "bike lane" that I do get is literally nothing more than some paint on the shoulder. It's not like they actually built it into the road.
     
  10. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I don't want bikes slowing down traffic. I do not wish to spend way to much of my free time (time I will never get back) commuting; let alone behind bicycles. I do think the spandex mafia should pony up and pay more to make your leisurely commute more enjoyable. I always wondered how great it would be huffing and puffing car exhaust while I was in a bike lane. I hear diesel smells like French fries.
     
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  11. d2the3

    d2the3 Eugene, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Eugene is not as bad as Portland I'm sure. But I bet we get the same kind of stuff..... for the bikers that don't obey the traffic laws that cars have to I have no respect for them. I give some the benefit of the doubt!
     
  12. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Okay, so let me see if I've got this right......That cyclist can come up behind me, in his own little bike lane when I have my right turn signal a flashing because I'm going to make a right turn...And at the same time the light turns green...You are telling me I'm supposed to be looking in my REAR VIEW mirror, that means I'm looking BEHIND me. And then I'm to go FORWARD while looking BEHIND me to make sure some dunder head isn't coming along side?!
    I actually had this exact thing happen, though I set it up, I knew he was coming along behind me. It scared the crap out of him I guess because after I feigned turning into him and honked, he stopped pedaling and turned on me with some of the foulest language I've ever heard! Now what if it was the little old lady/man? Or one of many, many Portlanders that drive in a fog anyway? Those that have no idea how or why to use those mirrors?

    If cyclists are going to be held to general vehicle standards, then they'd better get some education and enforcement out there. I'm sick of cyclists playing/getting it BOTH ways. They've got whole damned streets for them, with no stop signs, and speed bumps to make them less desirable to autos, and they still run on two lane residential, with street parking, roads during rush hour.

    That 30 seconds isn't much for one person, true, but what about all the people behind you? And then when you miss the next light that will ad more time from more people. Of course that doesn't mean much in PDX due to 1 in 5 drivers being in their own world and having no clue as to how their pathetic driving affects the people around them.

    And YES, the peddlers need to pony up some money!
     
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  13. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    Wow! What assumptions!

    So when a bike scrapes the side of my car while edging past traffic and doesn't stop, how am I to identify them to the police? No plate, no identity. When a cyclist slams into a pedestrian at over 40mph and sends them into the hospital for tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, who pays? What if the cyclist continues going? What about those killed by cyclist?

    Another huge assumption. If you're riding a bike, you have not paid for taxes on the road. If you drive a car, it's for the car, not your bike.

    haha! Read them and weep!!

    http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.130

    http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.425

    http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.400
     
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  14. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Unless you've got a HEPA filter in your car's climate control system, you do realize you breath the exact same air as a cyclist, right?

    Thanks to DEQ, it's not bad. Smokey diesels can be unpleasant for a few breathes, but then you're past the plume and it's fine. I usually just hold my breath. Even diesels aren't actually allowed to have billowy smoke, though... just like with gasoline vehicles, overly smokey diesels can be reported to DMV. I used to have the phone number on a post-it in my truck... I guess I could plug it into my "contacts" list, but it's hard to make phone calls on a road bike screaming down the highway at 25-30mph.

    If I may steer this debate a bit - what exactly do you have against bicycles? There are so many things you have to pay for that are exponentially more expensive than bike lanes - how many millions of miles of road out there do you pay for that you'll never drive on? Painted bike lanes probably only make up like a 1/100th of the total ODOT budget every year. Let's not even start on SNAP, TANF, Section 8, etc... all of which you pay exponentially more for (off topic!).

    Bicyclists don't create air pollution, noise pollution, don't cause road wear, don't contribute to supply-and-demand-driven fuel cost increases, don't pose any danger to motorists, and are just really low-impact in general. You have to slow down for some number of seconds every once in a while... that's really that horrible? I'm not sure what causes people to become so upset that they have to reduce their speed (not even stop- just slow down) for less than 1 minute, but it's going to be really hard to make a convincing argument.
     
  15. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    As to the first point - we make laws to address problems. When bicycle hit-and-run becomes such a problem that people want to make additional laws about it.... trust me, they will. I don't see that happening. This sounds more like sulky resent than an actual desire to see more regulation.

    As to the second point - I'm not sure what you're talking about, but I guarantee you bicyclists pay as much for their impact as drivers. We pay taxes, we ride on roads, but we don't wear them out. Cars do.

    As to the third point.... how does any of this refute what I said? You're contributing to my statements, but you're not contradicting anything.
     
  16. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    811.130 doesn't apply to bicycles, though.

    Looks like 811.425 does, but I'm not really sure how it could be applied. ? Still working on that.

    Edit- re-reading 811.425... this isn't going to apply to bikes because there are already statutes that take precedence. If you can move over, you're required to, on a bike, unless it's not safe to do so. There's nothing in the ORS that requires a bike to stop and get off the road so people can pass.
     
  17. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    Bicycles create air pollution the same way a bridge lift does. Slow down the traffic and vehicles can't get where they are going efficiently and be shut off. Wastes time, money. Seems like simple math. Slowing down the flow of the economy with just the construction detours while lines/lanes are being installed never gets back to the green. Vehicles sitting in traffic or being detoured while bike boxes are being painted (that failed a year later by the way and need to be removed or redone) costs everyone. I'm sure 99% of the workers painting you guys your stripes are driving cars! I love to see all of the workers doing that work show up on bikes with all of their gear and supplies. I bet the people building your bikes show up to work in cars. How about all of the raw materials coming together to build bikes. Do you think those components show up on bicycle? Hypocrites:)
     
  18. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    This was a fun topic. I'm all done on this one. I'm set in my ways. Enjoy inhaling what you choose to. I'd wear a full face respirator if I were riding face to face with every vehicles exhaust pipe aimed at me at all times. At least vehicle drivers are smart enough to commute riding on the opposite side of the exhaust pipe.
     
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  19. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Well I have two options - let you "win" by not responding, or I can take this apart, piece by piece, and watch you respond with more of the same.

    Since I'm a competitive, stubborn bastard... this is gonna be a long thread.

    "Bicycles create air pollution the same way a bridge lift does. Slow down the traffic and vehicles can't get where they are going efficiently and be shut off. Wastes time, money. Seems like simple math."

    Slowing several cars down for 5 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds for very isolated stretches of road does not begin to make up for the lack of an additional car on the road.

    "Slowing down the flow of the economy with just the construction detours while lines/lanes are being installed never gets back to the green. Vehicles sitting in traffic or being detoured while bike boxes are being painted (that failed a year later by the way and need to be removed or redone) costs everyone."

    There's absolutely no way the hour it takes to paint in bike boxes at select intersections... once, as you say... is going to offset the the thousands of cars that won't be on the road for the next year or four, however long you get between paintings.

    "I'm sure 99% of the workers painting you guys your stripes are driving cars! I love to see all of the workers doing that work show up on bikes with all of their gear and supplies. I bet the people building your bikes show up to work in cars. How about all of the raw materials coming together to build bikes. Do you think those components show up on bicycle? Hypocrites"

    By this argument, you're automatically rejecting any industry that seeks to improve itself. You're rejecting any notion that pollution or traffic can ever be improved. At least the end result of these industries is to produce something that's then zero emissions for the rest of it's useable life, which is decades, generally.

    I think you should analyze what exactly it is you truly have against bikes and bike riders, instead of all this reaching.

    And just for sake of due diligence, not that it will have any effect on the course of the thread: this thread is really more for discussing the practical application of sharing the road and the law, not getting into economic theory (excuses for hating bicyclists).
     
  20. ripcity

    ripcity Milwaukie Active Member

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    I don't stop nor slow down if a bike or pedestrian is not obeying the law, or if they are impeding my route of travel, while breaking the law. I believe bicyclist and pedestrians should watch for vehicles more than they do, not saying that some or most don't, but there are those that don't watch for vehicles. Hopefully they know they will not win if the two collide.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
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