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Old 08-02-06, 01:35 PM   #1
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Portland: Police Enforcement Downtown this Morning

It looked like the whole Traffic Division was out this morning in downtown. Numerous cyclists got tickets for brakeless fixies or for performing completely legal maneuvers such as leaving the bike lane to turn left.

Here's the link to the bikeportland.org story:

http://bikeportland.org/2006/08/02/c...ing-commuters/
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Old 08-02-06, 02:43 PM   #2
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Well, you and I may disagree about whether or not bicyclists should obey the traffic laws, but I completely agree with you about targetting cyclists-- where's the campaign targetting law-breaking motorists?

This smells of selective enforcement of the traffic laws, and therefore, discrimination against cyclists.
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Old 08-02-06, 02:56 PM   #3
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Just out of interest, what type of "ticket" is issued for a violation on a bicycle? I assume that these are not "moving violations" that end up on your regular driving record, are they? After all, a driver's license isn't required for riding a bike.

And I just saw a story on the news last night -- I think in Colorado? -- where they were going to enforce a 15-mph speed limit on the roads through a city park that are a favorite for bicyclists. Again, I wonder what type of citation this would be.
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Old 08-02-06, 05:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by randya
Numerous cyclists got tickets for ... leaving the bike lane to turn left.
Some of us are not surprised.

This is the system you promote, Brian? No thanks...
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Old 08-02-06, 05:27 PM   #5
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One of my coworkers got the ticket. He doesn't have a DL, just a state ID. It's a $242 ticket, same as for a moving violation in a motor vehicle.
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Old 08-02-06, 05:30 PM   #6
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What exactly did the ticket say?
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Old 08-02-06, 05:32 PM   #7
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One cyclist told me he was stopped by Officer Barnum (same guy involved with the Holland trial) and that the officer asked him why he chose to ride without a brake. As the rider explained how his bike worked and that it didn’t need a brake lever to stop, Officer Barnum asked, “What if your chain breaks?”

The cyclist has contacted a lawyer and plans to take the ticket to court.
  1. The cop asked a good question.
  2. More importantly, a fixie's "brake" (reverse power) is a rear brake, and, hence, not very effective.
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Old 08-02-06, 05:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DougG
Just out of interest, what type of "ticket" is issued for a violation on a bicycle? I assume that these are not "moving violations" that end up on your regular driving record, are they? After all, a driver's license isn't required for riding a bike.

And I just saw a story on the news last night -- I think in Colorado? -- where they were going to enforce a 15-mph speed limit on the roads through a city park that are a favorite for bicyclists. Again, I wonder what type of citation this would be.
In Ontario, it is a moving violation, and you can get pts on your license even if you do not have one. Then, if you get a license, you start with pts if they have not faded away yet. Bikes are vehicles, and you have the same responsibilities as other vehicles on the road, and pay the same penalties. The way most people seem to ride (based on what i read and see) most of them would not last a week if the cops put serious attention to enforcing those particular rules. Thankgoodness we are not forced in this jurisdiction to ride in bike lanes unless we need/want to, so getting ticketed for not being in one is not likely to happen.
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Old 08-02-06, 05:38 PM   #9
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  1. The cop asked a good question.
  2. More importantly, a fixie's "brake" (reverse power) is a rear brake, and, hence, not very effective.
All it has to do under Ontario law is lock the rear wheel. I believe if your control is good enough, all you have to do is a rear wheel bunny hop, reverse engines ( ) and lock the rear wheel. However, only a die hard or the uninformed would argue that a rear brake alone is as good as a strong front brake and a rear brake for balance used in combination.

Regarding what one does if the chain brakes, I would ask the following: what if a brake cable snaps, the brake shoe slips off the rim into the spokes, the cable tensioner nut on the caliper slips, the master cylinder on the cop car sticks, the cars brake pads shatter, the driver hits the gas and brake at the same time, or the cow jumps over the moon? The simple answer is that maintenance prevents these things, but then again, if someone is being a dumbass, I get sarcastic.
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Old 08-02-06, 05:39 PM   #10
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One cyclist told me he was stopped by Officer Barnum (same guy involved with the Holland trial) and that the officer asked him why he chose to ride without a brake. As the rider explained how his bike worked and that it didn’t need a brake lever to stop, Officer Barnum asked, “What if your chain breaks?”

So all of the millions of coaster brake bicycles out there are illeagal now? Who is going to compensate me for my 3. I demand a recall of all non hand brake bike immediately with full compensation!

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Old 08-02-06, 05:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
  1. The cop asked a good question.
  2. More importantly, a fixie's "brake" (reverse power) is a rear brake, and, hence, not very effective.
So is the coaster brake on my cruiser... Should all cruiser or coaster brake bikes be outlawed as "too dangerous?"
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Old 08-02-06, 06:05 PM   #12
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What exactly did the ticket say?
Violation of ORS 814.420
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Old 08-02-06, 06:10 PM   #13
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Let's keep the fixie brake discussion in the appropriate thread:

Brakeless fixed gear & a courtroom near you.

I'm more concerned about the other tickets that were being issued.

Just for the record, there is usually NO traffic enforcement downtown at all. I routinely see motorists downtown running lights, speeding, failing to signal and violating the rights of pedestrians. Then today all of a sudden out of the blue the police turn out in force downtown and start selective enforcement against bicyclists. How F'd up is that?
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Old 08-02-06, 06:26 PM   #14
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Violation of ORS 814.420
814.420 Failure to use bicycle lane or path; exceptions; penalty. (1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.

(2) A person is not required to comply with this section unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.

(3) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is able to safely move out of the bicycle lane or path for the purpose of:

(a) Overtaking and passing another bicycle, a vehicle or a pedestrian that is in the bicycle lane or path and passage cannot safely be made in the lane or path.

(b) Preparing to execute a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.

(d) Preparing to execute a right turn where a right turn is authorized.

(e) Continuing straight at an intersection where the bicycle lane or path is to the right of a lane from which a motor vehicle must turn right.

(4) The offense described in this section, failure to use a bicycle lane or path, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §700; 1985 c.16 §338; 2005 c.316 §3]





If your colleague was preparing to make a left turn, as claimed, your colleague will easily beat this ticket. However, if the purpose of the "enforcement" is to harass cyclists, the officer probably doesn't care about the fact that your colleague will beat the ticket; the mere fact that your colleague will have to appear in court serves the officer's purpose of harassing cyclists.
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Old 08-02-06, 06:31 PM   #15
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Hey! We've got ourselves enough cyclists to earn ourselves a crackdown!!! Hooray!

This will blow over and the people on the front lines will participate with the police to define where the lines actually are as the laws now stand. Fact is that there are many cyclists who break the law in the downtown area. Even my mom, who has been getting more and more into cycling, has complained about lawbreaking messengers and the like.

As for the bike lane thing: I don't think anyone has details, and when this is all over, our new law will be put to the test. If it doesn't look good, then we have an advocacy goal to shoot for and a strong advocacy group to do the shooting. If the new law is found to work, then we know we've done well. Depending on how you look at it (of course, being on the receiving end of a ticket is no fun), this is a good thing for Portland and will lessen tensions between drivers and cyclists in the long run. Portland is committed to cycling; that I have faith in. Drawing the lines to demonstrate exactly what is legal and what is illegal to do on a bike is exactly what is needed to mainstream cycling. To be mainstream, cycling cannot be laissez faire. No, the rules must be defined to all, and an enforcement crackdown is the easiest way of doing it which simultaneously gets advocacy groups, cyclists, drivers, police and judges in the same room together (both figuratively and literally) to hash things out.

The outcome, whether it is good or bad, depends on the reaction of this crackdown from all the groups listed above. For cycling to become mainstream, it has to follow some rules; becoming mainstream means losing some freedom. But I think it is well worth it. Mind you, I am not asking anyone to turn cheek and cower before authority. On the contrary, for this to come out right, everyone's got to play their roles. The cyclists involved should fight the tickets. The police officers should come to court to defend their issuance. There are a few prominent lawyers who specialize in traffic law as it pertains to cycling and they should wade into this without hesitation. This will be a good test of how serious Portland is about cycling. If it were serious, it would leap into this head first to define the laws as they stand and identify the law's shortcomings. The city must be committed to drawing the line. Once we come to agreement about where the line now stands, we can start a conversation about where it must be moved.
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Old 08-02-06, 06:31 PM   #16
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Let's keep the fixie brake discussion in the appropriate thread:

Brakeless fixed gear & a courtroom near you.

I'm more concerned about the other tickets that were being issued.

Just for the record, there is usually NO traffic enforcement downtown at all. I routinely see motorists downtown running lights, speeding, failing to signal and violating the rights of pedestrians. Then today all of a sudden out of the blue the police turn out in force downtown and start selective enforcement against bicyclists. How F'd up is that?
Are they also stopping motorists?
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Old 08-02-06, 06:38 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Blue Order
If your colleague was preparing to make a left turn, as claimed, your colleague will easily beat this ticket. However, if the purpose of the "enforcement" is to harass cyclists, the officer probably doesn't care about the fact that your colleague will beat the ticket; the mere fact that your colleague will have to appear in court serves the officer's purpose of harassing cyclists.
Hopefully, this is not just about harrassment. That gets us nowhere. Somehow I doubt it though - if it were, they should know that our advocacy groups are strong enough to cause some pretty good backlash. For sure, this will test how committed Portland is to cycling. Hopefully it will be instructive to all involved in a constructive way.
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Old 08-02-06, 06:40 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by randya
Just for the record, there is usually NO traffic enforcement downtown at all. I routinely see motorists downtown running lights, speeding, failing to signal and violating the rights of pedestrians. Then today all of a sudden out of the blue the police turn out in force downtown and start selective enforcement against bicyclists. How F'd up is that?
I see it all the time, usually clueless suburbanites in the "big city" and totally confused about stop signs, street directions, bus lanes, talking on the phone and failing to notice that the light has changed from green to red, dooring cyclists because they haven't looked before opening their door... you name it. These are the "confused" motorists violating the traffic laws. Then there are the speeders, red light runners, you name it, who are intentionally violating the traffic laws. And as you point out, the police have never mounted a public safety campaign to nab these offenders.

I think there's something seriously wrong in the relations between the Police Bureau and the cycling community (and let's not even get into the relations between the Police Bureau and minority communities), and cycling advocates, such as BTA, need to work to change police relations with the cycling community-- to advocate for equal enforcement of the law, so that the police either turn a blind eye towards cycling violations, the same way they do with motoring violations, or start stepping up the campaigns against motoring violations.
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Old 08-02-06, 06:40 PM   #19
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Are they also stopping motorists?
I personally didn't see or hear about any enforcement against motorists. The police have claimed they were enforcing against all modes, but I have very strong doubts.
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Old 08-02-06, 06:46 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
Hey! We've got ourselves enough cyclists to earn ourselves a crackdown!!! Hooray!

This will blow over and the people on the front lines will participate with the police to define where the lines actually are as the laws now stand. Fact is that there are many cyclists who break the law in the downtown area. Even my mom, who has been getting more and more into cycling, has complained about lawbreaking messengers and the like.

As for the bike lane thing: I don't think anyone has details, and when this is all over, our new law will be put to the test. If it doesn't look good, then we have an advocacy goal to shoot for and a strong advocacy group to do the shooting. If the new law is found to work, then we know we've done well. Depending on how you look at it (of course, being on the receiving end of a ticket is no fun), this is a good thing for Portland and will lessen tensions between drivers and cyclists in the long run. Portland is committed to cycling; that I have faith in. Drawing the lines to demonstrate exactly what is legal and what is illegal to do on a bike is exactly what is needed to mainstream cycling. To be mainstream, cycling cannot be laissez faire. No, the rules must be defined to all, and an enforcement crackdown is the easiest way of doing it which simultaneously gets advocacy groups, cyclists, drivers, police and judges in the same room together (both figuratively and literally) to hash things out.

The outcome, whether it is good or bad, depends on the reaction of this crackdown from all the groups listed above. For cycling to become mainstream, it has to follow some rules; becoming mainstream means losing some freedom. But I think it is well worth it. Mind you, I am not asking anyone to turn cheek and cower before authority. On the contrary, for this to come out right, everyone's got to play their roles. The cyclists involved should fight the tickets. The police officers should come to court to defend their issuance. There are a few prominent lawyers who specialize in traffic law as it pertains to cycling and they should wade into this without hesitation. This will be a good test of how serious Portland is about cycling. If it were serious, it would leap into this head first to define the laws as they stand and identify the law's shortcomings. The city must be committed to drawing the line. Once we come to agreement about where the line now stands, we can start a conversation about where it must be moved.
I agree with you about following the rules. If messengers (and others) are flouting the law downtown, cite them. However, I'm also concerned that cyclists are being singled out for enforcement efforts when motorists aren't subject to the same level of enforcement. I think it's something BTA needs to work on with the Police Bureau.
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Old 08-02-06, 06:49 PM   #21
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I personally didn't see or hear about any enforcement against motorists. The police have claimed they were enforcing against all modes, but I have very strong doubts.
One way they could prove equal enforcement would be to make public the number of tickets issued to cyclists and the number of tickets issued to motorists today in the targetted area. That data would speak volumes about what they were doing today.
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Old 08-02-06, 06:50 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Blue Order
I agree with you about following the rules. If messengers (and others) are flouting the law downtown, cite them. However, I'm also concerned that cyclists are being singled out for enforcement efforts when motorists aren't subject to the same level of enforcement. I think it's something BTA needs to work on with the Police Bureau.
Yes. And this give all involved a forum to do that talking. I feel for the cyclists who got the tickets though. What a pain in the a$$.

Fortunately there are lawyers and the BTA who are all over stuff like this. These lawyers are looking for test cases many times and this will provide fertile ground. Reading through the comments, it appears many of the bike lane violations were incorrect; if this is the case, then this will result in the rules being defined more exactly.
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Old 08-02-06, 06:50 PM   #23
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Drawing the lines to demonstrate exactly what is legal and what is illegal to do on a bike is exactly what is needed to mainstream cycling. To be mainstream, cycling cannot be laissez faire.
Laissez faire is not the alternative to determining "what is legal and what is illegal to do on a bike".

The alternative is to simply go by, "what is legal and what is illegal to do while operating a vehicle on the roadway".
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Old 08-02-06, 07:12 PM   #24
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Let's see. How possibly could the police have come to the conclusion that cyclists must never leave the bike lane? Could it possibly have to do with some cultural expectation that if a bike lane is striped on the road that the cyclist must use it? You'd think THE LAW would understand the law. Bike lanes must be magical
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Old 08-02-06, 08:43 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by randya
It looked like the whole Traffic Division was out this morning in downtown. Numerous cyclists got tickets for brakeless fixies or for performing completely legal maneuvers such as leaving the bike lane to turn left.

Here's the link to the bikeportland.org story:

http://bikeportland.org/2006/08/02/c...ing-commuters/
The brake on a fixie issue is just down right stupid. Just to see what would happen I ought to buy a used recumbent, turn it into a fixie, then come out to Portland to ride just to see what would happen. I'd love to see the anti-cyclist police try to issue me a ticket. I'd tear it up, stuff it in my pocket, don't want to get busted for littering, & throw it away later.

How in the hell are you supposed to make a left turn if you can not leave the bike lane? Who are these morons targeting cyclists? The modern day gestapo? How long before this **** filters into to other areas causing problems for more of us?
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