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Old 06-14-07, 10:39 AM   #1
banerjek
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Good news for Oregon cyclists

http://www.kgw.com/sharedcontent/APS...D8PO8QBO0.html

The aspect of the law that imposes criminal penalties for hitting a vulnerable road user (a class which explicitly includes cyclists) has already been discussed on A&S, but the news today is really playing up the aspect which makes it a crime for passing too close.

Rather than require 3 feet or any specific distance, vehicles need to cut enough space for the cyclist to topple without getting hit. Among other things, this means that people who buzz cyclists can have a $360 fine slapped on them even if there is no crash or injury.

The law is not a done deal yet, but it looks like it will be passed. This has been a very good legislative year for cyclists in Oregon.
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Old 06-14-07, 11:22 AM   #2
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Even in Oregon I'm surprised this would pass.
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Old 06-14-07, 11:40 AM   #3
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The Oregonian published an editorial in favor today:

Bad drivers, dead bicyclists
Oregon should toughen punishments for careless motorists who run over cyclists riding safely and according to law
Thursday, June 14, 2007
http://www.oregonlive.com/editorials...390.xml&coll=7

Let's save for another time the argument about reckless bicyclists, the crazies who blow through stop signs, ride the wrong way and act like they own the road.

Timothy O'Donnell wasn't one of those cyclists.

He was a 66-year-old cyclist properly signaling a left turn on Cornelius-Schefflin Road on Saturday when he was struck and killed by a car driven by a woman with a suspended license. She hit O'Donnell when she tried to pass him and four other riders.

This case has nothing to do with cycling behavior. It has everything to do with how Oregon law treats cyclists like roadkill, even when they are run over by careless motorists.

The driver who smashed into O'Donnell, a 26-year-old Idaho woman, was cited for careless driving, passing in a no-passing zone and driving with a suspended license. Under Oregon law, she may receive a maximum fine of $1,115.

That's not enough in this case. It's also not enough to get the attention of the next motorist who comes up behind a group of cyclists on a narrow two-lane road in Oregon, and can't bear to wait a few seconds for a safe place to get around them.

It happens all the time. Sometimes it ends in tragedy. Last year in Washington County alone, three bicyclists died in two accidents caused by the inattentiveness of motorists. But the people behind the wheel in both cases drove away with nothing more than citations. Two of the victims, Sheryl and Darrel McDaniel, both longtime cyclists wearing helmets and bright yellow jerseys, were killed while riding on the shoulder of Oregon 47 south of Forest Grove. The other victim, Michael Wilberding of Tigard, was riding in a bike lane and wearing a helmet when he was run down.

California and Idaho have the crime of vehicular manslaughter, a misdemeanor involving simple negligence. In Oregon, a person must be found reckless or grossly negligent for a criminal conviction in a traffic death.

A bill is pending in the Oregon Legislature that would impose stronger penalties when motorists drive carelessly and cause the serious injury or death of a cyclist or other "vulnerable users," such as pedestrians, skateboarders and operators of farm equipment. House Bill 3314 has passed the House and is coming to a vote in the Senate.

The bill isn't meant to fill Oregon jails with careless motorists. Instead, it would require careless drivers who harm cyclists and others to complete a traffic safety course and perform 100 to 200 hours of community service "related to driver improvement."

That's a start. Oregon is struggling to safely accommodate a growing number of cyclists. Accidents happen, and often cyclists are to blame. But when a cyclist is killed by a careless driver, this state must respond with more than traffic ticket.
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Old 06-14-07, 02:49 PM   #4
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Very Good article.
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Old 06-14-07, 09:42 PM   #5
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I am extremely happy to hear this. I am awaiting the news headline which will announce that that "vulnerable users" bill has passed and has been signed into law.
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Old 06-14-07, 09:50 PM   #6
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I really don't think 100-200 hours of community service is any more significant a deterrent for killing somebody than the current $240 ticket.
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Old 06-14-07, 10:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I really don't think 100-200 hours of community service is any more significant a deterrent for killing somebody than the current $240 ticket.
It's not mentioned in this Oregonian article, but the max fine under the proposed law would be $12,500.00

The close passing law will (IMO) be more effective because it has the possibility of preventing tragedies through it's deterrent effect whereas the Vulnerable User law only comes into play after someone is killed.
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Old 06-14-07, 10:31 PM   #8
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It's not mentioned in this Oregonian article, but the max fine under the proposed law would be $12,500.00
I think that's more effective. However, they can avoid the $12,500 fine by doing community service and not killing anybody else (or is it not getting any tickets?) for the specified time period (6 months? 1 year?).

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The close passing law will (IMO) be more effective because it has the possibility of preventing tragedies through it's deterrent effect whereas the Vulnerable User law only comes into play after someone is killed.
Yes, I think that will be more effective.

I think the Vulnerable users bill is a good idea, but it's way too timid, and I don't understand that timidity.
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Old 06-14-07, 10:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Order

I think the Vulnerable users bill is a good idea, but it's way too timid, and I don't understand that timidity.
It was the only way to get it past the ***** legislators that we have. The original was much harsher from what I understand and it was toned down to get it passed.

Baby steps...
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Old 06-14-07, 10:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
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It was the only way to get it past the ***** legislators that we have. The original was much harsher from what I understand and it was toned down to get it passed.

Baby steps...
I can understand baby steps, we have to do what it takes to get the job done.

I guess I just don't understand ***** legislators who mollycoddle criminal behavior.
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Old 06-14-07, 11:02 PM   #11
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the legislators, like most everybody, self-identify as motorists in modern US culture. the vulnerable users bill shouldn't substitute for a harsher vehicular manslaughter bill, both have their places.
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Old 06-17-07, 09:14 PM   #12
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Few non-cyclists understand the rights and responsibilities of cyclists on the road. You can set the fine to $100K and it will not be a deterent to the clueless. All it will do is punish them after they've killed someone. Maybe that's enough, but it doesn't help keep us safe.

Except for the few sociopaths out there, living the rest of your life knowing you carelessly killed a good man should be a greater punishment than a fine.

I didn't know Timothy O'Donnell by name, but his face was very familiar. I'm sure we'd been on rides together in the past. He will be missed.
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Old 06-18-07, 06:59 AM   #13
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and this would be enforced how?

isn't it sort of like the tailgating, or unsafe lane change law?

don't get me wrong. I think it's a good thing, but we have sec.157 in our MVA that says pretty much the same thing and no one follows it because the law is never enforced.

Last edited by closetbiker; 06-18-07 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 06-18-07, 07:53 PM   #14
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I'm an Oregon bike commuter but I'm also a smaller government conservative. It's a bit of a quagmire for me. However, living a full, long life trumps my political views. Therefore I am all for it.
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Old 06-18-07, 08:46 PM   #15
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Maybe this will come to Colorado next! Good points about the enforcement. I heard that Arizona has a 3-foot rule, but according to my daughter, nobody follows it. But at least it's a start...
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Old 06-19-07, 06:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowjoe66
I'm an Oregon bike commuter but I'm also a smaller government conservative. It's a bit of a quagmire for me. However, living a full, long life trumps my political views. Therefore I am all for it.
Our MVA reads;

Duty when overtaking

157 (1) Except as provided in section 158, the driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle

(a) must cause the vehicle to pass to the left of the other vehicle at a safe distance, and

(b) must not cause or permit the vehicle to return to the right side of the highway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

I'd be suprised if Oregon doesn't have a similar section.

Sometimes laws are made that duplicate others. Complicates and confuses things.

A long as a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle, this section apllies. It doesn't specifically state 3 feet, but "safe" could mean more than 3 feet.
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Old 06-20-07, 08:10 AM   #17
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Good deal; Olympia, are you listening?
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