Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Just Another Day in Portland

Another day, another police sting

I approve of following the law. In fact, I encourage it. I stop at every stop sign unless it is unsafe to do so.*

*ok, there is ONE stop sign I roll through - SE Umatilla and the Oregon Pacific RR. I look both ways for trains first. That intersection sees 1-2 trains per day maybe 3 days out of the week.

I think bicycles should obey all traffic control devices (the law permits going through a red light when it won't change - like when the loop detectors don't "see" the bike), obey signs, markings, warnings, etc. Speeding is rarely an issue for bikes, except on long or steep downhill grades - yes, I believe bikes should obey that. No, I don't always practice it, but I'm willing to accept the consequences of my actions. I ALWAYS slow down around children and animals - they are too unpredictable, and the risk of a collision is too great.

Ok, so we've established that I think all bikes should obey the law. This morning is ridiculous, however - by reports from cyclists, there were 5-6 motorcycle officers at Ladd's Circle issuing tickets to cyclists who failed to stop for the stop signs on the traffic circle. Let's ignore the fact that traffic circles by their very nature work best without stop signs (something Portland hasn't figured out yet). Why 6 motorcycles? Why here? Ladd's is one of the safest areas in the city, traffic-wise. Reportedly, some neighbors complained about all the cyclists running the stop signs at the traffic circle. Fine, send *A* motorcycle cop, NOT 6.

That's 5 officers who normally perform traffic duties, who aren't busting speeders, or camped out at one of the 10 deadliest intersections in Portland. Shouldn't one of these guys be watching for people who run the red light at SE 82nd and Powell? Or how about busting speeders on Sandy? Illegal turns on red? Or patrolling east 122nd Ave, which has 5 of the top 10 crash sites in the last 5 years?

Someone in charge at the PPD isn't using his or her resources effectively, and in a city that doesn't have a large enough public safety budget and can't hire enough cops to fill vacancies, that's NOT acceptable.

Ok, soapbox time over.

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