ON BIKE CULTURE IN EUGENE | Fine blogging since 2010 (with periodic long breaks)
A while ago, we showed you a chart of traffic citations issued to cyclists in Eugene. Mixed in with the rolled stop signs and unlighted ninja cyclists, there was a speeding ticket. A couple of you wanted to know more about that one.
Well, we will offer our thanks to Eugene Police Department’s Jenna McCulley, who dug up that speeding citation for us — literally, as it sounds like they have go rifle through an old file cabinet somewhere to find this data, budgets for information technology being what they are at our public agencies.
“Yes, a bicyclist was cited for speeding,” McCulley tells us. “The officer was conducting traffic patrols and clocked the bicyclist going 38 in a 25 mph zone.”
McCulley didn’t actually tell us so, but I think it’s safe to assume cyclist in question was headed down the hill.
Yeah, 38 is pretty fast, especially considering the cyclist had to negotiate the fun “S” turn right above 25th.
And we might say this cyclist earned a badge of honor. We might. But if we did, we would open ourselves up to accusations of hypocrisy — what with the way we bitch and moan about unsafe motorists. So we won’t say anything about the quiet pride swelling in our bosom for this unnamed cyclist. And we certainly won’t say how fast we went when we took a ride on Hawkins yesterday to check out the scene of the crime.
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And speaking of the chart of bicyclist citations, McCulley also sent us updated data, which includes the final six months of 2011. So now we have a picture of citations over 20 months, from May 2010 through December 2011.
Yep, there’s our speeder, too, still in there. Of course, we are now curious about the “unlawful load,” but I’m not going to ask EPD to fetch that one. I’m sure they have better things to do.
But I wonder if it was this guy:
Is it legal to carry a propane tank on a bike?
But speaking of safety on the roads, let’s talk cell phones again.
As we know, there’s a new law on the books (effective this past Jan. 1) banning cell phone use while driving a “motor vehicle” (unless the motorist is using a hands-free device). The earlier law had that big loophole that it was OK to use your phone if you were making a call that was in the “scope of your employment.”
We asked EPD how enforcement of the new law was going, and McCulley fished up yet more data for us — this time we think it came from an actual computer.
According to McCulley, here are the number of tickets issued for using a phone while driving, comparing a month under the old law, with the first month under the new law:
We also had an e-mail exchange with EPD Lt. Jennifer Bills.
(Quick pop quiz: Is Lt. Bills the SWAT Commander, or does she oversee the traffic cops?
Anyway I asked if she could say how officers are being advised to handle
enforcement of the new cell phone law:
Officers are being advised to address enforcement of cell phone laws as they would any traffic related law.
The goal of traffic enforcement is public safety through crash reduction. Speed, following too close and disobeying traffic control devices (red lights, stop signs) are major contributors to traffic crashes. A distracted driver (cell phone user) is certainly a contributing factor. …
EPD sent out a press release about the changes to the law to, hopefully, better inform the public … We do not plan on enforcing it any more or less than other traffic offenses at this time.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I think I’ve seen less phone talking among drivers than I used to. Don’t get me wrong. I still see it a lot. Here’s a guy I spotted on Coburg Road the other day — not even worried about trying to be discreet:
And I think I have noticed more people pulled to the side of the road to chat, too. Not scientific, I know, but I’m curious if others have noticed a little less phoning and driving than we used to see?