Traffic Blues

So today was one very busy day. I worked for 2 hours and then spent the rest of the day running around. In my case, ‘running around’ involves several short walks and numerous buses.

Pedestrians seem to be lower than pond scum here, even though Bend prides itself on its ‘green’ attitudes.

I have come to the conclusion over the last few months that a lot of the drivers in Bend, Oregon are inconsiderate (at best) and total idiots (at worst). Some I might even say appear to enjoy terrorizing pedestrians. Obeying traffic laws…..hmmm that appears to be a total joke too.

This rant has been brewing for a while.

On August 1 2011 I was on the #6 route Bend Area Transit bus on Reed Market Road, waiting for it to turn onto SE 15th Street.

Some idiot (and that is one total insult to other idiots!) decided the bus was in his way. He/she/idiot pulled around the bus (the bus was not over to the side of the road, the bus was in its proper lane) and then had to cut right back into traffic in front of the bus to avoid a head-on collision with westbound traffic.

The bus driver had to slam on the brakes not once but twice. I was sitting in the first row behind the wheelchair seats (which were down rather than up) and I was leaning forward because my grocery bags were sliding. I almost went face first into the wheelchair seats both times. And if the wheelchair seats had been in the up position I would have gone face first onto the floor of the bus. Bus floors are not soft landing spots, buses are made mostly of metal LOL. For that matter, bus seats are not soft landing spots if you go face first into them either! Can we say CONCUSSION, boys and girls? I am pleased to say that the bus driver got the license number of the idiot and reported him.

The bicycle riders on SE 3rd Street aren’t much better when it comes to pedestrians. Most of the ones I saw on SE 3rd Street today were riding on the sidewalk (which is NOT legal here in Bend unless they are *delivering newspapers or other business messages*–which these people were NOT) and were furious with me because (OMG) I was sitting on the sidewalk waiting for a bus. There are shoulders/bike lanes for these people to ride in, and I couldn’t even see if the bus was coming due to an overgrown shrub in front of A Greener Cleaner without either standing up (for darn near 40 minutes) or sitting on the sidewalk.

Insisting on riding a bike on a sidewalk whether or not there is a clearly marked bike lane or shoulder is not only insensitive to the needs of the pedestrian population, it may well be illegal.

http://www.ktvz.com/news/27892224/detail.html

http://www.stc-law.com/bike_sdwlks.html

Well maybe Bend Area Transit aka Cascades East Transit could put some seats (similar to the one at the stop near the Shell gas station on Hwy 27) at all the stops so pedestrians who are waiting for a bus would have a place to sit other than the sidewalk, but that isn’t really germane to THIS rant!

What amazes me though is that the bicycle riders on 15th street use the bike lanes and are much friendlier towards pedestrians (they say hi to me, they wave at me, they don’t give me dirty looks)

Almost everyone in a car, truck, SUV, etc on SE 3rd Street was speeding and/or tailgating. And lets not talk about the people who are STILL talking on their cell phones while driving despite the horrendous accident that took the life of a 16 year old boy.

http://portlandattorney.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/16-year-old-biker-crushed-to-death-by-truck-in-bend-or-accident/
http://www.ktvz.com/news/28664955/detail.html
http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20110727/NEWS0107/307279999/

I also jaywalked across SE 3rd Street today. I was going to Mountain High Coins and Collectibles to sell some coins (got $13.35 for those of you who care ROFL!) and there’s a bus stop directly across the street from them but the nearest crosswalk was 3 blocks back (Wilson and 3rd, Dutch Bros, Del Taco, Arby’s, Hong Kong Chinese restaurant).

I waited until the northbound traffic cleared, walked to the (empty) turn lane, and waited again for the southbound traffic to clear. So I am not perfect, but my ‘crime’ didn’t endanger anybody but myself (unlike the bicyclists and motorists mentioned in the rest of this post), and I did it intelligently if you ask me.

Then there was the person on the street leading out of Fred Meyers (the corner where Sterling Savings, Elite Fitness and Education, and Taco Time are) that thought he had the right to be in the crosswalk (he was making a right turn onto SE 3rd the Taco Time side of the street) even though I had the right of way (pushed that button and got the silver walk signal! I am a law-abiding pedestrian most of the time). I will give him this much: when he saw me start walking across the street he backed up so he was out of the crosswalk (otherwise I would have either had to walk on SE 3rd Street itself or go behind him).

Too bad for me but lucky for him that the crosswalk enforcement mentioned in the article below wasn’t in effect

http://www.bikearoundbend.com/2011/03/pedestrian-operations-crosswalk-scofflaws-beware/

But that’s nothing compared to the rocket scientist at the corner of SE 15th Street and the main entrance of Suntree Mobile Park (where I live).

There is a bus stop at Bronzewood and SE 15th Street that is a 5-10 minute walk from my house. It is on the opposite side of the street from the manufactured home park where I live so I was standing slightly off the sidewalk on the side of the road (in the bike lane, or on the shoulder, whichever terminology you prefer). I have done this numerous times before today with no problem, and I always wait until traffic–in both directions–has totally cleared before crossing the street.

Yes, again I am technically jaywalking. So???? The cops can arrest me (*maybe anyway*) as well as the bicyclists that insist on riding on the sidewalk since all of us are breaking the law (again maybe I am and maybe I’m not, as the [admittedly limited] research I’ve done shows that Oregon doesn’t have jaywalking laws). I have contacted the Bend police department to get clarification on the jaywalking and biking on the sidewalk issues.

Received this from the Bend Police Department today

Jaywalking. Pedestrians should try to cross the streets at intersections only. However there is no State or City Code stating they can’t cross in the middle. Crossing against a red light may result in a cite.

Sidewalks. Depends on who and how. There is no bike riding on core downtown sidewalks. In other areas the age, ability and reasons must be considered. In any event riders must give pedestrians the right of way.

http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070129/NEWS/70411008/-1/NEWS0103

Since I don’t want to die or even get slightly injured in a MVA (motor vehicle accident) I always stand well back from the traffic–especially as most of the traffic on this stretch of 15th street is NOT respecting the speed limit.

This — I can’t think of what I want to call him — made a point of getting as close to me as he possibly could without actually hitting me. What I find the most odd about this is that when he got up to the turn into the Expressway gas station/convenience store/car wash/espresso stand he was properly back in the lane, almost in the middle of the lane–since he was making that turn into the parking lot, he could have continued riding in the bike lane or on the white line that demarcates the bike lane. I think either he was driving under the influence of something (drugs or alcohol) or he deliberately terrorized me.

I think perhaps I would be safer walking up 15th to Reed Market and crossing at the light there. However, idiots will be idiots — and I don’t like feeling penalized when I did nothing wrong.

I have a bad case of pedestrian RAGE!

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