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Cascade Lakes Highway about to get new cyclist warning systems

Will trigger flashing lights on a bike warning sign for motorists

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ ) -- The Cascade Lakes Highway is getting a few safety upgrades over the next several weeks.

The highway is considered one of the most scenic routes in Oregon.

With that comes a healthy dose of traffic from vehicles and cyclists alike.

To improve safety for both, the Deschutes County Road Department is installing new safety technology.

County Director of Public Works Chris Doty said Friday the department implemented a few studies to hone in on which areas need improvements.

"It's just a safety measure based on some recommendations of a study we had performed a couple of years ago," Doty said. "It identified some safety areas along the highway where safety measures could be employed to make it safer for cyclists and vehicles."

Over the next several weeks, the county will be installing two bicycle warning systems.

So how do they work?

Doty said a cyclist will drive over a set of loops, which will activate flashing lights on a bike warning sign that stays lit over a certain period of time.

The goal is to warn drivers of cyclists ahead.

According to Doty, the two warning systems will be installed west of Todd Lake Road and south of Devils Lake Road.

Janet Shofstall of Hutch's Bicycles in Bend said she thinks it's a step in the right direction.

"I think it allows people to feel more comfortable," Shofstall said. "Let's face it, riding a bike on the road can be pretty dicey at times."

Shofstall said it also could ease some trepidation for those new to the sport.

"If we can keep people so that they feel more comfortable and safer wherever they ride, then that's a win all the way around," she said.

Installation of the new warning systems begins next Monday.

Bend / Central Oregon / Deschutes County / Government-politics / Top Stories
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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



      1. Wrong, dumbass….it’s called “impeding traffic”
        In State of Oregon v. Potter, Judge Kistler reviewed a Critical Mass rider’s conviction for impeding traffic. That law provides “a person commits the offense of impeding traffic if the person drives a motor vehicle or a combination of motor vehicles in a manner that impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” ORS 811.130(1). At trial, the defendant argued that the statute only applied to motor vehicles. ORS 801.360 defines a motor vehicle as “a vehicle that is self-propelled or designed for self propulsion.” Clearly, a bicycle is not a motor vehicle. “Bicycle” is defined as a “vehicle” that is “propelled exclusively by human power.” ORS 801.150(4). However, ORS 814.400 provides:

        “(1) every person riding a bicycle on a public way is subject to the provisions applicable to and has the same rights and duties as the driver of any other vehicle concerning operating on highways * * *, except: (b) when otherwise specifically provided under the vehicle code.”

        The court reasoned that because the text of the impeding traffic statute fails to exclude bicycles then it applies to all vehicles, including bicycles.

        try again champ

        1. I have absolutely no problem with a-hole cyclists being held accountable for their actions. Purposely blocking a high-traffic lane with cyclists just to piss off motorists is stupid and only further causes problems. But again I will say that I’ve lived in Bend since 2002 and have never seen this kind of thing personally done by cyclists on busy roads in town. On country roads it’s not uncommon to see cyclists riding two abreast, but passing in the oncoming lane when safe to do so is not a big deal for a mature adult motorist.

        2. DT, a cyclist moving normally *is* traffic, while a critical mass rider is, of course, trying to impede traffic to make a point. Why would you presume that a ruling about that intentional act somehow speaks to using roads for their proper purpose?

    1. I keep hearing this argument, and guess what? I’ve lived in central Oregon since 2002 and have NEVER seen this being done on busy roads. Sure, maybe on some of the country roads in Tumalo/Sisters where there is low traffic. Please feel free to provide specific examples, dates and locations of where you have personally seen this happen.

  1. Waste of resources. Drivers should not need a warning system to remind them to look for obstacles in and near their path. It’s not difficult to see cyclists in time if the driver can pass the vision test at the DMV, follows the law, and adjusts their driving to meet conditions. Additionally, installing these warning lights may give cyclists the impression that it’s okay to obstruct traffic more than they already do.

    1. Well, it’s pretty much a given that motorists are supposed to yield to non-motorists in ANY given situation. The problem is that A LOT of motorists around here are in a hurry to get somewhere and are typically driving 10+ mph over the posted speed limit. And yes, many of those are motorists from CALIFORNIA. As to cyclists..I DO NOT agree with some cyclists attitude that they should take an entire lane when unnecessary (often just to prove a point). When there is a bike lane, cyclists should take it. There may be occasions when a cyclist reasonably decides to exit a bike lane onto the roadway–such as when some jackass has tossed beer bottles into the bike lane and spread broken glass all over the place. But, in those situations the cyclist should exercise caution and good judgment to make sure he/she is entering the roadway safely and with proper warning to approaching motorists.

    2. I agree it shouldn’t be necessary, but lots of people just don’t treat driving with the attention it deserves. Your point nicely illustrates that this kind of system is really for *drivers* (since they can’t be bothered to pay attention all the time).

    1. Oregon roads only get about 3/5 of their funding from road-user-specific fees, taxes, and tolls (and of course there’s a lot of spending that isn’t categorized as road spending that really is about facilitating motor traffic anyway). Where’s the extra fee for driving plowed roads? You think these lights are remotely comparable in cost?

  2. Like it or not, cyclists are here to stay and there’s nothing you anti-cyclists can do about it. And, like it or not, cyclists have the legal RIGHT to take the lane if they need to in Oregon. If that complicates your day because you have to slow down for a few minutes, well that’s too bad. Maybe you should plan an extra ten minutes into your work commute or, in this case, your trip to the campsite or trailhead. Oh, and most cyclists also have one or more vehicles and pay just as much in gas taxes and registration fees as anyone else. I know some folks like to harass cyclists on the road, and I would remind those folks that many cyclists are now wearing bodycams of some manner, and you may just find yourself answering some pointed questions by the cops later.

    And as for you cyclists who think you’re entitled to be a-holes and block lanes unnecessarily–stop it! You’re only making things worse!

      1. I looked up the ORS and there is nothing mentioned regarding a 15 seconds rule. And anyway, most cyclists in a confrontation who have a camera are going to inform the potential assailant that they are being recorded. At that point, if the assailant proceeds to assault the cyclist–well good luck to them in trying to justify an acquittal because they were being recorded. Sorry DT, please try again. I’m guessing you’re anti-cyclist. Maybe you should move away.

    1. I also have a dashcam to prove the cyclist was in the wrong. If you want to dig into the cyclist having the right to be in the travel lane as any other mode of transportation on the highway, fine, just realize that also means they must also single-file travel, not two and three wide as so many do, no skipping around a slower rider if it is a no passing lane, obey traffic control devices, etc. But as most cyclists do, they pick and choose which traffic laws they want to obey and damn the rest. I wonder how many of the cyclists would like to be cited under a citizen arrest situation and end up in court for doing stupid stuff, sounds like a retirement gig for summer entertainment. Video tape them breaking the traffic laws, asking them to pull over for a citezen arrest, call a cop to fill out the paperwork and “see you in court, I am retired and will be there.”

      1. Better watch out the DT doesn’t turn you in for unlicensed recording.
        Cyclists are of minimal inconvenience to drivers in Central Oregon, but there will always be people looking to whine about something (usually between bites of their Big Mac, when not expanding on the nature of liberty), and for many of those people, there’s just something about cyclists that bothers them. When I’ve asked, it seems to say more about the complainers than the actual behavior of the cyclists. It often invokes mistaken believes about the law, or how it really applies to what cyclists are doing, like in your post. E.g., when cyclists are riding side by side, often one is on the shoulder, farther right than required, and the other is occupying the right edge of the lane, as permitted.

      2. Your post is quite obviously biased against cyclists in general. As I alluded to before in my own posts, there are a-hole cyclists out there and they are not doing anyone any favors by their actions. I’m a cyclist myself. I also have a motorcycle endorsement on my drivers license, and also operate a standard motor vehicle. To you I say, if you have an interaction with a cyclist who is being an a-hole and/or breaking the law, then by all means call them out on it with law-enforcement as you see fit. But my problem with your post is that you seem to hold the attitude that *ALL* cyclists fall into the same group or should be painted with the same brush. On this point I will disagree with you in the strongest possible terms. I may be wrong, but I get the sense that you don’t like cyclists much in general. That’s unfortunate, since they are here to stay and there is nothing that can be done to stop them from being a constant presence in central Oregon. Motorists are just going to have to learn to live with them and also recognize that they are a legal user of the roads–and that automobile drivers are just going to have to learn to live with it–whether they like it or not. Bummer.

        1. Not biased against all cyclists, just the “privileged” type who think they are in control of the roads because they are using them. I have an issue with the ones who run redlights, jump into the crosswalk to catch the flashing walk sign and cross the street, the ones who in mass roll through left turn lanes despite the red light for left turn, the ones who bunch up and take the whole lane, etc. I also have a MC edorsment since 1972, I also have been known to ride a bike as wewll as drive a MV. I have the same issue with MV drivers who feel “entitled” to drive the way they want, despite the others on the highway. Last night crossing the Santiam Pass was a perfect example. 50 MPH or less on dry asphalt just because there where a few flakes in the air.

        1. An “entitled” group above the laws of the mortal’s in MV’s. If I was stopped for doing the roll through a stop sign – light in my MV, I would contest the citation as being discriminatory for placing one group of highway users above another for the same action. My fuel mileage goes down when I lose momentum having to stop so I should get the same pass as the “privliged” on bikes as long as I have a “clear right of way.”

          1. If a cyclist is obeying the traffic laws in our state–including those you don’t personally like, I wouldn’t say they are “privileged”. They are acting in accord with the law. If you don’t like the way the law is written, call your state representative and lobby for the law to be changed. As for those cyclists who are running red lights and doing other BS things that are against the traffic laws and are dangerous, I happen to agree with you. But here is the point where you and I DISAGREE. You seem to have an axe to grind and don’t like that some traffic laws seem to favor cyclists over motorists. Too bad. When you and I are driving a 3,000 pound car, the responsibility is on US to make sure we are aware of our surroundings and potential issues. That’s taught in basic drivers safety courses. Doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with a cyclist/pedestrian/skateboarder crossing a street illegally–if you hit them you are the one who has to answer the tough questions.

            1. When a law is written for a specific group to exempt them from getting cited for an action everyone else will get cited for, that is “privilaged” and borders on descrimnatory, period.

              “Oops, I did not see the car coming as I flew into the intersection and run a red light/stop sign” is not a good epitaph.”

              1. The “Idaho law” does not apply to busy intersections or traffic lights in town but rather to roads with less travel density. And yes, it IS an exception to certain traffic laws in favor of cyclists. As I said before, if you don’t like it, feel free to lobby your state legislature to repeal it. And again, I will say that it just doesn’t matter. You, me, and anyone else driving a car weighing 3,000 pounds or more have the responsibility to be watching out for stuff like cyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, etc. You may not like it, but that is the way it is. Deal with it or try to change the laws. Good luck.

  3. Amazing how some MV drivers get so bent out of shape because they’ve been “slowed down” for a few seconds by some fellow citizens trying to have a few minutes of recreation on public roads. There you sit in your jacked-up Dodge Ram (in which you look ridiculous, by the way) fuming because you had to move your hands and foot a couple of millimeters to go around a cyclist or two. Or maybe that’s too much effort for you, lol. So there you are fuming away, blathering epithets and invoking the gods (Trump?) to smite these heathen commie cyclists. Hilarious. You people are the real danger, people who’s concept of citizenship begins and ends with their own limited horizons. In reality, what we need is a warning system on the roads that alerts cyclists there’s an ignorant bumpkin coming their way.

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