|A rare sight on a February eve in Portland, Oregon... a clear sky!|
This laissez-faire attitude emboldens local drivers to dangerously foolish stunts we constantly see downtown. Vehicles with Oregon and Washington license plates are the most blatant offenders, and they should know better. Yet rarely do we see any police cruisers patrolling the mall for traffic, or pedestrian, or bicycle offenses. It's a scary practice that tells people "Just do what you want, we don't care!" rather than "We care about your safety, and we'll cite you for breaking the law". Why is Portland so cowardly when it comes to enforcing the law? You don't want to scare tourists away?!? I'm sorry, but when you're driving anywhere you should obey traffic signs. After all, isn't "BUS ONLY" spelled the same in all English-speaking vicinities?
One rush hour evening as I was pulling from a service stop on the mall, an impatient driver in the auto lane pulled into the bus lane, blocking my exit as the light turned green. I honked at him (our agency says to only use a "polite beep-beep"), but his response was to give me the finger as he made an illegal right turn directly in front of my bus. There was a cop in the auto lane, and I looked back at him over my shoulder, with a "what the hell?" expression. He must have felt duty-bound, because he flipped on his lights and pulled the violator over. It was the only time I've seen this happen in my entire career, and I drive on the mall daily! It was so wonderful to see that I was tempted to lock up the bus, walk over to the cars and applaud the officer. Stunts like that however, are only fantasies in a bus operator's mind.
|Really? What a naughty thing for a transportation district to display!|
So yeah, now I'm bashing people who refuse to Obey the Yield. Oregon traffic law requires vehicles to yield to transit vehicles with the "yield" light activated. Most people, when confronted with this fact, just submit their one-fingered IQ salute and motor on past. Some are lucky, but a few learn the hard way... BUMP! CRASH! BANG! Then sirens follow. But I digress. We've covered this before, doggone it Deacon.
One evening last week as I became frustrated at the umpteenth time a motorist had sped up rather than yielding, I cursed. Yep, I called that sorry pile of dung a dirty name. Under my breath, or so I thought. Some passengers can hear a mouse fart miles away. Oops. Luckily for me, Perry Passenger suggested an innovative idea: cameras on back of buses to bust people out of the habit. What, won't yield, eh? Have a look at your mail in a week or so buddy, and you'll get an expensive lesson in road manners. Hey, if school buses can do it, why can't we? School Buses...SNAP! This could net thousands of dollars a week. I've asked several officers if they've ever ticketed a motorist for this offense, and only one has answered in the affirmative.
I thought Portland was innovative, but lately I'm thinking not so much. You want innovative? Try something like this on our transit mall. Lead the way Portland, or we'll be too far behind soon and unable to catch up.