Hales to cyclists: get transportation bill funded

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Avid cyclist Joe Rowe was among dozens of people who rallied outside Portland City Hall Wednesday to bring attention to the need for safer streets.

“I commute to work every day on my bike and I don’t feel the streets are safe,” Rowe told KOIN 6 News.

He wants five things to happen that he and others say will make the roads safer for cyclists:

— Stricter laws for repeat traffic offenders

— Increase funding for traffic investigations

— Construct greenways

— Equal funding for cycling improvement

— Increase funding for Vision Zero projects

“I think it’s going to take awhile for the public to realize that our focus on road safety hasn’t been there,” Rowe said.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales addresses bike safety advocates outside City Hall, June 24, 2015 (KOIN)

The group got Mayor Charlie Hales’ attention, who urged the group to call state legislators and demand they pass a transportation funding bill.

“(The legislators) should not leave town without increasing funding for transportation,” Hales said.

Statewide, the major cause of bike-car crashes is speed. But in metropolitan Portland, the main cause is distracted and impaired drivers, according to a city’s spokesperson.

Portland Police said the Traffic Division has 11 officers working the day shift and 17 officers in the afternoon shift. They’re down one officer in each shift, they said.

Three other officers are dedicated to the Traffic Investigations Unit.

“Safety on our streets,” said mayoral spokesperson Dana Haynes, “is everybody’s business.”

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