Interview: How to get a ‘win-win’ on traffic enforcement and more secure streets –

29December 2020

< a href=""data-rel ="lightbox-image-0" data-magnific_type="image"data-rl_title=""data-rl_caption="A Portland police

officer mentions a man downtown for bicycling on the pathway.(Picture: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)”title=””> A Portland law enforcement officer cites a guy downtown for bicycling on the sidewalk.(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland )This is the second part of our interview with

Portland-based lawyer and safety advocate Scott Kocher. In the very first half of the interview, Kocher discussed speed limitation laws and the”20 is Plenty” campaign. In addition to his legal work, Kocher is on the board of Oregon Walks where he’s dealing with an in-depth analysis of 3 years of traffic accidents that killed somebody walking. Our discussion has actually been edited for clarity.( Disclaimer: Kocher’s company, Forum Law Group, is a financial fan of BikePortland.)BikePortland: As an injury lawyer, you get included when the system has actually stopped working to keep someone safe. I envision this provides you an unique viewpoint. What’s your view on enforcement as somebody who represents crash victims? Scott Kocher.(Picture: Online Forum Law Group) Kocher: One of the things I see when I speak with drivers in their depositions is that nobody ever believed they ‘d be the one to cause a horrible crash. Even facing major effects, the human realities of denial, poor decision-making, and frequently having major life issues are still there. Seeing that makes me concern whether it’s reasonable to pin our hopes on individuals changing their driving habits out of worry of eliminating someone, or going to prison. On top of that, jail or prison isn’t the ideal location for most of individuals who cause major crashes. Numerous ought to not be driving, but sending them to prison has huge individual and social expenses, extremely little deterrence, and is most likely less practical in regards to keeping the neighborhood safe than ensuring they transition to

not driving as an alternative to imprisonment. When it comes to ticketing, I think it does have a result in terms of keeping most motorists within 10 mph of the speed limit, the majority of the time. That does not mean it’s “working” for safety or other fairness requirements. It’s the other motorists I’m more anxious about. And, the method we do ticketing is truly broken.


“There’s a great deal of potential for simple, dissentious thinking here. Instead, I see possibly big win-wins”

BikePortland: This discussion often winds up being framed as an argument in between roadway security or fairness to individuals of color for whom a traffic stop can intensify to a distressing or dangerous interaction with the police. What are your thoughts about that?

Kocher: People sometimes discuss safety as three Es: engineering, education and enforcement. Black Lives Matter has actually brought increased attention to enforcement. In response, some people have actually suggested that we can’t support racial justice goals– particularly around interaction in between police and the general public in the right-of way– since less enforcement would increase hazardous driving habits. There’s a lot of potential for simplified, divisive thinking here. Rather, I see possibly huge win-wins. There’s a quite big toolkit to improve fairness, reduce police-public interactions and decrease costs in ways that follow removing fatal and severe crashes. It includes:

1) Eliminate petty pedestrian offenses. City Code makes it an offense to stop working to cross at ideal angles. The same offenses that are prone to being misapplied disproportionately against people who are Black and Brown are the same offenses that were created as part of the early 20th Century transfer of rights from pedestrians to motorists.

2) Prior to enforcement, engineer streets for safety. No quantity of ticketing was going to change the behavior of the man who eliminated Fallon Smart, or this impaired motorist or this one. It must be impossible to drive 50 or 100 miles per hour on our streets.

3) Restore traffic soothing. PBOT eliminated its Traffic Calming Division with budget cuts years back. Prior to anyone asks for cash for enforcement, ask Council to bring that back, and give it a genuine spending plan. Going safe speeds must be user-friendly based on how PBOT and ODOT set up and operate their roadways.


4) Where you can’t engineer or calm for security, replace officer enforcement with cameras.Turn dummy electronic cameras from location to location, like Sweden does. That way motorists are mainly seeing video cameras and decreasing, instead of primarily not seeing video cameras and getting tickets.

Automated speed cam on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy.(Photo: PBOT)5)As a requirement for( 4), change the fee schedule so that traffic fines increase with income. This would be easy, it costs nothing, and has been successfully carried out somewhere else. It boggles the mind that we hand somebody a fine that could imply they miss paying lease, while somebody else can pay the exact same quantity over and over and not even care. 6) Modification after-hours parking enforcement from police to PBOT. PBOT is established to do it, due to the fact that their parking enforcement workers do it during business hours. Having authorities respond to calls of poorly parked vehicles on nights and weekends is costly, and a setup for racially-charged interactions which have actually occurred in Portland. 7 )Dust off the non-officer enforcement statute, ORS 153.058. This little-known law (a.k.a. the citizen-initiated citation )methods you do not require policeman to enforce most of the laws that are necessary for traffic security. Non-officers could suggest other City workers, such as at PBOT, or other civilians. In the past, PBOT has actually hesitated to intrude on conventional police roles, even for small offenses. Any non-officer enforcement would need to be community-driven, based upon requirement, and carried out with oversight.

8) Lastly, reassign primary crash action to PBOT. This is ignored, and possibly a huge deal in terms of lowering police-public interactions by numerous thousand annually, in addition to supplying financial and safety advantages.


“I was shocked that Oslo had just one death in 2015. One. It makes me think we can turn our numbers around.”

BikePortland: You expose yourself to a lot of tragedy, which has actually got to be challenging. Does your activism make that easier? What’s the balance there?

Kocher: I have not truly analyzed it too much, however as a person who strolls and bikes for a lot of trips, and expertly is working with households after crashes … I can’t imagine being confronted with a problem, over and over, and not attempting to do something about it. Beyond counteracting burnout, there’s significance in working with individuals on fixes that we can see right here in our neighborhoods. I was stunned that Oslo had just one casualty last year. One. It makes me think we can turn our numbers around. (Note: Portland’s 55th traffic casualty of 2020 happened on December 23rd.)

BikePortland: When I take account of all individuals I’ve understood who have been injured or eliminated in a car crash, it’s shocking.

Kocher:One in 103 of us will be eliminated in a car crash. If you have 2 kids, that makes it about one in fifty that you will lose one of them in a car crash, over a life time. There are around 60 individuals injured for every casualty. It is staggering. Much like there are automobile dealerships and auto body stores, there are whole industries– consisting of insurance provider and thousands of us lawyers who might be doing other things– that are constructed around car crashes.

BikePortland: Offered your analysis of these catastrophes, what do you believe are the next actions Portland should take to keep people safe?

A memorial for Clayton Chamberlin, who was killed while rolling his wheelchair throughout SW Barbur earlier this month. (Image: Lisa Caballero/BikePortland) Kocher: Provide street lighting with sufficient brightness and uniformity, particularly on east Portland arterials. Take trees into account when placing lights. Every place crashes are occurring, slow it down. Utilize the speed setting laws we have, and traffic calming, even on bigger streets, in every area. We’re running a system of human beings, vehicles and streets, each with known qualities. Something as basic as narrowing the lane widths can make a difference.

And do not have drivers turning across the crosswalk at the exact same time as the walk signal phase.

If a street doesn’t have walkways, understand that individuals of all ages and capabilities will be strolling and cycling because street. Every shared usage street needs to be a speed you ‘d be OKAY with your 11-year-old walking on alone. Comprehend that people experiencing homelessness are living along a few of our most hazardous streets. Each agency, including transportation, has the very same responsibilities to them regarding housed Portlanders. Understand that humans can be found in all sizes and shapes, and mindsets. We will make human mistakes. The consequence ought to not be death.

Keep listening to individuals. Attempt new things. This list might be different in 5 years.

As we enter the brand-new year with a commitment to authorities reform and racial justice and a brand-new commissioner-in-charge of PBOT, we’re in an appropriate policy window to find out which tools are going to work best, and make a modification.

— Lisa Caballero,!.?.!— Get our headings provided to
your inbox.– Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or month-to-month subscription. Front Page Enforcement, scott kocher Source:

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