Tuesday, November 1st is when studded tires are legal again in Oregon for the winter season. The tires are used most often in rural areas that can be hit with lots of ice and snow on the roads. Proponents say they save untold numbers of lives and reduce injuries and property damage. Opponents say on dry pavement, studded tires do much more damage than ODOT has the money to fix. ODOT recommends carrying chains, and stopping to chain up every time it snows, then taking them off every time you hit dry pavement. ODOT also says expensive new high-tech snow tires outperform studded tires in many winter driving conditions. And a Portland man is trying to get a studded tire ban on the November, 2012 ballot.
The Oregon Supreme Court has finally cleared the way for a Portland man to circulate petitions calling for a statewide vote on banning studded tires. Jeff Bernards was opposed from the outset by a group led by a former Governor Kulongoski spokeswoman, who now works for a public relations and lobbying firm hired by tire companies. He won in court, so he can now try to collect 80-thousand signatures. He says he will try to collect 110-thousand signatures, to be sure the studded tire ban qualifies for the ballot. Bernards says studded tires cause more damage to Oregon roads than the state can afford to fix. Opposition to the measure is expected from drivers in rural areas.