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Monday, July 14, 2008

Another Portland bike rage incident

Things have gotten just a weeeeeeee bit out of control. How long before somebody dies out there? And when they're marking off where the body fell, they won't be able to find any spray paint. Duct tape is also not an option.

Comments (28)

Mayor-elect Newsom should find money to develop a high tech system whereby motorists are alerted via text message as to the whereabouts of cyclists, and vice versa. That way there will never be any more conflict between cyclists and drivers.

What we need are BINGO cards with a Portland City map overlay. Everytime there is a car on bike accident, we mark the location until somebody gets five in a row.


Headline: Bicyclist running red light strikes truck

I am always aware when I am driving of cyclists around me. I check my side view mirrors before turns, to see if anyone is in the bike lane. I observe the green bike boxes, with or without a cyclist in them. Passing cyclists on two lane roads, I'm the one who putzes along behind them at 10 miles an hour until I can safely pass, giving them at least a half a car length.

I'm only an average recreational cyclist, and in the rural areas around my home, I'm always grateful not to be able to reach out and touch a side view mirror as the vehicle passes me. I'm more likely to give a wave to a car that has obviously taken the effort to give me plenty of room on a shoulder without a bike lane.

That said, living in and around rural Washington County, I've had many experiences with "bike nazis". For example, NW Evergreen Parkway in Hillsboro has roomy bike lanes that could comfortably handle two bikes abreast. But the groups of bike nazis - sometimes 20 to 30 of them at a time - want to ride up to three abreast, and sometimes more. Uh, that puts at least one cyclist over the bike lane and into the traffic lane - you know - the one for CARS? But heaven forbid you as a driver should let them know you're there! I've tried - not in a mean way, just a quick horn tap (NOT a blast) to say "I'm here, to your left and behind you, and you're out of the bike lane". More often than not, I get the one finger salute.

The last thing I ever want to do is hit someone or something while I'm in a vehicle and they are not. But many of the bike nazis are contributing to the problem in a big way, with an entitlement attitude, a refusal to follow the rules of the road and a delight in taunting drivers from their morally superior high ground (based upon what, I'm not sure). I even read the blog of an eminently reasonable person who said that he/she never gets tired of watching drivers have to wait for bicyclists to pass. Now why is that? I just don't get it.

Mister Tee, please don't be a jerk. Thanks.

I would guess that the person identified as the bicyclist in the truck collision (not the bike rage incident), Karl Hugo, is this fellow.

The O has video from the second crash scene up here.

Sorry Jack,

I was trying to make the point that bike vs. car accidents are popping like numbers on Bingo Night: one after another.

I go out of my way to avoid bikes. I watched a kid my age get hit by a car when I was eight (in San Diego, on vacation)'s not an image that is easily forgotten.

Thanks. The Bingo thing is going to get some people angry. We have enough anger on these issues right now.

I looked at the picture (apparently) of the young man who hit the pickup, and saw that he has a daughter. Whatever happened there, I still feel bad for them.

You know, when I was learning to ride my parents taught me defensive riding. Always assume that cars wont see me and take the responsibility to avoid upon myself to not get hit. That said I can't believe how so many bikers act around here.

What is worse is that many of them are clearly breaking the law while stating they are not. We need to start requiring them to take riding test for a license so we know the rules for bikes have at least been read once by bikers. Or maybe make it part of drivers ed during high school. Just something to instruct them.

Bikers need to learn one other thing around here. Even when in the right, dead right still means you are dead.

I hate to see bikers intimidated, or worse, injured, by automobile drivers. But please, cyclists, obey the rules of the road and earn the respect you deserve. Unfortunately too many cyclists in Portland are out of control and obey very few road rules. Drivers impacted by this behavior are legitimately angered. Visit downtown if you think you disagree with this sentiment. Once we're all on the same wavelength, things will improve.

i ride a bike and drive a car. i've noticed these things when using all kinds of transportation modes:

a car can't react to a bicycle the way a bicycle can react to a car.

when driving, a car is much easier to see (and hear) than a bicycle.

bicycles are rarely able to go the speed limit--often causing *all* vehicles to slow to their speed.

car drivers are required to pass a written test, a visual exam and maintain a driver's license before they can drive on the road. bicyclists, who have to know and obey the same basic rules of the road, don't have to do anything but start riding.

car drivers with their lights off at night are mostly invisible. bicyclists with no lights at night are lucky to be alive.

it's fair for a car driver to be frustrated when driving on a 30mph street and required to follow a bicycle going 10mph (because passing is difficult.)

it's fair for a bicyclist to be frustrated that the roads are made for cars and other powered vehicles, not human-powered.

Portland streets were never designed for bicycles--especially high-traffic, narrow streets that dominate the east side. and most main streets simply can't accomodate a bike lane.

Mr Ecohuman - Since you ride a bike what is the proper eitquette for chastising a bike rider.

I was going down SE Hawthorne off the bridge about 12th. THere is a bike lane and I ma in the auto lane next to it. In the auto lane is a bike rider and I tapped (no did not blare) my horn so I could pass. GOt a dirty look, but the person wasn't signaling a turn or anything.

Like ecohuman, I am both a cyclist and a driver. This is mostly not a cyclist or driver problem. It's a people problem.

No driver has the right to harass or endanger cyclists just because they believe some or most cyclists are disrespectful rule-breakers.

Likewise, cyclists need to understand that they have an obligation to follow the rules of the road.

Some people have suggested that cyclists should have to pass some sort of written test about traffic laws. I'm not sure how much this will help: most cyclists, like most adults, have driver's licenses. What's needed is a change of attitude.

Frankly, most people could use a refresher about traffic laws. See, for example, the results of a study conducted by an insurance company:

Some drivers and cyclists have adopted the unfortunate and immature attitude that since the other group doesn't follow rules, they don't need to, either. This is the kind of reasoning we chastise small children for.

If I might make a small plea to my fellow drivers reading this: One of the biggest causes of bicycle-automobile collisions is caused by drivers making right turns in front of cyclists. Please adopt the habit of watching for cyclists or pedestrians before making a right turn.

Cyclist don't need an attitude adjustment. They are the new chosen few. Cyclist are entitled to do whatever they want, because you know, they've already reduced their carbon footprint by pedaling, recycle, compost their yard debris, etc... you expect them to waste their precious time obeying the law? As if! It's not like there are any likely consequences. What are you going to do call the cops and tell them some biker is exhibiting aggressive road behavior that would get any motorist arrested, how you gonna identify them? They got no plates.

It's like the internet, behind this mask of anonymity one's sense of entitlement and ability to flout the law is nearly without bounds. (Que piracy debate) Tag people by their IP address and require plates for bikes, then accountability goes up and sense of entitlement goes down. Drivers have the ability to channel their frustration in a socially acceptable manner, ie calling the cops, rather than feeling like they have to take matters into their own hands.

BTW I drive (84 diesel-benz - bio, of course), cycle (Cannondale road bike), ride (CBR600 F4i) which has a similar physical footprint as a bicycle, but riders somehow know how to share the road, obey the law. License plates anyone?

Queue means line up: typically only used in Britain. Cue means "to prompt".

Que is the spanish translation of "what?" or "that", or "than".

That said, I share your cynical attitude, but lack the hipster transportation accessories. I'll bet you have a tat too?

You know, I don't really understand all this.

I ride a bike and drive when I need to.

I don't follow all the auto rules of the road, and I don't really care if this causes some drivers to get their panties in a knot.

At the same time, I'm not stupid. On a bike, I'm not a car and I don't act as one.

If I'm hit, and I'm at fault, well, tough luck for me.

If I'm hit by some crap driver, well I'm still SOL, but that's that chance you take riding with car traffic. It sucks, but it's reality.

Furthering what Jake said, when I drive my car (sometimes a bike just doesn't make sense), I don't follow all of the rules of the road either. I sometimes go up to 10mph over the speed limit, and I've even had cops radar-gun me in the process. And they looked the other way. I've also failed to stop when a light turned yellow and I had plenty of time to do so. And I've occasionally changed lanes in an intersection. Sometimes I've made turns without signaling at least 100ft in advance (you do know that's the law, right? Oregon Drivers Manual page 34). I've also been known not to come to a complete stop at some stop signs too. The thing is, when I'm violating the law by going 10mph over the speed limit, I'm often going at the prevailing speed of traffic. And my living room window overlooks a stop sign at which hardly any cars (or bikes) stop. So, I'd assume all of you carping about bikes not following the rules of the road are not among those who break laws in their car? If so, you're rare birds indeed. Congratulations on your moral purity. Otherwise, you're being sanctimonious jerks.

Of course, as in the case linked by "mister tee," if someone on a bike is involved in an accident as a result of their own violation of a law, they have no right to point the finger of blame anywhere but selfward. Same deal if a motorist is involved in an accident of their own causing. Either way, taking apparent glee in a person's dire injuries is more than a tad bit inhumane.

As to the article Jack linked here, it involves a bike rider yelling at a driver for apparently speeding (e.g. breaking the law). That driver then proceeded to use his car as a weapon in attempting to seriously injure or kill said bike rider and, according to the media reports, concerned witnesses as well. Oh, and that driver just so happened to be drunk.

Where's the outrage about all of this?

Part of the lack of outrage, I think, is the fact that the guy who got the ride on the hood of the car apparently called the driver a dirty name and circled back to give him a lecture:

Rehnberg circled back north on Southeast 58th Avenue toward the car. "I wanted to have an interaction with this guy and get him to understand that 'hey, you're going too fast on a residential street.'"
No matter how right you are, that is really stupid behavior.

The same thing for the driver at 20th and Belmont who decided to pursue the drunk on the bike and deliver a lecture. That's how you get your a*s kicked.

In both cases, the assault victims were in the right and the assailants were in the wrong. But both guys on the receiving end of the violence played a role in their own situation.

When confronted by a nutjob on wheels, be it two or four or 18, get away. If you don't, you won't get too much sympathy when it ends badly.

I agree, playing cop is a bad idea. But, that said, in the cyclist-attacks-car-driver incident, there was a vast piling-on here and elsewhere against the BIKE RIDER (and rightly so). This time, a car driver attacks a cyclist, and...silence. A few comments about bikes breaking laws, and a link to a separate incident.

Where is the outrage about a drunken sociopath attempting to severely injure or kill another human being while using a car as a weapon?

I don't think any reasonable observer is going to rise to the defense of the drunk homicidal maniac.

No matter what their mode of transport.

That said, Jack nailed it: if you want to play Traffic Enforcer, be prepared to meet the same nutjobs the Portland Police Bureau get cozy with on a daily basis. But the self appointed Traffic Enforcers don't have uniforms, a public mandate, escalation of force protocols, and easy access to back up when a situation escalates.

I've called 911 when I've witnessed drunk or reckless drivers, and they've never complained that it wasn't an "emergency".

We cannot rely on the police to handle every problem. Taking a stand is risky. But speaking out (and taking action) against aggression and other dangerous unsocial behavior is owed by each of us to our families and neighbors. Kip Kinkle was stopped by a young man willing to risk his life to grab a gun. Poor Kitty Genovese didn't have anyone willing to take a risk to come to her defense. This was probably not Millican's first drunk driving/aggressive behavior eposide. Thugs keep acting out because their families, friends, and neighbors don't stop them early on.

I think the reason for the "lack of outrage" is perhaps because we all see so many cyclists on the roads who are just being @$$h0le$$ because they can. They ride two and three abreast, unnecessarily slowing traffic, and make rude gestures when you attempt to pass them. They run red lights and stop signs without any apparent regard for the other users of the road. I used to live on Fairmount Boulevard, and we had to contend with people like this on a daily basis just to get home in the evenings. So when a cyclist gets a little comeuppance, none of us are going to take up for him; we all know how likely it was that he provoked the incident in the first place. And here, the cyclist did just that, because he thought the motorist was going too fast in a residential neighborhood. Query whether the cyclist had a speed measuring device, or whether he was going on "feeling" alone. I suspect the latter.

And sure, we all break the rules in our cars. So what? Since when, in the absence of harm to others, does that matter? I don't see, however, motorists exhibiting the type of dangerous disregard of the rules that cyclists exhibit, nor the "holier-than-thou" attitudes. Blocking traffic unnecessarily (really, this is just a form of aggression) and blowing through stop signs are things that endanger other people, and these things are dangerous to others. I see few cars doing these things. I see many cyclists doing these things.

Lest you think I'm anti-bike, know that I used to commute by bike when I lived in Southeast Portland, and enjoyed the commute on the bike route just south of Hawthorne. I almost never had any conflicts with motorists. When one happened, it was normally because said motorist thought I should be on the sidewalk. I ignored these stupid people. But then, I wasn't trying to provoke anyone, either.

Cyclists that you read about in the paper seem to be intent on provoking motorists. When they do, they deserve whatever consequences follow. Motorists have had enough of this nasty behavior. That's why the deafening silence, Robert.

"drivers making right turns in front of cyclists. Please adopt the habit of watching for cyclists or pedestrians before making a right turn."

Despite what the law may unfortunately conveys, any person on a bicycle who approaches from behind and passes on the right a car that is turning right is simply asking to be hit.

The person on the bike has all the information they need to avoid that crash right in front of them.

The person in the automobile has to crane their neck to check behind them or rely on the small field of vision provided by a mirror.

So the person on the bike and in the best position to avoid that crash is absolved of responsibility, and instead responsiblity for avoiding the crash is placed on the person with the obstructed view.

That's just stupid law, because it defies commons sense.

Until traffic planners change their ideas about bike lanes, cars and "right hook" turns, those collisions will continue to happen.

If there are any lawsuits that arise from "right hook" collisions, they should be agiasnt the traffic planners who continue to tell people it is a good idea to approach from behind and pass on the right a vehicle that has the opportunity to turn right in front of you.

Silly, stupid, dangerous law that defies common sense.

The common denominator in the last two high profile incidences was alcohol. If you ride a bike drunk, you will do stupid things. If you drive a car drunk you will do stupid things.

For the record, it wasn't me giving that cyclist a lift.

People just need to cool out a little bit. Honestly, I understand the rage that both the motorists and cyclists are feeling; it comes from fear of either killing or being killed. However, feeling rage doesn't mean you have to express it. I don't, in fact, run down the bikers that are inconsiderate and rude on a daily basis. I would appreciate the bikers not flipping me off because I happen to be driving a car, and I safely pass them.

"The common denominator in the last two high profile incidences was alcohol."

The other common denominator is one person giving a righteous lecture to another person. Now in both cases, the person give the lecture may technically have been right, but still....

There's no shortage of righteous indignation in this town, and the bike/car issue seems to be one place where it boils over the most.

The bingo thing is hilarious :)

I'm a big fan of how Portland will stop at nothing to focus on the bike issue so they can pretend that the homelessness issue, the highschool dropout issue and the rampant racism in Portland don't exist.

That's probably why P-town makes such a big deal about cyclists anyway, because they're white & affluent and can afford a 6 dollar latte. Oops!

This issue is one of the main reasons I moved out of both Portland and Oregon. I used to ride myself, but the abject disregard for the rights of the driving public, along with the blatent changing of surface streets to the detriment of said driving public and to placate the bicycle riders, among other things the city has done, made it obvious that the City of Portland wants to do away completely with anyone driving.

I also witnessed several times where militant bicyclists went out of their way to instigate confrontations, such as this bike rider did, (I DO NOT condone the actions of the motorist, although I understand his frustration) in the hope that the driver would be ticketed and/or arrested, such as the McAtee incident. Combined witht the blatent lying that went on when the police showed up to put the driver in a negative light, they (the bicyclists) are doing more harm to their cause than good.

When I rode, I had absolutely no problems with any vehicles or their drivers as I fully realize that they out weigh me by thousands of pounds as well as the surface streets are made for vehicles first and bicyclists second. Once the militan bicyclists understand this and use commons sense, then these types of confrontations will diminish.

I'll bet that our "victim" here, not only initiated this incident, but escalated it to the point where he jumped on the hood of the car.

Oh, excuse me, "found himself" on the hood.

I'll also bet that about 80% of the "facts" about this incident turn out to be self-serving fabrications by the zoobomber Rehnberg.

If the "...drunk, homicidal maniac..." really wanted to run over the sainted bicyclist, why did he stop and chase after him on foot?

Wait and see - there's more to this story.


I thought the bingo thing was about as funny as the spray paint and duct tape thing.

cycling/bikes/alt transpo is not a class issue- don't lump six dollar lattes in with this...Until people realize how dangerous and reckless they are in their cars on a day to day basis they won't accept any of the blame. It is a partnership, no doubt, but you have a special responsibility in a car- you cannot argue that. Its the law.

Its pathetic that people are sitting around at their computers being smug and incendiary about killing people- your neighbors and my friends- with cars. Grow up, accept others legitimate modes of transportation and watch out for people while you lumber around town in your car/suv/truck late for work with your drink, phone, screaming kids and newspaper your reading.

By the way- the presence of a bike lane does NOT mean that bicyclist don't have the right of way on the road- WHICH is for EVERYONE -NOT just for cars (look it up). Learn the rules and behave.


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Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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