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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another traffic safety comment, another assault

And once again, a Portland city employee on two wheels is involved -- this time, on the receiving end of the violence.

Comments (33)

This one didn't need any liquid courage.

I've had holier-than-thou bikers who were never in any danger hit my car with their hands. I wanted to do exactly what the limo driver did to Ms. Volm. I didn't, and he shouldn't have, but I understand perfectly how he felt.

She strikes the limo twice with her hand and no citation for her?

Anywhere else, she'd be cleaning out her desk tomorrow. A PR type and doing that sort of thing? Of course, the city would actually have to care how it's employees represent it.

Take it from me, one does not screw with the likes of Mary Volm and "the sisters."

Stay classy, Portland.

"A PR type and doing that sort of thing?" Ms Volm hasn't been in public relations since Adams was elected. Sam does like the spotlight you know.

I thought she did meda relations for CoP finance.

They hit your car -- with their hands. Your metal car! How awful!! I can see how that justifies assault and battery against the person, easily. How dare a person not in an automobile stand up to a proper person deserving of such respect (i.e., one in an auto)?

If Mr. Limo Driver had a problem with her, I bet he had a cell phone.

Soccer Hooligan.

There's not enough information here to know whether Volm was justified in hitting the limo or not.

Was there someone behind her that prevented her from easily rolling back and getting out of the way? Did it happen too fast? Was the limo suddenly moving back quickly enough that she panicked?

I've been in a situation where a vehicle in front of me start rolling backward when I was in a car and my reaction was to lay on the horn because I couldn't move. Does a Vespa have a horn? If not, hitting the vehicle and yelling might have been an honest reaction and the only way she thought she could get the driver's attention.

When the limo driver first began backing up, he probably either didn't look in his rear view mirror or had a blind spot and didn't see Volm. Those chauffeurs have to be careful; they're driving a very expensive vehicle for someone else and an accident could mean their job. That's a risk most of them are not willing to take.

The limo driver says he was going to make a citizens arrest and then changed his mind. Yeah, and then he was going to turn on the Lincoln's jets and fly his passengers over the West Hills.

Slapping a car is vandalism? I say, city dwellers just take their cue from Ratso Rizzo. "I'm walkin' here.")

The sad thing is that any one would think they need a limo in this town.

whether Volm was justified in hitting the limo or not.

How can hitting someone's car with your hand be "justified"?

Bikers need to realize that a person behind the wheel is like a person with a gun. "Justified" or not, you shouldn't confront someone who is armed, lest you be hit by a bullet -- in this case, a 5,000-pound bullet.

Good physics lesson Jack:
A bullet weighing 3.2 grams traveling at 90 feet per second is fired from trolley heading west at the same time a 5,000 pond Limo cautiously backs over you at 2 feet per second going East. At what time do you talk about gun rights on streetcars versus the god sanctified right of two wheels?

Bikers need to realize that a person behind the wheel is like a person with a gun. "Justified" or not, you shouldn't confront someone who is armed, lest you be hit by a bullet -- in this case, a 5,000-pound bullet.

Look. The simple fact is a car is considered the same as a bike when we're talking vehicle laws. I see a lot of bikers violating those laws. I get pissed about it and I ride defensively because of it.

The simple fact is this isn't the 1980s. Bikes and small motor vehicles like Vespas are going to get more common and some moron driving a giant gas hog is going to have to realize they don't get all the rights. Maybe dedicating certain roads to bike and scooter traffic only is the solution but whatever it is someone has to stop this.

I've seen bike messengers spit in the drivers windows and I thought they had perfect justification for it because the driver literally did something that could have killed the biker and it was on purpose. I've seen drivers cuss out bikers perfectly justfiably. That's how it's going to be until people start realizing this is the norm.

whatever it is someone has to stop this.

What is "this"? The violence? In every case, if the wronged party had let the incident pass without comment, there would have been no violence.

And do you think your stern little lecture to some clown driving a stretch limo is going to have any positive effect on that person? Come on.

Portland ain't podunk any more. All sorts of people have moved here who are going to react violently when accosted. So you don't do that, whether you're right or wrong -- unless you want to get smacked.

Life ain't fair, son.

One doesn't "get stuck" in an intersection. You're not supposed to enter it if you can't clear it. This is a major danger to pedestrians downtown, not to mention how it screws up traffic. From Oregon Revised Statutes:

811.290 Obstructing cross traffic; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of obstructing cross traffic if the person is operating a vehicle and the person enters an intersection or a marked crosswalk when there is not sufficient space on the other side of the intersection or crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle without obstructing the passage of other vehicles or pedestrians.

(2) The offense described in this section applies whether or not a traffic control device indicates to proceed.

(3) The offense described in this section, obstructing cross traffic, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §614; 1995 c.383 §56]

The guy in the limo appears to have been totally wrong, about eight ways to Sunday. But if you go through life smacking people's goods and shouting at them about their transgressions, pretty soon you are going to be dead. Just walk away, or pedal away, or drive away, as the case may be.

Correct me if I'm wrong, Jack.

But I doubt a moped driver would be pounding on a limo in Newark or North Bergen, not if they knew what was good for them.

Let me see if I get this. A 42-year-old studly guy in a multi-ton vehicle assaults a middle-aged woman (sorry, Mary) on a scooter. Good grief! I bet this guy (and those of you who think his actions were in any way correct) would run over the top of me and every other invisible middle-aged woman to get out of a burning building. Maybe you're the guy who ran right into me with your baskart at the grocery store. Or the young man who let me and my leg brace (and the pregnant lady next to me) stand all the way downtown while riding MAX. Sheesh. OK - I get it. It's everyone for themselves.

It's everyone for themselves./i>

You've got it, Molly. These are all just people. Not deserving of our respect and protection like, say, money or property.

To all the people marginalizing the hitting of the limo:

I don't care if it was hit with a pillow - it's still ILLEGAL.

Yeah, the limo driver is an ass, and he violated traffic law when he entered that intersection. However, that doesn't allow her to start smacking other people's property.

Vespas do have a horn and she could have used that like any other motorized vehicle driver should to warn some jackass that he's about to hit you.

It's also worth saying that her vespa is quite a bit more mobile, and if cooler less-entitled heads would have prevailed, she could have gotten out of the way either by temporarily moving into the parking area, splitting the lanes, etc. It's called defensive driving and it's the responsibility of all people involved in an incident to prevent the incident in any way possible.

I sure know that if I see the reverse lights on a vehicle in front of me come on, I'm either gonna get out of the way, or use the horn, in that order. What I'm sure as hell NOT going to do is get out of my car (or off my bike) and get into a shouting match in the middle of the road, attempt to damage someone else's property, and end up with some fishwrap hack writing a story about it; so that it can rack up 25 comments on Jack's blog.

I wrote (in part): whether Volm was justified in hitting the limo or not.

Jack replied: How can hitting someone's car with your hand be "justified"?

Bikers need to realize that a person behind the wheel is like a person with a gun. "Justified" or not, you shouldn't confront someone who is armed, lest you be hit by a bullet -- in this case, a 5,000-pound bullet.

So what's worse if a car is backing into you and you can't move . . . slapping the car to get the driver's attention or allowing yourself to be run over? I agree that if someone has other options (can back up quickly, get out of the way, etc.) it's stupid, provocative and an invitation to assault to hit a vehicle with your hand. But once again, I don't think we have enough detail to know about everything that led up to the incident. If she were startled, lashing out at a car backing into her isn't an unexpected reaction.

What followed is a different story; both parties behaved stupidly.

I hit (picture an open hand knock on a front door) the trunk lid of a Camry in a Fred's parking lot a couple days ago as it got within 6 inches of me and my cart. It caused no damage and it got the attention of the driver who immediately stopped and apologized for almost running me over.

Isn't that the way it's supposed to work?

Never hit a girl.

"slapping the car to get the driver's attention or allowing yourself to be run over?"

I'll bet there was no getting run over possible and that Mary was being mellow dramatic and over reacting.

Then Mary's slappping of the limo could not be distinguished from kicking it and doing damamge, so the driver, knowing he was not about to run over anyone, sought to defend and protect his boss's limo.

Mary over reacted again and now the guy is up on charges.

Mary will probably get a couple months paid time off to vacation her recovery along.
But I could be completly wrong.

Isn't that the way it's supposed to work?

Apparently not...seems like we are supposed to just "let things happen" because the person who wronged you may hurt or kill you if you say or do anything.

If it really has come to that, then I am going to seek a concealed weapons permit because I'm not down with it....

My first deleted comment! Well, fair enough. I don't really have a substantive contribution to the discussion beyond a mention of this excellent book.

seems like we are supposed to just "let things happen" because the person who wronged you may hurt or kill you if you say or do anything.

Correct, especially if the person is behind the wheel of a vehicle with the engine running. In that situation, if you want to play Rambo, you'd better have your gun.

So, if she was so close to the limo that she didnt have room to maneuver out of the way as he started backing up......maybe she was to close to him at the stop light?

I ride a Honda motorcycle and it is always better to leave a little room to get out of the way then get so close you have no where to go but down.......

As a previous poster said...maybe a little defensive scooter riding was in order? (but then you dont have to take a riding class to ride a scooter! anyone with a license can do it and thats not necessarily a good thing.....)


Cyclist smashes window of TriMet bus
Posted by Lynne Terry, The Oregonian July 17, 2008 16:09PM

. AND .

Bike vs. Car, Round three: Sharp words lead to clobbering
By Nick Budnick

The Portland Tribune, July 17, 2008

More details from today's Mercury. Still no mention of any passengers in the limo; I'd like to hear their take on the incident:

LIMO RAGE by Matt Davis

A LIMO DRIVER lashed out at a city employee riding a scooter last Thursday night, July 10, in a road rage incident on SW Taylor and Broadway.

The scooter rider, Mary Volm, happens to be the spokesperson for the city department that regulates taxis and town cars but ironically, not limousines (the city has not yet bowed to pressure to regulate so-called "luxury" vehicles). Volm was driving her Vespa behind a 33-foot stretch SUV. Ronald Johnson, a former town car driver, was behind the wheel of the SUV limo at around 6:30 pm.

Volm alleges Johnson was blocking the intersection and he began reversing when the light turned red, so she shouted at him to stop. She alleges Johnson got out of his limo, began screaming at her, and pushed her Vespa nine feet forward toward the intersection. Then he got back in the limo and started moving, but this pinned Volm between the side of the limo and the intersection's oncoming traffic, Volm alleges.

"So I hit the side of his car with the flat of my hand," says Volm. "And that's when he really lost it. He got out of the vehicle and he came after me, and hit me with both hands on my shoulders and pushed me down onto the ground. And he stood over me with a fist telling me to get up or he's going to punch me in the nose."

The limo driver, Johnson, was arrested and cited by the police for menacing and harassment and booked at Central Precinct, but has yet to be formally charged by the district attorney's office with a crime.

Witness Jackie Evans, from Ohio, told police she saw the limo backing up and that it appeared to strike the scooter, according to the police report. She said Johnson got out of the limo and was screaming, then that he got back in and came out a second time and shoved Volm onto the ground.

Johnson, meanwhile, denies Volm's version of events. He says he was trying to perform a citizen's arrest of Volm for taking a "leaping kick at the side of my vehicle," when Volm "just fell down in the street and started yelling and crying."

Johnson even sent the Mercury pictures of a circular dent in the side of his limo.

"The police just assumed I hit her," he says. "I was driving 100 percent safely and I plan to ask to have her charged with criminal mischief."

Volm says the dents in Johnson's limo are "fabricated," adding that Johnson was screaming and calling her a "cunt" and a "bitch" during the entire encounter.

"There's no way I can dent a vehicle, I'm a 54-year-old woman for God's sake," says Volm. "Now I'm on the defensive, and I'm the victim, and it's really made me angry."

"There's no way I can dent a vehicle, I'm a 54-year-old woman for God's sake," says Volm. "Now I'm on the defensive, and I'm the victim, and it's really made me angry."

I'm sorry, but a 7 year old kid can dent a vehicle. I seem to remember a time when women and middle-aged people stood up to defend against such statements of inadequacy.

I'd be surprised if it takes more than four pounds of pressure to dent in the 1/8" sheet metal used for body panels on most of these stretch jobs. She have some debilitating disease that prevents her from being able to exert four pounds of force through her hand, with a full arm swing?

As I said before, the limo driver is a complete ass; however the sense of entitlement coming out of her is absolutely amazing. Now she's pandering for sympathy - playing up the helpless damsel in distress image as much as possible.


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