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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bike rage meltdown in Portland!



Hey, City Council! I know you're busy with the toilets and the biodiesel and all, but how's about a press conference asking people to mellow out?

Comments (34)

No bike war here, Oregonian. Move along, folks.

Bike war? I ride 3-5 times a week, i don't see or sense anything but but people just going about their business. There is a lot more rage between auto drivers then against bikes.

Then, Schrepping said that when he confronted Leckie for vandalizing his friend’s car, Leckie swung at him with a bike lock, leading to Schrepping reacting in self-defense. It was Schrepping who then called the police.

Of course, Schrepping, that wicked, evil car driver, was charged with assault.

Cut someone off in traffic on your bicycle, proceed to key their vehicle, then when they confront you about it, you swing at 'em with a bike lock, and then you watch the other person get charged with assault.

How's that for justice in the Rose City ?

Screw it. As a motorist, you just cannot win when it comes to the law.

I'm seriously considering not hitting the brakes in time next time one of you blows through a red light or stop sign in front of me. At least I won't have to go to jail, should you vandalize my vehicle and attack me after I narrowly avoid killing you.


Anybody else have the feeling that some of these bike riders are acting more like members of a gang than just another commuter. It seems to come with a certain self-righteousness about riding a bike, followed by permision to ignore common traffic laws. When confronted by their behavior they feel justified in escalating to property crimes and assault. I guess when you start by giving yourself permission to ignore some laws then moving on to violate others just seems like the natural way to go. One good thing about the recent incidents is that the bikers are clobbering each other. Hold it. That would be a gang behavior too. Interesting.

I'm starting to get really irritated at these 'bike punks'....to the point that I'm uncomfortable with my own stereotyping thoughts about them.

I wonder if some multi-modal engineering might help. Maybe instead of building new streetcars. We channel the dollars into building a network of elevated bike paths ala Chicago's elevated rail system. Or alternatively, make some roads cars only and others bikes only. Or maybe we should quit trying to cram more and more people into the same space, and take some of the undeveloped lands surrounding the Metro area and build new cities with dedicated bike paths.

Or if your an investor in the pharmaceutical industry, you might advocate the whole population be prescribed mellow yellow pills.

Brain stormin multi-modal solutions.

Let's just put in canals: I'm sure most of the bike punks can walk on water.

I think we have a market here for dash cams.

Looks as some might need a little video evidence for the DA . . . and soon.

We were told by the media that we could expect a lot of gang violence this summer. They got that wrong-it's bike nazism we need to worry about.

But for the writers at the Oregonian, its just "move along folks, there's nothing to see here".

Portland is such a joke. Seriously. There are now different levels of class among bike riders and I guarantee you we know who is causing the trouble.

There's the professional athletic guy/person who rides to his or her job as a doctor/lawyer/indian chief/teacher/non-profit employee/responsible whatever because he wants to stay in shape and help save the environment.

There's the student or person just starting out who rides because it's cool and it allows them more money to splurge on Top Ramen and still pay rent by saving on car expenses.

And, left are the bikers who walk the line of responsibility and irresponsibility, flaunt their individuality by dressing the same as every other "individual" on the block, are underemployed, and refute capitalism and conforming. Oh, aren't they so cool? I wish I had a 70's retro t-shirt just like them!

I bet that the people causing the problems are not in first two groups.

When did riding a bicycle become cool?

We need a restorative listening session.

I've seen a lot more angry drivers on the roads in the last few months. Maybe it has something to do with gas prices?

My latest "incident" was this afternoon. Four-way stop; I stopped (surprisingly), then went. Got honked at, yelled at, and chased by a dude in a mini-van who wanted to blow through his stop-sign but couldn't because I had STOPPED at mine then proceeded through the intersection (slowly because I was coming up from a stop).

To Cabbie: Yes, I've blown through plenty of four-way stops when cross-traffic had to stop. Do you seriously want me to stop (I can get to the line faster than you and take the right of way) and then slowly build up speed again through the intersection while you wait at your stop sign for me to clear the intersection? Or are you cool with a rolling stop when cross-traffic has to stop? The above incident makes me think that regardless of what I do, some road-rager is going to take it out on me.

Do you seriously want me to stop

When I have the right of way, and you don't, I would certainly prefer it. When I occasionally blow stop signs on my bike, I double check each direction and slow waaaaay down, and check again.

Think of it this way: I have been hit on my bicycle by a hunk of metal weighing thousands of pounds, at a very low speed, and today, over 16 years later, my wrist still hurts like a mother. This was a very valuable lesson in applied Physics.

Think of what that car will do to you upon impact when it is moving at, say, 30-35 mph down Sandy Blvd.

Or don't, it's your choice. I've stopped caring, frankly.

Agree with you there ... when I've got a stop and cross-traffic doesn't, heck yeah, I'll stop. I'm not wandering into on-coming that's not stopping (and, cause they've got the right of way, not even thinking about stopping).

But, what about the four-ways?

There isn't an excuse for anyone to break traffic laws. If bicyclists insist on riding on the road and being considered a form of transportation then they need to follow all traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs.

They also need to pull off the road to let others pass if they cannot ride at the posted speed limit (just like any other vehicle).

Sound too inconvenient? Then stick to the bike trails or buy a car.

"Do you seriously want me to stop (I can get to the line faster than you and take the right of way) and then slowly build up speed again through the intersection while you wait at your stop sign for me to clear the intersection?"

Yes. Why should a bicycle be different than any other vehicle? Follow the law.

"Do you seriously want me to stop (I can get to the line faster than you and take the right of way) and then slowly build up speed again through the intersection while you wait at your stop sign for me to clear the intersection?"

this is what gives me heartburn about bike riders...they don't pay for the roads via gas taxes or license fees, and they feel the laws do not apply to them...Lord, I am glad I do not live in PDX...

An msnbc.com-NBC News special report:

Rise in gas-shocked cyclists raises tension during America’s daily commute.

Portland’s media cabal goes national in the portrayal of bike riders as victims of an inherently evil society. Go figure.

"....Do you seriously want me to stop...."

No more need be said. The stench of entitlement and elitism just wafts from this post. This attitude is unfortunately more and more apparent.

I mean, come ON - you don't think your stupid old laws apply to ME, do you...??

I am still driving most of the time. I won't commute by bike until there is a hands-free only restriction on cellphone use. I see reckless driving by people holding a cellphone to their ear everyday (like the one-handed turns). It's scary. And I'm driving in a car.

I also have had bicyclists blow through stop signs in front of me, pass when they shouldn't and seemingly come out of nowhere. One of the problems is that some bicyclists do not drive and may never have. They don't seem to understand the complexities of driving safely: watching for other traffic, for pedestrians, for traffic lights and also reading traffic signs. Also, they do not seem to understand stopping distances for motor vehicles, limits on maneuverability and physical limits such as not being able to drive through parked cars or approaching vehicles.

However, it's summer and school is out. Besides pedestrians and bicyclists, there are children out there. Please slow down. And stop tailgaiting me. I'm driving slowly for the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians and children.

"Do you seriously want me to stop (I can get to the line faster than you and take the right of way)"

Wanna bet? I have several hundred brake horsepower and several hundred pounds of torque in a relatively-lightweight car that says otherwise.

The law says that you STOP at a STOP SIGN. It doesn't say "STOP if it's convenient" or "STOP if you want to" or "STOP only if there's other people already stopped"

If it worked the way you're suggesting, you'd see everyone accelerating to the intersection to "beat the other guy" rather than stopping and yielding right of way. Get a clue before you get yourself killed.

WAR!!! Ugh!
(Good God y'all!)
What is it good for?

* * *

I love this topic. It's the most Portland of all topics on this blog. A few thoughts:

One, these incidents continue to include mostly bikers. Remember that in multiple cases now, the person in the car who feels the need to give a lecture is another "biking advocate." Cyclists are so self-righteous they even drive each other nuts.

Two, to all self-described "bike punks": riding a bike is a mode of transportation, exercise, or a weekend hobby. Riding a bike is not a personality.

Three, "Do you seriously want me to stop". I'm pretty forgiving of cyclists doing dumb stuff, not wearing a helmet, etc. I just know that I'm completely absolved of all guilt if you go bouncing across my hood.

* * *

And how many seas, must the white dove sail,
Before she sleeps in the sand?

The answer Portland, is blowing in the (East) wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.

Lord, I am glad I do not live in PDX...

That makes two of us who are glad you don;t live in Portland.

I'm no fan of idiots on bikes (and there are plenty of them), but that doesn't mean I don't understand that there's a whole bunch more idiots and a**holes behind the wheel of automoblies. It's a fact, kids!

If any of you could point me in the direction of this magic kingdom you speak of where people in cars are curteous, competent and always follow the rules of the road, I'd appreciate it. Because it sure as heck doesn't exist anywhere around here.

There's plenty of rude, stupid morons driving cars whose incompetence and lack of caring cause more damage on a daily basis than any bicyclist could ever manage in a liftetime.

And, as a former PDX bike messenger who worked before there were bike lanes or before cycling was a trendy "movement," I think this bit if brilliance bears repeating:

"...to all self-described 'bike punks': riding a bike is a mode of transportation, exercise, or a weekend hobby. Riding a bike is not a personality."

KATU television news story last night: Following a bike/vehicle accident at N Broadway and N Flint, Portland police warned that they will be doing enforcement stings at that intersection -- for bicycles and cars failing to stop. The fine for blowing a stop sign is $242 according to the story.

Story on KATU website under local news.

and then slowly build up speed again through the intersection while you wait at your stop sign for me to clear the intersection?

Unless you're on a "fixie", which is illegal, you can downshift like the rest of us do. It takes me maybe 1-2 second longer to clear an intersection than it does a car.

As one who commutes by bus, bike, and car, depending on the day, I've seen arrogant jerks on all modes of transportation. Drive defensively at all times (or hope your bus driver does), and we should all be able to get along just fine.

a "fixie", which is illegal

This is a misconception. There's nothing illegal about a fixed-gear bike. Oregon law requires bikes (including fixed-gear bikes) to have brakes. That's it.

A great deal of indignation is expressed in this conversation about cyclists ignoring the law. They do so primarily at their own peril. There is little if any physical danger in this to motorists. Motorists, on the other hand, when they ignore the law (and, as noted elsewhere in this conversation, this happens a great deal) the consequences can easily include personal injury or death and property damage to others. To me, that's a difference that matters.

There is no one "cyclist." Sure, there is a stereotype of some punk biker with a can of beer in one hand and a clove cigarette in another, flying down the hill with no helmet, and that image has made all the cranky bojack readers indignant about today's youth. However, That stereotype hardly applies to "cyclists" as a whole. There is no "driver" or "cyclist;" about 90% of Portlanders move between the roles of driver, cyclist, and pedestrian throughout a month. While it's easy to get angry at the 5% of bike riders who make headlines for stunts, pleas edon't let it taint your image of "cyclists" as a whole.

1) Maybe this is a sign that Portland's facilities are reaching capacity, and it's time to install more bicycle boulevards, more bicycle amenities, and more off-road paved paths that will give more cyclists opportunities to avoid congesting heavy auto-trafficked roads.

2) Without bicycles, those five percent of bicycle riders giving a bad name to "cyclists" as some weird sort of singular entity would otherwise be the same a**holes with road rage in automobiles. Jerks are jerks. I don't think we have a "driver" problem or a "biking" problem as much as a "jerk" problem, and a media ever ready to hyper-sensationalize an issue that will give old bojack readers fits. Let's work on holding the jerks responsible for their actions, regardless of their modality.

Methinks most of the people in cars are just envious. But, it'll start raining soon, and it won't be quite as awesome to be riding a bike...but it will still be better than being stuck in a money sucking cage.

The comments about people on bikes not paying for roads are B.S. Gas taxes only pay a portion of road costs. Income taxes are where it's at.

Furthermore, HH, when people ride bikes, their wear and tear on the roads are much less than when people drive large automobiles, and infrastructure for bicycles is cheaper and more cost efficient. People who use bicycles and walking as their primary means of transportation actually pay a lot more than their share of maintenance, considering how expensive it is to build and maintain so many lanes of so many highways.

Aaron, please sign CoP's list of all bikers in Portland, so they can stop all delivery of services and goods by vehicles to your homes, work, restaurants, health clubs, bike shops, and funeral homes.

There is an equivalent number of a-hole motorists to a-hole cyclists. Both do untold damage to everyone else's safety and peace of mind. Please, all--be kind, obey the rules.

I was recently hit by a car while riding my bike. I had the green light and a kid talking on his cell phone wasn't paying attention while turning left hit me. There was no malicious intent, such as what I'm hearing from some of you. He paid for fixing my bike and that was that.

Sometimes people make mistakes, but some people are evil sadists. There are bad bikers, bad drivers, good bikers and good drivers. We all have a right to be on the road, but question your motives if you're thinking about intentionally hurting someone!!!

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