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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 14, 2010 10:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Portland property tax increase votes piling up. The next post in this blog is Another idea for those ugly cell towers. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tri-Met driver reportedly punched in face after hitting cyclist

According to this report, the driver, a man, was hit by "a pedestrian" -- not the injured biker, who was on the ground and had to be carried off.

We heard a rumor to a similar effect after the April 24 Tri-Met accident in which another errant left turn by a bus hit five pedestrians, killing two of them. Word was that one of the men on the scene badly beat the female driver who hit the group with her bus. We never saw anything in the media about those reports of retaliation, however; it might have been just a rumor.

Getting back to the other night, it seems to us that there's a bit of an open war now going on between Portland's cyclists and its bus drivers. Life in the multi-modal mecca, it seems, comes replete with a lot of hard feelings.

Comments (24)

To a carpenter, every tool is a hammer. There are frequently collateral acts when one person hurts another. We know you have a thing about cyclists. It is not true however that collateral activity occurs following a car cyclist incident that it represents "open war now going on between Portland's cyclists and its bus drivers." You know better and would not countenance that kind of thinking in your professional life. Why engage in it here. Perhaps because it sells papers.

I have "things" about unsafe cyclists (there are far too many in Portland), unjustified violence (which appears to have taken place in this case), and selective media inattention to the above.

If you don't think there's a war going on between cyclists and bus drivers, you haven't been paying attention. Click on the links. Take a bike ride down by the Rose Quarter.

What I don't countenance is tongue-lashing at me personally on my own blog. But in your case I'll make an exception. Your comment illustrates the arrogance of most of the Portland cycling community pretty nicely.

"Your comment illustrates the arrogance of most of the Portland cycling community pretty nicely."

I'll second that Jack.

I agree with Jack. While not every biker is at war with tri-met drivers there is a certain segment of the population that is, as I witnessed right by the Rose Quarter (imagine that!) earlier this week. A biker stepped in front of a bus to stop it so a few of his buddies could blow through a red light and make a highly illegal turn. The bus driver sounded his horn and the biker flipped him off and rode away.

As long as people like Scam Adams are in power, bikers will increasingly get more "empowered" and continue to cause serious problems.

Don't forget Blumenauer. Another empowering symbol for some very irresponsible people. And he won't stand up to them and point out right from wrong.

This summer I've seen two young cyclists (no helmets) almost kill themselves at the Rose Quarter trying to prove some point or other.

Though actually, I know their point: "I'm entitled."

There is a surplus of ego in the shallow end of the gene pool. Natural selection will eventually catch up to those with more testosterone than sense.

If I were a bus driver, I'd find a bike Nazi to beat up on me and then I'd go out on stress disability. Forever. Better odds than the lottery. Probably tax free too.

My information was that Sandi Day had to be sequestered in a police patrol car due to the bystanders who put her in fear for her life.

The bike Portland crowd, who by the way do not actually represent the vast majority of the bicycling community, do not take criticism very well, obviously.

Is there a "real" feud? I really don't know the answer to that.

The media is very good at making news where there is no real news.

I can tell you one thing for sure however, there is no such animosity on the west side of the Trimet service area between bicyclists and bus drivers.

Almost all bicyclists I encounter on the west side bike responsibly, show full consideration for the transit bus, and I have never had one negative encounter with any bicyclist since fleeing Portland proper for the west side.

Not one bicyclist on the west side has even mentioned any of my problems with the Bike Portland crowd. Actually I have talked with more than a few who really have no respect at all for particular point of view.

It may just be total frustration with CoP and the shove "The Bike thing" down everyone's throat.
1. Steal 20M from sewer fund, I need to get a loan to pay my last water/sewer bill.
2. 5 bike around neighborhoods a year at 22 grand a pop. If you lucky enough to live on one of the routes you can't leave or get to your property during all the fun.
3. Bike boulevards with speed bumps slowing traffic and causing tie ups.
4. Add in bridge peddles a couple times a year, causing major traffic problems on all the freeways.
6. The bike mafia yelling all the time for more rights, paths and bike boxes.
7. bike parking in front of restaurants and stores removing parking so 2 bikes can park directly in front (most bike parks are empty)
8. Again add to the above some bike ridding fools never following the rules of the road.
9. While driving downtown, not only keeping you eyes open for cars, signal lights, pedestrians, skateboarders, and kamikaze bike riders, traffic is horrific. As frustration adds up with all this craziness, I predict some not so stable person is gonna loose it and just run down a few bikes. I hope not but I bet it happens.

Al M - you obviously are not driving in the same part of SW that I do.

I have ridden to and from work and other short trips and for recreation for over 30 years in Portland. In that time both bicyclists and motorists have benefited a good deal from smart design build choices and toleration of one for the other. There is not and never has been "open warfare" between bicyclists and others. We are not a warlike people. We are a peaceable people. We like to bike without being hit by big machines operated by people who are not paying attention and who may not appreciate that we are much smaller and more fragile. Is that so much to ask? When I read "What I don't countenance is tongue-lashing at me personally on my own blog.... Your comment illustrates the arrogance of most of the Portland cycling community pretty nicely.", I laughed so hard I almost fell off my bicycle. Ride safely.

As a long time law abiding cyclist (not without my fair share of rolling stops and other minor infractions when no cars are around) I for one do not want to get in a war with a bus or a bus driver. For the most part it has been my experience that the TriMet drivers are more alert for bikes then the general motoring public. But bikers need to remember a simple self evident fact: they are driving buses, not sports cars. They need extra room stopping, starting and turning, and have blind spots.

It looks to me like the guy on 6th tried to pass the bus on the left while in the same lane as the bus, as the bus was making a left turn. If that is true, imagine doing the same thing in a small car or on a motorcycle? Not a pretty or faultless image. Can't tell for sure, but it does appear from the photos that both he and the bus were in the left lane, and at that location, I think it is highly unlikely the bus passed him and then tried to make a left in front of him. I guess he could have popped off of the sidewalk on to the crosswalk, but that raises a whole other set of safety issues. As I noted in prior posts, just glad the guy appears to have escaped with non major injuries.
Despite the media flash every time there is a bike, motor vehicle accident, Portland is a far safer place for riding two wheelers than it was ten years ago. Encouraging an "us v them" mentality does none of us any good. (Cue the "Why can't we be Friends" jingle)

Craig Bachman..I think you just proved Jack's point. Arrogant and misguided is not the way to carry your position.

I don't like to be driving and have someone on a bike come out from betwween two cars against traffic, ride over my hood. Only to ride away like some coward.
Peaceable indeed.

Please, please, don't say "most". Many, certainly. But there's a lot of cyclists out there who do their best to ride safely and courteously, seeing "share the road" as a two-way directive. Many of the good bikers tend to keep quiet, as speaking up leads to getting shouted down by both sides.

We're seeing a lot of growing pains as more people take to biking for various reasons. It's an economical, healthy way to get around. The problem isn't the arrogance and selfishness of people on bikes, but of people in general.

We are not a warlike people. We are a peaceable people.

That is the single best illustration of the holier-than-thou Portland bicyclist mindset I have ever seen or heard of, anywhere.

Wow. That actually made me choke on my oatmeal, I was laughing so hard. Thank you.

By the way, when you run that ridiculous "...not a warlike people" quote through Google, it's use by folks such as Presidents McKinley and Reagan immediately comes up...make of this what you will.

When I drive up SW Narrow-Way (formerly known as SW Broadway), I feel like declaring war on somebody.

It defines dumb design: the road is frequently rendered impassable if there's a wait to turn left into the parking garage, and a 20-something trying to parallel park for the third time. A former 4 lane arterial blocked to thru traffic.

The fact it bisects the PSU school of urban destruction is irony defined.

The problem isn't the arrogance and selfishness of people on bikes, but of people in general.

I don't know. My observations are that the jerk-to-nonjerk ratio is higher among people on bicycles than among car drivers or the population generally.

Some of the nicest, most thoughful people I know are serious cyclists. I think a lot of posters here confuse a group of self-centered, attention-seeking a--holes with their preferred means of transportation. Imagine what kind of trouble these jerks could cause in automobiles. Maybe we're lucky they choose a less lethal mode instead.

I call bull crap on most of these comments. I am a bike riding 57 year old male. I drive a lot in the city, my office is several blocks from the Rose Garden-transit area. If there is "Nazi" attitude it is by the bus drivers. Bike riders break lots of rules, most very trivial just like auto drivers, "rolling through" stop signs, etc. But by far and away bicyclist are the most cautious and safe drivers. Guess who looses every time, even in a small accident. Many, Many times a bus will beat the curb and just pull out in the immediate path of cyclist, forcing us into the auto lanes when trying to pass.

People are so used to the law breaking crazy auto drivers that it is accepted as common driving habits.
michael

I think you mean "loses", not looses.

"law breaking crazy auto drivers"??? I thought it was a fight between a cyclist and a bus driver? I have seen far more risky behavior from cyclists than I've ever seen from a motorist.

Wow. The grandstanding and generalizations are both amazing and saddening.

I'm not a resident of Portland, but I enjoy the city and take many road trips (another thing I enjoy a lot) up to the city. Sometimes I bring my bike in my car.

I've driven far more than I've ever ridden a bike, and I'll probably always do the majority of miles that way, but in the last year or two I do enjoy taking shorter trips by bike when the weather is nice.

In my cumulative months in Portland, I've seen nothing exceptional when it comes to driver or cyclist behavior. There's all the usual minor traffic violations by everyone, many of them habitual (failure to signal, rolling stops, speeding). But on the whole, I haven't seen anything that would remotely qualify as a 'war'. If there is one, it must be a very very well hidden guerilla war.

When I drove, the majority of drivers and cyclists were courteous and non-aggressive. I did see some cyclists run red lights when there was no cross traffic, and also encountered some drivers making illegal left turns from the right lane (and a couple red light runners as well, actually). Neither of them were representative of the majority I encountered on the road.

Similarly, when I rode my bike through Portland, mostly through SE Portland, the Rose Quarter, and downtown, but also through other parts, I again encountered courteous behavior from the vast majority of people I encountered.. bus drivers included. My better half, who only learned to ride a bike as an adult in the last year, and is thus a much more timid rider, found Portland similarly welcoming.

Studies have found repeatedly that when people encounter others who they consider to be part of a group who are not like them, they much more readily attribute the negative behavior of a few to the group. Perhaps making the matter worse, another study found that reaction to be even stronger when cyclists wear helmets -- probably because they make it easier to see cyclists as some strange other creatures, rather than as family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, or oneself on another trip.

I have no doubt people have seen some terrible behavior from other road users of all types, and I have no doubt that some people go through life with a holier-than-thou attitude, and others with a massive chip on their shoulder. But really, it's no less holier-than-thou to paint the majority of people who happen to make use of a particular form of transportation with the same brush. Do the majority people who drive have the same attitude, opinions and behavior? Do people who ride the bus? Who take the train? Or airplane flights? Who rollerblade? Who surf? Who kayak? Who drive trucks vs passenger vehicles? Who walk? Jog? Take the ferry? How is it reasonable to pretend that cyclists are the exception?

Better we try to get folks to be considerate of each other (even if there's always a few who resist), than inadvertently demonize and alienate people who are actually the kind of users we'd like to share the road with.

My 2 cents, as an out-of-towner, a Portland fan, and a lover of all sorts of vehicles and locomotion.

Regarding the "jerk-to-nonjerk ratio" perhaps there is some sort of selection bias happening. In other words, maybe the ratio is higher on major traffic streets, which average cyclists try to avoid.

Motorists may not be getting a representative view of the attitudes of bicyclists in general.

Jack writes: "My observations are that the jerk-to-nonjerk ratio is higher among people on bicycles than among car drivers or the population generally."

If you define "jerk" as breaking traffic laws, then I'd have a hard time arguing with you. Rolling stops, going through red lights, jumping the traffic light, not signaling - I see that happening about as often with cyclists as I do with drivers, only there are a lot more drivers on the road.


That said, I actually have more problems with pedestrians these days, whether I'm behind the wheel, on my bike, or just trying to make it through the grocery store. Lots and lots of people out there seem to be completely unaware of how their actions impact others in public. I'll try not to get started on people and their grocery carts. But hence, my view that people are jerks in general.

Doug Allen has a great point above, about selection bias. If someone is riding their bike on certain streets with no bike lane, especially during heavy traffic periods, they are, IMO, a big fat jerk and making it harder for the rest of us. Just because one /can/ ride on SE 11/12th, 20th, 39th, Hawthorne, etc, doesn't mean one /should/.

Anyway, I should quit ranting. Thanks for letting me share my views here.


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