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Reactions to the maelstrom

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 20th, 2006 at 4:50 pm

oregonian_easyriders
[From the Oregonian]

It's been a crazy week around here.

The Randy Albright/TriMet thing has spilled over from my site to the local media, the blogosphere, and now to the national media (someone saw the video on Fox TV in Utah). The result is an avalanche of comments (101 on this blog at last count) and emotions from people on all sides of the issue. And I hesitate to say "sides" because I'm afraid this whole thing is becoming more about which side you're on rather than recognizing that we all have a right to the road and life is much better when we peacefully coexist.

And then there's this front page story in the Oregonian today, which only fuels the anger and divisiveness. I really question the motives of the Oregonian editors when they refer to bike/motorist relations as a "cold war" and put forth the idea that a "backlash against bicyclists" is about to begin. While I'm dissapointed in the article, I also realize that the goal of the Oregonian is to sell papers, not to find solutions to problems...that part is up to us.

So what's really going on here? Is there really a civil war in the making? I really doubt it. I think all the ugly, violent comments are the opinions of minorities on both sides. I know a lot of people that ride bikes and drive cars in this town and I can tell you that 99.5% of them are not looking to push their agenda or throw anyone into the river.

We must remember that they way choose to get from point A to point B doesn't put us on a side, it just puts us on the road and we need all work together to make that experience as safe as possible. I look forward to doing what I can to help bridge the gap between cyclists and motorists and I can't wait to bring all this to the Bike Summit in March to hear how other cities are dealing with the issue.

Have a calm, safe weekend in whatever mode of transport you choose. And if you're feeling sick from all the harsh comments floating around, here's a photo I took at last night's Super Legal Ride that will make you feel better.

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Comments
  • Brooke Hoyer January 20, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    I'm really put off about the critical mass photo they used. C'mon, it screams "cyclists are terrorists."

    I just wrote a lengthy response to the oregonlive.com forum negativity entry but wish that I had done it here since it was more a response to the Oregonian front page article.

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  • Scott Mizée January 20, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks Jonathan. Well Said.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 20, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    Here are some blogs that are covering the Albright/Trimet lawsuit:

    NWRepublican
    BlueOregon
    p3 - Persuasion, Perseverance, and Patience
    Biking Bis

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  • Randy January 21, 2006 at 6:04 am

    Joseph Rose at the Oregonian, Thank you for your article dated 1/26/06 titled "Uneasy Riders". I'm grateful that you noted the 267% increase in bicycle use of the Hawthorne Bridge. This is significant because it fits with the plan for Portland to be know for its clean and water. Downtown Portland is sandwiched between two major freeways that cause untold air pollution. Any day additional day that brings more bikes than cars to downtown Portland is "a good thing". I have a car and a bike. It appears however that your article may be more be a bit heavy on theory, i.e., postulating link between Critical Mass events as a cause for a slight increase in distain for bicyclists. Walking centric and bicycle centric cities are commonplace in Europe. It might make sense from a healthcare standpoint to encourage people to exercise more than that teenage obesity has risen from 4% in the 1960's to 16% today. Having floated around this city on my bike I've seen some unruley cyclists. I encourage you to get on bike an discovery for yourself whether or not these bike bandits are a majority. Please keeping writing about the wonderful zero pollution gizmo known as the bicycle: we need more of these in Portland.

    Randy, PDX

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  • Mike Q January 21, 2006 at 6:46 am

    Very well said! The Portland I ride my bike in does not resemble the battlefield described by the Oregonian. Shame on them for promoting a culture war based on the actions and views of a minority of extremists.

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  • iBike January 21, 2006 at 10:42 am

    Actually, I'm pretty sure Joe Rose, the author of the article, is an avid bicycle commuter. I've see him during breakfast on the bridge each month. I didn't think the article was that bad. While it exposed the incivility of people who are having a hard time accepting the social change that Portland's bicycling community has brought about, it certainly doesn't promote a "culture of war." It seems such hyperbolic comments commit the very atrocity we are accusing The Oregonian of commiting.

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  • Austin January 21, 2006 at 11:31 am

    The Oregonian article can only be described as intellectually dishonest. At best, it sold an extra couple of hundred papers. At worst, it changed the threshold of what is acceptable behavior on our city streets.

    Every time we get on a bike, two things happen:

    1) We become traffic.
    2) We have the opportunity to have crazy amounts of fun.

    The Oregonian painted the bike community as part good and part bad. But the truth is that there are a million flavors of cyclist, and any driver of any type of vehicle can make a bonehead decision given the right set of circumstances.

    What we need now is a show of unity.

    First, if you ride a bike and care about your rights as traffic, show up at the next Critical Mass. Bring your lights, a bell, some friends, your kids, and a smile. Every minute of every day, someone is riding their bike on the road. Show your support for your rights as traffic.

    Second, show up at the Worst Day of the Year Ride and have mad amounts of fun with your bike. Meet people. Admire bikes. Apparently from the posters, a snorkel may be required.

    Remember, no one rides their bike to get mad at traffic, and we now is the time to show Portland that biking is serious and serious fun.

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  • Elly January 21, 2006 at 11:48 am

    Austin, you've said it all and said it well! I can only add that the next Critical Mass will be this coming Friday, January 27th. Meet at 5:30pm in the North Park Blocks (NW Park and Couch, by the elephant). We usually ride at 6pm, or a bit before. Come see for yourself what it's all about--a mellow, fun, loose-knit group of all sorts of different people riding their bicycles for all sorts of different reasons. Good clean fun.

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  • Dabby January 21, 2006 at 12:45 pm

    I must make a point that people will not like, in regards to the first comment here.
    the oregonian used the critical mass pics , in the way that a paper would, because that is what you want from critical mass, isn't it?
    You want to piss people off. You want it to cause a uproar .
    that is the point, right? That is why people go..
    So, while not being a form of terrorism, it is something diffrent.
    This is the reason I do not go to Critical Mass.
    It is no the right thing to do.
    First of all, as a messenger, critical mass does a lot to make my job more difficult. It puts those of us who are around the police 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, in the hot seat, even though we don't do critical mass.
    It is really nice for the commutter or the occasional cyclist to go to critical mass, think they are making a diffrence.
    But, we, not by choice, but by destiny, as messengers are on the forefront of this bicycle chaos going on right now.
    My 9 hours on the streets downtown are changing.
    I am getting chased by cars, I am gettting cut off on purpose. I have people asking me to meet them to fight, because they don't understand what is wrong with wanting to run over bicyclists. ( those of you who know me also know this would never happen.
    It is the highly publicized incidents, like Randy's, or like Critical Mass, that are doing Portland cycling a injustice.
    While I support Randy in this in every manner, the aftermath I do not.
    I just wanna go to work, and ride my bike.
    Oh and make money....
    I know that speaking out against Critical Mass is highly controversial, and will in itself casue a backlash to me.
    I invite you to question me on this issue.
    Maybe I am wrong?
    But I think not....

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  • Mike Q January 21, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    iBike wrote "...it certainly doesn’t promote a “culture of war.” It seems such hyperbolic comments commit the very atrocity we are accusing The Oregonian of commiting."
    -----

    I critiqued the article for "promoting a culture war" as in "us vs them mentality" or "red state vs blue state" or "car vs cyclist". I see no hyperbole...

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  • iBike January 21, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    Sorry, but the whole "culture of war" comment was hyperbole. At the very least, I think the article forced a lot of the drivers making these moronic comments and thinking these awful thoughts to take a look in the mirror. I think all of these conspiracy theroies about The Oregonian's intentions with the article make us look shallow and more than a bit defensive. The reality is, if most of the comments coming into The O had been supportive of Randy, we would be praising the paper.

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  • newsie January 22, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    iBike is right. There is no desire in The O's newsroom to foment a "culture of war." In fact, I'd wager the percentage of O folks who at least occasionally commute by bike is higher than a lot of mainstream downtown employers. And that includes Joe Rose and Tony Green (who've both written about this incident) and all the way up to the managing editor level.

    Of course The O wants to sell newspapers. But smart news people know that the way you sell newspapers is to reflect the community and what the community is talking about. And people are talking about this. I've heard any number of decent citizens (who wouldn't even honk at you, much less punch you) express frustration about Portland's law-flouting cyclists (even people from NYC). If you don't think this has touched a nerve, you're not paying attention.

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  • unithraxer January 22, 2006 at 8:32 pm

    The way that Critical Mass blocks traffic I would say they are border line street terrorist. You wanted the attention and you got it. By the way I do 12 miles round trip for my bike cummute.

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  • C3PNo January 23, 2006 at 12:56 am

    why can't bicyclists spell?

    jesus...

    No one has said it so I will:

    This confrontation could have been avoided by Randy's yielding to the bus at the light on Grand. He should have. I do. End of pissy whining.

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  • andrew morton January 23, 2006 at 5:33 am

    unithraxer, you must have watched enough fox news that the word terrorist has had its meaning diluted for your. allow me to clarify it for you. seeing 100 blown up on a bus by a suicide bomber is terrifying, after such an event you would, rightly, fear for your life when boarding a bus. seeing a bus delayed because someone stands in front of it, making the passengers two minutes late is not terrifying. by even comparing the two your making yourself look like a jack ass and dishonoring everyone who's died at the hands of a terrorist.

    c3pno, "pissy" what dictionary did that come out of? the confrontation could have been avoided in several ways, the driver could have apologized, the driver could have just sat there until he rode off, a meteor could have stuck both of them. but, none of these things happened. the driver let the guy off the bus, he attacked randy and then the driver let him back on the bus and helped him flee the scene.

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  • evolvetobikes January 23, 2006 at 9:10 am

    I'm not siding with Randy or, especially, the bus rider (the bus driver is dead), but I must say this could have been avoided if Randy had a cooler head and had been more resourceful. I ride that stretch every morning. There have been times when the bike lane is dicey. What do I do? I stop. I pick my bike up. Put it on the sidewalk and I keep riding on the sidewalk, which is where the bike lane eventually leads anyway. As bicyclists, we make choices to go by bike, which means we by nature have to be flexible and resourceful. We have rights, but we're not cars, and we shouldn't be acting like we're cars when the weather's bad. And we certainly shouldn't be trying to take on buses. Randy did more to hurt us than help us.

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  • Scott Mizée January 23, 2006 at 9:20 am

    Well said, evolvetobikes... I concur.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 23, 2006 at 9:36 am

    newsie, I don't care if the entire staff of the Oregonian rides bikes. The only thing that matters is the content and tone of what they publish. They are the most powerful voice in our community and what they publish has a big impact on public opinion.

    In my opinion, the "Uneasy Riders" story unfairly painted cyclists as hostile aggressors and motorists as poor victims just looking to get to work without being too stressed out or inconvenienced by cyclists. The story also made it seem like violence and hatred against cyclists is socially acceptable and it will lead to more road rage and hostility out on the streets.

    Read the story again and tell me what you recall. What I remember is a photo of a cyclist with a terrorist-style headdress, a family that moved out of the city to “escape” cyclists, paragraph headings that read, "morning drive very stressful," “Escaping the bikes” and “Going too far”, Randy Albright referred to as a “militant” and an ending quote about people who supported the use of physical violence against a fellow road user.

    There’s reporting on community reaction (which I agree is important), and then there’s writing balanced stories that inform the public and allow them to form their own opinions.

    Regardless of the intentions of well-meaning, bike-riding writers and editors I think the Oregonian article makes violence and blaming the cyclists socially acceptable.

    …or maybe my emotions and personal bias toward bikes are just getting the way of clear thinking. I'm open to feedback...

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  • bicyclejoe January 23, 2006 at 10:07 am

    Jonathan,
    I'm wondering: How is it that you can tell me during a lengthy phone conversation that you understand why we wrote the story Friday -- indeed, you agreed it was important that we discuss these comments and issues in a public way, and how you realized these were the opinions of the people who commented to The Oregonian, not the The O itself -- and then turn around this morning and write that post.
    You wrote:
    "Read the story again and tell me what you recall. What I remember is a photo of a cyclist with a terrorist-style headdress, a family that moved out of the city to “escape” cyclists, paragraph headings that read, “morning drive very stressful,” “Escaping the bikes” and “Going too far”, Randy Albright referred to as a “militant” and an ending quote about people who supported the use of physical violence against a fellow road user."
    From that, it appears that you think there is some sort of deep, dark plot against the bike community at The O, and that we are involved in a larger conspiracy of placing selected photos and quotes in the paper in a fashion that will brain-wash readers. If you read the article closely, you noticed that it doesn't take any side. It just reports the incredible response the first story generated -- if only people would respond to stories on school funding and the environment this way -- and what people were saying. Indeed, the story points out how "uncivilized" many of the comments had been. Simply because someone claims they moved away because of bikes or a police officer tells me they haven't received tips about the identity of the bus rider, adding that the calls they received praised the cyclists, does that mean we don't report it?
    I was straight with you on the phone. I took the time out my Friday evening to address some of the comments you had made on your site.
    As I told you, and many of the people who have called and e-mailed about the story, I bike that stretch of the Hawthorne Bridge every morning after dropping my daughter, another bicyclist, off at da Vinci Middle School.
    I think it was important to write a story addressing the flood of comments, including the extreme remarks, we have received on this topic. They pose serious questions, and expose some thinking that we should be talking about in Portland.
    You're right in asking the questions and raising the points you raised.
    But part of my job is to report on the mood and opinion of the public on complex issues, no matter how absurd or provocative it may seem to many of our readers, on any given day. Indeed, that is the responsibility of the reporters at any newspaper.
    As Amy Stork told me the other day, all of this tension might actually be productive. Any time there is social change, and that is arguably what is happening in Portland with the thriving bicycling culture, it produces tension. She's right.

    Gandhi said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win." Indeed, some bicycle activists working for their piece of the road have told me they see this as the "attack" part. As journalists, we know our communities count on us to honestly report the ignoring, the laughing, the attacking and the victory on any issue.
    I would just ask that you are straight with the people who visit -- and, like me, enjoy -- your site. Based on the conversation we had Friday night and your post this morning, I can't say that you are. From here, it looks like you're simply trying to gain some form of acceptance with bicyclists who feel they must always fight the establishment to be part of Portland's bike culture, while playing both "sides" of the fence (or road).
    Good luck,
    Joe Rose

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  • bicyclejoe January 23, 2006 at 10:48 am

    A correction on that last post: The police officer said the callers had praised the bus rider, not the cyclist. Also, the comment in the story alluding to Randy being "militant" was from a bicyclist who felt Randy did more harm than good, not from The Oregonian. Even though several bicyclists felt the article was "anti-bike" -- including the SHIFT poster who suggested bombing The O, which you thought we would have written about if our intentions were to stir up things -- many angry readers felt the story leaned the other way, phoning me to chew me out on everything from adverbs and adjectives that they say showed I was "siding" with Randy to my description of the bus rider with a "military-style" as a sure sign I had something against the troops.

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  • Russell January 23, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    Joe,

    I watched Jonathan's opinion mutate over the last few days (if you read all his posts over several threads it’s pretty obvious). I don’t have a problem with someone who thinks out loud, or whose first impression of an issue changes the more they consider it. He’s also a guy who seems to want to get along with everyone and listen to all sides. You two had a pleasant conversation because you are pleasant people.

    When you provide anecdotal evidence in a story you write, you are insinuating that the story you relay as an example is both truthful, representative, and has deeper implications for the community in which you are writing.

    “…part of my job is to report on the mood and opinion of the public on complex issues, no matter how absurd or provocative it may seem to many of our readers, on any given day”

    The other part of your job I assume is to separate the opinion of the wheat from the mood of the chaff. Families moving out of the city just because of cyclists? I’m sure soon waves of them will be heading to the ‘burbs to avoid us. Selling homes now at the top of the bubble, pulling children from school, wishing friends well, and packing up thousands of pounds of property to escape the lawless insanity bicyclists have brought to inner Portland. I guess the flavor of the month is no longer the ruin of modern civilization due to “the meth epidemic” at the O.

    Great pictures of the “bad bicyclists” who look like they are on their way to Seattle to stop the WTO from further harming the indigenous peoples of the world (cry) using only junked out single speeds and violence against the tools of the man ™ - the nearest McDonald’s window by the way. I understand you didn’t chose the layout and pictures (or did you?) but whoever went through the file photos understood the post-hippy rabble looked far more scary to suburbanites when decked out for a cold day than they did dressed up in their light hemp best for a summer ride.

    Randy a militant? I’ll give you that – maybe, I don’t know him. Lots of drivers hate us and don’t mind it when they hear one of “our kind” got plowed by a semi. Good of you to report it. Lots of drivers have no idea what bicycle laws are (hell, lots of bicyclists don’t for that matter), good to report that, although a sidebar with some relevant bike laws would have been, um, educational. You could have used some of that picture space. Plenty of bicyclists could care less what the rules of the road are: they are young and strong and fighting “evil” on their own terms… How about interviewing one of them? Or did you find that position not represented? For that matter, why didn’t you interview a commuter like yourself? I’m sure you ride with us every day. We stop at lights, we slow down on the Hawthorn Bridge so as not to take out Bob and Margaret during their morning walk, and a few of us have time to talk - to the O no less. The quote attributed to “us” (and thank you for finding a representative) is: "What gives this militant the right to disrupt the lives of others around him?" The obvious answer is Randy felt had that “right” when a bus tried to flatten him. I don’t agree with that, but I’m sure he was available for a couple quotable moments there. He’s one of the three with a case to make anyway.

    Perhaps there is a link between the increase of bicycle traffic and car traffic staying flat? We are left to consider it, there is no evidence you did.
    “Apparently, some see the increasing number of bicyclists as an invasion and have run for the hills -- or at least the other side of the Columbia River.
    June Stiehl, 62, of Camas, said she and her husband moved out of their home of 25 years in Portland's Mount Tabor neighborhood to escape the growing number of bicyclists on the streets.”
    Boggles the mind. I’d have loved to be a fly on that wall when they decided to move dozens of miles after 25 years due to “growing number(s) of bicyclists on the streets”. I have a couple stock tips for you too, and some land you might find interesting as an investment opportunity in New Mexico. All it needs is some sweat equity doing some tunnel digging.
    Here’s a story for you, and with less than 10k words no less:
    Randy – Angry guy who acted like an idiot. Bus Driver – Angry deceased guy who acted like an idiot. Passenger – Angry criminal who acted like an idiot.
    Shocking conclusion to story: These three represent some ugly elements of Portland, but not near the majority; and here is the relevant law for those of you who just skimmed the drivers manual since a chimp on crack could get issued an Oregon drivers license.
    As for Jonathan, go grab some lunch with him and don’t act so hurt. He’s not out to get you.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 23, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    Joe, my comment is based on what was published, not on what you intended to write. I understand why you wrote the story and I'm glad you're reporting on the public's reaction to this incident. The problem is that a large portion of the bike community does not read or respond to the Oregonian and therefore the feedback you and your editors received was not balanced.

    You and your editors published a story, I think the overall tone was not balanced and I told my readers why. I think the decision to run the story showed bad judgment given the emotional nature of this issue and I have no doubt that this story makes the streets more dangerous for cyclists.

    I have no personal beef against you or the Oregonian…and I'll let my readers decide if I'm being straight with them or not.

    It's great to see you joining the conversation in a public way. I appreciate that and thanks for your feedback. It'd be cool to get the kids together for a ride someday.

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  • Aaron January 23, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    Joe;
    Russell;
    Your comments are well said. Randy did bad by all cyclists for starting this. The 'O' did bad showing crit. mass pictures that displayed terrorist style bicyclists (must have been hard to weed that out of the thousands of mass pixs).
    IMPORTANT- When you ride legal, (most) drivers respect you. When you show courtesy, (most) drivers respect that and respond in kind.
    AND PLEASE when writing to newspapers, use proper spelling and grammer.

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  • bicyclejoe January 23, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    Jonathan,
    Fair enough. Still, as a cyclist, what would I -- or The Oregonian -- gain from writing something that would make the streets more unsafe for me, my kids and my fellow cyclists.
    By the way, what happened to my second post (correcting an error in my first about what the Portland officer said)?
    And a bike ride with kids sounds great. I'll give you call.
    Joe

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  • Dabby January 23, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    This is the third time I have written this comment.
    I have written, and reread, and deleted, and rewritten.
    I am back now, with a short version.
    While I commend the Oregonian for it's handling of the passing of the Beloved Kristine last year ( I will never get over it myself), I have for years been weary of the Oregonian.
    I continue to read the articles, (well, I am beyond the war coverage, I am already depressed enough), but it just isn't there.
    I would like to point out that cycling is great for the body and mind, and one of the bonuses is a release of endorphines.
    This endorphine release can make you happier. It can make you faster. It can make you healthier.
    And it can make you smarter.
    Which is why I believe that most cyclists go straight to the New York Times.
    Sure the Oregonian is great, for the puzzles.
    I sat at the counter at Stumptown with the front page in my hand.
    I couldn't even get past the pics for a minute.
    No less than three people asked me if they could read it while it was in my hand.
    I handed it over. I am really not supposed to read the news. It makes me think too much..
    By the time I got the paper back, i felt I could handle the article. I read it.
    I couldn't handle it. While I do agree that the way it was written and laid out surely got exactly the response your paper was looking for, it was not what our community needed.
    And that is what we are here, correct?
    I back Jonathan fully on his post, and his continued opinions.
    I have waited for years for the Oregonian to become the paper we need. The paper you want to read.
    I have to go read the Times now.
    But I will check your paper (a recycled piece)to see if the jumble has been done yet........ Don't you worry.

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  • Russell January 23, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    In response to Joe Rose's addendum:

    One of the things that irritate me the most in media is the “some people say” position. Whether “some people” are quoted are not (direct quotes are a bit better though), writers or reporters love to wash their hands of the choices they make of what to print with “some people say”.

    Joe, some people say they are moving out of Portland because of bicyclists. That doesn’t mean anyone is doing it. Some people say the O should be blown up. That doesn’t mean anyone at SHIFT is stuffing C4 into a Timbuk2 bag as we speak. Some people say they’d punch anyone who made them one minute later for work. Well, maybe they would… Bullshit patrol is part of your job. What you chose to write and what your editor chooses to print doesn’t happen by mere chance. When you write a complex story with limited space, you are making molehills out of mountains. There comes a lot of responsibility with that.

    Is hyperbole news? Is hyperbole news when those blowing off steam are self-selecting? I don’t think the problem with the story is the slant of it. It’s there though, no doubt. I have to roll my eyes whenever a reporter claims that no slant exists. It’s there whether it’s there to express an opinion by the writer or inflame to sell more papers. I don’t think reporting what people write or call about a story in your paper is “news”. Save that for the editorial page. If you want to capture the zeitgeist of the streets, go get the story and tell it well from all sides. Don't print obvious overstatements; print opinions that are more formed than me good, you bad. Don’t let part of it come to you and then claim you are only telling us “what some people say”.

    Oh, and the "military haircut" thing seemed odd to me too. He looked bald to me, and you used that same description twice. It doesn't make you unpatriotic, but it seemed a weird point to hammer on.

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  • unithraxer January 23, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    Andrew:
    your Fox statement is presumptuous considering I don't own a TV. If you look at my claim you will notice the word borderline in reference to street terrorism. The idea behind terrorism is to instill fear and this doesn't require bombs or killing people. You attempt to make a point by picking apart words and attacking me personally while your fox statement applies more to your definition. This is poor debate.
    Critical Mass claims to be a celebration of the bicycle but in reality they choose the busiest day of the week to ride out side the bike lanes were autos are. They do this to block traffic and bring attention to there cause. To me this is an aggressive move which implies the original message is not strong enough to stand on it's own (they won't listen so I will force them to listen). Many auto people interpret this with fear. I have witnessed critical mass rides where the riders surround cars and start banging on the auto and spitting. The fear message is clear.
    In regards to your analysis of the Randy/Bus issue. Randy initiated the event with aggression. He choose to ride outside the bike lane because of debris yet he sprinted in that same debris fist pounding on the bus while riding with one hand. Obviously safety was not his biggest concern. And if that was not enough he then choose to block the bus and flip the bird to the driver. The fear message is clear. If he had rode in the bike lane where he belonged none of this would be an issue.
    Last night at 1am on my commute home (sorry for the typo C3PNO) I was harassed by two separate autos. I have ridden this same route for years with no problems. Ever since the last media blast regarding Randy's behavior I found myself in several confrontations with autos. This all could have been avoided by using the bike lane. Once again I submit. You wanted the attention and you got it.

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  • Duane January 23, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
    Isaac Asimov, Salvor Hardin in "Foundation"
    US science fiction novelist & scholar (1920 - 1992)

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  • andrew morton January 23, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    unithraxer, I have no idea how you can even try to justify calling it terrorism, borderline or not. Critical Mass may piss people off, it may make the a few minutes late getting home, but it is not TERRORIZING people. If the ride was setting cars on fire, pulling drivers out and beating them, that would clearly be terrorism. But that's not happening. I don't know what city you saw "riders surround cars and start banging on the auto and spitting" but I doubt it was in Portland. There's usually a cop for every three riders and I guarantee you that there'd be arrests for that sort of behavior.

    About the only thing you can accuse CM of is making people late on their way home. If you believe strongly in something you have to confront people. Do you think that any of the advances in civil rights would have occurred if people had been polite?

    I'm not here to defend or condone Randy's actions, as I acknowledged, the situation could have been avoided in any number of ways. But it did happen and you can undo it by playing the "what if" game. The only one injured was Randy and the driver aided his attacker.

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  • andrew morton January 23, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    pardon that last post. my cut and paste went bad. you can ignore the first half-paragraph, it was part of an ealy draft.

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  • unithraxer January 23, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    Portland CM back in 96-97' era. Later that evening I ran into several of the CM car bashers at the Laurelthirst drinking and bragging about how they dented the car. That is the day I quit the event. If I remember right WW ran an article on this as well. I may be off by a year or so.
    In regards to terrorism if your definition requires fire, bombs, or physical beatings then I am wrong. But if you ask me this fits your Fox comparison that you accused me of. I may be wrong though. See previous post.

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  • unithraxer January 23, 2006 at 10:34 pm

    The article I mention may have been one of the local music rags from back then. Mercury? I forget the names.

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  • andrew morton January 24, 2006 at 1:13 am

    unithraxer, so ten years ago there were riders that bragged of bashing a car. I'm still having a hard time seeing how that leads to the label of borderline terrorist. Most dictionary definitions of terrorism focus on the use of violence or the threat of violence. Back in your original statement you said, "The way that Critical Mass blocks traffic I would say they are border line street terrorist." I really don't think most people would consider blocking traffic violence.

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  • Khal Spencer January 26, 2006 at 8:24 am

    I'm a member of, and the incoming Chair, of the Los Alamos County Transportation Board and a regular cyclist-commuter. Like any other place, we have our run-ins between motorists and cyclists. Usually all is peaceful, though.

    I've personally had several confrontations with motorists who have deliberately endangered me through their sometimes willful violation of the traffic codes. These have all ended without violence. One ended with the guy in the pickup truck and I shaking hands and going away as friends. The worst ended with cross words.

    One has to be careful out there. Bottom line: as John Forester would say, "cyclists fare best when they behave as the operators of vehicles". Road designers must remember that model. So do cyclists. Furthermore, anyone who trys to intimidate us out of operating as vehicles needs to face the full force of the law.

    I wish that cyclist good luck in his quest for justice.

    Khal Spencer
    Los Alamos, NM

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