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Gold Lamborghini road rages on Skyline

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 29th, 2006 at 7:22 am

It's been just over a year since I posted, "Wanted: your close calls." Since then, 226 of you have reported the details of your harrowing experiences.

I read all of them and every once in a while one will catch my eye. Like this one,

"I was riding my bike along Skyline when a gold convertible Lamborghini came speeding around a bend, veering over the double yellow lines into my lane of traffic. I had to jump off of my bike into the ditch to avoid the possibility of being hit. I pointed at him, speechless, from adrenaline, hoping he would notice what had just happened from his rear view mirror. He then came to a screeching stop in the middle of the road, made a u-turn, revved his engine and headed straight for me, fully speeding. I had to run up the side of the ditch carrying my bike to avoid him. He turned down Skyline Heights Rd into the Forest Heights neighborhood...There were many cyclists on Skyline that day, as there are most days, but I’m unsure if any witnessed this guy wrecklessly driving as I did. How many gold convertible Lamborghinis can there possibly be in Portland?"

The cyclist did call the police non-emergency number, but was not happy with the outcome.

If anyone sees this gold convertible Lamborghini, please jot down the license plate number and call (503) 823-3333.

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Comments
  • Ethan August 29, 2006 at 7:37 am

    I'd bet ANY officer in Portland could plug some basic info (color make) into their their squad car's computer and have the answer in a few seconds . . .

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  • Cate August 29, 2006 at 7:49 am

    I believe in cosmic justice. Someday the driver will wrap his precious Lamborghini (and his precious ego) around a tree.

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  • Curt Dewees August 29, 2006 at 8:01 am

    Ethan is correct. This is how the cops found the driver who hit the 13-year-old cyclist in Vancouver last weekend. And all the cops had to go on that time was the mirror off the vehicle. Nevertheless, they were able to figure out what kind of vehicle the mirror came from, do a database search of all of those vehicles in the neighborhood, and start knocking on doors. They were able to find the driver within a day that way.

    Finding a gold-colored Lamborghini registered in the Portland-area shouldn't be very hard.

    I'm deeplyu embarrassed and ashamed that some members our Portland Police Dept., which are sworn to "protect and serve" the citizens are [apparently] so lazy and uncommitted to doing their jobs.

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  • andy August 29, 2006 at 8:29 am

    There's no way that's a non-emergency call to begin with - anybody driving that recklessly should have their license revoked and their car impounded.

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  • Brian August 29, 2006 at 8:52 am

    I like to ride on Skyline as much as the next guy. And I drive up Springville rd, and Germantown rd quite frequently to go running in forest park.

    It seems to me there are going to be alot of 'incidents' up there. These roads are NEVER patrolled by cops.

    The speed limits are way to high. I say this becuase a full 30% of drivers can't manage to stay on their side of the road as they go around corners. The limit is 40mph. That is a closure of 80mph, Add a bike on one side or the other of the road and something has got to give. As we all know there is no shoulder on that road.

    I do believe with the traffic load, and cyclist load on that load, that not adjusting speed limit is pure negligence on the part of the agency responsible. When I find some time to figure out who that agency, and I get some free time, I'm going to write a letter to the effect.

    Anyway.... I had a similiar occurance on a local neighbor hood road while running. I got the license number and I called the cops. They told me I could press charges of Vehicular Assult or some such thing. I told them no, but asked that they send an officer to the address and explain to the driver that they could have been in a heap of trouble if I had opted to pursue the matter. I asked the WA county sherrif to call back to confirm that the officer had done that thing, and they of course never called back.

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  • Dave August 29, 2006 at 9:01 am

    The hit and run vehicle was positively identifiable by the matching broken mirror. You might be surprised how many lambo's are in the Portland area, and without some other identifiable characteristic the police aren't going to just ticket the first one they find. Maybe we start carrying paintball guns to tag problem cars for later identification? I've been tempted to do the same with some local graffiti artists. :)

    And I agree - that has to qualify for 911. Use some key words like "assualted" and "probably drunk", and they might actually get up there quick enough to find him.

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  • Newt August 29, 2006 at 9:20 am

    As a Skyline area resident I cannot agree more w/ Brian re: speed limits. Between the yahoos on crotch rockets and the divorcees in their golden lambos I take my life into my hands each time I cross the street to collect my mail. I would love to see reduced limits but they are of little use w/out enforcement and I have NEVER seen an officer at our end of Skyline (west of Germantown). Perhaps we should install sleeping policeman (speed bumps) like the more affluent end of the Blvd.?

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  • Bikeybunnygirl August 29, 2006 at 10:01 am

    I had a close-call situation with an abnormally aggressive driver a little over a year ago, and after the police failed to
    help or offer ANY advice when I called the non-emergency line, I contacted bike advocate/lawyer Ray Thomas' office.

    Ray suggested that this sort of thing IS a 911 situation and I'd have to agree. The driver I encounter would have torn my left arm off at the socket had I not essentially leaned my bike into a parked car to get away from him. The driver of the Lamborghini could have easily torn around a corner and obliterated a pedestrian or another cyclist. Reckless driving like that suggests some kind of impairment -- chemical or mental. Doesn't matter. He's driving under the influence of something dangerous and needs to be stopped by the police . . . And beaten about the head and forced to eat poop. But I digress.

    But really -- if we're encouraged to call 911 when we see a bike being stolen, isn't a similar call in order when you see a life literally threatened? How could property theft or damage matter more than this?

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  • Brad August 29, 2006 at 10:37 am

    I don't blame the average beat cop in Portland for the lax attitude towards real law enforcement in this town. I find fault with the politicians and police adminstrators that seem to think thatbasic police work and enforcing the law somehow flies in the face of human rights or some such nonsense.

    Vancouver has it right. Find out what make the part comes from, run a DMV search for that make, and start the process of elimination. Unfortunately, PDX seems to hand wring over whether or not looking for gold Lambo registrations might constitute "profiling" and might be an affront to tolerance policies and civil rights. Nope, it's far better to issue press releases about community policing and diversity than actually keep the streets safe.

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  • Jasun Wurster August 29, 2006 at 11:23 am

    I went to a 911 class at the NE police station as part of our block watch program. The call toward the aggressive driver threatening your life in that way should have been a 911 call.

    The trainer from the Portland Office of Emergency Management (www.portlandonline.com/oem/) kept saying that if ever your life is threatened call 911. She also mentioned that it is better to use 911 if ever you have a doubt.

    I brought up bicycle issues and her response was the following:

    1- a driver threatening your safety = 911
    2- see someone physically stealing a bike = 911
    3- some one trying to attack you while on your bike = 911
    3- your bike is stolen = non-emergency

    The reason is that on the police car computers 911 calls are prioritized higher by dispatcher. Like email, you only can see so many messages at one time. An officer at the meeting also relayed that by the end of the shift most of the non-emergency calls are not touched since the officers will respond to the ones with more higher priority.

    A thought on the high end sports car driver ... if the driver can afford the car and drive like that they most likely can afford other expensive toys ... like cocaine.

    Oh Yea, one last thought. If people can get the PPB to do “missions” at 4-way stops and investigate Zoobomb on Hwy. 26 on a Sunday night ... maybe enough complaints and reports of drivers on Skyline can get a few “missions” to happen there.

    Jonathan, can you get the contact info in the traffic division for the people to call?

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  • Ronald August 29, 2006 at 11:26 am

    Sorry that you felt threatened when riding on a windey road with no shoulders and a 40 mph speed limit.

    There is no comparison between someone having their feelings hurt and a child being put in a coma. If you wern't complaning about the officers being "lazy" you would be complaining about too much enfocement (oh that's right, nobody here would every complain about too much enforcement). Do you have any idea how many thousands of 911 calls there are in a single day?

    Thank you to the men and women that put theirselves in harms way in order to protect the freedoms of you ungrateful stinky hippies (how does it feel to be stereotyped?).

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  • Jonathan Maus August 29, 2006 at 11:34 am

    Ronald,

    It's clear from your comment that you have never been the victim of a road rage or near-miss incident by a motor vehicle while riding your bike.

    It's not a matter of hurt feelings, it's a matter of life and death.

    That being said, I agree with you about calling officers "lazy and uncommitted." This is very far from the truth.

    I know several of the Traffic Division officers and they take their job very seriously. They are hard-working professionals and we should be grateful for their work.

    I think the problem is perhaps with the non-emergency number itself and proper education about when to use 911.

    When a motorist is threatening to kill you, you have every right to call 911.

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  • Dabby August 29, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    Ronald, ronald, ronald....... Wake up!

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  • Joe Planner August 29, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    I believe that law enforcement is an inefficient way to solve inherent societal problems. Our auto-dominated society places very little emphasis on road safety. Is law enforcement the answer? I think not. Rather, it is a small component of a much larger and broad solution.

    First and foremost should be education at a very young age on street safety for pedestrians and bicyclists (since these are the primary modes for the young'ns..) and progress to a more comprehensive road safety for would-be drivers that incorporates the safety of bikes and peds. Current drivers (and I was one) have very little understanding of how to deal with bikes and peds. Also, traffic enforcers should be trained to better understand the safety of bikes and peds. There seems to be a disconnect between the higher profile responsibilities of officers who find rapists, murderers, and child abductors and the more mundane tasks of preventing life-threatening accidents on the road, which can be just as horrible (but often excused as an "accident").

    Second, streets and neighborhoods should be designed with pedestrian and bicycle traffic safety in mind, rather than simply getting cars through one place as fast as possible with minimal interference. This is a chicken and the egg issue because developers and most transportation planners/engineers are reluctant (and sometimes aggressively opposed) to incorporate bike lanes when there's not a significant biking population; and there's not a significant biking population because there's been no attempt to accommodate them.

    Third, law enforcement gets to pick up the crap people that ignore the rules for whatever their excuse. Similar to lawyers, politicians, and used car salesmen, the police often get a well-deserved bad rap. However, I acknowledge there has to be a few good people within their ranks. My point is, I think we should focus on minimizing the need for law enforcement rather than rely on an inherently corrupt profession that attracts gun-loving cowboys to save us when ignorant, horsepower-craving idiots controlling death machines are expected to share ill-designed road with bikes and peds.

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  • Jasun Wurster August 29, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    From attending the training last week here are the statistics that I received.

    The Portland Office of Emergency Management handles all 911 and non-emergency calls for Multnomah county. Currently they are up to about 3500 calls a day.

    The biggest problem is not people calling 911, but ignorant people such as yourself, not knowing how to use it. For instance:

    - If you call 911 from a cell phone you will have to press the number 1 to continue. The reason for this is that many people call 911 from a cell phone. Many cellphones are open face and buttons get pressed while in pockets, book bags, purses and what not. The center has received many calls in which no one is on the like.

    This is a problem because it is policy that if a call is made to 911 and no one is on the line, they will call you back. If you so not answer an officer will be dispatched to your house.

    You can not do this with a cell phone. So they put this system in place.

    This really ties up the system.

    - If you call 911 and are on hold ... DO NOT HANG UP! Once you call 911 stay on the line.

    The reason is that if you hang up the operator has to call you back.

    This ties the system up.

    - Always stay on the line until the operator says that you can hang up.

    If you hang up with out giving all information the operator will call you back.

    This ties up the system.

    - You can always give information as Anonymous, for instance calling about seeing drug deals or prostitution. Which the police recommend that you call non-emergency ... UNLESS YOURS OR SOMEONE ELSES SAFETY IS THREATENED ... then always call 911.

    You see Ronald calling 911 if YOURS OR SOMEONE ELSES SAFETY IS THREATENED is why the system is there. It is NOT tying up the system. More so it is not as nearly as deadly as the ignorance you exhibited in your prior post.

    On another note: The Portland Office of Emergency Management is currently hiring 911 call takers. They are understaffed and need people. The presenter asked us to make this information known.

    Qualifications: High School or equiv; Type 45 wpm

    Perks: $35 K a year to start; four day work weeks (10 hour shifts); benefits

    More info: 503-823-3572

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  • C3PNo August 29, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    Ronald McWrongald,

    I feel the best way to respond is to spellcheck your little rant, as there is not much else I can do to help you understand the cyclist's perspective on the world (other than to tell you to just do it). Here goes:

    windey = windy
    complaning = complaining (you got it right later)
    enfocement = enforcement
    theirselves = themselves
    harms = harm's

    Thank you and better luck next time.

    P.S. Don't hate the player, hate the game

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  • Jonathan Maus August 29, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    OK folks, please keep the comments on topic and to the point. Name-calling and other personal insults is just a waste of time. Thanks.

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  • Dr. Mark Ross August 29, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    brian said: "I had a similiar occurance on a local neighbor hood road while running. I got the license number and I called the cops. They told me I could press charges of Vehicular Assult or some such thing. I told them no . . ."

    Why not??? You HAD a license number. This was something the police could actually do something about. In the lambo incident, there was no license number and even if they found the lambo they'd have to place it there at the time the incident occured.

    Here was a golden opportuntiy for you to let the police actually do their jobs -- who knows, maybe the police could finally take away the drivers license of a real threat to society but up until now didn't quite have strong enough evidence. -- but you let it slide. Doesn't make sense to me.

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  • Cate August 29, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    Joe Planner nailed it, especially his second point.

    85% of the streets in SW Portland are unimproved (no sidewalks, bike lanes, etc). Skyline is Exhibit A.

    The City finds money when a project interests them. Obviously making these roads safer doesn't. Sam Adams' idea, like every other person from the City for decades, wants SW residents to pay for sidewalks, bike lanes, and other improvements.

    Maybe I'm in the minority because I ride on the westside, but I don't get the "Portland is a bike mecca" or "Portland deserves Platinum" perspective.

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  • Cate August 29, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    Oops, I forgot Skyline is in NW Portland. Oh well, it's the same issue. :-)

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  • Bob August 29, 2006 at 2:19 pm

    This sounds like the same guy that buzzed me on skyline a few weeks ago (turning onto cornell). He seemed very pleased with himself that he was able to out accelerate a bicycle. I suspect there are not that many lamborghini *convertibles* in that area. It was either a galardo or murcialago model in a sort of mustard/gold color. I think the driver was sort of sandy haired. Sounds like he should be easy to spot.

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  • Brian August 29, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    Dr. Mark said: "Why Not??"

    I'm happy to say I have better things to do than to bog down my life with law enforcement and the courts. Lets just say Ronald would not agree with my feelings toward the local police forces attitudes toward trafic enforcement.

    I was hoping that a quick call to enforcement would result in a memorable warning delivered by someone in uniform. But I don't think my plan worked.

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  • John August 29, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    The Vancouver situation was unusual, and so was the Vancouver Police Department's response. They're understaffed, to say the least.

    Anyway... I've always held the opinion that no one on earth will flog a hot car like a used car dealer. Like this one:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Lamborghini_W0QQitemZ160022026198QQcmdZViewItem

    If that's not it, lamborghinis and their owners soak up attention. I'd bet it's online somewhere.

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  • Doormat #151 August 29, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    911 will immediately transfer you to the police if you say words such as "marijuana" and "bong". As in:
    "The vehicle occupants were smoking a bong."
    Just a tip for the future.

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  • Randy August 29, 2006 at 8:00 pm

    If the police really cared, they would have set up a hotline for 'close calls' long ago, and would be responding to them seriously. Even just a phone call from the police to the registered car owner, after they have been provided with a description of the car, the driver and the incident would be sufficient to make people think twice about their behavior on the road towards cyclists in the future.

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  • Curt August 29, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    So let me get this straight: If you find yourself being threatened being assaulted by a rogue motorist and are in fear for your own life and safety, but you call the police on the non-emergency police #, the police can excuse themselves from doing anything about it?

    Help me understand this: If a non-emergency number gets you absolutely no help whatsoever, why does that number even exist? What good it it? it's no wonder the 911 line gets bogged down with so many "non-emergency" calls.

    And it may be nit-picking at this point, but the writer of the earlier post did NOT call all traffic officers "lazy and uncommitted." Rather, the post says that "SOME officers are [apparently] lazy and uncommitted."

    Emphasis on the word "some" and the word "apparently."

    Obviously, we all hope that the majority of Portland Police are hard-working and committed to protecting the lives and safety of all Portlanders, including bicyclists. But perception is reality, and when Portland Police take a call like this and then proceed to do NOTHING, it is only natural for the Police officers involved in the "doing-nothingness" to be perceived by independent and intelligent observors as [apparently] being lazy and uncommitted.

    Thanks for the education on the usefulness of the "911" call, tho. I will definitely keep that in mind.

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  • jami August 30, 2006 at 7:13 am

    it seems like this gold lamborghini guy could face attempted murder charges, were he caught. which he will be. i mean, where you gonna hide in a gold lamborghini?

    cate, i hear ya on not feelin' the bike love in west portland. i lived in hillsdale one year, and really pissed off a biker (who happened to be my professor at psu) by jogging in "his" bike lane, because there is no sidewalk whatsoever on a route frequently used by ohsu-istas. i also tried to bike to a party in "garden home" one time, and ended up so grouchy from dodging 45-mph suvs that i just turned around and went home.

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  • Randy August 30, 2006 at 9:49 am

    SW PDX is never gonna be bike friendly. If your lifestyle includes regular cycling (or you want it to), you need to move to the inner east side somewhere.

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  • Charles August 30, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    Ronald

    Of course you know that a large segment of cycling folks are professionals in many fields including law enforcement and health related fields. Ungrateful stinky hippies?
    Ronald, change your name,........you must be a republican. By the way, hope you get hit by an uninsured drunk driver like I did.
    What a pompous ass.

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  • Patrick August 31, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    A few months ago this same car (so I think how many Yellow Lambroghinis be out there?)blew past me as I was descending down Thompson. The driver crossed the centerline as he mashed on the gas in the turn just before the tunnel on a curve. He could have easily hit an oncoming car. No wait he would have hit the brakes and swerved back into me! I forgot about it until reading this.....

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  • Tom Rousculp September 4, 2006 at 5:11 pm

    I've seen this guy on 26 west and I-5 north zipping between cars really fast. He's not hiding out by any means, you could probably ticket him any time but I doubt he'd care, he's driving a Lamboghini after all he just pays for it and walks, that much money gets you out of a lot. But maybe enough complaints...

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  • Chris September 4, 2006 at 11:45 pm

    As per John's link to the Lamborghini on eBay. . .

    How do you shift that thing? I don't see a gear stick in there.

    Anyway, whether that's the car or not, the guy sounds like a freakin' menace.

    If you see him, throw eggs.

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  • Di September 5, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    I've used the non-emergency number for several things:
    - reporting a nice car that was suddenly missing all four wheels and not on stands in case its owner didn't know the wheels were gone (apparently he/she did)
    - calling to be sure that the teeny bit of info I had after being near the scene of an accident wasn't important after all (it wasn't -- a Tri-Met driver had made a full report)
    - asking how to handle various procedures for my spouse's traffic tickets and subsequent insurance cancellation (no, he doesn't drive a Lambo)

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  • Leo October 4, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    Here is the perspective of law enforement (though I don't work in the city).

    As far as reporting close calls on the road, you need to know that if no damage is actually done, and there are no independent witnesses, it will be basically your word against the driver if the incident even happened, much less if this is the guy that did it. In this situation, the police CANNOT call up the driver or visit his home to "scare him" or tell him how much trouble he could be in. In fact, without probable cause, which the officer certainly wouldn't have based on this story, he can't even pull the motorist over to talk to him - to do so would violate his 4th Amendment Rights. To get anywhere you pretty much need physical evidence and/or independent witnesses to even get probable cause that this incident took place, much less if this is the guy.

    If this sounds bogus, look at it this way, you wouldn't want the cops coming by your house or place of business because some random pedestrian said you aimed your bike at them in a crosswalk and tried to hit them without other witnesses or some physical evidence. What a great way to hassle people you don't like!

    I'm not saying the incident didn't happen, but according to the law, both peoples' stories will be equally valid if it is just your word against theirs.

    What the police CAN do, is take note that they've got a yellow sports car driving recklessly (if the call is timely), and head that way in hopes *they'll* see him sliding around a corner or some such thing. But they have to know quickly enough to dispatch a car to the area - this means a cell phone call to 911 (won't do any good 45 minutes later when you get home). This only works if they have a car nearby - they won't pull a car off the east side to go to the west side because they know they won't get there in time.

    As far as 911 goes, just ask yourself if an immediate response might save lives or property. If it will, call 911. In the close call story, calling 911 might get the guy stopped before he hurts someone else on that road *at that time*. If response doesn't really matter if it is done today or tomorrow, such as a cold burg or some guy you're pissed at because every morning he goes hauling down your road and you were thinking about it some evening, then call the non-emergency number. They'll take your report or have a car make a run by your place about the time of day you say the bozo goes screaming by.

    If you ever go on a ride-along (I'd suggest it) or even listen to a scanner you'll start to get a sense of how amazingly overwhelmed most officers are with calls on a busy shift. Just keep in mind if they're responding to your call, they're putting another on hold - use some judgement as to whether your issue is important enough to bump a call from (for example) a woman getting the crap kicked out of her by a drunken boy friend. Use that as a gauge for how quickly you can expect an officer to respond.

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  • Jeremy October 4, 2006 at 11:48 pm

    Actually, I had a cop in Salem do just what you say they won't. I had a guy try to hit me not once but twice just a few block from his house. I sprinted to catch a physical description, license plate, make and model, reported it to the police and the officer called me from his house to make sure he had the description and car correct and knocked on his door with me on the phone.

    I really thought that was awesome of him to do since Salem is really not very bike friendly. I go by the adage espoused by a few on this site: If I feel my life or someone else's life is intentionally endangered, call the police.

    As far as I am aware from what the officer told me, no citation would be issued but he would be doing a quick educational stop and drop of some infromation for the driver.

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  • Nonbiker January 21, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    I could be more sympathetic to the plight of bikers if they would follow the rules of the road. I don't know how many times I have witnessed riders blowing thru red lights and stop signs.

    If I am wrong, please educate me, but aren't cyclist supposed to walk their bikes across in crosswalks?

    How about the cyclists that switch back and forth between acting like a car, then acting like a pedestrian? IE biking in the bike lane, coming to a stop or red light and using the crosswalk to avoid the light. Great way to get hit by an unsuspecting motorist.

    I agree, education of the REAL rules to bikers and to motorists could really take the frustration out of my mind and I am sure of a lot of other people.

    If anyone can recommend a good place to find the actual road rules for cyclists, I will read up. I am frustrated, but I would rather have the correct information.

    I am also just a little puzzled as to why any cyclist would CHOOSE to ride on Germantown Road or Skyline because it is so narrow, curvey, with no shoulders. Unsuspecting, well-meaning motorists can have close calls too. Where can we go when we come upon you cycling in the middle of the road and can't stop in time? That is just one of my close calls.

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  • melnat January 22, 2007 at 10:36 am

    @non-biker

    I'm a cyclist and I share your frustration w/ my law-breaking brethren. I also applaud your willingess to learn the actual rules. (No, they needn't walk in the crosswalk; but they should slow to ped speeds.) Try a quick version at http://www.stc-law.com/beginners.htm or the whole enchilada at http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/bike_manual_06.pdf.
    Having said that, I live on Skyline and would guess that I see at least two bikes for every car. They ride up here for the same reason that people drive here...it's beautiful! Yes, I can sympathize with the difficulites of passing on a curve, but this is a scenic corridor, not a boulevard and the vast majority of the cars are speeding. You simply have to slow down for a few minutes.
    There is frustration on both sides and the fringes are becoming increasingly hostile. The fact is that we simply need to play nice, slow down and share the road.

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  • Christopher January 22, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    Nonbiker,
    This thread is from a long time ago, so I do not suspect that your comments will show up on too many people's radar, but I saw it, and have some thoughts.

    As Melnat said, it is a good thing that you seem open to learning the rules. A lot of cyclists do break the rules and I understand that that is very frustrating to many.

    But yikes, man (or woman?)! If you can't stop in time for a cyclist who you come up on from behind, you are driving recklesslessly. You're going too damn fast.

    Skyline, Germantown, and many of those roads up in the NW hills provide cyclists access to forest park, challenging and exhilarating routes for road bikers, and of course some people who live up there may occasionally throw their leg over a bike as well.

    When you see cyclists up in there, please, please please please remember that they have every legal right to be there, and that it is *entirely* incumbent upon you to drive in a safe and respectful manner until you have a safe opportunity to go around them.

    Believe me, you get no sympathy whatsoever if you think nearly running over law-abiding cyclists from behind represents a 'close-call'.

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  • Peter Noone February 22, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    @Nonbiker

    Here's another version of your statement:

    I would be more sympathetic when an average person driving a car is crashed into by a drunk driver, but...

    - drivers (almost) always speed.
    - drivers often fail to signal.
    - drivers often cut each other off.
    - drivers often run red lights (especially turning).
    - etc.

    As a biker (and occasional driver), I don't necessarily care that people aren't "following the rules of the road" exactly to the letter. I mainly care that people are being courteous and safe.

    What's interesting to me is that drivers have way more encounters/incidents with other drivers than with bikes, but (some) drivers seem to be way more frustrated with cyclists. Why is that?

    I think it's a kind of "cultural" thing. For one thing, drivers break the laws in the same way as other drivers. It's normal. There are established patterns and rules (separate from the legal rules).

    On the other hand, biking is "new" and "different" and the ways cyclists are breaking the rules (or seem to be even when they're not) stands out to drivers.

    Anyway, I don't have time to write an essay about this, but I think the idea is clear. How about if we *all* ease back from our frustrations and immediate reactions and make more of an effort at understanding (in general)?

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  • Elvis March 16, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    To Nonbiker,

    Generally speaking, cyclists shouldn't be walking unless they are off the road. Each state has dfifferent rules but usually the only requirement is stop at stopsigns and lights, ride safely, and keep to the right of faster moving traffic when possible.

    A cyclist in a crosswalk is probably either on the wrong side of the road or so far over, if he's on the right side, that the cars won't see him and will turn into him.

    There is whole dynamics to road use: Two broad catagories, vehicles and pedestrians, meaning you have cars, bikes, and people walking. The cars are in the main lane, the bikes are either off to the right ont he main lane or in lane, depending on speed and conditions, and the walkers are traveling off the road (in the gutter or on the sidewalk) in the opposite direction.

    Bikes and cars have different characteristics so smooth, safe road use -- preventing crashes -- involves them each looking out for each other. I've seen reckless cyclists but generally the recklessness is limited because the cyclist knows he has a lot more to lose in a crash than a car does. My right leg being a half inch shorter thanks to a hit and run I can tell you drivers don't worry about hitting people. Heck, even a bike-pedestrian collision can cause the cyclist to be thrown over the handlebars and severely injured, so a run in with a car is bad mojo. Not everyone cares, but generally cyclists ride with the knowledge that if they or someone else screws up they will be injured or killed. The same sort of crash between two cars may only result in a fender bender. There are no fender benders on bikes.

    Also, not to excuse bikers who are genuinely reckless, but a lot of what non-cyclists perceive as recklessness is actually the safe thing to do, but they don't understand it so assume it's reckless. For instance, going straight through a narrow intersection (made narrower by SUV all around) a bike rider may move out into the right lane fromt he shoulder or edge of the lane. The rider knows it's not wide enough for a car to fit, so he's positioning himself in such a way that the car CAN'T try to pass, cause he knows it wouldn't be able to do so safely. Once passed this bottleneck the rider will move over, but in the meantime, the uncomprehending driver is beeping his horn and shouting bloody murder because he thinks the cyclist is being a jerk or riding recklessly. Same thing with left turns. A lot of people who don't ride group bikes with pedestrians not cars. Well they don't have motors but they certainly are vehicles, more than pedestrians anyway. So it's no surprise to a cyclist to make a left turn from the left lane. Plenty of drivers, though, react by yelling "get out of the street" at what they perceive to be a "reckless" bike rider... Same with red lights. If the sensors in the road don't pick up a bike, the cyclist has every right to go after stopping. This isn't "running" the light, it's dealign witht he problem of sensors. If the bike rider is goign to be required to stop at the light, and the light isn't required to be set to react to him, the only way out is look, and if it's safe, go.

    Some cyclists are jerks. Some drivers are jerks. But tho 50% of the vehicle catagory, bikes represent way less than half the overall users of the road, and their machines weigh a lot less than cars. 2 tons of steel can do a lot more damage than 20lbs of bike. Responsibility follows that risk.

    Most drivers, if they understood the use of the road, would realize that a lot of what they think is "reckless" biking is bicyclists doing what is safe and necessary, and mostly legal, while a lot of the drivers they tolerate without more than a flip of the bird are on their way to killing a lot of people one of these days when their luck runs out.

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  • Keith July 10, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Stupid is as stupid does. Riding a bike in the road way is like playing Russian roulette. It matters little to your next of kin who had the right of way.

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  • Kris January 31, 2008 at 5:04 am

    dude...all you have to do is find out where he lives n through a brick on the car..that will teach him a lesson

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  • Tim March 30, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Please don\'t use paintball guns to tag vehicles as some suggested. While this may be an interesting way to mark the vehicles, it could cause community displeasure over the misuse of paintball guns. Those that don\'t understand the sport of paintball will call for bans to paintball guns. This unfortunate overreaction has already happened in some communities in the USA.

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  • B. Ganz June 22, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Three of us from a local racing team were riding on the Old Portland Road a mile or so before the town of St Helens. A young man in a small pick up locked his brake up behind us sending us off the ride (no one fell) he then sped up and repeated this action, telling us his initial action was malicious. We dropped behind him, and as he slowed making unprovoked, angry gestures and seemed intent on continuing to harass us. I pulled out my cell phone and yelled to him that I had his license number and was calling 911. At this point he sped off. I made the call to 911 and reported the assault.

    The operator said that since no one was hurt, there was no need to investigate this immediately. She said that officers in the area where on a \"priority action\". A few minutes later we arrived in downtown St Helens and found a parade taking place. Several local officers where milling about not doing anything but chatting with the locals (apparent this was the \"priority action\"). We approached an officer and told him what happened. He said he already knew about it from the radio and would keep his eye out for the pick-up truck.

    Later that day I received a call back from an officer saying that, even thought they had the license, they would not pursue a complaint against the driver, because we had not \"identified\" him. However, the officer said if they happened to see the pick up, they would stop it and have a \"chat\" with the driver.

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