Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 17th, 2007 at 7:44 am
The story sparked a heated local dialogue, garnered national media attention and had a major impact on this site and the Portland bike community.
At the time, it was by far the biggest story I had ever covered. When it finally hit the front page of the Oregonian and the video from the on-board cameras ran on the local TV stations, it seemed the entire city was talking about it...and some very hateful words were flying between cyclists and motorists.
The publicity and polarization of the community made Randy very uncomfortable. At one point, he told me he turned down an interview with Good Morning America.
displays the sticker he helped create.
It was clear that Randy's actions (both legal and on the bridge) had split the community. The incident brought out the worst in motorist bike-haters and surprisingly also drew the ire of other cyclists who felt his response to being buzzed by a bus during his morning commute were inappropriate.
City leaders had to do something about the situation before it got worse.
That rally was a powerful statement of unity and brought together advocates and bureaucrats from the traffic safety, bicycle, pedestrian, law enforcement, public transportation, and public school communities. That day made me proud to be a Portlander.
captures the spirit of the moment. (1/27/06)
Grassroots bike group Shift also joined the response in their trademark way; by handing out thank-you cards and free donuts to TriMet bus operators (unfortunately, TriMet required me to delete all the photos of the drivers, but I can speak from experience and relay that (mostly) all of the drivers were tickled by the goodwill gesture).
Eventually the story died down and we didn't hear much until the trial got underway. Quite unexpectedly I was subpoenaed by TriMet's lawyers. They wanted to use a sentence from one of my posts to paint Albright as an erratic and extreme character. I didn't want to cooperate and thankfully, time ran out and I never had to get involved.
The arbitrator in the case ended up finding fault with both TriMet and Albright.
Almost a full year after the story first broke, I reported last week that TriMet had significantly revised their bus operator manual to include more information about sharing the road with bicycles. According to a source inside TriMet, this revision was a direct response to the Albright lawsuit.
In the end, whether you agree with how Randy acted on the bridge or not, his actions have had a significant impact on our city.
Do you remember this? If so, do you think it has had a net negative or net positive impact on the community?
Editor's note: Hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. I'll be re-living similarly significant moments in BikePortland history throughout the year.