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Attack on cyclists not an aberration

Posted by on January 19th, 2007 at 10:23 am

The recent incident involving a group of teens that attacked two cyclists in North Portland has sparked dialogue about the safety, race, and vulnerability of cyclists.

In the over 70 comments listed so far, I was amazed at how many other people reported being attacked while on their bikes, and how the majority of them were in the same general area of North Portland.

I understand that violent teens and racial tensions are as much of a social issue as a cycling issue, but I still think it’s important for local law enforcement personnel, city bureaucrats, and bike advocates to know that this is going on.

Below are the eight other incidents that have come in as comments to that recent post:

From Jeff:

“I’ve had friends tell me about being chased on bike by young black kids in NE during the summer, when you see large groups of teens roaming the streets at night. A few others have mentioned having eggs thrown at them.”

From Michelle:

“I know a woman who nearly had her bike kicked out from under her at N Williams and Fremont…She was waiting at a light and trying to not to be nervous about a group of teens on the curb nearby, when one of them came over and started kicking her wheel. He busted a few spokes but she managed to take off before he succeeded in destroying the wheel. She’s been pretty freaked out ever since.”

From Scott:

“My wife was assaulted near Legacy this September… she blogged about it… ‘My friend I were biking to a show yesterday evening. We were waiting for a light to change on N. Vancouver when a young woman waiting at the bus stop decided she knew Shannon and needed to slap her. Which she came over and did.’”

From Pete:

“I was riding in the bike lane on N. Williams at Skidmore – where I normally turn right to head home. An ethnic youth ran directly into my path and and started yelling and motioning as if he were going to try and hit me

All the while his friends were jeering things to the tune of ‘Take that f-er’ and ‘I’m going to f- your s–t up’.”

From Thomas:

“I had a similar situation happen to me where I was riding down N. Dekum St. and had to ride past a group of teenage boys at a stop light. One of them ran up to me and tried to kick me off of my bike. Luckily, I was able to catch myself before almost wiping out and was able to ride away.”

From David:

“On three separate occasions in the past year, I have been threatened with physical assault while riding my bike. The first occurred on the Hawthorne bridge, and was instigated by another cyclist (I forget his name, but it was that (guy James) written about in the papers). the second was at the intersection of NE Multnomah and 20th – this time by a pedestrian. The third and most recent occurred about 2 weeks ago at the intersection of MLK and Fremont…at about 9pm, a car full of teenage girls – probably in high school – pulled up next to me at the stop light. What started as waving and smiling quickly turned into racial taunts and threats of violence laced with obscene remarks of a racial/sexual nature.”

From Greg:

“A group of three teens jumped out at me around SE 45th and Powell while I was biking a few months ago. I avoided falling and made it out of there alive. I called the cops afterwards and they asked me “so… what do you want us to do about it?”

From Josh:

“As a resident of North Portland, I have also had similar run-ins…along the same stretch of N. Williams where a group of teens at a bus stop threw handfuls of washers (or screws, nails, whatever) at my cycling companion and I.”

I was conflicted as to whether or not to post this.

The last thing I want to do is make anyone think that riding a bike in Portland is dangerous (it’s not!). It just seems that there hasn’t been much conversation in the community about this issue and having all these comments come in such a short amount of time really surprised me.

And I can’t help but wonder how the outcry and sense of urgency from the city and from the public would be different if the same things were happening to motorists.

As for a solution? I think it comes down to healing our neighborhoods. That means being more involved in neighborhood activism (been to your neighborhood meeting lately?) and speaking up to the city and police about allocation of resources to neighborhood livability and traffic safety issues.

If you ever feel threatened while riding your bike (or not), please consider reporting the incident to the police (non-emergency number is 503-823-3333, and of course 911 if it’s an emergency).

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Comments
  • John January 19, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Excellent point Jonathan! I ride that same stretch and have had some issues, but in perspective i have been riding that same stretch (at least)5 days a week for 8 years now and i have had 2 incidents with rambunctious kids. But the only thing that is going to help is to call to police. I don’t believe its racial or anti bicycle, its just kids being assholes. Just for a little perspective… If you ever read Göran Kropps book about biking from Sweden to Nepal to climb Everest; he said the worst part of the entire trip was kids throwing things at him on his bike.

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  • Donna January 19, 2007 at 11:12 am

    I wish more people had reported these incidents. I strongly suspect there would be a correlation between an increase in these incidents and when the budget for youth gang violence was cut so deeply.

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  • Richard S January 19, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Hmm… I commute down NE Vancouver St on a regular basis – past the hospital, and haven’t had a problem. Now, I’m generally there between 5 and 6:30 pm. Timing may make a difference.

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  • Bill January 19, 2007 at 11:45 am

    This is not a recent trend. I had a similar incident at NE 28th and Davis in about 1984. Two teenagers tried to knock me off my bike but I was moving too fast and they stepped back at the last moment. About the same time, a co-worker was knocked off his bike and beaten at N. Mississippi and Shaver.

    Bill

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  • Jonathon Severdia January 19, 2007 at 11:51 am

    It is happening to motorists, and it is racial. A couple of weeks ago my friend Chelle was swarmed by over a dozen black kids running around her car while she was stopped at a light on NE MLK, preventing her from going anywhere for about a minute. I previously heard, and later observed first hand while riding up there, that they are also fond of making animal noises and screams to scare white people out of the neighborhood.

    This has nothing to do with cycling; these kids are pissed off about gentrification. Not that I think N. Portland needs more bistros, but it is enough to make me sympathize with the child-hating villans in every Roald Dahl book, and put another entry in the list of things that don’t help.

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  • tonyt January 19, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    I’ve lived in North Portland for going on 6 years and haven’t ever had a problem of this nature. Perhaps it’s because I stay off of main roads, avoid Vancouver/Williams like the plague (more for the cars than the people) and as a rule, avoid crowds of all sorts.

    Up until a couple of years ago, N. Portland Blvd and N. Michigan (Jonathan’s territory) had some serious gang presence with gunshots reported there with some frequency. I would ride through there in the morning on my way to work, but never on the way home or in the evening. The apartment building that was responsible for most of the problems eventually got cleared out and the activity all but vanished practically overnight.

    Frankly, the majority of problems that I’ve had to personally deal with in NoPo have been with meth heads (white) and there was no peace to be had til they were out of my neighborhood. Stabbings, car theft, fights, arson, burglaries, ugh, those were the days.

    But with this issue, race certainly does seem to be a part of it. And as is often said, race is the third rail of politics and I for one am more than a little unsure, and apprehensive, as far as how we can address it.

    There was a black kid shot and killed just the other week right on Killingsworth. Gang activity? Probably. What to do about it? Heck, I don’t know.

    Sigh. I just want to ride my bike.

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  • tonyt January 19, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am aware that the problems at Portland and Michigan didn’t really vanish, they in all likelihood just relocated.

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  • West Cougar January 19, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Judging by the graffiti, there has been a huge surge in gang activity in NoPo and Woodlawn since Christmas. I strongly think the rash of recent attacks of black youths on white youths, whether they be cyclists or not, is attributable to that.

    One last thing to keep in mind, it is said all crime is local. One bad tenament can ruin the whole neighborhood.

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  • JE January 19, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    I used to commute by bike. I don’t anywmore.

    1) Ford’s are safer against punk thugs.
    2) Ford’s are safer against Jeeps on Swan Island.
    3) Ford’s are treated by more respect by the police.

    #1 cycling city in the country eh?

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  • tonyt January 19, 2007 at 1:44 pm
  • Michelle January 19, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Maybe N/NE Portland needs some bike patrols! See today’s story.

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  • Tiah January 19, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Oh,JE, don’t you know what happens when you just quit? You never win. I am not saying this to be mean, but hell, one does not stop riding their bike because they think a Ford is saferand respected more by the police. Well, one might, but not if they relaly like riding their bike.
    reading these reports isn’t exactly shocking, though of course it is disturbing and I think it is good of Jonathan to post since he is posting everything that is relevant to the cycling world. Do threats exist? Yes. Can that be scary? Of course. Is the answer to give up on biking? No way(dude).
    I have mostly only ever been threatened by cars, and by threatened I mean like they yell at me or cut me off abruptly or speed up when I am going through an intersection. I’d liek t believe most fo the time this i due to them not actaully wanting to inflict harm upon me but rather because they aren’t good drivers. Anyhow, one time I have been accosted by a group of teenaged fellows. It was right off of MLK and Killingsworth adn I chose to hop on the sidewalk right there in order to evade the traffic on MLK at that precise moment(I think a bus was coming or soemthing).anyhow, so as I was slowly riding by them a couple of them grabbed onto my bag, but not to try to pull me off my bike, just to be freaky teenagers. Personally i wouldn’t get much entertainment value from such antics but clearly they did, and they weren’t being harmful, though had they actaully caused me to fall I would’ve been pissed off.I don’t think that kind of behavior is ok, but I just told them to let go of my bag, cos I had to keep pedaling adn it was cold out or something. They were cracking up as I rode off and I think I probably yelled soem goofy thing at them as I rode off. In retrospect perhaps i should’ve been more upset than I was, if anything I was just annoyed though that they were slowing me down. Thus is the mindset of a commuter(“I’m just trying to get home, fools!”). anyhow…i feel bad for people who have to deal with more shit than that but i firmly belive that you can’t let things like that get the better of you. Think about what would happen if you couldn’t ride your bike anymore…I amnot as bicycle obsessed as some people I know, but hell, I just had to take a week off the bike and the day I got back on I fel tlieka little kid again. Gleefully pedaling away, riding here and there, with no actual destination. There is no other feeling like that. I wouldn’t let some random jerks ever take that away from me.
    So, my advice to people who find themsleves in compromising scenarios is get some new routes, be loud if people get in your way, ride with a friend if you don’t feel 100% safe on your own. If you know a certain area is a problem spot, don’t ride there. Simple. If some drugged out crazy comes up to you and slaps you(like one fo you mentioned happening to your friend) get the hell out of there, but better yet, kep on the alert to begin with. You can hear people, you can see them, if things look sketchy just keep on riding.

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  • tonyt January 19, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Heck, we could barely get the police to come to our neighborhood association meetings, I’m not holding my breath.

    I am going to ask for more bike cops though. The story (the bike cops one) was very timely.

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  • Matt P. January 19, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Richard S – timing may indeed be a part of it, that’s dinnertime for many of us. I’d wager it’s a different story between 9 and 11pm.

    Gentrification is a problem, and the perception of the general public is that spandex-clad cyclists on fancy bikes have a lot of money. Never mind the fact that many of us have no car, and (tip of the hat to Aaron) save $7,000 a year that can go to other things, like bikes, spandex, coffee and Voodoo donuts. (yes, I’m being a bit facetious)

    The image that we cultivate, whether consciously or not sets us apart from the herd, and that automatically makes us more of a target to predators, whether they be the government, cops, kids, SUV drivers, or good-ole-fashioned lions and alligators.

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  • Jeff January 19, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    I’m having a hard time digesting all of this. The common thread seems to be that the perpetrators of these aggressions are, in Portland, from an ethnic minority. One thing that needs to be remembered, though, is that there are desperate people of every ethnic group, and they are going to do stupid things when they’re either angry or feel like they need to prove about themselves to their friends.

    In high school, in a mostly-white suburb of Portland, I never went a day without hearing some idiot in a pickup truck shouting “HEY FAG!” at me. I also remember being pushed around in junior high by a relatively nerdy-looking white kid who wanted to prove to his bigger, stronger friends that he could be tough, too.

    The unfortunate fact is that most people of this particular ethnic group live in a chaotic, impoverished, and violent part of Portland. To a slightly less-open mind, white people are seen as gentrifiers and invaders. All you need is either 1) a kid from bad home who has plenty to be upset about, or 2) a kid from a relatively stable home who wants to prove himself to his tougher friends, and 3) a group of teenage boys, who are always eager to “prove” something to their friends. Enter someone who looks a little different, and you’ve got a perfect setup for teenage male chest-thumping. Which, in these cases, ends in some awful and sometimes bloody situations.

    My personal theory is that there is actually less racism involved than we might think. I think that the racial element (including racial slurs and the singling out of white people) is present merely as a consequence of trying to be tough. Being tough means acting crazy, taking a stand (for any reason), and hurting someone.

    All I know is that I was never called whitey, cracker, or whatever else when I lived in N and NE Portland *while on foot*, walking past *individuals*. I know for sure that I was called bad names when I was *on my bike*, biking past a *group* of teenage boys. Big, big difference.

    That’s my $0.02, and then some. I hope someone will take some time to think about it.

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  • anotherbiker January 19, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    So far I have been lucky not to have had any really nasty incidents but I have had more then a few moments when I knew I was being sized up as a target. It is really scary to feel like a target and I say this as a fit 20 something male who has a pretty decent chance of fleeing or fighting back. I don’t want to be reduced to prey but I’m at a loss as to how to proactively stop these threatening behaviors.

    I really don’t want to fall into the trap of profiling but lets face it, Black (and to a certain degree other minority) youth seem to commit more per capita crimes then white youth. This is a function of socioeconomic status, education, available oppertunities, racism and a whole number of societal factors beyond these peoples direct control as well as race but it still leaves the same end result. These kids are statistically more of a threat and we as a society need to be responsible for working to change the underlying conditions but we also need to demand some figment of personal responsibility from all people. I don’t know how to respond to this situation without being a bigot. I don’t want to be the middle class white who makes every honest person feel like they need to prove they aren’t a threat. I also don’t want to project the image of being an easy target.

    I know people may well be pissed about gentrification but honestly I wish people would have the sense to realizing who their enemies are and who can help them. Attacking cyclists, peds, or anyone really is not going to lead to changes in development politics. Organize people, it seems like a lessons of most equal rights movements in that ultimately random violence will only hurt your cause by heightening social control agents ability to “rightfully” repress your racial or social group.

    I guess I’ll be more vigilate but I’m not going to change my habits. I refuse to think of entire groups as a threat when in reality only are very small percentage of any population are threatening. This whole situation perplexes me, it really does pit values against safety in a sad way.

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  • PFin January 19, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    If they really want to gain perspective on the experience of the average urban cyclist, Bike Cops should patrol their daintiest plainclothes female officer (with radio backup, of course) after dark through lower-income ‘hoods all over town, especially in the summer.

    I’ve been 365′n for seven years here, and I’ve been egged, threatened (in virtually every conceivable fashion (“One of these days you’re going to get run the F!@# over!!!” (Explorer, of course))), rear-ended, scraped, and intimidated.

    My legal beef is that these actions are not classified as “hate crimes,” when they most certainly target vulnerable persons with the intent to cause fear and anger, and the potential of physical harm.

    Of course, most of these incidents don’t even get to the “crime” phase, thanks to our police perspective.

    I’m just saying, rights are rights. Transportation Equity NOW!

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  • Jonathan Maus January 19, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    I just watched the 11 o’clock news on KATU-TV (ABC) and they featured several of the comments listed here, and had an interview with me and (I think) one of the commenters.

    It was a good story and I am very pleased to say that at the very end of the report, they mentioned how one solution could be more bike patrols… not bad at all for a day’s work.

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  • bjorn January 19, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    I think the idea of running stings is a great one. They do stings involving pedestrian’s crossing at crosswalks that have problems with cars not yielding the right of way, why not have stings that involve bicycling in areas where road rage/pedestrian rage is common. There should be no shortage of cyclists willing to volunteer as decoys. I am ready to do so as soon as a program starts.

    Bjorn

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  • JE January 20, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    @tonyt
    You know what I meant in my post. I did not say Fords were completely safe, just safer.

    @Tiah
    “Oh,JE, don’t you know what happens when you just quit? You never win.”
    It’s not a contest. There is no winning or losing. I need to get to work. More importantly, I need to get home from work. In a civilized city, I would bike. But after a few years of dodging dogs, kids, cars, trucks, buses and all the garbage and potholes, I choose my car.

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  • Tasha January 20, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    I’ve been verbally assaulted by kids on NE Skidmore just off MLK a lot, but thankfully never physically. It’s more of an annoyance so far, but is a bit scary to think it could turn ugly. I’m not a strong person, I just ride my bike to and from work. I understand there are social issues involved, but I find it sad there is so much contention on both sides. Sigh. “Why can’t we all just get along”?

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  • Tiah January 20, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    J.E.: i know it is not a contest. did you read my whole post? portland is a pretty civilized city, comparatively..I’m just saying-if you love biking, you ride your bike until you can’t ride no more. I am really sad that people get hurt and shit like that, but i was just saying you can’t let inconveniences get you down…if you always fold because fo things like that,well…you’re gonna lose out on a lot of things. So, while riding your bike for commuting is not a race, giving up on something you love cos of fear does mean you lose out on a certain something. if you don’t wanna ride your bike, fine, don’t..but don’t blame the city, or a few weirdos. we must all struggle and rise above whatever it is that tries to keep us down. Do more than exist. Fight the fight that means something to you. If biking isn’t it, no big deal, but realize that it is a personal thing, and not a city wide problem. Yeah,I’m being a little existentialist about it, but,yo, thats how I do.
    bikes=good jerks who agitate cyclists=not good but not a reason to give up cycling. if you let the bad cancel out the good, you lose,hands down.

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  • bikenotboy January 21, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    the idea that these assaults arent at least partially racially motivated is beyond politically correct and into the realm of the silly. and scary.

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  • Mike Myers January 21, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Don’t you people watch Chris Rock? You’re all complaining about how dangerous it is on MLK—-but EVERY Martin Luther King street/blvd is dangerous. Every single on in the US. Don’t ride on MLK if you’re white. Hell, don’t drive on MLK if your’re white. It’s dangerous if you’re not white, too. It is funny that a street named for a man who preached non-violence is usually home to lots and lots of violence.

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  • Adam January 21, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    You all have to realize that you visually represent the most recent manifestation of gentrification. Racial tensions, which have existed long before you all moved here, are being exacerbated. Whether bicycling faux-progressives understand it or not, when they move into North Portland they are displacing the lower income people. These people, many people, resent prententious and clueless transplant bicyclists moving into their neighborhoods. How are you folks so blind to your actions, so at ease to push the blame on the “socio-economic” factors of these kids, your so lost in abstractions you dont see what everyone elso does. You are the socio-economic reality of an unequal system, your the evidence, the tangible face so keep your helmets on.

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  • cat January 22, 2007 at 10:54 am

    As someone who works in downtown Portland, I realize we share city sidewalks with bicyclists.

    However, many of them are rude. They spin in and out of traffic – and then they spin in and out on the sidewalks. They go wherever the path of least resistance is and everyone has to watch out for them.

    Bicyclists get on MAX trains and are not curteous. I realize this may be a small minority of people. . .but they’re making a bad reputation for all of you.

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  • kelly January 22, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Adam,
    All of that may be true, but it doesn’t mean that assault is an acceptable or reasonable reaction. Regardless of how unfair your situation is, you can’t go around hitting strangers or threatening their lives. When you do, you’ve just reduced yourself to “thug”.

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  • Geezer January 22, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    I think its time for Bikers with Guns. .
    They don’t care about us, why should we care about them ?

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  • tonyt January 22, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Adam I’m confused. First you berate us (and generalize about us pretty broadly I might add) for “push(ing) the blame on ‘socio-economic factors’” and then you turn around and explain that it is because of socio-economic factors that we are being targeted.

    “You are the socio-economic reality of an unequal system.”

    Most of us realize that we are ALL part of the socio-economic reality. I find it interesting though that you conveniently left yourself out of that equation. I take it that you live here? Then you are part of it too.

    If you engage us in a less didactic, and less insulting (“bicycling faux-progressives”?) manner, you might find that there are many of us who do indeed have a clue about what’s happening, and are quite capable of having a civilized conversation about it.

    Thanks.

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  • eritter & Trike January 24, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Trike: In Alaska, we got issued a 5-lb cannister of bear mace. It’s pink, bright pink. I think a cannister of bright-pink bear mace being used on people who assault you, would be an effective statement. Takes about 2 months to wear off your skin. But then, I’m a brute.

    eritter: It sure would mess up those all-important teenage clothes, too. Day-Glo Revenge!
    What Trike said before we started typing was, “anotherbiker”‘s assertion about statistical threats was b*//s\it. Trike claims “they don’t do more crime per capita, they get caught more.” Statistics from all-white towns in Oregon show that white folks are just as able and willing to do crime, and as likely to get caught, when they’re the focus of local law enforcement.

    It’s an interesting distinction.

    I agree that teenagers proving things to each other is relevant here. Remember, it’s girls as well as boys.
    What stops teens from being stupid teens, and gets them on the road to responsibility?
    Besides age, I mean.
    Suggestions I’ve heard so far:
    Trike: Getting taken out behind the barn and beaten half to death by the adults…. (Brute, as he said, but I’d believe it.)
    -Taking away independence
    -Calling the bluff;
    -Embarrassing them
    -Connecting on a personal level — the teen I stopped on Albina for directions was very friendly, but group behavior is still scary.
    -Finding “consequences” that make the problem less likely, without making the teen get tougher:
    e.g. rather than prison, or expulsion, what if:
    If we catch these girls, they have to ride to school with their parents and won’t be allowed to arrive or leave school without them. No more independence at bus stops or driving home with the gang. I hope Mama doesn’t lose her job because Junior was assaulting the neighbors, but Mama is more likely to know what works on her kids than any number of newbie bicyclists.
    -Give them real responsibility, and real work. Let teenagers of all social groups become adults a bit earlier, so we don’t have to deal with 17-year-olds who can physically knock an adult off a bicycle being legally considered as irresponsible children. Time to act like a big kid, teens. Hurting strangers will get you in trouble.

    Trike: It’s a problem that’s focused in one area, it sounds like they all go to one school. Something is fostering this. There were schools when I was in illinois, where teachers would rant about “the white man” in f**/ing math class, irrelevant poison instead of “education.” The school might be the best place to start for intervention.

    eritter: Getting families involved often helps too.

    We recently moved to N Portland from NE, previously SE, previously SW. Trike is still recovering from his May car accident, and a friend offered to let us room here.
    It made me nervous, knowing the town’s history. But what are we supposed to do? We can’t afford NW, either.
    We can learn self-defense, we can cooperate, we can get involved at the neighborhood level and help improve the schools, neigborhood watches, etc. While making rent, somehow. And finally, hopefully, we can stop moving, and get to know a place.

    Trike: Or we can invest in a 5-lb can of bear mace.

    Eritter: Trike’s lived as a minority in Chicago, whereas I’m the college girl who took self-defense as an extracurricular.

    We’d both up for participating in a sting.
    Or for escort purposes — if you ride Williams/Vancouver and want an escort between Alberta and Fremont, let us know.
    eritter@gmail
    trike@bikemail
    Heck, any of us could probably wait a few extra minutes at the lights and escort each other.

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  • gabrielamadeus January 29, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    dang.

    I just got jumped on saturday.
    3 blocks from my home on 6th and skidmore I was riding pulling my very scary looking chariot when a group of about 10 kids ~17 yrs old stepped out into the road and said, “hey, can I ask you a question?”

    As soon as I was riding through them about 3-4 of them punched me in the stomach, back and arms while calling me several obscenities. Luckily I was moving fast enough and their hits were rather weak, so I just rode away. It could have very easily been a repeat scenario had they attacked someone else or caught me off gaurd.

    I called 911 and some officers responded. They took down my statements and contact info in case there was another attack, but couldn’t do anything if they didn’t see the incident or I wasn’t hurt.

    So wow. I don’t know what that means, I felt very safe and comfortable in my neighborhood until this. Sure they were just a group of bored teens on a nice saturday afternoon. But their idea of fun was to gang up on somebody and attack them.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 29, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Dang Gabe, that is crazy. Maybe this is more of an urgent issue than I thought.

    Glad you called it in right away. We really need to report everything, just to keep it on the cops records.

    not sure where to go from here…

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  • Rob February 3, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Living in Lexington ky, (population half that of Portland Ore but percentage of black residents over twice as high…13.5%-6.6%) I can tell you we face many similar problems. It is almost always the liberal types that suffer the abuse from blacks, rough neck whites almost never get attacked. Why? I can personally attest to the fact that the more violently I respond to any semblance of black aggression the more passive the aggressor becomes. These thugs only understand/respect the threat of immediate repercussions….in short, arm yourselves or at least become better at using physical force to protect yourself.

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  • shawnfestivus February 3, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    I had a dream about this last night, before finding this… about kids planning a distraction to jack my property on the street, away from home. Being calm helps your vigilance. I’m wondering what some of these victims look like – probably less spandex, designer gear would be a good start, how about punk attire? Lot’s of punks are middle-class drop-outs who may realize looking crusty helps mixing with the ‘locals’. I’ve lived in inner city Kansas City for about 6 years, and haven’t been harmed, basically because there’s no way to disguise the fact that I’m poor too. Disheveled and sloppy may be the universal passport.

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  • shawnfestivus February 3, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    p.s. designer bikes should also probably be avoided. An old cheap sh!tbox could save more than imagined…

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  • Rixtir February 3, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    The bikers who have been attacked generally haven’t been the spandex-wearing designer gear types.

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  • SKiDmark February 4, 2007 at 12:02 am

    That’s funny shawn. I’m pretty sure the majority of Gabe’s “gear” and bikes come from Goodwill and bike co-ops. There is a certain “weirdo” factor too, those who roam in packs and single out one person to beat up will also f**k with weirdos too. And Gabe, I say weirdo with reverance and respect.

    I always wear a flannel over my hoodie and now that I am riding a MTN bike instead of a track bike I think I am likely to be mistaken for a middle-aged homeless guy, and not a hipster. Probably not too far from getting jumped either way…

    This whole situation is reminding me of a certain Minor Threat song, and a certain Black Flag song.

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  • lyle February 4, 2007 at 8:51 am

    i don’t get the excuse making a lot of people seem to be all too ready to get into here and in other places.

    racism is racism, period, end of story. i don’t care what you look like, how you grew up, i don’t care how awful a time you have getting by, i don’t care how shitty your education has been, and on and on and on.

    and to say a certain (minority) group is even partially excused from perpetrating it? wow, pardon me while i throw up.

    being part of that huge community called humanity means you are respected for behaving responsibly and shamed when you don’t.

    what do you REALLY think about a certain segment of a community when you don’t even care as much or get upset when they are either racist, violent or otherwise lacking in decency towards their fellow humans in this messed up world?

    if the roles were reversed and there was a rash of black people attacked and called overtly racist names driving down 82nd, or in any other predominently ‘white’ area of the city, we would ALL be rightly enraged and questioning what was wrong with the perpetrator’s humanity and decency.

    my question is, do you really respect them as humans, or are you saying in the back of your mind that you don’t expect them to ever behave responsibly, that they’re just living up to expectations, and that it’s just par for the course?

    ask yourself that question when you’re coming up for any excuse for this behavior in your head, other than that they’re racist idiots who need to get a huge dose of reality, however that happens.

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  • Marc February 4, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    The comments on rude downtown cyclists were totally irrelevant.
    The suggestion that kids help organize their neighborhoods against gentrification instead of beating up on people was well-meant, but in some ways really unrealistic.
    Gentrification is not an excuse to beat up on people. But I do want to echo the idea that lots of white people, with money or not, are moving into NE Portland and displacing people of color for whom NE Portland was the latest refuge in a sequence of displacements stretching back 50 years or so. And the idea that a lot of these white people think they are being really ‘progressive’ because they are moving to a black neighborhood and ‘getting some flavuh’ is kind of sickening when rents are going up.

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  • trike February 5, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Lyle in the street i grew up unless i know you and at least one person who could vouch for you. you didnt register as human.

    this is a mommy and daddy problem and as i said it sounds like a school problem.

    at any rate its not singles, its groups i would bet its groups with a connection to each other in the school. and since it is directed i would be looking for the person or persons who are fostering this idea of bikers.

    this could be a teacher or janitor or leader of some clik or b-ball player but i’ll betcha a nickel to a doughnut you will find someone with influance to these kids spouting off.

    My first guess is it would be a current events class or something like it with a teacher who has a hardon about either commuters or the crit mass rides. this sounds like kids with a tiny idea that this bike stuff might be wrong. the cussing and race slures are just because no one tought or teaches americans to curse anymore so we have a limited repitwa.

    any way my 2 drok JM you may edit as you wish

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  • DK February 6, 2007 at 8:47 am

    I find that the generalizations being made about races involved is alittle old school. But facts are facts, and you see a gathering of persons described here, in these neighborhoods, turn around and save your ass. Whether it’s from an awkward shove and stumble, to a butt kickin’. We don’t need anymore broken bones over this crap.

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  • [...] Right, I’m still leaning towards the leftwing conspiracy view: this is terrible bad news indeed, although God knows the streets of Melbourne could use some drastic measures, as I write this after being attacked and nearly knocked off my bicycle by pissed-up dickheads swinging punches for the third time this year. Can someone please explain why a moving bicycle is such a target for random violence? Why is there so much rage directed at cyclists? At times I can understand the circumstances that lead to road rage, but pedestrian rage? And I’m not talking about the justified rage of a pedestrian railing against a cyclist riding on the footpath, but unprovoked, random attacks at cyclists on the road. It seems nonsensical. Or maybe there’s just a lot of cyclist hate in the press at the moment… [...]

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