Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 31st, 2012 at 2:15 pm
after a woman intentionally ran into him
while he biked on N Williams Avenue.
(Photo: Scott Stephenson)
North Portland resident Scott Stephenson is still shaken up after being involved in a road rage altercation on North Williams Avenue last Saturday. Stephenson, 31, says he and a woman driving a car got into a shouting match and that the woman escalated the situation by intentionally swerving her vehicle into him, knocking him to the ground, and then fleeing the scene.
After hearing about Stephenson's story, I contacted him directly to hear his side of the story. Here's how he remembers it...
Stephenson was stopped in the bike lane, waiting at the red light at N. Fremont at about 1:00 pm. As his light turned green, a woman was getting into her car just outside the Williams St. Market. She left her driver's side door open, and Stephenson says his arm "grazed her door." "It was no big deal," he recalled, "So I just kept on going."
"Next thing I know she side-swiped me. I tried to stay upright, but I was leaning against her car and when she pulled away I fell."
A few seconds later, Stephenson noticed the woman had pulled up right next to him and was screaming, "Why'd you hit my door, you fuckin' asshole!" to which Stephenson replied, "You shouldn't open your door into the bike lane!"
Stephenson admits he engaged in a heated verbal exchange. A statement about the incident from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) says that, "Stephenson told police that he continued to ride, yelled at the driver, 'Fuck you bitch, you give drivers a bad name,' and flipped her off."
After the yelling, he says the woman surged ahead of him and started swerving in and out of the bike lane. When traffic let up a bit, the woman then pulled off of Williams at Skidmore. When Stephenson rode through the Skidmore intersection he gestured east toward the car on Skidmore and flipped her off again.
At that point, he says the woman turned her car around, got back on Williams, and started driving aggressively toward him. "Next thing I know she side-swiped me. I tried to stay upright, but I was leaning against her car and when she pulled away I fell." Stephenson says he skinned up his knees, scraped several teeth on the ground, hurt his and wrist, and suffered cuts on his face. A police statement says medical personnel that responded treated Stephenson for minor injuries and that he refused to be transported to the hospital.
After the contact and after he fell to the ground, Stephenson says the woman sped away in her car.
Stephenson says he was able to talk with two witnesses who saw the incident. He also got her license plate number and reported it to the police (they say the plate was incorrect, see more below).
The PPB say they do not know the identity of the woman. From witness statements, they only know that she is an African American and that her vehicle is a light-blue mini-van or SUV (likely without any damage). They have referred the case to their Traffic Investigations Unit.
Stephenson says he's "cautiously optimistic" that some resolution will happen. For now, he's still shaken up by the incident. "I was riding around on Monday and Tuesday and every car that would come up behind me... my stomach just sunk because I was waiting for the car to hit me."
It's worth noting that N Williams Avenue is currently the focus of a PBOT project to improve bike access and traffic safety.
We'll let you know if there are any developments in the case.