Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 7th, 2013 at 2:47 pm
"I felt a sharp pain... I slowed down and pulled off the road, and discovered that a five-inch metal dart was lodged in my back."
A man was hit by a blow dart while riding on Sauvie Island, a popular cycling destination just 17 miles north of downtown Portland. The reader who shared their story with us said the incident took place last Sunday (8/4) at about 11:20 am.
Here's more from "DF" (he wanted to remain anonymous):
"I was biking southbound on Sauvie Island Road, maybe a hundred yards from the Cracker Barrel Grocery Store heading to the bridge (map), when I felt a sharp pain, like a bee sting but more painful, in my lower back. I slowed down and pulled off the road, and discovered that a five-inch metal dart was lodged in my back. I immediately removed the dart and called 911. A Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy was there within minutes. He told me that the dart had come from a blow gun, and said that he would be investigating this incident as an assault."
DF said he's unable to determine exactly where the dart came from, but he has a "strong suspicion" it came from a large white pickup that passed him just after he was hit. He was unable to get the license plate number because, he wrote, "I was too distracted by the fact that I had a piece of metal lodged next to my spine."
Sauvie Island is a very popular place to ride.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
There is not a lot of room in the shoulders of Sauvie Island Road, and DF said he was "riding the line carefully" prior to being attacked. "I try to be very conscientious about sharing the space with cars."
DF has been biking out on Sauvie Island for years and has never had any problems with other road users. However, he did tell us that he's aware that the island has a history of contentious interactions between drivers and bikers. It's a topic we've been writing about here on the Front Page for many years now. Back in 2006, I wrote that, "Road rage, taunts, projectiles from car windows, and other dangerous situations are far too common," and that, "I don't think we should wait until someone is hurt or killed before focusing our attention on a solution."
In January of this year, just a few yards from where DF's incident happened, a 68-year-old man in a pickup truck pepper sprayed someone who was riding their bike in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel store. (The man was ordered into mental treatment back in May.)
DF says he wants to get the word out to "Warn others and to increase the chances of the perpetrator being brought to justice."
The suspect's vehicle was a large white pickup truck, possible a Nissan Titan or Ford, and possibly having an extended cab. Steve Lawrence, a spokesman for the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, says their detectives are still working on the investigation. If anyone has information about what happened, please email us and we'll forward you to the Sheriff's Office.
— Interestingly, just yesterday Multnomah County announced that they are seeking citizen volunteers to form the Sauvie Island/Multnomah Channel community advisory committee to, "help inform decision making for an update to the Sauvie Island/Multnomah Channel Rural Area Plan and Transportation System Plan." Hopefully someone who rides regularly on the island will consider joining.