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Road rage assault leaves man feeling helpless, frustrated and scared

Posted by on February 4th, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Image of the altercation taken by a witness.
Watch video below.

Menacing behavior from motor vehicle users is something that happens all too often. It can take many forms and has varying levels of severity — from annoying and almost comical (like yelling, revving an engine or “rolling coal“) to serious and life-threatening behaviors like aggressive passing and throwing objects at another person.

Reader Jason K. just shared his experience. And we’re sorry to report it was the latter. Jason says he was passed so closely by a man driving a car that the rear-view mirror might have made contact. After that unsettling experience, Jason caught up to the man at a train crossing, tapped on his window, and tried to talk with him. It went downhill from there. Fast.

It all happened this past Saturday afternoon at the intersection of SE 11th and Division.

Jason shared a video with us that was taken by someone in a car who saw the situation unfold.

Here’s the video, followed by excerpts from an email Jason shared with us (emphases mine):

“… The driver in the video buzzed me (intentionally, I believe) so close that his mirror (nearly?) grazed me. I was far enough from the right side of the right lane to avoid being doored, but I wouldn’t say I was taking the lane. Not that it should have mattered as there was very little traffic. When he passed me, there were no cars in the left lane. He scared the shit out of me.

15 seconds later, I rode up to him while he was stopped at the train crossing while a Max train passed. I tapped on his window and gestured to roll it down. He did. I calmly, politely (I only mention that because I was/am proud of myself for keeping my cool and not blowing my top, which I have done before, sadly) told him that he passed me very close and it scared me and asked him to please not do that anymore. He looked at me and said, “You know what bitch? Fuck you.” at which point he punched me in the face through his open car window. I staggered back (I was straddling my bike) and may have fallen into his car mirror (which you can see is broken in the video). Then I punched at him through the open car window…

So at this point he rolls his window back up and starts flooring the accelerator (there are cars and a train in front of him) to smoke his tires and he’s yelling something inside his car and he holds his phone up and I say, “good, let’s call the cops.” I walk to the side of the road and start calling 911 and then the gate goes up and he drives off… I continue on my way to work and after crossing the tracks I notice that the guy is stopped ahead in the middle of the road. He’s waiting for me. Once he sees me he points his car right at me and floors the accelerator and charges at me! Luckily there were other cars on the road that impeded him, and I was able to get to relative safety in the parking lot you see in the video.

He drives into the parking lot, screaming incoherently (I’m calling 911 again at this point), and he spins his car around and hops up on the sidewalk to try and hit me again, then drives the wrong way back towards Milwaukee from the little Powell on-ramp and the circling begins. He keeps doing this for a while. I felt like a bleeding man in a life raft while a shark circled around me. Meanwhile I’m trying to scream my location etc to the 911 operator who can’t figure out where I am. She tells me that there are officers on the way, and finally the insane driver leaves and I tell her where he’s going only to see him come back two minutes later, now going the other direction.

Note the broken mirror.

… I see the guy coming back again, he makes a couple more passes, then heads off in a third direction. I call 911 back and update the operator and then finally the officers show up. This is the worst part of the whole thing. I give my statement, honestly. I tell them about the earlier altercation before he flipped out, and one of the cops says, “I’m a bicyclist too and I gotta say you’re lucky; I always want to punch these jerks.” That gave me a laugh, and I thought he’d be on my side, but it turns out that maybe he wasn’t. He asks me what I want to do, as far as pressing charges. He starts telling me how there is no way they could get any charge to stick other than maybe a reckless driving misdemeanor ticket. I ask how can this be, when he was clearly menacing me and trying to use his car as a weapon, and the fact the he punched me totally without provocation. He says something like, “you’re probably thinking of like attempted murder charge, but there’s no way that would ever happen. Gangbangers who walk up and shoot other gangbangers who don’t die don’t get charged with attempted murder. You can’t press an assault charge because you’re not injured. So basically this guy is a jerk and you shouldn’t have tried to talk to him and probably nothing is going to happen.”

I wondered at this point if maybe they were just not wanting to do the paperwork, and asked if that was it and was told that there were there, and going to do the report, but just don’t expect anything to really happen. The second officer makes a “parallel” to what happened by saying how a couple days ago a driver hit a parked car and drove off and a bunch of people called and they eventually caught him and they gave him a reckless driving ticket, to which I questioned how that applied to what happened to me where this maniac was trying to run me down? Then they got kind of irritated with me and I could tell that communication with them wasn’t going anywhere so I made my statement and then they left me there. I had no idea if they had caught the guy, what would happen next, or what to do.

I have been hit before, I have been threatened and harassed before, I have crashed and had bikes fail while riding before, but I have never been afraid to get back on my bike before. After the officers left I was just standing there, in the same spot where the maniac had been trying to kill me, and I felt like a target. Every red car I saw was his car. I felt like I was swimming with the sharks and all I could think was how this guy was waiting for me right around the corner. My wife won’t have a husband anymore. My son won’t have a father anymore. Or worse, he’ll find me, he’ll run me down when my son is on my bike with me. I walked back to the Max and rode that to work. Later that night, after my shift at work (which did a lot to calm my nerves and return me to normalcy) I started to panic when I was riding home, and I couldn’t concentrate on riding because every single car I would see in the dark was his, and they were all coming right at me. I don’t know what willl happen when I need to get on my bike for work tomorrow, but I am pretty sure I’ll be terrified and taking a different route. I no longer feel safe riding a bicycle. I hope this doesn’t last long.”

This stuff really bugs me on many levels.

I forwarded Jason’s email to Portland Police Bureau Sgt. and Public Information Officer Peter Simpson to confirm the incident. I also asked if he could comment on what the community’s expectations should be when something like this happens.

“It looks more likely to be Harassment (misdemeanor) than an assault, due to the victim not having any injury.”
— Sgt. Pete Simpson, Portland Police Bureau

Simpson said the police report is similar to Jason’s account and that the responding officers looked for the vehicle at the registered owner’s address but were unable to locate it. “Based on the report,” Simpson said, “it looks more likely to be Harassment (misdemeanor) than an assault, due to the victim not having any injury.” At this point Jason hasn’t pursued any charges, so Simpson says the case will be dropped. “We can’t prosecute a case without a willing victim,” he added. If Jason ultimately decides to press charges he can follow-up with the responding officers.

As for the road rage itself, Simpson said the PPB strongly discourages people from engaging and/or arguing with other road users in situations like this. “More often than not, emotions are too high to have a rational conversation,” he said. “Seems like there is a general lack of civility when it comes to these kinds of things and nobody ever wants to admit fault.” If you find yourself in this position, Simpson recommends getting as much information and evidence as possible and file a report.

I also showed the video to Charley Gee, a lawyer with Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton. He said the driver is clearly violating laws, including careless driving. Gee thinks the police response should have been stronger. “I’d imagine that if it was a police officer that was the person being driven around like that there would be some enforcement.” He also said if Portland is serious about Vision Zero, police need to take this type of menacing behavior much more seriously.

That being said, Gee also said Jason didn’t do himself any favors once he retaliated. “If I were Jason, I would tread a little carefully given his mutual combat role,” Gee said. “I have seen situations where the cops are pressured to investigate and charge and they end charging both parties and let the courts sort it out.”

Another thing hurting Jason’s case is that he wasn’t actually hit with the car in the first place. Sgt. Simpson told us it’s difficult for police to devote resources to “I-was-almost-hit scenarios” when there are numerous other cases of actual contact and crimes in progress they also must attend to.

In the end, there’s no an easy path toward justice. Nor are there easy answers to the many questions this brings up. The thing I focus on is the initial behavior that sparked the altercation — a dangerous pass. Whether the man in the car was aware of how dangerous and scary his driving was, the fact remains that it happens all too often. That’s what bothers me.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • John Lascurettes February 4, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Did the cops get a gander at the video?

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  • Todd Hudson February 4, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I can not say enough the importance of a mounted bike camera, especially when the police bureau is hamstrung by budget cuts.

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    • Gerald Fittipaldi February 4, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      The budget cuts are irrelevant in this case. There are places in this country where police will take appropriate action if someone’s life is threatened with a lethal weapon. Portland is not one of them.

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    • Gerald Fittipaldi February 4, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      And might I add that the video of this incident proves that cameras are a waste of money. Video evidence means nothing if you’re on a bicycle.

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      • Todd Hudson February 5, 2016 at 8:01 am

        That isn’t true. I can’t say anything about it now, but I had an incident about a month ago, and my camera was running. Let’s just say it absolved me from any question of being at fault. Even if the PPB don’t care, civil law is still a process that works, even it is very slow.

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      • jeff February 9, 2016 at 10:35 am

        huh? what about the citation for the driver on 34th last summer who buzzed a rider at high speed?

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    • Phil Richman February 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      Any recommendations for what kind of mounted bike camera? They seem to be getting more reasonably priced as time goes on. Thanks!

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  • Gerald Fittipaldi February 4, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Is it OK for someone to chase a person around with a knife, swinging and missing with every intent to kill? This incident should be treated no differently.

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  • Adam H. February 4, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Do PPB not understand what assault means? Intent to harm with the visible ability to cause said harm. Injuries are not required: that’s battery. Perhaps a lawyer can chime in, but this is my understanding. e.g. walking around waving a gun about and saying “I’m gonna shoot you” is assault, even if no shots are fired. Come to think of it, the driver punched the bicycle rider, so in this case, it IS battery. Gross negligence on PPB’s part.

    This same thing has happened to me many times, though not quite to this degree. It’s frightening and there’s literally nothing you can do. I don’t even bother calling the cops anymore because I know nothing will come of it. This driver clearly has some emotional trauma that should prevent him from driving, yet the state sees no issue allowing this maniac to roam free on our streets. There are many drivers like this that simply can’t handle driving without wanting to physically harm someone else, yet are still allowed to drive. There need to be lifetime license suspensions for cases like these. We wouldn’t tolerate this kind of behaviour in any other situation, but because a car is the weapon, it’s somehow okay?

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    • PNP February 4, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      I just checked the Oregon Revised Statutes for definitions of assault and battery. Interestingly, Oregon seems to define assault by the definition I learned in law school for battery. In law school, I learned that assault was defined as having occurred when a person is put in apprehension of harm and battery resulted from an unwanted contact (no injury required). The ORS sections do require that injury occurs in order to apply.

      On the other hand, I did find an interesting definition of Menacing, however: ORS163.190 says that “a person commits the crime of menacing if by word or conduct the person intentionally attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.” It’s classified as a Class A misdemeanor. And I’d say that it most definitely applies here.

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      • Alan Kessler February 4, 2016 at 9:18 pm

        It’s confusing that the same term “assault” is used for both a civil tort (basically the definition Adam gave: “intentionally causing the reasonable apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive contact”) and a crime (“Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another”).

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      • El Biciclero February 6, 2016 at 10:11 am

        Sounds like the term to memorize and repeat to police is “menacing”.

        “Yes, officer, I’d like to pursue menacing charges in addition to reckless driving.”

        Lawyers? Does that make a difference? I noticed that the Police didn’t consider this option, they appear to go from “you probably want attempted murder, but that’s impossible, and there’s no possibility of assault, since you’re not injured, so you’re out of luck.” If the victim suggested “menacing” and “reckless driving”, would that set any different wheels in motion?

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    • derek February 12, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      Do PPB not understand what assault means?

      I think they absolutely do, Adam. Watch closely and listen to this video found looping on the internet here. http://www.klug.pw/

      Matt’s tort claim explains the context very well, read it here.

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  • Mike Quiglery February 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Americans in general are paranoid, angry, in breakdown mode, on drugs. Cops always take the easy way out. The criminal justice system is broken, the jails overcrowded. You’re on your own. If you must confront, use a potent pepper spray. Hit him in the face and disappear. Bikes can outmaneuver cars.

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    • Mixtieme February 4, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Yea. My thought is the buzz by isn’t worth garbage to the lawyers or the police. After the tap on the window all parties are at fault? Sounds like we are on our own. I am no one’s doormat and if the police and lawyers believe that’s how I ought to behave or die, well this is no civilization.

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    • Adron @ Transit Sleuth February 4, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      I concur. I don’t even try with the police, never have, never will, they’re bloody useless in 99% of situations. It’s the sad reality of things in the US.

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    • El Biciclero February 5, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      The law often works best against those who abide by it.

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    • BeavertonRider February 5, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      What a crappy situation. After reading all the comments, one thing stands out… The reaction of nearly everyone commenting here. The overwhelming consensus is that this driver was intending to hurt Jason either with the initial close call or the follow-up actions.

      I am discounting the fisticuffs, though. To be hit in the face by the driver, even in a Focus, requires that Jason had his head inside the vehicle. Whatever courtesy Jason may have been extending through his words, he was unnecessarily intruding into the driver’s space. As well, Jason hit back.

      Too many commenters here wrongly presume that they know or understood the driver to be exercising any intention at all. We have no explanation for the close pass and there are a variety of things that may have caused the close call, yet, universally, the conclusion here is that the driver intended to kill and injure. We just dont know that.

      As well, with the follow-up, there’s universal consensus that the driver, again, was intending to measure injure, but we just don’t know that. Maybe he was, maybe he was bullying, maybe he was harassing, maybe he was attempting to scare… Who knows?

      All of this is to say… Without actually knowing any of this, why the quick calls for prosecution for assault? Why the quick condemnation of the PPB?

      I’ve had my own close passes both bike and in a car. Twice while on my bike, a passing car has swerved into the bike lane and both times I saw why…a vehicle in the adjacent lane creeped too far over or the driver was distracted. Of course, had I not seen the preceding action, I could have easily concluded these people were intentional in trying to hurt me. While driving, I have passed too close to a bicyclist either because of an adjacent vehicle’s actions or distraction. Neither incident involved any intent directed at the cyclist.

      This driver, though, had no legit reason to punch out at Jason even if Jason had his head partly inside the vehicle…unless the driver felt threatened.

      This is fairly complicated givem we dont see the initial pass or the follow-up interaction imvolving the punch. But too many people are way too quick to presume things about the driver and the incident in their demand for action(s).

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  • Mark S February 4, 2016 at 3:58 pm


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    • q`Tzal February 4, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      Far fig newton?

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  • ethan February 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    In my experience, the police response was typical for this situation. It sucks. Even with video evidence of this driver going crazy, I’m sure the police will brush it off.

    Just like they did when I called them because someone grabbed my bike out from under me and threw it across the street.

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  • Spiffy February 4, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    “You can’t press an assault charge because you’re not injured.”

    that’s when I ask the cop if I punch him if I’ll be charged with assault… I’m pretty sure the answer is YES… you don’t have to have injuries to be assaulted…

    avoiding being murdered does not being the assailant shouldn’t be charged with attempted murder…

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  • Spiffy February 4, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Oregon plate 686 DRF… let’s hope no cyclists spot their car unguarded…

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  • Spiffy February 4, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    “at which point he punched me in the face through his open car window.”

    this is why I don’t own a gun…

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    • bjorn February 4, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Seriously this kind of stuff will continue until people get worried that if they do it they are going to get shot in the face but I don’t want to be the one paying the price afterward. It is going to happen at some point though, which is something people should think about before they try to run someone down.

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    • 37Dennis February 5, 2016 at 2:21 am

      … And exactly why I do…

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    • was carless February 6, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      Dude, the bicyclist could also have just been gunned down. Road rage incidents are really unpredictable, you never know what kind of mood a person in a car is in – since you can’t see their face or body language beforehand.

      Steer clear!

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  • Alex Graham February 4, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    This is scary as hell, especially because of the PPD’s reaction to what is obviously harassment, assault, possibly battery, and maybe even attempted murder.

    How can a cop say that “We can’t prosecute a case without a willing victim”?

    Isn’t the whole point of the State acting as prosecutor the idea that the State itself views a criminal act to be against the whole of society, not just the victim?

    Isn’t that why criminal cases are always “the state versus so-and-so”?

    What if the victim were too scared of retaliation to testify? Then the perpetrator doesn’t get prosecuted?

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    • Adam H. February 4, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      You answered your own question: it’s because the state sees protecting drivers at all costs as more beneficial to society than incarcerating the bad ones.

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    • Reginald February 5, 2016 at 12:11 am


      It sure seems like I remember the state going after some cake bakers quite aggressively recently.

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  • Josh Chernoff February 4, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    But if you spit on a guy you better lawyer up quick.

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    • Spiffy February 4, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      was there a follow up?

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    • Reginald February 5, 2016 at 12:12 am

      It may even be a felony if you spit on the popo.

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  • Scott H February 4, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    So why doesn’t Jason press charges then?

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  • bjcefola February 4, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Does the cyclist have a reasonable chance pursuing a civil claim?

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    • Alan Kessler February 4, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      Does the driver have any assets?

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      • bjcefola February 5, 2016 at 10:02 am

        Only one way to find out. Also, a claim or judgment might be covered by their insurance. Or (going out on a limb) their employers insurance if they were driving to or from work.

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  • J4son February 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    This is unacceptable in a civil society (yes, obviously we are not). I will be purchasing a camera for use on my commute tomorrow.

    Cameras, pepper spray, and a good attorney seem to be the new requirements for riding your bike anywhere in the “Greatest Country On Earth”.

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  • Kate February 4, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Not this level of insanity, but I got hit by someone’s side mirror as they passed me. The driver kept going, but I was able to file a police report. This incident scared me so badly that I haven’t biked on Portland city streets since then (it’s been over a year) because I get too stressed out and anxious just thinking about it. I’ve been in a crash before this incident, but I knew it was because the driver couldn’t see me. But to get hit from behind feels so menacing and intentional that I just can’t get over the fact that there are people out there everywhere who have no qualms doing this. I think it’s really bad for this city, because before this incident, I was a daily bike commuter and pretty confident, and now it’s completely different. I don’t see how bike mode share will increase significantly (short of separated paths) without these “little incidents” that the police currently don’t bother with becoming a more serious offense. It’s the reason I have changed my lifestyle – it’s brought to light that there are things beyond my control that can kill me in a very real way. And there’s no consequences. Crazy!

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    • was carless February 6, 2016 at 11:16 pm

      I’ve noticed my stress and anxiety level skyrockets whenever I have to bike in heavy traffic outside of downtown. To the point where I’ve had to stop and just go home and forget work and anything else I’ve had scheduled for that day.

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  • Andrea February 4, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    That is out-of-control and precisely why I have cameras on my bike now. About two months ago, at 19 wks pregnant and prior to owning camera’s, someone tried to pass me on the left (after making an illegal right turn into the left lane) while I was traveling in the left lane preparing to make a left hand turn a block and a half down. The person driving the SUV, with his young child in the back seat watching, was yelling at me like I did something to cause it. He nearly hit me with is mirror. I’d like to think I could have pursued some kind of charges against this person had I not been so angry and upset that I didn’t think to gather his license plate info and call the police. People like this should not be allowed on the road. I don’t want to encounter them while I’m driving, biking, or walking.

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  • Jason February 4, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Scott H
    So why doesn’t Jason press charges then?Recommended 0

    I am Jason. I called the police. I made my statement. I told the officers I wanted him in jail. I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. I never heard back. I was never given any option to press charges or not; I thought that was the whole point of calling and filing a report. So I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. Guess it doesn’t matter since they never caught him anyway. I mean, he came back to the scene multiple times, but the officers were so late in getting there. I wonder how hard they actually looked. I will call PPB tomorrow and ask what else I need to do. Maybe track him down myself and ask him to go to the cops myself? Lol. Anyway? Thanks for posting this Jonathan.

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    • Dan February 4, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Hey Jason, glad to see you made it out of that situation without injury. Hope it will not put you off getting on your bike…maybe with some cameras.

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    • Gerald Fittipaldi February 4, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Call the police. Tell them you were recently threatened repeatedly with a lethal weapon and you want to press charging along with a restraining order. Don’t mention the word “bicycle” or the word “car” and they will take action.

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      • Pete February 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm

        Absolutely. I’ve made this comment before here, but do not mention you’re on a bicycle and it will automatically be assumed you’re in a car. If it’s in real time, you are calling to report a driver who put you in danger because they are driving like they’re under the influence of something, and you want to make sure nobody gets killed. Then you pass along their license plate number and direction they’re heading, and that they happened to have hit you and left at said location. When the police (finally) show up, then you fill them in on the little details like the guy punching you in the face.

        I’ve been through a few of these myself, though not quite this bad. Glad you’re OK! One time I rode quickly into a nearby lot with a large outside restaurant crowd (the McMen’s at Murray/Allen) and the (drunk) dude saw the wisdom of leaving when a nearby motorist said he was calling the cops… ironically I ended up moving in a few doors down from the guy and learned he was a school bus driver. Another time I got knocked over (while one foot clipped in) by a hothead I was trying to talk reasonably with who yelled at me to get in the bike lane, and a month later I recognized him (and car) in front of his house, so I apologized to him (disarming) and ended up having that reasonable conversation. Turns out Bill was also an occasional bicyclist and had been hit the week after while riding in the very same lane he told me to get in! I had just gotten my LCI and got him into a course I was teaching, and now we say hi from time to time when he’s in front of his house.

        Collect your options and regain your thoughts and emotions… you just never know how these things turn out. Good luck!!

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        • was carless February 6, 2016 at 11:19 pm

          Wow, thats amazingly civil… I am glad that your experiences turned out for the ok.

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          • Pete February 7, 2016 at 7:39 pm

            Most have, but it’s been a learning process! We were riding in the Oakland heading up to the hills once and someone intentionally buzzed one of the riders, and when he started yelling at the guy when we caught him at a light the guy calmly showed him his ‘piece’. Kinda lucky that’s all that happened there…

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      • El Biciclero February 5, 2016 at 9:52 am

        “Tell them you were recently threatened repeatedly with a lethal weapon…”

        To be extra careful, you might want to say “dangerous” weapon, at least in Oregon. A “deadly” (which is what someone might assume you mean by “lethal”) weapon is only something designed with the chief purpose of being a weapon. A “dangerous” weapon is any object wielded as a weapon that can cause serious bodily harm.

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    • Scott H February 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      Crazy stuff. His license plate is in the video, Spiffy may have even identified it already. Call the police department, follow up, file a restraining order, pressing charges isn’t always inclusive of filing a report. If he punched you, that sure seems like assault. Then again, if you tried to punch him back and succeeded, you could be in the hot seat too. I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer. But it would be nice to get psychopaths like that off our streets.

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      • SD February 4, 2016 at 6:46 pm

        I imagine his employer would also like to know.

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      • Captain Karma February 5, 2016 at 1:02 pm

        Also if the driver called 911(?), they already know who he is.

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    • wsbob February 4, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      “…Simpson said the police report is similar to Jason’s account and that the responding officers looked for the vehicle at the registered owner’s address but were unable to locate it. …” bikeportland

      One possibility is, the guy may be laying low, anticipating the police may be after him. He may decide not to park at his home, or even stay there for awhile, hoping they’ll give up finding him. He’ll likely come home eventually though. That’s the time to get him.

      I’ve not seen the vid yet, but by your description, if accurate, the guy driving sounds to be out of control, maybe mentally unstable. I hope you keep encouraging the police to persist in getting this guy. Need to find what he’s up to. Today’s display could be the tip of an iceberg, if you catch my meaning. What lawyer Charlie Gee is quoted, saying about the driver, in this bikeportland story, sounds to me like a reasonable possibility.

      Traveling busy streets these days is difficult enough among people that are alert and that have even tempered dispositions. There’s definitely a need to encourage people having trouble keeping their emotions, temper, and behavior in check, to take steps to get that under control before heading out on the road.

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      • Alex February 4, 2016 at 10:59 pm

        Innocent until proven guilty if you are a person pointing a gun at a mountain biker, guilty until proven innocent if you are a car going after a person. wsbob in his finest form.

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        • J4son February 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm

          @Alex . . .exactly. It seems that the term “duplicity” was not common in the English language until after the Baby Boomer generation.

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        • wsbob February 5, 2016 at 7:06 pm

          Alex, I don’t appreciate your nasty tone, or the fact that the way you’ve written what you have, it’s hard to tell exactly what analogy you’re trying to describe.

          Actually, rather than bother to try guess at a serious answer to point that may exist somewhere in your rather off topic remark, I’d just as maus deleted your comment. And Jonathan….in that case, I have no objection if you also delete this comment of mine. In the event that doesn’t happen, here’s some thoughts I have:

          As for the guy driving this car, I’ve not concluded he’s guilty of anything, yet.
          That’s a job for the police and the courts to figure out. I do though, think the police should track the guy down, and talk with him, to see what’s up with him, and whether he has violated some laws. The alleged victim’s description, and the video gives quite a good indication, I think, that the police ought to look into who is the person driving.

          A similarity of this situation, to the situation out at the mountain bike park with the people on foot, armed with guns tazers, is at both places, there was somebody doing something that seemed strange. Difference here, is that Jason, the person riding the bike, very soon after the incident, contacted the police. At the mountain bike park, months and months went by with nobody filing reports with the police, allowing continued encounters to escalate in severity.

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    • rain waters February 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Try to stay out of wetikos way no matter how much humility it takes. You will not profit from interaction with cannibalistic cultural blindness.

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  • Granpa February 4, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I so feel the anger and frustration and paranoia from this video. That guy started hateful and angry then went insane. Jason is not the only cyclist this lunatic is after. He hates all of us and Jason simply had the misfortune to be the victim.


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  • James February 4, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    I’m dumbfounded with rage. This is clearly attempted murder. PPB’s message couldn’t be more clear: it’s okay to threaten cyclists with your car.

    The deliberate, condescending inaction of Portland police will result in an escalation of this kind of menacing behavior.

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  • Spiffy February 4, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    these kinds of incidents empower me… I’ll be taking the lane with my helmet mounted camera on major streets… we don’t have to play nice… bikes are mostly out of the way because we care, not because we have to…

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    • Scott H February 4, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      Not everyone is as hardcore as you dude. Some of us just want to get to work without an altercation.

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  • James February 4, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Also, if this happened to me in Portland, with zero consequences for the driver, especially with video evidence and corroborating witnesses?

    I’d be done biking in Portland. Done.

    Cycling is a benefit to the city. And it’s a benefit the city has to earn.

    Jason wasn’t on SE 11th for no reason. There is shit for safe north-south connections in that part of town. Which forces cyclists to mingle with raging assholes that are, apparently, welcome to mow us down with impunity.

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  • Gerald Fittipaldi February 4, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    I’m going to write a letter to someone to complain about this incident. I’m not happy with our laws and I’m not happy with the response that the police gave.

    Can someone provide some advice on who the letter(s) should be written to? A contact at the state level? If so, who? Who else? The mayor? (Clearly a letter to PPB would be a waste of time).

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  • Kate February 4, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    This is why I have never confronted a driver after very near misses. And it makes me so mad, because I get chastised for it. Just this week I had my closest call in quite a while, when a driver got impatient waiting behind a left-turning vehicle and swerved right directly into me as I was riding adjacent to them. We didn’t make contact but only by centimeters. Luckily I was basically at my destination at that point and was happy to get off the bike. A terrifying adrenaline rush. When I tell my father, who I was meeting there, he tells me well- this is why you should wear those glowing, light up reflector vests (dude, i’ve got front, back and side wheel lights and my rain jacket and pants have reflective piping).

    The he says, “well did you at least yell at him and bang on the window?!” No, I don’t need to incite further anger. If they didn’t see me and it was a close call they will feel guilty and maybe look next time. But as soon I as I get in their face, that guilt will be erased by defensiveness. On the other hand, if they did see me and it was menacing, yelling at them will not make a difference and may only spur more violence.

    Complaining aside, I think that 75% of the drivers I encounter everyday on Portland streets are trying to share the road and make an effort to be courteous. Nearly all close calls i’ve had have been from inattention, not intention to maim. I find that (slightly) comforting.

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    • Pete February 4, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      Now that’s a comment of the week. This is absolutely the wisest thing to do on the road, just waaay more difficult for some of us (boys). I am in awe. 🙂

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    • El Biciclero February 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      It is rather sad that standing up for yourself, even if only with words, has essentially become as much of an “infraction” as menacing someone by threatening to run them over. When someone threatens you, it is in your best interest to run away, else face your own legal charges.

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  • Adam February 4, 2016 at 5:23 pm


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  • Dwaine Dibbly February 4, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Don’t confront people, especially people who are so careless or dangerous that they almost just killed you. Don’t tap on windows or body panels. Don’t interact with them in any way at all. Do take a photo of the license plate and maybe the driver if you can do it without being threatening. Do report the person to the police.

    Every encounter should be treated as though both of you are armed. The driver *is* armed, with a vehicle that could easily kill you. When I’m concealed carrying a firearm, I have a higher responsibility to NOT create a confrontation since that could be seen by a jury as goading someone into reacting against me. I use the same approach even if I’m not carrying because it is simply a good way to behave.

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    • Captain Karma February 5, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      There’s a good chance that if either of these folks had a gun, at least one would likely be dead now.

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  • Rob Chapman February 4, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Holy maniac Batman. I’m glad Jason wasn’t hurt.

    Can’t help but think that had I been in Jason’s shoes that there’s a good chance my SIG would be in an evidence locker.

    Please watch out for yourselves y’all.

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  • Dan A February 4, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    What’s the charge for shooting a gun at someone in the mall and failing to hit them?

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    • Reginald February 4, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      If they were shooting at other people first and you were trying to stop them to save lives, then likely no charges against you.

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      • El Biciclero February 5, 2016 at 12:33 pm

        That’s a nice Old West legal theory, but in all likelihood, you’re going to jail first, then things might get sorted out later, if enough witness accounts can be gathered to corroborate your story.

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        • Reginald February 5, 2016 at 3:16 pm

          Thanks to the unreasonable liberal legal system you will definitely go to jail and face a grand jury. If you were in the right and had obvious good cause to do what you did then you’ll likely be let off with no charges.

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  • Tom February 4, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Current law is not ideally designed to handling this situation. This is why more cities are considering special anti-harassment laws to fill the gap, like the laws in LA and Berkeley. The main benefit being a deterrent.



    A commitment from Portland PD to put more police on bike patrols would also help.

    If you have the license number, you can also get the vehicle owners name for a small fee from an on-line detective agency (they must have a license) and as long as you believe a crime was been committed or others could be in danger. Then an on-line background search will turn up background information on the individual. You can send the video to his employer and published the video on-line along with his data. This is sometimes done by police for vice crimes, in order to embarrass the perp. Works really well. You don’t get to be anonymous if you are committing crimes.

    I agree that you should not confront though. Get a video and stills for later use, but keep clear. Save getting the message across (to press, his boss, his wife, his facebook friends) for a later time when you are not vulnerable.

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    • Pete February 4, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Just a note about the anti-harassment ordinances you see popping up in California: they are civil, not criminal. We worked with a neighboring city in getting theirs implemented and ours is still on the back-burner (little distraction called Super Bowl 50 seems to have occupied city council for a while). Sunnyvale’s is included here: http://sunnyvale.ca.gov/Portals/0/Sunnyvale/CouncilReports/2012/12-150.pdf

      And here’s what happened when it went to San Jose:

      It was also recommended by our county BPAC, but I’m not sure where that currently stands.

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    • Buzz February 5, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Oregon already has a vulnerable user law, which the PPB conveniently almost never cites any motorists with.

      My feeling continues to be that, because most cops are motorized, they identify with and give the benefit of the doubt to other motorists. Always.

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      • Pete February 5, 2016 at 11:02 am

        Yep… though it definitely goes beyond just the cops.

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  • Reginald February 4, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Agree with Dwayne D above. Don’t interact with them is the best plan. The close pass did not hurt you.

    Avoiding interaction is particularly important if you are not armed with some kind of weapon.

    As far as pressing charges – do you really want a nut-case such as this to be involved in a legal battle with you? Can they get your name/address? If so, your life might be in danger and if you have a family so might theirs.

    I do think the fuzz should give the guy a warning just so it’s on his record that he’s a nut case.

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  • Ovid Boyd February 4, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is the commissioner in charge of the Police Bureau. You can contact his office here:

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    • Rob Chapman February 5, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Communicating with Hales is a proven waste of time.

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  • Adron @ Transit Sleuth February 4, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    The simple fact is, today’s society encourages cowardice and passive aggressiveness as the way to gain change in behavior. It’s probably the slowest, but somehow the least violent way to do so. It’s kind of sad, but it’s the way it is. I’ve dealt with this mess more than a few times and this comes up with the police and those excuses just endlessly stream out. The irony is, when I lived in the south the police would regularly retort with the opposite “why didn’t you just beat his @$$” or “just shoot him next time” (I’m not kidding) and we can see what that kind of attitude in the south has done (higher crime, violence, etc, I could go on). So maybe the passive aggressive approach is strangely enough more effective. It appears to be…

    …on that note I’ve dedicated a whole bunch of energy at not lashing out when threatened by motorists. Often they don’t know what they’re doing anyway, so I just try to be all zen and keep rolling. It’d be nice if we had decent bike infra & separated lanes and this wouldn’t have to happen. As long as we keep getting funneled into vulnerable bike lanes and directly into the lane we’re going to end up with endless confrontations like this…

    …in the end, sad. :-/

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    • Reginald February 4, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      High crime? Is Chicago in the south?

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      • Oliver February 5, 2016 at 10:52 am

        Warm? Is it summer?

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  • Chasing Backon February 4, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    My take aways from this:

    Don’t interact with any drivers who might buzz to close to me, no matter intentional or not.

    Don’t expect PPP to enforce any laws protecting my safety after the incident.

    Somebody needs to explain to this driver his behavior is not appropriate.

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    • Rob Chapman February 5, 2016 at 9:32 am

      Who is the “somebody” if the police won’t do anything?

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  • Jason February 4, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    I appreciate all the support from everyone here. I was worried, when I originally emailed Jonathan, that this would come across as my fault. Yes, I should have just let him go on his way without trying to talk to him, no matter how peaceful and reasonable I was being. Yes, I shouldn’t have struck him back. But am I at fault here? I don’t know. I really feel guilty about the whole thing. Once the adrenaline and fear and whatnot has worn off a little, and I’m able to air this out publicly and talk about it, I’m left with some very conflicting feelings. This guy, whether a road-raging maniac or just the wrong guy at the wrong moment, is a person too. A human being with supposedly the same feelings and desires as me, right? If the PPB could find the guy have him apologize, and I would apologize, too, and we could sit down and talk about what happened and leave with a better understanding of each other…I would consider the matter successfully resolved. They PPb does their job, I do mine, he does his and we all get along. That’s all I want. Anyway, thanks BP for having my back. I’m pleased to report that I actually got on the family bike yesterday (REO DadWagon) and took my son to the doctor on it without too much anxiety.

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    • Reginald February 5, 2016 at 12:24 am

      We all have sympathy that you had the stuff scared out of you and that you had to deal with a nut-case. Many of us have had similar bad experiences with cars, both while riding a bike and while driving a car. Glad you didn’t get hurt. Not all people involved in road rage incidents live to tell the tale.

      I hope you learned an important lesson here. NEVER interact with aggressive drivers if you don’t absolutely have to or else it might not end as well as it did in this case. Get the license number and call the cops. Being injured or killed is not worth getting to give him a piece of your mind. Let it go. It sucks, and in a perfect world you could pull out your piece and waste him and the cops would understand, but we aren’t there yet.

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      • Mark February 5, 2016 at 9:16 am

        So one has to meekly just take the bullying and abuse and file a report with the police, who will do absolutely nothing about it.

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        • El Biciclero February 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm

          Indeed. I wish some of the anti-bullying mania that has been sweeping the country in the last couple of years would leak into attitudes about road interactions like this one.

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        • Reginald February 5, 2016 at 3:23 pm

          In this case there was no bullying or abuse, just a close pass that the cyclist didn’t approve of. You don’t have to “take it” but if you confront them then you are putting yourself at risk, and, you may end up with charges against you – depending on how it turns out. Let it go. Report them. Sad situation for sure, but with our laws that give criminals more protection than victims (particularly when fire arms are involved) best plan is to not confront if possible.

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    • wsbob February 5, 2016 at 12:35 am

      Seeing the video, after I’d read your earlier comment and posted my thoughts on your description of what the guy driving had done, helped me feel more certain he was somebody it would do well for the police to get a hold of and talk with.

      Him cutting a fast circle around that corner and through the parking lot with you in the middle, seems to me to be just too much to pass off as a minor outburst, without looking more closely into what made him do it. I think the vid showed him making that loop twice, each time cutting through the parking lot for no apparent good reason, and leaving the parking lot driveway onto the street without really stopping sufficiently to look for oncoming pedestrians or street traffic.

      The police should check and see if he’s got a record, and if so, what’s on it. Of course, you already probably know, if the police do find and talk to him, he may have a story claiming you did something that justified his actions. You shouldn’t have swung back at him with him being in the car where he couldn’t get to you easily…you should have backed away. I don’t want to not be discreet and say a lot of nasty things about this guy, Better to keep focused on having the PD do its follow up, and see what it can learn about him.

      What I see in the video, kind of scares me. Looks like someone that, until you talk to them to be sure he isn’t, could be a powder keg. Is there going to be a next time when he blows up worse on someone? Or instead of a very close pass, he decides to actually bump somebody, or run them over? Police need to talk to this guy.

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      • Reginald February 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm

        Agree with all that except:
        For their safety the cyclist should not get close enough that the driver can touch them.
        After the car driver punched the cyclist, the cyclist had every right to cold-cock him. I don’t see how even our insane liberal laws that protect criminals more than victims could find the cyclist not justified in hitting back. What does the law say about that?

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        • wsbob February 5, 2016 at 6:46 pm

          As I read Jason’s description of the incident, if was from within his car that the guy punched Jason. It’s just my guess for the most part, rather than referring directly to the statutes, but I don’t think someone standing outside a car, and being punched by someone within, would give the person punched, a right to punch back…unless for example the person inside the car was physically restraining the person they were punching.

          Self defense would be the primary objective here, I think. If the opportunity exists, getting away from aggressor would be the first step. That failing, or if the person were to get out of their car, pursue, capture and start hitting again, that would change the picture entirely. In that scenario, I’d guess the person hit could certainly be defended for hitting back.

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        • Jonas Grumby February 5, 2016 at 10:52 pm

          Maybe you could stop painting everything as a “liberal” problem. It’s not “liberal” laws that allow these events to go unchecked but incompetent and apathetic police. Oh, and entitled, and angry motorists.

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    • resopmok February 5, 2016 at 8:06 am

      J, if it’s of any consolation, I don’t think you should blame yourself for any actions you took, except maybe for punching back. Even that is understandable given the circumstances, I think, and the way such behavior on someone else’s part triggers the fight or flight mechanism. While may here say that interacting with the dangerous driver in the first place is problematic, I disagree somewhat. I have had the opportunity myself on occasion to calmly tap on a window and inform someone their driving scared the crap out of me, usually with an apologetic response. Often times people don’t realize what they have done, and do change their behavior and driving for the better in the future when informed about this sort of thing. Then there’s the occasional DB who’s already on a rampage and reacts like this – sorry about your luck. So even though this sort of thing is a potential outcome, I still agree that you did the right thing in attempting to make human to human contact, instead of just letting your rage simmer. After all, simmering rage doesn’t need much heat to boil over, and then you end up acting like the crazy guy in the car.

      It’s my opinion that the real lesson here is that we need to recognize that, as a society, this sort of reaction by the fellow in the car is unacceptable, and the police absolutely should be doing something about it. That they don’t is evidence of their impotence, self-importance, and general lack of service towards the citizenry which is their duty. We all know, without a shred of doubt, that if this circumstance happened to a cop that the outcome would have been very, very different; that sort of discriminatory action is unacceptable. I really hope that ultimately you aren’t too discouraged to be riding your bike because in reality, this sort of person represents a small (but potentially growing) minority of anti-social nutjobs. Most people are more reasonable, and your reasonable response shouldn’t elicit the sort of psychopathic behavior that driver displayed.

      On a final note, there may be some opportunity for a civil case, in which the threshold of evidence is lower, based on the video evidence that was presented here. I’m certainly no lawyer, so I wouldn’t take action without consulting one, but if you feel there has been a truly negative impact on your life that can be quantified in some way by dollar signs, it’s certainly a way to discourage this person, and potentially others, from acting like such crazies in the future. Best of luck!

      P.S. Pepper spray might be something you consider carrying on your person in case something like this were ever to happen again.

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      • Buzz February 5, 2016 at 9:33 am

        The PPB should have a dedicated contact person who acts as an advocate for cyclists, and to whom these types of incidents can be reported, with a guarantee of follow up, even if it’s just a phone call to let the motorist know that they are on PPB’s radar.

        The information you would need to file a report of this type would be: date, time, location and description of incident, plate number and description of vehicle and driver.

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    • Gerald Fittipaldi February 6, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      I’m truly sorry you had to go through this. I’m sure it was traumatizing. Here’s my take. If someone passes me very closely they either did it unknowingly or they did it intentionally to send me a message. Either way I have every right to talk to them about it.

      If it was unintentional, letting them know how close they got to me is educational. If a couple other cyclists inform them of the same issue on different days, the driver is going to realize, “maybe I am driving too close to cyclists and I should be careful to give more room in the future.” This realization could save a life.

      If it was intentional (regardless of whether I have reason to suspect that it was intentional), I still have the right to speak with the driver. Just because you are a victim does not mean that you should sheepishly let it slide.

      After what you went through I can understand if you don’t stand up for yourself the next time this happens, but the larger community as a whole needs to take a stance that having our lives threatened is not acceptable. We wouldn’t accept it under any other circumstances in public, so why should we accept it when we are on bicycles?

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    • estherc February 6, 2016 at 11:18 pm

      I’m worried that you might have some PTSD. Your feeling guilty concerns me.

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    • derek February 12, 2016 at 1:05 am

      Just be thankful that the Portland Police didn’t get a hard-ON for you when you were in this situation. Watch this video here to see what the Portland Police Bureau did to a friend of mine.

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      • estherc February 12, 2016 at 10:53 am

        pretty meaningless video without context. he was resisting arrest.

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        • derek February 12, 2016 at 4:26 pm

          Want the context, read the tort claim. https://www.scribd.com/doc/293953935/Matt-Klug-Tort-Claim-v-Portland-Police-Charles-Andrew-Hales-et-al#download

          Portland Police attack and taser man with Epilepsy, Traumatic Brain Injury

          This was a car–>on bike collision, and a road rage as well.
          Matt was pulled over after the collision in a normal traffic stop. He is the bicycle rider. He was never told he was under arrest. Nobody tried to handcuff him, he was simply assaulted with the Taser weapon six times.
          Watch and listen to the witness video, again, Esther. http://www.klug.pw/

          The City has dismissed all the baked-up criminal charges, and they were “dismissed, with prejudice”. The City of Portland is/ Internal Affairs Division are investigating whether in fact this was an excessive use of force by the Portland Police Bureau, Esther.
          I hope they never do this to you or anybody you know, Esther.

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  • Tim February 5, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Non-confrontation appears to be the recommended action, by the police and in this forum.

    What would have been the result if the cyclist was a police officer. I suspect it would be considered a justifiable police shooting. The driver was obviously threatening someone’s life and they have a duty to defend. Interestingly, all citizens have the same rights, just not the training.

    Question – when does non-confrontation means passively abandoning your rights?

    Follow up question – what would be constructive confrontation?

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    • Mark February 5, 2016 at 9:25 am

      If Jason hadn’t returned the punch, and had still been subjected to the driver’s subsequent attempts to kill or seriously injure him with deadly force (by running him over with a car), would Jason have been justified in shooting the driver dead to defend himself? I know that we’re required to remove ourselves from a conflict if possible, and that deadly force is only to be used as a last resort, but it’s difficult to outrun a car.

      I don’t feel like trying to calmly talk to the driver should be seen as escalating the event.

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    • Pete February 5, 2016 at 11:19 am

      I couldn’t find it, but your question brings to mind a past BP story about a bicyclist who happened to be a (Beaverton?) police officer pursuing a pickup truck driver (I thought on Murray) who had buzzed him, or rolled coal, or something like that. I remember someone took pictures, and maybe even video, but I do believe the driver was indeed cited.

      Frankly I don’t think you’re going to find anything in this encounter that goes beyond citations into the territory of an arrest, but I’m no lawyer. I do suspect if Jason was a police officer the results would be different, judging by comparison to what happened to a woman who hit my police officer neighbor (and stopped and apologized and cooperated) when he was cycling (she wasn’t arrested but multiply cited, then paid his deductibles in cash to avoid court).

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  • Pat Lowell February 5, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I once tried to have a calm discussion with a driver who’d just pulled a dick move, and it didn’t go well — and that’s when I realized that knowing an actual human personally didn’t give a s*** about me was far more disturbing than having a close call with a faceless machine.

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  • Eric February 5, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Since there is now a control, who wants to try an experiment?
    Punch a cop through a car window, see how they define the incident. Betting it suddenly becomes an assault charge.

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    • Tim February 5, 2016 at 10:31 am

      I think it would be called a justified police shooting – can’t say I disagree.

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    • Nick Skaggs February 5, 2016 at 10:56 am

      I vote Jason to test this. Controls and variables, right? 🙂

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  • Bobcycle February 5, 2016 at 9:20 am

    After finding myself saying “wow, that was close” a few to many times I have basically given up on road rides. I love gravel rides, I Mt bike, and when in town I ride neighborhood green ways or mups only. This after 40 years of biking with confidence in PDX, some years up to 7000 miles. Something has changed and I dont care to be caught up in it. Also fat tire bikes allow you to take gravel shoulders and to cut through parks.

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  • JJJJ February 5, 2016 at 9:50 am

    If the victim had been a cop he could have easily killed the driver 5 times over because he “feared for his life”

    But for everyone else its not even worth a ticket?

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  • Carl February 5, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Genuine request: can we get a guest article from someone at PPB with some *real*, credible steps to take when you get harassed or threatened by a driver? Steps that will result in at least a warning to the driver? Or something? ANYTHING?

    Incidents like this happen often enough that “don’t engage” by itself is insufficient. Not just for Vision Zero, but for basic public safety.

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    • Gerald Fittipaldi February 5, 2016 at 10:52 am

      I’m sorry, but we need to ask that drivers like this get more than just a warning.

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      • BB February 5, 2016 at 12:19 pm

        I’m all for a warning that, once given, automatically bumps any subsequent moving violation up to reckless endangerment with no warnings of any kind allowed in the future.

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        • Gerald Fittipaldi February 5, 2016 at 3:40 pm

          That should be the case for a driver who intentionally buzzes a cyclist (i.e. passing with 1-ft of space). Are you really proposing only a warning for this incident? Come on. I really do put this on par with someone who draws a knife and chases the other person. A clear threat that they intend violence if they can catch up to the person. Portlanders’ softness kills me. “Oh, let’s not go too hard on this guy. Let’s give him one more chance.” Give me a break!

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  • Alan 1.0 February 5, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Just a thought in hindsight, but if Jason had left the bike lying on the sidewalk and the maniac had driven over it, would police then have taken action?

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    • Gerald Fittipaldi February 5, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      No, absolutely not. Now, if it had been a car with a barely noticeable scratch or indistinguishable dent, you better believe they would have been all over it. #Truth

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      • Alan 1.0 February 9, 2016 at 1:40 pm

        I get your point – police bias against bikes – and there might well be some truth to that, but I still think that if there was physical evidence of the attack with quantifiable damages (destroyed bike), then the cops would be much more likely to make a case of it.

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  • Jason February 5, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Nick Skaggs
    I vote Jason to test this. Controls and variables, right? 🙂Recommended 0

    Only if you’re going to be the variable!

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  • Lester Burnham February 5, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    It’s not just car-head behavior anymore. There are plenty of aggressive cyclists in this town who don’t like being called out for their bad behavior by even other cyclists. Don’t even pretend it doesn’t exist either.

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  • Paul Atkinson February 5, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    I have all kinds of lights. I have cameras, front and rear. High-viz. Mirror. I thought that’s all I’d need to be safe.

    Apparently pepper spray is going to be necessary too, because I am not ready to concede that talking to someone is asking for violence. Talking is absolutely okay, if you’re calm and rational, and a violent response to talking indicates a person who needs to not be driving.

    If so many of you think piling assault on assault is likely, I’ll just have to be ready to meet that. Without the police, apparently.


    Goddammit so f**king much.

    I really want to get a better answer from the police. This is unacceptable.

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    • Reginald February 5, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Agree the police need to at least have a talk with the car driver. Punching the cyclist without provocation has got to be a crime. Also his behavior on the video is no doubt some kind of crime of reckless driving, menacing, or something.

      You can get those big 8 or 10 ounce bear sprays at most outdoor shops. Cut the top off a water bottle, add some foam, and put it in there, carry it in your water bottle cage ready for dogs, bears, whatever. Take some precautions with it though. Do NOT leave it on the bike unattended. Do NOT let it get hot in a car, in a sunny window, or on a heat register, etc. OR just get the small pocket sized ones at most outdoor shops, gun shops, etc.

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  • rain panther February 5, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    This story is nagging at me relentlessly today. It just seems so plain-as-day that at the very pitifully least, this driver needed to be tracked down and issued a handful of tickets. Like I said, at least. But nothing.

    I sent a letter to the mayor. Didn’t make me feel a whole lot better.

    Dear Mr. Hales,

    I’m writing because I’m having trouble pushing this out of my mind. A few days ago there was an incident involving a motorist and a bike rider, the upshot of which is this:


    The driver has cornered the cyclist at 11th and Powell and is circling. Over and over, he whips around the corner, then shoots through the small parking lot, back into the street and around the corner again, and so on, ad nauseum. The guy with the bike is forced to hop up onto the embankment when the car enters the parking lot, then jump back down when the car loops back around on the street.

    The police have more or less shrugged this off. And what’s driving me batty is the unshakeable sense that, at the very least, this video must qualify as evidence of a number of traffic infractions, including something along the lines of reckless driving. I’d assume that if a police officer had witnessed someone tearing around in circles like this, they’d have pulled them over and cited them for it, even without taking into account the element of harassment and intimidation – you know, the fact that there’s a flesh and bone human being in the middle of this madness trying not to get run over. I have a hard time explaining the lack of interest on the part of the police without arriving at an assumption of bias against bike riders. I simply don’t have another explanation.

    I frequently commute by bike, and this video shakes me up. But, in all honesty, what’s worse is the lack of security that if I wind up on the wrong end of the stark, raving, crazy stick then the city of Portland will be there to protect my interests and well-being. The police will not make a good faith attempt to resolve the situation or to help me get home safely to my wife and daughter. That, in a nutshell, is how it feels.

    Am I wrong?


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    • rain panther February 6, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Btw, I sent pretty much the same letter to DA Underhill and to my senate rep, Michael Dembrow.

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  • Portland's eBike Experts
    Portland's eBike Experts February 5, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    If someone intimidates me and charges at me with their car, I am legally allowed to shoot them dead. Cops do this all the time.

    I hate guns, but have to ask the question, if every cyclist in Portland was known to be armed, would this broken record of a dialog change?

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  • Gerald Fittipaldi February 5, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    In case anyone is still reading these comments, I got some advice from lawyer Charley Gee about who to write to to express dissatisfaction with the current laws and the response from PPB.

    He recommends writing to your District Attorney (Rod Underhill if you live in Multnomah County), as well as our state legislators. Here’s a link for looking them up: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html

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  • Suburban February 6, 2016 at 1:02 am

    Every time I’ve been chased (yes even by a bad cop), passed too close, knocked into a ditch, had trash or bottles or liquid thrown at me, yelled at, right hooked, left hooked, rear ended, hit head on.. for just riding legally on the road-I also had some feelings- then I replaced my bike parts, healed my bones and skin, and did it all over again. Seems we are the lucky ones.

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  • scott February 6, 2016 at 7:54 am

    This scares the crap out of me… I am done riding my bike to work and get behind the wheel of my 2000 lbs car to feel safe.

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  • Eric Leifsdad February 6, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Lower gas prices, more sense of entitlement. Don’t get any on you.

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  • Mark smith February 6, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Threaten someone with a gun….go to jail. Threaten someone with a car…cops laugh.

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  • Mark smith February 6, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I carry pepper spray gel now everytime I ride.

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  • Robert Burchett February 6, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    I’ve emailed Charlie Hales and D.A. Underhill asking them to enforce existing laws. Mr. Hales is not running for re-election but Mr. Underhill’s term ends in December 2016.

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  • Dan A February 6, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Where did my earlier comment go? Was an entire back-and-forth deleted?

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    • El Biciclero February 7, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      I think so…

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  • was carless February 6, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Man, don’t ever approach a crazy person like that. Get your distance, back away, or flee. Its your life, unless you are a police officer with backup, the law behind you, and a weapon… I would stay the hell away from someone who almost ran me over.

    PROTIP: cars can’t drive over walls, but you can jump over them.

    Sorry to hear that the city popped your innocence cherry, but it happens to everyone at some point.

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  • Matt February 7, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Perhaps the scariest part about this story is the probability of an agitated, dangerous man who now feels empowered. I wish the cops would take it seriously, as next time a person could end up dead. Probably the cyclist. I try not to get mad when drivers are irresponsible or aggressive, but I will be placing even more special care on it now. I want to live.

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  • Alan 1.0 February 7, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Saw this video and couldn’t help but think of this story: https://youtu.be/0ZgiVicpZGk – “Goofy Motormania,” Disney, 1950. Carhead history in cartoons with a Jekyll & Hyde twist like Jason’s attacker. 9watts, I think you’ll get a laugh out of it.

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  • Jason February 8, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    What a crappy situation. After reading all the comments, one thing stands out… The reaction of nearly everyone commenting here. The overwhelming consensus is that this driver was intending to hurt Jason either with the initial close call or the follow-up actions.I am discounting the fisticuffs, though. To be hit in the face by the driver, even in a Focus, requires that Jason had his head inside the vehicle. Whatever courtesy Jason may have been extending through his words, he was unnecessarily intruding into the driver’s space. As well, Jason hit back./em> 1

    So, uh, maybe you missed the part about where the guy, after I told him he frightened me, said, “you know what b!tch, f*€k you” before he punched me. Oh, and here’s a fact which may surprise you, he actually put his arm outside of his window! That’s right! No part of my face was actually in his car, threatening him in any way. But good for you, though, to take the only account presented and decide that it’s false so that you could support the driver.

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    • jeff February 9, 2016 at 10:52 am

      if you have so much to lose, don’t start fights in the middle of the road by confronting strangers. you’re lucky you’re not dead.

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  • Erik February 9, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Sounds like he was hit by the car: the mirror. Doesn’t that count as being “hit” by a car technically?

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  • jeff February 9, 2016 at 10:39 am

    are some of you folks for real? the cyclist had his head in a car after starting a physical confrontation. he got hit, tried to swing back, and then starts whining about it? this is little more than complaining after losing a fist fight.

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    • El Biciclero February 9, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Don’t know where you got “head in a car”, as that is not the description given by the person who was actually there. “Arm out of the car” is more in line with the first-person account, followed by menacing with a 4000-lb. machine. Is that an appropriate response to being informed that your driving behavior is frightening?

      We need to stop the notion that an armed (or equivalent) response is appropriate after a small, perceived slight. If I yell “Hey! Watch it!” at a driver who almost ran into me, is the driver then justified in running me down? Did I “ask for it” by using my voice instead of a horn? If the bicyclist in this case “should have just let it go”, why do we not insist that the driver as well should have “let it go”, rolled up (or never rolled down in the first place) his window and calmly driven off? Why must it always be the bicyclist in these confrontations that “should have just let it go”, rolled over, stayed quiet, and remembered their place?

      Suppose you were waiting in a line at a ticket window, got to talking with some friends and a gap opened up between you and the person in front of you in line. Then someone came along and “took cuts”, getting in the line ahead of you. You might suggest to that person that you are actually in line, and the end of the line is “back there”. The person who cut in front of you (possibly by mistake) calls you a bunch of profane names and punches you, then starts chasing you around with a club they pulled out from under their jacket, threatening to crack your skull. Did you totally “ask for it”? Should you have just let that person take cuts? Is there nothing wrong with their behavior since, after all, you did try to talk to them…?

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      • Gerald Fittipaldi February 10, 2016 at 12:53 am

        Great analogy. Your post just goes to show that harassment that bicyclists receive from drivers is so common that society accepts it as normal. We need to change this.

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  • derek February 10, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Just be thankful that the Portland Police didn’t get a hard-ON for you when you were in this situation. Watch this video here to see what the Portland Police Bureau did to a friend of mine.

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  • Amy VJ March 17, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I’m the one who filmed the video. It was terrifying. Driver forced Jason onto a meridian-like curb and circled him menacingly. Driver put many nearby cars in danger, too!

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