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After slapping a car, rider gets unexpected chat with Portland police officer

Posted by on December 14th, 2016 at 5:29 pm

What are the chances?!

What are the chances?!

Chris Lind was just trying to get home and avoid the snowpocalypse.

Around 2:00 pm today Lind was biking east on East Burnside. There’s an unprotected bike lane on that street and it’s directly adjacent to three standard lanes. Between SE Grand and 9th Lind avoided two auto users who encroached into the bike lane as he came by (one turned in front of him, another waited and inched along, forcing him to swerve). So by the time he came up next to a woman driving a Toyota Prius just east of 8th Avenue, he was was already a bit frazzled. When he noticed she was on her phone, he became angry and frustrated. As he passed her, Lind slowed and slapped the side of the car.

“Put the phone fuckin’ down!” yelled Lind as he continued to pedal.

What Lind didn’t realize was that Portland Police Bureau Officer Bill Balzer was parked right next to him in an unmarked car when it happened.

Officer Balzer, a 21-year PPB veteran, proceeded to pull Lind over a few blocks later.

Officer Balzer in a screenshot from Lind's video.

Officer Balzer in a screenshot from Lind’s video.

What happened next was a rather colorful conversation between Officer Balzer and Lind that lasted nearly nine minutes. And because Lind happened to be recording his ride home, he caught the entire thing on camera (the car slap and the conversation). It’s rare that we get a front-row seat to such a heated exchange about such an important issue.

At times Lind was clearly agitated and he yelled (with profanity) over Balzer. Both men tried at different times to reason with each other, but neither was able to get the other one to see their perspective. Both Balzer and Lind said things that were cringe-worthy. And Balzer said a few things that don’t seem to fit into a City that has made a strong commitment to Vision Zero.

Lind didn’t back down. After he asked for Balzer’s identification (along with a threat that this would be ‘Going up on BikePortland’), Balzer wrote Lind up for a warning.

You can watch the entire exchange in Lind’s video. I’ve shared most of the text of the conversation below…

Lind [as Balzer pulls up]: They were on their phone in the snow!

Balzer [getting out of his car and walking in front of Lind]: I don’t care. That give you no right to come and hit the side of their car.

Lind: You don’t care about my safety?

Balzer: I do care about your safety, but it doesn’t give you a right to go and hit their car for crying out loud. It’s not your responsibility to tell someone to get off their phone. That is my responsibility … when you’re hitting the car you’re swerving out of the bike lane.

Lind: No, I was well within the bike lane. I have it on camera.

Balzer: Well… if the car is damaged.. then it’s… you can’t hit cars!

Lind: I had one car make a right hook in front of me on the way here too… I’m just trying to get home!

Balzer: You know what, that’s the danger of riding a bike in the city. It’s what happens. Cars pull in front of me, cars pull in front of you.

Lind: I’m more vulnerable being on a bike.

Balzer: I would agree with that; but who’s making the decision of riding a bike and riding in a car?

Lind: Me. It is my right as a cyclist to want to be as safe as possible. And when people are breaking the law it is not their right to use their phone while driving.

Balzer: But it’s not your right to hit their car to tell them not to. Do you agree? Can you tell me anywhere where it says that someone can go up to someone’s car and hit their car because they’re breaking the law?

Lind: No, it’s not my legal obligation to do that; but it [cell phone use] worries me. I bike across the Burnside Bridge everyday and 70 percent of the people are on their phone.

Balzer: Seven out of 10 cars? I would have to disagree with that… Look, I can’t stop everyone from using their cell phones.

Lind: Well, maybe I can scare them enough so they won’t do it again.

Balzer: It’s not your job to scare people to not use their cell phone.

[Balzer gives Lind his business card and his officer number and Lind gives Balzer his ID.]

Lind [to himself as Balzer writes the warning]: To be on their phone in the snow… of all times!

Balzer: To be riding down the bike lane with your hands off the handlebars hitting another car in the snow. I would ask, is that safe?

Lind: I’m a good rider.

Balzer: So if you’re a good rider you can do stuff like that? That person might say, ‘I’m a good car driver’… We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this… You can’t be hitting cars when you’re riding down your bike lane.

Lind: That’s fair.

Balzer: I mean listen, people are trying to get out of town early to get out of town before the snow — as you are as well — it’s not going to do any good for you to hit someone’s car that’s on a cell phone.

Lind: I’ve had three close calls on the way here! I have a right as a cylist to be safe and cops aren’t doing enough to enforce it.

Balzer: I can tell you statistically that we’ve written way less citations to bicyclists over the last year compared to the previous year.

Lind [yelling]: Yeah! As you should. Who fuckin’ cares about a cyclist breaking the law?!

Balzer: Well, you have to follow the same rules whether you like it or not.

Lind: She was not following the law.

Balzer: Well neither were you. You cannot, as you are driving down the road, you cannot throw your hand into someone else’s car.

Balzer: I’m going to ask you to please keep your hands on the handlebars and refrain from hitting other vehicles, even if they upset you… I did not see the person on their cell phone. If I would have seen that…

Lind [interrupting Balzer]: Because she put it away after I scared her! Maybe she’s like, ‘Oh shit, that’s right, that’s dangerous. Maybe I’ll put it away now.’

Balzer: Christopher, there are a lot of things that are dangerous about driving.

Lind: Yeah! And she willingly added to it [the danger]!

Balzer: We’re going to have to agree to disagree… You should keep your hands to yourself, because if there’s damage to the car you could be liable.

Lind: I will. Fair enough. That’s fine.

I’m glad this didn’t escalate. And while I’m concerned at some of Balzer’s responses, he also showed some restraint. I was in a situation last year when I was pulled over for by an officer who wanted to reprimand me. When I talked back and clearly disagreed with the officer, he got mean and wrote me up a ticket to teach me a lesson. (I took the ticket to court and it was thrown out after the officer failed to show up.)

As for whether or not it’s smart to slap someone’s car and/or call them out for dangerous behaviors, that’s a big debate. We’ve had discussions about it here on BikePortland on two past occasions.

If you find yourself in this position, try and keep your cool. And keep your camera running.

— 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

432 Comments
  • Terry D-M December 14, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I have noticed that drivers stupid actions in this town increase exponentially with snow. I have come close to kicking a few lately, but have restrained myself.

    Recommended Thumb up 14

    • Todd Boulanger December 14, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Yes…but no snow is yet on the ground in the photo. ‘-)

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:18 am

        watch it again, the irregular white sections you see all around are snow…

        Recommended Thumb up 4

    • David December 16, 2016 at 9:39 am

      But what if you kick a car and then the driver gets out and slaps the crap out of you or worse?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Buzz December 14, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Fat chance Balzer was going to pull that woman over for using her cell phone. Balzer is and always has been a cyclist-hater, dozens of long-time Portland cyclists can verify that.

    Recommended Thumb up 43

  • Dan A December 14, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Good thing he wasn’t booked for assault!

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Buzz December 14, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      Balzer must have been feeling generous today, only a warning.

      Recommended Thumb up 10

      • soren December 15, 2016 at 10:09 am

        when balzer pulled me over for slowly passing a stationary traffic jam a little over a year ago he had his hand on his gun and was screaming “this is why you people die”. i filed a complaint with the city auditor and it was not handled seriously. after consulting payed legal counsel i decided to pay the $260 ticket and avoid the demeaning safety class.

        later, i learned that balzer executed an unarmed man in the head at point blank range. i recommend not provoking him in any confrontation.

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        • John Doe December 15, 2016 at 4:57 pm

          Why don’t you share the full story of why he fired his gun? Why aren’t you mentioning the man that he had slammed an officer’s head into a wall multiple times and was in the process of trying to take the other officer’s weapon from them?

          Your post makes it sound like he just walked up to some random person and killed them when in fact he was defending the life of someone else that was being brutally assaulted.

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          • David December 16, 2016 at 9:41 am

            Exactly. And I get it that’s this is a bike blog but I thought the cyclist acted like a whiny baby. That cop was totally cool compared to that jerk on a bike.

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          • soren December 16, 2016 at 2:13 pm

            Hi “John Doe”,

            The execution-style killing by Balzer was ruled to be a wrongful death and plaintiffs were awarded damages:

            https://casetext.com/case/gilbaugh-v-balzer

            Moreover, it is my understanding that this was one of the killings of mentally ill individuals that led the DOJ to successfully sue the PPB for systemic civil rights violations.

            Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:58 am

      that’s not anywhere close to assault…

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

        I guess you don’t get my humor.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 11:18 am

          you forgot the /s so I’d know!

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          • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 1:25 pm

            Good point, sorry.

            Recommended Thumb up 2

      • q'Tzal December 15, 2016 at 4:52 pm

        That’s your word against the word of a police officer.
        Guess who wins when there is no other evidence….

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jagur December 14, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    That’s a pretty lively conversation.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Dan A December 14, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Balzer: It’s not your responsibility to tell someone to get off their phone. That is my responsibility…

    No, it’s your job to pull them over and write them a ticket.

    Balzer: You know what, that’s the danger of riding a bike in the city.

    “You shouldn’t have worn a dress like that.”

    Balzer: …who’s making the decision of riding a bike and riding in a car?

    This clown needs to spend more time outside a car.

    Balzer: I can’t stop everyone from using their cell phones.

    How about just stopping everyone you see. Not everyone, just everyone you see.

    Balzer: I can tell you statistically that we’ve written way less citations to bicyclists over the last year compared to the previous year.

    Um…..gee thanks? I’d hazard a guess that they are writing less citations for everyone.

    Balzer: Well, you have to follow the same rules whether you like it or not.

    Which rules are those? The ones that we aren’t enforcing for drivers?

    Recommended Thumb up 53

  • kiel johnson
    kiel johnson December 14, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Gotta say I think Officer Balzer handled himself pretty well. I am also generally supportive of slapping cars that are making dangerous decisions because like Balzer said officers can’t see or prosecute the 7 out of 10 drivers on their phone.

    We can create separated infrastructure but there will always be places where people in cars and on bike/peds interact. Car and cellphone companies could over night make it so that if you are driving you cannot use your phone without a headset. Or a warning goes over your phone that is really annoying to get out of but if there is an emergency you could. I bet that is something both Lind and Balzer could agree on. It would be a powerful force it the nations police unions advocated for that change.

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  • CaptainKarma December 14, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Writing a ticket because you assert your rights is called non-judicial punishment. It is non-appropriate and non-constitutional.

    Recommended Thumb up 12

    • meh December 15, 2016 at 7:26 am

      Please outline in the bill of rights where is says I can touch someone else’s property?

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      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 7:55 am

        please outline a law that saws I can’t…

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      • Concordia Cyclist December 15, 2016 at 8:46 am

        Contrarily – where does it say I can’t? If there is no damage or intent to damage and the property is in a public space? Seems like a reasonable way to let someone in a big metal box know you are near them and vulnerable.

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  • Asher Atkinson December 14, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Sorry Mr Lind, but no sympathy from me. I agree with pretty much all Mr Balzer said. If you are concerned with the officer doing his job then don’t waste so much of his time. Acknowledge your indiscretion and move on.

    I enjoyed my snowy ride home just moments ago, in part because I actually got something out of the share the road class I took to avoid my fine for rolling through a stop sign on my bike. In the video you mention you took the class, too. What I got out of it was to learn to chill on my commute. I know it can be hard, but I recommend you try the same.

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    • Paul Wilkins December 14, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      What specific law did he violate?

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • James December 14, 2016 at 9:05 pm

        Seems like wreckless driving could be applicabe, definitely a stretch but would be easy for the officer to articulate it.

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        • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:04 am

          not even close to reckless driving…

          “A person commits the offense of reckless driving if the person recklessly drives a vehicle upon a highway or other premises described in this section in a manner that endangers the safety of persons or property.”

          Recommended Thumb up 3

          • michael December 16, 2016 at 11:16 am

            When someone hits a car, it makes a loud noise. That is startling. When someone is driving a massive one ton death machine, it is reckless to startle them. They could have swerved into you… or been distracted for that moment and not hit the brakes if a car in front of them begins to stop, or any number of things that can happen to distracted drivers. You’re simply adding one more distraction.

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            • Pete December 17, 2016 at 5:04 pm

              The person talking on the phone gets distracted by the noise of someone slapping their car? Oh, the irony!

              Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Asher Atkinson December 14, 2016 at 10:30 pm

        I didn’t say or suggest Lind violated the law. I did use the word indiscretion to characterize his action. I recognize indiscretions are subjective, but I’m not opposed to police intervening to de-escalate a situation or address behavoir that may lead to violence if that’s how they see it.

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        • Concordia Cyclist December 15, 2016 at 8:52 am

          But that doesn’t appear to be the case here. The officer stopped him further down the street after the interaction was over. This was nothing more than a punitive pullover – there was no escalation to prevent.

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      • LOL December 16, 2016 at 9:46 am

        Criminal Mischief. ORS 164.345

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • q December 17, 2016 at 9:03 pm

          “A person commits the crime of criminal mischief in the third degree if, with intent to cause substantial inconvenience to the owner or to another person…”.

          I don’t see that the cyclist intended to cause ANY inconvenience–let alone substantial–so don’t see how this would apply.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2016 at 1:56 pm

            The cyclist seemed to indicate he wished to scare the driver.

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    • Dan A December 14, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      I’m pretty chill until someone nearly runs me over. Then it takes me a while to get back to normal.

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      • Asher Atkinson December 14, 2016 at 10:38 pm

        Except in this video I don’t see where Lind is nearly run over.

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        • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 7:40 am

          I responded to your comment, not to the video. You ‘learned to chill’ on your commute. I am very chill on my commute until somebody nearly runs me over, and then I am not so chilled. I am scared and I lash out with anger. When somebody nearly runs you over, what is your response? Do you smile and wave?

          Recommended Thumb up 12

          • q December 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm

            That’s a reality people need to acknowledge. When say, a driver turns his car into a cyclist without noticing, the driver remains calm because to him, nothing has happened. Meanwhile, the cyclist has just got shot through with adrenaline and had to instantly react physically to an action that suddenly threatened his life. The two were just in the same near-miss incident, but the experience was completely different for each. Yet that fact is forgotten, and the cyclist viewed as an overreacting hothead in contrast to the calm driver.

            Experience and state of mind can help prevent getting in those situations, and temper the response, but humans are not robots, and can’t be expected to squelch normal human responses.

            Recommended Thumb up 16

            • JAT in Seattle December 21, 2016 at 1:58 pm

              I know I’m late to comment, but I wholeheartedly agree with this – and the response of Ofc Balzer shows that the state (in that under color of law he is a state actor) does not contemplate this in any way.

              Not only does the state not care that a cyclists perception of vulnerability contributes to their agitation, the state places the blame on the cyclist for riding a bike in the city.

              but, um don’t hit cars, I guess…

              Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Jeremy December 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      That cop was pretty awesome. Can’t say the same Lind. What a baby.

      Recommended Thumb up 21

  • Marc Rossinyol December 14, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    I almost did the same twice last week. It’s very frustrating to see someone on the phone driving right next to you. Makes me really uneasy…

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 7:35 am

      Why ride next to anyone that makes you uneasy? I sure as heck don’t. Just speed up or slow down depending on whether being behind or ahead makes more sense.

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      • CaptainKarma December 29, 2016 at 1:49 pm

        ….because the -NEXT- driver will be talking on his/her phone as well.

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    • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 7:41 am

      Yeah Marc, it’s your fault.

      /s

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      • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 11:26 am

        You guys don’t avoid people exhibiting questionable judgment/skills/awareness? Why on earth not?

        Cycling is more fun and safer when you avoid road hazards, including the ones in motion.

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        • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 1:30 pm

          Of course I do. It’s safest to stay away from loons when possible.

          I question the double standard you apply to cyclists here. Drivers get a pass and are expected to do idiotic things all the time, and oh well. Just like bad weather, something you think will never change, and we must all adjust accordingly. But cyclists have to be hyper aware and are fully responsible for staying clear of dangerous drivers, as if that’s always possible. Rather than fixing the ‘licensed and trained’ drivers, lets fix the vulnerable users, right? We’ve been doing that for a century — how’s that going?

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          • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

            There’s no double standard. Even if 99.9% of the drivers are awesome, we encounter too many to ignore that 0.1%. Bottom line is that you gotta ride like everyone’s trying to kill you all the time.

            BTW, I don’t ride near other cyclists unless I have specific reason to believe they know what they’re doing. Very few (definitely < 5%) know how to ride in close proximity with others.

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  • SD December 14, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Where is the law against touching someone’s car?

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    • Alex Reedin December 14, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      That is my question. Balzer’s stammering “Well… if the car is damaged.. then it’s… you can’t hit cars!” says it all. “You can’t because I say so.”

      I have to question Balzer’s statement ” I did not see the person on their cell phone. If I would have seen that…” [implying that he would have pulled her over.] If he indeed pulled over every person that he saw driving while talking on a cell phone, he wouldn’t have time for just about anything else. Given that I do see police officers doing other things, I have to think that they have learned to ignore some cell phone use while driving.

      At the same time, I don’t think hitting cars except in cases where you’re in mortal danger is very good for the “cause” of biking. I do understand it, though – so much dangerous driving behavior is tolerated by our society with next to no enforcement, I can see how people who get around by non-car means could want to be vigilantes sometimes.

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      • Alex Reedin December 14, 2016 at 6:53 pm

        I guess “vigilante” is too strong. Slapping someone’s car is not a punishment, it’s just an aggressive means of communication. Is stamping your foot on someone’s doorstep a crime? (That is, if they haven’t asked you to leave)

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        • q December 14, 2016 at 7:53 pm

          It seems like one person’s “aggressive means of communication” might be the recipient’s “crossing a line”. If it had been a matter of slapping a car that was cutting into his lane, I’d say slap away. Here, I sympathize with why he did it, but can’t fault the officer’s opinion.

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          • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:13 am

            the recipient doesn’t get to make that call… you can’t just say “I was afraid for my life” like Ronald Gasser and take aggressive action when there’s no real threat…

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    • BradWagon December 14, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      I knock on cars all the time. How else am I suppose to alert them of my presence and communicate they are endangering me?

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      • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 6:50 am

        So you think banging on a car that’s not on a collision course driven by someone you suspect doesn’t know you’re there is a good idea?

        Doesn’t sound very wise. Many people swerve or take severe reactions when surprised — like that recent thread where the cyclist was killed after she fell on her own after being surprised.

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        • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 7:59 am

          yes, I think it’s a good idea…

          people don’t swerve TOWARDS the clunk sound they hear, they swerve away from it thinking something hit their car…

          Recommended Thumb up 13

        • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 8:10 am

          “Doesn’t sound very wise.”

          Interesting. We have two people: one pedaling a bike with a camera mounted to his handlebars, one piloting a car talking on a cell phone. You’re focusing here on how unwise the behavior of the former is. But if wisdom is the metric I’d have thought to cast the net a bit wider.

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        • BradWagon December 16, 2016 at 10:12 am

          Yeah, if someone is moving into my path of travel or sitting it while I go by them I let them know I am there and that there may be more people using that portion of road on bikes in the future.

          I wouldn’t do this on the move to someone just on the phone. If we were stopped at an intersection I would maybe say something to someone on the phone.

          Most of my knocks are people sitting in or encroaching on bike lane. Occasionally someone that passes to close or cuts in to closely after a pass at low speeds will get a knock.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

    • LOL December 16, 2016 at 9:50 am

      ORS 164.345

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • BradWagon December 22, 2016 at 1:22 pm

        Not even close, keep hunting for that goose.

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      • q December 22, 2016 at 2:28 pm

        I see your reasoning. That law requires “intent to cause substantial inconvenience to the owner or to another person” and since he may have intended to interrupt the car owner’s phone conversation, that interruption would be the needed “substantial inconvenience”, so the law applies! Brilliant!

        I believe that law could also be used to prosecute any pedestrian who interrupted the phone call by stepping into a crosswalk in the driver’s path, thereby forcing the driver to shift attention away from the conversation.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Steve December 14, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    “Well, maybe I can scare them enough so they won’t do it again.”

    All credibility lost right there. This Lind character doesn’t speak for cyclists, not in the least bit.

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    • 9watts December 14, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      How did you get from his statement to ‘speaks/doesn’t speak for all cyclists’? You lost me there.

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    • BradWagon December 14, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      Your right lets all just sit back and do nothing until we all get run over.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:17 am

      unfortunately most drivers only obey the law because they fear the consequences if they don’t… few are doing it to maintain a safe and orderly society…

      if drivers are suddenly scared that cyclists can discover them breaking the law then maybe fewer will do it where they expect cyclists…

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Paul Wilkins December 14, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    I smack cars, too. It’s to get the driver’s attention.

    I also am happy to interrupt dangerous behavior.

    Ain’t gonna change.

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  • JeffS December 14, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    I conclude Chris Lind is a ***deleted by moderator***

    Not because he hit the car, but because he acted like an entitled child for being called on what was clearly an illegal action on his part. He then doubled down on his “threat” to have his temper tantrum posted here for all to see.

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    • GlowBoy December 14, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Not sure what Lind did was illegal. Very foolish, yes.

      But nothing is illegal unless there’s actually a law against it. And I can’t think of any laws that would specifically prohibit this (except maybe a very broad interpretation of Disorderly Conduct).

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      • Dave December 15, 2016 at 8:06 am

        Well, why was the cop wasting city time giving grief to the cyclist for a non-crime instead of

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      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:19 am

        I don’t think you can stretch Disorderly Conduct that far…

        https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.025

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      • wsbob December 15, 2016 at 7:43 pm

        “Not sure what Lind did was illegal. Very foolish, yes. …” glowboy

        Why do you think what Lind did, was “…Very foolish…” ?

        Story says Lind just got a warning…what notes about the reasoning for the citation, were written on the citation? Ask Lind to show what, beyond his personal info, is written on the citation. Maybe Balzer didn’t have a certain statutory violation in mind when he issued the warning, but did feel a warning was in order for the safety of the person riding.

        I suppose the odds of someone driving, whose car is slapped by someone passing by on a bike…going after the person riding, to retaliate…may be low, maybe very low, especially in a snow storm. That scenario is what I’d choose to avoid. Never know what kind of nut may be inside the car that’s getting a resounding slap from a vulnerable road user passing by.

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    • Alex Reedin December 14, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      Can you find a statute that supports slapping cars being illegal? I’m curious. It seems much closer to stamping your foot on someone’s doorstep (legal, until you’re asked to leave) than to hitting a person or damaging property (illegal).

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      • Alex Reedin December 14, 2016 at 6:58 pm

        To clarify – stamping your foot on someone’s front porch in the context of having a conversation with them.

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        • Jolly Dodger December 14, 2016 at 7:52 pm

          And the metaphor can be completed with the homeowners doorway being guarded by a shotgun (auto) and stamping your foot is the equivalent of slapping the law breakers hood. Either way your safety is still in the hands of a more powerful possible response. I’ve never gotten an apology or acceptance of responsibility when calling careless or unconcerned driver out in traffic. Just makes them more angry you noticed their bad behavior at all.
          Cuz in the cage you feel no pain, or guilt, or conscience.

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          • Alex Reedin December 14, 2016 at 8:55 pm

            I agree, it’s not a good idea. Just trying to decide if slapping the hood was illegal (in which case the officer’s warning was justified) or legal (in which case the officer should not have done anything semi-official, and just tried to give Mr. Lind some advice, citizen to citizen).

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            • mh December 14, 2016 at 10:28 pm

              I suspect the slap could be considered assault – which I believe is threatening to harm – if the driver could reasonably believe their person was being threatened. Hardly likely. I’d love to see someone try to prove that an open hand could damage a car – in court. And then what’s the charge? Attempt (unsuccessful) to damage personal property? It’s a joke.

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              • BB December 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

                Touching property is in no way assault.

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              • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:22 am

                assault requires physical injury…

                http://www.oregoncrimes.com/oregon_assault_laws__ors_163160.html

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                • Auto Lawyer December 16, 2016 at 3:03 am

                  It’s funny how much legal nonsense is thrown around here. Cyclist is wrong.

                  https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/163.190

                  Case closed.

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                • Dan A December 16, 2016 at 9:31 am

                  “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.”

                  Huh?

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                • Alex Reedin December 16, 2016 at 10:30 am

                  Um, the woman was in a car, which has locks, and the rude gentleman used his hand, not a U-lock. There’s no way she could reasonably have thought she was in imminent physical danger.

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          • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:03 am

            you’re saying what every driver says: stay away from me or get hurt!

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      • JeffS December 14, 2016 at 8:22 pm

        I can find many statutes that could easily be used if an officer were inclined to charge you with something. Criminal mischief, assault, intimidation, disorderly conduct, harrassment, etc.

        Is it specifically called out in a law? No. Not much is.

        Again though, I wasn’t focusing on the hitting/touching the car. I thought anyone with half a clue understood that even touching a car was likely to incite the occupant as well as police. Once again, I think victim mentality is clouding out sound judgement.

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        • JeffS December 14, 2016 at 8:27 pm

          Would it make you feel better if I substituted illegal in my original post with “questionably legal”? That seems like I term we could all agree on.

          Call it “things I wouldn’t do if I knew the police were looking”.

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        • Alex Reedin December 14, 2016 at 9:05 pm

          Oh, I understand that (which is why I don’t touch people’s cars myself). I’m just pointing out the double standard here – you can stamp your foot on someone’s sidewalk or front porch and make noise more or less with impunity, but touch someone’s automobile and make noise, and it’s harassment, intimidation, all kinds of things.

          I think people subconsciously identify their vehicle as an extension of their body while they’re driving (and while not), which is why “disrespecting” someone’s vehicle can set people off so much.

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          • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 6:16 am

            Foot stomping is an infantile form of behavior used during temper tantrums that I’ve never seen a responsible adult use.

            So your analogy is not far off the mark.

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          • BrianC December 15, 2016 at 8:28 am

            Bingo! We have a winner. Never underestimate how much people make the ownership of a car a statement about who they are. So keep that in mind when interacting with drivers, as you can’t be sure how they’ll respond to your “interaction” with their rolling totem of self worth…

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        • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:40 am

          “Criminal mischief, assault, intimidation, disorderly conduct, harrassment”

          it’s not Criminal Mischief because there was no substantial inconvenience: 3rd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/164.345 , 2nd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/164.354 , 1st: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/164.365

          it’s not Assault because there was no physical injury: 4th: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/163.160 , 3rd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/163.165 , 2nd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/163.175 , 1st: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/163.185

          it’s not Intimidation because it wasn’t about hate, didn’t interfere with property, and didn’t cause substantial inconvenience: 2nd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.155 , 1st: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.165

          it’s not Disorderly Conduct because it wasn’t unreasonable noise and didn’t obstruct the driver: 2nd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.025 , 1st: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.023

          it’s not Harassment because there’s no personal physical contact and was not intended and likely to provoke a violent response: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.065

          I am not a lawyer…

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          • LOL December 16, 2016 at 9:54 am

            So by your logic any time I see your bike parked, I can go kick it over since it doesn’t substantially inconvenience you?

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            • Derp December 16, 2016 at 2:29 pm

              Kick over? Don’t you mean “slap”? Why are you not comparing the same act?

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              • Eric Leifsdad December 19, 2016 at 10:35 pm

                A slap on the saddle might be equivalent. Or a slap on the side of a cargo box.

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                • X December 21, 2016 at 9:50 am

                  Wait I’m confused. Who are you calling a slap? And keep your hands off my box.

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          • JeffS December 16, 2016 at 12:30 pm

            I’d bet $10000 that 95% of the police officers in Portland would disagree with you.

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      • LOL December 16, 2016 at 9:50 am

        ORS 164.345. And if you actually damaged their car, that’s vandalism.

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        • q December 20, 2016 at 6:13 pm

          That requires “intent to cause substantial inconvenience to the owner or to another person”. He didn’t intend to cause any inconvenience.

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    • X December 14, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      “I’m a cyclist too and I conclude. . . FTFY

      Guess “dick” is now part of BP jargon

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:05 am

      CAN WE GET SOME MODERATION HERE FOR THIS PERSONAL ATTACK?!

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  • kiel johnson
    kiel johnson December 14, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Also got to add what a privilege it is to know that you have this online community and that you can have a conversation like that with a police officer. There are many people in our city who would not feel that way and many places in our country where the police make that impossible.

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    • 9watts December 14, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      don’t you have this backwards?
      Isn’t being treated with a minimum amount of respect (not being abused or killed) the bare minimum we should expect from *our* police? I know where you’re going with this, and am well aware that if Chris were not white things could have gone very differently, but think it risky to call being not beaten by a cop in a situation like this a privilege.

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      • Caleb December 14, 2016 at 11:42 pm

        I think it clear kiel did not mean “privilege” in any legal sense.

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      • Hello, Kitty December 15, 2016 at 12:59 pm

        Having your rights respected is not a privilege. It is a right.

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        • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 1:08 pm

          What magical land do you live in where everyone gets the same rights regardless of how much privilege they have?

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          • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm

            you’re confusing deserves and receives.

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          • Hello, Kitty December 15, 2016 at 4:31 pm

            In this country, we all have the same basic rights. If your rights are not respected, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. This is the basic foundation of a civilized society, and is the basis on which people whose rights are unjustly deprived can move forward to reclaim them.

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  • Galavantista December 14, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    I’ve tapped on many a car blocking a crosswalk I’m attempting to walk through; the test would be whether that garners the same response from an officer.

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  • Anthony December 14, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    I actually learned not to reach out and hit cars with my hand when I was furious with a tour bus for unloading in the bike lane and bit it hard. The people getting out of the bus were completely concerned and over to help in a heartbeat, but I was just a little road rashed.
    It sucks, we all have two or three “close” calls (I use quotes because the experienced among us can see most of them coming and make them not as close as they would otherwise be) each time we’re out it seems, but that crash reminded me the only thing we have control over is our reactions. When I get upset at a d-bag person behind the wheel of a car, he doesn’t care. I’m the only one hurt by holding on to that. I’ve worked hard to focus my energy on improving infrastructure, public perception, and enforcement.
    It’s a common and normal response to react with anger when your life is threatened. I won’t discount anyone for that. But I’d like to think our efforts are much more effective if we focus that anger [and fear] into the systemic changes rather than thinking we can change the attitude of people behind a windshield one encounter at a time.

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    • Brad December 14, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      How do you propose we make systematic changes to cell phone usage on the road, if it is not bringing awareness to users on a case by case basis? Law enforcement is obviously not doing anything about it, so that leaves it to the cyclists that could pay the price in the future.

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  • HJ December 14, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I think both were a little over the line. Officer could have been more sympathetic to the challenges of cyclists and particularly our frustration over their lack of cell phone law enforcement. Cyclist was extreme with his reaction to the driver though. Prius driver was driving straight in her lane.
    Do I despise people on their phones wile driving? You bet. But in the end I’m more worried about the ones actually cutting into my lane.

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  • rick December 14, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    12 car pileups galore today. Today shows another reason why safe streets and more trails are needed NOW.

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  • SD December 14, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    How is slapping a car significantly different from honking a horn? I thank every car slapper, including Chris, for all of the cars they have slapped. Slap on!
    On the other hand, I think it is unethical if not illegal for a police officer to fabricate laws in order to write tickets or warnings.

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    • dwk December 14, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      I can’t stand drivers who honk at me if I slow roll or do Idaho stops on my bike. It is not their job.

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      • SD December 14, 2016 at 9:11 pm

        I can’t stand drivers who honk at me while I am waiting for a clean shot across a 4 lane road. For some reason, if I am on a bike it drives them crazy to wait behind me, but if I am in a car they can sit and wait quietly.

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        • John Lascurettes December 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

          I routinely stop and then get across a street while a driver in a car continues to wait at the stop. I don’t know why so many cars wait for such massive gaps in traffic, but I know I can get across a street from a dead stop in seconds on my bike.

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          • Alex Reedin December 15, 2016 at 4:25 pm

            Um, personally I prefer to leave generous wiggle room in case I misjudge the speed and/or distance of traffic, regardless of how I’m getting around.

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            • John Lascurettes December 16, 2016 at 11:34 am

              I feel perfectly fine with the amount of wiggle room I leave myself. I’m not talking about close calls. But there are so many people in cars that will wait until there’s no cars visible for at least a block in either direction before they’ll cross.

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      • q December 14, 2016 at 10:24 pm

        Good point. I’d say hitting a car is a bit more extreme than honking, but otherwise it’s the same thing–getting someone’s attention to inform them that you saw them doing something that’s illegal. Actually worse in that the honker is doing it after the illegal action, while the slapper in this case was doing it to get them to stop the illegal, dangerous behavior. So the honker is just expressing an opinion, while the slapper is trying to achieve safety.

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        • Brad December 14, 2016 at 11:21 pm

          Such a true statement. Another situation I find myself wanting and sometimes acting, is slapping a car that is about to right hook me.

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      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:09 am

        exactly, because you’re not endangering other people’s lives with your action…

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    • q December 14, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Is it fabricated?

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  • Tom Hardy December 14, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    The police in PDX do not write tickets for motorists faults against peds or cyclists, unless a death is involved and then only if they witness it.
    For instance on Tuesday I was riding down Barbur and Naito. approaching the trolly crossing where they go across the Tillicum. A truck, 40 foot semi, pulls in front of me. I had to yield. Then he made a right turn right next to the “No Trucks turn right” sign. I continued after waiting for the light to turn green again. A PPB Sargent was next to me and continues straight.
    Not interested in Motorized violators.

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  • chris December 14, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    “Who fuckin’ cares about a cyclist breaking the law?!”
    Maybe those of us that do obey the laws? Every time a bike rider acts like an entitled dick, it reflects poorly on all of us.

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    • Caleb December 14, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      Only within an illogical mind does one bicycle user’s behavior reflect upon that of another.

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      • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm

        Haven’t you heard? We’ve entered the post-rational, post-truth era now. He who yells loudest, has the most money, the most social media followers…the biggest vehicle, wins. Duh. It’s the law of the jungle, baby.

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        • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 2:13 pm

          make roads great again!

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          • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm

            You mean, “make great big roads again”?

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    • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 8:21 am

      “Every time a bike rider acts like an entitled dick, it reflects poorly on all of us.”

      Do you have that same mindset for skateboarders, drivers, pedestrians, dog walkers, folk dancers? One thoughtless move by one of this tribe ‘reflects badly on the whole tribe?’ What a crock.

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      • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 8:59 am

        For most people, If that group is in the minority, then yes. They aren’t in that minority group, so they paint the group with broad strokes based on their limited experiences with the group.
        It might be “illogical”, but it’s pretty much human nature.

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        • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 9:28 am

          “It might be ‘illogical,’ but it’s pretty much human nature.”

          And once it has been called out (it has been pointed out here on bikeportland many, many times) you’d think folks could recognize it for what it is: ill-considered, small-minded, parochial bias.

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          • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 12:40 pm

            And yet probably 0.1% of the Portland metro reads Bikeportland.

            I get this site is full of idealists, but we still live in the world (even a “paradise” like Portland).

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            • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 12:52 pm

              But we are talking about bikeportland readers/commenters who are the ones carrying water for this in-group/out-group/tribal thinking.

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          • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm

            And that doesn’t make it any less true for the majority of people out on the roads.

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        • Dave December 15, 2016 at 11:31 am

          Horse feces. Respectability politics are a waste of time and energy.

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    • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 11:46 am

      And cops shouldn’t harass cyclists for minor infractions. It gives all cops a bad name! /s

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      • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm

        And yet some commenters on this site seem to have that mentality.

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  • jonny b December 14, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    thanks for posting this exchange, this shit happens all the time but having a record of it is key! I don’t know if I woulda easily thought about pulling my phone out and recording in such an incident but maybe this’ll help

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:47 am

      action/helmet cams are getting cheaper all the time… I feel vulnerable when I’m on the road without a camera, in any mode…

      I’m starting to bring mine along even when I walk… drivers are getting more emboldened and dangerous…

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  • BradWagon December 14, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Subconcious car culture rages on.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:31 am

      unconscious-driver culture also rages on…

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  • James December 14, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Cat 6 commuting looks miserable. No wonder you have so many close calls.

    We all experience the same stuff day in day out. But Linds you were just another jerk commuter today, and an awfully entitled one at that. Reminds me that an jerk in a car is likely a jerk on a bike. I’d rather have em on bike though : )

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:49 am

      cat 6 commuting? he’s rolling along in his lane, which he is completely entitled to do…

      driving while on your phone? you’re not entitled to that…

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  • still riding after all that December 14, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    More than 40 comments already, but not one person has pointed out that the police officer chose to follow and stop (and berate) the cyclist instead of the motorist. Am I the only one who noticed?

    Why did the cop not go after the driver and cite her for use of phone while driving?

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    • SD December 14, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      I thought about this, but the officer said that he did not see the driver using their phone and could not do anything. He implied that he would have stopped the driver if he did, but we could probably look at the number of tickets issued for illegal phone use by an officer that is not directly involved in a traffic enforcement action and see that his assertion is false.

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      • Brad December 14, 2016 at 11:05 pm

        In my opinion, if the officer didn’t see the driver using his cell phone, the officer wasn’t doing his job.

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    • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 7:49 am

      Right. He could have pulled her over and had a talk with her, and written her a warning.

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  • rachel b December 14, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Things have gone from bad to worse in Portland over the past several years for one reason only: lack of meaningful enforcement of existing traffic laws. Enforcement works. It’s one of the things that fell by the wayside with population growth and police short staffing, I know, but that’s just not acceptable. You don’t cut corners where lives are at stake, and that’s what it comes down to.

    Our city leaders created this problem through inertia and negligence. The result was predictable. It frustrates the hell out of me just what a dangerous mess we have on our hands now. I don’t know if we can ever claw our driving culture back to where it was (a relatively civil place). Humans are bad little animals and once we get a pass to take that inch and make it a mile, it’s the very devil to get us to give it up and go back to our measly (rightful) portion. Cue the umbrage should you try.

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    • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 8:26 am

      “Enforcement works.”

      So right.

      Amity: a small hamlet SW of Portland with a 25mph speed limit on the portion of 99W that runs right through the middle of town that for years was aggressively policed. My mom who lives near there pointed out to me this week that although the aggressive policing of the speed limit stopped years ago, it was sustained enough that today—in fact every day—EVERYONE still creeps through Amity at exactly 25mph, always.

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      • Brian December 15, 2016 at 9:29 am

        Same with Bingen, WA. When the speed backs down to 35 mph (and then 25 moph) you know that by the time you get to the sign, you better be at 35mph or below. It’s well known, and no one I know disobeys. And no one bitches about it, they just do it.

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      • Dave December 15, 2016 at 11:33 am

        And that’s a good thing!

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    • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      “It’s one of the things that fell by the wayside with population growth and police short staffing, I know, but that’s just not acceptable. You don’t cut corners where lives are at stake…”

      Population growth, short-staffing—and attitudes that incorporate the belief that you’re asking for it if “[you’re] making the decision of riding a bike [instead of] riding in a car”

      See? The only lives that are really at stake are those of bicyclists who decide to stake their lives on the good behavior of all those drivers who wisely chose to protect themselves inside of cars. If you have a death wish, why should the cops stand in your way?

      /s

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  • Pat Franz December 14, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    If the intent of the slap was not to injure the driver or their car, I see no reason for it to be a problem IF the vulnerable road user is imminently threatened. It’s a fast, natural consequence that gets attention quickly. In my experience it pisses the drivers off, but at least they stop what they were doing that was going to injure me. I wouldn’t do it if they were on their phone and in their lane unless they were on a track to hit me.

    If anyone finds themselves in this situation often, I would suggest getting an air horn. It is good at getting attention, and drivers are usually sheepish instead of belligerent like they are when you yell at them or slap their car.

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  • curly December 14, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Distracted drivers are a fact of life whether you drive, walk, or ride a bike. As a seasoned automotive technician, I’ve followed technology creeping into automobiles and become more and more of the “driving experience”. It is a fact of life in this technology age. You can run a business from your automobile, and many people do.
    Some of you may remember the time when you were thrilled you had a working heater and radio in your car, and operating these functions was not an interactive event.
    As an east Portland resident who rides Division daily, I see the same distracted drivers as other cyclists see, but I never confront drivers because my safety depends on them!
    Here’s where I give a big THANK YOU to all the professional drivers I encounter, or encounter me, on my commute. Trimet drivers are high on my list of best drivers. Thanks to all the #4 drivers!
    Distracted driving will always be an issue, because very few people who drive are professionals, or take the driving privilege as seriously as they should. Myself included, but I’m getting better, “cause it’s getting scarier to drive.
    Thanks for posting the video. It was food for thought. Ride safe! j

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    • rachel b December 14, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      I second your thanks to the good drivers, including the TriMet drivers (go, #4!). I don’t accept that it’s inevitable, though, distracted driving–absolutely not a fact of life, and I’m loath to give scofflaws that comfy out. In places where they enforce the law, distracted drivers learn right quick to give up the dangerous behaviors (or else they’ll pay).

      I’m willing to accept things it’s truly impossible to change, but distracted driving is oh so easy to combat and change–we just need to dedicate the resources to it. We did, at one time, and the roads were a much more civil place as a result. And since it generates revenue to ticket/fine dangerous drivers, I don’t understand why it can’t be funded. Beyond frustrated.

      You can still find outlying cities that are fierce with enforcement, and the proof is in the pudding. Drivers have been trained–under penalty of hefty tickets–to go the speed limit, to not drive like selfish jackwits. Milwaukie and Lake Oswego are two examples, off the top of my head.

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  • Eric Leifsdad December 14, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Officer Balzer might catch more cell-phone using drivers by patrolling on a bike.

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  • Chris Lind December 14, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    So this is my video. I’ll post a few thoughts. I had a GoPro on my handlebars for the ride home today, because I thought it would be interesting to record the ride in the snow. Not once, but twice, I was nearly right hooked before the inciting incident, so I was already on edge. Seeing the driver on their phone blew my mind they would be doing something so dumb in dangerous conditions.

    I’ll gladly admit to smacking cars in the past, and I will continue to do so, maybe scare tactic isn’t the right word, and I rarely get a positive response, but I feel it necessary to let people they are doing something wrong, that infringes on my safety and the safety of others.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:16 am

      thank you fellow car-slapper!

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    • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 9:06 am

      Are the two almost right hooks in this video? The silver car and then the blue delivery truck? In those circumstances both vehicles clearly had their right turn signals on well before you approached them, and you decided it was a good idea to pass them.

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      • dwk December 15, 2016 at 9:10 am

        His cycling made me cringe…..

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      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:37 am

        a good idea to pass them? more like his legal right to pass them…

        and if there were cyclists behind him and he stopped he’d be guilty of illegally obstructing traffic…

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        • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 12:44 pm

          Not if he’s trying to overtake a vehicle that is already in the process of turning.

          Slowing down in instances like that seems prudent.

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          • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 2:10 pm

            I think the difference here is that you assume these turning vehicles will illegally violate your right of way by turning into you, while I assume they will obey the law…

            I don’t get paranoid whenever I see a turn signal…

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      • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm

        “…both vehicles clearly had their right turn signals on well before you approached them, and you decided it was a good idea to pass them.”

        Having a turn signal on does not confer right-of-way. If there is no bike lane, don’t pass right-turning drivers. If there is a bike lane, it is your legal right to continue in your lane—while watching tires and being ready to emergency-stop—and pass vehicles in the lane next to you. Turn signals are pretty meaningless anyway; should you not ever pass anyone while riding in a bike lane because they might suddenly turn into you, signal or not? Should you not pass in front of anyone waiting to turn out from a driveway, because they might not see you and pull out right into you? Should you wait at a 4-way intersection until it is completely clear, because a stopped driver might illegally take your right-of-way and plow into you? Do you not proceed at a green light because some driver might decide to make a right on red and hit you? Should you not ever use a crosswalk unless the street is empty of all vehicles? Which legal rights do you want to give up, and at what point do we proceed on an expectation of legal behavior by other road users? Sure, be vigilant, but follow the law—even when it works to your advantage.

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      • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 9:20 pm

        Did you also see the “near-right-hook” at about 1:00 into the video? The navy-blue Volvo making, in all likelihood, an unsignaled right turn? Was it a “bad idea” to pass that car, too? Signals are largely irrelevant, and if anything, give you a heads-up to be more aware, but not necessarily automatically give up your right-of-way.

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        • SE Rider December 16, 2016 at 9:54 am

          “all likelihood”? All the video shows is that car slowing down.

          This site continuously laments right hooks (and rightly so as they’re a real risk and very dangerous), yet many don’t think it’s prudent to exercise some caution and take some basic precautions in avoiding them because they don’t legally have to. Good luck with that.

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          • El Biciclero December 16, 2016 at 11:13 am

            “All the video shows is that car slowing down.”

            Heh. Really? this makes me chuckle. In your experience riding in situations similar to the one in this video, how many reasons are there for a driver to slow down prior to arriving at an intersection? Is traffic backed up across the intersection? No. Is the traffic signal yellow or red? No. Is there a parking space this driver could possibly be pulling into? Only if he is going to stop in the lane, then back in to a spot behind. Do you suppose this driver is going to just double-park for some reason? I doubt that. Mechanical? The car just quit working right at the intersection? Was this driver hoping to ask a pedestrian on the sidewalk for directions? No, there isn’t anybody there. I would bet all the money in my pocket this driver turned right as soon as he was out of the video frame. Mr. Lind might remember, but I wouldn’t count on it after the slapping encounter.

            “This site continuously laments right hooks (and rightly so as they’re a real risk and very dangerous), yet many don’t think it’s prudent to exercise some caution and take some basic precautions in avoiding them because they don’t legally have to. Good luck with that.”

            So, if you’re advocating taking such basic precautions to avoid right hooks, and claiming that others here are advocating for NOT taking precautions on the basis of a legal technicality, why would you discount my evaluation (based on years of experience) of the 1:00 situation? Aren’t you kind of arguing from the same sort of technicality? “Well, it is a near-certainty this car is about to turn right, but the driver isn’t using a turn signal, so no precautions necessary”? If people want to judge this rider (and others) for not “taking precautions” in potentially dangerous situations, why not include all potentially dangerous situations? Or are we allowing that each situation might be slightly different, and tolerable “precautions” can be left up to the rider who is in the situation, based on their experience, and details that they can sense at the time?

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    • dwk December 15, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Do you also drive in the freeway fast lane at 55 mph to make sure everyone else is not speeding?
      You are not the police. I do not want car drivers policing me on a bike by honking, touching or swerving.

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      • BB December 15, 2016 at 9:26 am

        Who cares who is or isn’t a cop if the cops do literally nothing but brag about not doing their jobs?

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      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:41 am

        “Do you also drive in the freeway fast lane at 55 mph to make sure everyone else is not speeding?”

        so what if he does? would it annoy you that he was the only one obeying the law?

        I drive the speed limit everywhere and I don’t care even one bit about the impatience of the drivers behind me…

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        • dwk December 15, 2016 at 10:49 am

          Repeat. It is not your job!

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          • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 11:36 am

            what’s not my job? and why do I care? driving the speed limit is not my job in that I don’t get paid for it but it’s my job in that it’s my responsibility…

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            • dwk December 15, 2016 at 11:45 am

              It is your responsibility for yourself, not to decide what speed everyone else drives. You don’t get that?

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              • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm

                Hmm, that’s weird. The County Sheriff instructed us that if we want to reduce speeding on Bethany then we should all drive the speed limit so that everyone behind us would have to as well.

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                • dwk December 15, 2016 at 1:38 pm

                  Why didn’t you tell him it was his job to police the speed limit.

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                • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm

                  It was at a rally that we helped put together at our elementary school to encourage parents to let their kids walk to school. We rounded up our SRTS coordinator, the school principal, the sheriff, our county commissioner, and school district board members, along with a bunch of parents, and presented ways that we could help them get to school safely.

                  Somebody asked the sheriff what they were going to do about speeding drivers, and one thing he suggested was that we all drive the speed limit so that people behind us would have to drive the speed limit too. I wasn’t about to call him out during his presentation in front of 50+ people to ask about the 10mph cushion they give, or the fact that I regularly see them speeding around the county as well. Not a good way to keep the sheriff on our side.

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              • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm

                oh yes, I certainly get that…

                what you don’t get is that my driving the speed limit isn’t forcing anybody to do anything…

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          • BrianC December 18, 2016 at 5:46 pm

            It’s *my* responsibility to follow the basic rule. Having said that, I use the passing lane for passing and the driving lane for driving. If the following drivers don’t like it they can pound sand…

            It’s always interesting when they then pass, or I pull over, and they zoom off into the distance. Only to wind up (I have observed all of these over the years):
            – Off the road in the ditch
            – Upside down in the median/ditch
            – Car head on into a tree
            – Car head on into a semi
            – Car rear ended a Snow Plow (lol)
            – Car right side up 30 yards off of the road – passenger half in and half out of the door window – crushed to death by the roll over – intoxicated driver thrown clear and lying face down in the snow several yards from the car
            – Pulled over by the high way patrol

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        • dwk December 15, 2016 at 10:51 am

          Do you ever slow roll stop signs on a bike?
          Do yo think drivers should try to stop you?

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          • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 11:39 am

            yes I do…

            and yes they should if it’s dangerous, and like the topic of this conversation, is known to put other people’s lives at risk… in other words, no, they shouldn’t try stopping cyclists safely rolling through stop signs illegally or pedestrians illegally crossing the street safely…

            ..

            are you really equating dangerous distracted driving that’s known to kill people with an action that’s legal in a neighboring state?

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            • dwk December 15, 2016 at 11:44 am

              No, I am equating you trying to act like a cop….
              You have a superhero complex.

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              • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 2:03 pm

                I’m not following your line of thinking… I don’t understand how my obeying the law is trying to act like a cop…

                you’re saying that we act like cops if we obey the law… that’s ridiculous on many levels…

                I’m required to drive the speed limit to keep the roads safe… how are you mad at me for that?

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            • dwk December 15, 2016 at 11:47 am

              Who, by the way, decides what is dangerous?
              A lot of people think riding bikes in the city in general is dangerous.
              It is not your call……

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              • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 12:08 pm

                Who decides what is dangerous?

                How about scientists?

                Distracted driving vs rolling though stop signs on a bike

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                • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 12:47 pm

                  I think you might be using “scientists” a bit liberally there.

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                • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

                  There are no scientists at the Center for Disease Control, or at DePaul University?

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                • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm

                  “The Chaddick Institute is a dynamic forum for community leaders, transportation and land use professionals, and students.”

                  Sounds to me like transportation engineers and urban planners. And I wouldn’t equate them with “scientists” any more than I would to PBOT or BPS. But maybe we have different definitions of scientist. I go with:
                  “a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences”

                  I think in this case you’re trying to use “scientist” to equate their findings with unequivocal facts. Which I don’t think traffic analyses are.

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          • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 11:43 am

            Hw many people die per year at the hands of cyclists who ignore traffic control devices?

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            • dwk December 15, 2016 at 11:50 am

              Not many I suppose.
              It is still not my or your job to police traffic in cars or on bikes.

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              • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm

                Whatever happened to “if you see something, say something”?

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                • dwk December 15, 2016 at 12:07 pm

                  Because I want every nimrod out there acting like his own police force?

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                • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm

                  except this situation involved “see something, do something”. Not just “say something”.
                  If he had just yelled at the car, none of this would have likely happened.

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                • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

                  I got pulled over in Chicago for “yelling at a car” after they tried to kill me.

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                • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 2:25 pm

                  And yet you’ve already lamented in these very comments how different Portland Chicago are and how we’re not supposed to use anecdotes for argument.

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                • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 3:03 pm

                  Also in Chicago, a cabbie tried to run me off the road, jumped out of his car, and screamed at me. I called 911 on him and the Chicago Police called me a lier and hung up on me.

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              • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm

                And especially since the cops are useless at best and downright hostile and deadly at worse at enforcing traffic laws, why shouldn’t we help police ourselves and peers?

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                • dwk December 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm

                  So you are willing to let everyone else do the same thing?
                  You really don’t believe this….

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                • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 12:09 pm

                  Social pressure is a powerful thing. If we start shaming distracted drivers the same way we shamed drunk drivers, then perhaps people will change their behaviors.

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              • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 3:32 pm

                What of the provision in the law that allows a bicyclist full use of a substandard-width lane? Is that asserting one’s legal rights in an effort to increase one’s own safety, or acting like a cop by not allowing drivers to pass in an unsafe manner? There are similar situations in which a bicyclist must “control” a lane for safety purposes; how does that compare to, e.g., driving the speed limit in a place where drivers with a desire to speed cannot get by?

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      • Mark December 16, 2016 at 8:39 am

        Common misconception. It’s not the “fast lane,” it’s the passing lane.

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        • Dan A December 16, 2016 at 9:32 am

          In Oregon, it’s neither.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      So oddly enough, two people NOT on a phone nearly hit you but the one on the phone didn’t.

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  • Kyle Banerjee December 14, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Slapping a vehicle may sometimes be necessary to alert a motorist in extreme circumstances, but that’s not what was going on here. The video clearly shows an erratic and aggressive cyclist who was not under any kind of threat going out of his way to slap a car.

    People like him give us all a bad name and draw attention away from the issues such as distracted driving.

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    • Caleb December 14, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      While he may not have been in any imminent danger, he was reacting to behavior that is unpredictably lethal. Speaking rather generally, cultural complacency eventually kills. We’re fools if we think that automobile was threatened by his hand, and we’re perhaps greater fools if we believe a dent is anything about which to give a damn when it is incurred by reaction to behavior that can kill.

      If bicycle users must accept automobile-induced danger in choosing to ride, certainly automobile users can accept non-threatening consequences of their inattention. People over property.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2016 at 3:42 pm

        But he wasn’t harmed. He had an overly-emotional reaction to something that happened prior.

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    • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 6:45 am

      Lind was looking for an excuse to create trouble. If he is so concerned about safety, he might consider adjusting his riding style. He is all over the place and does things which will set him up for conflict which I would guess he finds often.

      Who here doesn’t see much worse driving than that pretty much every single time they go out? Seriously. If you can’t deal with garden variety stuff without going postal, you don’t belong on the roads. Good thing Lind isn’t in a car.

      Last night, I saw vehicles doing all kinds of illegal things. Take this clip from my ride https://youtu.be/eFmp2r1e_x0 Note that the two trucks don’t even start to enter the intersection they have no way of clearing even though the light is fully red. I saw many other intentional acts that were potentially dangerous. I saw many accidents and almost got hit by some sliding cars.

      Deal with it. Anyone who can’t work with things they see on virtually every ride without losing control or lashing out at others is not a good candidate for cycling (or driving). They are a good candidate for counseling.

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      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:55 am

        “He is all over the place and does things which will set him up for conflict”

        he’s riding legally in a bike lane… he’s not doing anything wrong at all with the way he’s riding…

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        • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm

          https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.415
          “Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaking vehicle is a bicycle that may safely make the passage under the existing conditions.”

          One could make an argument for unsafe passing on the right.

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          • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 1:54 pm

            you must have missed this part of the statute you quoted:

            “Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaken vehicle is proceeding along a roadway in the left lane of two or more clearly marked lanes allocated exclusively to vehicular traffic moving in the same direction as the overtaking driver.”

            you are not unsafely passing somebody on the right when you’re simply proceeding in your own lane…

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            • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 2:28 pm

              Except I interpret that to apply to two lanes of auto traffic, where a car would not be making a right turn from the left lane. A bike and adjacent auto lane aren’t equivalent to this.

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              • J_R December 16, 2016 at 8:55 am

                You interpret incorrectly. There is no differentiation in the Vehicle Code that defines an “auto lane.”

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              • Wendy Byrne December 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm

                A bike lane IS equivalent to a car lane. It is a travel lane, and when you are riding in it you have the right of way to continue in it. That is the law.

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          • BrianC December 18, 2016 at 5:51 pm

            One of my *iron laws* of bicycle commuting is *never ever pass on the right*. This has worked for me for almost 35 years.

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            • El Biciclero December 18, 2016 at 7:03 pm

              One of my rules is “always use caution when passing on the right”. It hasn’t failed me yet.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:19 am

      why wouldn’t you try to stop somebody from driving drunk? don’t you think that’s dangerous?

      talking on the phone while driving is about equal to driving drunk…

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    • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 8:34 am

      “People like him give us all a bad name”

      Why do folks keep saying this?
      Do you really see the world in these tribal categories?! My hunch is that when you see someone behind the wheel texting you don’t immediately jump to ‘all drivers are thoughtless jerks,’ so why do this with someone pedaling? Baffling.

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      • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 11:05 am

        I don’t personally identify with any specific bike culture and specifically distance myself from the one which seems to predominate here for a number of reasons. I don’t even call myself a cyclist. I ride bikes — it’s what I do, not who I am.

        Right or wrong, motorists lump us together and what we do reflects on each other. Incidents like this only encourage anticyclist sentiment and undermine cycling.

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        • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 12:04 pm

          “Right or wrong, motorists lump us together”

          You were the one (do you consider yourself to belong to the motorist tribe?) who made the statement. You seem to be doing the lumping here (see quote above).
          Unless this is Stockholm Syndrome you should try to come up with a better retort.

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          • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm

            I own a car, but I don’t drive much. I’ve never driven to work since moving to Portland and I had a 40+mile bike commute for over 10 years where I went 47 months consecutively without driving once.

            I do not identify with a tribe. I have this crazy idea that if you ride defensively and treat others with respect, you’ll do fine. It works well for me.

            Most riders are reasonable enough and there is a significant percentage of cyclists who are quite good. Nonetheless, Portland cyclists are the worst I’ve encountered anyplace I’ve lived. Too many ride assuming that people will see them and do the right thing — this is a recipe for disaster whether you’re on a bike, in a car, or on foot. Too many people ride like their the only ones on the road without regard for anyone.

            If you want people to not want to cycle, keep up what you’re doing. Don’t use common sense, be considerate, or do anything a good driver would do. Make sure that a great and fun way to get around looks like a constant dangerous battle. Act as self righteous and entitled as possible. Be sure to repeat as often as possible that you’re a road user, but be unable to deal with the vast majority of actual roads or road users. And last but not least, label anyone with a different perspective as an enemy, or at best someone who doesn’t have a clue.

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            • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 2:20 pm

              “If you want people to not want to cycle, keep up what you’re doing. ”

              You just switched horses in midstream.

              Before you were championing/parroting the tribalist view that one bad cyclists makes us all look bad when viewed through a windshield; now you’re suggesting the one bad cyclist will turn off potential cyclists. That strikes me as an even further reach. How do you know this?! Maybe seeing someone bike like they’re entitled could be an inspiration to someone who would also like to live that free, that unencumbered!? It seems hard to know either way, though speculating is always fun, eh?

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              • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 6:46 pm

                This entitled behavior looks bad no matter what the perspective — behind a windshield, from the bus, from a bike, on foot, it doesn’t matter. People don’t like it because it’s disrespectful of others.

                In my case, it may not be total speculation. Aside anecdotal evidence — neighbors, friends, family, coworkers, etc have asked me for advice on a wide variety of cycling issues for many years and total strangers have told me I inspired them, and parents have asked me to help train their kids to ride on roads. I know I’ve helped people who were initially hostile to cycling (including stereotypical jacked up 4WD owners) become decent level headed road cyclists. A few companies think I’m a good enough example that they want to be associated with me to the point I receive consideration for that.

                I am normally happy to give them a shoutout as I think they make great products and inspire passion for the sports I love, conservation, and the outdoors. But you will not hear me mention them here.

                If I were them, I’m not sure I’d want my brand associated with this environment. If any of them expressed concerns about my participation here, I would leave, and it’s not because I would be kowtowing to corporate censorship. It would be because I agree. It would be because I don’t believe the dominant attitudes here are good for cycling which I love both as a sport and a way to get around.

                I know people here don’t agree with my views and I do believe people are trying to do the right thing. But I think the brand of advocacy that dominates has such a narrow appeal it that it drives people away.

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                • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 7:21 pm

                  “This entitled behavior looks bad no matter what the perspective — behind a windshield, from the bus, from a bike, on foot, it doesn’t matter. People don’t like it because it’s disrespectful of others.”

                  You still haven’t answered my main question about why you feel it right and proper to single out bikers (as a tribe) for this particular infraction?

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                • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 10:40 pm

                  I don’t single out anyone. It is always wrong.

                  Of course I encounter entitled motorists on and off the roads like everyone else. Entitled motorists don’t read BP, so I don’t try to connect with them here. There are other places for that and I use approaches tailored for each situation. I find that keeping things calm so people will engage is far more effective than direct confrontation.

                  The reason I am so critical is of seeing the behavior in cyclists is that if we have the same weaknesses as motorists do, we have no right to condemn them.

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                • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 8:45 am

                  “if we have the same weaknesses as motorists do, we have no right to condemn them.”

                  There’s that tribalist thinking again. *We* don’t have the same weaknesses as *motorists*. There are thoughtless people using both modes, but that is not the same thing as what you wrote. I don’t ride like that, and you probably don’t drive like that, so what is gained by insisting on treating this as a tribal failing?!

                  You are the one doing the condemning by essentializing from the behavior of a few to the group.

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                • Kyle Banerjee December 16, 2016 at 11:40 am

                  I don’t single out all cyclists.

                  I call out entitled cyclists — a group disproportionately represented in this forum and whose behavior is repeatedly justified in this thread and others.

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                • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm

                  “I don’t single out all cyclists.
                  I call out entitled cyclists ”

                  except that earlier you wrote:
                  “People like him give us all a bad name”

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                • Kyle Banerjee December 16, 2016 at 12:34 pm

                  That’s how motorists see cyclists, not how I see cyclists.

                  From what I can tell, the brand of cycling that a number of people here seem inclined towards is only practiced by a small minority of cyclists in general. Thank God for that.

                  Unfortunately, many drivers assume the rest of us are also like that or at least supportive.

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                • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 12:45 pm

                  KB 12/14 @ 10:13 pm: “People like him give us all a bad name”

                  KB 12/16 @ 12:34 pm: “That’s how motorists see cyclists, not how I see cyclists.”

                  This is getting Orwellian.
                  When you carry water for a certain view and someone calls you on it you need to on some level acknowledge your role in reifying this (ill-considered) worldview, not just punt.

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                • Kyle Banerjee December 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm

                  Dude, the name we are assigned by others is not my choice. It is theirs.

                  I most definitely do not associate myself with the type of militant cycling focused on perpetual victimhood that I see here nor people who practice it. I think it is unsafe, disrespectful, drives people away from cycling, and contributes to the marginalization of cyclists.

                  However, others lump me in with you guys. Coworkers and friends who don’t know any better think I’m sympathetic to all this nonsense because I ride as much as I do and have some unique bicycles. Drivers see cyclists with bad attitudes blocking their way when it isn’t necessary and project those qualities on others (like me). People see this site on the Web and think this place actually represents what most cyclists think. So I’m stuck being associated with you whether either of us like it.

                  If you’re wondering why I’d come here if I think all those things, it’s because it’s a source of cycling news you can’t get elsewhere. Also, I have this hope that someday there will be more tolerance for moderate voices here. If you guys think I’m pro car or an apologist, you have no idea what you’re really up against.

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                • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm

                  “Drivers see cyclists with bad attitudes blocking their way”

                  I am well aware of this. It is rampant. It is also classic projection since it is almost invariably those in cars jamming everything up. But the point we disagree about is what the role of particular cycling behaviors have/had in creating (or as we’ve here been discussing, undoing) this set of attitudes. My guess is zilch. You obviously think it has much greater significance. The way we would make progress is finding ways to interrogate this hypothesis.

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                • Kyle Banerjee December 17, 2016 at 8:42 am

                  Don’t get me wrong. A lot of what most people think about blocking aren’t exactly logical.

                  Motorist stops in the middle of a busy street for a couple minutes to turn left rather than continuing to the light a block or two ahead? Not blocking. Driver puts car in reverse on busy street to get parking space mucking up flow behind? Not blocking. Cyclist doing 22 in a 25 zone? Blocking. Cyclist doing 12, motorist has to wait 10 seconds before doing a safe pass? Blocking.

                  But there actually are a lot of reasonable drivers and cyclist out there. If people believe you’re trying to help them through, most play nice and even the haters soften up. Some cyclists intentionally block cars. Many feign plausible deniability or act like the cars don’t exist. These folks probably receive a lot of abuse.

                  Now that we have all this snow and ice at the side of the roads, I’ve been taking the traffic lane even on busy roads. So far, no problems with motorists.

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          • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 1:37 pm

            Stockholm Syndrome, exactly.

            “Captors are gonna do what captors are gonna do. It’s up to US to be good prisoners.”

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            • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 1:53 pm

              I get where I’m going faster and have more fun doing it than motorists as well as the vast majority of people here.

              I’m neither a victim nor a prisoner. The people who fit that description are intimidated by ordinary daily life.

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      • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 12:58 pm

        it doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do. The point is that some (most?) people do this. Do you not recognize this? Do you think it doesn’t occur? Have you never overheard a coworker at lunch or an uncle at a holiday party talking about “those crazy cyclists always breaking the law, I almost hit one on the way to work”?

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        • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm

          I hear that from coworkers, but I think some gentle persuasion from me has helped them ease up on this view.

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        • Kyle Banerjee December 16, 2016 at 9:57 am

          You are right. Most people do this — including the cyclists here who demonize drivers despite the fact that most drivers do quite well.

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      • Kate December 15, 2016 at 4:39 pm

        I suspect we dont feel this way because we are part of the the “tribe” and recognize the differences in our own behaviors and actions. But to those ‘outside the tribe’ these sorts of interactions just confirm their presumption that cyclists are all self-entitled jerks with little disregard for sharing the road.
        The amount of time I listen to my family, extended, but also siblings and the like- talk about how much they hate cyclists, and how they are so dangerous, and don’t think the rules apply to them, blah blah blah. Just over thanksgiving there was an extended conversation how they wish they could just carry in stick in their car to shove in bikers wheels as they go past. They say this in front of me knowing I bike commute everywhere. That I ride for transportation, fun, and competition. I have mostly given up trying to even counter, because why bother. For every point I make, someone else is going to slap their car and undo any goodwill I’ve tried to build. That will always be the interaction they remember, not the cyclist sharing the road with them.

        Personally, I ride with my head on a swivel and defensively. I never just take the right–of-way to prove a point (cycling past a vehicle with signal clearly starting to turn). I try to assume most drivers are not out to harm me and yes, I get angry at close calls. But i don’t imagine that screaming, threatening, banging on cars is going to soften their hearts toward bicyclists. I’ve only ever seen it trigger the fight mode in a driver.

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        • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 7:25 pm

          This is really interesting, Kate, and I appreciate your posting about your family’s attitudes toward people cycling.
          I’m going to venture though that behaviors such as Chris Lind exhibited are not in fact the cause of this bias, and trying to police or eliminate such behaviors will have no salutary effect on your family’s resentments, for the simple reason that this bias is not grounded in fact, but as others here have already noted an in-group/out-group scapegoating exercise. It is a priori.

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        • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 8:18 pm

          Let’s take these in turn:
          “talk about how much they hate cyclists”
          This I think gives the game away. Hate is a very strong negative emotion to feel for an entire group about which one presumably knows very little, as they are by definition an out-group. The fact that this is directed at an entire class of people (potentially everyone when you think about it) tells me that very little introspection or serious thought preceded this utterance, however easily it trips off the tongue.

          “and how they are so dangerous”
          This is patently absurd, coming from people who, we can with some statistical assurance assume have chosen the car as their mode of transport, which is after all responsible for killing 99% of all people who don’t come home alive from their traffic encounters. This seems to reinforce the sense that rationality has no place in this assessment; that the speaker has no interest in identifying causal links between observed behaviors and attitudes formed therefrom.

          “and don’t think the rules apply to them”
          Well in some instances this is factually correct: Some rules of the road do not in fact apply to people biking (passing on the right being just one that has particular resonance for me, having been ticketed for it—unfairly as it turned out). In most others it is of course not, but the basis for feeling that rules-made-for-automobiles shouldn’t apply to people cycling is reasonable if you are open to looking closely, reflecting on the history of transport law; and there is some albeit very gradual movement toward recognizing instances where the same rule is not helpfully applied to both cars and bikes.
          The larger point I’d make though is that while no one likes to see someone behave like an entitled jerk, especially not someone from an out-group, an open mind would allow the person-predisposed-to-making-this-judgment to discover the nuances of the subject, appreciate perhaps that the situation looks very different from a narrow leather seat than from behind a windshield.

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        • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 11:16 pm

          I also appreciate your posting as I suspect it reflects many people’s experiences.

          The sad fact is that one negative encounter probably undoes 20 positive ones. I can’t help but notice that a bad experience seems to make cyclists think poorly of motorists in general and vice versa, regardless of the fact that most people are in fact quite decent regardless of how they get around.

          I hope you will share your thoughts more often in future. You express yourself well and your perspective is underrepresented.

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          • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 8:40 am

            “The sad fact is that one negative encounter probably undoes 20 positive ones.”

            Only for people who are into this tribalist thinking. Do you really think Kate’s relatives are taking an actuarial approach to this subject, have an open mind, are reflexive about the process by which they arrive at their judgments?
            Give me a break.

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            • Kate December 16, 2016 at 9:52 am

              9watts – I agree that this is not a rational approach to viewing cyclists, taking one negative experience and using it to paint a larger group. I don’t disagree at all with your analysis that most of their opinions are unfounded, and come from a place of never having ridden a bike around town. The point I was trying to make is that most people are not going to sit and think those points one by one. The reality, at least my reality is that a very large set of people who not bike feel this way. They feel this way even if they have a loved one who bikes. They’ll say- oh we don’t mean YOU, Kate! It’s all the other cyclists. And I try to save, well assholes are everyone- in cars, on bikes, etc. I guess what I’m trying to say is that these interactions do have a negative effect on the way people view cyclists. It may make us feel better in the moment, but I think it contributes to an overall adversarial relationship between roadway users.

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              • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm

                We agree on most all of this, and your example helped to flesh out this knotty problem.
                All I’m stuck on is whether—given the irrational resentments that gave rise to this view of cyclists—shifting the statistics of future cycling behavior (the call from certain parties here) is likely to have any salutary effect on your relatives’ and others’ attitudes about cyclists. My hunch is no. But I would very much like to talk to folks who have attempted to test this hypothesis.

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          • Kyle Banerjee December 16, 2016 at 11:43 am

            If we are condemning tribalist thinking, a lot of people here should take a good look in the mirror.

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            • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 12:40 pm

              You’re not providing a very good example of that in-the-mirror looking.

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        • El Biciclero December 16, 2016 at 11:48 am

          “I suspect we dont feel this way because we are part of the the “tribe” and recognize the differences in our own behaviors and actions. But to those ‘outside the tribe’ these sorts of interactions just confirm their presumption that cyclists are all self-entitled jerks with little disregard for sharing the road.
          The amount of time I listen to my family, extended, but also siblings and the like- talk about how much they hate cyclists, and how they are so dangerous, and don’t think the rules apply to them, blah blah blah. Just over thanksgiving there was an extended conversation how they wish they could just carry in stick in their car to shove in bikers wheels as they go past. They say this in front of me knowing I bike commute everywhere. That I ride for transportation, fun, and competition. I have mostly given up trying to even counter, because why bother. For every point I make, someone else is going to slap their car and undo any goodwill I’ve tried to build. That will always be the interaction they remember, not the cyclist sharing the road with them.”

          Isn’t it interesting when you know people who know you ride frequently for all the reasons you mentioned, yet they have no compunction about denigrating “cyclists”. The most disturbing thing from your post is the “stick” comment. I know there have been a few comments here recently about how “rocket launchers” might deter drivers from certain dangerous behaviors, and that would be the near-equivalent. But really? Do we really wish we could send different-mode travelers to the hospital—or the graveyard?

          I also wonder about the motivation for this desire to wipe bicyclists of the face of the street. Is it because they truly believe bicyclists pose a threat to them? I remember one time riding in a car with my dad when we came upon some bicyclists riding along the edge of the road. His comment was along the lines of, “see what these guys are doing? Forcing me into oncoming traffic?” My thought was “why is that what they’re ‘forcing’ you to do? Why aren’t they merely ‘forcing’ you to slow down for a few seconds until there is no oncoming traffic”?

          Is it because they are envious of bicyclists who are bold enough to flout certain laws (not that I advocate flouting laws if it impinges on other road users)? Do they see bicyclists running red lights and stop signs and secretly wish they could get away with it, too (even though it is likely a rarity that they, themselves come to a complete stop at stop signs or crosswalks or prior to making a right on red)?

          One thing I strongly suspect is that many people don’t know what is legal for bicyclists to do, and get bent out of shape when they see a bicyclist not “sharing the road” by always just scampering “out of the way”. Are they upset when a bicyclist “takes the lane” to prepare for a left turn or to avoid unsafe passes or other dangers? Do they view legitimate lane changes by bicyclists as “weaving in and out of traffic” (not realizing that a bicyclist is part of traffic)? Do they become upset when a bicyclist uses a bike lane to pass them—especially at an intersection—because they see it as “dangerous” and don’t understand or acknowledge their own duty as motorists to yield? Do they get scared when they suddenly see a bicyclist they weren’t looking for, and blame the bicyclist for “not being visible enough”?

          I hear you about attempts to counter-argue. No matter what you can possibly come up with to gain some empathy or make a case based on ethical treatment of one’s fellow humans, there is always the nuclear option that Ofc. Balzer used in this very encounter: “well, it’s your choice to ride a bike, so anything that happens is basically your own fault.” It can be indescribably frustrating.

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          • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 2:21 pm

            Thanks for weighing in. I think you hit on a whole bunch of salient points. I particularly think envy is too often overlooked as an explanation of this sort of attitude: Bikey guy is exhibiting the very freedoms the car ads promised me before I shelled out $30,000, and here I am stuck behind this j$rk!!!!

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            • rachel b December 16, 2016 at 2:31 pm

              Good thoughts. Though I think it just comes down to a culturally sanctioned sense of entitlement to the roads, perpetual impatience, and “YOU’RE IN MY WAY!” Vroooom.

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              • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 2:36 pm

                none of which has anything to do with the particulars of the man-on-a-bike’s behaviors.

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                • rachel b December 16, 2016 at 5:14 pm

                  Precisely.

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  • Vans December 14, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    I am pretty sure this has been covered before that you cannot legally slap, strike or hit another vehicle or person, basically assault if I remember correctly. HOWEVER, I totally agree with Chris doing so.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:56 am

      assault requires physical injury…

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  • Brad December 14, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    In my opinion (and my GF’s) Slapping a car as a cyclist is the equivalent of using a horn as a driver. Until bikes come standard with air horns, car slapping in urban cycling will happen.

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  • Pete December 14, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Lind handled this terribly. From the footage it does not look the driver put his safety at risk at all. Not to excuse using a phone while driving but Lind comes across as irate and illogical in this exchange. I’m not the biggest fan of the police but the officer handled this well.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:51 am

      a driver on their cell phone puts the safety of everybody around them at risk just like a drunk driver…

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  • david December 14, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Chris did no wrong, I’ve done the same thing. He acted out of an illegal act. But the officer saw the reaction as illegal.

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  • q December 14, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Off the subject, my first impression of the video is how scary riding in a city is. It looks like a video game, or drivers’ ed video, where you’re proceeding forward never knowing what’s going to jump out in front of you or from where. Makes me think I shouldn’t get my own camera–might scare me.

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    • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 6:56 am

      It looks scary because he’s a bad rider. You can ride fast in town and make it look outright boring. Because it isn’t exciting or dangerous.

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      • q December 15, 2016 at 9:45 am

        Good point. That’s probably why it didn’t match my own experience.

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        • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 11:45 pm

          If a motorist shot action video of their trip at speeds hitting maybe 25mph tops (this video looked like less than 20), it would be a snooze.

          Only on BP could such speed be appear as a harrowing death defying event — particularly since the cars in the video were going slower than the bike.

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      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 9:58 am

        you say bad rider, I say legal rider…

        opinions don’t matter to the law…

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        • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 11:11 am

          They don’t.

          You can do things that are much nuttier than what was shown in the video and be totally legal. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s not a really bad idea.

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        • James December 15, 2016 at 11:45 am

          Perception and opinions are one and the same…hence the reason Linds got pulled over.

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          • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 1:50 pm

            perception also doesn’t matter to the law… you’re either doing it or you aren’t, regardless of what it looks like you’re doing…

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            • James December 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm

              Do LE work and tell me perception don’t sent matter to enforcement and application of the law. Be involved in a trial with a judge or jury and tell me perception doesn’t matter.

              While I do agree you experience just tells me otherwise.

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  • Brad December 14, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Distracted drivers could be less of an issue if they had a fear of receiving tickets. The lack of enforcement of the cell phone laws in Portland (and nationally) means that it might as well not be a law at all. For crying out loud a cyclist was killed in Covallis OR this year, the driver ADMITTED to looking down at his phone prior to the crash, and the DA decided not to press charges!! (http://bikeportland.org/2016/03/17/corvallis-da-wont-prosecute-driver-who-admitted-checking-his-phone-before-deadly-hit-and-run-178040)

    Drivers are disincentivized from speeding because they are worried about being ticketed for speeding. Distracted driving could be handled the same way. Law enforcement needs to enforce the law; using a cell phone while driving is ILLEGAL.

    Since law enforcement doesn’t seem to want to do this, cyclists who’s lives are on the line get frustrated. This attitude is what leads to frustrated riders in dangerous conditions slapping a car when the driver is making dangerous decisions. Most cyclists would not feel the need to inform other drivers of their lawless behavior if law enforcement did that for them.

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    • rachel b December 14, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      “Most cyclists would not feel the need to inform other drivers of their lawless behavior if law enforcement did that for them.”

      Yup. Well said, Brad. The level of frustration for cyclists is a direct result of the lax attitude Portland law enforcement takes toward enforcing traffic laws. Years of it, with the roads getting more and more dangerous for everyone.

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    • El Biciclero December 17, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      I wonder what would have happened to the driver’s phone had Ofc. Balzer’s car been a painted cruiser with a light bar on top. Would they have dropped it right quick, or do drivers not fear being caught or cited for phone use at all? I kind of think the “emergency use” clause in the law gives officers a way out of enforcing it. Why try to ticket someone if they are just going to claim phone use is necessary for their job?

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  • christopher December 14, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    While living in NYC I was doored by a couple in a luxury taxi service. The car started to speed off with the passengers still in the car. I pursued, slapped, punched and yelled until the driver finally pulled over. I made the driver and the occupants wait while I called the cops. After waiting an hour the cops never showed. My collar bone was severely bruised from the door but we all went our separate ways after talking it through. We all need to look out for each other. Life is fragile.

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  • Tom December 14, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    It does not help that the Vision Zero proposal almost completely ignored dealing with the subject of distracted driving, a practice proven even more dangerous than drunk driving, and growing at an alarming rate. The message the Vision Zero committee is sending out to the police is that distracted driving just ins’t that important, when it is now believed to be the number one factor contributing to collisions. Yes we don’t have hard data due to privacy rights, but there are plenty of studies that work around the privacy issue that show just how bad the problem has gotten and how dangerous it is. There was another study released just this week.

    What I keep hearing is that if we make roads more difficult to drive, people wont use there phones, but this case shows that even in one of the most difficult driving situations people will still use their phone.

    If the driver had been drunk instead of using the phone, would the policeman still have gone after the cyclist instead of the driver?. I don’t think so. We need to change the perception that driving distracted is not that bad, and the Vision Zero proposal could have done something to help but it didn’t.

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    • Brad December 14, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      THIS

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  • Matheas Michaels December 14, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    I used to smack cars when I felt threatened, but I’ve had a few too many intense interactions as a result of it. For some reason, I’ve experienced people getting really violent and confrontational with me for doing this, even when I felt it was necessary for my own safety. It seems like the people I’m most likely to want to knock on their hood are also most likely to start threatening me, or even actively try and fight me. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like a target for angry people while on my bike, maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s just cause I’m on a bike. Anyways, I have gotten so intimidated by aggressive drivers over the years, I barely even feel comfortable giving the finger any more for fear of what the driver might do in response to that.

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    • James December 15, 2016 at 7:58 am

      Can’t meet road rage with road rage and not expect it to escalate. I hope the self-declared car slappers are ready to handle themselves when it gets real. Also Portland is small, don’t be surprised when someone encounters you later and remembers your perceived transgression.

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      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:01 am

        when you do something illegal that’s known to kill people and a cop pulls you over and yells at you is the cop suffering from road rage?

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    • KTaylor December 15, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      This goes to the heart of one of the biggest problems with having everyone drive a personal car – people are so insulated traveling inside a personal car that it does feel like a big, invasive shock for another person to slap or tap on their shell. Emotionally, they seem to take it as if they themselves have been slapped, and they don’t think about the fact that a person not in a car has no other way of getting their attention. Slapping should be legal/acceptable in all the cases honking is legal for cars, and we need a public information campaign to inform drivers that it could happen to them and they don’t have a right to slide into a rage over it and retaliate. The idea that slapping a car could damage it is ludicrous. The car would sustain a lot more damage if you keep your hands to yourself and let it run you over.

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      • rachel b December 15, 2016 at 4:23 pm

        Similar to trying to get the attention of someone w/ a leaf blower (and protective headphones).

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    • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      Maybe to puppy-kickers, bicyclists look like puppies?

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  • Steve December 15, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Being a cyclist doesn’t give you special rights in this world. People do dumb shit all the time, yet there’s a reason we don’t support vigilante justice. Live with it or choose another method of transportation. I admire the officer’s patience with this self-righteous dbag.

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    • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 8:48 am

      “People do dumb shit all the time”

      Right, and when those people are sitting behind the wheel people get killed.

      Your point?

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      • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        Who got killed this time?

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:02 am

      telling people to stop their illegal behavior is not vigilante justice…

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    • KTaylor December 15, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      What’s the difference between slapping a car and honking? What would you suggest as an alternative to slapping a car if you need to get a motorist’s attention quickly?

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      • rachel b December 15, 2016 at 4:25 pm

        Interpretive dance!

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  • Kittens December 15, 2016 at 4:42 am

    Great topic Johnathan.

    At the very least, wasting your time as a police officer going after people touching cars while all around you are people speeding, distracted driving, etc is extremely irresponsible and perhaps morally negligent. It shows an inability to prioritize the duties entrusted to you by the people you are sworn to protect.

    The guy on the bike may be a loudmouth and jerk but it is not the point here, the officer is supposed to be the professional. We don’t have an endless supply of police hours in a given day. The officer needs some better ideas of how to spend his time especially on a day with so many problems on the road.

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    • kitty meow meow December 16, 2016 at 1:07 am

      you go, girl!

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  • ben December 15, 2016 at 5:45 am

    For some reason people ….get violent and react confrontationsally when you smack their vehicle. Really? Maybe their reaction is because you’ve transgressed someone else’s personal property line (their vehicle).

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    • Concordia Cyclist December 15, 2016 at 9:13 am

      You take your personal property out into public spaces and it might get touched. That doesn’t mean there has been a transgression. It means your sharing a space.

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      • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 1:02 pm

        So it’s cool if someone comes over and kicks your bike because you’re in a public space?
        This a weird argument.

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        • KTaylor December 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm

          You can get a cyclist’s attention without kicking their bike. What else can you do to get a driver’s attention if you aren’t in a car with a horn?

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          • rachel b December 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm

            KTaylor has been making a very lucid point, here. What DO you do to get a safely cocooned motorists attention? A woman drove over my bike and halfway over my foot once before she registered my frantic slapping on her bumper. Fortunately it was a slow roll, but–my foot. My bike. Almost my all of me. How else should I have alerted her to the unfortunate slow crushing of me under her wheels?

            God forbid I touch her car…?

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          • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2016 at 4:16 pm

            You can wave, wait until the next stop and gently tap their window…I am sure there are other ways.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:55 am

      “Maybe their reaction is because you’ve transgressed someone else’s personal property line”

      the cyclist didn’t transgress their vehicle, they stayed outside of it…

      people brush up against each other all the time walking around downtown, some even bump one another, and I don’t see cops stopping those people to give them warnings…

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      • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2016 at 4:16 pm

        Those people are not chasing others down with the intent to bump into them.

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        • CaptainKarma December 29, 2016 at 1:58 pm

          Actually, it happened to my son, who was followed by an irate SUV driver and was “bumped” as you call it, intentionally, at a stoplight. The driver ruined his wheel, and escaped.

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  • Jon December 15, 2016 at 7:03 am

    If someone driving a car decided to slap me or my bike because they did not like the fact that I was looking at my bike computer instead of paying attention to traffic I would probably take that action badly. I can think of no reason to take my hands off the handlebar in dangerous situation. I want to have full control of my bicycle in that case. To me the action of this cyclist is no different than a car driver trying to intimidate a bike rider by crowding a bike rider, swerving, buzzing, or throwing a soda at the rider, all things that have happened to me while riding a bike. What if a driver decided to swerve into the bike lane because they saw a cyclist ride through a stop sign? That is dangerous vigilante behavior. This cyclist was engaging in similar vigilante behavior toward a motorist. Bad behavior is bad behavior. We as bicycle riders have to oppose all poor behavior be it by motorists or cyclists.

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    • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 7:57 am

      How are you equating slapping a body panel on a car with slapping a person riding a bike?

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    • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 8:05 am

      People piloting autos who are also on the phone—or distracted by other means—kill upwards of 3000 people a year in this country. And injure I think 400,000+ people.

      Nothing remotely similar can be said of the people on bikes checking their bike computer. Lind’s anger comes from a place that recognizes the statistical difference in POTENTIAL DANGER such behavior poses.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:28 am

      why are you equating an action known to kill people with something that’s legal in Idaho?

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    • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 11:08 am

      Extreme asymmetry. Slapping a vehicle, while not usually advisable, is very, very unlikely to kill or injure anyone. Swerving one’s motor vehicle intentionally at a bicyclist can have deadly consequences.

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  • Bjorn December 15, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Ah the barnum and and balzer 2 ring circus strikes again. Was he too scared to use the motorcycle yesterday? I saw so many people sliding all over while talking on the phone yesterday, it was frightening.

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  • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Person screaming out on the sidewalk. Cop sees them and pulls over.

    “What’s the problem?”

    “That person over there just attacked me and stole my purse!”

    “Ma’am, you are disturbing the peace. I’m going to write you a warning. And you shouldn’t be just carrying money around, out in the open.”

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  • Jonathan R December 15, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Thank you for opening up such an interesting discussion!

    I live in New York and ride in traffic every day, so I find videos like this one fascinating for the opportunity to see how people in other towns ride.

    I would suggest to Mr. Lind and other riders who brave similar conditions that the chances of being right hooked are much reduced by slowing down to let the vehicles turn in front. At 0:24, the rider passes on the right a blue truck that is signaling a right turn but yielding for a pedestrian to clear the crosswalk. Rewinding the video, you can see at 0:16 that the truck has its right blinker on; it is not the case that the truck decided at the last moment to turn right.

    Bicycle riding in traffic is not risk-free; it is my belief, however, that riding with an eye toward mitigating one’s own risks is the best policy. As someone who shares the road with many people who operate motor vehicles erratically, the onus is on me to protect myself by avoiding situations where I am putting myself in danger from erratic operators.

    It is also my belief that aggressively confronting individuals about perceived deficiencies in their conduct toward others is not a strategy that often results in change in behavior. I appreciate Mr. Lind’s frustration nevertheless and urge him politely to adjust his own approach to riding in order to mitigate the risks he faces from drivers on the phone.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:42 am

      Mr Lind is in a bike lane and has the right of way over vehicles turning across the lane… this is not dangerous behavior it’s how you’re supposed to ride… you don’t slow down and invite right-hooks… you expect that people are obeying the law… I certainly don’t ride paranoid that everybody is going to break the law or else I wouldn’t be able to leave the house…

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      • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 12:08 pm

        So assume people will obey the law, they see you, there’s no one crossing in front of the truck that you can’t see — what could go wrong?

        Chris Lind
        Not once, but twice, I was nearly right hooked before the inciting incident, so I was already on edge

        Funny. I haven’t been hooked even once in the 5 years I’ve lived in Portland. Haven’t felt the need to hit or yell at a vehicle either.

        Chris seems to have had two close calls plus a physical confrontation in a single ride while riding on an easy street in a bike lane with slow traffic. I would think that this is a poster child for dangerous riding and if this is your experience, you’re not doing it right. Glad I can count on the wisdom of BP to set me straight.

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        • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm

          sounds like you’re enabling bad driving to me…

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          • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 2:13 pm

            Sounds like you’re needlessly risking yourself — as well as anyone you can’t see in front of the vehicle you’re passing.

            I’m surprised that someone who likes to talk about how bad drivers are all the time would trust his safety to them rather than himself.

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        • q December 20, 2016 at 11:50 pm

          Fine comment if only you could have skipped the gratuitous slam at BP at the end.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2016 at 4:18 pm

        I don’t abdicate my safety to the decision making process of others.

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        • El Biciclero December 20, 2016 at 10:35 pm

          I’ll bet you do it more than you think…

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:57 am

      “avoiding situations where I am putting myself in danger from erratic operators”

      that’s not really possible since you could be hit by a car while watching tv in your living room…

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    • rachel b December 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      “It is also my belief that aggressively confronting individuals about perceived deficiencies in their conduct toward others is not a strategy that often results in change in behavior. I appreciate Mr. Lind’s frustration nevertheless and urge him politely to adjust his own approach to riding in order to mitigate the risks he faces from drivers on the phone.”

      Good advice, but we’re kind of on our last nerve here in Portland. In many regards. We don’t feel like anyone has our backs out there anymore–definitely not law enforcement. And there’s a vibe of open hostility—aggressive hostility—from many new-to-the-area motorists toward cyclists. Hence, increasing, desperate outbursts of extreme frustration.

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  • Dave December 15, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Well, why was the cop wasting city time giving grief to the cyclist for a non-crime instead of WRITING A TICKET TO THE CELL PHONING DRIVER????!!!!

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  • Ted December 15, 2016 at 8:14 am

    As someone who cycles through some that area on a daily basis and sees multiple transgressions of the law on every commute (even on Ankeny nearby), I share the frustration in seeing drivers on cell phones. Saying a cell-phone using driver isn’t putting anyone at risk at that moment seems equivalent to forgiving “safe drunk driving.” Clearly, current enforcement strategies are not sufficient.

    Hearing the officer blame the cyclist for the dangers he encountered on his choice to ride was extremely frustrating and disappointing to hear. I would hope that the officer and PPB make a statement clarifying their views. The community of vulnerable road users deserves no less.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 15, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Slapping is to cycling as honking is to driving.

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    • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 9:14 am

      So where does that leave bike bells and horns?

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      • Chris Lind December 15, 2016 at 9:45 am

        I own an ORP horn, while the flashing is great the “horn” part is pretty much useless. Just this morning, a car turned right in front of me despite multiple flashes and the horn going off. Its not loud enough for someone in their car and too unique/foreign of a sound to know what is going on.

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      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:16 am

        a low volume method of alerting those not encased in soundproof containers…

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      • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 3:21 pm

        Those really only work for other bicyclists and non-headphone-wearing pedestrians. My voice works best for drivers backing into me or otherwise encroaching into my space.

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    • JF December 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      I agree with you when a person driving the motor vehicle caused immediate threat or close call. However, in this case, the Prius is not in the bike lane and there was no incident which put the person riding the bike at immediate risk by the Prius. The action of the cyclist suddenly slapping the car because of a perceived traffic infraction was not called for in this situation and is on the verge of road rage.

      I also hope you do not go around slapping bicyclist while riding your bike for every perceived traffic violation by a person riding a bicycle 🙂

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      • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 2:45 pm

        I slap ALL cyclists that perform illegal behavior known to kill others…

        haven’t slapped one yet… doesn’t mean I won’t…

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  • Jim December 15, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Early in the video, the cyclist passes a right-turning truck on the right. To me, that is much more worrying than anything else that is in this video. In that case, it seems the truck was there well before the cyclist and shouldn’t be expected to yield to the cyclist. Dangerous move on the cyclist’s part, IMO.

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    • BB December 15, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Wrong, it is illegal to turn across a lane of traffic if there are approaching vehicles that you would be blocking or cutting off by turning across their lane.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 10:12 am

      the cyclist is proceeding forward in their own lane and has the right of way over any vehicles crossing the lane…

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    • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      I find this persistent misconception worrying: that having a turn signal on confers right-of-way to a turning vehicle. Turning across a bike lane carries the same responsibility to yield as changing lanes. If there is a bike next to you—or approaching fast enough that you cannot complete your turn before they arrive, you MUST yield rather than barge across, expecting bicyclists to brake or evade you.

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  • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Cop sounds like he had nothing better to do than harass a cyclist on a snowy evening. Go enforce real laws.

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  • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Jonathan, can you follow up with the PPD to find out what law the cyclist broke?

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  • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 8:48 am

    “It’s not your responsibility to tell someone to get off their phone. That is my responsibility”

    why is it not my responsibility to try to stop illegal behavior?

    Oregon has the citizen-initiated citation process so I’d argue that it is my responsibility… isn’t that why it exists?

    why do cars have horns if it’s not the responsibility of drivers to alert others of illegal actions?

    as a cyclist what horn equivalent do we have when we need to alert drivers?

    this officer is wrong on all fronts…

    I will continue my duty as a responsible citizen to alert drivers to their illegal behavior the only way I know how, by hitting their vehicle…

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    • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Cop was on a power trip. I’m sure he doesn’t like it when someone does his job for him, hence the written warning.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      Can I as a pedestrian slap a cyclist who transgresses?

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  • J_R December 15, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I’ve had the same experience on numerous occasions.

    Once, while driving on SE Stark St, I stopped for a yellow light. The car behind me swerved around me into the bike lane but eventually decided to stop for the red light. When the light turned green, the motorist squealed his tires accelerating away to beat me across the intersection. There was a cop in an unmarked car sitting next to me and a PPB patrol car on the cross street. Neither responded to the multiple violations that occurred right in front of them.

    I see plenty of occasions when bicyclists deserve to be cited for traffic violations, but I am witness to motorists who make blatant, dangerous violations multiple times per day.

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    • J_R December 15, 2016 at 9:00 am

      This was intended as a response to a comment about the apparent lack of interest by PPB in enforcement against motorists.

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  • BB December 15, 2016 at 9:29 am

    “Balzer: You know what, that’s the danger of riding a bike in the city. It’s what happens. ”

    And it is his sworn duty to mitigate that danger by enforcing existing laws, and knowing which laws are being broken that actually create that danger. As it stands he is bragging about neglecting that duty.

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  • mike Hassett December 15, 2016 at 10:20 am

    He was totally not safe hitting someone’s car. He knew that hitting the car is why he was pulled over. He said his excuse for hitting the car as soon as the officer walked up. As a commuter cyclist, I would want the officer on my side and hitting cars and talking back is not going to achieve that. I ride the streets but I know that someone touching my bike out a car window will piss me off as much as a person riding a bike touching my car. Yell all you want but don’t touch. simple

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    • 9watts December 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      “As a commuter cyclist, I would want the officer on my side ”

      How do you operationalize this given the PPB’s history of difficulty treating people on bikes with respect? We are here dealing with a longstanding bias that transcends our police dept. For a number of well-understood historical reasons people biking are not taken seriously as transportation here by the law, by law enforcement, by PBOT, by the politicians or the public. We can argue about tactics for undoing that bias, but the history is hardly in question.

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      • mike Hassett December 15, 2016 at 12:59 pm

        Simple respect is everything. While you give off fear and anticipated trouble when talking to police, try giving off an understanding and appreciation for what they do. Plus, dude ,was dead wrong and knew it. He wanted/acted to be the police because he was trying to “Scare” someone into conforming to his perception of which laws he wanted that person to follow AND as long as those laws suited him and his needs at that time. So selfish, So entitled, so not safe and so not going to have his back wheel ever.

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        • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm

          You want to talk about respect? How about talking to all the drivers that were driving in the bike lanes downtown last night? Or the police and Mayor who got so offended that people didn’t like their new contract that they forcibly removed peaceful protesters from City Hall? Respect goes both ways, my friend.

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          • jeff December 16, 2016 at 11:39 am

            yeah, those things have nothing to do with what he’s referring to. please stop with the bad false dichotomies.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2016 at 4:42 pm

              This one time the cops drove by my house at 3am with their sirens on and woke me up. No respect.

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        • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 1:26 pm

          if while breaking no laws I stop somebody from breaking the law and endangering those around them a cop pulls me over and harasses me for is they are not getting any respect at all…

          there was nothing unsafe about smacking the car… he was not wrong to do it and he knew he wasn’t wrong…

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          • rachel b December 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm

            Yes. He was concerned for his life. The officer sounded more concerned about a paint job. Life…paint job. Life…paint job. Potayto, potahto.

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  • Buzz December 15, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Kyle Banerjee
    You guys don’t avoid people exhibiting questionable judgment/skills/awareness? Why on earth not?
    Cycling is more fun and safer when you avoid road hazards, including the ones in motion.

    and exactly how do you suggest doing that, since ostensibly you are ‘sharing the road’ together, e.g. side by side?

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    • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      He answered that. speed up or slow down, don’t just pace the same speed next to the car.

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    • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      Are you serious? This isn’t rocket science. If you caught up with them, you’re faster. Pull up a bit. If they caught up with you, they’re faster and you can let them through. If you’re really going the same speed, do either. If this impacts your trip time at all, it will be only by a few seconds. Riding next to someone minimizes your visibility to them as well as your ability to respond to anything they do.

      Even riding next to cyclists isn’t a good idea unless you both know what you’re doing. Given your comments, I would strongly recommend that you don’t ride next to anyone.

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      • Buzz December 15, 2016 at 4:00 pm

        Given your comments, I think you’re living in a dream world of your own invention.

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        • Kyle Banerjee December 15, 2016 at 7:06 pm

          Over 160,000 miles, most of it on rural highways, but also on interstates, in cities, and tens of thousands of miles in Southern Illinois in the 80’s which is about as cycling friendly as Missouri where I’ve also ridden quite a bit.

          Given your comment where it was clear you couldn’t even figure out not to ride next to someone, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you may have a bit less practical experience than me.

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          • Buzz December 17, 2016 at 1:41 pm

            R u sure your name isn’t Fred?

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            • Kyle Banerjee December 17, 2016 at 9:41 pm

              All the roadies affectionately call me “Fred” 🙂

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            • Kyle Banerjee December 17, 2016 at 9:58 pm

              I might add that I ride ‘bents just to seal the deal….

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  • Brian December 15, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Maybe it’s time for cyclists to unite and do something to stem cell phone users. Pull up beside driver and lay on ait zound horn. Maybe cop will notice cell phone user then. Cyclist can say car was coming into paint.

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    • Spiffy December 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      you don’t need a reason to honk at somebody in Oregon as it’s been deemed free speech…

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  • Lisa December 15, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    What was the warning for? I would like to know exactly what the charge is here. Are cyclists not ever allowed to touch another vehicle?

    Can we tap on it with one finger? Can we talk to them? “Uh, excuse me lovely and kind sir, but you just almost flattened me into a bloody broken pancake, might I have a moment to share a few words that will explain my extensive upcoming ptsd as a result” Is that ok?

    How does the City of Portland and Vision Zero or whatever think cyclists are supposed to communicate with drivers? Should we flash our strobes right in their eyes?

    I am asking seriously — we can’t all ride around with bullhorns and megaphones.

    Thanks, Chris, for posting this, and I’m glad you got home safe.

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    • Alex Reedin December 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks for pointing out an important underlying issue here – people driving around in cars can be very dangerous to people biking and walking, and are also in sensory isolation chambers as far as people biking and walking are concerned. Bikes and shoes don’t come with 90DB horns like cars do. How are we supposed to get the attention of people driving dangerously?

      A society truly committed to Vision Zero would include regulatory requirements for microphones on the outside of cars wired to the speakers on the inside so that people driving could hear what’s going on outside their car. Sometimes that would be a big boon to safety.

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    • Dan A December 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Wasn’t there a story where a cyclist talked to a driver and got punched in the face, and then the police said that he shouldn’t have talked to the driver? Or am I misremembering? Certainly a lot of people here said that he shouldn’t have talked to the driver.

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    • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      I think the City of Portland, and most non-riding members of the public think bicyclists are to skulk around on out-of-the-way streets only, never to be encountered by motorists. I think the answer in a lot of minds is to “ride somewhere else”. If you must ride where I have a “right” to drive, then the least you can do is stay out of the way—get on the sidewalk, or ride in the door zone, tiptoe around and give up all right-of-way. Certainly don’t assert any rights to the road if it means a motorist would have to be paying attention and wait or slow down.

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      • Adam H. December 15, 2016 at 3:49 pm

        I will “ride somewhere else” as soon as drivers “drive somewhere else”.

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        • SE Rider December 15, 2016 at 7:24 pm

          Except if they do that on side streets or greenways you don’t like it either, so……

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          • Adam H. December 16, 2016 at 12:20 am

            Exactly. Cyclists are expected to “stay off the main roads” but drivers can drive on whatever street they want — including the “bicycle priority” streets.

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      • El Biciclero December 15, 2016 at 3:50 pm

        Oh, I forgot the rationale for this school of thought. Why should bicyclists give up all rights and scurry out of the way? Two reasons: the “laws of physics” will “win” every time, and also, “you can be right—dead right”. Threat of death or serious injury is your motivation, Mr./Ms. Bicyclist: learn it, know it, stay in your subservient place. Meanwhile, drivers will be drivers…whaddaya gonna do?

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        • SE Rider December 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm

          Apparently almost get hit numerous times in a minute span, slap a car, and get pulled over.

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          • Kyle Banerjee December 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm

            Sounds like he needed to get pulled off the road.

            He had a bike lane along a street where traffic was moving predictably and slowly (slower than a bicycle). That he was repeatedly and frequently getting in trouble in such easy circumstances shows he was already in way over his head. I hope he doesn’t try riding a street that’s actually challenging.

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      • JeffS December 16, 2016 at 12:35 pm

        Don’t pass it off on the City.

        The majority of comments on this site think bikes should have their own special place to ride, outside of the travel lanes, where it’s already legal for them to ride (until they get a bike lane installed of course).

        It’s the advocates that are self-segregating themselves. A conclusion that applies to most of the self-identified victim groups of PDX.

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        • soren December 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm

          many commentators believe that bikes should have dedicated facilities and that the mandatory sidepath law should be repealed. i guess you this kind of nuance is something you have difficulty acknowledging…

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        • Kyle Banerjee December 17, 2016 at 8:21 am

          A dedicated area is simply a path by another name, regardless of what you call it. Saying that cyclists need these to be safe is equivalent to saying cyclists don’t belong on the roads.

          Dedicated bike space is available only for a few select routes, but roads go everywhere you’d want to take a bike.

          The vast majority of roads are safe enough if you use your head. They would become even safer if motorists were used to encountering cyclists on them all the time. There are a bunch of roads I’ve never encountered other riders on, and this is supposedly a cycling town.

          If you want cycling accepted as a normal thing, being out there with everyone else seems like a better plan than saying you need things fixed up especially for you.

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          • soren December 19, 2016 at 6:55 pm

            “If you want cycling accepted as a normal thing, being out there with everyone else seems…”

            the vehicular cycling approach has been oh-so-successful!

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          • q December 19, 2016 at 9:19 pm

            “A dedicated area is simply a path by another name, regardless of what you call it. Saying that cyclists need these to be safe is equivalent to saying cyclists don’t belong on the roads.”

            Not really.

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  • Ryan December 15, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    The cop was great, seriously give that guy a raise. Great reason, logic and perfect attitude. Dear cops, learn from this cop, I hope he gets an award!

    The cammer is a ***deleted by moderator***, plain and simple. Quit giving cyclists a bad name ***deleted by moderator***.

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    • BB December 15, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      Do you also think that all persons of color are criminals as well? It would fit.

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      • jeff December 16, 2016 at 11:37 am

        whoa, you win the award for the daily non-sequitur…nicely done.

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  • Barb Lin December 15, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    The thing not mentioned (as far as I’ve seen) is that biking in the city on busy streets gets your adrenaline flowing big time. The way this guy was pumping around and dodging big box trucks, he was amped, that is a fact. The way he was interrupting and almost yelling at the officer – who stayed quite calm – I think he was very lucky to have pedaled away with a warning. I know many of you will come after me for this middle of the road opinion. BP comments have gotten about as polarized as internet comments anywhere. Sad because they used to be very informative and valuable, people were civil and helpful. Rarely do they seem informative or like a community discussion anymore.

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    • q December 15, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      I mentioned adrenaline in response to someone else who also at least alluded to it, although I was thinking in terms of the adrenaline flowing from just going through a near-miss vs. just cycling itself.

      I think the discussions here are great. This current one seems to have people with opinions at both extremes, plus every point along the spectrum, and generally civil and informative discussion.

      There’s some irony in how common it is here to see comments that aren’t fully supportive of cyclists being prefaced with, “This isn’t going to be popular with many people here…” Seeing it so often seems like proof that BP is not a bloc of unified thinkers.

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      • SE Rider December 16, 2016 at 10:20 am

        Seems like a lot of the more moderate commenters on here have been shouted down over the last couple of years, and have left. I know that a lot of my friends who bike think this place is the OLive of bike comments any more.
        That’s probably why you see more of the “This won’t be popular” prefaces.

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  • shenanigans December 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Balzer… a guy that I’ve seen ride a motorcycle up onto a busy sidewalk downtown to give a messenger a ticket for riding on the sidewalk….
    Not to mention running a red light to chase down a cyclist for the same thing while in a car.
    The Barnum and Balzer circus. Two shitbirds.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy December 19, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      ^5 for the Jim Leahy reference!

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  • Nick December 15, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Yeah I ride that same route everyday. Some drivers suck, sure, but that cyclist was in the wrong. Don’t hit another vehicle for any reason. Just don’t, you always look bad as a result, no matter how justified you may have been to begin with.

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  • Big D December 15, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Buzz
    Fat chance Balzer was going to pull that woman over for using her cell phone. Balzer is and always has been a cyclist-hater, dozens of long-time Portland cyclists can verify that.
    Recommended 35

    Maybe because some cyclists are like this one. Complete ***word deleted by moderator*** who expect every vehicle but a bicycle to follow the rules of the road.

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  • Josh December 16, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Lind…dude don’t yell at cops suck it up and move on. Yell at the driver don’t hit their car…I can only imaging how you would feel if a drive came up and slapped your bike when you rolled a stop sign.

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    • Adam H. December 16, 2016 at 9:23 am

      I’ve gotten pulled over in Chicago for yelling at drivers.

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  • benn December 16, 2016 at 7:03 am

    What would you do if when you ran a stop sign a car driver got out and pushed you off your bike ? .

    You come across an an indignant whiney child with no concept of your own failings .

    All this video does is show what a reasonable professional person the police officer is .

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    • BB December 16, 2016 at 8:41 am

      How do you even come close to equating the two? Touching someone’s property does not equal assault. Even damaging someone’s property doesn’t equal assault. On what planet do people who think that these things are remotely similar living on..

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  • Adam December 16, 2016 at 8:07 am

    I’m curious… if you video somebody talking on their cellphone, can they still be prosecuted? I guess what I’m asking is, what ARE the consequences? Do they get off scott-free? Or can they be fined, because of video evidence?

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    • BB December 16, 2016 at 8:41 am

      Police do not enforce the traffic violations they see, they’re definitely not going to do anything about something they’re just shown a video of.

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    • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      My guess it that they’ll issue you a ticket, for filming while in traffic.

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  • dwk December 16, 2016 at 8:49 am

    “Do you really think Kate’s relatives are taking an actuarial approach to this subject, have an open mind, are reflexive about the process by which they arrive at their judgments?”

    No they don’t, which is her point….
    I am not sure why you continually argue this point. We are judged as a tribe whether you like it or not. You sound so insulated from the reality of what most people think of cyclists.

    You seem to judge all drivers about the same….

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    • dwk December 16, 2016 at 8:50 am

      This was meant as a reply to 9watts.

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    • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 9:52 am

      “We are judged as a tribe whether you like it or not.”
      There are at least three different strands here:
      (1) do people stereotype people who bike? [yes]
      (2) are these judgments based on a clear-eyed assessment of the facts? [no]
      (3) are some bikeportland commenters parroting these stereotypes in their comments? [yes – and my question is why?]

      “You sound so insulated from the reality of what most people think of cyclists.”
      Perhaps. But I can still interrogate what is going on here, and ask whether the proposed solutions (we should police our own) have any prospect of solving this.

      “You seem to judge all drivers about the same….”
      Please support your contention.
      I think automobility is an unmitigated disaster but that is not remotely the same thing as judging all drivers.

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      • SE Rider December 16, 2016 at 10:15 am

        They’re not “parroting” them. They’re recognizing them as a reality and trying to overcome them by imploring people to change their actions and try to alter this stereotype (sadly we pretty much have to do it one person at a time).

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        • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 11:38 am

          I say parrot because the rationale for reproducing this claim is premised on the (to me flimsy) assumption that policing behavior of other cyclists will make a whit of difference to the outgroup bias we’re discussing here. Because I find that highly improbable I used the term parroting.
          But I’m open to learning that this is an effective strategy. So far I haven’t heard anyone attempt to support this assertion with any evidence.

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          • dwk December 16, 2016 at 11:47 am

            There are a number of groups (tribes), such as skateboarders and snowboarders that very successful changed their public persona.

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            • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 12:08 pm

              Say more.

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            • SE Rider December 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm

              Mountain bikers are trying in this city, but it’s likely to take a long time.

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            • Derp December 16, 2016 at 12:32 pm

              I’m assuming you don’t have any evidence that was through self-policing because who would be able to prove such a thing. My gut feeling is snowboarding, skateboarding, and lets just throw Harley motorcycles and rap music in there too, only became accepted through the fickle popularity contest of the masses. Your gut tells you these groups hid/converted their naughty actors to get some traction amongst middle America to achieve popularity? I think the change in perception is by the very thing becoming popular.

              To put it more succinctly, popularity drives perception.

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              • 9watts December 16, 2016 at 2:31 pm

                that would be my assumption too.

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  • Jon December 16, 2016 at 8:53 am

    There are tons of perfectly legal ways to take the right of way as a cyclist and end up dead or injured. The driver of the car that the cyclist slapped did not encroach on the bike lane, did not make any dangerous moves and did nothing to warrant aggressive behavior by the bike rider. According to the bike rider (although we cannot see it on the video) the driver was illegally using a cell phone while driving. I don’t doubt the driver was using a phone since I see automobile drivers using cell phones all the time. I would love to see cameras all over the roads that gave out tickets for speeding, using a cell phone, reckless driving and more. There is no right to privacy while driving and cameras should be used as much as possible to enforce the traffic laws. I bet if drivers (and cyclists) knew that there was a camera operating on any street that could be reviewed at any time for traffic infractions they might take driving and traffic laws more seriously. Speed cameras slow traffic around them. Why not have cameras enforce all traffic laws?

    If you wanted to you could probably slap at least 50% of the cars you pass on a bicycle if you decided that as a cyclist you were entitled to slap any vehicle breaking the law (speeding, failure to signal, tailgating, cell phone, rolling through a stop sign, etc.). At the same time cars could honk at least 50% of the cyclists they pass (rolling through a stop, failing to signal, improper lighting, etc).

    Unless we want to end up with very sore hands and deaf from honking we should probably leave the slapping and honking for dire emergencies. Plenty of studies have shown that many road rage incidents start with the use of the horn. I’m betting that slapping a car is no different with regards to inflaming anger.

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    • Alex Reedin December 16, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Agreed 100% as to Lind’s behavior and the advice to other people biking… and yet, do/should police officers pull over and “warn” people driving who use their horns? I see this dichotomy repeated over and over again on BikePortland – one set of people say “Hey government, don’t spend your precious resources enforcing/encouraging/whatever behavior improvement by people biking/walking when you have so many other things you could be spending your time on.” Another set of people say “Hey, many people biking/walking could TOTALLY stand to improve their behavior, why are you excusing bad behavior?”

      We’re talking past each other. Thinking someone should change their behavior (personally, I think Mr. Lind obviously should) is not at ALL the same thing as thinking a government program or using police time to get them to change their behavior is the highest and best use of those government resources.

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    • soren December 16, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      have you ever considered that someone driving while using a cell phone could be an emergency?

      When driving conditions and time on task were controlled for, the impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound as those associated with driving while drunk.

      https://www.distraction.gov/downloads/pdfs/a-comparison-of-the-cell-phone-driver-and-the-drunk-driver.pdf

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15614838
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18081908

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    • Robert Stuart December 16, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      And she may not have been doing so illegally, since there are exceptions to the law, e.g. doctors, etc.

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  • Barb Lin December 16, 2016 at 9:53 am

    and Mr. Lind, in answer to your question “who cares if a cyclist breaks the law?”
    I can’t believe you even asked that. I CARE and I will tell you so. Each of our behavior on a bike reflects on all of us. YOU CANNOT RUN STOP SIGNS. ITS THE LAW. It makes us unpredictable and that is at the very heart of why we are in danger in traffic. It only works if we all follow the rules of the road. You are not exempt.

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  • Josh Chernoff December 16, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Hey Lind I have a good track to add to your playlist for your next ride 🙂
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZPECFQ4NhE

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  • Alphamonk December 16, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Good to hear from all these legal experts that this is behavior is 100% OK. It is good to know I’m not doing anything wrong when I approach a line of cars at my local fast drive-through and arbitrarily smack each one, one at a time, and yell once at each driver. This is my preferred method of communicating to people that they are about to make unhealthy lifestyle choices.

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    • Alex Reedin December 16, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Legally OK and advisable behavior are not the same thing. Mr. Lind was rude, obnoxious, perhaps a little reckless, and not at all helpful to the cause of low-car life in Portland. I would encourage other people biking in Portland to not act like he did in this video in almost any way. But as far as I can tell, he did nothing illegal – which should matter in how a police officer interacts with him.

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      • Shaun December 16, 2016 at 11:57 am

        Lawyer here. Slapping a car, especially while someone is in it, especially while it is driving, is illegal. Part of me wants to break it down and explain it, but after reading the insanity that is this comment thread, I don’t see the value.

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        • Kyle Banerjee December 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm

          Logic and reason is virtually useless here. I have hopes that will change someday but I’m not holding my breath.

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          • soren December 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm

            but unsupported statements by a self-proclaimed “authority” are de rigeur.

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          • El Biciclero December 17, 2016 at 11:01 am

            I don’t know whether that’s completely fair. I think most who comment here are well aware of the difference between the abstractly logical world of law, ethics, and “fairness”, and the practical world where that logic doesn’t always apply.

            I’ve only slapped a vehicle one time: I was stopped in a bike lane (behind the crosswalk, in completely legal fashion) at a red light, and a school bus made an illegal right on red and nearly rolled it’s rear wheels over me. I couldn’t back up, and had no room to move forward and to the side; I could have kissed the top of that tire. Did my frantic pounding on the rear side panel of that bus do any good? A few kids pointed and laughed, I hurt my hand, and that was about it. Fortunately the tire missed me by an inch or two, but I doubt the driver ever had a clue.

            I’ve been honked at and “pulled over” by a lady while crossing over 26 at the zoo, on my way to cruise down the shoulder to Jefferson. All she wanted to do was yell at me and threaten to call the cops if I dared ride [legally] on the shoulder of the freeway. She held up auto traffic behind her, freaked me out, and then went furiously on her way to the end of the line at the metering signal on the ramp.

            I’ve had drivers cross a double-yellow line in a residential neighborhood so they could pass me—while I’ve been going anywhere between 26-29 mph in a 25-mph zone—and yell at me as they pass.

            I’ve had drivers pull up beside me on my left (in the oncoming lane) while I’ve been waiting in a left-turn-only lane, because “logically”, anyone in a car should be able to go around a bike, no matter what, right?

            This (and many more absurd examples I could cite) is the kind of “logic” we have to deal with in the practical world. Speaking for myself only, I do tend to push back against that kind of upside-down and backward “logic”. Lots of times I attempt to use actual law, comparisons to how people would react to someone in a motor vehicle doing the same thing, and asking questions about why we feel certain behaviors by drivers or bicyclists are “good” or “bad”. Just because I push back against “logic” that doesn’t make sense in a legal, ethical, equitable context, doesn’t mean I don’t take plenty of forced measures that result in giving up my legal rights, playing into “respectability politics”, or going above and beyond my own legal obligations while those around me flout half the statutes.

            In viewing this video (while it was available—I might have privatized it as well after all the criticism), there are about three things I might have done differently: 1) I probably would have gone further left around the worker guy, 2) I might have handled the right-turning delivery van differently—although who’s to say Mr. Lind didn’t make eye contact with the driver via the truck’s side mirror? and 3) I would not have slapped a car next to me, especially while moving, and especially if that car had not posed any empirical threat—although I completely understand the temptation to do so.

            But here’s a logical question: suppose the bike lane was not there, and Mr. Lind had been going your estimated 20 mph on a single-lane-each-way road with a speed limit of 25 and parked cars all along the side—oh, and he was taking a central lane position to avoid doors and unsafe passes. Then imagine that a driver behind him had laid on his horn. Not a friendly tootle, but a good, 10-second-or-more blast (ostensibly illegal according to ORS 815.225). What would “logic” dictate that each participant do in that situation? What do we think a cop in one of those parked cars would have done? Would a hypothetical cop have chased down the driver and “warned” him about “violating the use limits of sound equipment”? Or would the bicyclist have been subject to a lecture on “staying out of the way”, even though he was operating legally? What would the various voices on BP be saying?

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            • Kyle Banerjee December 17, 2016 at 3:02 pm

              Your hypothetical illustrates a clear cut case of harassment/intimidation where the cyclist is operating the most intelligent way possible so I hope the cop would pull over the motorist. I suspect some would and some wouldn’t the same as I wouldn’t expect cops to necessarily do anything about a slap. A lecture for the cyclist would be beyond ridiculous. If I received one under such circumstances, I would file a written complaint.

              As to how people here would respond, I would expect the normal howling. The picture you paint is a rare one, but it certainly happens. I would be interested in the response and what happened afterwards. I personally believe in deescalation — particularly since you have no idea of the mental state or sobriety of the driver. Having said that, I don’t believe in encouraging intimidation and my inclination would be to yield only the minimum space necessary to avoid being hit.

              I realize being calm in the moment is easier said that done. I used to tell my friends and ex wife to buzz and honk at me when they saw me on the road. They didn’t want to do it, but I told them I’d much rather train my reflexes with people who cared about me than people who didn’t. I don’t know any other cyclists who have tried my approach, but the ability to be cool as a cucumber when motorists do nutty things has proved very useful over the years.

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              • q December 17, 2016 at 3:46 pm

                Your answer to the hypothetical question pretty much matches mine, and I’d guess many people’s here.

                The part that’s tiresome is your, “As to how people here would respond, I would expect the normal howling”. You’re one of the people here, and so am I, and neither of us is howling. El Biciclero is also one of the people here, and he obviously isn’t going to be howling about either of our responses.

                If more answers come in similar to ours, I guess you can dismiss them as being exceptions to what “people here” think, and if opinions differing from yours come in, you can dismiss those as howling by people unable to use or see logic, or whatever other faults you’ve been attributing to them.

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                • 9watts December 17, 2016 at 4:08 pm

                  upvote.

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                • Kyle Banerjee December 17, 2016 at 9:39 pm

                  Fair enough — it was a potshot.

                  Dealing with unreasonable and dangerous motorists who may be mentally unstable or chemically altered is a real issue, but the odds of a productive conversation here resulting from such a clear cut case are miserable.

                  Anyone in this forum who examines what a cyclist could do in the moment to achieve a better outcome can expect to be verbally pummeled. I suspect there are a fair number of people who would be interested in more honest discussions but hang back because they don’t feel like going through the wringer.

                  But there is hope. In this thread, multiple comments called out absolutely ridiculous behavior. And in what I feel is an acknowledgement that maybe the cyclist wasn’t in the right, the video is no longer available. If it really documents bad driving or cyclist abuse, there is no reason to take it down. And lastly, I’ve noticed people have been going a lot lighter on me. Accusations of mansplaining and victim blaming have turned more towards substance, and that is a good thing.

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                • Dan A December 18, 2016 at 9:18 am

                  Nah, I’ve just given up. I can’t keep up with the sheer volume and length of your comments. Who has that much time?

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                • El Biciclero December 18, 2016 at 7:37 pm

                  “And lastly, I’ve noticed people have been going a lot lighter on me.”

                  Maybe it’s the Holiday Spirit(tm), but I suspect that you and I agree on many aspects of safe cycling. We might have different risk tolerances, but I believe you are indeed eminently pragmatic when it comes to how VRUs can protect themselves from many of the absolutely ridiculous behaviors of some motorists—behaviors that continue unabated with no discernible means of abatement that can be honestly expected (e.g., road re-design, enforcement enhancement).

                  A lot of the good safety advice that we might agree on, however, is the same kind of advice that one would give a hiker who was heading into bear country, or a mountaineer about to attempt Everest. This is where, in this forum, I diverge from pragmatism into more philosophical arguments in which I tend to vehemently oppose the notion that drivers are wild animals or motor traffic a force of nature. Even as I agree with advice that has the practical effect of keeping a bicyclist “safer”, I bristle at its necessity in a context where drivers’ daily threats to the life and limb of bicyclists and pedestrians are viewed as “meh”, while the slightest miscalculation of a bicyclist in avoiding said threats is analyzed and criticized and finger-wagged to death. In my view, over-analyzing cyclist behavior is the wrong focus if we really want to make streets safer for everyone.

                  So I will admit that many times, I will mentally just go, “yeah, yeah, don’t blast by on the right, use your lights, stay out of blind spots, don’t antagonize—I know, I know…but what about the responsibilities of motorists? What about the enforcement of laws that actually make a difference in safety? Why do we always assume the bicyclist should have done something different in the event of a collision? Why is driving normal and using a bike “weird”? Why do bicyclists have to research routes and figure out how they are going to avoid dying, while drivers just go wherever they want with no fear of even paying a fine for their life-threatening lawbreaking, let alone dying? Why can’t anyone acknowledge laws that give bicyclists rights to travel the roads in the safest possible way—even if they are temporarily “in the way”? The list goes on.

                  Maybe I should quit commenting here and just start sending letters directly to Mitch Greenlick and Elizabeth Steiner Hayward.

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                • Kyle Banerjee December 19, 2016 at 6:36 am

                  El Biciclero

                  A lot of the good safety advice that we might agree on, however, is the same kind of advice that one would give a hiker who was heading into bear country, or a mountaineer about to attempt Everest…. In my view, over-analyzing cyclist behavior is the wrong focus if we really want to make streets safer for everyone.

                  Agreed. There are three opportunities to make things safer — cycling environment, drivers, and cyclists themselves. Specific cycling environments can be improved as can a certain percentage of the drivers. Even if these two factors can be drastically improved, they will sometimes be very bad.

                  The point of looking at cyclist behavior is not so much as to figure out who did what wrong but to recognize opportunities so that extremely dangerous situations can be mitigated or even made safe. I believe the peculating the awareness that we have a surprising amount of control over outcomes is a good thing and that it makes an enormous difference if take an active role in their own safety and well being.

                  …but what about the responsibilities of motorists? What about the enforcement of laws that actually make a difference in safety? Why do we always assume the bicyclist should have done something different in the event of a collision?

                  I favor going much harder on motorists — I think driving is a responsibility most people don’t take seriously enough.

                  The reason I think about what cyclists can do is that even with the most enforcement and the best regimen, you’ll never be able to fix all of them. Being safe is all about trying to set things up (i.e. drivers, infrastructure) so that things won’t go wrong, but being ready when they do (i.e. cyclist).

                  The difference between a good driver and a bad one is that a bad one blames circumstances while a good one looks at what s/he can do. I think the same can be said for people doing just about any other activity — including cycling.

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                • Alex Reedin December 19, 2016 at 8:30 am

                  So, it sounds like we pretty much agree on the big-picture stuff, that’s very interesting. It’s just a matter of what we think goes without saying, and what we choose to emphasize on BikePortland. In the context of this article – I think I implicitly think that cyclists’ responsibility for safe behavior goes without saying, while the need for fair treatment of people regardless of mode by law enforcement and for increased enforcement of the most dangerous behaviors (which are disproportionately those by people driving, due to the potential to cause harm to others as well as themselves) needs emphasis and thinking. I think you think the opposite, in the context of BikePortland comments.

                  And underlying that – is I think a difference in the view of what we’re doing on BikePortland. I see BikePortland as primarily a place to organize people who bike to cause favorable change in society at large through political means. I think you see BikePortland as primarily a place for people who bike to just talk to each other, think things through, and encourage the best behavior that they can in each other.

                  The reality is, BikePortland is both.

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                • 9watts December 19, 2016 at 9:14 am
            • dwk December 17, 2016 at 4:21 pm

              I doubt the cop would have done anything and If I were the cyclist, I would done nothing either except continue pedaling on my way at 20 mph.
              I get honked at for doing illegal things like slow rolling stops and I ignore them. I don’t like it, but they are in the right according to the law I suppose, so unless the driver is a nut and does something more than honk,
              I go on my way.
              I attempt to avoid confrontations, I am just trying to get to work or home as fast and hassle free as possible.
              If I wanted to be stressed and hassled and distracted and miserable and make a u-tube video of my awful life, I would drive a car…..

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            • X December 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm

              To second your examples of people driving cars and acting out, I have had people driving cars pass me on the left while I was signaling a left turn, oh, fifty times? probably more. Just last night I asked a motor vehicle operator why they went through a four way stop at 15 miles hour and was told it was to keep me, the person on a bike, safe. Oregon plates: NSPIRE, newer white SUV. Person of an age to know better. –off to work on my anger management.

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          • X December 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm

            It may not be your logic that people are having a problem with. Could be that they just don’t stipulate your facts, such as believing that you are apparently 2 meters tall and covered with hair. Metaphorically speaking.

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        • Alex Reedin December 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm

          Can you explain how? I’ve read through a number of statutes (assault, intimidation, harassment, menacing) and this doesn’t seem to fall into any of them. The closest one I’ve seen, I think, is for reckless driving (of the bicycle) because you’re taking your hand off the handlebars unnecessarily and throwing yourself off balance. That seems like a judgment call, though one that would probably fall against the person on the bike given the lack of bike experience / presence of thinking that “biking is inherently dangerous” that most people (hence judges/juries) have.

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          • resopmok December 17, 2016 at 12:05 pm

            He didn’t explain it because he’s not a lawyer and doesn’t know. This is the internet after all.

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        • q December 16, 2016 at 5:44 pm

          Shaun–I wish you’d say why you think it’s illegal. A few here seem to think it’s surely legal. Several think it’s illegal. The most common opinion seems to be in between–either it depends, or they’re open to it being illegal, but they can’t find proof that it is.

          So if you know the answer, there’s definitely value in explaining it.

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        • CaptainKarma December 29, 2016 at 1:51 pm

          Cite the law, please.

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  • johnny December 16, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Wow. No one here has ever done ANYTHING wrong before! This is an amazing group of people.

    Slapping a car is stupid and dangerous, irrespective of it being illegal.

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    • Pete December 19, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Have you ever had to ride in a travel lane to avoid an obstacle or execute a left turn while bicycling and had a motorist rev their engine or come up close behind you and honk? Now that’s stupid and dangerous… and yet, surprisingly common and seemingly legal.

      “Wrong” is in the eye of the beholder (just like “stupid” and “dangerous”). Many of us are still waiting for one of you armchair legal experts to actually explain why slapping a car could be illegal.

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  • jeff December 16, 2016 at 11:33 am

    and this here: “Who fuckin’ cares about a cyclist breaking the law?!”
    is the problem and sense of entitlement that led to this article…

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    • soren December 19, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      people rolling stop signs on clinton are not maiming and killing people. the idea that people can continue to drive as they do now is the real “sense of entitlement”.

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  • Lester Burnham December 16, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I guess it’s okay for pedestrians to slap cyclists who pass to close to them too.

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  • Doi December 16, 2016 at 11:54 am

    This guy is a ***words deleted by moderator***. The officer was being polite and just asked him to keep his hands to himself like you learn in kindergarten. He’s just mad because he got called out for lashing out. I don’t like people on their phones either, but get over it.

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  • Johnathan Doh December 16, 2016 at 11:54 am

    BradWagon
    I knock on cars all the time. How else am I suppose to alert them of my presence and communicate they are endangering me?
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    If only they made noisemaking products that one could activate to audibly indicate your immediate presence and the need to be alert to your location! That could call them “trumpets” or “trombones” or “bugles”, or something like that.

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    • BradWagon December 22, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      If you know of a company that makes a bike trumpet let me know. Not sure I could play a wind instrument in a timely fashion while navigating traffic though…

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  • Pdx Phoenx December 16, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    In reply to Balzer: “I shouldn’t hit her car to let her know she’s endangering her life, your life, the lives of everyone on the road around her, and MY LIFE? Would you rather her car hit ME instead?”

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    • Robert Stuart December 16, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      He dramatically multiplied the chances of her hitting him or someone else by startling her like that in traffic.

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      • Pete December 19, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        Yet if you were driving behind her and she was slow and failing to keep up with traffic while distracted by her conversation, what would happen?

        You’d lay on your horn abruptly to catch her attention.

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  • soren December 16, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Lind: Yeah! As you should. Who fuckin’ cares about a cyclist breaking the law?!

    Word!

    People who violate irrelevant-to-safety traffic statutes while cycling are doing us all a favor. After all, normalizing “illegal” behavior that is both safe and ubiquitous allows LEO to focus on genuinely unsafe behavior, such as, driving while impaired (e.g. driving while drunk or using a cell phone).

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  • q December 17, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    “A person commits the crime of criminal mischief in the third degree if, with intent to cause substantial inconvenience to the owner or to another person…”.

    I don’t see that the cyclist intended to cause ANY inconvenience–let alone substantial–so don’t see how this would apply.

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    • q December 17, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      Oops, meant as a reply to LOL above.

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  • SD December 22, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I slapped a car yesterday. I also brushed against a car, rubbed a car, thumped a car, spanked a car, rapped on the side of a car, sat on a car and told a car that “I just wanted to be friends.”

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  • kenny heggem December 24, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I like what a friend of mine does. “Call Me?!?!” with his hand at his ear making a phone like gesture.

    Be loud, be heard as much as you can.. give them the visual.

    I am not really down with smacking a car.. BUT.. if that person nearly killed me, and I was in the heat of the moment? Not so sure.. to be honest.

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