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  #1  
Old 11-07-2006, 02:35 AM
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rainperimeter rainperimeter is offline
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Default assaulted by driver

hey y'all. i'd like to share this story in hopes that you will provide to me good advice, insightful comments or some kind of anectdote to help me deal with/figure out what to do with this situation. i'll try to be short and to the point but pardon me if this does get long...also, there's language, sorry if that bums you out.

i was biking to work this evening on generally the same route i always take and in fact was on the last 4 or 5 blocks of my ride which are always the same. i work on se 21st just south of powell a few blocks, on 21st and bush. the time is about 4:40 and my co-worker and i are sitting on 21st, facing south, at the red light on powell. heading south there is a line of traffic as always, most of which usually turns left and heads east on powell, traffic heading north on 21st almost always heads left/west on powell. i'm going forward through the light. on 21st immediately south of powell there are usually cars parked on the curb, and the lane is narrow so I try to take as much of it as i can so no one can pass me, like i said the lane is narrow, i don't care for people passing too close. right.

so this evening, given the time of day and amount of daylight and the incredible rains we're having i took up a good chunk of the right hand side of the lane as per usual. this however did not stop a car from hugging the yellow line and start passing me. i wasn't stoked as i was being crowded out of the lane and being pushed into parked cars. as the car gets directly beside me i gave the passenger window a smack with my palm, as in "hey you asshole, you're going to hit me". and i didn't need to lean or veer left at all, we were far too close, less than arms legth. so understandably the person driving probably wasn't stoked about this. they fully pass and do the "brake and swerve to the right" manuever. do you know what i'm talking about? pretending like they're going to hit you/try to get you to hit them from behind.

the car slows down quite a bit so i end up beside them again. the passenger, a black (this should be irrelevant but unfortunately won't be in a moment) lady is in the passenger seat. she immediately starts screaming at real beligerently and i do the same back. not the best form but adrenaline is running high. we do this for a very brief moment and i end our conversation with a deep, booming "fuck you".

the car speeds up, and maybe a half a block up, at a big gap in between parked cars, pulls over. a kind of big dude jumps out of the drivers side. i'm figuring he's gonna punch my teeth down my throat. i don't identify as a pacifist, but i've never been in a fight or plan on fighting, that shit is stupid, but i'd like to think i'm no coward either, so i decide that seeing as how this guy is on foot now, even if i try to zip and swerve past him, he'll make some serious efforts to get me. so i decide i'll stop and stand my ground. as i'm approaching him, he's approaching me and before i even come to a stop or put a foot down he lunges and shoves me to the ground. i'm all of 150 pounds at 6" tall, and this guy easily had me outweighed by a good 30 or so pounds and an inch or two, i figure. my co-worker is shocked as all hell, traffic behind has grinded to a halt and traffic from the other direction has stopped also. i'm laying in the street, still clipped in, soaking fucking wet with this guy standing over me who could in all likelihood beat the living shit out of me. he asked what i said to his lady and i shouted back that i told her to "fuck off". and i really thought when i did that i'd face a barrage of feet and fists. he didn't do anything though amazingly. i get up and the two of them start telling me to get the fuck out of the streets, get on the sidewalk, etc. typical shit. i tell them i get a lane, 3 feet to pass, blah blah blah.

so we're just shouting dumb shit at each other and the lady says something about how all us "fucking white boys" need to get our bikes off the streets. this i could not stand. them being black had NOTHING to do with this. you're behind the wheel, you're a DRIVER. i don't give a shit if you're the hottest lady in the world, or you have 3 eyes, or we love the same music, whatever, you're in a car and you are inches from hitting me, nothing else matters. i told her that shit had no place in our current situation and she said it wouldn't matter if i was a black guy on a bike, i should still be off the road. so i again told her to not bring race into this. (on a side note, this is the 2nd time this year i've been screamed at by a woman of color while riding my bike. a puerto rican lady, made it my business for me to know she was puerto rican by informing me of this like i gave a shit, said all us "fucking white boys" feel we're entitled to everything we want and to get a car. she also accused me of gentrifying mississippi ave and brooklyn ny. all after she passed waaaaay too close and i really very politely approached her as she got out of her car a couple blocks (!) down the street and asked her to drive more careful. she FLIPPED! also, i'm 30, so not quite a boy in the traditional sense of the word, don't live off of/or own a business on mississippi and have never been to NY)

so anyways, the people from the car are starting to walk towards their car, traffic is still stopped, others are now out of their cars, on phones. my co-worker tells me we need to call the cops and i agreed. the dude says to go for it, i started shouting his license number and the make of his car. they hopped in and took off. a couple ladies gave me their names and numbers. one of them hands me the phone and a 911 dispatcher is on the line asking me what happened. he immediately tells me i shouldn't have touched their car! no shit. i'd rather not be so close to cars that i 'can' touch them.

1 hour later the cops show. nice guy. i tell him what happened, he also immediately tells me i was in the wrong by hitting their window. ka-boing! i know! yes, indeed i shouldn't have! but shit, i can't honk my horn, if they hit me this isn't going to scratch my bumper. he said that would be considered harrassment, a class B misdemeanor, i think (the shock of everything hadn't worn off and i'm nervous speaking to cops). he also tells me that technically him pushing me isn't assault (?!?) but also harrassment. so me slapping and doing zero harm to his property and him physically pushing me down, off my bike, in the street, in traffic, is equal grounds. he ran the plates and told me the guy is driving on a suspended license, and also in a very casual, very sly way, gave me a bit of information about the guy that i'm thinking, in no possible way, he should have let me know. it was like a tip, "i can't really help you, you CAN help yourself" is how i took it. like an invitation to vengeful vandalism since my attemt at the legal route couldn't do anything for me.

the cop told me in his best estimation if every suspended license driver, if caught and then had their cars towed (which is what happens in that situation supposedly), this would remove about 10% of vehicles off portlands streets. he said the number of suspended licenses is amazing. i asked him to file an official report via the telephone later in the evening. he said, not in a discouraging way, but more in an informative way, that given the circumstances i had presented, a report was pointless. i don't know.

anyways, this really bummed me out all day. headache, knots in my stomach, really lame. so anyone have comments or suggestions on what i might/should do now? do i need to clarify any info from above? do you have a cheery story to make me feel better? my only request is that you please do not tell me i shouldn't have touched their car (it's not like i leave the house hoping i get to smack someones car during a close call or some shit).

thanks,
chris.
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  #2  
Old 11-07-2006, 06:29 AM
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Attornatus_Oregonensis Attornatus_Oregonensis is offline
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Holy shit! This is what you have to deal with to be a bike commuter.

Hopefully this will make you feel better: This could easily have been me. If someone had come that close to me, I would have hit their car too. I'd call that a mild response to someone putting my life at risk.

The fact that they were sufficiently close to you for you to hit the car without falling off your bike demonstrates that they were TOO CLOSE. This was self-defense. How else were you supposed to let them know that you could be killed? Did they already see you? Then it was intentional and it was criminal harassment and civil assault. Did they not see you? Then it was gross negligence and they needed a wake-up call.

And maybe this will make you feel better and like a nice guy: I'd sue the bastard. Coming too close is enough, but throw in the racist remark, and I'd make sure he lost his car and had to defend himself in court.

And I'd report the cop. Shoving you is not assault?! That's total BS. This asshole assaulted you TWICE! Not filing a report? That doesn't sound like the procedure he has to follow.

See, you're probably a much nicer guy than me.
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2006, 08:19 AM
nishiki nishiki is offline
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Why did you confront him?
The driver was obviously nuts and you went in his direction. Why? You should feel lucky you did not get hurt! You seem like a nice guy, next time just think if it is worth a fight.
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  #4  
Old 11-07-2006, 09:27 AM
Austin Austin is offline
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Default You might be able to get the driver cited.

I do not know if this qualifies or not, but you may be able to initiate a citizen's complaint and get a citation issued:

http://bikeportland.org/2006/01/12/w...ouve-been-hit/

Start at step 9.

Here is how it goes down:

http://bikeportland.org/2006/05/25/f...laint-process/

-Austin
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  #5  
Old 11-07-2006, 09:46 AM
kara kara is offline
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holy shit is RIGHT! ive got adrenaline pulsing just reading this.

a slap on a window is perfectly warranted - its not as though you have a horn or other way to alert someone that theyre about to smash into you - and from the sounds of it, there was no way to not "confront" the vehicle. more specifically, when the driver stopped and bounced out of the car, a quick maneuver wouldnt have stopped him from pushing you over.

i recall hearing about the incident where the woman yelled at you about gentrification and entitlement - bullshit. yes these issues exist, but its a dumbshit sort of remark to hurl at someone, especially at someone on an f-ing bicycle. if you really wanted to exercise your entitlement youd be mowing down pedestrians in a hummer while tossing soda cans out the window.

im sorry this happened and it makes me FURIOUS. i am, however, pleased that you still have all your teeth in your face.

k
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  #6  
Old 11-07-2006, 11:25 AM
DJoos DJoos is offline
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I would have hit the car too, with the rain , who knows if they could see how close they were to you. I doubt you could strike a vehicle hard enough while on your bike to cause any damage, the officers claim that you were breaking the law was foolish.
After a verbal attack, swerving towards you and then pulling over and exitting the vehicle, the driver was definetly demonstrating a position of causing you bodily harm.
The law does state that you should attempt to flee an attacker before defending yourself, I would argue that with your back to traffic, it was unsafe to flee (thus possibly turning into traffic). Standing your ground, in my mind was appropriate. This was a classic "road rage" scenario and would of sent plenty of "defend-my-life" signals through my body.
As for getting shoved to the ground not being assault, that is straight up BULL SHIT!!! The officer should have asked if you wanted to press charges, hell spitting on someone is assault, you should file a complaint with the PD.
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Old 11-07-2006, 11:33 AM
Rixtir Rixtir is offline
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Your options:

1) Citizen-initiated complaint, read Pedal Power on how to do these.

2) File a police report anyway, and ask the D.A. to prosecute on assault and battery and other violations.

2) Hire a lawyer and sue. Unless this guy has assets you can go after, this is quasi-pointless.

Listen, every time I hear a cop talking to a crime victim, for some reason, the cop just can't resist giving legal advice, and it's invariably wrong. The fact that you slapped the car window does not get the driver off the hook for his own violations. It's not "equal grounds." Yes, you could hypothetically be prosecuted for that, but that doesn't mean you would be convicted. There is the self-defense argument, after all. On the other hand, there is NO defense for an illegal passing maneuver (in this situation), nor is there a defense for assault and battery in this situation.

If I understand you correctly, the cop was inviting you to commit another crime? That would be piss-poor legal advice indeed. Don't do it. Take this guy to court. Insist that the police file a report. Then go to the D.A. You have witnesses, and you have the opportunity to take a violent anti-cyclist off the street. Do it.
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  #8  
Old 11-07-2006, 12:40 PM
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rainperimeter rainperimeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nishiki View Post
Why did you confront him?
The driver was obviously nuts and you went in his direction. Why? You should feel lucky you did not get hurt! You seem like a nice guy, next time just think if it is worth a fight.
i wasn't looking to confront this guy. by the time he stopped and jumped out of his car, which totally blew my mind, we were less than a block from my work. we were both headed down this last short stretch of 21st before it ends at a 't' in the road. i was not not not looking for a fight, but with him on foot, traffic behind us, traffic coming from the other way, i figured stopping was my only option. he was intent on doing something no matter what, know what i mean?
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Old 11-07-2006, 12:44 PM
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Attornatus_Oregonensis Attornatus_Oregonensis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rixtir View Post
Your options:

1) Citizen-initiated complaint, read Pedal Power on how to do these.

2) File a police report anyway, and ask the D.A. to prosecute on assault and battery and other violations.

2) Hire a lawyer and sue. Unless this guy has assets you can go after, this is quasi-pointless.

Listen, every time I hear a cop talking to a crime victim, for some reason, the cop just can't resist giving legal advice, and it's invariably wrong. The fact that you slapped the car window does not get the driver off the hook for his own violations. It's not "equal grounds." Yes, you could hypothetically be prosecuted for that, but that doesn't mean you would be convicted. There is the self-defense argument, after all. On the other hand, there is NO defense for an illegal passing maneuver (in this situation), nor is there a defense for assault and battery in this situation.

If I understand you correctly, the cop was inviting you to commit another crime? That would be piss-poor legal advice indeed. Don't do it. Take this guy to court. Insist that the police file a report. Then go to the D.A. You have witnesses, and you have the opportunity to take a violent anti-cyclist off the street. Do it.
Rixter is right! As for "second 2," i.e., 3, you know he has at least one asset -- that giant chunk of mobile metal that he assaulted you with. The damages you would probably get would be less than it's value, but -- after he gets it back from the impound lot -- you could force him to sell the car to pay your claim. Wouldn't that be sweet?! That's what I'd do. Again, I'm not a nice guy when someone tries to place me in apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury. Call me belligerant; I'm fine with that.
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  #10  
Old 11-07-2006, 01:21 PM
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rainperimeter rainperimeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rixtir View Post
If I understand you correctly, the cop was inviting you to commit another crime? That would be piss-poor legal advice indeed. Don't do it.
this is speculation on my part, just to be clear. this slippery bit of info came as we were having a conversation about how, with police mediation, nothing positive for me would come of this (since i "harrassed" him first with the slap on his window). my own thoughts ran towards sugar in gas tanks and bricks through windows...


so the officer has my address. i told him to file a report regardless. will i be mailed a copy? do i need to go to the se police station? i've never filed a report on anything before, so this is all new to me. i'm wondering if I should contact mark ginsberg? no? not yet?

all this is crazy and i'm still trying to wrap my head around it.
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