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Comment of the week: A TriMet bus driver on letting bikes pass first

Friday, June 20th, 2014

What’s it like to drive a bus in a city full of bikes?

The first commenter we’re highlighting in our new weekly feature, TriMet bus operator Dan Christensen, explained a little bit of the experience beneath our post this week about an alleged bike-bus collision at a Milwaukie bus stop.

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Blogging TriMet bus driver gives bike riders good report card

Thursday, August 16th, 2012
Portland City Tour ride -16
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

TriMet bus operator Dan Christensen is blogging again, and he’s just published his “Portland cyclist report card”. The good grades Christensen gives people on bikes (see them below) is quite a shift from last time we heard from him.

Dan’s name might be familiar to some readers as the driver who started a petition against allowing bicycle access through the Rose Quarter Transit Center because he was concerned his and other drivers’ views on the matter hadn’t been heard by TriMet. Then, in July 2010, Christensen got into hot water with TriMet for his infamous “Kill This Bicyclist!” blog post. The agency put him on leave after that episode.

Now he’s blogging again and he emailed me his latest — “A report card for cycling that I have seen over the last three years.” Here’s how the grades came in: (more…)

Parents of man threatened in bus driver’s blog post want action

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

“He [Christensen] is inciting violence, death threats, essentially begging someone to act violently against another person… Any harm to my son as a result of that language could be construed as a liability on the part of TriMet and on Dan personally.”
— Tom Bennett

The parents of a Paul Higgins, the man who was the subject of the controversial, “Portland! Kill this bicyclist!” blog post written by TriMet bus operator Dan Christensen, feel the situation should have been taken much more seriously.

Higgins’ mom, Judy Bennett, wrote about the situation on her blog last Sunday. After reposting the blog post where Christensen detailed his intentions to “exercise the death option” on her son for his erratic riding behavior, Bennett wrote,
“Freaky, right? Makes you question what sort of person is allowed to drive people around our city in a large vehicle. I’m quite a bit more upset than you might be right now, because the bicyclist he is talking about is my son.” (more…)

Q & A with rider who inspired “Kill this Bicyclist!” post

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
Paul Higgins, as seen from
the window of a TriMet bus.
(Photos: Screen grabs of Dan
Christensen’s blog)

At the end of last month, TriMet bus operator Dan Christensen published a shocking essay on his personal blog. The essay was titled “PORTLAND! KILL THIS BICYCLIST!” It went into detail about how Christensen was so frustrated with a man riding a bike in front of his bus on SE Hawthorne Blvd that he pleaded with someone to kill him and he himself wanted to “exercise the death option.” The post also included a photo of the man on the bike’s face that was taken by one of Christensen’s passengers. (more…)

TriMet bus operator who wrote offensive blog post returns to work

Friday, July 30th, 2010
bikes and buses
(Photo © J. Maus)

Dan Christensen, the TriMet bus operator who wrote an essay titled, “Portland: Kill this bicyclist!” on his personal blog is back behind the wheel.

After learning of the post on July 22nd, TriMet placed Christensen on administrative leave and notified the District Attorney and the Portland Police. According to TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch, Christensen was back on the job as of last night. In addition to some time off, Fetsch says Christensen will get a “refresher training class” behind the wheel with a TriMet trainer. Fetsch also said Christensen will receive “appropriate discipline” but said specifics of that disciplinary action “is privileged and not releasable.”

Reached via phone this morning, Christensen said he doesn’t necessarily regret what he wrote, but admits he could have, “Done a better job making it clearer what I was going for.” (more…)

Exclusive: TriMet bus operator placed on administrative leave following blog post

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
Screen grab from Christensen’s
blog post (before it was taken down).

TriMet has placed a bus operator on administrative leave after they determined a blog post about an interaction with a man on a bicycle that was published to the operator’s personal blog earlier today was inappropriate. TriMet has also referred the issue to the police and the District Attorney’s office.

TriMet bus operator Dan Christensen — a man known for his humor and writing talents who was just named one of Portland’s ‘Best People’ by the Willamette Week — posted a story to his “TriMet Confidential” blog earlier today titled, “PORTLAND! KILL THIS BICYCLIST!” (more…)

For the love of lights, bus driver wants to throw us a party

Monday, May 4th, 2009
TriMet bus operator
Dan Christensen.
(Photo courtesy
Dan Christensen)

[The following guest essay was written by TriMet bus operator Dan Christensen. You might remember Dan as the guy who started a petition among bus drivers in opposition to the new bikeways through the Rose Quarter Transit Center. Shortly thereafter, I shared a letter he wrote explaining his position.

If that episode didn't tell you what an outspoken and candid guy Dan is, the essay below will. It came to me in an email from Dan last week and I got his permission to share it. It's not earth-shattering, but it's a nice bit of rare, positive vibes from the other side of the windshield.]


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“I don’t hate bikes”; Rose Quarter petitioner reaches out

Friday, August 29th, 2008
bikes and buses
(Photo © J. Maus)

The TriMet bus operator who started a petition hoping to stop a plan to allow bike access through the Rose Quarter Transit Center has just left a comment here on BikePortland.org explaining his views.

Dan Christensen wrote that he loves to bike and that “one of the best times” of his life was a bike tour through Europe with his wife.

In his comment, Christensen also tries to make it clear that his concerns do not come from a hatred of bikes (“I love bikes and what they are bringing to my beloved city”), but that, “before we put bike lanes through Rose Quarter all voices should be heard.” (more…)

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