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Cyclist sues TriMet

Posted by on January 13th, 2006 at 7:53 am

Albright_web4
[Photo from TriMet bus video]

Long time bike advocate and current city employee Randy Albright (seen here at a June Critical Mass ride) has filed a lawsuit against TriMet seeking damages of over $48,000. The suit, which was filed last Friday, details an incident which occured on the Hawthorne Bridge back in January 2004.

I recently met with Randy to get his side of the story:

On the morning of January 22, 2004 he had just entered the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge heading into downtown when he noticed the bike lane was full of gravel debris. The roads had just thawed from an ice storm and despite several attempts to get maintenance crews to clean out the bike lane, it remained unusable. Because of this dangerous situation, Randy was forced to ride just to the right of the main traffic lane.

albright2
[Randy and John Doe, pre-punch]

A few minutes later a TriMet bus came up from behind and buzzed him “less than a foot” from his handlebars. This was much too close for comfort in Randy’s mind. A few minutes later Randy caught up to the bus near a stop (still on the bridge) and proceeded to walk his bike directly in front of the driver’s window, yelling and screaming at the driver (for anyone that knows Randy, this is not hard to imagine). Before long, the other traffic continued on, but Randy remained in front of the bus, causing a delay.

[*Note, the bus was standing-room-only full at this time.]

This delay apparently upset the driver and one passenger in particular because suddenly the bus door opened and a man stormed out. He approached Randy and instantly began hitting him. The first punch broke Randy’s lip open (later needing stitches) and eventually this “John Doe” wrestled Randy over to the sidewalk (see photos).

albright_man1

[This is the man who
assaulted Randy]

After the incident, John Doe walked right back on the bus, the door closed, and the bus continued on into town. According to timestamps on the images made from TriMet video, the entire incident took less than one minute .

Randy and his lawyer feel TriMet is responsible because the driver:

  • Failed to operate his bus safely.
  • Allowed John Doe to leave the bus at an unapproved stop.
  • Allowed John Doe to return to the bus after committing a criminal assault and battery.
  • Failed to call the police after witnessing a criminal assault and battery.
  • Failed to call for medical assistance.
  • Facilitated assault and battery by a patron.

Randy has met with TriMet and reviewed video of the incident (that’s where these photos came from). Despite being cooperative with Randy’s requests for information, TriMet claims that John Doe is responsible for the incident and they have not assumed any responsibility so far.

In the background of all this is the fact that many cyclists have had run-ins with TriMet busses. Just glancing at my close call submissions, I found five of them involved a TriMet bus (here they are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

That being said, I’m not so sure Randy handled this right. Did he really have to make a big scene and get all irate with the driver? Would he have had more luck by just taking down the bus number and going through the proper channels? My heart says I can’t blame him for getting upset, but I wonder what would have happened if cooler heads prevailed…and so does Randy. At one point in our meeting, he said sheepishly, “I don’t hate TriMet or anything…after all, I take the MAX to Zoobomb!”.

But regardless of Randy’s outburst, there’s simply no justification for a TriMet driver allowing a passenger to beat someone up and then leave them without any more respect than roadkill. And what’s up with this psycho passenger? That guy needs to relax and stop assaulting people he doesn’t even know. Too bad no one knows who he is because I’d love to hear his side of the story.

Perhaps the judge will make TriMet begin a new cyclist safety training program. If something like that comes out of this we all win, because regardless of how it turns out I think there’s a real need for cyclists and TriMet to work together to share the road. They’re the heaviest road user and we’re the lightest, it’s a recipe for disaster.

What have been your experiences riding around TriMet busses? Do you think Randy’s lawsuit is justified?

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Ayleen
Guest

In a lot of ways, I think Randy handled this right because he handled it the Randy way: it’s in his nature to be so bold.

I’m still not convinced there’s an overwhelming TriMet bus driver problem as far as safety with cyclists is concerned. I’ve ony had two near breezes in six years. I generally try to move out of the way of busses since they’re carrying so many people and their vehicles must be so annoying to operate.

I hear a lot of outcry that “TriMet Bus drivers have a thing against cyclists and try to run them down” but I’m not buying it. I have had far more run-ins with car drivers.

tim
Guest

A few times a year i get the ‘Trimet squeeze’ and am cut off by one of their buses. So i call Trimet, the person there is very nice, and say they’ll talk to the driver. When i ride my same commute route, seems like the buses do give me more room now. So that’s cool.

One other thing that comes to mind is an incident i had after crossing the St Johns Bridge (in NW). i was descending South (at around 30mph) with a Trimet bus within a yard of my rear wheel. At the nearby stop sign, i rapped on the buses door, and asked the operator if he could give me a little more room. He replied that he couldn’t, for he had a schedule to keep.

Agreed with Ayleen about motorists being a much greater problem for us. Hoping that some bike-tolerant education can be introduced in driver’s education classes.

Jim F
Guest
Jim F

After the passenger assaulted Randy, the bus driver should have called the police and let them handle it. Allowing the passenger back on the bus and driving away was just wrong.

That said, I find that Tri-Met drivers are like everyone else. Most of them are very respectful of bikes, but some aren’t.

Caroline
Guest

What I want to know is where is the aggressor shown in the video stills? Did that person get away without criminal charges? Because although it seems to me that whereas two mistakes were made by Randy (he was in too much of a hurry to walk his bike over the glass, and crazy enough to leave the bike path while still on the narrow-laned Hawthorne bridge) one more paramount mistake was made by the anonymous Tri-Met rider (he assaulted a stranger because he’s a hater in a hurry). Hurry schmurry.

Come on, people. Buses are huge, and they are operated by PEOPLE who have schedules dictated by both customers and management breathing down their necks. If they are not on time, they do not get a break. Just stay out of their way! And when you meet a driver who is inconsiderate, take it upon yourself to politely ask whether they noticed their mistake, and if they did and do not seem empathetic or apologetic or both, write a letter or notify the police (whichever is appropriate (bus drivers abide by laws, as well). Don’t yell. Obviously it accomplishes nothing. I am usually extremely embarrassed when someone I am riding with yells at a driver. It only serves to make drivers more alienated from bikers, and makes the yeller look like an ass. After years of driving without a horn on my car, I carried over the silent “WTF” look and exaggerated “WTF” gestures to my on-road encounters. Usually people send back non-verbal apologetic looks and gestures.

I have been car-less for over a year and commute by bike and bus (more by bus now that it is winter). I routinely get into pleasant conversations with bus drivers, normally because they are curious about something about my bike or style. Sometimes I have not-so-pleasant experiences with buses. But, Tri-met is people and machines we want and need on our side! Make a point of letting them know what they are doing right, and be careful how you let them know what they are doing wrong.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

I just added a photo of the man who beat up Randy. From what I know, he hasn’t been identified.

I tend to agree with you Caroline, yelling rarely accomplishes something…however I can sympathize with Randy’s emotions and I still think TriMet messed up on this one by not at least apologizing to Randy or reprimanding their driver.

Curt Dewees
Guest
Curt Dewees

My reactions:
1. Most Tri-Met drivers are very good bus handlers. They know exactly where the edges of their vehicle is, and they are very skilled at maneuvering in tight situtations. Randy may have felt that is was a “close call” but realistically, he probably wasn’t in any real danger, other than having his comfort zone violated.

2. Unless Tri-Met has a written policy that busses must keep a three-foot distance from other vehicles, including bicyles, at all times, then the Tri-Met driver probably wasn’t breaking any rules by passing a bicyclist with only a foot to spare.

3. With those assumptions in mind, Randy’s reaction was innapropriate. He wasn’t hit, he wasn’t hurt; no harm, no foul.

4. On the other hand, two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because an irate cyclist was blocking the bus, the bus driver shouldn’t have let the passenger off at that point.

5. Did the bus driver know that the passenger intended to assault the bicyclist? Maybe not. Maybe the passenger just told the driver, “Can you please let me off now. I’ll just walk the rest of the way, thanks.” Tri-Met drivers have been known to pick up and/or drop off passengers at places that are not designated bus stops as a courtesy to their passengers, if they’re in a good mood. If the bus driver is smart, he’ll say, “I had no idea that guy was going to attack Randy. If I had known, I wouldn’t have let him off the bus.”

6. Still, after witnessing the assault, the driver should have reported the assault to the police and/or called 9-1-1. He didn’t, so he acted negligently. Perhaps Randy is owed something on that score.

I’d say both the bicyclist and the bus driver (and obviously the passenger) all made some serious mistakes on this one. There is plenty of blame to go around.

Caroline
Guest

Is that a Steelers jacket? Hm. Explains a lot. Nah. Just kidding.

I agree with you Jonathan. Just because I don’t normally scream doesn’t mean I don’t harbor those violent emotions when automobiles violate my space. And yes, some people owe Randy apologies!

Hugo
Guest
Hugo

Okay,

Two ways to approach this, legally, and as a guy.

Legally, the driver aided and abetted the escape of someone who had committed assault. You have a legal case.

But as a guy to a guy Randy, you threw down and got all aggressive and blocked the bus when blocking the bus was totally unnecessary. You should have just gotten the bus # and called TriMet. BUT, you didn’t and that’s fine. I myself have taken the law into my own hands, and after one particular close call with a TriMet, I removed his rearview mirror. But when I did that, I understood that I sure as hell better have an escape route, or be willing to deal with the horns.
You wanted to be the Dude, be big and bad and block the bus. But when push came to shove, you just weren’t ready for it and got your helmet handed to you. In court you will probably win, but as a dude, you get no props.

Ayleen
Guest

(off the TriMet topic, on to Caroline’s preferred gesture)
I’m a BIG fan of WTF gesturing and facial expressions. It’s probably my most common form of communication with drivers. To me, it says (other than WTF), “Come on, aren’t you smarter than that?” and “I noticed, and that’s not cool”.

Commander Sinnett, when interviewed on the KBOO Bike Show, said that most motorists who make errors are aware that they are violating the law. I found that comment very interesting.

David Auker
Guest

>TriMet bus came up from behind and buzzed him “less than a foot” from
his handlebars< Anger when threatened bodily is human nature, like it or not. >This was much too close for comfort< Comfort? This sounds like possible injury/death. TriMet buses do have an inherently awkward role in traffic; however...once in a while I've seen manuvers that could only have come from drivers with some kind of chip on their shoulder. In my encounters with TriMet, they go out of their way to avoid admitting any error, so a lawsuit is likely necessary to even get them to actually say they're sorry! I received a letter from them once, that I requested, and the wording was, "We're sorry YOU had a problem with one of our drivers!"

Doug Hormann
Guest
Doug Hormann

While the acts of the driver and the passenger are pretty bizarre and in the case of the passenger apparently criminal, Randy’s actions were also out of line and certainly led to the asault. (I’m not justifying the passenger’s action, merely stating that he probably wouldn’t have blown up if Randy hadn’t been blocking the bus.) Had he gotten the bus number and reported the incident, or calmly tried to speak to the driver at his next stop, we wouldn’t be discussing this here.

Randy also, by his own admission, likely committed the offense of Disordery Conduct (B Misdemeanor)(ORS 166.025(1)(d) in which, “A person commits the crime of disorderly conduct if, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, the person:

(d) Obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic on a public way;

I’ve been breezed by buses a couple of times. Once I spoke to the driver and he apologized, not realizing he had come that close. Blocking a street and holding up traffic is no way to influence bus drivers or gain the support of the general public. While the bus driver probably owes Randy an apology, Randy owes the passengers and other traffic one as well.

Bike commuter and cop for 17 years.

Aaron
Guest

Curt Dewees comments are right on the money. He was definitely wrong and asking for trouble to block a bus (especially fully loaded). The bus driver however should definitely know the space of the bus and perhaps knew he was too close. That we don’t know. I also have little trouble with Trimet and I talk to drivers all the time and hear their complaints about bicyclists (at least half are not pro-bike).
Both the driver and TriMet screwed up royally in this incident and should be forced to pay up if only to enforce the notion that they should be more responsible than some bicyclists. I disagree with Doug’s final comment though. While that might be the letter of the law, it’s obviously car-centric and could be used against Critical Mass. Holding up traffic should not be illegal unless it’s gratuitous.

RobCat
Guest
RobCat

Randy (I don’t know him personally but have read many of his posts on bikeforums.net) reacted much as many frightened human beings would when they perceive their safety threatened. Still, though his behavior is understandable, it isn’t laudable. Had he damped his temper and thought the incident through in a practical manner he wouldn’t have gotten a fat lip. This is in no way meant to infer that the actions of the passenger were warranted; HIS behavior was reprehensible.

The driver had responsibilities in this situation that he did not fulfill, much as I might otherwise sympathize with him for the daily abuse and harried schedule with which he has to contend. I detest the “look the other way” school of urban survival.

One thing not mentioned: The deportment of the rest of the passengers on that bus. Did they applaud the assailant once he re-boarded? Or did they stare at him silently, or perhaps even berate him? I don’t suppose we’ll ever know, but I’d hope that at least one of them voiced his or her disgust of him aloud.

Russell
Guest
Russell

Quote:
“I still think TriMet messed up on this one by not at least apologizing to Randy or reprimanding their driver.”

There is no excuse for the driver to not be terminated. Just a reprimand for facilitating the assault and then escape of the assailant isn’t enough. If this isn’t a fire able offence at Trimet, then what is?

As for aggressive bicyclists such as Randy: While I don’t think he deserved to be beat up, if he was being that obnoxious, he should have been ready to fight. You can’t get up in someone’s grill (so to speak) and not be ready for fists to start flying. I usually ride with a telescopic baton, as I’ve had a couple drivers get out of cars at stoplights to confront me when I’ve taken the lane. If someone risks my life so blatantly that I feel like I have to confront them, I don’t assume they are going to listen attentively and then thank me for pointing out the relevant bicycle law so they can improve their driving. I’m ready to fight if it comes to that.

Randy would probably say from what I’ve read that he was willing to take a punch to make his point. I’d just have preferred he’d gave as good as he got I guess. He had a right to defend himself and he didn’t use it.

While most here are saying the best course of action is to call or write Trimet; if Trimet isn’t going to fire a driver for this (let alone punish him/her at all), you all are crazy if you think anything is going to come of a letter or phone call. “They were so nice” is just them telling you to kiss their ass in corporate speak. I don’t think forty-eight grand is gonna be enough to get their attention either.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Screw Tri Met and the Horse they rode in on!!!!!
As someone who deals with Tri Met 9 hours a day downtown, and in the short SE side, I have quite a bit of thought on this subject. Probably too much thought. I will try to be brief.
Tri met buses abuse their “privilege” to use the road. It is not a right, it is a priviledge. We are supporting through subsidation, a money losing private organization that lives beyond it’s means.
Through this, we have given them the right, with their little triangle, to do what they want, when they want. I believe that is what the triangle means on the back of the bus.
We have also given to them the right to abuse our streets, our pedestrians, our bicyclists. Hell, the even are rude and abusive to bus riders!
I have had incidents with buses of course, I had one last year.
After being told they compiled the videos, and agreed with my point of view on the matter, I heard nothing else. I was chased through downtown by a bus! You would think that they would take care of this situation properly, since thier driver was running me down.
People on the bus , who got off , also filed complaints against the driver. I have been told nothing, and surely nothing has been done.
Tri Met will not be found at fault. We have given them the right of way, over all traffic.
I have moved the mirrors on a unruly bus, because supposedly if the mirrors are moved, they must be recalibrated to the driver, which causes a investigation into why the mirror was moved. I hope this is true, but we may never know.
I will not go on and on here like I could, and want to.
I think that we need to form a citizens watchdog group, to deal with TriMets abuses, of all types. I mean, shit, we gave them the power to have their own police!
We have citizen police watch groups.
Why nopt a Tri Met based one, where it is needed.
They have a loophole which allows them to drive as the want.
I want to sinch up the slack, and close the loop hole down.
Who’s with me?

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

It also appears I cannot spell….
For this I am sorry….
I still like to ride my bike though….

C3PNo
Guest
C3PNo

I was just wondering how many people ride with a mirror in situations like this. Being able to see (if not hear) a bus behind you squeezing your comfort zone before it happens allows one the opportunity to take appropriate preemptive action. I feel like, as cyclists, we are stewards for the next generation of commuters. The more we pay attention to our 360 environment, the more respect we will get from these people, because we are making an effort to integrate ourselves (as non-violently as possible) into a system which was not designed with our presence in mind. Oh, and it might save your life.

H
Guest
H

The lesson I’m taking away from this incident is the same one I learned on my paper route at 11 years old: If a mean dog is chasing you, and you can’t get away, keep your bike between you and the dog, and use your bike as a weapon, if necessary.

David Auker
Guest

C3PNo (“use a mirror so we can take appropriate preemptive action”) are you saying we should just get out of the way? There is some good logic to that, but on the other hand, the more you give, the more they will take. Besides, this situation was one of no option for Randy, as the bike lane was unusable and he had no other place to hide. Shouldn’t have to hide.

Caroline
Guest

I have to sincerely disagree with the notion of statement “the bike lane was unusable” in comment #19.

Whereas in most cases I would veer around glass into traffic/out of bike lane assuming I had the attention or clearance of traffic, I would NEVER leave a bike path going over a TALL curb onto a narrow BRIDGE auto lane with an oncoming BUS.

One, as I previously mentioned, the rider could have walked the bike (myself, I just carefully ride through glass; whatever). Two, what the heck is the rider supposed to do with that uncomfortable space between the BUS and the TALL curb? No escape! If he is uncomfortable it is because he KNOWS that if something goes wrong he cannot veer off into a ditch or shoulder. He will crash and get run over, most likely.

I’m going to put out the dangerous opinion that leaving the Hawthorne bridge bike path over the curb is a *drastic mistake.* Personally, I would avoid it at all costs, even if it meant slowing down and looking like a weenie walking my bike. I’m sure the rider in question had to slow down anyhow to leave the path off the curb…

Can we all not be so militant? We’re bicycle lovers, not haters.

David Auker
Guest

According to law, the bicyclist is allowed to move out into and take the entire traffic lane when making a left turn or when necessary to avoid surface hazards such as glass, car doors, storm drains, gravel, or visual hazards like blind driveways. The bicyclist’s skill, boldness and existing visibility conditions will dictate the exercise of this right.

Our information about this incident indicates the bike lane was unusable.

Caroline
Guest

David: you consider the bike lane unusable, fine. That’s a fair judgement and “the law.” But don’t you find going off the tall curb on a 30mph narrow-laned bridge slightly insane? Maybe had he taken the entire lane so that he didn’t end up with a bus on his side, but he went off the curb and hugged it while letting a bus pass him. Suicide. Personally I wonder why there are not metal fences or guard rails between the walkway and the auto lane, to prevent people/bikes/things from going over into traffic.

David Auker
Guest

According to Randy, the bike lane “remained unusable.” When you (Caroline) refer to the curb, I’m unsure it factors in…was he on the sidewalk, or was this on the bike lane”proper,” at the downtown end of the bridge, where there is no curb?

Russell
Guest
Russell

I’d say claiming that he deserved to get punched or run over for lawfully (although dumbly) riding is the militant point of view on this one.

Blaming the victim is fun and all, but the assailant did the punching, the driver did the facilitating, and Randy did the instigating. Keeping that in mind, the blame doesn’t stop at Randy. I know that this town is full of “can’t we all get along?” types, but getting along stops being an option when someone threatens to kill/assault you, or does. It doesn’t matter that Randy stopped the bus, it doesn’t matter that Mr. Clean had an unhappy childhood, and it doesn’t matter that the bus driver had a schedule to keep.

Many of you sound like the people who ask: “well, was he wearing a helmet?” after they hear someone got plowed by a car going 35 mph. “He might be alive today if he’d been wearing one, or if he had a mirror, or if he’d traveled two blocks over, or if he hadn’t had that beer with dinner. It’s such a shame he made those mistakes and how he’s dead.”

Stop being an apologist for Mr. Clean or the driver just because Randy did something legal (up to the point he stopped the bus) and consider that just because someone won’t avoid conflict at any cost like yourself (or will insist that a bureaucracy handle such unpleasantness in your stead) it doesn’t mean the rest of us need to plod off to city hall for a constructive conversation about the bigger issues at play when someone tries to run us over.

H
Guest
H

At least the mystery of what happened to Larry “Bud” Melman (who used to appear on Letterman) has finally been solved. That assailant looks an awful lot like him. He shouldn’t be that hard to find.

David Auker
Guest

I wonder…is this the same TriMet driver that squeezed me into the curb on the bike lane at the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge, westbound? My incident was in broad daylight, blue skies, VERY light traffic, perfect visibilty. He passed me, then almost scrapped the curb with his bus…problem was: I was there! If this is the same driver (it’s the same route!)…wow.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Ok, so I do not agree with the postings here telling someone they should not hop off the sidewalk, out of the bike lane….
In case you don’t know this, some people ride their bicycles to ride them, not walk them.
Anything happening in or near a bike lane that causes you to get off your bike, or out of said bike lane, is not your fault, and it is within your right to take precautions in order to be safe.
I have flown off the sidewalk, on to the roadbed of the hawthorne bridge, in order to avoid being taken out by Bicyclists!!!
Mainly because they were riding too slow, weaving, blocking the path of other peds or bicyclists. I have flown off the curb in to the path of a Tri Met bus, after he cut nme off at the east end of the bridge, I hauled ass, and cut him off on the west end of the bridge, With My Signaling Middle finger highg in the air…..
I believe , here on this comment posting, as I have been reading, people are more worried about how others are riding, and about presenting yourself properly, than they are about the real issue, which is Highly Visual And Flagrant abuse of our road by Tri Met., by armored cars, valets, and such.
Hemming and hawing about where this person should have been riding, that isn’t it.
Standing outside trimet offices, going to the courthouse for this suit, and changing things, this is what we should be doing.
At the point that the driver stopped and opened the door, anyblame laid on the bicyclist is now mute, as a bigger crime has occured.
Just like a hit and run, even if you are at fault, when the other guy takes off, it is automatically all his fault from the moment of the larger infraction……………

West Cougar
Guest
West Cougar

I happen to think the shame of it is Randy got cold-cocked and the guy ran off like a sissy, aided by Tri-met no less.

Being verbally accosted from someone having a bout of Cage Rage has probably happened to all cyclists. In fact, it happened to me just last Saturday. I largely ignore it. But my rule to live by has been, and this only underscores it, the moment someone leaves their vehicle they have taken the offensive and are explicitly threatening assault.

C3PNo
Guest
C3PNo

David,

I am simply advocating informing one’s self of one’s surroundings to the fullest extent through the use of mirrors. The more information you have at any given moment, the safer the situation for everyone. I do not consider sacrificing three seconds to hop up on the sidewalk “hiding.” That’s what I would have done in this situation, given what I know about it. Or, if occupied by pedestrians, I would take THE ENTIRE LANE. To me, a former messenger, there is no greater invitation to a good “scraping” than being vague and inconsistent about one’s position on the road. Don’t give motorists room that you need to maintain a safe path of travel. Many times, seeing that there are no cyclists behind me in my mirror (wink, wink), I will stop altogether to let a potentially conflictive traffic situation “breathe itself out.” We have this unique ability as cyclists to affect the situation around us. Let’s be good custodians of the road.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

By the way, TriMet has video of the entire thing so it will be interesting to see it live. I expect the video to surface locally any day now…I’ll link to it as soon as it does.

Caroline
Guest

If we’re talking the bridge proper, that’s a tall curb. I really would have either slowed and ridden carefully through/around the glass or walked my bike. It really takes so little time to dismount, walk/run a little and remount, esp. cyclocross style! 😛

For the people who think I’m a weenie for my last few posts, I invite you to read all the posts in succession again. I may sound like a weenie, but I’m commuting in central Portland almost every day without a car – on bike, bus, and foot – use my bike every day, and have not gotten hit in almost ten years. I guess had I gone over the curb in this guy’s situation, I would have 1) sped up considerably to get off the bridge as fast as possible and not aggrivate traffic and 2) taken up more than just the side of the lane. Traffic is totally unpredictable, and bridges just don’t provide many viable escape routes.

So what I cater to cars and buses?! I also stop at lights and most stop signs! Call me crazy, maybe I value harmony life! And no, I absolutely do not believe this guy should have been assaulted!

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

On the subject of mirrors, they do work well, but, I believe, lead to handicapping, or less head turning and looking like you should be.
I do not reccomend mirrors for this reason.
And to know what is coming behind you, even more usefull than sight, is sound. Nothing tells you it is coming more than a Tri Met bus.
And catering to the buses, letting them cut you off while pulling out of a stop, through a yellow or red light, or moving out of YOUR lane for a bus, only makes this situation worse.
For too long now, Tri Met has been running around the chocolate factory with a Golden Ticket.

C3PNo
Guest
C3PNo

Dabby!

Head turning is what mirrors help you avoid! Let me clarify that mirrors mounted to your cranium (helmet, glasses, etc.) is far more effective than a frame-mounted mirror due to the ability to “look around” behind oneself. Mirrors also allow one to observe the “body language” of vehicles behind you (including buses and other bicyclists) and react appropriately (Is that “vroom” going towards or away from me?). I do not exaggerate when I say it has saved my ass more than a couple of times. And you can have fun with cops who think you can’t see them. 😛

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

You cannot look someone in the eye with a rear view mirror. You are looking into a reflection of the persons eyes.
Lookingfor, and recieving eye contact with drivers, pedestrians, and other bicyclists is the main way we have to interact safely.
Mirrors do not allow others to see that you see them.
Mirrors allow you to see a reflection of what is going on, warped as mirrors can make things depending on what angle you are looking through them.
Yours eyes, generally, do not lie.
Your head, turning and looking at a car, leaves no question that you are aware of their presence.
Mirrors are added conveinence for some, but IN NO WAY take place of common sense, using your eyes and ears, and paying attention.
Thank you, and have a gooday.

bringing it round the Turkey, and into your home,
Dabby.

Mark
Guest
Mark

OregonLive now has the video online here.

greenbike
Guest
greenbike

I just saw this on channel 8 news and I laughed my ass off.

Bus driver bad for letting a man who assaulted someone back on the bus.

Randy bad for making bicyclists look bad. When bike lane blocked with gravel, I get off my bike and walk it (in the bike lane). I don’t ride in the traffic lane on a busy road. Duh.

josh m
Guest
josh m

greenbike – well, that’s your choice.
If the gravel is blocking my path, I ride in the Road. It’s my privilege.
Why should I make myself take 20 minutes longer just so someone in their car doesn’t have to take 2 minutes longer?

bhance
Guest

Seems like a few well armed fellow bikers just need to ride that particular line until the guy shows up again. Problem solved.

Hope they catch the guy.

matt
Guest
matt

I bike and take MAX to Beaverton for work every day. If this schmuck Randy causes the price of a MAX ticket to go up again, he can expect another ass-kickin’! Hahahahaha.

He deserved to get beat up. He instigated the whole thing. It’s really foolish to veer to the left at anytime without looking back first! And it’s unbelievable that he’s suing. I hope he loses and has to pay the lawyer fees for both parties. He deserves that as well. What a jerk.

Jessica Roberts
Guest

According to this morning’s Oregonian article about the incident, “the driver, Harold R. Cooper, 61, died in August in a boating accident on the Columbia River.” So TriMet doesn’t really have the option of firing him.

Carla
Guest
Carla

Wait, he “deserved” to get beat up?

I don’t care what he did, but people don’t deserve violence.

Severt
Guest
Severt

I’ve contracted with Tri-met and have worked with bus drivers on a regular basis for 3 years and I know how they REALLY feel about bicyclists. Tri-met as a corporation might put their PR guys into action and come across with some goody-goody pro-active sounding response but I know that the majority of drivers rabidly dislike and even hate bicyclists and they all admit to knowing plenty of “other” drivers who intentionally buzz cyclists in an attempt to frighten them off the road. Of course, the ones telling me this are never the ones that actually do it, right?

Their ignorance of the law astounds me. You’d think professional drivers would actually know the rules of the road but they don’t. I argued with a driver just this morning who admitted to going by a cyclist and honking his horn as he passed. When I asked him why in the world he would do such a thing he said it was to let the cyclist know that the road was narrow and that the cyclist needed to get up on the sidewalk and out of the road. This driver actually believes that it is against the law for a bicycle to be in the road in traffic if there are no cleared bicycles lanes for them to use.

That’s just one and the lastest example. I have many such conversations with bus drivers. Most of them list bicyclists as being the number one thing they hate about their jobs. Some of them we make nervous, others just angry because we threaten their schedule and when their schedules are threatened, they end up with less break time at the end of a run. When I point out that they get the same $23.00 an hour whether they are on schedule or not then we REALLY get to have some interesting conversations.

Severt

trackback

[…] As expected, the local media is all over the Randy Albright/TriMet lawsuitI reported on last Friday. (By the way, if you haven’t checked in a few days, that post has sparked some spirited discussion that is well worth a read). […]

John Boyd
Guest
John Boyd

Why are busses that are too big for the road on the road?
Traffic laws don’t bend for who you work for or how many passengers you have. Busses downtown can’t even operate safely in a single lane!
(As a non bus rider), I think all would be better with more smaller vehicles. Passenger vans even.

trackback

[…] Did anyone notice the posts to the Portland forum on OregonLive.com in response to the Albright/TriMet lawsuit? I clicked on them just out of curiousity. Wow. They reveal the dark underbelly of how some Portlanders feel about cyclists. I’m not posting these to get cyclists all pissed off, I just think its useful to know how “the other side” feels about us. […]

Caroline
Guest

OMG some people are starting to sound irrational, if not militant. Heh. Tri-Met is supposedly one – if not the – best public transportation service in the US, and personally, I LIKE IT! And… I use it!

Instead of hating them back, just work to share the road. I took an experimental bike ride the other day, just being courteous to bus drivers by avoiding the spaces they needed to stay on target, and it didn’t detract from my ride at all. Is selfish riding worth having 217 more cars on the road than that big bus? A lot of drivers think so!

I agree that some bus drivers have problems (and have blogged even recently about it). Instead of monetary compensation, and esp. in light of the fact that the driver of said bus DIED in a boating accident, maybe some sort of arrangement so that Tri-Met agrees to mandate its drivers to attend bicycle law/road sharing seminar/training (maybe w/BTA involvement) would be more efficacious. Well, either way you’ll end up with people just rolling their eyes it seems.

Come on people, spread the bicycle love!

Grant
Guest
Grant

Dabby,

You are unfortunately a large part of the problem. With statements like this:

“I have flown off the sidewalk, on to the roadbed of the hawthorne bridge, in order to avoid being taken out by Bicyclists!!!
Mainly because they were riding too slow…With My Signaling Middle finger highg (sic) in the air.”

How can we cyclists ever be expected to be taken seriously? Do you think it’s ok for drivers to pull onto the shoulder to pass cars that are driving too slow? Why should it be ok for you to do that on a bike? Is cutting someone off and flipping them a bird not the very definition of road rage, bike or not?

The bottom line is that cyclists must act like equals on the road if they ever expect to be treated as such. If Randy had done what he did as a motorist rather than as a cyclist, no one would waste breath defending him. He would have been 100% wrong, just as you apparently so often are.

Stop thinking you own the road. Stop being a jerk. If you don’t, you might as well go buy a Hummer; at least then you will be amongst equals.

organic brian
Guest
organic brian

[my letter to TriMet]

TriMet customer service: this is in regard to the “training”, if there is any, your bus drivers receive about traffic law. Below is a message posted to a local bike email list, this person’s experiences echo my own as far as TriMet drivers not knowing about cyclists’ rights to the road, and rude / dangerous behavior. These drivers are paid highly enough (they make more than many computer engineers!) that I think they can perform their jobs professionally and safely, or get replaced. Could some training be implemented to educate them? Are drivers disciplined in response to complaints? Please reply with what you are going to do about this unacceptable lack of education and professionalism, before any more
cyclists get hurt.

I’ve contracted with Tri-met and have worked with bus drivers on a regular basis for 3 years and I know how they REALLY feel about bicyclists. Tri-met as a corporation might put their PR guys into action and come across with some goody-goody pro-active sounding response but I know that the majority of drivers rabidly dislike and even hate bicyclists and they all admit to knowing plenty of “other” drivers who intentionally buzz cyclists in an attempt to frighten them off the road. Of course, the ones telling me this are never the ones that actually do it, right?

Their ignorance of the law astounds me. You’d think professional drivers would actually know the rules of the road but they don’t. I argued with a driver just this morning who admitted to going by a cyclist and honking his horn as he passed. When I asked him why in the world he would do such a thing he said it was to let the cyclist know that the road was narrow and that the cyclist needed to get up on the sidewalk and out of the road. This driver actually believes that it is against the law for a bicycle to be in the road in traffic if there are no cleared bicycles lanes for them to use.

That’s just one and the lastest example. I have many such conversations with bus drivers. Most of them list bicyclists as being the number one thing they hate about their jobs. Some of them we make nervous, others just angry because we threaten their schedule and when their schedules are threatened, they end up with less break time at the end of a run. When I point out that they get the same $23.00 an hour whether they are on schedule or not then we REALLY get to have some interesting conversations.

rafa
Guest
rafa

Randy’s mistake: he didn’t take the lane. Sure he could get off his bike and tippy-toe around the muck but it’s in his right to take the lane. Motorists can bitch and moan this but its a 2 minute gripe and we all still get to work.

Still, kudos to Randy for making a statement.
All the gutter bunnies out there who want to apologize for Randy’s behavior can park their bikes and hop on Tri-Met-“See Where it Takes You”.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

This has got to be a joke. Sueing tri-met because he was acting like a child and therefore got spanked like a child (from what it sounds like this is how angry randy would spank a child, by punching them in the face). If he felt wronged he should have taken it up with Tri-met. Randy should not have gotten in the way of a bus full of people during rush hour expecting to not anger a single patron. It sounds like randy got exactly what he deserved.