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A strange but true bike arrest

Posted by on September 5th, 2006 at 9:52 am

strange but true bike arrest

[Who would have thought?]

Last Friday in Beaverton, just across the street from a Share the Road demonstration, there was a strange car/bike crash that I still can’t figure out.

When I first saw the scene, it looked pretty simple. An older lady sat flustered in her big Town Car while an adrenaline-pumped cyclist gathered his broken bike and began to call the cops to report the crash. I could not believe the irony.

I walked over to talk to the cyclist and he told me the lady turned right into him without even looking. It sounded completely plausible and I immediately believed his story.

I talked with him for several minutes and found out his name was Daniel Koch and that he had just gotten a job as a messenger in Portland and was in Beaverton visiting his mom in the hospital.

strange but true bike arrest

Koch, who apparently really loves Portland (see photo), fit the profile of a messenger to a tee and he was riding a fixed-gear bicycle with no hand brake, a detail that did not escape the cop.

Regardless, I assumed it was an obvious case of a motorist not looking over their shoulder and that everything would be handled fairly. So, when a cop rolled up to handle the situation I walked back across the street to the Share the Road demonstration.

After several minutes passed I noticed a few more cop cars pull up and I began to wonder why the cyclist was still being questioned; something just didn’t seem right. Then I heard someone say, “Oh my god, they’ve handcuffed the cyclist!”. Sure enough I looked up and Koch was being walked to the patrol car in handcuffs with a look of shocked disbelief in his eyes.

bike arrest

I quickly made my way over to the scene and asked what was going on. Koch said, “They’re arresting me for purposely running into that lady’s car!”

I was shocked to say the least and I let my emotions get the best of me in my questioning of the cops. How can you arrest him, I asked repeatedly. What about the driver? You plan on taking her away too?

All the cops told me was that Koch caused the crash by purposely running into the car. Given what I had heard and seen up to that point I was flabbergasted that they could arrive at that conclusion.

strange but true bike arrest

After Koch had been taken away, I spoke to Terry Nobbe who had seen the whole crash unfold. Terry was at the Share the Road demonstration and is also a League Certified Cycling Instructor. Nobbe told me that the car never moved out of its lane and that the cyclist did indeed run into her. He said it even looked as though he did it purposely. I couldn’t believe my ears.

Why would a cyclist intentionally run into a car? Was he trying to show off and then became embarrassed when he crashed, causing him to make up a lie about being run into to?

Eventually I spoke with the cops again. I first apologized for my skeptical and overly-emotional attitude during the arrest. The cop was very appreciative of my apology and we then had a constructive discussion.

Turns out they arrested Koch for disorderly conduct and intentionally ramming his bike into a car. Both are serious violations and based on evidence at the scene and testimony from a cyclist who saw the whole thing, I don’t blame them for arriving at that conclusion.

But there are still some things I can’t figure out: First, why did they have to handcuff the cyclist? My hunch is that he had outstanding warrants or some other offense they couldn’t tell us about. And then, why the heck would anyone purposely run their bike into a car? And most puzzling is if the kid had some prior warrants or offenses, why would he call the cops in the first place?

The whole thing is very strange. I’ve got Koch’s email address and the cop’s business card. I’ll follow up with them and update the post when I hear more.

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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Fritz
Guest

The cyclist apparently has a rage issue, but whenever a motorist intentionally rams a cyclist or runs one off the road it’s always “no charges have been filed pending an investigation.”

Dom
Guest
Dom

You dont have to have outstanding warrents for handcuffs. If you get arrested you get put in handcuffs…regardless of the offence.

cb
Guest
cb

i got hit, in my car, by a cyclist once back east. an older gentleman, in his 60s, he plowed into my passenger door while i was stopped at a light. i’d been stopped for a full minute, with five or six cars behind me — it’s not like i’d just screeched to a halt in front of him. he didn’t hit me hard, and there was no damage to his bike. still, police came, and a week later i got certified mail that he was suing me.

enclosed were catalog pages for bike parts that “needed to be replaced as a result of the accident,” but as a cyclist myself, i can tell you that nothing on his bike was damaged, and the parts he was suing for were not the parts on his bike. he also sued me for time lost from his “consulting business” as a result of injuries suffered, even though he rode his bike home from the scene of the accident.

my insurance company got involved. turned out the guy had a habit of doing this, and our collision was the sixth one he’d been involved in. still, my insurance company settled for something lower than the $10,000 he was suing me for rather than going to court, and my premiums went up. no wonder he continues to do it.

it was a lesson to me about how some people can make a pretty good living beating the system, and how sometimes the system turns a blind eye even when they know someone is breaking the law.

i figured it was a matter of time before karma caught up with him and he got clocked by a bus.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

Fritz,

Like I mentioned, my hunch is that they ran the cyclist’s name and found something in addition to his “disorderly conduct.”

No word on whether or not he’ll get a ticket for riding a fixed-gear bike without a brake.

Dom,

Thanks for that insight. If they cuffed him just for his crash into the car, I think that is way over the top. I’m going to reserve further judgement until I hear more official details.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I really don’t think he is a messenger either by the way.
I could be wrong, but I have never met him.
Wouldn’t forget the mop if I saw it.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

His knuckle tattoo IS IN SHARPIE.

I am guessing fakenger too. He is trying too hard with the PBR headbadge. I would not be suprized if he just didn’t know how to stop his brakeless fixed gear.

revphil
Guest
revphil

it should be noted that eye witness testimony is often not reliable. More implasable is that a raging biker would break his bike running into a car, rather than swing a u-lock, for example.

The facts of the case, what part of the car interacted with the bike should be more telling. If the bike ran into a car that was just waiting at a light the damage would likely be on the rear of the car. if the driver turned into the biker than the front or right side of the car would be damaged.

check out the “Agent Smith” leaning into the picutre.

BLDZR
Guest

F’in new jacks…

ben
Guest
ben

i don’t know man.

his burton shirt and sideways belt doesn’t exactly scream “messenger” to me.

ha.

ben
Guest
ben

i’m gonna venture to say that someone hired him to pose (badly) as one (*cough* pdx police *cough*), gave him a fixie, and told him to ram a car.

thus creating bad press in these times of fixie cases in the news.

Tiago
Guest
Tiago

Last Xmas a car intentionally hit a zoobomber in the middle of the road, the cops showed up and said that they couldn’t do anything because noone was sent to the hospital.

http://bikeportland.org/2005/12/26/zoobomb-christmas-not-so-merry/
http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=35809&category=22107

To protect and to serve… whom from what?

ben
Guest
ben

i kid, i kid!!!

…..then again, ya never KNOW!

Cecil
Guest
Cecil

“i’m gonna venture to say that someone hired him to pose (badly) as one . . . thus creating bad press in these times of fixie cases in the news.”

Or maybe he’s exactly the kind of moron out there that gives the rest of the biking community a bad name. Jonathan, I for one would be interested to learn how it all pans out . . .

Vigilante
Guest
Vigilante

I don’t know what pisses me off more… car people who stereotype and look down on cyclists based on their appearance or bike people who stereotype and look down on cyclists because of their appearance. Probably the latter because they should know better. I don’t have any tattoos at all… and I don’t wear my jeans rolled up to the calf… and I hate those little cycling caps that everyone and their dog wears… how lame am I?

TimmyC
Guest

Thanks for explaining this situation, Jonathan. When I saw the photos on your flickr, I was immediately incensed, thinking it had to do with the recent court decision about fixies. Richard Masoner talked me down and pointed me at your description of what. What an odd story, and so strangely coincident to the Share The Road demo. Truly odd. Please keep us all updated. Thanks.

Cecil
Guest
Cecil

“… and I don’t wear my jeans rolled up to the calf… … how lame am I?”

I don’t know, but I bet you have bike grease on your jeans 😉

RobCat
Guest
RobCat

Cecil said:

“Or maybe he’s exactly the kind of moron out there that gives the rest of the biking community a bad name. Jonathan, I for one would be interested to learn how it all pans out . . .”

+1! If it’s proven he did indeed ram the poor lady’s car, he should be treated as any other vandal. “Solidarity” be damned, it’s inadvisable to embrace zealots and/or opportunists simply because he/she rides a bike, and no amount of “but THEY” rhetoric makes their actions acceptable.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I believe the real point is that does not appear to even be a messenger, and in saying he was is giving a worse rep. to a already tarnished profession, a profession that everyone relies on, whether they know it or not.
The lady was stopped, and a charge of disorderly conduct and intentional ramming leads me to believe that he was chasing her down after she cut him off, and he rammed his crappy conversion into her car.
Or maybe he just couldn’t stop.
Or maybe he saw the dollar bill signs in his head, took his feet out of the toe clips, and let her fly…..
Either way, this seems fishy to me for sure.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I also must say that my beautiful track bike has a PBR headbadge made out of a sticker.
Crap!! I better go pull it off of there stat!

Gregg
Guest
Gregg

Sheesh, why don’t you all wait until we get some kind of official announcement instead of jumping to some far fetched conclusions? For all we know, he could have been on crack and they found his pipe. (which would explain the messenger-like behavior) -rimshot-

dee
Guest

I’ve never seen this guy in my life. copping the style of messengers is one thing. claiming to be one as your being put in a cop car is very lame. We have an negative image problem as it is. we certainly don’t need agro hippsters adding to it.

organic brian
Guest
organic brian

An officer that I talked to about the incident told me “he rammed the car to get publicity for you guys” meaning the “Stand with Us” traffic safety action group. I thought it a very bizarre thing to say and explained that I’m sure there is no one in our group who would ram a car on purpose as a publicity stunt.

I’m half-convinced the kid was put up to it by the police.

jami
Guest

i would say “be nice; his mother’s in the hospital,” but it’s tough to believe anything he said since he (apparently) lied to jonathan about why he rammed the gal’s car. and of course he can’t be a messenger because he has the wrong stickers.

nice call on agent smith there, revphil.

Gary
Guest
Gary

Checked the jail log on the Washington County Website. It appears that he had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear and a prior false info charge out of Beaverton Muni court. He is still in custody.

NeRf
Guest
NeRf

this ‘kid: is exactly why we’re getting targeted by the police here in portland. i’m sure all he saw in his head was a new bike.
Why now, “im in front of a bunch of other cyclists, they’ll all side with me if something happens this is perfect.”
these hipsters are why we messengers are getting targeted,

i have also NEVER SEEN THIS KID IN MY LIFE!

this is so rediculous, why dress and ride as us, whas next dressing as MAILMEN???? FEDEX?????

its the same f-ing thing.
also every messenger i know ( of and personally) that rides fixed, is skilled, very skilled, so look at this as it is, one of the prime examples of what REALLY going on in portland.
it goes with what i’ve been saying, if you don’t know or arn’t physically able to ride fixed, don’t comment, i’m not telling people how to f-ing HANG-GLIDE…..

-NeRf

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Oh, I love a good read….

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

By the way, if I am being questioned by the police, unless I have a rush job on board, the last thing I am going to tell them is that I am a messenger. It is only going to cause you more trouble.
I would like to edit my earlier comments to say that He definitly IS NOT A MESSENGER!!!
And now, due to his own ignorance, he never will be, for most messengers choose who the company they work for hires.
And he just burned the biggest bridge in town….

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

OK folks pay attention: I think if you look up “hipster” on wikipedia you will find a picture of Mr. Moptop here. I see no messenger bag, I see no Nextel. I also think if this kid showed up at the Yamhill Pub claiming “messenger” and rocking “PORT LAND” sharpied on his knuckles he would get the worst atomic wedgie ever and then get dragged down the street by it.

GoGoGadget
Guest

Portland sez he’s not a messenger.

He may have run out & bought the POS with the intention of becoming a messenger, dorks like this douche do it all the time and only last a month or two if that.

His legs, his scrawny scrawny legs with 0 definition, (you can be scrawny, but no tone??) and pasty pasty whiteness at THE END of summer?

And Gary found his priors, this douche deserves to be arrested, and the Portland mesenger association, if there is one, should verify his employment, or rather lack thereof, and release a statement.

The press would announce it, everyone likes to laugh at a douche claiming to be something he’s not for image.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

Just an FYI, when I asked him which messenger company he worked for he couldn’t tell me. He said he just got hired and didn’t remember the name of the company.

I also doubt that he’ll get back if he reads all these comments.

RedMenace
Guest
RedMenace

Good to hear this dude isn’t really a messenger… The first thing I thought when I read this was “THAT douchebag took Sharkey’s job?!”

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

Maybe he got hired by Transerve?

wingnut
Guest
wingnut

if you look at what is happening in activist circles it could be very possible that he was payed by someone. i mean some people spend like 2 years hanging out with people and having sex with them just to get information. nyc having cops in critical mass filming and directing the group while undercover… sketchy stuff. all in all share the road is one of the stupidest thing i have ever heard. in sf i had many cars almost run me off the road and then i see their bumper sticker… a bike/car coexist.

Tbird
Guest
Tbird

This was a set up all the way around.
When I first saw the pic of this dude getting cuffed and stuffed my first thought, was that ” agent smith” and “shaggy the biker” were posing for the pic. In addition to that, cops almost NEVER allow someone to snap pics and question why they are arresting the perp. Sure I believe the cops or someone similar could have arranged it.
stranger things have happened.
I think I want a sharpie tat…. maybe something along the lines of COOL DUDE
Be safe Y’all

hoover
Guest
hoover

wow. it really does sound most likely that he was trying to make a ‘share the road’ point, and thought he’d be trixie and bash the car to show how awful they are.

my guess is he got what he deserves. the best way to show how we can share the road is to follow the rules of the road, which unfortunately most messengers seem unable or unwilling to do.

and, by the way, what’s with all this negative profiling and stereotyping about this dumb kid’s hair, shoes, headbadge, etc? get a grip!

gabrielamadeus
Guest
gabrielamadeus

Yeah, the “messenger/hipster” profiling is pretty lame fellas. What are you, the Bush administration?

And patience, please. Can’t we just wait to find out the FACTS without jumping to (maybe) far-fetched conclusions?

tds
Guest
tds

What many folks on this post don’t realize is that there is a very fine line between hipster and messenger and it is getting hard to tell the two groups apart because many folks are part of both. Everyone and their mama has a messenger bag, a fixed gear and a little cap in this here city.
I agree that it was pretty lame of him to say that he is a messenger while being arrested, and that he might be some secret agent type, and that he probably can’t stop on his bike (like many people I have seen riding around… if you can’t skid to a stop, you need a damn break, I don’t care if it isn’t “cool”- see where the messenger/hipster mentality collides?!)
But stop this us vs. them BS. I see plenty of riders with their pasty, no-tone legs hauling ass around town. Everyone stop caring about what bike you ride and what clothes you wear. There are better ways to waste your time…

Lou Cipher
Guest
Lou Cipher

Sounds like a joke I heard:

Q:What’s the difference between a hipster and a messenger?

A: (Snootily) You mean you don’t know?

sam
Guest
sam

We don’t really know much. I think we’ve got a better shot at being taken seriously, and respected, in future incedents, if we can manage not to foster an “us-vs-them”. Maybe instead we can foster a little “us-all need educating”…

BLDZR
Guest

or, maybe events like this will continue to weed out that jackasses that ride track bikes – oh, sorry, “fixies” – without the first idea how to control them.

I have no love for people who think they can buy a lifestyle. This kid exemplifies that.

joy
Guest
joy

I’m still disturbed by this.

I was there to witness the arrest but not the incident/accident. I regret that I, too, let my emotions take over while trying to talk to the police but it still seems to me that the cyclist was handled differently than motorists are in similar situations. Unfortunately, cyclists often appear to be labeled (by law enforcement) as troublemakers and are assumed to be in the wrong while motorists just have “accidents”.

Yes, the guy is a poseur – no doubt about it- but why do we care? The point of the story is that motorists and cyclists are not treated equally.

Whatever happened, it’s just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Caroline
Guest

I have a hunch Koch is an undercover cop.

Didn’t I just hear Mark Ginsberg bragging about how, outside downtown Portland, there are no incidents of fixed-gear bicycles causing accidents?

Jonathan Maus
Guest

I just uploaded a new photo I took right after the crash. Notice the Town Car. The cyclist claims it veered right and crashed into him but in the photo the car is situated in its own lane. Why would this kid make up the story? Why would he call the cops on himself?

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

Looks like a Crown Victoria to me, the kind the Police drive. Hmmmmmm.

Frame pad? check
No grips? check
Non-alleycat spoke cards? check
Tight girl pants? check
Pumas? check
Phone and lock are not easily accessible.

Fakenger or posenger – no doubt about it.

This whole thing reeks of bullsh*t.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

Another thing, if the Police run your ID and you have warrants, even if it is just a failure to appear in court, you will be arrested and then held until you can go before a judge. He wasn’t treated any different than a motorist or anybody else.

NeRf
Guest
NeRf

so today during lunch this kid comes and sits down near me..

“man look at this no brake ticket i got in beaverton” he said to the guy at the next table over.
i kinda chuckled ‘hey i heard all about that” he turned a little paler.
“Yeah i read it on bikeportland, why did you say your a messenger”
“oh i didn’t say that”
“well johnathan has never lied to my knowledge”
“uh i’m looking for a job”
good luck i’m thinking.
his bike is still in the impound i overheard.
hahahahahahaahahahaha
*sigh*
i didn’t feel like totally yelling at him for trying to get money out of some old lady.
i should have but i was eating.
thankfully he left pretty quickly after i said the whole story was online.

so i wanna give a shoutout to poserboy… good job everyone at the coffee shop knows the truth now.
kinda embarassing huh?

zach
Guest
zach

SKiDmark, it’s a tincoln town car… same chassis as a crown vic, and very similar body, but not a cop car.

wtf is up with all of this conspiracy theory stuff? occams razor points squarely toward “dumb suburb kid.”

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

Blimey…It’s obvious that it is just a dumb kid. Who else would call the cops when they have a warrant?

Still that is a Crown Vic. Google it.

Terry Nobbe
Guest

I witnessed the event as it occured and reported what I saw to anyone who asked me afterwards. I watched as the auto involved and the cyclist approached the intersection northbound. I was standing on the NE corner of Hall Boulevard and SW 5th Avenue. I noticed the cyclist wearing a baseball cap and that his handlebars were angled unusually relative to the bike’s headset. The cyclist had been proceeding in the middle of the bike lane, and as the lane started to veer slightly left to accomodate the right turn land to SW 5th, the auto seemed to crowd the bike lane slightly without entering it as it was slowing for an indicated red light. The cyclist seemed to turn slighly toward the auto, then turned away, then back again, colliding with the car, bouncing off, then slowing falling to the pavement. The auto driver came to a stop and initiated their 4-way flashers as the cyclist picked himself and the bike up and walked to the nearest treelawn.

joy
Guest
joy

I’ve been bumped by cars while riding my bike and while crossing the street at a crosswalk with a walk signal and the police have never run the ID of the motorists involved. They didn’t run my ID either; but then again, I look like the 44 year old mom that I am.

My point above is that the police often treat people very differently because those people are perceived to belong to a particular group.

Those who are messengers know that Koch is a poseur, but I’m not sure the Beaverton police know the difference.